Pegasus Show Stable's Christa Endicott on Davlyn Farms' Come Monday.
Photo by Brent Eriksen, Horse In Sport.
Although Christa and Michael Endicott's Pegasus Show Stable is synonymous with regional and national hunter/jumper show ring success, that's not the main thing these veteran trainers are interested in. "We welcome clients that want to become better horsemen," says Christa. "The care of our horses is our number one priority and our clients need to be like-minded for things to work out. Our program is not for everybody."
Because Pegasus is a competition-oriented program, the emphasis on developing knowledgeable, sympathetic riders and sound, happy, well-prepared horses has translated to lots of blue ribbons in the hunter, jumper, equitation and pony divisions over the years. At the recent Blenheim June Classic in San Juan Capistrano, a growing row of ribbons decorate their tack room where the busy couple managed to sit
themselves down in the same place long
enough for an interview.
A 2011 $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby win for Christa Endicott and Davlyn Farm's Come Monday pictured with Jake, Mitch and Michael Endicott, Davlyn Farm owners, Tammy and Jon Williams and groom, Hector Garcia. Photo by Brent Eriksen, Horse In Sport.
The Pegasus horse head count is a modest size by design. Including training and sales horses, there are typically about 30 horses at their stable, located at the Buie family's lovely Fairbanks Valley Farm in Rancho Santa Fe. That doesn't include horses owned by clients who don't live locally and meet the Endicotts at shows.
The barn size is just right to provide the individualized care and training that Christa and Michael insist on. The only common denominator in their approach with clients is regular setting and re-visiting of goals for the horse and/or rider. Those goals can be wildly different. For example, Tammy Williams of Davlyn Farms likes to take their top show hunters to West Palm Beach, FL every year for the winter circuit, as well as compete at many of the top East Coast shows, where they excell both for Christa in the Open divisions and for Tammy in the Amateur classes. Next up is the North American Young Riders Championship this month in Kentucky, where student Kelsey Maloney will make her debut as a member of Zone 10's Junior jumping squad.
Michael Endicott wins the
June Classic I Grand Prix on SF Shakira. Pictured here
with his family,
staff, friends and representatives
from Blenheim EquiSports.
Photo by Flying Horse Photography.
"Maybe another client is a beginner and they just want to get their diagonals right," Michael says. So long as the goals are rooted in mastering good horsemanship, the Endicotts are focused on helping their clients make progress toward them. While they don't brag about their long and accomplished resumes, they do brag about their clients' accomplishments, large and small.
Assistants Krystalle Glosser and Natalie Lund are a huge part of their ability to cater to their clientele's diverse needs, Michael and Christa note. Arizona college student Katie Buchanan joined Pegasus Show Stable a year ago to show outside of the scorching weather and wound up staying with them for good as a commuter client. She arrived as a Modified Amateur Jumper contender, but a rather timid one. "She just needed to have her relatively green horse more organized," Michael recalls. After a few weeks getting him more educated on the flat and a few jump schools, he became far more manageable for Katie. "Organization is the key
Another client, Nico Nierenberg, arrived at Pegasus five years ago with the goal of doing well in the Low Amateur jumper ring. He is now a constant threat in the High Amateurs and a passionate devotee of the sport, along with his wife, Caroline, who's newer to the sport and competing successfully in the lower levels jumpers as well as the Adult Hunter and Equitation rings.
Christa and Michael make a fabulous team. Christa is a nationally renowned hunter rider and Michael has 40-plus wins in the Grand Prix ring, and has ridden for the U.S. in several international competitions. In working with horses and students, they draw on the same pool of horsemanship knowledge. "So, what we are saying is never confusing to our students, but sometimes if I've been teaching one student for too long, we'll switch," Michael notes. "Sometimes just hearing the same thing from a different voice or in a slightly different way makes a difference."
Red Devil Softball Champs at Blenheim June Classic 2, includes team members Michael, Mitch and Jake Endicott. Mitch Endicott MVP.
"Helping our clients achieve their goals, whatever they may be, is the meat and potatoes of our business," he continues. "We have new clients create a goal sheet, and Christa and I are always mentally checking things off and then working with the client to establish new challenges."
Both make a point of constantly expanding their knowledge base by comparing notes with fellow professionals, observing different horsemanship techniques and staying abreast of what's going on in the sport. Both have helped to shape the sport over the years. For 12 years, Michael served as a member of the United States Equestrian Team's show jumping selectors committee, helping refine the criteria for qualifying for the Olympics, World Equestrian Games and Pan Am Games and evaluating horse/rider pairs in the hunt for those berths. Christa continues to serve on the World Champion Hunter Rider Committee, working on the West Coast Hunter Spectacular event that, along with the success of the USHJA Hunter Derbies, has been instrumental in helping to revive and grow the hunter division.
"We are always watching and learning and talking to our peers," says Christa. "And working with the horses themselves is a lifelong learning process." Although they have been successful in the sport for a long time, Christa and Michael pride themselves on not being overly set in their ways. "We've always been very passionate and open minded to different ways of doing things. When you are working with animals, you can't be a dictator."
Photo by Captured Moment Photography
In addition to training, Pegasus Show Stable is a well-established source for sales horses in any of the hunter/jumper circuit's divisions and levels. Michael often brokers deals between fellow professionals. For example, he works closely with top show jumper Eduardo Menezes in marketing his many sale horses.
The Endicotts balance their business with their family's priorities. That's made slightly easier by the fact that their oldest son, 15-year-old Mitch, has been an avid horsemen from the get-go. A star of the pony ranks, Mitch has grown into a talented jumper rider. A trip to the Young Riders Championships next summer is in his immediate sights, and Grand Prix dreams loom in the future. Neither Mitch nor his younger brother Jake have received any pressure to follow in their parents' footsteps. Jake, so far, prefers soccer and Christa and Michael are happy to encourage that.
No matter what, Pegasus Show Stable hums along. Their collective passion for horses, horsemanship and goal-setting has the well-established program poised for another decade of growth and success.
For more information, visit www.showstable.net or call the stable at 858-354-3654 or 858-922-7494.