On Global Filipinos: Equestrienne sisters win big in horse show

The winning tandem of Faye Calloway and her horse Shamrock

By Loida Nicolas Lewis

Fifteen-year-old Eloise Nuyda Calloway and her younger sister Faye, 12, represented the Filipino Team of Equestrians (FTE) United States Chapter in the Burbank Showcase, held April 25-28 at the state-of-the-art facility Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

Both sisters competed in dressage, winning three First Place ribbons, a Third Place ribbon  and the coveted High Point Championship Award for scoring the highest points in First Level.  

Faye’s lease horse named Shamrock  “Mario” O’Malley was generously loaned to her by Mr. and Mrs. Tim Skold of Los Angeles, to help Faye advance into her riding goals.  This show marked her first dressage competition.

“I have lots of areas to improve and work on but I’m really happy about my corners with Mario,” she said. “I am very proud of Mario because unlike most dressage horses that are big Warmbloods, Mario stands at only 14.2 hands which is very unconventional for a dressage horse.  So he has to work even harder on his movements to be more bold and flashy.   He is a tank despite his short height.  If they scored for cuteness, he would win because he has the most beautiful long mane.  I love him so much.”  

Eloise rode her own horse named Robusto aka Robbie, an 11-year-old Pura Raza Espanola. She said, “For me I am just so happy to have my boy Robbie back in the show ring after a long lay-up from an injury.  This week was a huge success because Robbie was mentally and physically ready.  He scored beautifully at 71.8  percent and he felt relaxed.  I was happy to win First place.”

Both sisters also competed in other divisions aboard Andalusian Stallion Centello H, who is a schoolmaster and seasoned pro in the show ring having earned himself many championships in his record as well.  

Eloise Calloway with trainer Karen De Los Angeles and team mascot, ‘askal’ breed Calvin De Los Angeles, who was vital  to team morale.
The FTE camp.

The girls thanked their coach, Karen De Los Angeles, who comes from a long equestrian background, as well as Erin Rorabaugh of Fairview Farms, where the three horses were sheltered.

Most importantly, they gave credit to their barn mom Carlyn. “Mom doesn’t ever give up and works so hard to support us in our goals and to our horses for always giving us their best,” said Eloise.

Carlyn Calloway organized everything from coordinating the haul-in, to entry forms and paperwork, coordinating ride times, ordering horse feed, shavings, making stall reservations, maintaining the feeding schedule, ordering supplies and administering of supplements and medication, braiding, grooming, bathing, and all of the team’s needs.   Her background as a fashion designer helped in the design of their dressage show jackets as well as the team jacket where she installed embroidered logos bearing the Philippine flag on the sleeve in a last- minute effort because their team jackets didn’t arrive on time.     

Their humble makeshift camp at the equestrian center became a watering hole for many other competitors who would stop by for a break, a snack, a cold drink, or even some hot steamed rice, chicken adobo, and pork sisig. The food was generously sponsored by Filipino business women Marlyn Aguilar and Adel Ortega of CB Homecare Hospice and St. Anthony Hospice.  They also provided woman-power for carrying heavy items like saddles and tack as well as transportation for hauling needed supplies for the show.  

During her childhood, Carlyn shared her love of horses with her grandmother, Evelyn Sunday Nuyda in her young adult days in the Unites States. She began avidly riding as a jumper shortly before she married her husband, Nate Calloway.  That love of horses was inherited by their daughters.  

Realizing how expensive this sport can be, Eloise at one point set up her own small business offering to do horse laundry, grooming, bathing and hand-walking to make extra cash to help pay for the expenses of training.  Her determination to learn how to ride began seven years ago when she saw Charlotte Dujardin riding in a free style performance with the legendary horse Valegro.  She turned to her mother with tears rolling down her cheeks. Interesting to note that her mother, Carlyn also had the same out-of-body experience some decades ago after witnessing Anky van Grunsven aboard Bonfire at the 1995 World Cup Games in Los Angeles.  Faye has also been riding for seven years like her sister atop some of the most challenging ponies.

During the competition, their true grit, discipline, hard work and the “can-do” spirit of their upbringing came to the fore.  Their number one weapon before entering the arena:  Meditation and prayer.  They believe that “with faith, there is no losing.  You are in the space you are in because it is the universal plan, therefore a loss is a victory because you are in the space of God’s absolute favor.”

If you would like to offer support or learn more about the team, visit  http://www.ftequestrian.com

© The FilAm 2019

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