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John

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Cats drool, right?

Hi Bloggers Row.  Jenni thinks cats are cool, even therapeutic.  I flinch at even linking to that drivel.  Assertions about cats healing people are jus the latest offenses in an ongoing campaign by the evil cat empire to suppress the light side of the force.  I think it’s pretty safe to call me the Luke Skywalker of the pro-canine Rebel Alliance.  The arguments on Team calls go something like this:

John (Luke Skywalker): “[excellent point about dogs being awesome]“

Jenni (Darth Vader): “Blah blah garble garble.  Cats!

So, Bloggers Row, help me settle this once and for all:

Go Dogs.

[Image via]

36% of Riders Strongly Agree That They Need To Channel Their Inner George Morris More

Welcome to Bloggers Row!  WOW!  ”Some really smart person must have thought this awesome place up,” you say.  ”They must have some super cool plan to turn this into a fun place filled with insanity,” you say.  Maybe.  Or maybe I’m just winging it.

For now, Bloggers Row is supposed to be a bit of a paradox.  It looks like EN, but most people don’t know it exists.  No one knows how you get an account to write here.  Writers have profiles, but no one knows how to update those.  This is what happens when the Team lets me out of my locker.  CHINCHILLAS, TAKE THE WHEEL.

***

Yesterday, I made a quick questionnaire for myself and other riders and posted it to my personal Facebook wall.  I asked a couple friends to share it and the questionnaire now has 730 responses and climbing.  (You can still fill it out here, if you are so inclined.)  The form asks a bunch of questions, starting with demographic info (discipline, experience) and moving to a bunch of random questions, ranging from “T/F: I need to have someone video my rides more” to ”My biggest frustration as a rider is…”

I ran the questionnaire because someone was recently chatting with me about a non-horsey tech startup and they got me thinking about what types of technology might be fun/useful for horse folks.  Things like the fact that 31% of respondents who are riders live 45+ minutes away from their coach or don’t have a coach,  and the fact that 48% of respondents agreed with the statement “I wish my horse’s food and supplements were more natural” are deeply interesting to me.  I’ll be pouring over the results over the weekend along with a few fellow data geeks.

What will come of it?  Probably nothing.  Most startup ideas never even make it to the questionnaire phase (and that’s a good thing, certainly in my case!).  But if you took the time to fill out the questionnaire, I want to say thanks.  If you included your email on the form, you’ll be the first to know what develops out of this whole thing.

Until next time, Go Eventing.

Farewell Exploring — Jessica Phoenix’s Longtime Advanced Partner Has Passed Away

Photo by Samantha Clark from Rolex 2011 Photo by Samantha Clark from Rolex 2011

Our sport lost a great one on Friday when Jessica Phoenix’s long time partner, Exploring “Digby,” passed away in Florida. Jessica posted the following on her Facebook:

It’s with extreme sadness that I’m writing to let you know that Exploring, more affectionately known as Digby, suddenly passed away this morning. Words cannot convey the grief that I’m feeling right now. I have lost a true partner and beloved part of our family. Arriving at our farm in Florida, Digby was frisky and excited to be in warm weather where he could gallop and play in his paddock.  He was his spunky self, prancing around and full of attitude. When I went to him this morning, he was uncharacteristically lying down and I immediately knew something was wrong. I quickly called our vet and as we waited for her to arrive, Digby closed his eyes for the last time. The suspected cause is internal hemorrhaging and I take solace in knowing that he wasn’t in pain when he passed. We did everything we could, but unfortunately, there was nothing that could be done to save him.

I have peace in knowing that I was with him as he took his last breaths. He meant more to me than I can express and as you can imagine, we are devastated. Digby and I had an unbreakable bond. He is forever in my heart; my partner that brought me to the international level of competition and always gave his all. We trusted each other completely, travelling around the world together and accomplishing so much. Digby, we celebrate your incredible life and all your accomplishments as we say good-bye.

Sincerely,
Jessie

Every top rider has that horse who carries them to the top of the sport for the first time. Those horses inevitably save the day for their riders more times than we can count. And they inevitably don’t receive as much recognition as they deserve from the rest of us. But behind every great rider is the horse that got them there.  Exploring was that horse for Jessie.

“Digby” took Jessie around her first 3*, and to 15 advanced level FEI competitions after that. Perhaps most importantly, Digby carried Jessie around her first team competition for Canada, finishing 12th individually at the 2007 Pan Ams and part of the silver medal Canadian team. When I remember Digby, I’ll remember a model of the consummate professional and a horse that got the absolute most out of his ability. Digby made the 2008 Olympic team for Canada, but was unable to compete due to a tendon injury.  Not to be deterred, he came back and competed at the advanced level with Jessie for three more years.  You can read more about the awesome horse in this great article that Samantha wrote about Digby’s comeback. Exploring spent the final years of his career mentoring talented junior rider Alyssa Phillips up through the young rider ranks.

Eventing Nation’s thoughts and prayers reach out to Jessie, Alyssa, and the entire Phoenix Equestrian Team. Go Exploring.

Happy New Year! News and Notes from MD Barnmaster

From Abbie:

Happy New Year EN!! I hope you all had a safe and fun New Year’s Eve, and that everyone is starting out 2014 on the right foot. Up-and-coming hunter riders certainly are- the 2014 George Morris Horsemastership Training Sessions began yesterday in Wellington and will continue through Saturday. The USEF is broadcasting a live feed of the proceedings, and you can catch up on all you may have missed yesterday on the website. The Chronicle is also on grounds and providing written and visual coverage of the sessions. Click to check out their Day 1 writeup. [The Chronicle] [USEF Live Feed]

Several horses have tested positive for EHV-1 at a boarding facility in North Carolina. The state veterinary office released a statement saying that the horses at the farm had very little movement on and off the farm and that the premises have been quarantined since December 23. At this point the veterinarians believe that this is an isolated incident that poses little risk to outside horses, but they are still taking strict precautions. [The Horse]

It’s officially a WEG year! Are you thinking about going? Unfortunately multi-event passes are sold out for now, but single event tickets (ie, cross country only) will be put up for sale in March. Check out the official Normandy website for more information. [WEG 2014]

Jan Byyny’s former four-star mount Waterfront stepped out again last weekend at the Friends of the Animal Shelter benefit Hunter Pace in Aiken. The hunter pace was hosted by Jim and Sarah Wildasin at their Fox Nation farm and raised money to assist a new county animal shelter that will be opening in January. Avoca Equine’s Dr. Keelin Redmond rode the legendary Waterfront at the event, and from the looks of things he still going strong. Click for a photo and to read more information about the event. [Aiken Standard]

This week on the Eventing Radio Show: Wrapping up 2013 with Bobby Costello. Bobby joins Samantha and Jess to discuss 2013 from a High Performance perspective, and then Lynn Samansky stops by to offer a quick training tip. [Eventing Radio Show]

NYC mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has announced that one of his first acts in office will be to ban carriage horses from Central Park. For those who don’t know, the presence of the carriage horses has been a years-long ongoing drama between animal rights activists and those who argue the horses are well-treated and an important piece of the city. At a news conference on Monday, de Blasio said, “We are going to quickly and aggressively move to make horse carriages no longer a part of the landscape in New York City. They are not humane.” [New York Times Taking Note Blog]

Need some ideas for your New Years resolutions? Check out this week’s Idea of Order over on Horse Nation. Illustrator Morgane Schmidt lists her horse-related goals, such as spending at least 10% of her time in a relatively sanitary state without shavings and horse hair attached. [Horse Nation]

Rest in peace Lionel Dunning, accomplished British show jumper. Lionel was 75 when he died on Monday after suffering a fatal heart attack. He was still active in the horse world, and had been teaching on Monday morning before his death. Over the course of his career he was awarded FEI bronze, silver and gold medals of honor as a result of his international performances, as well as numerous national titles and Nations Cup wins.  He returned to the highest levels of competition even after suffering a very serious fall and brain damage in the 1970s. The video below is of Lionel competing in 1981 aboard one of his most famous partners, Jungle Bunny. [Horsetalk]

Boyd Martin Broke His Arm, Will Probably Miss Today’s Rides

Well damn.  That’s an x-ray of what once slightly resembled Boyd Martin’s arm.  Boyd dislocated his elbow and broke his arm on Thursday when a horse kicked him at his farm in Pennsylvania, according to Boyd’s barn manager and head groom Lindsey Taylor.  Boyd is scheduled for surgery today and there is no word yet on how long he will be out.

It goes without saying that EN sends our heartiest get-well-soons to Boyd.  This has been a tough year for Boyd on the injury front.  He rode around Rolex with a shredded ankle and had surgery on that the following week.   Between Rolex this year and competing through the spring 2011 season with an unknowingly broken wrist, Boyd’s picture is in the dictionary next to “eventing tough.”  Feel better big man, nothing can hold you down, and we’ll see you out here again soon, at least three times faster than the doctors would like.  [Picture via FB]

Go Boyd.

Update 11:35 a.m. — COTH quotes Boyd’s wife, Silva, as saying he was hand-walking one of his young horses that was coming back from an injury. “The horse spooked and he kind of spun around and kicked him in the arm.”

Update 5:03 p.m. — Boyd is out of surgery and heading home to start the recovery process.

Abigail Lufkin: Wrangling our Brains

Abigail Lufkin is a former CCI4* eventer who is now a sports psychology consultant and clinical social worker based in the Los Angeles area. You may remember seeing Abigail ride around Rolex on horses such as Lighter Than Air, Cameo or Jacob Two Two. She was a member of the 1999 Pan Am Team and was shortlisted for the 1992, 2000 and 2004 Olympics. We’re pleased to bring you a series of articles from Abigail about adapting your mental game to promote success in eventing. Have a question or topic for Abigail? Please submit it to tips@eventingnation.com with subject “Ask Abigail” and be sure to check out her site at www.abigaillufkin.com.

Abigail Lufkin and Jacob Two Two at Rolex 1999. Photo by Matt Simpson, used with permission.

From Abigail:

I am often asked, “If you could pick one thing that would most improve my mental game, what would it be?” It’s a difficult question, but perhaps the single thing I find myself discussing the most is: “focus on the things over which you have control.”

As humans, and particularly as driven, competitive athletes, we like to think we can control everything. Let me give you a cursory list of what you cannot control. You can’t control the weather, the footing, your ride time or ride order. You can’t control if other people think you are good or nice or important or what they say to you. You can’t control if the judging is fair or if your horse is having an off day. You can’t control that Betsy Bootstraps has five upper level horses to compete and you only have one.  And perhaps the most important: you cannot control whether or not you win.

When I first learned this concept, I felt relieved as it encouraged me to let go of thoughts that were causing me to feel anxious. But it turns out that refocusing our mind requires some effort. In meditation, a practice that more and more top athletes are using to control their minds, teachers talk about treating your mind like a new puppy or in our case, like a young horse. We all know the experience of riding the horse that one minute is focused and round and the next minute has stuck his head up and whipped around to get a better look at a monster jump standard beside the arena. With the young horse, we have to keep quietly and insistently channeling him forward and straight, essentially saying over and over, “go this way, go this way, focus here.” Your brain is that young horse and your job is not to be anxious or angry when it goes off in another direction, but instead to bring it back to the focus of what you have control over.

And just what do you have control over you may be asking? The most important thing you have control over is what you are going to do, how you are going to ride. You have control over setting a task or a goal for yourself for the weekend and following through on it. In the dressage, this might look something like, “I am going to ride forward from my legs to a connecting rein.” Close your eyes and feel what that is like. Now find a word that captures that feeling. Perhaps it is, “impulsion, impulsion” or “connection, connection.” It doesn’t matter what it is, only that when you say it, you have a clear body sensation of your goal. Use this word often in your training and in your visualizations. Then throughout the competition, whenever your mind “spooks” off in another direction, you take a breath, let it out, and repeat your word over and over, effectively wrangling your brain back to the present moment and on to what you are doing.

Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: The Most Important Video You Will Ever See on Eventing Nation

Sure, this time slot was supposed to be filled with a post about some horses at some event.  But this is important.  This is real life.  Step aside Gangnam Style.  There’s a new king sitting on the viral song throne.  It’s called “The Fox” and it’s from Norway.  If you’re still reading these words, you’re insane.  Stop reading immediately and click on the video above.  At least three times.  I’m five listens in and it keeps getting better and better — EVERY TIME.  Thank me later and go eventing.

[via Gawker]

 

Why SpectraVET?

Reliable. Effective. Affordable.

SpectraVET is committed to providing only the highest-quality products and services to our customers, and to educating the world in the science and art of laser therapy.

We design and manufacture the broadest range of clinically-proven veterinary therapeutic laser products, which are represented and supported worldwide by our network of specialist distributors and authorised service centres.

Burghley SJ Live Blog from Horse & Hound

Our good friends at the Horse & Hound are live blogging every ride of every phase of Burghley.  They have kindly allowed to join in the fun right here on EN.  If you want to follow Burghley live online, that’s the best way.  In terms of online video, Burghley TV will be offering free on-demand viewing of every ride the same day as each ride but not live.

[Official Burghley Website]  [Entry List] [Watch FREE Burghley TV] [Live Scores & Ride Times] [Schedule]

Schedule:

Final Inspection 4am ET
1st Show Jumping Group 5:30am ET
Final Show Jumping Group 9:30am ET  (top 24 placings)

Go Burghley.

Burghley XC Live Blog from Horse & Hound

Our friends at the Horse & Hound are live blogging every ride of every phase of Burghley.  They have kindly allowed to join in the fun right here on EN.  If you want to follow Burghley live online, that’s the best way.  In terms of online video, Burghley TV will be offering free on-demand viewing of every ride the same day as each ride but not live.

[Official Burghley Website]  [Entry List] [Watch FREE Burghley TV] [Live Scores & Ride Times] [Schedule]

Provisional North American XC Ride Times:

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master — Saturday 8:06am ET

Buck Davidson — Friday 10:42am ET

Go Burghley.

Burghley Dressage Live Blog from Horse & Hound

Our friends at the Horse & Hound are live blogging every ride of every phase of Burghley.  They have kindly allowed to join in the fun right here on EN.  If you want to follow Burghley live online, that’s the best way.  In terms of online video, Burghley TV will be offering free on-demand viewing of every ride the same day as each ride but not live.

[Official Burghley Website]  [Entry List] [Watch FREE Burghley TV] [Live Scores & Ride Times] [Schedule]

North American Dressage Ride Times:

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master — Thursday 9:48am ET

Buck Davidson — Friday 11:05am ET

Go Burghley.

VIDEO: Maryland Horse Trials Intermediate from Buzzterbrown

Check out the sights and sounds from Maryland, courtesy of the one and only Buzzterbrown.

[Maryland Scores]

I’ll leave you with a question that has perplexed me for years: what does “Buzzterbrown” mean?  Is it just a proper noun?  Can something so awesome be so simple?  I think not.  Go Buzzterbrown.

—-

Update 10:25am: From Buzzterbrown himself — “Busterbrown was the name of a horse I was interested in buying in 2006 but didn’t pan out.  Also the name of a 50′s and 60′s R & B artist, I like his hit ‘Fanny Mae’. But “Busterbrown” was taken when I started my YouTube account.  So I changed the ‘s’.

It was a personal account at first, intended for friends & family.  Then I posted my first eventing video from Morven Park in 2007.  That was motivated by a crappy eventing DVD I bought and returned to Dover (who cheerfully refunded my money).  Eventing was not covered very well on TV, and it was so fun to watch I thought others would like it.”

Bill Levett’s Saumur Round Up

Photo via

I met Bill Levett for the first time in 2011 in a bar in Soho, London, during the Olympic test event.  The story of that evening is too long for this post, but I’ll just say that all the rumors are true — Bill struck me as a complete class act.  He was extremely nice, and very humble, and I’ve rooted for him ever since.  I was thus thrilled to see Bill take home the Saumur trophy for Australia today aboard Shannondale Titan.  Host nation France had to settle for second and third with Nicolas Touzaint and Arnaud Boiteau.

 


Photo via USEF HP

Team USA continued their momentum from Badminton and took another step towards being competitive internationally.  46 horses started the Saumur CCI3* and Team USA finished the weekend with two pairs in the top 8.  Only three countries — France, New Zealand, and Great Britain finished three or more pairs above the USA’s top three pairs and both France and Great Britain had more starters than the US.

Will and Andromaque had a fantastic comeback weekend.  I’ve been one of Missy’s biggest fans for a long time and I can’t wait to see what Will and this mare can do as they make a charge for the WEG team.  In my opinion, Missy is built for Pierre Michilet courses and I think we saw that play out this weekend.

Marilyn is based in Europe for the summer and it’s so-far-so-good with a brilliant weekend at Saumur aboard RF Smoke On The Water.  I was surprised to see the pair accrue two rails today and I know Marilyn will surely correct that for the next event.  Without those jumping faults this pair would have finished in the top 4.

Buck and Hannah didn’t have the weekend that they were hoping for, but I know that they both learned a lot about their horses and hopefully they feel one step closer to coming back to France in 2014.  You could say that the final hypothetical “team” score for the US isn’t great because it does include a stop, but I look at this weekend as a clear indicator that our best CCI3* pairs can compete with the best in Europe.  That being said, we still surely don’t have nearly as many top CCI3* pairs as the top European nations, and that needs to keep improving.

[Full Saumur Results]

 

Go eventing.

Video: Pre-Novice Helmet Cam from Ireland

Mike Ryan’s younger brother, Conor Ryan, has joined our friends at Donnegan Ryan eventing full time.  Here’s a helmet cam video all the way from Ireland, showing Conor ride the pre novice cross-country track at Crecora in Limerick, with Ballylynch Take Advantage.  For more on Donegan Ryan Eventing, be sure to check out their website, and thanks, as always, to Trish for sending us the videos.  Go eventing.

Who Wore it Best?

When Samantha was chatting with Rolex first-timer Caitlin Silliman in Kentucky, she learned that there was a special story behind Caitlin’s Wednesday jog outfit.  That outfit had been previously worn by none other than Boyd Martin’s wife and international dressage rider, Silva, when she was jogging at a dressage competition this winter.  Boyd of course coaches Caitlin and so the connection was made.  Stealing a page from fashion magazines, and with Caitlin (right) and Silva (left) both wholeheartedly on board, we present Eventing Nation with a simple question: who wore it best?

Personally, I like Caitlin’s hair band, so I lean toward the lady on the right, but you gotta love Silva’s look of complete determination and you also have to love the SmartPak coat.  Go Caitlin and Silva.

We want your great eventing Mom stories for Mother’s Day


The Wylie triple-threat, circa 1994

Mother’s day is a big holiday here on Eventing Nation.  From driving us to our first riding lessons, to hugging us when we fall off, to giving us that extra tip in the warm-up, Moms mean everything to our sport.  Our annual Mother’s Day tradition “Mothers Are The Heart of Eventing” series is an absolute chinchilla favorite [2010, 2011, 2012].  We want to open the series up to all of our readers this year and we hope you’ll join us in thanking your Mom with a fun story about what your Mom has meant to your life with horses.

1) Share your story on the Eventing Nation Facebook page, or the Horse Nation Facebook page

2) Share your story in the comment section of this post

3) Email your story (with photos!) to tips@eventingnation.com or tips@horsenation.com

This post is also published on Horse Nation and we’ll combine the best submissions from both sites in one Mother’s Day post.  Go Moms.

How to make the US Eventing Team for Aachen

The US Eventing Team for the championship CCI3* in Aachen on June 27-29th was announced on Tuesday eventing.  The selection pattern is mercifully simple — the two highest placed US horses at Rolex who applied for the Aachen trip and the two highest placed US horses at Badminton were selected for Aachen.  I don’t know the full list of pairs who applied for Aachen, but I do know that Lynn Symansky and Donner (5th at Rolex) did not apply, and it’s important to note that this was very much an application event–you had to apply to go to get selected.

The Aachen team:

Buck and BallynoeCastle

Will Faudree and Pawlow

Clark Montgomery and Universe

Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister

Reserves:

Marilyn Little and RF Smoke On The Water

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen

I take two main points away from the selection:

1) The US is sending our best competing 4* pairs at this moment to Aachen.  I know US coach David O’Connor wants to make a statement at the international competitions this year, and this team is sending our best of the best right now to go and try to win.

2) The team appears to have been selected largely on the merit of latest 4* results.  My guess is that we’ll see more and more of a correlation between selection and competition performance as the new selection system is used more and more.  It’s hard for any pair to gripe about not being selected when it’s so clear that achievement at the biggest events of the spring led to selection.

Clark’s selection as a reserve with Glenny make sense because Loughan Glen will be the best US horse based in Europe who is not already selected to the Aachen team.  Marilyn and RF Smoke On The Water have already received the Saumur competition grant and nothing about tonight’s announcement changes that.

Go eventing.

Badminton SJ Live Blog from Horse & Hound

Click below for a live blog of the Badminton competition from our friends at the Horse and Hound, and click here for the Horse and Hound’s complete Badminton coverage.  Eastern time is Badminton time -5 hours, meaning that the first Monday ride is 11:00am local and 6:00am ET.  The final group of the top 20 pairs is scheduled to start jumping at 1:30pm local, 8:30am ET.

[Badminton Radio (Sidebar), Watch Online on FEI TV (Subscription Required), Final Inspection Results, Show Jumping Live ScoresTV Listings, Badminton Audio Interviews]

XC Live Blog Coverage: H&H website editor Carol Phillips will be bringing you all the action from both showjumping sessions on the final day of the competition.

Video: Our understanding is that FEI TV will carry the show jumping world-wide for a fee, and the BBC will have online coverage for UK viewers.  [More Info]

Radio Badminton: If you can’t access the FEI TV video, Radio Badminton provides live audio from the event.  Click here and look for the Radio Badminton link in the sidebar.

If the live blog doesn’t work in your browser, click here.

Go eventing.

Badminton Final Horse Inspection Live: Twitter and Radio Badminton

In addition to Horse & Hound’s live blogs and FEI TV, Radio Badminton has been a third and excellent source of live coverage at Badminton.  According to Radio Badminton, they will be live and on the air at 8:15am local, 3:15am ET, presumably with coverage of the Badminton final horse inspection, which starts at 8:30am local (that’s 3:30am ET, because I know Kyle Carter reads EN).  We love you Kyle.  If you want coverage of the final horse inspection, you have three main options:

1) Watch the live Twitter feed on the EN homepage

2) Click here and find the Radio Badminton player on the right side of the Badminton homepage

3) Wait for Jenni to post her update from the jog right here on EN.  At the speed Jenni types, it will show up around a minute and a half after the jog.

The show jumping starts at 11am local, 6:00am ET.  The top 20 pairs will ride at 1:30pm local, 8:30pm ET.  Check back right here on EN for Horse and Hound’s live blog and our complete show jumping coverage.  Go eventing.

Jacky Green: Cross-Country Day at Badminton

Jacky Green works for her own Jacky Green Equestrian Media company and operates out of Maizey Manor Farm in the UK, and she is a regular Eventing Nation contributor. Today Jacky has kindly sent us her thoughts from cross-country day.  As always, thanks for writing this Jacky and thank you for reading.
—-

Photo by Jenni Autry

From Jacky:

Jenni has been doing such a fantastic job I hardly need to update on anything from Badminton as you have it all already!  But a few things you might like to know…

Moving the XC start time to 12pm from the normal 11am makes it a very long morning for spectators; if you drive in you need to be on the grounds by 8.30am at the latest if you don’t want to spend 2 or 3 hours sitting in traffic.  The traffic control is excellent but the problem lies in the fact that Badminton is a little country village with narrow country lanes that approach it from the major roads in all directions. And do not ever leave and try and return. The traffic control swaps to the outbound traffic around at about 3pm and one year Wiggy Channer (partner of Andrew Nicholson) had to leave and return before the end of XC day and found it literally impossible to get back in as all the incoming lanes were cordoned off!

As for activities on XC day, if you are a fan of shopping in a crushing crowd you could do that but as I am sure you have gathered by now that is not my idea of fun.  The other option is to hit The Outside Chance which is the on-site-by-the-lake bar and restaurant at Badminton.  Run by Howard Spooner who owns clubs in London along with Guy Pelly such as Public, this brings a touch of class with sofas and screens inside and an outside seating area with a view to die for.  This does not come cheap however, a glass of Pimms will set you back £5 and a small ( and I mean tiny) glass of wine £4.50.  This seemed not to deter many who appeared to spend the entire day there not least a bunch of Kiwis who are going to have to rely on Eventing Nation tomorrow to catch up on the action they missed today!

Course chat….. Sir Mark Todd made his thoughts quite clear when he said in public that he thought “it was a 3 star course with a few 4 star fences thrown in.”  The word in the lorry park after the first walk was that the track was “boring”, “plain”, “unimaginative” and “soft.”  The stats today seemed to rather bear that out as the leaderboard did not see any dramatic changes and, although there was the odd drama, it seemed that Toddy was right.  No one wants to see horses falling or overfaced but as Sir Mark said, we used to walk Badminton and be actually scared!  So much history has been lost, no Tom Smiths Walls, no real Vicarage V, no Luckington Lane, no massive ditches like the Cottesmore Leap at Burghley, and yet Badminton has no budget problems and really could and should lift its game if it wants to be considered one of the best in the World.  The legendary course builder Tommy Brennan mapped out the 1991 European Champs in Punchestown on beer mats so legend says, and we walked a track that used all of Ireland’s history as feature fences.  One of the most popular choices is for Ian Stark, aka the Flying Scot, to course build there although those that propose him say they will retire before he does!  It just seems a slightly sad day for Badminton when the most exciting phase is the showjumping. Tomorrow will be really close but today should have made more of a difference than it did. And that is not to take away anything from those who jumped fabulous rounds today, it just means that they should have moved up more than they did by such an exemplary display of riding than they have.

Open Thread: North American Badminton XC Rides

Check back here throughout Sunday morning for quick, provisional, and typo-riddled recaps after each ride of the four North American riders competing at Badminton.  Click here for Horse and Hound’s Badminton live blog and click here to watch the action on FEI TV for a subscription.  Good luck to everyone and keep refreshing this page for updates!

[XC Live ScoresXC Ride TimesBadminton Audio InterviewsFence Analysis, Live Tweets, Course Info, Jenni's XC Preview]

10:17am ET Clark Montgomery and Universe (USA) – Clark and the fireplug Universe were getting lots of love from Oli Townend on the FEI TV as well as the commentators on Radio Badminton and H&H’s live blog in this horse’s first time around a four-star.  Clark saved the round at fence #22, Savills’ Staircase. According to Radio Badminton, they jumped up the first step really big, got under the second step, stumbled up the second step, and then they turned hard to the optional route before presenting to the fast route. Fortunately the jump judges scored them clear. They finished 16 seconds over the optimum and provisionally clear in what appears to be a fabulous first four-star performance.  Go Clark!

Note: If you don’t have FEI TV, Radio Badminton is a good option to follow live in addition to Horse and Hound’s live blog.  Go to the Badminton website and then find the Radio Badminton link in the right sidebar.

10:30am Colleen Rutledge and Shiraz (USA) – The incredible team of Colleen and Luke successfully finished their fifth different four-star cross-country at Badminton, crossing the finish line clear and just 10 seconds over the optimum.  They will go into the cross-country on their score of 67.2.  What more can you say about this pair, absolutely brilliant — go Colleen and Luke!!

10:55am Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master (CAN) – The only Canadian pair in the Badminton field skipped around the Badminton cross-country course, making it look easy and finishing just two seconds over the optimum.  Rupert never looked hurried and he looked better and better throughout the course.  This pair was already a front-runner for Canada at the WEGs in Normandy, but this round puts them right at the top of the list.  Go Rupert!

11:45am Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister (USA) – Tiana and “Finian” were looking for a comeback weekend after a prematurely short XC ride stop on cross-country in London last year.  They got that and more today with a brilliant ride around their first Badminton.  Finian jumped neatly around the course, making much of it look like a show jumping round.  In a scary moment, Finian’s right front wrap came unraveled in the Badminton Lake, possibly after he scraped it on the brush jump into the water.  It was hard to see on the video, but it looked like it was a porter boot.  Tiana made it obvious that she elected to take the optional route at the Staircase that nearly gave Clark and Universe a problem.   Tiana and Finian finished with 5 seconds over the optimum.  Whatever happens with the rest of the rides today, they will be in great position going into the show jumping.  In her post-ride interview, Tiana was beaming and said her ride got “better and better” as they got going on course.  Go Tiana and Finian!

A Great Day for North America: In a nice change of pace from past years, North America rocked Badminton today.  All four North American pairs who started Badminton finished the course clear, finishing a collective total of 33 seconds over the optimum.

12:15pm Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam – Michael survived a hairy moment at the Lake, wiggling his way out over the brushes, and made it through another awkward moment at the Mirage Pond, which has seemed to ride that way most of the day.  Michael and Sam quickly put those bobbles behind them and finished the rest of the course strong and easily within the time.  ”He’s such a machine,” according to Badminton radio.  Machine, indeed.  Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam will go into show jumping with the overnight lead, still on their dressage score of 36.0.

12:27pm William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk – The hope of Great Britain finished clear and just inside the optimum time, leaving him 4 penalty points – exactly one rail- behind Michael Jung and Sam.  If that rail were to fall, WFP would win the tiebreak by being closer to optimum on cross-country.  However, Jock Padgett and Clifton Promise sit between them in second, with 39.7.  The drama continues!

** William reports in the Badminton Radio interview that the course is riding “more interesting than it walked.”  He also said that his broken finger, sustained in the show jumping at Rolex, likely caused the problems with Oslo.  He was unable to gather his reins properly, and thus had a runby the corner.  William said he went out and bought really thin reins to use for Parklane Hawk… clearly a good decision!

12:40pm  Andrew Nicholson and Nereo – Nereo used his big stride to bounce through the one-stride in the Lake, and continued around the course in bold fashion, finishing double-clear.  Andrew Nicholson and Nereo sit just behind William Fox-Pitt in fourth, 40.2.

It was a lovely, successful day today at Badminton.  There was trouble here and there throughout the course:  Pippa Funnel had a runout at the brush at the top of the Staircase, Bettina Hoy suffered a scary fall at the Huntsman’s Close, Mary King missed a flag with Kings Temptress and was eliminated, Dirk Schrade and Zara Phillips both retired.  However, there were 58 clear rounds, and most inside the time or close to it.  The show jumping will definitely be interesting tomorrow!

[Live Scores]

North American Results:

  • Tiana Coudray & Ringwood Magister  - 45.3    10th place
  • Rebecca Howard & Riddle Master – 52.1   22nd place
  • Clark Montgomery & Universe – 60.7   40th place
  • Colleen Rutledge & Shiraz – 67.2  tied for 49th place (but will lose OT tiebreak)

Go eventing.

Badminton XC Live Blog from Horse & Hound

Click below for a live blog of the Badminton competition from our friends at the Horse and Hound, and click here for the Horse and Hound’s complete Badminton coverage.  Eastern time is Badminton time -5 hours, meaning that the first Sunday ride is 12:00pm local and 7:00am ET.  The last XC ride is scheduled for 12:32pm ET.

[Badminton Radio (Sidebar), Watch Online on FEI TV (Subscription Required), XC Live Scores, XC Ride Times, TV Listings, Badminton Audio InterviewsCourse InfoJenni's XC Preview]

XC Live Blog Coverage: H&H website editor Carol Phillips will be joined by fellow eventing fan Sarah Jenkins on cross-country day.

Video: Our understanding is that FEI TV will carry the XC and show jumping world-wide for a fee, and the BBC will have online coverage for UK viewers.  [More Info]

Radio Badminton: If you can’t access the FEI TV video, Radio Badminton provides live audio from the event.  Click here and look for the Radio Badminton link in the sidebar.

If the live blog doesn’t work in your browser, click here.

Go eventing.

Badminton Dressage Live Blog from Horse & Hound

Click below for a live blog of the Badminton competition from our friends at the Horse and Hound, and click here for the Horse and Hound’s complete Badminton coverage.  Eastern time is Badminton time -5 hours, meaning that the first Saturday ride is 9:00am local and 4:00am ET on Friday.  The last dressage ride is scheduled for 11:58am ET.

[Dressage Live Scores, Dressage Ride Times, TV Listings, Badminton Audio Interviews]

Dressage Live Blog Coverage: H&H website editor Carol Phillips will be joined by H&H Live regular Anna Ross Davies — successful British dressage trainer and grand prix competitor — for both days of dressage.

Video: Our understanding is that there is no online video coverage of the dressage on Friday and Saturday.  FEI TV will carry the XC and show jumping world-wide for a fee, and the BBC will have online coverage for UK viewers.  [More Info]

If the live blog doesn’t work in your browser, click here.

Go eventing.