Christine Turner first laid eyes on Tsetserleg, or “Thomas” as he is known in the barn, at a Trakehner inspection being held at Dr. Timothy Holekamp’s New Spring Farm. Thomas wasn’t being inspected that day, but he caught Turner’s eye. The now 12-year-old Trakehner gelding was bred by Holekamp and is sired by the well-known eventing stallion Windfall.
Michael Pollard produced Thomas up to the two-star (now three-star) level before passing the reins to Boyd Martin at the end of the 2015 season. Martin and Thomas spent the 2016 season competing at the Intermediate/two-star level, finishing second in the CCI2* at Bromont, fourth in the CIC2* at Plantation Field, and third in the Intermediate Championship at the AEC along the way.
In October of 2016, Martin and Thomas competed at the Advanced level for the first time, placing seventh at Stable View. Their first three-star attempt the following spring did not go to plan, as Martin and Thomas parted company late on the course at Red Hills. They didn’t let it faze them, as they came back the next month and took second place in the Advanced at The Fork.
The upswing continued for the remainder of the 2017 season, with Martin and Thomas picking up second in the CIC3* at Jersey Fresh, seventh in the CCI3* at Bromont, sixth in the CIC3* at Richland Park, and finishing out the year by taking third place and the USEF CCI3* National Reserve Champion title in the Fair Hill International CCI3*.
Thomas made his four-star debut in 2018, finishing 11th at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event with only two time penalties and a single rail added to his dressage score. Later that summer, Martin and Thomas were named to the U.S. Team for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games. Unfortunately, an uncharacteristic bobble in the water at WEG kept Martin from the placing he was hoping for Thomas and the U.S. Team.
Thomas and Martin came out swinging in 2019 with two confidence-building runs at the Intermediate level at Pine Top, both of which the pair finished in second place. Then they returned to the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, this time finishing in second place and being named the USEF CCI5*-L National Champion. Following their performance at Kentucky, they were named to the 2019 U.S. Pan American Games squad.
“Last year he felt like a young horse still and this year he’s just a real seasoned veteran,” Martin said. “He’s a little bit quirky when you’re riding him, like in the dressage ring I have to ride him really early in the morning because if there’s three or four horses in the ring, he doesn’t like horses coming at him. In the warmup for the show jumping he doesn’t like people standing next to the standards. He’s quite easily distracted, but the good thing about competition is that you’re out there by yourself.”
“To be around him as a horse, he’s the sweetest, kindest [horse],” Martin continued. “He’s like a big pony. When my kids come up from the house to give carrots to the horses, he’s the friendliest one there and lets you in his stall, the kids climb all over his legs, and he’s a quiet smudgy horse like that.”
“The system we use with our training is that the assistant riders do a lot of the hacking on the horses before I ride, and all the girls fight over who gets to hack Thomas before I ride him because he’s a pleasure horse. He’s one of the only horses allowed to munch on a bit of grass as he’s going for his morning walk.”
“He looks a million dollars and is in good condition,” Martin concluded. “I think the training and preparation are going well so it all comes down to making sure we get him [to the Pan Am Games] safe and sound.”
A relentless rain didn’t put a damper on the first horse inspection at the 2019 Dutta Corp Fair Hill International Three-Day Event in Elkton, Md. The CCI3*-L presented first in front of the ground jury of Helen Brettell (GBR) and Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride (USA) and all 62 horses were accepted to start the competition. C Me Fly ridden by Colleen Rutledge and Jos UFO De Quidam ridden by Heather Jane Morris were both sent to the hold, but were accepted upon reinspection. Lasse 73 ridden by Jennifer Salinger was asked to jog twice, but was accepted after the second pass down the lane.
The USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East and West Coast Championships will take place this weekend on opposite sides of the country. On Thursday and Friday, October 17 and 18, the East Coast Championships will take place at Fair Hill International in Elkton, Maryland. Then on Sunday, October 20, the West Coast Championships will run at the Fresno County Horse Park (FCHP) in Fresno, California.
Rutledge Farm is thrilled to welcome back two-time Olympic gold medalist Phillip Dutton to host his second eventing clinic as a part of the Rutledge Farm Sessions clinic series. Since 2017, Rutledge Farm has been dedicated to bringing premier educational opportunities to Middleburg, Virginia to support the development of the sport at all levels and for multiple disciplines, including eventing, show jumping, dressage, and equitation.
Experience the 2019 USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Championships through the judge's eyes! The USEA will be hosting YEH judging seminars during the 2019 USEA YEH Championships. The seminars will be led by the world-renowned judge and co-chair of the YEH Committee Marilyn Payne. All interested parties are welcome to attend.