Eventers are skilled, passionate, gritty, and inspirational. In the age of social media, the stories behind why we ride and compete often get lost. Everyone rides for different reasons and everyone has different stories to tell, varying inspirations, and amazing journeys. No two stories are alike, and no two inspirations are the same.
Sue Funkey of Angels Camp, California, is the epitome of what it means to be a volunteer. She is dedicated, constantly gives back to the sport, and shows up time and time again no matter the conditions to help. We are proud and honored to feature her as this month’s Volunteer of the Month as we highlight all the many ways she contributes to the sport.
This month’s Volunteer of the Month, Mary Quarles, found eventing along with many other Americans at the 1996 Athens Olympics. While she had been involved in horses for quite some time, it was the taste of volunteering and the taste of the sport that she got in Atlanta that paved the way for Quarles and her involvement in the sport today.
When Chris Quinn was 13 years old, she told her parents she wanted riding lessons at a barn in a nearby town. Horses were unknown to her family as no one else in her family had anything to do with them, but with her persistence, they agreed to pay for them. There was, however, a catch.
Horses have always been in Scarlett Schall’s blood. Her mom and dad ran a world-renowned Quarter Horse breeding program in southern Maryland and Schall was on a horse before she could walk. Growing up, she was immersed in all disciplines as her parents bred the horses that she and her siblings would ride.
Morgan Boyer has a knack for picking out off-the-track Thoroughbreds that excel in their new careers. She has another star in her barn in the form of Tate, better known by his Jockey Club name Bestavailable. Tate is a 9-year-old 15.2 hand gelding and also happens to be a graduate of this year’s RRP Thoroughbred Makeover.
December’s Volunteer of the Month, Leah Fleming, did not grow up around horses. Nor did she ride or even know what the sport of eventing was prior to her 12-year-old niece, Ashlee, coming to live with her. It was when Ashlee’s friend’s younger sister began riding at a local barn that her mom thought Ashlee might like to come out one day to see what it was like.
Oftentimes off-the-track Thoroughbreds come from impressive pedigrees. However, even if bred and trained by the best, every Thoroughbred isn’t always suited for racing. This month’s nominee is no different. Pedregal was born on April 7, 2013 in Kentucky at WinStar Farm.
It was only recently that John Bandrofchak became involved in the eventing community - seven years, in fact. It all began when he decided he wanted to begin working with animals. After finding his way to a local equine therapy farm, his passion for horses and volunteering grew.
In honor of this past weekend’s USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Championships, we are excited to feature an off-the-track Thoroughbred who has successfully made his way through the YEH Program in this month’s OTTB Critique column. The Young Event Horse Championship is one of the most competitive classes of the year for 4- and 5-year-olds and if you have a horse that not only qualifies but also competes and holds its own, you know you have a horse for the future.
Angie Leihy rode horses a bit as a child in Ohio and moved to Maryland in 1986, but it wasn’t until after 2003 that her passion for horses really grew. She took riding lessons at Willowbend Farm (WB) in Upper Marlboro as her young daughter rode there for years on their equitation team in the NCEL.