Sad Goodbyes And Happy Hellos

Jan 25, 2013 - 4:45 AM
Jennie Brannigan's working student Jackie Imholte lost her beloved young horse Fernhill Frolic in 2012, but she's forging a new partnership with Brannigan's former ride Vamor (pictured).

Well, it’s been a bit since I’ve checked in with everyone, and quite a lot has been changing since my last blog…

I was sad but happy for my student Emma Hartley to purchase my old advanced partner, No Objection, as I thought it was in his best interest to continue his career at a lower level to ensure his wellbeing and longevity in the sport. I really fell for that horse’s heart and am so happy that he’ll have a good home for hopefully the rest of his life. I look forward to watching him compete preliminary and intermediate with his new jockey and giving her the confidence he’s given me.

I’ll also get to watch my younger mount, Footlights Ollie, do the same with his new jockey Madi Holtzman at Millbrook Stables in California. The Holtzman family really seem to love him, and Madi’s coach Robyn Fisher is great, so I’m sure good things will come from them in the future! 

While I’ve been saddened to see these horses move on, I’m thrilled to announce some lovely young horses that I’m lucky to have come into my life. As Cool As Ice, aka “Cassie” is a new 5-year-old that Beth Battel bred and will continue to own for me. I’m also so excited about Right Above It, aka “Carter,” whom Tim and Nina Gardner own. Carter made the journey from Ireland to the good ole USA via Flynn Sport horses.

Last but surely not least, I have a really exciting 6-year-old named I Bella whom Tim and Nina also own. She came from Cali show jump rider Ashlee Bond, who competed her in the 1.30-meter classes. She’s really an event-type mare, and I must admit I’m absolutely thrilled to have the ride on her. All three of these young horses will be starting out slow this spring, and we’ll see where the road takes us… I’m hoping to participate in the Young Event Horse program with Cassie and Carter this year. 

On a very sad note, my right-hand girl Jackie Imholte had to put down her lovely young horse Fernhill Frolic in December. I was absolutely heartbroken for her. It’s shocking to lose your future prospect, teammate and, most importantly, best friend… Frolic is now buried next to Cooper, Hannigan and Model Cadet at TPF.

My heart breaks that Lee Lee and Jackie both lost their horses within a year of each other, and to see their friendship through these losses has been eye-opening to me. I’d like to thank all my friends who reached out to Jackie and all the lovely people in our community… It meant the world to her, and she was shocked by the outpouring of support. In the end I feel like we as horse people know when one of our own is hurting, and it says a lot about the community we have in eventing.

I’ve been meaning to write a blog about this sooner, but to be honest, it’s just very emotional. I cannot thank Jackie enough for all she has done to help my horses and me. She’s a true eventer who’s gone through hell and back to save that horse and kept a smile on her face, a good attitude, and just put her head down and worked harder. She’s been a great student, a good groom, a friend, but most importantly someone who has given me a lot of perspective and hope that there are some tough up-and-coming young riders out there.

With that, I am happy to announce that Jackie has taken over the ride on Vamor, who’s competed through the advanced level with Scott Keach and was new to me as of last spring. I’d also like to thank my mom, who’s always supported me and taught me to do the right thing by people.

I’m more excited for Jackie to compete him than if it was me! Look out for the little, big-moving horse and Jackie this spring. :) 

Well, I best get moving, and I’ll get back to you all soon!

All the best,


Brannigan Eventing


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