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Maggie Deatrick


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Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

Tiana Coudray is ready for Le Lion. Photo courtesy of Tiana Coudray.

There’s no better between the ears than a French between the ears! Welcome to Le Lion where the grass is very green, the chateaus are rolling, and the cream of the crop is descending upon the French countryside. Good luck to all our North American competitors this weekend!

National Holiday: No Beard Day

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Waredaca Classic N/T3DE & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Tryon Riding & Hunt Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

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

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

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

Hagyard Midsouth Classic 3DE, CCI, & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Barbados is trying to put together an event teamIf you’ve got ten minutes to spare, take a listen to this short podcast, which expands on how Barbados eventers are trying to make a go of it. [Barbados Eventers]

Lauren Kieffer has a whole crop of young ones coming up behind her stars. Despite spending all summer and fall over in England, Lauren didn’t neglect her youngsters. She spent the time flying back and forth to keep them going, concentrating on their adjustability, boldness, and simply working out where their limbs are depending on their specific needs. [Young Horses Take Their Own Courses]

Boyd Martin put on a hunt cap (figuratively) the day after Fair Hill. Because finishing third in the Fair Hill CCI3* wasn’t enough, Boyd decided to drive up to Harrisburg for the Gentleman’s Hunter Under Saddle. Catch riding Right On Que, he managed to pick up a blue ribbon without blinking an eye. [He Saw, He Conquered]

Lexi Wikstrom is burning the candle at both ends. As a project manager in the construction industry who works on road widening projects, Lexi is used to being at work before the crack of dawn. She follows up long construction days with rides on her two OTTBs, who she’s been working with since 2009. [Amateurs Like Us]

SmartPak Product of the Day: Finally fall temperatures are here and with that is the tendency to add and remove layers all day long. A nice down vest can keep the body warm with the arms cool, and help regulate that temperature. [SmartPak]

By the Numbers: Fair Hill CCI3* Show Jumping Day

Fair Hill is often a nail-biter down to the very last ride on Sunday, with clear rounds shooting people up the ranks while hearts break on the other side of things. It’s a three-phase event for a reason, and show jumping is as much a factor as every other phase for Fair Hill.

Having said that, nine of the last 10 winners in the Fair Hill CCI3* have come from the top two following cross country. The only pair to win from outside the top two was Amy Tryon and Coal Creek in 2008, who rose from sixth to the win on the merits of a fault-free show jumping round.

Similarly, every winner in the past decade has added no more than a rail to their score, with seven of 10 jumping clear. Six of the last seven winners have won on rail-free rounds.


Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Covert Rights and Colleen Rutledge are sitting in the pole position right now, which could make the finale a real nail-biter. Covert Rights has put in a number of clutch double clear rounds, most notably jumping clear at Richland to take the win. He’s jumped two of his three CCI3/4* rounds clear and inside the time, but had two rails at the third. A recent stunner of six rails at Plantation Field throws any reliable predictions further out of whack, but they won’t be dealing with the heat and humidity that was at Plantation.

CCI Average: 0.67 rails, 24-Month Average: 1.43 rails

Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High are hot on their heels but will also likely keep things interesting. At the CCI3/4* level, Selena and Foxwood High have jumped clear but only at their earliest two attempts, followed by an outlier of four rails at the World Equestrian Games, then two rails in each of their subsequent CCI attempts. This pair never has more than two rails apart from WEG, but have struggled all year to get back to one-or-none, putting in one or two rails at every show following a clear at their first event in 2017.

CCI Average: 1.60 rails, 24-Month Average: 0.82 rails

Will Coleman and Tight Lines. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The third placed pair, Tight Lines and Will Coleman, has been a one-or-none horse, with nine of his 10 rounds at this level being one rail or less. Unfortunately, the tenth round was at this event last year, where he pulled four rails for the only time in his career at this level. One rail has been the more frequent occurrence than none in 2017, but these two could be in a very good position to put a lot of pressure on both Selena and Colleen.

CCI Average: 2.50 rails, 24-Month Average: 1.0 rails

Waylon Roberts and Kelecyn Cognac. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Waylon Roberts and Kelecyn Cognac have only once jumped a clear three-star round out of 13 attempts. With four and three rails at Richland and Plantation Field CIC3*, respectively, Waylon will be looking to bring the horse back to his previous form of only one or two rails.

CCI Average: 1.50 rails, 24-Month Average: 2.0 rails

Boyd Martin and Testserleg. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg could be a sleeper today, with a quietly improving show jumping record that has progressed throughout the year. Three of their last four rounds have been clear, although they did have a rail and 1 time penalty in their only CCI3* attempt at Bromont. The numbers say Tsetserleg is less likely than all of the horses ranked above him to have a rail, but he would need rails down from the top two to steal the win.

CCI Average: 1.0 rails, 24-Month Average: 0.63 rails

Kurt Martin and Delux Z. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Paddy the Caddy with Erin Sylvester, Congo Brazzaville C with Mara DePuy and DeLux Z with Kurt Martin should all see big jumps in their placings if they hold to typical form. In particular, Paddy the Caddy and DeLux Z are both inside the top 10 and could easily pop up into the top five, while Congo Brazzaville C had a steadier cross country round and is now tied for 18th.

Paddy the Caddy has jumped clear rounds in 11 of his 13 starts at Advanced and three-star level, while DeLux Z has jumped 10 consecutive rail-free rounds dating back to the spring of 2016. Congo Brazzaville C has a perfect rail-free record since moving up to the Advanced level at the beginning of 2017 and will jump his first CCI3* round today.

Paddy the Caddy: CCI Average: 0.0 rails, 24-Month Average: 0.12 rails

DeLux Z: CCI Average: 0.0 rails, 24-Month Average: 0.23 rails

Congo Brazzaville C: CCI Average: N/A, 24-Month Average: 0.0 rails

By the Numbers: Fair Hill CCI3* Cross Country Day

Fair Hill isn’t known as a three-and-a-half star for nothing, and every year pairs come to test their mettle over the toughest three-star track in the country before trying for a four-star. Riders without funds to go overseas keep their four-star partners sharp by running this course and time penalties can quickly make the different between a top finish and one that merely qualifies.

Although the 2014 and 2015 runnings featured cross country times on average around 30 seconds over optimum, 2016 broke from the trend with a field average of only 1.94 seconds over optimum. A whopping 31.1% of cross-country starters finished inside the time last year, a sign of unusual dry conditions and firmer ground. Ground conditions firmly dictate how difficult it is to make the time over this course.

The CCI3* completion rate at Fair Hill has hovered around 71.68% over the past three years, with a large percentage of competitors retiring after having trouble. Last year every single pair who completed did so without jump penalties, but the completion rate itself dropped to 68.9%.


Waylon Roberts and Kelecyn Cognac. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Kelecyn Cognac and Waylon Roberts are not generally the fastest pair on the circuit but there’s evidence to suggest this pair will be one of the fastest across the finish line this weekend. In their two previous CCI3* runs, both at Bromont, they finished an average of four seconds under optimum time. Additionally, they’ve finished inside the time in two of their last three runs, including Great Meadow CICO3* when they represented Canada on the Nations Cup team. When Waylon wants to go fast, these two go fast.

Jenny Caras and Fernhill Fortitude. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Fernhill Fortitude and Jenny Caras are a very experienced pair who save their fastest runs for the CCI levels. Despite averaging 10.4 time penalties overall when running clear over the last two years at the 3* and Advanced levels, these two have averaged only five seconds over optimum at their four career CCI3* runs. They’re also two-for-two on clear rounds inside the time at Fair Hill CCI3*, adding nothing to their dressage score after phase two for two consecutive years.

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights. Photo by Valerie Durbon Photography.

You can’t mention speed without mentioning Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights. This pair has been speeding through every CIC3* they’ve run over the past two years, averaging only three seconds over optimum when you discount Morven, where they ran slow over the hard ground. Despite a long career at this level, Covert Rights hasn’t properly been able to showcase his speed at a CCI yet, having only tackled his first CCI3*, first CCI4*, and first Burghley. This will be his first time as an experienced horse at the CCI3/4* level, so don’t look for him to be hanging around. Colleen will be keen to stay on her dressage score heading into stadium day.

Tim Bourke and Luckaun Quality. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Timothy Bourke and Luckaun Quality have often used the horse’s massive stride to climb the leaderboard on cross country day. Their CCI3/4* average pace is two seconds under optimum time, discarding the Burghley where they lost a stirrup leather and incurred about a minute’s worth of time penalties fixing it. Having said that, these two have only actually made the optimum at two of their seven CCI3/4* attempts and average eight seconds over the time at the A/3* levels over the past 24 months.

Whitney Mahloch and Military Mind. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Another that should be mentioned as a possible speedy round are Whitney Mahloch with Military Mind. This pair is attempting their first CCI3* for both horse and rider. They’ve had some cross country trouble in their short Advanced/CIC3* career, but when they jump clear, they jump fast. Whitney and Military Mind have accumulated only 1.6 total time penalties in four clear Advanced and CIC3* rounds, with all four seconds over optimum coming at Red Hills, a notoriously difficult venue at which to make the time.This pair has capacity to have a quick, clear run in their rookie attempt, as long as they jump through all the flags clear.

Fair Hill: WebsiteScheduleXC Ride TimesCCI Live ScoresYEH Final ScoresEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

By the Numbers: Fair Hill CCI3* Dressage Day

The leaves are changing, there’s (almost) a chill in the air, and this bizarre Indian summer can’t keep us from marking the advent of Fair Hill. Without a doubt this is one of the hallmarks of the fall season and the warm temperatures could help keep things interesting.

Despite the defection of several prominent horses due to overseas competitions, rider injuries, or just general bad luck, the field remaining features quite a strong proclivity for dressage. Over the past three runnings, the dressage average of the CCI3* field has varied from 55.86 (2016) to 57.00 (2014). The expected average of this year’s field is 52.18 which indicates a higher percentage of strong dressage contenders.

The past two runnings have been won by the pair who was first after the dressage phase, but with scores clustered tightly together at the top, it may be a more difficult feat to achieve this year.  A full 18 of the 38 starters are expected to score sub-50, a full 47.3% of the field. In comparison, in the past three years the highest percentage of the field scoring sub-fifty was in 2016, when 11 of 48 starters (22.9%) scored in the 40s or below.


Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Colleen Rutledge has really stepped it up a level with Covert Rights this fall, with a dressage average from their last three outings that has plummeted almost 10 points from a 3* career average of 49.57 down to 40.1. This fall, these two absolutely obliterated their prior personal best of a 42.3 (scored at Rolex Kentucky in 2015) by nine full points, scoring a 33.3 at the Richland Park CIC3*. At Morven Park, they again cracked into the 30s with a 39.7, but in between floated up to a more typical score for them of 47.3 at Plantation Field.

Consistency is the big question mark with these two; they will either perform well or knock it out of the park. One disadvantage they’ll have to overcome is an early order of go as the seventh out, something they also dealt with at Plantation Field. If the judges feel there’s room for more, they may leave some wiggle room in their scoring for the horses coming later in the order.

Heather Morris and Charlie Tango. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Heather Morris and Charlie Tango have always been proficient in this phase but like Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights, they’ve come out swinging for the fall season. Although their career 3* average sits at a 46.15, their last two outings (both in Advanced divisions) have plummeted into the FEI equivalent of the 30s, with a personal best at this level of 33.6 (FEI) clocked in at the Copper Meadows Advanced. These two shows put their three-show average at a 42.5. Charlie Tango will also have to overcome an early draw in the order, going right after Covert Rights.

Emily Beshear and Silver Night Lady. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Silver Night Lady completes the trio of horses who have vastly improved this fall. With Emily Beshear, this gray mare has dropped from a low-to-mid 50s horse to a low-to-mid 40s horse seemingly overnight. Their last three outings have averaged a 43.3 and their score of 42.8 (FEI equivalent) at Millbrook was a personal best at this level until they broke it at Richland with a 41.0. This pair will go midway through the order, which should be neither an advantage nor a disadvantage.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Carlevo has shown flashes of brilliance in his career with Buck Davidson, with a tendency to rise to the occasion and lay down scores in the 30s at big moments. They did so at both Ocala Jockey Club CIC3* last fall and again at the Tattersall CCI3* this spring, but have been inconsistent in their brilliance.

This pair had strong tests at both Richland Park and Plantation Field CIC3* putting down consecutive scores in the low 40s, but bookended these performances with a set of high-40s scores at Millbrook and Morven. Carlevo will get a boost from going in as the last horse of the day on Friday, a position he also held at Plantation Field.

Ryan Wood and Powell. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Ryan Wood and Powell are the epitome of consistency, with their scores over the past 12 months all within a three point range of each other. Despite having yet to hit the 30s at a 3*, this pair is consistently up with the leaders at every show. Their last three outings have netted an average of 44.8, almost bang on their two year dressage average at this level. These two do their test in the first third of the class, and should be a good indicator of whether the judges are feeling generous or not. Expect a solid mid-40s score from this pair.

Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti are the another incredibly consistent pair, hovering around the same scoring region as Powell. They’ve mustered solid mid-40s scores in their last 10 consecutive outings although they vary a touch more than Powell, ranging from 43.1 up to 47.2 in 2017. Pavarotti has only barely broken into the 30s on two occasions in his long career, but going as the next-to-last ride of the day won’t hurt any.

Tamie Smith and Wembley. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Although the remainder of the field is expected to score 45 and above, there are a couple of horses who could absolutely knock it out of the park on a good day. Clayton Fredericks and FE Ophelia have dropped their dressage score in each of their three successive outings, going from a 51.9 at Great Meadow CICO3* to a 39.5 (FEI equivalent) at Stable View Advanced. Another horse who has potential to lay down a big score is Wembley with Tamie Smith in the irons, who recently scored a 39.0 (FEI equivalent) at Advanced at Stable View as well. Finally, Buck Davidson and Park Trader can run the gamut on the range of scores from low-40s to 50s, but did throw down a 39.9 at the Rocking Horse Advanced in the beginning of the year.

Fair Hill: WebsiteDrawn OrderScheduleCCI Dressage TimesYEH Dressage TimesCCI Live ScoresYEH Live ScoresEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

Photo via Fair Hill FB page.

There’s no rest for the wicked three-star riders who are literally traversing the world to compete all their mounts at the fall CCI events. Caroline Martin was a Boekelo last weekend with Pebbly Maximus and she and coach Leslie Law are now back in the States to tackle the Fair Hill CCI3* with Danger Mouse. Good luck to all of those bouncing from country to country!

National Holiday: Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day

Major Events:

Fair Hill: WebsiteDrawn OrderScheduleCCI Live ScoresYEH Live ScoresEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Hitching Post Farm H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

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

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

Fleur de Leap H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Las Cruces H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

The Society of Master Saddlers’ is offering a course in the USA. For the first time, those in the US can attend a Master Saddlers’ course which will be held in Hagerstown, MD next April. Many industry professionals are eligible to attend, with participants eligible to travel overseas for the advanced course held in the UK. [Master Saddlers’ Course]

Tired of thinking of ways to supplement your income? Irish eventer Edie Murray-Hayden has found the best way to make a little cash on the side is to buy TB yearlings, break them, and pinhook them at sales. Her most recent venture cost her 56 Euro and sold for a whopping 500 Euro. I’m in! [Eventer Hooks TB Colt]

The Event Rides Association of North America is getting new leadership. As the ERA of NA transitions from the PRO organization, Jay Baughman and Helen Murray are stepping in as President-elect and Executive Director. [New Leadership at ERA of NA]

SmartPak Product of the Day: It’s theoretically fall (although the east coast weather is doing its best to convince us it’s still August), and that means it is time to think about replacing all those blankets we’ve been sitting on all summer. I hve been really impressed with the SmartPak brand of blankets, and even more impressed with their customer service! [SmartPak]

By the Numbers: Woodside CIC3*

Woodside marks the penultimate conclusion of the Advanced and three-star season for the West Coast, with only the Galway CCI3* to finish up the year. The pairs contesting this weekend are an even mix of experienced pairs looking to get a good run before their fall CCI3* and horses and riders who just moved up to the level recently and are looking to get their first international level under their belt this weekend.

Photo courtsey Sherry Stewart.

The Event

  • For the past three runnings, only one pair per year has finished on their dressage score. Those F-O-D-S pairs have finished no worse than third each year.
  • More than 25% of the field has made the time over the last three years on average, which is considerably higher than the world-wide rate at the CIC3* level of 6.57%.

Sabrina Glaser and Rembrandt. Photo by Lively Manor Photography.

Dressage Divas

  • Rembrandt and Sabrina Glaser are making their CIC3* debut together, but they’ve impressed in the first phase thus far. With an average from two Advanced starts that just squeaks under 50 when converting to FEI scores, this pair should be competitive from day one.
  • James Alliston has quickly gelled with Happenstance, dropping their dressage score with each successive start. If the trend continues, we should see a score below their mark of 49.4 (equivalent to USEF of 32.9) at their last outing in the Twin Rivers Advanced, which they led from start to finish.

Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against, 4th place. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Show Jumping Powerhouses

  • Rise Against, with Bunnie Sexton in the irons, has never once in 29 stadium rounds at the Advanced, 3*, and 4* levels ever had more than one rail. In fact, at the CIC3* level, he has only ever had one rail.
  • Tullamore and Maris Burns have only had a few starts at this level over the past two years, but they’ve kept their stadium record fairly clean, putting in three one-or-none rounds.

James Alliston and Parker. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Cross Country Machines

  • It’s impossible to discuss cross country machines without bringing up Parker, who is one of the best cross country horses in the nation. This horse has contested at the 3* level for seven years now with James Alliston, and averages only six seconds over optimum time at the CIC3*/A levels over the past two years.
  • James himself is no slowpoke and in his three runs with Happenstance, he’s proven that his speed isn’t limited to one horse. With James, Happenstance has averaged 13 seconds over optimum, which will keep him well in the hunt after cross country.

PREDICTED WINNER: James Alliston and Happenstance

James Alliston and Happenstance. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Keep Your Eye On:

  • James Alliston and Parker
  • Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against
  • Rebecca Braitling and Walterstown Don

Woodside International CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

"I, too, enjoy the bagels." Don't lie, Dante. #danteisourking #horsesofinstagram

A post shared by Amanda, Often Found In Fields (@amandaofthefields) on

Sometimes the kids beg and beg and beg for something that you know they won’t like. Shockingly, when they finally get it, they don’t like it. And yet somehow, that doesn’t keep them begging for more….

National Holiday: National Golf, Frappe, or Kale Day (You do you.)

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Course Brook Farm H.T.  [Website] [Live Scores]

Kent School Fall H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

WindRidge Farm Fall H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Maryland at Loch Moy H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Radnor Hunt H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Middle Tennessee Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

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

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

Woodside International CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

The Event at Skyline H.T.  [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

The Jacqueline Mars Competition and Training Grants have been awarded. Tamie Smith, Alexis Helffrich, and Jordan Linstedt have all been awarded the grants to travel to Fair Hill from the West Coast. Tamie and Jordan have already made a splash this fall competing at events like Stable View and Plantation Field, while Alexis is arriving in time for Fair Hill. [National Competition Grants Awarded]

Virginia Horse Trials is offering an Intercollegiate Challenge. At the request of riders, Virginia Horse Trials is holding a team challenge for intercollegiate students. Riders from Beginner Novice to CCI2* are allowed to participate, with each level weighted differently. [Intercollegiate Team Challenge Added]

It takes a lot of hay to keep a Thoroughbred charity running. With almost 3 million pounds of hay per year required to keep the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation operating, it can take a village to get what they need. The Geoffrey Hughes Foundation has kindly agreed to match up to $50,000 in donations, so it’s up to us to help the TRF meet their fundraising goal. [Donate to the HayDrive]

SmartPak Product of the Day: I’ve gone through a lot of icing products in an effort to find what works best for me and my horse and after a lot of time and money, I settled on Jack’s Whirlpool Boots. They don’t take too much ice or water, the horses stand in them great after they learn they aren’t scary, and nothing gets the legs colder than straight ice and water. [SmartPak]

By the Numbers: Stable View Advanced

Stable View is in just its second year of running the Advanced Oktoberfest Horse Trials, but already the venue has established itself as the place to be on the first weekend of October. With $65,000 in prize money on the line alongside a huge investment in the course and footing, competitors are flocking from north, south and west to what has quickly established itself as a premier event.

The Advanced division starts today with dressage at 8 a.m. EST, followed by show jumping on Saturday at noon EST and cross country on Sunday at noon EST. Both jumping phases for the Advanced and Intermediate divisions will stream live on EQTV starting at 10:20 a.m. Saturday and 10:20 a.m. Sunday with commentary from our own Jenni Autry, plus special guests.

Stable View LinksWebsite, OmnibusRide TimesLive Scores, Live Stream

Photo courtesy of Stable View.

The Event

  • Boyd Martin was the only rider last year to not only finish inside the time across the country, but also finish on his dressage score with Steady Eddie. The eventual winners, Phillip Dutton and Z, came close, adding only 0.4 time penalties to their dressage score.
  • Only 48% of those who started cross country last year completed without jump penalties on Capt. Mark Phillips’ cross country course. That is significantly lower than the Advanced level clear completion rate of 61% for 2016 in the U.S.
  • Three riders scored in the 20s in dressage last year but only Phillip Dutton and Z completed on a score in the 20s.

Katie Ruppel and Houdini. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Dressage Divas

  • Katie Ruppel and Houdini have scored in the 20s (or the FEI equivalent) in their last five Advanced and three-star starts together. These two very consistently hover near their two-year average of 28.6 for the first phase.
  • Charlie Tango and Heather Morris are no strangers to winning the dressage phase, having led the field in their last four consecutive starts after day one. An average of 29.9 at this level should have them challenging for the lead.
  • Boyd Martin has a top prospects for day one in Shamwari 4. While his three-star/Advanced record is sparse over the past couple of years, a look back reveals an average dressage score of 30.8 over the past three calendar years.
  • Tamie Smith has brought the talented gray Fleeceworks Royal to the East Coast this fall, and while lightly competed at this level, she’s most recently demonstrated that she’s a horse who can strike into the 20s. Her most recent start at the Rebecca Farm CIC3* yielded the FEI equivalent of a 28.4.

Heather Morris and Charlie Tango. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Show Jumping Powerhouses

  • Crackerjack continues to impress in the show jumping phase, particularly when the phase is held prior to cross country. Throughout his entire career at this level, when show jumping runs first, Crackerjack has jumped clear in 13 of 14 starts with Boyd Martin in the irons.

Joe Meyer and Clip Clop. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Cross Country Machines

  • Charlie Tango is another who runs fast when he runs clean, with an average pace of fifteen seconds over optimum when running clear at this level. Consistency in this phase will be the bigger question, but this pair have finished in the top two of the nine Advanced and three-star competitions they’ve completed.
  • If you’re noticing a trend with Crackerjack, it’s because we think he is the horse to beat this weekend. An average of 7.2 time penalties on cross country at this level over the past two seasons makes him one of the fastest horses in the field with Boyd Martin, who was also the only rider to make the time in the Advanced at this event last year.
  • Joe Meyer is an exceptionally fast cross country rider, and partnered with pocket rocket Clip Clop they make a speedy combination in this phase. An average of 7.6 time penalties at this level will see them climb the leaderboard in the final phase.

PREDICTED WINNER: Boyd Martin and Crackerjack

Boyd Martin and Crackerjack. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Potential Spoiler:

  • Heather Morris and Charlie Tango

Keep Your Eye On:

  • Katie Ruppel and Houdini
  • Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg
  • Tamie Smith and Wembley

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

The worst sight after getting off a horse. R.I.P. Ariats. Photo by Maggie Deatrick.

There’s nothing more depressing than realizing that sweating through your boots over and over again through a ruthless summer has worn out the calves on boots less than six months after they finally broke in. My favorite thing about new boots? How pretty they are. My least favorite thing? How I can’t feel my toes when they are zipped up.

National Holiday: Crush a Can Day (What?)

U.S. Weekend Preview:

University of New Hampshire H.T.  [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Larkin Hill H.T. [Website]

Morven Park CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

ESDCTA H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Stable View Advanced Oktoberfest H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Woodland Stallion Station H.T. [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Spokane Sport Horse Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Jump Start H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

A commemoration of Maxime Dubost will take place tomorrow in France. A service will be held at 2 pm at the Crématorium de Crouël. The Jardy venue is postponing the competition that was to be held tomorrow and all French competitors are asked to consider postponing their competition plans this weekend. [Commemorating Maxime Dubost]

One of the stories coming out of Puerto Rico is the plight of the thoroughbreds at the racetrack in Puerto Rico. With hay extremely tough to get and water being rationed to a quarter of a bucket per horse, multiple groups are mobilizing to try and help the horses who remained behind. [Efforts Afoot to Assist]

Sam Griffiths was sure he wasn’t quite right after Badminton. After a fall at Burnham Market, Sam had pain in his neck but doctors could find nothing. He managed to get through Badminton but persisted with the doctors, who found that he had cracked a vertebrae after all. Sam just returned to competition, successfully running Intermediate with his four-star partner Paulank Brockagh. [Sam Griffiths’ Winning Return]

SmartPak Product of the Day: My horse likes to play Houdini at shows, generally finding a way under his stall chain and ambling over to the nearest patch of grass. Or the neighbors’ hay. You know, any food that is available. The only thing that stops him are these uber-heavy vinyl stall guards, which also happen to be customizable to your colors. [SmartPak]

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

With all the fanfare over Blenheim and Plantation Field, it was easy to forget that last weekend was one of the busiest event weekends of the year. Poplar Place Farm also ran an FEI event last weekend, running levels from Beginner Novice up through Advanced, along with a CIC1* and CIC2*. Sydney Conley-Elliott won the CIC2* on the 7 year old QC Diamantaire, owned by Carol Stephens, and is clearly delighted with her talented young ride.

National Holiday: National Pepperoni Pizza Day (Yum!)

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Flora Lea Fall H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Results]

Surefire Farm Fall H.T. [Website]

Sundance Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

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

Equestrians Institute H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Ever wonder what the Worth the Trust recipients are up to? The USEA provides a retrospect of past winners, all the way back to 2009, and gives a little update as to what they are up to now. The scholarship has allowed many of these adult amateurs to continue their education in a way they would be unable to. [Where Are They Now]

Anna Bella may not be the easiest horse to be around, but her warrior mentality takes her to the top of the sport. If one word could be used to describe Anna, it would be ‘intense’, apparently. With a work hard, live hard mindset, Anna likes to scare the geldings she works around, test Kurt Martin on the lunge line, and insist on warm baths only. [Behind the Stall Door]

If you haven’t read Wylie’s final Mongol Derby update, get thee to her post. After days of trials and tribulations, Wylie found herself relying on the camaraderie of her fellow riders to complete the Mongol Derby. With the days blurring together, she realized that it was the people who helped her finish her quest, not the things. Especially not the things she lost on the third day. [Wylie vs the Mongol Derby Part 4]

Help a couple hard-working, forward-thinking vet students out! Mary Davis and Lauren Ungar, two vet student at Tufts, are semi-finalists in the VetPrep idea competition with their idea to create a nutrition app for horses. They are seeking feedback from horse people to strengthen their idea and better their product. You can help them out by completing a quick, fewer-than-10-question survey. [VetPrep Idea Competition – Equine Nutrition App]

SmartPak Product of the Day: I do everything I can to keep my bridle number off my bridle at shows, usually because the first thing I do is get my bridle number dirty. Occasionally I will stick it on a breastplate, but the sharpest look is to have your number on your saddle pad, framed in leather. [SmartPak]

By the Numbers: Plantation Field CIC3*

Plantation Field has grown bigger and bigger over the years, to the point that the event now hosts only FEI divisions in the hopes of getting all competitors off the waitlist. It’s tough to get into this event if you don’t enter in the first few days after it opens, which bodes well for a healthy eventing community in southeastern Pennsylvania.

This is the first year where the entries won’t be split between the CIC3* and the Advanced divisions, meaning everyone will be going directly head-to-head.

#PlantationFieldWebsiteScheduleOrder of GoRide TimesLive ScoresEN’s CoverageEN’s Instagram

Plantation Field. Photo by Holly Covey.

The Event

  • In the last decade, every winner of the CIC3* has been inside the top five after dressage. All but two of the winners were inside the top three following the first phase.
  • No one has won the CIC3* with penalties in the show jumping phase since Will Coleman and Twizzel, who pulled off the win in 2008 despite adding 5.0 time penalties in their show jumping round.
  • On average, only 5.7% of the field has made the time on cross country day since Mike Etherington-Smith took over as course designer in 2014.

Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Dressage Divas

  • Mighty Nice is back with Phillip Dutton for the first time since Rio this weekend. We last saw him on quite a roll in the first phase, with a two-year 3*/Advanced dressage average of 42.3 leading up to the Olympics.
  • Buck Davidson and Carlevo have been bouncing from scores as low as 38.7 up to 48.3 at this level over the past three years, but overall their average is hovering closer to 40.0, currently sitting at 43.5.
  • Covert Rights and Colleen Rutledge have always been strong on the flat, but they knocked it out of the park at Richland Park CIC3* last month. Their score of 33.3 beat their previous personal best three-star score by 11 points and set a new record at Richland. Typically they average closer to the mid-to-low 40s, but a performance like that shouldn’t be discounted.
  • Powell has had a bit of a light year, with only three three-star starts so far in 2017 with Ryan Wood. He can always be counted on for a strong dressage performance though, with most of his career scores clustered near his average of 44.5 for the level.
  • Cambalda and Jennie Brannigan should never be ignored, although they are more likely to stalk the leaders from inside the top five than lead the field after the first phase. In the last two years from 2015 and 2017, they’ve averaged 45.1 for the first phase, but have edged as low as 39.8 previously.
  • Louis M set all kinds of dressage records with his previous rider, Pia Münker definitely deserves a mention with his current partner, Cornelia Dorr. At Cornelia’s first Advanced at Richland Park, they put in the FEI equivalent of a 45.0, which would be strong enough to contest for a top-five position after the first phase here at Plantation.
  • Silver Night Lady and Emily Beshear are on the rise, with an average of 41.9 on their last two dressage tests. That’s well below their prior average from 2017 of 52.8, which makes them a potential spoiler to take the lead on day one.

Boyd Martin and Crackerjack. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Show Jumping Powerhouses

  • Crackerjack is one of Boyd Martin’s strongest show jumpers and hasn’t had a rail in the past two calendar years at the Advanced and CIC3* levels. He’s also jumped clear in 13 of 14 Advanced/CIC3* starts with Boyd where show jumping was held prior to cross country.
  • Congo Brazzaville C jumps like a freak with Mara Depuy in the irons. This pair has yet to have a rail in six starts at these levels, and the only time penalties they’ve obtained came from an extra long loop at Great Meadow when he nearly jumped Mara out of the tack.
  • Cambalda has a strong show jumping reputation as well. H and Jennie Brannigan have jumped clear rounds in 11 of their last 12 consecutive Advanced and CIC3* starts.
  • Phillip Dutton’s ride Z is a young horse who has demonstrated his jumping ability by jumping clear in eight of his 10 starts since moving up to Advanced.
  • Kurt Martin and DeLux Z have really demonstrated that the horse can jump. They put in one of the few clear rounds inside the time at their first CCI4* in 2016 and haven’t looked back. Since then, they’ve had nine consecutive clear rounds, including both Blenheim CCI3* last fall and again at Kentucky CCI4* this spring.

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Cross Country Machines

  • Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights have come home 10 seconds or less over optimum time in four of their last five CIC3* runs. The last time they had more than 15 seconds worth of time penalties at a CIC3* was way back in 2014.
  • Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me are averaging only five seconds over the optimum time across 11 CIC3*/Advanced starts in the past two years. They’ve finished inside the time at 50% of their last six consecutive A/CIC3* starts.
  • Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High only occasionally finished inside the time but they are close to it on a regular basis. In the past two years, they’ve finished with 15 seconds or less of time penalties in nine of 10 starts at these levels.
  • Although Anna Bella and Kurt Martin racked up more than 30 seconds worth of penalties at her first CIC3* in 2017, she regularly clocked in times that were within 10 seconds of optimum time back in 2015.
  • Luckaun Quality and Tim Bourke tend to look like they are just loping around, but don’t be deceived. This pair averages only 11 seconds over optimum time at these levels over the past two years.
  • Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda are regulars, having run here five times. They won the CIC3* in 2010, the Advanced in 2014, and finished in the top five on two other occasions. Although they are averaging 12 seconds over the optimum time over the past two competition years, they have historically averaged only five seconds over the optimum time at Plantation Field.

PREDICTED WINNER: Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Keep Your Eye On:

  • Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice
  • Buck Davidson and Copper Beach
  • Cornelia Dorr and Louis M
  • Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High
  • Kurt Martin and DeLux Z and Anna Bella
  • Boyd Martin and Crackerjack
  • Sharon White and Cooley on Show

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

Oops, tack malfunction! Photo by Nicole Severino.

The great thing about this sport is that the little stories are just as triumphant as the big ones. Proud mother Shawn Crausby sends us this gem about her daughter:

“My daughter bought this mare roughly 18 months ago. Before she bought her the mare had been a broodmare and had about 90 days dressage training on her. My daughter is far from being a trainer – she only began eventing about 3 years ago. This mare is a Registered Irish Draught that was beyond green. They have worked hard all year, as many many others have as well.  On the XC course Saturday, somewhere around jump 7 her figure 8 noseband broke. Rather than give up, this pair ran the rest of the course clear. They ended up with time penalties but for horse and rider to complete the course with the noseband hitting her in the face before falling down and smacking her neck and chest the entire way is a testament to the horse and rider. This mare tries her best for this kid. This isn’t as eloquent as it deserves to be, the bond between these two is just something special to see.”

National Holiday: Positive Thinking Day!

Major Events This Week:

Blenheim: WebsiteEntries & ScoringLive StreamEvent Rider MastersEN’s CoverageTwitterInstagram

Plantation Field: Website, Provisional Schedule, Order of Go, Ride Times, Live Scores,EN’s CoverageTwitterInstagram

U.S. Weekend Preview:

GMHA September H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Results]

Marlborough H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Poplar Place Farm CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Results]

Otter Creek Fall H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Results]

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

Flying Cross Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Stone Gate Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Colorado Horse Park Trials [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

VAHT is continuing in their journey to be better every year. As the VAHT brings Captain Mark Phillips back for their FEI levels at their fall horse trials, they also seek to develop the next generation of course designers. The first graduate of the VHT Course Design Mentor program, John Michael Durr, now designs the lower level courses and he now takes on a new mentee, David Taylor, an EN alumni! [Progress Continues at VAHT]

It’s been a while since we’ve had a good topless high jump challenge. Blenheim holds one annually, so if you want to witness, it’s about time for a hop across the pond. In topless high jump, you can buy extra ‘lives’ by removing a piece of tack…or clothing. Eventually the jumps are very big and the riders very bare. [Enjoy a Glimpse of Topless Eventers]

Carawich practically picked Jimmy Wofford out of a crowd when they first met. After seeing him once overseas, Jimmy thought he’d never have a chance to buy Carawich. When his connection informed him the horse was for sale, months later, Jimmy practically bought him on the spot, borrowing against his life insurance to do so. [Finding Carawich]

SmartPak Product of the Day: One thing I always forget about when fall rolls around is that hunters are prepping for their own season. My youngster, stuck on a rehab schedule, is particularly sensitive to their sounds as they prep their hunting stands for deer season. I’ve been using this noise blocking ear bonnet in an effort to help him focus, and he is no longer doing his periscope impression every two minutes. [SmartPak]

The CCI3* Debate: Does the U.S. Need More?

Erin Sylvester and Paddy The Caddy, winners of the 2017 Rebecca Farm CCI3*, which was added to the U.S. calendar in 2015. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Following yesterday’s announcement that now defunct Richland Park attempted to host an additional CCI3* for the U.S. and was unsuccessful in their bid, it is time to delve deeper into the topic of introducing more CCI3* events in this country beyond the five currently held throughout North America.

Proponents of limiting the number of CCI3* events in the U.S. believe that if events at this level are not carefully managed, they will cannibalize each other’s numbers and lead to the demise of one or the other, or worse, both. But is this the right philosophy to take when discussing additional CCI3* events in the U.S.?

While this is a commonly used argument, saying that a new East Coast CCI3* is going to take competitors from another CCI3*, especially one on the West Coast, is a red herring. Perhaps another CCI3* might lose one or two competitors, but the reality is that for many pairs, there is no option to ever drive that far west, either due to time or money.

For example, in 2016 not one rider based east of the Mississippi drove west for the Galway Downs CCI3* in California. The riders who didn’t complete at Fair Hill in Maryland simply ended their season there.

Adding more options to compete at the CCI3* level would benefit U.S. eventing, not just the riders, but our horses and our U.S. High Performance squad.

Each icon marks the location of a CCI3* event held around the world. Screenshot via FEI database.

Worldwide Population Trends at CCI3*

Consider that in 2016, Europe held 16 CCI3* and four CCI4* within a 27-hour drive spanning from Portugal to Poland. Meanwhile, in North America we had only five CCI3* and one CCI4* within a 43-hour drive spanning from Bromont in Quebec to Temecula in California. Even the Pacific region consisting of Australia and New Zealand held seven CCI3* and one CCI4*.

Europe has more competitors to fill those divisions, but here’s the astonishing thing: In 2016, the North American CCI3* held on the East Coast averaged 37 competitors while the western European events held in Great Britain, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal averaged only 34.

Countries like Great Britain do have a higher number of average starters per CCI3*, but there are plenty of European countries like Ireland and Italy that actually average fewer starters than our East Coast CCI3*. This supports the argument that the average number of East Coast starters in the U.S. could support at least one or two additional CCI3* events.

Rebecca Farm and Galway Downs, our West Coast CCI3* events in the U.S., don’t draw the numbers like those held in the east, averaging 12 starters between the two CCI3* last year. However, those numbers are comparable to the number of starters seen in the Pacific region, which averages 12 starters per CCI3* in Australia and 14 in New Zealand.

And if we look at the actual number of starters, there were events in Australia, Chile, Belarus, Poland and Romania in 2016 that all ran a CCI3* division with three competitors or less. Why? Because those riders all needed to secure qualifications and couldn’t travel all over the world to get them.

Those venues ran CCI3* divisions to help the riders and ran many other divisions as well, which supported the sparse CCI3* division. The venues were also helping their country’s High Performance programs by providing additional opportunities to gain experience and qualifications.

Range of Difficulty at Available CCI3*

While all CCI3* events should be up to standard, as they serve as CCI4* qualifiers, certain CCI3* have a reputation of being particularly tough. Is it a good thing to have the only East Coast CCI3* available in the fall be Fair Hill? Fair Hill is amazing and tough and a fantastic preparation for Kentucky; it’s called a “3.5 star” for a reason.

But is it a good venue to run your first CCI3*, particularly if you just moved up to the level in the summer, as many U.S.-based riders do? Time and money limits most East Coast riders from driving three days one-way to attend Galway Downs, so the option often narrows to Fair Hill or nothing.

Feeling ready to run a CCI3* but not ready to tackle Fair Hill creates an undesirable scenario in which pairs who are perhaps too green decide to try and take it on anyways. Most riders have limited time and money, the horses are always getting older, and sometimes it can be difficult to let a full season go by without at least making an attempt at that qualifying CCI3* run.

Increased Qualifications Increases Demand

Starting in 2017, riders now need more than one CCI3* qualification to run a CCI4* unless the rider is categorized A or B. In North America, only 45 of 212 active Advanced level riders (riders with at least one start at the Advanced or three-star level in 2017 and 2016) are categorized A or B. This means the remainder in the lower categories need to secure two CCI3* qualifications to get to the CCI4* level.

The change in qualifications to compete at the CCI4* level drives up the demand and need for more CCI3* events in the U.S., and creates a need to have multiple CCI3* options for both the fall and spring seasons on the East Coast to allow for pairs to re-route.

Riders need options. Most riders, even professionals, aren’t going to be able to make the trek out west to Galway Downs if they miss out on gaining a qualifier at Fair Hill due to a mishap early on course. What if an untimely abscess rears its head and derails plans for a CCI3* but is fine a week later? In the spring, a rider can re-route from Jersey Fresh to Bromont, but there are no alternatives in the fall if a rider can’t travel to Galway Downs.

For the average rider there’s nowhere to re-route. They just miss out on the their CCI3* qualification opportunity for that season.  That means the rider can’t compete at the CCI4* level for another full calendar year.

CCI3* Availability Affects CCI4* Starters

Remember that the U.S. is in the process of adding a second CCI4* to the fall schedule. This is fantastic news for all of North America for many reasons, but remember that the event needs to be filled with a respectable numbers of starters.

In order to increase the number of four-star starters in this country, there should not be a bottleneck at the CCI3* level. Riders need to get out and qualified. They need to get runs. We often criticize riders who show up to compete in their first CCI4* at Kentucky without sufficient experience, but how can we fault them if the CCI3* runs they need aren’t available at a time or location when they can actually compete?

Variety Breeds Experience

In addition, High Performance riders must travel overseas to gain experience over different tracks in part because we simply don’t have enough variety in the U.S. Riders in Europe can pick from 17 different CCI3/4* venues to attend, while we have only six options throughout North America.

Traveling to a new venue, experiencing new terrain and testing yourself against a new course designer can expand your skill set immensely. European-based riders get almost three times the opportunity to compete at different CCI venues than riders in the U.S.

Why are we limiting our pool of U.S. venues? The riders want more CCI3* options, there are venues requesting to host a new CCI3*, so why are we setting up road blocks?

Does lowering the number of starters by a handful of combinations at an existing CCI3* justify turning down other venues who may want to host a CCI3* at a different time of year?

U.S. riders should have the CCI3* options they need on both the West Coast and East Coast, regardless of competitor numbers. Do you agree or disagree? Discuss!

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

Avery Elliot gives a lesson on how to navigate this Advanced trakehner. Photo via Aspen Farms Horse Trials FB page.

There’s no rest for the weary and with the American Eventing Championships and Burghley behind us, it’s time for the West Coast to take a turn in the limelight. Things heat up as both Copper Meadows and Aspen host Advanced horse trials this weekend.

National Holiday: Read a Book Day

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Grindstone Mountain Farm H.T. [Website] [Live Results]

CDCTA Fall H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Bucks County Horse Park H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Dunnabeck H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

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

Aspen Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Chardon Valley H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Ever wished you could school at the venue before a competition? Competitors at the Colorado Horse Park will have a chance to do just that as they arrive for the horse trials held over September 16-17th. An eventing derby from levels Intro through Training will be held the day before the horse trial begins, allowing competitors a chance to get into the competition areas. [Colorado Horse Park to Host Eventing Derby]

Ian Stark, retired four-star legend and course builder extraordinaire, has been hired by the USEF as a temporary cross country advisor. Although Ian Stark is not one of the seven applicants to be the USEF Technical Advisor, he has been taken on in the interim to help coach the U.S. pairs competing abroad this fall. [USEF Hires Ian Stark]

Ballaghmoor Class has rocketed from relative unknown to equine stardom overnight. At ten years old, this gray gelding is still getting established at the level, according to Oliver Townend. He’s not yet confirmed in his changes, he’s still ‘babyish’ and hasn’t gotten rid of his habit of dropping all of Oliver’s yard on the floor on a regular basis. [Seven Things About Ballaghmoor Class]

SmartPak Product of the Day: As the season gets on, we tend to spend more and more time and money on ice to cool their hot legs after cross country, galloping, schooling, and jumping. These cold compression boots take a lot of the hassle out of icing, and provide the benefit of compression therapy as well. [SmartPak]

By the Numbers: American Eventing Championships Advanced

The masses have converged on the Tryon Equestrian Center and the Nutrena American Eventing Championships are in full swing even as we speak. Although the lower levels began their competition yesterday, the Advanced held out until today before doing dressage.

AEC Links: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoringEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

Photo courtesy of Tryon International Equestrian Center

The Event

  • In the past three runnings, the ultimate winner of the division was within 1.5 points of the leader after dressage.
  • Despite a high completion rate due to the championship caliber of the field, it has been historically difficult to make the time on cross country. In the last three runnings, only one pair in 55 starters has accomplished a clear round inside the time.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Dressage Divas

  • Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous boast the only dressage average in the field to break into the twenties, clocking in at a 27.2 for the level over the past two years. This horse generally hovers in the mid-twenties and has only once received a score less than 70% for the level.
  • Who’s A Star and Courtney Cooper have a long track record of scoring in the low thirties or high twenties, averaging a 30.2 overall for the level. Although their consistency varies, they are a good bet to be right near the top on the first day.
  • Cambalda hasn’t quite regained his consistency following his time off, but considering he has placed in the top three of all three of his CIC3* starts this year, it hasn’t hurt him any. He and Jennie Brannigan are averaging a 31.5 for the 2017 show season thus far, a couple points higher than their three-star average back in 2015.
  • I’m Sew Ready puts in scores that vary heavily within a ten point range of 25 to 35, giving him an overall average of 32.1 . When he is really on, he and Phillip Dutton have hit scores as low as 26.8 before.

Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Cross Country Machines

  • Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me have racked up an impressive cross country resume over the past two years, clocking in ten clear CIC3* or Advanced rounds at an average of eight seconds over optimum. All were within twenty seconds of the time allowed and three were inside the time.
  • Vandiver and Doug Payne have been speedsters over the past two calendar years, racking up ten rounds within twenty seconds of optimum out of twelve CIC3* and Advanced runs.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo courtesy of Rare Air Photography.

Show Jumping Powerhouses

  • Cambalda and Jennie Brannigan are extremely strong in the stadium phase, with only one rail in their last eleven CIC3*/Advanced rounds. They haven’t had a single rail yet since Cambalda’s return to competition this year.
  • Lup the Loop has eight career starts at the Advanced and CIC3* level with Kylie Lyman in the irons, and he has had a rail at only one of them.
  • Vandiver and Doug Payne are going for their seventh consecutive clear CIC3*/A stadium round this weekend…the last rail they had cost them the win at last year’s American Eventing Championships.
  • RF Scandalous and Marilyn Little have only ever had one rail since the mare stepped up to the 3* level. This will be RF Scandalous’ first Advanced, after seven 3* attempts and one 4* run.

PREDICTED WINNER: Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Keep Your Eye On:

  • Doug Payne and Vandiver
  • Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda
  • Phillip Dutton and I’m Sew Ready
  • Phillip Dutton and Mr. Candyman

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

Indy 500 enjoys the English sunset. Photo via Andrea Baxter’s FB page.

There’s something inherently romantic about the horses flying into England from all over the world for big, bad Burghley. While they might not be spending a great amount of time in the English countryside, the advent of these big four-stars seems almost a little magical. Plus, the American Eventing Championships starts today.

National Holiday: Meteor Day

Major Events This Week:

Burghley: WebsiteScheduleEntriesEN’s Coverage

American Eventing Championships: WebsiteScheduleRide Times/Live ScoresEN’s Coverage

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Seneca Valley Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Silverwood Farm H.T. [Website]

Woodland Stallion Station H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Park Equine Kentucky Classique H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

It’s never to late to pick up the reins again. Judy Clark is finding a second wind as a re-rider who tried again at age 59. Now running Beginner Novice at the AECs, Judy worked up the levels from starter after thinking she was too old to try jumping again. [A Return to Tryon]

Here’s everything you need to know about the AECs. Did you know that five of the horses there came early, fleeing from Hurricane Harvey’s wrath? Did you know that Rider divisions are being offered at Beginner Novice through Preliminary for the first time? Did you know that 2,350 bags of shavings are being used at Tryon this weekend? [Fast Facts]

Britain is providing some top notch weather for Burghley. With temperatures in the high sixties and below, the British Isles have really come through on temperatures. With partly cloudy and sunny skies predicted, we’re in for a beautiful go this weekend. [Weather Forecast for Burghley]

SmartPak Product of the Day: Schooling is important and Labor Day means back to school sales. SmartPak is joining in on the fun, with their offer of buy one get one free for schooling boots. [SmartPak]

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

Peggy Sue is making herself at home at Gavilan Farm. Photo via Will Faudree Eventing FB page.

It seems like there are more and more esoteric pets to accompany the pack of dogs and cats in every barn. Jennie Brannigan has a pet goat who accompanies her staff in their yoga sessions while Will Faudree has picked up this adorable little pig companion. What will come next, a llama? An emu? Personally, I think some nice chinchillas would liven a barn right up.

National Holiday: Ride the Wind Day

Major Events This Week:

Richland Park: WebsiteScheduleRide TimesLive ScoresEN’s Coverage

Millstreet: Website, Entries, Ride Times & Live Scoring, EN’s Coverage

Blair Castle ERM: Website, Ride Times, Live StreamERM Leaderboard

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Town Hill Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Loudoun Hunt Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Feather Creek Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Shepherd Ranch SYVPC H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Caber Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

The Event at Archer H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Don’t miss the newest episode of the Eventing Podcast, which features a full breakdown of the exciting weekend at the European Championships in Strzegom. You can download on iTunes for free or listen at this link. [Listen Here]

Wylie, our Mongolian Princess, has begun to spin her tale. My eyes were about to pop out of my head as Wylie spun a yarn of her first day, all the more compelling because it’s true. As mesmerizing as it was to see her catch the lead in the Mongolian Derby after the first day, hearing the tale is beyond compare. [Wait, I’m Winning?]

Courtney Carson has degrees in chemistry, mathematics and journalism but can’t tear herself away from the horse industry. After riding through Intermediate with the O’Donoughues and Jan Bynny while in college, Courtney decided to have a go at grooming professionally. She spent a summer grooming for a jumper t the Vermont Summer Festival before hooking up with Doug and Jessica Payne’s operation. Now balancing eventers and jumpers every week, Carson has become an integral part of the Paynes’ success. [Courtney Carson Has Found Her Calling]

Chris Bartle is already working his magic in Britain. After coaching the German team to undeniable success over the past decade, Christopher Bartle has returned to help his home country return to success. He’s off to a swell start with a win at the Europeans for GBR. [9 Facts About Christopher Bartle]

The American Trakehner Association (ATA) is pleased to announce its 2017 Convention to be held Nov. 8-12 at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Tryon, North Carolina. The ATA convention will once again be held in conjunction with the Young Horse Show Series. The ATA convention will feature an array of activities from board meetings to stallion inspections, mare inspections, the mare performance test, branding, a jumping derby and much more – all showcasing the versatile Trakehner horse. A complete schedule of events and registration information is available on the ATA website. [American Trakehner Association]

SmartPak Product of the Day: It’s the end of summer, so most people are longing for the day they can put away their fly masks. However, if your horse is the type to go through them, now is the time to stock up in Smart Pak’s end of summer sale. [SmartPak]

By the Numbers: Richland Park CIC3*

Richland Park kicks off the busiest portion of the fall eventing calendar, with Advanced and CIC3* events running almost every weekend through mid-October in the U.S. Year after year, Richland draws competitors to Michigan with their inclusive atmosphere, irrigated courses, and levels from Beginner Novice up through CIC3*.

#RichlandPark: WebsiteScheduleRide Times, Live ScoresEN’s Coverage

Welcome to Richland Park! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The Event

  • The difficulty in both jumping clear and making the time on cross country has gradually increased since 2014. At the same time, the average number of rails in stadium has inched downwards.
  • In the past three years, only 1.3% of starters have finished on their dressage score in either the Advanced or the CIC3* at Richland. Both of those two came in 2015 in the CIC3*.

Katie Ruppel and Houdini. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Dressage Divas

  • Carlevo and Buck Davidson have averaged a strong 42.9 on three-star tests since the beginning of 2016. They have broken into the 30s on two occasions, most recently at the Tattersalls CCI3* in Ireland in May.
  • Katie Ruppel and Houdini are renewing their partnership this spring, but in 2016 they scored solidly below the 45.0 mark in four of their five Advanced and three-star* starts. Although they hold a personal best of 37.1 from Poplar Place CIC3* in 2016, this pair averages 43.5 for the past two calendar years.
  • Crowd favorites Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights are back and as always will be contenders after day one. With an average three-star score of 47.3 but the ability to score in the low 40s, this pair will be one to watch.

Allie Knowles and Sound Prospect. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Cross Country Machines

  • Covert Rights is also a very fast horse at the CIC3* level, with an average of only 6 seconds over optimum in their last four runs. Prior to his hiatus in 2016, Colleen and “CR” were averaging rounds under the optimum time.
  • Allie Knowles and Sound Prospect had a solid first CIC3* run of 2017 at Great Meadow. This pair generally either takes their time or makes a quick, decisive run to get close to the pace. On average, they complete only 15 seconds over the optimum time at this level dating back through 2016.
  • Military Mind and Whitney Mahloch are a pair to keep an eye on if they make a clean cross country run. When they complete with no issues they are very fast on the clock. In three clear runs, they have been under the optimum twice and added only 1.6 time penalties on a third occasion.


Buck Davidson and Park Trader. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Show Jumping Powerhouses

  • Park Trader and Buck Davidson have really stepped up their show jumping game recently. They are the only pair in the field who trend towards a clear round at Advanced and CIC3* level since 2016, and they’ve had six straight fault-free rounds at those levels.
  • Sound Prospect and Allie Knowles have also historically been a very strong pair in the show jumping phase, although they had an uncharacteristic two rails in as they knocked off the rust at Great Meadow. Prior to that, they’d had only one rail in seven CIC3* outings dating back to 2015.

PREDICTED WINNER: Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Keep Your Eye On:

  • Allie Knowles and Sound Prospect
  • Buck Davidson and Carlevo

Possible Spoilers:

  • Katie Ruppel and Foreign Affair
  • Colleen Loach and Qorry Blue D’Argouges

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

Sara Kozumplik-Murphy shows off her unicorns. Photo via Sara’s FB page.

Sara Kozumplik-Murphy has gone full unicorn in an effort to take her real-life unicorn Rubens d’Ysieux overseas to contest the CCI3* at Millstreet. With a fundraiser, schooling jumper shows, and salty unicorn t-shirt sales, she has pulled out all the stops to gain the funding to make Rubens D’Ysieux fly higher and longer than he has before.

#WylieWatch: Track Leslie Wylie in the Mongol Derby!

National Holiday: National Tell a Joke Day

#FEIEuros2017: WebsiteRide Times & Live ScoresFEI TVEN’s Coverage

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Huntington Farm H.T. [Website]

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

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

The 2017 FEI European Championships are here! The action kicks off today with the first horse inspection at Strzegom in Poland. Will Michael Jung win a fourth consecutive individual gold medal? Or will another nation rise to the occasion and dethrone the Germans, who have won team gold for the last three championships? Listen to EquiRatings’ predictions of the medal winners in the latest episode of the Eventing Podcast. [Europeans Preview Show]

With the fall season imminent, it’s a good time to brush up on the rules. Do you know what the rules require for return to play if you appear injured? What about if you get a concussion? Can you use a medical bracelet or does it have to be an armband? The USEA is here to remind us. [Rules Refresher]

Ian Stark, course designer extraordinaire, is one tough cookie. After falling from a young horse last year, Ian has undergone some ongoing pain that he was told would eventually resolve. As it failed to, Ian underwent an MRI where it was discovered his pelvis had separated. After undergoing a highly specialized operation, Ian is back on his way to recovery, though it may take up to a year to be 100%. [Ian Stark Undergoes Pelvis Operation]

If you’re going to Burghley to spectate, you may be surprised to get a piece of the action. With a riding simulator dubbed the ‘Musto Mare’, you too can tackle iconic Burghley fences such as the Cottesmore Leap. After a brief tutorial on how to ride the ‘mare’, riders will get a chance to ride a six to eight fence course. [Tackling the Cottesmore Leap]

SmartPak Product of the Day: It’s mid-August, which means the sun is beating down as hard as ever. I can feel the weight of it when I ride mid-day on weekends and I’m thankful for my sunstopper shirts to help protect my skin. [SmartPak]

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

It’s officially happening! Photo via Thomas Bateman’s FB page.

As of publication of this N&N post (which goes live at midnight), our beloved Wylie has been lost racing through the deserts of Mongolia for approximately two hours. It’s pretty surreal that one of our own has undertaken a race of this magnitude and we will all be glued to her GPS tracker.

National Holiday: Book Lover’s Day

U.S. Weekend Preview:

GMHA Festival of Eventing CIC & H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Fair Hill H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

WindRidge Farm Summer H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Otter Creek Summer H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

The Summer Event at Woodside H.T. [Website]  [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Area VII Young Rider Benefit H.T. [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Stanton Farms H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Colorado Horse Park 3DE & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Sometimes it’s just not that easy to shake off a fall. Camilla Henderson, a three-star rider, thought it was back to business after a rotational fall last year but found herself getting more and more wound up in cross-country warmups. After seeking out the assistance of a sports psychologist, Camilla has learned how to let go of the tension and leave it at the show. [How Sports Psychology Helped]

How can we not keep talking about Jonty and Cooley Rorkes Drift? Jonty is now 98% of the way to his incredible crowd-funding goal of £500,000, with only £10,369.47 left to go. I have to admit, I had my doubt after the initial surge of attention, but Jonty and Art have captured the imagination of the world in their quest together. [Jonty Evans’ Crowd-Fund Campaign Almost There!] (UPDATE:He’s done it! At 10 a.m. British Standard Time, the ticker fell down to 0!)

Today’s N&N is all about overcoming our fears. WDawn Johnson has overcome some serious hurdles in order to qualify for the AECs, including a fear of cantering jumps. With her partner Pilot, loaned to her by her trainer, Dawn has gone from winning her division at Stable View last fall, to overcoming a broken collarbone from falling in December. [Overcoming My Fears]

SmartPak Product of the Day: If you’re a Davis bell boot lover, pay attention. SmartPak is running a one day only deal on these great bell boots (I’m very partial to them for turn-out!). They’ve advertised them as BOGO for today only! [Smart Pak]

By the Numbers: Millbrook Advanced

Millbrook has been the kick-off to the fall season for many years now. It serves as a first run for those headed to the later CCI3* and 4*, both overseas and in the States, while others use it as a final run before their Burghley or Millstreet appearances. As the only Advanced or 3* on the East Coast in this time frame, Millbrook draws quite a large field every year and serves as one of the few chances to see most of the top horses go head to head before they split off to the various options offered in the fall.

#Millbrook: WebsiteRide TimesLive ScoresEN’s CoverageEN’s Instagram

An aerial view of cross country day at Millbrook. Photo by Daniel Cohen © Undara Productions.

The Event

  • The cross-country at Millbrook generally has a high completion rate (averaging 91.62% over the past three years) but only a low percentage of completions (5.31%) make the time. As a result, the placings are often shuffled going into the final day.
  • Having said that, the winner has been inside the top three after dressage in the last three runnings of this event. They have been within 2 points of the leader each year.
  • Of 146 pairs who have started since 2014, only four have finished on their dressage score. All four of those accomplished that in 2016, and all four placed inside the top ten.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Dressage Divas

  • Carlevo and Buck Davidson have the only dressage average in the field to dip into the thirties, making them the favorites to hold the lead after phase one. They’ve scored sub-forty (or the FEI equivalent) in 70% of their Advanced and 3* starts, with their worst score being a 31.5 (in USEF scoring).
  • Carlevo’s stablemate Copper Beach is hot on his heels. Over the past two years, Copper Beach has averaged a 30.0 at these levels. In his last 3* start prior to Rolex, he put in a personal best of a 38.7 at Chattahoochee Hills CIC3*, which equates to a 25.8 in USEF terms.
  • Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Revelation have had only four starts together but they’ve clearly meshed, averaging 30.2. However, their score has dropped with each successive test, and they most lately clocked in the FEI equivalent of a 27.1 at the Tattersalls CCI3*.
  • In only three starts together at this level, Rubens D’Ysieux and Sara Kozumplik-Murphy have shown plenty of promise in the first phase, averaging a 31.4.
  • Donner and Lynn Symansky have been extraordinarily consistent at this level since 2012. Since 2013, they’ve clocked in 18 starts at the Advanced and CIC3* levels, all under 35.0 and 5 in the sub-thirty range.

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Cross Country Machines

  • Doug Payne and Vandiver have quietly become one of the faster pairs on the circuit since their first four-star run together in 2016. In their seven runs at this level since then, they’ve finished no more than sixteen seconds over the optimum time, averaged only five seconds over the optimum, and finished inside the time on three occasions. One of those clear and inside the time runs came at Millbrook last year.
  • Matt Brown turned heads at Rolex with his clear round inside the time this spring on Super Socks BCF, but he’s got another quick horse in his arsenal as well. BCF Belicoso is returning to the level with a previous average of only twelve seconds over optimum when running clear at Advanced and CIC3* events.
  • Luckaun Quality and Tim Bourke may not look like they are moving very quickly, but they routinely make the time while looking like they are just having a lope around. Luckaun Quality also averages only twelve seconds over optimum at this level over the past two years.
  • Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie tend to pick a pace and stick with it, whether it’s intended to take it a little easy or make the time. This pair has made the time in 40% of their runs over their last ten shows at this level.
  • Lynn Symansky and Donner really turned the speed up in their last two CIC3* runs, clocking in only four and three seconds over optimum respectively. With a run at Burghley next up on their agenda, Lynn will be picking the pace she thinks best to get the most out of him at the next event.


Sara Murphy and Rubens D’Ysieux. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Show Jumping Powerhouses

  • If you haven’t yet seen Congo Brazzaville C jump, you are seriously missing out. This young ride of Mara DePuy’s has some incredible springs in his legs, and is five for five at leaving all the rails in the cups at this level.
  • Rubens D’Ysieux and Sara Kozumplik-Murphy have been foot perfect in the three stadium rounds they’ve done together at the 3* level, and tossed in wins at both the Eventing Prix Invitational and the Devon Arena Eventing class this spring to boot.
  • Vandiver and Doug Payne cannot be ignored in this phase either, with an 86% clear stadium rate at this level. They haven’t had a rail in competition since AEC last fall.
  • Phillip Dutton’s ride Z has been quite strong in the final phase, clocking in clear rounds in all his starts at this level except for his first start of each year. Meanwhile, stablemate Mr. Candyman is coming into Millbrook on a six-show streak for clear stadium rounds inside the time.

Lynn Symansky and Donner. Photo by Jenni Autry.

PREDICTED WINNER: Lynn Symansky and Donner

Potential Spoilers:

  • Doug Payne and Vandiver are coming off a broken collarbone for Doug, but if he’s fighting fit, they’ll have an excellent shot at the top position.

Keep Your Eye On:

  • Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso
  • Buck Davidson and Copper Beach
  • Phillip Dutton and anything he rides
  • Sara Kozumplik-Murphy and Rubens D’Ysieux
  • Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie
  • Kurt Martin and DeLux Z

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

Advanced level eventer Tracey Bienemann gives a thumbs up. Photo via Tracey Bienemann’s FB page.

Let’s all sends some healing thoughts to Tracey, who badly injured her hand while preparing to sail in the Governer’s Cup. We eventers are a tough lot, but it’s easy to forget you can get hurt doing activities unrelated to horses. Luckily Tracey is in good spirits and we are keeping our fingers all crossed for her fingers!

National Holiday: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

Olney Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

River Glen Summer H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Catalpa Corner Charity H.T. [Website]  [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

With the announcement that Paris will be the 2024 Olympic venue, we can now all swoon over the equestrian venue. Built in the 17th century, the historic Palace of Versailles will be home to the equestrian disciplines in 2024. The Palace held its first CSI5* this year, and the building makes an absolutely stunning backdrop. There is still no word on whether they will hold the cross country at the same venue.  [Historic Palace to be 2024 Venue]

The Irish have now named their European Championship squad. Six pairs have been nominated to represent as four team members and two individuals, with the horses on the team decided at a later date. Most glaringly present are Jonty Evans and Cooley Rorkes Drift, who emerged at Rio as a world-class talent. However…. [Irish Squad Named]

Cooley Rorkes Drift cannot go to the Europeans unless Jonty Evans meets his funding goal. Jonty is famously trying to keep the ride on ‘Art’ by crowd funding the required funds to keep him in his yard. Thus far, he has raised an astounding £285,305.04, with a huge donation of £150k coming in over the weekend. [Jonty Evans’ Crowd-Fund Campaign Boosted]

Don’t forget, the AECs are right around the corner. With only two weeks to go until the closing date, it’s time to check your qualifications and send off your entry. The USEA has helpfully provided some guidelines to make sure you’re qualified for the division you hope to enter. [One Month to Go!]

SmartPak Product of the Day: When I was kid learning to ride at a hunter/jumper barn, Eskadrons were the gold standard in boots. Today, I still love my Eskadrons dearly as they are some of the hardiest boots I have, yet still always look nice enough to show in. [Smart Pak]

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

Up early to beat the summer heat! Photo via Dom Schramm’s FB page.

With all the grants announced for U.S. riders, we sometimes forget about our foreign riders based here who are pursuing their international dreams. Dom Schramm is taking a crack at Blenheim and has been working hard preparing Bolytair B for a trip over the pond in pursuit of a spot on the Australian WEG team. Check out #boly4blenheim to follow their journey!

National Holiday: National All or Nothing Day

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Stoneleigh-Burnham Summer H.T. [Website]

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

Hunt Club Farms H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Cobblestone Farms H.T. [Website]  [Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Be careful removing bonnets, all bit checkers! Swedish dressage rider Juliette Ramel had an absolute nightmare scenario during bit check at Aachen, when the person removing the bonnet accidentally started taking the bridle with it. Buriel KH spooked, then bolted with his bridle flapping free around his front legs, eventually suffering scrapes and stiffness incurred from bolting around the venue. [Olympic Horse Bolts]

You know how everyone buys you things with horses on them after they find out you like horses? Well imagine being the Queen of England, who has been gifted with horse themed statuettes, paintings, bits, carriages, and various tack over the year. Oh, and twenty-five horses spanning from her coronation through her 90th birthday. [Equestrian Themed Gifts]

As a reminder, the YEH series has a serious prize up for grabs with the Le Lion grant. With the finals for YEH right around the corner in early October at Woodside (West) and Fair Hill (East), chances are running out to get qualified for the championships. FEH championships will also be held at Loch Moy (East) and Twin Rivers (West) later in the month of October. [Go Get Qualified]

Sadly, Erie Hunt and Saddle Club HT has been cancelled due to lack of numbers. After much consideration, the event has been cancelled not just for this year but permanently, due to a declining trend in competitors. The venue will still hold mini-trials and cross country schooling in the future.

SmartPak Product of the Day: I bought two sets of leathers back in 2007 when I first bought my horse, one for the dressage saddle and one for jump saddle. The key feature was that they were nylon-lined which I hoped would keep them from stretching and make them last. Sure enough, a decade later I am still using them, although they are starting to finally show their age. Best of all, the nylon kept them from ever stretching. [Smart Pak]