Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Adult Rider Southern California Clinic Announced


Spring Adult Clinic and Event Derby®

March 20 and 21, 2010

Kingsway Farm, Temecula, CA

Cross Country Clinician: Jonathan Elliot (pictured above)

Jonathan Elliott enjoyed a wonderful partnership with Aspen with whom he finished 4th at Rolex Kentucky CCI*** in 1998. On Kilcoltrim he completed Burghley CCI**** in England as well as Rolex Kentucky CCI****.
Dressage: Jean Moyer
Jean in an internationally known eventing coach. She is a Level III coach for Canada, she holds a BHSI from England, and is a graduate A pony clubber. For 12 years she coached and won many medals for the Young Riders. She clinics throughout the US, Canada and Europe. Jean is known for her keen eye and understanding of both horse and rider.
Cost of Two Day Clinic: $235

Includes one clinic on Saturday with Jonathan or Jean, stabling and grounds fees for one day/night, and a full event derby® registration on Sunday (dressage test and jumping round at one level, from intro-advanced). Sign up beginning February 2nd at Also, any horses that are entered in the ELITE EVENT HORSE AUCTION (presentation of horses on Thurs., 3/25 at Galway Downs) will receive free entries into the Event Derby®, 3/21, as a way to better show off their horse. More info, contact: or 877.625.0209. Please contact your adult rider representative, Dawn Robbins, at, for info.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Adult Rider Profile - Fiona Graham and Isengart!

If you are a regular on the California eventing circuit, you may have already met or watched Fiona Graham.  Fiona and her young horse have been performing very well in 2009 - here's a little more information
about this impressive pair:

Fiona has been riding Isengart for two years and bought him from Darren Chiacchia when Isengart was a 4 year old. Isengart is a Trakehner gelding and is now 6. While excelling in dressage and cross country, Fiona has been working this year to improve her show jumping and was very excited to finish on her dressage score at the Training 3 Day at Galway. Fiona fully supports the long format and thinks every rider should aim to ride in a long format event at least once in their career. In 2010, Fiona's goal with Isengart is to compete at prelim and complete the long format 1 star at Galway. Fiona is a senior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and is graduating in December 2009 with a degree in Kinesiology. At the beginning of next year Fiona plans to go to China to teach English for a few months.

Congratulations to Fiona and Isengart for winning the Training 3 Day!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Good Dose of Failure

For everyone who watched, rode or supported the Training 3 Day at Galway last weekend, I’m sure you agree that it was a truly remarkable experience. Many of the riders had never competed in a “classic” before, many were obviously concerned and nervous, some made mistakes. But, I was impressed with my peers – the adult riders willing to try something new, to move out of their comfort zones and to experience something difficult. This is hard to do, especially when you know failure could be right around the corner. And, in our sport, failure can be rather public…

My personal experience with failure happened in the second Intermediate ride of my career, in the form of a fall on cross-country. Not really a big dramatic wild fall, just sort of a stupid leaning topple. Blast. And that’s not really what I said…but you get the idea. As my trainer said, minutes later, “You can beat yourself up on the way to the barn, but then it’s over, ok?” So, it’s over. But, lingering in my mind is a persistent question: Why, when I have so many means of being successful and gaining recognition for my success (such as career, home life, other hobbies), do I choose to participate in a sport in which I experience such obvious public failures, humiliation even?

Maybe the weekend experience on my other horse holds the answer. My younger horse and I did pretty well in the placings, but what we really liked was his newly developed abilities to stay balanced over most of the fences. This balance has been difficult to develop, slowly improving as he has become stronger and a bit wiser. While not so public, this success was extremely important to me, and I came away from the show with a huge sense of accomplishment.

My husband, Mark, says it best: “Nothing like a good dose of failure”. He recently took up acting, you see, and he is regularly turned down for parts. He sees these rejections as a rebalancing of life, and it’s educational, important and cause for introspection. Hmmm. Could it be that experiencing public failure is the best way to understand our limits and to improve? After all, there is nothing better to make you keenly aware of a poor jump position than a fall, right?

Maybe, as adult riders, we have all experienced a certain amount of success in our lives. After all, this sport is expensive, so we must have accomplished some sort of career or other goals to afford the time and cost. We all enjoy the feeling of public success, of course, but perhaps it’s not the most important aspect of this activity. Maybe the possibility of public failure is important to us…providing a sort of overall balance in our lives. Meanwhile, our faults are presented in the most obvious way, so that we can figure things out and improve.

My congratulations go to all adult riders in the Galway Event and especially to those in the Training 3 Day. You rocked it! And some of us had our regular dose of failure…but those first few jumps were the best of my life!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What do you want to do in 2010?

Hi again adult riders,

First, I'd like to thank all of the adult riders and others who have taken the time to speak to me, provide me with ideas for the adult rider program, and offer support in various ways. It is really encouraging to know that there's so much interest and enthusiasm in the adult rider program.

Second, thanks for getting involved at Woodside!!! We had a fun party and lots of hula hoopers, an activity which I really need help with. I plan to practice in 2010....the young riders are tough, maybe because their hips still move.

Third, Vicky, Dayna and I have put together a list of activities and a budget for 2010. Here's what we're thinking:

1. Clinics - to include instruction/seminars in dressage, stadium and cross-country, rider and horse preparation, fitness and related topics

Area Six Annual Meeting and Clinics, January 2010

Northern California, Spring 2010

Southern California, Spring 2010

2. Adult Camp - more instruction and coaching, as well as wine tasting and relaxing a bit

Combine with Young Rider Camp, July 2010 (Twin Rivers, I believe)

3. Adult Rider Hats/Shirts - more slogan ideas needed!

4. Adult Championships at Copper Meadows in 2010 - Copper Meadows is the site for all Championships in 2010, so this is a great venue for our new 'Adult Championships'

Awards and Prizes for adult high scores in each division, plus teams.
Adult Sportsmanship Award nominated by other adult riders.

5. Adult Reception at Galway Training 3 Day, November 2010

Adult rider turnout awards, Adult rider team awards
Seminar and Adult rider reception

As before, I would really like your comments on these ideas!! Do you have certain clinicians you'd like to see or topics for seminars at some of the shows? How about awards or even the type of prize? Don't be shy! Please include a comment on this blog (click on 'comments' below), or send me an email at

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Welcome Adult Riders!!

Adult Riders Rock, that's the theme of this blog. As the new Area VI Adult Rider rep, I thought I'd start by setting up a site that we could use to share some news, post some ideas, complain about stuff, celebrate our accomplishments, and have some fun.

I'd love to have your input about how to improve the adult riding experience in Area VI. I'm thinking:

Parties at the Shows


Adult Camps

Hats or T-shirts

More Prizes for Area VI Adult Riders (how about end of year awards just for adults?)

More Recognition for Adult Riders of all levels!!!

When is the last time you were at a show, waiting for a ribbon (or watching everyone else pick up their ribbon), and you had to sit through tons of young riders awards? Nothing against young riders, OF COURSE, but yeesh. As adults, we have to work, pay for our horses and training, take care of our kids (and our husbands/wives who are acting like kids), do all the barn work, drive to and from the show, and try to be so darn "adult" about the whole thing. I mean, no whining, no screaming, no crying, no shrieking "I want a new horse" to mommy after getting eliminated, and no cool prize at the end. Are you kidding??? We need serious recognition and we need it NOW.

Another note - I've been involved in the eventing world for six or seven years now. I still remember nervously riding down to my first beginner novice dressage test at Galway. It was overwhelming. A young woman rode up next to me and started a conversation - I must have looked like I was about to puke. She was very nice and very supportive and I relaxed and smiled. Then she rode away...later I found out she was India McEvoy, now an Advanced rider. We all need to remember how important it is to support our fellow adult riders, especially if they are just starting out! Lend a helping hand, or just smile and tell someone how great they look. They will remember and it will make a difference.

So, I want to figure out how to improve our experience...and I need your input. Post a comment! Tell us your ideas! Send me an article! Let me know what you've been up to, and I'll post it for all to see! Send pics! Come on adult riders, get involved!

Can't wait to hear from you,

Dawn Robbins
Your Cheerleader
Area VI Adult Rider Rep

Comments Heard at the Adult Rider "Out Gate"

Have you ever noticed that as an adult rider, you often hear and experience certain, well, "opinions" expressed about your riding in a manner that seems quite different than what you hear around the younger riders in our sport? Why is that? Maybe because our trainers, helpers, grooms, significant others, etc. know how to communicate in our unique adult world? Is this what makes us adult riders? Or is it something else?

Here are a few examples that I thought I'd share...they make my experience as an adult rider truly meaningful...

After show jumping at Copper Meadows one time, spoken respectfully but somewhat forcefully:
"I wonder if you would mind pulling your head out of your "a__" for a minute so that I can speak to it..."

After getting eliminated in Beginner Novice at Galway Downs in show jumping a while back:
"Wow, you can ride a stop better than anyone!"

During a recent lesson, spoken somewhat sarcastically, if I recall correctly,
"Did you even think about balancing your horse during that course?"

This next one requires picturing a rather diminutive trainer standing about 6 inches in front of my 16.2 horse. Said trainer begins yelling, (horse's ears are perked forward in surprise at loudness of small humanoid) "You f-ing horse! That was clearly a five stride line! You get the best f-ing care in the world! You get the best f-ing food a horse could get! I think you can go out there and put in five strides!! Now DO IT RIGHT!!!" (By the way, we got it right next time).

And, during a clinic last weekend, after I jumped a big table on a downhill, blew by the clinician at about 650mpm and eventually stopped - I couldn't go any further because we would have smashed into a fence:
Clinician - "When I said halt after the table, I really meant somewhere around me so that we could continue this lesson..."

Anyone have an insight or experiences of your own that you'd like to share? Post a comment or send in your own unique adult rider story!!

CA Adult Rider Story - Lisa Mehner

This story was originally posted on the USEA Blog by Emily Daily I know Lisa, and she is truly inspirational, just like many of you adult riders.

I want the opportunity to tell my story to all the mothers out there who gave up what they love to support their children’s dreams. They too can get back in the saddle and follow their own dreams. It may take longer. It may take riding before work – I would get up at 4:30 a.m., feed the horses at home and then go to my trainer’s barn for a 6:00 a.m. lesson before I went to work. And the entire time, my husband’s input would be “You’re nuts!”

(Above: Elisabeth accepts her numerous year-end awards from USEA President Kevin Baumgardner at the 2008 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention. Josh Walker photo.)

Before 2004, people knew me as “Lisa, the braider” at all my son’s events. I would braid up to 20 horses at an event to help pay for his riding and competing. It was only after Michael gave me an event entry at Galway Downs for a Mother’s Day gift, that I started riding again. For 10 years my focus had been to support Michael’s riding – I didn’t even think of riding for myself. But after that first event at Galway, I was hooked (even though I finished with a score in the 80s). I knew I could only do better.

In March 2006, my husband Mark bought me my horse Gali, a small, young thoroughbred that needed a job. I had known about him for a couple of months when my veterinarian told me that a woman bought him from the track but did not have the time to train him. He had a lot of energy and a large heart. When I took him to his first show, you could tell he liked to show off. To settle him down, I would lunge him and ride him twice before his dressage test. But the consistent training, rain or shine, and combined efforts of horse Gali, rider [me] and our trainer, Debbie Rosen, (don’t get me wrong, it was fun – fun work!) are not without a payoff. We improved, progressing individually and as a unit, until lo and behold…

It wasn’t until I looked at the USEA leaderboard on April 10, 2008 that the idea of achieving a National title even entered my head. (I didn’t even know the leaderboard existed until than then.) I was so blown away to see my name, Elisabeth Mehner, and my horse’s name, Good Day Gali, appear on in the standings, leading in both rider and horse title, that I set a new goal in my life. Even my husband, who’s not so fond of horses, caught my fever and trailer-d me to shows. He knew that there was no stopping me. As long as my body didn’t fall apart, I was going to give it my best shot.

After all is said and done, I enjoyed and continue to reap all kinds of rewards from the USEA and this sport. Everyone, the participants and officials, just couldn’t be nicer. When I went to New Orleans to receive my National title at the USEA luncheon, I randomly sat at the same table as this young lady from Tennessee, who happened to be a close competitor on the leaderboard. It turns out that last year we both consistently checked each other’s standings as we came closer to the title. It could have been a really uncomfortable situation, but we had a mutual admiration for each other. For me, the camaraderie that eventing inspires is one of its greatest attractions.
Please use my story as an inspiration to young and old: If you want to do something that seems unattainable because of your circumstances, it can be done. There is a way, just expand your perspective, imagine a way, and then see it through.

You too can jump that hurdle!
Do you have an interesting, inspirational or funny story to share with other Adult Riders? Send it to me at!