By Catie Staszak/Catie Staszak Media
Lauren Crooks has never forgotten her roots. Clearview Farm in Snohomish, WA has been in her family for more than three decades, and it’s where she and her brother Sean grew up learning from some of the best horsemen in the area.
But after college, Lauren left home for the east coast, and while Clearview became a summer home for her Crooks Show Jumping operation, life on the farm was quiet in the winter months while Lauren traveled to the epicenter of equestrian sport to compete in Wellington, FL.
Lauren’s goals remain the same—to represent her country on teams and be involved at the top levels of the sport. But she also wants to take some aspiring west coast riders along for the ride.
Crooks Show Jumping, run by Lauren and James Brennan, has announced its expansion with a year-round west coast presence at Clearview Farm. The expansion comes with the addition of trainers Eric Hasbrouck and Meghan Kanz, who make the move to Snohomish this fall.
“It’s extremely exciting,” Lauren said. “I’ve always wanted to provide a service to the northwest and west coasts year-round, but the timing has never been right. The fact that we have one of the best horse training facilities in the Northwest and can now have someone at this level and expertise there is pretty exceptional.”
Hasbrouck is arguably one of the most well-rounded professionals the sport has to offer and has helped Lauren with her horses on previous occasions. He has spent more than two decades as a head trainer at two major east coast show stables, and as a rider, he represented the United States at the 1998 World Championships in Rome. He has also served on the Olympic Selection Committee for the U.S. Jumping Team for two Olympic Games and is an FEI Level 2 Course Designer.
“I’m from Ellensburg, WA, originally, and I grew up with Lauren’s dad, Mike. Much later on, I moved to the east coast to pursue my career, and over time, I kept in touch,” Hasbrouck said. “This is really the perfect union, with the fact that we’ve known each other and have already had success at a high level. We want to give the people [in the Pacific Northwest] an opportunity that doesn’t exist out there right now to have access to the best, at all levels.”
Meghan Kanz is also originally from the Tacoma, WA, area. She had a successful junior career before working professionally on the east coast; she has competed and trained across North America, recording wins in both the hunter and jumper divisions at some of the top venues in the U.S. and Canada.
“Eric really checks all the boxes with his knowledge and positive attitude. He knows how to help riders climb the ranks,” Lauren said. “On the flip side, Meghan has competed at a high level and is a very good coach and rider. She’s very organized and will help tie it all together with her attention to detail and management skills.”
Hasbrouck and Kanz will be at the Desert International Horse Park’s Desert Holiday series in December before returning to Thermal for the Desert Circuit. The remainder of their show calendar will center around events on the west coasts of the U.S. and Canada. Lauren hopes that the Crooks Show Jumping team can help elevate the careers of up-and-coming child, junior and amateur riders with high aspirations in the jumper ring.
“I would love to see some young talent that we can work with and teach the ins and outs of the sport, to make riders aware of how to grow their skills on top of horse as well as in the barn aisle as horsemen. That’s my passion,” Lauren said. “We want to produce riders as far as they can go, to develop successful riders and future professionals in the sport.”
Developing young horses through the Grand Prix levels is another area of passion and expertise for Crooks Show Jumping, and that is an endeavor the entire group will continue at their respective bases. Lauren and Brennan will maintain a winter presence in Wellington before a planned European tour, and they’ll rejoin Hasbrouck and Kanz at Clearview at other periods of the year; the 55-acre facility boasts a laundry list of features, from its 41 stalls to its indoor arena—with high performance quality footing—all-weather outdoor arena, grass flatting field (soon-to-be grand prix field) and more than 20 turnout spaces, among other amenities, with additional improvements to the venue planned.
“This is a big deal for the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest,” Lauren said. “We’ve always tried to incorporate high-level expertise back to the West Coast. For Crooks Show jumping, it really seems like a natural progression of things.”