Marquis Farrier Service
Lee Civic Center Fort Myers

Way to go Whip Crackers on

(2) 1st place finishes!

At the Lee Civic Center Ft. Myers Fl. 

Little team wins BIG in local competition!


The "Whip Crackers" Mounted Drill Team gets two first place win's in State qualifier.

It was a warm day at the Lee Civic Center fair grounds, and the Whip Crackers Mounted Drill team definitely "felt the heat." That is the heat of competition! The Whip Crackers are a mounted horseback riding group made up of riders from  Pt. Charlotte and Arcadia.

The groups rider's Mike Marquis, Karen Coleman-Triana, Kyla Zahorniak and Emily Anderson  range in age from 13 to 35 and they have been riding together for about 3 years, they are a part of a Mounted Drill team association called the "Sunshine State Mounted Drill Team Association that is celebrating their 10th year together.

Drill Teams have been around a long time said Mike Marquis Head coach and rider of the Whip Crackers. They got their beginning in the military, Its basically multiple horse's demonstrating precision riding in patterns to music and a theme," like dancing on horseback". Only we add a bit of speed, some fun costumes and lively music! Its a great demonstration in horsemanship.

The Whip Crackers were very excited to have two first place wins! The win was special this time around since this was the first time they preformed in competition with a "Quad" or a group of only four horses & riders.

We are usually a group or six or more but we unfortunately lost two of our riders since February, so we quickly changed our routine for a smaller group. Its harder when you have less horses, you have to be extra entertaining and exciting since your competing against larger groups said Kyla Zahorniak one of the riders in the group. In our Open Division we were up against several great teams of 14 riders! We felt like the little guy and they made us work extra hard to win!

The Whip Crackers also won a first place in the Quad Division against two very good teams, "we knew we would have to work hard to get a victory, the team's we were up against have been together a long time and are great rider's. We have watched them win a lot of competitions and it was fun finally to compete with them," said Karen Coleman-Triana one of the teams newest riders.

Emily Anderson one of the teams youngest riders (Age 13) choreographed the majority of the teams maneuvers this time time around, said Mike Marquis team coach. "Emily wanted a shot at it and she did a great job".

The other riders helped bring it all together, fine tuning the drill. "We try to work as a true team and everyone gets a say in how they think maneuvers would work best. Age really doesn't matter these girls can really ride, it takes a special person to be able to practice every week in a dusty arena  they give 100 percent when we go out there I am so proud of this team! They have true dedication and great work ethics, it says a lot about the family's that they come from and the type of people they are, said Marquis.  

The Whip Crackers had a "Caribbean"  theme and used fun music from the little mermaid soundtrack such as "Under the Sea" and music with steel drums and a bit of a "island  feel". They dressed the horses in colorful attire and even had "foil"  fish painted on the horses hindquarters!. "The drill was fun for all ages to watch, said Marquis coach.

We've used the theme before when the team preformed at the recent Kiwanis Seafood Festival when the team put on a hour and half show which the audience loved, especially the kid's !

 The Whip Crackers will be heading for their State Competition in November where they will defend their "State Championship title" in the open division for 2004. We are looking forward to state competition it keeps us working hard with our horses!

We are adding new riders and  were expecting to have a lot of fun this year, said the team coach's. We have added and lost riders along the way but each year it keeps getting more exciting! We miss the riders we recently lost in February and we all felt the loss, they were the "cream of the crop" but a new crop is coming in and its going to be a blast!


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