Classic Eventing Nation

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Get Pumped for Strzegom

The 2017 European Eventing Championships are finally here! All 77 horses passed the first horse inspection today at Strzegom in Poland, and now all eyes will be on Michael Jung to see if he can take a record fourth Europeans title.

Don’t miss this hype video featuring highlights from the Blair Castle Europeans in 2015, when an injured Michael battled through a broken leg to pilot fischerTakinou to victory. Will anything stand in his way in Poland? Keep it locked on EN to find out.

Elevate® Concentrate

Dealing with neurological issues?

Ask your vet about Elevate® Concentrate.

Elevate Concentrate:

  • Delivers a highly bioavailable source of natural vitamin E that is preferentially absorbed and retained in the tissues.
  • Does not contain other minerals and vitamins that might cause imbalances.
  • Mixes easily with the daily ration and has a pleasant flavor.
  • Supplies natural vitamin E in an affordable manner when long-term supplementation is required.

For more information, visit KPPvet.com.

Your Guide to the 2017 European Championships + How to Watch

Can Michael Jung pilot fischerRocana to a fourth consecutive individual gold medal at the European Championships? Photo by Libby Law Photography.

All 77 horses were accepted in today’s first horse inspection at the European Championships at Strzegom, sending 13 teams and individual riders from 19 nations forward to dressage. Dr. Ernst Topp (GER), Sue Baxter (GBR) and Dr. Slawomir Pietrzak (POL) are presiding on the ground jury.

All eyes will be on Germany, who arrived in Poland as the hot favorites having won team gold for the last three consecutive Europeans: 2015 at Blair Castle, 2013 at Malmö and 2011 at Luhmühlen. The man who led Germany to victory each time, Michael Jung, returns to defend his individual gold title.

Ginny Leng remains the only other rider in history to win the Europeans three times since the championships began in 1953. If Michael Jung can pilot fischerRocana FST to gold, he will become the first rider in history to win four individual gold medals at the Europeans.

With Aachen winners Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob, Luhmühlen CCI4* winners Julia Krajewski and Samourai du Thot, and Blenheim winners Bettina Hoy and Seigneur Medicott joining Michael on the German team, they bring forward a very strong bid to top the podium.

But there are plenty of other nations coming forward with strong teams to challenge the Germans. France dethroned Germany in Rio to take team gold, but only one combination from that winning Olympic team — Thibaut Vallette with Qing du Briot ENE HN — are competing on the French team at Strzegom.

With cross country penalties in both of their international runs this season, there are questions marks as to whether Thibaut and Qing du Briot, who won individual bronze in 2015 at Blair Castle, can replicate their previous Europeans performance.

What we know for sure is that Thomas Carlile and Upsilon are virtually guaranteed to deliver a spectacular performance for France. The striking stallion set the Event Rider Masters dressage record of 30.8 at Barbury last month, and he can jump just as well as he can move. (Interesting side note: Matthieu Vanlandeghem’s mount Trouble Fete ENE HN is out of the same dam as Upsilon, O’Vive by Fusain du Defey.)

Great Britain come to Poland hoping to reclaim the European title, which they won for eight consecutive championships before Germany’s hot streak began in 2011. With Chris Bartle leading a strong team that includes 2009 individual gold medalist Tina Cook, the Brits are hungry for redemption following a disappointing performance in Rio.

While they were not named to the British team and compete as individuals, Gemma Tattersall and Quicklook V remain favorites to play spoiler for a podium finish. The mare has scored in the 30s in dressage in four of her last six international outings and is widely expected to challenge for the lead after the first phase.

While Germany, France and Great Britain are expected to battle for the team medals, we all know anything can happen in eventing. Rüdiger Schwarz’ cross country course is expected to be a twisty, technical challenge, which means you are definitely going to want to watch all the action alive.

FEI TV is live streaming the European Championships starting tomorrow with the first day of dressage at 10:15 a.m. local time, 4:15 a.m. EST. Click here to check broadcast times in your area. Click here for ride times and live scoring.

EN will have a full recap of all the action after each day of the competition. Keep checking back for everything you need to know from the Europeans! Go Eventing.

#FEIEuros2017: WebsiteRide Times & Live ScoresFEI TVEN’s Coverage

Contest Alert: Share Your Summer Selfies to Win an Equetech Gilet!

Photo courtesy of World Equestrian Brands

Summer is winding down, and it’s hard to believe that the first day of fall is just five weeks away. What better way to celebrate the last gasp of summer than with a contest! We’re teaming up with World Equestrian Brands to give away an Equetech Kingsley Gilet to keep the elements out as the season changes to colder weather.

This technical, water-resistant gilet with a cozy pillow collar has Bio-Down insulation, which keeps you super warm and also gives a down feel while still being machine washable. The gilet, which retails at $142, has two zip pockets with Equetech snaffle zipper pulls, contrasting suede piping and a two-way zipper. Available in navy or mink.

Photo courtesy of World Equestrian Brands

How to enter: It’s easy! Simply snap a selfie with your horse. Post the photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ENsummerselfie, or email your photo to [email protected].

Entries are due by midnight EST on Wednesday, August 23. The EN staff will pick our favorite summer selfies and post them for a vote. Good luck! Be sure to check out the full line of Equetech apparel available from World Equestrian Brands here.

Wylie vs. The Mongol Derby, Powered by SmartPak, Day 8: Horsing Around

In August 2017 writer/rider Leslie Wylie will be attempting her most fearsome feat of #YOLO yet: a 620-mile race across Mongolia. Riding 27 semi-wild native horses. Carrying only 11 pounds of gear. Relying on nomads for food, water and shelter. On a mission to help stop deforestation.

To be held Aug. 9-19, the Mongol Derby is widely regarded as the toughest horse race in the world. Inspired by the Genghis Khan’s original “pony express,” there’s no trail or set route, just 25 GPS checkpoints/horse exchange stations to hit over the course of 7-10 days. Keep it here for weekly updates from Leslie ride of a lifetime! Click here to read previous stories in the series.

What it feels like to finish! MP RHW GC BW JW complete on Day 8. Leslie is on track to complete tomorrow! Photo by Julian Herbert/Mongol Derby.

The first finishers completed the 2017 Mongol Derby yesterday (in record-setting time!) and more followed suit today with much celebration. Our Leslie Wylie’s “traveling group” is projected to finish tomorrow, one day early, with just three legs left in the 1,000 kilometer journey.

As the sun sets on Day 8 on the steppe, let’s just remember that not only have this lot been riding hard for a full week and then some, they’ve also been dealing with harsh weather conditions, staying in gers hosted by nomadic herdsmen and eating food provided by their gracious hosts. We can only imagine on Day 8 how inviting this lovely lake at the finish line must be:

Read on for the day’s full report.

Day 8 Recap

As Ed Fernon, Barry Armitage and Jakkie Mellet — the top three finishers from yesterday — lounged around victory camp, perhaps sleeping off the celebratory vodka they had knocked back the night prior, the race continued across the steppe for the rest of the field.

Warren Sutton and Will Comiskey (aka “Dingo”) had only the last leg to finish after their overnight at Urtuu 27, and they rolled across the finish line together in what seems to be becoming a new Mongol Derby tradition, taking the tied finish for fourth place around 11:10 a.m. local time, 11:10 p.m. EST last night. This was Will’s second Mongol Derby completion, and he “blessed” his final mount with a bit of mare’s milk:

Warren Sutton reportedly forgot to turn on his tracking device, so the tracking map still shows him as being at Urtuu 27. We are assured that he did, in fact, complete the Mongol Derby.

Later in the afternoon, the joint sixth-place finishers crossed into victory camp, including the first lady riders to complete in 2017: Brooke Wharton, Rebecca Hewitt, Marie Palzer, Jodie Ward and Greg Chant.

The final riders of the day to finish were Roberta McLeod at 5:30 p.m. local time (5:30 a.m. EST today) for 11th place and Jen Cook at 8:18 p.m. local time (8:18 a.m. EST) for 12th. Rebecca Pumphrey turned up at the finish at 9:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. EST) after getting lost in the dark for the last three kilometers.

Rebecca earned herself a three-hour technical penalty that could possibly bump her to lower than 13th depending on when the first riders finish tomorrow. Regardless of final placing, we’re sure she’s happy to be across the finish line. Congratulations to all the day’s finishers!

While the dangers of the Mongol Derby certainly aren’t diminished just by proximity to the finish line — riders can still contend with hazards like marmot holes, unpredictable and semi-wild mounts, spooky things like cars popping right up out of nowhere and the various injuries and illnesses that everyone has been battling from Day 1 — we’re perceiving from our desks on the other side of the world that the focus now is not just on surviving each day on the steppe but on finishing.

Spirits are high among the back pack: high enough that a few riders got into some fun shenanigans along the trail.

BW, or Brooke Wharton, already finished earlier in the day, so this last tweet is a typo that should be LW. If there’s one person we trust to take things to the next level, it’s Leslie. So look out, Lucy and Jimbo. You’ve got LW on your tail now.

Leslie and the rest of her new trail friends have safely made it to Urtuu 25 for the night, giving them three legs to ride tomorrow and on track to finish on Day 9, one day ahead of the Day 10 deadline. We’re sending them all our best thoughts for a safe final day of riding.

Injury and Accident Assessment

In an impressive display of grit and tenacity, some of the Bloodwagon riders — those who retired earlier in the Derby due to injury or illness — are reportedly “itching to ride again.” Medical staff have been dispatched to assess Jane Boxhall, Rick Helson and Liv Wood to see if they can be cleared to ride again, at least giving them the opportunity to ride across the finish line.

We’ll continue to bring you daily updates from the Mongol trail. You can also follow along via Mongol Derby Twitter (Leslie’s call sign is LW) for live updates. Track the riders via GPS here. Go Wylie!

Broken Leg to Blue Ribbon: Caribe PCH’s Comeback Story

Nancy Read and Caribe PCH. Photo by Joan Davis/ Flatlandsfoto.

Last June, Nancy Read walked out to the pasture at her New Hampshire farm and found her then 6-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Caribe PCH, had broken his leg in an apparent pasture accident. A career-ending injury at best and a fatal one at worst, a broken leg is a nightmare scenario for any horse horse, but this story has a better than best-case-scenario ending.

Defying all odds, “Baby” returned to eventing just eight months after his injury. Last month, Nancy and Baby won the Amateur Novice Masters Challenge at Fitch’s Corner Horse Trials in Millbrook, New York.

Nancy met Baby in 2010 when her sister sister purchased him as a 2-month-old colt from Plum Creek Hollow Farm in Larkspur, Colorado, which imports, breeds, trains and competes German Sport Horses for dressage and show jumping. With offset eyes and buck teeth, the colt found himself for sale, and Nancy’s sister snagged the crooked-faced foal on the cheap, hoping he might still make a good dressage prospect.

As was somewhat expected however, with a sire like Grand Prix show jumper Con Capilot, Caribe PCH loved to jump, so it was only natural that Nancy, the eventer in the family, obtained the coming 4-year-old from her sister.

“The joke in the family is if they don’t like dressage they send them to me,” Nancy laughed.

Nancy Read and Caribe PCH. Photo by Joan Davis/ Flatlandsfoto.

Bringing Up Baby

Nancy began his education as an event horse with the help of her friend and trainer Nicole Carroll, who is based in Brentwood, California. Nancy boards her horses with Nicole during the winter months while living with her husband in California from late October to early June. She and the horses travel back to New Hampshire, where she grew up, for the summer months.

It was during Caribe PCH’s first time cross country schooling at Fresno County Horse Park that he earned his barn name. As Nicole was riding him toward a small log, the young horse got distracted by the water behind it, causing him to trip and stumble over the jump. Nancy and Nicole laughed it off as a “Baby Go Boom” moment and the gelding was henceforth known as Baby.

Baby soon found his stride on cross country, successfully progressing to Novice level with both Nicole and Nancy competing him, winning four out of his first six events. But the gelding’s eventing career was put on an indefinite hold last June when Nancy found Baby in his field three-legged lame.

A fracture high up on the horse’s left foreleg was obvious. Feeling instantly sick at the sight of the injury, Nancy called her veterinarian for immediate assistance. She knew they needed to get Baby to an equine hospital for treatment, and she wondered if it would even be possible to load him on a trailer and make it to Myhre Equine Clinic in Rochester, New Hampshire without doing further damage to the leg.

Baby had gone down before Nancy and the vet were able to load him on the trailer, but with some sedatives in his system plus a makeshift cast he miraculously got up, loaded onto the trailer, and safely made the ride to the clinic.

Upon first inspection Dr. Grant Myhre gave the break very little hope of healing enough for Baby to compete again, but the hope was he could be pasture sound. Nancy told Dr. Myhre to do everything and anything he could to help her horse.

It was a rough road to recovery for Baby initially, and Dr. Myhre cautioned Nancy during the first few weeks post-injury that things weren’t looking particularly good. Nancy made frequent trips to the clinic to groom and visit Baby, hoping that a good curry would at least make him feel a little better given that he couldn’t roll while hooked up to a line to keep him from laying down and re-fracturing the healing bone.

Baby Makes His Comeback

Gradually, each day Baby started looking a little brighter. Nancy and Dr. Myhre both gained a little more hope with each passing day that the horse would make a recovery.  

Baby was able to be taken off the line at the beginning of September and finally able to return home to Nancy’s farm at the end of that month. The rehabilitation was daunting, but Nancy started slow and diligently, wanting to be absolutely certain that Baby was handling the process well and taking everything slower than even the doctor’s orders.

First came hand-walking, then walking under saddle in November. Nancy incorporated a lot of slow hill work in order to rebuild muscle. Short bouts of trotting were slowly incorporated into the routine, gradually becoming longer. Cantering was finally incorporated in January this year after migrating back to California for the winter. After months on stall rest in the hospital, it also took Baby a long time to get back to normal horse life, particularly trusting people entering his stall.

“Once he started getting fitter and more confident, he started showing he was interested in getting out to shows again,” Nancy said.

Baby’s first outing back was at a schooling jumper show over crossrails just to get him out in a show setting again. Having been more atmosphere than the gelding had seen in seven months, Baby was a little excited and overstimulated, but clearly enthusiastic about being there. His first event back, going Beginner Novice at Twin Rivers Winter HT, was much the same as the normally lazy and laid back gelding bounced his way around the cross country course.

“He was so excited and so happy to be back,” Nancy said. “It’s an absolute miracle — he’s an absolute miracle.”

Nancy Read and Caribe PCH. Photo by Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto.

Amateur Novice Masters Challenge at Fitch’s Corner

With Baby running so well this spring after his recovery, Nancy decided to make the Fitch’s Corner Amateur Novice Masters Challenge a goal for the summer. The Novice Masters Challenge is open to riders age 40 and older who have not completed an event at Training level or above within the past two years. The class is run over a championship style course with show jumping in reverse order of standing as the last phase.

“The Amateur Novice Masters Challenge was very exciting for me to work towards. To get to jump in reverse order of standing in the evening — when do we get to do that?” Nancy said.

“I’m so grateful to Fernanda Kellogg (Fitch’s Corner owner and organizer) for opening up her farm. It’s a privilege to be able to do this sport in a world where events are dropping and land is disappearing, and the fact that she offers something special for the Novice riders is very sweet of her. It’s very motivating to have something like this to work towards.”

Nancy and Baby won the Novice Masters on a score of 19.2, blowing the competition out of the water and beating his own personal best Novice dressage score by nearly 9 marks. Nancy also took home second in the same class with her other horse, Carolina PCH, on a final score of 27.30.

Despite Baby’s fantastic dressage scores and his continued winning ways, Nancy is quick to stay humble and point out his greenness. There’s still some confidence-building to do on cross country, as there’s still always at least one fence on course that takes him by surprise.

“I actually haven’t had a jumping round yet with him that’s felt totally solid,” she said. “He missed a year due to his injury and he’s still green and still learning. I went to Fitch’s just happy to have a horse that was able and was lucky to have a judge that liked him and we got it done.”

For Nancy, the rewards of potentially progressing up the levels pale in comparison to the enjoyment she finds competing at Novice with her two horses. With Baby, the enjoyment is amplified by the feeling of appreciation she has just to still have him.

“When I go into the arena on him, I’m not even nervous. I’m just thinking ‘I’ve got you and we’ve got nothing to lose’ so whatever happens, it doesn’t matter,” she said.

Nancy and Baby bested their dressage score from Fitch’s Corner with a 17.5 at the GMHA Festival of Eventing in Woodstock, Vermont this past weekend, which they finished on to win their division. Next on the calendar will be a trip to Tryon for the American Eventing Championships.

“I think with these horses you just enjoy the moment,” Nancy said. “To me, it means just as much as when Neville Bardos made a comeback with Boyd Martin. For me it feels the same. I adore this horse and if he can still do a level we’re comfortable at then I’m happy.”

Here’s wishing Nancy and Baby continued success and happiness! Special thanks to Joan Davis of Flatlandsfoto for providing photos from Fitch’s Corner.

Go Eventing.

Wednesday News & Notes from SmartPak

Sara Kozumplik-Murphy shows off her unicorns. Photo via Sara’s FB page.

Sara Kozumplik-Murphy has gone full unicorn in an effort to take her real-life unicorn Rubens d’Ysieux overseas to contest the CCI3* at Millstreet. With a fundraiser, schooling jumper shows, and salty unicorn t-shirt sales, she has pulled out all the stops to gain the funding to make Rubens D’Ysieux fly higher and longer than he has before.

#WylieWatch: Track Leslie Wylie in the Mongol Derby!

National Holiday: National Tell a Joke Day

#FEIEuros2017: WebsiteRide Times & Live ScoresFEI TVEN’s Coverage

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Huntington Farm H.T. [Website]

Waredaca Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Full Gallop Farm August H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

The 2017 FEI European Championships are here! The action kicks off today with the first horse inspection at Strzegom in Poland. Will Michael Jung win a fourth consecutive individual gold medal? Or will another nation rise to the occasion and dethrone the Germans, who have won team gold for the last three championships? Listen to EquiRatings’ predictions of the medal winners in the latest episode of the Eventing Podcast. [Europeans Preview Show]

With the fall season imminent, it’s a good time to brush up on the rules. Do you know what the rules require for return to play if you appear injured? What about if you get a concussion? Can you use a medical bracelet or does it have to be an armband? The USEA is here to remind us. [Rules Refresher]

Ian Stark, course designer extraordinaire, is one tough cookie. After falling from a young horse last year, Ian has undergone some ongoing pain that he was told would eventually resolve. As it failed to, Ian underwent an MRI where it was discovered his pelvis had separated. After undergoing a highly specialized operation, Ian is back on his way to recovery, though it may take up to a year to be 100%. [Ian Stark Undergoes Pelvis Operation]

If you’re going to Burghley to spectate, you may be surprised to get a piece of the action. With a riding simulator dubbed the ‘Musto Mare’, you too can tackle iconic Burghley fences such as the Cottesmore Leap. After a brief tutorial on how to ride the ‘mare’, riders will get a chance to ride a six to eight fence course. [Tackling the Cottesmore Leap]

SmartPak Product of the Day: It’s mid-August, which means the sun is beating down as hard as ever. I can feel the weight of it when I ride mid-day on weekends and I’m thankful for my sunstopper shirts to help protect my skin. [SmartPak]

Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: Lynn Symansky and Donner at Burghley

SpectraVET sponsored rider Lynn Symansky and the Donner Syndicate’s 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Donner are one of eight U.S. riders preparing to contest the 2017 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials over Labor Day weekend.

Lynn and Donner have enjoyed a long career together, making their FEI debut as a pair in 2010. They tackled their first CCI4* in 2013, finishing on their dressage score for fifth place at Rolex Kentucky. They have since completed six more CCI4* events including the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Caen.

This will be Lynn and Donner’s second appearance at Burghley. Their first was in 2015 when they finished in 14th place. Take a look back at their clear round on cross country courtesy of Burghley TV.

For more where that came from, click here.

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.

American Eventing Championship Activities You Won’t Want to Miss + Last Chance to Enter!

AEC 2016 competitors during an awards ceremony in the George H. Morris Arena. Photo courtesy of Leslie Mintz/USEA.

TODAY is the closing date of the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships, presented by Nutrena, so if you’ve waited until the last minute, hurry and send your entry in! Last year saw a record 665 starters and the entry numbers so far show another huge turnout.

The USEA AEC is returning for the second year to the stunning Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring, NC August 30-September 3. Next year the AEC heads West to the Colorado Horse Park.

The AEC is as much a party as it is a competition and TIEC has released the schedule of competitor and spectator activities.

AEC Welcome Reception, Wednesday, August 30
Kick off the 2017 USEA AEC at the Legends Club with drinks and hors d’oeuvres. All competitors will receive one free ticket and more are available for purchase here!
AEC Adult Rider Party presented by Beohringer Ingelheim, Thursday, August 31
Free drinks for USEA Adult Riders and a cash bar at the groovy outdoor Silo Bar. This event is open to USEA competitors and family members.
AEC Young Rider Party, Thursday, August 31
Free pizza and ice cream for USEA Young Riders!
Brooke USA “Shelter the Donkeys” Fundraiser, Friday, September 1
This event will highlight the initiatives of Brooke USA, a 501c3 dedicated to providing resources and awareness for working equines and donkeys in underdeveloped countries. Brooke USA ambassadors Boyd Martin, Sinead Halpin, Tik Maynard and Allison Springer will be serving drinks as celebrity bartenders. There will also be a silent auction and mini-equine demonstration.
 
AEC Competitor Party, Friday, September 1
Watch an exciting Gladiator Polo™ match and enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. All competitors receive one free ticket and additional tickets can be purchased here! Still hungry? Head over to the Legends Club for an authentic Argentine Asado buffet. (They had me at “all-you-can-eat.”) For pricing and to purchase your Argentine Asado buffet tickets click here!
“SNL” Advanced Show Jumping Legends Club Buffet, Saturday, September 2
TIEC’s popular Saturday Night Lights series in the George H. Morris Arena will feature the Advanced competitors in the final phase of the Adequan Gold Cup Series Finale.
“SNL” AEC Craft Beer Festival, Saturday, September 2
Western North Carolina is craft beer country, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer evening than watching good horses perform while enjoying a cold glass of excellent local beer. The Craft Beer Festival during Saturday Night Lights will serve UNLIMITED four-ounce pours from participating craft breweries, a heavy hors d’oeuvres buffet, and a souvenir cup from TIEC.
They have a stellar line-up of local breweries from Asheville, Hendersonville, Brevard and other nearby towns including: Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, French Broad Brewing Company, Pisgah Brewing Company, Oskar Blues, Bold Rock, Catawba Brewing, Asheville Brewing, Highland Brewing, Noble Cider, Hi Wire and more. Tickets can be purchased at the door and online by clicking here!
Remember, these are all the ‘extras’. The competition itself is something to behold, with the country’s best Beginner Novice through Advanced horses and riders competing for the Champion title. So go enter!
For more information on the 2017 USEA AEC at TIEC, visit www.tryon.com or www.useventing.com.

Wylie vs. Mongol Derby, Powered by SmartPak, Day 7: We Have Winners!

In August 2017 writer/rider Leslie Wylie will be attempting her most fearsome feat of #YOLO yet: a 620-mile race across Mongolia. Riding 27 semi-wild native horses. Carrying only 11 pounds of gear. Relying on nomads for food, water and shelter. On a mission to help stop deforestation.

To be held Aug. 9-19, the Mongol Derby is widely regarded as the toughest horse race in the world. Inspired by the Genghis Khan’s original “pony express,” there’s no trail or set route, just 25 GPS checkpoints/horse exchange stations to hit over the course of 7-10 days. Keep it here for updates on Leslie’s ride of a lifetime! Click here to read previous stories in the series.

Ed Fernon and Barry Armitage cross the finish line together. Photo by Julian Herbert/Mongol Derby.

After trading the lead several times not only over the past few days but in the final hour of the race, Barry Armitage of South Africa and Ed Fernon of Australia crossed the line together as co-winners of the 2017 Mongol Derby, with Jakkie Mellet of South Africa just behind them to finish third.

The three riders pushed each other hard and fast throughout the event to separate them significantly from the rest of the field, and the three Southern Hemisphere riders were the only riders to finish today. Another 10 or so riders are in range to potentially finish tomorrow.

Our own Leslie Wylie appears to have had a fast and efficient day on the steppe, making it to Urtuu 21 this evening with just six checkpoints to go before the finish line.

Barry Armitage off and running from the final checkpoint. Photo by Julian Herbert/Mongol Derby.

Day Seven Recap

A distance of 220 kilometers separated the leaders from the rear pack this morning, and the weather quickly turned hot and sunny to create challenging conditions (especially when compared to the cold, blowing rain riders faced on Day 2).

Jakkie Mellet, who had maintained a steady lead for much of the Derby, ran into trouble just beyond Urtuu 25. His horse returned without him, the saddle hanging under the horse’s belly and Jakkie followed soon after on foot; a nearby car had spooked the horse, which then proceeded to dump Jakkie. In the chaos, a stirrup leather snapped, and in a nod to our dear Leslie …

Jakkie wound up making his own stirrup leather out of rope and continuing on, but not before Ed Fernon passed him to take the lead. Jakkie, Ed and Barry battled for the lead over the next few legs with about 20 minutes of traveling time separating them. As race organizers described, over a 1,000 kilometer race that’s essentially photo finish material.

Further drama ensued due to the hot weather when Jakkie picked up a vet penalty at Urtuu 27, meaning that Ed and Barry could continue on while he served two hours. Ed and Barry continued on together through the final leg, ultimately crossing the finish line together to share the win. Jakkie earned a well-fought third place, finishing roughly an hour and a half later. All three riders’ horses passed the final vet check, and all three riders (plus their horses) cooled down in the lake together!

Ed Fernon and Barry Armitage enjoy a well-earned dip with their horses at the finish line. Julian Herbert/Mongol Derby

Leslie appears to be safely checked in to Urtuu 21 for the night. Without any of her gear to help her comfortably handle a night camping in the open on the steppe, this was likely the best decision despite having some riding time still available at the end of the day. As noted by race organizers, self-care along the Derby trail is important.

Which is why we’re glad Leslie appears to have gotten a good breakfast this morning:

No further details are available on the above-mentioned “fending off wolves” incident, but we’re definitely craving more news on that. We’ll report what we learn.

Leslie and the rest of the riders at her urtuu are projected to finish two days from now, and we’ll be there every step of the way cheering our girl home! We’re delighted to see she still has a big smile on her face after seven days of facing what can only be described as myriad challenges on the Derby trail.

Yesterday’s official Derby recap put it this way: “End of Day 1 saw LW in the lead, bunking between urtuus solo. Ballsy. After a series of misfortunes including a couple lost horses, lost kit, and showing true derby grit by riding stirrupless with a sock for a saddle bag, LW may have fallen to the back of the field, but has endeared herself to onlookers as a bonafide derby legend.”

Injury and Accident Assessment

Emma Manthrope had to cope with a horse that pulled up very lame about 13 kilometers out from Urtuu 20. The vet stationed at the urtuu headed out immediately to treat the horse, who reportedly responded well to treatment and is doing fine in the care of a local family.

Mongol Derby organizers noted that injuries in the field involving the horses always take precedence over clearing the riders at checkpoints. We salute the horsemanship of the entire Mongol Derby team and the obvious care they take with the horses!

Most of the other incidents of the day involved Derby vehicles stuck in bogs or running out of fuel — the hazards of such a remote expedition with a fast-moving field!

At the close of Day 7 of racing, the EN team sends our heartiest congratulations to co-winners Barry Armitage and Ed Fernon, as well as third-placed Jakkie Mellet. We’re cheering all of the Mongol Derby competitors home!

We’ll continue to bring you daily updates from the Mongol trail. You can also follow along via Mongol Derby Twitter (Leslie’s call sign is LW) for live updates. Track the riders via GPS here. Go Wylie!

Jakkie Mellet brings his last horse in across the finish line. Photo by Julian Herbert/Mongol Derby.

Jenni Autry and Lorraine Jackson contributed to this report.

Draw Order Posted for Burghley

Lillian Heard and LCC Barnaby. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The draw order for the 2017 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials has been posted. Great Britain’s Kristina Cook will be first down the centerline with Star Witness. The 12-year-old Irish gelding is contesting his fourth CCI4* and looking to continue his streak of top 10 finishes.

In a field of 80 confirmed entries, we won’t see an American hit the sandbox until more than a third of the way through, but then the way it works out, those of us secretly tuning in to watch Burghley at work will be able to see multiple U.S. pairs in short chunks of time.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Mary Ann Ghadban’s Under Suspection drew number 31 and will be the first pair from the USA to go. Hannah Sue and the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare finished fifth at Kentucky this past April.

Andrea Baxter and her 12-year-old Thoroughbred mare Indy 500 are making the long trek from California to contest their second CCI4*. They have drawn number 38. Right after them will be another West Coast Wonder, Mackenna Shea and Landioso with be riding as number 39. Mackenna and her 15-year-old Bavarian Warmblood gelding have spent the summer training and competing in Great Britain.

In slot 44 is Savannah Fulton and Captain Jack making their overseas debut at the Burghley Horse Trials. Savannah and the Full Moon Farm Syndicate’s 14-year-old Thoroughbred finished 35th at their first four-star at Kentucky in April.

Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie, owned by Pierre Colin, Denise Lahey and George and Gretchen Wintersteen, are the next for the U.S. with number 52. They are followed closely by Lauren Kieffer and Team Rebecca LLC’s very experienced Veronica with number 54.

Lynn Symansky and her long time partner Donner, owned by the Donner Syndicate, drew number 59, and the final pair for the U.S. will be Lillian Heard and her own LCC Barnaby in slot 77.

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica. Photo by Jenni Autry.

This year’s Burghley entries represent nine different nations and have a star-studded list of horses and riders including a number of former winners including current world number 1 Michael Jung, Oliver Townend and Andrew Hoy. In addition, there will be 17 Burghley first-timers competing alongside the world’s best riders.

Andrew Nicholson is entered on three horses: Nereo, Qwanza and Teseo. Andrew won Badminton this spring with Nereo and the same pair finished second at Burghley last year. If they can improve on that performance and secure a victory at Burghley they will be 2/3 of the way to winning the coveted Rolex Grand Slam.

Land Rover Burghley Event Director, Elizabeth Inman said: “The standard of entries is as high as ever this year and we look forward to welcoming some if not all of the European Eventing Championship medalists to Lincolnshire this autumn.

“As always Mark Phillips’ cross country course will provide riders and horses with a true four-star challenge and we’ll see talented young riders such as Lissa Green, Harry Dzenis and Georgie Spence pitted against established campaigners including Oliver Townend and Michael Jung. With Andrew Nicholson focusing on his quest for the elusive Rolex Grand Slam, there is all to play for.”

The competition begins August 31. Click here for the full entry list or here to see the draw in order.

[World Class Field Set to Battle for Title]