We have narrowed down our applicant pool for the first ever JN Blogger contest to three very deserving writers. For the semi-final, each candidate was prompted to seek out and interview a rider whose story inspires them. Continue reading to see what today’s featured finalist brought to the table!
On the heels of her 25th birthday, Brooke Cudmore slowed down, took a deep breath after her very intense summer schedule and loaded up some babies for a much more relaxed jump around at Quail Run Horse Center’s End of Summer Show in Elkhorn, Nebraska.
Napping is for older equestrians apparently as Brooke, who finished 2nd two weeks ago with her top mount Igor in the $35,000 Rescue Ride Grand Prix at the Maffitt Lake Two Rivers Summer Festival showed no signs of fatigue. She piloted baby after baby around their first full courses at a horse show, smoothing out their green tendencies to peek or over jump anything new or spooky.
“Style has a great mind and is extremely brave!” Brooke said of one of the youngsters she had just gotten done schooling. “I really love taking our babies to this facility just down the road from us… It’s incredible for them to see and jump around full courses with flowers and everything, in footing this nice and have it be literally 10 minutes from home!”
No stranger to the baby horse business, Brooke has grown up riding alongside her mother, Karen Cudmore, representing the family’s Heartland Farms which is currently based in Bennington, Nebraska.
Unlike her mother, who came from a non-horsey background and developed into a top rider as a young adult, Brooke has been riding since birth and many will tell you she cantered out of Karen with her eyes and chin up looking for her first fence!
Heartland Farms and their foundation stallion Southern Pride are well known Nationally and Internationally for breeding top quality young Holsteiners which Brooke and Karen regularly show in the hunters as well as the jumpers.
“It definitely takes versatility and an educated hand and eye to switch from showing a young horse in the Baby Greens to marching a seasoned one around a National Standard Grand Prix,” said Jim Urban (owner and trainer at Quail Run Horse Center) of Brooke. “I mean, she’s only in her early twenties, but it’s easy to forget that considering how well she rides.”
One of Brooke’s exciting young jumpers is Southern Rose, an eight year old daughter of Southern Pride that Brooke has just stepped up into the larger classes with.
Southern Rose won the $5,000 Medium Jr/ AO Jumper Classic on July 8th at the Summer in the Rockies Show in Parker, Colorado…a series regularly attended by Brooke and Karen. The fault-free win in the Medium Classic following her fault free victory in the $5,000 NAL Low Jr/Am Classic just a week earlier shows the scope this young mare has and gives Brooke confidence for the future with her.
“Southern Rose is everything you look for in a jumper,” Brooke said. “She’s quick, careful and has a heart of gold. She always gives me 100% on course, and I love riding her!”
While it remains to be seen if Brooke feels Southern Rose is up for the challenge, it’s a near certainty we will see her back in action at the top level with Igor as the first of the four Init2winit qualifiers is on the horizon.
The Init2winit Speed Jumping Series is the brainchild of Lisa Roskens and the Omaha Equestrian Foundation in their dedicated effort to bring top-level show jumping to the Midwest. There are four regional qualifiers ahead of the $100,000 final which will be held in conjunction with the International Omaha Horse Show on April 5, 2019. Last year, Brooke won the $25,000 Init2winit qualifier that was hosted by the American Royal Horse Show on Cassin, only to have him sell the week before the $100,000 final in Omaha.
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#mcm 😍🐴 😍 Cassin was 5th yesterday in the 20k Grand Prix in Tucson out of a fast 8 horse jump off!! #lovemystallion Congrats to my Mom for being 2nd on Southern Pride, 2 time faults with Coneja finishing 9th, and Igor was the fastest 4 faulter finishing 10th! #poniesjumpedgood #teamequo
“I was devastated when he sold,” said Brooke who had been partnered with Cassin for six years. “But selling them is part of the business, what we do for a living, and it allows me to start a new one, so I’m used to it.”
Brooke qualified Igor for the final on a Wild Card and while she didn’t get a major piece of the Init2winit Class, she certainly didn’t disappoint. Thanks to a breathtaking double clean effort from Igor, who seems to defy gravity as he gallops to the fences and simply shrugs his shoulders to get up and over, Brooke finished out in sixth place in the $130,000 1.45m Grand Prix of Omaha.
The 2019 Init2winit series kicks off with the first qualifier on September 29th at the Great Southwest Fall Classic in Katy, Texas.
The remaining 2018-19 qualifiers are scheduled for:
October 12 American Roya in Kansas City, Mo
November 10 Winter Festival VI in St Louis Mo
January 19 Denver Stock Show in Denver, Co
With Igor in top form and Southern Rose knocking on the door, it remains to be seen which qualifier Brooke and Karen will target first in this year’s series. One thing is for certain…with brains, bloodlines and a boatload of talent, Brooke Cudmore is a rider to be reckoned with and absolutely one to follow in the future!
Anne Warner is a lifelong rider, trainer and advocate for off the track thoroughbreds. She runs Double Clear Equestrian Center in Lincoln, Nebraska where she teaches all levels of students and has OTTBs in training from fresh off the track through Grand Prix.