Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Student Of The Year: Caroline Dein

Caroline Dein and Lucid Opposition
We are very proud to announce that Dragonfire's 2012 Student Of The Year is Caroline Dein. Caroline's sunny disposition and colorful exterior are a perfect balance to her determined inner-self, creating a person that is always a joy to be around and an asset to any team. Caroline's self deprecating humor would keep the public clueless of her talent, but those of us that know her are well aware that she and her young mare, Lucid Opposition, are headed for greatness. Achieving her lofty 2012 goal of finishing the year out at the Preliminary level amidst moving away for her first year of college  was done with a smile and the desire for more.

A goal achieved or the beginning of something special?
The lengths that Caroline would go to in moving up to Preliminary would impress even the most dedicated, including driving up from Santa Barbara to Woodside and back just to meet us for cross country schooling. And when it would have been easy to give up, Caroline forged ahead learning from the past, whether the mistakes were hers or not.

A proud moment
The 2012 season ended for Caroline and Lucy with a fourth place finish in the Open Preliminary at the November Ram Tap Horse Trials. Certainly, that finish is a glimpse into a very exciting 2013 for these two. We look forward to seeing what you can do Caroline! Congratulations!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dragonfire To Host Hawley Bennett

Dragonfire is kicking the new year off right by hosting a Hawley Bennett-Awad clinic January 26-27,  2013. With her extraordinary accomplishments on all of the Canadian Teams including the Pam Ams, WEG's and the Olympics, this elite equestrienne hardly needs an introduction! Her drive and her youthful energy is not only unsurpassed in the industry it is also infectious as she has had a hand in several top young rider's careers.

With her keen eye and direct teaching style, Hawley will undoubtably give you a clinic to remember.

The clinic fee is $215 for two days of intimate sized groups that will guarantee that Hawley will be able to give you the attention you need to improve. The Dragonfire facility also boasts a fantastically large ring with several types of stadium and cross country type obstacles that will give you the challenge you desire. Auditors will be just as pleased with the large seating area on the raised berm and a sound system to hear all of Hawley's instruction. The auditing fee is $10 per person for both days.

Be a part of this sensational rider's team as she continues to set the international scene on fire and learn from her vast experience. Make checks out to Dragonfire and send to 13247 Orange Rd. Wilton, CA 95693 to reserve your spot now, along with your experience level. VERY limited stabling is available for those traveling over distance for $40/day.

There will be no refunds on clinic fees unless your spot can be filled from a wait list. Late entries will only be accepted if space warrants, and will be on a CASH basis only.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Go Billy Go": FEI Diary For High Times

Upon arrival I already felt a sense of achievement. 

Let the triumphant horns sound, as Billy has returned home to Wilton as a legitimate Two Star horse. Not only did he handle all three phases (and the jogs) like an absolute professional, he devoured the relentless cross country course with aplomb. The fact that he was the youngest and truly the least experienced horse to reach a top five placement in the CCI** at the 2012 Galway Downs International Three Day was a thrilling end to a wonderful season.

Before the show started Billy and I were signed up to ride with the incomparable Buck Davidson Jr. at Kingsway farm. I can't be more grateful to my coach Hawley Bennett-Awad for organizing this great clinic every year, her tireless efforts are not lost on me. It seems that Billy was feeling a bit apprehensive about his reunion with Buck this year, as getting to the clinic was possibly more difficult than the actual clinic. So extensive were his shenanigans walking (I use that term loosely) to Kingsway from Galway, that Earl considered hooking up the trailer to come retrieve me. Ahhhh... the joys of a fit horse. The up side was that even though I was a bit late, my horse was already warmed up! Buck's challenging exercises served two purposes,  to sharpen us up before the big show and to give Billy a place to channel his abundant enthusiasm before Dressage.

Our Dressage test came late Friday morning, during the glorious Southern California sunshine and warm temperatures we all dream of when wearing a top hat. I was very pleased with Billy in this test, he was relaxed and listening... what more can a girl ask for? Although, he did slip on some packed and wet footing coming off our first centerline, and I think that slip made him a little tentative and I felt I couldn't push him quite as aggressively as I wanted. At any rate, his efforts were definitely appreciated by the judges and we were in second place, just 0.5 behind the leader, in a strong field of 29 starters.

Billy was happy to do his job in the Dressage court.
Relaxed and submissive are Billy's two new favorite words.
Billy is becoming expert at the dramatic square halt to finish.
With Dressage out of the way, I had the chance to really go over my 9+ minute course that Billy and I were due to tackle the next afternoon. Needless to say, it was the longest course that we would ever have stepped hoof on, and I was grateful for the tough conditioning program Hawley had put us on. The course itself was challenging, with few let up fences, and several combinations at the end that would test a tired horse and rider.

Saturday afternoons: The only time I don't mind a sweaty shirt.

Our run Saturday afternoon went off without a hitch. All of the fences went exactly according to plan, and with a little added encouragement from me, Billy was the fastest he's ever been and only picked up a few time penalties. We ended the day full of confidence and remained in second place, less than a rail away from the new leader. Aside from the obvious satisfaction one feels from being in such a high position, I felt enormously proud of our round. I rode with precision and focus, and Billy dug deep and truly tried his sweet little heart out for me. It was a cross country ride I will relish for years to come.

Billy looking very stylish flying one of the single fences on course.
One of the last combinations on course where Billy was still flyin' HIGH!
The corner following and Billy is right on target.
My fabulous 2012 CCI** Pit Crew.

With the stadium course being set on several short distances and all but one fence was on a related line, it was time to practice that new "patient" stride we had been working on. My goal was to not have a building step that unravels by the end of the course. Ultimately we accomplished that goal, but had a very cheap rail in the middle of the triple, but managed to leave the last fence up which has plagued us for most of the season. All of the top riders had a rial, but unfortunately I also added three time penalties to my score with that quieter round. My second place became fifth, but behind two Advanced horses and two Pan Am horses, so I really could not be disappointed with my ribbon.  After my initial irritation in myself wore off over the time faults, I took solace in the notion that if I had gone faster I would have most likely have two rails and eight faults!

Still full of jump on the third day.
A clean final jumping effort for the end of our season.

And so now I can be thankful for this wonderful horse that has come into my life who is showing me that he would like more of this adventure. I am thankful to my support team: my family that is behind me all the way, Hawley who pushes me for more,  and all my girls that I can virtually feel willing me over every fence. My sponsors have been right there with us too: CWD provides me with the best saddles available, Nupafeed USA gives Billy the "quiet" he needs for Dressage and the energy for cross country, The Soaker helps Billy stay hydrated and feeling his best, Frilly Fillies Custom Bonnets make us look boss, DKT Saddlery keeps my head safe and cool with KEP Italia helmets and my bum trim with Eurostar breeches, Kentucky boots keep Billy's precious legs bubble wrapped at all times, and The Saddle Network keeps my mind free from worry as I know my tack is protected from theft. My sincere appreciation goes out to you all. Here's to 2013 and all of it's possibilities!!!

My favorite picture from the show. My husband and my champion walking back from cross country.

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's Jingle Bell Time!

Come one, come all to our annual Jingle Bell Academy Horse Show and Holiday Celebration December 8th at 10:00 A.M. Enjoy fellow Dragonfire Teammates during a little friendly competition on the flat and over fences, and a chance to win great prizes from our Academy Sponsor, Sheldon Feed. Lots of classes to choose from, and we will even have a "Twins Over Fences" competition for a special prize! And after the classes, don't forget to stay for lunch provided by Miss Melissa. For more information on which classes would be appropriate for you contact Melissa, Cheron or Devyn!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dragonfire Breeding Program Enjoys Continued Success

Rouge Et Blanc exhibiting his natural uphill carriage

Four year old, Rouge Et Blanc DF, gave a spectacular performance at the Galway Downs International Horse Trials. By Dragonfire Kirin and out of a race-bred thoroughbred dam, the chestnut stunner ended in second place in the very competitive Novice Horse division. His easy going attitude and his aptitude for learning made all three phases a pure pleasure to ride. We feel that the possibilities are endless for this super star.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lady's Comet Wins

Lady's Comet and Earl McFall

In her first and only performance in the USEA Young Event Horse Series, Lady's Comet handily won the Four Year Old Division at the September Twin Rivers Ranch Three Day. Expertly shown by Earl McFall, the filly was greatly admired by the judges for her cleverness over a fence and her exceptional gallop. Of course, this was to be expected considering that she is one of the last paternal siblings to one of America's biggest eventing legends, Courageous Comet. Great things can come in small packages, of that, "Barbie" will make you a believer.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Saddle Network Sponsors Dragonfire

The Saddle Network combines meticulous cataloguing, registering and identification for your saddles and equipment. Not only are your saddles visibly tagged with a QR code easily read by any smart phone to deter theft, but all of the information and pictures of your saddle are stored for use by the authorities and insurance. If a loss or theft is reported, The Saddle Network uses the power of social media to immediately alert the equestrian community of the theft.  Check out their website at and join today!

Safety First!

The new KEP Italia Cross Country Skull Cap is here! We truly appreciate this wonderful sponsor that has our well being at the top of their list. KEP helmets are the best when it comes to safety ratings, comfort, and style. See what all the fuss is about and call Didem at DKT Saddlery to try one on! Her number is 408.472.0409

KEP looks particularly fabulous in DF colors!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Go Billy Go": FEI Diary For High Times

Time, it seems, has NOT been on my side in regards to Billy's FEI Diary. I hate being a victim, even if it is just the victim of a moment passed, as these moments in my career are precious to me. For shame that I have not detailed these experiences while they were fresh, instead of months later when they are reworked by my warped sense of reality and resemble something more like Sylvester Stallone at the end of a Rocky movie. Luckily, I have video documentation that will keep the memory alive and accurate.

Our trip up to Montana this July was magical from the start, with several of our Dragonfire Team members getting together and renting a fabulous vacation home near Flathead Lake. We spent time together exploring the area and Glacier Park, and evenings cooking and gabbing. The magic continued with what I would call a break through performance for Billy in the Dressage. He was calm, "mostly focused" (those judges' boxes did have stripes all over the tops), and was very rideable. He began the weekend in the lead of a large group in the Rebecca Farm CCI* division.

Billy's jumping phases at Rebecca were equally wonderful, with a clean cross country that was confident and within the time. His show jumping was less aggressive, something that both of us continue to work on, and really quite classy. The rail he had down at the last was completely a rider error as I knew I had two rails in hand to win it, and since I had been clean thus far, I hurried the bending line and let him cut in, getting us a bit close. I would have loved to end the show on my Dressage score, but was thrilled all the same to have won our first FEI together.

Billy doesn't get what all the fuss is about
So now I head to our first CCI** together at Galway downs. Our last run at The Twin Rivers Open Intermediate is what I will be playing in my head leading up to our round on Saturday, as I hope to repeat that feeling. I will also try to recreate our show jump round there, minus that nasty case of last-fence-itis.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dragonfire Delights That Ram Tap Shall Remain

Ram Tap, the country's longest running Eventing facility has had a near brush with being discontinued. Luckily for all of us in Northern California, Ram Tap has been purchased to continue as an equine facility that will provide Eventing, Dressage and Jumper venues for many years to come. I know for Earl and I, we both have a soft spot for the place, as it was the first place we both moved up to Preliminary and Intermediate, as well as our first CCI* back as kids. And now,  Ram Tap has also been the site for several our younger DF Team members to get their first recognized event under their belt. What a treasure this facility in Fresno has been for us!

DF riders Mia Bouslaugh, Hailey Popham, Taylor McFall, Makena Graber, and Maddy Rau after a successful show
Maddy Rau and Aurio Secto

Maddy and Aurio have set themselves up for a great showing at the upcoming Training Three Day at Galway, with a big win last weekend at Ram Tap.  After one of their best performances in Dressage, the duo were well within striking distance with a second place score. And after a blazing good round cross country, Maddy set herself well ahead to win the blue in Junior Training.

Hailey Popham and Dragonfire Lotus
Hailey Popham looked like a pro aboard Dragonfire Lotus in the Junior Intro to Beginner Novice. After a solid fourth in dressage, Hailey piloted her borrowed horse through two double clear rounds and finished the weekend in second place. We couldn't be more proud of her efforts.

Mia Bouslaugh and Rani D
Also finishing our her Dressage score was Mia Bouslaugh and her new mare, Rani D. You would never have known that these two have had very little time together, as they were focused and in sync the whole weekend. Their fifth place finish in the Intro to Beginner Novice is but a glimpse of the great things to come.

Makena Graber and Mr. Chew

Of our four first-timers at a recognized event, three of them finished on their Dressage scores, including Makena Graber aboard her Mr. Chew.  In a very large field of Junior Beginner Novice competitors, Makena was calm, cool, and collected to place fifth on the final day. In fact, of Makena and Mr. Chew's three competitions together, this is their third fault-free weekend!

Taylor McFall and Roses Are Blue
After an unfortunate rerouting on cross country, Taylor McFall made up for lost time by blazing around the rest of the course with Roses Are Blue in the Junior Intro To Beginner Novice division. Surely, she won't make that mistake again, and she more than made up for it with one of the prettiest show jump rounds of the day on Sunday.

Unfortunately not pictured is Megan Soske and her handsome hunk of a chestnut, Windfall. Megan has had a long hiatus from the eventing circuit but the thrill of the jumping has called her back, and with great results! The pair finished the weekend with a fourth place in the Senior Beginner Novice and a serious case of the Eventing Bug.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Introducing Stilwell Kingsley V

At just three years of age, Stilwell Kingsley V has already amassed a show record that could put most senior horses to shame. "King" has been shown in three separate shows, two of them Regional Championships, and has won in Dressage, Hunter Pleasure, and in Sport Horse In Hand. In fact, he has an UNDEFEATED lifetime career. King's super quiet attitude and smoldering good looks certainly have helped him in his success. But his most impressive quality has to be his athletic ability, particularly in the canter. We think he has what it takes to go all the way in Dressage, but he most definitely has the good looks and the famous Morgan versatility that could take him in any direction. By Summitry and out of Woodgate Martha V (who is by UVM Springfield) it really is no surprise that King is a true class act. If you are looking for a partner of a lifetime, look no further than Stilwell Kinglsey V.

Morgan beauty at it's finest

The start of his winning ways this season
 Check out these recent videos of King at play and at work.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

High Times Has A New Sponsor

High Times will now be enjoying the many benefits of eating soaked hay. As the demands of Billy's training regimen increase through his International career, his feeding program becomes more and more crucial. The laborious tradition of soaking hay has long since been followed in England and Europe for their high performance horses, but leave it to American ingenuity to find a way to make it fully automated and hassle free! And unlike "steamed" hay, that presents fire hazards as well as cooking the nutrients out of the hay, The Soaker preserves all of the essential minerals and nutrients while it washes away the debris and sugars.


Horses tend to eat less, eat longer, and require less supplementation when fed soaked hay.  Soaking hay is a proactive approach to your horse's health.

Allows for zinc and copper to be more readily absorbed by reducing competing minerals.

Allows for hoof building blocks to be more readily absorbed and utilized by the horse. Reduces sugar and inflammation and encourages proper hoof growth and function.

Reduces particulate matter and impedes the inhalation of allergens by 90%. Increases immune system health. Studies show same reduction as steaming.

Reduces particulate matter and impedes inhalation of mold, spores, dust, etc by 90%. Studies show same reduction as steaming.

Slows down eating, softens hay to alleviate damage of digestive tract, neutralizes pH, and encourages proper digestion and gut health.

Soaking hay can reduce sugar in hay by up to 30%. Excess sugar suppresses the immune system, promotes inflammation, and raises insulin levels.

Soaking can reduce Potassium by up to 50%. Potassium is considered a competing mineral, although necessary, too much Potassium inhibits the absorption of other important minerals.

One flake of hay can hold up to 2 gallons of water. This reduces risk of Colic, Choke, and Impaction. Encourages proper metabolic function, reduces dehydration, and increases performance.

Horses maintain proper weight due to increased water content of soaked hay and reduced sugar.

Wet hay is easier to chew.

Reduces inflammation by reducing sugar content and maintaining proper hydration promotes circulation.

Alleviates the high’s and low’s of feed by reducing the amount of sugar, toxins, and competing minerals.

By reducing sugar, allergens, toxins, and competing nutrients, the body is able to focus on staying healthy and thriving.

Maintaining proper hydration levels promotes optimum circulation. The reduction of sugars allow for tendons, ligaments, and muscles to stay limber and strong.

High Times and his Soaker

Check out for more information and ordering.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Introducing Axiom DF

Axiom DF

Axiom DF is another example of the exciting string of young event horse prospects available at Dragonfire.  "Max" is a two year old gelding that is very quiet, very kind, and very BIG!  He is by the Holsteiner stallion, Ariadus who is from Accord II, a 100 Day Test champion. He received a "9" on type and "8's" on both front and hind legs; a score seldom seen. Ariadus' granddam is the dam of CAPITOL, legendary sire from Holstein. Ariadus was 4th at the 1995 stallion approvals in Neumunster. He is a Premium rated stallion with 54 bonits. Ariadus is the most beautiful stallion we have seen. He is now ranked THIRD in USEF jumper sires!

Max's dam, Lucid Opposition is just a 7 year old mare, currently going Preliminary with a Young Rider, and is sired by the outstanding Trakehner stallion FLEETWATER OPPOSITION. She is a paternal sibling to  Opposition Buzz, Gold Medalist from the 2012 British Olympic squad.

Axiom DF has balanced gaits, a strong frame, and a wonderfully quiet attitude. He has a rhythm that can't be rushed and is a horse that will make any rider shine!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Introducing Wilton Rain DF

We are very excited about our two year old American Warmblood, Wilton Rain DF. By Dragonfire Kirin and out of Rani D, he gets his good looks and talent from both sides. This young gelding shows major promise as a top class event horse, with extremely rhythmical movement and a light and airy front end. You can see for yourself from this video that the sky is the limit for "Charlie"; he has a powerful hind end, straight legs with plenty of substance, and an uphill balance that will really wow the judges and get him cleanly over the stadium course. Wilton Rain DF will mature to 16.1-16.2 hands, making him the perfect prospect for anyone serious about their eventing career.

Wilton Rain DF pictured as a two year old

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mr. Chew Wins Again!

Mr. Chew looks great in blue!
Finishing on their Dressage score of 30.5, Makena Graber and her super-star partner, Mr. Chew, won their division of Beginner Novice at Eventful Acres. Finishing on your Dressage score is hard enough, but doing it your first time at a new level is almost unheard of! We couldn't be more proud of their accomplishment.

Mr. Chew is a young OTTB with tons of talent and a heart of gold. Paired with Makena's pretty outline, they are hard for the judges to resist. They have won absolutely everything they have ever entered....what a record! Not that winning is everything, Makena enjoys the journey with this once-in-a-lifetime guy, and that is what it is all about!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Allen Goes Six For Six In An Undefeated Performance

Meghan Allen showed no mercy in her first competition aboard two different Dragonfire mounts, Rani D and Dragonfire Lotus. Meghan took her pair of fabulous fillies and jumped a total of six precise and stylish rounds for wins in all six classes, including the Low Working Hunter Championship aboard Taylor McFall's Dragonfire Lotus. Of course, riding top class equines never hurts, but Meghan has what it takes to make her partner shine, and we couldn't be more proud of her success.

Meghan and Dragonfire Lotus

Meghan and Rani D

Meghan poses along side Lotus' owner and fellow Champion at the show, Taylor McFall

There Is No Charge For Awesomeness

That's one happy kid
The Santa Barbara Morgan Medallion has much to offer, but Taylor might argue that the best thing at that show is the Scavenger Hunt. Stacy Hennessy organizes this great activity for the kids, in which the grand prize for winning changes every year. The 2012 prize was a chance to drive a Hackney pony center ring during the Saturday evening performance. The pony, "Awesome Spirit", was donated by Seamair Farm and their Manager/Trainer, Greg Carstens, very generously volunteered to help the winner guide the pony through the demonstration.

Little did Greg know when he signed up for this, that Taylor McFall would win the Scavenger Hunt against all of the older, more experienced girls. This meant he had a day and a half to teach a 50 pound kid who had never driven anything but a pedal tractor, how to pilot a hackney under the evening spot light.
Greg, Taylor, and "Awesome"

After a few strict lessons from Greg and some serious concentration from Taylor, it was still not clear whether Greg felt that Taylor could safely drive on her own in the coliseum. Nonetheless, we were so happy for the opportunity for Taylor to try something new, no matter what the outcome. In the end, Greg surprised us all (including Taylor!) and let her drive on her own. It was a thrilling moment for Taylor, that certainly had us a little choked up to watch. A huge thank you goes out to Greg and Awesome for their kindness, to Stacy for organizing the hunt, to Take One Video for the great DVD and to Casey McBride for capturing the moment.

Taylor McFall and Awesome Spirit

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kasey Can Do!

Merriewold Kasey and Earl McFall

Doing the Merriewold Morgans' breeding program extremely proud, Merriewold Kasey is already a huge success at just four years of age. This youngster has wins in several fields, bringing home blues In Hand, Over Fences, in First Level Dressage and top scores in the USEA Young Event Horse Series.

Kasey most recently received the AMHA Milestone Award for being the high scoring Sport Horse at the Region 7 Morgan Medallion. He is now preparing for the Young Event Horse Championships at the Fall Three Day Event at Twin Rivers Ranch, which he easily qualified for earlier in the season. We anticipate that he will continue to be a top performer for many years to come. Congratulations to Diana Wold and her vision of breeding top sport horses coming to fruition.

Kasey receives his Milestone Award

Kasey across country


About Me

My photo
Wilton, CA
A full service equestrian facility offering lessons for all ages, training, showing, breeding and sales.

Blog Archive