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Roebke's Run evolves into International horse trial show

horse competing in dressage

Kristine Burgess guides her horse “Regatta” through the Dressage competition Friday.

horse clearing log jump

Morgan Eberhardy easily clears the cross-country log jump on her horse, Sal de la Vida.

The organizers of the June 10-12, 2016 Roebke's Run Horse Trials in Hector took a huge step forward once again putting on a great show, now a national event, that filled nearly 160 stalls with top-breed horses to compete in the Olympic sport of Dressage, Cross-Country and Stadium Jumping.

Show judges flew in from the United Kingdom and South Africa and there were riders from Canada, Ireland and from throughout the United States in the field this year.

Riders at all levels commented favorably on all venues of the show and especially the beautiful, but challenging cross-country course that was designed by Capt. Mark Phillips of Great Britain.

clearing stadium jumps

Shannon Riley and “Busy Bea” clear one of the many decorative Stadium jumps Sunday.

“We're really excited that this event has continued to show enormous popularity among competing riders from the United States and abroad,” said show organizer, Julie Schweiss. “The reputation of our expanded facility, which can stable 228 horses, and how we run a well-organized show is continually bringing in large contingents of riders for every show we host, and we look for those numbers to grow even more in the future.”

The public is always invited to attend the horse trials at Roebke's run free of charge. Roebke's Run has been chosen by Area 4 to host the championships that are slated for July 8-10, an event that could bring in as many as 250 horses. Roebke's run is located 8 miles south of Hector. For more information on upcoming shows, visit: www.schweissstables.com

large crowd for stadium jumping

A large crowd always packs the deck in front of the cafeteria to watch the Stadium Jumping competition.

Erin Pullen captures CCI 2* first place at Roebke's Run

Top honors in CCI*2

Erin Pullen of Shelbyville, KY and her horse “Tag” took top honors in the CCI 2* division. Show organizer, Brook Schweiss Mead, presented her with $150 in cash awards, a horse blanket, ribbon and silver plate.

FEI jog
winner of Dressage

Pullen, in her first year competing at the Two-Star level has been an avid Eventer since she started at age 5. She took first place honors in the Dressage competition with a score of 58.4.

Erin Pullen was smiling from ear-to-ear and congratulating her thoroughbred “Tag” with vigorous pats to both sides of his neck immediately after completing Dressage in CCI 2* at Roebke's Run Friday. She knew right then that Tag came through for her.

Pullen was on her first trip to Roebke's Run from her home-base stables in Shelbyville, Kentucky this year and was impressed with what she saw. Before she decided to come to Minnesota she had considered competing at Bromont in Canada; that was until she checked out Schweiss Stables on the website and saw the beautifully designed course by Capt. Mark Phillips.

“It was very inviting on the website. Bromont is being held this same weekend and is the same distance for me. The cost was such a big factor for me. I'm absolutely thrilled that I am here, just thrilled. The cross-country course is so inviting - it's a really good run, everything makes sense, it's presented and decorated beautifully. Very good questions for the levels,” noted Pullen.

Tag is a horse Pullen got off the racetrack, and she says that's all she rides. Tag is 11 now and had raced one week prior to Pullen getting him in 2013.

“He has such a good heart, good soul, and everything I've asked him to do he just tries and tries,” said Pullen.

He's been trying quite a bit this year already. They competed in Georgia at Popular in February and March and Chat Hills in April for the CIC** and May Days in Kentucky for Intermediate.

This is Pullen's first year competing at the Two-Star Level. She's been an avid Eventer ever since she started at age 5. She's using this competition today as a qualifier.

“Ultimately, I want to do all the upper levels I can with this horse. This is the steppingstone to meet all my qualifications for CIC ***, noted Pullen. “My goal this year is to run the rest of the year CIC** and hopefully end up at Fairhill in Maryland in October to run the CIC ** - next year we'll move up to Advanced and try for the Three-Stars; that's when you are playing the big dance. He'll tell me what he's ready to do and what he wants to do, I'm not going to push him. It's kind of a learning curve for both of us.”

She said she would love to run Rolex because it's in her backyard and hometown. It's been her dream ever since she was a little girl.

It was a warm day Friday and Pullen mentioned that heat always plays a factor in this sport.

“The humidity here is not as bad as what we have at home. The past few days have been glorious here because of the nice breeze.”

“I'm very, very thankful to the Schweiss's and the organizers for putting on such a lovely competition. I know it's not cheap, it's not easy and it takes a village. I'm very thankful to be here.”

Michael Nolan hopes to represent Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics

clears jump in cross-country

Native Irishman, Michael Nolan, clears a jump on the cross-country course at Roepke's Run. He finished second in a field of a dozen riders at the CIC 1* level.

The Tokyo Olympics are more than four years away, but that will give Michael Nolan, 22, of Ireland time to perfect his craft of Eventing and ultimately to represent his country in a manner that will make him and Ireland proud.

Nolan has been in and outside Ireland for the past three winters training part-time in the United States. He made the move full-time last May to devote his time and improve his skills under the mentorship of Robin Walker of Grass Lake, Michigan.

Both he and Walker know that at this point his prime objective is to hone his skills in the Dressage Ring. He's only been Eventing since 2013, but was stadium jumping before that. Something he feels quite proficient in.

“Ireland has a very good team this year for the Olympics. Most of the Irish riders are based in England. There are not so many owners, but there are a lot of horses. We do very little Dressage in Ireland. The biggest thing for me is to do the Dressage over here,” said Nolan.

Walker says his seven-year-old Irish Sport horse, SBT Good Guy, has the stuff to take Nolan where he wants to go. Walker has 3-Star experience and was at Roebke's Run competing in CCI 1* while Nolan was riding in CIC 1*

And as Nolan put it, “I can only go as fast as he can. I owe a lot to Robin; without him I couldn't have done any of it. The support from him and the owners is fantastic.”

Nolan was a first time competitor at Roebke's Run and even though he's only been competing for a few years he acknowledged the course was one of the better ones he's seen.

“I really like the course here (at Roebke's Run), it's really nice. They've done a fantastic job with the fences. I've never been anywhere where it has been decorated and laid out so well. They've tried exceptionally hard to keep the grounds perfect and the footing (on the cross-country course) was very nice; they did a good job of aerating yesterday,” noted Nolan. “ I think this will become a regular event for us now.”

competing in dressage ring

Michael Nolan competing in the Dressage Ring on his Irish Sport horse, SBT Good Guy.

Robin Walker is sharing his Eventing knowledge with other upcoming riders

horse competing in dressage

Robin Walker grew up in the UK but now makes his home in Grass Lake, Michigan. He's been Eventing since 1980 and with all those years behind him he is now taking satisfaction in passing his knowledge onto other young riders.

“I'm too old for the Olympics now, but I'm enjoying where I am. The farms nearly paid for, we've got fantastic owners and probably the nicest bunch of horses now that I've had ever. I'm particularly enjoying helping develop Michael Nolan of Ireland who rode my horse (SBT Good Guy) in 1-Star Dressage today. I love the sport, I want to get the Irishman to ride Dressage,” explained Walker.

He said Nolan helps him with the young ones and his goal is to represent his country. As a mentor, there can be not much better satisfaction to see someone else succeed in the sport, just as Walker has over the time span of 36 years.

Walker brought four horses to ride at Roebke's Run in Hector, MN to begin competing on Friday, June 10th. Uncle Ralph, a 7-year-old Homebred Sellefrancais Thoroughbred-Cross brought home the honors in the CCI 1* Dressage division with a score of 50.8. Uncle Ralph, joins three other Irish Sport horses; Freedoms Light, Windchase Aquilla and Aces, Baby, all who will compete in Dressage, Stadium Jumping and Cross-Country over the weekend.

“The reason we came firstly is because, normally we would be at Bromont in Montreal. Some of my clients wanted to be here and I have a very nice horse in the training division. Rather than just take International horses to Bromont we decided to see what it was all about,” said Walker.

After walking the cross-country course, he like many others was impressed.

“The job they have done with the fences is amazing - it's a first class effort on their part,” noted Walker. The way Mark (Phillips) has put it together and the way they've put the jumps together, it flows. I was surprised how well it flows considering they do not have massive acreage.”

Walker has 3-Star experience; he hasn't been to Rolex yet, but says that Freedom's Light has what it takes to get there.

morning jog prior to competing

Robin Walker and Freedoms Light, an 11-year-old Irish Sport, participated in the morning jog at Roebke's Run prior to competition.

“They've done a lovely job with the facility, it's so impressive when you drive up here. I commend the efforts the Schweiss's have made to put this together.”

Jordyn Sahagian is making the most out of Nestor's pre-retirement run

first place in CIC**

Jordyn Sahagian and her Hanovarin Thoroughbred, Nestor, received a first place ribbon in CIC** and were also presented $150 cash, a blanket and silver plate from show organizer, Brook Schweiss Mead, at Roebke's Run in Hector, Minnesota.

If first impressions are any indication of a job well done, then Jordyn Sahagian is like many other Eventers who make it a point to return to Roebke's Run Horse Trials. This year she returned again from her home in Barrington, Illinois.

Sahagian, now in her 17th year as an Eventer, has been riding since age nine. Having competed at the Advanced level a few times, her goal now is to compete at the 3-Star level. She brought Nestor, her 17 year-old Hanovarin Thoroughbred to Roebke's Run in order to keep him fit for the challenge ahead. Nestor showed Sahagian that he was fit as a fiddle by starting out the first day capturing first place in CIC 2* Dressage with a winning score of 51.1.

“My goal is to reach 3-Star at Richland Park in Michigan this August, and then Nestor will be retired. I've had him since he was four, he had an injury that he came back from,” said Sahagian. “It went well today, he behaved. The walk is always tough for us, but the trot and canter work was great.”

After Nestor retires, Sahagian will be devoting most of her riding time to a younger horse, an Oldenburg who goes by Catch The Moon, or his barn name of Checkers.

“The Schweiss's always put on a beautiful show. The cross-country course looks great, the rings are always kept well, water, dragged, and they put a lot of effort into every little detail. Every time I come back, it's always improved. They are also some of the kindest people I've met,” said Sahagian.

Elena Hengel's performance at Roebke's Run elevates her to Young Riders

elevated to young riders

Elena Hengel of Delano, MN clears a stadium jump with her horse “Say I Do” in the CIC** competition at Roebke's Run June 11th.

Elena Hengel of Delano, MN always enjoys coming to Roebke's Run Horse Trials, not only because it's close to her in travel distance, but also for what the course has to offer. Since attending her first event show here four years ago, she has made it a point to return each year.

This year turned out to be more special for her and her horse “Say I Do” because after placing among the top contenders overall in CIC** Dressage, Cross-Country and Stadium Jumping she found out she now qualifies for the Young Riders competition which will take place in Colorado in July. This won't be her first time competing at Young Rider's. She did it on “Zipp” in 2014 at the 2-Star level.

She brought three horses with her this year; Zipp, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood competing in the Intermediate division; and her younger Irish Sport horses; Chieften Clover, in the training division; and Say I Do in the CIC** competitions.

“This is only my fourth year Eventing, but I've been riding for about 10 years,” said Hengel. Overall, I'm really happy with my results this weekend. I wasn't planning on running my younger horses too fast, so it was really more for confidence building. They all show-jumped clean today, which was really exciting.”

Her goal is to move up to Advanced in the near future and compete at Fair Hill, Maryland at the end of the year; a place she's always wanted to go.

“I thought everything here at Roebke's Run flowed very well. I loved the 2-Star Intermediate course. It was a really nice run for me and my horses prior to Young Riders, because it was challenging enough. I also felt it built confidence as I went on. The questions kept coming, but when you got them out in front of your leg everything started to get into normal rhythm. The training course was really fun and great for my younger horse Chieftain Clover,” noted Hengel.

She's taking time to know her horses.

“Everyone has been saying how wonderful it is for Schweiss to being doing this. I wouldn't be qualified for Young Riders if they didn't have this course here. I'd also like to mention that the grounds were phenomenal. All my horses came off of it feeling great the next day. They've worked very hard to make it nice. The course is tough, but fair. It's nice for the horses to have a challenge, and it's a nice atmosphere for them. It helps prepare us in Area 4 for the Young Riders Championships when we go out of this area to compete. I really feel this is definitely a national event, not just Minnesota. And the food is amazing - I don't want to leave.”

clearing jump in water complex

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