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Camie Stockhausen's off-the-track horses bring her to the winner's circle

blue ribbon Open Training Division

Both Camie Stockhausen and her off-track thoroughbred, Best Etiquette, were smiling after earning a first place blue ribbon in the Open Training Division at Roebke's run in Hector, MN over the weekend.

Camie Stockhausen of Cambridge, IA has spent over 30 years perfecting her Eventing skills. She and her off-the-track thoroughbred (OTTB), Best Etiquette, spent the weekend competing at Roebke's Run horse trials where 176 other horses competed over a two-day period.

“Best Etiquette is 17 years old, he's real sound and used to run at the preliminary level,” noted Stockhausen.

It turned out to be a blue ribbon decision.

Stockhausen said she was at Roebke's Run two years ago to qualify for the American Eventing Championships in Tyler, TX.

“This is a great show to use for that because the jumps here are up to the level, they are very solid jumps, always good questions,” said Stockhausen.

She and her horses stay in excellent condition year round by competing in horse trials in the summer and fox hunting in the winter. She has other young horses she is bringing up that she will be using in recognized and unrecognized events.

“These are off-track horses. I like to bring along horses that have retired at the track and give them a new job,” said Stockhausen. “Getting horses ready for a show is a day-in, day-out process to always have them ready. It's a real test of your training program if you can pull a horse out and have him go and do pretty well. With the horses that are experienced, I spend a lot more time on Dressage than Cross Country. It can be hard on them to run too much Cross Country. I feel Dressage builds them up to ride right.”

Currently she has three competition horses and three other real young horses she is bringing up - they are all off-track horses. She has acquired off-track horses for free and others up to $2,500.

“I like bringing on the young horses; getting them up to Novice or so and then give them new life with the next rider. I like riding at the Preliminary level, I probably won't go up to Intermediate. I just like training the horses and giving them a good life,” explained Stockhausen.

Stockhausen recalled that she was introduced to the sport years ago while boarding at a barn where they Evented and thought it looked like fun. She grew up at open shows, rode western and did competitive trail riding; everything but Eventing.

“When I started Eventing it was kind of easy because all of those other skills translated to this - you need to have them all, you need to be able to ride Dressage, Cross-Country and to Show Jump,” noted Stockhausen.

blue ribbon Open Training Division

Camie Stockhausen

Most riders when asked what part of Eventing they like best, they will inevitably answer “Cross-Country.” Her response without hesitation was “Victory Gallup!” Right after that comes cross-country, which she feels she is best at. This particular weekend she did well in Dressage where she posted a top score in her division of 24.8 and held a 8 point lead going into the last day's Stadium Jumping.

She and her horses compete in about eight trials a year, mostly in the region. She'll go to the American Eventing Championships, where she has competed five times.

Stockhausen has nothing but praise for Roebke's Run, its owners and what it offers riders of all ages and levels.

“I loved the cross country course, the flow of it is real nice. That there were options at Training was really fun, I thought there were some good challenges. I thought the Trakehner was a pretty good question for Training level. The Coffin road pretty well, but it was hard.

“I just want to say we love coming up to Roebke's because the whole Schweiss family is great and involved - Mike, Julie, Brook, Autumn and Lark. I'm even getting to know the volunteers; they treat them so well here. And the competitor's dinner is not to be missed. Thanks to the Schweiss's - it's amazing what they do!”

Leah Lang-Gluscic is a pro-rider who loves coming to Roepke's Run

blue ribbon Open Training Division

Leah Lang-Gluscic clears a stadium jump on Fernhill Lux Cool in the Open Preliminary division at the July Roebke's Run horse trials.

Leah Lang-Gluscic of Freeport, Illinois came to Roebke's Run Horse Trials a few years ago and has returned for every one since. She's a professional year-round rider who estimates she has already competed in about 20 trials this year.

“It's one of the best trials in the area, if not the country; they go above and beyond and continue to do so every show, as long as they keep doing that, I'll keep coming back,” said Lang-Gluscic.

She brought two horses to Roepke's Run July horse trials; AP Prime, who is a 11-year-old Four Star OTTB recently returning from Rolex and Fernhill Lux Cool, an eight-year-old Hanoverian warmblood owned by her client Lucy Griffiths that she rode for the first time in competition. She rode both horses in all events and captured first place overall with AP Prime in the Open Preliminary Division.

She said she started Eventing about 20 years ago at age 10.

“I was just obsessed with horses always. I actually liked the Dressage part of it and thought getting to jump a little bit in addition to Dressage was a great idea. Then after you go Cross Country you are hooked, it's a disease that won't go away,” she said.

While agreeing that how well you finish in Dressage plays a major part in the final scoring, she adds that the quality of work you have in Cross Country is a direct reflection of Dressage.

“It's all the same, I mean the quality of the canter, the balance in motion that we have in the Dressage, that's what makes you have all the canters you need accessible to go Cross Country. So it's maybe not the flashiest horses that are the best Cross Country horses, but a lot of time it's the best-trained horses that are. My horses do Dressage at home in training five times a week,” explained Lang-Gluscic.

Her primary goal this year is to ride AP Prime at the international Burghley Horse Trials near Stamford, Lincolnshire, England in early September. It's classified by the FEI as one of the six leading three-day events in the world, the others being the Badminton Horse Trials, the Rolex in Kentucky the Australian International, the Luhmühlen Horse Trials and the Étoiles de Pau. It has competition at CCI**** (four star) level. Burghley is also one of the three events in the Grand Slam of Eventing and is the longest continuous running international event. Up to 2006 there have been six course designers; one of whom is Captain Mark Phillips, who also designed Roepke's Run.

“I had not ridden the Prelim (at Roebke's Run) until this weekend. I walked it with students before. There were a few questions that I was curious how they would actually feel. Everything just rode great from AP who has done everything - he had a great time out there - I thought for the level it was very appropriate,” she said.

“This event in particular really is the Schweiss's home. The way that they open it up to all of us; to go from June to July back-to-back trials is so much work and so much goes into it. I mean, just keep doing it! They just keep giving back to the sport. An event of this caliber is such a gift to this area. We are just very, very fortunate. I know that's a little bit of a broken record cause everybody feels that way, but it can't be said enough times.

horse trial winner

Leah Lang-Gluscic

Madigan Murphy puts in the time and training to make her a top competitor

blue ribbon Open Training Division

Madigan Murphy easily clears the barn jump at Roebke's Run horse trials Saturday. Her horse, Willdebrandt, is a 12-year-old Trakehner.

Madigan Murphy and her horse “Willard” finished the first day of Roebke's Run Horse trials in first place in the Preliminary Championship division and held onto that lead after competing in Stadium Jumping Sunday.

Willard is the barn name she gave for Willdebrandt, a 12-year-old bay Trakehner. Trakehner's are the oldest warmblood breed in the world, going back nearly 300 years. The original purpose of the Trakehner was for use as calvary mount.

Murphy, who is from Minneapolis, Minnesota, hopes to move up to Intermediate in the fall. She follows a rigorous six-day a week fitness program to keep her and Willard at the top of their game. It's a schedule that leaves her little time for leisure.

horse trial winner

Madigan Murphy

“I have a full time job as a chemist at Valspar, so it's tough to do both. I noticed they actually use Valspar paint to coat the jumps here,” added Murphy.

“Something that really started me taking off in Eventing was JDRP (Junior Development Rider Program), a program that is still running. I did it the first year they had it,” said Murphy.

She, like many other riders, prefers competing in Cross Country, which she says she is best at. But looking at her finishing score in Dressage, which was 10 points above the next competitor, it would be safe to say she excels in that as well.

“I compete in eight to 10 horse trials a year, most of them out-of-state. I go as far as Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan and Iowa. There aren't a lot of trials around here, just Roebke's Run. Since they started this course they have continued to make it a lot better. It's a safer, more straight forward fun course.”

As for future plans, she said she'd like to get a younger horse and work him up the levels after Willard retires.

Who said riding a one-eyed Eventing horse is a handicap?

blue ribbon Open Training Division

Hannah Gurske of Louisberg, Kansas has only been Eventing for the past four years and has steadily been moving up the ranks with her trusty Percheron Thoroughbred Buenos Dias.

Don't tell Hannah Gurske of Louisberg, Kansas that Eventing with a one-eyed horse is a handicap. She outscored a large field of competitors in the Training Championship Division to capture a blue ribbon at Roebke's Run this past weekend.

Her 13-year-old Percheron Thoroughbred, Buenos Dias, affectionately known as “Dia” lost an eye to an infection some time back but he rides just as good, or in most cases better than others in all three events.

“She lost her eye 2 1/2 years ago due to an infection. My trainer went to Florida for the 25 and Younger Olympic Training and she came back and wanted to see what Dia could do. At the time I was looking for a horse, my trainer paired us up and we've been inseparable ever since,” said Gurske.

Gurske made the nine hour trip from Kansas to Roebke's Run for the third time and said Dia is a pretty sweet Eventer and she makes sure Dia looks her best by following a regimen of washing her tail at least twice before every horse trial she enters. “I like her tail to be white, I feel she does better when she looks nice. She's a contestant; she likes to look her prettiest.”

“I very much enjoy this event, so I like coming back here, I like bigger events” said Gurske. “I've been competing for four years and only two years with Dia. I don't necessarily look at my placement every time, I mostly look at my score. I did Western before this and I wanted a little bit of a faster pace so I took a break from that. I found Julie Wolfert's barn and I started riding with her mom and then I transferred over to her,” said Gurske.

There's an old saying that if you want to be the best you need to learn from the best. Julie Wolfert, now Gurske's fulltime trainer, has been competing for about 20 years, including riding at National Eventing Trials. She has been brought as many as 10 of her 30-some students to Roebke's Run and continues to bring students here on a regular basis since 2013. She said she like Roebke's Run because everything is done very professionally, she loves the stalls and everything runs on time.

horse trial winner

Hannah Gurske

Gurske's introduction to Roebke's Run began in 2014, when as a Beginner Novice and student of Wolfert, she and Dia took home a blue ribbon.

“I definitely look forward to Cross Country where I do my best, it's always very winding which is fun. Stadium is my weakest, but I enjoy Dressage,” said Gurske. “I normally try to compete in seven trials per year, hopefully eight this year. It depends on where my trainer goes. I'm shooting to move up to Prelims soon. My long, long term goal is to move up to Young Riders.”

“It's completely beautiful here and always a fun trip to make.”

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