The Insurance Company with Horse Sense

Mary Phelps
A Markel Equine Insurance Specialist

Donna Chiocca and Silke, Winner of the Lamplight Spring Dressage Markel HighPoint Amateur Award

By: 
Mary Phelps

 

DressageDaily's Mary Phelps, a Markel Equine and Farm Insurance agent presents the Lamplight High Point Amateur Award, a Back On Track Therapeutic Saddle Pad to Donna Chiocca and Silke. Photo: April Therrien for phelpsphotos.com
DressageDaily's Mary Phelps, a Markel Equine and Farm Insurance agent presents the Lamplight High Point Amateur Award, a Back On Track Therapeutic Saddle Pad to Donna Chiocca and Silke. Photo: April Therrien for phelpsphotos.com

This spring was a whirlwind of travel throughout the north central US where we have initiated the DressageDaily/Markel High Point awards presenting beautiful Back on Track Saddle Pads to some of the stellar talent at two premier locations, Silverwood Farm in Wisconsin, and the Lamplight Equestrian Center, home of the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships coming August 22-26, 2012. The most recent event we attended was the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Dressage Show at Lamplight, June 22-24, hosted 126 entries for 3 full days of quality competition. We sponsored the Competitors’ Party on Saturday evening before heading back to Kentucky for an all night drive to get my assistant April Therrien of to summer college classes in Atlanta, Georgia. Now I can unpack my bags, settle in for the next 2 months with just a few quick trips close to home. So catching up on things we are ready to feature some of our High Point Winners, and their success stories which are just as deserving as the accomplishments of our National Championship competitors we were able to report on virtually while enjoying the grass roots, and foundation of what dressage in America’s heartland is all about.

Donna and Paul Chiocca and Silke, Winner of the Lamplight Dressage Markel HighPoint Amateur Award{C}

Donna Chiocca and Silke, the American bred Holsteiner mare by Rantares out of High Voltage by Lacoste, at the beautiful Lamplight Equestrian Center.Photo: Mary Phelps - Phelpsphotos.com
Donna Chiocca and Silke, the American bred Holsteiner mare by Rantares out of High Voltage by Lacoste, at the beautiful Lamplight Equestrian Center.Photo: Mary Phelps - Phelpsphotos.com

“As an adult amateur with only a few scattered recognized dressage show seasons under my belt, we've always felt comfortable at Lamplight and found the people; workers, volunteers and fellow competitors to be more than kind, helpful and friendly,” said Donna Chiocca, winner of the May Lamplight Amateur High Point award with her American bred Holsteiner mare, Silke, earning a 71.034% in the First Level Test 1. Bred in the heartland at Cheryl Kellerman’s Michigan Sport Horse Breeding Farm, Silke was purchased as a two year old in 2002 by Donna and Paul Chiocca from Illinois. She is by the Kellermans’ Holsteiner stallion Rantares out of High Voltage by Lacoste. This was the second Rantares/Lacoste horse purchased from Michigan Sport Horse Farm. “The vet performing the pre-purchase examine questioned whether or not we would be able to handle her since she was more than happy to display her never ending exuberance,” Donna told DressageDaily. “Never dangerous, albeit always enthusiastic, I started her under saddle with the help of my husband and his trusty QH mare who ponied us safely and without a hitch.” Donna’s husband Paul accompanies her to the shows helping her groom, reading her tests and providing moral support.

Chiocca trains with Heather McCarthy who also keeps wracking up the Markel High Point saddle pads from her results on several horses, and credits Heather for her success. “I began riding in monthly clinics during the off season and she was able to successfully help us with the finishing touches which is evident in our scores.”

“Silke is the quintessential happy horse,” adds Chiocca. “Her enthusiasm toward everything we do is evident, for example, in trailering. The day we purchased her as a 2 year old, she loaded on our trailer before I even got down the barn isle to assist. When she sees our trailer pull up in front of our barn, she runs, leaps and squeals in turnout. If she's in her stall and sees the trailer, she paws, rears, bucks and spins. Now we've resorted to leaving the trailer parked until we're ready to load her, but she has learned that the sound of the dressing room door opening and closing and all the activity of packing the trailer means an imminent ride.  She gladly self loads when we're ready.

Paul Chiocca reads the test for his wife Donna and their mare Silke.Photo: Mary Phelps - Phelpsphotos.com
Paul Chiocca reads the test for his wife Donna and their mare Silke.Photo: Mary Phelps - Phelpsphotos.com

She loves trail rides about as much as any horse I've ever known. If a horse could smile, she's be grinning ear to ear out on trail. Always brave, in the lead, forward and ready to beg for fresh mulberries and apples when my husband stops under the appropriate tree.  Back at the trailer, Silke anxiously drinks Gatorade from her own sippy cup!  It was brought to my attention that whenever anyone asks about Silke, my reply is always, ‘She's so much fun!’ “

Thank you to my husband of 27 years who has always given his unwavering support during my endless desire to become a better rider!