To every little girl who wants to jump high and go fast, learn from the Fulton sisters, who have turned their childhood dreams into reality. Now both Advanced level riders, the early stages of their eventing careers started with competing in the Hylofit USEA Classic Series. Growing up at their family-owned farm, Full Moon Farm, in Finksburg, Maryland, the sisters' first taste of the long format was in their backyard at Full Moon Farm’s "Quarter Star" Three-Day Event. From there they went on to compete numerous years at the Hylofit USEA Classic Series Three-Day Event at the Waredaca Horse Trials.
Every year as leaves start to change colors, the temperatures start to drop, and horses are ready for the fall CCIs, Waredaca hosts a Hylofit USEA Classic Three-Day Event that offers a Preliminary Three-Day (P3D), Training Three-Day (T3D), and Novice Three-Day (N3D). Whether it’s educational information or an engraved leather halter, everyone walks away from the weekend with something. Grace and Savannah (aka Woodge) Fulton have both walked away with exactly that – prizes, education, and the drive to succeed.
Grace, the younger of the two sisters, was the winner of the Waredaca Training Three-Day in 2012 aboard the Thoroughbred gelding bred by Denis Glaccum, Leo the Lion Hearted. “The 2012 Training Three-Day was the first event I had really set as a goal for the end of my season and worked towards throughout the year. I had moved up to Training level that spring and to win that year was a very exciting way for me to see how working consistently throughout a season can lead to a great end of the year,” said Grace.
The following year, Grace took her current upper level mount, an Irish Sport Horse mare bred and owned by Sharon White, Wild Orange (Wilson Adonis x Wild Rose), to the 2013 Waredaca Training Three-Day. “My experience the following year was also very special as I competed with my horse Wild Orange. Since the Three-Day, we have gone on to move up the levels and I believe that our start there gave us a better preparation for our future together.” Only four years later, Grace and Wild Orange would complete their first three-star together at the 2018 Plantation Field International.
Now an accomplished upper level event rider, Grace plans to return to the place that helped start it all. “I continue to look forward to this event at the end of my year as a place for young horses to grow their confidence. I have learned so much from my experiences in Classic Series events! I participated in my first classic series event when I was 10 [years old] and I was able to begin understanding the importance of timing and fitness.”
“I hope to keep the long format events on my calendar in the future because they have been so helpful in the past,” reflected Grace.
“Envious” is how Savannah, the older sister by three years, described her relationship with Grace. “She’s amazing and my parents did a great job of making us become best friends instead of being competitive towards one another. I wish everyone can have the relationship that we have. Having someone that’s seen me fall off, get eliminated, be last in dressage, and also being there for me at the finish line of Burghley – it’s nice knowing that someone’s been there supporting you through all of it.”
Finding grit, determination, and the will to never give up, Savannah had a different experience than her younger sister at the Waredaca Training Three-Day. “One year I did it, I fell off and hurt my shoulder. The next year, I ended up getting eliminated on the steeplechase because I was going so fast and instead of going twice around the steeplechase track I went three times. But I had the time of my life. They let me keep going and I got to show jump the next day.”
Savannah, who now has competed in 50 FEI competitions, describes the Training Three-Day as “a great introduction for FEI events. Waredaca provides a learning approach and you feel like they all want you to finish.”
For over 13 years Waredaca has held their Classic Series Three-Day Event, helping riders like the Fulton sisters ease into competing at an international level. “The Training Three-Day makes you work backwards from the event in terms of competitions and fitness. You have to be familiar with trot sets, canter sets, and that [knowledge on conditioning] helps you in the future for CCIs or NAYC,” said Savannah.
“It’s all the same really,” when comparing a Training Three-Day to the Kentucky Three-Day Event or Burghley Horse Trials. “When I did the Training Three-Day, at the time that was the biggest mountain I had to climb. Every time you put yourself in a high-pressure situation, it helps in the long run because you have the [prior] experience of performing in similar situations.” Learning how to perform under pressure and experiencing the ups and downs of eventing at an early age is how Savannah has grown from a Training Three-Day young rider to a successful international five-star rider.
Follow Savannah and her journey to Europe in Eventing USA magazine as she is the 2019 Year in the Life Columnist. Follow Grace stateside where she will be competing at horse trials, FEI competitions, classic three-day events, and representing USC Aiken in intercollegiate eventing.
About the Hylofit USEA Classic Series
The Hylofit USEA Classic Series keeps the spirit of the classic long format three-day events alive for Beginner Novice through the Preliminary levels. Competitors can experience the rush of endurance day, including roads and tracks, steeplechase, the vet box, and cross-country, as well as participate in formal veterinary inspections and educational activities with experts on the ins and outs of competing in a long format three-day event. Riders who compete in a Hylofit USEA Classic Series event during the year will have the chance to win a variety of prizes at the events from USEA sponsors. Click here to learn more about the Hylofit USEA Classic Series.
Now available to purchase, the Hylofit system hit the marketplace in 2018. The Hylofit system is the only equine wearable to offer in-ride feedback for horse and rider. Hylofit’s state-of-the-art product is designed to maximize communication between horse and rider, improve training results, and promote the overall health and well-being of the horse. Hylofit unique features include real-time feedback, post-ride insights, rider insights, overall well-being of the horse and rider, zone training, sharing features, video features, weather impact features, and more. The Hylofit system that tracks both horse and rider’s heart rate is comprised of four hardware components, an app for iOS or Android, and an optional app for the iWatch.
Hylofit is generously providing a 10 percent discount for Hylofit products to all USEA Classic Series competitors! Hylofit will also provide 11 Hylofit systems to the high scorers of each USEA Classic Series event at the 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.
Interested in tapping into the audience of three-day eventing? Consider partnering with the United States Eventing Association (USEA) in 2022! The USEA is a non-profit 501 C (3), which serves as the national association for the Olympic equestrian sport of three-day eventing.
Whether you are a rider preparing for a move-up or a trainer looking to ensure your training program is well-rounded, the soon-to-be released USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is the go-to guide to assist you in navigating key decisions. Lucky enough, attendees of the 2022 USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Symposium at Barnstaple South Farm in Ocala, Florida on February 8-9 will be the first people outside of the those involved in its creation to access this passion project that the ICP Committee has put two years of research and hard work into developing.
In 2021 Cynthia Smith recorded 536 hours and 59 minutes of volunteer time, setting the standard with the most amount of volunteer hours recorded in a single year since the creation of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program in 2016. The record-breaking number of volunteer time earned Smith the 2021 USEA Volunteer of the Year title.
Tamie Smith’s year has been nothing short of action-packed as she packed up all 25 of her competition horses and made her way to the East Coast for the first part of the year before hopping on a jet to Tokyo where she served as the U.S. team reserve for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She then stayed overseas and competed abroad for a little while before returning home to the West Coast. While this year has been full of opportunities to show, her aspirations are bigger than just competition. The 2021 Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year has been full steam ahead chasing goals in both her riding career as well as in her impact on the sport’s future.