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.
By this time I am sure that you have received the news that the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC) has been canceled. I sincerely apologize for the difficulty this has caused everyone involved. I want to commend the USEA Board of Governors for making an extremely hard decision.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
The Whidbey Island Horse Trials take place in Oak Harbor, Washington (Area VII) in early July of each year and offer Beginner Novice through Advanced/Intermediate horse trials. The Whidbey Island Horse Trials lost their venue in 2019 but are working on finalizing a new venue for 2021.
This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).