Classic Eventing Nation

Sunday Links Presented by One K Helmets

USEA CEO Rob Burk. Photo by Leslie Mintz.

We’re 65 days away from the 2017 American Eventing Championships, and no one is more excited than USEA CEO Rob Burk! In all seriousness, Rob and the entire USEA office work their tails off to make AEC an outstanding competition. It really is a hallmark weekend for riders of all levels, so if you have the chance, go!

And in the spirit of countdowns, there may be those who are missing the winter months in the midst of the summer heat. Don’t fret: today is National Leon Day! That means we’re exactly six months away from Christmas (Leon is Noel spelled backwards). It’s like Christmas in… June?

U.S. Weekend Action:

Groton House Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Surefire H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

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

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

Fox River Valley Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Shepherd Ranch SYVPC H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Inavale Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Arrowhead H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Midsouth Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

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

Sunday Links: 

Top Eventer Aims for Second Goodwood Win

Tips for Keeping Horses Safe During 4th of July Festivities

Save the Date for the 2017 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention

Therapy Pony with ‘Magic Touch’ Brings Joy to Disabled Children 

‘It’s A Lot Harder Than It Looks’: William Fox-Pitt Tries His Hand at Polo

US Equestrian Federation to Build A New HQ at Kentucky Horse Park

Sunday Video: Have you met Geoffry the Conqueror? He may be small but he’s becoming hugely popular, being featured on Horse & Hound and Horse Nation. Follow along on one of his many adventures.

On Following Your Dreams and Doing What You Love

What does it mean to follow your dreams when they involve horses? For Jessica Duffy, this picture looked a little different than she first imagined. As she journeys across the country to tackle the next step in her career, she reflects on what it really means to do what you love. Many thanks to Athletux Equine for contributing this blog and to Jessica for writing.

Photo by Meg Weigel.

My father always told me, “If you do what you love, you never work a day in your life.” Sounds pretty great, right? I thought so, too, and since I first began to consider what I might want to do with my life, this single idea has informed every decision I’ve made about how to move forward with my career. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s led me to where I am today and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Let me start at the beginning. I’ve always known that becoming a professional rider wasn’t going to be the path for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love riding and competing, and sometimes I think I need horses more than I need air in my lungs, and I still have goals of running a four-star one day. But, there comes a time in every horse-crazy person’s life when they either decide to pursue a career as a professional rider or they elect to do horses “on the side” (as if horses were ever an “on the side” type of pursuit).

I’m good, but I’m not good enough to ride professionally. So, I decided to go to a great college (Washington and Lee University) and get the most flexible degree I could think of (Business Administration) so that I would have the skills to pursue a non-riding career within the equestrian industry.

While I was in college, I began to experiment with what it might look like to do work that I love. After my freshman year, I founded my own photography company, Jessica Duffy Photography, and did some horse show photography for local unrecognized competitions in my area as well as private photo shoots. It was work that I liked doing, and it was work that others said I was good at. So, I started thinking that maybe I could do something related to horses with my photography, like horse show photography, for instance.

When I was a senior, I applied for a work-study job with the new student-run social media team the university was launching. I figured, hey, I like social media, and being a child of the social media generation I know what I’m doing with it, so maybe this would be a fun way to do my work-study. I ended up getting the job and spent the year as part of a seven-person team building a student-run social media presence for the university on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. I had such a good time with this that I decided it might be worth trying to pursue something related to social media after graduation.

I also took classes on digital media and e-commerce as part of my degree, and found that I really enjoyed the work. I’m the daughter of a computer programmer, and I must have inherited some of his affinity for the work. My favorite project was building a functional website from scratch on WordPress for my real life photography business. This class got me thinking that maybe I would do something in web design once I finished school.

Photo by Jessica Duffy.

So, I graduated from university with marketable skills in web design, social media, and photography, and I set about the task of finding a job that would allow me to combine my passion for horses and equestrian sport with my professional skills. When one did not immediately present itself after graduation, I took a summer-long internship with a start-up company working on their social media and marketing team to increase my marketing experience.

When that didn’t turn into a full-time job, I ended up as a hostess in a local farm-to-table restaurant. This wasn’t work that I loved doing, per se, and it certainly wasn’t work with horses, but it was a paycheck and the schedule allowed me to keep riding competitively while I looked for a job that was a better fit for my skills and interests.

As luck would have it, I happened to be riding with Andrea Pfeiffer at Chocolate Horse Farm in Petaluma, California, where an Athletux employee happened to also be riding at the time. She told me that Athletux was looking to hire an intern and that I should contact Frankie Thieriot Stutes right away.

I submitted my resume and cover letter, and I got a call from Frankie the very next day. We talked about the different skills I’d acquired so far and what I was interested in learning, and I ended up doing some quick edits to a client’s website right there on the phone with her! It was one of the first opportunities I’d had to use something I’d learned at school in my work, and I still remember how excited I was that I would have the opportunity to use my existing skills and learn new ones, all while working with some of the biggest names in eventing.

I started out as an intern, helping to update client websites, editing written pieces for clients, creating marketing materials for use in obtaining sponsorships, posting to social media, taking photos of clients at horse shows, and generally becoming more familiar with the world of equestrian marketing, PR, and communications.

I spent two amazing and educational years with Athletux, and ultimately became the Web Content Manager, responsible for managing over 30 existing websites while also working with clients to create new websites from scratch.

The time I spent working with Athletux taught me a lot about the equestrian industry, especially from a marketing and communications standpoint. I learned more about how the industry functions from a business standpoint, and had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people within our community.

Photo by Lisa Takada.

I recently applied for a position with the United States Eventing Association and was offered the position of Communications Coordinator, which I accepted enthusiastically (and that’s putting it mildly.) I am, as I write this, on my way to Virginia to start this new chapter in my life. I could not be more excited about this next step in my professional journey, and can’t wait to see what opportunities I will have to use my existing skills and learn new ones with the USEA.

So, now that you’ve heard my story, I’ll leave you with a couple of pieces of advice for anyone looking to follow their dreams and do what they love.

My first piece of advice is that every job has something to teach you that you’ll be able to use down the road. Make the most of every opportunity and learn as much as you can about what it takes to do that job. You never know when a skill you’ve learned will come in handy.

And my second piece of advice is to never, ever give up on your dreams. People will tell you it’s foolish and impractical to expect to find a career doing what you love, but it’s not. People will try to tell you that it’s not worth working that waitress job to pay the bills while you look for that perfect job, but it is.

My restaurant job provided me with the freedom and the paycheck to keep riding while I searched for the right opportunity. If I’d taken the “responsible job” in the city, I might not have had the opportunity to work for Athletux. And then I might not be where I am today, about to start work for another incredible organization in the equestrian industry.

Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it’s hard to understand those reasons when things are going wrong or not working out, but looking back you can see how one set of circumstances opened the door for incredible things to come. Keep believing in your dreams and never let go of following your passion, wherever it may lead you.

Go Eventing!

Who Wins? BMX vs. Horse

Click screenshot to watch video.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pit a bike against a horse? Sure, it’s been done before, but we’re always entertained when someone comes up with a fresh way to present the challenge.

In the latest edition of [random sport] vs. horse, the Olympic Channel sets up a BMX rider head to head against a horseback rider. Olympic BMX rider Elke Vanhoof from Belgium and Olympic show jumper Daniel Bluman from Columbia participate in an epic “Sports Swap” battle.

What happens when these two masters of their sport switch spots? Well, you’ll just have to watch to find out! Click the photo above or here to watch and see what happens.

Mounted Medieval Weaponry: Using Dressage For Its Original Purpose

A rider takes on a row of heads at a mounted weaponry clinic. Photo by Biz Stamm.

After seeing all of the incredible mounted combat in Wonder Woman, I was reminded of an excellent clinic I attended this past fall. Hands on Horse Training in Aumsville, Oregon, run by mounted weaponry extraordinaire Troy Griffith, frequently offers clinics combining classical riding theory with weapon-wielding!

Keep in mind that classical horsemanship was developed for use on the battlefield, something we so quickly forget while partaking in dressage.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE competitive sandbox prancing, but when I noticed there was a mounted medieval clinic being offered so close to home, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get back to the roots of my sport while exposing the baby horse to some new and interesting things.

The day of the clinic was a rainy blustery one in Oregon, and it turns out that the other clinic attendees decided that riding outdoors in that kind of weather was not something they wanted to do, meaning private weaponry lesson for me! This actually turned out to be quite fortuitous because I wound up needing all the help I could get.

First things first: in order to wield a weapon, one must be able to ride one-handed. At the time of the clinic, my little horse, Helix, was still quite green. I had spent a little time in the week prior to the clinic making sure that Helix would turn off my seat and leg, which he did pretty well. He did pretty well the day of the clinic as well … until the practice lance was added to the equation.

It turns out that carrying a giant lance in one hand (and the one I was using was quite small compared to the one Troy was using to demonstrate!) will change your balance a little. Throw in my lackluster motor skills and we had a full blown mess on our hands. I really struggled to properly weight my seat bones, and the fact that Helix didn’t deposit me on the ground with how much I was bumping him with the lance speaks to his incredibly generous soul.

“What the heck are you doing up there?!” Helix wonders. Photo by Ana Barros.

About an hour into the clinic, we were starting to get the hang of the whole steering with lance in-hand thing (kind of) so Troy had us approach a target at a breakneck walk. (What were you expecting? Gallop? I could barely steer!)

When approaching a target, you must go from resting position with the lance perpendicular to the ground to ready position with the lance parallel to the ground, pointing at your target. As you move past the target, the lance goes back into resting position. This involves twisting your wrist in a fashion that appears quite simple, but that I found shockingly difficult.

After we finished with our lance training, we moved on to swordsmanship. I have an extensive LARPing (live action role playing) history from my super cool existence as a high schooler, so I was pretty sure I was going to be awesome at this part of the clinic.

For swordsmanship, we were to weave in and out of a set posts, similar to pole bending, while knocking a head off each post as we moved past it. Again, steering proved to be a bit of an issue at first, but we actually did OK after a couple attempts.

The exercise was made even more fun when Troy told me to imagine the heads on the posts as the heads of my enemies. At first I had trouble coming up with people I would consider enemies, but after a little bit of thought, I decided Handsome Jack, Lord Voldemort and that guy who tailgated my horse trailer would do just fine.

Jupiter bravely carries me towards the target. Photo by Ana Barros.

For the afternoon session Troy generously offered me the use of his horse, Jupiter. Baby Helix was clearly tired, and Troy thought it would be fun to try out some of the weaponry exercises on a horse that was trained for the job. Boy was he right!Jupiter expertly guided me through the same exercises which had seemed so difficult on Helix. It wasn’t just that he was trained for this particular job that made the ride so enjoyable — it was that he was generally a well-trained, seasoned horse.

While I definitely struggled a bit during the clinic, it was a good, productive, and FUN struggle. Helix and I still have several weapons to try out, so we will be planning a trip back to Troy’s sometime in the near future. Until then, I will just have to pretend I’m wielding a sword as I ride my voltes and leg yields.

Specializing in starting young horses under saddle at Stamm Sport Horse LLC, Biz Stamm brings the analytical approach she has acquired while working in laboratory to her training. While she is currently pursuing competitive goals, her main goal is to enjoy her horses, and for her horses to enjoy her.

#EventerProblems Vol. 121: All Aboard the Strugglebus

Have you taken a ride on the strugglebus lately? You’re not alone! That crapshow on wheels is full of smelly, stressed-out eventers just like me and you, and there’s always room for more.

Here’s your latest batch of #EventerProblems. Enjoy!

The jump judge at fence 5 really stinks. #eventerproblems #seenonmycoursewalk #smallwoodlandmammalsofinstagram

A post shared by Leslie Potter (@lesliepotterphoto) on

No I'm not washing haynets… #ironhorse #ironhorseridingacademy #industrialwashingmachine #eventerproblems #iwantthemtobewhiteagain

A post shared by A. Fix | Iron Horse Eventing (@ajackfix) on

How much did @izzyo11 want wine? #happyhour #thestruggleisreal #eventerproblems #shakennotstirred @hollypayneequestrian

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

Beginner Novice dressage can really wear a dude out! #eventingnation #roebkesrun #eventerproblems

A post shared by Kristina (@kwhorton87) on

Horse show mornings at their finest #eventerproblems #eventingnation

A post shared by Kaitlin Slimak (@kamils89) on

Pretty much. ‍♀️ #horseworldproblems #eventerproblems

A post shared by Hailey Norby (@pnw.eventing) on

Well… my pony is somewhere out there. #eventerproblems #foggy

A post shared by Emily (@may_as_well_event) on

Hurry up and wait… #eventerproblems #weweregoingnowwewait #jheventing #carolinahorsepark #warhorseseries #itshot

A post shared by Jasmine Hobart (@jasminehobarteventing) on

Mud? What mud?! #tallhorse #marylandsmostwantedthoroughbred #eventhorse #eventerproblems #thoroughbred #ottb #muddymess #rain #stormyweather

A post shared by Lucas & Stilts & Bitsy (@longdogs_tallhorse) on

2 for 2 on the shoe hunt this a.m. #winning #eventerproblems #someonegetthefarrier

A post shared by Meagan (@mkequest) on

Big grey bag of #nope 😂😂😂 #farmlife #eventerproblems

A post shared by t-Rex Eventer (@trexeventer) on

Saturday Links from Tipperary

Groton House Farm dressage warmup gang was ready for action! Photo courtesy of Kristie Gill.

I played hooky from work yesterday (though I’m not sure I can technically call it hooky when I actually used a vacation day) to volunteer on dressage day at my local event, Groton House Farm. I’d call dressage day at GHF a five-ring circus, but I don’t think circus is really the right word. While yes, with five rings running at once there was a LOT going on, but the GHF organizers and coordinators have created a well-oiled machine and it was easy for a warmup steward newbie such as myself to step in and successfully contribute.

Oh, and bonus: my day of volunteering earned some points for my Area 1 Virtual Team Challenge team and I got to meet one of my teammates!

U.S. Weekend Action:

Groton House Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Surefire H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

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

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

Fox River Valley Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Shepherd Ranch SYVPC H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Inavale Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Arrowhead H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Midsouth Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

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

Saturday Links:

Eventer Hillary Moses Recovering From Rotational Fall

Dr. Laura Werner: How to Manage Your Horse Before, During & After Intensive Competition

Charlotte Dujardin to appear in children’s TV show

PODCAST: Which Event Will be Home to the Next U.S. Four-Star?

Eventer who broke both arms to take on 24-hour ride

The Healthy-Backed Horse

Saturday Video:

Sydney Conley Elliott’s mount, Cisko A, with whom she made her four-star debut at Rolex in 2016, has been on the mend from a tendon injury sustained last September. This neat video talks abut how kinesio tape therapy is helping him in his recovery:

Friday Video from World Equestrian Brands: Check Your Saddle Tree

How much do you think about your saddle when you tack up for a ride? Perhaps you get it professionally reflocked and fitted to your horse’s changing shape every few months, or perhaps it’s been much longer since another set of trained eyes and hands took a look and feel at that critical piece of tack you use every day.

This video shows how important it is to not only maintain your tack’s condition but to examine its overall structure, which should be a part of every saddle fitting. Luke McConnell, a UK Society of Master Saddlers qualified saddle fitter, shows us a saddle with an attempt at repairing a broken tree.

Yikes! We can only imagine how that would feel to the horse. Keep a close eye on your tack, and don’t forget to have a professional look over your saddles.

What’s in Your Arena? Presented by Attwood: Cavaletti Chaos

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

Kelley Shetter-Ruiz of Carpe Diem Training and her “pole dancing” partner, Tristan the Wonder Horse, are Internet famous for their YouTube videos of pick-up sticks looking ground pole exercises.

The pair, who have evented together through Novice, originally took to pole exercises to break up the monotony of Wisconsin winters in the indoor. Kelley writes on her blog:

“As the water buckets begin to freeze and the warm layers go on, we tend to find the arena walls closing in on us. By February, both horse and rider are ready to hibernate from the cold and from overall sheer boredom.

“This was where Tristan and I were last winter. I had been spending the winter conditioning him with gymnastics and simple pole work but his attitude was basically turning into ‘Mr. Crabby Pants’ from so much repetition. He could do four poles in a row, straight or curved, with his eyes shut. Even incorporating canter cavalettis became the ‘same old, same old.’  

“So one cold February day, I decided to turn a four-pole exercise into a 24-pole exercise. Tristan was hooked!  Each time I set up a different exercise, he would immediately walk over and try to figure out the pattern.  Indoor arena work became fun and challenging again, not to mention the amount of hind end strength he developed.”

As complicated as they look, Kelley’s exercises aren’t rocket science. She reports that she just thinks up a pattern and paces of 4 1/2 foot striding. Check out her book, Fun with Ground Poles, which outlines a number of beginner patterns complete with diagrams, measurements and riding tips. And/or just head out to your own ring and get creative!

A note from Kelley:

“Pole work is both educational and fun for both horse and rider, but as with any activity done with a horse, caution should always be used. I started walking Tristan over ground poles in hand as a weanling and have spent many years developing him into a handy, surefooted ground pole dancer.

“It is important to start slow and not overwhelm your horse with too challenging of an exercise. It is easy to overstimulate them both mentally and physically if asked too much. You can’t build Rome in a day, but with time every horse and rider, of any discipline, can discover their inner talent with ground pole work!”

Watch more videos from Kelley and Tristan on their YouTube channel here.

Do you have an exercise to share or is there an eventer you would like to nominate for the “What’s in Your Arena?” series? Email [email protected]

The Inarguable Confidence Booster: Riders Weigh In On the Modified Division

The new USEF/USEA Recognized Modified level made its debut earlier this spring at The Fork Horse Trials in Tryon, North Carolina. Measuring at 3’5″, the level was created as a stepping stone from Training to Preliminary, which is a huge skills leap in both size and technicality.

Since The Fork, two additional competitions at Heart of the Carolinas and Queeny Park have run the Modified division. We caught up with some of the participants from all three events to see what they thought about the new level, why they entered, and what they and their horses gained from the experience.

The Fork – Tryon, North Carolina

Allison Springer and Fairvoya S. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Allison Springer had two horses competing in the Modified division at The Fork Horse Trials at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. One of them is an experienced eventer just getting back in the game, and the other is an up-and-coming horse Allison hopes will go to the top of the sport.

“Songline has gone up to Advanced but this is his first time competing in a couple years,” Allison said of the 13-year-old Trakehner. “His owner, Gustav Schickendanz, loves this horse a ton and would love to see what the horse can do … I didn’t know if he was quite fit enough to run Preliminary yet, but a Training didn’t seem like the right fit for him, so the Modified was perfect.”

Songline scored a 30.0 in dressage and had some time penalties in the jumping phases but otherwise went clear on cross country and show jumping. He has since successfully completed his first Intermediate competition since 2015.

Allison’s other Modified mount at The Fork was Fairvoya S, a 7-year-old KWPN mare owned by Natalie Epstein. She moved up to Preliminary in the fall of 2016 and ran what Allison said were three “really hard Prelims.”

“This spring she had a bit of a slow start. She had a couple stops at Pine Top so I wanted to have a confidence-boosting run,” Allison said. “She’s a really nice young horse and she needed a good confidence run, but Training really doesn’t do it.”

They got exactly what they came for at The Fork, leading from start to finish and adding no additional penalties to their dressage score of 27.2. Fairvoya earned her fourth qualifier at Preliminary level at her very next event. Earlier this month, she finished second in her first CCI* at Bromont, where Allison reiterated that running the Modified early in the season was the best decision she could have made for this promising young horse.

Allison is obviously a fan of the level, but she said she’d prefer to ride the Modified dressage test in a large arena instead of a small arena so the more complicated movements are not coming up so quickly in the more confined space.

Alice Roosevelt and Get It Together. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Alice Roosevelt is a 16-year-old eventer from New York who stays busy competing two horses, Fernhill Zoro and Get It Together. The former, a 9-year-old Anglo European gelding, already had experience at Preliminary when she started riding him and he’s taken her now to three one-star events since last September. The less experienced Get It Together, an Irish Sport Horse owned by Simon Roosevelt, had only competed up to Training when she got him in January 2016.

While competing Fernhill Zoro in the CIC* at The Fork, Alice opted to run Get It Together in the Modified to make sure they were ready to make the big move up to Preliminary. She describes Get It Together as the bravest horse she’s ever ridden, which can be a problem for rideability on course, and he has a tendency to get tense in dressage.

“I chose to run Modified because of the big step up in technicality of the questions from Training to Preliminary. As brave as he is, he is sometimes hard to connect for turning questions. Also the dressage for him in Preliminary was more difficult, having to sit the trot and do lateral movements,” Alice said.

“Modified gave us both a lot of confidence going to our first Preliminary,” she said. “When I first moved up to Preliminary with Fernhill Zoro, I was nervous and felt like it was a big step. I wish there had been Modified then. I would recommend it, especially if it’s the rider’s first Preliminary because it’s a big confidence booster.”

Darrah Alexander had run Get It Together at Preliminary late last year, and he and Alice made their debut at the level as a pair at Plantation Field in May, where they finished sixth.

Heart of the Carolinas – Chesterfield, South Carolina

Lucie Hughes and Itza Charlie Horse. Photo by Eileen Dimond Photography.

Heart of the Carolinas (HOTC) at Southern 8ths Farm is known for its classic long-format offerings but also runs an increasing number of horse trials divisions. New on the Omnibus listing for 2017 was the Modified division. Cross country course designer John Michael Durr laid out an impressive track that had the riders talking back at the barns, especially about the imposing Lunar Moon Leap pictured above.

“I admit I was skeptical about the level at first, but after designing a Modified cross country course for HOTC, I’ve changed my mind completely,” John Michael said.

“I found places to build questions that were not quite up to Preliminary standard but more complicated than Training. It was great watching the horses and riders stepping up from Training tackle some bigger fences and feel so confident when they finished. I hope we see more Modified courses pop up around the country.”

Lucie Hughes and Itza Charlie Horse, a Thoroughbred owned by Gayle and Sarah Hughes, competed in the Modified at HOTC to test themselves before a move up to Preliminary. Itza Charlie Horse can be cheeky coming out of the start box, which resulted in a silly runout, but they had an excellent round otherwise.

“The course was much larger than I had expected and it had questions on the cross country he and I hadn’t seen before,” Lucie said. Still she felt ready for the next level after HOTC and entered a Preliminary level event earlier this month. “After walking the course I felt very prepared because of the Modified event we had run.”
The division winners, Corinne Ashton and her Thoroughbred Call Calvin, had already completed a number of what Corinne described as “easy, previously schooled” Preliminary events before running Modified at HOTC, where they finished on their dressage score of 23.5.
I think Modified is a good idea. There is quite a big jump, literally, from Training to Preliminary with significantly more questions and bigger tables,” Corrine said. “For me and my horse we were a little more prepared than some as he had already done a few easy Prelims, but it was nice to do something well!”

Queeny Park – Ballwin, Missouri

Danielle Durette Tursky and Inki Blandford. Photo by Jesse Franks Photography.

Danielle Durette Tursky had initially entered the Modified at Queeny Park to give a less experienced horse a confidence boost before moving up to Preliminary. Unfortunately that horse got injured and she had to swap him out for her Preliminary horse, a Thoroughbred called Inki Blandford, who had only just moved back up to the level since Danielle’s baby was born 19 months earlier.

They ended up winning the Modified division, adding time penalties on cross country and one rail in show jumping. “We both are pretty recently back into our way up the levels again. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I believe if more people offer it we will end up with more successful upper level horses,” Danielle said.

“I have done Preliminary/Trainings before on my ‘not quite ready’ horses, but that doesn’t really help the boost needed for a much more technical cross country. I think Queeny Park did an excellent job adding technical questions and terrain. The dressage test rode just like the Preliminary test, adding all the same elements as Prelim, and stadium was only a triple combination away from feeling like Prelim!”

In reading these experiences at the Modified level, there is a glaring theme: confidence. Every rider indicated a huge confidence boost for themselves or their horse after competing at Modified, which is exactly the level’s intent.

At this time there are no other USEA events offering the Modified level in 2017, but the Willow Draw Charity Show in Weatherford, Texas will have a Preliminary/Modified hybrid division in October. If you would like to see a Modified competition in your area, express your interest to your organizers!

What do you think, EN? Would you ride in a Modified division? Why or why not?

Weekly OTTB Wishlist from Cosequin: CANTER PA Edition

Susan MacRae and Impromptu (Jockey Club name: Mo’s Secret Heart (Mo Mon/Saratoga Luck). Photo: Karin Naimark/Naimark Photography.

First things first, congrats to Susan MacRae, an eventer from Kintnersville, PA, and recipient of a 2017 CANTER Pennsylvania Becky Julian scholarship. The annual award allots a sum of $500 each to three deserving recipients, to be used for training purposes such as lessons, clinics, camps or seminars.

We asked Susan to tell us more about herself and her involvement with the Thoroughbred breed:

“I have been a fan of the Thoroughbred since I was a little kid, watching the big horse races in the 1970s (I was at the Ruffian/Foolish Pleasure match race, and the Seattle Slew Belmont! Yes, I’m old — haha!) but have only had them as my personal riding horses since 2000 or so. I started eventing on a little Quarter Horse but bought my first Thoroughbred shortly after that. Between my husband and me, we have had six Thoroughbreds, one of which I got from CANTER MidAtlantic.

“I trained and rode my first one to Preliminary. My husband Duncan (former Area II Chair) trained and rode his first one to Intermediate and did three long format three-days. We are both passionate supporters of the long format three-day. Then we had some bad luck with horse injuries, lost two (my CANTER horse was put down after a freak pasture accident, and Duncan’s horse collapsed while competing with me at Preliminary at Fair Hill in 2013).

“I’ve been struggling to get back in the groove since that happened. I bought another young Thoroughbred who was not at all interested in eventing (or me! bad match, but he is now happily doing hunters with a new owner). My “new” boy, whom I bought him in November of 2016, is turning out to be a wonderful partner and has given me back my confidence.”

Congrats again, Susan, and best of luck with your horse! This week, we’re spotlighting three horses from CANTER PA.

Photo via CANTER PA.

Fusedup (Lite the FuseWatsup, by Clever Champ): 2009 16.2-hand Pennsylvania bred gelding

Dreamy! A very nice boy, his trainer boasts that this guy is so pleasant to handle she’s never even seen him pin his ears. He’s always is eager to greet CANTER as they walk through the barn with an adorable expression and polite mannerisms. He’s spent nearly his entire career with his current connections, they know him well so you’ll get a long history with this one. A Buckaroo grandson, he’d be a nice choice for nearly any discipline from eventing to hunters. Worth seeing in person!

View Fusedup on CANTER PA.

Photo via CANTER PA.

Karobushka (Strategic Mission – Best Interview, by Private Interview): 2009 15.3-hand New Jersey-bred gelding

The big “Boo Bear!” A sweet, mellow fellow, this guy has an exceptional personality that would be welcome in any barn. In fact, “kind” doesn’t even begin to describe him —  he’s a happy-go-lucky sorta guy who doesn’t have a care or complaint in the world. He always has his head poking out his stall and loves to be loved; CANTER stops to see him weekly and he’s a perfect gentleman.

A lovely type with an athletic style of movement, there’s nothing this one couldn’t do, from hunters to eventing to western — this is the type of prospect that’s game for anything. He was super quiet for his listing and his connections are confident that anyone who comes out to see him will love him. Please note, he does have minor ankle rounding but CANTER has been told it is not an issue.

View Karobushka on CANTER PA.

Photo via CANTER PA.

Key of Dubai (E DubaiKey Definition, by Gentlemen (ARG) ): 2009 16-hand New York bred gelding

Athletic turf horse! An E Dubai son, this guy would be a nice choice as an eventer or dressage horse. He ran consistently on the grass, has done well for his connections, and accordingly they wish to find him a great home with someone who will consider him part of the family, just as they have. A special guy, CANTER thinks he could do really well in the right hands. Handsome!

View Key of Dubai on CANTER PA.