Wisconsin Adult Amateur Kris Blacklock has a lot to celebrate this year. Not only was she elected to a seat on the WE United Board as Region 5 Director, she and her horse Gambler’s Jackpot won the award for 2017 High Point Rocky Mountain Horse competing in Working Equitation, and her self-trained four-year-old Quarter Horse mare Boon Ocean Blue topped the Leaderboard for all Introductory-level Horse/Rider pairs competing in Working Equitation in North America. In doing so, Boon Ocean Blue also managed to win top honors for all Introductory-level horses competing in 2017, and Kris garnered enough points to lead the Nation as the #1 Introductory-level Rider in the sport.
Although Kris always adored horses, it wasn’t until she turned 45 that she and her daughter Michelle jointly purchased and started riding their first horse, a Morgan gelding SKM Timeless (Seiko) who’s now 23 years old. At age 60, Kris and her husband Dale own 3 horses on a 55 acre farm they built in 2005.
Call it destiny.
In 2013, Ocean, a 4-month-old blue roan American Quarter Horse filly, chose Kris during a farm visit in Sturgeon Bay, WI. Ocean left her dam and fellow foals to greet Kris while she was admiring quarter horse breeder Wendy Woldt’s perennial gardens. A year later, when Kris was laying over at Idlewild Farm for a weekend equestrian drill team competition with Gambler’s Jackpot (her Rocky Mountain Horse), Ocean left her yearling herd and rushed over to greet her at the paddock gate.
When they arrived home from the 4-hour one-way haul, Dale and Kris found a white pen left by the construction crew tucked on a 2×4 in the corner of their new pole barn: The only word on it was ‘Ocean’, written in blue font. Dale and Kris knew then that ‘Ocean’ was meant to be part of their family, and they purchased her when she was 15 months old.
Kris had never started a youngster, so she focused on lots of groundwork, watched Ray Ainsworth’s colt starting at the 2015 Midwest Horse Fair, participated in several horsemanship and dressage clinics and asked Jessica Cole (WI), Ray Ainsworth (MS), and Patrick King (OH) for assistance.
In 2016, as a 3-year-old, Ocean competed in USDF In-Hand, Materiale, USDF Traditional Dressage Intro Level and USEF Western Dressage Intro Level Dressage and earned Champion and Reserve Champion honors. In 2017, Ocean participated in the Wisconsin Dressage & Combined Training Association’s dressage discipline demos and Kelly Shetter-Ruiz’s ground poles clinics during the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison, WI; the largest equine 3-day-event in the Midwest that draws over 65,000 equine enthusiasts each year.
Kris first discovered Working Equitation in the fall of 2016, when she attended a Pedro Torres Academy of Working Equitation, USA seminar hosted by Howard Peet, in Woodstock, IL with Academy Head Instructor Nuno Matos teaching. Kris participated with the then three-year-old Boon Ocean Blue.
“I enjoy learning and applying classical dressage progressive foundation with each of my horses,” Kris explains, “We love that working equitation is based on dressage fundamentals, tradition, sportsmanship and horsemanship and includes (4) phases – dressage, ease of handling, speed, and cow working. It’s all about strengthening your partnership by employing horsemanship and dressage skills while having FUN and supporting others along the way.”
When asked to describe what she loves about Boon Ocean Blue, Kris was quick to respond. “‘Ocean is personable and eager to please, exhibits a strong work ethic and like her owner, enjoys lifelong learning.”
Kris explains that her riding goals are to use progressive dressage training to develop confidence, balance, athleticism and lifelong partnership. Kris and her horses LOVE variety – Dressage (Traditional, Western, Freestyle, Six Feet on the Ground and Trail), Obstacle Trail Challenges, Cow Working, Gymkhana, Equestrian Drill Team, Trail riding and now Working Equitation.
In closing, Kris wanted to give “Special thanks to hubby Dale Blacklock for his loving support and behind the scenes assistance. Appreciation to Nuno Matos for getting us started and to Karen & Mike Boso of Kar-Mik Acres, Woodstock IL for hosting working equitation clinics, ‘play days’, schooling and rated shows.”