Young Horse Mid-Winter Update from Aiken

South Boundary Avenue in Aiken, SC during this winter’s record-setting snow storm. Photo: Google Images.

Boyd is spending the winter in Aiken, South Carolina competing his horses on the winter eventing circuit. In this installment he talks about his talented group of young horses, from their training programs to competitions. Check back later this week for an update on his elite group of advanced horses and their preparations for the Rolex Kentucky three-day event coming up at the end of April.

I’ve been eventing the younger horses on one weekend and the older horses on alternate weekends. The young ones competed in three events now, starting in January with the Pine Top Horse Trials, then on to Sporting Days, and last weekend at Paradise Farm.

Densey Juvonen’s Charla has had a wonderful year so far, winning the novice at Pine Top, then placing second in her first training at Sporting Days and third in the training at Paradise. I’m really excited about this mare: she has been improving all the time at home in her training which shows in her competition results.

Another one of the glamour girls is Lily, or Lillian Pink, owned by Laurie Cameron. She’s had successful results with top three finishes in novice at all three of these events and is looking to move up to training her next time out.

Gretchen Winterstein’s Irish gelding Ringwood Murphy has also made a lot of improvement this year. He’s a super jumping horse that’s still getting an understanding of the dressage. He’s jumped around clear every start he’s had and is also ready to move up to training. He’s an outstanding horse and his understanding of the dressage will come in time.

Royal Flush is a mare that Heather Hopkins’ parents bred in Ohio and I’ve got it for a couple of weeks to get it started. She’s always improving.

Another top young horse is Anne Hennessey’s Summer Breeze who’s about to make her debut to the American eventing world this coming weekend in the BN at Sporting Days. Both Anne and I are excited about this mare: I bred her in Australia and she’s out of Shatzi’s mother. She’s looking encouraging so far.

Another horse is Little Miss Sunshine, owned by Julia Steinberg, a mare that I’ve been working away with down here and have competed a couple of times with positive results, improving with each outing.

Last but not least I’m lucky enough to get the ride on Melissa Studenberg’s Muggle, who I’ve just had one training event on so far this year at Paradise which was a great success, finishing on his dressage score of 27.

Basically in Aiken we’re lucky to be in a great facility for the young horses. There’s plenty of activity to keep them entertained there at Bridle Creek. My basic weekly routine is to jump them once or twice, usually on Tuesday and/or Thursday with some show jumping or gymnastic exercises early in the week and course work later in the week.

We’re surrounded by cross-country training facilities and I’ve taken them to Full Gallop Farm and the Gibbes Farm, as well as Bridle Creek’s facility a number of times. Throughout the week I do fitness work with them, usually a 20-minute jog through the 2,000 acres of beautiful country surrounding us which helps with going cross-country.

Other than that I’ve been chipping away at their dressage and trying to improve bit by bit. Silva’s come down three times now and has been working with me with the younger horses trying to tune up their dressage.

My biggest goal with these young horses was to come back ot PA after three months with more experience horses; I think the whole experience of being in a different barn and competing a number of times matures them and gets them more worldly, trying to build a good foundation for future years.


Paradise Farm HT
Sporting Days Farm HT
Pine Top Winter I HT

Mark Lehner took some great photos from these events. They can be viewed at

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