Classic Eventing Nation

DB Cooper Defies the Odds to Make His Eventing Comeback

Dasha Ivandaeva’s two-star partner DB Cooper returned to competing this past weekend at Ocala II Winter Horse Trials after a lengthy period of time off in which he battled through three surgeries. He skipped around the Open Preliminary like he hadn’t missed a beat. Welcome back, Coopy!

DB Cooper after jumping clear with 4 time penalties around the Open Preliminary at Ocala Winter II HT. Photo courtesy of Dasha Ivandaeva.

After a year off, three major surgeries, and a hell of a long way to recover, DB Cooper is BACK! This horse is a freaking rockstar, and I honestly don’t know how he does it — he’s just amazing.

For those of you who do not know who the real DB Cooper was, he was a man who hijacked a plane, took two-hundred-thousand dollars and jumped into the night sky, never to be seen again. As the story would suggest it, this man must have been some character, as is my DB Cooper.

A year ago, in February, Cooper had colic surgery where they resected 8 feet of bowel. Four days later he had another colic surgery. That in itself is just both heartbreaking and unbelievable. But this champ was a stoic hero through it all, and with a sparkle in his eye. Six weeks into his recovery, poor Cooper popped a massive hernia! We just could not catch a break. At that point in his recovery, nothing really could be done but play the waiting game.

In July, Cooper went in for surgery to repair the hernia. He came out of surgery a little more rough looking than before — figures after three surgeries, but he never lost that sparkle and fight. I just had to cross my fingers and hope that nothing more would get in the way of his recovery.

I got the news that I could start riding him again in December, and we were both so thrilled! He was so happy to be back out. Usually he can be a bit of a brat when it comes to catching him from the field, but he was so eager he was waiting at the gate.

Now, back in full work and ready to go, he is gearing up to make a comeback. And, after all he’s been through, I think he has a newfound fire that will make him a force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait to bring him back out on the scene and watch him be an absolute machine.


Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: Remembering NZB Land Vision

Horse & Hound reported this week that Mark Todd’s 2011 Badminton winner NZB Land Vision had been euthanized Saturday, March 17th. The 17-year-old suffered complications from colic surgery a few weeks earlier.

His win of Badminton in 2011 was one for the history books. It was Mark Todd’s first four-star victory since his eight year retirement from eventing, 30 years after his first win a the level. We look back at that special week for the impressive NZB Land Vision.

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Entries Announced for $225,000 Kentucky CSI3* Invitational Grand Prix

FEI World #1 Kent Farrington will compete in the $225,000 Kentucky CSI3* Invitational 1.60m Grand Prix. Photo by Richard Juilliart/FEI.

Apologies to all of you who clicked on this link thinking we finally have the Kentucky CCI4* entry list! We are still anxiously waiting on pins and needles for that …

Instead, we have the entry list for the inaugural $225,000 Kentucky CSI3* Invitational 1.60m Grand Prix, which will take place on Saturday, April 28, in the main stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park following cross country at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.

In addition to FEI World #1 Kent Farrington, 15 of the top 100 ranked show jumping riders in the world will compete, including five of the top 10 riders in the U.S.

Kentucky CSI3* Invitational 1.60m Grand Prix Entry List:

1. Kent Farrington
2. Margie Engle
3. Jessica Springsteen
4. Kristen Vanderveen
5. Allison Robitaille
6. Marilyn Little
7. Ali Wolff
8. Aaron Vale
9. Peter Lutz
10. Christine Mcrea
11. Daniel Coyle
12. Darragh Kenny
13. Jack Hardin Towell
14. Conor Swail
15. Santiago Lambre
16. Sharn Wordley
17. Ritchie Maloney
18. Samuel Parot
19. Andrew Ramsay
20. Eric Navet
21. Eve Jobs
22. Karl Cook
23. Leah DiMartini
24. Charles A. Jayne
25. Kerry Mcahill
26. Andrew Welles
27. Eugenio Garza
28. Abigail McCardle
29. Jorge Matte
30. Jonathan Mcrea

There are currently 10 riders on the wait list, including Scotty Keach.

Marilyn Little will ride RF Scandalous earlier in the day on cross country in the CCI4* before show jumping in the CSI3*. She confirmed to EN that she plans to ride Karen O’Connor’s Clearwater in the CSI3*, or Corona 93 as a back-up.

New to Kentucky this year, the show jumping festivities will begin Friday, April 27 with a $35,000 Welcome Speed Cup 1.45m class after dressage at 6 p.m. EST. The CSI3* will be held Saturday, April 28 after cross country at 4:30 p.m. EST. Rio Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge is designing the courses.

There is no additional charge for tickets to the Friday or Saturday Grand Prix. Saturday seating in the stadium is limited, so to attend the Grand Prix on Saturday you must reserve your seats online. A Saturday Grounds Admission ticket is needed to select a Saturday Grand Prix seat in the eTix system.

If you have already bought your Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event tickets and did not reserve your Grand Prix tickets, please email [email protected] and include your confirmation number or name and address. You can also call the ticket line at 859-254-8123.

Click here for more information on the $225,000 Kentucky CSI3* Invitational 1.60m Grand Prix. Are you planning to watch the Grand Prix at Kentucky? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Reasons Eventers Should Get Excited About Combined Driving

Photo by Shelby Allen.

Combined driving has long been known as the sister sport to eventing. From the three-phase format to the community, combined driving has a lot to offer, and eventers should get invested in that too, #JoinTheJoy style.

1. A sport after our own hearts. Combined driving was modeled after three-day eventing, and it’s three phases mirror our own: dressage, marathon (cross country) and obstacles or cones (show jumping).

2. Like the cross country phase, the marathon phase is the stuff adrenaline junkies dream of. I’ve stood still as a scarecrow during many questionable cross country rounds, but this weekend at Live Oak I was audibly gasping as horses nimbly navigated through the complicated hazards.

3. They bemoan dressage just like the rest of us. We strive for greatness in the first phase, but at the end of the day both eventers and drivers just want to go fast.

4. We’re all in it for a love of horses, and seeing the relationships between drivers and their horse(s) is both special and inspiring. It’s hard enough to communicate with a horse when you’re on their back, imagine doing it with just your hands and voice.

Squee ponies! Photo by Shelby Allen.

5. Fun isn’t limited to just one horse. There’s pairs, four-in-hands, ponies and pony pairs – something for everyone!

Photo by Shelby Allen.

I’d also like to give an honorable mention to the hats. In the trot up, dressage and cones I saw some of the most impressive head ware. Here’s to hoping Kentucky-bound eventers take from this inspiration.


After Near Heartbreak, Colin Gaffney’s 2017 Concludes in Triumph

Colin Gaffney and Timaru. Photo by Miranda Akins/ Photography in Stride.

2017 was a rollercoaster year for 18-year-old Colin Gaffney of Akron, Ohio. There were the highest of highs, including a move up to the one-star level and to Intermediate plus and a top finish in a championship division; and the lowest of lows – his horse’s near-death experience due to an unexpected allergic reaction.

Colin grew up around horses – both parents also rode and participated in Pony Club. Colin’s mom, Jeni, an equine and small animal veterinarian, is still an active rider and competes in dressage at the Grand Prix level and competed in eventing during her Pony Club days.

“She likes the dressage, I like the jumping,” Colin explained.

Colin has been partnered with “Moldy” since the Spring of 2016. The now 12-year-old Thoroughbred (whose registered name is Timaru) was purchased from Canadian rider Momo Laframboise, who has remained good friends with the Gaffneys. The fungal barn name “Moldy” was bestowed upon the horse by the owner prior to Momo, who, when he got dirty, reportedly found the grey gelding to be a similar color to the mold that grows on bread, and as a grey, get dirty he often did.

Colin says that many people have lobbied him to have the horse’s name changed, but he has remained steadfast in keeping it. “It just fits him and fits his personality,” said Colin. “He’s the king of the barn and he knows it and if he doesn’t like something he lets you know.”

After an outing at Training level their first spring together, Moldy and Colin solidified their partnership at Preliminary over the rest of the season, finishing strongly with a win in the JYOP at the Virginia Horse Trials that fall.

Colin set his sights on qualifying for a one-star the following season and made it to the Virginia CCI1* last May, but nerves got the better of him and the event didn’t pan out as hoped.

“We had a bad cross country round,” he recounted. “I was really nervous because it was my first FEI event.” Colin opted to end their weekend early, retiring after a refusal.

Though initially feeling dejected, Dorothy Crowell, who coaches the Area 8 Young Riders, encouraged Colin to still try and qualify for NAJYRC. Bromont was in just a few weeks and there was time to try their hand at a one-star again there.

Encouraged to give it another shot, Colin and Moldy shipped up to Canada a week in advance of Bromont and lessoned with Momo ahead of the event. Since making the trip to Bromont was a last minute thing, Colin’s parents weren’t able to take time off of work to make it up as well.

The day after they arrived at the event, Colin and Momo noticed that Moldy had a boot-rub on his right foreleg when they took him out of his stall and that it was causing a bit of swelling. Colin called his veterinarian mother and her advice was to give some SMZs. They also presented Moldy to the FEI veterinarians on the grounds who recommended giving an injection of Gentocin, a trade-name for the antibiotic gentamicin, to get the swelling to recede in hopes of being able to pass the trot-up the next day. The Gentocin was given intravenously and Colin and Moldy were sent back to the barns to relax.

Colin Gaffney and Timaru. Photo by Miranda Akins/ Photography in Stride.

As Colin led his horse back to the barns, he started to notice that Moldy was acting a little funny, but didn’t think anything of it immediately. “He was just kind of lackadaisical and was really swinging his head while we walked,” Colin said.

Colin’s attention soon turned to himself as Moldy swung his head right into Colin’s, hitting him just above the eyebrow with a metal piece on his halter, gauging him and drawing blood. As Colin tried to tend to his own wound, Moldy began to tremor and grow weak. Colin grabbed a towel for himself and turned Moldy around in his stall and headed right back to the FEI vet as quickly as they were able. Moldy had no known allergies previously, but he was having an apparent allergic reaction to the Gentocin.

Momo was at the end of the barn aisle on the phone with one of her stable hands and when she saw Colin hurrying back toward her with a towel clutched to his head and an ataxic Moldy in tow she knew something was very wrong. Hanging up on her stable hand and dialing Jeni, she helped Colin to rush Moldy back to the vets.

“It was quite scary for me as well as Momo called to say she thought Moldy might die,” Jeni recounted.  

Though the attending veterinarians knew they needed to act quickly, they initially debated administering dexamethasone, a corticosteroid commonly given to counteract allergic reactions, as it would preclude Colin and Moldy from competing in the event the next day. Fully understanding that they would surrender competing, Colin didn’t hesitate in asking the veterinarians to go ahead with the dexamethasone.

Thanks to the quick action of the veterinarians once Colin made the call, Moldy mercifully began to improve almost instantaneously once the dexamethasone was administered. After a few hours and some additional fluids, they were cleared to head back to the stabling area.

Colin was finally able to get himself taken care of later on and went to the ER to get the cut above his eyebrow stitched up, but due to a cross-border insurance snafu, he wasn’t able to get the stitches and resorted to simply bandaging it up. He still has the scar above his right eyebrow to go along with the tale.

The next day, the swelling on Moldy’s leg was almost completely gone and Colin took it easy for the rest of their time at Bromont. Two days later he had Moldy back under saddle for a hack and a little work around the competition grounds.

“Sticking around for the competition was a good experience even though I didn’t get to run,” Colin recounted. “It was really gorgeous up there and probably one of the nicest places I’ve been. It was awesome watching everyone run around.”

“All the officials and organizers were wonderful to Colin and Moldy,” said Jeni. “The vet staff saved Moldy’s life.”

When the pair returned home from their misadventure, they took it easy for a couple days and then got right back to work. Moldy was no worse for the wear by the time he and Colin headed to the Area 8 Young Riders camp where they had a blast. The next stop was Richland Park for a run in the CIC1* to get them back in competition.

“He was spectacular there and had awesome cross country and stadium jumping round. After that, it felt like we were back to where we were before.”

Next up was Stone Gate Farm Horse Trials for another confidence-building run in the Open Preliminary Division, which they won, before a move-up to Intermediate at the Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy in early October. Colin was decently happy with their dressage there (“It was better than our one-star at Richland”), he says stadium was a little “rough” though it was still a double clear round, but on cross country Moldy was a machine. “He was awesome, and I was awesome, and it was a good comeback from what happened earlier in the year.”  As icing on the cake, they took home a second place finish out of eighteen starters.

Colin Gaffney and Timaru. Photo by Miranda Akins/ Photography in Stride.

All of this led up to their final outing of the season: a take-two of their CCI1* debut at the Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day event. For all the trouble they experienced at Bromont, the trip to Hagyard was the complete opposite.

“It just went well from the start,” said Colin. “I remember after the first day just thinking how happy I was to be there because of what happened earlier in the year.”

The pair turned in a respectable dressage score and jumped double clear in both cross country and stadium to clinch a second place win in the USEF CCI1*-JR/YR Eventing National Championship.

“It was amazing how everything changed going from one event to another,” Colin recalled. “Before Bromont, it was just about going out and having fun, but now when I go out I realize how lucky I am because you never know when it’s going to change. It definitely put everything into perspective.”

Not only was Moldy’s allergic reaction at Bromont a memorable experience for Colin, Momo, and Jeni, it was also a unique experience for the staff at Bromont.

“We ran into the Bromont organizer and secretary at Richland while walking the course and she came up to Colin and wished him better luck!” Jeni said. “The FEI delegates at both Richland and Hagyard also recognized them. Colin was asked at Richland if this was the horse with the allergic reaction at Bromont – it must have been a memorable experience for them!”

Moldy gets lots of time off over the winter once the competition season is done as Colin focuses on school and swim team. Colin is a high school senior and is in the process of choosing which college he’ll attend next year. He hopes to study engineering and to be able to bring Moldy with him if it works out. Until then, they have one more competition season coming up and they’re planning a do-over trip to Bromont.

Best of luck this year Colin – Go Eventing!

Special thanks to Miranda Akins of Photography in Stride for the lovely photos!

Tuesday News & Notes from Chillax

Kristen Vanderveen at Live Oak International. Photo by Shelby Allen.

I dipped my toes in the show jumping world this weekend at Live Oak International, and it was an absolute blast! Sure we see show jumping as a part of every horse trial, but the jump-off of a Longines FEI World Cup Qualifier is something else. Go jumping.

National Holiday: First day of Spring!

Events Opening This Week: Heart of the Carolinas 3-Day Event & H.T. (SC, A-3) Riga Meadow Combined Test (CT, A-1)  Penny Oaks H.T. (IN, A-8) The Event at Skyline (UT, A-9) Heart of the Carolinas 3-Day Event & H.T. (SC, A-3) MCTA H.T., Inc (MD, A-2) Poplar Place Farm May H.T. (GA, A-3)

Events Closing This Week: The Fork CIC3*/CIC2*/CIC1* & HT (NC, A-2) Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (GA, A-3) Spring Bay H.T. (KY, A-8) CDCTA Spring H.T. (VA, A-2) Pine Hill Spring H.T. (TX, A-5)

Tuesday News: 

Dubarry of Ireland has stepped up to support their $20,000 Nations Team Challenge and the Best Dressed Award at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. Team USA took the win last year, and will look to defend their title this year! Teams are determined by FEI rankings at the time of the first horse inspection. [2018 Marks 6th Year of $20,000 Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event]

USEA’s Jessia Duffy was on site at Red Hills earlier this month camera in tow to capture some super special photos. She’s got such a creative eye, so you’ll want to carve out a few minutes to browse her shots. [Through the Lens: Red Hills International]

You may have noticed that William Fox-Pitt was waitlisted for Badminton. Entries are entirely dependent on the horse’s FEI points, of which his ride Fernhill Pimms only has four. This will be his first four-star since his brain injury in 2015. [The Return of William Fox-Pitt and Beyond: What You Need to Know About the Badminton Entry List]

Tuesday Video: Veronica prepping for big, bad Badders

Which product does Olympic medalist Phillip Dutton trust to keep his horses calm and focused at the biggest events in the world? ChillaxLearn more.

Proposed Changes to Model Veterinary Practice Act Could Impact Farrier Industry


Proposed revisions to the Model Veterinary Practice Act (MVPA), published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), would eliminate exemptions regarding farriers and the hoof care profession.

Current language in the MVPA defines “practice of veterinary medicine” as follows from Section 2, in part:

“To diagnose, prognose, treat, correct, change, alleviate, or prevent animal disease, illness, pain, deformity, defect, injury, or other physical, dental, or mental conditions by any method or mode; including the:

i. performance of any medical or surgical procedure, or
ii. prescription, dispensing, administration, or application of any drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, anesthetic, or other therapeutic or diagnostic substance, or
iii. use of any complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies, or
iv. use of any procedure for reproductive management, including but not limited to the diagnosis or treatment of pregnancy, fertility, sterility, or infertility, or
v. determination of the health, fitness, or soundness of an animal, or
vi. rendering of advice or recommendation by any means including telephonic and other electronic communications with regard to any of the above.”

The current language in the MVPA exempts “any person lawfully engaged in the art or profession of farriery” from the definition of veterinary medicine. Additionally, the MVPA currently includes the provision allowing farriers, due to the exemption, “to use any title, words, abbreviation, or letters in a manner or under circumstances that induce the belief that the person using them is qualified to do any act” as described above.

The proposed changes strike farriers from the list of those exempt. Many of the proposed changes in the MVPA include commentary to explain why such a change was made, but the elimination of language about farriers does not include any commentary at all. This absence is creating confusion as to the AVMA’s intentions.

The AVMA clarified to the American Farriers Journal that it in no way seeks to “exert control” over the hoof-care industry, but in eliminating the exemption acknowledges that hoof care is “well outside the definition of veterinary medicine” and does need to be included in the MVPA; the AVMA suggests that farriery should instead be under the purview of government, state by state.

While some concerned horse owners have interpreted this elimination of language to suggest that farriers would need a veterinary license to continue to practice, be required to be directly overseen by a veterinarian, or that a veterinarian would need to be performing a farrier’s job, that’s not necessarily the immediate case. However, these proposed changes do open the door for such requirements to become law according to individual states or based on interpretation of existing laws.

Both the American Farrier’s Association and the American Association of Professional Farriers have publicly stated their opposition to the proposed farrier exemption elimination.

The AVMA is accepting comments regarding the MVPA until March 25: please click here to open the comment form and lend your voice to the conversation.

Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: Carolina is Coming!

One Week Until The 2018 Cloud 11~Gavilan North Carolina International

We are one week away from the start of the 2018 Cloud 11-Gavilan North LLC Carolina International CIC & Horse Trials! Join us March 22-24 at The Carolina Horse Park🐎🎉Thanks to EQSportsNet, our live streaming partner, for the exciting promotional video!

Posted by Carolina International CIC and Horse Trial on Thursday, March 15, 2018

We’re just days away from the start of the 2018 Cloud 11-Gavilan North LLC Carolina International CIC & Horse Trials! The excitement kicks off on Thursday, March 22nd and runs through Sunday and incase you haven’t heard, USEA members can now watch the action for half price on EqSportsNet! Plan ahead to park yourself in front of you computer and enjoy the first glorious livesteam of the season. In the meantime, whet your appetite with this video!

Badminton Entries Go Live with 7 North American Pairs

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW at Badminton 2016. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Hot off the presses! The entry list for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, May 2-6 in Gloucestershire, has just been released, and you’ll likely want to sit down before reading any further.

The stage is set for an epic showdown between 2017 winner Andrew Nicholson and Nereo and 2016 winner Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW. We also have the 2014 winner returning in Sam Griffiths and Paulank Brockagh.

We have five U.S. combinations and two Canadian combinations entered:

Madeline Backus (USA) and her own P.S. Arianna 

Will Coleman (USA) and Four Star Eventing Group’s OBOS O’Reilly

Phillip Dutton (USA) and Tom Tierney, Simon Roosevelt & Caroline Moran’s Fernhill Cubalawn

Lauren Kieffer (USA) and Team Rebecca’s Veronica

Selena O’Hanlon (CAN) and John and Judy Rumble’s Foxwood High

Kathryn Robinson (CAN) and her own Let It Bee

Katie Ruppel (USA) and her own Houdini

Last year’s Burghley winner Oliver Townend is also entered with Ballaghmor Class and leads a very strong British contingent. Past winners Mark Todd and Paul Tapner are also entered, giving us a total of eight riders in the field who have previously won Badminton.

There are currently 14 combinations on the waitlist, including two past winning riders in William Fox-Pitt with Fernhill Pimms and Pippa Funnell with Billy Beware. William and Pippa have five Badminton wins between the two.

Click here to view the full entry list. Who will you be cheering on at Badminton? Let us know in the comments below!

Counting Down to the Third Annual USEA Intercollegiate Championship

The Texas A&M Eventing Team, winner of the coveted School Spirit Award, at the 2017 Intercollegiate Championships. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The third annual USEA Intercollegiate Championship will be held May 24-27 at the Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) in Lexington, Virginia, and we are anticipating the biggest participation yet from intercollegiate eventers. The first championship in 2016 saw 37 students from 10 colleges compete, and last year participation nearly doubled with 80 students from 17 schools forming 21 teams.

“The increased participation and excitement for the competition shows that the model and structure we have developed creates a compelling team atmosphere,” Andy Bowles, VHT organizer, said. “We’re looking forward to this year’s Championship and we will continue working to provide a fun yet challenging competition.”

A total of 33 colleges and universities are currently registered as USEA University Affiliates, which gives all students a $25 discount on their annual USEA membership and the opportunity to ride in the USEA Intercollegiate Championship.

VHT offers Beginner Novice to Advanced/Intermediate levels, as well as CCI1* and CIC2* divisions, for students at the championship. There are no qualifications necessary for students to compete in the championship, aside from their schools being registered as USEA University Affiliates.

Click here to see if your school is a registered USEA University Affiliate. More information on becoming a USEA Affiliate can be found here.

This is the last year the Intercollegiate Championship will be hosted at Virginia before moving on to a new venue, so don’t miss out! Entries for the third annual USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship open on April 10. Are you planning to compete? Let us know in the comments below!

[SEC is the Conference to Beat at the 2018 Intercollegiate Eventing Championship]