It is absolutely spring here in PA - all the colorful trees and flowers are blooming and it's impossible to look outside and not smile. This is when as a full time event rider and trainer I can say and really mean it "Im living the dream!".
There are definitely plenty of struggles in this industry but luckily, for me at least, the reward of seeing and feeling horses develop and riders become accomplished far out weighs the stresses of running an equestrian program. I'd like to share with all of you a bit about what my program, MKE, has been up to these last few months and some of our goals for the future.
It's no secret that in order for us to keep up with the daily care of the horses being boarded, trained, competed and prepped we need to have very thoughtful, caring and devoted help. This winter we were fortunate enough to come across Amy Hall to help oversee the Principia Stables while the competition set were off to Aiken, SC. Amy kept a full time job and made sure that the horses were safe, had the right food and healthy at night check. Betsy Weaver with the help of Beth and Amy Hall watched over the ponies during the day and got quite a bit of winter clean up done on the farm with help of the ever so fabulous ROB! The start of 2016 also brought us Chelsea Veccharelli, a college graduate business woman who was looking for a few months of proper horse boot camp! Chelsea came with Katie Mays and myself to Aiken and for coming out of the corporate world into our fast paced, barely eat, hardly sleep, work work work work mentality... she did an amazing job. Chelsea is still helping us out at the farm in Kirkwood but will soon be back to the life of the office lady and we'll be on the prowl for another deserving working student... keep your ears and eyes open for us!
My business is in many ways made possible by an amazing group of students. This is one of the pieces that not only provides me a way to make a living but it brings me true happiness. I want to make a shout out to a few students that have had some exciting adventures already in the 4 months of 2016. To start off, Katie Mays, has had a few remarkable and very successful showings with the sales horse, Kynynonts Cassidy at training level in Aiken; she ALSO has begun to start a very promising relationship with the Queen Bee who she is leasing from owner Camilla Grover-Dodge. I love this new partnership as they both have much to gain from one another and its tremendous to partake in this process. Chelsea Veccharelli came to Aiken with us on a very green mount named PZ. I would say in honesty that the both were pretty green and both have talent and plenty of girl sass :) Chelsea has been 100% committed to getting this training and eventing thing figured out and after our xc schooling at Fair Hill yesterday it's confirmed that all of her hard work the last few months has paid off in a huge way. I hope Chelsea continues with her path and enjoys the fruits of her labour! Dr. Steve Berkowitz had sold his mount, Zoomalong, at the end of 2015 and begun leasing the one and only fabulous REMINGTON. Not too long after MKE had a perfect tall, bay, plain, gelding in to sell... it was a match made in heaven and fit all of Dr. Steve's life long horse wishes. SO the full time vet, photographer, baker and grass cutter now has TWO horses to ride. We even got him out of Chester County to come and visit Aiken. The man is showing great dedication and his horses love him... I'm so proud! Vanessa Stolzfus is one that definitely has earned an award of sorts for sticking out a tough learning curve when she started the ride on Teddy Sarco. Vanessa had to go from riding like a little girl to becoming committed; mentally and physically. Teddy is an amazing horse and from putting in lots of patience, time and effort Vanessa now is enjoying the thrill of riding this very valid young event horse. One of our newest additions to our team, Elle, has sent her new OTTB, Wimpy, over to get a jump start on his new career. We are all really excited to have Wimpy and Elle on the team! Now back home in PA I am thrilled to get back together with many other of my students; the ones that ride with me regularly or come for visits...
Principia Stables is the facility that I've dreamed of training out of since I was a little girl. This facility was a dressage and sales barn before the Hulmes purchased it so we have been slowly but surely changing it over into an eventing training site. MUCH of the thanks is really owed to Steve Parisan for being our right hand man and taking good care of us. Principia now has an "in house" trail loop around the new back pastures and we are up to having 4 creek crossings which is just a great way to train event horses! Our outdoor jump ring got a big improvement last year from Ringmasters and our big grass jump field now has a 3 sided corner and a fabulous narrow wedge jump all built by Eric Bull - thanks to Bryce Kinnamon, Besty and Robyn Weaver and Steve Berkowitz. Our facility is now neighbored by a huge parcel of land owned by Ron and Densey Juvonen that is going to become absolutely prime for hill trots and canters as we develop the paths. Our stables may not be brand new but we have character in the farm and surrounding community that keeps everything fresh and full of vibrance.
The horse string. We have sales horses, competition horses and those horses that are truly family. Very important horses to our group are Havarah's Charly and Riven. Charly, has recently won the heart of Maria Lewis - this brings tears of happiness to my eyes as they are both incredibly special. Riven has continued his perfect partnership with Betsy Weaver, in much thanks to his breeder and owner, Pamela Benfield. Both horses were born in '98 and if they were humans all the ladies would be fighting over them for their hand in marriage. So not sure who's luckier - Charly, Riven, Betsy or Maria... I'm going to say me since I get to hang out with all of them! The sales horsesKynynmonts Cassidy, Kynynmont's Rio, Pepper and Bristol Indian are all in top notch form- its very exciting having the range of equine athletes that we do and I love helping match them up with their people. My competition rides these days are super exciting. Puttin on the Ritz has been mainly spending the year developing and conditioning as we decide whats best for his next step- as always having the Klavans as owners has been amazing, they are always there to put the horses happiness first and foremost. Masterel had taken much of 2015 off from an injury and is now back and showing more athletic promise than ever; his co-owner Denis Glaccum and myself know that we have an amazing horse on our hands, and we're doing our best to guide his fancy french prince self in the right direction! MK'S Concord Dawn has really stepped up as a top horse of mine; having finished 2015 as the TB horse of the year in the Plantation series we stepped in 2016 excited to see how the next step would be. "Mason" just finished his first Preliminary event in very fine form - I can't thank my husband enough for helping me acquire this horse and being so supportive of the process. Last but certainly not least, DZL Syndicate's, THE DIESEL BOY, has developed into a total champion. Our last event out was Fair Hill at the Intermediate level of which he only added a few time penalties onto his dressage score to secure the win. The horse is very exciting in so many ways. I am thrilled about how he has improved in every way and how well our partnership is going. I'm excited to join together a group of people to partake in this with me as the path to competing at the highest of levels and one day representing the US is quite the journey; this is a horse I'd like to challenge the road with!
MK Equestrian, my business, is about to launch something very very exciting. A brand new website! This has been a project that we have been piecing together over the winter and with much thanks to Lisa Thomas and also the help of Chelsea Veccharelli I will now be able to host an up-dated, functioning on all platforms and informative website! I hope that through this web site our friends near and far as well as new and old will be able to understand what MKE is all about and partake in our endeavors on and off the farm. It is so important to me to take each horse and each rider as individuals and work with them as such - it will be exciting to share with you a bit more about each of our individuals here at MKE.
Stay tuned for the soon to be released new and improved website!