The Willowdale Steeplechase races in Kennett Square, PA, celebrated 25 years on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14. In recognition of hitting a milestone anniversary, a special feature was added for horsemen: a one-time chance at a special $100,000 bonus to any horse winning both the featured Willowdale Steeplechase race and the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in November.
Taking the winner’s share of the Willowdale Steeplechase’s $35,000 purse, and earning a chance to try for the bonus in the fall, was Doc Cebu, owned by Charles Fenwick, Jr., trained by Jack Fisher, and ridden in the 3.5 mile amateur steeplechase by Hadden Frost.
The race had nine starters, but Doc Cebu followed Grand Manan under Gonzague Cottreau away from the field from the start. These two separated themselves from the rest of the runners by as much as 20 lengths at points. Although Grand Manan was in front for most of the race, Doc Cebu had enough left after the final jump to close in and pass Grand Manan, ultimately winning by nine lengths in a time of 7:36 4/5.
Imagine months of preparation, a lifetime of focused effort. Muscles burn and beads of sweat drip as the body strives for perfection. Everything is aligned into flawless synchronicity for the one momentous chance to bring home the gold.
It’s not the Olympics, but the Maccabiah Games. Under the supervision of the International Olympic Committee, the Maccabiah Games is the third largest sporting event in the world, featuring ten thousand athletes, eighty countries, and forty-three different sports. A Jewish competition founded in 1932 on a four-year cycle, this year’s Games will only be the second year that equestrian sports are included.
The equestrian portion of the Maccabiah Games includes a dressage and a show jumping team. Rebecca Cord, of Cochranville, PA, a FEI dressage rider, USEF L Graduate, USDF bronze and silver medalist, ARIA and USDF certified instructor, was chosen from thousands of riders across the country to join the dressage team and represent the United States. Cord will be one of eight riders and over a thousand athletes wearing the stars and stripes during the 20th World Maccabiah Games on July 4-18th in Israel.
“I am so excited to be selected from the pool,” said Cord. “This is taking two important aspects of my life, dressage and my heritage, and combining them into this intersection of Olympic-level sport.” The unifying concept is that despite being in direct rivalry with other countries, every competitor has a shared heritage and is part of the Jewish community. It is a chance to represent and show pride for your country, while overcoming a cultural divide and connecting to the shared Jewish identity.
As a fifth grader growing up in Montgomery County, PA, Matt Stout struggled through his initial trombone lessons. Little did he realize that his love of making music would lead his life down a path that included travel abroad.
Last year’s journey brought him to blowing through his coach horn, proudly sounding a call, co-written by his daughter, to the Queen of England. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip stood in front of their private entrance to Windsor Castle and acknowledged Matt’s call with a Royal wave.
Matt continued playing the trombone in the marching and jazz bands through his senior year at Whitemarsh High School in Plymouth Meeting, PA.
Growing up, Matt’s neighbors had rodeo-type horses. Now and then he would ride, just for fun, and went to watch them compete in some rodeos at Cowtown Rodeo in Pilesgrove, NJ.
Matt’s father, an over the road truck driver, was approached by John Hunt of Eden Valley Farm in Spring City, PA, who was looking for a driver for his horse van. His father was nearing retirement and didn’t want to take on a new responsibly. He told John that his son had his CDL license and he would recommend him for the job.
Not long after Matt started driving John’s horse van, he began helping around the barn and at carriage events, leading horses and cleaning harness. After about a year and a half the trombone was mentioned. John handed Matt a coach horn, along with a book and CD, and told him to give it a try.
The American Horse Council (AHC) began collecting data for the 2017 Economic Impact Study on April 1.
The study will enable the horse industry to educate the public, the media and elected officials in Congress and state legislatures regarding the industry’s economic size, impact and importance. The study will also be helpful in a number of other ways:
Funds have been raised to begin the data collection for the study. “However, we are still short of our goal amount and are hoping to receive final pledges to officially put us over the finish line for fundraising.” said AHC President Julie Broadway. The study has been expanded to include participants under 18, and the equine welfare and sanctuary segments.”