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LEFT: Reed jumping Cylana in Kentucky at the 2012 Hagyard Challenge Series. The Series is comprised of seven Grand Prix’s and concludes with the $50,000 World Cup Qualifi er during the Kentucky National Horse Show. Reed moved to the top of the Leading Rider Standings after the second event, May 17th. BELOW: Stacey Hall, Reed’s groom, and Cylana.

time. As Reed has often been quick to note in her interviews, it takes a dedicated support team committed to the program for her to succeed—something of which she is keenly aware and for which she is extremely grateful.

Her Other Half Reed’s Olympic mount, ten-year-old Cylana, is a chestnut,

Perhaps even more important than those skills is Reed’s

ability to completely dedicate herself to the sport while she possesses certain intangible qualities that simply cannot be taught. “Reed is very smart and very focused. But something of great value is that her family understands the demands, the industry, the entire lifestyle that this sport consists of,” Katie explains. “As a trainer, I have to make sure my students are able to focus, especially when they compete at the top level, even if family is a distraction. For Reed though, her family is an incredible support.” Both of Reed’s parents are active competitive riders and have been mainstays for many years in the hunter/jumper industry. Murray Kessler, Reed’s father, was Katie’s fi rst client and she has a personal relationship with the family spanning many years. In fact, Katie is also Reed’s godmother. “Reed comes from a family of incredibly competitive people. Her father is a successful businessman and rider, and her mother is a competitive, excellent rider as well,” says Katie. Having horses in the family has aff orded Reed an understanding of many of life’s lessons from an early age, including tenacity, an appreciation of hard work, equanimity in defeat and magnanimity in success. As author Malcolm Gladwell makes note of in Outliers, his national bestseller analyzing the characteristics of successful people, success is more complex than possessing extraordinary talent—it requires the right opportunities and very hard work. Reed has been willing to take risks with her career to

fi nd those right opportunities. Unlike many up-and-coming junior riders, she did not spend much time in the equitation ring but instead focused her eff orts in the jumper ring early on. This strategy has certainly paid off for her and off ers inspiration for other young riders. Stacey Hall has been a part of the Kessler team as a groom

since last May. “I think people don’t know the hours we work sometimes, or they forget. You have to really love the job to be able to do the job we do. The favorite part of my job is when you plait your horse and make them look their best, and then you go to the ring with them. It is so nice to see them in the ring looking great and hopefully jumping their best— especially if they go out and win.” Stacey’s passion helps her in preparing a horse that looks like part of a winning team, every

Belgian Warmblood mare (Skippy II x Darco). Her lineage, with the powerful Darco line, is certainly impressive. McLain Ward’s 2004 Olympic mount Sapphire was sired by Darco, for example. The Kesslers purchased Cylana in 2011 from Gerhard Etter of Etter Sportpferde in Switzerland. Cylana’s background has a bit of a twist—from broodmare to Olympic contender. As Gerhard recalls, “I had seen and purchased Cylana from

my colleague, Luc Ringoot, in Belgium when she was six years old. The mare had had foals and was very green. When she arrived in Switzerland, I sold her to Karin Gerber from La Chaux-de-Fonds. Karin often purchases young horses from us and trains them. I followed the development of the horse for a period of time, and last summer, I bought her back.” Gerhard’s intuition did not disappoint. “My daughter-in-law, Marie Etter-Pellegrin, rode Cylana and she was immediately enthused with the horse. She was successful at national and international shows with Cylana. After a number of successes, the mare caught the attention of Henri Prudent and his wife Katie Monahan. They came with Reed, tried the mare and purchased her promptly.” Together, Reed and Cylana have forged a partnership that

has stirred casual onlookers and seasoned competitors alike. This pairing, however, was fostered with a keen eye towards Cylana’s preferences. Stacey, as Cylana’s groom, has been able to witness the dynamics fi rst hand. “I think Reed and Cylana have a great relationship. At fi rst Cylana wasn’t fi t. We took her to her fi rst show with us and it wasn’t good. She had three rails down in the 1.35 meters. At that point, she had been having three to four diff erent people riding her. We fi nally realized that she needed just one person to ride her. We started having only Reed ride her last year in Europe and about three months before the

trials in Wellington. Cylana then started going better and she understood what was being asked of her. This is why they are so good together. We try to keep it the same way, where only Reed rides her and every so often her trainer will

Warmbloods Today 39

Photo by Rebecca Walton

Photo courtesy Stacey Hall

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