Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring Plans in Aiken and Teaching in NC

Although we had initially planned to return to the New Hill farm, all of the recent rain has made conditions difficult. At the same time we've been offered a great opportunity here in Aiken by Evie and Phillip Dutton. As of April 1st we will be based at their beautiful farm here in Aiken, we plan to remain until we can move into our new farm in Rougemont, NC which is being built as we speak.

Until we finally make the move, we’re going to try to get up to NC as often as possible in order to teach and check on the building process. Jess and I will be up in NC on Monday and Tuesday the 6th and 7th of April. I know many of you might not be able to schedule during the day, but if possible and interested please let me know. I’m just trying to accommodate as many people as possible.

If interested please shoot a quick email to or text to 908.399.9112

Saturday, March 7, 2015

USEA Judges Continuing Ed

I couldn't quite take the week completely off from competing, but close to it. We took Rex (Marilyn Payne) and Merlin (Elizabeth Callahan) over to Highfields on Thursday for their first show in the .85 m class. While both green they managed to both finish up with ribbons! 

Photo by Nancy Knight - USEA

I was able to get a bunch of the other horses ridden before heading down to Red Hills for the USEA's continuing education seminar. Thankfully I have Jess, Michelle and the girls to keep things running smoothly at home!

All USEF judges are required to attend seminars like this every 3 years. We were lucky enough to spend all day yesterday with Janet Foy, one of this countries premiere dressage judges. I can't stress enough how helpful these programs are both in recalibrating scoring as well as gaining a more in depth understanding of the biomechanics, training and showing of horses. If you get a chance, even if you have no desire to judge, audit one of the judging programs. I guarantee your horses will be going better and your scores will improve dramatically. 

Tomorrow we spend the first half of the day in the classroom and the second evaluating the cross country courses over at the venue. 


Monday, March 2, 2015

Making the most of opportunities in Aiken

Aiken is one of, if not the best locations in the country to develop and instill confidence in horses. This weekend was a prime example of the versatility it offers. We took the jumpers to Highfields for the March Madness jumper show on Thursday and Friday. Then the eventers were off to Sporting Days Farm Horse Trials on Saturday and Sunday morning wrapping up just in time to head back for the final 1.30 meter mini prix at Highfields. 

Nate in Dressage at Sporting Days

Our horses were excellent throughout the weekend. All of which would never have been possible without the exceptional help of help of Jess, Michelle, Alex, Tess & Nicole as well as the master of event scheduling Mary Caldren at Sporting Days. The results speak for themselves!

Jumpers at PSJ:
Jimmy Choo ( Madeline Reich) and Confire la Pomme (Barbara Calabro) won classes at 1.10m & 1.15m Thursday and Friday. 
Eli (Mike Rubin - Breezy Hill South) finished 7th in Friday's $5k 1.25m Welcome Stake & 3rd in Sunday's $5k 1.30m Mini-Prix

Eli's 3rd place finish in the 1.30m mini prix 

Eventers at Sporting Days:
Novice: 2nd Quantum Leap (Doug), 3rd Winter Carnival ( Emily van Gemeren), 2nd Call Me Waylon (Ann Wilson) and 7th Marshal M Dillon (Wendy & Fred Luce, Doug)
Training: 1st Absaluut Annabelle (Jane Dudinsky), 3rd Zephyr, 4th Reddina Cooley (Lucia Strini) and 2nd Patrick (Kathleen Sullivan)
Preliminary: 7th Lysander (Kristin Michaloski, Doug)

Zephyr show jumping at Sporting Days - He is also offered for Sale below!

Annie's Dressage Test on the way to her first win of the year!

Farm Progress and a Location Change:

Last week we took a quick trip up to the new farm to stake out all of the buildings and arenas. It turned out to be an unusually snowy trip, but well worth it in the end. Although you think you've got it all mapped out perfect on paper, we quickly realized that some of the building locations had to be tweaked to better suit the land. We were also very lucky to be joined by our excavators and arena contractors Shane Doyle and Clint Bertalan this trip and the last. Both have brought to the table tremendous incite and I'm certain our final layout will be far more efficient, useful and frankly beautiful as a result. 

As for the location change, on our return trip we began thinking about our schedule going forward. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to rent an incredibly facility in Aiken, details soon to follow, for the foreseeable future. It would offer ideal conditions, weather as well as riding surfaces and training opportunities for our horses. With them in mind, we've decided to remain here in Aiken until we are able to move the horses into the new farm in Rougemont, NC. Hopefully our permanent return to NC will be this summer. 

Although up in the air at the moment, we are planning to spend a few days every other week in NC to teach as well as keep tabs on the building process. Details to come soon, but if you are interested please shoot me a quick email at

Working Student Position Vacancy:
Being that we now plan to remain in Aiken we have one vacancy for a working student to join our team. Bring your horse along, housing included and take advantage of the vast opportunities Aiken has to offer! Must be 18 yrs or older. If you're interested please email Jess your resume and a short video of your riding if possible to

Horses For Sale:
We've just updated out sales page here...we have a bunch of great horses for sale, both eventers as well as jumpers. There are a few more to be posted soon, so if you don't see something that might peak your interest please don't hesitate to contact us directly. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Results from a busy Aiken Weekend - March Madness & Sporting Days Farm Horse Trials

Friday, February 20, 2015

Aiken is in Full Swing

We are in full competitive swing down here in Aiken, hence the seldom updated blog. Although we should garner much sympathy from most this winter this past week has been downright freezing!

Our horses have had a great start this spring. We've been to two jumper shows at Highfields here in Aiken as well as our first event of the season at Paradise Farm. I've picked 3 of the most exciting performances so far...

The first is Eli (owned by Mike Rubin) who finished 2nd in the $5,000 Welcome Stakes and 6th in the $10,000 Mini Prix.

Second on the list was Marshall's (owned by Fred & Wendy Luce as well as Doug) first event at Paradise. He had a very good outing at the beginner novice.

Last but not least was Quantum's great performance at PSJ as well as his first event at Paradise in the beginner novice level. Unfortunately following a discussion with our accountant we are forced to sell Quantum. I hate to do so, but we are left without a choice at the moment. I'm completely convinced he will make an excellent partner for someone. If you might be interested, click here for details. 

We are heading back to PSJ with the jumpers for a schooling show this weekend. The eventers will be back in action next week at Sporting Days Farm Horse Trials in Aiken. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Kicking 2015 Off in Chilly Style

I just returned home from the first clinic of 2015. I was graciously invited by the North Texas Eventing Association to teach for the long weekend at Kim Willnow's beautiful, Charismatic Moon Farm. I have to firstly thank Kim for her organization as well as hospitality. We had a tremendous group of people participating, and tough to say the least. All endured freezing temperatures with a great attitude.

Randy and Ashton Willnow were able to get a bunch of great pics, a few are below.

We had a great variety of horses and riders from intro through preliminary. We had scheduled flatwork sessions on Friday, poles and small combinations Saturday finishing up with some more complicated combinations and course work on Sunday. I was excited to see how each horse and rider combination progressed each day.

I've always found clinics a great opportunity to help both horses and riders better understand how to work with each other. This was certainly no exception, with many progressing beyond my own expectations! I'm very lucky to be in a position to help, and with each weekend I'm always impressed how much I learn from each of the combinations.

I'm looking forward to the next trip west. The clinic scheduled for the end of January held at Meadow Creek. Click for details!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A New Endeavor for Crown Talisman and I

Tali at Chantilly about to head to Saumur CCI*** 2014

This is a post I never, in a million, years envisioned writing; however, here I am typing away.

A few weeks back Jess and I met with a good friend and supporter to get some advice about a lot of raw land available for sale just behind the farm which we currently rent. Without much in the way of financial resources the inexpensive acreage looked appealing on the surface. That evening, after checking out the land, we started looking into comparable property in the area to better evaluate our options and the prospects of development. While Jess and I had searched online before, we were shocked to find what appears to be perfect farm. The question then becomes how in the world could we afford it!

Two days later I received a call from Liz Millikin on behalf of Joanne Bridgman (both Agents) asking whether I'd ever consider parting with Tali. My initial thought, was not a chance. After discussing with Jess, Larry and Amelia and sleeping on it, I decided if it meant we could buy the farm I'd have to consider it. A week or so later Nick Gauntlett arrived at our place in Raleigh.

I'm as attached to him as much as I've ever been to a horse. He has been with me now for 6 years from his very first event to Saumur this spring. The thought of selling him has literally woke me up multiple times during the past few weeks. However, after speaking to a number of people I respect both in and out of the horse world, I'm confident this is the right decision. Certainly doesn't make it an easy one!

I'm comforted by the fact that after getting to know Nick, his riding style and care of his horses I know Tali will have a great future. I will always be his biggest fan and hope nothing but the best for the two of them. I'll be rooting for them at Rio! I would also like to again thank Larry and Amelia Ross for their continued support, I certainly wouldn't be here without them.


**Updated 6:45 PM**

Larry and Amelia wanted me to include the following and I was more than happy to oblige. I want to reiterate that I can't thank them enough for their advice and support throughout the years.

“Our support of Doug and the team’s quest for Olympic gold is long term. If this helps Doug finance a permanent base, so he can concentrate on building a string of Olympic contenders, he made a very wise decision. Further, this is the second Olympic contender Doug trained. We are confident that owning his facility, rather than renting where conditions may change,  will enhance his ability to assemble and train enough top horses to take the worry out of relying on just one mount.”

Tali at the Fork CIC*** - Photo by Samantha Clark via Eventing Nation

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Woah Podcast Interview

Check out the latest interview with John of 'The Woah Podcast' about 'The Riding Horse Repair Manual'.

For more information about training, competition or sales please contact Jess or Doug. Conveniently located in the Raleigh, NC area in New Hill.

Don't forget to get your copy of 'The Riding Horse Repair Manual' by clicking the cover image below!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Tribute's winning weekend at Dressage at Camden

Tribute on his way to win his Forth level class on a 75.857%

Tribute (who is currently offered for sale) and I made our dressage debut this weekend at the recognized Dressage at Camden show in South Carolina. He did both Third level test 3 as well as forth level test 1. He was incredible, as usual, winning both classes. Third 3 with a 73.08% and today a 75.857% in Forth 1!

His test is below, click on the image to make larger.

For more information about training, competition or sales please contact Jess or Doug. Conveniently located in the Raleigh, NC area in New Hill.

Don't forget to get your copy of 'The Riding Horse Repair Manual' by clicking the cover image below!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Eventing Training Online video is live...

Just posted from Eventing Training Online is a cross country schooling from this past winter at Paradise Farm. Click here to view!

For more information about training, competition or sales please contact Jess or Doug. Conveniently located in the Raleigh, NC area in New Hill.

Don't forget to get your copy of 'The Riding Horse Repair Manual' by clicking the cover image below!

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Saumur Photo's have arrived!

For those not familiar click on the gallery name below to view all 18 additional competition photos

For more information about training, competition or sales please contact Jess or Doug. Conveniently located in the Raleigh, NC area in New Hill.

Don't forget to get your copy of 'The Riding Horse Repair Manual' by clicking the cover image below!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tali finishes 6th at Saumur!

Tali on his early morning stretch before jogs at Saumur
Tali started off the day in great shape, no worse for the ware. We headed out for a light hack and stretch in the morning before the latest jogs I had ever seen. They started up at 10 am and being that just about half of the field remained, it was quite a bit quicker than Wednesday's inspection. Tali trotted up great and on to show jumping.

2nd horse inspection in front of main arena

The course didn't open for another hour so Jess, my Mom, David and I headed out on to cross country to watch the CIC** which was running all morning. We returned to the main arena at 11:30 for the course inspection.

My first impression of the jumping course was that it would reward confident, forward riding with just a few options in regards to variations in the lines and striding. It may have been a little less technical than some of the courses we've seen this spring, but the jump placement and crowds made it a challenge to say the least! When it was all said and done there were very few clear rounds.

As warm up can often be it was chaotic but this was a bit more than I've experienced. Not only due to the area's small size, the limited number of jumps, the pressure on the riders and crew but also the language barrier. We all used one oxer to get prepared, so as you can imagine there are people yelling in Itallian, French, English and Spanish...a proper cluster. Tali handled it all quite well, I'm very excited to see that when it comes down to working he's 100% in the game. Walking around warming up, hanging out etc is still another story, but when we're going he's been great!

I tried to be mindful of his energy and kept the warm up on the shorter side of things. When called, we headed up to the arena for our round, entering with just one rail in hand to remain in 6th place. Often times Tali is slow to start, but he was great this time from the very first jump. Unfortunately, there was a skinny jump at the far end of the arena that did fall. He twisted just a bit in the air, watching the video afterwards I might have been able to get him square to it earlier for a better jump. He finished up very strong, clear the remainder of the course.

When all was over we finished in 6th place. Always a good consolation, the rail wouldn't have changed the standings. To be honest, I'm very happy and relieved to have the weekend wrapped up. It's a funny thing, every day since the 1st of the year I knew this very well may be the focus of the spring season. Once I was notified that I had received the Land Rover/USEF grant the vague goal was solidified and the pressure was on. Everyday since, every ride you are thinking of how to make the most of the time you have to prepare. Of course anyone in my position wants to do well, but without a doubt you end up wanting to make the most of this rare opportunity and prove to those who have given you this chance that they were not wrong. At the same time, it's absolutely still a learning experience for Tali and me. We will be better still, next time from what was learned here.

There are countless people that I have to thank. First off Larry & Amelia Ross who have been partners of mine with Tali for years, I'd also like to thank Land Rover and the USEF for the grant opportunity and Joanie for her incredible management. Of course I have to thank David O'Connor for his massive help over the past years as well as Silvio Mazzoni, both have made a tremendous difference in my riding. Last but not least I have to thank my Family, friends and Michelle (Tali's second mother) whose unending support can never be repaid.

Tali is on his way not to Amsterdam for his return flight home, he should be back in NC by Friday. As soon as I get some reliable wifi I'll get both the show jumping and helmet cam videos of the weekend.

All the best,

Don't forget to get your copy of 'The Riding Horse Repair Manual' by clicking the cover image below!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Clear Cross Country at Saumur***!

Forgive the awkward angle, but this was taken in the vet box following Tali's great XC!

Tali was again exceptional on a very challenging course. Cross country for the 3* didn't start until 12:30 pm so it was a long day of waiting. There was a short delay on course which put my start time up to just around 4:30 pm. Tali warmed up great and headed out on course strong as ever. He improved as the course progressed and he finished up very strong. During the last few minutes on course he still had energy to spare, which was incredible considering the deep conditions in much of the course. I wore the helmet cam again today so a video should surface here as soon as I can find wifi that is fast enough.

I can't express how proud I am with Tali and how thankful I am to have the support of Larry & Amelia Ross, the entire Land Rover US Eventing Team and of course my family and wife Jessica. I wouldn't be here without all of their help.

Jogs are at 10 tomorrow morning with show jumping not until 4 in the afternoon.


Don't forget to get your copy of 'The Riding Horse Repair Manual' by clicking the cover image below!