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Oct. 20, 2016, Calgary, Alberta:  It was opening night at the Agrium Western Event Centre in Calgary for Royal West featuring the prestigious $132,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Calgary presented by pandaHAUS Equestrian on Oct. 29.

At the top of the bill on opening night was the $35,000 1.45m Camelot Stables Cup (presented by Golden West Radio). A full field of 39 on Werner Deeg’s challenging course provided a stirring challenge for the prize money. (more…)

October 21, 2016 |

Ailsa Morrison on NAJYRC 2016

Ailsa and Princess Sophia

Ailsa and Princess Sophia 

This past summer the North American Junior Young Rider Championships were held at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Co and I was fortunate enough to be selected to represent Ontario and Canada in the Eventing 1* division.  Having competed at NAJYRC in Kentucky in 2015, I knew what a challenging and rewarding experience this would be. A goal that I had been training for had come to fruition and it was exciting to be part of such an incredibly talented Ontario team. My horse Sophie was excited at first until she learned she had a 2 day, 2000 km trailer ride to get there, but I promised her she’d get to run around a really fun x-co track and she was back on board with my plan. I left out the part that she’d be competing at 5900 ft elevation and figured I’d break the news to her once she was on the trailer and half way across Iowa.

Princess Sophia and I have been together for 4 1/2 years. I bought her from Karl Slezak and picked her up on New Years Eve. It was an awesome way to ring in the new year and set goals for the future. With Karl’s guidance and coaching Sophie and I moved up the ranks from entry to the preliminary level. In the first few weeks I had Sophie I quickly learned that she was a fiery little mare with lots of sass and I was excited for the challenges and adventures that the future held for both of us. In the early stages of our partnership, I got a good taste of her lively personality… and the dirt. Things really came together for us in the 2013 season and we were the 2013 Ontario Pre-Training division champions. Since then we have gone on to accomplish being the 2014 Ontario Training Champion and was top placed Ontario Young Rider at NAJYRC in Kentucky in 2015.  As a young aspiring event rider, I was often asked the question of why I didn’t buy something with more experience that could show me the ropes of upper level eventing?  I would tell them that the opportunity of being part of a horses journey of progressing through the levels and turning into a true competitor, and knowing that you did it all yourself is a feeling I wouldn’t trade for a four star horse.  Still to this day I would not change my answer, as the lessons that my little mare has taught me and the people I’ve met along the way are priceless.

In preparation for NAJYRC 2016 in Colorado, I headed south at the beginning of December 2015 to Ocala, Florida to continue my training and working student program with Jon Holling. I worked and trained with Jon in the winter/spring of 2015 and although there was a steep learning curve, I looked forward to being immersed in the environment that only a top level competition program can provide. Location at my home base in Belle River, is one of my biggest challenges as coaching and shows are very far away. I knew that taking time off from school to head south to train was a must if I wanted to accomplish the goals I had for NAJYRC 2016.  Sophie and I had a great winter season competing in the CC1* at the Ocala Horse Properties with our personal best score of 45 penalty points in dressage and a clear showjumping round. It seemed as though a winter of working and training hard was paying off. When I got home I stationed myself at Holly Jacks Equestrian to train until I was named to the Ontario 1* team and excitably, alongside an incredibly talented team with some good friends, I was off to compete again at NAJYRC.

Young Riders is always an experience like no other. It’s a competition that tests your ability to deal with the pressures of being on a team, the focus required to compete your best and the courage to put it all on the line. I couldn’t have been happier with Sophie in the dressage phase as she was more relaxed and obedient then ever. We did not score as well as I had hoped, but our score was still competitive enough to help put the Ontario 1* team in gold medal position at the end of day two. Next was cross-country day. Sophie tore around a difficult one star championship track, doing what she loves best to finish double clear, adding no penalty points to her dressage score. Showjumping lead to an unfortunate two rails down for Sophie and I, however the rest of the round she jumped her socks off for me. The team finished just a fraction of a point out of bronze medal position to finish fourth in the team divisions.

The relationship you have with your team truly is a unique experience. The pressure comes from not wanting to let your teammates down with a bad score and still wanting to preform at your personal best. At the end of the day, whether somebody had a good day or a bad day, you know your team was there to support you. When I watched my teammates compete I would be just as nervous for them then I was for myself!

Overall the North American Young Riders Championships is, as always, the highlight of the summer for many future top event riders and an experience to remember.

September 14, 2016 |

Experiencing George by Rhonda Peterson


Thank you so much to Michelle Carter for asking me to write about my experiences with George Morris – as an auditor, a rider and ring crew. I have been very lucky to have had so many learning opportunities with such a legend.

My name is Rhonda Peterson. I am a Level 1 coach, Learn-To-Ride examiner, r hunter/hack and equitation judge, as well as a competitor. I started riding 35 years ago with Claudia Cojocar, in Calgary, who was, and still is, a huge advocate for instilling correct basics to produce the best round. George Morris was already legendary and his book, Hunter Seat Equitation, was one we studied and then practiced being the riders in the pictures. George Morris’ column in Practical Horseman was the first thing I turned to when I received the magazine in the mail. I have copies of this magazine going back to the 1970’s.

The highlight of that time in my life was winning a first place ribbon at Spruce Meadows on my first horse, Abby. Abby ended up going to be Amy and Jonathon’s horse when Ian Millar bought her. Bringing everything full circle, it was really neat that Amy remembered Abby, almost 25 years later, when I asked about her at the George Morris clinic in Ottawa. (more…)

November 26, 2015 |

A Broken Cowboy at a Royal Rodeo


Did you miss the Ontario Toyota Dealers Rodeo at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair? This year’s event was hosted by both Ross Millar and Amber Marshall from CBC’s Heartland and I was in for a treat. I’m not a trained journalist but I grabbed a microphone and went behind the scenes to see what I can learn. You’ll have to forgive my on camera nervousness, I know nothing about Rodeos but had a few questions of my own to answer. You’ll see them in the video. Here is the highlight of the night:


November 24, 2015 |

London Horse Sports @ The Royal Agricultural Fair


I’m so excited to be able to attend this year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair as a media sponsor! 😀

I will be tweeting and posting live videos on Periscope so make sure you are subscribed to these links and you will be notified each time I post a pic or interviews with Olympic Equestrians! If you are also going to be at the Royal please add your links to your social media or blogs in the comments below so I can follow you too!

Twitter (periscope live video feeds will be posted here too)

Periscope Live Video Install the Periscope app and then add @londonhorsesprt from the find friends link of people you are following in twitter





November 6, 2015 |

Pan Am Equestrian Games 2015


I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend not just one but three events at the Pam Am Games this past summer. Having secured a number of tickets, we set off down the 401 for our events. The weather was ridiculously hot for all three events but that didn’t hamper our spirits. Each day we attended the games we were greeted by the most enthusiastic and helpful staff. From the parking attendants to the ticket gate people to the folks who guided us to our seats all staff was professional, polite and knowledgeable and seemed genuinely happy to be there.

The first event we saw was the dressage team competition. The caliber of horses competing were top notch, with Canada putting out some very respectable rides and scores. Alas, we were knocked off the top spot on the podium by the USA who also must be commended for great rides!

Aside from the actual competition, we did notice a few overlooked details with the exhibition grounds, perhaps you may have noticed this too. The food was such a long way from the main ring and when you did finally make it to the food area, the selection was dismal. We did manage to feed ourselves however the line ups were so incredibly long, we were late making our way back to the competition ring and missed several riders. We had also hoped that this would be a little shopping excursion and were disappointed to see only a handful of vendors at the event. I did manage to secure a couple of Pachi stuffed animals for my kids, as I was sent with strict instructions that I must return home with them.

The last two events we had tickets to see were the team show jumping and the individual show jumping. What can I say about the team competition but WOW!! What an exhilarating competition! Brazil and the United States were in top form and meant business, but it was Team Canada who came out on top clinching the gold medal! I had goose bumps listening to the Canadian anthem being played while our team members stood on the podium, medals and stuffed mascots in hand. The victory round was just as exhilarating as my heart burst with pride watching our team soaks up the glory.

All in all, the events were well run and organized. The Caledon Equestrian Park outdid themselves. The facility is world class, right down to the state of the art footing in the main ring and the massive indoor arena that was recently erected. It was an opportunity of a lifetime to attend such an event and it’s a memory that I will cherish for years to come.

What did you think of the games? I’d love to hear your feedback as well. What events did you see and what were your overall thoughts on the games?

November 3, 2015 |

2015 World Clydesdale Show


Can you believe the technology we have today? I can share my real time experiences and you no longer have to be afraid of missing out. Did you miss the 2015 World Clydesdale Show? I have a few recaps to share if you did. First a nicely polished video of the under saddle western class. Can you imagine riding atop one of these majestic giants? Watch this and please subscribe to our channel to be notified of future videos! (more…)

October 23, 2015 |

Siobhan O’Connor Clinic by Kaitlyn Carter

Reece Martin photo of Kaitlyn

Before I begin this piece let me first apologize for its immense lateness. It just so happens that the day after I agreed to write this my teachers thought it would be fun to play a game called “let’s see who can assign the most homework!” while my body was like “I see you there, having a crazy hectic life. Do you know what I should do? Get sick”.

Anyways, now that I have been released from the jaws of death, finished my shifts at work, and caught up on homework (senior year sucks) I thought I should sit down and write this out. So, without any further ado, here is my take on the Siobhan O’Connor clinic at Sprucehaven Farm, which happened on September 20, 2015 (Yeah, I’m super late).
I thought I should begin by introducing my horse and myself. Hi, I’m Kaitlyn Carter (Sadly, no relation to Michelle). I’m a 17 year-old girl in my last year at Saunders! (more…)

October 5, 2015 |
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