Leslie Wylie
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Leslie Wylie


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Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Controlled Chaos During Luhmühlen Arena Familiarization

Like a school of tetra fish in an aquarium. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

It’s a miracle how many horses you can cram into a dressage arena at the same time when everybody knows what they’re doing. Exhibit A: arena familiarization this afternoon here at Lühmuhlen. Europeans spend a solid chunk of their year schooling and competing in small, crowded indoors, and they’ve worked out a solid system of not running into one another in the process.

Check it out. Having witnessed far too many fender-benders in American warm-up arenas (“But there were only two horses in the arena! How did they manage to run into one another?!”), I was suitably impressed. If nothing else the per capita aspect of quality event horses contained within one rectangular patch of real estate makes for a nice screensaver.

And, yes, the soundtrack has been on fire this afternoon. My newest deep life regret is not running out to video Michael Jung schooling fischerRocana FST to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”

(If you were trying to “Where’s Waldo?” an American in the crowd, sorry. Although our U.S. Luhmühlen contingent could surely have held their own in traffic, they came out to school earlier in the afternoon when the atmosphere was a bit more zen.)

Watching top riders school their horses is at least as interesting, if not more so, to me than watching them perform their tests. One of the more untraditional warmups I saw was from 2015 Luhmühlen winner Ingrid Klimke, who was schooling her CIC3* ride Horseware Hale Bob in a very light seat in a deep, relaxed, stretchy shape. It looked like she was playing with a toy slinky out there. Look at his face; what a happy horse! Ingrid also took the early fashion lead with those bright cornflower blue britches — want/need/have to have.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The competition will stream live on FEI TV starting with dressage on Thursday. Until then …

Luhmühlen Links: WebsiteEntriesScheduleThursday Starting OrderLive ScoresFEI TVEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

The feeling you get after the perfect ride.

It’s why we do what we do.

Fight back against vitamin E deficiencies that can cause muscle soreness and stiffness

Elevate was developed to provide a highly bioavailable source of natural vitamin E to horses. Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, limits the damage caused by everyday oxidative stress. It maintains healthy muscle and nerve functions so horses are more likely to perform better and recover faster after training or competing.

Vitamin E requirements vary from situation to situation. Multiple research studies have shown that vitamin E is often deficient in the diets of horses that do not have access to continual grazing on fresh green grass, or those grazing on winter pasture. Performance horses with demanding workloads, growing horses and seniors can be exposed to increased levels of oxidative stress and therefore require higher levels of vitamin E in their diets. Studies reveal that horses challenged by neurological disease benefit from natural vitamin E supplementation.

It is why the horse that matters to you matters to us. Not sure which horse supplement best meets your horse’s needs? Kentucky Performance Products, LLC is here to help. Contact us at 859-873-2974 or visit our website at KPPusa.com.

Five-Strong American Contingent All Clear Through Luhmühlen First Horse Inspection

Hallo from Luhmühlen! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

All 48 CCI4* horses passed muster in the first horse inspection at Luhmühlen this afternoon, among them five U.S. pairs. Two horses, Denis Mesples’ Oregon de la Vigne (FRA) and Kirsty Short’s Cossan Lad (GBR), who were sent to the holding box but passed upon reinspection.

The roster is a mixed one, with a sizeable representation of Badminton reroutes and four-star rookies punctuated by some heavy hitters including 2017 Badminton winner Andrew Nicholson (NZL) with Teseo and 2016 Luhmühlen winner Andreas Dibowski (GER) with FRH Butts Avedon.

Although, if the latter had gotten his way, there might be one fewer horse in the field. Bye-bye, Butts! It must be stressful always being the sexiest horse in the class.

The CIC3* competition is definitely one to watch as well, with a star-studded start list that includes a who’s who of Germany’s eventing elite: Michael Jung, Sandra Auffarth, Ingrid Klimke and more. Hannah Sue Burnett has a ride in the CIC3* as well, RF Demeter, and we’ll be following that division closely.

Representing the U.S. in the CCI4*:

Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Ms. Jacqueline Mars, are on a quest for four-star redemption after retiring on cross country at Badminton. They rallied for a top 10 finish in the Houghton Hall CICO3* later that month, laying down a career-best 37.2 dressage test along the way. This pair has a lot of momentum heading into Luhmühlen, and we may well see them at the top of the scoreboard come Sunday.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Katherine Coleman and Longwood, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by KC Eventing Ltd., are likewise on the mend from an unlucky day on Badminton’s grueling cross country course. Longwood looked no worse for the wear in the Houghton Hall CICO3*, where they finished 21st, and he was feeling his oats on the jog strip today! Katherine shot him a dirty look or two as he dragged her down the runway, but his antics weren’t enough to wipe the smile from Katherine’s face even for a second.

Katherine Coleman and Longwood. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Will Coleman and Obos O’Reilly, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Brian O’Reilly and the Four Star Eventing Group, finished sixth in the 2016 Kentucky Three-Day Event but came up a bit short this year, retiring on a cross country that snuck up on some of the most experienced pairs in the field. They’re no stranger to the top of the scoreboard and we expect them to bounce back in a big way this weekend.

Will Coleman and Obos O’Reilly. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, a 12-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Ms. Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe and Michael Manders, are tackling the mare’s first four-star outing. “Kitty” has been on fire this spring, winning the CIC3* at both The Fork and Jersey Fresh. She told EN after The Fork that Kitty was feeling four-star ready, and Jersey sealed the deal on her hunch. Jog photos don’t get any sassier than this. Go get ’em, ladies.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Sharon White and Cooley On Show, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Louise Walsh and the rider, are on the hunt for the horse’s first four-star completion. They followed up a Rolex retirement with a second place result in the CIC2* at Jersey Fresh, finishing less than a point behind the winner Lauren Kieffer and D.A. Duras. Since Sharon has been competing the horse, they haven’t picked up a cross country jump penalty at an FEI event, excepting Kentucky, and he is a one-or-none show jumper. This pair will have lots of fans cheering for them come Saturday on both sides of the pond!

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

Looking good, kids! The competition will stream live on FEI TV starting with dressage on Thursday. U.S. dressage ride times:


Hannah Sue Burnett and RF Demeter: Thursday 10:45 a.m. local time (4:45 a.m. EST)


Sharon White and Cooley on Show: Thursday 1:37 p.m. local time (7:37 a.m. EST)

Katherine Coleman and Longwood: Thursday 3:57 p.m. local time (9:57 p.m. EST)

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous: Thursday 4:42 p.m. local time (10:37 a.m EST)

Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot: Friday 2:22 p.m. local time (8:22 a.m. EST)

Will Coleman and Obox O’Reilly: Friday 3:32 p.m. local time (9:32 a.m. EST)

U.S.A. represent! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Luhmühlen Links: WebsiteEntriesScheduleThursday Starting OrderLive ScoresFEI TVEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

What’s in Your Arena? Presented by Attwood: Lucinda Green’s Versatile V

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.

If you’ve ridden in or audited a Lucinda Green clinic anytime within the span of the past couple decades, maybe more, you’ve seen this exercise. The point, literally, is teaching horses to stay straight between the aids and hold their line, whether it’s back and forth across the point, jumped as a corner or one rail at a time on an angle.

It’s a Lucinda classic and suitable for horses ranging from green-as-grass to upper-level — and I’ve seen it throw a handful of FEI-level horses for a loop! For the inexperienced ones, the V end can be placed on a wee bucket; for the more advanced horses, it can be hoisted onto a barrel.

I’ve got it set up in my own ring at the moment, and it’s been too useful not to share! Here are a couple videos I found of the obstacle being utilized in myriad ways, both on its own and incorporated into a line of skinnies.

Do try this at home. Go Eventing!

Do you have an exercise to share or is there an eventer you would like to nominate for the “What’s in Your Arena?” series? Email [email protected]

Weekly OTTB Wishlist from Cosequin: Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds

Each year there are many Thoroughbreds at Finger Lakes Race Track in Western New York who are ready to end their racing careers and find good new non-racing homes. Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable tax exempt not-for-profit corporation that works with trainers at the track and with people interested in acquiring an OTTB to help the retiring race horses find ideal new homes.

Here are three we’d love to see sprinting out of a startbox someday!

Photo via Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds.

Lucci the Lion (Lion HeartPrecious Queenie, by Wild Zone ): 2010 15.3-hand New York bred stallion

This sweet boy is so deserving of a forever home where he will be treated like royalty. Lucci the Lion was a $65,000 2-year-old, so someone saw quality in him at a young age. He has raced in various tracks along the east coast and even has a win at Saratoga. He earned over $171,000 in his 57 starts with five firsts, 10 seconds and nine thirds. His trainer is ready for him to retire happily into a new career.

Lucci the Lion stood perfectly quiet for his photo shoot despite horses acting quite excitedly around him. His trainer speaks minimal English, so it was difficult to get lots of details on him, but another trainer in the shed row reported that Lucci is a barn favorite. His ankle was recently blistered so FLF will try to get a video at a later date. Gelding surgeries are relatively cheap and easy and well worth the investment. Finger Lakes Finest has a gelding incentive fund for Finger Lakes horses going to approved homes.

View Lucci the Lion on Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds.

Photo via Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds.

Spirit of Musashi (Lion HeartPrecious Queenie, by Wild Zone ): 2013 18.1-hand New York bred gelding

This BIG boy is affectionately known as “Moose,” and he really is that big! His owner says he measured him with a stick, and he is 6’1″ at the withers. He described Moose as still maturing, physically and mentally, and as a playful guy who is no trouble to handle despite his size.

Moose is lightly raced, with only five starts, and his owner says he is very sound, and he thinks that when he figures out the racing game he has potential to be a good racehorse. But he also knows that with his huge size, strong bone and lofty movement, he has huge potential as a sport horse, for jumping or dressage. So he is open to serious offers from serious experienced homes who are in a position to develop the potential of this big young horse. He wants to recoup his investment from any resale of Moose to a sport horse career, so serious offers only please.

Moose was very well behaved for his photo session, and for his jog video he showed lofty movement with suspension and a huge stride. FLF watched the video of his first race, where he almost won, and observed that huge stride in action, with a lofty ground covering gallop that should eat up the cross country course, but it also has the rhythm and balance for dressage. Moose is named after a famous Japanese woodcut print of a Samurai warrior. He is a son of Bellamy Road, who is from the Danzig sire line and is known for getting good brained, athletic horses who have shown jumping ability. Cozzene, In Reality, Majestic Prince, Damascus, Northern Jove and Northern Dancer are other illustrious sires well known to the sport horse world in his pedigree.

View Spirit of Musashi on Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds. 

Photo via Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds.

Secret Dixie Dance (FreefourinternetSecret Gold, by Strike the Gold ): 2009 16.1-hand Pennsylvania-bred mare

With her uphill balanced build, strong shoulder, kind eye, clean legs and nice movement, Secret Dixie Dance is a diamond in the rough with great potential for many disciplines. Look past her not yet shed-out winter coat, and focus on how great she can look when filled out and a top line developed.

She is very lightly raced, with only 11 starts and one win, so there’s little wear and tear on her. She has spent most of her time hanging out at her owner’s farm, and she has now let her trainer know that the track life is no longer what she wants. He said that she is excellent to handle and work with around the barn and in morning training, but she hates the starting gate. In a recent race, she got startled while loaded in the gate, and got some superficial scrapes on her hind legs that are healing well — but now she definitely wants nothing more to do with the gate.

So it’s time to let her find a new career. She posed perfectly for her photos, jogged quietly showing good balance, and enjoyed the attention. FLF also watched the video of her winning race and observed a fluid balanced gallop with a flat kneed reach. With her nice movement and build, they can see her doing well in lower level eventing, hunter paces, the show hunter ring, or as an all-around fun trail and pleasure horse.

View Secret Dixie Dance on Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds.


Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: Lost Stirrups, Patch’s Comeback & Tapwrit’s Big Belmont Win

Screenshot from NYRA video.

I got zero return on the $5 online bet I put down on Tapwrit in the Kentucky Derby. I’m a sucker for babies of Tapit, the hunky grey stallion whose $300,000 stud fee once topped HN’s Valentine’s Day roster of Thoroughbred sires ranging from “cheap box of chocolates” to “nice dinner at a steakhouse” to “diamond ring and a tiara.” And you thought a dozen roses were expensive … equine courtship in the racing world ain’t cheap!

Tapit (PulpitTap Your Heels, by Unbridled ) has produced a number of successful stakes winners, including last year’s surprise Belmont winner Creator (TapitMorena (PER), by Privately Held). Watching Tapwrit (TapitAppealing Zophie, by Successful Appeal) workout in the leadup to the Derby, I swooned over his liquid gallop, chill expression and pewter coat, and was bummed when he finished sixth.

Turns out I just put my money on the wrong race! After skipping the Preakness to rest and train, Tapwrit entered the starting gate at the 2017 Belmont Stakes at 5-1 odds, with Jose Oritz in the irons. They stalked the leaders until the stretch, then swept past favorite Irish War Cry, who led the majority of the race, on the for the win. Watch for the turboboosters to activate at around 2:26 on the video replay!

Tapwrit’s winning time for 1 1/2 miles was 2:30.02.

Lots of people picked one-eyed Patch, trained by Todd Pletcher and Tyler Gaffalione, as their Derby underdog favorite. He drew the outside post position, with his blind eye facing the field, and finished near the back of the pack. The poor horse, who can’t seem to get a break, drew the far outside post again in the Belmont, but this time made a big comeback to finish third. Go Patch!

Another nailbiting moment came when Hollywood Handsome clipped heels with the horse in front of him in the first turn. He almost went down, and jockey Florent Geroux lost his stirrups, eventually managing to guide the horse to the outside until he could be stopped. Both horse and rider are fine, excepting a cut the horse sustained behind its right knee that had to be closed with staples.

HN Belmont reader pick Lookin at Lee finished seventh.

Belmont Stakes Order of Finish

1. Tapwrit

2. Irish War Cry

3. Patch

4. Gormley

5. Senior Investment

6. Twisted Tom

7. Lookin At Lee

8. Meantime

9. J Boys Echo

10. Multiplier

11. Hollywood Handsome (DNF)

12. Epicharis (SCR)

Equestrian Sport Approved for 2024 Olympics, Format Changes Given All Clear for 2020

Photo: Richard Juilliart/FEI.

Efforts to maintain equestrian sport’s Olympic appeal and relevance have been given a nod of approval by the International Olympic Committee. On Friday the IOC confirmed that equestrian sport will remain in the Olympic program for the 2024 Games and approved the Olympic formats submitted by the FEI for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos responded, “The IOC’s confirmation of equestrian on the Olympic programme for the 2024 Games and approval of the new formats for Tokyo 2020 is a direct acknowledgment of our willingness to adapt and modernise our sport, so all the work to drive change and increase universality has been worthwhile.

The FEI voted in support of sweeping Olympic format changes at last year’s FEI General Assembly in Tokyo last November. Most notably, these include a proposal to limit teams to three horse/athlete combinations per nation with no drop score. Under the newly approved format, the active reserve can be substituted into the competition at the beginning of any phase of competition.

An outline of the changes as applied to eventing:

  • Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, no drop score
  • One reserve combination per team will be allowed. The reserve combination is an important element of the proposal in order to preserve horse welfare. If a reserve combination is substituted, it will incur a penalty for the team. The exact penalty will be finalised in the Olympic Regulations
  • Maximum of two individuals per nation not represented by a team
  • Order of tests to remain unchanged (1st Dressage; 2nd Cross Country; 3rd Jumping Team; 4th Jumping Individual)
  • Olympic Eventing to take place over three days (Dressage test reduced to one day)
  • Technical level of the three tests to be defined as the “Olympic level”: Dressage and Jumping 4*; Cross Country: 10-minute optimum time, 45 jumping efforts, and 3* technical difficulty
  • Qualification of athletes/horses to be achieved on the same Cross Country technical level to ensure implementation of the recommendations of the FEI Independent Audit in Eventing
  • For the purpose of the Team classification only: any horse/athlete combinations not completing a test can continue to the next test if accepted as fit to compete at the relevant Horse Inspection
  • For the purpose of the Team classification only: penalties for the non-completion of a test for any reason, Dressage =100 points, Cross Country = 150, Jumping = 100
  • Rules for the Individual event remain unchanged

“Approval of the formats for Tokyo means that we can now increase the number of flags in equestrian sport in line with the Agenda 2020 recommendations,” said De Vos. “With more than 30,000 athletes registered to compete in our three Olympic disciplines – and the numbers are growing every year – our new formats mean that athletes from more countries than ever before will now have the opportunity of one day realising their dream of representing their country at the Olympic Games.

“It wasn’t easy for our community to make such drastic changes to our Olympic formats, but the National Federations knew the importance of this decision and ultimately supported the proposed changes. Their willingness to embrace this change is without any doubt the reason we have got this fantastic news from the IOC today.”

[FEI President welcomes IOC confirmation of equestrian sport in 2024 Olympic programme and approval of Tokyo 2020 formats]


Weekend Instagram Roundup: Riders of the Storm at Roebke’s Run

From doomsday-style storms to temps in the 90s, Roebke’s Run CCI/CIC and H.T. in Minnesota was a true test of the elements!

Congrats to all competitors, including winners of the FEI divisions: Jacob Fletcher and Bacardi W in the CCI2*; Medigan Murphy and Wildebrandt in the CCI*, Lily Geelan and Luksor in the CIC2*, and Lisa Borgia and Laurelin and in the CIC*. Check out full results here.

Here are a few of your photos from the weekend, starting with a few postcards from the eye of the storm!

A post shared by Jessica C (@jessica_number5) on

You guys #crazyweather

A post shared by Kjirsten Lee (@equestrianesquire) on

Just hanging out in a stall during a thunderstorm ⛈ Stay safe ponies!! #horseshow #unpredictable

A post shared by Kjirsten Lee (@equestrianesquire) on

So uhhh this is happening and we are locked in a stall staying safe

A post shared by Madison Kupper (@maddykupper) on

Glad it blew over and everyone stayed safe. And then the sun came out, and all was well!

I love my job

A post shared by beth barritt (@beth.barritt) on

Proud coach moment!!! Fantastic!! A 10 on the halt and salute!! You’ve earned it Annika! #teamgreen

A post shared by meaghan_marinovich (@meaghan_marinovich) on

Enjoying the sunset with my boy before we run XC tomorrow. #WaywardSon

A post shared by Lexi Marie (@leximarie.142) on

Ethel baby getting better and better in the sandbox #ottbsofinstagram #focusishard #adastraeventing

A post shared by Allie A (@adastraeventing) on

What a rockstar Today was a true test of the elements #HESeventing #roebkesrun credit: @heather_koch6

A post shared by Caitlin Maksym (@cait2620) on

We are game on for that moveup! Training level here we come! #tailswish #WRFInoubliable #WRF #biggerisbetter

A post shared by Edith Lee (@el.eventing) on

Both horses passed the first horse inspection!

A post shared by Jacob Fletcher (@sugadaddyfletch) on

This horse has my whole heart! #duckingawesome #ottb @canterillinois PC: Pat Schmidt

A post shared by Leah Lang-Gluscic (@llgeventing) on

Thank you Schweiss family and all the wonderful volunteers for a great show weekend! #tornadosurvivors

A post shared by Lexi Marie (@leximarie.142) on

Go Eventing.

What’s in Your Arena? Presented by Attwood: A Ground Pole Classic with Mary King & Karen O’Connor

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.

Four poles on the ground in a circle … how hard could it be?

Plenty hard, trust me, I’ve got this one set up in my own arena at the moment. Rhythm, adjustability and keeping the horse between your aids are all at the forefront of this exercise — it’s a classic for a reason!

Here two first ladies of eventing, Mary King and Karen O’Connor, talk us through it.

Do try this at home. Go Eventing!

Do you have an exercise to share or is there an eventer you would like to nominate for the “What’s in Your Arena?” series? Email [email protected]

Lauren Kieffer & Caroline Martin Sail Through Bramham First Inspection

Caroline Martin and Pebbly Maximus in the Under 25 CCI3*. Photo by Adam Fanthorpe.

We have two Americans contesting Bramham this week: Lauren Kieffer with D.A. Duras in the CCI3*, and Caroline Martin with Pebbly Maximus and The Apprentice in the Under 25 CCI3*. The first horse inspection took place this afternoon and the U.S. trio passed with flying colors.

Lauren Kieffer’s ride D.A. Duras, a 9-year-old Dutch gelding owned by Debbie Adams and Ms. Jacqueline Mars, is a super talent, and they’ll be looking for invaluable European mileage this weekend. Most recently the pair won the CIC2* at Jersey Fresh, and they’ve had a couple top-10 finishes at the three-star level in the States.

Lauren Kieffer and DA Duras in the CCI3*. Photo by Adam Fanthorpe.

Caroline Martin has two entries in the Under 25 CCI3* division: Pebbly Maximus, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Sherrie and Caroline Martin, and The Apprentice, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Sherrie Martin. Caroline rode both horses in the CICO3* at Houghton Hall at the end of May, finishing 15th and 17th respectively, and we can’t wait to watch her tackle Ian Stark’s cross country track on Saturday.

Caroline Martin and The Apprentice in the Under 25 CCI3*. Photo by Adam Fanthorpe.

Bramham dressage times: 

Caroline Martin and The Apprentice: Thursday 2:40 p.m. local time (9:40 a.m. EST)

Lauren Kieffer and D.A. Duras: Friday 9:08 a.m. local time (4:08 a.m. EST)

Caroline Martin and Pebbly Maximus: Friday 5:04 p.m. local time  (12:04 p.m. EST)

Bramham Links: Website, Entries & Live Scores, XC Live StreamEN’s Coverage

Tuesday Video from SpectraVET: No Stirrups With Style at Colorado Horse Park

That leg isn’t budging!

Coralee Richardson ran into trouble halfway through her Training level cross country course at the Colorado Horse Park H.T. over the weekend. The 16-years-old had both of her stirrups release and fall from the saddle at the 10th fence but opted to journey on sans stirrup. Her leg position seemed no worse for the wear, as she and her 14.1-hand Connemara Pony Tuckaway Thunder continued on their merry way toward a double-clear round.

Tuckaway Thunder is the second Connemara Pony that Coralee has produced from scratch on a limited budget. This was their second start at Training level. Coralee qualified her first pony, Cobblestone Ivy, for and ribboned at the 2015 American Eventing Championships, winning the Mark Phillips Pony Award, and in 2016 Ivy was USEF Connemara Eventing Horse of the Year and ACPS Purebred Connemara of the year.

Watch the video!

#EventerProblems Vol. 119: Weirdos Unite

You’re weird. I’m weird. Everybody reading this is their own special brand of eventer weird. But at least we’re not alone, as evidenced by our latest batch of #EventerProblems!

#galloping #eventerproblems #eventing #crosscountry #threedaysthreeways #rolex

A post shared by Kelly Rieser (@kellyrieser) on

Eventing habits don’t die easily. #dressagerider #eventerproblems #exeventer #conditioningthedressagehorse

A post shared by Jan Snyder (@jan.snyder) on

Somedays you have to ride the blue horse first. #eventerproblems

A post shared by Jon Bicho (@tbeventr) on

The creek being flooded just means extra water practice, right? #eventerproblems

A post shared by Rachel Williams (@mareloomgarden) on

Annnd I ran out of hooks ‍♀️#hoardingproblems #ionlyhavethreehorses #eventerproblems #butisitreallyaproblem #horse #covers

A post shared by Jordan Stephenson (@jordan.stephenson) on

When you’re an eventer and you have at least 2 saddles per horse #eventerproblems

A post shared by Kacie Reitman (@kaciereitman) on

Ride of champions. #pinkscooter #voler #ottb #eventerproblems #eventer #areaiveventing #amynelsoneventer

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

Some might say I have problem… but I say I’m just prepared. #eventerproblems #bellbootsforever #overreachmuch

A post shared by Amy Cave Setter (@amycavesetter) on

My #matchymatchy game is on point. ❤️✨ #thelazyhstudios #customsaddlepad #equestrianlife #eventerproblems

A post shared by MelissaH (@amustangandatrakehner) on

#tinyhouseliving #eventerproblems #eventinglife #maydazeatthepark #ihopeidontkillyou #dirtypig

A post shared by Jessica Cassidy (@jsmassidy) on

Off to Fair Hill with Fancy Lancey and Fran Beast #eventerproblems #goeventing #summertime #itsforlivingbusy

A post shared by Booli Selmayr (@booliselmayr) on

Junior is fully color-coordinated in his retro 1980s tracksuit #eventing #eventerproblems

A post shared by Elaina Anglin (@lilbayhorse) on

Go Eventing.

Weekly OTTB Wishlist from Cosequin: CANTER Cuties

We handpicked this week’s batch of OTTBs from the Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses (CANTER). This 100% volunteer run organization has placed more than 25,000 OTTBs into loving homes since its founding in 1998. Learn more about the organization and see all the OTTBs available here!

Photo courtesy of CANTER Delaware.

Pie Baby Pie (Fleet Foot – Pie in Sky, by Outflanker): 2012 15.2-15.3 hand Maryland-bred mare

The epitome of sweetness and light, PBP would be a great addition to any barn. Sound, no vices. She was only moderately fast and bled a little bit during her last race in 2016, so her owner retired her, basically due to the former. She was much appreciated in the barn — easy to train, excellent ground manners, smart, and enthusiastic about her work. What else can we say?

This gal has been relaxing at the farm since fall of 2016 and she’s ready for a new job. She’d be suitable for any discipline. Pics of her are at the track, owner just wanted to give her some time before placing her into a new home. Located in Easton, Maryland.

View Pie Baby Pie on CANTER Delaware.

Photo via CANTER PA.

Karobushka (Strategic Mission – Best Interview, by Private Interview): 2009 15.3-hand New Jersey-bred gelding

The big “Boo Bear!” A sweet, mellow fellow, this guy has an exceptional personality that would be welcome in any barn. In fact, “kind” doesn’t even begin to describe him —  he’s a happy-go-lucky sorta guy who doesn’t have a care or complaint in the world. He always has his head poking out his stall and loves to be loved; CANTER stops to see him weekly and he’s a perfect gentleman.

A lovely type with an athletic style of movement, there’s nothing this one couldn’t do, from hunters to eventing to western — this is the type of prospect that’s game for anything. He was super quiet for his listing and his connections are confident that anyone who comes out to see him will love him. Please note, he does have minor ankle rounding but CANTER has been told it is not an issue.

View Karobushka on CANTER PA.

Photo via CANTER Delaware.

Double Dinnermint (Double Honor – Dinner Mint, by Formal Dinner): 2010 16-hand Florida-bred mare

This lovely girl didn’t start racing until she was 4 and has been carefully managed. Sound, no vices. A lovely flat kneed mover, her trainer says she is suitable for any sport. Snap her up now!  Located at Delaware Park.

View Double Dinnermint on CANTER Delaware.

Equestrian Australia to Implement Frangible Pin Usage at Events Around the Country

The movement to improve horse and rider safety in our sport is worldwide. Yesterday Equestrian Australia (EA) announced the approval of its next project toward enabling Australian eventing competitions to adopt the best safety management practices.

The Making Eventing Safer Fund will distribute $45,000 toward the rollout of frangible devices at all EA events across Australia. This funding will be matched by State Eventing Committees, meaning a total of $90,000 will be spent on improving safety.

The Equestrian Australia Making Eventing Safer Fund was introduced following the deaths of two young Australian event riders, Caitlyn Fischer and Olivia Inglis, last year.

In this video, Olympic medalist Stuart Tinney talks about the “Making Eventing Safer” initiative to introduce frangible jumps in Australia, and breaks down how this technology works.

Other safety initiatives that have been put in place so far this year include:

  • Australia’s top course designers met in February to share their knowledge to help ensure that the cross country courses they design meet the latest world safety standards for prevention of horse falls.
  • With the recent publication of FEI cross-country design guidelines which reflect the latest learnings globally in designing cross country courses, a version specifically for EA classes (105cm and lower) is being developed and will soon be released.

[Making Eventing Safer in Australia]

Weekend Instagram Roundup: All Smiles at the Colorado Horse Park

The Colorado Horse Park in Parker, CO, was alive this weekend with its CCI2*, CIC2*, CCI1* and Horse Trials. The weather looked incredible, the competition was fierce, and everywhere you looked riders and their crew were grinning from ear to ear.

Congrats to all, including Kit Ferguson and Yoshi, winners of the CCI1*; Rebecca Brown and Dassett Choice, winners of the CCI2*; and Julie Wolfert and Djabouti, winners of the CIC2*.

We’ve assembled a few of your smiliest photos from Instagram. Enjoy!

Colorado Horse Park CCI/CIC & H.T. [Website] [Results]

Besties in the Rockies #hacking #bays #gotgrass @harrietessman @seguin77 @macyessman

A post shared by C.C. Castillo (@ccinwtx) on


A post shared by Rebecca Brown (@rebeccabrownie) on

@laurenjost.eventing and Tucker are ready for the funniest phase, XC 😜

A post shared by Djost (@momma.jost) on

CCI* rockstars!! Way to go Yoshi!! @kitferguson @keykamp #youngrider #bathtime #xcmachine #coloradohorsepark

A post shared by C.C. Castillo (@ccinwtx) on

Kisses from Sparrow 💙 #sparrow #horseshow #coloradohorsepark #funinthesun #purejoy #myloves

A post shared by Cristianna Hancock (@cristiannafb) on

#chp #hardworkpaysoffs #1stplace Training #areavyoungriders @blissoflondon

A post shared by Shirley Marquardt-Tynan (@fuegofuel) on

So proud of my boy!!! Our hard work is paying off!

A post shared by RyTy & Jazz Eventing (@jazzy.eventing) on

Amazing week in Colorado with my loves! ❤️❤️❤️

A post shared by Lauren Lambert (@lalamb007) on

Thanks to this awesome girl for helping me this week. Jr and I are so grateful for her! @georgialucy1

A post shared by Rebecca Brown (@rebeccabrownie) on

🐎 Heart of the Horse Gala 🐎

A post shared by Brittany Benson (@brittanybenson_) on

Go Eventing!

Wylie vs. the Mongol Derby: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Part I

In August 2017 writer/rider Leslie Wylie will be attempting her most fearsome feat of #YOLO yet: a 620-mile race across Mongolia. Riding 25 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.

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. Keep it locked here for weekly updates from Leslie as she prepares to embark upon the ride of a lifetime!

In case you missed them: What If?, Katniss Everdeen and Her Magical Wine Bra.

Don’t worry, mom, I’ll be fine. Mongol Derby photo by Nick Farnhill/Creative Commons License.

When the end times come for us, probably any day now, my first plan of action is to find my friends Tony and Hunter. You know the type: resourceful, scrappy bros you want on your side in the face of a nuclear winter/ice cap meltdown/comet-earth fender bender/dinosaur comeback/supervolcano explosion/Apple technology uprising/Death Star laser strike/other assorted mass extinction event.

Because no matter what comes along and tries to take out mankind, Tony and Hunter aren’t going down without a fight. Unlike me, who will likely be the first one to get vaporized/eaten alive/swallowed up into the earth/transformed into a PB&J sandwich by mischievous aliens/other assorted bad way to go.

I’m pretty sure Tony keeps a bow and arrow under his bed, and legend has it he once opened a locked car door with an avocado alone. Hunter specializes in blowing up melons and knows how to start a fire with a sandwich bag full of water (and you can, too!) The Mongol Derby is no apocalypse, but when it comes to pro survival tips, I knew where to turn.

Notes from a recent strategic planning session with Tony and Hunter.

The first thing I needed to do, they agreed, was make a “preparedness threat assessment” for the Derby. Which is prepper-speak for identifying all the stuff that could possibly go wrong out there so I can have a plan in place to mitigate it. Hence, the topic of my next couple Derby columns: What could possibly go wrong?

Answer: a lot of things.

British veterinarian Patrick Sells, who finished seventh in the 2015 Derby, journaled his experience and has kindly allowed us to share his notes. Here’s an excerpt (you can read his full account here):

“Feeling the scrutiny of the satellites as we crawled with our trackers along the Earth’s surface, it sometimes felt as if we were a part of the Hunger Games. Stories filtered down the lines through vets, medics and translators of other riders’ woes. One girl, on her second attempt to continue the race, was found hypothermic and lost in the forest, with a pack of wolves closing in menacingly. Four girls I rode with mid-race (all highly competent horsewomen) had a horrendous 24 hours of bolting, bucking horses, serious falls and lost horses during that freezing weather. Listening to their accounts afterwards, I was awestruck by their resilience to carry on. Catriona was thrown face­first onto a rock, splitting her cheek to the bone; Uma bled from the nose from the force of her head hitting the ground. Two riders further back in the pack had been kicked in the head, one unconscious.”

Lots to unpack here. Let’s break it down into a nice, neat, sensible bullet-point list of the most common ways Derby riders get taken out, starting with a no-brainer:

  • Horses

As we all know, horses can and will ruin everything at every available opportunity, and the Derby is no exception.

Nobody expects to get through the Derby without finding themselves in the ejector seat a time or two (or more). It’s not a matter of if you’ll fall, but when. The more pressing variables: with how much force you hit the ground, how you land, and whether or not you get smooshed by your horse in the process.

Mounting and dismounting are particularly perilous moments. The semi-feral horses aren’t keen on gentlemanly behavior, like standing politely whilst its rider climbs aboard. Pat recalls:

“Generally the herdsman would jump on first to calm it down, but even so the animals were so unused to ‘Nongolians’ that the white of the eye would show when I approached. One or two herdsmen would have to hold the horse down, even with ear twitches, or spin it in a tight circle. I would focus on the calm of the Steppe, keeping a low heart rate and a soft voice, swing aboard as lightly as possible with my ruined legs, clamp both hands to the front of the saddle… and then hold on for dear life.” 

Over the course of the race we’ll ride 25 different horses, each with its own unique personality. Pat, who broke the all-time record that year for turning in the fastest ever leg (34kms in 78 minutes), describes a few character types he encountered during the race:


“Once the horse had realised it wasn’t going to shift its alien cargo by bucking or scraping me against a tethering post, it would bolt. My world would become a white­-knuckle ride of whistling wind and blurred landscape. I would blink away tears, sweat or rain and strain my eyes ahead to try and read the fast approaching terrain, not that I could do much about it.

“‘Bolters’ usually had an uncanny knack of swerving around rocks, rabbit holes or hillocks at the last minute. Most could even read the subtly different patches of grass that grow over the top of marmot caves and steer around them. To ride over these underground burrows meant a high chance of a leg plummeting through the surface crust. Travelling at speed, this meant a stumble or fall, and at least once a rider alongside me suddenly vanished onto the deck with their mount rolling on top of them. Miraculously, the worst injuries sustained were broken ribs.”

Couch potatos:

“Much worse than dangerously fast horses, were unfit or lazy ones. To face a 40km leg in very hot or cold conditions on an unwilling horse that would travel at a ‘jackhammer’ trot at best, was something close to torture. Although my body adapted and strengthened towards the end of the week, in the beginning my feet, ankles, knees and groin were suffering so badly from the duress that the staccato of a Mongolian horse trot was unbearable.”

Straight-up homicidal lunatics:

“Other horses were outright lethal, galloping with abandon, no regard for their own safety. I can recount several times when I thought my number was up, and even remember saying my farewells. Battling with the horse’s head but still travelling at flat gallop over rocky, crevassed ground littered with moguls, ditches and rabbit holes, I experienced terror in its rawest form; that absolute certainty that a sticky end was imminent.

“The wild­-eyed horse (a particular one I named ‘Deathwish’) would be flying headlong through the rough terrain when suddenly a deep, stony riverbed would traverse our path, no possible chance of turning away or even slowing. Down over the bank we would plummet, clattering over rocks at impossible speed, the horse literally scrambling to keep his feet, and then up the far cliff, only to dig his toes into the pasture and hit maximum velocity once more. Variations on this theme occurred again and again.

“But amazingly, it wasn’t until the final day when I was lost and hypothermic that I hit the deck properly. Having had to ford a large river to get back on track, I was furious with myself for listening to someone’s inaccurate directions rather than navigating myself. However, on board a serious racehorse and numb with cold, even reaching for the GPS to check my bearing had been far too dangerous for the first 10km of the leg.

“At flat gallop the inevitable dry riverbed suddenly appeared from behind a grassy crest … and the horse flung itself down the bank with characteristic abandon. We hit the far cliff at full pelt, throwing us both spinning onto the grass on the other side. Thankfully the horse rolled alongside rather than on top of me, and as I came to with stars in my vision, the lead­rope trailed past my face. I grabbed it, and rather than dragging me across the landscape, the dear boy started to graze.”

Oh, that Deathwish and his silly shenanigans! Like Pat I’ve always gravitated toward speed demons, preferably accompanied by a dose of self-preservation but I’ll take what I can get. And I’ve ridden enough equine assassins in the my life that generic naughtiness — bucking, rearing, spooking at suspicious blades of grass — doesn’t faze me.

What makes me nervous are the marmot holes.

Nature is a prankster, and it usually seems like the cuter and fuzzier the animal, the more likely it is to inflict pain and suffering on your life. The cartoonishly bandit-faced raccoon that will claw your eyes out if you try to take away its garbage can. The honey badger, looking all sweet and innocent until it bites the head off a cobra. Adorable little ponies … need I say more?

You’re so cute! Please don’t ruin my race. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Marmots are probably perfectly nice animals; it’s their holes that are the problem. They dig waist-deep burroughs on the Steppe, and if your horse hits one at speed it’s game over, thanks for playing, thanks for your $13,000 entry fee.

Maddie Smith, a hunter/jumper rider from San Francisco, contested the Derby last year — briefly, at least. I interviewed her on the Horses in the Morning podcast a couple months ago about her sudden “game over” moment. (You can listen to the full interview here, beginning at 1:06:54.)

“The race was going great, the pacing was great, and it was the last leg of the second day, so going from station six to seven. I don’t remember what happened, I think I crashed but I’m not exactly sure. When I came to, woke up, the doctor had already come — I’d pushed my SOS button (which sends an emergency signal from the riders’ tracking device), although I don’t remember pushing it. I had an IV in my arm, they’d taken my shirt off, my helmet was to the side. And my horse was there, which was cool because my horse didn’t run away. I’d thrown up on myself. It was kind of surreal.”

The “adventure ambulance,” as she called it, drove her five hours through the night back to Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar, where she was treated at the hospital. Maddie says it was a bummer to drop out of the race so early in the game but, on the bright side: “It was nice that I didn’t have to be airlifted. A couple people did. I was happy not to have to go in a helicopter.”

Every day that you don’t end up in a medevac during the Derby is a good day, I guess. Undeterred, she’s going to take another go at it in 2018. Go get ’em, Maddie!

Maddie on Day 1 of the 2016 Mongol Derby. Photo by Richard Dunwoody courtesy of Maddie Smith.

Well, that’s about all the time we have this week for contemplating everything that can and probably will go wrong during the Derby. And we only got around to bullet point #1 … although that’s probably quite enough for my mom to handle.

Until next time!

Keep up with my adventures in the lead-up to the 2017 Mongol Derby each week on Horse Nation, Eventing Nation and Jumper Nation, and tune into Horses in the Morning each Monday at 10 a.m. EST as I interview Derby crew and previous competitors. 

Each Derby competitor’s $12,995 entry helps benefit the Mongolian families whose generosity with their horses and their homes makes the race possible, as well as Cool Earth, a charity that works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction.

Can you help? Please visit the Wylie vs. Mongol Derby GoFundMe page — all donations are deeply and eternally appreciated! Corporate sponsorships are also available and include ad space on EN, HN and JN, product reviews and usage during the Derby and much more. Email [email protected] for details.

Join me in welcoming the latest sponsors in my Mongol Derby adventure! 

The latest item in my growing pile of stuff I’ll be attempting to cram into an 11-pound saddlebag is a tube of ChafeX anti-chafe cream. It was designed for marathoners and ultra runners but we equestrians know a thing or two about inner-thigh abrasion, too, don’t we? Especially when you’re staring down the barrel of 7-10 days of being in the saddle for 13 hours at a stretch, like I will be in the Mongol Derby. Chafex forms a durable yet flexible MicroLayer which reinforces the protective cellular structure of the skin, the result being a long-lasting avoidance of skin irritations like chafing, blistering, and rubs. I can’t wait to put it to the test out there on the Steppe! Learn more at ChafeX.com.

I am also excited to introduce Swan Mountain Outfitters, which offers a variety of horseback tours as well as guided hunting and fly fishing trips. This big game outfitter has access to thousands of acres of the Flathead National Forest, in and around the famed Bob Marshall Wilderness.

As I’ll be in Montana covering The Event at Rebecca Farm in July for Eventing Nation, Swan Mountain has generously agreed to let me tag along on a five-day horseback pack trip to ensure, which in addition to being fantastic prep for the Derby is an incredible opportunity to venture deep into the heart of some of the most stunning natural landscapes in America. If you’re attending Rebecca, consider sticking around for a Swan Mountain adventure! Have an unhorsey significant other in tow? Here’s a thought: Shoo him into the woods for a fishing or hunting excursion while you do your thing at the event, or treat him to a romantic three-hour wine and cheese llama trek through sister company Swan Mountain Llama Trekking.

And thanks once again to TaggCode, which makes these super-smart bracelets embedded with all your medical information and emergency contact info in the form of a Quick Response Code. They are USEF legal to wear as a substitute for medical armbands in competition, but of course I’ll be taking mine a bit further afield! I am excited and honored to have TaggCode as a sponsor, and I can’t wait to tell you guys all about my experience with this innovative product as I put it to the ultimate test in coming months.



Ingrid Klimke Claims Dressage Lead at ERM’s Wiesbaden Leg

Ingrid Klimke and SAP Escada FRH. Photo by Benjamin Clark / Event Rider Masters.

Ingrid Klimke and SAP Escada FRH took the early lead today at Germany’s Internationales Wiesbadener PfingstTurnier, the second leg of the Event Rider Masters series.

The pair performed a crisp, expressive test in front of the iconic Biebrich Palace for a mark of 34.6.

“SAP Escada FRH did a wonderful job, I am delighted with her,” Ingrid remarked after her test. “Today she was very supple, through and content and she always arrives in the main arena saying ‘here I am!’ Tomorrow will be a very different test, particularly on the cross country as you have to be really fast in the park to save every second you can. I will definitely be trying to finish on my dressage score, to land my first ERM victory.”

Julia Krajewski and Chipmunk FRH. Photo by Benjamin Clark / Event Rider Masters.

Their score was 1.6 point better than German teammate Julia Krajewski riding Chipmunk FRH, who scored a 36.2.

Julia, who who was part of the silver medal winning German Olympic team at Rio 2016, said, “Naturally you want to do well for your horse, owners and yourself as well as hopefully winning some of the attractive prize money available this weekend. So I was actually a bit nervous before the dressage, but I am very happy with Chipmunk, he felt very good today. I feel tomorrow will be a tough question particularly on the cross country but I am hoping to maintain or even improve my current position.”

Sara Algotsson Ostholt and Reality 39. Photo by Benjamin Clark / Event Rider Masters.

Sweden’s Sara Algotsson Ostholt and Reality 39 were the last pair of the day to do their test, and they slid into third on a 42.0.

“To ride here in front of the ‘pink palace’ at Wiesbaden and in the Event Rider Masters is amazing,” Sara said. “The location combined with the music I chose to ride to made me very relaxed and I had a very good feeling. Maybe I was a bit too relaxed as the two German girls are ahead of me! However, tomorrow is another day. The reverse order of showjumping and cross country will be interesting and I feel the placings could look different across the whole competition after the jumping phases”.

Italy’s Stefano Brecciaroli riding Apollo van de Wendi Kurt Hoeve are in fourth on 42.6 and Great Britain’s Sarah Cohen riding Treason lie in fifth with 43.2. Just 10 marks separate the top six riders. As a side note, Michael Jung’s ride Star Connection was not qualified to compete in ERM, as it is the horse’s three-star debut, so he is competing in the class HC. He would have been third after dressage.

The competition continues tomorrow with the showjumping and cross country phases. Show jumping begins at 11 a.m. CET followed by cross country at 2:45 p.m. CET.

ERM Weisbaden Dressage Top 15: 

ERM Weisbaden: ERM WebsiteRide TimesLive Scores, Live Stream


Thursday Video from Standlee Hay: Jennie Brannigan Goes 2-for-2 at VHT

Jennie Brannigan collected a couple blues at Virginia Horse Trials over the weekend. Let’s rewind and rewatch, courtesy of The Horse Pesterer!

She and Cambalda came out on top in the CIC2* division, turning in two double-clear jumping rounds to finish on their dressage score of 43.4:

In the Advanced Intermediate H.T. division, she took the win on As Cool as Ice on a score of 41.0:

Go Jennie. Go Eventing!

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Devon Arena Eventing with Doug Payne

Doug Payne had two rides in the Devon Horse Show’s inaugural arena eventing class, held under the lights on Sunday night in Devon Horse Show’s legendary Dixon Oval.

Flagmount’s Mischief, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Flagmount’s Freedom X Devious Princess) owned by Doug and Jessica Payne and Brad and Robbie Peterson, advanced to the jumpoff. Their otherwise swift, neat round was marred only by a rail at the triple bar, but it was good enough for a fifth place finish and $3,500 in prize money.

Getaway, a 10-year-old Oldenburg by Contendro owned by Lisa Wall, finished in a tie for 13th. This horse placed 2nd in the Ocala CCI2* in April and is certainly one to watch.

If you missed it, check out EN’s full report on the class here.


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For more information, visit KPPvet.com.

It’s Time to Enter Bromont, the Most European Event on This Side of the Atlantic

Red on right, white on left, Chinch in the middle. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Always dreamed of eventing abroad but don’t feel like dropping fat stacks on equine airfare? The Bromont CCI Three-Day Event is about the closest thing you can get to an authentic European three-day experience without stepping hoof off the continent.

The event is held in Quebec, an exotic Canadian province where everyone drowns their French fries in gravy and cheese curds.



Winding your way along Bromont’s back roads, it’s easy to pretend that you’re in some quaint mountain village in the Alps.


Sweet ride, Monsieur Chinch.

French is the sole official language of Quebec and is the first or second language of 95 percent of the population.


Le Chinchillerie?

Like many European countries, Canada has a universal healthcare system that is mostly free at point of use.


Which is to say, if you’re going to fall off a horse and get injured anywhere, Bromont is a pretty good place to do so.

Altogether, it may add up to a bit of culture shock for the average ‘Murican.


Too much?

Don’t worry, Chinch, your ketchup and fries will still be here when you get home.


That’s what I’m talking about.

The 2017 event is coming up fast, June 8-11, and the entry deadline has been extended through the end of the month, so get yours in today! For more information, visit the website here.

Bromont bound!

Bromont bound!

Rest in Peace, Fernhill Fearless

Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless at Rolex 2016. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

We are heartbroken to report that Fernhill Fearless was euthanized after an accident in his stable late Sunday evening. The 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding had returned from Virginia Horse Trials earlier in the day, where he was contesting the CIC2* with young professional Gabby Dickerson (they withdrew from cross country on account of a foot bruise.) That night he broke his hind leg kicking through the bars of his stall window and was laid to rest shortly thereafter.

“Sparky” deeply touched the lives of several riders. After being campaigned through the three-star level in England with Hayden Hankey, he was imported by the Lignon family to accompany U.S.-based Thailand rider Nina Lignon to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The Ligon family gave him to Kim Severson following the Games, where he served as a team horse for her at the 2014 WEG in Normandy. Last September, Kim paid it forward by bequeathing him to Gabby to show her the ropes of upper level eventing.

Gabby Dickerson and Fernhill Fearless. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Gabby announced Sparky’s passing on her Facebook page this afternoon:

“I am not one to put my thoughts and emotions on social media but Sparky is so well loved and followed by many that it is only fair to let everyone know what happened. My heart goes out to everyone who has loved and cherished this special little horse throughout his life and career. I know that he inspired and encouraged Nina to achieve her dream of riding in the Olympics, as well as being an amazing four-star partner for Kim at a time when she really needed one.

“Although I only had Sparky for a short while, I learned so much from him and loved and respected very bit of who he was, every day. He was a true Fearless champion, who was sweet and kind while being a tough little fighter through and through. Thank you so much to the chain of people who had given me the opportunity to love and learn from Sparky. The biggest thank you, though, goes to Sparky. Thank you so much for giving your all for me and everyone else who asked anything of you, Sparks. I love you buddy and will miss you every day.” 

Our condolences to all of this special horse’s connections. Rest in peace, Sparky.



Weekly OTTB Wishlist from Cosequin: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

You can’t beat a good mare. Get one on your side and she’ll do anything for you. Mix in some Thoroughbred heart and athleticism and the sky is the limit.

For this edition of the Weekly OTTB Wishlist, we’re spotlighting three mares we’d love to see sprinting out of a cross country startbox.

Photo courtesy of Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds.

Xena’s Cat (Catienus – Mygoldenticket, by Gold Token): 2014 15.1-hand New York bred filly

Homebred Xena’s Cat is unraced and is not showing enough promise at this point in her career for her doting owners/breeders to continue on with her race training. Xena has a compact and very well proportioned build and, although she is likely to still be growing, may top out a tad taller but she won’t be a big horse.

Because she hasn’t been in training for about a week she was quite on the muscle for her photo shoot but FLF is confident that, once off the track and in an environment that she prefers, she will settle right down and be a cute prospect for retraining your way. Xena is very good in turnout with her buddies and has had the winter turned out on her owner’s farm. She is said to be without vices and is sound. We think this cute, well-built filly with a nice toe-pointing jog is a promising young prospect for just about any discipline.

View Xena’s Cat on Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds.

Photo courtesy of Second Stride.

Sommerville Miss (The Daddy – Gaye’s Locket, by Ogygian): 2011 16.2-hand Kentucky bred mare

Sommerville Miss is correct through the legs, uphill and athletic, with exquisite features. This is a powerful mare with potential take you to the top of any sport horse career.

She’s reportedly retired sound, and she is sound at liberty. She was a winner and consistently in the money. This mare is not for an amateur — she’s athletic and wants a purposeful career. She has the looks of Rolex or beyond! Serious jumpers/eventers should take note of her.

View Sommerville Miss on Second Stride.

Photo courtesy of Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Slip and Slide (Freud – Saint Kris, by Kris S.): 2013 15.2-hand New York bred mare

Although Slip and Slide is only 15.2hh, she has a BIG horsenality. She is always active, very talented, and never met a stranger — imagine a combination of Lady Gaga and Paula Dean! In the field, she is the indefatigable party girl. In the barn, she greets everyone who walks in. She keeps us laughing with her ceaseless sense of fun and her constant desire for interaction.

That said, there is nothing harebrained about this mare. She is very, very smart and knows it. She likes to learn and does so quickly. She is easily bored and doesn’t suffer fools. She is a lovely mover loaded with athleticism. Whoever can tap into her abundance of talents will have a fierce competitor. But this will only happen if you can earn her respect first and then her heart.

View Slip and Slide on Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

#EventerProblems Vol. 118: Horses Gonna Horse

Does anyone else out there get a weird and strangely satisfying kick out of draining abscesses? One time I popped out out the back of my horse’s heel and the gunk shot out like a water fountain for a full 10 seconds while I sat there clapping my hands and squealing with delight.

If you can relate, you might enjoy this first #EventerProblems photo. If not, you might want to just scroll right on past that one.

I probably could have put together an entire post of hoof related #EventerProblems alone — ’tis the season for thrown shoes and abscesses, apparently. But we’ll mix it up, letting the horses lead the way!

How Romeo feels about dressage 😜😜😜😜😜😜😜 #eventerproblems

A post shared by Nicole Hetzel (@corgicreek351) on

She thinks she’s real funny when she splashes me…. #eventerproblems #ottbsofinstagram

A post shared by Lizzie Harder (@eventerlizzie) on

She doesn’t seem too happy about her new anti fly gear.. #skyesthelimit #eventerproblems #noflyzone

A post shared by Allison McCracken (@50shadeseventing) on

When you leave him in .2 seconds too long… 🐴 #eventerproblems #eventer #eventing #ottbsofinstagram

A post shared by Allison Vidro (@allisonvidro) on

If looks could kill… #eventerproblems #mareface #sunprotection

A post shared by @westwindstudio on

Chestnut TB mare is not happy with stall rest and meds…#holytrinity #eventerproblems #gonnabealong7to10days

A post shared by leah allen (@ewsequestrian) on

technically it stayed on? #sassypackypony #eventerproblems

A post shared by Kate Drake (@katedrakevt) on

When your horse ends up wearing more wormer than he actually consumed 🙄 #eventerproblems

A post shared by Lucy 🐴 (@lucy2999) on

When she knows the hot rope is off, and she likes to use it to scratch her ears…#eventerproblems #equestrianproblems #horsesofinstagram

A post shared by Rebecca-Becky Johnson-Rose (@greytoesrose) on

He gets cleared to be ridden and for regular turnout, and so they celebrate like this. 😳🙄😂 #eventerproblems

A post shared by Stephanie Church (@stephlchurch) on

Go Eventing.