Archives September 2009

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Sunday at the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend

Sept. 27, 2009

2009 North American Equitation Champion: Chase Boggio on Graphiq (pictured on Saturday)

Another day of excellent competition is in the books. Three big winners emerged:

Chase Boggio won the North American Equitation (we were very pleased with that, as he was one of our favorites based on his #2 ranking on the 2009 Eq Index). He rode just beautifully and his horse Graphiq went around very smoothly with a lovely rhythm. He completely dominated, winning by more than 6 points. Not even a rideoff this year. Reserve went to Laura King and we hear there's not a nicer young woman on the circuit. Congrats!

Sylvia DeToledo won the THIS National Children's Medal Final. People probably don't realize how difficult it is to qualify for these finals, it's unbelievably competitive and a real grind all year to accumulate the points to attend the finals. So each of those kids walking into the ring has already accomplished something impressive. Nonetheless, Sylvia emerged as the champion on Lion King, who is like the "Grappa" of 3' equitation. He's won the children's medal three times now, with sisters Lindsey and Kristen Mohr (they own him) and now Sylvia. He also won the Ariat Adult Final in '07 with Lindsey. He's a star, and Sylvia rode him to perfection. Props to reserve champion Sydney Calloway, she also rode brilliantly. The final result was very, very close and very well ridden.

Charlene Graham won the North American Adult Equitation title. She epitomized the classic "hunter" in hunter seat equitation, riding two lovely flowing courses on her pretty bay mare "Only You." Charlene was a delighted winner, which was nice to see. Reserve went to Melissa Feller, who was also the 2008 reserve champion in the Ariat Adult Medal Final. She rode her courses in a wonderful forward pace which was nice to watch.

The Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend, presented by us --!!! -- has come to a close. Congratulations to all the horses and riders for a great weekend of competition.

For those who were unable to attend or watch online at We taped the rounds of the winners. They're on YouTube. Click the links below. Enjoy!


Chase Boggio & Graphiq

Sylvia DeToledo & Lion King

Charlene Graham

Posted in Awesome Amateurs Bigeq , Cool Clips , Show Shots ,

Saturday at the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend

Sept. 26, 2009

Sights and scenes from day one of the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend... Cayla Richards wins the North American Flat Equitation Championship and the 15 year-old equitation division championship... Jessica Springsteen wins the 16 year-old division, riding two horses, Papillion 136 and a striking gray, Class Action... Morgan Hale (17), Caroline Spogli (13-14), and Sydney Callaway (12&u) win their age divisions. Amber Henter rides to two reserves, in the 16-year old division and in the North American Flat Equitation Championship. So many really lovely horses to watch. Helped with a lot of the awards presentations - lots of gracious and polite winners, tall horses (trying to get those ribbons on the bridle - ladder needed) and general good times. Excited for tomorrow!

View from the sponsor lounge.

2009 Capital Challenge Horse Show

Diederique Vander Knaap, youngest rider in the top ten of the NA Flat Equitation Championship - at 12!!! Wow.

Cute & Cute

Jessica Springsteen collects another blue.

Ribbons are pretty.

One of the courses.

Taylor Ann Adams in action.

Hannah Von Heidegger is all smiles after a win. She finished as reserve champion of the 12/u division.

Posted in Bigeq Show Shots , The Art of Showing ,

Online Selling Tips: Upcoming Horse Shows

Sept. 24, 2009's Horse Show Feature

Hey horse shoppers! Wouldn't it be nice if there was an online database of horse shows and the horses for sale at them? It would be so convenient, right?

Well it turns out recently created a database on our website and it's right on our front page under the "UPCOMING HORSE SHOWS" section. That's not any random list of shows; if a show is listed there, it means that one of the horses for sale on is attending that horse show. You can click that link to see the horses competing there, and then call and make an appointment.

What a fabulous selling tool! Sellers, take advantage of this extra feature to help market your horse! It's simple to add the shows your horses are attending:

Login to your account and "Edit" your horse's ad. Then it's five simple steps:

1) On your horse's ad page, scroll down to "Horse shows this horse is attending."  Click on the dropdown menu of shows (listed in alphabetical order) and select the show your horse is attending. If your show isn't listed, simply type it into the text box under "Don't see a show..." and click "Add."

2) Then select a "start date" ( select an end date of the show if it is multiday).

3) Click "Add Show." Now you'll see your show added to the show schedule!

4) Enter in all of your horse's shows.

5) Now one last VERY IMPORTANT step:
Scroll down and click "Save" at the bottom of the page!

Voila! Now you're done and buyers can coordinate with you to see your horses at shows. It's brilliant! So use this feature and help buyers in their shopping process, and help yourself sell horses more effectively. :)

Happy buying and selling on!

Posted in Bigeq Online Selling Tips ,

The Pony Zone: Ramataas & Raspberry Wine

Sept. 24, 2009

A pair of deliciously cute kids and their ponies! Both compete in the children's pony hunter division.

Here is Ramataas and Brooke Fravel having a quiet moment between classes. Ramataas is a 7 year-old 14.2h Arabian gelding.


Meanwhile, Raspberry Wine and Morgan Ward contemplate their course... and then complete it!

Raspberry Wine is a 10 year-old 12.1 7/8h Welsh Cross gelding owned by Alexa Effron.

Posted in Bigeq The Pony Zone ,

Online Selling Tips: Not Just Any Photo Will Do

Sept. 17, 2009

If you were shopping for a 3' equitation horse or hunter, which horse would you call about based on the pictures?

Ok, ok... you can probably tell that's a trick question. It's the same horse, but the photos illustrate the importance of selecting good photos for your online ad. If I were looking for a 3' eq horse and hunter, I'd call on "D". The horse looks clean, shiny and sharp with her knees. Even though photo C is a show photo, it's not really flattering, with her twisting her chest and knees over the fence as if she'd just chipped out of a terrible distance. Photo A is a schooling photo from a lesson, and not very eye catching, while Photo B is over a tiny fence that she's stepping over, even though she looks perfectly attractive.

So this example brings us to another of our Online Selling Tips: PHOTOS = VERY IMPORTANT!!

NOT JUST ANY PHOTO WILL DO when trying to sell your horses online. Riding and showing is a visually-intensive sport. We evaluate a horse not only on whether it clears a fence, but whether it does so in 'good form.'

Your photo is a buyer's first impression of the horse. In an instant the photo has to sell all your horse's good traits, as the buyer is scanning the search results pages. That little thumbnail image is the first step in hooking a potential buyer, so make sure it's good. Here are our tips on selecting good photos to accompany your ads:

• First off: no picture, no sale. We sampled the page views for a group of comparable large ponies listed during a one month time period. The ponies with photos were viewed more than twice as much as the ponies with no photos, despite being similar in capabilities and experience. Any photo is better than none.

• Get a good jumping photo (or conformation shot if the animal isn't backed/jumping yet). Try to get the magic "knee" shot, with both knees up and together at the midpoint of flight over the fence. Many buyers like to view a conformation shot, and the ideal shot would have the horse bridled, clean, and posed in a background that is not distracting on a sunny day.

• A professional or high quality amateur photograph from a horse show is best. DO NOT steal proofs from professional photographers online. Buy the photos and get permission to use them from the photographer.

• If you decide to photograph your horse at home, remember to present the horse as if you would at a show, meticulously groomed, and tack clean (avoid bright, distracting tack bling, polos/boots or saddle pads). The rider should also be well dressed, in boots, breeches and a polo shirt. You want the buyer to focus on the horse, not on the rider's hot pink hat cover and matching saddle pad.

• Select a nice jump to photograph, similar to what you might see in the show ring in terms of condition, not chipped up and worn out. Be aware of distractions in the background: like other horses, people by the ring, farm buildings/equipment, etc. For conformation shots, much of the same applies: pick a nice level place with few distractions. And lastly, shoot on a sunny day! Make sure you're positioned to capture the 'sunny-side' of the horse.

• As you're preparing to submit your ad for your online advertisement, we do recommend color-correcting and cropping your image in photoshop, or another editing program. Make sure the colors and lighting are bright and even, and crop out everything but the horse and the jump.

• Leave any editing at that. Don't be digitally dishonest by Photoshopping your 2'6" hunter into a working hunter. Bigeq does not condone photoshopping of jump heights or other dishonest practices, and we ban it on

Posted in Bigeq Online Selling Tips ,

Show Shots: Coupe De Coeur

Sept. 17, 2009

Ludger Beerbaum & Coupe De Coeur

During the World Cup in Las Vegas earlier this year, one had to wonder whether there is a more beautiful horse on the planet? Jump for jump, he was nothing short of gorgeous, bringing pleasure to all in his presence.

He may not have won, but he wowed us all.

Posted in Bigeq Show Shots ,

View from the JudgeĆ­s Booth: Judging Rhode Island Finals

Sept. 12, 2009

By Kim Ablon Whitney

I had the pleasure of judging the Rhode Island Medal Finals with Carol Maloney.  What a wonderful Finals from start to finish!  Hats off to the show managers, Hillary Vars Whelan and Mary Charrette, and everyone involved in making this such a top quality regional finals.  One certainly could argue that we have too many regional finals but this final is one worth keeping on the calendar!

To begin with when I checked into my hotel there was a goodie bag waiting for me with bottles of water, energy bars, and other snacks!  How thoughtful!  Judges love to be taken care of and the little things like this matter.  Believe it or not, even just a little bag with snacks is a rare luxury for a judge!  There was also a copy of the program, which was beautifully done.  It was fun to flip through and see the winners of past years.

The Finals were held after a day of non-stop Hurricane-Danny-downpour but you wouldn’t know it arriving at the showgrounds at Glen Farm Sunday morning.  The sand ring was well groomed and the footing looked good.  The jumps were beautiful with lots of bushes and mums all around.  Since I was judging it’s hard to know how the schooling areas were but there seemed to be both outside and indoor schooling, which must have been a plus.  Ed Nowak signaled the beginning of each class with his horn, adding a desired degree of pomp and circumstance.

The show was well run with riders coming in the ring on time and no “empty ring” syndrome, thanks to paddock master, Doug Raucher.  The courses, designed by Tom Hern, were very nice and always appropriate for the class level.

Overall the riding was good throughout the day, especially the top riders in the adult and junior medal classes.  The weakest class was certainly the adult mini medal.  The mini adults actually started the day off well in the open classic class and then waiting around for their medal class probably took its toll on the riders.  Adults are usually best when they don’t have to wait around!

One trouble spot for many riders in all classes was a jump going towards the judge’s booth, which was on an admittedly ugly truck, semi-disguised by a few bushes.  A lot of horses spooked at this jump and while that was a shame it also is what showing is all about.  How you do at each horse show is about preparation but also about the luck of the day and dealing with the issues and obstacles that arise.

Another foible of the day was when the results of the adult medal final were announced wrong, with third and second place switched.  Thank God I noticed the error when the ribbons were being awarded and the mistake was quickly righted.  It’s never fun to have to take away a ribbon from someone but in this case I believe both riders knew where they were to end up given the test and no one was too upset.

At lunch riders and trainers were treated to a buffet of sandwiches and such.  What a nice touch this was!  There was also a silent auction for riders to browse.

The Classics were smartly pinned outside the ring to keep the show moving but the medal classes were given their due and pinned in the ring.  Each rider received beautiful ribbons and sashes and there seemed to be lots of trophies and trainer awards.

I was impressed by how many people lined the ring to watch all day and cheered the riders on.  There seemed to be a wonderful collegial atmosphere throughout the day, with everyone cheering each other on.

Carol and I had a great time together and found ourselves in agreement throughout the day.  The junior medal was probably the most fun to judge because the test, which included counter-cantering a jump, proved to be interesting.  The rider who was on top tried to hold the counter canter but couldn’t; she then executed a simple change. 

The rider behind her rode a flawless test, managing to hold the counter canter.  Carol and I chose to keep the riders the way they were since the first rider had a much stronger first round and because technically she didn’t do anything wrong in the test.  If she had made a mistake the other girl would have certainly moved up but sometimes you can hold your position if you put in a solid, although not stunning, test.  I certainly admire the girl who rode the more stylish test—someday that will win her the class.

All in all, I think everyone—riders, trainers, spectators, and staff—had a great day!  Kudos to everyone involved, especially anyone I’ve overlooked mentioning here!

For more about Kim Ablon Whitney, visit her website:

Posted in Bigeq Guest Bloggers , to Sponsor 2009 Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend

Sept. 10, 2009

Sept. 10, 2009 - is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the 2009 Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend. The prestigious event held on Saturday, September 26th and Sunday, September 27th opens the 2009 Capital Challenge Horse Show, which runs from September 26th through October 4th at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD.

During the Equitation Weekend, the best hunt seat equitation riders in the country will come together to compete in flat and over-fence classes. Saturday’s events will feature divisions for each age group and will take place indoors and out. Sunday’s three featured classes will begin at 8 am in the Show Place Arena. The North American Junior Equitation Championship begins the schedule of events.  The Junior Equitation Championship is a challenging multiphase event over fences at a height of 3’6.  The class requires accuracy, consistency and communication between horse and rider in order to navigate the technical course.          

The second class on Sunday’s schedule is the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children’s Medal (NCM) Finals.  This class is for riders under the age of 18 who have competed throughout the year in qualifying shows. The Taylor Harris Insurance Services NCM is a competitive steppingstone into the 3’6” equitation division.  Riders collect points throughout the year for placing in each class in an effort to qualify for the NCM Finals. The top riders in the country are invited to compete in the NCM Finals to jump a course of three-foot fences.  The panel of five judges numerically scores the riders and the top ten are asked to return over a shortened course. It has been a very competitive qualifying year with over 600 classes held across North America.

The final equitation class held on September 27th in the Show Place Arena is the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championship.  The class is open to adult riders who will navigate a course of fences 3’ – 3’3” in height. A panel of five judges will numerically score riders in the two-round class. The winner of the class is the highest scoring rider. is first in hunter/jumper sales online. It is the leading website for buying and selling hunter/jumper horses and ponies on the internet. Our comprehensive sales website is simple and user-friendly for both buyers and sellers. Since 1999, it has hosted thousands of ads from leadline ponies to grand prix show jumpers, many resulting in successful sales. For more information, please visit:

For more information, please visit the Capital Challenge website: For more information on the Capital Challenge Horse Show call (301) 260-2467 prior to the show or (301) 952-7944 during the show.

Posted in Bigeq

The Art of Showing: Curvilinearity

Sept. 10, 2009

Curvilinear, adj., 1 consisting of or bounded by curved lines, represented by a curved line; 2 marked by flowing tracery.

Is there anything more lovely than the curving lines of a horse's neck, beautifully framed with braided mane, bit and bridle?

Posted in Bigeq The Art of Showing ,

Cool Clips: Sara Wytrzes & Finally

Sept. 5, 2009

An oldie, but a goodie: Sara Wytrzes, the 2000 ASPCA Maclay Reserve Champion, competing at the New England Equitation Championships of the same year. Good equitation never goes out of style, and to all the equitation riders out there, let Sara's video be inspiration for your upcoming equitation finals!

Posted in Bigeq Bigeq Classic , Cool Clips ,