The Gray Slipper Retirement Ceremony

Bridget Hallman purchased Slipper in November of 2000 from Meredith McLaughlin and Don Stewart.  He had just been imported when Bridget saw him in a paddock at The Barracks in Virginia and immediately fell in love.  Bridget then called Louise Serio, and said she had to come see this "interesting horse".  He was hairy, skinny and very spooky.  However he had the most amazing trot.  When Louise saw him she agreed he was a diamond in the rough, or so they hoped.   

Everything did not come easy with Slipper.  He was so spooky and not easy to ride due to all his athletic ability.  The first time Bridget ever picked up the trot on him she was bounced right out of the tack and lost both her stirrups and reins.  Right then Bridget knew she had to have this horse.

Once at Derbydown, Louise formed a strong bond with him. Along with Amanda Lyerly they figured out how to direct all his natural talents.  Louise calmly and patiently let him work thru his trust issues, which was not always easy.  All this time Bridget waited for her turn to ride her dream horse.  As Louise and Slipper began forming their legendary partnership it was hard for Bridget to wait her turn.  But she knew deep down she had something special and wanted to give him his time to mature.  Bridget and Slipper eventually formed just as strong a bond as he had with Louise.   He truly was a team effort, with Amanda giving him his good luck ride in the ring in the mornings and Louise's expert riding and training.  This allowed Bridget to do the one thing she always knew she had to do.  Trust this amazing horse.  And with her faith in Louise, Amanda and Slipper, her dreams all came true.  Slipper is truly the horse every little girl dreams of having.

Slipper's amazing resume includes:

  • Capitol Challenge Horse Show 5 time champion, 3 time grand champ and 3 time reserve champion
  • Devon Horse Show 3 time champion, 2 time grand champion and 2 time reserve champion
  • Pennsylvania National Horse Show 2 time champion and 2 time reserve champion
  • Washington International Horse Show champion and grand along with 2 reserve championships
  • National Horse Show reserve champion
  • Middleburg Horse Show 6 time champion
  • 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival circuit champion
  • In 2001 he won the inaugural Legacy Cup Pre Green incentive award
  • 2 time winner of the Protocol trophy
  • 2 time China Blue trophy
  • 2006 Chronicle of the Horse- overall horse of the year
  • 2007 National Show Hunter hall of fame amateur owner, regular working and overall hunter of the year
  • Reserve champion WCHR under saddle at the Capitol Challenge Horse Show

These past 11 years have been a life changing, true fairy tale.    Slipper's spooky and quirky ways never went away, but that's what made him so special.  Every win was a victory in some way or another. Be it spooking at the end of the ring or just trying to stay with his incredible jump.  Louise Serio has been frequently quoted saying, "Slipper taught me more than I ever taught him". Looking back at all that was accomplished is remarkable.  He was the epitome of what a great hunter should be.  He had the movement, style, stride and scope for days.  He could lope down to the hugest of oxers and effortlessly fire into the air. It would feel like you were in the air forever.  This is the kind of jump that gives you goose bumps.  He would give you so much confidence that when you came out of the ring you didn't think you won, you knew you won.  But win, lose or draw at the end of the day you were walking back to the barn on Gray Slipper and nothing else mattered.  

Slipper will be retiring here in Pennsylvania at a farm just down the road from Louise's Derbydown Stables.  He will go out in the fields and roll in the mud, and be a horse.  But he will be forever spoiled by all who love him with many carrots.  

Bridget and Slipper could never have achieved all this without the help and support from her mother Penny Hallman.   They would also like to express a special thank you to Louise Serio, Amanda Lyerly, Dr. John Steele and all the staff at Derbydown Stables.