Kate Samuels
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Kate Samuels

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About Kate Samuels

Kate Samuels is an avid 3-Day Eventer who currently competes at the Advanced/3* level with her wonderful Selle Francais gelding, Nyls du Terroir. A rider since the tender age of three, she is a young professional in the sport learning as much as she can from various mentors, both equine and human. Kate has worked for Eventing Nation since 2011, and has enjoyed every minute of it. She brings a lifetime of experience with horses as well as a wealth of knowledge gained through competing at the top levels of the sport. When not riding through the boiling hot, freezing cold, rain or snow, Kate enjoys baking pies, photography, and finding ridiculous videos on the internet.

Eventing Background

USEA Rider Profile Click to view profile
Area Area II
Highest Level Competed Advanced/CIC3*

Latest Articles Written

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Leslie Law taught a clinic at Morningside Training Center in Virginia this week, and man, check out the hops on this OTTB! This is Argyle, owned by Skyeler Icke Voss, ridden by Connor Husain. Photo courtesy of Skyeler.

Photo courtesy of Skyeler Icke Voss.

Leslie Law taught a clinic at Morningside Training Center in Virginia this week, and man, check out the hops on this OTTB! This is Argyle, owned by Skyeler Icke Voss, ridden by Connor Husain. Skyeler announced on Monday that she and her husband Clayton are expecting their first child in January, so we’ll be seeing other riders on her horses this fall season, like Jan Bynny on the lovely Cooley Caliber. Congrats to Skyeler and Clayton!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Chattahoochee Hills CIC & H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Fall H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Dreamcrest H.T. [Website] [Ride Times]

Silverwood Farm Fall H.T. [Website]

Corona del Sol H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

The Event at Woodland Stallion Station H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Kentucky Classique H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Town Hill Farm H.T. [Website] [Ride Times]

Moqui Meadows H.T.  [Website]

News From Across the Globe:

Congratulations to Abby Basner, this week’s Fab Freebie winner! Abby will take home a new Noble Outfitters Karleigh Short Sleeve V-Neck — we’re quite envious! [Fab Freebie: Noble Outfitters]

The British squad for the Longines FEI European Championships has been shuffled again. After Flora Jackson’s Bayano dropped off the team due to poor performance at Aachen 3*, Tom Jackson and Waltham Fiddlers Find were elevated out of first reserve position. Sadly, however, recent events indicate that Fiddler’s Find will not be fit to compete, and so is replaced by Greystone Midnight Melody and Wills Oakden. [British Squad Changes for Europeans]

Champion steeplechaser Divine Fortune was euthanized yesterday during the $150,000 Turf Writers Cup. An unbelievable athlete, the 12 year old gelding fell at the tenth and final fence after leading for the entire two and three-eighths mile hurdle race. While he did get up after the fall, he was vanned off the track and it was later determined that he had fractured a shoulder in the fall, and could not be saved. Our hearts go out to everyone that this special horse touched in his long and storied career. [Divine Fortune]

Boyd Martin is hosting a schooling jumper show tomorrow, Aug. 29, at Windurra in Cochranville, Pennsylvania. Divisions and times are as follows: Intro 2′ 8:30-10, Beginner Novice 2’6″ 10- 11:30, Novice 2’11″ 11:30-1, Training 3’3″ 1-2:30, Preliminary 3’7″ 2:30-3:30, Intermediate 3’9″ 3:30-4:30. Cost is $25 per round. [Windurra Schooling Jumper Show]

Show jumping is becoming more and more influential to placing well at events, so it’s important to get your jumping basics on lockdown. Show jumping trainer Didi Verdina knows the keys to success, as he competed to the highest levels in both Eventing and straight Show Jumping. I adore all of these simple tips, and they are useful for all levels, so next time you’re heading out to jump, check these! [6 Important Tips to Improve Your Jumping]

The lock of mane hair taken from the Duke of Wellington’s horse, Copenhagen, nearly 200 years ago has sold at auction in England for £2600. Copenhagen was a popular liver chestnut stallion who the duke rode for 17 continuous hours during the Battle of Waterloo, and the horse managed to emerge completely unharmed. The lock of hair was found by Lady Arran of Castle Hill as she was sorting through some papers this summer. [The Most Expensive Horse Hair]

An Olympic gold medallist eventer came out of retirement to raise £10,000 for World Horse Welfare and The Brooke. Jane Holderness-Roddam competed her twenty-year-old gelding Tigers Eye II in a BE100 open event at West Wilts, raising all the money in one go. After not competing for 13 years, she decided to make a comeback in the name of good philanthropy. [Eventer Raises Money for Horse Charities]

Popular and longstanding Kentucky tack store Bob Mickler’s has been acquired by private investment firm, Timberfence Capitol Partners, LLC. Bob Mickler’s tack shop has been operated by the founding family in Lexington Kentucky for over 66 years, and will continue to be directed by third generation Mickler, Julie. [Bob Mickler’s Acquired by Timberfence]

This year has been especially full of fungus, and I’m not talking about the spores on the trees. I’m talking about fungus that grows on white legs, chestnut legs, black legs….really just all hairy horse legs right now are susceptible to something skin related that irritates me and them. I clip my horses’ legs up to the knee sometimes because all their dense leg hair hides the scud, but most of all, I use anti-fungal shampoo thats almost guaranteed to keep the bacteria at bay: Ag Silver Maintenance Cleanwash. Seriously though, this Ag Silver stuff is magic. It’s made out of unicorn horn dust, without harming the unicorns. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Triple Crown Winners from start to finish! Fun Fact: Gallant Fox is the only Triple Crown winner to also SIRE a Triple Crown Winner (Omaha). 

Thursday News & Notes from Woof Wear

I think we call this #eventerproblemsolved. Two birds. One stone. Photo courtesy of Anissa Cottongim.

I think we call this #eventerproblemsolved. Two birds. One stone. (Andrew Palmer icing Tatentrang & his beer). Photo courtesy of Anissa Cottongim.

Yesterday was National Dog Day, so my social media feed was literally littered (ha! puns!) with puppies of every shape and size, although admittedly terrier heavy, as I have lots of horse friends, obvi. My own mother celebrated by going to get a new dog, without telling anybody in the family. She shows up at the barn, asking for help, because theres a dog in her back seat. Lord help us all. However, the new dog is super chill, and is a sweetie, and has really crooked little legs, so that’s cool. #onemoreterrier

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Town Hill Farm H.T. [Website]

Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Fall H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Chattahoochee Hills CIC & H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Silverwood Farm Fall H.T. [Website]

Corona del Sol H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

The Event at Woodland Stallion Station H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Kentucky Classique H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Moqui Meadows H.T.  [Website]

News From Across the Globe:

As riders ramp up for the FEI European Championships next month, course designer Ian Stark says bring it on. As a very popular cross country course designer, Ian is known for making courses that are big and scary for the rider to walk, but intuitive for the horses and safe at the end of the day. He says he tries to bring his course design back to the hey-day of big and bold and forwardly positive jumping efforts, and hopes that his challenge will be met with enthusiasm. With the championships hosted in Scotland and a Scotsman designing the cross country, there is some serious Scottish pride going on! [Stark Examination Awaits Europe’s Finest at Blair Castle]

The FEI is continuing their push towards the development of a global standard for footing in jumping arenas. At the FEI heaquarters, thirty-six equine, veterinary and footing specialists from Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Switzerland, Britain and the United States came together to discuss standards for arena surfaces in jumping, and to discuss the effects of different surfaces on the health of the equines. They found that the performance of arena surfaces was characterised by the five parameters of impact firmness, cushioning, responsiveness, grip and uniformity. A global standard for jumping surfaces will greatly benefit us in years to come for international competition. [International Standards for Jumping Surfaces]

When is it time to move on from a horse of a lifetime? COTH intern Ann Glavin considers this incredibly tough question in her touching recent blog about her horse of a lifetime, Happy Go Lucky. While buying a four-year-old OTTB for their 12 year old daughter might not have been the most advisable decision her parents ever made, Lucky changed Ann’s life, and for the better. But what do you do when you’ve been partnered together for ten years? And it’s time for your horse to change somebody else’s life? Read more on the Chronicle’s blog. [Horse of a Lifetime]

A group of men rode horses through the streets of Baltimore yesterday, and people are freaking out about it. They are riding their horses in protest of laws that are cracking down on dirt bike usage on roads, and how one relates to the other, I’m stymied, but that’s apparently the situation. Fun fact: you cannot ride a horse down the city streets without a permit to do so, as well as permission from the city. Also, it’s completely possible to get a DWI while riding a horse. [Baltimore Horse Protesters]

Best of Blogs: Reaching Out To Truman: One Horse’s Journey From Fear to Trust

Remember when there was a palomino pony competing at Advanced? Willy was Nyls’ only best friend ever. We miss him!

 

The $1 Horse Club: Forrest Nymph

The $1 Horse Club is EN’s newest series. Do you know of a horse that was sold for $1 and went on to achieve greatness in eventing? From serious upper-level horses to first-time eventing horses and young rider dream-makers to perfectly behaved lower-level packers, we want to tell their stories. Tip me at kate@eventingnation.com.

Sinead Halpin and Forrest Nymph at Plantation Field. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Sinead Halpin and Forrest Nymph at Plantation Field. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Theodore O’Connor introduced the idea of red headed pony eventing superstar, but Forrest Nymph has cemented this idea firmly in the minds of the three-day eventing community, inspiring riders all over the country to realize that size can be deceiving when it comes to power. While the feisty New Forest pony has taken the eventing world by storm with Sinead Halpin in the irons over the past two years, the mare came from much more humble beginnings than her current superstar status belies.

Farrah, as she is known around the barn, was purchased in-utero from Trevelyan Farm by Lynn Simpson, with the hopes that she would be a winning dressage mount. In 2004, she was the overall high scoring weanling of the year for ISR Oldenburg Sport Pony, and her future looked bright. However, when the mare was sent to be started under saddle at the age of three, it became crystal clear that the life of a dressage horse was not in the cards.

Farrah was unruly, badly behaved on the ground, and notorious for dumping any and all riders who attempted to tame her. Lynn called her friend Beth Davidson, and asked if she might be interested in taking the young pony on some hunter paces and expanding her world outside of the sandbox. Beth breeds Connemara ponies, and was good friends with Lynn, and so she took the chance.

“I am not a professional, so I don’t normally take on project horses,” says Beth, “And within two weeks of having her at my farm, I wanted Lynn to come take her home. Farrah kept jumping out of my pastures, and was constantly getting out of her halter while in the cross ties. Basically she drove me insane the first six months.”

Beth chanced a hunter pace despite the badly behaved youngster’s escapades at home, and of course Farrah broke her halter and ran amok in the parking area, refusing to be caught. To this day, Beth is unsure of how she agreed to keep the mare, but Lynn offered her full registration papers and total ownership for the price of $1.

Sinead Halpin and Forrest Nymph. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Sinead Halpin and Forrest Nymph. Photo by Jenni Autry.

In 2011, with no prior eventing experience, Beth entered Farrah in a few competitions, culminating in a move up to Training level within the season. The two of them were green, and ultimately the mare proved to be a little too much like a sportscar with a lot of power and even more intellect. Lauren DeNeve took over the ride through 2013, successfully competing the mare through Preliminary, and Farrah finished her first CCI* at the Ocala Horse Properties spring three-day.

In 2014, Farrah met Sinead. Beth knew that for the mare to progress to her full potential, she would need a sophisticated and, most of all, tactful rider. “Farrah has to be asked nicely to do anything, but especially when it comes to dressage.” Sinead was having great international success with Manoir de Carneville, and it only seemed right for her to add another feisty chestnut to her string.

The pair completed four Preliminary competitions that spring, finishing in the top ten for each one, before making the big move up to Intermediate in the summer of 2014. Farrah was unfazed, and the pair finished 18th at the Plantation CIC2* on their way to Fair Hill CCI2* that fall, where they added only time and one rail to their dressage score to end in 41st place out of 111 starters.
Sinead and Farrah have continued to compete at the Intermediate level for 2015, with a few of Farrah’s feisty chestnut mare moments coming out on cross country while they worked through some over enthusiasm issues. Now that has been ironed out, they are back to clear cross country rounds, and good finishes amongst much bigger and faster horses, but Farrah doesn’t seem to notice.
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Sinead and Farrah at Millbrook this month. Photo by Mallory Haigh.

The plan is to see exactly how far Farrah can go, as it is clear that she loves eventing very much and has scope beyond her size. In order for her to continue her competition schedule, Sinead and Beth are working on a syndication for the “pocket rocket”, and hope to be able to find a way for that to come to fruition soon.
Beth also has plans to breed Farrah in the years to come, and hopes to find a way to harness her amazing qualities for future generations. “As a purebred pony, she doesn’t have the blood that is needed to be super competitive in the CCI format, so I’d love to add some blood to her babies,” says Beth. “She has jumping skills galore and is a great mover, but she is also super sensitive, so I would like to tone that down a little. However, that’s probably what makes her good at eventing and also why I got her for $1, so I shouldn’t complain!”

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Caroline Martin gives Center Stage a well deserved pat after dressage. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Caroline Martin gives Center Stage a well deserved pat after dressage. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

One of these days, I’ll have to make the trek to Richland. I’ve put it off for years now, because I’ve just been imagining the ridiculously long drive up to Michigan from Virginia. However, in these past few years, Richland has really become a destination competition, and all the big names mark it down on their calendars for every August. Certainly they have nicer weather than August in Virginia!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Richland Park CIC, CCI & H.T.  [Website[Schedule/Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Huntington Farm H.T. [Website]

Hunt Club Farms H.T.  [Website]

Shepherd Ranch SYVPC H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Caber Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Buck and Reggie 4-Eva!! But seriously, you guys. Ballynoe Castle RM pranced his way to a 38.4 yesterday at Richland in the CIC3*, to lead the class. Buck predicted that Reggie would lead the class by 20 points, and he was a little bit off on that estimate, but that’s OK because he’s also in 2nd place, 10th place, and 11th place. Everybody loves a bro-mance, and Buck + Reggie is a longstanding fan favorite. [Buck Davidson Leads Richland CIC3*]

Andrew Nicholson says he was lucky to not be paralyzed from his fall a few weeks ago. He confirmed that he will not be competing for the remainder of 2015, as his surgeon told him that paralysis was the result for 98% of people suffering from the same neck injury. When Andrew calls it a day, you know it is serious. [Andrew Nicholson Out for 2015]

Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton are hosting an eventing symposium this Sunday, Aug. 23 at Windurra! Eventing With The Stars will cover topics ranging from how to improve your dressage scores to cross country schooling exercises you can use at home. Tickets are $60 in advance or $70 at the gate (kids 12 and under get in free). [Eventing With The Stars]

FEI European Pony Eventing Championships? Day. Made. Watching the video of these little ponies and kids rocking around challenging cross country courses makes me wish SO BADLY that I was born in a place where I could have done that. I would have been all over it! This is basically the reason why we don’t win more internationally. These kids and these ponies. [European Eventing Ponies]

At the Thoroughbreds For All Saratoga symposium a few weeks ago, it was a chance to watch, learn and listen from some of the best horsemen and women in the industry, including America’s winningest retired female jockey, Rosie Napravnik, show jumping hall of famer and KY Derby winning trainer Michael Matz, dressage rider Nuno Santos, Dr. Stowe Burke, and Laine Ashker and Jennie Brannigan. The common theme between all of these Thoroughbred advocates was the strength of the Thoroughbred heart, and how it’s the best thing for any athlete in any discipline. [Thoroughbreds For All]

This is one of those little tiny things in a barn that you never notice, but once you have it, you can’t go back. A whip holder! I’m sure I’m not alone in owning more than my fair share of whips, because after all, you need a stick that’s light for show jumping, the jockey style heavier whip for cross country, and a few different lengths of dressage whips. Obviously! This handy little wall hanger makes sure they all stay right in place neatly and don’t fall all over the floor when you try to select one. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

WFP prepares for Blair Castle by winning Hartpury…

 

 

The $1 Horse Club: Novelle

Angela Grzywinsky and Novelle drop into the head of the lake. Photo by Nicole Patenaude.

Angela Grzywinsky and Novelle drop into the head of the lake. Photo by Nicole Patenaude.

Angela Grzywinski is a member of an incredibly exclusive club, as she not only has a wonderful $1 horse, but she took that horse to Rolex this year and completed their first CCI4* together. In addition, she and her feisty mare have taken the show jumping world by storm, successfully competing at Grand Prix level. It’s not every day somebody gets the opportunity to partner with a horse of such quality, and much less often that this horse comes from such humble a background.

Novelle started life in the center of horse country in Lexington, Kentucky. Bred for the life of a racehorse with a Jockey Club name of Cupid’s Tart, by Frisk Me Now out of Teetawak, she never made it to the track due to her diminutive stature and lack of spectacular bloodlines. Left forgotten in a field with a donkey and a Shetland pony, she was eventually given to Alec Kennedy as a gift. Alec, who was friends with Angela, asked her to come ride the 3-year-old mare on a whim.

“From the moment I sat on her, I knew she had fire and scope,” Angela said, “mostly because she tried to buck me off!” Novelle showed instantaneous talent over fences, and that winter competed in 2’6″ jumper classes after only a few months under saddle.

In 2006, Angela moved back home to Texas, and as she was unable to purchase this special mare, was saddened to leave her behind in Kentucky. One day, out of the blue, she received a call from Alec informing her that he was moving back to Ireland and that Novelle was up for grabs, if she wanted her. The decision was a no brainer, and Novelle and Angela were reunited.

While Novelle was always clever and careful over fences, the dressage portion of eventing was (and is) distinctly her least favorite aspect. “She is the kindest and most genuine horse I’ve ever met, but her conformation makes the uphill and collected movements very difficult,” Angela said. “Couple that with the fact that she is fairly intense, so there’s usually some tension. Sometimes we just canter down the centerline a little faster than the judges, and they don’t seem to share my sense of humor about it!”

Angela Gryzwinski and Novelle at Galway Downs. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Angela Gryzwinski and Novelle at Galway Downs. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The pair moved through the levels fairly quickly, beginning their career together at Novice in the spring of 2007, and ending the same year at Preliminary. They spent an entire year at that level before taking the leap to Intermediate in 2009, which is where Novelle encountered her first challenge in the jumping department.

“She has always been a very careful horse, which has worked out well for us in the show jumping. However, once we got to the Intermediate and Advanced levels, she started to have runouts on cross country. She never stopped at a fence or ran out to be naughty, but sometimes she was just a little too careful and needed a second look to understand the question.”

Angela spent a long time working on her cross country skills, honing her ability to be aggressive and accurate to every fence. Their record began smoothing out, and while Novelle has blossomed into a “cross country dragon,” there are still moments when she politely asks for another try. However, Angela says that she doesn’t mind this quirk, because she knows that Novelle will never put her in a dangerous position or make a mistake.

In 2013, after spending a few years at the Preliminary and Intermediate levels, the pair successfully moved up to Advanced, and in 2014 they completed the Rebecca Farm CIC3*, a moment that Angela remembers as the first step towards the ultimate dream: Rolex.

Angela Gryzwinski and Novelle. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

Angela Gryzwinski and Novelle at Rolex this year. Photo by Rare Air Photography

This past spring, that dream became a reality. Angela and her little Thoroughbred mare completed Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in 38th place, through grueling conditions on the cross country course that took out many competitors.

“Rolex was a fairytale for me. The best part was sharing the experience with the people I love, my friends and clients, my coach of 22 years Mike Huber, and my boyfriend Andy. Novelle gave me everything she had in all three phases. Trotting down the ramp into the Rolex arena for the first time was like nothing I’ll ever experience again,” Angela said.

“Galloping across the finish line and sobbing hysterically because I beat the odds, and crossing the finish flags in show jumping with a sound and happy horse were all things I can’t put into words. It really was a miracle.”

Novelle enjoyed a nice break after Rolex and then competed in her second Grand Prix show jumping class as a warmup for Rebecca Farms CIC3*, finishing sixth there. Angela plans to compete in the American Eventing Championships at the Advanced level, as it’s in her backyard this year in Texas, and after that knuckle down for some dressage boot camp in the fall and the winter.

She’s planning on a return to the bluegrass state for another crack at the four-star level at Rolex next year, and beyond that, she hopes to enjoy competing this special mare as long as she can at the top levels. “At Rolex, I felt like the little girl in the movie ‘Sylvester’ who loaded up my cow pony in Texas and held my own against the very best,” Angela said.

“So many people, including myself, doubted that Novelle wanted to compete at that level, and after Rolex, I truly believe that she did that cross country course for me. We have a bond I know I’ll never have with another horse. When the chips were down and I was terrified in the start box at Rolex, she took care of me, and that is the absolute best part about my free horse. We climbed the ladder together, and she truly is my partner.”

Thursday News & Notes from Woof Wear

Joy Meyer and South Paw having a moment yesterday at the CCI2* jogs. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Joy Meyer and South Paw having a moment yesterday at the CCI2* jogs. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Yesterday I jumped Nyls for the first time in a very long time, as he had an absurd situation with his feet this summer that kept him out of work, and then getting him back in shape took another month or so after that was resolved. So, he hasn’t jumped in a while, and this is always cause for concern upon the first jump back. You should know that Nyls does not jump things that are under 3 feet, because they’re weird and scary when they’re that small, so when he’s missed his most fun flying through the air moves, he likes to mix it up with some amazing wonder horse acrobatics, while I desperately try to stay on. I can trot fences under 3 feet, but cantering is off the table. And god forbid I put fillers in the jumps because then it is necessary for him to torque his body and spook while suspended in the air. I swear, that horse will never grow up.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Richland Park CIC, CCI & H.T.  [Website[Schedule/Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Huntington Farm H.T. [Website]

Hunt Club Farms H.T.  [Website]

Shepherd Ranch SYVPC H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Caber Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

It’s not just the senior German riders that are dominating the Eventing world, it’s also the juniors. The Junior European Eventing Championships wrapped up last weekend in Poland, and German young riders claimed three of the six possible medals available. Johanna Zantop won the individual gold with FBW Santana’s Boy, ahead of Victor Levecque from France, while Hanna Knuppel further underpinned German strength when slotting into bronze medal spot. This helped Team Germany to secure a massive winning margin of almost 30 points over France who took team silver while Britain lined up in bronze medal spot. [German Juniors Dominate at Championships]

Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton are hosting an eventing symposium this Sunday, Aug. 23 at Windurra! Eventing With The Stars will cover topics ranging from how to improve your dressage scores to cross country schooling exercises you can use at home. Tickets are $60 in advance or $70 at the gate (kids 12 and under get in free). [Eventing With The Stars]

The Brits are getting naked for equine road safety. That’s right, they’re stripping off their clothes to raise awareness for horses and riders traveling on roads. The brainchild of Lauren De Gruchy, who set up a Facebook page earlier this month, the basic idea is to grab the public’s attention in support of the cause, and it’s definitely working. Photos of nude riders (both male and female) have been flooding in. You know you’re going to click this. [Riders Strip for Road Safety Awareness] [#willyouslowdownformenow]

The story of Duke the former Budweiser Clydesdale and his journey to New Holland Auction is gripping the horse world. The idea that horses with good connections, good handlers, great skills and proper sales procedure can always avoid the bad path has been proven untrue. Duke was thankfully saved by his microchip, confirming him as a previous Budweiser Clydesdale for Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. But he somehow found his way into neglect and abuse after changing hands. How do we prevent Duke’s story from repeating itself? [Do You Know Where Your Horses Are?]

Carl Hester watched his Grand Prix test from Aachen on Nip Tuck and broke it down for us on FEI TV. Carl is a wonderful educator, and it’s fascinating to watch his test from his perspective. They scored a personal best of 77.003%, but that is not to say that he doesn’t see space for improvement! Sit down for a very informative 10 minutes! [Carl Hester & Nip Tuck]

 

Product Review: Ice Horse Evendura Wraps

The Ice Horse Evendura Wraps go from right below the knee to well below the ankle. Don't mind my swollen bicep. Photo by Owie Samuels.

The Ice Horse Evendura Wraps go from right below the knee to well below the ankle. Don’t mind my bulging bicep. Photo by Owie Samuels.

Let’s face it: eventers are obsessed with icing our horse’s legs. I’ve never seen such an array of ice boots and wraps and treatments as I do walking down the aisle on cross country day at a competition, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be seeing the same scene at a venue for a different discipline. As such, we’re all looking for the perfect solution to our icing needs. We need something that is convenient, effective for cooling multiple parts of the leg, durable, logistically sensible and cost effective.

I’ve owned the Ice Horse Tendon Wraps for several years now and definitely gotten some good use out of them, so I was excited to get my hands on their new product, the Ice Horse Evendura Wraps. They’re similar to the Tendon Wraps, but with one major difference: they cover from lower knee to pastern, and this is what makes them unique.

The new extended length of the Evendura Wraps means you get more ice coverage during use, making them more useful for a greater variety of leg concerns. These wraps would be great for icing suspensory ligaments, deep digital flexor tendons, as well as general ankle issues. I have two pretty big-legged warmbloods, and I was pleased to find that they really did cover from right below the knee to right above the hoof on both of them.

You can apply the First Ice packs as I did, or you can apply the top two in a vertical position. Photo by Kate Samuels.

You can apply the First Ice packs as I did, or you can apply the top two in a vertical position. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The patented First Ice packs that come with the Evendura Wraps are really easy to use, re-use and understand. Each wrap comes with four packs which all have two small strips of velcro on the back. The first time you use them, you lay them all face up in the freezer for at least six hours. When you pull them out, you gently massage the ice packs and they become malleable and feel like flaky ice, which means you can put them on your horse’s legs and they conform to the shape and size you need them to be. The ice packs easily velcro right to the compression wraps and stay put very well but are also easy to remove for re-freezing and cleaning. They stay cold for over two hours,and re-freeze quickly for re-use.

The wraps themselves are well thought out and I can tell you they are durable. They are made from the exact same soft cloth material as the Tendon Wraps, which I’ve owned for five years, and they look as good as new after all that time. The velcro hasn’t faded and the elastic hasn’t stretched. The wraps are easy to put on the leg snugly without tightening them too much and do a great job of holding the sometimes weighty ice in place. They’re also super easy to clean if for some reason you get them dirty. You can remove the ice packs and squirt them down, but I’ve also been known to throw mine in the washing machine.

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The Evendura Wraps have inner velcro strips to insure that there is extra stability while your horse is being iced. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The Evendura Wraps boast an extra level of stability with two inner velcro straps. One is mid-way down the canon bone, and the other is a wide strap for the lower two ice packs. This insures that your wraps don’t slide down while they are on the leg, even if your horse moves a little. While it is inadvisable to leave the wraps on your horse totally unattended, I like that I can fit these on a leg and then go on about my business a little in the barn. I check in every few minutes, but I don’t have to give my horse the death stare like I do when he’s standing in ice buckets.

The wraps don’t just claim to cover everything from the lower knee to the pastern, they really do. After pulling the wraps off of Nyls even just for this photo shoot, I felt all over his legs, and I couldn’t feel a single spot that the ice packs had neglected. Now that he’s getting older and he’s been competing at the Advanced level for five years, I’m extra particular about what kind of ice therapy he gets on his legs, and it’s only the best. I was delighted to find that these wraps really did what they said they would, and sufficiently took care of his whole leg.

Ice Horse Evendura Wraps. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Ice Horse Evendura Wraps. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Another advantage to these boots is their affordability. Not only will they last you a long time, but they won’t break the bank upon initial purchase. You can purchase them online for $149.95 through the Ice Horse website, or through SmartPak. They also come in pony size for your pint-sized competitors who need quality ice therapy.

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Kendyl Tracey and The Flying Deer hanging out before show jumping yesterday at Aachen. Photo courtesy of Lynn Symansky.

Kendyl Tracy and The Flying Deer hanging out before show jumping yesterday at Aachen. Photo courtesy of Lynn Symansky.

It’s cross country day at Aachen! It’s been super annoying that dressage and cross country weren’t available to watch on a live stream, but the good news is we can finally watch something. Cross country streams live starting at 8 a.m. EST at this link. Lauren Kieffer and Veronica are in 13th and Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn are in 18th as the highest-placed U.S. pairs, and Team USA is in fifth place. Go USA! Go Eventing!

#Aachen2015: WebsiteRide TimesLive ScoresTeam ScoresXC Order of GoXC Live StreamScheduleAachen PreviewCourse PreviewEN’s CoverageTwitterInstagram

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Gennessee Valley Riding & Driving Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Waredaca Farm H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Erie Hunt and Saddle Club H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Full Gallop Farm August H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Colorado Horse Park CIC, CCI & H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Congratulations to Anna Kate Conley, the winner of this week’s Fab Freebie! Anna will be icing herself in style with a product from the Ice Horse Ice Rider line! [Fab Freebie: Ice Horse Ice Rider]

The Netherlands reigned supreme yesterday in the Dressage portion of Aachen championships, led by Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover NOP. Holland scored a team gold medal, followed by Great Britain in silver and Germany with bronze. Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro scored an 83.22 to grab the highest individual score, and Edward Gal scored just a half a point lower on his mount. The much talked about Totilas only scored a 75.97 and was never a threat to Blueberry. [The Netherlands Wins Gold at Aachen]

New Zealand eventers are in the hunt tomorrow for the gold. Sitting right behind the German team, the NZ team is comprised of Jonelle Price on Faerie Dianimo, Sir Mark Todd on NZB Campino, and Tim Price on Wesko, with Jock Paget and Clifton Lush as the drop score at the moment. With nothing to spare between the top three teams, the cross country will be double clears or nothing for the kiwis! [Points Close At The Top]

Lucie McNichol was a professional four-star eventer, and now she’s made the decision to quit horses and become a geography and sports teacher in a school. In her blog for Horse & Hound, Lucie explains her reasoning for stepping away from the sport of Eventing. Her advice to young riders of the future? Get a degree. Realize that eventing is a dog-eat-dog world and you have to be pretty spectacular to make it pay your bills. Lucie isn’t wrong, it’s not for everyone. [Why I’ve Had Enough of Eventing]

Important news, you guys: Mike Rowe tried riding horses with eventer Lauren Billys! While you might know Mike from his work on Dirty Jobs, he was on location to film an episode for his series Somebody’s Gotta Do It, which spotlights professional trade fields requiring a whole lot of work — sounds about right. [Eventing With Mike Rowe]

I don’t think I’m alone in wondering if my horse is INTENTIONALLY stepping on the hose in the wash rack twenty seven times each bath. There’s just no way that it’s a coincidence at this point, right? If I get one foot off the hose, he moves another and just steps on the edge. Or he clothes-lines himself trying to move sideways when I’m on the other side. This is why the Swing Out Wash Rack Arm was invented, and boy is it a lifesaver. Everybody should have one of these, and then watch your horse squirm as he tries to foil your plans to make him beautiful! Don’t worry horse, there’s always mud in the field. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Thursday News & Notes from Woof Wear

Copycat Chloe loving life with new rider and owner Maddy Foley. Photo courtesy of Allison Springer Eventing FB.

Copycat Chloe loving life with new rider and owner Maddy Foley. Photo courtesy of Allison Springer Eventing FB.

Allison Springer announced yesterday via her Facebook account that her barn recently experienced a big shift with Copycat Chloe leaving for a new career with a young rider. “I’m excited to announce the sale of Copycat Chloe to a wonderful Area I Young Rider, Maddy Foley. I cannot thank Chloe enough for all that she taught me and all the great times we have had together — I miss her terribly already. Maddy and Chloe make such a great team and I can’t wait to see their partnership grow! Thank you to the members of the Copycat Chloe Syndicate for your love and support and best of luck to you, Maddy, with Chloe!!!” Congrats to Maddy, you are sure to have a blast with this mare!

#Aachen2015: WebsiteRide TimesLive ScoresScheduleLive StreamAachen PreviewCourse PreviewEN’s CoverageTwitterInstagram

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Gennessee Valley Riding & Driving Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Waredaca Farm H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Erie Hunt and Saddle Club H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Full Gallop Farm August H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Colorado Horse Park CIC, CCI & H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Nobody is surprised to see that Germany has taken the early  lead in the Aachen Dressage Championships. The scores are close though, with Germany’s total after day one as 150.1, and Holland in close pursuit with 148.214 and Great Britain with 145.745 total. Of course, we’re all just waiting for Valegro to arrive. And that other horse, Totilas is his name? [Germany Takes Early Lead]

All Carl Hester wanted to do was go hang out near the grass arena with the cool Eventers. Sadly, the moment he took his “wimpy dressage horse” over to check out the scene, a waiter dropped a tray of glasses and his horse plopped him right on the grass. He’s laughing about it now, but he’s also at Aachen with something to prove this weekend, and not just hoping to stay in the saddle. He considers Aachen a little bit cursed for him, and he’s also holding his fingers crossed for Charlotte as she and Valegro take on Totilas tonight. [Carl Hester Takes a Tumble]

At Smiths Lawn Horse Trials in Great Britain last weekend, a competitor was knocked unconscious on cross country by a falling tree limb. Competing in the Novice (Preliminary), Southerly Roberts was riding her own nine-year-old mare, Fizz IV, when a freak giant branch fell from the skies directly in front of her horse. Fizz slammed on the brakes, and Southerly came off the front. Nobody sustained any lasting injuries, but maybe now we should check for dead trees in our wooded cross country courses…. [Freak Accident in Britain]

Trying to explain to non-horse friends or new friends what the heck this whole obsession lifestyle is all about? We’ve all been there. In fact, I was there yesterday. “What do you do?” Well, I ride horses all day every day, rain, sleet, snow, burning hot sun, crazy horses, fast horses, slow horses, small horses and big horses. And then in between that I teach other people to ride their horses. And I do it 7 days a week! 12-18 hours a day! 365 days a year! (Cue blank stare). Anyway, check out this blog about explaining the situation. [For Those Who Don’t “Get It”: A Non Horse Addicts Guide to Horse Addicts (Part Two)]

Thinking about breeding your mare? It’s not for the faint of heart. While it might seem easier and cheaper, you should definitely learn about the costs from conception even to a yearling…it’s not a cheap horse! When it comes to breeding, you should be well informed, responsible, and purposeful always. [Horse Breeding Intentionally]

 

The $1 Horse Club: Ron Reagan

The $1 Horse Club is EN’s newest series. Do you know of a horse that was sold for $1 and went on to achieve greatness in eventing? From serious upper-level horses to first-time eventing horses and young rider dream-makers to perfectly behaved lower-level packers, we want to tell their stories. Tip me at kate@eventingnation.com.

Lauren Kieffer & Ron Reagan. Photo courtesy of Mike McNally.

Lauren Kieffer and Ron Reagan. Photo courtesy of Mike McNally.

No matter how much success she enjoys, even 2014 USEA Leading Lady Rider Lauren Kieffer is not immune to the lure of the $1 horse. In 2011, Lauren had a few upper-level horses, but was mostly focusing on bringing her crew of talented young horses along. She wasn’t technically in the market for a new horse of her own, but the fun and the challenge of an Oldenburg gelding named Ron Reagan piqued her interest.

That spring, Michael Ziebarth was taking lessons on Ron with Karen O’Connor and not having much luck of staying in the saddle at the Novice level. Even though the gelding stood at 16.2 hands, he had the brain of a mischievous pony and was fond of spinning his rider into the dirt and stopping at fences unless the distance was perfect. The partnership had made it through six Novice events, but they just weren’t clicking.

One day, Karen walked into the barn and informed Lauren that she was the proud new owner of the naughty gelding. Surprised and intrigued, Lauren found to her delight that she instantly got along with Ron. “He’s a cheeky guy, but he’s incredibly smart, and his misbehavior wasn’t mean spirited,” Lauren said. “He just thought it was funny! He’s like a pony.”

Lauren and Ron began competing in the summer of 2011, winning their first few runs at Novice and Training level, and quickly moved up to Preliminary. With dressage scores in the low 30s and clean jumping rounds in both phases, they enjoyed great success together. In November 2011, Lauren and Ron won the Ocala Training Three-Day Event on their dressage score of 28.4.

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Jess Brumfield and Ron Reagan jump into the water at Carolina International this spring. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Ron didn’t experience any major training obstacles on his way to competitive glory, aside from the occasional pony moment. His only issue is that he does not, to this day, tolerate a bad distance, which does not make him amateur friendly. However, Lauren has learned to appreciate this characteristic, as it allows her and other riders to practice their accuracy to fences.

In 2012, Ron placed third in the Ocala CCI* and finished his summer season by moving up to the Intermediate level at Millbrook, finishing with a clear cross country trip with time penalties added. The following year, Lauren made the decision to hand the reins over to her assistant rider, Jess Brumfield. It was time that Ron used his talents to teach another rider about accuracy to fences!

Jess and Ron started their partnership at the Novice level in the fall of 2013, but within two months had moved back up to the Preliminary level. Since then, they have completed 13 Preliminary competitions and two CIC* events, most recently finishing third at the Stuart CIC*.

Ron’s previous owner, Michael, is not sore about Lauren’s success, but quite the opposite. He is delighted to find that Ron has found a great home and keeps in touch constantly with Lauren and Jess. “He has a home forever with me,” Lauren said. “He’s such a character to have around and a really fun horse to ride. We nicknamed him the ‘One Dollar Wonder’!”

“I genuinely believe every horse is capable of being very successful in some way or another and being able to find their niche is always very gratifying. Not every horse is an amateur horse, and not every horse is a world-beater, but they can all have a job they’re good at. Sometimes it just takes some trial and error to figure it out.”

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

This might be my favorite thing ever. Photo courtesy of Parx Racing FB.

This might be my favorite thing ever. Photo courtesy of Parx Racing FB.

Holy bananas, you guys. Yesterday I saw on the Facebook group “OTTB Connect” that some guy was cleaning out his late uncle’s estate and found Secretariat’s training bridle packed away in some box. He remembers that his uncle bought it from Claiborne Farm many years ago, and is now searching for a way to verify that it is actually Secretariat’s. It has a nameplate and everything, but obviously there’s going to have to be some technical way to identify it. I think if I found that in a box in my garage that I would absolutely geek out and freak out, and frame it front and center in my house. After oiling it and polishing the brass, obviously.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

GMHA Festival of Eventing H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Fair Hill H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Otter Creek Summer H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Summer Event at Woodside H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Area VII Young Rider Benefit H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News From Around The Globe:

The first group of U.S. horses eligible for the Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Lion d’Angers Grant are just now coming of age. Founded by Tim and Cheryl Holekamp and Christine Turner, the grant helps the highest scorer of the USEA Young Event Horse 5-year-old Championship travel to the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championship in France as a 7-year-old for the two-star, if the horse obtains the proper competition qualifications. Right now, Debbie Adams’ D.A. Duras, ridden by Kelly Prather, is the front runner, with Dempsey, ridden by Tamie Smith, as the reserve. [The Race to Le Lion]

 A recent e-Venting article discusses the idea of having a “tier system” for events to indicate which ones are hard or easy for each respective level. The idea behind this would be to better assist riders in choosing events that are good for move-ups, and good ones to complete before you going to the next level. However, while the idea is not bad, the logistics are a nightmare. How would you classify “difficulty” for all horses? When would you set the difficulty level, before the cross country courses have been set? Would this encourage people to do an “easy” level that they aren’t really ready for? [Tiers Not Required]

That moment when your famous four-star rider and course designer dad gives an interview calling you a “wild child”. Whoops, sorry Zara! While she may have been a royal wild child in her younger days, she’s certainly earned her place at the top of the Eventing standards on her own, even with two prominent equestrians for parents. After the birth of her child last summer, she’s back to the sport she loves for 2015, and aiming for Rio 2016. [Zara Phillips Interview]

Hold the phone: a massage mitt that I can use daily on myself my horse? The Equilibrium Massage Mitt promises an affordable way for you to help maintain body work with your own hands on a daily basis. My horse Leo has his personal massage therapist on retainer (obviously) but sometimes I wish I could help him out a little after a hard jump school, and maybe this is the answer to all my dreams. I need this, and you probably do too. [SmartPak Product Of The Day]

Flash Back Friday: Wizard of Oz Was Wicked and Wonderful 50 Years Ago

Check out this amazing four-year-old in the Young Event Class at the Dublin Horse Show!

Jason Higgins & Kilcannon High Society ( Rehy High Society- Abdullah), owned by Mary Bolger in Wexford, have just won the 4yo Young Event Class in the Main Ring.

Posted by Dublin Horse Show on Thursday, August 6, 2015

 

Thursday News & Notes from Woof Wear

We see you, Kyle Smith. Photo by Jonathan Long.

We see you, Kyle Smith. Photo by Jonathan Long.

We just keep getting emailed amazing photos this week! This little gem was captured by eventer Michelle Weeks’ boyfriend while he was practicing with a new lens on cross country. During his photo shoot at Cobblestone Farms in Dexter, MI, he caught Kyle Smith riding KSE Word Play over this Novice level fence. I’ll be honest: I’ve always fantasized about doing something like this over a monster Advanced fence when I see a photographer on the other side, but I’ve been too chicken. Dear Kyle…where is the helmet cam video of this moment from your angle?!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

GMHA Festival of Eventing H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Fair Hill H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Otter Creek Summer H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Summer Event at Woodside H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Area VII Young Rider Benefit H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News From Around The Globe:

There are at least a billion different ways to be a successful rider, and Jimmy Wofford advocates trying them all. In his most recent article for Practical Horseman, we get a classic Jimmy sense of humor as he talks about the varying training techniques he’s encountered for all the disciplines, and how experimenting led him to success in different ways. There is certainly no “one size fits all” in horse training. [Jimmy Wofford on Training Techniques]

What’s the scariest thing that Tim Price has ever done? Additionally, what would be his last meal on earth if he could choose? And his favorite horse? Horse & Hound answers all these questions and more in an exclusive Q&A with Tim Price. [Tim Price: Questions Answered]

Science says: horses share surprisingly similar facial expressions with humans and chimps! A new study concludes that the way that horses move their nostrils, lips and eyes have striking similarities with the facial muscles and movements of humans. While this might be why we relate so strongly to them, there is no science as to the similarities in expressions and corresponding emotions, so don’t get too excited. [Why The Long Face?]

Disciplines aside, Pony Finals might be the cutest thing you check out all week. The Chronicle is featuring four adorable Pony Finals debutantes, and their mighty steeds. Face it, with pig tails, bows, ridiculously cute and naughty ponies and sometimes tiny tail coats, you can’t NOT click on this link. [Pony Cuteness Overload]

Best use of gifs all week: 10 Horses Who Forgot How To Horse

https://youtu.be/mVYkDc3RdyE

The $1 Horse Club: Cleverly

Taryn Nolte and Cleverly at Millbrook. Photo by Jenni Autry. Taryn Nolte and Cleverly at Millbrook. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Until the winter of 2010, Taryn Nolte was a pure show jumper, having no cross country experience whatsoever. She was working for Michael Walton down in Wellington, showing one of his horses in the High Amateur Owner jumpers and doing quite well when he got hurt and she was left without a mount.

With a trip with Michael to pick up new sales horses on the horizon, Taryn was hopeful that she might be able to find something to fill the hole in her life. Upon arriving at Acorn Hill, a breeding facility in Madison, Virginia, she inquired if the owner had any young horses that were giveaways due to their unsaleable nature. As luck would have it, there was a well bred 6-year-old gelding that they were very willing to part with.

“When we got there, the owner took us to Clever’s stall, and he was just cowering in the back,” remembers Taryn. “He was adorable, though, dark bay with a star and a snip, and I just had to have him.”

Taryn Nolte and Clevery at Millbrook. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Taryn Nolte and Clevery at Millbrook. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Acorn Hill send Taryn home with Cleverly with his original papers and an agreement to not return him to the farm. His reputation was that of a horse with a bad rearing problem, a nasty temper in the barn, and difficult to deal with all around. He was more or less unstarted due to his attitude problem, and Taryn took a risk on the little monster and trailered him home.

Once home, Taryn’s trainer, Michael, was the first to sit on the horse, and they promptly discovered his talent for walking on his hind legs. Clever would rear and then attempt to run as far away from the arena as possible. When they tried to introduce a pole to him, he stopped twenty feet away, reared, leapt into the air and bolted. It was an inauspicious start.

Wisely, Taryn was advised to stay out of the arena, and trail ride Clever. “Instead of getting after him for his bad behavior, the plan was to kill him with kindness both in the saddle and on the ground.”

Photo by Jenni Autry.

Taryn Nolte and Cleverly at Millbrook. Photo by Jenni Autry.

After a year of trail riding rehab, Clever was able to do some baby work in the arena, and at the end of summer 2011, he was successfully jumping 1.20-1.25 meter jumps at home, and Taryn was hopeful that her monster would turn out to be her next successful jumper.

The two went to Florida to test their mettle in the show jumping world, but it was not to be. “He ran me out of the show ring on more than one occasion, but during one particularly embarrassing episode he mowed down Rodrigo Pessoa as he was waiting to go next in the ring,” says Taryn. “We cleared out a few schooling rings with his signature capriole move, wherein he would rear straight up and leap forward multiple times in a row.”

On a whim, she took him to a friend’s farm in Ocala for some turnout and down time, and decided to try cross country schooling. It was there that she found Clever’s true calling, as it was clear from the first time that he absolutely LOVED cross country. “From that moment, my life and my career changed forever.”

Clever at home, showing his goofy side. Photo by Taryn Nolte.

Clever at home, showing his goofy side. Photo by Taryn Nolte.

In the spring of 2012, the two began their eventing career, each taking steps they had never taken before. It was not without its challenges, as the rearing and leaping still made appearances out of the start box, but the pair steadily got more in sync.

Part of Taryn’s success with Clever has been discovering a very restrictive diet and strict feeding regime to manage his gut flora. She has found that much of his attitude was directly linked to intestinal discomfort, and has found a system that works for him.

2015 was a particular milestone for Taryn and Clever, as they moved up to the Advanced level, and jumped clear at their first CIC3* at Jersey Fresh in May. To have begun eventing together only three short years ago, they have enjoyed great success.

Clever still holds a particular disdain for the little white box, but as he gets more experience he is slowly becoming more pliable. He loves all cross country fences equally, Weldon’s Walls, giant drops into water, and big tables. He has also turned around on the ground, and now enjoys snuggling with his head on Taryn’s chest.

His quirks have not disappeared, and occasionally the capriole makes an appearance, Clever has found a passion in eventing, and a partner in Taryn. “The fact that he was worthless to someone else made me that much more determined to make him successful at something. In the process, there has been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, which have only made our bond stronger.”

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Simply Priceless is checking out the Millbrook lower ring before tackling Dressage today. Photo courtesy of Elisa Wallace's FB.

Simply Priceless is checking out the Millbrook lower ring before tackling Dressage today. Photo courtesy of Elisa Wallace’s FB.

I was so relieved to see yesterday that Dromolin, owned by Amy and Hailey Kates, was found in Millbrook after escaping from his stall and being lost in the wilderness for almost 24 hours. I once had both of my horses escape from the cross ties at once while I was in Aiken and they ran into the forest together and were gone for two hours. It was absolutely the scariest and most ridiculous thing, and luckily somebody found them a few miles down the road sweaty but unharmed. I can only imagine the kind of complex stall guard rigging the Kates family will be investing in from now on!

Also, on an unrelated note, major shout out to Jen Wooten, who gave birth to her first child yesterday, and is now officially a mom! Jen came to fame in the Eventing world with her success on the amazing mare The Good Witch, and while she is still cultivating her riding career, she has found time to create a family too. Congrats Jen!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Millbrook H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Olney Farm H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

River Glen H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Catalpa Corner Charity H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Silverwood Farm Summer H.T.  [Website]

Windy Wyoming H.T.  [Website]

News From Around the Globe:

Are you a KER ClockIt user? If so, you’ll want to enter this awesome contest KER is hosting! To encourage consistent usage of the heart monitors, KER will be giving away an ECOGOLD Secure XC Pad during the month of August. Each session you submit after using the heart monitor will grant you an entry, so the more you use KER ClockIt, the better your chances are to win! [KER ClockIt / ECOGOLD Contest]

Andrew Nicholson dominated the first Amlin Plus Eventers Challenge at Hickstead yesterday. Riding the nine-year-old gelding Cillnabradden Evo, he topped runner-up Elizabeth Power on Doonaveragh O One with a lightening quick round. This competition was open only to Eventers, which allowed the course design for the cross country portion to be a little trickier, and tricky it was. Only 4 of the 20 contestants went clean, and a few took a dunking. [Andrew Nicholson Wins At Hickstead]

American Pharoah is gearing up for his first race since winning the Triple Crown, as he makes his return at the Grade I $1,750,000 Haskell Invitational this Sunday. Yesterday he drew post position four, which is perfect for the small eight-horse field, and he remains the heavy 1-5 favorite. After a break following the Belmont, the colt has had six workouts since June 29th, the most recent one in Del Mar, going four furlongs in :48.80. Shipping to New Jersey yesterday, he enjoyed a luxury journey with a police escort to his destination. [American Pharoah Ready to Run]

Hunt Club Farms in Berryville, Virginia is hosting their first USEA Recognized Event on August 22, and they have extended their closing date. Hunt Club will be offering Intro through PT with all new courses designed by Tremaine Cooper. Prizes will include coolers for first place and saddle pads for second. The top rider of the day will receive a custom belt made by JourneyMen Middleburg,Va. [Enter Online]

Non horsey news of the day: tonight will be a rare blue moon! The label is a bit of a misnomer, as the moon won’t actually be blue (sorry), but it will be a bright full moon. It is unique because it is the second full moon to fall in the month of July, and it rarely happens that the calendar dates and the lunar cycle combine to make this happen. The next one isn’t until January 31st, 2018! [Blue Moon Tonight]

If you’re not on the Back On Track train, think about hopping aboard. I won a few Back on Track products over the years, and while I never had much noticeable difference in the blankets, I do love the wraps. A friend of mine also broke her humerus recently, and found that wrapping her useless arm in a Back on Track wrap greatly reduced the pain and inflammation in the lower half! My dad loves the socks (yep they make socks and shirts and stuff!), and Nyls loves the wraps for his hind legs after a good jump school. [SmartPak Product Of The Day]

A slightly weird GoPro Spherical video of American Pharoah’s workout from Tuesday:

Thursday News & Notes from Woof Wear

"Hi, my name is Leo, and I am ridiculous"

“Hi, my name is Leo, and I am ridiculous”

I’m a little bit in agony that I’m not at Millbrook this year, as it’s definitely one of my favorite events. From my house it is about 8 and a half hours, which makes it one of the longer hauls of the year, but I just adore it so much. I did my very first Advanced HT there in 2010 with Nyls, and I was so very excited to finish clean that I leapt off of him right after the finish line, forgetting that I was tied into my newly acquired air vest, promptly popping that sucker and falling flat on my face. Graceful is my middle name, you guys.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Millbrook H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Olney Farm H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

River Glen H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Catalpa Corner Charity H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Silverwood Farm Summer H.T.  [Website]

Windy Wyoming H.T.  [Website]

News From Around the Globe:

William Fox Pitt will still tell you that the best horse he’s ever sat on was Tamarillo. And when WFP tells you its hands down the best horse, you should take that pretty seriously. Sadly, Tam passed away at a relatively young age this week, but our friends at Horse & Hound have gathered a great group of pictures from the pint sized gelding’s storied career. [Celebrating Tamarillo]

Chris Burton broke a record when he finished a CCI2* on a 24.5 at Camphire International Horse Trials. Yeah, that’s an FEI level test with a 24.5, which means that Chris now owns the international record for the lowest dressage score at a CCI2* and the lowest finishing score for a CCI2*, since he jumped double clean all around on Santano II. Not bad, Chris, not bad at all. [Chris Burton Blows The Competition Away]

Captain Mark Phillips has reversed the direction in which Burghley XC will run this year, and hopes that it all works out. Many of Burghley’s famous fences that have traditionally been at the end of the course will now come quite early, including Lion Bride and Cottesmore leap, whereas Discovery Valley and the arena fences will come at the end. The biggest change is that the big uphill pull to the Cottesmore Leap is in the first five minutes, and riders will have to be careful not to go too gung-ho early on, so that they have gas in the tank for twelve minutes of competition. [Burghley Course Reversed]

Thousands gathered yesterday to watch the Chincoteague ponies swim across the channel from Assateague. About 150 ponies swam early in the morning yesterday, with only a few escaping into the crowd to cavort around. Made famous by Marguerite Henry’s “Misty of Chincoteague”, the annual event is part of a week long carnival in Virginia, and some of the ponies are auctioned off after the swim. One day, I’ll actually go and see it myself. I have to, it’s right around the corner from me! [Chincoteague Ponies Swim]

Remember Pedro and his Pedroscope? If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, this is just too adorable. Pedro, a small pony gelding in London who is owned by the Ebony Horse Club, works his little booty off with inner city kids, but for the longest time he couldn’t even see out of his own stall because he was too short! The kids designed him a “Pedroscope” for his enjoyment, but the story has evolved even more. Check out the video below too! [Inquisitive Pedro]

Throw Back Thursday: “When Strapless Galloped”

Pedro!

 

 

The $1 Horse Club: Crown Talisman

The $1 Horse Club is EN's newest series. Do you know of a horse that was sold for $1 and went on to achieve greatness in eventing? From serious upper-level horses to first-time eventing horses and young rider dream-makers to perfectly behaved lower-level packers, we want to tell their stories. Tip me at kate@eventingnation.com.

Doug Payne and Crown Talisman. Photo by Jenni Autry. Doug Payne and Crown Talisman. Photo by Jenni Autry.

One of the greatest aspects of the sport of three-day eventing is the potential for Cinderella stories. It seems that perhaps more so than with other disciplines, we are constantly able to take horses that were considered worthless in other careers and retrain them to be superstars in this one.

The classic tale is that of the off-track Thoroughbred, bred for speed but destined for four-star greatness. However, after performing an unofficial query into the idea of the $1 horse, it became apparent that the Thoroughbred isn’t the only rags to riches tale in our sport.

What I initially thought would be a great compilation story of a few personal successes with unwanted horses becoming treasures to their riders quickly escalated into a larger series of stories. I found serious upper-level horses, first-time eventing horses, young rider dream-makers, and perfectly behaved lower-level packers. From a pool of horses that were all considered “worthless” at one point in their lives, there was a little bit of every kind of success.

One of the standout stories was that of Doug Payne and Crown Talisman, a Holsteiner/Thoroughbred gelding known in the barn as Tali. Many of you know that Tali is featured as the naughty horse on the front of Doug’s book, The Riding Horse Repair Manual, but I was certainly not aware that Tali was a member of the $1 Horse Club.

Doug Payne and Crown Talisman. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Doug Payne and Crown Talisman. Photo by Jenni Autry.

It all started in 2009 when Doug got a call from Martha Thomas, asking if he would be willing to take one of her 6-year-old homebreds on consignment, as he was proving tricky to sell. “He was green broke upon his arrival,” Doug remembers. “Unfortunately, once you hopped on, he would throw it in full reverse until he nearly hit whatever might be behind him. After that, he would just rear and buck repeatedly.”

Needless to say, Doug’s efforts to help sell the horse were not well received by the buying crowd. One day, after Tali broke loose and galloped away up the driveway, Doug happened to glimpse the incredibly expressive extended trot that we all know now, and it took his breath away. He decided then and there to take on the challenge of channeling the energy of this incredibly athletic horse.

A quick call to Martha, and Doug made his pitch. The horse was basically unsellable, but he was interested in trying to keep him. They worked out a deal where Tali would cost $1, plus five months of training for another horse. A few years later, Larry and Amelia Ross joined Doug in the partnership, which allowed him to continue to compete and develop Tali to the best of his ability.

Doug Payne and Crown Talisman. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Doug Payne and Crown Talisman. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Obviously, their road to success was not without its hurdles. “He was always incredibly reactive to sound and, from day one, was the most self aware and strong horse I’d ever ridden. Whenever there was a sharp sound, regardless of what gait, he would levitate and rotate allowing him to land planted on the ground pointing in the direction of where it came. I can’t count how many times I nearly hit the dirt with this maneuver.”

However, the pure athleticism that Tali possessed ultimately served him well. He won at every national level, from Training to Advanced, and at least once at every FEI level, one-star through three-star. In 2010 he won the American Eventing Championships at Preliminary level. In 2014, the pair won the Jersey Fresh CIC3* and received a USEF Land Rover Competition Grant to compete at the Saumur CCI3* in France, where they finished sixth.

In the fall of last year, Doug received an offer he couldn’t refuse from UK-based eventer Nick Gauntlett, and Doug made the very tough decision to sell Tali. “He continues his incredible career with Nick Gauntlett today in the UK, and I will always be his biggest fan and supporter,” Doug said.

Sometimes, the most difficult horses can be the most rewarding, and when the horse came from nothing, the reward is all the greater. “I have always loved trying to figure out what make each of these athletes tick,” Doug said. “He was certainly one of the most difficult, but in the end, that’s what makes him so great. I will never forget what he has given to me; I will always be in indebted to him.”

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Eventers Kevin Smith and Laura Kosiorek do marriage the right way.

Eventers Kevin Smith and Laura Kosiorek do marriage the right way. Photo courtesy of Jackie Smith.

Jackie Smith from Stonegate Farm sent us the story to go along with the picture above, and it’s pretty cute. Two Eventers, Kevin and Laura, attended the same university without meeting until two other Eventers Carly & Sue Stromeyer played match makers and convinced the two to carpool to a competition together. At the end of the competition, Laura won her division, but Kevin won Laura! For their wedding of course they had to have a combined driving pair of Hanoverians named Rock and Roll, because there was no better way to top off a great day.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Stoneleigh-Burnham Summer H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Horse Park of New Jersey II H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Rebecca Farms CCI, CIC & H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Cobblestone Farms H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton are hosting an eventing symposium on Aug. 23 at Windurra Farm! Eventing With The Stars will cover six different topics, ranging from how to improve your dressage scores to cross country schooling exercises you can use at home. Tickets are $60 in advance or $70 at the gate (kids 12 and under get in free). [Eventing With The Stars]

Attention all C4 fans! If you’re at Rebecca Farm this weekend, then please stop by the C4 booth located near stabling for an epic group photo TODAY at 6 p.m. Spread the word and let’s get as many C4 fanatics as possible to show up!

Have you seen Ian Stark’s cross country course for the inaugural Rebecca Farm CCI3*? In true Ian Stark style, its got more than a few rider frighteners, but it looks absolutely amazing. It makes me wish I was there to attack it! Well, maybe not the ditch and wall….those are not my fave. But the rest of it looks beautifully made and designed and will ride well for the confident and accurate horse and rider combination. [Cross Country Course Preview]

Eight questions with top rider Jonelle Price? Yes please! Horse & Hound did a fun video with Jonelle asking her some burning questions such as: where is your dream holiday location and what movie did you last see? Hint: you’re not the only one harboring a crush on Jamie Dornan. [Jonelle Price is a Thrill Seeker]

COTH blogger Camilla Mortensen is tackling the Novice Three Day at Rebecca Farms this weekend, and sharing all the action day by day. Yesterday she completed dressage, but also got to school the steeplechase with last year’s CIC3* winner Matt Brown. Not only that, but all of the three day riders enjoyed “Trot Up 101″ with Jennie Brannigan, covering everything from what to wear to when to ice your horse. [Day Two: Educated & Exhausted]

Expecting and Eventing: Genes, Jeans and Gender. In the latest great blog from Horse Nation, Lorraine Jackson explores the familial relationship with horses throughout her family, and considers the question of passing on the horse gene either consciously or unconsciously. Some people come from horsey families and catch the bug, and others come down with the sickness purely on their own. [Hot On Horse Nation]

Who doesn’t want to look fancy at a big competition? We all own items in our tack room that are “competition only”, so why not add to your collection with this amazing Custom Scrim Sheet from SmartPak? It’s not just for the Hunter Jumper crowd, it’s catching on with the Eventers, and you can get it in your custom colors! [Custom Curvon Scrim Sheet]

Flash Back Friday: 1965 and the first Grand Prix on U.S. soil

Ian Stark talks about his course design:

 

Thursday News & Notes from Woof Wear

Jennie Brannigan with the Gardner's Mixed Blessing ready for the jogs at the Rebecca Farm CCI*. Photo courtesy of Tamie Smith.

Jennie Brannigan with the Gardner’s Mixed Blessing ready for the jogs at the Rebecca Farm CCI*. Photo courtesy of Tamie Smith.

Every year when Rebecca Farm comes around, I promise myself that one day I’ll get my butt all the way out there. It just looks like one of the best events ever, and I’ve never heard anything but amazing reviews from all the riders who have competed there. So Nyls, get ready, summer 2016, you and me and Montana. I’ll start preparing the audiobooks now for the road trip.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Stoneleigh-Burnham Summer H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Horse Park of New Jersey II H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Rebecca Farms CCI, CIC & H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Cobblestone Farms H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

With over 200 horses presented to the ground jury yesterday at Rebecca Farm, there was plenty of action. They are hosting many divisions of FEI competition, with a CCI*, CCI2*, CCI3* as well as a Novice Three Day and a Training Three Day. Check out the full CCI3* jog gallery from the USEA. [Rebecca Farm CCI3* Jog Gallery]

The Young Event Horse (YEH) and Future Event Horse (FEH) classes at Rebecca Farm kicked off the week yesterday. Judged in dressage, conformation and jumping, the five-year-old YEH class was won by a Thoroughbred gelding named Tomlong Ratatouille, owned by the Pinnacle Syndicate and ridden by Kelsey Horn, topping his class with an 81.4 as a final score. The four-year-old YEH was won by Lets Go DF, ridden by Earl McFall, who was also the 2014 FEH West Coast Champion last year. [Impressive Young Event Horses]

Newly released British Eventing rankings reveal that Irish and German horses are dominating the sport, as well as Kiwi riders. Leonidas II, Chilli Morning and NZB Campino all represent Germany in the rankings, while One Two Many, Graf Liberty and Bay My Hero are pulling for Ireland. Andrew Nicholson leads the rider rankings with 1144 points so far this year. [Updated British Rankings]

Olympian Tina Konyot received a FEI yellow card at the NAJYRC for “incorrect behavior”, but says she has no regrets. While coaching Chloe Taylor on her former Olympic and World Games partner Calecto V, Tina was cited for profanity towards a parent of another Region 9 rider. “If you ask horse people who know me, I’m a very passionate outspoken woman,” Konyot continued. “I’m fun, I’m alive, I can curse like a sailor”. Read the COTH article for more on why and exactly what went down in DQ land. [Konyot Cited for Yellow Card]

Best of Blogs: Setting Up Better Canter Transitions

Fun from Barbury 2015:

 

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Team USA looking out on the water complex at the Pan Ams. Photo courtesy of the USEF High Performance FB page.

Team USA looking out on the water complex at the Pan Ams. Photo courtesy of the USEF High Performance FB page.

With all the riders safely through the jogs yesterday, today the Pan American Games begin! With dressage running all day today, we have Phillip Dutton leading the way with Fernhill Fugitive as the first American out, followed by Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook’s Scarlett, Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, and Boyd Martin on Pancho Villa as the very last rider of the day. You can be sure to keep up with all the action using the links below. Fingers crossed for a great day!

#PanAms: WebsiteEntriesSchedule & Live ScoresEN’s CoverageTwitterInstagram

NAJYRC: WebsiteScheduleInstagramCCIYR2* Ride TimesCH-J* Ride TimesLive ScoresEN’s Coverage@samanthalclarkThe Horse Pesterer

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Fitch’s Corner H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Maryland at Loch Moy II H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Hunter Oaks H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Aspen Ridge H.T.  [Website]

Coconino Summer II H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

We’re launching a new reader-driven survey series, so we need your input! Keep an eye out for new questions here in News & Notes — we’re kicking off the series with a survey of what event horses you would like to take a spin on. Click here to take the survey.

Giveaway alert! Total Saddle Fit is offering a chance to win one of three six point saddle pads, and all you have to do is fill out this quick survey. So obviously you should do that, and win some awesome saddle pads! [Total Saddle Fit Survey]

Congratulations to Allie Farley, this week’s Fab Freebie winner! Allie will take home a pair of Ice Horse Evendura Boots — her icing routine is about to get more convenient! [Fab Freebie: Ice Horse]

Get to know Pan Am competitor Fernhill Fugitive, aka Jack. In the great COTH series, Behind the Stall Door, we are invited into Jack’s stable, to learn about him and his likes and dislikes. Did you know that his nickname is “Baby Jack”? Or that he’s only allowed to eat carrots as treats and has to watch his sugar intake? [Behind the Stall Door]

Throw Back Thursday to when Bruce Davidson battled bridle grabbers, marching bands and language barriers. Wait, what? You heard me, all those things happened to Bruce when he was attempting to compete in the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City. Referred to as the “most bizarre day in the history of international three day competition”, the then 25-year-old Bruce was riding Golden Griffin, and you have to read the report to even slightly believe what happened to him on cross country day. [COTH #TBT]

Horses will be returning to New York’s Central Park this September, for the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. This event was a smashing success last year, and it returns in 2015 offering five days of multi-discipline competition, with everything from Arabian breed classes to Dressage to Hunters and to top class Jumpers. [Central Park Horse Show]

Morven Park is hosting a bunch of great summer activities for you and your horse. Coming up soon they have an event they call “Show-Cross” which is stadium jumps that gently slides into cross country jumps over lightly rolling terrain. They have divisions of Elementary through Training. This is just one of the many events at Morven this year, and if you’re nearby you should check out their calendar for more fun activities! [Morven Park]

Did you know that you can get a Point Two Air Jacket in your custom colors for only $30 more? Yeah, me neither and now I’m strongly considering trading in my plain old black one for an awesome blue one! While air vests are indeed an investment, you have to think of how well they protect you should something happen. And after all, how much is your back worth? [Point Two Custom Air Vest]

Best of Blogs: H&H Editor Pippa Roome Reacts to British Squad for European Championships

I have no words…

 

Thursday News & Notes from Woof Wear

NAJYRC competitors Morgan Booth and Twizzel....winning at everything in this photo.

NAJYRC competitors Morgan Booth and Twizzel….winning at everything in this photo.

The next four days are going to be very exciting for the sport of Eventing, with the NAJYRC (go Area II!!) in Kentucky and that Pan Ams in Toronto, you are all basically going to have to come back to our site every hour to catch all the great coverage and news that we’ll be pumping through the system! While sadly we won’t be able to enjoy live streaming of either event, our faithful reporters will be giving you basically every other type of media available, and we hope to keep you satisfied. We have even recruited our un-official videographer The Horse Pesterer to cover NAJYRC for us!

#PanAms: WebsiteEntriesSchedule & Live ScoresEN’s CoverageTwitterInstagram

NAJYRC: WebsiteScheduleInstagramCCIYR2* Ride TimesCH-J* Ride TimesLive ScoresEN’s Coverage@samanthalclark, The Horse Pesterer

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Fitch’s Corner H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Maryland at Loch Moy II H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Hunter Oaks H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Aspen Ridge H.T.  [Website]

Coconino Summer II H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

We’re launching a new reader-driven survey series, so we need your input! Keep an eye out for new questions here in News & Notes — we’re kicking off the series with a survey of what event horses you would like to take a spin on. Click here to take the survey.

I’m so incredibly jealous of the Cheshire Hunt Campers who got to spend a day at Chesterland with Bruce Davidson. A bunch of very eager and very brave little riders got to hang out with the legend himself and get some real hands on cross country lessons, jumping down banks and even going over a log bigger than many of their ponies! You have to check out the adorable photos of Bruce teaching little kids and ponies, and admire the video of them booting their ponies over that huge log! [Cheshire Hunt Campers at Chesterland]

The Pentathlon: perhaps the horse sport you weren’t aware of yet for the Pan Ams? First thing in the morning, the athletes have fencing, followed by a 200-meter freestyle swim, and then show jumping, where they draw a random horse and get to ride it for 20 minutes before completing a show jumping course, and then off they go to the running and shooting portion, where they fire guns at targets for each of the four 800-meter laps around a track. Fun fact: Kendal Lehari’s Daily Edition is one of the horses that could be used for the Pentathlon! [Modern Pentathlon at the Pan Ams]

The Rebecca Broussard Travel Grant Recipients for 2015 have been chosen! The following are the 2015 recipients: Andrea Baxter, Anna Collier, Anni Grandia, Avery Klunick, Barbara Crabo, Bunnie Sexton, Ellen Doughty, Emily Pestl-Dimmitt, Heather Morris, Jacob Flecther, Jennifer McFall, John Durr, Jonathon Holling, Jordan Linstedt, Julie Norman, Kelly Prather, Kelly Pugh, Lauren Billys, Marc Grandia, Sydney Elliot, and Tamra Smith. Congrats everyone, and safe travels to Montana! [Rebecca Farm Grants]

What do you do when you’re 16 and working for a German Olympic Eventer? Hang on for dear life, I suppose! The Chronicle has welcomed a new blogger, Charlotte Stillfried is originally from Richmond, VA, but is currently in Germany working for Dirk Schrade, and riding some of his four-star horses is just one perk of the job. Check out her first blog! [An Eventing Teenager in Germany]

13 Reasons You Should Stop What You’re Doing And Get A Dwarf Donkey Right Now. Need I say more?

 

 

 

Because I’m totally biased for Area II….

 

KER ClockIt Sport Promises to Revolutionize Equine Fitness

The KER ClockIt system is easy to apply to your horse and seamlessly fits into your tack without being obtrusive. Photo by Kate Samuels. The KER ClockIt system is easy to apply to your horse and seamlessly fits into your tack without being obtrusive. Photo by Kate Samuels.

In eventing around the world, fitness has always been one of the hardest factors to quantitatively measure and accurately assess for different horses. There are a lot of different factors at work for determining fitness, and almost every rider has a unique system for establishing the perfect balance between fit and sound. But, let’s face it, a lot of this comes down to experience with many horses over time and the ever-elusive “feel” that comes from knowledge gained while in the tack.

KER President Dr. Joe Pagan set out a few years ago to try and crack the code to fitness, and the result of many months of experiments and tireless toil is the KER ClockIt Sport App and website. Combined with the power of the Polar equine heart rate monitor, the app provides data to horse owners, riders and trainers that has never been available before, giving us new ways to analyze and modify our training systems for the betterment of the athletes.

The cornerstone of eventing is cross country, and, as such, we are understandably fitness-fixated in our sport. There’s a fine art to getting each unique horse fit for the current level while maintaining their trainability and technique for both jumping and dressage, as well as keeping their body physically sound. We don’t have the advantage of other sports that get to focus on one skill set every day, and because we cross-train our horses, our precious fitness days are even more important.

KER has spent more than 25 years studying equine fitness and exercise physiology and has designed the KER ClockIt Sport App to help measure a horse’s relative level of fitness through analyzing their heart rate during exercise.

By using an equine heart rate monitor that seamlessly attaches to your tack alongside Bluetooth technology that connects to your phone, you are able to record heart rate, speed, distance and altitude in real time, allowing the rider or trainer to accurately assess work intensity and keep the resulting data for future use.

The KER Clockit Sport kit includes the Polar Equine Heart Rate monitor and a bottle of ultrasound gel which is used during application of the electrodes. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The KER ClockIt Sport kit includes the Polar equine heart rate monitor and a bottle of ultrasound gel, which is used during application of the electrodes. Photo by Kate Samuels.

I’m about to get real science-y with you, so hang tight because it’s important.

In short, research has shown that heart rate is highly correlated to both oxygen consumption and blood lactate production during exercise. The relationship between oxygen consumption (aerobic exercise) and heart rate is linear, which means they rise at the same rate. However, lactate production (anaerobic exercise) stays relatively low until the heart rate reaches about 175-180 beats per minute, which is approximately 80 percent of the maximum heart rate of a horse.

So why do you care? After this 80 percent threshold, blood lactate production increases exponentially, which results in significantly more fatigued muscles and a decrease in ability to perform for the horse. High levels of lactate may translate into disobediences, time penalties  and a failure to feel 100 percent fresh and ready to go on the next day.

“If a horse has to generate energy without oxygen, it creates an oxygen deficit, which eventually leads to fatigue in the muscles,” explains Dr. Joe Pagan. “During this anaerobic exercise, the horse uses 18 times more glycogen than if he were generating the energy aerobically, and this can very quickly deplete muscle glycogen.”

For the interest of completing a CCI, it is worth noting that when experiments were conducted on purposefully depleting a horse of muscle glycogen, KER found that it was physically impossible for the horse to replace that within 24 hours, and in fact it takes at least 72 hours for the body to rebound. As the muscles used during show jumping for collection, power and accuracy are highly glycolytic, this is extremely relevant to success on the final day.

The KER Clockit Sport App tracks heart rate, speed, distance, duration of exercise, altitude, and maximum speed in real time on your phone.

The KER ClockIt Sport App tracks heart rate, speed, distance, duration of exercise, altitude and maximum speed in real time on your phone.

The KER ClockIt Sport App offers multiple ways for you to track your horse’s fitness during training as well as competition. Purely as a record-keeping assistant, this app promises to offer great educational opportunities. You can gain access to your workouts from weeks and months ago, see how they correlated with your competition success and adjust accordingly.

Using the app, you can clock your mileage by day, week or month, as well as view GPS maps of your rides. I never knew how many miles I was clocking each week with my horses, and I was pretty surprised by how long my “hacks” were turning out to be.

You can evaluate your horse’s relative fitness by comparing workouts through easy-to-read graphs that show heart rate, speed, elevation and distance. If I galloped the same track twice in one month on the same horse at the same speed, how did the two workouts compare?

I found it really interesting to measure Leo’s recovery heart rate from gallops. One of the really fun aspects of the app is that you can watch the heart rate change on your phone WHILE you are riding (if you are coordinated enough!). You can see when it drops as you are walking home, and later you can measure the time it took exactly on the graph.

An example of a heart rate graph available after recording a gallop session.

An example of a heart rate graph available after recording a gallop session.

Leo is a big, heavy horse who has never done fitness work before and I believe has not yet learned how to breath properly during a gallop. Hence, when you do a gallop, he always seems like he’s on the brink of death afterwards, and I have been giving him very generous recovery periods and somewhat feeling sorry for him.

Turns out, however, that his heart rate recovery is really quite good, and he’s a lot fitter than I thought, which is something that I would never have been able to tell from the saddle. Above you can see a measured record of a trot and gallop day for him, where I asked him to gallop up four hills, can you tell?

The app can also help you measure how much time you spent at various speeds, which are recorded as the most common gait for each speed. For example, speeds from 120-300 meters per minute are recorded as “trot” while speeds from 300-480 meters per minute are recorded as canter.

KER ClockIt Sport is also a handy tool for coaches and students, as you can connect with other riders and include your coach in your workout, or even assign a workout to a student. With a good cell phone signal or wi-fi, your coach can even watch the data streaming on their phone as you are galloping remotely in another field!

During this spring’s study on 34 eventing horses training in Florida, heart rates during training were compared to heart rates during competition, and KER found that from Training level to CIC3*, most horses spent the majority of a cross country round with heart rates greater than 80 percent of the maximum beats per minute. Intermediate and Advanced horses routinely had heart rates greater than 90 percent of the max beats per minute for several minutes of their round.

However, their training during the week included barely any work in those zones. Are we preparing our horses for cross country well enough? What is the perfect amount to ask at home? These are questions that can only be answered with more data, and KER is determined to find out.

The Bluetooth is small and unobtrusive and velcros easily to your breastplate or grab strap. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The Bluetooth is small and unobtrusive and velcros easily to your breastplate or grab strap. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Dr. Pagan hopes to create a way to better understand fitness and the ways we go about achieving it for our sport horses. “What we’ve done is create a giant research environment, and now that we can take these measurements and keep them, we can learn from looking at information from many horses over time,” he said.

Theoretically, in the future, instead of a coach telling a student to go out and do “three sets of three up the hill over there,” you could hook up the KER ClockIt Sport and specify how many minutes of what speed and what heart rate level you wanted to achieve, and be much more specific about the type of workout required. Coaches could develop their own methods and share it with students in a factual way through the app.

Dr. Pagan is currently over in England working with riders in the UK to run a study on a large group of eventing horses across the pond. Combined with a second study of U.S. event horses in the fall, this offers the first ever opportunity to compare international fitness regimes in a scientific and fact-based method!

The best way to use your KER Clockit Sport App and your Polar heart rate monitor is just that: Use it. Use it every day or use it for all your fitness days. You can buy one in the KER online store for $153.50. Logging data will help you better understand how your horse is progressing over time and will help you explain your training methods to yourself and others.

And, better yet, you will be contributing to a greater global experiment that, given time and additional data, promises to provide answers to many of our fitness questions and change the way we think about equine fitness programs for years to come.

Coming up next: how to navigate and get the most out of your KER ClockIt Sport App on both your phone as well as the website

Product Review: Horze Summer Glove Extravaganza

Horze Shona Touch Screen Riding Gloves: don't bother taking off your gloves to text your friends any more! Photo by Kate Samuels.

Horze Shona Touch Screen Riding Gloves: don’t bother taking off your gloves to text your friends any more! Photo by Kate Samuels.

You can pick a rider out of a crowd in the summer by many things, but most notoriously by our tan lines. We might wear jeans and a conveniently cut top to fool you into thinking that we are bronzed all over, but there is one thing that we cannot hide: our glove tan.

Wearing gloves in the summer sounds like a crazy thing to do, if you ask your average layman, but as riders we know how important gloves can be for hours of working with horses in the sweltering heat.

Personally, I like to have gloves for lots of different occasions, and always a backup pair just in case. Horze was kind enough recently to offer a selection of summer gloves for product review, because it’s important to have a few options for your glove wearing satisfaction, and maybe to grab a few different pairs at the same time.

Horze has eighteen different pairs of summer riding gloves available, and I selected three that I thought would represent a few distinct options. At very reasonable prices, you can afford to collect a handful (ha!) for different needs.

Horze Airflow Gloves have a very fine mesh on the back of your hand for extreme summer ventilation. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Horze Airflow Gloves have a very fine mesh on the back of your hand for extreme summer ventilation. Photo by Kate Samuels.

First up, we have the Horze Airflow Gloves, which I was most interested in from the get-go. These gloves boast a really thin stretchy mesh on the back side, which promotes maximum breathability and does away with the possibility of sweaty hands.

The mesh is nicely flexible, and allows you to flex your hands in any way without feeling constricted. I can see how these would be preferable gloves to wear in very hot climates, because they almost feel like no glove at all!

On the underside, the Horze Airflow Gloves have a smooth synthetic suede, a sort of soft faux leather that feels nice on your palms but also provides a good grip on the reins.

They velcro at the wrist on the under side, but tuck right in around the base of the wrist and do not interfere with flexing at all. I usually wear a size 8 glove (I know, I have big old farmer hands) and I was comfortable in a Large, so to me they run a little small.

So that you have an option for schooling or competition, the Horze Airflow Gloves come in either black or white, and retail for $17.95.

Horze Shona Touch-Screen Riding Gloves are very durable, and very practical. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Horze Shona Touch-Screen Riding Gloves are very durable, and very practical. Photo by Kate Samuels.

For our next set of gloves, we can just go ahead and admit that we hate the necessity of taking off our gloves to use our phones while riding. Anybody who says they don’t ever use their touch screen phone while riding is completely fibbing, because we all do it.

Whether it’s answering the phone on a hack, texting your groom as you’re coming back to the barn, or double checking your dressage test right before you go to warmup, the extra hassle of undoing your gloves is just uncalled for.

The Horze Shona Touch-Screen Riding Gloves are a great combination of durability, design and usability. They come in several fun colors, as well as the classic dark grey for more important situations.

The gloves sport three fingers that are touch-screen enabled, the thumb, the pointer finger and the middle finger, all of which have a material that is capable of holding an electrical charge.

This pair of gloves feels really durable and long lasting, while also feeling comfortable and soft on your palms They have an adjustable velcro attachment on the back side of the wrist, as well as some elastic for a more custom fit.

I love them for cross country, they just fit so well. The breathable polyester on the back of the hand makes them suitable for summer use, but I could also see using them in colder weather as well. They retail for $19.95.

Horze Supreme Neo Riding Gloves in blue are super soft and comfortable. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Horze Supreme Neo Riding Gloves in blue are super soft and comfortable. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The final pair of summer gloves for your consideration are the Horze Supreme Neo Riding Gloves, which are really just your every day schooling go-to gloves. These soft flexible gloves are fun in design and color, and seem like a great glove to count on for all tasks.

They come in either blue or light pink for the accents on the back of the hand, which is made of a breathable polyester mesh for your summer comfort. The durable suede grip on the other side is ideal for grasping sweaty reins, or riding on cross country. Bonus points if you have blue or pink as a color for your outfit!

The Supreme Neo Riding Gloves have an elastic wrist with no velcro closure of any kind, but I found that it was comfortable and well fitted, and easy to put on and pull off. They also have the bonus factor of being machine washable, which is ideal for summer gear and gloves that you use frequently all day.

These gloves retail for $18.95, which is yet another example of Horze’s affordable glove collection. That way, you can have several pairs of different kinds of gloves for different rides!

Marie Le Menestrel & Meadowbrook Farm: Breeding Athletes for the Future

A 2015 colt by Cabalito (Hanoverian) out of a Thoroughbred mare. An Eventing prospect! Photo by Lindsay Johnson.

A 2015 colt by Cabalito (Hanoverian) out of a Thoroughbred mare. An Eventing prospect! Photo by Lindsay Johnson.

Marie Le Menestrel’s passion for horses started when she was a young child following her mother around at show jumping competitions in her native country of France.

Coming from a family of horse enthusiasts, it was no surprise that Marie began riding at the age of six, and continued to develop her zeal for horses as she moved to England, and then finally to the United States, where she began her fascination with breeding sport horses. Now, in just a few days time, she has a horse from her own breeding program heading to the Pan American Games with USEA Leading Lady Lauren Kieffer as jockey.

After studying dressage for a few years in the late 80s, Marie became interested in breeding, as she came by the idea honestly after watching her grandmother breed racehorses for years. Beginning on a very small scale with only one or two foals each year, she studied both warmblood and thoroughbred bloodlines with acute attention, educating herself on pedigrees and the methods involved in combining them for sport horse foals.

“Initially, the focus of the breeding was to produce excellent dressage horses, and the quality of movement was really important. I’ve always been drawn to real athletic horses that were more of a thoroughbred type, so eventually I just ended up having horses that could move well and also jump and gallop. All of them were always at least a quarter thoroughbred,” Marie spoke with me from her tack room at Meadowbrook Farm in Barboursville, Virginia.

With over two decades of breeding sport horses under her belt, Marie breeds horses for pure Dressage, for Hunter/Jumpers, and also for Eventing. Her operation is a little bigger now, with 10-12 mares in rotation producing about six foals each year. Alternating mares, she admits, is not the most commercially efficient way to do it, but she keeps her mares for a very long time, and really likes the collection that she currently has.

“My goal is to produce an athlete that is also user friendly, so temperament is very important. A high percentage of the clients who are buying horses are also amateurs, so you have to breed horses that are rideable.”

“As far as matching a stallion to a mare, I find that it’s more of an art than a science,” says Marie. “There are definite structural, conformational and general soundness issues that you have to respect in your decisions, but at the end of the day it’s just a good feeling about a cross that I get. You have to do your homework, and the pedigrees have to be compatible, but you don’t want to get too stuck on just the pedigrees either.”

Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook's Scarlett at Great Meadow Pan Am Selection Trials.  Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook’s Scarlett at Great Meadow Pan Am Selection Trials. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The secret to her success is also decidedly mare centric, as are many longstanding breeding operations. Many of Marie’s broodmares are indeed products of her own program, and she keeps them to continue reinvesting in her system. Alongside a good group of broodmares, Marie stands four stallions, all of which are U.S. bred sport horses.

“I keep my mares a long time, and their daughters if they are good. If I do my job right and I believe in what I’m breeding, I should continue their bloodlines. You have to have a long term focus in the way that you are going, and be loyal to your bloodlines and your mares, really more so than the stallions, because they are more important.

With her homebred mare Meadowbrook’s Scarlett heading to the Pan American Games this coming week, Marie readily admits that it’s been hugely rewarding to watch the mare succeed with Lauren Kieffer in the irons.

Attending an event in 2011, Marie watched Lauren warming up a young horse, and immediately was attracted to her style of riding and her quiet way with the youngster. Through a mutual friend, the two connected, and Marie sent two horses to Lauren, one of which was Meadowbrook’s Scarlett.

Lauren and Scarlett have a great partnership, and Lauren has done an incredible job of training the mare up the levels. I was very lucky to find the right rider for this mare, and she was in a position at that time to put a lot of time into her from the very beginning.”

Initially, the four-year-old Scarlett was to be started in her career and sold as a prospect, but that soon changed. “Very quickly, I realized I didn’t want to sell Scarlett. In her very first show at Middleburg Horse Trials, I watched her jump in the warm up and I told Lauren, ‘That mare is a freak!’.”

A freak indeed, as in four years of competition, Scarlett has completed 34 events with zero cross country jump penalties, 14 wins, 29 top-five placings, and only five rails total. I’m not sure there is another three-star horse in this country with that kind of record.

A 2015 colt by Quite Easy III (Hanoverian) out of Allegria. A hunter/jumper prospect. Photo by Lindsay Johnson.

A 2015 colt by Easy Street (Selle Francais/Holsteiner) out of Allegria. A hunter/jumper prospect. Photo by Lindsay Johnson.

A horse like that is really a gift, because even if you do everything right in your breeding operation, you could breed for years and not get that. She makes us all look good. The best thing about her is her loving personality. She’s a barn favorite at Lauren’s stable.”

Scarlett is out of a mare named Bliss (Dutch Warmblood x Thoroughbred), and by her stallion All In Black (Holsteiner x Hanoverian). Her pedigree includes the well known sires Contender, Voltaire and Secretariat all in the third generation. The first two represent some of the best jumping blood in Europe, and Secretariat doesn’t hurt the ability to gallop well.

Nowadays the Eventing has gotten to such a high level that the horses have to be really good jumpers, really good dressage horses, and have a good gallop for cross country. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we are finding really good jumping lines and really good dressage lines in the top eventing horses now.”

While attending the Pan American Games to watch Scarlett and Lauren represent the United States will certainly be a highlight for Marie, her heart remains at home. “It’s very rewarding to watch the horses that I bred go on and be competitive, but my favorite thing is always the mares and the foals. I really enjoy being able to help Lauren’s career, but mostly I like being on the farm with the next generation of athletes.”