The Saves of Seventeen

There’s not much to eventing, really, is there? You just aim for the space between the flags, kick, and pray…right?

Eventing 101.

Erm, perhaps not so much. As we all know, there are plenty of variables involved, and sometimes, it’s all any of us can do to actually keep all four feet in the dressage arena, let alone tackle a formidable cross-country course.

Eventing 102.

But eventers are a tough bunch, and they don’t give up easily. When the going gets tough, the tough apply more leg – even if, occasionally, they have to display some impressive gymnastics to do so.

Without further ado, here are some of the most impressive saves from across the eventing nation and beyond in 2017. Which one made you hold your breath? Have we missed one of your favourite displays of eventing acrobatics, or did you perform a similar feat of your own this year? Share your pictures and videos with us in the comments!

Woodge “Hardcore Spider Monkey” Fulton plays hard-to-get with the ground

Woodge Fulton and Captain Jack. Photos by Kate Samuels.

Man, this girl is a tough cookie. After Captain Jack caught a leg on fence six at the Wellington Eventing Showcase back in February, it looked like game over for Woodge. But giving up isn’t in her nature, and somehow, defying all normal physics, she propelled herself back into the saddle and the pair went on to post a clear round. Just check out that enormous grin – classic Woodge! To see the full story – and video evidence! – click here. 

Cornelia Dorr practices some yoga in the water at Jersey Fresh

2017 has been a big year for mindfulness. ‘Hygge’ remains wildly popular but stilly wholly unpronounceable. Meditation has somehow become trendy. Countless apps are peddled to us on Facebook, heavily implying that 15 seconds of ‘doing nothing’ could fix our addled brains. To this I say, look, mate, do you want to know how many studs I could screw in in 15 seconds? That’s valuable time, and I don’t want to spend it staring at the underused portions of my brain.

Cornelia Dorr, on the other hand, decided to embrace 2017’s hottest trend, employing a novel form of horseback yoga while tackling the water in the CCI2* at Jersey Fresh with Sir Patico MH. Her moment of oneness with nature, her inner spirit, and very, very nearly the essential element of dirty fence water obviously served her well, as she went on to finish with two horses in the top ten after the cross country, and won with her other horse, Louis M. #whateverworks

Ludwig Svennerstal’s showjumping striptease

Ludwig Svennerstal almost loses a Bridle

Ludwig Svennerstal almost loses a bridle! What supurb horsemanship to keep his cool and recover. So, so close to a fall! Watch all the action as it happens LIVE -

Posted by Event Rider Masters on Sunday, August 27, 2017

Okay, okay, that might be a bit misleading. Sorry, ladies. Still – this was one of the most memorable (and unprecedented!) saves of the year, and well worth revisiting. While contesting the second phase of the Event Rider Masters leg at Blair Castle in Scotland, Sweden’s finest export had a bit of a bobble with El Kazir SP. Somehow, he sits it out – only to lose an essential piece of tack in the process. Check out the video to see how he recovered and managed to complete his round. It is actual sorcery (and still makes me nearly cry laughing, no matter how many times I watch it!)

Maya Simmons-Studenmund demonstrates the importance of No-Stirrup November

Maya Simmons (stirrup-less!) and Archie Rocks. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

File this one under Things I Have Recurring Nightmares About. Maya Simmons-Studemund was enjoying a trip around the Advanced at Carolina International in March – her return to the level after the birth of her twins – when her OTTB Archie Rocks pecked on landing at the first water at 7AB. Maya managed to sit the uncomfortable landing, but the force of it pulled both of her stirrups off her saddle. They clung on for a while – even as the pair tackled the second part of the combination – but slipped out of the keepers just as Maya pulled up to reattach them. Was she deterred? Of course not – she went on to tackle most of the rest of the formidable course, before ultimately slipping off at 19ABC, the coffin. Skip to 5:04 in the above video to witness the absolute marvel of Maya jumping out of the water in perfect style. My leg has never looked that solid WITH stirrups.

Louise Harwood schedules a snooze at Pau

Louise Harwood and Mr Potts tackle the final water at Pau. Photo by Tilly Berendt

Photo by Tilly Berendt

Photo by Tilly Berendt

Photo by Tilly Berendt

Diminutive Louise Harwood has made a name for herself piloting some rather large homebreds around the world’s toughest events. The thing is, when you’re small, sometimes you have to just lie back and think of England, as it were. At the final water, Louise had one such moment, when Mr Potts took a huge leap in, propelling his rider to the back of the saddle. It’s cool though, she styled it out – but unfortunately, the pair would pick up a late 20 penalties on course a few fences later.

The Kieffertron channels her inner mermaid at Rolex

Lauren Kieffer and Vermiculus.

What do you do when your horse decides in mid-air that he’s actually a seahorse and legs are totally overrated? Well, if you’re Lauren Kieffer, you never ever stray from your seahorse’s centre of balance and you let him work it all out underneath you. That’s exactly what she did at Rolex (as it still was, then!) when Vermiculus had a bit of a disagreement with the ground at the Lake. After sticking the landing, the pair clocked up 20 penalties and, unfortunately, withdrew before the final horse inspection, but they still made their mark on a great competition with this spectacular save.

Will Furlong tests out gravity at Houghton Hall; finds it lacking

There’s a lot of pressure that comes with your first senior team call-up, especially when you’re just 22-years-old and riding a horse you’ve only had for a matter of months. But Team GB’s Will Furlong didn’t look for a minute like the pressure was getting to him, as he and Collien P2 sailed around the Nations Cup at Houghton Hall in May. Look how cool, calm, and collected he is in this series of photos by Laura Butcher, even as he takes this seriously creative (and possibly inadvisable) route over the open corners. Somehow, Mr Sticky Breeches stayed on, and went on to finish fourth. Not too shabby, Furlong. Not too shabby at all.

William Fox-Pitt shows off his best dance moves


For Boxing Day 2017 we are republishing the top ten Harveywetdog Facebook videos of 2017. At number Two we go right back to my first day of the 2017 season at Tweseldown with William Fox-Pitt and a recalcitrant My Lucky Day.My Lucky Day and William Fox-Pitt take a few minutes to get started at Tweseldown in the Open Intermediate. I like the way the oblivious announcer is bigging William up as the horse is going sidewards out of the start box.

Posted by Harveywetdog on Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Sometimes, you don’t even need to go near a fence to show off a spectacular save. William Fox-Pitt had planned an educational outing for My Lucky Day in the Open Intermediate at Tweseldown earlier in the spring, but the horse had other ideas. Check out this incredible video, courtesy of Harveywetdog, in which My Lucky Day casually spins his way to the first fence with all the grace of a ballerina with ‘roid rage. The duo went on to complete a clear cross country round (with, erm, 58.4 time penalties). Absolute #lads.

Elle Choate experiments with a seriously forward seat

Young talent Elle Choate was cruising around the Junior Training showjumping with Paddrick at the Richland Park Horse Trials in August when everything went a bit pear-shaped. A cluck for encouragement did its job rather too well, and the ISH gelding surged forward on landing, bucked, and launched his head down. Somehow – and I’m still not quite sure how – Elle managed to get Paddrick’s head back up and get herself back in the plate, adding just 11 time penalties and one rail to finish 11th in the division. Barbara Martin caught the Kodak moment on camera, giving us all a good giggle (and a reason to practice stirrup-less jumping, stat).

For every spectacular save, however, there’s always a heaping helping of people who eat dirt for dinner. Sometimes they don’t even need to go near a horse to do so. Check out the action stage left as Zara Phillips tackles the water at Rolex. Nearly…nearly…nope, she’s in.