Missy Fladland Braved the Challenges to Make it to the Central US Markel/USEF Selection Trials
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Fladland, formerly Missy Ellison, is a veteran of the Markel/USEF Young Horse Program, having competed in 2004 while on her honeymoon with her then new husband Kip Fladland, a cowboy and specialist in natural horsemanship.
“The extreme cold made it hard to ride consistently through the winter,” said Fladland. “Along with that there was the economy and the limited number of shows that were available in the mid-west prior to the closing date, the Monday before the Selection Trials. It was nearly impossible, but we really wanted to do this program.”
Another challenge is the USEF rule change in 2008 which requires the horse and rider to be qualified by the Monday preceding the competition. Prior to this rule change, many Young Horse hopefuls could have the opportunity to qualify at the actual show prior to the Selection classes.
The American-Bred Bijoux
“In September of 2008, my sponsor, Bandelaro Inc., purchased Bijoux for me,” said Fladland. “I already had the mare for about a year, she had been sent to me by her current owner and breeder, Margaret Drury, to get started under saddle. She was so easy to start and bring along. Seven months after backing, she attended her first show and won all but one of her classes in which she was second. From there, we took her to Leatherdale Farms for the Hanoverian Inspection for her Elite Mare Candidate test. She passed with flying colors, and it was quite a treat as the President of the German Hanoverian Verband was part of the grand jury. Her high marks for the under saddle test left her placing seventh in the US among all the tested mares.
“Although she was extremely behind, being started coming into her five-year-old year, she was so trainable and had such super gaits. I thought the six-year-old program would be a stretch, but a good test of her abilities. Although I did not get her as far along as she needed to be by showing time, she held her own!”
Missy Fladland and Her Horses Grow with the Markel/USEF Young Horse Program
“I’ve been fortunate to have travelled to both Germany and Holland to test riding stallions to purchase. In most cases, every stallion (most of which were three- to six-year olds) sat down behind to power forward. This was regardless of how many rides or how much training the stallions had. They have the blood stock to produce balanced and athletic animals overseas. In the US, we are in the process of beginning to produce some of these animals, but they are not as prevalent here yet. So, in her training, Bijoux was progressing with leaps and bounds, but was not as uphill as I would have liked. However, it was not worth over-pushing her for just one class. This is a mare that will go all the way and it’s very important for me to keep that in mind when working toward these types of classes on her. I really think the Young Horse Programs are great programs to help us stay on track with training in relation to the age of the horse as well as pushing us to continue to develop our breeding programs.
“It was great to have the final at Lamplight. It is a beautiful, safe, and horse-friendly environment to show in. The weather is what it is. Last year, at the 2008 WBFSH finals in Europe, they had to deal with violent winds, and at the Olympics, extreme heat; so, if you want to play in the sandbox with the big boys, you have to be ready for anything! I try to expose my youngsters to as much as possible so that these things don’t cause problems when showing, but they are horses and you just to your best to reassure them and build confidence so that you hope you can handle any situation that may come to pass.”
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