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Maryland starter trials

I’m very happy and excited to report on a successful Sunday at the Loch Moy Starter Trials!
Wind in the Willows contested her first ever horse trials, and finished on her dressage score of 31.5 I can’t wait to show her again.
Cricket Song and Harbour the Truth made the move up to Novice level, and both had a good day, with a few baby moments keeping them out of the ribbons in spite of wonderful clear cross country rounds.

Seahawk had a lot to prove to me today. He has been great in the dressage and showjumping all year, and we have been schooling at Training level for about 6 weeks now, but his cross country game has been inconsistent. He had a stop at the ditch at the novice Championships, and without it he would have finished 3rd or 4th so it has been game on with the cross country schooling since then!! We have jumped the ditch in the woods at Sunset Hill about 25 times, as well as a solid schooling session at Loch Moy last Wednesday. I’m so glad that he jumped around clear and brave on Sunday! He won the Novice on a 21 with clear jumping phases. Moral of the story… Cross country school the week of a competition if you have a spooky baby!!

True Bellamy made the big move up to Training level, and was a very good boy. He scored 34, which was about right for the test, but the test was a long way from the quality that he can do at home. I’m looking forward to getting it all polished up and ready to rock, because his quality of movement is good enough for the mid 20s when he is relaxed!! He was brilliant in both jumping phases and moved up to take the win at his first Training. I’m so proud of this horse for going from racing to winning at Training in less than 11 months! He will do the training level at Waredaca and then have a month of vacation time.

All in all I am so grateful to have such strong support from my owners, Jim and Susan Hill, Lesley Arnold, and Chuck Akre. And of course my parents for their support of Seahawk. The quality of horses that I have to ride is fantastic, and it is thanks to these people!

Also a huge thank you to all of my sponsors. The horses are well fed and strong thanks to Nutrena, safe, comfortable and well turned out in their EcoGold boots and pads, and healthy in their bodies and minds thanks to Omega Alpha Equine.

Also thanks to Asmar Equestrian, HitAir, Rebound Hoof Pack, County Saddles and Five Star Tack!!

Harbour the Truth, Cricket Song and Wind in the Willows are being offered for sale, so keep them in mind as you shop for your next partner.

A good time to see them may be at Sunset Hill Farm open day in Saturday November 10. Come tour the farm, see the sales horses, take a half price lesson, or bring your horse for sale for a free assessment! Contact me for more information on the open day.

Thanks for taking am interest in all things at SRB Equestrian Sports!!

Fall season update

It’s that time of year again!! I’m always amazed at how fast the time goes by. This fall has been a great time so far, introducing 3 youngsters to the world of eventing, and continuing the progress of a handful of others. True Bellamy will be contesting a couple of Training levels later on this fall, and Harbour the Truth is entered at Novice. My baby Seahawk is still a little green cross country, but the other 2 phases are so solid. We will have fun going schooling every single week for the next month until his vacation!!

Cricket Song and Wind in the Willows have both won good ribbons at their outings recently, Willow won her derby class at Seneca and Cricket was 4th in the unrecognized beginner novice horse trials!! These girls are so much fun and I encourage anyone looking for a fun young horse to come take a look.

I have had some great runs on William Don’t Tell at the Preliminary level, which not only thrills he and his owner, but allows me to practice skills and techniques that I hope to be using for many more years!! The championship course on Sunday at Morven was definitely the biggest challenge we have faced as a team, and thanks to some advice from my super coach David O’Connor I was able to head out and give Will a ride we both felt confident about.

I am very fortunate to be doing what I’m doing, and I am excited about the next few weeks until the end of the season!!

Kate Chadderton and I are planning an open day here at Sunset Hill Farm, so stay tuned for more info oh how you can come take a tour of the farm, sign up for half price lessons, and check out some very high quality sales horses all in one fun filled day!!

Also, check out the Loch Moy farm website to learn more about next week’s Pro Week on the competition course. I am teaching on Wednesday the 17th and am available until dark to accommodate work day and school day schedules. Call me at 5714203351 with any questions!


Settling in!

Well today marks 2 weeks that I have been at Sunset Hill Farm in Woodbine, MD. I have to say I am loving it so far!! The facilities are top notch, the horses are all relaxed and happy, and the people are incredibly helpful and hospitable.

Like any new adventure, there have been a few bumps in the road (and there will be more) but overall I’m super excited about this move, and I’m looking forward to the new opportunities.

The weekend before the move I had Virginia Coulter’s William Don’t Tell and Chuck Akre’s True Bellamy at the Loudoun Valley Pony Club Horse Trials. Will was fantastic again in the dressage, and super fun and lightning fast across country. The only thing that stopped us from maintaining our lead was 2 pesky rails in the showjumping. We went up to High Acre last week for a jump lesson with David O’Connor (I love taking lessons!!!) and I think we have straightened a few things out!! Onward and upward towards the area 2 championships at Morven in 2 weeks.

Trubie was a very good boy as well. I was pleased with his steady and obedient test, which was good enough for 4th. I was seriously impressed by the way he handled the tough, hilly showjump track. Very VERY fun clear round there, and just 0.4 time penalties cross country in a bit of a rainstorm earned him yet another Novice ribbon, as he moved up to 3rd. I don’t think he has finished without a ribbon since he started doing recognized shows!!

Will and Trubie’s barn mates have been working hard as well. Cricket’s Song and Harbour the Truth will be doing their first schooling horse trials this Sunday at Seneca! The new girl, Wind in the Willows (a 4 year old Irish sport horse owned by Lesley Arnold of Huntly, VA) has had a few great sessions at home and will most likely go to the Maryland starter trials mid October. I will be posting more info on these 3 soon!! They are all really fun and athletic, and looking for new homes this fall.

Ollie is enjoying being back in some work, he likes his new place mostly because there is a lot of grass here. He really is looking very good, so we’ll just keep on keepin on until it’s time to make a plan!

Also, I am on the hunt for a working student!! It’s the usual job description; barn help, grooming and general chores in exchange for housing, lessons, and some opportunity to ride my horses (d.o.e) spread the word!!

As always, stay tuned for more info. Check the updated results and schedules pages! And if you are in the central Maryland area, feel free to give me a call about lessons and training!!

571 420 3351


How did this happen??!

It’s almost the end of summer! Back to school ads are all over the radio and the tv, the mornings are noticeably cooler, and I am doing entries for September HT’s… I can’t believe how each month seems to go by quicker than the last. I also can’t believe how fast my barn full o’ babies is growing up!!

Since my last update, I have competed a few times, with consistent great goes on True Bellamy, a cross country blooper marring an otherwise fantastic time with Seahawk, and a couple of great field trips with Cricket’s Song and Harbour the Truth.
True Bellamy was 2nd at MD 2, 1st at Morningside, and 2nd again at Waredaca… He is a very professional young athlete and i am so grateful to Chuck Akre for taking this horse and I on.
Seahawk has continued to be incredibly reliable in the dressage and showjumping, and is gradually becoming more familiar with the cross country aspect of life (as I get more familiar with his particular attention deficit). I am hopeful that my giant baby will learn to look for the flags and gallop on!
Cricket and “Harvey” both completed their first beginner novice combined test, and have gone cross country schooling as well! Cricket also won ribbons in some hunter classes at the American Connemara Pony Society’s show at Glenwood Park here in Middleburg.

All in all a great time was had by all the 4 year olds. It’s fun to have such a talented group to play with, and I’m so grateful to these horses owners for the chance to work with their youngsters!!

I also have to say a huge thanks to the organizers of Maryland HT, Waredaca, Morningside, and the Connemara Society for putting on such good events this summer.

The not so young-sters in my barn are doing well this summer too- William Don’t Tell had a fun time at MD1, a brilliant dressage followed by a swing and a miss in the showjumping at MD2, a nice little weeklong vacay. He then showed up at the Morningside combined test completely reenergized!!

I believe he scored a 29 in the dressage that day, and had two showjump rounds with a minor tap bringing down 1 rail in each. He maintained this energy all the way to the finish line at the Waredaca HT yesterday and laid down a performance that was good enough for the win. Will’s owner and I work hard to keep this horse on his A game, and although being fit and well fed has earned him the nickname of Wild Will ( the only polite one of his nicknames) we will happily take what he gives us in the ring when he feels good!

Ollie has received a big thumbs up from our vet, Christiana Ober (who is getting MARRIED -must sing this word with a big smile- very sooooon!!) he will spend the next 3-4 months slowly building up to full work and then and only then will I plan our next move. The waiting to plan is going to be the hardest part of this for me!! But that’s the way it goes..

And now… For something completely different!

I’m very pleased and excited to announce that in 2 weeks time I will be setting up shop at Sunset Hill Stables at McCuan Farms in Woodbine, Maryland. This is a great opportunity for me to ride and teach at a beautiful facility.. There is plenty of room to take horses in for competition, training and sale, and also anyone in the area is welcome to call for lessons!! Can’t wait to get started!! Big thank you to the McCuan’s and Kate Chadderton, who has and will continue to run her operation at Sunset Hill, for this great opportunity.

Stay tuned!!!

Check it out..


Hello from hot and sticky Middleburg, VA! It’s summer again!

In spite of the heat and resulting thunderstorms, the horses and I are having a great start to the summer. The big news, of course, being True Bellamy’s new owner Chuck Akre. I have ridden for Mr Akre in the past, and when he heard about the talented youngster I had in the barn, he was excited about becoming part of the team again. Im so grateful to have people who believe in me as a rider and are willing and able to own these lovely horses for me! Thank you!!

On that same note, I am thrilled to welcome Nutrena Feeds on board. I am so lucky to be supported by a product that I believe in, and since Nutrena kept Ollie going from his bronze medal at the NAYRC, to his Best Conditioned Award and 5th place at Kentucky, and his 9th individual and team silver performance at WEG, the results speak for themselves. The babies love it, and my thoroughbreds have shown such an improvement in their condition since my consult with the local representative. Welcome to the team, and thank you!

True Bellamy and Seahawk have been working hard at home and at schooling shows in prep for the big move up to Novice, and both were very successful at Surefire farm HT June 24. I love this event because it is 35 minutes from my barn, and the cross country is always a good test. I was so glad to have mom in town to see the boys do so well! Both of them showed off their stuff on the flat and scored well, and they were both point and shoot cross country! I have a little fine tuning to do in the showjumping, but with one rail each they finished 2nd and 7th. Both are going to MD2 next week, and then up to Millbrook in New York to participate in the Career 2 circuit for off the track thoroughbreds. If they can qualify for the AEC, we will go! If not, we will make a new ‘plan’.

William did his first prelim of the year yesterday, and I can’t believe how good he feels compared to last fall. As always it’s a fine balance for him between hot and flashy, focused and dull, so we are doing an ongoing experiment with different approaches to his pre show workouts and varying the amount of Chill we pour into him. But I guess dressage is always a work in progress, and his jumping is so much more powerful than before. We are on the right track! He will do MD2 and Waredaca in prep for the American Eventing Championships in September at Chatt Hills.

Babies Cricket and Harvey are getting better all the time, Crick is showing in some half Connemara classes at the Warrenton pony show, and Harvey will make his BN debut at Waredaca.

The big man has gained some weight and settled into his vacay. We have had a couple of quick checkups with Dr Ober, and I am very much looking forward to finishing up the R&R phase and starting back up with his work in a couple of months. I often look back on all of the things that we have done in the last few years, and I find that rehashing all the experiences, both “good” and “bad” helps keep my head in the game. Remembering my best dressage tests, the way he felt this past February and March, the way we worked together on cross country at WEG remind me that its in there for us. Going over the rougher moments in the leas up to Badminton remind me that sometimes shit happens, and you dont always have to keep pushing through it. And the long months of rehab help me to remember that nothing should be taken for granted! Hopefully this mental practice will help me in the winter when I’m getting ready to tackle the big K.. Let’s hope! But until then his job is to rest, mine is to practice and to bring along my next generation!

Thanks for reading, look for updates!

Spring Season Update!

Well folks, I guess the spring season is almost a wrap. We are officially moved back to our summer base in Middleburg, VA. This year, “home” is Fox Chase Farm, and I am so lucky to have such a wonderful facility to work out of. So far everyone I have met is very welcoming, and we fit in well! I thought it was mostly a hunter barn, but it turns out us eventers are making quite a foothold here at Fox Chase. Myself, Lisa Barry, and Tiffany Catledge all train out of this facility and its a really fun and friendly dynamic here at the farm.

Part of the reason everything is so “fun and friendly” is that I’ve had a bit of a change of gears here in the last couple of weeks. After a few months of high pressure training and stressing about tight schedules, Ollie has made it very clear that I was asking for too much too soon. He has done a fantastic job of healing up the suspensory injury he sustained last fall, and asks that I please not rush him into the game just yet. His dressage has been amazing, and his fitness was really at an all-time high (for what we were doing) thanks to all the walking and steady build up. Its just a little too soon for all the jumping and galloping that needs to happen in order to prepare and get selected for the Olympics. Unfortunately for me and my hopes and dreams, the International Olympic Committee declined my petition to delay the Games by a couple of months to wait for Ollie and I….. so we have had to withdraw from selection!! I have to admit, I was devastated at first. He was feeling so great and I wanted this so bad I could taste it, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that if I give him this time now, his chances of coming back were huge. This was the best, which is therefore the only, choice for my wonderful partner. Stay tuned for updates on our progres. We have not yet picked a new target to set our sights on, but when we do we will have the advantage of knowing that he is fully recovered and ready to handle the pressure of a rigorous training program.

Other than that little bit of current events, things are pretty good. Vienna kicked some serious butt at her last Preliminary competition, blowing her last dressage score out of the water to achieve a new personal best of a 30 in the dressage, she rocked around the jumping phases to add only xc time to her score. Considering the tough, technical course set on the most severe terrain she has encountered, I wasn’t just proud I was impressed. She finished 4th, and we were a very happy pair on Sunday afternoon.

The weekend before, Trubie and Mo (True Bellamy and Seahawk) dominated the Beginner Novice at Rocking Horse Spring HT. The two of them are so hilarious, I love baby horses. Mo and all his big flashy movement, and Trubie sneaking in behind him with his less expressive, but extremely correct gaits to actually score almost 2 points better in his test!! Big Mo better watch out…. they were both foot perfect in the twisty, spooky show jumping, and went out and did their very best cross country. I was so proud of them both for jumping the ditch like it was an every day occurance, and trotting on in to the water like big kids. The coops and logs and benches are much too small for my kids, but they had fun. Trubie ended up coming home with the win, and Mosby was a close 2nd place. I am so lucky to have both of these horses, and I am at home practicing like crazy for their first novice, which has not been planned yet.

Currently, a big priority is to get some clinics organized for the upcoming months! Look for updates to the schedule, and also feel free to call 571 420 3351 or email if you are interested in hosting a clinic!


As always, Stay tuned. Thanks for Reading.

5 Years!

This week is kind of a big week for me. This week Port Authority is participating in all 3 days of the Canadian Team training sessions at Meredyth South, with a Jacqueline Brooks dressage lesson today, and a DOC jump lesson tomorrow, finished with a DOC dressage lesson on Wednesday. It feels like progress to me!! Im so excited to have him back at this point. The next few weeks before his first run of the season are going to fly…

This week I can officially say that Seahawk and True Bellamy are event horses!! These two 4 year old off the tracks have had different paths to get to this point, but they were both super over the weekend at Rocking Horse HT, finishing 2n and 3rd respectively in the Open Beginner Novice.

This week, I can say with conviction that Vienna and I are going to have a great partnership. She was way more relaxed and rideable in the dressage, and She didn’t have a single green moment cross country on Saturday. We held our own over a very difficult showjumping course as well, and finished 6th in our 3rd preliminary!!

This week also marks the 5 year anniversary of my arrival in the USA. So much has happened in the last 5 years, and looking back, the only thing I wish I could have done differently is moved here sooner!!! As an 18 year old kid with a prelim horse, my goal was to represent BC and Canada at the 2* at NAYRC before I aged out of the program. After that, I was going to sell the horse, move home and go to Nursing School at the University of British Columbia…. It seemed like a reasonable plan. Never had I ever thought that competing at the advanced level would be a possibility, and representing my country at something bigger than NAYRC seemed like an impossibly lofty goal. Now, I’m so happy that David O’Connor and Rebecca Howard helped me change my mind on that one!!

Looking back over the last 5 years, I am so incredibly grateful to all the wonderful people who have taught me, on and off horses, supported my ever changing life plan, and been there through the highs and lows of it all. Also to the people who believe in me enough to put their support in the shape of their name, products, and horses behind me. These people have given me everything I have achieved so far, and most importantly they have given me the wide open doors to the future that I am so lucky to have. Which doors I go through and which road I walk down remain to be seen, but I have every opportunity I could ever want, and an education in the sport that I love that I look forward to continuing!!

Thanks reading 🙂

Spring 2012!! Its upon us :)

Well, the new year has gotten off to a running start! I can hardly believe we’ve made such a dent in it already…
We are officially inside the 6 month countdown to that little thing called the Olympic Games, and I can imagine the thousands of athletes who are preparing for the intensity of this final drive to qualify, get selected, and stay healthy until showtime.

I’m pleased to share that Port Authority is making all the right steps towards achieving our goal of kicking tail at a Spring CCI and qualifying for London. Progress is good, and I’m going to keep up with the program that our team has put in place for us.

New to the team this season is Lee Byrne and the staff at KESMARC Florida. Ollie has been visiting often over the last 2 months, and I’m seeing a big difference in his body. Feeling it, too!! His trot is more powerful than ever and his hind end is so well muscled. It’s nice to see such a strong, happy boy at the start of our season.

As much as I focus on the big guy, he now shares the stage with a few others, and I won’t forget them!!

Vienna did her first real Prelim at Rocking Horse in Altoona, FL! She was so good, really stepping up to the plate and focusing on her job. I’m so proud of her for trying so hard to learn her new sport, and showing so much potential!

Trubie and Mosby ( the OTTB’s) are no slackers either. Both have been initiated into the club of baby event horses by jumping ditches, banks, logs and playing in the water at Longwood Farm last week. We are going to have so much fun!!

Through all this action on a daily basis, I am working hard on staying focused on actually treating myself like an athlete. I have started back up with Dave Freeze, the sports psychologist I worked with as a Young Rider in BC. Dave is excellent when it comes to giving me tools to overcome the distractions that could prevent me from staying focused on my short (and not so short) term goals. I am paying much more attention to details like proper nutrition and sleep… Seems simple, right? But these “details” are all part of the big picture which to me, is about keeping a positive attitude. Amazing how square meals and a bedtime make things seem a little easier to handle!!

This last year has been full of challenges, and it was easy to let some things distract me from keeping my eyes on the prize… My priority with Dave is to make sure that I develop good habits so I can focus on being as good as I can be at my job! More on this as we go, because I feel strongly that our mental game is something we can control, and it’s something that can be the difference between success and failure. We can’t ignore it in between competitions!!

Anyways, I’m off to check out the state of my schooling area after last nights epic tropical downpour. I think I’ll be playing in some sandy mud today!!

Until next time…

The Holidays!! Stop to enjoy them!

Christmas! It’s that time of year that sneaks up on us before we know it. One minute it’s Halloween, and then all of a sudden Thanksgiving (yes, the American version.. My attendance record is 5-0 over the Canadian version these last few years) comes around. I would blame the turkey coma for the last month disappearing into a blur, but I’m pretty sure you have to remain still to qualify for a comatose state.

I personally feel like I haven’t hardly stopped moving much since my arrival in Ocala last month. Today, however, has been a lot of sitting still!! One thing about Christmas that I have opted out of for a few years is traveling… But this year, a wonderful friend hooked me up with a trip home for the holidays!! (It helps to have good friends!!) Flying across the continent always takes a whole day, no matter what. Today, I woke up at 4 (oops!! Was supposed to be 315) and drove like a bat out of you know where to the Tampa International Airport. Once I got settled into 85mph on I 75, I realized I pretty much patted my dog on the head as I bolted out the door… I hate leaving her and I usually get a really good snuggle in before I go. But… She didn’t even really wake up as I threw my clothes on and bolted, so I hope she was happy to see Autie Alexa and her boyfriend Motor a few hours later!!

This mad rush has led to a day of SERIOUS sitting around in airports. But I kind of don’t mind!! I have gladly been putting in very long days, starting at the training track and spending the afternoons at my barn, but I have been going a little harder than can be sustained for long periods of time. My mom scolded me the other day for trying to muck stalls one handed while talking on the phone, and I eat lunch (sandwiches or whatever) while walking/grazing / driving my truck to KESMARC! I choose this life, and I do it because I love it, and I’m not complaining, but… To sit is nice 🙂 I plan on doing a lot of it this week, and I really hope that the rest of you can take some time out of your hectic schedules to simply relax!! Don’t wait for an “unforeseen maintenance issue” with an airplane to force you into 2 hours of submission!!

Like my mom said. Take 20 minutes to just sit down and eat lunch without checking emails or making calls at the same time. Single tasking isn’t a crime!! The competition season is fast approaching and we won’t get a real break for a while, people. So sit down, shut up, and eat the sugar cookies!!!

Can’t wait to see my family 🙂

Gotta Give Thanks…

So today, I’m fast approaching the two-week mark of my winter/spring season in Ocala. Today is also the celebration of American Thanksgiving! It’s good timing for a day that encourages me to sit back and reflect on all the blessings in my life.
This year has been tough, with what felt like blow after blow of less than ideal situations, mixed with some just downright crappy circumstances. This morning, I got to have a little sleep in, which was very welcome, considering I started work at the training track again on Monday! (thankful to be gainfully employed) Its been over 18 months since the last time I sat on a racehorse, at which time I was incredibly fit. But I’ve sat on 7 TBs each day all week, and my body hurts!!! (thankful for Advil) so, this morning at about 8am (thankful for sleep!) I got up, and fed the 3 lovely horses in my barn. (thankful for each of them for different reasons)

I have spent most of the day at a friend’s house, watching an all day Bones marathon on TV and eating a wonderful home cooked Turkey dinner with all the fixings. I may have missed Canuck thanksgiving every year since 2006, but I have always had a huge sense of family each year that I have spent in the USA, no matter which of my adoptive american families I have been with! (The Fork family in ’07, the Von Schweinitz in ’08, The Johns in ’09 and ’10, and The Barry’s in ’11!)

I certainly had a lot to be thankful for this time last year, enough that I’m still thankful for it now and will be for the rest of my life. This year, even though my blessings may not be quite so obvious, I still end up with a whole lot of reasons to be grateful, including a hopeful view of the future 🙂 I hope that all of you can say the same!!