Beth Stambaugh & Lindern
By Katherine Rizzo
A Four-Star Start
A Carroll County native, Beth Stambaugh has been riding horses for nearly 40 years. She grew up as a very active member of the Carroll County 4-H group and “did a little of everything,” including showing steers, pigs and horses.
Her fondest riding childhood memory was heading to the Carroll County Fair with her dad and her pony Lightning. The pony was transported in the bed of the truck, which was rigged with cattle racks. “Not many people had trailers at that time, so we just backed up the truck to a hill and loaded the pony up. I thought I was the coolest [kid] traveling on Rt. 140!” she reminisced. A lot has changed since then, but one thing has remained the same: Beth’s passion for horses and her determination to perform her best.
After showing in the hunter ring for several years, Beth switched to eventing to accommodate her mount at the time, an Appaloosa named Chicago Jet. “He wasn’t going to make it as a show hunter,” said Beth, who went on to compete the gelding though Preliminary. When Beth stopped eventing him, she taught lessons on him to several local 4-Hers.
When Chicago Jet died four years ago, Beth started a memorial scholarship in his honor with Carroll County 4-H. Beth explained that the scholarship provides one 4-H member a year with $200 to be used towards lessons with the trainer of their choice. She also organized the petting zoo at the Carroll County Fair for 10 years as a way to raise money for her farm, give back to the 4-H community and raise her kids with a good work ethic and foundation.
The Dressage Attraction
The switch to classical dressage was not that hard for Beth, who said that even while eventing, she “always tried to be disciplined in dressage.” Like many eventers, Beth origionally veiwed dressage as the step before the jump phases, but eventually she came to appreciate “the connection, harmony and bond one can achieve with their horse [in dressage]” and became more focused on that phase.
“To be able to focus on one’s self and your horse and to do it together is the ultimate,” she added. “Every riding discipline requires self-discipline; I enjoy dressage for its beauty, peacefulness and challenge.”
When Beth is not competing, she teaches lessons and trains young horses from Lightning Bolt Farm, which she built from scratch with her husband Jerry. The farm is a full-time business with which everyone in the family helps. Beth shares her farm life with her two children, daughter Toni and son Ian, who were also active in 4-H while growing up. Today, both children work in Jerry’s construction business and Toni is also an event rider who has competed through the Preliminary level.
The Right Horse
Beth had shown a variety of horses through the years, but in 2003, she found her current partner Lindern. The now-14-year-old Oldenburg was imported from Holland as a show jumper.
“He is quite a chicken; therefore, that career failed,” she said.
As soon as she saw his sales ad, she knew this was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to own an imported warmblood when “fancy Equropean buying trips … [were] out of my league,” she explained. “Lindern has a great work attitude and I am very fortunate to own him. We both are willing to work hard and with that, we will hopefully achieve all of our goals.”
Over the last five years, the pair has moved up the levels, and in 2009, has entered into the category of “professional,” a designation that Beth is not completely convinced applies to her. “Pro or amateur? I honestly do not know where I should be,” she remarked, adding, “I do teach lessons [and] teaching actually helps me learn.”
During the 2008 season, Beth and Lindern competed in three USDF/USEF-licensed shows and scored in the upper 50s and low 60s. Her top score of the year was earned at the PVDA Loch Moy Farm show, where she and Lindern scored a 62.051% for their Third Level Test 1 ride.
Beth says the highlight of the season was winning this award and earning her USDF Bronze Medal.
The Bright Future
Due to an early spring surgery to repair a herniated disk, Beth had to take most of the 2009 season off. Farm work and riding during the recovery time were interesting in that she was not allowed to lift anything that was five pounds or heavier for a minimum of six weeks. During that time, she also gave Lindern some time off, but now “all systems are go and I hope to get to a show in the fall.”
“I’ve been using the time to focus training at home and correct a few basic things [for both me and Lindern],” she explained. Now she is back in lessons with trainer Evelyn Susol of Cool Breeze Farm. Beth has worked with a variety of trainers through the years, including eventers Ralph Hill and Bruce Davidson Sr., but feels that Evelyn has had the most influence over her riding and in helping her achieve her goals. “She is so patient with me, because she knows my background and is just extremely helpful,” she said.
“Beth and I have been friends for years and she has been taking lessons with me off and on since about 1997,” confirmed Evelyn. Before owning Lindern, Beth would ride mainly her student or client horses with Evelyn. “She is a good professional rider in her own right … I’m more her eyes on the ground,” explained Evelyn, who felt that none of those horses were going to get Beth to her goal of riding at Prix St. Georges.
Now with Lindern, Evelyn feels the Beth is well on her way to achieving that goal. “They work well together and have a clear understanding of what is required from each other. They are a very harmonious pair,” Evelyn explained in regards to Beth and Lindern’s partnership. Evelyn did add that Lindern tends to be an overachiever and needs to work on listening to Beth and waiting more patiantly for her instructions.
Overall, Evelyn believes that Beth is very near her goal to wear a shadbelly. “They will probably test the waters at Fourth Level early next year … by the end of next year, I see them riding at Prix St. Georges,” she predicted.
Only time will tell, but for this duo, the future is looking bright. “And for the record, no more riding around in the bed of a truck. I now have a two-horse gooseneck for Lindern and I to travel to shows [in],” added Beth.