The West Coast gains a top rider in the arrival of Erin Stewart at Edgewood Equestrian. The daughter of noted hunter/jumper trainer Don Stewart, Jr., of Florida, Erin, at 26, has a resume that includes every imaginable junior and amateur accomplishment. She is relocating from her native Florida to join Bob Walker as co-trainer at the Hersh-Boyle family’s Edgewood Equestrian, located in the quaint West Marin County town of Nicasio. The beautiful 60-acre facility and the emphasis on equestrian excellence and professional integrity that Walker and the Hersh-Boyles represent created the perfect opportunity for Stewart to turn professional.
Partnered with Walker, the California Professional Horsemen’s Assn. Horseman of the Year in 2004, Stewart is key to Edgewood’s plan to a become significant player on the national pony, junior and amateur stage. “This is a great opportunity for me to step into the professional horse world,” says Stewart. “I have grown up among top professionals in this business and I have learned from each and every one of them. I will now have the chance to carry on with all I have learned to mold my future at Edgewood.”
Modest and pleasant in demeanor, Stewart started her tri-color collection in 1989 with a win in the lead line class at the Devon Horse Show. Her junior years were highlighted by numerous Hunter championships, winning the Maclay Medal Finals in 2002, and team gold at the Prix de States, a hunter/jumper world
In her new post, Stewart takes the place of long-time Edgewood trainer Robyn McAndrews-Burton. McAndrews-Burton, Bob Walker and the Hersh-Boyle family have had a trainer client partnership for 12 years. In that time, Walker and McAndrews took Sarah-Maeve and Rebecca Hersh-Boyle and Sarah “Gav” Gavigan to the highest ranks in the junior and young amateur Hunter, Equitation and Jumper divisions, including qualifying for and winning blue and other good ribbons on the Indoors circuit back East.
Mom Nancy Hersh describes their relationship as more personal than professional. “The kids have all done great,” she says, as much about who they’ve become as people as how they’ve done in the show ring. “I attribute much of their growth and development to the modeling they received from Bob and Robyn. They are wonderful people and we will always be joined together like family.”
When McAndrews-Burton, who lives on the Edgewood property with her husband, recently decided to pull back from training and showing to spend more time with their two young boys, the opening Stewart filled was created.
Contrary to perceptions that Edgewood is strictly a private facility, Walker and Stewart welcome more outside clients. ”My vision is that we get people who are really horse people,” says Hersh. “People that love the horses and have the time and wherewithal to have good horses and be competitive. We are looking more for quality than quantity.” Equally important, prospective clients need to appreciate Edgewood’s modus operandi. “Our philosophy is to operate at
the highest level in terms of integrity and honesty,” Hersh explains.
The Edgewood team will continue to frequent the Southern California A show scene and Hersh looks forward to supporting the growing Northern California circuit also. Their agenda will be dictated by what’s in the best interests of their horses and riders.
She describes Walker as a consummate horseman. In addition to the great training he’s given her girls, who are all amateurs now, she’s witnessed many horses grow from greenies into their fullest competitive potential under his hand. Often, the process happens with a rider whose learning curve matches the horse’s.
Stewart should be a perfect complement to Walker’s knowledge and experience. As an amateur since graduating the junior ranks in 2002, she has not yet formally coached riders, but her upbringing in her father’s stable and on the highly competitive East Coast circuit immersed her in some of the best horsemanship available. Her mentors include Leslie Howard, Bibby Farmer Hill, Bill Cooney, Michelle Grubb, Mark Leone, McLain Ward, Karen Healey and especially of late, Emil Spadone, who’s been helping her with the jumpers.
She is known for her fix-it abilities with horses and for her success campaigning for-sale or client horses from her father’s barn in all Hunter divisions. Stewart has successfully entered the Grand Prix jumping ranks with DeVito. She’ll continue that here on the West Coast, but, as with most of the horses she’s ridden, he is ultimately a sales horse.
The Hersh-Boyle and Stewart families began their close friendship in 2005 when Sarah-Maeve went to Florida to ride with Don Stewart. In addition to deepening that relationship, Hersh is excited about Edgewood’s potential to be a pipeline for the high quality horses that pass through the Stewarts’
Edgewood’s program also includes reining horses and training. An attorney with Hersh and Hersh Law in San Francisco, Nancy Hersh did not ride herself during most of her girl’s equestrian upbringing. Her interest in Quarter Horses, however, recently led her to reining. She got hooked and so did Walker. Edgewood welcomes clients in a discipline that Hersh describes as challenging, exciting and very fun.
Everything about Edgewood Equestrian’s physical facility flows from the owners’ commitment to providing the best. Box stalls and paddocks are complemented with ample pasture space for down time for show horses or retirees, mares in foal and youngsters. An on-site 24-hour staff keeps a careful eye on all its charges, while a cutting edge ECB cold saltwater spa is the newest tool in the program’s equine wellness kit.
Comforts include hot and cold water in the wash racks and a beautiful wood and brass appointed tack room. Two newly built arenas have veterinarian approved, all-weather footing and comfortable viewing areas. The stable goes above and beyond in backing its claim of family friendliness. A lounge and a guest office with free Internet access and use of a computer, plus a petting zoo for non-riding youngsters, comes from the Hersh-Boyles’ appreciation for
how big a role parents and siblings play in a
For more information about joining the
Edgewood Equestrian program, visit www.edeq.com or call 415-662-1073.