Thursday, December 29, 2016

News and Updates From Missy and Madeline!

We wanted to put a quick update out on our blog for those who don't follow us on Facebook!
The annual migration to Ocala was successful and incident free, with Missy arriving at Blue Hill South last night around 10:30pm. 

There's several exciting announcements about Madeline, which includes her naming to the USEF 2017 Eventing 25 Training list. 

Read Full Coverage on Eventing Nation

Madeline and PS Ariana, photo Jenni Autry/EN

More exciting news from Madeline also includes an extra little Christmas present that arrived in the mail this week!  We couldn't be any prouder of her accomplishments this past year and look forward to what is ahead for 2017.

Right now Missy and Madeline are out for a hack in the sunshine down in Ocala, and yes, we northerners are all jealous!!

Next up will be a full report from David on his plans for 2017.  Stay tuned!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Madeline's Reflections on Fair Hill International's 3*!

What a beautiful week we had at Fair Hill! Not only was the weather absolutely perfect,  but I was  also very grateful to have my parents fly into spend the weekend with me.  Last year I completed my first CCI 2* at Fair Hill and this year I completed my second CCI 3*. 

Both years I’ve been lucky to have great weather at Fair Hill.  There is a lot of atmosphere at Fair Hill and the courses were all very nice this year.  Ari and I had a great prep run at Plantation Field International a few weeks prior to Fair Hill, where we ran the CIC 3* as well.

Ari and I arrived on Tuesday for the first horse inspection, in preparation for the jog Wednesday afternoon.  On Thursday we put in a pretty good dressage test for Ari and I was quite pleased with her since dressage has been our toughest phase. We didn’t score quite as well as we did at Plantation, but I am still happy with the improving relaxation thanks to all the help I have received from Blue Hill. Jessica has really been working with me to focus on every stride and ride extremely steady to keep Ari consistent, and it is really coming along. Ari is an incredible horse, but she is also a bit challenging in the dressage, so she’s really teaching me how to ride.

I walked the cross country course with Missy after Dressage, which was intimidating at first, but Missy thoroughly went through it with me and we came up with a solid plan.  I walked my course a total of four times to really feel confident about the lines I was going to take coming to each and every fence.  Ari and I had a free day on Friday, so I just did a light flat school to keep her happy.  I was also able to have Patti Gillen from County Saddlery  fit my jump saddle for XC on Saturday, which was very nice and extremely helpful of her! 

By the time Saturday morning rolled around, I walked my course one last time, and began getting ready.  I got more nervous as our ride time approached, but as soon as we headed out of the box, we were ready to tackle the course.  Ari is an amazing cross country horse and made it around the course brilliantly.  I made a couple of mistakes, but she took care of me and we crossed the finish line with just a bit of time. I was absolutely thrilled.

You can check out several photos from XC day on Facebook.

Then began the post Cross Country care, with icing, poulticing, liniment baths, wrapping, and hoof packing. Horses are so tolerant with all we do to them, especially since they don’t understand why we make them stand in buckets of ice and wait patiently while we fuss over their legs.  Ari is a pro when it comes to all of this, and lets us take care of her. 

Sunday morning came along, and it was an early morning to prepare for the final horse inspection. I was so grateful for the help of Todd and Stacey to make Ari feel her best after the great effort she put in the day before on XC.   We passed jogs and continued onto the final phase with Missy's help warming up for Show Jumping.  Ari was phenomenal and jumped so carefully around the entire course, even when I put her on a difficult stride into a combination. She pulled one rail due to my mistake, but finished the course wonderfully. She tried her heart out for me, and I couldn’t have asked for a better run at my second CCI3*. 

The big news is that with a successful completion at Fair Hill with a clean cross country run, we are qualified next April for Rolex!  Ari and I will continue to move forward in our training and see what next year may bring!

As always, a huge thanks to all of the people who always cheer me on,  including my wonderful sponsors who support my goals and dreams.  It is truly an amazing team here at Blue Hill, and I couldn’t have done it without everyone involved.   Thank you to my parents and their friends who gave their support as well.  What an unforgettable week!    ~ Madeline

Photo Credits Lisa Thomas, Mid-Atlantic Equestrian

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Missy Teaches At Twin Fox Farm in Versaille, Ky!

Many thanks to Brigitte Aikelin for her report from last weekend's clinic with Missy in Kentucky!
If anyone is interested in scheduling a clinic with Missy, she is an amazing instructor.  Please call her directly for  scheduling and fees.  484-576-3947

This past weekend Twin Fox Farm in Versailles, KY welcomed Missy Ransehousen for a 2 day clinic. There were many participants, some who we're excited to ride with her for the first time.

Day 1 was dressage. It started just as the sun came up and finished as the sun went down. Missy had a busy day but that didn't stop her from giving fantastic lessons and advice to all the riders! Even the auditors learned bits and pieces to take home and try on their horses.

After a long dressage day and setting the jump course for the next day, a few of the riders and crew from Twin Fox took Missy out for dinner. Everyone reminisced about Rio and past Olympics and WEG. It was a fun time for all!

Day 2 was stadium day, once again starting as the sun came up.  After the waters were done spritzing the arena, the first group took flight.  Everyone had successful rides and left the arena grinning from ear to ear, making new friends from their jump pairs.  After our goodbyes and many thanks, we sent Missy off to the airport.

It was such a successful weekend for all. The facility was fantastic with perfect footing both days. Twin Fox Farm would gladly welcome Missy back any time! Everyone was thankful to Missy for the extended knowledge that she has given each of us to take away from the weekend. ~ Brigitte

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Gigi Looks Back On Rio!

Looking back over my notes from the first team conference call at the end of March when we were still at Cindy Torbeck's farm in Ocala, I find it hard to believe we actually made it to Rio! Through the dark days at the National Finals desperately doing the math to figure out if we still even had a chance to the final role calls in the #1 spot on the team to the Opening Ceremony, the depths of my emotional roller coaster made the high points even more satisfying.

One of the most rewarding aspects of this Paralympic Games was the bond we developed as a team. We shared a three bedroom, three bathroom apartment in a nineteen story high rise in the village. We also shared the elevators with 300 USA teammates from all disciplines, truly a challenge at peak times. The main dining hall was a huge tent.  I mean like airline terminal huge! With an incredible variety of food from pizza and various hot dishes to abundant fruit and salad and delicious ice cream bars, everyone found something to eat and, remarkably, none of us suffered any ill effects!  

We shared lots of giggles over our coordinated efforts at locomotion around the Village, two of us on one scooter and powered scooters towing the wheelchairs. Some efforts were more successful than others. The opening ceremony almost ended in a wreck but Annie swooped in to save me from a near-disaster caught on International TV!

We all cheered for each other's rides, owners, grooms and trainers sitting together as an American contingent replete with waving fłags.

Photo Duncan Peters

My first ride in the Deodoro stadium was so exciting! I literally could not stop smiling! The venue looked like a huge expanse on TV but the small dressage ring was artfully surrounded by shrubbery delineating the competition area and assuaging my agoraphobia. The stadium was festively decorated with International flags, brightly colored blue and green seating, and abundant flowers all reinforcing the Rio carnival atmosphere. We took our time noting the landmarks that would help me keep my 8m circles regular.

Two days later, Missy's great coaching experience led Rio and me to produce a solid first test at the Paralympic Games. I didn't ride till late in the afternoon on a very hot day, leaving too much time to ponder all aspects of this momentous occasion. Around noon, I had a total panic attack followed by an epiphany. I had already accomplished my goal in making it to the Paralympic Games. Suddenly calm, I resolved to just enjoy riding my horse and felt very confident walking around the outside of the competition ring with Missy, greeting the judges as we had done so many times before. I wasn't nervous at all and rode Rio in a consistent test with great halts and wonderful free walks for a respectable 68% despite the oppressive heat.

Preparing for my second test, the Individual Championship, to be held two days later, involved a slight change in strategy. In order to encourage Rio to show more forward energy, I rode her on a little longer rein. The coaches found her much improved in the subsequent test but from the judges' perspective, not enough to significantly impact her score.

I enjoyed the support of a great team in Rio! Missy Ransehousen did double duty as groom and trainer, keeping Rio well fed and beautifully turned out as well as totally tuned up for competition. Alex Philpin was a great help, especially on competition days when time was a factor. Charlotte McIntosh Tarr, my daughter, was exceptional in her ability to keep me organized, hydrated and focused with energy and a sense of humor that benefitted the whole team. It was a delight to have her there! I was overwhelmed by the cheers and good wishes of my FaceBook friends. I'm so sorry that none of the live feeds panned out!

It is hard to capture the sense of cameraderie our group shared. Missy summed it up saying it was a "No drama" experience. There was mutual support from the team's actual moms sewing the Paralympic buttons on our show coats to our Personal Care Providers, Laureen Johnson and Tina Wentz jumping in to push our powerless power chairs when necessary. We all benefitted from the years of advanced planning, foresight and attention to detail by the USEF's Will Connell and Christy Baxter and the support of the USET Foundation. Duncan Peters and the grooms kept the horses remarkably happy and healthy. Our State Department liaison, Stacey Berg, instantly became part of the team, pushing wheelchairs and fetching dressage whips as well as ensuring our safety!

Team Photo Holly Jacobson
My fellow teammates, Becca Hart, Sydney Collier, Annie Peavy and Roxie Trunnell, as well as being serious competitors, contributed a lot of humor to their overarching team spirit.

I can't begin to thank Missy enough for her determination in making my dream come true. I am very appreciative of all the hours she and Jessica have spent whipping Rio and me into shape.  It was lovely to come home to the congratulations of all of you who have followed my quest for all these years! Thank you all!

For full results:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

USPEA Press Release and Update from Paralympics.

Trunnell and McIntosh Represent the USA in Deep Grade 1A Division

By: Eleanor R. Brimmer

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - September 12, 2016 -
The largest class of 26 athletes from 19 nations in the 2016 Paralympic Equestrian Games contested the 1A division on September 12, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Margaret "Gigi" McIntosh from Reading, PA, made her Paralympic Team and major championship debut at Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center with her aptly named mare Rio Rio. The pair acquitted themselves well, finishing on a 68.087% for 19th place.

Roxanne Trunnell of Rowlett, Texas, also made her Paralympic debut representing the United States as an Individual with Rachel Zent and Julia Handt's Royal Dancer. The 2014 World Equestrian Games team member scored a 69.348% for 14th place. Roxanne commented,  "Royal felt amazing during the test. I couldn't help but smile during it; He was so forward and marching in his walk and I was thrilled with his freewalk. I've been working on letting the reins go more which is a weird feeling for me since with my previous mount Touché you always had to keep hold of her, but I'm getting better about it. Overall it was a fantastic first Paralympic showing. I couldn't bring cookies with me but I snagged him some apples and I was sure to give him one after that lovely test."

 Winning the Grade 1A Individual Test was Great Britain's Sophie Christiansen riding Athene Lindebjerg to a 77.522%, her teammate Anne Dunham followed her into second place with Ljt Lucas Normark with a score of 73.975%.

Also competing this morning, September 12, was the Grade IV division, which did not have any representation from the United States. Belgium's Michele George won the class with her 2012 Paralympic Gold Medal partner Fbw Rainman on a score of 75.286%. Second place finisher for Grade IV was Great Britain team member Sophie Wells riding Valerius to a 74.405%.

Tuesday, September 13, we will see Rebecca Hart and Margaret Duprey and Cherry Knoll Farm's Schroeter's Romani compete in the Grade II Team Test at 11:20 AM local time. Entering the Equestrian Center for her second day is Annie Peavy aboard Becky Reno and Heather Blitz's Lancelot Warrior to contest the Grade III Individual Test for a possible medal at 4:06 PM local time.

The 2016 Paralympic Equestrian Games run from September 11-16, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center.

Full results and live scoring can be found here:

Timeline of Events at the Paralympic Games:

September 13 
10:00 AM      Grade II Team - Rebecca Hart (11:20 AM)
2:00 PM        Grade III Individual - Annie Peavy (4:06 PM)
5:05 PM        Grade III - Victory Ceremony

September 14   
10:00 AM    Grade IV Ind.
12:20 PM    Grade IV Ind. - Victory Ceremony
2:00 PM        Grade Ib Ind. - Sydney Collier
5:05 PM        Grade Ib Ind.  - Victory Ceremony

September 15   
10:00 AM    Grade II Ind. - Rebecca Hart
1:00 PM        Grade II Ind. - Victory Ceremony
2:00 PM        Grade Ia Ind. - Margaret McIntosh, Roxanne Trunnell
4:55 PM        Grade Ia Ind. - Victory Ceremony

September 16
9:00  AM    Grade III FS - Annie Peavy
10:10 AM    Grade IV FS
11:16 AM    Grade III FS - Victory Ceremony
11:31 AM    Grade IV FS - Victory Ceremony
1:00 PM        Grade Ib FS - Sydney Collier
2:10 PM        Grade Ia FS - Margaret McIntosh, Roxanne Trunnell
3:10 PM        Grade II FS - Rebecca Hart
4:16 PM        Grade Ia FS - Victory Ceremony
4:31 PM        Grade II FS - Victory Ceremony
4:46 PM        Grade Ib FS - Victory Ceremony
5:01 PM        Team - Victory Ceremony

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Back On Track Sends Gigi and Rio Rio to Rio In Comfort!

We are so grateful to Back on Track for making sure that Gigi and Rio and properly outfitted for their journey to Ocala, then Miami, then Rio!  It is a big mission to send Gigi and Rio (and Missy) on their way to Rio de Janiero, Brazil and Back on Track has stepped up to make sure they are comfortable while making this long trip.  We are so appreciative of their support of our Paralympic superstars!!

The use of the Back on Track sheet and the Quick Wraps will really help in keeping Rio's body and legs comfortable while in transit.  Although Rio is accustom to long trips for her competitions, it's still a lot to require of these animals when shipping so many miles. 

"Rio Rio and I are well equipped for the Road to Rio with our Back on Track Mesh sheet and Quick Wraps and  I am thoroughly enjoying the warm hug provided by my Double Back Brace!  Thank you so much, Bo and Lucy,  we are delighted to attest to the benefits of Back on Track's technology!"

Lucy and Bo sent us the following message regarding their support of Gigi and Rio, “Back on Track is delighted to stand behind Gigi McIntosh, while she rides at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”

Schedule For Rio:

8/27 - Rio and Missy are scheduled to leave Blue Hill Farm headed for Ocala
8/28 - Training Camp from August 28th - September 2nd 
9/3 -  Missy, the grooms and Dr. Duncan Peters (team vet) fly to Rio ahead of horses.
9/3 - Horses fly later that same day from Miami to Rio with the Canadian vet and grooms.
9/4th - Riders fly to Houston for "processing" with the other Para athletes, then onto Rio.
9/7 - Opening Ceremonies
Gigi and Rio compete on 9/12, 9/15 and 9/16!
9/19 - Horses fly to one week quarantine in Miami.
Missy and grooms fly back to Miami on the same day.
Athletes back to Houston on the 19th.
9/20 - Home, sweet home on the 20th!

Here's to wishing the entire US Paralympic Team the best of luck in Rio.  You will make us proud!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

What an unforgettable week at the NAJYRC's at the Colorado Horse Park!

Our in house YR superstar, Madeline Backus, reflects on her travels back home to Colorado and her experience of riding on the team for Area IX. 

"Many people asked me why I wanted to go back down to the 2* level to compete at the 2016 NAJYRC’s after Ari and I have completed a couple of 3*’s together. Competing at the 2* NAJYRC’s has been a goal of mine for as long as I remember, and I had the opportunity this year to represent Area IX. It was also great to be able to compete at the Colorado Horse Park again, which put on a great competition as usual. 

Area IX Young Riders

"I felt the courses were all very fair yet challenging enough to shift the standings after dressage.  I was actually quite pleased with my dressage test on Thursday, even though we didn’t quite show enough of what the judges wanted to see. I was still happy with Ari’s effort, as we all know she really just wanted to get on to the jumping phases!

"Friday was a rest day for the 2* riders as the 1* riders completed their dressage tests. My fellow Area IX 1* rider put in a nice test before moving onto the jumping phases. Area IX is very small, so this year we only had one rider on the 1* team, and one rider on the 2* team. However, we were blended  with other area teams so that we could still get the experience of competing on a team. I was combined with the Area V (Texas) team, which was really fun and I was able to get team experience at this level.

Area IX in Action - Credit Sportfot
"Going into cross country, Ari and I were sitting in 13th place with a score of 60.8. Cross country day was exciting, and Ari and I had a lot of fun out on the course. Unfortunately, we had the frangible pin on a down hill fence because Ari tapped it with her hind legs to slow herself as we descended down the hill. She hit it just hard enough to knock the frangible pin, adding 11 points to our otherwise clear cross country round. Still, she was fantastic as usual on course, and recovered well and ready for show jumping the next day.

"Sunday went really well, and Ari jumped wonderfully, not adding any points to our score, which moved us up to 8th place individually. It was really cool to be on a team with two other great riders. As the only 3 person team, we still were able to take home the gold, which was very special.

Team Gold!

"It was such a memorable week, and I am so grateful for all the help and support I received from my grooms, parents, coaches, and friends. It was great to spend a couple of weeks prior to the NAJYRC’s back home at Pendragon Stud Equestrian Center, where I grew up and developed the solid foundation I needed before moving on to Blue Hill Farm.

"Being at Blue Hill Farm has helped me grow into the rider I am now, and getting to apply all the knowledge I have learned is an incredible experience. It was wonderful having Missy come out and help me through the week. We all had a great time, and it will forever be one of my favorite memories. "

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

EN Article: Gigi McIntosh: From Eventer to Paralympian!

We are so appreciative to Abby Powell who took the time to interview both Gigi and Missy and to produce such a wonderful article on our Para Team at Blue Hill Farm!  This truly is one of the best articles that we've seen published on Gigi's story and reflects what years of team work can produce through commitment to the end goal. 

More importantly, this article captures the determination and positive attitude which has carried Gigi through to her ultimate dream of being selected to the 2016 Paralympic team.

Below is a wonderful excerpt, but we encourage you to read the entire article on EN:

Gigi’s story shows how a positive attitude and “get back on the horse” mentality can carry a person through difficult times and ultimately lead to new heights.

“Gigi has always had a determination her whole life to be the best she can,” Missy said. “Her personality is very driving, but in a kind way. She is always conscientious and respectful about what it takes to make it happen for her.”

When asked if she has any advice for someone who feels like the odds are stacked against them, Gigi said: “The voice inside your head is the most important one! Very early on in my recovery, I resolved to stay positive.”

Gigi has also lived by a famous mantra from Henry Ford:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”

And most importantly?

Never ever give up!”

Full Article by Abby Powell for Eventing Nation

Monday, July 18, 2016

New Sales Videos of Lewis, 17H Imported ISH!

Lewis is a 2010, 17h Imported Dutch/ISH who would be great for show jumping and eventing. He was imported October of 2015 and has hunted with Cheshire and schooled XC.

Lewis had colic surgery December of 2015 has been back in full work since April and doesn't have any current limitations.  He is a big handsome horse with lots of presence and he easy to ride.

Lewis would be great for an amateur looking to compete up to Prelim.
25k negotiable

Flat Work July 2016

Jump School July 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

Invitational Derby Cross Celebrates the Return of the Essex Horse Trials!

This is a great article by Nancy Jaffers regarding the return of the Essex Horse Trials in Far Hills, NJ!  Missy and Bonnie were two of 12 riders asked to come and compete in the Invitational Derby Cross which was held to promote and celebrate the return of this fabulous event which was originally founded by the late Roger Haller.

Missy on Dr. Peter Berk's Prince
The event last week included an invitation list of over 400 spectators, a competition purse and a fun party afterwards.  What a day!  Bonnie rode her favorite brumby, Loki, and Missy stepped it up to the prelim fences with Prince, owned by wonderful long time client, Dr. Peter Berk!

Bonnie and Loki
Missy, Peter and Prince
Nancy Jaffers did a wonderful job summarizing the day.  Here's an excerpt from her article:

"A cocktail party and an Invitational Derby Cross (I'll explain later) marked the occasion at Moorland Farm, just a few miles from the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters in Gladstone, where Essex was held for years under the sponsorship of M&M Mars.

Now it's Mars Inc. that's the title sponsor of the event, set for the weekend of June 24, 2017. It will run beginner/novice to preliminary competition, though I expect it to offer higher levels as time goes on.

Moorland farm is the most perfect venue. Every October, the 230-acre former estate hosts the Far Hills Race Meeting, chaired by Guy Torsilieri. The races draw about 30,000 people for a day of high-end steeplechasing and tailgating.

The terrain has real character, with a big hill as well as gentle slopes. The turf is maintained beautifully and all the equipment necessary to keep it in shape is available because it is used for the racing surface.

Space to ride is abundant and the views are lovely. Although Moorland Farm is conveniently close to major highways, the roads are peaceful in tiny Far Hills, which has a population of about 1,000. Within just a few miles, there are all kinds of restaurants, from casual to fine dining, and shops, supermarkets, train stations and places to stay."

Check out the full article below.

And to follow more updates on next year's horse trials, go to their FB page!

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Huge news out of the Blue Hill Farm camp, as we received word late yesterday that Gigi, Missy and Rio Rio are in fact heading to Rio!!!

As Gigi said today, my phone has been on fire.  We couldn't be any more proud of the entire team at Blue Hill Farm and to Gigi's extended support group who have worked to support them in their dream of going to the Paralympics.  It's game time!!

USEF Names U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Team for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

RELEASE: June 16, 2016
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: USEF Communications Department

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has named four athlete-and-horse combinations to the U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Team for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Para-dressage competition at the Paralympic Games will take place September 12-16, 2016, at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The following athlete-and-horse combinations will compose the Team (in alphabetical order):

 Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Grade Ib, and Wesley Dunham’s Western Rose, a 2003 Oldenburg mare

Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.), Grade II, and her own Schroeters Romani, a 2002 Danish Warmblood mare

Margaret McIntosh (Reading, Pa.), Grade Ia, and her own Rio Rio, a 2006 Rheinland Pfalz-Saar mare

Angela Peavy (Avon, Conn. and Wellington, Fla.), Grade III, and Heather Blitz and Rebecca Reno’s Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding

Further information regarding the U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Team selection process can be found on All nominations to the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members. Without the support of these organizations and individuals, it would not be possible to support U.S. athletes. The USEF is especially grateful to individuals who give generously of their time and money to support the equestrian teams.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Gigi Reflects on Her Roller Coaster Ride at Para Selection Trials in Michigan!

The home of the Waterloo Hunt Club, Grass Lake, MI, is a State forest! One of the most beautiful venues I have seen, the expansive five-ring show ground is shaded by stately trees, providing many comfortable spots for watching or grazing. The lunch pavilion was perfectly situated with a great view of the warm-up and competition rings. The many and varied representatives of the Dressage Pony division provided the best entertainment!

Rio Rio had no problems with the many distractions around the competition ring, including the four-ring-circus of adjacent competitors and the warm-up area behind the judges' booth! We presented our best Grade1a Team test ever...steady and energetic...even Missy agreed! Knowing how much we had improved over the winter, I was a little disappointed in my 70% score but determined to ride the same quality test on Saturday.
Erich Linder Photography
Meanwhile, Laurietta Oakleaf and her beautiful Friesian stallion, Niekele Fan Busenitz, blew everyone away to score 68%, becoming the overnight leader of the National Division! Joining Blue Hill Farm South in Ocala this winter, Laurietta and Nikki have blossomed under Missy's coaching!

Saturday was another beautiful day in Michigan, warm, blue skies and a nice breeze. Laurietta had another nice ride in the Individual Championship test to finish the day as Reserve Champion in the National Division!

Back in the High Performance division, Rio and I bombed! On this most important day of my entire Para Equestrian career, we got our worst score ever! A fly started to harass Rio shortly after we turned right at C and, never stoic, she just had to kick out between M and B. Only one judge gave me three points for that movement but that was punishment enough to drop my score to 66.37%! As I left the ring, Missy stated the obvious , "I guess we'll have to find something else (besides the Paralympics) to do this fall..."

I was devastated. Isn't it typical of a horse to take you to the highest point and then the depths of "black despair"? I spent the rainy afternoon in the barn with Rio, and FEI stewards, Denise Heitmann Pool and Marilyn Kulifay, trying to be philosophical at the implosion of my hopes for Rio (and Rio Rio). (I really enjoyed their moral support as well as that of Pat Sweeney and Sandy Rafferty, there to help at every turn!)

Sunday brought a whole new variety of anxiety with thunderstorms rolling through and random weather delays. Laurietta, Nikki and Missy were on their final walk around the competition ring when they were sent to the tent for an hour delay! They were able to rally in time to clinch Reserve in the National Championships!!!

Laurietta & Kathy Amos-Jacob

After a great pep talk from Becca Hart and Alex Philpin about not giving up and the "fat lady singing", I was ready to truly enjoy riding my horse without all that competitive pressure. Missy did a great job of warming Rio up through the warm-up ring puddles so the standing water in the show ring was no problem! Once again, Marlene Whitaker's lovely composition of music from "The King and I" was a hit with the crowd and the judges. I won the Grade 1a Freestyle and the Grade 1a Championship, finishing in sixth place in the Selection Trials!

Erich Linder Photography

The USEF asks us to avoid speculation on the composition of the Paralympic team. My scores from this weekend will be averaged with my International competition scores to determine my ranking for the team to be named in a few weeks. Fingers crossed, light a candle or whatever voodoo you use...all your best wishes on my behalf are greatly appreciated!!!

My utmost gratitude to Missy, for her riding and coaching ability, determination and just hard work on my behalf and Laurietta's! And to Jessica for all her wisdom and ability to jump on Rio when Missy was away and Clive Milkins too, for his mid-winter clinics! And Gail Baumander for keeping Rio happy and well-oiled! (And Rachel Gross, an original member of Rio's team, instrumental in my great scores from Mannheim!) And my Blue Hill farm support group, working students, boarders, Moms and Pari!  Lisa Thomas, Todd Meister, Stacey Kent, Bonnie Kibbe, Laura Spilhaus and Sharon Bennet. Special supporters: Susan Opengart, Amy Coughlin, Nancy Deale, Barb Riggs and Team Africa!

Most of all, thanks to my family and wonderful encouraging friends! ~ Gigi

Gigi & Kathy

Friday, May 20, 2016

County Saddlery - Customizing the Perfect Fit!

Wednesday we were thrilled that the whole team from County Saddlery at Blue Hill Farm fitting Missy's new horse Wiley, and several of our students and clients.  Gene Freeze, owner of County Saddlery, came with our Pennsylvania rep, Patti Gillen, and her saddle fitting assistant Heather Hunter.  It was an educational day having Gene, who is a master saddle fitter, show us the bio-mechanics of saddle fitting on Wylie, Ari, Loki and Rio Rio!

Gene Freeze analyzing the saddle fit on Wylie
 Gene's professional life has been dedicated to the art of saddle fitting.  He introduced the County Saddle line at the 1978 world championships, and since then his passion has been educating equestrians on the importance of saddle fit and performance.  

Sidelines ran a very interesting article recently on Gene's impressive riding background, his resume and his involvement in many aspects of equestrian industry.  He has always been very analytical and a huge proponent of studying the bio-mechanics of saddle fit in sport horses and how that effects soundness and performance.

“We’ve tried every material in the world, from synthetic to natural,” said Gene. “Although we could make saddles cheaper and faster using high-tech materials, we simply can’t get the results we want. We resisted the trend toward synthetic pre-formed panels, because they can’t conform to the horse’s back and when you need to, you can’t adjust them. For that reason, we use laminated beech wood trees and pure wool flock. Horses’ backs come in many shapes, and they go through changes as a result of training, food, injury, age, weight gain and loss. Off the rack and on the back or one size fits all is unrealistic and pads don’t solve the problems.

"Gene suggests having the fit and flocking checked once or twice a year by one of County’s experienced representatives or a qualified saddle fitter. The good news is that, when needed, a relatively inexpensive adjustment can be made. As for using a tool to open or close the head (pommel) to make it narrower or wider, County Saddlery doesn’t follow that practice.

"Saddle design became Gene’s passion. He belongs to the British Society of Master Saddlers and serves as president and chief instructor for the Masters Saddlers Association in the U.S. His presentations to veterinarians and horse owners, scheduled around the world, receive excellent feedback."

Team County with Missy and Wiley
County has had a long relationship with Blue Hill Farm, originally sponsoring Jessica several decades ago.  Jess is so enthralled with her older County Saddle, that she requested Gene just have it re-flocked when he offered to replace the saddle.  Their saddles are that good......and they withstand the test of time! 

We are so thankful to County for being so hands on in creating the perfect fit for all of our horses.  Missy is excited to get her new custom Solution Monoflap.  Since this is County's newest product on the market, Gene has taken the time to evaluate several flaps and tree sizes to create just the perfect show jumping and cross country saddle for Missy.  We are so grateful for the time and expertise of his entire team at County;  Patti Gillen (together with the help of Heather Hunter) has been exceptional in her customer service and responsiveness to all of our needs.

Missy and Wylie Testing Out One of the County Saddles

Madeline Tackles Her First 3* With Amazing Success!

Last weekend was a roller coaster of emotions for the team at BHF.  Madeline was competing at Jersey Fresh with Missy at her side, and from a trainer's perspective, Missy could not have been any prouder of Madeline's continual show of class and resilience.  Continuing to compete during an extremely sad and stressful weekend was quite an accomplishment in itself, and Madeline impressed us all with her resilience and composure.  Madeline and Ari finished the weekend 13th in a very tough 3* division and she was also awarded the 3* YR award.

Madeline exemplifies hardwork, sportsmanship and dedication at all times, both at Blue Hill Farm and at the competitions.  We are so proud of her accomplishments!

We stole this quote from her FB page :)

"So excited to have completed our first CCI3* at @jerseyfreshintl! Ari and I also won the best turned out award for jog outs, and the 3* young rider award! I wouldn't have been able to do it without the wonderful support team I have. Thanks to Missy Ransehousen for wonderful coaching, Laura Backus for flying in to help and be there for me, and for so many others who either came and helped or cheered me on from afar. I am truly grateful and lucky to be doing what I love. ‪#‎rideforphillipa‬ ‪#‎drapertherapies‬ ‪#‎majykequipe‬ ‪#‎actistatinequine‬ ‪#‎glcdirect‬ ‪#‎mangobaydesign‬""

Rio Rio's Count Down to Rio!!

Rio and I will be showing on Saturday, May 28 at he ESDCTA Dressage Show at the Horse Park of New Jersey, Allentown, NJ.  Rio looks great and thanks to Missy's hard work this winter, is going better than ever! 

Please come out to watch on Saturday May 28th for our "dress rehearsal" for the Paralympic Selection Trials! I will post my ride times as soon as they become available!
We leave early on Sunday morning, May 29, for the Waterloo Hunt Club in Grass Lake, Michigan where The final selection trial runs from June 2-5th for September's Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro! The team will be named shortly after the competition ends.
Thank you so much for your encouragement and enthusiasm for getting "Rio to Rio"! I look forward to seeing you in New Jersey!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Horse Radio Network Features Equestrians Margaret McIntosh and Katie Jackson

Jupiter, FL -April 5, 2016- Horse Radio Network's once-a-month Para-Equestrian Show featured equestrians Margaret McIntosh and Katie Jackson with hosts Lindsay McCall and Regina Cristo.

To listen to episode #357 please visit:

Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio. Photo (c) Lindsay Y. McCall  

Once a month the Dressage Radio Show becomes the Para-Equestrian Show Hosted by Lindsay McCall, of the United States Para-Equestrian Association, focusing on Lindsay Yosay McCallinternational FEI discipline Para-Dressage. Although Para-Dressage is the main event, listeners have the opportunity to learn more about the skillful U.S. Para-Driving Team, the Para-Reining discipline, Para-Vaulting, and the future of Para-Jumping. The para-equestrian dressage show will feature a line-up of guests including olympians, paralympians, trainers, coaches, professionals, amateur riders, young riders, and equine enthusiasts. The intention of the radio show is to educate, inform, and entertain listeners on the para-equestrian Dressage discipline.

To learn more about the USPEA please visit or e-mail President Hope Hand at You may also e-mail the host of the para-equestrian segment Lindsay McCall at

To learn more about the Horse Radio Network visit or to contact Glenn the Geek go to or leave a voicemail at 270-803-0025.

About Margaret (Gigi) McIntosh:

Margaret McIntosh broke her neck in the spring of 1999 while riding in an event, resulting in incomplete quadriplegia. Initially paralyzed from the chest down, she is eternally grateful for having the opportunity to regain her mobility.

McIntosh had extensive riding experience before her accident: 1970-1976 Working student for May and Denny Emerson; 1976-1979 Working student and barn manager for Gunnar Ostergaard and Ellin Dixon; 1979-1983 Working student/groom George Theodorescu in Sassenberg, W. Germany; From 1987 through 1999 Gigi evented several horses with lots of help from Bruce Davidson, culminating in completing the CCI*** and CCI**** at Rolex Kentucky 3-Day in 1997 and 1998.

Six months after her accident she began riding with Jane Cory, the owner of the Cort Center for Therapeutic Riding at Pleasant Hollow Farm in Pleasant Valley, PA. She initially asked Missy and Jessica Ransehousen for help just before the World Equestrian Games in 2010 and has enjoyed their expertise ever since.

In 2012, McIntosh qualified for the London 2012 selection trials including successful trips at back-to-back CPEDI ***s in Wellington, FL. McIntosh was also the Reserve Champion at the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships. Married since 1983, with two grown children (Charlotte (27) and Cameron (25)), and her husband, Brian, a retired banker. McIntosh is now aiming at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio Di Janiero with her own Rio Rio.

Monday, March 28, 2016

We Will Miss You Jamie!

As many people have already heard, we lost Jamie last week down in Ocala.  She was truly Missy's devoted side kick and best buddy, always well behaved, full of affection and personality.  Those two had a special relationship and Jamie was such a unique character, from her unusual breeding (Ridgeback/Lab) to her unending patience with squirrel herding.

Everyone at Blue Hill Farm mourns the loss of this special dog and we hope that every day Missy turns her sadness into a smile as she remembers the most amazing 10 years with this beautiful animal.

We've put together a full photo album that can be seen on our Facebook page.  Here's a little glimpse of those photos for this blog post.

Missy also wanted to thank Paddy Hughes for originally breeding this beautiful dog and bringing her to Missy~

RIP Jamie.  We love you.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Florida 2016 - Adventures of Jess Pye and DJ!

Florida 2016: It’s been a while since I’ve wintered in Florida and getting the chance to come south this winter with Blue Hill has turned into my most successful Florida trip to date! Blue Hill Farm South is a lovely place of airy barns, huge turnouts, tons of open riding space and lots of sunshine! I brought Dr. Jo Ellen Krueger’s DeeJay with me this year with the goal of making the move up from preliminary to intermediate.

Ocala 2: I’ve spent my entire eventing career in Area V where hills are unheard of, ground is generally concrete and interval training is the only way. DeeJay has been playing on the hills of Chester County since September and it’s made a tremendous difference in his fitness and strength. Missy has helped take our show jumping and cross-country skills to the next level while Jess Ranshousen has literally taught me how to teach DJ to do dressage. The first event of the season on a young horse is always a bit of an unknown and Ocala is never an easy event but DeeJay clearly wanted to show off all his new tricks and had three great phases to finish in 3rd place in the Open Preliminary C division.

Rocking Horse 2: The big move up! I will start by saying that I’ve never been so proud after finishing with an R next to my name. DeeJay is young and still green. He’s really only been jumping and eventing for two years and although he always aims to please he doesn’t necessarily have the “seek and destroy” mindset when it comes to the sport. His brain operates more like, “Green grass, rainbows, and butterflies and… OH! Jump! More rainbows…” He put in a very steady dressage test, a one rail round in the show jumping that looked much worse thanks to my extra trip through the start flags and then jumped most of the XC course like a complete pro. Sadly, he had a green horse moment, just one wedge and two tables from home, and I chose to retire after two uncharacteristic runouts at the C element of the final combination on course rather then get the big E. As I made the long walk home I smiled. My lovely young horse just jumped like he’d been running intermediate for years. He didn’t understand one question on course. At this point, I can definitely live with that.

Rocking Horse 3: Redemption time. I was ready to redeem myself when Rocking Horse 3 rolled around and after a great dressage lesson with Jess and good jump and XC lessons with Missy I was sure we were ready.

DeeJay didn’t disappoint. He put in a lovely dressage test that still left tons of room for improvement, a beautiful show jumping round to leave all the rails in the cups and I went a bit cautiously around the cross-country to come home with a clear jumping round. DeeJay is an intermediate horse – Mission accomplished!

Ready to go Home: In a few days I’ll be leaving for the return trip home to PA and Blue Hill North and DeeJay and I will compete in the Carolina International as our layover. I’ve never been there before and I’m looking forward to a new event and challenge! I’ve already done several new things in the past six months including living, training and competing om the East coast and at events like Jersey and Plantation Field, ridden with a former US Dressage Team Chef d’Equipe in Jess Ransehousen, survived a real winter (for like a month..), trotted and cantered up some seriously big hills and been part of a wonderful group of eventers who I can call my Blue Hill family. And it’s only been six months!

Jump Schooling With Missy

Thursday, March 17, 2016

April 3rd Fix A Test Fundraiser with Jessica Ransehousen!

Sunday April 3rd, 2016 is the date for the Fix A Test event to help fund-raise for the Second Nature Farm Junior Young Ride Team!!

Come on out for a fun, productive day of improving your dressage scores!
Registration with Lara at or call her with your questions at 484-459-2532
You can also follow updates on Facebook