Kate Samuels
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Kate Samuels

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About Kate Samuels

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

Eventing Background

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

Latest Articles Written

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

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Tim Price in da house! Photo courtesy of Jenni Autry.

Let the Wellington Showcase begin!! Personally, I’m just excited to see how that whole “jumping through the VIP tent” thing goes for cross country. I know my horse would completely lose his mind if he had to go through a tent, that’s like his living nightmare. What if it’s flapping!? Have you seen it?

Click here for order of go and ride times and here for all our pre-event coverage. All phases will be live streamed at www.coth.com with color commentary from Dom and Jimmie Schramm!

Daily Live Stream Links:
Dressage at 8 a.m., Friday, Feb. 5
Show Jumping at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 6
Cross-Country at 1:00 p.m., Saturday , Feb. 6

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Poplar Place Farm February H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Sporting Days H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Galway Downs H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

Congratulations to Kelly Garbach, the winner of this week’s Fab Freebie! Kelly will receive a brand new cross country pinny holder in a color of her choice thanks to Jon Sonkin, who is marketing these products for color conscious eventers everywhere. Congratulations, Kelly! [Fab Freebie: JAS Pinny Holder]

The British Equestrian Federation, on behalf of British Eventing, has submitted some thoughts regarding the proposed changes to Olympic Eventing. They are proposing a four person team composition, instead of three, but agree that only three should compete in the final phase of show jumping. They have agreed with the FEI that the word “Triathlon” should be integrated into the name of the sport, and suggest that cross country is run in reverse order of dressage standings in order to amp up the excitement for the spectators. Read on to find all about BE’s thoughts for the future. [British Eventing on Proposed Olympic Changes]

Kyle Carter is heading to the Wellington Showcase with his homebred, FR’s Trust Fund, this weekend. Bred by Kyle and his wife Jen, Finn is out of a mare that Kyle competed at Rolex in 1994 and by Ringfort Tinktoo. In 2013, Finn had a pinched nerve in his neck that was almost impossible to diagnose, and quite nearly resulted in his death. However, after many months of diagnostics and treatment, he bounced back and completed his first Advanced horse trials last fall to great success. [One to Watch: Kyle Carter & FR’s Trust Fund]

Sometimes what you know and what you end up doing on horseback just don’t match up. Sometimes, we refer to this phenomenon as “brain freeze”, and not the fun kind that you get from ice cream. H&C editor Victoria Spicer recounts an experience at a recent horse show that I think we can ALL relate to at one point or another. [Why Do I Have Total Brain Freeze!?]

Hot on HN (slash the WEIRDEST thing I’ve seen all week): Breaking a Mule, Backwards

Positive reinforcement isn’t just a lack of negative reinforcement, it’s the addition of something good! That sounds obvious, but a lot of people think that using treats as a positive reinforcement for horses is silly. I’m of the other school. My horses don’t get treats randomly, they know that it’s part of the learning process, and I use them for all kinds of problems and all kinds of horses. I LOVE these Buckeye peppermint treats, because they are sugar free, small enough to carry bunches in my pockets, and I have yet to find a horse that doesn’t adore them. Plus, through SmartPak, you get a giant bag at a totally rad price.  [Peppermint Bits]

 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Some days just got you like:

Some days just got you like:

Last week, I finally sat on this little four-year-old Arabian mare at my work, after four months of ground work. Four months sounds like a long time, but when she came into the program where I work, she was feral and you couldn’t even get a halter on her. So, along with her flighty nature, she had to learn about EVERYTHING. I mean, she’d never even been in a barn before! So after I taught her to groom, bathe, pick her feet, lunge, wear tack, and let me lean on her, I got on her and she was completely OK with it, which made it so incredibly satisfying, and I knew all my hard work was worth it. I love starting babies!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Stable View Winter I H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Poplar Place Farm February H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Sporting Days H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Galway Downs H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

New horse entering your barn? Don’t skip the quarantine. It doesn’t matter if your horse came from a high end sales barn, a competition barn, or the feedlot, it’s not worth the risk. A lack of quarantine can really come back and bite you in the butt, and can have serious consequences. Kristen Pierce explains on HN why you should never skip the quarantine. [Hot on HN]

The deadline to apply for the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover has closed. Almost 500 trainers applied to participate, with a pool of nearly 750 horses. Most of the applicants are professionals, but many amateurs and juniors applied as well. The applicants cover almost all of the states and several Canadian territories and eventers, show jumpers, and show hunters dominated the discipline selections. Final participants will be announced on February 15. [RRP Makeover Application Closes]

El Nino has caused serious draught across Africa, with Ethiopia affected worst of all. There are over nine million working equines in Ethiopia, which is the second largest population in the world, and they support over 85% of the people in rural areas. The Brooke, an international organization dedicated to improving welfare for horses, donkeys and mules in third world countries, is launching a massive emergency response to help give them food and water as the draught continues. [The Brooke Feeds 600 Horses a Day]

Aaaand it’s officially mud season on the East Coast. Here in Virginia, we had two feet or more of snow, and now that all melted, topped off by a full 24 hours of pouring rain. You can imagine what our fields look like right now. If you’re frustrated with the amount of mud that you find on your horse every day, maybe these pictures of grey horses in Britain will make you feel better. [Here Comes the Mud]

Allie Sacksen and super hony Sparrow’s Nio are heading back to Rolex this spring. They made their Rolex debut last year, and had a great run, so they’re back at it for 2016, with the goal of being competitive! If you’d like to help Allie and Nio in their goals, she’s set up a donation site you can access here. [Road To Rolex 2016]

Remember this?!

https://youtu.be/V4rOJJqksRE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

 

You're welcome.

You’re welcome. #scrunchies

Hellloooo flashback Friday! Above is a picture that proves I’ve always been more than a little weird, because who else here can claim to have a photo of oneself swimming in a river with her pony while he licks her feet? Yeah, it sounded that much weirder when I typed it. But seriously, this was my life as a kid. I have a river at the bottom of my family farm, and I have spent so many pony hours in there throughout my life, it’s kinda nuts. Maybe this was my first sign of being an eventer? I was always drawn to the water jump.

Weekend Preview:

Rocking Horse Winter I HT: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times

Full Gallop Farm January HT: [Website] [Entry Status]

News & Notes:

Upper level riders: spring grant applications are now open! If you are interested in applying for funding for Rolex, Jersey Fresh, Bromont, Badminton, Tattersalls or Bramham, now is your chance. The applications are available on the USEF site, and accessible through the rider’s USEF My Way profile. It’s all due by March 18th, 2016. [USEF Spring Grant Applications]

Real question: is anything cuter than a baby clydesdale? I mean, seriously. The very first 2016 Budweiser Clydesdale was born this Tuesday at Warm Springs Ranch in Missouri, where about 160 of the Budweiser Clydesdales live. The little colt was dubbed “Mac” and he’s absurdly adorable. [Meet Mac]

 Do you have a horse with a hard mouth? I get a lot of horses through my work with the Equine Welfare Society that have mouths most would consider “ruined” and have personally found that every single one of them can be improved. First, it’s important to make sure that your horse isn’t hard in the mouth for a dental or veterinary reason. Then you look towards emotional issues, and then finally, training issues that can be modified. [Help Your Hard Mouthed Horse]

Adorable non-horsey news of the day: A Maryland family was driving home through the snow storm this past weekend when they came across a piglet freezing his little tush off on the side of the road. Now named “Wee Wee”, he seems to have fallen off a transport truck somehow on his way to slaughter, but this family found him and snuggled him up and saved him. And he’s adorable. [Snow Pig]

Sometimes you find something so magical on SmartPak that you just can’t help but share it. Lo and behold, SmartPak sells hip flasks. And not just any old hip flask, but a wonderful Dubarry hip flask. How much cooler could you get? Take this sucker in the hunt field! Heck, take it on a trail ride on a Sunday with some friends. Buy two and send me one. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Because who didn’t at some point want a pink pony?

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Snow makes awesome pony photos. Photo courtesy of EWS.

Snow makes awesome pony photos. Photo courtesy of EWS.

If there is one thing snow is good for (and I’m cataloguing them now to make myself feel better), it’s photos. You can seriously make things look magical in the snow. Ponies. Sunsets. Dogs running in slow motion. The less magical part includes road walking/trotting for years, black ice, sore body slash broken back from snow shoveling, and eventually, mud. Peep these awesome photos from the Equine Welfare Society to remind you why snow is fun.

Weekend Preview:

Rocking Horse Winter I HT: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times

Full Gallop Farm January HT: [Website] [Entry Status]

News & Notes:

The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) has announced that it has approved awards and classes for more than 850 shows in 43 states and Canadian provinces during 2016. The Throroughbred sporthorse is coming back in style for all disciplines, not just eventing! Dressage, Western and English pleasure, hunter jumper, Western performance, games, polo, and polocrosse all feature TIP classes in addition to our sport. This is the fifth year of the TIP Awards system. [Jockey Club TIP Program]

Horse & Hound is giving famous riders a chance to guest edit the famous magazine this year. Badminton winner Sam Griffiths will be the editor for a week in March, and will have a hand in designing the content of the Eventing special issue as well as handling special website specific articles and a Q&A. Other fantastic riders include dressage star Laura Tomlinson, Hickstead Derby winner Geoff Billington and show hunter champion Robert Walker. [H&H Guest Editors 2016]

Athletux Equine is proud to announce that they have officially joined forces with Equestrian Professional Services, an equine specific financial services company owned by Sara Zwolenik. This partnership will allow Athletux Equine to officially expand its offering of services to include financial assistance, as well as additional syndication packages. “I have worked with Sara in the past and I’m thrilled to work with her on a larger scale through this partnership. I feel that together we can provide the very best to the equine community, and be their one stop shop for business needs,” stated Athletux President Frankie Thieriot Stutes. [Athletux Website]

Riders in England are campaigning for more para show jumping classes. Leading the charge is former international show jumper Dame Emma-Jane Brown, who is working hard to bring the top para show jumpers together in the cause. Disabled rider Karen Bostock, who suffered from an awful car crash that left her with little likelihood of walking again, writes how show jumping and a love for horses and competing brought her back again. [Horse & Hound]

All the feels, Reba, all the feels. 

https://youtu.be/mlD31PpaZNw

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

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The countdown to Snowmageddon 2016 begins officially today. I went to Whole Foods last night (I know, I know, so basic) and there was LITERALLY no more milk in the store. I mean, really. Why is it that people always stock up on milk?? Does your milk consumption go through the roof when it snows outside? “Well crap, Linda. It looks like we’re stuck at home for two days because of the snow. I guess we’ll just have to drink ten glasses of milk each per day.” Southerners really have no chill when it comes to winter weather, it’s a real problem.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Poplar Place Farm January H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

News From Around the Globe:

Anna Ford, Program Director of New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program in Ohio, has received the 2015 EQUUS Foundation/USEF Humanitarian Award. From improving the health and welfare of the horse to promoting and expanding the general public’s appreciation and respect of the diverse roles of horses, the recipient of this award has devoted considerable time to making the lives and quality of life of our equine partners paramount. Anna Ford received the award in recognition of her dedication to ensuring that racehorses retiring from the track have the opportunity to go on to second careers. Founded at her family’s barn in 1992, the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program now encompasses five locations in the states of Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. [EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award]

Kirah Cahill and Anna Moscovitz are students at the University of Florida, and are starting an Eventing team! They have members, and energy to get this thing going, but they need a coach. They are seeking an enthusiastic and experienced coach with a facility near campus and lesson horses available. If interested, you should email Kirah. [University of Florida Eventing Team]

Hot on HN: 10 Horse People You Meet at the Barn

Cross country tips from Yogi Breisner? Sign me up. [Video]

Ocala horse people will be treated to a seminar by Dr Britt Conklin on February 2nd. Entitled “Biosecurity and Vaccine Strategy for the Performance Horse”, the presentation will speak to respiratory diseases as they relate to competition horses, as well as the many aspects of vaccines and how to appropriately manage your veterinary system within that. Those interested in attending can contact Gretchen Hill for more information. [Vaccine Seminar]

This is part one of six….and AMAZING. Something to occupy your time during the snowpocalypse. 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Three & four year olds in the ICP USEA symposium with David O'Connor. Photo courtesy of Bea Di Grazia.

Three & four year olds in the ICP USEA symposium with David O’Connor. Photo courtesy of Bea Di Grazia.

I’m in Virginia, and if you’re anywhere near me right now, you’ll know that people are FREAKING OUT about the snow storm coming our way tomorrow. Supposedly, we might be receiving two feet of snow, which for Virginians is basically the end of the world. Don’t even think about going to the grocery store, because there are approximately 10,000 people in line getting water and canned goods and being extra freaked out and angry. Also, there are literally shelves empty! Guys. There is actually no way you can survive like a day or two in your house with your regular amount of food? I mean, really. I’m not looking forward to slugging through the snow to chip at ice troughs, but there’s always sledding and hot boozy drinks to be had, so it’s not so terrible.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Poplar Place Farm January H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

News From Around the Globe:

Living on the west coast and looking for some ICP Symposium action? Never fear, we have your back. January 20-21st, Galway Downs in Temecula will host the ICP Symposium with David O’Connor teaching the progression of training for horse and rider, as well as Shannon Thompson educating us on transformative leadership and developing a winning culture. Auditor spots are open on both day for instructors, riders, owners, grooms, family and friends! Come one, come all! [2016 ICP Symposium]

Maybe you can be the next CEO of the USEF. Chris Welton has left the post to pursue other interests, and Bill Morony, president of the USHJA, has taken up the role as interim CEO until the permanent replacement can be found. Should be a nice, uncomplicated job for those interested. [USEF Seeks New CEO]

A shetland pony caused mayhem this week at the Gloucestershire Airport. The naughty pony escaped and galloped as fast as he could around the runways. After much work, the airport workers were able to corral him and return him to his owners, as he had escaped from a nearby farm and somehow gotten through the perimeter fence, despite no holes or obvious access points. Ponies. [Shetland Pony Invades Airport]

Hot on Horse Nation: Why Your Horse is Better Than Your SO

Baby horse starting is kinda my favorite thing:

 

 

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Not such a bad day at the office. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Not such a bad day at the office. Photo by Kate Samuels.

We all know that the big news from yesterday was the three winners of the ginormous ridiculously huge amount of money Powerball, but besides our natural jealousy of those people (think how many ponies you could have!) the worst part of yesterday was hearing about the passing of Alan Rickman. This is 100% not horsey related, but I am a totally unabashed Potter dork, and watching him play Snape was one of my favorite things. He was also unbelievably amazing in so many other movies, and I will truly miss his baritone purr. So far, the start of 2016 has been rough with losing legends.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Three Lakes January at Caudle Ranch H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

News From Around the Globe:

Attention working students and grooms in Aiken! Go ahead and beg for the 15th of February off, because Emma Ford and Cat Hill are offering a one-day intensive clinic specifically catered to your needs. The one-day clinic is intended for grooms, working students and barn staff that need an intensive learning experience. The program will be tailored to the attendees, but they will be covering time management, barn organization, handling show situations and any specific needs (braiding/turnout-first aid- wrapping/leg care- etc.) Contact Emma or Cat for more info. [Email World Class Grooming]

Do you have a syndicated horse, or are you thinking of starting a syndicate? As the new way to promote Eventing and keep top horses with top riders, syndication is a popular method for maintaining competition horses and their expenses. However, the process of handling the month to month details, or even just setting up the syndicate can be daunting. Luckily, Athletux offers syndication services! With their expertise of countless syndicates of all sizes, they can advise you on the nitty gritty as well as take care of the smaller details on a regular basis. [Athletux Syndicate Services]

Are you hosting clinics, lessons or special events for eventers this winter? Send in your event listing for EN’s new weekly What’s Going On This Winter series. Be sure to include cost, location, contact information and any forms or flyers you’d like included Send listings to jenni@eventingnation.com.

The EN team is on an eternal quest to make this the best eventing website in the land, and the more we know about our readership the better we can shape the site into exactly what YOU want it to be. Help us out by answering a few questions  — it only takes a minute and we’ll send you a great big heaping scoop of EN karma in return! [EN Gallop Poll]

Tis the season for quarter sheets all the time! Even if you’re down south, you’re gonna appreciate a quarter sheet in the morning every now and again, especially on some fresh ponies that are just getting fit again for the spring season. There’s nothing like a Newmarket print that screams EVENTER!! And this quarter sheet is perfect for your cold weather needs. It’s fleecy and soft, easy to wash, wicks away sweat and also insulates just enough, as well as being tapered so your leg can actually touch the horse in the right spots when you need it. Get you one! [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Not a horsey video!

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Sinead Halpin and Forrest Nypmh. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Sinead Halpin and Forrest Nypmh. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Eventing Nation is sending well wishes to the feisty Forrest Nymph as she is heading home for some R&R after getting cast in her stall in Florida. Unfortunately, even though she seemed fine after getting cast, it turns out that she has five rib fractures, and will need some time off. While we were all looking forward to an Advanced debut from the pony, we will just have to wait until later in the year! Get better soon Farrah!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Three Lakes January at Caudle Ranch H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

News From Around the Globe:

Charlotte DuJardin is using her powers for good by auctioning off Valegro’s things for charity. Charlotte held an auction featuring boots, hats, numbers, and even his shoes used at the Olympics and World Games on her champion from another universe, raising over £7000 for The Brooke, an international equine charity that benefits working equids in third world countries. [Charlotte Raises Money for The Brooke]

Are you hosting clinics, lessons or special events for eventers this winter? Send in your event listing for EN’s new weekly What’s Going On This Winter series. Be sure to include cost, location, contact information and any forms or flyers you’d like included Send listings to jenni@eventingnation.com.

The EN team is on an eternal quest to make this the best eventing website in the land, and the more we know about our readership the better we can shape the site into exactly what YOU want it to be. Help us out by answering a few questions  — it only takes a minute and we’ll send you a great big heaping scoop of EN karma in return! [EN Gallop Poll]

Hanging out in Aiken in March? You should head on over on March 3rd to the night of celebration of U.S. Eventing at Stable View, featuring a masterclass with Boyd and Phillip, followed by a night of revelry with a bar, food and live entertainment provided. Contact Bryn Wells bwells@usef.org for information regarding tickets.

Help a fellow Eventer out! Evelyn Juckett is a sophomore in the Math, Science and Technology program at duPont Manual Highschool in Louisville Kentucky. She is doing a science fair project regarding horses, and needs your input for her survey! It only takes a few seconds, and it will be greatly appreciated. [Survey Here

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

The adorable Valerie Ashker with the equally adorable homebred, "Flecks On Fleek"! Photo via Valerie's FB.

The adorable Valerie Ashker with the equally adorable homebred, “Flecks On Fleek”! Photo via Valerie’s FB.

The worst thing about winter has got to be night check. I’m lucky enough to have monsters that are delighted to be out all night every night during the temperate seasons, but in the winter, they stay in the barn overnight, which is just depressing. After a long day of work, I’m so excited to get back into my cozy house, take a shower, and pretty much refuse to move for hours at a time. Then 8-9 rolls around, and I have to spend at least 45 minutes convincing myself to re-layer everything and venture back out into the cold. This might be the most first world problem of all time, but you guys feel me, right?

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Ocala Winter I H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Got the RRP fever? If you’re diving head first into the world of TB retraining, first off, welcome! Second off, it’s a complicated but rewarding process, so make sure you get all the info you can. The USEA has a great series right now featuring several OTTB specialists, who are excellent at finding and retraining the ex-racehorses for careers in Eventing. This week’s episode comes from Kelly Williams, and speaks to the process of finding the right one, knowing how much to push him/her, and knowing what kind of training techniques appeal to the Thoroughbred mind. [Re-Training Your OTTB for Success in Eventing]

If you’re heading to Badminton this spring, why not dye your horse bright pink. That’s exactly what Emma Hyslop did with her four-star mount Waldo III (Wally). Dying the normally white Wally the color of pink candy floss is aimed at raising her social media presence, and in turn awareness for breast cancer. However, Wally does compete early in February in Italy, and it’s doubtful that all his dye will have disappeared by then. Does the FEI have rules on rainbow colored horses?? [Badminton Bound Pink Horse]

The USEF is pleased to announce the continuation of the Eventing Frangible Technology Grant Program. Organizers of USEF-licensed eventing competitions may apply for a grant to supplement the use of frangible devices. Organizers of USEF eventing competitions offering divisions at the Preliminary level and above, taking place during the 2016 USEF competition year, may request frangible devices by completing a Frangible Technology Grant Program Request. Allocations of frangible devices, worth up to $500, will be awarded per property. The deadline to apply for the 2016 competition season is November 1, 2016. [Apply for a Frangible Pin Today]

Best of Blogs: Like The Kids Say, by Lauren Sprieser

Hot on Horse Nation: Clydesdale Photobombs Girl

Competition season is upon us, so isn’t it time you gave yourself a little treat for 2016? Treat yo’ self with these adorable and high quality blingy spur straps! With just enough sparkle to give yourself a little flair, but not so much that you blind the dressage judge when you pass C, these spur straps will give you a little extra spring in your step. We all know that confidence is half the game, and sometimes it’s just fun to sparkle a little! [SmartPak Product of the Day]

P-Dutty breaks down some jumping skillz:

https://youtu.be/T5N6afUc9HU

 

 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Aiken sunsets! Photo by Chris Talley.

Aiken sunsets! Photo by Chris Talley.

This week, the winter weather finally hit Virginia. We went from 65 and sunny on Sunday to 12 degrees on Monday night. Sorry clipped ponies! Hello to my house and my car being filled with coats and jackets and vests and scarves. The most ridiculous thing about working outside all winter is getting dressed in the morning and looking like the Michelin Man, and then stripping half of the clothes by the middle of the day, only to re-layer by the end, and then collapse into your house at the end of the day. Welcome to my life.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Ocala Winter I H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded the 2016 Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant to eventing rider Jenny Caras of Cartersville, Georgia. The Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant is awarded through the USET Foundation Amanda Pirie Warrington Fund. In 2015, 19-year-old Caras, with her talented mount Fernhill Fortitude, took the eventing world by storm as one of youngest riders in the country successfully competing at the CCI*** and CIC*** level. As the recipient of the grant, Caras will receive up to $5,000 to help offset expenses associated with her training over the next year. Her main target will be to travel with “Forty,” an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, to the Bramham Horse Trials in England over the summer. [Jenny Caras Wins Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant]

The US Eventing Association has met the $25,000 fundraising challenge set down by eventing supporter Jacqueline Mars to renew the 2009-2010 Frangible Fence Study. Mrs. Mars had challenged the USEA to raise the money within six weeks, and now that the goal has been met, she will donate a matching $25,000 to the study. Peep our very own David Taylor buying a Eric Bull cross country jump to benefit the cause! [Frangible Pin Study Renewed]

The theme of day two of the Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic was Forward Forward Forward! Robert Dover, Laura Graves, and George Williams all stressed that the solution to most problems was more forward motion, and it is the first step towards better collection. The riders were also encouraged to check their horse’s reactions to aids as they were riding, and make sure that the horses kept their sensitivity and reaction times. [Robert Dover Day Two]

Hot on Horse Nation: The Bomb Proofest Dressage Horse in History: Part Two

Chris Burton’s four-star winning thoroughbred gelding Newsprint passed away yesterday at the age of 20 from liver disease. The thoroughbred gelding was ridden to win the four-star Australian International Three-Day-Event in Adelaide in 2008, and was second at the Pau 4* in 2011. He was competing at the lower levels since 2013, and was dearly loved by all that he knew. [Liver Disease Claims Life of 4* Eventer]

Lil throwback for ya:

 

The Last News & Notes of 2015 From Kentucky Equine Research

Amazing. Photo via SnorgTees.

Amazing. Photo via SnorgTees.

This is it, guys. The last day of 2015! Who knew it could come so fast! All I can say is that I hope you can look back on your past 365 days with fondness, only a little remorse, and appreciate the growth and change that comes with every year. 2016 promises to be nothing but exciting, educating, enthralling, and another chance for us all to experience amazing things! At least, I think that’s the energy you should put out into the world as you watch the new calendar year roll in.

News From Around the Globe:

Lost a bit of MOJO? Get it back with this week’s Fab Freebie! MOJO is giving away a prize pack containing both wristbands and halter patches, and we think you will really enjoy using them! Enter by midnight on Friday for your chance to win. [Fab Freebie: MOJO]

Get ready for the 2016 Wellington Showcase on February 5th-6th! This year, the Asheville Regional Airport Wellington Eventing Showcase, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, will be held at The Stadium at PBIEC on February 5-6 and prize money has been increased to a whopping $75,000. Approximately thirty of the world’s top horse & rider combinations in the sport, from several countries will compete this winter. VIP tables, which include lunch buffet and drinks each day, are available for the event for prime viewing of both the dressage and stadium jumping arena as well as the cross-country course. [Wellington Showcase] [Get Your Own VIP Table!! Hospitality Table Form]

Winter clinics are coming your way, Maryland! If you’ve ever wanted to ride with Stephen Bradley, here’s your chance! He’s coming to A Bit Better Farm in Maryland on January 6th for small group jumping lessons, contact Margaret for more info. A week later, on the 12th of January, he’s going to be right next door at Waredaca for more small group jumping lessons, contact Gretchen for more info on that opportunity!

Jennie Brannigan announced yesterday the ownership opportunity of top mare Stella Artois through syndication. Jennie and Beth Battel currently own the mare, and are seeking a select few members to join the journey as this special mare continues on her track to greatness. Stella Artois “Toddie” will turn eight in 2016, and will look to contest her first CCI2* with Jennie in the tack, after showing great promise in her career thus far. [Jennie Brannigan Eventing]

Woodstock Eventing proudly congratulates Ilona English of Summit Sporthorses on winning the 2015 Breeder of the Year Award for Event Horses in the United States. Ryan Wood has the opportunity to ride and compete many of the terrific horses bred by Ilona, and enjoys the benefits that she brings to the sport of Eventing by breeding top horses. Congratulations on raising the standard and receiving this notable recognition for the second year in a row! [Woodstock Eventing]

KER ClockIt Extra Features

Did you know KER ClockIt can be used as more than a logbook? Riders can create training protocols in advance. While the session is running, the app will count down to transitions and keep you on schedule to complete your desired workout. You can also connect to your coach and share your data to give oversight of your conditioning program and discuss plans to improve fitness. Get some tips from Jimmie Schramm in the below video.

For professionals, it can also be a handy way to keep your schedule, records, and client communications organized on a mobile platform! Dom Schramm demonstrates some of the extra perks for professionals in this video.

Make 2016 the year you bring high-tech solutions to old-school conditioning challenges by utilizing KER ClockIt Sport. Learn more: http://www.kerclockit.com/getting-started/

 

 

 

Christmas News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

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Merry Christmas everyone!! I hope your day is filled with ridiculous outfits, and you get to eat like there is no tomorrow, and you perhaps have more than one glass of wine (if that’s your thing). Also, may your ponies get all they wanted for the holidays, because we all know that they get the top listings on the wish catalogue.

News From Around the Globe:

Leave it to Tokyo to keep Christmas weird. An aquarium in Tokyo had Santa and Rudolph dress up and feed the fish inside the tanks, and even hugging a shark. Also, there were seals doing handbells to christmas carols. I can’t even. [Santa & Rudolph Underwater]

In case you weren’t aware, Lady Gaga lived every little girl’s dream this year when she got a white horse for Christmas. Given to her by Interscope records, Gaga is now the proud owner of an oddly bug-eyed incredible grey arabian mare. While we don’t know the back story or even the name of the mare, we do know that now Gaga’s instagram will be filled with literal unicorns. [Horse Nation Celeb Reports]

Year-end listicles are coming your way. What were the top stories of 2015? For The Horse, your favorite source of answers to all your bizarre questions, the list might surprise you. Readers were most interested in sweat marks on saddle pads, beet pulp FAQs, and bedding issues for snoozing ponies. Go figure. [Top Stories 2015 The Horse]

If you’re thinking of adopting a horse this holiday season, hooray! But also, as with any animal you bring into your family, it’s a lifetime commitment. While little girls getting ponies for Christmas and crying is always adorable, be sure to know what you’re getting yourself into. Lots of rescues around the country offer holiday discounts, and it’s a great way to get an awesome horse at an incredible price. [Adopting a Christmas Horse]

OH CRAP….forgot someone special?  No worries, you can send a gift card for SmartPak amazing-ness right now. Email that sucker right now, and you won’t even be considered late. Christmas day is saved! [SmartPak Saves Christmas]

Look. At. This. Pony.

 

 

 

Thursday News & Notes from Kentucky Equine Research

Merry Christmas Eve! Kelly Yoder and River in a ridiculously pretty photo by  KEC Photography.

Merry Christmas Eve! Kelly Yoder and River in a ridiculously pretty photo by KEC Photography.

Every year, about this time, I contemplate the blessing and the curse that is the spread out geographical nature of the Eventing Nation writers. It’s probably a good thing that we are so far apart, so that we don’t cause too much trouble, but holy cow, if we all lived near one another our Holiday Party would be Out. Of. Control. So perhaps, next year, after the USEA Convention, we should all get together for an EN Convention? I feel like it would be wild. Hint Hint, Christmas Chinchillas.

Christmas Eve News:

The controversy over the FEI blood ruling at Olympia with Bertram Allen continues. The general consensus is that while FEI rules regarding blood on a horse are important, there has to be a way to employ the regulations with context. Runner up Ludger Beerbaum was especially peeved with the ruling, saying “I’m not happy about the final result. Bertram and his horse were the best combination. I had to put my glasses on to see where the tiny mark was.” Respect and admiration for Bertram, his riding, and his horsemanship seems to make the equestrian community deeply question the application of the rule. [Bad Blood over Olympia]

Don’t let the winter weather get you down, instead, start setting up grids! The joy of winter is to be found in gridwork, and while Lainey keeps us updated on her Instagram with #GOTD every week, you can also access the minds of other top Eventers through Grid Pro Quo with the USEA. This week features Katie Ruppel, and a grid that includes multiple bounces and one-strides to keep both you and your horse on the tips of your toes! [Grid Pro Quo]

Need a little pick me up after all the Christmas family times? These animals wearing ridiculous christmas costumes will help you get through the holiday. [Hedgehogs Wearing Santa Hats, Be Still My Heart]

If you’re trying to organize your (horsey) life for 2016, it can seem a little daunting at the beginning of the year. However, with the help of Pinterest (kidding, kinda) and this ten-step ten-day program, you can also have a gloriously organized barn and schedule. Next up, how to avoid cleaning up your house. [How To Become Organized]

Best of Blogs: A Thoroughbred That Refused to Give Up

ClockIt Session of the Week

This week’s session shows a fairly typical cross-country round, with the horse competing in heart-rate zones that are indicative of anaerobic energy generation and blood lactate accumulation. Feeding for recovery after exercise is vital when horses compete in multiday events. Nutritionists have identified three key considerations when feeding for recovery: rehydration, replenishment of muscle glycogen stores, and muscle repair and recovery.

An intense or prolonged exercise bout will lead to some muscle tissue damage and oxidative stress in muscles. Administering highly absorbable natural vitamin E (such as Nano•E from KER) for several days before competition will lead to increased blood and tissue levels of vitamin E and reduced oxidative stress, giving rise to faster recovery.

Make 2016 your horse’s fittest year ever! This month only you can save $15 on a KER ClockIt equine heart-rate monitor (or any other purchase over $100) on shop.kerx.com. Just use code MERRY15 at checkout.

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So help me God, YELLOW EYES!!!! (My favorite Christmas movie…)

 

 

 

 

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

This is how cutting down three christmas trees made me feel.

This is how cutting down three christmas trees made me feel.

You guys, little known fact? Cutting down Christmas trees is hella hard. I remember doing it with my dad as a small kid and thinking it was super fun, but in fact he was the one doing the cutting and I literally did nothing except maybe contribute to picking the tree. But actually cutting it down means you basically have to get down in the dirt and lie/kneel there for whatever amount of time it takes you to hack through the stump with a rubbery cheap push saw that’s provided at the Christmas Tree Farm, which happens to be in the middle of nowhere. I’ve never realized how unfit I am before this moment.

News From Around the Globe:

 Helena “Lana” DuPont Wright as the winner of the 2015 USEF Lifetime Achievement Award. Lana, of Chesapeake, Md., has done it all, from being the first woman ever to compete on an Olympic Eventing team, to winning a medal at the World Championships more than 20 years later. Lana is best known for breaking the glass ceiling for women in Eventing, competing at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics with her Maryland bred Mr Wister in appalling conditions, and proving that women could hold up to the rigors of the sport just as well as men. [Lana DuPont Lifetime Achievement Award]

Now that he’s a big winner at Olympia, we have to know more about dressage superstar Uthiopia. The 14-year-old stallion belongs to Carl Hester and Sasha Stewart, and while he wasn’t immediately considered Olympic level quality at four years old, Carl took a chance on him based on a feel. Sasha competed Uti for a short while, before handing over the reins to Carl, and the rest is history. [You Need to Know More About Uthiopia]

Ugly Christmas sweaters aren’t just for people. You too can subject your horse to the same shame! [Horse Nation]

Great news guys: buying gifts for horse girls is really very simple! We’re not complex creatures, and we like almost the same things year-round. Horse things, duh. We also like duct tape, ginormous bags of carrots, and luxurious hand creme. What we don’t like is gifts for our horse that you don’t understand fully. Read more to learn the ways. [Horse Girl Gift Giving]

What is life without a classic Baker Blanket, really? One of the all time greats in horse fashion, the Baker Blanket is basically a necessity at this point. The triple weave of this blanket helps your horse stay cozy but without the bulk of some of the big turnouts, and the brand is known for its durability. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Belton CIC2* & CIC3*

 

 

Thursday News & Notes from Kentucky Equine Research

Photo courtesy of Sinead Halpin.

Photo courtesy of Sinead Halpin.

On this Thursday, the team at Eventing Nation and the Eventing community at large would like to send our deepest sympathies and condolences to Sinead and her family, who lost her father yesterday. There are no words to show how we feel, and we wish nothing but peace and love to everyone who knew Eamon during this difficult time.

Competitions?

No.

News From Around the Globe:

British dressage star Carl Hester added another title to his impressive collection yesterday, winning the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle at Olympia with Nip Tuck. After Tuesday, when his pupil and reigning World/Olympic/European Champion Charlotte DuJardin won the Grand Prix with Uthiopia, he was determined to win, and did so handily with an 83.75%. Charlotte was close behind with an 82.55%. [Carl Hester Wins at Olympia]

You too can go hunting with the Farmer’s Bloodhounds on an incredibly bold grey horse! Wait….what? Well, at least virtually. Saddle up for some great hunting footage courtesy of British rider Helen Newbold, who has a super horse named Finn, and it’s unimaginably fun to check out her helmet cams as they cross the English countryside and jump wild hedges and gates. For sure an adrenaline rush. [Hunt with Helen]

Because Horse Nation is just nerdy enough, they did serious research on sleigh bells. Did you know that bells are historically a charm and a sign of good luck, but also a good traffic signal so you don’t get run the hell over? Much like other horse traditions, the shinier your sleigh bells were and the more you had of them was a good indicator of how important and wealthy the owners were. [Everything You Never Knew You Never Knew About Sleigh Bells]

SmartPak Video Break: Stuff Riders Say on Christmas (Or Hanukkah, birthdays or…)

Looking for the ultimate crafty gift for a horse loving friend this holiday season? Look no further. Here’s a step by step guide to making your own awesome horse hair bracelet! Just don’t cut the hair straight out of your friends horse’s tail….[How To Make Horse Hair Bracelets]

 

KER ClockIt Session of the Week

This week’s session is a standard workout consisting of a 15-minute easy trot followed by three 5-minute canters in an indoor arena. This routine is easy work for this horse!

This session illustrates how KER ClockIt can still be used to monitor conditioning during indoor rides. KER ClockIt relies on your phone’s GPS to calculate speed and location. It includes algorithms to minimize the effects of GPS variation, but indoor arenas (or other canopies, such as dense tree cover) may interrupt the signal and reduce its accuracy. Newer phone models are generally more accurate. The heart rate, however, is a direct communication between the monitor and your phone and will work anywhere. To get the best possible performance indoors, we recommend starting your session outdoors to establish GPS, then heading inside to ride. Do your workout, then step back out and end the session. If the speed is still wonky when viewing the graph, just uncheck the speed box to simplify the view and only show heart rate.

Make 2016 your horse’s fittest year ever! This month only you can save $15 on a KER ClockIt equine heart-rate monitor (or any other purchase over $100) on shop.kerx.com. Just use code MERRY15 at checkout.

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Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

It's second round clipping time again.... Photo by Emily Rector.

It’s second round clipping time again…. Photo by Emily Rector.

YOU GUYS. It’s only TWO FRIDAYS from Christmas!!! Have you watched Elf yet? At least two to three times already? What about Love Actually? I admit that one of my favorite parts of the holiday season is re-watching shamelessly addictive holiday movies. I love that so much. I’m also going Christmas tree shopping this weekend, and starting my egg nog, as well as my apple butter. Maybe I just like the traditions more than the actual holiday? Tell me I’m not alone in this.

News From Around the Globe:

Congratulations to Mary Kate Valentine and Lynsey Ekema, the winners from yesterday’s 12 Days of Christmas giveaway! Mary Kate and Lynsey will receive a tub of Cosequin ASU or Cosequin ASU Plus to give to their happy horses. Congratulations, ladies! [12 Days of Christmas: Cosequin]

The ever popular ICP Symposium has announced the instructors for both east and west coast for 2016. This year, U.S. Eventing Chef d’Equipe David O’Connor will teach at both Symposiums. Sports Psychologist Shannon Thompson will lead a session on the West Coast, and Silvio Mazzoni will teach show jumping on the East Coast. [ICP Symposium Instructors Announced]

Crowd favorites Laura Graves and Verdades killed it in the Grand Prix Special at Festival of Champions. After winning the Grand Prix on Wednesday, they scored a 77.13% in the Special, and are now leading going into the Grand Prix Freestyle scheduled for Saturday night. Steffan Peters finished second and third with Rosamunde and Legolas 92 with a 74.549% and a 72.412% respectively. [Laura Graves & Verdades Light Up Festive of Champions]

Did you know that Mike Plumb, Eventing legend, was also a winning Junior Equitation rider? Yeah, me neither. In fact, a 17-year-old Plumb won the 1957 ASPCA Maclay Championship and placed second in the American Horse Shows Association hunter seat medal final (now the USEF Medal) at Madison Square Garden. He was also second in the Maclay and third in the Medal Finals in 1955. [COTH Throwback Thursday]

I’m a total rein snob, and I find that I can’t even deal with stiff or even braided reins any more. I adore these Harwich Inside Rubber Reins for dressage, because they have a smooth leather outside, and a grippy rubber inside so that I look classy while I’m performing my dressage test (hopefully!) and also have the grip of the rubber to help me maintain my perfect rein length. I’m not alone in thinking that my coach is constantly thinking ‘shorten your reins!’, so rubber is essential for achieving that perfect grip. [Harwich Inside Rubber Reins]

Hot on Horse Nation: George Morris Clinic Report…Complete with Memes

 

 

Thursday News & Notes from Kentucky Equine Research

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I got a horse for Christmas one time in my life, when I was about 13, and ever since then, my brain seems to think that it should happen again. The advent of Facebook “horse for sale” groups has really only ruined my life more, because I’m pretty sure I’ve found at least five horses in the past week that I would like for Christmas. I found a lovely cousin of my 3* horse, only three years old, for a very reasonable price, but definitely not in the states. Then, I found a ridiculously adorable Haflinger cross mare who had the best advertising scheme yet. She was dressed in a Christmas wreath and her ad read: “Cindy Lou Who, now just over two, wants a home for Christmas… maybe it’s with you?”. Um, yes please??

News From Around the Globe:

Congratulations to Victoria Lachelle Henderson, the winner of yesterday’s 12 Days of Christmas giveaway! Victoria will take home a Shoulder Relief Girth from Total Saddle Fit and will definitely be the stylin’ one at her barn! [12 Days of Christmas: Total Saddle Fit]

Horses are now helping youths with PTSD to great success. Young people suffering from post-traumatic stress symptoms experienced a significant reduction in symptoms after undertaking equine facilitated psychotherapy in a new study in the US. The two groups, of young people from 8-18, were divided into horse therapy and regular therapy, and at the end of the study horses were shown to be much more effective at reducing stress. [Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy]

Are you also dream horse christmas shopping? You should definitely get into the art of demystifying horse advertisements, because some of the phrases are just straight hilarious. What about “broodmare prospect”? Or, “completely bombproof”? Check out H&H’s great guide. [Horse Adverts: What They Really Mean]

Mike the donkey survived a harrowing episode of almost drowning in a flood in Ireland this past week. Thanks to Animal Heaven Animal Rescue (AHAR), Mike was pulled to safety despite the dangerous situation, using a boat and a lifebuoy, and the help of a lot of wonderful people. The best part of the whole thing was Mike’s smile after he was saved, and his happy fluffy little expression as he ate hay in a warm stall. [Mike Gets Saved]

Hot on Horse Nation: Weird But True: Horse Facts

Best of Blogs: Millennial Grooms are Ruining the Equestrian Industry

KER ClockIt Session of the Week: This week’s session looks at the whole process of running XC. Of this 78-minute session, about 4 minutes is competing on an Area BN Championship course. You can see the horse was working hard on course, spending almost the entire time above an 80% heart rate. The warmup, located on a side hill, also illustrates the effect of incline on heart rate.

Shopping for an eventer who has everything? Give the gift of insight into their conditioning regimen! This month only, KER is offering $15 off any purchase of $100 or more on Shop.kerx.com, including KER ClockIt heart-rate monitors and other accessories. Just use code MERRY15 at checkout.

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Because why not, Nibbit?

 

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Just Ingrid Klimke on vacation with Pferdesafari in South Africa. Photo courtesy of Pferdesafari FB.

Just Ingrid Klimke on vacation with Pferdesafari in South Africa. Photo courtesy of Pferdesafari FB.

Today it FINALLY stopped raining! Oh my goodness was I glad to see the sun. Nothing like a little winter weather to really make you appreciate even a windy day in the 50′s, just because you’ve been through half a week of dreary rain. Virginia is known for it’s dramatic seasons, and while we don’t have snow (yet), it’s still pretty miserable when the sun isn’t shining. And then, of course, there is the resulting mud, in which both of my horses decided it was a great idea to lose shoes. At least they timed it on the same day so the farrier wasn’t too grumpy?

News From Around the Globe:

Winter coping strategies: how do you do it? For most riders, we’re now facing several months of cold, wet, yucky weather combined with muddy hairy horses and a general lack of motivation to keep going out there and working for it. You can deal with this in a number of ways. You can pull their shoes and say, ‘See ya later!’. You can get an indoor. You can get creative. Take it from a Vermonter (Denny Emerson) there are ways to keep yourself busy! [Winter Coping Strategies]

Sadly, yesterday the world lost champion racehorse Shared Belief to colic. While he was immediately attended to with emergency colic surgery, the veterinarians were unable to save him. With a near perfect race record, winning 10 of 12 starts including five grade one races and an Eclipse award, Shared Belief was a magnificent animal. A brilliant two, three, and four year old on the track, the gelding was looking forward to many years of competitive glory until his untimely end. [RIP Shared Belief]

The Organizing Committee of the Cloud Eleven Gavilan North LLC Carolina International is pleased to announce that the 2016 competition will be held in memory of Karen Stives. While honoring the legacy of the Olympic gold and silver medalist, the Carolina International will feature newly designed cross country tracks by renowned designer Ian Stark and will once again award unprecedented prize money across all divisions. Karen had a deep impact on the sport of eventing as a whole, but specifically enjoyed benefitting Carolina International, and giving her support to the event as she watched younger generations succeed.  [Carolina International]

Is your horse soft and supple to ride, or stiff and braced? Why is it, for either of these situations? Too often, we think only about what is in front of our eyes, in terms of “softening the poll” or flexing the neck one way or another, but we forget that the body position of the horse is the result of the entire body, as well as the mind. Excellent horseman Neil Davies writes, “When your horse feels light and supple, it’s the physical result of him being confident and relaxed and trying his hardest for you. A horse that’s light and supple feels the slightest signal and always tries to work out what’s wanted.” [Supple or Stiff]

Maybe you’re looking for an overseas adventure? Caroline Powell is looking for a new member of her team! The position includes pay and onsite accommodation. “Ability to use common sense and initiative more important than experience”. Also, must love grey horses. [Caroline Powell Eventing]

Best of Blogs: Bravery is Learned, Practice Your Guts

 

The Santa Anita Handicap, featuring Shared Belief, and everybody else:

 

Thursday Video from Zoetis: The Best American Pharoah Video Yet

American Pharoah certainly needs no introduction anymore, as the first winner of the Triple Crown in 37 years, the winner of the Breeder’s Cup Classic, and overall amazing athlete (come on, Sport’s Illustrated, you know you want to make him your SI Sportsman of the Year!), he’s basically the biggest thing of 2015.

Let’s all admit right here and right now that we get a little bit weepy every time we watch Secretariat’s race in the Belmont all those years ago, but if you’re looking for some tears and some more goosebumps, settle down and watch this video. With clips from almost all his races as a two and three year old, as well as interviews with some of the most respected horseman in the business, this will definitely be a video highlight to replay again and again.

Thursday News & Notes from Kentucky Equine Research

My vet is cooler than your vet. The acclaimed Tiffany Snell enjoying Virginia fox hunting. Photo by Cathy Summers.

My vet is cooler than your vet. The acclaimed Tiffany Snell enjoying Virginia fox hunting. Photo by Cathy Summers.

Here’s how I feel about winter: mostly, the picture you should see in your mind is grumpy cat, but at the same time, there’s something almost a little nice about those genuinely awful days, where there is just no way in hell you could reasonably ride a horse because it’s 30 degrees and icing from the sky, so you just have to bundle up to do the barn chores, but then you can retreat inside for some hot tea and Netflix. I don’t have access to an indoor, and mostly Virginia is pretty mild, but when the weather outside is frightful, I’m ok with an unscheduled day off to write things, bake things, and wear pajamas all day. Perks of winter?

US Weekend Preview:

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News From Around the Globe:

Many congratulations are in order for Rob Burk, who has just been named as the CEO of the USEA in light of Jo Whitehouse’s retirement. Rob has been the COO for the USEA and has been transitioning to the new position following Jo’s retirement announcement earlier this year. [Rob Burk Named CEO of USEA]

A donkey in the back of a police cruiser, what could possibly go wrong? Tuesday morning, Officer Kyle Canaan responded to a call about a stray donkey wandering a highway. When he arrived to find the jenny in danger amongst the traffic, he also found a good samaritan who offered a paddock to keep her safe until her owner could be found. However, they had to drive her there. So Officer Canaan popped her into the back of his car and rolled the window down. Yes, she pooped in his police cruiser. [Oklahoma News of the Weird]

8 Things Your Trainer Will Never Tell You, But You Really Need To Know

If you didn’t grow up watching and obsessing over the original National Velvet, then you need to stop everything and go watch it now. The classic film not only jump started Elizabeth Taylor’s acting career, but burned a fierce hole of desire in thousands of little horse-obsessed girls hearts. Because why wouldn’t you win a horse in a town raffle and then enter the Grand National pretending to be a boy? Even better, “The Pie” was in fact a chestnut thoroughbred grandson of Man O’War named King Charles. [National Velvet: Best Movie Ever?]

Ten Questions Non-Equestrians Should Stop Asking. General rules? Don’t ask how much anything costs, because you don’t want to know. Don’t even think about asking me to rate my love of my horses and humans in order. It’s best to just stick to listening to us talk about our horses. [Horse Nation]

Best of Blogs: Are You a Sportsman or a Gamesman?

Everybody’s got that horsey friend. You know, the one that secretly loves everything lined in swarovski crystals, and actually enjoys wearing very preppy horse clothes. Or maybe you just have a DQ friend who really needs the worlds most sparkliest dressage whip, or a magnetic blinged out number holder for their show style. Horsenista has you covered. [Horsenista Christmas: The Posh List]

Still lost for what to get your horsey friends or significant other? SmartPak saves the day again with a whole new section on their site just for gifts! You can get stocking stuffers, big fancy gifts, and everything in between. They’ve made it easy for you by including a Best Selling Gifts list for your convenience. Hint: you can hardly go wrong with the classic padded leather bracelet with the best horse’s name. [SmartPak Christmas Gift List]

 

KER ClockIt Session of the Week

Madison Dasti has had a winning fall! First she scored a KER ClockIt starter pack for winning Novice Best Conditioned at Waredaca Classic Three-Day Event in October (read more), then she put the heart-rate monitor to good use to win the drawing in November’s Share Your Sessions sweepstakes! Here’s Madison’s winning session, a jump clinic with Shawn Mack over 3’3” courses:

For submitting the winning session, Madison received a $100 gift card to Shop.KERx.com. The card can be used on KERx Special Needs Nutrition supplementsClockIt accessories, or other KER gear. Want a chance to win? KER is running another sweepstakes for sessions recorded in December and January. To enter, just record a session of at least 20 minutes with a heart rate, then send the link and a brief description of the ride to clockit@ker.com. There’s no limit on entries—the more sessions you record and submit, the more chances you have to win! More details: [KER Share Your Sessions]

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This is what I leave you with:

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On Being Better Trainers

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.

Photo by Erica Stevens.

In my mind, there is no separation between riders and trainers. There is no such thing as just a rider. Every one of us is a trainer, to some extent, and in some way. It was the great George Morris who said, “Each time you ride your horse, you are either training him or un-training him. There is no in between.” And when it comes to George Morris quotes, you can hardly argue.

Somebody who is considered a horse trainer is generally somebody who is known to be more effective at producing positive results in their students and has a good idea of how to repeatedly achieve that. This is somebody who has honed their craft and spent years understanding the physiology, psyche and learning process of the horse, mostly through trial and error.

As we know, experience counts for a lot in the equestrian business, and that’s because the more horses you encounter, the more you know about their world and how to influence it in a good way. Overall, a “trainer” is somebody who is better than the Average Joe at teaching horses to do things well for their humans.

The idea of being “just a rider” is ridiculous to me, though, and I want to explain it. Even if you aren’t aware of it, every single interaction you have with your horse trains them to do something.

It might not be a good thing, and it might not be a bad thing, but if you behave in a patterned way (as most of us do) around your horse, they will learn from it, and they will change their behavior to reflect it. This is the magic of horses; they are unbelievably plastic in their ability to change and grow and adapt depending upon their human interactions.

The biggest difference between a “trainer” and a “rider” is mindset, but that doesn’t have to remain true. If a horse exhibits a behavior that is undesirable, a trainer thinks, “Hmm. Why is this happening? What am I doing to cause this? How is the horse feeling? Are their any outside forces at work here? Is this a manifestation of a complex inner psychological issue? Is this caused by a physical problem? Is this because I haven’t explained what I want properly?”

And, finally, after all of these things run through our head, we think, “How can I step back and achieve a positive behavior now? How can I reframe the question to the horse in order to accomplish better communication? How can I do this in a way that the horse will want to repeat the good behavior and continue to work with me?”

A rider thinks, “My horse won’t do what I want!” Or, alternatively, “My horse is being a _____” (insert name calling here).

Too often we are inclined to simplify why horses behave in certain ways, and especially when they are being “bad.” I use quotations around that, because I’m not sure that I’ve ever encountered a horse that intentionally and without just cause was genuinely “bad” or wanted to cause me harm. Every horse I’ve met that had behavioral issues either under saddle or on the ground had reasons; he just didn’t have humans smart enough to figure them out, and that’s not his fault.

From constantly nervous and unreasonable to ride to calm, happy, and cooperative, Polly proved to me that positive impact is always possible, even in the worst case.

From constantly nervous and unreasonable to ride to calm, happy and cooperative, Polly proved to me that positive impact is always possible, even in the worst cases.

But horses aren’t simple. That’s why the great trainers are in fact great thinkers, ingenious problem solvers and don’t stop learning until the day they die. They don’t resort to quick fixes, force or gimmicks that mask an issue without addressing the underlying issue. They don’t say, “My horse is being such a ____” because they’ve thought beyond that into the why and the how of each situation.

One of the best things a coach ever said to me was this: “There is nothing magical about me that makes me inherently better than you. There is nothing I know that you can’t learn. You just need more horses, more rides and more education.” This is true of all riders, because with enough exposure to different horses, good education and experience in all disciplines, you can also be as good as your coach.

So here is the point. Don’t settle for just being a rider. Acknowledge that you are also a trainer, and strive daily to be a better one. You can have positive influence over your horse, and you can consciously work towards that. When you don’t know the answer, seek it out, and don’t settle for the easy answer.

Just like we train our horses to know that when we ask for something, an answer is on the horizon, train yourself to think deeper about the why and the how and become an intellectually inspired trainer yourself, even if it’s on a small scale.

Turkey Hangover News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Sometimes all you need is a little mid-morning snuggle with your mini donk on Thanksgiving.

Sometimes all you need is a little mid-morning snuggle with your mini donk on Thanksgiving.

Well, now that we’ve all gained at least ten pounds yesterday stuffing our faces full of mashed potatoes and turkey and gravy and stuffing and pie and all the ridiculously delicious things that are served on Thanksgiving, it’s a good day to drink lots of water and maybe go for a run. I’m spending it the best way I know how, by riding my horses in the frosty morning, riding more horses in the middle of the day, and teaching lessons in the afternoon! And then, of course, thanksgiving leftovers, because that’s almost the best part.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Pine Top Thanksgiving H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

News From Around the Globe:

World number five Sir Mark Todd had a special ask-me-anything night at the Cornwall Farmer’s Store this week. While promoting his own line of nutrition, Keyflow Feeds, Sir Mark entertained the crowd with decades worth of stories in the equestrian world. He spoke about his hopes for a record seventh Olympic trip to Rio next year, as well as his role with coaching the Brazilian team. He also talked about the “golden bubble” that Michael Jung lives inside, and how he’s been trying unsuccessfully to steal his magic. [Cornish Equestrians Enjoy Sir Mark Todd]

Meanwhile, in Canada, four horses were saved from a frozen pond using chainsaws. Unfortunately, six horses in total fell into the pond, and only four were alive upon rescue. Lesson learned? Don’t have a frozen pond in your horse’s paddock!! [Chainsaws Rescue Frozen Horses]

The Horse Radio Network Holiday Radiothon is coming up on Cyber Monday, Nov. 30! Featuring 20 hosts, celebrity guests and over $2,500 in prizes, you don’t want to miss this epic 12-hour long party. EN’s own Jenni Autry and Leslie Wylie are hosting the final hour, and we need YOU to call in so we can show the world eventers are awesome. [HRN Holiday Radiothon]

If you’ve got a nervous horse, is petting them a soothing action, or a reward for nervous behavior? In my experience, the idea isn’t to reinforce the nervousness, but to change the experience from a stressor to a positive and happy memory in any way I can. Science agrees with me, and physical touch has been shown to be able to reduce psychological arousal. However, it’s important to identify the causes of the nervous behavior, and continue to assess the body language of the horse as you proceed. [Will Coaxing A Nervous Horse Reinforce the Behavior?]

Holiday discounts on SmartPak already?! Sign me up! SmartPak is offering 15% off tons of apparel, tack, supplements, and basically everything you ever wanted (aka, the whole store), so get on over there now! [SmartPak Holiday Sale]

Congratulations to Maddie Lichten, the winner of this week’s Fab Freebie giveaway for a pair of GoSocks from GiddyUp Gear! Click here to buy your own pair of GoSocks featuring Boyd Martin, Buck Davidson, Gina Miles and Denny Emerson. Be sure to check back Monday for our next Fab Freebie!

Flashback to the 2004 Athens Olympic Eventing!

Thanksgiving Day News & Notes from Kentucky Equine Research

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’ve already had one Thanksgiving, and I’m on to two more today, as my tradition dictates the I have one with my extended family and one with my best friend’s family. I just show up at each house with wine and a pie, and everybody welcomes me in, and that’s the best way to do it, in my opinion. May your day be filled with turkey, stuffing (why don’t we eat this more often?!), wine, and pies that you would never eat in the middle of the day otherwise. And leftovers for days!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Pine Top Thanksgiving H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

News From Around the Globe:

Four-star rider Kristin Schmolze is offering two incredible positions in her program for the coming year. If you’ve ever dreamed of being a professional groom or a working student for one of the best riders in the country, this is your chance! Kristin is looking for a head groom to travel to competitions and run the program, as well as a working student to learn and work for one of the best. If you’re interested in furthering your career in Eventing, check it out. [Kristin Schmolze Eventing]

A successful Junior rider in the U.S. during the 1980s, Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum talks about the differences between the American and European riding systems and the evolution of her winning style. “The American forward riding system is based on riding Thoroughbreds who are light, quick and catlike going over the fences, like Joe Fargis’ Touch of Class and Michael Matz’s Jet Run. Riders are in a light seat to free the horses’ backs and ride them very forward; the horses stretch out their heads and necks and carry the riders to the jump. That is how I grew up riding.” [Practical Horseman]

It’s the holidays, so your horses should enjoy overindulgence too, right? Horse cookies are great for bonding, training, and general feel good motives, but what can you take from your kitchen to the barn? A lot of things you enjoy on Thanksgiving aren’t a great idea (think brussel sprouts) but some things are ok. Horses like leftovers too! Sometimes they even like pumpkins, so you can try letting them snack on some stuff after you feast today. Just consider their delicate intestinal functions, and for competing horses think about what might show up on a drug test. [Horse Treats] [Pumpkin Horse Treats]

As the winter comes in, and the cold hits our bones, we think about bran mashes for the horses. But what is it really good for? Nutritionally speaking, not much. However, it’s a longstanding tradition to feed bran mashes during the winter months to horses after hard workouts, on days off, or to those who are reluctant to drink enough. While it’s been praised for years for it’s laxative properties, recent studies have shown just the opposite. Before you feed wheat bran, research a little about the nutritional properties and how it can be used for good in your horse’s dietary schedule. [Bran Mash: What’s It Really Good For?]

Best of Blogs: Groom Spotlight: Trial by Fire, Part II

 

KER ClockIt Session of the Week:

Just because you’re stuck indoors doesn’t mean you can’t get a good workout. This week’s featured sessions compare a gymnastic school (A) and a dressage work (B). In the gymnastic session, you can see how short bursts of intense activity quickly raise the horse’s heart rate, whereas the response to dressage work is more steady. Think of it as interval training versus going for a nice, easy jog. Many human athletes utilize interval training to increase their aerobic capacity.

This weekend is your last chance to share your sessions for a chance to win a $100 gift card to http://shop.kerx.com! There’s no limit to the number of entries—the more sessions you record and share, the better your chances of scoring KERx supplements, saddle pads, ClockIt accessories, and more! More details: http://www.kerclockit.com/sport/share-your-sessions/

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Because why not: