Downeast Medal Finals

April 2016

Welcome to the first monthly Downeast Medal Finals Newsletter, where we will be able to keep you updated on all things Downeast! We are so excited to be preparing for the eighth annual Downeast Medal Finals, to be once again held at the beautiful Skowhegan Fairgrounds in Skowhegan, Maine. We would also like to welcome our new manager, Scott Laffey, and our new secretary, Linda Fernald. This year, the finals will be from September 15-18th, 2016, and we hope to see you there!

Trainer's Corner


By Carol J. Law (CJ), Head Coach at Mount Holyoke College

An exercise that is valuable to help with balance, rhythm, straightness, pace, striding and position is to work on four calavettis on a circle.  The circle should be slightly larger than a twenty meter circle.  The cavalettis are placed at the four tangents of the circle, at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock.  The distances are usually between four and five strides.  Start off just trotting the poles to make sure the horse and rider are comfortable.  Riders should be in a close contact half seat.  Start with the poles being at the lowest height and then eventually move up to the two foot height. It looks easy but is difficult. It takes practice to get it correct but it will be a valuable tool for riding a course of fences and for bending lines.

The low height will allow you to work on your equitation position.  The jumps come up quick so you need to use your seat, legs and back for the collection of your horse to be able to put in the five strides.  This exercise is good to shorten your horse and achieve the correct balance.  Once achieving this exercise I like riders to remember this exercise on course.  I remind them of the balance they had on the circle and that they must make sure their horse is listening to them.  This exercise applies the principles of flat work to your jumping.

Horsemanship Challenge
For the second year in a row, Downeast Medal Finals will be offering the Horsemanship Challenge. Downeast is committed to supporting our junior riders into becoming accomplished, well-rounded horse people. This means not only riding well, but also demonstrating a great understanding of and commitment to quality horse care. The class is divided into two sections by age (12 and under, 13-17) and follows a three-part format. First, riders take a written exam. This test score is added to the rider’s score from their open equitation class. The top five riders from each age group, based on the written test and open equitation class score, will be called back for the practicum exam created and judged by a veterinarian and blacksmith. The top three of each age group will receive show credit awards: first place is $250, second is $100, and third is $75. This is a fantastic opportunity to show off your horse care skills, so study up for this year’s Horsemanship Challenge! Walk-trot riders: check out our scholarship online!
Downeast Medal Finals Staff Spotlight
Barb Tynan Baker

Have you met Barb the ribbons lady? If you have been at our show you have surely seen her passing out ribbons and prizes all weekend!  Barb has been with Downeast Medal Finals since the first show in 2009. She is a life-long horse person who finally got her wish to try riding through the Horsemanship Badge as a Girl Scout! That was many years ago, but she is lucky enough to still have horses in her life. Her equine sweetheart MJ helps keep her smiling at the barn. She is looking forward to making more new friends this year at the finals. We hope to see you in Skowhegan, maybe one of Barb's ribbons is for you!

Young Rider Spotlight

Lanny Zentz (11 years old) 

“I'm Lanny. I've been riding for quite a while now, but I've only had my horse, Cinnamon (Cinnamon Twist of Orange) for about 3 years. I enjoy riding her lots. She is energetic and has a real engine, but she's very sweet, patient, sensitive, and smart. I like going to a variation of shows, but hunter/jumper stuff is what Cinnamon and I are best at. I love showing for many reasons, but one reason is being able to have so much done in a horse show. In a show, I get to jump Cinnamon as well as spend quality time with her, have fun with my friends, meet new people and horses, travel, and compete, all at the same time. If you think of it that way, showing is pretty much all of my favorite things combined! Showing is also a great opportunity for me to learn and get better with Cinnamon. I can understand things that work and don't work, or figure out if something will give me a blue ribbon or not.

The farm I ride at, Misty Morning Stables, isn't solely dedicated to hunter/jumper shows, so I haven't been to all that many. Misty Morning Stables actually has quite a few Appaloosas in it, so some riders show that circuit. Currently, when I jump, I jump fences up to 2"9' or 2"6' oxers. In hunter jumper shows, I do Children's Pony Medal and Downeast Modified Junior Medal. I would like to show in Downeast Junior Medal, but Cinnamon wouldn't be too excited to show 3 divisions, and we also aren't quite at that level yet. I feel we would be, but Cinnamon hasn't fully learned flying changes. She's very athletic, and can easily do changes over a pole on the ground, or sometimes over a fence, but not on the flat, so that's our project this summer. This show season, I hope to go to more hunter/jumper shows than I did last year, and if I do, I hope to show at the Downeast Medal Finals.”
Upcoming Shows with Downeast Qualifying Classes

Apr. 3   Brookfield Corner Farm, Brookfield, NH

Apr. 17 Evenstride, Byfield, MA

Apr. 23 Cornerstone Farm, Haverhill, MA

Apr. 24 Lucky Clover Farm, Sanford, ME
Advertise in the Downeast Medal Finals Program Book:
Trainers- congratulate your riders or advertise your farm!
Parents- congratulate your children and let them know what a great job they are doing!
Become a Downeast Medal Finals Sponsor:
All levels accepted and appreciated! 
Visit our website for more information.

For more information, to list your show with Downeast qualifying classes, to be featured as a Downeast spotlight young rider, or to become a sponsor, please email Katie at