Monday, December 29, 2014

Dragonfire Kublakhan: My Time With A Legend

We have suffered a great loss in the equestrian world with the passing of Dragonfire Kublakhan.

Dragonfire Kublakhan April 26, 1983 - December 19, 2014
Named after the powerful Mongolian leader, the life of Kublakhan began during the fledgling years of Dragonfire Farm, our then small, family owned, Morgan horse breeding operation in Loomis, California. His sire was the Park Harness Champion turned Western Pleasure winner, UC Viscount, a beautiful and petite horse with a kind eye. His can-do attitude and willingness to try new things was a consistent trait in his foals. Kublakhan's dam was Dragonfire Chi Lin, a mare full of stamina and lust for life. Her career was mainly focused on Dressage, but she also spent many hours on the trail with her young rider, Jennifer Forrest. I was nine at the time of his birth, and I was already an avid horse lover and adventurist.

Khan and I as kids at the Loomis farm
As a young horse, Khan showed much promise for the sport field, and was sold to Dressage rider/judge, Lynn Brown, as a two year old Dressage prospect. When Lynn started a family and found that time was short for her then four year old stallion, Kublakhan, our farm purchased him back and had him started under saddle by Winnie Northcutt. Our adventures together started in earnest when he was five and I was thirteen.

My mother decided to geld Khan and give him to me to ride, as the mare I rode at the time, Dragonfire Phoenix, just didn't seem to be the right match for me.  Although she was gifted and we won at most everything we tried, I was easily frustrated with her and simply was not mature enough to handle her feminine perspective. I'm not exactly sure why my mother would take a leap of faith and hand Kublakhan over to me. Considering the fact that Khan was actually a lovely stallion prospect for her Morgan breeding program, and I was a snotty pre-teen who probably barely deserved a Shetland to ride. Although the "why" remains a mystery to me, I am forever grateful for that decision of hers!

One of the pictures used of Khan on the cover of The Morgan Horse Magazine
Khan became the center of my life; he was a challenge, he was a winner, he was a kind soul. He and I were a pair determined to try everything, whether it was going to Fairs and competing for High Point, costume classes dressed as a double headed dragon with my friend Sheryl and her horse Spider, Pony Club Nationals in Dressage, upper level Eventing, racing boys in cars along the road at Folsom Lake, or chasing down bobcats while boonie-crashing. He was the friend that kept me from being interested in trouble, listened to my problems without judgement, and helped me run out my teenage frustrations on legs that were far more capable than my own.

We won our first major Morgan horse titles in 1989, starting with the AMHA Dressage Gold Medal Finals. Kublakhan would go on to win this title two more times in his career, in 1992 with Stacy Maier, and in 1997 with Melissa (Hart) Votaw. I also won the AMHA Hunter Seat Over Fences Gold Medal Final, as well as countless National and World titles in Dressage and Jumpers with Kublakhan.

Melissa and her sister Sam had a successful year in 1997
Stacy Maier and Khan after winning the 1992 Gold Medal 
Lynn Roberts, though reluctant to teach children, had been my Dressage trainer when I rode Phoenix. She was instrumental in my career once I had graduated to Khan and we enjoyed many great wins together. She travelled all the way to Oklahoma City with me to coach at the The Morgan Grand Nationals, and guided me to World Titles. She would also be there for me at my eventing competitions, forever a stern voice and avid supporter. She was willing to work with Khan's bounding exuberance for any job put to him, and would never turn up her nose at his unconventional movement and size. She was such a supportive coach, I believe she publicly scolded anyone rude enough to poke fun at my Morgan Horse during a time when his breed was considered "strange" in open circles.

Khan and I were lucky to have Lynn in our corner! She stands here presenting the bouquet of roses.
Khan broke down many barriers on the open circuit, particularly in Eventing. He was everything that a fashionable event horse was not. He was a breed known for pulling carts, he was small, he had high knee action, he was hot, and he had a look in him.  When my interests focused mainly on Eventing, I was told by many that I would need another horse. But, my mother told me that this was the horse I had and I didn't need anymore than that... I would have to figure it out. Happily for me, my luck with good coaching wasn't limited to Dressage. 

I had met Valerie (Williams) Owens when I was a seven year old Pony Clubber on my even smaller Morgan mare, Rosie. Val's beautiful personality made her the pied piper of little horse girls, and I was just crazy about her. She would be a positive influence in my life through three horses, including Khan. Her encouragement to keep working through the refusals on my spooky boy, Khan, was instrumental to our continuation in Eventing. Before she moved to England, she saw me through my first ever long-format CCI*, The Fritz Cup hosted at Ram Tap. By this time, Khan was over his need to stop and evaluate each obstacle on cross country, and he was becoming known as the little horse that could instead. He ended up 6th in that first FEI appearance, with a clean cross country and stadium round to his credit.

My first official trot up

Khan had beautiful form in our first CCI
As we ventured into the upper levels of Eventing, Beth Perkins came on board as my new coach. Beth's vast knowledge and infamous bravery were the exact ingredients we needed to continue to excel. As I look back, Beth's unwavering belief in us as a pair was likely the reason that we went as far as we did.

Kublakhan gained notoriety across the country, in a time when there was no social media to expedite awareness. He brought credibility to the Morgan breed as he moved up to the Advanced level of Eventing, the first of his breed to do so, and took top honors at many of his competitions. During his career, he would be on several covers of magazines, and even the cover the Pony Club A Manual, as a symbol of correct form and style. He had overcome any preconceived notions that others had of him and turned cynics into fans. He adored his job as an event horse, which was obvious after his jump rounds as he would passage the entire way back to the barn.

Kublakhan winning an Open Intermediate division in 1992
Khan became fearless and often posted some of the fasted rounds cross country
Khan's image was often used as an example of form, such as this photo
Khan in his induction to the Morgan Hall of Fame, performing his trick that is now copied by other Morgan Jumpers 
Khan's retirement from high performance was just as significant as his younger days. I became a professional at eighteen, and my business was focused on the Morgan Show circuit. Khan spent time with adult amateurs, Toast Coley in the Bay Area,  and Kathy Smith of Scottsdale, continuing as an ambassador to his breed in the Dressage world. He then came back to our Wilton farm as one of our most reliable teachers in our  Academy @ Dragonfire, nurturing youngsters' love for horses. He was kind and gentle with adults and babes, giving them all a special connection with the animal world that they will certainly never forget.

Khan with my daughter, Taylor, when she was a two year old
Khan and Melissa continued their relationship as joint teachers to beginners in our Academy

Taylor and I take a bareback ride aboard our most trusted friend
Retired from the Academy, Khan was often a beautiful centerpiece on Dragonfire's lawn
Toni Casados gave great comfort to Khan in his twilight years with weekly massage treatments
Losing Khan has been one of the hardest things I have ever dealt with. He has been a constant love in my life, an anchor of friendship during my teen years, starting a business, marriage and motherhood. He was my teacher not only in riding, but in life, helping me learn not to set limits on myself. He was 15.1 hands of the purest heart, that showed me to create opportunity by believing in the possibilities. He will be forever remembered as the greatest soul I have been lucky enough to have met. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dragonfire To Host Hawley Bennett January 24-25, 2015

Still scrambling around Holiday shopping??? Here's a perfect gift for the competitive rider in your life: a clinic at Dragonfire with Hawley Bennett! 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.

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, December 11, 2014

Check Out The YouTube Channel PonyTube!

Check out the new YouTube channel, PonyTube! Taylor and her friends will have fun adventures with ponies while learning important lessons. All skits are written, directed, and edited by an 11 year old, with a perspective only a child can convey!

Here is the first episode:

Make sure to subscribe to the channel to keep up with the Adventures of Taylor and Prince!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dragonfire Welcomes Walsh Products To Our Team

Walsh products has a long and rich heritage of producing peerless products known for their craftsmanship, longevity and ease of use. Founded in 1914 by James Walsh, the company grew to prominence by developing distinctive products like the innovative Walsh No-Buckle Harness. Dragonfire has been using their top of the line leather halters for years when showing their Morgans, and they are excited to now use them and other products for their event horses. Check out their website by clicking here!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Jennifer McFall Awarded Rebecca Broussard Grant

Jennifer McFall and High Times

At the 2014 USEA Convention, Jennifer McFall was awarded the Rebecca Broussard National Developing Rider Grant, which includes a check for $10,000.

This grant is bestowed by the Broussard Family through the United States Eventing Association Endowment Trust in honor of the memory of Rebecca Chaney Broussard. Mrs. Broussard supported numerous international riders through both her generous financial contributions and horse ownership. Mrs. Broussard (familiarly known as "Becky") was truly respected and admired by all who knew her, and the sport of Eventing has benefited at all levels from her extraordinary vision, involvement and loyalty.

The Rebecca Broussard National Developing Rider Grant is designed to assist and to encourage the development of Event Riders at the highest level of the sport. This grant will be awarded to offset some of the travel and training expenses that go along with competing in the sport of eventing at the top levels.

Jennifer is so thankful for the help she will receive from this grant, and to the Broussard's who are supporting her dreams to compete at the highest levels of the sport. It is a great honor and one that she will be forever grateful for.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

High Times Finishes Top Ten At Galway Downs CCI***

photo by COTH
High Times and Jennifer McFall remain consistent at the CCI*** level, with their second 9th place finish, this time at Galway Downs. 2013 saw them take the same result at the Jersey Fresh Three Day Event, their first attempt at the level. The partnership between the two is obviously deepening, with improved performances throughout the season. 2015 could really be their year, and we can't wait to see what the future holds for them.

Enjoy this video of their cross country round as the trailblazers to Ian Stark's tough new and improved course at Galway Downs. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Academy @ Dragonfire Gears Up For The Jingle Bell Show

Come one, come all, to our annual Jingle Bell Show at Dragonfire! The show will be held on December 13, starting at 10:00 with classes for all ages. There will be something for everyone as students perform Dressage tests, jumping rounds, games, and also decorate their ponies and horses with holiday cheer. To finish the afternoon, we will again be hosting a hot soup buffet in the lounge to warm up the spectators and riders alike. We can't wait to see you here and celebrate another wonderful year together!

Enjoy this video of last year's show!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

DF Shines at West Coast FEH Championships

The Dragonfire breeding program was well represented at the 2014 USEA Future Event Horse Championships at Galway Downs with Let's Go DF and Simple Dreams DF challenging the Three Year Old and Yearlings classes. Each of these individuals displayed an undeniable star quality above and beyond the required athletic ability and tractability needed to be successful.

Let's Go DF
Let's Go DF is a stunning example of the modern day Event horse. He is solidly and correctly built, his light and airy movement keeps him floating easily above the ground, and his quiet temperament makes him a dream to work around. His sire is the Holsteiner, Linaro, who is double Ladykiller (TB) and Cor De La Bryere (Selle Francais), two of the most sought after names in jumping history. and his dam is a Holsteiner/Thoroughbred cross that is a winning Event horse herself. Let's Go DF won the West Coast Three Year Old FEH Championship, before being named the 2014 Overall FEH Champion with Earl McFall at the lead.

Simple Dreams DF

Simple Dreams DF was all business as she claimed the West Coast Yearling Championship. With her purposeful movement and focus on the task at hand, she wowed the judges with her performance. Not only did she win her age group, but she also came third in the overall championship, right behind Let's Go DF and the Reserve Champion Three Year Old. Simple Dreams DF is by Dragonfire Kirin, a World Champion Morgan in his own right, and the sire champions. Her dam is an Irish Sport Horse by the incomparable Master Imp, and out of a Cavalier Royale mare, breeding known worldwide for producing Olympic Champions.

If you are looking for the stars of the future, look no further than Dragonfire Farm. We are committed to breeding and producing America's best and brightest event horses.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rising Stars: Amanda Blake and Tahoe's Prize DF

Amanda and Tahoe enjoy some quiet time together at Twin Rivers
Amanda Blake and her four year old Thoroughbred, Tahoe's Prize DF, have had a sensational first year together competing up and down the West Coast together. They spent the Summer taking clinics, traveling to schoolings, and competing in the YEH in Montana. As their experiences together deepened the partnership, the two emerged victorious, taking first place in the Beginner Novice division at Twin Rivers. They continued down the coast to Galway Downs, where they had a very confident move up to the Novice level. Keep an eye out for them, because we are most certain that there will be more blues in the future for this fantastic pair!

Amanda and Tahoe go cross country schooling

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Congratulations Hawley!

Calamity Twain DF
 We are very excited to announce that Hawley Bennett has selected Calamity Twain DF as her next upper level prospect. Hawley knows exactly what it takes to compete at the top of the sport of Eventing, with two Olympics and a WEG Silver Medal already to her name, and she knows that classic Thoroughbred blood will get you there. "Olive" is impressively bred, being by The Twain, and out of a line bred Mr. Prospector/Native Dancer mare. At just two years old, she certainly already has the looks and temperament that make her an obvious choice for the future.

In keeping with her theme of festive libations, Hawley will be renaming this stunning filly Bikini Martini. We are thrilled with this pairing and can hardly wait to see what great things the future holds for them. Congratulations Hawley and Olive!

Now known as Bikini Martini

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dragonfire Mourns The Loss of Classic Twain DF

Classic Twain DF
A bright star has burned out too soon with the loss of Classic Twain DF. At just five years old, "Jake" had already shown the world that he was one to keep an eye on, and had garnered many fans with his steamy good looks and extravagant jump. Jake will forever be missed here at Dragonfire, as we wonder  as to what might have been in his future career.

Below is a video of his final jump school, a clinic with Buck Davidson before his Galway Downs Training level run.

Rest In Peace

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Congratulations Karen!

Tim and Jennifer
We are extremely happy to congratulate Karen Burks of Berkeley, CA, on her purchase of Tim Terrific. Karen was looking for that 'once in a lifetime' partner and she couldn't have found a better horse to fit that description! Tim has been a barn favorite here at Dragonfire over the past few years, and was enjoyed by both Earl and Jennifer McFall up through the 1* level. Karen will no doubt benefit from his experience and will climb the levels herself in the future with the guidance of her trainer, Heidi Riddle. Best wishes to Karen and this special horse!

Tim and Earl

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dragonfire Kirin Salutes His 2014 Winning Progeny

Dragonfire Kirin
Our senior stallion, Dragonfire Kirin, continues to be a relevant sire both in the show arena and the sport field. Kirin's own performance record is more than impressive with World Champion titles in Four Year Old Hunter Pleasure, Open Hunter Pleasure, Youth Hunter Pleasure, Training Level Dressage, First Level Dressage Open and Amateur, and Second Level Dressage. He has countless national and regional titles to his credit. He is also doubled registered as an American Warmblood and has been successful at both open Dressage shows and in Eventing. As a sire, Dragonfire Kirin passes on his desire to please, sensibility, and a sound athletic ability.

Art In Motion
Natalie Jensen piloted her own Art In Motion (Dragonfire Kirin x GPM Jewel B) the to 2014 World Champion Jumper title this year inOklahoma City under the Dragonfire banner. This pair was unstoppable, with wins in all three of the Grand National Jumper qualifiers, before being awarded the much coveted tricolor and roses.

Following in his father's footsteps, Lightyear (Dragonfire Kirin x Festival Shady Lady), was crowned a World Champion in Youth Hunter Pleasure. Shown by Abby Jacobi and owned by Sandra Gruen, "Buzz" is under the guidance of Rushton Stables.

Dragonfire Wasabi
The 2014 World Champion Four Year Old Western Pleasure horse was the incomparable beauty, Dragonfire Wasabi (Grand Cru Beaujolais x Dragonfire Nova by Dragonfire Kirin). Owned by Madi Fitzgerald and presented by Kelly Kraegel of Cottonwood Creek Ranch, this young stallion has a very bright future ahead of him.

Simple Dreams DF
Dragonfire Farm proudly presented the 2014 West Coast USEA Yearling Future Event Horse Champion, Simple Dreams DF. Handled by Earl McFall, "Pixie" was a show-stopper with her purposeful stride and confident attitude. She is by Dragonfire Kirin and out of the ISH mare, Highland Empress, who is by the great Master Imp and out of a Cavalier Royale mare.

Rouge Et Blanc DF
Madison Langerak has enjoyed an incredibly successful year with Rouge Et Blanc DF. Guided by Mittleider Eventing, Madison and "Roger" have earned blue ribbons at Training level, year end awards including Junior Event Rider of the Year, and also the Triple Crown Junior Young Rider PRO Scholarship. Rouge Et Blanc DF is by Dragonfire Kirin and out of the Thoroughbred mare, A Buccaneer's Life.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Watch Cori Davis In Her First Advanced Cross Country

We are so proud of Cori Davis and her horse, A Golden Effort, and their achievements this season. Not only did they win the CIC** at Copper Meadows this Summer, but they also successfully moved up to the Advanced level at Twin Rivers Ranch. We are thrilled to be a part of their journey and can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for them!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Taylor To Host An Academy Grooming Clinic

Taylor McFall and Kilbarry Prince
Taylor McFall is hosting a free grooming clinic for the Academy @ Dragonfire. All students are welcome to enjoy this day of hands-on bathing, clipping and braiding ponies with Taylor. Several ponies will be available and everyone will get a chance to help, and to learn how to prepare a pony for the show ring. The clinic will start at 1:00 PM on Saturday, October 18th. Please come and enjoy this educational and fun day at Dragonfire!

Monday, September 8, 2014

2015 Foal Fever Mounting

The Twain has had yet another very successful season in the breeding shed, and we simply cannot wait for the Spring of 2015. Amongst the many beautiful mares bred to him this season, these stellar FEI performers stand out in the crowd.

Ballinakill Glory
Topping the list is the great Ballinakill Glory, owned by James and Andrea Pfeiffer. From the time they found the talented Irish Sport Horse as a three year old in Ireland, Ballinakill Glory showed great promise and did not disappoint on the high hopes her rider, Kelly Prather,  and owners had for her. With career highlights that include finishing 16th at the World Cup Finals in Poland in 2009, winning 2 World Cup CIC3 * events, the Inaugural CCI2* at Fair Hill, several Advanced horse trials, and most recently completing the Rolex Kentucky CCI4*, Ballinakill Glory proved she was up to any challenge. She is by the Thoroughbred stallion, Mark Twain and out of the Irish Draught mare, Ballinakill Popsey, who brings King Of Diamonds into the pedigree.

The winning 1* mare, Governess, is also expecting for 2015. Governess is a Belgian Warmblood/Selle Francais mare who is by Jamestown, a Quidam de Ravel son out of Black Diamond, a Darco mare. She is a full sibling to 4**** performer, Goodknight, and has an impressive record of her own with many wins. Governess competed with both Jolie Wentworth as well as with her owner, Kate Miller.

The impressive young Holsteiner mare, Vanity, rounds out our top three. She is by the late elite Holsteiner Stallion, Liostro and out of Panorama, by Sabotage.  Owned by Elizabeth and Tessa Robinson, Vanity's winning career has been managed by Robyn Fisher, and will continue to compete after her foal by The Twain.

We congratulate the owners of these fantastic FEI mares for choosing The Twain in 2014. Not only did The Twain successfully cover these top performing mares, he also bred many promising young mares with exciting pedigrees and talent of their own. Although he has started his Sport Horse breeding late in life, The Twain will most certainly make a mark on the American Eventing world that will last for generations to come. In the mean time, the anticipation for next year's foals is practically unbearable as we all wait to see these future stars emerge.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Congratulations Patricia!

Many congratulations go out to Patricia Stevens of San Juan Capistrano, CA, on her purchase of Axiom DF. This youngster is sure to have an illustrious career, and is well on his way already to making a name for himself on the eventing scene. With strong wins both in FEH and YEH, Axiom DF is primed for the Four Year Old Championship competition at Galway Downs later this year.

Axiom DF, Four Year Old YEH winner
Axiom's beauty and talent are matched by his temperament, making him an ideal event horse for any rider. Bred by Dragonfire Farm, and presented by Earl McFall, he was a hit at The Event at Rebecca Farm.

Axiom DF will continue his career with Dragonfire through the 2014 West Coast YEH Championships and will then go on to his new home at Hawley Bennett Eventing, located in Temecula, CA. Congratulations again to Patricia and Hawley on this stellar prospect and future partner. We wish you success and happiness with this special horse.

photos by Sherry Stewart

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

JoJo Sox Joins Our Team

We are thrilled to have JoJo Sox join our elite family of sponsors.  Thanks to the innovation of Jessica and Joanna Godwin, JoJo Sox has created durable, slip free, eco-friendly socks. These performance-based socks for boots take advantage of materials such as COOLMAX and Bamboo to make the most comfortable sock available. Check out the website here!

Sock of the Month Club...YES PLEASE!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dragonfire Sweeps All Three Divisions at the Woodside Future Event Horse Series

From left to right: Let's Go DF, Tropic Delight, and Simple Dreams DF
Team DF gave the eventing world a taste of the future with entries in the Three Year Old, Two Year Old, and Yearling classes at the Summer Event at Woodside's FEH. All three youngsters were a beautiful display of temperament and athleticism, giving solid performances with Earl McFall at the lead.

Winning the Three Year Olds by over sixteen points and receiving the highest score of the day was Let's Go DF, a  16.3 hand Holsteiner gelding bred and owned by Dragonfire Farm. By Linaro and out of Rani D, Let's Go DF is everything an event horse should be. He is powerful in build and light in movement, with an obviously willing attitude and quiet demeanor.

Let's Go DF, Three Year Old FEH winner
Topping the Two Year Old class was Nancy Dein's homebred filly, Tropic Delight. Her long striding walk and sharp look did her owner proud, as she strutted on the triangle. Tropic Deight is a Trakehner by E.H Lehndorff's and out of Tigerlily, an imported mare by Latimer.

Nancy Dein and her own Tropic Delight, Two Year Old FEH winner
The crowd favorite and Yearling winner was Simple Dreams DF, a classy and spirited filly by Dragonfire Kirin out of the ISH mare, Highland Empress (Master Imp/Cavalier Royale). This filly showed how much she thought of herself as she modeled quietly and perfectly before showing on the triangle with style and a little flair. She is bred and owned by Dragonfire Farm and earned the second highest score of the day.

Simple Dreams DF, Yearling FEH winner


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

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