Champagne Wishes Farm

Bluemont, VA
(703) 431-4580



Latest News -2013

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Winter Gymnastic Clinics (January 18th and first and third weekend in February)

Paul's clinics have become a staple in the heart of Area II Eventing. This series in particular seeks to liven up the dreary winter months with some jumping fun!

Paul uses his experience both in teaching and riding at the upper levels of Eventing to develop clinics that build a strong foundation that benefit a horse and rider of any level. Clinic exercises work to improve the horse's rideability to the fences, the rider's balance, and the horse’s form in a fun, positive team environment.

The clinics will take place in Morven Park's indoor ring with all new footing that is fantastic. Lessons will last one hour for groups of three or four riders, for all levels from Green horses and going up through the Eventing levels (Baby BN, BN, N,T,P,I). A “Dressage Over Poles” group will be offered if demand exists for those non-jumping riders looking for something different for mid-winter training. The next two clinics will be held Feb 1st or 2nd, and Feb 15th or 16th.

Cost is $90 per horse which includes Morven’s ring fee. A $5 discount is available to YRAP and Area II Adult Riders members. Auditors are welcome to watch at no charge.

To sign up, please email Pat Palmer at with the following information:
Rider’s name,
Horse’s name,
Horse/rider experience,
Telephone number,
Day preference (Sat or Sun), and
Any other information that might be helpful for forming a group.

Haygard MidSouth Training Level 3-Day- October 17-20

Team CWF headed out to Lexington, KY for the MidSouth Training Level Three day on October 16th. The CWF Team felt it would be a good education for both horses and riders to compete in a full format training level three day. Colleen McKitrick road her new mount Flight Risk (Ryder), Laura Kiff rode Courageous ,and DeAnna Burke rode Davinci (Pickle). All horses arrived in good condition and settled in nicely.

Thursday, October 17th was the first inspection jog. The horses looked fit, polished, and ready to compete and all passed without any problem. The CWF team rode all rode Dressage late afternoon on Friday. The day was beautiful and sunny and each rider put in a great test; they were all consistent, obedient, and well ridden. DeAnna and Pickle were in 2nd, Colleen and Ryder in 7th, and Laura and Courageous in 13th.

The morning of cross country we woke up dark clouds that promised to rain on us at some point during the day. Colleen, DeAnna, and Laura all walked the course one more time and after some final instructions from Paul they were all ready. DeAnna and Pickle headed out first on Phase A in the pouring rain. Pickle within the first minute of roads and tracks had spooked and spun around, dumping DeAnna in the mud with Pickle running back to the barn at a full gallop. Fortunately Colleen and Ryder were headed to the start of Phase A and Pickle stopped to visit. Paul helped DeAnna get back on Pickle and they were off once again and had to ride Phase A at a canter for the most part to catch up lost time. Besides that incident, each rider finished roads and tracks and steeplechase clean and on time. The entire CWF crew helped cool and walk horses in the 10 minute box as all three riders were there around the same tim!. As each rider headed out on cross country the horses looked strong, fit, and ready to tackle the very large and long training level course. Even in the rain and the mud, each rider rode aggressively and came home clean and just under the time. There were smiles all around and everyone was thrilled with their horses and for the rest of day the horses were pampered and the tack was cleaned of all the mud. DeAnna and Pickle still stood in 2nd, Colleen and Ryder moved up to 3rd, and Laura and Courageous moved up to 9th. Not bad to have 3 riders in the top 10 out of 44 riders!

The final jog was again no problem and each horse passed with flying colors. Show Jumping turned out to be a mixed bag for the team with two highs and one disappointment. Laura and Courageous had a double clean round and moved up once again to finish in 7th place, great job! Colleen and Ryder were next for the CWF team and they were having a fabulous round until mid-way through the course when Ryder was spooked by the puddle or something under an oxer and had a stop. Colleen really had to work to get him over that fence and then finished the rest of the course with no additional problems. Unfortunately the stop and extra time dropped them out of the placings which is so disappointing after having a flawless dressage and cross country day. DeAnna and Pickle were last of the team to go and jumped a very nice double clean. The first place rider had two rails, which moved DeAnna and Pickle up to first place. Woo Hoo, a blue ribbon for Team CWF.

Although it would have been a perfect event if Ryder had not been spooked by the one oxer, overall it was a great event for everyone. Both horses and riders grew with the experience and will continue to improve as they take on their next challenges. The help and support of the entire team throughout the event is what made the event fun and memorable. The times spent drinking hot cocoa and coffee (Thank you Myra!), joking around during the down times, having a wine and cheese party after cross country (Thank you Marilyn and Jason), and getting to know each other more is really what makes away shows fun. Thank you Allison, Myra, Jason, and Marilyn for your support, encouragement, and help with the horses and riders.

Mark you calendars for Haygard MidSouth Three Day for October 2014, Team CWF will be back!

All Horses and Riders looking good at the first jog
Headed out on XC in the pouring rain
Walking the Course in the Rain
DeAnna & Pickle

Morven Park Horse Trials & Area II Championships- October 5-6

The CWF enjoyed another weekend with warm and sunny weather summer temps at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. Everyone rode great this past weekend and although not a perfect weekend like Seneca, a pretty darn good one overall.

Monica & Harley and Tori & Jazzy started the weekend off well in the Intermediate B division. Monica had a very nice dressage, only 1 rail down in the show jump and then blazed around the cross country with the fastest time of the division to finish in first place! Tori and Jazzy are preparing for the CCI** at Fair Hill so didn't run XC, but had a beautiful clear show jump round.

Byron & Chance and DeAnna & Pickle competed in the Area II Sr. Training Championships. Byron and Chance posted two double clean rounds to finish in 5th place in a large and very competitive division. Way to go! DeAnna and Pickle were 3rd after dressage and had a fabulous XC round within the time, but DeAnna jumped the wrong Training #17 (non championship fence) and was technically eliminated, bummer!

Laura & Cory and Colleen & Ryder competed in the Area II Jr/Young Rider Training Championships. Laura and Cory had an unusually tense dressage, but posted two double clear rounds to finish in 8th. Colleen and Ryder had a nice dressage, but had a couple of problems on the XC to move them down the placings then finished on a nice show jump round. Both Laura and Colleen are well prepared and ready to kick some butt at the Midsouth Training 3-day in Lexington, KY in two weeks.

Haley and Grace had another nice dressage and a beautiful clean show jump in Junior Training division. They had one stop at fence #5 on cross country, but then finished the course looking like are ready to move up. They finished in 5th place.

Crys & Tully competed in the Training Rider division and are continuing to gain confidence as a team. Crys dressage improved, had one rail down in the show jump, and looked fantastic and confident around the cross country. They finished in 11th place.

Christie & Cassidy competed in the Novice division. She was green in the dressage and show jumping, but was awesome around the the cross country, not bad for a 4-year old!

For individual results go to our 2013 Results page

From Left to Right: Haley, Laura, Paul, Christie, Colleen, Erin, and Taylor

Seneca Valley Horse Trials - September 14-15

Great weekend for CWF at Seneca, with riders taking advantage of the beautiful weather and mild temperatures Laura Kiff and Courageous had three solid phases and finished 4th in the Junior Training. Haley Carspecken and True Grace are still getting to know each other and had a few problems in the show jump, but then rocked around the cross country like pros and finished in 10th in the Junior Training. Great to Haley and Grace building a partnership, should be smooth sailing ahead for them. Unfortunately the three senior training riders were not able to run cross country when it was cancelled after a long hold on course. The divisions were pinned as a Combined Test: DeAnna Burke and Davinci placed 1st, Colleen McKitrick and Flight Risk placed 4th, and Byron Poindexter and MAC in Vegas placed 11th. The final CWF rider of the weekend was assistant trainer Christie McKitrick with her own young horse, Pop Fly, competing in the beginner novice. This was Pop Fly's first recognized show and besides a few green moments she did great! Looking forward to seeing her progress and grow up.

Congratulations to Haley and Laura for completing their qualifications for the Haygard South Training Three day! Next stop is the Middleburg Horse Trials at the end of September.

For individual results go to our 2013 Results page

Haley & True Grace
Laura & Courageous
Bryon & MAC in Vegas
Laura & Haley after Dressage
Laura & Courageous
Haley & True Grace

Fair Hill International Horse Trials - August 10

The Champagne Wishes training level crew packed up early Saturday morning and headed up to Elkton, Maryland for the Fair Hill horse trials. We met up with Tori Long and Jazzy who made the trip up the previous night all the way from North Carolina to compete in the Intermediate.

Tori started off the day with Jazzy, who hadn't been out since the Virginia CCI* this Spring and since being married! Although not their best dressage and show jumping, the cross country was clean and they knocked the rust off after the summer break and are looking confident going into the fall.

The training level crew was next. Cyrs was excited to compete at her first Training level event with Tully. They had a very nice test and finished the Dressage in 3rd place. They added one rail in the show jump and a few time penalties XC to finish in 8th place. Erin was riding her young horse Faye in the Junior Training as well. and had a nice dressage even though Faye was more interested on what was going on outside. They added two rails and some time on cross country, but had a great go around the XC that I'm sure will build Faye confidence at the level going forward. Haley and Grace were competing at their very first show together as a team. They had a nice dressage although Grace was a bit lazy and Haley really had to keep her going. Their show jumping and XC showed some disconnect that is often seen in a new partnership and had two silly stops at different fences on XC. Grace was too busy spooking at the fence judges and never really focused on the fences ahead of her. I'm confident Haley and Grace will sort out the kinks together and when they do watch out everyone!

DeAnna rode Pickle around the Training. Their dressage didn't score as well as usual as they are figuring out the balance between obedience and expression. Pickle was a bit naughty in the SJ and wanted to be too strong and dropped two rails, but by the time they got to XC all was good and they had a fantastic round.

Congratulations to riders who are one step closer to qualifying for the Haygard South Training Three day, I'm confident everyone will qualify for the CWF fall road trip. Next stop is Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Horse Trials. See you all there!

For individual results go to our 2013 Results page

Crys & Tully
Erin & Faye
Crys & Tully
The Miller Support Crew

Maryland Horse Trials II - July 13-14

A busy weekend for CWF at Loch Moy! On Saturday Monica Gaebe started things off in the Intermediate, finishing 7th with Harleyquin. DeAnna Burke's Pickle completed his first Training nearly perfectly but for one steering issue in a cross country combination...he will undoubtedly come back to kick everybody's butt once he has a little more experience. In the Junior Training, Laura Kiff finished in 6th in her second Training with Courageous; Erin Miller and Fassona had a bit of a rough cross country but will return to fight another day.

Sunday was Junior Open Novice: Madison Boyd and Josie are still working out the kinks and had one silly stop at the last fence on cross country, but all other phases were beautiful! Crys Ayala and her new horse H.M. As Spirits Go finished in 6th at their first event together - we are so excited to see what this pair does in the future. Last but certainly not least Mikayla Howitz and Black Gold returned to Loch Moy for their first Novice and conquered the blue ribbon again!! CWF is on a roll!

New Rides for Haley and Cyrs - July 2

Congratulations to both Haley Carspecken for the purchase of Grace and to Cyrs Ayala on the purchase of Tully. The CWF team is looking forward to seeing both partnerships build as they progress through the levels.

A Busy Two-Show Weekend - May 18th

The local show this weekend was Kelly's Ford down in Remington, Virginia. Christie McKitrick and working student Sophia Fricke left the barn at about 5:30 am to make it for Sophia's dressage time of 7:55! Sophia rode Pat Palmer's Flight Risk in the gelding's first Training. Sophia was pleased with his improvements in his dressage test, though the judge didn't entirely agree, giving them a 40. He is still a bit green to the fences, but she brought him home clean on cross country and just one rail in show jumping to finish in 4th place!

Christie decided to take Felix in the Prelim/Training division, because of all the time off he had after Plantation. He was definitely a bit rusty, scoring a 36 in the Prelim dressage and dropping one rail in the show jumping, but he was very good overall. He breezed through the Training cross country, coming in with the second-fastest time (the fastest being, of course, Sophia and Flight Risk!).

Christie is aiming Felix for the Prelim at Difficult Run Pony Club Horse Trials in just a few weeks, where Sophia is also going Training with Flight Risk.

Meanwhile, Paul took True Grace to Fair Hill for the Prelim there. Grace put in a beautiful test, showing huge improvements in her consistency and accuracy. Paul was very pleased with her. They maintained their score of 29 after jumping a clean show jumping round. Halfway through a foot-perfect round Grace slipped in the mud and twisted over the corner, dislodging Paul. A bit of a disappointing end when Grace was going so well; however it is good to know that she was in 2nd place and performing perfectly, just tripping up in the slick, rain-coated grass. There will always be another day!


We have an opportunity for a reliable, friendly, hard working person to join the Champagne Wishes Farm team. Paul is an ICP Level III certified instructor and has successfully coached riders from all levels, from Beginner Novice to Advanced, and onto the North American Junior Young Riders team. Past student successes include team gold medals from NAJYRC, Area II Intermediate Young Rider Champion, and AEC winners. In exchange for mucking, turnout, grooming, and general barn work, the successful candidate will learn to run a small eventing barn in the heart of the Virginia eventing scene. You will also receive lessons, board for your horse,
coaching at events, and opportunities to help train young horses.

Housing available.Own transportation is a must.
12-month position available August 2013.


We are offering short, two-week part-time working student positions for the summer of 2013. The potential working student would work for a certain number of hours, to earn lessons or coaching. The student would learn the ins and outs of running a professional barn, from chores, to conditioning work, to grooming, as well as all other horsemanship and stable management
aspects. No space for a horse.

If interested, please contact Christie McKitrick.

Plantation Horse Trials - April 13-14

Some ups and downs this past weekend at Plantation Horse Trials, but overall a successful weekend. For more details on how everyone did, ensure to read the CWF blog. Below are some pictures from the weekend. Looking forward to seeing everyone out again at the Loudoun Horse Trials at the end of the month. For individual results go to our 2013 Results page.

Haley & DaVinci
Paul & Grace
Tori & Jazzy
Christie & Felix after a clean Show Jump
Colleen & Rocky
Colleen & Rocky
Colleen & Rocky
CWF Wine & Beer Party

Colleen and Rocky through the Intermediate water on their way to a 5th place finish!

CDCTA Horse Trials - April 7

Haley Carspecken and DaVinci performed beautifully in the Training Rider division and finished third! Christie McKitrick and Fanfare put in a solid round at Training to finish fourth and are ready to move up to Prelim at Plantation. Cameron Rouse rode Summer around the training and finished in 8th. Thank you to Lee Rouse for taking some amazing photos!

Christie & Felix - Training 4th Place
(Lee Rouse Photograph)

Cameron & Summer - Training 8th Place
(Lee Rouse Photograph)
Tracy (Haley's Mom) providing support
(Lee Rouse Photograph)
Haley & DaVinci - Training 3rd Place
(Lee Rouse Photograph)

Southern Pines Horse Trials I & II - March 9-10 and March 16-17

The eventing season is well underway way and the CWF crew started the season off well at Southern Pines Horse Trials I and II weekends. The first Southern Pines weekend we had beautiful clear skies and warmer temperatures, the second Southern Pines weekend wasn't as nice as you can see from Colleen's show Jump warm-up picture below. To read the summary of the two events please visit our Team CWF Blog. For individual results go to our 2013 Results page.

Haley & DaVinci - Training SP I
Cameron & Summer - Training SP I
DeAnna & Pickle - Novice SP I
(Brant Gamma Photograph)
Colleen & Rocky - Intermediate SJ
warm-up SP II

USEA Area II Annual Meeting - January 13

This past Sunday was the 2013 Area II Annual Meeting in Leesburg, Virginia. The meeting was especially important to attend this year because of all of the FEI rule changes, which are going to have a significant impact upon the price of events and qualifications for FEI events. Some of the CWF Team are hoping to complete a one- or two-star this year, but these changes have important implications for all of us.

The meeting also had a seminar about the changes that are being made to the area's Young Riders program. With a new coach and new coordinators there are going to be a lot of changes, and hopefully some new life will be brought into the program! Lynn Symansky and Skyeler Voss are also starting a pilot program for the YRAP, which should bring even more young riders into the program. The YRAP coaching pilot program is revitalizing the program in how it seeks to prepare riders to compete at the upper levels required for the Young Riders Championship. This will definitely help the younger generation of CWF riders, and this new energy is very exciting for us to witness.

Last but not least, awards were also given out at the meeting, and we are proud to announce that Colleen McKitrick and Rocmaster won the Area II Intermediate Young Rider Champion award!

Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging oh my!

Champagne Wishes Farm is getting up to speed with its social media. Champagne Wishes Farm now has a twitter account (team_CWF), moved over to a new Champagne Wishes Farm facebook business page, and started a blog that you can follow and have updates automatically emailed to you. Don't miss a thing and get connected with Team CWF today!

Conditioning for Spring 2013

Now that many of us have figured out the spring event schedule, it's time to make sure that your horse will be fit and ready for the first competition of the year. Conditioning is a huge piece of success in eventing, and you can never start planning too early!

It's especially important if you are planning to start competing early this year. If you're heading to Southern Pines in March, you need to have a conditioning plan in place as soon as possible. Contact Paul this week if you need help formulating a schedule! Fit, happy horses are always the goal.

Winter Work

Although it feels like the winter is endless, it's already mid-January, which means we are about a month out from our team's first show of the season! Colleen McKitrick and Rocmaster will be heading to Pine Top the weekend of February 23. Until then it's grid work and dressage tune-up!

Planning for the Start of Show Season Party is under way; expect to hear a date and location soon! It's tentatively planned for Saturday, February 9th, at the McKitrick residence in Leesburg.

2013 Cavaletti and Gymnastics Winter Clinic Series

Paul will hold three gymnastic clinics this winter to keep you and your horses fit, agile, and ready for the Spring season. This first clinic of the series of three will be on January 19th and 20th and will combine the use of ground poles, cavaletti, grids and single fences. The next two clinics will build upon the first clinic's concepts with progressive complexity suitable to each level. Lessons will last one hour for groups of three or four riders, for all levels from Green horses and going up through the Eventing levels. The next two clinics will be held Feb 2nd or 3rd, and Feb 16th or 17th. For additional information please see the attached flyer.

To sign up, please email   Pat Palmer with rider's name, horse's name, level, horse/rider experience, telephone number, day preference (Sat or Sun), and any other information that might be helpful for a forming group.