BY KATHLEEN MARTINEZ
Seated in the middle of Northern Illinois’ horse country is a unique year-round Hunter/Jumper show series that has established a popular format of its own. The Revolution Show Series was co-founded by Elizabeth Rietesel-Karlen and Ashley Fry, mainstays in the local Hunter/Jumper community, who started the series four years ago with a vision to offer a high-quality showing experience without the rated show price tag.
The dual soon found a niche to offer more educational opportunities for developing local riders and the Revolution Series clinic +show format was born. The format is so popular that most clinic are sold out soon after the clinician/judge is announced on their social media. With a desirable rotation of different clinician/judges throughout the show season, the pre-show Friday evening clinic groups are kept small to keep the exchange of educational information between the riders and clinician focused. This exchange of learning doesn’t end there. Whether a good or bad round in the show ring, clinic riders also get one chance to ask for on-the-spot input from the Judge after they have finished their over fences class.
Co-Founder, Elizabeth Rietesel-Karlen explains, “We feel that adding education into the show experience will help riders grow in their rides at home and return to the next show to improve on their courses. This enables riders and horses an opportunity to grow in their riding and schooling, to move up the levels, and to experience the joys of horse showing.”
Careful thought goes into the rotation of invited professional riders, trainers and carded judges to serve as the show’s featured clinician and judge over the three day show schedule. Seeking only top professionals in their discipline, notable invitees can range 4-Star Event riders, to nationally competitive Grand Prix and Hunter Derby riders and trainers. This careful mix of enlightening experiences for horse and rider alike are so popular with exhibitors that the clinician/judges are often invited back for the following show season.
The REV Series, as they’re affectionately known, goes as far as producing their own educational video series, “Horse Show Life” whereas host Elizabeth Rietesel-Karlen explores topics from proper show attire to creating a successful program by interviewing professionals in the Hunter/Jumper community. The library of videos housed on their website offer information for those riders and trainers looking for a different perspective in continuing education.
Showing at the Revolution Series can offer those riders and horses who wish to accumulate points a robust year end award ceremony. Additionally, the top-ranking riders who compete in Revolution Series classics during the show season can get a taste of the big rings as the series hosts a formal Invitational with increased prize money at their finals. This is yet another step that the REV team uses to prepare emerging riders for the upper levels and rewards them with
a sense of pride and accomplishment. As one northern Illinois’ long-standing hunter/jumper shows partnered with the TIP program (Thoroughbred Incentive Program) those riders and owners of Jockey Club registered OTTBs can compete in TIP classes and earn high points in addition to qualifying for the TIP Championships in Lexington, Kentucky. As of recently, the REV team was excited to announce that they will be offering USHJA Outreach classes as a newly sanctioned USHJA Outreach show for 2021.
When speaking about the versatility of the Revolution Series, Co-Founder, Ashley Fry adds, “We love that trainers now have the flexibility to bring their beginner riders, green horses and seasoned show teams all to one show and have a positive competitive experience. We can’t wait to see what the future holds next!”
For more information about the Revolution Series, please visit their website at: www.revolutionseries.org.