As they hiked through the Galway Irish countryside, Shelley Bridges and John Whelpley soon found themselves amid a herd of curious Irish Draught mares grazing calmly around them. Bridges, an endurance rider extraordinaire with a well-known, educated eye for all things horse, noticed one of the mares in particular and said, “What about that one?” and our unlikely story began.
Kimberly Crane never expected she’d find her next eventing partner eight years ago after her farrier Matt Davis offered to let her sit on a Princess Buttercup, a 15.2-hand Gypsy Vanner-Clydesdale cross he’d gotten from a rescue for his wife.
It had been decades since Barb Nikolajczyk had sat on a horse due to family and career aspirations, but 16 years ago, a stop at her cousin Sharon Church’s farm in Culpeper, Virginia, on the way to the Outer Banks for vacation led to a renewed interest in her passion. Nikolajczyk didn’t have much time to pursue hobbies as she and her husband raised their two sons and while she worked towards a PhD and post doctorate work in the field of diabetes research in the suburbs of Boston, but that first trip to Virginia stuck with her.
After years spent as a professional rider working with young and difficult horses, Jayne Lloyd knew what kind of sport horses she wanted to produce when she got into breeding 12 years ago—competitive, rideable, and trainable that would be suitable for amateurs.
When Mia Valdez first met Perfect Storm, he was meant to be a lesson horse at her barn, but “Tempe” didn’t take to the lesson horse life, and after a few rides together, Valdez knew he was meant to be hers.
The pair have been together for four years and made their Preliminary debut this year, but when Valdez first got Tempe, neither had any eventing experience.
When Jeannette Lussi took a break from horses for more than 30 years to raise a family and pursue other athletic interests, she never expected that when she returned in her 50s she’d be eventing.
Lussi, now 60, rode when she was growing up in Washington D.C., but never had formal lessons, and mostly just foxhunted with her family. Her father, Malcom Matheson, was MFH of Orange County Hounds in Virginia.
My daughter, Scarlett Peinado, has always loved horses. As a young child, she was drawn to them, and mesmerized by them. Growing up Frisco, Texas, horses were common to see, but not everyone in Texas actually owns a horse, as many people believe. They were a thing of wonder and interest to Scarlett.
Kyla Tovar said the moment made her “burst into tears.” She had just finished second in the Training Three-Day with Kilcoltrim Jacko and second in the Novice Three-Day with Shannondale Jordi in the USEA Classic Series competition at the 2023 IEA H.T. in Edinburgh, Indiana. However, it wasn’t about the placings with two horses in the long-format—although an impressive accomplishment in its own right. Tovar had just heard her number announced as the recipient of the show’s Willpower Award bestowed upon the fittest adult amateur rider.
The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. Wieschhoff brings perspective as a five-star rider that has competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and Burghley Horse Trials, a USEF “R” Course Designer for eventing cross-country and show jumping, a former Area VIII chair and member of the USEA Board of Governors, and a Level V USEA ECP Certified Coach based out of Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.
Olympic medalist and steeplechase jockey Kevin Freeman said he had the best of both worlds he occupied simultaneously in the 1960s and ‘70s, explaining that his heart belonged at once to both eventing and jump racing.
“But I loved steeplechase best of all.”
Freeman said that, at surface level, the two bear little resemblance. But dig a little deeper, and there’s a lot the same, with plenty of cross-pollination between the two.