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Kendal Lehari's Journey To The Podium. Join The Team!

$101,685 CAD raised of $120,000 goal

72 donors

Project Notes:

Support Audacious and I as we represent Canada at Belgium's Nations Cup, fueling our journey to the Paris 2024 Olympics. Join our equestrian excitement now!

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    Fundraiser created 11 months 17 days ago

    Saffron Klotz is the organizer of this fundraiser.

Get ready for an equestrian escapade like no other! Audacious and I have been selected to represent the Canadian Eventing Team in the Nations Cup at Arville, Belgium. It's a chance to showcase our skills on an international stage and gain crucial team experience before the Paris 2024 Olympics. But hold your horses, let's rewind a bit!

Picture this: a picturesque town called Uxbridge, Ontario, where my journey as a professional equestrian kicked off in 2009. For nearly two decades, I've poured my heart and soul into competing at the highest international levels. And now, drumroll please... I'm gearing up for my very first overseas competition! The excitement is contagious, and it's bringing me closer to my wildest dream of representing Canada in the Pan American Games and the Olympics.

Let me take you on a wild ride through my achievements so far. In 2006, I snatched individual and team gold at the North American Young Rider Championships. Talk about a victory that set my passion ablaze! Then, zoom ahead to 2022, where I had the honor of being part of the Nations Cup Team at Bromont, finishing a remarkable second as a team. And let's not forget about the adrenaline rush of Eventing at the highest levels, reaching that coveted CCI5* echelon. These triumphs are proof of my unwavering dedication and countless hours spent perfecting my craft.

Now, let me introduce you to my trusty companions on this thrilling journey: Audacious and Mitchell, two magnificent horses. From the time they were fresh-faced 3-year-olds, I've nurtured their growth and development. Witnessing their progress fills me with pride, knowing we've come a long way together.

But here's where the excitement reaches a whole new level! We're about to embark on an unforgettable adventure in the United Kingdom. I've meticulously planned a two-month training and competition extravaganza, aiming to soak up invaluable experience and exposure. Picture this: rubbing shoulders with the world's top riders, absorbing their wisdom, and testing our mettle against theirs. It's a chance to kick our skills up a notch and reach unprecedented heights.

But hey, let's not gallop past reality. This journey comes with a hefty price tag, and time is of the essence. Shipping alone costs a whopping $40,000 per horse! We've made strides already with a successful fundraiser that raised $20,000 and a generous grant of $22,500 from the incredible Kelly & Shane Maine. Yet, we still have a long stretch ahead. To secure our best shot at success leading up to Paris 2024, we need to saddle up an additional $100,000.

Hold onto your saddles because we've got some fantastic fundraising initiatives planned in the coming weeks. And guess what? We want you to be part of our team, to join us on this wild ride! Together, we can transform dreams into reality. Your support, whether it's sharing this extraordinary story or making donations, will make an enormous difference.

Just imagine the sheer pride as you witness our nation's colors soaring on that podium, knowing that you played a pivotal role in our triumph. Your contribution will pave the way for our success, propelling us closer to the pinnacle of our sport. Every dollar brings us one gallop closer to our collective dream.

So, dear friend, are you ready to jump on board? Will you embrace this remarkable adventure with us? Together, let's gallop towards glory, one stride at a time!

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Update (6)


02 Jul 2023 by Saffron Klotz

We are looking forward to having an exciting Clinic day at the farm tomorrow! All proceeds from the day will go towards the European trip with Junior and Mitchell! 

Address: Reindalyne Farm 4369 concession 7 Uxbridge. Parking is off Reid Road into jump field (farm is on Reid Rd & concession 7)

A reminder that Davina is available for human massages & Kim is available for horse Beemer Session with the proceeds going to the trip as well!

See you there!


02 Jul 2023 by Saffron Klotz


Both Junior and Mitchell competed in the Advanced this weekend at Will O Wind and were fantastic! Junior took the win and Mitchell followed closely behind in 4th in his first Advanced. This was a great prep run for both horses for the big and exciting journey coming up in just over a month!


04 Jul 2023 by Saffron Klotz


The Reindalyne Farm fundraiser clinic was a huge success! We had a great group of riders and a lot of new faces come out. Plus, Davina donated 6 human massages and Kim donated (7 or 8?) Bemer sessions!! I can't thank everyone enough for the support. We raised $2530 yesterday! My next fundraiser clinic will be Sunday July 9th at Lanes End. Stay tuned for other dates coming up!


05 Jul 2023 by Saffron Klotz

Everyone is invited to a fundraiser cocktail party we will be hosting at the farm on July 30 - details below!



07 Jul 2023 by Saffron Klotz

We also have a very exciting silent auction going live between July 17 and 21 with many items! Some include a beautiful 7 day stay in Prince Edward Country, 18 hole golf passes at Muskoka Bay, cottage in Halliburton, week long stay in Naples Florida, show jump lessons and other amazing experiences and items for both yourself and your horse!


30 Oct 2023 by Saffron Klotz

Where to begin,,,


First of all, this was a dream come true to get to take horses overseas to compete. It was an experience I’ll never forget and I hope to be able to draw from it in my training and coaching for years to come. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses and we had some bumps along the way, but such is life and life with horses and sport!


Before we left for Belgium, I had about 6 weeks of mad preparation and fundraising. I thought it was crazy to have a target of $100,000 and it was unlikely we would get there. We got fairly creative with the fundraising; I hosted fundraising clinics, we had massages donated where the money went into the pot, a garden party, epic silent auction and an Inspire Me account. My fundraising committee was unreal, especially Hayley Cairns who ran the Silent Auction! We managed to hit the target goal right before I left, which was a huge relief!


The final days before the horse's flights were filled with last minute vet appointments and other treatments. They had their teeth done, massages, osteopath, flexions and wellness checks, etc. We wanted to make sure they felt their best going into the trip! I did a lot of tetris type packing to put everything I could possibly need into 4 Stanley bins, including my saddles and grain. It was quite the feat!


Flight day the horses arrive early to get checked in and loaded onto their pallet. My horses traveled with Wabbit (Jessie Phoenix’s horse for our Nations Cup Team). This was the start to A LOT of traveling in different ways for these horses. They were quite good loading up. It was a cool experience to watch everything happen. It was also very stressful, since neither of my horses had flown, and you worry about the horror stories you’ve heard in the past. Good news was that they flew very well. They had to stop in Halifax to pick up some lobsters. Just a normal day! I left the same day,  but my flight was later and flew into Brussels instead of Liege, so I met the horses at our training camp base the following day. 

Belgium Training Camp:


The farm we were based at was out of this world. It was so beautiful and user friendly. We were the first ones to use the barn we were in. The horses settled in really quickly and seemed quite happy about upgrading their living situation! They even had paddocks with high enough fencing that Junior wouldn’t jump out! The Goeminne family (farm owners) were so nice and accommodating and really made us feel at home. The facility had everything we needed. An indoor arena, outdoor dressage ring and a really cool xc field. 

 

The first few days were quieter for the horses, so we managed to do a little site seeing. This was super fun and also a great way to get to know my teammates better! The final few days our support team had arrived so we turned into quite a large group and training got more serious. Rebecca Howard arrived and started fine tuning our flat work and xc. We also hacked down the road to use a bigger jumper course and have lessons with Grant Wilson.


This was an unreal experience. The team atmosphere was amazing. We had such a great group of people, everyone got along really well and we had a ton of fun! The final night we had a big team dinner with everyone. It was a really great way to get to know the rest of the group before heading to Arville the next day.

Arville:


One element that I hadn’t thought about going into this trip was how much stuff 4 riders & 5 horses would have. We had to get a large transport to accommodate all of our gear. We were super efficient loading and unloading all our gear with the huge group we had. I’m sure it was quite the site seeing the Canadians arrive! 


Arrival exams were very casual for the horses. For an International competition this is the normal starting point to make sure it's the correct horse, their temperatures are normal and they appear to be healthy. The vets came to our stalls to do this check-up and they didn’t have us jog the horses. In North America, they have us unload the horses, check them and immediately have you jog them. This isn’t the nicest thing to do when the horse has been on the trailer for 10 hours. Perhaps we can learn from Europe & the UK on this one. 


Riding wise, for regular riding we just rode in a grass field, but this was our first taste of sharing warm-ups with the people you have watched win Olympic Gold on TV or winners of a big 5*. Our warm-up for the actual dressage & show jumping was in an indoor arena (that wasn’t that large compared to a lot of the newer North American indoors). You had a time limit so the ring wouldn’t get that busy and then you walked up the hill to get in the ring. This was okay for dressage if you didn’t have a hot horse, but it was quite interesting for show jumping. They only had 2 jumps in the ring, a vertical and an oxer. There were a bunch of people trying to share the jump and since we were in belgium and it was a nations cup, you had a lot of different languages going on. It was quite a sight to see a group of people raise the jump as one person is coming and then drop it back down for the next. It was a bit chaotic! It was a really good test mentally as a rider though, because you couldn’t stick to what your normal warm-up plan might be. You had to be a bit flexible and work with what you had. I figured Junior would be okay in this situation, but I was worried about Mitchell, because he’s been quite sensitive to noise in the past and usually has a more structured warm-up. He was a perfect gentleman and quickly made my worries go away! Both horses performed well for the dressage and show jumping. They put in their best tests to date and show jumped well! Junior had a lovely, relaxed round and Mitchell tried his heart out!  Everyone was very shocked Mitchell was an ex-racehorse doing his first 4*. He developed quite the fan club!


XC was a bit different from the courses I had done in North America. We typically have galloping courses or more derby feeling courses. This one was a bit of a combination. It started out feeling more like a derby and quite flat and the second half opened up and got a lot more hilly and galloping. It had enough tricky stuff on the course, but because it was a nations cup, they tended to have options to help the teams have options for their less experienced horses/riders. Junior warmed up well for XC, but when I started the course he bolted out of the box and I had next to no rideability and control. It unfortunately caught up to us at the sunken road half way through the course. We jumped in well, but he wasn’t super focused and tried to put an extra stride in at the last minute and really didn’t have the space and somehow got his leg stuck on the takeoff side. I popped off the side and he managed to rear to get his leg out, but an unfortunate finish. Mitchell on the other hand left the box like he had been going 4* forever! He didn’t look at a thing. He felt bold and rideable all of the time. He did unfortunately lose a shoe late in the course and came up a bit sore afterwards. Once he had his shoe put on he looked a lot more comfortable and we didn’t think much of it. 


Following XC, the horses had time to cool out before going on the lorry to travel overnight to the UK. They left at 6pm and arrived the next day at 11am. I flew to the UK so I could pick up a rental car for my stay. I went with an electric car since it was automatic and a much better price. Turns out there was a reason it was cheaper, but once I figured out the charging stations near me we were all good!


The UK


The horses arrived and settled in well to their new digs. We based with Rebecca Howard near Marlborough, UK. They had a lovely big grass field that they both enjoyed, especially after all the travel! The boys had an easy couple days of light hacking. After our first proper flat school we had an unfortunate shock with Mitchell. He was very lame after the school and had some swelling by his stifle. We had the vet out that day and after x-rays and ultrasounds they found he had a hairline fracture on his patella. He had hit his stifle on XC, we’re thinking at the coffin complex, but it didn’t look that bad on the video. Unfortunately we’ll never really know! The good news was that the ligaments were unaffected. This unfortunately put Mitchell on stall rest and Junior was left without a buddy outside. After 10 days, Mitchell was re x-rayed and the piece had separated, so he had to go in for surgery. Thankfully everything went smoothly and the surgeon was happy with how everything went. The prognosis to return to the same level of competition is good, we just have to give him the time he needs to get there. He should be good to go for the Florida season. Very unfortunate to have happen on this trip and expensive stall rest, but at least he should be good to go for next season! 


The catch with Junior being friendless was that he decided he should start jumping out of the paddocks again. I had hoped he had grown out of this phase, but apparently not! He would just jump out and graze by the closest horses. We tried giving him a friend, but after starting his morning jump routine, he decided he was sticking with it. Unfortunately he got a bit too adventurous and after touring around and getting stuck between a fence and hedge, he had to get banned from turnout and just get hand grazed. I was very lucky that both boys handled being in the stall most of the time very well, but this is obviously not their normal routine. They were such troopers handling everything! 


Even though Mitchell was out of commission, we were full steam ahead with Junior! Rebecca was awesome taking a lot of time with us. She would start Junior a lot on the flat to help get us more on track with our dressage.  She would also take us on all the outings we needed for XC & SJ schooling. We went schooling at Mike Winter's awesome xc course and we tested out different gear. It was really helpful to have Rebecca on the ground for all our schooling so we stayed consistent between all the phases. Typically I have sport specific coaches, so I think this was really helpful. Rebecca also drove me to the Price’s at Cheddington to have lessons with Jonelle. This was really helpful to have another set of eyes on the ground and to have one of the best riders in the world tune me up! We had a really good flat school and then did a XC school. Their course was unreal! They had a lot of tough combinations. Jonellle was tough as a coach, but I think it was what I needed. She noticed any tiny mistakes and she made sure I was accountable. This really helped to get us on track.


Following our boot camp with Jonelle, I went to Cornbury CCI***S with Junior. This was a really cool experience. They made the event feel more like a 5*. They had owners tents and a trade fair and had a much bigger feel than our Canadian events. Dressage and show jumping were on grass. This was when I found out I apparently stud very small compared to most people (studs are like cleats you put in the horses shoes for traction.) Junior was on fire for the whole competition. He put in a good dressage test, a really nice show jumping round (the course started lower down and then you went up a hill to do the second half of a course; that was a first!) XC he felt amazing! Didn’t look at a thing and felt like he would jump anything in front of him. I had my horse back! We had a few planned time penalties, but still finished 6th out of 50 and in the prize money! 


When we weren’t busy training, I went to watch as many competitions as possible. I went to watch Wellington, Burghley, West Wilts, Blenheim & Boekelo. It was really helpful to walk the different courses and watch them get ridden. It was also really helpful to see the standard of riding, training and competition. They have tons of upper level horses competing and are regularly splitting into multiple groups of 50 horses. We would be lucky to have 50 horses total for a division! The quality of horses was unreal. They were all trained so nicely and I would gladly ride any of the horses I saw! One of the big takeaways from watching was that everyone rides at quite a forward pace for all disciplines. The horses are all really well balanced and seem to be super rideable and relaxed, so when they ride more forward the horses are in a position that they have time to process what's in front of them or help the rider out if they need to. Most riders also ride a lot taller/not as forward in their upper bodies. It was great to have all these visuals so I can keep applying in my training as I prep for Florida and be ready to apply in competition when I get there! 


Our next competition was Little Downham. Leading up to the competition Junior had felt decent, but started to seem flatter in the barn. Performance wise Junior put in a decent dressage test and jumped clear show jumping, but he didn’t feel right to me when I jumped him. I thought it might have been the studs or footing. When I went XC he just didn’t feel himself. He was sticky and not feeling into it. I have never felt that on him. Usually our issues are from lack of focus or being too enthusiastic! This was quite disheartening after how good he felt at Cornbury. This changed our final plan. He was clearly not feeling himself and I didn’t see it getting better without a holiday, some turnout and check ups to see what was going on. 


When the horses got home, I had Junior checked out and he did have ulcers. I bit of extra wear and tear from all the work and travel, but overall his other vet checks were good. I think all of the little things just added up and that final couple weeks was hard on him. Thankfully everything is a fairly easy fix, so he is currently on meds for his stomach and back on turn out with his best friend Lorde and he already seems a lot more himself!


I still went to watch Boekelo, which was a good experience to see what it was all about so I’m more prepared if I go in the future! It was also good to watch the level of riding. It was the Nations Cup Final, so there was a lot of representation from the different countries. The horses traveled from the UK to Belgium to fly home while I was at Boekelo. They had a smooth flight aside from a delay. They spent a few days in quarantine at JFK before shipping to our farm in Ontario. These horses are now more traveled than most people! They have been on planes, lorries, trailers and ferries! 


This was an invaluable experience. Even though it didn’t all go perfectly, I will be able to take what I’ve learned and apply it for years to come. My goal was to get experience and exposure so I could up my game with my training, coaching and competing. While it might not have been a magical switch over in 2 months, I’m excited to train with new goals in mind and I feel more motivated to strive to that higher standard. I think I will have grown as a rider and person from this whole experience. I can't thank everyone enough for supporting me in this journey. It has been unbelievable to have everyone behind me! I hope you’ll stick around as we move towards our next season and have our best season yet in 2024!


Donors / Words of Support (72)


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    Anonymous donated $20 CAD

    2023-11-04
  • avatar

    Peter Rekai and Eleanor Somerleigh donated $250 CAD

    Good Luck Gwen!

    2023-08-28
  • avatar

    Robin Mallory donated $100 CAD

    Your hard work and years of training are paying off. Keep making it happen Kendal

    2023-08-17
  • avatar

    The Roman Family donated $1,000 CAD

    Donation

    2023-08-10
  • avatar

    Christopher Hilkene donated $250 CAD

    2023-08-10
  • avatar

    Anonymous donated $250 CAD

    Go Audacious & Kendal!

    2023-08-09
  • avatar

    Amanda Williams donated $100 CAD

    Wishing you the best Kendal

    2023-08-09
  • avatar

    Lori Thompson donated $100 CAD

    Good luck Kendal! You’re an inspiration to all Canadian riders! Lori & Olivia

    2023-08-06
  • avatar

    Hugh Innes donated $150 CAD

    Donation

    2023-08-06
  • avatar

    Tracey Newman donated $100 CAD

    Kick On!

    2023-08-05

$101,685 CAD raised of $120,000 goal

72 donors
  • avatar

    Silent Auction 2023

    $31,000 CAD •  Top donation
  • avatar

    Anonymous

    $20 CAD •  Recent donation
  • avatar

    Kelly McCarthy-Maine & Shane Maine

    $22,500 CAD •  First donation

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