With the recent naming of the 2016 Eventing 25/18 Training Lists, there are a lot of talented young riders who are ready to take the eventing world by storm. This winter, we’ll be spotlighting the E25 and E18 riders as they prepare for their training sessions with Leslie Law.
Cassie Wallskog, 15, started riding horses at age seven at a local hunter/jumper barn. She tried eventing on her hunter pony a few years later, got hooked, and purchased an event horse through Ruthie Meyer, who together with Joe Meyer has continued to be essential to Cassie’s development as an event rider.
Ruthie partnered Cassie with Feine Loesung, a now 15-year-old Oldenburg mare. Starting at Novice, Cassie and “Wren” steadily moved up the levels together over the next two years, and this summer they were members of the Area IV CH-J* team at the North American Junior and Young Riders Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park. They finished 23rd individually and contributed to a fifth place finish for the team.
After spending last winter in Ocala, Florida as a working student for Joe, Cassie, a Wisconsin native, switched to online schooling so she could return to Florida and immerse herself in the sport. As a working student, she has the opportunity to ride and compete sale horses and learn what it takes to keep a top barn running smoothly.
“I definitely want to go as far as I can competing wise, but I also enjoy the sale aspect of the sport,” Cassie said. “At the moment we have 25 horses and a lot of them are sale horses. It’s interesting to see how that works and what sale horses and training horses come in as and how they sell them.”
Joe makes frequent trips to Europe to source horses for clients, and last year Cassie was lucky enough to join him. While there she bought Cooley Castle, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse with experience at Preliminary. The plan was to stop with one, but Cassie fell in love with a 7-year-old Holsteiner just starting at Novice, so she brought him home, too.
Cassie and Cooley Castle have hit it off, with a third place finish at their first Training in September and a second place finish at Preliminary last month. The plan for now is to enter the CCI1* at the Ocala Horse Properties International 3-Day Festival of Eventing in April and aim for a return trip to NAJYRC next summer. With 7-year-old Quainton Cassanova, Cassie will take things slow, gaining confidence and experience as she brings him along.
“My family has been a huge support allowing me incredible opportunities to go to England and buy two horses and letting me go down to Florida. My trainers back home (Chrissy Hollnagel and Sara McGowan) have helped a lot through the process. We keep them updated and they help us over the phone. They have all helped me get where I am and I’m very thankful for that.”
Cassie is looking forward to working with Leslie Law in the upcoming training sessions for developing riders and hopes to expand her knowledge in all aspects of horsemanship.