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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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Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Definitely not where anyone wants to end up! Photo from Joe Meyer's Facebook page. Definitely not where anyone wants to end up! Photo from Joe Meyer's Facebook page.

We’d like to send some EN jingles to eventer Joe Meyer, who separated his pelvis after an involuntary dismount from a young horse earlier this week. Joe will be out of commission for awhile while he recovers, but a look at his Facebook page reveals that he seems to be in good spirits. Joe has been campaigning the exciting stallion, South Paw, and his veteran partner, Sanskrit, this spring and I’m sure he is raring to get back in the saddle to continue the successful year he’s had so far. Get well soon, Joe!

Events This Weekend:

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

Fair Hill International H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

Sporting Days Farm H.T. [Website] [Ride Times]

Longleaf Pine H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Friday News:

FLAIR Nasal Strips has announced a new award for Rolex this year. The annual award, called the “FLAIR Protect & Perform Award” will be awarded to the highest place horse and rider pair who use a FLAIR strip during both cross country and stadium. For more information on FLAIR strips and the numerous benefits they offer, click here.

FLAIR has also announced its sponsorship of a cross country course walk at Rolex this year. The walk will be led by Ralph Hill, with participation from FLAIR riders Buck Davidson and Hawley Bennett. The walk is slated to commence approximately 30 minutes after conclusion of dressage competition on Friday April 25. Be sure to check the FLAIR website and Facebook page for more details. [FLAIR Website] [Facebook Page]

Speaking of course walks, don’t forget to sign up for SmartPak’s course walk as well! Allison Springer and Boyd Martin will be leading this course walk, to be held on either Thursday or Friday during Rolex. The first 500 people to visit the SmartPak booth the day of the course walk will receive a free gift. You can never walk the course too many times, just ask any of the riders. [SmartPak Course Walk]

Want to meet Phillip Dutton at Rolex? As usual, Phillip will be making several appearances to sign autographs (and perhaps take a few selfies?) at Rolex. Times and locations are still being worked out, but you can get an idea of where he will be next weekend by checking out his website. [Phillip Dutton Eventing]

The USEA recently did a profile on Essex Grant recipient Lizzie Snow. The $10,000 Essex Grant was awarded to Lizzie to help her transition from the Young Rider path to the ranks of the adult upper level riders. Lizzie campaigns Coal Creek at the Advanced and three-star level currently. [Lizzie Snow Blogs About Essex Grant]

We are all used to using ballet dancers as easy parallels to dressage horses when explaining the sport to non-horsey folk. The Minsk Bolshoi ballet group recently helped out Charlotte Dujardin and Charlie Jacobs in a photoshoot for the upcoming FEI World Cup Jumping and Dressage finals in Lyon. [Ballet and Equestrianism]

Break a leg, Phillip! Ok, not really, but Boyd posted an update on his blog yesterday about his horses’ prep for Rolex, and he expressed his unwavering appreciation for all that Phillip has done in keeping the horses competing while Boyd recovers. “I hope one day Phillip breaks his leg so I can return the favor,” said Boyd on his blog. While we most certainly hope that never happens, it’s great to see members of the eventing community once again helping each other out to keep business booming. [Boyd's Blog]

Friday Video Break:

Check out Horse Nation’s SpectraVET Performance of the Week: Dressage Paralympian Lauren Barwick.

FlairBuck-Horizontal

Throwback Thursday Presented by Ice Horse: And the Rider Is …

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Each Thursday, we will be bringing you some vintage eventing photos and posts. Do you want to show us your first horse or a photo of your early riding days? Email sally@eventingnation.com.

Denis Glaccum, center, presenting a donation to True Prospect Farm in the wake of the deadly fire in 2012 on behalf of Plantation Field. Denis Glaccum, center, presenting a donation to True Prospect Farm in the wake of the deadly fire in 2012 on behalf of Plantation Field.

We were honored to receive this week’s vintage photo and really enjoyed seeing all of your guesses! How do you think you did?

The rider pictured below is …

Can I go back in time and snag this horse?

Can I go back in time and snag this horse?

… Denis Glaccum! Denis kindly shared this photo of himself from his learning days before he became one of the most prominent figures in the sport. Denis was one of the first members of the USEA and is now a USEA Hall of Fame member. The former organizer of the Best. Event. Ever. also known as Plantation Field, he remains one of the most highly respected athletes in the horse industry.

Many thanks to Denis for sending us his photo, and thanks for playing!

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Professional Horseman’s Council to Host The Event College at Rolex

Professor Max will be teaching at The Event College at Rolex! Photo by Samantha Clark. Professor Max will be teaching at The Event College at Rolex! Photo by Samantha Clark.

The Professional Horseman’s Council has announced that it will be presenting a new program called The Event College at Rolex this year. Designed to introduce more people to the sport, even those really knowledgeable about the sport will want to check it out, as the sessions will be led by a very exciting lineup of “professors.”

The Event College is a three-day program with meetings set up on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at various points around the Kentucky Horse Park. Sinead Halpin, Karen O’Connor, Leslie Law, Max Corcoran, Cathy Wieschhoff, Rick Wallace and other big names will be leading the program with some tips and tricks on the three phases of the sport.

Here’s the tentative schedule via the USEA website:

Friday: Sinead Halpin will discuss what horse and rider combinations are trying to achieve in the dressage warm up and how it translates to the show ring. Leslie Law will be leading a cross-country course walk in the morning with commentary.

Saturday: Rick Wallace and Cathy Wieschhoff will walk the crowd through different cross-country complexes, explaining how the riders will approach them. Max Corcoran will meet students at the vet box in the afternoon to explain the care that the horses will receive after cross country.

Sunday: Karen O’Connor will meet the students near the show jumping warm up and explain what the riders are trying to achieve as they prepare their horses for a double-clear round.

To enroll in the program, stop by the USEA booth on the horse park grounds and sign up for a schedule. Happy learning! Click here for the full announcement on The Event College at Rolex.

Throwback Thursday Presented by Ice Horse: Guess the Rider

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Each Thursday, we will be bringing you some vintage eventing photos and posts. Do you want to show us your first horse or a photo of your early riding days? Email sally@eventingnation.com.

Can I go back in time and snag this horse? Can I go back in time and snag this horse?

We’ve got a real classic for you this week, EN! We’ve been given specific instructions to not give any hints whatsoever for this rider’s identity, so you are on your own this week. We are really looking forward to your guesses!

Side note: EN always recommends wearing a helmet while mounted. Times sure have changed since 1953!

Ice Horse Banner

Rolex Rookies: Kevin Keane and Fernhill Flutter

It's that time of year again: spring flowers, warm weather and, most importantly, Rolex Kentucky. This year, we will be highlighting riders who are making their first appearance in North America's only CCI4* event. This edition features Dr. Kevin Keane and Fernhill Flutter, who train with Phillip Dutton and are looking forward to their Rolex debut. Thank you, Kevin, for your time, and thank you for reading.

Kevin Keane and Fernhill Flutter at The Fork. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Kevin Keane and Fernhill Flutter at The Fork. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Kevin Keane is a well known name in eventing. While maintaining a thriving veterinary practice serving some of the top names in the sport, he’s also been training with Phillip Dutton and quietly climbing the levels, and now he’s preparing to tackle his first CCI4* next week at Rolex. Considering he never had any plans to compete at this level, he still looks back and wonders how exactly he got here. It all began on a horse shopping trip in Europe to find a horse to take him to the upper levels.

Kevin remembers a conversation he had with Phillip before going to Europe. “I asked Phillip what I should be looking for, and he said, ‘At your age, you’d better find something that already knows how to jump!’”After trying several horses, Carol Gee of the Fernhill empire contacted Kevin and suggested that he come and try Fernhill Flutter, a 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding otherwise known as “Butterfly.” “I watched him compete at a lower level horse trial, and he didn’t even go clean on cross country, but there was something about him,” Kevin recalled. “His gallop was wonderful: ground covering and uphill, so I decided to give it a shot.” Kevin purchased Butterfly shortly thereafter, and the horse came to begin his new partnership with Kevin in the U.S.

Kevin was training with Phillip at the time, and he began competing Butterfly at Training with a goal set of doing Preliminary in the future. “I would have been content to stay at Prelim for quite awhile,” Kevin laughed. “But Phillip had this way of convincing me to keep going.” Kevin and Butterfly moved up to Intermediate in 2010, taking third place at the Maryland HT at Loch Moy Farm. The pair continued to campaign at the Intermediate and CIC2* level and eventually moved up to Advanced in 2011.

Kevin Keane and Fernhill Flutter at Red Hills. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Kevin Keane and Fernhill Flutter at Red Hills. Photo by Jenni Autry.

“He really kind of came into his own in 2012, and he placed third in the Fair Hill CIC3* and the Bromont CCI3*,” Kevin said. Unfortunately, much of the 2013 season for Kevin was spent sidelined, as he sustained an injury after being kicked in the head by a stallion. “I had a bit of a light competition year, but I came back this winter and have competed every two weeks this year. I realize that’s a bit unusual, but I thought I would go out and get the experience I needed after having such a light year. We made sure to run slow so that we weren’t too hard on his body while still obtaining the mileage we needed.”

Kevin had Rolex in the back of his mind for this year, but he wasn’t fully sure whether or not Phillip thought they were ready for the event. In fact, Kevin told the story of how he found out he and Butterfly were heading to Kentucky as competitors. “One of the things about Phillip that some people may not know is that he has a very planned and methodical program for you. I think what happened, even months ago, was that he started introducing new dressage movements in our lessons, and I think he knew that he was pointing us for Rolex even then. I actually called his secretary the day Rolex entries closed and asked if Phillip had mentioned anything about me competing, and she responded by letting me know that she had already sent off our entry!”

Kevin feels that his previous experience at the Kentucky Horse Park as a vet helps him feel less intimidated. “I think I’m a bit less intimidated with the venue since I’ve been there as a vet about 20 times. Now, when I am headed down to the start box, my stomach will still be doing flip-flops, but I think that previous experience will still be helpful. I’m just trying to look at it knowing that I’ve had the best possible preparation, I’ve got a good horse, and the best I can do is practice my absolute best horsemanship and hope for the best result.”

Kevin is very grateful for the support system he has had in his lead up to Rolex. “The eventing community is very fraternal, and even though we are all competitive, we still want each other to succeed. I’ve had tremendous support from the True Prospect Farm family, the secretaries, technicians and Dr. Finn at the office who keep things running when I have to be away, and everyone else who has been encouraging along the way. You have to have people around you to help you through a journey such as this.”

A Horse of a Different Color: Carina HGF

"A Horse of a Different Color" features horses and ponies that have been successful in the sport of eventing while representing a unique breed. Do you have a horse that you think would be a great feature subject? If so, email sally@eventingnation.com.

Cindy Ramirez-Smith and Carina HGF. Photo by Eric Smith. Cindy Ramirez-Smith and Carina HGF. Photo by Eric Smith.

Carina HGF is a six-year-old Pura Raza Española (PRE) mare who came to Eric and Cindy Smith as a green but promising three-year-old who would make a good broodmare prospect if all else failed. The mare was well-bred, but more for dressage than eventing. “(Cindy) is a long-time eventer who decided to take a hiatus to focus on dressage,” Eric said of his wife. “We eventually started looking into breeding PREs and bought a stallion from Hampton Greens Farm. Kim Boyer then told us that she had a sporthorse mare to look at, and that’s how we found Carina.”

At the time, Carina was just learning the basics of under-saddle work. Her sire had competed through Prix St. Georges in the dressage ring, so her movement was definitely natural. Cindy undertook the mare’s training and eventually started jumping her over small fences to find out if she had any talent. “It’s funny because she was bred for dressage, so she really was never supposed to go the eventing route,” Eric said.

After taking Carina cross country schooling, Cindy discovered that the mare was game to try just about anything, and decided to find out if she could put all three phases. Cindy took Carina out in the Beginner Novice division at Twin Rivers and came home with a blue ribbon, and an eventer was born.

Carina went on to compete at the Novice level for the remainder of 2013, only placing out of the top ten once. This weekend, she is competing at Twin Rivers and currently sits in second in the Senior Novice Rider division after winning the dressage and knocking one rail in stadium.

“We’re just going to let her tell us what she wants to do. For the higher levels, making the time might be an issue because she definitely doesn’t have any sort of racehorse breeding,” Cindy said. “Right now we’re working on getting her gallop to open up more. Overall, she does seem to be a bit late to mature, but she seems stronger coming out this year so far. As far as eventing is concerned, it’s all up to her on how far she wants to go.”

Michael Pollard, Julie Richards, Jessica Phoenix Win at Ocala International

Phoenix Equestrian riders all set for the CCI2* jog. Photo via the Phoenix Equestrian Team Facebook page. Phoenix Equestrian riders all set for the CCI2* jog. Photo via the Phoenix Equestrian Team Facebook page.

The Ocala Horse Properties International HT wrapped up the FEI divisions today with show jumping. In the CCI2*, Michael Pollard led wire to wire with Halimey, who added one rail to his overall score for a final of 43.1. Michael told me yesterday that he was very pleased with Halimey this weekend and feels that their partnership is progressing in the right direction. Elinor MacPhail, who has some very nice horses in her string currently, picked up second place aboard RF Eloquence. This pair finished on their dressage score of 43.2. Leslie Law finished third and fourth with Fernhill Whatever and Tout de Suite. Elinor MacPhail rounds out the top five on the gorgeous Rendezvous with Charley.

Ocala Horse Properties International 3-Day Event [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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In the CCI*-A division, Julie Richards and Fernhill Splash also added just a rail to their dressage score to secure the win. Not too far off in second were Elisa Wallace and Corteo, who show jumped double clear today to solidify their position. Kelly Prather and D.A. Duras, who had moved from seventh to third after cross country, added one rail to pick up the third place ribbon.

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Jessica Phoenix and Bentley’s Best moved up from second to take the win in the CCI*-B division. Double clear rounds were scattered today, and many pairs had at least one rail down, making the leaderboard shuffle a bit at the top.

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Sunday Video: Grand Prix Chicken?

We all know that Carl Hester is something of a dressage genius, so it should come as no surprise that some of the other animals in his yard are taking some hints from the best. Horse & Hound posted this video today, and it definitely had me in stitches. Check out the chicken who aspires to be a dressage horse showing off his medium (extended?) trot down the long-side. I give him a 7 for gaits and a 10 for implusion.

7 Things You Must Do at Rolex

Rolex is just over a week away, and with that in mind I got to thinking about things that are absolute must-dos while attending the event. I’m sure there will be plenty to add to my list once I’m through, so feel free to add your suggestions to the comments; we’d love to hear them! Without further ado, here is a list of some essential things you absolutely must do at Rolex.

Doug Payne is a previously featured course walk rider. Photo by Samantha Clark.

Doug Payne is a previously featured course walk rider. Photo by Samantha Clark.

1. Walk the cross country course.

Don your Dubarrys, leash your dog, and head out to the start box to walk the massive cross country course. Wanting to get the inside scoop on rider strategies? Never fear, there are a plethora of sponsored course walks to choose from each year. FLAIR Nasal Strips, SmartPak, and many others will be hosting course walks with riders and coaches. Keep an eye out here for more announcements on other course walk options. Feeling lazy? Check out the virtual course walk.

Dressage and show jump  warm-up area circled. For reference, letter K indicates the main stadium complex.

Dressage and show jump warm-up area circled. For reference, letter K indicates the main stadium complex.

2. Watch some warm-ups.

There are times when I almost prefer watching the warm-up ring to watching dressage tests or show jump rounds. I kind of enjoy watching the “behind the scenes” prep that the riders give their horses, and it’s always interesting to see how each rider times and runs through their warmup. Some horses will come out 30 minutes before their dressage test, others will warm up for 10 minutes and be ready to go. It’s all an exact science, and I enjoy seeing the riders get in their final preparations. Plus, the up close and personal selfie options are endless.

So. Much. Shopping. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

So. Much. Shopping. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

3. Shop ’til you drop.

Some people start Christmas savings accounts; I start Rolex savings accounts. The trade fair is second to none, and there are a ton of options to choose from as you wander the aisles. As someone who doesn’t have a great array of options for tack supply at home, Rolex feels somewhat like stocking up on dry goods and salt for the winter a la Little House on the Prairie. Since I had a few items stolen from my car last year, I will mainly be shopping to replace items this year, which is unfortunate, but it’s still shopping and who can really complain about that?

William Fox-Pitt and Seacookie TSF. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

William Fox-Pitt and Seacookie TSF. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

4. Hit the Head of the Lake first.

In the many times I’ve been to Rolex, I’ve come up with a strategy for viewing cross country that I try to stick to each year. I usually will arrive at the park at least an hour before the first horse on course and stake out a good spot at the Head of the Lake, which is the most popular jump. The good seats go fast, so getting there early to watch the first few horses always works out well. I will usually hang out there for the first five or ten horses before moving on. From there, I’ll usually try to walk backwards so I can see each horse coming towards me at each fence. I end the day up by the start and finish – something that is also a must-see.

Kilrodan Abbott in the Rolex vet box. Photo by Kirsten Collins.

Kilrodan Abbott in the Rolex vet box. Photo by Kirsten Collins.

5. Watch the vet box.

In recent years, the vet box has been moved a bit farther off from the crowds, but you can still get a view from the finish line. There is not much I love more than watching the teams of tireless working students, grooms, coaches, and family members who are waiting at the finish to cool off a horse and congratulate the rider. The raw emotion that surrounds the finish line is unmatched, and it’s a truly inspiring thing to watch.

Meeting Boyd last year.

Meeting Boyd last year.

6. Grab some autographs.

Just like the sponsored course walks, there are also autograph and photo opportunities galore. Last year, I made it my goal to collect as many signatures as I could, and I’m proud to say that I was second in line to meet Boyd Martin. Bucket list item, check. He even (kind of) knew where St. Louis was! Be sure to keep an eye on the announcement boards outside of trade fair booths for autograph announcements, and the signings will usually be announced on the speaker system as well.

You know you want one of those fancy EN cups.

You know you want one of those fancy EN cups.

7. Stop by the EN Tailgate, presented by Tredstep.

The list wouldn’t be complete without mention of our awesome tailgate. Beer! Swag! Meeting members of the EN team! Sign me up. Perhaps we can start a petition to get an official “John Sighting” on the books as well. First person to snag a selfie with our fearless chinchilla trainer wins a million EN karma points.

What would you add to our list, EN? We want to know your Rolex tips and tricks, so be sure to comment below and let us know what your plans are. See you in Kentucky!

Ocala Horse Properties International Photos and Videos

Photo from Tobitha Yeomans. Photo from Tobitha Yeomans.

Many thanks to both Equiventures and Randy Traynor for sending us updates and photos from Ocala this weekend. The Horse Pesterer is also wandering around somewhere, so he has been diligently uploading videos from the competition as well. Here are some photos from the weekend. Competition wraps up today, and we will have a final wrap up for you later on.

Ocala Horse Properties International 3-Day Event [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

France Leads Nations Cup CICO3* at Ballindenisk

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill by Night at Ballindenisk. Photo from Liz's Facebook page. Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill by Night at Ballindenisk. Photo from Liz's Facebook page.

The Irish leg of the Nations Cup is being held at Ballindenisk this weekend, and the French team came out to play in the dressage and show jumping yesterday. Currently, the French team leads on a total, top 3 score of 130.2 after show jumping, followed by Great Britain and Ireland. There is still plenty of room for things to shake up a bit, as 18.4 points separate first from third right now.

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In the individual competition, Oliver Townend is leading the CICO3* aboard Cooley Master Class, a 9 year old gelding who is relatively new to this level. This pair won the dressage decisively and show jumped double clear, scoring a 33.6 to top the leaderboard ahead of Izzy Taylor and Allercombe Elle, who sit in second on a 41.1. Ollie also leads the CCI2* with Shearwater Touchingwood, a horse who is making his CCI debut.

U.S. riders Liz Halliday-Sharp and Julian Stiller are each riding a handful of horses this weekend at Ballindenisk. Liz has three rides in the CICO3* and Julian Stiller has one. Liz is currently sitting in fifth after show jumping double clear aboard her lovely Fernhill By Night. Liz commented on her Facebook page that the ground was quite sticky for the dressage, which leads me to believe that her score may very well have been much lower in better conditions. Nonetheless, Liz is still in a great position to contend for the lead on cross country today. Liz also rounds out the top 10 aboard HHS Cooley, adding just one rail down in show jumping. Liz’s final three-star entry, Red Letter Day, also jumped double clear in show jumping and sits in 24th going into cross country. Julian’s Charlie Weld had three down in show jumping, and they will sit in 34th after the first two phases. Past results would indicate that show jumping is not this horse’s favorite phases, but his last two events out he turned in clear cross country rounds, so I’m sure Julian is looking forward to running and jumping today.

Stay tuned for more from Ballindenisk, but in the meantime here is a quick write-up on Saturday’s action.

Ballindenisk: [Website] [Scores]

Twin Rivers and Ocala Score Update

Lauren Billys and Jitterbug in the CCI* at Twin Rivers. Photo by Emilee Libby. Lauren Billys and Jitterbug in the CCI* at Twin Rivers. Photo by Emilee Libby.

Derek di Grazia’s cross country courses at Twin Rivers are riding just as expected this weekend: challenging and appropriate for the level and time of year. Matt Brown on one of his three-star first timers, BCF Belisco, secured the win in the CIC3*, moving up from first to second with a round just a hair faster than overnight leaders Lauren Billys and Ballingowan Ginger. Matt was quite pleased with both of his horses’ efforts. “We came into the weekend just wanting to have a good outing and finished with confident horses. It’s great to get their first three-star under their belts, and to come away with first and fourth is just icing on the cake,” Matt said. “We definitely have a lot more to work on, but I think this was a great result. Derek (di Grazia)’s course was a proper course with real good questions. In true Derek fashion, it always seems like he is trying to set you up for success with questions early on that are doable but set you up for more difficult things to come.” Matt will prepare his horses for Woodside next, followed by Rebecca Farm. I was thrilled for Lauren and Ballingowan Ginger and plan to try to catch up with her this weekend so talk about her lovely horse as well.

Twin Rivers HT:  [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Fence 10BC on the CIC3* course. Photo from Jordan Lindstedt's Facebook page.

Fence 10BC on the CIC3* course. Photo from Jordan Lindstedt’s Facebook page.

The CIC3* course claimed a couple of victims: Emily Pestl-Dimmitt and Arlington retired on course, and Natalie Rooney fell from Jefferson at fence 15. A few others picked up 20s, and fence 10 seemed to be the fence that caught the most riders out. Jordan Lindstedt posted a photo of 10BC on her Facebook page earlier, saying that the angled brushes came after a sharp right turn from a hanging log on a hill. I’m not sure whether or not the runouts came at the B & C elements or not, but this gives you a general idea of what riders were facing at this point on course.

In the CIC2*, the leaderboard remains unchanged after stadium jumping.

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In the CCI*, the cross country looked to ride extremely well for most riders, with only a handful picking up refusals and two being eliminated. The leaders all went double clear and the leaderboard still looks tight going into cross country.

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At the Ocala Horse Properties International HT, Michael Pollard will maintain his lead after a double clear cross country aboard Halimey. Leslie Law and Tout de Suite and Elinor MacPhail with RF Eloquence bring up the top three. Overall, the two-star cross country ran smoothly today, but four riders retired on course, there was one rider fall, and one pair was eliminated. For the most part, time penalties were the biggest score changer today.

Twin Rivers HT:  [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

I spoke with Michael briefly today, and he was quite pleased with how the course rode. “I thought it looked a bit tough actually, but it rode really well. If the horses were jumping well, the time was pretty easy to get and I think that made a difference because everyone wasn’t rushing or pushing for the time.” Michael and Halimey have been working through some confidence issues, and a year ago Michael thought that running Preliminary on the Trakehner stallion was difficult, but he’s taken his time and let the horse let him know what the next step should be. “He’s really getting to the point where he’s trusting me to put him in a good spot, and I think in another six months he will start really going for it on his own. He’s such a talented horse, and if I can continue on this path and don’t rush him too much I think we could move up later on.”

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In the CCI* divisions, many pairs were able to move up the leaderboard considerably after clean and fast cross country rides. Elisa Wallace and Corteo ran a smoking double clear round to move up from sixth to second in the CCI*-A division after cross country, and Elisa commented on her Facebook that she was positively thrilled with Corteo’s performance today. Kelly Prather and D.A. Duras also moved up, leaping from seventh to third, after also going double clear. Overnight leaders Julie Richards and Fernhill Splash will hold the lead going into show jumping after a double clear round as well.

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In the CCI*-B division, the leaderboard remained relatively unchanged after cross country, with Buck Davidson, Jessie Phoenix, and Clayton Fredericks holding their top three position going into show jumping.

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Twin Rivers and Ocala both wrap up tomorrow, so stay tuned for more updates. As always, don’t forget you can send your photos or videos to tips@eventingnation.com.

Caroline Hawkins: Collegiate Eventing Team Challenge at Chatt Hills a Success

We love to see college athletes representing the sport of eventing, and the team concept has really taken off recently. Last weekend, many college teams converged on Chattahoochee Hills for a Collegiate Eventing Team Challenge. Many thanks to University of Georgia Eventing Vice President, Caroline Hawkins, for sending in her recap of the event. Do you have a college team or event you'd like to share a story on? If so, tip us at tips@eventingnation.com. Thank you, Carolina, for writing, and thank you for reading!

School spirit on display at Chatt Hills. Photo from the UGA Eventing Team. School spirit on display at Chatt Hills. Photo from the UGA Eventing Team.
While much of the eventing world was focused on The Fork this past weekend, collegiate eventing took center stage at the Chattahoochee Hills April Horse Trials. Five colleges: University of Georgia, Auburn University, University of Alabama, Clemson University, and the University of North Georgia, made up nine teams consisting of 32 riders who competed over the weekend. The barns were decorated with school colors and school pride was in the air as flags hung proudly above the arena.
Saturday was a long, action packed day, with the first college rider entering the dressage ring around 8:00 a.m. The competitive spirit continued until the last rider galloped through the finish flags at 4:30pm. The cross country action was incredible to watch, with riders geared up in school colors and supporters lined up around the course cheering on their classmates and teammates!
Collegiate award ceremony. Photo from the UGA Eventing Team.

Collegiate award ceremony. Photo from the UGA Eventing Team.

Overall, it was a very successful weekend for teams as well as individual riders. College riders were in the ribbons in nearly every division, and each college went home with team ribbons. Winning the overall team challenge was the University of Georgia Red Team consisting of Ashley Greene, Elizabeth Lee, and Caroline Hawkins. Second place was a Clemson/Georgia team made up of Leigh Casacelli, Haley Doyle, and Callan Littrell. North Georgia riders Kelsey Stark, Devon Olivier, Karolina Sabonaityte, and Hannah Chapman took home third. The best scoring college rider was Georgia’s Ashley Greene, and tied for second were North Georgia’s Devon Olivier and Clemson’s Haley Doyle.
In addition to students representing their schools,  alumni teams were formed in support of collegiate eventing. We owe Chattahoochee Hills and Hugh Lochore a big thank you for hosting another successful challenge and creating enthusiasm about college eventing as a whole! We continue to see intercollegiate eventing grow in popularity and we are looking forward to the next team challenge this weekend at FENCE. Go college eventing!

Saturday Video: Michael Pollard and Halimey at Ocala International HT

I think I’m becoming far too attached to this fancy stallion that Michael has been campaigning. A 9-year-old Trakehner stallion, Michael has been working through some confidence issues with Halimey since picking up the ride. The pair is contesting their first CCI2* together, and they are coming off a great finish in the CIC2* at Carolina International, where they finished second.

Michael and Halimey won the dressage in the CCI2* at Ocala decisively, scoring a 39.1 to move into the lead ahead of Leslie Law and Tout de Suite. My favorite part about this dressage test? Halimey’s floppy ears and the way he simply seems to be enjoying what he is doing.

Many thanks to The Horse Pesterer for this video; be sure to swing by his YouTube page for more from Ocala.

Twin Rivers Score Update

Kaitlin Hall and Given Half a Chance in their first CCI* jog. Photo by Liz Hall. Kaitlin Hall and Given Half a Chance in their first CCI* jog. Photo by Liz Hall.

It looks like a beautiful weekend for some eventing in California (then again, it looks like most weekends are good for eventing out there! Heads up, Hawley, I’m moving!). The CIC3* division completed show jumping and dressage yesterday, and the CCI* and CCI2* divisions rode dressage.

Twin Rivers HT:  [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

The show jumping in the CIC3* took many victims in the form of rails down, with only the top three horses jumping double clear. The top three after show jumping remain the same: Mackenna Shea and Landioso sit in first on a 49.2, Matt Brown and BCF Belisco are on a 51.9 in second, and Lauren Billys with Ballingowan Ginger are in third on a score of 52.5. Matt Brown also finds himself in fourth as well aboard Super Socks BCF, who added just one rail for a score of 57.4. Lauren and Ballingowan Ginger retired on cross country at Galway their last time out, so I’m sure they are out for a much better run this weekend.

I spoke with first and second placed riders Mackenna Shea and Matt Brown, both of whom seem thoroughly pleased with their horses’ performances so far this weekend. “This is my second event back with (Landioso) in 11 months,” Mackenna said. “He was amazing in the show jumping; he was using himself so well and he was so rideable throughout the whole course. I think the cross country course looks fantastic; the footing and jumps look super and it looks a bit tougher than I’ve seen it the past few years.” Landioso was previously sidelined by a pesky injury, and Mackenna is thrilled to have him out again. “I’m really excited to go out and have a good time on my horse. I just feel really lucky every time I’m on him.”

Matt, who is piloting his two mounts in their first CIC3*, was also pleased with his horses. “They are both green to this level, and there is still plenty to be improved upon in the dressage, but I think they both put in solid dressage tests that are true to where they are in education and strength right now. (Super Socks BCF) is a work in progress for me with the show jumping, and I’m still figuring out how he wants me to ride him in other to get the best out of him. (BCF Belisco) is just sort of a freak of nature and tries so hard for me; I was happy he stayed true to himself and jumped a great round for me today. I’m excited to ride Derek (di Grazia)’s course tomorrow. With both of my horses new to this level, I’ll just be looking for a solid, educational round for them to build on in the future.

In the CCI2*, it’s a literal three-horse race in a small division. Dana Estes and Worthy Opponent V.E. will take the lead on a 52.2. Leah Breakey and Master Plan, who last finished second in the CIC2* at Galway, are in second on a 55.6, and Kaitlin Veltkamp and Flashpoint D are in third on a 57.2.

In the CCI*, the top five are tightly bunched after dressage with just a handful of time separating them. Elizabeth Mahon Temkin and Castle Larchfield Purdy will lead going into cross country on a 45.3, Lauren Billys and Jitter Bug hold down second on a 47.5, and Derek di Grazia and Ringwood Justice will sit in third on a 47.8.

Cross country begins with Preliminary at 8 am local time at Twin Rivers, followed by the FEI and remaining National divisions. Stay tuned for much more from Twin Rivers, and don’t forget that you can send your photos or videos to tips@eventingnation.com.

Boyd Martin Recovering Ahead of Schedule

Boyd working hard in physical therapy. Boyd working hard in physical therapy.

Good news coming from Camp Martin this week. Boyd posted an update on his blog with encouraging news that his recovery is going well and is, in fact, ahead of schedule.

While there is still no word on whether or not eventing’s Iron Man will be back in the saddle long enough to contest a spring four-star, the news is nothing less than exciting nonetheless. Boyd’s doctor has instructed him to begin riding as soon as he feels comfortable, as there is no risk of re-injuring the leg. Rather, it’s more about how well Boyd feels he can ride and how effective he can be.

From Boyd’s blog:

“I’m pleased to say I’m ahead of schedule in the healing process; I recently went for my checkup, a couple weeks after surgery, and Dr. Phillip Principe is encouraged by the re-growth of bone around the fracture. He instructed me to start riding as soon as I can, as there’s no risk of re-injuring the leg; it’s more a matter of my effectiveness with my leg and my pain tolerance.”

We will continue posting updates from Boyd as they become available. As always, both Boyd and Silva’s full recoveries are in the forefront of our minds, and seeing Boyd in the saddle in time for Rolex or Badminton is simply an added bonus. Best wishes to the Martin family.

Saturday Links from Tipperary

Spot the puppy! Photo from Jordan Lindstedt's Facebook page. Spot the puppy! Photo from Jordan Lindstedt's Facebook page.

Ah, it sure is nice to wake up and not immediately dread the ice cold temperatures that inevitably await outside. Spring is officially here, I think we can safely say. I am more than ready to put this winter in the books as one of the worst I’ve ever seen, so let’s hope the spring and summer are among the best we’ve had to make up for it!

It’s a busy weekend around Eventing Nation, with big events running on each coast and plenty of others in between. Don’t forget, you can send your photos and videos from the event you’re at to tips@eventingnation.com. Best of luck to all who are competing this weekend!

Events This Weekend:

Twin Rivers HT:  [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Plantation Field HT: [Website] [Times] [Live Scores]

Ocala Horse Properties International 3-Day Event [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

FENCE H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

St. Johns H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

Saturday Links:

Tipperary Equestrian has announced the “Dash for Cash” for riders competing at Rolex this year! This exciting contest gives riders who wear Tipperary gear at Rolex a chance to win an additional $5,000 in prize money. All three phases have a $5,000 which riders can qualify for. The winning rider must be wearing a new Tipperary 3015 Eventer Pro vest in the cross country phase of competition.   In the dressage and show jumping phase, the winning rider must be wearing a Tipperary T-Series helmet to qualify for the bonus money. Be sure to read up on the full guidelines and rules here. Good luck to all Rolex riders who plan to participate!

Rolex course walk alert! FLAIR Nasal Strips has announced that their Rolex cross country course walk will begin at 4:15 pm on Friday, April 25 at the start box on course. Stay tuned for more information. [FLAIR]

Who’s down to try this new thing called “equine yoga”?

Mark Todd resumes his winning ways at Belton.

FEI announces structure of Endurance Task Force.

Looking for a new job? How about British Eventing?

Land Rover extends sponsorship with Rolex.

Saturday Video:

A Flashback Friday video for you: Eric Lamaze and the great Hickstead.

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EN’s Got Talent: Absaluut Annabelle Puts It All Together at Carolina

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

Kate Samuels and Absaluut Annabelle at Pine Top. Photo courtesy of HoofClix Photography. Kate Samuels and Absaluut Annabelle at Pine Top. Photo courtesy of HoofClix Photography.

Last week on EN’s Got Talent, we met Absaluut Annabelle, a 5-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Jane Dudinsky and ridden by Kate Samuels. Kate told us more about the gray mare, who oozes talent but needed some training on how to think through challenges without getting too emotional. With the help of more lateral work and groundwork, Annabelle began to relax more in the ring and showed a natural ability when it came to competing.

Jumping has proven to be one of Annabelle’s strongest suits as her eventing career progresses. “She’s a very careful jumper and quite aware of her own body for her age,” Kate said. “She’s certainly never seen a jump that is challenging athletically. You can set up almost any grid and she can use her fancy footwork through the whole thing.”

Kate has been working with Annabelle to slow her rhythm through courses, as she previously had a tendency to run with her head in the air and rush the fences. “She’s a good mix of brave and a little spooky, so when you’re riding down to a fence, she looks at it well enough to change her own balance, which allows you to just close your leg and she goes right over.”

Kate took Annabelle to compete in the Open Training division at Carolina International at the end of March, where the mare scored a personal best in the dressage with a 29.6. “She really put it together at Carolina. She was super in all three phases, and I really felt like we were clicking. It was her first sleep away competition, so I was pleased with how she handled the constant atmosphere.”

Annabelle went on to finish second in her division at Carolina International, adding only a rail to her dressage score. Kate plans to move the mare up to Preliminary at the Loudon HT in May and then take it from there. “I like to compete my horses on a monthly basis, unless there is something they just really need to school constantly. However, Annabelle just needs to work on strength and consistency in dressage, and we can work on that at home. Our year-end goal is to take her to a CIC*, and I think that’s reasonable.”

Friday Video: Evention Presents Scis-O-Wiz

Are you ready for the latest Evention TV episode? I’ve been waiting on pins and needles, personally. This one had me absolutely rolling. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost a pair of scissors around the barn or even in my own home. While I do question the safety of this method, you have to admit it’s a unique idea. Major props to Dom and Jimmie for pulling off yet another hilarious Evention episode.

Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips

Scenes from the International Riders Luncheon at the Ocala Horse Properties HT. Photo from Tobitha Yeomans. Scenes from the International Riders Luncheon at the Ocala Horse Properties HT. Photo from Tobitha Yeomans.

Happy Friday! Rolex is edging closer and closer. In fact, I checked my calendar today and had to do a double take at exactly how close it is. Are you looking for a last minute getaway to the Bluegrass? If so, then be sure to check out our contest to win two four-day admission passes to Rolex. EN reader Laura Millerick generously donated her tickets and will transfer her hotel reservation into your name if you need somewhere to stay. For more info on how to enter, check out the contest details here.

There is plenty of action coming your way this weekend from around the country. Out on the West Coast, Twin Rivers is holding their spring HT, and down south Ocala Horse Properties is running a big competition as well with a record 382 horses entered across the board. If you are competing in or attending any events this weekend, we want to see your photos and videos! Send in whatever you have to tips@eventingnation.com.

Events This Weekend:

Twin Rivers HT:  [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Plantation Field HT: [Website] [Entry Status] [Times]

Ocala Horse Properties International 3-Day Event [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

FENCE H.T. [Website] [Ride Times]

St. Johns H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Times]

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

Friday News:

Do you know of a rockstar Thoroughbred? If so, we want to know all about him or her! Our series, Thoroughbred Legends, tells the stories of eventing legends in Thoroughbred form. As one of the staple breeds to our sport, we love to hear about the Thoroughbreds who have helped make the sport so meaningful. If you or someone you know has a story to share, contact me at sally@eventingnation.com.

World Equestrian Brands has signed on as a sponsor of the Triple Crown JRYR PRO Scholarship Program. The highest ranked junior rider on both the east and the west coast will be fully outfitted in World Equestrian Brand gear. According to a press release, each of the winners will be awarded an Amerigo Saddle, girth, stirrup leathers and irons; a Vespucci bridle, reins and breastplate; an E.A. Mattes sheepskin half pad; and Equilibrium Products Airlite cross-country boots and Stretch & Flex wraps. The award is valued at $7,500 per rider. For more information on this program, be sure to check out the website.

Tredstep Ireland + Eventing Nation + Rolex Kentucky = Pure Magic. The EN cross country tailgate is going to be bigger and better than ever this year, with the help of Tredstep Ireland. Both EN and Tredstep will have swag available, raffles for winning awesome stuff from both parties, and even the chance to win the new Da Vinci Stretch tall boots! Did I hear rumors of a dunk tank too?? Hmmm…..[Party In The Middle]

Peter Atkins and Henry Jota Hampton are headed to Badminton. I am knocking on wood, crossing my fingers, and throwing salt over my left shoulder in hopes that Peter stays healthy this time around. In the meantime, Peter has begun fundraising for Henny’s trip. There are different levels of support, and one of the higher levels even includes a lesson with Peter! I bought a bag of grain for Henny with my donation, and I expect the grain will go to good use! [Run Henny Run GoFundMe]

Are you looking for a better way to wrap hooves? Equus Magazine has some helpful hints on hoof-wrapping, something I have never been adept at. Here’s hoping I won’t have to do this in the near future, but if I do I plan to have this site bookmarked. [Hoof-Wrapping Tips]

Chris Welton will replace John Long as the CEO of the USEF. Current CEO John Long announced his retirement last year, and Welton was unanimously voted in to take his place effective June 1. Chris has extensive experience in sports management and worked closely with the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. [Welton Named USEF CEO]

Best of the Blogs:

Check out Rolex featured rider Meghan O’Donoghue’s latest blog on her journey to her second Rolex.

Friday Video Break:

Check out Emily King and Brookleigh’s first CIC3* dressage test last weekend at Belton.

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Throwback Thursday Presented by Ice Horse: And the Rider Is …

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Each Thursday, we will be bringing you some vintage eventing photos of horses and riders. Do you want to show us your first horse or a photo of your early riding days? Email sally@eventingnation.com.

Hopefully this injury wasn't a residual result of too much kid-lunging. Hopefully this injury wasn't a residual result of too much kid-lunging.

I’ve got half a mind to stick a lunge line on my little brother after seeing this week’s photo. I’m sure he could benefit from the exercise. We certainly are glad that this rider stuck with the lunging, though; eventing wouldn’t quite be the same without him!

The rider pictured below is…

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Boyd Martin! Apparently Boyd got much entertainment from hopping over ground poles as a kid. Hopefully, his broken leg will heal in time to be out there hopping around with the best in no time!

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Thursday Video: Modern Dressage Freestyle

Ah, the dressage freestyle. One of my favorite spectacles to watch. After seeing Andreas Helgstrand and Blue Hors Matine dance to some Moulin Rouge so many years ago, I’ve always longed to see a freestyle with a nod to more modern music. Don’t get me wrong — the music chosen is almost always a wonderfully fitting piece, but sometimes I want to see something different.

Enter Carolina Roffman and Her Highness, who wowed the crowd this week at the Global Dressage Festival with a trendy freestyle that included music from the Spice Girls, Christina Aguilera and Katy Perry, to name a few. I was dancing along the whole time, and I was left wanting more from this adorable pair.

What do you think, EN? Is there room for more trendy music in the freestyle world?

Rolex Rookies: Bobby Meyerhoff and Dunlavin’s Token

Bobby Meyerhoff and Dunlavin's Token at Fair Hill. Photo by Alec Thayer. Bobby Meyerhoff and Dunlavin's Token at Fair Hill. Photo by Alec Thayer.

Bobby Meyerhoff has had Rolex in his sights for quite some time now. After moving from California to the East Coast to work for Stuart Black, Bobby went on to found his current business, Meyerhoff Show Horses LLC, in 2006. Alongside his wife, Danica, Bobby has made it his goal to produce top quality show horses for the elite levels of equestrian sport.

Dunlavin’s Token, a 2000 Zangershiede gelding imported from Argentina by Dunlavin Eventing, was produced from Training level to Advanced by Danica before Bobby took over the ride. Danica, who was working for Rebecca Howard and Dunlavin Eventing when Token was imported, eventually took the horse all the way through the CCI3* level, successfully completing Jersey Fresh in 2011. Bobby then took over the ride and began preparing to qualify Token for Rolex.

In 2013, Bobby and Token qualified for and entered Rolex, but the gelding came up a bit sore the Monday before competition. “We didn’t want to ruin him by running him anyway,” Bobby said. “I wanted to have a horse for next year, but I was devastated.” Bobby and Token went on to finish the year strong, completing the CCI3* at Fair Hill to end their season.

This year, Bobby once again set a goal to compete at Rolex. “I was really pleased with how he ran around (at Fair Hill),” Bobby said. “So I decided to have another go at Rolex this year. He feels great; actually he feels healthier and sounder than he did last year, so I think we’ll have a good go.”

As most other riders are also doing, Bobby is not looking at Rolex differently than any other event to prevent the nerves from escalating. “I know it’s going to be tough, and there’s a lot of atmosphere,” Bobby said. “This horse isn’t too great in dressage; he is pretty tough and hot, so I know it’s going to be a challenge. I don’t anticipate to blow anyone out of the water, but I am aiming to have a smooth test with no explosions.”

Bobby is most looking forward to the jumping phases, where Token really excels. “He’s a horse that’s really fast on cross country, and he’s going to be raring to go coming out of the start box. I plan to take the first couple of minutes to kind of be there for him and let him settle in, and once that happens I am going to let him go a little and let him do his job.”

Bobby took Token to the CIC3* at The Fork this past weekend, where he withdrew after jumping a double clear show jumping round. Not to worry, though, as this was all part of Bobby’s plan. “I’m going to make the decision to run cross country while I’m there,” Bobby said prior to The Fork. “If the stars align and the footing is perfect, I may let him run for fitness reasons, but if not there is no reason to push him. I’ll work on fitness back home on the hills in Virginia and then ship to Kentucky.”

Bobby and Token are well prepared for their CCI4* debut, and Bobby is confident that they can put in a good showing. “It’s going to be a new experience for both of us, and I know it’s going to be tough. But I know that we are both capable of putting in a good performance.”