Jenni Autry
Articles Written 2,606
Article Views 6,985,792

Jenni Autry

Achievements

Become an Eventing Nation Blogger

About Jenni Autry

Originally from San Diego, Jenni discovered eventing in high school thanks to the Bedford Hunt Pony Club in central Virginia. She took a break from competing to pursue college and a career in journalism. After working in both newspapers and magazines, she joined the EN team in 2012 and became managing editor in 2014. She travels extensively covering the U.S. Eventing Team and has reported at the Pan American Games, World Equestrian Games and Olympic Games. She’s an off-track Thoroughbred fan and competes her war horse mare Miss She Gone at the lower levels. She lives with her husband and three cats in Pennsylvania.

Latest Articles Written

USEA Announces National Safety Partnership with EquiRatings

Photo by Jenni Autry Photo by Jenni Autry

The USEA has officially partnered with EquiRatings to implement the EquiRatings Quality Index (ERQI) at the national level in the U.S. The announcement comes after months of collaboration between the USEA and EquiRatings, which began following the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention in Fort Lauderdale last December.

The ERQI measures cross country risk by creating profiles for horses and tracking their individual performances. Based on collected data, the horse is assigned a numeric value between 0-1 for each level of competition that indicates the likelihood of that horse completing cross country without faults. The ERQI Rating can then be used by riders and federations to objectively evaluate the degree of risk.

“Within a few years, we expect the ERQI to be a globally recognized rating within our sport. This year we expect to process about 200,000 eventing results, creating about 30 million individual data points,” EquiRatings director Diarm Byrne said.

“The partnership with USEA is one we have been working towards for some time — the U.S. is the home of sports data and people here use and understand data in sport better than anywhere else in the world. I am delighted that at last U.S. equestrians will now have access to the same levels of data and data analysis that other mainstream U.S. sports have.”

EquiRatings and the FEI partnered in a four-year deal earlier this month to implement ERQI starting first at CCI4* level, with FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez calling ERQI “a powerful tool for understanding and predicting risk in eventing.”

“The USEA is committed to safety and this partnership with EquiRatings will allow for another piece of the safety puzzle to be put in place,” USEA Chief Executive Officer, Rob Burk, said.

“We are excited to be bringing this service to our members and think it will add valuable information for riders and horse owners in making responsible decisions related to their preparedness to compete. Thank you to Diarmuid, Sam Watson and the entire EquiRatings team for working to develop this relationship with the USEA.”

The USEA will release more details about the partnership over the coming weeks and months. The first steps involve EquiRatings developing individually tailored U.S. ERQIs based on the past performance of horses at national and international level. Beginning in late summer, ERQIs will be integrated with all USEA horse profiles on the USEA Online Services site.

EN has written extensively about ERQI and we recommend reading this piece to learn more.

[USEA to Partner with Equestrian Sports Data Company, EquiRatings]

Enter the Fleeceworks Rolex Scavenger Hunt & Win a Tamie Smith Clinic!

Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royal. Photo by Libby Law Photography.

Are you headed to Rolex? Is your shopping route planned? Is this a friends’ getaway, a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see the world’s top eventers, or maybe even an aspirational look at your future riding career?

No matter what brings you to RK3DE, Judy McSwain and Fleeceworks (Booth 117), along with Eventing Nation, are ready to make your Rolex experience even better. Get a team together for the second annual Fleeceworks Rolex Scavenger Hunt!

The grand prize is a clinic at your facility with professional eventer Tamie Smith of Next Level Eventing. Each day of Rolex, you’ll have trivia questions to answer and a to-do list that can only happen at Rolex.

How do I enter? 

Get your team together! Teams can be made up of two, three, or four people. Name your team. Be creative! Email the names of your team members and their email addresses to Elizabeth Howell at [email protected] starting RIGHT NOW and no later than Thursday, April 28 at 5 p.m. EST. You can also send a Facebook message to Fleeceworks with the info. Elizabeth will email you a complete list of rules and requirements.

What do I do when I get to Rolex?

There will be two types of tasks — daily trivia questions and a Scavenger Hunt To-Do List. Come to the Fleeceworks booth (#117) to collect your daily trivia questions and tasks from Judy. Then turn your written answers in to Judy or Elizabeth at the booth. This MUST be completed each day of the competition at Rolex.

Be prepared for trivia questions that cover:

  • Historic moments of Rolex
  • Career achievements of Rolex horses and riders
  • Questions about Fleeceworks saddle pads, natural fabrics and Tamie Smith’s top mount Fleeceworks Royal aka “Rory”

For example, some of last year’s questions included:

  • Who was the first horse to win the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* and how much did he cost?
  • How many mares have won the Rolex Kentucky CCI4*?
  • What was the only fence from the 1968 World Championships that was left on the course for the inaugural Rolex Kentucky CCI4*?

And then you’ll have a few tasks to complete.

The Scavenger Hunt Task List

Come to the Fleeceworks booth (#117) to receive the task list that must be completed to successfully complete the scavenger hunt. Complete each item on the checklist and then post your results on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #RK3DEHUNT17.

Some of these things will be easy, such as “Follow Fleeceworks on Facebook and Instagram.”

Some may be a little more challenging. Possibilities may include “Take a photo of a Rolex rider” or “Get a selfie in the Land Rover Extreme Stable Experience booth” or “Film a mannequin challenge video of your team.”

How do I earn extra entries?

You can earn additional points by completing additional tasks that will be assigned each day. Possibilities include things like: “Take a selfie with any Rolex horse” and receive an extra entry. “Take a selfie with a Fleeceworks rider at the Fleeceworks autograph signing Saturday after cross country in the Fleeceworks booth,” earn one extra entry. You’ll receive a complete list of extra entry possibilities when you check in with Judy.

How will the winning team be chosen?

All teams who turn in completed checklists by the end of competition on Sunday morning and have had their entries verified by Fleeceworks will be entered into the drawing to determine the winning team. Bonus entries will be added. The winning team will be announced the week after Rolex by Fleeceworks and Eventing Nation.

Do I have to be at Rolex to participate?

Yes. But, Fleeceworks will be running online promotions and specials during the week of Rolex, so be sure to check their Facebook and Instagram pages for details.

Requirements for clinic host facility: The winning team must have a facility that can host a two-day clinic with up to 15 riders. The facility must have safe and accessible areas for a dressage and show jumping clinic. A cross country area is a bonus, but is not necessary. An indoor arena is preferable in the case of inclement weather. Canadians are eligible to enter as long as the facility is in the U.S.

Should the winning team be unable to host the clinic, the prize will be given to another randomly drawn team that has completed the scavenger hunt requirements. We will discuss details with the winners when they are chosen.

The clinic with Tamie Smith will be hosted by Fleeceworks. All members from the winning team will have clinic costs waived for one horse. Please no substitutions of riders at the clinic. Up to 10 additional participants are welcome to ride in the clinic at a cost of $200 per horse and rider combination. All proceeds from the clinic will be donated to one of the charities in the Fleeceworks Pads With Purpose program. Please note that facility, stabling and other fees may apply.

Friday Video from World Equestrian Brands: Lauren Kieffer Talks Rolex (and Gomarus!)

We are loving this video that gives us a behind-the-scenes look at Lauren Kieffer’s preparation for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover. She will be riding Vermiculus, a full brother to her first four-star partner Snooze Alarm, in his Rolex debut.

While the video shows highlights from her cross country round last year aboard Landmark’s Monte Carlo, in which she won the Land Rover Ride of the Day for being closest to the optimum time, there’s another horse in the video that caught our eye!

The cute black horse she is riding in the video is Gomarus, a 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Ultimo X Zomara) imported by Jacqueline Mars from the Netherlands in December. Known as “Gomar” in the barn, he’s been turning heads down in Florida this winter thanks to racking up wins at his first events in the States.

He won his first four horse trials at Beginner Novice and Novice and most recently finished second in his Novice division at the Ocala International Three-Day Festival of Eventing with a dressage score of 19.8. His personal best so far is a 17 on the flat at Rocking Horse, and we have a video of that test thanks to Thehorsepesterer:

Lauren said that Gomar is a big pet. “He definitely has a second career as Black Beauty in the next movie if eventing doesn’t pan out,” she said. Luckily for Gomar, it looks like eventing suits him beautifully! Here’s a cute video of him going cross country with ears pricked:

Best of luck to Lauren and Gomar in the future, and of course we’ll be cheering loudly for Vermiculus next week as he makes his first four-star start at Rolex. Go Eventing.

Online Auction to Support Lee Lee Jones’ Recovery

Lee Lee in her happy place. Photo by Cindy Lawler. Lee Lee in her happy place. Photo by Cindy Lawler.

Lee Lee Jones continues to make great strides in her recovery following her fall that resulted in a traumatic brain injury in December, and she is on our minds constantly as she makes daily progress at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital.

Emma Ford and Cat Hill of World Class Grooming are hosting a clinic in Cochranville, PA on May 7 with all proceeds going toward Lee Lee’s medical costs, rehabilitation and care, and an online auction launching tomorrow and running through May 8 will also benefit her recovery.

Top riders, grooms, vets and artists have teamed up with companies like Horseware, FLAIR, Shapley’s, Dubarry, Antares and SmartPak to donate 128 items and services to support Lee Lee. Now it’s YOUR turn to browse the items and bid starting tomorrow.

See the boots on Mighty Nice’s legs? You can bid to win them (signed by Phillip Dutton!) in the auction. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Here’s a look at just a few of the items up for grabs:

  • The EquiFit show jumping boots worn by Mighty Nice when he and Phillip Dutton won the individual bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Signed by Phillip!
  • Braiding for your horse at a competition by world-renowned groom Max Corcoran.
  • #TeamLeeLee bumper stickers and C4 belts.
  • A day of foxhunting with Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds.
  • Lessons with Phillip Dutton, Richard Picken, Kim Severson, Becky Holder, Will Coleman, Jennie Brannigan, Hawley Bennett-Awad, Ryan Wood, Scott Keach and many more top names.

Trust me when I say you simply must browse what is available in the auction. There is something for everyone and at a variety of starting bid price points. You can also add items to your watch list for easy tracking and bidding.

Click here to browse and bid on items. The auction goes live tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. EST.

You can also donate directly to support Lee Lee’s medical and rehabilitation costs here.

[Lee Lee Jones Online Benefit Auction]

Allison Springer’s Top Mount Arthur Retires Due to Heart Condition

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld. Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The great Arthur is retiring from eventing ahead of what was meant to be his eighth start at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event next week. Allison Springer confirmed that the 18-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Brandenburg’s Windstar X Kelly) has been diagnosed with an aortic regurgitation.

“Arthur is my one of my oldest friends. He and I have travelled the world together, and we have had many moments of triumph and some moments of heartbreak, but in every moment, he has been my partner and I have always been incredibly proud to get to ride him,” Allison said.

“Arthur is so much more than just a horse to me, and risking his well-being is something I would never be willing to do. While I am of course sad to see his retirement from eventing come a bit prematurely, I will forever cherish our memories together and the incredible partnership we share.”

Due to the aortic regurgitation, the veterinary team of Dr. Susan Johns, Dr. Kent Allen and cardiovascular specialist Dr. Virginia Reef determined along with Allison and the members of the Arthur Syndicate that retiring Arthur was in the horse’s best interest.

“Arthur recently developed leakage from the aortic valve, a common degenerative problem in older horses,” Dr. Reef, Chief of Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center, said.

Dr. Reef performed an ultrasound examination of the heart, which revealed the severity of the aortic regurgitation. “Premature beats originating from the ventricle can occur during exercise in horses with aortic valve leaks that are not detectable during a resting examination,” she said.

Dr. Reef also performed an exercising electrocardiogram with Dr. Jessica Morgan, which revealed that Arthur had ventricular premature beats during exercise, several of which occurred early and in short bursts. Although occasional premature beats are seen in horses during competition, the severity of Arthur’s premature beats during more intense work prompted his retirement.

Dr. Johns, Arthur’s longtime veterinarian, said, “It has been a privilege to be part of Arthur’s support team for the past 12 years. It is a rarity for an upper level three-day event horse to have such longevity in the sport, and I am so grateful to have cared for this amazing partnership. Although we are heartbroken that we will not be able to cheer this pair on at future events, we are thankful for our many adventures together.”

The USEA cardiopulmonary research group is currently studying heart rhythms in event horses during competition, which Dr. Reef said is “very important in furthering our understanding of heart rhythms during rigorous exercise. Additional research is needed to understand the significance of heart disease and abnormal heart rhythms during exercise in sport horses.”

Allison and Arthur completed 38 of 44 FEI events they entered, with highlights including a USEF National Championship and an overall second place finish at the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in 2012. Later that year, the duo was named to the United States Olympic Team Short list before going on to finish sixth at the Burghley CCI4*.

Allison has requested that the ground jury still allow Arthur to complete his dressage test at Rolex next week before withdrawing from the competition to begin his retirement. An official retirement ceremony will be announced soon.

Arthur has meant an incredible amount to many people over the years, and the EN team members will always carry forward our many fond memories of this prolific athlete. Go Arthur!

[Arthur Retires from Three-Day Eventing]

Last Chance to Win a Majyk Equipe VIP Trip to Rolex 2017! Entries Due by 3 p.m. Today

Enter to win a Majyk Equipe VIP Trip to Rolex! Enter to win a Majyk Equipe VIP Trip to Rolex!

Take a look at the field for this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and one thing is clear. Majyk Equipe, the innovative equine protection company, is the choice of many top competitors when it comes to protecting their horse’s legs during these challenging three-days.

In all, Majyk will have 11 riders out on course with 18 horses between them. The company will also have a strong presence throughout the competition with special deals and promotions on their line of over 80 items available at multiple tack stores throughout the show grounds.

Majyk has decided to really make a splash by offering a special competition for EN readers! One lucky reader will win a VIP trip to Rolex, including:

  • A travel gift card worth $500
  • Tickets onto the grounds for all three disciplines, including stadium seating
  • A chance to meet Team Majyk riders and have a photo taken together (riders and times subject to availability)
  • A special Majyk Equipe goodie bag to commemorate your time at Rolex

If you aren’t already following Majyk Equipe on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, now is the time to do so! Here’s how to enter:

  1. Follow Majyk Equipe on at least one of its social media sites.
  2. Send an email to [email protected] and name at least three Team Majyk riders who will be competing at Rolex this year.
  3. Name one of the available colors in the Majyk Equipe XC Elite range of horse boots in your email.

Entry emails are due 3 p.m. EST on Friday, April 14. Any entry submitted after the deadline will not be considered. Entries that do not meet the three criteria above will be considered incomplete and ineligible to win. EN will randomly choose a winner and notify the winner by email.

All entrants must be U.S. residents who are 18 years or older and must be available to travel to Rolex. The winning entrant will be expected to organize their own travel using the gift card included in the prize package.

There is no purchase necessary to enter this competition.

What are you waiting for? Go enter!

Michael Jung Withdraws fischerTakinou from Rolex

Michael Jung and fischerTakinou. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Michael Jung has withdrawn reigning European champion fischerTakinou from Rolex after the horse’s final vet check before boarding the plane to Kentucky revealed a minor injury.

He posted an announcement on his Facebook page this morning, saying he felt withdrawing was the best course of action so the injury could heal quickly and “does not get any worse.”

Michael competed “Taki,” a 10-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding owned by Klaus and Sabine Fischer and the Jung family, at Kreuth this past weekend in what was meant to be the horse’s final prep run. They withdrew after dressage.

Michael will still compete two-time defending winner fischerRocana FST at Rolex in his quest to repeat the victory for a third consecutive year.

fischerTakinou’s withdrawal takes the Rolex field down to 67 total combinations. If you missed the draw order, which went live yesterday, click here.

Win a Majyk Equipe VIP Trip to Rolex 2017!

Enter to win a Majyk Equipe VIP Trip to Rolex! Enter to win a Majyk Equipe VIP Trip to Rolex!

Take a look at the field for this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and one thing is clear. Majyk Equipe, the innovative equine protection company, is the choice of many top competitors when it comes to protecting their horse’s legs during these challenging three-days.

In all, Majyk will have 11 riders out on course with 18 horses between them. The company will also have a strong presence throughout the competition with special deals and promotions on their line of over 80 items available at multiple tack stores throughout the show grounds.

Majyk has decided to really make a splash by offering a special competition for EN readers! One lucky reader will win a VIP trip to Rolex, including:

  • A travel gift card worth $500
  • Tickets onto the grounds for all three disciplines, including stadium seating
  • A chance to meet Team Majyk riders and have a photo taken together (riders and times subject to availability)
  • A special Majyk Equipe goodie bag to commemorate your time at Rolex

If you aren’t already following Majyk Equipe on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, now is the time to do so! Here’s how to enter:

  1. Follow Majyk Equipe on at least one of its social media sites.
  2. Send an email to [email protected] and name at least three Team Majyk riders who will be competing at Rolex this year.
  3. Name one of the available colors in the Majyk Equipe XC Elite range of horse boots in your email.

Entry emails are due 3 p.m. EST on Friday, April 14. Any entry submitted after the deadline will not be considered. Entries that do not meet the three criteria above will be considered incomplete and ineligible to win. EN will randomly choose a winner and notify the winner by email.

All entrants must be U.S. residents who are 18 years or older and must be available to travel to Rolex. The winning entrant will be expected to organize their own travel using the gift card included in the prize package.

There is no purchase necessary to enter this competition.

What are you waiting for? Go enter!

Monday News & Notes from Fleeceworks

Vivian Montgomery is definitely winning the Cutest Photo of the Day Award in this snapshot of her first helmet courtesy of EN’s awesome sponsor Charles Owen. Just thinking about Vivian and the next generation of equestrian superstars — like Nox Martin and Aubrey Davidson — has us excited for Team USA’s future. Go Tiny Eventers! 🙌

U.S. Weekend Action:

The Fork CIC & H.T. [Final Scores]

CDCTA Spring H.T. [Final Scores]

Chattahoochee Hills H.T. [Final Scores]

Pine Hill Spring H.T. [Final Scores]

Spring Bay H.T. [Final Scores]

Your Monday News:

Looking to the big events in the U.S. this weekend, Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous took the CIC3* win in the inaugural running of The Fork at Tryon, home to next year’s World Equestrian Games, while Buck Davidson and Copper Beach won the CIC3* at Chattahoochee Hills. Leslie Threlkeld teamed up with Samantha and Lily Clark to bring you wall-to-wall coverage of The Fork, while Liz Crawley brought us beautiful photos from Chatt Hills. [The Fork CIC3* Final Report] [Chatt Hills CIC3* Final Report]

Michael Jung had a very specific plan for his final prep run at Kreuth ahead of Rolex and Badminton with the reigning champions of both four-stars. He retired at fence 19 on cross country with both fischerRocana FST and La Biosthetique Sam FBW, settling for a letter rather than a number with the bigger picture in mind. Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob, another horse we have our eye on for the Badminton win, finished first in the hotly contested CIC2*. [Kreuth Results] [Buschreiter.de Coverage]

Zara Tindall and High Kingdom won the Advanced section at Weston Park Horse Trials in their final prep run before shipping to Kentucky for Rolex. They added just 6.0 cross country time penalties to their dressage score of 29.9 to win on 35.9, a career best final score for these two at a National Advanced horse trials. A sign of good things to come at Rolex? We think so.  [Weston Park Results]

The EN team is wishing our good friend Spencer Sturmey all the best for a full and speedy recovery after he took a nasty tumble in the Intermediate section at Weston Park yesterday. He’s sporting a bad concussion, broken and dislocated nose, broken cheek, dislocated thumb and battered face — though we still think he looks fabulous. Please join us in wishing he gets well soon! [@SpencerSturmey on Twitter]

You know Amy Dragoo as one of the top equestrian photographers in the country, but her current adventure in Morocco has us equally captivated. Follow her on Instagram for a behind-the-lens view of her latest #travelswithamy. [dragoophoto on Instagram]

Your Monday Video:

If you’re not paying attention to Doug Payne and Vandiver, you should be. These two are one of the most exciting combinations in the country right now, gradually polishing their performance in each phase with every event. After finishing second in The Fork CIC3* this weekend, watch for them to bring home a top performance at Rolex.

Thursday Video from Standlee Hay: Tribute to Nick Skelton & Big Star

Tributes have been pouring in on social media following yesterday’s announcement that Rio Olympic show jumping gold medalists Nick Skelton and Big Star will retire. We love this touching video featuring Mark Beever, Nick’s longtime groom, talking about what Big Star and Nick mean to him.

“I’ve been with Nick for nearly 30 years now,” Mark says. “I won’t be so much sad when Big Star retires, because he’s done everything. I will be sad when Nick retires, because there will never be another Nick Skelton.”

A special retirement ceremony in their honor will be held May 14 at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. We wish Nick and Big Star all the best for a very happy and well-deserved retirement.

US Equestrian Announces Spring Land Rover/USEF Competition Grants

Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook's Scarlett. Photo by Jenni Autry. Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook's Scarlett. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Hot off the presses! US Equestrian has just announced four total Land Rover/USEF eventing competition grant recipients that will be heading to Badminton, Tattersalls and Luhmühlen.

Two combinations received grants for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials CCI4* on May 3-7 in Gloucestershire, England:

Hannah Sue Burnett (The Plains, Va.) with Jacqueline Mars’ Harbour Pilot, a 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding

Lynn Symansky (Middleburg, Va.) with The Donner Syndicate’s Donner, a 2003 Thoroughbred gelding

One combination received a grant for the Tattersalls International Horse Trials CCI3* on May 31-June 4 in Ratoath, Co. Meath, Ireland:

Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) with Tom Tierney, Simon Roosevelt, Suzanne Lacy, Annie Jones and Caroline Moran’s Z, a 2008 Zangersheide gelding

One combination received a grant for the Luhmühlen CCI4* presented by DHL on June 15-18 in Salzhausen, Germany:

Lauren Kieffer (Middleburg, Va.) with Marie Le Menestrel’s Meadowbrook’s Scarlett, a 2007 Holsteiner/Thoroughbred mare

The USEF International High Performance Programs are supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF sponsors and members.

[US Equestrian Announces Spring 2017 Land Rover/USEF Eventing Competition Grant Recipients]

Win Clinic Auditing Passes & Dinner with William Fox-Pitt!

William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero after winning Rolex in 2014. Photo by Jenni Autry. William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero after winning Rolex in 2014. Photo by Jenni Autry.

EN is partnering with Team EnGaged Clinics to give away two auditing passes and dinner with William Fox-Pitt at his clinic on May 2-3 at Valley View Farm in Midway, Kentucky.

Open to 20 riders each day, the clinic will feature semi-private and group lessons with levels ranging from Novice/Training through to Advanced, plus a Young Event Horse group.

For those interested in auditing, one-day passes cost $30 and two-day passes cost $60. Groups of five can also purchase a one-day pass for $145 or two-day pass for $290. Click here to purchase tickets. Sales close May 2. Cost is $45 per person per day at the door.

Enter to win two auditing passes and dinner with William using the Rafflecopter widget below. Entries close at midnight EST on Monday, April 10. The winner must be able to travel to Midway, Kentucky on May 2-3 to audit the clinic.

Click here to follow the clinic’s event page on Facebook. Go Eventing.

Jennie Brannigan Wins Her Timber Racing Debut Aboard Joshua G

Jennie Brannigan and Joshua G. over the stone wall at Brandywine Hills. Photo by Lisa Thomas. Jennie Brannigan and Joshua G. over the stone wall at Brandywine Hills. Photo by Lisa Thomas.

Jennie Brannigan checked a big item off her bucket list on Sunday when she piloted Joshua G to a win in her timber racing debut at the 75th running of the Brandywine Hills Point-to-Point Races in Northbrook, Pennsylvania.

It wasn’t the first time she’s donned jockey silks, as she piloted Where’s The Beef to a fourth-place finish in a flat race at the Aiken Spring Steeplechase in 2015. But timber racing is far different from any other spin she’s taken aboard a Thoroughbred since she first started galloping racehorses for Michael Matz four years ago.

“You’re just flying and hoping that you meet the last couple jumps galloping out of stride because that’s the difference between winning and not. It has been such an awesome experience, and I’m glad I’m riding Joshua G because he’s a great jumper,” Jennie said.

“I keep laughing saying I’ll try not to get too addicted, but it really is such a rush. It’s pure adrenaline. The jump jockeys have some serious nerve to hop on horses they don’t even know. If you think eventers are crazy, timber racing is really crazy.”

Timber races typically run over three to four miles with horses and riders jumping solid wooden rail fences. Two of the most prestigious races in the country run at the Maryland Hunt Cup in Glyndon and the Virginia Gold Cup in The Plains.

Jennie Brannigan on the scales at Brandywine Hills. Photo by Sara Ike.

Ears pricked

The opportunity to give timber racing a try came when Jennie found herself riding beside acclaimed steeplechase trainer Kathy Neilson this past winter while foxhunting with Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds.

I had just heard that the girl who rode Joshua G last year had become a professional flat jockey, and I told Jennie I was looking for a rider for next year. Her ears pricked and she said, ‘I’d love to ride over timber,’ so we decided to have her school the horse during the winter,” Kathy said.

“We’ve had a very measured approach to it. It’s been one school and she liked him, and then we schooled again and she liked him, then we galloped him and she still liked him. It’s been one step at a time that we’ve progressed. She liked him and he liked her, which was important to me.”

Kathy has trained Joshua G for the past three years. A 2006 gelding (Run SoftlySearch for Reality, by Regal Search) bred in Maryland by Jason Cole and owned by Armata Stable, Joshua G has won $26,191 in 19 career starts, including running twice at the Maryland Hunt Cup.

He’s just such a lovely horse, and I remember Jennie saying right away that she adored him,” Kathy said. “She connected with him, and I think she appreciates what a wonderful animal he is. That makes my job easy. She appreciates him, and that means everything to me.”

With Jennie and Joshua G clicking together in their schools and gallops, they targeted a schooling race at Cheshire’s Averell Penn Smith Walker Memorial Course at Plantation Field on Sunday, March 26. After competing four horses at Carolina International that weekend — and placing third in the CIC3* with Tim and Nina Gardner’s Cambalda — Jennie packed up her trailer and hauled home to Pennsylvania in time to ride in the race the next day.

It was unofficially a very good race against very good horses, and the horse seemed very happy,” Kathy said. “He jumped well. She finished second to a really good horse in that schooling heat, and she was competitive.”

Kathy Neilson, front, leads the way to the start with Joshua G at Brandywine Hills. Photo by Lisa Thomas.

‘Trust the horse’

With a schooling race under their belts, Jennie and Joshua G teamed up once again for her first official timber race this past Sunday at Brandywine Hills in the fifth race on the card, the Betty Baldwin Meister Memorial Ladies Race.

Jennie’s longtime friend and champion jump jockey Jody Petty walked the course with her that morning, noting that the ground was a bit wet after steady rains in Pennsylvania. But the race day had dawned bright and sunny.

“I’m glad that I’ve hunted and ridden racehorses for four years now. I also felt a lot more comfortable after the schooling race since I had experienced it once, so I knew what to expect. I think all of that was helpful because it’s a lot faster than anything we do as event riders. It’s really not comparable, and I can see now why people say that,” Jennie said.

“You have to be comfortable leaving the ground from a lot farther away from the jumps, and also riding down bold to the jumps. You don’t set the horses up for the jumps at all. If you come up deep to a jump, you just support the horse.”

While there were only three horses in the field, the Ladies Race proved to be competitive from start to finish, with Bethany Baumgardner and Battle Array sitting right behind Jennie and Joshua G nearly the entire way.

The last fence can be pretty tricky because you can be driving with your head down and riding hard,” Kathy said. “Jennie put her head down and sent him at the last fence and won. To me as a trainer I was really happy to see that she had that much horse left and that she wasn’t worried about the speed with the racing pace.”

In looking back on the race, Jennie said being able to trust Joshua G made all the difference. “It comes down to what kind of horse you’re sitting on. You have to 100 percent trust the horse because you can’t get in his way. I knew where he was going to leave the ground every time. There was never a minute I felt scared.”

Jennie Brannigan and Joshua G driving for home to take the win at Brandywine Hills. Photo by Nina Ligon.

‘Something I was supposed to do’

Now Kathy and Jennie are looking ahead to the Fair Hill Point-to-Point Races on April 16, where Joshua G will run his final prep race before the Maryland Hunt Cup. Jennie will also be competing four horses in Fair Hill’s April CIC and Horse Trials that same weekend.

If all goes well in their final prep race at Fair Hill, Jennie will then ride Joshua G in the Maryland Hunt Cup on Saturday, April 29, which coincides with cross country day at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.

There is no one else that I would like to ride my horse at the Hunt Cup,” Kathy said. “At the same token we have to get there, and the next step is to get through Fair Hill. I’m very grateful Jennie is riding the horse, and if he does make it to the Hunt Cup then I would be very happy to have Jennie sit on him.”

Jennie acknowledged that riding in the Maryland Hunt Cup one month after making her timber racing debut is a bit like “an event rider winning their first Advanced and then going right on to Rolex.” At the same time, she is confident in her preparation and, above all, incredibly grateful to Kathy for giving her the opportunity.

“I’m going to stay an event rider for sure, but timber racing is something I’ve always wanted to do. Sometimes opportunities like this present themselves, and you feel nervous but you know you can do it. It has felt like something I was supposed to do from the start.”

FEI Partners with EquiRatings on Eventing Data and Risk Analysis

Sam Watson and Diarm Byrne of EquiRatings will work alongside the FEI to advance safety initiatives in eventing. Image courtesy of EquiRatings.

The FEI announced today that a four-year agreement with EquiRatings has been inked to collaborate on game-changing data analysis and risk management initiatives in both eventing and endurance.

Sam Watson and Diarm Byrne, co-founders of EquiRatings, will work within the FEI’s database and alongside national federations to collate data on fences, falls, injuries and other risk management factors.

Perhaps most importantly, the EquiRatings Quality Index (ERQI), which helps assess the risk of horse falls on cross country, will be implemented within the FEI database, starting initially at the CCI4* level. EquiRatings will also tackle specific safety projects at the request of the Eventing Committee and the Risk Management Steering Group.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said the partnership with EquiRatings will help provide “a holistic approach to risk management” for national federations at every level of the sport.

“The ERQI is both a powerful tool for understanding and predicting risk in both eventing and endurance and brings a new layer of insight into the decision-making process at a global governance level,” Sabrina said.

“We have worked with EquiRatings in the past, but formalizing this partnership provides us with a platform to move forward with more concrete analysis of the FEI’s data, and gives valuable insight into performance and risk. It also has the potential in the future to contribute greatly to the promotion of our sport and the way in which it is consumed by fans.”

EquiRatings Managing Director Diarm Byrne said that managing risk in eventing is “a collective responsibility” for all who love the sport.

“This official partnership shows the ongoing commitment of the FEI and the Risk Management Steering Group to new measures and tools,” Diarm said. “We will be working with a number of other national federations around the world in 2017 to implement ERQIs at national level.”

As longtime supporters of EquiRatings and their work to advance safety initiatives within eventing, the EN team members are delighted to see this partnership formalized with the FEI. We have reported extensively on EquiRatings over the past two years, and you can learn more about their work in the EN Archives.

To learn more about ERQI, which is already in use by Eventing Ireland and will be tested this year by British Eventing, don’t miss EN’s comprehensive overview of the innovative traffic light system.

Sam and Diarm will also give a presentation on data analysis in the eventing risk management session at the 2017 FEI Sports Forum on April 11 in Lausanne, Switzerland, which will be streamed live on the FEI YouTube Channel.

EN will continue to bring you all the latest news on risk management initiatives within eventing. Click here to read more about the FEI’s work to date on advancing safety within the sport. Go Eventing.

[FEI partners with equestrian data science company EquiRatings on data and risk analysis initiatives]

 

BT Border Bandit Euthanized at Belton Horse Trials

Camilla Speirs and BT Border Bandit at Somerford Park CIC2* in 2012. Photo by Nico Morgan. Camilla Speirs and BT Border Bandit at Somerford Park CIC2* in 2012. Photo by Nico Morgan.

EN is heartbroken to report that BT Border Bandit, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding ridden by Ireland’s Camilla Speirs, was euthanized after fracturing his left front cannon bone on the Advanced cross country course yesterday at Belton International Horse Trials in Lincolnshire, England.

The fracture occurred on take off at fence 21, an open oxer. Belton confirmed to EN that a veterinarian attended to the horse immediately on course, and the decision was made to euthanize him due to the severity of the injury.

Camilla, who was uninjured, released the following statement:

“I am absolutely devastated and heartbroken to have to say goodbye in these circumstances but it was doing what we do best.

“Unfortunately BT Border Bandit, one of my top horses, suffered a severely extensive injury on course in the Advanced cross country at Belton Horse Trials and there was no option but to put him to sleep.

“Producing this horse from 3 years old up to three-star has been such an honour, and I will miss that cheeky face so much.

“You have been an incredible horse and I will always stand by that you are one of the most talented horses cross country I will ever come across. Sleep well, angel.”

Bred in Ireland by Ronnie Kelly, BT Border Bandit (Warcraft X Wanda XVI) came through the Goresbridge Go For Gold Sale, where Camilla’s mother Bridget purchased him as a rising 4-year-old because she loved his type.

Camilla produced BT Border Bandit through the levels, and they had five top-10 placings at two-star level, including a win at Ballindenisk CIC2* in 2013. They also represented Ireland at the World Equestrian Games test event at Haras du Pin in 2013, finishing 11th individually.

BT Border Bandit, or “TP” as he was known in the yard, stepped up to the three-star level in 2013 and delivered top-15 finishes at Ballindenisk, Cappoquin and Belton. He was also named to the Irish High Performance Squad in 2015.

The EN team extends our deepest condolences to Camilla, her team, and all who knew and loved this special horse. Rest in peace, TP.

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Poplar Place Helmet Cam

Take a spin around the Preliminary course at Poplar Place Farm’s March Horse Trials with Hannah Ledford and Doubt Ya Boy, who finished fourth in the Junior Young Riders Open Preliminary division on a final score of 51.8 last weekend.

Hannah and “Joey” skipped around the course with just 1.2 time penalties to deliver the second-fastest ride in the division. We especially love the ending: “He was so good! He didn’t miss — taking good care of me.” Good boy, Joey. Go Eventing.

[Poplar Place March H.T. Final Scores]

Need to preserve healthy joints?

Ask your vet about JointWise™.

JointWise:

  • Maintains a balanced immune response within the joint, decreasing damaging inflammation and the development of osteoarthritis
  • Preserves fluid motion and flexibility
  • Supplies the building blocks necessary to support normal cartilage growth and the regeneration of damaged tissues
  • Sustains ample high-quality synovial fluid, which lubricates and nourishes the joints

For more information, visit KPPvet.com.

Caroline Martin & Mackenna Shea Selected for 2017 Karen Stives European Tour

MacKenna Shea and Landioso. Photo by Alleyn Evans for for official event photographer Shannon Brinkman Photography, courtesy of Rebecca Farm. MacKenna Shea and Landioso. Photo by Alleyn Evans for for official event photographer Shannon Brinkman Photography, courtesy of Rebecca Farm.

Congratulations are in order for Caroline Martin and Mackenna Shea, who have been selected by the USET Foundation as the recipients of the 2017 Karen Stives Eventing Endowment Fund Grants.

Caroline and Pebbly Maximus, her 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, and Mackenna and Landioso, her 15-year-old Bavarian Warmblood gelding, will spend a month in England on the Karen E. Stives European Emerging Athlete Tour, training with USEF Emerging Athletes Coach Leslie Law and competing at the Houghton Hall CICO3* and Bramham CCI3*-U25.

Competing on the tour will allow Mackenna to make her overseas debut, and she said the opportunity would not be possible without the generosity of the late Karen Stives, who donated $1 million to the USET Foundation to create a fund that would give up-and-coming U.S. riders valuable international experience.

“Being a part of the Emerging Athletes program has been a huge asset to my development, and now with the help of this generous grant, I will be able to take what I have learned abroad,” Mackenna said. “Spending several weeks in Europe at two different venues will be unlike anything I have ever experienced before, and I hope this trip can bring me closer to my goal of one day riding on a team.”

Caroline Martin and Pebbly Maximus. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Caroline also competed on the tour last year and said she is thrilled to have the opportunity once again. “It’s really great that we have the backing for under-25 riders. To be able to go overseas and compete with the world’s best under 25 event riders — we’re really lucky that our country does this for us. It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to represent this grant and Karen Stives,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to being able to make the jump from junior to professional and being able to go over and compete and be on my top form. It’s definitely the next step into becoming a professional and, thanks to this grant, I think it’s a great start to my professional career.”

In addition to training with Leslie Law and competing at Houghton Hall and Bramham, Mackenna and Carolina will also visit British Olympian Carl Hester’s yard, as well as a steeplechase yard. The EN team wishes Mackenna and Caroline the best of luck as they set off on their trip in May. Go Eventing.

[Caroline Martin and Mackenna Shea to Represent United States During Karen E. Stives European Developing Tour]

 

Peter Barry in Stable Condition After Being Hospitalized

Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott. Photo by Jenni Autry. Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Canadian Olympian Peter Barry is in stable condition after being hospitalized due to suffering a stroke yesterday afternoon at the Carolina Horse Park.

Sue Ockendon confirmed to EN that Peter is resting comfortably at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst, North Carolina, with his wife, Susan, and son, Dylan, by his side.

The family will release more information soon but wanted the eventing community to know that Peter is stable. We wish him all the best for a speedy recovery, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Update: Monday, March 27 — Peter remains in stable condition.

Kim Severson & Cooley Cross Border Clinch Wire-to-Wire Win in Carolina Advanced

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld. Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border led the Advanced division from start to finish at Carolina International, jumping a clear show jumping round this morning to seal the deal on the win on a final score of 28.3.

“Cross,” a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Cross Syndicate, added just 1.2 cross country time penalties to his dressage score, and Kim said he was “unreal” around Ian Stark’s track yesterday.

“He just couldn’t have been better,” Kim said. “I could have been a little bit better here and there, but he was 100 percent.”

While Cross is entered for his four-star debut at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Kim has also applied for a USEF High Performance Grant to compete at the Equi-Trek Bramham Horse Trials in England, and she’s still not sure which option she will choose.

“He came out yesterday and for the first time I actually thought that Rolex could be an option. He’s entered but my first option is to go to Bramham because I think he needs to go to another three-star. If he were to jump around The Fork or Fair Hill the way he did yesterday I could see him going to Rolex.”

As for why she is leaning a bit more toward Bramham, Kim said she would like more time to confirm his flying changes and also pointed to wanting more time to develop his base of fitness.

“I think he needs the fitness of another three-star, although yesterday he was fast and easy,” Kim said. “That was a very different horse than the one I’ve had yet. I was really happy with that.”

Aside from Carolina, Cross has only had one other run this season at the Wellington Eventing Showcase, and Kim said that the competition was “amazingly good for him.” She also competed him in a combined test earlier this month at the Carolina Horse Park.

“He’s been a little nervous about being in the ring, but I think he’s had a big learning curve recently,” Kim said. “I was lucky enough two weeks ago to do the combined test on him to get him in the ring twice, which was really helpful.”

Looking back to their test on Friday afternoon, they left some points on the table when Cross cantered out of the halt and missed on a flying change, but Kim said she was pleased that he stayed more relaxed in the ring.

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF jumped clear in show jumping with one time penalty to finish in second place on on 34.5. They delivered the fastest cross country trip yesterday, coming home just one second over the optimum time.

With a solid Rolex prep run behind them, Matt and “Flaxen,” an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Blossom Creek Foundation, will now go straight on to Rolex for the second four-star appearance of their career.

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica, a 15-year-old Dutch mare owned by Team Rebecca, had one rail down and also added two time penalties to finish in third place on a final score of 46.8.

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Lauren also finished a second horse in the top five in Landmark’s Monte Carlo, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Jacqueline Mars, with one rail and one time penalty to finish fourth on 49.2. Both horses are heading to England for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

Woods Baughman and Montesquieu, a 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by James Woods and Kim Baughman, moved up from 23rd after dressage to finish in fifth place on a final score of 50.6 thanks to a clear show jumping round and adding just 5.2 cross country time penalties yesterday.

Only five pairs jumped clear rounds inside the time over Marc Donovan’s show jumping course. In addition to our winners Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border and fifth-placed Woods Baughman and Montesquieu, the following combinations also added no penalties in the final phase: Waylon Roberts and Kelecyn Cognac (6th, 50.6), Lillian Heard and Share Option (8th, 53.5), and Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy (9th, 55.4).

Click here to catch up on all of EN’s coverage from Carolina International. Go Eventing.

Carolina Links: Website, Schedule,Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Caroline Martin Takes Her First CIC3* Career Win with The Apprentice

Caroline Martin and The Apprentice. Photo by Jenni Autry. Caroline Martin and The Apprentice. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The CIC3* cross country finale at Carolina International certainly lived up to expectations, with the top of the leaderboard shuffling in a nail-biting conclusion that ended with 22-year-old Caroline Martin clinching the first three-star win of her career aboard Sherrie Martin’s The Apprentice on a final score of 44.3.

Caroline has only had “Dirk” in her barn for just over a month since she took over the ride from her former trainer Buck Davidson, who produced the 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding to the Advanced level.

With Carolina being the first three-star run for their new partnership, not only did Caroline and Dirk storm around as the only pair to make the optimum time of 6 minutes, 41 seconds, but today is the first time the horse has ever made time at the CIC3* level.

Caroline said she had an advantage in going out first on two other horses, Danger Mouse and Spring Easy, before leaving the start box with Dirk. “He gave me a surprise. He was a little bit stronger than I thought. I rode him in a loose ring snaffle, and he was pretty good through most of the course, and honestly he just showed me how to ride.”

Dirk is next entered at The Fork CIC3*, and Caroline said she will confer with USEF Developing Coach Leslie Law in making a plan for the rest of their spring season. “I trained with Buck for about 12 years, so the way Buck taught me how to ride himself is the way he rode the horse, so that helps a lot. I also used to ride Titanium and he was also trained by Buck.

“Dirk is a new horse for me, but I was also taught the basics by Buck, who is amazing. I think that’s why it was easier to get to know him. He’s an incredible athlete and jumper. He has an amazing gallop. He’s very easy on the flat. I have to give Buck credit for training him and for training me. I can’t forget Buck for everything he’s done for me.”

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen, who led after yesterday’s show jumping, skipped around clear to finish in second place on 47.7 with 6.4 time penalties. The 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, owned by Jessica Montgomery, Kathryn Kraft, and Holly and William Becker, now has two top CIC3* finishes under his belt this season, having won the Pine Top CIC3* last month.

“Glen” was a bit cheeky on course today for Clark, he said. “He jumped all the fences; he just wasn’t super adjustable to go really quick on a CIC course.” Clark confirmed they will stick with the plan to go straight on to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event next. “He doesn’t need to do anymore runs. We’ll just make sure he’s physically happy from here on out and peak his fitness and get to Kentucky.”

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Tim and Nina Gardner, sat in second place after their clear show jumping round yesterday and went clear today with 8.4 time penalties to finish third on 49.9. That’s yet another strong result for his comeback tour, as “Ping” also finished second in the Red Hills CIC3* last month.

Ping gave her a very smooth round today despite pulling a shoe, Jennie said, and she said she will consult with Phillip Dutton as to where to aim the horse next.

“He doesn’t owe me anything. I’ve been lucky to have some other horses up and coming, and we really just want to keep him happy,” Jennie said. “He is a horse that likes hard ground, so I wouldn’t say I’d ask him to jump around a CCI4* in the rain again because horsemanship-wise it’s hard on him. We’ll see how he comes out of this.”

Will Faudree and Pfun. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Will Faudree and Pfun, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Jennifer Mosing, steadily climbed the leaderboard throughout the weekend, rising from 22nd after dressage to 13th after show jumping, and ultimately finishing in fourth place on 52.9 with a speedy cross country round and 4.4 time penalties.

Doug Payne and Debi Crowley’s Vandiver, a 13-year-old Trakehnher gelding, also cruised up the leaderboard this weekend, jumping up from 23rd after dressage to round out the top five in the CIC3* on a final score of 53.6 thanks to a fast cross country trip with 4.8 time penalties.

Lynn Symansky and Donner, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by the Donner Syndicate, had the second fastest time of the division, crossing the finish with just 1.6 time penalties to finish in sixth place on 54.1 in preparation for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

Kurt Martin and DeLux Z, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by CJ and Bill Martin, looked super impressive in preparation for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, cruising around with 7.2 time penalties to jump up from 29th after dressage to finish in seventh on a final score of 58.8.

Will Faudree was the only rider in the division to finish two horses in the top 10, picking up 12.4 time penalties on cross country with Jennifer Mosing’s Hans Dampf, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding, to finish eighth on 59.1.

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Kylie Lyman and Da Vinci Code, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, delivered the third-fastest round in the division, picking up 3.2 time penalties to move up from 30th after dressage to finish in ninth place on 59.4.

Sharon White and her own Cooley On Show, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, finished in 10th place on a final score of 60.5 with a clear cross country trip and 13.2 time penalties.

Ian Stark’s cross country course certainly caused its fair share of trouble, with nine pairs picking up jumping penalties and three pairs being eliminated on refusals. We had two falls on course, with Kylie Lyman parting ways from Lup the Loop after the second water, and Hannah Sue Burnett popping off of Cooley Dream at the Cloud 11 Pebble Peach. Both horses and riders were uninjured.

We are waiting on final fence reports to be released from the event to confirm jumping penalties.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border Defend Advanced Lead

The Advanced division ran cross country immediately following the CIC3*, and Kim Severson and the Cross Syndicate’s Cooley Cross Border, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, defended their lead with a clear round and 28.3 time penalties to hold first place on 28.3.

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Blossom Creek Foundation, came the closest to making the optimum time of 6 minutes, 41 seconds, coming home just one second over to move up from ninth to second on 33.5.

Lauren Kieffer and Team Rebecca’s Veronica, a 15-year-old Dutch mare, jumped clear with 13.6 time penalties to drop one spot on the leaderboard to third place on 40.8. Click here to view full a full scoring breakdown. The Advanced division concludes tomorrow with show jumping starting at 9 a.m. EST.

Carolina Links: Website, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Kim Severson & Cooley Cross Border Lead Carolina Advanced, Presented by World Equestrian Brands

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Jenni Autry. Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Jenni Autry.

It’s been a massively busy day at the Carolina Horse Park, with Advanced dressage running amidst CIC3*/CIC2* show jumping and CIC* cross country. Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border ultimately prevailed in the sandbox, scoring 27.1 to just edge Lauren Kieffer and Veronica for the lead.

In a special edition of today’s Friday Video presented by World Equestrian Brands, we have footage of Kim and Cooley Cross Border’s test courtesy of our friendly neighborhood videographer David Frechette.

Many pairs in this division are gearing up for a spring CCI4*, with Cooley Cross Border aiming for his four-star debut at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Lauren Kieffer and Veronica, who scored 27.2 for second place, are aiming for their first appearance at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Lillian Heard and Share Option — another Rolex-bound pair — sit in third place on 29.1, with Will Coleman and Boris O’Hara in fourth on 31.5. Kristin Schmolze and Ballylaffin Bracken sit tied for fifth place with Courtney Cooper and Who’s A Star on 32.2. Click here for more dressage videos.

Kristin Schmolze and Ballylaffin Bracken. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The Advanced division goes cross country at the very end of the day tomorrow at 4 p.m. EST. Advanced cross country will not be live streamed, but we’ll have the scoop here on EN for all of you following along with this division. Click here to catch up on all of EN’s Carolina coverage so far. Go Eventing.

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen Leap to Carolina CIC3* Lead

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Jenni Autry. Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Clark Montgomery and his Rio Olympic partner Loughan Glen are our new leaders in the CIC3* at Carolina International thanks to delivering a clear round over Marc Donovan’s show jumping course at the bucolic Carolina Horse Park this afternoon.

The 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, owned by Jessica Montgomery, Kathryn Kraft, and Holly and William Becker, had pulled one rail in three of his previous CIC3* appearances over the past season, and Clark said in yesterday’s press conference that he was determined to leave the poles in the cups today.

Clark and “Glen” ultimately delivered a beautiful round, moving up to first place on 41.3, just 0.2 penalties ahead of second-placed Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda — not much breathing room as we look ahead to what is sure to be an exciting cross country finale tomorrow.

“He just felt super,” Clark said, adding that Glen was energetic and popped off the grass ring, giving him a super feeling ahead of cross country. As for Clark’s strategy, he said he certainly doesn’t plan to go slow across Ian Stark’s track.

“He likes a more forward, aggressive ride. I’m going to see how it feels. … It walks a bit firm. If it sounds slappy and dead as I’m galloping, I’ll probably back him off a bit. If it feels nice and he’s comfortable, then I’ll let him keep going. I do want it for fitness, but I don’t want him getting sore from it.”

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Allie Conrad Photography.

Cambalda, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Tim and Nina Gardner, has never jumped on the grass at this venue, but he pinged around in his typical good form today with Jennie Brannigan in the irons to move to second place on 41.5.

“It was the first time I’ve ever ridden him where he was in front of my leg and I felt like I could actually sit still on him, so that was cool for me because I felt like it was one of my smoother rounds on him,” Jennie said. “I thought there was a lot of atmosphere and he jumped really well. I thought it was one of the nicest rounds I’ve had on him.”

Jennie wisely noted that this is a very strong CIC3* field, and anything can happen tomorrow as riders tackle Ian’s beefy track. The first water at fence 7, Ship’s Quarter, and the new coffin complex at fence 19, Landmark Hollow, are causing quite a stir this afternoon as rider’s finalize their game plans.

“Ian is a great designer and rewards bold riding, and I certainly came here to compete,” Jennie said. “I think the leaderboard will move around a lot, and I’ll try to go out and do the best I can do.”

Caroline Martin and The Apprentice. Photo by Allie Conrad Photography.

Caroline Martin and Sherrie Martin’s The Apprentice continued to solidify their new partnership with a clear round to move from eighth up to third place on 44.3. She was absolutely thrilled with how “Dirk,” a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, handled Marc’s course.

“If he taps one he gets nervous because he thinks he’s made a mistake … but he didn’t touch one in the warm-up and he didn’t tap one in the ring,” Caroline said. “I thought the course rode well. He gave you options if you needed to add a stride and get your horse more collected before a combination. It rewarded the people who rode strong.”

As for Caroline’s philosophy looking ahead to cross country, she said she plans to gain every ounce of experience she can from the horse, which Buck Davidson produced to the top level and competed for six seasons at Advanced.

“I’m not trying to change the way he goes or change my style of riding. He’s giving me experience. I’m 21, and I need to get as much experience as I can at the upper levels because I want to make a career out of this,” she said. “He’s a good partner to have to learn from. He’s beautifully produced. All I can do is learn from what he does and I’ll ride to the best of my ability.”

We saw 22 clear rounds in all in the CIC3*, giving us 55 percent of the field jumping clear, a significant improvement from last year when just 20 percent of the field managed clear rounds. It could be that riders are finally figuring out Marc’s challenging course built around spooky Stonehenge after several years of competing at this event, though today’s show jumping still managed to shake up the leaderboard.

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Allison Springer and the Arthur Syndicate’s Arthur, who led overnight after dressage, pulled one rail to slip down to fourth place on 44.7. Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive, owned by Tom Tierney and Annie Jones, jumped clear to move from 10th up to fifth on 45.4.

Looking to the rest of the top 10, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deborah Halliday’s Fernhill By Night dropped one pole to slip from fourth place to sixth on 46.5. Will Faudree and Jennifer Mosing’s Hans Dampf also pulled one rail to move from fifth to seventh on 46.7.

Jessica Phoenix and Don Good’s Pavarotti jumped a bold clear to move up five spots on the leaderboard to eighth place on 46.9. Sharon White and her own Cooley On Show jumped clear to move to ninth of 47.3, and Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch also jumped clear to round out the top 10 on 48.2.

The imposing Stonehenge complex certainly makes for an intimidating backdrop in the grass show jumping ring. Kylie Lyman and Da Vinci Code are pictured here. Photo by Jenni Autry.

As we typically see from Marc, he built an intriguing option at fence nine on course. Riders could jump a Swedish oxer at fence eight and navigate a tight left rollback turn to a spooky vertical set against Stonehenge at fence nine, or turn right to a liverpool set against the fence line, before going on to the final line on course. (Marc has dialed back his designing schedule this year, so we are lucky to have him here at Carolina!)

Scores on the CIC3* leaderboard remain very tightly bunched following show jumping, with just 6.0 penalties separating the top 10 and less than 10 penalties separating the top 20. Just three combinations made the optimum time on cross country last year, so we can expect the clock to prove very influential in determining the final standings.

You can preview each fence on Ian Stark’s cross country course here. Cross country day starts with Intermediate cross country at 8 a.m., followed by the CIC2* at 10:15 a.m. and the CIC3* at 1:10 p.m. Both CIC2* and CIC3* cross country will stream live on EQSportsNet.

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

This report has been updated with quotes, scoring changes, plus amazing photos from the one and only Allie Conrad. Support your show photographers!

Allison Springer: ‘Arthur Has Been the Longest, Steadiest Thing In My Life’

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Jenni Autry. Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Allison Springer and Arthur delivered the leading dressage test today in the CIC3* at Carolina International, scoring 40.7 to hold the overnight lead as we look ahead to tomorrow’s show jumping. Last year they jumped a clear round over Marc Donovan’s course and went on to win the CIC3*, and that’s exactly what Allison hopes to do again this year.

“He’s been the longest, steadiest thing in my life for sure,” Allison said. “Honestly if you look at the grand picture, I’ve been really lucky. What I did last year is similar to what I did this year. … I just keep giving him big breaks and he keeps coming out and feeling good.”

Of course, he is still and will always be the same old Arthur. “He gave me a beautiful ride last night, and this morning he spooked at a letter in the practice ring and almost got me off. I was thinking, ‘You’re 18, horse!’ But that’s Arthur.”

As for whether Arthur will aim for an eighth appearance at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event next month, Allison said “that’s the million-dollar question.” The Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Arthur Syndicate continues to impress at the highest level of the sport, and Allison said if he handles Ian Stark’s cross country course well, she will send in her entry for Rolex.

“The water is really solid, and they put in a proper coffin — a Kentucky-esque coffin with a steep downhill to a ditch, and that’s something we really struggle with. It’s a great prep for us.”

(EN’s own Kate Samuels just walked the CIC3* cross country course and will be bringing you a full fence-by-fence preview soon.)

Allison said she feels incredibly lucky to have Arthur out for his 10th season competing at Advanced level. “It’s a blessed thing to have a four-star star horse, period. It’s really hard to get horses to that top level, and to keep practicing and keep yourself sharp as you’re producing horses is really important. He definitely keeps me on my toes.”

(Watch a video of Allison and Arthur’s leading test here.)

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen sit in second place on 41.3, and Clark said the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, owned by Jessica Montgomery, Kathryn Kraft, and Holly and William Becker, felt a bit tight in his test today.

“When he gets tight, he gets stuck. I didn’t get to ride him yesterday, so I just rode him this morning, which might have been part of it, but I’m not going to complain about a 41.”

As is his typical game plan with “Glen,” Clark has been focusing heavily on his fitness work, incorporating a lot of galloping ahead of Rolex and working less on the dressage, which is the horse’s strongest phase.

“He’s peaking easier than he ever has,” Clark said. “Finally at the ripe old age of 14 he has a depth of fitness. It’s easier to peak him back each time. He seems super healthy in his body this spring after last summer, so that’s really nice to feel. It’s just keeping the wheels on the wagon.”

Glen has plenty of experience jumping on grass after spending four years in England, but Clark said he isn’t taking anything for granted tomorrow on Marc Donovan’s course, as he had a rail down at Pine Top CIC3* last month (though they did go on to win on 36.3).

As for Clark’s strategy for cross country on Saturday: “You need to go fast enough to work on fitness. I never really ride him very slow because he needs the confidence. He likes to go fast, but we need to make sure we get to Kentucky too.”

(Click here to watch Clark and Glen’s test.)

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda, who led after the first day of dressage on 41.5, now sit in third place at the conclusion of the first phase. The 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Tim and Nina Gardner has never competed this event, and Jennie hasn’t been either since it became Carolina International in 2014.

“I remember watching the results last year and thinking this wasn’t a dressage show, and walking the course I can see why. I love Ian as a designer, and it looks proper. I always think show jumping on grass is really influential, too.”

The scores are tightly bunched on the CIC3* leaderboard, with less than a rail separating the top nine horses and riders. Less than two rails separate the entire top 20, so the stage is set for a nail-biter tomorrow, and cross country will be equally influential.

The heavy storm that drenched the grounds on Tuesday night improved the quality of the footing on much of the course, and Jennie said it’s the best footing she’s seen in a long time. “They’ve improved a lot since the last time I was here,” she said. “It takes awhile to develop a string of horses to run at both Red Hills and Carolina, and I’m excited to be able to do both.”

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Looking to the rest of the CIC3* leaderboard, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deborah Halliday’s Fernhill By Night sit in fourth place on 42.5, with Will Faudree and Jennifer Mosing’s Hans Dampf delivering a personal best of 42.7 to round out the top five.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Jacqueline Mars’ Harbour Pilot are in sixth on 43.1, with Buck Davidson and Carlevo LLC’s Carlevo in seventh on 43.8. Caroline Martin and Sherrie Martin’s The Apprentice sit eighth on 44.3, with Clayton Fredericks and Katie Ruppel’s Houdini in ninth on 44.4, and Phillip Dutton and Tom Tierney and Annie Jones Fernhill Fugitive in 10th on 45.4.

Last year just 20 percent of the CIC3* jumped clear rounds inside the time on Marc’s show jumping course, so we can expect poles to go flying if this tricky course lives up to its reputation. CIC3* starts at 1 p.m. EST tomorrow and will stream live on EQSportsNet.

It’s going to be a busy day at the Carolina Horse Park with the National divisions starting dressage, CIC3* and CIC2* show jumping, and CIC* cross country. CIC2* show jumping will also stream live starting at 9:30 a.m. EST. Stay tuned for a full report on the CIC2* and CIC* from the one and only Leslie Threlkeld.

Keep checking Instagram for more photos from today, and be sure to click here to catch up on all of EN’s coverage of Carolina so far. Thank you so much for reading, and thank you once again to the wonderful volunteers, officials and staff for another wonderful (albeit chilly!) day in Southern Pines. Go Eventing.

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram