November 21, 2007 -- Two women will receive top-level instruction for a week after their essays were selected as the winners in the 2007 "Win a Week with a Madden Team" contest sponsored by Bates Saddles and Practical Horseman magazine.
The Madden name is synonymous with excellence in the hunter-jumper world. Bonnie Connor, 18, of Hillsdale, Mich., won a week with Frank and Stacia Madden, while Katie Faraone, 26, of Somerville, Mass., won a week with John and Beezie Madden.
Each woman also won a Bates Elevation saddle.
"She needs a new saddle so badly," said Kathy Connor, Bonnie's mother. "Her old saddle is ripping at the edges."
To enter the contest, contestants submitted a short essay on EquiSearch.com explaining why they would like to spend a week with the Maddens. The two grand prizes were awarded to the writers of the best essays as chosen by the Practical Horseman staff and the Maddens.
Bonnie Connor entered the contest in honor of her trainer, Chris Grahl, who died in a plane crash just a year after she began lessons with him. Grahl lived 30 minutes from the Connors. Now, the closest trainer is over an hour and a half away from their house.
Faraone started eventing when she was 11 years old and switched to showing hunters when she was 15. She sold her horses to go to college and feels that this experience will be a great reward for her years of hard work.
Connor and Faraone were also VIP guests at the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament October 31-November 4, courtesy of the Madden team.
The Madden contest was part of a year-long program to promote horsemanship among talented young American riders. The elements of this program included the January 2007 Horsemastership Training Session with George Morris, a special 16-page edition of Practical Horseman's 7 Essential Steps to Better Horsemanship and an online Horsemastership sweepstakes.
The first Horsemastership sweepstakes ended May 1, and the second ended August 1. Laura Sicuro and Brenda Wilson were the winners of one ton of Purina Mills Equine Feed. Six Bates Elevation saddles were awarded to Holly Becker, Holly Moyers, Karen Beck, Janeen Pasquill, Christee Przewlocki and Susan Landry.
Because the Horsemastership Training Session was such a success in 2007, a second session will be held January 21-26, 2008, in Wellington, Fla. The Madden contest and Horsemastership sweepstakes will also return in 2008.
For riders who did not make it to the 2007 Horsemastership Training Session, the George Morris Lessons in Horsemanship DVD is now available from www.EquineNetworkStore.com. Under the guidance of George Morris and other top professionals, eight young riders hone fundamental horse management and riding skills in a special training session, designed to show what it takes to be champions at the international level.