Classic Eventing Nation

Best of HN: 5 Challenges of Being a Short Equestrian

At just a few inches over five feet, I don’t quite fit the image of a tall, slender girl poised elegantly atop a fancy horse; rather, I look more like a pudgy child whose stirrups never quite go short enough, feet comically close to the bottom edge of the saddle pad. I almost need a ladder to tack up our tallest school horse — it’s more of an aim-and-heave saddle hoist than a gentle placement on his back. The horses laugh when I go into their stalls with a set of earplugs they don’t want to wear. Below are some other challenges I’ve encountered as a smallish western rider.

1. The top saddle racks in the tack room. These are the most dreaded part of a practice — I can usually get saddles down from them, but after practice I’m stranded in the tack room, waiting for a vertically-advantaged teammate to come to my rescue while I hold the edge of a saddle because I thought that maybe this time I could actually throw it all the way up there, and now it has tipped sideways, about to fall.

2. Too-long pants. “Short” jeans are slightly too short when I ride and somehow disproportionate, but regular length jeans are long enough to drag on the ground. My fix is to just never take my spurs off my boots, letting them hold up the backs of my jeans so they don’t get torn up.

3. Stirrup length. Riding in a multitude of school saddles for intercollegiate shows is a constant reminder that normal saddles are not made for legs that stopped growing when I was twelve. “Are you sure you want your stirrups all the way up?” ask my teammates and coaches at every show ever. The extra bad news is that, if you’re not tall enough to reach your stirrups, you’re also too short to reach the hole punch where it hangs above the tack room door. Lose-lose situation.

4. Tall horses. Hello, Tex, you almost-seventeen-hand beauty, I hope you didn’t roll because I can’t see any of the top of your back, much less reach it to brush it. Also, if you wouldn’t mind lowering your head so that maybe I could at least entertain the illusion that you’ll let me bridle you, that would be great. Thanks.

5. Mounting blocks + chaps. Combine a restricted range of leg motion with a wobbly plastic stool and a horse who’s losing patience, and every time you have to mount up before a class becomes a mini-ordeal. Half-lunges (while praying my horsemanship pants don’t split) in an attempt to stretch out my chaps enough to reach the stirrup are a pre-show ritual.

One place I refuse to let my height be a disadvantage is in the saddle. Once I’ve found one with short enough stirrups, I stretch up, heels down and chin up, like I’m six feet tall and nothing is out of my reach. On the back of a horse, nothing is.

Haley is the author of Horse Nation’s “Academic Equestrian” series, following her collegiate experience as she balances her studies with participation on the varsity equestrian team and time with her own horse.

Haley Ruffner is attending Alfred University, majoring in English with minors in Business and Equestrian Studies. She owns a Quarter horse gelding At Last An Invitation, or “Cricket.” Haley is the captain of the AU western equestrian team, and also competes in reining and loves trail riding.

Carolina International CIC3* Cross Country Course Walk

Setter’s Run Glen. Photo by Kate Samuels.

I arrived at Carolina International yesterday afternoon and immediately went for a course walk around the CIC3*, eager to check out what was in store for the riders come Saturday afternoon. This is the second year that Ian Stark is designing the three-star course here at the Carolina Horse Park, and after a big splash last year with the changes, we are all waiting to see how it rides in 2017.

For the most part, the course follows the same track that it did in 2016, and starts off very similarly, with the first fence about seven strides from the start box, and three subsequent tables with a good gallop to get the horses and riders going in a good rhythm.

The first question comes at 5AB, which is in the same location as last year, with a rollercoaster design of two fences placed on opposite sides of a large dip. This year, the A element is a much more inviting solid log, which I think will encourage horses and riders to jump into the combination with a bit more confidence.

Ship’s Quarters, jump A. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The next question is the first water complex, which is early in the course at 7AB. The A element is, let’s say, rather substantial with a bit of a drop on the off side. It also has an angled ground line, which could look like something of a ditch if you get off your line, or cause some horses to take a little peak on takeoff. When leading a guided course tour for the Southern Pines community earlier this month, Ian said, “You’re going to sit back and ride this confidently, or you’re going to cry for your mommy”.

The next combination is the Village Smithy, which was on the course last year with a different B element, which caused a few falls. This year, they subbed in an interesting U-shaped jump on a short two strides, which should cause less trouble, but is still an intriguing question.

We also have the double corners at Stonehenge that are the same as last year — challenging for a few combinations but rewarding if ridden accurately and boldly. After that, there are a few large jumps before the main event: the Cloud 11 Pebble Beach combination.

Cloud 11 Pebble Beach, jumps B & C, featuring lots of walkers. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The talk of the town in 2016 was the enormous trakehner fence on top of a mound, rolling down to the new water complex. This year is no different, with many riders still considering it as one of the most challenging questions on course. A lot of experienced pairs had rather sticky rides over the trakehner last year, as it’s not exactly where the horses expect it to be, and they peak a bit on the landing side.

This year, Ian changed the subsequent question from a brush corner into an angled line for B and C. It will be easy enough to get to B, but some real accuracy and coordination will be required to complete all three elements and not have a mistake along the way. As you can see from the picture, more than a few riders were spending time considering their lines and approaches at this combination.

Once you get through the second water, you’re away over a huge ditch and wall, and down to a large hanging log followed by a tight keyhole with a ditch ground line. Then it’s across the bridge around the lake, and up over a few more fences before we get to what I consider the most challenging question on this three-star course.

Landmark Hollow. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The Landmark Hollow is an entirely new coffin complex, which many riders are referring to as a four-star question. Coming off a short left-handed turn, the A element of this combination is massive, and my picture doesn’t do it justice. The ground drops away on the landing side fairly significantly, and combined with the airy nature of the jump in, I’m glad that it’s pinned with frangible technology. I can see several horses putting their hind end down a little too early, in preparation for the slope and the ditch at the bottom.

This combination poses a tough question for the riders, who have to have just the right balance of confidence and composure to jump the A in the correct shape and have enough impulsion to get over the ditch and the quite skinny brush chevron at C. There is an alternative for C, which I believe will get its fair share of use on Saturday as well.

After this, the riders are almost home free, with just four jumps to go, including an angled roll top combination and a small open oxer at the second to last.

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Friday News & Notes from Kentucky Equine Research

A tribute to a friend gone too soon, Evan Mickle. Photo via Jay Mickle on Facebook. A tribute to a friend gone too soon, Evan Mickle. Photo via Jay Mickle on Facebook.

Saturday at the Carolina International, the old Tobacco Barn on the cross country course will become the Village Smithy as a tribute to Evan Mickle, a local farrier who passed away suddenly last December. At the completion of the CIC3* cross country, there will be a dedication of a blacksmith art memorial to Evan in front of the secretary’s office. There will also be a memorial service at Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club on Friday evening from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Our thoughts continue to be with the Mickle family as we remember a friend who is gone much too soon.

Events This Weekend:

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Poplar Place Farm March H.T.: [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

News & Notes:

Looking for a new job? Here’s a great opportunity for someone located in or around Leesburg: the USEA is hiring a Communications Assistant! [Communication Assistant Position]

Savannah “Woodge” Fulton is targeting her first go at Rolex with Captain Jack. The Chronicle of the HorseSpider Monkey caught up with Woodge (aka ) and her path to her first CCI4*. [One to Watch: Woodge Fulton]

SmartPak Product of the Day: The SmartPak Mobile Unit parked at Copper Meadows last weekend for their spring horse trials, and so I was obviously tempted to take a walk-through to check out the wares on display. I was really impressed with the quality of one of the latest Piper breeches with silicone grips. I’ve been a bit obsessed with silicone grip recently, so these are definitely on my list of breeches to pick up. Plus, you have to love the consumer friendly price point without sacrificing quality! [SmartPak Piper Breech with Silicone]

Friday Video:

Check out everyone’s favorite Insta-famous pony, Saint Louie, and Britt Sabbah at Copper Meadows last weekend:

KER Product of the Week – Nano•E®

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Would Nano•E fit into your horse’s diet? Ask a KER nutrition advisor today.

Sweet Carolin(a): Day Two Social Media from Carolina International

I almost feel as if we all get a bit spoiled when events start on Wednesdays; why wait for Friday to get the fun started? I’m loving following along with all of the Carolina International coverage, and it’s definitely a good thing when there are still three more days of action left from North Carolina. With that said, here are some more snippets from social media from day two:

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

The second day of dressage is underway at the 4th Carolina International! #CICIC #carolinainternational #wherethebestcometowin

A post shared by Carolina_International_CIC (@carolina_international_cic) on

Who's ready for show jumping tomorrow? The Golden Knights will be "dropping" in during the lunch break! #wherethebestcometowin #carolinainternational #CICIC

A post shared by Carolina_International_CIC (@carolina_international_cic) on

It's tough to be CR… #CICIC #naptime #workhardplayhardsleephard

A post shared by Alex Ambelang (@alexambelang) on

Favian and Willie Wiggins having a big #discussion about #cicic over a blade of grass #bromance #gossip #horses

A post shared by Blue Clover Eventing (@blueclovereventing) on

Liz Halliday-Sharp & Boyd Martin Take Command of CIC2*/CIC* at Carolina

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld. Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Liz Halliday-Sharp’s Deniro Z and Elarona finished first and second, respectively, in the first CIC2* attempt for both horses last month at Pine Top Farm, and they’re in a good position to repeat their impressive performance this weekend.

On the final day of dressage for the Matt Faudree & Attwood Equestrian Surfaces CIC2* at Carolina International, 9-year-old Deniro posted a score of 41.7, vaulting into the lead ahead of overnight leader Cornelia Dorr and Louis M with a 44.4. Liz and 7-year-old Elarona scored 45.0, squeaking into third ahead of Hannah Sue Burnett and RF Demeter on 45.2.

“I was thrilled with both of them. They both tried really hard,” Liz said. “Elarona can be a little tricky in the mouth and challenging in warm-up but she was very good in the test. Both horses are figuring out they go down the centerline and do their job. They enjoy it and it’s pleasure to ride them.”

Show jumping is still to come for the CIC2* tomorrow, and both of the Dutch Warmbloods were double-clear at Pine Top on the grass, which may prove to be a good prep for Marc Donovan’s course on natural ground here at Carolina.

Liz was just having a first look at Ian Stark’s cross country course when we spoke to her this afternoon, but she said she will probably go for it with Deniro to prepare for his next outing at the Ocala CCI2*. Elarona is still green at the level, she said. “She’s very brave, but it’s the rideability we’re working on for her. We’ll go for a good, solid, positive run and keep getting her confidence up.”

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Elarona. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The 12-year-old Rheinlander gelding Louis M is a horse EquiRatings calls a “first phase freak” for his proficiency in the sandbox. Eventing 25 Developing Rider Cornelia Dorr, 19, is having the experience of a lifetime learning from this talented horse, previously ridden to the CIC3* level by Pia Münker of Germany.

“Before I got him, dressage was one of my weakest phases and he’s helping to make it one of my strongest ones and helping me to know what is correct, what’s not and how to ask for things and teach things correctly,” Cornelia said. “It’s amazing riding him and it’s a really cool feeling. He definitely doesn’t give it to you; you have to ask correctly and well, but he’s such a teacher.”

Cornelia and Louis finished 13th in their first FEI event at Plantation Field last September and won the CCI* at Hagyard Midsouth the following month. Carolina is the pair’s first two-star together and they’re kicking it off right to sit second after dressage in a huge division of 62 starters. They had a small bobble when Louis cantered in the first half-pass, but Cornelia was quick to excuse him.

“I wish I had gotten him a bit more in front of my leg going in and that’s why I had the one mistake,” she said. “I think I just had my leg way too far back and he’s so sensitive. That was a bit too bad, but he’s so good and I love riding him.”

Cornelia Dorr and Louis M. Photo by Jenni Autry.

In fourth place after dressage is Hannah Sue Burnett and the crowd favorite RF Demeter, a 15-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars. they scored a 45.2, which is 0.3 points better than at Red Hills two weeks ago, but Hannah Sue felt it was a significantly improvement.

“I feel like every time I ride her she and I click more and more. I felt really good about today,” Hannah Sue said. “The canter work is more tough for me–I feel like she gets away from me a little–but in the trot I feel like I can really start to push. I thought it was quite a bit better than Red Hills but I’m really happy with her. I think we’re progressing.”

With seven years of experience competing at the CIC3* level and above, RF Demeter is an experienced horse and Hannah Sue is forcing herself to adapt to the mare’s style. “I’m not training this horse, I’m training myself to ride this horse. It’s really challenging and exciting to see if I can do it,” Hannah Sue said.

“I hope I don’t disappoint everyone but at the same time she has nothing to prove at all. I’m just studying all the tape I can find of Marilyn and ‘Demi’ and I talk to Marilyn a lot. She’s been really helpful. I don’t intend on busting around this weekend. I want to get to know her and make her happy. She’s a sweet horse and I want to do right by her.”

Hannah Sue Burnett and RF Demeter. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

In the Landmark’s Young Event Team CIC*, Boyd Martin holds the top two positions. The Long Island T Syndicate’s Long Island T held his overnight lead on a 35.5 and his barn mate Contessa is not far behind on 35.8.

Long Island T is an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding campaigned at the two-star level for several seasons by Canadian Olympian Peter Barry. Boyd and “Ludwig” ran around several horse trials this winter but this will be their first FEI appearance together.

“Long Island T is a new horse for me and is taking a bit of time to get the hang of, but I feel like we’re getting a bit of a partnership now,” Boyd said. “In the jumping dept he’s completely the opposite of my style. He likes a lot more support to the fences, so I’m working hard to adjust my riding to suit him.”

Boyd said Ludwig is “absolutely sensational” on the flat and in today’s eventing world, horse and rider combinations need to be higher on the leaderboard after the first phase to stand a chance at a major championship so Boyd is “trying to pick the horses that not only jump and gallop but also have extravagant movement and presence in the dressage.”

Boyd Martin and Long Island T. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Boyd plans to use tomorrow’s cross country as a schooling round and won’t likely run for time. With Contessa, however, he will “probably have a bit more of a crack at it.”

Boyd described the 8-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Densey Juvonen, Gloria Callen, Fernanda Kellogg and Kelly Morgan, as a feisty mare who seems to prefer the FEI events that take place over more days than a regular horse trials. “I think she could be a big time horse. She’s green, hot, a little nervous. She doesn’t like to be rushed. She likes to settle in and get a feel for the rings.”

Tied for third place in the one-star on a 37.5 is is Matthew Brown with BCF Belicoso and Lynn Symansky with Neptune. BCF Belicoso is an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by the Blossom Creek Foundation and is competing in his first FEI event back since Jersey Fresh in 2015. Neptune, an 8-year-old Anglo-Trakehner owned by Lea Hansen, is making his first FEI appearance.

Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The CIC2* and CIC3* will show jump tomorrow morning, and the CIC* will run cross country in the afternoon. Dressage starts for the horse trials divisions. It’s going to be a busy day!

Click here to read Jenni Autry’s report on the CIC3* dressage. Follow EN on Instagram for tons of extra photos, and stay tuned for much more from Carolina International.

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Allison Springer: ‘Arthur Has Been the Longest, Steadiest Thing In My Life’

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Jenni Autry. Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Allison Springer and Arthur delivered the leading dressage test today in the CIC3* at Carolina International, scoring 40.7 to hold the overnight lead as we look ahead to tomorrow’s show jumping. Last year they jumped a clear round over Marc Donovan’s course and went on to win the CIC3*, and that’s exactly what Allison hopes to do again this year.

“He’s been the longest, steadiest thing in my life for sure,” Allison said. “Honestly if you look at the grand picture, I’ve been really lucky. What I did last year is similar to what I did this year. … I just keep giving him big breaks and he keeps coming out and feeling good.”

Of course, he is still and will always be the same old Arthur. “He gave me a beautiful ride last night, and this morning he spooked at a letter in the practice ring and almost got me off. I was thinking, ‘You’re 18, horse!’ But that’s Arthur.”

As for whether Arthur will aim for an eighth appearance at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event next month, Allison said “that’s the million-dollar question.” The Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Arthur Syndicate continues to impress at the highest level of the sport, and Allison said if he handles Ian Stark’s cross country course well, she will send in her entry for Rolex.

“The water is really solid, and they put in a proper coffin — a Kentucky-esque coffin with a steep downhill to a ditch, and that’s something we really struggle with. It’s a great prep for us.”

(EN’s own Kate Samuels just walked the CIC3* cross country course and will be bringing you a full fence-by-fence preview soon.)

Allison said she feels incredibly lucky to have Arthur out for his 10th season competing at Advanced level. “It’s a blessed thing to have a four-star star horse, period. It’s really hard to get horses to that top level, and to keep practicing and keep yourself sharp as you’re producing horses is really important. He definitely keeps me on my toes.”

(Watch a video of Allison and Arthur’s leading test here.)

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen sit in second place on 41.3, and Clark said the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, owned by Jessica Montgomery, Kathryn Kraft, and Holly and William Becker, felt a bit tight in his test today.

“When he gets tight, he gets stuck. I didn’t get to ride him yesterday, so I just rode him this morning, which might have been part of it, but I’m not going to complain about a 41.”

As is his typical game plan with “Glen,” Clark has been focusing heavily on his fitness work, incorporating a lot of galloping ahead of Rolex and working less on the dressage, which is the horse’s strongest phase.

“He’s peaking easier than he ever has,” Clark said. “Finally at the ripe old age of 14 he has a depth of fitness. It’s easier to peak him back each time. He seems super healthy in his body this spring after last summer, so that’s really nice to feel. It’s just keeping the wheels on the wagon.”

Glen has plenty of experience jumping on grass after spending four years in England, but Clark said he isn’t taking anything for granted tomorrow on Marc Donovan’s course, as he had a rail down at Pine Top CIC3* last month (though they did go on to win on 36.3).

As for Clark’s strategy for cross country on Saturday: “You need to go fast enough to work on fitness. I never really ride him very slow because he needs the confidence. He likes to go fast, but we need to make sure we get to Kentucky too.”

(Click here to watch Clark and Glen’s test.)

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda, who led after the first day of dressage on 41.5, now sit in third place at the conclusion of the first phase. The 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Tim and Nina Gardner has never competed this event, and Jennie hasn’t been either since it became Carolina International in 2014.

“I remember watching the results last year and thinking this wasn’t a dressage show, and walking the course I can see why. I love Ian as a designer, and it looks proper. I always think show jumping on grass is really influential, too.”

The scores are tightly bunched on the CIC3* leaderboard, with less than a rail separating the top nine horses and riders. Less than two rails separate the entire top 20, so the stage is set for a nail-biter tomorrow, and cross country will be equally influential.

The heavy storm that drenched the grounds on Tuesday night improved the quality of the footing on much of the course, and Jennie said it’s the best footing she’s seen in a long time. “They’ve improved a lot since the last time I was here,” she said. “It takes awhile to develop a string of horses to run at both Red Hills and Carolina, and I’m excited to be able to do both.”

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Looking to the rest of the CIC3* leaderboard, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deborah Halliday’s Fernhill By Night sit in fourth place on 42.5, with Will Faudree and Jennifer Mosing’s Hans Dampf delivering a personal best of 42.7 to round out the top five.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Jacqueline Mars’ Harbour Pilot are in sixth on 43.1, with Buck Davidson and Carlevo LLC’s Carlevo in seventh on 43.8. Caroline Martin and Sherrie Martin’s The Apprentice sit eighth on 44.3, with Clayton Fredericks and Katie Ruppel’s Houdini in ninth on 44.4, and Phillip Dutton and Tom Tierney and Annie Jones Fernhill Fugitive in 10th on 45.4.

Last year just 20 percent of the CIC3* jumped clear rounds inside the time on Marc’s show jumping course, so we can expect poles to go flying if this tricky course lives up to its reputation. CIC3* starts at 1 p.m. EST tomorrow and will stream live on EQSportsNet.

It’s going to be a busy day at the Carolina Horse Park with the National divisions starting dressage, CIC3* and CIC2* show jumping, and CIC* cross country. CIC2* show jumping will also stream live starting at 9:30 a.m. EST. Stay tuned for a full report on the CIC2* and CIC* from the one and only Leslie Threlkeld.

Keep checking Instagram for more photos from today, and be sure to click here to catch up on all of EN’s coverage of Carolina so far. Thank you so much for reading, and thank you once again to the wonderful volunteers, officials and staff for another wonderful (albeit chilly!) day in Southern Pines. Go Eventing.

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Thursday Video: Allison Springer & Arthur’s Winning Carolina Dressage Test

Allison Springer and Arthur are one step closer to defending their win in the CIC3* at Carolina International, scoring 40.7 to hold the lead following the conclusion of dressage. We have a video of their test thanks to EN’s good friend David Frechette! Many thanks to David for all of the fantastic videos he filmed today. You can watch much more on his YouTube channel.

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Carolina Lunch Snippets: Defending Champions Allison Springer & Arthur Top CIC3*

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Jenni Autry. Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Allison Springer and Arthur are back in familiar territory at Carolina International, leading the CIC3* on 40.7 at the lunch break on day two with just one more group to come this afternoon. These two won the CIC3* last year, and now one year later at 18 years old, Arthur proved he can still throw down in the sandbox against the best horses in the country — not that we expected anything less!

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen scored 41.3 to sit in second place on the CIC3*, about 4 marks above of our expected score for them. But they’re still positioned well on the leaderboard and also have the advantage of coming off a strong win at Pine Top CIC3* last month.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda, who led overnight after the first day of dressage action, now sit in third place on 41.5. Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night scored 42.5 to slot into fourth place, and Will Faudree and Hans Dampf delivered a personal best of 42.7 to round out the top five.

Will Faudree and Hans Dampf. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The scoring today in the CIC3* has been very consistently close to the expected averages during both morning sessions, with scores less than a point below the expected marks. Thank you once again to EN’s data analyst Maggie Deatrick for crunching numbers today.

We also have a new leader in the CIC2*, with Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z scoring a personal best of 41.7 in the second two-star start of his career. The overnight leaders Cornelia Dorr and Louis M slipped to second place on 44.4 (click here to watch their test). Hannah Sue Burnett and RF Demeter scored 45.2 in their second two-star start as a pair to sit third on 45.2.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Boyd Martin and Long Island T are still holding the CIC* lead on 35.5, and he now has another ride at the top of the leaderboard with Contessa, who scored 35.8 for second place. Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso are tied for third place on 37.5 with Lynn Symansky and Neptune.

It’s been a brisk morning in Southern Pines, and the chilly conditions can best be described as ⛄⛄⛄⛄.  Temperatures have thawed to about 50 degrees at the lunch break, and we’re all looking forward to warmer weather over the next three days of competition at the beautiful Carolina Horse Park.

You can watch the finale of CIC3* dressage live on EQSportsNet starting at 1 p.m. EST. Leslie Threlkeld and I are your boots on the ground at Carolina this weekend, and we’ve been putting lots of extra photos on Instagram, so be sure to scroll through our feed for a behind-the-scenes look at Carolina. Go Eventing.

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

#EventerProblems Vol. 109: Written All Over Their Faces

Horses can’t talk and yet they manage to express themselves just fine, thankyouverymuch. Hang around them long enough and you’ll have no trouble reading them loud and clear just by looking at their face.

Can you tell what these horses are thinking?

Zoni in mid spook when I took him to my pony club lesson on Saturday first outing in awhile obviously…. #crazyeye #eventerproblems

A post shared by Caroline Marelius (@caroline.eventing) on

The shedding is now in full swing… #tiredpony #eventerproblems #haireverywhere

A post shared by Jaci Dryer (@jaci34) on

Day 4 of turnout: my horse is now feral and hiding behind this post. #ottb #eventerproblems

A post shared by Elizabeth Clymer (@eclyrides) on

Hi- my name is Adora and I’m here to keep you humble. #nottheplan #eventerproblems

A post shared by Sam Erwin (@samerwin88) on

When your mom decides you need to wear a helmet. #eventerproblems

A post shared by Tracy Thomas (@tracyt829) on

Beach hair don’t care #flyhighharvey #eventerproblems A post shared by Claire Tyner (@clairemtyner) on

#spoiledhorse #eventerproblems #ottb #love #bestdamnhorse

A post shared by Chris + Ricky 🏇 (@jumpthebigsky) on

Wee thoroughbred’s melodramatic reaction to my request to please stand up. #eventerproblems

A post shared by Natasha Laurenson (@tashalovescake) on

Go Eventing.

Thursday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Crackerjack takes a bow after dressaging. Photo by MP Stone.

On my way to my favorite event today! I’m only running the Open Intermediate, as it is my horse’s first event of the year. This sounds kinda nuts now, because these days the event season starts so darn early, I’m a million miles behind by starting in March. However, I’ve started my season at Carolina International for the past few years, and I love it. It’s always such a fun event, and great courses to get you out of the winter doldrums. Super pumped!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live ScoresEN’s CoverageEN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Poplar Place CIC & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Stable View H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

Can Allison Springer and Arthur repeat their performance from last year and win Carolina International? As a Gold Cup event, the CIC3* at Carolina is jam packed full of stars. Did you know that there is $65,000 in prize money at this event? There will be live streaming for anybody interested, and if you’re at the event, over 30 vendors for your enjoyment. [Fast Facts: Carolina International]

Much beloved Virginia Horse Trials Schooling Shows are taking it to the next level with sponsorship and big prizes. VAHT will host three Starter Horse Trials and Cross Country Schooling days in 2017, with events in April, August and October. With a unique educational format and newly added excellent awards from sponsors, these schooling shows are the creme de la creme of unrecognized events. They offer Green through Preliminary, and have cross country schooling on the day before the event. Presenting sponsor Blue Ridge Equine clinic is giving embroidered quilted saddle pads to winners, and providing a hospitality tent, and McCauley’s Equine Formula, Easy Pellett Products, Merial and Buchanan Livestock LLC have donated prizes for April’s event. [Virginia Horse Trials]

Auburn Eventing Team is hosting an online auction to benefit the 2017 season from today through the 27th. They have everything from beautiful paintings, luxury leather care, a fantastic beach house getaway to lessons with four-star riders. If you’re looking for a good deal on some stuff you probably already want, go ahead and check it out! [Auburn Eventing Online Auction]

Hot on Horse Nation: Water Skijoring (??!)

NSFW Laugh of the Day: Why Racehorses Aren’t Always for Beginners