A behind-the-scenes look at Sock Inc., one of the most successful and tight-knit hunter operations in the South.
Mill Spring, N.C. – June 25, 2016 – Coming off of a successful 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit, Sock Inc. returned to the show ring at the Tryon Spring series in May and wasted no time racking up ribbons and championships.
“We had such a great show at Tryon!” said Sock Inc. owner and head trainer Steve Heinecke. “It’s such a great facility and it’s a convenient location for us. I was really happy with everyone’s performance during the spring show. I was champion on Sarah Laffoday’s Pamina, a very special horse, and was also champion on my own horse Pink. All of the horses felt wonderful.”
The team kicked off their spring show season with Heinecke earning blue ribbons during Week Four on 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Quibelle, owned by Summerfields Equine, LLC, in the .80m and 1.0m Jumpers as well as with 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Dicaprio, owned by Paige Wilson, in the Performance 3’3″ Hunter division.
Dicaprio, owned by Paige Wilson, showing off his ribbons earned at Tryon. PC: Morgan Bullock
After a week off, clients and horses returned to the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) for Week Six of competition. Wilson and Dicaprio, who competed in the Adult Amateur 3′ Hunter division throughout WEF, moved up to the Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter division and finished with the championship title their first time out. Heinecke was also reserve champion with homebred 5-year-old Holsteiner/Oldenburg mare, Pink, in her first horse show ever competing in the Baby Green 2’6″ Hunter division.
Heinecke also took top finishes with Quibelle in the .80m Jumpers as well as with Dicaprio in the Performance 3’3″/3’6″ Hunter division. In addition, Wilson not only took home her first 3’3″ division championship but also won her first jumper class on her own Aaron 287 in the Adult Amateur 1.10m Jumpers. Wilson purchased Aaron 287 at the end of WEF and had never ridden or competed in the jumpers before partnering with the 15-year-old Rhinelander gelding. The pair also came in fourth in the $3,000 NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur 1.10m Jumper Classic.
“Tryon went really well!” said Wilson. “I got to do the Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter division on Dicaprio, which was the first time I had done that so that was exciting! I’ve been really excited about moving up. My riding has really improved a lot since I’ve been home from school and been able to ride every day. My jumper has been really good, too. We’ve come a long way because before Wellington I had never ridden in the jumpers.”
“Our goal by the end of Tryon is to put [Paige] in the Low Amateur-Owner Jumpers,” said Heinecke. “Tryon has an adult grand prix and to do that you cannot show in their summer series over 1.20m. Paige hasn’t jumped any 1.20m’s yet so we figured we’d wait and do that class, and if that goes well then we’ll know she’s ready to move up in the jumpers.”
The championships continued throughout Week Eight as Heinecke secured tri-color honors with both Pink and Pamina, owned by Sock Inc. client Sarah Laffoday, in the Baby Green 2’6″ Hunter division and the Performance 3’3″ Hunter division.
PC: Flying Horse Photography
“Pink is special horse,” said Heinecke. “I bred her myself and she comes from my late mare Viva. Tryon Spring Week Six was her very first horse show and she was reserve champion in the Baby Green 2’6″ Hunter division and champion in the same division during Week Eight. She was absolutely fantastic and is such a wonderful mare, just like her mom!”
Both Wilson and Laffoday also won their under saddle classes aboard Dicaprio and Pamina in the Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter division and the Adult Amateur 3′ Hunter division. Furthermore, Heinecke finished third and fourth on 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Hercules, owned by the Freedom Group, in the Performance 3’6″ Hunter division.
“Right now I show my 7-year-old Canadian Warmblood mare Pamina,” said Laffoday. “Steve first showed her in the pre-greens last year and now he does the Performance 3’3″ Hunter division with her. Overall we did well, but we’re still learning. We learned a lot of good things at Tryon over the past few weeks. Whenever you go in the ring Steve always makes a plan with you; you know exactly what to execute at every part of your course. My horse has definitely stepped up to the plate and now I need to as well, but I feel really good! I think by the end of the summer show season I will have learned so much!”
Sock Inc. offers top quality sale horses developed by Heinecke through classical and proven training methods. At Sock Inc., meticulous attention to detail is the overarching theme. Each horse is catered to with the upmost professional care personalized to their individual needs. Current sale horses Pink, Quibelle and Hercules, who produced top results at the Tryon Spring horse show series, will continue to be trained, shown and developed by Heinecke while they await new homes.
Steve Heinecke gives Sock Inc. client Paige Wilson and Dicaprio last minute tips before heading into the show ring at the Tryon Spring series. PC: Morgan Bullock
“I think we’ll do the pre-greens with [Pink] next time we go back down to Florida,” said Heinecke. “I’ll probably enter her in the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Program. She’s one I’ll continue to work with and develop. That is if she doesn’t sell first. Quibelle also went really well. I had an adult show her in the Hopeful 2’6” Hunter division and she scored some good ribbons. She’s a doer; a good solid amateur-type horse.
“Hercules is a new sale horse,” continued Heinecke. “He arrived at the end of the WEF circuit so with him it’s been a matter of getting to know him. During Week Four we showed him in the Performance 3’3″ Hunter division and then I showed him in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby during Week Six. We did the Performance 3’6″ Hunter one day during Week Six, but it was so hot we didn’t do the second day. He felt so great so we kept him in the 3’6″ division for Week Eight. I also put Paige on him to see how he would do with an amateur and he handled that really well. He’s a very wonderful horse and a great junior amateur.”
The Sock Inc. team will continue on with their summer show schedule competing at the upcoming Tryon Summer horse show series through June and July and then in Lexington at the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows series in July and August.
“I think everyone did quite well,” said Heinecke. “We raised the bar a little for all of my riders and horses at this show. Pink had never shown and she was champion. Paige went in the 3’3″ amateurs, which she had never done, and she was champion. She also won a class on her new jumper, Aaron 287, during Week Six, which was her first win with him. Sarah did an excellent job too. Last year she was doing the 2’6″ adults and now she’s doing the Adult Amateur 3′ Hunter division. She earned great ribbons and she’s come a long way. Overall all of the horses went quite well. Everyone was well turned out, well prepared, rode well and made progress. I couldn’t be happier!”