Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I always find it funny how things happen to fall into place. Just as official word hit EN, Horse and Hound and the Chronicle of the Horse detailing the sale of Running Order to World #1 William Fox-Pitt Virtus-DPE was well into its formation.

It was inconceivable to me when forming our initial syndicate for Running Order that I'd be in the position that I am today without him. While all appeared in sorted, I will never forget watching the trailer leave the farm with him and the prior years hopes, aspirations and hard work. A tremendously difficult pill to swallow, I do find comfort knowing he is in the best hands in the world. I can't wait to see him out competing next year, and I'm determined to make the best of this situation!

Out of it all rose Virtus-DPE. Why Virtus?

Wikipedia defines it as follows:  
Virtus was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors, and was personified as a deity.

Virtus personified by our syndicate is my goal. I'm very lucky so far to have 7 members who have decided to join me in this venture. We're still looking for 3 more, so what's in it for you?!

The syndicate wave has hit eventing, but most are geared toward one goal competition with one horse. Virtus-DPE is structured and geared to develop a string of horses capable of successfully competing and winning at the highest levels of eventing, with the ultimate goal of representing the United States in international competition. While the path to international success will certainly have its challenges, we are attacking them head on with a two pronged approach. Our initial purchases are aimed at one 7-8 year old and one 4-5 year old both with exceptional talent and the look of a champion. With horses at different stages in the game, we'll have a constant stream of exciting news and activities along the way.

I've always enjoyed developing horses from the ground up. To me it appears as the only way to get top class horses under our wing without breaking the bank. Ultimately the very best horses are not for sale regardless of age or price! For those who have not seen this before, this was a video I produced detailing Running Order's progression a shining example of what is possible.

With two horses taking on the eventing world, we're bound to get there soon. If you are intrigued and would like more information please don't hesitate to contact me at or 908.399.9112.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ocala Horse Trials

I'm sitting in the airport restaurant in Orlando waiting for my flight returning to NJ following an excellent weekend at the Ocala Horse Properties Horse Trials. I was down to act as the TD for the weekend. A big thanks has to go out to both Jon Holling and Peter Grey for putting on a class competition under their company EquiVentures. I don't want to forget the countless other volunteers that helped, who without we'd have no sport at all!

This serves as the last major date on my schedule for the year. We may have a schooling show or two in the coming weeks, but this was a perfect end to an eventful year. With the cold weather arriving, we've been ironing out our schedule for 2013 as well as our winter farm plans etc.

Next week, Jess and I are heading down to Aiken for Thanksgiving with her parents. I'm going to use the opportunity to visit the farm we're renting for the winter season. I'm very excited, it's a 16 stall center isle barn with plenty of turnout as well as riding areas. It should be the perfect base to work from for years to come.

Earlier in the week, I picked up two new horses who will be joining us for the winter. One from Jane Dudinsky, who owned both Lord Baltimore as well as Getalong Maggie. Jane's horse was again started by Kip Hollaway who's done a wonderful job getting him going. Leo or Little Leo as he'll be known at our place has done a bunch of training level events and is ready to move up to prelim in the spring. The second is a coming 4 year old, named Eli, owned by Kristen Burgers, who also owns Royal Tribute. He is ready to get going in his competitive career.

We still do have room for one more horse down in Aiken. If you have any questions, or would like information about our training and competition program please don't hesitate to email or call at 908-399-9112. 

Doug, Jon Holling, Cathy Slaterback, Peter Grey

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fair Hill 2012 - Update and Podcast

We had a great weekend at Fair Hill. Tali finished up in 4th out of 74 in the CCI**. I couldn't be prouder of him. He hadn't had a run since Millbrook which makes this result even more impressive!

Leo had a great outing finishing 5th in the YEH-5 finals. He's an exceptional horse with a very bright future. Keep an eye on him, he's one to watch without a doubt!

I've got a bit more detail as well as some other stories of the weekend on this week's podcast. Listen or subscribe with your podcast player by entering the following url:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Fair Hill CCI** and YEH-5 has officially begun!

Jess, Tali, Big Leo and of course the dogs and I arrived yesterday to Fair Hill. Yesterday afternoon/evening was spent unpacking and attending a USEF active athletes meeting where David O'Connor gave the initial presentation of the US team of the future.  I'm very excited to have an opportuntiy to play a part. I think he's going to do a fablious job.

We had a leisurely morning this am, spent riding both horses and setting up the barns. Up next was the first riders meeting where we all meet the ground jury as well as get a number of housekeeping details ironed out.

The CCI** jog was also held today. Tali was his usually expressive self, jogged great down the strip and then as we turned he realized he was flanked by a massive tent and flags. He began levitating and he would...settled and continued in a flamboyant passage.

Tomorrow is the start of the Young Event horse competition. Leo is up at 9:10. Tali gets another quiet day, his dressage is set for 2:27 on Friday.

Tali and Jess just following the Jogs

Friday, October 5, 2012

Morven Park Bound

We're on the way down to Virginia for our final run prior to the Fair Hill CCI** and YEH-5 Championships.

Unfortunately, Tali is not joining us this weekend. Two days ago he came in from the field with a swollen eye. Upon inspection our Vet, Dr. Staller, prescribed a course of medication which would make competing impossible. His eye was looking good this morning, so luckily we were able to fit in another gallop. Although it's not an ideal lead up to a 2* I think we'll be in great shape in 2 weeks time.

Along with us to Morven is Lysander aka Big Leo who is entered in the Preliminary which will serve as his last run before the 5 yr old championships. In addition to Leo is Artie. Artie is entered in the training, he is a horse who arrived a month or so back and is being offered for sale. He's an exceptional athlete, he's competed through Prelim in Germany before arriving in the states. I've now shown him in the 1.20m jumpers. This will be his first event in the country. Pictures and videos are posted on our sale page

Keep in touch for this weekends the looks of it, it's going to be a great weekend!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

AEC's, Tali's foot, Hunter Farms and more

Lysander aka Big Leo owned by myself and Kristin Michaloski won the 2012 American Eventing Championships in the Training Horse division! He was exceptionally good winning wire to wire on a 22.7!
Big Leo at the Awards Ceremony at the AEC's (Photo Hoofclix)
Dressage (Score of 22.7) (Photo Hoofclix)
XC (Photo Hoofclix)
SJ (Photo Hoofclix)

Following his success at the AEC's Leo is headed to Morven Park next week in the prelim then on to the USEA Young Event Horse 5yr old finals at the Fair Hill CCI in a month.

Leo wasn't the only one to have a great weekend. Royal Tribute aka the Prodigy owned by Kristen Burgers, Larry and Amelia Ross and myself finished the weekend up 7th in the Preliminary Horse. He was also leading after dressage, he managed to match Leo's 22.7! He was great on xc as well, especially considering the conditions we dealt.
1st Place after Dressage 22.7! (Photo Hoofclix)

The fog on XC was amazing! (Photo Hoofclix)

SJ (Photo Hoofclix)
We finished up the weekend with pair of unfortunate rails, but he doesn't owe us anything. He's had an incredible year. He earns a well deserved vacation wrapping 2012 up with 5 wins, 2 seconds (1 CCI* and 1 HT) and a 7th at the AEC's not bad for 9 prelim starts!

On other news Tali is back. Below is a current photo of his LF, we're finally back in work and preparing for Morven and the Fair Hill CCI** in a month. He somehow caught himself on XC at Millbrook, it was a nasty cut requiring stitches as well as staples. Thankfully, Tali is an excellent patient and does a remarkable job of healing! I also have to thank our friends at SpectraVet Laser's for their help. He feels great and should be ready to go for next week!

Current Photo

Roughly a week after Millbrook
On to jumping, we wrapped up today Wishfull-V showing for the week at Princeton. He's one incredible horse finishing the $2,500 1.30m class at Princeton in 3rd Place!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

HITS - CWD - Working Student and More

We've just wrapped up a very good week. We're finally heading out of the black hole that has been the past month or so. Our brand new syndicate is very quickly forming, our two horses attack is taking shape.

We have a few new members joining our group which is, without a doubt, the most exciting project I've been involved with to date. If you'd like to join us your time is quickly running out. Contact me at or 908.399.9112 for details.

Wednesday and Friday we made the trip up to HITS Saugraties with Wishfull-V owned by Amy Hentenaar. Wednesday we started off with the level 5 and 6's. Following strong performances in both Friday we bumped him up to the Level 6 and 7's. Below are photos and video of the 7's (1.40m/4'6") where he placed 6th. Wishfull is tentatively slated for the $35,000 grand prix at Princeton in a few weeks time.

Appropriately we got a great shot over the CWD oxer. Friday was my first show in the brand new 2G saddle. I can't say enough, this saddle is excellent!! The crazy thing is it's only going to get better as it breaks in for real.

We're also have an opening for a new working student. We're looking for someone who is fun loving, hard working and wants to learn. Ideally this person could stay with us for a year period or more. If you are interested or would like more info please contact me or Jess at or 615-477-1773.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Moving on from the Running Order Era at DPE

Photo by Sommer Wilson via Facebook

I'm not sure I can adequately put into words the disappointment and disheartenment I've felt over the past few weeks over the loss of Running Order from DPE. As nearly everyone in the eventing world is aware, I've been in the process of forming a syndicate to purchase Running Order. Syndication is a difficult process; no one likes to ask for support, but it is a necessary evil in the modern sport. We were able to form a great group of supporters to purchase him, but due to unforeseen circumstances we were unable to do so.

Running Order has been a part of my life for 4 1/2 years. He has taken me places I couldn't have dreamed about the day he arrived in April of '08. I am forever indebted to him for the experience I've gained through his efforts. Things happen for a reason in life and as hard as this one was to swallow, I'm beginning to see the light. During Richland Park this past weekend, we had the opportunity to speak with David O'Connor. He told us that this very well might be the best thing that has happened to me. His advice correlated strongly with that of a number of other riders who have been in this situation before, all encouraging me to move forward.

With all of this in mind, I'm getting more and more excited about the future of DPE. Running Order was just about the closest thing to a sure bet that we'd get to the top. I'm now in the process of reforming our syndicate to purchase two horses. The ultimate goal is to reach the top of the sport, and with two horses involved our odds of success will be significantly higher. Their current levels of competition don't really matter, as long as they are the most talented horses available. We have a great track record of getting the most out of our horses.

I've never been in the fortunate position of seeking out a horse; in the past I have worked with whatever horses I happen to come across. I'm very excited about finally getting this wonderful opportunity, made better by sharing this process with my most ardent supporters. My friends will inevitably get tired of hearing me describe how great these horses are, but syndicate members will not!

I'm looking for people who would like to join this new syndicate. This new group's goal is to purchase one horse who is roughly at the intermediate/CCI** level and one who is just beginning the process (5 yr old-Training). If either horse reaches its maximum potential before the 4* level, the goal would be to find him an appropriate home and reinvest the funds into a suitable replacement.

Would you like to join us? If so, send me an email or give me a call at 908.399.9112. I am looking for a motivated group of people who are excited to join the process and want to win! I fully intend to make the best of this unfortunate situation and ask you to support my journey to the top. Each shareholder will own a portion of each horse. The initial buy-in will be roughly 15-20k with an annual maintenance fee of 4k. This will allow each shareholder to have a stake in two horses for the price of one.
Best Regards,

Monday, July 23, 2012

DPE Podcast #18 is live...

Lysander aka Big Leo at his first Prelim (Stuart HT) Photo thanks to Sumner Crosby

This weeks Podcast includes a recap of a crazy week which started off at Stuart then back to NJ, off to Ohio, Judging at Fitches and more. We're also looking for a working student as well as 3 more participants in Running Orders Syndicate.

Click on the following link: or search DPEquestrian in iTunes.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stuart Update Day #3

Simon in the OI XC - Photo via Twitter by


We are just finishing up with cross country day for training and up here at the Stuart Horse Trials. It has been a great week so far with Show Jumping still to come tomorrow.

I'm riding four horses here: Running Order, Lysander (Leo), Arbor Hill (Timeless) and Shining North Star (Simon). Two others came along with us from the barn, Kristin Michaloski riding Kilamanjaro (Hughie) and Nicole Carolan riding Topgun (Gunnar).

Stuart is Running Order's first run since Rolex, it's great to have him back in action. His dressage was decidedly sub-par, we had some rust to knock off. There were some moments that were quite good, but some others where his excitement derailed us from having a winning test. Not to worry, he'll be back in top form soon. His cross country, however was an entirely different story. He hardly put a foot wrong today in a beautiful clear around Derek's CIC** track.

Simon was next out, he too was a little too excited about his arrival here to put in a winning dressage test, but he certainly made up for it on XC. He is one of the most fun horses to gallop and jump that I've ever ridden, he lived up to that reputation here today. He wasn't backed off anything, he made easy work of the intermediate track.

Leo might get the gold star for the weekend so far. After making easy work of his 4 training level events this spring he made the big move up to prelim here. He started off extremely well finishing 2nd in dressage. I didn't know what to expect, but this was a huge and exciting surprise! I would not say this is the most ideal track to move up, Leo proved he belonged! He jumped around today very well, we had a few green moments to be expected, but he impressed me. He's going to be a very good horse in a few years time. I think he's going to try to steal the Prodigy's YEH-5 title this fall!

Timeless is last but not least, this was his first event ever. He has now successfully made the transition from the hunters to eventing finishing the novice here in 4th place! He also won the Irish Draught Horse Society's award for the highest place horse of Irish decent. Not a bad result for his very first time out!

Kristin is in great shape with Hughie, she was less than 2 points out of the lead after dressage and jumped around clean today with the best XC yet. Nicole finished up her weekend yesterday with her second win in a row with Gunnar in the Novice!

We start up tomorrow at 8 with the CIC** jogs.

There are a bunch of photos of all of the horses already posted on Stuart's website here.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Running Order's Syndicate is Taking Shape!

**UPDATE: We have 7 of the 10 shares currently spoken for, if you have any questions at all feel free to email or call.**

Patti Springsteen, Running Order's long time owner has decided it's best to devote her limited free time to her family. I am very thankful for her support to through the years, but it has come time that I seek alternate ownership for RO.

2012 Rolex CCI**** - Photo by Lindsay Berreth

I have to say this has been one of the most stressful times in my career to date. I want to be clear that I'm thankful for me and my horses health, and I fully understand that things could always be significantly worse! Running Order has be an integral part of our family now for 4 years. He is a tremendous athlete just approaching is prime. He's a character around the barn, frankly he's an attention whore! He's not happy unless someone or something is paying attention to him.

It is a shame that an emotional bond between rider and horse can be torn apart so quickly. Although it's a fact of life, I don't have the financial resources to secure Running Order for myself. I've been very lucky to gain the support of a number of owners over the past few years, without them I wouldn't be here today.

I truly believe that luck and success are made not given, so it's time to put together a group of caring, dedicated and fun loving people to join in this journey with us.

Last week I posted a video detailing his journey to the top, keep in mind while watching, this is just the start! Running Order is just 10 years old, he's proven that he can contend with the best in the world. He could very well be competing at the top for the next 6-9 years!

This syndicate will be formed with 10 shares. Syndicate details can be found at the Event Owner's Task Force's website by clicking here. USEF's Event Owners Task Force has done an admirable job forming a solid legal framework which will both protect and clearly explain all expected by all parties. The goal in this formation is to allow Running Order and me the opportunity to contend for the US team for years to come.

If you are interested in more information please don't hesitate to contact me at doug@dpequestrian or 908.399.9112.

Best Regards,


I was contacted by Running Order's breeder Joan O'Brien, she just posted his first Race in Ireland. I've also attached the video from Rolex Kentucky CCI**** this spring.

Running Order's First Race in Ireland

2012 Rolex Kentucky CCI****

Monday, July 2, 2012

1 4* horse in 18 mins and a 13.2 in dressage?!

This has been in the works now for some years, I finally had a moment and the footage to finally compile the time lapse.
Running Order's 4 years @ DPEquestrian

Running Order often steals the show, but Leo made a very strong case for the top slot over the weekend. Although he didn't get the top slot on the post, Jess gave him the fridge. He finished the weekend on a 13.2! I've only had one sub 20 score before, but nothing like this!

Click on the photo to enlarge!

Leo wasn't the only one who had a great weekend. Kristin Michaloski who coincidentally owns Leo with me finished 4th with Hughie. Nicole Carolan won her Novice division with Gunnar with a classy 23. Larry Ross who happens to own a share of both Crown Talisman and Royal Tribute nearly won his Novice division after leading in the dressage. A few time penalties dropped him to 6th, but still very impressive for his first event of the year!

We have a quiet weekend coming up, but Stuart is on the near horizon!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bromont CCI Recap Podcast is Up!

Tribute finished 2nd in his first CCI* out of 56! Jess has a very good weekend, and Kelsey wins the XC style award in the CCI*. The DPE Podcast is online click the following link to listen or copy and subscribe in your favorite podcast player.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bromont XC Day....

As always XC was exciting, but the 'Prodigy' continued to live up to his name. This was his first CCI* and a challenging one at that! Tribute handled it with class. He continues to impress me with the length of his stride and his athleticism which will prove invaluable in the future.

We had a few moments which were tricky, especially the last water where there were 3 ducks in a row. The first was on solid ground, then 4 strides to the second in the water and the third on solid ground on the other side. Tribute jumped clear into the water, unfortunately putting us at a less than desirable distance to the duck. Fortunately, he was quick to figure it out, and jumped out like a champ! We finished up the day just 2 seconds under the time adding nothing to our dressage score moving to hold 2nd place alone.

He looked great tonight, so fingers crossed for the 8 am jog tomorrow morning. With some luck we'll leave the rails up and see what happens. Regardless, I'm convinced that I very well may be the luckiest person here to have such a special horse coming up the ranks. Thanks again to Kristen Burgers who owns Tribute with me. Without her I wouldn't be here!

I can't forget Jess and Kelsey. Jess and Trevor jumped very well around the CIC*** course as did Kelsey in the CCI* both finishing clear with a little time. Today was a great day for us...hopefully this trend continues tomorrow!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bromont - Dressage Day

Tribute aka 'The Prodigy' as he's often called around the barn lived up to his namesake today at the Bromont CCI*. We arrived here late Tuesday after an uneventful drive from NJ. Yesterday was a quiet day, we were able to ride around the park and concentrate on a little flat work prior to the first Jog. Horse Junkies United got a quick photo from the jog found below:

photo by

Today was dressage day for the 56 CCI* horses. Tribute was very good, this place is enormous, with loads of atmosphere. While he generally doesn't show outward signs of being nervous, he is an internalizer. I've been working on a few different plans/schemes to relax him when the apprehension reaches it's peak. They worked well today...he finished up with a 45 and change tied for 2nd place! I was even more frustrated with myself in that I committed my first error of the year today. Tribute deserved to be in 2nd place all to himself, but luckily for us, this weekend is far from over.

Tribute just entering the dressage ring at the Bromont CCI*
I haven't yet walked out to see the XC course, but from what I hear it is simelar to last years version.  For those who missed it, below is Kristin Michaloski's Camerlingo XC from 2011.

Kelsey Hoiness also went today, Ben was very good under her guidance. She finished up in 17th not far off the lead. 

Jess also goes late tomorrow morning, so fingers crossed! Following her ride, we'll be out walking the course, making sure to have a solid plan before Saturday.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Rolex, MCTA, Jersey, Va HT, Fitness advice and more...

The DPE podcast just finished a hiatus and is back on the air! We're just about to head to Bromont Canada for Tribute's first CCI*.

Click here or search iTunes for the latest episode.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Rolex Report....

I'm not sure where to begin, and I plan to follow up with some more details in the next podcast, but what a weekend! I consider myself one very lucky person to have the opportunity to be riding such an amazing horse.

Running Order proved that he is the real deal. I can't wait to see what the coming years will bring. I figured it'd be best to go chronologically through the week...

Wed Jog: It's a surreal feeling finally getting to a 4*. It's been a goal of mine for years and years, and this was it... As with every year at Kentucky they pick a best dressed man and woman. I figured, what the hell go for broke. I brought out my best (only) suit as well as a purple tie (bold decision) and it paid off with the help of Michelle's spit polish of RO. Thanks again to Dubarry Boots for their more than generous award.

Photo by Cynthia Lawler via Facebook
Dressage day was next...

Linda Zang has helped me tremendously this spring. Without it I'd have been in trouble, but I was lucky enough that she also attended. RO was excellent, no perfect, but the best he's been to date. Linda gave me a few pointers that for whatever reason I had never considered in the past. I'm extremely excited in that I see a way forward where progress has few limits. We finished up in 15th less than 10 points out of the lead out of 69 starters. Not bad for our first 4*!

Photo by Cynthia Lawler via Facebook
Cross country was next up...

To say I was nervous would have been a large understatement. It's the unknown that's hardest to prepare for, but RO didn't disappoint. He jumped around without much effort. His scope and gallop still astound me. We did have one bobble at the coffin complex. Long story short I over corrected for a drift over the ditch. I was given permission by the FEI, NBC and Rolex to wear the helmet cam. The video along with a voice over analysis is below, it's a must see!

Photo via SmartPak (Facebook)

The final Jog and Show Jumping...

RO came off the course in excellent shape, and jogged as if he'd done nothing the day before. Jumping was a challenge, being that RO is very spooky. We finished up in 18th place and very proud of what we accomplished. I have to thank Patti Springsteen again for all of her support as well as my sponsors Five Star Tack, Ecogold, SpectraVet Lasers, Cavalor, HayGain, HitAir, EquineLite Mats, Equithrive, Horseware Ireland, Parlanti boots and our newest sponsor CWD Saddles.

Photo by Cynthia Lawler via Facebook

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Socks' and Tribute's Fork Report

Socks (owned by Wendy and Fred Luce) secured his first Preliminary win last weekend at the Fork horse trials. Not to be outdone Tribute (owned by Kristen Burgers and Doug) also won, this his 3rd Prelim and his 3rd consecutive win.

Along with the winners, Tali (owned by the Ross' and Doug) finished 3rd in the Intermediate and Gunnar (owned by Nicole Carolan) 2nd in the Training. Hughie (owned by Kristin Michaloski) jumped very well in his 2nd Prelim just outside of the ribbons.

Running Order finished up his last full run before Rolex. For a full detailed report listen to the DPE blog by clicking here. If you haven't yet download instacast, it should be next on your list!

We the rare open training slot opening at the end of the month. If your horse has yet to reach his potential or is still needing that tune up his is a great opportunity. Email or give me a call for details.

Rivertown Lad on his way to finish on a 26.5 this weekend at the Fork - Photo by Kate Samuels
We have a quiet week ahead before heading with a trailer and a half full to Fair Hill International horse trials. This will be Leo and Simon's first event for the year. Along with the new comers, all of the Fork horses will be out again. Running Order will be doing a combined test prepping him for Rolex the following week. It is still a bit surreal saying that...but hopefully it too will become normal soon!

My final Rolex blog is posted here on the Rolex website.

We are now finally back in NJ. Aiken was great, but I couldn't be happier to be back home. The horses are out on grass and relaxing in the spring sunshine. Not a whole lot to complain about.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Southern Pines, Podcast #13 and more...

Socks aka Rivertown Lad owned by Fred and Wendy Luce on his way to a 4th Place in Prelim
Southern Pines went just about as well as anyone could want. All 5 of our horses finished in the top 6 of their divisions. They are just about fit enough for me to be comfortable running for time on XC so watch out at the Fork in 2 weeks!

The 13th podcast is live with much more detail here:

For those who haven't yet downloaded instacast or other Podcast downloader for their iPhone or Droid it's a must, all of the new episodes will instantly be available on your phone as they become live!

We're heading down to Atlanta tomorrow to brush up on our show jumping. Courage will be joining for the 1.40m welcome and the Grand Prix on Saturday. Check back for photos and a report.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Red Hills Day 2

Cross country day was it always is! After all that is the main appeal of this sport. There really isn't anything much like it.

I was planning to do another podcast recap (yesterday's dressage recap is here), but my bandwidth is being sucked up in an attempt to upload Running Order's helmet cam from today. It is an exciting one. I was nearly knocked out by his head when his hind end slipped out on a bending line during the last combination. Turns out, my good friend Michael Pollard had a horse fall in the same location from slipping as well. So keep your fingers crossed, with some luck it will be online tonight.

The day started off well. I was nervous this morning, the unknown is never settling. Hughie set off on his second prelim course ever. Red Hills is unlink nearly every other event we see throughout the year. The spectator attendance is probably second only to Rolex. This is invaluable expereince for younger horses, although it does make for a few sketchy moments. Hughie grew up as we progressed around the course.

For the first 10 or so fences he was more interested in the surroundings than the jumps at hand. This was unsettling at the time, but he quickly realized this might not be the best strategy. He got better and better as we continued and he finished up very, very well. He is a better horse because of this round, without a doubt! He was 8 seconds over the time, and finished up in 4th. Not bad for a 6 yr old!

Running Order was next up. This was his first XC round of the year. 'Skinny' is a very careful horse, with a massive stride, so a course like this is a great opportunity for him. There were various striding options throughout the course, and he answered each one like a pro!

Like Hughie we had a few fences I'd like to do over, but overall he was much, much better than years past. Fair Hill CCI3*'s xc last year was a turning point. I think I've figured out the missing link that was holding us back. Today he was very quick to adjust, and was excellent in responding from the bobble at the 2nd to last. When I say bobble, I'm glad I came away without a concussion. It was a bending 4 stride line, and he came through like a champion, until his hind end gave out. This sent his hind quarters out to the side, and his poll directly into my head! All of this about 1 stride out from the 'B' element. He recovered very well and finished up strong. I did not go for time, so we dropped from 2nd to 3rd, but I really couldn't be happier.

Tali was the last out. As I mentioned in the podcast, I'm looking to qualify him for the Jersey Fresh CCI** in May. This CIC** is the remaining component I'm missing. He is an XC machine! He galloped around it as if it were child's play. We did have one hairy moment at the last water where we got in wrong to the hut in the water itself. We climbed all over it, but he continued as if nothing had happened. Ultimately, that's what you need. A horse that will not be flustered, and will be more determined after an hiccup. He is that horse! He finished up with some time as well and currently sits in 10th. All is looking good for tomorrow, so keep your fingers crossed!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Prodigy dominates Sporting Days!

Our competition at sporting days started out on Friday with the advanced combined test for Running Order and Trevor. This was a great prep for RO leading up to Red Hills next weekend. Both horses continue to get better with each outing. Both jumped clean show jumping rounds on a difficult course. They finished up Friday 1st and 2nd places!

Socks' 2nd Place Prelim Show Jumping

The Prodigy (aka Tribute aka Royal Tribute owned by myself and Kristen Burgers) continues to live up to his name. Tribute finished up last year winning the YEH-5 finals and now his first Preliminary. He started the day off well with a 27 in dressage. His flat work keeps improving, especially following what I hope was his last growth spurt. He continues to get stronger and stronger with each day.

His jumping is improving as well. He jumped a clear show jumping and XC. I am very lucky to be riding such a nice horse!

Socks (aka Rivertown Lad owned by Wendy Luce) was out in the Prelim as well. He too just keeps getting better and better. I'd have to say his been pretty damn consistent! He finished up this weekend in 2nd. Socks had a 30 leading into the jumping phases and only added .4 time penalties on XC. He is a pleasure to jump, very quick on his feet with tons of power. He's defiantly making a name for himself, which should make his sale an easy one! If you or anyone you know is looking give me a call or email for more info.

Max (aka Don't Look Down owned by John Evers) went out this morning in the Novice. I've got to say, Max might be the tallest horse I've ever ridden. We forgot our measuring stick in NJ, but I'd guess he's at least 18.2 hh. He is still green and is down in Aiken with us to gain some invaluable experience.  He started off very well with a 32 in dressage. He too didn't add a point to his score throughout the day. He's a very genuine horse with a bright future ahead of him. Max finished up in 4th as the day wound up.

Landis was the last to go for the weekend. He is owned by Shanon Baker and Steve Day and might be one of the most exciting young horses I've ridden in a while. He was in the Tadpole division, I'm not sure where he ended up when the day finished up, but he didn't add anything to his dressage score. Keep an eye on him...he's one to watch!

We're heading to PSJ on Wed and then Red Hills on Thursday. Tali will be in the CIC**, RO in the Advanced and Hughie in the prelim. Update coming soon!


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Back in Aiken after a great week at HITS!

Courage - 3rd Place - 10k HITS Prix - Jump off (Photo by Bill Wertman)
We headed down to Ocala late on Tuesday. It was a quick turn around from Pine Top and I wanted to make sure to get all of them ridden before leaving. We arrived down in Ocala around 11:30 that night at Bruce Davidson's place where the horses were to be stabled. It was a huge relief to have the temperatures finally on the rise after the weekend!

Wednesday was our first day of showing. We were at the barn by 6am to make sure we made it to the show with enough time to finish entering and be ready for our first class. Courage, owned by Sycamore Station LLC, was first up in the $2,500 Brookledge Welcome Stakes. I've been working hard to make corrections from a few weeks prior. After watching the videos over and over I realized I needed to be slightly more patient especially at the verticals not to push him through the top rail. I also needed to keep him a little bit sharper overall. All of the work paid off! He was one of a handful of double clear rounds finishing in 8th!

Llama, owned by Rosie DiMola, jumped a great round in the level 4's (3'9") just following Courage's class. He finished up in 6th. This little horse has a ton of potential and is so careful I can't wait to see where he'll end up in the coming years!
Courage - 3rd Place - 10k HITS Prix - First Round (Photo by Bill Wertman)
Friday brought Courage to the 10k HITS Prix (1.45m - 4'9") He was 18th to go out of the 27 showing. There was only 1 double clear as I entered the ring. Courage was a little green at points but jumped very, very well. It was a much more technical course than Wednesday or 2 weeks prior. He responded with class and finished leaving all of the rails in place! Upon completion of the class there was 1 more double clear placing us in 3rd!

It was a very exciting result and a huge step in gaining confidence for the future.

Llama and I then headed over to the $1,000 FarmVet Level 5 class where he jumped around like a star. This was his 2nd time competing in the 4' class and he too finished double clear and in 5th! He is without a doubt a talent for the future. He'll be out again soon at PSJ's March Madness in Aiken.

We have a quiet weekend with Pine Top Advanced weekend on the horizon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The jumpers head to Ocala and Tribute dominates Pine Top!

Courage - 8th Place Brookledge Welcome Stakes - 1.40m
Courage, Llama, Larry and Running Order all made the trip down to Ocala last night. Courage jumped great today in the $2,500 Brookledge Welcome stakes. He jumped double clear, finishing 8th.

Llama also jumped very very well he finished up 6th in the level 4's (3'9"). Larry also jumped well. I just did some light flat with Running Order over at Bruce's today with more to come later in the week.

The latest podcast is up, it was recorded on our trip down last night. It covers Pine Top from last weekend, incidentally Tali was a star, Farley finished 8th, Socks 4th, Tribute 1st (who was up by 9pts after dressage!) and Hughie rocked his first prelim! The link to #10 is here.

The photo pic of the week goes to Hughie, click here to view.

I wish I could get some video up real time, but internet on the road has been difficult especially when it's all in HD. I'll get some up on Saturday when we return to Aiken. 

All I can say is hopefully this warm weather keeps up. In the upcoming week we have Pine Top Advanced horse trials. Running Order will be out as well as Tali and Hughie. I think there might be one or two more, but without a schedule in front of me I'm lost!

Check back Friday for results from the rest of HITS.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Podcast #8 is required listening...Michelle's singing is stunning!

Courage - $15k 1.40m Mini Prix - HITS Ocala

This week we have results from HITS and the upcoming USEF training sessions, but Michelle absolutely steals the show!

The iTunes link is here. If that doesn't work or you would like to subscribe to the DPE podcast with an app like Instacast the podcast link is as follows:

Regarding Instacast...I wrote an article a few weeks back which went live today on HJU it details a number of apps and tech tips which make the day both more productive and entertaining!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Rolex is coming!

I was lucky enough to be asked if I'd be interested in writing a blog leading up to Rolex this spring. The first of four parts has just gone live on Rolex's website. The link is found here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

HITS far so good!

It's been a busy few days. It all kicked off on Wednesday. We started at Sporting Days dressage and CT. Gus did 2nd level 1 and 2 scoring 61% and 65%. It was a solid start for the year for Gus. I also rode Shanon Baker's Landis and Farley Davidson. Landis is a very exciting young horse who has the upper levels in his sights! This was his first show jumping off the farm. We ended up trotting half of the course but what a jumper!

Melanie brought Larry along as well, he had a hiccup in the first round but made great strides in the second. Farley jumped very well also. As soon as we finished up. I headed back to the barn to switch horses and head down to Ocala.

With us to Ocala came Larry, Courage and Llama. They've taken HITS Ocala by storm. Larry finished 4th in the level 4's and 6th in the level 5's yesterday. Llama finished 2nd this morning in the level 5's.

Courage jumped like a rock star as seen below in the $15k 1.40m Mini Prix. He finished up on 6th. We're sticking around until Sunday for the $25k Grand Prix.

Unfortunately, I have limited Internet access down here. I'll try to get a video up as soon as possible.

Check back soon for updates!


** We also have a working student position open for the winter in Aiken, come down and enjoy the sun for the winter! If you are interested send a resume and video to **

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Podcast #6 is Live

In this episode we cover a number of results from the past week. Some good and some not so much! We also cover the final installment of Running Order's profile as well as the professional portion of my career.

Click Here to Listen!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

We're exausted, but the truck is here!

The last 72 hours have been crazy. As I had mentioned in the Podcast, we left around 2 pm on Monday to head back to NJ. That trip is a long one, we arrived making good time around 1:30 am. Promptly woke up to get all of the loose ends tied up. Turns out getting insurance for this truck was a challenge to say the least, one that took me until about 2 pm Tuesday afternoon. Once that was all set, Jess, my Dad and I headed up to the dealership to finish the deal.

We arrived at the Freightliner dealer with no troubles, and signed my life away. I did have one minor panic attack when the salesman informed me that the policy I finally found was not sufficient. Luckily, after a quick call to the insurance agent all was well and good.

Then off to the DMV. I'm not sure if this is a worldwide problem, or just one specific to the US. It is not an enviable place be, not a model of efficiency by any means. They know the power is in their hands. You just hope that the agent is not going to try to be a hero and give you a hard time. We got lucky, this might be a record being that we only spent 30 minutes!

Sounds like that should be enough for a day, but I still needed to sell my pickup. I had spoke to some wholesalers in NYC about buying it. Over the phone it sounded like no problem. Funny enough my dad who was following us wanted to make sure it wasn't a problem as well. He too called and was told bring it in. So 40 minutes later, just before closing we arrived. It's a tight fit to get in the door. I think the building was designed for honda's rather than a dually pick up.

"It's too big, we can't do anything with this..." is the first thing we hear. I'm thinking to myself what the @#%^ !! Long story short we drove into NYC for nothing. Back out to NJ we go...

We all met my Mom for dinner and then back to the barn. A few weeks back there were a few things we forgot and a few that simply couldn't fit. Kristin is heading down today and is going to grab those as well as a few more jumps on her trip to Aiken.

Wednesday morning came bright and early. We had to be at the Newark airport for a 7:30 flight meaning we left my place at 5:15 am. We met up at my parents place and my dad once again played chauffeur. We then flew to Atlanta and onto Gainesville, FL to meet the former owner of the truck. Luckily he lived just a few minutes north of the airport. We hopped into the truck and headed North to Aiken!

On our way back, I got a call from my Dad who had actually just sold the pickup. What a relief! Looks as if we have everything sorted.

I'll get some better pics posted soon, but these will give you an idea. I still need to spend a day or two setting up all of the cameras that are in the trailer etc...

I want to add special thanks to Larry and Amelia Ross and Kristen Burgers for their extraordinary help.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

DPE Podcast #4 is live on itunes...

Today's podcast is live by clicking here. This week we cover everything from our trip down to NJ to this weeks news and my early childhood with horses.

Keep warm!