Canadian eventer Hawley Bennett-Awad will no longer ride her longtime mount Gin & Juice, as her partnership with the mare’s co-owners Linda and Terry Paine has come to a close. Bennett-Awad is also leaving the Paines’ Temecula, Calif., KingsWay Farm.
Bennett-Awad, 37, has worked as the Paines’ trainer out KingsWay Farm for about 10 years. She began riding “Ginny,” a 14-year-old Thoroughbred (Audio—Qtrapastree), when the mare was 5. She brought the horse up from the novice level, campaigning her in many top CCI*** and CCI**** competitions throughout their time together.
“Hawley has been a member of our family for 10 years now,” said Linda. “She has developed and ridden some of our best horses we have bred, most notably Gin & Juice.”
The pair represented Canada in the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (Ky.), helping the team win silver. The same year, they placed ninth at Rolex Kentucky CCI****, then went on to earn a place on Team Canada in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Most recently, they competed in their second World Games in Caen, France.
“It was a very hard decision to make, but just one that we felt we needed to make,” said Linda. “I wish Hawley the best, and I hope she wishes the best for us.”
Ginny will take a break from competition until the spring, when the mare will make her debut with another rider. The Paines are currently working toward finding a new partner for their horse, but in the meantime Ginny will have a few foals via embryo transfer.
“For 10 years, [Ginny] has really been a working girl, and it’s a lot to keep them going,” said Linda. “She’s absolutely 100 percent sound, so that had nothing to do with our decision. She’s getting ridden lightly, turned out regularly, and she’s quite happy.”
Bennett-Awad took to Facebook to express her thoughts on the transition and her connection with Ginny.
“I was incredibly saddened and shocked by the Paine’s recent actions,” said Bennett-Awad. “For nearly the past decade, Ginny has secured a place in my heart that is very special and will always belong to her.
“Our partnership is one I cherish, and I feel very fortunate to have ridden and trained her for so long,” she continued. “I am overwhelmed by the support I have received from everyone during this very difficult time and want to thank all of you have reached out for your kind words.”
Bennett-Awad announced a new facility for her training business, Sweet Oaks Ranch, also in Temecula and across the street from three-star event site Galway Downs, on Oct. 20.
“This has to be one of the nicest facilities I have seen, and I could not be more excited to make it home to my business, horses and clients,” she said in a statement. “Sweet Oaks Ranch really has everything I could ever want in a facility, and with it being across from Galway Downs, schooling opportunities, trails, and locations to ride are truly endless.”