Leslie Wylie
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Leslie Wylie


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#DogsOfEN: Plantation Field International Edition

Your dogs were out and about over the weekend at Plantation Field International Horse Trials in Unionville, Pennsylvania! This canine-friendly event even featured demonstrations from Tail Blazers Agility Club of the Brandywine Valley, PA.

is taking a painting break… The most beautiful dogs and horses at this #plantationfieldinternational #pennsylvania today….❤️

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The course is ready! #tbacagility

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It is agility time! #tbacagility

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Other dogs opted to tackle Plantation’s cross country track, check out the trade fair or just bum around the barns. Here are a few of your photos from the event!

Toonie says this line is a trotting 20 when you are a Clumber. #livingwithclumbers #outstandinginafield

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Wonderful day with @yogamox at plantation field horse trials!!!!!

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Walter testing out the CIC** drop into water #futureeventdog #greatform #jackrussellterrier @ab.butler @mcmechan

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He is just a very tired little dog.

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She's the best #blacklabs #stellathelab #blacklabsmatter #labsofinstagram #countymodel #countysaddlery #cosequin #cosequinmodel

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Demo day! ❤️❤️

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And our honorable mention animal of the week, Boomer the goat!

Meeting lots of friends! #plantationhorsetrials

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Go Eventing, and bring your dogs!

#EventerProblems Vol. 127: A Special Breed, Horses vs. Humans Part 1

Well over a hundred #EventerProblems later I still don’t know who has more screws loose, event horses or the people who ride them. In this edition and the next, we’ll let the two parties face off.

Today, let’s start by letting our horses make a case for themselves:







on this week's edition of what my intermediate/2* lease horse finds spooky: mowed grass #eventerproblems #maythequeen

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Well played young man, well played. Rigby – 1, Dressage Camp – 0 #chroniclesofrigby #eventerproblems #atleasthesbay

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*cries* #hewasblack #eventerproblems #horses #eventing #sellefrancais #trakehner #fatbeauty

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Preliminary thoughts, EN?

Go Eventing.

Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: Copper Meadows Advanced, CIC2* and CIC1* Winners

Copper Meadows held its September event two weekends ago and Ride On Video has been busy posting footage. Here are the cross country rides from the winners of the Advanced, CIC2* and CIC1* divisions!

View complete results here.

Advanced: Heather Morris and Charlie Tango (27.2)

CIC2*: Gina Economou and Exclusive (60.7)

CIC1*: Matthias Schwarz and Kortesyde (55.3)

Congrats to all finishers. Go Eventing!

Why SpectraVET?

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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.

Wylie vs. the Mongol Derby, Powered by SmartPak: The Race, Part 4 – Only the Wild Ones

In August 2017 writer/rider Leslie Wylie conquered her most fearsome feat of #YOLO yet: a 620-mile race across Mongolia. Riding 27 semi-wild native horses. Carrying only 11 pounds of gear. Relying on nomads for food, water and shelter. On a mission to help stop deforestation.

Held Aug. 9-19, the Mongol Derby is widely regarded as the toughest horse race in the world. Inspired by the Genghis Khan’s original “pony express,” there’s no trail or set route, just 25 GPS checkpoints/horse exchange stations to hit over the course of 7-10 days. Now that Leslie is home she is recapping her ride of a lifetime! Click here to read previous stories in the series.

The 2017 Mongol Derby Die-Another-Day Club: Lucy, Amanda, Taylor, me, Cy, Paul and (not pictured) James. Please take a moment to appreciate my horse’s amazing mullet, an apt metaphor for my Derby journey from “business in the front” to “party in the back.”

“Only the wild ones give you something and never want it back.”
Dispatch, by way of my Derby forever friend Amanda Charlton Herbert

Day 5

Day 5 was when things started getting a little … blurry. Not because I was concussed (knock on wood) or tipsy on fermented mare’s milk (it’s not as gross as you think!) but because of the repetition: Ride. Rinse. Repeat. Except for the rinsing part, of course. We just kept getting filthier and filthier.

By mid-race I smelled like a cross between a rancid watermelon and a homeless man. The eau de rotten fruit was from electrolyte powder I used to cut the goat taste of the water, but since my hydration pack started leaking I was getting more of it down my shirt than down my throat. The subway-bum-who-peed-himself scent was from, well, actually peeing myself. It was a sad moment in my life — I went to pop a squat and my legs were so stiff they literally wouldn’t bend — but, as any Derby rider who has been dealt the nightmare hand of diarrhea can surely attest, it could have been much worse.

“Coulda been worse!” I don’t know how many times those words came out of my mouth during the race. So what if I spent the first night of the Derby swatting mice away from my face, or if I felt like a human popsicle on day 2, or if a horse galloped into the sunset with all my stuff on day 3, or if I got bucked off and had to walk 13 miles on foot on day 4. Cue the tiny violins. Whatever drama I was going through out there, ultimately it was all relative. At least I wasn’t in a hospital bed back in Ulaanbaatar. I was lucky. I was still in the race.

The North American contingent was having a tough go of it, with about half our riders knocked out by the midpoint. Julia from South Carolina broke a rib on day 1. Rick from Wyoming succumbed to hypothermia on day 2. Marianne from North Carolina shattered her collarbone on day 4. Liv, my teflon-coated Canadian training buddy, valiantly rode on with a badly sprained ankle only to injure her back in another crushing fall on day 5. Pierre from Maryland was hard-headed enough to take a hoof to the head on day 1 but met his match in a concussion on day 6.

Pierre getting stitched up on day 1. Photo courtesy of the Mongol Derby.

The growing pileup of accidents had me rattled. Who knew when any of our numbers were up? Things could go south no matter how carefully you played your cards, and it always seemed to happen when you least expected it.

For example: It was the third leg of the day, and I was tagging along with South Carolina endurance riders Clare and Rachel. We were ascending another epic, green velvet covered ridge that seemed to go up and up forever. It felt like we were on a roller coaster, chugging toward the summit and wondering what lie on the other side.

Photo by Julian Herbert/Mongol Derby.

Finally we crested the top. But before we could gasp at the breathtaking panoramic vista, something else took our breath away: a massive golden eagle rising up out of the grass directly in front of us.

It was majestic and terrifying and the most ridiculously Mongolian thing I’d seen in my life.

You guys, this wasn’t just a bird. It had a wingspan the length of a horse, talons that could snatch up a toddler, and a look on its face like Vladimir Putin losing a golf match to Donald Trump. (Derby fun fact: At one point during the race we were only about 100 kilometers from the Russian border.)

To our horses, of course, it was mostly just plain terrifying. All three made their own personal “fight or flight” choices, the flightiest being Clare’s horse who promptly dumped her and took off galloping.

Clare’s horse was the goat in this scene from “Game of Thrones,” basically.

Fortunately, it was a best case scenario sort of fall. Clare was fine, the horse soon realized it had no real game plan and stopped to graze, and we all continued on, enjoying a good belly laugh about the incident later. I mean, could it get any more Mongol Derby than that?

Days 6-8

After my solo sojourns during the first few days, I recommitted to honoring the promise I made my husband before the race but had already broken by the second leg: that I wouldn’t ride alone.

To be fair, cruising through the race by oneself has its perks, in that you maintain sole jurisdiction about decisions like direction/speed and you’re not beholden to waiting up for anyone should they draw a slow horse or find themselves in a jam. The caveat: When things go wrong for you, and they will, there’ll be no one around to scrape you up off the dirt. And also, when singing “99 Bottles of Airag on the Wall” on repeat to stave off boredom quits working, you might lose your mind.

Tiny human, big world. Photo by Julian Herbert/Mongol Derby.

Both in weird horse race situations and life in general, the company you keep can make all the difference. As a rule I’m not a person who needs people around me all the time. I can be the life of the party but I also value solitude; I have wonderful close relationships but I also pride myself on independence — to the point where it’s sometimes hard to admit that I can’t do something alone.

By halfway through the Derby, though, I knew that I couldn’t do it alone. The back row of the strugglebus is a lonely place to be.

Especially when it’s doing this.

The physical part was easy to understand. Go ride a horse at speed for 13 hours straight and tell me how you feel. The answer, I don’t care how fit or skilled you are, is: You feel like crap. And then you’ve to get up the next day and do it again. And again. And again and again and again and again and again and again. At night the gers resembled opium dens as riders swapped painkillers, winced at one another’s battle wounds, and shared stranger-than-fiction war stories from the day.

The psychological wear and tear was the piece I hadn’t anticipated.

The Mongol Derby has a funny way of dredging up whatever your weaknesses are and throwing you in the ring with them, boxer style, to duke it out. It’s literally you-vs.-you out there. And like some tour de kryptonite, I went head-to-head with every last one of my demons on the steppe.

Don’t get me wrong: When it comes to navigating life, I have a pretty decent skill-set. I’m good with people. Animals like me. I make a mean jell-o shot. I have a large vocabulary. I have a history of accomplishing whatever I set my mind to, not because I’m a particularly gifted human being but because I’m just really freaking stubborn.

Things that I am NOT good at:

  • Feeling vulnerable.
  • Admitting that I’m not OK.
  • Asking for help.
  • Failing.

In almost every one of the Derby photos, I am smiling. Here’s a secret, though: They weren’t all equal. Sometimes I was smiling because the world was, literally and metaphorically, blowing my hair back. The generosity of the herding families, the spirit of the horses, the otherworldliness of the landscapes … my life had never felt so vast, so technicolor, so intense.

Other times, I was smiling because I felt like my world was spinning off its axis. Even if it was just my facial expression, at least I could be in control of something.

I started having panic attacks each morning upon waking. Not recognizing where I was, or why I was there, or who was the person sleeping beside me. Chest tight, body deflated, all the air sucked out. I couldn’t breath or move. And then, like a picture slowly coming back into focus, remembering what lie ahead of me. Another day of feeling more vulnerable than I’d ever felt in my life. At the end of it would I find myself in a ger? A medevac? I focused on moving the air in and out of my lungs while the riders around me rustled in their sleeping bags, forging their own reentries into the strange dream that had become our waking life.

Horse herders head out at daybreak to round up our horses. Photo by Julian Herbert/Mongol Derby.

A gang of seven of us were running at about the same speed and had been ending up at the same horse stations at the end of each day. There was Cy and Paul from Britain, James and Lucy from Australia/Britain, and fellow Americans Taylor and Amanda. I was inspired by all of them, not only because of their physical toughness — Cy had been riding with a broken rib since day 3, and Lucy’s arm looked like a swollen black-and-blue balloon animal from a fall on day 5 — but because of their attitudes.

Someone was always laughing about something and that little spark of joy kept cycling from one person to the next, as though we were passing it around in a flask. We shared our stories and talked about what we missed most about home. We kept one another motivated — “I think I see a glass of wine on that mountaintop!” — and entertained ourselves with cowboys-and-Indians sneak attacks. We chased rainbows across landscapes so beautiful it made you want to cry. We paused at ancient shamanic sites, took scenic detours and made sure to never lose our sense of wonder. It felt like we were pulling one another along toward the finish, sometimes literally, like when Paul drew a slowpoke and James had to pony it off his own horse for half a leg.

Seriously, there were so many rainbows. Photo by Julian Herbert/Mongol Derby.

Some neat drone footage from chief bloodwagon bartender Erik Cooper:

In particular I hit it off with Taylor and Amanda. I liked the determined yet steady and safe way they were riding the race, in contrast to my own erratic track record of fits and starts, hits and misses, feats of bravado interspersed with anxiety attacks. Left to my own devices, I knew I’d end up toast. It wasn’t until I teamed up with Taylor and Amanda that I could imagine myself, with clarity, playing the long game and making it to the finish.

You can do anything for nine days, I constantly reminded myself, except hold your breath underwater.

I also appreciated the way they handled crisis situations, which just kept coming. Someone’s horse was always falling down, or we were dodging cloud-to-ground lightning, or finding ourselves belly-deep in a bog.

Like when Taylor’s horse fell in a marmot hole and, by some fluke of hill slope and saddle bag, got stuck upside down like a turtle on its back. It was a rigor mortis-esque pose: four legs in the air, neck twisted around at an unnatural angle, and mouth gaping wide open as the reins were caught beneath him. Unable to move, his eyes were wide and glazing over in shock. Taylor scrambled out from beneath him and went to work trying to get the horse free, which she somehow managed.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Panic is a perfectly natural physiological responses to stress, but it’s not necessarily productive when it comes to getting you out of a bad spot. Moments like these now felt like out-of-body experiences. You could feel your mind stepping outside your body, calmly evaluating the situation, collecting information and formulating a plan of action. And then stepping back into your skin and executing the plan.

It’s amazing what humans can adapt to. How quickly our definitions of normal can shift. The Mongol Derby doesn’t follow a template, and neither does life. You just figure it out. You find a way to survive.

Day 9

The homestretch.

At 6:05 p.m. local time, after one last day of physical and mental assault, I crossed the finish line alongside four of the toughest, most inspiring horsemen and women I’ve ever met.

Couldn’t have done it without these guys. Photo courtesy of the Mongol Derby.

A funny thing about the Derby is the fact that, whatever your competitive intentions may be when you start the race, almost nobody finishes alone. This year we saw another joint winner in Ed Fernon, the Olympic pentathlete from Australia, and Barry Armitage, for whom 2017 was his third crack at the Derby and first win. I rode up top with both these cool but fiercely in-it-to-win-it guys at the beginning of my race (the “business up front” portion, if you will), and I never would have pegged them for the types who would team up and, on a gentleman’s handshake, share the victory.

The Derby changes everyone.

Ed Fernon and Barry Armitage, joint winners, approaching the finish line. Photo by Julian Herbert/Mongol Derby.

Crossing the finish line I felt … excited that I could finally take a shower. And never have to ride a horse 13 hours a day for nine days straight ever again. And really proud of my penalty-free vet card. But I didn’t feel finished. Because the finish line wasn’t the important part of the race for me, any more than walking across a stage was the defining moment of my college education. It was just the exclamation point at the end of a profound and completely insane run-on sentence, and the beginning of a new chapter.

Since I’ve been home people have been treating me like I’m some sort of warrior princess just returned from battle. I hear the adjectives they use to describe me — “brave,” “inspiring,” “fearless” — but it feels like they’re talking about a different person. Not me. Because deep down, I promise you, I struggle to keep it together just as much as anyone else. And the Mongol Derby brought it all to the surface.

Photo by Julian Hebert/Mongol Derby.

I may not have won the battle against my weaknesses, but I certainly saw them up close. They put up a good fight, but they didn’t stop me. Not because I’m some brave, inspiring, fearless warrior princess, but because I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I think sometimes that’s the bravest thing that any of us can do.

Whatever it was I originally thought I needed to survive the Derby, I was wrong. It was just stuff. Even my sock saddlebag was a placebo by the end of the race. All I really needed was myself and some good people around me. 

BTW, they never did find my runaway horse. This is how I like to imagine him now, galloping free on a beach to a Jimmy Buffet soundtrack.

In the western world, we try to avoid discomfort and suffering at all costs. We have that luxury. But maybe we’re doing ourselves a disservice. What are you protecting yourself from? What potentially transformative experiences are you avoiding because you’re worried they might not be comfortable or have a happy ending?

Well, in life you’re not always going to be comfortable. There are no guaranteed happy endings. And the more you practice embracing the suck, the better you’re going to be able to deal when the genuine hard stuff comes your way and there is no SOS button. When things go belly up, what do you have to work with? What’s down there at the bottom of yourself? What can you endure? Who’s with you, and will you let them help?

Go find your Mongol Derby. Find a challenge that has magical potential but is likely to test you to your core. Do something that makes you feel vulnerable. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Give yourself both the opportunity to succeed and permission to fail.

I went to Mongolia in search of a good story, and I got what I came for. What’s the story you want to tell? How far, physically or emotionally, are you willing to go to get it? What’s the worst that could happen? What if?

Many thanks to all my sponsors and supporters throughout this journey. Your belief in me helped me believe in myself.





Your Gotta-Be-There Guide to the Central Park Horse Show $50K Arena Eventing Competition

Photo courtesy of Rolex Central Park Horse Show.

Eventing is coming to the heart of New York City this Saturday evening, Sept. 23, when the Rolex Central Park Horse Show hosts the U.S. Open $50,000 Arena Eventing Team Competition. We can’t wait to see our sport showcased in such a unique and accessible setting, against the backdrop of a glittering New York City skyline.

A star-studded lineup of 24 riders representing four countries, split into 12 teams, will contest a NYC-themed Capt. Mark Phillips course that incorporates both show jumping and cross country elements.

Each team, named after a famous New York City neighborhood, will race against the clock with faults converted into time with their score being based on the cumulative time of both riders’ rounds. The top six teams will return for the second and final round of competition, which will crown the first-ever U.S. Open $50,000 Arena Eventing champions.

Here’s the updated entry list:

Team Wall Street
Ryan Wood (AUS) / Kate Chadderton (AUS)

Team Upper West Side
Clayton Fredericks (AUS) / Domm Schramm (AUS)

Team West Village
Jessica Phoenix (CAN) / Lisa Marie Fergusson (CAN)

Team Upper East Side
Waylon Roberts (CAN) / Selena O’Hanlon (CAN)

Team Times Square
Oliver Townend (GBR) / William Fox-Pitt (GBR)

Team Midtown
Phillip Dutton (USA) / Julie Richards (USA)

Team Soho
Hannah Sue Burnett (USA) / Holly Payne-Caravella (USA)

Team Chelsea
Boyd Martin (USA) / Caroline Martin (USA)

Team Tribeca
Marilyn Little (USA) / Matt Brown (USA)

Team Hell’s Kitchen
Jennie Brannigan (USA) / Lynn Symansky (USA)

Team Greenwich Village
Will Coleman (USA) / Erin Sylvester (USA)

Team East Village
Buck Davidson (USA) / Doug Payne (USA)

It’s sure to be a special moment in time, and the more we come out to support it the better the chances that it will become an annual fixture as opposed to a one-off event. We applaud The Fite Group, a market-leading luxury real estate firm serving the South Florida region, for signing on as the class’s title sponsor, a leap of faith in its inaugural year.

Eventers, it’s time to rally! Who’s up for a weekend in city? We know you’re busy people, so allow us to assist with logistics:

Tickets: General Admission tickets are $50/person and can be purchased at the Central Park Horse Show website or at this link.

VIP Seating is still available and can be purchased by contacting [email protected] Tables seat six and have an impressive view of Wollman Rink. VIP Seating will include premier open bar and dinner. Individual VIP Seats are also available.

Gates open at 7:30 p.m. and the event will begin at 8 p.m. Dress is cocktail/evening casual.

You spend 99% of your life in muddy boots and slobber-stained shirts with random strands of hay in your hair. How much fun would it be to dress up and pretend you’re a fancy city person for one night? Photo courtesy of Rolex Central Park Horse Show.

Getting there: It can be done on the cheap, guys! Look into budget airlines: I got a $108 round-trip plane ticket from Knoxville to Newark through Allegiant Air.

Once you’re in the city, here’s how to get to Wollman Rink:

Best Park Entrance:

Central Park South (59th Street) and 6th Avenue. Wollman Rink is a two minute walk into Central Park from this entrance. Follow the footpath directly into the park and stay to the right.

By Subway:

Take the A, B, C, D, 1 to 59th St.- Columbus Circle
Take the N, Q, R to 5th Ave/59th St.
Take the F to 57th Street

By Bus:

Take the M1, M2, M3, M4 to 64th Street
Take the M5, M7, M10, M104 to Columbus Circle

Here’s the site map:

Where to stay: The official horse show hotel, JW Marriott Essex House (160 Central Park South), is a conveniently located about 0.3 mile from the venue but will set you back about $1,000 a night. Let’s leave those rooms to the hunter/jumper folks and look into some more affordable options, shall we?

If you can spring for $200-400 night — another reason to drag your barn buddies along and split the cost! —  the world is your oyster. A friend of mine who has attended the Central Park show before recommends the Salisbury Hotel (123 W. 57th Street), which she describes as “kinda old and crappy but super easy walking distance and not as expensive as some other places.” For the price (about $220/night), the Ameritania (230 W 54th Street) looks boutique chic and is about half a mile away.

Even if you have zero travel budget to work with, like me, you can make this thing happen. Crashing on a park bench hobo-style in Central Park seems really convenient to the horse show and would make EN’s accountant happy, except I’d worry my laptop and camera would get stolen. So I booked a shoebox size “pod” in the Chelsea Cabins (370 8th Avenue) for $82/night, also about half a mile away. That’s which is about as cheap as it gets in Manhattan.

You can always venture a bit further afield tho, and check out alternative lodging like Airbnb and hostels. I’ve also been known to crash on dodgy friends’ friends couches in the meatpacking district, etc. Do what you gotta do, just be there!

That time I camped out on jump #19 at Rebecca Farm. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Complete schedule of events: Make a week of it!

Go Eventing.

[Rolex Central Park Horse Show Welcomes The Fite Group Luxury Homes as Title Sponsor of U.S. Open $50,000 Arena Eventing Competition]


Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: Meanwhile at Stone Gate Horse Trials …

Bouncy horse races are the best inflatable thing to happen to the sport of eventing since the invention of air vests. We spotted them at the Tryon International Equestrian Center during Saturday Night Lights at the AECs:

Recognize any of these bouncy horse jockeys? #aec17

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I know. Will Faudree’s somersaults blew our minds, too.

And then reader Jackie Smith sent us this great video: “While everyone’s eye was on Blenheim and Plantation this weekend people missed the fun filled Saturday Night at the Races at the Stone Gate Farm Horse Trials. Here’s a link of one of the races handily won by Cassidy Wozniak.”

Love it. Go Eventing!

Weekly OTTB Wishlist from Cosequin: ‘ISO the Next Donner’ Edition

Lynn Symansky and Donner at Burghley 2017. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

How great was it to see Lynn Symansky and American-bred OTTB posterhorse Donner right up there at the top of the Burghley leaderboard earlier this month? The pair placed 6th, yet another feather in the cap of this epic partnership.

Foaled on April 18, 2003 in New York, Donner raced under the name Smart Gorky (Gorky Park (FR) – Smart Jane, by Smarten) before finding his calling in the sport of eventing. Back in 2014, we published the story of his racing career — check it out here.

OTTBs are alive and well in the sport, and the next generation of superstars are out there, maybe coming off the track as we speak. In tribute to Donner, here are three New York bred bay geldings that caught our eye this week!

Photo via Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds.

In Harm’s Way (Hook and Ladder – New Harmony, by A.P. Indy): 2010 16.2-hand New York bred gelding

This handsome hunk is described by his connections as an “in your pocket” type. He has had a strong race career, earning over $196,000 in 27 starts, but his owner/trainer is ready to let him retire while he is still sound, capable and content.

In his time with his current connections, he has become the barn mascot — his charming demeanor, solid bone, excellent conformation and athleticism make him a shining example of the care he has received. Harm does wear bar shoes to support an injury from 2014, but as his race record proves, he has returned to prime condition without incident. X-rays are available to serious inquiries.

His sire Hook and Ladder is known for his propensity to throw babies with good brains and athleticism and jumping ability. We know several that have gone on to successful sporting careers. This talented, classy gelding will not last long. Bring him home and make him your next sport horse!

View In Harm’s Way on Finger Lakes Finest OTTBs.

Photo via Finger Lakes Finest.

Exley (Officer – True Argument, by Yes It’s True): 2008 16-hand New York bred gelding

This classy, handsomely built gelding has clearly been impressive from a young age. He sold as a yearling for $100,000 at Keeneland, and he proved a worthy investment, earning over $224,000 on the racetrack! Here is your chance to own a six-figure horse!

He is clearly well loved by his caretakers — a gleaming coat with good flesh and bone. This horse is athletic, handsome and reported as sound with no vices. He has wintered at the farm with his owner: He turns out well with others and is well behaved in turn-out. With his excellent demeanor and athletic, uphill build, this one has unlimited potential for many disciplines. Big geldings in this price range tend to go quickly, so we would suggest calling fast if he checks all the boxes for you.

View Exley on Finger Lakes Finest OTTBs. 

Photo via Finger Lakes Finest.

Thirty Percent (One Nice Cat – Smokin Sue, by Smokin Mel): 2012 16-hand New York bred gelding

We think he is 100 percent gorgeous, and full of potential for so many new disciplines! This handsome gelding was such a chill guy for his photo session, soaking up the sun and posing perfectly without a chain over his nose. His trainer says he is a very good boy who does everything right, is sound, and while he has won a race this year, in his last couple of races he seems to have lost his zest for racing so it is time to let him find a new calling.

With his balanced correct build, clean legs and amazing strong sloping shoulder, we can see jumping in his future. He is also a very nice mover, showing off a light trot with a good toe pointing reach. Show hunter, eventer, fun on hunter paces, dressage? Take your pick — this one can go in any direction. He is by One Nice Cat out of a mare by Smokin Mel (we know there are many fans of Smokin Mel offspring out there).  Fappiano, In Reality, Graustark, Ribot, Black Tie Affair, and Regal Classic are just a few of the “sport friendly” sires in his pedigree.

View Thirty Percent on Finger Lakes Finest OTTBs.

Weekend Instagram Roundup: Through the Lens at Plantation Field

Instagram is such a great platform for capturing and sharing the special moments of an experience, from breathtakingly beautiful tricks of natural light to quirky details and interesting perspectives. Here are a few of your shots from the Best Event Ever! Be sure to follow EN’s Instagram @goeventing here!

Plantation FieldWebsiteResultsUSEF NetworkEN’s CoverageTwitterInstagram

Good morning Plantation Field #besteventever #dressageallday #nofilter

A post shared by Leslie Threlkeld (@lathrelkeld) on

Where do you get 4 haflingers with matching socks and blazes.

A post shared by Bambi Glaccum (@bglaccum) on

#plantationfield #eventing #besteventever #cic2* #oscar #ottb #lunagram #shiba #shibainu

A post shared by Luna Reilly (@lunareilly) on

Another gorgeous morning at #besteventever Ready for cross country!

A post shared by Leslie Threlkeld (@lathrelkeld) on


Fun at the horse trials

A post shared by Christyn Perras Courtney (@cboom) on


Freedom of the spirit is just one stride away.

A post shared by Blake Williamson (@blake_1850) on


Go Eventing.

Heads Up! Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day Is This Weekend

Chinch getting measured for a Charles Owen helmet at Rolex 2017. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Here at Eventing Nation, we need every brain cell we can get. And we salute Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day’s efforts to keep our neurons as safe as possible by reminding us each year to keep a lid on it.

In its eighth year running, International Helmet Awareness Day has been expanded to a two-day event for 2017. International Helmet Awareness Weekend, we suppose you could call it, will be held this Saturday, Sept. 16 through Sunday, Sept. 17.

Riders4Helmets.com has teamed up with leading helmet manufacturers and retailers all over the world to offer discounts on helmets on these dates. Participating helmet brands include EN sponsors Charles Owne Caldene, Champion, Charles Owen, Gatehouse, GPA, Harry Hall Hats, International Riding Helmets (IRH), Kask, KEP Italia, LAS helmets (Leslie Sutcliffe UK), One K, Ovation, Samshield, Tipperary, Troxel and Uvex. And shout-out to our favorite participating retailer SmartPak, which is offering up to 20% off of your favorite helmet brands.

“Last year, retailers had so many people wanting to be fitted for helmets that they asked us to expand the event to two days this year, so everyone could be properly fitted,” says Lyndsey White of Riders4Helmets.

As someone who has been pile driven into planet Earth on many an occasion, I would never dream of leaving the barn without my helmet. Many thanks to Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day for continuing education on the benefits of wearing a properly fitting, secured and certified helmet.

For more information on the Riders4Helmets campaign, visit www.riders4helmets.com. You can also follow the campaign on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

[Riders4Helmets Announces International Helmet Awareness Day 2017]

Friday Video from World Equestrian Brands: Get Excited for the 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover!

The 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium is fast approaching! The event, to take place at the Kentucky Horse Park Oct. 5-8, will be contested by hundreds of trainers who have spent a maximum of 10 months taking a Thoroughbred from the track to their debut in one of 10 equestrian disciplines. Fun fact: Eventers have the largest representation among the entry list!

In addition to the competition, the week includes seminars, a sponsor fair, a horse sale and the Thoroughbred Makeover finale, featuring the top three horses in each discipline and America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred. For more information, visit its page on the Retired Racehorse Program website here.

If you’re at Plantation Field this weekend, join RPP on Saturday in the show jumping arena at noon for a showcase of local Makeover horses for sale. And be sure to stop by their tent to pick up a free copy of Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, sit in an up-for-raffle Rolls Royce named Idle Dice, buy some logowear, become a member and learn more about RPP programs. If you time it right you might even meet Rosie Napravnik, Rodney Jenkins, and other racing celebrities participating in Sunday’s Real Riders Cup.

Go OTTBs. Go Eventing!

#EventerFailFriday: Winning at Failing

If there was a fail Olympics you guys would all be gold medalists. Wear those medals loud and proud! And always, ALWAYS know that you’re not alone. It’s a team sport, for sure, and EN is your biggest cheerleader.

Without further adieu, let ’em rip!

A for effort?? #failfriday #eventerproblems #lifewithhorses

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Holy long spot! #elementaroy #eventer #andalusian #overachiever #failfriday #eventerfailfriday #eventerproblems

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Back to Me showing off a little too much scop3. #gotscope #jesustakethewheel #eventerproblems

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I miss this horse #eventerproblems #dirtmustache #goodtimes

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Me frantically looking for the next jump bc I suddenly forgot my course #eventerproblems -Kathryn

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Tag your best #EventerFailFriday photos and video on Instagram for inclusion in a future edition.

Go Eventers.

#EventerProblems Vol. 126: Guilty As Charged?

Horses, as we all know, are prone to delinquency.

And they aren’t especially renowned for having great poker faces. You probably can guess what these horses are thinking, if not assess whether or not they are guilty of said crime, just by looking at their mugshots.

And the jury finds the defendant … guilty, innocent or just plain adorable? You decide.





When I want to take a picture to show off my new saddle, but my horse has other ideas #eventerproblems

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Mare glare is a thing, and I can use it too… #sassypackypony #mareproblems #eventerproblems

A post shared by Kate Drake (@katedrakevt) on

Be sure to tag ’em on Instagram for inclusion in a future edition!

Go Eventing.

#DogsOfEN: An Eventer’s Best Friend

Where there are horse people, there are dogs … and we love to show them off! Here are a few of the best pup pics you’ve posted on Instagram lately. Don’t forget to tag yours #DogsOfEN for inclusion in a future edition!



Tack cleaning and organizing. The dogs are super helpful. #dogsofeventing #dogsofinstagram #eventerproblems #barnlife

A post shared by Kelly Walker (@good_apple_eventing) on

When your dog LOVES YOU #puppylove #dogsofinstgram #eventerproblems #putasaddleonit #rlteventteam

A post shared by Road Less Traveled Event Team (@roadlesstraveledevent) on

They let my dog have a seat at the bar #AEC17 #horseshowdog #dogsofEN #eventerproblems

A post shared by megmurfey (@megmurfey) on


Current energy level. #eventer #horses #amynelsoneventer #equestrianproblems #dogsofen #coffee

A post shared by Amy Nelson Eventer Official (@amynelsoneventer) on


This face, I can't ❤️ #nationaldogday #dogsofen #blueheeler #australiancattledog

A post shared by Ashley Loeffelholz (@amloeffelholz) on



The good life #hishappyplace #yellowdogs #arethebestdogs #dogsofen

A post shared by Rachael Ann (@ralene2) on

I think Maz wants to do Xcountry agility! #eventing #dogsofen #cvht #sheltie

A post shared by Jodi Leanne (@jodi_leanne) on

Joey meets his new brother! #dogsofen

A post shared by Rachel Pie (@joeytheeventer) on

And … a couple #CatsOfEN for good measure!

This is why I can't have a nice truck. #catsofEN #farmlife #catsofinstagram #eventerproblems

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Go Eventing (and bring your dog!)

What’s In Your Arena? Presented by Attwood: 360 Degrees of ‘You Can Do It’

What’s in Your Arena? is an EN series sponsored by Attwood Equestrian Surfaces in which riders share their favorite jumping exercises. It’s easy to get stuck in a training rut, and we hope this will inspire you with fresh ideas that you can take home and incorporate into your own programs. Have an exercise to share? Email it to [email protected]

The scenario: You get to the barn after work, your brain is in tatters and you have zero energy left in your body to set a course, but you really need to squeeze in a jump school. (Sorry to map the story of my own everyday life onto yours, but stay with me here, people.)

Two questions:

Do you have at least six jumps to work with?

Do you have approximately a 20-meter circle’s worth of decent footing?

If you answered yes to both questions, there is hope for you yet!

I believe in you, and so does Michael Bolton.

As you know, I am all about jump exercises that require minimal physical effort and mental exertion to set up yet are challenging and versatile for horses of any level (see also: “Wylie’s Short-on-Time Shamrock“). Here’s another good one for those days when life has reduced you to a human lump and/or you’re just plain feeling lazy:

Graphic by Leslie Wylie.

Yep, it’s six jumps in a circle. That’s it. That’s all you have to set up unless you want to set up more, in which case knock yourself out. Feel free to squish them together or spread them apart depending on how much space you have to work with.

Here’s a little spin-around of the exercise with eight jumps as set up in my arena by Erika Adams:

As for how to jump them, I stuck some arrows on the graphic above to get you started, but the possibilities are endless: straight-across, bending lines, serpentines, angles, rollbacks … go crazy with it. It improves rideability in all horses but is especially great for know-it-all types with a tendency to jump into a line and take charge. The jumps can be poles on the ground or 4′ verticals. Take it one line at a time or keep threading your energizer bunny through the exercise for 45 minute straight. If you’re an instructor, a fun exercise (for you at least, if not your student) is to call the jump-out as they’re jumping in. So, lots of options. Whatever you want. You do you, EN.

You’ve got this!

Go Eventing.

One Year Until WEG! Tickets on Sale Oct. 16

Image courtesy of WEG/TIEC.

We’re exactly one year out from the 2018 World Equestrian Games, to be held Sept. 11-23 at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Event organizers are expecting a turnout of more than 500,000 people with tickets going on sale to the public on Monday, Oct. 16.

A variety of ticketing types and prices will be offered, including an All Games Pass for each week of competition or both weeks, an All Session Day Pass, All Session Discipline Pass, as well as individual event tickets, and opening and closing ceremonies. An inexpensive Day Pass will also be available to give attendees access to event grounds and expo only. A complete list of ticketing options will be available online at www.tryon2018.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

The eventing competition takes place Thursday, Sept. 13 through Sunday, Sept. 16. Click here to view the WEG schedule.

In addition to announcing ticket sales, TIEC today released a “Destination Tryon” video showcasing the region where the Games will take place. And if you need help feeling pumped, there’s always this:

For all things WEG, visit the website here, and of course we here at EN will be keeping our ears to the ground for all the latest!

[One Year Until FEI World Equestrian Games™ Comes to North Carolina, USA]

Star-Studded Entry List Announced for $50K Arena Eventing Competition at Central Park Horse Show

The U.S. Open $50,000 Arena Eventing Team Competition will take place in Wollman Rink during the 2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show on Saturday, September 23, beginning at 8 p.m. Photo courtesy of Central Park Horse Show.

A stacked entry list has been announced for the U.S. Open $50,000 Arena Eventing Team Competition to be held Saturday, Sept. 23 at the 2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show. The class was a brilliant seat-of-the-pants (read: eventer approved!) move from the show’s organizers, who found themselves in a pinch after the dressage CDI component of the event was canceled due to unexpected horse and rider withdrawals.

Twenty-four riders representing four countries, split into 12 teams, will contest a Capt. Mark Phillips course that incorporates both show jumping and cross country elements.

The following rider teams are scheduled to compete in the class:

Dominic Schramm (AUS)/ Clayton Fredericks (AUS)
Ryan Wood (AUS)/ Kate Chadderton (AUS)

Selena O’Hanlon (CAN)/Jessica Phoenix (CAN)

Great Britain
William Fox-Pitt (GBR)/Oliver Townend (GBR)

Phillip Dutton (USA)/Julie Richards (USA)
Hannah Sue Burnett (USA)/Holly Payne-Caravella (USA)
Boyd Martin (USA)/ Sharon White (USA)
Marilyn Little (USA)/ Sara Kozumplik-Murphy (USA)
Jennie Brannigan (USA)/Caroline Martin (USA)
Will Coleman (USA)/Matt Brown (USA)
Buck Davidson (USA)/Lynn Symansky (USA)
Doug Payne (USA)/Erin Sylvester (USA)

The rules of play:

The teams will be named after significant New York City locales and compete against each other in a speed competition against the clock. Each team will position themselves in the ring at the same time and participate in a relay-based speed competition, where riders will move through a course themed after iconic New York City fixtures, and what will include a soon-to-be-iconic “Big Apple” jump. 

The top six teams, based on cumulative time from round one, will then compete in the final “money” round for the overall $50,000 in prize money, which they will split based on final rankings in the second round speed competition. The competition will run with a faults-converted format, adding two-seconds to a team’s overall score per jumping fault. The winners of the competition will earn the title of U.S. Open Arena Eventing Champions. 

“As an organization, we always try to inspire new and creative ideas to engage and introduce equestrian sport to a broader audience. The competition, which we have termed Arena Eventing Pairs, is a derivative of Arena Eventing and will be new to both equestrian sport and the Rolex Central Park Horse Show,” says Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group. “Eventers bring a new dimension to the show and it is a great opportunity for the riders to shine against the incredible New York City skyline. We anticipate a fun-filled, action-packed evening for both our competitors and spectators.”

This “soon-to-be-iconic ‘Big Apple’ jump” sounds like something EN is going to need to check out in person, and you better believe I’ve already got my plane ticket!

Tickets are $50 and available for purchase here.

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show (Sept. 20-24) is in its fourth year of operation at Wollman Rink in the heart of New York City’s Central Park. In addition to arena eventing, the week will feature U.S. Open competition for the Arabian, show jumping and hunter disciplines, as well as host its popular Family Day on Sunday, Sept. 24. For more information visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com.

[U.S. Open $50,000 Arena Eventing Team Competition Jumps Into New York City at The 2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show Featuring Eight Olympians and Top Riders Phillip Dutton, William Fox-Pitt, Boyd Martin, and Oliver Townend!]

#EventerSolutions: We Always Get It Done

Sometimes, it just takes a little … creativity. Here are a few of your most genius solutions to your most real struggles.

No spills here! #eventerproblems @eventingconnect

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When an eventer gets prego cankles…. #icevibes #eventerproblems #bartendingdoesnthelp

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Broken finger? No problem. #eventerproblems #eventersolutions

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Somedays, the heat is so intense that I just have to do barn work in a dress! #eventersolutions #louisianalife

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Got #EventerSolutions? Be sure to tag ’em on Instagram for inclusion in a future edition!

Go Eventing.

OTTB Wishlist from Cosequin: Say Hello to Your New Ride

In the market for a new ride? OK, we know you came here to window shop OTTBs, but let’s start with a different sort of ride: a 1989 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur.

Retired Racehorse Project and the Rolls-Royce Foundation are offering “Idle Dice” up for raffle — each $100 tax-deductible contribution gives you a chance to win the classic car. The car’s namesake: Idle Dice, a slow racehorse who went on to become the greatest show jumper of his era. He was the epitome of class, just like this magnificent Rolls-Royce.

Purchase tickets online at RRP or RRF. The drawing will be Nov. 19 at the Ocala Jockey Club International.

In the meantime, see “Idle Dice” at one of the following events!

Alright, back to OTTBs. Here are our three picks of the week, all fresh from CANTER Illinois!

Photo via CANTER Illinois.

Dezip (City Zip – Delake, by Meadowlake): 2011 16.2-hand Illinois-bred gelding

This boy has WOW written all over him. From his gorgeous white face to his beautiful, sleek build, you can imagine this one attracting attention wherever he goes. Very well mannered as well with lovely gaits.

Located at Fairmount Park Race Track in Collinsville, Illinois.

View Dezip on CANTER Illinois.

Photo via CANTER Illinois.

Bellodini (Bernardini – Blithe, by Unbridled): 2010 16.2-hand Illinois-bred gelding

This big solid guy is just stunning to look at. He has a super adorable face and the best mane and forelock ever! A nice solid build and a good attitude to top it off. He looks like he will excel as a sport horse in any direction you wish to take him. His trainer said he is incredibly smart, too.

Located at Fairmount Park Race Track in Collinsville, Illinois.

View Bellodini on CANTER Illinois.

Photo via CANTER Illinois.

Awesome Heat (Latent Heat – Golden Trip, by Seeking the Gold): 2012 16-hand

There is nothing plain about this plain bay gelding. He is a stunner! He’s well behaved, happy and sound. Super easy personality. Standing a perfect 16 hands and at 5 years old, ready to move into a new career.

View Awesome Heat on CANTER Illinois. 

#DogsOfEN: Too Doggone Cute

Where there are horse people, there are dogs … and we love to show them off! Here are a few of the best pup pics you’ve posted on Instagram lately. Don’t forget to tag yours #DogsOfEN for inclusion in a future edition!


Mazda's "Are we there yet?" face #sheltie #dogsofinsta #dogsofen

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The most spoiled horse show puppy #dogsofEN

A post shared by megmurfey (@megmurfey) on

Practicing my grasshopper game. #lifewithluna #horseshowdog #miniaussie #aussiesofinstagram #dogsofen

A post shared by Luna the Mini Aussie (@life_with_luna423) on




Learned a new trick today #dogsofen #jackrussellterrier #jrt #woof #littledog #farmdog

A post shared by Paige (@pmontyeventing) on

Best frannnns #nationaldogday #muchtalent #suchwow #dogsofen

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All about Mazda day! . . #sheltie #mazda #dogsofen #shuswap #paddleboarding #isup

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Go Eventing (and bring your dog!)

#EventerFailFriday: Nailed It

Make no mistake: I am highly qualified moderator of this column. Here’s a little #EventerFailFriday courtesy of yours truly:


Ownin’ itttt. Here are a few of your finest fails from the past month. Don’t forget to tag ’em #EventerFailFriday on Instagram for inclusion in a future edition!

When your 4 year old schools XC for the first time… #eventerfailfriday #eventing #atleasthescute

A post shared by Jaci Dryer (@jaci34) on Sep 1, 2017 at 7:16pm PDT

Reins are overrated #eventer #eventing #xc #b3eventing #eventerfailfriday #eventerproblems

A post shared by Kenzie, Baylee & Tess Bennett (@b3eventing) on Aug 25, 2017 at 10:06am PDT

Holy long spot! #elementaroy #eventer #andalusian #overachiever #failfriday #eventerfailfriday #eventerproblems

A post shared by Royal Rose Eventing (@royal_rose_eventing) on Aug 24, 2017 at 10:07am PDT

Nailed it #EventerFailFriday #failfriday #walkofshamebackdownthehill #sorryboutyournervescourt

A post shared by Taylor McLean (@taylormclean25) on Aug 4, 2017 at 8:42pm PDT

OTTB Wishlist from Cosequin: New Vocations Charity Horse Show Week!

The Third Annual New Vocations All-Thoroughbred Charity Horse Show is all set to take place in the Kentucky Horse Park’s Walnut Arena and Rolex Stadium this Friday through Sunday, Sept. 8-10. In addition to two days of hunter, jumper and eventing classes, qualified exhibitors will be welcomed to the inaugural edition of The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) Championships, held on Sunday, Sept. 10. Currently over 250 horses have registered to attend from over 22 states! Learn more by visiting the website here.

Are you heading to the show? Here are three OTTBs that caught our eye this week from the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center, located at the Kentucky Horse Park. Just in case happen to have an extra spot in your trailer …

Photo via Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Cat Dancing (Wildcat Heir – Dance Special, by Theatrical (IRE)): 2014 15.3-hand Florida-bred mare

Cat Dancing is like a pretty debutante getting ready for her coming out party. She’s on the threshold of becoming a bold and fancy mare, once she’s grown up a little bit and seen more of the world.

Newly off the track, “Cat” is still quite tense and tight in her muscles, but we can see that with time and training, this mare will be turning heads with her fancy footwork. She’s confident in the field with other horses; what she lacks is education and technique under saddle. If you want a pretty project with plenty of scope and athleticism, you might want to put her on your dance card!

Located in Lexington, KY.

View Cat Dancing on Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Photo via Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Yessuh (Henny Hughes – Nanyehi, by Cherokee Run): 2014 16.1-hand Kentucky-bred gelding

If you’re looking for an event prospect, look no further than Yessuh! This 3-year-old gelding has all the makings of a top level athlete. Because of his verve, movement, and scope, his connections think he might go to the highest levels in three-day eventing, but as he’s so young, this well-built and talented horse no doubt could excel in most any discipline with the right tutelage.

“Yes” is a quick learner and is full of curiosity. He’s intrigued by challenges and is an angel under saddle. If you’re patient and you know what you’re doing, this is a horse that could grow up to be supremely competitive.

Located in Lexington, KY.

View Yessuh on Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Photo via Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Demarlboro (Cowboy Cal – Go Coco, by Lion Cavern): 2013 16.2-hand Kentucky-bred gelding

It’s wonderful when a conscientious owner opts to give a sound, handsome, and lightly raced prospect a new career rather than continuing to train it for racing when it doesn’t show the aptitude or desire to run.

That’s the case with Demarlboro AKA “Delmar,” a 4-year-old gelding by Cowboy Cal out of Go Coco by Lion Cavern. This kind horse is earnest and wants to please, but lacks confidence in himself. He’s lovely to look at, affectionate, and an all-around athlete who could go in just about any direction. He just needs an understanding leader to show him how great he can be.

Located in Lexington, KY.

View Delmarlboro on Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: All-Level Helmet Cam Tour de AEC

Julianna Pohoski and Keiki O Ka Aina. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Helmet cams were out and about at all levels on the American Eventing Championships cross country course! Take a vicarious spin around each track via these helmet cam videos:

Doug Payne and Vandiver – 2nd place Advanced

Doug Payne and Getaway – 10th place Intermediate

Coti Hausman and Quantico – 1st place Preliminary Rider

Doug Payne and Mr Mitchel – 14th place Training Horse

Audrey Marie Baker and Teddy Bear Titan – 18th place Jr. Novice

Hayden Lytton and Barbossa – 12th place Jr. Beginner Novice

Go Eventing.

AEC: WebsiteFinal ScoresEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

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