Leslie Wylie
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#EventerProblems, Vol. 25

Mo’ horses, mo’ problems. Here are 25 more reader-submitted struggles.

If you missed them: Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

#tbt Trying to do AP Calc homework after conditioning day with the FEI horse #eventerproblems #mrchad

A photo posted by Taryn Mckee (@taryn.olly) on

Oh no he didnt #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Jill Decker (@blackblackkitty) on

Wine and peppermints. Wine for the humans and peppermints for the horses. #winning #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Angela Lenning (@the_a_team2.0) on

Stabilizing the wine with haynets…..#eventerproblems #dontgobreakingmywine

A photo posted by Angela Lenning (@the_a_team2.0) on

No, I will not kiss you today.

A photo posted by Stephanie Church (@stephlchurch) on

Braiding exhausts us both #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Maris Barden (@mb.eventing) on

Dressage causes rabies. #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Brandi Williams (@chilltopper) on

When you see it… #burnedrightthroughtheleather #eventerproblems #wellworn #ariat

A photo posted by Alyssa Swenson (@leexlou) on

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

Unlikely Love Story: Event Horse & Mini Donkey Make Perfect Match

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Romeo. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Romeo.

Friendships come in all shapes and sizes. “Fun-sized” is perhaps the best descriptor for the unusual relationship between Caitlin Romeo’s event horse Audacious Comet and her BFF, a mini donkey named Baby Kong.

The story of Baby Kong begins in August 2014, when Advanced level eventer Caitlin Romeo began leasing an 80-acre farm in Voss, North Carolina. When she moved in the owner still had a couple retired show jumpers on the farm, whom Caitlin cares for, as well as four mini-donkeys, three jennies and a jack named Donkey Kong.

It was unclear whether the jennies were pregnant or not so Caitlin moved them to paddocks by the barn in order to better keep an eye on them. In November, one of the jennies gave birth to a sassy ball of fluff who came to be known as Baby Kong.

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Romeo.

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Romeo.

In an adjacent paddock Caitlin’s green event horse Audacious Comet (“Addie”) looked on with curiosity. The 5-year-old Thoroughbred/Irish mare, by Formula One out of a full sister to Courageous Comet, was just beginning her eventing career with Caitlin.

While successful competitively — they made it to the East Coast Championships for both the Future Event Horse and Young Event Horse series and moved up to Training level this summer — Addie’s social skills were somewhat less developed. “I was unable to put her with any other horses because she played too much and would dominate,” Caitlin says.

Silly donkey #babykong #babydonkey #miniass

A video posted by Caitlin Romeo (@woodlawnfarmeventing) on

The baby mini donkey next door, however, was a different story.

Addie became, says Caitlin, “quite attached.” “We started having really cold nights, so we had to bring Baby Kong in at nighttime and out during the day in a small dog-sized Amigo blanket,” Caitlin recalls. When he was that small, she could just pick him up and carry him all over the farm. “I think that was his favorite way of transportation. Once you held him he would relax like a dog, even when he was 60 pounds.”

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Romeo.

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Romeo.

Addie didn’t like having her new friend next door taken away, though. “She wasn’t too happy with the situation and started breaking boards when he would leave,” Caitlin says. When it came time to wean Baby Kong from his mother, moving him in with Addie seemed like the logical next step. With Baby Kong as Addie’s new pasturemate, Caitlin says, “her whole personality changed, and she became much happier having him.” The pair has been keeping Caitlin entertained ever since.

“Baby Kong is a riot,” Caitlin says. “They have now become such close friends that every time we go to grab her he will either try to steal her halter from us or bite the lead rope. If we are quick enough to sneak them away, he will start running in front of her and try to bite her chest, and she will just walk right over him.”

“He then started playing with her tail — which is a big no-no — so I put a tail wrap on,” Caitlin says. “Now that he’s not afraid of the wrap, he starts to play tug of war with it.”

“When we put her back in the field it’s almost like a fairytale, the way they run to one another. When we aren’t taking her away from him, you almost catch them daily running around in the field together, and Addie will be jumping over his back or he’s chasing her,” Caitlin says. “If I wasn’t afraid of getting in trouble, I’m sure this donkey would travel to events with us to keep her company, but they make a little more noise then your typical mini pony.”

Love him #babydonkey #miniass #cuddletime #babykong #fluffball A photo posted by Caitlin Romeo (@woodlawnfarmeventing) on

Addie and Baby Kong: best friends forever. Be sure to follow their adventures (and misadventures) on Instagram (@woodlawnfarmeventing), and you can learn more about Caitlin’s and her program at caitlinromeoeventing.com. Go Eventing!

#EventerProblems, Vol. 24

And they just keep coming. Here are 30 more of your deepest, darkest struggles.

If you missed them: Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.

Have to wear sunglasses so my belly doesn’t blind me. #EventerProblems A photo posted by Katharine Stancliff (@magicalpoppies) on

Long walk days are much less boring as a team. #eventerproblems

A photo posted by MS State Eventing (@msstateeventing) on

2 hours braiding and barely halfway done… I might start crying here soon #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Catherine Shu (@eventing_parrelo) on

Well, that could have gone better…But the effort counts, right?? #OhCrapHN #NinerFiveOneTango #EventerProblems

A video posted by Haley Mac Johnson (@maclbee) on

I NEED IT. RIGHT NOW. #thoroughbred #OTTB #newvocations #chestnut #eventing #myhorseisapig #eventerproblems #oinkoink A photo posted by Victoria Magliaro (@vmagliaro) on

Of course the heavens open up when I need to go and scrub the water trough… #horsegirlproblems #eventerproblems

A video posted by Kate Drake (@katedrakevt) on

my #WCW is @eemurr! got launched yesterday and was such a good sport!! #firstambulanceride #lawndart #eventerproblems A photo posted by Prairie StipeMaas (@prairiestm) on

Throwback to doing canter sets in shorts… #horsenation #horseworldproblems #eventerproblems A photo posted by @izzy_the_eventer on

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

Catching Up With Che Mr. Wiseguy’s Clones

Ronald Zabala and Che Mr. WIseguy. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Ronald Zabala and Che Mr. Wiseguy at Richland Park HT. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Many of us have thought, or even said aloud, of a special equine partner, “I wish I had three more horses just like this one.” For Ronald Zabala-Goetschel, however, the sentiment was more than a passing thought experiment. Today he is the proud owner of three clones of his own horse of a lifetime, Che Mr. Wiseguy.

The colts, who turned 4 in April, are near carbon copies of their “sire”: dark, athletic powerhouses with super-sized personalities and presence to spare. Wiseguy Too was born first, followed by Wiseguy Two Too and Wiseguy Two Top, all birthed via surrogate mares through Austin, Texas-based ViaGen Inc.

Ronald says it’s been fascinating to watch the colts grow up. In comparison to Che Mr. Wiseguy, who is a gelding, they’re slightly smaller in stature but bulkier, with strongly-crested necks. “The clones are stallions and will stay stallions,” Ronald explains.

One of the clones has already been bred to Sally Cousin’s four-star horse Tsunami. “We have a surrogate mare carrying their baby,” Ronald says. “We have ‘eight-star’ genes there — four from Wiseguy, four from Tsunami.”

Both Che Mr. Wiseguy and Tsunami were out competing in the Richland CIC3* last weekend:

Sarah Cousins and Tsunami III. Photo by Bailey Moran.

Sally Cousins and Tsunami III. Photo by Bailey Moran.

The clones inherited Wiseguy’s coloring, but subtle differences in their white markings make it a little easier to tell them apart. “Their blazes change a little bit,” Ronald says. “I’ve noticed that the babies tend to get the blazes and socks of the surrogate mares carrying them.”

The colts also inherited Wiseguy’s conformation and movement, which was rewarded with top finishes in USEA Future Event Horse 3-year-old division last year. The colts were neck-and-neck at qualifying competitions, with Wiseguy Too and Wiseguy Too Two being named the top two 3-year-old colts at the 2014 USEA FEH Championships at Loch Moy in November.

And then there’s their big personalities and drive. “There is research that suggests clones have no energy, due to the mitochondria they didn’t get from their mom,” Ronald says. “But I’ve never seen horses that age who play like they do. They play all day. It never stops. You see them in the paddocks and they’re always racing each other.”

From L to R: Wiseguy Too, Wiseguy Too Two and Wiseguy Too Top. Photos courtesy of Ronald Zabala.

From L to R: Wiseguy Too, Wiseguy Too Two and Wiseguy Too Top. Photos courtesy of Ronald Zabala.

They relish goading the older horses — Wiseguy and Ronald’s 2012 London Olympic partner Master Rose (“Big Boy”) — into duels as well, taunting them from the other side of the fence. “The clones are like, ‘Come on, let’s do it.’ Last year the clone was faster than my Olympic horse.”

Ronald tells the story of one of the clones going up against his old man, Che Mr. Wiseguy: “They were racing each other like crazy, trying to prove who the man was, who was best.” Neither colt nor sire backed down, which came as no surprise to Ronald. “Wiseguy doesn’t have giving up in his system.”

Indeed, the 16-year-old Belgian Warmblood (Jolie—Noblesse) has never had a cross-country stop or runout in his life. They jumped around Rolex in 2009 and bounced back from a near career-ending diagnosis of neck arthritis to resume competing at the three-star level earlier this year. In May they won a CIC3* in Argentina and competed in the CIC3* at Richland Park this weekend, although Ronald scratched him before cross country to save his legs for another day.

Ronald says his Richland dressage test was a bit of an experiment — he tried a double bridle to improve Wiseguy’s flying changes, which it did but at the expense of the test’s overall quality. They followed it up with a clear show jumping round, save a couple time penalties.

Video of the show jumping round courtesy of The Horse Pesterer:

Ronald also competed his new ride Jolliyat, formerly campaigned through the CCI3* level by Caitlin Calder, at Richland in the CCI2*. They picked up 20 in the first water — they took the long route, as the horse is just getting his confidence back after some water issues — and accidentally crossed their tracks. “He was amazingly brave. I was amazingly stupid,” Ronald laughs.

As for who he’ll end up riding at the 2016 Olympics for his native Ecuador, Ronald says the three contenders are Wiseguy, Big Boy and Jolliyat. At the moment, Wiseguy is his top-ranked horse, having won the CIC3* Olympic qualifier in Argentina earlier this year. Rio de Janeiro would be a perfect swan song for their partnership, as Ronald says the horse will be retired after the Olympics whether he competes or not.

Ronald Zabala Goetschel and Che Mr. Wiseguy at Richland Park HT. Photo by Bailey Moran.

Ronald Zabala Goetschel and Che Mr. Wiseguy at Richland Park HT. Photo by Bailey Moran.

In the meantime, he is doing everything he can to give his beloved horse that opportunity. “He turned 16 in March, and I usually retire them when they’re 16,” Ronald says.

To save wear and tear on Wiseguy’s legs, the horse has something of an unorthodox conditioning program. He is worked six days a week but typically on a walker or in the swimming pool Ronald built especially for Wiseguy. “I only ride him for gallops, and one time for dressage and one time for jumping before a competition,” Ronald explains. “He gets a rider on maybe four or five times a month — that’s it.”

As for a fall CCI3*, Ronald has his sights set on Galway rather than Fair Hill in favor of its milder terrain. “I think Fair Hill would take too much out of him,” he says.

Big Boy taking a lead from Wise Guy in the pool. Photo courtesy of Ronald Zabala.

Big Boy taking a lead from Wise Guy in the pool. Photo courtesy of Ronald Zabala.

Mostly, though, Ronald is just savoring every moment in the saddle he gets with Che Mr. Wiseguy: “I’m happy Wiseguy is back, and I could not ask for more. He will tell me what he wants to do.”

In the meantime, Ronald has plenty of other projects to keep him busy, including working with Wiseguy’s clones. While Ronald has started breaking the colts, they’ll be sitting out of the USEA’s Young Event Horse series, aiming instead for some Beginner Novice events next year. “We do everything a year late,” Ronald says. “I think it helps them last longer, mentally and physically.”

In a perfect circle sort of way, it seems fitting that Wiseguy’s eventing career will be winding down just as his clones’ careers are beginning. We wish Ronald and his horses all the best in their preparations for the Olympic Games, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on Wiseguy’s clones for the future!

Go Eventing.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border Capture Richland Advanced Win

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography. Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

A whiz kid can have all the talent in the world but it takes a special teacher to develop those gifts to their highest potential. Cooley Cross Border was lucky enough to find a mentor in one of America’s best event riders, Kim Severson.

After Cross won the dressage on Thursday we recapped his coming-of-age story. The synopsis: Under Kim’s tutelage the now 8-year-old ISH gelding has gone from being a Young Event Horse Champion to the capable, confident competitor he showed himself to be this weekend, handily winning his Advanced-level debut. There have been some bobbles along the way, of course, but Kim recognized his potential early and has worked diligently and patiently to shape him into an athlete with international potential.

Just as Kim has challenged Cross, the horse has challenged her. Adapting to Cross’s power and physique, for example, has been a process.

“He is very different for me, and I often times think that I don’t ride him very well,” continued Severson. “He has a big step, and he is harder for me to ride, but he is such a lovely horse and he is genuine and we know each other very well.”

It all came together for the pair this weekend, when they added just one show jumping time fault to their dressage score of 30.90. Today’s cross-country track wasn’t easy but Cooley looked super where I saw him, eating up each new riddle he encountered.

“I knew that he could jump the jumps, it was just a matter of whether he was going to put it all together,” Kim says. “He was terrific — out of the sunken road he was especially good and he was great everywhere. No complaints… he is such a nice horse.”

As with the CIC3*, the Advanced division was dominated by clear rounds. Time became the “sorting hat,” with only two out of the 22 finishers posting a double clear. The top five were reshuffled as follows:

Holly Payne Caravella and Santino moved from 6th to 2nd…

Holly Payne Caravella and Santino. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Holly Payne Caravella and Santino. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF moved from 7th to 3rd…

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Lillian Heard and Share Option moved from a tie for 2nd to 4th…

Lillian Heard and Share Option. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Lillian Heard and Share Option. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Holly Payne Caravella and Never Outfoxed, having posted the only other double-clear trip besides Kim and Cross, jumped from 12th to 5th.

Holly Payne Caravella and Never Outfoxed. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Holly Payne Caravella and Never Outfoxed. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

On a side note, Kim also won Open Prelim on Michelle Parker’s Hope Cove on their dressage score of 22.70. You can watch a video of their show jumping round here.

Advanced Top 15:

2

CCI2*, CIC2* and CIC1* Results

Coincidentally, the winners of three out of four of the FEI divisions led from start to finish: Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM in the CIC3*Clayton Fredericks and FE Bowman in the CCI2* (you’ve got to watch this horse trot!), and Alexander O’Neal and Rendezvous with Charly in the CIC1* (check out a video of their show jumping round here).

The CIC2* was won by Jennie Brannigan riding Catalina, who has competed through the CCI2* level with owner Candace Kircher.

“It is my second event with that horse,” Jennie says. “It is my best friend’s horses so it is a great honor to get to ride her, and it is one thing to say ‘I think this mare is really special and I think I can do some great things with her’ and it’s another thing to actually go out there and it to actually be true. So we are pretty excited for the future.”

Top 5 in each FEI division:

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Go Eventing.

Richland Park: Website, Ride Times, Results, Schedule, EN’s Coverage, Twitter, Instagram

 

 

 

Buck Gets Ribs Crushed in Horse Fall on Saturday, Wins Richland CIC3* on Sunday

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography. Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

When the horse Buck Davidson was riding in the Richland CCI2* hung a leg and fell on cross- country yesterday, Buck did exactly what you’d expect Buck to do: hop on an Advanced horse and jump a double-clear show jumping round.

Less than an hour later.

With broken ribs.

And then compete six more horses cross country the next day.

(For the record, he was wearing an air vest but forgot to put in the canister. Oops!)

Today was, admittedly, kind of rough. He had five in the CIC3* — Ballynoe Castle RM, Carlevo, Wundermaske, Copper Beach and Be Mine — plus Park Trader in the Advanced. He woke up this morning in pain, no doubt, but also leading the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* on Reggie.

Good thing the pair can practically jump around with their eyes closed. They collected a carefully calculated 4.8 time faults, keeping them at the front of the pack for the win. “I did the math and figured Jennie (Brannigan) would make the time, and figured that some others wouldn’t, so it gave me a bit of a cushion,” Buck explained.

At the end of the day Buck expressed, almost apologetically, that he “was not on his A game.”

“I’m not joking when I say I usually let Reggie go at his own pace, but today I was just too sore to go that fast,” he said.

We forgive you, Buck. This time.

“For sure it was not as smooth as it could have been; once you pull on [Reggie] he starts to pull on you,” he said. “My goal was just to get balanced and try to survive today. He is a champ. He looked after me.” #LoveWins

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Buck Davidson and Park Trader. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

As prophesied by Buck, Jennie and Cambalda did move up from 5th to 2nd thanks to a double-clear trip. The pair made today’s course look like a (really fast) canter in the park, finishing just 1.7 points behind Buck and Reggie.

“I have been joking around for ages that I have always wanted to win this event, and I have been second a lot,” Jennie said. “I have been second to Buck before in a tie at this event so I am laughing. Buck is a great guy and we have gone head-to-head a few times on these horses. This was his weekend to win and Ping feels great so it is like a having a good ol’ friend.”

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Here’s some crappy iPhone footage of them at #18AB, the double of oxers. Warning: I just got an iPhone 6 and am obsessed with the hilariously dramatic slow-mo feature, so apologies in advance. EN’s favorite unpaid videographer buddy The Horse Pesterer was wandering around all over Richland this weekend so perhaps he’ll show up with better videos that we can sub in later.

Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon came into cross country tied for 2nd and slipped to 3rd having collected 5.20 time faults. The pair looked sharper than ever and we’ll all be cheering them on at Blenheim next month.

Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

More terrible iPhone footage of them making short work of the first water:

Rounding out the top five were Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High, who turned in another of the day’s 10 double-clear rounds to move from 7th to 4th…

Selena O'Hanlon and Foxwood High. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

…followed by Caroline Martin and Center Stage, who moved from 8th to 5th on their double-clear.

Caroline Martin and Center Stage. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Caroline Martin and Center Stage. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Here they are coming through the #17AB, the offset ditch-and-rails:

Overall the CIC3* course rode beautifully and according to plan. For many of the veterans it was a perfect knock-the-rust-off run before fall CCIs, while less-experienced horses came off the big, galloping course feeling like stars.

The few problems that cropped up, mostly consisting of a glance-off here and there, were scattered. Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless retired after collecting 20 at the #9ABC, the sunken road; Nilson Moreira da Silva/Muggle and Buck Davidson/Be Mine bowed out after running into a bit of trouble as well.

A few of the more interesting questions included #15AB, a double of corners…

…#9ABC, the sunken road…

…and #13, the ditch-and-wall keyhole.

Sharon White and Cooley on Show. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Sharon White and Cooley on Show. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Ronald Zabala withdrew Che Mr. Wiseguy after show jumping to save his 16-year-old partner’s legs for another day — perhaps, he said when we spoke with him yesterday, the Olympics next year. Ronald has some exciting stuff in the pipeline that you can look forward to reading all about on EN this week.

CIC3* Top 15:

1

The show is wrapping up and I’d kill for a sandwich, so I’m going to take this party to Panera Bread and finish up my Advanced report there. (Spoiler alert: Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border won.) Check back soon!

Go Eventing.

Richland Park: Website, Ride Times, Results, Schedule, EN’s Coverage, Twitter, Instagram

4 Times When Richland Park HT Got Real Midwestern on Us

When I say Richland is in the middle of a cornfield, I mean that Richland is LEGITIMATELY in the middle of a cornfield. (OK, there are some soybeans too, but mostly corn.)

But you you can’t help but love that, instead of getting all uppity-up wine-and-cheese dog-and-pony show with their event, Richland has opted to just embrace its inner Farmer Joe.

“Chinches of the Corn” #richlandpark #chinchstagram #goeventing

A photo posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

Here are four times they took the Midwestern agriculture theme and just ran with it:

When they served whole ears of corn, harvested just that morning, at the competitor’s party.

Disgustinglicious!

The secret ingredient: crock pots of melted butter.

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Disgustinglicious!

And then everybody sat around in the grass and ate it.

And then we ate it, on the cob, on the ground. And I definitely saw some apple pie moonshine being passed around as well.

When they used corn as a cross-country theme.

Thought experiment: What if... the water complex was filled with melted butter? Maybe next year...

Thought experiment: What if… the water complex was filled with melted butter? Maybe next year.

Corn as ground line.

Corn as ground line.

When the show jumping course, too, was agri-themed.

Round bales...

Round bales…

...bending line to the corn husks...

…bending line to the corn husks…

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…related distance to some sunflowers.

And last but not least, when Richland’s neighbors decided to dress up their round bales.

Hey there!

Hey there!

Hey, back at ya!

Hey, back at ya!

Go Midwestern Eventing.

Richland Park: Website, Ride Times, Results, Schedule, EN’s Coverage, Twitter, Instagram

#EventerProblems, Vol. 23: Richland Park Edition

Joe Meyer and South Paw at the Richland Park CCI3* jog. Photo by Leslie Wylie. Joe Meyer and South Paw at the Richland Park CCI3* jog. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Between the caveats of being at a show that has nearly 500 entries…

… to the perils of trying to negotiate with a 1,200-pound animal who has its own ideas about how to run things…

…the struggle has been plenty real here this weekend at Richland Park Horse Trials.

And judging from these reader-submitted #EventerProblems, it’s just as real in whatever corner of the Eventing Nation you live in as well! Here are a couple dozen more to help you guys feel a little less alone in your pain.

If you missed them: Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22.

When the fly tape struggle is too real #eventing #eventerstruggles #eventerproblems   A photo posted by Apple Tree Farm (@atf_eventing) on

When your dressage time is at 8:15 and have to get up at 4 AM in order to be on time… #EventerProblems (photo of Jacksepticeye)   A photo posted by Brooklyn Currier (@caladoniacaraway) on

Found this gem from long ago.. She thought the water was a ditch #eventerproblems   A photo posted by Katie Rosenberry (@ktrosenberry) on

When you don’t have enough room in your house to hang things… #eventerproblems A photo posted by emminim (@e.r.eventing) on

Farewell old friend #wishitcouldhavebeenajump #eventerproblems #redbudfarm

Posted by Redbud Farm Equestrian, LLC on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

And a couple videos by David Taylor for the grand finale!

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

Who Jumped It Best? Richland CIC3* ‘Insanity in the Middle’ Edition

Justine Dutton and Jollybo. Photo by Leslie Wylie. Justine Dutton and Jollybo. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Red on white, white on left, insanity in the middle… that’s the Eventing Nation way. But it takes an extra-special sort of crazy to get the job done in style.

For our Richland edition of “Who Jumped It Best?,” we’re pitting a select few CIC3* competitors against EN’s own motto-inspired hurdle.

Built by show jump artiste Brody Robertson, the fence made an appearance this weekend on Richland’s Marc Donovan-designed course. It was the second to last jump, off a slightly uphill four-stride related distance from another Brody original sponsored by the USEA.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

While simple-looking, it caught a few horses out. The liverpool was on the landing side, leaving not much in the way of a ground line to back horses off the vertical. I noticed a few riders scratching their chins at it while walking the course: “Why would he put the liverpool on that side?” Best answer: “Because he wants us to have the rail down.”

Here, Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda demonstrate a stylish jump over the obstacle:

Red on right, white on left, Jennie Brannigan/Cambalda in the middle. #richlandpark #goeventing A video posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

And now, a more… unorthodox attempt:

  Chinch clearly has mad scope but needs to work on that right drift. #richlandpark #goeventing #chinchstagram   A video posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

There were 19 double-clear rounds in the 44-horse CIC3* field, or 43%. (As an interesting compare-and-contrast side note, only four horses out of 25 had double-clear rounds in the Advanced division, or 16%.) Their prize? The unsolicited and possibly unwanted opportunity to be contestants on this round of “Who Jumped It Best?”!

Note: Of the 19 double-clears, we’re going to disqualify the top five placed horses since they already had their photos on EN yesterday and we want to spread the love around.

The CIC3* finalists:

Many thanks again to Bailey Moran for the use of her super photos. Making it all the more impressive, not only did Bailey stand in one place long enough to snap 44 photos of the same jump, she followed it up by immediately hopping on her Advanced horse and tackling it herself! That’s insanity in the middle at its finest.

Bailey Moran and Loughnatousa Caislean. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Bailey Moran and Loughnatousa Caislean. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Go Eventing.

Richland Park: Website, Ride Times, Results, Schedule, EN’s Coverage, Twitter, Instagram

Top 3 Not Budging After Richland CIC3* Show Jumping

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Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Yesterday’s Richland Park CIC3* leaders stayed strapped in tight for today’s show jumping competition.

The lovesong of Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM continued with a double-clear round. Buck/Carlevo and Emily Beshear/Shame on the Moon followed suit, leaving them still tied for 2nd, and 4th-placed Mikki Kuchta and Rubens D’Ysieux held fast to their position as well.

Buck and Reggie were foot-perfect around the Marc Donovan-designed course. Its undulating turf terrain kept things interesting, highlighting the weaknesses of some and working in the favor of others. Buck says Reggie falls into the latter category.

“He seems to like grass even more — he wants to know where his feet are all the time,” Buck explained. “He jumped spectacularly today. I was very, very proud of him, as I always am, but he was particularly good today.”

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Bailey Moran.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Bailey Moran.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Bailey Moran.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Bailey Moran.

As Buck explained yesterday, he and Carlevo are still developing their relationship as the horse was just recently imported from Germany. They had a couple rails at their first couple CIC2*s together earlier this year but everything seems to be coming together for them this weekend.

“I’m really, really, really excited with him because I’ve really been working hard on the show jumping and that’s been helping a lot,” Buck says.

“Funny enough, his record when I got him — his dressage was OK, his cross-country was OK, his show jumping was fantastic,” he recalls. “And since I’ve had him his dressage has been fantastic, the cross-country has been good and the show-jumping has been a disaster. I thought, oh my God, what am I doing wrong?”

“It just takes a little while. He jumped really, really well today, and he’s definitely got three good phases in him for sure.”

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Bailey Moran.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Bailey Moran.

Separating Buck from Emily on the scoreboard may well come down to time on cross-country tomorrow. Emily and Delta had a solid go today, which bodes well for their upcoming trip to Blenheim in September.

“Richland definitely seems to be one of her favorite venues to show jump in,” Emily says, referring to their clear trip in the CIC3* here last year.

At Blenheim both dressage and show jumping take place on turf so today’s course, which featured several related distances on a slope, was a good prep.

“I think a lot of what makes or breaks it on a course like that is just how you can ride the turns in between — trying to stay efficient but not rush the horses,” she explains. “[Marc Donovan] does set you up to be successful with all the related distances as long as you have a sense of jumping in a good canter

“I felt like the downs actually somewhat helped my horse, because she’s more careful on the downhills thinking about her balance,” Emily says. “The uphills are a little harder. That’s where I had some rubs because she tends to push at the jumps, so I think it’s just a matter of knowing your horse and knowing how to support them in the different terrain.”

Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon. Photo by Bailey Moran.

Emily’s round, courtesy of The Horse Pesterer:

Rounding out the top five, it’s Mikki Kutcha and Rubens D’Ysieux

Mikki Kuchta and Rubens D'Ysieux. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Mikki Kuchta and Rubens D’Ysieux. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

…followed by Jenni Brannigan and Cambalda.

jennie3

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Bailey Moran.

CIC3* top 15 after show jumping:

1

Meanwhile in the Advanced division, dressage leaders Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border still have the lead on lock following show jumping.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Emily’s round, courtesy of The Horse Pesterer:

There was a bit of a shuffle beneath them, with Jessica Phoenix and Bentley’s Best and Lillian Heard and Share Option moving up from a tie for 4th to a tie for 2nd.

A great big shout-out to Bailey Moran, who competed in the Advanced division and added just four faults to her score today, for letting us hijack her beautiful photos. Grab mane because you’ve got a whole lot of EN karma coming your way tomorrow, Bailey!

Bailey Moran and Loughnatousa Caislean. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Bailey Moran and Loughnatousa Caislean. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Bailey Moran and Loughnatousa Caislean. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Bailey Moran and Loughnatousa Caislean. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Advanced top 15 after show jumping:

score

And a quick look at the top three in the 2*/1* divisions (to view the complete scores click here):

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We’re all looking forward to Richland’s CIC3* grand finale on the cross-country course tomorrow. The schedule has been moved up a bit from what was originally scheduled, with the CIC3* running from 11:10 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. and the Advanced beginning at 1:10 p.m.

Go Eventing.

Richland Park: Website, Ride Times, Results, Schedule, EN’s Coverage, Twitter, Instagram

Kelly Prather and D.A. Duras Are Le Lion Bound

Kelly Prather and D.A. Duras in the 2015 Bromont CC12*. Photo by Leslie Wylie. Kelly Prather and D.A. Duras in the 2015 Bromont CC12*. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The search for America’s next top event horse has made big strides in recent years, particularly in the realm of identifying and developing budding equine talent.

The USEA’s Young Event Horse program is, obviously, leading the way, with the first group of U.S. horses eligible for the Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Lion d’Angers Grant just now coming of age. The grant, founded by Tim and Cheryl Holekamp and Christine Turner, enables the highest scorer of the USEA Young Event Horse 5-year-old Championship to travel to the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championship in France as a 7-year-old if the horse obtains the proper CCI2* qualifications.

America’s ambassador for the 2015 Championship, October 16-19, will be Debbie Adams’ D.A. Duras, ridden by Kelly Prather. Kelly imported the Dutch gelding by Numero Uno from the Netherlands as a 4-year-old and has been methodically bringing him up the levels since. They were the high score winner at the 2013 USEA Young Event Horse Championships and have had several promising finishes in FEI competition, most recently an 8th place in the Bromont CCI2* in June.

Kelly is at Richland Park this week with three horses: Truly Wiley in the CIC3*, D.A. Duras in the CIC2* and D.A. Calimero in Open Prelim. We caught up with her this morning to see how her Le Lion preparations are going:

Best of luck to Kelly and her horses this weekend, and to Kelly and D.A. Duras at Le Lion! We look forward to watching this exciting pair show jump later this afternoon.

Go Eventing.

 

Richland Park: Website, Ride Times, Results, Schedule, EN’s Coverage, Twitter, Instagram

Crouching Chinch, Hidden Chilla: Your Richland CIC3* Cross-Country Preview

Well played, Chinch. Photo by Leslie Wylie. Well played, Chinch. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Whether it’s sailing over cross-country jumps at Bromont or drunkenly smashing into them at Luhmühlen, you never know what’s going to happen next when you lead an opinionated stuffed animal into the start box.

Such was the case this afternoon at Richland Park. While Chinch’s reputation for being a schmoozy, outgoing sort of fellow precedes him, today he demonstrated that he also possesses stealthy ninja skills. See if you can find him lurking in each course walk photo — heaps of EN karma to anyone who can spot them all!

As for this year’s CIC3* course, it’s precisely the track riders will be looking for in advance of their autumn CCIs. In classic Ian Stark fashion, it’s a big, open, galloping gauntlet that will reward the riders who are coordinated enough to think and kick at the same time. Those who get the job done will be rewarded with horses who come off course feeling confident and ready to grab the rest of their season by the horns.

The reward for NOT getting the job done, on the other hand:

Try to avoid getting eaten alive by cross-country jumps when you can. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

A few spots to watch:

The first combination, a brush down a slope to the turtle pictured above, shows up at #4 and should be a nice introduction to the more technical combinations on course. There’s a job-well-done oxer at #5, then the first water at #6 which should prove influential. The B-element vertical three strides in doesn’t invite a forward ride but riders will want to be positive to it to ensure a good jump at the C-element corner.

The sunken road at #9ABC is the next serious question, with a bounce down, a stride across, and the #10 corner coming up fast on the other side. A few galloping fences later, Ian has dug out the takeoff of the keyhole for a fun ditch-and-wall twist.

The double of corners at #15AB will require an accurate ride, of course, while riders should be able to gallop on to the offset ditch/rails at #18AB thanks to the combination’s well-defined ground lines. The final two combinations, the #20ABC water complex and #22AB offset cabins, will ensure that nobody lets their guard down at the end of the course.

The going is super and should (knock-on-wood) remain so until the FEI and Advanced divisions run on Sunday. There’s no rain in the forecast for tomorrow and even with a 60% chance of thunderstorms on Sunday afternoon the ground is ripe to handle it. With the stratospheric number of horses running at this year’s event, cross-country began today with the Training divisions and will continue tomorrow with Novice, Prelim and the CIC1* and CCI2*.

Alright, you furry figment of EN’s collective imagination, let’s play some CIC3* hide-and-go seek:

Note to riders: Chinch got distracted before the last jump by a butterfly or something so fence #23 is not pictured. Hopefully you guys walk your courses and don’t just piece it together in your hotel room the night before by looking at photos posted on EN, but just in case.

Until next time…

 

Still life with Chinch. #chinchstagram #richlandpark #goeventing

 

A video posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

…Go Eventing!

Richland Park: Website, Ride Times, Results, Schedule, EN’s Coverage, Twitter, Instagram

Richland Advanced Dressage Leader Cooley Cross Border Ready to Put His Big-Kid Pants On

Richland Advanced dressage leader Kim Severson gets her portrait taken with Chinch. Photo by Leslie Wylie. Richland Advanced dressage leader Kim Severson gets her portrait taken with Chinch. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Cooley Cross Border is like a little kid we’ve been watching grow up over the years. Eventing Nation has been following his career since…

“Forever!” Kim laughs. “I’ve been very, very slow with him.”

Kim Severson imported the now 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse when he was a barely-broke 4-year-old from Richard Sheane, the man behind the Cooley name. He first announced his presence to the event world in 2012 when he won the Young Event Horse 5-Year-Old East Coast Championships.

Kim had a hunch from the get go that Cross was something special. In April 2013, as he was wrapping up his first successful season at Prelim, EN featured Cross in its “EN’s Got Talent” series, and Kim had this to say: “I’m really excited about this horse. He’s an extraordinarily nice horse, and it’s a super opportunity for me and the States if I can make it work. We need more horses like this; that has to happen for the U.S. Here’s a horse of the quality that we need that hopefully can go on and perform at the highest level for us.”

Fast-forward to this week’s Richland Park Horse Trials, where Kim and Cross are the overnight Advanced leaders on a score of 30.90 in dressage. This will be Cross’s second crack at Advanced, technically — Kim started him in the Advanced at Millbrook H.T. in July but withdrew him after the dressage due to sore feet. They handily won the Intermediate at Fair Hill H.T. a couple weeks later, laying down a dressage score of 22.70 and double-clear jumping rounds.

Kim was obviously pleased with Cross’s dressage test yesterday. “He was very good and did everything he was supposed to,” she says, noting that the horse’s flying changes were coming along.

Kim and Cross’s test, courtesy of The Horse Pesterer:

She sounds confident that Cross will rise to the occasion over Richland’s big-kid fences and says she likes the cross-country courses. “They look great, the footing is great, they’re hard but they’re good,” she says. “They’re Ian (Stark) courses so you have to ride forward, which is good for us.”

In addition to Cross Kim has Fernhill Fearless in the CIC3*, where they sit in 14th place, as well as two horses, Hope Cove and Cooley Streetwise, in Open Prelim. Final scores just came in for Open Prelim and Kim is leading by a landslide on Hope Cove, having scored a 22.70.

Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Kim and Sparky’s test, courtesy of The Horse Pesterer:

Richland Advanced top 20:

Untitled

Much more to come, live from the action-packed cornfields of Richland Park!

Go Eventing.

Richland Park: Website, Ride Times, Results, Schedule, EN’s Coverage, Twitter, Instagram

 

Buck+Reggie Bromance Wins Richland Park CIC3* Dressage, Our Hearts

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Leslie Wylie. Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Buck Davidson loves Ballynoe Castle RM. Like, LOVES him. Somewhere on Buck’s farm, there is probably a tree with their names carved in it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had matching red-and-yellow friendship bracelets. In Buck’s eyes “Reggie” walks on water — and today at Richland Park the dressage judges seemed to agree.

The pair swooped in at the end of the day to best a field of 45 CIC3* competitors with their score of 38.40. By the time Buck swung his leg over Reggie he’d already ridden the test four times on other horses: Carlevo (tied for 2nd), Wundermaske (tied for 7th), Copper Beach (10th) and Be Mine (11th), not to mention four others in the CCI2*, CIC2* and Advanced divisions.

When we caught up with him after Reggie’s test, before he even knew his score, he wasn’t bashful about picking favorites — or favorite, rather. If he was judging, he said, he’d put Reggie “about 20 points ahead of all of them.”

“He’s just a competitor and if I was judging he could have stood on his hind legs and I’d still put him ahead,” Buck says.

Buck and Reggie are one of American eventing’s longest running bromances. Together they’ve taken a crack at two World Equestrian Games, seven CCI4*s and 41 FEI competitions. Buck knows Reggie, now 15, like the back of his hand and it shows when they’re on stage.

Buck says that he didn’t have quite enough time today to give Reggie his usual warmup, as he literally hopped off Copper Beach and onto Reggie.

“He wanted to cough a little bit at the beginning,” Buck explains. Even those of us watching, though, could see the horse trying to stifle it, like one might while at church or sitting through a monologue at a play.

“He tries his best. When he coughs now he coughs when it doesn’t matter — on the short side or when a movement is over.”

It will be fun to watch them doing their thing out on cross-country Saturday, but no doubt Buck and Reggie will be having the most fun of all.

“I just have to every time sort of pinch myself at how lucky I am,” Buck says. “He’s just a joy and I’m so thankful to have the relationship with him.”

Buck’s test on Reggie, courtesy of The Horse Pesterer:

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Lurking 2.9 points behind Reggie is his barnmate Carlevo, who is tied for 2nd with Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon.

Carlevo, an 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Carlevo LLC, is a relatively new ride for Buck. He came over from Germany earlier this year having previously competed with Dirk Schrade through the CIC2* level. Buck moved him up to Advanced at Jersey Fresh in May, where they jumped clear and nearly on the time cross-country.

Buck describes the horse as steady, rideable and capable of a better score than the 41.30 they turned in today.

“I didn’t feel like I did a terrific job,” Buck says, explaining that he too would have benefited from a bit more warm-up. “I’m disappointed in myself but excited about the horse… There’s way more improvement in there, which is exciting. It’s kind of fun for me to have a horse where you’re disappointed with a 41, but we still have two more phases.”

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Sharing the runner-up seat is Emily Beshear and “Delta,” the striking silver mare with whom she came 2nd in the Bromont CCI3* in June.

“I was thrilled with Delta today,” Emily says. “She was very good. If anything though she was really lazy, which is a new thing.”

Delta’s classic modus operandi has been to go in the ring and get a bit distracted and flighty. Not today, though.

“I was having to kick quite a bit,” Emily explains. “That was a new thing and I think I gave away a few points here and there, lacking expression and small things.”

Emily and Delta knocked the rust off in the Intermediate at Fair Hill a couple weeks back, having spent the summer improving overall strength and confirming their flying changes: “They still could be smoother but at least now she seems a lot more comfortable and confident doing them.”

“This is definitely her first time stepping back up and she feels like she’s even better than she left off at Bromont, which I’m really excited about,” Emily says.

Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Video of Emily’s ride, courtesy of The Horse Pesterer:

CIC3* dressage photo gallery:

CIC3* top 15 after dressage:

Untitled

Lots more to come, with more dressage tomorrow and of course an exciting weekend of run-and-jump still to come. Stay tuned!

Go Eventing.

Richland Park: Website, Ride Times, Results, Schedule, EN’s Coverage, Twitter, Instagram

 

Emily, Buck Tag-Team CIC3* Lead at Richland Park HT Lunch Break

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Should we put on our sunglasses? Should we get out an umbrella? Lots of questions up in the air here at Richland Park Horse Trials, some of them involving erratic weather and others regarding who’ll be besting the leaderboards by the end of the day.

At the lunch break Emily Beshear and Buck Davidson are sharing the CIC3* lead on twin scores of 41.30.

Shame on the Moon‘s last big outing was Bromont in June, where the pair held the lead through cross-country then dropped to second after a couple unfortunate rails. They knocked the dust off with an easy lope around Fair Hill a couple weeks ago and nobody is surprised that Emily and Delta have come out guns blazing here at Richland.

Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Emily’s test, courtesy of The Horse Pesterer:

In typical Buck fashion he has nine horses running in FEI divisions this weekend, five of which are in the CIC3*. Carlevo was his first ride of the day, and it’s the horse’s first 3*. We’ll look forward to seeing this big, attractive 8-year-old Holsteiner tackle the big-kid jumps here this weekend.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Mikki Kuchta and Rubens D’Ysieux round out the top three on a 43.10…

Mikki Kuchta and Rubens D'Ysieux. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Mikki Kuchta and Rubens D’Ysieux. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Followed closely by Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High (43.30)…

Selena O'Hanlon and Foxwood High. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

And it’s Elisa Wallace and Simply Priceless in fifth on a 45.40.

Elisa Wallace and Simply Priceless. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Elisa Wallace and Simply Priceless. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Simply Priceless looking quite pleased with himself on the way out of the ring. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Simply Priceless looking quite pleased with himself on the way out of the ring. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Elsewere Clayton Fredericks and FE Bowman will take the overnight CCI2* dressage lead on a 30.50, while Peter Barry and Long Island T are currently topping the CIC2* on a 42.3.

Peter Barry and Long Island T, Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Peter Barry and Long Island T, Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Top 15 at the Lunch Break: Untitled

Much more to come. Stay tuned!

Go Eventing.

Richland Park: Website, Ride Times, Schedule, EN’s Coverage, Twitter, Instagram

Richland Park CCI2* Synchronized Jog Awards

Clayton Fredericks and  RF Cool Play. Photo by Leslie Wylie. Clayton Fredericks and RF Cool Play. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Richland Park Horse Trials started off on the right foot today with 22 of 22 horses passing the CCI2* jog. Both the CCI2* and CIC1* are new additions for the 2015 event, which also features a CIC2* and CIC3* along with Novice through Prelim and Advanced horse trials divisions.

EN is live on the scene, ready to drop bombs of dazzling insight, astute analysis and riveting commentary you won’t find anywhere else. (Probably because nowhere else would publish it.) Starting with this observation: Clayton Fredericks is the Fred Astaire of eventing.

Seriously, I watched him make two different horses look like Ginger Rogers out on the jog strip today. Their footwork was impeccable, an exquisitely synchronized two-step that made me want to throw roses at their feet.

Behold:

Clayton Fredericks and FE Bowman. Photos by Leslie Wylie.

Clayton Fredericks and FE Bowman. Photos by Leslie Wylie.

Clayton Fredericks and RF Cool Play. Photos by Leslie Wylie.

Clayton Fredericks and RF Cool Play. Photos by Leslie Wylie.

Now let’s see it in action, courtesy of The Horse Pesterer:

Impressive. Several competitors, in fact, showed pas de deux potential. The “also-rans”…

Other pairs, well, they’ve got some work to do before they win “Dancing with the Equine Stars.” The least synchronized performance of the day belonged to…

Joy Meyer and South Paw. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Joy Meyer and South Paw. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The complete performance, courtesy of The Horse Pesterer:

Stallions have prima donna moments sometimes, too. Perhaps he’d prefer a solo dance career?

Dressage for the FEI divisions kicks off tomorrow at 8 a.m. with Advanced dressage in the afternoon.

Keep it locked on EN throughout the week for all the latest news and breaking nonsense from Richland Park. Keep an eye on Instagram as well (@goeventing) as there’s no telling what shenanigans Chinch will be getting into out here in the wilds of Michigan!

Go Eventing.

Richland Park: Website, Ride Times, Schedule, EN’s Coverage, Twitter, Instagram

#EventerProblems, Vol. 22

Now that we’re approximately one million #EventerProblems into this thing, we’ve seen some recurring themes emerging. Including but not limited to…

If you missed them: Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21.

Early mornings..

fml #eventing #eventerproblems #HorseNation

A photo posted by Diane (@dmzrimsek) on

#horselife #horsegirlproblems #eventerproblems A photo posted by Kate Drake (@katedrakevt) on

The time I got in my car to go xc school. #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Meagan (@mkequest) on

Equipment errors…

Puma!! I just washed that #eventerproblems #badcat A photo posted by Andrea Riley (@andrearilex) on

You realize you ARE that weird horse girl when you find your pulling comb in your gym bag #eventerproblems #why

A photo posted by Alyssa Swenson (@leexlou) on

Wardrobe malfunctions…

Training troubles…

When turning becomes optional #lastsummer #thoroughbred #OTTB #eventerproblems #fairhill #whatisturning #howdoilegs A photo posted by Victoria Magliaro (@vmagliaro) on

Horse show headaches…

When there’s a class 4 rapid running through the ditch #eventerproblems #NAJYRC2015 A photo posted by cadence michel (@cutthroatcadence) on

Harm toward self, others and personal property…

But some #EventerProblems are just in a category all of their own.

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

#EventerProblems, Vol. 21

All aboard the struggle bus! Here are 30 more reader-submitted #EventerProblems:

If you missed them: Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.

#eventerproblems you go clear and under time, then forget to unclip @physicshorsegirl

A photo posted by Bella Mowbray (@gracelandeventing) on

 

Pm feeding, he gets the same in the am plus free feed hay. #stillskinny #tbproblems #eventerproblems #canihaveyourmetabolism A photo posted by Christina Brennan (@fall4apirate) on

One wrong swish of the tail… luckily #showsheen saved the day. Some serious #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Phoenix Jumpp (@ljumpp) on

 

#eventerproblems when you go to ride your horse and he is dead asleep in his water bucket #thestruggleisreal #ottbprobs #ottb A photo posted by Bekah Bond (@princessmoonchild) on

 

When you take the beast to Taco Bell @ashleigh__von #duallyproblems #eventerproblems #rolltide A photo posted by Angela Lenning (@the_a_team2.0) on

Rachel W.: “When you fall off at an event and tag along on the ice run to get the required Advil and Ben & Jerry’s . . . #eventerproblems”

2015-08-10 08.38.11

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

Beyond the Razor Wire: A Tale of Two Rios

Photo by Leslie Wylie. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

On Saturday afternoon as I was finishing my cross-country report at the Aquece Rio Olympic Test Event, an event official walked into the press center and told us we needed to leave.

“When?”

She glanced down at her watch. “Now.”

What?

As we made our way to the shuttle used to transport media from the Olympic Equestrian Centre to our hotel about 40 minutes away, a Brazilian journalist filled me in. In a nutshell, Rio police had just shot and killed a major drug lord (alias: “Playboy”) and there was some worry that there may be retaliatory gang violence or riots.

A fleet of armored military vehicles screamed past as we climbed into the bus. I hunkered down in my seat, trying to channel my inner Anderson Cooper, but the Brazilian seemed nonplussed. She shrugged: “This sort of thing happens all the time.”

‘It’s Complicated’

As you’d expect for a city with some 12 million people, Rio de Janeiro is a patchwork quilt of social, political and economic diversity. And it’s prone to ripping at the seams.

We’re staying in Centro, the center city business district, a bustling hive of commerce, fast-walking people and honking cabs propped up against a hazy backdrop of craggy bluffs. They tell me that even here it’s dangerous to walk around alone, but there are worse places to hole up than our hotel.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

 

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

You don’t have to wander far, though, to see — or hear — the other side. That night I was awoken by a series of deep booms followed by the sound of sirens. Related or not, it was a reminder that in Rio, you’re always closer than you think.

Rio’s favelas, or slums, are everywhere. The hills surrounding the city are covered in what look like shabby shoeboxes piled atop one another, as though stuck together with bubble gum. I snapped some photos on the shuttle ride to the venue:

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

 

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

 

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

 

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

There are over 600 favelas in Rio alone, many of them controlled by drug traffickers or militias. There’s been an effort in recent years to reclaim them; “Playboy,” for example, had been driven out of his territory and was in hiding when the police caught up to him this week. But to quote another local I spoke with this week, “Rio is complicated.” The lines between the good guys and the bad guys are blurred, and there’s widespread animosity toward the city’s notoriously corrupt police.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

First-World Sport in an Emerging Nation

Rio isn’t all shades of grey. At the Olympic Equestrian Centre, for instance, the dividing line between upper-crust equestrian sport and abject poverty is a wall — literally. I joked about it in my cross-country course walk post — “Don’t worry, that concrete wall topped with razor wire isn’t part of fence #2″ — but it was nervous laughter. Humor tends to be my modus operandi when I find myself face-to-face with dark, deeply troubling questions. Sometimes you just run out of words.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

 

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The last leg of our daily commute winds through the military base upon which the venue is situated. Each morning I am surprised once again to see tanks and camouflage-wearing, gun-wielding soldiers by the dozens walking alongside the road. A handful of them guard the gate to the venue, carrying riot batons and wearing the hardened expression of sentinels who know they aren’t just there for decoration.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Inside the Olympian Equestrian Centre, however, the atmosphere turns clean, bright, even cheery. Between the relentless sunshine and the familiar setup that every eventer knows by heart — dressage letters in their right place, start box a facsimile of a hundred other start boxes, show jumps in familiar shapes and crayon-box hues — you could almost trick yourself into believing that you’re at an event in Ocala or California.

Until you run into this kind of thing on cross-country:

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

 

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Rio’s Muddled Resume

Can Rio handle the 2016 Olympic Games? Brazil has pulled off major international sporting events in the past, most recently the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2014 FIFA World Cup, so we know it is capable of stepping up to the plate. What seems to have gotten lost in translation, however, are the grim details.

Both championships were plagued by controversy. Protests that began in 2013 against a bus fare increase quickly evolved into a panoramic condemnation of injustice: social stratification, systemic corruption and, last but not least, the massive amount of public money being spent on new infrastructure for the FIFA events.

Two million people took to the streets in the the months leading up to the Confederations Cup, resulting in at least 10 casualties, 250 injuries and 650 arrests. Urban riots were the background noise of the Cup, reaching a fever pitch when protesters clashed with police during the final match, Brazil vs. Spain.

As Rio and other host cities across Brazil neared the 2014 FIFA World Cup, public dissent lost steam but gained focus. This time all fingers were pointed at the World Cup, specifically the government’s spending of billions of reais on new stadiums coupled with allegations of shady backdoor dealings. It flew in the face of Brazil’s struggling economy and, to make matters worse, some of the country’s poorest citizens were displaced by new construction.

There were more than 20 protests and 180 arrests across various Brazilian cities during the first week of the World Cup alone. As in 2013, the grand finale came on the last day when military police corralled hundreds of Rio protesters in an to keep them from Maracanã Stadium.

At least 10 journalists were injured by police with clubs and shrapnel from tear gas grenades; another two CNN journalists were injured that day by police-thrown gas grenades and rubber bullets. So if the whole drug lord assassination incident on Saturday left me a little jumpy, you can understand why.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

What It Means For 2016

This isn’t meant as a scare piece. (Although I’m probably not doing Jenni’s anxiety levels any favors as she prepares to cover the Olympic Games next year.) Despite its issues, Rio is one of the most colorful, vibrant cities in the world, a direct reflection of the majority of the citizens who live there. And it is clearly hard at work getting ready for the world to arrive on its doorstep.

During my stay in Rio, I quizzed several Brazilians about their predictions of how the 2016 Olympic Games will unfold. Nearly all of their appraisals were preceded by a sharp intake of breath and a pause, followed by a response that carried both skepticism and hope.

The criticism host cities face in the lead-up to an event on the scale of the Olympics has become almost cliche — remember last year’s Winter Games in Sochi? Yet when push came to shove, the chaos fell by the wayside. Taking its place: a once-every-four-years worldwide effort to set aside differences, at least temporarily, in the name of good sport.

Here’s hoping Rio follows suit.

That’s a Wrap for the Aquece Rio Olympic Test Event

Photo by Leslie Wylie. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

There’s a superstition in the theater that a bad dress rehearsal will equal a good opening night. Hopefully the saying doesn’t hold true for the Olympic eventing dress rehearsal just concluded in Deodoro, which offered a promising preview of what’s in store for next year’s Games.

The Test Is Complete

As we noted earlier this week, reviews of the venue from riders and team delegates in attendance at the Aquece Rio Olympic Test Event were largely positive. It appeared that no stone was being left unturned in ensuring that everyone will be as prepared as possible for the real deal next year.

From a enactment of the medals ceremony…

Aquece Rio Olympic Test Event top three finishers Marcio Jorge (1), Marcio Appel (2) and Marcelo Tosi (3). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Aquece Rio Olympic Test Event top three finishers Marcio Jorge (1), Marcio Appel (2) and Marcelo Tosi (3). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

…to dry runs of emergency procedures…

Don't worry -- there's no horse in there. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Don’t worry — there’s no horse in there. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

…and biohazard protocol…

Venue visitors were required to step in disinfectant and use hand sanitizer upon entry. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Venue visitors were required to step in disinfectant and use hand sanitizer upon entry. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

…various aspects of the Games were rigorously tested to ensure that when August rolls around next year, nothing is left to chance.

Of course, as we’ve emphasized before, there’s a big difference between a modestly attended 18-horse CIC2* and an international championship with tens of thousands of spectators. And some logical concerns, such as spectator transport to and from the event, are largely out of the venue’s hands. But for being a year out, the system they had going seemed surprisingly organized and effective.

Following cross-country we talked to several riders and national delegates about their impressions of the event and the venue. Remarks from organizers seemed to echo their sentiments, emphasizing that while the Test Event garnered a largely positive response there is still room to raise the bar.

A sampling of their comments:

“We are very happy with the test event. It’s an excellent tool to put the team together and it’s where you start to build up the team through integration of the different parties – sport, government and the organizing committee. It’s why we do a test event, so that we can correct things and make sure everybody understands everything for next year, and Rio has delivered on that.” — IOC Director Gilbert Felli

“We’ve seen great progress with infrastructure completed in time for the test event and an efficient competition delivered. However there is still a lot of work to do to scale the venue up for next year and to ensure the standard of facilities, services and general experience for our human and equine athlete is of a true Olympic standard in 2016.” — Tim Hadaway, FEI Director, Games & Championships

“Overall, I’m very pleased with the results of the equestrian test event. It culminates many months of hard work and preparation. More importantly, it gives us a very clear idea what areas require improvement in order to deliver the Olympic and Paralympic competitions next year.” — Mike Laleune, General Manager of the Deodoro Olympic Park

“I’m very happy with how the test event went, and I want to say a big thank you to my team who worked so hard to produce the results we had here this week, and to the volunteers that helped us so much. But we have a lot of work still to do to achieve the standard we need for the Games. The best athletes in the world will be here next year, so we need to have the best facilities for them and for their horses, so that they can produce the best results.” — Ataide Pereira, Olympic Equestrian Centre Sports Manager at the Olympic Equestrian Centre

 

A Look Around the Show Jumping Venue

Sunday’s show jumping finale, like dressage, was held in the main arena. While the grandstand was more than sufficient for the Test Event, I expect that additional temporary bleachers will be erected around the arena to handle next year’s crowd, similar to the arena setup at Le Pin National Stud during the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

I snapped some panoramic shots to give you an idea of the layout:

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Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

At the Olympic Test Event in July at London’s Greenwich Park, rider criticisms of the arena footing emerged as a problem that would have to be carefully and completely addressed in advance of the “real” Olympics this summer. Since then, getting the footing right has been a problem-solving exercise for organizers and contractors. – See more at: http://equusmagazine.com/blog/whats-underneath-the-london-olympics-footing-story-truckloads-of-international-equestrian-problem-solving#sthash.iiyTQaif.dpuf

At the 2012 Olympic Test Event in London, the arena footing came under fire from riders and officials and had to be replaced entirely before the Games. Since then special care has gone into ensuring that Rio’s footing is up to snuff. The consensus among the riders I talked to was that, not unlike the new cross-country turf, it was off to a good start and should be even better after a year of settling in.

Lars Roepstorff, the FEI appointed footing analyst and researcher, was at this week’s event to conduct testing of the surface.

“The material and installation definitely has the potential to provide excellent footing for next year’s Olympic Games,” he says, “but it is vital that the correct maintenance is done over the next 12 months, right up to and during the Games. Everything is in place for excellent Olympic competition next year and as it’s a pre-existing equestrian facility, all our athletes – human and equine – will be really well looked after.”

Olympic show jumps tend to be works of art in and of themselves, usually reflecting the identity and landmarks of the host city. It was exciting to get a preview of what we can expect for 2016 at the Test Event:

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

jump2

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

 

At the Olympic Test Event in July at London’s Greenwich Park, rider criticisms of the arena footing emerged as a problem that would have to be carefully and completely addressed in advance of the “real” Olympics this summer. Since then, getting the footing right has been a problem-solving exercise for organizers and contractors. – See more at: http://equusmagazine.com/blog/whats-underneath-the-london-olympics-footing-story-truckloads-of-international-equestrian-problem-solving#sthash.iiyTQaif.dpuf

Final Aquece Rio CIC2* Results

Cross-country leader Marcio Jorge, riding his grey Brazilian-bred gelding Coronel MCJ, topped the field of 18 starters. The horse, who won his first CIC3* at Colina SP earlier this year, showed a lot of class over the course; the pair went in with a very generous four rails in hand but used none of them, laying down one of the day’s four double-clear trips to finish on a score of 44.50.

Marcelo’s goal now is to ready the horse for Rio next year. “Now we will compete in a four-star event for the Olympic Games,” he explains. “I have some plans to do some competitions in Europe with him and my other two horses.”

Marcio Jorge and Coronel MCJ. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Marcio Jorge and Coronel MCJ. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Marcio Jorge and Coronel MCJ. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Marcio Jorge and Coronel MCJ. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

At the press conference following his win Marcelo gave the Olympic Test Event a positive review. “The competition was very good,” he said. “I liked the stables; they were very suitable. We’ve also got a very beautiful course for the cross-country test. The course designer (Pierre Michelet) has done a very good job.”

Marcelo Tosi and Glenfly, who were second after cross-country, crashed around the course a bit, taking down five rails to finish third.

“My horse did not jump well today,” he said. “I have a new trainer for show jumping and I will be working on this after today. Jumping is always harder for this horse, always. Some days he can jump well and clear but today it was not the right day.”

Marcio Appel moved into second place riding Cross Rock on a four-fault round. He’s aiming at a spot on Brazil’s Olympic squad and said of the program, “We have a real shot at an Olympic medal. Since the last Olympic Games, we’ve been training really hard and a lot of investment has gone into the team.”

Marcio Appel and Cross Rock. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Marcio Appel and Cross Rock. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Aiken-based eventer Nilson da Silva, whom we interviewed after dressage, is another Olympic hopeful and finished fifth on his catch ride Tiger Lu.

Complete results:

results

Go Eventing.

[Aquece Rio Test Event Website]

Olympic Test Event #Chinchstagram Diary

EN’s furry foreign correspondent enjoyed a pilgrimage to his homeland this week via a trip to the Aquece Rio Olympic Test Event. Chinchillas are native to South America, and if we didn’t have him scheduled to jet off to Aachen with Jenni this evening he’d have probably moved in.

Like, seriously:

Chinch is moving into fence #9A. #homesweethome #1yeartogo #rio2016 #olympictestevent

A photo posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

Forget that cabin Chinch found on cross-country yesterday — he’s moving uptown! #chinchstagram #rio2016 #1yeartogo A photo posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

A photo diary of his adventures via Chinchstagram, er, Instagram (@goeventing):

Straight chinchillin’ down here in Rio. #olympictestevent #rio2016 #1yeartogo A photo posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

Chinch ponders his line through the Aquece Rio Olympic Test Event water complex. #rio2016 #1yeartogo A photo posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

Chinch’s devil horns. #easilyamused #1yeartogo #rio2016 #olympictestevent

A photo posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

Awards ceremony Chinchbomb. #chinchstagram #rio2016 #rio2016

A photo posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

Penny for your thoughts? #rio2016 #1yeartogo A photo posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

Breakfast of champion partychinches. #beerwaffle #chinchstagram #1yeartogo #rio2016

A photo posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

Jetlag be darned, Chinch is packing his bags as we speak for the Aachen CICO 3*. Running from August 12-14, the event is the German leg of the 2015 FEI Nations Cup Eventing Series. Be sure to keep up with all his adventures (and misadventures) via Instagram @goeventing.

Go Chinch! Go Eventing!

[Aquece Rio Test Event Website]

Mike Etherington-Smith, Team Delegates Weigh in on 2016 Olympic Equestrian Venue

Photo by Leslie Wylie. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The world’s most high-profile eventing championship is no easy party to throw. But if this week’s Aquece Rio Olympic test event is any indication, the host site’s game plan is right on track.

Of course, there’s a big difference between a modestly attended 18-horse CIC2* and an international championship with tens of thousands of spectators. The point of the exercise is to watch how the venue, Deodoro’s Olympic Equestrian Centre, handles logical challenges and to test it in action.

As Tim Hadaway, FEI chief coordinator for the Rio Games, explained earlier this week, “They want to be confident that the facilities are in place and that their athletes will have the best possible conditions to perform to their best at the Olympics next year.

“They will be studying everything from the stabling, the bedding, the transport routes and the training areas to the footing of the arena and cross-country course.”

By all appearances the test event is running relatively smoothly and the buzz surrounding the venue is overwhelmingly positive thus far.

Representatives from 16 national federations, including athletes and officials, traveled here to take part in the Observers Programme, which runs concurrently with the test event. After seeing a preview of the cross-country track in action this morning, here’s a survey of their impressions.

Mike Etherington-Smith, course designer for the 2000 and 2008 Olympic Games, TD of the 2004 Games, and course designer of the 2010 World Equestrian Games:

Joanie Morris, USEF managing director for eventing:

Staffan Lidbeck, chef d’equipe for Sweden: 

Clayton Fredericks, 2008 Olympic Games team silver medalist for Australia and current chef d’equipe for Canada: “It’s in a very good state. I think it will be a great Games. There is plenty of coverage of grass and the ground is in good order.”

Looking up a galloping lane being prepared for the Games. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Looking up a green galloping lane being prepared for the Games. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Nick Turner, former international British eventer and current performance manager for Ireland: “I am very optimistic that is is going to be a good Games. The infrastructure is here now and there is nothing serious, nothing worrying.”

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The stabling area is utilitarian but just look at that backdrop! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Marius Lips, chef d’equipe for the Netherlands: “The course is awesome. The footing is very good and there is irrigation everywhere, so they can keep it to the right level. There is a lot of space. When all the flags are up for the Games, it will be beautiful here. It’s a pity we couldn’t come with the horses. The traveling was really difficult and expensive.”

A table being built for the Games. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

A table being built for the Games. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Antonius Van der Headen, team performance director for the Netherlands: “The one thing I am worried about is the new road from Deodoro to the Olympic Village — it has to be finished. It will be chaotic if not.”

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Construction of the new road connecting the Deodoro with the Olympic Village. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Tip Lips, two-time Olympian and 2016 hopeful for the Netherlands: “Compared with London and Hong Kong, it is fantastic. It is so much bigger here, there is so much space. It suits our horses because we have horses that turn really well and it’s not too hilly, so that’s good for us. We have a really good feeling.”

DSC_0080

The Olympic track has more terrain than the CIC2* Aquece Rio Test Event track but it’s flowing and fair — and beautiful. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

And last but not least…

Chinch, international eventing celebrity and American Olympic hopeful: “Hey Pierre, whaddya think about making this ditch-and-wall you’re working on a little narrower?”

IMG_0629[1]

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07RUrrg3SKI

IMG_0632[1]

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

You’ll get ‘em next time, little guy.

Go Eventing.

[Aquece Rio Test Event Website]

Brazilians Blaze a Trail Around 2016 Rio Olympic Cross-Country Site

Brazilian eventers are nothing if not ballsy, so it seems fitting that they be the ones to have a crack at a scaled-down CIC2* version of next year’s Olympic cross-country track.

Overnight leader of the Aquece Rio International H.T. and Olympic Test Event Marcelo Tosi elected to withdraw Briefing DB Z before the start, explaining, “Briefing is a 3* horse and there was no point in riding him today. I will save him for the next event.”

Their exit left the door wide open for second-placed Marcio Jorge and Coronel MCJ, who overtook the the leaderboard after turning in one of only two double-clear rounds.

“Coronel was amazing,” Marcio says. “That was an easy course for him, easily within the time. He was very comfortable with the fences. He is not tired; I think he could do another one now.”

Marcio Jorce and Coronel MCJ. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Marcio Jorce and Coronel MCJ. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Marcelo did get his chance to test-drive the course on his other ride, Glenfly. A double-clear moved them from third to second.

Both Marcio and Marcelo left the track with positive impressions, noting that the new sandy turf footing is off to a good start but will require some time to reach Olympic quality.

“In one year’s time the grass will be good. It needs one more summer to make it better,” Marcelo says. “With the summer heat and rain it will improve.”

Marcelo Tosi and Glenfly. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Marcelo Tosi and Glenfly. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Rounding out the top three is Marcio Appel on Cross Rock, who added 6.80 time faults to their dressage score. Here they are through the second water complex:

Followed by an exuberant exit on the second pass through (that’s not even an up-bank, buddy!):

Marcio Appel and Cross Rock. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Marcio Appel and Cross Rock. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

There were enough issues on course that clear rounds carried a big payoff. Aiken-based eventer Nilson Moreira da Silva, whom we interviewed after dressage, bounded from 16th to fourth on his catch ride Tiger Lu after collecting no jump and 0.80 time on course.

Nilson says he was impressed by the quality of the course. “The cross-country course is just like the ones in Europe and the USA. The jumps are amazing.”

As a native Brazilian, he is proud of his country for defying expectation: “The international observers seem to really love the place. This is really positive for us because always people from other countries come to South America and don’t expect these amazing venues.”

A slow-mo video of Nilson and Tiger Lu through the first two elements of the keyhole combination, one of the most unique features on the course:

It appears that there may be a variation on the bamboo theme in the works for next year’s Olympic course. A mound, perhaps?

17

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

There was definitely some scrappy, seat-of-the-pants riding out there today. Some of the horses appeared quite green to the level but all managed to live and learned from their mistakes:

A modest crowd of locals came out to spectate or volunteer, including this crew of enthusiastic kids.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The weather this week in Rio has been unseasonably hot, climbing well into the 80s despite average August temperatures of around 75. A cooling tent with big fans and water was available at the end of the course for the horses, although it was later commandeered by volunteers looking to beat the heat.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

And unlike yesterday’s course walk, gunshots were blessedly kept to a minimum. Something else you probably won’t see on an American cross-country course: the military.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Well, I spoke too soon. Now they’re herding us out of the media center and onto a shuttle to our hotel because — I kid you not — the Rio police have captured some big drug dealer and they are afraid there will be protests in the streets.

I’m out of here, y’all. This isn’t how I want to die. Once I’m safely locked in my hotel room with a cold beer from the minibar in hand, I’ll be back to upload team reactions to the course and venue.

The Aquace Rio International Horse Trials and Olympic Test Event concludes with show jumping tomorrow.

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Go Eventing.

[Aquece Rio Test Event Website]