Saturday, December 17, 2011

Travels in England and an Exciting New Import

I've had a fantastic couple of months away from the intense eventing competition schedule, which has allowed me to enjoy one of my passions: finding new, exciting young prospects.

Enjoying a pint with Dave

Recently Katie Walker, Dave Leinhauser and I had a wonderful couple of days in England scouring the country for horses.
Brian Hyslop

We were lucky enough to be guided by our new team Chef de Equipe, Brian Hyslop, who was in charge of the heavy social schedule that consisted of dinner parties, fox hunting and many team meetings at the pubs we passed by. We were also very fortunate that Rachael Wakefield from Uptown Eventing lined up around 35 top class young event horses for us to try.
Katie Walker sizing up one of the enormous hedge jumps in the Quorn Hunt field

One of the highlights of our four-day trip was the opportunity to hunt with the very prestigious Quorn Hunt. Dave and I borrowed horses from Irish eventing Olympian Mark Kyle.

Hunting with Mark Kyle

We hunted huge hedge fences, trappy iron gates and ditches that sent shivers down my spine over some of the most beautiful country in Leicestershire County for over four hours. I was very impressed not only by the superb country we rode, but the quality of the horses seen in the hunt.

Finally our horse shopping ventures were a success! Upgrade is a stunning five year old gelding that really stood out from the rest of the bunch. He is seven-eighths English Thoroughbred and one-eighth Irish Sport Horse. He is a very elegant mover which I think the dressage judges will be impressed with. His jump has good technique and scope to spare. All in all, Dave, Katie and I felt this horse showed the potential of a future four-star champion.

I am very fortunate for Katie and Cuyler Walker to purchase this exciting horse. He will fly to America just before the new year and join the other Walker event horse, Brewster. I hope to start eventing him sometime in February. It would also be a real thrill if I could move him up to Preliminary at the Plantation Field Horse Trials in the fall, as the Walkers are the landowners and event organizers of this great event.


Friday, December 16, 2011

A Gift of Art from Bramble Hollow Fine Arts

The entire crew at Windurra USA would like to thank Angela Deppe for her beautiful gift to Lillian Heard, a sculpture created out of polymer clay from a picture of Lillian on Ariel during one of their dressage tests.  I've attached a picture of the piece from Angela, which was mailed to Lillian's parents this past week.

The following is a description of Angela's business and choice in artistic medium for this sculpture.  Thanks again to Angela for all of her efforts in creating this beautiful piece!

"My business is called  Bramble Hollow Fine Arts, at or on facebook as Bramble Hollow Fine Arts.  I live in Sykesville, Maryland.  

Right now my sculptural art is strictly realistic portraiture, with a nod to Eastern and classical influences as far as composition and decorative elements.  My art background consists of two semesters of figurative sculpture at Towson State, a summer course at painting at The Mitchell School in Lutherville, MD with Richard House in 2000 - where I learned how to see -and most recently a course of plein air painting with Tim Bell in Easton, MD.

When I was a child, music was the family passion so there was nothing left for other pursuits. I became self taught in anything that caught my fancy - from wood burning and psanky, to watercolor and oils.  I listened very, very well at Pony Club, and wore out the how-to books in the public library.  In fact, the Pony Club moms used to call me 'Princess Daisy', because I earned my pony's hay with the premiums from my 4-H art contest winnings every year.  As an adult I took up carriage driving and was an adept student if I won the occasional spot for a clinic...wore out my volume of Centered Riding and Podhasky's books such that I won the Laurels as my first CDE with a pony I trained myself, as a green driver.

I can't help but bring that same determination to my dream business here, which shows in my ability to capture a resemblance...portrait artists aren't simply recreating beauty or expressing their own interpretation - they have to convince, as well.  I work from photos, but a solid understanding of anatomy and biomechanics gives me an edge in creating a image that celebrates the cycle of energy inherent in every pose or stride.  The artistry in my work is buried in the bas relief...I can manipulate the viewer to focus on this, lead their eye to that through detail and profile.  I want them to marvel at how different it looks from every angle and with every change in the light, so that it appears to be many works of art in one.
So much of our lives is spent in front of a flat screen - a sculpture is two dimensions closer to reality."

If interested in commissioning Angela for your own piece, her contact info is attached!

Boyd 9th in the World in HSBC Rankings

Congratulations to Boyd on finishing 2011 in the top ten elite event riders in the world! He finishes ranked ninth with 345 points, joining top riders from around the world in the upper echelon of the sport. For complete ranking information click here (be sure to scroll down for the list).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vote for Neville for USEF Horse of the Year!!!

Lexington, KY - To reach the highest level of excellence in equestrian sport takes talent, perseverance, a tremendous spirit and often, unwavering courage. In 2011, six horses have shown the world those qualities and more. And on January 13, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) will bestow two of them with the prestigious title of Horse of the Year, the highest honor the USEF awards a horse. This year - a change from years past - both a national and international horse will win.

The six champions have earned their place on the elite list as USEF Horses of Honor, and each will be recognized at the USEF Horse of the Year Awards gala and dinner in January - part of the USEF Annual Meeting - at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza in Cincinnati, OH.

It will be up to you to choose the two special horses, selecting from a range of talents and from across the Federation's breeds and disciplines. Your vote will help determine the champions that join the pantheon of past winners including reining horse Gunners Special Nite (2010); dressage horse Ravel (2009); driving horse Jamaica (2008); eventer Theodore O'Connor (2007); show jumper Authentic (2006); and dressage horse Brentina (2005).

Neville Bardos.
Neville Bardos (Mahayaa x Zambia)
1999 Australian Thoroughbred Gelding
Owner: Neville Bardos Syndicate

2011 marked a year of tragedy for eventing rider Boyd Martin. He lost six horses in a horrific barn fire on Memorial Day but was able to save five. One of those saved was Neville Bardos. The failed Australian racehorse was trapped in the fire for nearly 45 minutes before Martin was able to pull him out. Neville suffered burns and severe smoke inhalation that required extensive rehabilitation. The prognosis was grim, but he fought through it and defied every odd. He made a miraculous recovery to return to competition two months later. Martin lost his father and father-in-law over the summer and he set a big goal for Neville to try to get him through the tragedy.

Neville and Martin went on to not only compete in the CCI4* at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials - but they placed seventh out of 81 entries in September. He jumped only one of nine double-clear cross-country rounds over arguably the world's toughest cross-country track.

Voting Is Now Open!

Two of these six exceptional horses will be honored as the overall 2011 USEF Horse of the Year, a mark of distinction that will last a lifetime. Now, it is up to you to decide who will receive the top tribute in 2011.

Simply visit and type in your email address to access the voting portal. Voting will end at Midnight [ET] on Monday, January 2, 2012.

For more information regarding the Equestrian of the Year program or any of the six Horses of Honor, contact Trisha Watkins, USEF Awards Manager, at 859.225.6944 or

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Three-Year-Olds Finish Marathon Trip from Australia

A shipment of four three-year-old horses finally arrived at the farm today after a lengthy trip from Australia. Silva and I bred all of these horses in Australia, and with the help of a few investors they made the voyage without too much trouble.

The two dressage horses are:
LinkHannah Montana (pictured above) - 3-year=old filly by His Highness out of Rosa Cha. Rosa is one of Silva's top up and coming young horses. Thanks to Sarah Reese of Malvern, PA for helping us get her here.
Junno (above) - 3-year-old filly by Jive Magic, who happens to be Jeff the Chef's sire, out of a Wolkenstein II mare, that was also the dam of Fendi, a horse that we sold here in the States two years ago. Thanks to Faye Woolf for getting her here.

The two event horses are:
Wallaroo (photo above) - 3 year gelding by Stacatto, who happens to also be the sire of Stuart Tinney's Adelaide 4-star winner Panamera . He is out of Brilliant Silva, the dam of Waranga, and also by Brilliant Invader who sired Olympic and World Champion Ready Teddy. Wallaroo is 75% Australian Thoroughbred and 25% Dutch Warmblood. Thanks to Amy Lindgren for helping me get this stunning horse on the plane.
Ray Price (above) - 3 year old gelding by Raise A Stanza who has sired many 4-star horses in Australia, out of Fair Fiona, a mare that we sold last year that both evented and did dressage with Silva. Ray Price is the name of a tough Australian Rugby league player. Ray is also 75% thoroughbred and 25% Dutch Warmblood. Big cheers to Amy Lindgren for helping me Linkget this guy here.

All in all, it took 13 days of travel to get these young horses from Lochinvar, NSW in Australia to Sydney airport, then to LAX, then to Kentucky by truck, then up to our place in Cochranville. All of the horses looked exhausted from the trip. They were all glad to see some green grass and a paddock after being locked up for so long. My plan is to leave them here in PA for the winter to recover, then start them up in the spring when we get back from Aiken.


Monday, December 12, 2011

The Journey to Germany

Ashlea , Mintie , Donna and I have arrived in the Mecca of Dressage: GERMANY!

Mintie traveled very well, with Ashlea and Donna on the plane with him. I got here a day earlier and borrowed my sister Laura`s car and trailer and drove to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to pick up the three of them.

We then drove back over the border to Germany; Mintie is staying at Laura's barn in Willich, Germany until we leave for Frankfurt on Wednesday or Thursday morning.

Ashlea rode Mintie lightly today and he looks great. Tomorrow we will start working harder and focus on the test that she will ride on Friday morning and the Freestyle that she will ride on Sunday.

We will keep everybody posted. Fingers crossed!!!!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Night of Nights at the USEA Convention

The last leg of the USEA Annual Convention in Nashville, TN featured the awards dinner hosted by eventing legend Jimmy Wofford. While Buck Davidson took home most of the loot, we managed to snag a couple of awards, most notably with super groom Lindsey Taylor walking away with the 2011 USEA Christine E. Stafford Groom of the Year Award last night, along with lucy Beard of Kalispell, MT. There are two winners for this award - a professional and amateur. Lindsey won the jacket, shown in the photo below, and $500.(This is not to be confused with the PRO award, which Lindsey also won!) Jimmy noted in his presentation that Lindsey groomed for me at all 175 of my eventing starts this year.
My good mate and vet, Dr Kev Keane took home the Advanced Amateur Rider of the Year and the Adult Amateur Rider of the Year which landed him a brand new saddle.

I received the Advanced Rider of the Year thanks to a lot of success with a large pool of Advanced horses that I rode throughout the year, including the indomitable Neville Bardos, Otis Barbotiere, Ying Yang Yo, Cold Harbour, Last Monarch and Remington XXV. I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to ride this great group of horses this past year.
I was surprised at the end of the evening to win an award for showing courage and resilience in the past year of eventing. Jimmy spoke very kindly of my ups and downs in 2011 and talked about Neville's comeback to top level competition at Burghley after the fire. It is a magnificent trophy that weighs a lot!

All in all it was a brilliant convention.