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

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.”

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Oh, just some eventers trying to cross a "ditch" at Stuart Horse Trials. Photo by Skyeler Icke-Voss.

Oh, just some eventers trying to cross a “ditch” at Stuart Horse Trials. Photo by Skyeler Icke-Voss.

In 2013, Stuart Horse Trials had to cancel just like a lot of British competitions because it rained just too darn much. From looking at pictures from competitors who just arrived and are wading walking their cross country courses, it’s pretty crazy wet there right now! That event is one of the premier competitions of the year and has an incredible organizing committee, and all I can say is they might need a few extra hands and maybe some giant fans to install around the property. And a lot of sunshine. And wind. And definitely no more rain!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Cosequin Stuart H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

Huntington Farm H.T. [Website]

Riga Meadow H.T.  [Website]

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

Roebke’s Run H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

39th Annual Whidbey Island H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Champagne Run H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Powder Basin H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

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

News From Around the Globe:

FLAIR will be providing the Training Three-Day Protect and Perform Award at Rebecca Farm this year. The winner of the Protect and Perform competition must be in the T3D and wear a FLAIR Nasal Strip during cross country and stadium — the highest placed rider who meets all criteria will win the $150 prize. FLAIR will also be offering complimentary applications at Rebecca and will be donating strips to the prize packs for the divisions.

Congratulations to Breanna Kaho, this week’s Fab Freebie winner! Breanna is the new owner of a Bucas Zebra Buzz Off Fly Sheet — a must have this fly season! [Fab Freebie: Bucas]

Team Canada experiences more changes right before the Pan Ams, with the un-explained withdrawal of Stuart Black. Without an official word from Equine Canada, all we have at the moment is the reason of “personal problems” as the source of his disappearance from the training camp. Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High, winners of the dressage at Bromont CCI3* a short while ago, have replaced him as traveling reserve. [Canadian Eventers Change Course]

So great! Did you want to check out the cross country courses at Barbury? You’re in luck! Thanks to Eventing Worldwide, we have pics of the Novice (Prelim) course, the CIC2* and the CIC3* jumps. I love looking at the courses from other countries, and Barbury is one of the top competitions of the year. [Barbury Cross Country Photos]

Equestrian Sports New Zealand is taking action and putting out new rules for social media for athletes, officials, volunteers, ESNZ staff and all members. As social media has become such a powerful force in our world, and a way that we learn about much of the happenings across the globe and connect with one another, ESNZ has decided that it is important to implement some rules. Failure to comply can result in take-down notifications, disciplinary actions, and even legal proceedings. [ESNZ Social Media Rules and Regulations]

I love this article by our very own four-star vet Kevin Keane on the definition of soundness. When you think of a sound horse, you want something that can competently and physically easily perform a certain array of tasks, right? What you need a horse to do is not what Phillip Dutton needs his horses to do, or what Sally Smith down the road wants her horses to do when she rides them three times a year. Kevin lays it all out and gives us a great guide to finding a horse that is sound for your needs. [What is Serviceably Sound?]

I’ve been looking for a grooming box to take to shows for a while now, but I was reluctant to spend $500 on a wooden one. I’m delighted to have found these Burlingham Sports Grooming Boxes, because they’re way more affordable, and I can order one in any color I want. I always feel like there are about 5-10 essentials that I use at shows that I need on hand all the time, and having them in a grooming box hanging on the front of the stall would be amazing. [SmartPak Product Of the Day]

Best of Blogs: Will Connell Checks in From Toronto with Pan Am Games Fever

 

Product Review: GumBits

GumBits is a small treat that could help your horse develop better connection through the reins. Photo courtesy of Shereen Fuqua.

GumBits is a small treat that could help your horse develop better connection through the reins. Photo courtesy of Shereen Fuqua.

When it comes to finding out ways to eke out extra points in our dressage tests, the Eventing crowd has an all new fervor for getting that competitive score. Gone are the days when you could perform a passable test and finish on that score to win a competition.

Now you have to be a step above the necessary requirements for your level in order to be competitive at all, and that goes for everything from Beginner Novice to Four-Star.

GumBits is a product that has long been popularized in the pure Dressage world, and is just now becoming accepted and utilized in the eventing world. As the key to any movement in a dressage test is a good connection, there is understandably a lot of thought put into how the horse feels in your reins, and how they accept the bit and respond to it.

The idea behind GumBits is simple and effective. Two tablespoons of the tiny pebble sized edibles before a ride helps stop horses that grind their teeth during work, as well as promoting salivation for those equines that are dry mouthed.

GumBits is made from all natural ingredients, and in fact only six items in total make up the product: sugar, beeswax, wheat flour, corn starch, gum arabic and natural flavor. As it is my regular habit to taste test almost anything that my horse eats, I popped a few into my mouth and found them pleasant to the taste.

In short, they are tiny balls of beeswax wrapped in a crunchy layer of slightly honey flavored and sweet material. The horse takes a handful into his mouth and chews them up just like a regular treat, but the beeswax stays on the teeth, which takes all of the joy out of grinding during a ride.

This also encourages chewing activity and, thus, salivation, which are both important to a relaxed and soft connection through the reins.

Leo snarfed them all up happily. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Leo snarfed them all up happily. Photo by Kate Samuels.

I don’t have any tooth grinders in my barn, but I do have a few horses with odd relationships with the bit, and one that is a little bit dry mouthed. All of my horses happily crunched up the little nuggets, save one, who is straight off the track and doesn’t understand the idea of treats yet. Everyone else is a glutton, and was willing to oblige the taste test.

GumBits is not a cure-all for ailments of connection, and not a replacement for slow and correct training combined with an educated hand, but it does address several specific issues quite well.

My dry mouthed horse showed significantly increased salivation, and was quite happy during his rides. My dressage coach uses them daily on her Grand Prix stallion, and reports that it has cured him of his teeth grinding and he never goes out to the arena without a few nibbles.

Also important is that GumBits is made with all FDA approved ingredients, and is fully legal for competitions at the FEI level and below. As an FEI competitor, I know that it is important to use the same products at home as you do at a competition, and thus everything must be FEI legal from the start.

Eventers are just starting to discover this product, but it is already having success with riders like Hawley Bennett-Awad, Lauren Kieffer, Matt Brown, and Kate Chadderton. When top level riders consistently use a product on a wide variety of horses, you have to stop and take notice.

GumBits are available widely, in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and even Singapore. A 16oz bag will last you quite a while, and retails for about $37.99.

Thursday News & Notes from Woof Wear

Blenheim-bound Jen McFall and High Times practicing their jumping skillz. Photo courtesy of Jen McFall.

Blenheim-bound Jen McFall and High Times practicing their jumping skillz. Photo courtesy of Jen McFall.

The month of July is always a funny month, and not just because it becomes so swelteringly hot in Virginia that you can’t see straight and contemplate throwing your clothes away at the end of the day instead of washing them. Somehow I always get SUPER busy in July, and can’t seem to slow down, which I actually enjoy (obviously, otherwise why would I ride horses for a living). Also, the worst part about July is that every year, all of my horses come down with some kind of skin funk, it’s like a July Virginia curse. I’ve already stocked up on Desitin and Dex, don’t worry.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Cosequin Stuart H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Huntington Farm H.T. [Website]

Riga Meadow H.T.  [Website]

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

Roebke’s Run H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

39th Annual Whidbey Island H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Champagne Run H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Powder Basin H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

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

News From Around the Globe:

The USEA is offering FEH competitors the opportunity to practice a jump chute before they get to East Coast Championships, and Loch Moy is hosting a clinic next Thursday, July 16th. A videographer will be there to create an educational video on how to safely and properly send your horse through a jump chute. This video will be done at the clinic, so you could have your horse in the demo video! Click here to learn more about the event and registration. [MDHT FEH Jump Chute Clinic]

Like the WEG last year, the cross country portion of the Pan Am Games is at a different site than the rest of the equestrian competition, which poses a challenge for the veterinary teams on duty during the games. Veterinary Services Manager Dr. Pownell admits that the eventing portion of the equestrian games is the most complicated for his group of vets, and has gone to great measures to try and be prepared for everything. [Vet Teams Prep for Pan Am Cross Country]

More than 1,000 horses and riders are planning to descend upon Barbury Castle this weekend for their famed summer competition. With Andrew Nicholson looking for his fourth consecutive victory with Avebury (and a fence named after him!), there’s also stiff competition from Jonelle Price, Mark Todd, and some of the other usual suspects. The competition rates highly as one of the best of the year for spectators and riders alike, and promises to be an incredible weekend. [Outlook is Bright for Barbury]

COTH staff member Sara Leiser is pregnant, but has a different version of “nesting” than your average mom-t0-be, and obviously it’s horse related. While most moms start doing things baby related, Sara has become productive in the barn, with the knowledge that a baby will make some of these to-do’s a little more impossible to check off the list. [Nesting Horsewoman Style]

Best of Blogs: Why Interviewing William Fox-Pitt Was Both a Privilege and a Responsibility

A little NAJYRC #tbt for ya:

 

 

 

 

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Don't you want to see a GoAlGo Pro video of Burghley?? Photo courtesy of Lainey Ashker.

Don’t you want to see a GoAlGo Pro video of Burghley?? Photo courtesy of Lainey Ashker.

Fourth of July weekend coming up!! Pretty excited to see a friend become a U.S. citizen early tomorrow morning at Monticello, then ride my horses in the middle of the day, and then go to a bbq and do it up with some delicious foods and wonderful company. Last year I went tubing down a river locally with a bazillion other slightly inebriated and immoderately red-white-and-blue clothed people, and it was all a little hectic. This year, I’m just enjoying the “day off” and probably a hamburger, and then settling down to a night of yelling at neighbors who set off fireworks and scare my horses. You know, the usual.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Kelly’s Ford H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Chattahoochee Hills H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Camelot Equestrian Horse Park H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

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

News From Around the Globe:

Congratulations to Alanna McPartlin, this week’s Fab Freebie winner! Alanna will receive this week’s prize pack of Wound Care+ from Noble Outfitters. [Fab Freebie: Wound Care +]

Attention C4 fans! If you’re in the mood to do some shopping (and who isn’t?), you’re in luck! In honor of Independence Day, all red, white, and blue classic, skinny and chrome belts as well as buckles are 20% off. The sale ends tomorrow, so be sure to stop by and stock up! [C4 Belts]

Lainey Ashker announced yesterday that her ambition for the fall is nothing less than the ultimate four star challenge: Burghley CCI4*. With her longtime partner in crime Al, Lainey is working towards funding her trip overseas to test her mettle against the biggest track of her life and the fiercest competitors. If you, like me, want to see the amazing cross country helmet cam from atop an American OTTB (and, lets face it, the selfies too!) at Burghley, there are lots of ways to support. Buy some sweet #LAE gear! Donate directly! Do it today! [LAE Four Star Fundraiser] [#LAE Gear]

Sinead Halpin actually rode in front of George Morris without polishing her boots first. It was completely unintentional, and she was rightfully mortified, but she learned some good lessons as she had both Phillip and George help her with her cross country schooling demons. It’s nice to know that even the top riders sometimes get caught out, and sometimes they admit that they don’t really like cross country schooling either. Check out Sinead’s new blog on COTH to learn more. [George Morris, Uncomfortable Situations, and Losing to Win]

Mark Todd is just trying to be like Jennie Brannigan, as he made his jockey debut in the UK yesterday. The horseman of the century retired from Eventing in 2000 to train racehorses, and luckily we got him back in 2008. However, riding racehorses is a whole different thing! Sir Mark finished fifth in the charity race benefitting Key4Life, which isn’t half bad for a guy twice as tall as your average jockey! [Mark Todd: Jockey For A Day]

Ahmed Zayat says that American Pharoah, Triple Crown winner, will race next in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on August 2nd. The Grade 1 race is run over a mile-and-an-eighth with three-year-olds only, and Bob Baffert already owns a record seven wins, so he favors it quite strongly. The Zayat family is pleased to be able to race AP in their home state, and bring some of his fame to Monmouth. Everything after this is leading up to the Breeders Cup later in the fall. [American Pharoah Picks His Race]

The iconic white fencing at the Kentucky Horse Park will be no more starting next week. By stripping the nearly 30 miles of fencing and repainting it all black, the KY Horse Park says they will save about $50,000 a year in maintenance costs. While this is sad in a lot of ways, anybody who has ever owned a farm knows that white fencing is a nightmare, and black fencing is always the way to go. [KY Horse Park Goes Black]

Smartpak knows how to celebrate Independence Day….with a SALE! Order the stuff you’ve been waiting for now, and get 20% off through the holiday! I finally caved and ordered Leo some muscle supplements, and while I’ve been doing DIY supplements every morning (it’s so time consuming!) I decided that it was easier, and found it to be cheaper to do it with SmartPaks. Good use for my 20% off! [SmartPak Independence Day Sale]

Thursday News & Notes From Woof Wear

Blackberries: he loves them!!

Blackberries: he loves them!!

In a lot of ways, summer in Virginia can be almost insufferable. The heat combined with the humidity makes a lot of my outdoor work days pretty gross, and when I get home at the end of the day, I can barely stand to even touch the clothes I’ve been sweating in all day. However, there are a few things sweet about summer, one of which is the berry picking season that accompanies long hacks through the woods and fields early in the morning. Nyls is especially fond of blackberries, and will eat them until his mouth turns purple and he drools sugary goo.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Kelly’s Ford H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Chattahoochee Hills H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Camelot Equestrian Horse Park H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

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

News From Around the Globe:

I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m obsessed with Jonelle Price’s Faerie Dianimo. With a stable name like Maggie May, and having competed at the 4* level very well already at the age of nine, this is a mare to contend with. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing though, as the mare had a penchant for throwing her riders and kicking out violently for many years. [Eventing Superstar Faerie Dianimo]

Andrew Nicholson is aiming Avebury at the upcoming Barbury CIC3*, where they’ve named a jump complex after the indomitable grey gelding. The pair have won the event for the past three years running, and after Avebury had a chip removed this spring, Andrew has confirmed that he’s fit as ever and ready to acquire his fourth consecutive Barbury trophy. The Swindon Advisor went in depth with Andrew about his career, Avebury, and of course, his current controversy with the New Zealand team. [In Depth With Andrew Nicholson]

Since coming out on Tuesday with the sad news of his cancer diagnosis, the internet has exploded with support for Ben Hobday. For even those not well acquainted with Ben would have a hard time not enjoying his personality as he Instagrams videos in the Burghley lap of honor, and shows his undying love for fashion in the trot ups. Many people on social media have been posting well wishes with hashtags of #kickingcancersbutt, #HobdayMyHero and #yehboi, a personalized Ben hashtag. If anybody can do it, you can Ben! [Kicking Cancer’s Butt with Support from Millions]

What Grand Prix Dressage horse pulls a “Runaway Bride” every once in a while? In COTH’s newest edition of Behind Stall Doors, we get to know Shelly Francis’ Doktor, a quirky little German gelding who is more than a little skittish and feisty. His habit of bolting came from a bad experience with a dummy when he was being started in Germany, more on that in the article. [Behind Stall Doors: Doktor]

Thinking of being a volunteer for Rio 2016? Because why not! The Olympics are now taking applications for volunteers for the opening and closing ceremonies, which is certainly something that you could write home about. [Rio 2016 Volunteers Needed]

Best of Blogs: It’s a mounting block! It’s an organizer! It’s….a pretty sweet box!

OMG. The cuteness. It kills me. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=43&v=u0yjJP1ahas

 

 

 

Product Review: Professional’s Choice Pro Performance XC Boots

Professional's Choice now offers a snazzy Pro Performance XC Boot. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Professional’s Choice now offers a snazzy Pro Performance XC Boot. Photo by Kate Samuels.

If you’re an eventer, there are a lot of things that define you but none so much as your enthusiasm for the cross country phase. As such, our passion involves getting super serious about the gear that we invest in for the safety and well-being of our horses for the physically and mentally challenging course requirements.

In this day and age, we are constantly searching for the perfect boot that will meet all of our protection requirements, fail to empty our bank account, and let’s be honest, look good while doing all of the above.

I recently had the opportunity to try the new Professional’s Choice Pro Performance XC Boot, and was delighted to find that it met almost all of my boot criteria, which is a hard sell, as I’m pretty picky as to what I put on the legs of my horses. My rating for boots comes down to these categories: durability, rub prevention, breathability, water resistance, strike protection, form fit, price, and appearance. Let’s break it down.

To start, the Pro Performance XC Boot offers a mesh outer layer that offers a lightweight rip stop surface, which means that while it doesn’t hold water and remains breathable, it’s still just as tough as a solid outer wall. The lightness of the boots struck me first thing when I pulled them out of the box, they feel almost like air. However, one is not to be disheartened by the seemingly lightweight nature of the boots, because they are plenty durable.

I have had them for several weeks and have taken them jumping in all sorts of situations, competed in them several times, run them through the washing machine, and even had a horse whack a cross country jump quite hard (unintentional, whoops!). They look brand new and haven’t got a mark on them through all of the trials and tribulations.

The Pro Performance Cross Country Boot boasts a waterproof mesh outer layer that allows air cooling action. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The Pro Performance Cross Country Boot boasts a waterproof mesh outer layer that allows air cooling action. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Inside of the boot is a neoprene non-slip lining that keeps the boots in place, but doesn’t cause rubbing. I have two of the biggest skin babies out there, and I have used these boots on both horses, and nary a rub in sight. Chestnut skin combined with sand and water can be a lethal combination, and I have not found issue with the rubbing factor yet.

Another big concern we have when booting our horses is the breathability, as studies and common sense have shown that heating up tendons for any period of time is just asking for injury. For any given ride, a boot can be on the horse for an hour or even more, and during the competition season, temperatures outside can get pretty high, but you want to be able to keep the leg cool.

I’ve been pleasantly rewarded by using the Pro Performance XC Boots during the spring and summer season, and throughout have found that the breathability rates amongst the highest of all the boots that I use.

Of course for cross country, we need boots that can go through the water complex a few times and hold their position, but not the water itself. A boot that retains water gets heavy, which interferes with your horse’s mobility, as well as causing slippage for the duration of the ride afterwards. The Pro Performance XC Boots seem no different in their weight after many gallops through the water than when you first put them on, and this was integral to their success.

The Pro Performance Cross Country Boots are very lightweight and don't hold water at all with their durable but water resistant material. Photo by Erica Stevens.

The Pro Performance Cross Country Boots are very lightweight and don’t hold water at all with their durable but water resistant material. Photo by Erica Stevens.

Professional’s Choice has employed a very high quality thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) in the creation of the strike guard on these boots, which is flexible enough to conform to the shape of the leg, but very clearly hard enough to maintain a rigid protective wall upon impact. You can squeeze the boots and feel the strength of the TPU strike guards, but you can also fit them comfortably to an irregularly shaped leg without incurring discomfort.

I used these boots on my big red horse multiple times, and he has one front leg with a lovely ugly splint from years ago, which sometimes can be cause for an ill fitted boot situation, and found that it conformed nicely to both his regular legs and his lumpy leg. The velcro latches are easily adjusted for different legs, and can be tightened without worry of damage.

For all of these requirements, cross country boots with their new technology can get pretty pricey, and ultimately spending a small fortune on a boot that will immediately be run through disgusting water and banged about can feel quite sad. The Professional’s Choice Pro Performance XC Boots run on the very reasonable side, retailing for $89.95 per pair, putting them alongside some of the most affordable choices you can make for your cross country safety. 

Finally, as I’m somewhat of a diva in this way, I like to be able to find boots that come in a few different colors, and I’m partial to white. The white boots I used have maintained their brilliant white throughout, and look very snazzy in photos. There’s just nothing like a photo of a horse jumping wonderfully with some white boots to bring a smile to my face.

The Professional’s Choice Pro Performance XC Boots rate amongst the highest in all categories to my liking, as well as coming with a 30-day money back guarantee, and a six month warranty.

Thursday News & Notes from Woof Wear

Pan Am team member Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook's Scarlett jumping at the CT held at Morningside Training Farm in Virginia yesterday. Photo by Maya Small.

Pan Am team member Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook’s Scarlett jumping at the CT held at Morningside Training Farm in Virginia yesterday. Photo by Maya Small.

Today I am off on an adventure to Holland! My sister is graciously taking me with her as she goes to the dressage holy land in search of her new champion partner, and since I prefer the <$10 range for my horses, it’s my first chance to see and experience an overseas horse shopping trip. Sadly, it’s all dressage horses all the time, but I’m hopeful that maybe somewhere in one of those barns is an extra horse that just seems like it wants to do cross country and they just want to do a two-for-one deal. Hey, it could happen, so I’m bringing my helmet just in case!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Great Vista H.T. [Website]

Great Meadows CIC [Website] [Entry Status]

Surefire H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Lost Hounds Pony Club H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Bucks County Horse Park H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Fox River Valley PC H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

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

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

Midsouth PC H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Golden Spike H.T.  [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Once again, Michael Jung is the one to beat as we head into Luhmuhlen this weekend. Michael did the unusual and took both of his four-star champions right from Rolex where they both performed acceptably (read: extreme understatement) and now to a second spring four-star. I suppose the World/European/Olympic Champion gets to do what he wants. Besides that, the entry list is stacked, and it will be a tight race for sure. Thank goodness we have Wylie on the ground to bring us all the important updates throughout the weekend! [Michael Jung is the One To Beat]

Ingrid Klimke is out to keep her lead in the HSBC FEI Classics series this weekend at Luhmuhlen. After winning Pau in the fall and just placing second at Badminton, Ingrid returns to her hometown four-star with FRH Escada JS,  her partner in the team gold and individual silver medals at European Championships in 2013. No German rider has ever won the Classics series, but Ingrid currently has a four point lead over three-time winner WFP, who is without a mount this weekend. Can she do it? [Ingrid Klimke Gunning For A Win]

That moment when The Chronicle of The Horse writes an article on one of the writers at Eventing Nation? Yep, that happened. Our girl Maggie Deatrick got her own article from COTH as she tackles Great Meadow CIC3* this weekend with her amazing horse Dante. Not only is Maggie a prediction expert extraordinaire, but she’s also has a full time “real person job”, which makes competing at this level even more impressive. Go Maggie! [One to Watch: Amateur Rider Maggie Deatrick]

Kathryn Robinson is the only European competing at the Pan American Games. Riding for Canada, but based in  Gloucestershire for many years now, she was foiled in her plans for Badminton this spring by an ill-timed broken ankle, and fortune came through in the form of the Pan Ams this summer. This will be her first team experience, and she’s hoping that it will prepare her well for an Olympic bid, which is her ultimate goal. [British Based Eventer Goes to Pan Ams]

Best of Blogs: “Immediate Opening for Barn Help….Here’s the Deal”

This is only ten minutes, and it’s worth hearing Kyle Carter speak to what goes on behind team selection. Kyle isn’t the only one surprised that he was left off the Canadian Pan American Games team. 

Wednesday News & Notes from MDBarnmaster

Addie Neumeyer riding her heart out on cross country. Photo by Lee Ann Zobbe.

Addie Neumeyer celebrating a great cross country round. Photo by Lee Ann Zobbe.

I love nothing more than a hard working kid riding their heart out, and especially when it comes to kids like Addie Neumeyer. We’ve featured Addie before, because she’s a super determined rider who also makes time to volunteer at events, and luckily Lee Ann Zobbe sent us an adorable new photo series and story as an update.

Addie just turned 9 years old, and so far this year she has volunteered at Pine Top Farm Advanced Horse Trials, at Pony Club activities, and was a member of the hospitality crew and showjumping crew at the Indiana Eventing Association Horse Trials.

Addie moved up from Starter to Beginner Novice this past weekend, and Lee Ann was on hand to shoot a fun jump sequence as Addie conquered her most feared jump on course. Look at the determination of the first shot, and the ultimate joy as she lands and gallops on! Photos included below.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Great Vista H.T. [Website]

Great Meadows CIC [Website] [Entry Status]

Surefire H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

Lost Hounds Pony Club H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Bucks County Horse Park H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Fox River Valley PC H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

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

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

Midsouth PC H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Golden Spike H.T.  [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Massive congratulations to our very own Marilyn Payne for being chosen as the President of the Ground Jury for Rio 2016!! Marilyn announced via her Facebook last night that she will be President for the Olympic games, judging alongside Sandy Phillips and Andrew Benne, with Alex Lochore as the Technical Delegate. Way to go!

Have you entered JUMP 2015?? Um, if you haven’t, why not? Sharon White’s Last Frontier Farm is hosting it’s annual amazing super fun derby cross event and fundraiser, and you should be putting it on your calendar. Held on July 4th this year, there are divisions from Elementary through Preliminary, and awards for the most patriotic and the most orange will be available as well. It’s always tons of fun, and a great way to start your Independence Day celebrations. You can enter online through June 29th. [JUMP!]

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been stalking everything American Pharoah for weeks now. I adore this horse’s kind eye and sweet attitude, because that’s a pretty uncommon thing for horses that are that good at that level in any sport. He seems like such a lovely animal, and his athletic accomplishments cannot be denied. For the horsemen and women who work behind the scenes developing horses for the track, his victory in the Triple Crown was especially poignant, and Carleigh Fedorka wrote an incredible blog about her experience and her relationship with American Pharoah. [A Voice From The Farm]

Everybody has a few…unorthodox…tricks up their sleeve for fixing naughty hands or flimsy legs or some other weird riding habit. Chronicle blogger Lauren Spreiser posted a photo of her ghetto fabulous baling twine neck strap (to encourage low, quiet hands) and received an extraordinary response. Her follow up is this blog, which is entertaining as always. [Tie Me Up]

I’ve had a hell of a bad few months for foot soreness with Nyls, and I had to find some new solutions to helping him through some crummy luck. I ended up pulling his front shoes after a failed experiment with pads to protect his flat pancake feet, and now he’s stuck on stall rest while his feet rest and recuperate. The only problem is, he’s a nightmare to keep on stall rest, so I had to figure a way to give him some turnout while protecting his tootsies. Enter the Cavallo Simple Boot, which offers all-terrain protection and shock absorption for his bare feet. I’ve been super impressed with the durability, fit, and function of these, and I’m so glad I bought them, because they can be re-used in times of lost shoes in the future. [SmartPak Product of The Day]

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Dunlavin's Token all geared up for a gallop in preparation for Great Meadows in two weeks! Photo courtesy of Danica Meyerhoff.

Dunlavin’s Token all geared up for a gallop in preparation for Great Meadows in two weeks! Photo courtesy of Danica Meyerhoff.

Last night my baby horse was brilliant in his Derby debut, jumping all the Training level jumps and behaving perfectly! I love the feeling you get when your horse starts to understand intellectually what his job is, and has the muscle and training to back it up. No matter what level you’re competing at, that is a magical feeling. When you’ve worked long and hard for it, there’s nothing more satisfying. I think it’s moments like these, maybe doing a round at a schooling show at 7 pm, or maybe it’s at Rolex, but it’s the same “we did it!” that a little voice says in your head that keeps you coming back for more.

Bramham Links: WebsiteEntriesScheduleLive ScoresEN’s Coverage@samanthalclark

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

Larkin Hill H.T. [Website]

Seneca Valley PC Spring H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

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

Queeny Park H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Silverwood Farm Spring H.T.  [Website]

Aspen Farms CIC & H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Round Top H.T.  [Omnibus]

News From Around The Globe:

Congratulations to Breanna Kaho, the winner of this week’s Fab Freebie from Kentucky Performance Products! Breanna will receive a year’s supply of Summer Games Electrolyte, so her horse will be nice and hydrated this summer. Congratulations, Breanna! [Fab Freebie: Kentucky Performance Products]

The USEA has announced the addition of a free jumping evaluation at the East Coast Future Event Horse Championships. While this will become mandatory for both east and west coasts in 2016, 2015 will only require East Coast horses at Loch Moy Farms in October. The chute will be regularly configured, with two verticals to an oxer, which is not to exceed 3’6 in height. Judges will evaluate the canter quality, jumping technique, jumping ability, and scope. [USEA Adds Free Jumping to FEH]

#FBF to equestrians learning about “heat illness” and how to cope with riding in the summer months. This great article was written by Dr. David Mclean as we all prepared for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Much of the knowledge we have now about cooling horses and humans down after cross country or during the summer comes from this original research. [Heat Illness]

Famous New Zealand racehorse Bonecrusher died this week at the ripe old age of 32. Racing in the eighties, Bonecrusher was the first horse to earn over $1 million in the country, named Horse of the Year for both 1986 and 1987, and clearly the winner of the best name ever. Check out the video below of Bonecrusher, and admire his gallop stride and his striking looks! [RIP Bonecrusher]

Riding corners in your dressage test can be a real pain in the arse, until you get the hang of it. I always think of corners as little helpers that I can use to balance and bend my horse for the next movement. Need a half halt? There’s a corner for that. Need a little shoulder in soon? There’s a corner for that too. Anyway, Horse & Hound has a guide for learning how to use the corners for better marks on your dressage test. [How To Ride A Corner]

If you’re like me, you run around at shows carrying too many things at all times. Usually I am sporting something like this collection: an extra towel, some fly spray, a tail brush, a camera, an extra lens, a water bottle or two, a gatorade bottle, a coke bottle, a phone charger, and maybe my helmet. All of these things need a pretty special backpack to keep from killing each other in the bag. I love this Under Armour ringside pack, designed specifically for the horse show needs! I mean, if you’re gonna be serious about it, be serious about it and get a sweet backpack. [Under Armour Ringside Pack]

Bonecrusher!

 

Thursday News & Notes from Woof Wear

This is Boyd's new creation on the Windurra cross country schooling course. I like it. Photo courtesy of Boyd.

This is Boyd’s new creation on the Windurra cross country schooling course. I like it. Photo courtesy of Boyd.

Tonight, I am going to the local SOAR Eventing Derby Night! Oh, what’s that, you say? It’s where a whole bunch of awesome people who are influential in keeping the local eventing scene thriving get together and haul a bunch of show jumps and portable cross country jumps into a giant arena, and we have combination derby jumping rounds at different eventing levels. It’s held at night, so it’s finally cool in the Virginia summer, and there is home cooking and socializing and spectating and it’s just a blast. If only every community could enjoy the same camaraderie and competition simultaneously!

Samantha Clark is on the grounds at the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials to bring us coverage here on EN all week. Lauren Kieffer and Veronica and Katherine Coleman and Courage Under Fire are in the CCI3*, and Caroline Martin and Quantum Solace are in the Under 25 CCI3*. Stay tuned for Samantha’s excellent coverage.

Bramham Links: WebsiteEntriesScheduleLive ScoresEN’s Coverage@samanthalclark

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

Larkin Hill H.T. [Website]

Seneca Valley PC Spring H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status]

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

Queeny Park H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Silverwood Farm Spring H.T.  [Website]

Aspen Farms CIC & H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Round Top H.T.  [Omnibus]

News From Around The Globe:

William Fox Pitt has won Bramham CCI3* seven times, but he’s not yet satisfied. He’s riding Fernhill Pimms, a horse with already two CIC3*’s and a CCI2* victories under his belt. However, he does have competition from the usual crowd, and all eyes will be on Oliver Townend as he attempts to pilot the controversial Lanfranco around at a big competition. Andrew Nicholson is returning with MHS King Joules, the horse who earned Mary King a yellow card at this very event last year. [Bramham CCI3* Heats Up]

Irish biotechnology company Equinome has announced the release of a new test for the thoroughbred speed gene analysis. Four years ago, Equinome came out with the first speed gene analysis test, and they are claiming that the new procedure more than doubles the accuracy of predicting elite thoroughbred racing potential rather than using just pedigree alone. While this all sounds amazing and sciencey and exciting, I still think there’s an unknown x-factor that’s important in any horse sports, and they can’t just be reduced to numbers. [Equinome Predicts Fast Thoroughbreds]

After moving from east to west coast in 2013, Jessie Hargrave now joins forces with Tamie Smith and Next Level Eventing. Jessie was based in North Carolina for most of her career, working for riders like Rebecca Howard and Holly Hudspeth. However, she upped and took her career west and hasn’t looked back. With Jess, Tamie, Heather Morris and Nikki Hall Clarke all based in one barn, this is surely a powerhouse of a stable! [Next Level Eventing Welcomes Jessie Hargrave]

If you’re looking for the ideal low level packer, or all around enjoyable horse, how do you find that gem? Horse & Hound has a great guide for finding that horse that will safely take you around just about anything at the lower levels, and what to look for when you’re shopping. The horse that is enjoyable for many to ride is a popular commodity, and sometimes hard to find! [How To Find Your All Arounder]

A Pharoah Tale Ending……yep!

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

The Four Star Eventing Group's Butch Cassidy sits in 2nd place in the CCI* with Will Coleman at Bromont. Photo via Will Coleman Eventing.

The Four Star Eventing Group’s Butch Cassidy sits in 2nd place in the CCI* with Will Coleman at Bromont. Photo via Will Coleman Eventing.

I think this is the first time in recent memory that I’ve been super jealous of the weather at Bromont versus what I’m experiencing here at home. It has done nothing but rain all week, and while on one hand I’m thrilled (because the footing, duh!), the other hand tells me that it’s depressing to be wet for more than two days in a row. I’m gonna go ahead and say this is a sign I shouldn’t move to England or Ireland.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

GMHA June H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

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

Plantation Field H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

The Middleburg H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

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

Roebke’s Run CCI/CIC & H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Texas Rose Horse Park Summer H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Copper Meadows CIC & H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Arrowhead H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Derbyshire Farms H.T.  [Website]

News From Around The Globe:

Congratulations to Beth Libby, the winner of this week’s Fab Freebie from Bucas! Beth will receive a lovely Bucas Buzz Off Fly Sheet — we’re sure her horse will appreciate it! [Fab Freebie: Bucas]

Surefire Horse Trials is still accepting entries at all levels for the June 19-21 event. Beginner Novice through Intermediate courses designed by Tremaine Cooper at Jan Byyny’s gorgeous farm in Purcellville, Virginia are always a favorite for locals. They’ve added a wine and beer garden and tailgating this year, too! [Website] [Omnibus Listing]

Wear purple this weekend in honor of Seema Sonnad. A movement has begun for those attending, volunteering, or competing at events this weekend to wear purple in honor of Seema, who suddenly passed away last week. Purple was Seema’s color for cross country, and she could often be seen sporting a purple polo while volunteering as well. I’ll be competing at Plantation Field on Saturday, one of Seema’s favorite events to volunteer at, and will proudly be wearing purple in honor of this incredible woman.

William Fox Pitt is back on top of world number one standings after his win at Badminton. After Michael Jung temporarily ousted him at Rolex, WFP is back on top, with a fifteen point lead. Right behind them? Oh, this American dude named Boyd Martin, he’s in third place or whatever. [William Back On Top]

The 2016 Worth The Trust Scholarships are now open for application. If you are a young amateur rider or an adult amateur looking for a opportunity to fund your eventing education, you should consider applying. Worth The Trust scholarships give thousands of dollars to riders looking for ways to get more lessons, take more clinics, learn about course design, and many other opportunities. Applications open through October 1st. [Worth The Trust Scholarships]

We all love Jon Holling, and maybe a little more than usual because of his recent videos, but do you know what he’s been up to since he broke his leg this March? While he was originally planning to go to Rolex, that didn’t actually work out, and it turns out he’s sold his 4* mount, Zatopek B in the meantime. The Chronicle of the Horse caught up with him recently to chat about everything, including #winnerswearhairnets. [Ringside Chat with Jon Holling]

The British are just killing everyone on the FEI World Rankings for ALL equestrian sports. William Fox Pitt is in first place in Eventing, Scott Brash is in first place in show jumping, and obviously Charlotte Dujardin is murdering everyone in the Dressage world. What are they drinking? How do we get some of it?! [British Are All Number One]

If there’s one thing I’m a little superstitious about, it’s my cross country whip. Everyone has a favorite style, and mine is the jockey whip. Did you know you could get custom ones with different colors and different shaped poppers?  Yeah, you can. You can also order it through SmartPak, so you know it’s gonna be awesome. [Fowler’s Custom Jockey Whips]

Thursday News & Notes from Woof Wear

This is what happens when you loan your phone to Zach Brandt. Photo courtesy of Rachel McDonough.

This is what happens when you loan your phone to Zach Brandt. Photo courtesy of Rachel McDonough.

As Bromont dressage commences today, the most important question on your collective minds should be: Who will be streaking the Bromont sign this year? We already know that Jon Holling (2012 winner streaker) is on a whole new level, but because he went and busted his leg, he’s not in the running for the naked honor. Who will it be? I’m not revealing who I’m betting on, mostly because I like to play my cards close to my chest, but also because I have a sneaking suspicion that this year is going to be a bit of a surprise victory.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

GMHA June H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

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

Plantation Field H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

The Middleburg H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

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

Roebke’s Run CCI/CIC & H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Texas Rose Horse Park Summer H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Copper Meadows CIC & H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Arrowhead H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Derbyshire Farms H.T.  [Website]

News From Around The Globe:

Wear purple this weekend in honor of Seema Sonnad. A movement has begun for those attending, volunteering, or competing at events this weekend to wear purple in honor of Seema, who suddenly passed away last week. Purple was Seema’s color for cross country, and she could often be seen sporting a purple polo while volunteering as well.

Genesee Valley Hunt Horse Trials is extending their closing date to June 16th. Offering Intro through Preliminary, Genesee Valley offers a great event in a beautiful setting, and a fun group of people running it too! The event is a wonderful prep for Stuart Horse Trials, as it is two weeks prior. Don’t miss the chance to enter! [Genesee Valley Hunt Horse Trials]

Hannah Sue Burnett has scored a really lovely young horse from England, and is very excited for his future. Cooley Dream Extreme, previously piloted by Piggy French, has just arrived at Hannah’s barn. Already he has an impressive resume, having won several Preliminary events in England, started his Intermediate career, finishing seventh at the British six-year-old championships before finishing 2014 with a third place at Le Lion D’Angers young horse championships. [Hannah Sue’s New Ride]

Because wild speculation is a thing, let’s talk about American Pharoah and his date with destiny on Saturday. As he has become the 14th horse in the past four decades to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown, do you think he can conquer the longest and hardest of the three, the Belmont Stakes? Only eleven horses in history have accomplished this goal, and none since Affirmed in 1978. AP drew post position number four yesterday morning, and he’s already the heavy 3-5 favorite for the race on Saturday. With only eight horses in the race, could we see history in the making? [American Pharoah Draws Number Four Post]

Ever wondered what it’s like to gallop a Shire on a race track? Horse & Hound’s Gary Ashton-Coulton took a hairy beast for a spin, and recorded the whole thing from the top. They look like they’re galloping in slow motion, but from the helmet cam it seems they’re covering quite a bit of ground! Hilarious to watch them try to gallop, I’m not even sure that a draft horse that big has a difference between canter and gallop. [Race Riding Draft Horses]

Best of Blogs: What Trainers Really Think

 

Paul Tapner and Yogi Bear were 2nd last weekend at the Tattersalls CIC3* (after the show jumping is the xc helmet cam).