Wednesday, November 24, 2010


What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than to give thanks. I'm so incredibly lucky to be doing what I love. Mythic Landing Events has grown so much this year. Sometimes I have to take a step back and just be thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way. I'm a bit reluctant to start naming names, so bear with me as I ramble for a bit.

In no particular order ...
BTYC: Jenn, Nicki, Sue, Suzannah ... you ladies are truly the best. Jenn for living with me and putting up with the chaos that is my life. Nicki for being my sounding board when I hit a road block with one of my horses. Sue for stepping up and not blinking an eye with my many requests, from doling out prizes to whispering to my favorite appaloosa. Suzannah for the constant editing and press releases, MLE looks good because of you.

Katie, Claire, Kim and the rest of the ABBF crew ... I'm so so so thankful that I found ABBF and found you ladies. From hacks out to the meadow, to bareback racing in the indoor, to vaulting on fat ponies, you all make it fun.

Kelley, Pat, Danny and Ray ... I'll say it again, I'm so so so thankful for finding ABBF. I can't imagine being anywhere else. Special thanks for welcoming Lissell to the farm. Without a doubt, this is the best place for her and me. Kelley ... thanks for dealing with my constant nuttiness and teaching me how to ride. And thanks for not thinking I'm crazy for putting an 18yo broodmare back to work.

Dr. Scullin, Carter, Doug and Mike ... thanks for keeping my horses in tip top shape.

Brett ... you may be far, but you're always there for a quick chat. Plus I get to live vicariously through you and your Olympic dreams.

Lynn ... Thanks for having faith in MLE and working tirelessly for my dream. The office wouldn't function without you.

Pam/Judie ... Thanks for taking care of the finances. I wouldn't be able to do it without you.

Holly ... Thanks for having faith in me and trusting me with your horse. Moosetracks has come so far this year, and while I sometimes do get frustrated with him, know that I do see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Stephan and Susan ... Thank you for traveling each month for clinics. Here's to a successful 2011 clinic series!

MLE Clients ... You all are the best! I'm so incredibly lucky to be surrounded by people who have the same vision as me. Thanks for trusting me and for your continued faith in myself and MLE.

Mom, Dad, Katherine ... thanks for always being there. It's not every day that your daughter/sister decides to quit her job and walk out on a limb with a new company. Thanks for not thinking I'm crazy and supporting me throughout.

Scott ... Who knew?!

Lissell ... thankyouthankyouthankyou.

I'm sure I've forgotten someone, so please forgive me. It's late and I'm running on little sleep.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

December Clinic with Stephen Bradley

Stephen Bradley Jumping Clinic
Sunday, December 19th

Oatland Stables in Brookeville, MD

Cost: $110 for 1 1/2 hour small group lesson

Whether you are looking for help for you or your horse ... Olympic eventer Stephen Bradley is here to help!

Come join in on this rare opportunity to train with one of our area's best. Stephen enjoys teaching all levels of riders from beginners to the advanced competitor. His enthusiasm, talent for communication, and ability to inspire confidence in the horse and rider make him a hit. When training with Stephen, you can be confident that you will receive expert instruction for your level of riding.

For more information please e-mail Margaret Rizzo at

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Next TWO Susan Graham White Dressage Clinics!

I've gotten the November and December dates from Susan. We're staying with Wednesdays, as this works best for Susan and Oatlands. So ... let me know if you'd like a slot (or two!) at one or both of the clinics and if you have any time constraints.

Wednesday, November 17th
Wednesday, December 1st

Remember that lesson slots are $125 for a 45-minute private lesson. Payment is due at the beginning of your lesson. If you'd like to pay with credit card, please let me know when you sign up and I'll give you directions for that.

Lessons run from 11am - 6:45pm. Lessons are at Oatland Stables in Brookeville, MD.

Questions?? E-mail me at

**If you'd like to be added to the mailing list for SGW Clinics or Stephen Bradley Clinics, please let me know!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tag, Tripp and the T3D

October means Fair Hill. And this year, MLE had one client and many friends competing. So off I went on Saturday for a day full of cross-country and, shockingly, no rain. Courtney Cooper was competing in the CCI** on homebred Who's A Star ("Tag"). While this is Tag's second 2-star, this was definitely his biggest challenge of his career. I wasn't there for his dressage, but he was right in the middle of the pack. He's been winning on his dressage score at the last few horse trials, so I'm sure the big atmosphere had something to do with the higher score. I got to see him in the middle of the cross-country course, and he looked great. What an awesome horse ... and he's only 7!

Good friend Katie Ruppel of Yellow Rose Eventing looked stellar in the CCI***. She's been working really hard with Sir Donovan ("Donald") and I'm looking forward to watching them kick ass in a spring 4-star.

Unfortunately, there were two major accidents that put a damper on the day. Sharon White had a scary rotational fall and was taken away in an ambulance. She had to have surgery yesterday for a broken hip, but knowing Sharon, she'll be on a horse by the end of the year. The second accident hit a little closer to home, as it involved former MLE client Jenn Simmons (pictured here). Her and JB's Star were contesting his first CCI*** and looked great when I saw them at the coffin about mid-course. A few jumps later he misread an oxer and both he and Jenn fell. X-rays showed a major break in his shoulder, so it was decided to euthanize him at the hospital. Jenn was kept overnight for observation but released the next day. My heart goes out to Jenn, as I know how special JB was to her.

On a light note, another MLE client is rocking out this fall. Katie Wherley has 2 horses in the barn right now that are stars for the future. Mr. Indiscretion ("Trip") is skipping over Prelim fences. Instead of cramming in an Intermediate this fall, Katie is going to spend the winter getting him really strong, and move up early in the spring. Her other super star is Miss Texas and should really be in a beauty queen contest. So gorgeous! This lovely mare is only 4, so Katie has really spent her time with her and they rocked it at their first Novice this fall. Texas will spend more time growing this winter and then move up to Training in the spring.

Finally ... the Training 3-Day. It starts this week! If you're looking for some fun, come out on Friday to watch endurance day. The smiles you'll see as riders come off course will blind you.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More MLE Clinics this fall

Just a quick post with dates for upcoming clinics:

September 22: Susan Graham White Dressage Clinic (11am - 6:45pm)

October 13: Susan Graham White Dressage Clinic (11am - 6:45pm)

October 20: Stephen Bradley Jumping Clinic (1:30pm - 6pm)

I have at least 1 space available in each clinic, so shoot me an e-mail at if you would like more info on riding!

To learn more about Susan, visit her web site

To learn more about Stephen, visit his web site

AEC's Report

Courtney Cooper was the only MLE client to make the trip down to Georgia for the 2010 American Eventing Championships. Nevaeh (pictured napping in her stall) competed in Novice Horse and Who's A Star ("Tag") competed in Open Intermediate. And they were both awesome! Nevaeh led the weekend with a stellar dressage test and double clear cross-country round, putting them in 2nd going into the final phase. Remember that Nevaeh is still only 4-years-old and has her green moments here and there. Unfortunately, she had a silly rail in stadium which dropped her to 7th place overall. Argh! This talented mare is headed to the 4-year-old Young Event Horse Championships in October, so hopefully she'll have a win there! Tag was stellar once again in Intermediate. He's turning into a real powerhouse and I know that Courtney loves every event she has with him. He finished 13th out of 52 in an extremely competitive Open Intermediate division. Go Tag!

Not to be left out, Katie Wherley's student Lisa Warnock made the trip to compete in the Training Amateur division. If you're from Area II you're familiar with seeing Lisa's name on top of the leaderboard at events. While she didn't win, she had a great showing and is now gearing up for the Area II Adult Rider's Training 3-Day later this fall.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CONGRATS Courtney and Tag!

MLE client Courtney Cooper of C Square Farm and her homebred gelding Who's A Star (aka "Tag") have had a very successful summer season! They've been in the top 5 after dressage at their last three events, and ended up winning the Intermediate division at Waredaca in August. Tag will continue at Intermediate this fall, and is aimed for the CCI** at Fair Hill in October. Go Courtney! Go Tag!

Recently Courtney was asked to blog about her experience at Waredaca for the Professional Riders Organization. You can read those here: Saturday and Sunday.

Quick Horse Update

So a lot has happened since my last blog post. Moosetracks did his 2nd USEA Horse Trials at Waredaca. Lo and behold, the horse was awesome! I took him over to friend Julia Beamish's Mayadinya Farm on Friday for a flat and jump school in her lovely arena and it was just what he needed. I was only planning on jumping a few fences, but he was rocketing over everything like it was Preliminary height. So we just kept on jumping until it wasn't quite as exciting and called it a day. After a small mishap while lunging before dressage, he gathered himself together, and put it a solid BN test. I definitely rode quite conservatively, and my coach Kelley Williams (of A Bit Better Farm)told me to really go for it next time. Hopefully this good behavior continues, as after 2 double-clear jumping rounds, he moved from 16th to 7th in a very competitive division of 23 horses. Go Moosetracks Go!

The next Friday, owner Holly Erdely took over the reins and brought him over to a Stephen Bradley clinic I organized at Oatland Stables in Brookeville, MD. The horse did me proud and took care of Holly like a veteran. Woohoo!

Lissell is battling a nasty skin infection that's required daily (if not twice daily) attention. She's such a princess. But she's getting stronger and stronger, and more balanced with each passing day. She even voluntarily cantered out on the trail! Love this mare!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mid-summer review ...

As the summer progresses, I'm taking a moment to review all my equine charge's progress.

First up we have Moosetracks. The big appy is still going through a bit of a rough patch. His jumping keeps getting better and better, but he's decided that dressage is for the birds. *sigh* One thing I'm learning about this appy/draft-cross is that he has a stubborn streak a mile long. Lucky for Moosetracks though, my stubborn streak is 2 miles long. So after a marathon session in the wretched humidity last night, I think we have progress. He's scheduled to compete at Waredaca next weekend, and after that will probably take a break from competing to re-focus a little.

Next up is Lissell (aka Mythical, aka Pretty Princess, aka Queen B*tch). I won't get into Lissell's full history, but here's the brief version: I got her when she was 11, evented her for a few years, then she hurt herself so I leased her out as a broodmare, that went sour after a few years, and now I have her back at the age of 18). Lucky for Lissell, she's my only horse right now, so she gets to re-enter the world of the working. Lucky for me, she doesn't seem to mind and actually seems to enjoy the attention. The rest of the summer will be spent trail riding, and then we'll see what happens. To say I missed this mare is an understatement. People keep asking me how she's doing, and my standard response is "perfect."

Finally, The Ponies! Once or twice a week you'll find me at a neighbor's farm exercising their ponies. The ponies are meant to be for the family's children, but thus far the kids don't have much interest in riding (I'm hoping that will change this fall!). In any case, Pony #1 is named Swift (paint pictured). Swift was a champion games pony and I'm guessing his age to be at 30+. Naughty is his middle name, and I approach every ride with him expecting to fall off. Thus far, I haven't actually fallen, but I figure I should keep my expectations low with this one. His latest trick was flipping his tongue over the bit, resulting in the addition of a flash to his little bridle. Pony #2 is named Snowflake (grey pictured). Snowflake is 90% lovely. But she is a pony mare, so if she's having a bad day, WATCH OUT! I could go on and on about these little guys, but work is calling. More later!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Courtney Cooper on

Check out MLE Courtney Cooper on as she shares her Top 5 Tips for Selling Horses. Courtney has already sold close to 40 horses this year, and shows no signs of slowing down!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Big Steps Forward, Small Steps Back

Horses are such humbling creatures. My ride for the weekend was Holly Erdely's Maine Moose Tracks. As I said in an earlier post, I started riding Moosetracks regularly when Holly was recovering from surgery this past winter, and continue to help develop this talented big guy as he goes through a bit of the terrible teens. This horse has made huge steps forward in his training over the past few months (with the help of super trainer Kelley Williams), so I had reason to look forward to his first recognized competition this weekend.

Then comes the small step back. Any competitor can tell you that one of the biggest challenges is recreating the brilliance from home in the show environment. For whatever reason, Moosetracks didn't want to play the game yesterday. And let me tell you, when you're 5'2" and your 17.2h draft cross decides he doesn't want to play, there's only so much you can do! Thankfully I avoided taking out a few pony clubbers as I tried to settle my partially rearing and lunging beast. After my somewhat embarrassing dressage test, I came out the ring and continued working until good behavior was re-established.

Stadium was another step forward. Warm up went according to plan and he jumped quite well, although a bit green, with me taking the time to do simple changes to ensure he was balanced to the fences. Cross country started out as planned. A nice easy canter over the first few fences. I knew I needed a little extra encouragement going into the first water and promptly dropped my whip. Argh! Not what I wanted to happen at fence 5! But onto the next challenge. Moosetracks continued to jump well, but I could tell he was getting a little tired. I stayed super strong in my rides to each fence, determined to give him no excuse to do anything but jump the jumps in front of him and then let him cruise at his own speed between fences. Then we get back to the little girl on a big horse syndrome, and Moosetracks quit on me at fence 10, for reasons unknown to me and my friends watching. But he finished the course and cooled out well.

As Holly (aka super owner!) cooled out her spotted pony, I changed into my trusty purple crocs and went fishing for my whip. Some people have lucky socks ... I have my lucky whip. And I've had it since I was a pre-teen, and wasn't so happy at the idea of leaving without it. I think everyone shook their heads as I went off to search. It only took a few minutes, and a few weird looks from jump judges, and VIOLA! My beloved whip lives to see another day!

So onto the next step. More lessons, more schooling shows, more conditioning. See you all at Waredaca!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An MLE client is going to WEG!

MLE client Glenda Player of Playland Farm (Union Bridge, Maryland) was asked by the Irish Village to be a demo rider for the entirety of the World Equestrian Games.

For those of you unfamiliar with Playland Farm, they are long time breeders and in recent years have focused on Irish Sport Horses. They breed their arabian mares to Irish Draught stallions (either It's the Luck of the Irish or PL Diamond Hill). Now I know what you're thinking ... they're breeding what!? But I'm telling you that these are some of the quietest, most amateur friendly horses out there. Plus they can jump!

I've teamed Glenda up with EquiChord to do a series of vlogs in her approach to WEG. Check out this first one which introduces Glenda and the horses:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Upcoming MLE Clinics

MLE has an exciting 2 months ahead of us! Susan Graham White will be coming back for her monthly dressage clinics (July 16 and August 6) and Stephen Bradley will be coming in August for a jumping clinic (August 20).

Both clinics will be taking place at Oatland Stables in Brookeville, Maryland. I have to give a shout out to Cate Cohen, who is the barn manager at Oatlands. I'm so glad we met earlier this year and have been able to team up for these clinics.

So back to the clinics ...

We've been lucky enough to get Susan Graham White to come up on a monthly basis. For those that don't know Susan, she is an upper level dressage competitor as well as judge. Her current young horse, Huey (pictured above), is cleaning up at shows all over the east coast. Susan is based in Southern Maryland at Wolfhaven Farm. I met Susan years and years ago when she came to teach at Waredaca. What I like most about Susan is that she's willing to work with whatever horse I bring to her. From the school horses I used to snag for lessons, to young Harry right off the track. Her hands on approach really helps riders "get it." I think at some point every SGW student has walked along with her either holding your leg or hands into proper position. One thing I know is that once you ride with Susan, you love her. Our clinics are now filling in less than 12 hours. Last clinic I finally convinced a facebook friend to come out for a lesson. This clinic her barn is bringing 4 horses. Check out Susan's web site here:

This past January a local farm asked me to organize a clinic for their barn. I had recently interviewed Stephen Bradley for an article for EventingUSA and really wanted the chance to ride with him. So the logical solution was to schedule a clinic! Despite frigid temps, the clinic went wonderfully. I actually got to ride in this one, riding Moosetracks both days and Harry in a jumping lesson on the second day. Moosetracks dramatically improved and Stephen gave me some great tools on how to deal with my sometimes ornery mount. Harry is just a spectacular jumper, but I sometimes get in his way. I learned to basically sit back and enjoy the ride. Since that clinic, I've had people ask me again and again to bring Stephen back for another clinic. Originally everyone wanted to do cross-country, but I struggled to find an affordable venue. Fast forward a few months, and Cate offers Oatlands for a stadium clinic. I scheduled the date with Stephen and 6 hours later the clinic was full with a wait list. While I knew the clinic would fill quickly, I was pleasantly surprised with just how quickly it filled. Check out Stephen's web site here:

If you're in the area for any of the dates listed above, I highly recommend stopping by to audit. Susan Graham White clinics run from 11am-6:45pm and the Stephen Bradley clinic will run from 3pm-7:30pm. I make it a policy to not charge for auditing, as I want to encourage people to come out and learn. (And hopefully sign up for the next clinic!) Just e-mail me for any details!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Katie Wherley in EventingUSA

Check out MLE client Katie Wherley of Rock Solid Training in the post-Rolex issue of EventingUSA magazine!

Katie is a local upper-level event rider located in Middletown, Maryland. I was introduced to her through a mutual friend who has been taking lessons with Katie for a few years. Like many professionals, Katie has all the talent in the world, but just needs "the horse." She's come so close a few times, but horses are horses. Besides building her lesson and training business, I'm trying to find an owner or two to buy that big time horse for Katie.

The cool thing about Katie is that she takes her time. She likes to find her horses at the local race tracks and let them tell her what they want to do with their lives. Besides producing upper level eventers, Katie has also sold horses into the hunter ring for a fair bit of money. So while Katie would love to find owners that want to keep a horse in training with her, she's happy to work with people wanting to invest in a horse for re-sale.

If I had the money, I'd sponsor a horse for each of my clients. Maybe I'll find that money tree while trail riding this week. :-)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sometimes I get to ride too!

In between all the craziness involved with running MLE, I do find time to ride. As is the case with most professionals, my own horses get pushed to the bottom of the list. So we'll have to talk about them at a later time.

Now let's meet Maine Moose Tracks! He belongs to friend Holly Erdely, and he's a 17.2h Appaloosa/Belgian/Thoroughbred cross. To be more specific, Moosetracks is 1/8 Appaloosa, 1/4 Belgian and 5/8 Thoroughbred. Yup, you read that right ... someone bred this on purpose too! But in all seriousness, I ride this big guy 1-2 days a week. As Holly puts it, I'm his personal trainer. I push him to do the things he can't do and lay down the law when he tries to rebel.

I've been working with Moosetracks consistently since last November. Some key words for his training program include: obedience, suppleness, go forward, and put your f-ing head down. To say that Moosetracks has been a challenge is an understatement. Thankfully with some consistent work, he seems to have developed a bit of a work ethic, albeit a small one. But hey ... I'll take it!

This March he cracked his right hind coffin bone, but thankfully it was soooooo slight, that we didn't have to coop him up in a stall. Also thankfully I was allowed to hop on once a week for a walk work out on good footing so when we got the go ahead to go back to work, I wasn't dealing with a feral beast.

Fast forward to this past weekend, the Waredaca Starter Horse Trials. Thankfully working there has it's benefits and I was able to sneak him into a BNYR division for a dressage test. Now Moosetracks and I had just had one of our biggest blow outs earlier in the week. Needless to say, I wasn't quite sure what to expect for our dressage debut. I gave myself a solid 40 minutes to warm up, expecting him to misbehave. So imagine my surprise when he just put his head down and got to work. I had this moment of, "well shit, now what?!" but then decided to just keep him supple with short bursts of work. Moosetracks continued to surprise me by staying with me the whole time, even when he got tired. And boy did he get tired! For the first time in a long time, I actually felt a little bad for him. It was blazing hot and here he was actually trying to be good.

So in the ring we went, after about 10 minutes too long of warm up. And out we came with a respectable 37 and a broken arena board. Apparently balancing a 17.2h tired draft-cross is a bit more difficult than anticipated, and as he rolled down the slope at the canter, we almost left the arena. Luckily a sharp right spur kept us in, but left a dressage board knocked over and in pieces. Oops! I'll probably be getting harassed for that for months. Ah well. I tried getting off at the end of my test to fix it but to no avail.

So onto the next adventure. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wear a helmet kids!

So something I forgot to mention in my post about Bromont ... KUDOS to Courtney for wearing her helmet in dressage!

Helmets for dressage seem to be the topic du jour. Personally I wear a helmet every time every ride. I like my brain too much. For me, not wearing a helmet was never an option. I grew up riding at Waredaca in their lesson program where helmets are mandatory. By the time I got to the level where some would consider a helmet optional, I was teaching lessons, at which point I was expected to wear a helmet as a good example for my students. Waredaca is home to four-star eventer Gretchen Butts, and I can honestly say that I don't think I've ever seen her without a helmet.

For a brief period I wore a hunt cap for dressage at competitions, mostly because I thought it was a sign of maturity. I was 18, riding a good horse, and kicking butt (at least I thought I was). I even fell off a clients horse in dressage warm up one time when the jackass exploded into a bucking fit culminating in the classic drop his shoulder and spin move. I didn't land on my head though, so I figured I was still good. Then I was hacking out my old reliable I'll-do-anything-with mare (with a helmet on), we were just meandering around at the walk and BOOM! next thing I know I'm being lawn-darted across the turf field. My only guess was that a horse fly landed on her or a bee stung her. I didn't land on my head this time either, but was limping for days after. So from there on out, I figured if I could fall off my lovely mare at the walk, I should probably wear a helmet.

But back to Courtney. I've known Courtney for a few years now, mostly only seeing her at shows where she sported a hunt cap for dressage. Then I saw her at Waredaca a few weeks ago, and she had her Charles Owen GR8 on for dressage. I asked her about it, and she said, "Well I figured that I always wear a helmet at home, so I should probably wear it at shows." Pretty simple logic there!

Allison Springer has made a helmet pledge and even wore a helmet in dressage at Rolex. I remember seeing her trot in and thinking, "You go girl!" Then comes Bromont in Canada, when two riders (Courtney and Sarah Cousins) wore helmets in dressage. As John on EventingNation pointed out, that's one more than Rolex.

Monday, June 14, 2010


While I have very little to do with how well my clients ride (all of them can ride circles around me!), I still find a lot of pride in their achievements. This past week Courtney Cooper and Jenn Simmons headed up to Bromont with a pair of horses each. And they totally rocked it!

Courtney started off by placing 3rd and 5th after dressage in the CCI** with Havasu Canyon and Who's A Star (aka Tag) respectively. Havasu is a complete showman, so this wasn't a huge surprise to me. But I think we were all pleasantly pleased with "Baby Tag" stepping up to the plate at the young age of 7. I met Tag two years ago, and I can't even begin to describe how much this horse has grown up. For those of you that don't know, Tag is the first of Courtney's homebreds. And the crazy part is that Courtney has 5 more homebreds waiting in the wings! By the end of the weekend, Havasu added a little time and 1 rail to finish 7th. Tag had a green moment on cross-country to drop out of the ribbons, but you know what ... the horse is 7 ... he's allowed a green moment here and there!

Jenn took JB's Star in the CCI*** and Millenium Kiwi in the CCI*. Every time I see JB, I'm still amazed that Jenn found him in a field in Middleburg because his owner had abandoned him. I joke that I'm going to start scouring the fields of Middleburg looking for my Advanced horse. ;-) This is JB's first season at Advanced, and he's just eating it up. He ended the weekend in 9th at his first CCI***. Not too shabby! And then there's Kiwi ... the preliminary prodigy. He's competed at practically every Prelim on the east coast, and just keeps showing his worth, this time placing 7th in the CCI*. Kiwi is for sale. Someone better snatch him up quick before he moves up to Intermediate and costs more.

Ok, enough for today. I have 23 e-mails to answer!

First blog

Hi Everyone!

I've decided after creating blogs for all of my clients, that it was about time I created one for myself and Mythic Landing Events. You'll be able to check here for all the latest happenings with MLE and our clients.

I'm hoping this will be a place for me to showcase not only the achievements of MLE, but the achievements of MLE clients and friends.

Stay tuned ...