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UP CLOSE: All in the family

Orlandos an example of family-first atmosphere at horse shows

June 29, 2017
By ANTONIO OLIVERO - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Less than a week removed from her seventh birthday, Logan Orlando darts from the printer at the Lake Placid Horse Show's administrative building back to the embracing arms of her father, David, at his desk 20 yards away.

In hand, Logan waves a photo taken five years ago, of her atop her first pony. It's the first of many, she hopes, in what will become a long and illustrious show-jumping career - perhaps even becoming an Olympian.

"At first I competed in the leadline (competition)," the young show jumper explained Tuesday, June 27, cracking an innocent smile between thoughts as she sat on her dad's lap. "Then I graduated on to (the) walk-trot and walk-trot-jump."

Article Photos

Logan Orlando, 7, holds up a photo of the first time she sat atop a pony, five years ago at the Lake Placid Horse Shows, while her father and the event’s stable and feed manager David poses next to her at the show grounds on Tuesday June, 27.
(News photo — Antonio Olivero)

For Logan, David and his wife, Holly, an accomplished show jumper in her own right, their criss-crossing of the country for equestrian events as part of the Morrisey Management Group is a family affair. From April 20 to Nov. 5, David is effectively on tour as the first hand to arrive at horse shows such as the Lake Placid and I Love New York horse shows. He is in charge of setting up and managing the stables and feed for thousands of horses.

As his daughter zooms back and forth from his desk, dad attends to a detailed Microsoft Excel spreadsheet of the 1,538 stalls he is tasked with managing at the horse show.

Stabling and running feed companies is David's specialty, something he's done since the early 1990s, when during his first trip to Lake Placid, the Monmouth County, New Jersey, native who comes from a rodeo family worked on the jump crew here and drove a tractor, his first taste of the Lake Placid horse show life.

Fast forward 25 years, and he is now the first employee to show up in Lake Placid each year.

He is in charge of organizing, for example, the initial 12,000 bags of shavings and 1,200 bails of hay that are here before riders arrive.

"I have a body of stall reservations just like a hotel," he said.

From mid-May to late August, Holly and Logan join dad, as they depart their home in Wellington, Florida, for the traveling family-focused scene that is the horse show.

To Lake Placid Horse Show Association Executive Director Lori Martin, the Orlandos are not only a leading example of the family-friendly atmosphere here, they are also perhaps the shows' best example of unsung heroes.

And after a quarter century working on tour, these days, the former show jumper himself, David, is excited to see his daughter embrace the horse show life with each trip to what has become one of their adopted homes: Lake Placid.

"I think it's in her blood," the father said looking down at his daughter. "With all the families in our business, it's a bit genetics. And of all the different places we are blessed to travel to, Lake Placid is the one we most look forward to. We like the climate, and it also gives us the opportunity where we are in one place for three weeks.

"We welcome it. It's a bit of a tranquil island we land on in the summer and it kind of recharges us to get to the next event. It's really the halfway point for the circuit when you travel. Once you get through this, you're kind of on the second half of tour. It is a respite that gives us a little bit of rejuvenation, recharges our batteries and whatnot."

As part of the show circuit, the Orlandos travel as far west as Texas and as far north as Traverse City, Michigan. But it's here in Lake Placid when they celebrate Logan's birthday, and this year it was unicorn themed, complete with a tasty treat from her favorite sweet spot: Cake Placid.

David explained how the extended horse show family has created a tradition of his daughter's birthday each year, and it's Holly who helps Logan to plan her birthday party.

Five years after she first smiled atop a pony here in Lake Placid, Logan is set to ride a new horse this year, a large, flea-bitten gray pony named Magic Carpet. Although she described him as "very silly," she is excited to be back here in one of her favorite places to continue her young jumping career, mom and dad by her side.

"He has a big spur mark on his belly," Logan said through a smile when describing Magic Carpet. "He's a very cute pony and very lazy, but it's better than very fast and going at 50 miles per hour."

As for her ultimate dreams, those, of course, are horse-related as well and they hearken back to her father's childhood when his parents ran the Red Pony Rodeo in Lakewood, New Jersey, when he got his start riding at the age of 6.

"I want to live on a farm," Logan said, picture in hand, as her father smiled down at her. "And I want to be a hunter rider."



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