Sally Spickard
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Sally Spickard

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About Sally Spickard

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

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The Active Rider Review Series: Pt. I

As some of you may know, I have become much more into health and fitness than I have ever been before in the past few weeks. The reasons behind this drive vary, but at the end of the day I am striving to become a healthier person and, in turn, a better rider.

In finding more ways to be creative with my fitness routines, I was introduced to a new fitness website for equestrians called The Active Rider. This is a membership site run by Carys Jackson, and it’s geared for riders who want to be more fit in the saddle.

Finding fitness routines geared towards equestrians is always an interesting concept. On one hand, overall fitness can be improved by a solid workout and nutrition routine, but what about those muscles you didn’t even realize you had until you began riding?

I’ve found that mixing in “normal” workout sets with some more focused exercises to target those riding-specific muscles works well. For example, I have always struggled with both my core strength as well as my left thigh and calf. These struggles have caused issues with my jumping position as well as correcting mistakes on the flat.

To that end, in addition to my usual fitness routine, I’ve begun the 12 week program offered by The Active Rider. A glance through the website offers many different educational opportunities on the various mechanics that go into riding a horse and keeping your body primed for the task.

Obviously, a big focus of the program is core muscles, as much of our strength comes from these pesky muscles. Since core is a huge struggle for me, further inhibited by a bad back, I am quite excited to see how this program helps me with my problems.

The first part of the program outlines several facts about the core muscles that are beneficial to know before you begin working them in earnest. Your abdominal muscle group contains several individual muscles that must be given attention in order to improve the entire group. Learning about how these muscles interact and how they play into your riding is the main focus of the beginning of the 12 week program.

From The Active Rider:

The movement of the horse’s back has to be absorbed by the seat of the rider and a supple, mobile but strong pelvis. If this is not possible then the back of the rider (and ultimately the horse) becomes jarred and sore. Movement is energy that is created and that energy must ultimately go somewhere!

As the weeks progress through this program, I will be introduced to new exercises that will target muscles that we as equestrians use. I am looking forward to implementing these exercises into my daily routine, and I will be back each week to report on my findings.

Many thanks to The Active Rider for the opportunity to experience their product. If you’d like more information on joining, visit The Active Rider or check out their Facebook page.

Wednesday Video from KPP: Reliving WEG 2010

It’s Wayback Wednesday, and with that in mind we’ve been digging through the video archives to find some great World Equestrian Games footage from 2010. I went to the eventing portion of WEG in 2010 as a last-minute trip, and it was a truly unforgettable experience.

This year, we’ve got an equally promising and exciting team headed to Normandy to duke it out with the best. Need a little refresher on how exciting this competition will be? Check out this great montage of each cross-country fence on the 2010 course in Lexington, courtesy of Beth Brown.

 

Summer In the Midwest: A Weekend with Dom Schramm

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

I’ve always been a big fan of clinics. Even if I only audit one, the learning opportunities are endless. So, when I heard that Dom Schramm would be stopping in Columbia, Mo., on his clinic tour, I set about making plans to attend.

The clinic was held at the beautiful Greystone Equestrian Center, nestled in the heart of Missouri. Sharon Rose, the owner of Greystone, did a wonderful job facilitating the clinic, and when I arrived on Saturday morning, dressage lessons were already in full swing.

Dom has a way of putting his students at ease right away, asking questions about both horse and rider to get a sense of their experience and goals together. Dressage day saw horses that were seasoned competitors, coming back from some time off and nervously green in a new environment.

Dom quietly worked with each horse that came into the arena that morning, tailoring the exercises to each horse and rider’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. Quick to praise and just as quick to reprimand, Dom made sure that the rider fully understood the elements of each movement he asked for. Encouraging the horse to move forward and straight, referencing the training scale that is often overlooked, were paramount.

Alyssa Kendrick and Apollo working through their first coffin exercise. Photo courtesy of Susan Horner.

Alyssa Kendrick and Apollo working through their first coffin exercise. Photo courtesy of Susan Horner.

One exercise I found to be particularly interesting was one performed at the walk. Dom had riders walk in a square shape, managing each step of the walk in order to concentrate on straightness. It was a difficult exercise for most at first, as you don’t necessarily realize how difficult true straightness is until you really focus on it. Dom told a story of witnessing a Grand Prix dressage pair practice the walk using this exercise, only to find that they also looked rather like a “drunken sailor.” After a few attempts at the exercise, the riders came away with a better understanding of true straightness.

I was unfortunately only able to attend the dressage sessions, so I called upon Colin Palmer, who participated in the lessons for other phases. Colin and his horse, Calvin, worked hard to prepare for the clinic, he said, as the horse came into his possession with plenty of baggage to work through. Calvin was “reluctant to even let me get on” at first and would buck and rear without hesitation, Colin said.

Colin Palmer and Calvin. Photo courtesy of Susan Horner.

Colin Palmer and Calvin. Photo courtesy of Susan Horner.

Watching Colin work with Calvin in their dressage lesson, it was apparent that the horse had some nerves and tension, but not once did he threaten any truly naughty behavior. Dom was highly complimentary of the work Colin had put into his horse so far, giving him some helpful tips on continuing to work on straightness and strength.

Colin had a wonderful experience with Dom in the jumping lessons. “(Dom) really focuses on adjustability of the canter in the show jumping,” he said. “(We were) doing four poles in a 20-meter circle and having to get the same number of strides in between each. Then he had three poles set up in a line, and it was five strides each.

“We had to practice getting five and then five. Then we had to get something like six then five. Then four and five and so on. Later, that became a jump where the middle pole was, and we had to get six from the pole on to the jump, then five after the fence. Then in cross country, it was mainly about rhythm and accuracy.”

Many thanks to Sharon Rose and Greystone Equestrian Center for hosting a great learning opportunity for us here in the midwest and to Dom for taking the time to stop in Missouri. I look forward to future opportunities to learn, and hopefully one day I will have a horse to bring.

Go Midwest Eventing!

Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: European Junior Eventing Championships Final Day Highlights

The FEI European Junior Eventing Championships wrapped up at Bishop Burton College this weekend, with Anna Wilks triumphing for individual gold and Team Ireland taking home the team gold medal.

Thanks to a wonderful YouTube channel, we’ve been able to take in some sights and sounds from around the event, and the final day’s highlights have just been published. Take a look at the next European superstars of the sport, EN!

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A Horse of a Different Color: Southern Storm

"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 [email protected]

Anna White and Southern Storm. Photo by Amanda Sylvia. Anna White and Southern Storm. Photo by Amanda Sylvia.

In search of a new horse several years ago, Amanda Sylvia ventured to the Chincoteague Pony Swim, returning home with a precocious 4-month-old colt she named Southern Storm. “Amanda goes to the pony penning every year,” Southern Storm’s rider, Anna White, said. “One year, she decided to try to buy one, and so she did some research on the island lines, as she wanted to end up with a horse that would grow a bit taller than most.”

The prices on the island ponies range from three to five figures on any given auction day, but Amanda was able to come away with her chosen foal successfully. “When she first got him, he injured himself so he was laid up for awhile,” Anna said. “Once he was grown up and ready to go, she sent him to a western trainer, so he was trained that way for a couple of years.”

Southern Storm, or “Hershey,” came back to Amanda at the age of 8, having matured to a height of 15.1. Amanda began to look for options to keep him in work, and Anna so happened to be looking for another horse to keep her own company when she went to college. “I’ve been good friends with Amanda for several years, and she offered to let me take Hershey with me to work with,” Anna said.

Southern Storm on auction day. Photo by Amanda Sylvia.

Southern Storm on auction day. Photo by Amanda Sylvia.

When Anna and Hershey began working together, he had never attempted a jump before and had only been ridden western. “He was terrified when he first started,” Anna said. “(Amanda) would put a fence in front of him, and he would just charge and gallop through it. At first, I didn’t know if it was going to work.”

Once Hershey began learning and gained some confidence, jumping started to come much more naturally to him. “I don’t know what truly clicked in his brain, but I gave him a month or two off, and when he came back, it was like he’d figured everything out.”

Anna took Hershey out to a Starter level horse trial to test the waters on cross country, and he quickly figured out that the fences were solid and that he had to respect them. “Once things click in his brain, he gets it. He realized that the fences are solid, but he was super brave. He’ll climb over something before he’ll stop at it,” Anna said.

Anna and Hershey. Photo by Amanda Sylvia.

Anna and Hershey. Photo by Amanda Sylvia.

Much to Anna and Amanda’s delight, Hershey is now successfully competing at Training level. “When I took him on, I wasn’t expecting him to go really far,” Anna admitted. “He’s built rather awkwardly, with a long back, and you’d never expect him to be able to run Training level if you saw him. He looks like he could get around Beginner Novice or maybe Novice, but he just keeps proving us wrong. At this point, I don’t think Prelim would be too big of a stretch for him.

Since Hershey had western training as a foundation, he tends to have a very soft mouth and get behind the vertical a bit on the flat. One of the challenges Anna faced when working on his dressage was lifting his poll and encouraging him to sit on his hind end. “Since he’s not built like a Thoroughbred, he doesn’t have a big hind end to sit on, so that’s something we’ve really been working on. It’s still a work in progress.”

Hershey definitely has many traits of being an island horse that are beneficial to sporthorse work, including great feet and an overall hardiness. “He’s had no soundness issues, and he’s got wonderful feet. He’s also very level-headed, and it takes a lot to rattle him.”

Photo by Amanda Sylvia.

Photo by Amanda Sylvia.

Anna is grateful for the opportunity to ride this talented Chincoteague Pony and said it has been a joy to work with Amanda. “She is just the most wonderful owner. She’s very supportive of him,” Anna said. She works for SmartPak and always ensures that he has everything he needs, she’s just been the greatest support for this whole thing.”

Anna plans to take Hershey out at Training level for the rest of the year, aiming for the Virginia Horse Trials as the final event of their season. “Fair Hill was his first sanctioned Training run,” Anna said. “We’ll see how he does and go from there. We won’t push him up to Prelim for awhile until he gets really solid at Training. There are definitely some questions about his athletic ability, but I thought he would max out at Novice, and he’s certainly proven me wrong. We will just have to let him tell us what the next step should be.

Editor’s Note: Growing up, Misty of Chincoteague was one of my favorite books and movies. After learning that the Chincoteague Pony Swim was a real thing, I immediately added the annual event to my bucket list. When Anna sent us her helmet cam from Fair Hill with Hershey, I had to know more! Click here to watch the helmet cam.

Buck Davidson Withdraws Park Trader from WEG, Burghley

Buck Davidson and Park Trader at Fair Hill. Photo by Jenni Autry. Buck Davidson and Park Trader at Fair Hill. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Buck Davidson has just posted an update on his Facebook page with the disappointing news that he has withdrawn Park Trader from his spot as a WEG alternate as well as Burghley due to a case of tendinitis. “Kobe” was coming off a 12th-place finish at Rolex, followed by sixth place in the Advanced at the Horse Park of New Jersey in June.

From the Buck Davidson Eventing Facebook page:

I had to withdraw Park Trader aka Kobe from WEG and Burghley. He has tendinitis in a leg. He is such a nice horse and has come so far, the right thing and best thing to do is take care of him and back off hard work for a bit. He will fly home from France Saturday.

I feel terrible for Kobe most of all. Even though he has not taken a lame step, he still tries to bite me! I love him for what he is and sometimes isn’t. I am so thankful to Kobe’s owners, Carl and Cassie Segal, for everything they do for me and Kobe. I feel terrible for them. They are so classy when things go wrong. I only wish I was that good of a person. Carl said, “Our string just got cut in half in France now; we are lucky to have two at this level. You always do the best you can do. Sometimes things happen.” How lucky am I to have C&C!

Also, Aubyn Geser who takes great care of Kobe — I know she wanted redemption at Burghley! Next year I won’t fall off at the smallest jump on the course. Thanks to everyone at home that makes my life so great! Sorry guys, one more to ride!

No worries! He will be back out soon. The vets and the staff for team USA are the best! They make sure the horses’ best interest are always put before medals.

The team looks great in training here in Chantilly, France. We leave for the Games a week from today. It’s getting real now! The polish is going on and things are looking good for USA.

Park Trader was named as an alternate for WEG and traveled to France with the rest of the Team USA horses. Buck and Kobe also received a Land Rover Competition Grant for Burghley this year. Best wishes to Kobe as he recovers, and we’ll look forward to seeing him out and about once he is back in training.

Whitney Mahloch Takes Home Blue at Waredaca + Other Scores

Sir Rockstar's second place and T.I.P. ribbons. Photo via Libby Head's Facebook page. Sir Rockstar's second place and T.I.P. ribbons. Photo via Libby Head's Facebook page.

Whitney Mahloch has moved up the levels with Military Mind, earning several wins at the Preliminary level together before stepping up to Intermediate last year. The pair won their Intermediate debut at Ottter Creek last September and have enjoyed several top placings at the level this year. This weekend at Waredaca, the pair earned their second win at the level, adding .80 time penalties to their cross country time to take home the blue.

Daniel Clasing’s promising mare, Crimson, picked up second place and her highest placing since moving up to Intermediate earlier this year. This weekend was Crimson’s fourth start at the level, and she also took home the T.I.P High Point award. Go Thoroughbreds!

Kurt Martin subbed in for Marilyn Little this weekend while Marilyn is in Europe, piloting RF West Indie and RF Quarterman to third and fifth place, respectively.

Waredaca Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status][Scores]

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Full Gallop Farm ran their August HT this weekend, with Advanced/Intermediate through Tadpole offerings. Elinor MacPhail and RF Eloquence let from start to finish, taking their time on cross country, as it appears most other pairs did, and having a couple of rails down in show jumping. Libby Head and Sir Rockstar were out for their first run since Rolex and picked up second place as well as the T.I.P High Point award. Elinor MacPhail rounds out the division in third place with True Dynamite.

Full Gallop Farm August H.T. [Website] [Entry Status][Scores]

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Leslie Law picked up the win in the Intermediate division with Fernhill Whatever, coming home from cross country a bit quicker than wife Lesley and What Law, who picked up third place after leading through two phases. Sarah Kuhn and Atlanta B split the Laws’ results in second place with the quickest cross country round of the day.

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The Area X Intermediate Championships were held at The Event at Santa Fe this weekend. While Bonner Carpenter and Basco were the only pair competing, they still earned their blue ribbon, adding 8 time on cross country to otherwise finish on their dressage score.

Christan Eagles and Bugatti, also the sole pair in their division, also earned a blue in the Open Intermediate division. Lynn Partridge picked up a one-two finish in the Open Preliminary division with Zoe and Zaire, respectively, followed by Heather Morris and Charlie Tango.

The Event at Santa Fe (Intermediate Area X Championship) [Scores]

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Championships were also being run at the Genesee Valley Riding and Driving Club HT. In the Preliminary Championship, Drew Keller was able to move up from fifth after dressage to lead after cross country. Drew then went on to a double clear show jump round and will take home the blue ribbon. Drew and Detailed Just Right, an Appendix Quarter Horse, have been campaigning together for a few years now, and this is their first big win at the Preliminary level. Congratulations, Drew!

Indra Rapinchuk-Souccar and Dream Girl also enjoyed a move up after cross country, as they were lying in sixth after dressage. Baylee Bennett and Amore Ti Amo moved from seventh to third after cross country and held onto that placing with one rail down in show jumping.

Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club H.T. [Website] [Scores]

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WEG Horses and Riders Take in the European Sights

"August in England is a little different than SoCal...Winter blankets on!! Brrrrr!!" - via Hawley Bennett on Instagram.

It’s hard to imagine busting out the winter blankets when it’s the middle of one of the hottest months of the year, but this isn’t the case for the horses who have traveled to Europe in preparation for WEG. Hawley Bennett-Awad’s Gin & Juice has been bundled up in winter blankets to get accustomed to the colder temperatures at Maizey Manor in England, where Team Canada is laying over before moving on to Normandy.

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Meanwhile, the U.S. riders have arrived at their base in Chantilly, France and were eager to get out for the first hack on French soil.

Tate, Sparky, and Donner enjoying their first hacks. William (Harbor Pilot) is the camerman - courtesy of Hannah Sue Burnett.

Tate, Sparky, and Donner enjoying their first hacks. William (Harbour Pilot) is the camerman – courtesy of Hannah Sue Burnett.

David O'Connor takes it all in with Sinead and Tate in the background. Photo via the USEF High Performance Eventing Facebook page.

David O’Connor takes it all in with Sinead and Tate in the background. Photo via the USEF High Performance Eventing Facebook page.

It sure looks like Team USA is settling in quite well and, if these photos are any indication it seems that the team chemistry is palpable this year.

Kim and Buck ham it up in Chantilly. Photo via the USEF High Performance Facebook page.

Kim and Buck ham it up in Chantilly. Photo via the USEF High Performance Facebook page.

Forget Trading Aces' two cars - we want Buck's! Photo via the USEF High Performance Eventing Facebook page.

Forget Trading Aces’ two cars – we want Buck’s! Photo via the USEF High Performance Eventing Facebook page.

Kim Severson checking out Team USA's digs. Photo via Hannah Sue Burnett.

Kim Severson checking out Team USA’s digs. Photo via Hannah Sue Burnett.

Meanwhile, over in Camp Canada at Maizey Manor, the scenery never ceases to amaze.

Photo via Sarah Braun.

Photo via Sarah Braun.

Canada represent! Photo via Sarah Braun.

Canada represent! Photo via Sarah Braun.

When can I move in? Photo via Sarah Braun.

When can I move in? Photo via Sarah Braun.

Great Quotes from Premier Equine Insurance

Jessie Phoenix and Pavarotti. Photo by Sally Spickard. Jessie Phoenix and Pavarotti. Photo by Sally Spickard.

It’s very easy to get caught up in a daydream or muddled down in disappointment when it comes to our time in the saddle. One thing we can all learn from some of the athletes who are at the top of their game, though, is that focusing on the extremes is not always productive. Sure, there are lessons to be learned from mistakes and memories to be taken from triumph, but at the end of the day it truly is your focus that determines your reality.

Practice visualizing successful rounds in the stadium arena instead of being afraid of that scary triple bar oxer halfway through. Coach Daniel Stewart, who has worked with many equestrian athletes, always has some great tips on sport psychology and how to harness your focus and turn it into a productive ride. Whenever I am in need of some tips for improving my focus, I will reference his website for some resources.

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

 

Sunday Video: WEG Eventing Trailer

We’ve been scouring the internet for as much information and media on the upcoming World Equestrian Games as we can find. Watching all of the footage from the 2010 Games is making the excitement for Normandy palpable. The FEI YouTube channel put together a promo video for the eventing phase, taking the time to introduce potential newcomers to the sport.

Enjoy, and Go WEG!

Five Things No One Told You When You Began Eventing

Chinch's favorite life lesson is to sit back and kick when things get tough. Chinch's favorite life lesson is to sit back and kick when things get tough.

We all picked up the bug at some point in our lives. It may have been inevitable if you parents and cousins and yet-to-be-born siblings are all eventers, or at least diehard horse folk, or it may have just come over time as you watched more YouTube and followed more event riders on social media.

Either way, we’ve all caught the eventing bug. But what about all of those things we learned after the fact? We’ve compiled a list of the things you inevitably learn when you catch the eventing bug:

1. You’re going to need a whole bunch of tack.

WEG reiner versus WEG eventer: which stack of equipment do you think is the eventer's? Photo via Hawley Bennett's Facebook page.

WEG reiner versus WEG eventer: which stack of equipment do you think is the eventer’s? Photo via Hawley Bennett’s Facebook page.

I’ve made due with a jump saddle for all three phases for quite a long time now. I know I’m not the only one, but you had best believe that I longingly window shop for a cross country and a dressage saddle to get the job done on show day. I grew up in a hunter/jumper barn, where one saddle was perfectly acceptable!

Not that having one saddle isn’t acceptable in the event world, particularly at the lower levels, but if you’re headed for the upper levels, better get that saddle fitter out and have your checkbook handy because you’re riding wardrobe just got a whole lot bigger!

2. Those jumps? They don’t come down.

I mean, come on!

I mean, come on!

The lovely thing about crashing and burning your way through a stadium round is knowing that the poles are mercifully going to fall down as you attempt to work on your bowling score. Trust me, I speak from experience.

The first time I went cross country schooling, I thought the starter logs were humongous and that they would without a doubt devour my poor horse and I whole. Once I found out that the jumps were solid, I swallowed a big lump in my throat and set about planning a horse career that involved an arena and collapsible jumps.

Of course, I changed my tune after a few times over my first cross country jump. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a healthy respect for a solid hunks of wood that you’re expected to get over in one piece, several times over, on each cross country course.

3. There’s this thing called galloping position, and it requires actual physical fitness.

We all want to ride like Willy!

We all want to ride like Willy!

I have a photo that I wish I could share that shows me at my last event, sadly out of shape and demonstrating a position far, far flung from the correct galloping position that all event riders should be able to execute.

It’s sad really, that I did not have enough respect for my fitness to get into a better physical state before attempting to compete. We got around double clear, because it was a quick Novice course, but that doesn’t mean I made it easy for anyone.

If you’ve recently caught the eventing bug, get on the treadmill immediately! I’ve found that stability ball exercises are wonderful for building the muscles you’ll use when you’re in a galloping position. Plus, you’ll go out for your first cross country school and your coach will already think you’re a pro when you demonstrate that William Fox-Pitt worthy gallop.

4. You have to do dressage.

Some riders, like Allison Springer, embrace the dressage. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Some riders, like Allison Springer, embrace the dressage. Photo by Jenni Autry.

I have my riding roots in dressage, so I’ve never had the love-hate relationship with it that some eventers do. That being said, though, there are a vast amount of both horses and riders with an extreme distaste for the sandbox. If you’re coming to the dark side, just be fairly warned that you will do a lot of dressage. 20 meter circles and leg yields for days – just call us the Dressage Queen Bad Girls (and Guys) Club.

But really, though. Dressage isn’t so bad. Just keep telling yourself that, and eventually you might begin to believe it.

5. People will automatically put you in their ‘crazy’ file when they find out you event.

insanity gallops

It’s true. The general thought about eventers is that they’re all “crazy.” I’m okay with that label, personally. It is endlessly entertaining to tell a non-eventer what you do and observe their widening eyes and slow back away move. It’s like clockwork.

Trust me – try it out! Go to the next hunter show in your area and start telling everyone you meet that you’re an eventer, and don’t say I didn’t tell you so! Embrace the crazy; they don’t say “insanity in the middle” for nothing!

So, what do you think EN? What did you quickly find out about being an eventer when you first got started? Did you have trouble coordinating cross country colors? Do rapidly inflating air vests make you squirm? Tell us your lessons learned in the comments below!

Anna Wilks Victorious in European Junior Eventing Championship, Ireland Takes Team Gold

Photo via the Bishop Burton Twitter page. Photo via the Bishop Burton Twitter page.

The junior riders were on hand at Bishop Burton College in the UK this weekend to contest the European Junior Championships. UK rider Anna Wilks successfully piloted Touch of Pleasure through the weekend with nothing added to their dressage score of 41.2 to secure the individual gold medal. Anna is based at The Billy Stud with William and Pippa Funnell.

Ireland’s Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua were hot on Anna’s heels, also finishing on their dressage score to take home individual silver. Germany’s Jerome Robine will go home with bronze aboard Quaddeldou R.

Eric Winter’s cross country course shook up the leaderboard after dressage yesterday, allowing pairs who rode double clear to move into a better position going into show jumping. At the end of the day today, though, just 2.5 points separated the top five overall.

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For the team competition, Ireland has taken home the coveted gold with a final score of 149.1. Germany secured silver medal position on a score of 151.2, and France is in bronze position with a 159.4 overall.

According to the Eventing Worldwide Facebook page, Great Britain lodged an appeal in order to have France removed from their spot on the podium. The reason for the appeal was that  French rider had outside assistance when they were close to going off course during show jumping today. The standings were upheld, however, and Great Britain ends their weekend in fourth place.

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European Junior Eventing Championships: [Website] [Scores]

The European Championships YouTube page has been posting updates from each day of competition. Check out these great videos for sights and sounds from the Junior European Championships.

The Ice Bucket Challenge: Eventers Raise ALS Awareness

I’m sure you’ve seen it by now, unless you inhabit the space beneath a rock. People all over your social media feeds are dumping buckets full of ice over their heads and nominating several of their unsuspecting friends to do the same. Why? The gesture is meant to spread awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Let’s get a little background on the subject we’re raising awareness for, shall we? Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a neurodegenerative disease, meaning that the brain and spinal cord are affected. This disease affects a person’s motor skills with the death of motor neurons needed by the brain to control muscle movement. As the motor neurons deteriorate and, eventually, die, the brain becomes unable to send the necessary signals to muscles to create movement. Muscles will begin to atrophy as a result of their inability to move properly, and patients may eventually become completely paralyzed.

The disease has also been called Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the famed New York Yankee who was diagnosed with ALS in 1939. Before Lou made the public announcement about his diagnosis, ALS was virtually unheard of. For a man who had built his life around his exceptional motor skills, the diagnosis came as a devastating blow, and Lou passed away less than two years later.

Today, social media has become a place where ideas (good or bad) quickly become viral. The Ice Bucket Challenge began just a couple of weeks ago, getting a slow start on Twitter but gaining exponential traction as time went on. Soon enough, Facebook news feeds and Twitter timelines were overflowing with people all over the country dunking themselves in ice for a good cause.

How has this affected donations to the cause, you may ask? According to the Wall Street Journal, the ALS Association has been able to raise $7.6M in donations in two weeks from this campaign. Last year, the ALS Association raise $1.4M during the same period. How’s that for making a difference?

So, EN, how can you help? We don’t want to leave you out of the fun, so we would like to nominate YOU to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge. We’d love to be able to post some of your videos, so if you’d like to share yours, email [email protected]

Want to know how to make a donation to the ALS Association? You can find much more information here. Aside from the Ice Bucket Challenge, there are many walks scheduled throughout the country that are available for you to participate in as well. Let’s join in and make a difference!

Now, we know you really want to see members of Eventing Nation getting their ice on so, without further delay, here is a collection of the videos we’ve collected so far. Keep an eye on this post, as several EN team members have yet to complete their challenge (we’re looking at you, Jenni and Chinch), so we will update this post as we receive more videos.

We already saw John’s temporary un-retirement, now we’ve got some more eventers getting iced for a cause for you! Emily Beshear has already won the prize for best demo of the cross country vet box, as shown above.

Jon Holling:

Kyle Carter:

Sally Spickard:

Leslie Wylie:

CNN Equestrian to Ramp Up Worldwide Equine Coverage

Screenshot via CNN Equestrian. Screenshot via CNN Equestrian.

Over the next three years, we’ll be seeing a lot more horses featured on one of the world’s largest news outlets. That’s right, folks, CNN is taking on a new area of coverage, operating under the banner of CNN Equestrian.

Jodie Kidd and Christina Macfarlane will be the main personalities contributing to CNN’s equestrian coverage, with Jodie reporting from the World Equestrian Games later this month. Unfortunately for the North American CNN viewers, it looks like the broadcast content will only be televised in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia this summer. Don’t despair though, as content will also be available on the CNN digital platforms.

“This commitment from CNN is a major development and will increase the fan base for our sport enormously by getting equestrian out to massive new audiences”, FEI President HRH Princess Haya said in a press release from the FEI.

“FEI flagship events such as the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, the annual team finale at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final in Barcelona, and next year’s Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Las Vegas will now be beamed into the homes of millions of new fans, as well as giving our traditional followers additional viewing options for watching their favourite sport. This puts our global sport right where it deserves to be, up there with the big guns of Olympic summer sports. I couldn’t be more excited!”

To view the full press release, along with more information on CNN Equestrian, click here. You can also view previous pieces by CNN on equestrian sport by clicking here.

Weekend Welcome: Waredaca, Genesee Valley, Santa Fe

Beautiful Waredaca. Photo via the Waredaca Facebook page. Beautiful Waredaca. Photo via the Waredaca Facebook page.

Raise your hand if you’re channeling your inner WEG rider while competing this weekend! I know I sure would be. As you read this, I will be settled in at Greystone Equestrian Center in Columbia, Mo. to audit a clinic with Dom Schramm. Best believe I will be taking some very detailed notes on how to a) obtain an Australian accent and b) ride a horse, and stuff.

Several events are running this weekend, although the Erie Hunt and Saddle Club Horse Trials has been cancelled due to inclement weather. Refunds will be issued less a $25 office fee, so please contact your event organizers if you were entered this weekend. Dang Mother Nature, getting in the way of our events and such.

Waredaca is running Beginner Novice through Intermediate divisions this weekend. Riders such as Kurt Martin, Lisa Barry, Daniel Clasing, and Sally Cousins will be hotly contesting the Open Intermediate division, some with multiple rides. Colleen Rutledge also has several of her younger horses out competing this weekend in the Training and Preliminary divisions. My favorite horse name entered this weekend? Fernhill Popstar, entered in the Open Novice with Jennifer Simmons up. How could you not love that name?

If you’re attending Waredaca this weekend, Dr. Catherine Kohn and her team will be conducting a cardiovascular research study, supported by the USEA. As of earlier this week, volunteers to participate in the study were still needed, so be sure to check out this link for more information. It’s great to see this research being done to find more ways to support our equine athletes.

Waredaca Farm H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

In Geneseo, Ny. the Genessee Valley Riding and Driving Club HT is running Beginner Novice through Preliminary divisions, including Championship divisions for each. Since I’m on a roll with the horse name shout-outs this week, I’ll go ahead and shout out Fernhill Dollar, ridden by Ronan Moloney in the Preliminary Championship divisions. Seeing a pattern here? Fernhill for the win.

Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Area X is also hosting their championships at The Event at Santa Fe in New Mexico. Last year’s Intermediate AEC champions, Bonner Carpenter and Basco, will be duking it out with themselves in the Intermediate Championship. Any chance we’ll see you in Tyler for a chance at a repeat win this year, Bonner?

The Event at Santa Fe [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Don’t forget, if you’re out competing this weekend, we want to hear all about it! Send us your photos, blog entries, videos, or helmet cams and we’ll share it with our readers! You can email [email protected] if you have something you’d like to share.

The View from California Presented by World Equestrian Brands

EN loves photos shot between the ears! If you happen to be out for a hack, are riding in some obscure place or just take some cool photos aboard your mount, send them to [email protected] with a quick blurb about the photo’s story. This week’s View comes to us from Lyn Solomon-Linville in Martinez, Calif.

From Lyn:

These ears belong to Bella my eventing/driving Welsh Cob. The view is from Kismet Farms in Martinez, Calif., and you can see the San Francisco Bay in the background!

 

Meet the Winner of the Hamilton BioVet UltrOZ System Trial

Photo provided by Hamilton BioVet. Photo provided by Hamilton BioVet.

We received so many great submissions for this awesome contest presented by Hamilton BioVet that we’re relieved the result was put to a vote. Each and every story was so unique and heartfelt, and, on behalf of Hamilton BioVet, we wish we could give an UltrOZ system to each of our finalists.

The poll has spoken, though, and we would like to congratulate Natalie Tourikian for securing 45 percent of the vote to win a free two-month trial of the UltrOZ Therapeutic Ultrasound System!

Natalie sent in the touching story of her Preliminary partner, Nicky:

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“My Preliminary campaigner, Nicky, has always been incredibly sound until a freak accident this spring resulted with a fractured pastern bone. Nicky has always been spooky, and this primarily shows up in the show jumping. To combat this, we cross train in the jumper ring. While showing in the 1.15-meter jumpers in Virginia, we came to this first fence with a beautiful distance.

“I closed my leg and expected Nicky to come off the ground. Instead, he looked at the jump, stuttered off the ground, but always the good event horse, he jumped anyway. He cleared it with his front end but smashed through with his back end, sending rails into his front legs. He was tangled and landed wrong, pulling up dead lame.

“I immediately got him to the vet, and we discovered he had fractured his pastern bone. While this is a devastating diagnoses, the fracture is in the best place possible and he will come back 100 percent. With a trial of an UltrOZ Therapeutic Ultrasound System from Hamilton BioVet, I’ll be able to speed the recovery of Nicky’s fracture and treat the subsequent compensation discomfort. This will definitely help get my amazing horse comfortable and competing again.”

Natalie will receive her two-month trial of the UltrOZ system, and we would like to wish her and Nicky the best of luck with the rest of their career together!

Hamilton Biovet

EN’s Got Talent: Tout de Suite Shows the Makings of a Star

Leslie Law and Tout de Suite. Photo courtesy of Palmer Photo. Leslie Law and Tout de Suite. Photo courtesy of Palmer Photo.

In our last edition of EN’s Got Talent, we met Leslie Law and Beatrice Rey-Herme’s promising British Sport Horse gelding, Tout de Suite. Leslie saw a lot of potential in the horse when he first met him on a shopping trip to Europe, and now has the makings of a top event horse on his hands.

Leslie is a big believer in working on the fundamentals with each and every horse that comes through his program. “I want to be able to ask enough of him without overfacing or overdoing him,” Leslie said. “It has been quite easy for him, but he was only 6 when he moved to Prelim, and I like them to have at least 12 months at that level under their belt.”

While Tout de Suite, or “Colby,” has the talent and scope necessary for the upper levels, Leslie laid a firm plan for the horse to become very solid at Preliminary before looking to move him up again, as he believes Preliminary lays the proper foundation for the upper levels. Rushing a horse, as talented as it may be, to move up is not a philosophy he exercises, Leslie said.

Tout de Suite finished out 2013 with an Intermediate debut, placing second at Rocking Horse in November. “It was an ideal situation. He was full of confidence,” Leslie said. “I was hoping that Rocking Horse would be a nice move up for him, and it served its purpose. It was exactly what I wanted to give him a taste of that level.

The gelding came out in 2014 at the Intermediate level, completing three Intermediates, two CIC2* and one CCI2* so far. Tout de Suite earned his first blue ribbon at the level with a win in the Intermediate division at Carolina International in March. So far since moving up, the 7-year-old gelding has yet to finish out of the top 6, surely a testament not only to his talent but to Leslie’s meticulous training.

“He’s always been quite good with the dressage,” Leslie said. “He’s got a great attitude. In the early days, he was a bit spooky on cross country, and that’s where I really felt it was important to spend the time at Prelim. I really felt that the big pay off was coming out this year when I brought him straight out at Intermediate after debating whether or not to go Prelim first.”

“After a six-week break over the winter, he had really matured and came out a different horse across country,” Leslie said. “He’s always been very, very good, but with the miles he had at Prelim, I dare say he hasn’t had a weak phase yet this year.”

As for an aspect of Tout de Suite’s training that’s proved to be a challenge, it’s the gelding’s flying changes. “They don’t come as naturally to him as they do to some horses,” Leslie elaborated. “I think going forward that will be my biggest challenge.”

To that end, Leslie plans to continue focusing heavily on Tout de Suite’s dressage training, ensuring that he has the strength and skill necessary to continue to be competitive. Eventually, Leslie plans to let the horse step up to Advanced when he feels it is the right time.

“I’ve always got a plan in my mind, but then you have to take each horse as an individual,” Leslie said. “Some are much more forward thinking in their mind, others need time to mature into their body. You have to let them tell you these things.

“You have to listen to them a little bit, and maturity of the horse and his body and his mind and temperment sort of dictate those things.”

Shine Bright Like a Diamond to Win a Professional’s Choice Quilted Dressage Pad

The Professional's Choice Quilted Dressage Pad. Photo by Lorraine Peachey. The Professional's Choice Quilted Dressage Pad. Photo by Lorraine Peachey.
If you didn’t check out Colleen Peachey’s video product review debut, you’re definitely missing out. Colleen recently reviewed the Professional’s Choice Quilted Dressage Pad, and we loved the pad so much that we decided to work with another of our amazing sponsors to offer you the chance to win one of your own!
Thanks to Professional’s Choice, we’ve got three Quilted Dressage Pads to give away to the lucky winners of our next contest.
Photo by Lorraine Peachey.

The Professional’s Choice Quilted Dressage Pad. Photo by Lorraine Peachey.

Since these pads are glam to the nines, we want to see just how bright you and your horse can shine! We know you’d love to have one of these awesome pads to accentuate your equine wardrobe, so send us a photo or a brief video of you and your horse shining bright like a diamond, Rihanna style.

Remember, creativity and humor are what the chinchillas love to see the most! So get your horse all glammed up and show us that diamond shine.

Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: Hartpury CIC3* Cross Country

We’ve got some more exciting cross country action from Hartpury International coming your way today, courtesy of YouTube user harveywetdog. The next best thing to being at the event yourself is the generous people who allow us to live vicariously through them via photos and videos. Click to watch the great riding and wonderful course that the CIC3* competitors tackled last weekend.

Why SpectraVET?

Reliable. Effective. Affordable.

SpectraVET is committed to providing only the highest-quality products and services to our customers, and to educating the world in the science and art of laser therapy.

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.

Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: Chincoteague Pony Helmet Cam

EN reader Anna White sent in her GoPro footage from the Open Training division at Fair Hill this past weekend. She and her Chincoteague Pony, Southern Storm, finished eighth in their first recognized Training level event. Anna’s helmet cam cut out after fence 11 on course, but be sure to watch for a brief chase by a loose dog (good pony for staying focused!), and stay tuned for much more on this “horse of a different color.”

An Ode to Fitness

I could take a page from Meg Kep and her fellow fit friends. I could take a page from Meg Kep and her fellow fit friends.

Oh, fitness. My best friend and worst enemy all at once. I’ve never been super into fitness or working out, whatever the kids are calling it these days. But after watching my metabolism slow down as I got older and noticing how much more difficult my time in the saddle was becoming, I decided that something needed to change.

I wrote a few weeks ago about timing and how ensuring that I had my life in order before I could focus on getting back on track with my riding. Well, my personal health and fitness emerged as an important goal to jump start during this whole, lengthy process.

I’ve never been an overweight person, nor have I ever been a stick figure. The best shape of my life came a few years ago when I was working off some board at the barn cleaning stalls. Without even noticing, I dropped several pounds and had to buy new clothes because the old ones didn’t fit. That was the best – working out when I didn’t even think about it! I know it goes without saying that shoveling manure and pushing wheelbarrows is among the best workout there is.

That said, I have a bad back. I was diagnosed with scoliosis at a young age and have struggled with chronic back pain ever since. It’s only gotten worse with age (doesn’t everything? Except wine. Wine gets better with age.), and I’ve come to accept the fact that I am not able to do much in the way of manual labor without causing myself harm.

A big part of my back pain, however, also comes from having poor posture and weak posterior muscles to support my spine. So, a big part of my motivation to get back in shape was to help prevent my back pain from hindering me further.

I’ve discovered that I tend to bite off more than I can chew and attempt to change my entire life at one time. Soon enough, I can’t keep up with all of the change and eventually revert back to old habits for the sake of convenience and confusion. So this time around, I resolved to make small changes over time, creating new habits before moving on to the next goal.

That approach has seemed to work. With my fitness goals, I purchased some sessions with a personal trainer at my gym in order to get a plan in place for the first few weeks of training. I got myself onto a schedule and have been able to stick with it. Once I began to enjoy the feeling of sweating from the exertion and the endorphins that seemed to immediately fill my body, I was hooked. Once I was hooked, I knew I would be ok.

That’s the thing about fitness. You have to make a conscious effort to make it enjoyable. Not everyone can make do with running on a treadmill or lifting weights. Some people find more fulfillment in yoga or fitness classes. Others find exercising outdoors to be the best. Not everyone has to follow the same plan. I enjoy going to the gym, turning my music up to an unhealthy volume, and sweating it out for an hour or more.

Once you can find what makes it enjoyable, then you don’t worry about “making it through” your workouts. You wake up in the morning wanting to get right to work. You enjoy your time working out because it’s no longer a chore, it’s a habit. Creating good habits are key to success in any endeavor.

Don’t overwhelm yourself and bite off more than you can chew. Start slowly, and build from there once you are comfortable with the first step. I slowly began to cut out soda and fast food from my diet. I began eating smaller meals throughout the day and learned to enjoy natural foods and not processed crap. I will never be a clean eater, per se, but I will resolve to put healthy fuel in my body in order to get the most out of my fitness program.

I’m happy that I’m taking steps to further myself. I can’t help but think about the benefits I will see when I do get back in the saddle – not gasping for breath after three laps of trotting and shamefully taking more walk breaks than normal is my first goal. From there, I’ll build up. Slowly but surely, I’ll get there.

Ashley Adams Pulls a One-Two Punch in Inaugural GMHA CIC* + Other Scores

Ashley Adams and Cooley Ice. Photo courtesy of Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto. Ashley Adams and Cooley Ice. Photo courtesy of Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto.

The first ever CIC* at the GMHA Festival of Eventing was a rousing success this weekend, drawing 20 entries and plenty of competitive action to keep everyone on the edge of their seats. Ashley Adams came out with a mission this weekend, competing Cooley Ice and Lup The Loop and finishing in first and second, respectively, when the dust settled today.

Ashley and Cooley Ice scored a 48.6 to lie in second after dressage and went on to complete two double clear jumping efforts to finish on that dressage score and clinch the win. She also finished on her dressage score of 53.1 with Lup The Loop.

Jorgen Olijslager and Northern Quest Lady’s Man round out the top three with a refusal and time in show jumping but adding a double clear cross country to finish on a 53.7. Time was the biggest factor in the CIC*, although a few 20s and eliminations were scattered about throughout the division.

GMHA August H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

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In the Open Intermediate division, Buck Davidson cleaned house, taking home first through third place aboard Petite Flower, Be Mine, and Riviera, respectively. Daryl Kinney and Union Station also had a great weekend, adding just time to their dressage score to finish in fourth behind Buck.

Buck Davidson and Petite Flower. Photo courtesy of Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto.

Buck Davidson and Petite Flower. Photo courtesy of Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto.

Time was also a consideration on cross country for these riders, although a few more jumping penalties showed up. The fourth fence on course caused the most trouble, catching four riders out with 20 penalties.

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Over at Fair Hill, two stacked Intermediate divisions duked it out for the win. Will Faudree and Pawlow triumphed in the Intermediate-A division, finishing with a bit of breathing room on a 36.4 ahead of second placed Kelly Beaver and Sempre Fino. Kelly Prather and D.A. Duras round out the top three in the A division.

Fair Hill International H.T. [Website] [Scores]

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In the Intermediate-B division, Michael Pollard and Kyra enjoyed a sound victory, adding a bit of time on cross country to add 4.4 points to their impressive dressage score of 23.8. Sally Cousins and Tsunami III picked up second on a 37.1 and Boyd Martin was third on Cracker Jack.

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Meanwhile at Otter Creek in Wisconsin, Lisa Borgia and Frodo of the Shire took him the Open Intermediate win ahead of Amanda Hund and Pik Pilot. Lisa was likely out for some redemption after being eliminated in the CIC2* at Roebke’s Run last month, and she certainly got it this weekend. The pair successfully knocked their dressage score down quite considerably from their last two outings – props to you, Lisa!

I must also give an EN shout-out to our very own Lindsey Kahn, who has officially completed her first event with Onyx. The pair finished 10th in the Senior Beginner Novice division.

Otter Creek Summer H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Scores]

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The Summer Event at Woodside has just wrapped up as well, and Bea di Grazia has won the Open Intermediate with Lad’s Night Out. Bea stalked the lead throughout the weekend and was eventually able to move from third to first after picking up a single time penalty in show jumping.

Show jumping looked to be challenging, with only two double clear rounds. Alex Ahearn and Mai Baum led after both dressage and cross country and had an unfortunate rail down in show jumping to move into second place overall. The top three is completed by Jen McFall and High Times, who moved up from fifth after a one of the quicker cross country rounds and sealed third place with a rail down in show jumping today.

The Summer Event at Woodside [Website] [Live Scores]

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