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 Kentucky Equine Research

A truly horrible view. Photo by me, Kate Samuels.

Yesterday I woke up to a black sky, and a full morning of thunderstorms and heavy rain and generally miserable conditions. Then, halfway through the day, it all completely blew over, the sun came out, it became beautiful and I even saw an incredible rainbow in the afternoon. Sometimes, I think that Virginia truly can’t make up it’s mind what season we are in at any given time.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

The Fork CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

CDCTA Spring H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

Pine Hill Spring H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Spring Bay H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

John and Beezie Madden announced the retirement of the amazing Cortes ‘C’ yesterday on Facebook. Tiny, as he is known in the barn, is best known for his cross-legged jumping style and was successful with Beezie for many years, including a Team and Individual bronze medal at the 2014 WEG, and competing in the 2016 Olympics before sustaining an injury. We’ll miss you Tiny! [Cortes ‘C’ Retires]

Gold Cup Fast Facts: The Fork and Chattahoochee Hills

Hot on Horse Nation: Goat Equitation

Doesn’t your perfect pony deserve the fluffiest of fluffy sheepskin shipping halters? For all those long hours on the road to get to events, clinics, and lessons, you want your precious darling to keep his/her head safe while traveling, and there is no better way than outfitting them with a giant fluffy halter. SmartPak has an excellent one that won’t break the bank. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

KER ClockIt™ – Session of the Week

In this week’s session, a rider takes her horse out for cross-country training using hills. As you can see in the session below, the horse’s heart rate (purple line) increases when the horse goes up each hill (blue line), despite minor changes in speed. By using a hill, riders can easily raise their horse’s heart rate into a higher conditioning zone without increasing speed.

Multiple KER treadmill studies have shown that exercising horses on an incline greatly increases work intensity as measured by oxygen consumption, heart rate, and lactate production. These studies have shown that at a canter speed, a 1% increase in grade increases a horse’s heart rate 6 bpm—the same effect on heart rate as increasing speed 35m/min on a level treadmill. Therefore, equal heart rates can be obtained by cantering horses on a 6% grade at 490 m/min as from galloping on the flat at 700 m/min.

To see a detailed report like the one above, go to the KER ClockIt website and log in to your account. Once you are signed in, you can view your detailed sessions under the “Sessions” tab.

Thursday News & Notes from Nupafeed

A whole mess of confused looking Advanced and CIC3* riders at The Fork. Photo courtesy of Allison Springer

And thus begins a new era, with The Fork officially starting at Tryon International Equestrian Center today. The Fork has long been a highly anticipated event, as one of the last prequels to Rolex, and with the signature terrain of the previous hosting farm. This year, for the first time, it’s held at the soon-to-be WEG location of Tryon, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

The Fork CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

CDCTA Spring H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

Pine Hill Spring H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Spring Bay H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Get a top notch course walk from Tamie Smith around the CIC* Galway course from last week. In the USEA’s new series, “Ride Between The Flags”, you get a personal course walk from some of the nation’s top riders, with specific combinations and real life courses on the line. Tamie won the CIC* with Mai Baum, upon his return to competition at Galway, and she knows a thing or two about accurate cross country riding. [Ride Between the Flags with Tamie Smith]

Psyched for the 2018 WEG at Tryon? We are too. That’s why we’re delighted to announce that they’ve chosen a logo for the upcoming event, as well as released a promotional video. You gotta see it. [WEG 2018 Releases Logo & Video]

Did you miss the fact that you can win auditing passes and a dinner with William Fox Pitt? I thought I might remind you of this most important opportunity, through EN and Team EnGaged Clinics. On May 2-3 in Kentucky, you don’t want to miss out. Enter today! [Win WFP Tickets]

Best of Blogs: If “Groom Wanted” Ads Were Honest

Friday News & Notes from Kentucky Equine Research

Just a little throw back to my idol at Burghley. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Yesterday I took my sausage dog (it’s her body type) and my fat pony (his preferred nomenclature) on a long two hour adventure down the road, through the woods, and over the rivers. It is finally starting to act like spring, which is my favorite season, and I was reminded of how lucky I am to enjoy the horse that I have, and the open lands I have access to. Then, my dog came home and immediately jumped into my bed, wet and muddy and everything.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Morven Park H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Rocking Horse Spring H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Full Gallop Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]  [Live Scores]

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

Galway Downs CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

Danielle Dunn is only twenty-four, and heading towards her first Badminton CCI4*. Having been to the Young Rider European Championships three times, Danielle and her mare Zocarla BLH are primed and prepared for the Big B. She’s heading to Belton CIC3* as her last prep with the mare, and is blogging along the way for Horse & Hound. [Danielle Dunn’s Badminton Diary]

With Galway Downs coming up this weekend, are you ready for the action? Galway is the first Adequan USEA Gold Cup qualifier on the west coast, and almost everyone is heading that way. You’ll be able to enjoy live streaming, and watch another CIC3* course designed by Ian Stark. [Gold Cup Fast Facts: Galway Downs]

Dust patterns and sweat marks have long been indicators of saddle fit, but do you know the real story? The long and short of it is that your sweat marks and dust patterns should be even from both sides, and not show anything down the middle or near the withers. Inspecting your horse and your saddle pad after a ride could give you a better idea of how your saddle is fitting, and thereby giving you insight into any training issues you might be experiencing. [Do You Understand Sweat Marks?]

Best of Blogs: Elliena Eq: Wear Anything But White

Hot On Horse Nation: Luxury Fantasy Farm of Your Dreams

 

KER Service of the Week – Nutrition Advisors

Problems such as brittle hooves, tying-up, and lack of energy or appetite can be solved with simple changes to your horse’s diet. If you suspect your horse’s diet is the culprit of a problem, or not producing the results you expected, consider talking to a nutrition advisor.

The nutrition advisors at Kentucky Equine Research (KER) analyze your horse’s needs, current ration, and workload to make custom recommendations using products available in your area. Using MicroSteed™, a proprietary ration evaluation software, KER nutrition advisors are able to produce a custom graph showing how each component of your horse’s diet contributes to its nutrient requirements.

Have a question about your horse’s diet? Share a few details and a KER nutrition advisor will be in touch.

Chris Talley and Unmarked Bills: From Track To Three-Star in Two Years

Bills making light work of the huge jump into the water at Carolina International CIC3*. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

At 8-years-old, OTTB Unmarked Bills was one of the youngest contestants in the CIC3* at Carolina International this past weekend, with both he and his jockey Chris Talley competing in their second attempt ever at the Advanced level. Their journey to the top together has been astonishing in more ways than one, and their story is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Bills, by Posse out of Kelli’s Ransom, raced from the ages of 2 to 5, running 24 times and earning $67,250. He raced in California, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey before retiring in November of 2014. His owner, David Nuesch, decided that the handsome gelding had a good chance of being a sport horse, and contacted none other than yours truly to see how he could sell him for his next career.

These days I’m kicking myself for this decision, but after riding him and free jumping him, I contacted Chris Talley and said I knew of a nice horse who he should take to Florida with him and sell for my friend David. Chris was doing lots of OTTB sales at the time, and I knew he would do a good job with the horse.

So Bills went with Chris to Florida in January 2015, and four months later he was entered in his first event at Training level. “I wanted to enter the Novice, but I entered late,” Chris says. “I contacted the organizers and they said all they had was a spot for Beginner Novice or for Training, so I figured we’d just give the Training a shot. He was a little unsure of things, but he has such a big heart, he just tried all weekend long.”

Chris & Bills in their first Advanced at Pine Top this spring. Photo by Antonio Salazar.

The pair completed three Training level events, and in August of 2015 they successfully moved up to Preliminary, only nine months after Bills had completed his last race. They finished their first year of eventing with only one placing outside of the top 10 and no cross country jumping faults.

At Carolina International in 2016, Chris and Bills moved up to Intermediate, finishing third in their division with only a rail and some time to add to their dressage score. From there on out, they did the CIC* at Fair Hill for qualification purposes, and completed three CIC2* events over the summer and fall at Virginia, Richland and Plantation Field.

When asked how he was able to move up the levels so quickly, Chris is quick to give all the credit to Bills and his incredible Thoroughbred heart. “Bills just never stops trying. The cross country has never been an issue for him,” Chris says. “He has struggled with connection issues on the flat, but he’s always been incredibly bold over jumps.”

They topped off their stellar year in 2016 with a 15th placing at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International CCI2* and a double clear cross country round. At only 7 years old, Bills received the USEF Reserve Champion Young Horse Award.

Chris and Bills in their first CIC3* at Carolina International. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Over the winter, Chris worked on Bills’ dressage and show jumping, focusing on improving the quality of the movements and the accuracy over fences. “He wants to be really careful, but he can get a little tense sometimes,” Chris explains.

Bills has also been enjoying some dressage tutelage from Hannah Salazar, who has partnered up with Chris in the past year and is an accomplished dressage rider and avid breeder out of Zaragoza Acres in Virginia. Hannah also owns Chris’ other upper-level mount, Sandro’s Star, a 9-year-old Oldenburg stallion competing at the Intermediate level.

This spring, Bills ran the Intermediate at the first Pine Top in early February before making the move up to Advanced at the second Pine Top later in the month. That was the first attempt at the level for both horse and rider, and they went around it like it was no problem.

“He was really, really spectacular at Pine Top,” Chris says. “I took all the direct routes and didn’t waste any time. He is so good on cross country, but I wanted to see how bold he was, and he answered everything really easily.”

Chris and Bills before the first horse inspection at Fair Hill. Photo by Antonio Salazar.

Chris and Bills moved up to the CIC3* level this past weekend at Carolina and had a fabulous run. For a horse that hasn’t even been eventing for two full years yet, that is a pretty amazing feat.

Chris is in the final stages of putting together a syndicate to keep the ride on this amazing Thoroughbred, with five total owners including David Nuesch and his wife Daryl, who are delighted to see the horse enjoying so much success in a second career.

As for now, they’re taking it one event at a time, but the aim is to do at least one more CIC3* and then aim for Bromont CCI3* in June. We can’t wait to see where this pair goes, and we just adore a story of a good OTTB full of heart!

As a bonus, we have footage of Bills’ first free jump at home in Virginia, alongside his Fair Hill CCI2* cross country, less than two years apart!

Thursday News & Notes from Nupafeed

“Soft, supple and straight forward to ride: Crackerjack!” Photo and caption via Boyd Martin.

One of the many reasons why we love Boyd is that he’s not afraid to show his sticky moments online, as evidenced by the above photo. More than a few riders had some funky moments through this second water combination at Carolina International CIC3*, but Boyd definitely has the best caption for his moment in time with good old Crackers.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Morven Park H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Rocking Horse Spring H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Full Gallop Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]  [Live Scores]

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

Galway Downs CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

A World Class Grooming Clinic to benefit Lee Lee Jones’ recovery will be held May 7 at Cedar Springs Farm in Cochranville, PA, with 100% of the profits going directly to assisting with Lee Lee’s medical costs, rehabilitation and care. Cost is $90 for pre-registration and $110 for week-of registration. [Lee Lee Clinic Info & Registration]

The USET announced yesterday that Caroline Martin and Mackenna Shea have been awarded the 2017 Karen Stives Eventing Endowment Fund Grants. This grant will allow these two young professionals to compete in the Karen E. Stives European Emerging Athlete Tour, under the guidance of Leslie Law. They will represent the US on the international stage at Houghton Hall CICO3* and Bramham International CCI3*-U25 in Great Britain. [Karen Stives Eventing Endowment]

US Dressage riders Laura Graves and Kasey Perry-Glass were their own flying grooms on the way to the FEI World Cup in Nebraska. Verdades and Goerklintgaards Dublet shipped out of Palm Beach this week, and while most top horses have a traveling groom, these two ladies like to keep things simple and personal with their horses. “The way we are with our horses, we like to be with them whenever it’s permitted,” Graves said of herself and her fellow riders who fly. [Olympic Riders or Flying Grooms

Best of Blogs: Horses Know How To Be Horses, If Only Humans Didn’t Interfere

Carolina International CIC3* Cross Country Course Walk

Setter’s Run Glen. Photo by Kate Samuels.

I arrived at Carolina International yesterday afternoon and immediately went for a course walk around the CIC3*, eager to check out what was in store for the riders come Saturday afternoon. This is the second year that Ian Stark is designing the three-star course here at the Carolina Horse Park, and after a big splash last year with the changes, we are all waiting to see how it rides in 2017.

For the most part, the course follows the same track that it did in 2016, and starts off very similarly, with the first fence about seven strides from the start box, and three subsequent tables with a good gallop to get the horses and riders going in a good rhythm.

The first question comes at 5AB, which is in the same location as last year, with a rollercoaster design of two fences placed on opposite sides of a large dip. This year, the A element is a much more inviting solid log, which I think will encourage horses and riders to jump into the combination with a bit more confidence.

Ship’s Quarters, jump A. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The next question is the first water complex, which is early in the course at 7AB. The A element is, let’s say, rather substantial with a bit of a drop on the off side. It also has an angled ground line, which could look like something of a ditch if you get off your line, or cause some horses to take a little peek on takeoff. When leading a guided course tour for the Southern Pines community earlier this month, Ian said, “You’re going to sit back and ride this confidently, or you’re going to cry for your mommy”.

The next combination is the Village Smithy, which was on the course last year with a different B element, which caused a few falls. This year, they subbed in an interesting U-shaped jump on a short two strides, which should cause less trouble, but is still an intriguing question.

We also have the double corners at Stonehenge that are the same as last year — challenging for a few combinations but rewarding if ridden accurately and boldly. After that, there are a few large jumps before the main event: the Cloud 11 Pebble Beach combination.

Cloud 11 Pebble Beach, jumps B & C, featuring lots of walkers. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The talk of the town in 2016 was the enormous trakehner fence on top of a mound, rolling down to the new water complex. This year is no different, with many riders still considering it as one of the most challenging questions on course. A lot of experienced pairs had rather sticky rides over the trakehner last year, as it’s not exactly where the horses expect it to be, and they peek a bit on the landing side.

This year, Ian changed the subsequent question from a brush corner into an angled line for B and C. It will be easy enough to get to B, but some real accuracy and coordination will be required to complete all three elements and not have a mistake along the way. As you can see from the picture, more than a few riders were spending time considering their lines and approaches at this combination.

Once you get through the second water, you’re away over a huge ditch and wall, and down to a large hanging log followed by a tight keyhole with a ditch ground line. Then it’s across the bridge around the lake, and up over a few more fences before we get to what I consider the most challenging question on this three-star course.

Landmark Hollow. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The Landmark Hollow is an entirely new coffin complex, which many riders are referring to as a four-star question. Coming off a short left-handed turn, the A element of this combination is massive, and my picture doesn’t do it justice. The ground drops away on the landing side fairly significantly, and combined with the airy nature of the jump in, I’m glad that it’s pinned with frangible technology. I can see several horses putting their hind end down a little too early, in preparation for the slope and the ditch at the bottom.

This combination poses a tough question for the riders, who have to have just the right balance of confidence and composure to jump the A in the correct shape and have enough impulsion to get over the ditch and the quite skinny brush chevron at C. There is an alternative for C, which I believe will get its fair share of use on Saturday as well.

After this, the riders are almost home free, with just four jumps to go, including an angled roll top combination and a small open oxer at the second to last.

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Thursday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Crackerjack takes a bow after dressaging. Photo by MP Stone.

On my way to my favorite event today! I’m only running the Open Intermediate, as it is my horse’s first event of the year. This sounds kinda nuts now, because these days the event season starts so darn early, I’m a million miles behind by starting in March. However, I’ve started my season at Carolina International for the past few years, and I love it. It’s always such a fun event, and great courses to get you out of the winter doldrums. Super pumped!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live ScoresEN’s CoverageEN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Poplar Place CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

News From Around the Globe:

Can Allison Springer and Arthur repeat their performance from last year and win Carolina International? As a Gold Cup event, the CIC3* at Carolina is jam packed full of stars. Did you know that there is $65,000 in prize money at this event? There will be live streaming for anybody interested, and if you’re at the event, over 30 vendors for your enjoyment. [Fast Facts: Carolina International]

Much beloved Virginia Horse Trials Schooling Shows are taking it to the next level with sponsorship and big prizes. VAHT will host three Starter Horse Trials and Cross Country Schooling days in 2017, with events in April, August and October. With a unique educational format and newly added excellent awards from sponsors, these schooling shows are the creme de la creme of unrecognized events. They offer Green through Preliminary, and have cross country schooling on the day before the event. Presenting sponsor Blue Ridge Equine clinic is giving embroidered quilted saddle pads to winners, and providing a hospitality tent, and McCauley’s Equine Formula, Easy Pellett Products, Merial and Buchanan Livestock LLC have donated prizes for April’s event. [Virginia Horse Trials]

Auburn Eventing Team is hosting an online auction to benefit the 2017 season from today through the 27th. They have everything from beautiful paintings, luxury leather care, a fantastic beach house getaway to lessons with four-star riders. If you’re looking for a good deal on some stuff you probably already want, go ahead and check it out! [Auburn Eventing Online Auction]

Hot on Horse Nation: Water Skijoring (??!)

NSFW Laugh of the Day: Why Racehorses Aren’t Always for Beginners

Friday News & Notes from Kentucky Equine Research

Seriously you guys, TGIF. Photo from "A Pony Known As Satan" FB.

Seriously you guys, TGIF. Photo from “A Pony Known As Satan” FB.

We did it, you guys. We have almost made it to the end of the first week of hell daylight savings time. I don’t know about the rest of you all, but this week has felt like death. The loss of sleep combined with the wacky light at the end of the day (what’s happening) and topped off by some bitter cold that seems like it’s a little misplaced seeing as it’s not “winter” anymore, I’m about toast. I’m like an iPhone running on 10% battery, you should stop asking me to do complicated things like answer questions coherently, and just place me somewhere dark and quiet until I can recharge.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Pine Top Spring H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Exmoor H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

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

MeadowCreek Park H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Copper Meadows H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/RideTimes/Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

Join Retired Racehorse Project for a Hoedown at Hagyard! The party gets started after Rolex cross country with open bar, catering from Red State BBQ and the musical talents of Steve Norman and the Shades of Grass Band. Join in the Equicizer races, or just bet on them! April 29th, 6pm onwards, at the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute across from the Kentucky Horse Park, tickets are $35 for RRP Members and $50 for non-members. Also, let me reiterate: open bar. [Buy Tickets Here]

One of the biggest training hurdles you can face with young 4-year-olds is correctly teaching them to move forward into your hand. Although it sounds quite simple, this fundamental skill must be developed at an early age. It is necessary for them to learn this if they’re going to successfully continue their training progress. International event rider Will Faudree, who has brought many horses up the ranks of eventing, likes to introduce this concept in a simple manner, and one that is easy for the horse to begin to understand. [Young Horse Training: ‘Closing Your Leg Doesn’t Mean Go Faster’]

Hot on Horse Nation: A Salute to the Women of Racing

Give me boots that are stylish enough to wear in town but also useful enough to wear in the barn, and I’m sold. An unabashed boot collector, it’s part of my self assigned job to snoop out great deals on cool boots. These Solstice Classic Tall Leather Boot by Smartpak are definitely on my list, and they just went on a crazy sale, from $189 to $75!! Get you some, girl, treat yo’self. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

KER ClockIt™ Sport – Session of the Week

In the ClockIt session below, the rider is taking their horse through its first conditioning sets day of the spring season. The field had some rolling hill and flat sections within it, as you can see from the blue line on the chart.

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As you can see, the horse’s heart rate increases each time it goes up a hill, despite little change in speed. By using a hill, riders can easily raise their horse’s heart rate into a higher conditioning zone without the need for extreme speed.

Multiple KER treadmill studies have shown that exercising horses on an incline greatly increases work intensity as measured by oxygen consumption, heart rate, and lactate production. These studies have shown that at a canter speed, a 1% increase in grade increases a horse’s heart rate 6 bpm—the same effect on heart rate as increasing speed 35m/min on a level treadmill. Therefore, equal heart rates can be obtained by cantering horses on a 6% grade at 490 m/min as from galloping on the flat at 700 m/min.

To see a detailed report like the one above, go to the KER ClockIt website and log in to your account. Once you are signed in, you can view your detailed sessions under the “Sessions” tab.

Thursday News & Notes from Nupafeed

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An oldie but a goodie. Photo via Laine Ashker.

Look, we always joke around here about the Virginia weather, but this is just out of hand. When it’s 65 one day, and literally 20 the next….I just don’t even know how to respond to that. I feel really sorry for the daffodils, it’s terribly unfair to them. I feel sorry for myself, because I thought I was done wearing 5,348 layers while riding. I feel sorry for my horses, who thought it was naked rolling in the mud season. I should have known this would happen when I was enjoying a snow-free February. We jinxed it.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Pine Top Spring H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Exmoor H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

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

MeadowCreek Park H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Copper Meadows H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/RideTimes/Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

A bake sale to fund your competition expenses for Rolex CCI4*? Rolex rookie Madeline Backus hails from Colorado, and is heading towards her first four-star this spring with her mare, PS Arianna. To help with her expenses with the whole venture, Madeline is going old school, and having a bake sale at the Exmoor Horse Trials this weekend. She will be selling homemade dog and horse treats, as well as homemade bread (you know you want to carb load for the event!). Make sure you find her if you’re at Exmoor this weekend, and buy some tasty baked goods!

I can’t tell you how many times I talk about leg placement with my students. As any developing rider knows, sometimes your legs go wandering astray from “home base” right behind the girth, and can cause some real problems with your riding. The perfect lower leg is strong enough and effective enough from right behind the girth to provide just the right amount of pressure at the right time. Equitation riders are all over this, and share a few tips and exercises to practice the three leg positions. [Master The Three Leg Positions]

Do you prefer mares? You’re not alone as San Diego based dressage trainer Rebecca Rigdon-Blake is switching it up with a strong preference for the ladies in a sport that historically favors stallions. Rebecca loves mares for herself, but also admits that they aren’t always the most amateur friendly due to their keen memories and sensitive natures. However, she believes (as I do) that we should work harder to be sympathetic to the difficulties associated with working with mares, as they’re not so different to working with women. [Geldings No Longer Preferred]

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Product Review: Horseware Winter Nina Breeches

The winter breeches go excellently with the padded vest from Horseware. Photo by Owie Samuels.

The Winter Nina Breeches go excellently with the Maya Padded Vest from Horseware. Photo by Owie Samuels.

While everyone is familiar with Horseware Ireland in terms of their excellence in blankets for horses, I for one was not acquainted with their line of clothing for people, and therefore was very excited to see what it was all about. Having used their turnout rugs for years now, my bar was set high for attention to detail, durability and comfort. Just in time for some cold weather, I received some of their Winter Collection, and wasn’t disappointed.

First I tried the Winter Nina Ladies Breeches, which are specifically designed to keep you cozy in the cold months with a light fleece lining on the inside. I’ve always been skeptical of fleece lined pants, as I’ve tried a few that made me feel rather bulky, and I was disappointed with the overall experience. These pants, however, are incredibly soft on your skin, and feel like the natural material of any other pair of breeches, but they definitely keep me warm. I wore them on several sub-20 days, and my thighs didn’t lose feeling once!

These winter breeches are also lovely on the outside, as they’re clearly constructed with intimate detail and durability in mind. They come in a blue jean color, but they also somewhat remind me of my favorite pair of slightly stretchy regular jeans in the fit, and I really liked that. They are mostly made of polyester material, but with just enough spandex in there to give you a really custom fitting feel.

A picture of the detailing on the back pockets. Photo by Owie Samuels.

A picture of the detailing on the back pockets. Photo by Owie Samuels.

I’m a breech snob, mostly because I wear breeches every single day all day except that one night when I go out into town and bother to change. Therefore, I’m into details that matter. I really appreciated that these breeches have seven evenly spaced belt loops, which means that your belt can properly do its job and keep your pants where you want them.

The loop on the very back is also wide reinforced, which means when you sit down, the pants do not pull back against a flimsy loop and leave you with the dreaded lower back gap (you know what I’m talking about). They fell about mid-rise on me, and while I always wear a belt with breeches, I think it would be recommended in general.

The Winter Nina Ladies Breech also comes with a variety of useful sized pockets, where you could feasibly store things and not regret it. A lot of breeches now come with only one or two pockets, and they’re only fit for three horse cookies at a time, but not this pair. There are two proper sized pockets up front, and two in the back, in which I can fit my entire hand. The zippers that you see on the picture above do not contain extra pockets, but with four functional ones, you should be pretty set.

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The knee patches are made of a unique material called Daewoo. Photo by Owie Samuels.

These breeches come in either full seat or knee patch, and I tried the latter. I’m more comfortable in knee patch pants for the variety of horses I ride every day, and I really liked the soft but sticky material of the patches. It feels like a thicker version of suede, but in fact is a very specific material of Daewoo, which is unique to Horseware. 

Another detail that I find important for all day comfort is how the bottom of the pants fits around your ankle. The Winter Nina Breeches followed my favorite design and have a section of material at the bottom that is of the softest stretchy fabric. If you’re trying to make sure thank your ankles and legs stay happy throughout the day, no matter what the weather, this is the best design to have underneath your chaps or boots; it causes no chafing, doesn’t get bunched up and always fits no matter what your leg size.

The Winter Nina Breeches are about mid-rise. Photo by Owie Samuels.

The Winter Nina Breeches are about mid-rise. Photo by Owie Samuels.

Overall I found these pants to be incredibly comfortable, warm for winter weather, and constructed with the same attention to detail and design for durability that we’ve come to expect from Horseware. I would recommend these to amateur riders and professionals alike, as they’re incredibly stylish and cozy, but are also built to withstand significant use. You can find your nearest Horseware dealer online at the Horseware Ireland website.

Friday News & Notes from Kentucky Equine Research

When Rocky becomes a meme. Photo via Libby Head.

When Rocky becomes a meme. Photo via Libby Head.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Southern Pines H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

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

Full Gallop March II H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

News from Around the Globe:

Congrats to Indra Rapinchuk-Souccar for winning our Show Us Your Colors Contest presented by World Equestrian Brands! Indra wins an Equtech Custom Cross Country Shirt, which offers a seemingly endless array of colors and patterns for even the most color-conscious eventer. Click here to read about all the finalists in the contest. Click here to order your own shirt.

Attwood Equestrian Surfaces will be returning as the CIC** sponsor at next month’s Cloud 11~Gavilan North LLC Carolina International CIC and Horse Trial. This is the fourth time they have sponsored a division at the event. “We really love being a part of this competition,” said Nick Attwood, President of AES. The event will be held March 22-26 at to the Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, NC. [Attwood Equestrian Surfaces]

The Heart of the Carolinas (HOTC) Three-Day Event and Horse Trials announced yesterday that they’re welcoming a new design and building team for the 2017 spring event. Chris Barnard is the new show jumping designer (look for him this weekend designing Red Hills SJ), John Michael Durr will be the cross country designer, and Dylan Barry will be doing the building. The May event features brand new cross country tracks for the Beginner Novice, Novice and Training long format three-day events, as well as the horse trials for all three levels. [HOTC Debuts New Team]

England gears up for their first international event with Burgham in two weeks, with a top class field. Held on the same weekend as Carolina International at the end of March, Burgham has both a CIC3* and a CIC2*. Top riders such as Oliver Townend, Pippa Funnell, Gemma Tattersall, and Nicola Wilson will all be in attendance, using the event as prep for Badminton this spring. [Britain’s Finest at Burgham]

Gemma Tattersall is aiming towards Badminton with Arctic Soul. Last year the pair jumped clean on the final day to catch third place behind Michael Jung and Andreas Ostholt, in the hardest four star in the world. Unfortunately “Spike” was sidelined from the Rio Olympics with a minor injury, but he’s back and better than ever. Gemma has high hopes for her performance this year, as he’s now done several four stars, and knows how to be competitive. [Gemma and Spike for Badminton]

Say goodbye to tedious hoof wrapping, and hello to the Woof Wear Medical Boot. If you’ve got a horse that is plagued by foot issues, and you’re blasting through diapers and vet wrap constantly, you should check out this cool new boot. Designed to help keep medication and poultice in place, while protecting a sore, bruised, or injured hoof, this is your new favorite product. Not for turnout purposes, but great for soaking a horse or keeping them in the stall overnight with some treatment, the Woof Wear Medical Boot is a great new design that’s totally worth checking out. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

KER Service of the Week – MicroSteed
Is your horse traveling, adjusting to a new home, exercising more, or simply enjoying retirement? These are a few of many reasons that your horse’s diet may need to be re-examined to ensure your horse’s diet is meeting its current nutrient requirements.
Developed by Kentucky Equine Research (KER), MicroSteed™ Ration Wizard makes choosing the appropriate feed type and amount for your horse a simple process. The program uses a detailed description of the horse to determine its nutrient requirements, and then recommends appropriate feeds from KER’s global network of partners. You can also contact a KER nutrition advisor directly for a custom analysis and report.
MicroSteed is available as a web-based Ration Wizard for horse owners and as detailed software for feed manufacturers, veterinarians, and select independent consultants. To try MicroSteed Ration Wizard or request more information on software for advanced ration evaluation and diet manipulation, visit our website.

Thursday News & Notes from Nupafeed

The softest bed in the barn. Photo by Sally Spickard.

The softest bed in the barn. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Every time I do gallops early in the season with Nyls, I think to myself “Could I ever put another human being on you and have them survive this experience?”. The short answer is, no, not really. He has a special talent for combining bolting (forwards and sideways, sometimes at the same moment), propping, spooking, and last but not least, leaping over shadows and/or sticks. He pulls worse than any horse I ever rode at the track, and when the watch beeps that his minutes are up, he stops so suddenly that you’d think the engine was cut. No, I did not train him for these things. Yes, all of my attempts to civilize him have failed. Yes, he is old and knows better.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Southern Pines H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

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

Full Gallop March II H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

News from Around the Globe:

What’s it like to pursue riding in Nairobi? Ellen Halle works for World Bank, and is currently stationed in Nairobi. She spent the vast majority of her childhood riding horses, but like lots of people, fell away from it in college. Now she has found her passion again in an unlikely place, with a scraggly chestnut thoroughbred mare. Read more for a fascinating perspective from a different part of the world! [Amateurs Like Us: Giraffes on Cross Country]

If you’re a nervous trailer-driver, or just getting ready for the season, H&H has great tips to get you started on the right track. Traveling hundreds of miles around the country with a bunch of horses in tow is the norm for a lot of competitors, but driving your precious cargo can still be nerve-wracking. If you’re a newer driver, you’ll want to check out these steps on how to make sure your experience is a good one. [Terrified of Towing? H&H Tips]

Do you ever feel like you get too caught up in the competition mindset and forget to have fun? If so, you’re not alone. Young professional Ashley Kriegel Trier experienced a come-to-Jesus moment during a Training level show jumping round, and realized that she had forgotten the basis for all of it. All the early mornings, the hard labor 7 days a week, the money and the tears, it’s all because at one point, we thought this was fun. And we need to find that joy again, and not get bogged down by the rest. [Bridging the Gap: Don’t Forget To Have Fun]

Hot on Horse Nation: Mounted Police DO Pull People Over

Thursday Video: Clark Montgomery and Universe doing the Jumpers at 1.3 meters:

Friday News & Notes from Kentucky Equine Research

An eventer gone rogue. Photo by Kate Samuels.

An eventer gone rogue. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Ok, so NOW I finally get it. I get the Foxhunting thing. It took me only 29 years and finally having a horse that is genuinely good at it and enjoys it, but now I understand why people are so into it. Yesterday I got the chance to actually shadow the huntsman on a blustery but pleasant day in Virginia, and that was a thrill. I took my red dinosaur, who is embarking on his third career change, and seems to have taken a real shine to hunting. We galloped with hounds swirling around us and jumped all the things!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Full Gallop March H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Rocking Horse Winter III H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

Twin Rivers Winter H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

Congratulations to Taylor Rieck, winner of the 2017 Young Adult Amateur Worth The Trust Scholarship! The Worth the Trust Educational Scholarships are awarded annually to one Adult Amateur and one Young Adult Amateur with the purpose of helping to fund training opportunities like clinics, working student positions and private instruction. Taylor wrote an essay about how she fits her passion for Eventing into her life, and how she hopes to use the scholarship money to go south and train with some four-star riders that she idolizes. [Taylor Rieck Wins Worth the Trust]

The never ending quest to find the perfect XC shirt may finally be at an end. World Equestrian Brands has debuted their Equetech Custom Cross Country shirts that are totally customizable, and you can win one! Simply write a story in 100 words or less why you chose your particular cross country colors and email it to us along with a photo of your colors by March 3! [Show Us Your Cross Country Colors Contest]

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke showed a little horsepower on his first day at work. Confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday, Zinke rode into town with a nine-person police escort to the Interior Department’s downtown headquarters on Tonto, a 13-year-old 17 hand ISH gelding (but he looks like an appy to me…). From five generations of Montanans and an unabashed admirer of Teddy Rosevelt, Zinke knows his way around a cow pony. [Ride to Work, Even in Washington]

When I try to get out of a chair after a long time, my knees don’t un-bend that well, and I wonder why I’M not on Cosequin like my horse. I know, it’s sad at 29 that I’m an old cripple. All I know is, I’m not the only one. Luckily, as usual, SmartPak is here to save the day with supplements for the rider! If you’re an old cripple like me, treat yourself 1/10 as well as you do your horse, and get some Grand Flex + HA Capsules so you can be less of a silly hobbling mess. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

KER Product of the Week – EquiShure

When high concentrations of fructans are found in pasture, or large grain meals are fed, horses ferment these highly fermentable carbohydrate “sugars” in the hindgut, setting the stage for hindgut acidosis and potentially resulting in laminitis and colic.

Developed by Kentucky Equine ResearchEquiShure® is a research-proven time-released buffer that helps moderate gut conditions by preventing the drastic drop in pH associated with high lactate production. Choose EquiShure to help reduce the risk of hindgut acidosis escalating to laminitis in horses grazing high-fructan pastures or receiving significant intakes of starch-laden grains, including those at risk for or with a history of laminitis.

Throughout the month of March only, receive 15% off EquiShure with code GRASS317.

 

 

 

Product Review: Amigo All-In-One Insulator Stable Blanket

Off track Standardbred "McBoogie" modeling the Amigo All-In-One Insulator Stable Blanket. Photo by Erica Stevens.

Off track Standardbred “McBoogie” modeling the Amigo All-In-One Insulator Stable Blanket. Photo by Erica Stevens.

Horseware is known for producing the cream of the crop when it comes to blankets. If your horse has a wardrobe full of top of the line Horseware turnouts in different weights, he’s living the life of a king. What you may not know is that they also have a large variety of luxurious stable blankets to offer, and they live up to the name.

I was fortunate enough to try out this Amigo All-In-One Insulator Stable Blanket in a medium weight. I admit that I haven’t been much of a person for stable blankets prior to this, but my experience and trial period with this blanket may have converted me.

First off, I could barely believe that this was a medium weight blanket. Holding this blanket in my hands and then lifting up my medium weight turnout, the difference in literal weight was astonishing. How can something so light be so warm? This stable blanket has 200 grams of fill, but you’d never believe it when you pick it up. My horse wore this blanket overnight for several weeks, and darned if he wasn’t super toasty underneath.

For my own clothing choices, I really enjoy wearing something that is lightweight and yet incredibly warm, so I can only imagine the same can be said for my horses. This feature is also beneficial when fitting it into your washing machine, as it isn’t terribly bulky, and also for space saving in your barn blanket stack during the times you aren’t using it.

The Amigo All-In-One Insulator has high quality latches with good overlay for comfort. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The Amigo All-In-One Insulator has high quality latches with good overlay for comfort. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The second thing I noticed about this Amigo All-In-One Insulator is that the material is straight up luxurious. This isn’t something that can be said of a lot of horse blankets, but you can say it about this one. It is made of 210 denier ripstop polyester, so it’s durable, but it feels like silk in your hands. The inside of the blanket can only be described as butter, and I hope my horse appreciated the feel on his freshly clipped body. If you’re going to spring for a beautiful stable blanket, it better be built for comfort to the max, right?

Speaking of comfort, the all-in-one design is something that I hadn’t tried before, but I realize the benefits now. We like to give our horses neck covers, as it seems cruel to leave a naked neck and head out in the cold with just the body covered. However, with the detachable necks, a lot of horses get rubs at the intersection of blanket and neck cover. The all-in-one prevents this, because it doesn’t have any pressure points around the withers. The blanket is seamless from stem to stern, so no more missing mane right at the base of the neck.

The Amigo All-In-One Insulator Stable Blanket boasts double front closures with velcro and great overlap, so even horses with big shoulders don’t bust through them and rub their chests on the metal latches. This I know from experience can be an issue. The wings on the side of the neck section enable full mobility, but also keep the warmth in. The blanket has two cross surcingles and a fillet string at the back.

I loved the soft comfort that this stable blanket offered the horses. Photo by Erica Stevens.

I loved the soft comfort that this stable blanket offered the horses. Photo by Erica Stevens.

Before this, I can say I was not a person who owned or used a lot of stable blankets. In an effort to minimize my blanket changing per day, my horses were living in their turnouts both in the stall and the field. However, given the comfort and luxury factor of this blanket, I felt it as more than warranted to use it for my top horse when he came in for the night.

Also, as a logistics side note, using this when he was in the stall gave me a chance to wash some of his turnouts overnight, which I think makes a big difference in their skin and coat health during the long winter months. Nobody likes a buildup of dirt and bacteria rubbing against them 24/7.

You can buy this blanket anywhere that carries Horseware products, and you can locate your nearest store through the Horseware Where to Buy link on their site. The Amigo All-In-One Insulator Stable Blanket also comes in a 350 gram heavyweight, and you can also find the Amigo Hero All-In-One Turnout if you really want to complete the set.

Thursday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Donner. I can't even with this right now. Photo courtesy of Lynn Symansky Equestrian.

Donner. I can’t even with this right now. Photo courtesy of Lynn Symansky Equestrian.

I know discussions about the weather are so boring, but seriously I can barely deal right now. Yesterday we had thunderstorms/tornadoes/hail and also it was 75 degrees. You heard me, 75 and hailing. WHAT?! At Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Woodbine, Maryland, they had wind so bad that it flipped their big trailer flat on its side. Welcome to March, everybody.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Full Gallop March H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Rocking Horse Winter III H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

Twin Rivers Winter H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

The Professional Rider’s Organization (PRO) announced yesterday that they are implementing a complete rebranding for 2017. Since its establishment in 2009, PRO has contributed to significant improvements in increasing exposure and interest on the professional side of the sport in North America. Over the years, however, PRO has steadily increased membership level options to benefit more than just top athletes. The organization feels it is time now to open up the membership and become a fully collaborative voice between eventing participants, competitions and the sport’s governing bodies. [PRO Announces New Strategy for Inclusiveness]

The never ending quest to find the perfect XC shirt may finally be at an end. World Equestrian Brands has debuted their Equetech Custom Cross Country shirts that are totally customizable, and you can win one! Simply write a story in 100 words or less why you chose your particular cross country colors and email it to us along with a photo of your colors by March 3! [Show Us Your Cross Country Colors Contest]

Jersey Fresh International has announced the inclusion of FlyPups, Inc. into the 15th anniversary festivities for this year’s event. FlyPups, based in Pottersville, NJ, transports dogs from desperate situations to no-kill shelters and foster situations where they can be nurtured and prepared for placement in forever homes. As part of JFI’s schedule of events this year, FlyPups will hold a 5K run, as well as a 1K fun walk to benefit the organization’s operations on Sunday, May 14, at the Horse Park of New Jersey. Athletes, spectators and families are welcome to experience a unique perspective of spring in the New Jersey countryside as they run or walk around JFI’s Cross-Country Course, which will feature many awe-inspiring jumping challenges negotiated by horses and riders during the previous day’s competition. [JFI Partners with FlyPups for 2017]

Incredible US Olympic show jumper Cedric has been officially retired from competition at the ripe age of 19. Ridden by Laura Kraut and owned by Margaret Duprey of Cherry Knoll Farm, the 19-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Chambertin 3 x Cortina, by Carolus LL) was the “horse of a lifetime” for his rider. Kraut and Cedric were one of the most dynamic and successful show jumping combinations in US history. Cedric made his FEI debut in 2006 as an eight-year- old, and his partnership with Kraut has been nothing short of incredible. Kraut and Cedric were key members of the United States show jumping team that claimed the gold medal in 2008 at the summer Olympics in Beijing. [Cedric Retires]

Clark and his super young horse Engapore at Three Lakes in Ocala. 

Friday News & Notes from SmartPak

Just some dweebs in the sun. Photo by Catherine Marcks.

Just some dweebs in the sun. Photo by Catherine Marcks.

Yesterday, I did gallop sets in a tank top. And I turned the overhead fans on in the barn. In February. I don’t even know how to process this! My phone keeps telling me that last year this time, we had an ice storm, and two years ago I was still struggling through two feet of snow to get to the barn. I can only conclude that March and April will be hellishly cold and bizarre, because there is no way that we just get to skip winter scot free. It’s just not possible.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Pine Top Advanced CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Three Lakes February H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Full Gallop March H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

Keeping it simple was the theme with Chris Burton for the Young Horse part of the ICP Symposium in Florida. Working with four and five year olds, Chris emphasized that while there are a lot of theories about training systems at a young age, he likes to simplify it a bit. “There is so much to talk about training young horses, but in my mind it is very simple. The horse needs to go forward, it needs to stop and it needs to turn right and left,” said Burton. [KISS Is Key with Chris Burton]

Let’s hop into a time machine and go back into the USEA records and trophy room. The Windy Acres Trophy has been awarded 56 times to the USEA Rider of the Year, but only 16 different people have their names engraved. Bruce Davidson Sr holds the record with a whopping fourteen Rider of the Year titles to his name, but Phillip Dutton is right on his heels with thirteen. The last lady to win was Karen Stives in 1981, and Dennis Glaccum was the first to win with Kilkerry in 1960. [Trophy Tales From the USEA]

Halt Canter at X announced yesterday the recipients of their grants, raised at the 2016 Event at Rebecca Farm. With a grand total of $70,000 this year, the organization has contributed more than a quarter of a million dollars to various cancer halting causes since the inception in 2012. First time recipient Dr. Robert Mutter, M.D. from the Maya Clinic received $50,000 towards his research efforts, and fifth time recipients Dr. Mario Capecchi and Dr Simon Titen of the telomere study in Salt Lake City received $20,000. [Halt Canter at X Announces Grant Recipients]

Did you know that SmartPak does a Canine line? Sure, you’ve bought a dog jacket from them, but they also offer doggie supplements in the same easy format as what you get for your horse! My dog, Polly, does a lot of running along with the horses, and I was feeling guilty as I added joint supplements to my horse’s feed every day while looking at her. She’s 8 this year, so I got her some SmartCanine Senior, which she gobbles up right away with a glob of peanut butter every day. [SmartPak Product of The Day]

Just a bit of completely mad fox hunting to get you going for the day:

 

 

 

Thursday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Brilliant. Photo courtesy of Amanda Wilson.

Brilliant. Photo courtesy of Amanda Wilson.

This photo of new barn rules has been circulating on social media this week, and I have to say it’s brilliant. The fines are hefty! I do disagree with the horse treats part, but that’s only because I use them in training techniques. As long as they are used intentionally they have good merit in training a horse, but excessive and arbitrary usage of horse cookies makes for spoilt ponies. Pay attention, students, or your lesson could be very costly!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Pine Top Advanced CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Three Lakes February H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Full Gallop March H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

Stable View, Plantation Field, and Fair Hill have partnered together to offer big rewards for young riders at the Preliminary and 1* level this spring. Starting with the Spring Stable View Event in March, the 21 Challenge Series also includes the April Fair Hill HT and the May Plantation Field HT. Prizes will be awarded to the top three competitors on cumulative scores, and will include up to one month’s free board, on site accommodations and training sessions with resident Olympians at Stable View for the 2018 winter season. [21 Challenge Series]

After the incredibly tragic loss of beloved trainer Javier Corradini, friends and family have set up an online fund to benefit his young daughters college dreams. The fund is set up to raise money so Javier and Cate’s two daughters have money for college tuition when they are of age, and will soon be transfered to a 529 college fund for the girls. If you want to do something to help this family, please consider helping precious Georgia and Charleigh have a secure future which includes higher education. [In Memory of Javier Corradini]

Chris Burton is the fastest cross country rider in the world, according to Equiratings. What makes him so darn good? He’s been lending his expertise to riders down in Florida all week, but in this video from Horse & Country, he explains what he thinks makes him excellent at making the time. Hint: it’s about good brakes, and a sharp eye. [Chris Burton Reveals His Secrets]

Tonight. Aiken. Pizza Joint. Be there. A portion of all profits from pizza tonight from 5pm to close will go to benefit the USC Aiken Eventing Team as they gear up to compete at the Virginia Horse Trials in May. If you’re in Aiken spending the winter with your fellow eventer, come out and enjoy a slice of delicious pizza and benefit your community of dedicated horse riders! [Aiken Pizza Joint]

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

When you're prepping for your first Advanced... Photo from Chris Talley.

When you’re prepping for your first Advanced… Photo from Chris Talley.

Yesterday was my birthday, which of course meant that I basically did the same thing I do every day (wake up at 6, clean the barn, ride horses for 10 hours, clean the barn, eat food, fall half asleep in a chair) but it was special because I was reminded of all the different people I know from around the world through their Facebook well wishes. Social media can be a crazy place, but on your birthday, it can feel like a whole lotta love. That, and I got exclusively chocolate and/or booze themed gifts, so that feels like love too.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Rocking Horse Winter II H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Paradise Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Fresno County Horse Park CIC & H.T. [Website] [Ride Times/Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

The Farm House Tack shop in Landrum, SC has paired up with Nunn Finer to help Eric and Trayce Dierks. For the next seven days, 30% of all Nunn Finer purchases made through The Farm House will go directly to the Dierks to help with Eric’s medical expenses. Let’s keep that Eventing community love coming! [Farm House Tack Shop]

German eventing team rider Kai Steffen-Meier will teach an Eventing 101 clinic at in Ocala, FL Feb 24-26th. He will focus on how better dressage work improves your cross country riding, and will specifically address amateurs (although not excluding professionals). All rides will be filmed and later evaluated during class room sessions so the riders can learn about themselves while watching their own rides. All levels are welcome. Additional speakers include event horse breeding and training expert Dr. Maren Engelhardt and equine nutrition and lameness prevention specialist Kimberly Kojima. To register and for more information, email [email protected].

In case you missed it, the bitless bridles in dressage discussion continues here. With a member of British Dressage sending in a request to have bitless bridles legalized for recognized competition, both sides of the controversy remain staunchly opposed. On one hand, riding bitless can’t possibly be a threat to those with a bit, but on the other hand, how do you deal with the classical dressage commandment of “acceptance of the bit”? We may never know. [Let’s Discuss Bitless Bridles]

What are the items that you can’t live your horsey life without? I would say right now that Dubarry boots, gloves, good leggings and chapstick are at the top of my list. Also, a horse vacuum because #mudeverywhere. Staff at Horse & Hound know the things that make your world go ’round. [50 Things Horse Owners Really Really Can’t Live Without]

Hot on Horse Nation: Riding The Skywalk

Winter can’t touch me, because I’ve got my Under Armour leggings game going strong. Seriously, I’m wearing these leggings right now as I type this, because not only are they warm as hell to wear during the blustery cold day underneath my riding pants, but they’re comfy as all get out to wear just as leggings around the house! These Under Armour Authentic ColdGear Leggings rock my world. I have three pairs. I wear them all the time. So should you. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

A Troll back in action!

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Kate Chadderton killing that reflection game. Photo courtesy of Kate.

Kate Chadderton killing that reflection game. Photo courtesy of Kate.

Note to self: never, ever assume that a horse you’ve owned for almost 12 years who is going on his 16th year of life has “grown up” and decided to start “acting trained”. This applies especially to those early gallop sets coming out of winter doldrums. Yesterday, it was warm and only marginally windy, and the ground was good, so I hacked over to a turf track down the road and over a river, to have a little fitness day. It’s a good thing nobody was there to witness the atrocities that followed, because the ping-pong zip-line spastic behavior was just second to next. Spook at: clump of grass, spot of weird dirt, open gate in fence line, stump over there, shadow over here, bolt going this direction, balk going that direction. I give up.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Rocking Horse Winter II H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Paradise Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Fresno County Horse Park CIC & H.T. [Website] [Ride Times/Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

A British rider has petitioned to allow bitless bridles to be allowed in recognized dressage competitions. Tam Russell has called for British Dressage to change their rules about requiring bits for dressage in competition. Unfortunately for her, BD responded thus: “This decision is based on one of the fundamental principles of dressage being built on the acceptance of the bit (while much of the terminology of this relates to acceptance of the bridle, it is widely understood that this is the acceptance of the bit).“To change this principle would have far-reaching consequences, not least that we have to have a competition structure that progresses in to international sport. For this reason alone, we have to align closely with the FEI.” [BD Responds to Request for Bitless Bridles]

Great news for fans of Fresno County Horse Park and Aspen Farms, as Southern California Equestrian Sports has added $2,000 in prize money to the events this year. SCES will be handing out prize money in the CIC* and CIC2* divisions at both Fresno County Horse Park this weekend, as well as the CIC* and CIC2* divisions at Aspen Farms in the second week of June. SCES is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping riders and organizations raise funds to compete in and support their national and international competitions in the US. [SCES Adds Big Prize Money]

The Thoroughbred Incentive Program Youth Ambassador of the Month for February is Morgan Kastner! Morgan is from Minnesota, and at 18 years old, she competes two thoroughbreds in both English and Western disciplines. She is incredibly passionate about the thoroughbred breed, and believes thoroughly in their ability to do any kind of job you could possibly want. [Horse Nation Spotlight]

Laughing at British People Laughing at Us: American Horsey Jargon That Leaves Us Baffled

Best of Blogs: 20 Best Tumblr Posts About Living With Horses 

 

Welly World from Elisa Wallace:

 

Product Review: Professional’s Choice VenTECH Leather Girths

Nyls modeling the Sex VenTECH Leather Monoflap Girth. Photo by Kate Samuels

Nyls modeling the brown VenTECH Leather Monoflap Girth. Photo by Kate Samuels

Professional’s Choice is offering some really exciting products this season in their equine accessories lines, and these VenTECH leather girths are no different. I got the chance to try out both the dressage girth and the jumping monoflap girth, both of which are extremely stylish, and best of all, highly functional and super comfortable for your horse.

For a long time, we’ve been stuck with the choice of a fancy leather show girth or perhaps an old girth that you use at home to school in. Now, thanks to combining tradition and technology, you can have both. These girths will look right at home in a show environment, but are are also useable and functional at home.

The VenTECH technology is the highlight of this product, as it is extremely comfortable, breathable, washable and offers the advantage of being non-slip. One of the advantages of using these girths is that they stay put so well, you don’t have to crank your girth as tight as you would with others. The non-slip neoprene conforms to your horse, allows heat and moisture to escape, and holds on tight. I’ve also used this product on several horses that are extremely sensitive and prone to rubs, and I can say that the grip is excellent, and does not rub or pinch in any way.

A close-up of the VenTECH technology on the underside of the girth. Photo by Kate Samuels.

A close-up of the VenTECH technology on the underside of the girth. Photo by Kate Samuels.

You can also remove the neoprene liner from the leather portion of the girth, so that you can easily hand wash the inside of the girth, keeping it free of dirt and grit. This ensures that your horse’s skin stays comfortable, and when you’re using this girth a lot, you can stay sane! Just pull it off the velcro, squirt it down and hang it up to dry. Easy as that!

The SMx VenTECH Leather Monoflap Girth has both a Carabineer clip and a built-in D-ring, so that you can use both a breast plate and a training aid at the same time. The SMx VenTECH Leather Dressage Girth only features the D-ring in the center.

One of my favorite features of these girths is the sturdy construction of the buckles and the placement holders for the billets. The buckles are stainless steel rollers, which makes life just that much easier when you’re leaning down to fix your girth, and are very sturdy for longterm use. I love that each billet gets its own slot to go through, and they are very secure. The amount of times I have ripped a limp billet holder is infuriating, and I can tell you these will not fall to the same fate.

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Stainless steel roller buckles and triple elastic on both ends make for easy adjustability. Photo by Kate Samuels.

While you don’t need to tighten your girth as much with the neoprene non-slip aspect, both girths feature elastic on both ends, for increased comfort and adjustability. One of my horses is always quite crabby about having his girth tightened, and so elastic is essential to make him happy. Durable elastic is essential to make me happy, as there’s nothing worse than a girth that slowly bags out and stretches two sizes. I can also attest to the longevity of the elastic on these girths, as I’ve been using their longer leather jump girth for years now with no visible change.

The SMx VenTECH Leather Girths are also ergonomically designed, so they sit in an excellent place on your horse. The wide base and the cutback of the ends allows for a greater pressure distribution along your horse’s sternum, which can be a really big issue with discomfort and lack of mobility. Nobody likes a really tight and thin belt, just like no horse likes a lot of pressure right behind their front legs.

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The VenTECH Leather Monoflap Girth is stylish as all get out, but also incredibly functional for both show and home. Photo by Kate Samuels.

You can find both of these girths online for purchase through Professional’s Choice, each priced at $257.95.

Go Professional’s Choice. Go Eventing.

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Pine Top. Photos by Leslie Threlkeld.

Pine Top. Photos by Leslie Threlkeld.

Wow! Look at those photos from Pine Top, it’s so green!! The mild winter continues, and mother earth thinks that winter is over already, clearly. Usually Pine Top is still in the winter doldrums in February, and more often than not we’re hit with a cold snap or even a poorly timed winter storm on Pine Top weekend. This year though, sunny skies and green grass!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Full Gallop Farm February H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Ocala Winter II H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Pine Top Intermediate H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

In 2016, Eventing Ireland became the first nation worldwide to use the ERQI (EquiRatings Quality Index) system, and they’re pushing forward in 2017 thanks to great results from last year. The ERQI is a system of cross-country risk analysis indictors developed by Equestrian data science company EquiRatings. The ERQI system provided traffic light indictors of risk for all horses at all levels competing in Ireland in 2016. Horses which displayed amber ERQIs were shown to be carrying a statistically higher risk profile than desired, and riders were urged to strongly consider competing at a lower-class level until their performance was in line with appropriate risk levels. Horses with red ERQIs were shown to be carrying a significant level of risk at that level and in line with the new Eventing Ireland rules, were restricted from competing at that level. [Eventing Ireland Stepping Forward for Safety]

USEA’s Volunteer of the Month Dale Clabagh has been involved in the horse world in every way you can think of, and now she’s a staple volunteer at the Maryland Horse Trials. Dale has ridden horses her whole life, ran a huge boarding barn in her earlier years, organized and ran horse trials up to Advanced level, and now she fulfills every possible duty as a volunteer. From announcing to being a cross country steward, Dale finds herself busy volunteering at an Event almost every weekend from March to November, talk about commitment! Go Dale!!! [USEA Volunteer of the Month]

How about a trip back into the USEA archives for past Horse of the Year winners? Founded in 1963 with “Duck Soup” as the first recipient, a look back at the names is a story of magnificence throughout the years in US Eventing. Winsome Adante is still the only horse to appear on the list multiple times – having won the Horse of the Year award in 2001, 2002 and 2004. When Mighty Nice earned the title in 2016, he became the fourth horse Phillip Dutton rode to Horse of the Year status – tying Karen O’Connor for the most appearances on the list. [USEA HOTY History]

What Made Me Die of Laughter Today: Godzilla, Friend of Horses

I was never one for horse cookies, until a few years ago. Then I realized that I could accomplish ten times more things with my horses if I had a pocket full of cookies, and used them intentionally for training. Mind you, I don’t just hand them out willy nilly, and I don’t tolerate snatchy mouths, but I do tend to have some on me almost all the time. If used in exchange for a task either on the ground or under saddle, cookies can help you master everything from silly tricks to fancy dressage moves. These Smart Cookies come in two flavors, either Chia Mint or Guilt-Free Carrot Cake, so your horse can choose his favorite taste! [SmartPak Product of the Day]

 

 

 

 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Icabad Crane reunited with racing trainer Graham Motion. Photo via Icabad's FB.

Icabad Crane reunited with racing trainer Graham Motion. Photo via Icabad’s FB.

Remember Icabad Crane? The original Retired Racehorse Makeover champion? He’s stayed in Phillip Dutton’s barn, and competed through the 1* level with Phillip, but now he is the ride of Olivia Dutton. She has two fabulous OTTBs in her string, with Icabad and Santa’s Playboy both competing at Preliminary this year. Once a horse in the Preakness, now a champion Eventing superstar teaching the next generation!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Full Gallop Farm February H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Ocala Winter II H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Pine Top Intermediate H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

The Charles Owen Technical Merit award kicks off in February at the Pine Top Advanced HT. Founded by the USEA Professional Horsemans’ Council, the idea behind the award is to provide incentives for amateur and junior riders who demonstrate safe and appropriate cross country riding technique, as well as providing education to riders and trainers as to what constitutes safe XC riding. At each event, riders will be entered to win a Charles Owen Body Protector and helmet bag, and year-end high point winners will receive a Charles Owen Helmet. [Charles Owen Technical Merit Award for Safe Cross Country Riding]

Totilas is slated to make his first public appearance since his messy performance at the Europeans in 2015 and subsequent retirement. The horse that first brought everyone back to the world of Dressage, and dazzled us all for years, he will be shown in hand at France’s major Saint-Lô show, which runs from 18-19 February. Other stallions in the multi-stud affair include the top eventing stallion Contendro, Balou Du Rouet, Catoki and Orient Express, as well as the dressage sires Fürstenball, Soliman De Hus and Vitalis. [Toto Reappears]

After the success of last year’s competition Shearwater Insurance and Tri-Star Eventing are thrilled to announce the return of The Shearwater Insurance Tri-Star Grand Slam. The unique series offers a ‘winner-takes-all’ prize fund of £50,000 for any rider who can win three of the five CIC3* events included in the competition. The events are Belton International, Burnham Market International, Houghton International, Burgham International, and newly added Hartpury International, all at the CIC3* level. [Shearwater Insurance]

Best of Blogs: Dear Horse…Thank You

 

 

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Team Lee Lee at Wellington Showcase! Photo courtesy of Jennie Brannigan.

Team Lee Lee at Wellington Showcase! Photo courtesy of Jennie Brannigan.

Ahhhh today I’m off to join Jenni at the Wellington Showcase!! Unfortunately I will miss the dressage, but I’m getting there in time for the exciting stuff, don’t worry. I’ve packed several different kinds of sunscreen, because I’m ghostly pale from riding indoors with ten thousand layers on for the past few months, but I’m sure I’ll still be turning red. It’s just inevitable! Super excited to spend a few days in the sunshine state, I haven’t been for years. Get ready Jenni, here I come!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Wellington Eventing Showcase: [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

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

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

Full Gallop Farm February H.T. [Website]

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

News From Around the Globe:

How does one go about becoming a Technical Delegate? If you’ve ever been interested in getting more involved, officially (pun intended), in the sport of Eventing, here’s your chance. TD Tim Murray explains the process of getting licensed in this USEA series featuring officials of Eventing. Being a TD for a competition is a big deal, with a lot of duties and responsibilities, so learning everything for the role takes some time, but it’s incredibly rewarding. [Get Licensed: Become a TD]

The University of Florida is bringing their game hard with their newly minted Eventing Team. Based in Ocala, of course, the team is made up of twelve members and coached by four-star rider Ashley Johnson. They only just officially formed in the fall of 2016, but they’re looking ahead to great things in the future. Some of the riders have been converted from hunter/jumpers to the dark side (yay!) and they’re already winning events. [UF’s New Eventing Team]

Oh, did you want to see a slideshow of Boyd Martin and WFP hanging out at Stable View this past week? We got you covered. [Time of Your Life]

Hot on Horse Nation: Fantasy Farm Thursday: A $3 Million Horse Farm with a Side of Guac

I feel like my tack room is a constant battle to keep organized, and I don’t think I’m alone. After years of horses, you just accumulate a lot of….stuff…miscellaneous stuff. I have extra boots and blankets that aren’t the right size for my current horses, bottles of potions and hoof polishes with 1/3 left, all that kind of stuff. I got one of these Burlingham Sports Storage Bins at work recently, and holy cow I need like three more. All the stuff that was previously on shelves or stacked in corners can be safely tucked away in these neat bins, and ta-da! My tack room is a cluttered mess no more. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Relive Wellington 2016 with Doug Payne and Vandiver: