Proudly Announcing the Donner Syndicate

The Olympics are just around the corner, and now is the perfect time to get involved with Team USA. There is no better way to support your country than by owning a part of an American-bred Thoroughbred, who at only 12-years-old has already represented his country twice and successfully competed at the highest level of three-day eventing in both the U.S. and Europe. 

“I am excited to announce the formation of the Donner Syndicate which will allow this talented horse to continue in international competition, and to obtain another horse to follow in his hoof prints,” said Lynn Symansky. “Owners will not only share in the expansion of Donner’s international competitive career, but will also have the opportunity to be part of the development of an up and coming young superstar of the sport.”

With an affordable buy-in and yearly maintenance fee, this is a fabulous opportunity to become a member of Team USA. The Donner Syndicate will allow up to 20 individuals the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of owning a World Class event horse at the fraction of the cost of individual horse ownership. Individuals or groups of people are allowed and encouraged to buy more than one share. All shareholders of the Donner Syndicate will also automatically be members of the Syndicate of a young horse with future Team potential that will be purchased with the proceeds of the buy in cost.

Donner is on the path to compete at the 2015 Rolex Kentucky CCI**** and is a serious contender for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This is your opportunity to join for the ride of a lifetime! Lynn and Donner have the ultimate partnership - help keep them competing at the top of the sport by joining the Donner Syndicate today.

If you are interested in keeping the dream alive, please click here to review the Donner Syndication Information Packet.  

Contact Lynn at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 540-460-1351. 

Mouse Reminds Me It's The Little Things

It’s been exactly a year since one of my favorite horses, Waitangi Notebook, better known as “Mouse,” suffered a serious pasture accident. She slipped and fell in her paddock running from the sound of gunshots in the woods.

When she got up, it was immediately apparent she sustained significant trauma to her left hind pastern, but the damage ended up being worse than we initially thought.

There were lacerations that communicated to both her fetlock and pastern joints, but the worst of it was in her coffin joint. We still can’t entirely figure out how she managed to do this, but through the large coronary band laceration and embedded in her coffin bone there was a significant amount of mud, grass and debris.

She underwent emergency surgery and the bone was flushed as much as it could be, but the coffin bone is not one smooth piece. Imagine trying to sterilize a small piece of coral reef that has been drug through the mud and gravel and grass while it’s stuck inside a hoof. The likelihood she would survive infection wasn’t looking good, but there was a small chance. That’s all she needed.

Even after fighting her way though the infection and reabsorbing the leftover debris, the resulting damage to the joints and foot was another battle ahead. She would likely develop significant arthritis as her ankle and pastern healed and lose a sizeable portion of her foot as it grew down. She never did.

One year has now come and gone, and she just made the trek down south to train for the winter with an entire barn of horses. We were once unsure she’d even be pasture-sound, and now she’s back in full work and even jumping. I have no idea if she’ll get back to the level she was at the time of her accident (she was a 7-year-old at the two-star level), but she’s taught me to never say never.

Photos by Leslie Mintz

Horses come in and out of our lives, and there is something to be learned from all of them. Some teach us how to be better riders, others teach us how to be better horsemen. And there are the special ones who teach us actual life lessons. Here are a few I’ve taken from Mouse in the last year…

1) You don’t always have to expect the worst:

This is something I admit I could be better at. I am always of the mindset to prepare for the worst, but secretly hope for the best. It is how I protect myself in case things don’t go how I’d like.

But while I was busy preparing for the worst after her accident, Mouse kept proving that it’s actually possible to hope for the best and not be disappointed. In a year filled with so many tragic accidents, Mouse is living proof that even if the odds seem completely stacked against you, you aren’t always destined for the worst possible outcome.

2) A smart horse with a good brain is so important:

Mouse has a really big fan club, but not because she is an obvious worldbeater. She’s not the most conformationally correct, she’s not the fanciest, and she’s not the most classic jumper in my barn.

But she is hands down the sweetest, safest, honest, kindest horse I’ve ever had, and her heart is irreplaceable. Those qualities are what make her one of my favorites to ride every day, what make her a great competitor, and what make her the barn favorite. They are what made her a successful event horse. They are definitely what helped save her life.

After her accident she became the hospital favorite as well. In addition to great care and a lot of luck, I attribute her quiet nature and intelligence to the fact she survived. She stayed still and quiet for months which allowed her leg to heal better than we could have hoped. I know I wouldn’t have had the same outcome if this had been any other horse in my barn.

3) Patience:

Catching Mouse has become a game over the years, and Mouse will win unless you are a very clever cat. On the day of her accident, it took me several minutes to catch her after her fall, even though she was heavily bleeding and non-weight bearing. When I approached her, she cantered away three-legged and I knew no amount of panicking would catch her.Mouse is a hungry girl with a very healthy appetite. While she loves her job, she also adores eating. She can look at food and get fat. Because of this she’s always been tricky to catch when she’s surrounded by a buffet of grass.

So instead I took the time to play her game, and after several minutes of slow movement, carrots and carefully calculated body language, I got her.

Actually, the only way you can really “catch” Mouse is by her coming to you. This game got worse after her accident when she started getting grass turnout this fall. A few weeks ago on a warmer winter day, she went out in a lighter sheet with a hood. When it was time for dinner, Mouse wasn’t interested. At all. She stayed out for three consecutive days and nights in below freezing temps and 40mph winds.

Once again, I went back to playing Mouse’s game, as I didn’t want her to colic even though she seemed quite content outside. For an hour or two each day I would go out in her field and sit on the ground and wait for her to come up to me. It was “feels like 20 degrees” weather. I’m glad she chose the bitter winter to once again remind me of the necessity of patience.

4) Why we do horses, or at least me:

I’m a competitive person, but I don’t ride horses because I’m competitive. I compete because I’m competitive. Representing my country at the World Equestrian Games last year in Normandy was a reminder of why I compete—while I accomplished a huge goal of mine, not coming home with a medal for our country only made me hungrier to come back even better.

Similarly, Mouse’s story over the last year is a reminder of why I do horses—she may not ever make it to the WEG or Olympics, but she is a daily reminder of how lucky I am to have horses in my life, and even luckier that I get to do it as a profession.

Mouse at her last event, the Virginia Horse Trials fall CCI** in 2013, where she was sixth. 
Photo by Leslie Mintz

While they can be so incredibly heartbreaking (and money sucking!) they are incredibly rewarding. The lows are low, but the highs are also so high. This is true of competing AND horses, and while the two are closely related in my world, they are not the same. She makes me smile every day. She reminds me that the thousands of dollars I didn’t have to spend on her injury were worth something far more in the end. Even if she never gets back to the upper levels, I am reminded everyday that it’s not always about competing, it’s about the horses.

So thank you Mouse, for remaining in my life and reminding me about all the little things on a daily basis, even if I can’t catch you.

USEF Names 2015 Eventing High Performance Training Lists

RELEASE: November 10, 2014

AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: USEF Communications Department

Lexington, Ky.- The USEF Eventing High Performance Committee has approved the following High Performance Training Lists for the 2015 season. In determining these lists for 2015, the USEF Eventing Selection Committee is directly focused on the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team producing successful results at the 2015 Pan American Games and the 2016 Olympic Games. To that effect, the following riders will make plans with U.S. Eventing Team Coach David O’Connor as to which horses they will ride in each session. Training Session dates and locations will be finalized at the USEA Annual Meeting in Fort Worth, Texas in December.

The USEF Eventing High Performance Committee has updated the definitions for the World Class and National Lists and discontinued using the Global Talent Lists to better reflect the aims of the program.  

World Class List:
Athletes that currently possess the ability to be competitive anywhere in the world.

Buck Davidson (Ocala, Fla.)
Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.)
Will Faudree (Hoffman, N.C.)
Sinead Halpin (Oldwick, N.J.)
Lauren Kieffer (Ocala, Fla.)
Marilyn Little (Frederick, Md.)
Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.)
Kim Severson (Charlottesville, Va.)
Lynn Symansky (Middleburg, Va.)

National List
Athletes that are currently competitive in domestic international-level competition, and who the USEF Selection Committee feel have the future potential to be competitive anywhere in the world.

Maya Black (Clinton, Wa.)
Matt Brown (Sebastopol, Calif.)
Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (East Sussex, UK) 
Lillian Heard (Poolesville, Md.)
Caroline Martin (Miami Beach, Fla.)
Kurt Martin (Middleburg, Va.)
Julie Richards (Newnan, Ga.)
Tamie Smith (Temecula, Calif.)

The Eventing High Performance Training Lists will be reviewed quarterly by the USEF Eventing Selection Committee and the USEF High Performance Committee.

The Chronicle of the Horse Blog: Words From The World Games: We're An Army Of Six

The weather has been wet, wet, wet, but we've gotten some good dressage schools in under David O'Connor's watchful eye.

As I lay here in my "snooze box," which is the equivalent of a very small luxury freshman dormitory room, I feel like it's the calm before the storm. Or I suppose it is actually already storming. Please somebody turn off the water, this cross-country can not handle one additional drop of rain!

All horses looked great at the jog yesterday and have been looking super in their work this week. Trailblazers Buck, Sinead and Phillip are our U.S. representation for dressage today and they put in solid tests, rounded out by Kim, myself and Boyd tomorrow. 

We all feel we have something to prove and a statement to make, and will be storming Normandy this weekend with as much fight as we can muster. I absolutely know come Saturday we will all be fighting our way around Pierre's relentless cross-county. 

The terrain and deep going added to the already massive and extremely technical course make this a true world championship course. And the dreary rain and weather make me feel like we're going to battle, even though I wouldn't mind staying to take a nap in my snooze box instead. 

Last night we had a lovely reception with all of the American riders, staff and supporters, and were accompanied by a large contingent of owners, friends and family. Owners and syndicates from each of the team horses were here, as well as many owners and supporters of other U.S. horses and riders not competing this weekend, who have come to Normandy to support the entire U.S. team. Last night was really special. I saw familiar faces, met a lot of new ones, and the support and excitement from everyone there was contagious.

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Retired Racehorse Project Researches Donner's History

From the Retired Racehorse Project

Team USA and Team OTTB at WEG

7a6e4e7d-6a01-421a-9032-8be77a83c2dcLynn and Donner on the cross country course. Photo courtesy of symanskyequestrian.comTomorrow, Lynn Symansky and her off-track Thoroughbred, Donner, will ride the dressage portion in day one of the World Equestrian Games Three-Day Event in Normandy, France. Not only is Donner the only OTTB on Team USA, he is the only horse of any breed on the team that was actually bred in the USA, the rest being European imports.  We thought it would be fun to take a closer look at this pair who are truly representing "Team USA" through and through!

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