Aiken Update: Training Sessions, Full Gallop and Pine Top

Simba (in the window) Watches the Team Training Session at Bridle Creek
Photo by Hoof Pix

Eventing definitely started to wind up this past week in Aiken, SC. All week, our farm hosted the USEF training sessions which were taught by Captain Mark Phillips. Mark taught dressage and jumping lessons for four days which saw the highest quality event horses and riders strut their stuff at Ilene Boorman’s Bridle Creek Farm. The lessons were watched every day not only by eventing enthusiasts in Aiken, but also by super groom Lindsey Taylor’s cat, Simba. He truly enjoyed watching Mark’s dressage lessons while perched at his window and agreed a lot with what Mark had to say.

Boyd on Ballyneety at Full Gallop. Denise Lahey photo

On Wednesday Caitlin and I took a group of younger horses out for a run at Full Gallop Horse Trials. Without doubt, the star of the day was George and Gretchen Wintersteen’s Ballyneety. Bally was hand picked by George and Gretchen in Ireland last year and he looks very impressive. We all enjoyed his first win on American soil.


  • Looks Like Fernhill, owned and ridden by Caitlin Silliman, TE – missed jump
  • Ricochet EDF, owned by Lisa Samoylenko and ridden by Caitlin Silliman, 15th


  • SBF Balboa, owned by Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin and ridden by Boyd Martin, 4th
  • Bacardi, owned by Sandy Issler and ridden by Caitlin Silliman, 12th
  • Waranga, owned by Amy Lindgren and ridden by Boyd Martin, 15th
  • Freedom’s Pride, owned by Biz Carey and ridden by Boyd Martin, 14th
  • SBF Cortez, owned by Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin and ridden by Boyd Martin, 12th
  • Ballyneety, owned by George and Gretchen Wintersteen and ridden by Boyd Martin, 1st

Boyd on Cold Harbour at Pine Top
Laurie Cameron photo

The weekend saw us make our first pilgrimage to Georgia. I believe the cross-country courses at Pine Top are some of the best that we see down south. The piece of property that they are laid out on boasts encouraging, open, galloping courses. It was the first event that we took some of our greener, higher level horses to. Dana Diemer’s Cold Harbor, started the season in glory dancing around John Williams’ track, winning the Open Intermediate. Another new exciting prospect would have to be Katie Walker’s Wakefield, who backed up his win at Sporting Days with another win at Novice this weekend. This English gelding oozes with class.

Boyd on Crackerjack at Pine Top
Laurie Cameron photo

The results from Pine Top were:

Open Intermediate

  • Cold Harbor, owned by Manny and Dana Diemer, 1st
  • Merging, owned by Laurie Cameron, 14th
  • Crackerjack, owned by Colin Davidson and Lucy Boynton, 13th

Intermediate Rider

  • Emily van Gemeren riding Berkley II, owned by Elenor Smith, 10th

Open Preliminary

  • Poetic Justice, owned by Gale Thayer, 10th
  • Steady Eddie, owned by George and Gretchen Wintersteen, Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin,14th

Training Horse

  • Brewster, owned by Katie Walker, 14th

Open Training

  • Polaris, owned by Ann Nawn and ridden by Sara Gumbiner, 13th

Open Novice

  • Wakefield, owned by Katie Walker, 1st
Emily van Gemeren and Berkley II at Pine Top
Laurie Cameron photo

A special shout out must go to Sara Gumbiner, whom is the only remaining Windurra rider (other than myself) who has not been technically eliminated at an event this year for missing a jump. Keep up the good work Sara!


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