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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Saturday Links from Tipperary

How Sinead Halpin keeps the pony treats away on scoping day! Photo via Sinead on Facebook. How Sinead Halpin keeps the pony treats away on scoping day! Photo via Sinead on Facebook.

As we officially get into summer, I’ve become increasingly thankful for very early mornings. Here in the desert in California, it’s easy to be deceived in the morning hours when the air is still cool. Never fear, by 9 a.m. you’ll be glistening with sweat, and it’s pretty nasty. So, my alarm has been set at 4 a.m. for the past week and it’s been glorious to get the horses worked before the heat gets too bad. The things we do for our horses, right? I can’t think of many other reasons why I’d drag myself out of bed that early.

What other hot weather tips do you have? Share them in our newest series, #EventerSolutions!

Events This Weekend:

Groton House Farm H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Surefire H.T. [Website] [Ride Times]

Fox River Valley Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

Inavale Farm Spring H.T. [Website] [Ride Times/Live Scores]

Arrowhead H.T. [Website] [Ride Times/Live Scores]

Midsouth Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Ride Times/Live Scores]

Honey Run H.T. [Website] [Ride Times]

Abbe Ranch H.T. [Website] [Ride Times/Live Scores]

News & Notes:

Elysian Hills in Marshall, VA is hosting a cross country clinic with Sharon White! On both July 18 and July 26, riders of all levels will have the opportunity to sharpen their skills with Sharon, who is popular for her straightforward yet encouraging teaching approach. Email cbrickley@wildblue.net for more information and/or to enter!

Speaking of clinics, Justine Dutton is teaching a clinic on July 27 at RG Equine in West Grove, PA. An up and coming rider who was just selected to represent Great Britain at the Great Meadow Nations Cup leg next month, Justine also has a great approach to teaching and enjoys seeing her students improve. [Justine Dutton Clinic]

Are electrolytes as important as we think for our horses? Most tend to say yes. This great article from Horse & Hound breaks down the benefits of using electrolytes for our equine athletes. [Electrolytes and Horses]

Saturday Video:

Preview fence 23 on the cross country course at Strzegom with none other than Michael Jung!

Horseware #MakingAChampion with Sam Watson

Irish eventer Sam Watson has been in the game for a long time, with a long list of achievements. Representing Ireland on multiple occasions on the world stage, Sam knows a lot about what it takes to truly become a champion.

In the latest of Horseware’s mini-documentary series, Making A Champion, Sam goes behind the scenes to give us a glimpse of his horsemanship philosophy. We are loving this series and encourage you to check out all of the others, featuring the likes of Michael Jung and Scott Brash, by clicking here.

And here’s the 411 on a just-launched #MakingAChampion contest giveaway!

Go Eventing.

Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott during Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott during "Eddy's" retirement ceremony at Bromont. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Peter Barry’s longtime partner, Kilrodan Abbott, was officially retired in a ceremony on home turf at Bromont this past weekend. The 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding carried Peter around the world, representing Canada at WEG in 2014 as well as at the London Olympics in 2012.

My favorite memory of “Eddy” will always be watching him at Rolex a couple of years ago. That horse just made it look so easy. As if I could hop on and kick around a four-star course and he would hold my hand the whole way around. Always with a kind gleam in his eye and pricked ears hunting the next fence, Eddy will be a missed presence at the upper levels, but he has more than earned himself a long retirement.

Many props to Peter and all of Kilrodan Abbott’s connections on such a successful career that we will remember for years to come. Now go enjoy that grass, Eddy!

Events Opening This Week:

Stoneleigh-Burnham Summer H.T (MA, A-1) Horse Park of New Jersey Horse Trials II (NJ, A-2) Hunt Club Farms H.T. (VA, A-2) Applewood Farm YEH/FEH & Mini Event (NJ, A-2) USPC National Championship (NC, A-11)

Events Closing Today:

South Farm H.T. (OH, A-8) Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (GA, A-3) Horse Park of New Jersey H.T. I (NJ, A-2) Twin Rivers Derby and YEH/FEH (CA, A-6)

News & Notes:

A huge congrats goes out to Mary Davis, winner of the KER ClockIt Fitness Challenge! Thanks to submitting her KER ClockIt Sport session for the contest, Mary won a $100 gift card to shop.kerx.com, an EcoGold Secure XC Saddle Pad, a lesson with Buck Davidson, and a feature story on EN. Stay tuned for Mary’s story! Many thanks to KER for partnering with EN on this contest. [KER ClockIt Sport]

We’re giving you a chance to win a brand new Tipperary Sportage 8500 helmet! All you have to do is share your summer selfies with us to be entered. Put on a Tipperary vest and/or helmet and snap a selfie with your horse. Post it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with with the hashtag #ENsummerselfie, or email your photo to encontest@gmail.com. You’ll receive one entry for wearing a Tipperary helmet or vest and double entries if you wear both. [Tipperary Sportage 8500 Contest]

Want to improve your show jumping? We all do, right? Thankfully, the USEA has a great series from David O’Connor with advice for better show jumping. Dubbed “O’Connorisms”, this series is fun and informative and based on David’s ICP Workshop. [David O’Connorisms for Better Show Jumping]

Weekly Business Tip from Mythic Landing EnterprisesWhile it may seem obvious, make sure that your contact information is EASY to find on your website. Do not make people work to find out how to contact you. It is best to make sure that your contact information is on the sidebar or footer of every page.

Tuesday Video:

Monday News & Notes from SmartPak

Cpl. Fitzpatrick and Cpt. Cruz cheer on Chloe Smyth as she tackles Copper Meadows all the way from Bahrain! Photo courtesy of Chloe Smyth. Cpl. Fitzpatrick and Cpt. Cruz cheer on Chloe Smyth as she tackles Copper Meadows all the way from Bahrain! Photo courtesy of Chloe Smyth.

I got to experience my first West Coast event this weekend as nearly 200 competitors gathered in Ramona, California for Copper Meadows Horse Trials. With divisions ranging from Intro to CIC3*, it was a busy weekend with plenty of action to see — including a bomb competitor’s party!

Even with all of the spectacular upper level action going on, one of my favorite moments of the weekend was a quiet moment spent back in the barns with Hawley Bennett’s newly minted Intermediate horse, High Duty, while I iced his legs. High Duty rested his head in my arms and took a nap, and it was a moment of reflection on how incredible these animals truly are. It is these moments I am most thankful for — the moments of peace in a troubled and difficult world.

Weekend Results:

Bromont CCI:  Final Scores,  EN’s Coverage

Bramham: Final Scores

Valinor Farm H.T. [Scores]

Larkin Hill H.T. [Scores]

Plantation Field June H.T. [Scores]

River Glen June H.T. [Scores]

Roebke’s Run CCI, CIC & H.T. [Scores]

Queeny Park H.T. [Scores]

Texas Rose Horse Park H.T. [Scores]

Copper Meadows H.T.  [Scores]

Aspen Farms H.T. [Scores]

Derbyshire Farms H.T. [Scores]

News & Notes:

The Cooley name is a popular one in the eventing world, and for good reason. Cooley Farm horses absolutely dominated the standings at Tattersalls last weekend, with horses with this breeding signature finished in the top three in every division. How’s that for consistency? [Cooley Farm]

Andreas Dibowski is coming to the States! Andreas will be teaching a clinic in Tryon, North Carolina at the Trakehner Convention later on this year. All levels are welcome, and registration is now open. [Andreas Dibowski Clinic]

How many of us have had some, er, entertaining comments from our dressage judges? Here is a whole list, we’re sure you can relate! [Dressage Judge Comments You Won’t Forget]

SmartPak Product of the Day: Here in California, it gets REALLY hot. Like, super hot. No humidity, granted, but you’re constantly trying to find innovative ways to keep yourself and your horses cool. At Copper Meadows this weekend, I was introduced to the Weatherbeeta Kool Coat. You’d never think to put a sheet on your horse when it’s hot, but trust me when I say that even in the heat we had this weekend, the Kool Coat did an excellent job of both shielding our horses from the sun and also keeping them clean! [Weatherbeeta Kool Coat Airstream]

Weekly Business Tip from Mythic Landing Enterprises:

Your website needs to be easy to navigate with clear menu bars. It is always better to have fewer, but better, pages, than to have too many pages that clutter your site and make it hard to navigate. And then make sure that your website is mobile compatible, which is quite easy to do with most web design programs these days.

Monday Video:

Check out some speedy cross country from Rachel McDonough and Irish Rhythm at Bromont this weekend!

Harrison Euthanized at Aspen Farms Horse Trials

Amy Evans and Harrison. Photo courtesy of Amy Evans. Amy Evans and Harrison. Photo courtesy of Amy Evans.
Amy Evans and Harrison. Photo courtesy of Amy Evans.

Amy Evans and Harrison. Photo courtesy of Amy Evans.

We are very sad to report tonight that Harrison, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned and ridden by Amy Evans, was euthanized at Aspen Farms Horse Trials in Washington after fracturing his right foreleg on cross country.

Amy retired Harrison on the Preliminary cross country course at fence 11, and he was transported for further evaluation. The decision was made to humanely euthanize the gelding.

Amy and Harrison partnered together for the first time in 2015, picking up several top 10 placings at the Training level. This weekend was their second run at Prelim, having finished ninth in their debut at Equestrians Institute H.T.

“He was a very special horse,” Amy told EN. “I have absolutely felt the love of the eventing community, especially in Area VII, during this time of grief. My coaches, my Vossenberg and Caber Farm family, and the Aspen Farm crew have been incredibly supportive.”

Please join us in sending condolences to Amy and all who knew and loved Harrison.

[Harrison Euthanized After Retiring on Cross Country at Aspen Farms H.T.]

Hawley Bennett-Awad Acquires Ride on Jollybo

Justine Dutton and Jollybo. Photo by Jenni Autry. Justine Dutton and Jollybo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Hawley Bennett-Awad has announced that she has acquired Jollybo (Jumbo – Polly Coldunnell, by Danzig Connection), a 12-year-old British Sport Horse mare formerly ridden by Justine Dutton and owned by Sport Ponies UK.

Jollybo has been campaigning at the Advanced and three-star level since 2015 with Justine, finishing in the top 20 in two CCI3* competitions, at Jersey Fresh and Galway Downs. She most recently finished third in the Intermediate at Virginia H.T. with Buck Davidson in the irons.

Justine made the decision to put Jollybo up for sale in order to help grow her business in Pennsylvania. “It was the best business decision for me,” Justine said. “It’s definitely been a mind-blowing past two and a half years with this horse, and I know I can look back and be proud that I produced her. I’m really looking forward to seeing Hawley and Jollybo’s success together — I think it’s a perfect pairing.”

Hawley had seen Jollybo at Galway Downs when Justine came to compete in the CCI3* and immediately recognized the talent the mare possessed.

“She’s definitely my type of horse,” she said. “I’ve never gone after an upper level horse or a syndication, so this has all been new for me. But I had some good friends step up to support me, and one thing led to another. The final push was when Buck (Davidson) called last week and told me to get on a plane to try Jollybo.”

After a whirlwind trip to Pennsylvania and back to try Jollybo, the deal was sealed and the mare was on her way to California. She’ll get started right away, running Preliminary at Copper Meadows this weekend and then Intermediate and the Advanced CT at the two Coconino events in July. From there, she’s aimed at the CCI3* at Rebecca Farm, where Coach Davidson will be there to provide advice.

“She is fit and ready to go. I’ll certainly be nervous as I haven’t jumped a big course in awhile,” Hawley said. “I plan to keep an open relationship with Justine, as she has done a phenomenal job of producing this horse and it’s obviously worked. I think keeping in touch with Justine is important in the success of the mare.”

Justine Dutton and Jollybo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Justine Dutton and Jollybo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

If the stars align, Hawley could potentially have three horses qualified for the World Equestrian Games in 2018: Jollybo, Carolyn Hoffos’ Seychelles and her and husband Gamal’s High Duty — a fact that she’s still pinching herself for.

“To be competitive at the upper levels, you really have to have multiple horses,” she said. “I can’t thank Carolyn Hoffos enough for trusting me with her fancy mare, and now with Jollybo it’s going to be really exciting to be back at that level.”

Hawley is currently seeking support for syndication as she once again positions herself to represent Canada on the world stage.

“I have big plans for Jollybo this fall,” Hawley said. “Having shares in what I feel is going to be a team horse for Canada will be a great experience. I think she will be a great horse for our country.”

“It’s really cool to be getting back to the world stage and have my eyes set on (the 2018 World Equestrian Games), especially since it’s in my home country. I have time to really get a bond going, and I just want to do right by Jollybo and make Justine proud.”

For more information on available shares for The Jollybo Syndicate, please contact Hawley via email.

Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

Meghan O'Donoghue's Bromont ride, Palm Crescent, settles in overlooking the sandbox with groom Margo Goldfarb. Photo via Meghan on Instagram. Meghan O'Donoghue's Bromont ride, Palm Crescent, settles in overlooking the sandbox with groom Margo Goldfarb. Photo via Meghan on Instagram.

It’s Bromont week! All eventing eyes will turn to our friends in the North this weekend as we’re set for some real Canadian action. Bromont is always a big test for both horse and rider, and with this being the setting for the World Equestrian Games in 2018, we’re sure to see some of these pairs vying for a spot to represent their country before we know it. What a perfect time to start practicing! Stay tuned for much more from Bromont as Leslie Threlkeld brings us the latest from on the ground.

Events Opening This Week:

Fitch’s Corner H.T. (NY, A-1) Event at Rebecca Farm (MT, A-7) Silverwood Farm Summer H.T. (WI, A-4) Full Moon Farms H.T. (MD, A-2)

Events Closing Today:

Fox River Valley Pony Club Horse Trials (IL, A-4) Inavale Farm HT (OR, A-7) Abbe Ranch H.T. (CO, A-9) Groton House Farm H.T. (MA, A-1) Arrowhead H.T. (MT, A-7) Honey Run H.T. (MI, A-8) Midsouth Pony Club H.T. (KY, A-8) Surefire H.T. (VA, A-2) Shepherd Ranch SYVPC H.T. I (CA, A-6)

News & Notes:

Thank you to Katherine Scovil for bidding $5,500 to win a County saddle of her choice in support of the college fund for Millie Humphreys. The eventing community continues to rally behind 6-month-old Millie following her mother’s death at Jersey Fresh. The winning bid combined with County’s own donation will add an additional $10,495 to the fund, which has already raised more than $80,000 in total. Please consider donating at this link.

Have you lost some of your “MOJO”? Never fear, this week’s Fab Freebie is just for you! We’re teaming up with MOJO Future Tech to give away the ever popular wristbands that work wonders for balance, pain management, and much more using hologram technology. Don’t worry, we’ve tried these wristbands ourselves and swear by them. Don’t forget to enter! [Fab Freebie: MOJO]

Registration is now open for the Sandy River Equestrian Center Eventing Camp! Located in Axton, Virginia, SREC hosts a multitude of clinics and camps throughout the year featuring lessons, grooming tips, horsemanship skill honing, and much more. Don’t miss out! [SREC Summer Camp]

The Pennsylvania SPCA is seeking your help to support its Funding Our Fillies rescue program. Phase One of this project has been selected as one of only 15 projects eligible for the ASPCA Equine Facilities Matching Grant. This state of the art facility will serve to assist horses coming in from rescue and is a five phase plan. The fundraising goal for Funding Our Fillies is $10,000, which can be matched by the ASPCA for a total of $20,000 to break ground on this new facility. [Funding Our Fillies]

A huge congrats goes out to Mary Davis, winner of the KER ClockIt Fitness Challenge! Thanks to submitting her KER ClockIt Sport session for the contest, Mary won a $100 gift card to shop.kerx.com, an EcoGold Secure XC Saddle Pad, a lesson with Buck Davidson, and a feature story on EN. Stay tuned for Mary’s story! Many thanks to KER for partnering with EN on this contest. [KER ClockIt Sport]

Tuesday Video:

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: World’s Cutest Helmet Cam

This is definitely one of the most adorable videos we’ve ever seen, and we just had to share it with you. Major Tom, a Morgan gelding owned by Annie Arvizu, cantered gleefully around the Beginner Novice course at Chattahoochee Hills earlier this month with Emma-Claire Sak in the irons.

This was Emma-Claire’s first USEA recognized event, and they finished in 10th place in their Beginner Novice Rider division. We definitely can relate to Emma-Claire’s reminders to get in her cantering position and vocal encouragement that the course was well within their reach. Kick on!

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Not sure which horse supplement best meets your horse’s needs? We are here to help.  Contact us at 859-873-2974 or visit our website at KPPusa.com.

Interested in e-facts about equine nutrition and horse health information?  Click here to sign up for KPP’s nutritional minute:http://eepurl.com/cMPw.

Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: Shetland Steeplechase at Devon

Devon Horse Show is one of the most iconic events on the hunter/jumper calendar each spring, and naturally the Shetland Pony Steeplechase is one of the big highlights for entertainment purposes.

Thanks to the USEF Network we can watch the action that unfolded last night. Can you handle the cuteness?

Where In the World is Rob Burk? USEA CEO Volunteers at Virginia HT

Volunteers are the backbone of the sport of eventing. Working long hours on their own time, these generous people are those who keep our events running, even at the highest levels. From the jump judges, to the ring crew, to those picking up the show jumping ring on the last day when everyone has gone home, the volunteer is truly the unsung hero of the sport.

Most, if not all, of us have spent time volunteering at events, and upper level riders and members of the USEA are not exempt from this. Just this weekend, we spotted USEA CEO Rob Burk rolling up his sleeves to help out as a volunteer at Virginia Horse Trials, along with several other riders and their family members.

We’ve spotted Rob out and about at several events, including a cameo at our Insanity In the Middle Tailgate at Rolex. In his words, he was taking some time off from his duties as a vital part of “the little horse show” running that weekend:

It’s like a venerable game of “Where In the World – Rob Burk Edition”, spotting Mr. Burk out and about. Here are several sightings we found over the weekend:

Even while working hard, he still found time to snap a few selfies. Perhaps a selfie stick is in order next time, Rob?

Screenshot_6

But when it came to crunch time, Rob was all about the job at hand:

Screenshot_7

We even found him as a part of the jump judging crew!

Leslie Threlkeld had the right words when she said that this is definitely one way of leading by example. With that in mind, we tip our hats to you, Rob, and to all of the other hundreds of volunteers who take time out of their busy schedules to help keep our sport running.

Don’t forget, if you’re an Area II competitor, there is an exciting new volunteer incentive program that has just launched! We hope to see more of these programs cropping up throughout the country. Even if you only have a spare hour in between rides at your next event, stop by and see how you can help. Eventing is nothing if not one big community, where everyone pitches in a helping hand.

Go Eventing.

West Coast Wonders: Delaney Vaden and RedRox Jazzman

Welcome to EN's brand new series, West Coast Wonders! We'll be spotlighting horses and riders who are making a splash on the West Coast, and we're starting things off with a bang. Hot off a win in the Preliminary Challenge at Woodside this weekend, Delaney Vaden and RedRox Jazzman are aiming their sights high. Do you have a horse and/or rider that you'd like to see on West Coast Wonders? Tip me at sally@eventingnation.com.

Delaney Vaden and RedRox Jazzman. Photo courtesy of Sherry Stewart. Delaney Vaden and RedRox Jazzman. Photo courtesy of Sherry Stewart.

The words “Clydesdale” and “eventing” don’t necessarily seem to go in the same sentence. Then you look at the likes of Colleen Rutledge’s Covert Rights and Ben Hobday’s Mulrys Error and think twice. It’s time to add another name to that list: RedRox Jazzman.

“Jazz” is 50% Thoroughbred, 25% Quarter Horse and 25% Clydesdale, and he wasn’t exactly a horse that had stardom written all over him. For 14-year-old Delaney Vaden, Jazz became a one in a million horse who has brought her up the levels and most recently winning her the Preliminary Challenge Rider prize at Woodside.

Delaney began eventing at the age of 10, starting on an arena sour Morgan pony (who hasn’t started on a naughty pony?) who highly disliked cross country and taught Delaney the meaning of sticky britches. “She definitely taught me how to lose,” Delaney said with a laugh. “She had no interest in going higher than Intro or maybe Beginner Novice, and I think we finished maybe two cross country courses in our years together.”

Delaney began casually seeking her next partner in crime, and RedRox Jazzman was the guy tapped for the job. “I honestly wasn’t really looking at the time, and he wasn’t super fancy or expensive. It was just a good match for me,” she recalled.

Jazz was rather green at the time Delaney began riding him, having completed just a few events. “He’s taken me from Novice to Prelim in the last three and a half years, and it’s been a bit of the blind leading the blind but he’s got such a mind, he’s so smart and is truly a one in a million type of horse.”

Delaney and Jazz made their eventing debut together in 2013 at Fresno, where they finished fifth in their Novice division. From there, it was no turning back as the pair moved through the levels, eventually stepping up to Prelim in 2015, also at Fresno. It was at this event that Delaney first truly felt that she had a serious potential talent on her hands.

Delaney Vaden and RedRox Jazzman on their way to winning the Prelim Rider Challenge at Woodside. Photo courtesy of Sherry Stewart.

Delaney Vaden and RedRox Jazzman on their way to winning the Prelim Rider Challenge at Woodside. Photo courtesy of Sherry Stewart.

“I went out on cross country thinking, ‘Well, maybe we’ll jump around and have fun but we’ll see how it goes,’” Delaney said. “I was so nervous, but he really took me to every jump and almost made the time. In that moment, I had that feeling of ‘Yes, we can do this!’ and I didn’t feel a limit.”

And now, the pair finds themselves proud winners of the Preliminary Challenge Rider after a guns blazing weekend which took Delaney by surprise. “If someone would have told me last year that we’d win the Prelim Challenge, I would have laughed,” she said. “Our flatwork has really been coming along, but honestly our school the day before our test was one of the best we’ve had. He went into the ring a bit more tense than usual because of the atmosphere and so I was a bit surprised that we scored so well. I was happy that we were able to work the tension into forward work and not tense, quick steps.”

Cross country was a formidable challenge for Delaney, but coaches Bea and Derek Di Grazia (she also works with Danielle Casalatt and Brian Sabo) helped her make sense of the questions asked. “I felt the course asked you to really ride forward, which worked well for us,” she said. “And I think that style of cross country helped us in the show jumping because it was a good reminder to keep riding forward.”

Despite a large amount of atmosphere — more than most of the Prelim Challenge horses had ever seen — Delaney felt Jazz perk up in the show jumping ring and actually start to show off for the crowd. “I think the atmosphere helped!” she said. “He definitely noticed the crowd, and he is a bit spooky which makes him careful, but he felt like he was showing off.”

With one rail down in a division that yielded no double clear show jumping rounds, Delaney and Jazz’s final score of 35.3 was enough to keep them in first place and win them the first spot in the victory gallop.

“I was so in awe of the Prelim Challenge when I went to watch for the first time,” Delaney said. “It’s been a goal to compete here, and to win is just icing on the cake.

Delaney and Jazz take their victory lap. Photo courtesy of Sherry Stewart.

Delaney and Jazz take their victory lap. Photo courtesy of Sherry Stewart.

Competing at the upper levels has been a goal of Delaney’s for a long time, and with the age limit of competing at Intermediate being 16, she is excited at the potential of getting as many Preliminary miles as she can this year. “It never hurt anyone to gain more experience,” she said. “For us, getting out on as many courses as we can and seeing everything will do nothing but good for us.”

Delaney’s ultimate goal for the immediate future is to make the Area VI Young Riders squad as well as the Eventing 18 list, and she’s currently waiting with bated breath to see the named short list. She’s completed all of her qualifications and her plans for the remainder of the 2016 season will depend on what happens with the Young Rider team.

“It’s been a big goal of mine to compete at Young Riders, so now it’s just about waiting for the list to come out,” she said.

We wish Delaney the best of luck with the rest of her season and eventing career, and stay tuned for more updates on the upcoming FEI National Junior and Young Rider Championships at Colorado Horse Park!

Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

Jumping into Narnia brb

A photo posted by @jumpingapple on

We’re loving this photo from Instagram user @jumpingapple. If jumping into Narnia were really a thing, I think we’d all try it at least once, if only to see if things are as whimsical and carefree as they seem in Narnia. Except, without packs of wolves and raging witches, you know. Either way, it’d be a pretty cool story.

Events Opening This Week:

Great Meadow International – FEI Nations Cup Eventing Series (VA, A-2) Event at Rebecca Farm (MT, A-7) Old Chatham H.T. (NY, A-1) Roebke’s Run H.T. (MN, A-4) 40th Annual Whidbey Island H.T. (WA, A-7) Round Top H.T. (CO, A-9) Coconino Summer I H.T. (AZ, A-10) Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (GA, A-3) The Maryland H.T. at Loch Moy Farm I (MD, A-2) Huntington Farm H.T. (VT, A-1)

Events Closing Today:

Derbyshire Farms H.T. (MI, A-8) Queeny Park H.T. (MO, A-4) River Glen June H.T. (TN, A-3) Texas Rose Horse Park Summer H.T. (TX, A-5) Copper Meadows H.T. (CA, A-6) Valinor Farm Horse Trials (MA, A-1) Plantation Field June Horse Trials (PA, A-2) The Middleburg H.T. (VA, A-2) Roebke’s Run CCI & CIC2/1 & H.T. (MN, A-4) Larkin Hill H.T. (NY, A-1) Roebke’s Run CCI & CIC2/1 & H.T. (MN, A-4) Aspen Farms H.T. (WA, A-7)

News & Notes:

Ryan Wood and County Saddlery have generously partnered to raise money for Millie Humphreys’ college fund. We’re hosting an auction, running through June 1, of a County Solution Monoflap (or, a County saddle of the winner’s choosing), with the proceeds, including the retail value of the saddle, going to Millie’s fund. Please help support a worthy cause. [County Saddle Auction]

Area IV event Queeny Park is seeking more entries for its June 9-10 event. The entry numbers are dramatically down, so event organizers are asking for your support in order to keep the only USEA recognized event in the St. Louis area running. The event closes today! [Queeny Park Closing Date Reminder]

The Colorado Horse Park will host a Cross Country Family Festival on June 4. This will run in conjunction with cross country day of the CIC2* and CCI2* running that weekend and will feature free admission as well as free parking. This will be a great way to introduce new people to the sport, so spread the word! Tailgating spaces are also available. [Cross Country Family Festival at CHP]

Waredaca has made some exciting changes for the upcoming events on the calendar. New course designer Jeff Kibbie will come aboard to freshen up the cross country course at the upper levels, and David O’Connor will continue to oversee and provide insight. Jumps are being refreshed for a new look, and (perhaps most importantly, to Chinch at least), the new Waredaca Brewing Company is now open for business! You had me at “brewing”.

Kentucky Equine Research and EN are teaming up to host the Great KER Fitness Challenge this spring! Download the free KER ClockIt Sport app for your phone and record your rides for a chance to win a $100 gift card to shop.kerx.com, an EcoGold Secure XC Saddle Pad, a lesson with your choice of Bruce Davidson, Liz Halliday-Sharp, or Dom or Jimmie Schramm; and a feature story about you and your horse on EN. Entries close May 31! [Contest Details]

Weekly Business Tip from Mythic Landing Enterprises:

If you decide that Search Engine Marketing will help build your business, you have two choices. You can either hire a professional or you can do the research and try to do it on your own.

Given the time commitment that proper SEM takes, my best guess is that you will want to find a professional to help you out. My only word of caution is to make sure that whatever company you go with not only understands your business model, but also understands that SEM is an ongoing process.

There are a lot of companies out there that charge a large amount of money to integrate SEM into your website, but SEM isn’t just a one-time thing. A few key words plugged into the coding of your website just won’t cut it, so don’t let some seemingly fancy-smancy marketing company convince you otherwise.

Instead, do your research and hire a SEM company that will commit to routine updates and give you a solid plan as to what they will accomplish each week.

Tuesday Video:

Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: Ingrid Klimke’s Wiesbaden Helmet Cam

Ingrid Klimke brought out one of her stalwart partners, the 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding Horseware Hale Bob, for his first CIC3* run of the season at Wiesbaden earlier this month, handily picking up a win on an impressive 27.3 dressage score.

Horseware Hale Bob has won a CIC2* this year and also finished fifth in the CCI3* at Blair Castle last fall. With much success and consistent results, Ingrid is making a strong case for the German squad as we look ahead to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero in just a few months’ time.

Ride along with Ingrid and Horseware Hale Bob on cross country thanks to technology from SAP TV!

Venturing Into the Uncomfortable: Working for Hawley Bennett-Awad

Photo courtesy of Lexy Galanos Photography. Photo courtesy of Lexy Galanos Photography.

It’s been said that only in being uncomfortable can you truly reach your full potential. I’ve always been pretty skilled at making myself uncomfortable — whether or not I mean to — so it seemed logical that I peruse working student and grooming positions idly throughout the years.

There were always a million reasons not to: shipping my horse is expensive, moving is expensive, working 6-7 days a week doesn’t allow much time for work, I don’t have enough money saved, and on and on.

But then a longtime role model sent me a message asking me to post an opening for a head groom on our working student opportunities page. I read the job description, and something inside me sparked.

Hawley Bennett-Awad has been someone I’ve looked up to for years. I followed her as she represented Canada on the international stage on multiple occasions and loved how she seemed to have a way with Thoroughbreds and “tough” horses. Everyone has their lifetime idols, and she remains one of mine.

The first time I met Hawley, she was competing in the Advanced division at the Nutrena American Eventing Championships in 2013. I had hesitantly sent her a Facebook message ahead of time asking for an interview, and she happily accepted and was my second EN interview ever. I was thrilled with how friendly the riders were in my first foray into equine journalism — Michael Pollard, Tamie Smith, Ellen Doughty-Hume, Hawley, you all helped me get my sea legs!

Last year, I organized two clinics to bring Hawley to Area IV, and her teaching style and enthusiasm was well received in both clinics. Each time she left, I wished I could spend more time training with her.

So when this job opportunity came up, I thought about it. I thought about how I could make things work, and I asked Hawley if I could talk to her about more details so I could figure out if it was a feasible option for me.

“Am I too old for this?” I asked Hawley on the phone. She laughed and said “Of course not!” While she may have been generous with that — a 30-year-old working student is, after all, not the most common scenario in the world — she still instilled confidence that perhaps this was the next move for me.

So I packed my bags, found a new home for my retired horse, and set about finding my other horse a ride West. I was bowled over by the enthusiasm of so many people who I’ve never even really met, eager to help me get to California. Before I knew it, my horses were safely on their way to their new homes and I was sitting in my car ready to head West.

It’s been a big adjustment, what with the time change and the early mornings, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Hawley runs a tight ship, but she’s right there with you, working to ensure her horses get the best of care and that her barn (Bill Dickenson’s picture-perfect Sweet Oaks Ranch) is spotless and well-organized. The early mornings, the late evenings after a show or cross country schooling — she’s always there beside you. She’s always ready with helpful hints on organization and care, and she’s gracious to those who work for her.

And even within just two lessons with her, I’ve already felt my confidence blooming. I came out here with withered confidence after not riding consistently for the last few weeks. I had only taken my horse cross country once before, and I was a nervous wreck for my first time out in California. But I needn’t have worried. Hawley pushes you to get your “big girl britches” on, but she won’t ever overface or intimidate you.

Before you know it, you’re accomplishing things you had forgotten you could do, or perhaps that you didn’t know you could do in the first place. All you know is that someone believes in you. Someone with a lot of clout and credibility behind that belief. When she tells you to jump, you close your leg (but be sure not to cluck!) and hang on tight. And if you keep your wits about you, you find yourself on the other side looking for the next challenge.

I’ll be checking in periodically with more scenes from behind the scenes at HBE, so stay tuned for more. In the meantime, many thanks to Hawley and Gamal for hosting myself and my friend Bri, who came along for the summer, before we move into our apartment, to James Alliston and Helen Bouscaren for helping me get my horse to California, to Hawley’s other working student, Sam, for patiently showing us the ropes, and to everyone else who has had a hand in making me truly, ecstatically uncomfortable.

‘Making a Champion’, Part 2: Michael Jung on IceVibe

In the latest installment of Horseware‘s ‘Making a Champion’ series, Grand Slam of Eventing winner Michael Jung talks about the importance of horse care when it comes to fitness.

“The most important thing are the horses,” Michael says. “We cannot have big success without a big partnership where the horse gives 100-120% for you.

Michael talks about his use of Horseware’s IceVibe boots to ensure his horses get the best treatment after working. Horseware is also giving you a chance to win a pair of IceVibes for yourself! Check out their Facebook page for more details.

Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

A rainbow shines over Longview Horse Park in Kansas City, Mo. Photo via the Mill Creek Pony Club on Facebook. A rainbow shines over Longview Horse Park in Kansas City, Mo. Photo via the Mill Creek Pony Club on Facebook.

The Kansas City eventing community hosted eventers from all over Area IV and beyond this past weekend for the annual spring event, the Mill Creek Pony Club Horse Trials. There’s always something special about your hometown event, and even having lived in Kansas City for just a short time I’ve come to love the local events as my own. The event boasted nearly 200 entries this year, and there was some great riding on display throughout the weekend. I’m moving away from Area IV soon, but I will always consider this special place to be home. Area IV strong!

Events Opening This Week:

Horse Park of New Jersey H.T. I (NJ, A-2) Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (GA, A-3) Twin Rivers Derby and YEH/FEH (CA, A-6) South Farm H.T. (OH, A-8), Western Underground, Inc Coconino Summer HT & T/N3D Event (AZ, A-10)

Events Closing Today:

Colorado Horse Park CCI**/*, CIC** and Horse Trails (CO, A-9), Poplar Place Farm June H.T. (GA, A-3) GMHA June HorseTrials (VT, A-1) Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club Spring Horse Trials (NY, A-1) IEA Horse Trials, Classic Training & Novice 3-Day Event (IN, A-8) Camelot Equestrian Horse Park Horse Trials (CA, A-6) Waredaca H.T. (MD, A-2), Carriage House Farm Combined Test (MN, A-4)

News & Notes:

Kentucky Equine Research and EN are teaming up to host the Great KER Fitness Challenge this spring! Download the free KER ClockIt Sport app for your phone and record your rides for a chance to win a $100 gift card to shop.kerx.com, an EcoGold Secure XC Saddle Pad, a lesson with your choice of Bruce Davidson, Liz Halliday-Sharp, or Dom or Jimmie Schramm; and a feature story about you and your horse on EN. Entries close May 31! [Contest Details]

Efforts to support Philippa Humphreys’ daughter, Millie’s, college fund continue to multiply. The latest is this beautiful button memorializing Philippa, the proceeds from which will be donated to Millie’s college fund. [Dream Big Darling Button]

Is free feeding hay beneficial for your horse? Some may argue against it if they own horses who simply don’t seem to know when to stop. This commentary on the subject provides some great insight over on The Horse. [Free Feeding Hay]

Weekly Business Tip from Mythic Landing Enterprises:

If you’re like most horse people, your barn is more organized than your house. Your tack room probably contains neat rows of bridles, saddles and girths, but your office probably contains messy piles of papers. If you’re going to organize one aspect of your office, you should create an “Important Stuff” binder for your business.

You should include the following items in your binder: original letter from the IRS assigning your FEIN number; copy of your W-9; operating agreement and/or mission statement; EFTPS letter with enrollment; original bank documents; employee contracts and tax documents; blank copy of your own client contract and/or release forms; and insurance documents.

Tuesday Video:

EN’s Got Talent: Colleen Orta and Queen Bee

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 sally@eventingnation.com.

Colleen Orta and Queen Bea at Surefire. Photo by Brant Gamma Photography. Colleen Orta and Queen Bea at Surefire. Photo by Brant Gamma Photography.

Maintaining several jobs, a family, a farm of your own, and an eventing career is not a task for the faint of heart. When Colleen Orta made the decision to move from the Midwest to the East coast to pursue her ambitions of competing at the upper levels, she knew the full plate she would be taking on. Now that she has a horse on which she’s pinned her dreams of someday reaching that top level, all of her hard work is paying off as she works toward a true amateur’s dream.

Colleen first began horse shopping when she realized her former Preliminary mare, Aleta NSF, didn’t want to continue to move up the levels. Luckily, Colleen was able to find a perfect home with a young rider for Aleta and began shopping in earnest for a horse that checked all the boxes.

“I knew I wouldn’t be able to buy something already made, so I had to start from scratch,” Colleen said. She works with Kelli Temple in Virginia, and Colleen was fortunate enough to benefit from a professional relationship between Kelli and Philipp Kolossa. Philipp is well known for selecting talented young horses and has been the source of many top horses competing both here in the U.S. as well as in Europe.

Philipp sent Kelli and Colleen a video of a striking chestnut mare, and for Colleen it was love at first sight. “I had looked at flying over to try horses, but there is a financial factor with that as well,” she said. “I trust Kelli and Phillip immensely, so when we saw the video we went ahead with the process of vetting and importing. She had a really awesome vetting and arrived in the U.S. just after Christmas three years ago.”

A Holsteiner mare by Casall out of Her Highness, Queen Bee was four when she arrived in the States, and Colleen set to work forming a relationship with her new ride. “She’d done a bit of show jumping, but no eventing except for some schooling,” she said. “When I saw the video, she had this trot that I’ve never seen before, and her jump was equally impressive. I felt comfortable buying her sight unseen knowing that she would make a solid resale project, worst case.”

She needn’t have worried about forming a bond, though, as Colleen and Queen Bee clicked right away. “She’s an extremely nice mare,” she explained. “She is not ‘mareish’ at all and she’s pretty much the same every day. She’s definitely what Kelli would call a ‘blood horse’ — she has a lot of power and is very scopey. So it’s been a bit of an adjustment to have so much horse, but the biggest thing we’ve dealt with is a silly spook here and there.”

The flatwork has been a pleasure for Colleen to hone, as Queen Bee exudes winning talent, rarely scoring out of the 20s at horse trials. Colleen and Queen Bee began their competition career in 2014 at Beginner Novice and have edged their way up to Training level. Kelli Temple has also taken the reins on the mare, working together with Colleen to produce a quality horse.

“Kelli was a big reason why I moved East,” Colleen said. “I’d never met her, but I’d watched her and observed and really liked her style. I’m lucky to work with one of the best people in the industry when it comes to producing horses. My goal is to emulate her; I want to be able to produce the same results she does.”

Colleen is eyeing a Prelim move up for Queen Bee this year and firmly believes that she has a talented horse to go even further. “I think she’s more naturally gifted than the other horses I’ve had,” she said. “(Eventing) is what she was bred for. When you’re on her, you have no question that she’s a powerhouse. She’s got the right movement and bravery — ingredients to be an upper level horse.”

Colleen is taking her time with the mare, who turns seven this year, knowing that she has a big goal in mind. It’s always difficult with the talented ones to want to proceed up the levels quickly, but she wants to ensure she is properly producing her mare. At the same time, Colleen works three jobs as a veterinarian and independent sales consultant to support her riding dreams.

“I think I’m what a lot of amateurs are,” she said. “An event rider who fits riding in around the rest of their life. It definitely makes you appreciate what you have when you’re working hard to support it. I work overnights at the clinic so that I can have the days to ride, and some days I definitely don’t feel like dragging my butt out to the barn.”

“I also have one of the best horse husbands out there,” she continued. “As horse husbands go, I definitely got lucky to have a supportive one. I’ve only had one horse at a time and have had to sell previous horses to move on, but it’s so rewarding to be putting the work into this horse and seeing the results.”

 

#Memories4Millie: Remembering Philippa Humphreys

Philippa Humphreys and Rich N Famous at Millbrook. Photo by Jenni Autry. Philippa Humphreys and Rich N Famous at Millbrook. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Several people who were close to Philippa Humphreys are asking the community to share their memories of Philly using the hashtag #Memories4Millie. They will gather these memories and put them into a book that will be presented to her husband, Pete, and 6-month-old daughter Millie.

The idea is that this book will forever be a memorial to a young woman who accomplished so much within her life, and a way for Millie to learn about how special her mother was. Several equestrians have shared their memories on social media. Whether or not you knew Philippa well, your memories will be invaluable in the making of this book.

You can also send letters to Liz Millikin at P.O. Box 282, Millwood, VA 22646. A college fund has also been set up for Millie in her mother’s honor, which you can find here.

Many thanks to Liz Millikin and Aletta Martin for spreading this idea. Aletta, who heads up the Illinois chapter of Canter, shared one of her favorite memories of Philippa with us:

“This weekend, the world lost a great event rider. But it lost something even greater — a new mother with a kind and generous soul. Everyone who knew her will have a story to share, and this is ours.

Jodi Ladner and I run Canter Illinois, a group that helps with retiring racehorses. Philippa was a lover of the OTTB and all that it could do. She scoured the Canter pages weekly looking for her next project. In fact, this is how I reconnected with her.

Many moons ago I was an event rider too. The opposite of Philippa, who was an English girl living in the U.S., I was an American living in the UK. She was a young girl, a teenager, with an intense interest in eventing. She was trained by my trainer Tuffy Tilley, and would ride along to events with us, always wanting to learn more.

Imagine my surprise when decades later I get a message saying, “Is that you on the Canter Illinois videos? I thought I recognized you!” This was the beginning of a very beautiful relationship that we at Canter would have with Philippa. There is one story that we want to share, because it shows who Philly really was.

Three years ago we pulled a Thoroughbred from a field in Illinois who was extremely thin, very lame and in overall bad shape. There was something about him underneath it all, and Philly saw it too. We sent him to a foster and Philly was prepared to take him once he was healthy again.

Things changed quickly and we were suddenly in an emergency situation. With the horse’s life at risk and few options we called Philly in Michigan, who was about an hour and a half away from where the horse was stabled. Without hesitation she jumped in her truck and drove to pick him up.

She arranged emergency care and when it was clear he needed more she rushed him to Michigan State, where sadly after a few days his eye could not be saved and was removed for his comfort and safety. Philly was right back there to pick him up and then proceeded to offer this horse 24 hour care as he needed it.

Do you know what she asked for in return? Nothing. Instead she sent us daily updates on his progress, often saying, “I just wish I had taken him in from the start.” She continued to stay involved with the horse as we found placement for him. Her friends at PHE also chipped in, both physically, emotionally and financially and for that we are forever grateful.

What I am most grateful for, however, is that this brought me back into her life so I could see what a delightful young woman she had become. I could not have been more thrilled for her when she became a mother because I knew she would give motherhood the same energy that she did the rest of her life.”

The EN team and the eventing community continue to offer their deepest condolences to the Humphreys family during this terrible time.

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

No rest for the weary! Boyd Martin rides three at Jersey Fresh this weekend after his whirlwind Rolex and Badminton weekends. Photo via EN on Instagram. No rest for the weary! Boyd Martin rides three at Jersey Fresh this weekend after his whirlwind Rolex and Badminton weekends. Photo via EN on Instagram.

There’s something to be said about the busy schedule of a professional equestrian. Whether you’re a rider, owner, trainer, coach, or any other form of support staff, there really is no rest for the weary in this world. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it is also motivation for the rest of us to keep reaching for those dreams, as far fetched as they may be.

We’re just a day away from the big day of cross country at Jersey Fresh, so stay tuned for much more!

Events This Weekend:

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

Plantation Field May H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

WindRidge Farm H.T. [Website] [Ride Times]

Mill Creek Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

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

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

Winona H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News & Notes:

Kentucky Equine Research and EN are teaming up to host the Great KER Fitness Challenge this spring! Download the free KER ClockIt Sport app for your phone and record your rides for a chance to win a $100 gift card to shop.kerx.com, an EcoGold Secure XC Saddle Pad, a lesson with your choice of Bruce Davidson, Liz Halliday-Sharp, or Dom or Jimmie Schramm; and a feature story about you and your horse on EN. Entries close May 31! [Contest Details]

EHV-1 has been confirmed in three horses in Erie County, New York. All three horses are mares on the same farm and are currently under close observation by medical staff. [EHV-1 Confirmed in New York]

What is La Biosthetique Sam like at home? Not easy, according to Michael Jung! Get the inside scoop in this post-Badminton interview with Horse & Country TV. [Michael Jung on Sam]

Fashion is something we all wish we could be more conscious of. Thankfully, our newest sister site, Jumper Nation, has the scoop on several stylish items we can add to our riding wardrobe. [10 Tees Every Horse Woman Needs]

Weekly Business Tip from Mythic Landing Enterprises:

Are you thinking about sponsorships, but don’t know where to start? Start by making a wish list with two columns. The first column is for companies with products that you already use and love. The second column is for companies with products that you might not use yet, but want to learn more about. Now start thinking about the best way to approach each company. Always stress what you can do for the company! Yes, you are hoping they will provide you with a product or money, but they are expecting something in return. Try to view all sponsorships as advertising in your head, because that is what the companies are expecting to get.

Friday Videos:

Don’t miss the newest episodes of the Sort of OK Show About Horses with Buck Davidson and Kyle Carter:

More Than Just a Rolex Ribbon for Katie Stimac

Photo used with permission from Brad Roberts Photography

Katie Stimac. Photo used with permission from Brad Roberts Photography.

Katie Stimac was 14 years old when she attended the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event for the first time. Having ridden dressage and western for most of her life, it was her first foray into the eventing world. She situated herself on the cross country course, ready to take in the action for the first time.

Katie had zeroed in on Laine Asher and Frodo Baggins as her pair to cheer on that year. “I’m not sure exactly what it was, but I just felt good about them,” Katie recalled. It was that year that Laine suffered the worst accident of her career, which landed her in the hospital fighting for her life.

“I was 14, ready for a perfect weekend, and the pair I picked to go to the top was eliminated in a terrible accident,” Katie said. “That was perhaps the first major thing that occurred in my life that showed me that life doesn’t always work out the way you think it should. It was a huge dose of reality, and that was something really critical to learn.”

Katie followed Laine’s journey to recovery, painful as it was. She found inspiration in Laine, and she didn’t know then how pivotal that inspiration would prove to be eight years later.

In September 2015, Katie, now 22, began to suffer from severe fatigue, headaches and blind spots. She visited an ophthalmologist, and blood work showed that her hemoglobin, white blood cell and platelet numbers were very abnormal.

“The doctors called my house after midnight, saying my counts were incredibly abnormal and that they were waiting for me in the University of Michigan emergency room,” Katie said. The diagnosis was Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a disorder of the blood as well as the bone marrow.

Katie began receiving chemotherapy immediately, and suffered many complications on her way to remission, including blood clots, blindness and a blood infection. She also underwent two episodes of fluid overload, which resulted in cardiomyopathy.

In January of this year, Katie underwent chemotherapy again in an effort to keep her in remission. She had been on the list for the Bone Marrow Registry, but her heart condition prevented her from receiving a transplant from an eligible donor.

Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch were one of only four pairs that jumped a double clear round. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch were one of only four pairs that jumped a double clear round. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Fighting the good fight

Last month, Katie was admitted to the hospital again for more chemotherapy and to prepare for a double cord stem cell transplant, which she received on April 27, the Wednesday of the first horse inspection at Rolex. Having attended Rolex several times since 2008, Katie was sad to miss the event this year and instead watched the competition online from her hospital room, especially to to cheer for Laine.

“I’ve been following from a distance, but she’s never been far from my mind. After her accident and her recovery, that good feeling I had about her continued to stick with me. I’ve been wanting so much to return to Kentucky to watch Rolex again and was hoping this year would find me there. September sent that dream (and many others) to a screeching halt, but when I knew I’d be at (Mott Children’s Hospital) for this year’s Rolex, the days crawled by until I was able to watch it online,” Katie said.

“I was in awe of Laine’s performance, and I continued to think about her motivation and drive to get better. I started to find connections between our experiences of having our lives tossed into unexpected chaos, and I thought that she should know just how deeply her journey has impacted my life.”

Katie sent Laine a message on Facebook, hoping to share just how inspirational her story had been through the difficult times she was experiencing. “She deserved to know how she has been one of the shining lights of encouragement and inspiration for me to plow through this ordeal with every intention of getting back into the saddle both literally and figuratively,” Katie said.

Laine received Katie’s message the day she returned home from Rolex and found herself speechless upon reading it. “I’m very rarely at a loss for words, but it took me a day to respond to Katie’s message because I didn’t even know what to say,” Laine said. “I had no idea that this could so deeply impact someone who is literally fighting for her life.”

While composing her reply to Katie, Laine glanced at the 19th place ribbon she earned at this year’s event with Anthony Patch. Every time she achieves a goal or receives a significant ribbon, Laine places it on the dashboard of her truck as a reminder of her big goals. “I always keep those ribbons on my dash as a reminder to fight the good fight, and I thought that Katie needed to have it,” she explained.

Laine packed up the ribbon and wrote on the back: “Fight the good fight. I hope this gives you extra motivation.”

When Katie received the ribbon, along with a special #LAE necklace designed by Swanky Saddle Designs, she couldn’t believe it. “When I removed the ribbon from the package and read the touching message Laine had written on the back, I just stared at my mom with a massive grin as the reality of what she had sent sunk in.”

The ribbon has become one of Katie’s most prized possessions and one that she will continue to use as that extra bit of inspiration. “I can definitely say that night was the first time in a long time that I fell asleep with a smile on my face. I was like a kid on Christmas, peaking occasionally at the wall to where we hung it, just to make sure it was actually there. It was surreal, absolutely surreal, and beyond any act of kindness I ever could have anticipated.”

Katie Stimac with Laine Ashker's Rolex ribbon. Photo via Katie on Instagram.

Katie Stimac with Laine Ashker’s Rolex ribbon. Photo via Katie on Instagram.

Fast friends

Laine and Katie continue to talk regularly. “I think about it and I think about how her story has been an inspiration to me,” Laine said. “I don’t know who’s healing who, to be honest.”

Katie continues to progress, although she still faces a long road ahead even with her bone marrow transplant. She is an active blogger, and you can follow her journey here. She’s still in happy shock that she’s made a friend in Laine, someone she has looked up to for such a long time.

“She keeps me entertained, and every time I hear from her I still reel from the reality that my role model has become a friend,” Katie said.

In Laine’s mind, the ribbon couldn’t have found a better home. “It was amazing to make that connection with Katie,” she said. “That ribbon did not need to be with me. It needed to be with her.”

Thursday News & Notes from Kentucky Equine Research

Super groom Shannon Kinsley showing off her wrangling chops at Jersey Fresh! Photo via Lauren Kieffer Eventing on Facebook. Super groom Shannon Kinsley showing off her wrangling chops at Jersey Fresh! Photo via Lauren Kieffer Eventing on Facebook.

It’s Jersey Fresh week! This is definitely one of my personal favorite weekends of the year, as I love the New Jersey Horse Park and the caliber of riders that gather to compete in the big two- and three-star divisions.

There is plenty of talent to see this weekend, and Jenni is our eyes on the ground (assisted by Chinch, naturally), so there will be plenty of East coast action coming your way over the next few days. Stay tuned!

Events This Weekend:

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

Plantation Field May H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

WindRidge Farm H.T. [Website] [Ride Times]

Mill Creek Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

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

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

Winona H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News & Notes:

Kentucky Equine Research and EN are teaming up to host the Great KER Fitness Challenge this spring! Download the free KER ClockIt Sport app for your phone and record your rides for a chance to win a $100 gift card to shop.kerx.com, an EcoGold Secure XC Saddle Pad, a lesson with your choice of Bruce Davidson, Liz Halliday-Sharp, or Dom or Jimmie Schramm; and a feature story about you and your horse on EN. Entries close May 31! [Contest Details]

What did Michael Jung look like as a kid? Well, not surprisingly, he looked good enough to catch the eye of the one and only George Morris. The Chronicle of the Horse did some digging and found this early photo of Michael riding and shared what George had to say. [George Morris Saw Brilliance in Young Jung]

Looking for some tips on improving your dressage scores? Look no further! If you’re in the New Jersey area, you can attend the Dressage Session II Training Program next Monday and Tuesday at Marilyn Payne’s facility. This is a required training program for “r” judges and will be hosted by Marilyn Payne and Gretchen Butts. Definitely a great auditing and learning opportunity. [Dressage Training II]

Weekly Business Tip from Mythic Landing Enterprises:

A good business plan, which should include your short-term and long-term goals plus your current budget and 2-3 year projections on income and expenses, will help keep you on track to reach your goals. If you are an impulse buyer (ahem, Tack of the Day addict??), having this document in writing could keep you out of trouble! You can even create a separate document that can be shared with your key staff members so that they know what you are working towards and help your business achieve these goals.

Thursday Video:

Get some helpful jumping tips from Stephen Bradley:

KER Product of the Week – Sport Horse Nutrition Feeds

Kentucky Equine Research (KER) formulates nutritionally balanced, state-of-the-art feeds for horses in all life stages, disciplines, and areas of the world, using the most up-to-date research findings. KER-formulated feeds are available through partner dealers and merchants. Ask your local feed manufacturer if they work with KER, or find a KER partner near you.

KER also produces its own line of feed in partnership with Hallway Feeds. Top-ranked U.S. Eventer Buck Davidson relies on these KER Sport Horse Nutrition feeds, including OVATION™, to deliver the necessary levels of fat and complex carbohydrates for optimal sport horse performance. Ovation is a high-fat pelleted feed built around stabilized rice bran and fortified with KER micronutrients.

“Ovation is my go-to pelleted feed for high-performance horses. With shiny coats and steady energy, my horses look amazing on Ovation,” Buck explains. “Because it’s from KER, I know these feeds are based on the latest equine nutrition science and manufactured with the highest quality ingredients and processes. It’s simply the best feed available.”

 

Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

This beautiful panorama courtesy of Katherine LoChiatto. This beautiful panorama courtesy of Katherine LoChiatto.

This awesome shot of Libby Head, Sir Rockstar and groom Devon Brown outside the storied Badminton house is just beautiful. As the sun set on a memorable weekend for the Libby Head camp, it was the perfect time to reflect on all that happened. I know I’m still soaking it in, I can only imagine how the riders and their teams feel!

Events Opening This Week:

Inavale Farm HT (OR, A-7) Abbe Ranch H.T. (CO, A-9) Surefire H.T. (VA, A-2) Shepherd Ranch SYVPC H.T. I (CA, A-6) Arrowhead H.T. (MT, A-7) Honey Run H.T. (MI, A-8) Midsouth Pony Club H.T. (KY, A-8) Groton House Farm H.T. (MA, A-1) Fox River Valley Pony Club Horse Trials (IL, A-4)

Events Closing Today:

Virginia CCI/CIC & H.T. (VA, A-2) May-Daze at the Park H.T. (KY, A-8) The Spring Event at Woodside (CA, A-6) Coconino Spring H.T. and Dressage Show (AZ, A-10) Mystic Valley Hunt Club H.T. (CT, A-1) Flora Lea Spring H.T. (NJ, A-2) Paradise Farm HT (SC, A-3) Equestrians Institute H.T. (WA, A-7) Willow Draw Charity Show (TX, A-5)

News & Notes:

Congratulations to Hannah Herrig, the winner of this year’s Dubarry of Ireland Rolex Fantasy League!

It was a hard fought battle, with nearly 200 teams fighting for the win in a tough field. Naturally, Michael Jung was the most popular pick for most leagues this year, but Hannah had the magic combination for the lowest score of the weekend. [Dubarry of Ireland Rolex Fantasy League]

Oliver Townend announced this week that this year’s Badminton would be the last for his long time partner, Armada. This horse is truly a four-star veteran, completing 16 CCI4* competitions throughout his career with both Andrew Nicholson and Oliver. [2016 Badminton Was Armada’s Last]

British rider Alice Dunsdon posted her Badminton recap blog on Horse & Hound recounting a difficult weekend for her and Fernhill Present. The horse said no at the Mirage Pond on course, ending their weekend early. Alice writes candidly about her experiences in this great blog. [Alice Dunsdon’s Badminton Blog]

Don’t miss out on Daniel Stewart’s Tip of the Month! Sport psychologist Daniel Stewart is always full of great insight when it comes to the mental side of the sport, and this month he focuses on the importance of social connection within the horse community. [Daniel Stewart: Fit In to Stand Out]

Enter to win a Back On Track Therapeutic Turnout Sheet courtesy of our friends at Millbrook Horse Trials! The deadline to enter is Wednesday night, so hurry! [Back On Track Giveaway]

Tuesday Video:

Learn more about equine metabolic syndrome thanks to our friends at Cavalor!

Product Review: Horze Supreme Dark Reflective Saddle Pad

Image courtesy of Horze. Image courtesy of Horze.

If you’re anything like me, you’re always paranoid about safety. I perhaps take it to the next level and am probably my barn manager’s nightmare, but I also pride myself on anticipating problems and trying to head them off at the pass.

When I began reviewing products for Horze, I was impressed from the outset by the array of products they have available for both horse and rider. One such category is that of reflective gear. Reflective gear isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind for many equestrians, but there are many options for every possible need through Horze.

While I do have an indoor arena at home, our farm is also situated along a busy road and there are often times when I will hack out in the front fields. While we’ve never had any problems with traffic, it’s always beneficial to be safety-conscious, which is where the Horze Supreme Dark Reflective Saddle Pad comes into play.

I opted to try the Horze Supreme Reflective Saddle Pad because I felt it gave us great visibility in low light and dark environments without adding too much extra gear to my horse. The saddle pad has two reflective stripes on either side to increase our visibility should a car come up near us.

The reflective strips are great in that they blend in with the black color of the pad during the day, which means you don’t get any annoying sunlight reflection blinding your friends when you ride past. But as soon as the light is low, they kick in with a nice and unobtrusive glow that is just enough to warn drivers and passersby that you are near.

The other great thing about the Reflective Saddle Pad is the fact that it’s a nicely manufactured pad as well. In addition to providing safety elements, the pad is also designed with the horse’s comfort in mind. Made from breathable cotton and designed with clearance for higher withers, the pad ensures that the fit underneath your saddle is correct and doesn’t induce higher than normal sweating.

I was pleased to find that even on a warm day, the black material of the saddle pad didn’t make my horse sweat anymore than usual. That is something you always worry about when using darker colored material, but I’m happy to report that this pad is quite breathable and lightweight, which means wearing it during the summer shouldn’t be an issue.

This pad is a great value for all of the conveniences it has. While I believe you can’t truly put a price on safety, I think the $34.95 price point of the pad is perfect and worth every penny.

The Horze Supreme Dark Reflective Saddle Pad is available in All Purpose and Dressage sizes, and you can find more Horze Reflective Gear options here.