Thursday, July 30, 2015

Vote For Fork In The Road in the Musicbed Film Festival!!

Fall is coming and that's the hot season for film festivals!  Film producer Brian Troy has submitted Fork In The Road (the documentary on Gigi McIntosh) to the Musicbed Film Festival.

About the Musicbed Film Fest

"Musicbed Film Fest is a celebration of the films made possible through the powerful relationship of sound and picture. From the first time indie filmmaker to the most influential brands in the world, we want to award the best of the best films featuring Musicbed scores — honoring the landmark work that’s been made and encouraging creatives to continue making impactful films, telling better stories, and changing the hearts of people."

The People's Choice is all voter based, so please tell all your friends and family about this exciting online event and have them vote! Make sure they follow this link and share it as well. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

BG's Official Retirement & The One to Fill His Big Shoes!!

Finally some time to sit down and write!  BG and I had a fantastic spring season campaigning for the Pan Ams, ultimately, it was decided we were not the right fit for the team. BG had once again earned his retirement.

Missy and I travelled to Germany in May to begin our hunt to find my next event horse. This was all made possible by the generous support of Missy's long time client, Dr. Peter Berk. In the 36 hours we spent in Germany, we drove 2000km and sat on 10 horses. At the end of it all, it was clear there was only one horse for us who we ultimately brought home. 

Introducing Fritz! An 8 year old 16.3h Brandenburg gelding who we plan on running in a couple prelims in the near future in order to prepare him for a fall 1*!

I've been spending some more time teaching, traveling back to Alberta for a week to teach a clinic, then I returned to Young Riders last week, not as a competitor but as Assistant Chef d'Equipe to the Canadian Dressage Team. It was great to see so many Canadians on the same podium where I stood last year. 

David Teaching in Alberta
Now that I'm back in PA for the rest of summer I'm looking forward to teaching more locally if anyone reading this may be interested!

Till next time,


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Woody Is For Sale!!

Looking for a wonderful all around horse, who's lovely to handle and a fun ride?  Woody is on the market!!

Imported KWPN, 2003, 16.1hh, liver chestnut gelding
By Houston out of a Flemmingh mare

A stunning competition horse, with solid dressage training, plenty of experience at 1st level at schooling shows and good technique over fences.  An absolute pleasure to ride and handle, hacks alone or in company.

Woody has " low mileage" due to owner's transfer to the US from England for work.  He is fit, healthy and ready to have lots of fun with a new owner who wants to do some combined training and show jumping!

email Blue Hill Farm or call 610-486-6357

Monday, July 20, 2015

Working Student Spotlight On Madeline Backus!

Madeline Backus has been riding with Blue Hill Farm for several years now, and the relationship began in Florida when Missy began teaching Madeline's Mom Laura.  The family has a training and small breeding business in Colorado, but they winter in the Ocala area.  Missy began by instructing Laura and then Madeline spent the summer of 2013 with us and brought her young horse PS  King of Hearts, who has since been sold to a rider in Maryland.

We are very excited that Madeline has come back to us as a working student with her talented mare P.S. Ariana, and these two have proven that they've got what it takes to compete at the upper level of the sport.  This is their story………………………………….


I have been at Blue Hill Farm since the middle of April 2015 with my Trakehner mare, P.S. Arianna.  Prior to that I had made the long trip from Colorado to Florida in the beginning of November to spend the winter at the small farm we have south of Ocala. 

I took my A Pony Club rating soon after arriving in Florida, and only failed one section, which I will be retaking.  Missy was about 45 minutes away from me in Florida, so I was able to work a couple of days a week once she arrived. I began preparing Ari for our first event, a preliminary at Ocala Horse Properties Winter I to start off the season. 

We competed Intermediate at the Ocala Horse Properties Winter II,  finishing second before heading to Red Hills in March, where I did my first CIC 2*.  Ari was absolutely incredible, and we finished in the top ten in a very competitive division with 58 starters.  From there, my plan was to compete at the CCI 2* at Ocala Horse Properties and qualify for Young Riders. Unfortunately we weren’t able to pass the first jogs, so we rerouted to CCI 2* at Jersey Fresh after making the trip up to Blue Hill Farm. 

At Jersey Fresh, we had a decent dressage test, and headed out for a phenomenal cross country ride. After such a wonderful cross country day, it was heartbreaking to not pass the jog Sunday morning. My ride on Ari has been a bit of a rollercoaster after her injury in 2011, but I have learned to not give up. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by such supportive and wonderful people that help me get through the tough times that all equestrians know too well. Ari is my only upper level horse, and we have a very special bond that I am willing to do anything for to keep riding her. Having that bond is what makes it so amazing to ride her. 

I know she will do her absolute best to keep me safe, which is exactly what she did at our first advanced at the Horse Park of New Jersey I. Moving up to Advanced gave me something to look forward to, and it ended up being a great weekend! Ari was a bit tense in dressage, as we are learning to control our new level of fitness. She just knew what was coming and thought we didn’t need to do dressage! We had a great show jumping round with only one rail down, and got around cross country with only time added to our score. I made some mistakes, but Ari was fabulous and kept jumping her heart out for me. We ended up in 8th place out of 18 starters. 

Through our training program at Blue Hill Farm, we are now back on track and Ari is in great form! Our summer/fall plan is to compete Advanced at Millbrook Horse Trials before heading to the CIC 2* at Richland. If all goes well there, we will go to the CIC 3* at Plantation (very exciting!) and head to the CCI 2* at Fair Hill. 

I am really looking forward to the rest of the show season, and am so grateful to be here at Blue Hill Farm, where I am learning so much from Jessica and Missy. 

Thank you! ~Madeline Backus

Friday, July 10, 2015

Brigitte and Harper Move Up to Prelim!

One of the things I insist on in the barn is that the working students keep us up to date on their progress.  Brigitte is first up to bat and has had a very productive season thus far!!


Ocala 2015
When we left for Florida, we were still at Training level trying to perfect the scary "water jumps."  Well we conquered them and started finishing on our dressage score in the top 10 at most of ours shows. So proud of the little man who has put on his big boy pants.  It was our first time competing in Florida and I think we both had a blast, and we learned so much and got a tan while doing it!! 

Entering the start box Plantation Field Spring HT

As the crew and I came back from Florida, Missy thought we were ready to make the move to Prelim.  Before we could really plan to move up, I took some medical steps to help him. We injected his back and stifles and HOLY COW, did I have a whole new horse after that. Crazy jumps schools and gallops. I had to hold on all over again as the inner 4 year old came back out, bucking non-stop and jumping so high I could touch the clouds! So we did our last 2 Training shows at Fair Hill and Plantation, then our move up was at New Jersey Spring HT. 

At home, we had schooled as many appropriate questions as we could create in prep for this show.  Our dressage was spectacular for our first prelim, we received a 31.1 and were tied going into SJ  for 5th place with Buck on Park Trader.  We came out of SJ in 7th after I made him have a rail, but he jumped around like a true prelim horse. 

The dreaded Chevron!
Going out to XC, all I could think about was jump 16, a chevron on its own out of the woods and it was big. We hadn't schooled one on its own like that before, so I hoped for the best. We left the start box and boy was he game for everything. Jumping out of stride, clearing everything with ease, I was so happy with him. We were out there having fun! Unfortunately, we had 2 stops at jump 16 and I chose to retire rather than try a third time and be eliminated. On the walk home, he was still ready to go and very proud of himself. I couldn't have been happier with my little man. 

At the end of the day, he got lots of rubs and treats and we had a plan to school chevrons for the remainder of July until my next show, which will be Jersey HP again. Thinking ahead, Jeff Kibbie has built and exact replica of the chevron for BHF to own and that has been a huge help to our schooling! 

Our fall plans are big and I'm hoping to see a 1 star in our near future. We're headed to Richland our first time later this summer and then we're aiming for our first Three-Day in October.  Little does he know that he does have to continue to grow up, but I think he loves his job. Watch out world, Harper is a Prelim horse in the making!!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Help Honor Seema!

How You Can Help Honor the Memory of Seema Sonnad

Thanks to Holly, Bonnie and Melissa for organizing all these fundraisers.  We will continue to honor our friend and miss her!!!

Seema Sonnad at the 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Photo by Holly Covey.
Seema Sonnad at the 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Photo by Holly Covey.
In life, Seema Sonnad gave immeasurably to the sport she loved and to her friends. So after she is gone, we just can’t stop her legacy, so those of us who loved and respected her are carrying on.
The Professional Riders Organization will continue with her planned awarding of the $1,000 PRO Above and Beyond Award to a notable volunteer at the annual USEA Convention, with Sharon White coordinating on the PRO Awards Committee. More details will be coming on that at a later time.
Friends of Seema responded online when I posted about honoring her volunteer commitment at the two Area II fall international events: Plantation Field International Sept. 17-20 in Unionville, Pennsylvania and the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International Oct. 14-18 in Elkton, Maryland. We thought we would just sponsor a jump on course at each event in her honor. Well, that grew a little.
Now we are sponsoring a jump at both events for Seema, and through the generosity of Jeff and Bonnie Kibbie and Fair Hill, we are raising funds to build a Training level portable obstacle to be dedicated to Seema at Fair Hill. And that’s not all. Bonnie is coordinating an online sale of donated items to benefit the Seema Sonnad Junior Rider Development fund set up in her honor by her family through the USEA.
We would really like your help — in Seema’s fashion — to pitch in and get these jumps funded.
Donate to Seema’s portable jump
For Seema’s permanent portable jump, go here and click the Donate button under “Help us Build a Fence to Honor Seema” to donate through PayPal. Fair Hill is tracking the donations and will let us know when we have enough to cover the expenses.
Fair Hill needs Training level obstacles, so Jeff will coordinate with them to build a suitable commemorative jump in Seema’s honor. I am excited that it will be a Training level obstacle because that seems to be a very versatile size of fence that many of us, at all of our skill levels, will be able to negotiate if we ride at Fair Hill.
We will dedicate this obstacle at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International this fall with a short ceremony, and the jump will be on display during the competition. This is all due to the generosity of Fair Hill and their wish to honor Seema; many thanks to them for their incredible support.
Donate to sponsor a fence in Seema’s name
For sponsoring a jump in Seema’s name at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International in October (for the CCI2* and CCI3*), please send a check made out to “FHI” for your chosen amount ($50 or $100) to Holly Covey, 11671 Utica Road, Greenwood, DE 19950. Please include your email address and/or phone number with the check.
We will notify the donors when we reach $750 and will draw names for jump sponsor perks. These jumps will be listed in the program as “Sponsored by friends of Seema Sonnad to honor her volunteer work at this event.” Email with any questions.
For sponsoring a jump in Seema’s name at the Plantation Field International Horse Trials CIC3* in September, please send a check made out to “PFEE” for your chosen amount ($50 or $100 or more) to Melissa Stubenberg, 5 Greenfield Lane, West Grove, PA 19390. Please include your email address and/or phone number with the check.

We will notify the donors once the amount has been raised. Melissa will work with Katie Walker to draw or fairly distribute jump sponsor perks. Email with any questions.
Please note all of your donations are tax deductible, as both events have 501(c)3 status.

Seema Sonnad Junior Rider Development Fund
Bonnie Kibbie is hosting a virtual tag sale of donated items to raise money for the Seema Sonnad Junior Rider Development Fund at the USEA. Please buy what you need and share the sale, which you can access at this link. All money raised will go toward this USEA grant, which will be awarded in Seema’s memory.

If you have an item to donate, please contact me at We will continue adding horsey and non-horsey items daily. We will also host a physical tag sale for any items not sold online at a USEA Area II event this fall (event and date TBD). Keep checking back for new items.
We will ship anywhere in the U.S.; buyer pays shipping costs.

Email Bonnie at with any questions or for more information.