Sunday, December 7, 2014

Tis The Season To Give Back Through ReaganRydes.Org!!

I recently received an email from our friend, horsewoman and Paralympic groom extraordinaire, Alex Philpin, regarding a very impressive young lady who has developed a foundation to help other children discover the joy of riding.  Through this child's efforts, she has started the foundation,, which raises funds for children to attend their local Wisconsin based YMCA summer camp.
Riding and establishing a connection with horses goes beyond the barn.  As all equestrians know, the privilege of riding and being connected to horses ingrains in all of us a sense of responsibility, goal setting, humility, compassion and trust.  These lessons for children can last a lifetime, helping them  move beyond fear, learning to trust and take risks, all while enjoying the beauty of horses and ultimately a sense of accomplishment.  This experience for children is priceless.

Alex is Reagan's riding instructor, and while she was here visiting last week at Blue Hill Farm, Missy and I ran in the second of Alex's 3 races to help raise money for this fabulous foundation.  It was an absolutely freezing day, but we had such fun and enjoyed a well deserved warm breakfast after our completion!!!

Missy, Alex & Lisa pre-5K race in NJ!
Alex and Reagan ran in the 3rd leg of her race series back in Wisconsin this past weekend, and I'm so inspired by this little equestrian who has set a goal to raise $50,000 to help other kids in need.  Please check out this letter below from Alex, and go to to buy merchandise for Christmas, which will in turn raise funds for this amazing cause!!!

Reagan & Alex
Hi All,

As many of you know via Facebook or previous emails, I set a personal challenge at the beginning of November, to run three 5K races in a 2 week period. I am happy to report that I reached my goal this morning, completing the Cedarburg Santa Dash.

I am also happy to report that due to the generosity of many of you, to date, "we" have raised approximately $180.00 for Reagan Rides.

For those of you not familiar with Reagan Rydes, it is a non profit organization created by a young riding student of mine, Reagan Romano. Reagan is a 10 year old with a huge philanthropic heart who's goal is to raise $50,000 through donations and the sale of merchandise to give less fortunate kids the gift of going to summer camp for a week.

During my 10 year tenure at the YMCA, I personally witnessed how 1 week of summer camp can totally change a kids outlook on life through building self confidence; creating life long friendships and introducing children to the joy of the great outdoors, some of whom have never been away from the inner city.

For many kids, a week at summer camp is the norm; for some however, it's a once in a lifetime experience that can truly carry them through many of the hardships they have to endure on a daily basis due to poverty, family problems or family illness. If I had not seen the profound impact camp can have on a child with my own eyes, you would not be receiving this email today!

Reagan is fortunate enough to be able to go to camp each summer, however, her dream is that as many kids as possible get to share in the experience that she loves so much. Prior to launching her website in November, Reagan, without the help of her parents, raised approximately $4,000 towards Camp Minikani's Annual Campaign by writing letters to friends and family throughout the US as well as making personal asks.

It is remarkable to me that as an 8 year old, when I asked Reagan what she wanted for Christmas, she replied "I don't need anything, I just want to help less fortunate kids than me go to Camp Minikani instead."

So, I am asking that you consider making a donation of any amount to Reagan Rydes. It doesn't matter if you choose to make a direct gift or purchase some of the cute apparel that is for sale on the website - 100% of your donation will go towards scholarships. Your gift is also fully tax deductible.

Reagan joined me to run my 3rd 5k this morning and helped keep me inspired during the last couple of hills! It is my hope that we can raise enough money through "Turkey Trot" donations to pay for at least one kid to go to summer camp for a week in 2015.

A week of Day Camp is $255.00 per week (only another $75.00 to reach goal)
A week of overnight camp is $735.00 per week ($555.00 to reach goal)

The "Turkey Trot $5.00 for a $5K" will close at midnight on December 25th; of course, Reagan's website will remain "open for business" for many years to come.

To make direct donations, please follow this link:
Turkey Trot for Reagan Rydes and Camp Minikani | Reagan Rydes
While you are at Reagan Rydes please take the time to read Reagan’s story and browse the online store - Great holiday gifts for all to be found at

I am unable to accept donations personally, however, if you know the Romano's, you can also make a donation directly to Rebecca or Frank.  I am so proud of this young lady and all of her philanthropic efforts.

Thank you and have a Blessed Christmas and joyful holiday season,

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gigi Gives Thanks!

Last weekend a whole crew of Blue Hill Farm riders and supporters traveled to NYC to help Gigi, Cindy, Brian and Bethany celebrate the inclusion of their wonderful documentary, A Fork In The Road, in the EQUUS Film Festival.  It was a wonderful event and opportunity for our crew to get out of the barn to go celebrate the release of this great documentary!

A note of thanks from Gigi:

"Thanks to Jean Good, Charlotte McIntosh, Kate Moore, Jean and I arrived at the MIST Theater in Harlem in high style, alighting from our own limousine!

Through the bustling lobby, our first stop was the group shot in front of the Equus Film Festival banner! I was so proud to stand there with producer, Cindy Connors, and cinematographers, Brian Troy and Bethany Ditnes, as well as the Blue Hill Gang including Jean Good, Kate Moore, Lisa Thomas and Lauren Sara and, of course, my daughter, Charlotte!

I felt such a warm rush of affection for my friends as they appeared on the big screen, such a long way from Unionville!  A raucous dinner at the Red Rooster in Harlem concluded the celebration!"

Gigi would also like to thank the following group of individuals and businesses who have recently contributed to her competition fund through either donations of financial support, time or services.  Without this group effort Gigi and the team at Blue Hill Farm would not be able to help her reach her dream of qualifying for the Paralympic Team.  Here's wishing everyone a relaxing and Happy Thanksgiving!

Lauren Sara
Cindy Connors
Rich and Lori Wetherhold
Joan Gatter
Jean Good
Charlotte Hendricks
Margery Good
Quaker Maid Meats, Inc.
John Nunn and Bit of Britain
Bayo Nichols and Unionville Tack Shop
Robin and the Embreeville Mill

Monday, November 24, 2014

Announcing Bonnie Kibbie's New Practice - Balanced Care Equine!

Blue Hill Farm is very happy to have a wonderful friend, vet and holistic equine specialist in our midst!  Bonnie Kibbie (wife of course builder extraordinaire Jeff Kibbie) has started her own business and we are big supporters of her competence and ability to provide the best in equine care.  We are so fortunate to have she and Jeff living back in the area!

Here is a bit of background information on Bonnie and her newly founded business!

" I did my undergraduate studies at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, before moving to the Philadelphia area to attend the University of Pennsylvania for veterinary school.  As a fourth year veterinary student I spent time in Fort Collins, Colorado, where I became certified in veterinary medical acupuncture through the OneHealth SIM program and Colorado State University.

After graduation from vet school I completed an internship at Tennessee Equine Hospital outside of Nashville, Tennessee.  During my internship I was impressed with how much chiropractic care seemed to help the patients my practice saw, and I decided to become certified myself.  I obtained my chiropractic certification through the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA), after completing the program of study at Options for Animals College of Animal Chiropractic.

Upon completion of my internship, I accepted a position at John R. Steele and Associates and returned to the southeastern Pennsylvania area.  The sport horses I saw during my time in Tennessee and with Dr. Steele’s practice, combined with my experience with my own horses in the eventing community, reaffirmed my belief in the importance of the chiropractic and acupuncture work I was doing, and ultimately led to my decision to open my own practice, Balanced Care Equine."

Balanced Care Equine offers chiropractic care and acupuncture services, and is in the process of expanding to full traditional care, including dentistry.  You can learn more about her practice by visiting her website:, or on her Facebook page: Balanced Care Equine.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Help Support Barneys Balls!!

Thought that title would grab your attention :)  Now for the story...................

Not long ago Cindy Connors, producer of Gigi's documentary, A Fork In The Road, started baking treats for her horse Barney, and they were such a hit when she shared them with friends, she and Lauren Sara decided to turn "Barney's Balls" into a small business that could also do some good for the horse community.

"Cindy and I are good friends and have been riding together for years," said Lauren. "We were inspired by two top athletes, Silva Martin & Margaret “Gigi” Macintosh, whom each faced life threatening/career ending riding accidents. Yet through sheer grit and determination, each recovered and is back competing on an international stage. We are donating a portion of the proceeds from “Barneys Balls” to the US Para Equestrian Association (USPEA), in support of Gigi’s quest for a place on the 2016 Paralympic Team, as well as helping Silva’s favorite cause, LOVE YOUR BRAIN. It’s our small way of treating our horses and in turn giving back."
You can learn more about Gigi’s road back by watching “Fork in the Road”, a short documentary Cindy produced in the fall of 2014 and which is now making the rounds at film festivals.
Link: [Fork in the Road]

Starting this week, one and two-pound bags of Barney’s Balls will be in stock at Embreeville Mill Feed Store in Coatesville, PA and at our website,

For more information please contact Lauren: 610.649.8094

Barney's Balls make great holiday gifts, so please show them your support!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gigi's Film Selected For Equus Film Festival in NYC!!

Dear Friends and Supporters!

Gigi is delighted to report that her very moving mini-documentary, The Fork in the Road, has been chosen for screening at the Equus Film Festival on Friday, November 21, 2014 at 2:30 at Theater B. in New York City!!

(More information at

Congratulations to the crew:
directed by: Cindy Connors & Brian Troy
director of photography: Brian Troy
field producer & 2nd unit camera: Bethany Ditnes
field producer: Julia Fisher
editor: Brian Troy
audio engineer: Donna Weinsteiger

Many thanks again to Brian McIntosh, Charlotte, Colin, Cameron and Melissa
Bruce Davidson, Rachel Gross, Mary Hazzard, Pari Nurrish, Jessica Ransehousen, Missy Ransehousen, Lauren Sara, Jan Smith, Lisa Thomas, Susie Tuckerman and the Blue Hill Farm Staff!

If you haven't had the pleasure of viewing this amazing documentary, please take the time to watch!  It is under 15 minutes in length, but gives such insight into the human determination and spirit of our friend Gigi McIntosh.  

We will be scheduling local viewings and fund raising parties in the region in the near future!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Maggie Deatrick Conquers Fair Hill International's 2*!!

It was an impressive weekend for Blue Hill Farm's client Maggie Deatrick and her own Divine Comedy, who took their turn around the tough international 2* track at Fair Hill!  Not only did this pair earn an impressive 52.2 in the dressage, but they also cranked around the XC, posting one of the cleanest double clear rounds of the day.

Dante and Maggie over the first!
What a treat to listen and observe the coaching/client relationship between Missy and Maggie in the warmup before watching Maggie take that advice onto the XC course.  I think all of our hearts were pounding as they headed out of the start box, but to hear the course commentary on the loud speaker as they progressed throughout the more difficult questions on course (brilliantly, I might add) was just thrilling!  Dante and Maggie just tore up the course and handled the brush combination and second water like seasoned pros.

After XC they leapt up the score board to sit 11th in the standings heading into stadium.  Dante tried his heart out, but unfortunately pulled 4 rails, proving that the XC at Fair Hill International always results in a tired horse for Sunday.  Regardless of the rails, Maggie has to be so proud of her awesome thoroughbred gelding - and Missy is so happy with their performance.

As Maggie has already expressed on Facebook and through her chronicle of the weekend on Eventing Nation (yes, she writes for EN too) pulling off the weekend at Fair Hill wouldn't have been possible without the entire team at Blue Hill Farm!  Many thanks go out to working student extraordinaire Brigitte Aikelin for making Dante sparkle and shine.  Dante also thanks Brigitte for making him happy and comfortable post FHI, b/c that boy deserves some serious TLC now that the big weekend is in the rear view mirror!

Photo Credit Lisa Thomas, Mid-Atlantic Equestrian Services

Friday, October 10, 2014

Unveiling of Fork In The Road - A Short Film on Margaret McIntosh!!

Over this past summer, a very special film was in production, a film short documenting the equestrian voyage of our friend Gigi McIntosh.  There was a wonderful collaboration of area notables, such as Jessica, Missy and the Blue Hill Farm team, as well as clips from other influential people in Gigi's career (Bruce Davidson, Mary Hazzard, Jan Smith) from Chesterland.

The end result is the wonderful mini-documentary on our resident para-equestrian, Margaret "Gigi" McIntosh, who during an event in 1999 suffered a life-threatening crash. Through unexpected odds, Gigi battled her way back to do the one thing she's loved doing her whole life...riding horses.

Many thanks go out to the film crew who created this beautiful story.
directed by: Cindy Connors & Brian Troy
director of photography: Brian Troy
field producer & 2nd unit camera: Bethany Ditnes
field producer: Julia Fisher
editor: Brian Troy
audio engineer: Donna Weinsteiger

Fork in the Road from Brian Troy on Vimeo.

Gigi also wanted to express her gratitude to all of those involved on this project.  Below is her note that I received yesterday.

"Once again, Blue Hill Farm has rallied around a special project. Missy and Jessica, thank you so much for your enthusiastic support for this effort!

I was truly touched by the tears and cheers accompanying our tack room screening yesterday and the collective, "Awwww..." at Hobbs' appearance on-screen.

Many thanks to the on-screen talents of Jessica, Missy, Brian McIntosh and Mary Hazzard at Blue Hill and, across the road at Chesterland, to Bruce Davidson and Jan Smith!

Devon and David, Carli and Brigitte produced an immaculate barn as a back-drop and Rachel turned Rio out beautifully as well as wrangling Hobbs in the flower garden!  The farm, itself, played a central role in the cinematography and never looked more beautiful with many thanks to Margarito, Oscar and Ignatio!

Many thanks to Pari Nurrish for the still photography at Blue Hill and to Lisa Thomas and Susie Tuckerman for the Chesterland photographs!"  ~  Gigi

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Gigi Inducted Into Equestrian Hall of Fame at Stoneleigh Burnham!!

On September 27th, I had the great honor of being inducted into my high school alma mater's, Equestrian Hall of Fame at the Stoneleigh Burnham School in Greenfield, Mass.  Of course, our first stop on campus was the barn where we were greeted by the current Director of Riding, Mina Payne (a classmate of my sister Ricki's at Stoneleigh) and shown to the "Wall".

With my niece, Michele, Charlotte and my sister, Ricki
My introduction to the following panel discussion included the premier of 'A Fork in the Road', the moving mini-documentary about my equestrian career. (Very well-received with a few tears and a standing ovation!)   Great questions ensued from the students and faculty, regarding: one's favorite school horse, balancing college level academics with sport and goals before retirement. I told them that I had no intention of retiring and would be riding off into the sunset....

Before we set off for cocktails, my family surprised me with a lovely portrait given by an old family friend and superb equine artist, Susan Sponenberg!

Cocktails and a surprisingly (not what I expected after four years of boarding school "cuisine") delicious dinner were followed by the award ceremony itself.

My tribute, delivered by the current Headmistress, Sally Mixsell, had my brother (a retired Chief of Police) in tears. Stoneleigh Burnham was very important to my mother, a 1946 graduate and a long time member of the board of directors, and Sally's heartfelt comments regarding my family's close ties to the school and my equestrian experience just overwhelmed him.

My "back to my roots" weekend continued with a quick visit to May and Denny Emerson in Strafford, VT.  Susan McLean and I spent a beautiful afternoon talking to May and Mimi Leslie and watching Denny ride and teach.  I worked for the Emerson's for seven summers when I was in high school and college, including 1974 and 1976 when Denny won a team Gold Medal at the World Championships at Burghley and was an alternate for the Bromont Olympic team.

In a fitting commemoration of the weekend, I asked Denny to autograph my copy of "How Good Riders get Good". His sage advice on becoming a  successful International competitor certainly worked for me....twice!

Once again, I marvel at the good fortune I have enjoyed in my life! Thanks, again, to all of you, my family, friends, teachers and supporters who have made it all possible!

Monday, September 29, 2014

David Ziegler and Topper Make A Clean Sweep at DAD 2014!!

Now that the champagne has once again been replaced with coffee I can reflect on what a great weekend my team and I had.

The plan had always been to compete at in the Young Riders division at Devon following the NAYRC.  Jess has been very involved with Dressage at Devon since its inception (Competing, judging, commentating, and retiring Orpheus), so its a very sentimental competition to us here at Blue Hill and we are all proud to have the most prestigious CDI in our backyard.

Thursday night was our first experience in the atmospheric Dixon Oval under the lights for ring familiarization, Topper was barraged with decorations that we may or may not have made scarier by shaking (corn stalks).  That certainly set us up for competing in the ring the following day.

Friday was the Young Rider Prix St George, Topper was laying down one hell of a test until he thought he'd make it interesting and kick out in the 3 tempi's. Despite that, we still scored 67% to win he class.

Saturday we moved rings to the side Gold Ring, we rode very quietly for a fault free test to score a 71%, again taking home the blue.

Sunday was the day we were all waiting for, Freestyle test day. Topper was the last to go in the Dixon Oval, giving us his best freestyle in competition yet, dancing his way to the Sound of Music to 71.7%.

The clean sweep at Devon would not have been possible without coach extraordinaire, Jessica Ransehousen, physio Doug Hannum Equine Therapy making sure Topper had everything in him to bring us the blue (all of them!),  my sponsors Nupafeed, APF, & Icehorse, Rachel Gross for making Topper look spectacular and to everyone who came to cheer me on.

What a great way to finish my Young Rider career.

Future plans?  We're going to continue to work on the one changes, the piaffe and the passage to hopefully rise up to GP next spring!  Stay tuned..........
Check out the DAD photo album on Facebook!

Photo credits Lisa Thomas
Mid-Atlantic Equestrian Services.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Gigi's Making Of A Para-Equestrian Documentary For USPEA Global Awareness!!!

Video Shoot at Blue Hill Farm

Photo Credits Pari Nurrish

Monday, July 28th started with a flurry of activity that snowballed into two days of mad cob-webbing, dusting, sweeping and mowing in anticipation of filming a short video chronicling Margaret "Gigi" McIntosh's equestrian career. Blue Hill sparkled in the crisp morning light on Wednesday when producers Cindy Connors and Julia Fisher (Live Well Network/ABC/Disney), camera man Brian Troy (also from Live Well) and his assistant, Bethany Ditnes arrived.

Quiet descended on the farm as Cindy interviewed Gigi McIntosh, Missy and Jessica Ransehousen and Mary Hazzard with the intention of documenting Gigi's long-term passion for horses and raising awareness of the Para Equestrian discipline. Cindy's direction elicited insightful discussion of the financial challenges facing Paralympic hopefuls.

An exceptionally beautifully turned-out Rio Rio had her moment in the spotlight with both Gigi and Rachel Gross as Missy and Jessica trained them for the cameras!


Setting Up With Bruce at Chesterland
Visitors On The Set!

Photo Credits Lisa Thomas, Mid-Atlantic Equestrian Svcs.

The second day of shooting began back at Blue Hill Farm with Brian McIntosh's interview and Hobbs' Rose Garden press conference, continuing onward to Bruce Davidson's Chesterland Farm, just over the hill.  Bruce's film set included a panoramic view of Chester County hunt country and a herd of very curious young home bred Chesterland horses! Jan Smith, Hobbs' owner and long time young horse manager at Chesterland, had the last word in shepherding the herd! Thankfully, Brian Troy's camera equipment survived the Unionville safari!

We are looking forward to the great Premiere of this fabulous video documentary sometime in late September! Until then, please enjoy the two days chronicled in pictures, provided by Pari Nurrish (Blue Hill Farm) and Lisa Thomas (Chesterland)!

Many thanks to the Blue Hill and Chesterland support staff for their hard work and Blue Hill boarders for nobly suffering the disruption!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Update From Brigitte and Harper!

Brigitte and Harper Schooling at Windurra USA
While David, BG and Topper bask in the glory of Young Riders, the crew back at BHF have been hard at work developing their own future event horses!  Brigitte has been kind enough to send along an update on her green horse Harper, who came to Blue Hill last fall.  They are making quick progress and I was able to capture some of their developing jumping skills at Boyd and Silva's jumper just show a few weeks ago. 

Here's a link to the photo album on Facebook.

"Harper and I  have completed multiple Novice Horse Trials and schooling trials since the spring season has started. He has always been in the top 5 after dressage with scores no higher than 36.0.
I'm super excited to see how he progresses at each show. I feel like each time we go out, he gets more and more settled and figures out his job quicker and quicker.

Our next few shows consist of Fair Hill and the New Jersey Horse Park, where we will remain in the Novice division. We are striving to become very competitive at the novice level before moving up to training by early fall.

He has grown up A TON since I got him in September 2013.  At 5 years old, he already knows more than enough to be super competitive at Novice and Training, producing a very steady and consistent dressage test and jumping around stadium and cross country with no problems.   If all goes well and he's still gaining confidence, our near term goal is to progress well and aim to compete at the Waradaca 3 Day Event!" 

Photo Credits Lisa Thomas
Mid-Atlantic Equestrian Services

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Support the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ U.S. Para-Dressage Team!

Support the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ U.S. Para-Dressage Team with a Tax-Deductible Donation

Press Release by: Lindsay Y. McCall
Photographs Copyright

Gladstone, NJ - June 27, 2014- On June 6, 2014, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) named the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team. The top four ranked horse-and-athlete combinations will serve as the Team and the fifth ranked combination will serve as the self-funded Individual.

The costs to travel to Normandy, France for the U.S. Para-Dressage Team are considerable. The United States Para-Equestrian Association 501(C)(3) (USPEA) has created a tax-deductible fund to support the U.S. Para-Dressage Team headed to the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. These funds will be used for travel for the riders, grooms and trainers. Those travel expenses include airfare, trains, rental cars, vans, etc. 

As a USEF International Discipline Association, the USPEA 501(c)(3), supports the entire Para-Equestrian discipline including each individual athlete. The USPEA is excited for one of the best U.S. Para-Dressage Teams in history to head to an international games. To support the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team with a Tax-Deductible donation please click this link or USPEA link below.


2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™
U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team

Rebecca Hart (Unionville, Pa.) and her own Schroeter's Romani.
Schroeter's Romani is a 2003 Danish Warmblood mare.

Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) and her own Nice Touch.
Nice Touch is a 1995 Dutch Warmblood mare.

Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Willi Wesley, owned by Victoria Dugan
Willi Wesley is a 2000 Warmblood gelding.

Susan Treabess (Winters, Calif.) and Kathryn Hill's Kamiakin.
Kamiakin is a 2005 PRE stallion.

2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™
U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Individual

Angela Peavy (Avon, Conn.) and Rebecca Reno's Lancelot Warrior.
Lancelot Warrior is a 2002 Hanoverian gelding.

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Big Congrats to David and Topper on Making The Team for NAJYR!!!

The Dressage Canada Youth High Performance Committee and Dressage Selection Panel announced the selected athletes who will represent Canada at the 2014 North American Junior & Young Rider Championships, held July 15-20, 2014 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.
Three teams, for a total of 11 competitors, have been named to represent Canada at the Junior Rider level.
Young Rider Team British Columbia / Alberta / Manitoba will include the following athletes
  • Amy Wellburn - Cape Town
  • David Ziegle - Peninsula Top Man
  • Nachelle Forde -  Sir Elton
The chef d'équipes for the 2014 North American Junior, Young Rider Championships will again be Leslie Steele of Pitt Meadows, BC and Ellen Rumball of Hillsburgh, ON. Steele and Rumball will be assisted on site by shadow chef's Alison Brebner of Osgoode, ON, and Nina Urff of Langley, BC.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Focusing On The Positive!!

While there has been some recent disappointment at Blue Hill Farm, with Gigi's grade classification as it pertains to the Selection Trials, we want to point out the importance of the achievements that were reached by our girls (Becca, Gigi, Missy, Rachel, Alex, etc) during their stellar performances at Gladstone!!  It's pretty impressive to think that they've produced a National Champion and Reserve National Champion through consistent training, determination and the loyal support of such an amazing team of owners, riders and staff members at Blue Hill Farm.  It's a pretty special place!
Kudos to all!!


Rebecca Hart Earns Sixth USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and Margaret Mcintosh Takes Home Reserve
U.S. Para-Dressage 2014 World Equestrian Games Selection Trial Rankings are in
Press Release by: Lindsay Y. McCall
Photographs Copyright
  Gladstone, NJ- June 5, 2014- For the sixth time in history Grade II Para-Dressage rider from Unionville, Penn., Rebecca Hart, took home the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian
Rebecca Hart (Grade II) earned the 2014 USEF National Championship with Shroeter's Romani, (Danish Warmblood) , owned by Rebecca Hart in conjunction with Margaret Duprey, Cherry Knoll Farm, Sycamore Station Equine Division, Barbara Summer, The Ruffolo's, and Will and Sandy Kimmel. Photo copyright Photo is taken in Gladstone, NJ at  the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship/ Selection Trial for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG).
Rebecca Hart (Grade II) earned the 2014 USEF National Championship with Shroeter’s Romani, (Danish Warmblood) , owned by Rebecca Hart in conjunction with Margaret Duprey, Cherry Knoll Farm, Sycamore Station Equine Division, Barbara Summer, The Ruffolo’s, and Will and Sandy Kimmel. Photo copyright Photo is taken in Gladstone, NJ at  the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship/ Selection Trial for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG).
Dressage National Championship. Hart rode the Danish Warmblood Shroeter’s Romani to the victory. Schroeter’s Romani is owned by Rebecca Hart in conjunction with Margaret Duprey, Cherry Knoll Farm, Sycamore Station Equine Division, Barbara Summer, The Ruffolo’s, and Will and Sandy Kimmel. Earning the Reserve Championship was Grade Ia rider Margaret McIntosh and her own Rio Rio (Rheinland Pfalz-saar). The 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship/ Selection Trial for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) was one of the most competitive Championships/ Trials in Para-Dressage history. Para-Equestrians from around the U.S. traveled to Hamilton Farm at the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ, for their chance to earn a spot on the U.S. WEG Team and achieve top national rankings. The June 2-5, National Championship/ Trials ground jury included President Kristi Wysocki (4*) USA, Adrienne Pot (3*) USA, and David Schmutz (4*) USA. Behind Reserve Champion Margaret McIntosh obtaining third place was Grade Ia athlete Roxanne Trunnell and her own Nice Touch. Fourth place overall went to Young Rider Sydney Collier and the Mecklenburg NTEC Cuplee, owned by Patricia Mendenhall. Fifth place overall was earned by 2010 WEG athlete Susan Treabess and the PRE Stallion Kamiakin, owned by Scott and Katie Hill and the sixth place accolade went to Angela Peavy and the Hannoverian Lancelot Warrior,owned by Rebecca Reno. The awards ceremony named the top horse/rider combinations in each of the five Grades in addition to the top horse/rider combinations selected for the long list for the U.S. Para-Dressage WEG Team. Also included in the final accolades was the Sportsmanship Trophy. The Sportsmanship Trophy was awarded to Marsha Cullen. The Sportsmanship Trophy is a Perpetual Trophy awarded to a Para-Dressage Athlete competing at the National Championship who best personifies the high standards and virtues of integrity, sportsmanship, honor, courage, team spirit, good temper and unselfishness. Cullen was presented with a take-home trophy during the final awards ceremony.
Top U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes (Left to Right) Sydney Collier, Angela Peavy, Ashleigh Flores-Simmons, Susan Treabess, Rebecca Hart, Roxanne Trunnell with U.S. Technical Advisor/ Chef d'Equipe Kai Handt. Photo copyright Photo is taken in Gladstone, NJ at  the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship/ Selection Trial for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG).
Top U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes (Left to Right) Sydney Collier, Angela Peavy, Ashleigh Flores-Simmons, Susan Treabess, Rebecca Hart, Roxanne Trunnell with U.S. Technical Advisor/ Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt. Photo copyright Photo is taken in Gladstone, NJ at  the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship/ Selection Trial for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG).
Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio (Rheinland Pfalz-saar International), owned by Margaret McIntosh earned the USEF Reserve National Championship. Photo copyright Photo is taken in Gladstone, NJ at the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship/ Selection Trial for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG).
Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio (Rheinland Pfalz-saar International), owned by Margaret McIntosh earned the USEF Reserve National Championship.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Do You Know Carli McGinley?

NAME: Carli McGinley
Working Student With BHF Since December 2013
Discipline - Eventing
Horses - Searching for a new partner in crime

Photo credit to Xpressfoto
Hagyard Midsouth CCI* 2012

Carli is originally from Louisville, Kentucky and developed a passion for eventing as a kid, riding and competing anything and everything she could get her hands on. She started her eventing career on a 13.2 feisty Arab mare that she competed through training level.

Since then Carli has mostly ridden OTTB's and really loves working with them and bringing them along. She spent a summer at a training track galloping racehorses, learning how they tick and gaining invaluable experience.

Carli came to MIssy and Jess' after working for Stephen Bradley in Va, with the goal to work on her dressage. She brought along Kaiser, with whom she has had had a long and successful career with, including being 2012 USEF JR/YR CCI* National Champions. Missy helped her solidify her riding partnership with him, ultimately making the decision to retire Kaiser from upper level eventing. He is now very happy in his new home where he will run around beginner novice and novice with ease.

Carli is currently looking for her next partner...Probably an OTTB with a lot of personality and willingness to jump! Carli believes that Blue Hill is a great fit for her and feels like part of a huge family, and BHF is very happy to have her!!

Photo credit to Xpressfoto
Hagyard Midsouth CCI* 2012
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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Gigi and Becca Both Make the FEI World Ranked List!!

It is with great pride that we announce that both Gigi and Becca have made it into the top 5 in the FEI World Rankings!!!  We are so thrilled for the ladies, and for the entire team at Blue Hill Farm who have worked so hard to earn this great achievement!

I spoke with both Becca and Gigi this week to get their reaction to this phenomenal news:

Link to FEI World Rankings
Gigi was absolutely thrilled to find out that she's currently ranked 2nd in the World Rankings!  Her success in the 2 CPEDI's in Europe have contributed to this overall ranking.  The trip to Europe was more than just a success on the competition level, as that time in the throws of international competition also presented her with the time to bond with Becca. 

"Together we experienced the extreme highs & lows of competition.  When I was conflicted over riding against other riders with severe disabilities, she and Missy reminded me that I had to get past that emotion and compete!  I have a lovely horse and great help with the crew at Blue Hill Farm, including Missy, Jess, Rachel, my family and all the people who have encouraged me since my accident."

Becca is equally as excited about the world rankings!

"To have a new partner in Romani and to already be ranked 5th in the world is a great confidence builder going into Selection Trials being held June 2-5 in Gladstone!"

The whole support team at BHF wishes these ladies the best of luck preparing for and competing at the Selection Trials at Gladstone!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fabulous Phelps Media Press Release on Becca and Romani!

Rebecca Hart and Romani Return from Europe Ready to Rock Gladstone

Written by: Sue Weakley
Client: Cherry Knoll Farm
Release Date: 2014-05-07
Photo Credit PMG
Wellington, FL – May 7, 2014 – Para-equestrian dressage rider Rebecca Hart just arrived home from European competition ready to kick into high gear for the June 2-5 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships and selection trial for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy, France.

Hart and her equestrian partner, Schroeters Romani, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Lobster-Manique, Come Back II), competed in CPEDI3* shows in Deauville, France, April 4-6, and Moorsele, Belgium, April 25-27, to gain valuable competition experience.

“I am so glad that we did go because it was such a great learning experience,” Hart said. “We were competing in front of five judges and in Florida we compete in front of three. They were the two largest para shows that have ever happened. It was very well attended with the best of the best out and about and getting ready for the WEG. So, we got to see where we stood and what we need to work on, which was huge.”

Photo Credit PMG

“When we are competing in the States, we are sheltered and such a small group,” she continued. “The Europeans are very good at what they do—they’re the top dogs at this sport. If you want to play over there, you have to go and get in their world. It’s only going to get better from here.”

Hart said Romani traveled like a pro and has taken all the changes in stride since the mare’s purchase in Denmark five months ago with the help of Hart’s supporters: Margaret Duprey and Cherry Knoll Farm, Hart’s family, William and Sandy Kimmel and Sycamore Station Equine Division.

Photo Credit PMG
“I’m very excited for Rebecca,” Duprey said. “She took the ‘bit’ and went to Europe to see how she compared to her competition there.  Now she knows what her homework is before the selection trials next month.”

Duprey not only helped Hart with her dream to purchase Romani, but she also helped create the Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge for High Performance Para Dressage through the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation. She and the Barnfield Foundation will match leadership gifts made to the USET Foundation for para-equestrians to compete in international competition including the World Equestrian Games and Paralympics to meet the $800,000 goal.

“Hopefully, this challenge will raise the funds that will allow para-equestrian riders the chance to go to Europe and compete as Rebecca did,” Duprey said.

Hart returned home to Unionville, PA, and continues her training with Missy Ransehousen, who traveled to Europe for six weeks to coach. Hart and Romani spent time in Florida to train and compete in the CPEDI3* in Wellington March 12-16, and while in Florida, she trained with Todd Flettrich. Hart said Romani has coped well with moving so often in the past several months.

“She is a trooper,” Hart said. “Her life has been turned upside down. She got settled in Pennsylvania and then we moved her to Florida and then off to Europe we went.”
“In Deauville, she stayed focused and together,” she said. “She can be very nosy—she likes to see what is going on around her. She has always been an able-bodied horse and at a para competition there are wheelchairs and crutches. There’s a lot to look at and it can be intimidating for a horse that’s not used to that. She was aware of it but she kept her cool.”
In France, the pair qualified for the freestyle with scores ranked in the top five in their division, Grade II. Then, in Belgium, they made the cut again.

“She loves her freestyle and she gets into the music,” Hart said. “The technical aspect was good. It was quite high. But the music−in Belgium we had issues with the sound system. It ended up skipping part of the music and then it got stuck on the loop and it only did her trot music. It ruined the artistic presentation of her freestyle. It was disappointing but the technical was strong.”

Hart will unveil a new freestyle in Gladstone created for the pair by Marlene Whitaker from Custom Freestyle.

“We’re looking at something a bit lighter, a bit more feminine,” Hart said. “A bit more emotional, softer music because of the way she is. She can’t carry a heavy, dramatic music. It’s going to be a fun freestyle.”

Hart said she plans to work on connection and artistic expression with her horse between now and the National Championship.

“All the technical aspect is there,” she explained. “Now we want to add to the overall performance and the connection I have with her so that there is something to keep her focused and keep her moving without having the obvious distraction of the test. I want to get that flow and harmony to be able to support her and really show her off to the best of her ability. I feel that she’s quite phenomenal.”

For more information on the Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge, contact the USET Foundation, 908-234-1251.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Paraquest's (Gigi & Rio) Final Report From Moorsele!!

Gigi and Rio have returned home, and Missy has told Gigi that she is to stay out of the barn for a few days in order to rest up from their big trip!!  The following is a report from the final phase of their trip.

"The last leg of our European tour found us in the small town of Moorsele , BE at magnificent equestrian show venue, Quadrille.  Mary Jordan, Rebecca Hart and I shared our stabling with three lovely British riders and a very boisterous Italian Paralympic team! As a bonus, our dear friend James Dwyer from the Irish team and his lovely "new" wife, Phillipa Johnson-Dwyer (South Africa) were stabled nearby, adding to the relaxed atmosphere.

The club-like atmosphere at Quadrille, incorporating a restaurant just behind the judges' tables and a lot of activity around the ring was challenging but once again, Rio proved her worth as a no-nonsense competitor, completing her first Team test at the 1a level with a 69.2% for sixth place. A 68% (6th) in the individual test on day 2 highlighted my weak points but found us still competitive.

The freestyle class presented a new set of challenges! As I was newly reclassified as a 1a (due to gradually but markedly increasing spasticity), I had not prepared an appropriate freestyle. The multi-talented Rachel Gross drew on her extensive musical knowledge to cobble together lovely music from the movie 'Spirit'. Missy provided the choreography and we rode through the test once on Saturday evening. 

Rio delivered a very technically correct test (as I struggled to keep up with the music) to finish with a 69.9% in fifth place! Many thanks to Missy and Rachel for their great efforts!

We left Belgium having successfully accomplished the goals set many months ago.  The riders and horses gained experience at very electric venues not found anywhere in the United States.
The exposure to the high level of competition, so daunting in Deauville , became a matter of course in Moorsele.   Rio's scores have improved and become more consistent at every competition this spring. We have been judged several times by the same European five-star judges who have rewarded us with markedly higher scores at each outing.

We are well-prepared for the June 2-5 National Championships and selection trials at the old USET headquarters in Gladstone, NJ. It would be lovely to see you there!

Thank you so much to Missy Ransehousen and Rachel Gross for their inestimable coaching and horsemanship and to Rebecca Hart for her philosophy. And to all of you whose encouragement helped launch this trip of a lifetime, I am eternally grateful!

All results from Quadrille

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rachel Reports From Deauville!!

We're excited to get a great report from Rachel, now that she has returned to the land of wifi!  Take the time to read about the girls adventure from Rachel's point of view.....which includes a bit of a history lesson as well.  Wonderfully written Rachel and we can't wait for your next report!

"First competition down, and we are back in Holland for two weeks before we head to Moorsele, Belgium!  This being my first European trip, it was quite surreal to drive through three countries in one day.  Each time we stopped for fuel there was a different language being spoken at each gas station!

Deauville, known as the 'Parisian Riviera, is a beautiful town in Normandy France, and is apparently one of the most prestigious seaside resorts in all of France.  Deauville has a seaside casino and racetrack, And has long been a huge tourist attraction. The coastline is filled with Tudor mansions and up into the hills and cliffs of Normandy are stunning houses. It's absolutely breathtaking.

Little historical sidenote: there is so much history associated with the towns in Normandy, and obviously with the beach itself, being the site of 'Operation Neptune,' which was the code name for the D-Day Allied assault on the beach on June 6, 1944.  Roughly 156,000 soldiers made up of British, American, and Canadian troops stormed the 5 code named beaches that were the invasion sites or were paratroopers that were dropped in behind enemy lines the night before the attack on the beaches.  They were able to eventually break into France and drive the German forces out of Normandy, including Deauville.

Ok, now that I've fully emphasized the historical significance, I'll actually write about the show!  Rio and Romani settled in very well to their parisien environment, and had good rides on Wednesday and Thursday before the jog. Both horses passed the jog with flying colors, and Friday morning Becca started us off with the team test. She put in a lovely ride, ending the day in 4th place with a 69, and right up there with the tough competitors.  Romani looked brilliant. Gigi and Rio had a nice test as well, and finished 9th with a 64.

Becca and Romani

Becca and Romani
Saturday was the individual test and Becca again started us off in the morning, and put in a solid test with a 66. Gigi rode beautifully and had a lovely test, scoring a 66 as well. For Sunday, only the top 7 horses in each grade were able to ride the freestyle, since there were so many competitors. Becca made it into the freestyle and had a great ride, finishing 5th with a 69. Unfortunately, Gigi missed out on the 7th place finish to get into the freestyle by a few tenths of a point! It was a great experience for both she and her horse however, being the first really big international competition in Para for both of them!

Gigi and Rio
Gigi and Rio

This was my first experience at a real international competition, and I was blown away by the quality of horses and riders. These European Para riders are phenomenal, and really set the standard for Para-dressage.  It was quite an experience to be stabled along with so many other countries, and also to be at a CPEDI3* that was only a para competition. There were 79 horses that competed!  I'm so proud of our riders, and so happy to be a part of this experience to get these girls to WEG 2014! "

Go BHF and Go USA!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Good Bye Adequan Global - Hello Europe!!!!

We enjoyed truly beautiful weather from March 13-16, during the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. We competed in a huge covered arena, sheltered from the sun but quite breezy at times.
Twenty- eight horses jogged for the veterinarians on Thursday.  Serious competition began on Friday with each grade riding their Team Tests, followed by the Individual Tests on Saturday and the Freestyle on Sunday.

Missy drove Rio down from Ocala on Tuesday so she would have time to feel comfortable with the chaos at the show, including the cracking flags and the loudspeaker.  We need not to have worried, as all that atmosphere just made her brilliant on Wednesday, and by Sunday she needed very loud Freestyle music to wake her up again!

Photo Credit Lindsayt McCall
She easily earned the scores necessary to be eligible to compete internationally, with 66.5% on the first day and 65.3 on the second!  Rio was lovely, and I have my work cut out for me in terms of working on accuracy and straight, square halts!

Thanks to a rush job by Marlene Whitaker of Custom Freestyles, we have a beautiful routine set to the music of "The King and I" for our Freestyle competition!  Rio really perked up to do a beautiful test, falling right in with the "March of the Siamese Children".  The judges liked it as well, rewarding us with a 69.66% average from two 70% scores and one 68%.  We were thrilled!

Missy Ransehousen has done a wonderful job with Rio and me over the past few weeks.  In Wellington, she not only coached us but also made sure that Rio was turned out beautifully!  Once again, Brian's video and moral support was invaluable!  Lauren Sara, Laura Spilhaus and Stacey Kent were also very helpful as well.   The most humorous contribution came from Babsi Neidhart-Clark and Mimi Lufkin who were determined to keep my hair hidden under my hat with a lot of "Ez Braid", hairspray, and giggles!

Rachel Gross flew down on Tuesday to care for Rio in Wellington, and today they fly to Amsterdam with Becca Hart's Schroeder's Romani.  For the first week, we will be in Emmem, NL at Paulien Alberts' stable.  Missy catches up to us on March 28, when we will travel to the first show in Deauville, FR on the following Monday.  I am very excited to be traveling and showing in Europe with good friends and such a lovely horse. This is truly "living the dream".

Thank you all so much for your good wishes and continuing support!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jessica Teaches "Fix A Test" Clinic at Second Nature Farm!

Last Sunday, Lara Osborne spent the day with Jessica scribing for her at Second Nature Farm in Oxford.  The purpose of the day was to hold a fundraising "Fix A Test" for their Junior / Young Rider team.  Thanks so much to Lara for submitting this report!

 "On Sunday, Jessica spent the day at Anecia Delduco’s Second Nature Farm in Oxford PA, helping their SNF Jr./Yr. Dressage team do some fundraising, by judging a Fix-A-Test Clinic.  She had a full day judging 10 riders ranging from Training Level up to PSG and everything in between.

Colleen Gray

Colleen and Jessica
Rebecca Cord
 All of the riders rode through their tests, and then Jessica reviewed their scores, explaining why she scored them as she did, and what they could do to improve the score in the future.  Jessica also offered suggestions on ways to improve the overall appearance of the horse and rider team, which would also help in improving scores.   Everyone was happy with the suggestions and there were visible improvements made by all the team members.

Jessica enjoyed meeting some of the riders in the community, and the Second Nature Farm Jr./Yr. Dressage team gave Jessica a lovely gift basket as a thank you for donating her time towards their cause!"

Photo credits Anecia Delduco.