Great Things Come in Small Packages at the Pennsylvania National


From Horses Daily
10/16/2016 12:48pm
Photo by Al Cook

Harrisburg, PA - Pony Hunters of all sizes took over the ring at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show presented by the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Trust. The ponies and their pint-sized jockeys contested two over fences classes on Friday, and on Saturday saw the culmination of their efforts, with a class on the flat and one final round over fences to determine championship honors.

Alexa Elle Lignelli, a 9-year-old fourth grader from New York, NY, and her 9-year-old pony IParty, were named Small Pony Hunter Champion, placing first or second in all the classes in the division for a point total of 32. Sophie Gochman and Bit of Love, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker took the Reserve with 26 points.

"I started riding her after Washington last year. She is very huntery. If you don't know her pace you won't find the distances. You don't want to go forward galloping or you will pop or chip. You want to have a normal pace, not like a real hunter, not that slow but like pretty medium," explained the adorable Lignelli.

When asked what she likes about horse shows, Lignelli was very clear. "I like the competition. I just love the sport. It is so fun."

Trainer Bill Schaub added "Two weeks before pony finals I got a phone call and she came to me. They started off with a bang. They were Champion Section A in Kentucky the week before Pony Finals. We had some bad luck at Pony Finals but we have been inching our way up."

"She has nerves of steel," continued Schaub. "She doesn't get nervous. She is always telling me to calm down. She loves the competition and that is unusual, if she has a bad round she comes out smiling and we discuss it and learn from it and it is over. They have really come together."

Rock Star, an entry of Roberts Sales LLC, and rider Sophia Roberts, a 12-year-old from Wilmington, OH, were the Medium Pony Hunter Champions with 24 points. Trillville, owned by Stella Wasserman and Augusta Iwasaki were the Reserve Champions with 16 points.

"I am so happy," said Gochman. "He is such a good boy. I wasn't really thinking about the championship. I was just trying to do my best. He has a great rhythm, a nice smoot jump and is so comfortable, and he tries really hard all the time. I love riding him. Sadly, this is my last year on ponies so this is a good way to go out."

Grand Pony Hunter Champion was awarded to IParty and Alexa Elle Lignelli, making it an even better day for the pair. IParty's caretaker, Amato Ramos took home the Groom Award for his efforts.

The EMO Agency Pony Hunter High Five award was given to Sophie Gochman and The Pony Hunter Sportsmanship Award went to Adam Edgar.

Final awards for the Junior Hunters were also handed out. Evermore and Emma Kurtz were named High Point Small Junior Hunter, winning the Huntland Derby Perpetual Cup. Brett Burlington's Due West and was the High Point Large Junior Hunter. Due West was also named Grand Junior Hunter, Perpetual Trophy, with his groom, Milton Portillo, taking the Groom Award and Michael Delphiandra winning the Trainer Award. Best Junior Rider on a Horse, the Maxine Best Memorial Perpetual Trophy, was presented to Emma Kurtz and the Sportsmanship Award was given to Christopher Coberley.

A Tackroom Award is given out for the best decorated, most functional tackroom for Junior Weekend. This year North Run placed first. The display from Beacon Hill was second, third went to Heritage Farm and fourth was Boggs Hill.

The draw for order of go in the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final took place at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. With 276 riders, parents and trainers present, all anxiously waiting to hear the starting positions in the prestigious class. Show Manager Peter Doubleday did the honors, drawing Caroline Ellis as the first in the ring. For the distinction of being the first, Caroline was awarded a jacket to keep her warm in the wee hour's tomorrow morning as she warms up for her round.

"I want to congratulate all the riders for their hard work and dedication," said Doubleday. "I especially want to thank all the parents for their sacrifices in getting you to this level. And I want to thank all the caretakers of these horses, who put in so much effort to make this possible. I wish you all good luck."

Capital Challenge Champions


Luke Jensen rode Highland's Heaven Sent to the Medium Pony Hunter Championship, winning a hack-off to take the honors. Luke also collected the EMO Trip of the Show award after scoring an 88.

Upper Marlboro, Maryland - The Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by World Equestrian Center, featured the smallest athletes on Saturday morning and afternoon. Capturing the Grand Pony Hunter Championship was Sophie Gochman, riding Dr. Betsee Parker’s Bit of Love. In the evening session, Sandra Zimmerli and Zaza won the $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup Final Round, sponsored by Johnson Horse Transportation and the overall Challenge Cup, sponsored by Ariat International. The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George's Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, concludes on Sunday, October 9. Every class of the show is live streamed and available to watch online at or

Thirteen-year-old Sophie Gochman of Palm Beach, FL, stepped into the winner’s circle for top honors for the second year in a row. She rode Bit of Love, a 10-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding by English Lad, to the Small Pony Hunter championship, sponsored by Mike and Alexandra Borissoff Wright, with two firsts, two seconds, and a fourth. Alexa Lignelli and IParty were the reserve champions. They won the under saddle and were second, third, and fifth over fences.

Champion in the Medium Pony Hunters, sponsored by Rosemont Farm, was Highlands Heaven Sent, ridden by Luke Jensen for Bill Schaub. They placed first and second over fences. Reserve champion in the division was Blue Chip, ridden by Caroline Passarelli and owned by Heritage Farm, Inc. They jumped to first, third, and fourth over fences.

Luke Jensen traveled to the winner’s circle for two more awards. The EMO Trip of the Show for Ponies also went to Jensen and Highlands Heaven Sent for their score of 88. Jensen was awarded the Stewart Warner Cup for pony riders, given in memory of Laurie Gilbert Stewart & Mary Warner Brown by Donald E. Stewart, Jr. and Louise W. Serio. It is awarded to up-and-coming junior riders, who, in the opinion of the panel of judges, exhibit the best hunter style and show potential as a young hunter rider.


Molly Sewell Dominates Hallway Feeds USHJA Hunter Derby


Lexington, KY- August 6, 2016

Molly Sewell, a professional based in Orlando Florida with Bill Schaub, was neck and neck with her two talented mounts, Acado and EL Raymond, in the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show. Less than two points separated the horses, but the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding Acado came out on top with an overall score of 181.250.

His owner, Sydney Porter, is competing in her last junior year and earlier this week she was reserve champion in the Junior Hunter 3’3” division with Acado at the Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show. Sewell started riding the horse over a month ago, and is helping to prepare Acado to be Porter’s future amateur horse by giving him experience in the derbies.

“He is a lovely horse,” Sewell said. “He’s a pre-green horse, so it’s even better that he can go into the derby and be that amazing. I would not have changed a thing about the first round with Acado; there was there was nothing that needed to be different."

“Acado is really a lovely ride,” she continued. “He is very comfortable, soft in his mouth, has beautiful lead changes, and he is scopey.”

Sewell and Acado placed third in their first derby together in last week’s Kentucky Summer Horse Show, so she was thrilled that he stepped up to win the large class on Saturday. The pair earned a 93.000 in the first round and an 88.250 in the second round after jumping all three high options in each round.

“I think Acado was more confident this week,” Sewell explained. “He walked into the ring and rose to the occasion. He jumped the high options outstandingly. He just had a bit more mileage and confidence this week.”

Though Acado lead the way after the first round, Sewell’s other mount, El Raymond, had the experience to edge him out in the second round score by only 0.250 points. Owned by Leslie and Stuart Campbell, EL Raymond is an 18-year-old Warmblood gelding who has quite an impressive derby record. Sewell and the chestnut gelding have won the Kentucky Summer Horse Show derby three years in a row, and they took the blue ribbon in last week’s derby.

“He was amazing as always,” she said. “ I feel like my first round on Raymond today was by far one of the best first rounds I’ve ever had on him. Sometimes he can be too casual on the first round and he gears up for the second round and that’s when he shines.”

Though EL Raymond came back to score higher in the second round with an 88.500, it was not enough to win the overall total score. Acado won Saturday’s $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby with a total score of 181.50 while El Raymond placed second with an 179.500.

“I felt a little bit bad because I had to send Raymond back to the barn before the awards presentation…he really is not used to that treatment,” Sewell laughed.

Sewell praised the derby course and she felt the solid high options gave her the opportunity to show off her horses’ jumping talents.

“Raymond has a lot more shows under his belt with a lot more experience and wins,” she explained. “They are very different rides. Acado has a bigger stride, and he has a higher and slower jump compared to Raymond. Raymond is so tidy with his knees, so it depends on what you like.”

Sewell rides with Bill Schaub, and they discussed their strategy of the handy round, which helped solidify her win on Saturday. They emphasized the importance of maintaining a smooth round with quality jumping style.

“People can get carried away in the handy and they forget it is still the hunters,” Schaub explained. “It needs to be smooth and the horse must jump in good style. When you get too carried away you lose that.”

“In the handy a lot of people can get a bit too crazy and it can get messy,” Sewell explained. “I chose to ride more conservative and only do a couple of the inside turns in order to be smooth. It worked out for me today.”

Sewell came to Schaub her first year out of the junior division, and they have been working together for sixteen years.

“I always want Molly to be neat, tight, carry a gallop while having a smooth round,” Schaub continued. “Originally we had some ideas of how to ride the handy but after watching some rides we realized those options made it messy. We did not want to be too risky and lose the style.”

The $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby is part of the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series which is returning for the fifth year in a row at the Kentucky Horse Park. The five-part series a $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus presented at the conclusion of the series.


1. Acado/Molly Sewell/93.000/88.250/181.250
2. El Raymond/Molly Sewell/91.000/88.50/179.500
3. Cape Town/Taylor Kain/86.250/88.000/174.250
4. Almost Royal/Sydney Shulman/87.000/87.000/174.000
5. Rockaway/Taylor Ann Adams/88.000/85.750/173.750
6. Airborne/Catherine Stafford/87.500/85.500/173.000
7. Esco/Geoffrey Hesslink/84.500/86.000/170.500
8. Geppeto/Linda Radigan/85.000/85.000/170.000
9. Whiskey Tango/Taylor Ann Adams/86.750/81.000/167.750
10. Good Humor/Ann Misenheimer/84.010/82.000/166.010

Molly Sewell and EL Raymond Conclude Kentucky Summer With USHJA Derby Win


Lexington, KY July 31, 2016

The Kentucky Summer Horse Show wrapped up today with Molly Sewell clinching the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby. Sewell was aboard Leslie and Stuart Campbell’s El Raymond and pair earned an impressive score of 186.00 to best a field of 36. 

“I thought my rounds went really nicely today,” Sewell said. “The first round was quite smooth. Raymond was wonderful and the handy is usually his best round where he really shines. He always delivers in the handy. “

This year marks the third year that Sewell, who is a professional based in Orlando, Florida, has won the Kentucky Summer Derby on El Raymond. Last year Sewell captured the $10,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Professional Rider Award for the 2015 USHJA National Hunter Derby Series. She returned to the Kentucky Summer Horse Show to defend her derby domination on the 18-year-old Warmblood gelding. 

The $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby is part of the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series which is returning for the fifth year in a row at the Kentucky Horse Park. The five-part series a $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus presented at the conclusion of the series.

1. El Raymond/Molly Sewell/186.00
2. Rio’s Figaro/Taylor Kain/182.00
3. Acado/Molly Sewell/179.00
4. Fondant/Blythe Marano/177.50
5. Phantom/Leylan Gleeson/173.00
6. Almost Royal/Sydney Shulman/169.00
8. Symbolic/Catherine Stafford/168.50
9. Rubix/Taylor Kain/161.00
10. Front Page/Daniel Bedoya/152.00
11. BeforeAnythingElse/Christina Kelly/136.50
12. Beckham/Victoria Watters/132.00

Adam Edgar is Making His Dreams Come True With Hard Work


By Catie Staszak

Junior rider Adam Edgar is not afraid of the word ‘No.’

“There are so many people who are going to tell you that you can’t do it,” said Edgar. “I had numerous people tell me, ‘You can’t do this. You don’t have enough money.’ My thing was, I was never afraid of no or someone telling me, ‘You can’t do that.’ That was more of a drive to do it.”

Edgar, 17 and from Leesburg, Va., did not have the luxury of owning his own horse or pony growing up, but he catch-rode his way into a working student position at Over The Hill Farm under the tutelage of trainer Bill Schaub.

Last month, he was awarded a U.S. Hunter Jumper Association Foundation “Making A Dream” Grant, enabling him to compete at the U.S. Junior Hunter Championships - 'East in Devon, Pa., with Jamie Stryker’s 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding UpCountry Charmer (Contender X Geriance). In the large junior, 16-17 division, they finished fifth in Monday’s classic round, 10th in Tuesday’s handy, and were fifth overall in a division of 39 competitors.

“It’s so shocking just how many people really do want to help,” Edgar said. “For me, that’s something that’s just astounded me and made me so unbelievably thankful. It’s been such an amazing experience so far.”

Edgar received $2,500 from the USHJA to cover “transportation, hotel and supplies needed.” Stryker offered UpCountry Charmer for the competition. Other sponsors stepped up to help fund the young rider’s trip, including CWD, who gifted Edgar with a new saddle, and Diane Schiereck of Seashore Acres, who provided a veterinary exam for “Charmer.”

“It’s really been a big relief, not only for my mom and me, but also for Bill,” Edgar said. “It really helped make this all possible.”


Edgar has been catch-riding since his mother won him a free riding lesson at Red Gate Farm in Hamilton, Va., through a school raffle; he rode a horse named Misty and was hooked from the start. Initially, though, he was not drawn to the hunter ring.

Once he was past basic walk-trot-canter lessons, Edgar started eventing on Carbon Copy, a pony owned by a friend of his mother’s. “I got really into [it]. I wanted to do it and go to the Olympics for it; I loved cross-country,” he said.

But Carbon Copy had some antics up his sleeve. “He tried to buck me off a lot. At one event he tried to buck me off in cross-country, and I ended up just stopping and getting off,” Edgar recalled. “I walked all the way back to the trailer. My mom was like, ‘I don’t know if this is the safest thing you should be doing.’ "

It didn’t take long for Edgar to pick up another mount, but this time he relocated to the hunter ring. Carol Eichner, the trainer next door to where Carbon Copy was stabled, asked him to catch ride one of her ponies. Working with Eichner at her Everready Farm in Loudoun County, Va., led to Edgar getting the ride on his first “real medium pony” mount, a pinto pony gelding named Damingo.

“I just fell in love with [the hunters],” Edgar said. “[I enjoyed] learning to ride well and then learning how to finesse it, and I loved the challenge of having to go in and be perfect, and I never looked back.”

Edgar and Damingo moved up to the medium pony division in 2014. Qualifying for the U.S. Pony Finals in Lexington, Ky., was easy - they earned a spot in the line-up the first time they contested the division - but the logistics of going were not. Edgar’s mother, who owns a skin care shop in Leesburg, could not afford to send her son to the show on her own.

“The story I like the best is from when he was riding with Carol Eichner,” Schaub said. “He qualified for the medium pony [division], and as he walked out of the ring, he was like, ‘Now I get to go to Pony Finals!’ Carol said, ‘Yes, but you’re not going to be able to afford to go.’ And he was like, ‘Yes I will. I’ll figure something out.’ He made dog cookies, and he went around and sold them. He took them to school and went around the neighborhoods and sold dog cookies, and that’s how he paid for his first Pony Finals.

“Adam is just one of those kids with such a good savvy and such good people skills,” he added. “It wasn’t taught; he just figured it out.”  

A Second Family

Edgar met Schaub at those Pony Finals. He had another ride there, Anna Rossi’s One More Time, in the large pony division, and Rossi had Schaub train him at the competition. The two immediately hit it off, and Edgar and “Ditto” ended up ribboning.

“I was so nervous when I first met [Schaub], and I was so awkward, but he ended up being just one of the funniest, nicest people,” Edgar recalled. “I ended up 16th overall, and it was great.”

“I used to summer in Virginia, so I saw him as a really little boy, and I watched him ride through the years,” Schaub said. “I would help him a little bit with [Ditto] when we were at the same shows, and I really liked the kid. He’s a hard worker; he’s just one of those kids that everybody wants to help.”

Schaub worked with Edgar at Capital Challenge (Md.) that year and helped Edgar find rides at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington (Fla.) in 2015, when Edgar began picking up rides in the pony divisions and in the children’s and junior hunters.

“It was really Bill who said, ‘I want to help, and I want to campaign you for rides,’ " Edgar said. “You really just have to find the right people, and you have to take every safe ride that you can get. Anything that’s rideable and that you’re not going to get hurt on, you have to take. The more you ride and get noticed, the more you’re going to find the people that you’re going to get in the right situation with.”

The following year, Schaub took him on as his working student.

“I have learned so much, not only about riding, but also so much about being a horseman and always putting the horses’ care first,” Edgar said. “We just learn so much every day, and Bill has just been awesome. He understands my mindset, so we work really well together. He lets me do my thing, and he’s never once tried to make me ride the way that I don’t ride; he’s always just tried to help me polish my riding and make me better and better - not different. I could never repay him for that.”

“I always try to sponsor at least one kid - a Shawn Cassidy, a Parker Wright, a Taylor St. Jacques, a Taylor Adams - and right now I’ve got [Edgar] and [12-year-old] Luke Jensen as working students,” Schaub said. “I just try to give back. I was never able to do this either when I was a kid in this kind of manner.”

Edgar still calls Leesburg home, but he spends a lot of time on the road traveling to horse shows. He takes online classes through EdOptions Academy, and while spending time at Over The Hill in Sanford, Fla., he stays with Jensen and his mother Martha.

“Martha Jensen takes care of those boys and has them everywhere they need to be, because Adam’s mother can’t go, and Adam is pretty much on his own,” Schaub said. “They’ve got to do their schoolwork, and I make sure they’ve got their formal stationary with their monograms on it, because ‘Thank you’ notes have to get out.

“That’s just my style,” Schaub continued. “I tell my boys, ‘Listen, a text and an email, in my book, are not thank yous. You’re going to hand-write notes.’ With this USHJA grant, we have a list of who gets thank you notes. That’s part of the job, and it just becomes familiar.”

“Bill is like a dad to me,” Edgar said. “He always gives me a hard time about things, but I have to remember that we’re like family. We’re always joking, we’re always having fun, and it’s just like we’re one big family. There’s no drama; there’s none of that. It’s just fun.”

The Gift Of Grant

Edgar and Schaub first heard about the Making a Dream grant through the Wellington-based trainer Charlie Moorcroft, who is on the USHJA Foundation Board of Directors. That led to a meeting with USHJA Foundation President Jennifer Burger.

“I sat down with her at WEF, and she asked what some of my goals were, and I told her I’d love to do Junior Hunter Finals,” Edgar said. “She told me she wanted to help me make that a possibility.”

A few months later, Steve Rosenberg, the foundation’s coordinator, called Schaub to tell him his pupil would be receiving the grant.

“He got a unanimous vote, because everyone on the board had been watching him from the corner of their eyes, since we started this during Florida circuit time,” Schaub said. “His mother was really straining to help, and I’m doing all I can, and a lot of people will help him, but [this grant] really made [Junior Hunter Finals] happen for him to have this experience. Hopefully next year, he’ll have more catch rides. He’s just getting more in to the junior hunters.

“I’ve just been amazed at how good everybody has been to help,” Schaub continued. “We’re getting more and more sponsorships, and the zones are willing to help, and they set an example.”

The USHJA Foundation’s funding should go a long way, because Edgar says he is in this sport for the long run. The rest of his summer includes a month in Kentucky and another shot at Pony Finals, and next season he hopes to pursue the “big eq” finals as another stepping-stone to becoming a professional.

“I love helping kids, and I love teaching, so I’d love to eventually become a professional, have my own barn, teach kids and ride,” he said. “I just really love helping kids, and it’s so important, especially after all the help I’ve gotten, to give back and help other kids that need.”

“One of the mothers came up to me the other day and said to me, ‘You don’t realize, Adam saved my kid the other day. She went in the first class and got a 55 and was so depressed, and he came up and sat down and said to her, ‘Well, I just got two 36’s. That beats you!’ ” Schaub said.

“He’s really good that way with the other kids. He’ll sit down with them and tell them not to worry, because he went through all of that, the worry stage and the nervous stage. He just had to figure out a way to overcome it. He’s a real team player, which is nice to have around. It just seems to come natural to him.”

Edgar already knows the advice he’ll give his own students.

“Catch-riding so much and riding with Bill is still a lot of work, but I love it, and I’m finally starting to feel that all of that work I’ve put into it is paying off,” he said. “People notice hard work, and they want to help. My biggest advice to anybody is, ‘Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t be afraid of people telling you that you can’t do it, because if you put your mind to it, anything really is possible.”

A Look Back: Mind Games 1985 AHSA Working Hunter Horse of the Year


By Marianne Taylor

His mother was blind, so for as long as Mind Games was at her side, he wore a bell around his neck so that she would know where he was at all times. Whether or not wearing the bell contributed to his insecurities and quirks no one really knows, but it is suspected. Luckily for the seal brown Thoroughbred gelding, for almost all of his life, he was in the hands of great horsemen that knew how talented he was and learned to deal with his idiosyncrasies. They adapted to him and didn’t try to get him to adapt to their "program”. The name Mind Games suited him perfectly.

Bred near Richmond, Virginia by Kathy Browning, Mind Games was by Richard S. Reynolds’ imported English Thoroughbred stallion *Bettered, out of a Thoroughbred show mare named Miss Jackie, that had come from Neely Blair (she was also the dam of Gary Kunsman’s Miss Libby and Arbitrage that belonged to Wilson Dennehy). Mind Games was bred to show, so he was not registered with the Jockey Club.

Debra Hoffman, also of the Richmond area, bought the big brown colt as a yearling. She nicknamed him “Junior” because of his size. Junior was the barn name that stuck with Mind Games throughout his show career. With Jan Simpson doing the ground work, Debra broke Junior as a two-year-old, but because of his big size (by now he was 16.2), he was uncoordinated and couldn’t really figure out how to canter well. He was turned out in a field for another year. At three, the same problem and the same solution- out in the field for another year. Same thing at four. Finally, by the time he was five, he was used to his own size and could advance in his training.

As a six-year-old, it was time for Junior’s first horse show. By then, Debra had figured out some of the tricks for keeping him happy - mind games, if you will. There his show name was born. Debra showed him at his first show, a small schooling show near Richmond. In the pouring rain, Mind Games marched around the course with his ears up and won the class. After that, Debra got Eric Dirks to show him at some local shows. Kitty Beveridge (now Barker) then took over and showed him in one Pre-Green division, and then they went right into the 1st Year Greens the same year.

After Florida, when Mind Games was a 2nd Year horse, Kitty became pregnant and stopped riding. Debra then made a decision that was the best for her horse…she got Tommy Serio to show Junior. Tommy had been around great horsemen all of his life and learned from each of them. He had an uncanny ability to figure a horse out and a soft, easy, accurate way with each of them. Tommy was the perfect rider for Mind Games.

Some people might call Mind Games’ little idiosyncrasies “quirks,” but Tommy called them “insecurities”. Quickly, Tommy figured out how to deal with each of them. They never cantered a jump in the schooling ring and were known to trot a vertical as high as 4’6” with ease. After warming up, Tommy would get off at the ring, adjust the saddle, and let Junior just stand and relax before going in the ring. He rode him in a double-twisted snaffle with no martingale. Tommy said he just looped the reins and Mind Games would canter around the course and jump “impeccable” over every jump. It was a match made in heaven.

Tommy Serio didn’t start showing Mind Games until Upperville of his 2nd Year, but the next year, 1985, they started in May at Keswick in the Working Hunters, where they were Champion. They showed at more shows that year in both the Working and the Conformation divisions and were champion at many “A” shows including Devon, Upperville, and Pennsylvania National (Harrisburg, PA). Mind Games was Conformation Champion at Harrisburg and Working Reserve Champion at Washington, where he also won the Hunter Classic. By the end of 1985, Mind Games was American Horse Show Association Horse Of The Year in the Working Hunters and Reserve Horse Of The Year in the Conformation Hunters. Mind Games was hurt early in 1986 so he sat out much of the year from showing.

Having shown for many years with much success, it was riding Mind Games that Tommy said “broke the ice” and got him known widely as the great horseman and rider that he is. When Charlie Weaver left the riding position at Cismont Manor Farm in the Fall of 1986, it was Tommy Serio that Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler hired to take over the reins of their successful stable of show hunters including Two For One, Missouri, Super Flash, and many others. Mind Games, still owned by Debra Hoffman, joined the Cismont Manor string for 1987 and won his fair share.

In the Fall of 1987, trainer Bill Schaub was looking for a horse to move his student, Courtney Kennedy, off of her large pony Chardonnay, and it was Mind Games that he picked. Courtney’s sister, Ashley, had won about all there was to win for the previous three years on her Large Junior horse, Lyrik, so soon after Courtney got Mind Games, the two sisters switched horses for the next year. It was Ashley’s last year Junior in 1988. She showed Mind Games to much success, including Large Junior Champion at Washington International (Courtney was Reserve to Mind Games on Lyrik).

Like Tommy Serio, Bill Schaub figured out ways to keep Mind Games happy. When he’d get nervous in his stall, they tied a bell on him. That must have brought back memories and security from the days when he was a foal at his mother’s side and he’d calm down. Bill and the Kennedy girls did nothing in a hurry around Junior. Their trick to keep him calm at the ring and around the course was to wad up some grass and put it in his mouth with a tight noseband to hold it. He’d suck on the grass all around the course.

By 1989, Courtney Kennedy was showing Mind Games in the Large Junior, as well as Lyrik. The two champion horses were best buddies and inseparable. Courtney learned right away that you couldn’t “make” Junior do anything. You had to ask nicely. He hated showing at night at Devon. Courtney said he went in the ring and just stood there until she left the ring. He also didn’t like big grass grand prix fields, so they avoided showing on them. Courtney said, “As long as we kept him relaxed and happy, he was just the greatest horse.” The highlight of their year together was at Pennsylvania National (Harrisburg) where they won every Over Fences class and ended up Grand Junior Hunter Champion.

After several happy years with Debra and Tommy, then Bill and the Kennedy girls, unfortunately Mind Games’ luck ran out. He was sold into a top stable that tried to make him conform to their routine. The horse that had won so much was now a shell of his past self - he was a nervous wreck. Finally, the owners sent Junior back to Tommy Serio.

Tommy took his time and got Mind Games’ confidence and security back. After the pair proved themselves once again in the show ring in Florida, and the Junior rider was able to win a class, Junior was retired and given to Tommy.

Mind Games lived out his life with the man that loved him so much at Springdale, the farm that Tommy rented near Cismont Manor. One day, at the age of 26, Junior seemed a little colicky so Tommy took him to the vet clinic. Tommy said that he knew in his heart that was the last time he would see his old friend. Sure enough, later that night, the vets decided there was nothing more they could do for the grand ol’ horse and they called Tommy with the recommendation to put him down. Tommy sadly agreed.

Every horse is an individual. Some are easier than others. If not for Mind Games ending up in the hands of Debra Hoffman, Tommy Serio, Bill Schaub, and Ashley and Courtney Kennedy, he would have been just another great horse that slipped through the cracks. As it was, the sweet, insecure horse shone as one of the bright lights of the “A” shows from the mid to late 80s.

Luke Jensen Wins Devon 2016 Pony Sportsmanship Award


Congrats to Luke Jensen! Interviewed below by The Plaid Horse

By Ella Baltus

The 2016 Devon Pony Sportsmanship Award is award is sponsored by Pony Tail Bows and the owner, Tracey Currey.

I had the pleasure to interview this year’s winner of the 2016 Devon Pony Sportsmanship Award, Luke Jensen

Q: How old are you and how long have you been riding?
A: I am 12 years old and I have been riding for as long as I can remember.

Q: What division did you show in this weekend and what is your pony’s name?
A: The regular medium ponies and my pony’s name is Highland’s Heaven Sent or “Haven”.

Q: What barn do you ride with?
A: Over the Hill Farm in Florida

Q: What was your favorite part about Devon
A: I just really enjoyed how intense the show was, but when you left the ring it is just so fun with the fair, the pony hunt teams, and all the other fun stuff you have.

Q: Who is your horse/pony crush?
A: Probably Brunello, I just love that horse. I even know him.

Q: What does sportsmanship mean to you?
A: I just think it is really important because no one wants to be around you if you don’t have good sportsmanship, and it is also a huge part of integrity.

Molly Sewell and MTM Caruso S Win the USHJA Hunter Classic at ESP Spring II


Wellington, FL - April 18, 2016

Molly Sewell of Winter Park, FL, and MTM Caruso S, owned by Brynn Hanson finished the week with a the win in the $5,000 USHJA Hunter Classic, earning an overall score of 170.5 from the judging panel. Michael Zukerman of Huntington, NY, piloted Denmark, owned by Patricia Adikes-Hill to second place with a 164.5, while Katie Schell of Cleveland, OH, and Candor, owned by Redfield Farm, took third place honors with a score of 159.

Sewell earned an 83.5 in the first road aboard MTM Caruso S, and followed in the second round with an 87, to secure the win. Fifteen entries vied for top honors. Sewell also rode E.L. Raymond, owned by Leslie Campbell to a sixth place finish. 

Coco Fath of Fairfield, CT, and Akinda rode to the top of the $1,000 3'6" Junior/Amateur Owner Hunter Classic presented by Sweet Oak Farm. Adam Edgar of Leesburg, VA, and Candescence owned by Clare Sargent finished in second, while Madelyn Porter and Dragonfly's Encore, owned by Dragonfly Farms finished in third.

Continuing with consistency throughout the week, Molly Sewell added another win at ESP Spring II in the $1,000 Pre-Green Incentive aboard Dragonfly's Cellestine, owned by Dragonfly Farms. Taylor Kain of Boynton Beach, FL, and Market Trend, owned by Daryl Ziegler Henning earned second place, while Sewell picked up another top three finish, piloting Quentin, owned by Janice Cannizzo to third place.

Leslie Campbell Captures Adult Amateur, 50 and Over Championship


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, 

Molly Sewell Tops the Turf Tour's First Hunter Derby Days


Wellington, Florida (February 6, 2016) - The fantastic covered arena of the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center set the stage for the first of this year’s Hunter Derby Days, presented by The Ridge at Wellington. As a branch of the 2016 Turf Tour, the Hunter Derby Days showcased some of the top hunters in the world being judged on their form and their horse’s movement over elegant natural obstacles.

2014 Hunter Derby Days Champion Kelley Farmer returned to defend her title, and for the second year in a row she clinched the international class. Farmer and her own It’s Me put in a fantastic performance in both rounds of the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby to the standard for world class hunt seat at The Ridge. She was followed closely by Louise Serio aboard Jessica Burger’s Rock Harbor who rode to the Reserve Champion title. Round one of the International Derby was won by Farmer on Kent Farrington’s Like I Said, while Serio and Like I Said secured the win in the Handy. Farmer and It’s Me placed second in both rounds, ultimately earning them the overall win in the International Derby.

Molly Sewell proved her mettle that morning morning, taking both Champion and Reserve in the $5,000 Dietrich Equine Insurance USHJA National Derby. She topped the field with lovely rides Leslie C. Campbell’s E.L. Raymond, and took the Reserve Championship title with Mtm Caruso S, owned by Brynn Hanson. Generously sponsored by Dietrich Equine Insurance, the National Derby served as a way for riders to qualify and earn points for the National Hunter Derby Championship across the various divisions including Performance Working Hunter, Pre-Greens, Amateur Owner, and Junior Hunter. The Turf Tour’s trademark hospitality and relaxed atmosphere carried over to both the National and International Derbies, with complimentary lunch, an organized horse shuttle, and permanent stabling offered to all competitors.

Judges George Wallace, Diana Carney, Spencer Chatham, and Carol Hoffman were tasked with evaluating and awarding the best rides in each of the USHJA events, and Kevin Giblin’s course designs set the stage for a true test of the agility and elegance of performance hunters. Organized by Olympian Nona Garson, George D’Ambrosio, and Craig Bergman, The Turf Tour’s competitive, utopian show atmosphere is matched only by its hospitality. For only $75, riders can schedule pick up and drop off at the Turf Tour’s weekly venue, including both of the Hunter Derby Days competitions, as well as a trip back to their farm anywhere in Wellington after their rides. With the inclusion the pageantry and athletic prowess of performance hunters through the Hunter Derby Days, 2016’s Turf Tour is setting a new standard for national and international competition.