Stay Grey

Nature’s first dapple is grey.
Her hardest color to stay.
Her early coat’s a bay, but only so a day.
Then dapple subsides to white, in the morning light.
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing grey can stay.


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Highs & Lows For The Season


Zeb + Louis at Pleasant Hill (19 of 52)

Its been a strange but happy season so far with Lou and myself. Our first trial began in January, where we got a TE (Technical Elimination) on the cross country for not going through the flags at the water complex. This was after a horrible rain storm during the night, the course was changed, and I assumed the path I took through the water was correct. Well, it wasn’t and we were eliminated….lesson #1 NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING.

Next trial was in February, where it was cold and nasty. But the stars were aligned just right and I didn’t mess things up this time. Lou came home in 1st place and the Thoroughbred Incentive Award….lesson #2 DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES LIKE LAST TIME.


March trials were a lot of fun. The Dressage judge really enjoyed Louis’ test and all our hard work paid off with a score of 21. It was a solid enough score to keep us in the top two, but sadly I pulled 2 rails in stadium, knocking us to 2nd place. But Lou won the Thoroughbred Incentive Award again!….lesson # 3 LEAVE ALL THE RAILS IN THE CUPS!


May trials came around on Derby weekend, and I was still feeling pretty confident about myself and Lou. We did a new Training Level test, which seemed to have backed Louis off in the arena. He wasn’t comfortable with the new movements just yet, so we didn’t have our usual brilliant score. Putting the big guy in a tiny box and expect him to flamboyantly perform wasn’t happening that morning. The stadium was also moved onto grass with trees and shadows. Wearing studs for stadium was a different feeling for Lou too, so he was reserved and backed off throughout the course and never got in front of my leg. So when we came to fence #8, sadly I pulled the rip-cord and went over Lou’s head, taking the bridle with me, as Lou galloped off toward a group of friends. In over 30 years I’ve never gotten eliminated in Stadium!….lesson #4 DON’T FALL OFF…..EVER!

So this past weekend, we gave it another go. We learned from our boo-boos, was still pissed off from last time and accomplished what we set out for. Lou improved in the Training Test, I didn’t fall off in Stadium, and we got another double clear round in the Cross Country. We came home in 1st place!….lesson #5 NEVER STOP TRYING


Goals for this season were to qualify for the American Eventing Championships…done. Then qualify for the Area III Championships…done.  Win the Thoroughbred Incentive Award…done. Hit the score board in the 20’s in the Dressage…done. Keep a double clear record on Cross Country…done. Move Lou up to Training Level…doing it and making it happen.

Winning is awesome, but you have to know how to be good at losing too.

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Drool Worthy!

Yes, Handsome Jake is “drool worthy”, as someone recently said. This 4 year old has the making of a super star in the show world. He’s built for jumping and has the brains to go full-out Dressage. It is a chance for Professionals to get their hands on their next upper level mount, or quiet enough for an experienced Amateur to make everyone jealous at the shows! More info on the HORSES FOR SALE page. $12K


Photography by Leslie Threlkeld Creative, @lesliethrelkeldcreative on Facebook. Contact her to schedule a shoot at

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Stall Opening May 1st

A stall opening May 1st for horses in training and consignment. 30-60-90 day training packages. An excellent source to prep for the Retired Racehorse Project.


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Coach E – Sold

Congratulations to Judy McDonald on her purchase of Coach E! Judy will continue to develop Coach and bring her along as a show horse, with also the hopes of enjoying her chasing the hounds in the next few years.


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Great Beginning



This past weekend started the year off with some positive energy at the Poplar Place Farm February Trials in Hamilton, GA. Louis was in the Open Novice division and showed a lot of maturity in many different ways.

As usual the Dressage was quiet and relaxed with a score of 28. Stadium was a steady and balanced round with all the poles left in the cups. I felt a more mature horse on the cross country where he is becoming confident approaching the fences and is developing a point-and-shoot mentality. We finished Sunday on our Dressage score and was also honored to receive the Thoroughbred Incentive High Point Award for our division.

With this placing, Louis is now qualified for the American Eventing Championships this fall. That was one of my goals for the 2017 season, and I’m so happy we met that goal so quickly. The other goal will be moving up to Training Level after a couple more outings at Novice. I want to make sure all the parts are in the right places first.

GO Louis! GO Thoroughbred!



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More Cowbell and Matti Ready For 2017

It’s  an interesting story how More Cowbell and Matti Burns came into each other’s lives.


It started with a phone call from a parent researching horses to purchase for their daughter. I remember I was competing at Poplar Place Farm with More Cowbell (Benny) when my cell phone rang. Nancy (Matti’s mother) inquired about Benny and I went through my usual vetting questions to see if they qualified in being a possible buyer.

We had a good conversation, but Matti was young and inexperienced with green Thoroughbreds, so I suggested they look at more seasoned horses elsewhere. I could hear Nancy’s surprise in her voice when I turned her away.

Fast forward 2 months later, I’m at Chattahoochee Hills with Benny at his Training Level debute, and my phone rang at stabling. It was Nancy.


“Zeb we’ve been following you and Benny for months. Everything points to you and your horses. It’s a strange attribute you have as a trainer and seller to turn away a buyer, and be so honest about your horses. I appreciate that and its a rare trait in the horse world.”

We continued to talk over details and logistics. Nancy and Matti bought Benny as I was driving down Interstate 285 going home to the farm. It was a risky agreement for both sides, and I know we would all agree that we are so very blessed that Matti and Benny’s relationship has grown into something that all riders young and old dream about.


When Benny left for Massachusetts, he was a dapple grey. It’s been a couple years and he has lost most of those dapples, but within that time, I’ve got to watch Matti and Benny turn into a complete success in Show Jumping and Eventing. I’m proud that More Cowbell was a Little Kentucky Farm Thoroughbred. Together Matti and Benny are going to have so many more beautiful moments together.


GO More Cowbell! GO Matti! GO Thoroughbred!

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