Plaidcast 349: Troy Hendricks & Oliver Kennedy by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services

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Plaidcast Episode 349 Troy Hendricks Oliver Kennedy

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Piper and Traci Brooks of Balmoral Farm speak with Troy Hendricks of Kimber-View Stables about judging some of the top shows in this country. Oliver Kennedy, co-founder of the Capital Challenge Horse Show, also joins to talk about the upcoming show in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Brought to you by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services. Listen in!

GUESTS AND LINKS:

  • Host: Piper Klemm of The Plaid Horse Magazine and Traci Brooks
  • Guest: Troy Hendricks owns and operates Kimber-View Stables in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. Troy has over 30 years of experience in the industry and has trained several champions and reserve champions at prestigious shows such as Devon, Harrisburg, Washington, and The National. Troy has been a USEF large “R” judge since 2010 and has judged shows such as the Winter Equestrian Festival, The Desert Horse International Horse Park, Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, Blenheim, Pin Oak and most recently, the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in Lexington, Kentucky.
  • Guest: Oliver Kennedy is a horse show announcer, a top horse show manager, a USEF licensed judge and an FEI official. Oliver co-created and operates the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Oliver also owns and operates ESP Farm in Brookville, Maryland with his wife, top trainer and rider, Rachel Kennedy.
  • Title Sponsor: Taylor, Harris Insurance Services, Taylor, Harris Insurance Services (THIS) was founded in 1987 to provide specialized insurance for all types of equine risk. THIS places their policies with the highest rated and most secure carriers, meticulously selected for reliability and prompt claims settlement. THIS is proud of their worldwide reputation for responsive and courteous service, and welcomes the opportunity to discuss your equine insurance needs and provide you with a quote.
  • Photo Credit: Andrew Ryback Photography & Jump Media
  • Subscribe To: The Plaid Horse Magazine
  • Sponsors: Purina Animal NutritionAmerica CryoAlexis Kletjian Jewelry, LAURACEA, BoneKare, Austin Hardware, Show Strides Book Series, With Purpose: The Balmoral Standard and Good Boy, Eddie

This transcript was generated automatically. Its accuracy may vary.

Piper Klemm 
[00:01:04] This is the Plaidcast. I’m Piper Klemm, publisher of the Plaid Horse magazine, and this episode is co-hosted by Traci Brooks of Balmoral Farm. Coming up on today’s episode, we talked to trainer and Judge Troy Hendricks about judging Derby Finals and some of the other top shows he’s done recently, as well as his career and training business. And we speak with show manager Oliver Kennedy about this year’s upcoming Capital Challenge Horse Show in Marlborough, Maryland. This episode is brought to you by Taylor Harris Insurance Services. Welcome back to the plaidcast, Traci. 

Traci Brooks [00:01:40] Hi, Piper Thank you. 

Piper Klemm [00:01:41] It’s been a little bit since you’ve been on. We’ve had a busy summer. 

Traci Brooks [00:01:47] Yes, it’s a blur. It’s all a blur. 

Piper Klemm [00:01:50] It’s all a blur. There were a lot of horse shows and things and stuff and things. 

Traci Brooks [00:01:55] Yes. And you moved and did so many things. What were some of your highlights? 

Piper Klemm [00:01:59] Oh, gosh, I’m not. I’m not that organized yet about the summer. But it was. It was all summer. No, I mean, I actually that’s not true. I had three of the best trips I’ve ever had in my life in Kentucky, and I’m really proud of that. And I did not win any of them. And I. 

Traci Brooks [00:02:19] That means nothing. That means nothing. 

Piper Klemm [00:02:22] It means nothing. One was scored and I got an 87, which is personal best, and the other two weren’t scored. But I still feel like they were a personal best. And I’m really excited about that because, you know, it’s been a while coming. 

Traci Brooks [00:02:40] Well, and that’s what it’s about, right? That’s what it’s about. And then trying to repeat that whole in one next time. 

Piper Klemm [00:02:47] Yeah. And I think that that’s what I’m pretty excited about is even my trips that were not that, you know or not I wasn’t falling off this summer. So that was very exciting. The bad, the bad is getting better. The good it’s getting better, it’s all getting better. 

Traci Brooks [00:03:03] I did see a couple of those trips I was there to witness and they were beautiful. They were really beautiful out in the all tech. It was fun. 

Piper Klemm [00:03:14] Yeah. So, so that was a fun summer and it was nice to just get to ride and get to work a little bit. Other than that, we moved to Hartford, Connecticut, which is super exciting because it means that there are a lot of horse shows nearby and I’ve been sleeping in my own bed more and it’s I just it just indescribably amazing to not have to drive like 7 hours to get anywhere. 

Traci Brooks [00:03:37] You can just go jump on a plane, too, and be anywhere in one flight, probably. 

Piper Klemm [00:03:42] I know I have an airport and highways and all kinds of things like restaurants and stores, and I haven’t done that much exploring, but it’s quite exciting. 

Traci Brooks [00:03:56] Civilization. Amazing. Opening up all kinds of new opportunities for you. 

Piper Klemm [00:04:01] I know. I know. So, yeah, it’s it’s brightening up. And yeah, the podcast might sound a little different because I’m recording it now in town. So there is occasional city noises, but it’s been it’s been great to be here. It’s been great to meet with so many trainers and then so many people in the local area and just reconnect with people. So it’s been fun. I was at Sagurittes last weekend onto to the Hampton Classic the week before, which are all now kind of local ish to me. 

Traci Brooks [00:04:34] I love that. I’ve heard great things about both of those horse shows. Tell us how they were. 

Piper Klemm [00:04:43] They were. They were both great. The Hamptons is not probably ever a scene that I’m going to feel totally comfortable with. It’s very, very petty, very glamorous. And I always feel a little little work for like, there. But that’s okay. And they do such a beautiful job and all of the details are cared for. And there are so many just people involved. And we’ve really lost that that. Pop up Porsche and that special thing. And so the places that that are still maintaining it and doing such a great job are. Our so appreciated in our community to kind of, you know, and also just level out that playing field. Everyone’s kind of arriving at the same time, showing up, having to perform. I thought this is a side tangent, but I thought it was super interesting. I made a post a couple weeks ago now about, you know what? What divisions truly need to be over. Two days or even three days. And, you know, can we do some divisions in one day and can we be a little more and an out about some horse shows? And, you know, people need so much mileage to be good because it’s so competitive in our landscape right now and the horses need so much mileage and. You know, is there at least less expensive or can we have. Less expensive options to to get that mileage. And, you know, there’s so many interesting things to me about this conversation. And so many people brought up points that I hadn’t thought of. And I was really glad for really constructive conversation all the way around. But one of the things that I found was interesting is a lot of people were like, Oh, my horse couldn’t do that. It was kind of this silly thing to me that like I was like, Oh, like your horse is not well enough trained for a local show? 

Traci Brooks [00:06:32] Why can’t do it? Why? 

Piper Klemm [00:06:34] Yeah, because, like, they can’t get off the trailer and horse show, like they’re, you know, and so. 

Traci Brooks [00:06:39] They need all the days. 

Piper Klemm [00:06:40] They need all the days. And, you know, you start thinking about that, the training requirements of generalized life, of spending, the whole winner at a circuit or in a place, you know, versus like Devon and the Hampton Classic and some of these kind of even though you’re there for a number of days, it kind of hearkens the old of like you go into a new place that your horse hasn’t seen anything and you have to perform. 

Traci Brooks [00:07:04] Well, the only way to get better at that is to start doing it. It’s not going to be great. Maybe the first few times, but it’s such great mileage for the horses and I think it’s a good test. And sure, some horses are going to be better at it than others. But I think it’s it’s actually in the end for producing a horse. I think it’s great training to have to just go and perform. Might be scary for some of the amateurs and juniors, but I think you’re not going to send your amateurs and juniors in on a five year old horse anyway. So those five year old horses are going to be doing that with the pros, and by the time they’re eight or nine, then they could do it with an amateur junior. 

Piper Klemm [00:07:46] Absolutely. And, you know, it was something I was thinking about at Derby finals here. How many classes some of those horses did that week before a Derby final? Some horses did the 12 classes and then started Derby finals, which, you know, at those heights is a lot of jumping. And there’s that side of it. But also, like there’s that training side of are we really rewarding? What the Derby was intended to be was these bright, bold horses, you know, that are fearless. Like if you’re jumping, you know, horse after course after course on a rival like you, you really kind of dumbed down that that bravery we’re looking for. 

Traci Brooks [00:08:24] Yeah. And it kind of goes to the conversation of open horses and professional horses. And are people producing horses now just for the professional divisions or are professional showing horses in the beginning of the week to just get them ready for the weekend? And I feel like a lot of times it’s the latter. 

Piper Klemm [00:08:45] Absolutely. And I had the conversation at many of the horse shows, the summer and fall with with amateurs being like, it’s so expensive. Why would I pay for someone else to do it when I could pay for myself to do it? And you know that that seems like the pervasive attitude in today’s world. And it’s not that that’s, you know, right or wrong, but there’s a lot of training questions of a pipeline if that’s going to be the attitude of the industry. 

Traci Brooks [00:09:13] And I get it. It’s it’s expensive and it’s hard to be a patron of the sport and just write checks. But there’s got to be somewhere where it meets in the middle where we’re still producing horses, where someone who doesn’t show can come and watch their horse and enjoy it. There’s got to be somewhere where it intersects. 

Piper Klemm [00:09:36] Absolutely. And, you know, I think we’re going to see that all play out in the next couple of years. And I think it comes back to this fundamental question that I ask a lot are are we a sport? Are we an industry? And, you know, we at times have swung on the pendulum very hard in the sport direction. And right now we have swung very hard in the industry direction. And as you said, I think the answer that works for most people is is a little bit more centered. 

Traci Brooks [00:10:04] I think so. We just have to figure out how to get there. 

Piper Klemm [00:10:08] Absolutely. So we’re going to be talking with two great people today. The first one is Troy Hendricks, who has a training business in Pennsylvania and is a large R judge and most recently Judged Derby finals. So we’re going to hear from him about Green Incentive Derby finals and a bit of his career. And then we are going to be talking with Oliver Kennedy, who’s one of the co-founders of the Capital Challenge Horse Show 30 years ago now, which is which is crazy, I think. Carlton told me he had been to every capital challenge. Is that right? 

Traci Brooks [00:10:43] I think that’s right. I think that’s right. Of course, you can’t miss a horse show. The horse show? Yeah. Yeah. 

Piper Klemm [00:10:49] I hope they give him, like, a chip. Like a prize. 

Traci Brooks [00:10:52] Exactly. That Someone’s going to get perfect attendance. 

Piper Klemm [00:10:57] Perfect attendance. I hope. I hope someone is paying attention to his perfect attendance. I thought that. 

Traci Brooks [00:11:03] I’m sure he’s not the only one. I’m sure there are others, but it’s probably at this point, I bet. How many people do you think have been to all 30? 

Piper Klemm [00:11:10] Maybe I was looking into this the other day because I was curious. But it’s hard to find horse show records because I think it’s like on the USEF Web site, they only start really tracking in like ’02 or somewhere right around there. So I was having trouble finding like 94- to early 2000, but it’s not many. Most of them have sat out a year for some reason or had some life event occur. 

Traci Brooks [00:11:33] Exactly. Yeah, exactly how to skip a year or whatever. We even did. We did the year of COVID or right after COVID when it was in Ohio. We we we are loyal capital challenge attenders. Yeah, I’m already tired, Piper. I’m already tired from Capital Challenge, and I haven’t even gotten there yet. 

Piper Klemm [00:11:57] You’re tired from last year still? 

Traci Brooks [00:11:58] I’m tired from last year. I haven’t recovered and I’m already pretty tired for this year. But we love it, so we have to go. 

Piper Klemm [00:12:05] Amazing. And you and Carlton are going to be doing a book signing the first weekend of With Purpose. It’s going to be at Jimmy Sardelli’s The In-gate Shop, which is going to be on the concourse. So everybody keep an eye out for invitations and feel free to bring your books or bring what you want Traci and Carlton to sign. 

Traci Brooks [00:12:26] We’re excited about that. We’re excited to see everybody and talk about the book and just chat in general. So come say hi. There will be food and possibly booze, right? 

Piper Klemm [00:12:37] Yep. Yep. All of the things. 

Traci Brooks [00:12:39] That gets people there. If you can tell everyone, we’re going to have tequila and wine. 

Piper Klemm [00:12:43] Oh, my gosh, You’re signing. 

Traci Brooks [00:12:45] Good food. 

Piper Klemm [00:12:47] For a lot of things. Yes, good food. 

Traci Brooks [00:12:51] We don’e even have to talk about the book. Just come say hi. Have a drink. 

Piper Klemm [00:12:56] Yeah, we’ll have whatever Tracy says. And. And, well, keep your eyes out for an invitation. And we would love to catch up and meet with everyone and hear about what you liked about the book and what you think should be on volume two. Piper Klemm [00:15:12] Troy Hendricks owns and operates Kimber View Stables in Glenmore, Pennsylvania. Troy has over 30 years of experience in the industry and has trained several champions on reserve champions at prestigious shows such as Devon, Harrisburg, Washington and the National. Troy has been a USEF large R judge since 2010 and has such shows such as the Winter Equestrian Festival, the Desert International Horse Park, Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, Blenheim EquiSports, Pinoak Charity Horse Show, and most recently, the Platinum Performance USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in Lexington, Kentucky. Welcome to the plaidcast, Troy. 

Troy Hendricks [00:15:47] Thank you, Piper Good morning, Piper and Tracy, and thank you so much for having me on. It’s it’s certainly an honor knowing some of the people that you’ve had on your program in the past, so, certainly feel honored to be here this morning. 

Piper Klemm [00:15:59] Tell us a little bit about how you got started and you’re riding as a junior and kind of your path to becoming a professional. 

Troy Hendricks [00:16:06] Okay. I’ll try to do the shortest version I can, but I grew up in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and my mom’s side of the family had always ridden and fox hunted, and they didn’t really show on the big circuit, but they always had horses. I grew up with a pony in my back yard, literally like a lot of us did. And I got my first horse when I was nine. His name was Charlie Brown, and I would ride him cross-country and I would take some lessons on Charlie Brown, and I started fox hunting when I was ten. I didn’t actually show until I was 13. My parents had had nice means, but not not extravagant. So all of my showing, you know, was done locally on what we called the Chester County Circuit. At that point, I did some hunters. I had a had a nice children’s hunter at that point. And then I really got into jumpers later in my junior career and, and I had a nice jumper that I for me I thought I did quite well on again, sort of just on the local circuit. And the closest to me touching the big circuit was going to Devon. I live a half an hour from Devon, so I’d spend my whole week there watching and dreaming. But again, really just successful. But on, on the local level, I had a job at a barn down the road where I, you know, broke, broke some young horses, I braided some young horses. I fox hunted a lot. As I said, I actually brought along some of the horses for the master of Pickering hunt at the time. So quite involved but at that point, at a local level. And then my early in after I graduated high school in my early twenties, I went to Delaware Valley College and while I was attending Delaware Valley College, a gentleman would come over and use the indoor riding facility and it looked like somebody interesting to me. So I went up to him. I said, You know, if I could help groom your horses or hold your horses or wrap them or set jumps for you, I’d love to. And it turned out the gentleman, his name was Ray Francis, and that was really the turning point of my career and the first step into, let’s say, the A Circuit. It was with Ray, and Ray took me under his wing. And I think it worked for both of us because I worked. I wasn’t very expensive at that point. I think he paid me $5 an hour and when I would turn in my pay sheet, he said, Boy, are you sure you work this many hours? And I said, Oh, no, I don’t think I did. So he always would pay me a little less than what I said. But it really worked. It really worked for both of us. I got to ride some some excellent young horses. I got to show some young horses for Ray. I helped to run his shows in the summer at Alphington in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. At the time, I got close with him and Cheryl working with both of them, some top professionals would come over and use their ring. I got to meet Peter Pletcher. I got to meet Scott Stewart, and really the wheels started turning at that point in my career. And then then it was time for me to graduate college. And I said to Ray, you know, what do I do from here? He said, Well, Troy, let me let me tell you, you need to go work for Ralph Caristo. I said, okay, I don’t know who Ralph Caristo is, but that sounds good. So he said, Well, I’ll make a call. And he did. He called Ralph. And when I called Ralph and Ralph’s Long Island accent, he said, I’ll pay you $300 a week. You can have a place to live and you can ride all day long. So this sounded great to me. So not knowing who who Ralph was, I took the job. And again, that was sort of the next leap into my into my career with horses. And it was it was fabulous at that point, you know, moved to Long Island. Everything Ralph said it was I got to I got to ride, I got to teach. You know, I then spent a long time there with with Ralph and sort of in parallel with that before before really leaving, Ray and I stayed in touch with Ray his whole life. He was instrumental in me getting my judge’s license through. Ray I met Tom Brady, and Tom and Ray often said, You need to get your judges license. So that was always in the back of my mind as I was as I was, you know, going through this path in my life with Ralph. At that point, I didn’t have time to go off and learn to judge, but it was something certainly in the forefront. I spent five years working for Ralph and I did everything from Muck Stall to drive the truck, to show horses, to take equity patient customers to one day shows on Long Island and really became quite close with with Ralph. And then there was a it was sort of time to change paths again. And I went and worked for Louise Serio for a few years. Unbelievable. Being around her and the young horses, that was during the time of the hunter furturity the legacy cup. That was sort of when she found Gray Slipper and just an amazing time being exposed to those horses. And the riding ability of Louise was for sure unbelievable. All the while, I had my eyes shut. I wanted to have my own business one day. I wasn’t sure when. I wasn’t quite ready at that point yet. But that’s all I wanted to do. I loved working for all these top professionals, but I really wanted one day to have my own business. After we spent a couple of years sort of finding myself, I went and I worked at Sweet Briar College for a couple of years, and that wasn’t really for me. It was a nice job with a nice paycheck. But that wasn’t wasn’t quite for me. I did while I was at Sweet Briar I did get my small R and I believe that was in 2002 and I got my small R. I started judging one day shows in Virginia, mostly in Virginia area, and there was certainly a lot of, you know, house mountain horse shows and one day horse shows. And so that actually worked out quite well. And in my life at that point, working for Sweet Briar for a couple of years. Then I actually went and worked for Clayburn Bishop at the barracks for a couple of years. And again, just continuing to build my knowledge and my resume that I would one day put into my own business was was my dream. And I certainly got to work for great people. And every time I left, I’m I’m still friends. I talk to Louise, I talk to Clayburn. So I always tried to leave on a good note. And then after that, I went back to work for Ralph Christo again. He was moving off of Long Island. He was moving into Saugerties. So I helped him actually with the move to Saugrittes and we cleaned out the barn in Long Island. At this point, I had I had met a woman, Annette, and who became my wife in the next couple of years, but went back to work for Ralph again. And that was with me. And I spent three years working for Ralph. And finally it was it was time to have our own business. I was married at that point. We had a son. He was a month old, and it was sort of time for me to go out on my own. So I talked to Ralph about it and and he was very sad that I wasn’t going to be helping him anymore. He had certainly, I guess, views and plans of me being at Glenview longer and it didn’t didn’t quite work out. And I really wanted to. This is something I needed to do. So I we parted ways and in 2008, Annette and I moved back to Pennsylvania and we had no horses, but we rented an apartment over a barn. And then the next day we had one horse and in the next couple of months we were up to 25 horses. So things really took off in Pennsylvania quite quickly for us. 

Piper Klemm [00:23:45] How did you pick that area after, you know, being familiar with so many kind of different mid-Atlantic regions? 

Troy Hendricks [00:23:52] You know, it’s funny you ask that. Basically, my family still live there. So we we came back to where my family was and where I had a lot of ties to. We rented stalls in a place called Journey’s End Farm, which a lot of people might be familiar with. So it worked out and over the years and that now I kind of look back and laugh and think, Why did we pick that? You know, we could have gone to Virginia, we could have gone to Long Island, but. But being back family has always been important to me. So moving back to to the area and actually my mom, even today, still rides with me. And she’s 76 years old. So it’s really it’s really because of the family that we picked that area. 

Traci Brooks [00:24:35] And when you started your business, what was your goal? What was your dream? Did you just want to have horses? Did you want to go to local horse shows? Did you have loftier goals of of doing all the big horse shows? Did you think you were going to focus on hunters jumpers equitation, or were you just taking what you could get at that point? 

Troy Hendricks [00:24:53] You know what? I really all I wanted to do was show at the top level that I could I had no interest in local horse shows. I only wanted to do the best, you know, a or Double-A rated shows that I could. I throughout my whole career, I always rode. I didn’t show a lot. I think at that point, I’ll be honest, I was very nervous when I would show and I wasn’t the best at showing I could set up horses all day long at home. I ride them and jump up and set them up for the customer. So I really felt that my niche was going to be a customer based business where I could help prepare the horses and then, you know, set the customers up and teach them. So planning on a customer based business, I wanted to have as much success as possible, but I did have very, very lofty goals and I think I only, you know, a very few people that would move to an area and just all of a sudden want to start doing A-rated shows. And it happened. You know, I started getting customers. I said, these are the shows we’re going to And, you know, they would move from from different barns. They were maybe looking for the next step up. And it all just started to quickly evolve, which was which was an amazing and scary at the same time. 

Traci Brooks [00:26:04] And how involved was Annette in the day to day you had a small child, So was she helping you with the business or were you having to all of a sudden hire staff? 

Troy Hendricks [00:26:14] How did that work? Yeah, no, she she was really she we did we didn’t have a lot of bookkeeping at that point and a lot of office work and correspondence, but she’s always been in charge of that part of it. She’s an amazing mother and always took great care of our son. But we did early on, after, you know, we started we hired one guy and then at one point it was 2 guys and then we needed a barn manager. And so she was not very involved. You know, she was always present but not involved with the day to day operations, actually. 

Traci Brooks [00:26:48] And then when did you get your own place? I know that. That you’re really lucky and and grateful that you have your own facility that you to actually own. Yeah. Which for me, I love hearing that because so many professionals these days, like especially in California, it’s hard to own a facility. So. Was that part of the plan or how did that evolve? 

Troy Hendricks [00:27:10] Yeah, well, two things. Let me just step back one one moment here. In 2010, Annette and I made a pact that I should get my big R. So I did. I had to do I did the minimum. I did three learner judging jobs to get my big R and I applied for my big R, so I got my big R in 2010 again, before we were maybe thinking that the business would really take off or who knows what it would evolve into. But I got my big R in 2010. And then our business. We rented two different facilities. But Ralph Caristo had always told me, he said, You need to own your own farm. He said, That’s your retirement. You have to own your own farm. So we did look and we were renting barns close to what we have called the main line, which is an excellent area for business, but not an excellent area to buy a farm. So in 2012, a property came available that we heard about through our relator. It was a little bit further out and it’s actually a funny story. Annette went and looked at the place first and she came back. She said, Oh jeez, I don’t think you’re going to like it. And it’s always been that Annette’s the realist and I’m the dreamer. So a couple of days later, I went back and I looked at it. I thought, Oh my gosh, this place is amazing. We can do this and we can do that. And she she laughed at me. She said, I don’t know how you see that, but we did. We bought our own farm in 2012. And, you know, it’s been amazing. So every you know, it had all the bones here and had all the permits we needed because we had looked at some places that didn’t have permits and try to get permits in our area is a nightmare. But everything the permits were here, the structures were here. It just needed some TLC. It had high tensile wire fencing that we tore out and put in beautiful board fencing. So, you know, we really made it our own. And it’s just it’s been an exciting journey here, you know, not worrying about that. We have to move. Our landlord’s going to kick us out, but it’s ours. And again, every tree that we plant, every, every, you know, will come home from a horse show. We’ll plant the bushes somewhere and then have that memory or, you know, it. It’s really grown and evolved. But having our own business, having our own farm has been really key to the success of us and our business. Kimber View Stables. 

Piper Klemm [00:29:29] Troy, a lot of people want to kind of. Think it’s impossible to to move to the higher level of the sport, especially when you didn’t grow up that way. Can you talk about kind of your own ambition and maybe how like how it changed? Yeah, for people coming up? 

Troy Hendricks [00:29:49] I mean, I think the biggest thing and you know, maybe it sounds a little cliché, but it’s hard work. I mean, what I do and and I know a lot of people across the area and across what we do, but it’s seven days a week. And the one thing that Annette and I strive for, we we just were consistent every day. It’s not like one week where we change the course and we do all this stuff. We drag the ring. No we drag the ring every day, we water the ring, and a lot of times it’s ourselves. You know, I ride the horses myself and I’m very hand. I’ve been very, very hands on. But it’s, you know, I drive my own horses. I have my own truck and trailer. I’ve always shipped my own horses and I’ve just had my eye on the prize. This whole time was developing, you know, a business and a program that I could do it at this high level. You know, I am very, very fortunate because I didn’t grow up doing it. I surrounded myself with really good people. I didn’t go out in the business too early. I was an apprentice for a long time. Probably, probably looking back, I probably the second time I went back to work for Ralph, I probably didn’t need to. I wasn’t sure. But, you know, I probably could have started my business five years earlier, but it all worked out. And I think surrounding yourself with the right people, not not pretending like, you know, everything, I mean, I’m still learning things every day. You know, I’ll talk to Carleton or, I’ll talk to Ralph or, you know, whoever, and I pick their brain. You know, especially in the beginning of my business, I think Ralph was on speed dial. I’m like, Ralph, what am I doing? Or what do you how you do this? And, you know, really reaching out to the people that helped me along the way, as has been really important. 

Piper Klemm [00:31:32] And you just Judged Derby finals. Can you talk about what it’s you know, we’ve talked a lot about on this podcast about, you know, what judges do and don’t see and how we can improve the sport. Can you kind of talk about what it’s like to judge a national final like that and in today’s climate and and your experience there? 

Troy Hendricks [00:31:52] Yeah, sure. So, you know, like I said, I got my my big R in 2010. So, you know, I enjoyed judging quite a bit. It’s not the main part of my business. I, I probably judge five horse shows a year, usually five very, very nice horse shows. I’m fortunate to do with good quality horses, but judging finals is something that I’ve certainly strived to do and something that I’ve had a goal. So when I was asked to judge Derby finals, I know it’s a process. You know how they pick the judges and it’s, you know, done by the committee and selected. So it’s a it’s a real honor. And something that I took very seriously. I actually got asked to judge pony finals this year as well. And I said, no, I really want to focus on Derby finals and I want to be fresh for that. So I thought it was an amazing week, you know, starting out with a three foot and three, three green horses. I mean, the first day they jumped Fabulous. And the quality that we have in our country, in the horses and in the riding is just unbelievable. And to sit there and really be able to to judge it and watch the horses was such a special experience. You know, for me as a judge, I think I’m known to score a little bit higher than other judges. Hopefully, you know, I think we have come out with the same results. But it was it was easy for most of us to score in the nineties that week because just the quality was so good and the horses were jumping so well. So, you know, doing the green incentive early in the week was, was very, very special. And then into the Derby finals, you know, and it’s, you know if you’re judging it for the first time there’s, you know you’re trying to figure it out, you know, where you’re sitting, what the viewpoint is, can you see all the jump? You know, how the scoring is going to go during the week for the green incentive? You could duplicate your score. That didn’t matter for the Derby final. If they didn’t, you weren’t allowed to duplicate your score. So, you know, so there was certainly the bookkeeping aspect of it and you know, you know, you know, when you just trying to do the best you can. And I think everyone that I know, at least that judges, we’re all trying to through the best we can, we bring to the table our background in the sport. You know, I bring it as a rider and a current a current rider, current trainer. You know, I’m bringing that to the Judging table. I know. I know what it takes to get some of these horses ready for these events. So I had to look at it in that sense. And I know it’s a big pressure situation. I mean, the owners are spending a lot of money getting the horses to that level. And, you know, the riders are working very hard to get those horses to that level. And, you know, when you look when you look across the board, I mean, the top, you know, six coaches, seven horses, I mean, it could have gone any which way for sure. But but that’s how at the end of the day, we felt and, you know, you you mark your card and you turn it in and then you move on. 

Traci Brooks [00:34:49] Can you give us a little bit of the behind the scenes of the judging? Like, do they do the judges sit down before the class starts and say, this is what we’re going to reward and this is what we’re going to look for and we want to try to be consistent? Or is there is there any discussion about how you’re going to do it? Because I know people, especially with the score, you know, one judge, I’ll give a 90 and another judge will give an 82. And people are like, why are the scores so far apart? But, you know, when you look at it, as long as everyone’s consistent and it works out how it’s supposed to. So is there a discussion about that or are you encouraged to score high and make it exciting? Can you tell us a little about that?

Troy Hendricks [00:35:31] Sure yeah. We met. We met as let’s just talk about the Derby finals themselves with and we met before the class, the judges, and I believe Britt McCormick might have been part of that. A couple of committee members might have been part of that. But but we as a group met. We talked about the handy point because that’s something new this year. So we didn’t we didn’t give. Extra handy points for the score. We just made it part of our export, so if we gave it 96, it wasn’t it wasn’t a 90 plus six anymore. It was literally just in our mind. It was a 96. We talked about where the where the turns, you know, would be, you know, that would give a little bit of a higher score if the horse still jumped brilliantly. But we talked about wanting to see the horse’s gallop know. I think that was important to some of us if the horses had a good gallop. So we did talk about that. We talked about the trot jump, what we wanted to do with the trot jump. You know, some horses take half a canter step, some horses, you know, rock back and sort of jump it, some horses in a really trot over it. So there was some discussion about the jump. That always seems to be one in contention. But I felt like the discussions that we had really got us on the same same page as a group. And going back to one question Piper had, you know, even though we all sat on the same side, you know, even being, you know, between panel three and panel one, it was a really a very different view. We were the my panel was the furthest from the gate. And, you know, jump, jump to it was it was far away for us to see. So, you know, and then, you know, jump panel, one could see that jump clear the jumps at the other end of the ring were right in front of us. So even though we were on the same level, on the same side, it still presents a different picture, even being a few rows down like we were. 

Piper Klemm [00:37:30] Yeah, there is one for sure that your panel could see that swap and the other two panels clearly couldn’t, and the scores reflected that. And I think for a ring that size, I mean, having multiple panels is the only way to go about it. 

Troy Hendricks [00:37:44] Yeah, it was great. And I know I know people talk about, you know, moving the panels even further apart. I mean, if if we were panel three was even further down, you really probably couldn’t see come through or something like that. You know, I know there’s all kind of discussions and I think it’s good discussion because people just really want the best for the sport and the best outcome. But yeah, I mean, the jumps right in front of us. One horse had a rub that I think the panel one couldn’t hear or see, and it was it was right in front of us so we we could hear that. And then the swap also. So, you know, definitely there’s there’s always ways to improve programs and and classes for sure. 

Piper Klemm [00:38:23] That class, you were sitting in pairs and giving scores as pairs. Can you talk a little bit about, you know, for for bigger classes, the kind of pros and cons to being by yourself or being with someone else? 

Traci Brooks [00:38:35] Yeah. 

Troy Hendricks [00:38:36] I think it’s great to sit with, you know, sit in pairs. You know, the groups that we had there. You know, I’ve I’ve checked with Mike Robshaw before. I’ve judged with Jean-Marie Dunford before. I judge with Holly Orlando before, you know, and this is throughout the years. And there certainly all people that I that I get along with. So, you know, as a as a group, you know, speaking about the Derby Finals, I think we all really got along. I’m sure if you were paired with someone that you didn’t see eye to eye with, it could be it could be a long class or something like that. But, you know, any time you can sit with somebody else, you have to. Two eyes, you know, you just, you know, as the horse is going around, you know, we were discussing the round, you know. Well, what did you think about this jump? Or, What do you think about that? Or you know, what score are you are you on at this point? And it was really good discussions. I think you get a really good outcome in a in a class when you have paired sitting together, you know, for a big class like that, I think that’s a great way to do it, whether you have pairs in your separate pairs. And we there was no discussion of the scores. So, you know, there was a there’s a a punch pad or a keypad and we would just enter our score and hit enter. And there was no discussion with the other panels about the scores. 

Traci Brooks [00:39:55] It seems from watching the Derby finals and watching the green incentive that the industry is so robust right now. But then you go to horse shows and you break it out on a more more local or just around the country national level. And you see the 100 divisions and the open divisions being very small. What are your thoughts on the state of hunters in America? 

Troy Hendricks [00:40:20] And I can speak for myself and some colleagues that I’ve talked to. I know a lot of a lot of people want to ride their own horses. I know a lot of juniors want to ride their own horses. A lot of amateurs want to ride their own horses. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, my my business is is very much customer based. So I think from what I can tell, you know, people are less inclined, you know, to buy horses, you know, for professionals where they want to buy them for themselves and show. And maybe, you know, we as professionals do them in some sort of warm up class or warm up division, but maybe maybe only one day of it, you know, so we don’t have to jump the horses so much because the customers are buying horses that are quality, that don’t need a lot of practice. And we’re not you know, a lot of businesses aren’t always bringing along green horses for the customers. They’re purchasing horses that are more made and the customers can afford those horses and then they want to ride them and have the success themselves with that. So I think those divisions are still, you know, quite healthy across the country. I think the the professional division, again, across the country, I think that’s struggling a little bit. 

Traci Brooks [00:41:34] So what do you think we can do about that? It seems back in the day people would buy horses and just the owners and patrons of the sport and like to have a nice horse and watch it show. Now, not quite as much and not as many horses seem to be getting produced. What are your thoughts on that? 

Troy Hendricks [00:41:53] You know, I actually I have to say I don’t have the answer to that. I wish we could get back to that. I mean, it’s become you know, it’s that’s an expensive sport. But again, I think from what I can tell, it’s really going back to people wanting to ride their own horses. So I don’t know really what the answer is there. I mean, again, when you look at Green Incentive finals and Derby finals, that was quite healthy. But I know across the country it’s it’s not as healthy in those divisions. So I don’t I don’t really have the have the answer to that. I wish I did. 

Piper Klemm [00:42:24] Could it be that? I mean, I. I looked at the derby course on a lot of the jumps looked very huntery and they were decorated and they were beautiful, but they also weren’t something different than the horses might see. And I almost wonder if, like some of the higher level stuff seems so accessible that you want to do it yourself versus like if it required a more, shall we say, bold ride, people would want someone else to do it. You know, I think it’s such a double edged sword because we want everyone to feel included and that’s for it to be accessible. And then sometimes I think we we lose supporting those who are more talented or more bold or better than we are, you know, as amateurs. 

Troy Hendricks [00:43:10] Right, Right. So you’re thinking that to the court construction or the or the jump construction was a little different that, you know, maybe earlier in the week, you know, or you did want to bring along a green horse. I mean, it’s certainly very, very good discussion. And I think that would you know, I think a lot of us professionals would love to see that happen. I think I don’t know if it’s a change in the mindset of the of the customers or not. I mean, it’s hard. We had in our area this past weekend two unrecognized horse shows and they were huge. I mean, you’re talking, you know, a huge, huge. And they were unrecognized horse shows and that’s probably a whole nother nother discussion. But it our sport is is very expensive to do. 

Piper Klemm [00:43:56] Yeah. I mean I think but those are kind of the horse shows you grew up with which were big back in the day too. It’s you know, that kind of Chester County area has always been big local horse country and you benefited as a kid from that? I benefited as a kid from that. 

Troy Hendricks [00:44:12] Yeah. I’m not saying it. I guess as a negative. I don’t know if the upper level has gotten a little bit smaller and those have gotten bigger, but, you know, maybe we’re a little bit off topic here, but I mean, certainly those those unrecognized shows, I mean, you know, we have, as you know, Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show, and that is I mean, it’s an unrecognized show and all the horses are turned out beautifully. Their manes and tails are braided. And, you know, it looked like this past weekend it could have been the Devon horse show. And, you know, it’s really nice that they get a chance to do that, but it’s at a fraction of the cost of going to, you know, maybe Saugerties or Kentucky or, you know, something like that, Michigan. So, you know, they’re certainly doing it on a much lower financial scale. 

Traci Brooks [00:44:59] We know that you have an affinity for the equitation. Can we change gears and talk about your love for equitation? 

Troy Hendricks [00:45:07] Yeah, that’s evolved since I’ve had my business. I think, you know, certainly working for Ralph on Long Island. Got to go to, you know, got to take customers to the one day equitation shows, got to go to a medal finals with Glenview Stables and stuff like that, and really go to our base business. It’s it’s been really fun. I think the equitation should really create the platform for riders that they can really develop a strong sense of riding and from there they can go on and do jumpers or hunters, but it really gives them the secure base I have. I have one young rider right now, and all she wants to do is, you know, do Grand Prix. And I mean, she’s she rides as a 12 year old. But I told her, I said, you really need to do the equitation and get the strong basics and get the consistency from the equitation because I’m going to turn you loose and let you do that. And and she’s dabbled in the jumpers, but it’s really worked out. I’ve you know, each year I’ve had at least one or two riders and all the the equitation finals right now I have a really nice group of three three riders that are very well mounted. And as my business has evolved, certainly the quality of horses that I’ve been able to get from my customers have evolved. And and right now I have a really exciting group of three three equity riders getting ready for finals as well as some for the three six finals. So I really like the the equitation and to give them that discipline that that a lot of the kids need to go on and then decide what they want to do in their riding careers. 

Traci Brooks [00:46:51] And how does that work with your staff? I know you have people who have worked for you for a long time, but you’re off judging and sometimes you’re at the Green Incentive finals and there are equitation points that someone needs. So are you sending your staff off or how does how does that work? Do you split up? Divide and conquer? How about that? 

Troy Hendricks [00:47:12] That’s been something that’s something new in the last two years. I have I have excellent, excellent. I have an excellent team behind me. I have a barn manager that’s been with me for almost ten years. She rides and teaches a little bit. I have an associate trainer, Emily Corkill, who rides at the top level. She shows she does a great job and it’s really seamless. I can come in and out and with Emily, my associate, she really, you know, the customers obviously, like when I’m there and it’s important. But if I’m, you know, off off judging green instead of finals, she really keeps things going. She she keeps the horses going. She keeps the lessons going. Just last week, I we were showing at Princeton, and then on Sunday, I got the opportunity to judge the Hampton Classic just for the one day. So I left them and Emily finished up with everyone. And I think everyone was either a champion or a reserve in their division. So it’s really seamless. And but again, it’s it’s really the team that I have behind the scenes that just keep things going. 

Piper Klemm [00:48:22] Troy, thank you so much for joining us on the plaidcast. 

Troy Hendricks [00:48:25] Piper Thank you for having me. And Tracy was great to talk with you. 

Piper Klemm [00:50:25] Oliver Kennedy is a horse show announcer, a top horse show manager, a USEF license judge, and an FEI official. Oliver co-created and operates the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Oliver also owns and operates ESP Farm in Rockville, Maryland, with his wife, top trainer and rider Rachel Kennedy. Welcome back to the plaidcast Oliver.

Oliver Kennedy [00:50:47] Oh, glad to be back. 

Piper Klemm [00:50:49] So this year we are all getting excited for the Capital Challenge Horse Show. Tell us about the 30 years. 

Oliver Kennedy [00:50:57] Well, it’s. It’s crazy. I mean, 30 years ago. Billy and I started the show. Ever since. It’s kind of just kept growing and growing. We kind of I think right now we’re about as big as we could possibly get. And I want to be a little smaller than last year. Last year was too big, you know. I’d just like to have a little more cushion there. But it’s crazy entried are now through the roof again, as they have been for the past three years. And it’s you know, we’re looking forward to a great show. 

Traci Brooks [00:51:41] And tell us a little bit about what to expect this year. Anything new and exciting? I mean, if it was all the same, I think everyone would be happy. But tell us what it’s going to look like. 

Oliver Kennedy [00:51:52] Well, let’s see a few things this year. We’re upping the VIP experience a little bit more. Last year, Taylor Harris Insurance Services came in as the sponsor of the VIP. And so this year we’re going to have a little more catering, a little upgraded experience up there. And Lisa Rossi has kind of taken that on for us. And she’s been doing a really good job. We have also that last year we added the warm up, bring that tent over it, that has just been widened 20 feet. And now we have a bigger tent over top of it this year. So that was just completed over the weekend and the tent went up. And so it should all be ready to rock and roll. A couple of things. The NAL finals for the Hunters moved to Equitation weekend, thanks to the new Channel two system that allowed us to move the Hunters some hunter stuff to the first weekend. And the performance hunters are now moving back to the covered ring, which will allow us to take a little bit more of them than we have in the past, which that division still kind of oversold right now. But, you know, that’s kind of a funky division for some people. It’s a schooling division. For others, it’s their big point division for WCHR points. And so, you know, we have to kind of stay on top of that. But by being in the back ring, nobody really gets an advantage by being in it or not being in it. So hopefully it won’t turn into a schooling division. So. 

Piper Klemm [00:53:48] I think, you know, when I talk to so many young people, especially like the sport seems so fixed to them and it doesn’t feel like they can change things. Yeah. And capital challenges is really interesting. And a huge counterexample of that when you think of, you know, Harrisburg celebrated its 75th anniversary. You know, you have these old horse shows and you know at 30 years it. It’s a radically younger horse show, but to people walking and now they see it where it is. Now they see the horse show. I think where the most scores of 100 have been awarded. You know, it’s so established. But can you talk about like the concept for developing it and the evolution? Because I think that kind of almost like hope to change things is a little bit lost on the current generation sometimes. 

Oliver Kennedy [00:54:41] Well, yeah, when we first started out. Billy and I, we wanted to do something that was, you know, different. You know, it’s not like, you know, most shows have gotten to be, you know, I mean, sort of cookie cutter, you know, it’s like, all right, now really the indoor shows, we’re all sort of the same thing, but just a different venue. And we kind of sat down and came up with a bunch of different ideas. And then we got together with Louise Serio, Geoff Teall, and when the American Hunter and Jumper Foundation that was going on, they were losing their home for the world champion Hunter Rider thing. So we decided to partner up and we came up with a bunch of different the challenge classes. I mean, we had a team class where barns could put a team together early on and you know, a lot of we just put a bunch of different ideas out, tried them out, saw which ones kind of stuck and were a hit. And then we went on from there, like the world champion under saddle to see which horse was the best mover out of the professional divisions. The professionals have stuck. But you know, over that over the time we kind of grew so much that we really didn’t have time to do it in. And, you know, we did. We used to do a junior one, an amateur one, and we and a pony one, and we wound up having to cut that out as these new divisions, like the three, three amateur and three three junior and all came into play. So, you know, we had to figure out what needed to go. But I mean, we were the first indoor show to do the three three amateur, the first indoor show to do the three three junior. And, you know, the sport has kind of really evolved over 30 years. I mean, when we first started, I mean, the other thing was the young horses. We really kind of started out trying to showcase the the pretty green horses at that stage. And it was funny in the in the first few years, the thoroughbred section was the biggest, the non thoroughbred was the smallest. And we finally had to after it evolved, the thoroughbreds went to be thoroughbred or part thoroughbred, and then that went away because we’re down to dwindling down to nothing. And we opened up with the three three, which this year is the biggest section. You know, I think we actually had to turn turn horses away in the in that section this year. So. 

Traci Brooks [00:57:34] It’s so special that it’s such a hunter’s showcase. But you still have the equitation, you still have the jumpers, and it’s run like a well-oiled machine at this point. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about the World Champion, the Hunter finals that happen at night. I know historically it was such a big deal for everyone to go at night and everyone to be there. And now it’s a great thing that everyone can watch pretty much any horse show online. How do you feel about people not staying versus staying and how that impacts the feeling of the class and the atmosphere? 

Oliver Kennedy [00:58:14] You know, it was I think when we started classes that. We originated. That one was that was my idea for the class to go and do the Final Four and ride off like the world Championships for showjumping used to. And it used to I mean, we would get a very big crowd. You know, the one thing the horse show, it didn’t we didn’t start at 730 every morning. We didn’t you know, the numbers didn’t get to the point. So more people came – plus the only way you could see it back then was to be there live. You know, one of the things that we were the first show to do was to do a free live stream in the U.S. of our show, wall to wall, you know, other people had done a subscription service or, you know, maybe a class livestream, but we did the whole show from start to finish and both rings. And it was a great thing because it expanded the viewership of our sport. But it also, you know, cut down a little bit on our live audience at night because people just go, Well, I’m just going to go back and get room service and sit in the hotel and watch or, you know, And so it’s kind of a the amount of people actually watching the class is, you know, massive. It’s one of the bigger classes, the bigger night of numbers on live streaming on the USA network. And, you know, more people are watching, but less people are in the stands. And that’s why we kind of up the dried up the VIP experience more. So that kind of is, you know, a little more of a festive atmosphere and they can come in and really sort of, you know, make a party of it while they’re watching. 

Piper Klemm [01:00:15] Talk to us about the Taylor Harris Children’s medal and the Ariat adult Medal like how some of these classes evolved. Again, they’re so established in the community. But, you know, these were all creations and visions that you all had and grew to this stature. 

Oliver Kennedy [01:00:33] Well, the very first horse show we ever ran in that arena, Billy Glass and I ran a show which we called the Season Kickoff, and that was the first event ever to happen in that arena. And actually, Kip Rosenthal was one of our judges that year. And Billy, for those who don’t know, was. Very instrumental in starting the Washington equitation class. He took the idea to the board when he was working for Washington and got them behind it. And now we’re sitting at that show and there’s a class of Maryland equitation finals called the Gittings Finals, which is a three foot equitation finals. And Kip was judging that class that the qualifying class at that horse show. And she goes, you know, there really needs to be a national. Class four, something like that. And Billy and Kip and I got talking about it and kind of came up with some specs and we decided to put it in what was going to become the capital challenge. And that class is really, really taken off and over the years. We have had some great sponsors, state line tax sponsored it initially. Then it was show circuit magazine and. For the. Bulk of the life of that class. It’s been Taylor Harris Insurance Services that have been our longest time supporter of that class. And then after the success of that class, the second year we added in the Ariat class for the adults and Ariat was actually was our very first corporate sponsor of the horse show. They sponsored the Grand Prix the first year and then they came in and we we decided to do an adult equitation and they jumped right on board. 

Piper Klemm [01:02:35] And we’ve seen so many the Ariat class produced so many people who are who have become professionals and the children’s medal has produced so many Big Eq winners in the 3’6″ medals like the Stepping Stones work. 

Oliver Kennedy [01:02:49] Yeah, Yeah. I mean, you know, I think the evolution of that class, you know, if somebody else may have come up with it, I’m sure at some point it would have come around that somebody did it. We just kind of luckily were the first one to give it a shot. And it also, I think by doing that now, you now you have the three, three division too and now there’s multiple finals for those. And, you know, for this year, the 3’3″ jumping seat, which has been with us now, I think six years, six, six or seven years now, the capital challenge, we had the most kids qualifying to come into that, you know, by just a just by a couple. But still, it’s, you know, another thing that evolved at Capital Challenge. I mean, we wound up starting with a five day show, going to a seven day show, going to a eight day show, then nine and ten and now 11. So the good thing is there is no room on the front end to go any so to make it any longer because there’s a rodeo that happens right before us and we have to tear the rodeo out before we can move in. So we’re kind of landlocked now. 

Traci Brooks [01:04:20] I think it’s amazing. And so many people don’t know what happens on the front end, just getting the facility ready and that you are all year are working on this and planning this. And it’s it’s pretty amazing. I have a question and I don’t know if this is sort of an elephant in the room question, but just to bring some transparency to the entry process. Can you explain I know a lot of people think, oh, I want to I want to show a capital capital challenge, but I can’t get in. How do you enter? How does that work? 

Oliver Kennedy [01:04:57] Well, this year, everything opened up at 10 a.m. Eastern time on the first. And, you know, basically, you if you want to get in, you got to be really organized. You have to basically know the divisions to sell out first. And that’s the first one’s you enter out of your group. I mean, in the first 30 minutes of the horse show, we had 834 entries this year. By the end of the day, we were over 1500. So it’s it’s crazy. There are people who entered the second day and some divisions that are on a wait list and they’re, you know, 20 out. If you up talking to somebody yesterday who’s 40 out and they entered you know on the fourth I you know, it’s a good problem to have but it sure beats the alternative of begging people to come to the show. But, you know, it’s hard. So this year, we also added in, if you’re in the top ten in the nation in the WCHR standings at shows that ended. On or before September 3rd, you which those points just got finalized yesterday. The rider is guaranteed one horse in or if you are the regional champion and you’re our region, I think we have two regions that still have to finish up the mid-Atlantic and in they have a show this week and next week. Their last two WCHR shows and the Pacific Northwest also finishes up in the next week or two. But all the other regions are done. And so that way if somebody is leading or a contender, they get in and the ones that are in the top, I think get six depending on some division, it’s a eight in their region or can get into the challenge class, you know, as long as they’re entered, you know, by the close of entry. So you know, we’re constantly evolving, trying to figure it out. We tightened up how many counties they could ride, how many amateur horses they could ride this year, trying to make it more accessible. So somebody, you know, we used to let them ride three adults and three amateur horses and now they’re down. They can only ride to a pony rider can ride to in a section and no more than three ponies total just to try and keep it accessible. So, you know, we we we have we’ve gone to a third ring for basically just a division in the equitation weekend we do open equitation back there for two days and the performance hunters show back there in the covered ring, which it is, you know, it’s a huge ring with very good footing and everything in it now. And we dress that ring up and. We’ll do the children’s ponies back there and the children’s hunters. But I also like to have that ring kind of be available. So in case the weather is just so atrocious that, you know, we can’t run outside, that we can move the outside ring in into there. But I think we saw about as much rain as you could possibly knock on wood. Yet last year, with the hurricane kind of passing over us, we got the rain, but not the winds. But luckily the show rings are drain very well there. The footing is done by DJL Services. David Lounger has been our footing kind of advisor for about the past six or seven years and he’s he’s done a great job for us. 

Piper Klemm [01:09:29] And what are your what are your personal tips for first surviving the long days? How do you how do you plan to stay perky and stay alert? Stay focused? 

Oliver Kennedy [01:09:43] For me the trick is don’t sit down. When I go and I sit down, I realize exactly how tired I am. You know? We do have like we have some areas. There’s a little exhibitors lounge kind of outside of the VIP with couches and stuff. Massage the human touch. Massage chairs are up there. I usually try and run over there once a day. And if I can, they really kind of get your blood going again and get you up and going. And hopefully we’re not. Hopefully the days aren’t as long as they were last year. We’ve tweaked the schedule a bit and, you know, it should be it’s knock on wood, as long as, you know, Mother Nature cooperates with us. A little bit of a better, better year. You know, it’s hard it’s hard to say no to people that are on the wait list. You know, everybody becomes your best friend at that point in time. And the worst part is a lot of them are my really good friends that I have to say. Yeah, you know, the chance of that horse getting in from 40 out is is not good. So, you know, but. You know, we’ll try. You know, we have our outdoor hospitality area, which Terranova Equestrian Center is sponsoring this year. And so there’s always a place you can go get a get a drink, get get a snack, or we have a number of little, you know, breakfast and luncheons that happened during the week there, too. 

Piper Klemm [01:11:34] Amazing. Oliver Kennedy, thank you so much for joining us again on the plaid cast. And we’ll see you all at Capital Challenge. 

Oliver Kennedy [01:11:43] Just a couple of weeks away. Hope to see you all there. 

Piper Klemm [01:13:27] To learn more about anything we’ve discussed on today’s show, visit theplaidhorse.com. You can find show notes at theplaidhorse.com/listen. Follow The Plaid Horse on all the social medias. You can subscribe to the print edition of The Plaid Horse Magazine at theplaidhorse.com/subscribe. Please rate and review the plaidcast anywhere you listen to it. And if you enjoy this episode, please share it with your friends. I will see you at the ring!