A Real Life Unicorn

Who says unicorns don’t exist? Well, they clearly haven’t met our real life unicorn!


Nitrous is the diamond in the rough. We got Nitrous 6 years ago, and boy was she a mess! She had been tossed from barn to barn because she was “unridable.” Yes she definitely was opinionated, stubborn, and just misunderstood. Her first jump she took, she barreled full speed through it, yes through it, not over it, but completely ran through it. Eventually she got the memo to pick her legs up!

Over the years she has taken riders every year to new heights. She has shown all up and down the east coast and even went to Chicago. Once she understood what was asked of her, she picked it up rather quickly.

In the 6 years we’ve had her, she has taken 5 different riders to the High Child Adult Zone Championships. She has also taught many different riders on the side the heights. Nitrous has been the horse who has given herself the “one to beat” title. She has become our most reliable horse and our ribbon machine! (Did we mention she’s 20 years old!!)

Whether it is in the 1.00m or the 1.15m, she is surely one to watch, and you can bet she’ll be in the ribbons, if not first.

Here is a look at some of the riders she’s taken through the years!-

Andi qualified with Nitrous for the Zone Championships!

Andi qualified with Nitrous for the Zone Championships!

Nitrous even took Jessika to her first show!

Nitrous even took Jessika to her first show!

Julianne with Nitrous in New Hampshire

Julianne with Nitrous in New Hampshire

Marina with Nitrous in Chicago for the Championships

Marina with Nitrous in Chicago for the Championships

Shayna and Nitrous also qualified for the Championships

Shayna and Nitrous also qualified for the Championships

Nitrous took Hannah from jumping 18” to 4’+ in just 6 short months

Nitrous took Hannah from jumping 18” to 4’+ in just 6 short months

Emma also qualified with Nitrous.

Emma also qualified with Nitrous.

Anna started on Nitrous when she started with us.

Anna started on Nitrous when she started with us.

Nitrous took Raina to her first jumper shows, and also giving her ribbons!

Nitrous took Raina to her first jumper shows, and also giving her ribbons!

Nitrous’ current rider, Audrey, these two will compete in the Championships this year.

Nitrous’ current rider, Audrey, these two will compete in the Championships this year.

We are so grateful for having such an incredible horse like her who gives her all and her heart each and every time out. Hoping to have many more years with this old lady.

Mid Winter Changes

We are only half way through February and we are already stoked about this coming show season.

We ended up getting two more imports, they are both unbelievable!

One is a 4 year old Hannovarian gelding, with incredible bloodlines, Stakkato X Argentinus. We are already in love with him! He is beautifully started and has a great mind for a young horse. He will be dabbling in all the rings this year!

Our second new import is an 8 year old Oldenburg gelding. La Rue is the ultimate packer! He has also become a favorite with his easy going personality and incredible jump. You can see him competing in the jumpers with multiple riders at all different levels.

Next, one of our horses was able to find a person of his own. Shrek had been giving Mary lessons since she started not too long ago, and Mary fell in love with this beast and decided to lease him. Mary is getting the hang of him and the two compliment each other very well. They will go to their first show together in a few weeks.

So, who will Tom be showing since Shrek is leased? Well Tom has his choice of the baby horse, Sir Karl, aka “Pretty Boy”, and will also be riding La Rue in the bigger classes. Both are currently for sale!

What's in store for the new year

The 2019 season has already begun, and here’s what we have in store for this coming year:

Sadly Linny and Emma are leaving us sooner than expected, they will start their new journey in CT next weekend. Can’t wait to watch you kill it up there!

The new horses have settled in nicely. We will take them to two local shows this month to run them in, then it’s the A circuit. So where are we headed this winter?

Again this winter we will head to Aiken SC as much as we can for their show season, also hitting the Triangle shows when they pop up too.

We will have a new set of riders & horse combos this year-

Malia will be showing her new mount, Hero

Lindsay will be aboard her new horse- Centus

Audrey will rack up ribbons on Nitrous

Abby will go higher this year with Harm, and whoever else gets put on her list

Of course Tom will ride Shrek, and any others who need the “Tom affect”

We may also have one other 4 legged surprise this winter…. more to come on that later!

Rocque has also made the decision to go back to school, so starting in February we have another girl coming in to take his place. We wish Rocque the best but I’m sure he’ll still pop in time to time.

There’s a quick over view for the next few months, we have big hopes and expectations for this year!

Changes are coming for the New Year

We’ve had a pretty hectic last few months, with wrapping up the show season, horses coming and going, unexpected flying outs, BUT there are exciting, and sad, changes coming for the New Year!

First, we were able to get a horse in on consignment from New York. Papaleone Z, “Shrek”, came to us in October, with hopes from his owner to find someone who clicks with him more and can expose his full talent. Who better than the Crazy German? Tom instantly clicked with Shrek and quickly he became his new favorite. Shrek is another gentle giant, standing about 18hh and built like a tank. He and Tom will be attacking the new show season in the 1.20m and up! He is also for sale!

Next we had to make room for three more horses! Yes that’s three new imports at one time! Opening up connections overseas allowed us to find three spectacular horses for three of our clients-

Malia finally after let down after let down, was able to find a horse! She will be welcoming a 17hh Dutch WB here next week. Hero de Bun, will be taking her and continuing to teach her and compete with her. He is one for the big classes, and there’s no doubt they will dominate together! Congratulations Malia!!

Second is Lindsay, Lindsay will be aboard a 17hh Oldenburg who has a massive jump! It’ll be so exciting to watch you get in sync with this big guy and get back into the big classes again. Centus 8 has already become a favorite for Lindsay and her family, with her mom already naming him “Waldo.” We will see who gets the last say for a name. LOL.

Lastly is little Em. Emma has lots going on, she is getting a new horse, and she is also moving to Connecticut. She will be leaving Carlchen here with us, for him to heal out and transform into a dressage horse, and she will take her new horse Liniano ML, up to CT to continue her career. It has been a pleasure to start you in your riding and still be able to watch you grow and continue riding. You will be in good hands up there. We will miss you, but we’re looking forward to you visiting!

Cracked Tack and Wintery Days

No one likes to clean tack, especially when its freezing and your conditioner is frozen in your bottle, but have you ever had tack break and blame it on being cheap? Truth is if leather isn’t conditioned and oiled properly, and frequent, the winter will dry it out more!

Just like in the winter when your hands get dry and cracked, the same thing happens to your tack. So, how can you help prevent this? There’s multiple things you can do to keep your tack clean and not stiff this winter-

  1. Start keeping your tack, (bridles, REINS, stirrup leathers etc) clean and oiled BEFORE winter hits. Once the cold hits and your tack gets hard it’ll be much harder to keep it from cracking than if its already kept up.

  2. Wipe the mud and dirt off. With the cold comes mud season. The more dirt and mud that is caked on your tack the more it’ll eat your leather away. It’s good to keep a rag in your grooming box so you always have one after your rides.

  3. Keep your tack in a warmer room. If your tack room is heated, that’s great for you! If it’s not heated you may want to take it home on really cold nights. Keeping the room at a comfortable warm temperature will help the tack stay soft.

  4. There’s no such thing as TOO much oil.

    Start with these few tips to keep your tack in shape this winter, and avoid those mid ride broken reins or stirrups. Remember, if they DO still break mid ride, just keep going!

A Special Remembrance

A few weeks ago we lost a special horse who made an impact on the barn and everyone in it. Everyone took a few minutes to remember such a special horse with their memories of him-

“Even though I have spent numerous hours at the barn for my daughter, Audrey, I am not a “horse person.” That being said, Stallone easily won me over with his puppy dog, loving, personality. He was such a gentle giant and incredible to watch.” - Renee

“I am so glad I had the opportunity to ride Stallone. He was such an amazing horse and he was so enjoyable to ride and be around. I’m so glad I got to go to my first jumper show on him. Everyone loved him and we will miss him!” - Malia

“My favorite memory of Rocky is when he helped me successfully clear 5 ft. I love this memory because he made it feel so easy. I miss him because he was able to cheer you up and make you so happy so quick.” - Emma

“Our first impression of Stallone was as we were pulling into the barn and saw this petite woman on this huge horse who proceeded to canter around the arena in what can only be described as an Olympic level uphill balanced canter that took our breathe away. Then we were introduced to this gentle giant who left nothing but positive impressions on those who knew him. A true equine ambassador of the highest caliber.” -Lynda & Sharesa

“When I think of Stallone, I think of the horse that I had to stop and say hello to every time because no matter what mood I was in he was always ready to be loved on and hugged and would make me feel so much better. At the last show we went to he was so sweet he would put his head on my shoulder and let me play with his mouth (and pick his nose.) He made the day go by quicker! He was so intelligent and just an all around amazing horse!!!” -Felicity

“My favorite memories of Stallone are watching him and Phin together. I loved how he doted on Phin and brought my little guy under his wing. The moment I saw them both “baby mouth” at each other I knew Phin would be perfectly happy in his new home! Seeing the two of them side by side-the biggest and the smallest horse on the farm-always made me smile. I will forever be grateful to Stallone for being Phin’s first friend since our move to Verden.” -Kristina

“When I think of Rocky I remember him like a big dog, he was so cuddly and sweet and everyone at the barn loved him, even though he was the biggest horse at the barn all he wanted was love and attention.” -Audrey

“The moment you sat on Stallone, you knew you were riding at another level. You could see his talent and grace in every step. He carried me over the biggest fences I’ve ever jumped- a triple combination at 5’11- and made me famous. He never once hesitated. He had enough bravery for both of us. Words cannot describe the gift that Stallone gave me that day.” -Lindsay

“I always thought it was so cute that Stallone was such good friends with Garth, it was kind of like he was protecting him because he was so much older and smaller than the other horses.” -Reece

“My job revolves around caring for Verdens horses. I’m always on the lookout for problems. Cuts, lameness, loose shoes. Rocky had his fair share of cuts and loose shoes but what I keep an eye on moreso is horses that act up. And I deal with a good number of horses that have their own quirks that could turn into problems given the right circumstance. Rocky was one of the few horses that I did not have to worry about. I never had to worry about which other horses can I put Rocky with. Rocky got along with all horses. I never had to keep an eye on Rocky while he was being handled. Rocky was patient with those that worked with him. In a way, my job is all about looking for problems. Rocky was not a problem, and so I took him for granted. I never thought about him, never had too. I could rely on Rocky. Old geldings- put them with Rocky, adjacent mares in paddocks-Rocky can be next to them, baby horses- put them with Rocky. He never lashed out on his handlers. He never mistreated the other horses. Those who were knowledgable enough to ride him over the big fences couldn’t be safer. I’ve been told that out there he’d actually look out for you. You never realize how much you depend on a horse until they pass. I could tell you, in life, we yearn for admirable traits. Things like bravery, reliability, patience, and integrity, to name a few. The few I named Rocky, though being only a horse, seemed to possess in such an unassuming manner that it was easy to overlook. Unless you’ve worked with him that is. Then it was, beyond his great capacities as a show horse which most people saw first, easy to see that he was truly a very special horse. I miss Rocky. His absence is still felt. I imagine it will be for some time.” -Rocque

“Stallone was something different. He could go from jumping Grand Prix, to carrying a beginner around. He was the horse you could close your eyes on and he’d safely take you to the other side of the fence. He helped many riders, including myself, learn the big fences. For as big as he was, he was as gentle as they come. He had a big goofy, clumsy personality. You couldn’t walk past him without saying hello or playing with his big floppy lips. It was a gift being able to work with him. He was breathe taking to watch. Stallone was the real deal. He was gentle, graceful, beautiful, athletic, and so lovable! I’ll forever miss his little whinny every morning during feeding.” - Abby

RIP Stallone. You are forever missed!


Finding a Partner

A big part in a rider’s success story is the partnership between them and their horse. It’s easy to just hop on any horse and ride it, but how many people actually can trust that horse with everything they have, and allow them to take them through courses without hesitation, and walk back out of the ring together. So, how do you know when you’ve found the perfect partner?

Some horses you sit on and you don’t feel much, just another horse, then some it’s an instant ‘click’ with. Depending on where you are in your riding, you may find one who just carries you over any jump, no matter the distance, no matter how big, and you feel safe with them. You may find one who you instantly fall in love with, and click with, or it may take a few rides to figure them out and trust them. Regardless how fast it takes to trust them, once you do it’s an incredible feeling.

You can tell when a horse and rider are one when they go together and they flow so effortlessly. Having the trust in one another helps both out when you get in sticky situations. You’re trusting your mount to save you, and they’re trusting you to help them get out. Having a strong bond will also make your horse more forgiving when you mess up, rather than them being hesitant after you mess up.

Some people find their partner if they have a younger horse who they’re bringing along, some find one who is already experienced, and some find that one diamond in the rough. Like all those crazy horse girls say- I wasn’t looking for a horse, it just kind of happened!

Behind the Stall Door

Everyone always looks at the trainers as the hero's of the barn- the ones who magically tell you what to do and it somehow works. Well they're not the only hero's in the barn- ever wonder how the barn runs so smoothly, and even on crazy days things seem to work out somehow? It's the one who people hardly ever think of as to why the barn stays running so nicely-  that would be thanks to Tom's son, Rocque.  

Even on mornings when he winds up 2 hours behind schedule fixing a fence that got blown out the night before, he always puts the horses first. He has the part of the job that no one ever thinks of. No one ever thinks of all the long days that are put in, the frozen buckets that get broken, or the 100 degree summer days he's still out there. He makes it possible for us to be able to go away to shows knowing our horses are well cared for. 

He takes great pride in his work around the barn. Broken board? Fixed. Barn and stalls clean? Check. Wire down? A small zap later and fixed! Weeds are wacked. 

Rocque does more then just the dirty work- he kills spiders for Abby, scares Emma, (you can bet she'll get him back!), and he also joins us for get togethers. Without him the barn wouldn't run nearly has smooth! Thank you Rocque!




New faces in the barn

Over the last few weeks we have had some new four and two legged faces at the barn. 

Our first new arrival is a yearling, (Abby FINALLY got her baby horse she wanted!) Hah, just kidding, Kristina brought her other horse down from Virginia. Phinneas is an Oldenburg she bred for herself, he will be her dressage prospect. Phinn is too cute for his own good, and he knows it! He enjoys sniffing you head to toe, drinking from the hose, and is getting closer to brave the shaving bags!   

Our new human face around the barn is Malia. You may have seen some videos of her on our FB, jumping Stallone over a 5' oxer. When Malia came to us she had never jumped more than a foot, so in her first lesson she was over the moon when she jumped 2'6. She has a great heart for riding and is like a sponge, soaks it all up. She's been playing catch up with seat exercises, and is determined to get all the way around in the trot. She is as gutsy as they come and will make a great addition to the barn!

We have 2 more horse and human faces to introduce, Sharesa and Lynda, owners of Nike and Stormy. Sharesa has a Carlchen look-a-like, Nike is a gorgeous grey thoroughbred. Lynda is the owner of redhead, Stormy. Stormy is a QH and enjoys going on relaxing trail rides with Nike.  

Everyone seems to be settling in and it's great to have new faces in the barn! Can't wait for our Happy Hour Fridays again to get to know everyone better! Don't be afraid to stop by on Fridays once show season quiets down for some food and laughs! 

Elderly Spotlight

This week we decided to put one of our elder horses in the spotlight:

Wenderochen 'Georgie'

Georgie is one of the very lucky horses to be owned by such a great lady, Chris Sieber. Chris unfortunately stayed behind in Boston, but sent Georgie down along with one of her other horses, Garth for retirement.

 Georgie has been with Tom for about 18 years, she was a broodmare when they got her and was unridable. She and Tom had it out and she was determined to get him off, every single time. They figured out Georgie knew a lot in dressage, she was showing 2nd level, and working up to 3rd level at home. Since Tom's riders were all jumpers, he decided to make Georgie a jumper also. Tom sold Georgie to Chris not expecting the outcome that came.

Chris and Georgie showed up to 3'3 in the jumpers, and even in her 50s Chris still had a need for speed and would not take anything less than blue. Tom never thought someone could ride so  competitively and she constantly left him speechless as she would beat his top riders and horses. Tom finally banned poor Chris from the jumpers, and even the hunters! That's where those two started to dominate in the dressage ring. 

Georgie continued to be able to show with other students in the hunters, and twice in a row was year end champion at NHHJA. She even showed in the WIHS jumpers! Georgie seemed to like to take over in the jumper rings. 

She and Chris worked hard in dressage together and showed up to 4th level. For those who know Georgie know that Chris made her look easy to ride. Watching those two show in dressage was breath taking. Both had a killer competitive look from start to finish, (and sometimes I couldn't tell who was more competitive!) Georgie would still throw a small cow kick here and there to show she's still boss, but hey that's what makes her Georgie! 

Now Georgie enjoys her retirement down with us. 






Show Season Checkpoint

We are well into the show season and we’d like to give an update on how the riders and horses are doing this year.

We’ll start off with our youngest, Emma-

Emma had her work cut out for herself in the beginning of the show season with trying to figure her new horse out. Emma got her horse Carlchen towards the end of the season last year, he was a big jump going from a little thoroughbred to a 16h warmblood, yet she kept trying harder everyday to learn a little more about him. She learned “speed is not always your friend” and instead is putting power into her ride. Recently Emma has been showing Stallone while Carlchen is getting some time off, and her confidence over the bigger fences is coming back. Keep the confidence up for the remainder of the show season!



Raina- Raina use to do a great job at hanging on to Nitrous as she flies through courses, but Raina is starting to also learn speed is not always your friend. Her seat has gotten much better and she is able to open her canter up and also bring her back for tight turns. It’s much different for Raina, who came from the hunters, she is realizing that there’s a lot that is different but she can feel the improvement and she even says her arms hurt from all the strength Nitrous has! Let’s get those muscles stronger!


Audrey- Audrey has been unraveling the knot more and more each ride with Sydney. She has conquered her run-outs with oxers, and unlike the others-she has been putting the speed on. She has worked hard on keeping Sydney from bullying her around (yes even as small as Sydney is she thinks she’s much tougher!) Audrey has had great showings this season, moving into 3’! Once she gets comfortable with the speed those two won’t be caught!


Lindsay- Lindsay started out showing Midnight Run, flying through courses taking blue after blue, the last few months she has been riding Cassius. Cassius has taught her a ton! She’s getting back into riding with a framing leg and having a whole lot of pressure on the bit, and also, speed is not your friend. The two are getting use to each other and figuring out where each others ‘buttons’ are.  (Amazing how that keeps coming around ha) She’s always still riding her horse, Sadie. Sadie is becoming much quieter and no longer runs to fences, but can quietly trot to them. Looking forward to seeing you back in the big classes again!


Abby- Abby has made tremendous strides! She and Harmony are becoming a competitive pair! They worked hard on turning, Abby got use to Harmony’s speed, (which there is a lot of!), and they are starting to win their classes! Anyone who knows this horse knows what a bull she is and Abby has done great with the patience of learning how to ride her. Can’t wait for the remaining season for these two!


Tom- Tom has gotten back in the show ring! After years of not showing Tom has been showing Stallone and Cassius this year. He has gotten Cassius more exposure to the rated shows. With Stallone he rode in a Grand Prix again after 20 years. Tom is tweaking the little things with his ride, and also getting comfortable over the big heights in the show ring again. Hopefully more GP to come!


All riders made big improvements already, let’s see how the second half of the year goes!


Beating the Heat

Since moving to North Carolina from Boston, we have found that the summers here are rather hot. We had to work around the heat and even give the horses (and riders) days off.

Here are some ways we switch up our summer routine to make sure our riders and horses are staying cool in the heat :


Changing the ride times

- We have started riding early in the mornings (sometimes before the sun is even really up!) We’ll work through until about late morning when the heat really starts to get strong. Early cooler mornings still allow for training rides, late evening rides work great too!

Shorter rides

- Sometimes if someone can’t come early, we normally will reduce the intensity of the ride and focus on a few things to really fix.

- It’s important to watch not only the rider but also the horse, while their riding. We try to keep it lighter for the horse so they won’t have a hard time cooling off afterwards.

Lots of baths!

- It's always nice after a hot sweaty workout to give your horse a bath! There’s nothing I love more than seeing the horses facial expression when getting a nice rinse and drinking from the hose after, plus it’s also nice when the horse gets you just as soaked!


- Of course there isn’t anything better than having a popsicle after a ride. Luckily for our riders, we usually always keep popsicles in the freezer. (Some of the horses even like them to!)



What if I fall? Oh, but what if you fly?

Have you ever seen one of Verden’s riders competing in one height and the following year the same rider is now competing 3 levels higher than when you saw them last? If so, you’re probably thinking the same thing I was - how in the world can one rider progress so quickly? Verden is all about taking leaps and jumps; Although not every jump may be perfect, Verden gives riders the confidence needed to make sure one always gets back up and takes that next leap.

So what’s the secret that gets our riders so far ahead in such a short time? Well, unfortunately there really isn’t one. The only secret is to work hard in and out of the saddle. To help some of our riders build up muscle, we suggested implementing a daily workout routine consisting of push-ups and sit-ups every night. Pretty soon our riders start to realize that they are stronger today then they were 3 weeks ago. 

A great thing about our program is it allows the riders to ride different horses. Riders learn on a variety of horses with different needs and ways of being ridden. In addition, our riders are being supervised to make sure they are always working on their weaknesses and aren’t goofing off. Some of the kids think that Abby’s lessons are more difficult and that she is harder. However, simply put, her training is more rigorous because she’s been climbing up the ladder and has been faced with hurdles that have knocked her down but she’s always fought harder. That’s exactly what she expects from the kids - to have the willpower not to give in and to push oneselves outside their comfort zone and to realize one is capable of jumping and leaping at a higher level.

We like to challenge our riders with things they might not particularly see in the show ring. We do this with our riders so they gain experience and understand how to react in situations that you don’t see every day. As a result of this practice, our riders have the utmost confidence when entering the show ring.  Our riders put in countless hours of hard work trying to jump to the next level. They all have a dream of where they want to be in this sport. We make sure our riders are giving their all into every lesson. The biggest compliment to us is when our riders are turning heads in the show ring as they progress to become the ones to beat. All of the hard-work, time, and dedication invested by our trainers and riders, who train day in and day out, results in advancing up the ladder to become more competitive riders.  

Next time you see one of our riders winning a class, or losing their stirrups in the jump-off and continuing like nothing happened, remember how much work they have put in to get too where they are now.




First Impression

This week we got some insight from a new Verden rider, Raina. You may have seen some videos of Raina jumping her new lease horse, Nitrous on the Facebook and Instagram page. Lets see what Raina had to say since moving to Verden from the hunters.

“My experience at Verden Stables is really good! When I first started riding in the fourth grade I was so excited to ride a horse. One year later i showed 2 feet and thought it was really big, but now I’ve jumped 3’9 on Nitrous! I’ve leased ponies since I’ve started riding and have done the hunters with them, now I’m leasing my first horse and Nitrous is helping me get into the jumpers. I got hooked on riding so I continued doing it. Now that I’m doing jumpers sometimes I feel like I’m soaring through the sky!

When I first came to Verden, everyone was so nice and helpful. Tom and Abby are both great instructors and are always giving corrections to make me better. I’ve loved it here, I’ve improved so fast since I started, Abby is helping me achieve my goals. I’m doing more each lesson and don’t feel like I’m still in the same spot since I started. They have really nice horses and they can jump the moon!  

Since I’ve always done the hunters I decided to switch to jumpers because I always see the Grand Prixs and the Olympics and that's my dream to make it there someday. I like the jumpers because I’ve learned that it’s not about looking pretty in a show, but actually about learning and getting the task done. Everyday I get to learn and practice because I’m under constant supervision. This year I hope to qualify on Nitrous for the WIHS Low Child Jumper Championships.”

- Raina

Keep an eye out for this 12 year old with Nitrous who will be sweeping the blues in the shows this year. We are all very excited to watch these two grow and see Raina become a very competitive rider.



Raina and Nitrous placing 5th after her first 1.00m classic in Aiken South Carolina!

Raina and Nitrous placing 5th after her first 1.00m classic in Aiken South Carolina!

5 Tips to Get Ready for Show Season!

With the show season quickly approaching, it’s important to make you aren’t rusty, and are ready to attack the show ring. The first show of the season is always more nerve racking than the others. Riders haven’t been in “competition mode” and have to remember some of the nuances of the show ring. It also sets the mark for how hard you have to work to hit this year’s show goals.

The most challenging job for Tom and me is making sure our riders go in the ring mentally prepared. It’s a little easier for the seasoned and more experienced riders, but it can be terrifying for some of our younger, inexperienced riders.

Here are five things that we focus on for show success:

1. Set a small goal

For less experienced riders, we start by setting a small goal. Yes, winning is important (if you didn’t see last season’s show wall, check it out here). But every rider has their own needs, and reach the “winning goal” differently. An entire course with 15 fences, double combinations, tricky lines, and roll backs, can be overwhelming. We might tell our young rider to focus on the first three fences. Make it through that, and everything up is upside. Having them only focus on those fences gets their attention off the scary wall unit that waits at fence 9. It also makes them feel good when they get past fence three, regardless how the rest of the course went. Victories can be small, and build towards your larger goals.

2. Know what helps you win

Every rider deals with their show nerves differently. Some repeat the course to you 100 times, then one more time as they’re walking in. Some keep to themselves and are quiet until it’s time to go in the ring. Whatever it may be, concentrate on what helps you focus and win. It might feel selfish, but everyone wants you to succeed. As trainers, we try to help riders understand this, but you need to communicate with your trainer/family/barnmates on what you need (within reason!).

3. Remember the basics

We know our riders, and their show goals. To get to where they need to be in September, we are working on specific items with them now. We remind them of the few things they need to concentrate on (don’t clamp with your knee, Lindsay!). Reminding our riders of the 1 or 2 major things to remember emphasizes that while it’s a show, it’s still a training ride. You have to have the basics to win.

4. Balance out your show schedule

As often as we go to the big “A” & “AA” rated shows, we try to fit in the smaller local rated shows for the riders and younger horses to gain experience without feeling the pressure of the big show grounds. It’s nice to have laid back rated shows in our backyard, where we can fix problems, keep our riders from getting rusty between big shows, or simply give them a break from the 5 day shows. It’s easier to send them in local rated shows, and get comfortable with those before sending them to a big overnight show where the courses are harder and the days are longer. And don’t forget, the same goes for your horse. Inexperienced horses need to build their confidence too. Smaller local shows will help them do just that.

5. Have fun!

Most riders aren’t professionals, and they ride because they enjoy it. Competing should be the same thing. Have fun. Make friends. Learn and become a better rider. It’s hard sometimes when you aren’t having great rides, or not winning. But remember the bigger picture - riding isn’t easy and it’s a lifelong lesson. Enjoy the ride. (pun intended)

Whether you’re an experienced rider, or one who’s new to showing, be ready for this show season. Some may seek that perfect round. We seek the growth of our riders that they improve with each class, and one day it will be pretty close to perfect. I’m so excited for what our riders will achieve this year!

- Abby

p.s. Interested in riding with us or hanging out and seeing how we train? Give us a call and experience the Verden family for a day!



2017 Emma Verden Raleigh Showjumping ribbons.JPG

Verden Showjumper Spotlight: Audrey

We are starting a series where we interview one of our riders, so that you can get to know us and what we are all about!

How old are you? 12

What's your horse's name? Sydney

How long have you been riding with Verden? 8 months

What showjumping height do you compete at? Uhhhhh I don't know. Ask Tom. (Turns out she's showing up to 1 meter, but don't tell her!)

Which is your least favorite - No stirrups, Airplane, Seat Exercises, or Up-Back? Seat exercises!

What's your favorite flavor of ice cream? Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

If you could be any superhero, who would it be? Superman!

Why do you ride at Verden? It's challenging, but fun. And it's like a family!

Audrey + Sydney took Champion at Rosewood Farm and Reserve Champion at Triangle Farms. See them next at the Aiken Cupid Classic!

Audrey Sydney Blog.jpg
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2017-12 Sydney Audrey.jpg

Getting The Winter Blues?

Are you getting a little unmotivated to ride now that it's cold, and you just watched everyone go to Florida for the winter? Do you find it hard to keep you and your horse in shape when all you want to do is curl up and hibernate all winter? Here at Verden, it’s important to keep both horse + rider in shape to prepare for the upcoming show season.

Since the cold often keeps your rides shorter with mostly flatwork, it’s a great time to focus on your strength and balance. Yep, that means no-stirrup work. Don’t just work on your posting trot without stirrups. Add in two-pointing. Make sure to do circles, serpentines, and ground poles. Remember that you trying to strengthen your balance for a course, not just plodding around on the outside rail.

The key to making boring, and often painful, conditioning exercises more bearable, is to make them fun! No one enjoys no-stirrup work (especially in the cold), but doing it as a team makes it a little more fun. You seem to muster the strength to go 5 minutes longer when all of your peers are suffering with you. If one person accidently sits before 10 rounds in a two-point, you ALL start over.

Want to take it up another notch or two?

Here are some of the regular no-stirrup exercises we do at Verden. Two riders trot alongside each other, with each rider holding one end of the same crop. Not only do you have to work on balance, you have to keep your horses at the same gait with only one hand on the reins. If you’re a jumper, I’m sure you’ve gotten left behind in the take-off at least once (I have). We routinely lay back and then snap up into position on our horses so that our heads touch our horse’s butt and then back into position. While at a trot and canter. With no stirrups. It’s not easy, but helps us stay in the saddle come show season for those unexpected take-offs (and gives up great abs!).

You’re probably thinking that it sounds like you’re doing all the work, and wondering how your horse stays in shape. Along with your never ending no-stirrup two-point, your horse will have to be able to pace himself, move forward when you ask, and collect himself again. Already do this on your own, and wondering how this is any different? Mirroring a horse of a different size, speed, and stride is much harder than it seems. Think that still sounds easy? Not so simple holding a crop between riders and having to stay together without letting go, over fences, and even having your trainer stand in between you when you pass. (Just a taaaad nerve-wrecking)

Remember  “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” - Tim Notke

So bundle up and let’s get ready for the season!


Raise Your Crop to 2018!

Looking back at 2017, we have a lot to celebrate at Verden. We completed our first year in NC, and are already acclimated to the much warmer weather. (For those of you that don't know, we moved from Boston!) This year saw the Verden show team grow with the additions of Anna, Audrey, and Katie. Lindsay stopped flying in from Boston, and moved permanently to Wake Forest. We traveled all over North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland for shows. You can see our 2017 ribbons (just 2017!) covered the entire side of the barn! Emma competed in her first Zone 3 Championships, taking home 3rd in the team challenge with Nitrous! This marks the 4th year in a row that Verden riders have qualified for Zones, and we expect to make it 5 in 2018.

And we have even bigger plans for 2018! We have two new riders joining us (more to come on that soon!). We are already seeing our new horse + rider pairs gel, like Emma + Carlchen, Anna + Nix, and Audrey + Sydney. I'm truly excited to see what they accomplish in 2018. Our show schedule will take us all over the south, starting with Aiken, South Carolina in January. I expect our riders will compete in the High Children/Adults, Low Amateur Owners (AOs), Washington International Horse Show, and Zone Championships.

To get there, it doesn't come easy to any rider. Verden riders will continue to train hard, riding multiple horses almost daily. For every good ride at home, there are difficult or downright bad rides. Between training and showing, we somehow manage to weave in Foodie Fridays, team dinners, trail rides, and game nights. So when you see a Verden rider enter the show ring wearing Verden's black and gold gear, remember how hard she's trained, how hard she's worked, how many obstacles she's overcome, and give her a big round of applause.

Here's to 2018! Come join us!

Tom Friedrich

2017 Verden Showjumping Ribbons

5 Things to Consider Before Switching from Hunters to Show Jumping

Show jumping is competitive and fun. But it's not for everyone. Consider these fives things if you're thinking about making the switch.

1 - Winning or Losing is Objective

Unlike other disciplines, the show jumping judge only exists to make sure you follow the rules - not decide your placing in the ribbons. There are several types of classes, but generally the fastest time through the pre-set course - without knocking down a rail - wins the class. If you knock down a rail, you are given 4 faults per rail.

2 - Speed Is Important

Speed not only determines the winner in show jumping, but you can actually get penalized for going too slow! Each course has an allotted amount for horse and rider to complete it. If you take longer, you receive time faults that will prevent you moving on to the jump off and count against you.

3 - European Style Training

Show jumping is much more common in Europe and the European style of riding is quite different from the way in which most American riders have been taught. Show jumping technique finds its roots in classic dressage, where there is a focus on collecting the horse and getting them to use more power out of their hind end. Being German, Verden riders train in the classic German style. Did I mention Germany has one of the top show jumping teams in the world?!

4 - Style Doesn't Give You Points

Since show jumping is not judged, whether you ride in a CWD or wear Tailored Sportsman, doesn't matter. It means there is less judgement amongst riders and less pain on your family's wallet! It also means that you can't blame your 4th place on a bad braid job.

5 - Quick Thinking

You have to respond in the show ring to changes and reactions from your horse - and quickly. Lines and distances are important, but they may be at an angle or a short distance to achieve what you want. It's amazing the amount of decisions you have to make in a 60 second course. Be ready for a physical and mental workout.

Interested in learning more? Contact us to set-up a Meet + Ride with Verden!

See you soon,