A Ride Through the Archives

Creative Commons photo/Barta IV Creative Commons photo/Barta IV

I admit it: I have frequently demonstrated my infinite curiosity and eventing nerd-ness in numerous situations. I try to limit my ramblings to those who share similar interests and appreciate my propensity for studying our sport and random useful knowledge, but sometimes people ask too many questions and get more than they bargained for. I can’t help it. Thankfully, EN readers share my enthusiasm for such things.

During a recent online search for something totally unrelated, I quite innocently happened upon a great deal offering past Rolex VHS videos for $5. I realize that I’m probably one of the few remaining people left still rocking the antique 19-inch, big-backed, TV/VCR combo, but that worked to my advantage this time.

Naturally, as any dedicated eventing geek would, I ordered multiple videos and waited anxiously for the opportunity to have my very own Rolex marathon. I settled in and was surprised by how the events from 15 (or so) years ago seemed so dated; 1999 still feels like it was just a couple years ago to me.

I saw celebrity horses and riders complete their dressage test, run around the cross country course after completing miles of the other endurance phases, and show jump in the Rolex stadium that was on grass at the time. That’s right: That beautiful stadium arena at Kentucky Horse Park was just grass then. Many of the horses finished looking well-conditioned and full of running by the end of 14 miles and were still able to jump well on the final day. Dressage has come quite a long way, as well.

After my ride down memory lane, I pondered the changes in the sport and, more specifically, the characteristics of the modern event horse. I noted that all of the wonderful horses named to the 2015 Pan American Games were warmblood types and wondered what the breeding looked like in the historical data of the U.S. teams.

The majority of the horses competing in eventing throughout history have been Thoroughbreds. The change to the short format has created emphasis in dressage and show jumping abilities and eliminated the true endurance elements, therefore broadening the success of different types of horses.

I wanted to evaluate the specific statistics of former horse celebrities, and I had no idea that such useful information was so easily accessible until I found my way to the mecca of U.S. eventing information right on the USEA website.  It’s known as the Eventing USA News Archive and is funded thanks to the USEA Endowment Trust. The information available through a simple search is AMAZING.

I was able to compile a list of U.S. team horses and statistics with quick ease after logging in to my member account through the Online Services link. The possibilities are endless for this tool. Having access to this much information in one place is exhilarating for an eventing geek, so I wanted to share the wealth.

Studying trends of success is important for future world domination. It’s a proud time to be a USA equestrian. The U.S. teams are on fire following winning results at the Pan Am Games a couple of weeks ago as they brought the medals home. Go Team USA! Go Eventing! Go search the archives!