Leslie Wylie
Articles Written 1,516
Article Views 3,543,947

Leslie Wylie

Achievements

Become an Eventing Nation Blogger

About Leslie Wylie

Latest Articles Written

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

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

Recognize any of these bouncy horse jockeys? #aec17

A post shared by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

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

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

Love it. Go Eventing!

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

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

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

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

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

Photo via Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds.

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

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

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

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

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

Photo via Finger Lakes Finest.

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

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

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

View Exley on Finger Lakes Finest OTTBs. 

Photo via Finger Lakes Finest.

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

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

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

View Thirty Percent on Finger Lakes Finest OTTBs.

Weekend Instagram Roundup: Through the Lens at Plantation Field

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

Plantation FieldWebsiteResultsUSEF NetworkEN’s CoverageTwitterInstagram

Good morning Plantation Field #besteventever #dressageallday #nofilter

A post shared by Leslie Threlkeld (@lathrelkeld) on

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

A post shared by Bambi Glaccum (@bglaccum) on

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

A post shared by Luna Reilly (@lunareilly) on

Another gorgeous morning at #besteventever Ready for cross country!

A post shared by Leslie Threlkeld (@lathrelkeld) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZJOb_hFUiq/?taken-at=15182012

Fun at the horse trials

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

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZKTTVUAyzb/?taken-at=15182012

Freedom of the spirit is just one stride away.

A post shared by Blake Williamson (@blake_1850) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZLhqiKA2wi/?taken-at=15182012

Go Eventing.

Heads Up! Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day Is This Weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Riders4Helmets Announces International Helmet Awareness Day 2017]

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

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

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

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

Go OTTBs. Go Eventing!

#EventerFailFriday: Winning at Failing

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

Without further adieu, let ’em rip!

A for effort?? #failfriday #eventerproblems #lifewithhorses

A post shared by @camelias2009 on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXO2Z3WHnFi/?tagged=eventerproblems

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYHpzHuDVY0/?tagged=eventerproblems

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

A post shared by Royal Rose Eventing (@royal_rose_eventing) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYRV7TUHs-m/?tagged=eventerproblems

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYVywJPno-j/?tagged=eventerproblems

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

A post shared by Jumpp Equestrian (@jumppequestrian) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXEm8MbBQLN/?tagged=eventerproblems

I miss this horse #eventerproblems #dirtmustache #goodtimes

A post shared by K Stein (@definitely_not_katie) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYzRg1ynyTw/?tagged=eventerfailfriday

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYKvBNyjuGN/?tagged=eventerfailfriday

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXZFt2TA_xx/?tagged=eventerfailfriday

#EventerFailFriday

A post shared by Laurie (@highwoodmts) on

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

A post shared by Welcome To Our Life! (@our_equestrian_life) on

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

Go Eventers.

#EventerProblems Vol. 126: Guilty As Charged?

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

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

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

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXBSfVLh0y7/?tagged=eventerproblems

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXBcbXwFOeK/?tagged=eventerproblems

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXOONgCFfZh/?tagged=eventerproblems

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXQhLSJHn51/?tagged=eventerproblems

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

A post shared by Deborah Sullivan (@deborahsulli) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXjnhl5FYOk/?tagged=eventerproblems

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXtdlKon7Kx/?tagged=eventerproblems

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXyOxxOFGK2/?tagged=eventerproblems

https://www.instagram.com/p/BX2HNDYHJmN/?tagged=eventerproblems

https://www.instagram.com/p/BX_QFAvjj_H/?tagged=eventerproblems

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

A post shared by Kate Drake (@katedrakevt) on

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

Go Eventing.

#DogsOfEN: An Eventer’s Best Friend

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

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXLKKqXA803/?tagged=eventerproblems

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXghc-ahCQ6/?tagged=eventerproblems

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

A post shared by Kelly Walker (@good_apple_eventing) on

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

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

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

A post shared by megmurfey (@megmurfey) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYTUkBQjeGz/?tagged=dogsofen

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

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

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYRfUhQlNBv/?tagged=dogsofen

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

A post shared by Ashley Loeffelholz (@amloeffelholz) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYOtZaEAHKC/?tagged=dogsofen

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYBsc2qlqkQ/?tagged=dogsofen

The good life #hishappyplace #yellowdogs #arethebestdogs #dogsofen

A post shared by Rachael Ann (@ralene2) on

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

A post shared by Jodi Leanne (@jodi_leanne) on

Joey meets his new brother! #dogsofen

A post shared by Rachel Pie (@joeytheeventer) on

And … a couple #CatsOfEN for good measure!

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

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

Go Eventing (and bring your dog!)

What’s In Your Arena? Presented by Attwood: Another Great Exercise for Eventers Who Have Nothing Left to Give

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

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

Two questions:

Do you have at least six jumps to work with?

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

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

I believe in you, and so does Michael Bolton.

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

Graphic by Leslie Wylie.

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

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

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

You’ve got this!

Go Eventing.

One Year Until WEG! Tickets on Sale Oct. 16

Image courtesy of WEG/TIEC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The rules of play:

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

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

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

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

Tickets are $50 and available for purchase here.

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

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

#EventerSolutions: We Always Get It Done

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

No spills here! #eventerproblems @eventingconnect

A post shared by Finley Habenicht (@grandtimeseventing) on

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

A post shared by Jeanna Epping (@jemevent) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXYuhVVgG5Z/?tagged=eventerproblems

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXybaS7DeBj/?tagged=eventerproblems

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYXIUFBBojK/?tagged=eventerproblems

Broken finger? No problem. #eventerproblems #eventersolutions

A post shared by Shoshana (@shoshanaloveshorses) on

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

A post shared by Helen Brew (@helen_brew) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYl_qr1jhWU/?tagged=eventersolutions

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

Go Eventing.

OTTB Wishlist from Cosequin: Say Hello to Your New Ride

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

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

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

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

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

Photo via CANTER Illinois.

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

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

Located at Fairmount Park Race Track in Collinsville, Illinois.

View Dezip on CANTER Illinois.

Photo via CANTER Illinois.

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

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

Located at Fairmount Park Race Track in Collinsville, Illinois.

View Bellodini on CANTER Illinois.

Photo via CANTER Illinois.

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

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

View Awesome Heat on CANTER Illinois. 

#DogsOfEN: Too Doggone Cute

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

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXEXM2IBLP7/?tagged=dogsofen

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

A post shared by Jodi Leanne (@jodi_leanne) on

The most spoiled horse show puppy #dogsofEN

A post shared by megmurfey (@megmurfey) on

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

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

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYCOY0Mlqfq/?tagged=dogsofen

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYq7SVBjByS/?tagged=dogsofen

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYp-D_mnDkJ/?tagged=dogsofen

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

A post shared by Paige (@pmontyeventing) on

Best frannnns #nationaldogday #muchtalent #suchwow #dogsofen

A post shared by Rachael Ann (@ralene2) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYEw6IVDTRs/?tagged=dogsofen

https://www.instagram.com/p/BX8X4nMAToz/?tagged=dogsofen

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

A post shared by Jodi Leanne (@jodi_leanne) on

Go Eventing (and bring your dog!)

#EventerFailFriday: Nailed It

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

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWiKSejFnVj/?taken-by=lesliewylie1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nailed it #EventerFailFriday #failfriday #walkofshamebackdownthehill #sorryboutyournervescourt

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

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

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

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

Photo via Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

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

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

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

Located in Lexington, KY.

View Cat Dancing on Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Photo via Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

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

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

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

Located in Lexington, KY.

View Yessuh on Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Photo via Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

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

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

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

Located in Lexington, KY.

View Delmarlboro on Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

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

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

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

Doug Payne and Vandiver – 2nd place Advanced

Doug Payne and Getaway – 10th place Intermediate

Coti Hausman and Quantico – 1st place Preliminary Rider

Doug Payne and Mr Mitchel – 14th place Training Horse

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

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

Go Eventing.

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

Why SpectraVET?

Reliable. Effective. Affordable.

SpectraVET is committed to providing only the highest-quality products and services to our customers, and to educating the world in the science and art of laser therapy.

We design and manufacture the broadest range of clinically-proven veterinary therapeutic laser products, which are represented and supported worldwide by our network of specialist distributors and authorized service centers.

Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: Crossing the Burghley Finish Line With Paul Tapner

If I had just completed Burghley cross country, I doubt I’d be capable of much more than finding a nice shady spot to lie down. For four-star riders, though, there’s still plenty of work — both physical and mental — to be done beyond the finish line.

In this video Paul Tapner, who finished 19th with Bonza King of Rouges, allows us a peek into the moments following his cross country completion.

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

#AEC17 Quotes from the Top: Intermediate & Beginner Novice Winners

That’s a wrap for the 2017 American Eventing Championships! A final round of winners were crowned on Sunday. Check out our Adequan USEA Gold Cup Advanced Final recap here; for Intermediate and Beginner Novice, you’ve come to the right place. Once again we have the hardworking USEA/TIEC press team to thank for chasing down the winners of each division to collect their reflections on the week.

Boehringer Ingelheim Open Intermediate

Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle. Photo by Sportfot.

Jennie Brannigan rose to the occasion once again as she took the Intermediate Champion and Reserve Champion honors. Brannigan and FE Lifestyle, a 7-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Nina Gardner, kept a tight grasp on first place, as they captured the lead after dressage, and earned a final score of 30.3 to hold a slight lead over Twilightslastgleam, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem x Royal Child) also owned by Nina Gardner, who received a 32.5.

“I’m super excited for the horses,” Brannigan said. “I’m not on my best game at the moment (after breaking her hand in the Advanced show jumping warmup), but I’m so happy that they jumped well and that I was able to ride them halfway decently. I’m so excited for the Gardners. They are such amazing people. I’ve been riding Twilightslastgleam since he was a young horse and I haven’t even had FE Lifestyle for a year and it’s super exciting. I’m just trying to get FE Lifestyle more experience, and I’m really happy with how he show jumped today. He keeps improving and the future is really bright for that horse, this is just the beginning of what he can do on the flat. I was just so excited.”

Charlotte Collier and Parker Collier’s Clifford M, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cristo x Naomi IV), maintained their third-place positioning after finishing without penalties in show jumping on a 32.7.

Of the pair’s performance, Charlotte commented, “This is my second time here; I did Training level here last year and it’s a big jump to the Intermediate. He was awesome. He tried his heart out in the dressage, went down centerline, flicked his toes and was a total super star. Cross-country he was a powerhouse, and gave me his all. Show jumping, he was a super star. It’s usually his hardest phase so to have no rails and to go under the time, it was more then I could’ve ever asked for. I’m so proud of him.”

Charlotte, a student of Sharon White’s, plans to move up with the horse that “has her heart and soul.” She concluded, “I want to run Advanced with him in the spring, and then just see how far we can go from there. I only started riding him last spring, and I did my first Training level with him last summer, and now we’re here so it feels incredible.”

Master Beginner Novice Amateur

Carrie Griffen and Feuertanzer ES. Photo by Sportfot.

Carrie Griffen maintained her three-phase lead, concluding the week with a blue ribbon aboard her own Feuertanzer ES, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Nicholas x Daybreak), on their original dressage score of 23.3.

“This entire week has been such an amazing opportunity for us,” Griffen said. “Dressage is not our strength and I’ve had a really bad back for the past two weeks, so we couldn’t really ride for the two weeks leading up to this. He really did very well in dressage though. He relaxed and he’s a pretty mover. He just got it together and did a nice job. He loves cross country. He’s very excited when he gets out there. He is very exuberant, and he’s very proud of himself. Today, it was a fabulous course. I loved the design and it asked a lot of questions of the rider and the horse.”

Cindi Moravec and her own OTTB, Holloway, moved up the leaderboard from fourth place after dressage, clinching second on their dressage penalties of 27.3. “This is my second year here at AEC,” said Moravec. “I came last year and my goal this year was to place top 10. Last year I was out of the ribbons, I was 14th. This horse is an OTTB. I bought him sight unseen from a picture and a video and on a big leap of faith I purchased him. He’s a phenomenal horse. I just love how he’s coming along.”

Third place was awarded to Briana Stolley and her own Balmullo’s Catfish, a POA-Connemara pony that she originally bought for her daughter to move up on. Stolley joked, “My daughter is never getting him! He has turned out to be a really special little guy.”

The pair maintained their dressage score of 28.0 throughout the competition. “I evented at the Preliminary level years and years ago, but I took nine years off so my first event was a few months ago. This whole experience has just been the best. I love this pony, and he gives it his all when he is with me,” she said.

Junior Beginner Novice Rider

Brynne Hershbine and Cadenza Aria. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Brynne Hershbine and Julie Hershbine’s Cadenza Aria, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Turnofthecentury x Whisper), went into today’s show jumping round tied for first, and maintained her lead to finish on top of the Junior Beginner Novice Rider division.

“This week was a lot of fun,” said the 15-year-old and first-time AEC attendee. “With dressage I was really nervous, but she was really good and listened to all my aids. When we went in I knew it was going to be a great test. For cross country, I just wanted to get over all the jumps safely, and she was very adjustable. In stadium jumping the pressure was totally on, because I knew if I knocked a rail I’d be out of first, but she was very good and listened to me, so I’m happy with her.”

Carson Birdsong and Brooke Birdsong’s Ballygrace Laralai, an 11-year-old Irish Draught Sport Horse mare (Glenlara x Significadre), improved their third-place rank to finish in second.

“She’s gone Training but got eliminated every time, so we bought her and brought her back down to Beginner Novice, have gone Novice, and will maybe go to Training in the fall. She did really well this week,” Birdsong  said.

Sydney Lee rode her own Sweet Georgia Brown, a 10-year-old Mustang gelding, to a third-place finish, improving her rank by one place. “This week has been really nervewracking, as being in an atmosphere this big has been a such a huge change for him, but I’m really proud of how well he performed, and we actually scored our lowest score here.”

The pair connected and discovered eventing together after the gelding had competed across multiple disciplines without really sticking to one, and Lee had competed in the hunters for 10 years “without really going anywhere,” she said. “My trainer thought I would like eventing, and the first time I went cross country schooling I was instantly hooked.”

Beginner Novice Amateur

Leah Backus and Diamond of Truth. Photo by Sportfot.

The Beginner Novice Amateur division was championed by Leah Backus aboard her own Diamond of Truth, a 5-year- old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Salute The Truth x Mainways Queen of Diamonds), as the duo added nothing to their original dressage score of 29.3 to finish atop the division. Nicole Thomas guided Here N’ Now, an 18-year- old Canadian Sport Horse, to second place on a 30.8, while Hannah Fearing and Roll ‘Em Easy, a 6-year-old Percheron gelding collected third place with their final score of 31.0.

“Going into the stadium round I was pretty nervous. It’s probably our weakest phase and I heard his feet ding a few times on the poles, but I was proud of him and we didn’t have anything down,” said Backus.

“I bred him myself, and just started competing him this year,” she continued. “He’s learning slowly but surely, and we are trying to teach him the right stuff. I want to hopefully move him up the levels.”

Nicole Thomas jumped from fifth place after dressage, up to second place after their cross country round, and were able to maintain their top three placing after a strong stadium round. The pair, who normally struggle with nerves in show jumping, found their stride in the George H. Morris Arena.

“Stadium always makes me really nervous. Thankfully my horse knows the deal and was able to pick up my slack when I made a few errors. I was really thankful to be sitting on him this afternoon,” said Thomas. “I’ve had him for about 2.5 years now. I bought him to be a schoolmaster and confidence builder. He’s a little older, but my goals is, as long as he is happy and healthy, to keep competing him. I owe him everything and he owes me nothing!”

Fearing also found herself at the top of the leaderboard after a consistent week of competition, moving up from ninth place after dressage to third following both a fantastic cross country and show jumping round.

“He was so good today. Stadium jumping is my worst phase, so I was a little nervous going into that big ring. He rocked it out on cross country yesterday,” she explained. “This has been pretty cool. I have never competed anywhere this big or this nice before, so it’s been cool for him to take this in and get that experience. I think he really liked it and I hope that we can come back here and show at some point in the future.”

Beginner Novice Rider

Kathleen Bertuna and Millye’s Mojave. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Kathleen Bertuna maintained her lead aboard her own Millye’s Mojave, a 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Mojave Moon x Slew the Dragoness), to finish on top of the Beginner Novice Rider division. It’s Bertuna’s first time competing at an AEC, and her first year back in eventing after spending 19 years away from the sport. Her partnership with “Miller,” an OTTB that she’s been riding since November, has been a long time coming — she has been saving to buy her perfect horse for the past 12 years.

“I stopped eventing because of school, a career, husband and kids, but it was finally time. I had to sell my horse to pay for medical school, but as soon as I got my first job I started putting money away,” she said. “At the beginning of the season, cantering over very small fences seemed really, really big, but I progressively, slowly got better, and my horse is just a prince. If I get it wrong he just says ‘try again,’ and he’s a wonderful partner.”

Mills Maloney and her own Primo Valentino, a 16-year-old Andalusian gelding, improved their second-day rank by two to finish in second after putting in a clear showjumping round.

“The week started out pretty well,” she said. “Dressage is not my favorite, but cross country was really good, and he rocked around that course. Then we put in a good stadium, so he was a good boy and had fun. He really likes eventing.”

“I’ve been looking forward to riding in the George H. Morris Arena all weekend — it was fun. I expected him to be a little more scared of it, but he liked it. We started eventing together at the beginning of this year, and he used to foxhunt a little but he likes doing this better. He likes to go fast,” she concluded.

Sierra Simmerman rose from seventh place throughout the competition to claim third place aboard Elizabeth Mackie’s Indian Summer Sage, a 12-year-old Connemara mare (Aladdin’s Denver x Auntie Margaret). The pair have been together since February, and this year was Simmerman’s first year back into eventing after competing in jumpers for the past six years, she said.

“The cross country course was perfect — it was simple but difficult for my little level getting back into it. It’s so exciting,” she said. “This is my first time at the AEC. It’s been my goal for a while.”

Jr. Beginner Novice 14 & Under

Ashley Stout and Deo Volente in their presentation ceremony with Rob Burk, CEO of USEA; Sharon Decker, COO of TIEC and Tryon Resort; and Carol Kozlowski, President of the USEA. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

It was an invigorating finale for the Junior Beginner Novice 14 and Under division today when three-day leader, Ashley Stout and her own Deo Volente, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, picked up zero faults in the cross-country and show jumping phases, ultimately giving her the championship title on a dressage score of 19.8.

“I feel like our week here at AEC’s went really well. When we first got here he was a little spooky, but I felt like he was really willing to help me out. Our cross-country went so much better than I had anticipated. I was a little nervous at first but he was just on his A-game. I was just happy to conquer the cross-country course. I felt that stadium was one of our best events, and he was just so great in that arena,” commented Stout.

The duo came away with the lowest accumulated total at the 2017 American Eventing Championships. Stout was all smiles after her victory gallop. “Overall, I was very happy with how he performed.”

Avery Cascarino rode Gloria Cascarino’s Dudley Do Right, a13-year-old gelding, to an incredible weekend, placing second after dressage on a 20.0, and coming away with second place. “This whole trip was absolutely wonderful,” said Cascarino. “Dressage was fun, he was really listening and paying attention. He was a bit nervous at first, but his cross-country was great. He really listened to me with the stadium, and he was such a good boy.”

Viktorija Petraitis and Our Little Secret, a 15-year-old Arabian gelding owned by the Petraitis Family, held on to third place on their dressage score of 25. “When we got in those rings and out on that course, he knew exactly what he had to do. It was so much fun,” she concluded.

Beginner Novice Horse
Holly Payne-Caravella and Benjamin Button rose to the occasion this week in the Beginner Novice Horse division ending on their original dressage score of 25.8. Payne-Caravella and the 4-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Classic Alliance x Lively Lady) owned by Kathleen Hall, completed a solid cross-country round and remained faultless in the show jumping phase of competition.

Of Benjamin Button’s first AEC experience, Payne-Caravella commented, “His week started off on a very exciting note. We got here on Monday, and he didn’t go into competition until Friday. It’s a big place and he was totally overwhelmed on the first day, I had to lunge him and let him buck and be crazy. He’s usually pretty calm, but this was a lot for him to take in. It’s been so good for him.”

Holly Payne-Caravella and Benjamin Button

Holly Payne-Caravella and Benjamin Button. Photo by Sportfot.

Darrell Vaughn and Eluca claimed the reserve champion position. The 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Negro x Fabiola) owned by Deirdre Stoker Vaillancourt, was purchased primarily as a dressage horse, but displayed a love of jumping early on in his training career.

Of the gelding’s performance this week, Vaughn exclaimed, “Our dressage test was fun, and then we came to cross country and again, beautiful day, the course was great, he was peeking at some things but he’s only been eventing for a short while, this is his fourth event. It was a big place for him, but after a couple of jumps he said ‘hey, I’m OK with this,’ and went around like a champ. Today he jumped his heart out, he was really great and very focused. He’s kind of a goofy guy sometimes because he is still young, but I couldn’t have asked for more from him.”

Third place was awarded to Kate Chadderton and her own Ff Valour, an Australian Warmblood mare (GNZ Calgary x Immenhof Landaura), who also ultimately earned their victory on their dressage score alone.

“Julie Hoover and I imported her at the beginning of this year,” Chadderton said of the mare. “She’s only four, and comes from the middle of nowhere in the Outback of Australia. Because of that, this is a lot for her to look at. I really think that she is going to shape into something. So far she’s been good on the flat, she’s got a great attitude toward cross country, and she is bred to be a show jumper. She’s just lovely all around, and she’s nice to be with on the ground. This whole week was exactly what we needed to continue on our way with competition goals.”

Chadderton also applauded the course designs, describing them as “building blocks” for the young horse competing at this level.

[Matt Brown Gallops to the Adequan® USEA Gold Cup Championship Title to Conclude the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena®]

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

#AEC17 Sunday Roundup: One Last Look at the Week That Was

First order of business: a shout-out to the final round of national champions crowned on Sunday at the American Eventing Championships!

Adequan Gold Cup Advanced Final: Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso (33.5)

Meet your new Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion Matthew Brown and BCF Belicoso. #goldcup #AEC17

A post shared by U.S. Eventing Association (@useventing) on

Boehringer Ingelheim Open Intermediate: Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle (30.3)

Jennie Brannigan went in the Boehringer Ingleheim Intermediate with Nina Gardner’s FE Lifestyle and Twilightslastgleam #AEC17

A post shared by U.S. Eventing Association (@useventing) on

Master Beg. Novice Amateur: Carrie Griffen and Feuertanzer ES (23.3)

Carrie Griffen and Feurtanzer ES are your Beginner Novice Master Amateur Champions!! #AEC17

A post shared by U.S. Eventing Association (@useventing) on

Beg. Novice Amateur: Leah Backus and Diamond of Truth (29.3)

Leah Backus just rode her homebred, Diamond of Truth to victory in the Beginner Novice Amateur division.

A post shared by U.S. Eventing Association (@useventing) on

Beg. Novice Horse: Holly Payne Caravella and Benjamin Button (25.8)

Beg. Novice Rider: Kathleen Bertuna and Millye’s Mojave (27.0)

Jr. Beg. Novice: Brynn Hershbine and Cadenza Aria (24.3)

Brynn Hershbine and Cadenz Aria just rode to victory in the Junior Beginner Novice #AEC17

A post shared by U.S. Eventing Association (@useventing) on

Jr. Beg. Novice 14 and Under: Ashley Stout and Deo Volente (19.8)

Congrats to the winners, and to all competitors at large! From riders and their crews to spectators and officials, everyone who attended the 2017 AEC left with the feeling that they’d witnessed something special.

“It’s hard to explain the feeling of the American Eventing Championships when you’re not here, but I think when you watch the smiles of the kids and the pros, and everybody across the board, it’s a really special experience, and I think the word is getting out,” says USEA CEO Rob Burk. “With 755 starters, that’s almost a hundred more than we had last year, and last year was the largest horse trials in the United States by starters in history.”

Showcasing Advanced show jumping as TIEC’s “Saturday Night Lights” feature was a brilliant move.

“Last night under the lights, that for me, for the upper level division, was kind of a dream come to reality, so that was pretty amazing, and at the same time, watching the Novice division finishing up right before that with the stands packed and roaring – it’s kind of that dichotomy of the upcoming rider and at the same time these professionals and upper level amateurs that we want to put in a position of success,” Rob says.

The event also allowed us all a behind-the-scenes sneak peak at the venue of next year’s World Equestrian Games.

“We just love our partnership with the USEA, and hosting the AECs for the second year now is just a real honor,” said Sharon Decker, COO of Tryon Resort and Tryon International Equestrian Center. “This is one of our most special weeks of the entire season. We love eventing and to see our Advanced group today on our FEI WEG course is very exciting. I was standing out there today and thinking about a year from now, we’ll have some of the same riders out there along with many from around the world.”

“We’re thrilled with how the course held up, even in the midst of a tremendous amount of rain, and very pleased with how it was prepared for today’s competition, as well as how the field held up and how the course performed over the last two days in the middle of all the rain,” she says. “So we’re just grateful for a magnificent team here that makes things happen, but so thankful for the relationship we have with USEA and our partnership going forward. I want to thank Allyn (Mann) and the good folks at Adequan and our friends at Land Rover and Nutrena who have made this event possible.”

A big thank-you, once again, to everyone who made this thing possible: the heroes of USEA for putting it all together, TIEC for being such an incredible host, the event’s generous sponsors who showered competitors with prizes, and all the other myriad turning wheels that made 2017’s “feel-good event of the year” the best feeling event in recent history.

As we head back into our daily lives (hopefully with a little cushion — thanks, Labor Day!), let’s enjoy a parting glimpse at the week that was:

I’m having horse show withdrawals

A post shared by Meg Varricchio (@mv.eventing_) on

That last day of AECs feel

A post shared by Libby Head (@libbyheadeventing) on

WHAT A FREAKING WEEKEND YOU GUYS…. The Tryon International Equestrian Center is the most immaculate venue I’ve ever been to… it was perfect for the AEC’s. It’s like a whole ‘nother world! I have more pictures than I know what to do with but here are a couple from my phone.. I seriously can’t wait to share with you the beautiful moments from my Nikon. I’m so exhausted from being here for the last 5 days working for my friends but man! Was it worth it! So dang proud of @rusticator for her spectacular rides in all 3 phases. If there was anyone out there who deserved that ribbon, it was you! I feel so lucky to be able to work for someone so talented and giving! Now let’s practice our diagonals so we can bring home the blues!!!! It was so cool to be around so many people from our horse community here in Georgia, and professionals from all over the country. Despite the INSANE amount of Chardonnay involved, this was definitely a trip I will never forget! I can’t wait to sleep the next two days. #tryoninternationalequestriancenter #tryon #AEC #Americaneventingchampionships #americaneventingchampionships2017 #weg2018 #reservechampion #3dayeventing #eventing #eventingnation #crosscountry #dressage #showjumping #trakehner #trakehnersofinstagram #usea #equestrian #horsecrazy #shithorsepeopledo

A post shared by @vadapatata on

And … a cat on a leash, just to keep it real:

Go Eventing.

AEC: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoringEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso Clinch USEA Adequan Advanced Gold Cup Final Victory

Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso have been steadily stalking their way up the USEA Adequan Gold Cup Advanced Final leaderboard here at the AEC throughout the week. They sat eighth after dressage on a score of 33.5, rose to fifth after a faultless show jumping round, then sailed straight to the top on the wings of a clear, fast cross country trip this morning.

The top of the leaderboard saw a big shift when show jumping leader Marilyn Little fell from RF Scandalous at fence #16 and third-placed Angela Bowles withdrew Bliss III before cross country. Doug Payne and Vandiver finished in the penultimate spot, having moved from 9th to 6th to 2nd throughout the competition. Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda picked up 4.8 time on cross country to drop from 2nd after show jumping to 3rd overall. Cross country was run in reverse order of standing, creating an exciting, down-to-the-wire championship finale.

Matt Brown, Doug Payne and Jennie Brannigan in their awards presentation ceremony. Photo by Sportfot.

Matt and Doug stopped by the media center after the awards ceremony to tell us about their rides.

“He had three really good phases,” Matt says of Belicoso, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Lux Z x Catcher Berezina) owned by Blossom Creek Foundation. “In the dressage I was very happy with him. There were some little things I could have cleaned up about the test, but the thing that is remarkable about the horse to me is that he just steps up every time and is willing to give me more and more and more.

“At the beginning of the week I joked with my wife (Cecily) that riding him is like riding an electric golf cart that is slightly running out of batteries all the time — he doesn’t have much blood to him, but he’s always willing to go when I ask him to and he showed me the same thing in the show jumping and the cross country.”

The golf cart analogy is quite fitting here at Tryon International Equestrian Center, as today’s Advanced cross country test ran along former golf course fairways which will be further developed to host WEG cross country next year. Check out our AEC Advanced course preview here.

In 2015 Matt and Cecily uprooted themselves from a comfortable business in California and moved to Cochranville, Pa., to have access to bigger events and the best possible training. Matt’s success here at the AEC is yet another indication that their risk is paying off.

“The thing I’ve found really great about being on the East Coast, in coming out here, is that in order to do well at a competition like this, with Doug and Phillip and Marilyn and Jennie, you really have to be on the inside line and you have to not give away those little points. I feel like being back here is pushing me and pushing my horses, and I feel like Belicoso really stepped up in all three phases and is constantly improving so I am really happy with him.”

For his win in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series, Brown took home $20,000, the lion share of the $40,000 prize money. He was also the recipient of the Jack LeGoff trophy as winner of the USEF Open Horse Trials National Championship.

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The AEC was a perfect bon voyage prep for second-placed Doug Payne and Vandiver, as the horse is flying to England on Wednesday to contest Blenheim.

Vandiver, 13-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall II x Visions of Grandeur) owned and bred by Debi Crowley, has been at TIEC since last Wednesday, contesting some jumper classes in advance of the AEC. This venue has a home turf advantage for Doug and his horses, who are here every second or third week doing jumper shows.  “I think it’s a real advantage that he was able to get into this ring three times in the last week,” Doug says.

The big crowds and bright lights affected some of the Advanced horses, who show jumped as TIEC’s “Saturday Night Lights” feature yesterday evening. “(Vandiver) gets a little worried but he’s the most genuine creature I’ve ever been able to work with and I’m very lucky that Debi has trusted me with him,” Doug says.

“The dressage is still coming,” Doug says of their test, which scored a 33.7. “Where it’s lacked in the past is that he just needs a little more engagement, more power making him go a little bit. We had a couple bobbles but looking to the future it’s very bright.”

“The jumping was good last night, and today he was like a seeing eye dog — I just sit there and enjoy,” Doug says.

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Sportfot.

The pair came in second last year and second at The Fork CIC3* this spring. Last year, Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP), jokingly gave Doug the pole that cost him the win; this year, to continue the tradition, Mark presented him with a dressage marker as he lost by a mere 0.2 to Matt.

Safe travels and best of luck at Blenheim, Doug and Vandiver!

Props to 3rd placed Jennie as well, who had an enormously successful weekend. In addition to her very respectable Advanced finish, she won the Boehringer Ingelheim Open Intermediate division with FE Lifestyle as well as the Prelim Horse division with Balmoral Oakey. And she managed it all with a broken hand, incurred after jamming it into the neck of Cambalda during their Saturday night show jumping warmup. Eventer tough!

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Sportfot.

Today’s cross country course caused a couple spots of trouble: Marilyn fell at fence #16, “The Stick Pile,” when RF Scandalous added a step before the fence that wasn’t quite there. Both horse and rider were OK.

Kylie Lyman fared less well when her first of two rides in the division, Lup the Loop, had a heavy fall over #5D water complex. The horse tried to squeeze a stride into the bounce between up-bank and skinny brush and chested the latter. Kylie clearly got the wind knocked out of her but remained conscious throughout the incident. She was transported to Spartanburg Regional Hospital in Spartanburg, SC, where she was diagnosed with a concussion and broken clavicle. Lup the Loop was examined by the veterinary team on-site and led back to the stables unharmed.

Courtney Cooper and Who’s A Star picked up 20 at the water complex as well.

A couple videos from Advanced cross country:

Caroline Martin and Danger Mouse make the Advanced water look easy-peasy at #AEC17.

A post shared by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

USEA Adequan Advanced Gold Cup Final Top 15:

What’s In Your Arena? Presented by Attwood: AEC Edition

Fence #6 on the Intermediate AEC show jumping course. Fence #6 on the Intermediate AEC show jumping course.

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. This week, however, we’re here at the American Eventing Championships and we’re taking a slightly different tack! Let’s have a look at the show jumping fences that appear on today’s Intermediate course.

Intermediate was the first division out of the gate on Sunday morning at the AEC.

The first Intermediate competitor waits at the in-gate. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Jennie Brannigan both won and placed second in the class, on FE Lifestyle and Twilightslastgleam respectively, both owned by Nina Gardner.

Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The course, designed by Chris Barnard, rode beautifully. Here’s a look at it, jump by jump!

Chinch presides over the Intermediate awards ceremony. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

AEC Intermediate Final Top 10: 

AEC: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoringEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

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 wylie@eventingnation.com.