Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year from BHF South!!

Well it's official, the Unionville crew is settled into their southern location in Citra (Ocala) and we're all ready for an amazing 2016!!

Many thanks to Hanne Boekell for being my PR assistant in Ocala and sending these great pictures and updates from the first few days at the farm:

"I hope these pictures illustrate the first few days we have had here in Ocala!  We got in around midnight on Monday night, and spent the next day setting up the upper barn and  lower barns, while the horses got turned out in the warm sun. Today, Peter Berk's horses Roger and Prince arrived, and so did Gigi and her husband Brian. All the horses went for a trot, except for Devon and Fabe, who had a jump lesson. Rio started to prepare for her show this weekend with Missy, also. It's great to be here!"

We are expecting regular updates from Missy and the whole crew down south, as we already miss them here in Pennsylvania.  We have great expectations for an amazing 2016 with all of our horses, friends and clients at Blue Hill Farm.  

Have a very Happy New Year!!

Fritz and Topper Enjoying the Sunshine

Gigi and Rio

Ronja Enjoying the View

First Trot Set

Woody Loving The New Digs

Devon XC Schooling

Monday, December 14, 2015

Madeline Backus Shines As Top Young Rider in 2015!

Photo Courtesy
Area Ix Young Riders
Blue Hill Farm is so proud of all the exceptional Young Riders who have come through our program throughout the past several decades!  This year Madeline Backus has impressed not just the team at Blue Hill Farm for her dedication, work ethic and commitment to the sport of Eventing, but she clearly earned the same credit from the USEA.  Madeline was awarded the Amy Tryon Young Rider Grant at the 2015 USEA convention in Washington DC, and we can't wait to watch she and Ari shine during the 2016 competition season.

Details on the USEA Amy Tryon Grant:

"The USEA Endowment Trust is pleased to announce The Amy Tryon Young Rider Grant.
Amy Tryon was an icon in our sport. Amy, through her determination and grit, made way from Northwestern Washington to two Olympics. She was a dedicated, hardworking, and talented rider who started in Pony Club, participated in USEA’s Young Rider program, and eventually won an Olympic medal. Amy over came financial constraints, geographical distance, full time employment, and many other roadblocks to accomplish what most people can only dream about.
A tenacious, persistent, hardworking, and talented individual, Amy overcame long odds to accomplish the near-impossible. It is with this admiration and inspiration that the Amy Tryon Young Rider Grant has been created.
"The USEA Endowment Trust therefore now establishes the Amy Tryon Young Rider Grant with the contributions from the friends and family of the Olympic Event Rider, Amy Tryon. This fund is created to provide direct financial assistance to aspiring event riders who are participating in the USEA Young Rider programs and have aspirations of achieving the highest levels of International Eventing. The goal of the Grant is to provide riders with limited financial resources with the support they require to prepare and to compete at international three-day events. The USEA Young Rider Program member rider must display an outstanding work ethic and the tenacity exemplified by Amy Tryon, as well as the potential to achieve a high level of international competition. Assistance is considered for coaching, specialized training, entry fees, living costs for horse and rider, and/or travel. The monies available for these Grants are provided from donations made to the USEA Endowment Trust."

Madeline has worked so hard over the past several years to bring Ari up through the levels while balancing her responsibilities here at Blue Hill Farm.  Her 2015 competition year has culminated with a trifecta of nominations include winning the Young Rider award at Fair Hill International in October, being nominated to the Eventing 25 Training List and then receiving the honor of the Amy Tryon Grant.   You can also listen to an interview regarding with Madeline regarding the Eventing 25 Training List on the USEA podcast (minute 19).

"I am so honored to have been chosen as the recipient of the Amy Tryon Grant! It is such a special award. I will strive to be the hard worker, inspiration, and wonderful equestrian that Amy Tryon was.
It has been such a huge year for me! I can not thank everyone enough. Without all of your support, I would not be where I am today. Let's get 2016 started!"

Madeline has also received lots of well deserved press this year as she's progressed up through the Advanced level.  Here is a great article on her posted to Eventing Nation in August of this year.   You can also listen

We are ready for 2016 as well and can't wait to watch Madeline Backus shine!!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Seema's Spirit of Volunteering Lives On In Our Eventing Community!

Many thanks go out to Bonnie Kibbie and Holly Covey for their dedication to ensuring that Seema's spirit of volunteering lives on in our Event community.

Article from Eventing Nation........

Seema Sonnad’s Dream for Volunteerism Lives On

Seema Sonnad in her element — volunteering! Photo by Cynthia Gilbert/Gazworks Inc.  

Seema Sonnad in her element — volunteering! Photo by Cynthia Gilbert/Gazworks Inc.
Seema Sonnad had a mission to grow volunteerism in eventing and reward volunteers for their service. Before her death in May this year, Seema developed a plan that could serve as a jumping-off point for better recognizing, organizing and educating volunteers. Though she was unable to see her plan come to fruition, Seema’s dreams for volunteerism are living on thanks to the dedication of a wonderful group of hardworking people.

The USEA Volunteer Recognition and Education Committee, on which Seema served, existed for only one year, but at this past weekend’s USEA Annual Meeting and Convention in Washington, D.C., the Board of Governors moved to form an official Volunteer Committee headed by USEA president-elect Carol Kozlowski and create a proposal to develop a Volunteer Incentive Program.
Holly Covey and Bonnie Kibbie presented to the Board Seema’s four-point program for volunteers, which includes volunteer recognition, a national database, an awards program and incentives. The ultimate goal is to create an integrated volunteer program that makes it easier for organizers to connect with and educate volunteers, as well as reward them for the many hours they donate to the sport.

“Through the USEA we can promote volunteerism, get people involved that weren’t involved previously, grow membership, help the organizers and grow volunteers,” Bonnie said. “Individual shows do great things for volunteers, but (we need to) create one top-down system to streamline things and recognize volunteers for what they do.”

The Volunteer Incentives session on Saturday afternoon at the Convention was well attended by participants from all corners of the sport, and a constructive discussion explored countless ideas for enhancing the culture of volunteerism. With a solid framework, focused goals and creative ideas from a passionate community, volunteerism is well on its way to getting the boost it needs.

Seema Sonnad's husband Henry Glick and PRO President Allison Springer present Bodgie Read and Dale Clabaugh with the inaugural PRO Above & Beyond Event Personnel Award. Photo by Jenni Autry.
Seema Sonnad’s husband Henry Glick and PRO President Allison Springer present Bodgie Read and Dale Clabaugh with the inaugural PRO Above & Beyond Event Personnel Award. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Members of the community who filed a complaint with the Attorney General's office received a letter dated 11/5/2015.  Susan Buckman, who organized an investigation into the passing of the disputed Newlin Township Equine Ordinance of 2014, has served the township with a letter requiring that they rescind the ordinance or face legal action.

Blue Hill Farm in Newlin Township
Suzanne Bush from the Pennsylvania Equestrian Newspaper was present at the last township meeting where the board of supervisors refused to open discussion around the Attorney General's letter.  Suzanne has written a comprehensive article including her interview with the head of the Board Of Supervisors, Janie Baird.

The next board of supervisors meeting is 12/14/15 and we are hoping to see full support from our community members at this meeting.  In an interview with Suzanne Bush, Janie Baird responded that they don't intend to put this on the meeting agenda, as the Attorney General's office took their time serving the requirement to rescind the ordinance or face legal action.

Please read the following article below by the Pa Equestrian and please come out to show your support!