Friday, February 24, 2012

The Season is in Full Swing!

I caught up with Bruce last night & he's certainly happy with the way all the horses are going early this season.  They've had a good couple of shows with Lola coming in 2nd at both her Prelims and Charlie taking 2nd his last time out as well.  Soon Bruce will be bumping Charlie (Keltic Lion) up to Intermediate, as "Charlie has his ears pricked & smiling the whole time out on XC."  The plan is to take their time with Lola, who's just coming 6 and still a big growing mare.
There's a new addition to the competition line up with KER Marvin, who is owned by Ana Kjellstrom and Joe Pagan of Kentucky Equine Research.  He's a striking big bay 6 year old who was originally part of their feed research program as a youngster.  He's only been under tack for about 1 1/2 years, with Bruce starting to ride him 3 weeks ago.  As you can see from this video, he's really quite a fancy prospect and won his first training at Ocala II and was 3rd at Rocking Horse last weekend.  The plan is to take him to a few more training level events, then bump him up to Prelim during this season.

Zach, Lindsey & Hillary are working hard with their own horses in training this winter, soaking in a variety of experiences - show jumping at HITS, improving their dressage skills with the incomparable Gert Zuther & observing our nation's best event riders at the Florida training sessions. Hillary is aiming for the 2* at Ocala HP on 4/11 (along with Caroline Petty) and after The Fork they will take 3 loads of horses & head home to Chesterland in Unionville.  Shortly after coming home, Bruce will head back to Rolex Kentucky with Beth Perkins and Kristi Nunink!
Over a week ago, Buck has had a bad color bone break while schooling, which has since required surgery.  He went down to Tn to the USET’s orthopedic surgeon (Team Dr. Craig Ferrell) for the procedure & is recovery nicely, but the break was quite serious & required plates/screws.  Bruce took over the reigns on The Apprentice to run him in the Advanced at Ocalla II.  "He’s not a straight forward horse, but he jumped around nicely & got the Advanced completed which was needed to get him qualified."  
On Monday night, Bruce participated in an event for the Make a Wish Foundation, which was held in Ocala.  It was a big fundraiser and they succeeded in filled the stadium.  10 teams of 2 riders (a pairing of one western & one english rider) competed in a format where the western riders were required to jump a course & the english riders had to run a pattern & cut a cow.  Aaron Vale's team won & Bruce's team was 4th.  

We also want to congratulate Caroline Martin who completed her first Advanced at the Ocala II Horse Trials aboard Petite Flower!  

Enjoy these fabulous photos taken by Susie at last weekend's events.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bruce Davidson: Should've Been A Cowboy?

Thanks to Eventing Nation for this great coverage of our resident cowboy!!

Bruce Davidson: Should've Been A Cowboy?

Thanks to Morag O'Hanlon for the photos, video, and write-up! 
Bruce Davidson cowboy1.jpg

Ocala in the Winter really does feel like the horse capital of the world.  There is something horsey going on every day if you know where to look.  The highlight of my one and only weekend in Ocala was watching Bruce Wayne, er, I mean....Davidson, riding the range.  Bruce Davidson and Chuck Waters were splendidly mounted on two of Chuck's beautiful Western horses.  Bruce had gone over to 'Waterworks' for a sneaky practice or two and on Sunday, he and Chuck were having a great time doing 'Ranch Sorting.'  
It consists of two big roundpens with a gateway between them.  10 little cows come in, all wearing numbers on their backs from 0 - 9.  The trick is to get the little cows through the gateway in the right order.  One of the two man team parks his horse in the gateway and spins it right or left to either make a gate or a passageway depending on whether or not the right little critter is galloping toward them.  This person also has to do a great deal of 'Ya Ya' with sufficient volume to turn the wrong little critters back!  Meanwhile the second member of the team is cutting his calf out of the herd and chasing it's ass to the gateway and through.  When you see a practiced team working together it's very fast and done against the clock.  Wrong number goes through - you lose.
Originally I was meant to be flying back home on the Sunday but there was nothing going to make me miss seeing Bruce Davidson done up in his best Western duds and cutting cattle.
Bruce and Chuck did three 'sets'.  The first one was OK, the second one was AMAZING and the third one had a few recalcitrant cows in the herd.
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Whitney Rocks On!

Whitney on "Lusty"
Rock on Rose
Photo Credits Cindy Lawler
Here's our latest update from Whitney Weston, who bought our famous "Lusty" last year after a successful run with Boyd Martin.  Whitney trains with Buck and also maintains her own lively blogspot!  It's wonderful to keep up with the horses that Bruce produces out of Chesterland & their success is a true testament to our breeding program!

Photo Slideshow by Cindy Lawler

" Last year was fantastic. I had the best time truly bonding with Lusty and becoming a team. We took our time on the west coast, starting at training level and finishing the season at the Galway Downs CCI ** on our dressage score!  I just love her feisty attitude, but she's also just the cutest thing! She is an animal out on course, but then such a silly girl at the barn.

The more we have gotten to know each other, the better we work as a team. She's very much a mare like that, I had to get her trust (but also she knows I'm not a pushover!). 

I am so excited for this season. We are wintering in Ocala, FL with Buck ("uncle Buck") Davidson and Bruce ("papa Bruce") Davidson, as we refer to them in reference to Lusty's childhood :) We just finished Rocking Horse OI, and gearing up for Rocking Horse Advanced! Finally!!! ahh the anticipation….Our goal for this spring is to run Jersey Fresh CCI***.

Check out our progress on the blog (where I am guilty of posting daily pictures of lusty being cute) at
and find us on Facebook!!!

Many thanks go out to Cindy Lawler for her fabulous photographic contributions!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Update from Chesterland South!

Bruce & Keltic Lion, aka Charlie
Photo credit Cindy Lawler!
Chesterland South is in full swing this winter season with a barn full of talented horses and clients in training.  Bruce has been quite busy with clients coming in for lessons and with the continued training and conditioning of his competition string of horses.  As always, the success of Chesterland is due to the combined efforts of so many people, including clients, owners and the working students.

Bruce is extremely happy this year with the positive attitudes & motivated efforts of his working students - Hillary Popiel (who has been a familiar face over the past decade), Zachary Ryan Leamer and Lindsay Elwell.  Jan Smith also continues to be an indispensable part of Chesterland's daily operation and has also become 1/2 owner in one of the coming 4 year olds, Sugarfoot, which ensures that this talented young filly will remain part of Bruce's training program.  Bruce has brought 4 young horses down to Ocala this year to continue their winter training & they are all showing great promise on the flat & over fences.   More to come on our blog & website regarding the approaching foaling season & the progress of our current homebreds in training!

Firefly Farm, which is the winter home to Chesterland South, is owned by Kristina Watkins, who winters in Ocala, but hails from Harvard Mass.  Kristina is 1/2 owner in the talented young prospect, Here's Lola who is another homebred of Bruce's,  out of Our Staple (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.  This is one talented young horse for the future who finished 2nd last weekend at her 2nd Prelim start at Rocking Horse (with Buck in the irons).

Buck on Here's Lola!
Photo credit Yvonne Zuther
Rocking Horse I proved to be a successful start to the winter circuit with Cruise showing his talent by taking 3rd in the Intermediate Division (with a glance off on XC) and Charlie finishing 8th in Prelim (1 rail in stadium).  The plan is to come back for Rocking Horse Winter II on the weekend of the 17th, running Lola and Charlie again at Prelim and stepping Cruise up to Advanced.

Many thanks go out to Cindy Lawler (who I met last year at Rolex) who was lucky enough to be at Rocking Horse this past weekend & generously has shared her photography talents with us!
Bruce on Cruise
Photo Credit Cindy Lawler
View Slideshow
Gerd and Yvonne Zuther have joined us again this year, bolstering the training program at Chesterland South with world class dressage instruction.  The combined efforts of Bruce and Gerd are an added perk to the clients who stay here during the winter months while Gerd is able to focus on the talented young rider Nina Ligon.  Nina has joined us again this year with her string of 5 horses before heading to Poplar Place.

Fanny Lee is here again with her advanced horse, Hadley Harbour, and Louis, her 5 year old bred by Bruce.  Fanny is a great supporter & always lots of fun.  Bruce is also looking forward to working with Beth Perkins who has joined Chesterland South with 4 horses in training, and the goal of aiming Sal Dali for Rolex this spring.  She will be joined by Kristi Nunnink and R-Star, who is also returning to work with Bruce, pre-Rolex.  Kristin also has 2 other younger horses who are showing great promise for the Prelim level this season.  Caroline Petty, from British Columbia is also joining our team in preparation for the 2* at Ocala this season.

Bruce Cattle Sorting!
Photo credit Yvonne Zuther
So as you can see, there's rarely a dull moment around the barn.  Bruce has even taken up a bit of cross training, finding time to learn the ropes of Cattle Sorting, a western sport that resembles team penning.  2 riders work together to herd and direct one calf through a gate.  The riders collaborate and take turns on herding and functioning the gate....and if a calf gets through the gate out of order, the team is eliminated!
Yeehaa cowboy!  Don't ever underestimate the talents of event riders.

Please enjoy our second slideshow of pictures provided by close friend & horse woman, Yvonne Zuther.

We will be sharing stories shortly on our crop of young homebreds & also the current successes of those who have gone on to top competitive homes with other riders such as Whitney Weston (Rock on Rose) and Caroline Martin (Petite Flower).  Stay tuned!