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?



Marguerite Burbank

Our dear friend, avid dog and horse lover, and fellow rider, Marguerite Burbank died suddenly and tragically in a car accident on Friday afternoon while leaving the horse show at Sonoma Horse Park.  She had just finished up doing what she loved – riding her beloved horse Stuart.  (Pictured above: Stuart, husband Russ, daughter Katie, Marguerite, Encore and dogs Molly and Max.)

Marguerite successfully juggled working as a real estate agent at Pacific Union’s Mill Valley office and was an active member and former president of the Rotary Club of Mill Valley. Her family is asking that donations in her memory be sent to the Rotary Club of Mill Valley,

Shortly after arriving at Chestnut Hill several years ago, she took on the daunting task of organizing the annual holiday gift to the barn, which she accomplished quietly and beautifully every year.  One year, she and her husband also volunteered to host the annual barn Christmas party.  She was always looking for ways to help out others, and was quick with a compliment, and a cheery hello (“Hi Sweetie”). We will always treasure her unbridled generosity, kind heart, quick smile and foil-wrapped loaves of homemade banana bread.

Marguerite and Encore (Cheeks).

Marguerite and Stuart.

Marguerite (in the white blouse) at a barn birthday party.

Farewell to a friend.

Spring babies

We at Chestnut Hill do not have a breeding program, but the barn next door does, which is fun. There are a few new little Arabian foals running around that are too adorable.  Here’s a little tyke whose mother is very alert to the fact that they are being watched.

Mom stands guard while the little one relaxes by nursing.  You’ll notice the other foal is totally conked out asleep next to his mother, without a care in the world.  Babies enjoy such profoundly deep naps, it makes some of us jealous!

These miniature horse foals are spending their first days in the tall grass of a farm along Lakeville Highway in Petaluma, and they may just be so dang cute as to be deemed illegal.

This little one looks like Misty of Chincoteague in miniature. (You did read that book didn’t you? More or less than 100 times? Or, was there another horsey book you read a million times over as a kid?)

Fuzzy little one here does not want to let his very tired Mom take a load off, and is trying a variety of nifty moves to get her up on and on her feet so he can nurse.  (Is he a foal or a puppy? Look at that woolly coat! Hysterical.)

Maybe biting her on the ear will work.

Or a front leg over her neck?

He finally won the battle, but we missed the shot.

Hope you enjoyed this little interlude of ridiculously adorable baby horses living in the heaven that is Sonoma County in the springtime!


Springtime friends

Chlarissa and all the horses are getting out to graze on the spring’s glorious grass.  It’s the height of the season, and wildflowers are everywhere.

Reggie is also enjoying the spring grass, and he likes having a next door neighbor.

Reggie wishes he could open the gate!

Chlarissa is curious.

Reggie turns to his pasture-mate, last year’s lamb, Clark, to get advice on how to proceed.


By this time, Chlarissa is busy grazing again.

Bernie Traurig Clinic

Legendary rider, trainer coach and founder of the on-line learning system,, Bernie Traurig, returned to Chestnut Hill for a fantastic two-day clinic. Bernie reached the top of the sport in all three of the International Equestrian Olympic disciplines (Show Jumping, Dressage and Eventing) was inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame in 2009, and is a master teacher and clinician.

He worked tirelessly to connect with each rider, and identified what each person already knew how to do well, so he could build on those basics. He then calmly and with great enthusiasm and encouragement introduced flat and jumping exercises and classic teachings to boost riders’ confidence, and ultimately, their abilities. He also gave numerous mounted demonstrations to provide riders a visual of the points he was stressing.

This was Bernie’s fourth clinic with Chestnut Hill, and he gets better and better every time. Everyone benefitted greatly, and we can’t wait to have him back.

NEW HORSE: Twist n Shout

Congratulations to Sidney Conroy on the lease of fellow-rider Madison Bradshaw’s horse, “Twist n’ Shout.” Look for Sidney and her lovely new mount in the Adult Amateur Hunter and Equitation divisions this year. That’s “Quinn” above with Sidney’s daughter Kelly in the irons, and Quinn standing below with Sidney on the ground and Kelly.  Good luck to this great new team!

Great Thermal Results

HITS Thermal was fantastic this year.  The horses and riders performed well (including Caroline Robbins and her horse, Stir It Up, pictured above, who were 2nd-half circuit reserve champs in the Equitation 11 & Under division), everyone came home with lots of pretty ribbons and awards, we bought lovely new horses and found great homes for a few sale horses, and most importantly – the Chestnut Hill team had fun.  Please take a moment to check out the results on our website at:

Mental Skills Clinic with Tonya Johnston

Chestnut Hill will host a one-day clinic with Mental Skills coach, Tonya Johnston on Saturday. Tonya teaches performance strategies to help riders effectively accomplish the skills that the trainers have been working to instill. Beverly has seen the value of Tonya’s work for many years, and encourages riders to continue their work with Tonya on a one-to-one basis over the course of the season.