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Welcome to the 2017 Roebke's Run

2018 Show Dates Check out our last show.

Emily Shirley sets a training
goal to compete at the 2* level

Emily Shirley of Orono takes First

The smile says it all. Emily Shirley of Orono captured first place in the Training-Open Division. She is also a qualified 1* rider and has her sights set on rising to the 2* level of eventing.

Orono, Minnesota eventer, Emily Shirley, enjoyed returning to Roebke's Run horse trials to compete in the Training-Open Division with her Irish Sport Horse, Fernhill Romeo.

After the horse trials it was time to pack up and return to Iowa with her blue ribbon in hand where she is training under the tutelage of Meaghan Marinovich. At age 19, she has already been competing for about six years.

"I have been training under Meaghan Marinovich for about the last three years," said Shirley. "This is my second year being a working student for her during the summer and I really like how I am able to expand my riding skills, learn how to manage a barn, and observe how a business is run. Meaghan has really helped my effectiveness as a rider and there is no way possible I could be a good rider without her constant help."

Marinovich's business acumen that she shares will probably aid Shirley now that she is in college. She is attending Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and majoring in finance and economics. Romeo will not be left behind, this fall at the start of her second year, she plans to bring Romeo to a barn not far off campus.

"This was our first show; last year we competed at the Preliminary/CCI 1* level. As of now, I plan to move Romeo back up to Preliminary, jump around a couple 1 stars, then decide what he's capable of. Eventually, I'd like to run him at an Intermediate or 2*, but it depends on if he wants to do it as well," said Shirley.

"Romeo came from Carol Gee/Fernhill Sport Horses and was bred by Ann O'Grady over in Ireland; she has also bred 4* event horse Ballynoe Castle RM. Romeo is an Irish Sport Horse, but technically he is a Westphalian, which is a German breed. Because he was born in Ireland and has a Irish passport they classify him as an Irish Sport horse, but I think his lineage says he is a Westphalian," explained Shirley.

The Westphalian warmblood horse bred in the Westphalia region of western Germany is one of the most successful horse breeds in the professional sport. Westphalians are bred to be suitable for pleasure riding and competitive in dressage and show jumping.

Shirley says she is currently qualified at the 1* level but rode here for the good preparations Roebke's Run provides. She said a couple of years of Pony Club riding in the Northern Lakes Region of Minnesota was what got her into eventing.

"I like cross-country jumping the best. Romeo's favorite is stadium jumping where he does best," added Shirley. "I love the course here, it's very nicely designed; as long as you come out with a good attitude you will see positive results. I've competed here many times before and it's pretty consistent. Every time you come out you see a nice thoughtfully designed course; I like it."

Shirley takes the Cross Country Jump with ease

Shirley and her Irish Sport horse, Fernhill Romeo, easily clear one of the cross-country jumps at Roebke's Run.

Shirley's Fernhill Romeo shows his skills at Stadium Jumping

Fernhill Romeo excels in stadium jumping while Shirley says her best area of eventing is at cross-country.

Minnesota 'Horseman of the Year' Mark Ward captures first place at Roebke's Run

Mark Ward and family at Schweiss Stables

It's a family affair for Mark Ward, his wife, Katie and granddaughter, Louisa Ward. The three of them competed at the July Roebke's Run Horse Trials where Mark placed first in his division. Mark, now 65, has been eventing for seven years; Louisa and her horse, Raja, are just beginning their eventing careers.

Mark Ward of Woodbury, Minnesota has been around horses most of his life, but it was the sport of eventing much years later that really grabbed him by the reins. Ward was on a return trip to Roebke's Run in Hector, Minnesota with his wife, Katie Clapp, and granddaughter Louisa Ward and five other competitors from his riding stable at Windy Ridge Ranch.

"I always enjoyed jumping and dressage and didn't even know about eventing until I went to watch my sister-in-law compete," explained Ward. "What impressed me was the rules eventing has that prevents people from abusing their horses in any way. It is a standard in eventing and not a standard in other forms of competition. The first time I witnessed it, I thought I could really enjoy this kind of show because everybody is taking such good care of their horses; the rules require you treat your horse really well. I also like the way everyone behaves at these shows, it makes it a lot of fun. Everyone is congratulatory when you win and helpful when you need help."

Ward took first place honors in the Training Division on his Irish Sport horse, Juniper, as did Molly Prytz in the Beginner Novice class with her horse, Ruby. Second place honors went to Louisa Ward (Raja) and Stella Ryan (Kestrel) in the Beginner Novice and Starter divisions. Samantha LeTourneau and her horse, Cody, captured a third place in the Training division.

Windy Ridge Ranch, east of St. Paul, offers group riding lessons, a leasing program and other fun riding activities for students. It is home to 45 well-mannered schooling horses.

"I've been riding horses for 60 years, I'm 65. I've been eventing for the past seven years and have been teaching riding lessons for 38 years. I'm really glad I get to compete with the younger riders; it keeps me young. This is actually a hobby for me and my wife. We don't improve, show and sell horses; we just keep them. We try to get to as many shows as we can get to in the Midwest. Louisa, at age 13, will be riding in Novice at the next show, she no doubt will excel beyond my abilities," said Ward.

"This course is beautiful, challenging and a lot of fun. It was the perfect level for me and my horse. We both like cross-country jumping. I can tell, she gets pretty charged up, and I can ride her with a very light rein. I do a lot of training and take many riding lessons from five other instructors and attend schooling shows to train for this. I have to work really hard to stay in condition for this. This course was a good test for us," said Ward.

"When I'm here, I really enjoy talking to the Schweiss's. Everyone is so nice to me, it adds a lot to the attraction here. I think the whole family is outstanding and with all the work they put into this impressive facility.

Mark Ward at Schweiss Stables competing in Cross Country

Mark Ward clears a cross-country jump on his 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse Juniper. In addition to eventing he also teaches riding lessons from his Windy Ridge Ranch in Woodbury, Minn.

Ward named Minnesota Horseperson of the Year

Mark Ward was named the Minnesota Horseperson of the Year, joining many others since the program was started a quarter-century ago as a way to honor some of the outstanding people in the horse industry - those who stand out from the rest for their contributions to equine and youth activity.

All year, people in the horse industry can nominate people who they think deserve this honor. The selected person is honored at the Minnesota Horse Council Annual Meeting in January.

A plaque honoring this person is placed in the "Horseman's Hall of Fame" on the wall at the entrance to the Coliseum on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Mark Ward at Schweiss Stables competing in Dressage

What impressed Ward was the rules eventing has that prevent people from abusing their horses in any way. The first time he witnessed it, about seven years ago, he thought he could really enjoy it. Here he and Raja compete in the dressage ring at Roebke's Run.

Jay Buboltz is one of those important behind-the-scene helpers at horse trials

Volunteer Jay Buboltz at Schweiss Stables

Jay Buboltz stopped to deliver bottled water to Emily Pieper, who was competing in the Beginner Novice Rider-B division with her horse, Clovercroft Enterprize.

Behind every eventing horse trial are a significant contingent of volunteers and behind-the-scenes people who do an extraordinary amount of work to ensure that everything goes off as planned and in the time frames alloted.

Roebke's Run Horse Trials in Hector, Minnesota is fortunate to have Jay Buboltz, 29, as one who has given his all ever since the very first shows started here over a decade ago. If you ask him to do something, he's right on it, whether it be delivering water and ice to riders from his four-wheeler or doing less enjoyable jobs such as making sure stalls are clean and ready for riders when they arrive.

"The days go by much faster when I'm busy," said Buboltz. "I like seeing the wonderful horses and visiting with riders and asking them if there is anything they need; I also help riders pack up and bring things to their trailers with my four-wheeler."

Buboltz has been good friends with Mike and Julie Schweiss ever since his high school days.

"They put on a really good show here and I like all parts of it from dressage to cross-country and stadium jumping and Julie does a super job cooking."

When he's not volunteering at the horse trials, Buboltz likes to fish, ride his new Kubota four-wheeler or play XBox games. His dad, Randy, also keeps him busy on the farm and at the lake.

"Mike, Julie and Brook are really nice people and help me out whenever they can. I look forward to attending every horse show," said Buboltz.

Volunteer Jay Buboltz at Schweiss Stables

Bubolz traded in his John Deere four-wheeler for this new Kubota that he used to deliver ice and water to riders during the July Roebke's Run horse trials.

As Mentors of Eventing . . .

Bonamarte and Hall are building
the sport for upcoming riders

Brad Hall sits atop a catch horse, "Smells Like Lilacs" that he competed on at Roebke's Run June horse trials. With him are two members of his team, Elizabeth and Emma Fettig and fellow coach, Cindy Bonamarte. Not pictured was fourth team member Lisa Borgia. All four riders place first in their divisions.

Teammate, Lisa Borgia rides "Laurelin" through one of the cross-country obstacles Saturday. She placed first in the CIC 1 division. Roebke's Run also hosted over 135 riders in the CCI 2, CIC 1 and CIC 2 divisions on down through the Starter division.

Some say that Brad Hall and Cindy Bonamarte are an Eventing legacy. That may be rightfully so as both are highly accomplished riders in their own right, but as the years have passed their knowledge of the finer points of the sport have been bequeathed to countless others already competing and many young riders who are just cinching their saddles on for the first time.

There's and old mantra that states: "To be the best, learn from the best." For the past 13 years they have paired their talents to build strong teams that have graced the Eventing leader boards and sent riders to national competition. This past weekend they both arrived with their team at Roebke's Run Horse Trials in Hector, Minnesota. It's one of their favorite venues ever since the Area IV course was opened by Schweiss Stables.

Their coaching territories are a little out of the ordinary as Hall lives in Galena, Illinois and Bonamarte makes her home at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where she teaches from her Geneva Equestrian farm. Both are about a six-hour drive from Roebke's Run in Minnesota.

"This is kind of, in essence, students teaching students," noted Hall. "We've built very strong and numerous teams. At any given time we have 15 to 20 students on the leader boards during any given year in various divisions," added Bonamarte.

Their team at Roebke's Run June Horse Trials, consisted of Lisa Borgia (CIC 1,) Emma Fettig (Preliminary-Rider), Elizabeth Fettig (Novice Rider B) and Hall (Novice-Open); all captured first places in their respective divisions. Emma Fettig was on the USEA Area IV Young Riders team last year on her horse "Spanning the Globe," the same horse she competed on at Roebke's Run this year. Emma did very well in Young Riders competition.

Bonamarte is a former national champion and 2009 American Event Championships (AEC) winner. She's been riding all her life. She still competes. Lotties Wisdom, her young off-the-track thoroughbred in its first year of competition, won Fox River Valley and placed fourth in the nation in her fifth event last year at AEC's.

Hall is another lifelong rider that has been Eventing for more than 25 years. He usually rides client's horses and lets them get the credit. Most of his successes are with students and their horses. Cindy was one of his first students and is now followed by her daughter, Madison.

Madison now is a student and both she and Cindy are developing young kids and bringing them to Event teams prior to ushering them to Hall's tutelage.

"I get to see them when they are ready, so it's my students teaching their students and we all end up working together to keep doing better," noted Hall. "We produce very high quality Event horses from various places, whether we raise them, obtain them from other breeders or get them from the track," added Bonamarte.

They've sent somebody to Nationals every year during the past 15 years and are projecting three or four to accomplish that this year.

"I'm a clinician, so I go and do clinics all over the United States from California to Wisconsin, Texas and Florida. You have some that come once or twice a year and then some who come once or twice a week," said Hall.

Hall road at Roebke's Run, when asked to compete on a catch ride, "Smelled Like Lilacs," for Blue Side Bottom owner and teammate Brynna Jovanovich. It was the first time he had ridden this horse and together they managed to capture first place in the Novice Open category

"I'm her instructor and had seen the horse, but had not ridden it. Smelled Like Lilacs did not like me, but we came to a fair agreement," said Hall.

"The Schweiss's are the best people on earth. Even when it doesn't always fit into our schedule I would love to do anything to support what Mike, and Julie and Brook are doing," said Hall. "It's a high quality course, well thought out. It runs so nicely with Otter Creek in Wisconsin as a supplement. It's nice to see two events work together so well. The efforts that have been made to ask all the questions that you see throughout the country have been made here. Certainly the Schweiss's do an amazing job of keeping up with it all. I think every event has to battle some form of Mother Nature. A personal thank you from us to anybody who helped here."

Bonamarte agrees. "They put in a maximum effort for everything. As far as the course and design, Roebke's Run flows nicely, they ask appropriate questions for the levels, which is very important. The people here are just amazing; they are friendly, they're helpful. That includes the supporting staff on four-wheeler's bringing ice and water around to the volunteers sitting through the weather. A big shoutout goes to the volunteers; you couldn't do this without them."

Bonamarte also mentioned that Roebke's Run is a much-needed venue because Area IV doesn't have enough venues. She said it's very important to support venues to keep them doing what they do.

Brad Hall and "Smells Like Lilacs" complete one of the Stadium jumps. He placed first in the Novice-Open category riding a horse he had never ridden before at the request of one of his students who was injured earlier this year.

Manitoba Canadian Eventers
enjoy competing at Roebke's Run

Canadian riders, Paige Dueck and her horse 'Zoom', left, and Krista Brown and 'Chanel IV' posed with their awards following the victory lap around the Stadium Jumping course at Roebke's Run. Both riders finished second in their respective divisions.

Manitoba is a large prairie province at the longitudinal center of Canada. It's well known for its farm country and fantastic fishing. For others, the choice of sport is Eventing.

Such is the case for Paige Dueck, who with her husband, operate a 48-head Brown Swiss dairy farm near Kleefeld and for Krista Brown who lives in Oak Bank. Both riders loaded up their horses for an approximate 16-hour round trip to compete in the June Roebke's Run horse trials in Hector, Minn.

This is not the first time the Canadian flag was flown proudly over the judge's box at the Stadium Jumping arena. Roebke's Run is high on the list of other Canadian riders, not only for its proximity across the border, but also because many return multiple times to enjoy what Roebke's Run has to offer.

Dueck and Brown each wound up the weekend of Dressage, Cross-Country and Stadium Jumping courses galloping to impressive runner-up finishes in their respective Training-Rider and Preliminary-Rider categories.

Brown rides an 8-year-old Canadian Sport Horse by the name of Chanel IV and Dueck mounts a Holsteiner of the same age by the name of Zoom. The Holsteiner is a breed of horse originating in the Schleswig-Holstein region of northern Germany. It is thought to be the oldest of warmblood breeds, tracing back to the 13th century.

Paige Dueck and Zoom scale one of the decorative Stadium Jumps. She scored high in this category to hold onto second place in the Training-Rider division.

Paige Dueck

"I've been competing for seven years, I'm on my second horse in life and have been to Roebke's Run six times. My first coach, Lesa Cafferty, also from Canada, brought me here with my first horse, 'Chase,' an off-track thoroughbred that I Evented with for four years," noted Dueck. "Zoom was actually bred in my province. I do have aspirations to move up to Prelim. But because I run a dairy farm fulltime I have to be strategic in the time I dedicate to getting my horse capable of showing; I actually take the winter off. I do not have an arena nor do I board my horse, she's at home on my farm."

While other riders have the luxury of being able to compete year-round, Dueck says that towards spring the shoes go on and she starts doing fitness work and then attends local shows to get Zoom used to jumping the course, then to cross-country schooling, local derbies followed by diving right into show season. Riders who travel long distances in the summer heat take precautions to make sure their horses are in tip-top health to compete.

"Traveling long distances and in hot weather can be hard on horses. You have to prepare so that it's easier on them, making sure they have electrolytes; some horses need gastrointestinal support - if they stress out you can give them different things to help. I'm careful not to get them overheated in the trailer by managing the airflow and not blanketing. You load them up on water, vitamins and minerals when you get here and do whatever makes them comfortable. My horse likes to be grazed from a lead rope when she's here," explained Dueck.

When she was in ninth-grade Dueck was asked if she would be interested in being a working student for Margo Galion in Alberta. Galion owned Rhiannon farms where they had an Eventing barn; she had no choice - here's my horses, here's the work, if you do good, I'll pay for a couple of shows, she rode a couple of her horses and when she got home she decided she was going into Eventing.

"I started in Beginner Novice so that I could just learn the ropes, because it is different than anything else - learning where to park, what to do, how to walk; I never came with a coach. I moved my horse up to training and then he retired. I also picked this sport because people rock!"

Like many riders, she gets a kick out of competing on the cross-country course, but says Dressage is a close second. There is only one sanctioned horse trial in her province and all-told she attends about four horse trials a year. Jokingly she said she is probably best at milking cows.

"I would really like to bring "Zoom" up to Prelim. There just aren't enough Events close to me to get enough qualifiers to move up, financially, and keep working at the same time. If I could come and win first place at every Prelim I come to, I would say that's achieving a goal," said Dueck.

Krista Brown

"My Canadian Warmblood, 'Chanel 5' is part of the Chanel collection, I must say," said Krista Brown with a smile on her face. "I'm here trying to qualify for 1-Star or move on to Intermediate. Chanel does pretty well traveling. This is my first time here. It's a beautiful place with a tough, tough, very technical cross-country course. That's good, it teaches me new stuff. I have my coach, Tecla Dophide, here from Manitoba as well."

Brown has been competing for 14 years, starting as a little girl. She says moving up to 1-Star or Intermediate is challenging, but reflecting back she noted that going from Training to Preliminary was a bigger jump for her.

"The 1-Star, 2-Star or 3-Stars are definitely tougher than the Prelim, Intermediate or Advanced. They're a lot different and more technical out there, but I don't think the jumps are too bad anymore. Hoping to learn more, I watched some of the 1-Star riders today," noted Brown.

Brown got into Eventing through a Prelim-level coach that was good friends with her mom and who used to Event back in the day.

"I love all of Eventing, but cross-country is definitely our thing. I have some stuff to work on in Stadium Jumping, but I'd say I'm best in cross-country," said Brown. "The number of Events I compete in varies during the year. I travel to Florida for the Winter; this year it will be six. My future goal is to make the Canadian Eventing team. They go to the Olympics and The World Equestrian Games. There is a list that they do every year throughout Canada for young Event riders called 'The Canadian Eventing No Boundaries List." For 2016, I was one of the riders put on it to be recognized and watched for the World Equestrian Games, Olympics and all that stuff. It was pretty cool."

Both Brown and Dueck really appreciate being able to come to Roebke's Run.

"I like being here at Roebke's Run," said Dueck. I love the decorations, I love the layout. This is always a challenging course as far as technicality, I love that. All three Dressage rings are groomed immaculately, The stadium jumps have bold color and its a beautiful place to watch from; it's all A-plus stellar. I have nothing bad to say, and I love their dinners. Their hospitality is amazing; they took my grandmother, Norma, on a four-wheeler so she could watch me and my husband was allowed to take her on a four-wheeler to show her the course."

Krista Brown was just a few points out of first place following completion of the cross-country run on her horse, Chanel IV. Her goal is to make the Canadian Olympic team.

Ecuadorian returns to Roebke's Run
in preparation for Boliavarian Games

Daniel Sarango gives a thumbs-up after placing second in the Roebke's Run CCI 1-Star competition with his 7-year-old Belgium Warmblood, Katarina Van De Heffink. It was their first CCI completion on this horse.

Ecuador, a republic in northwestern South America is miles away from Roebke's Run in Hector, Minnesota. David Sarango, who now trains out of Dalton, Georgia, was at Roebke's Run this past weekend as a qualifier for the Boliavarian Games and looking ahead to the 2019 Pan American Games. With the results of the horse trial this weekend, Sarango has received his MER qualifications for the Boliavarian games, and is currently first on the list to compete for Ecuador.

The Bolivarian Games are a regional multi-sport event held in honor of Simón Bolívar. The event is open to athletes from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Chile and Venezuela. The 2017 games will take place in Santa Marta, Columbia in November.

The Pan American Games are an Olympic-style competition for athletes from all nations of the Americas. They are conducted every four years, always one year before the Olympics. The first edition of the Pan American Games was held in 1951, in Buenos Aires. The next scheduled Pan Am Games will be held in Lima, Peru in 2019.

"My goal when I moved to the United States was to compete in the Olympics. I hope to have Katarina at the 2-Star or Advanced level by 2018 and in 2019 I hope to qualify for the Pan Ams. I competed here this weekend at 1-Star, but I have ridden 2-Star," said Sarango.

Sarango, captured second place in the CCI 1-Star division on his Belgium Warmblood, Katarina Van De Heffink. It was their first CCI completion together. He arrived here with his fellow countryman, Roosvelth Briones, who assisted him on the 18-hour drive. Briones captured ninth place in the Novice Horse division on his four-year-old horse, King Beeby R.B.

"I'm living in Georgia now and have been working for Michael and Nathalie Pollard for the past four years at Pollard Eventing and Chatsworth Stud," said Sarango. "The Pollard Eventing program focuses on fitness of both horses and riders. Pollard was a Pan Am Games team gold medalist, has ridden 4-Star at Rolex and was on the list for the 2012 Olympics. Chatswoth Stud is a breeding program that focuses on producing horses with some of the best blood in the sport; we breed and raise horses, perform artificial insemination, collect semen for shipping, and have embryo transfers performed."

Sarango, 32, started riding at the age of five and has been competing since he was 14 years old. Initially, Sarango competed in show jumping and began Eventing in 2010. He is a former member of the Remount Unit of the National Police of Ecuador and competed as a member of the National Equestrian Team of the Police of Ecuador at national and international levels. He was selected to represent Ecuador in the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games.

When asked what his strong suit was, he said it depends on the course. "I actually started eventing in 2010. The Director of FEI, Carlos Nunez, a former Pan Am rider, got me started in Eventing and coached me in 2010 and 2011," added Sarango.

Sarango will compete in many horse trials this year; there are just too many to keep track of. Each of the riders on the Pollard Eventing team has six horses ranging from seven to one-years-old. Long trips can be tough on horses. Sarango says he gives his horses electrolytes and vitamins to keep them healthy and to get them ready for competitions. The most important thing is caring for your horse, so they are not stressed and feel better when they go to competitions.

"I like Dressage. It gives you a very good connection and feeling with your horse. It's very important; if you are not feeling your horse you have nothing. You need good communication with the horse and the legs, stomach, hands and everything. Dressage is the best choice when you start riding. For example, when you go to school you start basic learning. like ABCs and numbers - Dressage is the same," explained Sarango.

For a person who has competed on hundreds of courses throughout the world, Sarango has a special fondness for Roebke's Run; this was a return visit for him.

"In 2015 I competed here in 2-Star with my friend and former Olympian, Ronald Zabala," said Sarango. "This is a good course, if you need to go faster it is not easy. I like the facility and am grateful to the people working very hard there - the people from Minnesota are always friendly. I hope to come back here again next year and more times in the future."

Sarango says he has a special liking for Dressage because it gives you a very good connection and feeling with your horse and says it should be the first step for young riders to learn.

Sarango and his horse complete one of the many decorative cross-country jumps at Roebke's Run.

Fellow countryman, Roosvelth Briones, clears a stadium jump on his horse, King Beeby R.B. in the Novice Horse division. He and Sarango made the 18-hour trip from Dalton, Georgia to Minnesota.

From 'Hot Sauce' to 'Sweet Dream,' Ava Davis is moving up in the Eventing ranks

Together, Ava Davis and her new trusty mount, Sweet Dream, earned an impressive seventh-place ribbon at Roebke's Run Horse Trials. She is picture here with her coach, KT Harrington, middle and schooling coach, Autumn Schweiss.

Ava Davis, 9, and her horses have always been viewed as the smallest competitors on the Eventing circuit. They still are, but her big heart and love for Eventing has gained respect from all other riders she competes alongside.

Last year the St. Clair, Minnesota rider, captured the adoration of riders and spectators alike on her first horse, a Shetland pony by the name of "Hot Sauce." This year, Hot Sauce was delivered to greener pastures to help teach other young riders and replaced with a 17-year-old horse of Welsh descent named Sweet Dream.

"Dreams is in her first year of jumping and showing. She didn't jump until a month before we bought her, so she's pretty new at it," said Davis.

Davis, now in her second year of Eventing, schooled with Autumn Schweiss at Roebke's Run in the Novice and Beginner Novice levels the past two years to better learn the sport and returned to compete in the Starter Division at the Roebke's Run June 2017 Horse trials. She also has competed at Otter Creek Farm horse trials in Wheeler, Wisconsin. Her coach is KT Herrington of Mankato where Sweet Dream is stabled by owner, Amy Hannaman.

"Some of the other riders help me out a lot too. I got started riding because my mom liked horses growing up and also does Eventing. She talked to someone at an Eventing barn and asked me if I would like to do it. My mom is a pretty good eventer, but she doesn't like to do the big fences," explained Davis.

Davis finished with pretty good scores and an impressive seventh-place ribbon in the Starter Division. She said she would have finished better but Sweet Dream had time penalties for going too fast on the Cross-Country course.

"Dreams is best at Dressage, but together we are best at Stadium and I am best at Cross-Country," said Davis. "In the future we are going to be in Beginner Novice, probably this year. The sport is fun, and I liked the flow of the course. Roebke's Run is a very, very nice facility."

When asked if she will be in the Olympics someday, she replied; "If my dad tells me to, I will be." Don't hold your breath, the 2028 Olympic Equestrian Games are closer than you think.

Ava Davis prepares to take on the Cross-Country course last year on her first horse, a Shetland pony by the name of Hot Sauce.

Sweet Dream and Ava Davis clear one of the Stadium jumps in the Starter Division.

Davis says her horse, Sweet Dream, does best in Dressage, but together they are best in Stadium jumping and she says she is best in Cross-Country.

Kansas Eventer, Hannah Stohr,
wins gold on first trip to Roebke's Run

Hannah Stohr at Schweiss Stables

Competing in the Training-Open A Class with her off-track Quarter Horse, "Sid Startin' To Drive," Hannah Stohr of Lenexa, Kansas placed first in all categories of Dressage, Cross-Country and Stadium Jumping at the Roebke's Run Horse Trials in Hector, Minn.

For Hannah Stohr, making a long eight-hour trip from Lenexa, Kansas with her nine-year-old barrel-bred off-track Quarter Horse, "Sid Startin' To Drive," didn't seem like such a long way to come after all considering that she captured first place in the Training-Open A Division at Roebke's Run Horse Trials on her first visit here.

"This was exciting. I haven't been to a lot of out-of-town shows with this horse. I'm a sophomore at the University of Kansas, so I haven't had a super amount of time to show. I really wanted to have a good training run on a big course, so Roebke's fit perfect on my schedule to come up here, and it ended up being a big course," said Stohr.

The chemical engineering student was a little worried at first because her horse never had a challenge like this but she was really proud of him because he answered all the questions. As it ended up, Stohr did ride the best in her class rising to the occasion and placing first in Dressage, Cross-Country and Stadium Jumping.

"Depending upon how Sid continues to go, we might move up to Prelim in the fall. Not for any FEI questions, but we might, fingers crossed, until we get more comfortable with the bigger stuff. I hope to compete at five trials this year. Back when I was 14 or 15 I thought I would hit all the 4-Stars and do all of it. Now, honestly it would be fun to have a horse to compete like this one. I wouldn't mind getting to Preliminary and doing a couple of Intermediates and maybe 2-Star. I don't really have the guts or decision making to go far beyond that. It's more for fun at this point than to go pro," noted Stohr.

Stohr has 12 years of Eventing experience behind her. She first became acquainted with Roebke's Run while competing at Young Riders in 2014 where she met Autumn Schweiss, daughter of Mike and Julie Schweiss, owners of Roebke's Run. Autumn was competing in 2-Star and Stohr in 1-Star; they also spent time together at a week-long camp.

"Sid has been to one show this year at Longview Horse Park in Grandview, Missouri and ended up doing a Dressage show. Because of college I honestly don't school him that much the week before. He's a really easy guy, super consistent, so there's not a really big need to drill him, he knows his job; he's really a nice guy," said Stohr who mentioned Sid hadn't done any Dressage before she met him.

Sid was put on the market because his previous owner was having a child. Sid had done a little bit of Novice and Beginner Novice so he kind of knew the ropes but initially Stohr put extra work into him to learn the canter, walks and more.

"This was the longest trip Sid had ever gone on, either ever or in quite a few years. Yesterday he came out a little bit stiff, but Friday on the flat he did really, really well and in Cross-Country he did well. It's hard to ride in an awkward position in a trailer for eight hours. I'm very lucky with him, he's very good at shows; he's not one to get nervous or weird. In the end it's all right," added Stohr.

Stohr got into Eventing after first competing in Hunter-Jumper and mostly Pony Club at the Mill Creek Pony Club in Raytown, Missouri.

"I really wanted to get into Eventing. The pony club had a good Event trainer that I got along with. When she left I was lucky enough to get hooked up with Julie Wolfert. Julie is a fantastic trainer and fantastic person; she's so good with the horses making sure everything is correct. Pony Club really helped me, but I owe most of my career to Julie. She found my Young Riders horse and this horse for me. She's my coach and trainer, I work with her full-time," said Stohr.

She said during her time here she kept kind of close eye on the CCI/CIC 1&2-Star riders as a way to further her learning.

"It was a big exciting check in the box. All of the other courses I've been to with this horse have been kind of local. To come up here and do something on a course I'd never seen before was a lot bigger challenge than I'd ever done. The course was big and had a lot of questions. It was super exciting to have Sid step up to the plate and do it and be as good as he was. I'm glad I came up here," noted Stohr.

Roebke's Run evolves into International Eventing horse trial show

Kristine Burgess guides her horse “Regatta” through the Dressage competition Friday.

Morgan Eberhardy easily clears the cross-country log jump on her horse, Sal de la Vida.

The organizers of the June 10-12, 2016 Roebke's Run Horse Trials in Hector took a huge step forward once again putting on a great show, now a national event, that filled nearly 160 stalls with top-breed horses to compete in the Olympic sport of Dressage, Cross-Country and Stadium Jumping.

Show judges flew in from the United Kingdom and South Africa and there were riders from Canada, Ireland and from throughout the United States in the field this year.

Riders at all levels commented favorably on all venues of the show and especially the beautiful, but challenging cross-country course that was designed by Capt. Mark Phillips of Great Britain.

Shannon Riley and “Busy Bea” clear one of the many decorative Stadium jumps Sunday.

“We're really excited that this event has continued to show enormous popularity among competing riders from the United States and abroad,” said show organizer, Julie Schweiss. “The reputation of our expanded facility, which can stable 228 horses, and how we run a well-organized show is continually bringing in large contingents of riders for every show we host, and we look for those numbers to grow even more in the future.”

The public is always invited to attend the horse trials at Roebke's run free of charge. Roebke's Run has been chosen by Area 4 to host the championships that are slated for July 8-10, an event that could bring in as many as 250 horses. Roebke's run is located 8 miles south of Hector. For more information on upcoming shows, visit: www.schweissstables.com

A large crowd always packs the deck in front of the cafeteria to watch the Stadium Jumping competition.

Erin Pullen captures CCI 2* first place at Roebke's Run

Erin Pullen of Shelbyville, KY and her horse “Tag” took top honors in the CCI 2* division. Show organizer, Brook Schweiss Mead, presented her with $150 in cash awards, a horse blanket, ribbon and silver plate.

Pullen, in her first year competing at the Two-Star level has been an avid Eventer since she started at age 5. She took first place honors in the Dressage competition with a score of 58.4.

Erin Pullen was smiling from ear-to-ear and congratulating her thoroughbred “Tag” with vigorous pats to both sides of his neck immediately after completing Dressage in CCI 2* at Roebke's Run Friday. She knew right then that Tag came through for her.

Pullen was on her first trip to Roebke's Run from her home-base stables in Shelbyville, Kentucky this year and was impressed with what she saw. Before she decided to come to Minnesota she had considered competing at Bromont in Canada; that was until she checked out Schweiss Stables on the website and saw the beautifully designed course by Capt. Mark Phillips.

“It was very inviting on the website. Bromont is being held this same weekend and is the same distance for me. The cost was such a big factor for me. I'm absolutely thrilled that I am here, just thrilled. The cross-country course is so inviting - it's a really good run, everything makes sense, it's presented and decorated beautifully. Very good questions for the levels,” noted Pullen.

Tag is a horse Pullen got off the racetrack, and she says that's all she rides. Tag is 11 now and had raced one week prior to Pullen getting him in 2013.

“He has such a good heart, good soul, and everything I've asked him to do he just tries and tries,” said Pullen.

He's been trying quite a bit this year already. They competed in Georgia at Popular in February and March and Chat Hills in April for the CIC** and May Days in Kentucky for Intermediate.

This is Pullen's first year competing at the Two-Star Level. She's been an avid Eventer ever since she started at age 5. She's using this competition today as a qualifier.

“Ultimately, I want to do all the upper levels I can with this horse. This is the steppingstone to meet all my qualifications for CIC ***, noted Pullen. “My goal this year is to run the rest of the year CIC** and hopefully end up at Fairhill in Maryland in October to run the CIC ** - next year we'll move up to Advanced and try for the Three-Stars; that's when you are playing the big dance. He'll tell me what he's ready to do and what he wants to do, I'm not going to push him. It's kind of a learning curve for both of us.”

She said she would love to run Rolex because it's in her backyard and hometown. It's been her dream ever since she was a little girl.

It was a warm day Friday and Pullen mentioned that heat always plays a factor in this sport.

“The humidity here is not as bad as what we have at home. The past few days have been glorious here because of the nice breeze.”

“I'm very, very thankful to the Schweiss's and the organizers for putting on such a lovely competition. I know it's not cheap, it's not easy and it takes a village. I'm very thankful to be here.”

Michael Nolan hopes to represent Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics

Native Irishman, Michael Nolan, clears a jump on the cross-country course at Roepke's Run. He finished second in a field of a dozen riders at the CIC 1* level.

The Tokyo Olympics are more than four years away, but that will give Michael Nolan, 22, of Ireland time to perfect his craft of Eventing and ultimately to represent his country in a manner that will make him and Ireland proud.

Nolan has been in and outside Ireland for the past three winters training part-time in the United States. He made the move full-time last May to devote his time and improve his skills under the mentorship of Robin Walker of Grass Lake, Michigan.

Both he and Walker know that at this point his prime objective is to hone his skills in the Dressage Ring. He's only been Eventing since 2013, but was stadium jumping before that. Something he feels quite proficient in.

“Ireland has a very good team this year for the Olympics. Most of the Irish riders are based in England. There are not so many owners, but there are a lot of horses. We do very little Dressage in Ireland. The biggest thing for me is to do the Dressage over here,” said Nolan.

Walker says his seven-year-old Irish Sport horse, SBT Good Guy, has the stuff to take Nolan where he wants to go. Walker has 3-Star experience and was at Roebke's Run competing in CCI 1* while Nolan was riding in CIC 1*

And as Nolan put it, “I can only go as fast as he can. I owe a lot to Robin; without him I couldn't have done any of it. The support from him and the owners is fantastic.”

Nolan was a first time competitor at Roebke's Run and even though he's only been competing for a few years he acknowledged the course was one of the better ones he's seen.

“I really like the course here (at Roebke's Run), it's really nice. They've done a fantastic job with the fences. I've never been anywhere where it has been decorated and laid out so well. They've tried exceptionally hard to keep the grounds perfect and the footing (on the cross-country course) was very nice; they did a good job of aerating yesterday,” noted Nolan. “ I think this will become a regular event for us now.”

Michael Nolan competing in the Dressage Ring on his Irish Sport horse, SBT Good Guy.

Robin Walker is sharing his Eventing knowledge with other upcoming riders

Robin Walker grew up in the UK but now makes his home in Grass Lake, Michigan. He's been Eventing since 1980 and with all those years behind him he is now taking satisfaction in passing his knowledge onto other young riders.

“I'm too old for the Olympics now, but I'm enjoying where I am. The farms nearly paid for, we've got fantastic owners and probably the nicest bunch of horses now that I've had ever. I'm particularly enjoying helping develop Michael Nolan of Ireland who rode my horse (SBT Good Guy) in 1-Star Dressage today. I love the sport, I want to get the Irishman to ride Dressage,” explained Walker.

He said Nolan helps him with the young ones and his goal is to represent his country. As a mentor, there can be not much better satisfaction to see someone else succeed in the sport, just as Walker has over the time span of 36 years.

Walker brought four horses to ride at Roebke's Run in Hector, MN to begin competing on Friday, June 10th. Uncle Ralph, a 7-year-old Homebred Sellefrancais Thoroughbred-Cross brought home the honors in the CCI 1* Dressage division with a score of 50.8. Uncle Ralph, joins three other Irish Sport horses; Freedoms Light, Windchase Aquilla and Aces, Baby, all who will compete in Dressage, Stadium Jumping and Cross-Country over the weekend.

“The reason we came firstly is because, normally we would be at Bromont in Montreal. Some of my clients wanted to be here and I have a very nice horse in the training division. Rather than just take International horses to Bromont we decided to see what it was all about,” said Walker.

After walking the cross-country course, he like many others was impressed.

“The job they have done with the fences is amazing - it's a first class effort on their part,” noted Walker. The way Mark (Phillips) has put it together and the way they've put the jumps together, it flows. I was surprised how well it flows considering they do not have massive acreage.”

Walker has 3-Star experience; he hasn't been to Rolex yet, but says that Freedom's Light has what it takes to get there.

Robin Walker and Freedoms Light, an 11-year-old Irish Sport, participated in the morning jog at Roebke's Run prior to competition.

“They've done a lovely job with the facility, it's so impressive when you drive up here. I commend the efforts the Schweiss's have made to put this together.”

Jordyn Sahagian is making the most out of Nestor's pre-retirement run for 3-Star

Jordyn Sahagian and her Hanovarin Thoroughbred, Nestor, received a first place ribbon in CIC** and were also presented $150 cash, a blanket and silver plate from show organizer, Brook Schweiss Mead, at Roebke's Run in Hector, Minnesota.

If first impressions are any indication of a job well done, then Jordyn Sahagian is like many other Eventers who make it a point to return to Roebke's Run Horse Trials. This year she returned again from her home in Barrington, Illinois.

Sahagian, now in her 17th year as an Eventer, has been riding since age nine. Having competed at the Advanced level a few times, her goal now is to compete at the 3-Star level. She brought Nestor, her 17 year-old Hanovarin Thoroughbred to Roebke's Run in order to keep him fit for the challenge ahead. Nestor showed Sahagian that he was fit as a fiddle by starting out the first day capturing first place in CIC 2* Dressage with a winning score of 51.1.

“My goal is to reach 3-Star at Richland Park in Michigan this August, and then Nestor will be retired. I've had him since he was four, he had an injury that he came back from,” said Sahagian. “It went well today, he behaved. The walk is always tough for us, but the trot and canter work was great.”

After Nestor retires, Sahagian will be devoting most of her riding time to a younger horse, an Oldenburg who goes by Catch The Moon, or his barn name of Checkers.

“The Schweiss's always put on a beautiful show. The cross-country course looks great, the rings are always kept well, water, dragged, and they put a lot of effort into every little detail. Every time I come back, it's always improved. They are also some of the kindest people I've met,” said Sahagian.

Elena Hengel's performance at Roebke's Run elevates her to Young Riders

Elena Hengel of Delano, MN clears a stadium jump with her horse “Say I Do” in the CIC** competition at Roebke's Run June 11th.

Elena Hengel of Delano, MN always enjoys coming to Roebke's Run Horse Trials, not only because it's close to her in travel distance, but also for what the course has to offer. Since attending her first event show here four years ago, she has made it a point to return each year.

This year turned out to be more special for her and her horse “Say I Do” because after placing among the top contenders overall in CIC** Dressage, Cross-Country and Stadium Jumping she found out she now qualifies for the Young Riders competition which will take place in Colorado in July. This won't be her first time competing at Young Rider's. She did it on “Zipp” in 2014 at the 2-Star level.

She brought three horses with her this year; Zipp, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood competing in the Intermediate division; and her younger Irish Sport horses; Chieften Clover, in the training division; and Say I Do in the CIC** competitions.

“This is only my fourth year Eventing, but I've been riding for about 10 years,” said Hengel. Overall, I'm really happy with my results this weekend. I wasn't planning on running my younger horses too fast, so it was really more for confidence building. They all show-jumped clean today, which was really exciting.”

Her goal is to move up to Advanced in the near future and compete at Fair Hill, Maryland at the end of the year; a place she's always wanted to go.

“I thought everything here at Roebke's Run flowed very well. I loved the 2-Star Intermediate course. It was a really nice run for me and my horses prior to Young Riders, because it was challenging enough. I also felt it built confidence as I went on. The questions kept coming, but when you got them out in front of your leg everything started to get into normal rhythm. The training course was really fun and great for my younger horse Chieftain Clover,” noted Hengel.

She's taking time to know her horses.

“Everyone has been saying how wonderful it is for Schweiss to being doing this. I wouldn't be qualified for Young Riders if they didn't have this course here. I'd also like to mention that the grounds were phenomenal. All my horses came off of it feeling great the next day. They've worked very hard to make it nice. The course is tough, but fair. It's nice for the horses to have a challenge, and it's a nice atmosphere for them. It helps prepare us in Area 4 for the Young Riders Championships when we go out of this area to compete. I really feel this is definitely a national event, not just Minnesota. And the food is amazing - I don't want to leave.”

Autumn Schweiss returns to Roebke's Run horse trials

Sneaky Pete was one of four horses Schweiss used to compete in Dressage, Cross-Country and Stadium Jumping events. Here he easily clears the log jump.

Eventing at Roebke's Run this past weekend was like coming home for Autumn Schweiss of Ocala, Florida. Actually, it was coming home; as the Roebke's Run Magister Equitum course was developed and owned by her mom and dad, Julie and Mike Schweiss.

Autumn made the most of the trip competing with four horses, Roman Holiday, The Archer, Sneaky Pete and Ballygriffin Cool Guy. She came away with a number of ribbons competing in the Open Training, Open Novice and Open Beginner Novice divisions.

She calls Roman Holiday, the Bay Oldenburg she rode this weekend in the Open Training division, "Mom's horse." She gives credit to her mom, Julie, for seeing good talent in her horse and then passing him on to her to continue his Eventing journey.

Rising from Novice to compete at this level for the first time, Roman Holiday gave Autumn an excellent start, with a hefty first place lead following the first day Dressage with a 24.8 and equally good Cross-Country run. He was the only horse to score in the 20's in her Dressage division that consisted of 20 riders. Unfortunately he was unable to keep that lead after falling back slightly on the second day Stadium jumping course where he needed a clean run to win overall. Just the same; Autumn was pleased with his overall performance.

"He's always been pretty consistent in Dressage," said Schweiss. He's a naturally good mover and with a little finessing he performs quite well."

Autumn Schweiss, daughter of Mike and Julie Schweiss of Hector and her horse, Roman Holiday, performed well ahead of the competition in the Dressage event Saturday. They also did well on the Cross-Country course.

Schweiss rode four times in Dressage, competing on a warm and humid day. She said she's no newcomer to work, so the taxing schedule this weekend really didn't affect her or her horse, even when the temps rose to over 90 degrees. She also said that because her horses are stabled in Florida the heat doesn't seem to affect them much.

"I have somewhat of an advantage because I live in Florida. The last time I rode it was 98 degrees; heat is not uncommon. This (Minnesota heat) is actually cool for them. I do extensive physical fitness. Roman Holiday is not a thoroughbred, he's a warm blood and needs to be kept more physically fit than you average horse. By the time I got back to the barn, he was already cooled off and didn't need to be walked any additional time," said Schweiss. "I'm used to working all day, so it's not so bad, competing on a time schedule makes it more tough."

Schweiss says she doesn't pick out a particular rider to try and top. "My horse and I just need to go out and beat ourselves and aim for a better score each time. Something always needs to be fixed. Roman came out a lot more confident in the cross-country run than I expected, it's usually a kick around, get after 'em ride, today he was very forward and wanted to get at the course. The long course offered long jumps and some pretty tricky questions, so at age five he's actually quite young and not schooled at this level," noted Schweiss. "I was taking a gamble, and said, 'Let's try it.'"

Schweiss and "The Archer" clear one of the many obstacles during Stadium Jumping competition Sunday at Roebke's Run.

She said the highlight this year for Roman Holiday has been his performance in Dressage. "When I got him five months ago he was quite an unconfident horse and the biggest reward has been training this horse and finding out his abilities and building him up in the right ways. Stadium jumping is his biggest challenge. He also trained with Elisa Wallace who rode at Rolex on Simply Priceless. When he came to me he was more or less started. I think I produced him. He wasn't ready for Training Level in any significant time. I train with him daily anywhere from a half hour to an hour."

Schweiss, now 22, is no newcomer to the game, she's competed in the upper CCI** level and has been to North American Junior Young Rider Championships twice; once in 2010 at the CCI** level aboard The Real Deal, and again in 2014 at the CCI** level aboard Oakport Strauss. A recent college graduate in the field of biology, she is keeping Eventing at the forefront as the Area IV Young Rider Team Chef d'Equipe. Another goal she is currently pursuing is at a coaching level in Florida.

"I'm going to be coaching and taking in training horses and starting a boarding facility in Ocala. It's still in the works; it may be a year or more. In the meantime I've been training horses, buying and selling. We'll see where it goes from there. I want to focus my training on amateurs, novice and Young Riders," said Schweiss.

Next week Schweiss will be the eyes, ears and voice of the Young Riders team - the Jr. Olympics four-person team in Lexington, Kentucky. Two Minnesotans, Christine Burgess and Sam Kelley are on the team. From there she will go back to Ocala and will plan to show again in September.

Lily Geelan rides a new horse in a new division and captures first place

It was a blue ribbon first for Geelan after successfully outscoring her competition in the Open Preliminary Division.

The smile on her face told it all as she and her trusted mount, Luksor, were presented the Blue Ribbon for capturing first place in the Open Preliminary Division at Roebke's Run Horse Trials July 11-12. It was the first blue ribbon of her riding career.

Lily Geelan is the 15-year-old daughter of John and Mary Beth Geelan of Independence, MN, a city well known for an abundance of Eventers that make annual trips to participate at the Roebke's Run horse trials in Hector, MN.

Geelan and her horse Luksor had a double clear run on the Roebke's Run Stadium jumping course Sunday.

"I was really happy with my rides. This was only my second Open Prelim since I moved up at Fox River Valley. My Dressage was good, I'm still working on getting Luksor into the connection that's needed more because I only got him at the end of April. Cross-Country rode real well, We came in with a real nice time, I think I only had 10 seconds left until the optimum," said Geelan.

Geelan's horse is a Polish Warmblood, born in Poland, transported to Germany where he did jumpers and then brought to the United States where he started Eventing. Sue Martin owned him and he was trained by Robin Walker. Both she and Luksor like Cross-Country best, but Geelan said he is strong in all phases of Eventing.

"I really do like Dressage, but I'm still working on that connection with my new horse and really working him into that contact and getting him heavy; he's really light. Everything I've been doing with him is working well. All of our rails in Stadium jumping have been because of rider error," noted Geelan.

Geelan competed at Roebke's Run June horse trials and was here last year as well. Prior to this she competed at Fox River Valley and Otter Creek coming out with second, third and seventh place finishes.. She likes this Minnesota course for a number of reasons other than its beauty and well run operation.

"I love the course, it's a nice facility that helps riders get used to the bigger jumps and harder questions preparing them for Young Riders. It's really good what the Schweiss's do here," said Geelan.

Her plan is to do a One Star this fall and move up to Young Riders next year. Her first riding experience came at age six, from there she moved up to Jumpers and Hunters and then some Dressage shows under the tutorship of Liz Lund as her personal trainer.

Ellis Rold has developed a bond with her new horse, Mustard

Rold led the competition in the Trainer Rider Division after the first day and by a narrow margin captured first place after Stadium jumping.

Ellis Rold, 13, and her horse Fernhill Spring Lightly complete their last jump over the church on Roebke's Run Cross-Country course.

Ellis Rold, 13, was one of a contingent of young riders competing at Roebke's Run Horse Trials July 11-12. Her successful performance on her Irish Sport horse, Fernhill Spring Lightly, affectionately referred to by his barn name "Mustard," earned her a blue ribbon in the Training Rider Division.

Rold finished a close .03 ahead of her nearest competitor on the last day to capture the win. This was her fourth or fifth year competing at Roebke's Run.

"Roebke's Run is always an awesome course and a really good show. The courses rode well and is beautifully designed," said Rold. "I just got Mustard, so I'm still figuring him out. He's good at Dressage, really confident on Cross-Country and strong on Stadium, which is really nice because I consider Stadium my weaker phase."

The nine-year-old sport horse was imported from Ireland just this February and Ellis said she knew instantly when she got him that he was the horse for her. There was an immediate bond between the two of them and now that they have competed they both trust each other even more. Rold said Mustard competed in Ireland and England.

"I'm going to keep on training for the rest of this year and then hopefully move up to Prelim the beginning of next year. By 2017 I hope to make the Young Riders team," said Rold.

Rold trains in all phases of Eventing with Meaghan Marinovich, who was also competing at Roebke's Run on her horse, Kariba, in the Open Training division. Ellis is the daughter of Mike and Annette Rold of Delano, MN.

Deb Stern took to the saddle for something to do
following her daughter's graduation

Deb Stern was back in the barn with her Irish thoroughbred, Gogarty's Oliver Twist. She started competing about 10 years ago following her daughter's graduation from high school.

Not all Eventers are new kids on the block. Deb Stern of Independence, MN decided 10 years ago after her daughter graduated from high school and went on to college that she would get back on the saddle again. The horse she had was her daughter's so she decided to put him to use.

She and her Irish thoroughbred paint horse, Gogarty's Oliver Twist, returned for another round of competition in the Open Novice division at the July Roebke's Run horse trials.

Stern started Saturday off in fine fashion, leading her pack of competitors going into the final day of Stadium Jumping competition Sunday. Unfortunately, her horse decided he didn't want to have anything to do with the first stadium jump and the refusal sent her down in the standings. But, as all riders know, that's not uncommon, especially at the lower divisions of competition with horses working their way up the ranks.

"We either do really well and get first or second place finishes or do poorly and get eliminated occasionally. I haven't shown much for a couple of years so he's having a few issues with getting back into jumping, but hopefully after this show we'll be back on track. I showed him once last year and at three other shows this Spring. I'm hoping now we will have all those issues behind us. He used to be perfect at everything, but occasionally he has a little attitude," explained Stern.

Stern said Oliver Twist is really good at Dressage, with beautiful movements. He is up for a challenge and ready to try things, responsive to the training and coming along this summer. When his attitude is right, he can be excellent at jumping.

Stern said as a rider she's patient and loves Dressage, but is a little chicken at jumping so she needs a horse that is confident.

"I've been to Roebke's Run horse trials many times since they opened. The course is really, really fun, it's beautiful, challenging, but friendly. They are always improving it,; they always throw a couple technical questions in that makes it more challenging each year. It's a lot more friendly for lower level jumpers than when they first opened it. At that time the jumps were all at maximum height," noted Stern.

She gives credit to her trainer, Liz Lund, who has over the years prepared her for showing. She said she also appreciates the fact that the Schweiss's allow riders to practice the technical stuff on their course, something other facilities don't offer. With three or four more shows on her schedule for the year, she and Oliver Twist should be ready again to consistently finish at the top of their field.

Tara Doubek has her eyes on moving up the ranks of Eventing

Tara Doubek flashes her very first, first place smile and holds the blue ribbon proudly beside her thoroughbred Rumor Has It.

Tara and Tessa Doubek of Eden Prairie, MN are a sister duo that circulate to Eventing horse trials to learn and hone their skills in Dressage, Cross-Country and Stadium jumping.

Tara and her beautiful chestnut thoroughbred, Rumor Has It, competed in the Beginner Novice Rider division at Roebke's Run horse trials July 11-12. An unfortunate fall put Tessa and her horse, Canadian Cancade, out of the ribbon count. Tessa, 17, was competing for the first time at the Training Rider level, but sister Tara led the competition after the first day managing a double clear on the Stadium course to capture first place in her division. It was her first victory in the Beginner Novice division.

"She's a 10-year-old horse that knows a little more than me I think," said Tara, who competes at the young age of 14. "Stadium is probably our weakest point. She gets strong on Cross-Country, she's really brave and a good mover in Dressage."

Tara hopes to move up to the Novice division this year, compete at the Training level next year, and has her eyes on making it to Prelim and One Star sometime after that. This has been her second full year of Eventing. She has also competed at Otter Creek in Wisconsin, Catalpa Corner in Iowa, Hagyard in Kentucky. Tara is the daughter of Mary and Tim Doubek.

"I just wanted to have a confident ride, I wasn't concentrating on winning. It's my first show with her. I was here last year competing on Angel Good As Gold. This is one of my favorite shows. The course is really fun, beautiful and well organized. It's one of the more challenging ones but a great place to test your horses," added Doubek.

Doubek keeps her horse at Cross Creek Stables in Cologne and trains with Heather Salden-Kurtz. Salden-Kurtz is a USDF Certified Instructor/Trainer, USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist, and a USEA Gold Medalist. She has been working out of Cross Creek Stables in Cologne, MN since 1997, beginning as an assistant manager and working student before starting her own training business in 2006. Heather has ridden with many of the world's greatest trainers, including Betsy Steiner, Rafael Heiligers, Ralph Hill, and Janet Foy, and rides regularly with USEF's' judge Bill Solyntjes.

It's been said you need to learn from the best to be the best. With this level of training,Tara and Tessa Doubek will undoubtedly be future top contenders in whatever division they compete at.

For the price... Roebke's Run CIC* / CCI** horse trials
were a great bargain for contestants

The organizers of the June 5-7, 2015 Roebke's Run Horse Trials took a huge step forward in once again putting on a great show that saw about 155 participants from throughout the U.S. and some abroad taking part on a well-groomed dynamic course.

Contestants participated in the three-day event in Hector, MN for a meager CIC/CCI $310 entry fee that for many this year introduced them to one of the premier courses in the United States. Here's what some of them had to say:

Ronald Zabala-Goetschel



Ronald Zabala-Goetschel and Master Boy

The most experienced rider at Roebke's Run this year was Ronald Zabala-Goetschel of Ecuador, South America. Zabala-Goetschel's list of accomplishments can fill a page, but most notable was his participation in the 2012 London Olympics. He arrived here with a goal to qualify for Ecuador's Pan American Games team, which he easily did. Zabala-Goetschel brought three horses with him, Wise Espartaco, an Argentinian Thoroughbred Cross; Mr. Wiseguy, a Belgium Warm Blood and his Irish Sport horse, Master Boy. He drove 26 hours cross-country from West Grove, PN to get here.

Reflecting on his Olympics, he said; "My Olympic moment was arriving at the stadium, where everyone is the same, no nation is better than the other one. It was the best moment of my life." His next stop will be
to compete in the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada.

Zabala-Goetschel was impressed with Roebke's Run course. He said he enjoys all venues and said the course layout designed by Capt. Mark Phillips is a very technical course.

His weekend ended on a sad note as Wise Espartaco, "Manny," collapsed and died after he jumped clear on the Saturday cross-country run. The 12-year-old gelding was a consistent competitor at the Preliminary and One-Star level and stepped up to the Intermediate this year.

A necropsy will be conducted by the University of Minnesota to determine cause of death and Manny's cremated remains will be sent to his farm in Pennsylvania where he will be buried.



Nick Staples and Bound by Blood

Nick Staples

One of the younger riders to compete at the CCI* level was Nick Staples, 15, from Wichita, KS on his 13-year-old Percheron Cross "Bound by Blood." His primary reason for competing at Roebke's Run was to make a clear round on the cross-country leg in order to qualify for Young Riders.

"The cross county course here is gallopy and has some tough lines with difficult questions, I love it and I'm hoping for a double clear run in stadium jumping. My horse is a careful but big jumper, he's fast, strong and mean," said Staples.

Staples, now in his fifth year of competition, was accompanied to Roebke's Run by his father, John, a 1988 Olympian alternate who is also his full-time coach. His goals for the future are to reach the Four* level in five years, ride at Rolex and coach.

Jacob Fletcher

At age 21, Jacob Fletcher of Arkansas is already a very seasoned rider who takes his sport seriously and has competed throughout Europe. He brought three horses to the competition at Roebke's Run; Atlantic Domino, Fly Away Ferro and Van Gough.



Jacob Fletcher and Fly Away Ferro

Fletcher competed in the CCI** division on Fly Away Ferro an eight-year-old who was doing Training level just a year ago and came home with a blue ribbon to top all other competitors in his class. After the first day of dressage competition two of his horses were number one on the leader board.

Fletcher spent 10 months this past year riding and training in England under the tutorship of Kevin McNab. He's been competing at the FEI levels since 2009.

"Competition there (England) is quite different, there's no stabling and all three events are held in one day. You need a real good thoroughbred horse with good stamina," said Fletcher. "I came here this year because it was a good time on the calendar, the climate is fantastic and Roebke's Run has pretty much the best footing in the country. The footing here is very much like Europe.

"The Capt. Mark Phillips course is very comparable to Red Hills. The cross-country course is twisty through the woods and walked easier than it rode. It's tough enough. The Schweiss family here at Roebke's Run have been unbelievably accommodating."

Fletcher made a wise decision to remain at Schweiss Stables for the upcoming July Roebke's Run Horse Trials that will be a precursor to him competing at Rebecca Farms Horse Trials.



Elizabeth Crowder and Red Poll

Elizabeth Crowder

Elizabeth Crowder, 23, hails from Oklahoma. Between event competitions she is starting her last year in pharmacy school in Arkansas.

Crowder was using Roebke's Run as a qualifier for Two Star on her eight-year-old chestnut thoroughbred, Red Poll. She began the weekend with a top start in Dressage. Red Poll was a retired racetrack horse she has been training for the past three years. She has two other one year-old horses.

"The dressage course here is very good. I thought the cross-country one-star course starts very open and was beautiful with one of the better looking water jumps around. I wanted to come here ever since I heard about it a few years ago, it's a lovely venue. I'll be leaving my horse here until the next competition in July," said Crowder.





Mary Peabody Camp and Rivertown Lad

Mary Peabody Camp

Camp is an 18-year-old rider that came up to Minnesota from Crestwood, KY with her horse Rivertown Lad. She's been competing since she was 10 years old in various venues including Mounted Games. She met her goal to qualify for Young Riders and took home a first place in the CCI* division.

"Winning first place was icing on the cake. My coach is very talented in dressage. I think the course here is beautiful and kept up extremely well. We've been talking about how we were impressed the entire weekend and have made friends with Elizabeth Crowder and Jacob Fletcher, who helped me out a lot. Coming from One Star and winning should help my chances of being selected to the Young Riders team," said Camp.



Roebke's Run Horse Trials, the Schweiss family and the USEA are deeply saddened by the collapse and death Saturday of Ronald Zabala's horse, Wise Espartaco, after a brilliant cross-country round in the CCI2*. A postmortem examination will be performed by the University of Minnesota diagnostic laboratory to determine the cause of death at the request of the USEA and the USEA's Cardiovascular Research Study group. Our deepest condolences go out to Ronald Zabala and all that were a part of this wonderful horse's life.


Roebke's Run Cross Country Course

Crafted by jump builders, Eric Bull, Dan Starck, and Tyson Remener. Roebke's Run Cross country course is one of the upper midwest's finest. It features starter, beginner novice, novice, training, prelim, intermediate, CIC* and CIC**. Carefully aerated grass for proper galloping compaction at advanced levels

The 2015 course was designed by Captain Mark Phillips

Experience a challenging equestrian course with all the beauty the Midwest has to offer

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