Leslie Wylie
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Leslie Wylie


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10 Photos That Captured the Cross Country Spirit of Badminton 2017

This year’s Badminton cross country day was about as wild and woolly as we’ve ever seen it. When the going gets tough, however, eventers rise to the occasion, and we saw some amazing displays of bravery and grit on Saturday.

Rachael Horrocks, a British photographer whose stunning work can be found at Purple Patch Photography, was in the field at Badminton, capturing the action via her lens. She kindly shared some of her photos with EN, which we thought truly captured the essence of the day. Enjoy, and be sure to check out Purple Patch’s website and Facebook page!

We loved seeing Wilbury Wonder Pony out again this year, hitching rides on the backs of eventing legends like Michael Jung (GER). Photo by Rachael Horrocks/Purple Patch Photography Ltd.

Badminton rewards scrappy horses and riders who kick on when the chips are down. Exhibit A: Astier Nicolas (FRA) and Piaf de B’Neville, who recovered from this sticky moment to jump around clear with time and finish 15th overall. Photo by Rachael Horrocks/Purple Patch Photography Ltd.

Not the sort of jump you want to look down into. Pictured is Blyth Tait (NZL) and Bear Necessity V. Photo by Rachael Horrocks/Purple Patch Photography Ltd.

Just when we thought Mark Todd (NZL) was a goner, he bounced back into the tack, finishing 6th overall with Leonidas II, shown here, and 4th with his second ride of the day on NZB Campino. Photo by Rachael Horrocks/Purple Patch Photography Ltd.

Some ‘Man from Snowy River’ action from Hélène Vattier (FRA) and Quito de Baliere. Photo by Rachael Horrocks/Purple Patch Photography Ltd.

In the sport of eventing, fortunes can turn overnight and it’s never over until it’s over! Cross country leaders Ingrid Klimke (GER) and Horseware Hale Bob OLD, shown here landing from the final fence and sprinting toward the finish, had their dreams for a win dashed on the show jumping course. Photo by Rachael Horrocks/Purple Patch Photography Ltd.

It was a day of mixed fortunes for the North American contingent, but horses and riders alike will come away better for the experience! Shown here, Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo, who braved being the first on course. Photo by Rachael Horrocks/Purple Patch Photography Ltd.

Massive jumps against dramatic backdrops — shown here, Dan Jocelyn (NZL) and Dassett Cool Touch. Photo by Rachael Horrocks/Purple Patch Photography Ltd.

The “look of the eagles” in Samuel Thomas II’s eye as he tackles Badminton with Oliver Townend … what it’s all about. Photo by Rachael Horrocks/Purple Patch Photography Ltd.

Coming through the finish flags Jonty Evans (IRE) gives all the credit to his horse, Cooley Rorkes Drift. Photo by Rachael Horrocks/Purple Patch Photography Ltd.

Check out a recap of all of EN’s Badminton coverage here. Go Eventing!

As Seen at the Badminton Trade Fair

Everything is bigger at Badminton, including but not limited to the trade fair. From pom-pom helmet covers to taxidermy to double-decker champagne bars, here are a few things that jumped out at us:

Greetz from UK #badminton #horse #trials #badmintonhorsetrials #badmintonhorsetrials2017 #MMBHT

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Look at all the sparkly browbands on the Kate Negus stand at @bhorsetrials. Decisions, decisions.

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Great day competing at Badminton today #NEVSandBEVS

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Fun at Badminton horse trials! #badminton #horses #cornishwritinglife

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Go Eventing!

#MMBHT Links: Website, Entries, Order of Go, Schedule, Live Scores, Course Preview, EN’s Coverage, Watch Live, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Warning: These Badminton Fences May Be Larger Than They Appear

It’s hard to wrap your head around the enormity of the jumps on Badminton’s cross country course from photos alone. So, for the sake of scale, we gathered up some Instagram photos of the jumps WITH humans on or near them to get a better idea of their size.

Starting with this guy:

#MMBHT #badmintonhorsetrials #labiosthetiquesam #kingsam #eventing

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My first glimpse of Badminton’s 2017 XC course. #mmbht

A post shared by Carol Allison (@equestrianpruk) on

All smiles for the camera @HTSG1 during @bhorsetrials course walk @british_eventing_ #mmbht #equinehour

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Went to Badminton Horse Trials today. My boss pretended to be bendy and blowing in the breeze over the new footbridge replacing the Vicarage V, while I gave a solid thumbs up behind her. Perks of having a British Olympic boss includes Badminton Course Walks, great selfies, Prosecco and shit loads of laughter. What an experience. She taught us so much while we walked with her, and I possibly couldn’t be more thankful for being able to work for such an exceptional person and rider. Amazing! I can’t wait to share a few shots of these ridiculous fences with you all #equestrian #badmintonhorsetrials #coursewalk #fourstar #eventer #eventing #eventersofinstagram #horse #xc #xccoursewalk #vicaragevee #insane #equine l

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Walking the course ! #shouldhavewornwellies #badmintonhorsetrials

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#MMBHT Links: Website, Entries, Ride Times, Schedule, Live Scores, Course Preview, EN’s Coverage, Watch Live, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

A Quick, Dirty History of Mud and Badminton

Screenshot via British Pathé.

While the forecast for this year’s Badminton cross country day looks high and dry …

Badminton weekend forecast via weather.com.

… the event has endured a long and complicated relationship with the weather — rain in particular. May is one of South Gloucestershire’s wettest months and excessive precipitation has wreaked havoc on the event on multiple occasions since its inception in 1949.

According to Badminton.com, for the event’s first 10 years running dressage and show jumping were held on the old cricket grounds in front of Badminton House. In 1959, “after torrential rain turned the park into a sea of mud,” the arenas and trade stands were relocated to their present positions.

Riders know to pack their big-boy studs for Badminton’s cross country course, which has historically rewarded riders with sticky britches and horses with an ability to shift into four-wheel drive when the going gets boggy. But on a handful of occasions, conditions were deemed too waterlogged for even the toughest mudders. Inclement weather has caused the cancellation of the event on four occasions: 1966, 1975, 1987 and, most recently, in 2012.

In 1963 Badminton was downgraded to a one-day event on account of “terrible weather” in the months leading up to the event. This film reel from moving picture archive collection British Pathé shows spectators’ cars being towed out by tractors and a cross country course that looks downright treacherous.

Of 13 starters that year only six horses finished and, in general, it wasn’t a pretty sight. Exhibit A: the horse/rider combination that fell into a muddy ditch on the backside of the jump, at which point the narrator triumphantly reports: “One fall doesn’t daunt a rider of the Colonel’s caliber, so he remounted!”

Oh dear.

One needn’t look too far back in the rear view to identify another Badminton that produced similar results. At the 2014 horse trials, wet and windy conditions contributed to a cross country day marked by thrills, spills … and more spills. Of 77 starters only 35 completed, with 24 going clear and nobody making the time. Australian Sam Griffiths and Paulank Brockagh moved up from 25th place after dressage to win the event thanks to the scrappy mare’s heroic jumping efforts.

Here’s to a safe and partly sunny Badminton 2017! Keep it locked on Eventing Nation for live reports from all the action.

#MMBHT Links: Website, Entries, Ride Times, Schedule, Live Scores, Course Preview, EN’s Coverage, Watch Live, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Friday Video from World Equestrian Brands: Badminton Course Flyover

Is it Badminton cross country day yet?

In the meantime, check out this course flyover — it somehow makes the jumps look even bigger than we already knew they were. The spread on some of these obstacles will make you weak in the knees, not to mention the giant yawning ditches — don’t look down!

Words people have used the descriptors “swashbuckling,” “massive” and “chunky” to describe the Eric Winter’s debut Badminton course, and we can’t wait to see how it rides. Check out the full course preview here, and of course keep it locked on EN for all the latest!

#MMBHT Links: Website, Entries, Ride Times, Schedule, Live Scores, Course Preview, EN’s Coverage, Watch Live, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram


Weekly OTTB Wishlist From Cosequin

Happy Kentucky Derby week! Who will you be cheering for?

Me, I’m a hopeless sucker for the dark horses (the tall, dark and handsome OTTB #1 on this week’s “Wishlist” included, although that’s not EXACTLY what I was talking about). Our sister website Horse Nation spotlighted three of the best underdog narratives that will be unfolding in this Saturday’s race — read them here!

Here are our OTTB picks of the week:

Photo via CANTER Maryland.

Special Rush (Rush Bay – Special County, by Wayne County (IRE)): 2010 17-hand Maryland bred gelding

“Special” is the perfect name for this horse, and his pictures don’t really do him justice. He’s a big-boned gelding who has recently recovered from a shin issue — his short time on stall rest is complete and he has been on turnout in the round pen for three months. We spoke to his vet who assures us that this guy should have no limitations on his future.

Looking for an athletic jumper? This guy was just hanging out in his round pen when he decided to make a break for it and he jumped a 5-foot fence from a near standstill, and reportedly cleared it with air. Don’t worry though – we’re assured that he isn’t usually an escape artist, he just felt like showing off that day (and apparently has some serious talent to show off!)

He is a lovable barn favorite with absolutely no vices. His connections say that the exercise riders love him, he’s a joy to gallop and has always just gone in a simple, easy eggbutt bit. He loves sweet potatoes as snacks and wants to find a home where he’ll be spoiled. Located at Laurel Park.

View Special Rush on CANTER Maryland.

Photo via CANTER Southern CA.

Blue Dasher (Distorted Reality – Pagan Baby, by Atticus): 2014 16-hand California-bred mare

Unplaced in three starts and recently restarted off the track, “Annie” is looking for her new person and new career. Extremely fancy mover with the looks the match. Currently in retraining doing walk/trot/canter and going over poles and small fences. Has been free jumped.

Annie shows the natural ability to be a sporthorse with some upper level potential. Very smooth gaits, knows where her feet are and has a very soft mouth. Recently vetted clean with no history of soundness issues. Needs a confident experienced rider and/or a professional to take her in the right direction.

View Blue Dasher on CANTER Southern CA.

Photo via FInger Lakes Finest.

Mimi’s Sugar (Pure Prize – Sugaree, by Broad Brush): 2009 15.3-hand Florida bred mare

This well bred girl has been a steadily productive race horse, with five wins and 18 in the money finishes in 32 starts. But lately she isn’t running as well as she used to, so it is time to find her a new career. She has been owned by the trainer’s family for a long time, and they care a great deal about finding Mimi a great new home.

Mimi’s trainer says she is an intelligent and alert mare, who acts “very aware” her first time in a new place, but then settles right down and goes to work. For her jog video, although Mimi was exuberant, she showed an athletic, big-strided, very flashy ground-covering trot, with impressive push from behind and flat kneed reach from her shoulders. Her movement suggests eventing might be right up her alley. Her trainer thinks that with some down time with turn out and the opportunity to just be a horse, Mimi will settle right down and be great for any new career.

Mimi races without hind shoes, because she does not like her hind feet picked up. Her pedigree offers excellent broodmare potential. She is by Pure Prize, a son of Storm Cat and the champion mare Heavenly Prize. Her dam is by Broad Brush. She comes from the immediate female family of Eclipse champion filly She Be Wild.

Mimi’s dam has daughters who are stakes producers and winning producers; her second dam is a multiple stakes producer whose daughters are graded stakes producers — including the dam of She Be Wild. Her third dam is a stakes winner and stakes producer. There is lots of quality black type in this female family, with a Canadian champion in addition to the U.S. Eclipse Award winning champion.

View Mimi’s Sugar on Finger Lakes Finest.

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Michael Jung Is Back for #MMBHT 2017

For the second straight week, all eyes are Michael Jung. Nobody could catch the reigning champion at Rolex — will Badminton Horse Trials be any different?

In this video from the Badminton YouTube channel, Michael shares his thoughts on being back at Badminton again with La Biosthetique Sam FBW as well as his verdict on his Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event win last week.

Jenni and Samantha are our boots on the ground at Badminton 2017, so keep it locked her for all the latest coverage!

#MMBHT Links: Website, Entries, Schedule, Course Preview, EN’s Coverage, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

The feeling you get when you watch your child ride.

It’s why we do what we do.

It is why we search high and low for the perfect childproof horse.  It is why we give up our Saturday afternoons to cheer them on at a horse show. It is why we spend hours getting stains out of their show clothes. It is why we teach them to hang a fan up on the stall in hot weather. It is why we make sure they learn to keep TWO full buckets of water in the stall. Here at Kentucky Performance Products it is why we developed Summer Games® Electrolyte that will keep the horses in your life hydrated and healthy.   It is why the horse that matter to you matters to us. Not sure which horse supplement best meets your horse’s needs? We are here to help. Contact us at 859-873-2974 or visit our website at KPPusa.com.

The Land Before Badminton Live Streams

Screenshot from a vintage Badminton newsreel uploaded by British Pathé. Screenshot from a vintage Badminton newsreel uploaded by British Pathé.

These days there are a number of ways to stay abreast of the Badminton action as it unfolds: live streams, radio, social media, live scores, live blogs, online publications, and even good-old fashioned television. We highly recommend this website called Eventing Nation — perhaps you’ve heard of it.

Badminton's bustling media center. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Badminton’s bustling media center. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Back in the day, however, coverage was a bit rougher around the edges.

Check out these six fascinating vintage Badminton newsreels, uploaded by the moving picture archive collection British Pathé. Badminton Horse Trials made the news for many years running, as evidenced by the following videos which cheerfully capture the spirit of the sport. Not much in the way of context is available for them so — I’m looking at you, eventing history buffs! — if you have any insight into their back stories, please share in the comments below.







Learn more about the British Pathé project here or check out the new YouTube collection here — there’s a lot more Badminton footage where that came from, much of it bits and pieces that didn’t make it into the broadcast. And keep it locked on EN for complete coverage of Badminton 2017!

#MMBHT Links: Website, Entries, Schedule, Course Preview, EN’s Coverage, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Above and Beyond: Rolex 2017 Highlights

“Above and beyond” is an expression embraced by Land Rover, presenting sponsor of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, as sort of philosophical roadmap for living. From LandRover.com:

“Some people are driven to go above and beyond the ordinary. To challenge the expected, push the impossible and adventure into the unknown to reach new heights. But what is it that gives people this natural urge to explore their boundaries, to go above their comfort zone, beyond their limits?”

Certainly, a willingness to go “above and beyond” is a prerequisite for eventing at the four-star level. This video from Land Rover does a great job of capturing the energy and the narrative of Rolex 2017 via a montage of stunning videography, heartstopping action footage and in-the-moment interviews.

If you’re experiencing a bit of Rolex withdrawal today, may this offer a few moments of relief!

Go Eventing.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Final Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Watch On Demand, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

‘What Is the Story Behind Chinch?’ Contest, Presented by Cavalor: Your Winning Theories!

Chinch in his natural party habitat. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Nobody — except EN’s elusive founder/publisher John — knows how all this chinchilla business got started. It’s simply been a part of EN since the very beginning, almost 10 years ago, and it’s taken on a life of its own.

Over the years he has been groped by riders, stuffed into trophies, strangled by Olympians, wet-willied by dogs, force-fed booze, hurled through the air, given the stink-eye by people who just don’t get it, eaten alive by cross-country jumps, propped up at press conferences and mobbed by fans.

From national championships to four-star events (he’s been to them all except Adelaide — 2017 goal?) to the Olympic Games, we have shamelessly pimped him out on social media, exploiting his complete and total inability to defend himself against our paparazzi tactics. Because, you know, he’s a stuffed animal.

But what is the story behind Chinch, anyway? Why is the mascot of an eventing website a … chinchilla? Only one person on this earth knows, John, and he’s not saying. But that won’t stop our imaginations!

At the distinctly Chinch-themed EN Rolex Tailgate Party we asked readers to submit their best conspiracy theories for a chance to win one of three prize buckets from our friends at Cavalor!

The grand prize winners, selected by John and a committee of Lexington craft brew beers, are as follows…

“The Chinch is one of Michael Jung’s horcruxes.” — Elena Strauman

“Chinch is a Russian spy employed by Putin to infiltrate the eventing community.” — Mary Hollis Baird

“I heard he was mystically formed through hoof clippings from Charisma, a single hair from Boyd’s head and a tear from P. Dutty.” — Kari Lyman

Honorable mentions:

“Adopted from CANTER Iowa after an amusing career on the track, where he was owned by a 3-year-old.” — Madelyn Boutte

“Friday night in Vegas gone wrong.” — Alex Ambelang

“Chinch was a former four-star rider who made a deal with a witch. She won Rolex and then had to spend the rest of her life in chinchilla form!” — Shannon Ryan

“Chinch is like Jason Bourne with fur.” — Caroline Ring

“Michael Jung’s spirit animal sent to teach us eventing magic.” — Emily Holland

Horcrux, spirit animal … seems plausible. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Well-played, EN. Many thanks to Cavalor for sponsoring this contest, as well as providing prizes for the 2017 Rolex Groom Award and Rolex Trivia.

Chinch’s 2017 Rolex Photo Diary:

#RK3DE Links: Website, Final Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Watch On Demand, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram


What’s in Your Arena? Presented by Attwood: Rolex Edition

What’s in Your Arena? is an EN series sponsored by Attwood Equestrian Surfaces in which riders share their favorite jumping exercises. This week, however, being at Rolex and all, we’re taking a slightly different tack! Let’s have a look at some of the show jumping fences that appeared on today’s course in the Rolex Stadium.

As usual, Richard Jeffery’s course was as much a work of art as it was a physical challenge. Save a few sponsor logo fences it was distinctly Kentucky themed, with several of the obstacles recycled from the 2010 World Equestrian Games held here at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“The inspiration for these fences is taken from local horse farms and other landmarks that identify the Bluegrass area of Kentucky as the Thoroughbred breeding capital of the world,” he explains.

A few examples:

Zara Tindall and High Kingdom. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Gainesway Farm

The wings of this jump are inspired by the A-frame stallion barns at this iconic Lexington Thoroughbred breeding farm. The farm, which was formed by John R. Gaines, considered the founder of the Breeders Cup, has been home to many influential stallions. Their most successful stallion is surely Tapit, who who has sired dozens of graded stakes winners. Check out photos of the actual Gainesway Farm here.


Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Race Track Rail

The inspiration here is clear — distance markers at a race track — but do you know what the various colors indicate? Answer: Black/white pole = 16th mile, green/white = eighth mile, red/white = quarter mile.


Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Keeneland Race Course

When you turn right into Keeneland, you might notice a distinctive old iron post in the center of the drive. It’s marked with the letters “KA,” as it was salvaged from the long-gone Kentucky Association race track that was once located in downtown Lexington. Check out more Keeneland history here.


Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Man o’ War

2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Man o’ War’s birth, a landmark the Kentucky Horse Park is celebrating throughout the year, including a tribute at its International Museum of the Horse. “Big Red” won 20 of 21 races at ages 2 and 3, including the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes by a whopping 20 lengths.

Sally Cousins and Tsunami. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

 Calumet Farm

This fence pays tribute to Calumet Farm, with its iconic white board fencing and red-and-white barns, as well as one of its best known stallions, Whirlaway. The poles are inspired by the farm’s racing silk colors, “devil’s red” and blue. Visit the Calumet Farm website here.

Job well done to all of this weekend’s finishers! Go Eventing.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, How to Watch Live, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram


Michael Jung, the Flava Flav of Eventing

One Rolex? That’s manageable.

Michael Jung’s watch collection circa Rolex 2015.

Two watches? Two wrists. You’ve just gotta own it.

But at this point … it’s starting to get a little ridiculous.

Like taking candy from a baby.

So, in the spirit of consolidation, we have an idea for Rolex … inspired by the one and only Flava Flav.

Of course, with Michael, that could eventually get out of hand as well.

Congrats, Michael! All hail the Rolex king.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, How to Watch Live, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

How Would You Have Fared in Rolex Trivia?

Rolex trivia is a longstanding EN Reader Appreciation Tailgate Party tradition. As usual, this year’s edition was emceed by our good friends Glenn the Geek and Jamie Jennings from Horse Radio Network‘s Horses in the Morning radio show — be sure to listen to their Rolex coverage here!

In addition to glory and bragging rights, there were plenty of prizes at stake: EN sunglasses and swag bags, buckets chock full of product from our friends at Cavalor

Keeper of the Cavalor. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

.. and, the grand prize, a beautiful figure-8 Amerigo Vespucci bridle …

Much love to EN’s tailgate title sponsor, Amerigo! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

… the winners of which had to be determined by tiebreaker rounds of Simon Says, #ChinchHole and #BowlingForChinches.

Jamie Jennings, master of Simon Says ceremonies. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

For those of you who missed it, we wanted to give you an opportunity to see how you would have stacked up. If you’ve got a long drive home, could be a fun car game!

Here are the 20 questions we asked. Take a stab at it, then scroll down and see you how did.


  1. Spell the full name of Michael Jung’s ride this weekend. And yes, capitalization counts!
  2. The first time she won Rolex, Kim Severson had a different last name. What was it?
  3. In what year did Rolex host its first four-star event? Bonus point: Who won?
  4. What weird thing happened to Michael Jung on the way from Rolex to Badminton last year?
  5. Four-star event pony Theodore O’Connor, named after his rider Karen O’Connor, will always be remembered for his spectacular performances at Rolex: 3rd in 2007 and 6th in 2008. Which part of this statement is false?
  6. Who was this year’s cross-country course designer? Bonus point: Who was the designer before that?
  7. In 1978 Bruce Davidson won Individual Gold in the World Three-Day Championships, held here at the Kentucky Horse Park. Who was he riding?
  8. What is the name of the movie that culminates in a three-day event at the Kentucky Horse Park? Bonus point: What real-life event horse/rider combination performed as doubles in the movie?
  9. The top U.S. rider closest to the optimum time wins what? Bonus point: Who won it last year?
  10. In addition to Rolex, how many other four-star events take place each year around the world? Bonus point: What are they and in where do they take place?
  11. What is the ratio of mares to geldings to stallions in this year’s Rolex field?
  12. EN ran an April Fool’s story abou Rolex earlier this year. What was the storyline?
  13. What is the shortest horse in this year’s field? What horse is the tallest?
  14. All of the following previous Rolex winners have, at one point or another, been photographed holding Chinch except which one rider: Michael Jung, William Fox-Pitt, Phillip Dutton, Boyd Martin, Clayton Fredericks, Kim Severson, David O’Connor, or Karen O’Connor?
  15. What is the connection between Lauren Kieffer’s first four-star horse, Snooze Alarm, and her 2017 mount Vermiculus?
  16. What is the optimum time on the 2017 Rolex cross-country course? Bonus point: What is the dictated speed?
  17. What is the max allowed height of a solid four-star obstacle? Bonus point: What about a four-star brush obstacle?
  18. Who is the oldest rider competing at Rolex this year? Who is the youngest? Bonus: What is the average age of this year’s Rolex field?
  19. How many jumps are on the 2017 cross-country course? Bonus point: How many of them are combinations?
  20. In what year did the Kentucky Horse Park host its very first horse trials?
  21. Bonus question! What is the best eventing website in the land? What is the best podcast in the land?


  1. fischerRocana FST’
  2. Vinoski. 
  3. 1998. Bonus: Nick Larkin and Red.
  4. Michael and his parents were bumped off their United (naturally!) flight from Lexington to London Heathrow due to it being oversold. No other flights with open seats were available until Tuesday, which would then get Michael to Badminton on Wednesday with barely enough time to trot up his horse. Asia Vedder, Michelle Emmermann and Max Hoetzel, who traveled from California to spectate at Rolex, gave up their plane seats to get the Jungs to Houston so they could then go on to Heathrow to reunite Michael and Sam much sooner. Read the full story here
  5. Theodore O’Connor wasn’t named after Karen — that was just coincidence. His sire was a racehorse, a 16.2 hand thoroughbred stallion named Theodore, hence the Theodore. And the Connor part was from the barn manager at the farm where he was born, as the chestnut colt was feisty and reminded him of the equally fiery tennis player Jimmy Connor. His breeder, P. Wynn Norman, connected the two names with an O’.
  6. Derek Di Grazia. Bonus point: Michael Etherington-Smith.
  7. Might Tango.
  8. “Sylvester.” Bonus point: Kim Walnes and The Gray Goose.
  9. A 24-month lease of a Land Rover Discovery Sport. Bonus point: Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo.
  10. Five, not counting Rolex. Bonus point: Pau (France), Adelaide (Australia), Badminton (Great Britain), Luhmuhlen (Germany) and Burghley (Great Britain).
  11. 20% mares, 80% geldings, no stallions.
  12. That the Park was going to unveil a statue of Michael Jung and  fischerRocana FST, positioned atop an island in the Head of the Lake. From the story: “The statue looks very similar to Bruce’s statue located outside Rolex Stadium but with some modern updates. Interactive fountains strategically placed at fischerRocana’s feet create the illusion of a dramatic splash into water, and a Vegas-style laser light show synced to German techno music will keep crowds entertained in between horses coming through the Head of the Lake at this year’s event.” Read the full (fake!) story here.  
  13. Shortest: Irish Rhythm, ridden by Rachel McDonough (15.1 hands); Tallest: Ballylaffin Brackin, ridden by Kristin Schmolze (17.3 hands).
  14. Michael Jung. But if he wins, we are definitely going to finally get that photo!
  15. They are full brothers! See full story here.
  16. Optimum time is 11 min. 17 seconds. Bonus: Speed is 570 mpm.
  17. 3’11”. Bonus point: 4’9″
  18. Eldest: Bunny Sexton, age 55; Youngest: Madeline Backus, age 20; Average age: 35.
  19. 28 jumps, 9 are combinations
  20. 1976
  21. Bonus question: Eventing Nation!

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, How to Watch Live, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

With the Bruce Davidson Sr. Statue As Our Witness: A Rolex Marriage Proposal

Photo courtesy of Lisa Lach.

When Patrick Grunwald got down on one knee and asked Lisa Lach for her hand in marriage on Rolex cross country day, there was only one correct answer: YES.

Chinch volunteers as ringbearer! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The couple is visiting from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the event. Lisa is a longtime equestrian who has been chronicling her transition from the hunter ring to the eventing world right here on EN’s Blogger’s Row, and she has her own blog at Centered in the Saddle.

On show jumping morning Patrick and Lisa shared their story with us:

So sweet. Congratulations, Patrick and Lisa! Go Eventing.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, How to Watch Live, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram


Enter Horseware Ireland’s Rolex Photobomb Contest To Win This EN Cooler!

Congratulations to Amira Cooney, winner of the Horseware Ireland Rolex Photobomb Contest!

Not only is it an awesome cooler, it has four-star horse germs all over it! As modeled by Doug Payne’s Rolex ride Vandiver.

Want to win this one-of-a-kind Eventing Nation cooler from our friends at Horseware Ireland? Here’s how:

Photobomb any of the following Horseware sponsored riders …

  • Phillip Dutton
  • Michael Jung
  • Doug Payne
  • Jessica Phoenix

… and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #RolexPhotobomb for a chance to win!

Deadline is the end of show jumping on Sunday, after which we’ll draw a winner.

Horseware is all over the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, from back at the barns …

Michael Jung’s champion mare Rocana having a Sportz-Vibe session before her third Rolex debut! #teamhorseware #rk3de #horseware

Posted by Horseware on Thursday, April 27, 2017

… to the Horseware booth in the Rolex Sponsor Village, where Horseware riders have been stopping by to sign autographs for fans. Pro tip: Michael Jung’s 2 p.m. Friday autograph signing would be a good photobomb opportunity!

Check out Horseware’s complete line of rugs, boots and bandages, horse care products, accessories and much, much more in person at the Horseware booth, or shop online here! And be sure to follow Horseware Ireland on Facebook for all the latest!

Go Horseware Ireland. Go Rolex. Go Eventing.

Chinch hitching a ride at the Horseware tent in the Rolex Sponsor Village. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Your Guide to EN’s 5th Annual Rolex Tailgate, Presented by Amerigo

It’s happy hour all day at the EN Rolex Tailgate, presented by Amerigo! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Eventing Nation has the best readers in the land. And because nothing says “thank you” like free refreshments and swag, we are once again partnering with our friends at Amerigo to throw EN’s 5th annual Rolex Reader Appreciation Tailgate Party!  

Consider this your official invite.

When: Cross-country day! Saturday, April 29, from when the first horse sets out on course until the last horse passes the finish flags.

Where: We’ll be in tailgating spaces S240 and S241, near the jog strip and announcer’s tower overlooking the infield (see blue star on map). Red on right, white on left, party in the middle… we’re kind of hard to miss.

What: All the fun, all day long. Stop by to get EN temporary-tatted up, schmooze with a certain celebrity Chinch, quench your thirst, enjoy a snack, and win some sweet swag.


  • Submit your best “What’s the REAL Story Behind Chinch?” conspiracy theory for a chance to win prizes from Cavalor!
  • Drop some science in Rolex Trivia (2 p.m. hosted by Glenn and Jamie from Horses in the Morning) to win EN swag, along with a grand prize beautiful figure-8 bridle from Vespucci!
  • Download the brand new EN App to pick up a W.W.MJ.D. wristband!

What would Michael do? Win Rolex, clearly!!! #ThisAintNoRolex #RK3DE

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  • Try your hand at games like #WhackaChinch, #BowlingForChinches, #ChinchHole and #ChinchPong! Demonstration, please:

Bowling for Chinches at the EN Tailgate Party. #chinstagram #rk3de

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Playing some Whack-a-Chinch at the EN Tailgate Party. #poorchinch #toofar #chinstagram #rk3de

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Chinch-hole at its finest. #yesitsathing #insanityinthemiddle #rk3de

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Why: Because you’re awesome.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 7.35.40 PM

Games will be going on all day and we’re expecting a few eventing celebs to stop by — keep an eye on EN’s Twitter (@eventingnation) and Instagram (@goeventing) for updates!

Go eventing party people!

The Post You’ve All Been Waiting For: A Maxime Livio Photo Gallery

Maxime Livio and Qalao Des Mers. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

I think we can all agree that third-placed Maxime Livio was the dark horse of 2017 day one Rolex dressage, for reasons that had not much to do with dressage at all. Surprise-surprise, astute readers! This just in: Maxime Livio is an attractive human being. Another press release that just came through ye olde fax machine: The sky is blue.

As usual EN has been trying to disseminate the straight truth about this matter — the cold, hard FACTS — to you people for years. See:

  • 4 Examples of French Eventing Insanity,” from the 2014 WEG in Normandy, writ by yours truly, in which bullet point #4 is quote-unquote “The top-placed French rider, Maxime Livio, is insanely hot.”
  • EN’s Team Picks for Rolex 2017,” in which Kate Samuels — who has made no secret about her crush on Maxime — picked him to win over Michael Jung “because I fell a little in love with Maxime at Pau a few years ago.”
  • William Seals the Deal, Americans Power Through in Wild Pau Finale” from 2013, in which EN’s most cold-blooded, emotionally vacant consummate professional Jenni Autry advised readers to go watch a press conference video “to see more from Maxime; his English is quite good.” Because his English is quite good. Mmmm-hmmm.

Finally we’ve got Maxime exactly where we want him: in the good ol’ U.S. of A. But, as they say, a picture is worth a million words. Here are some photos of Maxime, from Rolex and the EN archive:

And, this video featuring slow-motion footage of Maxime at the jog from US Equestrian:

And, this Instagram post (best. comments. ever.):

Le sigh…..#swoon

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And, oh, did we mention he has a girlfriend?

Maxime Livio and Qalao Des Mers … and his girlfriend. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Don’t shoot the messenger. Go Eventing.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram, Live Scores

Kathleen Murray All Smiles After Swansong Dressage Test on Ballynoe Castle RM

Kathleen Murray and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Ballynoe Castle RM kicked off his swansong weekend here at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event on a sweet note this morning, performing the test ride with longtime groom Kathleen Murray.

The Kentucky Horse Park is a fitting venue for the retirement of Buck Davidson’s beloved partner Reggie, a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Carl and Cassie Segal, whose accolades include being the highest scoring event horse in history. He won the USET Foundation Pinnacle Cup here in 2013 with a third-place finish and was named Best Conditioned Horse the following year when he finished fourth.

Reggie has been the horse of a lifetime not just for Buck but for Kathleen as well. She has traveled around the world with him, attending to his health and happiness, and their intimate rapport is apparent — Reggie was even in attendance at her wedding!

As a gesture of appreciation for her years of devotion to Reggie and Buck Davidson Eventing, which now number a decade, Buck gave Kathleen the ride on Reggie earlier this year with the intention of a Rolex retirement. The pair has been romping around at Training Level, and have performed one- and two-star test rides, and this morning — three-star dressage, pfft! — they made the big jump up to the four-star level.

Samantha Clark caught up with Kathleen after their test:

Kathleen just rode the test of her life, & #ballynoecastlerm’s last test in the #rk3de arena #allthefeels

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Leslie Threlkeld captured the sentimental performance:

Reggie will be retired in what is sure to be an emotional ceremony on Sunday, and we’ll be the first to leap to our feet for a standing ovation! Hats off to you, Reggie, and here’s wishing you many long, happy years of lolling in green pastures and being spoilt rotten to come.

Of interest to diehard Reggie fans: World Equestrian Brands is hosting a raffle for Reggie’s tack, including his Amerigo saddle! Visit the Hagyard Pharmacy booth on Custom Made Road or the World Equestrian Brands booth in the Trade Fair to purchase raffle tickets ($10 for one ticket, $50 for six tickets, or $100 for 15 tickets). The winner will be drawn on Sunday immediately following Reggie’s retirement ceremony.

All proceeds will go to FlyPups, a 501c(3) organization that transports dogs from desperate situations to fosters, no-kill shelters and forever homes. FlyPups also delivers trained dogs to veterans for service and companionship, as well as bringing aid and relief to areas impacted by natural disasters.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram, Live Scores

Thursday Video From Standlee Hay: Surprise Well-Wishes for Jordan Linstedt!

Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Jordan Linstedt and her 2017 Rolex mount RevitaVet Capato have a lot of fans rooting for them from afar. Jordan is based in Redmond, Wash., some 2,400 miles from the Kentucky Horse Park — EN chronicled the journey she took to get here earlier this month (see “It’s a Long #RoadToRolex for Jordan Linstedt.”)

Jordan: Your family, friends and fellow Area VII riders sent us this video of well-wishes to surprise you with!

Best of luck to Jordan and Capato, who will canter up the centerline on Friday at 1:56 p.m., and to all of Rolex 2017’s competitors. Go Eventing!

#TBT: Dandelions in the Park (2012)

Rolex week is the most frenzied week on the U.S. eventing calendar, hands down. It’s easy to get caught up in all the bustle and excitement, but it’s also worth taking a moment to step back and reflect on the bigger picture. Originally published in 2012, this essay is one of the most viewed Rolex week posts in EN history — and its relevance remains. As Rolex 2017 begins, we thought it appropriate to re-share it as a reminder that this collective experience we know as Rolex is much bigger, and more complex, than we sometimes give it credit for.

In memory of Avery Klunick’s In It To Win It, whose successful four-star debut at Rolex 2016 would be his final FEI run. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Some people believe there are spiritual vortexes scattered around the world, energetic super-centers so powerful that you can practically feel the stuff circulating in the air. Mystics and metaphysicists flock to them — Stonehenge, the Giza pyramids, ancient Inca ruins — hoping to catch a whiff of the divine.

I don’t know how much I buy into that crystal visions claptrap, but I do think there’s something to the idea of a place retaining its history in mysterious ways. The Kentucky Horse Park, in particular, is a plot of earth that I’ve always sensed had more going on than meets the eye. There’s a magic to it, and it’s more than just the pastoral combination of majestic oak trees, plush bluegrass and pristine rural air. Rather, it’s layers upon layers of emotion, saturating the soil and rustling through the leaves.

The poetry of a flawlessly executed dressage test, the cheer of a crowd gathered round the Head of the Lake, the thunder of a victory gallop — that energy lingers in the air long after everyone has packed up and gone home. But the source of the Park’s magic is more multidimensional than that.

On Jimmy Wofford’s cross country walk at WEG in 2010, he told the crowd that there was a dandelion on the course for every heart broken at the Park. I remember looking down, seeing a patch of the weed’s sharply scalloped leaves, and wondering in earnest whose tears had fertilized them.

I’m sure I’ve got a few dandelions out there myself, not from Rolex, but from other Horse Park events that felt equivalently serious at the time. When you’re 13 and you’ve saved your $4-an-hour stall mucking wages all summer to compete at some event, only to have your pony jump out of the dressage ring … dandelion. When you’re 17 and your horse hangs a leg in the water complex at Pony Club championships and you feel like you’ve let down your entire team … dandelion. When you’re 29 and you pull up halfway around the course with the sinking realization that you’re simply not prepared … dandelion.

I could go on and on, and I’m sure some of you could, too. Certainly these moments weren’t the end of the world, but perspective is a function of the mind, not the heart.

This weekend at Rolex, there are going to be riders who don’t make it around the course. They’ll make the same long walk back to the barn that so many have before them, replaying a split second over and over again in their minds, trying to figure out what went wrong. Some of them will get a leg up on their next ride or have the opportunity try again next year. Others might not get a second chance.

If you’re at Rolex this weekend, take a quiet moment at some point to look around you. Acknowledge the dandelions and the horses and riders who planted them there. Remember that it’s all connected. Without attempt, and the risk of failure that goes with it, there can be no glory. The hit and the miss both begin with a leap.

Go Eventing.

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: What You Need to Know About #RK3DE

Rolex isn’t just another event on the calendar — it’s something truly special. This video from USEF Network outlines a brief history of Rolex, and explains why the 2017 competition is a loaded one.

Click here to find out how to watch the Rolex live stream, wherever you are in the world.

Go Eventing!

The feeling you get when you watch your child ride.

It’s why we do what we do.

It is why we search high and low for the perfect childproof horse.  It is why we give up our Saturday afternoons to cheer them on at a horse show. It is why we spend hours getting stains out of their show clothes. It is why we teach them to hang a fan up on the stall in hot weather. It is why we make sure they learn to keep TWO full buckets of water in the stall. Here at Kentucky Performance Products it is why we developed Summer Games® Electrolyte that will keep the horses in your life hydrated and healthy.   It is why the horse that matter to you matters to us. Not sure which horse supplement best meets your horse’s needs? We are here to help. Contact us at 859-873-2974 or visit our website at KPPusa.com.

Weekly OTTB Wishlist From Cosequin: Kentucky Edition

Heading to Rolex? In the market for an OTTB? You’ve come to the right place.

Not only does the Kentucky Horse Park offer some fantastic OTTB window shopping via its own Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center, you’re in the heart of Thoroughbred country! Take the opportunity to find the OTTB of your dreams.

Here are three OTTBs available through CANTER Kentucky that we’d love to see in a cross country startbox someday.

Photo via CANTER Kentucky.

Little Hali (Alphabet Soup – Tough Heart, by Lion Hearted): 2014 16.0-hand New York bred mare

Little Hali is an adorable grey/roan filly with dapples galore! Hali is almost 16 hands and still growing. She has raced only five times to date and is being retired 100% sound. She is 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover eligible.

She has clean, tight legs with no previous injuries. Hali will need an experienced rider and handler because she is young and energetic. She is being retired because she gets too nervous at the race track so she would be better suited for a different discipline. This lovely lady is a nice mover and could go in any direction with some additional schooling! If you are looking for a youngster with a clean slate to grow with then Hali will be the perfect horse for you.

Located at Turfway Park in Florence, KY.

View Little Hali on CANTER Kentucky.

Photo via CANTER Kentucky.

Rontos Society (Street Sense – Wander Storm, by Storm Bird): 2012 16.0+ hand Kentucky bred gelding

Rontos Society is a handsome, nicely put together dark bay gelding. He is by 2007 Kentucky Derby Winner Street Sense, and out of Wander Storm, with great bloodlines.

He has only nine starts and is being retired because he is not competitive on the race track but could easily transition to a new career. His trainer says he is easy to handle with a pleasant disposition and a great appetite! She says he is quiet, loads well and has no bad habits on the ground or under saddle. His connections at CANTER think he could go in any direction with some additional training.

Located at Turfway Park in Florence, KY.

View Rontos Society on CANTER Kentucky.

Photo via CANTER Kentucky.

Syd and Liv (Maclean’s Music – Dowd Chapel, by Stormy Atlantic): 2014 16.2-hand Indiana bred filly

Syd and Liv is a beautiful dark bay filly with nice bloodlines that include Distorted Humor, Fortyniner and Storm Cat.

She is an impressive 16.2 hands and still growing!! This young lady is UNRACED and 100% sound. She was just too slow to even make it to the race track but could easily excel in a variety of disciplines with some additional training. Syd and Liv has clean legs with nice conformation. Once she fills out and gets some more muscle tone she will be stunning and sure to turn heads in the show ring! If you’re looking for a young, blank slate to grow with, Syd and Live will be the perfect project.

She is located at her owner’s farm in Union, Kentucky.

View Sig and Liv on CANTER Kentucky.

#DogsOfEN: Noah’s Bark

Stables are often home to a menagerie of animals, including the occasional uninvited guest.

Had a surprise guest while organizing blankets today! 🐍😨#eventingsunnyfl #eventerproblems

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We see you creepin’, little raccoon guy. And of course there are the usual suspects, like cats …

… the unusual suspects, like this pig on a leash …

.. and dogs poorly disguised as other animals. We’re on to your tricks, Woody!

Happy Easter from the Liedle Clan!!! #woodythewonderdog #DogsofEN #dogsofinstgram

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Now back to your regularly scheduled canine programming:

#radar agrees on how to finish the day. #eventerproblems #dawntodark Great day of rides and lessons!

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Aww , he loves his horses #jackrussellsofinstagram #jrtsofinstagram #dogsofen #ottb #chestnutmare

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Relaxing at our first XC clinic of the year! #sheltie #mazda #dogsofen #eventing #thoroughbred

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I followed the horse for 3 miles today! can you spot me? #bassethound #basset #bassethoundsofinstagram #babythoroughbred #eventer #eventing #trailride #dogsofen

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#springtime #picnic lunch with Nova <3

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Horse Show Sheppy #barndog #germanshepherd #gsd #dogsofinstgram #instadog #dogsofen

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Just a dog enjoying a stick on a beautiful day! #labsofinstagram #dogsofen #macydog

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@mereward82 is my new cross country partner! #bassethound, #dogsofen #eventing #bassethoundsofinstagram #basset

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Barn dog is supposed to be white. #dogsofen

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Go Dogs of Eventing.