Lindsey Kahn
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Lindsey Kahn

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About Lindsey Kahn

Horseback riding instructor. Animal-lover. Car-singer. Kitsch-collector. Dubious adult. Artist. Loves apple juice and the color red. View my art and blog at www.kahnartistry.com. Check out my handmade custom rope halters at www.DoOrDoKnot.com

Eventing Background

USEA Rider Profile Click to view profile
Area 4
Farm Name Woodloch Stable

Latest Articles Written

A Horse of a Different Color: Spartagon

"A Horse of a Different Color" features horses and ponies that have been successful in the sport of eventing while representing a unique breed. Do you have a horse that you think would be a great feature subject? If so, email [email protected]

Dan Kreitl and Spartagon. Photo by Lee Ann Zobbe.

Dan Kreitl and Spartagon. Photo by Lee Ann Zobbe.

While Dan Kreitl’s gray stallion isn’t necessarily a horse of a different color, he definitely has something you don’t see in many event horses: a thick, curly coat of hair. The 11-year-old horse known as Spartagon is a Curly Sport Horse, registered with the International Curly Horse Organization (ICHO).

Descended from curly-haired mustangs discovered in the western United States at the turn of the 20th century, Curly Horses are known for their hypoallergenic hair that can be wavy or tightly curled. These horses tend to be hardy with reliable, quiet temperaments.

Dan worked for Sandy Hendrickson of Greycoat Farm, an Indianapolis breeding farm specializing in Curlies, when he was in middle school and high school. He learned to ride dressage on Sandy’s Curly Horses and fell in love with them. At 6’4″, Dan knew that he would need a taller horse, so he and Sandy crossed her Curly stallion Spartacus with a Holsteiner mare, and the result was a tall, sporty, curly-haired colt they named Spartagon, or “Sparty” for short.

“Sparty’s kind of a fluke at 17 hands,” Dan said. “Most Curlies are under 16 hands.”

Dan and Sparty learned to jump and event together, and they moved up the levels from their first Beginner Novice event in 2009 to completing their first Intermediate at River Glen in November 2014.

“It was a goal I’ve been working toward for a while, and I was thrilled how Sparty ate-up the cross country course,” Dan said. “I am really starting to see how much heart Sparty has as we progress up the levels. It was also special because no Curly Horse has ever competed at that level of eventing before.”

Dan and Spartagon fly high with room to spare. Photo by Lee Ann Zobbe.

Dan and Spartagon fly high with room to spare. Photo by Lee Ann Zobbe.

Dan said that the stallion’s mind, intelligence, and willingness to please are just some of the reasons why he has made such a great eventer. “For a stallion, he is very well-behaved,” Dan said. “95% of the time you can’t tell he’s a stallion.”

When the two of them attend shows together, Dan says that Sparty’s curly coat as well as his “unique, arrogant presence” make him stand out in the crowd.

“There aren’t many Curly Horses, and very few who event,” Dan explained. “Most people can’t figure out what kind of horse he is, as many haven’t ever heard of a Curly Horse.”

Along with their coats and temperaments, Curly Horses are also known for their athleticism and ground-covering stride. Some of Sparty’s siblings are USDF champions, and Sparty’s respectable dressage and cross-country scores reflect the big, sweeping movements of his sport horse heritage.

Dan notes that managing Sparty’s speed around jumping courses is crucial, and show jumping has been their most challenging phase since day one because Sparty doesn’t mind rubbing rails. Despite this, Dan and Sparty have never had a cross-country jumping fault in their career together; Dan credits his horse’s “energetic and ambitious” personality to his success across the country.

“Another benefit to riding a Curly horse is that I don’t braid him for dressage,” Dan added. “The registry prefers the horses be competed unbraided so everyone can tell they are a Curly Horse. I like this simply because I hate to braid, so it is my excuse not to!”

Dan and Spartagon compete at the Sporting Days Farm Horse Trials in 2013. Photo courtesy of Dan Kreitl.

Dan and Spartagon compete at the Sporting Days Farm Horse Trials in 2013. Photo by Lee Ann Zobbe.

As for their future goals, Dan plans to continue Sparty’s eventing career at the Intermediate level in 2015 and hopes to move up to Advanced down the line. Considering the huge strides (literally) the pair have taken over the years, it seems there is no limit to what this team can do together!

“One thing I  love about training Sparty is the partnership and bond we’ve formed over the years,” said Dan.  “We have a lot of mutual trust.”

Check out this interview with Dan at the 2011 Hagyard Midsouth Classic Three-Day Event, where viewers can meet Sparty up close! Best of luck to Dan and his stunning stallion in 2015 and beyond!

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

Eventers, brace yourselves. George Morris is teaching a clinic at Windurra USA today and tomorrow, which is open to auditors! The cost of auditing both days of the clinic: $60. The opportunity to watch and learn from the master: priceless.

The ride times for today are as follows:

Boyd Martin
Molly Rosin
Caitlin Silliman
Jenny Caras
Jess Brumfield
Kate Hicks
Boyd Martin
Matt Brown
Phillip Dutton
Lauren Balcomb
Waylon Roberts
Mark Beecher
Erin Sylvester
Amy Ruth
Erika Nessler
Bradly Champagne
Mike Pendleton
Emily Smith
Jess Brumfield

Events Opening Today: Cosequin Stuart H T (NY, A-1), Huntington Farm H.T. (VT, A-1), Riga Meadow H.T. (CT, A-1), The Maryland H.T. at Loch Moy Farm I (MD, A-2), Roebke’s Run H.T. (MN, A-4), 39th Annual Whidbey Island H.T. (WA, A-7), Event at Rebecca Farm (MT, A-7), Champagne Run at the Park H.T. (KY, A-8), Powder Basin H.T. (WY, A-9), Coconino Summer I H.T. (AZ, A-10)

Events Closing Today: Valinor Farm Horse Trials (MA, A-1), Seneca Valley Pony Club Spring H.T. (MD, A-2), Full Gallop Farm June Horse Trials (SC, A-3), Queeny Park H.T. (MO, A-4), Silverwood Farm Spring H.T. (WI, A-4), Round Top H.T. (CO, A-9)

News and Notes: 

YRAP WoW Camp: The Area II Young Rider Advancement Program WoW Camp will be held June 29-July 2. WoW Camp is open to all Program Riders including the adults for the YRAP entry fee. Entries mailed by May 31 are just $525 for 4 days of lessons at the Horse Park of New Jersey. Instructors include Lynn Symansky, Sinead Halpin, Tik Maynard, Kristin Schmolze. and Skyeler Voss. None program riders are also welcome at the “non-member” rate. Contact Chris Donovan at [email protected] for an application.

I see London, I see France… With show season comes the dreaded Wearing of the White Breeches, not to mention the even more dreaded VPL (visible panty-lines). Fortunately, there are some lightweight, antimicrobial and seamless options available for equestrian athletes everywhere! EN’s Colleen Peachey reviewed the Knixwear FitKnix Air Boyshorts last month. This month, HN’s Morgane Schmidt Gabriel reviews the Knixwear High Rise Brief. Read all about it here: [HN: Knixwear Product Review]

Tragedy at Devon: On May 23, junior hunter rider Emma Kurtz’s mount Cambridge suffered a fatal accident while competing at the Devon Horse Show. Cambridge, owned by Scott Stewart, died when he fell on course and got tangled in the rails of a vertical jump. We send our deepest condolences to Scott, Emma, and all who knew and loved Cambridge. [CotH: Cambridge dies at Devon Horse Show]

High school equestrians can earn varsity letters: I wish I’d known about this program when I was in high school! The USEF offers a varsity lettering program for equestrian athletes who apply and complete certain requirements. Read about two high school athletes from New Jersey who followed their dreams and helped overcome the stereotype that “horseback riding isn’t a sport”: [NJ.com: No horsein’ around, high school equestrians can earn varsity letters]

Video of the Day: Watch highlights from George Morris’ clinic at Windurra in August 2013, featuring some familiar human and equine faces:

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

"Vroom," © 2010. Artwork by Lindsey Kahn

We’re over halfway through May, which means that flowers are blooming, foals are frolicking, clinic and show seasons are underway, and (in my case) I’m finding more and more artistic inspiration in the animals I encounter and the scenery I see everyday. In addition to teaching riding lessons, managing a business, and writing for the glorious website that is EN, I also fill my time with visual art. I’m excited and honored to have been invited to showcase my portfolio at several amazing art shows in Minnesota this year, which has made my spring suddenly much busier (and more awesome).

To see progress pics and updates on my art, please check out my Facebook page. For a ridiculous trip down memory lane, check out EN’s (in)Famous Spooking Styles. If you have some fun ideas for a new (in)Famous illustrated article, shoot me an email at [email protected]!

Events Opening Today: Kelly’s Ford Horse Trials (VA, A-2), Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (GA, A-3), Camelot Equestrian Horse Park Horse Trials (CA, A-6), South Farm H.T. (OH, A-8), Coconino Classic 3-Day Event (AZ, A-10)

Events Closing Today: GMHA June HorseTrials (VT, A-1), Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club Spring Horse Trials  (NY, A-1), Plantation Field H.T. (PA, A-2), The Middleburg H.T. (VA, A-2), River Glen June H.T. (TN, A-3), Roebke’s Run CCI & CIC2/1* & H.T. (MN, A-4), Texas Rose Horse Park Summer H.T. (TX, A-5), Copper Meadows H.T. (CA, A-6), Arrowhead H.T. (MT, A-7), Derbyshire Farms H.T. (MI, A-8)

News and Notes: 

Want to join the most eclectic team of eventing journalists around? Then you’ll want to enter our Fifth Annual EN Blogger Contest for your shot! We’re looking for our next victim talented writer to join our team, and entries are open until tonight at 8 p.m. EST. [EN Blogger Contest]

Thinking about entering the Great Meadow International CIC3*? Clarifications have been posted regarding the entry process on the Omnibus listing, and event organizer Darrin Mollett has released the following statement: “The CIC3* is open to all qualified competitors and is not an invitational.  Entries will be accepted until the maximum of 25 entries are received in the order in which they are received by postmark.  Riders are limited to two horses.  In the case of excessive entries, the entries from the top 10 athletes on the USEA Overall Leaderboard as of June 1, 2015 will receive priority over all other entries, regardless of entry postmark date.  Non-US based athletes will be chosen based on FEI horse/rider ranking as of June 1, 2015 rather than US national ranking ( i.e., non-US based compared to US based using the FEI horse/rider ranking). If you have any questions about your qualifications, please contact Steve Symansky at 540-687-6333 or [email protected].

MK’S Concord Dawn leads PFEE’s Thoroughbred Competitive Series: The Plantatian Field Equestrian Events’ Thoroughbred Competitive Series has garnered a great deal of interest as it highlights and recognizes eventing Thoroughbreds. Molly Kinnamon’s MK’s Concord Dawn (by Smart Guy out of Delta Street) is currently leading the series after winning two Novice divisions at Plantatian Field horse trials. There are currently 61 horses competing in the series, with 23 earning points toward the award. The winner of the Thoroughbred Competitive Series wins a $5,000 cash award, which is generously sponsored by Kathleen Crompton. [PFEE Press Release]

Rekindle your passion for equestrian life: The Equestrian Trailblazers Summit is a video series gathering 24 successful and innovative leaders in the equine industry, beginning on June 1st and running for 11 days! “It will be a celebration of the amazing equestrian innovations taking place around the world,” says creator June Burgess. Join experts such as Monty Roberts, Lisa Diersen (Equus Film Festival), Beth Rasin (COTH) and many more as they share the secrets behind their motivation and success. The website is open for registration for this free video summit. [Equestrian Trailblazers Summit Press Release]

“I figured if I was gonna die, I was gonna die with my horses.” In 2013, Vietnam veteran Rodger Howell was told he was dying from exposure to Agent Orange. He decided that the best way to spend his remaining time on Earth was to travel the country with his horses Sunny and Dancer and his Border collie Banjo, traveling and living out of a horse-drawn wagon. While the veteran and former police chief’s journey was originally designed to help him get away from people, Howell has found many friendly and welcoming people along the way. Read all about Howell’s ongoing cross-country journey here: [Veteran travels country by horse-drawn wagon]

Video of the Day: After getting teary-eyed while watching American Pharoah kick butt in the Preakness Stakes, I just had to go back and rewatch Secretariat’s phenomenal victory at the 1973 Belmont Stakes. I cry every time. There’s just something about watching Big Red surge ahead of the field and keep on building momentum that absolutely shatters me.

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

Be at peace. Photo courtesy of Erika Dieltz. Be at peace. Photo courtesy of Erika Dieltz.

After what has been the most stressful busiest spring in my recent memory, I was relieved to have a weekend without many obligations. I had the awesome opportunity to ride in a clinic with Yves Sauvignon on Saturday morning, and my mare and I enjoyed the brisk weather and bright sunshine as we practiced jumping exercises at the gorgeous Carriage House Farm. After that, I spent the rest of the weekend in a much-needed state of relaxation. I watched movies, took the dog for leisurely walks, worked on my art, spent time with family, and allowed myself to be at peace.

It felt foreign at first, and I repeatedly had to stop myself from checking my planner and email. That can wait, I told myself. Just as Yves helped my mare and I practice patience and steadiness on the approach to jumps as well as in between them, I was able to change gears and settle down from the crazy momentum that had taken over my life recently. I love it when riding lessons provide perfect parallels to “real life!”

Events Opening Today: Groton House Farm H.T. (MA, A-1), Genesee Valley Hunt H.T. (NY, A-1), Horse Park of New Jersey H.T. I (NJ, A-2), Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (GA, A-3), Inavale Farm HT  (OR, A-7), Encore H.T. (MI, A-8), Abbe Ranch H.T. (CO, A-9)

Events Closing Today: Waredaca H.T. (MD, A-2), Poplar Place Farm H.T. (GA, A-3), Carriage House Farm Combined Test (MN, A-4), IEA Horse Trials, Classic Training & Novice 3-Day Event (IN, A-8), The Colorado Horse Park Horse Trials (CO, A-9)

News and Notes:

What happens when you hitch two stallions up with a mare in heat? With the right training, it should still be a pleasant drive. Carriage driver and horse trainer Barry Hook takes viewers on a drive down an idyllic English road with his team consisting of a mare in season and two “very interested” young stallions. The purpose of this is to teach the stallions that even when distracted by a pretty mare, they must always be well-behaved in harness… in a rubber bit, no less! [Horse Collaborative: On the road with two stallions and a mare in heat. What could go wrong?]

Eventing groom killed, two riders injured in car crash: In terrible news from Dorchester, England, 25-year-old Louiza Covey was killed in a head-on collision on Friday night. Covey, who was a groom from nearby Bridport, was in the car with event riders Daniel Sibley and Aaron Millar, who both sustained injuries but are expected to make full recoveries. A 45-year-old woman who was driving the other vehicle involved in the accident also passed away. EN’s heartfelt condolences go out to Louiza’s loved ones and everyone involved in the crash. [Horse & Hound: Groom killed in car crash; event riders suffer serious injuries]

Introducing William Fox-Pitt’s legendary horses: From Chilli Morning to Chaka, Horse & Hound has compiled photos and stories of 15 of William Fox-Pitt’s best horses through the ages. Take a walk down memory lane: [Horse & Hound: Badminton winner William Fox-Pitt: 15 of his top horses]

“There is surely no excuse for inadequate care”: In the forward of a new book Horse Welfare: Use not Abuse by Christopher Hall, Princess Anne names inhumane transportation of slaughter-bound horses, doping practices, and overbreeding as some of the most terrible aspects of horse welfare today. [Daily Mail: Princess Anne attacks ‘inhumane’ suffering of horses]

Video of the Day: In case you missed it, Niklas Bschorer made the save of the day at Badminton over the weekend. When Tom Tom Go 3 stumbled out of the lake complex, it looked like Niklas was about to bite the dust. But thanks to his quick thinking and a hell of a lot of athleticism, Niklas stayed in the saddle to the cheers of support from onlookers. Check it out:

A Horse of a Different Color: No Doubt

"A Horse of a Different Color" features horses and ponies that have been successful in the sport of eventing while representing a unique breed. Do you have a horse that you think would be a great feature subject? If so, email [email protected]

Emma and Salty celebrate their Novice-A win at the Riga Meadows Combined Test. Photo by Eliza Goldberg. Emma and Salty celebrate their Novice-A win at the Riga Meadows Combined Test. Photo by Eliza Goldberg.

When Emma Lomangino was 13, she bought her Connemara/Appaloosa cross No Doubt as a green-broke 4-year-old. She originally intended “Salty” to be a resale project, but fell in love with the pony’s competitive nature and quirky sense of humor. The pair entered their first Beginner Novice together in 2009, and so began their tumultuous but rewarding journey together.

There is no doubt that Emma and her little mare have come a long way in just their seven years together, lending credence to Salty’s show name. Standing at 13.3 hands high with “admittedly awkward” conformation and an unconventional jumping style, Salty is Emma’s “white wonder” and the reason why she goes through a ridiculous amount of purple whitening shampoo during show seasons.

The mare’s white coat is sparsely flecked with chestnut on her face and neck, and Emma says that when her spots were lighter as a youngster, Salty “basically looked dirty all of the time.”

Baby Salty! Photo courtesy of Emma Lomangino.

Baby Salty! Photo courtesy of Emma Lomangino.

She is like a mixed assembly of horse and tiny pony,” Emma explained. Salty’s short legs, back, and neck are offset by her horse-sized head and body structure. Finding tack to fit her mishmash of body parts has been an “adventure.” Emma says that Salty’s over-the-shoulder jumping style can be as unconventional as her appearance, though her pony’s springs definitely come out over larger jumps and on cross-country!

In true redheaded pony mare fashion, Salty can have quite the cheeky attitude as well, particularly in dressage.

“She tends to think that right after the free walk comes extended canter,” Emma explained. “Dressage was difficult at the beginning due to my lack of experience and her conformation.”

Photo courtesy of Emma Lomangino.

Photo courtesy of Emma Lomangino.

They also faced some challenges on cross-country. “I could barely get her out of the start box, and the first five fences were hard work. We had a record littered with cross-country stops after we moved up to Novice.”

After taking a step back to reevaluate things, Emma realized that their struggles were due to gaps in both of their educations, “mainly caused by a 13-year-old training a green pony in an unfamiliar discipline.” Emma decided that gaining a stronger foundation in dressage should be her top priority, so she went back to the basics of establishing correct impulsion, engagement, and suppleness with the help of local trainers Debra Wiedmaier, Nick Meyers, and Tom and Maddie Duggan.

Emma’s hard work paid off, and before long she discovered “a whole new set of gears” with Salty. Adding a dressage education to Salty’s bold and balanced jumping abilities created a trifecta of fun for the two eventers.

She was able to access power I never realized was there!” Emma explained. “The jumps weren’t backing her off in the least and it felt incredibly easy for her.” After successfully competing at Novice with Salty, Emma decided to try their luck in Training level in 2014.

Photo courtesy of Emma Lomangino.

Photo courtesy of Emma Lomangino.

The pair jumped double clear in both phases at Larkin Hill last year, and made it double-clear on cross-country at Riga Meadow after having just one rail down in stadium. Now that they have a solid start at Training level, Emma noted that stadium had become their biggest challenge.

“While she is pretty adjustable and powerful, her legs are so short that the striding is difficult,” Emma said. “At Novice, I can get away with doing a more collected two in a standard one stride line, but that is difficult at Training when the jumps are bigger and require more pace and energy… This is something I continue to work on, as I owe it to her to be at my best if I’m asking her to perform at her best.

Most recently, Emma and Salty won their Novice-A division at the Riga Meadows Combined Test, finishing on Salty’s personal best dressage score of 36.7. What a way to kick off their competition season!

Salty shows off one of her many talents and hobbies. Photo courtesy of Emma Lomangino.

Emma and Salty take a dip. Photo courtesy of Emma Lomangino.

When the two of them are not tackling horse trials, Emma and Salty enjoy hunter pacing, swimming, and foxhunting. Salty’s competitive personality can take the back burner when it comes to giving pony rides to children, further proving that Emma’s pony has a heart of gold. It doesn’t hurt that “she knows that toddlers and strollers generally carry snacks!”

Salty is truly one of a kind, my winning lotto ticket,” Emma said. “Because of my unique pony, I have learned so much about bringing the best out of a nontraditional horse, about creative training, and believing in the bond between horse and rider.

“Having success with a unique horse is like discovering a hidden treasure! Not everyone can afford a fancy warmblood cross, and an off the track Thoroughbred isn’t always the best fit for young riders or adult amateurs. That’s why it’s important that the non-traditional event horses are celebrated for the essential place they occupy in the sport!

Every morning, Emma's corgi Snips leads Salty out to her paddock. Photo courtesy of Emma Lomangino.

Every morning, Emma’s corgi Snips leads Salty out to her paddock. Photo courtesy of Emma Lomangino.

Check out this video of Emma and Salty competing at Training level at Riga Meadows:

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

A table with the MIM NewEra System. Photo by Monika Schaaf. A table with the MIM NewEra System. Photo by Monika Schaaf.

With so many safety considerations and developments in the works for the sport of eventing, the German National Federation’s eventing task force has further explored the use of deformable fences in course design. One of the developments is the MIMSafe NewEra System, which can be used to create collapsible and easily-reassembled tables and corners.

Another fascinating solution is the Warendorf Safety Model, which is a prototype that is currently in testing. This system involves a series of rollers that when activated cause the jump to move forward slightly and then drop down. It is also adjustable to allow for pressure points of various heights (to be used in pony competitions, for instance). Both the MIMSafe NewEra System and Warendorf Safety Model are not yet certified by the FEI and require further testing, but these are important steps in the development of safer obstacles for this sport.

Thank you to Global Equestrian News for their coverage of this demonstration. For more information, including photos of the new safety systems in action, click here.

Events Opening Today: Great Vista Horse Trials (NY, A-1), Great Meadow International Horse Trials (VA, A-2), Surefire H.T. (VA, A-2), Lost Hounds H.T. (PA, A-2), Bucks County Horse Park H.T. (PA, A-2), Fox River Valley Pony Club Horse Trials (IL, A-4), Sol Events at Corona del Sol (TX, A-5), Shepherd Ranch SYVPC H.T. I (CA, A-6), Aspen Farms H.T. (WA, A-7), Midsouth Pony Club H.T. (KY, A-8), Lost Hounds H.T. (PA, A-8), Golden Spike H.T. (UT, A-9)

Events Closing Today: Mystic Valley Hunt Club H.T. (CT, A-1), Virginia Horse CIC2*, CCI1* & Horse Trials (VA, A-2), Flora Lea Spring H.T. (NJ, A-2), Paradise Farm HT (SC, A-3), Feather Creek Farm H.T. (OK, A-5), The Spring Event at Woodside (CA, A-6), May-Daze at the Park H.T. (KY, A-8), Coconino Spring H.T. and Dressage Show (AZ, A-10)

News and Notes: 

We need your help picking the lucky winner of our #TredstepSoloMakeover winner. We received so many wonderful entries that it was hard enough to select our six finalists! Now it’s up to you to choose the winner. Voting closes on Tuesday, May 4 at 5 p.m. EST.[#TredstepSoloMakeover Voting]

Check out the War Horse Event Series at the Carolina Horse Park: Sponsored by Southern Pines Equine Associates and Adequan, the War Horse Event Series has been launched as an opportunity for horses and riders to school and compete in an educational and positive environment… oh, and did we mention that participants have a chance to win $5,000 in prize money at the year-end championship?For more information on this series, visit [War Horse Event Series]

Interview with Giuseppe della Chiesa: Badminton’s course designer and the Chairman of the FEI Eventing Committee took some time for an interview with the Italian Eventing Association to discuss the FEI Sports Forum, proposed changes to eventing, and his future course design plans. The full interview can be found here: [Interview with Giuseppe Della Chiesa]

Mighty Nice to rest without surgery: Phillip Dutton Eventing made the following happy announcement on Happy: “His stifle was X-rayed again at Penn Vet New Bolton Center prior to his scheduled surgery today, and the vets decided that because the bone chip is outside the joint, it will heal just fine without surgery. So Happy came right back home to the farm and has been upgraded to a three week period of rest. The prognosis remains extremely good. We are so grateful to everyone for sending your well wishes and good thoughts to Happy. They definitely worked.” [Phillip Dutton Eventing’s FB page]

Would this horse make a good upper level eventer? Take a look at this photo that was posted on COTH, and see if your eye for conformation can judge whether this horse is a “diamond in the rough” or just lookin’ rough. [Can you tell an upper level event prospect?]

Video of the Day: Watch the MIMSafe NewEra System in action at the Sydney International HSBC World Cup Round 2010 CIC3*W:

A Horse of a Different Color: Cajun

"A Horse of a Different Color" features horses and ponies that have been successful in the sport of eventing while representing a unique breed. Do you have a horse that you think would be a great feature subject? If so, email [email protected]

Becca and Cajun show off their springs. Photo courtesy of Becca Willner. Becca and Cajun show off their springs. Photo courtesy of Becca Willner.

When Becca Willner competed her Prelim horse at the 2012 AECs, she jokingly commented “how low-stress and fun a pony would be,” she had no idea that her next “big” prospect would come in a 13.3-hand package. Cajun, a green Caspian/Quarter Horse cross, was owned by DiMar Caspians of Hawthorne, Florida and offered to Becca as a training project.

“I got him as a 5-year-old, basically out of a pasture where he lived with a small herd of young Caspians,” Becca said. “He had been started under saddle off and on, but never in a program. He literally couldn’t trot straight down the long side of an arena. My mom was too busy laughing to ask, ‘What have you done?’ It was a small disaster.”

Despite its diminutive size, the rare Caspian is considered a horse breed. Characteristically very hardy, Caspians have solid feet and an elegant face. Cajun’s Caspian heritage is apparent in his smaller size, lovely trot, and versatility. Becca said that Cajun took to jumping right away, and always has a perky expression to go along with his surprisingly ground-covering stride.

“By fence three, he feels like he could jump anything in front of him,” Becca said. “I call him my pint-sized rock star.”

Photo courtesy of Becca Willner.

Photo courtesy of Becca Willner.

Even as a youngster, Cajun’s enthusiasm for his job impressed Becca. She wasn’t sure if he had ever been off his home property before coming to her, but “in all his adventures, he has never been worried or bothered.” Becca said that the more involved he got in his training, the better he behaved.

“Show jumping is probably my favorite phase on him because he is so tidy,” she said. “I have had to learn how to sit up and get out of his way while staying light in the seat. It has bettered my riding for sure!”

Becca has evented with Cajun up to the Novice level, and he Pony Clubbed in 2014 with one of her students. The SouthWind Dressage and Eventing Association named them champions in the Beginner Novice Combined Test division and reserve champions in the Beginner Novice Eventing division for 2014. The pair also recently earned a 31.0 in a Novice schooling show.

“We jump a lot on sheer faith and desire! It’s the only way when you are sometimes eye level with the fences!” Becca said.

Becca and Cajun make short work of the stadium jumps. Photo courtesy of Becca Willner.

Becca and Cajun make short work of the stadium jumps. Photo courtesy of Becca Willner.

Becca’s short-term goals with Cajun “revolve around maximizing his scores on the flat and exposing him to different venues.” She believes this small but mighty eventer could tackle Training level with a shorter rider, but she considers a Training combined test as a realistic long-term goal for the two of them. In the meantime, she plans to keep competing Cajun at the Novice level as long as he continues to enjoy it.

“After that, who knows?” she said. “My nieces will have a great time getting exposed to horses through him because he’s a less intimidating size. Hopefully a future student will get to learn from him as well.”

When it comes to personality, Cajun is a total ham.

“He knows he is cute. He knows he is talented. One minute he is all sass, and the next he is blowing in your ear and trying to crawl in your lap.”

Becca sent us the following picture to give photographic evidence of her pony’s mischievous ways:

Yes, that is a pony on the porch. Photo by Becca Willner.

Yes, that is a pony on the porch. Photo by Becca Willner.

“The barn and pasture are nowhere near the house, yet he knew exactly where to find us,” Becca laughed. “Talk about an 8am wake up call! You want to call him a puppy dog, but it’s a totally new level of adorable.

“When he came, I had all intentions of him being a quick sale,” Becca explained. “One thing led to another, and he has turned out to be one of the most fun challenges I have ever faced… He is just a refreshing breath from all the tension and intensity of the upper-level horses. At the end of the day, I get the same thrill jumping him over the Novice tables as I did galloping over the Intermediate! Cajun is a great dose of perspective and why we love our sport from start to finish.”

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

Jessie Phoenix, WFP, and Zara Phillips comparing baby photos. Photo courtesy of Karen O'Connor. Jessie Phoenix, WFP, and Zara Phillips comparing baby photos. Photo courtesy of Karen O'Connor.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that some of our favorite upper-level riders, competitors, trainers, clinicians, and all-around equestrian professionals also have lives outside of horses. Like family lives, for instance! Karen O’Connor sent us this totally adorbs photo of top riders Jessica Phoenix, William Fox-Pitt, and Zara Phillips showing off pics of their children at Rolex. I bet it won’t be long until we’ll be seeing pics of these cute little younguns in the saddle!

Events Opening Today: Valinor Farm Horse Trials (MA, A-1), Larkin Hill H.T.(NY, A-1), Seneca Valley Pony Club Spring H.T. (MD, A-2), Full Gallop Farm June Horse Trials (SC, A-3), Queeny Park H.T. (MO, A-4), Silverwood Farm Spring H.T. (WI, A-4), Round Top H.T. (CO, A-9)

Events Closing Today: Hitching Post Farm Horse Trials (VT, A-1), Kent School Spring H.T. (CT, A-1), Fair Hill International H.T. (MD, A-2), CHC International at Chattahoochee Hills (GA, A-3), Otter Creek Spring H.T. (WI, A-4), Sol Events at Corona Del Sol (TC, A-5), The Event at Woodland Stallion Station (CA, A-6), Equestrians Institute H.T. (WA, A-7), CCC Spring Gulch H.T. (CO, A-9)

News and Notes: 

The future of eventing was put on the stand yesterday: Remember when we reported on the FEI’s list of proposed changes to eventing? Of course you do. The FEI Sports Forum delegates met yesterday to discuss the future of eventing as a sport and any adaptations deemed necessary to remain an Olympic discipline. [Horsetalk: Eventing must be prepared to adapt, Sports Forum delegates told]

Best of the Blogs: Lucy at E-Venting shares her thoughts on the internet drama surrounding the decision to euthanize Dambala following cross-country at Rolex: “Internet forums and Facebook groups can be forces for good, but I for one this weekend felt desperately sad that in a time of grief a rider was put into a kangaroo court where she was judged by the anonymous masses who knew none of the background.” Read this and more at: [E-Venting: A Modern Kangaroo Court?]

In more heartwarming news: An three-day old foal with rotten luck was given a better start in life. After falling in a ditch, the colt now named Muddy Waters was rejected by his mother upon his rescue 12 hours later. It was thought that little Muddy Waters would have to be hand-reared, but the resourceful rescue called HorseWorld was able to track down a suitable surrogate mother. You must look at the photos of this adorable little guy: [Horse & Country: Foal rescued from a ditch and given new mum]

So you’re competing at an event alone: What could potentially become a hectic and overwhelming experience could also be a chance for you to shine. Horse & Hound offers a comprehensive list of tips for safely and effectively preparing and competing in a show by yourself. This list is also helpful for those who are traveling in a crew, too! [Horse & Hound: Competing with your horse alone? Take a look at our top tips for success]

Video of the Day: Colleen Rutledge’s weekend in Lexington was nothing short of awesome. She placed in the top 15 with both of her horses, was the top placed American after dressage, and was the highest-placed American woman after stadium. She and Shiraz were the trailblazers on cross country, posting one of six double-clear rounds.

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

This is our Superbowl. Photo by Lindsey Kahn. This is our Superbowl. Photo by Lindsey Kahn.

Rolex: the most wonderful time of the year. Friends, families, and fans flock to the Kentucky Horse Park to witness elite riders and horses from across the globe tackle one of the most thrilling and challenging events in the world. While I envy my friends who get to travel to the gorgeous Bluegrass State to watch the excitement in person, I’m looking forward to watching the live stream and cheering on the riders as only a rabid fan can do.

Go Rolex. Go Eventing.

Events Opening Today: GMHA June HorseTrials (VT, A-1), Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club Spring Horse Trials  (NY, A-1), Plantation Field H.T. (PA, A-2), The Middleburg H.T. (VA, A-2), River Glen June H.T. (TN, A-3), Roebke’s Run H.T. (MN, A-4), Texas Rose Horse Park Summer H.T. (TX, A-5), Copper Meadows H.T. (CA, A-6), Arrowhead H.T. (MT, A-7), Derbyshire Farms H.T. (MI, A-8)

Events Closing Today: King Oak Farm Spring H.T. (MA, A-1), Jersey Fresh International Three-day Event (NJ, A-2), Plantation Field H.T. (PA, A-2), WindRidge Farm Horse Trials (NC, A-2), Mill Creek Pony Club H.T. at Longview (MO, A-4), Galway Downs Spring H.T. (CA, A-6), Winona Horse Trials (OH, A-8)

News and Notes: 

Do you have a friend attending Rolex this year who deserves a Tredstep Ireland Solo Collection Makeover? If so, you’ll want to check out our first ever Instagram contest! [#TredstepSoloMakeover Contest]

Congratulations to Bobbie Wiersema, the winner of our giveaway of Dubarry’s fabulous Longford boot in its new color, black/brown! [Dubarry Longford Giveaway]

Many of your fellow Eventers participated in a study from KER this spring with their new heart rate monitor system. Now, they are offering an educational talk about the findings and it’s timed perfectly for Rolex! They tracked the fitness of dozens of Eventing horses and racehorses, and the president of KER invites you to learn all about it today at 5pm. The seminar is open to the public and walk-ins are welcome! Door prizes will include an Ecogold Secure XC saddle pad, heart rate monitors, and lessons with Bruce Davidson, Buck Davidson, and Dom Schramm!  [KER Equine Fitness Seminar]

Fair Hill Volunteers Weigh In: Without our volunteers, who put in countless hours planning, jump judging, scribing, running and organizing, this sport couldn’t exist as it does today. Check out Fair Hill International’s blog to learn more about the amazing people (and dogs!) who make the event run smoothly: [How Many Volunteers Does it Take to Run a Horse Trials?]

Help Hayley Smith’s Dog Walk Again: Hayley Smith, who is an active Area II rider and the barn manager for Charlie Plumb, is reaching out for donations to help offset the veterinary bills for her dog. Eli, a 3-year-old terrier mix, was suddenly paralyzed following an accident and underwent emergency surgery; he is now in recovery and is relearning to walk. Costs for Eli’s surgery, care, and rehabilitation continue to grow, and any contribution would be greatly appreciated by Hayley and her family. [GoFundMe: Help Eli Walk]

Choosing the right studs for your horse: Horseshoe studs, that is! Horse & Hound suggests that when in doubt, understudding is safer than overstudding your horse, and that choosing the correct stud depends largely on the conditions in which you will be riding. [When Should You Use Studs on Your Horse?]

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

Packing up after Equine Affaire: life is too short for two trips! Photo by Bill Ramberg. Packing up after Equine Affaire: life is too short for two trips! Photo by Bill Ramberg.

I just returned to Minnesota from Columbus, Ohio after a long but wonderful weekend at Equine Affaire. In addition to promoting my small business and the equine safety business that I manage full-time, I had the opportunity to get to know some truly inspiring horsepeople from all backgrounds. In addition to the countless shopping opportunities, I love expos like Equine Affaire because they house many educational symposiums and clinics with professionals from various disciplines, and performances like breed demos and truly badass spectacles like Gladius the Show.

Events Opening Today: Waredaca H.T. (MD, A-2), Poplar Place Farm H.T. (GA, A-3), Carriage House Farm Combined Test (MN, A-4), IEA Horse Trials, Classic Training & Novice 3-Day Event (IN, A-8), The Colorado Horse Park Horse Trials (CO, A-9)

Events Closing Today: Riga Meadow Combined Test (CT, A-1), MCTA H.T., Inc (MD, A-2), Heart of the Carolinas 3-Day Event & H.T. (SC, A-3), Poplar Place Farm May H.T. (GA, A-3), CIC2*/CCI1* Weatherford and Greenwood Farm, Inc. Horse Trials (TX, A-5), Penny Oaks H.T. (IN, A-8),

News and Notes: 

Rolex riders can “Go Low for the Dough” with SSG: The $25,000 SSG “Go Low For The Dough” Contingency Bonus Prize Award is returning to Rolex for the third year in a row. Rolex and Burghley competitors wearing SSG Digital riding gloves have the opportunity to win a number of generous cash prizes for outstanding performances. [PRO: $25,000 SSG “Go Low for the Dough” Promotion Returns to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day for a Third Time]

Albino filly fascinates scientists: A rare albino filly born with brown eyes (instead of the usual red or pink eyes found in albinism) has led researchers to question the genetic causes of her coloration (or lack thereof). Once her genome is sequenced, Via Lattea’s (“Milky Way” in Italian) DNA could unlock some secrets of equine coat color genetics. [Horse & Hound: Scientists baffled by albino horse with brown eyes]

Equine 2015 to study horse industry: Starting in May, a wide-scale horse health study will investigate important horse health issues in 28 US states. Random equine operations in these states will be contacted to participate in the study, which will gather data on trends on horse care, lameness and infectious diseases, parasite control, costs of horse health care, and the collection of equine sera for use in future studies. [Horsetalk: Major US equine health survey targets 28 states]

Best of the Blogs: This popular blog written by the talented and cheeky draft cross Jitterbug tackles the subject of classifying mud. Have you ever heard of “post rainstorm earth snot”? What about “Kentucky quicksand”? Keep those muck boots handy! [COTH: Jitterbug’s Mud Classification System]

Video of the Day: Watch Lisa Martonovich and Nicole Czyzewski, the talented performers of Gladius the Showwowing the crowd at the Equine Affaire’s Fantasia:

 

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

"Lemme at them Easter goodies!" Photo courtesy of Jessica Gressett.

It’s time to hike up our breeches and wipe the chocolate bunny remains off our faces – for many of us, the days after a holiday are for renewing our exercise vows and maybe posting without stirrups for a couple of extra minutes. For those who get their kicks from looking at embarrassing photos of four-legged friends on social media, be sure to check out 7 Reader-Submitted Easter Horses on Horse Nation.

No matter how you celebrate spring, we hope that there are extra carrots for your horses involved! Go Eventing.

Events Opening Today: Mystic Valley Hunt Club H.T. (CT, A-1), Virginia Horse CIC2*, CCI1* & Horse Trials (VA, A-2), Flora Lea Spring H.T. (NJ, A-2), Paradise Farm HT (SC, A-3), Roebke’s Run 3-Day Event (MN, A-4), Feather Creek Farm H.T. (OK, A-5), The Spring Event at Woodside (CA, A-6), May-Daze at the Park H.T. (KY, A-8), Coconino Spring H.T. and Dressage Show (AZ, A-10)

Events Closing Today: University of New Hampshire Spring H.T. (NH, A-1), Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Spring H.T. (VA, A-2), Fresno County Horse Park H.T. (CA, A-6)

News and Notes: 

Ride with Bonnie Mosser in Ontario: Twisted Pine Farms is hosting a three-day training clinic with Bonnie Mosser on May 1-3. Friday will be for private sessions with Bonnie, and small group sessions will be held on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, contact Dana Balfour at [email protected].

Fatal disease Glanders found at Texas border: The Texas Animal Health Commission has reported that the contagious and fatal disease Glanders (Burkholderia mallei) has been discovered in a stray Mexican donkey after being caught at the border by a USDA mounted quarantine enforcement inspector. Here’s what you need to know about the disease, including its history as a biological weapon during World Wars I and II: [Horse Nation]

Best of the Blogs: Theo is a 22-year-old blogger and professional car detailer whose blog is subtitled “#ProjectTrophyHusband.” He also happens to be married to an equestrian. Read his treatise on tips for dating an equestrian, and share it with your significant other. Or, if you are the significant other who is dating a rider, kudos to you for reading EN and brushing up on your eventing news! [TheLegendOfTheo: 7 Tips on Dating an Equestrian]

Illinois police seek horse-shooter: A resident of Woodford County, Illinois found her horse fatally shot in its pasture on April 1st, and authorities are on the lookout for information leading to the identification of the shooter. The bullet was located in the horse’s neck using a portable X-ray machine, and the horse’s owner reported that the shooter may have driven away from the scene in a gray car. [The Horse: Illinois Horse Shooter Sought]

Don’t reward your horse’s unwanted behaviors: As a Psychology major in college, I was fascinated and driven by theories of learning and behavior that I could apply to horse training. One of my personal pet peeves is watching a well-meaning horse handler reassure and dote upon their nervous horse in the midst of its meltdown; instead, I suggest waiting to pet the horse during a quiet moment, thus positively reinforcing its relaxed behavior rather than its anxious behaviors. Trainer Neil Davies examines the phenomenon of accidentally teaching our horses to repeat undesirable behavior, and how to correctly train the horse for desirable actions instead. [Horsetalk: Do you reward your horse for doing the wrong thing?]

A Horse of a Different Color: Nite of Fame

"A Horse of a Different Color" features horses and ponies that have been successful in the sport of eventing while representing a unique breed. Do you have a horse that you think would be a great feature subject? If so, email [email protected]

Nite of Fame and Brooke Schafer performing at the 2014 Secretariat Festival. Photo by Lindsay Hunter. Nite of Fame and Brooke Schafer performing at the 2014 Secretariat Festival. Photo by Lindsay Hunter.

After trying several other careers with varying success, Nite of Fame the 12-year-old pinto American Saddlebred gelding has found his calling as an event horse.

Fame’s owners Lindsay Hunter and Brooke Schafer say that he wasn’t quite sure what type of horse he wanted to be for a large part of his early life. Purchased as a yearling to be a breeding stallion, Lindsay quickly discovered that although he was a beautiful and flashy pinto, he only produced solid-colored foals. After that, Fame was broke to ride but never shown or competed. He was offered for sale, but without any show experience and a low-set neck (which isn’t ideal for the typical American Saddlebred), Fame struggled to find his place in the show horse world.

At the age of 9, he was gelded and Lindsay began using him as a riding horse at her farm in Nicholasville, Kentucky. In 2013, Brooke decided to take Fame on as a project and after several months it was quite obvious that he had no desire to travel with his head and knees held high like the traditional Saddlebred. It was time for a new game plan.

Nite of Fame winning the Bluegrass Futurity. Photo by Doug Shiflet.

Nite of Fame winning the Bluegrass Futurity. Photo by Doug Shiflet.

Brooke found out about a futurity featuring American Saddlebred hunt seat horses and decided to prepare Fame for the division. With only three weeks to prepare, she worked very hard to get him in shape to show. Lo and behold, Fame won the Bluegrass Futurity at the Kentucky Horse Park! It seemed as though he had found his calling.

After this milestone, Lindsay suggested to Brooke that Fame might enjoy some jumping. Brooke had been eventing for several years and decided to give it a try with Fame. The first exercise gave an immediate answer – on the lunge line, Fame jumped a small cross rail repeatedly with no guidance, clearing it with several feet to spare.

Nite of Fame jumping at the 2014 Secretariat Festival. Photo by Michelle Partridge.

Nite of Fame jumping at the 2014 Secretariat Festival. Photo by Michelle Partridge.

From that point, Lindsay and Brooke decided to pursue a jumping career for Fame. Brooke began to work with her coach Allie Knowles and friend Julie Norman for advice on the best way to start and guide Fame to success. Fame began jumping in June of 2014, and by September he was a presenter in Paris, Kentucky’s Secretariat Festival, where he jumped in front of a large crowd to represent the versatility of the American Saddlebred. By December, he was named the 2014 American Saddlebred National High Point Jumper.

Fame schools cross-country at the Kentucky Horse Park in 2014. Photo by Ashley Mueller.

Fame schools cross-country at the Kentucky Horse Park in 2014. Photo by Ashley Mueller.

Lindsay and Brooke are excited about his future in eventing. Fame is entered in the Spring Bay Horse Trials in April, with many more plans for the future. He already has a very large following in the American Saddlebred community and is helping to raise awareness for the breed.  If you see him at an event, make sure to come up and say hello!

You Won’t Believe the Secret Ballynoe Castle RM Has Been Keeping Inside for 14 Years

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Jenni Autry. Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Jenni Autry.

In what is being called the “most shocking veterinary news of the century,” U.S. Highest Scoring Horse of All Time Ballynoe Castle RM is facing a crossroads in his career after a routine examination this week uncovered a previously hidden set of testicles.

Kathleen Blauth-Murray, the longtime head groom for Buck Davidson Eventing who cares for the 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding daily, was the first to notice the change.

“I know every inch of this horse,” Kathleen said, “so when these lumps appeared between his back legs, I thought something was terribly wrong at first.” She called the vet immediately, and the entire Team BDJ crew was on hand as they anxiously awaited a diagnosis.

Buck was as baffled by the developments as everyone else. “He’s fighting fit since he’s been preparing for Rolex, his appetite was normal, and his personality is as friendly as ever,” Buck explained. “Unless you knew where to look, you’d never think there was anything weird going on with him.”

Buck Davidson, Ballynoecastle RM and Kathleen Blauth-Murray. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Buck Davidson, Ballynoecastle RM and Kathleen Blauth-Murray. Photo by Sally Spickard.

It didn’t take long for the vet to determine that the lumps were not actually a cause for concern, but the BDJ team was still shocked when the vet told them that the lumps were actually testicles that had waited upwards of 14 years to descend.

“We all know that Reggie has balls of steel when jumping cross country, but we were still surprised to learn that he really does have actual balls,” Buck said.

What made this discovery even more extraordinary was the fact that Reggie was gelded in his younger years, meaning that he actually had two sets of testicles. Veterinary records from his previous examinations show no account of this medical anomaly, but vets have assured Buck and owners Carl and Cassie Segal that Reggie is “fully functional and anatomically correct.”

“We were absolutely stunned, but also excited,” Buck said. “We’ve always talked about how great it would be if Reggie could have offspring to pass along his boldness and temperament. Now, he just might have that chance. It’s an incredible opportunity for Carl and Cassie.”

Reggie gives a pony ride 3-year-old Riley. Photo courtesy of Buck Davidson.

Reggie gives a pony ride to 4-year-old Riley. Photo courtesy of Buck Davidson.

Buck said plans are still up in the air for when Reggie will start his breeding career. The horse’s bloodlines, which include the Grand Prix stallion Ramiro B, could have major implications for the next generation of eventing horses, so this is exciting news for breeders around the world.

Kathleen, who rode Reggie down the aisle in her wedding and plans to use him as a leadline mount for her two daughters, is as thrilled as the rest of Team BDJ and said that she wants to be “first in line to own a Reggie baby.”

“What started as a possible medical scare turned into a huge blessing in disguise,” Kathleen said. “That this just so happened to be April Fool’s Day makes it even better!”

Happy April Fool’s Day, and Go Eventing!

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

Explore the many educational opportunities at GMHA by earning a scholarship! Photo by GMHA staff. Explore the many educational opportunities at GMHA by earning a scholarship! Photo by GMHA staff.

Areas I, VII, and IX rejoice! In what is a surer sign of spring, the first opening dates of the year have arrived! As an added bonus, Area I Young Riders can benefit from an array of generous scholarships from the Green Mountain Horse Association (GMHA). Learn more about these incredible opportunities here!

I’m anxiously awaiting the return of my mare Firefly (aka “the stinkbug”) as she travels back to the much chillier lands of Minnesota after a wonderful winter of training with Dom and Jimmie Schramm in Aiken. I may or may not be doing happy dances as I fill out the entry form for first horse trials together.

Events Opening Today: Hitching Post Farm Horse Trials (VT, A-1), Kent School Spring H.T.  (CT, A-1), Fair Hill International H.T. (MD, A-2), CHC International at Chattahoochee Hills  (GA, A-3), Otter Creek Spring H.T. (WI, A-4), Sol Events at Circle T H.T. (TX, A-5), The Event at Woodland Stallion Station (CA, A-6), Equestrians Institute H.T. (WA, A-7), CCC Spring Gulch H.T. (CO, A-9)

Events Closing Today: Fair Hill International H.T. (MD, A-2), Longleaf Pine H.T. (NC, A-2), CDCTA Spring Horse Trials II (VA, A-2), River Glen Spring H.T. (TN, A-3), Sporting Days Farm Horse Trials III (SC, A-3), Holly Hill Spring H.T. (LA, A-5), St. Johns H.T. (AZ, A-10)

News and Notes: 

It’s time to vote for your favorite EN style Rolex ticket art! The winner will receive a T-series helmet from Tipperary, so be sure to get your votes in now. Voting will close on Friday, April 3 at 5 p.m. EST, and we’ll announce the winner in Saturday’s Links post. [Vote for Tipperary Contest Winner]

Best of the blogs: Kristin Carpenter recaps her experience competing in the CIC* at Carolina International. “This weekend was everything I love about eventing: we cheer each other on and pick each other up, we finish a course only to tell the next few heading out information on how it rides so they can have a better go, and we watch others on cross-country, holding our breath and wishing them the best.” Read more about her experience here.

Doping allegations leave racehorse vets facing jail time: An investigation by the FBI, FDA, Pennsylvania State Police, and the state’s Horse Racing Commission seeks to uncover the truth behind allegations of racehorse doping by four veterinarians, who would face up to two years of imprisonment and a $200,000 fine each. The charges allege that the vets conspired with horses’ trainers to falsify documents after administering drugs to racehorses within 24 hours of races, violating veterinary ethics codes and doping laws. [The Horse: Veterinarians charged with drugging racehorses]

Rain, rain, go away… A bout of nasty weather caused British Eventing competitions at Stafford and Gatcombe to abandon ship over the weekend; this weekend’s Goring Heath Horse Trials has been cancelled due to poor footing caused by the torrential downpours, and the storms nearly ended the Ponies Winter Classic at Bury Farm. Read about the chaos and how tenacious organizers and competitors braved the galeforce winds: [Horse & Hound: Bad weather causes chaos at equestrian events]

Video of the Day: For those of us who are unfamiliar with Britain’s ridiculous rainfall, BBC One has some science for you.

A Horse of a Different Color: Toby Wan Kanobi

"A Horse of a Different Color" features horses and ponies that have been successful in the sport of eventing while representing a unique breed. Do you have a horse that you think would be a great feature subject? If so, email [email protected]

Maggie Gilbert and Toby Wan Kanobi take on Novice XC at the Rocking Horse Winter I Horse Trials. Photo courtesy of Xpress Foto. Maggie Gilbert and Toby Wan Kanobi take on Novice XC at the Rocking Horse Winter I Horse Trials. Photo courtesy of Xpress Foto.

Big talent can come in small packages. Take Maggie Gilbert’s pony, Toby Wan Kanobi: a 1999 bay pinto standing 14.1 hands high, Toby possesses springs in his legs that carried him and Maggie all the way to the 2014 American Eventing Championships in Texas.

Maggie’s parents originally bought Toby for her eleventh birthday. At the time, Toby had already discovered his love of jumping, and Maggie immediately fell in love with his athletic ability and quirky personality.

“Toby thinks he is the ‘big man on campus,'” Maggie explained. “No matter how big the other horses are, he lets them know he is the boss. His pasture-mate is 17 hands and is scared to death of him, which only feeds Toby’s growing ego even more.”

May the force be with you... Maggie and Toby dress up as Princess Leia and Obi Wan Kenobi for a costume contest. Photo courtesy of Maggie Gilbert.

May the force be with you… Maggie and Toby dress up as Princess Leia and Obi Wan Kenobi for a costume contest. Photo courtesy of Maggie Gilbert.

In addition to having a big attitude in a relatively small body, Toby’s unique background makes him a definite Horse of a Different Color; after Maggie was able to get in touch with Toby’s first owner, she discovered that his sire was a registered Paint and his dam was a gaited mare of unknown breeding.

“This is hilarious to me and my trainer, because now we know why it is so hard to get Toby to do a three-beat canter instead of a four-beat!” Maggie said.

Maggie and Toby competed in local shows for several years before trying their hand at Beginner Novice divisions in recognized horse trials with help from their trainer, Alison Jones.

“[Alison] and I set up a goal of qualifying for the Area III Championships in 2014 for Beginner Novice,” Maggie said. “Not only did Toby and I qualify for regionals, but we ended up qualifying for nationals too! It was a dream come true.

“Competing at the AECs was nothing short of a mind-blowing experience. Toby was excellent at the show and I had the time of my life!”

Maggie and Toby take on Texas at the 2014 AECs. Photo courtesy of Maggie Gilbert.

Maggie and Toby take on Texas at the 2014 AECs. Photo courtesy of Maggie Gilbert.

After celebrating their successful competition year, Maggie began training for their move up to Novice. Fortunately, their hard work paid off: Maggie and Toby finished on their personal best dressage score of 29.1 at Rocking Horse Winter I Horse Trials, placing 5th out of 15 starters.

“Dressage has always been very challenging both mentally and physically for both of us,” Maggie said, “so in my mind we had already won!”

Maggie and Toby competing in Novice at Ocala Horse Properties Winter I HT. Photo courtesy of Maggie Gilbert.

Maggie and Toby competing in Novice at Ocala Horse Properties Winter I HT. Photo courtesy of Maggie Gilbert.

One of Toby’s best characteristics is the way he gives his “heart and soul” to Maggie when they compete, particularly during cross-country. She plans to continue eventing with her super pony through her senior year of high school and then through college. While she doesn’t know what the future may bring, Maggie says that Toby will always have a forever home with her.

“He has been such a constant light in my life for the past six years,” Maggie said. “Even though he is a typical grumpy pony sometimes, he has a heart the size of a Clydesdale and always gives me his all.”

Best of luck to Maggie and Toby in their 2015 season! Go Ponies. Go Eventing.

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

Daniel Sarango and Michael Pollard show off their Spartan pride. Photo courtesy of Spartan Race Facebook Page. Daniel Sarango and Michael Pollard show off their Spartan pride. Photo courtesy of Spartan Race Facebook Page.

Jumping obstacles, slogging through mud, and pushing one’s strength, speed and endurance to the limits are all part of eventing. It comes as no surprise that eventers Daniel Sarango and Michael Pollard also seek thrills at events like Spartan Race, a series of intense obstacle races.

What other sports or activities do you use to increase your fitness and have fun? Share your stories and photos in the comments below!

Events Opening Today: King Oak Farm Spring H.T. (MA, A-1), Jersey Fresh International Three-day Event (NJ, A-2), Plantation Field H.T. (PA, A-2), WindRidge Farm Horse Trials (NC, A-2), Mill Creek Pony Club H.T. at Longview  (MO, A-4), Galway Downs Spring H.T. (CA, A-6), Winona Horse Trials (OH, A-8)

Events Closing Today: Plantation Field H.T. (PA, A-2), Ocala Horse Properties International 3-Day Festival of Eventing (FL, A-3), FENCE H.T. (SC, A-3), Pine Hill Spring H.T. (TX, A-5), Twin Rivers Spring Three-Day Event & H.T. (CA, A-6), Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (KY, A-8)

News and Notes:

Rally for Rolex: Angela Grzywinski is holding an online auction to raise funds to help send her and Nouvelle to their first CCI4* at Rolex this spring. Some of the amazing items and opportunities offered in the auction include a private lesson with Tamra Smith, a gorgeous classical guitar, a Rolex admission package, and a set of Majyk boots. Click here for an informational flyer on Angela’s auction. Go Angela and Nouvelle!

Lexi and George, a love story: The Ontario SPCA is hoping to rehome Lexi, a nine-year-old draft cross, and her alpaca companion George. Officials say that Lexi is nervous and has had minimal handling, but having George around helps her relax. The OSPCA would like to find a home for the odd couple to go together. [Horsetalk: Bid to rehome nervous mare with her faithful alpaca friend]

Past winners among 2015 Badminton entries: This year, 2014 champs Sam Griffiths and Paulank Brockagh will defend their against other past Badminton winners, including Jock Paget, Mary King, Pippa Funnell, Andrew Hoy, Mark Todd, Paul Tapner, Oliver Townend, and William Fox-Pitt. See the full list of entries here. [Horse & Hound: Badminton Horse Trials entries released]

Be a part of the Flying Deer Syndicate: Lynn Symansky announced yesterday that she is offering syndicate shares for Donner, aka the Flying Deer, her OTTB partner in crime. “I truly believe that Donner is the ‘people’s horse,’” Lynn said. “I have tried to structure the syndicate so that it is affordable to a wide range of eventing enthusiasts.” To learn more about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, visit Lynn’s website. [Eventing Nation: Lynn Symansky to Syndicate Donner]

SmartPak Product of the Day: Ahh, March – that lovely mix between winter and spring, where it’s (sometimes) warm enough to ride without a jacket yet (sometimes) too chilly for short sleeves. Enter the new Wear Around Sweater by SmartPak. This soft, cottony blend will keep you warm and comfortable in the saddle, and the flattering two-tone pattern and V-neck gives you a stylish look when you’re out and about.

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

Colleen Rutledge kicks Doug Payne's butt at pool. Photo courtesy of Brian Rutledge Colleen Rutledge kicks Doug Payne's butt at pool. Photo courtesy of Brian Rutledge

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one is no different. Proving that she is a tough competitor in more than just eventing, Colleen Rutledge thoroughly kicked Doug Payne’s butt at pool in Aiken. When this photo was taken, she was up 10 games. Get ’em, girl!

Events Opening Today: Riga Meadow Combined Test (CT, A-1), MCTA H.T., Inc (MD, A-2), Heart of the Carolinas H.T. (SC, A-3), Poplar Place Farm May H.T. (GA, A-3), CIC2*/CCI1* Weatherford and Greenwood Farm, Inc. Horse Trials (TX, A-5), Penny Oaks H.T. (IN, A-8)

Events Closing Today: The Fork CIC3*/CIC2*/CIC1* & HT (NC, A-2), CDCTA Spring Horse Trials I (VA, A-2), Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (GA, A-3), Spring Bay H.T. (KY, A-8)

News and Notes: 

Check out Area IV’s Online Auction: From entries to horse trials, riding lessons, a breeding, lots of fun products and other amazing opportunities, Area IV’s annual online silent auction is not to be missed! Proceeds from the auction benefit the area. [Area IV Silent Auction]

EN Previews Rolex 2015 on HITM: Eventing Nation’s fearless leader Jenni Autry joined Jamie and Glenn on Horses In The Morning to make some Rolex picks, unveil details about EN’s highly anticipated 3rd annual Rolex Tailgate Party, and chat about the ongoing safety debate. Tune in at the 1 hour marker (right after the song): [HITM]

Researchers perplexed by unique equine osteoporosis: Silicate-associated osteoporosis (SAO) is a disease affecting horses in areas of California with high levels of silica dioxide. When horses inhale silica dioxide, they can contract chronic lung disease and severe osteoporosis for which there is no known cure. Researchers at UC Davis hope to uncover the mechanism that causes the bone disease, and how it is associated with the lung disease. [Horsetalk]

Pennsylvania State Police seeks “a few good horses”: The Pennsylvania Mounted Patrol Unit is looking for donations of a few geldings between 5 and 15 years old and 16 to 18 hands high, preferably drafts and draft crosses. These horses will be taken on a 90-day trial period, during which their health, dispositions and suitability will be tested. Do you have a horse destined to serve and protect the public? Contact Corporal Michael Fun at [email protected] [We Are Central PA]

Access Adventure designs and builds wheelchair-accessible carriages: And the award for most awesome idea of the year goes to Michael Muir, who designed and created a wheelchair-accessible horse-drawn carriage. “I’ve lived with multiple sclerosis since I was 15 years old,” Muir said; horses have helped him cope with his disease, and he hopes that he can in turn help others. His company, Access Adventure, is a free therapeutic riding and driving program that assists people with physical disabilities and psychological disorders such as PTSD. [MyFoxPhilly]

Adventures in Aiken

Schooling at Sandyhills Farm. Screenshot courtesy of Kate Vosbury. Schooling at Sandyhills Farm. Screenshot courtesy of Kate Vosbury.

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel down to Aiken to visit my new mare Seoul Sister (Firefly), who is currently in training at Schramm Equestrian with Dom and Jimmie Schramm. I’d never sent a horse away for training before, much less halfway across the country; I’d always either worked with my young horses myself, or utilized one of Woodloch Stables awesome trainers.

This was a completely new experience for me, so I booked my tickets and packed my bags with excitement and just a little apprehension. I had no idea what to expect!

Let me tell you, I got out of Minnesota just in the nick of time. Snow and subzero temperatures hit the Twin Cities right as I was flying out to South Carolina. It made the forecast of sixties and drizzle seem downright tropical! I could see why so many eventers migrated south for the winter.

On my first day out at the farm, I was welcomed by the Schramms and their amazing staff, Stephanie Simpson and Becca McClellan… not to mention the gang of resident farm dogs, Willow, Veggie, River, and Roo.

Everyone was hard at work (well, except for the dogs), and it was easy to see that Dom and Jimmie have an efficient, tight-knit team that keeps the farm running like a well-oiled machine. A well-oiled machine that can be used for fun, like a slick off-roading truck or an amusement park ride.

Veggie and Roo, hard at work (sniffing each other's butts). Photo by Lindsey Kahn.

Veggie and Roo, hard at work (sniffing each other’s butts). Photo by Lindsey Kahn.

I loved seeing Firefly looking fit and fabulous at their farm. She’s a sturdy little Connemara cross (the Thoroughbreds and warmbloods towered over her), but she still had the sassy “lemme at ’em” attitude that I fell in love with when I bought her last fall.

Wintering in Aiken seemed to suit her; the Minnesota winter was making both of us go stir-crazy, but she seemed quite pleased with having a job in a relatively warmer climate.

Ready to ride! Photo by Lindsey Kahn.

Ready to ride! Photo by Lindsey Kahn.

My first lesson with Dom was positive, albeit a little nervewracking for me at first. Not to say that he’s a particularly terrifying instructor (spoiler alert: he’s not), but after several months of putting riding on the back burner while I focused on other things (namely, avoiding freezing my butt off outside), I was feeling quite stiff and discombobulated in the saddle.

Dom had me ride a circular exercise over cavaletti and small verticals first at the trot, then the canter. He cheekily called it the “Wheel of Death,” and at first I had fleeting notions that he might be right.

As it turned out, the Wheel of Death wasn’t so much deadly as it was a technical exercise in rideability. Firefly and I both have a habit of rushing, so it was extra important for me to habitually ride her to the base of a jump. By the end of the lesson, I was feeling much more comfortable and confident.

The next day, we enjoyed absolutely perfect weather and a very fun jump school that incorporated the so-called Wheel of Death with serpentine and figure 8 exercises over verticals and oxers. It was great riding with a group containing a variety of different horses presenting various challenges for their riders.

By the end of the ride, I was exhausted but feeling great after more practice riding tactfully and patiently, and I felt that Firefly and I were back on the same page together. After satisfying my touristy tendencies by exploring Aiken that afternoon, I met up with two of Dom’s students, Kate Vosbury and Steph Lee, at an adorable Mexican restaurant to do what eventers do best when not riding: talk horses and drink margaritas!

On my last day in Aiken, Kate, Steph and I had the opportunity to accompany Dom and Jimmie to the stunning Stable View Farm to watch and help out during their jumping lesson with Boyd Martin. It was an education in itself to watch them ride similar exercises to the ones we had done the previous day, only on a much higher level.

I tried to limit my stalkerazzi tendencies to the gorgeous views at Stable View. Photo by Lindsey Kahn

I tried to limit my stalkerazzi tendencies to the gorgeous views at Stable View. Photo by Lindsey Kahn

Later that day, Kate generously offered to haul Steph’s horse Henry and Firefly to the nearby Sandyhills Farm for cross-country schooling. We weren’t about to pass up an opportunity like that!

Dom directed Steph and I around the welcoming course as we practiced everything from baby logs to water crossings and a particularly intimidating (to me, anyway) bank.

Firefly was alert and happy; all of the hurried bossiness that she tended to adopt during stadium exercises settled into a calm confidence that told me that she is truly a cross-country lover at heart. Needless to say, our lesson was a blast and I just may have walked on air all the way back to Minnesota the next morning.

White on right, red on left, Firefly in the middle. Screenshot courtesy of Kate Vosbury.

White on right, red on left, Firefly in the middle. Screenshot courtesy of Kate Vosbury.

Despite the initial growing pains of re-learning to ride Firefly, the leaps and bounds we took as a team (literally) in just a few short days under the Schramms’ tutelage had me feeling on top of the world. I can’t express just how grateful I am for the expert education Dom and Jimmie are giving my horse and I, and for the top-notch care Firefly receives under the watchful eyes of the Schramms, Steph, and Becca.

I met some amazing people, enjoyed gorgeous weather, and experienced some of the most rewarding rides on my Seoul Sister. While I can’t wait to have my little spitfire of a mare back in Minnesota with me, I’m so thrilled that she’s getting a quality education with this savvy team and I’m excited for my next Aiken adventure!

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

Photo and caption by Jenni Autry Photo and caption by Jenni Autry

Last night, I had a convoluted dream in which I was teaching lessons and had to keep telling my students’ families to stay out of the arena for their safety, only to be ignored. I lost my voice from yelling, and in my anger I drove to a nearby restaurant at which the only menu item was something called “George Morris Pie.” I think it was supposed to be a shepherd’s pie of some kind. I tried to order the George Morris Pie, but I had lost my voice, and the server informed me that George Morris didn’t serve pie to just anyone.

What does it all mean? Your guess is as good as mine. In the meantime, check out Horse Nation’s “Common Equestrian Anxiety Dreams, Interpreted.”

Events Opening Today: University of New Hampshire Spring H.T. (NH, A-1), Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Spring H.T. (VA, A-2), Jersey Fresh International Three-day Event (NJ, A-2), Fresno County Horse Park H.T. (CA, A-6)

Events Closing Today: Morven Park Spring Horse Trial (VA, A-2), Stable View Horse Trials (SC, A-3), Rocking Horse Spring H.T. (FL, A-3), Full Gallop Farm II H.T. (SC, A-3), Texas Rose Horse Park H.T. (TX, A-5), Galway Downs International Horse Trials (CA, A-6), Twin Rivers Spring Three-Day Event (CA, A-6)

News and Notes: 

Don’t forget to enter this week’s awesome Fab Freebie from SaddleLockers! Here’s your chance to win a prize pack of swag, courtesy of SaddleLockers, Ogilvy, and Higher Standards Leather Care. Entries close Friday at midnight EST and we’ll be announcing the winner in Friday’s News & Notes. [Fab Freebie: SaddleLockers]

FEI to discuss presidential remuneration: The FEI will hold an extraordinary general assembly on April 28th in Switzerland. They will be addressing FEI President Ingmar De Vos’ argument that the presidency should be a paid position rather than a voluntary one. Weigh in, EN. How do you think that FEI presidents should be compensated? [Horsetalk]

Cavalor Feed for Thought: It’s no secret that horses’ nutritional needs can change based on the amount of work they’re in, but did you know that their nutritional needs are also largely determined by the type of work they’re in? For instance, high-speed, high-intensity activities such as jumping and barrel racing require a diet relatively high in carbohydrates; longer-duration sports such as dressage or endurance require feed that blends carbohydrates with fats, as fats help sustain long-term energy. Read about carbs, proteins, and fats and the different ways that they fuel athletes. [Feed for Thought]

2020 Olympics reveal new/old equestrian sites: The main site for equestrian events at the Tokyo Olympics will be at Baji Koen, which was the equestrian site at the 1964 Games. “The move puts the sport into the centre of the Games, and the use of an existing facility falls in line with the Olympic 2020 recommendations on cost and sustainability,” reports Horse & Hound. While Baji Koen will be the home of dressage and stadium jumping, as well as eventing dressage and stadium, the cross-country phase will be held at Umi no Mori in Tokyo Bay. [Horse & Hound]

And now, in weirder news… Walmart has issued a cease-and-desist notice to the tumblr page Walmart.horse, which essentially just contains a photo of a Walmart storefront with a picture of a horse superimposed in front of it. Why? No one knows. But Walmart claims that by using their image and trademark, Walmart.horse is weakening “the ability of the Walmart mark and domain name to identify a single source, namely Walmart.” In response, the website’s creator argues that “his site is too ridiculous to be confused with something operated by the retailer,” and offers to add “any new animals to the page that Walmart recommends.” [Consumerist]

SmartPak Product of the Day: After a long winter of temperature fluctuations, dry weather and dark, sometimes damp tack rooms, I noticed that some of my lesser-used tack has become, well, pretty gross. Some of the leather was dry and cracked in places, while other pieces were sticky and moldy. Time for a deep cleaning! Horseman’s One Step by Absorbine cleans and conditions leather with a creamy lanolin formula that penetrates leather while leaving it smooth, not greasy.

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

I’m leaving the frosty forests of Minnesota for Aiken this morning, and resolved to pull an all-nighter to prepare for my trip. Fueled by caffeine and blueberry muffins, my mind is currently zipping along at warp speed, with very little in the way of focus. Like the millennial I am, I made a self-deprecating post on Facebook, which spurred the following comments from other EN writers. Ladies and gentlemen, let it be known that caffeine and alcohol are the official nectars of Eventing Nation writers.

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Events Opening Today: Fair Hill International H.T. (MD, A-2), Longleaf Pine H.T. (NC, A-2), CDCTA Spring Horse Trials II (VA, A-2), River Glen Spring H.T. (TN, A-3), Sporting Days Farm Horse Trials III (SC, A-3), Heart of the Carolinas 3-Day Event (SC, A-3), Holly Hill Spring H.T. (LA, A-5), St. Johns H.T. (AZ, A-10)

Events Closing Today: Carolina International CIC and Horse Trial (NC, A-2), Poplar Place Farm March H.T. (GA, A-3)

News and Notes: 

Do you have a Horse of a Different Color? One of the most wonderful aspects of this sport is its diversity, from ponies to draft horses and everything in between. Eventing Nation is looking for stories to feature in our “Horse of a Different Color” series! If you own or ride a horse or pony that has been successful in the sport of eventing while representing a unique breed, email [email protected].

Attend Boyd and Phillip’s Aiken Masterclass:  Join eventing legends Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin at Stable View in Aiken on Tuesday, March 10 from 6:30-8 p.m. for an evening of “some teaching, some history, some commentary, some Q&A and some fun!” Watch Phillip and Boyd showcase their top mounts Icabad Crane, Mr. Medicott, Neville Bardos and Shamwari. Admission is $25 or $10 for riders 18 and under. Beer, wine and cheese will be available for spectators with a donation; proceeds from this masterclass will benefit Aiken Equine Rescue and Aiken Horse Park Foundation. For more information, contact  [email protected]. [Boyd and Silva Martin: Inaugural Phillip and Boyd Aiken Masterclass]

Best of the Blogs: Join Doug Payne as he recaps DPEquestrian’s prolific weekend at the March Madness Jumper Show and Sporting Days Farm Horse Trials, including wins with Jimmy Choo, Confire la Pomme and Absaluut Annabelle. Doug also discusses the exciting plans for his new farm in Rougemont, NC; we can’t wait to see and hear more about it! [DPEquestrian Blog: Making the Most of Opportunities in Aiken]

Fifteen horses survive Boston barn collapse: After recordbreaking snowfalls in Massachusetts caused barns and arenas to collapse under the weight over over 7 feet of snow, this is one disaster that fortunately did not end in tragedy. A Norwell barn, located southeast of Boston, was discovered on Monday morning with a collapsed roof. Fortunately, all fifteen horses survived with only a few minor injuries. Five of the horses escaped the barn themselves, and the remainder were assisted by firefighters and the Plymouth County Technical Rescue Team. [Horsetalk]

Purses and wallets stolen from cars parked at horse farms: Even though the equestrian world is a tight-knit community largely comprised of friends and family, this case from Suffolk County, New York serves as a reminder to lock your cars and secure your valuables when you go to ride. Andre Berube was charged with six counts of fourth-degree grand larceny and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property after his arrest; he is thought to have stolen purses, wallets, and other belongings from unlocked cars parked at various barns in the area. [27 East: Blue Point Man Charged in Purse Snatchings at Horse Farms]

Irish National Championships to be held July 11-12: The inaugural Eventing Ireland National Championships will be a wonderful opportunity for riders to showcase their hard work this summer. Held at Ballindenisk, the weekend format will feature dressage and stadium jumping on Saturday the 11th, followed by cross-country on Sunday the 12th. [Farming Life: Eventing Ireland Announces Inaugural National Championships]

Sunday Video: Into the Canal with Longford Harriers

Few things look more thrilling than a merry hunt, so this video making the rounds on the Facebook machine seemed like just another yet slightly insane romp across the Irish countryside. Watch the Longford Harriers make short work of a boat jump during the Keenagh Hunt, and be prepared for something to make a splash (so to speak) at around the 1-minute mark (Note: you must be logged in to Facebook to view this video):

Go Keenagh Hunt. Go Eventing.

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

Photo by Melissa Adamo Photo by Melissa Adamo

Countless humans across the nation are dealing with winter blues, but these two horses seem to be having a blast in the snow. EN reader Melissa Adamo writes, “These pictures were taken on a day when the temps were in the low 30s and I could give my 4-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Ty and 3-year-old Thoroughbred mare Lulu a few hours wearing no rugs. Being the youngsters they are, they played with each other for about 2 hours; rearing, bucking, nipping. They had a blast as they are best friends. We are all looking very forward to spring, since the temps have dipped as low as -22 degrees at night for several nights. Not fun!”

Thank you for sharing, Melissa! Think spring, and Go Eventing.

Events Opening Today: Plantation Field H.T. (PA, A-2), Ocala Horse Properties International 3-Day Festival of Eventing (FL, A-3), FENCE H.T. (SC, A-3), Pine Hill Spring H.T. (TX, A-5), Twin Rivers Spring H.T. (CA, A-6), Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event  (KY, A-8)

Events Closing Today: Pine Top Spring Horse Trials (GA, A-3), MeadowCreek Park – The Spring Social Event (TX, A-5), Copper Meadows H.T. (CA, A-6)

News and Notes: 

Please help Missy Ransehousen: After losing her car, living quarters coach, and virtually all of her material possessions in a horrific fire, Missy Ransehousen is in immediate need of clothing, breeches, boots, and shoes. All clothing can be mailed directly to her in Florida at 653 W. Highway 316, Citra, FL 32113. Any questions can be directed to Lisa Thomas, who is spearheading the recovery efforts, at [email protected]. [Missy Ransehousen’s Camper, Car Go Up in Flames]

Kelly Felicijan’s barn and five horses lost in a fire: Eventers around the country are rallying behind Ohio eventer Kelly Felicijan, who was the victim of a tragic barn fire on February 18th. Her barn, as well as the five horses and other animals inside and two trucks, were lost in the blaze. While nothing can replace her horses’ lives, Kelly and her boyfriend Jake Williams plan to rebuild Morgan Valley Sport Horses; please consider donating what you can to Kelly’s YouCaring fund. [The Chronicle of the Horse] [Kelly Felicijan’s YouCaring fundraiserLiz]

Liz Halliday-Sharp has availability at Horsepower Equestrian in northwest Ocala for training, lessons and more! The state-of-the-art facility has top class stabling, a purpose built dressage arena with mirrors, a large jumping arena and a grass arena. There is also a six-horse walker, multiple fields and more than 100 acres for riding. Contact Liz at 858-504-1151 or [email protected].

Are you in need of a working student? We’re preparing a fresh list of Working Student Listings for the upcoming season, so if you’d like us to include your position, please send a description and contact information to [email protected]. Our winter listings post was wildly successful! [Working Students Winter Listings]

Windfall Trophy to honor US eventing stallions: A new annual award for US stallions  has been named in honor of Windfall, Timothy Holekamp’s Trakehner stallion who will be officially retired at this year’s Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event. The Windfall Trophy will be awarded to the USEA-registered stallion with the most leaderboard points at Prelim and above. [Horsetalk]

Saddle fitter receives BETA Lifetime Achievement award: Ken Lyndon-Dykes, a pioneer in the field of saddle fitting and a former international-level eventer, was awarded the British Equestrian Trade Associaton’s (BETA) prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. After a horrific flying accident left him in a wheelchair, Ken became a prolific saddle producer and helped develop the curriculum for the prestigious Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) program. Congratulations, Ken! Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the horse industry. [Horsetalk]

 

 

Tuesday News and Notes from Cavalor

Too cold to ride? Not for these brave riders in Area 4! Photo courtesy of Woodloch Stable. Too cold to ride? Not for these brave riders in Area 4! Photo courtesy of Woodloch Stable.

Bundled up in layers upon layers of warm clothing, my glasses fogging up from my breath against the frigid air, I ask myself, “Is it spring yet?” While this winter has been decidedly milder than last winter in “Minnesnowta,” the blasts of arctic winds are enough to send even the most rugged of shaggy ponies scurrying for the nearest shelter.

Nonetheless, it warms my heart (not literally, but I wish) to see so many of my students marching enthusiastically through the barn, bundled up to the eyeballs and still excited for their riding lesson. The colder weather means that we have to conserve heat in the indoor arenas and take it easy with the lesson horses so they don’t get too sweaty before going back outside, but I think both the students and the horses look forward to their time together. When winter cabin fever starts to set in, a nice bareback lesson can certainly do the trick to keep the body and mind active and warm.

Events Opening Today: The Fork CIC3*/CIC2*/CIC1* & HT (NC, A-2), CDCTA Spring Horse Trials I (VA, A-2), Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (GA, A-3), Spring Bay H.T. (KY, A-8)

Events Closing Today: Southern Pines H.T. (NC, A-2), Red Hills International Horse Trials & Trade Fair (FL, A-3), Full Gallop Farm March I H.T. (SC, A-3)

News and Notes:

Pine Top Advanced needs volunteers! The CIC2*, CIC* and Advanced divisions need dressage scribes, bit checkers, stadium jump crew and fence judges. Plenty of food, snacks and drinks will be provided for volunteers. Contact Janet Wilson at [email protected] if you’re able to volunteer on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Speaking of Pine Top… Please note the revised schedule: Anticipated freezing temperatures have led Pine Top officials to revise this weekend’s schedule, splitting the Advanced divisions across two days. The CIC2* and CIC* will still run in a one-day format on Friday, but other schedule changes have been made to accommodate the effects of Winter Storm Octavia. [EN: Pine Top Advanced Bracing for Frigid Temperatures + Schedule Change]

Best of the Blogs: This installment of Barn Mice discusses the ridiculously fast response time of horses, which has been determined to be the fastest of all common domesticated animals. Their response time is 7 times faster than ours, which is what oftentimes leads to riders getting “left in the dust” (oftentimes literally) if the horse senses a threat. Check out some tips for thinking like a horse, reducing the interference of your human tendency to overthink, and helping your horse overcome his prey animal instincts and trust in his rider. [Barn Mice]

Mineral status can be judged using hair samples: Researchers in Iran have found that analyzing hair samples from individual horses can provide accurate evaluations of their mineral levels. This method was found to be a better indicator than serum, which has been commonly used to determine horses’ mineral status. [Horsetalk]

“That was my son’s best friend that got killed.” Up to 2 dozen horses have been found shot and dumped in a field on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. BethYana Pease-Takes Horse said that her son’s horse was among those killed. “He’s the one who found him. He’s had that horse since he was 5,” she said. [New York Times]