Articles Written 247
Article Views 535,707

Maggie Deatrick


ENBadge Become an Eventing Nation Blogger

About Maggie Deatrick

Latest Articles Written

Wednesday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Stylin' in Aiken. Photo by Maggie Deatrick. Stylin' in Aiken. Photo by Maggie Deatrick.

One of the toughest things about winter for me is the absence of horses. I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to board with a wonderful barn and more lucky still to have the means to send my boys south when my barn migrates down to Aiken for twelve weeks. On the one hand, it’s nice to be able to live a little less structured, be able to put in long hours on a project to earn recognition and spend all my waking weekend hours vegging out in my house with my husband. On the other hand, not knowing what is going on with their training on a daily basis drives me a little bit nuts and every text and photo gets way more attention than it really deserves. Still, absence and idleness rekindles my competitive fire so I’ll be ready to hit the ground running in April.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Re-live William Fox-Pitt’s keynote speech from the USEA Convention. If you couldn’t make it down to Tamp for the USEA convention last December, the USEA wants to make sure you don’t miss what he had to say. Since watching this video means I didn’t have to be taunted by the Florida beach while it rains down buckets, I’m game. [WFP Recounts His Remarkable Recovery]

Tattersalls will be holding a Young Event Horse Qualifier. The Tattersalls July show, which currently consists of show jumping, in-hand and ridden showing, working hunter, and side-saddle classes, will now add the qualifier open to four and five-year-old horses who aim to qualify for the Dubarry Young Event Horse Championship held concurrently with Burghley. [Tattersalls]

Badminton is the gold standard for scary looking fences. Horse & Hound has compiled a series of the scariest fences Badminton has offered in it’s long history. Tiger traps, elephant traps, footbridges, and open rail oxers all feature prominently, as do giant ditches. [Badminton’s Hairiest Fences]

Eventing Podcast: Listener’s Choice. Do you have a trend you’d like the EquiRatings to dissect, examine, and expound upon? Are you curious about dressage session bias, or the comparative difficulty of making the time at different event? Let the ER team know! [Eventing Podcast]

SmartPak Product of the Day: If you have a horse who chronically loses his shoe, abscesses, or  requires hoof soak on a regular basis, rejoice! Woof has come up with this ingenious glove for a hoof, allowing you and your horse to breathe a sigh of relief as you soak their hoof easily, or save duct tape by the roll. [SmartPak]

Wednesday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Even aged champions like their breakfast. Photo via USEF High Performance FB page. Even aged champions like their breakfast. Photo via USEF High Performance FB page.

There is nothing better than a former champion living happily in a long retirement. Julie Gomena won the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 1994 aboard Treaty, pictured above eating his breakfast at a stately 31 years old. We owe so much to these horses who give us our hearts and the best years of their life, and they’ve earned their happy, lounging lifestyles. I don’t know many top riders who don’t have that horse they ‘owe everything to’ hanging out in one of their pastures, often babysitting some youngsters, other times just passing time with other famous pensioners.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Attention all Master Amateurs! In 2017, Stable View will be hosting, the Mary Alice Brown, DVM Amateur Master Rider Series, established by Lynn Coates Holmes. The series will honor the Amateur Master rider who has the lowest cumulative penalty score in 2 of 3 Beginner Novice events from the January, March, and June horse trials. [Announcing the Amateur Master Rider Series]

Think you’re up to coaching an international team of eventers? Today’s your lucky day, as Horse Sport Ireland has officially opened the search for a Senior High Performance Director, including the position of Chef d’Equipe. If eventing isn’t your thing, the same position is open for the show jumping team. Applications are due on January 23rd. [Horse Sport Ireland Moves to Recruit]

Jennie Brannigan’s string is on the rise. Thanks to a strong year from the younger horses in her string, Jennie walked away from the convention with $55,000 in grant money to further the career of her promising two star horses. After first riding at the three-star mount with her Young Rider mount Cooper, Jennie and Cambalda have dominated the level for years. Now she’s poised to step a whole new crop of talented mares up to the top with the help of a strong team backing her. [Ocala Rider Profile]

Eventing Podcast: Young Guns. In this episode, the EquiRatings team highlights young riders in various parts of the world who might be particularly prominent in the sport in the next few years. The premise is riders born in the 1990s and 2000s, which sadly cuts me out of the picture, but includes names like Caroline Martin and Jenny Caras. Of course, their European counterparts are particularly strong, so be sure to tune into the antics of the ER crew as they showcase the next generation. Also, Diarm eats his dinner. [Eventing Podcast]

SmartPak Product of the Day: In case you live under a rock, it’s been really, really cold lately. I am definitely on team ‘office job’ at the moment, although it did take the entirety of my morning commute for my truck cab to start warming up, by which point I had arrived. If you love your barn workers, working students, and generally any brave soul who cares for our boarded horses in the winter, you’ll buy them this heated bucket to make it through the winter. [SmartPak]

Wednesday News & Notes from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces

The first of the mini American Pharaoh's we'll be seeing this spring! Photo via Victor Espinoza's FB page. The first of the mini American Pharaoh's we'll be seeing this spring! Photo via Victor Espinoza's FB page.

With the advent of the new year, that means new Thoroughbred babies! While most of the world looks at these bundles of legs and wonders if they’ll be the next Triple Crown winner, I wonder if we’re looking at the next Donner or Courageous Comet. Dream big, little colt, whether it’s for your first career or your second.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Voting for USEF Equestrian of the Year and USEF International Horse of the Year closes at midnight EST tonight, and both Phillip Dutton and the HND Group’s Mighty Nice are up for a title. Votes from the public play an integral role in deciding who will win the titles. We freely admit to being biased and we think both Phillip and “Happy” deserve to win. So come on EN, take a few seconds and go vote!

Click here to vote for USEF Equestrian of the Year

Click here to vote for USEF International Horse of the Year

Because most Brits stay home for the winter season, they’ve developed some pretty good training methods for winter. Nicola Wilson, who events out of her family’s yard in Yorkshire, has a few tips she sticks to for the winter season. Developing a good base level of fitness, praising good behavior, and and lots of hacking on hits and river banks are amongst her top tricks. [Nicola Wilson: 9 Top Winter Training Tips]

Blog Rewind: The Plea of the Ruined Horse. Although it was written two years ago, the sentiments jumper trainer Rebecca Young is a good reminder as we bring in the new year. There’s always pressure to jump higher, show sooner, put square pegs into round holes. Sometimes our ambition gets in the way of what’s right for the horse. [Do Better]

Eventing Podcast: The 2017 Preview Show. In this episode, the EquiRatings team spends some time discussing who is hot for 2017, whether they are established four-star competitors or exciting three-star horses poised for stardom. If you haven’t started to tune into this series, you are seriously missing out. [Eventing Podcast]

SmartPak Product of the Day: With the so-called Great Migration well underway, all of our lovely, clipped horses are now headed for warmer climes…and sand. While sand is has the advantages of  brushing right off unlike mud, it can cause skin issues with some of the more tender-skinned horses. MTG is the absolute best for getting rid of rain-rot and fungus in my experience, and has the added bonus of smelling exactly like bacon. [SmartPak]

Wednesday Video: Why do top professionals choose footing from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces?

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

When the baby horse gives the trainer the gift of being a pig pen for Christmas. Photo by Bryn Byer. When the baby horse gives the trainer the gift of being a pig pen for Christmas. Photo by Bryn Byer.

Sometimes the warmer temperatures around this time of year feel like a relief after the first cold snaps of the season…and sometimes those warm fronts bring their frustrations in the form of mud. Everywhere. Thinking about clipping because the days are warmer? Too bad, you’ll spend the entire day rinsing off horse hooves and blankets instead of giving anything a proper bath and clip. Thinking about tacking up quickly? Forget it, you’ll spend 20 minutes trying to brush mud out of the hair between your horse’s ears. They’ll end up with mud in places you never believed could have mud. Aiken cannot come quickly enough!

News From Around the Globe:

It takes a really special horse to go from a winner at Royal Ascot to a high level para dressage mount. With Julie Frizell, a Grade IV British para rider in the irons, Namibian has done just that, qualifying for the championship twice in two years. The 17.2 hand son of Cape Cross won the classic Queen’s Vase at the Royal Ascot in 2011 before becoming part of Godolphin’s rehoming program. [From Royal Ascot winner]

Have you ever sat on a horse and just clicked with them? Blogger Paige Cade recently went to Frankfurt on a whim, part vacation and part wishful shopping. Knowing she couldn’t really fund the horse she was about to try, she tried to talk herself out of it the entire drive to the stables. She tried to find any fault with him to find a reason to walk away. After wistfully posting the video of him on social media, a couple of generous clients offered to become investors, and a dream became reality. [Unicorn Found]

A foundation in honor of Olivia Inglis has been established in New Zealand. Olivia tragically died earlier this year in a cross country accident, and Equestrian NSW created a scholarship fund to further the training end education of  young eventers. The fund raised over $167,000 and so a foundation was formed to manage the trust, with the added goal of investing in high-impact safety initiatives. [Olivia Inglis Foundation Established]



FEI Softens Stance on $1,000 Name Change Fee for Passports

Photo via the FEI Photo via the FEI

The FEI has softened a controversial name change policy implemented earlier this year, which charged a $1,000 fee for changing the name of a horse to anything other than the breed registered name and adding a commercial prefix or suffix.

The current FEI Horse Name Change Guidelines, which were updated on Aug. 1, 2016, now allow the use of a “National Sport Name.”  The following criteria define the National Sport Name of a horse:

  • The horse is not yet entered in the FEI Database.
  • The National Sport Name differs from the birth name.
  • Horses 7 years and older must have competed with the National Sport Name at national level horse trials for at least 12 months. Horses 6 years and younger are exempt from this requirement.

Under these conditions, the use of a National Sport Name will not incur the $1,000 name change fee.

Any complete change of name to a horse already in the FEI database will incur the fee, as will any commercial name. Commercial names include a company or brand, a stable, a group of people or an association, or a person. For examples, read the FEI Horse Name Change Guidelines.

Shortening a name will incur a $200 fee, as will adding breed association initials, non-profit association and non-commercial initials, and the breeding farm name or initials to a birth name.

Note that not all national federations have updated their passport applications to reflect this change yet, but the most current version of the guidelines are currently in effect.

[FEI Horse Name Change Guidelines]

EN’s Year in Review: Top Five Pairs in Show Jumping for 2016

This series highlights the top five horses and riders in each phase at the Advanced, three-star and four-star levels from 2016. While we often recognize greatness over all three phases in our sport, EN believes we should also recognize strength in each phase. This series aims to give that recognition, highlighting horses and riders who have had particularly strong years in one phase.

We’ve already looked at top cross country horses and dressage powerhouses among the American and U.S.-based horses. Today we pay tribute to the top five show jumping horses of 2016.

To be considered for EN’s Top Five, we first began with horses with at least three show jumping rounds at this level who had no rails the entire year. We then ranked the horses according to the number of rounds that were jumped clear, with the horses who jumped the most clear rounds ranking higher.

Then the level of competition was considered, and the horses tied for number of runs were ranked according to the level of their CCI (or if no CCI was completed). Finally, if a tie still existed, we turned to time penalties, using that as the final tie breaker. Here we go!

Heather Morris and Charlie Tango. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Heather Morris and Charlie Tango. Photo by Sally Spickard.

FIFTH PLACE: Charlie Tango

Jump Penalties: 0

Time Penalty Average: 0

Number of Rounds: 4 (No  CCI)

As the only freshman horse at this level on the list, Charlie Tango displayed an impressive ability for the show jumping phase this year for a horse at such an early place in his career. He proved he could show jump both before and after the cross country phase, finishing the year with absolutely no faults in this phase with Heather Morris in the irons.

Right off the bat, this young horse proved he could jump after cross country with a double clear round in the Advanced at Galway Downs in March. Two weeks later he clocked in a clear round prior to the cross country at Twin Rivers, followed by a double clear in his first CIC3* at Copper Meadows in June. He finished the year with another clear round at the fall edition of the Copper Meadows CIC3*.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Jenni Autry.

FOURTH PLACE: Cooley Cross Border

Jump Penalties: 0

Time Penalty Average: 0

Number of Rounds: 4 (1 CCI3*)

In just his second year at the level, Cooley Cross Border managed to improve upon his almost flawless record from 2015, which included only two instances of one lone time penalty. This year, he continued his remarkable string of clear rounds and this time did it double clear each time. He has yet to have a rail at this level in his entire career.

Although he didn’t compete at this level until Millbrook, Cooley Cross Border put in a strong statement by delivering in a double clear round after running cross country. He and Kim Severson repeated that feat at the American Eventing Championships before heading to Morven Park CIC3*, where he jumped double clear again, this time before cross country. These two rounded out the year with a strong double clear at the Fair Hill CCI3* for the second year in a row.

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica. Photo by Jenni Autry.


Jump Penalties: 0

Time Penalty Average: 0.25

Number of Rounds: 4 (1 CCI4*)

Veronica’s strength in this phase is long established, last having dropped a rail in 2014. Although she is careful, she does incur a very occasional time penalty on her otherwise perfect record. Starting with the Advanced at Red Hills, Veronica proved jumping after the cross country phase was no issue, winning the division clear and inside the time. She then repeated that feat at The Fork CIC3*.

Then at Rolex CCI4* Lauren Kieffer and Veronica put in a very clutch clear round with their only time penalty of the year on a day when many rails fell. Their final show jumping round of 2016 came at Great Meadow CICO3*, with a double clear helping seal the deal for a team spot for Rio.

Lillian Heard and Share Option. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Lillian Heard and Share Option. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

SECOND PLACE: Share Option

Jump Penalties: 0

Time Penalty Average: 0

Number of Rounds: 4 (1 CCI4*)

Like Veronica, Share Option is an extremely experienced horse with established strength in the stadium phase. With the same number of clear rounds this year and both completing a CCI4*, Share Option gained his edge over Veronica with a record completely devoid of either rails or time penalties.

Lillian Heard and Share Option started the year out early at Pine Top Advanced with a clear round before cross country. At Carolina International, he repeated the double clear after cross country in the Advanced division. Next up was The Fork, where he again jumped clear in the Advanced before repeating the feat at Rolex.

Colleen Rutledge and Escot 6. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Colleen Rutledge and Escot 6. Photo by Jenni Autry.


Jump Penalties: 0

Time Penalty Average: 0.29

Number of Rounds: 7 (1 CCI3*)

Escot 6 tops our show jumping list this year thanks to a prolific season of clear rounds. Although his record isn’t completely pristine due to two time penalties in one of his rounds, he still has two more clear rounds inside the time than his nearest competition.

Escot 6 and Colleen Rutledge began the year with clear round at Pine Top CIC3* before heading to Carolina International CIC3*, where they jumped a clear round but incurred two time penalties, their only penalties in this phase all year. They returned to staying inside the time at The Fork CIC3*

At Richland Park CIC3*, Escot 6 proved he could also jump a clear round after cross country. The mud at Morven Park CIC3*, the length of the Fair Hill CCI3* course and the grind of a long season at Ocala Jockey Club CIC3* all proved no match for him, as he churned out three additional double clear rounds.

Wednesday News & Notes from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces

Jack the Elf has this grid thing down. Photo via Destination Farm FB page. Jack the Elf has this grid thing down. Photo via Destination Farm FB page.

The Elf on the Shelf has become an ubiquitous holiday tradition in many households, with everyone trying to top each other for creative and inventive ways in which to pose Santa’s little helper. My favorite has to be the Destination Farm Elf on the Shelf, who joins in clinics, jump shows, and farm potlucks with apparent enthusiasm for his barn family.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Christmas, obviously.

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

The USEF has proposed a significant rule change to fence construction to improve safety. Thanks to the studies implemented by the USEA and fundraising efforts, research now indicates that impact on the front rail of open oxers in either upwards or downwards force in the vertical plane can alter the trajectory and cause a fall. The USEA has proposed a new rule to the USEF that would require MIM clips on all front rails of open oxers and either MIM clips or reverse pinning on back rails. The wording of the rule does allow the development of future frangible technologies other than the MIM clip to be used once developed. [US Proposes Extraordinary Rule Change]

If you’v ever wanted a backstage seat to a four-star, here’s your chance. Horse & Hound is offering a chance to win press accreditation to the Badminton CCI4*. Potential photographers must submit three photos to be evaluated and a winner will be chosen to receive the press pass. [Taken a Great Eventing Photo?]

Daniel Clasing and Kaitlin Spurlock are tackling a topic often ignored. While most eventers go after already broken horses for their sport horse prospect, the popularity of the unbroken sport horse is growing daily. Daniel and Kaitlin discuss some strategies for using groundwork to establish a relationship with your young horse. [Establishing a Relationship]

SmartPak Product of the Day: It’s time for the great migration south, which means everyone should make sure all of their travel gear is in order. One of my requirements for long trips is for my horses to wear a fly mask to protect their eyes from any bits of hay or straw that might get whipped through the wind. With one horse who can get a bit claustrophobic if I close up the trailer entirely except for windows and vents, protecting those eyes is an absolute necessity. [SmartPak]

Wednesday Video: Why do top professionals choose footing from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces?

Good Footing – Attwood Equestrian Surfaces from Bold Horse Media on Vimeo.

EN’s Year in Review: Top Five Pairs in Cross Country for 2016

Welcome to the second post in our series highlighting the top five horses and riders in each phase at the Advanced, three-star and four-star levels from 2016. Recently we highlighted the top five dressage powerhouses among the American and U.S. based horses. Today we pay tribute to the top five cross country horses of 2016.

To be considered for EN’s Top Five in this category, we first began with horses that completed every cross country round they started and incurred no jump penalties or frangible penalties in any of their starts — in other words, a perfect jump penalty record for 2016. The horses also needed to have completed at least three cross country rounds this year, of which at least one must be a CCI, to be considered.

We then ranked the horses according to who averaged the fewest number of time penalties across the country.

Timothy Bourke and Luckaun Quality. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Tim Bourke and Luckaun Quality. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

FIFTH PLACE: Luckaun Quality

Jump Penalties: 0

Time Penalty Average: 5.73

Number of Runs: 3

This Irish duo has long been known for prowess on cross country, with Luckaun Quality’s enormous stride making it easy for this pair to lope across the country and still come home inside the optimum time. Although “Obie” ran only three times this year, he showed strong consistency in his pace.

Luckaun Quality began his season at the Carolina International CIC3*, putting in a solid run with 5.2 time penalties. He repeated his performance at The Fork CIC3*, again clocking in only 5.2 time. At Rolex in the mud, this horse demonstrated he had no problem with rough conditions, clocking in 6.8 time penalties, one of the faster rounds of the day.

Will Coleman and Tight Lines. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Will Coleman and Tight Lines. Photo by Leslie Wylie.


Jump Penalties: 0

Time Penalty Average: 4.70

Number of Runs: 4

Although the winner of the 2015 Fair Hill International CCI2* didn’t move up to the top levels until July, he made a statement with Will Coleman in the four cross-country rounds he posted in the latter part of the year. Beginning with 7.2 time penalties in a clear round at his very first CIC3* during Great Meadow, “Phish” then put himself on the map by throwing down a 3.6-penalty round in the mud at Richland Park CIC3* to take the win.

Next up Will took him to the Plantation Field CIC3*, where he eased up a bit for 8.0 time penalties before posting a double clear round in his very first CCI3* at Fair Hill International. Keep an eye on this one, folks.

Katherine Coleman and Longwood at Bramham International. Photo by Libby Law Photography

Katherine Coleman and Longwood at Bramham International. Photo by Libby Law Photography.


Jump Penalties: 0

Time Penalty Average: 1.60

Number of Runs: 6

One horse who may be flying a bit under the radar is Longwood, who is ridden by British-based American rider Katherine Coleman. Longwood spent the spring season competing in the U.S. before heading back to Katherine’s home base in England for the rest of the year.

Beginning with a smashing run of only 3.6 time penalties at Red Hills in the CIC3*, “Woody” emphasized his ability by then posting one of only three double clear rounds in the Carolina CIC3*. He finished up his American trip with another double clear round at The Fork CIC3*.

Back to England in May, Longwood continued his streak with double clear rounds at Houghton Hall CIC3* in May and Bramham CCI3* in June. This pair finished the year with a more sedate pace at the Gatcombe Park CIC3* in the Event Rider Masters division, clocking in 6.0 time penalties.

James Alliston and Parker. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

James Alliston and Parker. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.


Jump Penalties: 0

Time Penalty Average: 1.52

Number of Runs: 5

Parker once again demonstrates his incredible consistency across the country by placing second in our rankings for the second year in a row. Unlike last year, Parker did accumulate a few time penalties at the beginning of the year but finished it out in his typical style.

Beginning the year at Twin Rivers in the Advanced, James Alliston took an easier pace across the country to accumulate 4.0 time penalties. Next up was Parker’s sixth consecutive appearance at Rolex, where he posted yet another clear round with only 3.6 time penalties, tying for the fifth fastest round on a day when not one horse made the optimum time.

Parker then returned to his tradition of double clears for the remainder of the year, knocking off Rebecca Farm CCI3*, Woodside CIC3*, and Galway Downs CCI3* all without any cross-country penalties. This horse is a beast.

Mark Burke and Prince William. Photo by Tim O'Neal.

Mary Burke and Prince William. Photo by Tim O’Neal.

FIRST PLACE: Prince William

Jump Penalties: 0

Time Penalty Average: 0.0

Average Seconds Under Optimum Time: 5.00

Number of Runs: 4

Prince William made his first CIC3* start of the year at Rebecca Farm CIC3*, where he and Mary Burke put in one of only two double clear rounds of the division, six seconds under the optimum time. Mary then took Prince William to Aspen Farms for the Advanced division, where they won Prince William’s debut at the level the previous year. This year they again won after clocking in four seconds under the optimum time.

Next up was their first CIC3* win at Woodside, where Prince William came home five seconds within the time. At Galway CCI3*, Prince William put in his final double clear round of the year with a round five seconds under. Despite being withdrawn prior to show jumping, Mary and Prince William had a perfectly flawless year in the cross country phase.

Wednesday News & Notes from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces

This time of year should be easy and fun, with parties and candy and Christmas movies. While I do get all three, I also get dumped on at work since everyone else realizes they have to use their vacation or lose it before the end of the year. Meanwhile I use all my vacation time as any sane person would, going to horse shows throughout the year. Obviously my way is the right way but instead of sitting on the couch watching The Santa Clause and It’s a Wonderful Life while stuffing my face with cookies and eggnog, I am sitting at work stuffing my face with cookies and candy.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Trying to stay warm and dry is the only thing on the agenda.

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

With cross country on hiatus, we have to get our adrenaline inducing videos elsewhere. Enter the puissance competition. Horse & Hound has collected a set of videos representing the record help in Britain, the puissance wall record, the bareback puissance wall record, and of course, the infamous Chilean horse Huaso who holds the world record of 8′ 1″. [Nerves of Steel]

British Eventing has joined other national federations in banning non-protective headwear in the dressage phase. Although still legal in FEI competition, as in the United States, top hats and hunt caps will no longer be permitted for national level competitions in Great Britain. [British Eventing Calls Time]

Valegro may be retiring but don’t expect Charlotte Dujardin to sit on her laurels. With a whole string of horses coming up the levels, Charlotte is looking forward to proving she is capable of producing multiple team horses. While she admits none of them may ever top Valegro, she still has a busy schedule ahead as she aims to make the WEG team in 2018…and perhaps take the time to get married. [Charlotte Dujardin Looks Ahead]

Alan Davies has had the experience of a lifetime, traveling all over the world with Uthopia and Valegro. Alan has been able to watch not only the horses grow and change throughout their career but has witnessed Charlotte blossom from shy to self-assured as she became an Olympic champion. [Groom Spotlight]

SmartPak Product of the Day: For anyone who knows a horse crazy kid who is just itching to start riding, I’ve found the perfect gift! SmartPak bundles a helmet, paddock boots, and gloves all in children’s sizes together for one low price. This is the perfect start kit for a budding equestrian…although it may be prudent to get the permission of their parents first! [SmartPak]

Wednesday Video: Why do top professionals choose footing from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces?

Good Footing – Attwood Equestrian Surfaces from Bold Horse Media on Vimeo.

EN’s Year in Review: Top Five Pairs in Dressage for 2016

Welcome to our Top Five of 2016 series! Like last year, this series will highlight the top five horses and riders in each phase at the Advanced, three-star and four-star levels from 2016.

While we often recognize greatness over all three phases in our sport, we should also strive to recognize strength in each phase. This series aims to give that recognition and highlight horses and riders who have had particularly strong years in one phase or another.

Today’s Top Five will highlight the horses that had the five lowest dressage averages in 2016. To be considered for EN’s top five, the horse must have performed at least three dressage tests at these levels. All U.S. horses were considered, regardless of where they are based, as well as all horses who competed at least twice on U.S. soil.

These averages include Advanced scores that have been converted into FEI scores to allow for direct comparison. I’ve included the average in terms of both FEI and USEF scoring, but both scores include all Advanced/3*/4* tests from the year.

As a side note, nine American horses averaged below the all-important 45.0 mark this year. That’s down from 15 horses who dropped below 45.0 last year. However, another eight American horses have an average between 45.0 and 46.0, so the future looks promising.

Marilyn Little and RF Demeter. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Marilyn Little and RF Demeter. Photo by Jenni Autry.


FEI Average: 43.23

USEF Average: 28.82

Number of Tests: 4

Marilyn Little played it conservatively with her horses this year, competing the extremely experienced RF Demeter only four times. Aiming big with Rolex CCI4* as their first start at the top level for the year, they followed that up with a second place finish at Great Meadow CICO3* and Fair Hill CCI3*, with a start at the American Eventing Championship sandwiched in between.

RF Demeter began the year by putting in a personal best four-star score of 42.5 (FEI) at Rolex. Remaining extremely consistent, these two then scored a 43.8 (FEI) at Great Meadow and followed it up with a 28.0 (USEF) at the AECs. They ended the year with a score of 44.6 (FEI) at Fair Hill, ultimately putting them in second behind Marilyn’s second ride, RF Scandalous.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot. Photo by Jenni Autry.

FOURTH PLACE: Harbour Pilot

FEI Average: 42.91

USEF Average: 28.61

Number of Tests: 5

After a long hiatus, Harbour Pilot returned to the scene and proved he was better than ever. Harbour Pilot and Hannah Sue began the year by leading the field after dressage at Red Hill CIC3* with a score of 40.4 (FEI). After knocking out a 26.1 (USEF) at The Fork in the Advanced, they headed back to Rolex Kentucky and put in a solid 43.2 (FEI) in their first four-star start since 2014.

Harbour Pilot spent the rest of the year traveling overseas, starting with Aachen CICO3* in July, where he held up against overseas competition with a 45.6 (FEI). For his final start of the year, he knocked out a 41.7 (FEI) at Blenheim CCI3*.

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Jenni Autry.


FEI Average: 40.53

USEF Average: 27.02

Number of Tests: 6

Another horse who had most of 2015 off, Arthur was once again a familiar name on the scoreboards this year. In his first start of the year at Carolina CIC3*, Arthur ended up in a three-way tie for first place on a score of 43.4 (FEI). It was the highest he would score all year. Next up was The Fork Advanced, where he scored a 25.9 (USEF) in dressage before withdrawing prior to cross country. At Rolex CCI4*, he put in a 39.7 (FEI), only 0.2 points off his personal best at the level.

Taking the summer off, Allison waited until the AECs Advanced Championship to compete Arthur again, where they once again led after the dressage with a 25.3 (USEF). Following that, they contested the inaugural Advanced division at Stable View, scoring a 27.7 (USEF).  A run at the new Ocala Jockey Club CIC3* rounded out their year, where they scored a 41.7 (FEI) to tie for third place after dressage.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Jenni Autry.

SECOND PLACE: Loughan Glen

FEI Average: 40.18

USEF Average: 26.79

Number of Tests: 5

Loughan Glen slipped from the top spot this year after an uncharacteristic test at the Rio Olympic Games. Despite that, he performed consistently near or below his overall career FEI average, which is sub-40.

Clark first competed Glen at Belton CIC3* this year, putting in a slightly high score of 42.0 (FEI). They regained some of their swagger at Chatsworth CIC3* in the Event Rider Masters divisions with a 39.5 (FEI) before really hitting their stride at the Bramham CIC3* with a 36.5 (ERM). At that point, they made the trip over to American soil to take the win on their dressage score of 36.3 (FEI) from day one at Great Meadow CICO3*. As mentioned, a very surprising 46.6 (FEI) at the Olympic Games pushes their overall average into the 40s, leaving the door open for another to reign as top dressage diva of the year.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

FIRST PLACE: Fernhill By Night

FEI Average: 37.80

USEF Average: 25.20

Number of Tests: 5

This horse can throw down a test with the best of the best in the world. Although those tests did not translate into wins, Fernhill By Night gains the distinction of being the best American horse on the flat for 2016.

Liz Halliday-Sharp once again brought ‘Blackie’ over to America for the spring season, first contesting the Red Hills Advanced division with a 26.6 (USEF) on the flat. Next up was an Advanced division at The Fork, where they scored an astonishing 19.4 (USEF). At Rolex, Fernhill By Night performed a personal best of 43.0 (FEI) at the four-star level before withdrawing prior to cross-country.

Back in England, this pair continued to lay down sub-30 scores with a 38.9 (FEI) at Houghton Hall CIC3* and a 38.1 (FEI) at Burgham Market. His competition season ended there, as Liz spent the rest of the year recovering from a tragic fall that took the life of Blackie’s stablemate, HHS Cooley.

Wednesday News & Notes from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces

All the hooks for all the tack. Photo by Maggie Deatrick. All the hooks for all the tack. Photo by Maggie Deatrick.

I’ve spent a lot of time, effort, and trips to the hardware store over the past month in an attempt to alter my trailer tack room so it no longer had only six measly hooks. And behold! Victory is mine! I have finally unlocked the secret to adding hardware to the trailer: self-drilling sheet metal screws and a well-charged power drill. My trailer now has twenty-two useful hooks and there are plans in the works to add more hooks, baskets, and grommets on the other unused walls.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

That’s a wrap for 2016! The only thing to occupy you this weekend is…

USEA Convention [Website] [Schedule]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Watch out dressage divas, Blackie is back! Fernhill By Night is back on American soil for his yearly dosage of sun and sand. Generally a polite soul, Blackie nonetheless knows he is the master of his domain, and apparently never lets you forget to feed him…even if you already have. [Behind the Stall Door]

If you were wondering why Boyd and other top riders were taking a turn behind the bar at the AECs, wait no longer! The answer is the “Buy a Donkey a Drink” fundraiser run by Brooke USA. Top riders took turns bartending to raise money to buy troughs for donkeys in Ethiopia, where troughs are being built to give working equines lifetime access to water. [Boyd Buys a Drink]

In case you missed it, don’t expect to see Zara Tindall competing next spring. Zara is expecting her second child, and as a member of the Royal family, we can shortly expect to see the mainstream media start to speculate on the size of her baby bump. Zara’s first daughter, Mia, was born before Zara and High Kingdom represented Great Britain at the World Equestrian Games. [Zara Tindall Expecting Second Child]

The USEF George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Sessions are practically their own holiday tradition. Held in the days just after the new year and streamed live on the USEF Network, the sessions were once chance to see The Master in his element, shaping and molding (and yelling at) the next generation of riders. Although George Morris no longer runs the sessions, the quartet of clinicians teaching this year include Anne Kursinski, Beezie Madden, Lauren Hough, and Laura Kraut. [USEF Announces Riders and Clinicians]

SmartPak Product of the Day: There’s still plenty of time to buy those gifts for your friends, barn family, and trainers! SmartPak continues to run a 15% off sale, and has plenty of gifts available. For instance, this Rambo throw allows you to match your horse, just as you’ve always dreamed! If you bring it to the office, you can be reminded of your dapper pony every time you use it to warm your lap. [SmartPak]

Wednesday Video: Why do top professionals choose footing from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces?

Good Footing – Attwood Equestrian Surfaces from Bold Horse Media on Vimeo.

FEI Unveils New Four-Star Dressage Tests for 2017

Photo by Leslie Wylie. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

After eight years, two World Equestrian Games, two Olympics, and dozens of four-star events with the 2009 FEI 4* dressage tests, the FEI has finally rolled out new 4* tests for 2017. You can find the new 2017 FEI 4*-A test here and the 2017 FEI 4*-B test here.

The new tests feature many of the same movements as before, strung into new sequences. In the trot, riders will still need to contend with shoulder-in on the centerline or quarter-line, eight-meter circles, and medium and extended trots. The half-pass in trot receives a bit more emphasis in the 2017 A test, now requiring horses to traverse across three-quarters of the arena width instead of only half. However, they are given an extra letter in arena length to accomplish this, so the angle of the half-pass does not change.

In the walk, the most significant change is the omission of the half-pirouette. Introduced to the horses first as turn on the haunches in the 2* tests, the half-pirouettes feature prominently at the 3* level now. However, neither of the new 4* tests require this movement.

The most surprising changes come in the canter tour. Previously, both tests featured the counter-canter heavily, utilizing 2-loop, 3-loop, and 5-loop serpentines dotted with flying changes to demonstrate self-carriage and obedience. Counter-canter is a movement heavily emphasized for eventers, beginning in the Prelim tests and remaining a key part of the tests as they rise through the levels. However, the 2017 4* tests have absolutely no counter-canter work.

Instead, the new tests rely on featuring the flying change in varying degrees of difficulty. In addition to the traditional short diagonals with flying changes over the centerline, the A test showcases flying changes off the medium and extended canter diagonals while the B test introduces a flying change straight on the quarterline following a half-pass across three-quarters of the arena. Straightness and obedience will be key to executing these new changes with high scores.

Finally, a 20-meter circle at the canter “allowing the horse to stretch forward and down” will be part of both new tests. Although riders are familiar with the ‘stretchy circle’ at the trot in the Training level tests, the ‘stretchy circle’ at the canter has not yet been part of our tests.

Rolex will be the first four-star to implement the new tests. Stay tuned later this week for a sneak preview of Marilyn Payne’s take on the new tests at the USEA Convention.


FEI Releases 2017 Rules for Eventing

Photo by Eric Swinebroad Photo by Eric Swinebroad

The FEI has quietly released the new Rules for Eventing for 2017. For those who have memorized the rulebook word for word, you can check out the clean version here. If you’re like most people and need to see the red mark-ups to fully catch all of the changes, the marked-up version is here. All FEI eventing rules can be accessed at this link.

While there are several minor changes, we are outlining the highlights in this post. We strongly recommend that each rider read through the rules themselves.

WEG Moving to Three-Star Cross Country

Following the recent decision at the FEI General Assembly in Tokyo to codify the Olympics as four-star level for dressage and show jumping with a three-star technicality level over a four-star length course for cross country, the FEI has officially followed suit for the World Equestrian Games.

This means that the 2018 WEG in Tryon, North Carolina will become the first world championship venue to officially run in this format, followed by Tokyo in 2020. Additionally, only a maximum of five athletes from each nation will be allowed to ride, instead of the previous six. Teams will still consist of either three or four riders, unlike the new format for Olympic teams.

What does this ultimately mean for the sport? The CCI4* level will now be the pinnacle of eventing. Without championships at the highest level difficulty of the sport, will less of an emphasis be placed on team competitions? Will riders maintain horses for teams separately than horses for four-stars? Tell us what you think in the comments below, EN.

Tighter Requirements for MER Qualifications

The FEI has also updated the requirements for obtaining an MER (Minimum Eligibility Requirement) at international events. Previously, the MER requirements were the same for all levels and were as follows:

  • Dressage: Score 75.0 or below (This is equivalent to a 50% score for pure dressage.)
  • Cross Country: No jump penalties, and no more than 90 seconds over the optimum time (90 seconds over equates to 36.0 time penalties. The activation of a frangible pin for 11 penalties still resulted in an MER.)
  • Show Jumping: No more than 16 jump penalties. Time penalties not taken into account.

The new MER requirements will be:

  • Dressage: Score 67.0 or below. (This is equivalent to a 55% score for pure dressage.)
  • Cross country: No jump penalties. The activation of a frangible pin for 11 penalties may still obtain MER. For three-star and below, no more than 75 seconds (30.0 time penalties) over the optimum time. For four-star, no more than 100 seconds (40.0 time penalties) over optimum time.
  • Show Jumping: No more than 16 jump penalties. Time penalties not taken into account.

These new requirements will go into effect for 2017; all MERs obtained in previous years will be counted according to the rules in place at that time. Riders will not lose any previously earned MERs.

Missing a Flag on Cross Country

After a series of high-profile eliminations due to missing a flag over the past two years, the FEI has implemented what it hopes will be a solution to the issue. Previously, missing a flag on cross country resulted in elimination from the event. Riders were permitted to stop and ask the fence judge if they had made it inside the flag and could re-present for 20 penalties, but the fence judge could later be overruled by officials.

Under the 2017 rules, missing a flag will now incur 50 jumping penalties, not elimination. If a riders are unsure whether they made it inside the flag, they may continue on and risk incurring 50 penalties if the officials determine the horse’s shoulders were not inside the flag.

Alternatively, riders can still re-present to the jump or jump an option, incurring 20 penalties. The second option allows you to use the competition as a qualifier for a higher level if no further stops are recorded; incurring 50 penalties for a missed flag will not secure a qualifying score.

Additionally, asking for clarification of jump penalties from the fence judge is now considered unauthorized assistance and is no longer permitted.

Indoor Eventing Rules Created

The FEI has brought indoor eventing under its umbrella with the addition of Annex I: Indoor/Arena Cross Country Rules. Indoor eventing will now be classified as an FEI-sanctioned eventing class if it is held as part of an FEI jumping or dressage indoor competition.

Under the new 2017 rules, only Category A or B athletes may participate in FEI-sanctioned indoor eventing competitions. Lower categories will be permitted if the rider has obtained three MER qualifications at the three-star level in the two years prior to the class.

Cross country obstacles at FEI-sanctioned indoor eventing competitions will be limited to two-star size and difficulty. Speed, distance and the number of efforts will be adjusted based on the size of the arena. Officials must include a listed FEI eventing judge, and the course must be designed by an FEI 3/4* eventing course designer.

Other Rule Changes

  • Definite entries for FEI events must be made no later than four days preceding the beginning of the event. This will be the final selection of horses and riders participating. For championships and CIOs, substitution of horses or riders may only be done in accordance with the rules for those championships.
  • To be promoted to FEI 3/4* judge or technical delegate, officials must now have judged at an event outside of their own country during the previous two years.
  • At CIC events when there is no formal first horse inspection, the horses must jog briefly during the in-barn examinations.
  • It is no longer a requirement that the dressage ring be closed during each dressage test at FEI competitions.
  • Rowels on spurs may now be vertical as well as horizontal.
  • Body protectors are required any time a cross-country fence is jumped on competition grounds, including during schooling.

What do you think about the new rules, EN? Do you like the new requirements for MER qualifications? What about the reduced difficulty on cross country for WEG? Will the implementation of 50 penalty points for missing a flag work well? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

[FEI 2017 Eventing Rulebook]

[Full listing of all FEI rules for Eventing]

Wednesday News & Notes from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces

Christmas in Middleburg parade in 2012. Photo by Maggie Deatrick. Christmas in Middleburg parade in 2012. Photo by Maggie Deatrick.

If you are anywhere within driving distance of Middleburg this weekend, you should absolutely check out the festivities for Christmas in Middleburg. Featuring a tree lighting, a parade with a full complement of foxhunters and hounds, and a pageant on Sunday, it’s an absolutely surreal experience. I was lucky enough to be part of the crowds in 2012 and 2013, and absolutely loved every minute of it.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Moving day is here! Hawley Bennett-Awad has had a banner year thanks to gaining the ride on the feisty mare Jollybo, and it looks like the exciting news keeps coming. Hawley has announced she will be relocating to the Copper Meadows facility, a fantastic facility that hosts horse trials up through CIC3* a few times a year. [HBE to Relocate]

Stable View is kicking off its 2017 season by offering competitors a 30% discount on entry fees for all divisions at the Aiken Opener Horse Trials on Jan. 14-15, 2017. The Aiken Opener will run over the new cross country course as a one-day for Beginner Novice through Preliminary levels. Entries opened yesterday. [Stable View Aiken Opener Horse Trials]

And now, for your daily dose of cute. If you like photos of adorable Shetland ponies, today is your lucky day. The book ‘Shetland Ponies’ will be debuting at Olympia, and features photos of the furriest Shetlands imaginable in a 400 page book, along with their complete 2000-year history. [Sheltand Pony Book]

Best of the Blogs: Advice to Present and Future Barn Kids. Now headed off to college, Meghan Holland has made the most of her time as a working student. She’s listed a few (twenty!) tips for future working students. Quite honestly, almost every single one of her tips is quality life advice, even if you don’t have plans to become a barn fixture in the near future.  [Advice to Present and Future Barn Kids]

Tim Jones has spent his career making it work. As a hand therapist, Tim has found himself quite in demand throughout the years and eventually ended up in the eventing mecca near Frederick, MD. With the help of Sharon White and Tim Bourke, he recently competed at Intermediate for the first time with his horse Ironman, while also bringing his young horse Teflon up through the levels. All this while balancing a successful therapy practice and raising two kids with his wife. [Amateurs Like Us]

SmartPak Product of the Day: I’ve plugged these blankets before, and I’ll plug them again thanks to their amazing customer service. I bought my horse a medium SmartPak Ultimate turnout about six weeks ago. This weekend, it was absolutely destroyed. Thanks to the SmartPak 10 Year Guarantee on these blankets, they are replacing with a brand new blanket, absolutely free of charge. #worthit [SmartPak]

Wednesday Video: Why do top professionals choose footing from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces?

Good Footing – Attwood Equestrian Surfaces from Bold Horse Media on Vimeo.

By the Numbers: Ocala Jockey Club CIC3*

The stage is set for the inaugural Ocala Jockey Club International! Photo by Jessie Mazzoni. The stage is set for the inaugural Ocala Jockey Club International! Photo by Jessie Mazzoni.

Happy Thanksgiving, EN! Usually the U.S. season for the upper levels is complete after Galway Downs, but starting this year the Ocala Jockey Club is offering a chance for a final CIC3* run before the year’s end.

Being held over the Thanksgiving weekend certainly hasn’t deterred a healthy three-star field. With Mike Etherington-Smith designing the CIC3* cross country and Richard Jeffery creating the show jumping, Equiventures and the Ocala Jockey Club have really pulled out all the stops in order to create a world-class event.

Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The Field

  • The field consists of 22 horses ridden by 18 riders. Five riders — Buck Davidson, Leslie Law, Joe Meyer, Doug Payne and Ronald Zabala-Goetschel — have two mounts each.
  • Of the 17 riders, 15 (89% of the field) have completed at least one CCI4*.
  • Of the 22 horses, 10 (46% of the field) have completed a CCI4*. Two more have started a CCI4* but did not complete.
  • Five horses will be attempting their first CIC3*. Only one, Zach Brandt’s mount Vasiliev, has not yet run an Advanced horse trials.
  • Two horses are paired up with their riders for the first time at this level. Rubens D’Ysieux will compete with Sara Kozumplik-Murphy after previously campaigning under Mikki Kuchta. Leslie Law will take the reins on Charleston VI, who competed earlier this season with Lexi Scovil.
Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Dressage Divas

To no one’s surprise, Allison Springer and Arthur have the best overall dressage average in the field, averaging a 42.3. Although their highest score since 2010 (48.3) came doing this test at Carolina International in 2015, this pair is a solid bet to be leading the pack after the first phase.

Arthur’s closest challenger will likely be Carlevo. Buck Davidson stepped this horse up to the level last year, and while the cross country phase has been a work in progress, the flat scores have been there from the get-go. With an overall average of 43.5, Buck and Carlevo will be contenders from day one.

FE Bowman has a brief record at this level, having only started at two Advanced events, but he has averaged the FEI equivalent of 46.4 thus far. Clayton Fredericks will make sure this horse is a factor in the standings right from the start. This will be the horse’s first attempt at this particular dressage test.

Jon Holling and Downtown Harrison are definitely a threat to top the leaderboard after the first phase. With scores that range from high-30s to mid-50s, Downtown Harrison could be a wild card for a top placing after dressage.

Buck Davidson and Petite Flower. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Buck Davidson and Petite Flower. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Show Jumping Powerhouses

Petite Flower is one of the best show jumpers in the country, putting in clear rounds almost 80% of the time. With Buck Davidson in the irons, she’s competed at 11 shows where show jumping was held before cross country; 10 of those rounds were double clear.

Jon Holling and Downtown Harrison have had only one rail down in seven show jumping rounds at this level since 2013. That one rail came at Boekelo CCIO3* after a wet cross country day. With show jumping first up in the schedule, don’t expect to see a rail from these two.

Vandiver began his partnership with Doug Payne by racking up six double clear show jumping rounds in a row. Although their record since Rolex has been slightly marred by an occasional single rail, these two are still one of the best show jumping pairs in the field.

Escot 6 shines in the jumping phases, with show jumping leading the way. Although he and Colleen Rutledge occasionally had a rail during the first year of his Advanced career, he hasn’t touched a single pole at this level for the entirety of 2016.

Joe Meyer and Clip Clop. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Joe Meyer and Clip Clop. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Cross Country Machines

Petite Flower struggled at first at this level but turned it around completely in 2015, going clear in nine of her 10 runs since that time, including two Rolex completions. When Buck and Flower run clear, they run quick, averaging only 5.2 penalties over the optimum time. They’ve finished in the top two placings three of the four times they’ve run double clear across the country.

Joe Meyer and Clip Clop have one of the fastest average times across the country in the field, clocking in at only 6.0 time penalties when running clear, which they very consistently do. Although they ran double clear across the country for the first time at the Fair Hill CCI3* in October, they have averaged closer to 9.2 time penalties in CIC3* divisions.

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF are another very quick pair across the country, accumulating on average 7.2 penalties on a clear run. Like many of the pairs, their average CIC3* pace is slightly slower, but they have run double clear on multiple occasions.

Colleen Rutledge is known for her strong cross country game, and Escot 6 is no exception. Although a bit less consistent in putting in clear rounds than others horses mentioned, he nonetheless runs very quickly when he does come home with no jumping penalties, averaging 7.2 penalties overall. Although they’ve only run double clear once in the horse’s career at this level, they most recently came in only four seconds over the time at Fair Hill CCI3*.

When Doug Payne took over the ride on Vandiver nearly 18 months ago, he cautiously steered the horse through obtaining the necessary qualifications to compete at Rolex last April. After Rolex, Doug put the pedal down, and this pair have gone from an overall average of 8.4 time penalties in their time together to an astounding 2.0 time penalties in their last four runs. Keep a close eye on this pair for one of the quickest rounds of the day.

PREDICTED WINNER: Doug Payne and Vandiver

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Keep Your Eye On …

  • Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF
  • Buck Davidson and Petite Flower
  • Jon Holling and Downtown Harrison
  • Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie
  • Allison Springer and Arthur
  • Lynn Symansky and Donner

Wednesday News & Notes from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces

I couldn't help myself, this meme is hysterical. I couldn't help myself, this meme is hysterical.

I know Thanksgiving is not exactly about food, but really that all I think about. I spend most of the day thinking about how hungry I am and wishing it was dinner time. Then I eat, and think about how delicious food is. Then I am so full that I think about how I regret how much food I ate. Sound familiar to anyone?

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Ocala Jockey Club CIC & CCI  [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Thanksgiving means family, and there aren’t many eventers that don’t have a family member of the canine variety. This year World Equestrian Brands is sponsoring a contest for EN’s Thanksgiving Top Dog! So when you’re in your turkey coma, wake up long enough to snap a great picture of your canine companion in his own stupor. [Thanksgiving Top Dog]

Erin Rose is putting her psychology degree to good use. After two years working with adults with developmental disabilities, Erin was pondering a return to graduate school. Instead, a chance to be a groom for four-star eventer Jennie Brannigan fell into her lap, and Erin hasn’t looked back since. [Groom Spotlight]

Sibling rivalry is nothing new in horse sport. Most notable over here in America, we have Doug and Holly Payne, whose mother is the remarkable Marilyn Payne. Over in Britain, quite a few sets of siblings have figured out how to manage family versus competitive spirit, either working together or separately.  [Make Some Early Ground Rules]

As events around the world are upping their game, Badminton has promised £100,000 in prize money to the winner. That’s up from the £80,000 that Michael Jung won last year, while the total prize pot will increase to £360,000. Hugh Thomas, the Badminton event director, states that the prize money will be split down to 20th place, and all pairs who finish the event will receive back their entry fee plus a bit. [Six Figure Prize]

SmartPak Product of the Day: The SmartPak 25 Days of Christmas has begun! Yesterday the sale was Piper breeches, what will today’s product be? Sign up with SmartPak and get notified each day!  [SmartPak]

Wednesday Video: Why do top professionals choose footing from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces?

Wednesday News & Notes from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces

My lad's ears staring at the pretty tree in front of Windurra. Photo by Maggie Deatrick My lad's ears staring at the pretty tree in front of Windurra. Photo by Maggie Deatrick

One of the things I never had growing up in South Texas was a true fall, complete with changing colors in the leaves. We had a tree here or there that would fade to yellow, but nothing like the absolute vibrancy of the leaves up north. Now that I live here, I absolutely revel in the colors, even when they’re a bit late like this year.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Paradise Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Fresno County Horse Park H.T. [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Are you going to the USEA Convention? The discounted room rate for the Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood Hotel has been extended through Friday, Nov. 18. [Discounted Room Rate]

Behind the Stall Door revisits an old favorite this week. Shiraz was quite the world traveler back in his heyday but takes it easy these days by making faces at the goat. After a fabulous run at Rolex in 2015, Colleen Rutledge decided to retire him maybe a bit too early rather than a day too late. [Behind the Stall Door]

Prepare to feel all the feels. In advance of his retirement at Olympia, Valegro has gotten his very own tribute video. I’m sure Blueberry appreciates the sentiment, but the video is clearly as much for the fans as well as the team behind his success.  [One of the Greatest Creatures]

The Wobbleberries Challenge has raised more than £63,000 for charity. The challenge inspires self-described ‘middle-aged, wimpy riders’ to aim to compete their first event at BE80 (equivalent to our Novice) by the autumn of 2017. Registration is now closed and more than 1,200 riders have signed up to participate, raising money for Hannah Francis’s Willberry Wonder Pony charity. [Fantastic BE Boost for Wobbleberries]

SmartPak Product of the Day: If you’re in the market for a new set of boots, it’s time to jump on these Donatello field boots from Tredstep. Already marked down, you can save another 15% thanks to SmarPak’s Black Friday sale and get them for an absolute steal!  [SmartPak]

Wednesday Video: Why do top professionals choose footing from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces?

Wednesday News and Notes from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces

Doug Payne voted! Did you? Photo via Jessica Payne's FB page. Doug Payne voted! Did you? Photo via Jessica Payne's FB page.

It’s the day after Election Day 2016, which means if you’re in America, you’re suffering election hangover from staying up late to wait for results. Regardless of your opinion of the outcome, there’s one thing I think everyone can agree on: Thank God it’s over. No more signs. No more commercials. No more doorbell ringers or mailings or slips posted on your door. It’s done. It’s over.

At least until mid-terms.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Full Moon Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

River Glen Fall H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

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

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Oliver Townend picked up a remarkable win at Adelaide over the weekend. Although the age of catch rides at the CCI4* level are over, thanks to more stringent qualifying criteria, catch rides are alive and well at the CIC3* level. Oliver picked up the ride on Napoleon for the division from his friend Tim Boland. Despite only sitting on the horse three times prior to the event, Oliver was sitting in second after the first phase before putting in the only double clear show jumping round in the class. A strong cross country round then secured the victory. [Oliver Townend Winde Adelaide CIC3*]

Best of the Blogs: Two Ways Up the Levels. Through written by a dressage coach for dressage riders, Lauren Sprieser perfectly encapsulates the pros and cons of school masters versus green horses when trying to move up the levels. Despite what many think, buying a ‘made’ horse is no walk in the park for most young riders, but making your own horse is often no easy task either. The reality is that partnering with a non-human partner takes time and patience, regardless of their education level.  [Two Ways Up the Levels]

The ICP and YEH/FEH seminars have joined forces this winter. Held in Ocala each year, the ICP and YEH/FEH symposiums will now be held over the same dates to allow interested parties to participate and spectate at both rather than have to make two trips down south. Legendary Australian eventer Chris Burton will lead the ICP workshop, then will team up with Leslie Law for the YEH symposium. Irish producer Chris Ryan will lead the FEH seminar.  [Save the Date!]

SmartPak Product of the Day: Fall season is mud season which means my house, car, and trailer all tend to get coated in dirt. I highly recommend buying about three or four of these boot scrubbers and using upon leaving the barn, entering the house, or traipsing into the trailer before your spouse, roommate, parent, or significant other gets tired of vacuuming up behind you.  [SmartPak]

Wednesday Video: Why do top professionals choose footing from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces? David O’Connor explains:

By the Numbers: Galway Downs CCI3*

James Alliston and Parker. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld. James Alliston and Parker. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Although Galway Downs is no longer the final three-star of the year in North America, it is still the final CCI3* of the season. This year will be quiet for the CCI3* division, with only nine entries marking the smallest field since the inception of the CCI3*. This year also marks the first time that all of the competitors are based west of the Mississippi, with the furthest pair making the drive from Texas.

The dressage test will be 2015 FEI 3*-B. Ian Stark has designed the cross country for this division since its inception and will be back again this year. Marc Donovan has taken over the show jumping recently, allowing the competitors to get a taste of what he typically designs out east.


1. James Alliston and Parker: Parker is a horse who just keeps going and going and going at this level. Having completed an astounding 11 CCI events at the three- and four-star levels, he has yet to come home with the win. This weekend could mark his first big CCI win.

The key to winning will be to match the average score of 54.3 they’ve received in three attempts on this particular test, a score nearly seven points below their overall average. If they can put that under their belt, they’ll be in good striking position when they head into cross country, where they are all but guaranteed to come home double clear, as they have done in their last five attempts over Ian’s courses.

Show jumping can be a mixed bag for this pair as well, and they’ve averaged one rail in two attempts over Marc Donovan courses. It should be enough to eke out a win for this iron horse, with a final score in the high 50s.

Mark Burke and Prince William. Photo by Tim O'Neal.

Mark Burke and Prince William. Photo by Tim O’Neal.

2. Mary Burke and Prince William: Mary and Prince William are coming into this event after back-to-back wins at Aspen and Woodside. Having already finished 12th in this division last year, they come back more experienced and ready to aim for the top placings.

An average of 55.3 on this test would put this pair in stalking range after the first day. They’ll make up a lot of ground on the cross country, where an average of only 1.6 time penalties over Ian’s courses would propel them close to the top. An average of one rail and four time penalties in the stadium could make it a bit of a nail-biter on the final day. A final score in the mid-60s would cement a second place for this pair come Sunday.

Sara Mittleider and Gin N Juice. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Sara Mittleider and Gin & Juice. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

3. Sara Mittleider and Gin & Juice: With only two completed events at this level together, this pair’s three-star partnership is one of the newest in the bunch, but separately this horse and rider have more international experience than the rest of the field combined. As they get to know each other, they’ll begin to appear more and more at the top of the leaderboards out west.

These two have averaged a 51.8 on the B test, which would be good enough to challenge for the lead this weekend. An average of 12 time penalties over Ian’s courses would drop them down a bit after cross country day. Overall they’ve averaged one rail in two show jumping attempts at this level. A final score in the mid-to-high 70s would have Sara and Gin & Juice rounding out the top three.

Amber Levine and Carry On. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Amber Levine and Carry On. Photo by Leslie Wylie.


Amber Levine and Carry On: After parting ways on cross country at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International CCI3*, Amber has brought Carry On back to California to compete at Galway. When they complete all three phases, these two have never finished out of the top five at this level, more often finishing top two.

One of the top horses on the West Coast this year, Carry On will be back in familiar territory at Galway. With a dressage average in the 40s, he’ll be one to watch from day one. A strong record of fast cross country rounds paired with the fact that Carry On has yet to have a rail when show jumping is held on the final day means that this pair easily has the ability to take the win this weekend.

#GalwayDowns: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoresEN’s Coverage

Wednesday News & Notes from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces

Ashley Emersen Stanka embraces the Halloween spirit at Holly Hill. Photo by Ann McKnight Switalski. Ashley Emersen Stanka embraces the Halloween spirit at Holly Hill. Photo by Ann McKnight Switalski.

The above costume is particularly timely as we finally reach the last week of the 2016 presidential election. No matter what candidate you choose to vote for, it’s our civic duty as Americans to partake in the election process, so make sure that if you are registered, you vote! I always say, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the result, so vote if only to be able to voice your opinions for the next four years! And the biggest plus of ending the election? No more political ads in the mail, on the television, plastered on social media. Instead we’ll be inundated with Christmas season.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Rocking Horse Fall H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

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

Willow Draw Charity  H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

If you haven’t been able to catch Valegro in person, Olympia is your last chance. Horse and Hound is sponsoring a contest to give away two tickets to Olympia on December 13th and 14th to see Valegro’s retirement, along with various other perks. There is no cost to enter, but you must do so by November 6th. Travel costs are not included, but if you’re based in Britain or perhaps willing to cross the pond, this contest is for you. [Win Tickets to Valegro’s Retirement]

Volunteer extraordinaire Donald Trotter goes big with everything he does. After working for United Nations, Donald got into breeding after his wife introduced him to performance horses, breeding the Sunsprite horses often found competing on the West Coast. In 2009, he took his first stint volunteering as Ring Steward and now can be found traveling up and down the West Coast managing warm-up rings.  [USEA Volunteer of the Month]

SmartPak Product of the Day: This Rambo quarter sheet is hands down one of my favorites to use in the fall and winter after the horses have a clip. Stretchy, sturdy, an cozy, this sheet moved with the horse without sliding around. Traditionally offered in a striking striped pattern, it now comes in a solid navy color if stripes aren’t your bag.  [SmartPak]

Wednesday Video: Why do top professionals choose footing from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces? David O’Connor explains:

Wednesday News & Notes from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces

The mini-ons in the Breed Show at KY Horse Park are ready for Halloween! Photo via The Kentucky Horse Park FB page. The mini-ons in the Breed Show at KY Horse Park are ready for Halloween! Photo via The Kentucky Horse Park FB page.

And cue the adorable costumes! For the next few days I expect social media will be awash with photos of kids, ponies, dogs, and drunk people dressed up as things they are not. I have to admit to having occasionally used my top hat and shadbelly as a last minute costume when something came up last second and I had no other costumes handy. It’s a handy back-up for us equestrians in a pinch. Just don’t tell anyone you actually feel more at home in your tall boots than heels.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Viriginia CCI/CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

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

Holly Hill Fall H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Arbitrator Robert Armstrong has ruled that Equestrian Canada must pay Jessica Phoenix $35,000 to cover the legal costs incurred during her successful appeal to earn a spot on the Canadian Olympic team with A Little Romance. [Costs Award Document]

Plantation Field is looking for volunteers for their final event of the year. On October 29th, Plantation Field will be holding their October Starter Trials, with a Halloween theme! There will be a costume contest for the volunteers, so if you haven’t got any plans, we recommend volunteering your time. [Volunteer at Plantation]

In case you haven’t heard, Big Star is, well, a big star. The 13 year-old stallion won gold in Rio with British show jumper Nick Skelton this past summer and Nick describes how his partnership with the horse came to be. Big Star has his very own groom who exclusively deals with him, the prime stall in the yard, and owners who allow Nick to compete Big Star in the most beneficial ways possible.  [How Nick Skelton and Big Star Began]

If you’d like to become a licensed official, USEA has a 2017 schedule of training for you. With the group of licensed officials shrinking, the USEA is trying to increase the pool. Training sessions are set for next year, with locations in California, Georgia, and South Carolina. [Do You Have Dreams?]

Laine Ashker will soon be coming to an area near you! At least, she will be if you live in Area III. The Training & Riding Academy of Chattanooga is hosting her for a clinic on November 12th and 13th and spots are still available at Training level and above. If you’re interested and able in participating, contact Amy Vanner [email protected]

SmartPak Product of the Day: SmartPak is having a great sale that marks all SmartPak merchandise 20% off! It’s a great time to stock up on decent quality halters like this one. The padded leather means a nice soft crown for your horses and the adjustable nose makes for a versatile fit.  [SmartPak]

Wednesday Video: Why do top professionals choose footing from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces? David O’Connor explains:

Wednesday News and Notes from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces

Mad carving skillz. Photo via Destination Eventing's FB page. Mad carving skillz. Photo via Destination Eventing's FB page.

It’s the time of year where the master carvers set knives to their pumpkins, my waistline starts spreading due to my inability to save Halloween candy for Halloween, and scary movies on every channel leave me channel surfing for something that won’t leave me looking nervously over my shoulder. Oh, and I also saw Christmas candy on the shelves tonight as I wandered through the aisles of the grocery store in my breeches after an evening lesson. I won’t lie, I was tempted.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Waredaca H.T. & C3D [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Windermere Run H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

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

Fresno County Horse Park H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Midsouth CCI & H.T. [Website] [Ride Times]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Delaware Park is hosting an end of season clearance sale. Dubbed as the “End of Meet Showcase”, Delware Park will open its doors on October 23 to welcome buyers to look at more than 30 thoroughbreds who need new careers. Equine Vet Care of Fair Hill Training Center will have vets available for vettings, so if you’ve ever wanted to test the waters of buying directly off-track, now’s your chance. [Delaware Park offers Thirty Horses for Sale]

Meet Fleeceworks Royal, the recipient of the YEH grant to compete at Le Lion this weekend. This mare is the first Amer-can-bred recipient of the Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Le Lion d’Angers Grant, which offers the chance to compete at the 7-year old championships to the highest placed 5-Year Old YEH Championship who is qualified. A full sister to four-star mare R-Star, this gray mare was bred to event at the top levels.  [The Race to Le Lion]

Ever done something stupid, like forget the finish flags? You aren’t alone. Top British riders reveal what mistakes they’ve made and what they learned from them. Ben Hobday once again proves to be relatable, learning to respect each fence including the last after falling at the ultimate fence in his first Advanced.  [The Biggest Mistakes]

There’s nothing more frustrating than ending the season with a fall. Bill Levett, Laura Collett, Abigail Boulton, and others are all having to contend with that feeling of let-down when the final event of the season doesn’t quite go as planned. With a long winter ahead, it can be tough to reconcile that you won’t have another chance to go out and try again anytime soon. [I’m Actually Very Lucky]

Surefire Farm in Purcellville, Virginia will have an open schooling day on Saturday, Oct. 22. Come enjoy the beautiful fall weather and good footing to school the course this weekend! [Surefire Farm]

SmartPak Product of the Day: Did you know you could be veterinary elastic tape directly from SmartPak? Incredibly handy for re-bandaging any injuries the vet has had to patch up, you can now stock up online if you have an accident prone pony. [SmartPak]

By the Numbers: Dutta Corp Fair Hill International CCI3*

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Jenni Autry. Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Jenni Autry.

It’s unbelievable that we’re already at Fair Hill again, with a chill in the air and the leaves beginning to fall. There’s a palpable level of excitement in the air every year for this event, perhaps because it generally marks the end of upper-level eventing for the year on the East Coast, perhaps because the horses who finish here are often the horses we see at Rolex next year. Whatever it is, it’s Fair Hill fever.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of the horses in this field are fairly experienced. Many have already attempted a CCI3* before and if they haven’t, they’ve likely competed at several CIC3* and Advanced events. We’ve got quite a healthy contingent from the West Coast who are ready to be challengers if they can conquer the terrain, and surprisingly the weather looks golden this year.

The dressage test will be 2015 FEI 3*-B. Derek di Grazia, who designs several West Coast courses as well as Rolex and Bromont, will be the course designer again this year, while Sally Ike returns for the stadium fences.


1. Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border: This striking gelding is difficult to bet against these days, although he has had an occasional blip at this level. Still, a mostly consistent cross country record combined with supremely strong dressage and show jumping phases means this horse may better his second place finish at this event last year.

An average of 44.5 on the B test is a hair over their typical average, but laying that down would put these two right near the top from the get-go. Across the country, these two average only 6.0 time penalties when putting in clear rounds, but finished Derek’s course here last fall only two seconds over the optimum time. In eight rounds of stadium Cooley Cross Border has accumulated a grand total of zero rails, so don’t look for him to have a mistake in the stadium phase. A final score right around 50 would give this horse yet another win in his young career.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection. Photo by Jenni Autry.

2. Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection: Hannah Sue and this mare have looked incredibly promising together in the time they’ve been paired up, and despite a blip and retirement in the slop at Morven Park two weeks ago, they are likely to make a splash this weekend. Another horse with the ability to do very well in all three phases, Hannah Sue and Under Suspection will be a pair to watch over the coming years.

This pair averages 47.7 on this test, which is almost bang on their overall average. Although they accumulated 13.2 time penalties over Derek’s CIC3* course at Bromont, their overall average across the country is only 4.8 time penalties. A strong tendency to jump double clear will serve them well on the final day, and second place would be their reward for a final score in the low 50s.

3. Amber Levine and Carry On: New this year to the Advanced level, Carry On has built himself quite a strong record out on the West Coast, most recently winning the Copper Meadows CIC3* by finishing on his dressage score. Although he has yet to test the terrain out east, a similar performance to his usual efforts would put this horse up inside the top three this weekend.

Carry On does not favor this particular test; his average of 50.6 on it nearly four points higher than his overall average. He could make it up on the cross country, as long as he can match his overall average of 2.8 time penalties while contending with the Fair Hill terrain. Overall this pair does tend to put in clear show jumping rounds, and in particular has yet to have a rail when it’s the final phase. A final score less than a point behind Under Suspection would put Amber and Carry On in third.

Heather Morris and Charlie Tango. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Heather Morris and Charlie Tango. Photo by Sally Spickard.

4. Heather Morris and Charlie Tango: This pair is that has built up a strong West Coast record in the horse’s first year at Advanced and come East to try their mettle against the best in the country. While the terrain of Fair Hill will be new to Charlie Tango, his strengths in the other two phases will likely make up for it.

Strong on the flat, this pair’s average of 46.3 on this test is just a touch below their overall average. Although they accumulated 23.6 time penalties over their only Derek di Grazia course, they typically move much faster across the country, averaging 8.4 time penalties overall. Don’t look for this pair to have a rail or a time penalty come Sunday; they have yet to have any type of fault in the stadium phase.

5. Phillip Dutton and Mr. Candyman: Mr. Candyman has had a fantastic fall, putting in almost two identical shows in all three phases to top the Plantation Field CIC3* and finish in third in the Advanced at Stable View.  This weekend he’ll be looking for his second CCI3* qualification to gain additional experience at the level.

An average of 49.0 on this test is pretty par for the course for this pair. Although this will be the first time Mr. Candyman has seen either course designer, he does average only 5.6 time penalties across the country. He is also a careful jumper, trending towards clear rounds with only the possibility of one time penalty. A final score in the mid-50s would put this horse inside the top five.

Phillip Dutton and I'm Sew Ready. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Phillip Dutton and I’m Sew Ready. Photo by Jenni Autry.

6. Phillip Dutton and I’m Sew Ready: Phillip only stepped back into the irons with I’m Sew Ready last month, but they’ve already had a quality fall season with top ten finishes at Plantation and Stable View. Although they haven’t quite yet matched their cross country pace of a year ago during the last time they were partnered together, now would be the time to press the pace.

I’m Sew Ready favors this test, averaging a 46.0 on it, which is more than two points better than his typical average with Phillip. This pair put in only 4.0 time penalties over Derek’s Pine Top course in 2015 but tend to average closer to 6.0 time penalties. I’m Sew Ready does average one rail in stadium, which would drop him down outside the top five this weekend with a final score less than half a point behind his stablemate.

7. Will Faudree and Pfun: Pfun stormed back from a disappointing performance at Blenheim to take a top finish at the wet and muddy Morven Park event. With a strong run under his belt, he’s ready to take another crack at a CCI3*.

Pfun averages a 50.0 on this test, which will leave him stalking the leaders after the first phase. This horse averages 7.2 time penalties over Derek di Grazia courses, which is on par with his overall average pace. Will and Pfun are very good show jumpers and haven’t had a rail since early in this horse’s career. Look for them in seventh with a final score in the mid-to-high 50s.

Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jollybo. Photo courtesy of Hope Carlin.

Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jollybo. Photo courtesy of Hope Carlin.

8. Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jollybo: Hawley and Jollybo are making just their second start at this level together, having finished an impressive third at the Rebecca CCI3* in their first go at the level as a pair. Of course, Hawley and Jollybo are both very experienced at this level, and it shows as their partnership has meshed in lightning-fast time.

Hawley and Jollybo scored a 53.9 in this test at Rebecca Farm. They finished inside the time there and added only one rail to their dressage score. Neither horse nor rider is stranger to the terrain out east, so if they can match their last performance in all three phases, they should be flying home with a top 10 finish here with a score less than a point behind Pfun.

9. Buck Davidson and Park Trader: Park Trader had a bit of a rough spring but bounced back after Rolex to run well at three Advanced events this summer. Although he and Buck took a tumble on cross country at Plantation Field, they are still one of the most experienced pairs in the division, so don’t count them out.

Park Trader averages a 49.0 on this test, significantly lower than his overall dressage average. Similarly, he also tends to run Derek di Grazia courses much faster than his typical pace, averaging only 8.4 time penalties when completing the courses clear. To top it off, he also averages a clear round with only one time penalty over Sally Ike’s show jumping designs, while overall he trends towards having one rail. Three strong phases from him would put this pair in ninth with a final score in the high 50s.

Lauren Kieffer and Landmark's Monte Carlo. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

10. Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo: Landmark’s Monte Carlo has had a light season since putting in a tremendous cross country performance at his first four-star at Rolex, running at Aachen CICO3* and the American Eventing Championships, winning the Plantation Field CIC2* and doing the combined test at Morven. He should be full of running for Lauren come Saturday.

Landmark’s Monte Carlo has been chipping away at the dressage and currently averaged a 28.4 on this test. A fairly quick horse, he averages only 6.4 time penalties overall, although he did clock in only 2.8 over Derek’s Rolex course earlier this year. Although he has jumped clear over his only Sally Ike course, this horse tends to average one rail down on the final day. Look for this pair to round out the top tend with a final score just under 60.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Jenni Autry.


Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous: After a hiatus of more than a year from this level, RF Scandalous has returned to the scene, most recently winning the Intermediate division at the AEC. With only one three-star completion under her belt from the 2015 Plantation Field CIC3*, it’s difficult to predict with any certainty how this mare will perform.

However, if she comes anywhere close to her past performances, she could absolutely dominate this weekend. Her dressage average over three tests is in the low-40s, she’s had less than 30 seconds of time in the two runs she completed, and is quite an excellent show jumper to boot. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see this pair finish at the top this weekend.

Marilyn Little and RF Demeter. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Marilyn Little and RF Demeter. Photo by Jenni Autry.


Marilyn Little and RF Demeter: RF Demeter has been very strategically competed this year, with Fair Hill being only her fourth start at this level for 2016. After a disappointing fall at Rolex, Marilyn proved that RF Demeter still has what it takes by placing a strong second at the Great Meadow CICO3* against the best the U.S. had to offer.

Despite this pair’s incredibly dominant CIC3* and Advanced record, they have struggled at the CCI3* and CCI4* levels in recent years, finishing clear across the country at two of six attempts since 2014. If they regain their CCI mojo this weekend, they’ll be right up inside the top three.

Ryan Wood and Powell. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Ryan Wood and Powell. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.


Ryan Wood and Powell:  It’s difficult to really call Powell a sleeper with two high profile wins this year, but the reality is that Powell is still in his first year of competing at this level, and there’s a lot more to come from this pair.

The dressage chops are there and are only going to get better. Powell has proven he is a one-or-none horse in the stadium, and as time goes on he is likely to get more and more consistent about putting in a double clear. Thus far, Ryan has been very strategic about where he has pushed the pace on cross country, saving the speed for the shows that are important. If Ryan decides to push the pace this weekend, we’ll be seeing Powell finish near the top.