Spruce Meadows Guest Post

Today’s Chestnut Hill blog post is again courtesy of rider Madison Bradshaw.  She and fellow-rider Kris Loewenthal traveled up to Canada with assistant trainer John Wohr to compete at the legendary facility, Spruce Meadows.  

The horses  left Sunday afternoon to travel to Spruce Meadows. Each traveled via box stall in Glenn’s trailer for the 30 hour trip.

Each of the four tack trunks was packed to the brim, complete with an itemized list required to cross the border.  They arrived safe and sound midnight Monday/Tuesday.  Despite the long trip, altitude and drastic weather change they held up really well.  Katina 12 literally jumped off of the trailer.  The next day, however, they spent plenty of time resting before their hacks.

Some of the Spruce Meadows residents turned out in one of the 18 rings.

Kat doesn't like Canadian food (I can't blame her). Behind are the tents where the horse are stabled.

The Spruce Meadows facility is truly unmatched in the Americas with its 7 sprawling grass fields.   The show is run on time down to the second and the caliber of horses and riders is incredible.  Just walking around the show grounds it is common to see Rich Fellers hacking Flexible or Beezie Madden on Coral Reef’s Via Volo.  The caliber of competition and the beauty of the facility is truly unfathomable unless you see it first hand.

Jeff Cook, John’s mentor, traveled up here to school us and made a seamless transition in the training program. The first day of showing went extremely well.  Despite only arriving 36 hours prior and never having seen the spooky rings and jumps each horse had just one unlucky rail.  Thursday, team competition day, went even better.  My horse Ithaca (Moofy) had 1 rail in the 1.20m and her team finished fifth.  My other horse, Katina 12’s team qualified to jump both rounds of team competition where she had 1 down in each round to finish sixth.  The highlights of the day however were Kris’s trips.  Her team “NorCal Teens and Queens” qualified to jump both rounds.  Kris put in 2 solid trips with 1 rail in the first round and a clean second round.  At the end of the both rounds there was a 3-way tie for first and they were forced to jump off for the final placings.  After the jump-off, NorCal Teens and Queens came out on top, winning the 1m Prix des Nations competition!

Kris and Solo taking a victory gallop after their big win.

The trip so far has been incredible but there is still a lot more to go with the “Grand Prix” rounds tomorrow.  Hopefully the weather holds out, but that is always a toss up at Spruce, where it is common knowledge that you will get all four seasons in 1 day! Fingers crossed…

Madison Bradshaw Update from Oaks

Grand Prix field at The Oaks

Welcome to guest editor, and fellow Chestnut Hill rider, Madison Bradshaw.  This is her first post for the Chestnut Hill blog, and takes the reader inside her the Blenheim June Classic at The Oaks.  

The four huge grass fields of the Oaks are truly unmatched in California.

We had such a blast down there.  The horses were amazing, rising to the challenge of Linda Allen’s precise courses. The show also played host to the final qualifier for the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships teams, which made the weekend extra intense. The whole show reflected this level of competition. The rounds, although solid in height were not gigantic, but they were deceivingly difficult.  Each round walked straight forward, but if you veered from the Linda’s intended track – even a little – the results proved disastrous.  The horses trying out for young riders also had to follow FEI regulations.  They had to jog for soundness at the beginning of the week and follow FEI medication rules (horses can’t have anything, not even bute).

Kat grazing outside the East Field after the trial

The level of competition was fabulous bringing the best horses and riders on the west coast together. Despite the high level of competition, a unique camaraderie – similar to the one we have at Chestnut Hill, exists between the riders.  All of the kids trying out for Young Riders were there at the ring supporting each other.  One even clucked from the rail to help me out of the combination.  The bond is really unique and it is really cool to be a part of that.

"Flat Bev" with young rider team members Madison, Killian McGrath, Alicia Gasser, and Hannah von Heidegger.

Of course it was not all work.  There was a fair amount of time spent shopping down the long row of fabulous vendors like Allon and EQU Lifestyle.

Carter, Shirley, and Kris shopping at Brown Beauty.

We were all so well-prepared by the Chestnut Hill team.  Our horses looked fantastic from their coats to their performances. Groom Guelano Herrera and Assistant Trainer John Wohr did an incredible job preparing the horses so they could tackle anything that was thrown at them.

Team Chestnut Hill after a super successful week. Not only did we perform well but we did it as a team.

Fellow Chestnut Hill rider Kris Loewenthal had 3 double clear rounds on Solo and a double clear on Ari.  My horse Katina 12 finished as the top qualifier for the Young Rider B team and was second in the $10,000 High Jr/AO classic.  My younger mare Ithaca finished off the trip by winning the $1,200 Mod. Jr/Am jumper classic.  All in all it was a fabulous trip. As Kris said, “everything is good at the Oaks.”






Marvelous Mondays

Hayley's "Right On Time" relives his latest victory gallop in his paddock.

Mondays at the barn are horse heaven. Nobody works. Everyone gets turned out.  Mashes are made. Massages, body work and chiropractic treatments are given. Fun and relaxation is the name of the game.

Gwen's jumper, "Huckleberry" twists and shouts.

Most barns have at least one day a week when the horses just get to be horses – we have Sundays and Mondays.  It never ceases to amaze us just how much our horses enjoy these days, and how much we enjoy their enjoyment.

Emma's "Lucky Charm" strutting his stuff.

Superstar of the AA ring, Gillett's "Illux" kicks up his heels.


Gwen's hunter, "Olympic" makes his move.

'Madison's mare, "Katina 12" does a dance.

Kat's horse, "Sky" floats like a butterfly.

Bev's retired lesson horse, "Tommy" takes it easy.

Ligeia's "Incanto" takes it easier.

Madison's "Lottie" takes it easiest!

What is your horse’s favorite day?