Monday, July 13, 2015

Cheshire Hunt Campers Relish In A Day with Bruce Davidson!

Last week, Bruce treated the kids from Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds to a extraordinary morning at Chesterland!  After Thursday morning out walking hounds, the campers trotted across the street to Chesterland where they learned from an eventing icon, who happens to take a great deal of pleasure from teaching our next generation of eventers, fox hunters and race jockeys!

Sanna with Bruce, Susie and Campers

The week long Cheshire Hunt Camp held a bit of a different format this year, which was a huge success.  Organized by one of the joint hunt Masters, Sanna Neilson Hendricks lined up an action packed week that included 7 am hound walking, followed by days training with the Unionville area's experts in Fox Hunting, Eventing, Horse Showing and Steeple Chasing.

Cheshire Hunt Campers at Chesterland!
On Thursday at Bruce's there was a full house of kids on ponies, with parents, hunt staff and BDE clients as spectators who wanted to take in the great experience of watching Bruce teach young riders of every level.  The kids were divided into groups by either kid or pony experience….and each group had their first introduction to the Normandy Bank learning proper position riding a drop!  All of the kids followed in line over various jumps and those who were brave and game even jumping the infamous 3 railer log, which stood taller and wider than some of the ponies!

Bruce Watching Over Scarlett Davies

Thanks to Laura Fazio for this great video of the Cheshire kids rocking the Infamous Log!

Nina McKenna

My favorite quote of the day from Bruce came after one of the young jockeys popped out of the tack after a jump.

Nina McKenna immediately sprang up to go chase down her pony and Bruce noted, "Did you see her, she didn't wait for someone else to go get her pony, she jumped right up herself.  This is why I wanted my kids to ride…so they could learn in life you get up, dust yourself off, and get back at it!"

Kendal Thomas
I interviewed my daughter Kendal Thomas who summarized her experience perfectly, "He pushed our limits but it was amazing because it gave me such confidence afterwards!"

All of the kids had such a positive experience and if you note in the pictures with Bruce, he is grinning like a cheshire cat  throughout the morning.  It was an honor and a thrill for the kids, parents and hunt staff to spend the morning at Chesterland.

Now to make readers green with envy, here's a sample of the camp schedule that Sanna arranged for the week:

Tuesday -  7am Hound Walking followed up by XC schooling with Cheshire Hunt's Ivan Dowling, Steph Boyer and Paddy Neilson at Laurel Hill Farm (Neilson's Hill)

Wednesday -  9am hack from kennel lawn to Janice and Vince Dugan's for show jumping

Thursday - 7am hound walking followed by
Instruction by Bruce Davidson at Chesterland!

Friday -  9am Instruction over Hurdles at Sanna's - Lead by Paddy Young

Saturday - 7am Hound walking followed by a mock Hunter Trial over the Cheshire course followed by pony mounted games in the arena at Plantation Field!

Each day the kids spent the afternoon swimming either at joint Master Ann Moran's pool or tearing up the zip line at Rush and Phoebe Fisher's.  The kids even got to swim their ponies at Sanna's pond……experience that many of the Mom's relished when they were kids growing up in Unionville!

The week of festivities was capped off by a party Saturday night at Sanna's farm where hunt staff, kids, instructors and parents all celebrated a week that will be engrained into our memories for a lifetime.

Work to Ride's Marisol (9 years old) Rocking the Log!
There were so many pictures that I couldn't possibly get them into this post… please check out all the kids and their photos on Facebook!

Here's a link to the full Facebook photo album from Chesterland. 
Photos courtesy of Lisa Thomas, Mid-Atlantic Equestrian Services
Do not reproduce without permission.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Jam & Rolex Foals (by Keltic Lion) Arrive at Chesterland!

Exciting week at Chesterland as both Jam and Rolex have foaled two beautiful fillies by Keltic Lion!  These two are destined for greatness with athleticism and talent on the dam and sire side.

Jam and her Filly by Keltic Lion

Jam's Filly

Rolex's Filly by Keltic Lion

What a face!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sales Horses with World Class Breeding Lines at Chesterland!

Chesterland has several beautiful Keltic Lion offspring for sale…….yearlings through active competitors.  All of these young horses have his bone, confirmation and athletic capabilities to be top show horses in a variety of disciplines.

Keltic Lion, aka "Charlie, is by Lux Z out of a Karigal Lion dam and has been matched with mares who have produced youngsters with the athleticism for excelling at eventing or pure show jumping and the movement and form over fences for the hunter ring.

We are going to plan an open house at the farm in the near future, but in the mean time please call Susie directly to set up an appointment to see the young stock or any of the other horses who are currently under saddle and competing.

Bruce has unfortunately broken his hip, so the decision has been made to offer both Happy Days (The Fonz) and Splendid for sale as well.


2009, 16.3H Gelding by Keltic Lion
Out of a Comic Bid/Spectacular Bid Dam line
Competed through Prelim with Bruce Davidson

2010 16.1+ Gelding
By Keltic Lion out of Our Staple
Competed through Novice level with Bruce Davidson


Picture Perfect - 2010 Mare
(Keltic Lion x Comic Bid by Spectacular Bid)

Cleo - 2011 Filly
(Keltic Lion x In the Beat by Pleasant Tap)

Jelly - 2012 Filly
(Keltic Lion x Jam)

Jubilation - 2013 Filly
(Keltic Lion x Tears of a Loss- Irish TB - Dam of Petit Flower)

Jersey Girl - 2013 Filly
(Keltic Lion x My Testarosa TB by Black Tie Affair)

Tinkerbelle - 2013 Filly 
(Keltic Lion x Roll-X by Amber's Lust (tb) sire of Petite Flower)

Jif - 2013 Gelding (Keltic Lion x Jam)

Photos by Lisa Thomas and Susie Tuckerman

Monday, April 20, 2015

Listen To Your Horse (Clockit Presentation by KER)!

It's that time of year, the lead up to Rolex!!  Please join our sponsor, Kentucky Equine Research, as they unveil their findings on equine fitness with a free seminar on equine fitness tracking.

Dr. Joe Pagan, president of Kentucky Equine Research, will present findings from a study that tracked the training programs of dozens of three-day event horses and racehorses. This seminar is sure to be useful to anyone with an interest in training of any type of sport horse or racehorse.

Join KER!
Tuesday, April 21
Fasig-Tipton, Lexington, Ky.
5 p.m.

Open to the public. Pre-register at right to receive a gift bag, complimentary drinks, and be entered to win prizes such as:

Equine heart rate monitor
Free lessons and clinics with KER-affiliated equestrians (Bruce)!!
KERx products

The event is open to the public and walk-ins are welcome. A lesson with Bruce will be among the door prizes. More event info and to sign up:

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Living the Amateur's Dream - A Report On Training With Bruce Davidson at Chesterland!

For some, the concept of training with the great Bruce Davidson may seem a bit daunting.  But for those who are part of the team at Chesterland, we know the truth about training with such a legendary horseman and accomplished Olympian.  Bruce cares deeply about his horses, his breeding program and his clients, and is eager to pass his knowledge onto others.

Laura Fazio, who came to ride with Bruce last winter season in Ocala, eagerly agreed to share her story of training with Bruce over the past year.  Laura is an amateur rider who has juggled a demanding career in the NYC financial market, but this year she decided to focus on her equestrian pursuits.  We are so thankful to her for her insights into riding with Bruce!

Here is her story.........................................

It should be incredibly intimidating to ride with the legendary Bruce Davidson Sr.;  the Olympic medals, unparalleled wins at ROLEX and the other global 4 star events are truly remarkable........ But the experience of training with Bruce is just the opposite.    This is my story:

Bruce is relaxed and chatty, sitting on one of his absolutely perfectly mannered Charlie babies, recounting names and tales from past Badminton or Burghley events.  He always has a story or quip from other legends one only reads about, but he is always getting to the heart of understanding dressage, jumping or general horsemanship question at hand.  If you have the heart for it, you will achieve more in your riding than you ever dreamed.
Bruce on homebred Moses while instructing Laura, on Bunny.
Photo Nora Battig
Training with Bruce is about filling in the gaps of your equestrian education,  and for me it's about living out a dream that started many years ago as a child.   Watching the equestrian segment of the Olympics I marveled at the abilities of these athletes (both horse and rider) and their ability to jump unprecedented heights in perfect form.

It's been a long time coming, with the usual travails of work and family superseding my equestrian passion. I spent a few years as a weekend foxhunter and then began eventing at the lower levels 10 years ago.  It's hard to make too much progress riding just weekends but I managed to get the basics down with a local trainer.  Last year the stars aligned and I came to Chesterland South with two of my horses, Bunny, a well bred Irish Sport Horse, and Howie,  my newly purchased American Warmblood.  

Profile of Bruce and Howie!

Bruce on Howie at Ocala I
Photo Credits Palmer Photo

My checklist of things to improve and concerns about my riding technique was endless, and Bruce listened patiently.   Day by day, my riding and confidence changed as I began to truly understand how to get the best out of myself and my horses.  I had desperately wanted a formula for success, which I could quickly memorize and execute, but Bruce showed me that each ride needed to be custom tailored.  He taught me how to listen to my horse and ride each one to the best of their individual capabilities.  How many people also get to have Bruce Davidson "tune up" their horses?

Moving up to Preliminary had always been my dream, as to me it signified a higher level of competition where one could became a rider with a capital "R"!  I moved up to prelim late last season in area 2 and managed to complete 2 events.  For the 2015 season I'm focused on going clear in prelim here in Florida,  shooting for the Ocala HT 1* in April with my mare Bunny.  Competing in a 1* is a dream I thought unattainable until now. 

Laura Competing Bunny at Prelim

I've also checked off another bucket list item by breeding my kind, forgiving and super talented mare, Bunny, to Bruce's perfect stallion Keltic Lion (aka Charlie).   If you ever have the opportunity to come visit at Chesterland to see Charlie's amazing crop of foals, you will be impressed.  All of his offspring throw Charlie's lovely temperament, bone size and athletic ability.  The babies are very engaging and love to entertain visitors who take the tour of the farm.

Charlie Babies!
Photo Credit Lisa Thomas
Bunny managed to take on the first try when we bred her in May (which I'm told is quite amazing!) and we are now awaiting the birth of the foal out of a surrogate mare, Princess Julia.  Jan Smith, who oversees Chesterland's breeding activities, is closely watching Princess Julia up north. 

The colt will be born around Easter and I can't wait for "Keltic Pride" to come into the world.   I know he is going to be special, perhaps a Rolex horse for me?   I know this sounds improbable,  but since Bruce has helped me realize all my other dreams in 2014,  my future goals do not seem out of the question!

I'm confident that with Bruce bringing along my colt,  he will be as mannerly and talented as all the Charlie babies he's produced to date.  ~  Laura Fazio