Molly Rosin’s life has always been defined by the immaterial. Ribbons and medals may be the tangible goals for the talented advanced-level rider from California, but more important than the rewards are the people who have helped her along the road to success.
That path, like the one countless West Coast upper-level hopefuls have followed, has spanned the country. Rosin, 30, is now based a continent away from her origins, in Oxford, Pa. But a horse whose unusual name serves as a daily reminder of her ubiquitous supporters—a Hungarian Warmblood called Havarah’s Charly—has come along for the ride.
The name “Havarah” is derived from the Yiddish word havareim, which refers to the group of people with which one spends special moments in life.
“All of my students have become more than just students,” Rosin explained. “They are my havarah—the group of people I want to share life’s pleasures with. Without the trainers, professors, family and friends I had in California, my success on the East Coast wouldn’t be.”
Rosin’s come a long way since her first eventing experiences with an aged Morgan mare, but even then she had her sights set on representing her country. Many young equestrians entertain similar lofty goals, but Rosin got right to work to make them become a reality.
With the help of her havarah, she’s now started to reap the rewards of years of hard work. She runs an eventing teaching and training business, named Havarah Equestrian in recognition of her special clients and horses, that spans both coasts, and she’s made the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s Developing Rider list. And three years after winning the preliminary American Eventing Championship (N.C.), she and “Charly” are making a mark on the top level of the sport.
From Eastern Europe To The American West
Rosin joined the U.S. Pony Clubs at age 10 and progressed through the rating system at a fast pace, achieving the difficult and coveted “A” rating at age 17. In 1998, she successfully completed the CCI** at the North American Young Rider Championships.
Rosin went on to compete in equitation with California State University, Fresno’s varsity equestrian team on a full scholarship, where she also obtained a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences with a concentration in equine studies.
Upon graduation, however, Rosin decided to follow her childhood ambitions to teach and began training out of her mother’s Foothill View Equestrian in Madera, Calif. A year later, she moved to Pleasanton, Calif., to manage the Tassajara Equestrian Center and established Havarah Equestrian.
Hungarian Warmbloods aren’t common competitors in upper-level eventing, but Tassajara imported and sold them, so Rosin’s appreciation for the breed began to grow as she spent more time with the farm’s sale projects.
She saw many horses come and go, but one named Charly caught her attention. The bond they quickly established didn’t escape anyone else’s notice, either.
“I was at school, so Molly was riding the new imports,” explained Ildiko Hites, Rosin’s childhood friend, who now manages the farm, which is owned by her parents. “She just totally fell in love with Charly. They got along right away, and she saw the future in him.”
Charly (Cenzor—Ozora II Zafir) was a big, green 7-year-old when he arrived after a long journey from Hungary. A big-boned 16.2 hands, Charly didn’t have a typical event horse type, but Rosin immediately knew he was special.
In one of their first jump schools together, Rosin took Charly through a grid, and as the heights increased, the gelding answered like a seasoned eventer every time. When he continued to show tremendous scope as the jumps approached 5′, Rosin knew he could be her advanced horse.
“You can tell in his eye that he’s very intelligent,” Rosin explained. “He loves to work, and he can figure out any situation you put in front of him.”
Since she couldn’t afford to buy the chestnut gelding herself, Rosin established the Minyan syndicate to help her acquire the newly christened Havarah’s Charly.
Maryland Just Made Sense
Though she was thrilled to have secured what she knew to be her future first advanced horse, Rosin quickly realized she had a lot of work ahead of her. She had extensive experience with green horses, but she’d never before brought one all the way to the top.
Charly was big, intelligent and extremely athletic—attributes that are useful in an elite sport horse but that also can make the training process more difficult.
Working largely on her own, Rosin had some initial success with Charly at the lower levels on the West Coast, but the pair encountered difficulties competing at preliminary in 2005. Rather than continue struggling on her own, Rosin decided to send Charly to the East Coast to be campaigned by Danny Warrington, whose occasional training they’d benefited from throughout the lower levels.
Warrington rode Charly at the preliminary level four times with great success, and when Rosin drove across the country several months later, she was met with a horse who was beginning to love to compete and wanted to work for his rider.
In their first competition back together, the Millbrook Horse Trials (N.Y.), they won their open preliminary division. Their success continued with a win in the open preliminary at the American Eventing Championships in Raeford, N.C., that September.
Rosin and Charly were well on their way to contesting the intermediate level when Rosin made the difficult decision to remain in Maryland to further her riding career.
She had an extensive client base in the San Joaquin Valley area of California, and Havarah Equestrian was thriving. But despite her booming West Coast business, Rosin sensed it was time for a big change. In order to reach her goal of competing internationally with Charly, she needed to have access to more events and training opportunities.
“I got to a point in my career where I had to think of myself,” Rosin said. “It just didn’t make sense for me to be in California anymore.”
Rosin decided not to re-establish a Havarah East right away. Instead, she supported herself and Charly by taking on other horse-related jobs. She rode dressage horses and jumpers and galloped race horses for various training operations, most notably for Michael Matz at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.
And in a testament to her teaching and leadership abilities, Rosin also maintained her West Coast clients. She continued to coach her California Havarah students from afar, flying in for clinics and events and arranging coaching for them when she couldn’t be there. Several of her students also trekked east with their horses for temporary stays.
Rosin’s horse and those of her visiting students benefited from the expanses of wooded trails and hilly, grassy fields in Maryland. She learned to use hacking and galloping more regularly in her conditioning program, and she grew to love the East Coast eventing lifestyle.
“California is a big state,” she said. “It would take anywhere between three and 20 hours to get to an event. Here in Maryland you go to a one-day, then you go home and out to dinner.”
By the summer of 2007, Charly was a solid intermediate-level competitor, but a minor tendon strain put him out of commission for the rest of the season and left Rosin without an upper-level ride.
But Charly returned full force at the preliminary level in 2008 to win the Fair Hill Spring Horse Trials. The pair then completed seven intermediates and enjoyed a big win in the CIC** division of the Plantation Field Horse Trial (Pa.). They came close to victory at the Fair Hill International Three-Day Event CCI** one month later, but a dropped rail in stadium left them fourth.
A Bright Future
Rosin continued to work hard with Charly through the winter in South Carolina. With her impressive showing at Fair Hill, she found her way on to the USEF’s Developing Rider list, and in 2009 she’s received coaching from Capt. Mark Phillips, the U.S. eventing chef d’equipe. The Pine Top Spring Advanced Horse Trials (Ga.) marked the pair’s first outing at advanced.
“As we moved up to advanced, we really took our time,” Rosin said of her training with Phillips. “We weren’t worried about making the time. We just focused on riding accurately.”
Their strategy has paid off. Rosin and Charly finished in the ribbons in four advanced competitions between February and May, including seventh in their first CIC*** at the Jersey Fresh Three-Day Event (N.J.).
“This is the biggest dream come true for her, to have such a talented horse and be competing where they are,” said Hites. “Even now, she’s just on cloud nine when she talks about Charly.”
Reality has put a damper on this year’s plans—the pair was prepping for the Bromont CCI*** (Que.) in June when misfortune struck again—but Rosin remains optimistic.
“Unfortunately, Charly is on a break now due to injury,” she said. “But we’re hopeful for him to come back and compete at the three-star and four-star levels. He’s phenomenal; he’s my horse of a lifetime.”
With Havarah’s flagship horse on hiatus from competition, Rosin is now busy competing several client horses. In late 2008, she also began picking up students in Maryland and Pennsylvania, finally expanding Havarah to the East Coast. Her new business is based near the Fair Hill show grounds in Oxford, Pa. Despite her busy schedule, she also maintains an active presence on the web using a website, a blog and Twitter to keep her students and fans updated on the events in her life.
In addition to working with a string of talented horses and riders, Rosin benefits from the coaching of eventing and dressage riders Boyd and Silva Martin, who are based out of Phillip Dutton’s True Prospect Farm in West Grove, Pa. With talented horses, great coaches, and supportive sponsors behind her, Rosin is in position to take the eventing world by storm.
John Nunn, the owner of Bit Of Britain Saddlery and Nunn Finer products, has been working with Rosin for 11/2 years. She’s training him and his young off-the-track Thoroughbred at the same time.
“She’s a true horseman, and she’s able to get the job done from the ground,” Nunn said. “She’s very honest and knows how to bring you along without tearing you down.”
Nunn’s company also sponsors Rosin, though he said the decision wasn’t made simply due to their training relationship.
“When I pick a rider [to sponsor], I pick somebody who I feel is going to make it to the top,” Nunn said. “They have to have good horsemanship, they have to be forthright and honest, they have to have a very good reputation, and they have to be a good sportsman. I think Molly has it all. She’s the real deal.”