For Immediate Release
Lauren Fisher and Callie Seaman for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Wellington, FL - February 12, 2016
Leslie Campbell rode her own E.L. Raymond to the Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 50 & Over Section A championship. Campbell, who is from Arkansas, topped the under saddle and placed first, second, third, and fifth over fences over the two days of competition. Reserve honors went to Lynn Rogers and her nine-year-old Selle Luxembourgeois gelding Blue Point. The pair earned fourth in the under saddle and first and second over fences.
Campbell began riding as a child on Quarter Horses and Saddlebreds, but started showing hunters following her college graduation. "When I finished college and started paying my own way for horses I rode with John French for a few years, and then I took 16 years off to work on my career," Campbell explained.
When Campbell began competing again four years ago, she teamed up with Bill Schaub. "It was just a perfect fit, and we found Raymond. I leased him first. Then I decided I was ready to buy a horse, and made a list of all the things I wanted in a horse, and looked down and realized I was sitting on it. So I bought him," she detailed. "It's been wonderful since then. He's a fantastic horse."
E.L. Raymond has had an illustrious career, beginning as Hardin Towell's first junior hunter. Since then many riders have showed the Warmblood gelding to great success. "His name is E.L. Raymond and it stands for Everybody Loves Raymond, which everybody does," Campbell laughed. "He's had a long, long career and now he's with me for life. It's a really good partnership, and I feel very privileged," she stated.
Despite Raymond's age at 18 years old, Campbell insists, "he shows no signs of slowing down." "He feels great physically. We take really good care of him," she said. "He's our precious Raymond, so whatever he wants he gets."
Campbell has battled some health issues, which made competing difficult. "This is kind of a comeback year for me. I had heart surgery, so I'm so grateful I can have a horse like Raymond that I can trust and know is going to help me get back in the saddle in the right way," she stated.
Campbell enjoys showing in the competitive Adult Amateur division. "It's fun to have lots of friends riding with you that are rooting for you, so this is a really nice division," she explained. "I was just happy to put in two consistent rounds. I think as adult amateurs that is a really important piece of this whole thing, just to be consistent."
Campbell lives in Wellington for the entirety of the WEF circuit. Each year she sets a goal to be champion at least once, which she has accomplished each year. "I'm delighted because this is really good company. These horses are good, these riders are good, and so it's an honor to be champion ever in this division," she said.
Photo Credit: Photos © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the Winter Equestrian Festival, sportfot.com.