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Farewell Fernhill Fearless

This weekend, we lost one of the most incredible, lovable, and talented horses I’ve ever known. It’s with a very heavy heart I write that Sunday evening, Fernhill Fearless (or more fondly, Sparky) was laid to rest after a stable accident.

It’s difficult to find the words to express how sad and shocked I feel right now. Sparky gave me so much and I owe him far beyond what I can ever repay.

I found Sparky at a time when my confidence was very shaken and it was his fearlessness that carried us both forward. He completely changed me as a rider and horsewoman, and I will be forever grateful to him. His love of cross-country taught me to be confident and committed, while his sensitive nature showed me how to be patient and gentle. He was a true partner and teacher, with the biggest, most selfless heart.

Sparky doing what he loves most:

 

While he often left us all holding our breath as he flew around course, he was always the gentlest soul in the barn. He won over all our hearts the moment we met him and was a true joy to be around every day. I’m so thankful to have had the chance to love him, and my heart goes out to all the people whose lives he touched.

Sparky, I miss you and will always be thinking of you. Thank you.

Read more about Sparky and his many accomplishments here.

Jersey Fresh SJ

 

Nina graduates from Stanford University

Nina has graduated from Stanford with a BS in Mechanical Engineering/Product design. Here she is with Mom and freshman room mate, Maria. For the summer Nina is  working as an user experience design intern at Headspace, a meditation app company based in LA.  Check out the app please.

Mom

5 unforgettable eventing pairs from London 2012 (who didn’t win gold…)

Everyone loves an individual Olympic medallist, but others made an indelible mark at London 2012, too. While we eagerly await the stories that will arise from Rio, Paula Lester and Catherine Austen remember some of the eventers who won our hearts with their skill, flamboyance and courage in London

Italy’s Vittoria Panizzon and Borough Pennyz

After Michael Jung, this perfectly suited pair came closest to finishing on their dressage score, adding just one time-fault in the second, individual showjumping phase. Super-fit and super-nippy, the Gloucestershire-based rider and her then nine-year-old mare, bred and owned by Sally Bullen, jumped impeccably. If their dressage warm-up had gone to plan, they would have finished higher than 11th.

Belgium’s Karin Donckers and Gazelle De La Brasserie

Karin Donckers retired her consistent and long-serving 18-year-old Swiss warmblood mare after finishing 15th — the best of the Belgians — at London 2012. Their harmonious dressage tests scored highly for years — seventh here and second in the 2008 Games — and they were good showjumpers, with just one down in each round at Greenwich. But time-penalties across country once again caught them out.

Italy’s Stefano Brecciaroli and Apollo VD Wendi Kurt Hoeve

This horse’s stunning test, scoring 38.5, left them second after dressage. Could they follow up on this start and take a medal home to Italy? Sadly not. Stefano set off across country like a man possessed but they picked up time-penalties. Stefano was resigned to dropping down the order, explaining with affection: “My horse is very special, but he cannot gallop for 10 minutes. I respect him and do not want to push him. We took the direct routes and did as much as we could.”

The first Asian woman to ride in the Olympic eventing was only 20 years old. We waited with bated breath to see if Nina would finish her first Games. She did. Although down the pack in 41st, she impressed onlookers with her quiet riding.

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New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson and Nereo

Fourth is the worst place to finish — so near, yet so far. Andrew was furious to have his dressage preparation interrupted by the judges halting the competition for 10min during an electrical storm. An effortless cross-country round and one fence down in the two showjumping rounds couldn’t make up the deficit.

Rio 2016

As Rio 2016 appraoches, and Nina’s graduation from Stanford is happening this weekend,  we think back to London 2012.  Here is one permanent historic reminder of Nina’s ride at the the London 2012.

 

Not only was Nina the youngest rider, she was also the first female to ever compete at the Olympics in the sport of eventing.

Mom

Eventing World Bids Farewell to Tipperary Liadhnan

PADDY, rest in peace.

You taught me so much and helped made my Olympic dream a reality.

Nina

By  on Feb 1, 2015

We are devastated to report that Tipperary Liadhnan passed away Friday morning at 18 years of age. We were told that there are no clear signs that might suggest the cause of death, and Kim Severson confirmed that the owners are awaiting the results of a post-mortem.
“Paddy,” as he was known to his friends and fans, built up a long list of accolades throughout his career, influencing many lives along the way. Standing at 17.2 hands, the stunning grey gelding (Fast Silver x Gypsy Star, I’m a Star) was a fan-favorite, a cross-country schoolmaster and never failed to captivate his audience in the dressage ring.
“Paddy really bridged a gap for me. He showed me I was capable of competing a very different kind of horse,” Kim said. “He had such a wonderful heart and kindness that he allowed me to share with him.”
Kim produced the Irish Sport Horse gelding, bred in Ireland by T. Corbett, from Novice to the top of the sport. He spent six years at the Advanced level with three completions at Rolex Kentucky, including a fifth place finish in 2008. Paddy and Kim were short-listed for the 2008 Olympics and were named to the 2010 World Equestrian Games team.

In 2011, Paddy joined Kim’s student Nina Ligon and over the next two years provided her with valuable three-star mileage on her journey to representing Thailand in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Their notable results include second place at Poplar Place CIC3* in 2011, and a sixth-place finish at the FEI European Eventing Championships for Young Riders at the Pardubice CCI3* in the Czech Republic that same year.
As Nina prepared to enter college, Paddy returned to the States to a new owner, Louis Rogers, of Glen Allen, Virginia. He campaigned the horse at Novice and Training level through 2014.
We extend heartfelt condolences to Louis, who all too recently bid farewell to another horse, Seajack, as well as Kim, Nina and all those whose lives Paddy influenced.
“I am so sorry for Paula and Louis,” Kim said. “He was very lucky to spend his last days with them.”
We are fortunate to have incredible horses in our world who bring us so much joy. Rest peacefully, Paddy.