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Working Student Injured While Training Horse

WHISPERING PINES RANCH - It was a sunny afternoon at Pine Wood Farm. Resident trainer Jill Taylor and her working student, Jesse Kuhn, were both schooling horses together. Jesse Kuhn, 16, began riding for Taylor over the winter. She had already accomplished a lot in the Dressage world, including numerous National level awards, on her seasoned partner Bonfire. Through Taylor she acquired the lovely Westfalen stallion Gilbert from Martina Wertmann-Steinhoff. Jesse had a bright future.

While schooling her mare, who is affectionately nicknamed "Bonnie" around the farm, Kuhn was crushed and pinned as Bonnie tripped and fell on top of the girl.

Jesse Kuhn & Bonfire

Kuhn actually died, then suddenly came back to life after a few minutes. It was a miracle. "Damn." Derek Daniels, DVM, commented on the situation. "I mean, she was dead. I know what dead is, I'm a vet, dammit. Then she came back to life. I was like...damn!"

Kuhn sustained serious back injuries, including a pinched nerve that required immediate surgery. It will be months before the young rider will make her way back into the saddle.

Bonnie injured some major ligaments in her front legs, which also required surgery. Nate Taylor performed the surgery. "It'll be a while, but she'll be back in the arena."

Troubled Taylor. Pines County resident and three time World Cup champion Jill Van Steinbecker-Taylor talks about her recent split.

Local Rider Loses Major Sponsorship

WHISPERING PINES RANCH - 23 year old Jillian Van Steinbecker-Taylor recently won her third World Cup title when she earned an 84.572% at the World Cup Finals in Dusseldorf, Germany, earlier this month. But when she returned home, she lost her sponsorship with top US horse importer, DD Sporthorses.

DD Sporthorses was started in 2002 by Diane Philips and Denise Millar. They met the then 21 year old Taylor just a couple of months after she had lost her Grand Prix stallion, True Blue. "We watched [Taylor and "Blue"] in the Olympics and in the 2001 World Cup. We were extremely impressed. At the time, we wanted to import a few horses to sell, and Jill purchased Maestro." Philips explained. Maestro, a bay Westfalen stallion, was formally owned by Taylor's stepfather, and Taylor competed him from '96 through '98 under the name Wertmann's Bravo Maestro. The horse was sold after the '98 World Equestrian Games, and 

later competed under a Dutch rider in the Sydney Olympic Games.

DD Sporthorses then purchased King of Hearts and Wittgenstein I for Taylor after Maestro developed a lameness problem and was forced to be retired. King of Hearts threw Taylor a few months later in a freak accident, and the horse was destroyed after he was diagnosed with advanced EPM. Taylor broke three ribs and had to have her spleen removed.

"It was very difficult, not even a year after Blue's passing. I was numb." Jill continued to ride Wittgenstein, a bay Hannoverian stallion, and they instantly clicked. "I was like, wow! This horse is incredible!" Taylor took the horse to Goteburg, Sweden, for the 2003 World Cup, and they won first place to a James Bond musical kur. Unfortunately, the horse was sold to German rider Martina Wertmann-Steinhoff.

Diane and Denise put together a syndicate and purchased two stallions

to put in training, the experienced  Bravo Balistro and exceptional Fervesco. Taylor began showing them in the summer of 2003, but she also started competing her step-brother Nate's horse, Las Vegas, at Grand Prix. Jill had been training the horse for five years, and the horse was a hot prospect for the team. DD's horses went on the backburner.

"Bali and Dewey were talented, but Vegas was extremely talented.  I loved riding him." Jill's assistant, Danielle Carmichael, took over the reins of the two horses.

"When Vegas was sent to Martina Steinhoff's to be trained, Taylor took back the reins of our two horses. Just a month later, Vegas came back to her barn, and the same problem reoccurred: Our horses came in second to her own. It was very irritating." Denise Millar added. Problems continued even as DD Sporthorses imported three additional young horses. Then in January of this year, Taylor's top sponsor, the Martin Steinbecker fund, refused to renew her contract. Several other small sponsors followed suit.

Problems continued even as DD Sporthorses imported three additional young horses. Then in January of this year, Taylor's top sponsor, the Martin Steinbecker fund, refused to renew her contract. Several other small sponsors followed suit.

"We weren't seeing results. So we decided to go our separate ways." Philips explained.

Taylor is currently training two horses for her brother, the 11 y/o Oldenburg stallion Respekt, and the 9y/o Hannoverian gelding Goldtanzer. She also rides a Gypsy Vanner stallion. She owns her Olympic hopeful, Vegas, a 12y/o Rheinland Pflaz-Saar stallion by Donnerhall. Vegas was a gift from Taylor's boyfriend, George Harrison.

Taylor talked with us about the situation. "It was tough...I can only hope it's for the best. It's a difficult situation--it being an Olympic year and all...everything's at stake. I just hope I can secure a sponsor in time to qualify for the Athens Olympics. It would definitely be a dream come true to ride in a second Olympics. I've been dreaming about riding for the US since I was a kid!" 

It turns out that Pine Wood Farm has hired a new jumper trainer. Allison Lindstrom has many years of experience on the HITS circuit and imports top quality Dutch horses from the Netherlands.

 Some mysterious 'sign graffiti' has been documented on some local church signs in Pines County. A priest from Our Shepherd Catholic church was horrified when he read, "Annulments for all!" on his sign, and a Baptist pastor was disgusted when he saw, "Gay marriages performed!" on his sign. "These gangsters will be punished by God himself! Shame on you!" Pastor Keith exclaimed, shaking his index finger towards the sky in anger.

This might be some old news, but Nate Taylor and Caitlyn Frost have announced that they are now engaged and are planning to marry soon.