Eventing could be termed an "equestrian triathlon." It involves working with a horse both on the flat and over fences. The three phases are: dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. Originally a military test, eventing has now evolved into an exciting sport, attracting interest from many sports enthusiasts, from weekend hobby riders to professional international stars.
The competition starts with dressage. The purpose of the dressage test is to demonstrate the level of communication between the horse and ride and to display the power and grace required to perform each movement with balance, rhythm, and suppleness.
The cross-country test takes place on the second day of competition. The objective of this test is to prove the bravery, speed, endurance, and jumping ability of the horse over varied terrain and obstacles. In order to accomplish this task, the horse and rider must be at peak condition. The horse must be brave and obedient, and the rider must use knowledge of pace in order to expend only as much of the horse's energy as is necessary.
The third and final day is not an ordinary show jumping competition, Its sole objective is to demonstrate that,on the day after a severe test of endurance, the horses have retained the suppleness, energy and obedience necessary for them to continue in service
Unlike other sports, where only the human will and body are pitted against the clock, in eventing, two minds and bodies work as one. Eventing is also the only high-risk Olympic sport where men and women compete as equals, with no separate divisions.
Owner of RaxRunEventing & Head Trainer
Upper-Level Event Rider
USEA ICP level 2 Certified Instructor
Pony Club Graduate A, Traditional
Martha was a horse lover from a very early age. She began riding at age 7 in Houston, TX and competed on the local hunter curcuit until a family move to Illinois introduced her to the world of eventing. She was quickly hooked!
After graduation from high school, Martha travelled to South Carolina and Virginia working for Kiki Osbourne. During this time she gained experience at the preliminary level with her horse, Spinner. She also acquired many skills for working with off the track thoroughbreds, retraining them for careers as sport horses.
Eventually, Martha returned to Illinois and started her own business, riding and teaching out of several barns in the area. She was fortunate enough to keep her own horses at Carousel Farm, owned and operated by FEI dressage trainer Lorna Donahue. Lorna gave Martha the opportunity to ride many quality dressage horses, from talented young prospects to grand prix school masters, as well as helping Martha to optimize the performance of her event horses. Under Lorna's guidance, Martha's ability and appreciation for dressage grew exponentially. She also credits Lorna for setting the highest standard of horse and stable management which is evident in the program at Rax Run. During her stay at Carousel Farm, Martha grew to truly love dressage and to understand how crucial a building block it is for every event horse.
Now with two upper level horses, Spinner and Garth, Martha accepted a position working for Paul Ebersole in Bluemont, VA in 2007. Just as Lorna brought Martha's dressage riding to the next level, Paul pushed Martha in the show jumping and cross country. Aspiring for the top levels of the sport, Martha decided to focus on competing Garth while achieving her Pony Club A rating on Spinner. Martha's background as a graduate A makes her an ideal instructor for those wanting to move along the rating system. She also teaches clinics and camps for several of the Virginia pony clubs.
After a year with Paul, Martha set out on her own and has since enjoyed a growing team of horses and riders. From beginners learning to post to serious competitors, Martha has a true passion for teaching and loves seeing riders succeed in their various endeavors, whatever they may be. The same is true for developing horses -taking whatever talent each horse has and building on that until the horse is a confident and capable partner for whatever task he has before him. Still aspiring to rise to the top level of eventing, Martha continues her own education as a rider and trainer through work with Lynn Symansky, Paul Ebersole, Lorna Donahue, Holly Wilmoth, and Jan Bynny among others. She has competed through the intermediate level and aspires to reach the top level of the sport. She is also certified to train riders through the one star level as an USEA ICP level 2 certified instructor.
In addition to her horse related credentials, Martha has a B.A. in Psychology from George Mason University.
ABOUT OUR TEAM
Hannah & Riley
Directors of Shinanigans at RaxRunEventing
Hannah and Riley are Martha’s german shepherds that are common sites at all the area 2 events and beyond. If you visit Rax Run, they will probably greet you and ask for identification as they take their job as head of farm security very seriously.
When they aren’t greeting visitors, they can be found in the ring helping with lessons or going for a swim in the creek. Their most recognizable and adored trait by far, is the beautiful "Synchronized Sheppie Opera" they conduct, upon arrival at any destination.