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Welcome to the 2017 Roebke's Run

Roebke's Run 2017 Show Dates

Roebke's Run FEI/Horse Show
June 9-11, 2017

Opening Date: April 26
Closing Date: May 29
CCI/CIC 1 2** I,P,T,N,BN Starter.

Rider Status/Ride Times    
Dressage Test
Camper hookups available
Registration Info

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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