By ALEXANDRA ROWE / Petaluma Correspondent
While FedEx may be best known for its overnight delivery of birthday presents and important documents, Hope Glynn sometimes calls on the company for a more unusual shipping request.
When she and students from her Petaluma-based Sonoma Valley Stables compete in national hunter/jumper events, Glynn needs to transport their horses cross country.
For the past week, she and her mounts have been at the HamptonClassic in South Bridgehampton, N.Y., while she and three students competed in the $50,000 U.S. Hunter Jumper Association International Hunter Derby and an amateur $10,000 Hunter Classic.
This week they travel to Saugerties, N.Y., representing three of the five West Coast contestants who qualified for the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Finals.
It’s the culmination of 10 years of training for Glynn’s students Avery Hellman and Erin Bland, both 19, and, for Glynn and her students, six weeklong qualifying shows held earlier this year in Palm Springs.
Glynn earned her spot by winning two of the qualifiers on Woodstock, a 9-year-old German gelding. Hellman and Bland qualified by consistently placing in the top five of the contestants, 90 percent of whom are professionals.
“They give me a run for my money any day of the week,” Glynn said. “These kids are incredibly dedicated, strong young women who realize you have to work hard to get something out of it. They give 110 percent every day.”
Glynn and her husband Ned met at the the University of California at Davis. Both grew up in California and had notable careers as junior riders. After getting married, they opened Sonoma Valley Stables in the hills along Adobe Road.
Today, they have indoor and outdoor arenas, walking trails, turn outs and a 50 stall barn. With the help of 13 employees, they keep about 50 horses in training, valued at between $5,000 and $500,000, depending on their records and athleticism.
“I used to be just a little girl with a horse in my backyard who dreamed big,” Glynn said. “I believed if I put my mind to something it wasn’t out of my grasp.”
She sees herself riding competitively for many years to come, but said most of her success has come as a professional working with students.
The Glynns specialize in Hunter Jumper-style riding, a sport that evolved from fox-hunting. In the show ring, their students are taught to ride their horses over jumps 3 to 4 feet high.
“Rarely do people come out the same every day, and neither do animals,” Glynn said. “You have to adapt to what you have and get the best out of them, whatever is it for that day.”
At the HamptonClassic last week, a show that attracts 1,500 horses and riders from around the country, she and three students — Hellman, Bland and Helen McEvoy — entered a number of amateur and professional events.
On Wednesday, Glynn won the championship in the Second Year Green Hunters division riding Roccoco, Hellman’s horse.
While in training, their hard working horses are rewarded with kid-glove treatment. Their needs are looked after by chiropractors, dietitians and massage therapists.
Glynn said she enjoys watching her students become best friends with their horses and believes that working with the animals can be therapeutic.
“They are truly special creatures to be around,” she said. “They make my life better on a daily basis.”
For more information about Hope and Ned Glynn and their stables, call 769-1080 or visit SonomaValleyStables.com.