Smith Lilly, Mercer Springs Farm and author of “Saddle Seat Horsemanship“
After stints apprenticing under Nelson Green, Mitch Clark, Larry Barbee and Fred Sarver, Smith joined his mother’s Mercer Springs Farm in 1995, and in more ways than one, things just seemed to “click.” Alexandra, a top equitation and performance rider in her junior exhibitor days under the guidance of Mary Cockriel and Rob and Sarah Byers, was running Mercer Springs’ growing lesson program with over 90 students and numerous Saddlebred owners and enthusiasts.
Alexandra and Smith were married in 2000 and since then have brought home well over 100 world titles. A partial list of the crowd pleasing Show Horses presented by the Lillys includes WGC He’s The Man, WGC Mother Mary, WGC Yes It’s True, WCC Platinum’s New Look, WCC Callaway’s Born For This, WCC Walterway’s Remember Me, WCC Have You Ever, WCC Billy Jewel, WCC Just Special, WCC French Silk Stockings, WCC Caraway’s New York Minute, WCC Desert Supreme Kid, WCC Swing An Singin and 2015 RWGC Tango’s Token Kiss. While Saddlebreds are their specialty, the Lillys have experience working with many breeds, including Morgans, Arabians, Hackneys, Friesians, National Show Horses and Standardbreds. While honored to work great horses for terrific clients, the Lillys have earned their way to the top in the same way that they approach each day: one horse and one rider at a time.
The Lillys also believe in giving back to the sport. Smith currently serves as first vice-president of the United Professional Horsemen’s Association (UPHA), chairs the ASHA Kentucky and National Futurities Committee and is a member of the USEF Saddlebred Rules Committee. In 2012, after much editing by Alexandra, Smith released the book, Saddle Seat Horsemanship. The most comprehensive and in-depth resource available to Show Horse enthusiasts, it quickly gained widespread approval and critical acclaim from seasoned pros, top amateurs and new members of our Show Horse community. Believing that the sharing of knowledge is the best way to promote and grow our sport, they give hands-on clinics in different parts of the country during the off-season, and have released a series of educational DVDs on various topics pertaining to riding and training Show Horses.
Dr. John Hanover, owner of the Animal Hospital of Gurnee
As a veterinarian, certified equine chiropractor and acupuncturist, Dr. Hanover has focused on the well being of horses for over a decade.
Dr. Sarah Watson, owner of Watson Chiropractic in Oak Park, IL
A lifelong equestrian, Sarah Watson DC, VSMT, graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic and received her V.S.M.T (Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy) degree from Healing Oasis Wellness Center.
At Dr. Sarah’s clinic in Oak Park, IL, she uses state of the art diagnostic equipment, chiropractic wisdom, and cutting edge testing to develop comprehensive plans for her patient’s improvement.
She has worked with athletes of all shapes and sizes, improving balance, fitness and performance. With her extensive training in kinesiology, she is able to assess patients for balance issues that effect performance. Through chiropractic, functional retraining and orthotics, Dr. Sarah is able to help her patients achieve their highest level of performance.
Dr. Sarah is the proud owner of two American Saddlebreds, three time pinto World Champion Doubletree’s Avalanche (pictured) and the up-and-coming stallion Snowy Harlem.