Morven Park’s 2021 Season Kicks Off with Spring Horse Trials

Skyelar Voss won the Open Intermediate division with Argyle. Photo by Erin Gilmore Photography.

Over 200 competitors turned out at Morven Park International Equestrian Center over the weekend for the Leesburg, Virginia venue’s Spring Horse Trials. Here’s a brief recap of the action, with divisions ranging from Beginner Novice to Intermediate and including for the first time a Prelim-Training division:

Congrats to Open Intermediate winners Skyeler Voss and Argyle, her own 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Private Gold x Aunt Tizzy, by Cee’s Tizzy). This well-established three-star pair started their weekend in third on a dressage score of 32.2, then climbed a place in each subsequent phase to claim the top spot, show jumping clear and collecting four time penalties cross country. “It felt so good to be back out on my favorite Thoroughbred doing what we love!,” Skyeler shared on Facebook. We love Skyeler and the Morningside Training Farm crew for repping the OTTBs — and looking great doing it! #TeamCheckers

Boyd Martin and Penhill Celtic began the weekend in the lead then slipped to second having had a rail and 5.6 cross country time penalties. Third-placed Alex Reed and On Broadway were the only pair in the 15-horse division to finish cross country inside the time.

We’re proud of our own Jumper Nation editor/four-star eventer Ema Klugman‘s win in the Open Prelim A with RF Redfern, Jeni Klugman’s 8-year-old Westphalian mare (Any Given Sunday x Zsa Zsa). As with Skyeler, Ema climbed a place each phase for the win on a final score of 28.0.

“The Fern … she handles each challenge with aplomb, and like any good student she’s always eager to guess the right answer and hungry for more,” Ema shared on Facebook. “We started with a relaxed, obedient dressage test which could have featured more pizazz but scored a 27. She positively bounced around the show jumping, throwing in a few tempi changes for good measure which cracked up Amina Harouna who was filming. I started out steadily on cross country to let her find her feet and understand the bigger jumps. By number 6 she was having the time of her life so I let her gallop on. There is something really satisfying about a horse who gains confidence as they go around a course! It fuels my addiction of producing horses, and boy has she has been fun and rewarding to bring along. Thank you Marilyn Little a million times over for finding this special horse. This was the 10th event of her career and her 7th win … so we are looking forward to many more!”

Martin Douzant was second in the division with Frame Shamrock, and Daniel Clasing was third with Olney Uncle Sam, who has been competed through the four-star level with Emily Beshear.

Mike Pendleton was the winner of Open Prelim B with Redfield Fellow, an 11-year-old Dutch gelding (Ustinov x Kelly) owned by Lydia Sarro. They were tied for second after dressage, then jumped their way to the top of the leaderboard to finish on a score of 35.2. It sounds like Mike thinks very highly of this horse as an upper level prospect, and he’s for sale, so reach out if you are interested!

Also in the Open Prelim B division, Mackenzie Parks and Mojave Moon were second; Morgan Connelly and Benevolence were third.

Bruce Davidson Sr. and Invito. Photo by Erin Gilmore Photography.

Other Morven winners include:

Junior Training Rider: Clare Brady & Goodness Gracious (37.5)
Open Training: Bruce Davidson & Invito (30.7)
Prelim-Training: Martin Douzant & Olympus (32.4)
Training Horse: Allison Smith & Great Red Dragon (32.1)
Training Rider A: Morgyn Johnson & Peter Parker GS (31.1)
Training Rider B: Anna Gibson & Black Label (29.3)
Junior Novice Rider: Kate Thresher & Silver Bop (30.2)
Novice Horse: Jan Byyny & Layla LFS (29.5)
Novice Rider: Holly Thornhill & Phineas Flynn (32.1)
Open Novice: Erin Murphy & Rough Heart (30.2)
Junior Beginner Novice Rider: Ainsley Colgan & Ginobi (26.1)
Open Beginner Novice A: Elizabeth Henry & Sandino FRF (32.2)
Open Beginner Novice B: Brooke Bayley & Botshabelo MVH Z (28.1)
You can view complete results here.

“This was my first time attending Spring Horse Trials and I was awe-inspired by the sheer scope of an eventing competition,” says Stacey Metcalfe, Morven Park’s new Executive Director/CEO. “Each phase of competition was more exciting than the last and of course the competitors were all so impressive. We cannot thank the riders, officials, judges, and volunteers enough for coming out this weekend, in the sun and in the rain, to celebrate horse trials with us.”

Cross-country took place on the Park’s sprawling 1,000 acres and competitors enjoyed dressage and show jump arenas outfitted with Eurotex footing from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces.

The Morven Park International Equestrian Center thanks Sponsors SmartPak and Winchester Equipment Company, Silver sponsor Adequan, and Bronze level sponsors Total Equine Veterinary Associates, Coat Defense and In Memoriam Pet Services for their support of Spring Horse Trials.

The Morven Park Fall International Horse Trials and CCI4*-L, CCI3*/2*YH-S, CCI 4*/3*/2*-S will be held October 6 – 10 and the Park’s popular hunter/jumper summer series kicks off next weekend with a sold-out show. Visit for details. For sponsorship opportunities, email [email protected]