Road to Rebecca, Presented by Bieman de Haas: Meet the Twins

We're excited to follow along with Bieman de Haas sponsored rider Holly Jacks-Smither on her journey to Montana to compete More Inspiration in The Event at Rebecca Farm CCI3*. Joining her on this adventure are sisters Ella and Eva Marquis who are competing in the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. Let's meet Ella, Eva and their horses. Click here to read part 1. Thanks for writing ladies and thanks for reading!

Eva Marquis with Ariel aka “Red on a Roll” with a rather appropriate BR Red Bridle.

Hey everyone. I’m Eva Marquis blogging to you while en-route to the NAJYRC in Montana with support from BR Equestrian–my first sponsor!
First a little about me. I  started to ride at the age of 7 with an introductory course while on a day camp. Both my twin sister Ella and I were hooked from the get go and began taking regular lessons at a hunter/jumper barn.
Our eventing career started at the age of 9 when my mom was overwhelmed with the whole pony thing–which one, what discipline, you know. Holly was the only one who answered the cry for “help!” and came in for the rescue. Coming from BC and being down to earth, she was happy to help in our hilly paddocks and at our beat-up barn.
A lot has changed since then.  Holly took us on thinking 9 was too young but if we listened and learned she would keep us on. Well she put up with us, we did our best to pay attention and we now have a strong coach and mentor in Holly.
We started eventing at Pre-Entry and advanced to Pre-Training on our self taught ponies. I think I have a record for number of times hitting the ground in a single season! Ella and I  developed a signature move Holly calls “kicking like a twin” and it works! We’ve moved on from those days…
I began riding Lurch (aka Hollywood) in the fall of 2015 when I was 12.  Lurch is a 12-year-old off-track Thoroughbred trained by Holly. I started Lurch in Pre-Training and advanced to Training in 2016 where I’m pleased to have capped the year with a win at the Will O ‘Wind Fall Finale and finished third overall for the year in the OHTA Jr Training Division in Ontario.
This past winter I turned 14 and moved on to Preliminary in the Ocala area where I continued my training with Holly. It was a long shot to try to qualify for Young Riders, but Lurch and I successfully campaigned our first three Preliminary events over the winter which enabled us to enter our inaugural CCI1* at the Ocala International. We completed with a top 20 finish in a field of 55, qualifying us for a place on the team for the NAJYR Championships.
I live and train in Caledon, Ontario and just graduated from Grade 8. I’m so excited to be competing with a team. I’ve got so much to learn as a relative newbie but am looking forward to doing my best for the team. A great big thank you to BR for your support!

Ella Marquis with Foxy, showing off her new BR Bridle.

Hi Everyone. I’m Ella Marquis and I’m en-route to the 2017 NAJYR Championships in Montana. I’m really pleased to have the support of BR Equestrian as I embark on this trip and look forward to sharing some pics of their really cool gear for horse and rider with some fabulous mountain scenery in my blogs.

Eva shared the story of how we started to ride at 7 and how we met Holly. I want to share a little more about our ponies. They are such an important part of who we are and how we got here. And we love them to death.

My pony is Foxy. A Welsh Arabian cross who started her career pulling carts. Yup, carts. We fixed that. We taught her to jump. We taught her to event. She was a great student and with Holly’s help I learned so much from her. I took her to Pre-Training (Novice) level in eventing and then with my sister Eva we started Pony Jumping. What a blast!  It’s super competitive and a way to hone your jump skills. It all culminates in Canada at the National Championships at the Royal Winter Fair Horse Show. That’s 16 weekends a year jumping on top of our eventing. That will keep you sharp. And tired too!

Eva’s pony is Ariel and I’m sure she will tell you a bunch about her. We are now sharing and training a third one, Fluff, who is a 5-year-old powerhouse Canadian Sport Pony destined for greatness and a real ball of fire–hence the show name “Fluff on Fire”. Making these ponies and wanting to whoop my sisters’ butt every time out surely has helped.

I started riding Polly (aka Meadowbrooks Pollyanna) in the fall of 2015 at the age of 12. Polly (I call her Nugget) is a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood formerly ridden by another junior rider Gigi Hogan. I started riding Polly in Pre-Training (Novice) and advanced to Training in 2016 where we had a very successful year together placing first overall for the year in the OHTA Jr Training Division in Ontario.

This past winter I turned 14 and had a great opportunity to travel to Florida multiple times on a crazy schedule, sometimes flying and sometimes driving, to train with Holly while Polly got to bask in the sun the entire winter. Go figure. My dad says the horses have a nicer house than us so I guess that’s par for the course.

Nonetheless we successfully campaigned our  first three Preliminary events over the winter which enabled us to enter our first CCI1* at the Ocala International. An unfortunate slip of the reins caused a cross country penalty (that’s on me, not my little Nugget!) but we completed the event and set our sights on the Virginia Horse trials to gain a NAJYR Cqualifying score. Thanks to an introduction by Holly we had an amazingly wonderful experience in Virginia at Sharon White’s Last Frontier Farm and we  finished the Virginia Horse Trials with a top 15 finish and a qualifying score. Mission accomplished! Montana bound.

Competing on a team is new for me and I hope to do my teammates and sponsors proud. This level is a new high for both Polly and I. We’ve really grown together and are looking forward to a great adventure in Montana and are very pleased to be sharing the adventure with you here on Eventing Nation with the support of BR Equestrian. Stay tuned for the play-by-play!