A Four-Star Start
A Carroll County native, Beth Stambaugh has been riding horses for nearly
40 years. She grew up as a very active member of the Carroll County
4-H group and “did a little of everything,” including showing
steers, pigs and horses.
Her fondest riding childhood memory was heading to the Carroll County
Fair with her dad and her pony Lightning. The pony was transported in
the bed of the truck, which was rigged with cattle racks. “Not
many people had trailers at that time, so we just backed up the truck
to a hill and loaded the pony up. I thought I was the coolest [kid]
traveling on Rt. 140!” she reminisced. A lot has changed since
then, but one thing has remained the same: Beth’s passion for
horses and her determination to perform her best.
After showing in the hunter ring for several years, Beth switched to
eventing to accommodate her mount at the time, an Appaloosa named Chicago
Jet. “He wasn’t going to make it as a show hunter,”
said Beth, who went on to compete the gelding though Preliminary. When
Beth stopped eventing him, she taught lessons on him to several local
When Chicago Jet died four years ago, Beth started a memorial scholarship
in his honor with Carroll County 4-H. Beth explained that the scholarship
provides one 4-H member a year with $200 to be used towards lessons
with the trainer of their choice. She also organized the petting zoo
at the Carroll County Fair for 10 years as a way to raise money for
her farm, give back to the 4-H community and raise her kids with a good
work ethic and foundation.
The Dressage Attraction
The switch to classical dressage was not that hard for Beth, who said
that even while eventing, she “always tried to be disciplined
in dressage.” Like many eventers, Beth origionally veiwed dressage
as the step before the jump phases, but eventually she came to appreciate
“the connection, harmony and bond one can achieve with their horse
[in dressage]” and became more focused on that phase.
“To be able to focus on one’s self and your horse and to
do it together is the ultimate,” she added. “Every riding
discipline requires self-discipline; I enjoy dressage for its beauty,
peacefulness and challenge.”
When Beth is not competing, she teaches lessons and trains young horses
from Lightning Bolt Farm, which she built from scratch with her husband
Jerry. The farm is a full-time business with which everyone in the family
helps. Beth shares her farm life with her two children, daughter Toni
and son Ian, who were also active in 4-H while growing up. Today, both
children work in Jerry’s construction business and Toni is also
an event rider who has competed through the Preliminary level.
The Right Horse
Beth had shown a variety of horses through the years, but in 2003, she
found her current partner Lindern. The now-14-year-old Oldenburg was
imported from Holland as a show jumper.
“He is quite a chicken; therefore, that career failed,”
As soon as she saw his sales ad, she knew this was a once-in-a lifetime
opportunity to own an imported warmblood when “fancy Equropean
buying trips … [were] out of my league,” she explained.
“Lindern has a great work attitude and I am very fortunate to
own him. We both are willing to work hard and with that, we will hopefully
achieve all of our goals.”
Over the last five years, the pair has moved up the levels, and in 2009,
has entered into the category of “professional,” a designation
that Beth is not completely convinced applies to her. “Pro or
amateur? I honestly do not know where I should be,” she remarked,
adding, “I do teach lessons [and] teaching actually helps me learn.”
During the 2008 season, Beth and Lindern competed in three USDF/USEF-licensed
shows and scored in the upper 50s and low 60s. Her top score of the
year was earned at the PVDA Loch Moy Farm show, where she and Lindern
scored a 62.051% for their Third Level Test 1 ride.
Beth says the highlight of the season was winning this award and earning
her USDF Bronze Medal.
The Bright Future
Due to an early spring surgery to repair a herniated disk, Beth had
to take most of the 2009 season off. Farm work and riding during the
recovery time were interesting in that she was not allowed to lift anything
that was five pounds or heavier for a minimum of six weeks. During that
time, she also gave Lindern some time off, but now “all systems
are go and I hope to get to a show in the fall.”
“I’ve been using the time to focus training at home and
correct a few basic things [for both me and Lindern],” she explained.
Now she is back in lessons with trainer Evelyn Susol of Cool Breeze
Farm. Beth has worked with a variety of trainers through the years,
including eventers Ralph Hill and Bruce Davidson Sr., but feels that
Evelyn has had the most influence over her riding and in helping her
achieve her goals. “She is so patient with me, because she knows
my background and is just extremely helpful,” she said.
“Beth and I have been friends for years and she has been taking
lessons with me off and on since about 1997,” confirmed Evelyn.
Before owning Lindern, Beth would ride mainly her student or client
horses with Evelyn. “She is a good professional rider in her own
right … I’m more her eyes on the ground,” explained
Evelyn, who felt that none of those horses were going to get Beth to
her goal of riding at Prix St. Georges.
Now with Lindern, Evelyn feels the Beth is well on her way to achieving
that goal. “They work well together and have a clear understanding
of what is required from each other. They are a very harmonious pair,”
Evelyn explained in regards to Beth and Lindern’s partnership.
Evelyn did add that Lindern tends to be an overachiever and needs to
work on listening to Beth and waiting more patiantly for her instructions.
Overall, Evelyn believes that Beth is very near her goal to wear a shadbelly.
“They will probably test the waters at Fourth Level early next
year … by the end of next year, I see them riding at Prix St.
Georges,” she predicted.
Only time will tell, but for this duo, the future is looking bright.
“And for the record, no more riding around in the bed of a truck.
I now have a two-horse gooseneck for Lindern and I to travel to shows
[in],” added Beth.