Jenni Autry
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Jenni Autry


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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

Budweiser Clydesdales Coming to Red Hills Horse Trials

The Budweiser Clydesdales are coming to Red Hills! Photo by Robert Spiegel/Creative Commons. The Budweiser Clydesdales are coming to Red Hills! Photo by Robert Spiegel/Creative Commons.

Big news, EN! The world famous Budweiser Clydesdales are coming to Red Hills International Horse Trials, and you have the opportunity to see them up close as they parade throughout the grounds on cross country day, Saturday, March 11.

The popular horse trials in Tallahassee, Florida attract a large swath of the local community each year, which served as an attractive selling point to Budweiser and why the Clydesdales will be making the trip to Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park.

“The Budweiser Clydesdales have come to Tallahassee in the past for Florida State University football games and Homecoming,” Jane Barron, Red Hills co-organizer, said. “Red Hills doesn’t appeal to football fans, but we do appeal to a different set” — horse lovers of all ages.

History of the Budweiser Clydesdales

The Budweiser Clydesdales’ legacy as an American institution began April 7, 1933. August A. Busch Jr. and Adolphus Busch presented the two six-horse hitches of Clydesdales to their father as a gift in celebration of repealing Prohibition, a gesture that moved all of them to tears. The phrase “crying in your beer” was coined soon after.

Since then, the Clydesdales have appeared at thousands of parades and special occasions, including two Presidential inaugurations: Harry Truman’s inaugural parade in 1949 and again for Bill Clinton’s in 1993. The Clydesdales have also made numerous appearances in Budweiser’s iconic Super Bowl commercials.

The Clydesdales’ mascot, a Dalmatian, joined the hitch in 1950 as a nod to the breed’s history as guide dogs for horse-drawn fire engines. Once known as coach dogs, Dalmatians would run between carriage wheels and provide companionship to the horses.

Today three hitches of eight Clydesdales are located throughout the country — near the company’s brewing facilities in St. Louis, Missouri; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Merrimack, New Hampshire — and continue to delight millions of fans each year.

Anheuser-Busch owns about 250 Clydesdales that are raised at Grant’s Farm near St. Louis, home to about 35 mares, stallions and foals. About 15 foals are born each year at Grant’s Farm. Warm Springs Ranch near Boonville, Missouri, about 150 miles west of St. Louis, serves as Anheuser-Busch’s largest breeding operation.

#35. Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive. Photo by Jenni Autry.

2016 Red Hills CIC3* winners Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive. Spectators will have plenty to watch at this year’s event with the Budweiser Clydesdales in attendance. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Budweiser Clydesdales at Red Hills

Red Hills anticipates that 10,000 spectators will be in attendance to watch the Budweiser Clydesdales, as well as the eventing action on cross country day. The Clydesdales travel with three 50-foot semi trucks, and Budweiser’s welfare regulations restrict the Clydesdales from pulling the hitch for more than two miles.

“We had to be able to find a place in the park for the semi-trucks to get in and set up that is sufficiently isolated from crowds as they unload the hitch, Clydesdales and all the gear,” Jane said. “With the cross country course moving to the park proper, we had some logistical maneuvering to do.”

The Budweiser Clydesdales will parade during a break in cross country between divisions, which Red Hills expects to be about mid-day. As soon as the last horse comes off course, the Budweiser Clydesdales will start their route, going past stabling and cutting into the main arena before stopping at the Sponsor Tent.

Then the Clydesdales will circle the perimeter of the arena before going to the tailgate area, where they will stop and the drivers will present a case of Budweiser beer to the winners of the tailgate contest. The Clydesdales will end their route on the road that runs along the north side of the arena.

“They will be highly visible to spectators,” Jane said, noting that Budweiser does not allow spectators to take photos with the hitch due to safety concerns, but those in attendance are welcome to take as many photos as they like while the hitch passes by. “They come with security and handlers who walk with them the whole route,” moving at about 5 miles per hour.

Red Hills competitors, owners and sponsors are in for a special treat at the Sponsor Party on Friday night, March 10, when one Clydesdale and a smaller cart will attend the party. Fifteen years ago at Red Hills a Clydesdale mare and her foal attended the Sponsor Party, and Jane said she hopes the evening will be just as special and set the stage for the main event on Saturday.

“If you watch the Clydesdales pulling the hitch, within just a few steps their legs are moving together like a marching band. Everything about them is so captivating,” Jane said. “We feel so honored and grateful to Budweiser that they’ve agreed to come to Red Hills.”

Course designers Mike Etherington-Smith and David O'Connor. Photo by Shems Hamilton.

Course designers Mike Etherington-Smith and David O’Connor. Photo by Shems Hamilton.

Counting Down to Red Hills

Preparations for the horse trials, which will run March 10-12, are in full swing, with CIC3* course designer Mike Etherington-Smith and CIC2*/CIC* course designer David O’Connor both visiting the site over the weekend. Course builders Tyson Rementer and Levi Ryckewaert began setting out the jumps last week.

Dedicated Red Hills photographer Shems Hamilton was out and about yesterday snapping some photos to bring EN readers up to date on what is happening at the venue. Many thanks to Shem for taking EN behind the scenes! Scroll down for a full photo gallery.

Tickets are available at this link. Single-day passes are $15, with two-day passes priced at $25 and three-day passes priced at $40. Three-day ticket passes are available at a discounted rate of $30 through Feb. 28. Children 12 and under attend for free.

Chinch is going out of his furry little mind with excitement that the Budweiser Clydesdales will be attending Red Hills. Are you as excited as we are? We hope to see you in Florida! Go Eventing.

Red Hills Links: WebsiteEntriesSchedule, Tickets, Tailgate

Buck Davidson & Alyssa Phillips Win Rocking Horse Advanced Divisions

Arden Stephens and Ultra T caught some serious air today at Rocking Horse! Photo by JJ Sillman Photography.

Photo of the day! Arden Stephens and Ultra T caught some serious air at Rocking Horse! Photo by JJ Sillman Photography.

Buck Davidson cleaned up at Rocking Horse Winter II Horse Trials today, taking the first three places in the Advanced Test A division and finishing second in the B division. Copper Beach sat in second place after dressage on 28.6, with a clear show jumping round moving him up to the top of the Test A division. A clear round inside the time on cross country gave Buck and Copper Beach the win on 28.6.

This was the first Advanced run for “Sean,” an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Paddy Daly X Radolin, by Cloverballen) owned by Sherrie Martin and Carl and Cassie Segal, since the 2016 Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships last year. Buck told EN the decision to skip a fall season was made strategically with the horse’s longterm career in mind.

Three words sum up Rocking Horse: Buck Davidson domination. Photo by JJ Sillman Photography.

Three words sum up Rocking Horse: Buck Davidson domination. Photo by JJ Sillman Photography.

“One of the things that was a big benefit to (Ballynoe Castle RM) was from the time he was 7 he did a big team trip in the summer, so he always had a long break after that. He never actually did Fair Hill,” Buck said. “I thought it was in Sean’s best interest to have a little break. He’s 11 now but he’s done a lot. I want my horses to be healthy and happy at 16, so sometimes you need to give them some time in the field.”

Copper Beach is aiming for Rolex Kentucky this spring, along with his stablemates Park Trader and Petite Flower, and Buck said today was about an easy run with bigger events in mind. “I didn’t push him to go fast today. He just galloped along and found it all very easy. He changed a lot after Kentucky last year. He’s much more relaxed and confident. I’ve had him since he was just starting his eventing career. I know him now and he knows me, and we’re a little more relaxed together.”

Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance. Photo by JJ Sillman Photography.

Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance. Photo by JJ Sillman Photography.

Buck took second place in the Test A division with Halimey, who led after dressage on 27.5. One rail down in show jumping dropped the 12-year-old Trakehner stallion (Askar X Hamamelis, by Pardon Go) owned by Christine Turner to second place on 31.5. He finished on that score with a fast and clear cross country round inside the time.

“We’re taking it slow with Halimey, getting him confident and concentrating on getting him fit,” Buck said. “He’s super careful and he’s the kind of horse I like to ride. He just wants to believe in you. He’s a stallion, and I do a lot of easy schools with him and lots of praising him. If he gives you a big effort, he wants to know you’re proud of him. He went around today ears pricked.”

Third place went to Buck and Carlevo, who also started the competition in that same spot on the leaderboard with a dressage score of 29.7. One downed pole in show jumping and 8.8 time penalties on cross country saw the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Carlevo LLC finish on 42.5.

Chelsea Kolman and Dauntless Courage. Photo by JJ Sillman Photography.

Chelsea Kolman and Dauntless Courage. Photo by JJ Sillman Photography.

Just one other pair chased the optimum time of 6 minutes, 13 seconds in the Test A division: Chelsea Kolman and Dauntless Courage in their Advanced debut to finish in fifth place on 47.1. Go girl go! If you missed EN’s feature on Chelsea and “Dante,” a lovable Percheron/Thoroughbred cross, click here.

Alyssa Phillips and Bliss III. Photo by JJ Sillman Photography.

Alyssa Phillips and Bliss III. Photo by JJ Sillman Photography.

Alyssa Phillips and Bliss III Bounce to Advanced Test-B Win

Looking to the Test B division, 20-year-old Alyssa Phillips and Bliss III delivered the lowest final finishing score across the two divisions. Sitting in second place on 25.7 behind Ellie MacPhail O’Neal and RF Eloquence after dressage, they went clear in show jumping and made the time on cross country to move up to first and take the win.

Alyssa and Bliss, an 11-year-old Dutch mare (Corland X Lenja, by Hemmingway) she owns with Julie Phillips, have been partnered together for four years now, and Alyssa said things have really started to click between the two.

“She was a little bit of a crazy thing back in the day. As we moved up to Advanced she’s actually jumped better because she would naturally back herself off from the jumps,” Alyssa said. “She was so game today, and I thought I might as well go for the time and see where she was at. She romped around and was with me every step of the way.”

Alyssa trains with Angela Bowles, who has been riding the mare more recently after Alyssa injured her back in the fall. Angela took the reins for the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase earlier this month, where they finished in ninth place.

“Angela has really helped me with the horses, and I am so grateful to her for everything she has done for me. I needed to put it together with Bliss today, and that happened in large part because of all the work Angela has done with me. I know that’s going to help us a lot as we look ahead to the rest of the season.”

Zach Brandt and Vasiliev. Photo by JJ Sillman Photography.

Zach Brandt and Vasiliev. Photo by JJ Sillman Photography.

Alyssa is aiming to target her first CCI3* at Bromont in June, with a goal of Fair Hill CCI3* in the fall. In the meantime, she’ll be traveling back and forth between the East Coast and Texas, where she’s a sophomore at Texas Christian University studying strategic communications and business.

The long hours on the road are worth it for Bliss, or “Queen B” as she’s known in the barn. “She has the biggest personality but she’s the kindest horse,” Alyssa said. “She has the sweetest eyes.”

Buck Davidson and Petite Flower finished second in the Test B division on their dressage score of 26.6. After Petite Flower skipped around cross country inside the time, Buck told super groom Kathleen Murray: “I wish Kentucky was next week.” The 15-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Amber’s Lust X Tears of Loss) owned by Caroline and Sherrie Martin has turned over a new leaf, he said.

“In all three phases she feels much more relaxed and much more confident. She feels stronger,” Buck said. “I feel like she trusts me, whereas last year she was pretty sure she trusted me. She went around cross country today like it was a joke. She ripped through the corners and skinnies.”

While Buck is relishing in strong finishes for all of his Advanced rides (Carl and Cassie Segal’s Park Trader also finished seventh in the B division) he said his real focus is on tomorrow, when he will resume his groom duties to Kathleen and Ballynoe Castle RM in the Sr. Training Rider-A division.

We’ve talked extensively about the last hurrah for “Reggie” ahead of his official retirement at Rolex this spring, so click here and here if you missed those stories.

“The highlight for the barn this year is having Kathleen compete Reggie. The fun that the two of them are having is unbelievable,” Buck said. “Reggie loves going to shows, and going around Training level he doesn’t even break a sweet. It’s so cool to see and it makes everybody happy. Carl had tears in his eyes after their dressage the other weekend. It’s the reason we do this sport. The relationships are amazing to watch.”

Daisy Trayford and Normandy Soldier rounded out the top three in the B division. We have to send a massive kudos for delivering a personal best dressage score of 29.6. They added just 1.6 time penalties on cross country to finish on 31.2. Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me were the only other pair to make the time in this division to finish fourth on 34.4.

Brannigan, White & Appling Win Intermediate Divisions

The Intermediate divisions wrapped up with cross country this morning, with Jennie Brannigan and Casarino winning the A division on 26.1. The 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Amy Ruth Borun is with Jennie to be sold, and he added just one rail to his dressage score of 22.1 to take the win.

Alyssa Phillips had another strong finish with Oskar, adding no penalties to their dressage score of 27.3 to move up from fourth to finish second on 27.3. Ellen Doughty-Hume and Sir Oberon added just 0.8 cross country time penalties to their dressage score to finish third on 28.5.

Looking to the B division, Cooley On Show continued to show he’s a serious horse to watch with Sharon White in the irons. Tied for the lead with Lauren Kieffer and Veronica on 23.8 after both dressage and show jumping, Sharon and “Louie” took the win on 27.4 with a clear cross country trip and 3.6 time penalties. Keep your eye on this one!

Clayton Fredericks and Katie Ruppel’s Houdini added 4.0 time penalties to their dressage score to finish in second place in the Intermediate B division on 29.0. Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo rounded out the top three on 32.6.

Christine Appling and Amelie were one of three pairs to make the optimum time of 5 minutes, 39 seconds in the Intermediate Rider division to move from 12th after dressage to finish in first place on 29.0. Cornela Dorr and Sir Patico MH finished second on 33.2, with Shelby Brost and Namaste in third on 34.4.

Click here to view the full live scores from Rocking Horse Winter II Horse Trials and here to view lots and lots of videos courtesy of David Frechette, AKA Thehorsepesterer. Stay tuned for more photos from the one and only JJ Sillman throughout the weekend, and if you see her wandering the show with her camera in hand and wearing her awesome hat, be sure to say hi. Go Eventing.

Rocking Horse Winter II H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 6.02.56 PM

Friday Video from World Equestrian Brands: Buck Davidson and Park Trader

All eyes are on Rocking Horse Winter II Horse Trials, where the first Advanced event of the season is underway in Altoona, Florida. Both the A and B divisions did their dressage tests yesterday, with show jumping held this morning and cross country running this afternoon. You can follow live scores here, and stay tuned for the full report on EN.

World Equestrian Brands rider Buck Davidson and Park Trader sat tied for third place in the Test B division after dressage on a score of 26.6. “Kobe,” a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Master Imp X Ballyhast Polly, by Highland King) owned by Carl and Cassie Segal, is starting his sixth season at the Advanced level this year.

Watch their dressage test above courtesy of the only and only David Frechette. Be sure to click over to Thehorsepesterer’s YouTube channel for about a zillion more videos from Rocking Horse. Go Eventing.

[Rocking Horse Winter II H.T. Live Scores]

FEI Eventing Risk Management Summit Addresses Next Steps for Safety

Photo courtesy of ERA International Photo courtesy of ERA International

The FEI will put forward additional recommendations to bolster safety in eventing following last weekend’s Eventing Risk Management Summit held at Tattersalls in Ireland. The summit invited judges, trainers, athletes, technical delegates, risk management and technology experts, and National Safety Officers from 22 different countries; top course designers also attended.

David O’Connor, who chaired the summit, said the three-day event made “great strides forward” and exceeded his expectations. “To have such a wealth of experience and knowledge brought together to present, discuss and debate ideas, combined with an outside technical perspective, covering the fundamental role of data analysis and statistics, is a crucial step,” he said.

“The level of conversation was extremely high; everyone involved is fully committed to taking risk management to a continued and improved level, and I believe we are making great strides forward in minimizing risk.”

David moderated presentations and discussions to address topics in safety from the grassroots to the top level of the sport, including coaching, course design, fence construction, the athlete perspective, and the current and future roles of data and statistical analysis.

Andrew Nicholson and Chris Bartle, recently named the new coach for Great Britain, both gave presentations. Sam Watson and Diarm Byrne of EquiRatings led a discussion on the collection, use and communication of data and took the delegation through the EquiRatings Quality Index, which uses data to analyze and monitor athlete progression through the levels.

The course designers for the last three Olympic Games all attended — Pierre Michelet (Rio 2016), Sue Benson (London 2012) and Mike Etherington-Smith (Beijing 2008) — along with Ian Stark, who designed the track for the 2015 FEI European Championships at Blair Castle, Capt. Mark Phillips and Giuseppe Della Chiesa (ITA), who chairs the FEI Eventing Committee.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said the summit, which was organized as one the recommendations from the independent audit conducted last year by Charles Barnett, was “another important step in our work on minimizing risk.”

“The expert input of delegates from 22 nations around the world demonstrates the united aim of the FEI and the worldwide eventing community to make the sport as safe as possible for both our human and equine athletes,” she said. “We look forward to presenting and discussing recommendations of the Risk Management Steering Group at the Sports Forum in April.”

Once finalized by the Risk Management Steering Group, the recommendations from the summit will go forward to the FEI Eventing Committee. Recommendations will then be open for public discussion at the 2017 FEI Sports Forum on April 10-11 before being presented to the FEI Bureau at the 2017 General Assembly on November 18-21.

The FEI Eventing Risk Management Steering Group is made up of the following members:

  • David O’Connor (Chair), former FEI Bureau Member and Olympic eventing gold medalist in Sydney 2000
  • Mike Etherington-Smith (GBR), international cross country course designer and equestrian consultant
  • Daisy Berkeley (GBR), FEI Eventing athlete representative and international athlete
  • Rob Stevenson (CAN), former international athlete, cardiologist and Canadian National Safety Officer
  • Geoff Sinclair (AUS), FEI Eventing Technical Delegate and former President of the Australian Equestrian Federation
  • Staffan Lidbeck (SWE), FEI veterinarian and Swedish Eventing team coach
  • Laurent Bousquet (FRA), international eventing athlete and coach of the Japanese equestrian team
  • Philine Ganders (GER), FEI Level 3 Eventing Steward and member of the German National Federation

Full details on the FEI’s risk management work for eventing can be found on the FEI website at this link.

What improvements in regards to safety do you hope might come out of the FEI Eventing Risk Management Summit, EN? Discuss in the comments below.

$15,000 Eventing Prix Invitational Returning to Ocala

Lynn Symansky and Donner. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lynn Symansky and Donner competing in the Eventing Prix Invitational. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Mark your calendars for the $15,000 Ocala Horse Properties Eventing Prix Invitational, which will return to Southern Cross Equestrian on March 7 in Ocala, Florida. Now in its fourth year, the 1.30-meter show jumping class, held annually on the Tuesday before Red Hills International Horse Trials begins, has become a highlight of the early spring season.

Attracting top riders from all along the East Coast and even further west, the invitational, hosted by Scott Keach and Max Corcoran, is expected to once again draw large crowds of spectators. Between Marc Donovan returning as the course designer and riders competing in a nail-biting team format, it’s an event you can’t miss.

“The Eventing Prix Invitational is quite simply one of our favorite events every year,” Matt Varney of Ocala Horse Properties said. “The atmosphere is fantastic because it caters to any type of spectator and the show is so well run by Max and Scotty. Everyone should be putting this event on their social calendar.”

The action begins on Monday, March 6 at noon with a $1,000 Warm-Up Class sponsored by Doug Hannum Equine Therapy. All riders entered in the Eventing Prix Invitational can bring up to three horses to compete in this 1.15-meter speed class for $1,000 in prize money.

Matt Varney and Rob Desino of title sponsor Ocala Horse Properties with $15,000 Eventing Prix Invitational winner Lauren Kieffer.

Lauren Kieffer took the win last year. Can she defend the title in 2017? Photo by Jenni Autry.

The Eventing Prix Invitational will begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 7. The team order of go will be drawn the night before the competition, with team captains deciding the order of go within their team. The first round determines the team winners, and the top 10 individuals from the first round will return for a jump-off to decide the overall winner.

The event is free and open to the public, and spectators are encouraged to bring a chair and a picnic. Food and drink will also be available for purchase on the grounds from Humble Pie Pizza and other area vendors.

“We enjoy having everyone at the farm, and it’s a fun day to watch the top international event riders and horses in a festive and educational environment for everyone,” Max said.

VIP tables are also available and include an open bar and food provided by Celebrations Catering. To reserve a VIP table, please contact Max at [email protected]

The event is generously sponsored by Ocala Horse Properties, Peak Performance, Woodman Life, Stella’s Electric, Doug Hannum Equine Therapy and Wordley Martin Equestrian. (Sponsorship opportunities are still available.)

If you can’t be in Ocala to watch the Eventing Prix Invitational live, Joel Wiessner of EQTV Network once again will be live streaming the competition, and you can watch right here on EN. We hope to see you there! Southern Cross is located at 13440 NW Highway 225, Reddick, FL 32686.

Thursday Video from Standlee Hay: Ride Around Ocala’s Prelim Course

Tiffany Smith kindly sent in her helmet cam from the Preliminary Rider-C division at Ocala Winter II Horse Trials, in which she piloted her Thoroughbred gelding Indigenous Gent to a third-place finish on 47.2.

They were one of just two combinations in the division to make the time on cross country and one of five to deliver a clear round. Tiffany also sent along some things to note about “Indy” as you watch the helmet cam:

  1. Can you tell Indy’s back leg slips into the ditch at the coffin? He’s pretty amazing to still get the one-stride and out over C.
  2. He’s so darn honest, especially at 12AB, 13AB and at the angled cottages. Love him!
  3. This was Indy’s first time ever doing a keyhole on a course and our first time making time at Prelim on cross country. Yay!

We love the enthusiasm! Congrats to Tiffany and Indy on a great ride. Go Eventing.

[Ocala Winter 2 HT Presented by Brian Cox Farm Team Final Scores]

If You Missed It: William Micklem’s Safety Series

Sam Micklem and Hi Heaven — a full sister of Mandiba, High Kingdom and William's stallion Jackaroo — at Ballinamona in 2015. Photo by Donal O’Beirne/Hoofprints Innovations. Sam Micklem and Hi Heaven — a full sister of Mandiba, High Kingdom and William's stallion Jackaroo — at Ballinamona in 2015. Photo by Donal O’Beirne/Hoofprints Innovations.

EN remains staunchly committed to providing a platform for bolstering safety in eventing, and we were honored to publish William Micklem’s compelling series of six columns addressing the topic. If you missed any of his columns, we’ve included all the links below in the order in which they were published. Please read, comment and share. Together we can keep the topic of safety at the forefront of the sport.

William Micklem: Safety and Reality — “Cutting corners, burning the candle at both ends and compromises are the reality of so many busy lives. However what most people will not think of is that this probably makes you less safe as a rider. Particularly with cross country safety if your preparation and training is of the ‘just in time’ and ‘it’ll have to do’ variety, and worst still your mind is not fully focussed on the task at hand, then there is an increased risk of an accident.”

William Micklem: Safety and Trust — “Surely there is already compelling scientific evidence and statistics, from both British Eventing and the FEI, to say that anyone connected with cross country has a duty of care to use deformable technology wherever possible to keep our riders safer. Surely we should trust our governing bodies to do this? To do more than just approve it but actively ensure it is put into practice.”

William Micklem: Safety and Responsibility — “It is easy to be wise after the event but in fact coaches and riders have been concerned about keyhole fences for some time, and ways need to be found for us to communicate more effectively on all safety issues. It is also possible that we need a separate specialist cross-country ground jury to inspect the courses, rather than the present system of using a ground jury whose primary task is judging the dressage. It is also possible as Mike Etherington-Smith says that ‘some of the (cross country) guidelines could become rules.’ So together we should accept our joint responsibility for the future and go forwards.”

William Micklem: Safety and Blindness — “A good idea has to give way to a better idea and the EquiRatings Quality Index is a great example of this. There are other good ideas that need to take root in relation to course design, training and progression. Unfortunately a few traditionalists are blind to the need for change. Instead they would like both officials and participants to take a more robust attitude and take a step back to the ‘good auld days’ of eventing.”

William Micklem: Safety and Forwards — “I also never forget that horse riding is an activity where peaceful humane attitudes, progressive training and good sportsmanship should always prevail. And when going over the top down to fence one on the cross country riders should have every expectation, not of traps and danger, but of a course that is fair and appropriate for well-prepared partnerships … and a course that makes full use of deformable technology.”

William Micklem: Safety and Us — “It is so easy to do nothing and say nothing about these safety matters, leaving it up to ‘the powers that be’ to possibly take action? But all of us have a stake in our sport and we need an ‘us’ philosophy if there is going to be definite action both to successfully promote our wonderful sport of eventing, within and outside the equine world, and substantially reduce the number of fatalities.”

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Foggy Ocala Helmet Cam

A thick blanket of morning fog covered the cross country course at the Florida Horse Park during the Ocala Winter II Horse Trials this past weekend, making for dramatic viewing in this helmet cam!

Mimi Richards, who rides for the Elevate Event Team sponsored by Kentucky Performance Products, competed in the Training Rider-B division aboard Whitfield. A 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Whitfield (Private Vow X Seda Fina, by Known Fact) raced five times before beginning his eventing career in 2014 with Jennie Brannigan.

Mimi and Whitfield finished on their dressage score of 37.7 to place sixth in the Training Rider-B division.

Remember to send your helmet cams to [email protected] so we can share them! Go Eventing.

[Ocala Winter 2 HT Presented by Brian Cox Farm Team Final Scores]

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Eric Dierks Recovering from Burns Sustained in Water Heater Explosion

Eric and Trayce. Photo courtesy of Renovatio Farm.

Eric and Trayce. Photo courtesy of ErikOlsenPictures.

The eventing family is rallying around Eric Dierks and Trayce Doubek-Dierks after Eric sustained second- and third-degree burns to his face and right hand on Monday morning, Feb. 13, when a water heater he was repairing exploded at their Renovatio Farm in Tryon, North Carolina.

Eric was airlifted to Doctors Hospital of Augusta in Augusta, Georgia, and he successfully underwent skin graft surgery yesterday morning. He is now recovering at Doctors Hospital in the Joseph M. Still Burn Center, the largest burn center in America.

Trayce recently underwent back surgery and still has three weeks left in her recovery before she can start riding again. With Eric also sidelined and facing a substantial recovery period, they are seeking help from the local community to keep their business afloat.

“We have the absolute best staff, but I know this will wear thin on them so the immediate help needed is weekend help, specifically stall cleaning,” Trayce said on her Facebook page, adding that they will also need help with late-night checks at 7 p.m. each evening.

For those in the Tryon area who are available to help with cleaning stalls and other barn chores, please contact Michelle Drum or Rebecca Drumgool.

Eric and Trayce are also seeking trainers and riders to help keep their horses in work. “With both of us out riding it’s going to be tough, specifically as I just had a significant surgery and now Eric’s medical expenses will be tenfold,” she said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help offset the cost of Eric’s medical expenses. Click here to donate.

Let’s show once again that eventers take care of our own! Please join the EN team in sending healing thoughts and prayers to Eric, and please consider donating if you are able. Go Eventing.

[Eric and Trayce Dierks GoFundMe]

Boyd Martin Breeding the Next Generation of Event Horses

Boyd Martin and Ray Price at Maryland H.T in July 2016. Photo by Rob Bowersox. Boyd Martin and Ray Price at Maryland H.T in July 2016. Photo by Rob Bowersox.

While you know Boyd Martin as a pioneer of event horse syndication in the U.S., what you might not know is he’s also been quietly breeding the next generation of horses he hopes will one day represent Team USA on the world stage.

Boyd and his wife, Silva, previously ran Windurra Stud in Australia, and while he has since stepped away from personally owning a herd of broodmares, that hasn’t stopped him from breeding. Instead, Boyd has shifted his focus to carefully selecting embryos from mares that catch his eye and pairing them with top stallions.

Boyd’s foray into breeding began when he bought his first Thoroughbred broodmare, Banjo’s Word (Eleazar X Queens Word, by Marquis de Sade), from Australian Olympian Heath Ryan. He bred her to the KWPN stallion Salute (Saluut X Inia, by Amor), who stands in Australia and also sired Sharon White’s four-star partner Rafferty’s Rules. The resulting foal, Fair Fiona, became the foundation of his breeding program.

“I wanted to lighten up the next foal, so I decided to breed Fair Fiona to a Thoroughbred stallion,” Boyd said. He chose Raise A Stanza as the stallion, an American-bred Thoroughbred (Raise A Man X Short Stanza, by Verbatim) standing in Australia.

Fair Fiona, one of Boyd's first homebreds and Ray Price's dam, at the 2016 Dutta Corp Fair Hill International with Ellie Luther. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Fair Fiona, one of Boyd’s first homebreds and Ray Price’s dam, at the 2016 Dutta Corp Fair Hill International CCI2* with Ellie Luther. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Ray Price

The foal, Ray Price, represents the second generation of Boyd’s breeding program. As for how Boyd chose the name: “Ray Price was one of the toughest, meanest rugby league players in Australia. He was my father’s favorite rugby league player in the ’80s.”

While rugby’s Ray Price made headlines as “Mr. Perpetual Motion,” so named for his hard-hitting style of play, Boyd’s Ray Price is making headlines for different reasons. The last horse he bred in Australia, Boyd’s longtime supporter Amy Lindgren agreed to bring Ray Price to America and own half of the horse.

Now a coming 9-year-old, Ray Price is quickly proving he is one to watch in the States. He won his first CIC2* at the Maryland H.T. in July 2016 and went on to finish second in his first CCI2* at Virginia Horse Trials in October.

“Obviously I think he’s one of the nicest horses I’ve ever had. I’m a bit biased since I bred him and owned his grandmother,” Boyd said. “He’s shown at Dressage at Devon and his mother, Fair Fiona, won a CCI* in Syndey and won the Australian Young Event Horse Show Jumping Championships as a 4-year-old. He’s got a great mixture of everything.”

Ray Price is the latest star prodigy of Raise A Stanza, but the stallion has sired numerous top event horses. Sammi Birch rode his daughter, Enchanted, to a third-place finish in the Adelaide CCI4* in 2003, the year Boyd won with True Blue Toozac and the final year the event ran as a long format. Enchanted also completed Badminton twice.

Raise A Stanza also sired Dotcom, who completed all 24 of his career international starts with Emma Dougall, picking up cross country jumping penalties in just two of those runs. Dotcom completed three CCI3* competitions during his career. Another Raise A Stanza son, Scrumpy Jack, completed his eight international starts, including the Sydney CCI3*, without any cross country jumping penalties.

In addition to coming from a long line of hardy event horses, Ray Price is 78% Thoroughbred. “I think somewhere around 70% Thoroughbred blood is a good number so you have the gallop and that Thoroughbred look and mentality,” Boyd said.

With the other side of his breeding featuring top dressage and show jumping lines through Salute (Saluut X Inia, by Amor), who traces to Ramiro Z, Ray Price is bred to excel in eventing.

“The reality is that I think to remain at the top of the sport you need young horses coming through,” Boyd said. “I’m always on a mission trying to find 4-year-olds, 5-year-olds and 6-year-olds.”

Yippee Yi Yo and Ying Yang Yo having a chat. Photo courtesy of Denise Lahey.

Yippee Yi Yo and Ying Yang Yo having a chat at Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin’s Stony Brook Farm. Photo courtesy of Denise Lahey.

Making a match

It’s all the better if Boyd can breed those top young horses himself. “I used to breed five horses a year,” he said. “Now I breed one horse every year in America.” While he ultimately sold Fair Fiona in the U.S., Boyd was so impressed with the quality of Ray Price that he tracked the mare down to buy an embryo from her.

(Now 17, Fair Fiona still competes at the two-star level with Ellie Luther in the irons. She competed alongside her son Ray Price at the Maryland H.T. in July, where he won his first CIC2* and she finished in sixth place.)

Perhaps what excites Boyd the most is that Ray Price is just the beginning. He matched the embryo from Fair Fiona to Mystic Replica (Babamist X Taliesing Song, by Judge J B), Mary Hazzard’s Thoroughbred stallion that stands in Unionville, Pennsylvania. The resulting filly, Mystic Affair, features a similar amount of Thoroughbred blood to her half-brother Ray Price.

In 2015 he bought an embryo out of Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin’s Rising Spirit, who competed at the Intermediate level with Laine Ashker before beginning her career as a broodmare. Rising Spirit is by the Thoroughbred stallion Primitive Rising, who also sired William Fox-Pitt’s Rolex winner and WEG silver medalist Cool Mountain. (Primitive Rising is by Raise A Man. Ray Price’s sire Raise A Stanza is also by Raise A Man.)

Boyd matched Primitive Rising’s embryo to Jaguar Mail, the sire of Michael Jung’s 2015 European Champion fischerTakinou. The resulting foal, Yippee Yi Yo, is now a striking yearling ready to play his role in the next generation of top event horses. It can’t hurt that “Yippee” started his life getting advice from Ying Yang Yo, Boyd’s former four-star mount who is retired with his owners Denise and Pierre at their Stony Brook Farm in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

“I want to encourage American breeders,” Boyd said. “We’ve got the best Thoroughbreds in the world right  here. With the technology of frozen semen, we can use the best stallions from Europe and match that with American Thoroughbred mares.”

As Boyd continues on his quest to breed future stars for Team USA, he remains confident he is on the right track. Ray Price is currently leading the way for his own next generation, and Boyd said he will likely aim the horse at another CCI2* this spring before moving him up to the Advanced level in the fall.

“I haven’t come up with a four-star horse I bred yet, but Ray could be it.”

(If you’re interested in joining the journey with Ray Price, Boyd is now offering 10 syndicate shares in the horse. Contact Boyd at [email protected] for more information.)

Capt. Mark Phillips Named New Course Designer for Jersey Fresh

The famous Jersey Shore at Jersey Fresh. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The famous Jersey Shore will receive a makeover under Capt. Mark Phillips’ new plan for the course. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event confirmed to EN that Capt. Mark Phillips has been named the new course designer for the CCI3*, CIC3*, CCI2* and CIC2* levels. He replaces John Williams, who designed the courses for 14 years since the inception of the event.

“The courses are very different,” Mark said, especially when considering that the track now includes additional acreage following extensive negotiations with state, county and local entities regarding the land adjacent to the cross country course at the Horse Park of New Jersey.

“The new land allows for an additional 600 meters through another field, which will help with the flow,” Mark said. “It will have a totally new look and totally new feel. We’re not building a lot of new fences, but I’ve reversed some.”

Jane Cory, Jersey Fresh event organizer, said the organizing committee is thrilled to have Mark on board. “With the additional acreage to work with, we’re excited to see how that can open up the courses and change the flow,” Jane said. “Mark will bring invaluable insight to that.”

Looking to additional changes, the famous Jersey Shore is slated to get a makeover that will lower the island by 1 foot. The idea came when Mark spoke to Richard Nicoll, course designer for the Garden State Combined Driving Event, which is held annually at the Horse Park of New Jersey.

“Richard and I both think that the island is too high, so we will work together on a budget with the combined drivers to lower it,” Mark said. “That will make it much softer, more attractive and nicer for the horses.”

The courses will not run through the main arena as they have for the past two years, and Mark emphasized that his goal is to give a better look and flow to all four of the tracks, which have been more twisting with tight turns in recent years.

“It will be easier to get the horse in a good rhythm, so it should be a better experience for the horses and riders,” he said. “If the horses and riders enjoy it then they will want to come back and jump it, and that will create more support and sponsorship for the event.”

Mark said he is “the new boy on the block” when it comes to working with Jersey Fresh, but he has thoroughly enjoyed the process so far and looks forward to working with their team. He will return to the venue during the second week of April to place the jumps and set the lines and distances.

“I think we’re on a good path, and I hope this will mean an exciting future for Jersey Fresh. John Williams has done a great job and been there for 14 years. It was time to give it a new direction and new change,” Mark said.

“I only have three years left on my license, so hopefully I can make a significant change in the next three years and then someone younger can take it on and go on to bigger and better things.”

While John will no longer design the courses, he will stay on as a member of the organizing committee and continue in his role as co-organizer of the event alongside Morgan Rowsell. The step away from designing at Jersey Fresh also aligns with John’s goals to pursue additional officials licenses, Jane said.

While the FEI has not yet officially confirmed that Mark will be the course designer for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, he is widely expected to get the nod.

“The fact that riders can come to Jersey to get a little taste of what might be coming at WEG is something we feel is a big asset we have to offer this year,” Jane said.

This year’s Jersey Fresh International Three Day Event will be held May 10-14, 2017, when the event will also celebrate its 15th anniversary. Be sure to bookmark for more information.

[Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event]

$50,000 Arena Eventing Class Coming to Devon Horse Show

Arena eventing is coming to Devon. Photo by Chris Gosnell/Creative Commons. Arena eventing is coming to Devon. Photo by Chris Gosnell/Creative Commons.

Pennsylvania’s iconic Devon Horse Show & Country Fair is adding a new arena eventing class to this year’s show on May 28, inviting 40 eventers and show jumpers to compete over both cross country jumps and show jumping fences in the Gold Ring and Dixon Oval.

With $50,000 in prize money on the line, Devon hopes the class will attract top riders across both disciplines, as well as introduce the sport of eventing to an entirely new group of spectators.

Event organizer Beth Clark, who competes in show jumping and trains with Kevin Babington, dreamed up the idea for the class after attending several top horse trials in the mid-Atlantic region. She soon discovered that the amount of prize money offered didn’t stack up to what riders see at jumper shows.

“The idea came from trying to figure out a way to help eventing be a more popular sport,” Beth said. “I grew up in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, and my parents hosted the eventing team and Jack Le Goff on our property for many years. It’s a great sport, and I’d like to see something help the eventing world.”

Wayne Grafton, chairman and CEO of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, supported the idea from the start. “The minute it was suggested I thought it was a fabulous idea,” he said. “We’re trying to be responsive not only to the riders, but also to the sponsors and spectators as far as what they find exciting and want to see at Devon.”

Once Capt. Mark Phillips came on board as the course designer, the concept for an exciting evening for riders and spectators alike truly came to life, Beth said.

“Mark came up to look at the rings, and he said Devon is a brilliant place to host a class like this because you have so much space,” Beth said. “Devon cleared the whole evening for us, and the class will also be live streamed. We hope to reach a new group of fans for the sport.”

To qualify to compete in the class, riders must have attained a qualifying score at a CCI2* competition or compete in show jumping at the 1.40-meter level. Capt. Mark Phillips’ course will run across 1,000 meters through both the Gold Ring and Dixon Oval.

The course will feature about 25 jumps in all, with 15 of them being cross country fences shipped in from Fair Hill and the rest being show jumps. All jumps will be set at a maximum height of 1.20 meters or 1.40 meters for brush fences, with a maximum top spread of 1.60 meters.

Seconds will be added for a knock down and for exceeding the time allowed, which will be calculated at 450 meters per minute. All riders with no penalties in the first round will go on to a jump off, which will run over a shortened course in the Dixon Oval.

The fastest time in the jump off will take home the win and $15,000 for first place. The rest of the $50,000 purse, presented by title sponsor Mid-Atlantic Packaging, will be split as follows: 2nd: $10,000; 3rd: $7,500; 4th: $6,000; 5th: $4,500; 6th: $3,000; 7th: $2,000; 8th: $1,000; 9th: $500; 10th: $500. There is no entry fee for the class.

All riders who meet the qualification criteria are welcome to enter, and riders may compete more than one horse if the individual entries do not exceed the maximum of 40. Devon anticipates that the class will attract primarily event riders, but Kevin Babington is also on board and encouraging show jumpers to compete as well.

Beth has worked closely with Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin in developing the concept for the class, and she said their support has been immensely helpful in bringing arena eventing to Devon.

“Boyd and Phillip originally said they thought $30,000 in prize money would encourage riders to come compete, but we wanted to start with $50,000 like Wellington did to get people’s attention and hold a first-class event,” she said.

Wayne added: “We hope this will be a permanent class at Devon, and we also hope to grow it in terms of prize money. I think it’s a good match for the sport and for Devon, and I hope the competitors are excited and come enjoy it.”

Hospitality tables will be available for purchase in the Devon Club, along with reserve seating options, starting in March. The official prize list will be released this month. Click here for ticket information.

Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

Those of you who attended EquiRatings‘ standing-room only presentation at the 2016 USEA Convention will not be surprised to hear that Diarm Byrne captivated the International Eventing Forum audience yesterday at Hartpury College.

When you consider that Eventing Ireland reduced falls at the CNC2* level by 66% last year while using the EquiRatings Quality Index, it’s clear that data analysis can only help to bolster a safer sport. Our friends at The Gaitpost have a full video interview with Diarm here. Stay tuned for more on the International Eventing Forum here on EN.

Events Opening This Week:

 Stable View Spring Horse Trials (SC, A-3)  Carolina International CIC and Horse Trial (NC, A-2)  Poplar Place Farm March H.T. (GA, A-3)

Events Closing This Week:

 Full Gallop Farm March I H.T. (SC, A-3)  Sporting Days Farm Horse Trials II (SC, A-3)  Rocking Horse Winter III H.T. (FL, A-3)  Twin Rivers Winter H.T. (CA, A-6)

Tuesday News & Notes:

Have you been reading William Micklem’s safety series on EN? The final column, entitled “Safety and Us,” will be released Thursday ahead of the Eventing Risk Management Summit on Feb. 10-12, which will bring together course designers, technical delegates, judges and national safety officers at Tattersalls. Click to read through all the parts so far, and stay tuned for the next column on Thursday: part onepart twopart threepart four, part five.

The USEF has released the dressage test for the new Modified level, which will be used for the first time this year. While it’s performed in a small arena, the test requires sitting trot throughout. The test also includes a leg yield to canter, which for riders moving from Training to Modified will be their first introduction to lateral work in a test. [Dressage Test Released for New Modified Level]

Bored with riding in the indoor this winter? Caroline Moore, coach to the British junior eventing team, offered several exercises to spice things up at the International Eventing Forum. [3 exercises to spice up your training at home]

Is your horse’s dental care current? Learn about dental disease, oral care and tooth-related behavior issues during “Ask TheHorse Live” this Thursday at 8 p.m. EST. The online Q&A gives participants a chance to have their dental questions answered by Dr. Lynn Caldwell of Silverton Equine Veterinary Services in Silverton, Oregon. [Register here]

Tuesday Video:

A few helpful winter tips from Cavalor:

Triple Threat: Boyd Martin Wins in Wellington with Welcome Shadow

Boyd Martin and Welcome Shadow. Photo by Jenni Autry. Boyd Martin and Welcome Shadow. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Do we need to invite Michael Jung to the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase next year to see if anyone can dethrone Boyd Martin? He remains the undefeated champion of the event after clinching the win for the third consecutive year, this time aboard Craig and Gloria Callen’s Welcome Shadow.

A former hunt horse for Craig, Boyd commandeered the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare as an eventing prospect in 2013 and never looked back, taking her from the Novice level through to her first four-star at Pau last fall. She delivered a personal best dressage score of 26.5 yesterday, jumped clear over a show jumping course Boyd thought was “bigger than Rolex” this morning, and then stormed around clear with just 0.8 time penalties on cross country to win on 27.3.

“You wouldn’t get a horse that tries any harder than Welcome Shadow,” Boyd said, adding that he was extremely proud of how she performed in all three phases. “The caliber of horses was the best we’ve seen here. The show jumping was bigger and wider. … The cross country was a real test, and I think it’s been good that they’ve gently built it up like this, but the cross country was influential this year compared to years where it wasn’t that influential.”

Buck Davidson and Petite Flower. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Buck Davidson and Petite Flower. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Buck Davidson and Petite Flower were one of just two pairs to make the optimum time of 3 minutes, 59 seconds, which moved them from sixth up to finish in second place on 30.9. The 15-year-old Thoroughbred mare owned by Sherrie and Randy Martin was dynamite in her cross country school earlier in the week, Buck said, and she was spot on again today.

“I cross country schooled this week and called Sherry and Randy and said she’d never gone so well and been so straight … She was straight as could be today. She’s very fast, and she’s a fun horse to ride around these kinds of events,” Buck said, adding he also “was happy with the dressage, and she tried her heart out in show jumping.”

Doug Payne and Vandiver were the only other pair to make the time thanks to a gutsy route up the mound that shaved previous seconds off their time. That speedy round moved Doug and “Quinn,” a 13-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Debi Crowley, from 10th up to finish in third place on 34.2.

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Jenni Autry.

“This is an incredible competition that will prove to be valuable for the horses who are able to come here early in the season,” Doug said. “There’s more atmosphere than you would see anywhere aside from Rolex domestically. We rarely have the opportunity to have this type of atmosphere.”

While Doug said he was disappointed to have the last fence down in show jumping this morning, the horse was flawless on cross country. “He’s a bit of a dirt bike, and I’m learning to trust him more.” (Debi couldn’t be here this weekend to watch Quinn compete, so we are sending her a big EN shoutout!)

Welcome Shadow, Petite Flower and Vandiver are all aiming for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, and Boyd said he thought the showcase was an ideal preparation for bigger competitions to come later in the spring. “I personally don’t think (events like the showcase) knock the horses around too much since it’s a 4-minute track. These are four-star questions at Intermediate height, so it tuned (Shadow) up a bit.”

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

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

Looking to the rest of the leaderboard, Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border jumped clear with 9.2 time penalties to finish in fourth place on 37.2. Liz Halliday-Sharp said she was over the moon with Deborah Halliday’s Fernhill By Night, who skipped around with 6.4 time penalties to finish fifth on 37.7.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda and William Fox-Pitt and Steady Eddie tied for the next fastest rounds of the day, both picking up 3.2 time penalties to move up from 14th and 15th to finish sixth and seventh on 38.5 and 38.7, respectively. Escot 6 jumped out of his skin for Colleen Rutledge, picking up 4.0 time penalties to move from 20th to eighth on 41.5.

Angela Bowles and Bliss III jumped clear with 6.0 time penalties to move from 16th to finish ninth on 41.7. William Fox-Pitt was the only rider to finish both of his rides in the top 10, jumping a beautiful clear round on RF Quarterman to accumulate 5.6 time penalties and move from 19th to 10th on 42.9.

As Boyd said, cross country definitely proved to be more influential this year. Angela Bowles and Novelle and Joe Meyer and South Paw were both eliminated on refusals. Joe also retired Clip Clop on course after one refusal at the water at fence 13 and a second refusal at the corner at fence 17.

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

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

We saw two riders falls, first when Kylie Lyman fell from Lup the Loop at the corner after the water, and she was up and OK right away. Our thoughts are with Marilyn Little, who withdrew leader RF Scandalous after falling at fence 17 with RF Demeter, who rolled over her before getting up and galloping away. The mare is uninjured.

“Out of an abundance of caution and with facility protocol, Marilyn was transferred and transported through TraumaHawk to Delray Medical Center,” Palm Beach International Equestrian Center said in a statement. She was released from the hospital at approximately 5:30 p.m. EST with no major injuries.

Allison Springer and Arthur were another combination that had a glance off at the corner at fence 14. “He was actually great,” Allison said after her ride. “That combination I should have taken more time. It was my fault he was awesome and really I was trying to go for it.” Click here to relive a play-by-play of cross country in our open thread.

More love for #teamleelee at the Wellington Eventing Showcase. Photo by Jenni Autry.

More love for #teamleelee at the Wellington Eventing Showcase. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sports Productions, said he was thrilled with the event, which is now in its third year. “We wanted to demonstrate the great athleticism of both horse and rider in a compact environment to allow people who hadn’t seen eventing to experience it,” he said.

“Next year we’ll try to push this event and make it something very special. … There’s room for this type of event. This is not to displace traditional eventing, but it’s an opportunity to provide a lens into eventing for people who might not get that experience.”

Mark confirmed that he hopes to create a “triple crown” series of three showcase events for hefty prize money, linking Wellington to a similar showcase at Tryon and another venue.

Event organizer Jim Wolf added: “Mark saw eventing as an underserved audience. He elevated dressage in this country to an all new level, and I think we can do that if given a chance for eventing. We see an audience that has an opportunity to put more prize money in the sport.”

We always get a bit spoiled coming to the Wellington Eventing Showcase as the first major competition of the season, and it’s been another fantastic weekend here in Florida. Click here to catch up on all of EN’s coverage from Wellington. As always, there are more photos on EN’s Instagram. Thank you so much for following along with us this weekend. Go Eventing.

Wellington Links: Final ScoresEN’s CoverageLive StreamEN’s Instagram

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Show Jumping Report: Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous Defend Wellington Lead

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Jenni Autry. Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous jumped one of the 12 clear show jumping rounds inside the time at the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase to remain on 24.9 and defend their dressage lead as we count down to the 1 p.m. EST start of cross country. It’s a quick turnaround so this is your lightning fast show jumping report.

Boyd Martin and Welcome Shadow’s clear round moved them up one spot to second place on 26.5, which gives Marilyn and RF Scandalous just 1.6 penalties of breathing room on a cross country course that is expected to be influential when it comes to time.

Richard Jeffery’s show jumping track proved equally influential, with rails falling throughout. The triple combination, which served as the final element on the course, proved especially tricky, with the final fence coming down numerous times. Ryan Wood and Powell, who were sitting in second place after dressage, came to grief at the triple, pulling three rails to slip down the leaderboard.

Boyd Martin and Welcome Shadow. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Boyd Martin and Welcome Shadow. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Allison Springer and Arthur moved from fifth up to third on 27.2 with a beautiful clear round inside the time, and the look on her face after as she gave him a big pat said it all. Good boy, Arthur! Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border also left all the poles in the cups to move from seventh to fourth on 28.0. Marilyn Little also has her other ride, RF Demeter, in the top five thanks to a clear round, which moved them from ninth to fifth on 29.4.

Buck Davidson has two rides in the top 10, with Petite Flower jumping clear and inside the time to move from 13th to sixth on 30.9. He had the last fence of the triple combination down with Carlevo to slip from sixth to eighth on 31.5. Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night are sandwiched between in seventh place, with a clear round and 2 time penalties moving them up one spot to seventh on 31.5.

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Jenni Autry.

We have a sibling rivalry rounding out the top 10, with Doug Payne and Vandiver in ninth on 34.2 after taking the final jump of the triple combination. Holly Payne Caravella and Never OutFoxed jumped clear and inside the time to win our Biggest Mover Award, scooting up from 24th to 10th on 34.6.

In addition to the pairs already named, the following horses and riders jumped clear and inside the time: Jennie Brannigan and Ibella (tied for 12th, 34.7), Angela Bowles with both Bliss III (16th, 35.6) and Novelle (25th, 41.5), Ryan Wood and Fernhill Classic (17th, 36.2), and Erin Sylvester and Mettraise (23rd, 39.0). Marilyn Little and Angela Bowles are the only two riders who delivered clear rounds with both of their horses.

We did have one combination eliminated when Long Island T refused twice at the third fence with Boyd Martin; they were tied for 14th place after dressage. Deniro Z refused at fence two with Liz Halliday-Sharp, and she has since withdrawn him. Hannah Sue Burnett also withdrew Harbour Pilot and Under Suspection after show jumping, and Clayton Fredericks withdrew Houdini and Foreign Affair.

Just one down for Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’Ysieux. What an incredible jumper! #wellingtonshowcase

A photo posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

One other thing of note: This sport is so much about the partnership with our horses, which was emulated so beautifully when Sara Kozumplik Murphy gave Rubens D’Ysieux a big pat and a treat to thank him for his effort just after finishing their round. How lucky are we to have these incredible athletes in our lives?

Cross country starts at 1 p.m. EST and will stream live at Click here for the order of go. Click here for a fence-by-fence preview of Capt. Mark Phillips’ course. Kate Samuels is my wingman today and is doing a super amazing job of getting photos up on EN’s Instagram, so be sure to keep following along for all the latest. Go Eventing.

Wellington Links: EntriesXC Order of GoLive ScoresEN’s CoverageLive StreamEN’s Instagram

Wellington Eventing Showcase Cross Country Course Walk

Fence 6. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Eventing Photography. Fence 6. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Eventing Photography.

Good morning from the final day of the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase! It’s another beautiful day here at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida, and show jumping is set to start at 10:30 a.m., followed by cross country at 1 p.m. You can watch live on, and we’ll also be running live cross country updates here on EN.

Looking to the cross country course, the riders agree that Capt. Mark Phillips has upped the ante on the technicality, and the optimum time of 3 minutes, 59 seconds will be more difficult to make than last year, when 11 pairs made the time. The course is 2,130 meters in length with 23 jumping efforts.

Riders and spectators alike have been buzzing about the jump in the VIP tent this year, which is the final fence on course. Scroll down to view a full gallery of each fence on course courtesy of the fabulous Kasey Mueller of Rare Air Eventing Photography. Stay tuned for much more from Wellington!

Wellington Links: EntriesShow Jumping Order of GoLive ScoresEN’s CoverageLive StreamEN’s Instagram

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous Steal Wellington Dressage Lead

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Jenni Autry. Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The competition was far from over with just nine more left to dance in the sandbox following the lunch break here at the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase. Four of those remaining horse-and-rider combinations cracked the top 10, giving us a leaderboard shake-up as we look ahead to tomorrow’s finale.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous ultimately delivered the best test of the day, scoring 24.9 to take the lead. While we haven’t seen her compete at any horse trials since she won the USEF National CCI3* Championship at Fair Hill last fall, the 12-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars, Phoebe and Michael Manders, and Robin Parsky is in her fourth week of competing in jumpers and dressage at the Winter Equestrian Festival.

The dressage has been a special area of focus since Marilyn started working with a new dressage trainer, Bo Jena, in December. “I thought she might be a bit fresh today, so I was pleasantly surprised with her demeanor. She was as lovely to ride as she always is. The changes were more on the aids, which was a big goal for us. She is a mare, so sometimes in the past I would get a head shake or a buck telling me she was already going to do it without my help.”

Marilyn said she had always planned to target the Wellington Eventing Showcase as part of RF Scandalous’ 2017 competition schedule in preparation for her first four-star. She will compete next at The Fork before going to Germany alongside stablemate RF Demeter for Luhmühlen CCI4*.

“This is such a wonderful venue for us to have to showcase our horses,” Marilyn said. “This time of year is when we’re all working on presentation pieces. This is before we’ve started really going after the fitness and into the meat of the season. This is a time to work on the things on the flat you wish you could do better but sometimes a fit eventer doesn’t let you work on at the end of your season when you wish you could.”

Ryan Wood and Powell. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Ryan Wood and Powell. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Ryan Wood and Powell also went in the final group of the day, scoring 26.1 to sit in second place at the conclusion of dressage. The 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding bred and owned by Summit Sporthorses didn’t quite hit his personal best of 25.4 we saw at the American Eventing Championships when he was crowned Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion.

“I’ve had a lot of help from Boyd’s wife (Silva Martin) on the dressage, and it’s a little bit tough at the dinner table when I end up beating him,” Ryan said, to which Boyd added: “It’s a bit weird renting your wife to your friend.”

As for Ryan’s thoughts on Capt. Mark Phillips’ cross country course: “It looks like a challenging course. This is the horse’s first start for the year, so they are going to be eyes popping a little bit. Usually we ease into it a little bit more than throwing them in a competition like this. I have some great schooling places around us in Aiken, and they’ve been out a couple times. There are good questions. Mark has made some changes and accuracy is going to be a factor.”

Boyd Martin and Welcome Shadow. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Boyd Martin and Welcome Shadow. Photo by Jenni Autry.

As the undefeated champion of the Wellington Eventing Showcase, Boyd Martin will look to make it a three-peat tomorrow. Craig and Gloria Callen’s Welcome Shadow, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare and one of his self-proclaimed “favorites,” sits in third place after dressage on a personal best score of 26.5.

“She’s starting to feel seasoned in the ring. She’s been at the Advanced level for two years now, and I feel like we’re starting to get some of our best work together. She’s a wonderful mover, a real pleaser and a real trier,” Boyd said.

“Tomorrow will be a big test. It’s our first event of the year. Her last run was at Pau, which was a twisty, turny course over corners and narrows. Capt. Mark Phillips has really beefed the course up; I think it’s considerably trickier. The time should be a fair bit harder to make. I think if you want to win a prize here then you are really going to have to take a chance and go for broke.”

Shadow will go to Rolex Kentucky this spring for her second career four-star start, and Boyd said he is grateful to have an event like the Wellington Eventing Showcase to start her season.

“Being an event rider in this era is better. If I came to America 15 years ago, I would have been so much worse off than I am today,” Boyd said. “For the last two years my owners have come to these things and feel like they’re in the royal family. They’re investing in horses in my wildest dreams I thought I’d never be able to buy, and their investment is now equaling their experience.”

Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, has once again been extremely welcoming to the eventing crowd and emphasized the larger role an event like the Wellington Eventing Showcase can play in growing the sport.

“This is an opportunity for us to expose a much broader audience to eventing that hasn’t had the benefit or experience of seeing eventing,” Mark said. “Our fundamental goal in doing the event was to bring new owners and spectators and hopefully sponsors into the sport. We’re very excited about the future. We’ve amped up the prize money a little bit, and we’re thinking through a strategy that extends this into three of these types of events, a series like a triple crown.”

Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot. Photo by Jenni Autry.

We also spoke to Hannah Sue Burnett, who is sitting in fourth place on 27.1 with Harbour Pilot. The 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Jacqueline Mars is aiming for Badminton this spring and is one of EN’s top picks for a big finish in a spring four-star.

“He’s really growing up. He just goes in the ring and absolutely knows. He knows the tack and my outfit, and he knows when it’s time for dressage, and he gets his brain on right. He knows what he’s supposed to do and he’s so ridable,” she said. “I feel like I can push the trot more now, and I thought the trot was quite good for him. We had two mistakes in both halts, so we’ll be looking to improve on that next time.”

Allison Springer and Arthur sit in fifth on 27.2, followed by Buck Davidson and Carlevo in sixth on 27.5, Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border in seventh on 28.0, and Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night in eighth on 29.3. Marilyn Little is the only rider with both of her rides in the top 10, with RF Demeter in ninth, and Mark Todd and Anna Bella round out the top 10 on 29.9. Click here for full scores.

There’s a full day of action tomorrow, with horses and riders tackling Richard Jeffery’s show jumping track at 10:30 a.m., following by cross country at 1 p.m. You can watch live once again on Click here if you missed EN’s morning report, and be sure to look for more photos on EN’s Instagram.

The EN team and Chinch are #teamleelee #leeleestrong

A photo posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

There is a sea of blue bracelets here at the Wellington Eventing Showcase in support of Lee Lee Jones, who is recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Please join us in sending continued love, prayers and strength to the Dutton and Jones families. #teamleelee #leeleestrong

Wellington Links: EntriesShow Jumping Order of GoLive ScoresEN’s CoverageLive Stream, EN’s Instagram

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Lunch Update: Boyd Martin & Welcome Shadow Lead the Way in Wellington

Boyd Martin and Welcome Shadow. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Boyd Martin and Welcome Shadow. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Hello from the always amazing Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, where a light breeze is blowing on a beautiful day here in Wellington, Florida. With just nine horses left to go in the dressage on the first day of the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase, Boyd Martin and Craig and Gloria Callen’s Welcome Shadow lead the way at the lunch break on a personal best score of 26.5.

This 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare is entering her second full season at the Advanced level this year, and we’re calling it now that she is only going to keep getting better. While she’s been a bit overshadowed by the bigger names in Boyd’s string in the past, now it’s her turn. Watch out for Shadow this year!

Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Horses and riders are performing USEF Advanced Test B for judges Mark Weissbecker (at C) and Jennifer Benoit (at B). Hannah Sue Burnett and Jacqueline Mars’ Harbour Pilot gave us the next best test of the morning to sit in second place on 27.1. The 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding is another horse we have our eye on for a big season in 2017. Hannah confirmed that “William” is aiming for Badminton this spring; watch for him to have a top performance there.

Now 18, Arthur has surpassed the getting-better-with-age stage and has now entered total legend territory. The Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Arthur Syndicate looked in beautiful form during his test with Allison Springer, scoring 27.2 to sit in third place. Can you believe this is their 10th season at the Advanced level together?

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Kim Severson and the Cross Syndicate’s Cooley Cross Border delivered a lovely performance to sit in fourth place on 28.0, with Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deborah Halliday’s Fernhill By Night scoring 29.3 to round out the top five.

Looking to other notable tests this morning, Tim and Nina Gardner’s Cambalda made his return to the Advanced level with Jennie Brannigan, scoring 31.3 to sit just outside the top 10. Beaming from ear-to-ear, Tim said it best: “He’s back!” Ping last competed at this level at Pau CCI4* in 2015, and we’re delighted to see him out and about again.

Mark Todd and L'Alezane. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Mark Todd and L’Alezane. Photo by Jenni Autry.

We also have to extend a very warm welcome to our international guests, William Fox-Pitt, Mark Todd and Dan Jocelyn, who are each riding two horses at the showcase. William and Steady Eddie, owned by Denise Lahey, Pierre Colin, and George and Gretchen Winteresteen, are the best of the bunch so far, sitting in 12th on 31.5.

We’re getting back underway with the final nine to go. Stay tuned for much more!

Wellington Links: EntriesRide TimesLive ScoresEN’s CoverageLive Stream

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Equestrian Canada Responds to Concerns of Team Riders

Photo via Wikimedia Commons Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Equestrian Canada Eventing Committee has released a statement in response to an open letter on signed by more than 50 Canadian event riders, owners and supporters, expressing criticism and concern regarding the organization’s management.

A reception for the riders to discuss Canadian High Performance with Rob Stevenson, Chair of the Equestrian Canada Eventing High Performance Advisory Group, was already scheduled to take place last night at Peter Gray’s Wentworth Farm in Ocala prior to the open letter’s release. Rob also released to EN a statement based on comments he made to the riders last night.

Read on first for the Eventing Committee’s statement, followed by Rob’s statement.

Statement from Equestrian Canada — Eventing Committee:

Dear Canadian Eventers,

The Equestrian Canada — Eventing Committee has prepared the following response to the open letter that a group of Canadian High Performance riders, owners and supporters have recently sent to the media. We appreciate the effort that this group went to in order to put their thoughts and opinions on public display as well as being constantly reminded that there are 2,374 individuals that are eventing members, all with voices of importance. Your words have stirred emotion across this great country which is undoubtedly what you intended, expected and undeniably evoked.

The Eventing Committee is made up of a dedicated and passionate group of volunteers of diverse geography and expertise. These members donate their time, expertise and often their own money to the cause of developing sport in Canada – including often travelling to meetings and events and hosting events at their own personal expense in order to keep funds focussed on programming.

The committee is extremely grateful to Wentworth Farm for hosting the reception in Ocala for Canadian athletes on Jan. 31 and to HP Advisory Group Chair Rob Stevenson for travelling to Ocala at his own expense to meet with the athletes.

A volunteer-based sport, by definition, would not exist if perceived and even real conflicts-of- interest were not tolerated. If the governance of the sport that we love was awarded to people not invested in our community, then we could never dream of winning … we all need some skin in the game in order to passionately put ourselves on the line.

Peter Gray is part of an FEI Solidarity Initiative to assist developing countries with their education and was assigned to work with Colombia. It would be the hope of this committee that all of our riders, coaches and owners give back some day in order to make the sport stronger as a whole. Conflicts of interest are not uncommon in sport, and those associated with EC are not prevented from carrying on their activities because of their roles; they do however have to disclose any potential for conflict and withdraw where the conflict may impact a decision.

In November 2016, the Eventing Committee met with representatives from across the country in order to hear their voices. The collaboration and positivity was overwhelming and that important dialogue and communication continues. We share the same frostbite, sunburns, joys and frustrations as the rest of you and we get it. The feeling of putting it all on the line and being left out of the loop is our greatest challenge to overcome and we will do that by communicating positively and through the proper channels.

No matter what we call our NSO … the Canadian Equestrian Federation, Equine Canada or Equestrian Canada … we are Eventers first and we need to work together in order to advance.

The Long Term Athlete Development structure and competition alignment for our sport are under review and need a great deal of consideration in order to ensure the longevity of the sport moving forward. Not to overshadow of course the needs of our High Performance riders and our needs of them. We need to help provide them the tools to do this great sport to the best of their ability and we need them to continue to be the cheerleaders and heroes for the sport.

With Rob Stevenson stepping in as Chair of the Eventing High Performance advisory group for Canada we are looking to build a solid foundation for our athletes to stand on. Ensuring that our riders have the voice they need, this advisory group will have up to two representatives with high performance sport experience nominated by the Eventing High Performance Squad.

With governance changes in place in eventing we are now finally gaining some traction and are able to act on the outcomes of meetings that have been held with our High Performance Riders. We have the right committee of advocates for our sport and we assure you that we are listening.

We are standing in the ring beside you, we live the highs and lows as deeply as you do and we are cheering on everyone that calls themselves an eventer whether you hopped over your first ditch yesterday or you have represented our country. In working with our NSO, this committee is devoted to uphold the framework comprised of the three pillars of accountability, transparency, and communication.

Sincerely yours,

Equestrian Canada – Eventing Committee

Statement from Rob Stevenson, Chair of Equestrian Canada Eventing High Performance Advisory Group:

As the recently named leader of this group, I am grateful to speak to this group of Canadian eventers and supporters in this venue.

I am indebted to those that have served before me in the role.  We have just finished a quadrennial where we finished teams at both major championships. This is a great accomplishment for a relatively small eventing nation.  It is my responsibility to lead this group based on that success.

When, I consider High Performance, I think in terms of the 4 S’s: substrate, support, strategy and $.

Substrate: Do we have what it takes?

Support: Do we have the internal and external supports that we need?

Strategy: Do we have the plan that we need?

$: Have we got the financial resources to make this happen?

My belief is that ‘yes’ is the answer to all of these questions.

We need the reasons to believe that that we will have the components that we will need to be successful.

The challenge at this point reads: We are 18 months from the World Equestrian Games in Tryon with no coach and no qualified horse/rider combinations.

And let us consider that the game has recently changed: We will now need to finish three combinations with no drop score.

In order to achieve this, we need to operate with the best possible information. We are working to incorporate advanced eventing analytics in all aspects of our strategy, from ‘a sense of where we are,’ to guiding decisions in training and possibly in selection. The key to the successful use of this type of information will be education and transparency.

This is information that will be shared with athletes and owners such that they will truly understand how our combinations compare to all other combinations in the world. From there we can design an approach to improve the overall performance of combinations and of the team. If people have not yet read Moneyball or The Undoing Project, then I would suggest that these books make for great winter reading. (I guess you could also watch the movie on Netflix!).

We have listened to the riders and recognize from our own experience that we need to develop an improved communication strategy. I believe that this meeting is just such an example of how we build this connection. I don’t want our athletes and owners to feel that it’s an ‘us and them,’ but rather an ‘us and us.’

I have read a great deal of what has been written online. I respect that these words have been written out of genuine concern and frustration. People clearly did not know how to otherwise discuss their concerns. It has given me an opportunity to appreciate the concerns of this group. And what I hope going forward is that people will direct issues and inquiries of High Performance to me, such that I can either help to answer or otherwise direct these requests to the best possible person to help attend to the issue.

An important addition to the communication strategy has been the re-introduction of rider representatives. We had moved away from rider reps in recent years, as it had been difficult logistically for riders to attend meetings and conference calls. I think that we have come to recognize that this is something that needed to be changed.

Hence, the terms of reference of the High Performance Advisory Group (ECEHPAG) stipulate that two riders will be nominated from the High Performance rider group to serve terms ‎with the Advisory Group.   This will once again give our riders seats at the table as we confer on issues including communication, budgets, selection and strategy.

The work that I will be doing in my role with High Performance is similar in a way to the work I do as a cardiologist. In medicine, we have the government, the health authority and those on the front lines of healthcare. In eventing we have the government, the national sports organisation and ‎those on the front line of sport. I have respect for those that attend to issues of governance and administration.  My role is to focus on ‘operations,’ in essence to the delivery of High Performance be it in the medical or the eventing realm.

In this transition following an Olympic year, it has been my sense that we need to do something significant to bring our riders and horses together as Canadians. We have been discussing the concept of High Performance clinics to bridge the period between now and a time when we once again have a technical advisor in place for our squad.

In feedback from the November meetings in Toronto, it was felt that we likely did not do enough to reach out to the other Canadian disciplines for their expertise. We have a certain period of time when many of our riders are gathered in the Ocala area. It seemed unfortunate to not seize this training opportunity. The idea of a Canadian Masters’ Eventing Clinic series was conceived.

At this point I can say that there will be a two-day clinic at Wentworth Farm in Ocala on Feb. 27-28 with clinicians Christilot Boylen and George Morris. (George will assume an honourary Canadian citizenship for the weekend.) And this is just a start. We need to start somewhere, and why not with two of the leading trainers in the world?

I envision that this clinic series will include three to four such opportunities this year. We’ll be looking to meet the needs of our High Performance program and our athletes. And certainly we will have dialogue as to who, what and where these clinics will be. Please realize that we envision that these clinics will be opportunities to see our athletes, support staff, owners, committee members and Canadian eventing enthusiasts to come together to confer with one another as we observe training at the highest level.

There is much interest in how we will proceed with a technical advisor (TA) for our team. Though different riders at different stages of their competitive careers will have different needs, it is still felt that here in Canada, we need an advisor with coaching ability. Though some top nations with more experienced riders may need a leader in the capacity of a chef d’équipe, we do recognize that we cannot proceed without some coaching capacity. At this point, we are looking to determine just what resources we’ll have to proceed with hiring a TA‎.

Clearly the timeline is short. We need someone that the riders will quickly be able to work with.  We need someone who will understand some of the unique features of Canadian Eventing: a small pool of riders spread out over a vast distance usually competing in countries other than our own!).

We’ll have more to share on this very important issue soon. At this point we’re interested in feedback from our athletes and from potential technical advisors that may be interested in this role. From here, we’ll develop a job description and posting and move along with the selection process.

We have been asked just exactly how High Performance will meet the needs of our next generation riders. We currently use the terminology of Elite, National and Eventing NOBoundaries to refer to our levels of international to developing level athletes. In this next year, though we have not formally developed a separate ‘developing rider’ or ‘Under 25′ program, we do foresee that participation in the Masters’ clinic series will be open to more than just our Elite riders, depending on space and proximity.

Thanks to Danny and Keli Warrington at Landsafe Equestrian, I’m very excited to announce a unique opportunity for our  Eventing NOBoundaries (ENB) program riders. Landsafe has very recently received their rotational fall simulator.  They have invited our ENB riders for a chance to participate in their fall-safety program which will include the use of their simulator. We are very grateful to Landsafe for this remarkable opportunity.

This has been a brief overview of my assessment of the Canadian Eventing High Performance program after my first 60 days as the Chair of the EHPAG. At this point, I am reminded of one of my earliest conversations with Jack Le Goff almost 30 years ago. When I asked what I needed to do to make the team, looking more for some guidance on where and with whom should I train, his answer was clear: “You need results, man! Nothing replaces results.”

In this instance, I think we all know what results we want. It’s up to us to define the strategy and commit to its implementation. We need to track our outcomes along the way. We need to talk openly about what’s good and bad. We need to feel that this is an ‘us and us’ experience. And if we can do this, then we will be in a stronger position in two years and in four years. The work that we put in now will be the legacy for those that follow. This too should be part of our motivation.

Respectfully submitted,

Rob Stevenson

Ride Times Released for $100,000 Wellington Eventing Showcase

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

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

Ride times have been released for the $100,000 Wellington Eventing Showcase, which begins Friday, Feb. 3 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in sunny Florida. Dressage will start bright and early at 7:30 a.m. with Kylie Lyman and Da Vinci Code as the first combination out.

See below for the full ride times for dressage, which runs through 1:40 p.m. EST on Friday afternoon. Click here to open a PDF of the ride times in a new window.


The competition will resume Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. with show jumping, followed by cross country in the afternoon at 1 p.m. An awards ceremony, press conference, rider autographing and celebration will follow in the VIP tent starting at 3:30 p.m. Click here for the full schedule.

Our friends at The Chronicle of the Horse will once again provide a live stream at this link, so be sure to tune in and watch all the action from Wellington starting on Friday. For those who can’t watch live, Kate Samuels and I will be your boots on the ground to bring you everything you need to know. Go Eventing.

Wellington Links: EntriesRide Times, EN’s Coverage, Live Stream

Young Guns: Four-Star Winners in Their 20s, Presented by EquiRatings

EN is teaming up with our good friends at EquiRatings to bring you exclusive content in 2017. Be sure to bookmark the EquiRatings blog for even more must-read content packed with statistics and data analysis, and follow them on Twitter @EquiRatings. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the all new Eventing Podcast.

Hazel Shannon and Clifford. Photo by  Julie Wilson/FEI.

Hazel Shannon and Clifford at Adelaide 2016. Photo by Julie Wilson/FEI.

At just 24 years old, Hazel Shannon turned heads when she won Adelaide with Clifford last year, but she isn’t the youngest event rider to have won a CCI4*. Since 2000, riders in their 20s have racked up an impressive 20 wins at the highest level of the sport.

It’s not surprising to see Michael Jung on this list, but what’s truly remarkable is The Terminator appears not once but three times. He took the first CCI4* win of his career at 26 years old at Luhmühlen in 2009 with La Biosthetique Sam FBW. At 28, Michael and Sam clinched individual gold at the 2010 Lexington World Equestrian Games. Michael’s third four-star win in his 20s came at Luhmühlen in 2012 with Leopin FST.

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Photo by Kit Houghton/FEI.

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Photo by Kit Houghton/FEI.

He missed out on a fourth CCI4* win in his 20s by just one day, as Michael and Sam won individual gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games on his 30th birthday. It’s an understatement to say Michael dominated in his 20s, and he’s now won two Olympic individual gold medals in his 30s. He’ll be 38 for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and undoubtedly a heavy favorite to add more gold to his trophy cabinet.

While no other young gun matched Michael’s success during this time period, there are a slew of another names who delivered top performances. Sandra Auffarth was 27 when she won individual gold at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy with Opgun Louvo, making her one of the youngest riders to win a major CCI4* championships during this time period.

Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. Photo by Jenni Autry.

But Sandra isn’t the youngest championship victor. Zara Tindall was 25 when she won the 2006 Aachen World Equestrian Games with Toytown, making her the youngest British rider to win a CCI4* since 2000. Two other Brits make the list, including Ruth Edge, who won Luhmühlen in 2007 with Two Thyme at 27 years old.

Aside from Michael Jung, only one other rider on this list took multiple CCI4* wins while still in his 20s. Oliver Townend holds that distinction thanks to his banner year in 2009, when he won Badminton with Flint Curtis and Burghley with Carousel Quest at 26 years old.

Want to read the rest of the piece? Click over to the EquiRatings blog to find out which Americans make the list, as well as the youngest CCI4* winner since 2000. Go Eventing.

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Thoroughbred Makeover Rematch

Four Thoroughbred Makeover alumni battled it out for $1,000 in prize money at the Maryland Horse World Expo last week, and Retired Racehorse Project kindly shared the video for our viewing pleasure.

Click to watch Michelle Warro and Play Like A Raven, Sabrina Morris and Smash and Grab, Dyanna Capuano and Idle Spur, and Krysta Paradis on Where’s My Tail. No spoilers on who won, so you’ll have to watch to find out!

This is the last call to enter the 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover, as entries close tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. EST. Go here for more information and to enter. Go OTTBs. Go Eventing.

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Eventing Community Rallies Around Lee Lee Jones

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

It’s been 28 days since Phillip Dutton’s stepdaughter Lee Lee Jones suffered a traumatic brain injury in a fall just before Christmas, and the eventing community is rallying around her stronger than ever. The hashtags #teamleelee and #leeleestrong have become a battle cry for Lee Lee’s recovery and a way to send daily love, strength and support to her family.

#teamleelee #leeleestrong

#teamleelee #leeleestrong

The EN team members are firm believers in the power of positive thinking, and we invite you to join us in sending prayers, love and light to Lee Lee and all those who are by her side every day as she fights this battle.

We have been collecting photos from the community for a photo collage for Lee Lee, and we will continue updating this post with additional photos, as well as messages of support. Social media is a powerful tool. Please post your own photos and messages for Lee Lee and her family and tag them #teamleelee and #leeleestrong.

Jan Byyny and her team are #leeleestrong

Jan Byyny and her team are #leeleestrong

Jennie Brannigan and her team are #leeleestrong

Jennie Brannigan and her team are #leeleestrong

The True Prospect Farm Crew is #teamlee

The True Prospect Farm crew is #teamleelee

Kate Chadderton and her crew are #teamleelee

Kate Chadderton and her crew are #teamleelee

Lauren Kieffer's crew is #teamleelee

Lauren Kieffer’s crew is #teamleelee

Kate Hicks and her family are #leeleestrong

Kate Hicks and her family are #leeleestrong


Portugal is checking out @joanhampf’s #leeleestrong sign #aiken #sunrise Thinking of Lee Lee A photo posted by Doug Payne (@dpequestrian) on

Boyd Martin and his crew love Lee Lee!

Boyd Martin and his crew love Lee Lee!

Ryan Wood and Snoopy support #leeleestrong

Ryan Wood and Snoopy support #leeleestrong

Kristen and Drew Bond are sending strength! #leeleestrong

Kristen and Drew Bond are sending strength! #leeleestrong


Silva Martin's team (and baby Nox!) send their love to Lee Lee.

Silva Martin’s team (and baby Nox!) send their love to Lee Lee.

Joanie Morris and Four Schools are #teamleelee

Joanie Morris and Four Schools are #teamleelee

Hawley Bennett and Area X are #teamleelee

Hawley Bennett is #teamleelee while teaching a clinic in Area X!