Lorraine Jackson
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Lorraine Jackson


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About Lorraine Jackson

Staff Writer at Eventing Nation, Horse Nation, and Jumper Nation.

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Sunday Links Presented by One K Helmets

The view over The Event at Skyline in Mt. Pleasant, UT. Photo by Lorraine Jackson

The view over The Event at Skyline in Mt. Pleasant, UT. Photo by Lorraine Jackson

Skyline Eventing Park in Mt. Pleasant, Utah hosted its first schooling show of the year today for our beloved little region, and not a one of us could believe that we were packed up and on the road before dark. We had a great turnout, prompt and talented participants, and most importantly, we were able to raise some funds for a friend and local eventer, Erin Johnson, who was injured in a house fire earlier this year and remains in the ICU. She’s making the most inspiring and hard core recovery, and being able to utilize our event to help someone so important to our community is one of the greatest gifts of running an event. We continue to wish our friend Erin a fast and epic recovery. If anyone can do it, she can!

Weekend Action

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]

Sunday Links

California steps up disaster preparedness for horse owners

Good vibrations: Horse-riding can improve children’s learning ability, study suggests

First-Event-Of-The-Season-Bingo: How Many of These Can You Spot?

USEA Intercollegiate Championship Returns to Virginia Horse Trials in May

Weird Things I’ve Said to My Horse

Margaret Crevar: USEA’s Volunteer of the Month


Best of JN: Grand Prix Workhorse Michael Tokaruk

Photo courtesy of Michael Tokaruk/ Tokaruk.com

Photo courtesy of Michael Tokaruk/ Tokaruk.com

When Michael Tokaruk was 15 years old, he got the greatest gift of his life the day before Christmas: Gary Zook called and offered him a working student position for the coming summer, and it was the first of many jobs which would eventually produce a professional who loves the hard work of the sport as much as he loves the horses themselves.

We spoke as he was making the 14-hour haul from the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington to his home base in Collierville, Tennessee with a pit-stop in Ocala to do some horse shopping, and Michael was just decompressing from a long and successful stint at WEF with his talented crew and clients.

“We had a real good group of students. Some that had been there already and some that were there for the first time, but virtually everybody got some good ribbons,” Michael told JN. “We had some champions, some reserves. And we were jumping into some serious divisions. I was proud of the group and the horses. We didn’t just hold our own, and that’s not easy at the most competitive show in the world across all the divisions.”

Michael and student Arden Stephens aboard Ultra T. Photo courtesy of Michael Tokaruk

Michael and student Arden Stephens aboard Ultra T. Photo courtesy of Michael Tokaruk

A grand prix rider and coach will wear many hats in a day – teacher, trainer, competitor, buyer, boss, groom, long haul trucker and therapist – and Michael wears them all with pride. He knew from the beginning that it was a nonstop lifestyle, and one to which he is well-suited.

Michael was born into a horse loving family with a mother who rode and owned horses, and soon he and his siblings were all getting barn time of their own. By 14, he knew this was what he wanted to do with his life. His family didn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to sink into the best horses, so he began strategizing how to trade his work ethic for an education.

“I made a VHS tape of my riding and sent it off to a list of trainers I knew from the magazines and wanted to ride with. I remember reading a Practical Horseman article about Meredith Taylor winning the AHSA Medal Finals as a working student for Ken Berkley and Gary Zook and I said ‘if she can do it, I want to do it.’”

Michael and Baton Rouge. Photo courtesy of Draper Therapies.

Michael and Baton Rouge. Photo courtesy of Draper Therapies.

Gary Zook made that fateful phone call Christmas Eve, and Michael was off to chase the dream just as he had planned. His experience with Gary – who passed away in 2012 — was invaluable in lessons, contacts and experiences, but also because it gave Michael the opportunity to dive into the full experience of the business.

“It was a dream come true for me. I tried to work hard and do the best I could and do anything and everything to ride a horse. They just kept putting me on different horses and I just kept trying harder and working harder.”

The work ethic, ability, and good attitude led to Michael connecting with Geoff Sutton, who at the time had a string of elegant junior jumpers that Michael was able to utilize and show off in his final year as a junior rider. Numerous trainers offered assistance and Michael was able to take some big equitation wins at Devon, Palm Beach, and he was in the ribbons in the Medal Finals, true to his goal.

Like many promising junior riders, Michael had intentions to go professional, but also had big decisions to make about his future. There were less programs even ten years ago than there are now (the Emerging Athletes Program, the U25 Divisions and trainer certification programs) and as a good student, higher education was looming.

With the strong encouragement of his parents, Michael pursued and completed a degree in Political Science at George Washington University in Washington D.C., but he never stopped riding during that time, and took a year off to work the barns. In the summers he worked abroad with Roeloef Bril in the Netherlands and got to see the business across the pond.

When he graduated he immediately went to work as a professional rider at Spring Mill Farm for David Pellegrini and eventually started his own business. Hanging his own shingle is a dream that has had its ups and downs since he first went pro, but Michael has always done whatever it takes to succeed in one of the toughest careers in the world.

“Not just show up and ride, but be there early mornings, late nights, every day, every night. I loved it and I still love it, I can’t get enough of it.”

Today, he passes those philosophies on to his numerous students, and his reputation and winning record have allowed him to partner with supportive owners and fellow trainers like Hardin Towell, Richie Maloney, and Charlie Jayne in producing exceptional Grand Prix horses. His only regret seems to be wishing there were time to attend every circuit in an 800 mile radius of Tennessee.

He’s coming off a great year in the Grand Prix ring, taking home wins and prize money with Cupid Shuffle, Eminem, and Baton Rouge, all of whom were sales horses.

According to plan, each of his Grand Prix mounts was successfully moved into new competition homes, which is a bittersweet part of the job. They complete the objective of moving the horse along, but Michael and his team clearly love the horses in their care. This week he acquired a new ride as a project for Richie Maloney, and plans to add to his string when the winter circuits start to wind down.

“I’ve been able to build relationships throughout my career and connect with some really great people that have faith in my riding and my program. I can take their horses on, ride them myself, represent them for sale and hopefully get them sold in a different market.”

One thing was clear from our conversation: Michael Tokaruk doesn’t take a day of his career for granted – from putting in hours as a working student and then as a hired rider to now keeping his business going for the past decade, he never took a shortcut or turned down a golden opportunity and that has made him the trainer he is today.

TSS has found a winning formula for thriving in the sport, and the 2017 season will bring a full slate of opportunities to keep the machine moving forward. Michael and his team will be regrouping at home for a few weeks before heading to the Gulf Coast Winter Classic series in Gulfport, Mississippi, followed by Pin Oak Charity show in Houston, Texas and then to the Brownland Farm spring series close to home in Tennessee.

You can keep up with Michael by visiting tokaruk.com and by following Tokaruk Show Stables on Facebook.

Sunday Links Presented by One K Helmets

Sunset at Three Lakes HT in Groveland, FL. Photo by Hilda Donahue

Sunset at Three Lakes HT in Groveland, FL. Photo by Hilda Donahue

Random warm fronts, unusual flooding, and massive snowstorms ravage numerous parts of the country, and meanwhile, in Florida, it looks like this. Those of us in the Rocky Mountains still trying to get four feet of snow off the barn roofs before they cave in are totally fine with this. We’re feeling great about all our life decisions. Really.

If you’re in Ocala on Monday or Tuesday, auditors are welcome at the Canadian High Performance clinic with jumping genius George Morris and dressage master Christilot Boylen at Wentworth Farm. Top names like Jessica Phoenix, Selena O’Hanlon, Kyle Carter, Colleen Loach, Lesley Grant-Law, Lisa Marie Fergusson, Diana Burnett, Jessica Payne and Tik Maynard will be riding. The clinic runs 8:30 a.m.-3:45 p.m. both days at 10690 NW 125th S., Reddick, FL 32686.

U.S. Weekend Action:

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]

Sunday Links

Study Explores Whether Horses Can Sense Mental Trauma in Humans

Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding: Detroit Horse Power

Horses Stranded in San Jose Floodwaters On Drier Ground

Jessica Springsteen and Davendy S ‘Tougher Than the Rest’ at WEF

Opportunity of a Lifetime: Groom for Lucy Davis

Sunday Video:



Sunday Links Presented by One K Helmets

Photo by M.Shotgun1979 on Instagram

Rider at Fresno Horse Trials. Photo by M.Shotgun1979 on Instagram

While much of the country was ravaged by strange or simply abundant winter weather, the skies held out for the fine folks at the Fresno County Horse Park on cross country day, a fine reward after sloshing through the muck in the first phase on Friday. As for the rest of us, if you’re still fighting off a foot of snow, mud, or flood water, keep your chin up. Spring is coming!

Weekend Action

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]

Sunday Links

Chromie is My Homie

Fantasy Farm Thursday: Retire to Madden Mountain

Watch: Cian O’Connor’s ‘Good Luck’ Offers Up a Charming Rodeo Ride at WEF

New Ebola Treatment Derived from Horse Antibodies

The Cinnamon Comeback: Can it Help Your Horse’s Health?

Sunday Video:

Best of JN: Rider Spotlight – Nayel Nassar

“My parents had the brilliant idea that my first horse be a five-year-old chestnut mare.”

And the rest is history. With those auspicious beginnings, rising Grand Prix phenomenon Nayel Nassar has built a reputation for being a horseman, a competitor, and a mainstay on the west coast and beyond. Last week he claimed a victory which was a surprise to many – though not those who knew him and his program – when he and Lordan won the $216,000 World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix at the Palm Beach Masters.

One person who was not surprised was his former coach, Laura Kraut, who took second behind the indomitable pair.

“I think he is one of the most talented young riders to come along in a while,” Laura said after the event. “It’s no surprise he’s sitting where he is.”

Born and raised in Egypt, (the country he still represents at international events) Nayel grew up in a strong local program that gave him a solid foundation for his future. In his teens when many young students get distracted, Nayel’s passion and his parents’ encouragement to persist through adversity pushed him further into the sport.

“Definitely there were lots of moments where I wanted to quit, being so young and not really knowing what following through means,” Nayel told Xmedia in a mini-documentary this winter. “But I have to say my mom and my dad were always just very encouraging. Whenever I get a little down or decided this wasn’t really for me or fell off three times in the same lesson they were really good at making sure I stayed the course just because they didn’t want me to see myself as a quitter.”

In his later teens, Nayel was able to head north to Europe and train with accomplished coaches like Markus Beerbaum and other renowned coaches to drill his competency and gain exposure to new competition. His abilities and ambition continued to skyrocket, and Nayel continued to hone in on his sensitive feel to any and every horse.

But two very special horses helped catapult Nayel into the international spotlight and launch his professional career: Raging Bull Vangelis S (“Brutus”) and Lordan. The two scopey and fearless horses brought different strengths and opportunities to the table for Nayel – where Brutus was a bit older and more experienced in the FEI ring (he was a longtime partner of British rider Robert Smith) and could show Nayel the ins and outs of the top level of sport, Lordan was a nearly clean slate for Nayel to produce himself.

Nayel took Lordan all the way from his first FEI class to contests all over the world with great success, including wins like the HITS Million, the speed class at the Longines Masters LA, and their most recent win last week at Deeridge Farms.

Recently, Nayel has also added two more potential superstars to his string in Acita 4 and Baraka. Acita 4, a ten-year-old Holsteiner mare who was third at the CSI3* in Del Mar this past fall, third in the CSI5* at Spruce Meadows, and winner at the Las Vegas National in 2015. Baraka is a ten-year-old Oldenburg gelding who was slow to come along in his early years, but this season came into his own with strong showings at Spruce Meadows, Thunderbird Park, and the Las Vegas National.

As for the still young rider’s future ( he only just recently aged out of the U25 division), Nayel plans to continue to fly mostly solo and apply the training of his youth from the likes of Markus and Laura to carve out his own destiny. He says he also thrives on the kindness and openness that exists in the sport when he receives advice and instruction from fellow competitors. Among his favorites is Enrique Gonzalez, who represented Mexico at the Beijing Olympics and 2014 WEG.

“Most people don’t know this, but I bother Enrique before every big Grand Prix by asking him what he thinks of my course plan.” Nayel said. “I even called him before the Million because I couldn’t find him! He always gives me the best advice and is the closest thing I have to a trainer out here.”

See Nayel’s full interviews on his background and the connection he was with Lordan in the mini-documentaries below, produced by X Media.

You can learn more about Nayel Nassar and stay updated on his 2017 season by following him on Facebook and subscribing to his YouTube Channel.

Go Nayel, and Go Jumping.

Sunday Links Presented by One K Helmets


Pine Top organizer Janet Wilson really, REALLY keeping competitors on their toes during the course walk with a subtle trick! #whenyouseeit

If you can’t have a little fun as an event organizer by terrorizing perfectly nice competitors who have paid good money to be there, WHAT EVEN IS THE POINT. Normally you can develop a pretty health amount of fear into a rider with a few dodgy looking but impeccably built trakehners and a shiny new water complex, but if all else fails, there are always snakes. Thank heavens.

U.S. Weekend Action:

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]

Sunday Links

Fantasy Farm: Outside is for chumps: Interconnected home and barn

Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 Continue Hot Streak to Win WEF Challenge Cup Round 5

Five Looks We Love at HITS Coachella

US horse racing gets guidance over hallucinogenic drug glaucine

What’s in a Whinny? More Than You Might Think, Research Suggests

Sunday Video:

Best of JN: Todd Minikus Goes on Winning Spree in Wellington

Sunday Links Presented by One K Helmets

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Susan Stickle, courtesy of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Susan Stickle, courtesy of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center

Wellington sure put on a spectacle of a show, as they do every year. As someone who spends a good chunk of my day covering the H/J side of Welly World, I can only imagine the novelty for spectators, owners, business professionals and sponsors in seeing the eventers jump right through the VIP tent. It captures a certain elegance of Wellington and insanity of eventing in a single, spectacular (and sometimes gasp-inducing) moment. You do you, Welly, and we’ll be watching.

U.S. Weekend Action:

Wellington Eventing Showcase: Final ScoresEN’s CoverageLive StreamEN’s Instagram

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

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

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

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

Wed 2/8 Full Gallop Farm February H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

Sunday Links:

Does My Horse Look Cute In These Genes?

Fantasy Farm Thursday: $3 Million California Ranch with a Side of Free Guac

Beezie Madden and Ian Millar Share California Split Win at Palm Beach Masters

The Newest Thing in Tall Boots? High-Top Kicks

Urgent appeal: Desperate times for stranded equines in Italy

Sunday Video:


Best of JN: Women Win the Battle of the Sexes at Winter Equestrian Festival

PC: Sportfot

PC: Sportfot

Wellington, FL – January 14, 2017 – The atmosphere in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) was charged with excitement Saturday night, as the women took victory over the men in the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, during week one of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

The women's team gearing up for Saturday night's event.

The women’s team gearing up for Saturday night’s event. PC: Sportfot

The 12-week WEF circuit runs through April 2, 2017, featuring competition for hunters, jumpers, and equitation, with over $9 million in prize money up for grabs. Week one concludes with Sunday’s afternoon’s $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix starting at 2 p.m. The class can be viewed live online HERE.

Teams of ten men and ten women battled it out for this year’s Battle of the Sexas title, with team captains Nicole Bellissimo and Charlie Jayne at the helm. Bellissimo led Heather Caristo-Williams, Amanda Derbyshire, Abigail McArdle, Jessica Mendoza, Schuyler Riley, Haylie Rolfe, Mavis Spencer, Alexandra Welles, and Julie Welles on her team. Jayne’s team included David Blake, Daniel Bluman, Ernest Connell, Alex Granato, Darragh Kenny, Andy Kocher, Adam Prudent, Colin Syquia, and Hardin Towell.

The men and women's teams celebrate a great night with Mark and Katherine Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions, Wellington Regional Medical Center COO Pam Tahan, Nick Sama, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics, Robbin Lee, CEO, dam Bromberg, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Emergency Services, and ringmaster Steve Rector.

The men and women’s teams celebrate a great night with Mark and Katherine Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions among others. PC: Sportfot

The contest was held in three phases, consisting of a faults converted speed round, a relay race, and a match race. The men and women were pitted against each other in each phase over courses set by 2016 Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA).

In round one, the men led the women seven to three in the speed rounds. In round two’s relay races, the girls picked up an additional ten points, while the men earned just five, bringing the totals to 12 for the men and 13 for the women. With one point separating them, the men and women headed into the third and final round for match races, where the women took a decisive 18 points to the men’s nine. The final tally of 21 to 31 gave the women the win. They have been victorious in the event eight out of nine years – with the class in 2015 ending in a tie.

Julie Welles was representing the women for her first time in Battle of the Sexes competition and had a fantastic night with her mount Centalyon, owned by Ardencote Farm. The pair jumped fast and clear to help their team earns points in all three rounds. Welles is working for 2016 Olympic Champion Nick Skelton (GBR) and two-time Olympic team gold medalist Laura Kraut (USA) this year, and saw the night as a perfect opportunity to give her mount some experience in an electric atmosphere.

“It was so much fun,” Welles said. “The horse I rode is a lovely horse that Nick and Laura own. He was just unbelievable. I just kick, and off I went. I rode him last winter, and I had not ridden him since.”

Welles continued, “His barn name is Smurf because he is so little, but he rides like a big horse. He is really fast, and he has a huge stride for such a small horse. We just cruised around.”

Julie Welles and Centalyon

Julie Welles and Centalyon. PC: Sportfot

Commenting on her team’s win, Welles stated, “To be honest, we were a little nervous in the beginning because the boys had a pretty stacked team. If you look on paper, the boys should have won. I guess I would say they got a little cocky after the first round when they kept beating us. Then we came back strong. Laura Kraut was like our cheerleader. She said, ‘You guys just have to win five of the match races. That’s all that you have to do.’ We kept counting down in the schooling area, screaming at the screen and cheering each other on.”

Abigail McArdle was aboard Plain Bay Sales’ Comeback de la Manade for her second year competing in the Battle of the Sexes and also had a fun night representing the ladies for their win.

“It was extremely thrilling,” McArdle declared. “The girls went in losing in the first round, and my only feat was to beat Andy Kocher. I didn’t think I could. Everyone told me I couldn’t, and then sure enough we did! I thought that was a good inspiration early on for the girls in the last round.

Abigail McArdle and Comeback de la Manade

Abigail McArdle and Comeback de la Manade. PC: Sportfot

“I think this is a fabulous event with great sponsors,” McArdle added. “Everyone has a lot of fun every year, and I think it is a great thing to keep doing. We had a huge crowd; the horses and the people all feel the excitement.”

Charlie Jayne was a disappointed team captain for the men Saturday night, and described his feeling after the class as “mixed emotions.”

“It was not a good night for us,” Jayne admitted. “We were up, we were down, and then we were so far away in the end. It’s fun for the crowd. It’s a very nice event for the sponsors – Wellington Regional Medical Center this year. We thank them every year, and we’ll keep coming back because of the sponsors and the spectators.”

Nicole Bellissimo and VDL Dogan

Nicole Bellissimo and VDL Dogan

Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic hosted its first event of the circuit, with a win for Wilhelm Genn (GER) aboard Eduardo Leon’s Bugatti. Twenty-four entries started over the first round track, with eight clear rounds, and four double clear. Genn and Bugatti clocked the winning time of 37.66 seconds. Jessica Mendoza (GBR) and Toy Boy finished second in 39.02 seconds. Andrew Welles (USA) rode Peter Welles’ Boo van het Kastanjehof to a third place finish in 39.81 seconds, and Jeffery Welles (USA) placed fourth in 41.19 seconds riding Herbert Sambol’s Broken Heart.

Wilhelm Genn and Bugatti

Wilhelm Genn and Bugatti. PC: Sportfot

The morning began with a win for Addison Gierkink and Kadley Holdings LLC’s Wisconsin III in the $15,000 Engel & Völkers SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. The $1,500 Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper speed class was next to go with a win for Catalina Peralta riding Wendy Peralta’s Conti. The $1,500 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumpers also competed in their speed class for week one, which saw a win for Isabella Russekoff aboard Lexus Arbuckle’s Castor van de Krananburg.

#WEF1: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramLive Results

Jumper Nation offers a dynamic array of engaging content custom curated for hunter/jumper enthusiasts. In addition to aggregated horse show news and results, we feature rider profiles, training tips, barn tours, style guides and much, much more, all complimented by a vibrant social media presence. Check us out today! 


Sunday Links from One K Helmets

If one is in search of extraordinary women doing extraordinary things, one need look no further than any old day at a horse trial. For the past 60 years women have been competing as equals with men in the equestrian sports and repeatedly proving what is possible, and the mares have been doing it even longer than that! Politics aside, our sport is an incredible haven for tough girls who do amazing things, and I’m proud to be apart of one of the most equal playing fields in the world. Go Eventing.

US Weekend Action:

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

Sunday Links

Women Win $75,000 Battle of the Sexes at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival

That Time a Guy Jumped a Single Upright Sword

The Internet Adores This Goat Farmer’s Slick Dance Moves

Fantasy Farm Thursday: Rent Your Fantasy by the Day on New App ‘Staller’

Dressage rider left with partially collapsed lung and lacerated liver after fall

Sunday Video:




Best of JN: 7 Things You Should Stop Saying to Your Trainer Immediately

Photo by Lorraine Jackson Photo by Lorraine Jackson

Trainers put up with a lot of characters, and they (generally) do it with an overflowing amount of grace. You know that one girl in the barn who just drives you up a wall if you have to spend so much as five minutes with her in the crossties? Your coach spends 2 hours a week with her in lessons. That’s not counting shows, scheduling, and pre and post-lesson chitchat. Your trainer is a saint.

To make sure you’re not the person driving your poor coach up a wall every week, refer to this handy list of things you must not and shall not ever say to your trainer.

“But Pat Parrelli says….”

It’s great that you study other training methods through books or TV when you’re on your own time – it means you’re curious and making an effort to do right by your horse. But spending time arguing with your trainer over methodology in a lesson is a road to Hell paved in Pat Parrelli books, and a waste of time. When you’re in a lesson, completely invest in the training you’re receiving, and then make a decision how to apply it to your overall training regimen. If you’re genuinely torn about something, set up a separate time to talk to your coach about your concerns and determine a path forward.

“I know you said I’m not ready for the 1.10s, but….”

Your trainer’s job above all other things is to keep you safe. Ranging from the sentimental reasons of them liking you to the financial reasons of what it would do to their business if you were seriously hurt. Your coach wants you healthy and they also want you to succeed. If Mama says you ain’t ready for the 1.10 division, you ain’t ready. Period. Try to remember the old adage that you should show one level below what you can comfortably school at home. If you’re frustrated by your inability to move up, sit down and make a specific game plan about what’s holding you back and what you need to do to resolve them. When you’re ready, your coach will get you there.

Dropping a Bombshell at a Show

Any bombshell. Horse related, coach related, totally not even remotely horse related – if it can wait, wait. No 18-hour day is more exhausting on a human being than a trainer at a horse show. They’re dealing with dozens of mini rollercoasters happening all around them relating to whatever just happened in the barn aisle, the warm-up ring, the officials’ office. Not just out of sympathy, but for your own sake in getting a positive response, save the big talks for when you get home.

“I just bought a horse! You’re going to love him.”

I’m guilty of this one, and trust me when I say that my coach was an angel for putting up with that situation for three years. If you’re in a training program with someone you like and trust before purchasing, DON’T GO IT ALONE. It’s worth whatever finder’s fee your coach requests to come along and help you find a horse who will fit your needs and help you make not just an emotional decision, but a rational one. Not to mention, they know how to find horses who may not appear in a sale ad, but are for sale to the right owner, and those are the gems.

“Can you take a quick video of me doing this whole course again?” 

I mean, in a pinch, whatever. Do what you gotta do. But personally, I hate that I lose a round’s worth of education from my coach while they jimmy with the phone or can’t really see what you’re doing through the tiny screen. If it’s really important to get something on film, plan ahead to ask a barnmate to come in for a class or a lesson and get the video so you get the benefit of the footage and also your trainer’s expertise. Or, better yet, go in on a motion tracking camera with your barnmates, such as a soloshot and never have to worry about getting the course on camera again!

“But . . . “

One of my first coaches in my young rider days gave me a brief and phenomenal piece of advice: Shut up and ride. 21st century riders are so conditioned to be multitaskers at home, in the office, while you drive places (YIKES) that we are positively experts at being in our own heads. You’ve got to shut down your argument center, your doubt center, your inner arbitrator and JUST RIDE. Absorb your instruction like a sponge, internalize it, listen to your trainer and your body and your horse’s motion and live fully in the present learning environment. Then go home and take notes about your lesson. Arguing in lessons or resisting ideas might be slowing your progress and making tension when you could be sky-rocketing to not only success, but deeply internal satisfaction. If your coach is presenting an idea that you fundamentally disagree or struggle with, again, make time to talk about it out of the saddle and come to a consensus.

“Could you go out and take off Sally’s blanket when you get a second? Oh and give her her grain? Thanks!” 

We’ve all done it, and most trainers are happy to help out now and again, but if you’re making a habit of it, we guarantee your coach is simmering at least a little. How many students does your coach have? If they all asked him or her to do things like this every day, do you think any actual coaching would get done? This, my friends, is why the good lord invented poor working students and horse-hungry teenagers. It’s worth the $5-10 per chore to them and you to pay for a little service if you’re away and need a hand. It’s peace of mind for you, too, that it’s actually getting done.

If you feel like giving up any of the above statements will genuinely be to the detriment of your athletic career and ambitions, ask yourself if you’re with the right coach. These are mostly matters of trusting your trainer’s judgement and letting the process take over a bit. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, it’s worth pondering if the problem is them or you. Be the best Jumper Nation citizen you can be, and Go Jumping.

Jumper Nation offers a dynamic array of engaging content custom curated for hunter/jumper enthusiasts. In addition to aggregated horse show news and results, we feature rider profiles, training tips, barn tours, style guides and much, much more, all complimented by a vibrant social media presence. Check us out today! 


Sunday Links Presented by One K Helmets

Photo by Madison Gilbert via Instagram. Photo by Madison Gilbert via Instagram.

Will you take a gander at that darling face? Aber Oak is a Dutch Warmblood gelding who made his novice debut with rider and owner Madison Gilbert this weekend at Stable View, and the pair had a terrific event, finishing fourth in a big division on their dressage score. We love seeing promising ponies (with cute faces!) work their way up the levels from the ground up. Congratulations on a killer weekend, you two!

U.S. Weekend Action:

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

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

Sunday Links:

MMA Fighter Conor McGregor, Actor Jon Lovitz & the Weirdest Horse Race Promo Ever

Horses Survive Crash En Route to HITS Coachella

Equine Insurance for Dummies: An Introductory Case Study

10 Wicked Good Warm-Up Jams

The Event at Rebecca Farm’s Economic Impact Leaps to $5.5 Million in 2016

 Sunday Video:

Best of JN: Pro Groom Candace Green’s Trek to HITS Coachella

Photo courtesy of Candace Green. Photo courtesy of Candace Green.

Candace Green is a full time groom for Juniper Farms and two-time Olympian Jill Henselwood in Ontario, Canada, but for the next three months she’ll be performing her duties in Thermal, California for the duration of the HITS Coachella circuit. Candace has kindly agreed to share some of her experiences grooming for a world class pro. 

From Candace:

As the New Year starts, so does a new show season! While the rest of the countryside relaxes and enjoys the holidays, the grooms at Juniper Farms have been hustling hard. HITS Coachella is rapidly approaching and the farm is crackling with anticipation. After enjoying several months of turnout, hacking, and training, even the horses are anxious to get on the road.

Packing for a series like HITS Coachella requires some intense organizing. Endless games of Trunk Tetris have to be played to ensure all the equipment fits. The look on a groom’s face when they’ve finally wrestled the lid shut, only to realize they’ve forgotten a cooler or a set of boots would break your heart! The sheer volume of STUFF required to run a barn is pretty mind blowing. Our barn aisle looks a lot like a crowded flea market. Chest freezer? Fans? Trunks? Bikes? We’ve got all that, and more.

Photo courtesy of Candace Green

Photo courtesy of Candace Green.

Despite the crowded barn aisles and the empty tack rooms, it still feels surreal. In just over 24-hours, we’re packing up 14 horses and everything we own, and driving across the continent. It’s hard to believe that we’re going to be living in another country for the next three months.

My two coworkers have never driven long distances before, but there’s nothing I can say to prepare them for what they’re about to experience! Spending several days in a car with another person is a sure way to get to know them quickly, and thoroughly. It doesn’t take long for exhaustion and weirdness to set in.

Juniper Farms in winter. Photo courtesy of Candace Green

Juniper Farms in winter. Photo courtesy of Candace Green.

The journey is approximately 4,600 kilometers (around 2850 miles) from Juniper Farms to the HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California. Hauling horses is slow going, too – we’ll have two 24-hour layovers to rest the horses (and the humans!) in Lexington, Kentucky and Amarillo, Texas. We should reach our destination in about five days. The next time you hear from me, winter will be long gone. Sunny California, here we come!

Learn more about Juniper Farms here and Jill Henselwood’s legendary career and background here

Jumper Nation offers a dynamic array of engaging content custom curated for hunter/jumper enthusiasts. In addition to aggregated horse show news and results, we feature rider profiles, training tips, barn tours, style guides and much, much more, all complimented by a vibrant social media presence. Check us out today! 


Sunday Links Presented by One K Helmets

Photo courtesy of Sydni Nusink. Photo courtesy of Sydni Nusink.

It is -20 degrees in many parts of Utah and six or more inches of snow accumulated throughout the night last night, but that didn’t stop die hard eventers from showing up for the Wasatch Range Eventing Association Annual Banquet last night to celebrate an amazing 2016.

Subzero temps and dangerous roadways are no more a obstacle to us than sharing our XC venues with ropers and whatever random species of livestock they’re practicing on that week. We’ll get the job done and enjoy doing it. The WREA has been a vital partner to both schooling and recognized eventing in our state, and Utah would not have the burgeoning sport that we do if not for their leadership. It was a wonderful night to celebrate the accomplishments of so many hard working equestrians!

U.S. Weekend Scores:

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

Sunday Links

Jumper Nation’s 2017 Resolution: New Contributors Wanted!

Colic Surgery – Is it Likely To End the Careers of Sport Horses?

Tight Nosebands in Competition Rampant, Findings of New Study Suggest

How to Survive Winter Without Losing a Few Fingers

A Beach, a Sunset, and a Show Jumping Fantasy are the Perfect Saddle Pad Promo

Sunday Video:

Elisa Wallace’s Eventing Mustang ‘Hwin’ Immortalized as Breyer Model


It’s Hwin! Image courtesy of Breyer.

If you’re a die-hard fan of top American eventer Elisa Wallace and her charming BLM-adopted mustangs, you’re going to love today’s announcement: Elisa’s gray mustang mare Hwin has been made into a Breyer Horse model for 2017 collection.

Big news mustang fans…Hwin is officially a Breyer!


Posted by Wallace Eventing on Thursday, January 5, 2017

The gray Adobe Town mare originally came to Elisa as an Extreme Mustang Makeover horse, and Elisa quickly realized the incredible potential of the mare as an eventer. The 14.3 hand mare has a little extra height, huge scope, and lovely gaits, and Elisa knew right away that she couldn’t let the mare get away from her.

Elisa fundraised to be able to win the mare in the auction at the conclusion of the Extreme Mustang Makeover, and was successful in guaranteeing a long-term home for Hwin with Wallace Eventing.

Hwin–5weeks out of the wild.

Posted by Wallace Eventing on Sunday, November 2, 2014

In 2016, the pair successfully campaigned at the Preliminary level of eventing, and the mare isn’t done yet. The sky is the limit for little Hwin, but she’s already made a huge impact on the horse industry, as evidenced by her inclusion in the new Breyer collection. The model charmingly captures Hwin’s spitfire and stunning coloration and is sure to be a favorite of young and old Elisa fans alike.

You can buy the model directly from the Breyer website or at your local ranch supply or tack store where Breyers are sold.

Go Hwin, and Go Riding!

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Horse Nation.

Best of JN: Watch CNN’s Documentary on the 2016 Global Champions Tour and League

PC: Stefano Grasso/LGCT

PC: Stefano Grasso/LGCT

The Longines Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League are some of the most valuable and prestigious events you could hope to witness – not just in show jumping, but in any sport. With millions of dollars in prize money at stake, the best riders in the world are frequently on hand throughout the season to duke it out for individual and season-long championships.

The elegant and captivating style of showcasing the sport, the riders, and the teams has captured the attention of fans as well as mainstream media, and CNN produced an exceptional documentary on the 2016 season that you can watch here.

Despite legal disputes between the FEI and the Global Champions League regarding jurisdiction, exclusivity and oversight, the “home team” and head-to-head style of gamesmanship has been popular with audiences and digital viewers and appears to be slated for a comeback in 2017.

Get fully invested and stay in the loop on the 2017 season at the links below. We also recommend JN’s Top Ten Reasons the Global Champions League is Our New Favorite Sport to get acquainted with some of the GCL’s finer points.

GLOBAL CHAMPIONS TOURWebsiteFacebookInstagram, TwitterYouTube

GLOBAL CHAMPIONS LEAGUEWebsiteFacebookInstagramTwitterYouTube

Get More Hunter Jumper News at our sister site:



Sunday Links from One K Helmets


Photo courtesy of @eventing.hugo on Instagram.

Happy New Year EN! There were some highs and lows to 2016, but one die-hard eventing combination decided to end it with a thrilling bang: Abby and her OTTB Hugo earned their C-1 United States Pony Club rating on the very last day of the year! The muck, the cold, and the holiday hustle were no match for a dedicated Pony Clubber, and it’s downright uplifting to see a pair take the next step in their goals. Congrats to Abby and her posse!

Sunday Links:

No College Football on New Years Day 2017, Partly Because of Some Horses in 1893

Happy Birthday Nick Skelton! (AKA: Another reason to crack open the champagne)

and on a semi-related note:

‘Big Star’ Frozen Semen Now Available in the USA

Knighthood and Honors for Rio Equestrian Stars in New Year List

Horse Vets and Advocates Recognized for Their Equine Efforts

Watch CNN’s Full Recap of the 2016 Global Champions Tour and League

New Years Day Video:

I’m not even going to pretend to apologize or pretend like I didn’t watch this entire thing. (Also, YouTube asked me to tell them how old I was when I clicked on it, and I felt deeply judged. IT’S NOT IMPORTANT HOW OLD I AM, YOUTUBE.) And I need a Gold Valegro. Amen.



Best of JN: A Lesson with Grandad Nick Skelton

Screenshot via Facebook

Screenshot via Facebook

“Whoa, we’re going over the jump! Blimey, that was good!”

Olympic Show Jumping Gold Medalist Nick Skelton (GBR) is a busy fellow — nominated for Sports Personality of the Year by BBC Sports, being the man of honor at the Olympia Horse Show in London this week, and of course keeping up the marvelous string of his at the home yard.

But he is NEVER too busy for his adorable granddaughter, Flo. The darling little lady was granted a riding lesson from the man of the hour this week, and we get in on the fun. Certainly she’s destined for greatness when she has a world champion in her corner from the get-go, right? (You can really tell it’s in her veins by her completely half-hearted “whoa” before the poles. She didn’t want that pony to stop for all the rice in China.)

If Carlsberg did riding lessons. Flo gets a lesson from Grandad before he heads to Olympia. Lucky girl x

Posted by Grace Skelton on Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Go Skelton crew, and Go Jumping!

See more from the H/J Universe at our sister site www.JumperNation.com & follow them on Facebook.


Sunday Links Presented by One K Helmets

Pro Groom Malin Jonasson in her natural habitat. Photo by Terri Fitton.

Pro Groom Malin Jonasson in her natural habitat. Photo by Terri Fitton.

I always knew on some vague level that show jumping was more a year-round sport than eventing, but I never appreciated until recently to what extent. December is by far the slowest month I’ve encountered since taking the helm at our sister site, Jumper Nation, and by that I mean there’s only a five-star every weekend in ONE continent each weekend, rather than one on a few continents, or multiple events in one country.

This weekend, for example, is the Olympia London International Horse Show, and above you’ll see one of the dedicated grooms who lives on the road with her boss’s horses. Those grooms live, eat, breathe and fly with the horses in such tandem that only those brief, ferocious jump rounds separate one from the other. The connection between horse and rider is awe-inspiring, but hats off to the love between horse and groom.

Sunday Links

7 Fast Facts About the Olympia Horse Show in London

Study Team Pinpoints Mutation Responsible for Albino Donkeys on Italian Island

Christmas Dinner in Less Than 1,000 Calories? See How Jump Jockeys Do It

15 Impressively Artistic Clips to Leave Mere Mortals Stunned

Charlotte Dujardin’s Surprise Christmas Present: Her Very Own Valegro

Crossing the Barn Aisle – How Valegro’s Career Impacts Us All

Sunday Video:

Take an Insider Barn Tour with Dutch Olympian Alice Naber-Lozeman

Screenshot via YouTube.

Screenshot via YouTube.

Alice Naber-Lozeman and her longtime partner Peter Parker made their Olympic debut in Rio earlier this year and gained many fans with their scrappy performance in the process. Alice has truly worked her fingers to the bone to have it all – a thriving professional business and international string, a family (she has two young daughters with husband Gert), and a beautiful farm in her home country of the Netherlands.

Today, we get to take a behind-the-scenes tour courtesy of Dutch equestrian vlogger Feline de Jonge. (And don’t fret if you don’t spreken nederlands – there are subtitles!

The whole family is involved with the horse business (as you’ll see in the video), and the farm was originally owned by Alice’s in-laws, so it truly is a generational endeavor to go out and make the operation a thriving and happy success. Gert is also an international eventer who has represented the Dutch at the European eventing championships, and Alice’s father was a competitive eventer when she was growing up, so the sport was very much in her blood.

Along with the barn tour, Feline also includes some of the insider scenes of life on the Dutch Eventing Team while in Rio, which is a great deal of fun for any fan deep in the heart of the off-season. The Dutch certainly know how to bring life to the party!

Feline will be adding more to her vlog from her visit to Stal Naber-Lozeman in Biddinghuizen, and you can follow her YouTube channel here. You can also learn more about Alice’s Eventing School at her Facebook Page.

Go Alice, and Go Eventing!


Sunday Links from One K Helmets

I feel you, girl. Photo by Lorraine Jackson I feel you, girl. Photo by Lorraine Jackson

I’m the proud mother of a darling, copper-headed little toddler who spends her days watching a great deal of Show Jumping live streams in between episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Doc McStuffins. I’ve put my personal riding career on hold while I immerse myself in the journalistic side of the sport horse world and I’m beyond lucky that I get to take my family along for the adventure. It’s work from sun-up to sun-down wrangling people and a writing career, but today I was rewarded with the ultimate prize: a toddler neigh. When a horse appeared on the TV screen today, a tiny crooked baby finger appeared, babbling and squealing before turning to me and giving her best neigh and snort impression. In other words, Christmas came early in the Jackson house.

Sunday Links:

British Equestrian Sport Loses £2 Million Ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Hannah Francis Wins Helen Rollason Inspiration Award

Canada’s Eric Lamaze Wins Redemption and IJRC Final in Geneva

Kent Farrington and Creedance Victorious in Opening FEI Class at CHI Switzerland

Researchers Show It’s Possible to Describe the Facial Expression of Horses

Horses and Their Technicolor Dreamcoat: Colorful History Unveiled by Researchers

Sunday Video:


Best of JN: Lorenzo de Luca and Abdelkebir Ouaddar Charm Paris to Their Feet


Lorenzo de Luca of Italy. Screenshot via YouTube.

The Laiterie de Montaigu Trophy at the Longines Masters in Paris was not supposed to be the highlight class of the night, and the showdown came down to two somewhat unusual suspects. Champions like Kent Farrington, Daniel Deusser and Christian Ahlmann struggled to make an impact in the five-star class, bringing down bogey fences and struggling in a tricky triple down the long side. But highlight it was, as the handsome and soft spoken Lorenzo de Luca of Italy and the charismatic Abdelkebir Ouaddar of Morocco duked it out in a top two showdown separated by mere tenths of a second in the jump-off.


Lorenzo de Luca and Limestone Grey. PC: Sportfot, Courtesy of Longines Masters

Course designer Uliano Vezzani designed a class with a tough time to make, several tight turns, and long gallops that favored forward horses willing to leave out a stride here or there but could come back and tackle the massive triple near the end of the course. Only four of 47 starters would survive the first round with double clear scores: Lorenzo on Limestone Grey, Abdelkebir aboard Quickly de Kreisker, veteran Brit John Whitaker on Argento, and France’s Maelle Martin and Giovani de la Pomme.

The jump-off was a stunner of a show with plenty of opportunities to take risks; John Whitaker and Maelle Martin both brought down rails in the process, which ultimately left John in third with 38.49 and Maelle on a 39.39. Lorenzo and his stunning grey set the pace when they came in first and lit the ground afire with their fervent but graceful clear on an incredible 34.06.

Abdelkebir was the last to enter, and he rode magnificently hard and well to put all the pressure he could on the score of Lorenzo. He tipped the timer at 34.67 seconds to take second, but still beamed with pride and delight for the uproarious crowd that gave his gutsy ride and showmanship a standing ovation.


Abdelkebir Ouaddar. Screenshot via YouTube.

All four finalists received a warm reception in the victory gallop, and the Parisians made it clear they appreciated the win and near win by the up and comers on Masters weekend.

Lorenzo began riding at the age of nine, and was completely hooked, despite having no family upbringing around horses. “I always loved horses, even though none of my family ride. When I eventually got one I never got off.” Lorenzo now rides at Stephex Stables in Wolvertem, Belgium. He rides in an Italian Air Force uniform as an ambassador for the Italian government.

Abdelkebir recently made his Olympic debut at the Rio Games, and had the distinct honor of being flag bearer for the nation of Morocco in the Opening Ceremonies. Abdelkebir learned to ride as a boy with the Moroccan Royal Family. “I was raised as her own son by Princess Lalla Amina of Morocco.”

He started riding competitively at age 14. The King of Morocco, King Mohammed VI, owns the horses Ouaddar uses for training and competitions, and is an aid during his international travel. “King Mohammed VI puts everything at my disposal to make me feel at ease. First class tickets and everything you need. I’m really lucky, I can say that I am treated like a king too.”

#LonginesMasters: WebsiteFull Rider ListLive ResultsFacebookInstagramMasters TV

Top Ten:top-ten-lorenzo

To read more news from the Hunter Jumper universe, please visit:


Sunday Links Presented by One K Helmets

How to know you're best friends? By wearing matching One K Helmets! Photo courtesy of One K Helmets Facebook Page. How to know you're best friends? By wearing matching One K Helmets! Photo courtesy of One K Helmets Facebook Page.

Listen folks. Let the significant other buy your riding gloves, your winter socks and if you’ve done a fair amount of training on them about sugar content and the benefits of flax, your horse treats. But buy your own helmet this holiday season, aight? No one can know the intimate details of noggin shape, size, sweat pattern and color scheme better than you. It’s personal. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, all I want for Christmas is a One K Defender Suede Glitter Helmet in Brown, size 7 & 1/8. Tip your writers.

U.S. Weekend Action:

Sporting Days Horse Trials [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Sunday Links:

 Kevin Staut Magnifique, Mclain Ward Third in Paris Longines Masters Speed Class

Bye Bye WEG: FEI Quietly Kills the Show Jumping Final Format

10 Hidden Costs of Show: What No One Tells You Until You Get Your First Bill

Under Pressure: Warning Signs to Heed When Your Saddle Isn’t a Good Fit

USDF Held Their Annual Awards Banquet in St. Louis This Weekend – See the Action Here

Sunday Video: A shout out to my dear friend Beth Siron and her mount Clever Concept, who this weekend were awarded by the USDF for being the top Training Level OTTB combination in the country. She’s put in the work to turn him into a lovely horse on the flat, and I can’t wait to see where this pair goes. Congratulations, friend!