Photo by Shawn McMillan Photography
“We had a great ending to our season,” stated Ryan Sassmannshausen of St. Charles. Ryan is the trainer at Kinvarra Farm along with the entire team of Sassmannshausens that run the family farm. Parents Rick and Janet, along with their other sons Eric, Mathew and Kevin, all play a supporting role in the business.
Both Ryan and his older brother, Eric, have spent time away from home learning the ropes out east and are now able to put that knowledge to use at their own farm. Eric handles the books and some of the marketing and Ryan teaches the lessons and rides. Janet also teaches, sells horses, and organizes the group. The other boys are also either riding, driving a tractor, fixing fence, dragging the ring or rebuilding something!
Kinvarra Farm is busy building their lesson program and working with customers new to the sport while maintaining their competitive edge on the A Circuit with more seasoned clients. Shannon Donovan of Wayne, is one of the customers working her way up the divisions. She started in the Children’s Hunters this year and got to do another horse in the jumpers for fun.
“It was an extra Birthday present from my mom,” said Donovan about the jumper. Seems Donovan’s mother is quite good at gift giving since her horse, Ravello, was a surprise Christmas gift!
“It was the best surprise ever!” Shannon exclaimed. “I love him so much!”
Recently Donovan and Ravello competed in the Illinois Hunter Jumper Association’s Medal Finals at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne. It was only the second time she had ever been in the Grand Prix ring. Donovan had never dreamed of coming back for the test but was called back standing in second place! After the test, she held her ground and ended up finishing in second place.
“She had never done anything like that before and did a great job,” Ryan said. “She laid down a solid trip and was amazing in the test. She’s a hard worker, very helpful and always finds time for horses even though she’s busy with school.”
Donovan is currently a sophomore at St. Francis High School and plays on the JV Tennis team. She plans to keep moving up to compete in the Junior Hunter division next year and try some more equitation classes.
Another sophomore riding at Kinvarra is Keely Bieniak of St. Charles. Bieniak and her horse, Sangria Sky, an 8 yr. old, chestnut, mare, started in the Children’s Hunters last year and moved up to the Junior Hunters this year. She was Reserve Champion at her favorite show, Spring Spectacular in Wayne and has had a very successful year.
“She (Bieniak) was second several times to some of the top hunters in the country. I’ll take that any day, “ said Sassmannshausen.
Next year, Bieniak plans to continue in the Junior Hunters and ride in more equitation classes. She’d like to go to Kentucky to show and will definitely attend her lucky show, Spring Spectacular again.
Kinvarra Farm would like to congratulate all their riders on a great season and look forward to moving up another set of riders for 2013!
Kinvarra Farm is an experienced full service boarding, training. lesson and show barn located at 6N 911 Rt 25, St. Charles, IL, 847-525-0591. Go to www.Kinvarrafarm.com for more information.