Saturday, July 30, 2011

Farewell Christoph Stigler

Ross and Christoph

After leaving Dressage at Lexington so suddenly to go to Germany to be with my sick dad, he passed away last Wednesday. Boyd and I can not believe that after losing Ross on July 2, we are also losing my dad Christoph 18 days later.

My dad was an amazing person and amazing father to me and my two sisters, Nina and Laura, and my brother Julian. He also was my Mum's best friend and partner for many many years. I always thought how lucky my parents were to have found each other. There are not many people who have such a close bond and great relationship as my parents had. They respected each other in every way. It was so great and important for us children to be around; we learned so much good out of my parents marriage.

When my dad was diagnosed with Plasmacytoma in early 2006, we were devastated. We could not believe that my dad, who in our eyes lived the healthiest life that you
could possibly live. My dad ran marathons, did triathlons, did not eat meat or drink alcohol or smoke, and he out of all people had to be diagnosed with such a horrible cancer.

Not long before he was diagnosed, my dad, Ross and Boyd rode their bicycles through the middle of Australia for 7 days from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock. That was one of my dad's favorite trips. Ross and my dad were very much alike: very sporty and just great men. They became good friends on that trip.

My dad was the most positive and brave person I know. He started with a very aggressive chemotherapy right away and even through this horrible treatment with so much pain he stayed positive and kept telling us not to worry; that he has to go through this and he is not going to be beaten down by this.

Boyd and I got married in Australia in December 2006. Because my dad was in the middle of the therapy at that time my parents could not make the long trip to Australia. That was devastating for me and my parents not to be there when I got married. My dad put on his suit in our living room in Germany and my mum videoed his speech for our wedding. He could not walk me down the aisle but he was not going to miss his speech.We played his speech on a big screen at our reception and it was like he was there!

For the next five years my dad kept fighting this horrible illness. He had to go through terrible, painful treatments, but in between treatments my parents went on great trips together and spent as much time together as they could. On their last trip my parents came to help us move to our new farm. My parents moved our whole house by themselves.

My dad died on July 20, 2011.

We so wished for for more time! It was not enough time for him and not enough time for us. My dad still had so many plans.

We will miss him forever!!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Boyd and Cold Harbor Named to Pan-Am Games Short List

Brant Gamma Photo

The USEF have announced the short list for the 2011 Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team for the Pan-American Games.
Boyd has been named to the list riding Cold Harbor, owned by Dana and Manny Diemer.



Monday, July 25, 2011


Boyd and Bru, GRC Photo

The bulk of Silva's and my business consists of training horses that are sent to us by owners. These people either wish us to compete their horses to a very high level, or wish to improve their horse, train it up, then send it back for them to compete. Without these wonderful people, we would not have a business.

A couple of weeks ago, we received a very impressive horse from Manny Diemer. Manny is a retired Army Special Forces colonel and spent 33 years on active duty. He has commanded at the team, company, battalion and group level and among his many awards and decorations arethe Bronze Star and the Legion of Merit.

He is an avid polocrosse player, a member of the 2010 C Grade national championship winning polocrosse team and serves as his wife's navigator during the marathon phase of combined driving events. He continues to serve his country, currently spending the summer in Baghdad assisting the Iraqi military leadership.
Dana and Manny liked the look of Bru and picked him up for a song from the racetrack. Manny decided to name him Bru, which incidentally is Afrikaaner slang for 'brother' or 'friend'.

The goal with this horse is to get him up and going for Manny, who is currently in Baghdad for three months on duty. Manny's long term goal is to eventually compete Bru at the training level in horse trials here in America. So far, Bru is coming along nicely, finishing 3rd in his first Novice last weekend at Maryland Horse Trials. I look forward to Manny returning from duty in a couple of months to an improved horse for him to compete.

I must say, it's an absolute honour training a horse for one of this country's heroes.


Photos of Manny Diemer taken in Iraq in 2007, while he was commanding the COIN (counterinsurgency) Center at Taji.