Classic Eventing Nation

Weekly OTTB Wishlist from Cosequin

While CANTER might not be the best place to shop for toddler-proof ponies …

… it’s a super resource for eventers in the market for their next superstar. Here are three OTTBs we talent-spotted on CANTER this week!

Photo courtesy of CANTER Delaware.

Moon Traveler (Malibu MoonDeputy Cures Blues, by War Deputy): 2009 16.2-hand Kentucky bred gelding

This good looking guy has a lot of class and it shows in his conformation and personality! Sound, no vices. A son of Malibu Moon (who always throws outstanding looking horses), Moon Traveler was a $325,000 2-year-old. He went on to be stakes placed, earning almost $200K but his heart is no longer into racing and his connections want to find him a great new job. Trainer says he is sound and clean-legged with no vices. RRP 2017 Makeover eligible. And CANTER notes that he will do ANYTHING for mints! Located at Delaware Park.

View Moon Traveler on CANTER Delaware.

Photo courtesy of CANTER California.

La Canpamocha (BushwackerGambler’s Beauty, by Awesome Gambler): 2014 16.3+hand California bred filly

Sport horse alert! This girl is athletic! She’s very sharp and alert, and super fit from racing. She had good feet and bone, and is reported to be sound, but just needs to fill out a little and isn’t done growing. With her big walk and look of the eagles, this mare seems like she could be a star event horse or jumper. Raced around 10 times but just is not winning. Experienced rider recommended. Located at Golden Gate Fields.

View La Canpamocha on CANTER California.

Photo via CANTER Maryland.

MJ Plus (Five Star DayGamblin’ Nan, by Pleasant Colony): 2009 16.2+hand Kentucky bred gelding

Last raced on June 9, 2017, this guy is currently getting turned out on a local farm and ready for a new career. He has been a successful racehorse, earning over $250K. He is reportedly 100% sound with no issues. His trainer says he is a “once in a lifetime horse” with a fantastic brain, perfect for timid amateurs or kids, and a big, loping stride. He’ll begin some re-schooling work in the near future if he doesn’t sell quickly, at which point his price will increase to reflect training time.

View MJ Plus on CANTER Maryland.

EN’s Got Talent: Dani Sussman and Thurston B Howell

We hear all the time about horses at the top of the sport, but what about the next generation of equine talent? EN’s Got Talent introduces the future superstars of the sport, interviewing riders about how they’re tackling training with these youngsters. Have you spotted a spectacular young horse at an event you think should be highlighted in this column? Email us at [email protected]

Dani Sussman and Thurston B Howell. Photo by Altitude Equine Photography.

Dani Sussman has always had an affinity for Thoroughbreds, particularly pocket sized ones well-suited to her diminutive 5’1″ frame. Throughout her career, though, Dani has ridden more than a few horses who were perhaps a bit larger than suitable for her petite build. She rode what she could, gaining the invaluable experience that comes from handling horses of all types.

So it wasn’t until a smaller former polo pony came to her barn that Dani truly got to try out a horse more her size. Thurston B Howell is owned by Carol Mavrakis. The diminutive Thoroughbred gelding stands just a touch over 15.1, a big change from some of Dani’s other 16.3-17 hand rides.

Thurston B Howell first came to Dani when Carol brought him down to Dani’s Colorado base from her home in Wyoming. “I first met Carol when we were both in California competing and we were both at Robyn Fisher’s barn,” Dani recalled. “She brought Thurston down and asked me to ride him, and he was unbelievable. So much power and talent.”

The ride wasn’t Dani’s right away as Carol continued to compete the then 7-year-old gelding at the Novice level. “About a year after we first met, Carol called and said that she wanted to bring Thurston down for some training,” Dani said. “She brought him down and about two weeks later I ran the Novice at Colorado Horse Park with him. She’d ridden him through that level and had done a great job with him, and he was spectacular for me.”

Dani went on to step the gelding up to Training level and then Prelim, where he currently competes. Since the move up, Thurston has finished in the top five on five different occasions, gaining more experience and mileage as he goes.

For Dani, having an eye out for that special horse who might just be the special one who wants to continue up the levels is a habit, and Thurston has checked all of the boxes so far. “When I have a horse that I’d like to think of taking to the upper levels, I think it has a lot to do with their personality and temperament,” she explained. “Do they have the heart to really put 110 percent into this? I think you can tie some of that into the Thoroughbred; Thoroughbreds naturally have a lot of heart.”

Dani has high hopes for the little Thoroughbred who could, the courageous Thurston who has proven that size is no challenge. The biggest challenge Dani has focused on with Thurston, whose short, polo bred build makes dressage difficult, is the first phase of competition. “He’s a little guy and not a huge mover, so we have to do better than just average,” she said. “He has to be very correct to look impressive.”

All things considered, though, Dani is trying not to plan too far in advance. She’s setting her sights on the CIC1* at Richland Park this summer, but beyond that she plans to let the horse tell her what they should do next. Meanwhile, she’ll keep asking the questions that a potential upper level horse would have to answer: “Will he help out if I make a mistake? Are they giving you feeling that there is scope to spare?”

“He’s just an unbelievable horse,” Dani said. “Carol did a really nice job of producing him, and when I took the ride over, we didn’t really know what would come next. So it’s been a really special journey with him, thanks to Carol.”

Taking a Show Horse on Course: Tips for Making the Switch from Hunter/Jumper to Eventing

Photos courtesy of Amy Nelson.

Many hunters and jumpers see eventing friends having a great time on cross country, and want to make the switch. Their horses jump 3’ or 3’6” comfortably in the arena, so how hard could it be? Making the switch from the ring to the field isn’t impossible, but it’s not as easy as you might think. There are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you and your horse are properly prepared for the task.

First of all, pay attention to the types of questions. A showjumper or hunter has two basic types of fences: the vertical and the oxer. In higher levels you have the triple bar, which is still very similar to the first two. Everything tends to have the same basic elements — poles and standards. Then you make a right hand turn to poles and standards. Maybe a left hand turn with poles and standards; perhaps a brick wall filler, or some flowers, or bushes, but still with poles and standards.  

In eventing, it’s way more! The USEA Cross Country Obstacle Design Standards book lists around 36 types of obstacles you might encounter on cross country. Mind you, not all will be seen at lower levels, but as you climb the ranks it will be everything from ditches to drops, banks, water, coffins, corners, trakehners, helsinkis and everything in between. While some of them are not appropriate at lower levels, your horse will see them as you pass by to go to your particular question. This can be scary for them!

Next, let’s look at terrain. Your horse needs to be confident on all sorts of terrain, from jumping uphill, to downhill, off a turn, in and out of water. When it rains, or is rock-hard dry, your horse has to jump confidently in spite of what the footing is like. It won’t always be consistent footing like in the arena. This might worry your horse.

What about atmosphere? How about the golf carts, people, and barking dogs? Maybe it’s raining — watch out for umbrellas! Or wildlife. I have been on course and actually almost trampled a wild turkey! Not to mention the herd of deer that darted by as we were in the start box. Your horse is supposed to be concentrating on the 36 specific obstacles, not worrying about atmosphere.

Finally, let’s throw into the mix that the horse cannot see the course ahead of time. Just like your jumper round, except again, you are dealing with terrain and dozens of different possible questions. It’s not as straightforward as simply different colors of jumps like in a stadium.

Maybe your show hunter will jump a log pile. How about a log pile that’s a different color, that’s on a hill next to a lady with an umbrella and a barking dog and a golf cart, as four deer scamper by into the woods. What then? How do you prepare your show horse to become an event horse? The answer is practice, practice, practice. Start him out at a level where he is going to feel confident. Take him out on schooling days. And when you do his very first event, start small.

Have you ever wondered why the top of show jumping is around 5’3”, but top level eventers jump 4’1”?  Sure, the horses and riders get tired. They do three disciplines instead of one. But perhaps, it’s also because the sheer number of obstacles, plus terrain, plus footing, plus the atmosphere of an event is difficult to master.

Maybe a good rule of thumb is start one foot smaller than you jump at home. Jumping 3’6” – go Beginner Novice for your horse’s very first event. Or even Starter Level. It’s better to take him on course and find it’s too easy, and make him feel like Superman the first time out. Don’t be ashamed of the SIZE of the fence. It’s not about size. It’s about all the other elements in play.  

Go Eventing.

Amy Nelson has been riding hunter/jumpers and eventers for 25 years and is based in Rochester, IL.  She retrains OTTBs, problem horses, and trains eventers at her own show barn, Hummingbird Stables.  She competes with OTTBs in upper level eventing, has qualified for the AECs at many levels, and has competed in the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover.  Her goals are to compete at the one-star level this year, and eventually four-star. You can follow Amy on Facebook here and on Instagram at @amynelsoneventer. Check out more of her “Eventing Shorts” on EN’s Blogger’s Row

Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

Baby Payne Coming December 2017! Photo via Doug & Jessica Payne.

Oh boy! Looks like another eventing dynasty is expanding after Doug & Jessica Payne announced this weekend that they are expecting their first child. Since we already know the gender, the real question is: will he be more into eventing or show jumping? Either way, we’re looking forward to another baby on the scene. Congratulations Doug and Jessica!

Events Opening This Week: 

Area VII Young Rider Benefit H.T. (WA, A-7) Fair Hill International H.T. (MD, A-2) Otter Creek Summer H.T. (WI, A-4) Colorado Horse Park 3 Day Event & H.T. (CO, A-9) Erie Hunt and Saddle Club H.T. (PA, A-2) Stanton Farms H.T. (ID, A-7) WindRidge Farm Summer Horse Trials (NC, A-2) The Summer Event at Woodside (CA, A-6) GMHA Festival of Eventing August Horse Trials (VT, A-1)

Events Closing Today: 

Riga Meadow H.T. (CT, A-1) Genesee Valley Hunt H.T. (NY, A-1) Aspen Ridge H.T. (CO, A-9) The Maryland H.T. at Loch Moy Farm II (MD, A-2) Western Underground, Inc Coconino Summer HT & T/N3D Event (AZ, A-10) Champagne Run at the Park H.T. (KY, A-8)

News & Notes: 

Have you ever wanted to volunteer at an event, but were unsure of the skills you might need? Not to worry, the USEA just introduced a slew of new volunteer resources including helpful checklists and training videos to help you feel ready for the next event near you. [New Volunteer Training Resources Now Available]

It’s the ultimate rags to riches story as World Horse Welfare’s top rehomed rescue horses to make an appearance at the Burghley Horse Trials. The competition is open now to horses or ponies who were previously rescued by the organization. The top six will join a parade at Burghley where the overall winner will be announced. [Top Rehomed Horses to Appear at Burghley and in Horse & Hound]

Horseback riding is both a physical and mental game, and that becomes highlighted when a rider finds herself sidelined by an injury. Paige Cade shares her experience of managing with her training program from the ground, and the mental hardships that involves, after a fall this spring temporarily derailed her dreams. [Playing Catch Up]

Researchers have found crystals that equestrians will find especially valuable. Microscopic protein crystals in their horse’s cartilage that is. These have so far have only been found to exist in horses, and they are believed to be responsible for horse joints to withstand high levels of mechanical stress. [Your Horse’s Cartilage Has Bling]

Tuesday Video: 

Ever wanted to see the world from your horse’s perspective? You aren’t the only one. Lexington, Kentucky’s tourism website decided to act on it, and let horses film their newest ad campaign. As if we needed another reason to visit Lexington.

Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: ‘Beefed-Up Maxed-Out Olympic Novice’ Stable View Helmet Cam

Carrie Stryker and Just for Today had a great go at Stable View H.T. this weekend, making short work of what Carrie described as a “beefed-up maxed-out Olympic Novice course.”

Carrie works as a vet tech at Southern Crescent Equine Services in Newnan, GA. “Sam,” a 10-year-old OTTB, was originally given to her because he was a bit feral as a youngster.

“A lot of people couldn’t hang with his buck, but Carrie took a lot of time and patience to build a real partnership with this horse,” says Jade Anderson-Tucker, who has been coaching the pair off and on for the past year.

Carrie and Sam finished third in their huge Open Novice division and are on track toward their goal of qualifying for the AECs this fall. Congrats!

Stable View Summer H.T. [Website] [Results]

Six Ways to Reduce Stress at Events

Keep it cool out there, Eventing Nation! Photo courtesy of Amy Nelson.

Horse trials and three-day events can be very stressful. But there are certain things you can do to prepare to help reduce anxiety for yourself and the family members you dragged along! Here are a few tips to help keep you from becoming a frazzled mess at your next event.

Step 1: Learn your tests.

Start memorizing your dressage test as soon as you sign up for the event. The test will be posted and you can even practice this in your living room or in the breakroom at your office by walking out your pattern. Don’t worry, your coworkers will think this is totally normal, as you pretend to canter a circle while waiting for the coffee to finish. In all reality, it’s one less thing you have to worry about when you arrive at the show.

Step 2: Make reservations.

The day you sign up for the show, make reservations at your hotel or campground. Summers in certain areas get busy, and if you wait until the last minute, you might find yourself camping in the parking lot of a nearby equestrian center because it’s 100 degrees and that’s the only place to plug in your living quarters trailer within 50 miles (believe me).

Step 3: Make a list.

This is something you can do a week away from the show. Start writing down all of the things you need to bring with you, and all of the things you need to arrange before you go. Show clothes? CHECK. Saddle? CHECK. Wraps? Boots? Stud kit? CHECK.

Step 4: Pack.

Organize all the tack and show clothing you will need for the event a few days before you hit the road. If you are able, load the trailer a couple days in advance. If it is the same tack you use everyday, set that aside and make sure you allow an extra hour the night before you leave to clean tack and load in the trailer. Do not try to do it the day you are trying to leave, because inevitably you will forget something at home!

Step 5: Do not over-schedule yourself the day you aim to leave for the show.

Many of us have jobs, and families, and other commitments. Make sure you schedule yourself a day off when you plan to leave, and even the afternoon the day before you hit the road.

Step 6: Final trailer load.

The only things that you should leave for the day that you plan to hit the road are immediate items like hay and water buckets. Wrap horses’ legs, and don’t forget to put your horse in the trailer! You may laugh at this, but you know deep down you’ve had that fear of forgetting your horse. Make sure your polo wraps are clean and rolled in advance so all you have to do is put them on.

Tips: Plan to leave at a specific time but know that things come up. Allow yourself an extra hour before you leave, and an extra hour on the road. Traffic, construction and other time-stealers can be found along the route. Being on time and prepared will greatly help reduce the stress level.

Additionally, if you keep your items stored in tubs, labeled and always put back in the same spot when you are done, it will greatly reduce the stress at the show. Then you are not having to look for items in a panic! When you unload the trailer, make sure you have everything you need for that day. It’s not fun asking your husband to drive all the way back to the parked trailer to get your stud kit 20 minutes before your posted ride time (believe me!!).

Events can be stressful, but with a bit of organization and time management, you will be more relaxed and able to concentrate on what to do when you’re on course or in the ring. Was it trot at C, or was I supposed to trot at M???

3 … 2 … 1 … Have a good ride!

Amy Nelson has been riding hunter/jumpers and eventers for 25 years and is based in Rochester, IL.  She retrains OTTBs, problem horses, and trains eventers at her own show barn, Hummingbird Stables.  She competes with OTTBs in upper level eventing, has qualified for the AECs at many levels, and has competed in the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover.  Her goals are to compete at the one-star level this year, and eventually four-star. You can follow Amy on Facebook here and on Instagram at @amynelsoneventer. Check out more of her “Eventing Shorts” on EN’s Blogger’s Row

Weekend Instagram Roundup: Happy 40th Anniversary, Groton House Farm H.T.!

Photo courtesy of Groton House Farm.

Happy anniversary, Groton House Farm H.T.! The event celebrated its 40th annual running over the weekend, with over 200 competitors contesting Novice through Intermediate-Prelim divisions. (View complete results here.)

The Hamilton, Massachusetts event is a beloved one, and it’s easy to see why: great courses, a family atmosphere, clockwork organization and serene natural setting.

Weekends are too short @tprinceeee @gcwinthrop @malcolmsee

A post shared by Robert H. Stevenson (@rhstevenson) on

The crown jewel of GHF’s cross country course is its water complex — it’s definitely on my stuff-to-jump bucket list. It’s the infinity edge pool of cross country obstacles, a tiered and multi-faceted design that can be approached from a number of directions, each pass offering horse and rider a different challenge. Check it out!

Can’t wait to be therw this weekend!!

A post shared by Megan Goshorn Gardiner (@gardiner.megan) on

Groton House weekend #horsewoman #horsesofinstgram #eventing

A post shared by Tracy Emanuel (@tracyemanuelphotography) on

🎉💕 Good boy Dondarrion 🐎#prelim #eventing #eventersofinstagram #ghf #dondarrion

A post shared by Caroline Teich (@teicheventing) on

14 years of course walks with the same goal…a romp in the water jump. A beautiful and unique one here at #grotonhouse

A post shared by sarahevansmoore (@sarahevansmoore) on

@arodday and Clover comin out of the water complex!! 🐎🍀💦 #ghf17 #grotonhousefarm

A post shared by @neclassicbeauty on

Ivan Ivan and @jeffie.chapin totally killing the water complex!

A post shared by Deacon Chapin (@dhchapin) on

So cool. Congrats to Groton House Farm for 40 outstanding years, and job well done to this weekend’s competitors!

Groton House Farm H.T. [Website] [Results]

William Micklem: Fun, Frost and Friendship — Towards More Powerful Coaching

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

It was Jimmy Wofford who first introduced me to the idea that there are three types of riders: those that make it happen, those that wait for it to happen and those that say “what happened!” In essence this is a memory aid. There is nothing like a little fun to stimulate the brain and memory, plus it uses the magical power of three.

The power of three

Life, liberty, and happiness might very well be the most important and well-remembered words in American history, as the three inalienable rights voiced in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It uses a grouping of three words or phrases, something that has been known to aid memory since the time of Aristotle. A Mars a day helps you Work, Rest and Play, or our horses should be Calm, Forwards and Straight. We all find it easier to remember three words.

A classic example of the rule of three was Winston Churchill’s famous Blood, Sweat and Tears speech. He is widely attributed as saying I can promise you nothing but blood, sweat and tears. What he actually said was, “I can promise you blood, sweat, toil and tears.” Because of the rule of three we simply remember it as blood, sweat and tears.

So my coaching is laced with the magical power of three, combined with other elements to reinforce the memory. For example using the same letter. The three Fs for every riding session … Forwards, Feel and Fifth Leg; the three Ss for every coaching session … Safe, Simple and Sunny; and the three Ss for fifth leg training … Slow, Soft and Still. Or adding a new title to give added value, so calm, forwards and straight are The Three Musketeers, with their famous motto ‘All for One, and One for All,’ because they are all so interconnected.

It is true that pictures, photographs and film are worth the proverbial thousand words, and many coaches and trainers do talk far too often and far too much, but we should not make the mistake of thinking that words are not important. Words used like these groups of three, combined with short explanations, enable key words and structures to be easily remembered. Something that probably doesn’t happen with pictures. Above all it encourages simplicity, which is the most powerful training tool of all and the heart of good education and communication.

Nobility, Friendship and Beauty

When I was about nine years old I heard some extraordinary words that made a huge impact on me and sparked my initial interest in studying horses. As a family we watched on television the Cavalcade of the Horse, under the spotlights at the Horse of the Year Show in London. All the champions from every class were gathered, from children’s ponies to heavy horses, from show jumpers to show hunters, together with carriages, and farming equipment and every manner of elegantly dressed riders and handlers.

Then Dorian Williams, the show jumping commentator, would recite this poem that was specially written for the Cavalcade by Ronald Duncan in 1954. It has become to be known as “Nobility.”

Where in this wide world can man find
Nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy,
Beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is laced with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined
He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.
All England’s past has been born on his back,
All our history is his industry.
We are his heirs, he our inheritance,
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Horse!

In recent times the success of Michael Morpurgo’s “War Horse” as a book, stage show and film has renewed interest in the role of the horse other than in equestrian sport. So I now have added reason to try and introduce “Nobility” to new audiences, as well as a wide selection of other equestrian poetry. Certainly poetry is not to everyone’s taste but in communication surprises are good, and there is huge value in being entertaining and giving added value, especially in order to reduce tension and to make things memorable. They are also a hook from which other facts can be hung.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer

The first horse poem many children are introduced to is this 18th century one:

Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white ‘oss;
With rings on her fingers, and bells on her toes,
She shall have music, wherever she goes.

Contrary to what we are normally told a cock-horse is not a stallion but a docked tailed horse. (One with their dock cut off, a typical thing to do at this time with driving and farm horses.) Docking their tails made the top of their tail look like a chicken’s tail end, hence ‘cock’ horse.

British children may also come across John Betjeman’s “Hunter Trials,” with this verse, best read in your finest English accent:

Oh wasn’t it naughty of Smudges?
Oh Mummy, I’m sick with disgust.
She threw me in front of the judges,
And my silly old collar-bone’s bust.

A great opportunity to talk about training and what to do if a pony stops, or how to tuck and roll when falling. Or if you like limericks, then Edward Lear is your man:

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who sat on a Horse when he reared;
But they said, “Never mind!
You will fall off behind,
You propitious Old Man with a beard.”

So this leads to a discussion about why a horse might rear, and how to sit and what to do. Possibly everyone could also talk about how difficult it is to fall out of an Australian stock saddle or a western saddle, and explain that Gary Cooper always said that in Westerns you were permitted to kiss your horse but never your girl!

But if you grew up in the ’70s then things were very different in terms of behaviour. Something emphasized by the first supergroup, Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Their first big song, leading to an increase in the sale of grey horses, was “Lucky Man“:

He had white horses
And ladies by the score,
All dressed in satin
And waiting by the door.
Ooh, what a lucky man he was.

Indeed, he was. One man who would have been aware of this supergroup was another Emerson, Denny Emerson … and he wrote to me recently about meeting one of the greatest poets of all time, Robert Frost.

“In 1957, at a 100-mile trail ride at the GMHA in South Woodstock, Vermont, at the end of a 40 mile day’s ride, I was on my knees in my horse’s stall, rubbing his legs, when I realized that someone was watching me over the open part of the Dutch door. I looked up, and saw that halo of white hair, and knew instantly who it was, but at age 16, I was too tongue tied to say anything!”

Denny fully appreciated the genius of Robert Frost and was well aware that his most famous poem, ‘Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening,’ features a horse in harness, probably in the very same Vermont woods through which Denny, now in his 80s, is still lucky enough to ride regularly. Because of its’ last verse, encouraging people not to stand still, it is one I use often in my presentations:

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Denny reminded me that Robert Frost also wrote the finest lines about loving what you do, so that your love and work are as one. It’s called “Two Tramps in Mud Time.” You should read the whole poem but the key lines are these:

My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.

The one who smiles is the one worthwhile

Loving what you do is such a golden key for happy riders and happy performers. Then it is possible to cope with the inevitable ups and downs of both competition and life. Just add friendship to this and it is possible to overcome all challenges. So I always carry with me this line that I came across in a very old Pony Club coaching manual almost 50 years ago, ‘the one who smiles is the one worthwhile’. Of course the fact that it rhymes makes it even more memorable. So I will finish with another appropriate rhyming contribution from Edward Lear:

There was an Old Man of the Isles,
Whose face was pervaded with smiles;
He sang “High dum diddle,”
And played on the fiddle,
That amiable Man of the Isles.

©William Micklem

Monday News and Notes from Fleeceworks

Photo by Theresa Bujnoch.

Kaylen Wood has been riding at Inavale Farm in Philomath, Oregon since she was a girl. Now grown, she’s sharing that joy with her 10-week-old baby, who is learning the importance of volunteerism early in life and helping out at the start box during this weekend’s event.

On another note, today is a big day. Today is not just National Chocolate Pudding Day, which is fairly fabulous on its own, it’s also National Tropical Cocktail Day AND National Canoe Day. And you know what that means. A leisurely float in a canoe sipping a piña colada and enjoying a chocolate Snack Pack makes for a darn good summer day.

U.S. Weekend Action:

Groton House Farm H.T. [Website] [Results]

Surefire H.T. [Website] [Results]

Essex H.T. [Website] [Results]

Stable View Summer H.T. [Website] [Results]

Fox River Valley Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Results]

Shepherd Ranch SYVPC H.T. [Website] [Results]

Inavale Farm H.T. [Website] [Results]

Arrowhead H.T. [Website] [Results]

Midsouth Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Results]

Honey Run H.T. [Website] [Results]

Monday News and Notes:

Tryon Riding and Hunt Club needs volunteers for its 42nd annual horse trials taking place at FENCE in Landrum, SC October 21-22. They are looking for general help, hospitality, dressage, show jumping and cross country volunteers. For more information and to sign up, please contact Terry Lynch, [email protected]

Tryon Riding and Hunt Club will also be hosting an intercollegiate challenge for the first time during the fall horse trials. FENCE runs a very popular collegiate challenge at the April horse trials and the organizer is excited to be adding a collegiate challenge to the October event schedule as well, with special prizes given to the each member of the winning team! Tell your friends and check the Omnibus for more information.

There’s polo, and then there’s Gladiator Polo, the brainchild of Tryon Equestrian Partners’ Mark Bellissimo. Introducing the fast-paced, six-player arena polo concept in Wellington, FL, Mark has brought the game to the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, SC. The first Gladiator Polo game at the 2018 WEG venue was held on Saturday night with over 10,000 fans turning out to watch and cheer for Team Charlotte versus Team Greenville. [Inaugural Showcase of Gladiator Polo Brings Out Record Crowd to TIEC]

Laura Graves, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz, Kasey Perry-Glass and Dawn White-O’Connor rode to team gold for the Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage team at the FEI Nations Cup CDIO5* Rotterdam, taking a narrow lead in the 2017 FEI Dressage Nations Cup Series. It was a competition full of ups and downs for Team USA, with an unfortunate elimination contrasting personal bests. [U.S. Dressage Team Claims Gold at Rotterdam]

After a nearly 20 year hiatus, the Mars Essex Horse Trials was resurrected at the Moorland Farm in Far Hills, New Jersey. According to local media reports, several thousand spectators turned out to watch a couple hundred horses compete, enjoy the vendors, children’s activities center, farmers market and car show. [Essex Horse Trials Returns to Somerset County]

“Summer sores” are a seasonal skin condition caused by the larvae of an internal parasite. The angry, red lesions may appear on a horse’s lips, eyes, legs, and sheath. Unless you have a particularly strong stomach, I would not recommend Googling this condition. Suffice to say that small, itchy sores can quickly become large, horrifying wounds. So don’t delay in calling your vet. [Summer Sores]

Monday Video: Buck Davidson and Victor BZ, winners of the Open Preliminary division at Essex.

Weekend Instagram Report: Midsouth, The Return of Essex & More

What could be better on a hot summer weekend than donning skin tight riding pants and dark colored jackets to go out and horse show? Just kidding, sort of. While it may be hot as h-e-double-hockey-sticks out there for many of us, that didn’t stop the eventing masses from coming out in full force all over the country.

Buck Davidson and Victor BZ. Photo by Joan Davis / Flatlandsfoto.

Here is a look at social media from the various events around the country. We’d like to give a special shout-out to Mars Essex Horse Trials, which made its return to the calendar after a 19-year-hiatus in Area II. The big winner of the weekend was Buck Davidson, who took home the top four spots in the Open Prelim division.

Groton House Farm H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

Surefire H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

Essex H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

Stable View Summer H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

Fox River Valley Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

Shepherd Ranch SYVPC H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

Inavale Farm H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

Arrowhead H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

Midsouth Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

Honey Run H.T. [Website] [Live Scores]

We had a very long but good day at the return of the beautiful Essex Horse Trials yesterday with me riding 5 in the one day as well as @katcuca and @dwicas running the novice. Rasta, Dylan and new boy Harley all competed in a very large open novice division with good results. Unfortunately 3 inches of rain the night before left the dressage rings and warm up completely underwater and as the day went on became deep sinking mud which was far from ideal but my horses all toughed out. Rasta was fortunate enough to go early so got the best of the footing , doing a pleasant 35 test, having one pesky rail in the sj and jumping a nice clear xc round to finish just outside the ribbons. Dylan is proving to be mr consistent slogging it out through the dressage mud for a 29, having the same pesky rail as Rasta (clearly rider issue here) and a really nice clear xc to finish in 5th place. He’s really growing into himself and will upgrade to training next week. Baby Arctic Tiger ran his first ever event and I couldn’t have been more proud of him. He had the worst of the dressage footing going very late in the ring but handled it like a champ for a 31. I had the same damn rail AGAIN. (Damn that course designer ) and a couple of time penalties but he jumped incredibly, then going and putting in a clear xc round with 1.6 time to complete his first event in the USA. Looking forward to bringing this talented youngster along. The prelim horses were very unimpressed with the dressage footing but tried best they could – Chroi doing a 31 and Finn a 35. Both jumped clear xc around a fairly challenging track with some time and it was apparently the day of one rail rounds for me as I had one down on each to finish 7th and 8th. My two young working students @margaretc821 and @leb.eventing were absolutely fantastic all day and I am eternally thankful for all their hard work #teamspuk #majykequipe #freejumpsystem #decopony #believeinmajyk #c4 #c4equestrian #uvexequestrian #uvex #frillyfillies #fabbriboots #carmaitalia #devoucoux #sagmae #nutrena #effol #effax #walshproducts #winwithwalsh #stocktie #equidrishirts #horselyx

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Welcome back, Essex! #EssexHorseTrials

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Morgan Rowsell leads tour of cross country course. #EssexHorseTrials

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The floor is definitely not lava #nuggetsrus #lavachallenge (pc @sorensenstables)

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Moving on to Shepherd Ranch Horse Trials in Santa Ynez, California…

❤️ ❤️❤️❤️ #nofilter #horsesofinstagram #horses #shephardrancheventing #Roxy

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MB MaiStein eventing debut. Had the best time with this boy today. Much needed smile!! ❤️

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Thinks she’s a lap dog #bestkeptsecret

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And don’t forget, not only were there Horse Trials, there were also Pony Clubbers out in full showing this weekend at Midsouth for Mega Rally:

XC schooling! #busybea #eventing #training #devoucoux

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Not too bad for 2 hours of wear! #whitebreechesareaterrieidea #megarally #ponyclub #breeches #animobreeches

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