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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Wellington Showcase Live Stream Info and Course Sneak Peek

Photo courtesy of ETB Equine Construction. Photo courtesy of ETB Equine Construction.

The $50,000 Eventing Showcase in Wellington is all set to kick off tomorrow, and some of the sport’s best known horses and rider’s have been invited to participate. Jenni will be on the ground for the action beginning tomorrow, but we know you want to see for yourself what it looks like to event in Wellington, right? Well, you’re in luck! Our good friends at The Chronicle of the Horse will be hosting a live stream of all three phases, so bookmark the links below to tune in:

Friday - Dressage - 9:30 a.m. EST

Saturday - Show Jumping - 10 a.m. EST

Saturday - Cross Country - 1:00 p.m. EST

If you need a refresher on the riders who plan to attend this weekend, check out our original entry list post here. As an added feature to the weekend’s festivities, Dom and Jimmie Schramm will be providing commentary which will no doubt prove to be quite entertaining.

Eric Bull and ETB Equine Construction has been hard at work building the cross country course, which will feature 16 obstacles with 20 jumping efforts over a 2,000-meter track designed by Capt. Mark Phillips. The construction company posted a quick preview of some of the fences on course:

We can’t wait for this unique showcase to kick off; stay tuned for much more live from Wellington!

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: 2015 Budweiser Super Bowl Ad

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is here! Budweiser has released their 2015 Super Bowl commercial, and it does not disappoint. It’s a follow-up to last year’s “Puppy Love” commercial, which featured a puppy and a Clydesdale who were separated.

This year’s ad focuses more on the puppy’s point of view, and I have to admit I may have teared up just a bit. Some of us do cry at commercials, you know!

Here’s the 2014 ad for a little trip down memory lane:

Wiser Concepts

No more guesswork. No more worries.

With hundreds of different supplements on the market today, trying to pick the right one for your horse can be frustrating and worrisome. Let your veterinarian and Wiser Concepts® supplements ease the uncertainty. As a team, you and your vet will choose the Wiser Concepts supplement that best meets your horse’s needs.

Wiser Concepts supplements are available only through your veterinarian. Learn more at KPPvet.com.

Mark Todd Reunited with Aberjack, and It Was Just as Great as You’d Hope

Teresa Groesbeck, owns the 25-year-old stallion who was Mark Todd’s former Advanced level horse who is also the producer of many top eventing offspring here in the U.S. Teresa brought Aberjack to Fresno, California while Mark was teaching a clinic, and horse and rider were able to reunite.

As shown by this video from Lesley Stevenson, Aberjack and Mark clearly picked up right where the left off, with plenty of spunk to keep them both entertained. What a great opportunity to see these two greats together again!

To read more about Mark Todd and Aberjack, click here.

Tuesday Video from SpectraVET: Celebrate Ballynoe Castle RM’s Highest Scoring Rank

We reported at the beginning of the year that Carl and Cassie Segal’s Ballynoe Castle RM, ridden by Buck Davidson, had surpassed Winsome Adante as the highest scoring U.S. event horse of all time. An exceedingly difficult task, “Reggie” has approached his job with a professional attitude and a special personality. It’s no wonder, then, that Reggie also takes home the title of fan favorite for many who have had the privilege of seeing him compete.

The USEA published a recap on Reggie’s status today, and we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of our favorite moments from the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding’s career to date. What’s your favorite Reggie moment, EN?

Why SpectraVET?

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We design and manufacture the broadest range of clinically-proven veterinary therapeutic laser products, which are represented and supported worldwide by our network of specialist distributors and authorized service centers.

Want to Join the EN Team? West Coast Correspondents Needed!

Chinch is looking for a travel buddy! Chinch is looking for a travel buddy!

Picture this scenario: You arrive at one of the many three-star events on the West Coast, armed with your camera and laptop, eyes peeled for your next victim interview subject in the form of Hawley Bennett-Awad or Tamie Smith. Chinch is by your side, ready for photobombing and shenanigans.

You spend the weekend taking in the sights and snapping photos, interviewing the riders and whoever else comes across your path, and then writing up reports for EN. Sound like something you can see yourself doing? Read on!

EN is looking for talent in the form of West Coast correspondents to provide coverage at the biggest events in California: Galway Downs, Woodside, Twin Rivers and Copper Meadows. We’d like to find someone who is already traveling to these events, or multiple people who live within proximity to these events (i.e. someone near Galway Downs and someone near Woodside).

This is a great opportunity to get a feel for real-time event coverage and includes duties like writing reports and recaps, photography and video interviews. If you feel you’d be a great fit for this position, please tell us why (include any writing samples, photos and anything else you think we should know) by emailing jenni@eventingnation.com.

Go Eventing.

Lauren Billys Sells Ballingowan Ginger to Young Rider

Lauren Billys & Ballingowan Ginger. Photo by Sherry Stewart. Lauren Billys & Ballingowan Ginger. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Lauren Billys has her eyes set on representing Puerto Rico in the Pan American Games and, subsequently, the Olympics in 2016, and has set many plans in motion to accomplish this goal. To that end, she announced yesterday via an Athletux press release that she had made the decision to sell her 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Ballingowan Ginger, to young rider Jordyn Horwitz.

Lauren imported purchased Ballingowan Ginger in 2007, the year after the mare was imported from Ireland. Together, the pair made their way up to the Intermediate and Advanced level, highlighted by a second place finish in the CIC3* at Twin Rivers in 2014, among other achievements.

“Ginger and I have grown up together, I competed my first Preliminary, Intermediate and Advanced competitions on her, did my first FEI event with her, and was chosen for the Puerto Rican Team as a result of our success,” said Billys in the press release. “The decision to sell her was one of the hardest choices I have ever had to make, however, I know that she can change another life the way she has mine, and I owe it to her to allow her to continue doing what she loves most at a level she is comfortable.”

With the sale of Ginger completed, Lauren will be on the lookout for a young horse with four-star potential while she continues to cultivate a lasting partnership with Castle Larchfield Purdy, whom she acquired last year.

At 17, Jordyn Horwitz plans to gain more experience at the upper levels aboard Ginger, having competed through the CCI* to date. “I know Jordyn will love Ginger as I have and cherish the opportunity to ride her, which means the world to me. I will be rooting them on every step of the way, and look forward to watching Jordyn and Ginger accomplish great things together,” Lauren said.

We wish Ginger, Jordan, and Lauren the best of luck in their respective new endeavors.

Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: Ben Hobday Gives Advice and Training Tips

Ben Hobday recently participated in a demonstration at Your Horse Live to show his training philosophies in action. Using a four-year-old in training as well as his unique partner, Mulrys Error, to show exercises he uses to improve jumping and increase rideability, Ben utilized his sense of humor to engage the audience and keep them entertained.

Ben reiterates an age-old concept for jumping: in order to successfully jump, you need a good, balanced canter and a straight line. Whether you’re jumping a technical show jump round or an open cross country course, these concepts never change.

It’s always interesting to see how horses, even those who compete at the top level of the sport such as Mulrys Error, react to new environments. Ben does a great job of keeping his horses focused in front of the hundreds of spectators, and narrates his actions as he’s executing them.

What’s your favorite way to learn, EN? Do you prefer demonstrations such as this, or do you like to have more of a hands-on approach?

Share Your Horse’s Rehab Story to Win a Prize Pack from OCD

One of our favorite rehab stories, Kelsey Briggs and The Gentleman Pirate. One of our favorite rehab stories, Kelsey Briggs and The Gentleman Pirate.

Our horses are always inspiring us. Whether they’ve come back from an otherwise catastrophic illness or injury, or they surpass our competition expectations, there are always great stories to be told about how horses are inspirational.

Our newest sponsor, Optimal Cartilage Development (OCD), offers a great supplement option for bone and joint repair. OCD offers support and repair for injuries such as Equine OCDs, Osteochondrosis, (Osteochondritis Dissecans), Bone Cysts, DJD (Degenerative Joint Disease), Epiphysitis, Osteoarthritis, Navicular Syndrome, Sesamoiditis, Bucked Shins, Bone Lesions, Slab Fractures, and more.

OCD Pellets are supportive of building and maintaining healthy cartilage and bone, addressing both inflammation as well as the bone matrix and cartilage in a joint.

Image via Doc's Products Inc.

Image via Doc’s Products Inc.

OCD Pellets are designed for use with horses from all walks of life, from young horses in training to broodmares and older horses.

Image via Doc's Products Inc.

Image via Doc’s Products Inc.

Many testimonials point to the success horse owners have found with OCD Pellets, and we found these success stories to be quite uplifting. To that end, OCD would like to offer a prize pack to a reader who submits their rehab story to us. Here’s what’s up for grabs, valued at $150:

  • 2 month supply of OCD Pellets
  • 1 month supply of COS Canine
  •  1 OCD Pellets Cap
  • 1 OCD Pellets t-shirt

If you’d like to share your rehab story, please send it along with a photo to sally@eventingnation.com. Entries will close on Friday, February 13 at 5 p.m. EST, and keep an eye out for your story to run right here on EN. We know there are plenty of equine rehab stories out there to inspire us all, and we can’t wait to hear yours!

Please join us in giving a warm EN welcome to OCD, and be sure to click the banner below to find out more.

Sunday Video: Stuff Riders Say – The Lost Episode

Just when we were thinking we couldn’t go much longer without a new video from SmartPak, they released a new version of “Stuff Riders Say”. This unreleased episode features more sayings that we as equestrians use on a daily basis. We’re thinking that these are a great segue into another video illustrating how things we do around horses and generally considered to be strange in the “real” world.

If you can’t get enough SmartPak, be sure to check out other “Stuff Riders Say” episodes below:

Five Thoughts We All Have When Planning Our Show Season

The start box is waiting! The start box is waiting!

Ah, the anticipation of a brand new season. Time to move on from the last, whether it was good, bad, or a healthy mix of both, and start mapping out your plans for the year. It’s always an interesting process, to have goals and formulate a plan to achieve them. Ryan Wood recently blogged about his strategy for picking events according to his horses’ needs, and it was great advice on strategy.

Along the lines of our emotions felt in anticipation of a dressage lesson, we thought we’d cycle through five emotions we all have when looking ahead to a new season. Bring it on, 2015!

1. Excitement

Excited

Come on, we’re all excited to get this season underway. Whether you’ve got a new horse who is just starting its eventing career or a seasoned campaigner who is ready to take the next step up, there’s always so much hope and promise that surrounds this time of year. We’re ready to take on those cross country courses and nail those dressage tests!

2. Fear and Nervousness

Afraid

As you peruse the omnibus in your area, you begin to wonder which events are the best fit. You may be considering a new event that you haven’t been to before — what should you expect? Will it be on par for your level, or will it present a bigger challenge?

You take a look at the new dressage tests for the upper levels and wonder if your horse can actually execute the maneuvers. Suddenly, you begin to feel those familiar start box nerves. You don’t want to make the wrong decision, but you also want to make sure you’re making progress.

3. Self Doubt

Doubts

Ok, really, what are we actually thinking, trying to become event riders?? People actually ride more than one horse at these events? People do this for a living? What are we even doing here? Maybe we don’t belong. Maybe that Prelim course you had your eye on was just a pipe dream. Maybe you’d be better off sticking to straight dressage. Or hunters. You can still wear your C4 neck strap in hunters, right?

4. Elevated Blood Pressure 

Anxious

Chiropractor and massage therapist appointments to schedule, lessons and clinics to sign up for, entry fees to pay. Suddenly we remember a big reason why equestrians are perpetually poor — show season! There’s so much preparation that goes into competing at even the lowest levels, and while planning comes naturally to some, it causes great anxiety for others.

Not to mention the fact that even the best laid plans can derail in the blink of an eye. Welcome to the horse world! Corral the anxiety brought on by writing the checks and putting the finishing touches on your preparations, take a deep breath, and remember why we all do this in the first place.

5. Confidence

Confident

It’s a cycle, really. Once we’ve made our plans, crossed our fingers and had Lisa Barry find us a handful of four leaf clovers for good measure, and done our best to prepare, the next step is to get out there and take the new year by the horns. Plans may unravel, our schedule may change, but at the end of the day we know how much we love our horses and this sport, and that keeps us coming back every day.

Put your chin up, heels down, and shoulders back, and have a great ride in 2015!

Elisa Wallace and Hwin Take Home Fourth Place, Fan Favorite Award at Mustang Magic

Photo via Wallace Eventing. Photo via Wallace Eventing.

Elisa Wallace is traveling back home after this year’s Mustang Magic competition with a handful of awards, a huge smile, and a little mare whom she was successfully able to adopt at the conclusion of competition.

Going into the final day of competition, Elisa and Hwin were placed seventh overall on a total score of 139.5. For the final round, each finalist was required to complete a freestyle showcasing the horses’ newly learned talents. Although Hwin was a bit keyed up, Elisa shed her tack and showed off the bond the two have created in just a few short months, to the delight of the crowd.

After the freestyle competition, the judges marked Elisa and Hwin down for  a 18/30 and a 17.5/30 for horsemanship, and these scores helped Elisa take home a fourth place ribbon as well as the award for Fan Favorite.

Following the finals was an auction for the mustangs competing, in which Elisa was successfully able to purchase Hwin at the second highest price of the weekend, $2,100. Now we’ll get to see much more from this adorable mare as she continues her career with Elisa.

Many congratulations are in order for Elisa, Hwin, and all of their supporters. The Mustang Magic competition is a special one that showcases a breed that has proven to be hardy, versatile, and talented. For more updates and photos from the weekend, visit Wallace Eventing’s website or Facebook page. Go Mustangs!

Welcome the 2015 Season with These Rocking Horse Action Videos

The Intermediate divisions at Rocking Horse I wrapped up yesterday, and we’re all breathing a collective sigh of relief that there are new scores to stalk, more horses and riders to cheer on, and more videos from The Horse Pesterer. Welcome back, eventing!

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

The Horse Pesterer was indeed wandering around Rocking Horse this weekend, and he uploaded his playlist to his YouTube channel this morning. Here’s a look at a few of the Intermediate rides:

Elisa Wallace and Hwin Selected for Final Round at Mustang Magic

Elisa Wallace and Hwin share a momemt. Photo via Wallace Eventing. Elisa Wallace and Hwin share a momemt. Photo via Wallace Eventing.

The preliminary rounds at this year’s Mustang Magic competition in Fort Worth, Texas wrapped up last night, and Elisa Wallace and Hwin were selected to move on as finalists in tonight’s freestyle performance.

On Thursday and Friday, Elisa and Hwin competed in the preliminary divisions, including Handling and Conditioning, Trail, and Compulsory Maneuvers. Elisa’s husband, Timothy Harfield, has been keeping up behind the scenes of the action and reported that Hwin was a bit nervous on the first day but that she settled in well on day two.

Elisa and Hwin scored a 44 in the compulsory class, which put them into collective seventh place going into the trail class. Riders anxiously awaited the scores to come out this morning from the trail class, which would determine the finalists moving on to tonight’s freestyle competition.

Combined scores going into the trail class. Photo via Wallace Eventing.

Combined scores going into the trail class. Photo via Wallace Eventing.

Shortly after 9 am this morning, Elisa announced on her Facebook that she and Hwin had made it to finals, one of 10 pairs to do so.

Screenshot (21)

Now, Elisa and Hwin will put the finishing touches on their freestyle performance in preparation for the final round, which begins at 6 pm this evening.

The winners will be announced following the completion of the freestyles tonight, and the event will conclude with an auction for which all horses are available. We’ll be watching social media for the latest updates on Elisa and Hwin. In the meantime, you can follow along on the Wallace Eventing blog and Facebook page, as well as watch the videos below for a recap of the action so far.

Go Elisa and Hwin! #mustangpower

Friday Video from World Equestrian Brands: Area VI Award Winners

Ride On Video put together a great video highlighting the award winners from the Area VI award winners. Area VI gives out awards for categories such as Rider of the Year, Horse of the Year and divisional awards. There are even breed awards for the highest scoring Irish horse, Thoroughbred, pony and many more. You can check out a list of all awards given out on the Area VI website here, and keep checking back for an updated list of 2014 winners.

Congratulations to all Area VI award winners. We can’t wait to see more in 2015!

Weekly OTTB Wishlist Presented by Cosequin

The Retired Racehorse Project just announced that entries are open for the 2015 Thoroughbred Makeover competition, so what better time to find yourself a new project to prepare? There is a total of $100,000 up for grabs! The competition will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park from Oct. 23-25, and any Thoroughbred with a Jockey Club tattoo that raced or was trained to race in the last two years and has not yet begun second career training can be entered. Here’s a few options for your Makeover horse. Happy shopping!

Photo via PTHA.

Photo via PTHA.

If face markings are a selling point, then this girl has a great one! Yacantmakethisup (Gold FeverDifficult Times, by Honour and Glory) is a 16.2 hand, 2009 mare who last raced on Dec. 29. She raced a total of 12 times, earning just over $3,500. She’s available for sale through the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association.

Click here to view Yacantmakethisup’s ad on PTHA.

Photo courtesy of New Vocations.

Photo courtesy of New Vocations.

Our second selection this week is Dance World, a real war horse available for adoption through New Vocations. This guy raced 86 times from 2006 until September of 2014 and was even ranked #53 by wins in 2013 and 77th in 2009. He brought home earnings totaling about $120,000, so he’s earned himself a good new home. Dance World (Atticus - La Musette, by Bounding Basque) is a 2004 model standing 15.2 hands and enjoys having a job rather than just hanging out in a pasture. He’s said to have a real workmanlike attitude, which should translate well into his retraining.

Click here to see Dance World’s ad on New Vocations.

Photo via the Retired Racehorse Project.

Photo via the Retired Racehorse Project.

Last up this week is Secret Bobbie, who is listed with the Retired Racehorse Project via Racehorse2Sporthorse LLC. Secret Bobbie (Sea of SecretsH.E.’s Girl, by Turkoman) is located in Phoenix, Arizona, and only raced four times without showing any promise. She last raced on Jan. 17 and is said to be suitable for any discipline. She’s a 2010 model standing 16 hands.

Click here to see Secret Bobbie’s ad on RRP.

Carolina International Introduces ‘Unlock Your Performance’ Clinics

Doug Payne and Crown Talisman at Carolina International. Photo by Jenni Autry. Doug Payne and Crown Talisman at Carolina International. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The Carolina International CIC Organizing Committee has scheduled two clinics this winter offering riders at all levels the unique opportunity to formally prepare for their upcoming competition season. These clinics materialized from the committee’s vision of offering riders in the region the opportunity to train and learn from Officials, Riders, Coaches and Course Designers with deep experience in the High Performance ranks of eventing.

Doug Payne, Will Faudree, Robert Costello, Robert Stevenson, Lizzie Snow and Marc Donovan are focusing not only on another year of outstanding competition at the 2015 Cloud Eleven Carolina International but also on leveraging their expertise with riders and local coaches on improving their overall competitive experience.

Specifically, this committee is seeking another way to give back to the eventing community in a cost effective, highly impactful format. From that vision, the idea of the Unlock Your Performance Clinics came to life.

These clinics represents a tremendous educational opportunity for all participants, their coaches and instructors as well as auditors to gain exposure from some of the best High Performance Eventing experts our country has to offer. Seldom do competitors have the chance to speak face to face with trainers, officials and competitors at this level and to receive a detailed explanation of both dressage judging and show jumping course design from the decision makers themselves.

Moreover, riders will also then be able to create a detailed plan for their horse on how to make the most of their competitive experience from some of the nations top riders and coaches. Nothing like this formally exists outside of the USEF High Performance Program, and it presents a tremendous opportunity for all who want to improve on their competition scores and outcomes.

This Carolina International Program offers the riders the chance to develop specific strategies to make the most of their weekends of competing. The focus will be on developing those strategies rather than basic riding techniques. “Through this program riders will gain knowledge of how the dressage and jumping tests appear from the judges perspective thereby supplementing how the performance seem to feel to the rider,” Will Faudree stated.

The Carolina International Organizing Committee hopes to grow these clinics in 2016 and ensure that, as professionals in the sport of eventing, we continue to give back to those that sustain and enjoy the sport.

The Unlock Your Performance clinics will be held at the Carolina Horse Park on January 27 and February 11. For more information on participating and auditing, please visit the clinic website here.

University of Findlay Eventing Reaching for New Heights in 2015

Photo courtesy of Keren Rottschafer. Photo courtesy of Keren Rottschafer.

As the new semester kicks into full gear at universities around the country, Sue King has big goals for her young eventers at the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio. Brought in two years ago to oversee the formation of an eventing team in an already bustling equine program, Sue has enjoyed her time building a successful program with the unwavering support of the university.

“There was some interest in an eventing club before I got here,” Sue said. “So when I came in we just picked it right up and started holding practices once a week. It was a bit less structured because I just wanted to get it rolling.”

Findlay is home to the state of the art James L. Childs Junior Equestrian Complex, which houses approximately 300 horses and accommodates students who are riding as a part of the program or who are taking courses in Equestrian Studies. With the addition of the eventing program, the equine focus at Findlay now covers hunter/jumper, dressage, eventing, and Western disciplines.

Sue has worked hard to build a proper eventing program, and with the support of the university behind her she’s been able to make plans for a practice cross country course and help her students compete on Varsity and Junior Varsity teams. “There’s 14 on the team now, and we have three on the Varsity team who compete regularly,” she said. “The rest ride on the JV team, and are able to compete if they prove they are ready.”

What about horses? Many schools have donated horses to use in their hunter/jumper programs, but finding a horse suitable for eventing presents a larger challenge. “Many people who donate horses don’t want their horses ‘broken,’ so they take them to a school where the horse won’t event,” Sue said. “Although I think eventers are more conscious of soundness than others, we’ve been lucky to have several horses in the program that are schoolmasters.”

Photo courtesy of Sue King.

Photo courtesy of Sue King.

Findlay students are welcome to bring their own horse to school with them or ride one of the horses in the program. “Eventers want to give back,” Sue explained. “Generally speaking, they are more about the whole sport rather than individual gain, so if they can place a horse that is gifted but maybe not working, they’ll send it here. A lot of these horses are natural teachers, and we have a vet right here on campus for any needs they might have. They’re treated with a lot of respect by our students.”

Now that the eventing program has grown legs, Sue holds tryouts each year for new members. Her goal is to keep the costs as low as possible, understanding that many students cannot afford to compete and ride without some help while they’re in school. “They pay dues, usually around $50,” Sue said. “And we do shows for fundraising. We’ll do more fundraising this year, but their dues include their lessons and training. I volunteer my time teaching because I want to give back, and someone has to give back in order to make a program like this work. I’m fortunate to have such an amazing job and the support of the school, and I don’t mind volunteering my time to help these students. I believe in paying it forward.”

As a competitive eventer herself, Sue is able to make time to compete her own horse at the Preliminary level while still coaching her students up through the levels. “I can really focus on developing the program here and still have time for my own horse and family,” she said. “I can focus on teaching and organizing, and there is a great structure in place here.”

Photo courtesy of Keren Rottschafer.

Photo courtesy of Keren Rottschafer.

Findlay also hosts a summer clinic, which has attracted participants from as far as California in the past. Clinicians are brought in regularly as well, so the learning opportunities at the school are without end. Looking forward, Sue’s goal is to have more riders move up to join the Varsity team. Overall, she wants to see her students succeed and meet their goals during their time at Findlay.

“My ultimate goal is to be able to provide the opportunity for the students to go as high as they want to go,” Sue said. “If they are interested in moving up, I want to be able to get them there. I’d like to have more Prelim horses and have a good program for getting a student up to that level by the time they’re ready to graduate.

“A lot of what we’re seeing now is that we’re losing event riders at that college age because they have more limited options for riding in college. But the collegiate program is growing; I went to the USEA Convention two years ago and there were maybe 15 people in the collegiate meeting. This year, the room was filled.”

Indeed, more colleges are beginning to introduce eventing programs, and the USEA has also jumped aboard by offering a discounted membership to college students. With the support of the University of Findlay, Sue intends to continue building the eventing program, which will only help bolster the sport at the collegiate level in the future.

For more information on the University of Findlay’s program, you can visit their website or contact Sue King via email. Be sure to check out the video tour of Findlay’s English facility below while you’re at it! Go Collegiate Eventing!

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Velocity

We’ve got another great find for you today, EN! Bo Riedel-Petzold sent us a video he made over the summer in Germany with rider Charlotte Von Buttlar and Fashion King, a very keen looking gray who seems to absolutely relish gallivanting across country.

“Velocity” is a wonderful view of cross country riding and really captures the essence of the sport and its emphasis on the bond between horse and human. Julian Schneid created the accompanying music, which adds a classic feel to the short movie.

Many thanks to Bo, Charlotte, and Julian for such a great eventing video. Now, can we take a spin on Fashion King? Because he looks like a delight to ride!

Wiser Concepts

No more guesswork. No more worries.

With hundreds of different supplements on the market today, trying to pick the right one for your horse can be frustrating and worrisome. Let your veterinarian and Wiser Concepts® supplements ease the uncertainty. As a team, you and your vet will choose the Wiser Concepts supplement that best meets your horse’s needs.

Wiser Concepts supplements are available only through your veterinarian. Learn more at KPPvet.com.

Giving a Big EN Welcome to CEVA, Maker of ConfidenceEQ

Screenshot via ConfidenceEquine.com. Screenshot via ConfidenceEquine.com.

We all have had those horses: the nervous types who get antsy when a new situation is presented. We’ve searched high and low for some way to calm the nerves without getting us kicked out of a horse show or feeling like a pharmacy, but it’s hard to find the perfect solution.

Luckily, our newest sponsor, CEVA Animal Health, has created a product that gives us a new tool for calming nervous horses. ConfidenceEQ is a new pheromone gel that uses a similar pheromone to that which nursing mares give off to their foals to create a calming sensation when applied.

How exactly does it work? You simply apply the gel to your horse’s nostrils and wait to see the product in action. Many horses may exhibit the lip curling behavior known as the Flehman Response, which is an indicator that the pheromones are doing their job.

This product can be useful in new training situations, trailering, horse shows or any other situation in which your horse may get especially nervous.

Interested in more? Be sure to check out ConfidenceEQ, available at Valley Vet Supply and Jeffers Equine. Stay tuned for reviews on the EN team’s experiences with ConfidenceEQ, and be sure to get some for yourself!

These Six Event Horses Know How to Beat the Winter Blues

Jennie Brannigan and Nina Gardner's Twighlightslastgleam enjoy a hack in Florida. Photo via Jennie on Facebook. Jennie Brannigan and Nina Gardner's Twighlightslastgleam enjoy a hack in Florida. Photo via Jennie on Facebook.

While some eventers are enjoying the sunshine in sunny Florida or South Carolina, many others are still stuck farther north where the temperatures tend to be a bit more unforgiving. Fortunately, though, much of the country has experienced some sun and slightly less bone chilling temperatures, meaning the horses got to take it all in as well! We collected some photos from around the country of eventers enjoying the sun, and we can’t say we blame them!

Take Donner, for example, who plots his 2015 takeover while basking in the sun:

Photo via Lynn Symansky on Instagram.

Photo via Lynn Symansky on Instagram.

 

We can always count on Bailey Moran to keep us updated with her lovely young horses and her upcoming Advanced debut. Nothing is better than a good gallop on a pretty day!

Nick Hansen and Bailey Moran enjoy a gallop on a nice day.

Nick Hansen and Bailey Moran enjoy a gallop on a nice day.

We’re happy to have you stateside, Liz!

And last, but not least, Steph Rhodes-Bosch is enjoying the Florida sun with some gymnastic work:

8 Questions with Buck Davidson

Buck Davidson, Ballynoecastle RM and Kathleen Blauth-Murray. Photo by Sally Spickard. Buck Davidson, Ballynoecastle RM and Kathleen Blauth-Murray. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Buck Davidson needs little introduction, building a career for himself that includes a stable full of top horses and supportive owners. Who did Buck look up to growing up? What would he be doing if he wasn’t a professional event rider? He answered all of our burning questions, and we’d like to thank Buck for taking the time to chat on his drive home from Rocking Horse this week.

EN: What’s your strategy for balancing your time when you have 10 or 12 horses at an event?

Buck: I am super lucky to have that many horses and that I get to do for a job what most people do for a hobby. I’m very fortunate that people trust me to have their horses with me, and I’m flattered to be able to do it.

EN: If you think back to the long format days, what are the biggest differences you see in how you condition and train your horses?

Buck: It’s a much longer season now. Back in those days, like with Trans Am, I remember I’d do one event, go to Kentucky and then he’d get a month or two off and then he could do one event before Fair Hill. Now it’s definitely for the better, but the horses go out to more competitions and the season starts in January and doesn’t end until November.

You have to work in breaks for the horses, and I’m fortunate to have enough horses that when one needs a break I can just give him a break. They tell me what’s going on and if they need a break, and they get a break.

EN: What is one of your basic training philosophies that you try to instill in all of your students?

Buck: Honestly, the main thing that I try to do is encourage them to be good people. One of the things for me growing up is having coaches that taught me life lessons. It’s more about being a good person and working hard and that’s really what we try to do in my barn.

EN: Who was your riding idol growing up?

Buck: Andrew Nicholson. He still is. I grew up in probably a different situation than a lot of other kids that grew up with horses, my father was close with Andrew Nicholson and Mark Todd, and I didn’t know at the time they were superstar riders. They were just “Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Todd” to me as a kid.

I didn’t really look up to anyone as a kid as far as the riding part — I looked up to Wayne Gretzky. As I got older and started to study the sport more, certainly my dad was a big role model but Andrew was always a big one for me because of his work ethic and sheer determination.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM at WEG. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM at WEG. Photo by Jenni Autry.

EN: Growing up with your dad as a big influence, what is one of the biggest things you’ve learned?

Buck: He was better than everyone else because he worked harder than anyone else. I don’t think that I’m better than anyone else, but I try not to get out worked by anyone else. That’s one thing I can control, is how hard I work. I can’t control if there is someone who is more talented than me.

EN: What has been your biggest career highlight?

Buck: Probably winning a timber race when I was around 12 or 13 years old. I was in the lightweight race and I had so much lead that I couldn’t even carry the lead and the saddle. That was really something, though, it was something totally different and at that point in my life all I wanted to do was going faster. When I got to the finish line before anyone else, that was really awesome.

EN: If there was a horse, past or present, that you could take a spin on, who would that be?

Buck: I would love to take a spin on Secretariat. The way his stride was so massive and the way he did it so easily — that would be awesome to experience.

And there’s also a lot of horses in my past that I wish I could have ridden better. I thought I was doing ok, but if I knew then what I knew now, I have way more appreciation for those horses and what they put up with from me. I wish I could have a do over with Trans Am; I feel badly about what I didn’t know back then. The only thing I can do is try to do better on the other ones.

EN: If you were not a professional event rider, what would you be doing?

Buck: Oh gosh. I would definitely do something with sports. Probably anything in sports that anyone would have me at. I’m probably not built to play basketball, and too short to play hockey, but I maybe would have played baseball. I’m not exactly sure what I’d be doing — at this point it would probably be anything that someone would hire me for. I’m not sure I’m any good at this, but I’m not very good at anything else. I guess I would love to be  professional golfer, but I’m terrible at that too!

10 Questions with Lisa Barry

With the onset of the cold weather, it’s a great time to cozy up and get to know some of your favorite riders. We’ll be posting Q&As with riders throughout the upcoming months, giving you an inside look into their life as equine professionals and getting tidbits of advice that we can all put to good use. Do you have a rider you’d like us to profile? Email sally@eventingnation.com and we’ll get the chinchillas on it!

Lisa Barry and F.I.S. Prince Charming at Red Hills. Photo by Samantha Clark. Lisa Barry and F.I.S. Prince Charming at Red Hills. Photo by Samantha Clark.

Lisa Barry had a rocking 2014, ending with a solid completion of both the CCI2* and CCI3* at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International with horses she’s produced herself — no small effort, especially considering it was her first time competing at “mini Rolex.” Now Lisa’s busy planning for the new year, and she kindly took a few minutes to chat with EN. Let’s get to know Lisa a bit better!

EN: What were the highlights of your 2014 season?

Lisa: There’s a couple. Certainly being second at Bromont was huge for me and Peanut (F.I.S. Prince Charming). And jumping around Fair Hill, that was the first time I’ve ever competed there, so obviously having a pretty significant placing in my first CCI3* with that horse was amazing.

Tackling one of the toughest three-star cross country courses in the world was pretty rewarding. I was able to get two horses around on their first try, and they’re both really good horses, but you never know what will happen on a track like that.

EN: What events are on your bucket list?

Lisa: I certainly want to try to jump around Kentucky, which — fingers crossed — will happen this year! Other than that, I groomed for Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch at Badminton in 2010, and I’d love to run around there. I don’t think I’m quite brave enough to say I want to go to Burghley yet, but maybe someday.

EN: Who was your riding idol growing up?

Lisa: Karen O’Connor for sure. I’ve been riding with her for almost 22 years now. I started taking clinics with her when I was 8 years old and I just wanted to be her, so it was really cool that I got to be a part of her training process.

I begged and pleaded to come and be a working student for her, and now we’re quite good friends and colleagues. She’s still my mentor. I ride with others here and there, but Karen is kind of like a second mother to me.

EN: What’s one of the best things you’ve learned from Karen?

Lisa: You have to enjoy the journey and have some patience and understand that everything is a process is one thing she’s always told me. You can’t expect everything to go the way you want it, so you have to be happy with things day to day and have big goals and small goals. You just can’t enjoy where you get if you don’t enjoy every day.

EN: What has been your favorite cross country course to date?

Lisa: I would have to say probably either one of the older Red Hills courses or The Fork. Both are done so well and they’re different venues. Certainly Red Hills, with the course going in and out of the trees and the crowds gives you a feel for riding in front of people. I love The Fork; it’s just a great event. The jumps are always really well done and the atmosphere is great.

EN: Do you have any lucky charms or superstitions?

Lisa: I’m not a very superstitious person, and I don’t have too much of a routine. I’m one of those people that always checks my tack, like if I have a working student or something, I always double check.

I used to not like to ride in white britches on cross country because I was afraid if I fell off in the water you’d see through them, but now I do it all the time!

I’m one of those crazy people who finds four-leaf clovers; they pretty much smack me in the face. If I find them, I generally pick them and give them to someone else, because I figure if I’m lucky enough to have that weird eye, then they get to be a part of the luck. Unless someone gives it to me, I don’t keep them. When I walked Jersey Fresh (last year), I literally picked like 14 or 15 — it was stupid.

Lisa Barry and F.I.S. Prince Charming at Richland Park. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

Lisa Barry and F.I.S. Prince Charming at Richland Park. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

EN: What would you say is your biggest strength/weakness as a rider?

Lisa: My weakness has always been emotions. I’m a very emotional person, so trying to keep my emotions out of my riding has been a lifelong task. I’ve always wanted to be really good at what I do, and I struggle with how badly I wanted it when something goes wrong and keeping my tears in check.

It’s a tough thing because I’m sort of known around our little circle as the one that cries. It’s never been like I’m not getting what I want; it’s just that I’m so passionate about what I do. It’s taken a lot of work with Karen and David to learn to take a breath and get my thoughts together. I’m certainly much, much better, but that’s been a weakness my whole life in lots of areas. I cry over commercials sometimes!

As far as strengths go, for one I was a very serious gymnast as a kid for 14 or 15 years, which I feel has given me a pretty serious advantage, in my own head, for my balance and my security up there.

I feel like I can deal with a lot because of what I did as a gymnast, and it’s definitely come from being in Karen’s program for so long as well. I feel like I can stay in the middle of the horse pretty well. I tend to not come off over silly things because I was trained so young to have a good center of balance.

EN: Do you remember your first event?

Lisa: No! I literally have been competing since I was 3 and eventing since age 6, and like all event people, I’ve certainly hit my head a few times! I do remember my first walk/trot class on a teeny tiny pony named David as a 3-year-old, and I got the blue ribbon, but I was upset because I wanted my ribbon to be pink.

EN: What are you doing when you aren’t riding?

Lisa: I like to relax and hang out with friends; wine at night is always a nice treat. I actually went to school for photography for awhile, so if I have a spare few moments when I’m not wanting to just do nothing, I’ll grab my camera and go exploring.

I love the abstract stuff, so I’ll lose myself in the woods somewhere. Once I was at home in Virginia, and it was one of those days where I didn’t have anything to do, so I grabbed my camera and was driving down the street and saw some pretty fall leaves in the creek. I parked on the side of the road and walked to start shooting, and I get these frantic calls from my friends because they’d seen my car on the side of the road and couldn’t find me!

I would love to be able to shoot more, but luckily I’m very busy with my horses.

EN: If you could take six months off without worrying about keeping your business going, who would you go learn from?

Lisa: There are so many people, but I would have to say probably Mary King. I’ve been around when she’s given some talks, like at the USEA meeting a couple years ago, and she’s “been there done that.”

She seems very down to earth, and I think it would be cool to see how someone with such amazing experience runs their program like that with horses getting a huge break. Realistically, here (in the U.S.) we hardly have a break, so I’d be interested to see if there’s anything different with how they run their program. It would be cool to learn that side of it and pick her brain about that kind of thing and get her opinions on the things I’ve learned.

EN: What horse would you take a spin on, past or present?

Lisa: Biko, without a doubt. I’d been around that horse for so long, and I remember watching him and Karen come through the sunken road at Rolex, and for an athlete like that to be so big and powerful with teeny tiny Karen up there, it’s just amazing — for such a large being to be so agile and completely in tune with what she wanted. I’m not a big person either, but to have that horse take me around would be amazing.

Lisa Barry and F.I.S. Prince Charming. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lisa Barry and F.I.S. Prince Charming. Photo by Jenni Autry.

EN: What inspired you to become an eventer professionally?

Lisa: I’ve ridden my whole life, and I had to quit gymnastics because my body wouldn’t allow me to do it anymore. I had been eventing, so I just continued to do that. When I moved to Karen’s, it became very clear to me how special the sport is and how incredible the people and horses are.

I don’t know that there was a specific moment where I knew this was what I wanted to do, but I think as riders, we all go through highs and lows, and things that basically can make or break you.

I’ve certainly been through a lot of difficult horses; I’ve trained my own horses and faced some very serious medical issues with some of them. So we go through these big things, and the ups keep you in it and the downs make you question it.

When you come out on the other side of a down, you’re a better person for it. If it’s really in your soul, it keeps you going. It’s kind of like when you get taught as a kid that when you fall off you get back on.

If you’re really meant to do this, and it’s really in your heart, when you get knocked down you get back up. I’ve had very low moment,s and every time I feel like I can get back up and keep going and figure it out.

EN: What are your goals for 2015?

Lisa: For my two-star horse that ran around at Fair Hill (Rosie’s Little Miss Liberty), I’d love for her to come out and do a few Intermediates and a CIC and then try and do an Advanced HT.

I’ve got some really lovely young horses, so I’ll be staying in the tack as much as possible and getting them to progress in their careers. I don’t have a big group of upper level horses or any owners, but I do have some young horses that I’d love to see progress.

I’ve got a plan for Kentucky with Peanut and hopefully an Advanced with the two-star horse, and then we’ll just go from there. Eventually I’d like to get the two-star horse to get a trip to Europe or get on a list; we’re always trying to get on a list, but I try to be realistic. We’re still working on the dressage, so hopefully I can sort that out and get more on radar.

Plan a Clinic Like a Pro

A quiet introduction to the water complex at a recent Francis Whittington clinic. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld A quiet introduction to the water complex at a recent Francis Whittington clinic. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld

Clinics from top professionals are a great way to expand your riding education and take in some feedback from someone who has spent time at the top of the sport. Such opportunities are a great supplement to your everyday training, and you can continue to build your own theories and practices based on what you work on in a clinic.

Organizing a clinic is never an easy task, however, and it requires keen attention to detail and a lot of time to ensure your clinic goes off without a hitch. One very important part of planning a clinic is to involve the selected rider who will be teaching. To that end, we spoke with a few riders who frequently travel for clinics to get their advice on planning (and participating in!) a clinic.

Dom and some attentive clinic riders. Photo courtesy of Susan Horner.

Dom and some attentive clinic riders. Photo courtesy of Susan Horner.

Dom Schramm

In my opinion, a successful clinic is one where everybody feels as though they come away with information that is helpful for them and/or their horse at a personal level. Obviously, there are challenges in juggling time constraints and group sizes, etc., however a good clinic organizer will accurately create groups that are based on a combined experience level (horse and rider) rather than just how high the rider may have competed.

I believe the students that get the most from my clinics are the ones that come with a happy disposition and a receptive mindset. I don’t like my lessons to feel like a dictatorship where everyone is terrified to make a mistake, but at the same time I expect students to handle themselves the same way I would when I am taking a lesson.

When you go to the training sessions and watch the best U.S. riders taking lessons with David, you don’t ever hear them responding to him with a ‘What?!’ or a nasally ‘Huh??’

I enjoy having a variety of horses and am not mad when a horse might act up because sometimes when a horse is green or disobedient, it is actually an excellent opportunity for everybody present to learn how to deal with them when they aren’t being perfect. That’s more realistic!

Last but not least, my Mum always told me when I was a kid that ‘Sometimes, the only thing you will learn in a lesson is what not to do — but you still learned something!’

The Chinch, Hawley and Taylor at Dragonfire Farm. Photo by Erin Critz

The Chinch, Hawley and Taylor at Dragonfire Farm. Photo by Erin Critz

Hawley Bennett-Awad

Having organized quite a few clinics myself, I think it’s really important to say thank you to the person who organized it and who hosted it. It’s a lot of work!

I love having groups of 4-5 horses. I feel more than that gives the horses too much time to cool down, and the riders too much time to lose focus.

Come with enthusiasm! They are long but great days. I absolutely love teaching, so I really enjoy doing clinics and meeting new people. I have found that it’s best for me not to have a lunch break when I am teaching — I like to keep my momentum.

I love clinics because I think you can learn just as much by watching as you can by riding.

Bailey, Lainey and Sky. Photo via Laine on Instagram.

Bailey, Lainey and Sky. Photo via Laine on Instagram.

Laine Ashker

I try to make myself readily available to the organizer, because the better the clinic is organized, the smoother it will run. Organizing clinics is a very overwhelming task; my mom used to do it all the time, and it’s not easy. It has to be a symbiotic relationship between the rider and the organizer.

Building a relationship with the organizer is important, as some riders like to have clinics run a certain way. Some like a lunch break, others don’t. These little nuances are helpful to know and come from having a good relationship.

As far as participants are concerned, just keep in mind that looking professional in your turn out is important. When I was younger I didn’t have any polish, and someone told me that I would be treated as professionally as I looked. I like to think I treat everyone the same, but coming with a belt, your hair in a hairnet, your horse’s mane pulled, etc. really helps make a good impression.

For a first timer, always be honest with yourself on what level you should be riding at in the clinic. Especially at the beginning of the year, you’ll see a lot of people coming to lesson at a level lower than what they ended the year on. But always be honest — try to ride a level lower or at the level you’re at currently; don’t try to enter the highest level because you schooled that height once.

It’s always easy for me to make things a bit more difficult if someone is doing really well, but it’s hard to take away and back up when a person is in over their head.

Come with an open mind and know what you want to work on. I’m very helpful and will try to help you work through any issues you have, but I also stress to people not to just bounce from clinic to clinic. I feel that having a trainer to go back to and show what you learned is important; otherwise you’re just going from trainer to trainer and sometimes getting conflicting information.

Clinics are about having a fresh set of eyes and learning from others. You can take or leave what you learn at each clinic, and you have to remember that what works for one person may not work for everyone.