2004 Equiery Perpetual Eventing Trophy Winners:
Courtney Sendak and Wil’ Ya Love Me
By Starr Crusenberry
Courtney Sendak works at a part-time
job, maintains and A average, and pays for half of all her competition
expenses, all so she can continue to ride and compete. For Courtney,
16, all the dedication and hard work have paid off.
Together with her Palomino gelding, Wil’ Ya Love Me (by Grange
Finn Sparrow out of Lady Doreen), Courtney struck gold this show season,
winning the Equiery Perpetual Eventing Trophy for Training Level Champion
along with the Col. Ottmar Schaurek Memorial Trophy.
Courtney and her mount, affectionately known as Willy, were also part
of the successful Maryland team that competed in last July’s Pony
Club National Championships. The Maryland Team had the best score in
horse management, which helped it secure the USPC Training Level Eventing
Championship. Courtney also had the team’s best individual score.
Willy, a 7-year-old, was also named the 2004 Training Level Connemara
Pony of the year by the American Connemara Society.
At 15 hands, whatever Willy lacks in stature, he certainly makes up
for in heart. Courtney has nothing but praise for her equine partner,
“He tries so hard. I’ve never ridden and animal like him.
He’s very hard n himself and gets frustrated when he knows he’s
not doing something right,” she said.
Courtney purchased the Holly Brickner-bred gelding as a 2-year-old,
bringing him along with the help of trainer Laura Beetle. She had early
intentions of doing hunters, but her switch to eventing proved to be
a good fit for both horse and rider.
“He has the sweetest temperament. He has really become my partner
this year. He is just an all-around great horse and loves the cross
country,” Courtney said. “We call him the little girl because
he has such a high-pitched whinny and looks like a Barbie Doll.”
Courtney, who has ridden since she was five, hones her skills with the
help of trainer Beetle and Harry Fitzpatrick, her stadium jumping coach.
She also takes occasional lessons and clinics with Sally Cousins.
As a result of her successful year, Courtney is currently ranked ninth
on the U.S. Eventing Association’s list of top 10 junior training
She attributes much of her success to her mother Janice, a jack-of-all-trades
horse show mom. “She is there all the time, 24 hours a day. She
is my groom, coach, horse-holder and just an extra set of hands, a wonderful
set of extra hands. I wouldn’t be where I am without her,”
Courtney has a full schedule between riding, working as a nanny and
attending Notre Dame Prep where she maintains a 3.98 GPA. She is a member
of the mock trail team and involved in the school’s production
of “Fiddler on the Roof.” After high school, she plans to
pursue a career and an equine vet.
For now, Courtney has her heart set on riding and competing. “I
like living on the edge and eventing is perfect for that,” she
said. “I hope to move up to prelim with Willy next year. My dream
would be to compete at a one star event. I would also love to compete
in the [North American] Young Riders Championships.”