Year End Awards

Would you like to be featured? Send me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. your short rider & horse bio as well as a jpg photograph (but you need to confirm permission from a professional photographer that photo's are ok to post, plus we need to give them credit where credit is due!) Here are a few of the competitors!

Novice – Junior/Young Rider

Logan Elliot & Cady O’Daly Michael - Champion

Cady O’Daly Michael is a 15.1 hand Cremello Connemara gelding out of Cady O’Daly Farm in Lynchburg, Virginia. “Mikey” was supposed to be a project horse for me but has became a special horse and family member to me. When I got Mikey in March 2011, I knew that he had potential to succeed. He didn’t have very good dressage work but he was a jumping machine. He will jump anything in the world for me. After having won the 2011 American Eventing Championships, I wanted to look forward to the following year. I had planned to go the American Eventing Championships again in 2012 but I never expected to be able to win two years in a row. That was one incredible feeling and Mikey gave me everything he had. I have grown up doing dressage, so I wanted to get Mikey as good at it as I could. Being that dressage is more my specialty I knew that once he got the hang of it we did well in eventing. We always were able to impress the judges and receive good scores that I relied on Mikey to take care of the jumping phases. Mikey is a very special horse to me and I don’t think that I have ever had as strong of a bond with any other horse.

Photo credit HoofClix Photography


Madeline Favre & Destiny’s Wish – Reserve Champion

Madeleine and Destiny's Wish (aka Dezi) became a team a couple of years ago when we purchased Dezi.  Although Dezi has been around the block and across the country, this year was Madeleine's first year competing at the recognized level.  They started the year off at beginner novice with a couple of 5th places finishes and soon she realized that she was going to have to spend some time on her dressage if she wanted to be competitive.  After a couple of lessons with Susan Graham White, Madeleine and Dezi were starting to look the part.  Dezi is an accidental cross between a welsh pony mare and Dutch warmblood stallion and with Susan's help Madeleine was able to get some of that fanciness out of Dezi and they started to improve their dressage scores.  They ended up 3rd at Waredaca and were beginning to get rewards for their work on the flat.  However, they were running, no pun intended, in to some problems with speed faults, which cost them another 3rd at Seneca.  Rather than try to slow everything down for beginner novice we opted to move them up to novice.  They were 4th at Loch Moy their first novice and then almost first at Loch Moy their second time at novice but dropped to 2nd because of speed faults again.  So, we bought the XC watch and added pacing to our box of tools necessary to negotiate eventing.  Though they were moving up to novice, they had qualified to go to Georgia to the AEC's at beginner novice.  And, if I learned one thing about eventing, it is this...if you are qualified and you and your horse are sound and able, YOU GO!  It’s hard to tell when all of those planets might align again.  If you cannot tell, I speak from experience.  At any rate, we drive to Georgia and have a spectacular time hooking up with our relocated trainers, Ray and Beth Wheeler.  Madeleine and Dezi lay down their best dressage ever, which was enough to end up 22 out of more than 80 entries.  We all go to win but have to be happy with respectable and that's what they were.  They finally had a win at the Marlborough Horse Trials in September.  Madeleine now understands the whole dressage pad thing that her mother has, it's my favorite prize.  The pair had their worst day of the year unfortunately at the Area2 Championships at Morven.  Such a bad day that I tried to talk her out of finishing and heading home but she said, "no, I want to do one thing right today", which she did a nice, double clear show jumping round and was able to go home on a good note.  Thankfully, Waredaca hosted their inaugural Novice 3 Day this year and I could not think of a better way to end their season.  The professionals that volunteered their time to educate and prepare each and every rider for their 3 Day experience went out of their way to answer questions and make everyone comfortable.  It speaks volumes as to their dedication to the sport and the people that make up the majority of the entries at our horse trials. Sorry wrong story, back to my pair, Madeleine and Dezi again put down one of their better dressage test at the 3 Day, steeplechase proved to be a favorite for both rider and pony.  What impressed me the most was Madeleine's ability to negotiate around roads and track and cross country without fault.  It was a challenging course and they ended up doing something like 6000 meters over 45 minutes which encompassed all of the endurance day challenge.  At the end of the day, Madeleine and Dezi finished 6th overall but they were the highest placed junior and pony so in our hearts, as always, number one.  Dezi is known as the princess of our herd.  Madeleine has the privilege and honor of riding her.

Photo credit to Hoofclix Photography


Shannon Case & Star Dazzler – Sixth place

Shannon Case competed in novice events on Star Dazzler "Simon" during 2012 with her sister Audrey grooming for her. Jacquelyn Dickey of Riding Innovations trains Shannon and Simon. The sophomore at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland earned her C + certification as a member of Seneca Valley Pony Club after attending the American Eventing Championships this fall.

Simon is an 8 year old Irish Sport Horse bred by C Square Farm's Courtney Cooper. Simon has shown himself to be an incredible teacher as Shannon learns to conquer obstacles in their way.


Novice  - Adult Amateur

Pam Blumberg & Kodak - Champion

Kodak is an 11 year old Premium Oldenburg.   I had not done any recognized eventing prior to owning him.   I've ridden all my life on a variety of tough horses with little training, took my kids ponies to unrecognized events to make sure they would live through the experience, was a pony club mom, then decided to take a stab at it myself.   I started eventing in 2009.  We went Beginner Novice once and moved up to Novice.  We did a season at Novice and then the next spring, moved up to Training.  While schooling that year we had an ADD moment and crashed and burned.   Kodak was fine, me not so much, good thing I had invested in an air vest.  That following season (2011) we did maybe 3 Novice events under the careful eye of my trainer, Kristin Bachman.  Kodak and I went to Aiken in February of 2012 and started in on lessons with Kristin and got a few in with Kim Severson.  We got back into the groove, building my confidence back up.  Over the past year I have been lucky to have monthly lessons with Linda Zang, she's been unbelievably helpful, and has pretty much given me a complete rider makeover.   I hope to move up  to Training in 2013, as long as my nerve holds up.   Kodak has a definite personality that sometimes gets in our way but he’s an excellent partner.   I’ve been lucky to be able to ride and compete my husbands’ horse, Opal, this season.  Although she’s got much more flash, I’ll take Kodak over her any day.   We have gone through the good and the bad together and ended up back in a great place.



Sally Muncy & GW Winchester – Reserve Champion

This year ended with a lot of wonderful "firsts" - we competed in our first 3-Day at Waredaca and received the Area 2 Novice Best Rider award. Riding in the 3-day was a fantastic experience! The highlight for us was the steeplechase phase, which went fantastically well under the guidance of Tremaine Cooper and Stephen Bradley, who were there to teach us "first timers" how to ride steeplechase.  Next we competed for the first time in the Adult Team Challenge (ATC) at the VA HT in Lexington, riding on the Novice winning team, and meeting my terrific teammates right before dressage as I was a last minute addition.  And YES!! We were the ones with the pink feathers flying around XC!!!  Winchester is an all-around super horse. While he can get very competitive and drag me around XC when eventing, he will change gears and take great care of my 8yr son Matthew slipping into a western jog or a fast walk when asked to trot.  He is the perfect companion for me to ride always covering for my mistakes; I work full time as a Defense Contractor supporting the U.S. Marine Corps which means creating time to ride is a constant challenge. My accomplishments this year would not have been possible without the support of  my sister Suzy Gehris and her husband Jim, Winchester's fitness coach Kathleen O'Keefe, and my coach Lisa Reid.

Photo credit to Brant Gamma Photography 



Erika Gonzalez & That’ll Do The Trick – Tenth place

Rider: Erika Gonzalez          Age: 22

Horse: That’ll Do The Trick aka “Trick”             Age: 7

Trick is a 16.2 hand mare that is the little TB track horse that could! Under saddle she has an eager and smart attitude about things, while having the quietest and cuddliest personality in the barn. I have had her for just over a year now and she continues to impress me as she matures and learns more. She loves her new career as an eventer! This season I began by moving her up to Novice level. After just over half the season she showed me she was quite unimpressed with Novice so I moved her up once more to Training level. I was able to compete in 4 events at Training level before the season ended. Trick boldly got through every XC course with no issues and improved her dressage and stadium with each event, ending the season with a personal best score and performance. She will start next season at Training level with Prelim on the horizon. I am so proud of this mare; she’s got a bright future ahead of her. I want to give a special thanks to my trainer, Kate Chadderton, for all of her patience and guidance this year, the supporting team/family at Bennett’s Creek Farm, and Dr. Jim of IVS for always making Trick feel like a million bucks!

Photo credit: Moment in Time Photography


Novice – OPEN

DC McBroom & Ground Force – Champion

Ground Force (Hank) is a 12 year old, 16.2 hand grey Thoroughbred gelding by Rubiano out of Cheapside Queen.  He was originally bred to race, but an injury sustained while attempting to obtain his gate card nipped that career in the bud.  After a brief stint in the hunter ring where the judges were less than impressed by his exuberant and expressive way of going (AKA squealing and bucking after each fence), he made his way to Owl Hollow Farm to try his hooves at Eventing.  This he took to like a duck takes to water.  In his first year, he finished in the ribbons at all but one of the competitions he attended and ended the year as the USEA National and Area II Beginner Novice Horse of the Year.  The following year he made a successful move up to Novice, but then faltered with his move up to Training.  During the process of sorting out the cause, it was discovered he only had approximately 20% vision in his right eye.  Although this ended any hopes of competing at the upper levels, he proved to be more than happy galloping around at the lower levels.  Content in his role as permanent resident of the Novice level, he has since qualified for the American Eventing Championships numerous times and was Reserve Champion in the Novice Rider division at the AEC in 2010.  In the spring of this year, he traveled to Chesterfield SC to compete in the Heart of the Carolinas Novice Three Day Event where he finished sixth and earned the Best Turned Out Award in his division.  This fall, he finished his show season at one of his favorite competitions, the Adult Team Challenge hosted by the Virginia Horse Trials.  And, although he is unable to attend the Year End Awards Luncheon in person, he would like to thank Nick and Helen for all of their hard work coordinating the awards program and let everyone know how honored he is to be named 2012 USEA Area II Open Novice Champion.


Photo credit to Brant Gamma Photography 

Suzy Gehris & Taking a Taxi – Reserve Champion

Taxi was bought, almost sight unseen, from a great friend, Julie Williamson, as a foxhunter and all-around good guy. This year after finishing a great hunt season, we got more serious about eventing and moved up to Novice where he acted as the perfect schoolmaster nursing my confidence back from some broken ribs while I convinced him ditches were ok to jump the first time vice walking through them like we do hunting. We're back hunting now and jumping anything that remotely resembles a ditch !  Everybody always asks me how he is bred, and I think he is a cross between quite a dominating ego, a lot of cute, a little insecurity, and a ton of sensitivity. Personally, I think there is some Welsh for he is so light, easy and comfortable to ride. Both of us wish everybody Happy Holidays and look forward to seeing all at the Start Box next year - and Happy Hunting for those foxhunters out there !

Photo credit to Brant Gamma Photography



Susan MacRae & Afton Mountain – Fourth place – RIP

I first saw Afton Mountain's picture on the Canter MidAtlantic website in the fall of 2008.    The spirit in his eyes and the beautiful dappled bay coat caught my eye, and I knew I had to have him.   When I was able to buy,  he was still there, and I scheduled a visit.   What I saw in the barn was a lot different from the beautiful photo (which must have been taken a long time before Canter got him!) – a smallish, sort of scrawny horse with a look of distrust in his eye.  I remember thinking "is this the same horse??"   Still, he was cute, and I'd driven 4 ½ hours to go see him.

I had never been terribly brave getting on strange horses, let alone very young horses, but from the moment I threw my leg over this horse, I was totally at ease and comfortable.  It was the strangest feeling, but it said a lot to me.  Walk, trot, canter, cross rail, vertical, and I was sold.   By the end of the week, I'd had him vetted, and on Friday the 13th of March, 2009, he was in his new stall in New Jersey with his barn name "Owen".

For about the first year, Owen didn't exhibit much personality.  That flash of distrust was quick to come to his eye.  He acted tough, but then would be scared.  I called him my little James Dean, my Punk Kid full of false bravado.  Over time, though, we built our relationship, and that eye softened, and his personality emerged – a sweet, cuddly boy who nickered while nosing around for peppermints.

He was a perfect gentleman at shows, never spooky, even his first time in a dressage arena.  He marched around and never even looked at the judge's stand.   His talent began to show through, as he learned and developed, but his shaky confidence kept cropping up so I went very slowly with him to give him what he needed.  His form over fences was what professional photographers love because he always took a great picture!  Scope was not in short supply, and he had "upper level" written all over him.  Not only could he jump, but he was developing into quite the little dressage horse, scoring 28 and change, with lots of improvement possible.

But as careful as he was jumping and going across country, apparently he was not as careful in the pasture.  This past June, he came in missing a front shoe with cuts on his right stifle.  We feared a puncture wound, but what we found was much more catastrophic.  He had pulled his stifle joint apart, separating the caudal-cruciate ligament from the bone, taking a chunk of bone with it; an injury that one vet consulted said he didn't think was possible. There was no choice but to end his suffering.

Owen taught me so much.  He taught me the patience and wisdom of listening to my horse and doing what is best for him, in training and in life decisions.  He taught me how to ride dressage.  He taught me how much fun it is to ride a horse that is workmanlike, that you can put your leg on and push into the bridle, that gets better and better with confidence.  He taught me that thoroughbreds can have nice tails.  He came out of his shell, and snuggled into my heart, and will remain there forever.

Photo credit to Brant Gamma Photography


Novice – Young Horse

Classic, a 5 year old KWNP home-bred gelding, lovingly known as Chilly is owned by June Brody of Stone Horse Farm.  Five years ago my family and I were fortunate enough to witness the birth of Chilly, and from the moment he could stand he was full of personality and spunk.  Chilly was originally intended to be one of June’s dressage horses, and as part of the young horse training program our trainer, Heather Mason our trainer, likes the babies to be versatile and exposed to Dressage as well as Jumping.  In late spring of 2011, Heather and June asked if I would jump Chilly over a few jumps, which quickly became a weekly event.  Chilly really liked his jumping days and loved cross country schooling at the nearby park! By January 2012 I was fortunate to have the ride full-time, what an honor and privilege!   In 2011 we did a few local events, but in 2012 we really had a blast at Novice and even competed in a few Training horse trials.  The pinnacle at Novice was at NJHP HT over the summer when we earned a 28 in dressage and finished 3rd overall.  We finished the season at Training level at Radnor with a dressage score of 31.4 and 7th overall after some unfortunate penalty points.  I mention the dressage scores, because Chilly can sometimes become distracted but he definitely will put his game-face on at competitions.  My hope for next year will be to start with a few Training level horse trials and eventually move up to Preliminary, if Chilly feels ready.   I would like to extend a huge thank you to June Brody for providing me with the amazing opportunity to ride, train, and compete Chilly.


Photo credit to Erika Olijslager

Featured Image

Madison Keen and her 22 year old draft cross, Stella, running training at Fall Morven Park Horse Trials. @mvk.eventing

Madison Keen and her 22 year old draft cross, Stella, running training at Fall Morven Park Horse Trials. @mvk.eventing

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