CCI* Osberton

CCI* Osberton International Horse Trials

Rebecca had two seven-year-old horses contesting the CCI* at Osberton International Horse Trials & Young Horse Championship, September 28-October 2: Very Good Tempo, ‘Tempo’ owned by the late Christina Knudson and Harlequins Pretty Puissance, ‘Ruby’, owned by Kelly McCarthy-Maine.

“It was a great experience for both of the horses, they enjoyed galloping on the slightly longer track in the CCI* and I knew they were both capable of jumping clear rounds in the show jumping. Harlequins Pretty Puissance, ‘Ruby’ has gotten a lot more confident in the dressage phase and Very Good Tempo, ‘Tempo’ did a nice test for 36.9”, Rebecca says.

“Plus my parents, Mary and Bob, were over visiting and Lucinda Fredericks kindly lent us her big lorry, so we had seven people staying away for the week which was a lot of fun”, explains Rebecca.

Cast your votes

With so many people staying together, some decisions were made based on the outcome of informal polls, for example: what to have for dinner, 3 vegetarian vs 4 meat eaters, whether or not to put butter into coffee, 5 ‘no ways’ vs 2 ‘yes please’, and what music to play, 6 Canadians vs 1 Brit – Tragically Hip all week hurray!

When it came time to decide what wine to have with supper in the evening, the vote was split: 3 reds vs 2 whites vs 2 that were utterly delighted with whatever happened to be open.

As Rebecca pondered over what jacket to wear for the show jumping phase, the whole the crew unanimously voted for her red team jacket, last worn during the Olympics in Rio. ‘The red jacket’ seemed to work it’s magic, with both Tempo and Ruby jumping immaculate clear rounds to finish on their dressage score.

horseandhoundcropHorse&Hound on Very Good Tempo’s second place finish:

“… running him [winner Sam Ecroyd on Christoff] on  close was Canadian Rebecca Howard with Very Good Tempo, a Tam Tam son of the Selle Francais mare Eleveine. Rebecca, who finished at the top ten in the Olympics, had contemplated running the horse in the seven-year-old championship, but left him in the CCI*.

“I decided it was the right level for him at the moment”, said Rebecca of the late Christina Knudson’s horse. He has plenty of blood and is a rangy type – I hope he is a four-star horse in the making”.

Though out of the ribbons in 29th place, Harlequins Pretty Puissance, ‘Ruby’ finished her first CCI* double-clear on her dressage score, moving up more than 20 places with her immaculate clear round in the show jumping. Of roughly 138 entries, less than 25% of the horses jumped clear in the show jumping.

Rebecca had this to say about Harlequins Pretty Puissance: “Ruby has had a great first season eventing in the UK – she is a bright, athletic mare who really loves her jumping. There is lots more to come from Ruby and after her nice holiday in the field, I can’t wait to see what we can do in 2017”, explains Rebecca.

Ruby and Tempo had a great time away at Osberton and would like to thank their grooms, head girl Pippa Allan and working pupil Olivia Alstad for feeding them so many carrots. Honourable mention goes to working pupil Danielle Searson, who stayed home at Rosegarth. While Danielle may have drawn an unlucky chore straw with several fields to poo-pick, Danielle was able to put the training she has had with Rebecca to great effect, schooling the horses at home and keeping them on track for Bricky Horse Trials the following weekend.


Rupert update Autumn 2016

rebecca_rupertcropMeanwhile, in the paddock at Rosegarth…

Though Rupert jet-sets around the world more than your average bear, only his safe return and adventures in the paddock seem to make it into the blogs.

To recap 2016, Rupert had a busy spring and early summer season preparing for the Olympic Games in Rio, travelling to Germany and throughout the UK for training and competitions. Rupert showed real grit and determination jumping clear cross-country and absolute class in the showjumping to finish individual tenth in Rio. Go Rup!

But professionals like Rupert aren’t fazed by championship success and he seemed more impressed with the height of the grass in his paddock back at home, trotting away to dig in the sand in his favourite rolling spot a mere 24-hours after leaving his stable in Rio.

Fit and well following his tenth place finish, Rup earned himself a five-star holiday, which he quickly customized to his exacting standards. The first two weeks went something like this: breakfast, attended by awestruck head girl Pippa Allan and working pupils Danielle Searson and Emy Burgaud, before being led out to his knee-high grass buffet.

A couple of hours in the field and Rupert would stand at the gate and ask to come in for lunch and a nap. After a snooze, Rupert would lean out over his stall guard and ask to go back out, which the girls were only too happy to accommodate. Sundown and Rupert would come back in, before being checked on multiple times before final night check and turn-down service.

Now that Rupert has relaxed and settled into his holiday, he has been turned away for a month with an ex-event horse enjoying a second career as a professional field companion and Rupert-minder.

While Rupert concentrates on eating grass, Rebecca is busy with her string of young event horses, including final cross country schooling and jump outings with the four-year-olds, Dream Wizard and Emoe Rocky Road as they get ready for the Championship at Osberton Horse Trials.

“January 2016 saw the start of a very focused year for Rupert and I – it felt like we were both quite committed to our game plan to get to the Olympics in Rio. Having said that, there was plenty to keep me busy with a yard move, a house move, expanding my business and taking on new competition rides, too. Rupert gave me the ride of my life cross country at Rio – he showed real grit and determination. To come back and showjump like he did proved what a class athlete he is. Enjoy your holiday Rupert, dressage training begins again January 2017!”, laughs Rebecca.


Rupert Update

It appears this will not be Rupert’s year – regretfully he will be spending the English summer resting instead – which put us out of WEG contention and further competition plans for 2014.  We were indeed victims of this year’s badminton course.  When we hit the back rail of that oxer early on course Rupert sustained an injury that (in hindsight) is what caused our trouble later on course and resulted in our day ending at the Mirage Pond. His prognosis is all positive which is great,  he is just in need of a little time and rest. 

This is of course the reality of  the sport we are in and the ups and downs that comes with horses.  I wish we were able to do more to help with the WEG effort,  I can only wish team Canada the very best (bon chance!) in France this summer.

Rup and his (Tim's) chickens!

Rup and his (Tim’s) chickens!

Thank you to the many sending  cheer and support in our direction, it is always greatly appreciated. Rup and I will be doing what it takes to come back stronger and better in 2015.  Being the little fighter that he is he is equally dismayed over this turn of events, but for now he gets to spend some quality time with Tim’s Chickens….who by association…are some pretty famous chickens right now!

Reb and Rup



Samantha Clark Catches up with Rebecca – Thanks to PRO

Samantha Clark recently interviewed Rebecca for the Professional Riders Organization blog. Her article is reproduced her with permission. You can find the original article on the PRO Blog.

rebecca & rupert hackingMere Farm is tucked away among the Marlborough hills in Wiltshire, accessible by a long, uphill lane, perfect for hacking and getting event horses fit, and this is where Canadian Olympian Rebecca Howard has been based for the past year. Traditionally November is an event rider’s quiet time of year but the yard is bustling with activity and there doesn’t seem to be a spare stall going. Rebecca tells me she is only (!) riding four horses a day currently, but that will increase to five or six of her own, and an equal number for Tim Price and Jonelle Richards, who she works for and is based with, by January or February. Riddle Master, or Rupert as he’s known in the barn, started hacking at the beginning of the month after a holiday at Manton following his 12th place finish at Burghley (to add to his 12th place finish at Badminton in the Spring), “That’s what so nice with events like Burghley when you’re done in September and then they can have an early vacation. I hate feeling in a hurry bringing them back. I like to take my time hacking and making sure that they’re built up slowly and correctly, and then he’ll have a good chunk of training time in January and February, which are such good months to do it because you’re not all over the countryside competing so I’d like to maximise that. He goes out for between forty minutes and an hour at the moment, mostly walking and a bit of trotting. I never walk my horses on the bit, always on a long rein at the walk unless he’s being silly which can happen as well! Trotting I’ll alternate between letting him trot free, and going long and low up some of the hills. Hacking is a fun time. I build it up gradually but not to the extent of being so mathematical and counting the minutes; he’s been out and he’s an active horse in the paddock, he’s not silly but he moves around, it’s not like he’s been on box rest which I think when you’re bringing them back from that it’s very different, you have to be much more systematic. He’ll start flatwork again next week and he’ll do a couple of weeks schooling and then I’ll just start popping him over some fences. It won’t be anything big or strenuous until closer to the end of the month or even January but he’ll start just training over poles and working on the rideability, stuff with a fence in there. It’s also just to mix it up a little, it’s a long winter in the indoor so we’ll do some schooling and flatwork with poles involved.”

This winter Rebecca wants to focus on Rupert’s dressage, “I’ve got to get ten marks off that score. I’ve contemplated going away but I feel like I have a good plan and I’m happy with the people who are around me here between Isobel (Wessels), and Jonelle and Tim. Isobel comes regularly and spends a day helping Tim and Jonelle and I’ve been cashing in on that. She has a lovely way with the horses – she works them really hard but it’s done in a good horsemanship way and I feel like I gain a lot from her when she comes.” Kiwis Tim and Jonelle are also a huge influence and help, “Jonelle has sat on Rupert a few times, she fits him well and it’s good to get some perspective sometimes. I learn a lot from watching them ride and their input, and comparing what they feel on certain horses to what I feel because I ride all their horses too.”

rebecca and rupertRebecca had always intended to stay on in England after last year’s Olympic Games and admits that it’s been a huge adjustment to get used to living in a foreign country, and also a whole new change in the Team Canada regime, “It was hard but I’m feeling better now. I miss my friends, absolutely. At home I had my friends, my reputation….and now having had to start to rebuild all that, I felt like I was 20 again! You miss what is familiar, but the lifestyle here suits me, I’m much more of an English girl than I would be a North Carolina girl, I think I relate to the Brits more; mind you I do hang around a lot of kiwis and I seem to have settled quite well into the kiwi way too! The Spring was definitely hard for me because I just tried to find my place a little bit, tried to get comfortable with the people around me and figure out who I could trust and who I wanted to learn from. You’re so used to having that massive support around you and then it being completely gone took a little time to reestablish, but I feel like I’ve developed it now with Tim and Jonelle and people like Isobel so now it feels better because I have people that I trust and can lean on for support. I still have very good communication with Graeme (Thom, Canadian Chef D’Equipe) but as a country we struggle to have a programme of strength, and certainly now that I’ve gone away I can’t rely on Canada’s programme because it’s in Canada or America, and it just doesn’t stretch as far. I certainly take advantage of Clayton when he can be here, there’s no doubt that he’s a big benefit but I just can’t rely on that.”

Clayton made a point of visiting Rebecca from his US base last year, but as Rebecca explained, it was more for the purpose of getting to know her and Rupert, and as his visits coincided with major competitions they were both reluctant to make any major changes. Hopefully, she says, that will change next year and he will be able to spend some time with her unrelated to the big events, “I definitely didn’t rely on David on a daily basis but I always knew that if I had a question I could call him at any time, and he knew the horse so well that he could just show up before a competition and that was okay, whereas that doesn’t really work with somebody who doesn’t know you or the horse, it takes a lot to get to that point.”

Another change has been adjusting her fast work to her locale, and again she’s looked to Tim and Jonelle for inspiration, “My gallop routine has changed, if just purely for the dynamics of it because we ship off site to go the gallops, and it took me a little while to get comfortable with the all weather surface. Before Badminton I didn’t really want to go on it much and I kept Rupert on the turf and on the hill that we’d been using before the Olympics because I knew how he felt on that. Gradually though, after watching these guys (Tim and Jonelle) train on their gallops I’ve switched him over to using the all weather gallop that they use to train on. It’s a wood chip surface and it’s up a hill, but not as much as a hill as I was using which was also a factor into changing over because I thought that turf hill was maybe too hard on him and I wanted something a bit less. Now as a result I’m using a little bit more speed than I did before but it’s continuous, it’s easy on him. The hacking is different territory – hacking on the roads was a completely foreign concept to me before I came here but I don’t think it’s changed too much apart from that. I think it’s really important before and after rides, as well as having days where they might only go out on the trail.”

I ask Rebecca what she thinks the other major differences to her daily routine are, “Mostly it’s just been schooling and training horses which is what I continue to learn more and more from being here. For Rupert, to me, it’s still just continuing time and increasing his education and comfort level with the movements so lots of exercises in the flatwork for sure. I do think I jump more than I did too, finding ways to do it so that you get the maximum benefit out of a school without pounding them, but it’s important to keep working on those tools to a fence. My intensity of training has increased but not consciously whereas before I thought I would really train my horses and if anything verge on drilling them too much, now it’s more organic.”

So is Rebecca planing on returning to Canada in the near future, “I do just love it here and if I can make it work with my visa I would like to stay. Logically you knew when you were at home that eventing as a sport was on another level over here, the history of it is over here, and the numbers are that much greater, the accessibility to competitions, yada yada yada…you knew all that logically but I didn’t have a concept of what that meant until I was actually immersed in it, it’s just set up to be a professional game over here. Professionals ride and compete, that’s what they do. Just for the simple hours in the tack versus the riders at home who have to spend hours standing in the arena teaching and traveling around to do clinics. They do have to have pretty well-oiled machines at home here because they are competing at weekends, then getting back in the truck and competing again on Monday and Wednesday but it’s set up to do that – the one day format, the accessibility to events, just the mentality of it. It’s pretty luxurious to be in my position where I would love to go to Badminton because it’s Badminton and I’ve got a great horse and I’d like to have a good crack at it, but if the powers that be and everybody decides that that’s not the best thing to do for the horse there are plenty of other options that I’d still be pretty comfortable with the ground and the calibre of competition. It’s a bit of a tricky thing because I feel like the rest of the world will be doing CCI****s to prep for the World Equestrian Games, and I don’t think I have to do one but I don’t know if that means I shouldn’t . I’m still on the fence as to what the best preparation for the WEG is. I feel like before the Olympics we got into a little bit of preservation mode and that was not a good thing, and I think the majority of the world have to keep fighting for their place and that is at CCI****s. Having said that, I just have one horse and I want him to last. He’s done four CCI****s, two this year (Badminton and Burghley, placing 12th at both), he’s twelve, he’s a good age, knock on wood he’s sound and happy and healthy so I think I’m just going to see how he feels coming out at the beginning of the year and then really sit down and think about what truly is the best preparation for him. Getting down to it, it’s the first day – he has to get his flying changes. The rest of his work is really coming and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be competitive in the dressage so I’ll use this time to go to some dressage shows. Once I’ve put all of those pieces together we’ll see what ends up being the best competition for him.”

Although Rebecca owns a portion of Rupert, he still primarily belongs to his breeders Caroline Bazely and Jean Watson, a mother-daughter combination from Ontario, “it was their dream to breed a Canadian horse who would be ridden by a Canadian”. Unfortunately they didn’t get to watch their horse this year, and Rebecca hopes they’ll be able to make it over to see him compete in 2014.

Rebecca working her new horse Micky

Rebecca working her new horse Micky

In the meantime Rebecca has a seriously nice 4 year old to bring along: Mickey, an ISH with plenty of TB and also a bit of warmblood , a Cooley horse imported from Ireland just five weeks ago, “He’s just a lovely horse to sit on and a happy pony to get on every day. Regardless of what he decides to do in life he’s a nice horse to train and he’s going to have a good job. He’s very mature in his body and in his way of going, and he’s just a really sweet, happy kind of person.” He’s also, in my opinion, a lovely mover, very athletic, has an effortless and scopey jump and lots of presence! Ideally Rebecca would like to keep Mickey as her next potential superstar but “It usually all comes down to finances; if I really need the money then I’ll have to sell him but I will try and find some owners for him so that I could keep the ride.” Mickey will stay in work for another couple of weeks before going on holiday to consolidate everything he’s learned thus far. Conveniently this will be about the same time that Rebecca will be winging her way to Mexico to do bridesmaid duty at Sinead (Halpin’s) wedding; although she’s only seen pictures of the dresses so far, contrary to urban legend, she tells me they look very pretty. I’m looking forward to hearing all about that on my next visit, and checking in with Rupert and Mickey again, as well as meeting her other horses, and finding out a little more about the daily routine at Mere Farm. Many thanks to Rebecca for her time, and to Tim and Jonelle for letting me spend the morning at their yard. Stay warm, stay safe, and thanks for reading!


Summer is here (It even comes to England!)

Jacky Green Equestrian Media

Wow, what a month!  Without doubt a brilliant Barbury but the last few weeks have seen Rebecca doing a bit of globe trotting as well as prepping Riddle Master (Rupert) for his CIC*** outing and riding numerous horses at Mere Farm.

Confidential (Joey) is living up to his name and is off the radar at the moment as his future as an event horse remains in doubt.  After his completion at Mattingley last month his appearance at his next event was entertaining to pretty much everyone except Rebecca so it’s looking unlikely he will be on the team just yet.

Rory went along to Salperton for the experience and was very well behaved in his first British Eventing setting.  Rupert was out for his first run since Badminton and rather inexplicably (or perhaps not in hindsight!) reverted to a spooky baby and acted more like Rory than a Badminton horse!  Gawping at the fences and google eyed at the water he picked up his first 20 penalties since his Novice days!  Leaping in the car after her cross country round to head to the airport and a flight to Canada Rebecca had plenty of time to analyze her day and came to the conclusion that for most of Rupert’s life she has been at a base where she can play with cross country fences every week and that she should have schooled Rupert before she headed out again.  Rupert =1 Rebecca= 0.  Rupert must have been dead chuffed he is still capable of prima donna behavior!

Next up was the British Columbia Young Rider Camp at the Beautiful Dot Ranch, Merritt BC.   Rebecca sweltered in 38 degrees and taught along with 3 other instructors to accommodate the 56 keen kids that attended.   In True BC fashion all were camped out in remote country, with a river to bath in and void of any cell reception!  Long days of teaching were definitely reworded by the enthusiasm and hunger to learn from these Young Riders.  Trips back to the stomping grounds that Rebecca grew up riding on are very enjoyable, but so important as a pass on of knowledge and inspiration and for these up’n comers.

Arriving back in the Uk at lunchtime on the Tuesday before Barbury saw Rebecca loading up Rupert for some cross country schooling and water practice before the weekend.  Jonelle Richards had been riding Rupert at home so with the xc box ticked all looked good.  Rupert was pretty excited to be at Barbury as he is a great one for the big time occasions and on his first ride on Friday morning looked more like a brumby than a polished event horse!  By the time his test came around in the afternoon he looked fantastic and produced a mistake free and flowing test for 42.  Saturday afternoon, in the glorious sunshine and in the rising heat saw Rupert jump an immaculate clear round that boosted them up the leaderboard into the top 10.

With two huge sections of CIC*** to run Rebecca had to wait until after 5pm to go cross country.  The course had caused plenty of problems as well as some great rides so more deliberation by Rebecca resulted in running Rupert back in the snaffle as the Pelham at Salperton had almost seemed too much.  Rupert simply stormed round, fast, accurate, brave and with just 3 time penalties picked up a podium placing for 3rd prize, just behind Clarke Montgomery and Piggy French.

Rebecca commented at the press conference that she wanted to expose Rupert to more atmosphere and she certainly got that at Barbury!  With Prince Rupert’s diva personality tempered by Rebecca’s patient approach to outsmarting him and staying a step ahead they make a formidable partnership.  The road to Burghley is ahead but no doubt it will not be a flat highway – but more like a hilly trip round the mountains!


Days at the office

By Jacky Green Equestrian Media

After the glamour of Badminton getting back to competing young horses is always a great way to make you realize it is a hell of a long journey from the baby stuff to 4 star!

With Rupert not set to come back out til mid June Rebecca has been picking up rides and getting back to basics.  Mister Tea had a novice run at Pontispool and despite spending three quarters of the day waiting for his start time went really well and with his double clear round a testing showjumping and cross country upgraded to Intermediate.  Caroline Powell has kindly left the ride with Rebecca as the plan is for Mister Tea to run some intermediate events and find a nice new owner….contact Rebecca for more details!

With Tim and Jonelle racing off to three day events left right and centre it has been busy at the barn.  A new recruit showed up for three days and then waited until Tim and Jonelle departed for Tatterstalls before announcing her resignation!  Some people just don’t have what it takes to work with horses so that was a particularly frenetic week after that!

Rory is Rebecca’s young horse who was bought from Richard Sheane in Ireland this past winter after having basically just been backed.  His plan is to contest some unaffiliated competitions, find his feet in the baby event world, travel to a few events (if there is ever a space on the lorry!) and spend the first half of his 5 year old year getting some worldly knowledge.  Hopefully he should be rocking round some BE 100’s come August and follow in Rupert’s illustrious footprints in the future.

Last weekend saw Rebecca competing at Mattingley with three rides:  Christina Knudson’s lovely Watervalley Lockey Guy who is delightfully easy and finished runner up in his novice section, Mister Tea in his last novice start for 7th and the latest addition to Rebecca’s string, Confidential.  Confidential is known as Joey at home and has a rather chequered past and a few firm opinions about life.  It would appear that Joey was a little reluctant to embrace the sport of eventing but he had reckoned without one very determined jockey that left him in no doubt that the only way was forwards!  They completed their first event without troubling the leaders and no doubt Joey will be back out pretty soon!


The Weeks after Badminton

By Jacky Green Equestrian Media

After the heady excitement of Badminton it was back to the day job for Rebecca and she was out hacking and schooling on the Tuesday morning at Mere Farm.  With a couple of weeks gone by the reflections are as ever, with Rebecca, positive.  “Rupert really could not have jumped better”.  At the time Rebecca was disappointed in her dressage score but in hindsight, again, she is pro active about it, “We have just got to keep putting our selves in that atmosphere” .  Being able to look at the good bits and enjoy them and analyze the bits that did not go to plan and take something from them is what marks out the professionals from the also rans.  It is also why Rebecca and Rupert managed a top 12 placing at their first Badminton and a coveted Bronze Horse Trophy.

The same kick on attitude appears to be dictating the rest of 2013 for Rupert and Rebecca.  Whilst it may be tempting to be conservative with the fall plans and just hold out for the Spring prior to WEG Rebecca plans to take Rupert to Burghley, arguably the toughest 4 star in the World.  “Rupert came through Badminton really well” she enthuses and adds “I am here in England to learn, get better and be competitive at the big events”.  It’s a brave move but undoubtedly Rebecca is right.  We all know it can go just as wrong when you try and “save” a horse and who knows when she will have another chance at Burghley so that’s the next big one for Rupert.

Rupert aside (Yes, there is another part of Rebecca’s life!) the last couple of weeks have been hectic.  Ready, the loyal canine companion (except when it comes to hacking) and Rebecca have moved out of Maizey Manor Farmhouse and into the urban streets of Marlborough.  Not that she is sleeping on the streets I might add, but into a town flat with Kiwi’s Cam and Darnelle Price.  As Rebecca says, “I seem to be surrounded by Kiwi’s here in England” but hey, they are a pretty great group!

The parents made the long trip over and as ever were amazing, meeting lots of Rebecca’s new friends and hosting a great birthday supper at Coles which was attended by….allot of Kiwis.  To break the pattern Sinead Halpin came over on a flying horse shopping visit which involved endless hours trundling the length and breadth of the country looking at various ponies which also meant late nights catching up drinking wine!



Registered as Papa Cy, BWD was named for BC Horse Racing Hall of Famer – Cy Anderson. While I am uncertain of his number of actual “starts”….suffice to say Dave’s racing career was long…arriving at Nick Holme’s Smith Chase Creek facility as a 6yr old. As a working student for Nick, BWD became my project. I (via the BWD Group) purchased Dave as an 8 year old – Training Level horse in 1999.

Big Wave Dave was my “gateway” horse to the upper levels of eventing. We did our first two star (Radnor), three star (Foxhall) and four star (Rolex) together. An assorted crop of soft tissue stresses (no two were ever the same !) ensured that competitive life was regularly punctuated with 6 – 8 month layoffs, but Dave come back from each one… keener and smarter than before. It was like he had been “practising in his head” the whole time. This may have been what was behind that never changing ENTHUSIASTIC expression Dave carried with him …always !!

For our very first advance run, BWD’s “prep” was weeks … or probably months spent in the dreaded DOC’ “BOX” exercise. While all my peers were at the top of the hill in a lesson jumping Big jumps & waving at Dave and I – we were confined to the “box” which was four 2 foot brush boxes – in a square pattern that I just jumped through over … and…. over again ….. working on our c.o.m.m.u.n.i.c.a.t.i.o.n!…. “Boring” was not something he excelled at !!

In 2006 Dave made a 3rd career switch….moving in with Mari Cole Robinson (Delaplane, VA)

My favorite BWD story from this period was BWD at the AEC’s. After retiring from the big divisions Dave spent his spring “cleaning up” in the Training divisions with Mari, but all of these shows were close to home, so he just shipped in and out, with no overnight stabling required. The AEC’s however were different. They were in Southern Pines NC, making them the first competition that Dave overnighted at- since running Rolex. He immediately understood that THIS show was an important one – and required a different horse from the one Mari was used to. On XC he came out of the box looking like the 4* horse he always was! Arriving at the water jump … he just knew the Training route could not possibly be for him & Mari. The prescribed track went down a drop bank into the water, looped AROUND an island (and Advanced chevron) to exit up a ramp on the opposite side – to a table.

BWD jumped in and while Mari thought she was going AROUND the chevron… Dave was activating the Turbo’s! Locking on, he jumped that advance chevron BACKWARDS from in the water … continued UP the bank (that the advanced jumped down) before turning to jump his own training table! Mari did the right (ONLY?) thing and just held on… making the whole thing look like it was all meant to happen! In Big Wave Dave’s world, he was just jazzing things up for the fans…. he had an image to maintain !

Ahhhh Big Wave!

Mari writes:
During the six years that I’ve owned him he has had many jobs. He took me from Novice to Preliminary in a year and a half, which I can’t imagine any other horse could have done. After retiring him from competition I took amazing dressage lessons on him, he taught me so much, such a schoolmaster. Lately he has been my “run around the farm” horse, a job he loved unconditionally.

He grew more flexible in his old age (mentally that is..). More willing to be in different paddocks and have new neighbors. Less running around when the farrier would pull in or I’d hook up the trailer. I’ll miss him terribly but I feel lucky not to have to watch him deteriorate physically. He was still very sound and happy! Spoiled rotten…

Dave died on Sunday July 8th 2001 during a thunder storm and is now buried on Mari’s Farm.
RIP Big Wave………..



An Archive of old Posts – We seem to have lost old blogs – Still trying to retrieve!

Post Bromont thoughts…

Jun 19, 2010

Posted by Rebecca in Talk | 1 Comment

I have been asked by many over the past month… for some reflection on the year so far….

On Feb 28th, the day of my rotational fall – I could not have been angrier. My plans and goals for the spring were pretty clear, and after a solid Fairhill finish in 2009…. I thought we may (finally) be on our way. And indeed we were, until the second to last fence at Pine Top that day. “DAM IT”…. just didn’t quite sum it up !!

After that initial wave of anger, I recall a huge sense of relief upon receiving results of that initial Xray taken in Thompson – knowing I could and would recover from squished ribs and collar bones (right Will ?!). I have so much to be grateful for of course, and am humbled by the realization that not everyone is or was as lucky as I that day, but the overwhelming effect of my fall was amplification of my determination for achieving the original season goals I had set out for myself.

It bears repeating that nobody accomplishes anything in this sport (or any sport for that matter) alone – even when things ARE going well. So when you hike up the ‘adversity quotient” the role of others takes on a whole new meaning. My recovery and successful return to competition is the direct result of the efforts of my Family, Friends, Coaches, Employer, Employees, co- workers & Students.

In the early weeks my own energies were obviously focused on “healing”, with the later weeks dedicated to strengthening. I rode as much as possible, jumped as much as possible (wearing my air vest…wasn’t going to risk a stupid fall setting me back again) , sought out physiotherapy, introduced myself to yoga and exercise my body could handle, chatted with sports psychologist Dave Freeze, and paid special attention to the quality of my diet.

While the biggest hurdle presented by the fall was the interruption of my own PRACTISE, it also became an exceptional opportunity for Rupert practice – when David took the horse on for the 6 full weeks of my “lying around”. By mid April I was back in the tack with a seriously new & improved Rupert. From that point on, I dedicated as much energy to mental preparation as to my physical training. I had to make every competition count, because there were so few of them!

I was not nervous to be back competing, but I did feel the uncertainty that goes with so few practice runs, and the pressure of knowing there would be no second chances. In the end it came down to the fact that I am sitting on a truly remarkable horse that was well prepared for the task, and to the faith I have in his abilities.

It is a good time for Canadian Eventing, with enough rider depth, quality & experience to make the selector’s job refreshingly miserable. It is a wonderful (and novel) feeling to be exactly where I hoped to be – come mid June. The rest is up to me, but “the fall” is officially history, and I feel more than ready to tackle the challenges / opportunities ahead.

Taking the Long Way Around…

It’s been said that “if you can find a path with no obstacles,

it probably doesn’t lead anywhere”.

cheers Rebec



Jun 13, 2010

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Clear show Jumping today gave us a second place!! Rupert looked great this morning in the jog and jumped fantastic for a clear round.

Rupert’s breeder and owner Caroline Bazley was there to watch her boy all week end, she only gets to see him once or twice a year, so was a great week end for her to see.

We head homeward tomorrow… I will write more soon… for now, I am just so proud of my pony and I will get him home to his paddock!


4th after XC!

Jun 12, 2010

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We had a great ride…I am so happy with the day.. We were 12 seconds over the time, and that moved us up to 4th! The track rode very well, and as expected the time was hard to get. Rup felt a bit impressed at the beginning but only got better as the course went on, he certainly finished today a more mature competitor! I also learned from the ride, and pretty sure we can shave those 12 seconds next time! I was so happy with his fitness, he was full of running at the end of the track and cooled out very well.

We are now out hand grazing, he looks great for tomorrow morning, he can go back to his stall and sleep!


Dressage Day

Jun 11, 2010

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Good boy Rup! We had a good test today, scored a 54 and are now in ninth. Our trot work was really pretty good, and the canter was the best it has been in the ring. The horse has improved so much in the last year and it was really fun to be able to go in and show him off…not just manage what i have.

I had a great surprise on Tuesday night… my mom showed up… she just appeared at the barn while we were doing lates… I had no idea she was coming! Too cool, thanks mom!

Gina my working student is along for her first three day experience and first time out of the USA… she had Rupert looking beautiful… thanks Gina and to Lisa Barry who braided him!

The cross country course looks great. There is certainly plenty to do and the time will be hard to get imagine. I am excited for tomorrow, but have a big job to do… so gonna go to sleep now!


Bromont Arrival

Jun 8, 2010

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Rupert, Gina and I arrived in Quebec yesterday afternoon. I was in Middleburg for the past 3 days, getting some lessons and horse shopping with a Student. (Congrats to Stephanie Shepherd on her new pony…. Archie!!) It took us 13 hours to get up here from the Burg, which was not too bad; it was an easier drive than I thought it was going to be. I cannot believe that this is my first time to Bromont, it is beautiful here. Rupert traveled well, I was a bit worried for him, because he was the only one in the trailer, but he was ok. David arrived last night so we had a lesson this afternoon, and Rupert was great… so hopefully he keeps it up all the way to Friday! We have Jog tomorrow afternoon 3:00… Then I hope to walk the course… will let you know how it looks. The weather forecast is not to bad for the week, but so far we have had some thunder lightning and hail… and it is bright blue sky now… !


Countdown to Bromont

Jun 8, 2010

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One Week and a bit until Bromont… and I am feeling pretty good about it! I have had two competitions under my belt this month Chattahoochee Hills and Virginia HT. Rupert Gina and I headed Chatt hill and for our first one back. Was great to be competing again, and Rupert was very good finishing second in the Advanced. Jessica Phenix won the division…. great for her as it was her first advanced back after the birth of her son. David came down to help Jess and I, so it was cool for us Canadians to take the top two! This was my first time to this event, and Carl’s place is fantastic will be fun to return there for the AEC’s in September.

The next week end I rode four at VAHT. This was a very busy weekend; Dana and I were there with the 4 horse that I was competing, her horse that she was doing the one star on and Izzy (reb v horse that is for sale… so we bought her along to show to people.) I was so excited for Dana; it has been a long time coming for her to get to a one star, she now has a great horse and did very well on the week end!

For me, 3 of the 4 were really good! Rocky Rupert and Margaret all come home with red ribbons! The fourth horse was a mare that we brought over form Ireland this winter, she is a great horse and always very quiet and sensible… this week end she was doing massive “airs above ground”… so we did not make it past the Dressage, there was obviously something bothering her, so I did not run her cross country… next time!

I am going to head up to Middleburg for this week end and take a few lessons with David before making the long trek to Quebec. Rupert feels great, he has never felt so good on the flat and he also feels the fittest he has been… we are ready!


Rolex Week

Apr 21, 2010

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Just wanted to say GOOD LUCK to all those at Rolex this week… is pretty exciting. I will head up tomorrow afternoon to watch and cheer for the week end. It is going to be interesting to see all the improvements to the horse park, I was there last summer for the NAYRC and it was certainly a construction zone then, so to see what has been done now will be fun. Little Rebecca is there already, doing her business girl thing with the Hit Air vests! Rupert is also there already, I cannot wait to ride him on Friday. I will be able to ride him around the grounds, which will be great for both of us… Some could say… ”I’m riding Rupert at Rolex”!!

Want to say a special good luck to Steph Rhodes Bosch and Port Athority this week… Those two have been on a steady climb to the top since the beginning and it has been so fun to watch.

The exciting news of the day for me is that I jumped Rocky today… and It felt pretty darn good. I have to say Rocky felt great, now that he has some stability in his life again, I can feel all the good work that Sinead did with him. I am so lucky that my horses were able to keep progressing while I was healing.


Clinic – BC Style!!

Apr 21, 2010

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BC certainly is beautiful!

Here is the BC version of stalls!! And if it rains?…You are welcome to hang a tarp!!
I just returned on Monday from teaching a clinic in BC. I just had to share with everyone the great clinic they put on up there. The clinic takes place at an Event site that I grew up competing at… so it was so fun to go back there and be reminded of where I started out! Johvale, is a farm in Small town British Colombia, that hosted the clinic of over 100 riders, 7 instructors and a sport psychologist that took private appointments throughout the week end. Every one Camps out (literally) for 3 days and and takes advantage of all that is going on. It is three days of cross country… which was great I thought. Of course there was a progression to each day so that it was good for the horses, but it was really good practice for the riders. It is so true that cross country riding ends up being the least practiced phase of our sport outside competition, So it really is good when we have multiple days to work on “stuff”!

It was also good to see Mom and Dad again… they are well and busy of course! Even got to teach mom on her horse in the clinic… so that was fun. Got a quick visit in with Meg, one of the two sisters… she drove me to the airport so we got a 2 hr chat… which was so nice.


Back in the Saddle!

Apr 15, 2010

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Horseback View!

I am riding again, and I am feeling pretty good about it. I have been healing very well and my body feels stronger each day. I have been so lucky in my career so far not to have had many injuries… so this is definitely a new feeling for me. I am used to the program of rehabbing horses from injuries; but waiting on myself to heal is a new circumstance for me. I am so accustomed to feeling pretty strong, and it is such a strange feeling to feel weak at the thing I am so used to doing.

I even had a dressage lesson yesterday… mostly canter work… as it is going to be a bit longer before the sitting trot really works! My horses are doing well. I think Rocky is still a bit confused as to what has happened over the past 6 weeks, as he has had a few different riders while I was healing and for this horse, (eventhough he was ridden very very well) that is hard for him … he can be an emotional dude and consistency is key for him.

Although David has threatened to not give him back…I pick Rupert up from his dressage boot camp next week! The work that Rupert has received with David over the past 6 weeks… may even be worth a few broken bones…! I got to see the two when David brought Rupert up to The Fork CIC and rode him for the CIC test ride, which was a lovely test! I was so nervous; watching my horse go is way more nerve racking then riding that’s for sure! Although we have been getting better and better in the ring, the dressage remains to be Rupert’s difficulty. The horse has the ability; he is just tricky and is going to take time. I am sure that David has helped to speed up my timeline… and I cannot wait to sit on him again.

Over the past 6 weeks I have had a lot of time to think and reflect on my fall. Mostly I feel lucky, it could have certainly been worse, and I feel so lucky that Rocky was not hurt. Pretty much the moment after the fall I wanted to know why, why did we fall??? What I do know is that I am sure Rocky did not see the fence. It was one of those falls that happened very quickly, I did not see it coming; leaving the ground I thought we were ok. Why didn’t he see the fence? My first reaction was certainly “what did I do wrong?” Then it was, “did the horse just make a mistake?” Then I was so mad at the fence design. I think that when bad things happen we all want an explanation as to why, and I am sure the answer for me lays somewhere with a combination of all of the above factors plus the reality that what we do has risk, and nothing is guaranteed.

I will take these lessons but also I know that Rocky is a fabulous horse and athlete and I have had many xc rounds on him that were bold and focused, I really look forward to this again!