Saturday, August 13, 2011

Boyd and Brewster!

Recent post on Boyd's website regarding several of the Walker's new horses, including Brewster, one of Bruce's own home bred talents!  An excerpt from the blog is below & you can click here for the full story!
Brewster, owned by Katie and Cuyler Walker. Photo Copyright Amy K. Dragoo 

The second horse the Walkers purchased is Brewster, a brilliant-looking 4-year-old bred by none other than Bruce Davidson. This horse is about 1/16th Irish Sport Horse and is closely related to one of Bruce’s most famous eventers, Eagle Lion. Dave Leinhauser also got this young horse started over the winter, where Brewster got his education in the hills of Unionville, PA. Brewster has had a couple of starts this year and the horse has looked very impressive at the novice horse trials. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Catching Up with Bruce

I had a chance to chat with Bruce last night after his exciting win on Keltic Lion this past weekend at Fair Hill!  When I asked him about their weekend, he immediately went to how proud he was of David and his efforts on Looks Sweet and their 2nd place finish in the Open Intermediate!

Charlie (Keltic Lion) was just fantastic, and even with a small mistake in the dressage, and a XC round which he didn't press for time, he still came out on top.  He is such an impressive and well mannered stallion who is a total gentleman in the barn and a real contender for the future!  Bruce was also quite pleased with Here's Lola who was 4th,  with Bruce taking all the blame for the rail down & break in the dressage.  In addition, HRH Patricia, who was sold to Emily Beshear's barn, was 3rd on the weekend at FH & also at Loch Moy at the Training Level!   See Fair Hill Full Results
Up next they will go off to Richland with both Prelim horses (Charlie & Lola), and David will take his young horse Look at Me in the Prelim as well.  Looks Sweet will move up to Advanced after such a successful weekend at Fair Hill.  Plantation will be on the docket for mid September and then it's back to Fair Hill International in the beginning of the fall.

The Eventing Issue of the Chronicle also gave the Chesterland crew their fair shake of the media.  On page 24 there is a full 4 page spread titled "Bruce Davidson's Chesterland - BehindBarnDoors".   If you are a magazine subscriber, you will be able to access the online magazine here, with your login & password!  Many thanks to our friend Amy Dragoo for the amazing pictorial spread on the farm!!  

There is also a wonderful 5 page article (page 38) on David's Mom, Vicky Koss, and her "Horse of a Lifetime: Goldmill" with a full page picture of the pair riding at Badminton, plus a great galloping shot of Goldmill and David during their partnership which helped teach David the ropes of eventing at the age of 17.   David's quoted as saying, "I don't know that I would have started riding if it wasn't for Barney.  But he was so great to ride cross-country, and we had so much fun".  David rode Barney at his first 3 day event & even was able to experience the long format back in 2004.  Barney really gave the Koss family his heart until he was euthanized at the age of 19 back in 2006.
It does seem that David has become a solid fixture at Chesterland, and the plans are for David to stay on to spend the winter down in Ocala, and to help bring along the now 7 headcount of coming 4 year olds, 2 of which belong to Vicky Koss.  Looks like Bruce and David are going to have a busy winter!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Five Minutes With Bruce “The Bird Man” Davidson

Peacocks have free range at Bruce Davidson's Chesterland farm.
When Amy Dragoo, one of our most reliable freelance photographers, sent in her selections for our Behind Barn Doors at Bruce Davidson’s Chesterland (see Aug. 8 Eventing Issue, p. 24), we weren’t surprised by most of what we saw.
There were the rolling, green hills of Chester County, Pa. There were the classic red-and-white Dutch doors on his barn, the old black-and-white photos of famous mounts from decades gone by hanging in his office. There were all the horses and dogs and chickens and peacocks and parrots we’d expected...
Wait, what? Bruce Davidson has… birds in his barn?
“Oh yes, I’ve always loved birds,” he said matter-of-factly when I called him to make sure that neither my eyes nor Amy’s Photoshopping skills were deceiving me. “I’ve always had them around the farm.”
In fact, chickens and roosters have been commonplace in Davidson’s life since childhood. He grew up in Westport, Mass., right down the road from Adamsville, R.I., where the Rhode Island Red chicken breed was established, so they’ve always had a place at his farm.
“I love brown eggs, and they’re pets,” he said. “The horses like them and like having them around. It’s amazing to see how many of the little roosters and bantams attach to a horse and really become that horse’s friend. They’ll even learn to rest on that horse’s back. JJ Babu [who carried Davidson to the 1983 Rolex Kentucky CCI*** title and a team gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games] had a little rooster forever that went everywhere with him, and he loved it.”
But chickens are far from being Chesterland’s only feathered residents. Davidson also has two peacocks that run free on the farm and a yellow nape Amazon parrot named Lolita who lives in his tack room. At one time he had 27 different varieties of fowl, including golden pheasants.
But bird ownership isn’t all fun and games. With Chester County’s fox population plenty healthy, bird snatching is a common problem. Davidson said the intruders are bold enough to come right into the stable and steal a snack if he’s not careful. And what of the winter months?
“We have chickens in Florida, so each year a couple of them come down with us, and each year a few come back with us,” said Davidson, who spends the coldest months in Ocala. “They just go in the horse trailer with the horses, and everyone’s happy.”

If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more like it, consider subscribing. "Five Minutes With Bruce 'The Bird Man' Davidson" ran in the Aug. 8, 2011 issue. Check out thetable of contents to see what great stories are in the magazine this week.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rock on Rose!

We've been in contact with Lusty's new owner, Whitney Weston, to get an update on Lusty and their new partnership.  They had a great run at Rebecca Farm and I've made a slideshow of some of her photos, as well as attached a great interview by our friends at Eventing Nation.  This pair clearly has a great future together!

Rock on Rock on Rose!

I think taking on a four star ride from a top level rider must be one of the hardest things to do in eventing, so I was interested to see Rock on Rose go this afternoon when I saw her name in the programme in the intermediate division.  When I spoke to Bruce Davidson about a month ago, he'd mentioned how well Lusty was doing, but hadn't gone into any further detail. Happily, it seems Lusty has certainly landed on her feet with a new owner, Whitney, who couldn't possibly love her any more. They posted a lovely clear around the intermediate track this afternoon here at Rebecca Farm to add just six time penalties to their dressage score, and Whitney kindly talked to me after her ride. 

iPhone Gallery

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Working Vacation!

I've always said that I have the best job on the planet.  I have fabulous equestrian clients & access to involvement with the top riders in the why wouldn't I love my work!

I came down to Unionville on Monday with my horse and kids in order to ride, catch up with clients & to see my family.  I had an impromptu lesson with Bruce, which was such a thrill and positive experience.  I'm not sure who was more winded, Rhythm or myself!  I would  encourage any amateur, who would be otherwise intimidated by riding with the great Bruce Davidson, to come ride with him because he is so encouraging & approachable.  He certainly put up with all my mistakes!

I think the highlight of my 2 days was riding cross country with Susie and her new horse Tuf.  I grew up riding across this countryside & rarely find the time to treat myself to the all that scenery!  Susie's new quarter horse has a real purpose in the barn, and earned his keep when he led my stubborn pony into the pond!  It's so great seeing her back in the tack.

I think Rhythm and the kids found a new love in the mighty 9h Sweetums, who's in many of these pictures.  The whole crew at the barn, including working students David and Rachel, are such hard workers & have such a great upbeat attitude.  I'm so thankful for all their help over the past few days & as Susie so perfectly put it, "We have a lot of fun around here"!

Thank you everyone!  LT

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bruce Davidson - Still Going Strong, part 2


We continue the second and final part of our interview with Bruce Davidson today.  Click here for part 1.  We resume the conversation as Bruce talks about Buck, his legacy, and the future.

So what advice did Bruce give his son before he left for Badminton this spring, where incidentally he finished 21st after a clear round cross country, and the best of the North American contingent,

"I didn't have to say a thing! I said, 'Good Luck, and, Show 'em how to do it!' He knows I have all the faith in the world in him, and he's been there since he was a kid. I can remember the English saying to me when Nancy (Buck's sister ) was about four, and Buck was about five, 'Bruce, exactly what do you expect them to get out of this experience?',  because you know the English children should be seen and not heard (!), and in that case probably not even seen!  

"Here I was at Badminton with my two little kids in the owners' tent and the riders' tent, and Buck telling everybody whether they were hitting the right spot or not at the first fence! As we walked the course I'll never forget him saying, 'Well, Dad, Harry could jump this one!' and there we go, so let's go and look at the second one then, and by the time we'd got round he'd decided he probably could have jumped about three of the ones that were at Badminton that year. They came home and they built a Vicarage Vee and a Normandy Bank and things like that in our back yard so that he and his sister could race around on foot and practice jumping, and when they got ponies they could do it, and there he is, now he's doing it, and I expected him to do it. He's a good guy, he's a good athlete, a good horseman, a good competitor. I couldn't be prouder, he's an exemplary young man and a very kind person."

Buck of course progressed from jumping on foot at home, to representing the US last year on home ground at the WEG in Kentucky. I asked Bruce if, looking back, team medals or for example, a Badminton or Burghley title, gave him more satisfaction.........FULL ARTICLE

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bruce Davidson - Still Going Strong, part 1 on Eventing Nation!

Many thanks to Samantha and our friends at EN for this great article!

Bruce Davidson - Still Going Strong, part 1


You could be forgiven for thinking that Bruce Davidson had perhaps finally settled into a comfy chair to enjoy watching his son, Buck carry the torch in those famous red and yellow colours; after all with a fistful of medals from every major Championship in almost each colour, a Badminton & Burghley win to his credit, having been a mainstay on the US leading rider list for many years, and now a member of the US Eventing Hall of Fame there wouldn't seem to be much left to achieve. You would be forgiven, but you would be wrong! I made just this mistake and Bruce very kindly described to me exactly how busy he is, what excites him these days, and why we most definitely shouldn't discount seeing him back at the very top of the game again. I'm incredibly honoured and grateful to Bruce for his time, and also completely bowled over by his utter lack of ego, willingness to talk, love of the game and, above all else, of course - the horse.

"I have some nice, young horses, and I've been doing some low-level things with them - training and preliminary. They're pretty fancy horses so I'm not pounding on them but they'll come out in July and do a couple more preliminaries, and then I'll step them up at the end of the summer. That's my stallion, Keltic Lion, and I have a very, very nice grey mare called Here's Lola, and I ride a mare for Sophie Dupont called Expensive Playmate. I have those three, and that's all I'm doing with them, and then I have any number of young horses on the farm that I play with."

There's a common thread or two that run along the breeding lines of all the horses in Bruce's programme, lines that hark back to Eagle Lion and JJ Babu, but the threads tend to weave and  tangle together; I tried to keep them straight in my head as Bruce talked to me, but in the end all that matters is that Bruce is breeding some jolly nice horses,

"Keltic Lion is out of a sister to Eagle Lion and he's by Lux Z, the german show-jumper.  Patricia Nicholson bred him in Ireland and he's out of that great family. We thought it would be great to put the mare to the German horse once, and Keltic Lion could also be a pure show-jumper, he could do that as well but he has enough blood in him and he has enough gallop that I don't think that eventing would be an issue either. He's a six year old and I'm having a great time with him; he has a great temperament, he's good on the flat, he's a great jumper, he's very much an Eagle Lion type horse, he's just a really, really nice horse. I suppose he might be my reason to come back and do another four star, he's that good of a horse, and he's pretty straightforward, so as long as I don't fall off too much he's my big white hope!"


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Update from Bruce!

I had a great chat with Bruce today regarding the past month's adventures at Chesterland South. We talked about the fun PRO Derby Cross event held down in Wellington March 5, 2011 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Rocking Horse and the plans for this season.

Bruce rode Petite Flower in this team competition which consisted of riders from the disciplines of Eventing, Show Jumping and Polo! The course was a combination of show jumping and XC questions, where speed, time, and a clean round qualified the rider to jump the final optional fence for 4 bonus points off their time. Buck, Will Faudree (fastest round of the day), Aaron Vale & the team polo player, Kris Kampsen rounded out this winning team. This was a great outing & with the inclusion of other disciplines really created some great camaraderie within horse sports, and their TEAM FARMVET/CAVALOR won!!

Rocking Horse Wrap Up
All of the young horses have benefited from their time down in Florida and are exceeding Bruce's expectation. Here’s Lolo, a big fancy grey mare, who's a beautiful mover and exceptional jumper,
went training again and has gotten a ribbon every time.

Expensive Playmate (chestnut mare pictured) also continues to impress with a win the last time out, but had a bit of bad luck 3 or 4 fences from home when her bridle snapped, and since they were riding in a gag Bruce was left with one reign and had to pull up. She jumping into the sunken road, glanced off the narrow and then Bruce was able to circle her so they could stop. A bit of a hair raising moment, but both horse and rider pulled up without incident.

Bruce was also proud of student David Koss won the Intermediate on Sweet Thing! David's running in the CIC 3* this weekend at the Fork then will head to Jersey Fresh in May. This will be their first attempt at the 3* level, but Bruce has confidence in their abilities and is also looking forward to David's trip back to Unionville where he will stay for the season.

Keltic Lion continues to impress everyone in the barn with his ultimate disposition, calm intelligence (he ships to the events with 3 mares), great work ethic and competitive talent!! He topped the Prelim division at Rocking Horse his second time out at this level, and the plan it to move him up to Intermediate in the Fall.

This special stallion has the makings of an international event horse and is gaining the attention of several owners, including Absolute Liberty's owner Sharon Will who bred and raised this talented mare. Buck has been riding her for Sharon who recently decided to breed Liberty to Keltic Lion through a surrogate. Breeding and producing top international sport horses has been a lifelong achievement at Chesterland Farm, and Bruce is happy to see that most people are now realizing that you've got to produce your next upper level prospect from the ground up!

Enjoy Susie's photos from Derby Cross and Rocking Horse and we'll have another update shortly after The Fork!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pro DerbyCross in Wellington!!

I have to thank John Thier & Eventing Nation for taking great footage of Team Cavalor/Farmvet during their winning performance down in Wellington last night.  What great fun it must have been to have Boyd & Leslie acting as MC's, along with such a star studded cast of riders.  Next year I have to find a way to make this fun event!!

Check out this great footage of Bruce making it all look so easy.  Can't wait to catch up with Bruce & Susie at Red Hills next weekend & I plan to get some of my own footage to share on the blog!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Here's Susie's Recent Photos of the Crew!

Click here for iPhone and iPad Users!

Test for iPhone Users

Were having a problem viewing the slideshows with iPhone & iPad users.
The problem is that iPhone's cannot view flash programs.
We're going to try embedding our videos in a different way, so here goes!!
So much for the simplicity of technology!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Winter Update from Chesterland South

We had a great first run at Rocking Horse I, and all the young horses are more than outstanding this year.  We’ve brought down a whole string of exceptional horses and 5 of them are out of our own Windsor Bonnett (Sal, HRH Patricia, Dancing Queen, Spike and Queen Wannabe).
Keltic Lion went Training & was 3rd.  This was Lola’s first event & I knocked a poll in show jumping which bumped us down to 5th when we were in contention for the blue. HRH Patricia completed all 3 phases well & we had really fun weekend at Rocking Horse.
Our students & clients also had a stellar weekend!  David Koss, who is working & training with me this winter in Florida, comes to us from Sun Valley Idaho & is from a talented riding family.  His mother Vicky and I competed at Badminton a number of times together, and it’s great to have her son in our barn.  David, who is 23, rode Look Sweet at Rocking Horse & was 6th in Intermediate.  He is an aspiring young rider & this mare has done one Advanced.  This was his first competition on the east coast and he plans to go advanced at the next event, and he also has a young horse who is starting out at training level.
Of course I’m proud of Buck who cleaned up this past weekend, and congratulate Randy was second to Buck on his horse James.  Clarissa Wilmerding won the other Intermediate Division with Buck in second & Fanny Lee was 4th on Hadley Harbor.  The whole crew made an impression this weekend.
There is another new face in our barn this winter.  Joanna Dorin, who is from Ireland, is a real gem, a enthusiastic & cheerful addition to the Chesterland effort. She’s a tremendous help at the competitions as well as a big help exercising the horses back at the farm & in the early mornings at the track.  Don’t forget that we brought 6 of our young 3 year olds down to Florida this winter, and 2 of them are headed to the track.  David & Joanna are gaining the experience of working with young race horses in training at the race track by doing their morning gallops!
Enjoy the attached slideshow of photos & we will send out another update about Keltic Lion shortly.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Years From Ocala!

I had the opportunity to catch up with Bruce tonight, after he had finished a day of training down at Chesterland South, in Ocala.

Everyone has settled into the southern way of life, with a barn full of horses & top level riders.  Bruce made the decision this year to bring down his younger horses, so there are 6 two year olds & 6 of the three year olds enjoying the milder climate in Florida.  

One of Bruce's exciting young horses is a mare by the name of Here's Lola (the striking grey mare in our photo album).  Lola is out of Our Staple (out of JJ Babu’s full sister) by the NZ stallion Heroisity, one of the few TB stallions that stood at Hilltop and was approved for warmblood stud book.  Owned in partnership with their friend & client Christina Watkins,  Here's Lola remains in training with Bruce in Ocala Fl.  They plan to show her at HITS in the hunter/jumper ring this winter in preparation for the eventing season.  The grand plan is   to send her to Lyon D’Anges in France for their 2* for 6 &  7 year old event horses.  There is an in-hand portion of this event, which adds an interesting element to the development of these top level prospects.  The best event  trainers and riders in Europe send their best prospects to this event, and Bruce is looking forward to attending with HRH Patricia as well.

This year Gerd Zuther & Fanny Lee have returned, as well as Buck and Randy.   Top young rider Nina Ligon, who has 5 of her own horses in the barn this year,  perfects her dressage skills with Gerd, and is also calling Chesterland South home base for the winter.  So the barn is definitely a busy scene each day.

At 6, Keltic Lion is proving himself to be one to watch, with a fabulous work ethic on the flat & tremendous form over fences (please see the striking bay in the slideshow).  The plan is to get him into the jumper ring at HITS, then start out the eventing season at Rocking Horse, going Training Level.  He has produced some wonderful foals over the past 2 seasons & we are all anxious to see how he performs out in competition!

It is always fascinating to pick Bruce's brain on his training goals with his home bred youngsters.  Among the horses that he has bred for the sport horse world, he has also produced several young thoroughbreds for the track.  They have 2 coming 3 year olds (a colt & a filly) in the barn who will be leaving shortly for formal race preparation at the track down in Florida.  Bruce wisely states that having race horses in training teaches everyone in the barn so much about the conditioning of horses & makes them better event riders! 

We also want to mention that Petite Flower was recently purchased by Caroline Martin, a young rider from NJ who trains with Buck.   She goes to the George school in Newtown Square, but goes down to Ocala on her breaks to work and train with Buck.   Petite Flower has gone with Buck to Florida to prepare for the event season, but Caroline will fly down for certain events & will kick off her event season this weekend at the Horse Park!  Bruce had only high praises for this young lady and for her bright future as an upper level event rider.

We're hoping to get new pictures and videos to you throughout the winter season, so please check back soon for updates.  Keep warm & safe riding!!