Abby Powell
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Abby Powell

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About Abby Powell

Abby Powell is a native of Northeastern Massachusetts who splits her time between commuting into Boston for work and caring for and riding her rescue Mustang x Arab mare, Maggie.

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Weekly OTTB Wishlist Presented by Cosequin: Inspired by Kentucky

Thoroughbred Talk with Jessica Phoenix

We didn't get to meet Jessica Phoenix – Phoenix Equestrian Team after dressage on Friday… but we loved chatting with her today after Bogue Sound's clear cross-country with just time penalties! Kentucky-bred OTTB "Bogie" had quite the homecoming to the bluegrass, moving the pair up to 16th place going into show jumping. Jessica shares everything she loves about Bogie, including an adorable story about him interacting with her kids!Visit the Retired Racehorse Project on Facebook for more Thoroughbred rider interviews from #LRK3DE.

Posted by Retired Racehorse Project on Saturday, April 27, 2019

At this year’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, we saw all nine of the Thoroughbreds that left the start-box on cross country day gallop through the finish flags and go on to complete the show jumping the next day. That’s a testament to the breed’s heart and hardiness.

Our friends at the Retired Racehorse Project were at the finish line on cross country day and caught up with each of our Thoroughbred riders after their rounds, all of which had nothing but amazing things to say about their fantastic mounts. Catch Jessica Phoenix‘s interview above and hear what she has to say about how much her Kentucky-bred OTTB Bogue Sound enjoyed galloping around the bluegrass again plus a super-sweet story about how much he loves Jess’ daughter!

You can catch all of the rider interviews on the Retired Racehorse Project’s Facebook page and if you’re looking for a Kentucky-bred of your own, check out these three prospects:

Scottsgold. Photo via CANTER PA.

Scottsgold (MIDAS TOUCH (GB) – SCAT’S LASSIE, BY SCAT DADDY): 2015 15.2-hand Kentucky-bred gelding

It’s a bit hard to believe that this hunk of a horse is actually only 15.2-hands high, as his big-bonded build and powerful presence seem to make him look much larger in photos. Despite his height, his large barrel means he’ll take up the leg of a wide variety of riders and his nice hind end hints at good jumping ability. Scottsgold is lightly raced with just four starts. It’s important to note that Scotttsgold did not finish his last race, which was in September last year, and was vanned off the track. He seems no worse for the wear, however, and quite fresh in his jog video! His grooms adore his personality and he has a sweet face to go right along with it.

Located in Grantville, Pennsylvania.

View Scottsgold on CANTER PA.

Post Rock. Photo via CANTER CA.

Post Rock (ROCK HARD TEN – DOMINIQUE’S SHOW, BY THEATRICAL (IRE)): 2013 16.2-hand Kentucky-bred gelding

Here is a solid horse ready for a new career after moderately successful career with 36 starts on the track. This tall, dark, and handsome gelding jogs a lot more uphill than he appears in his conformation photos and it looks like he has the potential to develop into a really nice mover. Despite some odd markings on his left hind, Post Rock has no reported injuries and has remained sound throughout his racing career.

Located in Golden Gate Fields in Northern California.

View Post Rock on CANTER CA.

Jenna J. Photo via CANTER IL.

Jenna J (ARCHARCHARCH – WHITE NILE, BY UNBRIDLED’S SONG): 2014 15.3-hand Kentucky-bred mare

Is this little dappled filly not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? At three-years-old, Jenna J stands between 15.3 and 16.0-hands right not and still has some growing to do. She looks like she’s going to mature into an absolutely stunning mare and that shoulder on her hints at some hidden talent for jumping. Jenna J has spent the winter hanging out at her trainers farm and proved to be an easy keeper. She’s now back on the track and in training. In her seven career races so far she’s already won two!

Located at Fairmount Park Race Track in Collinsville, Illinois.

View Jenna J on CANTER IL.

Monday News & Notes from Fleeceworks

How can you just choose one photo? And yes, that is Leslie checking EN’s Kentucky cross country live updates while in labor in the upper right. Photos via Leslie Wylie.

Land Rover Kentucky cross country wasn’t the only exciting this happening on Saturday. On the very same day (because, of course) our EN superwoman Leslie Wylie and her husband Tommy Bateman welcomed their newborn son, Thomas Wylie Bateman, into the world. Way to make an entrance, kid! We think his name was a little prophetic in predicting our new CCI5*-L National Champion…

Please join us in sending congratulations and wishing the utmost joy to the Wylie-Bateman family!

National Holiday: National Zipper Day

Major Events:

#LRK3DE: WebsiteFinal ScoresEN’s Ultimate GuideUSEF Network Replay  EN’s CoverageEN’s InstagramEN’s Twitter

U.S. Weekend Action:

Fresno County Horse Park H.T. [Final Scores]

University of New Hampshire Spring H.T. [Final Scores]

Loudoun Hunt Pony Club H.T. [Final Scores]

St. John’s H.T. [Final Scores]

Your Monday News & Notes:

The $225,000 Kentucky Invitational Grand Prix was a huge hit on Saturday night. Held in the Rolex Stadium the evening after cross country, the stands were packed with a sell-out crown despite rainy weather. COTH’s Ann Glavan reckons that events like this might be just what the sport needs. [Kentucky Invitational Grand Prix Shows Us What Show Jumping Could Be]

We learned yesterday that Ingrid Klimke has withdrawn SAP Hale Bob OLD from Badminton. We’re gutted that we won’t see Ingrid take another crack at the Badders title this year, but with withdrawals some new acceptances off the waitlist. [Favourite withdrawn from Badminton as waiting list closed; 19-year-old horse accepted to start]

We’re thrilled to have grooming legend Max Corcoran recently appointed as USEA president-elect. Max is poised to bring a new perspective on horsemanship and groom-recognition to the organization and Noelle Floyd magazine recently caught up with her to hear more about what she wants to accomplish in the role. [‘It’s More Than Making The Horse Look Pretty’: Max Corcoran Is On A Mission To Recognize Grooming As A Legitimate Career]

Featured video:  Here are your Land Rover/USEF CCI5* Eventing National Champions, Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg!

Boyd Martin & Tsetserleg #LRK3DE

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg clinch the Land Rover/USEF CCI5* Eventing National Championship presented by Mars Equestrian! #LRK3DE

Posted by USEF Network on Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sunday Show Jumping Social Media Roundup from Horsepower Technologies

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That’s all folks! Another #BestWeekendAllYear has come and gone and it sure was a whirlwind, wasn’t it? We have one last order of business for you today and that’s to take a look back on some of the best social media from the final jog to the prize giving. Cheers to a weekend that was! (Just watch out that Tim Price doesn’t steal your champagne!)

#LRK3DE: WebsiteScheduleStart TimesLive ScoresHow to Watch LiveEN’s Ultimate GuideUSEF NetworkHorse & Country TVEN’s CoverageEN’s InstagramEN’s Twitter

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Color Guard for today's finale at #lrky3de #lrk3de2019

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#gotime

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Not sure words can express what I feel right now. What an incredible weekend! Who would have known a cheap race horse…

Posted by Daryl Nuesch on Sunday, April 28, 2019

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So proud of @hanniesue ! #lrk3de

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The boy is back 🙌🏻After a bit of time off Xavier Faer has come back with a bang, jumping an amazing double clear to…

Posted by Team Price on Sunday, April 28, 2019

Top Quotes from the Final Day of Kentucky 2019

Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Just thirteen obstacles (sixteen jumping efforts) stood between our remaining competitors and the completion of the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. Read on to hear what some of our top finishers and a few five-star first-timers had to say about their rounds today and their plans for the future.

#LRK3DE: WebsiteScheduleStart TimesLive ScoresHow to Watch LiveEN’s Ultimate GuideUSEF NetworkHorse & Country TVEN’s CoverageEN’s InstagramEN’s Twitter

On their rounds…

Oliver Townend (GBR) 1st place on 25.3:I’m obviously very happy with Cooley, he’s a fantastic jumper. He’s a really, really careful horse and he tries his best for you. He likes to have his own way approach-wise. He likes to be sightly dead to an off-distance, he likes to have a little bit of a gap at his verticals, so it was just my job to give him a bit of room at the verticals and have plenty of canter for the oxers and as always he’s tried his best for me today.”

“It was a bit of a different situation — I came from behind last year and it’s a lot nicer going in third place and narrowly jumping a clear round and letting the rest of them be under pressure. So obviously you watch the other guys outside and these two lads (Boyd and Tim) must have done some job within the round because obviously I’ve know Tim’s horse for most of his life and I saw Boyd’s outside and he must have ridden well to say the least because when I heard the crowd go wild and obviously I didn’t have a fence and I didn’t have a time fault, I thought, ‘My God, he must have done some job, boy.’ But obviously the round went to plan.”

“We had a little rub at the Land Rover water tray, but again he’s a very good jumper and even when he touches the fence he generally touches it very, very lightly and then apologizes for the next six. he’s just a very, very cool horse but it was definitely the most pressurizing round that I’ve ever ridden under and I was just very happy with the way he performed for me and I’m glad I didn’t muck it up for him.”

Boyd Martin (USA) 2nd place on 27.9:I was thrilled with my guy today. He doesn’t give you the most confidence in the warm up, he was jumping all over the shop and twisting and I heard these two giggling up here in the warmup. But he’s a brave little horse when he gets in the ring and he’s a bit like Tim’s horse, he just spooks just that little bit. I’ve got to say, I do think he loves a bit of atmosphere and a crowd and I think he tapped the first fence a bit and I thought, “Aw crap, this could be a long round,’ but then at the second fence he really tried so I thought, ‘Well, we’re in with a shot here.’”

“He’s been difficult in the combinations. He usually can jump really, really big over the first part and get too close to the second part so I felt like I had to really, really come in slow and short to the fence 4ab. Once he cleared that I knew I was in with a chance for a clear round, but all in all I couldn’t be more happy and satisfied. Obviously it would be great to win [a Rolex watch] but Christine Turner who owns the horse and bought him as a young  horse and came through a few riders and had a few ups and downs for the horse. Obviously last year was a bit of a disappointment year, and then this year he’s come out blazing and I just have a big sort of sigh of relief that he sort of exceeded my expectations and I think he’s only going to grow and get better from this event.”

Tim Price (NZL) 3rd place on 30.9:[Xavier Faer] is a bit of a surprise, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get until you get out there. He’s spooky and so in a way he’s quite simple to work with because I know that it’s going to be there it’s just a matter of how much it’s going to be there. Liverpools — he takes a real special liking to or a disliking or whatever you want to call it and the whole middle of the arena was like an ocean of water trays, of liverpools, today so that felt like something that we really needed to overcome there and I was hoping for the best there.”

“He’s jumping really well and keeping his shape even. I could feel him looking at the odd things, but he’s maintaining a good feeling so that’s what I think helps us out on a day like today. He jumped beautiful. He’s just a lovely, big honest horse and I really enjoy riding a horse like him. I think he’ll come on from this. He’s an exciting horse as he gets more established at this level.”

Lauren Kieffer (USA) 8th place on 46.0 with Paramount Importance:We probably wouldn’t have had the [one time fault] if [Paramount Importance] hadn’t have trotted. He spooked at the camera crane. Luckily with Bug, he trots all the time, so I’m very used to it, so that was probably our one second there. But he was super – this was his first five-star and he just jumped a beautiful round, I was thrilled with him he’s such an amazing horse. I’m ecstatic.”

Hannah Sue Burnett (USA) double clear round, 11th place on 48.4: “[Harbour Pilot] was awesome. Really good. Show jumping is our hardest phase for sure, so it was nice for him to go in there and be so kind of regular and rideable, as ridable as he can be. He tried really hard — he was awesome in the triple, like really staying up in the air for me. [The course] rode really well, it’s hard to make the time so I was trying really hard to do that and then just got a little bit close to a few verticals, but he was a really good boy.”

Ariel Grald (USA) top placed five-star first-timer, 12th place on 50.5: “[Leamore Master Plan] was good. He had one rail down at fence five. He just kind of lightly ticked it. He’s usually really, really careful so I don’t know if he just had a moment of distraction because I felt like I placed him reasonably well, but he just can be a little strong in the show jumping so I had a couple time faults. He jumped great, he really does try. He tries to jump clear really hard.

Will Coleman (USA) double clear round, 13th place on 50.7:It feels good. I’m very proud. The horse tries his guts out and he deserved a clear round. He tried hard. [The course] was technical, it’s obviously extremely technical. Especially on horses that ran hard yesterday, but it’s not maybe quite as big here in some years but Richard builds a great course and I think it will prove influential as it goes on.”

Chris Talley (USA) 27th place on 76.4:[Unmarked Bills] went in there and jumped – I didn’t give him a great ride to a vertical – but he struggles with tension and having rails down when he gets tense. But he wen’t in there and really jumped really well and I kind of stood off a vertical but he added in and we had that one down, but it was amazing.”

 

On their first Kentucky experience…

Ariel Grald (USA): I’ve learned a lot. I’ve definitely learned that he is ready for this level and it’s just the beginning. We’ve got a lot of homework to go do, mostly in ride ability and strength, but we’ve learned a lot of good lessons and know where he needs to improve and he’ll be back better for next time.”

I was hacking up here earlier, up to show jump, and I was just looking at the cross country jumps like, ‘Oh we actually did that yesterday,’ it was all such a blur. It’s been  fantastic weekend and hopefully the first of many.”

Chris Talley (USA): “It’s amazing. It’s incredible. For my first five-star I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better. It finally all seems like it’s a reality. After finishing cross country yesterday it was definitely a reality and then it’s all just becoming more and more a reality.”

 

On what’s next and future plans…

Oliver Townend (GBR): “[Cooley Master Class] has come out here, knock on wood, better than I expected again and let’s just hope that he makes it back next year and tries to defend his title again. We shall see, but look, he knows there’s absolutely nothing now. He’s been out pet since he was four years old because he’s kind of had more time off than he has done work, that’s for sure, but he’s going to be the pet of the yard for the rest of his life, hopefully. And let’s hope that he makes another one.”

Boyd Martin (USA):I don’t know, we’ve got to regroup and I was thinking [Tsetserleg] could go alright if I went to Burghley or there’s the Pan American Games which I think they might probably want to just get an older group of horses just because they need to get qualified for the Olympics.”

Tim Price (NZL):My guy, Xavier Far, I really see him as a good Burghley horse. He’s never going to be right up there on the flat with dressage, but I do think there will be some more improvements. So provided he comes out of this competition well, which he looks like he’s very healthy, he’ll get back home and have a holiday and then our focus would be hopefully for Burghley for a good shot.”

Lauren Kieffer (USA): “Hopefully lots more big things. [Paramount Importance] felt great today. You never know how they’ll feel after their first five-star. It’s hard. We wake up really sore so I imagine they have to be twice as sore and it’s special horses that kind of push through that and try as hard as they normally do so I’m thrilled.”

Hannah Sue Burnett (USA): “[Harbour Pilot] is going to have a little break right now and then, I don’t know, maybe Burghley? That would be cool to try again.   

Ariel Grald (USA):I’ve got a bunch of young horses. [Leamore Master Plan] is  really my only upper-level horse at the moment, the rest are sort of Prelim and below. So hopefully he comes out of this well and we’re hoping for a trip to Europe in the second half of the year so hopefully this earns us that spot.”   

Will Coleman (USA):We’re going to regroup when we get home and I don’t know. We’ll see”

Chris Talley (USA): “We’re not entirely sure. [Unmarked Bills] is a horse that has kind of exceeded everybody’s expectations to do this. We kind of came into it not knowing totally if he could. We always kind of believed in him but we knew it would be a challenge for him, but he really kind of stepped up to the plate this weekend so he’s going to have a long vacation, a well-deserved vacation, and then we’ll make some more plans. I don’t know about for this fall, but maybe next year, maybe bring him back to the Bluegrass State.”

‘It’s a Game Changer’: Horsepower Technologies Introduces FastTrack, World’s First Equine Rehabilitative Orthotic

Photo courtesy of Horsepower Technologies.

Picture your horse galloping. Specifically, picture their front legs. On the third and forth beats of a stride the front legs straighten as the weight transfers onto each leg in turn, the knee straightens, the fetlock drops, and the soft tissues on the back of the fetlock stretch. We’ve all seen those up-close photos of a horse’s fetlock in a gallop or when they land from a jump — the fetlock is nearly hitting the ground; it’s incredible, isn’t it?

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that injury to the ligaments and tendons around the fetlock, (known as the flexor apparatus which includes the suspensory ligaments, deep digital flexor tendon, and superficial digital flexor tendon, amongst others) are some of the most common causes of lameness in event horses. And as an event rider you probably know that injury to these delicate structures require months to heal, with some degree of stall rest along with very, very controlled exercise.

Of course, controlling the exercise of a fit event horse can be challenging. While a certain level of exercise is desirable and beneficial during the healing process, one exuberant buck or leap can undo months of progress. It’s a fine line to walk, so to speak.

This is a problem that Wendy Drumm and Dr. Carl Kirker-Head, an orthopedic surgeon and expert in equine sports medicine at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, set out to solve when they founded Horsepower Technologies Inc. in 2010. The creation of the company and the initial investigation into improving equine rehabilitation was sparked by the loss of Wendy’s dream horse, who sadly had to be euthanized after unsuccessful rehabilitation. Wendy was left wondering why there weren’t any better options to help horses pull through orthopedic injuries and if something could be done to improve their outcome.

Horsepower Technologies’ mission to improve soundness though science was born and Wendy and Dr. Kirker-Head began by considering some of these most common soft tissue injuries seen in sport horses and evaluating treatments that human medicine were using for comparable injuries, such as strains and tears to soft tissue in the human knee. Though they are technically different joints and soft tissue (the horse’s fetlock is equivalent to the knuckles in a human hand) there are some functional similarities between them.

The concept that the team kept circling back to was that of the hinged, range of motion knee brace often worn by people recovering from ACL tears. You know the ones — they have the dial on the side that limits how far the knee bend and they stabilize the tendons and ligaments within the joint.

Horsepower Technologies’ first product, the FastTrack™, is like that … but for horses. The FastTrack™ is the world’s first rehabilitative orthotic for equine lameness and it aims to improve the outcome of soft tissue rehabilitation by enabling the horse to exercise again sooner and lowering the risk of re-injury. It’s a game changer as far as equine lameness and recovery goes and frankly begs the question, why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?

Photo courtesy of Horsepower Technologies.

So How Does It Work?

The FastTrack™ has three main components, all of which serve very important functions in helping to reduce the load on the injured tendons and ligaments and keep them from stretching too far while they are healing. All of these elements work harmoniously to create an environment for the horse that makes rehabilitation safe and get the horse moving sooner, therefore ideally shorting the rehabilitation period and improving the outcome.

The SafeStop™ feature is the golden dial on the side of the device that limits the range of motion of the fetlock joint and prevents the tendons and ligaments from extending too far, thereby reducing the risk of re-injury. The dial allows the angle of the SafeStop™ to be adjusted, in ten degree increments from zero to ninety degrees, and restricts the range of motion of the fetlock joint without preventing the horse from normal movement. As the horse steps, the SafeStop catches the fetlock from dropping beyond the angle that the dial is set to.

It is important to note that the FastTrack™ does not limit the horse’s gait; the horse can still canter even when the device is set to 20 degrees, for example.

The silver exoskeleton is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, and if there’s any material out there that can hold up to the wear and tear a horse will put it through, this is it. The exoskeleton comes in two sizes, the difference being the narrowness between the points of the hinge that sit at the fetlock. The narrower size fits many finer-boned breeds, while the wider size is useful for Warmblood types. There are two “cuffs”: one that encircles the cannon bone and one that encircles the pastern.

Both cuffs are padded with thermo-active foam for comfort, fit, and pressure relief. It’s actually the the same material found in the liners of some ski boots. The foam is heated and becomes malleable, then the athlete inserts their foot into the boot liner and as the foam cools it holds its shape for a truly custom fit. Similarly, after the foam liners on the FastTrack™ are heated with a portable heater kit, the device is put on the horse and the foam retains the shape of the horse’s leg once it cools. Additionally, the foam padding on each cuff comes in four different sizes and can be mixed and matched for the best possible fit to the individual horse.

As the amount of movement is increased during the horse’s rehabilitation, particularly during under-saddle use, a pair of liners are available for use under the FastTrack™ in order to reduce the risk of the horse developing boot-rubs. Thankfully, however, due to the custom-fit of the device, the occurrence boot-rubs aren’t cause for concern during much of the rehab process.

The foam is a thick padding, which isn’t very easily depressed by the pressure of a human hand. While it may not seem particularly comfortable at first, being seemingly stiff, the fact that it’s not overly squishy serves a very specific function in supporting the tendons and ligaments by absorbing the force of the horse’s body weight and offloading some of that weight their cannon and pastern bones.

This may seem like a scary concept at first, but it’s actually a very low percentage of the horse’s body weight – only 3 to 4 percent during normal movement – that is offloaded. However, this low percentage is still enough to relieve a significant amount of pressure on the flexor apparatus — enough to make a big difference in the stress that is put on the soft tissue while it heals.

And don’t worry — the effect of this increased weight on the cannon and pastern bones is something that the Horsepower Technologies team investigated during their product testing at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. The research team used a bone scan throughout horses’ rehabilitation periods in order to make sure that these important bone structures weren’t compromised as a result of the increased pressure. No indication that the integrity of the cannon and pastern bones were compromised in any way was seen.

If you think that wearing these devices would be jarring to the horses, you’d actually be quite surprised. Each device only weighs about three pounds and out of all the horses who have worn the FastTrack™, not a single one reacted adversely — they simply walked off without drama. No panic, and not even any of those exaggerated “shipping boot steps.”

Photo courtesy of Horsepower Technologies.

Who’s Using It?

While the company was originally founded in 2010, it look eight years of research and testing to develop a viable product and turn the concept of a human knee brace for horses into what you see today. The company soft-launched the product to early adopters last summer and then officially launched to the public in December at the 2018 AAEP Conference.

There are currently a handful of veterinarians offering the product to their clients (and if you want your local veterinarian to be one of them, let them know!) as well as rehabilitation centers and veterinary schools utilizing them for patients. They’re being used in combination with other therapies as well such as slow-walkers, aqua-treadmills, laser therapy, and stem cell therapy.

U.S. Equestrian Team veterinarian Dr. Tim Ober found the FastTrack™ to be particularly useful for one of his clients, none other than Will Coleman’s four-star mount Boris O’Hara, who sustained a suspensory injury during the cross country at last year’s Jersey Fresh International and was withdrawn from the competition. Boris’ owner, Kathleen McDermott, had hear about the FastTrack™ and suggested using it to Dr. Ober.

Boris wore the FastTrack™ over the spring and summer for hand walking and limited small-pen turnout before progressing to using them for some under-saddle work. Boris has since graduated out of the orthotics over the winter and returned to training, leaving Dr. Ober very pleased with the horse’s progression.

“The FastTrack™ was a helpful tool in Boris’ recovery,” said Dr. Ober. “He wore the boot comfortably without complication and its use contributed to excellent healing and a positive outcome.”

Boris O’Hara sports his FastTrack™ orthotics. Photo courtesy of Horsepower Technologies.

So How Do I Get One and How Do I Use It?

FastTrack™ is always sold or rented through veterinarians – after all, you should consult your horse’s veterinarian to determine the best rehabilitation protocol for you horse. When your veterinarian offers FastTrack, they will take care of measuring your horse and finding the proper fit using the Horsepower Technologies dedicated Sizing Kit and then molding the foam to your horse’s legs with the portable heater kit.

Once your veterinarian has custom fit the FastTrack™ to your horse’s legs, they’ll prescribe you a rehabilitation protocol to follow. This protocol will likely involve periods of stall rest and light hand walking in the early stages, followed by short periods of trotting in hand and under saddle, and later some canter work. Your veterinarian will also tell you what the SafeStop™ dial should be set at for each of these phases.

FastTrack™ should also only be used following the protocol your veterinarian prescribes. This means using the FastTrack™ only during the periods of time that they recommend, not leaving it on 24/7 — after all, you wouldn’t leave any other boot on 24/7, would you? 

Keep in mind that FastTrack™ must be used in pairs and there are several reasons for this. Wearing the FastTrack™ on each leg promotes gait symmetry and keeps the horse from compensating on the healthy limb. Speaking of the healthy limb, the nature of the work that event horses do leave them prone to injury in both legs, so there’s a chance that there could be a problem brewing in that leg as well, which wearing the FastTrack™ can protect and help heal from.

With Horsepower Technologies helping to modernize equine rehabilitation and improve the recovery outcome for injured horses, FastTrack™ is an enviable tool.

“I truly wish that the FastTrack™ existed when I was competing professionally,” says Olympic gold medalist David O’Connor, current Chair of the FEI Eventing Committee. “I know several Olympic horses that would have benefited from Horsepower’s customized orthotic technology. The next generation of equine athletes will have a powerful new tool to help them return to competition after a sporting injury — it’s a game changer!”

LRK3DE Bingo + Saturday Social Media Roundup from Horsepower Technologies

What. a. DAY. I’m not sure it quite went as anyone expected, did it? Although, we can always count on a good number of fist-pumping moments as well as few more dandelions to be added to the park, can’t we? Here are a few rider-reactions as well as some of your very best social media moments. Also, can you spot the hidden fence judge?

#LRK3DE: WebsiteScheduleStart TimesLive ScoresHow to Watch LiveEN’s Ultimate GuideUSEF NetworkHorse & Country TVEN’s CoverageEN’s InstagramEN’s Twitter

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Waylon Roberts over the Orchard Oxer. #lrk3de

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#thatsmygirl #lrk3de

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Top Quotes from Cross Country Day at Kentucky

Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Today was … unexpected, perhaps. At least for the riders, most of whom seemed to think yesterday that Derek di Grazia’s cross country course walked a little softer than usual. Once they got on course, however, it seems that they changed their minds pretty quickly!

Scroll down to read the reactions of some of the first riders on course, some of the riders sitting at the top of the standings, and the thoughts of the course designer himself on how his creation rode.

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Allie Sacksen (USA) first to complete the course, sitting in 30th place on 79.5: I’m crying! Oh my God! I’m sorry! That was such an amazing ride … I can’t … that horse! Ok, wow … it was not pretty, but we got it done. I was walking around the start box and Caroline fell, and then Liz fell, and then Buck had a runout and then he fell and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, what am I doing today?’ I woke up at like 3:30 this morning in cold sweats like, ‘Why am I doing this to myself? It’s supposed to be fun!’ But at the riders meeting on Wednesday there was one gentleman talking about putting everything else outside of your head and focusing and I just did that and I knew that I had to ride the entire course — I could not stop riding. And I had to ride the entire course and it never let up. A couple of the fences – I think after the triple bar – the wide table turning right to the big brushes, [Sparrow’s Nio] like got there in a half stride, he like bellied it, but I totally did like a Pony Club yank in both directions and he was just so dead on. I’m speechless.”

“Last year was a very odd season for us. I just had my baby that January in 2018 and I came out in the spring and retired and Bromont, retired at Fair Hill, and that’s not normal for us. So I kind of came out this spring thinking, ‘OK well, we’ll go to Carolina and see how it goes.’ He was brilliant at Carolina and I was like, ‘Alright let’s give it one more go.’ He was phenomenal. He was absolutely phenomenal. It’s so cool – I like to call myself an average joe – I have one horse, him, and I have a young little Thoroughbred that a great friend of mine, Jill McNicol, owns and that’s it. So I’m kind of a one horse wonder at the moment but it’s one wonderful horse that I have.”

“[My advice to the other riders would be] bon’t worry about striding — just ride. Nothing worked out quite like I thought it would, but it’s just kind of grit your teeth and make it happen. I took two long routes, but I wanted to come here with clean jumping, I didn’t really care about time. I actually threw my watch off halfway through the course because it was starting to slip and drive me nuts before the 9abc question because I knew all I wanted to do was come across the finish flags. It doesn’t let up — you’ve got to be a fit rider and a fit horse. I had a little bit different fitness plan coming in this year and I think it worked because he felt super up until the end.”

Sara Gumbiner (USA) one of only four riders to complete the Normandy Bank direct route, sitting in 23rd place on 58.2: Oh my gosh, it was hard. I think it was tougher than last year. It was so much more technical. I felt like it was a bit slower, like you really had to think about your time as you were going though the combinations. He took care of me a couple times out there, you know like, I put my leg on and he said it wasn’t there, he just sort of backed off and did it and he was amazing.”

“That is the scariest thing [when you hear riders before you fall]. You just start second guessing yourself. You walk all your lines – I’ve walked this course six times – and you know, you have a plan, you’re like, ‘I’m going to do all the straight lines,’ and then the first three riders bomb out and it’s all at the same fence and you’re like, ‘We need to do the option!’ But I know my horse and I knew where the trip up was and I knew that he was going to be fine no matter where I got him to and he was.”

“You know, I think like my overall feeling of [being at Kentucky for the second time] was way less overwhelming, so I do think that gave me a little bit of ease. But walking it, it’s walked completely differently than last year so it felt like it was a new event. I just thought that, you know, the questions it was asking and the type of horses that would excel at it was very different than the horses last year so luckily I have a really rideable scopey horse which I think can kind of accomplish any course and I think he proved it today.”

Will Faudree (USA) sitting in 19th place on 50.6: It’s perfect conditions, perfect weather, but a really big track and Derek knows this park so well and knows how to use the terrain and it was a serious fitness test. And [Pfun] is a really good cross country horse. I’m kicking myself for just slowing down a bit too much at the end setting him up for the combinations and I could have saved 10 or 20 seconds easily, but that’s why we come to these things, to get better. I think he’s just such a trustworthy horse and such a good friend.”

“The softer it looks, the harder it is to ride. I heard some people saying, ‘Oh, it’s quite soft this year,’ and I think it’s easy to walk around when you’re not having to go out and do it. You can’t walk the terrain the way you feel it on the horses. I think that’s an incredible trait that Derek has as a course designer is that he designs it from the horse’s perspective, not the rider’s. I think that you had to fight for it the whole way around and I was thrilled to cross the finish line clear. I with I could have finished a bit faster. [The horses] land after each combination feeling like, ‘Wow, I just did that,’ and I think that’s a tribute to Derek as a designer.”

“I’ll go back and make sure my pony is good and ready for tomorrow. Early to bed. The night before cross country is typically a sleepless night for me. I find myself waking up multiple times throughout the night visualizing what I’m supposed to be doing. I went out and I jumped every single jump one time today, but I jumped them about fifty-five times between Wednesday and today in my head. So I’m going to have a night of sleep.”

Hazel Shannon (AUS) sitting in 28th place on 65.4: “[Willingapark Clifford] would have jumped [18c], but I was stuck in an indecision and I kind of didn’t give him enough leadership. If I had it a little more right – I didn’t even have to get it right, I just had to get it half right – he would have been fine. But he was trying really hard, he always does. It was pretty good, there’s things you always want to do better, but he’s very forgiving so you just have to get it half right and he’ll do it.”

“[The runout at 18c, The Head of the Lake] probably just made me sort of think I have to sharpen up to get around. I was watching the time at the beginning, but then I sort of stopped. He decided to get strong so I was kind of just trying to pilot around safely.”

“I was always going to [go long at the Normandy Bank]. That was one of the fences that I didn’t feel comfortable with. Everything else I’ve jumped variations of it, I just didn’t feel like that was something that we were familiar with. The long route wasn’t really that much longer, I thought. Especially if he was a bit tired by then it would just be easier to cruise around there.”

“[The course] was kind of how I’d imagined. A few things I ended up doing slightly differently out there, but basically it all rode how I was planning. And the water, it did ride as I was planning, I just didn’t ride it as I was planning on riding it. I’m disappointed, but I mean the horse is healthy and safe so that’s the main thing.”

Oliver Townend (GBR) sitting in 1st place on 25.3: “[Cooley Master Class] was unbelievable. He’s had great preparation this year and he was keen, which I’m not that used to. He had a few of his own ideas out there, but all with his ears pricked and all looking for the flags. There were times when I was sat behind him with reins too long because he’d done something I hadn’t expected and he just put himself through the flags every single time. He lost a shoe halfway so I was very conscious of that. He slipped on a few of the turns so I tried to look after him at the fences so I didn’t always go on a wing on a prayer short, I kind of ended up balancing a few more times than I wanted and had one long route that I hadn’t planned, again, because he jumped so big in, but I couldn’t be happier with the horse and the way he’s finished.”

“After seeing the trouble early on I thought [the Normandy Bank] would be my one planned long route and obviously saw what I thought was a good distance from too far out really to the very last water and he threw a huge jump in and on the second or first stride I saw we’d never get there, he was landing traveling, so I shouldered ‘long route’ and that was not planned. He was very, very good.”

“He’s enjoyed [Kentucky] this year, that’s for sure, probably more so than I have to a certain extent. He’s basically dozed in the dressage and run off with me ‘round the cross country, but at the same time he’s a horse that’s very close to our heart. The whole of the team loves him. He’s a yard favorite and he’ll stay that way after performances like this. We’ll enjoy today. Hopefully he’ll have the shoe back on and he’ll not be feeling it too much and hopefully he’ll redo what he did in the stadium last time.”

Phillip Dutton (USA) sitting in 4th place on 31.7:I walked the course and I thought it walked a little soft, but it was far from soft.  It was hard work all the way around. I didn’t have any really bad moments I don’t think, but you had to concentrate and you had to hold your line and you had to keep your horse in front of your leg. Obviously I was a little bit anxious coming to that Normandy Bank, but felt that it was going to be slower and harder on [Z] if I did the option and turning him and he was getting tired. He was jumping very forward and strong so I took an estimated guess that he’d probably do it alright and I saw a good shot up and he got there in the two. And Erik Duvander just told me to go for it, so.”

Lauren Kieffer (USA) only rider to run multiple horses, sitting in 8th place on 41.4 with Vermiculus and sitting in 9th place on 45.6 with Paramount Importance:The first year [Vermiculus and I] about ate it in the first water and he was pretty amazing — in the Head of the Lake he landed and almost completely fell down so we had to do a circle in the Head of the Lake, so the first year I had a twenty there through no fault of his own. And then last year clear and this year clear. He’s just as confident as he was the first time. He has very high self-esteem so he’s not phased by a whole lot and he’s always actually been a great horse about just picking up the flags and he wants to go through them so you don’t have to fight with him much on that. I’d say he’s just stronger [than previous years]. The first year, because he’s little, you’d have to reach across the tales a bit and this year it just kind of felt all out of stride for him.”

“[After bringing one horse home] I think you kind of are like, ‘At least I can go finish the day half happy regardless of how this goes — at least I didn’t have the worst day ever,’ but certainly I love Kentucky. It was definitely nice to have the first go on [Paramount Importance] and then on “Bug” (Vermiculus) you’re just a little less careful because you know him and you know he’s done a five-star so it’s a little bit trying to have a crack at it. I was slower than I would have liked but you know, he’s a little guy and we did the best we could.”

“You always don’t underestimate Derek’s courses. I think we really trust Derek, but we don’t underestimate him. I think one of the biggest things, I think he’s the best course designer in the world, but I think one of the bigger things that people should take note of, and other designers should take note of, is he has no ego about it. Like the Normandy Bank, studying that corner off that was slightly experimental and I think that the fact that he gave us a long route that wasn’t very long, you knew he thought he wasn’t 100% sure it how it was going to ride so he gave us that option that wasn’t going to be devastating to the day. And I think that’s because he doesn’t have a huge ego about it. He was going to experiment a little, he wasn’t 100% sure that the horses were going to get it, and so he gave us a not-horrific long route, which some course designers would put there and say, ‘Well toughen up and learn how to ride it,’ but you can’t always predict what the horses are going to read. I actually thought the straight route was going to be fine and then the horses just didn’t quite read it the same way. Tt’s interesting with the Normandy Bank when you don’t have a jump on it they actually land a bit bellied on it whereas if you have a jump on top they land looking up so I think that that they kind of landed on their bellies and that kept them low to the ground to that.”

“The crowds just go crazy here. It’s funny they kind of have their little heart horses and stuff they get behind and like for Bug they were just going wild the whole way around. It just amps you up and it’s fun. The horses love it, we love it. It’s just a special place and I’ve been incredibly lucky here year after year. Every year I come back and I’m like, ‘Well my lucks gotta run out this year,’ but I’ve always just had great goes here.”

Thoughts from the course designer, Derek di Grazia:

On what surprised him about how the course rode… 

“I guess you never know going into these days, especially with a group of riders, you never know what they are going to do. Obviously, as it turned out, I think all of the jumps got jumped because a lot of people opted to take some of the longer routes, which is good. I don’t know if anything necessarily surprised me. I think that for the most part the jumps to me worked the way that I thought that they would and I thought that with a lot of the combinations there was a variation in the strides between the obstacles and the riders used all of them quite honestly. I think that they had to work for it at the Head of the Lake, quite honestly. I think that first jumping in and then having to get reorganized to jump the step out, I think that that to me was where good riders were going to have to work more than I thought they would.”

On the first three riders on course falling…

“Well, that hopefully the next one would go clear. You’re always looking for the first one. And you know, those things, they happen. They’ve happened before where you go out and they don’t come back, but I think once you get someone around that sort of sets the tone for the rest of the ones going and I think that gives you a pretty good feeling. And I think the course, the way it was laid out, the riders certainly had places where if they didn’t want to go the straight ways they could go to the options. They were a little bit longer, but they weren’t terribly longer and I think that in some ways that gave them a little bit of a break so that they always didn’t feel that they had to go the hard way.”

On riders saying that it felt softer after walking it…

“I think it’s probably more the riders who have ridden here year after year that would say that. I think there were some more technical things this year than there were last year. Size-wise I think it was just the same as it was last year and as far as whether it was easier or not, I think that in some cases you could say just because they could in certain areas take those longer routes you could say that that obviously made it easier. I think that for the ones that went all the straight ways I thought it was right up there with anything and I was happy to see that actually everything was used.”

I set the track knowing that it could go one way or the other and I think it was more that the riders had to make that decision and especially they would make the decision with Plan A going into the ride, of course, but at the same time I think they had to have a Plan B depending on what actually happened when they were going around the course. So that was always my intention that it wasn’t going to be something where it’s very set and ‘this is what you have to do,’ but I don’t think it was that sort of course.”

Kentucky 2019 At-A-Glance: Dressage Gear

Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

It’s time once again for everyone’s favorite batch of all-unimportant “statistics” — it’s the who wore what of dressage at Kentucky 2019. Trends in gear come and go … are we seeing a downswing in blingy browbands? What about brown tack? And what percentage of the horses had pulled tails versus braided tails versus *gasp* natural tails? Find out below:

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Saturday Links Presented by Nupafeed USA

Photo via Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.

IT’S GO TIME! What more is there to say for now, except to wish each and every rider that leaves the start box today a safe and swift ride. Don’t forget to take another look at the course and the course map before the action starts. #GoEventing.

National Holiday: CROSS COUNTRY DAY!

Major Events:

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U.S. Weekend Action:

Fresno County Horse Park H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

University of New Hampshire Spring H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Loudoun Hunt Pony Club H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

St. John’s H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Saturday Links:

Jonty and Art make winning return to competition

Five-Star Horses of a Different Breed

Eventing ‘flag rule’ petition tops 3,000 signatures in three days

British Badminton title contender among latest withdrawals

The Four Components of Impulsion

Horse Topline-Building Tips

Saturday Video: Course walk with Elisa Wallace!

Dressage Day Two Social Media Roundup from Horsepower Technologies

Oliver’s test was really impressive and all that, but I’d like to draw your attention to another very important thing that made a real splash today social media: Will Coleman’s dog Holden, who has his very own LRK3DE credentials and everything. What a very good boy.

Another very good boy who made an actual splash: Lauren Kieffer’s little dachshund (I promise, it is not actually an otter) Benny, who clearly is not the least bit intimidated by the course’s formidable water complexes:

Alright, enough with the dogs (not actually though, there are NEVER enough dogs — don’t forget to tag yours with #DogsofEN) Here are your snaps from today at the park, plus a look behind the scenes thanks to some social media-savvy riders. By the looks of things, it appears that today was a little bit about dressage, a little bit about admiring the cross country course, and a whole lot about shopping until you literally drop:

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Sliding into Land Rover dressage day 2 like 😉

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Go @laurenkieffereventing !!!!

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Big duck or little Phillip? 🤷🏼‍♀️

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Can’t Miss Quotes from Dressage Day Two at Kentucky

Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

The riders were chatty today after their tests! Thanks to Samantha Clark, interviewer extraordinaire, we’ve got an absolute boatload of thoughts and reactions to share with you from the competitors who rode their tests today.

Read on and scroll down to find out what they thought about their dressage tests, the crazy weather today, tomorrow’s cross country, what they’ve been working on in the off-season, and which horse recovered from a broken leg just a year ago!

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On their dressage tests…

Will Coleman (USA) 35.7/ 20th place:It was good. [Tight Lines] is never going to be mistaken for a dressage horse. He’s a Thoroughbred and he was really born to gallop so all things considered I’m glad this phase is over and now we can just look forward to what he’s good at which is the cross country and jumping phases. He’s tries his guts out and I can’t be anything but pleased with him today.”

Marcelo Tosi (BRA) 40.8/ 35th place: “It was good, it was good. A lot of wind. I think he was a little bit excited than I expect today, a little more tense, I think, with the wind and everything. So he did quite everything correct but a little bit tense so that don’t make sometimes a nice picture, nice relaxation, so make the score go a little bit higher. I expect to be around 32, so I think we get around 38, but it’s fine! It’s a big atmosphere, the weather change today from yesterday so the plan was one and then perhaps another.”

Piggy French (GBR) 27.1/ 2nd place: I know in his work bits could be better – he’s not a great trotter – his working trot is not a great trot so he needs to be as relaxed and as up as he possibly can to get the 7s or 7.5s, but his canter work is usually pretty good and I think it felt OK. Maybe I was holding my breath all the way through, I don’t know, but I was delighted with him from how he felt in the warmup to go in there and be professional and do his job.”

To be honest I didn’t think I had him quite right outside so in my mind I was thinking, I knew I wasn’t in the perfect place you want to be, but I really was impressed with him the fact that he’s become more professional over the years and tried very hard and knuckled down, so I was just delighted and could start breathing when I did the final halt and he had been a good boy.”

Erin Sylvester (USA) 32.2/ 9th place: “[Paddy The Caddy] was awesome. It felt really good. We’ve been working very hard on our dressage all year. I wasn’t sure if he was going to get a little nervous in there, which maybe he felt like a fraction nervous, but he really stayed with me. I could really tell that he was trying to do the right thing all the time so I was really happy with him.”

Leslie Law (GBR) 36.9/ 25th place: I mean was pleased with that really. I think the horse has had to come a long way in twelve months and, you know, the dressage would be his hardest phase I would say. He’s a big horse and he is only 10 years old and we’ve got to wait for him to get stronger and be able to carry himself better, but I was very pleased with the way he coped with it and with all the atmosphere because sometimes that’s been difficult for him so I think overall I have to be very, very happy with him.”

Phillip Dutton (USA) 31.7, 7th place: “It was OK, I mean it could have been worse, but I was hoping for a bit better. There’s a lot of atmosphere and then the wind and all that, it sort of got to him a little bit. So I wasn’t in full gear, I was just trying to keep him together the whole way around and then he didn’t change that well either. He’s got plenty of energy so it’s just a case of controlling it. I thought he trotted well and he walked pretty well considering he was on edge.”

Oliver Townend (GBR) 24.1, 1st place:He made me work in there. There’s a lot more than what he gave, but at the same time he’s very experienced, not at this level, but I have had him since he was four years old so he knows me and I know him. It’s nice to come in and not have to worry about boiling over, it’s more about worrying keeping him going and getting him to the end without me sweating too much, but he’s done a good job. He’s very laid back and ridiculously lazy at time. Sometimes it helps to be in a fresher environment to perk him up a little bit, but look, we are where we are and we’re very happy with where we are.”

Tim Price (NZL) 30.9/ 5th place:I made a couple of mistake which are a bit annoying: in the right to left change times two. So other than that he did some of the best work that he’s ever done in the ring. He stayed relaxed which is the main thing. He’s a bit of a random spooky horse and he can see a dragon from nowhere and none of those appeared today so that was really good so I’m really pleased. I think we’re here with more of a jumping competition in mind. You want a good start point, I think that’s one of those, and now it’s all full focus on tomorrow. He’s getting more professional in his ripe old age of 12. He was good fun.”

Hawley Bennett-Awad (CAN) 35.4/ 16th place:I actually thought she was pretty good and then in the walk she started shaking her head which she never does and I looked down on her neck and there was this big yellow bug and there was nothing I could do about it, so that was unfortunate, but she was good. It’s not a dressage show. It’s not my worst score at this level — I really wanted to obviously get low thirties on her, but there’s a lot to do tomorrow so we’re good.”

Boyd Martin (USA) 27.9/ 3rd place: “Not too bad — you never know quite how it looks when you ride it. He was a little bit spooky and distracted but he’s a good boy, lucky. He presents a lovely picture and he’s pretty seasoned now so it’s good fun to ride him dressage.”

Lauren Kieffer (USA) 33.0/ 12th place on Vermiculus, 33.6/ 13th place on Paramount Importance: “[Vermiculus] was super. There was a lot of wind and cold and he was really letting his Arab flag fly, but I was really happy with him. he didn’t make any mistakes and he was really accurate and it’s hard when you can see the percentages up there and you’re kind of like, ‘Come on, go up! Like, this is good!’ But he was great and it’s a long weekend still and I’m excited to get out of there on both of them.

On the stormy weather today…

Piggy French (GBR): “It’s windy in there — you go down the tunnel and actually the breeze gets you, so it just felt quite stormy. And he just felt a bit fresh when I got on him so I’m relieved there was no big mistakes.”

Erin Sylvester (USA): I’ll be completely honest I think [the weather] is in his favor. When it’s warm and a bit humid he can’t half-pass, he get’s very tired, so the cooler weather – he’s Irish – this feels like his type of day so I think it was working in our favor actually.”

Oliver Townend (GBR): I could have done with more of a gust [of wind] up his backside at times, but no, [the weather] doesn’t seem to affect him. He’s obviously used to being in the peeing down rain and freezing cold conditions from January to March so it makes no odds to him, but put it this way, I’m glad it wasn’t any warmer for him, that wouldn’t have helped.”

On the cross country course…

Will Coleman (USA): “I think it’s a good test. I think it’s a little different from last year. Maybe last year it was a bit bigger, a bit bolder, but this I think requires a bit more tact. Some of the combinations … everything is going to come up quite fast and there’s a lot of technical riding out there so I think it’ll be difficult. It’s hard to be bold and technical at the same time sometimes, so that’s clearly what he want to see from us so we’ll see if we’re up for the task.”

I certainly wont be thinking about WEG. That was an uncharacteristic competition for him and me. There are probably a lot of reasons for that, but at the end of the day tomorrows course is a totally different set of questions. With him he’s such an aggressive horse that some of the technical things I think will be quite challenging for us because he’s almost trying too hard by sometimes being a little bit too bold, too gung-ho. Sometimes I feel like we’re not always on the same page and my biggest thing will just be trying to get him to relax out there and let me ride him because if he lets me ride him well be fine, but if he’s anxious or nervous or tense it’s much more difficult to execute some of these turns especially on the terrain, so that’s the big goal. He’s run very well for me this year and I’m pleased with where he’s at so I just gotta go and try to keep that going tomorrow.”

Piggy French (GBR): Oh, it’s big! It’s a long way and it’s big and it’s serious. It’s a great course, I think the course designer is a brilliant one. Everything there is definitely jumpable and clear to the horses if the lines and the approaches are good. So it’s just a great rider course. I think it’s also a tough course. I think the terrain is twisty enough — you’re always a little bit up and down on a turn. We’ve got to be very clear in our minds what fence comes up next and where to be at the string and everything. I think the time will be tight as well as there are enough serious questions. and it stays big and quite tough all the way to the end, which is another thing. You don’t get three quarters of the way around and think you can give them a pat and say, ‘Right, cmon we’re a few second behind now we can make it up now to get home’. It stays quite serious to the end.”

“You know it will be [Quarrycrest Echo’s] biggest test so far, but over the last twelve months everything that he’s done has been a bigger test, a bigger test, so it’s time for him to be trying this. You know on his day he’s probably one of the best horses I’ve ever had. He’s a lovely galloper and he’s a great jumper and there’s nothing there that I don’t think he can’t do, but tomorrow’s another day. Horses, they’re not machines, we’re not machines — it’s getting everything to go right at the right time and hope that he’s traveled a long way and that he’s as fit as he can be. That’s the important thing to me with the trip: I just hope he does as well as he can do and he comes out well and gets home having enjoyed himself and having gone as well as he can.”

Erin Sylvester (USA): “It looks good, it’s a fair bit different from last year it feels a little bit more technical to me walking than last year did. It’s a five-star, so like, it’s definitely a tough track, but I have plans for the different fences and I’m hoping we’ll have a good go tomorrow.”

Leslie Law (GBR): It’s obviously a five-star track and I think it’s a very good track. It’s very fair. There are obviously some really, really good technical lines that we’re gonna have to really be good on and be able to jump. I think for my horse coming in to his first five-star I think it’s a very fair track. Maybe experience might catch us out, but we hope not. But I think he’ll go away from here, from the cross country, being a better horse for the future.”

Phillip Dutton (USA): It’s not as big as we’ve had before, but there’s a little bit more technical and rideability exercises so I think it’s gonna be a good test for everyone.”

Oliver Townend (GBR): It’s proper, proper five-star. I’m a huge fan of Derek di Grazia’s courses. I think he’s an exceptional, exceptional course designer — one of the very, very best in the world and I always enjoy coming here to see what challenges he sets. For sure it’s a five-star, it’s one of the toughest in the world. It’s huge, it’s technical, it’s narrow.”

Tim Price (NZL): I think it’s intense. He’s got things to slow you down, Derek has, all the way home so the time is going to be difficult, it usually is, and I think that never more so than this year. And yeah, technicality is right up as well. There’s skinnies everywhere, you’ve got to stay on your job as does your horse all the way home. So yeah, looking forward to it.”

Hawley Bennett-Awad (CAN):I think it’s awesome. I think the first half is really big and gallopy and then it’s a little tricky at the end and you’re gonna have to have a fit horse. Derek used a lot of the hills and I think it it’s actually a bit longer — it feels longer than in other years. And with all the training questions you’ve got to have a horse that listens. You can’t just go flat out early and hope it works out. I feel good, I’m excited about it. So good luck to everyone.”

Boyd Martin (USA): To be honest it doesn’t walk as savage as last year, but I actually think it’s equally as difficult. He’s set a lot of the difficult jumps in the second half of the course where the horses will get a bit tired and also the riders to get starting to thinking about the time a lot.  So you’ve got to be quick early and then also read your horse. A few of those complicated combinations at the end you’ve sort of have to figure out how much to balance them up and still go fast.”

Lauren Kieffer (USA): I think it’s a beautiful course. Derek, I think we trust him as riders, I think he’s the best course designer in the world. I think it’s definitely got a way different feel than it usually has, he’s usually big, bold and straight and he’s definitely got us turning here and there and everything else so it’s a different feel than it usually has so it’ll be interesting out there.” 

“I obviously know Bug (Vermiculus) better, but both of them I really kind of trust a lot cross country. I mean it’s a five-star, anything can happen — you toe pick into the water or whatever else. I quite trust them both. They both hunt the flags and so if I give them a good ride I’ll have good rounds.”

On what they’ve been working on over the winter…

Will Coleman (USA): Everything! With this horse after last year we just felt like we needed to take a lot of pressure off him and let him feel good about what he’s doing even if it’s not the greatest in the world. I think that we’re comfortable with that now and were really pleased with the effort he’s giving and I’m pleased with how it may not be a winning test, but it’s happy and it’s pleasant and we’re both enjoying the work much much more so for me thats probably that’s what we’ve been working on: just getting back to that place. And then hopefully we can build on it and turn 6.5s into 7s and maybe 7.5s on day, but that’s going to be some time.”

Marcelo Tosi (BRA): I think the cross country quite tough, it will be not a dressage competition and maybe for the three of four in the lead, the good combinations, they can keep their dressage score but we try tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.”

“I think the designer use very well the ground. He’s very clever, and we have plenty to gallop. I think it’s a lot of combinations he use are uphill or downhill. I think we just have one combination on the flat. It’s very unusual to have that, but it’s his style I think or the place’s style and I think in the third part of the cross country it’s quite big and too much combinations. I think he use more combinations that I thought and another thing I see here that I don’t see in Europe is too much drop down. And you have four drop down for the waters, I think this can make it very tough for the horse, and have one big [drop] at the end of the course as well. So we need to look out for the horse since the beginning so we can have petrol. A conditioned horse at the end of the course – that is important. To make a good plan to take the horse to the end of the course in good condition, because we have plenty to do in the end.”

Erin Sylvester (USA): “I’ve worked with Silva [Martin] a bunch and she’s great, and just for the last few months I’ve been working closely with James Koford and I joined up with him for a few weeks in Wellington and he’s been helping my team and my riders as well. He really loves Paddy and loves working with a hard working Thoroughbred I think we’ve made some big improvements with him and our presentation in the arena. I always feel like I want to ride him a little too round because he’s a Thoroughbred and he can get tight in the back and I have PTSD from being on [No Boundaries] in this arena and him just freaking out in there. So I like to kind of ride everything a little bit too low and he really needs to come up in his wither to have the expression in his step and it’s hard for him to do. Paddy has been working really, really hard so I think we’ve really made a difference in his balance and it’s made a difference in his overall presentation.”

Phillip Dutton (USA): “[Z] has had a light spring in terms of competing at horses trials, but he’s actually done a lot of competing, like he’s been showing and all that kind of stuff. He’s been to plenty of atmosphere. I think it’s just a  work in progress. Some days you can get it really good and then some days it slips back a little bit. And he competed last weekend in a combined test.”

Tim Price (NZL): “[Xavier Faer] had some time off with an injury, he actually broke his leg just over a year ago, a fracture, so he was crosstied for his own health and benefit for about two or three months at the start of last year. [It happened while] he was back home with his owner – I hope she doesn’t mind me saying that! – and it was with a pony he’s been going out with since he was a foal, so his old friend, obviously he got a little bit close and gave him a little kick to the forelimb. So that was a bad start to last year and then he had another little soft tissue injury on top of that so he basically had last year off. The year before he did have that really good result at Badminton and that’s kind of what I’ve got on my mind going forward. He’s a fantastic cross country horse, probably one of the best I’ve ridden. He’s got great gas in the tank usually coming home and that’s something I think you’re gonna need around here.”

On coming to Kentucky…

Marcelo Tosi (BRA): “I live in Brazil and down there they don’t have five-star. I need to compete in the USA or in North America or in Europe … It’s amazing show I always see videos and photos so I’d like to come once, so why not to ride? I have a horse for that so I decide to come. It’s amazing like I thought, so it’s a dream to be here, a dream come true. It’s very nice.”

Piggy French (GBR): It was the owner’s, Jayne McGivern’s, decision really which I was extremely happy to go along with to be honest because I haven’t been back since the Worlds and it’s just great to have an experience. And to come here is always a fantastic venue and everyone is so friendly when we get here and everything so it’s cool.  And [Quarrycrest Echo] did the trip to Tryon last year very well and came out of it very well, so you know it’s always a risk, but he’s a laid back horse that copes with the travel  pretty well usually so hopefully he does again this year. It’s just great if an owner wants to come  — it’s wonderful because it’s not funded to come over here so I’m extremely grateful to Jayne wanting to. She does a lot of work over here in the States so she’s always wanted a horse here so it’s as great for her as it is for me.”

Leslie Law (GBR): It’s very nerve wracking! Of course it is, it doesn’t get any better! No, it’s great to be back. I’m very grateful to Tre’ Book who owns the horse to let me have the ride on him and it’s wonderful to be back and hopefully him being a young horse I’ll get to come back several more times now in the future. I’ve got to look after him and do the best by him and I think he’s a horse with a real future so I’m excited by him.”

Oliver Townend (GBR): I’m lucky to have a handful of five-star horses and hopefully we’ve got two nice ones for Badminton. We knew that he loved it here last year. He just thrived on it last year, he finished with ears pricked every step of the way and why not keep bringing them back to where they love?”

On their partnerships with their horses…

Hawley Bennett-Awad (CAN): “Justine did an amazing job with her and I think why it works so well with Jolly and I is because  I have an open relationship with Justine and the first hear I had her I probably talked to her quite often, honestly, you know, find out what she ran her in, find out what she ate. I think that was really important in establishing the base I have with Jollybo now. But now she’s definitely my horse. She nickers for me and I know her and she knows me and I’m very very lucky to have her. We’ve gelled, 100%.”

“I declared for the Pan Am games. I don’t know if I’d want to take her there for a two-star but at the same time we need to win a medal to go to the Olympics and I wanted to be a part of getting that done. I don’t want to leave that int he hands of somebody else  I want to do everything I can and at a two-star I think she would be seriously competitive. Obviously the long-term goal is the Olympics next year. We’ll see, if I don’t do the Pan Ams I’d love to go to Pau this the fall with her.”

Boyd Martin (USA): “It’s just at this level it’s so much easier on a seasoned horse. When they’re green they’re just new to everything – the degree of difficulty in all three phases and the crowds and the spookiness and whatnot and this guy has been doing this for a year now, so I feel good. [Tsetserleg] is not the easiest horse to jump to be honest but he’s very, very fit and a great galloper and a good little cross country horse so I’ll go out and give him a spin tomorrow.”

“He’s not a sort of classical jumpers that sort of pounces off the ground, you’ve sort of got to put him in the right balance and deliver him to a good stride and give him a bit of room. But we’ve got a partnership now, we’ve been together for a couple of years and we’re in good shape.”

“It takes a couple of years to get them really hardened up and I’ve probably changed his training around a little bit, but I don’t know, it just take years of conditioning and fitness and topline and whatnot. It’s a long, long career, not just for the riders but for the horses too. You can’t get too emotional about blips here and there, but the biggest thing is to look back on it and try and not let it happen again and address the small issues and shave a couple of points off the weaknesses here and there. I think definitely me and ‘Thomas’ are happy and healthy and going strong.”

Dressage Day One Social Media Roundup from Horsepower Technologies

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When you nail your first Kentucky 5* test. Go @c_talley75 !!

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It was a bit of a quiet beginning to the competition in Kentucky today, but hey, we’re just getting started! By the end of the day tomorrow we expect the stands to be filled and for there to be a serious buzz in the air. Let’s close out the day with a look around social media. Don’t forget to tag your pics and posts with #LRK3DE!

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Getting tacked up!!!! #goobiego #hearthorse

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Can’t Miss Quotes from Dressage Day One at Kentucky

Lots of love for Unmarked Bills. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

There can be a lot of woulda, coulda, shouldas, going through a rider’s mind after coming out of the sandbox, and we saw an interesting cross section of rides today. Some riders triumphed with personal bests and other wished things could have gone a little differently — but that’s eventing, you never know quite what you’re gonna get on the day. Scroll down and read on to hear what today’s riders had to say plus find out which two riders in today’s sections were toughing it out with broken ribs (Maybe don’t do that at home, kids.)

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On their dressage tests…

Liz Halliday Sharp (USA): “I’m really pleased with Deniro. It’s never great to be third to go on a classy horse, that’s not where any of us want to be. I mean he tried really really hard. The flying changes are our biggest nemesis and they bit us in the ring, which you know, that’s where’s he’s at, but look, I was really thrilled with him: he pushed hard, he worked hard, he tried his guts out.  I thought the mark was a bit unfair, like because I think he did enough good things to have hopefully been in the 20s, but that’s where we are so I’m disappointed in the mark, but I’m pleased with the horse.”

“That was the best he’s probably ever done in the trot work — he tried his guts out. I’m trilled with him, couldn’t have asked for anything more. The changes are what they are, he finds it really hard. It’s his one thing. He finds everything else pretty easy and this is one thing. I think every brilliant horse is allowed one thing they have to work on, right? Yeah, I’m disappointed with the mark, but I’m thrilled with the horse.

Caroline Martin (USA): “[Islandwood Captain Jack] is quite a green horse. This is his second year at Advanced and I’ve done a lot of work with him the past couple weeks on his dressage. He didn’t show all the homework that we did, but he didn’t really care about the atmosphere and stuff so it’s a good building block.”

Hannah Sue Burnett (USA): “[Harbour Pilot] was a little bit more exuberant in there than I hoped for, but I guess he’s ready for the cross country. He warmed up pretty well and he’s normally quite good in the ring, he’s just feeling very fresh I guess. He’s been here – this is his third time – I do find that with the little bit older horses the more often they go to a venue the little bit crazier they get because they know what’s coming on. You win some, you lose some I guess.

Mara DePuy (USA): “My horse is obviously very green at this level and very excited to see the crowd. So there were parts that were brilliant and parts that need work. He kept looking up at the stands on the right side. So a work in progress for sure, but I know it’s in there.”

“Some of his changes actually were very good, his canter work was very good. Honestly, I had moments where I had him through and I had his attention both in the trot and in the canter and then I would lose it. Like I said he’s green and he gets distracted. Obviously he needs to be more through so that when he gets like that I can get him back quicker.” 

Hallie Coon (USA): I think I could have ridden a couple of things better obviously, planned ahead a bit more for the movements, but overall I was really happy with the horse and I think she’s got a better score in her so onwards and upwards. It’s hard to rev her up enough to do this level. She likes her naps and is very cranky if she doesn’t get a morning nap in before her dressage. Luckily she had a 20 minute one this morning. But she’s just very cool and collected about everything and nothing ever seems to bother her, it’s really interesting.”

Joe Meyer (NZL):I think if I had ridden better centerline I might have gotten more marks, but [Johnny Royale] is young and really green at this level so actually I’ve got to be pleased. I’m slightly disappointed in the marks, but its because I didn’t earn them, you know what I mean? He swapped behind before I went in the ring and I had to do a canter circle and I quickly looked up at the clock to make sure I had time to do it and I thought I had him right but I sort of got in there and went to halt and he was kind of like, ‘Do you want me to change? Do you want me to swap? What do you want me to do,’ you know? So it was just a bit of confusion. But actually, he might not have got a great score but he’s really improving at this level and he’s a good boy. He did three out of four changes clean and last week it was always fifty fifty so that’s great and I know what we have to  fix him and it’s just the time and training.

Hazel Shannon (AUS): “It felt pretty good. It was tense, but he kind of held it together. There was nothing hugely wrong with it, but it would be nice to get a bit of a low score. He’s been feeling fresh. I mean, hopefully that’s going to help me on cross country but it doesn’t help so much on dressage day. He did a really good test last Adelaide so I don’t think it’s as good as that one, but he did a much better test that the Adelaide before. We’re slowly getting a handle on it.”

Felix Vogg (SUI): You never know what get’s out at the end of the day, but I tried something new with him. We didn’t want him really up, I just came here 10 minutes before and that worked quite well and maybe even better than when I warm him up, so yeah, I’m pretty pleased. He doesn’t take these atmospheres too serious so you have to trick him a little bit and I was quite lucky that Hallie before me got some applause that he wakes a little bit up. That helped him a lot.”

Chris Talley (USA): “He was incredible in there. He struggles with tension, but he actually stayed really relaxed and walked the entire time. We had one bobble getting the wrong lead coming into canter, but I can’t fault him for that, it was probably my fault. He didn’t really notice the crowds until they cheered for him in the end. It was pretty special.”

On the cross-country course…

Liz Halliday Sharp (USA): “I think Derek [di Grazia] has done a great job, a lot of good questions. I always enjoy his courses. I’ve obviously only walked it one, so I need to get my head around it a bit more, but it looks like a good test and a good challenge ahead so we’re looking forward to it. I think this track will suit [Deniro Z] more than Luhmühlen did because he’s a big galloping, big striding, big jumping horse, so I think a big open course like this will suit him more than the last five-star he did.”

Caroline Martin (USA): “I like being out first. I like walking the course and making my plan and then sticking with it and riding more off instinct than worrying about what someone else did the ride before or something like that. It’s good for me to go out there and just take a crack at it”

Mara DePuy (USA): It looks doable. I know I can jump every jump out there it’s just putting it all together and having a horse at this level for the first time, you never know how they’re going to feel at the end of it. I do think that the course suits him, actually that’s why I’m here. He’s a very bold galloping horse and very careful jumper so it’s just for me the adjustability but also not wasting too much time in that adjustability.”

Joe Meyer (NZL): It seems skinnier than I remember it. There’s a lot of accuracy questions and things. I may take an option, I’m not quite sure. I have to go and have another look at it again. Yeah, there’s a couple of questions that are quite hard. He’s a nicer horse to ride because he’s a lot braver than the last horse I’ve ridden around on, Clip Clop, it makes a big difference. And the course starts off nice this year. There’s a couple big scary pole oxers early on, but it’s not like I think it was last year when we went up a bank to a horrible tall vertical and it was a real test, you know, this get’s it more rolling and going better at the start. So I think that’s better, it’s got a nice start to it. You can get a rhythm and  get going and stuff. I’ve got to remember turn left here instead of right to the lake.”

Hazel Shannon (AUS): “I’ve had one walk. It’s tough. I think it’s a different sort of course than what Mike Etherington-Smith has built at Adelaide. Some of the combinations that Mike has built, walking them have kind of felt like this isn’t going to be possible, but they always are possible they’re just really tough. Whereas these I can see how everything can be ridden but there’s just so many questions and it just never lets up at you right until the end. If you take your mind off the jog for a moment you’re going to end up with 20s everywhere.”

Felix Vogg (SUI):I think it looks like every year quite nice, but it’s still challenging.  Especially I guess again the time will be quite tough but I’m happy to go out there and do it.”

Chris Talley (USA): “It looks big. It looks like there’s enough to do out there, but he’s such a great cross-country horse, and I’m so excited to be sitting on him going into Saturday.”

On being at Kentucky…

Mara DePuy (USA): It’s amazing. It’s like a fairy tale, it almost doesn’t seem real because I didn’t think I would be riding here again but it’s great, especially with horse like this who I’ve brought up. I’d had him as a six year old and brought him up so we know each other very well so he’s like my best friend. I wouldn’t want to be here with any other horse. “

Hallie Coon (USA):It felt amazing. It’s an atmosphere unlike any other. I’ve done a five-star before, but Pau wasn’t quite like this. I was really happy with how she kept her cool in there and I was just generally really pleased. It was a great experience.”

Hazel Shannon (AUS): “It just felt like a dressage test. Dressage arenas are kind of all the same and I tried to ignore everything else around it.”

I’ve done Adelaide four times now so I wanted to do another five-star and if you want to represent Australia you’re gonna have to leave the country so this is kind of building a bit of experience for that.”

Chris Talley (USA): ““I’m not entirely sure [how it feels]. I don’t think it’s reality yet. It feels so surreal, but so many people have put in so much to get here, and he is such a special horse that it makes it all the more special.”

On trials and tribulations leading up to Kentucky…

Joe Meyer (NZL): I didn’t actually feel [my broken ribs] once I got in the ring which is good. It’s the end of the breath and coughing it still hurts. I rode two weekends ago in an OI and it wasn’t unbearable and this is going to be twice as long, but it’s been two weeks after. It’s just one of those slightly annoying things.”

Daniela Moguel (MEX): “I don’t know if it’s broken, or twisted, or punctured, but I have something in my ribs that I cannot breathe. Doing this (*takes a deep breath*) hurts. I fell off last Thursday from another horse jumping a cross rail. He stopped at the cross rail and he said it was too spooky and he popped me off. So I land on my neck and everything. And I was fine until I was loading Cecelia Monday morning to come over here. I stretch my arm and I swear to God I heard (*makes a popping noise*) and I felt it. And I said to my husband I think I broke a rib. And he’s like ‘Oh, don’t be ridiculous, get it the car.'”

I really wanted to get over this and now I’m ready to go walk cross country. I think I’m gonna be able to ride. I wasn’t sure because of the rib, but yeah, I think I can.”

Caroline Martin (USA): So this year has been definitely a tough year. My parents who 100% support me, my parent’s company isn’t doing so well, they work in Central America and there’s been a lot of unrest in the countries. So they told me in December that I need to be self-sufficient so I sold Spring Easy, I sold The Apprentice, I’ve sold 15 horses since January to make a living, so yeah, it’s definitely a different year.”

“Normally in the past I would just 100% focus on being at the top and getting as much lessons as I can. Now my main focus for  the season was making money and focusing the top three horses. Currently I only own three horses, I have these two and Cristiano Z. You don’t know if you can make it in this business and it was a bit of a sink or swim the year. They gave me the option: I could sell everything and do something else as a living  but I like this sport too much and I want to be at the top. We did also syndicate the three horses that I have left. We’re going to announce it this weekend, so if there’s anyone that wants to support me and these horses that would be great or they might potentially be on the market soon, it just depends.”

Hannah Sue Burnett (USA): [Harbour Pilot] has definitely been more excitable than before (after having a year off), but he’s a pretty hot horse in the cross country and the show jumping, normally in the dressage he’s really reliable and very workmanlike.  This year he’s been pretty good, I don’t know, he’s just excited. Can’t blame him. I was a little nervous too, but I felt normal. They have brains of their own. Oh well, it happens!”

Mara DePuy (USA): “[Congo’s big jump] has gotten better over the last year/ year and a half as we’ve gotten more speed in the cross country because he’s started to not jump up so high, but absolutely we waste some time in the air for sure. He’s, thank goodness, very bold because he could easily scare himself I think because he is so careful if he wasn’t so brave and confident in himself for sure. The hardest thing for him cross country, aside from jumping too high, is jumping in to water because he jumps very big into water and especially if you only have three strides to another jump he lands kind of almost not going forward enough. S we’ve been working on that a lot and I think it’s better but we’ll see what happens on Saturday. But we’re ready.”

Thursday Video from Ecovet: Get PUMPED! Cross Country Day is Coming

2018 Land Rover Kentucky XC

Best wishes to all of the competitors at the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day!

Posted by Major League Eventing on Wednesday, April 24, 2019

It’s only day one of the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event and we’ve got a whole second day of fancy prancing to get through before we get to the real fun stuff. Get yourself psyched for Saturday with this pump-up video from Major League Eventing using footage from last year’s event.

The Major League Eventing Podcast burst on the to airwaves last spring with their candid-style interviews of some of the biggest names in eventing alongside some of the up-and-comers you should be paying attention to. Hosts Karen and Rob Bowersox interview one rider per episode (and have interviewed many of the riders competing this weekend!) and do a great job of getting to know their story. They’ve turned this “not-a-podcast-person” into a big fan!

One night of midges’ (no-see-ums’) unrestricted access to an allergic horse can take 3-6 weeks to resolve … even if the horse receives no new bites. That’s why prevention is so important.  Learn more about helping allergic horses at eco-vet.com/allergic

Jog Day Social Media Roundup from Horsepower Technologies

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be reminded of how many seemingly “simple” things I take for granted in life….

Posted by HSB Eventing on Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Impeccably turned out horses, a beautiful sky above the Kentucky bluegrass, and a first look at the formidable cross country course: this is what Wednesday at #LRK3DE looks like. But before all of that, a couple super-star riders stopped by the Kentucky Children’s Hospital yesterday to spread some good cheer and give out some Kentucky swag!

Let’s take a peek around the Kentucky Horse Park today via social media:

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Someone was feeling the jogs today! Who is ready for a jog spam??

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Charlie’s wondering what this jog fuss is all about…

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Some Kentucky Three-Day quarter marks.

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Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: In the Barn with Deniro Z

It’s no secret that Liz Halliday-Sharp and her horses are on fire this year. While she’s had much success with several of her horses already this season, her sole entrant in the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is Deniro Z, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding (Zapatero VDL X Zonne- Trend, by French Buffet xx) owned by The Deniro Syndicate.

We know that “Niro” is fabulous on the flat and flies over the jumps, but what’s he like in the barn? Liz recently spoke with the good folks at US Equestrian about her super horse — watch and get to know them!

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Kentucky 2019 At-a-Glance: Meet the Riders

The jog is nigh and 38 riders will present their mounts to the ground jury this afternoon. With the number of entrants being on the low side this year, we’re seeing an interesting cross section of competitors. Scroll below to find out who’s taking on Kentucky for the first time and more:

Kentucky 2019 At-A-Glance: Meet The Horses

Welcome back to another whirlwind Kentucky week! We’re counting down to Wednesday’s jog and the start of the competition. As has become customary, the chinchillas are working late into the night to bring you detailed stats on the field.

Let’s get to know this year’s field of horses:

Meet the Four Five-Star First-Timers Contesting Kentucky 2019

It is the dream of many an ambitious eventer to someday compete at the highest level of the sport. This weekend at the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS Equestrian, four riders will be making their debut at this level and checking a major achievement off their bucket list.

How strange is it to think that these riders have spent years aspiring to be four-star riders and then, as soon as the calendar flipped to 2019, all of a sudden they already were four-star riders, and it’s a five-star that they’re now shooting for. Bit of a crazy paradigm shift, eh?

Anyway, let’s get to meet the four riders who’s dreams are about to come true — welcome, Kentucky Class of 2019!

Matt Flynn and Wizzerd. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Matt Flynn and Wizzerd

An “A” Seneca Pony Club graduate and a graduate of the University of Delaware School of Business, you may know Matt Flynn for his well-established and successful import and sales business Flynn Sport Horses. Matt has brought many a future upper-level horse over to the States from all over Europe and typically sells between 10 and 15 horses a year.

Wizzerd, a 2009 KWPN gelding (Wizzerd – Amai, by Oklund), was selected by Matt as a 5-year-old and imported from the Netherlands. He’s now the first horse that Matt has retained the ride on long enough to bring to Kentucky and contest a five-star. Wizzerd’s owners now include A. Patrick Flynn and Kathleen Flynn, as well as Tyler Abell and his Merry Go Round Farm in Potomac, Maryland, where Matt is also originally from.

Matt and Wizzerd clinched the 2016 USEF Young Horse National Championship with a 10th place finish in the CCI3*-L at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International Fall Championship that year. Matt stepped Wizzerd up to the Advanced level at Red Hills last year and then tackled the horse’s first four-stars the next few months. Most recently, Matt and Wizzerd clocked in a 2nd place finish in the Advanced H.T. at Carolina International and then a 18th place in the CCI4*-S at Chattahoochee Hills this year.

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan 

Even though this is Ariel Grald’s first time competing at Kentucky, hers is far from a new name on the FEI eventing scene. Thirty-year-old Ariel got her first taste of FEI eventing in 2004 and has been competing in FEI events consistently since 2012. Over the past 14 years, she’s competed 12 different horses at FEI levels.

Ariel started eventing when she was 8. She grew up primarily in New Hampshire, spending a lot of time at Hitching Post Farm in Vermont as well. After graduating from the University of Vermont, during which time she continued to ride and work for Sue Berrill, and spending a little time working in a medical research lab, she decided to commit to riding full-time in order to pursue her upper-level goals.

Ariel was introduced to Annie Eldridge through a mutual friend and began riding and competing one horse for her. In 2012, Ariel moved down to Southern Pines in North Carolina to work for Annie at her Setter’s Run Farm. That number has grown over time, and Ariel now rides and competes several horses for Annie, including a number of homebreds from Annie’s sport horse breeding program. Annie is the owner of Ariel’s Kentucky mount, Leamore Master Plan, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Master Imp – Ardragh Bash, by Cavalier Royale) bred by Michael Bryne.

Ariel stepped “Simon” up to the Advanced level last February and since then the pair has completed six Advanced H.T.s, six CCI4*-S and two CCI4*-L. Over the winter, Ariel was named to the US Equestrian 2019 Eventing Developing Potential Training List. She and Simon recently placed 13th in a very large CCI4*-S at the Cloud 11~Gavilan North LLC Carolina International and were part of Erik Duvander’s winning team in the USEF/USET Foundation North American Futures Team Challenge. They most recently placed fifth in the Advanced H.T. at The Fork at Tryon.

Dom Schramm and Bolytair B. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Dom Schramm and Bolytair B

You’ll know Dom Schramm from the fan-favorite YouTube channel, Evention TV. While their Evention days are in the rearview mirror, the Schramm fam’s focus has shifted to pursuing their upper-level dreams, and finally getting to Kentucky is a win for the entire team.

“I’m excited that there’s been a group of us who put so much effort and energy into this, and it’s finally D-day and we can finally put it out there and see what happens,” Dom said. “I think it’s gonna go well and I’m on a good horse. It’s an opportunity for all of us to go and see what happens.”

Dom will be contesting his first five-star with Bolytair B, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding (Polytair – Nobelle, by Glennridge) owned by the Naked Horse Eventing Syndicate, which is comprised of the Giesselman family. “Boly” was imported in 2016 and had a very strong start to his stateside career with some top finishes including a win in his first FEI event with Dom, the CCI2*-L at Bromont that year. To this day, the pair does not have a cross country jump penalty on their record.

In 2017, Dom worked hard to campaign and fundraise for a trip to compete Boly overseas at Blenheim Palace that fall, but the horse sustained an injury one month before the event and thus they were unable to go. Happily, Boly bounced back and returned to competition last August. Dom and Boly punched their ticket to a five-star with a top 10 finish in the CCI4*-L at Fair Hill International last fall, securing them their qualification for Kentucky.

Competing at the top level of the sport has been a long-time dream of Dom’s and 19 years in the making — ever since he rode his very first event. With Boly, he says his biggest hurdle in getting to this point has been getting the timing of the events right.

“I’ve been very careful with this horse and only done the shows I’ve felt that we’ve needed to do and nothing else,” said Dom. “But if you’ve done the bare minimum, you have make sure you’re prepared and need to have a fantastic team. We’re prepared.”

Indeed, the name of the game for Dom has been preparation. “Personally I always feel I do the best when I feel prepared,” he said. “I know the test and know what I need to do movement to movement. He’s a very talented horse, but sometimes we’re battling against the tension in the dressage. For cross country, I’m trying hard to be ready for the types of questions that we’ll see there. ”

Dom is grateful for all the support around Boly throughout his career: “He’s had ups and downs and I think he’s become relatable, so thanks to all the people out there for following and supporting him,” said Dom.

Chris Talley and Unmarked Bills. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Chris Talley and Unmarked Bills

You’ll recognize Chris Talley as the fashion-forward young gun who made waves at Fair Hill in 2016 as the clear fan-favorite for our Best Dressed award. Obviously, we can’t wait to see what Chris has in store for the jogs, but even more so we can’t wait to see him and his OTTB Unmarked Bills (Posse – Kelli’s Ransom, by Red Ransom) storm around cross country on Saturday. Galloping across country on Saturday is what 25-year-old Chris is most excited for as well, but there are a whole host of other emotions involved, too.

“I think there are too many feelings to list,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted since I was a little kid, so to be so close is surreal but at the same time a bit nerve-wracking. As we get closer and closer, the excitement is building but at the same time so are my nerves!”

Chis took “Billy” from the track to the CCI4*-S level in two-years — a pretty incredible testament to the heart of the Thoroughbred and the partnership that Chris and Billy have formed. Since then, Chris formed the Unmarked Bills Syndicate, which includes Billy’s original race owner David Nuesch, in order to keep the ride on the now 10-year-old gelding, and they’ve gone on to step up to the CCI4*-L level and have spent the past two years gaining experience at the Advanced and four-star levels.

The amount of time that it has taken to get to this point (“Getting qualifications and praying the stars align,” he said) has been the biggest hurdle to overcome, and Chris is quick to attribute much of his success to the team at Zaragoza Acres where he lives and works: “They’re incredibly supportive and have stood behind Billy and I ever since the beginning. It hasn’t always been a smooth ride with Billy, as he struggles with tension in the dressage and show jumping, however, they have really put everything they have into him and I.”

In addition to the Unmarked Bills Syndicate and his parents, Chris is especially grateful for the support of his business partner, Hannah Salazar.

“Hannah has supported me to the fullest since I met her just over three years ago. She has told me to keep going with Billy when others said he couldn’t. And she has put an incredible amount of blood sweat and tears into Billy, and has given me so many opportunities to be able to chase my dream,” Chris said.

Weekly OTTB Wishlist from Cosequin: Explore KHP, Adopt an OTTB

It’s becoming a bit of an OTTB Wishlist tradition for us to remind you each year that the not only is the Kentucky Horse Park home to our sport’s pinnacle competition in the U.S, but also a heck of a great organization in the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center (MMSC). The MMSC makes their home base right on the grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park (though they did open recently open a satellite facility in Illinois) and are open to tour Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

While you’re in town for the LRK3DE, make sure you go check out this great organization and give them some love! Here are three currently adoptable OTTBs that you might see there:

Brewer. Photo via Makers Mark Secretariat Center.

Brewer (ORB – DANCE CRAZE, BY MIZZEN MAST): 2016 16.0-hand Kentucky-bred gelding

“With his espresso-colored coat and classically compact build, Brewer, a 16h, 3-year-old gelding by Orb out of Dance Craze, is sure to perk up your day. Precocious in all the right ways, he has the eagle eye of an eventer and the smarts and athleticism to back it up. He’s bold to jumps and undaunted by new questions. He knows what he wants, and he’s not afraid to share his opinions. What Brewer needs is the right person, someone who can be his guide rails as he grows up and learns the rules of the road; someone who can channel his sizable sense of self into confidence in a show ring or on a cross country course; someone who can forge a true partnership with him and bring out his best. So if you like your daily coffee dark, bold, and exciting, this handsome gelding is sure to be your brew of choice!”

“Brewer came to the MMSC with a chip in his knee. He’s sound, but he’s so talented that it makes sense to set him up for success at the highest levels and have the chip removed. Donations to help us pay for the surgery and layup are very welcome (DONATE HERE) and he will remain available for adoption (at a reduced adoption fee) pre-surgery if you are willing to commit to removing the knee chip. Radiographs are available to an approved adopter.”

View Brewer on Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Somekindawonderful. Photo via Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Somekindawonderful (SCAT DADDY – LOVE NUMBERS, BY UNBRIDLED’S SONG): 2016 16.1-hand Kentucky-bred gelding

“Somekindawonderful, a 16.1h, 2016 gelding, truly lives up to his name. With a royal pedigree featuring Scat Daddy, sire of Triple Crown winner Justify, as well as Unbridled’s Song, Fappiano, and Buckpasser, names prized in sport horse pedigrees, “Wonderful” could go far in any discipline. He possesses a gleeful and boyish inquisitive nature, and his innate athleticism shines through with each training ride and romp in his pasture. At just 3-years-old, he is still learning to use all that he was blessed with – his suspension that effortlessly carries him forward, his short back and uphill build that will make jumping a breeze, and his charming attitude that wins him friends every day.”

“Give this youngster time to grow physically and mentally and the right training program where he can continue to express himself while building confidence in his handler and his own body, and that charm will morph into a star-power charisma in the show ring, his jump will power him over any obstacle, and he’ll float with grace in a dressage or show hunter ring. We can’t say it enough – Wonderful is a wonderful prospect, sure to shine in his second career!”

View Somekindawonderful on Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Catisfaction. Photo via Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Catisfaction (GRAYDAR – CURIOUS CAT, BY TALE OF THE CAT): 2016 16.3-hand Pennsylvania-bred mare

“A 16.3h, 2016 filly by Graydar out of Curious Cat, “Cece” stood out as a youngster with her stunning good looks, her large stature, and her kind nature. Her breeder, Christian Black of Blackstone Farm in PA, knew she would be happier and would shine brighter in a sport horse career, so he reached out to us. And we are so thankful that he did!”

“Cece has been an absolute joy and a pleasure in the barn. We can’t say enough good things about this filly. She displays rhythmic gaits and a graceful turn of foot at liberty. She engages easily and willingly with humans. She learns quickly and is always curious to explore new questions. Her jump is balanced, effortless, and full of promise. In short, Cece was born to be a show horse. Can you picture her a year or two down the road, taller and filled out, braided to perfection, with a knowledge of the bit and the developed musculature to lift and power from behind? The image is breath-taking. This filly is truly special and she’s sure to be a winner wherever she goes!”

View Catisfaction on Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center.

Monday Video from Total Saddle Fit: Peek at Some Final Kentucky Prep

It’s the week we’ve all been waiting for! Most horses are now en-route or are already settling in on the grounds of the Kentucky Horse park ahead of the big event this weekend, the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS Equestrian.

Over the past few days many of the competitors were giving their horses final jump schools and gallops before hitting the road. Let’s take a peek into their last couple days of training:

Got some insight from Big Phil on BOLYTAIR B’s final XC school. He is feeling like a lion!

Posted by Dominic Schramm on Tuesday, April 16, 2019

 

Sharon White’s Team Orange takes a little more unconventional approach:

Louie got his final pre-Kentucky workout in today, and so did the rest of Team Orange! 🏋🏻‍♀️

Posted by Sharon White on Sunday, April 21, 2019

Jak My Style: Get to Know Buck Davidson’s Unlikely Kentucky Entry

Buck Davidson and Jak My Style. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Some horses are destined for greatness: they’re well bred, have a picturesque upbringing, and world-class training right from the start.

This is the story of a horse who had none of those things — a horse who could have fallen through the cracks but instead fell into the right hands and with the help of the right people has found himself as one of Buck Davidson’s entries for the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.

Jak My Style’s origin story begins inauspiciously at an estate sale in New Jersey. The owner of a racing farm had passed away, leaving his possessions, horses included, in some manner of disarray and needing to be liquidated. One of those horses, “Jak”, had been race-trained, but never made a start — or even been tattooed and registered — because he kept dumping his exercise jockeys. Breeding unknown and without papers, the three-year-old bay gelding was purchased at the sale by a local New Jersey family interested in the hunter/jumpers.

Enter Matthew Bryner, who was working as a rider in the area and recently relocated to a barn just down the road from Jak’s new owners. Matthew began giving the daughter of this family lessons on another horse and eventually they asked him to come look at the now 7-year-old Jak, who they called “kind of naughty” and had been out of work for the past few years. Reminiscent of his early days on the track, Jak had taken to dumping the daughter. A hunter he would not make.

“We put him in a pen and he trotted nicely so then we put him in an arena and set up a vertical with no guide rails and he trotted right over,” Matthew recalls. “He just seemed to like to jump and kind of did it on his own, so we kept putting the jumps up and he kept jumping in good form.”

Matthew saw that the horse had talent so he took him on, purchasing him inexpensively, and brought him to his own farm down the road … but Jak didn’t want to stay at Matthew’s farm at first.

“He kept jumping the fence and running back to his old farm!” laughs Matthew. “I had a Novice/ Training level jump in a four-board fence line and he kept getting over it. I used a tractor to put a big tree branch over the top of the jump, but he still got out, which means he jumped that four-board fence.”

Around the same time as Matt took the horse on, the song Some Nights by fun. was making waves on the radio and struck a chord with Matthew. The horse had always gone by the barn name ‘Jak,’ but without papers or a tattoo it was up to Matthew to bestow a registered show name upon him and Matthew settled on a line from the song.

“He was such a different style horse – the way he went and his quirkiness – that the lyric seemed to really fit him.”

Matthew Bryner and Jak My Style at Red Hills in 2015. Photo courtesy of Matthew Bryner.

Jak eventually settled into his new home, but he still maintained his naughty streak for a while yet.

“He kept dumping me on the trails,” Matthew remembers. “There was one time he dumped me on a dirt road two miles from home and I probably ran faster than I have before in my life because I was so afraid he’d get hurt by traffic, but he made it home and put himself back in his stall.”

“After that, I told him: ‘You need to stop being naughty because you’re talented enough to go to Kentucky.’”

It would appear that Jak listened to Matthew that day. While the pair still had to overcome some quirks at events: spooking at the first fence, running away with his jockey, and running out at corner combinations, for example. Jak began to figure out the job at hand once they begin running Preliminary, settling in to the routine of competition and seeking out the fences on course. Jak never incurred another cross country jump penalty with Matthew after that.

Matthew recalls a time where he brought Jak to Debbie Adams’ Flora Lea Farm for some schooling. Debbie watched him school for a while and offered to buy him on the spot, but Matthew wasn’t quite ready to part with the gelding yet.

“He was always a bit tricky on the flat and always a bit looky in the show jumping, so we always had to balance out the schooling leading up to an event, but when he was out schooling he would just jump anything — it was like it was in his breeding,” says Matthew.

Matthew went on to run two Advanced and two CCI3*-S with Jak before deciding it was time to offer him for sale. Justine Dutton and client Kat Cuca, a first-time upper-level horse owner who began riding as an adult in her thirties, took an interest in the horse. Kat didn’t set out to get involved in eventing when she began riding but fell into in thanks to the horse she was riding at the time and was soon hooked.

“I had fun supporting Justine at events, along with Patti Weiser who owned Justine’s upper-level horse Huck Finn so when someone said we should go see this horse, I figured let’s try it!” recalls Kat.

Matthew brought Jak over to Buck Davidson’s Chesterland Farm for Justine to try. Buck kept jacking up the jumps up … and Jak kept clearing the fences with ease. Buck gave Justine and Kat a straightforward recommendation: “Just buy the horse.”

Justine Dutton and Jak My Style. Photo by Jenni Autry.

“He was really nice and as genuine as the day is long. I just liked him,” recalls Buck. “I quite like Thoroughbreds, obviously. Jak came with a good attitude and was totally willing to learn, and if they’re willing to learn then they’re trainable. Thoroughbreds are so smart and willing and trainable. If you can explain things to them and encourage them then they’ll do anything for you.”

Kat certainly thought that Jak was plenty talented, and Jak seemed to turn on the charm to seal the deal.

“He stuck his head out of his stall and put it on my shoulder and I thought he was so sweet,” remembers Kat.

And so, over the next of couple years, Jak went on to be campaigned through the CCI4*-L level by Justine under Kat’s ownership, up until the Nations Cup at Great Meadows International CCI4*-S in 2017 when the pair came to grief at the final water and suffered a rotational fall. 

Buck Davidson then took over the ride, and his first stop with Jak was a get-to-know-you ride in the Open Intermediate at Millbrook the following month, followed by the CCI4*-S at Plantation Field, the CCI4*-S at Morven Park with a second place finish and then finishing the 2017 season with the CCI4*-L at Fair Hill finishing 6th, which thrilled Kat.

Their 2018 season started out strong with a second place finish in the Advanced at Rocking Horse Winter II H.T. and Kat recalls that they were initially aiming the horse at Kentucky 2018, but something didn’t feel quite right in Jak after his first few runs of the season and they  discovered a small ligament strain in one of his legs.

“It was nothing serious, not a tear, but it’s the kind of thing where you want to give them more time rather than hurry,” Buck explains. “If we had pressed him on then we would have been disappointed so we just let him chill out.”

Jak never showed a true unsoundness and despite not competing at any point during the remainder of 2018 he stayed in consistent work all year.

“It probably did him some good because he had some time to get stronger and fitter and get confirmed with the things he was doing,” Buck says.

Kat echoes the sentiment: “I really appreciate that Buck had Jak’s best interests in mind. Taking the time off was clearly the right thing to do because he’s so strong now since he never actually stopped working.”

Buck and Kat planned for Jak to have a slow start to the 2019 competition season, beginning with a run at Prelim and then at Intermediate before stepping back up to the Advanced level at the Carolina International CCI and H.T in March. With Jak feeling good, Buck had planned to let the horse really run and see what he could do in his first start at the Advanced level in over a year, but the ground there ended up being harder than expected so Buck decided to dial it back. The pair still finished strongly in seventh place at Carolina, but Buck wanted to get the horse out once more for a good run and took him to the Chattahoochee Hills H.T. earlier this month.

“We lucked out that at Chatt Hills the ground was perfect and he did it very, very easily,” says Buck.

Easily, indeed — with a double-clear show jumping round and the fastest time across country of the day, Buck and Jak earned the horse’s first blue ribbon at the Advanced level under Kat’s ownership. He even made some friends along the way: during a hold on course Buck brought Jak over to the ropes and let spectators pat him — a testament to how well Buck knows the horse and to the easy-going personality and love of attention that had blossomed with him.

“He might not be the one that everyone goes ‘Oo’ and ‘Ah’ over, but he’s a trier and he’s a competitor and he’s a super, super honest horse to ride and that’s all you can ask,” Buck said.

So honest, in fact, that Kat has even been able to ride Jak herself, with Buck’s encouragement — something she never expected to be able to do with an upper-level horse — taking him for trot sets and even having a few flat lessons on him.

Owner Kat Cuca rides Jak for the first time. Photo courtesy of Kat Cuca.

The horse who was originally known for dumping his riders is now known for his great mind and love people, demanding cuddle time with the working students that feed him and turning Kat’s non-horsey husband, Roberto, into one of his biggest fans and supporters — so much so that Kat gifted him with an ownership share for Christmas 2017.

“Jak makes it known that he needs to be loved and he makes you pay attention to him in a good way,” said Kat. “That’s Jak’s personality — you can’t shake him. He makes you love him.”

Matthew certainly hasn’t been able to shake him; he’s remained one of Jak’s biggest fans. Matthew and Kat have stayed in touch ever since his sale and text each other whenever he has a good run. He’s thrilled that the horse who he credits for opening many doors for him in his equestrian career landed with a wonderful person who loves him so much.

And Kat is glad that Matthew has stayed in touch as well: “I’m really happy that everyone that has been involved in his life is still involved. That’s what I love about eventers — everyone stays in touch with their horse and are so excited for them. Eventers just love their horses and they’re really impressive. It’s been really really fun for me to be more involved in eventing and what it takes to go to the upper levels and I’ve also been able to bring my friends along to events and help them see how great eventing is.”

And the next stop for the unregistered Thoroughbred with the inauspicious start? The biggest event in the country, and Matthew says he can’t wait to stand at the ropes and cheer Jak, Buck, and Kat on.

“It doesn’t matter if he wins, loses, or doesn’t show jump,” said Matthew. “It’s just the fact that he’s made it there and proved himself. What’s important is the fact that he’s making people happy and now we get to enjoy the fact that he’s made it to Kentucky.”

Go Eventing and Go Jak!

Saturday Links Presented by Nupafeed USA

Just one week until Kentucky cross country day! We’re always extra-pleased when we have several entries from overseas to cheer for. This year we welcome Great Britain’s Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class (defending champions!) , in addition to fellow countrymen Piggy French and Quarrycrest Echo. Marcelo Tosi and Genfly are flying in from Brazil, and, all the way from Australia we have Hazel Shannon and Willingapark Clifford. Be sure to give them a big Kentucky welcome next week!

National Holiday: National Lima Bean Respect Day

U.S. Weekend Action:

Fair Hill CCI & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

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

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

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

Saturday Links:

One Week ‘Til Kentucky: What Oliver Townend, Will Coleman, And Others Are Doing To Prepare

Lexington Lead-Up: Sharon White and Cooley On Show

There Is No Secret to Putting Your Horse “On the Bit”

What the Kentucky Three-Day Event Means to Me

Churchill Announces Safety Initiatives Ahead of Derby

Why Obese Horses Need Both Diet and Exercise

Podcast Power: [EquiRatings: Easter Special with Piggy French] [USEA: Your Guide to Show Jumping Time Penalties]

Saturday Video: Hazel Shannon and Willingapark Clifford have flown in all the way from Austrailia for Kentucky and have have been stateside now for a bit over the week. They have made their temporary home at Valley View Farm in Midway and seem to be enjoying their last few training sessions!