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Shelby Allen


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Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

I hope you all enjoyed a long holiday weekend! Temperatures are looking on the up and up this week, so I am going to take the opportunity to enjoy some more time in the saddle. I hope you are too.

National Holiday: National Fig Newton Day

Events Opening This Week: Full Gallop Farm February II H.T. (SC, A-3) Rocking Horse III H.T. (FL, A-3) Sporting Days Farm H.T. II(SC, A-3) Twin Rivers Winter H.T. (CA, A-6)

Events Closing This Week: Sporting Days Farm H.T. I (SC, A-3) Galway Downs Winter H.T. (CA, A-6) Stable View Winter Horse Trials (SC, A-3) Three Lakes February I H.T. at Caudle Ranch (FL, A-3)

Tuesday News: 

Daren Chiacchia had a big year in 2017 with three of his rides: Ballzauber, Adomat and Guardiola each earning top finishes. His string is proficient across many levels, being recognized by both the American Trakehner Association (ATA) and US Dressage Federation (USDF). Catch up with Darren: [Darren Chiacchia Earns ATA and USDF Honors]

Was your New Year’s Resolution to participate in a long format event? Let’s check the calendar! There are quite a few offered at Beginner Novice – Preliminary level, including a new P3D at The Heart of the Carolinas. [Experience the Thrill of the ‘Chase in 2018 at a USEA Classic Series Event]

I am a horse owner who prides herself on making my gelding ‘matchy matchy.’ And like any good intending rider, I can go a bit overboard, into the realm that this owner would describe as ‘spendy spendy.’ Give yourself a few moments to read this hilarious piece – trust me, you’ll be glad you did. It’s equal parts hysterical and relatable. [Skint Dressage Daddy’s guest blog: matchy matchy? More like spendy spendy…]

Shelly Francis is officially my favorite person. Not only did she accomplish back to back wins at 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival aboard Doktor, but her realistic responses at the following press conferences had me rolling including her explanation about missing the awards presentation: “Some people might think I’m a chicken but I’d like to live a bit longer” [Shelly Francis Is the Hero Every Press Conference Needs]

Tuesday Video: Caroline Martin and The Apprentice at last week’s E25 Winter Training Session

Monday News & Notes from Fleeceworks

Baby horse cuddles! Photo by Shelby Allen.

The only thing that got me out of the house yesterday was seeing these sweet babies! These yearlings are almost like dogs, and have become very social! Their snuggles warmed my heart on such a cold day. I’m so impressed with the rest of you who were ambitious in the cold.

National Holiday: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, National Hat Day

U.S. Weekend Action: 

Stable View Aiken Opener H.T. [Website] [Results]

Monday News: 

Izzy Taylor announced this weekend the loss of top horse Trevidden last year. Owned by Dr. Patricia Turner, “Joss” suffered a seemingly minor injury at the Burghley Horse Trials last fall, and underwent surgery 8 weeks later to correct the issue. Sadly, he had to be euthanized shortly before Christmas. [‘I Loved Him the Moment I Saw Him’: Farewell to ‘Incredible’ Event Horse]

Three horses have tested positive following the Delhi CCI*, November 27-30. Black Beauty, ridden by Sarvesh Singh Pal, tested positive for  the anabolic agent boldenone and the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug meloxicam. The horse Cantolina, who won the event, tested positive for boldenone. Golden Boy, ridden by Raj Kumar, also tested positive for boldenone. [Alleged Anti-Doping Rule Breeches in Eventing]

Get Ready for Winter Indoor Inspiration! Courtney Cooper shares her favorite grid that she says can be adapted for both greenies and experienced horses. [Grid Pro Quo with Courtney Cooper]

Monday Video:

Weekend Instagram Roundup: Season Opener at Stable View

3, 2, 1… GO Eventing in 2018! Stable View hosted the first competitors of the year at their January 13-14 horse trial. Despite the chilly weather (for Southerners), the event had a great turn out of riders hoping to get an early jump on the season.

Congratulations to the first winners of 2018:

Junior Young Rider Open Preliminary: Jessie Schwartz & WHF Kitaro (25.9)
Open Preliminary: Tiffani Loudon-Metze & Hap (23.9)
Preliminary Rider: Tawn Edwards & All of Indy (39.9)
Junior/Young Rider Training: Dylan Philipps & Fernhill Fierce (30.5)
Open Training: Mike Pendelton & The Fonz Himself (20)
Training Rider: Sierra Shurtz & Zach Eyed Pea (33.6)
Junior/Young Rider Novice: Malik Hogan & Top Vision (31.1)
Novice Rider: Jane Manetta & George (31.9)
Open Novice: Courtney Cooper & Seraphina (27.6)
Beginner Novice Rider: Deirdre Stoker Vaillancourt & Eluca (30)
Junior/Young Rider Beginner Novice: Carly Blank & Take Your Time (30.3)
Open Beginner Novice: Amy Wise & Ruger (26.2)

Stable View Aiken Opener H.T. [Website] [Live Results]

Here’s what y’all ‘grammed:

Go Kimora and @haydenjeventing! #nirvanaequestrianathlete #teamcorrectconnect

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Go @haydenjeventing and KIMORA!!!

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Here’s some of me and Remy’s show jump round from today!!

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Go eventing.

From Coast to Coast: Meet Eventing 25 Emerging Athlete Sophie Click

The Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 winter training session wrapped up this week in Ocala, Florida, January 8-11. We are excited to introduce you to some of the riders making their debut on the E25 list, which can be viewed here. Today: Sophie Click!

Sophie Click and Hot Wheels. Photo by Shelby Allen.

2017 was a year of coast-to-coast success for 18-year-old Sophie Click as she earned the title of highest placed Young Rider in both the Fair Hill International CCI2* and Galway Downs International CCI2* on opposite ends of the country. For this achievement, she was kindly rewarded with a spot in the 2018 Eventing 25 Emerging Athlete Program.

“It felt like everything I had worked for was finally paying off,” She smiled. “I really worked so hard to get where I am and it just felt really good to get that.” She’s made it here aboard her two talented horses: Hot Wheels, a 15-year-old Paint (Three Alarm Fire x High Mountain) owned by Sophie and her mother, Amy, and Fernhill Rising, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Cyrano x Tallys Eagles Wings).

“Wheels” transformed Sophie from an eager kid to an earnest competitor as they’ve made their way through the Advanced level together with three FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championship appearances along the way.

“I got him when I was 12 and he was for my mom actually, but I ended up riding him. It was a really good match. I think everyone kind of underestimated him, but he’s just a really good horse. He loves cross country and he loves to show, and he tries so hard. I think he would do anything for me. We just have a really good partnership,” she said. Sophie and Wheels finished 4th in the CCI2* at Galway Downs in November.

Sophie Click and Fernhill Rising at Fair Hill. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Fernhill Rising or “Stan” is a newer ride, but in their twelve months together they’ve accomplished a great deal she believes, adding that he “surprised me past anything I could’ve hoped for.” They finished 16th in the CCI2* at Fair Hill, winning the USEF Young Rider CCI2* Championship.

“It felt amazing to be the top young rider. All the young riders are competitive with each other and I think all that time leading up to Fair Hill that I spent on the East Coast really paid off. That was our goal all season to get to Fair Hill and be successful and it all worked out,” Sophie commented.

Originally from Snoqualmie, Washington, Sophie grew up riding in the Pacific Northwest, but this year she took a chance and went east with her trainer Jordan Linstedt. “I’m very thankful that she took me under her wind and brought me out there. I met so many people and it was very amazing to travel with a four-star rider.”

Sophie Click and Hot Wheels. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Through the fall she trained with Bobby Costello before accepting a working student position with Lillian Heard. “Being on the east coast was such a new experience because I didn’t know anybody and it was all different,” she said. “I think growing up eventing on the West Coast taught me so much, but I think the next level is eventing on the east cost and that’s why so many riders, like Jordan, go east to prepare you for upper level events.”

With the winter training camp behind her, Sophie has her eyes on becoming even more competitive in 2018 while maintaining that her number one priority is “keeping my horses healthy and happy.”

“I’m really excited to be a part of the Under 25 program. Just to be on that list and get the training and lessons that come with it,” she beamed. “I’m really excited to get to know everyone in the program and to be a part of that community.”


Sunday Links Presented by One K Helmets

Showing is baaaaack! The first show of the year kicked off yesterday and Stable View, and I for one am so excited for this year to start. Except for the warm up – I don’t think anyone truly looks forward to that experience. Nevertheless, with the World Equestrian Games on the horizon, it should be a very exciting spring season!

National Holiday: National Dress Up Your Pet Day (Please send along any photos of this celebration!)

U.S. Weekend Action:

Stable View Aiken Opener H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Results]

Sunday Links:

Know Your Treats: Some Natural Ingredients Can Cause Accidental Drug Positives

‘As Soon as The Bell Rings I’m On My Way Here’: How A Charity Brightens Lives Through Horses

Grid Pro Quo with Courtney Cooper

Ride The Moment on Cross Country: Day 4 of the USEF Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Program Training Session

Alleged Anti-Doping Rule Breeches in Eventing, Endurance Announced by FEI

Identifying Physical vs. Psychological Issues in Horses

Tricks of the Tail

5 Things To Do With Your Horse When You Don’t Want to Ride

Sunday Video:

Saturday Video: Can’t Stop Volunteering

“I got this feelin’ inside my bones”

“It goes electric, wavy when the first horse goes”

Who among us doesn’t love a good eventing-themed remix? Loyal British Eventing volunteers Elin Stenberg, Alix Copping & Helen Bowler certainly do. They’ve mixed up an epic remix to Justin Timberlake’s “Cant’ Stop the Feeling!” Listen up and remember to thank a volunteer!

It gets off to a great start:

I got that stopwatch ’round my neck now

I’ve got that clipboard in my hand

Feel that hot tea in my body and that cake… cake

It keeps picking up:

Out in the fields with our radios

Nowhere to hide when the good weather goes

When we’re here we can watch our heroes

So just imagine, just imagine… 

And they bring it home with the chorus:

Nothing I can see but you when you prance, prance, prance

Feel a good, good creeping up on you

So just prance, prance, prance, come on

All those things I could be doing 

But you prance, prance, prance

And ain’t nobody leaving soon so keep prancing

To all the volunteers who spend their weekends watching us prance, we sincerely thank you!

The Sky’s The Limit for Eventing 25 Emerging Athlete Clara Cargile

The Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 winter training session wrapped up this week in Ocala, Florida, January 8-11. We are excited to introduce you to some of the riders making their debut on the E25 list, which can be viewed here. Today: Clara Cargile!

Clara Cargile and White Indian. Photo by Sportfot.

For Clara Cargile, a love of horses was hereditary. Growing up on a ranch in west Texas introduced her riding at a young age and from there the infatuation only grew.

“I’m from a ranching family,” she said. “So when I was young my dad wanted all my siblings and I to learn how to ride so we could be competent riding at the ranch. He wanted us to learn good horse management so that we could understand that these are live animals. It’s not just play with them and put them away, you have to take care of them. ”

She began taking beginner lessons in town before joining her local Pony Club, which would be her formal introduction to eventing. “I went to all the rallies on my pony and then started doing recognized shows. That’s how I got into eventing and I’ve been riding ever since,” she smiled.

In 2012, Clara met her new partner White Indian, a striking grey Irish Sport Horse (White Clover x Indian Kitt) who would propel her up the levels of the sport. “Worzel” was sourced from Nick Campbell’s yard by her trainer Mike Huber and his assistant trainer at the time Heather Morris.

“I’ve had him for five and a half years. I bought him in the summer of 2012. My old horse maxed out at training and I needed something that could teach me the ropes at the Prelim/one-star level,” Clara said. “He had only done some Prelim when I got him, so we’ve really grown up together. I had him all through high school and now college. We’ve been through it all together.”

Clara Cargile and White Indian. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

“In the barn he’s quite a character. He’s kind of like a dog. He loves to be social,” Clara grinned. “Under saddle he takes some convincing to tell him what you want to do, especially on the flat. He changes every single day. I get different types of horses every day with him. He has a big personality kind of all the time.”

They found quick success in competition, and less than a year after he arrived Clara and Worzel were completing their first CIC*. They continued honing their skills and polishing their performances, moving up and becoming competent at the two-star level even earning individual silver in the CICY2* at the 2016 Adequan FEI North American Junior and Young Riders Championship.

2017 was another big year for the duo. They made their Advanced debut early in the season before Clara relocated Worzel to Jennie Brannigan’s barn in Pennsylvania. This set the 20-year-old up with an impressive balancing act between riding and also maintaining her studies at Texas Christian University where she is currently a junior. 

“It’s a feat. I don’t get to ride every single day. I’m constantly flying back and forth to ride and then going back to school. It’s hard because whenever I’m a school I think I need to be riding, and whenever I’m riding I’m thinking about this assignment due next week,” she described. 

“It’s a lot of balancing and it’s a lot of sleepless nights, but I have an incredible team behind me and I have a lot people that really make it work for me – my parents, my coaches and everyone in between that really makes it possible.”

When I’m at school I’m not worried about ‘oh is Worzel getting taken care of?’ because I know he is and I know that they’re riding him super well. And when I come in they focus a lot on honing in on the time I have there. It’s definitely difficult, but it’s totally worth it.”

Clara Cargile and White Indian at Plantation Field. Photo by Amy Dragoo.

Their fall season on the East Coast took them to many new venues including Plantation Field and Morven Park before cementing this year’s success at the Ocala Jockey Club CCI2*. Finding herself named to an E25 Emerging Athlete was the cherry on top of a super year.

“It was really exciting. This was my first year to apply to any of these teams, so I wasn’t expecting much you know having one horse and mostly being out in Texas for the majority of the time, so it was really exciting when I got that email,” she beamed.

Clara shared that in having this opportunity, she sees the potential in a long term career with horses. “I used to always say that I never wanted to be a professional, but now as I’ve gotten older and now that I’m based on the East Coast I think that’s something I really want. Especially being around the other Under 25 riders and watching them,” she said.

Working with USEF Eventing Emerging Athlete Coach Leslie Law at this week’s training camp has been an exciting start to this journey for Clara, one which she says extends beyond lessons in the arena.

A big part of the camp is learning about, ‘Ok so you have the talent to be a good rider, but outside of riding what does it take to become an international competitor and be successful as a business person?’. It’s a lot of horse care and everything. He’s so knowledgeable. He can give you so much advice and it’s like a mentorship program. Whenever he’s coaching you he gives you different tools that you hadn’t really thought out.”

“[The Emerging Athlete group]  ranges in experience, but it’s really inspiring. As Leslie says, it’s the pipeline to the U.S. teams. Ultimately I do want to represent the U.S. on an international stage, so it’s really motivating to come to these camps because it encourages you that ‘ok I can do this and this is something that I really do want.’ My main goal, along with so many people, is to one day be on one of those U.S. teams. To be named to the Under 25 team is really exciting because it’s a step to that.”

Go eventing. Go Clara!

Social Media Roundup: Eventing 25 Winter Training Session

US Equestrian’s Eventing 25 athletes have just wrapped up their winter training session in Ocala, Florida. These 15 riders have spent the last four days riding and learning with USEF Eventing Emerging Athlete Coach Leslie Law as well as US Eventing Performance Director Erik Duvander and FEI Show Jumping Course Designer Chris Barnard.

Here’s what went down on social media:


Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: Dressage Warm Up Strategies for a Supple Horse

Was earning better dressage marks your New Year’s Resolution? Then this video is for you. Major League Eventing focuses on flatwork in episode three of their “Major League Training” video series. Dressage trainer Sally Lofting shares her game plan for working through tension in warm up. Her student, Sue Petley demonstrates on Venitia Starr, an 8-year-old Lusitano who currently competes at third level.

We’ve so enjoyed following along with the Major League Training series. If you missed any so far, check out Episode 1 with Richard Lamb and Episode 2 with Erika Nesler.

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.

Maya Black Returns to the East Coast with Big Dreams & A Hopeful Heart

Maya Black and Mowgli at the Ocala Jockey Club CCI2*. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

After a year spent in the Pacific Northwest, we are excited to welcome Maya Black back to the East Coast!. After a rollercoaster of emotions and achievements in 2016, Maya spent the last twelve months on her home turf to reflect and reenergize her career ambitions. Now she’s back and ready to make 2018 her own.

2016 was a whirlwind year for Maya: between winning the Fork CIC3*, earning a top three finish at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and being named traveling reserve for the United States Olympic Team, all aboard Dawn & Johnathan Dofelmier’s quirky Holsteiner Doesn’t Play Fair, the sky was the limit.

A few months later when it was announced that “Cody” would be returning to the Dolfelmier’s where Dawn would take over the ride, Maya decided it was time to go home. “Losing the ride on Cody, and an even longer friendship with the Dofelmiers was certainly a life-changer and the biggest reason for me returning to the West Coast,” she recounted.

“It made me question the path I wanted for my riding career and life. It wasn’t my riding ability which I doubted. It was more my ability to hold my own in this world as a professional, living within the hub of the sport, while working and competing for that chance to one day represent my country.”

So she brought her operation back to the West Coast where she set up shop at her family farm and reconnected with old students family, and friends. “Anyone who has ever had a chance to visit Whidbey Island knows that it is a very special place. My family farm, while nothing fancy, has been a place where I’ve enjoyed and had success bringing along young horses over the years,” Maya said.

“I really wanted to spend time with my family who I hadn’t seen much in the past few years. I also wanted to reconnect with the Area VII eventing community. I really enjoyed the opportunity to teach students old and new during my year back in Washington,” she continued. “I am excited at the prospect of returning on a monthly basis for clinics. It means a lot to me to be able to give back and pass along what I know to those willing to learn.”

One of my favorite things over these past few months has been the opportunity to help others learn- horses and people. I love learning; the specific subject doesn't really matter. But when it's about my passion, which has anything to do with horses- I'm all in. I got the opportunity to ride my horse Mowgli in a super clinic last week with Erik Duvander. I loved it. So simple and basic in so many ways, which made it so challenging and successful. Riding with him, reminded me of why I love teaching- For the love learning and having something I can give. I've had so much pleasure teaching more over these last 6months. There has been some wonderfully consistent weekly students, regularly scheduled days around the Seattle area and afew away clinics with completely new faces. Thank you to everyone who makes my passion fun and rewarding. If anyone is interested in having me out for a clinic or lessons, near or far- contact me. (potentially room for 1-2 more horses in training as well). I have had afew weekends come available to teach over the next few months, so let me know and we can try to work it out! Thanks to Volte Farms for the use of some of these pictures. #cwd #ecogold #customsaddlery #charlesowen #airowear #revitavet #phoenixbodyworks

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 Her homecoming gave her the chance to regroup, refocus and reconnect with the local community – and now she’s back and more driven than ever.

“I thought long and hard about this over the past year. After a lot of self reflection, I realized that the only thing I could do was to continue to strive to be the best person I can be – a person who is kind, honest and genuine, and over time I hope [my career] will come full circle again,” she explained.

Aside from personal reflection, Maya admits that she also misses the thrill of competing at the highest level. “Being away from the top level made me want to come back east. I missed working toward a big goal. This led me to my decision of returning to the East Coast, this time wanting to make a go of it and establish a proper business. I am moving forward doing this the only way I know how – by being me.”

Maya Black and Mowgli. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Maya has touched down at the beautiful Mardanza Farm in Ocala, Florida alongside Brian and Sara Murphy. With her she’s brought her own off-the-track Thoroughbred, Mowgli. This promising young horse capped off his successful Intermediate season with a top ten finish at the Ocala Jockey Club CCI2* last month.

“I’m really looking forward to what 2018 has to bring, especially with my up-and-coming horse, Mowgli. He’s a beautiful mover with a careful jump and is an incredible cross country horse. As talented as he is, he is also such a trier and the most cuddly horse I’ve ever had. He’s got the biggest personality,” she smiled. “He knows to smile for the camera as soon as he sees my phone out and is quick to pin you up against the stall wall with his head to demand that you rub his ears. I think he is the real deal. I’m hoping to syndicate him so that I can afford to continue on with him, as I think he could have a very exciting future.”

Maya is open for business! She shared with EN that she’s eagerly taking new students and new horses in for training and sale. In addition, she is looking to build her string of horses for the future. Interested parties should email Maya for more information. We are looking forward to following her journey.

Sunday Links Presented by One K Helmets

Photo by Shelby Allen.

I’m continuing the theme of this week’s Daily News & Notes by saying it’s still cold! Enough is enough. I want to get the feeling back in my toes again. I want to be able to ride without feeling like I’m the bundled version of the Michelin Man. I want to stop riding with hot hands inside my gloves. Please, I live in the south, we’re not built for this.

National Holiday: National Bobblehead Day

Sunday Links: 

Take A Gymnastics Lesson With Kent Farrington At The George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session

Zara Tindall Expecting Second Child 

In Memoriam: Charles T. Colgan

Horse Blanketing FAQs

New Event to Showcase British Stallions

How Do We Talk About Politics at The Barn

Team #NoGoals

Sunday Video: When you and your bestie go outside in this weather:

Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: Skijoring at Rebecca Farm

Skijoring is the newest winter craze for adrenaline junkies. It’s the exciting combination of skiing and horseback riding. Here’s a little intro for the skijoring ignorant…

Rebecca Farm announced earlier this year that they would throw their hat in the game to host their first skijoring competition. Basically, a skier is pulled behind a hell-bend horse with the goal of navigating an obstacle course in the quickest time possible. Their competition was a huge success, and here are some exciting clips:

Next year we’re going to have our work cut out for us @randallkaarre

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Aside from the traditional open divisions, there was also a costume class and this adorable demonstration that seems a little more up my alley:

Have any of our northern EN readers tried skijoring? Would you give it a go? Let us know in the comments. I’m picturing a Chinch-sized pair of skis in the near future…

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.

Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

Photo by Shelby Allen.

You guys it’s been cold lately. I live in Georgia for a reason. Sure, the summers are brutal and you might melt, but this is supposed to be the time of year when we bask in mild summer sun as we enjoy regular winter rides in t-shirts. Yesterday it didn’t get above freezing and I did not sign up for this!!

In other news, my alma mater won the Rose Bowl yesterday, so consider this my obligatory GO DAWGS.

National Holiday: National Buffet Day, National Personal Trainer Awareness Day

Events Opening This Week: Rocking Horse Winter II H.T. (FL, A-3) Paradise Farm H.T. (SC, A-3) Fresno County Horse Park CIC & H.T. (CA, A-6)

Events Closing This Week: Poplar Place Farm January H.T. (GA, A-3) Grand Oaks H.T. (FL, A-3)

Tuesday News: 

Were you feeling a little… groggy doing the barn yesterday morning? Maybe dehydrated? Headaches? You weren’t the only one. [8 Things That Only Happen When You Do The Horses With A Hangover]

One of my biggest takeaways from Pony Club I still have are good bandaging skills. And consistent guilt about not cleaning my tack often enough. But bandaging can be tough, and doing it wrong can have consequences. There are many reasons you may want to wrap, so make sure you’ve got the practice down pat.  [Bandaging Fundamentals]

Horse people tend to use phrases that make absolutely no sense to the outside world. Listeners may know each word individually, but combine them and any sense of understanding is lost. Getting your horse to ‘lift through his back’ is one of these, but turns out this phrase technically doesn’t make any sense from a physiological standpoint either. [‘Lifting The Horse’s Back: Another Meaningless Equestrian Phrase]

Tuesday Video:

Donner Crowned 2017 Equiratings Horse of the Year


Hip hip hooray! The Donner Syndicate’s Donner has earned the title of Equiratings Horse of the Year! For those who have followed him since his humble beginnings in the sport under Lynn Symansky, this announcement comes as no surprise. Donner is America’s sweetheart who always shows up and shows out, donning the red, white and blue proudly on the world’s biggest stages.

Getting to this final result was a nail-biting process with over 35,000 votes tallied in. But with each leg he handily progressed – beating the likes of greats like FischerRocana and Arctic Soul. 

There’s no doubt to Donner’s athletic abilities. Anyone who has seen him run cross country (or made his way down a jog strip for that matter) can attest to this. He shows the true power of a good old fashioned Thoroughbred. He may never make it easy for Lynn on the flat… but he’s got a heart of gold across country.

Lynn Symansky and Donner. Photo by Jenni Autry.

This year was one of true success for Donner. He earned a personal best (45.5) at the formidable Burghley Horse Trials. He showed that ‘nothing runs like a deer’ against Capt. Mark Philipps’ cross country where he picked up only 3.6 time penalties. Donner capped out the weekend with he best CCI4* result to date for sixth place.

Though 2017 is the crowned jewel of his eventing career so far, Donner’s consistency is what cements him as a remarkable horse. Equiratings reported that the deer has posted 100% completion rates in seven of the eight seasons he’s competed at FEI events, leaving him with a 96.9% completion rate for his entire international career.

The face only a mother, and the entire U.S. eventing fanbase, could love. Photos courtesy of Lynn Symansky.

“Overwhelmed and deeply humbled by all of the support that came together for Donner, especially in the company of such incredible athletes in this year’s #ERHOTY17,” Lynn posted to her Facebook page.

“Donner truly has the best fans in the world. Thank you to every single one of you for the love and support, and for helping this failed racehorse turned winning event horse earn the recognition he deserves.”

For those who voted to help our hometown-ish hero to victory, thank you! We’re looking forward to watching what he accomplishes in 2018.


New Year’s Eve Links Presented by One K Helmets

Lynn Symansky and Donner. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Ok guys today is the final day to vote Donner for the 2017 Equiratings Horse of the Year! Donner is America’s sweetheart. Bred in Middleburg, Virginia, Donner had a short lived, and mostly unsuccessful career as a racehorse before landing in Lynn Symanksy’s barn. Since then he’s represented the United States on five international teams and had 8 four-star completions. Donner is the epitome of #OTTBPower. Show your support and fulfill your patriotic duty by voting for Donner on the Facebook poll.

National Holiday: New Year’s Eve, National Champagne Day.

Sunday Links:

8 Riders You Need on Your Radar in 2018

A Look Back and a Look Ahead

Showjumper Put Down After ‘Freak Accident’ at Liverpool International

Bunny Ears, Cowboy Hat Cups And Chit-Chat With Legends: The Chronicle Staff’s 2017 Memorable Moments

From Perfection To A Famous Pig: Images Of A Year 2017

Lameness in the Modern Era: Let’s Not Slip in the VOMIT

ICYMI: You can win a Boyd Martin Eventing 4-pack from Majyk Equipe! All you have to do is share your New Year’s Resolution here by midnight.

Sunday Video: The Donner we all know and love…

Chinch’s Favorite Helmet Cams of 2017

You galloped. You jumped. You got it all on camera, and we watched! Our team of chinchillas has been hard at work this year scouring the internet for the top videos in the sport. They especially enjoy helmet cams seeing as though they haven’t yet made a saddle small enough for our furry mascot. Helmet cams let him experience the thrill of cross country!

So without further ado, here were Chinch’s favorite helmet camera videos of 2017:

Ride Around Wellington with Elisa Wallace

“Alright J.B., you ready? It’s fun time, buddy!” were Elisa Wallace’s words to Simply Priceless, aka Johnny, before they left the start box at the 2017 $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase. They rocked and rolled around Capt. Mark Phillips’ technical course, turning in a clear round and one of the fastest rides of the day with only 3.6 time for an 18th place finish.

Dread Pirate Robby Sails to a Clear Round at Richland

For all of the “The Princess Bride” fans out there, we’ve come across another horse named after one of the cult classic film’s beloved characters competing at Richland Park. In the movie, the Dread Pirate Roberts was a notorious pirate wreaking havoc on the high seas. The masked man turned out to be the story’s beloved hero, Westley, disguised in a black ninja suit. Dread Pirate Robby is an off-track Thoroughbred gelding who was taking no prisoners on the Preliminary cross country course at Richland with his owner Breanne Palmerini.

Lainey Ashker’s Virginia Horse Trials CCI1* Helmet Cam

“I wouldn’t sell this horse for a million dollars,” said Lainey Ashker after stripping the saddle from Call Him Paddy, having just ridden double clear across country in the horse’s first CCI1*. Lainey’s mom, Valerie, found “Patrick” for her as a Thoroughbred Makeover project for the 2015 competition. Since then, he’s moved up the levels with Lainey and just finished 8th in the CCI1*-B division at the Virginia Horse Trials this weekend after adding just three time penalties from show jumping onto their dressage score.

Ingrid Klimke’s Aachen Helmet Cam

Is there anything better than watching an Ingrid Klimke helmet cam? It’s essentially a free cross country lesson. For those of you fluent in German, you also get to enjoy Ingrid’s commentary on her round with Horseware Hale Bob, who won the Aachen CICO3* on his dressage score of 34.5.

‘Beefed-Up Maxed-Out Olympic Novice’ Stable View Helmet Cam (1109)

Carrie Stryker and Just for Today had a great go at Stable View H.T. this weekend, making short work of what Carrie described as a “beefed-up maxed-out Olympic Novice course.” “A lot of people couldn’t hang with his buck, but Carrie took a lot of time and patience to build a real partnership with this horse,” says Jade Anderson-Tucker, who has been coaching the pair off and on for the past year.

Thanks, for letting us ride along. Can’t wait to see what we’ll get to see in 2018.

Best of 2017 Video Countdown #3: Mark Todd’s Newest Ride

Each day between now and the New Year we’re counting down the most popular videos shared on EN in 2017. The #3 spot goes to “Mark Todd’s Newest Ride,” which garnered 10,196 views when it was posted on November 26, 2017.

Sir Mark Todd, you may have heard of him, double Olympic gold medalist, Rider of the 20th Century, multiple four-star winner, etc., he’s kind of a big deal. You might also recall that he’s rather tall — 6’3″ to be exact. So, that means some of his sizeable rides turn out looking like ponies. If you thought that juxtaposition was fun, you’re in luck because we’ve stumbled upon footage of Mark actually riding a pony.


My new star for next season.

Posted by Mark Todd Eventing on Sunday, November 26, 2017

They flat around an indoor as Mark works hard to balance atop the black and white wonder pony that he affectionately calls, “My new star for next season.” When someone suggests he takes one of the jumps, he first declines the offer with an assertive, “No way!” before humbly asks them to remove the top rail. Never be afraid to start small, even if you’re Mark Todd!

Go ponies. Go Eventing.

Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: Happy Boxing Day!

Happy Boxing Day, EN! This special day is not as widely celebrated here in the U.S. as it is in the U.K., which leaves us yanks scouring the internet for photos and videos of arguably the best part of Boxing Day: The hunts!

If you’ve never been foxhunting, GO! Really, find a way to make it happen. I promise it’s the only thing that holds a candle to a cross country adrenaline rush. Until then, take a ride along with Atherstone Hunt in Market Bosworth at last year’s Boxing Day Meet thanks to rider Charlotte Butler.

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.

Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

Welcome to Christmas recovery! I sincerely hope that all of you had a fantastic day surrounded by two- and four-legged family. Santa must have accidentally forgotten my pony under the tree, so I’ll keep holding out until next year!

National Holiday: Boxing Day, National Thank You Note Day

Tuesday News: 

Were your horse’s treats from Santa healthy? There are a lot of options from health-freak to super sugary to feed your pony, and The Horse talks us through how to choose. Some top points are to check the ingredients list, and of course your horse’s reception. Because if he won’t eat it, it’s no use. [Healthy Horse Treats]

French Olympic gold medalist Jean-Jacques Guyon died this week. He and Pitou won individual gold at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. He passed away at the age of 85 in Paris. He remains one of only two French riders who have claimed individual gold at the Olympics. [French Olympic Eventing Hero Jean-Jacques Guyon Dies at 85]

Hey, John! FYI in case you haven’t seen this. EN Staff would like to second these nominations. [Dear John: The HN Staff 2017 Holiday Wish List]

Hot on Horse Nation: A Letter to Santa From the Very ‘Best’ Dressage Horse

Tuesday Video:

Christmas Eve Links Presented by One K Helmets


Photo by Devon Olivier.

Has your pony made it on the nice list this year? Most recently mine has been on his best behavior, but his security on the present-earning list gets shaky when I consider the year as a whole. He did buck me off a few months ago, and Santa would also have to consider the 8,000 times he pawed in and knocked over his water trough. Overall thought he is such a sweetie I think he’ll get a few extra carrots in his stocking!

National Holiday: Christmas Eve & National Eggnog Day

Sunday Links: 

French 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist Guyon Dies

A Wish for A Snow White Horse

How the Barn Grinch Sold Christmas: A Horse Slave Goes Home for the Holidays

10 Heart-Warming Stories from 2017 That Are Sure to Make You Smile

Endurance Deaths Remain A Stain on the Sport

Two Event Riders Blame Positive Drug Tests on ‘Prescribed Medication’

Stirrup Placement and Rider Biomechanics: What’s the Link?

Kentucky’s Agricultural Economy Improves

Young Horses Take Their Own Courses: Post-Season Vacation and Pre-Season Training

Sunday Video: *Hint Hint Santa*

Fair Hill Reins Back Four-Star Plans Amid International Star System Restructuring

An aerial rendering of Fair Hill’s proposed site plan. Image courtesy of Fair Hill International.

Following the FEI’s recent overhaul of the star system competition structure, Fair Hill International announced yesterday their plans to pause CCI4* (5*) ambitions as they await clarification on the new level specifications.

The newly-approved competition structure was confirmed at the FEI General Assembly Meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay last month. This change will shift all of the current International levels up, making our current CCI4* competitions into CCI5* Majors beginning in 2019.

The event commented that the USEF’s recommendation for Fair Hill to host a CCI4* was expected to be considered at the FEI General Assembly Meeting, but the Fair Hill International and its coalition partners decided to pause this proposal until they can properly prepare to host a CCI5* Major.

“We understand the FEI’s decision to reorganize the star system and the requirements for each level. However, until we know these new requirements, it makes no sense to move forward blindly,” Fair Hill’s Executive Director, Carla Geiersbach said in a statement.

“We don’t want to build a state-of-the-art facility to the wrong specifications. We are committed to presenting an event at the pinnacle of the sport and will march ahead as soon as the FEI releases its new parameters.”

Sam Slater, President of the Fair Hill Foundation, continued, “We remain committed to bringing world class equestrian sporting opportunities to this corner of Maryland. Fair Hill has so much to offer the community, and proposed upgrades will really enhance the facility.”

Fair Hill International will again host CCI3* and CCI2* divisions at next year’s event, October 18-21, 2018, which will mark the competition’s 30th anniversary.

[Fair Hill International Awaits Clarity on New FEI Classification]

Social Media Roundup: Eventers Feeling Festive

From browsing through social media recently one theme stands out — Eventing Nation is getting into the Christmas spirit! I mean, who among us hasn’t dressed their horse up in some completely ridiculous holiday-fueled getup? My poor horse Justin has certainly felt the effects of the season in past years…

Exhibit A:

We love virtually celebrating with y’all. After seeing all these show horses-turned-reindeer, I’m convinced that Santa’s sleigh is pulled by eventers! You guys are so cute, you should be on a Christmas card – Submit more of your horsey holiday fun to [email protected] And as we keep counting down until the big day, here’s the holiday happenings around Eventing Nation:

And not eventers, but from our horse friends across the pond:

Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: Charlotte Dujardin’s Newest Star Dubbed ‘Mrs. Valegro’

Say hello to Mount St. John Freestyle, Charlotte Dujardin’s newest promising ride who has been dubbed “Mrs. Valegro” by adoring fans. Emma Blundell’s striking 9-year-old Hannoverian (Fidermark x Donnerhall) grabbed headlines last week as Charlottee did a masterclass demonstration at Olympia.

“Mount St. John Freestyle, she’s a horse I’ve been riding for four years now.  I had her when she was 5-years-old, she’s now eight. She’s just come on beyond belief,” Charlotte said. “She’s got a heart of gold. I have to say, she gives me glimpses of Valegro in the arena.”

“She’s incredibly brave when she goes in. I have never put her in an atmosphere or an environment like that before, so I wasn’t really sure how she was going to be, but I have to say she felt absolutely incredible. There were moments of riding where you feel emotional because she has the talent that she just gives and gives and gives.”

Watch out world — there’s another dressage superstar in the making.

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.