Last month, we welcomed BW-Callista to our farm. It has been 13 years since Leslie Valente purchased her as a yearling, and devoted herself to methodically developing Callista into a highly successful FEI horse. Callista finished growing in the Hilltop Farm Raising Program and was started under saddle by Michael Bragdell. Under Tami Glover, Callista became the 2006 USEF/Markel 4-Year-Old National Champion with an overall score of 9.0; earned an ISR/Oldenburg Premium Mare award and won her MPT; was the 2006 GAIG/USDF Region 1 Training Level Champion; and the 2006 USDF All-Breeds Awards (ISR/Oldenburg) 4-Year Old Mare Materiale Champion. Leslie then moved Callista to Florida and into the training program of Cathy Morelli who competed her successfully through 4th level with scores upwards of 68%. Cathy’s assistant trainer, Jen Griger, continued competing Callista successfully at 3rd level through PSG and also earned impressive scores. Through all of Callista’s competitive years, Leslie was an integral part of her riding and training program. Next year, Callista will enter a new season of life as a broodmare and we are so honored to be part of the journey! Callista is now with her mom, Ariane; and Raphaela, her former stablemate in Florida; in the field of her youth. So exciting indeed!
My hope today, is to encourage those in a long season of caregiving. Your riding goals may seem a distant memory, but they are not forgotten by God. He greatly honors your commitment to care for your loved one. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” Matthew 25:40. In such a season myself, the Lord is teaching me to rely upon His provision rather than exhausting myself overthinking every challenge. Continue reading
“My horse would be further along with another rider” is a sentiment I hear all too often from clients and friends. This thought tends to coexist with the belief that their horse would have a better life with a better rider. This grieves me because the truth is, horses don’t care if they’re at training level or FEI so long as their needs are being met and they’re stewarded with love and respect. Through the Lord’s divine providence, He brought you and your horse together to learn, grow and enjoy each other richly. Continue reading
Dressage at Devon Breeder’s Group Champion 2006, 2004 and Reserve 2005, 2003, 2002
At Blue Waters, we are in Devon prep mode and are honored to prepare horses for several of our clients. Often I am asked if the breed ring is a good opportunity for youngsters to get exposure to their future life as a performance horse. My answer is always a resounding, maybe! In general I recommend very shy or nervous youngsters stay home until they grow into more confidence. This includes foals who are still at their dam’s side, even if mom herself is calm. The high energy of show grounds, particularly a venue like Devon, can really overwhelm them. On the other hand, an independent and confident foal who has a fretful mom can still have a positive experience provided the dam is mannerly with her handler. One of my broodmares was quite herd bound and became anxious when taken off the farm, however her foals enjoyed having new adventures and performed very well. If your primary goal is providing life experience for your young horse, then by all means give breed shows a try. If you are hoping to bring home a ribbon, then you have more to consider. Foals, yearlings and two-year-olds are tricky to assess, given the fact that their bodies and movement seemingly change by the week. It’s important to find peace with this reality, or you may set yourself up for disappointment. If results are important to you, consider having your horse evaluated by a seasoned breeder, professional handler, breed judge or stallion owner. Judges are charged with evaluating a few minutes in your young horse’s life and it’s a very difficult task indeed. By no means does the outcome prophesy the potential of your youngster! Continue reading