Scott Powell ~ A horse lover from his rudimentary beginnings, Scott began his horse career during his high school years in Montana. Working two summers hauling hay, he was able to scrape together enough money to buy his first horse — a little grey Arabian. With no money left over to buy a saddle, he began his very first horse training project on his own. No saddle and no previous riding lessons. Simply learning from trial and error, even taking some hard falls along the way, he got the job done and thus beginning his journey on what would become a brilliant career.
Once a little surer in the saddle, he started following the news articles splashed throughout the Bitterroot Repulic News paper of Holly Gervais. Gervais was a National Champion Endurance rider also of Montana. Her impressive career got Scott interested in trying Endurance riding for himself. But, it wouldn’t be an easy road. Married young, it was tough balancing his family, a thriving demolition and asbestos removal buisness with his horses. He was determined, however, and would brave the bitter cold Utah mornings before work to exercise his new equine prospects.
By the early 90’s, he was competing in Endurance and in 2000, he was able to complete the Tevis Cup. The Tevis is the oldest modern day endurance ride, having been held annually since 1955. As such, it has been the inspiration and model for the most challenging endurance rides worldwide. The Tevis Cup Ride follows a rugged portion of the Western States Trail which stretches from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Sacramento, California. Each rider who completes the 100 mile course from Tahoe to Auburn within the 24 hour limit and whose mount is judged “fit to continue” is awarded the coveted silver Completion Award Buckle.
As excerpted from the Tevis website,”Beginning at the Robie Equestrian Park (elevation 7,000 feet), south of Truckee, California, the trail descends gradually approximately nine miles to the Truckee River at the Midway Crossing on Highway 89. The trail takes a route through Squaw Valley, the U.S. Olympic training facility and site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, and ascends from the valley floor (elevation 6,200 feet) to Emigrant Pass near Watson’s Monument (elevation 8,750 feet), a climb of 2,550 vertical feet in 4½ miles. From the pass, following the trail once used by gold and silver miners during the 1850s and rediscovered by Robert Montgomery Watson in 1929, riders will travel west, ascending another 15,540 feet and descending approximately 22,970 feet before reaching the century-old town of Auburn via the traditional route through Robinson Flat, Last Chance, Deadwood, Michigan Bluff, Foresthill, and Francisco’s.
Much of this historic route passes along narrow mountain trails through remote and rugged wilderness territory. Participants who are unfamiliar with this area should use caution when planning training rides with their mounts, especially in the high country and the route out of Foresthill to Francisco’s. MUCH OF THIS TERRITORY IS ACCESSIBLE ONLY ON FOOT, ON HORSEBACK, OR BY HELICOPTER. Due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the trail, the Tevis Cup Ride differs substantially from other organized endurance riding events. Adequate physical training and preparation for both horse and rider are of the utmost importance .The mountains, although beautiful, are relentless in their challenge and unforgiving to the ill-prepared.”
Along with his endurace competitions, Scott had also started his own Arabian breeding
program with the horses he had. While working in Oregon, he met Jerry Partin. Partin was also in the endurance racing circuit and interestingly was a trainer for Van Gilder Arabians, a CMK Preservation breeder. CMK stands for “Crabbet-Maynesboro-Kellogg” and recognizes three programs which transmitted much of the central stock of what became North America’s historical Arab-breeding tradition. The Van Gilder Arabians have excelled in many fields of athletic endeavor, including showing in several different disciplines, competitive trail riding, endurance, and flat racing. Today, in the world of Arabian horses, they are widely known, respected, and sought by many because of what they are and because of their noteworthy record of successes.
This new connection perked Scott’s interest in the horse racing field and began conditioning his horses thusly. However, due to Scott’s committments with his business and family, he was unable to dedicate his time to the race track. To overcome this, he would ready a horse for the track and ship them to Jerry Partin to race for him. These few horses did well and it only deepened the attraction to become more involved in the race industry. He decided to follow his dream.
As his original horse training experiences went, dabbling in the race industry was also trial and error. And, just like his endurance riding, it was tough and relentless. Certainly not for the weak of heart. Most of his competition had been established for years with rich owners and the backing to buy and breed only premium horses. How could one person on a cowboy boot budget possibly compete with this? It seemed a pipe dream.
Until 2012. In that year alone, Scott was able to achieve top owner and trainer of Arabian race horses in the United States! Not to mention gaining 4th place with stakes nominated So Big Is Better in the President of the United Arab Emirates Cup, a Grade 1 stakes race held at the Preakness. Also of note is his filly, MS Dixie who broke the track record at Retama Park in TX by beating the field by 16 lengths. An amazing start to a brilliant career.
Scott attributes much of his success to his constant study of equine nutrition, health and simply doing the work. Tom Ivers and Elleanor Kellon are just a couple of the mentors he coninually looks to for information. Armed with this, his background in endurance riding and the ability to personally work with each horse brings about the “perfect storm” for any horse to be conditioned to it’s absolute peak. If the horse has it within him — he will be a winner!
Lori Powell ~ I was your typical horse crazy little girl. I went through reams of paper sketching them running freely with their flowing manes and tails. I collected boxes upon boxes of the plastic Breyer horses and even had a spectacular painting of 3 white horses running from a storm over my bed. Even though a Barbie Doll’s legs weren’t really meant to sit on a horse, I managed to find a way to squash her onto the backs of my Breyer horses and would spend hours creating adventures for Barbie and her trusty steed. I was probably the only little girl that didn’t wish to be Barbie because of her slender shape, but because she got to ride my horses!
Probably from my incessant pestering about horses, my mother found a local farm giving riding lessons and signed both of us up. We learned to ride hunt seat and started to do some jumping. After realizing that this riding stuff wasn’t a passing fancy with me, my parent’s bought my first horse, Princess — a Welsh/Shetland cross Pony. She was an elderly schooling pony with a heart of gold. Perfect for a child just beginning her riding career!
My family owned over 100 acres of woodland outside of Flint, Michigan and my four legged friend, Prinny Poo as we affectionately called her, and I galloped the roughly cut trails while we relived Barbie and her trusty steed’s adventures. Prinny was much like a giant dog taking good care of the giggling novice rider on her back. My biggest thrill was playing “hide and seek” with her in the woods. She’d happily follow my family and I along the trail stopping from time to time to nibble on something interesting. When we disappeared around a bend or over a hill, she’d call out to us. We’d return her call and immediately there was a thundering set of hooves coming after us. Sadly, only about 5 years into our relationship, Prinny found greener pastures after a nasty bout of colic. I had lost my best friend. I was devastated and decided to put horses on the back burner for the time being.
But… as the saying goes — “True love never dies.”
I started riding again after I completed my bachelor’s degree in Advertising from MSU in ’86. I started simply going to riding stables with friends only to get bitten by the equestrian bug again soon after. I decided to make up for lost time and jumped in with both feet determined to one day be an accomplished rider and trainer. I began a rigorous 2-3 lesson per week schedule and began reading every scrap of horse related literature I could find. I even went so far as to pay trainers just to let me hang out with them for the day. I also took the time to complete a Veterinary Assistant Course with a 4.0 grade average from Georgia Institute.
I dabbled in just about every riding discipline. One year, I decided to try Saddle Seat and trained at Pine Hollow in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Here, I had advanced enough to be allowed the privilege of riding some of their Saddlebred show horses. It was an adrenalin rush riding that huge trotting gate!
Although I was taught by many different people throughout my equestrian experience, I don’t think my riding skills really started to make a difference in the horse until I was lucky enough to meet Elizabeth Payne. At the time, she was working at Rooker Training Stables in Michigan. As any Arabian fan might know whether from Michigan or not, Rooker’s and quality Arabian show horses were, and to my knowledge still are, almost synonymous. I was drawn to them after I had purchased my second Arabian horse and had gotten in to showing locally and regionally on the Arabian circuit.
Liz was mostly self taught with her direction determined by early exposure to classical Dressage. When she was 10 she rode in a clinic with Monte Forman. He was a “western” clinician who understood how horses work. Mr. Forman told her that she was a talented young rider and that she should study the classical masters even though Liz considered herself to be a “cowgirl” and the ONLY time you would catch her in an English saddle was when racing her TB horse at the county fair or in a match race. To a 10 year old this was a little confusing but it stuck in her mind so when she came across Alois Podhajsky’s book ” The Complete Training of The Horse and Rider” she purchased it (age 12) and proceeded to struggle through it. This was the beginning of her understanding of “how horses work”.
Since then she has worked with Bodo Hangen, Kulman DeJuinak, and is currently working with Eddo Hoekstra.
Liz introduced me to Classical Dressage and I absolutely loved it! This was what I had been searching for all these years. Riding a horse was no longer about domination and breaking wills. Horse and rider were now a team working harmoniously to reach a common goal.Liz also afforded me the ability to accomplish a fantasy I had had since I started out on the show circuits: Training my own horse and showing it on a National Level. In ’98 I qualified my Arabian/Andalusian cross that I had trained from the ground up with Liz’s help and entered the International Andalusian Lusitano Horse Association Show in Fort Worth Texas. Although the show was quite nerve wracking and a lot of hard work, I enjoyed every minute. I’m also happy to report that the show was a very successful one as well!
Today, I’m honored to be a student of Mr. Erik Herbermann and I must say that working with him is a completely different experience than many of my past instructors. Historically, I’d work with a trainer or instructor and after a certain period of time, I felt my learning had plateaued and I was starting to revisit all of the same material. Not so today. With each lesson, I make new revelations and feel like my horsemanship continues to improve by leaps and bounds. A lesson with Mr. Herbermann especially, makes one literally want to step back and say “Wow!” It is truly an incredible experience to work with Mr. Herbermann and I urge any equestrian that’s serious about riding to pick up either of his books Dressage Formula and A Horseman’s Notes. You’ll be glad you did!