Sally Spickard
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Rolex Rookies: Lisa Barry and F.I.S. Prince Charming

Welcome to our second annual Rolex Rookies series! We're thrilled to be profiling the new faces on the entry list for Rolex this year, and we couldn't be more excited for these riders taking their first crack at Kentucky. We'll be bringing you exclusive profiles on each Rookie pair, so keep checking back to learn more about the competitors you'll see in Kentucky this year. Go Rolex!

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

Lisa Barry found herself frustrated after a horse shopping trip to Europe left her with significantly less money and no horse to bring home with her. Donna Smith, whom Lisa had worked for briefly in New Zealand, had called before the European trip with a tip on a new horse off the track that was showing potential for upper level eventing.

“(Donna) told me I should come down to take a look, but I just couldn’t make the trip work on shorter notice. It was too expensive,” Lisa recalled. “After I came back from Europe, she told me she still had the horse, who was about six months off the track at that point. She’d run him at two Prelims [U.S. Novice] and said it was just a walk in the park for him.”

Lisa still couldn’t make a physical trip to New Zealand work, so she asked Donna to send her a video of the horse, which she obliged. “She just sent me a video on her phone of him on a Parelli line hopping over fences, and I said, ‘Oh — I see what she’s talking about now.’”

Lisa had her new prospect vetted just from the video, something she’d never done before. Before too long, the small but mighty New Zealand Thoroughbred, F.I.S. Prince Charming, who was four at the time, was on his way to America.

“When he first got off the trailer, I was a little nervous,” Lisa laughed. “He’s small. He’s just really low in his back, so it feels like you’re riding a pony. But when he jumps like that, how can I say no?”

After being imported in 2008, Lisa gave “Peanut” about a year to really settle into life in his new home, understanding that coming from overseas can really turn one’s world upside down. Lisa began competing Peanut in 2009, bringing him out at Novice at Waredaca where he finished in 11th on his dressage score.

Two years later, Lisa and Peanut had climbed up to the Intermediate level and Lisa began working towards an Advanced move-up with her diminutive mount. “With the jumping, once he figured out that he didn’t have to jump the standards he was just awesome,” she said. “He tries so hard every time. Cross country is his favorite; he gives me so much confidence because he’s just so game.”

He’s very strong for a little horse, so we’ve had to figure out the best bitting options for him, but he’s so adjustable which is a change since my last three-star horse, Kenzo, was a freight train. But Peanut is a bit of a machine, and he’s there for me when I make mistakes. He just never stops trying.”

Lisa Barry and F.I.S. Prince Charming at Jersey Fresh. Photo by Sally Spickard

Lisa Barry and F.I.S. Prince Charming at Jersey Fresh. Photo by Sally Spickard

The pair moved up to Advanced in 2012 and went on to complete the CCI3* at Bromont and at Fair Hill in 2014. “I like the way Derek (di Grazia) designs his courses,” she said of her experience over his bigger tracks. “I find that he certainly gives us enough to do but also keeps in mind that the horses need to catch their breath. I know that Kentucky will be beefier, and I hope his style continues in that the horses can use a gallop fence as a breather.”

“I think my horse has done well with the courses he’s jumped in the past; it will certainly be the biggest track he’s seen so far but he’s been great and I hope that continues.”

Lisa knows that the dressage will be the biggest challenge for her — she’s not the only one who will be breathing a sign of relief after her final halt. “I’m really hoping we don’t go towards the end of the day on Friday when there will be a lot of people there. He’s never been in an atmosphere like that. It will be interesting to see how he does with ring familiarization and coming down the chute. I’m interested to see if he’s impressed by it.

Coming to Rolex has been a goal of Lisa’s for as long as she can remember. “I’ve gone literally every year except maybe two,” she said. “My mom used to go before she really knew what eventing was. I think I’ve got pictures of myself in a stroller at Rolex as 2-year-old. I groomed for Holly Hepp (Hudspeth) when she had Lester Piggott there when I was 17, and at that point you walk around and just see how big everything is.”

“I remember my mom telling people around us that someday her daughter would be here — and she meant it! I’ve had a few horses that I thought would make it there, but I’m a big believer in everything happening for a reason. I think years ago I would have been really intimidated. Now I have more experience, and of course I’m still intimidated but I don’t feel panicked.

Lisa and Peanut are entered in the Advanced at The Fork this weekend for their final prep before heading to Kentucky. We wish both Lisa and F.I.S. Prince Charming the best of luck in their four-star debut!

Julie Norman Goes Wire to Wire in Texas + Other Scores

Julie Norman and Consensus. Photo by Jenni Autry. Julie Norman and Consensus. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Three Rolex bound pairs contested the Advanced division at the Texas Rose March HT this weekend, and it was Julie Norman and Consensus who led from start to take home the blue ribbon in their final prep run for Kentucky.

Julie found herself in the lead with “Thomas” after scoring a 31.8 in the dressage and didn’t look back, accumulating 6.4 time penalties across country today to secure her win. Alyssa Phillips and Bliss III finished second on the weekend on a final score of 40.5. This was Alyssa and Bliss III’s second Advanced together, so they’ll be thrilled with this solid finish.

In third place in the Texas Rose Advanced are Rolex Rookies Angela Grzywinski and Novelle, who moved up from fifth to third with just 4.8 time on cross country today. Also headed to Rolex, Ellen Doughty-Hume and Sir Oberon finished their weekend in fourth place with a final score of 46.9.

Texas Rose Horse Park H.T.  [Website] [Omnibus] [Live Scores]

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Rocking Horse hosted their spring event this weekend, running divisions from Tadpole all the way up to Intermediate — a busy weekend for the Florida eventers! Kelly Prather and Blackfoot Mystery are your Open Intermediate winners, moving up from fourth to take the win after cross country. Kelly and Blackfoot Mystery will tackle the CIC3* at The Fork next weekend.

In second place are Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me, who jumped from seventh to second with the only double clear cross country run of the division. These two finished on a 31.3 for second place over Diana Burnett and Diamond Cut III, who picked up six time penalties on cross country to relinquish their overnight lead.

Canada’s Jessie Phoenix rounds out the top five in the Open Intermediate with Abbey GS and Bentleys Best, respectively. These two finished on a 33.0 and a 36.1 to move up a few spots to fourth and fifth to end the weekend.

Rocking Horse Spring H.T.  [Website] [Omnibus] [Live Scores]

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Topping the Intermediate Rider division at Rocking Horse is Sable Giesler and Devil Munchkin, who steadily moved up throughout the weekend to clinch first place on a double clear cross country. This pair ended their weekend, Devil Munchkin’s first complete Intermediate, on a final score of 30.8.

Bailey Moran and Loughnatousa Caislean moved up from fourth to second, also with a double clear cross country, to finish on a weekend total of 34.6. Bailey and Loughnatousa Caislean are eyeing a move back up to Advanced after ending their debut early  last month but have been taking the time to ensure their confidence is at a peak when they pull the trigger again. It certainly looks like these two are meshing well and will be ready to step back  up to the big A in no time.

Rounding out the top three in the IR are Sarah Dunkerton and Old Man Moel who also logged a double clear to finish on a final score of 39.4.

The course proved to be very tricky for the IR division, with five riders completing, four eliminated and one falling.

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Nicole Doolittle and Tops are the winners of the Intermediate division at Full Gallop, which ran its March II event this weekend. Nicole and Tops led from start to finish, adding just two time penalties to their dressage score for a total of 26.6.

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Lindsay Mahon and Playtime finished in second place for the weekend, moving up from third after show jumping for a weekend final of 49.4. This was the first Intermediate start of the year for this pair, who has collected two fourth place finishes at Preliminary so far in 2015.

Kelli Temple and Matilda complete the division in third place. This pair is also contesting their first Intermediate of 2015 together; most recently the mare finished second in the Prelim at Pine Top.

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

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Vote for Your Favorite Rolex Ticket Art, Presented by Tipperary

Photo by Lenore Threlkeld. Photo by Lenore Threlkeld.

We asked you to come with a creative, EN style way to show off your Rolex tickets for a chance to win a T-series helmet from Tipperary, and you certainly delivered! We can tell you’re all itching to get to Rolex as much as Chinch is hankering for a William Fox-Pitt autograph.

It was a tough job, but we’ve narrowed the field down to five finalists, and we need your help deciding on the winner! Check out our finalists below and cast your vote for the winner. Voting will end on Friday, April 3 at 5 p.m. EST, and we’ll announce the winner in Saturday’s News & Notes.

Happy voting, and good luck to our finalists!

Kerry Parker:

Submitted by Kerry Parker.

Submitted by Kerry Parker.

Susanne Lamborn:

Submitted by Susanne Lamborn.

Submitted by Susanne Lamborn.

Dawn Briand:

Submitted by Dawn.

Submitted by Dawn Briand.

Audra Alland:

Submitted by Audra A.

Submitted by Audra Alland.

Anna Suhl: 

Submitted by Anna Suhl.

Submitted by Anna Suhl.

 

Watch Galway Downs Cross Country Highlights and Press Conference Video

The FEI divisions at Galway Downs wrapped up yesterday, with Rolex-bound James Alliston and Tivoli taking home the top spot after a double clear cross country run. Barb Carbo and Over Easy won the CIC2* and Heather Morris and Russell’s Reserve conquered the CIC*.

A few of the FEI top finishers provided their thoughts on cross country day in a post-ride press conference, commenting that Ian Stark’s course did exactly what it needed to this weekend. Rolex Rookie John Michael Durr said his mare really jumped well over the course, even though he’s still battling some nerves leading up to his CCI4* debut.

Jolie Wentworth, who is returning to Kentucky this year with Goodknight, also said she was thrilled with how her weekend went. “I feel like I have kind of really come back now,” she said of her comeback tour after giving birth to her first daughter. “I’ve had all winter and now all spring and I’ve kind of gotten my legs back underneath me now, and it feels great.”

You can hear more of the riders’ thoughts on cross country day below. We’d like to thank Ride On Video and Frankie Thieriot for all of their hard work this weekend. The highlight videos are a great way to keep abreast of the action, and we really appreciate all of the effort made by the Ride On team and Frankie.

Go Galway!

Galway Downs H.T. & CIC  [Website] [Omnibus] [Live Scores]

A Horse of a Different Color: Artistic Flaire

Claire Jan and Artistic Flaire. Photo courtesy of Captured Moment Photography. Claire Jan and Artistic Flaire. Photo courtesy of Captured Moment Photography.

Claire Jan wasn’t shopping for an upper level horse when she first met Artistic Flaire, a 14.2 Morgan gelding. Claire was 11 when she found “Ace” in 2009 as a 5-year-old, and it’s been a journey she’ll never forget ever since she brought him home.

I was just looking for a good first horse,” Claire recalled. “I was not by any means ready to bring a horse up through the levels. But we went and tried him and it was just one of those cliche moments where I knew it was right.”

Ace has just started jumping, competing in two Novice events before Claire purchased him. They began their career in 2009 together at the Beginner Novice level, finishing fourth on their dressage score in their first recognized event.

When we got Ace, we were told he’d probably go Training level,” Claire said. “It’s just the way he is; he’s a good jumper and he’s cute but he’s got pony gaits. He doesn’t have a super fancy trot. We just kind of thought he’d be a good, safe first horse.”

Claire and Ace took their time, solidifying their partnership before attempting to move up. Their move up to Training level in 2011 wasn’t without its bumps, but Claire and Ace pressed on and their results began to improve. “When we moved up, it went really well but then we started to have some problems,” Claire said. “We just kept working through everything, and once we did it’s like everything began clicking for us.”

Claire went on to complete two T3Ds with her pony, and she was thrilled to find that he seemed not to find anything impressive or difficult. Claire was beginning to realize that Training may not be the limit for her special gelding.

She intended to continue moving up the levels, and once she had moved Ace up to Training level she began shopping for a horse who could go higher, remembering what she had been told about her pony only being able to go so far. The horse buying process didn’t turn up anything for Claire, so she instead decided to give Ace a shot and see how far he wanted to go.

“I went to California to be a working student for James and Taren Atkinson, and we sat down and talked about our future plans,” Claire recalled. “We made the decision to go ahead and try for Prelim.

Photo courtesy of Captured Moments Photography.

Photo courtesy of Captured Moment Photography.

Claie and Ace moved up to Prelim in 2013 at Copper Meadows, finishing seventh after adding just time and a pair of rails in the show jumping. If nothing else, Claire was sitting on a horse who was always up for a challenge.

He really enjoys stepping up to the plate,” she said. “It’s just his personality. He loves to please. It really helps that he is so game and honest; even when he is a little unsure, he still is always honest and tries his little heart out to make it work.”

Since their move up, Claire and Ace have completed seven Prelims, two CCI*s and one CIC* — very impressive for a 14.2 pony who was only supposed to go Training level. Ace wasn’t done showing what he had yet, though, and he and Claire completed their first Intermediate earlier this month at Copper Meadows.

“I’m extremely happy with how it went,” Claire said. “On paper, it doesn’t look like it was as successful of a weekend as it was. He was so obedient in the dressage, he scored very well. On cross country, it never felt hairy or backed off. It was like he just went out there and told me to hang on. Show jumping was a lot of rider error. I think the mental game of it all got to me, and we had five rails. I just didn’t ride him the way I should have.”

From here, Claire plans to do the CIC* at Twin Rivers the second weekend of April and plans to continue getting mileage at the Intermediate level. Claire’s also hoping to make the trip to the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in Kentucky this summer at the CCI* level representing Area 9.

I want to focus on getting more experience now, and then we’ll see if maybe a two-star isn’t out of the question,” Claire said. “I think it would be awesome if he could do more — and I think he could — but we’re just taking it one day at a time.”

Claire knows the game is very much mental when it comes to piloting a pony around a cross country course where the jumps often rival him in size. “I remember my first Prelim, I was walking the course and I thought ‘Wow, this jump is bigger than him,’” she said. “I have to trust that he is smart enough to take care of himself.”

“If he thinks he can’t make it, I think we’re both smart enough to realize it. But it is a bit intimidating to gallop down to something that is wider than your horse  or getting up there and his shoulder is about where the top of the jump is. But he’s quick and agile, and he can get himself out of a lot of sticky situations.”

Claire trains out of Utah, where she returned after her working student stint concluded. Training with longtime coach Robin Sundeen, Claire is enjoying her time flying high aboard her little pony who could.

Saturday Videos: Catch Up on Galway Downs Action

The FEI divisions at Galway Downs are in full swing, and our newest team member, Stephanie, is on the grounds covering the CIC2* and CIC3*. These divisions are preparing to tackle Ian Stark’s cross country course this afternoon, so stay tuned for full reports from those divisions as they wrap up their weekend.

Ride On Video and Frankie Thieriot have been hard at work as well, putting together some excellent video recaps from the action so far. You can catch up on the dressage and show jumping phases in these videos.

Many thanks to Ride On Video and Frankie for these great recaps! Go Galway.

Galway Downs H.T. & CIC  [Website] [Omnibus] [Live Scores]

The Event College Returning to Rolex in 2015

Max Corcoran, one of last year's Event College presenters, educates the masses in a clinic. Photo courtesy of Mary Beth Herbert. Max Corcoran, one of last year's Event College presenters, educates the masses in a clinic. Photo courtesy of Mary Beth Herbert.

After a successful seminar at Rolex in 2014, the USEA announced that The Event College, an educational seminar presented by the USEA’s Professional Horseman’s Council, will be returning to Kentucky this year.

The Event College is a specially designed educational series held in conjunction with Rolex Kentucky and is designed to educate the general public about the sport of three-day eventing.

“Tuition” for The Event College is free, and participants will meet the designated speaker at specified locations around the horse park throughout the event. Education will be provided during each phase of competition in 15 minute segments.

Last year’s speakers included Sinead Halpin, Max Corcoran, Leslie Law, Karen O’Connor, and many more well-known professionals. This year’s lineup is sure to be just as impressive. We’ll provide more updates on the schedule, speakers, and sign-up process as they become available. This is a great opportunity for both eventing rookies and veterans alike!

[USEA Announces Return of Event College]

Friday Videos from World Equestrian Brands: Phillip Dutton Recaps Carolina International

Phillip Dutton capped off a successful weekend at the Cloud 11 – Gavilan North LLC Carolina International with a CIC3* win aboard Jim and Kristie Norton’s I’m Sew Ready. He took a few moments to chat with commentator Karen O’Connor after his final cross country ride of the day. You can view footage of his rides on the USEF Network, along with every other ride from the CIC3* that weekend, by clicking here.

[Carolina International Coverage]

In the meantime, check out Phillip’s winning weekend aboard I’m Sew Ready below:

Snag a Working Student Job with These Listings [Updated 3/27]

Working students have all the ... fun? Photo by Meg Kep. Working students have all the ... fun? Photo by Meg Kep.

With the spring season reaching full swing, many eventers are beginning the search for working students once again. Working students are an essential part of any equine operation, involving themselves in the day to day work that goes into maintaining top horses.

Working for a rider affords you the opportunity to learn from a professional while also building your resume and sense of responsibility. It’s hard work, that’s no question! In the end, though, you’ll walk away with one of the best character building experiences of your life. We’ll be updating this post throughout the next few weeks as new listings are added.

Riders and trainers: If you are searching for a working student or groom, please email sally@eventingnation.com so we can add your listing to our post.

Go Working Students!

Open Working Student Positions

Bascule Farm/Lillian Heard/Dick and Julie Hagen (MD): We have a very successful year long resident student program. We are currently looking for a strong novice level or above rider to be sponsored to compete young and more advanced horses in starter and recognized trials in 2015. Housing, field board for one horse, 4 lessons a week, competitions/hauling/coaching and $100/wk. Check out our website and fill out an application if interested in interviewing.

Hawley Bennett (CA): Hawley Bennett Eventing is looking for a working student to start as soon as possible. Things have gotten extra busy and we’d love the help! Contact hawleybennett@hotmail.com for more information.

Kyle and Jen Carter (FL): We are looking for a barn manager and also have an opening for a working student, both starting in April.  We have a busy event barn with horses from green thru CCI****, learn all aspects of the business from selling to training and competing. Accommodations plus room for one horse. Minimum of 6 month commitment.  Please email at fivering@hotmail.com.

C Square Farm/Courtney Cooper (PA): C Square Farm has a long term working student position available starting at the end of March in Nottingham, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, our awesome Aiken working student will be pursuing other life adventures after selling her horse and will not be joining us back home. This position will teach you the ins-and-outs of running a successful horse business as well as lessons from Advanced-level event rider Courtney Cooper. Room and housing is provided and could include board for one horse. You do not need your own horse though, opportunities to ride other horses based on your ability may be available.  A positive attitude and a great character are required. Please contact Courtney and her team at Csquarefarm@gmail.com for more information.

Buck Davidson/Andrea Leatherman Davidson (PA/FL): We have another opening for a working student! Andrea is currently looking for someone to join her and her husband’s incredible team. Must be motivated, hard working, and a great personality. Andrea and Buck work together so the working student will become a part of a large, fast pace and rewarding program. For more information click here.

Mara DePuy (SC/VA): Mara DePuy has an immediate opening for a working student in Aiken, SC until March, when they will move north to Round Hill, VA. Fantastic opportunity for one-on-one education from one of the best. More details and contact information can be found at MaraDepuyeventing.com

Destination Farm/Natalie Hollis/Suz Cornue (MD): We have an opening for a working student starting in July.  Working students receive lessons, housing, stall board for 1 horse, shipping to events, and coaching at events in exchange for doing barn work, general farm upkeep, grooming at home and shows, and riding horses in our program. Own horse not required. Working students generally ride 3 horses a day. 6 month minimum commitment, but will sometimes take on shorter term help for the summer. We are located in Dickerson, MD- very close to many Area II events and places to XC school. Facilities include 30 stalls with indoor and outdoor ring, grass jumping field, and great hacking/conditioning/trails.  More information at www.destinationeventing.com. Contact natalieghollis@gmail.com.

Elysian Hills Equestrian Center (VA): Elysian Hills Equestrian Center is looking for working students for the summer of 2015 or long term. Working students at Elysian Hills spend much more time in the saddle than the average working student, often getting several lessons each day. In addition to caring for the boarders, horses in training, and breeding stock, working students are responsible for riding several horses a day that vary in experience from green broke to seasoned horses who have competed through intermediate. Working students have the opportunity to take lessons from renowned international event riders on a weekly basis, as well as compete in local and recognized shows throughout the area. There is no minimum age for the position, but working students must be responsible, independent, and self-motivated. This the perfect opportunity for dedicated riders who do not have the finances to back them. Students may choose to live in a shared apartment on the farm or commute. There is a possibility to bring your own horse. Please Contact Lucy Gordon at blgordon13@yahoo.com for more information.

Sinead Halpin (FL/NC): We at Sinead Halpin Eventing are looking for a working student to start right away in Florida. We will be in Ocala till the third week in March then head to North Carolina until Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Perks of the job… great horses, great people, plenty of lessons and competitions BUT this is a HARD job with long hours, little sleep and requires a self-motivated dedicated applicant. Please email me at Sinead@sineadhalpin.com if you are interested.

Allie Knowles (KY): Alexandra Knowles Eventing is in need of  one or two driven and motivated working students! AKE is a team-oriented farm so we are looking for team players, ready and willing to work and learn. Room, board, and lessons are provided. The farm is located in Paris, KY- just 25 miles from the Kentucky Horse Park! If you have any additional questions or are interested please e-mail Allie at akeventing1@gmail.com or check out akeventing.com

Kelli Temple (VA): Working student position for Kelly Temple Eventing opening April 1. Come work and train with Olympic rider, Kelli McMullen Temple – We are looking for a motivated, energetic and enthusiastic student who’s interest is in eventing.  Position requires 6 days of work in exchange for board of one horse, lessons, coaching and transport to shows.  We are located just outside of Middleburg, VA on a 60 acre farm with an outdoor jumping ring, covered arena and full x-country schooling course. Our team prides itself on individual attention and a positive learning environment – ideal for the dedicated rider. For more info pls contact Kelli akmtemple@hotmail.com or visit our website - www.kellitempleeventing.com.

Kismet Farm/Tracy Bowman/Jolie Wentworth (CA): Top California event barn, Kismet Farms, is looking for an eager working student for the 2015 season. Responsibilities to include barn chores (no mucking!), turn outs, and riding. Working student will receive frequent lessons with head trainer Tracy Bowman and 4 star rider Jolie Wentworth. Plenty of horses in the barn to ride if you don’t bring your own, but personal horses also welcome. Plenty of learning, schooling, and showing possibilities and plenty of saddle time! Modest living accommodations provided. Please contact Tracy for additional details at 925-917-3276kismetfarms1@gmail.com or visit www.kismetfarms.net.

Jeffrey Kohler – Combined Driving (Ontario): Working Student position available at Relhok Farm Barrie Ontario. Full service training facility for riding, pleasure and combined driving, specializing in ponies. 22 stalls, wash stall, 2 grooming stalls, tack room/viewing room, 70×180 indoor, 100mx40m outdoor ring, 135 acres with hacking. Looking for ambitious, self starting, reliable and dedicated working student. Responsibilities to include stalls, grooming, turnout, tack cleaning, feeding, light lawn care etc. Different arrangements available from onsite apartment to living off site. Stall available for student’s horse or pony. Opportunity to ride and for carriage driving. Travel to shows all over Ontario and the US training/coaching in carriage driving. Availability to show if qualified — on the line, under saddle and Carriage Driving. Please contact Jeffrey Kohler at  jeff@relhok.ca.

Caroline Martin (FL): Full time groom needed for private yard in Spirngtown, PA and Ocala, FL (six months spent at each base) with a great string of upper level event horses competing internationally. Need someone who is knowledgeable of all aspects of horse care and show care. For more information, please contact Caroline Martin.

Sean McQuillan (VA): McQuillan Equestrian is looking for a special candidate to fill their open working student position starting in March. Located at Kilfinnan Stables in Warrenton, VA, McQuillan Equestrian is dedicated to the sport of eventing and providing top-level training to both horses and riders. Our ideal candidate has a good work ethic, strong time-management skills and a keen interest in learning, as well as their own method of transportation. You must be able to work well with others, take direction and have a great attitude. Practical experience with horses is a must, and experience with young horses and a familiarity with eventing would be helpful. We maintain a 6-day workweek with consistent barn hours. Most days will consist of riding for the first part of the day with routine horse management and the availability of a lesson in the afternoon. Traveling to shows and events should be expected. In addition to riding, you will have a behind-the-scenes look at the horse management and veterinary side of our business, and gain experience in helping to manage a successful training operation. Housing will be provided and board for one horse is a possibility. Must be at least 18 years old. If you are interested in our working student position, please send a resume and a riding video to Kendra McQuillan: kilfinnanstables@gmail.com. For more information about McQuillan Equestrian, our facilities and our horses, please visit our website: www.kilfinnanstables.com.

Doug and Jessica Payne (SC/NC): International 4* Riders Doug and Jessica Payne are looking for a working student.  It’s perfect for an individual who wants to be part of a top notch Eventing and Show Jumping Barn. This job offers the rare opportunity to groom and participate at the top levels of both show jumping and eventing, and to train daily under the eye of a judge. Applicants should be hard workers and dedicated to working in a team environment.  Located in Aiken, SC until the new farm is finished being built in Hillsborough, NC. Please contact Jessica at jess@dpequestrian.com for more information.

Playland Farm Equestrian Center/Glenda Player (MD): Playland Equestrian Center (Union Bridge) is currently seeking long and short-term working students to be a part of the Playland team. All working students are required to be at least 18-years-old. Long-term working students stay for a minimum of six months, and receive free housing at the farm and board for one horse. Short-term working students generally come for the summer or spring break, and receive board at a reduced rate.   All students are encouraged to bring their own horse if they have one. Depending on the students’ skill level, students may receive the opportunity to work several horses a day, whether it is in-hand or under saddle, including their own horse in addition to other farm and operational tasks. Lessons/coaching/showing opportunities also available. Limited housing available on the farm. Salary to be discussed with applicant. Apply Today! Visitwww.playlandequestriancenter.com for more information.

Pollard Eventing (GA): Pollard Eventing is seeking a working student or two. Come and be a part of our successful team. Learn the ins and outs of what it takes to ride at the top levels of the sport. The position is open to candidates who can commit for a minimum of 6 months, preferably one year. Housing and lessons are provided in exchange for hard work. There is room to bring your horse. If you are interested, please contact Allison at billy8bucks@yahoo.com.

Denise Rath (FL): Denise Rath at Grey Fox Farm in Ocala, FL has an immediate opening for a full time working student. This is a great opportunity for somebody who wants to do some riding & competing, as well learning the day to day operations of a large barn. In exchange for your hard work we offer nice accommodations, board for your horse & daily lessons. For the right person we can offer the rare opportunity of a free lease on one of our horses with advanced level experience. Please send resumes to mlundberg81@gmail.com or drath@greyfoxfarm.com

Dom and Jimmie Schramm (PA): We are looking for another working student to come on board at Schramm Equestrian! A few prerequisites: Must be finished with either High School or College, no online classes or just summer working students we want someone who can commit long term. We would prefer someone in their 20s but must be at least 18 years old. Must have their own form of transportation. Must be able to pay for their horse’s hard expenses (grain, hay, feed, straw). No dogs. This is not a riding position and it will be hard work. We have a fantastic team so far and are looking to add the last piece to the puzzle. We are looking for someone hardworking that loves to have fun but also can pay attention to detail. Please email your resumes to Stephanie Simpson at steph.simpson15@gmail.com. She will be your go to person.

Jane Sleeper (PA): Active event stable with a variety of young horses through the upper level rides is interviewing for a working student for this spring season and into the summer. All duties with an individual program set up for you & your horse, and you have the opportunity to ride/compete on our horses.  Lessons, clinics, housing, and  board available to the motivated, hard working training level eventor with a six month commitment. We also offer a summer working student program for students with a shorter time frame and desire to learn by first hand experience at  a professional yard.  Come for an interview & meet the team! Email sleepyjane@juno.com for more information. 

USEA (Varied): The USEA Media Committee has just been launched as an effort to keep the USEA media outlets — website, FB, US Eventing magazine — current with its members and apprised of recent news and important discussion topics from coast to coast. This is a member-generated effort, and I am looking for young people interested in journalism, communications, social media, and eventing to help move this work forward. I’ve already had a strong response from the East Coast and Midwest, so now I’m calling on some of my West Coast peeps to step up! Internship credits available. Email Katy Groesbeck at kgeventing@gmail.com for more info.

Rolex Entry Update: Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch Added, Historic 91 Entered

Laine Ashker sporting her helmet cam with Anthony Patch at Millbrook. Photo by Jenni Autry. Laine Ashker sporting her helmet cam with Anthony Patch at Millbrook. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The last few entries are still trickling in this week, and fans of Laine Ashker will be thrilled to see her confirmed entry with Anthony Patch added this morning. We also saw the addition of Werner Geven’s second ride, Vilas County.

Laine and her 16-year-old OTTB gelding, Anthony Patch, have completed Rolex twice, in 2010 and 2011. After an untimely abscess kept them out of the competition last year, Laine made returning to Kentucky this year her goal — and we all know that this girl will do just about anything she puts her mind to! Keep an eye out for high fashion on the jog lane and selfies galore from the Kentucky Horse Park as this veteran pair makes their return.

Werner Geven and Vilas County at Poplar Place. Photo courtesy of Bailey Moran.

Werner Geven and Vilas County at Poplar Place. Photo courtesy of Bailey Moran.

Werner Geven has also entered a second ride in addition to Vandiver: Carden Burdette’s Vilas County. Vilas County is an 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding who will be contesting his first CCI4* at Rolex. Werner and Vilas County were most recently 12th in the CIC3* at Poplar Place and also finished in the top 20 in the CCI3* at Fair Hill in 2013. Werner’s making his first CCI4* start since 2006, when he completed Rolex and WEG aboard Esker Riada.

With these two most recent entries, that brings our total of entries up to 91. We’re 10 higher than 2014′s entry list, and there is a chance that a late entry or two may still pop up. Naturally, we’ll be waiting with bated breath for the first horse inspection to pass for our official starting number, but suffice it to say we are thrilled with this historic high for entries.

At the latest tally, we’ve got nine federations represented, 20 Rolex Rookies, and 13 participants in the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy. We’ll be breaking down the numbers of the field in a later post, but it’s definitely promised to be a great year in Kentucky!

[Rolex Entry List]

Thursday Video: Watch Jennie Brannigan’s Jockey Debut Aboard Where’s the Beef

Jennie Brannigan and Where's The Beef lead the race. Photo by Tod Marks Photography. Jennie Brannigan and Where's The Beef lead the race. Photo by Tod Marks Photography.

Jennie Brannigan made a splash in the racing world this past weekend, piloting Tim and Nina Gardner’s Where’s The Beef to a fourth place finish in an allowance turf race at the Aiken Spring Steeplechase. The 7-year-old gelding has been a special undertaking of Jennie’s, and he’s on his way back to the top levels of the sport as he is aiming for the $75,000 Carolina Cup this weekend.

HCP Sports provided a video of the race, which Jennie and “Beef” led for the majority of the time. It’s a thrilling race to watch, and we have to say Jennie looks right at home galloping along the turf. Of course, she’s been galloping racehorses for quite some time now, so this seems like the next natural step for her!

Congratulations once again to Jennie on her jockey debut. Next up, we’ll be seeing her galloping around another turf — the Rolex turf that is!

To view the video, please click here or on the image below. 

Screenshot (56)

 

Rolex Entry Update: Boyd Martin Enters Three, Entries at 89

Boyd Martin and Master Frisky. Photo by Jenni Autry. Boyd Martin and Master Frisky. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Entries for Rolex closed on Tuesday, so we’re seeing the last few entries trickling in right now. This morning, Boyd Martin finally made his appearance on the list with three horses who will be contesting their first four-stars: Master Frisky, Pancho Villa and Crackerjack. We also saw the addition of Will Coleman and Obos O’Reilly, who will also be making his first CCI4* start, as well as Rolex Rookies Maya Black and Doesn’t Play Fair. 

Boyd himself missed Rolex last year after breaking his leg at Carolina International — suffice it to say, we’re happy he made it through the event this past weekend in one piece! His two horses will be in experienced hands as they go around Kentucky for the first time.

Master Frisky, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Steve Blauner, is fresh off of a second place finish in the CIC3* at Carolina International. Boyd and “Mikey” finished on their dressage score after logging a double clear cross country run, and they are entered in the CIC3* at The Fork next weekend for their final tune-up.

In 2014, Master Frisky finished second in his CCI3* debut at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International, and he’s gone clear across country in every FEI start he’s made to date.

Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Pancho Villa is a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding owned by the Pancho Villa Syndicate that Boyd began riding in 2013. Together, they completed the horse’s first CCI3* at Fair Hill last year in 17th place, and they’re also coming off a solid start at Carolina International. “Pancho” lowered two rails over a tricky show jumping course in the CIC3* at Carolina but added nothing on cross country. He’s also entered at The Fork and will compete in the Advanced division.

Boyd Martin and Crackerjack at Plantation Field CIC3*. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Boyd Martin and Crackerjack at Plantation Field CIC3*. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Crackerjack, owned by Lucy Boynton Lie, is a 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding who picked up a solid fifth place finish in the CIC3* at Carolina International this past weekend. He also finished in the top 15 in the CCI3* at Fair Hill last fall and has had a great start to his season leading up to Rolex.

Crackerjack is entered in the CIC3* at The Fork for his final practice run before Kentucky.

Will Coleman and OBOS O'Reilly. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Will Coleman and OBOS O’Reilly. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Will Coleman is set to make a return to the CCI4* level with Obos O’Reilly. Will represented the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games aboard Twizzel and has also been to Kentucky three times before. This year he’s bringing Obos O’Reilly, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding who won the CCI3* at Bromont in 2013.

Most recently, Will and Obos O’Reilly finished 12th in the CIC2* at Carolina International and he’s entered in the Advanced at The Fork next weekend.

Maya Black and Doesn't Play Fair. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Maya Black and Doesn’t Play Fair. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Last but most certainly not least, Maya Black and Doesn’t Play Fair are entered into their first CCI4*. Doesn’t Play Fair, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Dawn Doffelmier, was third in the CCI3* at Galway Downs last fall and also won the CIC3* at Plantation Field in 2014. This pair also finished in the top 20 of the CIC3* at Carolina International and are entered in the Advanced at The Fork next weekend.

That brings our entries total up to 89 for this year, which exceeds last year’s record high of 82 entries, and it’s really shaped up to be a very exciting start list. We’ll be keeping an eye on the entries for any late changes, but as of right now we have a very clear picture of who we’ll see in Kentucky this year. Click below for the full entry list.

[Rolex Entry List]

Rolex Rookies: Cody Sturgess and Imperial Melody

Welcome to our second annual Rolex Rookies series! We're thrilled to be profiling the new faces on the entry list for Rolex this year, and we couldn't be more excited for these riders taking their first crack at Kentucky. We'll be bringing you exclusive profiles on each Rookie pair, so keep checking back to learn more about the competitors you'll see in Kentucky this year. Go Rolex!

Cody Sturgress and Imperial Melody at Poplar Place. Photo courtesy of Bailey Moran. Cody Sturgress and Imperial Melody at Poplar Place. Photo courtesy of Bailey Moran.

Cody Sturgess has always seen something special in his OTTB mare, Imperial Melody. Purchased off the track as a two-year-old who had just raced one time, Imperial Melody (My Imperial SlewGolden Melody, by Geiger Counter), “Melly” was originally tagged as a resale project for Cody and his mother, Susan, but Cody quickly laid claim to her.

“I said to my mom, ‘I think there’s something special about this one,‘” Cody recalled. “I asked if it would be ok if we kept her. She just had such a great attitude and willingness to work. Even as a baby, she was very keen to jump — anything and everything. You can’t train them to do that; they either want to or they don’t. She was amazing from the start, and picked up on things so well that you had to be careful not to do too much too fast with her.”

Cody and Melly made their recognized debut in Canada at Training level in 2008, where she placed second. Cody took his time with his talented mare, spending nearly three years at Training and Prelim before making her FEI debut at the CCI* in 2010. From there, the pair never looked back and began competing in the U.S. for Canada in 2013.

“Her first Advanced was at Richland Park, and I walked the course feeling like I was going to throw up,” Cody said. “After I walked it about five times, it started to look rideable. We went out on cross country and went double clear — it just wasn’t difficult for her. I thought to myself, ‘Ok, this is a serious horse.’ You always think they’re serious, but until they actually go out and do it you always wonder.

Indeed, the 15.3 mare has never had a cross country jumping penalty on her record in FEI competition. “She’s an amazing cross country horse and a great galloper,” Cody said. “We’ve made a lot of changes with her prep and training, and it’s really beginning to pay off with her scoring well on the flat and jumping well in the show jumping.”

She’s 15.3 on a good day with new shoes on,” he joked. “She absolutely tries her heart out every day. There’s always stories about the smaller OTTBs who do well, and she’s one of them. She knows her job and loves it. The only time she’s ever had time on cross country is if we were planning to go slow.”

Cody and Melly at Poplar Place. Photo courtesy of Bailey Moran.

Cody and Melly at Poplar Place. Photo courtesy of Bailey Moran.

Cody is spending the months leading up to Rolex training with Canadian coach Clayton Fredericks in Florida. “I wanted to give us the best possible chance of success, and Clayton has been very helpful in preparing us,” he said.

Rolex became a solid goal for Cody last year after the pair had success competing at the three-star level. As far as the big picture, Cody’s got his eyes set on representing Canada in the Olympics. He and Melly were short-listed for the Canadian Eventing Team this year, their first nomination to the short list.

“I knew she would be a Rolex horse, and my focus has always been to compete for Canada and represent at the Olympics. With the Pan Am Games this year, it didn’t make sense to hold her back and hope to get selected when Rolex was coming up and we knew she was capable of going and being successful.”

Having finished 11th at Bromont last year, Cody feels confident coming into another technical course designed by Derek di Grazia. “I think that type of course will suit her well, and it’s the type that I prefer,” he elaborated. “I like the open galloping courses. Bromont felt very easy for her. She’s so small and adjustable, she could get around any course, I feel. I would feel confident going around any course in the world on this horse.”

In the final weeks leading up to Rolex, Cody is focusing on keeping his mare happy, sound and healthy. After going double clear on cross country in the CIC3* at Poplar Place this past weekend, Cody plans to keep working on those dressage and show jumping skills before making the trek to Kentucky.

“She’s confirmed on cross country, she doesn’t need another run before Rolex,” he said. “Her cross country record speaks for itself. We’re going to focus on keeping her feeling good though her body, which is more important to me than drilling her in the ring.”

Cody’s feeling game and confident going into his first CCI4* with his horse of a lifetime. “I owe my whole career to this horse and to the support of my mother who helped make all of this possible. I’m confident that we can go out and be competitive, and my goal is to come home with a top-20 finish.”

Best of luck to Cody and Imperial Melody as they tackle their first Rolex together. To learn more about Cody and how you can support his journey, click here. You can also follow along with his updates on his Facebook page here.

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Carolina CIC3* Water Complex

We got lucky with the coverage from Carolina International this past weekend, as RNS Video was also on site to bring us video of the action. Check out the above footage from the CIC3* Cloud 11 Watership Down complex. Who gets your vote for best ride?

Thanks to the fantastic services of the USEF Network this weekend at Carolina International, we are also now are able to view the competition on demand this week. Who needs Netflix when you’ve got hours of eventing coverage to binge watch?

The cross country is divided up into sections on USEF Network, and you can also go back and view show jumping and dressage rides from individual riders. There’s quite a lot of videos to sift through, so there’s plenty to help keep us occupied until Rolex.

Click here to visit the USEF Network and view all of the Carolina International videos on demand.

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

Product Review: Padded Ponies Half Pad

Jesse enjoys his model status. Photo by Sally Spickard. Jesse enjoys his model status. Photo by Sally Spickard.

It’s always a tough choice, choosing the right pad that works for both you and your horse. Fortunately, there are a multitude of options on the market today for just about every shape, size, and preference.

The idea of a custom pad has always been a big seller in today’s market. Especially for eventers, who love to color coordinate. When Padded Ponies approached me with the opportunity to test one of their memory foam half pads, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

I’m lucky enough to have a relatively “normal” shaped horse. He doesn’t have the “shark fin” withers that many Thoroughbreds have, and he goes in a standard medium tree saddle. When testing out a demo saddle a couple of weeks ago, I was pleased that no major altercations would need to be made once I ordered his saddle.

I may be a minority in this opinion — perhaps it’s because I’ve dealt with an ill-fitting saddle for the past few years — but I still favor the idea of using a half pad, as long as it does not interfere with my saddle fit. Like I said, my old saddle (the one pictured) needed a lot of help in that department. So I’m always game to test out a new half pad to see if it provides some more comfort for both my horse and me.

The obvious thing about Padded Ponies is the custom options. A click through their website yields so many options that you’ll be able to find any color and pattern combination possible. They also offer solid colors, so if patterns aren’t your thing not to worry!

Fun and functional! Photo by Sally Spickard.

Fun and functional! Photo by Sally Spickard.

I ordered mine in my eventing colors of royal purple and gray (ok, my colors also include black and white but who’s counting?). Out of the box, I was impressed with the quality with which the pads are made. There’s even an embroidered reminder on washing instructions (machine wash, line dry) on the spine so you don’t have any pesky tags to worry about. That’s what I call attention to detail.

The memory foam was cold out of the box from shipping, but I was pleased to see that once it warmed up it was pliable and ready to use.

The thing about memory foam is that it can appear pretty thick on first glance. I wasn’t sure how it would work with my saddle since it did seem a bit thick out of the box, but I was pleased to see that once it was on, the foam immediately conformed to my saddle, alleviating pressure points and achieving a nice fit without interfering.

During my ride, I felt comfortable and secure in the saddle and I felt my horse moving well through his back, making me feel that he enjoyed the extra comfort between him and the saddle.

Once I was finished riding, the pad almost immediately returned to its full shape. This was encouraging, as it made me feel that it could be used on multiple horses and conform accordingly to them. I’m happy to report that after a handful of rides, the pad is still returning to its original shape and density after removal.

The pad is large enough to fit a larger saddle (my old saddle, pictured, is a 16.5″) with plenty of room, which is great considering I will have a larger saddle coming in the next few months.

Overall, I’ve had a positive experience with Padded Ponies. Their customer service is wonderful, and they’re able to offer a custom product at an affordable price. I think I can speak for both my horse and myself when I say I’m glad we landed on this option, which is both fun and functional.

You can view more information on Padded Ponies (and order your own!) here. You can find saddle pads, stirrup and saddle covers, and different types of half pads, so shop to your heart’s content!

Go Padded Ponies!

Tuesday Videos from SpectraVET: Elisa Wallace’s Poplar Place Weekend

Elisa Wallace brought out her upper level campaigners as well as two of her mustangs to Poplar Place over the weekend. Competing her newest mustang, Hwin, at the Novice level, she picked up a fifth place finish after adding two rails to their dressage score. Hwin is a lovely looking mare who has really taken to her new career as an eventer, and we can’t wait to see where these two head next.

Rune, one of Elisa’s mustangs who she’s had for some time now, was also out competing at the Novice level. Despite a stop at a ditch, which evidently was full of mustang eating grelims, Rune added nothing else to his dressage score for a 12th place finish in the Novice B.

Elisa also used this weekend as a prep run for Jill Hopcroft’s Simply Priceless, who is heading to Rolex next month. Elisa and “Johnny” contested the dressage and stadium phases and will also ride a CT at Ocala as their final prep for Kentucky.

Rosemarie Spillane’s Corteo also competed at Poplar, finishing fifth with just time on cross country in the CIC2*. Corteo seems nonplussed by the rainy weather than descended upon the event over the weekend, and Wallace Eventing wrote that his performance was very strong, even with the less than ideal conditions.

Congratulations to Elisa on a successful outing. It’s great to see the mustangs out enjoying themselves as always, and we can’t wait to see more from Elisa in Kentucky next month.

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

 

Get Creative with Your Rolex Tickets and Win a T-Series Helmet from Tipperary

Photo by Lenore Threlkeld. Photo by Lenore Threlkeld.

Rolex is just around the corner, and the tickets we’ve all ordered are making their appearances in our mailboxes as we speak. Chinch has already started packing, and we can’t say we blame him!

In honor of our excitement for the upcoming Super Bowl of eventing, we’ve partnered with our sponsor, Tipperary, to give away a brand new T-series helmet! We want you to be riding in style this spring, and what better way to do it than to celebrate another upcoming Rolex? Here’s what you need to do:

What do I need to do to enter?

Easy! We want to see how creative you can get with your Rolex tickets. Want to arrange them in Buck Davidson’s initials? Sure! Feel like recreating the Head of the Lake? Go for it! The more creative, the better!

Once you’ve snapped your photo, send it to en.contest@gmail.com with the subject line “Tipperary Rolex Contest” no later than Saturday, March 28.

How will I know if I’m a finalist?

We’ll be posting the best photos in a voting post right here on EN on Sunday, March 29 to determine the winner.

How do I claim my awesome T-series helmet?

A reader vote will determine the winner, who we will contact with information on claiming their T-series helmet from Tipperary.

So what are you waiting for, EN? Let’s see those Rolex tickets!

 

USEF Accepting Bids to Host 2016 FEI Nations Cup Leg in U.S.

Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice at Great Meadow. Photo by Jenni Autry. Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice at Great Meadow. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The USEF announced today that it is accepting bids to host a leg of the 2016 FEI Nations Cup Eventing Series here on U.S. soil, which would be a huge step forward for eventing in North America. The FEI Nations Cup has never hosted a leg in the United States, but it’s been a goal of several event organizers for some time now.

In just one example, Rob Banner, president of the Great Meadow Foundation, spoke to EN last year about his goal of hosting a leg of the Nations Cup at the facility in Virginia, which hosted the WEG Prep Trials last summer and will host its inaugural CIC3* in conjunction with the Pan Am Prep Trials this June.

We’ve proved that we can certainly draw a big crowdand a lot of people realized at the WEG Prep Trials that we can handle the larger task as well,” Rob said. “We’ll get together the very best committee we possibly can to not only navigate the organization of a Nations Cup but also work with the FEI to secure a date.”

Both David O’Connor and Leslie Law have been supportive of the U.S. hosting a leg of Nations Cup, and Rob has already done much of the leg work towards turning this goal into a reality. He’s working with Washington Dulles International Airport to secure a new vetport, which would allow European competitors to have easy access to the site should it host an event like this.

It would be a thrill if we could get the vetport secured to help horsemen who bring horses from Europe,” Rob said. “Having that here would be a great asset to Great Meadow and other area venues. We’re urging for it to happen, and, so far, Dulles seems to be interested in having this kind of activity at the airport.”

There are a multitude of other venues in the U.S. that could potentially submit a bid for the Nations Cup. Bids are due to the USEF by April 3 and are open to organizing committees that have organized a USEF-licensed FEI Two-Star Level or above event. 

We’re thrilled to see this proposal in the works, and we’ll be sure to keep you up to speed on the bids once they are announced. For more information on the bid process, click here.

[USEF Accepting Bids for Nations Cup]

Andrew McConnon Learns from a Master with Ziggy

Andrew and Ziggy at Carolina International. Photo by Jenni Autry. Andrew and Ziggy at Carolina International. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Andrew McConnon made a good friend when he met Rachel Jurgens, who produced the 19-year-old OTTB gelding, Ziggy, to the CCI4* level as an amateur. After Rachel and Ziggy finished in the top 30 in their first Rolex together in 2014, Rachel decided to focus on her up and coming horses and began thinking of new options for her veteran partner.

Ziggy is the type of horse who wouldn’t do well ‘retiring,’” Rachel said. “He doesn’t like not having a job. I thought I’d ask Andrew if he’d like to ride him — he’d been so impressive with how helpful and hardworking he was.”

Rachel was nervous about handing over the reins to Andrew, as she’d been the only one to ever sit on the gelding’s back in the past. “I did have a young rider try him at one point, and I just kind of thought he would be bored doing lower levels. He wanted to continue going Advanced.”

Andrew had previously competed through the two-star level and was searching for an opportunity to gain some mileage at the Advanced level. “What I needed most was to get experience around larger tracks,” he said. “Ziggy is so good on cross country — he’s given me a lot of confidence. They say good horses make good riders, and I absolutely believe that’s true.”

Andrew and Ziggy got off to a great start together, winning their first outing together in the Intermediate/Preliminary at Full Gallop in August of last year, Ziggy’s first event back after completing Rolex.

From there, Andrew set his sights on the CCI2* at Fair Hill in the fall, which they completed in 16th place — no small feat in an event in which many competitors fell victim to the tough cross country. This all came after a nail-biting start in which Andrew was wait listed for the entry list.

“I had waited until the CIC* at Plantation to enter, so I was put on the wait list,” he recalled. “It was nerve wracking being on the wait list. We were able to get in right at the last minute; we jogged on Friday morning right before our test. I think I walked the cross country for the first time on Friday, but he’s so phenomenal on cross country that everything just rode great.”

“He’s so efficient on cross country — you don’t need to take hardly any time to set him up for the questions. He’s very efficient, which makes the time quite attainable,” Andrew continued. “I had a look at my watch after the last water at Fair Hill and realized he was coming in quite early, so I was able to just lope him home. It felt great on a day when the time and the penalties were so influential.”

Andrew McConnon and Ziggy at Carolina International. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Andrew McConnon and Ziggy at Carolina International. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Andrew reconvened with Rachel after Fair Hill to map out some other goals to attain. Andrew still aimed to move up to Advanced with Ziggy, and with Rachel’s blessing he moved up to the big A at Pine Top last month, where they finished a very respectable sixth.

“He was the only horse to come in ahead of time at Pine Top,” Andrew said. “I didn’t even pay attention to the time — that wasn’t our goal for the event. But I don’t ever have to go fast with him, he’s just so efficient. We just sweep through the turns and spend very little time rebalancing.”

Andrew contested his first CIC3* at Carolina International this past weekend, where they romped around cross country double clear and added just one stadium rail to their dressage score.

Ziggy did a great job holding in his excitement in the dressage ring where he’s accustomed to show jumping,” Andrew said. “He jumped extremely well over a technical and influential show jumping course, followed by a double clear cross country round.”

Andrew and Ziggy received lots of praise from commentators Karen O’Connor and Kim Severson on the USEF Network live feed — Ziggy received the praise from Karen, who said that he’d be a horse that could pull her out of retirement to ride!

Rachel is thrilled with the partnership Andrew has quickly formed with her gelding. “He’s a very good rider,” she said. “He’s the easiest horse anyone will ever ride on cross country. I’m an amateur, and I miss — thank God he seems to have 10 legs! Sometimes I think Ziggy likes Andrew better than he did me!”

Rachel took care to not put an excessive amount of runs on Ziggy as he got older, which she credits to his soundness over the years. “Knock wood, he takes really good care of himself,” she said. “He’s got low miles so we’re blessed that his physical being is as great as his brain.”

What’s next for Andrew and Ziggy? “I’d love it if they could make it to Kentucky, but with the qualifications I’m not sure it will happen,” Rachel said. “I know they can at least do a three-star together, but after that it’s up to Ziggy what he wants to do next.”

Andrew is grateful to Rachel for providing such a wonderful opportunity to learn from a master of his craft in Ziggy. “She’s one of the kindest, most selfless people I’ve ever met,” he said. “I know it’s hard watching someone else compete your horse, but she’s been unbelievably supportive and and given me an opportunity that most people dream about.”

Andrew McConnon working with a CANTER horse. Photo courtesy of Allie Conrad.

Andrew McConnon working with a CANTER horse. Photo courtesy of Allie Conrad.

Giving back to the OTTB cause

Andrew also keeps busy at his home base in North Carolina helping the local CANTER chapter, CANTER Mid-Atlantic, in the retraining of their OTTBs.

“Allie Conrad is here in Southern Pines and she contacted me for some help with a homebred horse of her,” he said. “She later asked if I’d be willing to help train and re-sell the OTTBs, which I was happy to do.”

Andrew favors the Thoroughbred, so working with the horses coming off the track has brought him supreme pleasure. “I think they have such heart and athletic ability. I like to do whatever I can to help with the program. I’ve got several horses in the barn re-training, and it’s been a really rewarding job.

Allie and Andrew will typically select horses who show potential together, and those horses will go on to begin their new careers with Andrew before being sold. “CANTER is more focused on finding them good homes in different disciplines, whichever they want to do,” he explained. “Allie has a spectacular ability for picking horses and matching them with people. It’s been really great to be able to give back and see these horses go on to be successful in their careers.

Rolex Entry Update: The Germans Are Coming

Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST. Photo by Jenni Autry. Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Hold onto your hats, EN — the Germans are coming to Rolex! We reported last month that both Andreas Dibowski and Michael Jung were planning to head for Rolex, and we finally have confirmation. Michael Jung will be bringing the big guns, 2014 WEG individual silver medalist fischerRocana FST and 2010 WEG and 2012 London gold individual medalist La Biosthetique Sam.

Both Rocana and Sam are coming off of very good performances in the first leg of the FEI Nations Cup at Fontainebleau. Sam made a triumphant return to FEI competition after withdrawing from the German WEG squad last year with a win in the CICO3*, while stablemate Rocana picked up a seventh place finish.

Andreas Dibowski has entered FRH Butts Avedon at Rolex, who finished second at Pau last year and has completed Luhmühlen twice. The 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding was also second in the CCI2* championship for 7-year-olds at Le Lion d’Angers with Andreas in the irons. Andreas has competed Butts Avedon in FEI competitions since 2009, producing him from the CIC* level, so this is a very experienced partnership.

This will be the first time in five years we’ll see a German rider at Rolex; Bettina Hoy and Ringwood Cockatoo finished second in 2009 as the last German combination to compete at the event.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Alec Thayer.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

Jennie Brannigan and Tim and Nina Gardner’s Cambalda, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse, are also now entered. Jennie and “Ping” were sadly eliminated last year after missing a flag on cross country, though they completed the entire course in grand fashion. We’ll be sending all the EN karma to this pair as they look to complete their first CCI4*, and they’re coming hot off a third place finish in the CIC3* at Red Hills.

Hallie Coon is one of the new Rolex Rookies on the list, appearing with her 15-year-old KWPN gelding, Namaste. These two completed the CCI3* at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International last fall and this year placed eighth in the Advanced at Rocking Horse in February. They completed the dressage and show jumping of the CIC3* at Carolina International before withdrawing, and they’re also entered in the CIC3* at The Fork as their final prep.

Courtney Cooper and Who's A Star. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Courtney Cooper and Who’s A Star. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Courtney Cooper and Who’s A Star will be heading to Kentucky for the first CCI4*. Who’s A Star is a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse/NZ Thoroughbred owned by Courtney Cooper and Neal Camens who picked up a seventh place finish in the CCI3* at Fair Hill last year. Most recently, this pair finished fourth in the Advanced at Carolina International, and they’ll also contest the Advanced at The Fork, the hot spot for Rolex hopefuls each year.

Will Faudree and Andromaque. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Will Faudree and Andromaque. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The ever popular Andromaque is on the list to make her return to Kentucky this year with Will Faudree in the irons. Owned by Jennifer Mosing, the 14-year-old Irish Thoroughbred mare had several months off from competition between 2013 and 2014, beginning a comeback tour this year that has most recently included a third place performance in the CIC3* at Carolina International this past weekend. The mare will be making her third CCI4* start; she placed 16th in her first Rolex attempt in 2011.

In yet another addition to a very exciting list, Gina Miles is making her return to Rolex. Gina last competed at the CCI4* level with McKinlaigh, who was her silver medal partner in the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong. Now, she’s bringing the S.V.R. Ron Syndicate LLC’s S.V.R. Ron; she acquired the ride after the 15-year-old gelding represented Uruguay in the 2011 Pan American Games. They finished 13th in the CCI3* at Galway last year and are entered in the CIC3* at Galway this coming weekend.

Ireland is also now represented on the entry list with Austin O’Connor and Balham Houdini. Austin last came to Kentucky in 2013 with Ringwood Mississippi, with whom he finished 13th. Now he’s brining Balham Houdini, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse, for his first CCI4* attempt. This pair also contested the CICO3* at Fontainebleau this past weekend, finishing in 20th place.

Meghan O'Donoghue and Pirate. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Meghan O’Donoghue and Pirate. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Crowd favorites Meghan O’Donoghue and her speedy little OTTB, Pirate, will be making their third start in Kentucky and fourth CCI4* start together. Meghan and Pirate, who is 13 this year, have finished in the top 15 and top 20 in their first two years competing in Kentucky and are rapidly becoming a staple to see galloping across country the last weekend in April. These two finished 11th in the Advanced at Carolina International last weekend and are entered in the CIC3* at The Fork for their final prep.

Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Jessie Phoenix is bringing two horses to Kentucky this year: A Little Romance and Pavarotti. Owned by Don Leschied, A Little Romance is a 10-year-old mare who will be stepping up to the CCI4* level in Kentucky. This lovely mare won the CCI3* at Bromont last year  and will contest the CIC3* at The Fork before heading to Kentucky.

Pavarotti, owned by Don Good, is the more experienced of Jessie’s rides, having represented Canada on the 2014 WEG squad. Pavarotti, a 13-year-old Westphalian gelding, also won individual gold at the 2011 Pan American Games with Jessie, and aside from doing just the dressage in 2014, this will be his first proper Rolex start.

Katie Ruppel and Houdini. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Katie Ruppel and Houdini. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Katie Ruppel and her 11-year-old OTTB gelding, Houdini, will be making their second start in Kentucky together after completing last year. Katie is entered in the Advanced at The Fork with Houdini, who she has said is feeling great for Kentucky, as their final prep run.

Caitlin Silliman and Catch A Star. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Caitlin Silliman and Catch A Star. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Making their third trip to Rolex this year are Caitlin Silliman and Catch a Star, a 15-year-old Oldenburg mare. Caitlin and “Hoku” have been together since 2011 and finished 24th in their first CCI4* in 2013. So far this year they’ve placed second in the Advanced at Carolina and will carry on to the CIC3* at The Fork next.

Cody Sturgess and Imperial Melody, a 12-year-old Thoroughbred mare, are also Rolex Rookies this year. Representing Canada, this pair finished 11th in their first CCI3* at Bromont last year and most recently finished seventh in the Advanced at Red Hills. We’ll be profiling each Rookie rider individually just like we did last year, so stay tuned for more on Cody!

Sharon White and Wundermaske. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Sharon White and Wundermaske. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Our final new addition today is Sharon White and Wundermaske, who is making his third CCI4* start. Sharon and “Patch,” owned by Sharon White and Richard Weber, finished 19th at Pau last year while representing the U.S. and also finished 23rd in his first Rolex last April. The 12-year-old Hanoverian/Thoroughbred gelding most recently placed second in the Advanced at Carolina International and will travel to The Fork on his way to Kentucky for the CIC3*.

In some disappointing news, we’ve just learned from Phillip Dutton that Mr. Medicott will not be making his return to Kentucky this year. After finishing eighth in the CIC2* at Carolina International, Phillip and his team have decided to err on the side of caution and give “Cave” some more time to be ready to return to the top levels. You can read Phillip’s statement on his Facebook page here.

Entries close on Thursday, so keep an eye out for the final entries as they make their way in. What a fantastic list this is turning out to be. See you in Kentucky!

[Rolex Entry List]

Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: Laine Ashker’s Carolina International CIC3* Helmet Cam

We’re so glad that the USEF lifted the temporary ban on helmet cams — how else would we get to experience courses like these from behind the ears of a horse who loves his job as much as Anthony Patch does?

Laine has been sporting her GoPro since she received it as a Christmas gift last year, making us anxiously await her footage after each cross country run. She didn’t disappoint, as she gives us a rider’s eye view of Hugh Lochore’s CIC3* course at Carolina International this past weekend. Laine and “Al” are headed to Rolex next, and they added another double clear cross country run to their record in their final prep for Kentucky. #GoAlGo!

Lynn Symansky to Syndicate Donner

Lynn Symansky and Donner at WEG. Photo by Jenni Autry. Lynn Symansky and Donner at WEG. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lynn Symansky announced today that she is offering syndicate shares for Donner, her 12-year-old OTTB gelding with whom she represented the United States at both the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara and the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

“I am excited to announce the formation of the Donner Syndicate, which will allow this talented horse to continue in international competition and to obtain another horse to follow in his hoof prints,” Lynn said.

“Owners will not only share in the expansion of Donner’s international competitive career, but will also have the opportunity to be part of the development of an up and coming young superstar of the sport.”

Twenty shares will be made available in the Donner Syndicate, and all share holders will also be members of a syndicate of a yet-to-be-purchased young horse with international potential.

I truly believe that Donner is the ‘people’s horse,’” Lynn said. “I have tried to structure the syndicate so that it is affordable to a wide range of eventing enthusiasts.”

Lynn and Donner’s career highlights include placing sixth individually and winning team gold at the 2011 Pan Ams, finishing fifth in his first CCI4* at Rolex in 2013 and finishing 13th at Pau later that year; and placing in the top 50 individually as members of the U.S. WEG team squad last year.

Lynn and Donner are entered to compete at Rolex next month after a successful run in the Advanced at Carolina International this past weekend. For more information on the Donner Syndicate, please visit Lynn Symansky’s website here. Go Donner!

Rolex Entry Update: Donner Makes His Return to Kentucky, 63 Now Entered

Lynn Symansky and Donner at Rolex. Photo by Jenni Autry. Lynn Symansky and Donner at Rolex. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Everyone’s favorite flying deer is descending upon Kentucky this year, the latest updates to the Rolex entry list show. Fan favorites Lynn Symansky and her 12-year-old OTTB gelding, Donner, are scheduled to make their return to Kentucky in their return to FEI competition after representing the United States at WEG last year.

Lynn and Donner finished fourth in their first appearance at Rolex together in 2013, effectively stealing the hearts of fans all over the country. Donner was also awarded the annual Golden Chinchilla for winning the EN Horse of the  Year award in 2013.

Lillian Heard and Share Option. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lillian Heard and Share Option. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lillian Heard is returning to Kentucky for the second time with Share Option, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. Lillian and Share Option completed Rolex on their first try last year and will be looking for another solid run this year. Lillian has Share Option entered in the Advanced at The Fork as their lead-up event.

Maddy Mazzola and Mojito. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Maddy Mazzola and Mojito. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Our first rookie to make an appearance on the list this week is Maddy Mazzola, who will be riding Mojito in her CCI4* debut. The 14-year-old Argentinian warmblood cross has made the trip to the Bluegrass State twice, completing with Kate Brown in 2012.

Maddy took over the ride on the gray gelding in 2013 and moved up to Advanced last year. Highlights of their year at Advanced include an eighth place finish in a competitive CCI3* at Jersey Fresh and a seventh in the CIC3* at Rebecca Farm. Most recently, Maddy and Mojito placed seventh in the Advanced at Copper Meadows. They’re entered in the CIC3* at Galway Downs this weekend before heading East.

Jimmie Schramm and Bellamy. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jimmie Schramm and Bellamy. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Our final new entry of the day is another Rolex Rookie, Jimmie Schramm and Bellamy. “Bells” is a 15-year-old Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding who has been Jimmie’s upper level campaigner for several years now. They’ve had a very strong spring season, most recently picking up a 14th place finish on their dressage score in the CIC3* at Carolina International. These two will head to the Advanced at The Fork for their final prep run before making their debut in Kentucky.

Stay tuned for more updates from the Rolex entry list!

[Rolex Entry List]

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