Category Archives: Guest Bloggers

The Plaid Horse in the Barn Lounge with Natalee Newton Haggan

Photo © Karinda K. Equine Photography


Natalee Haggan’s parents promised her a horse of her own when she was eight years old, provided she stuck with the riding lessons she begged for. She showed her dedication early, always staying late at the barn late to help out with chores. “Thirty years have gone by and I’m still waiting for the horse,” the now successful professional jokes.

Natalee’s determination has opened doors. In 2000, she convinced the hiring manager at Medieval Times (a popular dinner theater chain restaurant) to take her on, even though at the time the business officially did not hire women in the role of riders. But Natalee impressed the horse trainer with her skills. Through that experience, she learned a lot of incredible dressage skills the horses needed to perform in the show.

After three years at Medieval Times, Natalee returned to the show ring. She missed jumping. She borrowed a horse from MTM farm for a week, and again impressed people with her work ethic. She got opportunity to take care of the farm while the owners were on the road, and worked her way into the manager and trainer position.

Things were going well for Natalee when, in 2017, a 2”x6” board fell on her head and left her in critical condition. Once again, she would have to defy the odds.

Pin Oak became the stage for her comeback. She grew up watching the Pin Oak Grand Prix and dreamed of riding in it long before she had the financial means to make it at the rated level. “I just rode whatever I could swing a leg over,” she remembers. Now, as an accomplished rider with access to nice horses, she had to put the pieces together while recovering from her serious injury.

Photo © Karinda K. Equine Photography

In 2018, just seven months after her accident, her dream came true as she rode into the ring in the Wells Fargo $30,000 Pin Oak Grand Prix on MTM Full House. The evening progressed from dream to fairy tale as she and Fuller had the only double clear round of the night. “Winning was surreal,” she recalls. Natalee lists winning this class as her proudest equestrian accomplishment.

There is no doubt that Natalee’s determination and talent paid off in that moment, but she credits her support system as well. “I am so fortunate to have the support of Mike McCormick, Tracy Fenney, and the rest of our MTM team,” she says. “They have given me knowledge, encouragement, and opportunities that I would not otherwise have and I am forever grateful.”

Tracy is her equestrian idol. “She’s amazing,” she says. “She’s always so smooth and makes it look effortless. Horses love her.”

She also has a special bond with Fuller, a Hanoverian gelding McCormick and Fenney imported in 2015. Fenney rode him in a few Grand Prix before handing the reins over to Natalee just before her accident, but left the ride to her and gave Fuller time off competing while Natalee recovered.

“I believe we have an aytpical bond that allows us to compete at that level,” Natalee says. “Fuller jumps in an unorthodox style, but he has the heart of a winner. He always gives 110% in and out of the show ring, and always steps up when he is challenged. He is also the first to greet me when I walk in the barn with a loud neigh ‘hello.’”

Natalee is sympathetic to her horses, which plays a key role in her success with them. Her training philosophy centers on focusing on the individual needs of each horse to help them most efficiently understand what she is asking of them. “I am a huge believer in positive reinforcement and try to stay focused on solutions,” she says. “I think it is very important especially with young or green horses to recognize when the horse has given you an honest effort to do whatever you are facing it with to allow it to be finished,  whether it happens in five minutes or 25 minutes.”

Photo © Karinda K. Equine Photography

The future is bright for Natalee, whose next big goal is to win an international hunter derby. “I’ve come in second in my last two international derbies,” she says, “and last time I was only one point off the winner.” She’s also looking forward to more Grand Prix wins as well as bringing along the promising young horses at MTM.

Wherever she goes in her career, Pin Oak will always be special to her. “Pin Oak is a great contribution to the horse world in the sense that it allows different breeds and disciplines to compete side by side. Even though we are all involved with riding it is very interesting to watch and learn how differing breeds and disciplines train, compete, and even manage their horses in the stabling area. Each breed and discipline have their own unique traditions that I find interesting,” Natalee says.

“I am just very thankful to be able to compete at Pin Oak. I love the support and donations Pin Oak makes to the Texas Children’s Hospital. We are all very lucky to be able to live our life with horses and I think it is important to remember to give back.”

While anyone with Natalee’s level of success would know a thing or two about luck, she is also a demonstration of what really wanting it and putting in the time can bring. Watch for this talented rider at the horse shows this year.

Faces of Pin Oak: Natalee Newton Haggan

Pin Oak I Weekend Wrap Up – The Plaid Horse

Pin Oak I Weekend Wrap Up

Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Katy, Texas – March 25, 2019 – Fun was had by all at Pin Oak 2019’s first Grand Prix, the Oasis Petroleum $30,000 Grand Prix, and Amalaya Investments Ringside Gala on Saturday Night. As is tradition at each of Pin Oak’s Grand Prix events, the Catalena Cowgirls, an iconic rodeo drill team of talented women and their paint horses, kicked off the evening with a fabulous performance.

Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Sixteen competitors tried their hand at the first-round course, with only five moving to the jump off. The crowd held their breath as Quattro, owned and shown by Daniel Bedoya, took home the win with the only clear jump off round. Daniel and Quattro were Pin Oak’s Leading Grand Prix Horse and Rider in 2018 as well as 2015. The pair also competed in the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games.

Quattro owned & ridden by Daniel Bedoya. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography
Quattro owned & ridden by Daniel Bedoya, Grand Prix Winner. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Tiramisu, ridden by Trapp O’Neal and owned by The Eddyanne Ranch Family Limited Partnership, was the fastest four-faulter, receiving the red ribbon.

Tiramisu ridden by Trapp O’Neal, owned by The Eddyanne Ranch Family Limited Partnership. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography
Tiramisu ridden by Trapp O’Neal, owned by The Eddyanne Ranch Family Limited Partnership. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Daisy Ford and her Gatsby finished in fifth place, which gave them the win in the 1.45M Under 25 Grand Prix while Faces of Pin Oak rider, Briley Koerner, finished sixth in the Prix with BKS Horse Farms, LLC’s For Jef Vd Wezelse, earning her second place in the Under 25.

Gatsby, owned and ridden by Daisy Ford. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Julie Cleveland Beam and Anastasia Stewart’s Lancelot, winners of Thursday night’s $10,000 1.45M Welcome Stake, received the Grand Prix Style Award at Saturday’s event.

Prior to Saturday’s big event, complimentary massages were offered during the afternoon at the facility’s outdoor hospitality area, and The Shops at Pin Oak featured pre-event cocktails and a photobooth with fun Pin Oak props open to all.

On Sunday, the final day of Pin Oak 2019 Week I included a delicious sponsor brunch, complete with mimosas and a Bloody Mary bar.

SWS Questionnaire owned and ridden by Bella Kay. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Bella Kay aboard her SWS Questionnaire dominated in the equitation ring, winning the WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase, the USEF/Dover Hunter Seat Medal, and the Platinum Performance Talent Search.

Gerico owned & ridden by Portya Muenke. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Portya Muenke took the blue ribbon in the WIHS Equitation Jumper Phase and the red ribbon in the USEF/Dover Hunter Seat Medal and the ASPCA Maclay aboard her Gerico. Elizabeth Nestor proved to be the highest scoring overall in the WIHS Equitation with At Last owned by Claire Azar. Elizabeth Nestor and At Last also took home the blue in the USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal.

At Last ridden by Elizabeth Nestor, owned by Claire Azar. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

We spoke with Brooke Brombach following her win in the ASPCA Maclay on Spygate, owned by Show Hunters Investments. “I’m so happy with him. I was really looking forward to Pin Oak this year, especially following last year’s 3’6” Equitation Circuit Award, but I was concerned when a week before the show started I still hadn’t found an equitation horse to ride. Luckily, three days before Pin Oak, I found out that Spygate, an equitation horse I used to ride, was coming back from lease and being sent for me to show. He made it on Thursday evening, just in time!” The pair was also second in the WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase and third in the US Dover Hunter Seat Medal and the Platinum Performance Talent Search.

Spygate ridden by Brooke Brombach, owned by Show Hunter Investments. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Macy White aboard Viva’s Glory, owned by Joan Hensen, took home the blue ribbon in the Hamel NHS 3’3” Medal, and Victoria Zahorik and her own Kalisto were crowned the winners in the THIS National Children’s Medal and Reserve Champion of the Children’s Hunter 14 and Under.

Viva’s Glory owned & ridden by Macy White. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Khaki McCool and Kirby McCool’s Intrepido came out on top in the under saddle as well as both of Sunday’s Combined 3’6” Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under and Small Junior Hunter 16-17 classes, taking Champion in the division. “Today’s courses were very well-designed. I really enjoyed them, and my horse was perfect and jumping great,” Khaki said when asked about her wins. “We just started leasing him less than a year ago,” she explained of the 10-year-old Danish Warmblood. Central Park West owned and ridden by Jordan Cobb earned the Reserve Championship.

Intrepido ridden by Khaki McCool, owned by Kirby McCool. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Greetings and owner/rider Haley Hammer bested all the 3’6” Junior riders, winning the combined 3’6” Junior Hunter Classic and taking Champion in the 3’6” Junior Hunter 16-17. Symbolic, second in Friday’s International Hunter Derby, and Bella Kay were Reserve Champion.

Greetings owned & ridden by Haley Hammer. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Gap Crown Horses, LLC’s Cassiopeia Cellestin, ridden by Kelley Buringa, and Chestnut Equestrian, LLC’s OTI, ridden by Ainslee Gregg, took Champion and Reserve Champion, respectively of the 3’3” Junior Hunter 16-17. Both horses are of Matt Cyphert’s, Faces of Pin Oak rider, Woodhill Farm.

Cassiopeia Cellestin ridden by Kelley Buringa, owned by Gap Crown Horses, LLC. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Luke Jensen and Jill Barnett’s Coraggio PF were Champion in the 3’3” Junior Hunter 15 and Under and took home the blue in the combined 3’3” Junior Hunter Classic.

Coraggio PF ridden by Luke Jensen, owned by Jill Barnett. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Children’s Hunter 14 and Under Champion Snickers owned by South Haven Farm while the Children’s Hunter Classic 14 and Under win was taken by Overture, owned and shown by Lola Hutchinson.

Caswell owned & ridden by Sydney Murdoch. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

The Children’s Hunter 15-17 tricolor was earned by Caswell owned and ridden by Sydney Murdoch while Jordan Gilchrist’s Kingston, piloted by Ella Frahm, took the win in the Children’s Hunter 15-17 Classic as well as the division Reserve Championship. At the pony ring, we caught up with McKayla Brombach who was on fire, earning the Championship on all three of her rides.

Glenmore Tralee, ridden by McKayla and owned by Monarch Stables, earned the tricolor in the Small Pony Hunter division. When asked about the catch ride, McKayla said, “I’m really proud of this pony. She was fantastic. I am shocked that we were Champion against Sunbeam because Sunbeam is a really nice pony.”

Sunbeam ridden by Carolyn Colter, owned by Ticket to Ride LLC. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Sunbeam, owned by Ticket to Ride, LLC and ridden by Carolyn Colter, took the Reserve Championship as well as the blue ribbon in the combined Pony Hunter Classic.

Morton’s Sassy Kat ridden by McKayla Brombach, owned by Colleen Brombach. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

McKayla was also Champion of the Medium Pony Hunters with Colleen Brombach’s Morton’s Sassy Kat. “I’m finally figuring out how to ride this pony. I’m so blessed to have her and to finally be getting consistent rides on her,” said McKayla following her clean sweep of the division. Alexandra Keath’s Glenhaven Pick Me, ridden by Clara Keath, earned the Reserve Championship. The girls shared their Championship photo following the division.

Glenhaven Pick Me & Morton’s Sassy Kat. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

McKayla’s third ride, Waltzing Matilda, owned by James Waldman, took the Championship in the Small/Medium Green Pony Hunter division. “This is only her second horse show,” McKayla explained, “I never thought we would be Champion. I was just super excited to get to show this new green pony when she came in for sale.” Carlysle Drosos rode her own Snoop Dogg to the Reserve Championship as well as the win in the WIHS Pony Medal.

Waltzing Matilda ridden by McKayla Brombach, owned by James Waldman. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

McKayla’s older sister, Brooke Brombach, took her share of the blue ribbons at the pony ring as well, riding Isabella Mullan’s Poplar Place Pied Piper to the Championship in the Large Pony Hunter division. Touch Of Class, owned and shown by Kate Stark, took Reserve Champion.

Poplar Place Pied Piper ridden by Brooke Brombach, owned by Isabella Mullan. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

The Large Green Pony Hunter Championship was earned by 14 Karat, owned by RGG Equestrian LLC and ridden by Reagan Gehm, while Martha Patterson’s Diplomat took the Reserve Championship.

Sunday was ‘Classic Day’ in the jumper ring, where white breeches were in full swing.

Take Two owned & ridden by Sydney Long. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Take Two, owned and shown by Sydney Long, bested the Junior and Amateur Owner competition, winning the High Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic as well as the High Amateur Owner Championship while Hannah Newton and her Athena were Champion of the Low Amateur Owner and winners of the Low Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic.

HRS Fortuna owned & ridden by Hallie Rush. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Hallie Rush’s HRS Fortuna jumped to High Junior Jumper Champion, and Learning To Fly, owned and shown by Frances Barham, earned the tricolor in the Low Junior Jumper division.

Learning to Fly owned & ridden by Frances Barham. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Washington, owned and shown by Emma Flett, was Champion in the High Children’s Jumper division while Neon Trees, owned by Amanda Pierce and shown by Heather Cleveland, bested the High Adult Amateur competition in both the division and the High Adult Amateur Classic.

Elaine, shown by Mia Gradick for SCNC Investments, Inc. took home the tricolor in the Low Children’s Jumper as well as the win in the Low Children’s Jumper Classic. Adeline owned and shown by Marissa Rose took home the Low Adult Amateur Jumper division Championship title.

Elaine ridden by Mia Gradick, owned by SCNC Investments, Inc. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Riders are looking forward to another fun week of horse showing and amazing Texas hospitality at Pin Oak Week II. Thursday evening will feature the Trainers Equitation Exhibition benefitting Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance. World Championship Hunter Rider recognition makes Weeks II and III of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show the place to be for many hunter riders, who can expect to face stiff competition. Meanwhile, jumper riders celebrate Week II and III’s addition of the Thursday night $25,000 Grand Prix to the already enticing schedule of jumper events.

Pin Oak I Weekend Wrap Up

The Plaid Horse in the Barn Lounge with Briley Koerner

Faces of Pin Oak: Briley Koerner

Photo courtesy of Briley Koerner


Briley Koerner believes in the importance of connection—both with horses and people. She started riding at six years old, and still thinks of her first trainer, Kim Cox of Tally Ho Farm, as one of the most influential people in her life. “Mrs. Kim taught me the ropes,” she says.

Her horses, too, have taught her a great deal. “Every horse I’ve ever owned or ridden has definitely helped make me the rider I am today,” Briley says with gratitude. Her family, including older brother Barrett who shares all of her successes on Facebook, and grandparents who have supported her in this challenging sport, have helped foster that sense of connection as well.

Photo © Kaitlyn Karssen

Briley’s career as a young rider includes many great many successes in the past two years. In 2017, she won the NAJYRC Zone 7 team gold and individual bronze; the Prix Des Stats zone 7 team gold; and was in the top 25 at the Maclay Finals. In 2018, she won the Prix Des States Zone 7 team gold and the $25,000 1.45m Welcome Stake at the Hampton Classic Horse Show on her own For Jef Vd Wezesle.

For Jef Vd Wezesle or Seth, as he’s known around the barn, holds a special place in Briley’s heart. “If there’s one horse who has impacted my riding the most, it would be Seth,” she says. The horse is undeniably talented, and they make a great team, earning three gold medals during her junior career. But he’s special to Briley for other reasons, too.

Briley suffered tremendous loss when her brother Brody died on July 28, 2017. Upon hearing this, Seth’s previous owner, Natalie, called Briley to express her condolences and also tell her the story behind the horse’s name: Natalie’s brother, Jef, also passed away unexpectedly. She named the promising young horse after him. “That made me feel closer to my brother,” Briley says.

Photo © ESI

“I will forever and always be grateful to have Seth. I consider him my horse of a lifetime for sure. Without him, I wouldn’t be the rider I am today. I can’t thank my trainer Martien and Maarten enough for finding this special horse.”

Her trainer, Martien, has taught Briley about connection, figuratively and literally. He encourages her to make connections between flat work and jumping. “There has to be a purpose behind what I’m asking my horse to do,” she emphasizes.

She also thinks fostering that genuine connection in the leg-to-hand sense is important. “I think we all as riders get caught up depending on draw reins and martingales for our flat work,” Briley says. Flat work and pole work are important, because they’re the foundation of the big jumper classes. Working to develop a good canter with the right balance is critical.

Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Briley admires connected, quiet riders like Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut. “I admire Beezie’s consistency and horsemanship. When I watch her ride, she stays in one position which allows her to stay connected with the horse.”

“Laura Kraut is another rider I really aspire to be like,” she says. “You can tell she has natural talent. Laura clicks well with all her horses, and I think that is important.”

Briley has big goals for the future: she wants to represent the US at the Nations Cup and the Olympics. “In the meantime,” she says, “I want to train clients and bring them up to the highest level of show jumping that I can.”

Photo © Diana Hadsall Photography

Competition is in her bones, and Briley is one of the rare people who doesn’t get nervous competing. “I tend to do a bit better under pressure and when competing in front of a big crowd. As a junior my trainer Martien was sure to expose me to different venues like grass rings and small indoors and I think that definitely helped,” she says.

Briley loves competing at Pin Oak in particular. “The one thing I love most about Pin Oak are the people. After competing in WEF for the past 8 weeks, it sure is nice to come home to some familiar faces! Pin Oak does a fantastic job of having a special atmosphere. There is nothing like competing at a show that gets its hometown people to come and watch the show. I can’t begin to thank Pin oak enough for all there amazing sponsors and kind hospitality,” she says. “It is an honor to get to compete at such an amazing show!”

Briley’s dreams are big, but her talent, work ethic, and support system are too. Watch for this gifted young rider this year.

Faces of Pin Oak: Briley Koerner

Pin Oak I – “Derby Day” Celebrates Top Hunters with a Champagne Toast – The Plaid Horse

“Derby Day” Celebrates Top Hunters with a Champagne Toast

Jennifer Alfano & Capriati

Katy, Texas – March 23, 2019 – Thursday and Friday at the 2019 Pin Oak Charity Horse show were jam-packed with fun and excitement as the show’s top competitors showcased their skills in both the jumper ring and the hunter ring.

Lancelot ridden by Julie Cleveland Beam, owned by Anastasia Stewart. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Thursday afternoon, sponsors enjoyed the Bedoya Training Ringside Reception hosted in the Yellow Rose Whiskey Sponsor’s Club during the $10,000 1.45M Welcome Stake. Lancelot, owned by Anastasia Stewart and shown by Julie Cleveland Beam, took home the top honors while Kierland Farm’s Fourtina and Trapp O’Neal came in a close second finishing less than a second behind Lancelot in the jump off.

Lancelot ridden by Julie Cleveland Beam, owned by Anastasia Stewart. Winner of the 1.45m Welcome Stake. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography
For Jef Vd Wezelse ridden by Briley Koerner, owned by BKS Horse Farms, LLC. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

BKS Horse Farms, LLC’s For Jef Vd Wezelse and Faces of Pin Oak rider Briley Koerner finished fourth in the Welcome Stake and bested the under 25 competition taking home the 1.45M Under 25 Welcome Stake win.

For Jef Vd Wezelse ridden by Briley Koerner, owned by BKS Horse Farms, LLC. U25 Welcome Winner. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Meanwhile in the hunter ring, Wesley Clingman’s Deluxe, shown by Courtney Lenkart, took home all the blue ribbons and was Champion with a clean sweep in the 3’3” Green Working Hunters as they continued Wednesday’s winning streak. The pair was also the winner of both the $1,000 USHJA Green Incentive Stake and the $2,500 Texas Green Hunter Super Stake.

Deluxe ridden by Courtney Lenkhart, owned by Wesley Clingman. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

The amateur hunter competition wrapped up on Friday afternoon. Who Dat owned by Maura Harrower and piloted by Rachel Campbell was Champion in the Adult Amateur Hunters 18-35. The day prior, Who Dat was also crowned Champion of the combined High Performance/3’9” Green Working Hunter with Sarah Rice.

Who Dat ridden by Rachel Campbell, owned by Maura Harrower. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

The Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Championship was earned by L&W Equine Investments, LLC’s Echo Park ridden by Mercedes Flett, and Lightful, owned by La Primera Hacienda, LP and shown by Angela Dominguez, took home the Championship in the Adult Amateur Hunters 50 and over.

MTM Inside Scoop, owned and ridden by Didi Mackenzie, was Champion of the 3’6” Amateur Owner Hunters also taking home the blue ribbon in the $1,000 3’6” Amateur Owner Classic while Kathy Chiaf’s Sweetwater earned the tricolor in the 3’3” Amateur Owner Hunters.

MTM Inside Scoop ridden and owned by Didi Mackenzie. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Friday was ‘Derby Day’ at Pin Oak 2019 with the Brookside Pine Farms $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby in the afternoon. The $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby ran in the evening, accompanied by a ringside Churrasco International Derby Welcome Party and dinner.

Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Under Friday afternoon’s blue skies and perfect springtime weather, Jessica Law rode Krunch, owned by Jana Arnoldy, to win the Brookside Pine Farms $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby in the Memorial Park Hunters combined Mega Ring I and II. Jessica, Jana, and her adorable fleet of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were ecstatic over the win. Jennifer Alfano and All Ferraris, LLC’s Enzo W took second in the National Derby as well as the Championship in the 3’3” Performance Hunters.

Krunch ridden by Jessica Law, owned by Jana Arnoldy. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography
Krunch ridden by Jessica Law, owned by Jana Arnoldy. $10,000 USHJA National Derby Winner. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Capriati, owned by Jennifer Alfano and John Jamieson and ridden by Jennifer Alfano, jumped to the top prize amidst fierce competition in Friday evening’s $30,000 USHJA International Derby, winning both the classic and handy round. Symbolic, owned and shown by junior rider Bella Kay, was placed seventh after the classic round and excelled in the handy round, bumping the pair up to second place. DS Holdings, LLC’s Carrida, the 2018 Pin Oak Week III $50,000 USHJA International Derby winner, earned a fifth-place finish in tonight’s event with 2019 Faces of Pin Oak rider Frank Owens.

Capriati ridden by Jennifer Alfano, owned by Jennifer Alfano & John Jamieson. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography
Symbolic, owned and ridden by Bella Kay. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography
Carrida ridden by Frank Owens, owned by DS Holdings, LLC. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Following the victory gallop, all riders participated in a champagne toast to commemorate Pin Oak 2019’s first International Derby.

Junior riders are looking forward to the perfect springtime horse show weekend while spectators, sponsors, and exhibitors anticipate tomorrow night’s main event – the Oasis Petroleum $30,000 Grand Prix and Amalaya Investments Ringside Gala.

Pin Oak I “Derby Day” Celebrates Top Hunters with a Champagne Toast

Day 1 of Pin Oak – The Plaid Horse

The 2019 Pin Oak Charity Horse Show Kicks Off with Blue Ribbons and Excitement

Lightful ridden by Courtney Lenkart, Owned by La Primera Hacienda, LP. 3’3 Performance Hunter. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Katy, Texas – March 21, 2019 – The 74th Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is underway, and what a great way to start off the spring season! A USEF Heritage Competition and NARG top 25 Horse Show, Pin Oak offers daily hospitality, hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money, bonus awards, and trophies over three action-packed weeks of competition for the benefit of the Texas Children’s Hospital. With all it has to offer, the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is the place to be this spring for many of the country’s top riders.

The first Championship of Pin Oak 2019 was secured by Jennifer Alfano and Rhapsody, owned by Sharon O’Neill, yesterday morning in the Baby Green division.

Best Young Horse. Will Emblazon handled and owned by Rachelle Goebel. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Later that afternoon, Will Emblazon, owned and shown by Rachelle Goebel of Montgomery, Texas won the Hunter Breeding 3 Year Old and earned the Best Young Horse Championship. The Oldenburg (Willemoes–Anastazia) was bred by His Cat Farm and has been brought along by Rachelle and her sister, Felicia Carroll, since Rachelle bought him as a 5-month-old. Will Emblazon has competed at Pin Oak every year since he began showing as a yearling. He remains undefeated in 2019, winning both the Hunter Breeding 3 Year Old and Best Young Horse at all four weeks of the 2019 Great Southwest Winter Series.

Liza Richardson and Infinite Shine, owned by Olde Oaks Farm, Inc. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Liza Richardson showed Olde Oak Farm’s Infinite Shine to the Best Young Horse Reserve Championship.

Deluxe ridden by Courtney Lenkart, owned by Wesley Clingman. 3’3 Green Hunter. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Courtney Lenkart of South Haven Farm had a tremendously successful start to Pin Oak 2019 winning all of the first day’s 3’3” Green Working Hunter classes on Wesley Clingman’s Deluxe. She then continued her winning ways earning blue ribbons on South Haven Farm’s Snickers in the 3’0” Green Working Hunters, Lori Mathews’ Alisto in the 3’6” Green Working Hunters, and Emma Flett’s Cascalo in the 3’6” Performance Hunters.

Dante ridden by Briley Koerner, owned by BKS Horse Farms, LLC. 1.35M Open Jumper. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

In the jumper ring, we caught up with Briley Koerner, one of the 2019 Faces of Pin Oak and winner of Pin Oak’s 2018 Booth Show Jumpers Under 25 Grand Prix. “My horses were great after having a few weeks off from WEF. I did a 1.25M jumper class today to get my horses in the ring before tomorrow’s 1.45M Welcome Stake,” she told us about her first day at Pin Oak 2019. “I’m so excited for the next three weeks at Pin Oak! Pin Oak did an amazing job with its set up as always, and it’s great to see this show striving for improvement year after year,” Koerner added.

SWS All In ridden by Jessica Law, owned by Steve Weder. 3’6 Green Hunter. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

In addition to Thursday’s 1.45M Welcome Stake, exhibitors and spectators can look forward to ‘Derby Day’ on Friday, featuring both a USHJA International Hunter Derby and a USHJA National Hunter Derby, as well as the American Saddlebred competition Championships and the Oasis Petroleum $30,000 Grand Prix and Amalaya Investments Ringside Gala on Saturday.

Pin Oak spectators come in all shapes and sizes. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Sports Psychologist Mario Soto is hosting highly anticipated seminars on Friday night and Saturday morning. Pin Oak also offers daily hospitality, including numerous evening ringside receptions, and fabulous shopping – The Marketplace and The Shops at Pin Oak have everything a rider needs to complete their favorite equestrian ensembles from popular vendors such as Fab Finds by Sarah, Saddle Shoppe, Luxe Eq, Equiventure Tack, Quail Hollow Tack, and more.

Pin Oak 2019’s American Saddlebred competition sponsored by Bluebonnet Farm also commenced Wednesday evening with the Open Division classes. Exhibitors, spectators, and sponsors enjoyed watching the evening events with food and refreshments at the Saltgrass Steakhouse Saddlebred Exhibitors Ringside Party.


The 2019 Pin Oak Charity Horse Show Kicks Off with Blue Ribbons and Excitement

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The Plaid Horse in the Barn Lounge with Frankie Owens

Faces of Pin Oak: Frankie Owens

Photo © Karinda K. Equine Photography


Frankie Owens was almost born in the saddle. His parents, Candie and Frank, were established professionals in the industry by the time he and his sister, Whitney, were born. Frankie was legged up onto horses from a very young age, and credits his parents for teaching him so much. “I don’t take for granted growing up the way I did,” he says. “The benefits of being raised in an established stable aren’t lost on me.”

Frankie’s father, Frank Owens, was also raised around horses. His mother, Christine, was a breeder of Welsh/thoroughbred crosses in Virginia and got Frank into riding ponies. Then, as an adult in the 1970s, Frank became a pentathlete–a sport funded by the US government at the time. This brought him to Texas, where he met his wife, Candie. They had two children, Frankie and Whitney, both now professionals at their family farm.

Frankie’s showing career began in earnest when he was 14. He competed in all three rings. He spent just one year of his adulthood as an amateur, competing in the amateur owner jumpers, before making the leap to becoming a professional at age 19.

Photo © Karinda K. Equine Photography

Frankie now competes in both hunters and jumpers. Some of his proudest achievements have been in the hunter ring on Diana Stumberg’s mare, Carrida, who won the $50,000 International Hunter Derby at Pin Oak in 2018 and was the national champion in the 3’9” green over fences in 2017. “She’s definitely the hunter I’ve won the most on,” he says.

Winning the hunter derby at Pin Oak in 2018 was an important event for him. Earlier that same evening, he stood in the center ring awarding trophies in memory of his mother, Candie Owens, who passed away in 2014. “It means a lot,” he says. “I’ve been showing at Pin Oak since I started riding.”

Teaching and training is important to Frankie. He and sister Whitney continue to operate out of his family’s Oakwell Farm where they coach riders of all ages and experiences. Frankie is serious about ensuring they make it to the top of their ambitions. His approach to training is simple, if not easy: “It’s about replicating what you want in the show ring, and knowing how much repetition each horse needs,” he says.

Frankie also loves to bring along young horses, and rides them with empathy. He believes in taking time to instill confidence in them, and it shows. He took an unbroke broodmare all the way to the Grand Prix ring, where she was a winner her first time out.

Photo © Karinda K. Equine Photography

Frankie has had a great deal of success in the show ring, including winning the Walter Oil & Gas $25,000 Grand Prix in 2017 and the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby in 2018 at Pin Oak. He’s also been champion at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center Texas Winter Series many times, and has won in Grand Prix classes all over the south.

Pin Oak is special for Frankie, and not just because he’s had competitive success there. “It’s one of the finest shows in Texas, but it’s across the board a great show,” he says. He enjoys the return of the competitors who went to Wellington and other winter circuits. “Pretty much all your barns in Texas are there, hunter/jumper wise.”

The quality is what draws the crowd. “They can sell out 1100 stalls because it’s a great show,” he says. “They make it a big deal and put on a really nice presentation. I can’t think of a year I haven’t shown there since I was 14.”

Frankie has taken full advantage of his fortunate start in life with horses. Say hello to him at Pin Oak this year!

Faces of Pin Oak: Frankie Owens

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What To Wear: Keely McIntosh

The Faces of Pin Oak Featuring Keely McIntosh | Grand Prix Champion

Keely McIntosh of Magnolia TX has been attending the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy,TX since she was a little girls, and is now getting to live out one of her earliest dreams in life, to compete in the Grand Prix at Pin Oak. Keely was the Under 25 Grand Prix Champion in 2017. Keely with the encouragement and support of her mom, Jenny Booth of Booth Show Jumpers, now travels all over the country showing her horses, including Sulli, who had his day in the spotlight during the Faces of Pin Oak Shoot.


Keely’s Equestrian look featured items from Exceptional Equestrian including their  Berry Tailored Sportsman Breeches with brown knee patches, a Fior Da Liso Emma shirtFrederique Scarf, and Sandy Defter Belt. Elaine Turner provided their amazing Katia Fringe Earrings in Navy. Keely completed this look with her Tucci Tall Boots.

Exceptional Equestrian Red Breeches the Faces of Pin Oak


When I started searching for the perfect dress for Keely to wear for her formal look I came across the Yoana Baraschi Oscar Wild Dinner Dress on Rent the Runway and knew it was the perfect look for Keely. It is super important to pick items for pictures that will give you shape and the best way to do so is to look for items with structure to create that look and shape at all times. We paired this dress with a gorgeous Turquoise Statement necklace from Texas Silver Rush to help tie in the teal color in Trap’s Bow Tie & Pocket Square from E. F. Meeks.

Formal Look Maroon Dress with Teal Accents

What To Wear: Trapp O’Neal

The Faces of The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show Featuring Trapp O’Neal

Trapp O’Neal is there owner and trainer at TKO Sporthorses in Magnolia,TX. Trapp & his mount Capitano are two time Pin Oak Grand Prix Champions. For the Faces of Pin Oak shoot, Trapp was photographed with Kid, who is owned by Sarah Meyer. Kidd was quite the ham and loved every moment of being the center of attention for pictures. Trapp shares that his favorite part about showing at Pin Oak is the crowd and the atmosphere, one Grand Prix nights the energy in the ring is undeniable.


Trapp’s Equestrian look was provided by Luxe Eq. Trapp wore items from the Cavalleria Toscana Collection. Trapp wore the Cavalleria Toscana Men’s Guibert Shirt, it is a light blue button down with a white collar and cuffs. This was paired with a pair of Navy Cavalleria Toscana Breeches. His look was wrapped up with his lucky woven belt, you can shop a similar style at Luxe Eq with their Cavalleria Toscana Stripe Stretch Belt, and his orange tie featuring bits was by E.F. Meeks.


When Lauryn, of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, came up to me and let me know that Festari for Men would be providing one of their amazing pieces for the shoot I was ecstatic. They make custom tailored one of kind suits and they are absolutely stunning. They provided us with a Royal Blue Windowpane suit for Trapp to wear. Trapp also wore a Cavalleria Toscana button down dress shirt from Luxe Eq with his suit. We paired this look with a bow tie & pocket square from one of my favorite equestrian tie shops, E.F. Meeks. E.F. Meeks makes bow ties, ties, and pocket squares that are perfect for the equestrian. If you are attending an equestrian event or derby party and need the perfect statement piece you have to check out their store.

Festari For Men Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

Festari For Men Blue Windowpane Tux

Pin Oak 2018 Vendor Spotlight

Vendors of The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show Katy,TX


Vendors of The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show Katy,TX

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Lets be honest.

Shopping at horse shows can be absolutely dangerous.

These stores have so many cute things that I need in my life…and I only just glanced through a few of them the other day!

I wanted to give everyone a run down on some of the amazing vendors you can find at the 2018 Pin Oak Charity Horse show.

The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is the perfect place for equestrians and horse lovers in the Houston area to shop.

For the ease of finding everyone I will start with everyone that is on the main “vendor row” starting furthest away from the Coffee Shop.

If you are a vendor at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show and you want to have anything added to your information you can email me at with the information you would like to include. 

Luxe Eq

Luxe Eq has a huge selection of equestrian attire from some of the top brands that are hard to find including Asmar Equestrian, Cavalleria Toscana, Winston Equestrain, and so many more. They also have an amazing selection of sale items right now, I even picked up an incredibly gorgeous sweater on the first day of the show. Luxe Eq also provided items from Trapp’s Equestrian look for the Faces of Pin Oak shoot.

Showtime Couture

Showtime Couture has both equestrian attire and the most amazing equestrian decor items. If you are looking for the perfect gift for an equestrian life head over to these ladies and I am certain you will find something perfect for them!

Opal R Helm

“An effortlessly chic collection of small, timeless leather bags and accessories inspired by Texas heritage and saddlery craftsmanship.” You have got to stop by and check out these bags, they are absolutely beautiful, and the best part is that they come in so many different beautiful colors, and the inside of the bags are as beautiful as the outside…and soft. Oh, and the story of how Jennifer got started creating these one of a kind bags is amazing.

Clare Christine 

“Clare Christie is an artist whose work concentrates on the harmony of Movement and line to capture the energy of the horse. A native of Austin Texas, her work reflects her years  in the saddle training hunter and jumper horses and teaching others to ride. Her time spent around the animals did more than give her a strong sense of  the anatomy of the horse, it taught  her to capture their physical strength and  subtle body language.” Clare’s work is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen, her horse’s features are so life like and just will take your breath away. Life goal #2343224398: Have a custom commissioned sculpture from Clare of each of my horses.

Bluebonnet Feeds

A quick stop in at Bluebonnet Feeds is a must for any horse owner at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. These ladies can help you make sure you are providing your athlete with the proper nutrition they need. Just a few minutes spent chatting with them made me realize so many thing about feeding my horses that I was not aware of before. It was such an eye opening experience and I highly recommend stopping by and learning more about how their feeds are different than what you are already feeing your horse.

Ronald Raven Designs

What horse person doesn’t love the perfect equestrian accessory, Ronald Raven Designs offers a selection of jewelry perfect for the equestrian. I think a little piece of jewelry would be the perfect way to celebrate your accomplishments after a long week at the horse show.


A quick trip around the show ground and you will see at least 1 or maybe 5 people sporting Antares gear. Antarès Sellier was established in 2000 by five equestrian professionals with the objective to create a unique saddle custom fit to meet a rider’s needs.  Antarès Sellier is among the top saddle makers in the world with over 35 craftsman specializing in bridlery, harness making and saddlery design, producing more than 3000 saddles every year.  The originality, vivacity and creativity of Antarès has significantly raised the benchmark for saddle making and has set the ”gold standard” of the profession today.

Exceptional Equestrian

Exceptional Equestrian is an Equestrian Lifestyle Boutique. They have a large selection of equestrian attire for both showing and everyday wear. They have brands like Equaline, Fior Da Liso, and so many more. They also provided some of the looks for our Faces of Pin Oak Styled Shoot including Keely’s Red Tailored Sportsman Breeches, Blue Belt, and both Sydney & Keely’s silk scarfs.

Bravos Valley Equine

Brazos Valley Equine is all set up ready for any of the exhibitors needs during the show. How great is it to be able to walk right over and have anything and everything you could need for your horse’s health and medical needs.


“Innovative and decidedly chic, Voltaire Design specializes in upscale custom saddles. Recognizable by our blue striped gullet, Voltaire Design saddles are made in France with the finest French leathers and are infinitely customizable.”

Dynamic Spine

Because every horse show is full of equestrians who have been injured, thrown, or just had their bodies hurt from riding, every horse show needs a Chiropractor. “Dynamic Spine and Performance (DSP) specializes in sports injury and performance, family chiropractic care and treats all levels of injury by providing all natural, non-invasive pain management, chiropractic, therapeutic exercises, physical therapy and whole body wellness to get you back to doing what you love, try to avoid surgery, prevent future injury and perform at your best as fast as possible. “

Bruno Delgrange

“Limited number of saddles per year. Each piece is perfected to the smallest detail, like an objet d’art. Combining a high level of performance with aesthetic quality, they are the result of continuous development, naturally drawing upon Bruno Delgrange’s experience both in the saddlery trade and as a rider. To complete your requirements as a demanding rider, Bruno Delgrange offers a range of bridles and accessories made from natural leather in accordance with the same philosophy.”

Quail Hollow

Quail Hollow Tack is the go to place for any of your needs during the horse show from tack to grooming supplies, and pretty much anything else you may need. They have a store in Flower Mound and the mobile store that travels to horse shows. I remember going to Quail Hollow as a little girl and shopping, they have been around for year. You can also see the jump crew sporting the Quail Hollow Tack logo on their shirts at the show!

What To Wear: Sydney Young

The Faces of Pin Oak Featuring Sydney Young | American Saddlebred Saddleseat Equitation Champion

For Week 1 of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show I am super excited to introduce you to Sydney Young. Sydney was the Saddleseat Equitation Champion in 2017 and she has been a part of Pin Oak for years. Sydney shares that “One of my proudest moments was winning the Pin Oak Saddle Seat Equitation Championship last year for the first time…” Sydney rides with Vantage Point Farm under the instruction of May Chadick and David Blevins. For the Faces of Pin Oak shoot they brought over Goodnight Sweet Dreams, a 12 Year Old American Saddlebred Mare that is owned by Alexa Bernal.

I am super excited to get to see Sydney in action this year during the Saddlebred Show during Week 1 of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.

For Sydney’s Equestrian look she was sporting a gorgeous white button Carolyn Shirt with flared sleeves that was paired with the Tori Jacket in Tomato Tweed that was absolute perfection from Elaine Turner. We added some equestrian flair to her look with a Lilo scarf provided by Exceptional Equestrian. These pieces paired perfectly with Sydney’s Navy Breeches that had a subtle pin stripe accent. Sydney’s look was completed by a soft and subtle braid that was done by Love and Makeup Beauty.


Sydney was wearing one of my absolute favorite dresses for her Black Tie Look. Her gold sequin dress is a one of a kind dress from Renegade Bridal & Gala, a Houston based custom dress designer. I actually purchased this dress from Natalie because I adore this dress so much and knew that my clients would all love getting to wear it for their pictures. Her look was completed by adding a simple cuff bracelet from Texas Silver Rush in Fredricksburg,TX.