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

Nyls says, "Is it time for cross country yet??!!"

Nyls says, “Is it time for cross country yet??!!”

Thank dignity dog it’s Friday! I know that I’m ready for some weekend fun, how about the rest of ya? I cross country schooled both of my monster horses yesterday in the drizzling rain, making sure they remember how to do ditches, water, banks, and regular old fly fences. After spending the majority of the warmup spooking, Nyls jumped everything that was in front of his face…and continued to spook at everything that we cantered past. Leo is very good at what he understands, but occasionally gets distracted by, you know, birds and stuff, and will forget to look at whats coming up, so that’s just baby stuff, and the reason why we schooled. They are both heading to Millbrook next week, but first, I get to go to Great Meadow this weekend and watch the WEG test event, yay!

Events This Weekend:

Great Meadow [Website] [Times]

Event at Rebecca Farm [Website] [Live Scores]

Cobblestone Farms H.T. [Website]

Stoneleigh-Burnham Summer H.T [Website]

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

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

News From Around The Globe:

What are the record breaking numbers for the WEG this year? How about €10,000,000 — the amount that Alltech committed to the games. Or 500,000,000 — number of viewers around the world expected to tune in this year. 1,000 riders are slated to compete, 1,2000 journalists attending (more of us than riders??!), 72 nations participating, 12 of which are making their WEG debut. [WEG By The Numbers]

Allison Springer is going Burghley or Bust with Arthur this year! In 2012 this pair had great success at this event, and they’re raising money to go back for more glory two years later. If you’re interested in supporting her mission to compete across the pond, check out her Facebook page, where she is auctioning off lots of cool things, including a Charles Owen helmet, two Frilly Fillies bonnets, and many other awesome items! [Allison Springer Eventing]

Susan Salk is on a mission to ‘myth bust’ the idea that thoroughbred racehorses are crazy and unrideable. We link to her website here often, OffTrackThoroughbreds, a blog that collects stories of OTTBs in second careers and blooming. She fell in love with the breed early in life, and now spends her time researching and writing for her blog, determined to prove that thoroughbreds are anything but unwanted when they leave their racing careers. [Thoroughbred Myth Buster]

Has your horse faced some time off this year? How do you know how fast to bring him or her back into work? Gina Miles shares some pro-tips on what her base fitness regime is like for a horse that is coming back from a vacation, and how to figure out it you’re ready to go back to full work. [Bounce Back to Fitness]

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Social Media Mutterings from Montana to Virginia

"High Times Accepted!" Photo via Jen McFall's FB Page.

“High Times Accepted!” Photo via Jen McFall’s FB Page.

This weekend is packed with exciting events, from The Event at Rebecca Farm in Montana, to the Great Meadow WEG Prep Event in Virginia, there is competition and fun happening all over the United States. All of our WEG team members have been busy at Morningside Training Farm this week, packing in some extra practice together as a team, and we are just dying to see how it all plays out on Saturday and Sunday. Competition already started today at Rebecca Farm, with Novice and Training beginning, the YEH classes completing, and the jogs for the FEI competitions as well. Let’s check out what people have been posting!

Great Meadow [Website] [Times]

Event at Rebecca Farm [Website] [Live Scores]

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The bareback puissance competition on Saturday night is causing a little confusion in the husband department. It follows the show jumping for the WEG prep event at Great Meadow….get excited!

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Photo via Hawley's Instagram.

Photo via Hawley’s Instagram.

Hawley booked it back from coaching at the NAJYRC right to Montana to catch a ride on her most favorite mare….Gin & Juice! Ginny is using the CIC3* at Rebecca Farm as her final prep for the WEG.

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The WEG team had a practice CT this week at Morningside, and Lynn, ever the social media guru, has been bringing us videos and pictures the whole time. Check out Donner’s awesome show jumping round.

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Earl McFall on Axiom DF. Photo from Sherry Stewart’s FB Page.

Speaking of Rebecca Farm’s YEH competitions, check out Earl & Jen McFall’s four year old champion, Axiom DF. A homebred 16.3 hand stallion, he’s a looker for sure! He just won the four year old division in Montana.

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Photo via US Eventing's FB Page.

Photo via US Eventing’s FB Page.

FEI stewards do it all! Who did US Eventing catch on double duty as a jog strip sweeper in Montana?

 

 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

SMILES FOR EVERYONE! SMILES FOR EVERYONE!

Several things must be noted about today: first, you are so welcome for that photo of Nyls and his disgusting teeth, as I know it’s a wonderful way to start the day, with a horse smile! I know he looks like he’s british (insert dentistry joke here), but in fact he is french, and clearly doesn’t floss. Second, today is Thursday, which means it is my day to go cross country schooling in preparation for Millbrook next week!! Nyls has been chilling all summer, as he doesn’t like the heat and the hard ground, and Millbrook officially starts our fall season, and is always one of my absolute favorites. But before that, I’ll be heading an hour north to see the Great Meadow WEG prep trial, so the next two weeks are ridiculously exciting all together.

Events This Weekend:

Great Meadow [Website] [Times]

Event at Rebecca Farm [Website] [Entry Status/Times]

Cobblestone Farms H.T. [Website]

Stoneleigh-Burnham Summer H.T [Website]

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

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

News From Around The Globe:

Britain announced their dressage team for the WEG this year, and there aren’t many surprises. They have chosen Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro, Michael Eilberg on Half Moon Delphi, Carl Hester with Nip Tuck, and Gareth Hughes with DV Stenkjers Nadonna. Who are you betting on, Germany or England? [Horse Talk NZ]

In the feel good adorable story of the day, check out this four year old OTTB mare and her eight year old child. Racehorse trainer Katie Peery had a special gift for her eight year old daughter on her birthday this year, and it came in the form of an adorable grey mare named Krypto.“What better present than an OTTB? I don’t often suggest a horse fresh off the track for a child, but in this case there is an incredible bond between my daughter and Krypto from the ground up. Krypto has this ‘kid mode’ when Elizabeth or my other daughter, five-year-old Pipa, are around her,” explained Katie. [Paulick Report]

The Queen of England is involved in a little doping scandal right now, as her horse tested positive for morphine this week. Estimate, a five year old grade-one winning mare, tested positive for the banned substance this Tuesday. She was second in this year’s Ascot Gold Cup a month ago, and might be disqualified from the race, as well as giving back £80,625 in prize money. However, don’t worry, it seems that the results are from eating contaminated feed, and the Queen won’t be in any trouble! [Horse & Hound]

Are you looking for some ways to improve your cross country results? How about some top tips from riders like Francis Whittington, Lucinda Green, Harry Meade and others? Yeah, I thought so. Cross country can be a tricky thing, sometimes only mastered with time and experience, but with the wise words of these incredible riders you can only get better. Check out this awesome list compiled by Horse & Hound. [Improve Your Cross Country Timing]

Woah woah woah let me have my nerd moment here…this girl won the NAJYRC dressage freestyle with a HARRY POTTER MUSICAL THEME??? 

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Hannah Stohr: The Emerald City Has Medals?!

There is no better way to experience our North American Junior and Young Rider Championships than through the eyes of an eager competitor, and so we are delighted to introduce Hannah Stohr as one of our official guest bloggers! The past week was the culmination of years of hard work for the next generation of upper-level eventing riders and a unique experience that incorporates teamwork into an otherwise very individual sport. If you’ve been to NAJYRC, you know how special it is, and if you haven’t, we’re hoping to show you through Hannah’s experiences and blogs. 

The whole Area IV team after the first jogs. Photo by Laura Bulgren.

The whole Area IV team after the first jogs. Photo by Laura Bulgren.

From Hannah:

Hey EN! The NAJYRC 2014 is officially over! The week was filled with tons of fabulous riding and well deserved medals from all disciplines. Although my weekend did not go as planned, the rest of my team had stellar performances to just barely finish outside the medals.

On Wednesday, jogs passed without incident for Area IV. We looked fabulous, our horses were shining, and best of all, everyone passed on the first trip down the runway!

The following morning, we continued to kick butt and take names. The Area IV one-star team managed to win the first day of dressage by posting four scores in the 50s, three of those being below 52. Kristine Burgess and BFF Tiara were the first out Thursday morning for the Area IV team and the second rider of the morning. She posted an absolutely beautiful test for a score of 52.9.

Melaine Rousseau and Menai Creek were next up, performing as individuals. They laid down the best test of their careers for a 50.8. Elena Hengal and Zipp came a little bit later in the morning. Although their test had a bobble or two, they really nailed the rest of the movements to earn a 50.6.

I was next up to go, and Hey Jude warmed up great, but we got into the arena and he decided to be a little tight. He isn’t the flashiest guy, but we managed to squeak out a 57.3.

Becca Gall and Can Ya Dig It were the last out to represent the team and laid down a foot perfect 50.2. Patrick and Steely Dan finished their test with huge smiles to score a 66.3. Autumn Schwiess and Oakport Strauss had a fabulous test to sit in fourth overnight on a 54.5.

One of the most exciting parts of the day for the Area IV one-star team was getting to attend the press conference. We got to sit in front of the fancy back drop and answer questions just like the pros do!

Cross country day dawned cloudy and wet. Apparently it hasn’t rained at all in Kentucky the entire summer, but after how much it rained when we were there I have a hard time believing it. Kristine and Tiara hustled out of the start box at 8:04 am. They had a scrappy round, but came home safe with a only a few time penalties. Coach Jon Holling had told us all to just jump all of the jumps, regardless of how it looks and props to Kristine for going out there and getting it done!

Melaine and Menai Creek’s round unfortunately ended in elimination after two stops at the Head of the Lake and then one more at a later turning table combination. Both were okay, but justifiably disappointed. Elena and Zipp’s round went amazing from what she told me, and they knocked the course out and posted the quickest round for Area IV.  Elena later told me her favorite moment was the jump into the Head of the Lake because Zipp nailed it!

My cross country day unfortunately did not go as well as the others. After fighting with a heavy horse for the first half of the course, Hey Jude and I got hung up on a seemingly innocuous table after a miscommunication on take off. We parted ways with an unfortunate deployment of my air vest (I love safety, but the suffocating sensation isn’t always awesome).

Thankfully he and I both are perfectly fine, it just wasn’t how I wanted my weekend at the Kentucky Horse Park to end. But hey, that’s eventing for ya! Becca and Can Ya Dig It posted a fabulous clean jumping round with time shortly later. Digger had some big jumps into both of the water complexes, but they recovered nicely both times.

Golf cart mania! We managed to fit 14 people onto our cookie monster cart, complete with a stocked water gun arsenal. Photo by Laura Bulgren

Golf cart mania! We managed to fit 14 people onto our cookie monster cart, complete with a stocked water gun arsenal. Photo by Laura Bulgren

Our two star riders had mixed results. Autumn and Oakport Strauss came home after a stellar trip across the country to sit in third over night with just a little bit of time. Patrick and Steely Dan did not have the best of days when Danny tripped and fell in the first water complex. It seemed that Danny just tripped harmlessly over himself and both returned to the barn with minor scrapes.

Stadium day started early and tense. Final horse inspections loomed and it seemed best to let grooms and riders have alone time with their mounts. The second horse inspection is one of the most stressful parts, if not the most stressful part, of a CCI competition. But, one by one, all 4 of our remaining Area IV riders trotted down the lane and each were followed by a resounding “Accepted!”

Show jumping started a little late in the day and it got warm. Kristine and Tiara were the first up for Area IV and they had a neat round, only having one rail roll out of the cups. Becca and Digger’s round was going lovely until he tapped the first part of the triple, taking four faults with him. Elena was the last to go, and she held Zipp together for a steady and clean round, but unfortunately incurred three time penalties. When the dust settled, Area IV had been left out of the metals by a measly 5.4 points.

Autumn went later in the day for the CCI2*, and pulled two heart breaking rails to still finish in good fashion in 5th place individually.

This week was unforgettable and the amazing people who helped get us through deserve a thanks! Brewster Walker was our Chef d’Equipe (aka mother hen), and he kept all of us in line. Jon Holling was our faithful coach and always the source of a good laugh. Erica Hoffman was our organizer and helped get equipment where it needed to go and made the schedules.

I also must give a shout out to Area IV for allowing us to represent them and thank you to all who cheered us on at home! And lastly I must thank our grooms and support staff (aka our lovely mothers), who’s help was invaluable this week. And now I will tap my ruby red heels together and head home, Toto! There’s no place like home.

Congrats to all who took home medals this week and go eventing!

Rebecca Farm CIC3* Preview

Hawley Bennett-Awad and Gin & Juice jump into the Hollow

Hawley Bennett-Awad and Gin & Juice. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

This upcoming weekend is positively stacked with exciting competitions, with most of the upper-level West Coast riders heading to Rebecca Farm and our Team USA final WEG prep trial in Virginia at Great Meadow. We will have more previews for the Great Meadow prep trial coming your way this week, but for now, we’re focusing on Rebecca Farm, which is one of the best competitions of the entire year. Known for its incredible views, immaculate facilities and challenging yet rewarding cross-country courses, Rebecca Farm is a destination competition for everybody who is willing to make the long haul to Montana.

This year, the CIC3* is 21 competitors deep, and while some of the top riders in the country are busy at Great Meadow, the division is nonetheless stacked with talent. There are some seriously nice horses and very talented riders competing at Rebecca this weekend, and I expect it to be quite competitive. Competing at Rebecca Farm is a huge accomplishment for any rider, and to be included in the prestigious CIC3* entry list is a big deal, so without further ado!

Event at Rebecca Farm Links: [Website] [Entry List]

James Alliston & Mojo:  James and Mojo have been recently reunited, as James brought the horse to Advanced in 2012 before the OTTB gelding was ridden by McKenna Knott for two years at Preliminary and Intermediate. This spring, James got the ride back on this horse, and they’ve done one Advanced HT and one CIC3* together thus far. They were sixth together at Twin Rivers earlier this spring, scoring a 60 on the flat and unfortunately racking up 20 penalties on cross country. This will certainly be the biggest challenge they’ve had so far, but James is an excellent jockey and is sure to bring this horse home safe.

Andrea Baxter & Indy 500: Indy has been competing at the Advanced level with Andrea since 2012, and they’ve completed multiple CIC3* events together. Last year they competed in this division, finishing in 17th place. They’ve had a light spring, completing only one Advanced HT together and seem to be encountering trouble on cross country. Hopefully all of their issues have been resolved and they can get together once again for some more success at this level.

Andrea Baxter & Fuerst Nino R: Andrea’s other mount has less experience than his stablemate, having only moved up to the Advanced level this spring; however, he has been out and about quite a bit this year, completing four events at this level, including a fourth place just recently at Copper Meadows. This competition will be a good step in furthering this horse’s education at this level and a nice challenge for the pair.

Hawley Bennett-Awad and Gin & Juice: What can we say about Ginny and Hawley that you don’t already know? Ginny has been around six CCI4* competitions, and we have never once seen her look tired or even a little less enthusiastic than the day she was first introduced to jumping. They are heading to the WEG for Canada in a few weeks and are using this event to prepare, and hopefully Ginny will settle down and behave. They can post a very nice dressage test if she keeps a lid on it and then will be sure to bounce around the jumping phases like it’s Novice.

Lauren Billys & Ballingowan Ginger: Lauren and Ginger have a wonderful partnership, having come up the levels with one another. They know each other very well and have competed at Intermediate and Advanced for awhile now. Last year, they competed in this division and finished in a very nice fourth place, posting a 53 on the flat and adding only cross country time to that score. They have the ability to repeat that performance here this weekend and are coming off a second-place finish at Twin Rivers CIC3* this spring to prepare them well for the challenge.

Matt Brown & Super Socks BCF. Photo by Cecily Brown.

Matt Brown & Super Socks BCF. Photo by Cecily Brown.

Helen Bouscaren & Ben: Helen and Ben have been competing at the Advanced level since the beginning of 2013 and have been consistently placing in the top five for most of that time. They have scored several top placings at CIC3* competitions and are just coming off a win in the Advanced at Twin Rivers this spring. They are fully capable of putting together a competitive dressage score and finishing on that note, so I hope to see them near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.

Leah Breakey & Master Plan: This pair just moved up to the Advanced level, but have already racked up a second place at the CIC2* at Galway, the CCI2* at Twin Rivers and just recently another second place at Copper Meadows in the Advanced. This will be their first CIC3*, and I expect them to have a good round for some more education at this level.

Matthew Brown & Super Socks BCF: Flaxen and Matt are an imposing pair and could be quite competitive here this weekend. Matt is building a great string of top level horses, and while this horse just moved up to the Advanced level this spring, he has yet to be outside the top four, including a fourth place at Twin Rivers CIC3* and, most recently, a win at Woodside in the Advanced. Look for them to turn in a polished dressage test and two stylish jumping rounds to put them near the top at the end of the weekend.

Anna Collier & Gleaming Road: This is another pair that is relatively new to the Advanced level, having completed one HT last fall and one this spring, looking to complete their first CIC3* here at Rebecca Farm. They were ninth last year in the CCI2* here, so they are familiar with the grounds, and are coming off a second place at Twin Rivers in the Advanced. This will be a good challenge for both of them, and I know they’ll be thrilled to be here.

Barbara Crabo & Eveready: Barb and Eveready have quite possibly the most experience together of any other pair here this weekend. This gelding has been competing at the Advanced and three-star level since 2007 and has competed at Rolex twice, although sadly never completing. They are a super pair with a great relationship, and despite a few problems this spring, I have no doubt that they can bounce back for some success here at Rebecca Farm.

Katie Frei and Houdini. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Katie Frei and Houdini. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Barbara Crabo & Over Easy: Barb’s second mount is a lovely Swedish mare who was 11th last year in the CIC3* here at Rebecca, as well as 11th at the CCI3* at Galway in the fall. They made the big trek east for Jersey Fresh CCI3*, but sadly Barb suffered a fall on cross country, cutting their chances short there. They bounced back with a ninth place at Copper Meadows a few weeks ago and will be looking for a bit of redemption here this weekend, which I’m sure they will find easily.

John Michael Durr & Esprit De La Danse: This lovely mare is relatively new to the level, with only two Advanced HTs and one CIC3* under her belt, but nonetheless seems to be consistently competitive. They logged a second place at Galway CIC3* this spring, with a 53 on the flat and just a rail to add, and are coming off a fourth place at Woodside in the Advanced. With any luck, they will be able to stay in the top 10 here for a good finish here at Rebecca Farm.

Katie Frei & Houdini: Hewie and Katie have had a great run at this level, with a fifth place last year at Jersey CCI3*, followed by a second place here at Rebecca Farm in the CIC3*. They made their move up to the CCI4* level this spring at Rolex, with a 60 on the flat and an unfortunate 20 on cross country, but a completion nonetheless. They are very capable of turning in three lovely phases to position themselves for a repeat performance this year, and I would not be surprised to find them in the top five at the end of the weekend.

Angela Grzywinski & Novelle: This pair is also new to the level, having moved up this spring at Rocking Horse with a nice fourth-place finish. They attempted their first CIC3* at Red Hills, but were sadly amongst the many victims claimed by the cross country course. However, they rebounded with a win at Texas Rose in the Advanced and were third recently at that same venue in the Intermediate. This will be an awesome challenge for them as they jump around their first CIC3* in their first visit to Rebecca Farm.

Jordan Linstedt & Revitavet Capato: One of my personal favorites, Capato is a really athletic horse who has a great future before him. He is relatively new to the level, with one Advanced HT and two CIC3* events under his belt, and still some learning to do before he becomes really confirmed. However, he has all the makings of a top horse, and if he can string three good phases together this weekend, you better watch out! I expect them to be competitive in the dressage and hope they can jump clean around this big track to finish in a good placement.

Jeenifer McFall and High Times at the Park Question Sod Cabin 2. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Jen McFall and High Times. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Maddy Mazzola & Mojito: Mango is an absolute star and a gentleman through and through. He was Kate Brown’s partner at Rolex in 2012 before going to West Coast young rider Maddy to show her the ropes. Last year, they were eighth together in the CCI2* here and recently completed their first CCI3* at Jersey Fresh, also placing eighth there. Mango has never been a big fan of the dressage, but he’s all over the other two phases, and it will be a good return for them after their Jersey vacation.

Jennifer McFall & High Times: Jen and Billy completed their lifelong dream of romping around Rolex this spring, and you literally could not find a bigger smile in the house at the end of the weekend. Last year they were 14th together in this division, and after their Rolex vacation this spring, they bounced back to win a division of Intermediate to set them up for this competition. Billy might not be too fond of dressage, but they’ll have a blast on cross country and jump around well.

Natalie Rooney & Jefferson: This pair was 13th together in the CCI2* here last year and following that made a successful move up to the Advanced level. They completed the Galway Downs CCI3* in 10th place in the fall and returned to competition this spring with an 11th place at Galway CIC3* and ninth place at Woodside in the Advanced. Natalie is an incredibly experienced rider, and Jedi is a really nice horse for the future with scope to spare, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they snuck up the leaderboard this weekend.

Bunnie Sexton & Rise Against: Bunnie and Ecko were all set to make their Rolex debut this spring, but were thwarted by some problems with a shoe pulling too much foot off the gelding and decided to take the spring to get his feet back together and get more miles at the three-star level. They were third recently at Copper Meadows in the Advanced in their first event for 2014, with a 47 on the flat and only a rail and some time to add. Bunnie will be thrilled to have her partner back at this level and will romp around easily.

Kimmy Steinbuch & Pikture This: Yet another pair that is new to the level, Kimmy and this lovely chestnut just moved up to the Advanced level this spring, posting a ninth place at Woodside and an eighth place at Copper Meadows. This will be their first attempt at the CIC3* level and a good step in furthering their education. They still have some learning to do before they are competitive at this level, but they are a good pair for the future.

Jill Walton & Dee Dee Chaser: This chestnut Thoroughbred mare was 12th last year in the CCI2* here at Rebecca Farm, and since then has completed two Advanced horse trials, one in 2013 and one this spring at Galway Downs, where they placed third. They are fully capable of putting together three good phases, but I think Jill will be looking for a nice clear round for this horse to complete her first CIC3*.

Thoroughbred Legends Presented by Cosequin: High Society III

Thoroughbred racehorses that go on to second careers are unique in that they have two retirements in their lifetimes: the first from the track and the second from the show ring. Thoroughbred Legends seeks to honor off-track Thoroughbreds that went on to accomplish great things as upper-level eventers and now enjoy a second retirement in their golden years. If you know of a great Thoroughbred for this series, email [email protected].

Jess Payne and Trevor at The Fork in 2012. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Jess Payne and Trevor at The Fork in 2012. Photo by Kate Samuels.

In 1996, a small bay Thoroughbred gelding was born in Australia, destined for racehorse fame. Dubbed Glenfidditch (Vain Karioi x Test Bat, by Double Century), he only raced seven times before it became apparent that he was going to find his niche in some other sport. The details of his retirement from racing are largely unknown, but he was imported to the United States in 2003 to become an eventing star.

Jessica Payne (nee Hampf) was searching for a horse to help her learn the ropes of upper-level competition, thinking that it would be reasonable to look for a horse with at least CCI2* potential. Working with Mike and Emma Winter at the time, she found “Trevor” at Ruthie Harbison’s farm, where he was for sale. He had been renamed High Society III, although Jess wishes that his original racing name had been saved. “My father, Carl, changed one of his horse’s names to Macallan because it’s his favorite Scotch,” says Jess, “So it was only fitting that Trevor was part of our family, starting with the name Glenfidditch, which is a popular scotch.”

Topping out at 15.3 hands and with a slightly unconventional jumping style, nobody really expected Trevor to become a CCI4* horse. Dressage was always a little bit of a struggle for him, but he was by far one of the best cross-country horses she ever competed, she said. “He was the perfect event horse for me. I grew up as a hunter/jumper rider, and Trevor taught me to love cross country,” says Jess. “He is probably the bravest horse I will ever be able to ride!”

Trevor happy in retirement with Wendy Luce. Photo by Jess Payne.

Trevor happy in retirement with Wendy Luce. Photo by Jess Payne.

Trevor is a total ham on the ground, loving all the attention he can get. He has been known to take naps with Jess’ 3-pound chihuahua, Nolin, as well as give pony rides to Doug’s dog, Bacon. He is known for his ability to take all of his clothes off in the field, and for the fact that he was practically impossible to catch!

Together, Jess and Trevor competed at the Advanced level for six years, never missing an event due to soundness problems. They competed overseas at Blenheim and completed Rolex Kentucky three years in a row. “I can only hope to find another horse as tough as him in the future. He was always such a good jumper and always willing to go,” she said. “He never backed off a fence; while everybody else was walking cross country at Rolex thinking, ‘Oh, I really have to ride at that’, I was thinking ‘Oh, I really need to wait to that!’”

After completing Rolex in 2012 for the third time and continuing to Bromont to try for a spot on the Canadian team, Jess tried her hand at show jumping for a while. Trevor was still sound and loving life. In the spring of 2013, one of Doug’s owners, Wendy Luce, began taking a few lessons on Trevor, as she had moved from the hunter world into the eventing world. He now competes at the lower levels of eventing with Wendy, as well as hunter derbies, taking very good care of Wendy the whole time.

“Trevor was the perfect horse for me to learn about eventing at the upper levels,” Jess said. “He taught me the importance of having a really good jumper and one that will be able to take care of their rider. He has given me such a great standard of what I should look for in my future event horses.”

Monday Video From Tredstep Ireland: NAJYRC Head of the Lake

The North American Young Riders Championships is the most thrilling competition that a rider under 21 can attend, and the memories last a lifetime. There is just nothing quite like the camaraderie that comes with a  team competition, and the friendships built in that short week are ones that will carry those riders through their careers in riding. NAJYRC is hosted at the Kentucky Horse Park, on the hallowed Rolex grounds, which is a thrill unto itself, as the young riders get to gallop over the terrain of their idols. Check out this video, courtesy of RNS Video Media, and watch as your favorite young riders jump into the Head of the Lake.

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

 

Two of my favorite Area II girls: Grace Fulton & Maddie Parisan. Go Area II!!!

Two of my favorite Area II girls: Grace Fulton & Maddie Parisan. Go Area II!!!

NAJYRC excitement continues throughout the weekend, with more dressage today, and then a lot of cross country course walking and a little bit of nerves and sweaty palms tonight, followed by the best day ever! Cross country day at Young Riders is the epitome of a team effort, it’s so great coming through those finish flags and seeing your teammates standing there with sponges and sweat scrapers, screaming at the top of their lungs. What a feeling!

However, we also now have some really fantastic things happening across the pond, with the Aachen championships happening. Dressage times have been posted, and it’s sure to be a weekend full of stiff competition. The USA’s Clark Montgomery will ride Loughan Glen at 11:12 am local time (5:12 am EST). You can peruse the full list of ride times on Aachen’s website. We’ve got a cross country preview, which if you haven’t seen, it’s worth the time before Saturday! [Cross Country Preview]

NAJYRC Links: [Website] [Schedule] [NAJYRC Entry List] [CH-J* Ride Times] [CH-Y** Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Events This Weekend:

Coconino Classic 3-Day Event & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Times]

Fitch’s Corner H.T. [Website] [Ride Times]

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

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

Aspen Ridge H.T. [Website]

USPC Festival [Entry Status/Times]

News From Around The Globe:

Matthias Rath & Totilas made an almost unimaginable return to power yesterday at Aachen in the Grand Prix, winning on an 82.3%. While many people have wondered if the “wonder stallion” would ever return to his former glory of WEG 2010 with Edward Gal, Rath certainly made a big step towards quieting them this week. The fourteen year old stallion has been in and out of competitions, suffering injuries and generally looking lackluster since his sale four years ago, but he positively stomped the competition at Aachen. The US contingent was led by Laura Graves with a Grand Prix score of 73.00 on Verdades, and world number one Charlotte DuJardin only managed to rank sixth with a score of 76.90 percent. [Chonicle Of The Horse]

New Zealand is out in full force at Aachen this weekend, bringing almost the whole team in preparation for the WEG. Andrew Nicholson and Nereo head the team, which also includes Tim Price on Wesko, Jonelle Price on Faerie Dianimo, and Lucy Jackson on Willy Do will compete as a team, with Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy competing as individuals. Caroline Powell and Jock Paget will also be attending the competition, although not competing themselves. Mark Todd is the only one left out, as he was unable to attend, but it still seems like a pretty stiff group of competitors to me. [New Zealand Team Wants Gold]

British dressage gold medallist Laura Tomlinson welcomed her first child yesterday. Laura and her husband, polo player Mark Tomlinson, shared yesterday that their daughter Annalisa was born happy and healthy. While Laura has not competed since last September, as individual bronze medallist and team gold medallist at the London 2012 Olympics, we can only imagine that she’s excited to spend time with her baby, and then get back to kicking butt in the saddle. [Horse & Hound]

Our final four blogger contestants have spoken! We posted their final round entries on Bloggers Row yesterday, and we want your feedback! Who will be named the newest EN blogger? We will put up a voting post this week, and the results of your votes will be taken into consideration when choosing our winner. [Bloggers Row]

A dressage fix for your horse’s tail if you’re not totally willing to pull or clip the whole thing!

 

FlairBuck-Horizontal

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Briggs Surratt & Hat Trick, NAJYRC Jogs. Does he win best dressed??

Briggs Surratt & Hat Trick, NAJYRC Jogs. Does he win best dressed??

It’s NAJYRC week! So much excitement going on in Kentucky right now, it’s positively filled with future superstars. This is their Rolex, their championship of championships. I remember my Young Rider’s experience, and there really is nothing like it. Having a team is something that we equestrians really miss out on, as our sport is largely individually focused. I never really thought I would be that into it, as I’m a pretty independent person, but something about cheering on your teammates and loving their success as much as your own….it’s just unbelievable and incredibly fulfilling. In other news, do you think Briggs Surratt is channeling some Buck Davidson with those red socks? I mean, the red suspenders are a whole ‘nother conversation, but those socks are really what’s pulling the outfit together.

NAJYRC Links: [Website] [Schedule] [NAJYRC Entry List] [CH-J* Ride Times] [CH-Y** Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Events This Weekend:

Coconino Classic 3-Day Event & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Times]

Fitch’s Corner H.T. [Website] [Ride Times]

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

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

Aspen Ridge H.T. [Website]

USPC Festival [Entry Status/Times]

News From Around The Globe:

Here’s something really fascinating: a behind the scenes look at the process of retraining that happens at the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center in KY. MMSC takes tons of thoroughbreds every year and has an incredible program of rehabbing them and retraining them into second careers. Horse Channel is following three of the horses for several months as they enter the program, and showing what kind of training they go through before they can be ready for their second careers and their new homes. Definitely worth a click. [MMSC Behind The Scenes]

If you’re anywhere near Millbrook NY this weekend, you have to go to Fitch’s Corner. Three days of eventing competition, glamorous shopping opportunities in the vendor village, a classic car show, and even a “Blue Jean Ball”. The dress code is pearls and pagodas, if you were wondering, and there will be much dancing to NYC’s DJ Flow. Sounds like a ridiculously good time. [Fitch's Corner]

Guess who’s got a fantastic new website? Will Coleman! After partnering with the wonderful Athletux, Will has just revealed his brand new website, and it’s definitely worth a look. Extra points to the person who can tell me who “Cheddar” was in Will’s career. [Will Coleman Equestrian]

Our final four blogger contestants have spoken! We posted their final round entries on Bloggers Row yesterday, and we want your feedback! Who will be named the newest EN blogger? We will put up a voting post this week, and the results of your votes will be taken into consideration when choosing our winner. [Bloggers Row]

Interested in working for Boyd Martin? Windurra USA is looking for two new working students. Minimum of six month commitment. Click for more information. [Boyd's Blog]

 

 

 

smartpak logo

 

Sally Cousins’ Weekly Training Tip: Cantering a Pole

We are delighted to introduce Sally Cousins as our newest guest blogger, as she shares her wealth of knowledge with us in the form of weekly training tips. We hope these nuggets of information can be integrated directly into your program at home and can influence the way you ride and train your horses. Be sure to check out both the Sally Cousins Eventing website and keep up with her on Facebook.

Sally Cousins and Tsunami at Rolex. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

Sally Cousins and Tsunami at Rolex. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

Sally has been riding and competing at the highest levels for more than 30 years, starting with Badminton and Burghley at the tender age of 20, and has continued to compete at the CCI4* level for the rest of her career. She also integrated a serious job as a stock broker for Merrill Lynch with her career as a rider, before deciding after 16 years to become a true riding professional. Sally is known in the eventing world for riding some of the most difficult horses, and she loves a challenge. It is our pleasure to share her thoughts with you here on EN!

From Sally:

As our courses have gotten more technical, I think it has become more important for riders to become more accurate riding to the jumps. The thing that I do that hugely helps my timing is to canter poles on the ground. Every day that I ride, I have at least two poles in the ring on the ground, and every horse I ride, I canter over the poles, whether the horse is jumping or doing dressage. Sometimes I practice cantering over a pole on a circle, and sometimes I practice it with a straight approach. I adjust the stride using the same aids as I would if I were cantering to a jump. When I canter the pole, I make sure that I’m using a canter I feel like I could jump out of. I will sometimes change the canter from working, to medium, back to collected so that I can work on my timing out of all the canters I will need when I get to the event.

This not only helps to improve your eye to the fences, but also the degree and timing of aids you will need. It is harder to find a good stride to a rail on the ground than it is to a fence. If you can regularly find good distances to a pole on the ground, then when you go to a fence it will be that much easier. Having a good eye will not take the place of having a good quality canter but it will certainly increase your chances of having a good jump. The bigger the jumps, the more important your timing becomes.

I canter the pole approximately five times off each lead on each horse every time I ride. This can be frustrating when you start doing it, but your horse will relax very quickly into this work. If your horse gets quick or does not jump the pole quietly, simply bring him back to the walk and then try again until relaxation is achieved.

From Off Track Thoroughbreds: How Valerie Ashker Finds 4-Star Horses

Valerie & Laine Ashker are a mother-daughter team that cherish the heart of the thoroughbred sport horse. Photo courtesy of Valerie. Valerie & Laine Ashker are a mother-daughter team that cherish the heart of the thoroughbred sport horse. Photo courtesy of Valerie.

After reading this article on Off Track Thoroughbreds, I simply had to share it. If you’re not familiar with this site, they do an excellent job of finding inspiring success stories of Thoroughbreds in their second careers and the people who bring them into the spotlight. As we well know, the Thoroughbred is one of the most athletic breeds out there, and they go on to have many varied careers after racing at the track.

Valerie Ashker is one of the most successful sport horse scouts for the breed, and she has a special talent for spotting raw potential and then matching it with good riders to produce four-star eventers. I’ve always wondered — how does she do it? We luckily have Off Track Thoroughbreds to bring us the story.

Valerie has successfully sourced off-track Thoroughbreds for Stephen Bradley, Kim Severson, Skyeler Icke Voss, Kristen Bond, Doug Payne and, of course, her daughter Laine, who currently campaigns Anthony Patch at the upper levels. So what’s the first thing she looks for?

Valerie at Crows Ear Farm, where she raises and trains thoroughbred sport horses. Photo courtesy of Valerie Ashker.

Valerie at Crows Ear Farm, where she raises and trains thoroughbred sport horses. Photo courtesy of Valerie Ashker.

“When you’re picking a horse out for someone, it’s that first impression that’s so critical, but it’s hard to explain,” Valerie told Off Track Thoroughbreds. “You have to look for a horse that wants to do the Super Bowl. I ask myself when I see a horse, ‘is there a keenness, is the head up and does he look like he’s the cock of the walk?’”

Of course, that’s not the only piece of the puzzle.  You’ll have to read the rest of Valerie’s Clubhouse Q&A with Off Track Thoroughbreds to find out more. Many thanks to Off Track Thoroughbreds for helping to raise awareness and share success stories about ex-racehorses thriving in second careers.

Click HERE to read Valerie’s interview on Off Track Thoroughbreds.

Hannah Stohr: Area IV’s Yellow Brick Road to NAJYRC

There is no better way to experience our North American Junior and Young Rider Championships than through the eyes of an eager competitor, and so we are delighted to introduce Hannah Stohr as one of our official guest bloggers! The upcoming week is the culmination of years of hard work for the next generation of upper-level eventing riders and a unique experience that incorporates teamwork into an otherwise very individual sport. If you’ve been to NAJYRC, you know how special it is, and if you haven’t, we’re hoping to show you through this series of blogs. Thanks to Hannah for writing, and thank you for reading!

The team after a jump school. Left to right: Hannah, Melaine, Kristine, Elena, Becca, & Patrick

The team after a jump school. Left to right: Hannah, Melaine, Kristine, Elena, Becca, & Patrick. Photo by Jen Gall.

From Hannah:

Hey EN! I’m Hannah Stohr, a junior rider from Area IV, aka the Midwest. Just for the record, our horse shoes are not ruby red and we do not travel on yellow brick roads. I’ll be competing in the one-star division at NAJYRC this coming week and reporting from different parts of the country to give you a taste of what the NAJYRC is and what goes on for those of you who have never been or can’t make it to Lexington this year. It’ll be an exciting experience for all of us because this is my first time attending the championships and certainly first time competing!

Last week marked the start of a long trek for me, my horse, and my poor, underpaid, under-appreciated mom (love you!). We traveled from our home in Kansas nine hours north to Chicago for the Area IV Young Riders Camp. For the Area IV team, camp is three days of jump and flat schools with our team coach, Jon Holling, and dressage clinician Judy Walker. For me, it was my first time working with both instructors, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I also got to meet my teammates for the first time.

Representing Area IV this year on the one-star team are Elena Hengal and Zipp, a gorgeous and goofy Dutch gelding; Kristine Burgess and BFF Tiara, big-boned and large-eared and of the sweetest horses on the team; Melanie Rousseau and Menai Creek — “Minnie” is also big-boned, but very energetic and willing; Becca Gall and Can Ya Dig It, a calm and cool Thoroughbred gelding; and Hannah Stohr and Hey Jude — Pyramus is my quirky Thoroughbred!

The two-star team is Patrick Zink and Steeley Dan — Danny has one of the cutest faces on the team, and with his bushy gray tail, he’s hard to miss — and Autumn Schwiess and Oakport Strauss. This pair didn’t make it to camp, so I’m looking forward to meeting them in Kentucky.

The Area IV team and coach Jon Holling at camp jogs. From left to right: Patrick, Kristine, Elena, Jon, Hannah, Becca, & Melaine.

The Area IV team and coach Jon Holling at camp jogs. From left to right, Patrick, Kristine, Elena, Jon, Hannah, Becca and Melaine. Photo by Laura Bulgren.

Camp turned out to be very educational, from both a riding and horse care standpoint. In addition to three mounted sessions, several horse management seminars were given. The topics included cross country after-care, a lecture about horse soundness, how to present your horse for formal jog inspections and more. It was nice that the topics really pertained to knowledge every event rider wants to know and learn.

When camp ended Elena, Kristine and myself packed up and headed to Kentucky to layover at Shadey Hill Farm, just outside Lexington, for the weekend. Since we all live more than eight hours from Chicago, it made more sense for us to push through to Kentucky instead of going home. The rest of the team will join us today when we move into the horse park.

I will be posting another report once we get settled in. Until then, I will be giving off good vibes for all of our horses to stay sound and the riders to stay healthy.

Go Eventing and Area IV!

P.S. Does anyone have any good ideas for decorating two golf carts? I hear we need to be well protected against a Canadian’s team water arsenal …

Great Meadow is Ready for the WEG Prep Trial

The grounds at Great Meadow looking perfectly prepared for the WEG trials. Photo courtesy of Great Meadow Foundation. The grounds at Great Meadow looking perfectly prepared for the WEG trials. Photo courtesy of Great Meadow Foundation.

As we enter the final weeks prior to the World Equestrian Games, the U.S. Team for Eventing only has one final hurdle in their way: the mandatory preparatory trial at Great Meadow. This event has been created and prepared solely with the U.S. Eventing Team in mind, as a final outing to sharpen and fine tune all of the horses and riders before they fly to Normandy, France.

While the final outing is usually incorporated into a pre-scheduled USEA competition, this event is two days of pure top class action, with only the best pairs from North America competing. Not only that, but it has been designed to be incredibly spectator friendly, and encourages Eventing enthusiasts of all ages to come and support Team USA as they endeavor to bring home the spoils from France.

Just two weeks away, on July 26th and 27th, the Great Meadow Foundation will host this significant competition on their beautiful property in the heart of Eventing wonderland, in The Plains, Virginia.

The competitors will be comprised of the entire Team USA WEG list, including alternates, as well as Canadians Selena O’Hanlon on her two team horses, and Jessica Phoenix on her pair of team horses. While this does mean that the entry list is only seventeen deep, do not despair, as there will be plenty to do and see for your weekend of top level entertainment.

On Saturday, the dressage commences at 8 o’clock in the morning, and the competitors will be practicing the CCI4* test B that they will be required to do in Normandy. As many of us only get to see a four-star test on our computers as we avidly watch FEI TV for Rolex, this is an exciting opportunity to see the best riders in our country strutting their stuff in person.

At noon on the same day, Jimmy Wofford will be hosting a course walk, open to the public. This will be the first time that anybody has ridden over this challenging course, designed by David O’Connor and built by the master of Rolex himself, Aaron Rust.

While the course will be at Advanced height and difficulty, it will be less than six minutes in length, and will be run at 570 meters per minute, so will be less taxing than the usual cross country effort for this level. That being said, it is designed to test the technical skills of both horses and riders, while still serving as a good confidence boosting run before they face the final challenge in France. 

Is that a cross country jump!? Photo courtesy of Nate Chambers.

Is that a cross country jump!? Photo courtesy of Nate Chambers.

Saturday night, Great Meadow is the place to be, with many exciting aspects to schedule. At 5pm, there will be a cocktail reception followed by a dinner in the VIP tent near the stadium course. All ticket sales will go directly to funding the USET, and towards getting our horses and riders to the WEG.

At 7pm, Show Jumping will begin, under the lights in the main arena where many of you have enjoyed twilight polo. The show jumping course, designed by Richard Jeffries, will be 1.30 meters in height, but once again, is created to test their abilities and tune their skills.

Not only will there be cocktails, dinner, and show jumping, but both Chef d’Equipe David O’Connor and Jimmy Wofford will be giving very important speeches on the future of US Eventing following the conclusion of show jumping. After that will be a very exciting bareback puissance (sign up HERE to win a $500 prize!), followed by a night of music, dancing and fun for everyone!

On Sunday morning, the wonderful combination of brunch and cross country will coincide, making that one of your top priority places to be for the day. Tailgating is encouraged! Cross country will only last a little over an hour, so be sure to show up at 9am sharp for the beginning.

So how do you get tickets to this awesome event? Simple! You go to Great Meadow Foundation and order your tickets by the car-load. It is $30 for one day, and $50 for a two-day pass, and you can bring your largest car with as many friends as you can cram inside.

This event will be short and sweet, but a super opportunity to see our team before they head across the ocean to take on the rest of the world at the World Equestrian Games.

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

chinchillin_fullpic_artwork_1OK, official voting time: who thinks that the above photo should be somehow incorporated into the EN staff outfits when we are roaming the world reporting on Eventing? On one hand, I think it’s awesome. On the other, I feel like if I were to show up in England wearing a t-shirt with that on it (under my tweed jacket, obviously), I might encounter some odd glances. Do you think the British public would appreciate my humor? Or would the rest of the world think I was just some looney from ‘Murica wearing a chinchilla shirt? I mean…who really wears shirts with chinchillas on them? Maybe I can get a tiny shirt made for the Chinch with this logo….CHINCH-CEPTION!

Events This Weekend:

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

Roebke’s Run HT [Website] [Ride Times]

37th Annual Whidbey Island H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Times]

Champagne Run at the Park H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Times]

Huntington Farm H.T. [Entry Status/Times]

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

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

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

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

Riga Meadow H.T. [Website]

News From Around The Globe:

Interested in how Andrew Nicholson got to the top of the sport? Finally there is a book that you can fully immerse yourself in while stalking admiring the silver fox! Guilty admission: I may or may not have the autobiographies of Mary King, Pippa Funnell and William Fox-Pitt already in my library, and am eager to get this one as well. Andrew’s book is called “Focused” and it comes out on August 29th. He hopes that “Perhaps it might show some younger riders today that you don’t need to come from a wealthy background to make it to the top.” [Love To Stalk Andrew Nicholson?]

If you’re heading to Stuart Horse Trials this weekend, don’t miss the FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips tent near the Secretary. A member of the FLAIR team will be on hand all Saturday, offering FREE nasal strip applications prior to cross country. All you have to do is come by the tent on your way out to cross country with your horse in tow, and they’ll expertly put a FLAIR strip on your horse. [Cross Country Like California Chrome]

Want to win $500? There is a bareback puissance July 26 at Great Meadow the hour before showjumping for the WEG final outing! It promises to be a great event and crowd pleaser, and they need 5 more riders. You don’t have to be a showjumper, just have a horse willing to go over 4′ and a fun attitude! If interested email [email protected].

Now we have scientific proof that not only do badly fitting saddles affect your horse’s back, but they can also cause back pain in the rider. British scientists have confirmed that a saddle that doesn’t fit can cause asymmetry, stilted gaits and extreme back stiffness in both the horse and the rider, having terrible effects upon each other when combined. Rider back pain was most commonly associated with crookedness, which can come from sitting in a saddle that does not set you up for success. [Get Your Saddle Fitted Properly!]

Want to win a Tipperary T2 helmet to call your own? In honor of Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day, our awesome sponsor Tipperary is giving one of these helmets away! Send us the story of why you #mindyourmelon, every ride every time, along with a photo of you rocking your helmet to [email protected].Please keep entries to 200 words or less and send them in no later than Monday, July 14 at 5 pm EST. [Tipperary T2 Helmet Contest]

The Maryland Horse Trials is still seeking many volunteers for both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. If you want to spend an educational day enjoying the sport of Eventing, this is your chance. The value of sitting with a dressage judge all day, or watching a hundreds of jumps, the value of volunteering is often underestimated. Plus, they give out great logo-wear! [Volunteer for MDHT Here]

 

Curious about Oliver Townend’s WEG mount, Black Tie II? Horse & Hound has the scoop!

Thursday Reader from Devoucoux

Who is this little girl and why is she mailing so many packages?? Photo courtesy of Earl & Jen McFall.

Who is this little girl and why is she mailing so many packages?? Photo courtesy of Earl & Jen McFall.

Yep, you guessed it! Above we have a  photo of Taylor McFall sending out her first huge shipment of Pony Puffs, as part of her enterprising spirit in raising money to buy her pony, Prince. If you haven’t read the story, go here to check out Sally’s full writeup on Taylor and Prince. And they say we aren’t creating gritty and determined kids these days…!

Speaking of determined kids, get ready for NAJYRC 2014! All the kids are at camp now, arriving early next week. The madness begins! We have a few really exciting guest bloggers signed up, but feel free to send us your pictures, funny stories, and any hilarious videos to [email protected]!

Events This Weekend:

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

37th Annual Whidbey Island H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Times]

Champagne Run at the Park H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Times]

Huntington Farm H.T. [Entry Status/Times]

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

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

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

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

Riga Meadow H.T. [Website]

News From Around The Globe:

Adventure de Kannan just became the first one-eyed horse to win the Hickstead Derby, but what about other one-eyed horses have been champions in other sports? What about Briarlands Blackberry, whom Izzy Taylor rode to the CCI4* level? Or the mare Material World, who competed as a high ranking hurdler until the age of ten? Horse & Hound gathers together some of the most well known one-eyed horses that were still winners. [One-Eyed Wonders]

Need a little more Yogi in your life? No, that’s not a misspelling, I do mean Yogi and not yoga! British Eventing Performance Manager Yogi Breisner is releasing a bunch of “how-to” videos, which you can find on the NAF Five Star Cross Country Training App, or you can look to our friends at Horse & Hound to break it down. Top Three: learn to change gears, execute effective turns, and be confident at combinations. [Yogi's Top Cross Country Tips]

Want to win a Tipperary T2 helmet to call your own? In honor of Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day, our awesome sponsor Tipperary is giving one of these helmets away! Send us the story of why you #mindyourmelon, every ride every time, along with a photo of you rocking your helmet to [email protected].Please keep entries to 200 words or less and send them in no later than Monday, July 14 at 5 pm EST. [Tipperary T2 Helmet Contest]

The Maryland Horse Trials is still seeking many volunteers for both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. If you want to spend an educational day enjoying the sport of Eventing, this is your chance. The value of sitting with a dressage judge all day, or watching a hundreds of jumps, the value of volunteering is often underestimated. Plus, they give out great logo-wear! [Volunteer for MDHT Here]

If you’re heading to Stuart Horse Trials this weekend, don’t miss the FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips tent near the Secretary. A member of the FLAIR team will be on hand all Saturday, offering FREE nasal strip applications prior to cross country. All you have to do is come by the tent on your way out to cross country with your horse in tow, and they’ll expertly put a FLAIR strip on your horse. [Cross Country Like California Chrome]

Best of Blogs: “But I Wanted A Horse That Was Beginner Safe!”, also known as the note that I would like everyone who has ever thought of buying a horse to read. ALL people should read it.

Sally Cousins’ Weekly Training Tip: Losing Twenty Percent

We are delighted to introduce Sally Cousins as our newest guest blogger, as she shares her wealth of knowledge with us in the form of weekly training tips. We hope these nuggets of information can be integrated directly into your program at home and can influence the way you ride and train your horses. Be sure to check out both the Sally Cousins Eventing website and keep up with her on Facebook.

Sally Cousins and Tsunami at Rolex. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

Sally Cousins and Tsunami at Rolex. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

Sally has been riding and competing at the highest levels for more than 30 years, starting with Badminton and Burghley at the tender age of 20, and has continued to compete at the CCI4* level for the rest of her career. She also integrated a serious job as a stock broker for Merrill Lynch with her career as a rider, before deciding after 16 years to become a true riding professional. Sally is known in the eventing world for riding some of the most difficult horses, and she loves a challenge. It is our pleasure to share her thoughts with you here on EN!

From Sally:

I have decided to start a weekly training tip. Sometimes when I am in a lesson situation with a student, we work on the technical aspects of riding and don’t always take the time to talk about some of the fundamental things that help with successful training. I hope that this series will give riders some food for thought. Check out episode one here!

At the end of every year, I look back and try to remember the most important thing I learned that year. One of the most important things I’ve learned is the concept of losing twenty percent. I was having a dressage lesson and telling my instructor that I was unable to get the same work in the ring that I was able to get at home. He told me that with a really good horse and an experienced rider, the minute you went in the ring you lost twenty percent of your training. Twenty percent!

I gave that idea a lot of thought and realized if you were riding a nervous or green horse, you probably lost more like fifty percent of your training. The concept of losing a percentage of our training applies to all of the phases. This has lead me to make a point of training with a larger margin of error in all of my work.

You can’t go to an event hoping they won’t have a certain type of jump on the course, for example a liverpool on the show jumping or a bank down into water. The point of course design is to test our training. So, we need to make sure our training is thorough enough so that if we lose a large percentage of our training at a show we are still competently able to answer the questions the competition asks of our horse.

The Delicate Recipe for Success

The corner master at Carolina International CIC3*. Photo by Brant Gamma.

The corner master at Carolina International CIC3*. Photo by Brant Gamma.

To me, there are three closely related qualities that have to exist in the genetic makeup of an upper level event rider or horse, and without them, you just can’t quite make the cut. To exist in the upper echelons of our sport is an elite position, and from the percentages of horses and riders who successfully make it there, much less stay there, you can conclude that this is indeed a rare combination of qualities.

It’s not about physical talent, money, horseflesh, or access to facilities. The three most important aspects are as follows: attention to detail, grit, and a fine balance between self preservation and impetuousness. While there are certainly a lot more parts to the equation, these seem to be the three most integral to achieving success in three day eventing.

Detail oriented people tend to be more successful in training horses, as their brains simply work in a different way than those who see only the big picture. Riders who realize that every little piece has an effect on their performance, whether it be feed, turnout, saddle fit, weather, nuances of bridles, or riding schedule, they are the ones who process all of the possible reasons why something is, or is not, working.

Success is a fleeting thing, and training animals is partly the ability to temporarily nail down the equation for progress with each individual horse. For this to be accomplished, details must be acknowledged and managed. These are people who are hungry for knowledge, how one thing affects another, and how they can harness that knowledge to their own benefit.

The second quality is grit, and no, it’s not just how much dirt you have up under your fingernails. I once saw a video on TED  that was about how kids succeed both in school and in life. The talk was titled, “The key to success? Grit”.

Angela Lee Duckworth spoke in short about her work studying success based on several different attributes. She found that people who had the most success in life were not people with the most money, the best looking, social intelligence, physical health, or highest IQ. It was grit, which is defined as: “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Grit is having stamina, and sticking with your future, day in day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. And working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like a marathon, not a sprint.” 

I think it’s safe to say that if you imagine the top riders from any country, this definition can fit them very well. The ability to get up when you’re knocked down, to bounce back after disappointments, and the ability to play the long game are all integral to top level success.

Gratuitous pictures of my wonderful horse. Photo by Brant Gamma.

Gratuitous pictures of my wonderful horse. Photo by Brant Gamma.

The last part of the equation is a bit indefinable, a little nebulous in it’s reality, but certainly nonetheless important. Both horses and riders who wish to competently compete at the upper levels have to walk a fine line between the right amount of self preservation and a dose of impetuousness.

In a sport where risk is inherent, working with horses requires excellent judgement as to the risk/reward ratio. As a rider, you must know what type of bets are OK, and what is going to bring you more harm than good. However, being too careful will never allow you to progress, just the same as a horse that is too careful will not turn into an upper level cross country horse.

You have to be willing to make mistakes, fall on your ass, hit the dirt a few times, and then be OK with laughing it off and jumping back on. Learning from mistakes is an excellent route to self-education, but being reckless will lead you down the path of destruction.

Refusing to admit that there is risk is idiotic, but becoming paralyzed by possible dangers is equally so. Eventers probably have a lesser regard for their own personal physical safety than some others, as we shrug off concussions, broken legs, and busted collarbones, leaping back into the saddle as soon as possible. It’s not because we’re crazy, it’s because our absolute priority in life is getting back on the horse. After all, isn’t that the first commandment of equestrianism?

Dressage Knockout: The New Craze?

A dressage knockout between two Eventing dressage queens! Photos by Sally Spickard.

A dressage knockout between two Eventing dressage queens! Photos by Sally Spickard.

Let’s admit it, Dressage is not the most approachable sport. In Eventing, we grow up suffering through it, until we finally realize that it is integral to our success in the other two phases. There is a whole breed of horse in Eventing that is admired for their disdain for dressage, and their subsequent domination of cross country courses. But why is it that we find our attention drifting when we watch multiple dressage tests in a row?

A competition in Finland has created a solution to this problem: Dressage Knockout! Debuted at the Helsinki World Cup (CSI-W) in 2013, the event was thought up by Tom Biaudet and Tom Gordin, who both had a previous career in show jumping. While jumping competitions are easy for audience members to understand, as they can see poles falling or seconds on the clock. Understanding the subtle nuances of scoresheets for piaffe, passage, and one-tempis is a little more difficult, and thusly a little more boring for most people to watch.

The idea behind Dressage Knockout is that competitors eliminate others, round by round, until a finale. Two riders enter the arena at the same time, and complete movements in synchronized harmony, as mirror images of one another. Each round is only a few minutes, with five or six impressive movements. There are no points assigned, but judges decide the winner within minutes, and the champion moves on to the next round. Sometimes, the audience can even sway the judges with the sound of their applause!

What seems to basically be a competitive pas de deux could quite possibly be the greatest idea to hit Dressage in ages. While we all love to see the wonderful artistry created by Charlotte DuJardin and Valegro, but I would definitely pay to see some rowdy crowds and fast action Dressage Knockout. Would you?

Like this, only competitive…

Sally Cousins’ Weekly Training Tip: The Importance of Consistency

Sally Cousins and Ideal Contini. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Sally Cousins and Ideal Contini. Photo by Jenni Autry.

We are delighted to introduce Sally Cousins as our newest guest blogger, as she shares her wealth of knowledge with us in the form of weekly training tips. We hope these nuggets of information can be integrated directly into your program at home and can influence the way you ride and train your horses. Be sure to check out both the Sally Cousins Eventing website and keep up with her on Facebook.

Sally has been riding and competing at the highest levels for more than 30 years, starting with Badminton and Burghley at the tender age of 20, and has continued to compete at the CCI4* level for the rest of her career. She also integrated a serious job as a stock broker for Merrill Lynch with her career as a rider, before deciding after 16 years to become a true riding professional. Sally is known in the eventing world for riding some of the most difficult horses, and she loves a challenge. It is our pleasure to share her thoughts with you here on EN!

From Sally:

I have decided to start a weekly training tip. Sometimes when I am in a lesson situation with a student, we work on the technical aspects of riding and don’t always take the time to talk about some of the fundamental things that help with successful training. I hope that this series will give riders some food for thought.

The Importance of Consistency:

There are so many variables in training horses that sometimes it’s hard to tell what works and what doesn’t work. For example, if a horse doesn’t go well, is it because it is after a day off? Or is it because it’s tired from the training session before? Have I made an equipment change? Or perhaps the horse has not been in enough work to handle what I am asking. It could also be a simple management issue, like feeding or turn out.

I try to eliminate the variables by having my horses do a similar thing each day of the week; you can pretty much tell what day of the week it is by what I am doing with the horses. I rarely jump after a day off and I don’t ever gallop after a day off. If I have a particularly good or bad day with a horse, I work backwards and try to remember what led up to it. This helps me either repeat or change what I am doing to help make the training process smoother.

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Leo noodling with me after a crazy thunderstorm!

Leo noodling with me after a crazy thunderstorm!

Goodness me, is it Friday already? OH WAIT it’s July Fourth!!! Because I’m a horse person and today is really no different than other days, I forget these things. However, I hope you all enjoy binging on hot dogs, gathering with friends and family, wearing tacky outfits that above all must incorporate red, white, and blue, and possibly watching some fireworks. However, I will tell you that if you plan on setting off fireworks near my farm, my mother might come screaming down your driveway that you’re scaring Nyls and making him run around and you must stop immediately! Fair warning, you guys.

Events This Weekend:

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

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

News From Around The Globe:

 As Barbury International Horse Trials started yesterday, it’s no secret that Andrew Nicholson is aiming for a hat trick with Avebury. Last year, he shared the win with Piggy French, and in 2012 he pulled a one-two with Avebury and Quimbo. If he wins this event for a third year on the same horse…it would be unbelievable if it weren’t Andrew Nicholson. [Nicholson Goes For Gold at Barbury]

Trotting over poles and cavalettis: more theraputic than you previously estimated. A new scientific study looked at the ways in which poles affected the gaits of horses, and realized that trotting over poles can be a great way to help in rehabbing horses from injuries. They found out that when they trot over the poles, they simply increase the flexion in their limbs, instead of actually moving their bodies higher off the ground. This means that the concussion and soft tissue strain for pole trotting is no greater than regular trotting. [Trotting Poles Is Awesome]

Boyd and Silva Martin are hosting a schooling jumping show at Windurra USA this Sunday, July 6, over a professionally designed course. The cost is $25 per round, with the schedule and divisions as follows: 8:30-10 a.m. Intro 2’, 10-11:30 a.m. Beginner Novice 2’6”, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Novice 2’11”, 1-2:30 p.m. Training 3’3”, 2:30-4 p.m. Prelim 3’7”, 4 p.m. Intermediate 3’9.” GPS: 2027 Gap Newport Pike, Cochranville, PA 19330. www.boydandsilvamartin.com

If you’re looking to book a clinic with a CCI4* eventer, Daniel Clasing is in the process of filling up his fall schedule! Dan is known for his ability to start young horses, and bring them all the way up the levels himself, and is available to teach at your farm or his. [Dan Clasing Eventing]

Does a training question have you stumped? Don’t know a polo wrap from a turnout blanket?Our newest advice columnist on Bloggers Row is a well known face in the eventing world and is ready to dish out some advice from “Behind the Mic.” If you have a question for our advice guru, email [email protected] — humorous questions welcome as you can expect humorous answers! 

Holy crap, check out this tiny pony and his mad hops!

Thursday Reader from Devoucoux

Awesome storm chaser photo by Chris Talley.

Awesome storm chaser photo by Chris Talley.

Yesterday was one of the most brutally hot days that I’ve had to deal with in quite some time. Topped off with some crazy lightening storms….it was weird to say the least. Here in VA, the summer is, well, pretty unbearable at times. You would think with our centrally located geographical location that it wouldn’t be that bad, but the humidity is so god-awful that you feel like you’re melting. Yesterday, the heat index was 109, I rode six horses, taught one lesson, and then, like a total maniac, decided to go running for 30 minutes. When I licked my lips, it was just like tasting a mineral salt block. Gross! My end of the day goal from now on is to go inside and be actively cold for at least an hour. Bring on the AC and the fans!

Events This Weekend:

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

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

News From Around The Globe:

Big things are happening at the USEF, as British equestrian performance director Will Connell has announced that he’s leaving BEF after the WEG, and coming to the USEF. Will has been instrumental in creating the UK Sport National Lottery-funded World Class program. He was also the team leader for the equestrian sports at the last 3 Olympics and chef de mission at the 2006 and 2010 World Equestrian Games. [Will Connell Moves To USEF]

There is almost nothing I enjoy more than pictures of famous riders when they were itty bitty and propped up on a pony. Horse & Hound collected a great number of amazing photos of top European riders when they were hilariously just like us, and approximately five years of age. You have to check it out. [Top Riders When They Were Young]

Do you have some epic tan lines? Do you attach a mister to your helmet just to keep yourself somewhat cool? Show us exactly how hot you are for a chance to win an Ovation Cool Rider Shirt!Snap a funny and creative photo and send it to [email protected] no later than TODAY at 4pm EST.

If you’re looking to book a clinic with a CCI4* eventer, Daniel Clasing is in the process of filling up his fall schedule! Dan is known for his ability to start young horses, and bring them all the way up the levels himself, and is available to teach at your farm or his. [Dan Clasing Eventing]

Does a training question have you stumped? Don’t know a polo wrap from a turnout blanket? Our newest advice columnist on Bloggers Row is a well known face in the eventing world and is ready to dish out some advice from “Behind the Mic.” If you have a question for our advice guru, email [email protected] — humorous questions welcome as you can expect humorous answers! 

Check out this cool slow motion video of Lynn Symansky and Donner show jumping at Jersey, courtesy of The Horse Pesterer!

So You Want to Buy Your Next Event Horse — Now What?

Photo by Jenni Autry. Photo by Jenni Autry.

So you’re on the hunt for your next partner in crime, your future Olympic champion, or soon-to-be best friend. Congrats! You are now involved in the most exciting and simultaneously frustrating process in the entire world! The idea of horse hunting gives goosebumps to us all and brings our mental checklist to mind.

You know, the one that keeps a running tally of all the qualities you’d like in your ideal horse? We all have one — just admit it. In honor of Sport Horse Nation’s four-year anniversary this month, I’m here to lend a few friendly tips for the next time you’re scouring the globe for your perfect equine.

1. Create Your Mental Checklist

The first place to start is by compiling a rough list of the skills you would like your future horse to have. What level do you want the horse to be competing at already? Do you mind one that is greener, and if so, do you have experience with green horses so you know what you’re getting yourself into? What are your competitive aspirations?

A lot of people theoretically want a horse that has athletic abilities that exceed what they will actually need, and that is fine, but it’s important to realize that generally, the more athletic the horse, the more difficult they are to ride. Sometimes, a less flashy horse might bring you more educational opportunities, and more fun along the way.

Once you have your list of abilities, think about the character and personality type that fits you best. Do you have an electric butt, and therefore should stay away from the hotter type horse? If you’ve been riding for a while, you can think back to other horses that you’ve ridden and consider the personalities that automatically clicked with yours. When considering the temperament of your future horse, it’s also important to factor in what lifestyle you expect him/her to lead.

If you only ride a few days a week, or don’t have access to a lot of turnout, you’ll want to remember that as well. Within this category, I will allow the mare/gelding preference, because many believe that there is a strong correlation between sex and temperament. However, I would be amiss if I did not mention that my bay warmblood gelding has more opinions about life than any chestnut mare I’ve ever met, so don’t believe all the hype!

Photo by Kate Samuels

Photo by Kate Samuels

2. Be Realistic About the Right Horse for You

The next step is sometimes a bit difficult, as it means you have to be totally honest with yourself and maybe get a tough second opinion. When looking for a new horse, you absolutely have to be realistic about your own riding abilities, limitations and goals for the future. It’s far too easy to be swayed by the romance of the moment and go home with a horse that is too much for you, which ends up being overwhelming or frustrating more often than not.

This is where having an excellent and trustworthy coach comes in because he or she can help you assess if you’re going outside your own realm of capabilities. That being said, it’s not a terrible thing to buy a horse that’s a challenge, as long as you’re prepared for it and have access to education to help you along the way.

3. Set Your Budget

Perhaps most obviously, the next part is taking a good look at your finances and setting yourself a realistic budget. Equally important is realizing that no, you can’t have a 6-year-old warmblood gelding that’s winning at Preliminary and has a perfect vetting for $5,000. Having a budget isn’t a bad thing, but overestimating what your dollar will bring you is a certain way to be bummed out.

Horses are unfortunately expensive (as we all know too well!), and part of the process is figuring out the numbers. Equally important is realizing how much it costs per month to maintain said horse, without even factoring in emergency costs or competition upkeep. A free horse is never just a free horse!

When you’ve done all these things, you’re a little bit closer to finding your future superstar. There are hundreds and thousands of different horses out there — all different sizes, shapes, colors and with cool talents that make them unique. Inevitably, there is a match out there for you! Might I suggest starting your search at Sport Horse Nation?

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

I need these shirts. Canadian Eventers Holly Jacks-Smither and Jenn Gray rock out with these awesome tees.

I need these shirts. Canadian Eventers Holly Jacks-Smither and Jenn Gray rock out with these awesome tees.

Friday!!! FRRIIIIIDDDAAAYYY!!! For normal people, it means survival for only one more day until the weekend, and for horse people it means travel to events, or waiting until Friday night to madly pack your trailer, bathe your horse, double check that your pants are white and your vest is in the trailer, and pray that you wake up after only three alarms early on Saturday morning. Actually, does anybody have research on the long term affects of waking up stupid early and spending many hours in the hot sun wearing pants? I feel like that might explain a lot of the er…personalities that you encounter in the horse world…

Events This Weekend:

Inavale Farm HT [Website] [Entry Status]

Groton House Farm HT [Website] [Ride Times]

Abbe Ranch HT [Website]

Horse Park of New Jersey HT [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Genesee Valley HT [Website]

News From Around The Globe:

WEG playground d’Ornano Stadium got an unexpected weather test yesterday, when the arena had torrential rains. The show jumping test event was delayed for forty minutes as the rain came down like gangbusters, and all the riders were pleased to note that the drainage systems were working great. One rider even noted that his round before the rain and after the rain felt almost identical in terms of footing. Go go awesome WEG location! [d'Ornano Stadium Survives Downpour]

If you’re getting ready to buy a new helmet WAIT until July 12th! Created by Riders4Helmets, the fifth annual Helmet Awareness Day will be on the twelfth of this coming month, and many helmets across the world will be on sale. As you well know, it’s important to Mind Your Melon! [Helmet Awareness Day]

First thing our coaches tell us: “Sit up straight!” But how do you know if you’re straight, and if you aren’t how can you fix it? Almost everybody is crooked or wonky one way, because we are naturally one sided animals. The best way is to figure out which side you favor, and do a ton of exercises to build new muscle memory. Most people are crooked through their pelvis, so loosening that up and fixing your base is the best way to become straight. [How Straight Are You?]

Do you have some epic tan lines? Do you attach a mister to your helmet just to keep yourself somewhat cool? Show us exactly how hot you are for a chance to win an Ovation Cool Rider Shirt!Snap a funny and creative photo and send it to [email protected] no later thanThursday July 3 at 4 pm EST. We have three shirts up for grabs, so get to snapping! [Hot or Not: EN Style Contest]

You’ve got horse mail! EN’s own event horse classifieds site Sport Horse Nation is celebrating its four-year anniversary this July with the release of a brand new monthly e-newsletter! The newsletter will feature buying and selling tips from professionals in the industry as well as site updates, testimonials, success stories, and more! Click here to sign up!