The future of the sport ‒ and the Canadian horse industry in general ‒ lies in our youth, and judging by some of the youngsters learning the ropes in hunter and equitation and coming up through the ranks at the big US shows, the future looks very bright indeed.

In this series we will look at some keen and talented kids who spent part of the past winter competing south of the border ‒ many of whom might be representing the maple leaf some day!

The Stoney Fields Gang

Stoney Fields Farm wrapped up their winter of 2023/24 with miles and smiles south of the border. Trainer Francesca Mulligan travelled to World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida, with a small but mighty group of eight horses and ponies and four riders.

The decision to compete at WEC as opposed to WEF was an easy one to make for Mulligan. “WEC is a state-of-the-art facility with so many class offerings to give our students ample ring mileage,” she says. “We love it here. The stabling is beautiful and comfortable for our horses, they offer paddock rentals and the property and facilities are very open and spacious.”

Whenever possible, Mulligan encourages clients to compete on a winter circuit, citing experience for new partnerships and time in the ring as an important aspect of rider development before the regular circuit begins. This, in addition to the overall experience and memories showing on a winter circuit provides.

“We encourage our clients to show in some capacity during the Canadian off season,” she explains. “The experience that the winter circuit provides is so valuable. There is no denying that the extra ring mileage better prepares our students for the upcoming season at home in Canada. This is especially true for our pony riders who are able to show multiple days. One week in theory provides more experience than shows at home because they get at least double the ring time, and new partnerships get a head start at getting to know each other and gaining experience together in the show ring.”

The group that travelled south for the circuit were mostly new partnerships or those that were stepping up into new divisions, and Mulligan measured success not only by their results in the ring. “Mostly I’m proud of how they represent Stoney Fields in and out of the show ring and how they support each other,” she says.

Mulligan also explains that exposure to top-level competition helps young riders learn from the best and test their mettle against competitors they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to compete against. “Being able to watch top riders and horses/ponies from across North America in one place is amazing! The opportunity to watch some of the special classes like the derby, equitation championships, and FEI classes, is so important in the learning process. The overall experience here is filled with learning in and outside of the ring. It gives our young riders opportunity to conquer their fear or nerves. It teaches them how to compete, and the exposure is immeasurable.”

Charlotte Morassutti

Age: 10
Grade: 5
Ponies: Glitterati, Wishlea Star Song, Leroy Brown
Division: Small, Medium, and Large Pony
Go-to horse show snack: WEC Green Apple Snow Cones
Favourite horse treat: Soft Puff peppermints
Fave horse/pony/rider you got to watch in person: Samantha Schafer and In the Know
Notable results: Four Derby wins, multiple championships and equitation wins
Proudest moment: Catch riding ponies for Stoney Fields teammates and other stables.

Advantages to showing here? Glitterati and Leroy Brown are new ponies for me, so having the time to get to know them has been very valuable. My small pony got a lot of experience being at WEC, showing indoors and outdoors and doing the pony derbies. I feel very prepared for the 2024 show season after showing at WEC all winter.
Any particular challenges? Learning how to adapt between the different rides on my ponies. Also learning how to flat/hack my large pony, who is a new ride for me. The derby was new for my small pony and she improved every week!


Penelope Morassutti

Age: 8
Grade: 3
Pony: I Candy
Division: Small Pony
Go-to horse show snack: Tacos
Favourite horse treat: Northern Equestrian Cookies
Notable results: Second place in the Derby, multiple class wins in small pony division.
Proudest moment: My first championship in the regular small pony division.
Favourite memory: I had my best round ever week five and I will always remember it.
Fave horse/pony/rider you got to watch in person: Samantha Schaefer and Frasier

Why was it a good experience? I learned so much about controlling my body, improving my equitation, and being a good partner to my pony. I loved being at WEC with my pony. He’s the cutest!
Any particular challenges? Learning how to stand my pony in the confirmation!

A child with a roan pony and ribbons.

Alexa Wang and Capiche.

Alexa Wang

Age: 8
Grade: 2
Pony: Howie Do It and Capiche
Division: Low Childrens Pony
Go-to horse show snack: Ice cream at Miss Tilly’s
Favourite horse treat: Puff Peppermints
Favourite memory: Spending my 8th birthday at WEC and Disney, and also my first time winning Champion ever!
Fave horse/pony/rider you got to watch in person: Amy Millar

Why was it a good experience? I learned how to ride straight and give my ponies good instructions, and I thought learning how to do rollbacks in the equitation classes was challenging. We really became a good team.
Favourite memory of WEC? I love being at WEC and having dinner with all my barn friends.

Lauren Chong

Age: 14
Grade: 9
Horses: Kraftsman and Auburn Des Rosiers
Division: Childrens hunter and 1.0M Junior Jumper
Go-to horse show snack: Milkshakes
Favourite horse treat: Apples and carrots
Proudest moment: Doing my first show in the jumper ring, and class wins and top placings in my hunter and equitation divisions.
Favourite memory: Spending time with all my friends at the Grand Prix.
Fave horse/pony/rider you got to watch in person: Daniel Coyle

Why was it a good experience? Progressing in my ability to holding a lead and not swapping. I will always have an open mind to meeting new friends at the ring and supporting others. I really enjoyed my time at WEC in the sunshine with my horses and giving them treats.
Any particular challenges? Remembering my jumper course!

A girl hugging a grey pony.

Aria Waxman and Crownridge Day Dream.

Aria Waxman

Age: 10
Grade: 4
Pony: Romeo & Ernie
Division: Children’s
Go-to horse show snack: Lava cake
Proudest moment: Reserve champion our first time showing in the children’s at WEF.
Fave horse/pony/rider that you got to watch in person: I got to watch Erynn Ballard in the Nations Cup, bumping up Canada’s place to second!

Why was it a good experience? We had a great experience getting to show in the winter circuit because I got to move up a division with my pony and show in the warm weather at WEF. I learned that it’s important to keep trying to reach your goals even when it seems difficult. We pushed through some nerves and it ended up being great. Showing in the winter circuit has taught me so much about patience and sportsmanship!



Read more profiles of nextgen riders here.