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Ellie's Bio and a Few Thoughts...

I have been very fortunate in that I have grown up on the grounds of Watermark Farm and had the privilege of riding our horses for all of my adult life. One of the benefits from breeding and training our own horses can be easily found in the daily contact with the fine personalities that inhabit the barns and pastures. Due to the 'horsie' nature of my upbringing – I find it to be no surprise that my life and career are focused on the four-legged members of my family! Each day that I have on the farm is a blessing and I am truly thankful for the opportunities that I have had in my life.

The biggest benefit to growing up on the farm with kind and supportive parents is truly without comparison. The basic emphasis on the safety of both horse and rider's welfare contributes greatly to each and every daily task as an adult. Presenting training exercises and physical challenges in a fair and clear manner each young horse is an ingrained skill at this point in my career. That secret biggest benefits is that there is a great deal of "inside" knowledge with many familiar names and riding preferences in their pedigrees. It is like having a cheat sheet when training a third, fourth or fifth generation homebred! So the days of my childhood were filled with ponies, books and watching great trainers come and go on a regular basis as well as fundamentally correct basics each and every day in my backyard. Going to a large recognized dressage competition, jumper show, or CDI was a normal weekend for our family. Having horses with National and International success was also very normal. We all tried to live up to the rules of fair play, honesty and integrity with animal welfare paramount.

I was an active member of the USPC and did fun things like egg and spoon races, rally competitions, Knowdown and mounted meetings growing up. The most important things that I feel I learned were to be responsible for my animal, equipment and obey the rules. After having a 5 clear round Show Jumping Horse II and no Stable Management points at Nationals in 1994, I had a great sense of accomplishment and wanted to pursue loftier goals. In 1995, I campaigned Able Spirit and represented Region One at NAYRC at Tempel Farm in Illinois. After a very educational and fun trip (much like Emily had been saying every year that she had gone), I sought a spot on the Team in 1996 on a leased horse. In spite of winning the Consolation Finals (13th in the country) and being eligible for one more year at that level of competition, I vowed it was my last year of Young Riders Dressage. After the difficulties of dealing with outside influences, I was quite disenchanted with the idea of being an equine professional as an adult. For several years I focused on my education and rode for fun and did a few show each year for an adventure rather than being quite serious with large goals. Fox hunting, trail riding, just enjoying life was what I looked to the horses to provide.

In 1999 I inherited Duell Anastasia, a Grand Prix schoolmaster, from my sister Emily. The traumatic events of that year caused me to appreciate the finely tuned harmony that is possible in Grand Prix dressage. Suddenly dressage was more exciting than all that other stuff! Annie has taught me the patience, tact and dedication that are required to succeed at the highest level. After she and I had a fun filled year of CDI competition in 2003, she had earned a lovely retirement and I turned my attention to the next generation of horses here on the farm. Riding for Mom and Dad was very low pressure and quite fun for all of us as it was for the love of the horses and the training process, rather than high score goals and pleasing outside forces. Waldaire joined our family in 2004 and has produced several lovely foal crops of miniature Wallys. I'll confess to a brief foray back into eventing in 2007 for a "refresher" as to what that sport had evolved into since the 1990's - those were the days of being an active, "Go FAST! Jump everything in sight!" type of rider. And it was a lovely time period with fabulous horses that were thrilled to explore more of our lovely country! A car accident in 2010 brought any jumping (then, now or in the future) to an abrupt end...which is problematic but I am grateful to be able to ride and be alive vs. the alternative.

So that would bring me up to the next stage in my development as a rider - getting back in touch with my inner FEI rider who has some increasing physical limitations. The additional challenge of having some of the biggest talents we have been blessed with since the late 1970's now living on the property is an added incentive to figure out how to cope. So I have shifted the focus of the training back to the tried and true German Training Manual with a strong loyalty to the roots of Mom's 40+ years as a Licensed 'S' Judge with an emphasis on compassion and fairness to horse and rider. The modern interpretation of the Grand Prix continues to have me seeking some outside assistance and coaching to keep things in the fresh perspective but the training techniques remain much the same. I can state with clarity after 10 weeks in Wellington, FL with a top international rider and trainer, my confidence as a rider has returned full force. A fine sense of patience and humor rules each ride now and I try to train with a firm grip of the greater picture and how hard each horse is working to understand what I am asking of them. Such good, good creatures! I am blessed. Plain and simple.

While I make light of my serious commitment to help keep things in perspective, the competition and training of our horses provides me with more satisfaction than I would have thought possible as a child. Having a good sense of humor and the ridiculous helps to keep life entertaining and fun - which is what is all about! Moving forward I would like to continue to progress as both a rider and trainer but am much more open to sharing what I have learned over the years, so I am coaching and teaching quite a bit more these days. Having the ability to explain the "why" is much easier now that I have confidence and am much more secure in my knowledge. I am also open to having select client horses in training with clear and concise expectations from their owners. Respect is a two way street and that is not just limited to me and the horses!

I have every intention of continuing to compete locally, regionally and (hopefully) back at the national and international levels in the future. Learning to cope with the frustration and distraction of constant pain is becoming more normal after 5 years - although I do wish quite sincerely that it would 'just go away'...such is not the case. So it is onward and upward with a big smile, perhaps a mental giggle at the silliness of the equine and human species and then plunge into the excitement that day holds! As Waldaire taught me, "it is always a sunny day! Let's enjoy our time together and have some fun!"

~Happy Riding!~



Stylin' in my fancy dress duds in 2006


Wallace WF at DAD Breed Show 2010

Emily & Able Spirit

bounceDouble Bounce at USPC Nationals 1994 Show Jumping Horse II height

Jumping Wakanda at a clinic in 2009



by Again and Again

is a full brother of

Abracadabra WF -

Wizard's dam!

Wizard after his foal inspection and Top Foal in North America Award


Artesian WF 2002


Atreo by Adamant

tray addie

Atreo WF in 2002 Adelaide WF in 2009

As You Wish WF in Aiken in 2010 Training Wizard in the fall of 2012

Training here at home! Gotta log in the hours!

A few schooling shows with Don William in 2012 ©A&A Photography

Training here at an outside stable in 2009! Gotta log in the hours! Able Spirit DAD 1995 Adamant NAYRC qualifier @ Culpepper 1994


Waldaire 2004 at IDA

(our first ride)






Waldaire was the equine equivalent of my soul mate.

Celebrating his 23rd Birthday!










Aurora Pony Club SJ Rally 1991



Wakanda showing 3rd Level 2013  


Started showing FEI (HC ESDCTA Spring Show)
Young Riders Preliminary and Team Tests 1988

Graduate C-3 from Lanchester Pony Club
USPC Nationals 1989 Delmarva Dressage
USPC Nationals 1991 Delmarva Show Jumping
USPC Nationals 1994 Show Jumping(4th overall - top placed horse)

USDF Gold and Silver Medals (2003)

Leading Young Rider at the:
USET 1996 Festival of Champions CDI-W, Gladstone, NJ
1996 Capital Dressage Classic, CDI-W, Raleigh, NC, High Score FEI
PVDA Dressage Festival, Prince Georges, MD 1996

Competed in over 100 FEI classes
CDIs - Dressage At Devon, Dressage At Lexington, Dressage at Culpepper, PVDA at Prince Georges, Raleigh***, UNH, ESDCTA, Festival of Champions, VADA/NOVA at Morven Park
Winner of 16 Grand Prix Classes
2 National Grand Championships at the Grand Prix Level and Intermediare I (2 PHR Silver Stirrup)
5 Reserve Championships (PHR) (Dressage Breeding, Grand Prix, Grand Prix Freestyle, Prix St. Georges and Intermediare I Freestyle)
8 National Rankings (Grand Prix, Intermediare II)
AHS National Champion 1995 Fourth Level
AHS Reserve National Champion 2003 Grand Prix Freestyle
AHS Reserve National Champion 2002 Grand Prix Freestyle
Ranked 15th with Waldaire in the AA Grand Prix division in 2006
Handled 3 National Top Foals for their inspections, Multiple Champion & Reserve Champion
Horse of the Year 2009 As You Wish WF - Novice Eventing
Horse of the Year 2010 As You Wish WF - Training Eventing
Breed Show handler and rider until 2010
2015 DVCTA Board Member - Sponsorship Committee Chair

...more to follow...

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