Sally Spickard
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Sally Spickard


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About Sally Spickard

Living the dream as a professional internet stalker and EN reporter.

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Want to Win at AECs? Show Your Insanity for Your Chance!

AEC week is almost upon us! As we speak, hundreds of eventers are packing their trailers, washing and re-washing their horses, and doing air dressage circles trying to memorize their tests as they prepare to converge on Texas Rose Horse Park. EN will be on the ground to highlight the competition, and we want to see you while we’re there!

In light of the insanity that is sure to be the AECs, we’re excited to announce a contest for all who are attending! We want to see your stall or golf cart decorations — the more insane the better — for a chance to win one of three prize packs from a few of our generous sponsors. You won’t want to miss out on these prizes! Here’s what’s up for grabs:

AEC Insanity Contest Prize Bucket contents may include any of the following:

Laine Ashker herself will be guest judging each entrant alongside EN on the evening of Friday, September 26 upon conclusion of the Advanced cross country.

How do you enter?

Please email or text/call 314-813-8171 with your barn and stall number no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, September 26. Expect to be judged on Friday evening, so you’ll want to stay around for the fun!

Remember, funny and creative will be rewarded the most, so let’s see just how insane you can get. Everything is bigger in Texas, right?

We’d like to thank the sponsors who have generously donated prizes: Cosequin, FLAIR, Success Equestrian, as well as Lindsey Kahn for volunteering some of her company’s awesome products. Also, we’d like to send a big thank you to Laine Ashker for joining us in the AEC insanity as she defends her crown as Gold Cup champion.

Pack your colorful duct tape and we’ll see you in Texas!

Friday Video Gallery from World Equestrian Brands: Plantation Field Dressage

EN’s good friend, The Horse Pesterer, is on the ground at the Best. Event. Ever. this weekend with his trusty camera in hand, which means we have lots of videos coming your way of all the action. Yesterday, the CIC2* and Advanced divisions rode dressage, the coverage for which you can check out here.

World Equestrian Brands riders Buck Davidson and Caroline Martin have a whole slow of horses running this weekend, likely outfitted in the best that this awesome company has to offer. Be sure to click the banner below to check out all of the offerings from World Equestrian Brands.

Go Plantation Field!


Thursday Video: What Do You Wear to the Barn?

We all do it: we find that perfect soft shell jacket or sweater and purchase it, swearing up and down that we don’t plan to wear it to the barn. What happens next? When dressing for the barn, we immediately grab our precious new piece of clothing and traipse off to the barn with it. Next thing you know, it’s covered in manure, hay, and other unmentionables and it’s officially designated as a “barn coat” from that point forward. Sound familiar?

Luckily, Hamilton BioVet’s wearable therapeutic Ultrasound system, UltrOZ, is convenient enough that your horse can wear it in the barn, in the stall, in the cross-ties, or just about anywhere else you can think of. How’s that for convenient? Be sure to check out both our review of this great product, as well as a guest blog on the experiences one of our lucky readers has had in rehabilitating her horse’s injury.

Hamilton Biovet

Matt Brown: ‘Thank You for All the Support’

Matt Brown and his wife, Cecily, launched an ambitious fundraising plan a few short weeks ago to help them reach their goal of traveling to the American Eventing Championships and Fair Hill this fall. Thank to the generous support and help from friends and family alike, Matt has achieved his fundraising goal and is packing his trailer to head east. He posted the following on his Facebook page to express his gratitude. Best of luck on your trip, Matt!

Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

From Matt:

As many of you may know, I am preparing for a month-long trip to the American Eventing Championships in Tyler, Texas, and then on to Fair Hill in Maryland for my first CCI3*. I am working towards a larger goal of representing the U.S. in eventing and am hoping against tiny hope to be in consideration for the 2015 Pan Am Games, the 2016 Olympics and beyond!

We’ve just concluded a fundraising effort including a dinner and online auction in hopes to raise the funds for the trip east this fall. With the incredible support of my own students and family, fellow riders, competitors and industry professionals, we somehow put on a dinner and two auctions in three weeks, and not only did we reach our fundraising target, but we have surpassed it!

I feel it is only fair, given how much so many of you have done to help me get to this point, that I share some of my reflections on this experience so far with you.

It has always been hard for me to ask for help. I never want to put anyone out or inconvenience anyone in any way. But, there always comes a time in one’s life when help is needed. No one person alone can have all of the necessary time, resources, money or expertise to accomplish a goal.

When one comes upon this dilemma, there are only a few choices: You can give up, you can try in vain for that goal by yourself, grasping for something that will never be in your reach if you stand alone or, you can learn how to get comfortable with asking for help and reach for your goals by standing tall upon the shoulders of others.

Sometimes that goal feels too big, that even if you can muster up the courage to ask for help, it could never be enough. And usually the people surrounding you are just like you: short on time and short on money.

I’ve spent my life with horses. Starting out like everyone else, a horse crazy kid who couldn’t imagine anything better in life than the smell of horse sweat and slobber that lingers on you long after you’ve left the barn. The satisfied exhaustion that comes after riding 10 horses and mucking 10 stalls, or working for hours days, or months on one skill that is just out of reach, but close enough you can almost feel it.

That exhaustion and hunger to learn is what has driven me for all of my life and is what compelled me to forgo a more traditional life path and become a horse professional.

When you start out, of course you think and hope that you will become good enough to make it to the Olympics one day. As a kid, that somehow seems like the inevitable conclusion of a lifetime of hard work. In the juvenile mind, it seems that everyone that never made it just must not have worked hard enough or wanted it badly enough.

But, as you get older, you realize how hard EVERYONE in this industry works. You learn every day how much you do not know, the skills that you don’t possess, the experience that you don’t have, how short the days are, how meager your bank account is and how even your best horse doesn’t seem to measure up to the ones that you see on the Olympic teams.

Slowly you start to come to the realization that you probably don’t have what it takes after all, how mistaken your childhood assumptions were. Maybe you have the talent, but you don’t have the time. Maybe you have the time but you don’t have the money. Maybe you have the drive but you don’t have the experience. The list goes on, and it becomes far easier to come up with the reasons why you can’t accomplish something, and far more difficult to come up with ways that you can.

And then that becomes your reality, and you grow comfortable in that. Maybe not completely happy, but comfortable, resigned and accepting of it. And that voice from your childhood grows quieter and quieter, until he’s almost gone, just a stifled whisper. I’m not quite sure what it was that made me listen to that voice again, maybe it was the grey hairs starting to reveal themselves at my temples, or a temporary dropping of my guard that let that voice bubble up to the surface of my consciousness.

Whatever it was, I heard that voice again, loud and clear, and somehow I found the courage to speak the words out loud. And the most amazing thing happened …. Someone heard me. And that gave me hope, and a little bit of tentative, fragile confidence, so I began saying those words more loudly and more often, and more people heard me, and more people told me that they believed in me.

Matt and John Michael Durr during the high jump competition at the Browns' fundraising dinner.

Matt and John Michael Durr during the high jump competition at the Browns’ fundraising dinner.

And now I find myself on this journey, self conscious and doubtful still, leading me in the direction of my dreams. Who knows whether I will ultimately even get close, there are still so many literal and figurative miles left to climb. But what I now know, after putting my dreams out there, putting a voice to them, asking others in my same situation — with little time and less money — for help, is that if you ask a question, you just might be overwhelmed by the response.

My fellow riders, who I compete against on a regular basis, and who no doubt want to win as much as I do, have gone out of their way to tell me that they believe in me, and that they are rooting for me. They’ve donated their time and money toward my goals, no doubt taking precious hours and dollars away from their own efforts. For the record, guys, I believe in you, too. You all drive my hunger to learn more, and you push me to get better. Your talent, hard work and dedication inspire me to work to be the best horseman that I can be.

My students have been patient while I have traveled more, been home less and have shifted some of my focus back on to my own riding and developing my own skills. They are just as excited as I am, if not more so, when I do well or reach a new milestone. They greet me with signs of congratulations when I return home, and they conceal their understandable disappointment when I tell them I’m going to be gone for another extended period of time chasing down this dream. What they show me instead of disappointment is enthusiasm for what I’m doing, and they rally with me, spending their own time and money to help me along the way.

Other professionals in our industry, from show organizers, videographers, photographers, tack shop owners, saddlers and everyone in between have eagerly offered their assistance and excitement in helping me toward my goals.

I am completely overwhelmed by the support that everyone in Area VI and beyond has shown me. Those I know well have gone above and beyond, and even those I don’t know well have stepped up to offer a kind word and their support.

When I was a kid, I thought that if I became good enough and worked hard enough, success would surely come my way, and my dreams would be achieved. Time made me realize those qualities in themselves would not be enough, so doubt crept in and then I thought my dreams would forever stay out of my reach.

What I realize now is that my own hard work and determination are an important part of achieving success, but that success never comes from a singular effort. In order to find a path of successes, to reach for my dreams, I must not only allow myself to be propelled forward by the generosity and enthusiasm of the members of my community, but I need to ask them for that boost.

Ultimately, after putting that call for help out to the Area VI community and the eventing community at large, I’ve found that not only can we reach our goals, but we can exceed them.

Thank you to all for your incredible support. I know that you all have your own dreams, goals, obligations, challenges and hardships, which makes your support mean that much more to me. I hope that I can thank you by not only doing you proud and reaching some of my own goals, but by returning the favor in kind, and letting you stand upon my shoulders when you need your own boost.

I promise, if you ask me, I will do what I can to help. It will more than likely not be all that you need, but when our community comes together and everyone does what they can, even if it’s only a little, we can accomplish a lot!

And I must send a special, massive thank you to Bob and Valerie Fish and Mary McKee and Lance Hurd for believing in me enough to ride your incredible horses, and the incredible depth of support that you have shown to me over these past few years. I love your horses and riding them more than I could ever possibly adequately express.

EN’s Got Talent: Justine Dutton and Jollybo

We hear all the time about horses at the top of the sport, but what about the next generation of equine talent? EN’s Got Talent introduces the future superstars of the sport, interviewing riders about how they’re tackling training with these youngsters. Have you spotted a spectacular young horse at an event you think should be highlighted in this column? Tip me at

Justine Dutton and Jollybo. Photo courtesy of Andy Partridge. Justine Dutton and Jollybo. Photo courtesy of Andy Partridge.

Justine Dutton made a name for herself on EN as “the Other Dutton,” and now she’s got another talented horse in her arsenal who will be making her CIC2* debut this afternoon at Plantation Field. Jollybo is a 10-year-old British Sport Horse mare who Justine found in December of 2013 on a shopping trip in the UK.

“I went with a client who was looking for a dressage horse, and (Jollybo) was one of the horses they pulled out,” Justine recalled. “I got on her and immediately we knew that I would want her. I tried to think of everything I could to make me not like her, because I really wasn’t shopping for myself, but I just really liked her.

Justine put together the Sport Ponies UK Syndicate to purchase the mare, and before long Jollybo was on her way to Florida to join Justine at her winter base. The mare had competed up to the one-star level with Anthony Clark in the irons previously, and Justine brought her out at Preliminary over the winter. “When we first came out, we really didn’t get along straight away,” Justine said. “I think she was used to having a stronger rider, and with me she kind of got too bold and forward. I struggled with allowing her to go forward, so we’d fight about that. I spent a lot of time trying to figure her out, changing bits and trying different things to make it work.”

On paper, Justine and Jollybo’s early starts at Prelim are solid. The pair finished in the top 10 in the first three events together, but Justine still felt there was work to be done. She began working the mare with coach Buck Davidson, who advised her against her initial thought to try to sell the mare. “There was a point where I thought maybe she wasn’t for me,” Justine said. “I just had to figure her out, and we sort of came to an agreement. I would agree to let her come more forward and she would agree to let me have a bit more say in what was going on.”

In March, Justine took Jollybo in the Prelim at Poplar Place, and she said she felt that this was the first event where she really felt their partnership beginning to click. “I decided that I wasn’t going to wear a watch on cross country, and that I was just going to canter around and teach her that she didn’t need to go blasting around. We just continued to build on that after Poplar, and then we went to Fair Hill and I felt that I could add a bit more speed.”

Buck was persistent with figuring out the mare on the flat, as he knew that improving Justine and Jollybo’s communication on the flat would translate into an easier time over fences. “He was right of course,” Justine laughed. “We got to the point where we were both ready to take the next step and move up to Intermediate.”

Justine moved the mare up to Intermediate at Plantation Field in June, and immediately found that the level almost suited Jollybo better. “Her dressage improved, and the fences just felt easier for her. Then we went to Jersey Fresh (in July) and I walked the course and thought ‘well, I guess we’ll know if I really have an Intermediate horse after this!’ And then she coasted around just like (Huck Finn) would have, and it just felt amazing.”

Justine and Jollybo won the Intermediate that weekend at Jersey Fresh, coasting home with 3.2 time and show jumping clear to finish on a score of 39.5.

“I very well think she could go Advanced, maybe next year,” Justine said of her talented mare. The pair will trot down centerline in their first CIC2* today at Plantation Field, an event Justine chose as a qualifier to get to the CCI2* at Fair Hill next month.

Next week on EN’s Got Talent: We’ll learn more about Jollybo and her personality around the barn, as well as how her and Justine’s weekend went at Plantation Field.

William Fox-Pitt’s Wife Alice Gives Birth to Fourth Child

William Fox-Pitt and Cool Mountain. Photo by Jenni Autry. William Fox-Pitt and Cool Mountain. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Another Fox-Pitt (eventing superstar?) entered the world yesterday, a yet-t0-be-named baby girl who was born healthy at 8 pounds, Horse & Hound reports. Alice and William have three children already: Oliver, Thomas, and Chloe.

Having already won a Rolex watch for each child, will William secure a fourth to give to his new daughter? We’ll have to find out, but we think the odds are in his favor. It is William Fox-Pitt, after all.

Please join us in congratulating the Fox-Pitt family on their new addition! We can’t wait to see those kids grow up; of course, we’d love to see the next generation of eventing greatness emerge from that gene pool.

Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: Francis Whittington Wins at Blenheim

Francis Whittington picked up his biggest win to date yesterday in the CCI3* at Blenheim. Riding Easy Target, Francis jumped an easy clear round to secure the win over leader after cross country William Fox-Pitt. It’s great to see the huge smile on Francis’ face as he punches the air triumphantly; it’s definitely a well-deserved win for this pair.

Birch Hill Farm Supports Young Riders at GMHA

Eileen Wilmot. Eileen Wilmot.

A big part of the GMHA mission is to educate future generations of riders. One way in which this made possible is through the generosity of sponsors, such as Birch Hill Farm, who provide funds to GMHA specifically ear-marked to help young riders in their quest for excellence.

The $2000 award is split between the top three riders in the Junior Preliminary Division at the August Horse Trials, which is the culminating part of the Festival of Eventing week.

Birch Hill Farm sponsors this annual award in memory of Eileene Wilmot. Eileene and her husband Peyton purchased Birch Hill Farm in 1950 and lived there for nearly 40 years. Eileen‘s lifelong mission, to further the sport of eventing by helping young people, is perpetuated by this generous award. Eileene was a generous supporter of GMHA throughout her time in Vermont.

The Junior Preliminary division of the 2014 Festival of Eventing saw 5 riders contest the prizes. Karri Bellamy riding her own Cool Connection took top honors and a $900 award, with Becky Harring on Marshall Cody in second ($600) and Abigail Flint riding Kay’s Replica for Nancy Bergen in third ($500).

On behalf of the Area 1 eventing community, we offer sincere thanks to Birch Hill Farm for their continued generous support of our beloved sport.

The Birch Hill Youth Excellence Award at GMHA has the following requirements:

To be considered, riders must submit their three best training level scores (on the same horse) for the season: 2 scores must be from GMHA horse trials, the third score may be from any recognized horse trails in USEA Area 1. Awards (1st place = $900, 2nd place = $600, 3rd place = $500) will be made to the three riders with the lowest cumulative penalties. In event of a tie, dressage penalties will be used to decide awards. Riders may submit scores for multiple horses. Completed award application form(s) must be submitted to GMHA on or before November 30, 2014.

Click here to apply.

AECs Promise a Texas Sized Party

The week of the American Eventing Championships is almost upon us, and the event is looking like it’s going to be a great time for everyone who plans to attend. In addition to the Adequan USEA Gold Cup final in the Advanced division, the USEA Adult Team Championships will also be held, making for a competitive and fun weekend for the riders.

Entertainment will also be a big focus at Texas Rose Horse Park this year, with three musical acts booked for the welcome party on Wednesday, upper level cross country on Friday, and the competitor’s party on Saturday night.

There will also be a mechanical bull riding competition at the competitor’s party, which always promises some great YouTube moments, and perhaps some selfie opportunities (Laine, we’re looking at you).

In addition to the entertainment offerings, more educational opportunities will be available. Super groom Max Corcoran will be giving horsemanship seminars on Thursday and Friday, which will be open to anyone who wishes to attend and will be a great learning opportunity to get some tips from one of the best in the industry.

PRO will also be offering course walks for the Beginner Novice through Intermediate cross country courses. Various professional riders will be leading the course walks, a schedule for which will be named at a later date.

Also offered at Rolex, the Event College will also be offered as a way to educate more people about the ins and outs of the sport. Max Corcoran will also be participating in these sessions, along with other professional riders.

AECs kick off on Wednesday, September 24, and run through Sunday, September 27. EN will be on site to bring you all of the best coverage we can possibly cram into a few days, and we can’t wait to see everyone there!

For more information on the AECs, visit the USEA here.

FEI Verbal Warning, Yellow Card Issued at Burghley

Megan Heath and St. Daniel. Photo by Jenni Autry. Megan Heath and St. Daniel. Photo by Jenni Autry.

At the conclusion of Burghley last weekend, the FEI updated its disciplinary list, adding a new verbal warning and a new yellow card to the recent decisions.

Ireland’s Aoife Clark received her second verbal warning in as many weeks, this time for dangerous riding aboard Vaguely North, who fell on the cross country course. Aoife also received a verbal warning for the same reasons at WEG with Fenyas Elegance. Vaguely North had a few hairy moments earlier on course prior to the pair’s fall. This was the horse’s second attempt at a CCI4*, having been withdrawn from Badminton earlier this year.

Images courtesy of

Images courtesy of

Megan Heath, riding for New Zealand, received a yellow card for abuse of horse/excessive use of whip with St. Daniel. Megan picked up a refusal at the hurdles in the main arena and went to her whip to get through the combination on a second attempt. The pair later called it a day at the Classics Leaf Pit.

This is Megan’s first yellow card, so she will not pick up any sort of suspension. Aoife’s second verbal warning does not carry a suspension.

Images courtesy of

Images courtesy of

You can watch both Aoife and Megan’s rides on – the GIFs above are simply for illustration purposes and do not depict the entire rides.

The FEI implemented the warning system in order to protect the safety of both horse and rider, but the reasons behind some disciplinary decisions have come under some public scrutiny recently. What are your thoughts on the system? What would you change if you were given the opportunity? Post your discussion in the comments below!

To view the whole list of warnings, click here.

Our Favorite #WheresWhittington Tweets from Blenheim

Francis Whittington and Easy Target. Photo courtesy of Samantha Clark for PRO. Francis Whittington and Easy Target. Photo courtesy of Samantha Clark for PRO.

We celebrated Andrew Nicholson’s Burghley win last week with a commemorative #NicholsonOnTwitter post, and we’ve decided to do the same for Francis Whittington since he, too, has his own hashtag.

Which brings me to my next point – we should create hashtags for every rider so that we can see the Twitterverse erupt with hilarity when these riders take home the spoils from a win. Let’s see, #BossBoyd? #BigPDutty? What else can you come up with? Comment with your ideas below!

In the meantime, here’s a collection of our favorite #WheresWhittington tweets from a well-deserved winning weekend. Congratulations once again to Francis and all of his connections!

Weekend Wrap-up: Elinor MacPhail Sails Home at Poplar Place + Other Scores

Elinor MacPhail and RF Eloquence. Photo by Jenni Autry. Elinor MacPhail and RF Eloquence. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Elinor MacPhail hit Maggie’s score prediction on the head in the CIC3* at Poplar Place this weekend, finishing first on a score of 64.5. Ellie didn’t push too hard for time on cross country, incurring 14.8 time penalties for the second quickest run of the day. This is RF Eloquence’s move up to the three-star level after picking up the win in the Advanced at Chatt Hills last month.

Picking up second are Kyle Carter and Madison Park out for their first three-star run since Rolex. Kyle and Parker are entered in the Advanced division at the AECs, so we hope to see them out for a good run in Texas.

Emily Rusinyak and Reatta HW moved up from fourth to third overall with the fastest cross country time of the day, picking up 11.6 penalties to finish on a score of 82.1. This is this pair’s first start at this level, so Emily must be thrilled with the results.

Poplar Place Farm September CIC & H.T. [Website] [Times] [Live Scores]


Jonathan Holling and Zatopek B picked up the win in the Advanced division, adding 23.2 time penalties to finish ahead of Jennie Jarnstrom and Cape Town, who enjoyed a nice move from fifth to second after cross country. Sitting in second after show jumping, Becky Holder and Can’t Fire Me withdrew before cross country.


In Canada, the OHTA Championships were held at Will O’Wind Farm this weekend. Ian Roberts and Faolan are currently leading the Open Intermediate after cross country on a score of 42.4 ahead of Jessie Phoenix and Abbey GS, who are on a 47.2. Emilie Cleminson and Winnie Wonka (cute name!) round out the top three on a score of 49.6.

OHTA Championships at Will O’Wind Farm: [Website] [Live Scores]


At Dunnabeck in Illinois, Lacey Messick and Second Hand Rose took home the top honors in the Open Preliminary division, the only pair to finish on their dressage score. This was the pair’s second effort at Prelim and their first win.

Jana Lyle and Tupelo picked up second place in their third event at this level with one unlucky rail down in show jumping today. Hayley Lofgren and American Rhythm finished their weekend in third place with a rail down for a total of 41.3.

Dunnabeck H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]


Sunday Video: Get Excited for Galway Downs

Galway Downs is one of the most highly touted events on the west coast, and this year’s edition is set to run from October 30-November 2. In addition, the exciting announcement of PRO TV means that there will also be highlight and streaming services for the first time ever, which is a huge step for events all over the country.

We can’t wait for Galway, and Ride On Video put together this promo video to get us all even more excited. Enjoy!

Francis Whittington and Easy Target Score the Victory in Blenheim CCI3*

Francis Whittington and Easy Target. Photo courtesy of Samantha Clark. Francis Whittington and Easy Target. Photo courtesy of Samantha Clark.

Francis Whittington and Easy Target came into the show jumping ring today in second position after stalking the leader throughout the weekend. The pair scored a 37.2 in the dressage and incurred 1.6 time on cross country to sit on a 38.8 and second place today. Francis and Easy Target jumped a double clear round – a relatively infrequent feat today – to put the pressure on overnight leaders William Fox-Pitt and Freddie Mac.

William Fox-Pitt and Freddie Mac. Photo courtesy of Samantha Clark for PRO.

William Fox-Pitt and Freddie Mac. Photo courtesy of Samantha Clark for PRO.

William and Freddie Mac, who historically doesn’t have too much trouble but can drop a rail here and there, knocked one rail in the last combination to seal the deal for Francis to take home his first CCI3* win.

Easy Target was coming off of a second place finish in the CIC3* at Gatcombe Park last month, where he also jumped clear in the show jumping. This horse has pulled a few rails in his time this year, but the pair pulled it off today, surely to Francis’ delight. #WheresWhittington? Winning Blenheim. No big deal.

Sad Whittington:

And a very happy Whittington!

Show jumping definitely shuffled the leaderboard today, with the top five changing hands and three horses from the top 15 moving up to finish in the top 10. Jodie Amos and Wise Crack picked up third place with one rail down, moving up one spot from fourth.

Pippa Funnell jumped one of the 14 double clear rounds aboard Second Supreme to secure fourth after lying eighth overnight, and Francis Whittington also rounds out the top five with his second ride, Fernhill Highlight, who improves on a 41st place finish last year at this event.

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn. Photo courtesy of Samantha Clark for PRO.

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn. Photo courtesy of Samantha Clark for PRO.

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn had 12 penalties today, unfortunately dropping them down to 17th place. Phillip remains the highest placed American rider with Fernhill Cubalawn, with Fernhill Fugitive and Katherine Coleman’s Courage Under Fire in 36th and 41st, respectively.

That’s a wrap on an exciting weekend at Blenheim! Thanks to PRO and Samantha Clark for keeping us up to date on the happenings, and as always thank you for following along!

Go Blenheim!

Blenheim Links: [Website] [Scores] [PRO] [PRO on Facebook] [PRO on Twitter] [Samantha Clark] [Blenheim Twitter]



50 Horses Move Forward to Blenheim CCI3* Show Jumping After Final Inspection

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn. Photo courtesy of PRO / Samantha Clark. Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn. Photo courtesy of PRO / Samantha Clark.

PRO has reported that it was a relatively uneventful trot-up this morning, which is always a relief for the competitors. Andrew Hoy’s Cheeky Calimbo, Kate Rocher’s Dassett Jack, Katherine Coleman’s Courage Under Fire, and Emily Gilruth‘s Topwood Beau were all sent to the holding box, and Emily withdrew from the box while the rest passed upon re-inspection.

UK rider Julie Tew also withdrew Simply Sox last night and did not present this morning.

Katherine Coleman and Courage Under Fire. Photo courtesy of PRO / Samantha Clark.

Katherine Coleman and Courage Under Fire. Photo courtesy of PRO / Samantha Clark.

Aside from that, there were no second jogs required, and all remaining horses passed with flying colors to move onto the final phase of the weekend.

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive. Photo courtesy of PRO / Samantha Clark.

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive. Photo courtesy of PRO / Samantha Clark.

The class was split in half for show jumping, with the lower ranked 25 jumping early and the top 25 jumping at 3 p.m. BST (10 a.m. EST). Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive and Katherine Coleman with Courage Under Fire have already jumped; Phillip and Jack had two rails down for 36th place currently, and Katherine picked up 22 faults for 41st.

Phillip was pleased with Jack’s efforts this weekend, posting on his Facebook page “I’m really proud of how Jack stepped up this weekend. This was a big competition for him, and he’ll come away from it having learned a lot and be a better horse for it. Thank you to Tom (Tierney) and Annie (Jones) for believing in him.”

Katherine Coleman and Courage Under Fire. Photo courtesy of PRO / Samantha Clark.

Katherine Coleman and Courage Under Fire. Photo courtesy of PRO / Samantha Clark.

We’ll have a full recap up shortly after the CCI3* completes their show jumping, which will include Phillip and Fernhill Cubalawn, who are in ninth place going in.

We can’t thank PRO and Samantha Clark enough for their continued coverage and excellent photos from the weekend. Please remember to visit their links below to catch up on even more Blenheim action.

Blenheim Links: [Website] [Ride Times] [Scores] [Cross Country Course Photos] [PRO] [PRO on Facebook] [PRO on Twitter] [Samantha Clark] [Blenheim Twitter]


Watch Every Fence on the Blenheim CCI3* Cross Country

YouTube user harveywetdog was in attendance for yesterday’s cross country at Blenheim, and he’s posted video of each fence on course. It looks like it was a beautiful day for some cross country action yesterday, and the course winds its way through the grounds, giving spectators the chance to see a good number of fences and riders.

It’s also interesting to see how each fence rides, knowing which fences caused a few troubles. Fence 20, the hollow complex comes to mind as an interesting one to watch; it caused problems for 13 riders, four of which were eliminated and one of which retired.

Show jumping is just wrapping up now for the CCI3*, so we’ll be back shortly with a full recap. Go Blenheim!

Blenheim Links: [Website] [Ride Times] [Scores] [Cross Country Course Photos] [PRO] [PRO on Facebook] [PRO on Twitter] [Samantha Clark] [Blenheim Twitter]

Fran Jurga’s Hoof Blog: The Best Shod Horse at Burghley

The classic eventer hind shoe. Photo courtesy of Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog. The classic eventer hind shoe. Photo courtesy of Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog.

Fran Jurga runs a wonderfully educational blog on all things hoof care, which is a useful resource for those who are looking to learn more about the ins and outs of shoeing and hoof health. At Burghley last weekend, the award of Best Shod Horse is a tradition that rewards excellent farrier work and horse care, even if the winning horse does not take home top honors at the event.

This year, the winner of the Best Shod Horse was Cooly’s Luxury, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding ridden by Tom Crisp, who finished 11th overall. The winning farrier was Jim Hayter, who also won the Best Shod Horse award in 2010 and 2011 and is one of the most highly sought after farriers in the area.

“The Best Shod Horse is not always a horse that shows up in the results, but happily, this year’s winner finished 11th overall. Congratulations to his farrier, Jim Hayter, who has been featured here before as farrier of the Best Shod Horse at the 4* Badminton Horse Trials, also in England.”

It’s fascinating to see the photos of the work done on the horses’ shoes, and the philosophy behind the work.

“What are the judges looking for? Apparently there are standards, but when you get to this level, many of the horses are shod by the best farriers in the British Isles. They not only know the craft of shoemaking, they know the sport of eventing and what these horses need for their training and competition.”

You can read, in much more detail, about the shoeing jobs at Burghley and the farriers behind the work on Fran’s blog here. You can also sign up to get updates on new blog posts by sending an email to this address. Many thanks to Fran for sharing her insight with us; it’s truly fascinating to read about!

Hot On Horse Nation: 10 Things I Hate About Horses

We love seeing the hilarious posts that frequent Horse Nation, and this one is no different. Amanda Ronan lists out ten things we all have to deal with as horse owners. What would you add to the list? Post in the comments!

This post originally appeared on Horse Nation:

I’m about to wax poetic about the ups and downs of horse ownership. Prepare yourselves…

I hate the way you poop all day.

I hate the price of all that hay.

I hate the way you roll in the mud,

after I’ve spent hours removing that crud.

I hate how sometimes you stomp and snort,

when there’s nothing to fear of any sort.

I hate the way you perfectly strike my eye when you flick your tail.

I hate that I have to clean all the parts that let me know you are male.

I hate that the judge didn’t look your way. Whatever, you’re handsome… that’s all I’ll say.

I hate that sometimes people don’t understand.

A horse is not just a horse, you’re a friend and I’m your biggest fan.

I hate that I love you so very much,

I constantly worry about everything… even your lunch.


So it was more like nine things and a really cute GIF of young Heath Ledger, whatever…  I’m a journalist, man! Not a poet!

Go Riding!

Saturday Video: Thank You from Evention TV

The first season of Along for the Ride has wrapped up for Evention TV, and Dom and Jimmie are thrilled with the response they’ve received to their latest project. This week, the couple posted a great thank you video for their viewers for supporting them throughout the past few years, and it’s definitely worth a watch.

Also, if you’re looking for a good laugh, check out this compilation of Evention vines. I’ve probably watched it ten times and haven’t gotten tired of it yet.

Should Dogs Be Banned from Events?

Dogs and horses have always seemed to go hand in hand. Go to any barn or horse show, and you’re bound to see countless dogs accentuating the atmosphere. But where does the line fall when it becomes a safety issue for the horses and riders, as well as the dogs?

Today at Blenheim, a loose dog chased Millie Dumas and Artistiek on cross country, causing quite a scary sight during her trip through the coffin complex.

The dog proceeded to follow Millie, and her quick thinking saved her from further problems at the coffin complex. Watching the Vine, it’s a miracle that the dog was unharmed, and Millie picked up time penalties that she plans to appeal with the ground jury due to her having to avoid the dog.

At Burghley last weekend, a tragic incident occurred in which a puppy was attacked and subsequently killed by a larger dog. Both dogs were on leads with their respective owners when the miniature Dachshund was attacked. The puppy unfortunately was fatally injured, and the owner and authorities are in the midst of a search for the owner of the attacking dog.

It seems that videos or other accounts of loose dogs chasing horses or otherwise wreaking havoc at events are frequent occurrences of late. Just a few weeks ago, we posted this video of a horse who encountered a loose dog on course at Fair Hill.

Events such as this raise questions regarding the regulation of dogs at horse shows and events. While we’ve all become accustomed to seeing canine companions around horses, what happens when a dog breaks loose or is allowed to roam without any supervision?

Here are some ideas that have been proposed throughout social media recently:

1. A complete ban on all dogs at events.

2. A mandatory dog check where dogs will be cared for in a “doggy daycare” environment while horses are around.

3. Banning dogs on cross country day at events.

4. A collar/harness check, where dogs are checked to ensure that their leads and collars are sufficient to prevent breakaways.

5. Charging admission prices for dogs, the proceeds of which could be donated to charity, to deter people from bringing dogs that may be a flight risk.

6. Increased barriers between the spectators and the galloping lanes or jumps.

Clearly, having a dog chase a horse and rider around cross country is not acceptable. The responsibility lies with the dog’s owner to ensure that the dog is supervised at all times when around horses, but what responsibility does the event have for regulating dogs and their owners?

Should there be a blanket ban imposed across all competitions that does not allow dogs on event grounds? Is there a more middle ground position to take, such as simply not allowing dogs on cross country courses?

On the other hand, what about the responsible dog owners who always ensure that their dogs are always kept under control at events? Is it fair to punish them by imposing a ban on their dogs as well?

We’d love to hear your opinions on the matter of dogs and horse shows. Let’s discuss, EN!

William Fox-Pitt and Freddie Mac Take the Lead in Blenheim CCI3*

William Fox-Pitt and Freddie Mac. Photo courtesy of PRO/Samantha Clark.

William Fox-Pitt and Freddie Mac. Photo courtesy of PRO/Samantha Clark.

Eric Winter’s CCI3* course claimed plenty of victims today, and it was William Fox-Pitt and Freddie Mac who emerged unscathed to take the lead after laying down a professional double clear round. This is the 10-year-old gelding’s second CCI3*; he finished third at Bramham in May, and he’s shown marked improvement on his score from his first start, where he finished on a 46.2.

William and Freddie are poised to take home the win tomorrow, but they have just a .8 advantage over Francis Whittington and Easy Target, who picked up 1.7 time penalties, which was quick enough to slide them into second place on a 38.8. This is Easy Target’s first CCI run since retiring at the mud-pit that was Badminton this year. Francis also moved up from 13th to fourth aboard Fernhill Highlight. #WheresWhittington? Galloping clean and fast across country like it’s a stroll in the park.

Tim Price was finally able to enjoy a clean cross country round after encountering a streak of bad luck at WEG and Burghley, bringing home Ringwood Sky Boy double clear to go into third on a 41.8.

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn. Photo courtesy of PRO/Samantha Clark.

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn. Photo courtesy of PRO/Samantha Clark.

Phillip Dutton enjoyed a fast and clear round with Fernhill Cubalawn, rocketing up the board from 20th to ninth after cross country with just 3.2 time penalties. Phillip posted on his Facebook page that “Cuba handled it like a total pro, and he surprised me a bit at the start box, being totally relaxed and with his ears flopping around. He felt great at the end and was still full of gallop. All credit goes to the horse and how he’s been educated by Alex Green, and I think he’s a good horse for the future.”

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive. Photo courtesy of PRO/Samantha Clark.

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive. Photo courtesy of PRO/Samantha Clark.

Overnight leaders Andrew Hoy and Cheeky Calimbo picked up 20 penalties at fence 23, the Cotswold Stone Houses, which caught a couple of other riders out as well. You can get a look at the fence in the video below. Andrew will drop down to 30th place after the unfortunate runout on course today.

Sitting in second overnight, Emily King had a heartbreaking fall at the second fence on course, the Biffa Archway. We’ve not received word yet on Emily and Brookleigh’s condition, but we will provide more information as it becomes available.

Jacob Fletcher and Atlantic Domino. Photo courtesy of PRO/Samantha Clark.

Jacob Fletcher and Atlantic Domino. Photo courtesy of PRO/Samantha Clark.

The remainder of the American contingent had issues crop up throughout the day as well. Jacob Fletcher fell from Atlantic Domino at fence 15, the Countrywide Splash and Dash, after a hold on course. We’ve confirmed that both Jacob and Domino were up and ok, which is a huge relief.

Katherine Coleman and Courage Under Fire. Photo courtesy of PRO/Samantha Clark.

Katherine Coleman and Courage Under Fire. Photo courtesy of PRO/Samantha Clark.

Katherine Coleman and Courage Under Fire and Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive both picked up 20 at fence 20, the Hope Valley Wooded Hollow, which is also the scene of a dog-related fiasco involving Millie Dumas.

We’ll have more on the situation with Millie and the loose dog who chased her through the Hollow in our next post, so stay tuned for a discussion post to come later this morning.

Once again, we owe many, many thanks to PRO and Samantha Clark for sharing their photos and commentary with us from Blenheim!

Blenheim Links: [Website] [Ride Times] [Scores] [Cross Country Course Photos] [PRO] [PRO on Facebook] [PRO on Twitter] [Samantha Clark] [Blenheim Twitter]


Weekend Welcome: Elinor MacPhail Leads Poplar CIC3* + Other Scores

The calm before the storm at Dunnabeck. Photo via Courtney Carson on Facebook. The calm before the storm at Dunnabeck. Photo via Courtney Carson on Facebook.

With the withdrawal of Mensa from the CIC3* at Poplar Place this weekend, the door was left open for Elinor MacPhail to take command, which is what she’s done after two phases.

Elinor and RF Eloquence were predicted by Maggie to finish second this weekend, and thus far they’re doing a great job keeping ahead of the pack. Predicted to finish third, Kyle Carter and Madison Park hold down second place on a score of 59.1. Hallie Coon and Namaste are currently in third, followed by Emily Rusinyak and Reatta HW.

Poplar Place Farm September CIC & H.T. [Website] [Times] [Live Scores]


The CIC3* will run cross country today; meanwhile, the CIC* and CIC2* divisions have completed their dressage and will move forward to show jumping. Blair King and Kingsman currently lead the CIC* division on a dressage score of 45.7. A completion this weekend would be this pair’s first, and a win would surely be just the cherry on top of a great weekend!

Clayton Fredericks and FE Bowman take second place into the show jumping on a score of 47.9. This is this horse’s first start at this level, having moved up to Preliminary this year, so Clayton will be out for an educational weekend. Jon Holling and Tequila Persuasion (best name this weekend) are in third on a 49.6, also the horse’s move up to the one-star level.


In the CIC2*, Leslie Law and Fernhill Whatever are in the lead after dressage on a score of 42.2. Fernhill Whatever, a talented young horse for Leslie, is coming off of a 10th place finish at Chatt Hills in the CIC2* last month, and the pair looks primed to improve on that finish this weekend.

Michael Pollard and Kyra, ever present at or near the top of their division, are in second after dressage after scoring a 42.9. This red-headed Canadian Sporthorse mare won her last start at this level, also at Chatt Hills last month, and is looking like a real-deal mount for Michael.

Michael also holds down third place aboard one of the Chatsworth Stud stallions, Halimey. Michael has said before that this horse’s confidence is a work in progress, but they seem to have improved with each start, only finishing outside of the top 10 once this year at the Intermediate and two-star level.


In the Advanced division, Jon Holling is leading after dressage with Zatopek B on an impressive score of 24.4, followed by predicted winners Becky Holder and Can’t Fire Me. Jennie Jarnstrom and Cape Town. Jennie and Cape Town’s last time out was the CCI3* at Bromont, so she’s likely trying to get him back out to stretch his legs after a quick vacation.


In Norman, Ok., Feather Creek Horse Trials is running an Intermediate/Preliminary division which is currently led by Eventing Dad’s own Bailey Moran and Catalyst. The pair scored a 32.1 in the dressage to take the lead over Katherine Rivera and Royal Lufftanzer.

Feather Creek H.T.  [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]


Dunnabeck Horse Trials is also running this weekend in Carbondale, Il., with divisions from Starter through Preliminary. Scores are still updating as this event has just gotten underway, but it’s a beautiful day here in the Midwest so here’s hoping that my neighbors one state over have a great weekend of fall weather!

Dunnabeck H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]


Great Quotes from Premier Equine Insurance

Photo by Kate Samuels. Photo by Kate Samuels.

One of my favorite horse-related quotes comes from Helen Thompson, and I always try to remember it when I’m discouraged or down in the dumps over something. Riding has always been an outlet for me, and it truly does provide the freedom that so many of us crave. We may get focused on our goals or our setbacks, but it’s beneficial to remember why we started in the first place.

Perhaps one of the best things to witness in this sport is the unadulterated smile of a person who just nailed their final halt and salute, or who just came home safe across the finish line on cross country. It is in those moments that we remember why we do this. They may call us insane eventers, but we wouldn’t trade those feelings for anything!

If your horse is your prized possession, think about protecting it with personalized insurance care from Premier Equine Insurance. As with any investment, it is important to protect our horses in the event of an accident. Premier Equine Insurance is a family-owned company that is dedicated to bring you personalized and prompt attention. Owned by husband and wife David and Kirsten Buffamoyer, Premier Equine Insurance has three locations to serve you and is just one phone call away at all times. Be sure to stop by or call in for your FREE quote and consultation today!