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New England Morgan Horse Association Winter Getaway

by Becky Fish


The annual New England Morgan Horse Association (NEMHA) Winter Getaway was held on Feb. 1-3, 2008. The Morgan community looks forward to the “meeting of the minds” each winter to be updated on the latest information.


The NEMHA dedicates countless hours to devise unique and memorable activities for its members to take part in throughout the weekend. This year, NEMHA President Jeff Gove and his entire team outdid themselves to guarantee a memorable experience for all NEMHA members. “This association is truly to serve the dedicated members who help make the Morgan breed what it is today,” said Gove.


What better way to kick off the “Winter Getaway” than with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at the warm and cozy Taylor River Farm hosted by Richard Boulé and the Gove family. This was the perfect environment to become reacquainted with friends and colleagues as well as become familiarized with the “game plan” for the weekend.


The ladies of CPM Stables enjoyed

the cocktail party Friday night.


Though there were a few stragglers leaving the cocktail party, many turned in early to get fresh start on Saturday at 8:30 back at Taylor River for registration and breakfast. Along with registration, members had an opportunity to fill out raffle tickets to ride a world champion either hunt or saddle seat along with several door prizes.


Sarah Gove and Richard Boulé and the

Taylor River crew enjoyed a busy weekend.


Richard Boulé introduced Sarah Gove and Kristin Farley as they were first up for demonstrations on teaching the intermediate lesson, show lessons for the junior exhibitor and techniques for teaching the adult rider. Members were given an “open forum” atmosphere to ask any questions regarding specific points of interest. There were also a few lucky people who were asked to be “guinea pigs” for the demonstrations.


A crowd favorite demonstration of lunge lessons eagerly caught the eyes of several audience members. Kristin Farley explained, “It’s imperative for all levels of riders to have lunge lessons in their riding routine. It is a perfect outlet to strengthen muscles and improve posture with the use of weights and exercise balls.” Sarah Gove also stressed the skill of riders to think on their own in the ring. “As a trainer, we can only say so much in the show ring. It’s up to the rider to be able to think quick and make decisions that will benefit the performance of their ride. We have several lessons when we limit our instruction to gauge the rider’s ability to make necessary corrections.


The duo also gave tips on teaching riders who are not interested in showing. Farley explained that a lesson program thrives on new clients that have never been introduced to riding. “Showing isn’t for everyone, we understand that and tailor our instruction to the goals they want to meet. Many riders just want to have that 30 minutes for themselves to de-stress from their everyday lives and connecting with a horse can be a relaxing outlet.”


As the old saying goes, a horse is only as good as his feet. Farrier Sean Travers and Dr. Kris Koss gave pertinent explanations of how and why horses need specific care for the show season. Certainly every horse owner was well accounted for during this demonstration as subjects such as footing, joint supplements and exercise routines can have a strong impact on a horses show ring performance. Dr. Koss brought several models of the horse skeleton to further exhibit the different parts of the foot and ways horse owners can better serve their horse.


Dr. Kris Koss demonstrated different
on a horse to the audience.


Sale horses were then presented by Cabot, Cedar Spring Farm and Taylor River Farm. Rick Lane introduced two beauties, MEM Absolute Joy and MEM Surprise. Wendy Sogoloff rode Toplands Living Legend for owner David Fitzgerald. Richard Boulé presented AMZ Raphael, Hylee’s Babylon and Set To Dance, while Sarah Gove spotlighted KHF Dante De Lion.


Rick Lane presented MEM Absolute Joy

during the sales portion of the afternoon.


Sisters Keely and Wendy Sogoloff wrapped up the afternoon. They pulled all future trainers/instructors in the Morgan world to share their experience and give advice on how to achieve their dream. Both sisters stress their luck of having the family business of training Morgans, but told the youngsters that many of their career-shaping experiences were had at other farms where they learned how trainers dealt with different horses.


Wendy explained, “Practice on any horse you can get your hands on. My first pony was the most important horse to me because I was able to use trial and error with the different ideas I had on training horses.” Keely Sogoloff enlightened the young hopefuls on riding several disciplines. “The more seats you know how to ride, the better you will be able to train your horse. Experience truly is the key to success in this business.” The sisters also didn’t forget to mention that going to college and majoring in equine business management would help to educate the young hopefuls in the business side of the horse industry.


Of course the most anticipated event of the weekend was the Circuit Champions Awards Banquet held Saturday evening at the Sheraton Ferncroft Resort in Danvers, Mass. Award recipients dressed to impress as they celebrated their victories of 2007 and look forward to the 2008 show season. As if a fantastic meal and dancing among friends wasn’t enough, there was a brand new water park in the hotel for all to enjoy!


President Jeff Gove eloquently gave opening remarks and was also the recipient of the Service Award for his diligent efforts on behalf of NEMHA gaining status as a public organization. Mrs. Martha Merrill was also honored for her countless hours of organizing the Winter Getaway, NEMHA newsletter and as recording secretary.


Martha Merrill was recognized for outstanding work

on the NEMHA board by NEMHA President Jeff Gove.


Mrs. Joan Travers was speechless when she was deemed Person of the Year. Her countless years of serving the Morgan breed and as an elected official on several other show organizations were just a few reasons why Mrs. Travers was nominated.


Joan Travers was overwhelmed with

being named the NEMHA Person of the Year.


The coveted NEMHA Hall of Fame inductees were of no surprise to the audience. Kay Thompson and Chris Cassenti graciously accepted the honor. Both women are known for their years of training, breeding, instruction and devotion to promoting the Morgan horse.


Kay Thompson and Chris Cassenti were this year’s

deserving NEMHA Hall of Fame inductees.


If NEMHA members missed out on this action packed weekend, be sure to get on board for next year. For more information on NEMHA visit  

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