It was, it is and it will be a happy haven for horses and horse people alike.
This farm has brought me so many wonderful memories and experiences that I’ll never forget. It’s bittersweet that I announce my move to the Eastern Shore.
The life of the farm at 350 Sproul Rd.
1988-2010- INSPO owned and operated by Bill and Belinda Wertman
2010-2020; Principia Stables owned by The Hulme family and operated by MK Equestrian
2020- and beyond; Coopers Run Stable owned by Dr John and Betsy Weaver and operated by Robyn Weaver and Colin Bell
Inspo was dedicated to quality breeding and importing of dressage and sport horses – Belinda is the horsewoman we all strive to be half of. Her understanding of a horse is like that of no other. INSPO was such a well known landmark because of the incredible community that Bill and Belinda had developed. Thus, the farm was nicknamed EXPO, as they left but their mark will be forever branded and never forgotten. Bill and Belinda cast a magic spell on me to assure me that I COULD take on the challenge of managing this whole operation. Im so thankful to them for that; as it was most definitely out of my comfort zone but provided me with life experiences that have made me who I am today.
When the Wertman’s decided to sell INSPO, the Hulme’s saw the facility and recognized the beauty within the land and the surrounding neighborhood. Having grown up in England they felt a similarity and just as I had; they felt very at home here. They took a huge leap of faith and became farm owners and trusted me to take care of their property as they continued to reside across the county – (with hopes of living at the farm in the near future.) Im forever grateful to have worked with the Hulme’s as we all whole-heartedly wanted to provide a facility that would be a home to happy/healthy horses; producing good fun eventing horses and riders with safety and good care a top of the line priority.
I treasure my years at this farm; memories made that will last a lifetime. When I started to manage Principia Stables I was winding down my competitive career with Havarah’s Charly; Charly had brought me to the east coast with ambitions of working towards a spot on the US eventing team. Charly was and is my heart horse; we jumped literal houses and gardens and he always took care of me- being a part of the USET developing riders list as we competed Advanced was just amazing – this ended all too early with an unfortunate injury that Charly sustained and we all felt best to let him retire to an easier lifestyle. In true eventer fashion I wanted to stay busy SO my focus turned to developing young horses for sale as well as to find “THE NEXT ONE”. I rode, trained and competed many types; Connemarra x’s for Kynynmont Connemarra’s, TB’s off the track, as well as a few WB crosses that found their way here (usually via the path of not finding happiness in the dressage world or H/J land- these horses really thrived on the cross training and variety in their new lives) So many great horses came through this barn and although I’d love to tell you about each and every one I don’t want to take that much of your time! I do have to make mention of a few that I had the pleasure to keep for many years and ride up through the FEI ranks. Sabrina, Riven-owned by Pamela Benfield, Bristol Indian, Puttin on the Ritz-owned by the Klavans, The Diesel Boy- owned by the DZL syndicate and MK’s Concord Dawn; each of these horses have a very special place in my heart and have wonderful homes now in either retirement or still happily taking their next rider around some really fun tracks. Each one was an individual full of character all their own- they helped me become a more aware, educated rider and trainer. Being in this area I was fortunate to have access to the best of the best to guide me as I trained these horses; Phillip Dutton, Silva Martin, Richard Pickens, Scott Hassler, Roddy Strang, Lauren Sammis and Anne Kursinksi – amazing riders, trainer, horsemen/women alike.
When not riding and competing I split my time between management of the farm and teaching. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to “wear all the hats” as I truly enjoy each facet of the business. It was exceptionally rewarding to work on the farm to see what little changes could be made to help create it into more of a true event horse training facility and also work within the realms of keeping it as natural as possible. I was able to start a relationship with the creek conservancy – Chesapeake Bay Alliance; Im over the moon to know that there is such a thing available – help the creeks natural habitat and find ways to get “more riding trails”. A win win for nature and us horse riders! Still to this day, I love walking the perimeter of this farm and seeing the various little changes that made it all start coming together.
I have had a passion for teaching since I was quite young and working out of this facility really enabled me to develop close relationships with quite a few riders. Consistency was key- quite a few students came through for months at a time and others many years. Whether they had goals of the NAYRC, getting to their first event or overcoming fears of riding outside; being able to help find a system that was “successful” for them and their mounts time and time again brought me great joy. These students were and are a huge part of my life, Im thrilled to have a spent a decade at a farm where we got to “ride out” and learn how to find your balance on terrain just by doing so instead of just talking about it. Looking forward to many more years of incorporating this work into my “clinics” here at this great place!
The neighborhood as a whole made MKE what it was. We are so thankful to all of our very kind and supportive neighbors and the atmosphere we were surrounded in daily. One of the amazing things about this area is the excellent resources for Equine care- having said that it is important to combine forces so that everyone works together in the best interest of the horse. I LOVED and still love my team. The horses rose above and beyond thanks to our farrier, vets, physio care, sponsors, trainers, and the people that helped on the ground to care for the horses/facility. The job of trainer/manager to a 40 acre facility with 26 stalls definitely required a supportive husband who understood the insane hours this required. Not many real days off and not usually far from my phone, just in case a horse needed something.
I am excited to watch the farm continue on with the Weavers who I know will continue forward to care for the natural land resources around the farm and add on to the facility. Most importantly the horses and cats will always be well looked after! Both Betsy and Robyn have been students of mine for the last 10 years; they have excellent skills as riders and have helped me run the farm as if it’s their own for many years. This transition is as natural as one could be – I fully envision that they’ll continue developing this into the premier equine training facility of their dreams and while potentially adding a few more cats! Robyn plans to bring in young horses to break and bring along as well as continue her journey as a competitive rider. They have already begun some fabulous additions/renovations and I am hearing about some very exciting things for the future. John, Betsy, Robyn and Colin make an excellent team coming together with expertise in all the right areas to develop, maintain and successfully run a top notch facility.
The future for me will OF COURSE still include training event/sport horses and teaching – this is a passion for me that a change of address can’t take away 🙂 I am excited to have an amazing young horse (Mk’s Quality Mayhem) to spend my time with to develop; hopefully as my next upper level event horse. While I will no longer be managing a large farm I plan to have more time to focus on my teaching and developing young horses onto their path as educated sport horses. I will be traveling to MD/Pa to teach as well as adding in regular lessons at facilities on the Eastern Shore.
Stay tuned as I up-date the website with all of these exciting new adventures! Email will stay the same – firstname.lastname@example.org
I have soooo many memories here and photos that it was tough to just choose one, having said that there was no way to include them all. So below is just a snippet of some good times at the farm.