Articles Written 320
Article Views 667,479

Maggie Deatrick

Achievements

Become an Eventing Nation Blogger

About Maggie Deatrick

Latest Articles Written

Show Jumping Powerhouses of Rolex

It ain’t over ’til it’s over, but as much of this weekend has felt like there’s almost a foregone conclusion to be had. We’re in familiar territory, as Michael Jung heads the leaderboard going into the final phase for the third year in a row. fischerRocana FST has a rail in hand, and she may need it today, as several stronger show jumpers stalk her in the placings.

The riders listed below are the best show jumpers currently inside the top twenty, ordered by reverse placing which is the order in which they will jump. All of these horses average half a rail or less, meaning they trend towards jumping clear.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, How to Watch Live, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Lillian Heard and Share Option. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Lillian Heard (USA) and Share Option: Lillian Heard and Share Option will be show jumping at their fourth consecutive Rolex today, and they’ve jumped clear each time except for their debut in 2014, where they had one rail. This pair is a very strong bet for a clear round and could easily move up inside the top twenty.

Current Place: 20th

Current Score: 76.0

Madeline Backus and P.S. Arianna. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Madeline Backus (USA) and P.S. Arianna: This young pair are confirmed one or none jumpers. They’ve had clear rounds in three of their six 3* starts and only one rail in the other three. P.S. Arianna and Madeline are as likely to go clear as not, but will add at most one rail to their score.

Current Place: 19th

Current Score: 75.5

Kurt Martin and Delux Z. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Kurt Martin (USA) and DeLux Z: Kurt and his ride DeLux Z are some of the best show jumpers around, with 10 of 13 three- and four-star rounds jumped clear with only one rail in the remaining three. They put in one of only four double clear stadium rounds here last year and haven’t had a rail since. Finally, these two have yet to have a rail at a CCI3/4* in the four they’ve completed.

Current Place: 15th

Current Score: 68.3

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

Phillip Dutton (USA) and I’m Sew Ready: I’m Sew Ready is another one-or-none horse with Phillip in the irons. In the seven 3* starts they have together, they’ve had a rail in only three of them, with the other four clear. In their only CCI start, they jumped double clear at Fair Hill CCI3* last fall.

Current Place: 10th

Current Score: 60.1

 

Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection. Photo by Sofie Van Olmen.

Hannah Sue Burnett (USA) and Under Suspection: As many of the others listed here, Under Suspection is also a one-or-none ride, with three clear rounds of five three-stars with Hannah Sue in the irons. Although they had a rail at their first CCI3* together at Rebecca Farm, they followed up with a clear round at Fair Hill last fall.

Current Place: 5th

Current Score: 50.8

Maxime Livio in the Luhmuhlen CCI4*. Photo by Libby Law Photography.

Maxime Livio (FRA) and Qalao des Mers: Maxime used Qalao’s show jumping prowess last fall to catch Rocana and win his first CCI4* title at Pau last fall. He’ll need it again as one of only two riders within shouting distance of the great Michael Jung. He’ll need Rocana to give him some help with more that one rail, which is unlikely but still possible from her.

Qalao des Mers is almost always a none horse. He has only two flaws in seven starts (four of which are CCI3/4*), one of which was two rails in his very first CIC3* at Blenheim, and the other a single rail at Aachen CICO3* in 2014. At the CCI level, he is flawless.

Current Place: 2nd

Current Score: 44.6

Cross Country Powerhouses of Rolex

Hooray, it’s cross country day! The cross country consists of 28 numbered obstacles (45 total jumping efforts when taking all the direct routes) across 6,340 meters of the Kentucky Horse Park. The horses will have to cover the distance under the optimum time of 11 minutes, 17 seconds, or they will incur time penalties, 0.4 added to their score for each second they are over. For a full preview of the course, check out our course preview here.

Derek di Grazia of the United States is the course designer for here at the KHP since 2011. Derek di Grazia currently designs many courses in North America, including both Bromont CCI3* and Fair Hill CCI3*, two big qualifiers for this event. He has also been designated as the course designer for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The horses listed below fall into two different categories: either horses a bit down the order after dressage who are supremely consistently clear and fast across the country, or horses currently ranked near the top who are very fast when they do run clear across the country. With the weather being hot but clear, there will almost certainly be a larger percentage of horses who make the time compared to the past two years.

At a four-star level, a cross country run that is clear and inside the time could potentially move you up many places. Here are our projections of horses who will make the biggest moves up the leaderboard tomorrow…or maintain their place at the top.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, Course Preview, EN Tailgate, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, How to Watch Live, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

James Alliston and Parker. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

James Alliston (GBR) and Parker: The trailblazer today is also the master of the Kentucky Horse Park, the indomitable Parker. This pair has completed nine CCI3/4* cross country rounds clean and inside the time, three of which were at Rolex. This pair has another two Rolex completions as well, both under ten seconds above optimum. One of them was from last year, where no one made the time. There is no surer bet today than Parker and James for a pair who will end the day still sitting on their dressage score.

Ride Time: 10:00 a.m. EST

Will Coleman and Obos O’Reilly. Photo by Samantha Clark.

Will Coleman (USA) and OBOS O’Reilly: These two don’t have a recent FEI record, but prior to OBOS O’Reilly’s hiatus, they were one of the fastest pairs on the circuit. Their last three consecutive runs were all clear and inside the time, including their four-star debut at Rolex in 2014 and a run at Blenheim in 2015.

Ride Time: 10:16 a.m. EST

Maxime Livio and Qalao Des Mers. Photo by Libby Law Photography.

Maxime Livio (FRA) and Qalao des Mers: Our French visitors have a short but sweet record demonstrating their capability across the country. Six total three- and four-star runs, four of them clear and inside the time. The only shows these two have had time penalties at was Qalao des Mers’ move up to the CIC3* level, and the infamously muddy World Equestrian Games at Caen.

Ride Time: 11:08 a.m. EST

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Phillip Dutton (USA) and Fernhill Fugitive: Fernhill Fugitive has quietly gotten better and better behind his higher profile stablemates over the past couple years, and last year was actually the highest place of Phillip’s rides after cross country. As trailblazer last year, Fernhill Fugitive posted one of the fastest rounds of the day, making time look obtainable on a day it was not meant to be.

Ride Time: 11:52 a.m. EST

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Clark Montgomery (USA) and Loughan Glen: Our leaders after dressage tend to enjoy either feast or famine in the second phase; either they go clear and fast and maintain their lead or they have a blip, adding that and time penalties to put them out of contention. With an average of 2.4 time penalties over CCI courses when running clear, they could have a couple time penalties and still maintain their lead.

Ride Time: 12:28 p.m. EST

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

Hannah Sue Burnett (USA) and Under Suspection: Although this is Under Suspection’s first four star, she is incredibly seasoned at the three-star level, having three CCI3* under her belt with two riders. With Hannah Sue, this dynamic duo averaged four seconds under the optimum time in their two CCI3* starts last year.

Ride Time: 12:40 p.m. EST

Michael Jung and fischerRocana. Photo by Libby Law Photography.

Michael Jung (GER) and fischerRocana FST: Instead of talking about all the times Rocana has made the time, let’s talk about the few times she hasn’t at the CCI level. First, the infamous World Equestrian Games in France. She was two seconds over the optimum at Rolex last year, the fastest on a day when no one made the time. And she was one second over a Pau in the fall. That’s it.

Ride Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Doug Payne (USA) and Vandiver: When their partnership first commenced, Doug rode Vandiver conservatively, opting to get to know the horse at a slower pace through their first four-star together last spring. After Rolex, he pushed the pedal to the medal, and they’ve averaged only three seconds over optimum in their FEI events in the last twelve months.

Ride Time: 1:24 p.m. EST

Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Phillip Dutton (USA) and Mr. Medicott: Phillip and Mr. Medicott have two CCI4* runs together. In the first, they had one lone time penalty at Pau in 2013. The following spring, Mr. Medicott and Phillip made the time at Rolex. A clear run inside the time would be a fitting finale to this champion’s career.

Ride Time: 1:44 p.m. EST

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Dressage Powerhouses of Rolex: Day Two

We’re now entering the second day of competition at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, which means another full day of fancy prancing. Although we saw quite a few phenomenal horses yesterday (and you can view the results here), there’s a higher volume of must-watch tests today.

Click here to see the order of go with ride times and here for all the details on how to watch live.

The competitors will be performing the 2017 FEI CCI Four-Star Test A, which is brand new for this year. This will put old favorites and Rolex Rookies on a totally level playing field as they navigate through the test for the first time. Since Rolex is the first four-star to be held each year, no one has yet seen how the test rides in competition yet. Check here for a summary in all the ways in which this new test differs from the old.

Judging the competitors will be Christina Klingspor of Sweden, who presides over the ground jury. Nick Burton of Great Britain and David Lee of Ireland join her as members of the ground jury.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

FRIDAY, MORNING SESSIONS

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Liz Halliday-Sharp (USA) and Fernhill By Night: Right off the bat we’re starting with a trio of can’t-miss rides, so don’t be late to the Kentucky Horse Park this morning! Fernhill By Night is always a heavy hitter on the flat and is one of the few U.S. horses to regularly lay down sub-40 scores. Although they haven’t yet hit that mark at the four-star level yet, Fernhill By Night and Liz have hit the 30s at the three-star level four times in the past three years, with a low score of 36.1 at Breda CIC3* in 2015.

Aiming for: Top 3

Ride time: 9 a.m. EST

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive. Photo By Nico Morgan.

Phillip Dutton (USA) and Fernhill Fugitive: Fernhill Fugitive really started hitting his stride in 2015, stringing together a series of eight consecutive FEI starts with scores in the 40s. Last year at Rolex, he laid down a 43.1 as one of the first horses to go, and although his form hasn’t been quite as on point this spring, there’s good reason to believe he could be competitive.

Aiming for: Top 5

Ride Time: 9:08 a.m. EST

Buck Davidson and Copper Beach. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Buck Davidson (USA) and Copper Beach: The strongest of Buck Davidson’s three rides on the flat, Copper Beach has started gaining more consistency lately, with scores predictably in the 40s. In his very last prep event for Rolex, Copper Beach had a breakthrough, breaking the 40s mark and laying down a personal best of 38.7 at the Chattahoochee Hills CIC3*.

Aiming for: Top 5

Ride Time: 9:16 a.m. EST

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Clark Montgomery (USA) and Loughan Glen: Surprise! Loughan Glen and Clark Montgomery are good on the flat. No, but really they are considered one of the most competitive pairs in the world on the flat. However, Glen has struggled a bit with consistency lately, meaning his scored have vacillated from a personal best of 32.2 at Pine Top CIC3* earlier this winter up into the 40s. For any other pair a low 40s is a great day, but these two are capable putting in a score that would rank on the all-time leaderboard of four-star dressage tests.

Aiming for: The lead

Ride Time: 10:32 a.m. EST

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

Kim Severson (USA) and Cooley Cross Border: After coming out swinging in his debut at the three-star level with what is still his personal best score of 41.3 at the 2015 edition of Plantation Field CIC3*, Cooley Cross Border was slowly creeping up in scoring with every FEI run. However, Kim seems to have pressed the reset button in his final CIC3* at The Fork, plummeting their score from low 50s down to 43.7. It’s anyone’s guess how the atmosphere will affect this precocious horse in his four-star debut.

Aiming for: Top 10

Ride Time: 11:36 a.m. EST

Zara Phillips and High Kingdom. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Zara Tindall (GBR) and High Kingdom: High Kingdom has been around a long time, and when he laid down one of the worst scores of his career at Aachen last summer after a long layoff, it was tough not to wonder if this might be the end. But Zara and High Kingdom proved that was far from reality when they executed one of the best scores of their three- and four-star career, a 43.1, at Belton CIC3* just a few weeks ago.

Aiming for: Top 10

Ride Time: 11:44 a.m. EST

Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Michael Jung (GER) and fischerRocana FST: In case you have been living under a rock, there’s this German guy who is pretty good on the flat. And he’s riding this horse who is pretty good on the flat. In 2015 and 2016, fischerRocana FST strung together five straight tests in a row that scored under 36, four of them under 35. Finally, at the end of 2016, there was a weakness: a 43.8 at Pau CCI4*. Which horse will show up today?

Aiming for: Top 2

Ride Time: 12:00 p.m. EST

FRIDAY, AFTERNOON SESSIONS

Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Tim Price (NZL) and Ringwood Sky Boy: This horse has a lot of talent but is less consistent than some of the others on this list. With scores as low as 38.7 at a four-star, he can certainly throw it down on the right day. But he also regularly ranges up into the high 40s and even occasionally the 50s on a bad day. With some luck (and the universe owes Tim Price some of that after an abysmal 2016),  we could see these two at the top of the leaderboard.

Aiming for: Top 5

Ride Time: 2:02 p.m. EST

Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Phillip Dutton (USA) and Mr. Medicott: Realistically, these two are not going to crack the top unless they have a really stellar day. Their best score as a pair came at Pau CCI4* in 2013 with a 44.2, but they more regularly scored in the higher 40s. Mr. Medicott has been out of the game for a while, and in his only recent start he scored a 54.7 at The Fork CIC3*. But regardless of what these two score, this test is a must-watch as we witness the end of an era with a horse whose career ranges all the way back to the Hong Kong Olympics.

Aiming for: Top 15

Ride Time: 3:04 p.m. EST

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Friday News & Notes from Kentucky Equine Research

I’ve been pretty fortunate to have an upper level horse who thinks jogs are the most boring thing ever who I sometimes have to convince that no, this is not stupid, and yes, now that you’re motivated, you still need to listen to my snaffle bit even if I’m not actually on him. Still, hijinks are generally at a minimum, so I have to laugh when I see what looks like horse-shaped kites making their way down the jog strip.

Events This Week:

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Fresno County Horse Park HT: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

University of New Hampshire Spring HT: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Spring HT: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Don’t miss this special bonus column from EN guest writer William Micklem! Does size matter? William examines horses in history that might have been overlooked due to their small size had it not been for their extraordinary athletic ability. [Does Size Matter?]

For real. Download the EN App. This is your final reminder to download it. Actually no, just kidding. You’ll be repeatedly reminded for a while. [App for iOS] [App for Android]

PRO officially is being incorporated into the ERA umbrella. Effective as of now, the Professional Rider’s Organization will now become the North American branch of the Eventing Riders Association. The ERA membership will be open to all riders, with three different levels of membership to fit everyone’s needs. [ERA of NA Announces Launch]

Here’s just a big list of links you might have missed. [A Maxime Livio Photo Gallery] [Missing Maya] [7 Reasons Why You Don’t Have to Be Sad You’re Missing Rolex] [It Inspires You To Be Better] [You Don’t Ride the Papers] [Faudree Is Back] [Badminton First Timers: Katherine Coleman]

The horses at Rolex are so shiny, you could almost use them as a mirror. I’ll let you in on a huge secret product that all the grooms use in the lead-up to Rolex to get that high-definition shine and dapples for days. It’s elbow grease. That’s right, with a bit of forearm strength, a little rubber curry comb, and some daily dedication, your horse too could look ready to tackle a four-star in April. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Hey Smarty Pants! Play KER Equine Nutrition Trivia at Rolex XC

Are you an equine nutrition whiz kid? Visit Kentucky Equine Research (KER) at tailgate tent D212 on XC to test your knowledge and win prizes! Even if you don’t want to play, step into the KER “lab” at D212 for free water, food, and fun giveaways.

Kentucky Equine Research (KER) is an international equine nutrition, research, and consultation company serving horse owners and the feed industry. Serious science goes into everything KER does, from its consultation with horse owners and feed manufacturers to its own product line.

Whether we’re helping you select the right feed and supplements, explaining healthy horse diets, or offering practical, science-based advice, KER is your one-stop solution to equine nutrition issues.

Dressage Powerhouses of Rolex: Day One

Welcome to the 2017 edition of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event! Yesterday marked the beginning of the competition, with the first horse inspection occurring in the afternoon and today we’ll have the first half of dressage. Click here to see the order of go with ride times and here for all the details on how to watch live.

The competitors will be performing the 2017 FEI CCI Four-Star Test A, which is brand new for this year. This will put old favorites and Rolex Rookies on a totally level playing field, as they navigate through the test for the first time. Since Rolex is the first four-star to be held each year, no one has yet seen how the test rides in competition yet. Check here for a summary in all the ways in which this new test differs from the old.

Judging the competitors will be Christina Klingspor of Sweden, who presides over the ground jury. Nick Burton of Great Britain and David Lee of Ireland join her as members of the ground jury.

THURSDAY, MORNING SESSIONS

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

Phillip Dutton (USA) and I’m Sew Ready: With Phillip in the irons, I’m Sew Ready has shown strong consistency in the first phase with regular flashes of brilliance. His strongest performance at the three-star level came at Jersey Fresh CCI3* in 2015, when he and Phillip laid down a 42.4 before the ride came back to Kristin Bond. When I’m Sew Ready and Phillip were re-united in late 2016, they left off where they began, clocking in a 43.4 at Plantation Field CIC3*.

Aiming for: Top 10

Ride time: 10:34 a.m. EST

Courtney Cooper and Who’s A Star. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Courtney Cooper (USA) and Who’s A Star: Make sure to tune in after the second break to see Courtney and her homebred gelding, known for their ability to really excel on the flat. Consistently in the mid-to-high 40s, Courtney and Who’s A Star will be looking to improve their test from their rookie debut last year. In their last FEI outing at Red Hills CIC3*, they laid down a 46.3, their second best test at this level.

Aiming for: Top 15

Ride Time: 11:44 a.m. EST

THURSDAY, AFTERNOON SESSIONS

Maxime Livio and Qalao de Mers at WEG. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Maxime Livio (FRA) and Qalao des Mers: French horse Qalao des Mers is the highlight of Thursday afternoon, and should not be missed. Although this pair has yet to strike the 30s, they’ve scored under 46 in five of their six starts at the three- and four-star levels.

Aiming for: Top 5

Ride Time: 2:02 p.m. EST

Lauren Kieffer and Vermiculus. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lauren Kieffer (USA) and Vermiculus: A bit of a wild-card on the first day, this little Anglo-Arab has come out swinging in 2017, dropping his dressage average by a whopping ten points over his 2016 average. Whether he can continue the momentum into his first four-star is anyone’s guess but scoring a personal best of 43.3 at Chattahoochee Hills in his final prep run can’t hurt — nor can having the two-time winner of the USEF CCI4* Championship Trophy in the irons.

Aiming for: Top 15

Ride Time: 3:20 p.m. EST

Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jessica Phoenix (CAN) and Pavarotti: Pavarotti has improved on his dressage score with every four-star appearance, last scoring a 44.7 in Rolex 2016 before withdrawing prior to cross country. As the final ride of the day on Thursday, a full grandstand will create a lot of atmosphere, but this veteran of the World Equestrian Games should take it all in stride.

Aiming for: Top 10

Ride Time: 3:28 p.m. EST

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

Even the pups will be representing Team Flaxen at Rolex next week. Photo courtesy of Diane Finkelstein. Even the pups will be representing Team Flaxen at Rolex next week. Photo courtesy of Diane Finkelstein.

T-minus one week until Rolex officially commences with the jogs and Facebook is slowly starting to fill up with videos and photos of final prep work. For some that includes last lessons, gallops, icing, and holding their breath. Others are busy coming up with ways to display their support for their favorite riders and horses. One thing is undeniable … the moment is at hand!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Longleaf Pine H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Plantation Field April H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

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

Holly Hill Spring H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Beezie Madden’s ride Cortes ‘C’ is going to live the good life as a retiree. John and Beezie Madden take their retirement responsibilities seriously, while letting their former champions be horses. With fuzzy coats, mud, and freedom in abundance, horses like Coral Reef Via Volo, Authentic, and now Cortes ‘C’ enjoy a European style retiree barn where they get looked at daily without needing to be handled. [Living the Good Life]

It isn’t every day an amateur tops the field at a CCI2*. That’s just what happened to Julie Anne Boyer at Twin Rivers though, with her 8 year old thoroughbred High Decorum. A former police officer, Julie Anne found ‘Declan’ on the track as a four year old and has brought him through the levels herself. [Winner of the Week]

Madeline Backus is living the fairy tale with her mare P.S. Arianna. Bought to be her first horse after graduating from ponies, ‘Ari’ has grown up with Madeline, ushering through the levels of eventing to compete at their first Rolex next week. Although fitness has changed the mare from affable to fiery over the years, Madeline relates to her as if they are siblings. [Kind of Like a Fairy Tale]

SmartPak Product of the Day: I may have plugged this helmet only a month ago, but after only ten rides in it, I found myself in need of another one after a particularly nasty spill on Easter Sunday. Despite being almost brand new, I found enough dirt on it to convince myself that it was already time to retire that helmet from service. [SmartPak]

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

Badminton bound! Photo via Elisa Wallace's FB page. Badminton bound! Photo via Elisa Wallace's FB page.

The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and thoughts of Rolex and Badminton are quickly overtaking my daily thought processes. That means it’s April all right, and as I try to pick what I’m wearing for the day, determined on whether it’s 40 and blowing or almost ninety with blazing sun, I’m crossing my fingers for great weather in Lexington and England the day of.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Fair Hill CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Ocala CCI & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Twin Rivers CCI, CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Send some “feel better soon” jingles to Bobby Meyerhoff, who is in the hospital after a fall cross country schooling. He suffered two fractured ribs and pneumothorax. “They are monitoring me overnight and re-cat scanning in the morning,” Bobby updated on Facebook. “Hopefully the air will reabsorb and I can get released in the morning.” Take care, Bobby! [Bobby Meyerhoff Facebook]

If you’ve ever had that panic induced by Google after the vet has left, you’re not alone. Blogger Natalie Voss can relate, as she had a ringbone scare with her mare Jitterbug. When the vet mentioned ringbone but had to come back to x-ray, she pulled out her phone and Googled her way into the worst possibilities. Most of us eventers have probably had that same panic. [The Existential Crisis]

Even if you’ve had a string of bad luck, you probably don’t have anything on Dani Evans. After a fall in November in which she broke her right ankle and leg and dislocated her right shoulder, Dani was finally back on a horse on March 10. It was short lived though, as a stumble and fall in her first run cross country resulted in another broken leg. Join EN in sending well wishes to Dani for her recovery. [Dani Evans Breaks Same Leg Twice]

Best of the Blogs: A Yankee In Paris. Bigger isn’t always better, as blogger Carleigh Fedorka tries to explain. With a true 17.3 gray ex-racehorse affectionately dubbed ‘The Elephant’, Carleigh has had to make an adjustments to make him fit in her life….literally. A bigger trailer, new tack and among other things, stronger abs as they work harder to collect to a twelve foot stride, come with a gentle giant. [Big Horse/Little Human Problems]

SmartPak Product of the Day: I’m in constant need of bell boots, to the point I consider them somewhat semi-disposable. To counter the issue of bell boots lost in the field, I buy the sturdiest ones I can find in the brightest colors, so as to better spot them out in the grass. [SmartPak]

By the Numbers: Chattahoochee Hills CIC3*

A date change for Chattahoochee Hills has turned this event into a solid option as a final preparation run for horses and riders bound for Rolex, and more attractive for pairs based in Florida as opposed to driving north for The Fork.

Despite healthier numbers this year, many of the more experienced horses have been aimed at the Advanced division. This means the CIC3* is a bit more openly contested this weekend amongst those less established at the level.

Chattahoochee Hills. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The Field

  • The field in the CIC3* jumped from only three pairs last year to 20 for the 2017 edition.
  • Since hosting the first Chattahoochee Hills CIC3* in 2013, the winner of this division has led from day one, save for the very first running. The winner of that inaugural 2013 edition? None other than Lauren Kieffer and Veronica making their first CIC3* start as a pair.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Dressage Divas

  • Carlevo has been a force in the first phase with Buck Davidson, scoring sub-45 in five of his seven career three-star tests.
  • Lauren and Veronica have scored within a point of 43.0 in either direction in all of their CIC3* tests since 2014.

Ellen Eoughty-Hume and Sir Oberon. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Show Jumping Powerhouses

  • Veronica is no slouch in the stadium department. She and Lauren have put in thirteen clear Advanced or CIC3* rounds out of sixteen in their partnership together.
  • When cross country runs after stadium, Ellen Doughty-Hume and Sir Oberon have jumped rail free 80% of the time at the CIC3* level.

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

Cross Country Machines

  • Despite their short partnership, Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jollybo have already created strong expectations for the cross country phase. Their slowest pace in three runs is only 12 seconds over the optimum time.
  • When Whitney Mahloch and Military Mind jump clean across the country, they make sure to do it quickly, with an average pace of eight seconds under the optimum in three clean runs.

PREDICTED WINNER: Lauren Kieffer and Veronica

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Keep Your Eye On

  • Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jollybo
  • Buck Davidson and Copper Beach
  • Buck Davidson and Carlevo

Potential Spoilers

  • Whitney Mahloch and Military Mind

By the Numbers: The Fork CIC3*

The Fork has long been a staple in the U.S. spring calendar, and this year brings many changes to the iconic event as it swaps venues in North Carolina. Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring is now serving as host instead of the The Fork Stables in Norwood.

Tryon has been expanding their cross country course to what was previously a golf course in preparation for the World Equestrian Games next year, and this will be the first real preview of what the track will look like.

Additionally, a few changes to the spring schedule means that The Fork is no longer the only viable option as a final prep run for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.

In previous years, The Fork was the only three-star or Advanced held between two and four weeks out from Rolex, but Chattahoochee Hills now falls on the same weekend, while Fair Hill has moved their date from one to two weeks prior to Rolex, creating three options for riders headed to Lexington.

Photo courtesy of Tryon International Equestrian Center

The Field

  • The field in the CIC3* this year will only have 24 pairs, which makes it the smallest CIC3* field at this show since the FEI began keeping records in 2006.
  • The past two winners were sitting in second place after dressage. Will this be the year that someone can lead wire-to-wire? Or will the winner come from behind again?

Caroline Martin and The Apprentice. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Dressage Divas

  • In all three of her three-star starts on American soil, RF Scandalous has scored 41.5 or lower in dressage. In her only overseas start at Boekelo, she and Marilyn Little scored a 45.5. An average of 41.4 would put this pair at the head of the pack on day one.
  • Caroline Martin and The Apprentice began their career together with a bang thanks to a dressage score of 44.3 two weekends ago at Carolina International. That equaled The Apprentice’s previous best CIC3* score, which came at The Fork with Buck Davidson in 2015.
  • Cooley Cross Border has a strong average at this level of 44.8 but seems to pull his best scores in the Advanced divisions, knocking off the FEI equivalent of a 40.7 at Carolina. His three-star scores have been creeping upward with every start though, sneaking into the 50s at Pine Top CIC3* in February.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Show Jumping Powerhouses

  • Cooley Cross Border has only one rail in 11 stadium rounds marring his perfect jump record at this level. He and Kim Severson have occasionally picked up one lone time penalty but are otherwise perfect in this phase.
  • Vandiver and Doug Payne are a good bet for a flawless stadium round, having jumped 10 of their 12 Advanced or CIC3* starts completely fault-free.
  • Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive added to their strong stadium record at Carolina, where a clear stadium round inside the time matched the five other faultless stadium rounds they’ve had in the past two years.
  • RF Scandalous, The Apprentice and Rubens D’Ysieux all have yet to touch a rail at this level with their current rider in either one or two jump rounds.

Chelsea and Dauntless Courage. Photo courtesy of JJ Sillman.

Cross Country Machines

  • Chelsea Kolman and Dauntless Courage may only have two Advanced/CIC3* starts under their belt, but they’ve been flawless across the country at both, finishing clear and inside the time.
  • Never OutFoxed and Holly Payne shine in this phase, finishing 16 seconds or less over optimum in every clear CIC3* or Advanced run they’ve had in the past two years.
  • In the past two years, Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive have only once had more than eight seconds of time penalties at the three-star or Advanced level.
  • Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High have clocked times below this field’s average pace in each of their CIC3* starts since 2015.

PREDICTED WINNER: Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Keep Your Eye On…

  • Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive
  • Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border
  • Phillip Dutton and I’m Sew Ready
  • Doug Payne and Vandiver

Potential Spoilers

  • Caroline Martin and The Apprentice

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

Buying really cool hats. Photo via Equine Bonnets FB page. Buying really cool hats. Photo via Equine Bonnets FB page.

When the horses are away, the credit card will play. Every year while my horses are south, I’ve made some purchases that I might have held off on if I were busy. Two years ago, I created a new show jumping look by breaking the bank on a sharp coat and breeches. Last year I went all out and bought a second horse (ok, that one was somewhat planned). This year I managed to keep it reeled in, walking away with only two sharp bonnets for the new(er) horse with no forelock.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

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

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

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

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Ever wanted to go back to summer camp? At the O’Connor Event Camp, you can relive the summers of your childhood spent at camp from June 26 to July 1. Held at Sandy River Equestrian Center, the camp will focus on horsemanship, groundwork, and riding with lectures from guest speakers. [O’Connor Event Camp]

This dynamic duo is a staple at shows in North Carolina. Susan and Van Firth started volunteering after their daughter started eventing but kept at it when they realized how good they were at it. Mainstays at many events in Area II, this pair can often be found in the cross-country warm ups with emergency kits full of anything a rider might forget. [Athletux Volunteer of the Month]

The popularity of the Retired Racehorse Project grows every year. For the first time, a demonstration will be held at the Plantation Field International event, with guests like Phillip Dutton and Graham Motion demonstrating the versatility of the thoroughbred. Held three weeks prior to the RRTP Challenge in Lexington, the demonstration will give a taste to those unable to make it to Kentucky to spectate. [Plantation Field Announces Partnership]

SmartPak Product of the Day: One thing that always seems to walk away in short order, no matter which barn you’re at, is lead ropes. Sometimes it’s nice just to have a solid supply of extras lying around to grab if needed. [SmartPak]

By the Numbers: Galway Downs CIC3*

As the East Coast enters full swing of the spring season, the California scene is starting to heat up as well, with a healthy division entered at Galway Downs this weekend. With a handful of West Coast-based riders intending to use this as a final prep for Rolex (or Badminton!), we’ll be keeping a sharp eye on Galway.

Ian Stark has been the course designer at this venue for a number of years, even as his popularity is heating up out east. Known for a propensity for ditches, open logs and rider-frighteners, his courses reward forward, bold rides.

Photo courtesy of Galway Downs

The Field

  • In the past two years, about 85% of the field at this show has finished cross country with no jumping penalties. That’s well over the international rate of clear cross country rounds, which is 66% over the same time period.
  • In 2014, 22% (three pairs) in the field finished on their dressage score. In 2015, no one managed to finish on their dressage score.
  • The past two winners were in third or fourth place after dressage. Will this be the year that someone can lead wire-to-wire? Or will the winner come from behind again?

MacKenna Shea and Landioso. Photo by Alleyn Evans for official event photographer Shannon Brinkman Photography, courtesy of Rebecca Farm.

Dressage Divas

  • Chatwin only has four starts at this level but he’s managed to improve his dressage score just a touch with every test. Most recently he and Frankie Theriot-Stutes proved they can strike in the 30s with the FEI equivalent of 38.1 in the Advanced at Twin Rivers earlier this month.
  • Over their lengthy career together, Mackenna Shea and Landioso have proven themselves as strong contenders in the first phase. They’ve scored in the mid-40s for their last 11 starts in a row.
  • Although Charlie Tango’s resume is much shorter than Landioso’s, he and Heather Morris have already proven a similar reliability on the flat, notching off four mid-40s scores in their four three-star starts.
  • Both Glock Pullman and RevitaVet Elijah could pop up into the first few placings after day one, having both scored the FEI equivalent of 42.3 at Twin Rivers in the Advanced. This will be RevitaVet Elijah’s second start at this level with James Alliston, while Glock Pullman and Tamie Smith will be having their second start at this level as a team.

Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Show Jumping Powerhouses

  • Charlie Tango and Heather Morris have an almost perfect show jumping record since they moved up to Advanced last year, marred only by two time penalties in their last outing at Twin Rivers.
  • Master King II is another horse who has proven he can leave all the colored sticks up. He and Leah Breakey are a perfect three for three of double clear stadium rounds at the Advanced level.
  • In 25 stadium rounds at the Advanced, three-star and four-star levels, Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against have never had more than one rail in a stadium round. Ever.

Amber Levine and Carry On. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Cross Country Machines

  • Carry On and Amber Levine are machines at this level, having never finished more than 15 seconds over optimum time when putting in a clear cross country round.
  • Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against have never had a stop in the 18 Advanced and CIC3* starts in which they left the start box.
  • Glock Pullman and RevitaVet Elijah both showed they can hit the optimum time at Twin Rivers.

PREDICTED WINNER: Frankie Theriot-Stutes and Chatwin

Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Keep Your Eye On…

  • Amber Levine and Carry On
  • Heather Morris and Charlie Tango
  • Mackenna Shea and Landioso

Potential Spoilers

  • James Alliston and Revitavet Elijah
  • James Alliston and Happenstance
  • Tamie Smith and Glock Pullman

Wednesday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Lisa Marie Fergusson was one of those who trekked back to the gloomy northern weather after Carolina. Photo via Lisa Marie's FB page. Lisa Marie Fergusson was one of those who trekked back to the gloomy northern weather after Carolina. Photo via Lisa Marie's FB page.

I’ve eagerly been waiting all winter for everyone to come back, and that time has come on all of a sudden. The migration is well underway, with some riders coming back directly from Carolina, others making a pit stop south again before driving north, and others hanging on in the sun until after Rolex.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

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

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

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

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Jennie Brannigan keeps expanding her repertoire. Not satisfied with only eventing, Jennie has been known for her moonlighting as an exercise ride and on rare occasions, jockey. Having already tested the waters as a flat jockey, Jennie expanded her horizons last weekend by piloting Joshua G in a timber race the day after Carolina. [Jennie Brannigan Gets Her Feet Wet]

What’s the big deal about Badminton? Horse & Hound has compiled a basic guide to everything Badminton, perfect to hand to your significant other when he keeps asking you why you’re suddenly obsessed with a sport that’s not quite tennis. [Badminton Horse Trials Visitors’ Guide]

Things often seem to happen all at once when things start falling into place. After sweating all winter over selling her two upper level dressage horses, blogger Lauren Sprieser was down to the wire as the Florida trip ended. Then, someone called asking if they could try her third level horse, and oh by the way, did she have an experienced horse for a young rider. Within a week, both horses sold to the same barn. [Funny the Way Things Work Out]

SmartPak Product of the Day: It’s spring, which means warm temperatures, rain, and mud. All of that leads to rain rot, and it’s time to bust out my favorite cure for such fungus-y issues as you may have. As a bonus, it smells like bacon! [SmartPak]

By the Numbers: Carolina International CIC3*

Carolina International is now entering its fourth year, having grown leaps and bounds into one of the can’t-miss Rolex preparation events. This is another show that offers the option to choose between entering the CIC3* to run stadium first, or to practice jumping a less-than-fresh horse by entering the Advanced division.

Like Red Hills, Carolina experienced a change of course designers last year, with Ian Stark picking up his first East Coast venue in the spring. While quite prevalent out west, Ian Stark had previously only designed at Richland Park east of the Mississippi.

Marc Donovan has been the course designer here at the Carolina Horse Park since it ran as Southern Pines II, and his courses are known to challenge even the best pairs and shake up the standings.

The famous Stonehenge complex at the Carolina Horse Park. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The Field

  • In Ian Stark’s first year of designing, the cross-country completion rate improved from 89% to 92% — but the percentage of clear rounds fell by 15%, and the percentage of pairs who made the optimum time dropped from a whopping 31% down to 5%.
  • In 2014, 27% (seven pairs) of the field finished on their dressage score. In 2015, that percentage dropped to 9% — just one pair.
  • The past two winners of this division were either sitting first or tied for first after dressage. Will that pattern hold this year?

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

Dressage Divas

  • Clark Montgomery and  Loughan Glen just threw down a personal best score of 32.2 in their last start, leading from the first phase to win the Pine Top CIC3*. With 90% of their CIC3* tests since 2013 hitting in the 30s, they’re a good bet to be leading the field heading into show jumping.
  • Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night really started hitting their stride on the three-star tests last year, pushing their average down into the high 30s over their last three CIC3* starts. 
  • The winners of last year’s event, Arthur and Allison Springer, will have their work cut out for them if they hope to catch the lead this year. Although they haven’t hit the 30s on a three-star test since 2012, these two frequently flirt with the very low 40s.
  • Carlevo, Harbour Pilot, Anthony Patch, Cambalda and Cooley Dream all have averages that fall below 46.0, clustering together within a three-point range. The top five will truly depend on what the judges, Christina Klingspor and Robert Stevenson, are looking for this weekend.
  • Congo Brazzaville C, ridden by Mara DePuy, could make a splash in his rookie debut at the CIC3* level. These two scored the equivalent of a 44.0 in the horse’s Advanced debut at Pine Top last month.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Cooley Dream. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Show Jumping Powerhouses

  • Hannah Sue Burnett’s mount Cooley Dream has only three runs under his belt at this level, but he has yet to have a single penalty in the stadium phase.
  • Phillip Dutton’s young mount Z has only had one rail in five stadium rounds in his budding Advanced/three-star career thus far. When show jumping is held first, he is a perfect 3-for-3 on clear rounds.
  • Doug Payne has improved Vandiver’s stadium phase beyond recognition. Together they have incurred only one rail in eight rounds when stadium comes first.  
  • Despite a rough round at Rolex last spring, Fernhill Fugitive is actually one of Phillip’s best show jumpers. At the three-star level, he hasn’t incurred a rail in almost two full years, having last had a rail at The Fork in 2015.

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Cross Country Machines

  • Covert Rights is making his first appearance since The Fork last spring. His average pace puts him coming in just a fraction under optimum time on a regular basis. But with this being his first run back, Colleen Rutledge might choose a slower pace this weekend.
  • Never OutFoxed and Holly Payne Caravella have secured a spot on the wait list at Badminton and we are crossing our fingers they make it in. These two have finished under optimum time in five of their last nine CIC3* or Advanced runs, an impressive rate of double clears.
  • Loughan Glen and Simply Priceless share the next quickest spots, with both averaging only 2.8 time penalties in this phase when running clear over Advanced and CIC3* courses.
  • Other speedsters include Fernhill Fugitive and Luckaun Quality, both of whom average under 10 seconds over optimum time at this level.

PREDICTED WINNER: Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by CFD/Hoofclix.com.

Keep Your Eye On:

  • Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch
  • Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda
  • Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot
  • Buck Davidson and Copper Beach
  • Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive
  • Phillip Dutton and I’m Sew Ready
  • Phillip Dutton and Mr. Candyman
  • Kurt Martin and DeLux Z
  • Doug Payne and Vandiver
  • Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights
  • Lynn Symansky and Donner

Potential Spoilers

  • Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night
  • Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie

Wednesday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Finally arrived! Photo via Jordan Linstedt's FB page. Finally arrived! Photo via Jordan Linstedt's FB page.

Jordan Linstedt definitely wins the prize for the farthest distance traveled amongst the competitors of Carolina. Jordan arrived at the Carolina Horse Park on Monday with her Rolex horse Revitavet Capato in tow, with the plan of competing at Carolina and the Fork in preparation for Rolex. Soon we’ll see a few other West Coasters joining her out here in search of tough final prep runs before the big day.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

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

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Stone Gate Farm needs you to help them help the Area VIII Young Riders. On Saturday night of their May recognized horse trials, Stone Gate Farm is organizing some horse races…on bouncy balls. As the event gets closer, more details will become available on the event, but for now, they need your help in naming their colorful bouncy ball mounts. Check out the event and vote for your favorite color-themed names. [Saturday Night at the Races]

In England, it’s not uncommon to see some pretty famous equine faces out hunting. In the winter, even some prominent active equine athletes get to stretch their legs out in the field, with top hunters, racehorses, steeplechasers, and eventers making appearances. Lenamore still gets out for a good leg stretch, while Lebowski and Merlot’s Magic find time in between competing at the 3* and 4* levels to get out and about. [10 Famous Horses Spotted]

What does it take to become Colorado’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred? A chestnut thoroughbred mare with a willing attitude, apparently. Chita, a 6 year old mare owned and ridden by Ashley Gubich, won the title at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo this past weekend. Chita can do anything from jump bridleless and without tack with Ashley to taking care of her 3 year old son as he learns to ride. [Churchita the Unicorn]

SmartPak Product of the Day: The Piper breeches have really branched out their selection as their popularity has bloomed and their latest selection includes new silicone knee patches. Silicon patches are grippier and stronger in my experience, so I’ll definitely be trying a pair of these breeches out. [SmartPak]

Wednesday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Wrangling ponies in the storm. Photo via NYPD Special Ops Twitter account. Wrangling ponies in the storm. Photo via NYPD Special Ops Twitter account.

Even these little guys were looking for relief from the storm yesterday. It wasn’t the biggest storm we’ve ever had, but it was certainly nasty, with howling winds and a layer of ice. Just when I think I wish my horses were home from their southern digs, Mother Nature has a way of reminding me why they stay in Aiken through the end of March.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

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

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

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

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Your event photographer might be doing more for the safety of the sport than you imagined. In a well written blog, British-based event photographer Katie Mortimore explains why she keeps the shutter clicking during refusals and falls instead of turning away. The data her photo series produces is invaluable to officials and fence judges when deciding disputes over jump or flag penalties, crucial to the determination of horse falls, and valuable to both riders as a learning too and vets and doctors when treating victims of falls. Despite not using any of these photos for financial gain, photographers play a crucial role in the growing desire to prevent accidents by providing more and more data. [Keep Clicking]

The Fork is looking for volunteers for their April FEI event. For the first year ever, The Fork is being held at Tryon Equestrian Center. As the final prep before Rolex, many of the biggest riders bring their best horses, testing them before their four-star. Buck, Boyd, Phillip, and many others are all already listed on the entry list. Come volunteer and see the best of the best go! It’s easy to sign up through the new volunteer portal, Eventing Volunteers. [Volunteer for The Fork]

Jackie Potts likely knows William Fox-Pitt’s yard better than he does. After running his yard for more than 25 years, Jackie can keep it running like clockwork even when the vet, physio, and farrier are all there at the same time. She came for a week-long job and never left. [22 Unmissable Facts]

SmartPak Product of the Day: I’m trying so hard to not just run my credit card while my horses aren’t even here, but it’s so tempting when we have awesome 15% off sales from SmartPak! Their Bloom Sale runs through Thursday night, and offers 15% off products, with another 5% if you are a USEF member. [SmartPak]

By the Numbers: Red Hills CIC3*

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Jenni Autry. Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Jenni Autry.

While Red Hills is no longer the first CIC3* of the season in North America, it does still draw the first big, star-studded field of the year. With the option to now choose to run stadium first by doing the CIC3*, or enter the Advanced to sharpen your skills jumping after cross country, Red Hills has made an effort to offer flexibility to riders and horses on their path to the big three-days.

With Mike Etherington-Smith taking over the design of the cross country last year, Red Hills has really stepped up the international caliber of the course. Now entering his second year, Mike will likely be pushing the design a bit as he gains more feel for the unique track and terrain this iconic event offers.

Chris Barnard is taking over the design of the show jumping this year, taking the reins from long-time designer Fuzzy Mayo. In years past, Fuzzy’s stadium course over a grassy, hilly arena stumped many of the best jumpers out there, but with the addition of a stadium arena two years ago, the difficulty of the stadium phase has vastly transformed at this venue.

Photo by Shems Hamilton

Photo by Shems Hamilton

The Field

  • Every winner of the CIC3* at Red Hills since 2013 has been in second place after dressage. Those winners were Mighty Nice, Trading Aces, Czechmate and Fernhill Fugitive.
  • No one has finished clear and inside the time on a Red Hills CIC3* track since 2013, when Selena O’Hanlon did it with two horses: A Fine Romance and Foxwood High.
  • Red Hills built a ring for their stadium phase two years ago. Since then the average number of rails incurred by the Red Hills CIC3* field has dropped below the national average.
Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot. Photo by Jenni Autry.

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

Dressage Divas

  • Harbour Pilot led the field after dressage at Red Hills last year in his first FEI start after recuperating from his Burghley injury. In the 12 months since, he and Hannah Sue Burnett have solidified their dominance in this phase. An average Advanced/three-star dressage score of 42.8 since their return gives them a good chance to repeat their lead again this year.
  • This year the comeback kid is Cambalda, whose past performance indicates that he and Jennie Brannigan could top the leaderboard if their form has held through his time off. This pair flirted with the 30s when they won the inaugural Great Meadow CIC3*, but more often settle closer to their three-star average of 43.9 penalties.
  • Who’s A Star lays down a strong dressage test show after show with Courtney Cooper in the irons. With a range that varies approximately 10 points within the 40s, this pair is a good bet to be within striking distance of the leaders after the first phase.
  • Keep a sharp eye on Halimey, who laid down his best dressage score for the level at Rocking Horse Winter II Horse Trials with Buck Davidson in the irons. An equivalent performance could put this pair on top on day one in this horse’s first three-star.
Buck Davidson and Petite Flower. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Buck Davidson and Petite Flower. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Show Jumping Powerhouses

  • Hannah’s other mount Under Suspection is one of the strongest show jumpers in the field, having put together a completely flawless record last year when show jumping was held prior to cross country. Overall, this pair only has one rail on their record when competing together at any level.
  • When show jumping is held first, Petite Flower is in her element, jumping clean 11 of 13 times in her career. Her lone flaw in the past two years when this phase is first was at Ocala Jockey Club CIC3* last fall, when she and Buck Davidson incurred a single rail.
  • Cambalda is another notable show jumper in the field, with only one rail in their four attempts that held show jumping first in 2015. Although Red Hills stadium used to be a bit of a weak spot for Cambalda and Jennie, that all changed in 2015 with a double clear when Red Hills moved their stadium from the challenging grass field to a new arena.
Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me (CAN). Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Cross-Country Machines

  • Jennie knows Cambalda like the back of her hand, and it shows in their cross-country execution. At the CIC3* level they have a flawless jump record, paired with a speedy pace that averages only eight seconds over the time in 2015. However, Red Hills slows even the fastest of horses and these two are significantly slower at this venue than any other, averaging almost 30 seconds over.
  • Petite Flower is one of the cattiest horses on the circuit, as proven by her blazing round at the Wellington Eventing Showcase. Buck and Petite Flower have averaged only 10 seconds over the optimum time in all of their Advanced and CIC3* runs since 2015. However, like Cambalda, this mare was considerably slower in her only start at Red Hills, clocking in 25 seconds over.
  • I’m Sew Ready doesn’t have quite as extensive a resume, but benefits from having the master on board. With Phillip Dutton in the irons, this pair has averaged only 11 seconds over optimum time. However, this will be I’m Sew Ready’s first run at Red Hills, which has a proven record of slowing horses down.
  • Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me have really picked up the pace in the past 12 months. Their average A/CIC3* pace went from 31 seconds over optimum in 2015 down to only 6 seconds over optimum in 2016. Red Hills was the slowest pace they had at this type of show last year, clocking in at 18 seconds over optimum.

PREDICTED WINNER: Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Keep Your Eye On …

  • Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot
  • Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection
  • Buck Davidson and Petite Flower
  • Phillip Dutton and I’m Sew Ready

Potential Spoilers

  • Buck Davidson and Halimey
  • Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Revelation

Wednesday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Bona fide event horse now! Photo by Cecily Brown. Bona fide event horse now! Photo by Cecily Brown.

The winter season is a time for the babies to get out and see the world, test the competition waters, and get their sea legs at their first event. I’m absolutely chuffed with my own youngster, who is officially a bona fide event horse, almost a year after I bought him. Sometimes plans don’t work out the way you think, and it’s so important to really give those long-legged horses time to figure out their limbs and to develop their fifth leg. My squid of a horse has really blossomed this winter and although I had to let my trainer have the reins thanks to having to stay north for my job, I rather enjoyed playing owner for a day.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

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

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes: The USEA is looking for a new Marketing Coordinator or Assistant. If you’ve ever dreamed of living and working in the heart of the eventing world in Leesburg, have it be your job to pay attention to eventing, and you are also a marketing or business major, look no further. The dream job is at hand, as long as you’re willing to endure the hardship of living in Northern Virginia. [Employment Opportunity: USEA Marketing]

If you haven’t, Charlotte Dujardin has a new prospect named Pumpkin. Last week we learned about how Charlotte found Pumpkin at a clinic in California. This week we have the prequel of Pumpkin’s story with Amelie Kovac who used the sale of her horse of a lifetime to fund the purchase of an unbroken, unproven three-year-old. [The Unruly Three-Year-Old]

This week on Eventing Radio Show: Bettina Hoy and Clark Montgomery. Liz Halliday-Sharp and Paul Tapner host both Bettina Hoy, who has taken on the role of coach and sole selector for the Dutch, and Clark Montgomery, who had an emphatic win at Pine Top CIC3* in his first 3* start after relocating back from England. [Eventing Radio Show]

SmartPak Product of the Day: The show season is in full swing and so are the pitter patter of grooms’ feet as they run to and fro the show ring, over and over. If you’re lucky enough to have someone who schlups all your grooming supplies, horse boots, towels, and water to help you operate at your best, show your appreciation by lightening their load with this Under Armour Ringside Backpack. [SmartPak]

Wednesday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Virginia sunsets are tough to beat. Photo courtesy of Ellyn McMahon. Virginia sunsets are tough to beat. Photo courtesy of Ellyn McMahon.

The sunsets this year have been incredible, and thanks to the unseasonably warm weather, EN readers up in the Northeast have been able to get out and enjoy said sunsets from horseback. With opening dates for April events around the corner, the quiet drag of winter is coming to an end!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

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

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

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

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

Charlotte Dujardin got more than she bargained for at a clinic in California last fall. After sitting on the diminutive Gio for a demonstration, Charlotte knew she had to have him. At a smidge under 16 hands, he’s not her usual ride, but pack a power punch, taking the Elementary world of dressage by storm in his first show. True to Carl Hester’s habit of naming horses after fruits and vegetables, Gio has picked up the barn name ‘Pumpkin’. [Charlotte Dujardin Debuts Her New Horse]

If you’ve been waffling on whether to go to Rolex or not, now’s your last chance to buy tickets before prices go up. Advance ticket sales ends tomorrow, March 2, and starting March 3, prices will start going up. Make sure to take advantage of the early bird discount! With Michael Jung bringing back reigning two time winner fischerRocana, there’s a chance history will be made! [Rolex Ticket Sales]

SmartPak Product of the Day: With spring in the air, I’ve started digging out my 1/4 zips, which I left abandoned in my drawers in favor of warmer jackets as it got colder. These 1/4 zips are a staple for me in the fall and spring, as they keep me warm enough when I’m not moving much but breathe and wick when I start working up a sweat. [SmartPak]

By the Numbers: Pine Top CIC3*

With the advent of Pine Top CIC3* this weekend, we are officially in full swing of the season! As the only three-star run in the entire world in February this year, Pine Top also has the honor of kicking off the international scene at this level.

Traditionally used as a move-up event for Advanced horses, Pine Top is now also attracting a very competitive field of horses who will likely be headed to four-stars later this spring. Offering a three-star opens up the spring schedule to Rolex contenders, allowing them to pick and choose among the best dates and ideal venues to prepare their horses to do their best in April.

Photo courtesy of Pine Top Farm.

Photo courtesy of Pine Top Farm.

The Field

  • The field consists of 13 horses ridden by 12 riders. Only one rider, Jessica Phoenix, has two mounts in this division.
  • Of the 12 riders, 9 (75% of the field) have completed at least one CCI4*.
  • Of the 13 horses, 7 (54% of the field) have completed a CCI4*. Two more have started a CCI4* but did not complete.
  • One pair, Michael Walton and Woodstock Wallaby, are both attempting their first CIC3*. Michael competed in international show jumping up until 2013. He made his first international eventing start in 2014.
Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Dressage Divas

Overall, this field has a surprisingly high rate of strong dressage horses, with 50% of the horses averaging under 50. Look for a closely clustered leaderboard on the top half after dressage.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen are one of the best dressage pairs in the world, so it’s no surprise that they are the heavy favorites to take the lead after the first phase. As the only pair in the field to average in the 30s, it’s unlikely anyone will be able to catch them on the flat.

Liz Halliday-Sharp has the best shot at sneaking into the lead with Fernhill By Night, who has the ability to drop down into the high 30s on a regular basis. If Loughan Glen has a bad day while Fernhill By Night has a good one, this pair could snatch the top position on the leaderboard.

With Cooley Cross Border now entering his third season at this level, his consistency and strength on the flat with Kim Severson are now well-known. His best 3* score of 41.3 was laid down in 2015 though, and he’s been slowly inching up towards the high 40s since. A return to his 2015 form would put this pair up in the top three after phase one.

Rounding out the top four is Pavarotti, who averages a 45.5. This horse excels with Jessica Phoenix in the dressage phase on a regular basis

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

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

Show Jumping Powerhouses

Cooley Cross Border and Kim Severson have an almost perfect show jumping record at this level. They have not yet had a single rail in nine show jumping rounds, and only two instances of a single time penalty keeps their record from being totally pristine.

Vandiver has proven himself quite a careful jumper with Doug Payne in the irons, as they’ve clocked in double clear in nine of 12 stadium rounds. When stadium runs first, as it will this weekend, they are particularly strong, jumping double clear 86% of the time.

Loughan Glen is another who excels at the show jumping phase, although he is actually stronger when show jumping is the last phase, with a perfectly clean record at the CCI3* and CCI4* levels. When stadium is first, he and Clark Montgomery can have an occasional single rail, but has still jumped double clear in 75% of his stadium rounds in the past two years.

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF. Photo by Valerie Durbon

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF. Photo by Valerie Durbon

Cross Country Machines

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF have a stellar cross country record, having jumped clear around seventeen of their 19 career starts at this level. In the past two years, they’ve averaged only 5.2 time penalties at the A/CIC3* level, but tend to split their runs between a fairly steady pace or a press to make the time.

Doug Payne and Vandiver have accumulated a truly impeccable cross country record in the past 18 months together and they’ve really stepped up their game following their Rolex run. This pair hasn’t clocked in a round slower than 20 seconds over optimum time since this event last year, aside from their first four star together.

Allie Sacksen and Sparrow’s Nio have never had a problem on cross country at the 3* level, and have only twice finished more than 25 seconds over optimum time. Look for these two to have a quick and clean round to move up the ranks.

PREDICTED WINNER: Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border

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

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

Keep Your Eye On…

  • Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF
  • Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night
  • Kylie Lyman and Da Vinci Code
  • Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen
  • Doug Payne and Vandiver

Pine Top: Website, Entries, Ride Times, Live Scores

Wednesday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Mini-Bourke sighting! Photo via Bourke Eventing FB page, by Jane Jennings. Mini-Bourke sighting! Photo via Bourke Eventing FB page, by Jane Jennings.

It’s spring (at least it feels like it) which means it’s time for the next generation of eventers to start attending shows. Timothy Bourke was spotted with a tiny auditor in tow as he coached students out at an event last weekend and it surely won’t be the last time we see this tiny spectator this spring.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

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

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

If you’ve ever thought doing trot sets in two point with your stirrups jacked up was hard, think again. Captain Guy Disney has made history as the first one-legged jockey to win a race under Great Britain’s racing rules. Captain Disney, who lost his lower right leg while serving in Afghanistan, has been racing for a number of yeas after eventually managing to successfully petition for an amateur jockey license. Last Friday, he won a race at Sandown Park to make history. [One-Legged War Veteran Makes History]

If you are a Young Rider or Junior with plans to compete at NAJYRC, mark your calendars. Area declarations are due on March 1st through USEF accounts. All riders for 2017 must submit an Area Declaration if they wish to compete at the NAJYRC Championships held at Rebecca Farm in July. [NAJC/CICOY Declarations Due March 1]

Christina Appling and AB Amelie got to take home the blue in their first ever Intermediate run. Dipping their toe into the water for the first time in the Intermediate Rider division at Rocking Horse last weekend, ‘Emily’ surprised even Christina with a great dressage test and followed it up with typical strong jumping phases to take the win. The pair has been together for nine years and have made it up every level together. [Winner of the Week]

SmartPak Product of the Day: The other day I realized that my schooling helmet, which was once upon a time my fancy show helmet, was purchased around the same time I bought my horse as a five year old. That horse is now fifteen, and I’m thinking that a ten year old helmet (lucky as it may be, since I have never *yet* fallen in it), probably isn’t the best idea to protect my noggin. Enter the new One K Defender, which is ventilated for my sweaty head in the summer and easily cleaned on a daily basis. [SmartPak]

The MR vs. RF Conundrum: When Rules are Rules for a Reason

Photo by Leslie Threlkeld Photo by Leslie Threlkeld

Marilyn Little and RF Demeter fell together at the Wellington Eventing Showcase earlier this month, with the incident broadcast live to thousands of people and available on instant replay to thousands more. Without a doubt, RF Demeter’s shoulder hit the ground and it was immediately apparent that the pair had incurred a mandatory retirement, or MR to indicate a horse fall. Yet the final results online read RF for rider fall.

This is a problem.

In the past two calendar years, EN has confirmed 12 incidents of horse falls being recorded as rider falls in official USEF and FEI records at three-star, four-star and Advanced events in the U.S. These incidents have been verified through photographs, videos and first-hand accounts confirming that the horse’s shoulder made contact with the ground. At least two of these incidents resulted in serious injury to the riders.

Why does it matter whether a rider fall (RF) or horse fall (MR) is the final recorded result if elimination is the consequence for both outcomes?

The rules don’t differentiate falls for posterity’s sake or to shame anyone. The rules differentiate because there are extremely differing levels of consequences between the two types of falls. The rules differentiate because in our quest to reduce horse falls in the sport, we first must collect data.

There are two primary reasons for differentiating between types of falls in results databases. The first is to collect data on how, when and why horse falls, and particularly rotational falls, occur. In order to have any meaningful conclusions, we must be able to trust that data. With as endemic as this issue has become, we can no longer rely on the accuracy of the results.

The second reason is to put the brakes on any pair having recurring issues and require them to re-establish their qualifications at a lower level. While the FEI does not differentiate between horse and rider falls for the purpose of reverse qualifications, the USEF rules do have more stringent requirements regarding horse falls. Two horse falls within 12 months require horses to step down one level. (For a more complete discussion, revisit The Elephant in the Room: Reverse Qualifications).

One of the aforementioned 12 whose MR was incorrectly recorded as an RF went on to have a second MR within 12 months. If the first horse fall had been properly recorded as an MR, the two falls would then have triggered the USEF’s loss of qualifications procedures, requiring the horse to drop back down to the Intermediate level.

Instead, the horse was then entered in his first four-star competition, where he fell a third time. Only then did he encounter both the USEF and FEI re-qualification requirements, having triggered both due to being eliminated three times in 12 months.

This was a fall that could have been prevented. Thankfully, both horse and rider walked away each time.

RF Demeter is now in a similar situation. Her fall at the Wellington Eventing Showcase was her second in 12 months, having also fallen at Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in April 2016. If the showcase was a sanctioned USEF Advanced competition and the result was properly recorded as an MR, she would now be required to run two Advanced or CIC3* competitions to regain her CCI4* qualifications.

Because the Wellington Eventing Showcase is not recognized or sanctioned by any governing body, no official results will be recorded with either the FEI or the USEF. For all intents and purposes, the results shown online are the official final scores for this competition. They will not become a part of RF Demeter’s official show record and will not have any consequences that would have occurred if the showcase was a recognized horse trials or FEI event.

Yet the consequences are just as real.

If we are serious as a sport about improving safety and preventing horse falls, we must be brutally honest with our results. We cannot sweep any MR results under the rug, passing them off as rider falls in an effort to make our sport appear safer to the outside world. If we want any real progress on safety, we cannot contaminate the data with false results. And if we want to actually try to save horses and riders from these falls, we must be able to implement the rules designed to protect them.

Wednesday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Aubrey Davidson enters her first leadline class at HITS. Photo via Andrea Davidson Eventing FB page. Aubrey Davidson enters her first leadline class at HITS. Photo via Andrea Davidson Eventing FB page.

Watch out Buck, the third generation of Davidsons is ready to take her spot at the top! Well….maybe there’s a few more years to go if the size of that helmet is any indication. Keep a close eye on this one, she’ll likely have every bit of her line’s guts and courage, which will be formidable indeed. #whoruntheworld

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

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

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Florida’s version of RRP is coming to a facility near you! If you are in Florida through March, anyways. The Florida Thoroughbred Transformation Expo will be held March 24-26th at the Florida Horse Park, showcasing the OTTB. Jockey Club-registered Thoroughbreds are eligible as long as the horse raced or worked after March 1, 2013, with no restrictions on when training began. Disciplines vary from the traditional Olympic disciplines to hunter, polo, barrels, and working pony/race pony, all with $36k in prize money up for grabs. [Florida Thoroughbred Transformation Expo]

Lissa Green is very quickly rising out of her mother’s shadow. Despite her mother Lucinda winning Badminton six times, Lissa never had her own horse until she hit the age of 20. As she’s about to tackle her own first Badminton this spring with Malin Head Clover, Lissa tells us a few things we may not know about her. [A Fascination with Criminal Psychology]

As if Rolex didn’t have enough options for food and drink, the organizers are now throwing a beer garden into the mix. Marla & Oscar’s Beer Garden will be located in a prime position, across the road from the Head of the Lake. Named for the famous office dogs of EEI, the beer garden will be serving food alongside beer from three local microbreweries. [Marla & Oscar’s Beer Garden]

SmartPak Product of the Day: One of my favorite, and necessary, items of tack, the ThinLine Sheepskin halfpad has been a life saver as my young horse has gained muscle along his topline in the past year. With the ability to shim (with yet MORE ThinLine material!), my saddle has been able to contend with 17.1 hands of gangly squid throughout his growth. [SmartPak]

Wednesday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Opie Winston and Whiskey look right at home on the cross country course at Full Gallop. Photo courtesy of Amanda Wilson. Opie Winston and Whiskey look right at home on the cross country course at Full Gallop. Photo courtesy of Amanda Wilson.

Eventing season is in full swing down in Area III, with events not only on the weekend but also running during the week most weeks. Stable View and Full Gallop, which is running today, have both adopted the British style of offering horse trials for the lower levels during the week so riders can concentrate on their upper level horses and events on the weekend. While our country might have trouble sustaining this model year round, it’s the perfect opportunity for the riders to make good use of their time while in the south!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

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

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

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Have you been reading William Micklem’s safety series on EN? The final column, entitled “Safety and Us,” will be released Thursday ahead of the Eventing Risk Management Summit on Feb. 10-12, which will bring together course designers, technical delegates, judges and national safety officers at Tattersalls. Click to read through all the parts so far, and stay tuned for the next column on Thursday: part onepart twopart threepart fourpart five.

Thowback Wednesday: USEA Horse of the Year Award. Did you know that the very first horse to win the USEA (formerly USCTA) Horse of the Year title in 193 was named Duck Soup? Or that the perpetual trophy, first awarded in 1987, is named in honor of Casar, a stallion ridden by the great Bruce Davidson? Can you guess which horse is the only one to have graced the trophy multiple times? [Trophy Tales]

Late winter is full of anticipation and last minute panic for those waiting to compete in the spring. British Eventing has compiled a list of twelve signs that the spring season is nigh. Are you desperately looking for show clothes you tossed in your closet after your last event last fall? Are you putting reminders on your calendar for the farrier to add stud holes? It might be turning to spring… [12 Telltale Signs]

Since coming east, Matt Brown has been quietly putting in the work to make it to the top. After following a leap of faith, Matt and his wife Cecily, made the move east to follow his dream of making the Olympics. The decision has paid off, as in the past eighteen months, he’s competed at Boekelo, Rolex, and Aachen, topping it off with a win at the inaugural Ocala Jockey Club CIC3* last November. With three top horses and some promising young talent in the wings, as well as support from Cecily and his supportive owners, Matt is determined to make sure his sacrifice of moving away from California counts. [No Secret to Brown’s Success]

Ocala is hosting a series of Wine and Cheese Seminars this winter. With seminars already planned for today, February 8th, as well as February 22nd and March 8th, the Ocala Jockey Club invites you to join them for a fund and educational night. Tonight Danny Warrington will be demonstrating how to fall using his LandSafe system. Admission is $10 for the lecture and free appetizers, with wine and beer available for purchase. More lectures will be announced as they are determined. [Join the OJC for Seminars]

SmartPak Product of the Day: With the season in full swing, the doggos are out in force on cross country walks. We all know that one dog who will always lay in the muddiest puddle no matter how cold it is. Now you can use a water bottle and this simple nozzle to rinse your pup off before letting him back in your vehicle. [SmartPak]