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Allie Heninger


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About Allie Heninger

Allie, or the Autoimmune Equestrian, is 26 and resides in Utah with her husband, fiery little NightMare, Curly heart-pony, and the four cats that adopted her. Allie has been riding since she was six years old, and was a hunter/jumper kid transplanted into the amazing world of eventing. She’s a bit of an adult re-rider, as she took a few years off from dedicated and consistent riding while in college after her autoimmune disease diagnosis, but is now back at it with determination.

Eventing Background

USEA Rider Profile Click to view profile
Area IX
Highest Level Competed Novice
Farm Name Pegasus Sport Horses
Trainer Ghislaine Homan-Taylor

Latest Articles Written

Sunday Links from Etalon Equine Genetics

We’re coming to the close of a busy weekend of eventing in all corners of the globe, with the hearty competition wrapping up at Blenheim (UK), the Juniors competing for medals in the FEI Eventing European Championships for Juniors, and a slew of top competitions in the U.S. are also wrapping up with some prizes today. We’ll have much more from all fronts coming your way today, so be sure to keep an eye out!

U.S. Weekend Action

Aspen Farm H.T. (Yelm, WA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Flying Cross Farm H.T. (Goshen, KY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer][Scoring]

GMHA September H.T. (South Woodstock, VT) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Marlborough H.T (Upper Marlboro, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Otter Creek Fall H.T. (Wheeler, WI) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

The Event at Skyline (Mt Pleasant, UT) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

The Fork at Tryon (Mill Spring, NC) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Major International Events:

Blenheim Palace International: [Website] [Entries] [Live Stream]

Links to Start Your Sunday:

14 Takeaway Tips from Boyd Martin

It Takes a Village: An Eventer Tackles a Carriage Classic

3 Ways to Improve Your Eventing Business’s Financial Flow

‘He deserves every moment of this’: Carl Hester ticks off his final goal of 2023

Ohio Horse Positive for WNV

Sponsor Corner: We’re proud to welcome a brand new sponsor, Etalon Equine Genetics, to the Eventing Nation family! We’re eager to learn all about Etalon’s fascinating offerings, but first let’s kick off with some very interesting research that was released about kissing spines earlier this year.

Morning Viewing: Watch as Silva Martin sits back and relaxes while “some guy you probably don’t know” rides for her in Dressage at Devon’s Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour Master Class. Silva’s husband (Boyd, I think?) rides the beautiful Selassie to instruction (and criticism!) from the dressage queen.

Sunday Video: Burghley 2023 Cross Country Round-Up

One of the most exciting eventing days of the year has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep reliving the action over and over! Our friends over at Horse & Hound have shared this compilation of interviews and moments from the top riders after cross country day at Burghley last week, including overnight leader Tim Price.

Listen in to hear the riders’ takes on Derek di Grazia’s course, their runs, and Burghley as a whole!

Sunday Links from SmartPak

This week marks one year since we lost our reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II, and the horse world still feels her loss. The Queen was always a huge supporter of equestrian sport (as are the extended royal family) — so in her honor, enjoy a few links to articles about her life with horses and all the strides she made for the worldwide equine community.

Queen Elizabeth II: A Look at an Extraordinary Passion for Horses and the Equestrian Arts\

Queen Elizabeth II Quietly Supported Efforts to Pass U.S. Horse Protection Legislation Advanced in Congress Today

Looking Back at Queen Elizabeth II’s Unwavering Love of Horses: A Gallery

The Queen and I: How Monty Roberts and Queen Elizabeth II Changed Horsemanship for the Better

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, II Recognizes Horseman and Animal Advocate Marty Irby

U.S. Weekend Action

Applewood Farm YEH & Mini Event (Califon, NJ) [Website] [YEH Ride Times] [Mini Event Ride Times]

CDCTA Fall H.T. (Berryville, VA) [Website] [Volunteer] [Ride Times] [Scores]

Five Points H.T. (Raeford, NC) [Website] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Flora Lea Fall H.T. (Medford, NJ) [Website] [Entries][Ride Times]

Larkin Hill Fall H.T. (North Chatham, NY) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Links to Start Your Sunday:

Horses and Humans Research Foundation urging equestrians to call out “horse sins” in TV and movies

Heard of Girl Math? Try Horse Show Math

Kentucky Horse Park holding funeral and memorial trail ride for racehorse Funny Cide

What if this is the coolest summer of the rest of your life?

Pressure Proof with Daniel Stewart: Your Personal Movie Trailer

Weekly Pick from SmartPak: SmartPak has a new celestial collection! Now your horse can dress like the shooting star you know he is. #ACOTAR fans — tell me this isn’t giving Night Court vibes.

Morning Viewing:

Instilling confidence and bravery in a horse in regards to water can be tricky, especially young or new horses. Check out this section of wisdom from Boyd Martin’s new masterclasses as he demonstrates how to teach your horse to be brave in a water element.

Come As You Are: The Good and the Bad Days with Erika Erlandson

Medical school is a huge challenge on its own, but being diagnosed with a life-changing illness as a second-year resident is even harder. Dr. Erika Erlandson’s battle with residency was also fraught with cyclical autoimmune symptoms which would lead to a six-year struggle to receive a diagnosis for her invisible illness.

Photo by Photography In Stride.

Erika knew she was a horse girl by the time she was five years old. Growing up, her brother took part in a therapeutic riding program for his disability, and she would beg to ride around on the ponies after he finished with his sessions. Erika’s parents ended up buying a pony for the program that could also teach her how to ride, and thus began her early education in dressage.

In high school, Erika started adventuring out to try other disciplines, including natural horsemanship practices and trail riding, before finally discovering her passion while in college. “In medical school, I was gifted an OTTB,” Erika says. “She loved to jump, so I started eventing. From the very beginning, it was a good fit.” While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Erika had remained local in order to keep her horses, but was able to move them with her to the University of Kentucky for medical school.

Unfortunately, that was the year that Erika would begin experiencing several health complications. “Like many people, I had a long, frustrating journey with the medical system before receiving a diagnosis,” she explains. “Mine was about six years. My symptoms were cyclical – I would have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks. I got diagnosed with many things before the true diagnosis was discovered, including ‘medical student syndrome’, where you think you have what you are learning about; depressive disorder; anxiety; and chronic fatigue from sleep deprivation.”

After years of normal lab results, negative MRIs, and debilitating symptoms, it wasn’t until residency that she finally received a diagnosis of Sjogren’s syndrome and seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis. “Once the diagnosis was identified and I began treatment, my quality of life improved significantly,” she recalls. “I was spending five to six days in bed per flare, which were occurring about once per month. With the right treatment, this decreased to three to four days every three to four months. After that, I was stable for about ten years.”

Recently, Erika’s battle has shifted a bit as her health issues progressed, and as it is with many people living with an autoimmune disease, we never know which way the tables may turn. “In the last two years, the disease has changed course and resulted in a couple of hospitalizations,” she explains, “and I recently had an ED visit due to a delay in authorization of my immunosuppressant medication.” The progression is especially difficult for Erika, since having a seronegative disease means that the normal antibodies (markers for the disease) for rheumatoid arthritis don’t show up on blood tests, so it’s difficult to quantify or track the disorder’s progression.

Now working as a physician in Pediatric Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Erika has worked to become well-equipped with tools and tactics to balance her intense job, health, and life with horses. She says the way her diagnosis affects her life balance can be complex. “On a daily basis, it affects the amount of activity and number of things I can do in a day,” she explains. “I have to practice ‘activity modification’ for energy conservation – that is, less activities today to conserve energy so I can still function tomorrow.”

Many of those living with invisible illnesses refer to this practice of activity modification as the “spoon theory”. The theory invites you to imagine that you are given a number of spoons at the beginning of each day, and certain activities require you to give up a set number of these spoons to complete the task. For example, doing laundry may cost someone two spoons (although it’s a good five or six spoons for me!), but going grocery shopping might cost much more, so if you need to go to the store later, you may have to put off the laundry until the next day. Those with autoimmune diseases have a considerably lower daily supply of spoons than an able-bodied person, and therefore must manage our supply much more closely.

Most adjustments she has to make are weather-related – a struggle that every autoimmune patient can relate to. “I don’t tolerate heat,” Erika explains, “and I don’t sweat as much as necessary, so I’m easily overheated. As a result, I can only compete in the spring and fall – if there is a clinic or something I want to do in the summer, I have to be done riding by 11am at the latest. My current instructors are very in-tune to this for me, and they bend over backwards to help me succeed. I feel very lucky.”

Photo by Elise Forrest.

Erika’s life as a busy medical professional has also had to see many adjustments since her diagnosis, including seeing patients while working from home via telehealth visits. Having horses as something to work for was a huge factor in finding ways to manage her career, and once she began to prioritize her work-life balance, she was able to more easily focus on maintaining her riding. Her most prevalent struggles involve managing the stiffness in her spine and joints, which affect her position in the saddle and her ability to absorb the impact and movement of the horse.

“In general, horseback riding is very helpful to my autoimmune disease because it helps me maintain good core strength, and a lot of my pain and stiffness is in my back and SI joints,” she says. “My trainers have been amazing and have bent over backwards to understand how I can move and change my aids to maximize the parts of my body that are strong.” Even though she may have trouble sitting the trot when in “dressage land”, she has adapted to use a kind of half-seat to prevent having to take all the motion in her joints, and has even taught her horse to respond to a different style of half-halt aids in a way that is easier on her body.

Being open and vulnerable with her trainers has been vital to Erika finding adaptations for her riding. Her jumping trainer helped her find new ways to hold her reins when her horse is excited on cross country, such as tying them in knots, bridging her reins, or even wrapping them with vet wrap. They also helped adjust her jump position to prevent needing to absorb the horse’s impact in her back. “They helped me figure out on days when I don’t feel good what the most important things to do in warmup are, so that I don’t wear myself out before I go on course,” she explains.

In addition to the physical benefits, Erika also attributes her mental health to her choice to find adaptive ways to continue riding. “Riding helps me maintain motion in these joints and keeps my core strong, which is imperative to controlling the pain – and maybe most importantly, the horses help me stay emotionally and psychologically balanced. The best thing about being around the horses is the ability to be fully authentic and true to oneself, without judgment or expectations. They meet us right where we are.”

Photo by Jennifer Merrick-Brooks.

Erika currently competes at Training level with her horse “Smartie” (SBT Rynca), a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse who she says accommodates her limitations. “The most incredible thing about Smartie is the relationship we have developed over the last eight years,” she says of her compassionate gelding. “It sounds totally crazy, but he knows how I’m feeling and how much my body can handle on any given day, and he acts accordingly.”

The first time Erika experienced a symptom flare-up while competing at an event, she became rather worried about riding in such a condition. Even though she could barely get out of bed, Smartie took care of her. “[He] did not put a foot wrong, didn’t overjump, and made all the turns very smooth,” she remembers. Erika likes to say that Smartie has an “overdrive button” to take care of her when she’s not feeling her best. “He knows my energy levels and how I’m doing… They’re in tune to more than we maybe think they are.”

When considering how her riding life might be different if she was afforded the same opportunities able-bodied riders have, Erika says her goals would likely have been much more competition-oriented. While it might look different than other people’s, she says this doesn’t make her current goals any less valid. “Everyone has their stuff,” she says. “Mine just happens to be physical… My goals are based on what I’m able to do.”

Currently, there are very few adaptations allowed in competitive sport that can level the playing field for people like Erika, and the criteria for para equestrian riding is very specific – allowing only those meeting ten specific diagnoses or impairments, none of which are systemic-related. She hopes to advocate for changes in the sport, including offering adaptations to able-bodied events for people with impairments that don’t qualify for para riding, particularly in reference to adaptive equipment dispensation.

Adaptive tack and equipment has been incredibly helpful to Erika, who currently uses several tools in her daily riding that aren’t all allowed in competition. “Correct Connect has changed my life,” she explains in reference to the brand that offers lines of training equipment and tack geared towards assisting those with physical impairments. She currently rides in soft reins with their special silicone gloves that allow for better grip, geared towards those with arthritis as they also act as compression technology. Correct Connect also produces reins with stopper attachments for those with impaired grip strength, and while Erika says they would likely be a big help and wishes she could use them, they are not legal in USEA competition.

Erika also agreed with the concept of requesting adjustable ride times at events, as stated by previous riders featured in this column. As someone who currently can only handle competing in the spring and fall, she says, “I might actually show in the summertime if I knew I could ride before noon.” She hopes that USEA will work towards a goal of inclusion for those with disabilities, helping to make certain allowances “so people feel like they could participate more easily”. Currently, Erika prefers to frequent the derby-format competitions that are prevalent in her Michigan area – a one or two-day event that helps her maintain her energy levels. Erika is, however, competing in the American Eventing Championships in Kentucky this week and is grateful that the USEA has been extremely cooperative in accommodating her needs – including allowing for her to compete in the morning before the heat in all phases.

Photo by XpressFoto.

Rather than trying to maintain highly competitive goals, Erika chooses to focus instead on progressing her relationship with her horses and with riding. “My goals are mostly around doing Training level the best I can and feeling strong doing it,” she explains. “My goals are not competition related, but more that I want to be able to gallop for five minutes.” She advises others with similar limitations to “adjust your perspective glasses, so you can be successful in whatever state of health you are in.”

Erika hopes to be an example of positive success to others fighting a similar battle. She also continues her dressage training diligently amid her area community that she says has been relentlessly supportive. “If you ask, people will be very supportive and go out of their way to help you be successful,” she says. “It was easier once I told people.” The small things can certainly go a long way, and she is grateful for the allowances that her community has made to help her accommodate her health. “Where you sit determines what you see. We’re all in it for the same reasons, and the more inclusive we can be might change people’s lives in ways that we don’t realize.”

Eventing is one of the toughest horse sports out there, and I believe anyone facing additional challenges deserves to be recognized. If you are also a person facing challenging or unique circumstances, combating differences and diversity, or living with a “special” body, I would love to hear from you, share your story, and advocate for your differences. Send me an email at [email protected] for the chance to be featured in a future article!

Sunday Links from SmartPak

And what a weekend it has been. The big classes at #AEC2023 have come to a close and a strong group of new champions has emerged. Liz Halliday-Sharp surprised no one (except maybe herself!) when she and the ever-talented Miks Master C held tight to their week-long lead to clinch the victory in the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final on Friday night. Will Coleman took a neat and tidy win on heartthrob Chin Tonic in the Intermediate Finals, with Sharon White and the stunning Jaguar Duende finishing on their dressage score to take the blue in the Bates USEA Preliminary Horse Final. Congrats to all our American Eventing Champions — find all the final scores for Advanced through Novice here, and stick around to see how the remaining Beginner Novice riders finish up the event today.

Meanwhile, rise and shine, fellow American Burghley watchers, because it’s time for our British competitors to bring their own epic weekend to a close! The Final Horse Inspection will kick off at 9 a.m. BST/4 a.m. EST, before heading right back into the action for session 1 of Show Jumping at 11:30 a.m. BST/6:30 a.m. EST. Tim Price and Vitali, our current overnight leaders after a Burghley-typical tumultuous and emotional Saturday, will take the stage at the end of Show Jumping session 2, which is set to begin at 2:30 p.m. BST/9:30 a.m. EST.

With not a rail to spare and several top home-court riders breathing down his neck, will Tim manage to keep his lead, or will we see Oliver, David, or Wills sneak up to steal the spotlight? Wipe the sleep from your eyes (or pick up your second drink of the day, for our British counterparts) and get ready to crown a new Burghley champion!

Defender Burghley: [Website] [Entries] [Program] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage] [Ride Times[Live Scores]

#AEC2023 (Lexington, KY): [Website] [Entries] [Schedule] [Official Program] [Volunteer] [EN’s Coverage

U.S. Weekend Action

Bucks County Horse Park H.T. (Revere, PA) [Website] [Ride Times/ Live Scores]

Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (Fairburn, GA) [Website] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Equestrians’ Institute H.T. (Cle Elum, WA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Seneca Valley PC H.T. (Poolesville, MD) [Website] [Volunteer] [Ride Times]

Silverwood Farm Fall H.T. (Trevor, WI) [Website] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Links to Start Your Sunday:

Just Pippa Funnell and Adam Short dancing in a barn aisle over dressage scores

Alert: Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) Outbreak Updates in California Regions

Jamaican eventer Lydia Heywood held a cross country course walk at the Blair Castle International Horse Trials

MDT Events in Oregon makes great strides towards inclusion and safety, permitting long, braided or loc’d to be left out of the helmet for equitation and hunter classes

Team Canada’s Nations Cup members gather to cheer on Jessica Phoenix at Burghley

Weekly Pick from SmartPak: The one and only SmartPak store celebrated 17 years in business this week! Have you ever been to the SmartPak retail store in Natick, MA?

Morning Viewing: Endless congratulations to Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C, Will Coleman and Chin Tonic, and Sharon White and Jaguar Duende! Watch some clips below of our newest champions.

The Bold and the Beautiful: Your Ultimate Guide to the 2023 Defender Burghley Field

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: that special, chaotic time in which team EN, plus a rogue chinchilla, dive deep, deep down into the FEI records, the personal anecdotes, the whims and weirdness of each and every competitor’s backstory as we look ahead to this week’s Defender Burghley Horse Trials. Want to know your favourite rider’s favourite hobby? We’ve got you. Want to know how a horse you liked the look of at the trot up might perform between the boards over the next couple of days? We’ve got you there, too. Buckle up: it’s going to be as wild of a ride as Burghley itself.

Want to jump straight to your favorite horse and rider? Click the links below to jump to their section (the combinations are listed below in alphabetical order by last name; sections in alphabetical order by country and last name):

Tom Bird and Rebel Rhyme (GBR)
Alexander Bragg and Quindiva (GBR)
Phil Brown and Harry Robinson (GBR)
Rosalind Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel (GBR)
Alice Casburn and Topspin (GBR)
Luc Château and Viens Du Mont (FRA)
Tim Cheffings and Gaston (GBR)
Sarah Clark and LV Balou Jeanz (AUS)
Richard Coney and Poetry In Motion II (GBR)
Tiana Coudray and Cancaras Girl (USA)
Tom Crisp and Liberty And Glory (GBR)
David Doel and Galileo Nieuwmoed (GBR)
David Doel and Ferro Point (GBR)
Arthur Duffort and Toronto D’Aurois (FRA)
Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way (USA)
Christoffer Forsberg and Con Classic 2 (SWE)
Sophie Fouracre and Lordana VH Leysehof Z (GBR)
Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope (GBR)
Kristina Hall-Jackson and CMS Google (GBR)
Louise Harwood and Native Spirit (GBR)
Matthew Heath and Askari (GBR)
Andrew Heffernan and Harthill Phantom (NTL)
Nicky Hill and MGH Bingo Boy (GBR)
Lauren Innes and Global Fision M (NZL)
Emily King and Valmy Biats (GBR)
Lauren Lillywhite and Billy Beaufort (GBR)
Lauren Lillywhite and Hacien (GBR)
Boyd Martin and On Cue (USA)
Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF (USA)
Greta Mason and Cooley For Sure (GBR)
Padraig Mccarthy and HHS Noble Call (IRL)
Tom McEwen and Luna Mist (GBR)
Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser (GBR)
Harry Meade and Away Cruising (GBR)
Harry Meade and Cavalier Crystal (GBR)
Harry Meade and Tenareze (GBR)
Harry Mutch and HD Bronze (GBR)
Harry Mutch and Shanbeg Cooley (GBR)
Julia Norman and Ardeo Berlin (ZIM)
Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue (IRL)
Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance (GBR)
Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley (GBR)
Michael Owen and Bradeley Law (GBR)
Jessica Phoenix and Wabbit (CAN)
Tim Price and Vitali (NZL)
Holly Richardson and Bally Louis (GBR)
Tom Rowland and Possible Mission (GBR)
James Rushbrooke and Milchem Eclipse (GBR)
Jennie Saville and FE Lifestyle (USA)
Richard Skelt and Credo III (GBR)
Grace Taylor and Game Changer (USA)
Emma Thomas and Icarus X (GBR)
Zara Tindall and Class Affair (GBR)
Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class (GBR)
Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs (GBR)
Oliver Townend and Tregilder (GBR)
Aistis Vitkauskas and Commander VG (LTU)
Sam Watson and SAP Talisman (IRL)
Francis Whittington and DHI Purple Rain (GBR)
Christopher Whittle and Skip Mill (GBR)



Sarah Clark and LV Balou Jeanz. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Sarah Clark and LV Balou Jeanz (AUS)
Thirteen-year-old New Zealand Hanoverian gelding (Balou du Rouet – Cotton Jenny xx, by Colombia xx). Bred by Little Valley Farm. Owned by the rider and Gill, Colin, and Linda Clark. Groomed by Kirsten Poulsom.

Sarah came to the UK on the back of great success in her native Australia with “Jeanz” — as he’s known at home — completing in the top 10 in seven of their thirteen CCI4 and 5* runs — top 4 in five of them — earning Jeanz Eventing South Australia Horse of the Year in 2022. His 5* debut came when he was just a nine-year-old, after rocketing through the levels on his way to the top of the sport.

When she left Oz for her Great British adventure, Sarah boarded the flight with her “Dreamcatcher” with no return ticket and no funds to buy one. After fulfilling a “life-long dream” and completing at Burghley last year — posting a 34.3 dressage and adding 32 time penalties to a clear cross country, ending the event in 22nd — Sarah based herself with Great Britain’s David Doel and crowdfunded her way to the next thing on her bucket list — Badminton. It wasn’t to be however, and she withdrew before the competition got underway as Jeanz wasn’t feeling 100%. But she’s back at Burghley for another go around and will be looking to get a second 5* completion under her girth as she continues her journey with her lovely thirteen-year-old.

Typically mid-30s in the dressage, they have scored as low as 31 at the 4*-S level, and they can be expected to climb the leaderboard come cross country day, having added jumping penalties in just three of their 33 FEI competitions (with just three non-completions). They won’t be the quickest on the day, but they have made the time at 4*-L before, and the 32 time faults they added at Burghley are the most they’ve had at 4*-L and 5*. The show jumping can be a bit patchy for them — they added 12 jumping and 5.2 time last year at Burghley and 12 in their most recent run — the 4*-S at Alnwick. But in general, they do keep it to one pole, and can go clear on their day.

Sarah describes Jeanz’ style as “unconventional” but he adores his job — like all eventing fans, he’s particularly partial to the cross country — and he’s an “out and out trier”, which is exactly the kind of horse you want to be sat on in the start box on Burghley cross country day.



Jessica Phoenix and Wabbit (CAN)
Thirteen-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Line of Departure xx – No Kissing xx, by Great Gladiator xx). Bred by Molinaro Stable. Owned by the rider and Jim Phillips. Groomed by Lisa Barry.

It’s getting rarer and rarer to see full Thoroughbreds at top horse trials, so it’s a real treat to see Wabbit and Jessica Phoenix’s names on the roster for Burghley. A Thoroughbred to a ‘T’, Wabbit is known for his bravery and athleticism on the cross country course, but he’s also “a lot of horse,” according to owner Jim Phillips.

While Wabbit was a lackluster racehorse, earning only $2200 in five starts, he’s truly found his stride in the eventing world. Jessica told Horse Sport that, “[Wabbit] makes cross-country effortless over those huge tracks,” says Jessica. “His gallop is exceptional and he’s never pushing for time. He’s one of the best cross-country horses I’ve ever sat on.” As brilliant as he is, Wabbit is “an extremely quirky boy and you need to truly understand him. His brain is always functioning at a high-intensity level.”

Wabbit is still new to the CCI5* level and only has three other five-star events under his belt: the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event (which he attended twice and completed once) and the Maryland Five Star at Fair Hill. Out of these three five stars, Wabbit has twice been in the top 20 and once been eliminated. In phase one at Burghley, look for Wabbit to have a mid- to high-30s dressage score, and a fast cross country round with a mere handful of time faults. Show jumping is where it gets tricky for the gray gelding. We’ll have to wait and see if they can get around that last phase clean.



Luc Château and Viens du Mont. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Luc Château and Viens Du Mont (FRA)
Fourteen-year-old Selle Français gelding (Norway de la Lande – Kaline du Mont, by King’s Road xx). Bred by Maurice Viel. Owned by E.A.R.L. Haras des Chateaux. Groomed by Caroline Queval.

Viens du Mont’s last two FEI outings were CCI5*s, and now he comes forward for his third. Last year’s home soil top level debut for the pair at Pau saw them finish in 9th place, where they added just 4 show jumping penalties to their dressage of 39.8. They had an impressive 11th place finish at this year’s tricky Badminton, where they didn’t let the weather get to them, jumping clear cross country and proving that they could handle just about any going.

They’ve scored as low as 32.9 in the dressage at 3* and as much as 47.5 at 4*; based on their most recent form we can expect a first phase score in the high-30s — they posted a 37 at Badminton. But it’s the cross country where Viens du Mont will really shine — he’s got no cross country jumping penalties on his record in 19 FEI runs, and has only added time on five occasions, including Badminton where no one managed to beat the clock. We should certainly see them climbing the leaderboard on cross country day. The show jumping is a bit more tricky for him — he has penalties more often than not, and doesn’t often manage to keep it to just one pole. At Badminton, he added 8 in the final phase; at Pau last year, it was 4.

Based in Cour-Cheverny in France, Luc and his wife Caroline run Haras des Chateaux, a riding club and school from which they also run their breeding program. The stallion at the center of the enterprise, Propriano de l’Ebat, who Luc competed until 2018, has recently done them proud with a foal out of Michael Jung’s awesome Kentucky winning mare, FischerRocana.


Arthur Duffort and Toronto d’Aurois. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Arthur Duffort and Toronto D’Aurois (FRA)
Sixteen-year-old Selle Français gelding (Polack II – Jovaly D’Aurois, by Daloubet D’Evordes). Bred by Robert Maury. Owned by the rider and Julie and Paul Gatien. Groomed by Leonore Gignoux.

British-based French rider Arthur Duffort is looking for a hat-trick of Burghley completions with seasoned CCI5* campaigner Toronto D’Aurois, who’s coming forward for his seventh run at the top level after making his debut at Burghley in 2019. He’s jumped clear on cross country day at each of his attempts bar the first, when he just had a bit of a green mishap; he also picked up a technical elimination late on course at Pau in 2021, but he finished and was clear over all the fences. His first Burghley culminated in 29th place; he improved on that for 15th on his return trip in 2022. Will he continue on his upward Burghley trajectory? Potentially.

Arthur and ‘Toronto’ were 27th at a notoriously tough Badminton in the spring, where they jumped clear across the country but added 52.8 time penalties. However, the going was particularly difficult that day due to the excessively wet weather Britain endured in the lead-up, and fast rounds were very few and far between. The efforts of the previous day seem to have caught up with Toronto when it came to the show jumping, with 20 jumping penalties accumulated in the final phase. Ordinarily, the gelding is a 4 or 8 kind of guy, although he did leave the poles up at Alnwick in the 4*-S last month. Based on dressage form, they won’t be up there going into the cross country: they trend in the high 30s at 4 and 5*. Until recently, their cross country jumping record was pretty clean — with nothing since Burghley 2019. But they had a 20 in the 4*-S at Hartpury a couple of weeks ago — where they also had two poles in the show jumping — so Arthur will be hoping that was just a blip and it’ll be all systems clear come Burghley.

Toronto was produced in France up to 2* by part-owner and Arthur’s friend, Paul Gatien. The original plan was for the horse to be sold on, however, Toronto was so difficult that they couldn’t find a buyer for him, and he ended up staying; Arthur took on the ride in 2016. Toronto’s groom, Leonore Gignoux, describes him as “truly a gentle giant”. He’s very shy and is easily spooked — Leonore says she would turn off the giant screen in the dressage arena for his test if she could! Not one for being fawned over, Toronto loves to be in the field more than anything and during his holidays becomes a “wild horse” that no one can approach. Leonore has a trick though — she brings him treats every day to persuade him into having his rug changed. Sounds like Toronto’s one smart cookie!



Tom Bird and Rebel Rhyme. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Tom Bird and Rebel Rhyme (GBR)
Thirteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Yeats – Fidachta Rebel, by Fast Silver). Owned by the rider and David Kerry.

Burghley is so imposing that we always see a really tiny number of first-timer riders here – but this year, Tom Bird is part of that exalted list at just 21 years old. He rides Rebel Rhyme, who he owns with his uncle, and with whom he was runner-up at the Bramham under-25 CCI4*-L this summer.

The initial plan, Tom tells Horse & Hound, was to do a couple of novices and ‘maybe an intermediate’ with the failed hunt horse, but discovered that despite his quirks, including often not being able to warm up for cross-country and needing a lead into the start box, the gelding is all heart. They’ve amassed a number of good clears at CCI4*-L, including two at Bramham, the closest four-star we have to a Burghley-style challenge, and though they won’t be relishing the first phase – they’ll often sit in the 40s – they’ll look forward to getting out there on Saturday and doing what they came for. A rare elimination in their final run at Burgham will, hopefully, only serve to sharpen them up. Their Saturday climb won’t carry through to Sunday, as showjumping tends to be a tricky phase for them, but that’s not the point of this week: the point is to gain valuable mileage and experience over one of the world’s most impressive cross-country courses, and both horse and rider can be counted upon to do a fine job of that.


Alex Bragg and Quindiva. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Alexander Bragg and Quindiva (GBR)
Thirteen-year-old Oldenburg mare (Quintender – Ruby Roller, by High Roller). Bred by Cliodhna Carroll. Owned by the Roe Family. Groomed by Sarah Whatley.

Alexander Bragg’s FEI partnership with Quindiva started in 2018 with the mare’s first 1*, where the pair finished on their dressage score of 34.6. In the last five years of FEI competition, the duo has competed up to the 5* level, contesting their first 5* earlier this year at Badminton. Alex and Quindiva scored a typical mid-30s in dressage at Badminton, but retired on cross country. Burghley will be their second attempt at this level.

Alex’s previous 5* experience will be helpful in guiding the lesser experienced mare around Burghley. He has competed on British Nations Cup teams, was a reserve for the European Championships in 2017, and made the long-list for the World Equestrian Games in 2018. He has previously completed Burghley, Badminton, Pau and Luhmühlen.

While his partnership with Quindiva is relatively new to the 5* level, the duo has had plenty of success at the 3* and 4* levels, with their last three runs at the 4* level resulting in a top ten finish. While their mid-30s dressage score might not bump them to the top of the leaderboard on the first day, they are typically clear in the jumping phases, which could maintain a solid position as we’ve seen at the 4* level.


Phil Brown and Harry Robinson. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Phil Brown and Harry Robinson (GBR)
Fifteen-year-old British Sport Horse gelding (Laytender – Jodie, by Ontario). Bred by W.E. Robinson. Owned by Orbit Electrical Services Ltd.

This’ll be a sophomore Burghley for ‘local’ pair Phil and Harry, who have recently relocated home to Yorkshire after spending years based so close to Burghley that Phil could see the house from his arena. Talk about motivation on those tough days! They made their debut here last year, delivering a steady clear for 27th place and enjoying the week perhaps more than anyone else.

That was a five-star debut for both, though Phil very nearly made his debut years prior with another horse, but an injury put paid to those plans. He’d never have guessed that his biggest career moves would have come with the splashy-faced and charmingly-named Harry Robinson, a horse who was sold earlier in his career but ultimately found his way back to Phil because he wasn’t very easy to get on with. In hindsight, it looks a bit like fate that the pair found each other again, and lovely Phil’s army of supporters are certainly backing that bit of kismet all the way to the finish line. He now rides Harry for family friends Nigel and Susie Bushby, and you’ll no doubt hear their voices among the cheers, which also include plenty of young riders that Phil teaches from the East Midlands area.

They won’t be fighting for the win here – they’ll start in the high-30s, though delivered a high-40s score in their final FEI run at Hartpury CCI4*-S this month. But another clear run is totally within their wheelhouse, and Phil, who’s an admirably horse-first rider, will only be worrying about cutting down on the clock if he feels his ‘not very blood’ horse is capable of doing so comfortably. They’re a joy to support as they revisit their biggest dreams.


Ros Canter and Ponchos Crown Jewel at Burghley in 2022. Photo by DBHT/Peter Nixon.

Rosalind Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel (GBR)
Fourteen-year-old British Sport Horse gelding (Jumbo – Cornish Queen, by Rock King). Bred by Pennie Wallace. Owned by Kate James and Annie Makin. Groomed by Sarah Charnley.

You want to talk about a potential winner? Let’s talk about the woman who comes into Burghley with the pure, unadulterated elixir of golden confidence flowing through her veins. Former World Champ Ros won Badminton this spring with Lordships Graffalo in the toughest of conditions, and while we won’t see him here because he’s on his holidays after, y’know, becoming the European got-dang Champion in similarly revolting conditions, ‘Jasmine’ is a pretty darn good second string, not least because she’s a maternal half-sibling to Lordships Graffalo and has a lot of the same grit and gumption that makes him excellent.

Of course, she’s her own ‘person’, too. Jasmine is a bit of a Blanche DuBois type in some ways: she wants the eyes on the world on her, kind of, but she also really, really doesn’t, and Ros has to nurture her through a touch of stage fright to get the very best out of her. But that nurturing pays off: when she finished second in Bramham’s CCI4*-L (the toughest, arguably, in the world) last year, she did so while executing a clear round on the final day while the wind actually blew a jump over next to her. That would be, according to Ros, Jasmine’s worst nightmare and biggest trigger type, but she stayed so focused we didn’t even see an ear move.

That steadfast trust in her tiny but exceptionally talented jockey has also taken her to some brilliant five-star results: Jasmine was fourth on her debut at the level at Bicton in 2021, eleventh here last year, and ninth at Badminton this spring. Keep an eye on her, because she and Ros are already excellent – but that confidence that Ros will be riding high on is also one of the most powerful weapons an athlete can wield.


Alice Casburn and Topspin at Burghley 2022. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Alice Casburn and Topspin (GBR)
Fifteen-year-old Anglo European Sport Horse gelding (Zento – Capriati xx, by El Conquistador xx). Owned and bred by Caroline Casburn. Groomed by Dave Burton and Caroline Casburn.

It runs in the family with the Casburn team, with Alice’s mom Caroline having evented Topspin’s grandmother Spangle to Advanced before breeding Spin’s dam Capriati from her. Caroline evented ‘Spin’ as a youngster prior to Alice taking over the ride.

Despite being quite a quirky ride, Alice has found a way to click with Spin, and the duo finished their first CCI5* in the top 20 at Pau in 2021. They have had three additional runs at the level since, at Badminton and Burghley in 2022, and Badminton in 2023, and have finished within the top 20 at each one. Their best 5* result was at Burghley in 2022, where they added just a handful of time to their dressage score to finish 5th.

Although Alice is only 21 years old, her experience and partnership with Topspin have served her well, and set her up to be a fierce competitor this year. While their dressage scores can range from the low to upper 30s, their general consistency over fences will make them an exciting pair this week!


Tim Cheffings and Gaston. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Tim Cheffings and Gaston (GBR)
Twelve-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Sanyo – Wadina, by Columbus). Bred by Ned Bloemert. Owned by Emma Bryant and Tim Cheffings. Groomed by Amber Bayldon.

The Defender Burghley Horse Trials will be a big moment for Tim Cheffings and Gaston, as it marks Gaston’s first attempt at a CCI5*-L. The last time Tim was at Burghley was in 2014 with Alinero Van Het Scharenberg, but the pair unfortunately retired. Tim and Gaston are set up for both a triumphant Burghley comeback for Tim and a positive first five-star outing for Gaston as long as they get successfully across the finish line.

Gaston has been competing at the four-star level since 2019 with mixed success. While he consistently brings in low to mid-30s dressage scores, Gaston and Tim had a mixed 2022 season with one elimination and one retirement on course. However, their most recent outing resulted in their second highest placing they’ve ever received at the four-star level, coming in in the top twenty in nineteenth place at the CCI4*-L at Bramham.

If all goes to plan at Burghley, you can expect to see Gaston and Tim with a dressage score in the mid-30s, with no obstacle faults and ten to fifteen time faults on cross country, and potentially a rail in show jumping. Gaston has shown that he’s capable of achieving double clear show jumping rounds, but as this will be his first 5*-L, he’s a little bit of a wild card until it’s clear how he’ll handle the level.


Richard Coney and Poetry In Motion. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Richard Coney and Poetry In Motion (GBR)
Ten-year-old Irish Sport horse gelding (Yeats – Woodville Soap, by Lux Z). Owned by Sophie White. Groomed by Tilly Freemantle.

After finishing two horses inside the top 20 in his CCI5* debut (Pau – 2020), Richard Coney will bring forward a debut horse this year at his first Burghley. Poetry In Motion (‘Snippet’ at home) is just 10 this year and is also a relatively new addition to Richard’s string, having joined in 2022. He was campaigned through the CCI3* level by fellow Brit Florence White, who’s still very much involved as Snippet is still owned by the White family.

This pair’s best result at the 4* level came at Bramham’s U25 4*-L, where they finished fourth place with some time on cross country and a rail down in show jumping. They’re a pretty dependable cross country pair with just one blip on their international record. While this will be a big ask for a debut horse at 10 years old, Richard will have this well in mind and will have selected this event for this horse with intention. They won’t be a threat to the top of the board on the flat, but we all know Burghley is far from a dressage contest. If they can manage to come somewhat close to the time, they can make some leaps up in the standings – but don’t be surprised if Richard doesn’t concern himself too much with the clock, prioritizing positive experience and confidence with a horse with which he’s hoping for much more to come.


A dream come true: Tom Crisp and Liberty and Glory. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Tom Crisp and Liberty And Glory (GBR)
Sixteen-year-old British Sport Horse mare (Caretino Glory – Little Runnymede xx). Bred by Patricia Balfour. Owned by Robin and Patricia Balfour and Sophie Crisp.

There are few riders who know the hills and dales and lumps and bumps of Burghley quite as well as Sussex-based retained firefighter Tom Crisp, who’ll make his tenth start at the event this week with the fiery, tiny homebred Liberty and Glory.

Liberty and Glory, or “Lori”, is always our dark horse pick of the week: she is, after all, quite literally a dark horse. But she’s also one of those classic, feisty little mares, fuelled by rage and opinions, and frankly, her first-phase performances don’t even MATTER when she produces the goods on Saturday. We saw her at her very best at Pau in 2018, where she climbed an absolutely ridiculous 54 places to finish sixth, delivering an emotional five-star best for Tom. After some tricky years, in which they lost valuable time to the pandemic and then battled for a return from niggling injury, they came to Burghley last year and pulled the same kind of magic out again, finishing ninth. At Badminton this year, they made it as far as the Lake – very far in the course, actually – and looked to be on better form than just about everyone we’d seen when Lori took a flyer and twisted in the air over the huge corner in the water and Tom, who was due an operation on a hernia, couldn’t quite maintain the core strength to sit the effort. He was deposited into the drink but even in the midst of his heartbreak at an early end to arguably one of the rounds of the day, he did his best to keep the packed out audience entertained, and did a mock front-crawl in the water that made him everyone’s new favorite rider. Now, he’ll ride for redemption, likely with the loudest cheers of his career to carry him through.

Lori is truly a family horse, ridden by a family man: she’s out of a full Thoroughbred mare who Tom’s wife Sophie competed through Advanced, and Sophie’s parents Robin and Patricia not only bred the mare, but continue to part-own her. The Crisp family at large – including sons Hugo and Harry, and youngest child Hermione – can be seen out in force at events, with everyone chipping in. Harry, who’s in his teens, is already jumping well around Novice (US Prelim) tracks, so we’d be unsurprised to see him trying to cadge the ride on dad’s mega mare before long.

Born on the fourth of July and given a patriotic moniker to match, Lori probably won’t dazzle in the dressage – she’s a high-30s scorer, although Tom has been working hard on her flatwork and her tempestuous nature. It’s Saturday that’ll really have you paying attention – despite the fact that she spent her early years enacting elaborate protests that included lying down in start boxes, 16hh Lori is yet to face any course she considers difficult. Give her a cheer as she flies by: she’ll only pin her ears at you, but deep down, she’ll love it, and she and her jockey alike will find a bit more pace from it.


David Doel and Galileo Nieuwmoed. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

David Doel and Galileo Nieuwmoed (GBR)
Twelve-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Carambole – Sjaloma, by Harcos). Bred by J.W. & A.P. Jurrius. Owned by Gillian Jonas. Groomed by Lucy Grimshaw.

While David Doel first saw Galileo Nieuwmoed, it wasn’t love at first sight: “He had slightly straight hind-legs, boxy joints just where he was maturing a bit, and slightly flat front feet, so he was in heart-bar shoes at the time. I took one look at him and thought ‘no, not for me’ and just passed him by really,” David remarked.

Despite the slower start to their partnership, it has certainly blossomed into something special — since their FEI career began together in 2018 at the CIC1* level, David and Galileo have only experienced one cross country jump penalty in their time together — at their first 5* together at Bicton, where they were eliminated. The Bicton cross country penalty was certainly uncharacteristic, as the duo has jumped clear around four other 5* events, and 26 other FEI events.

While their dressage scores vary from the upper 20s-mid 30s, their consistency across the country serves them well. While a rail in the show jumping is possible, it isn’t a given with these two. Their best 5* finish was at Pau in 2022, where they finished 4th, adding one rail to their dressage score of 30.6. They’ve finished in the top ten in three of the four 5* they’ve completed, so will definitely be a pair to keep an eye on!


David Doel and Ferro Point. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

David Doel and Ferro Point (GBR)
Thirteen-year-old Irish-bred mare (Match Point xx – Ferra Jones, by S. Creevagh Ferro). Bred by Trevor Badger. Owned by Christine Lees. Groomed by Stefan Bradshaw.

Starting their FEI career together back in 2016, David Doel and Ferro Point have had seven seasons to get to know each other well. Building a close relationship seems to be an extra important component for this pair, as “[Ferro Point is] a cool little pocket rocket and quite a feisty little blood-type mare.” In addition, she has kissing spine. While her kissing spine doesn’t limit her ability to perform at the top of the sport, it’s a team effort in keeping her happy and healthy, and has her vet, three physios, and a massage therapist to keep her comfortable and enthusiastic in her job.

The pair finished 22nd in their first 5* together in 2020 at Pau, and have since entered in four other 5* events — they retired at Bicton in 2021, and were eliminated in the show jumping at Luhmühlen in 2022, but finished 20th at Pau in 2022, and finished 13th at Luhmühlen in 2023.

While their dressage scores float between mid 30s-low 40s, they look to shine on cross country. Besides a jump penalty cross country in the 2* at Bicton in 2017 and a frangible pin at Pau in 2022, David and Ferro Point have an impressively clear cross country record, including double clear cross country rounds at Luhmühlen 5* in 2022 and 2023. They might see a rail or two on the final day.

While they have yet to see the top of the leaderboard for a 5* competition, this dynamic duo will certainly be fun to watch!


Sophie Jenman and Lordana VH Leysehof Z. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Sophie Fouracre and Lordana VH Leysehof Z (GBR)
Thirteen-year-old Zangersheide mare (Lordanos – Ratinka, by Elanville). Owned by Kay Jenman.

Sophie Fouracre makes her return to Burghley for the first time since 2015, this time with the 5* debutant mare Lorzana VH Leysehof Z (‘Marlie’ for short). Sophie’s last Burghley was with her longtime partner Geronimo, with whom she completed the event twice, finishing as well as 25th overall.

Now, Sophie returns to the level with the springy Marlie, who skipped around Bramham’s 4*-S in June in her last FEI start, focusing more on show jumping and national competition in the lead-up to this debut at the top level. And show jumping would be the “weak” point for this mare, with two four-rail rounds on her international record, both at Long formats. “Weakness” be damned, though, and Sophie will have been putting in the time to fine-tune those details to give herself the best shot at a strong round come Sunday.

A mid-high 30s dressage score will place them in position to make some moves, and they’ll look for a clear cross country round – they’ve got a strong record to boast on the run and jump phase – to place them mid-pack or so after two phases.


Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope (GBR)
Sixteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Porter Rhodes xx – Brown Sue, by Flagmount King). Bred by Jack Murphy. Owned by Marek Sebestak and the rider. Groomed by Emily Gibson.

Pippa Funnell MBE needs little introduction to eventing fans as a multiple Olympic, European, and World Championships medalist and CCI5* winner, first (and only in the long format) winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, Wesko Equestrian Foundation mentor, and video game star. Not content with all that, Pippa has recently relaunched her series of children’s books — Pippa’s Pony Tales — which aim to inspire young equestrians in their horsemanship. She’s also written an autobiography and training guide. Pippa joined the equestrian industry when she left school at sixteen and went to work for Ruth McMullin, where she stayed for almost a decade. Her eventing accolades started early, when she became European Young Rider Champion in 1987 riding Sir Barnaby, the horse which took her to her first Badminton in 1988.

Majas Hope took on his first 5* at Burghley in 2018, when he finished 12th. The following year, he proved his reliability as a capable team pathfinder at the European Championships, where Britain took team gold. Although he may not be the fastest horse in the field, he is consistent and genuine across the country, with just one blip in the 4*-S at Bicton in 2021 in an otherwise clean record since 2017. At Burghley last year he was 16th after adding 12.8 cross country time penalties to his 28.2 dressage, with an uncharacteristically expensive show jumping round seeing him roll four poles; in 2018 he was 13th adding only 8.8 in total to a dressage of 35.2. At last year’s Kentucky he was 14th, posting 35.2 in the dressage and coming home with 11.2 time faults in the cross country and 4 jumping in the final phase. At the pop-up 5* at Bicton in 2021, it was a similar story — some cross country time and a pole; he finished 5th that day. He was 16th in his Badminton run in 2019, with 31 in the dressage, 18.4 cross country time and 0.4 time in the jumping. At this year’s wet and wild Badminton edition, he was top 10, with 32.6 in the first phase, adding 24.8 in the second — which sounds like more than it actually was, relatively speaking; due to the ground, it was a slow day out on course for most competitors — and lowering two poles on the final day.

With five 5* completions under his belt, he’s a safe bet for a clear cross country round — we’ll have to wait and see how tight the time is come cross country day. His latest form suggests he’s likely to have at least one pole on the Sunday — between 2017 and 2021 he was trending on one or none, but more recently that’s crept up. Will he be back on form in the Burghley Main Arena? Only time will tell. What we do know is that Pippa will be totally focused on doing her job — to give her horses “as good, as safe and as fast a trip as is possible”.

As well as being an eventer extraordinaire, Pippa has produced a record number of Burghley Young Event Horse winners, and she produces show jumpers for The Billy Stud, the breeding program she co-founded and runs in partnership with her international show jumper husband, William Funnell, and Donal Barwell. She was 8th at Badminton last year with Billy Walk On, a product of the stud. She’s no stranger to the show jumping ring either, coming top 10 in the 4* at Hickstead last year.


Kristina Hall-Jackson and CMS Google during the Cross Country phase, Badminton Horse Trials, May 2023.

Kristina Hall-Jackson and CMS Google (GBR)
Thirteen-year-old Irish-bred mare (Baltimore – Shalom Internet, by Cavalier). Bred by Ray O’Reilly. Owned by KHJ Eventing rider and the rider. Groomed by Tessa Downs.

‘There’s no other horse I’d rather do my first 5* on,’ said Kristina of her long term partner, Google, ahead of their Burghley debut last year. Despite an uncharacteristic 20 penalties cross-country, and a rare pole down on the final day, the pair still managed to finish 25th – not bad for their first shot at the level. They managed to complete their second stab at a 5* at Badminton earlier this year, too, despite the heinous weather conditions. It was not necessarily the most polished performance – they incurred 40 penalties out on course and again, dropped a pole in the show jumping, but given that many more experienced 5* campaigners admitted defeat long before the final day, to finish 29th is still worthy of applause.

Based on the family farm in West Yorkshire, 26 year old Kristina is part of the Wesko Equestrian Foundation and thus one of the lucky young riders to benefit from the tutelage of Pippa Funnell – who, by happy coincidence, happens to be one of Kristina’s long term idols. She was also part of the BEF Talent Excel programme from 2015-2017 and had her first Team GB call up in 2014, as part of the Junior European Team.

She and Google, who she describes as ‘a sweet mare, with a heart of gold,’ have been together right from the beginning of the mare’s competitive career, back in 2017. Notable results – other than their cracking 5* debut – include 6th in the CCI-L4* at Bramham last year, adding just a few time penalties to their 35.9 dressage, as well as a 5th place in the CCI-S3* at Burgham, also in 2022, where they enjoyed two faultless jumping rounds to add nothing to their 29.6 dressage score. That score in itself was worth celebrating – Kristina will be the first one to admit that dressage is not this mare’s strong point, and they tend to score mid to low 30’s, so to break into that much coveted 20-something bracket is a huge achievement. However, she managed to better her 33.0 dressage score at Burghley last year by almost 3 marks to score 30.6 at Badminton, so perhaps Kristina will be hoping to break into that zone once again.

This would leave them in a very competitive spot indeed, as what Google lacks in the first phase, she more than makes up for in the jumping phases. Whilst they are not immune to cross country jumping faults, they are more likely to jump relatively fast and clear. Ditto on the final day: Google is not guaranteed not to tip a rail, but again, her show jumping clears far out number the rounds with a few faults. Here’s hoping that Kristina and Google can not only deliver a dressage PB, but also the double clear that they have proven themselves capable of time and again, to finish even better than they did after their last spin around the hallowed turf of Burghley.


Louise Harwood and Native Spirit (GBR)
Fourteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (by Corragary Cruising Porsch). Owned by the rider.

‘Wiggy’, as we all know the rider, has been a stalwart face at the level, both in Britain and abroad, for many years. She’s recognisable, generally, by the fact that she’s Ros-style tiny but generally mounted on huge, sturdy hunter-type homebreds, with whom she has a super partnership. She’s got ten Burghley completions under her belt already, though we’ve not seen her here since 2018, and that was long before Native Spirit joined her string. He’s a relatively new ride, having come to her yard in 2021, but she fell in love with him then and bought him to be her next star.

The name of the game this week will be education; Native Spirit has a few blips on his record that’ll stand in the way of a really competitive run in his first British five-star, including an elimination on cross-country for a rider fall at Burgham CCI4*-S and a retirement on course in his international run prior to that in the CCI4*-S at Aston le Walls. He made his five-star debut at Pau last year, picking up a big E for accumulated refusals. But he’s also completed tough, terrain-heavy CCI4*-S classes at Bicton and Bramham this year, and could well settle into the rhythm of this galloping, bold track, which is the opposite end of the design spectrum to Pau.


Matthew Heath and Askari. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Matthew Heath and Askari (GBR)
Fifteen-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Askanier 4 – Evita, by Earl). Bred by Gerda Esche. Owned by Plum Rowland.

Matt Heath is no stranger to the hallowed grounds of Burghley, having made his five-star debut here back in 2013 aboard an old fan favorite, The Lion. Since their debut here ten years ago, Matt and The Lion contested the event six total times, completing four times, before the stalwart mount was retired in 2021 at the age of 19. Matt had always envisioned The Lion being retired after another crack at Burghley, but since the event didn’t run that year it was not in the cards.

But Matt now has a new mount ready to step up to the top level and fill those five-star shoes. He brings forward Askari, a horse who was brought along through the 3*-S level by Dickie Waygood before Matt took the reins in 2019. It will be hard not to fall in love with this big bay gelding who sports a handsome wide blaze and a kind eye. Not to mention his barn name is “Muffin” – can you even handle cuteness?!

Matt and Muffin seem to have shaved a couple of penalty points off their average dressage score over the past two seasons and should have a shot at scoring in the low thirties or possibly high twenties in the first phase. They likely clock a fair bit of time across country and then will have some work to do on the final day, as the show jumping appears to be their most difficult phase at the moment.


Nicky Hill and MGH Bingo Boy. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Nicky Hill and MGH Bingo Boy (GBR)
Fourteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (breeding unknown). Owned by the rider. Groomed by Melissa Jeanes.

Nicky and ‘Bing’ are back for a second crack at Burghley, their first CCI5* start since Badminton 2022, where sadly Nicky had to withdraw before showjumping due to Bing sustaining a cut on cross country. Their original trip to Burghley came in 2019, where they picked up an unfortunate 20 penalties, and the pair have certainly gained a lot of miles and experience since their last time here.

Although they’ve been plagued by the occasional 20-penalties in the past, their form this year has been particularly consistent, with three international starts that boasted three dressage scores under a mark of 35 and three clear cross country rounds. Their last start was early this month at Hartpury in the CCI4*-S, where they added no jump penalties to their dressage score of 33.9.

While I wouldn’t expect to see this pair near the top of the leaderboard after the first phase, I suspect that Nicky will be hunting for some redemption and an improvement over their first Burghley run four years ago. She and Bing are certainly capable, coming into this year’s edition with considerably more experience.


Emily King and Valmy Biats. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Emily King and Valmy Biats (GBR)
Fourteen-year-old Selle Français gelding (Orlando – Aurelie du Prieure, by Hadj A X). Owned and bred by Philippe Brivois. Groomed by Sarah Morrilly.

Emily King and Valmy Biats first started their partnership back in 2020, and have seen strong results at the 4* level, most recently finishing third at Alnwick on a 26.5, and having an impressive start to the 2023 season with a win at Thoresby Park in the CCI4*-S, adding 14.4 cross country time to their 26.8 dressage score.

While we can often expect to see a mid-20s dressage score from this duo, the pair have yet to find the same consistency they’ve previously delivered at the 5* level. Previously competing at the 5* level at Badminton and Pau in 2022, and Badminton and Luhmühlen in 2023, the duo will be looking for this fifth run to continue developing their success at the level.

While their first 5* saw a fall at Badminton in 2022, they came out with an extremely impressive 8th place finish at Pau in only their second attempt, adding only some time and a rail to their 25.5 dressage score. In the 2023 season, we saw Emily retire on cross country at Badminton, due to heavy conditions and Emily noticing ‘Val’ tiring. The pair rerouted to Luhmühlen, where they finished 24th with a very unusual cross country jump penalty, along with some time penalties.

With their typically impressive dressage scores, and a strong partnership that only continues to develop, they certainly look to be a pair to watch!


Lauren Lillywhite and Billy Beaufort (GBR)
Eleven-year-old Anglo European Sport Horse gelding (My O My – Huntstown Clover, by Clover Hill). Owned by the rider and Janet Peppin.

Lauren Lillywhite brings forward two entries upon her return to the five-star level after over a decade. Her last trip to Burghley was aboard her first upper level horse, One More Step, and this weekend both of her partners are embarking on their debut.

The British-bred gelding, called “Hero,” has one CCI4*-L under his belt, last season at Blenheim where he was 35th after a clear cross country round that added 10 time penalties. His second long format crack at the level ended with a disappointing retirement at Bramham. The pair got off their line through a combination that saw a pin drop and a stop at the final corner, so Lauren decided to save him for another day once she realized his confidence – which is normally rock hard, as Lauren describes him as “one of the most genuine horses I’ve ever met” – was shaken.

While we’ve never seen Hero give the five-star test a go, his past performance indicates we’ll likely find him in the mid-30s after the first phase. He’s a strong cross country horse, and his confidence should be well intact after a strong run at his summer reroute Aston le Walls. The final phase, though, will likely see at least four penalties added with rails down.


Lauren Lillywhite and Hacien (GBR)
Eleven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Briljant – Lacieni, by Vincent). Owned by the rider.

Lauren’s second ride, “Captain,” is similarly a first-timer at the level. Lauren brought him along since the beginning: she bought him unbroke and backed him herself for the first time, and now she’s bringing him forward his first five-star.

Captain has had a successful summer season ahead of this big weekend with the cherry on top being a clear cross country run at Bramham’s CCI4*-L. We’ll expect this pair to be in the upper 30s after the first phase, and if all goes to plan on cross country, they’ll still likely accrue some time penalties, but none that can dull the utter joy at having a self-produced horse finish a five-star cross country track.

Lauren is based in Lambourn where she runs a yard alongside her sister and fellow upper level eventer, Alyssa. Also cheering her on this weekend is her husband, Jack, and her young daughter, Florence.


Greta Mason and Cooley For Sure. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Greta Mason and Cooley For Sure (GBR)
Sixteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ramiro B – unknown). Owned by Geoff Mason and Sarah Winfrey.

It’s a Burghley debut, though not a five-star debut, for 26-year-old Greta and her ‘accidental’ partner Murphy, who were fourteenth on their debut at Pau last year, and had an educational non-completion at Badminton this spring in tough conditions. Although Greta’s now based in the Wiltshire area with trainers Rodney Powell and Alex Franklin, she’s something of a local: after spending the first few years of her life in Melbourne, Australia, she moved with her family to the area, and grew up riding with the Burghley Pony Club. En route to gaining her A test, she spent plenty of time riding at rallies in the grounds of the estate and peering over the edge of the Leaf Pit, wondering if she might get a chance to jump down it herself one day.

Now, she will, and though she’s not run an FEI event with Murphy since Badminton, they come in with some good national runs over the summer on their roster. They’ll have been disappointed to miss the run in the British Open Championship at terrain-y Gatcombe, which was abandoned due to terrible weather, but a third place finish – and a sub-30 dressage – in the Advanced at Aston-le-Walls is very good indeed. They’ll hope to start the week replicating their very good Badminton mark of 31.6 (or bettering it, of course!), and then will aim for a positive round without too much focus on the clock. Together, Greta and Murphy, who was originally her brother Silas’s horse, have won the British Under-25 national title at Bramham, so they’re certainly capable of big, bold, terrain-heavy long-format tracks, and this first Burghley run will be all about setting that notion in stone for Greta’s long career at this event to come.


Tom McEwen and Luna Mist (GBR)
Ten-year-old British Sport Horse mare (Alvescot Paper Moon – Monsoon Matilda, by Wickstead Didger I Doo). Owned by Martin Belsham. Groomed by Adam Short and Rio Russell-Hughes.

While Toledo is Tom McEwen’s seasoned mount, Luna Mist is his new-to-the-level, and new-to-him, wild card. Tom just got the ride on “Luna” in 2022, taking over from Italy’s Paolo Torlonia. The Defender Burghley Horse Trials marks Luna’s first attempt at the five-star level. Despite her inexperience, Luna more than makes up for it with her smart and sharp personality.

At the 2022 Land Rover Blair Castle Horse Trials CCI4*-L, Tom described her as, “She’s a proper little fighter and came home full of running as she’s very fit. She was a bit feisty… but she was amazing.”

Luna’s prowess has continued into the 2023 season. So far, she has earned the title of highest placed mare at the Bramham CCI4*-L. She’s had a lighter FEI season than some other Burghley contenders, having completed only three international horse trials so far this year. Tom’s motto seems to be “quality not quantity,” as Luna has put in quality work this season. At the Burnham Market CCI4*-S she achieved her lowest dressage score yet at the four-star level.

Unless her inexperience catches up with her, you shouldn’t be too surprised if Luna winds up in the top ten at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials. Her record of achieving mid-20s dressage scores, unblemished cross country record, and frequent double clears in the show jumping phase just prove she’s a young mare with a bright future ahead of her.


Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser (GBR)
Sixteen-year-old Selle Français gelding (Diamant de Semilly – Ariane du Prieure II, by Papillon Rouge). Bred by Kerstin Drevet. Owned by Fred and Penny Barker, Jane Inns, and Ali McEwen. Groomed by Adam Short and Rio Russell-Hughes.

Of late, Tom McEwen has graced all of our social media feeds with his heartwarming relationship with JL Dublin. And while he’s had a wonderful year with Dubs, except for a recent fall at the FEI Eventing European Championships, it’s Toledo de Kerser and Luna Mist who will be taking the stage at Burghley.

Toledo de Kerser, “Toledo,” is a powerhouse bay Selle Français who is rarely outside of the top ten. In the spring, Toledo took on the Badminton CCI5*-L and came in fourth. This will be the gelding’s second time at Burghley, the first time being in 2017, where Toledo and Tom pulled off an impressive fourth place win in the midst of a competitive field.

Despite the hugely impressive competition record, riding Toledo isn’t as effortless as Tom makes it seem. Tom told Horse & Hound in 2021 that he doesn’t jump the gelding at home. “If you try he’ll bolt blind, or refuse to come in a second time or he’ll be like a crouching tiger and press himself to the floor, then go flat out. He’s never done a grid or polework. Rather than make an issue of it, we’ve just never made an issue of it.”

While he’s a tough ride at home, to say the least, it’s at competitions where Toledo really shines. “He’s a born competition horse. He’s learnt to trust me, because I’m the one sat on his back for events – the part he loves – so he let me in. He’s a real show-off and loves an atmosphere; his preference is a big event with more people and fewer horses.”

Burghley is a big event for sure, so Toledo is all but guaranteed to thrive in the atmosphere at the historic venue. Thanks to Toledo’s talent and unique personality, Toledo and Tom are real top contenders for this year’s Defender Burghley Horse Trials.


Harry Meade and Away Cruising. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Harry Meade and Away Cruising (GBR)
Sixteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cruise On – Parklands Princess, by Able Albert xx). Bred by Eamon O’Flaherty. Owned by Jane Dear and Charlotte Opperman. Groomed by Jessica Errington, Molly Parkin, and team.

Pathfinder for Burghley 2023 and stalwart CCI5* campaigner Harry Meade brings forward his lovely gray Away Cruising for the gelding’s eighth appearance at the level. ‘Spot’, as he’s known at home, was produced by Harry from a five-year-old and made his CCI5* debut at Luhmuhlen in 2017, where he finished 14th. He’s since completed Badminton four times and Burghley twice. The only blip on his 5* record is Badminton 2019, when Harry had to withdraw the gelding after the dressage due to stiffness in the horse’s neck following a routine injection. It was a real blow to Harry, who felt that, based on how his prep and run-up had gone, he had a real chance of a win that year. He finished 16th there this season, in notoriously tough conditions, when a disappointing show jumping round with three poles and two time penalties dropped him down the order. Spot’s first trip to Burghley came in 2017 when he finished 15th; he returned in 2018 and finished 6th, posting 29.5 in the dressage and adding just 1.6 cross country time and four show jumping penalties.

The first phase typically sees this combination trending in the early 30s, but they managed sub-30 at Badminton with 29, and they’ve been as low as 27.5 at 4*. His last run, in the 4*-S at Hartpury a couple of weeks ago, saw them creep back up again, to 34.6. His cross country jumping record proves what a super cross country horse he is though — he’s jumped clear in all but three of his 34 FEI starts, and you have to go as far back at 2017 to find a refusal on his record (he activated a frangible device in the 4*-S at Belton in 2019). What they do add on cross country day is time, and the fast round he posted at Burghley in 2018 hasn’t really been replicated since, although he did finish on his dressage in the 4*-S at Bramham in 2019 — the only other time he’s managed that was back in 2015. His show jumping isn’t so clean as his cross country, and he has a mixed bag of results — this season alone he’s been clear, had two 4s, two 8s and a 12.

Harry is the son of eventing legend and triple Olympic gold medalist Richard Meade. Rising to the top early on, he was the National Pony Club eventing champion in 2000. As a young rider, he spent time with William Fox-Pitt, who gave him his first Burghley ride in Midnight Dazzler in 2005, where Harry was best of the first-timers and U25s. Midnight Dazzler went on to give Harry three Burghley completions. Also a seasoned Badminton campaigner, Harry was the youngest person to ever take home an Armada Dish in 2009 (awarded for five Badminton completions) — he now has two. After coming back from a horrific accident in 2013, in which he fractured and dislocated both elbows, Harry came third at Badminton in 2014, and got his senior call up for the World Championships that year, where he won team silver. A hugely popular rider, in the same year he was voted rider of the year by the Event Horse Owners Association, the Event Riders Association, The British Equestrian Writers Association and Horse & Hound.

A man with a number of strings to his bow, Harry has a degree in Art History as well as being a familiar voice in the commentary box and writing for Horse & Hound. Combining his two main loves, Harry proposed to his wife during a Badminton course walk. Also a hands-on family man (quite literally), Harry delivered his son when baby Charlie decided to come too quickly to get to the hospital. Harry’s two children have inherited the horse DNA from their dad and grandad and can regularly be seen hacking their ponies through their local village alongside Harry and Away Cruising.


Harry Meade and Cavalier Crystal (GBR)
Thirteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Jack of Diamonds – Cavalier Iris, by Cavalier Royale). Bred by Thomas Horgan. Owned by Charlotte Opperman. Groomed by Jessica Errington, Molly Parkin, and team.

Spoilt for choice, Harry had four entries on the Burghley list this year and had to choose three to start. He was in a similar position at Badminton in the spring, having three entries but limited to two starts. Cavalier Crystal didn’t make the cut that time around, so it’ll be interesting to see what Harry decides here. Should Cavalier Crystal be one of his three rides, the mare will be coming forward for her first CCI5*.

This season, the pair have had two top 5 results at 4*, adding only cross country time to their first phase score in the 4*-S at Thoresby Park and the 4*-L at Bramham. Significantly, in terms of Burghley prep, they were impressively quick ‘round the tough Bramham track, adding just 1.2 time penalties. It was 14.8 on a slow across the board cross country day at an extremely rain-soaked Thoresby in the spring, with only four horses going quicker than that — one being Harry’s Red Kite, who finished second there that day.

Cavalier Crystal has completed all nineteen of her FEI runs, and her cross country clear jumping record is impressively clear — there’s just one 20, in the 2* Young Horse Championships in Le Lyon d’Angers in 2017. Time penalties are more of a mixed bag — the mare can be quick, but sometimes Harry takes his time with her as she continues her eventing education with him, and we can probably assume that that would be his plan for her as she takes on her first 5* at Burghley. In the first phase, the mare shows much promise, hovering around the 30-mark a fair bit of the time. At her two 4* runs this season she’s posted a 31 and a 34.5; in her most recent run — the 3*-S at Alnwick, she went sub-30 with a 28.6. For the past two seasons, she’s been clear over the colored poles on the final day, so we really are looking at where she starts off in the first phase and how much time she adds cross country for where they end up.


Harry Meade and Tenareze (GBR)
Sixteen-year-old Anglo Arabian stallion (Jaguar Mail – Utpie Du Maury X, by Quatar de Plape X). Bred by M. Patrick Sisqueille and Castera Verduzan. Owned by David Bernstein, Sophie Caruth, and Nigella Hall. Groomed by Jessica Errington, Molly Parkin, and team.

The final Harry Meade entry is his bay stallion Tenareze, who burst onto the eventing scene with French rider Tom Carlisle in the irons, winning the Young Horse Championships at Le Lion d’Angers in 2013 and 2014, finishing on his dressage on both occasions. He’s been with Harry since 2015 and the combination have made three CCI5* starts together, finishing 24th at Pau last season, withdrawing after dressage at Badminton in the spring, and then having a fantastic fifth place finish at Luhmuhlen, where they finished on their dressage of 30.7.

Tenareze is quite capable of going sub-30 in the first phase – in fact, he’d put down a career-best of 26.9 at Badminton before Harry made the decision that the stallion wouldn’t enjoy the difficult ground conditions, particularly as he was drawn late in the order, and so opted out and rerouted to Luhmühlen – which proved to be a very good decision indeed. At Pau, they’d been sitting in 11th after the first phase with another sub-30 test of 29.3, but a 20 on cross country day dropped them down the order. It’s one of only six cross country jumping penalties on the horse’s record in 26 completions, and was Harry’s first 5* cross country jumping penalty in 13 years. Cross country is something that Harry’s had to work at with Tenareze, who can be a bit ‘ditchy’. To remedy this, Harry has deployed his traditional method of going hunting and team chasing. He also walked 1000 ditches a month with the horse, to build his confidence and prove to him that there were no trolls lurking in the depths. Let’s hope these are lessons well-remembered as they tackle the Burghley ditches.

Harry hasn’t always had his pedal to the metal when navigating cross country tracks with Tenareze, but as their Luhumuhlen result this year proves, on their day they can certainly beat the clock. Tenareze’s show jumping accuracy is truly impressive — from 28 rounds, he’s had jumping faults just five times, and nothing since May 2021. There’s surely another big finish for this pair at 5*, will they bring some of their Luhmuhlen luck to Burghley? Let’s hope so.


Harry Mutch and HD Bronze at the Roundhouse. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Harry Mutch and HD Bronze (GBR)
Seventeen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Limmerick – Northern Madera xx, by Toca Madera xx). Bred by Declan Phillips. Owned by Carole Mutch. Groomed by Erica Watson.

This weekend will mark a fourth start at 5* level for Harry and HD Bronze – or Fernando, as he is known at home – and their second start at Burghley. They were going well here last year, until their round was sadly cut short at the Cottesmore Leap, where they had an uncharacteristic fall. They were due to run at Badminton earlier this year, too, but withdrew at the eleventh hour due to a mystery niggle, which was enough for Harry to decide to save him for another day. Fair to say that he is glad he did; after a careful few weeks, his long term partner came back in fine form: a 13th place in the CCI-S3* at Belsay was followed by 8th place in the hotly contested CCI-L4* at Bramham, adding just a pole and 3.2 cross country time faults to their 30.2 first phase score.

They scored a 30.8 in the dressage here last year, and their dressage has dodged between mid to low thirties this season – even dipping into the 20’s at Burnham Market. But for Harry, the main priority has been fitness, to try to prevent any further niggles into the build up to this final big B of the season. As a result, Harry says he has never felt fitter, and like his stablemate Shanbeg Cooley, coped with the undulations of Bramham remarkably well, proving himself as more than well enough for another crack at Burghley.

Again like Shanbeg Cooley, he enjoyed a good run around the CCI4*-L Burgham, coming in just behind his younger counterpart in 10th place, despite a higher placing after dressage. This was due to a slower cross country and an annoying pole on the final day, highlighting these as areas he struggles with more than Harry’s other ride here this weekend. Still, it is with Fernando that Harry has enjoyed much of his successes thus far in his eventing career thus far, and the two have progressed through the levels together. His record on the final day is nothing to be sniffed at either – he is just as likely to jump clear as he is to have one or two down.

Harry has been working hard on this too, as his show jumping at the 2 5*’s he has completed – Badminton 2019 and the pop up Bicton in 2020 – have seen him add a few more faults on the final day than is customary for him – 16 at that first 5*, and 20 at Bicton. Harry also puts this down to fitness, and him perhaps not having quite enough left in the tank on that final day, so he is again hopeful that the added level of fitness he has this year will stand him in good stead going into that final phase.

For Harry, it is enough to have his long term partner back at this level after the disappointment of Badminton in the Spring. As such, just to complete, with a good test, clear cross country round, and an improvement on the final day would be enough, so here’s hoping all that extra work pays off and Harry gets the result that he and Fernando so deserve in this, the twilight of the horse’s long and successful career.


Harry Mutch and Shanbeg Cooley. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Harry Mutch and Shanbeg Cooley (GBR)
Nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (OBOS Quality 004 – Graf After Eight, by unknown). Bred by Lindsay Graham. Owned by Carole Mutch. Groomed by Erica Watson.

‘It may be a year too early, but when he ran so well at Bramham, we thought we might as well take him to Burghley and see what happens.’ Such is the pragmatic approach of Harry’s to the 5* debut of nine year old ‘Jager’ (yes, as in the night ending drink). He describes him as a ‘freak’ – in the best possible way – who could well have been a pure show jumper in another life. This is verified by his show jumping record: over the course of his entire eventing career he has had but five poles down, and only one of those was this season. However, this talent comes with its pitfalls, and Harry would be the first to admit that the athleticism that allows him to jump so well also makes it hard for him to collect enough to gain the top marks in the first phase. That, and the fact that he is a bit of a hot head, who struggles to keep a lid on it at times.

Indeed, Harry has struggled to contain him in the build up to Burghley, saying that he is fitter than he has ever been, and as such, more of a handful than usual; ‘I had a dressage lesson on Sunday [before Burghley week] and I could barely ride through the test he is so fresh!’ However, he will need all of that energy to navigate the infamous Burghley hills, especially since his preference is to run fast. Harry is keen not to interfere with this, despite Jaeger’s inexperience. ‘I let him do it his way, and then try to pick my way into his brain. He is so self aware, he wouldn’t jump himself into trouble. He is arrogant, yes, but it is a nice arrogance, that you can work with,’ says Harry, with a maturity far beyond his years.

Another alumni of the Wesko Equestrian Foundation, this wise approach could be contributed in part to the mentorship of Pippa Funnell, who Harry actually spent a lot of time with last year in the build up to Burghley. Such a foundation has provided Harry with one of his best seasons to date, especially with this horse, the first of his two rides here this weekend. 3rd in he CCI-S4* at Thoresby back in March, Jaeger has pulled a double clear out of the bag at 3 of his 5 international runs this season, with the latest of those earning him 5th place in the highly competitive CCI-S4* at Burgham last month.

This will surely stand him in good stead heading into his first 5* – to have placed within the top 20 in the notoriously tough Bramham CCI-L4* is impressive enough, and as Harry says, plenty enough of a test of a horse’s readiness to step up to the next level. Although his dressage, which does tend towards the top end of the 30’s, will inevitably leave him reasonably far down the leaderboard, if Shanbeg Cooley puts in his usual brave and fast cross country round, and follows it up with the careful jumping round that is so typical of him on the final day, who’s to say how far he could climb up the placings. A top 20 finish on his 5* debut would certainly be beyond Harry’s expectations of him, but as we all know with eventing, the unexpected can happen… so watch this space!


Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance (GBR)
Twelve-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Puissance – Cruising Jewel, by Cruising). Bred by Michael Byrne. Owned by Kathleen Wilkinson and Rachel Wood. Groomed by Sarah Murray and Gemma Stewart.

This is the first visit to Burghley for Arklow Puissance – Mr P to his friends. He had his 5* debut at Badminton where, despite sitting a tad further up the leaderboard than his stablemate Oughterard Cooley, after the first phase, they were ultimately eliminated cross country. Still, they have bounced back from that untimely end with a 3rd in the Open Intermediate at Alnwick Ford and a top 20 finish in the CCI-S4* at Burgham last month. His record is littered with double clears – though he is not immune to a pole or two on the final day – and his cross country clear rate is almost as impressive of Oughterard Cooley, who also happens to be a close relation of his (they share the same Sire, Puissance, and Damsire, Cruising). Let’s hope his pal has been giving him a few tips ahead of their trip South this weekend!

Wills was a member of the Gold Medal Winning Young Rider Team back at Blair Castle in 2011, and also rode there as an Individual as part of the Senior European Team too. So it is safe to say that he has bags of experience under his belt. He cut his teeth at the legendary Ian Stark’s yard, before setting up on his own in Perthshire, where he has remained ever since. He took over the reins on Mr P in 2022 – Oliver Townend campaigned him before that, producing him up the ranks to 4* level.

Their partnership has proved to be rather a successful one from the off – they achieved top 20 placings at both Barbury and Burgham CCI-S4* last year, and rounded that first season together off nicely with a 16th place in the CCI-L4* at Blenheim. This year started off reasonably well too – once the Great British weather actually broke for them to have a run – and they enjoyed a very steady trip around Thoresby and Burnham Market CCI-S4* before they took on Badminton. Their dressage marks have shown sporadic improvements across the course of their partnership, though they have yet to produce consistently good marks in this phase. Despite dipping into the low 30’s on several occasions, they tend more towards the mid 30s in this phase. So they will be relying on a good spin across the Burghley hills to bring them up the leaderboard ahead of the final day, when Mr P is arguably just as capable – if not more so – of leaving all of those pesky coloured poles in the right place as his traveling partner Oughterard Cooley.

Indeed, it could be very interesting indeed to see where they both end up, if Arklow Puissance manages to put Badminton behind him and come home safely here. If he does then there is nothing to stop him sitting comfortably within the top 20 at the final reckoning, maybe even giving his kind-of-half sibling/cousin a run for his money. One thing is for sure though; Wills – who is indubitably a rising star in his own right – has found himself another exciting prospect in this horse, and here’s hoping that this weekend provides another step on their way to a very successful future together.


Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley (GBR)
Thirteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Puissance – Oughterard Sky Cruise, by Cruising). Bred by Gerard Lynch. Owned by Liz Magennis and Debbie Whalley. Groomed by Sarah Murray and Gemma Stewart.

Perthshire-based Wills may be softly spoken, but his riding talents speak for themselves, as was evidenced at Badminton this spring where he headed out as pathfinder – a daunting task on any occasion, but particularly so in this case, so dire were the conditions. Still, on a day that would prove incredibly trying for even the most experienced of competitors, Wills rode an incredibly skillful and admirable round, bringing his horse home safely and willingly, proving what an incredible horseman he is in the process.

They finished up 12th, one better than their 13th placing at Burghley last year – which was itself an impressive result but even more so given that it was also Oughterard Cooley’s first run at the level. He scored a PB in the dressage on that occasion, laying down a 32.4, though he tends to hover more around the mid 30 mark, scoring a respectable 34.6 at Badminton to leave them in 50th place after the first phase. But the fact that they managed to finish within the top 20, despite this inauspicious start to their competition shows just how phenomenal ‘Rich’ can be across country.

Though he often comes home with a few time faults, cross country jumping faults are rare for him – bar a blip at Barbury last year, where they retired cross country, you would have to go back as far March 2019 to find another fault. Similarly impressive is their show jumping record – they had 3 down here on the final day last year, but that is not typical of this horse, who is just as capable of leaving them fences standing as he is of coming home clear cross country. This was certainly the case at Burgham CCI4*-S month, where their steady double clear left them in sixth place – the perfect prep run for Burghley Round II.

Sixth in the CCI4*-L at Ballindenisk last year, Rich is nothing if not consistent, and almost certain to climb well up the leaderboard again here this weekend, where cross country prowess is needed more than anything else. Having already had one trip around the course leaves them in good stead, as does their success in especially heinous conditions at Badminton.

Drawn third on the start list, Wills and Rich, a horse he has taken up the levels himself, are undoubtedly hoping to finish within the top 20 again this weekend, and perhaps if they whip another PB out of the bag in the first phase they could even break into the top 10. A talented combination, and certainly worth keeping your eye on, not just this weekend, but for years to come too.


Michael Owen and Bradeley Law. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Michael Owen and Bradeley Law (GBR)
Nineteen-year-old British Sport Horse gelding (Mill Law – Scarlet Lady). Bred by Jane Jennings. Owned by The Jenning’s Syndicate. Groomed by Cora Higgs.

I’ve been a member of the Bradeley Law fan club since before it existed and I just love that this horse really captures the heart of the viewing public. If I had to choose one to be sat on in the start box at Burghley, this seasoned campaigner would for sure be the one. At nineteen, Bradeley Law will be retiring after Burghley, and I will surely miss seeing his lovely white blaze at the horse inspection – he’s been such a stalwart CCI5* campaigner that he’s almost synonymous with the two British 5* offerings.

Before that though, we get to enjoy him at this year’s Burghley, for what will be his fourth attempt, and hopefully a chance to rectify a disappointing conclusion to their 2022 competition when he was withdrawn before the final horse inspection, after jumping a brilliant clear round the cross country, just adding 16.4 time penalties. He was withdrawn in his two outings prior to that — at Blair Castle from the 4*-S after dressage, and at the pop-up 5* at Bicton in 2021, where he activated a frangible device and picked up 11 cross country penalties, finishing clear jumping but opting out of the show jumping. In his last seven actual runs, they are the only cross country jumping penalties he’s picked up, and aside from a 20 at Burghley in 2019 and another in his prep run for that event at Burgham, you have to go as far back as 2013 to find any cross county jumping penalties on his scorecard — not including Badminton 2016 and Chatsworth 2014, where Michael took a tumble on each occasion. Here’s hoping that this lovely gelding has the clear jumping he deserves on the cross country at Burghley this year. He won’t be the quickest in the field — although he’ll be far from the slowest — but he will gallop round with a huge smile on his face as he relishes every minute. In fact, he loves his job so much that after Michael came unstuck at Badminton in 2016, the game fellow jumped three fences on his way back to the stables! His career-best 5* finish came at Burghley in 2018, when he was 15th.

He was 16th in his latest outing at Alnwick in the 4*-S in July, where he posted a dressage score of 34.6 and added 13.6 cross country time. He’s also finished 12th this season in the 4*-S at Aston Le Walls, starting with 32.1 and adding 12 time on the cross country and 0.8 in the show jumping. Those dressage scores really prove that Bradeley Law has made steady progress in the first phase. At Badminton in 2018 he posted 47.3 on the first day, and had a run of marks between 40 and 56.5 throughout that season and the next. Then, in his final run of 2019, at Burghley, he went sub-40, putting down a 38.5 and finishing top 20 overall. Since then, apart from one blip, his marks have dropped pretty consistently at 4*; at 5* we’re realistically still looking at high 30s perhaps — at Burghley last year he posted a 38.6, although at Bicton 5* in 2021 he scored 36.8. Prior to this season, you would have said that he was likely to have at least one pole, maybe two, in the final phase, however, he’s jumped clear in both his 2023 runs, so I’ll say no more in fear of jinxing it and have my fingers crossed that his recent form continues.

Michael’s piloted Bradeley Law since 2013, when he took the reins from Mary Lofthouse at the 3* level, but it was a much greener ride that got Michael’s eventing career underway. Aged 17, he bought a five-year-old called Perks of the Job, who he produced through the levels to their 5* debut at Burghley when the gelding was just a nine-year-old and Michael was 21. They went on to compete at Badminton two years later. Not content with one equestrian discipline, in 2010 Michael jockeyed a winner in his debut race. Out of the saddle, he unwinds from all the adrenaline of equestrianism with a round of golf.


Holly Richardson and Bally Louis. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Holly Richardson and Bally Louis (GBR)
Thirteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (breeding unknown). Owned by Julie and Andrew Wingfield. Groomed by Holly Richardson.

This will be a 5* debut for both Holly and Bally Louis, who will be making the trip down from ‘Oop North’ (or North Yorkshire, to be more precise), to tackle their first Burghley with a relatively small support team. Although Louis’ owners will be there to lend a helping hand, Holly will be doing the lion’s share of the work herself – riding and grooming. With a degree in Biomedical Sciences from Durham University and a PhD in Equine Research from Hartpury University, it seems that there is nothing that Holly can’t do.

The same could be said of her ride here this weekend. Initially campaigned by Sarah Wingfield – his owners’ daughter – Holly took over the reins in 2019, taking him all the way up the levels from Novice to this, their first 5*. ‘I have never come across anything that has phased him yet – he just keeps saying yes,’ she says, proudly – although he will turn his nose up at a Polo mint, and can sometimes prove difficult to catch, especially in the dark, on the morning of an event. A small price to pay in return for a brave, bold cross country machine. Any faults on their record are ‘usually my fault,’ Holly says, self-deprecatingly, though she mustn’t be too shabby a jockey given that she is the one that has got him to the brink of his first 5.

Louis does, however, struggle in the first phase, with a tendency to worry and try too hard, consequently become tense, as Holly explains ‘He is always wanting to please, so he can boil up a bit as a result, but we have been trying different things to get him to relax and enjoy this phase a little more, though the crowds at Burghley could be interesting…!’ As a result, his first phase score ranges from mid to high 30’s, although this year has seen some improvement, and has edged towards the lower end of the 30’s on several occasions, so fingers crossed they managed to incline that way this weekend, too.

Louis’ boldness across country will certainly stand him in good stead when faced with the notorious challenge presented not only by the obstacles at Burghley, but the terrain as well, though it can sometimes get him into trouble on the final day. Although more than capable of a clear show jumping, sometimes his natural desire to run on can see the poles topple – although they finished comfortably within the top 25 at this year’s Bramham CCI-L4*, they arguably could have been much higher, had it not been for the three coloured poles that fell on the final day.

However, as Holly says, the main aim this weekend, for their first run at this level, will be to complete, and enjoy the experience as much as possible, absorbing it all and learning yet more together along the way. A truly gutsy partnership, these two may not trouble those at the top of leaderboard, but it will still be a joy to watch them give it their all, providing the heart-warming underdog story that makes our sport so worthwhile. Just make sure it’s carrots you provide for their return, not the mints with holes in them…


Tom Rowland and Possible Mission. Photo by Libby Law.

Tom Rowland and Possible Mission (GBR)
Sixteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Temple Clover – Bahrain Supreme, by Ricardo Z). Bred by Richard Barron Jr. Owned by Robin and Bunny Patrick.

Sweet, aptly-named ‘Hunter’ was actually intended to be exactly that: he was purchased from an Irish hunting yard at the age of five, and came with two years’ worth of experience jumping the country’s colossal drains, banks, and gates. That solid fearlessness has carried him through his eventing career in fine style, and though he’s not the most naturally swift horse in the world, he’s incredibly reliable.

He and Tom tackled their first five-star here in 2018, finishing a very creditable 27th after a slow clear, and then qualified for a run at Badminton the next year, jumping another clear for 36th place. 2020 was a washout for Hunter, as it was for many horses, and in 2021, the pair returned to international competition looking at their very best, particularly at Houghton Hall’s CCIO4*-S, where they were swift and classy to finish seventh in very good company. Last year, they delivered another clear at Badminton, though with an activated safety device, and though they were shocked with their totally uncharacteristic horse fall at Burghley at the end of the season, they returned for Badminton this year none the worse for wear. They picked up their best-ever five-star result – an exceptional 19th place – in a renewal that’ll go down in history for being one of the toughest ever. They’ll aim to do much as they did there and start their week with a sub-30 score – it was a 29.9 at Badminton, a personal best at any level – and then they’ll be hoping for a similarly challenging Saturday to help them keep on climbing.


James Rushbrooke and Milchem Eclipse. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

James Rushbrooke and Milchem Eclipse (GBR)
Eleven-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (breeding unknown). Owned by the rider.

It’s to be a Burghley debut for James and “slightly weird” Milchem Eclipse, who’ve got two Badmintons under their belts, with clears at both of them. That includes this year’s extraordinarily tough edition, and the confidence that comes from knowing your horse can cope with such tricky conditions is enormous when faced with the prospect of big, bold, terrifying Burghley. If anything, the pair thrive when the going gets really tough; last year, they were 43rd on their Badminton debut with their smart clear; this year, they finished seventeenth after continuing to dig deep when it all seemed rather close to impossible.

A likely cause for their endless well of grit? A lot of time on the hunting field. James is a MFH for the Badsworth and Bramham Moor Hunt, and Milchem Eclipse has benefited from learning about footwork and terrain in the old-fashioned way. That shines through in the way that they tackle huge, solid fences, and in the partnership that they enjoy with one another. Their mid-to-high 30s dressage won’t have them in the reckoning during the week, but a bit like Jonelle Price and Classic Moet used to, they’ll be quietly hoping for a really serious course and a bit of bad weather to help their trajectory up the leaderboard.


Richard Skelt and long-time partner Credo III. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Richard Skelt and Credo III (GBR)
Sixteen-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (VDL Tenerife – Tandora, by Marlon). Bred by D. Hindley and P.M. Ruck. Owned by the rider.

Richard, who doesn’t come from a horsey background, cut his teeth working for the formidable Marietta Fox-Pitt, which means he’s got to be tough as nails now. (We can write this with some confidence – your British EN reporter also worked for Marietta, who once made her cross-country school in a field of cows and their calves. “JUST JUMP THE FENCE, THE COW WILL MOVE,” she bellowed. A Marietta favourite? “I don’t know why you fell off – no one ever got hurt staying on the horse.”)

‘Pedro’, who was originally produced by Angus Smales, was a naughty youngster who still struggles in an arena – he averages a mid-to-high 30s mark, and delivered a 35.7 here last year. The pair have jumped steady clears around Bramham CCI4*-L, Camphire CCI4*-L, and Bicton CCI4*-S in previous years but they’ve also picked up horse falls on their debut here in 2019 and at Bicton CCI5* in 2020. Their other two five-star starts, at Burghley last year and then at Pau for a reroute, saw them retire and pick up a dangerous riding elimination, respectively, so this is really a re-consolidation week, particularly as they’ve got one completion among their past five consecutive FEI runs, going a full year back. They’ll take a long route or two and aim to get home with more experience in the bank. And on Sunday? They’ll likely pull two or three rails, though they’ve gone as high as seven at Burgham CCI4*-S in 2018.


Emma Thomas and Icarus X. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Emma Thomas and Icarus X (GBR)
Ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Otangelo – Ewivonne, by Lucky Boy). Bred by H.G.A.M. Ten Doeschate. Owned by Rebecca Velarde. Groomed by Harriet Collins.

2023 has been a year of big changes for Emma and Icarus. “Stix” is well-known for being a very difficult ride, particularly on the flat. But after working with Pippa Funnell, made possible by the Wesko Equestrian Foundation, Stix has made big strides. “It’s been amazing,” says Emma. “The first time I took him to her, [Pippa] actually sat on him because he was so difficult. The thing is, he really wants to do it. But the minute you add pressure into the equation, he just internalizes all of his tension. But she’s really helped me just change my entire philosophy towards flat work, and just really feel and understand the horse and what might be going through his head, which has been amazing.”

Previously, it was a struggle for Emma and Stix to make it into the top fifteen. But not this season– so far this year, Stix came in fourth at the Chatsworth CCI4*-S and came in sixth in the Under 25 CCI4*-L at Bramham. Burghley will be a big test for the new system Emma devised with Pippa. It’ll be Stix’s first time at the venue, plus the event draws in stiff competition from some of the world’s top riders.

If Stix continues with his new “reformed bad boy” attitude, this pair could end up in the top fifteen. While they haven’t broken that coveted sub-30 dressage score, it’s rare that the pair has any cross country penalties besides time. They came so close to a double clear in the show jumping phase at Burnham Market, coming in a mere 0.4 seconds off the time, that it’s possible Emma and Stix could have their first show jumping double clear at Burghley.


Zara Tindall and Class Affair (GBR)
Fourteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Obos Quality – Ruby’s Rosshaven Flight, by Laughtons Flight). Bred by Maurice O’Brien. Owned by Gleadhill House Stud.

Niece to the King of England. CCI5* eventer. Olympian. If you don’t know who Zara Tindall is, you probably don’t live in Great Britain or ride horses (why are you reading this form guide, then?). Among equestrians, Zara is probably better known for her eventing career than she is for her status as a member of British Royalty, particularly if you read Horse & Hound on a regular basis. Some of the highlights of her career include winning the 2006 Eventing World Championships at Aachen and winning a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics.

Class Affair has been her longtime eventing partner; she got the ride on the Irish Sport Horse gelding in 2017 after he was introduced to the FEI level by Maria Byrne. After a 2022 season filled with highs and lows, including coming in fifth at the CCI4*-S at Barbury Castle after being eliminated from the CCI4*-L at Bramham, 2023 is quite possibly Class Affair’s best season yet at this level.

So far, Class Affair has had only a single rail for the entire season and no obstacle faults on cross country. In three out of four competitions, the chestnut gelding was in the top ten. In the fourth event, the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event, he came in outside of the top ten, in fifteenth place. If Zara and Class Affair can maintain their good record for the Defender Burghley Horse Trials, expect a low-30s dressage score, double clear show jumping round, and only a handful of time faults on cross country for this royal pair.


Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class (GBR)
Sixteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Courage II – Kilderry Place, by unknown). Bred by Noel Hickey. Owned by Karyn Schuter, Angela Hislop, and Val Ryan.

It’s almost impossible to overlook this pair, who might well be the most consistent five-star competitors in the world: they’ve completed eight so far, winning two of them and never coming lower than fifth place. One of those wins was Burghley on the horse’s debut as a ten-year-old; the other was Kentucky in 2021. ‘Thomas’ also gave Oliver his long-awaited Olympic call-up, where they won team gold and finished fifth individually, and they went to Pratoni for the World Championships last year, though their shock four rails on the final day pushed them down to an uncharacteristic 16th place there and precluded another team gold, too.

With that behind them, though, it all bodes rather well for the tough-as-nails Yorkshireman and the rangy Irish gelding — one of four entries here, from which he’ll pick three — who shares a sire with similarly quirky superstars Ringwood Sky Boy, the Duke of Cavan, and Cooley Rorkes Drift. A couple of outlier scores earlier in the horse’s career drive up his first-phase average, but you can realistically expect a 25 or lower – he’s scored a 20.8 and 21.1 at Badminton before, and though he’s not been quite as low since, he will fight hard for a top five placing in the first phase here.

He’s fast and as accurate as they come across the country, but it’s showjumping that can be the heartbreaker for this pair: they’ve only ever jumped clear on the final day in three long-format events, though one of those was a very convincing round at Kentucky when winning it. A rail at Tokyo cost them individual gold, and they missed out on the win at Badminton in 2019 because they added a stride — and lost a couple of valuable seconds — in a line and handed the win to Piggy by less than the value of a single second.

Though he’s one of the world’s best horses, Ballaghmor Class wasn’t always an easy ride. “He’s always been very sharp and he’s had us all on the floor at home,” said Oliver after that first Burghley win. “He had a girl off going up the gallops just two weeks ago and he’s gone through arena mirrors and out of the school through the fence in the past. But I’ve always liked him and we’ve probably got a stronger relationship as a result.”


Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs (GBR)
Fifteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Chillout – Kilila, by Cult Hero xx). Bred by Maria Keating. Owned by Paul and Diana Ridgeon.

Oliver Townend’s direct reserve for Pratoni, Swallow Springs, is also one of the clear frontrunners in this field, despite only joining Oliver’s string late in 2021 after the retirement of Andrew Nicholson – and despite a few notable moments since. He made his five-star debut here with Andrew aboard back in 2018, finishing third, and followed it up with fifth at Badminton the next spring. He was also second at Bramham CCI4*-L in 2018 – despite being chased by a dog in his show jumping round – and won Barbury CCI4*-S twice. With Oliver aboard, he was tenth at Blenheim CCI4*-L – their first FEI event together – and won Burnham Market and Burgham CCI4*-S last year. His third place finish at Badminton that spring was impressive, but not without its dramas: the pair had a wobble early on in the course at the final element of the Quarry, and were subsequently held for over half an hour, restarted, and then eliminated retrospectively for what appeared to be a contravention of the flag rule.

Ultimately, actually, it turned out that they’d been mistakenly eliminated for a horse fall, which was removed once contested, but that flag footage was a stark reminder that the specifics of that particular bit of the rule book are a little bit of a grey area even now. They then fell on cross-country at Burghley last year, and returned for Badminton this year where they weren’t allowed to continue on cross-country after a hold, which came after some scary moments on course. The FEI has this recorded as a dangerous riding elimination, which is worth mentioning if only because it puts to bed some of the conversation surrounding why the pair didn’t continue – a decision that was originally presented in interviews as the rider’s. They redeemed themselves on their reroute to Luhmühlen, finishing seventh despite an uncharacteristic first-phase result, which saw them score in the 30s.

Despite that, though, this is a very, very good horse who’s been produced to attack the toughest courses in a clever, economical way. He’s arguably one of the fastest horses in this field. His first-phase scores are impressive, too, generally hovering in the mid 20s but dipping well below them, too, and he’s a good show jumper, though prone to a rail in a long-format. He’ll certainly make a bid.


Oliver Townend and Tregilder. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Oliver Townend and Tregilder (GBR)
Thirteen-year-old British Sport Horse gelding (Royal Concorde – Trewins xx, by Hand in Glove xx). Bred by Preci Spark LTD. Owned by the Hazeldines and Mitchell Fox Group.

This year’s Burgham CCI4*-S champion is bringing confidence to the field as Oliver’s “Mr. Consistent”. The gelding hasn’t scored outside the top ten since his 5* debut at Bicton in 2021, and Oliver has big hopes for him. The pair especially have something to prove this time around di Grazia’s grueling course after taking a fall at last year’s Burghley just one fence before the finish. “It’s the sad bit of the sport – he didn’t feel like he did anything wrong all the way round. He was very genuine,” said Oliver. “The good thing is we know we have a Burghley horse.

“Gizmo”, as he’s known in the barn, has had very few cross country jump faults on his record, but a difficult show jumping course might just see a characteristic rail or two down – understandable given his size. “He’s a horse who has taken a long, long time to mature – he’s about 18hh – and he felt very good in all three phases here and I was very proud of him,” Oliver said of the gelding’s Burgham win. “A nice British-bred winner of a big class, and he’s getting better and better still as he gets stronger.”

Aside from this, our chances of a top finish for Gizmo are pretty high — Equiratings’ predictions have him tied for second for the win. Oliver and Tregilder have put in some wicked fast times within the last few years, so he’s definitely one to watch this weekend!


Francis Whittington and DHI Purple Rain (GBR)
Thirteen-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Arthos R – Wynona VWG’S, by Niveau). Bred by D. Gjaltema. Owned by Ro Audley and Amy, Andy, and Belinda Drummond.

‘Prince’ (in our opinion, the most appropriate stable name in eventing) has been produced by Francis from a five-year-old and is distinctive in his flashy, extravagant action — for sure watch out for him at the horse inspection. He’s a rangy horse who’s striking to look at, but sometimes lets his anxious nature get the better of him.

He stepped up to the CCI5* level at the pop-up event at Bicton in 2021, finishing 14th after posting 34.4 in the dressage, jumping clear cross country with 15.2 time, then dropping four poles in the show jumping as well as being slightly over the time — had it not been for the penalties added on the final day, he would have been top 10. Historically, he has found the final phase challenging — which Francis puts down to his anxiety — but his scores have been improving: at the beginning of the 2022 season he had 24 show jumping penalties in the 4*-S at Thoresby Park, prior to that he was a two, three, four — maybe more — kind of horse; but in his six runs since then, the most he’s dropped is two, and there are three clears on his record.

His dressage scores are also a reflection of his character, rather than his obvious talent. At 4 and 5* they range from 30.3 to 41. He was at the top end of that at Badminton in the spring, where Francis had to use all of his experience to hold everything together when Prince got really rather hot in the Main Arena atmosphere. At his last run, at Hartpury a couple of weeks ago, he matched his Badminton score of 41 in the first phase. His cross country jumping record is notably clean though — from 25 FEI starts, he’s been retired on course twice (once due to a tack malfunction) and had one 20. He was particularly impressive at Badminton this year, on a day where many horses found the ground incredibly difficult, Prince ate it up and seemed to thrive in the demanding conditions. He’s not the quickest, likely because of his extravagant action, but, excluding Badminton when time went out the window for just about everyone, he has been improving in his most recent runs, picking up just 8 time faults as his two other runs this season. This will be Prince’s second Burghley attempt; they posted 34.1 in the first phase last year, but activated a frangible device on the cross country after the horse appeared to tire all of a sudden, and Francis made the sensible call to pull up and walk home.

Francis began riding at his mom’s riding school and progressed through the levels, winning team silver and individual gold at the Pony European Championships when he was 16; four years later he was second in the British Young Rider Championships. Although determined to become a professional rider, Francis worked in equine dentistry whilst he established his eventing career. He completed his first 5* at Burghley in 2001. In 2008 and 2012, he was reserve for the British Olympic team and was British Champion in 2014.

When he’s not eventing, you’ll find Francis spending time with his wife, Sam, and two children, who are both keen Pony Clubbers with competition diaries of their own. He spends his downtime enjoying a bit of peace and quiet whilst reading or sleeping (but apparently not listening to Prince’s back catalog).


Christopher Whittle and Skip Mill. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Christopher Whittle and Skip Mill (GBR)
Fifteen-year-old Irish Draught Horse gelding (breeding unknown). Owned by Andrew Dixon. Groomed by Bella Whittle.

We have a pair of CCI5* debutants in Christopher Whittle and Skip Mill, and what a 5* to pick for your first time. They’ve had a bit of a rocky road to get to this point — Christopher and the gelding both underwent surgery last year — but with a number of 4* cross country jumping clears under their girth, including round the tough Bramham track this season, and with ‘Mills’ having been with Christopher since he was a three-year-old, they’ve got the mileage and the relationship to tackle the highest level of the sport.

Their scores in the first phase typically range from mid-30s to low-40s, but their cross country jumping record shows that this is a horse who loves jumping. In fact, he was sent to Christopher to be backed as his owner’s hunter, but Christopher couldn’t let him go. He describes Mills as “a wonderful, kind horse with the most incredible jump”. He knew the potential was there, but felt that they needed a bit of a boost when it came to producing him as an eventer, so engaged the help of Chris Bartle.

Mills has completed in all but five of his 24 FEI runs, and, aside from Christopher being unseated in the 4*-L at Bramham last season, and having a 20 in his latest run in the 4*-S at Hartpury (after which Christopher put his hand up), you have to go back to a 2* in 2017 to find any cross country jumping penalties on his record (barring a flag in 2019 and a frangible device in 2017). He won’t be the fastest in the field, and given it’s a first time at the level for the pair of them, Christopher is unlikely to put his foot down. He’s jumped clear in the final phase in all three of his runs this season, so let’s hope that form continues in the Main Arena at Burghley.

Christopher’s wife will be looking after Mills at Burghley. She’s a full time equine vet nurse through the week and groom at weekends. When they’re not busy with horses, they love to spend time at the beach.



Padraig McCarthy and HHS Noble Call. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Padraig Mccarthy and HHS Noble Call (IRL)
Twelve-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Fortunus – Noblina, by Cavalier Royale). Bred by Anne Hughes. Owned by Alan and James Chaffe. Groomed by Jessica Elliot.

Heading in to their fourth 5* together, Padraig Mccarthy and HHS Noble Call have had a quick move up to the top, with their first 5* attempt at Bicton in 2021 during “Ben’s” fourth season eventing.

Originally bred by Irish Olympic show jumper Marion Hughes, Ben has proven to be quite strong in the cross country phase, but has experienced some tension in the dressage and show jumping that takes some management.

In considering their record, Padraig and Ben have consistently scored in the mid-upper 30s, occasionally bumping into the 40s in dressage, and could be expected to pick up a handful of cross country time, or a few rails in the show jumping. However, their typically clear jumping efforts across the country has helped them see a top ten finish at Bicton in 2021, and a top 20 finish at Burghley last year. Keep an eye on this pair to see how they tackle the course!


Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue (IRL)
Fourteen-year-old British Sport Horse gelding (Jaguar Mail – Rock Me Baby, by Rock King). Bred by Mellon Stud. Owned by The Salty Syndicate and the rider. Groomed by Francesca Denning.

Surprisingly enough, this will be the first time that fourteen year old ‘Salty’ has traversed the hills of the Stamford countryside. It is easy to assume, given his top ten finishes at Badminton last year and earlier this year (8th and 3rd respectively), that he is something of a 5* expert, when in actual fact, the opposite is true. Indeed, Badminton 2022 was only his second crack at the level, and his first completion to boot – despite a fast and clear cross country, they were spun at the final horse inspection on their debut at Pau, back in 2020 – which makes his 8th place finish even more remarkable. To then better that result by another 5 places on their second visit there in May, is proof of just what an amazing combination this is – and certainly one worth keeping a close eye on at Burghley this year.

Theirs was the fastest round of the day at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, where they were called upon to take the place of Cathal Daniels and Rioghuan Rua at the 11th hour. They ended up in 13th place – the best of the Irish – due in no small part to that fast and clear spin across the country for which this striking grey gelding has become increasingly renowned. Arguably, their fantastic finish in Tokyo earned them their place on last year’s World Championship team, which they more than validated by once again bringing home the best Irish result, with yep, you guessed it, another fast and clear cross country round, adding just a few time to their first phases score of 32.2. Sadly, 2 rails on the final day cost them a few places and they ended up in 18th but need we remind ourselves of just how much that show jumping track messed with the leader board that day (a certain German springs to mind)? Surely two top 20 results in as many Championship starts is an indicator of just how much more there is to come from this pair.

Austin has produced Salty from the word go, and describes him as ‘quite a laid back character, with a great heart.’ He and the jauntily named ‘Salty Syndicate’ own him, having bought him from Kate Jarvey, his breeder, as a 5 year old. His dressage is not always his strongest suit – his is usually a low to mid 30s mark, and thus he is unlikely to feature within the top ten after the first phase. Still, having bettered their previous Badminton score of 35.9 by 4 whole marks this year, they could easily produce an even better score here which, combined with their much celebrated prowess in the jumping phases, will make them a seriously formidable combination. In fact, even without an outstanding first phase score, it would be worth putting money on a top ten finish for Austin and Salty. They were 34th after dressage at Badminton back in May, and still finished on the podium – the first Irish rider to have done so since Jessica Harrington back in 1983 I might add – so who’s to say they won’t finish even better here at Burghley?


Photo by Shelby Allen.

Sam Watson and SAP Talisman (IRL)
Twelve-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Puissance – Ali Row, by All Royal). Bred by Rosemary Ponsonby. Owned by Hannah and Julia Watson. Groomed by Hannah ‘Sparkles’ Watson.

One-half of the brains behind statistics powerhouse EquiRatings, this September sees Sam Watson make his return to Burghley after quite the hiatus. The last time he rode here was back in 2012, when he finished in 30th place aboard Horseware Bushman. His mount this weekend will be SAP Talisman – formerly campaigned as Ballybolger Talisman – who will be making his 5* debut. ‘Podge’ – so called because he is, according to Sam ‘a very good eater(!)’ – was the pathfinder for the Irish Team at the European Championships in Avenches in 2021. He filled that spot again at the World Championships in Pratoni last year, where Ireland finished agonizingly close to the podium in 5th place.

Sam and Podge did a sterling job on both occasions, coming home fast and clear cross country, providing their fellow team members with vital information about the course, whilst also proving it to be a feasible challenge. Sadly, their performance on the final day let them down somewhat on both occasions – in Pratoni they dropped down the leaderboard after adding 24 jumping and 1.2 time faults to their score on the final day, doubling the 12 faults they incurred in this phase the year before, in Avenches.

Sam, who was part of the Silver medal winning Irish team at the World Championships in Tyron back in 2018 would be the first to admit that the first and last phase are something that Podge struggles with. ‘He’s a very blood horse and the dressage has been tricky and the show jumping also a challenge – so we’ve been patient and worked hard behind the scenes to help those phases.’

If their hard work does pay off – let’s keep all available limbs crossed that it does – and they do manage to lower their first phase score and keep a few more coloured poles in the cups on the final day, then there will be nothing to stop Sam and Podge finishing within the top 25, given their cross country prowess.

Sam thinks a great deal of SAP Talisman, confident that he is capable of a very good result this weekend, despite his relative inexperience at the level: ‘If we do what we’ve been doing training these past few months it will be a success. I couldn’t be happier with how things are going with him and I look forward to the opportunity to show the Burghley crowd what this little horse can do.’

With a dedicated and analytical approach to all aspects of his training in which he leaves no stone unturned to ensure his weaknesses become strengths, Sam is similarly deserving of a good result as his mount, further confirming his place as valuable weapon in the ever-strengthening Irish weaponry ahead of next year’s Olympics. Watch this space!



Aistis Vitkauskas and Commander VG. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Aistis Vitkauskas and Commander VG (LTU)
Twelve-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Viegaard’s Come Back II – Nione Fortuna, by Abantos NRA STB 83 4). Bred and owned by Mogens and Birgitte Kloeve-Mogensen. Groomed by Helene Stenshoj Vitkauskas.

With six previous CCI5* starts under their belts, Aistis and Commander VG are certainly not new to the level. This will, however, be the first Burghley run for the pair, whose best finish thus far at five-star was just outside the top 10 at the 2021 edition of Luhmuhlen. To add even more depth to their resume, they’ve also competed at the 2022 World Championships and in 2021 finished 25th in the European Championships in Avanches.

This will be their third five-star start of 2023. In April, they finished 26th at Badminton, then retired on cross country after acquiring 20 penalties at Luhmuhlen. Their most recent international start was in the CCI4* at Maarsbergen in the Netherlands at the end of June, where they finished in 4th place.

While it’s unlikely that you’ll find this pair near the top of the leaderboard after dressage – their scores tend to hover in the high 30’s to mid 40’s – they have a whole lot of clear XC rounds on their record. They’ve had a couple pins here and there at the four-star and five-star level, but are certainly more than capable of a fast clear cross country round.

When he’s not running around some of the biggest tracks in the world, Aistis also competes in FEI showjumping, and his wife Helene (who is grooming for him here at Burghley) is a competitive dressage rider. Aistis’ operation is based out of Denmark, which is the home country of Commander VG, who is still owned by his breeders Mogens and Birgitte Kloeve Mogensen of the Volstrpgaard Stud.



Andrew Heffernan and Harthill Phantom (NTL)
Thirteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Hollins Hall – Jaspers Phanton, by Jasper’s Egon). Bred by Nina Barbour. Owned by the rider and Top Eventers Syndicate. Groomed by Natalia White.

British-based Dutch rider Andrew Heffernan comes forward on great form with Harthill Phantom for the gelding’s first CCI5* (and Andrew’s first since 2017), having won the 4*-S at Aston Le Walls a few weeks ago, their last run before the big B. They went sub-30 for a career-best in the dressage with 28.3, adding just 2.8 cross country and 0.4 show jumping time penalties to complete on a score of 31.5. Their dressage scores have been on a downwards trajectory throughout the season, dropping from 35.2 in the 4*-S at Thoresby Park early in the year to a 30.4 in the 4*-L at Millstreet in June, before hitting the high-20s just in time for Burghley.

In their three cross country runs this season, they’ve jumped clear. Before that, their record is a bit patchy — in 10 FEI runs prior to 2023, they’ve had cross country jumping penalties on six occasions. Andrew’s not one to automatically put his hand up when his horse has a blip though; obviously it depends on how things are feeling, but he’s gone on to complete with Harthill Phantom after having jumping penalties more often than he’s walked home. It’s fair to say that all those educational runs appear to be paying off this year.

Show jumping is a similar story to cross country. They were clear last time out, but had 8 and 12 in their two runs prior to that. At their first run of the season at Thoresby Park, they picked up 20 penalties in the show jumping phase, triggering the compulsory retirement rule, so they didn’t get to go cross country that day. It’s worth noting, however, that it had been a particularly wet lead-up to the event and the ground was not easy in any of three phases. From 13 rounds they’ve jumped clear twice, so we can probably expect at least one pole on the final day at the horse’s first 5*.

Andrew’s just back from the European Championships, where he was pathfinder for the Dutch team instead of performing the role of team manager, his usual role, and so got to celebrate the Netherlands securing Olympic qualification wearing two hats, so to speak. But his hat collection doesn’t stop there — he’s also a BE accredited trainer and cross country designer. He represented the Netherlands at the London Olympics and the 2014 World Championships — where he won team bronze — as well as at three European Championships. When he’s not got one of his eventing hats on, Andrew enjoys a game of squash.



Lauren Innes and Global Fision M. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Lauren Innes and Global Fision M (NZL)
Thirteen-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Flipper d’Elle – Kantussa, by Cantus). Bred by Veehandel Musterd Made BV. Owned by the Innes Family Syndicate.

Seeing Lauren Innes on the Kiwi entrant list for the first time at Badminton last year might have been a bit of an unexpected item in bagging area – the British-based rider only swapped nationalities a number of weeks prior, making use of her claim to Kiwi-hood through her father. It was a savvy move, particularly as the British side is so overpopulated with top-level talent at the moment, and a swap to the relatively compact Kiwi side allows her access to more support and a chance to fight for team selection. But this savviness won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows Lauren, a true amateur rider who works full-time as an accountant and does some seriously impressive balancing to fit in producing “Flipper”: “[Working from home during] COVID has certainly helped, because I can get off him at like, one minute to nine and be at my desk by nine,” she laughs. “I go to Oakingham Stud to use their hill gallops to get him fit for the longs, and that’s about fifty minutes from home, so I’ll get up at quarter past five and leave home just before six. Then after the drive, I’ll be on him just before seven, gallop him, wash him down, and be back by nine. Then he goes out in the field, and I work all day.”

This is Lauren’s only upper-level horse, and they’ve climbed through the levels together ever since she bought him as a five-year-old from Ireland’s Brian Morrison, co-founder of Global Horses. Lauren’s friendship with Brian began when she was studying Biological Sciences at Oxford – and while she hadn’t been a part of Britain’s bustling Young Rider circuit and teams, she was able to pursue her passion for competing through student riding, helmed by the World University Equestrian Federation. The set-up of the federation means that no competitor is required to have their own horse; instead, students go head to head in heats, each riding the same horse to determine who has exhibited the best horsemanship. Success at student riding competitions can lead to opportunities such as the Student Riding Nations Cups, which give riders from universities around the world the chance to compete together. The system has produced an impressive array of riders on the cusp of the big leagues, and Lauren has since ridden for Britain at the CCI3*-S European Cup and enjoyed a fruitful run at 4*, with super results including a third-place finish at Blair and an eleventh place finish in the very tough CCI4*-L at Bicton in 2021. But Flipper certainly isn’t the easiest ride, and according to Lauren’s trainer, Mark Corbett, it’s because he’s not in a professional string that he’s able to thrive.

“He can get really hot, and when he gets hot, he kind of loses it. He’s by Flipper d’Elle and he’s very French, in his brain,” Lauren told EN during Blair Castle’s CCI4*-L in 2021, in which they finished third. “He’s the most confident horse to jump things; nothing is too big, and he has the utmost belief in his ability. I don’t think he’s ever lost his confidence. But that confidence gets him a bit hot in the dressage sometimes, so he’s had to work a lot on it by going out and doing British Dressage.”

Because of Flipper’s quirks, much will depend on how he takes to the atmosphere at Badminton. Lauren has a finely-honed routine for helping him settle at three-days, which suits him much better than coming out at short-formats, where there’s less time to get used to his new environment, but if he bubbles over, he can hit the mid-30s and beyond. On cross-country, though, all trickiness is cast aside, and he’s straight, focussed, incredibly genuine, and though not the fastest horse in the field, still fairly swift. He’s also at his best when showjumping on the final day, and should go clear. Lauren will be taking this one phase by phase – Flipper’s spring prep was interrupted by the tricky spring season in the UK, and he bubbled over badly in the ring at Thoresby, where he had to warm up totally on his own because of the number of withdrawals. His score in the 50s there should be considered an outlier, but he scored in the 40s at Badminton last year, so it’ll definitely be this phase that Lauren will be most pleased to see in the rearview mirror. A tricky final run at Arville CCI4*-S, with 40 cross-country jumping penalties, will mean that this is a reconsolidation week.


Tim Price’s Vitali steps up to the plate and grows in confidence around his first Burghley, 2022. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Tim Price and Vitali (NZL)
Thirteen-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Contender – Noble Lady I, by Heraldik xx). Bred by Guenther Fielmann. Owned by Joe and Alex Giannamore and the rider. Groomed by Kerryn “Kez” Edmunds.

Under the watchful eye of 2022 FEI Groom of the Year, Kerryn “Kez” Edmunds, Tim and Vitali will be hoping to better their 3rd place here last year. They posted a 5* personal best in the first phase, before dropping to a place after dropping a costly 3 rails in the show jumping.

The final phase proved to be the Contender gelding’s weakness once again at Badminton this year, where another 3 down on the final day dropped them back down the leader board to 7th, despite climbing from 9th to 4th after cross country.

Still, it must be noted that Vitali has yet to finish outside of the top 10 in all of his CCI5* starts thus far – he was tenth on his debut at the level in Luhmuhlen 2022, and he is capable of a clear on the final day. Indeed, his win in the CCI-L 4* in Stzregom back in 2021 was on the back of a double clear, so when he does pull it out of the back, he is certainly one to watch.

This is largely down to his fancy footwork in the dressage. Tim is full of praise for his dancing partner, crediting him and his natural ability in the first phase with their consistently good scores; ‘The horse is capable, it’s on me to bring it out of him – he could do a nine everywhere.’ However, as is so often the case with such talented horses, the atmosphere at these big events can also affect him. ‘When he’s nervy there’s nothing there,’ says his jockey, who took over the ride from James Avery in 2021. Given that Tim is still No.1 in the FEI world rankings, he’s undoubtedly the best man to hold the 13 year old gelding’s hand, and help to keep his nerves at bay – and to ensure him a safe trip cross country too. He certainly proved this to be the case in the more than adverse conditions at Badminton this year, bringing his horse home when so many had problems or made the tough decision to withdraw before the cross country.

Perhaps if conditions are drier at Burghley, Vitali will have a little extra energy left in the tank to lift his knees a little higher on the final day and bring home the result that this pair so deserve.



Sweden’s Christoffer Forsberg and Con Classic 2. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Christoffer Forsberg and Con Classic 2 (SWE)
Ten-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Concours Complet – Conntess, by Crazy Classic). Bred by Riebock. Owned by Mike Kleene. Groomed by Vilma Essman.

Over the last number of years, lanky Swede Christoffer has been busy contributing to his country’s team efforts, riding at plenty of Nations Cup legs and the 2021 European Championships at Avenches, where Sweden were team bronze medallists. That was his second Senior Europeans – his first came in 2011 at Luhmühlen – but prior to that, he’d ridden at three Junior and three Young Rider Europeans. In short? He’s great at coping with pressure, a trait that’ll serve him well as he prepares to tackle his first five-star since his debut, which also came at Burghley but way back in 2010. Christoffer was just nineteen, but despite his relative inexperience, he and his Junior and Young Rider mount Grafman stormed ‘round for twentieth place.

This time, he brings Con Classic 2, who’s one of the youngest horses in the field at just ten. He’s also one of the least experienced, with just two CCI4*-L runs under his belt – and one of those, his debut at Boekelo CCIO4*-L, was back in 2021. In 2022 he focused on short formats and Nations Cups, including the Pratoni test event in May, where he was nineteenth. This year, he picked up seventh in the CCI4*-L at Kronenberg in the Netherlands, and had a smart clear in the CCI4*-S at Arville for a final prep, but has otherwise run in CCI3*-S classes, picking up a 20 in one. We’ll be expecting a mid-30s dressage, a healthy, educational bit of additional time on Saturday, and a couple of rails on Sunday – but this’ll be a great stepping stone for what’s to come for this exciting young horse.



Tiana Coudray and Cancaras Girl. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Tiana Coudray and Cancaras Girl (USA)
Thirteen-year-old Holsteiner mare (Cancara – Rubina VI, by Narew). Owned by the rider. Groomed by Annabelle James.

It’s a long-awaited five-star debut for US Olympian Tiana Coudray’s striking black mare Cancaras Girl (no relation, British-based 90s kids, to the Lloyds Bank horse we all had hanging on our walls in poster form). Their best result so far came at Bramham last year, where they made the very best of an achingly tough cross-country to climb and climb and climb again, into a final ninth place – a result that took them so by surprise that they were already halfway out the gates when they got a call asking them to get to the prizegiving and they had to scramble to get the mare ready again.

They’ve had a couple of consistent, clear, and classy four-star runs this year, plus a dip into the 20s in the first phase at the level, and so they come to the mare’s five-star debut on very good form. This’ll be British-based Tiana’s first time competing in the five-star here too; in 2015, though, she won the Dubarry Young Event Horse Class here aboard Cavalier Crystal, who’ll return for the five-star this week with Harry Meade aboard.

That’s not the only bit of homecoming kismet this week: Tiana, who’s from California originally, spent her formative years training with Burghley course designer Derek di Grazia and his wife, Bea.


Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way (USA)
Twelve-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Mighty Magic – Straightaway, by Star Regent xx). Bred by Mareike Leers-Schreiber. Owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables. Groomed by Christina Curiale.

Will has been saying for a while now that he thinks Mama’s Magic Way (better known as Mason) is a Burghley horse, and now we get to find out if he’s right!

There’s no doubt that Will and Mason are one of the most formidable and consistent pairs in the field when it comes to the cross country phase. In their entire international career together, they’ve logged only a single XC jump penalty – an unfortunate pin at Maryland in 2021. You can also expect them to waste no time across the country, with Will’s efficiency and Mason’s big gallop. They’ve never logged more than 10 time penalties.

The first phase is perhaps a bit less consistent, with dressage scores ranging generally in the low to mid 30’s at the CCI5* level. Mason is certainly capable of putting in a very good test, but sometimes his excitement gets the best of him. We’ll see how he’s feeling about putting his dancing shoes on here at Burghley.

Bred and born for the sport, Mason is the son of two eventer parents – his sire Mighty Magic won the Seven-Year-Old Eventing World Championships in 2011 with Andreas Dibowski, and his dam Straightaway competed to the CCI4* star level herself.

Will and Mason’s best finish at the top level was this spring at Kentucky where they came 13th, adding only 4 time penalties and one rail to their dressage score. We know that Will is heading into Burghley not just looking to get a completion under his belt — he’s competitive, experienced, and sitting on a very good horse. These two are ones to watch!


Boyd Martin and On Cue. Photo by Abby Powell.

Boyd Martin and On Cue (USA)
Seventeen-year-old Anglo European Sport Horse mare (Cabri D’Elle – On High, by Primitive Rising). Bred by Alyse Clancey. Owned by the rider and Christine, Thomas IV, and Tommie Turner.

Boyd Martin hardly needs an introduction. A long-time staple of the US eventing scene, Boyd is a household name among eventing fans. The American event rider is well-known for his bold personality, cult-like social media following, and skill on the cross country course. On Cue is his tried-and-true mare who has been with Boyd since 2017. As a matter of fact, the entirety of her FEI career has been with Boyd on board.

This pair may be best described as a power couple. In 2021, On Cue was awarded USEA Horse and Mare of the Year. That same year, Boyd received the title of World Equestrian Brands’ USEA Rider of the Year. According to US Eventing, “Out of the mare’s six official outings in 2021, On Cue brought home five top-five finishes with four of those being international placings.”

To be clear, On Cue’s performance in 2021 is very nearly the rule, not the exception. The mare is rarely outside of the top ten and has a total of 20 cross country penalties across the entirety of her six year FEI career. Let’s rephrase that so it can sink in: that’s one refusal or run out at the FEI level in six years. Together, Boyd and On Cue have an impressive 25 wins on their competition record.

While cross country is clearly her favorite phase, show jumping doesn’t seem to be. In 2023, she’s had at least a rail in nearly every competition, but she makes up for it with dressage scores that consistently come in sub-30. This will be On Cue’s first time gracing Burghley with her presence and it will be a true test of her talent to see how she compares to Britain’s powerhouse players.


Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF (USA)
Sixteen-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall 2 – Thabana, by Buddenbrock). Bred by Tim Holekamp. Owned by Christine, Thomas IV, and Tommie Turner.

While possibly winner of the award for the horse with the hardest name to pronounce (God forbid you have a lisp), Tsetserleg TSF has more than his fair share of meaningful accomplishments tied to his mouthful of a name. “Thomas” is a bit of a sleeper agent. At home, he puts in mediocre performances only to turn it on and become the James Bond of event horses in competition. According to his owner, Christine Turner, “He would do anything for his rider — if he likes them — and he loves Boyd.”

Boyd took over the ride on Thomas from Michael Pollard in 2015. Over the years, Boyd and Thomas have truly done it all. Thomas was Boyd’s mount for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and they were an instrumental part of the US team who brought home a silver medal at the FEI World Eventing Championships in Pratoni.

Most recently, Thomas and Boyd won the MARS Equestrian Bromont CCI4*-S and came in second place in the CCI4*-S at Tryon. Despite these recent and impressive accomplishments, the 2023 season has come with some unexpected twists and turns for Thomas. While they competed at the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event, they had an uncharacteristic run out at the Mars Sustainability Bay and retired for the first time in their seven year FEI career together. It’s true, even an experienced event horse like Thomas can have a bad day every once in a blue moon!

This will be Thomas’s first time at Burghley, but with a little bit of elbow grease from Boyd, viewers can expect a mid-20s dressage score, and a machine of a cross country round with possibly a few time faults. The deciding factor for Thomas’s placings at Burghley will be on show jumping day. The little black horse has had a rail at three out of four shows so far this season, but his stellar performance at Bromont has us crossing our fingers for a very competitive finish.


Jennie Saville and FE Lifestyle (USA)
Thirteen-year-old German Sport Horse gelding (Leo von Faelz – Berina A, by Brandenburger). Bred by Danny Arnold. Owned by Nina and Tim Gardner. Groomed by Hannah Black and Alexa Lapp.

Jennie Saville and FE Lifestyle have been trapped in a cycle of “always the bridesmaid, never the bride.” The chestnut gelding has hardly ever placed outside of the top ten since Jennie took over the ride from Lynn Symansky in 2019, except for a rocky 2021 season. This year Jennie and ‘Foxy’ have been in the top ten for three out of four shows, even coming in fourth place at Bromont. In June, Foxy was named to the Elite Eventing Program List, part of the US Eventing Pathway, which is “focused on developing combinations to deliver sustainable success in team competition at the championship level.”

Known to jump shadows and for his sensitive nature, Foxy definitely has his quirks. “He’s a little tricky. He’s everything you think a ginger would be! I was a little worried because he seems a little bit heavy, but he actually has a ton of blood and gallop,” Jennie told Chronicle of the Horse.

Still, accommodating his quirks has paid off throughout his competition career. A very genuine jumper, Foxy and Jennie have had just one refusal or run out on cross country throughout his entire six-year FEI career. At Burghley, we’re expecting to see a low-30s dressage score and possibly a rail in the show jumping. She’s got Foxy’s big, open step in her toolbox as well, and the horse is consistently quick. He may make it inside the time on Burghley’s 6400 meter course as he nearly pulled it off on the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event’s 6520 meter 5*-L course.


Grace Taylor and Game Changer.

Grace Taylor and Game Changer (USA)
Eleven-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cassidee – Stormchaser, by Titus Livius). Bred by Liam Webb. Owned by Ann Taylor.

After a top ten finish at Brahmam this June where Grace Taylor’s top mount, Game Changer, jumped around the cross country clear and just a few seconds over time, Grace determined that they were ready to tackle their first five-star together at Burghley.

Game Changer was originally produced by Annie Kirkham, who bought the gelding from the Monart sale as a three-year-old. Grace purchased him two years later after Annie brought the gelding over for a lesson with her father where the gelding caught her father’s eye and he recommended that Grace go and try the horse the next day. The rest, as they say, is history, with Grace and Game Changer continuing to advance through the levels together.

When it comes to pedigrees we most often talk about the horses of course, but 27-year-old Grace has a fine eventing pedigree of her own that warrants a mention. Grace – who holds dual citizenship for the US and Great Britain but rides under the American flag and represented the stars and stripes this spring at the Nations Cup leg at Chatsworth – is the daughter of two top level event riders. Her mother, Ann Taylor (neé Sutton), represented the US at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and later served as a team selector and chef d’equipe for USEF. Her father, Nigel Taylor, represented Great Britain at both the European Championships and World Equestrian Games in 1998 and currently serves as a member of the British team selection committee.

Grace has developed her own sales and livery business based out of her family’s Washbrook Farm at Aston le Walls, managing an average of 20 horses at any given time. In addition to Game Changer, she has a small string of young horses that she also competes. You can get to know Grace a little better thanks to this recent episode of The Jon and Rick Show!



Julia Norman and Ardeo Berlin (ZIM)
Fourteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (breeding unknown). Owned by Keith Norman, Bruce Fraser, and the rider.

Sweet little Ardeo Berlin is a classic Irish horse in a couple of ways: first, that no one really knows a thing about where he came from or who put what to what to produce him, and second, that he’s really in this game for the running and the jumping stuff. Wiltshire-based Julia, who swapped nationalities from British to Zimbabwean at the start of this season in honour of her late mum, Gill, who was born in the country, took the ride when he was an eight-year-old, and has piloted him throughout his international career. That’s included a five-star debut for ‘Bert’ at Pau last year, where he finished 34th with 20 penalties on cross-country, a clear in the achingly tough and big CCI4*-L at Bramham last summer, and, most recently, a fourth-place finish in the CCI4*-L at Ballindenisk in Ireland.

Julia, who used to work as a Quantity Surveyor and latterly a Rural Planning Consultant before deciding to do horses (and breed Golden Retrievers!) full-time, will be returning to Burghley after a 31st place finish with Carryon Bobby Boy in 2019. This will be Zimbabwe’s first time being represented at Burghley.


Stay tuned for much more to come right here on EN from our reporter-at-large, Tilly Berendt! Go Eventing.

EN’s coverage of Burghley is presented by Kentucky Performance Products. Click here to learn all about their full line of science-backed nutritional support products, including Neigh-Lox Advanced for digestive support.

Defender Burghley Horse Trials Links: Website | Live Stream | Entries | EN’s Coverage

Sunday Links from SmartPak

It’s Burghley Week! AEC in T-minus two days! Double-competition weeks are a fast-paced thrill for us behind the screens here at EN, but we’re excited to be bringing you all the action from both sides of the globe.

While it’s no Tilly Berendt-level course preview, Burghley gave us all a rather unconventional “course walk with a twist” on Friday — featuring a different kind of Olympic gymnast tackling (literally) the Big Bad B. I guess watching a human jumping these 5* obstacles does make it seem just a little bit less imposing… but you’re not fooling us, Burghley.

Don’t forget to sign up for BurghleyTV so you don’t miss a minute of the action! Keep it locked onto EN – we have some awesome content headed your way.

Defender Burghley: [Website] [Entries] [Program] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Eventing is dishing up an equally exciting week in the US, with the American Eventing Championships happening in Lexington, Kentucky. EN is beavering away on both sides of the Pond to bring you all you need to know from the AEC too – so go nowhere, and go eventing!

#AEC2023 (Lexington, KY): [Entries/Ride Times/Scoring] [Schedule] [Volunteer] [EN’s Coverage]

U.S. Weekend Action

MARS Great Meadow International (The Plains, VA): [Website] [Entries] [Tickets] [Schedule/Ride Times] [Scoring] [Live Stream] [Volunteer] [EN’s Coverage]

Shepherd Ranch Pony Club H.T. II (Santa Ynez, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer][Scoring]

Town Hill Farm H.T. (Lakeville, CT) [Website] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Links to Start Your Sunday:

Ringside Chat: With A New Horse, Caribbean Games Gold Medalist Lauren Shady Is Rekindling Her Olympic Fire

Overwhelmed By Feed or Supplement Choices? We’ve Got Just The Thing

‘Supple’ Does Not Mean ‘Light’ with Stefan Stammer

America Cryo Equine Releases New PEMF/Laser Device at 2023 The Run for A Million

Ava Paige: Saved by Music, Faith and Horses

Weekly Pick from SmartPak: Are wildfires disrupting your summer plans? SmartPak has compiled the ultimate guide to the dangers of wildfire smoke to horses, written by Carolyn Hammer, DVM.

Morning Viewing: Burghley ambassador Boyd Martin discusses his journey to Burghley as a young professional after many heartbreaking setbacks. If you know the story of Boyd and Neville, you will love this. And if you don’t, click play immediately (and prepare some tissues).

Eventing Europeans Cross-Country Pathfinders: Meet The Superstar Pair Who Rocketed 49 Places

If you paid attention to the leaderboards during the 2023 FEI Eventing European Championships, you may have noticed Ireland’s Sarah Ennis make an unprecedented leap from 54th to 5th place during cross country. Ending the competition in 14th position due to an unfortunate two rails dropped in show jumping, she and Grantstown Jackson (Clover Brigade – Winning Lass xx, by Right Win xx) were the second fastest in the field on cross country, adding only 2.4 time faults in a race where only eventual champion Ros Canter pulled off a double-clear.

Listen in to Sarah’s approach and methods to tackling this impressive course here in this video from Horse & Hound.

Sunday Links from SmartPak

I’m currently in the beginning of a month-long endeavor where my horse is going to be getting a lot of one-on-one “quality time” with my trainer, so coming across this deal with RideIQ got me pretty excited. We here in the mountain West get few opportunities for clinics, but we try our best and do manage to get some bigger names out here a few times a year. A lot of the people I ride with have really taken to RideIQ for all that in-between time, especially while our trainers may be busy living the back-and-forth life to events out of state. I’ve been wanting to start a membership for the last year, but this deal has come at a perfect time — I think I will finally take the plunge and start my own month of “quality time” with some of the top riders featured on this awesome app.

Major International Events:

FEI Eventing Nations Cup, Arville: Website | Live Scores | Live Stream

U.S. Weekend Action:

Caber Farm H.T.: Website | Entry Status | Ride Times | Live Scores | Volunteer

The Event at Archer: Website | Entry Status | Ride Times | Live Scores | Volunteer

Waredaca Farm H.T.: Website | Entry Status | Ride Times | Live Scores | Volunteer

Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club H.T: WebsiteEntry Status |Live Scores | Volunteer

Ocala Summer H.T. II: Website | Entry Status | Ride Times | Live Scores | Volunteer

Full Gallop Farm: WebsiteVolunteer

Links to Start Your Sunday:

Standing Ovation: The Foundation for the Horse dedicates $10,000 to support feed and hay relief for equines impacted by Maui, Hawaii, wildfires

The Future Champions Competition: Young Riders, but FEI

Climate Change and Sport Horse Management

Should You Put Your Horse In Your Online Dating Profile?

Regrouping Between Horse Shows

Weekly Pick from SmartPak: Need a new pair of Piper Breeches? Save up to 75% on breeches (and so much more) with SmartPak’s big summer clearance event.

Morning Viewing: Speaking of clinic season, here’s a clip from the queen of dressage herself, Charlotte Dujardin, on how to ride the perfect corner in dressage.

Sunday Video Break: Ros’ Canter Around the Park

What does it take to become one of the GOATs? Britain’s newest champions Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo gave a masterclass out on course yesterday, which helped secure Ros’ victory today as one of only six riders in eventing history to win both a World and European individual title.

Finishing cross country on her dressage score of 21.3, Ros was the only rider to present a double-clear round after a tumultuous day of time changes, waterlogged jump omissions, and several unexpectedly rough rides — and what a beautiful round it was. Watch her lovely gallop around Haras du Pin here!

Canadian Eventing Team’s “Pathway to Paris” Online Auction

The Canadian Eventing Team with family, friends and support staff at the 2022 FEI World Championships in Pratoni, ITA. Photo by Cealy Tetley.

The Canadian Eventing Team “Pathway to Paris” online auction has over $23,000 worth of donated items from around North America and runs from August 10th to August 24th. The Pathway to Paris Auction supports the Canadian High-Performance program. These efforts really focus on the road to the Olympics in Paris, which started with the 2022 World Equestrian Championships in Pratoni. Our focus is now on the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile; the Nations Cups in Bromont, Quebec and Arville, Belgium; plus, the necessary training opportunities for our High-Performance Athletes from now until 2024.

The Canadian Eventing High Performance Committee is planning to send a team of 4 horse and rider combinations to secure a top 2 podium finish at the Pan American Games. This podium performance will guarantee a Team placement for the 2024 Olympic Team in Paris, France. Our committee is immediately targeting $165,000 for the October 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago.

Auction items range from gift certificates to clinics and coaching in Canada and USA, giveaways, a private Blenheim course walk, tons of tack and clothing, and more! Some of the high-price items include a one-day clinic with Canadian Team member Jessica Phoenix, several weekend destination getaways, and coaching sessions and packages with riders such as Karl Slezak, Holly Jacks, Dana Cooke, and Kendal Lehari. For those of us with more limited budgets, you can still help Team Canada by bidding on some beautiful ear bonnets, custom stock ties, Ruespari belts, Mad Barn nutrition packages, and even a currently well-discounted Tipperary Eventer Pro Vest.

Come check it out, make a free account (don’t need one to browse!), and help support our Canadian Eventing Team Riders to raise funds for 2023 Pan Ams & 2024 Olympics.

Thank you for your support!

Pathway to Paris! Free Online Silent Auction Fundraisers by 32auctions

Team Canada at Lima. Photo courtesy of Rob Stevenson.

For further information, contact [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected]. The auction is being run by the Canadian Eventing Development Foundation — a not-for profit-organization.

Sunday Links from SmartPak

I think Team Sweden has a good idea going here, and I would like to propose that we appropriate more on-course team exercises and activities such as this. In addition to Sweden’s Start Box Squats, I will be submitting for approval Fence-Side Yoga, Walking-Your-Distances Lunges, Coffin Cartwheels, and Water Complex Jumping Jacks. Don’t worry, I think they’ll all really catch on.

After yesterday’s Euros carnage out on cross country (check out the live updates here for a rollercoaster of a ride), we are set for a nail-biting final round today at Haras du Pin! Here is where we stand heading into the boss fight today:

Click here to learn how to follow along with show jumping today, and check out Tilly’s Ultimate Guide for everything you need to know and read up on the form in the Team Guide.

Major International Events

#Euros2023 Website | Live Stream | Entries | Live Scores | EN’s Ultimate Guide | EN’s Coverage

Bromont International H.T. (Bromont, Canada): [Website] [Live Scores]

U.S. Weekend Action

Fair Hill International Recognized H.T. (Elkton, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer][Scoring]

Otter Creek Summer H.T. (Wheeler, WI) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

WindRidge Farm Summer H.T. (Mooresboro, NC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer][Scoring]

Woodside Summer H.T (Woodside, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Links to Start Your Sunday:

The hurdle Shane Rose’s Paris hopeful Virgil must clear

Ingrid Klimke is hosting a Masterclass in Temecula, CA, and it’ll be pretty well-attended

New “ParaGold” movie available now on AppleTV & AmazonPrime Video

Allison Springer Eventing is hiring a Head Groom/Barn Manager

Pressure Proof with Daniel Stewart: The Anxiety Cycle is Not a Spinning Class!

Weekly Pick from SmartPak: Stop taking product recommendations from the barn know-it-all. Check out five products that SmartPak employees recommend! These lovely equestrians live the retail life and have hands-on experience with each product. Which one are you going to add to your cart?

Morning Viewing: Join The Eventing Journey vlog for a walk around the course at Haras du Pin.

Mid-Season Roundup: 10 Horse Showing Reels to Start Your Week with a Laugh

Summer and the show season have peaked, and we could all use a laugh right about now! I know our East Coasters still have a while left, but who else isn’t ready for the impending winter? (Just going to go ahead and make everyone sad for a second — only four months left in the year… sorry.)

To cheer you up again, here are 10 lovingly-curated meme reels describing the duality of wonder and horror that is equestrian competition.

Sunday Video Break: A Slice of Cooley Farms

With no less than six horses competing at Badminton this year, a scrollable list of current 4* and 5* horses, and a great partnership with many of our sport’s top riders, Cooley Farm always has some amazing stuff up their sleeves. Based in Ireland and run by Richard Sheane and Georgina Philips, the Cooley name produces and sells top quality sport horses for the world stage, including many of the top athletes we know and love.

Back in The Year That Must Not Be Named, Cooley Farm gave the world a look into their operations and setup with this lovely tour. They also detail some of the challenges brought to their farm and others during the Covid pandemic. Take a look at their gorgeous estate and all the amazing things they have in store for the future athletes of our sport! Which names do you catch that you didn’t know were Cooley horses?

Sunday Links from SmartPak

“Between the ears, floating down the river lol”
Photo by Lucy Gray on Between The Ears.

We’ve shared several stunning photos in the past from the awesome Facebook page Between The Ears, but this one might just take the cake. Giving a vibe very compatible with our style here at EN, I think we can all admit that this particular view is where we’d all like to be right about now! And look how calm and collected this little bay is, despite the rather imposing water complex they’re facing. Honestly, some days I’d rather tackle a bank on this little guy than my own mare…

In all seriousness, we are definitely gaining new rivers of these proportions in arenas across the world, from our own local schooling event yesterday being cancelled due to flooding to the cancellation of this weekend’s Festival of British Eventing thanks to “unworkable” footing conditions after a particularly bad deluge. Make sure to double up on that flood damage insurance and enjoy the free water schooling in your driveway!


Continue to ride along with the Mongol Derby here!

U.S. Weekend Action:

Area VII Young Rider Benefit H.T. at Caber Farm (Onalaska, WA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times][Volunteer] [Scoring]

Catalpa Corner Charity Horse Trials (Iowa City, IA) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Ride Times]

Cobblestone Farms H.T. II (Dexter, MI) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Early Bird Summer Event at Galway Downs (Temecula, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times][Volunteer]

Hoosier Horse Trials (Edinburgh, IN) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Huntington Farm H.T. (South Strafford, VT) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Ride Times – Remember to add 3 hours!]

Olney Farm Horse Trials (Joppa, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

River Glen Summer H.T. (New Market, TN) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Spring Gulch H.T. (Highland, CO) [Website] [Volunteer] [Ride Times]

Links to Start Your Sunday:

Horse Listings Pitfalls… And How to Avoid Them

How Do You Ride When It’s 110º Every Day? Sparingly.

Bec Braitling went for a gallop at Thorndale Farm and got some cool motion-activated footage

Regenerative Therapy Options for Horses With Osteoarthritis

Weekly Pick from SmartPak: Who doesn’t love saving money on horse tack and apparel? 💸 Shop SmartPak’s 75% off sale on everything from boots to fly sheets to breeches.

Morning Viewing: Speaking of rain, what better rainy day activity than practicing stride adjustability on a circle of doom (please tell me I’m not the only one who knows them as such)? Colleen Loach’s tall guy Monty works on this important concept with some impressive steps.

Sunday Video Break: FEI Eventing European Championships, But Make It Ponies

Rocket blasters: engaged! Derda Agata of Poland and Kosma compete in FEI European Championships for Ponies jumping in 2019. Photo by Leszek Wójcik / FEI. Rocket blasters: engaged! Derda Agata of Poland and Kosma compete in FEI European Championships for Ponies jumping in 2019. Photo by Leszek Wójcik / FEI.

Today was the final phase of the FEI Eventing European Championships for Ponies in Le Mans, France, and the show jumping was captivating to watch! There’s just nothing better than watching ponies with springs for legs clear a stadium course at this height.

For those that weren’t aware, in addition to the most publicized European Championships for Seniors, which will take place at Le Pin au Haras next week, there are also this weekend’s Championships for Ponies, and the Championships for Young Riders and Juniors, which Montelibretti, Italy, will host in September. So many opportunities to watch the best of the best!

Watch the pony magic on FEI Eventing’s Facebook Live capture here!

Sunday Links from SmartPak

One year after her fatal accident at Bramham International Horse Trials, Katherine O’Brien’s Ms. Poppins has finally been brought home. Allie Knowles picked up the mare’s ashes on Friday and released this statement commemorating her friend and partner, “Poppy”.

We’ve had a rather dismal year in terms of equine mortalities (from the accidents at Blenheim International to WSF Carthago to Solaguayre California), and in the midst of all these tragic accidents, the support offered by our eventing community to those affected has been heartwarming and inspiring. While it can be hard, it is important that we address these occurrences and talk about them so that we more fully open ourselves up to some of the difficult realities of this sport. Eventing is hard on both human and equine participants, and the dedication and commitment brought by both parties to this challenging lifestyle is what makes us the people that we are. I think it’s when we are at our lowest that we are most able to feel the strength and encouragement of our own support systems and the close-knit network that exists within this sport, so I hope that the owners and riders of these horses are able to find the strength and healing they need from their teams and our community.

U.S. Weekend Action

Millbrook H.T. (Millbrook, NY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Hunt Club Farms H.T. (Berryville, VA) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Major International Events

FEI Eventing European Championships for Ponies (Le Mans, France): [Definite Entries]

Burgham International (United Kingdom): [Website] [Entries/Timing/Scoring] [Live Stream]

Links to Start Your Sunday:

Help support Lyndsey Smith, Area VI eventer, after sustaining many injuries from a riding accident

Liz Halliday-Sharp is hiring for a groom/working student

Permission To Post: A Case For Allowing Rising Trot Through Fourth Level

Canadian rider has launched a a civil lawsuit against trainer and convicted sex offender Dylan Harries, USEF, and others, seeking more than $1 million in damages

International Society for Equitation Science to FEI: Time to Address Double Bridles, Noseband Tightness

Weekly Pick from SmartPak: Looking for a horsey summer activity that doesn’t involve going out in the heat? SmartPak has you covered with this no-bake horse treat recipe.

Morning Viewing: This past Wednesday was the annual Chincoteague Pony Swim — if you’ve never made it out yourself, here’s a video of the whole thing!

Reporter’s Notebook: Final Reflections from a First Rebecca Farm

The Event at Rebecca Farm 2023 CCI4*-L podium finishers. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

While I could probably keep writing about Rebecca Farm until my fingers fall off (not too unlikely honestly, given my arthritis in this heat), I did have a great time just sitting in the shade for a few hours watching some pretty horses jump some pretty jumps. The conclusion of the event was definitely well-attended and beautifully coordinated, with cheers flooding the stadium at the completion of each rider.

Excepting the stunning custom jumps and unparalleled views, the finale really did give an atmosphere that one typically finds at your hometown events — hugging, cheering, and fist pumps were seen around the arena, riders congratulating each other — just a very wholesome camaraderie felt between everyone present.

Alyssa Phillips entered the CCI3*-S showjumping ring aboard her gelding Oskar with nearly 6 points between her and second-placed Erin Kellerhouse and Woodford Reserve, only 4 seconds of time on cross country over her dressage score. A perfectly double-clear round easily secured their victory.

Alyssa Phillips and Oskar. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Thanks to receiving a Broussard Travel Grant, Alyssa was able to make it out with several horses this year. She and Oskar took a second-place victory in last year’s 4*-L here at Rebecca, but after an unfortunate fall that fractured her ankle at Terranova earlier this spring, Alyssa had to take some time off and is only recently starting up again.

Alyssa clearly has been doing quite well despite the setback, as she also easily clinched the victory in the 2*-L as well aboard Cornelius Bo, who also held a comfortable overnight lead with nearly two rails in hand prior to showjumping. Adding just one dropped pole to their score still saw them as the champions on a 27.1, maintaining their lead over Julia Beauchamp Crandon and MGH Capa Vilou‘s dressage score finish.

I was pleasantly surprised with how down-to-earth and humble many of the riders were that I had the opportunity to speak with. I got the feeling that Rebecca is just a comparatively relaxing event to many of the other 4*s out there — whether that’s due to the Farm’s vacation-y vibes or the great connections and care everyone has for the Broussard family and the organizers, the event seems to feels a bit like home to just about everyone.

“For how big of an event it is, and the fact that it is a four-star long — there’s this really fun, chill vibe about it where it feels like a big deal, but it doesn’t at the same time,” says Jennie Saville, winner of the 3*-L aboard Alexa Lapp’s Pascal.

Jennie Saville and Pascal. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

The duo has a rather unconventional background, as ‘Pasco’ was actually picked out and purchased by Jennie’s assistant, Alexa Lapp, as a four-year-old in Europe. “She took him to Fair Hill as a seven-year-old last year in the three-star long,” Jennie explains, “which I think is a really huge achievement. I’d flatted him, but I think I’d only jumped him once at the most — and he’s a lovely jumper. He’s just been coming with me getting to know him this season.”

Jennie is a long-time attendee of the Event at Rebecca Farm, especially since many of the owners of her horses are very connected to the event. “Getting the ‘Big Becky’ grant was life changing. I think I’ve brought everything from like a two-star horse here — FE Lifestyle came here and ran the Intermediate once, and Stella Artois came here.”

Jennie Saville and Pascal. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

“I love the people here — [I come here] for the people,” she says, “and obviously the view is great.” She mentions that she’s always just felt so much more comfortable here at Rebecca than most other shows, greatly in part to the organizers she sees as close friends. “When people come to see me at like Land Rover, I’m not a jerk, but I’m not fun to be around,” she laughs. “But here, I have people… I love that I’m actually relaxed enough to actually be myself. That’s what I love the most about it.”

After an eventful cross country day (again, take a look at the detailed scores for the Intermediate leaderboard) full of pulled shoes and water jump confusions, everyone seemed to transition pretty well into showjumping overnight. Andrew McConnon was all smiles today as he and Wakita 54 ended on a 38.9 — just 3 seconds of time added to their cross country run.

“I’m honestly just proud of my horse,” Andrew said of his ten-year-old mare. “Liz [Milliken] imported her, and she was a little unassuming, to be honest, because she’s built slightly downhill and she has a few little lumps and bumps… I bought her and started her off from the beginning, and it’s really nice to have her here at the Advanced and four-star level.”

Andrew McConnon and Wakita 54. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Andrew has been very forgiving of his mare’s challenges in the show jumping ring, given her unconventional build. “This is her second time jumping clear in the show jumping. She definitely has the capability, but in our record, we’ve had quite a few tapped rails — not because of lack of ability — but it’s just nice to go in there after a long journey and at elevation and in heat, even though it’s dry, and have her jump a clear round. I’m just really proud of her.”

“It was funny,” he remarks, “when I checked in, they asked if I was wearing hind boots or had spurs — I didn’t carry a whip, no running martingale, you don’t need a whole lot with her. The way she’s built, I have to help her a little bit more to just stay on her hocks, and so I did do that. I had to kind of sit up and say ‘stay with me’ a little bit — not because she was going quicker, but just to change the balance. I had to work a little bit harder in that way just to help her be in what other horses find a little bit more natural.”

Andrew McConnon and Wakita 54. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

I honestly found Andrew’s simplistic and humble approach very refreshing and admirable, especially the clear love for his horse and the appreciation for his team, the designers, and the staff here at Rebecca Farm. “My other horse went to the Nation’s Cup in Poland,” Andrew explains, “and then I decided to bring [Wakita 54] out [to Rebecca Farm] pretty quick after. It was a quick turnaround, so thank you to the people at home that helped keep her going. My groom, Natalia Knowles, is not here with us this weekend — she’s at home taking care of everything, just because it was such a long journey. I wish she could be here to enjoy the win, but it takes a lot of people to keep everything running.”

Andrew posted a video Saturday night where he brought “Kiki” out to the fields to let her live out the fantasy that I’m sure every horse on site has been dreaming of since they arrived. I really love and appreciate seeing moments like this, when upper-level riders let their horses just be horses, especially in the middle of such a big event.

James Alliston and Karma appeared to just be having another uneventful schooling day around Chris Barnard’s track, with their leisurely jaunt bringing them the win on their dressage score.

“You wouldn’t have known she’d done what she did yesterday, really,” he says of the young mare. “She’s full of energy — really jumping up in the air high and very careful and she felt really good. She’s sort of just really an energetic horse. I don’t know where it all comes from, but she just has so much energy. She never really feels sorry for herself or anything like that.”

James Alliston and Karma secure his third victory in a row at Rebecca Farm. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

James was pleased with Karma’s performance at the Kentucky 4*-S this year. “I’d like to think that sort of sets her up — hopefully, if everything goes well for the rest of the year — maybe for the five-star there,” he says of his upcoming plans for her.

For his third consecutive year as the Rebecca Farm Champion, James has nothing but praise for the event. “I always eye this one up — it’s a four-star, but it’s a big one with a lot of atmosphere. I think now I have a bit of history with it; I kind of want to try and keep going and try and have a nice horse for it.”

James Alliston and Karma. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Based on the West coast along with his wife Helen, who placed second in the 3*-L, James has been a regular recipient of the generosity shared by the Broussard Family. “I was fortunate enough to get not only the travel grants I’ve had the last few years I’ve been American, but I got the National [Broussard Foundation Developing Rider] grant for $10,000,” James says. “So that’s a huge help, especially since,” he says referencing his fellow podium-placing riders, “we all own our own horses. It’s expensive to campaign and produce the horses to this level, and when they’re at this level — at shows like this with amazing prize money, maybe they start to pay their way a little bit — it’s expensive, so getting the $10,000 was huge.

“I was able to have a lot of training at home which I wasn’t really able to have before, and it just sort of eased the travel costs to a few shows. When I went to Kentucky this spring, I think that money to pay for the expensive diesel everywhere was good to have!”

James was sure to thank Leslie Law for his coaching both at home and on the road. “It’s amazing having someone with his experience — he’s achieved Olympic gold medal right? He’s achieved the highest of the highs in the sport, so to have his experience — everything you’re going through, he’s gone through many, many times. Just having that wealth of knowledge and getting to know him through the US Eventing Development Program, he’s just a really nice guy as well and gives up a lot of time. You can bug him, and he’s really cool and patient.”

Madison Temkin and MVP Madbum. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Madison Temkin also expressed her gratitude for Leslie’s direction, after maintaining her second place position with her mare MVP Madbum, even despite one rail pulled on course. “I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve been a part of the Under 18 program — now it’s more like the EA21 program — and then I’ve been a part of the Under 25 program. My mom and I run a business together and I’ve always ridden with her, and she’s helped me every step of the way and made me who I am. But alongside of her, I’ve had a lot of help from Leslie Law, and on the Under-18s, David O’Connor. He’s based in Lexington now, and he’s been helping me quite a bit with [Madbum].”

Maddy got the Thoroughbred mare off the track at Golden Gate Field as a two-year-old when she was just 15. “She’s come a long way. She’s been quite a challenge — I think she’s just starting to work with me rather than against me a bit, but I’m very proud of her this week. I think she’s taught me quite a bit.”

Madison Temkin and MVP Madbum. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

While their relationship hasn’t always been easy, Maddy is extremely happy with the improvement she’s seen in her mare, which she says was a huge factor in being able to make their incredible double-clear round yesterday on such a long course. “She is very talented and it’s all in there, but she’s a bit of a fiery lady. It’s just kind of learning how to get everything out of her while keeping her happy and keeping her developing up through the sport. I think she’s taught me a lot, and she continues to teach me a lot every day.”

Maddy was also another grateful recipient of the Broussard’s Rebecca Farm travel grant, which was vital now that she is based out of Kentucky. “I think the opportunity they give all of us as US athletes, developing and up-and-coming athletes is absolutely incredible. I think that a lot of our top athletes are where they are today because of the Broussard family and their generosity. I know I’m very grateful and I think everyone could say the same thing.”

Jessica Phoenix and Fluorescent Adolescent. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Jessica Phoenix was full of praise for Fluorescent Adolescent after her own particularly long 41-hour journey from Ontario, Canada. The photogenic mare had pricked ears the whole course, and Jessie was excited to be sharing such a success with her after just nine months together.

She is a really awesome horse,” Jessie gushes. “She wakes up in the morning wanting to go to work, and she’s like, ‘What are we doing today?’ She came out of yesterday really, really well, so I was looking forward to today.”

Jessie and “Lacy” just began running at the 4* level this spring. “I thought this would be a well-suited course for her,” she notes. “I’m so thankful it was, because it’s a long journey to get here from Canada, but it does not disappoint. This is one of my favorite events in the entire world. The scenery, the people — you’re so welcome here.”

The long-time Canadian Team member secured a third place finish aboard Makayla Rydzik’s flashy Canadian Warmblood. “She lacks a little bit of length to her step in the show jumping, so I just have to make sure I really get her in to the combinations,” she explains, “but what a horse for the future. I am so pumped about her — she went in there and did everything she could do today and gave me 110%. It was just such a pleasure to ride her this whole week.”

Fluorescent Adolescent making friends with Gstar Van De Klinkenberg. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

The trio also commented on the elevation and terrain difference here in the mountains — something none of our podium finishers really experience in their sea-level home states. “Fitness was key on the cross country course yesterday,” Jessie admitted, “and as James said, the footing was quite fast, so you’re not necessarily expecting them to get as tired as they’re going to, but they feel it every bit of it. Even as a rider you feel it! The air doesn’t get to your lungs as quickly — and I would consider myself a very fit person, I often ride multiple horses a day — but honestly, after yesterday I had a whopping headache, and I was exhausted.”

Comments on the increasingly difficult temperatures were also plentiful — the phrase “dry heat” appeared multiple times in every conversation. “For the horses to perform the way they did yesterday and then come back and do what they did today, I think that’s just a testament to how much they really want to do it for us.”

At the end of this long, hot week, I’ve had an unbelievable experience immersing myself in this amazing world. Stay tuned for a social media dump soon, as I’m sure nothing short of a mile-long album can come close to capturing the essence of this incredible event.

The Halt Cancer at X initiative had excellent success in generosity of sponsors and donors this week as well, reaching $1 million consecutive donations to the fund.

Huge congratulations to all our winners and award recipients, with unending praise to the organizers, staff, vendors, and everyone who makes this event possible. Click here to see a summary of all our weekend winners. Only 12 months until the next Rebecca!

Kyle Carter and Gstar Van De Klinkenberg. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Helen Alliston and Flinterro Z. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

EN’s coverage of Rebecca Farm is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. You can learn all about Kentucky Performance Products’ full line of trusted, science-backed nutritional supplements by visiting

The Event at Rebecca Farm (Kalispell, MT) [Website] [Ride Times/Scoring] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

#JumpForJordie: Celebrating a Life of Cheer and Love

Jordan Taylor and Dartmouth celebrate their finish at Galway Downs 2021. Photo by Kim Miller.

The Western eventing world mourns the loss of Jordan Taylor, an eventer based out of California, after an tragic accident occurred while competing in a triathlon. This week at The Event at Rebecca Farm, orange ribbons and sunflowers were worn in remembrance of “Jordie” by many riders and members of the community who felt the loss of her incredible presence and bright personality.

FEI competitors Emilee Libby and Katy Robinson shared their deep love for Jordie while recalling fond memories of their close-knit group of friends, including Jordie as well as fellow Area VI riders Ashlyn Dorsey and Bill Olson. The group first met in 2011 at Kingsway Farm in Temecula, California, where they all worked and rode for Canadian Team rider Hawley Awad (née Bennett).

Originally from Utah, Jordie moved to the coast with her mare Cambridge after graduating college, where the group would then live together for over five years. The five friends went on to ride, travel, compete, and party together, inseparable from the start — and when Emilee and Katy began to move up to the upper levels of the sport, the others shifted to become an incredible support group for their fellow rising stars.

Those close to Jordie offered memorial ribbons and sunflower charms to competitors at Rebecca Farm 2023.

Bill Olson, a Utah native from Park City, had known Jordan from a much younger age, first meeting the energetic horse-crazy girl at the young age of seven. “We had a summer camp program that Jordan’s parents brought her to when she was seven,” he reminisces. “I was in my 20s and I was teaching her lessons on her pony… We would go around to summer shows in Utah and then we would travel to Tucson — and back then it was to do the A rated shows in the winter circuit.

“I moved away in 2000 when she was still pretty young, and about 10 years later we reconnected on Facebook and then started talking a lot. She was riding obviously, and she switched to eventing from hunter-jumpers, so I drove down to Galway to watch her compete. She came up here to do the one-star with Theron and I flew up just to watch and kind of help her out, and then after that we were kind of inseparable. She got me back into riding again.”

Her friends say Jordie was easily the catalyst of their close bond. “Jordan kind of latched on to Emilee and was like, ‘You need to be part of our friend group’,” Bill laughs. “So then we became friends and we were the kind of the ‘HB Eventing Crew’ that just hung out and started going to shows together. I started leasing a horse and we all started competing with each other.”

Jordan Taylor on Cambridge rocked around the big cross country course at Copper Meadows 2013 adding only time penalties to move up to 6th. Photo by Bill Olson.

Katy Robinson recalls first meeting Jordan at Woodside Horse Trials, describing how Jordie would hang chains on Cambridge’s stall to allow the mare to “play her music”.

“Right away, you’re just drawn to her, because she’s super animated and her horse is making all this noise,” Katy laughs. As such a bright and cheerful person, it seems only fitting that the color orange and sunflowers were some of her favorite things. She was easily associated with the happy color, and her friends would always end up buying orange things for her as gifts on their many travels.

“She was always the outgoing, smiling, happy, loud laughing — sometimes inappropriate [person],” says Bill. “There’s things that drove me crazy sometimes — I look back now and she could just be that. But everybody loved her; she was everyone’s positive energy. She was always your biggest cheerleader, she was always your biggest fan, and she pumped you up, like ‘you got this!'”

“If you had a bad day, she would text you flowers,” Emilee says. “She was selfless.”

Katherine Robinson and Teki to the Limit at Rebecca Farm 2023. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Ashlyn Dorsey joined the group less than a year later when she imported a horse and moved to Kingsway Farm from Colorado. “Katy was a working student for Hawley, Emily and I were kind of training with her, and Bill was training with her, so that’s how we all started becoming friends. Bill would come down on the weekends from L.A. and we would do spaghetti nights over in Jordan’s apartment before she moved in with him.”

“We were always talking to each other and we were always texting each other,” Bill says. “When I wanted to bitch about something, it was Jordan that I would call — I would text Emilee, but I would call Jordan. It was just the nature of our friendship — she was always there.”

Jordan Taylor and Dartmouth. Photo by Kim Miller.

“We were friends outside the horse world,” Ashlyn says, “and we did more life things together too. Bill would run marathons and we’d go cheer him on, we’d go down together to San Diego.” The group would share hotel rooms together whenever they’d travel to Kentucky, and Bill remarks that he and Jordie climbed Mt. Whitney together just three years ago.

Jordie was remembered by all as an incredibly athletic and fit person, frequently running in multiple marathons and triathlons. “We ran a 10K together,” Bill says. “She had done a couple of triathlons before the last one, and then she she hiked 10 miles the day before the triathlon… like she was active. She liked to get out and do things and ride her bike — she was a little spitfire.”

“She was super active in cycling and hiking and a bunch of other stuff — her focus kind of turned,” Ashlyn remarks. “She always loved the horses and wanted to do it, but she was also kind of starting to live outside [the horse world].”

In the last few years, Jordan had retired Cambridge after breeding her and began working on bringing up her colt, Dartmouth. Since moving back down from the Advanced life, she, Bill, and Ashlyn would often follow Emilee around to groom at her bigger competitions, like Kentucky in 2021.

Ashlyn mentions that while their roles seemed to all have shifted in the last few years, Jordie never stopped being the enthusiastic cheerleader at every turn. Despite working full-time in the professional field, she and “baby Dartmouth” won the Modified division at Galway Downs last year, which Ashlyn was helping to manage while Emilee rode and helped coach the pair.

Emilee Libby and Toska at Rebecca Farm 2023. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

“[Jordan] is the reason we’re all best friends,” Bill notes. “And I would consider these guys my best friends — like if anything happens in my life, it’s these guys and Jordan. She’s the reason — she was the one who drags everyone together.”

“Rebecca Farm was her favorite event. She always said, ‘I wish I could run around Kentucky cross country one time’, but she ran the old three-star here. She competed here at least six or seven times since we’ve become friends.” Since taking on the task of bringing Dartmouth up the levels, Jordan hadn’t been traveling quite as much. “She was trying to get him ready to come up here,” Bill says of her plans for the horse she’d brought up from a foal.

Jordan had big dreams of a five-star one day on her young horse, but her friends have now taken over a split responsibility for Dartmouth since her passing. “We’re just trying to find like a really good home with probably a dressage rider or someone — we just want him to go to a good home, hopefully someplace where we can try to keep tabs on him… since now he’s like an adopted family member,” Katy says.

Jordan Taylor and Cambridge in the Advanced division at Twin Rivers 2013. Photo by Bill Olson.

Jordan’s memory lives on in those close to her, and I must admit that I got pretty choked up watching her closest friends wearing her ribbon while soaring over the triple sunflower oxer on this final day at Rebecca Farm. Her vibrant personality and outgoing love for everyone will be deeply missed by everyone in our community.

Reporter’s Notebook: Seeing Becky’s Vision & the Long Roads to Rebecca Farm

While our riders today attacked a typical Ian Stark “bold and brave” track, I attacked the terrain myself while trying to find any hint of shade or breeze. The grounds were buzzing much earlier than previous days as the top riders were readying at dawn for their upcoming gallops.

I was able to hang around the vet box area for a good while this morning, which was incredibly educational for someone like me who has never experienced an FEI event. I was very impressed by the organized chaos taking place — while it may seem like a madhouse from a glance, you can definitely see the practiced coordination when you take a closer look.

The 4* misting station and vet box setup. Photo by Allie Heninger.

We could never talk enough about how vital each rider’s team is after their run, and Rebecca Farm has certainly done a stellar job setting up everything the riders and horses will need to fully recover. I helped at the vet box for my own trainer after her first CCI2* run, and the intensity and atmosphere there is real. With free troughs of ice and water to help with the stifling heat and four large shaded misting fan stations, it was reassuring to see how seriously everyone was taking the conditions and how dedicated the staff are to ensuring each horse’s proper recovery.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Moonshine. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

After securing a 7 point lead in dressage yesterday, Liz Halliday-Sharp was able to take a comfortable pace on course today with The Monster Partnership’s Cooley Moonshine in the CCI4*-L. The rather tumultuous course was impressively long, a distance of 6035 meters with an optimum time of 10:36 — a good three and a half minutes longer than the 4*-S and built to intimidate.

Despite 6.4 time penalties, Liz and “Billy” still maintained their lead over the second place pair, but unfortunately Liz disclosed this afternoon that she will be withdrawing Billy prior to showjumping tomorrow — always one to put the good of her horse first. Liz later shared on social media:

“This sport is so tough and the ups and downs are really hard… Today my wonderful partner, Cooley Moonshine, truly could not have given me any more around the the 4L track at the beautiful Rebecca Farm. He made the course feel easy and he never put a foot wrong around the whole track. This is such a stoic horse who loves his job so much and when we finished the course I was surprised to see that he had pulled both front shoes along the way. While he tackled the course very well, it became apparent once his adrenaline had come down that he was quite sore from running without front shoes for most of the course. I love all of my horses and it was obvious in this situation that I had to put Billy’s best interests in mind and to withdraw him from the competition. While of course this was a tough decision when we were leading the class, I know that I made the right choice for my horse. Thank you to my entire team for the love, care and endless support behind the scenes. Today was rough, but we are thankful to be here to fight another day with our special horses.”

While we will not have the chance to see her and Cooley Moonshine in the ring tomorrow, we wish her the best of luck on her horses entered in the lower levels.

James Alliston and Karma. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

James Alliston‘s lovely black mare Karma was moving like a machine on course, making one of just two double clear rounds today. “It’s hot, right?” James asks, not really needing an answer as I had been huddling next to the misting fans myself for the last hour. “Like, I know it’s only ten o’clock in the morning, but [Karma] felt the heat a little bit.”

James was incredibly attentive to his horse in the vet box, working side by side with his grooms for at least thirty minutes to make sure that Karma was appropriately cooled, and even working to pull her studs himself while graciously describing his course to me. “She’s a really, really good galloper. She’s easy to pick up — once I say ‘go’ a little bit, she flies off. I was really happy. It all went as I planned, really; she just jumped really well and gave me a lot of confidence right from the start… I’m thrilled with today and with yesterday and I’m just really proud of her.”

Always looking for moments of improvement in himself and his young horses, James admits that the rather imposing coffin did cause a bit of a stumble while on course. “She was a little bit wiggly through [the coffin] — but they had a similar one at Kentucky and she was the same — she sort of really backed up at the ditch. But she did do one and one, which was good, because at Kentucky she added an extra step. I need to practice that, I need to get better at that with her!”

After moving up so quickly from the lower levels, and with such success in the few events she has run in, James definitely seems capable of pulling off a three-year hat trick and snagging his third championship title in a row, should everything go his way tomorrow. “She’s a good show jumper,” he says, “but she wouldn’t have normally done this much galloping, so she should be a bit more tired. We’ll take it one fence at a time. She’s sort of made quick progress, and I’m excited for her going forward as well.”

Madison Temkin and MVP Madbum. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Madison Temkin was ecstatic with her OTTB mare, MVP Madbum, upon completion of her double-clear round, maintaining her dressage score of 38.4. “I went out of the box and in all honesty, I just wanted to have a good go around. I actually had no intention of making the time as well, but she’s just so fast,” Maddy says. “This is her first four-long and actually her fourth at the Advanced level — she’s done an Advanced and two four-shorts. I got her off the track and I’ve done everything on her and we know each other quite well. We definitely had some years where we argued a bit, but I can go so quick on her because she’s so adjustable, and I just have to sit up and say ‘hey girl!’ and she picks it up. I could just keep the same rhythm the whole way around. I think that’s really the beauty of a Thoroughbred and the beauty of a long format. I couldn’t have been happier with her — she was absolutely amazing.”

Maddy recently became the inaugural winner of the exchange program with the Millstreet Horse Trials, thanks to her win as the top placed young adult rider (18-25) in the FEI divisions at the Maryland Horse Trials earlier this month. When asked about her plans going into show jumping tomorrow, Maddy states that since Madbum is still a bit young, and with this being her first run at the level, she can definitely feel like a different horse after such a long gallop. “She’s generally a pretty careful horse,” Maddy says, “but with that being said, she hasn’t galloped for almost 11 minutes before. She is a Thoroughbred, so she’s very efficient in her jump and she really jumps across. We’re definitely going to do everything we can tonight and tomorrow morning to make sure that she feels fresh.”

Andrew McConnon and Wakita 54. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

After moving up the start times for the CCI4* divisions to avoid the unfortunate heat we had in store today, we saw our four 4*-S riders bright and early at 9 a.m. this morning. Andrew McConnon on his own mare Wakita 54 shot up the rankings from fourth to first with just 3 seconds of time added over the optimum of 7:00 for a score of 38.9 — an impressive 7.5 points ahead of Tamie Smith, who was slotted down into second place after 17.2 time penalties on this expansive track. Emilee Libby kept a strong hold on her third place position, heading into show jumping on a score of 56.5 after the reportedly “brutally long” track.

“She’s as bold as anything, as brave as anything, but she’s becoming more accustomed to listening to me a little bit more,” Andrew explains of the Dutch Warmblood mare’s quick nature. “She’s a really good cross country horse. She’s bold and brave, and she loves it. I’m not able to go quick all the time with her, but I do choose a couple events in which I go a little bit faster. She would like to go quick all the time, but I think every few events just taking it easy, so I targeted this as one to let her travel a little bit to help with her fitness in the hills. I was very aware of the elevation — I’ve never been here before, so I didn’t know how she would cope with that — but she is very fit just in nature and she loved it, so she had a really good time.”

“I had a little bit of a big jump at the hanging log there,” Andrew says while recapping his ride. “I thought she was maybe going to add a stride — I had my leg on, but in true fashion, she just jumped the whole thing.” The Bayou-style combinations in the Avery Island pond have been tripping people up all day, with Lucia Strini taking an unfortunate refusal on Excel Cool Quality there that moved her down to fourth place, and Buck Davidson later taking a fall in the 4*-L. There was also quite a bit of trouble seen at the complex just prior to the 4*-S, as the Intermediate riders saw quite the leaderboard shakeup due to one rider fall, another with one refusal, and four riders with three refusals (of which Maegen Bingham retired Not So Normal and Julia Beauchamp Crandon was eliminated).

As a fellow #RebeccaVirgin (is it catching on yet?), I was also excited to talk to Andrew about his experience thus far, and he was equally delighted to express his love for the event. “I’ve had a lot of ties to Rebecca Farm, but never made it out myself,” he explains. “I’ve sent students for young riders, I’ve sent students for the AEC, Marc Donovan — who has showjump course designed here for many years — is who I moved to Southern Pines to train with for a long time, and then Max Corcoran — I got one of my first horses off of Max, who is very instrumental here. So everyone has said for years that I need to make it out and it’s just not been in the cards, but I thought this year would be a really good time to come out and see what it’s all about — and it’s definitely lived up to the hype.”

“It’s incredible what they do,” he reflects, “not only in terms of the competition, but what they do helping the riders get out here — and everybody’s so friendly! There’s so many volunteers. I’ve had nothing but a great experience so far, but the the generosity is mind blowing.” It’s thanks to the incredible support of the Broussard Family’s sponsored travel grants that Andrew and Wakita were able to finally make the trek from South Carolina this year. “Without that generosity, I wouldn’t be able to come out,” he admits. “I own this horse myself and it’s a long way [to travel to Montana].” In an effort to pay back the kindness, Andrew even arrived to the farm early with plans to volunteer in the days leading up to his rides. “I got here Monday, and I tried to volunteer as much as I could earlier in the week. I did some Beginner Novice dressage, and then ring steward, and then I did the Beginner Novice cross country jump judging.

“Yesterday, right after dressage,” Andrew also admits, “we even went up and went whitewater rafting in Glacier [National Park]. So that’s been really fun — cooled off a little bit in the water. It’s a beautiful state.” The barnmates I traveled here with also went to take a dip in a nearby lake after their dressage rounds (without me, unfortunately), so I definitely understand the urge to experience a water break during this pretty steady heatwave. He also shared many similar first-timer views as myself in regards to the unparalleled grounds and venue as a whole. “There’s places to hack, which is really nice. I’m big about getting the horses out of the ring and hacking, and here you can hack for miles, so I really enjoy that. Everyone’s so enthusiastic; you go around the cross country and you feel like you’re at — which we are — a really big event. People are cheering and getting into it, so that’s a really nice feeling.”

Tamie Smith and Kynan. Photo by Ariel Korin.

As a member of the committee that interviews recipients for the Broussard’s Developing Rider grants, Tamie Smith also expressed her gratitude for the family’s vision and passion. “They’re really looking out for the longevity, and the ‘other’ people, not just the ones that are on the verge of already making it. I think it really inspires these people — I know that’s what it did for me,” Tamie admits. “In 2012, I received the ‘Little Becky’ grant, and in maybe 2015 I received the international ‘Big Becky’ grant,” she states. “It’s been extremely instrumental in the development of my career. As kind of somebody coming up in the sport, it seems not so attainable to be able to become a team rider when you are in a place where financially, you don’t have unending funds — I’m not self-funded — so it’s an expensive endeavor to try to get to the top of the sport and produce your horses and have the horses and then be able to make a team.”

Tamie references the difficulties of becoming a top rider when based on the West coast. “I would say that Becky being able to have this vision of helping riders who potentially have the ability, but don’t necessarily have a leg up — it was extremely unbelievable to have that. I don’t know that I would have necessarily believed in myself without having the committee believe in me, and I’m not certain I would have had the recognition of that. It really means a lot to me, and everything they do for the community and for our sport is just second to none out of any other event in the country.

“We all say that we wish Becky were still here to see, because she never got to see the recipients of the grants and what they did for everybody. I think 99.9% of the riders who have received these grants haven’t even done a five-star yet, let alone ridden on the team — you can’t have ridden on a team to get the grant — and so to just see the multiple riders that have been able to boost their careers and their experience, it’s unbelievable.”

The 2022 recipients of the Rebecca Broussard Charitable Foundation Developing Rider Grants. From left to right: Sarah Broussard, Chris Talley, James Alliston, Rebecca Brown, Kaylawna Smith-Cook, Valerie Pride, Jerome and Beth Broussard. USEA/Meagan DeLisle photo.

The 22+ hour drive from Temecula is definitely a long one for Tamie and her team, but she says it’s all worth it. “To be able to have a place like this to take our horses and produce them and get them into this atmosphere and these type of world-class cross country courses and show jumping — even the stadium where all the international competitions are — it’s really beneficial to producing horses. It’s a far drive for us, but it’s worth every blistering hot hour.”

Tamie and her young horse Kynan are currently sitting in second place in the 4*-S, and she’s very proud of his efforts on the course. “It’s Ian Stark,” she says simply, “and there’s always something on there that you’re a little bit like, ‘Ah, how’s this gonna ride?’ But I think it’s a very nice track for [Kynan] for his first time. I think that the four-long actually looks quite beefy,” she admits. “The cross country courses here are so galloping and open, and they do such a good job on the ground and the decorations of the fences. I’m excited to be out here. It’s one of my favorite places to be — it’s actually my favorite place to be other than Kentucky.”

Emilee Libbey and Toska. Photo by Ariel Korin.

Emilee Libby, riding Natalia Valente’s Toska, was very pleased with the mare’s performance on what was only her second run at the level. “We ran in the four-star at Galway,” she explains, “but it’s hard to judge that one because it’s home for us — that’s where we’re based out of — so this is really her first Advanced off property, and we hadn’t run since March. She’s really bold out there and she’ll jump whatever’s in front of you. It’s just control with her, so being able to go faster is gonna be a work in progress, and just getting her fit.”

Her extra time penalties may have been due to Toska losing not just one, but both front shoes early on in the course. “It was a little bit slick. She pulled a couple shoes early on, so I felt like I just kind of had to nurse her a little bit around the back half… But it was a fun course — it made you work for sure.”

In our 2* and 3* divisions, we’ve seen a few shakeups across the board. Jordan Lindstedt and FE Friday, our 3*-L leaders after dressage, were slotted down into third place after 3.2 time penalties. Jennie Saville presented one of just two double-clear rounds made at the level aboard Pascal, moving up from fourth to second place, while Helen Alliston and Flinterro Z crossed the line just one second over optimum time, taking the lead heading into stadium jumping on a 31.0.

Helen Alliston and Flinterro Z. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Our 3*-S leader Alyssa Phillips maintained her lead on Oskar with just 4 seconds added to her dressage — the fastest run in a field with no double-clears in sight. After finishing last year as the silver medalists in the 4*-L here at Rebecca Farm, we don’t expect her to want to give up her position easily. Karen O’Neal was previously tied with herself for fourth on Clooney, but moved up to second place with just 3.2 time faults (and down to sixth place with Bon Vivant GWF). Tamie Smith and Crafty Don add just a handful of time to keep a strong hold on her third place position.

Alyssa Phillips and Oskar. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

And finally, in the 2*-L, we have Alyssa Phillips once again hanging on to her second leadership placing with a double-clear round, this time aboard Cornelius Bo. Julia Beauchamp Crandon on MGH Capa Vilou and Erin Hoffman aboard UBQuiet — our previous eighth-place tie — has moved up together to second, both with double-clear rounds on a score of 30.7.

Alyssa Phillips and Cornelius Bo. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

We have just one more day left of Rebecca Farm (say it isn’t so!), and it all comes to a close tomorrow! Keep up with the action on EN’s Instagram as I attempt to capture some final beautiful moments here in the mountains.

EN’s coverage of Rebecca Farm is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. You can learn all about Kentucky Performance Products’ full line of trusted, science-backed nutritional supplements by visiting

The Event at Rebecca Farm (Kalispell, MT): [Website] [Ride Times/Scoring] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Reporter’s Notebook: Across the Montana Country at Rebecca Farm, Home of the Ogopogo

Photo by Shannon Brinkman. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

As both a #RebeccaVirgin and an FEI event first-timer, I’ve obviously been in heaven here at Rebecca Farm the last few days. Today, after receiving a massage in the Vendor Village tent, I spoke the words, “can I get a deep fried cookie dough topped with ice cream?” to a food truck lady and proceeded to eat it on a picnic table in the middle of a beautiful grass field while watching some Classic Three-Day riders fly by on course… so yes, I’ve had a very good day.

This is the peak of athleticism.

In anticipation of tomorrow’s Cross Country Day, I want to not just give an overview of Ian Stark’s CCI4*-L course (check out our Instagram reel of all the 4*-L jumps here!), but also take a look at the other awesome jump designs featured across the levels as well — because let’s be honest, that’s what a large majority of you readers would be riding! Take a look at the course maps here to follow along while watching.

All levels from Novice up will be starting with the famous Rebecca Train, which gives us seven different options of varying levels of brightness. As some of my teammates mentioned earlier on this week, it’s more the situation that’s “looky” rather than the jumps themselves, as very few horses have actually seemed to care much at all about the seemingly-imposing line.

Next up for Beginner Novice through Training is what I consider to be a very photogenic line — even featuring some friendly riding advice.

The Western Town feature is quite the fun corner with tons of cute hidden easter eggs. The 2* and Prelim levels get a rather tricky approach around a rather prominent mound — atop which sits the famous Stetson jump — and through the keyhole of a sheriff’s office. Between the “City Hall” and “First Interstate Bank” lies a nice water complex for many of the lower levels.


The Training level and Novice Three-Day levels were blessed with the full array of food court fun, featuring a 9ab Carrot-to-Corn combination while the coveted Hot Dog jump was reserved just for the Classic Novice riders.

Training level riders seem to be getting all the fun designs, as one of their last questions is the “Doggie Jump”, complete with a scattering of real dog treats for those walking to distribute among their walking friends.

In terms of the upper level courses, we head out in another direction from the start, heading for the “Ogopogo” and Avery Island pond, where we see some very stunning water complexes that start to have more and more of that Ian flair. For those who also had to look it up, it turns out that the “Ogopogo” is Canada’s Loch Ness Monster of sorts — a mythical water creature who inhabits a lake in British Columbia… and also a small pond within a cross country course. Those darn things must travel fast.

Say hello to “Ogopogito”.

This line of tables are particularly gorgeous, where we can once again see just how much meticulous care and thought is put into every one of these obstacles. They are also very appropriately named, as these really are out in the boonies of the far north corner of the tracks.

Around this combination is where I started to really say, “Oh wow okay, here’s that 4* flair.” While every jump is beautifully designed and thoughtfully placed, I think giving a single question in a duck combination its own little water complex is some next-level dedication.

And finally, the Tree Pond nestled between the native Reservation and the Cavalry Camp areas isn’t even involved in any of the questions, it’s just plain beautiful (look at that goose living his best life). A few of the levels go right around the edge of this water, and I honestly wouldn’t mind the time faults taken by just taking a little pit stop to admire this grotto of tranquility. Maybe not too long though, because this is still Montana, and bugs are still a thing.

And now that you’ve been appropriately convinced of the majesty that is the Rebecca course, let’s get on to the FEI rider placements after a hot day in the sandbox!

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Moonshine take the lead in Rebecca Farm’s CCI4*-L. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Liz Halliday-Sharp has stolen the lead in our CCI4*-L today by over five points after a particularly clean and refreshing test aboard The Monster Partnership’s Cooley Moonshine. Currently scoring 25.6, this weekend will hopefully mark the 11-year-old gelding’s first completion at the level, as the pair looks to build on their sixth place finish at Tryon’s 4*-S last month. Thanks to being one of 19 recipients of the Rebecca Broussard Travel Grants, the pair was able to make their way West from Ocala, Florida, to tackle Kalispell’s sprawling course.

“He’s spectacular,” says Liz. “I’ve had him from a five-year-old so we’ve been together a long time. He’s quite a quirky, interesting horse. He’s quite an edgy character, but he’s getting better and better with age and he’s been trying really, really hard for me, so I’m thrilled with him.” Liz and “Billy” haven’t scored outside the top ten in the since 2021 when they first moved up to the 4* level, so we expect to see the show continue on a positive note for them tomorrow. Billy has quite the record to be sure, as the two have only one cross country jump fault on record, and Liz’s success here last year as the champion of both the 3*-L and the 4*-S certainly doesn’t hurt.

Our second rider in the box today takes a second-place position going into Saturday, as Buck Davidson and 13-year-old Business Class look to complete their second ride together since Katherine O’Brien’s gelding transferred from Allie Knowles just a few months ago. The pair seemed to already be meshing quite well, and bring a score of 30.8 with them into cross country. This is Buck’s first time taking the long jaunt to Rebecca Farm from his Pennsylvania home base since 2018, and he clearly couldn’t have come at a better time. After taking the win in both the 3*-L at Tryon in May — their first event together — as well as the Advanced level at Stable View’s Horse Trials last month, it seems that us West Coasters may be in for a rare treat from this pair.

James Alliston, our Rebecca Farm 4*-L Champion two years running, sits in a comfortable third aboard Alliston Equestrian’s nine-year-old Oldenburg mare Karma, who makes her debut at the level this weekend after only five international events together. The pair have an incredibly clean record, with only two of their 20 runs outside the top ten. Their score today of 32.6 is a personal best in the FEI ring, and we can bet that this duo’s experience here at Rebecca Farm — including taking home a third at the American Eventing Championships last year — will easily allow them to maintain their spot inside the ribbons.

Our elite little 4*-S squad is led by Tamie Smith and young eight-year-old Kynan on a score of 29.2, another 4* debut of the week. Tamie and Kynan traveled out to Tryon in May to take a solid second place in the 3*-L, with four other top-five international runs already under their belt. “He just keeps doing all the things… almost exceeds my expectations,” Tamie says of the bay gelding. “He was super today. It’s his first Advanced test — first four-star — and I was ecstatic with him.”

The pair have only been together since June 2022, when Kynan and Tamie ran Training level at the Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials, and Tamie has been very enthusiastic about his quick progress. “I had a couple of little green moments, but nothing that maybe the untrained eye wouldn’t have been able to see,” she states. “He really went in there and tried and was with me the whole way, so I’m super, really proud of him. He’s an exciting horse.”

A memorial plaque for Solaguayre California on course.

Lucia Strini follows a good six points behind Tamie in the 4*-S aboard Excel Cool Quality on a 35.4, followed closely behind by Emilee Libby and Toska at 36.9.

While Alyssa Phillips maintained both of her leads in the 2*-L and the 3*-S overnight aboard Cornelius Bo and Oskar, Jordan Lindstedt slid right in to the first position in the 3*-L with Kiran D’Souza’s FE Friday at 29.1.

Don’t miss out on cross country day tomorrow — be sure to tune in and follow #TheBestEventInTheWest live (for free!) with Ride On Video and Horse & Country.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

EN’s coverage of Rebecca Farm is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. You can learn all about Kentucky Performance Products’ full line of trusted, science-backed nutritional supplements by visiting

The Event at Rebecca Farm (Kalispell, MT) [Website] [Ride Times/Scoring] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Photos by Allie Heninger unless otherwise noted.

Reporter’s Notebook: “If You Build It, They Will Come” to The Event at Rebecca Farm

Fence 18 on course for the CCI4*-L at Rebecca Farm. Photo by Allie Heninger.

“The most beautiful event all year.”

“One of my favorite events.”

“Not to be missed.”

The Event at Rebecca Farm truly is a corner of Western eventing paradise. Riders of all levels across the country hold Rebecca as “a bucket list event”, and as a self-appointed “Rebecca Virgin”, it didn’t take long to see why. In fact, I was already in love before we even drove through the entrance gates – the rolling fields of grass are like Disneyland to those of us making the 12+ hour trek from the mountain deserts.

My first impression of this truly stunning venue was that it appears to be meticulously cared for with no expense spared. Every inch of the grounds is manicured and polished with an efficient layout and tasteful design. My multi-layered sunburn may be the only negative I’ve experienced this week — although the crew here has certainly kept that in mind as well, offering multiple water stations, misting areas after cross country, and bagged ice across the grounds.

A close second to the facility’s extreme attention to detail was that as much as this event caters to the upper levels, they seem to put just as much effort into providing an equally high-class experience for riders in the lower levels. Just one walk of the cross country course shows that they hope for everyone to be included in the amazing educational experience offered here. From “Good Luck Ponies” and “Decision Dinos” to the amazing swag bags received with each rider’s packet, all riders ared taken care of and everyone feels like a part of the community.

During the competitor’s briefing, all riders are offered Good Luck Ponies, Lucky Leap Frogs, and Decision Dinos. Photo by Allie Heninger.

As someone who has not yet attended any East coast events, I hope my assessment is able to accurately present an unbiased viewpoint of an event that is so vital to the Western US. Traveling here to Kalispell with my trainer and fellow riders from our barn family, I was amazed that despite the large number of competitors, the community still remains very close with everyone seemingly knowing everyone. Each class in the national divisions have at least one rider I recognize from our own Area IX events, and while going out to dinner at a local restaurant, we even ran into a rider from Utah working there as a server, as she had been up here training in the area for the last few months.

While I myself have limited in-person event experiences to offer up in comparison, I hope that my naivety may actually serve to provide an opinion similar to those like me in our sparsely-populated western regions — where a majority of this week’s competitors have traveled from. While we may, as a teammate of mine joked, give off pretty “feral vibes” by default, Rebecca is a chance for us all to get cleaned up, show off a little, and experience a taste of what those on the East coast may often take for granted.

In case you still haven’t fully grasped the beauty that this venue and event hold, just take a scroll through Rebecca Farm’s Instagram as well as tagged posts from competitors, and you’ll be blessed with some drool-worthy shots of the stunning landscape, those amazing framing mountains, some truly stunning waterscapes, and the actual dream-worthy gallop lanes through their hay fields. I’ve been a horse girl my whole life, and never have I wanted to be a horse more than this week here at these grounds. Our poor Utah horses are so confused, not only about their food actually growing out of the ground, but that they are living in the horse-equivalent of how I would feel in a room packed with charcuterie grazing tables (look it up if you don’t already know — you’ll never be the same).

One huge win for Rebecca this year was the inclusion of the event’s first ever Beginner Novice course, courtesy of the venue hosting last year’s American Eventing Championships. Over 850 entries poured in from competitors for the Beginner Novice level after opening, with only 150 riders winning the coveted “Rebecca Lottery” and receiving acceptance to the event. They say “if you build it, they will come”, and they certainly did.

Now that this event runs nearly every possible level from Beginner Novice to CCI4*-L, Rebecca is truly a gift for all. Trainers and coaches riding in the FEI levels are warming up next to junior riders wearing saddle pads in all colors of the neon rainbow, and there are 12-year-olds from Wyoming seeing Olympic riders for their first time at the ice cream food truck. Every division’s cross country course is littered with interesting and custom obstacles, not only the upper levels, so many of those at Training level will have their first opportunity to ever jump a moose or an ear of corn. Many will also have their first chance to ride in or witness a Classic Three-Day Event series, offered at the Novice and Training Levels, for which several educational opportunities and walks have already been offered this week.

Could Rebecca Broussard have ever imagined how big this would become and how much of an impact she would have on eventers from across the country? Her vision and passion have certainly been carried on through her foundations and family, who not only generously provided travel grants to 19 riders this year, but several National and International Developing Rider Grants as well to those they hope to see progressing further in the sport.

Sunset is my favorite time to course walk. Photo by Allie Heninger.

Today’s roster included the first day of dressage for some of our FEI riders. Leading both the CCI2*-L and 3*-S divisions from today is Alyssa Phillips — all the way from Ocala, Florida — aboard her own mounts Cornelius Bo (Concours Complet – Charlotte, by Carismo) and Oskar (Coriando – Nicole, by Marlo). While she and Oskar will remain in first position heading into cross country on Saturday, we still have a few remaining riders in the 2*-L tomorrow that still have the chance to contest her lead. We expect to see an excellent show from Oskar, who took last year’s silver in Rebecca Farm’s 4*-L and were champions at the Maryland International 3*-S just weeks prior.

Karen O’Neal aboard Clooney 14, owned by Annika Asling, and Tamie Smith riding Julianne Guariglia’s Crafty Don follow closely behind Alyssa in the 3*-S, with Erin Kellerhouse tying with herself for 4th place heading into the next phase.

Alyssa Phillips and Oskar lead the CCI3*-S after dressage.

Stay tuned in here at EN for more to come while I experience this all for the first time; I can only hope that many of our readers will be inspired to make the journey here to see it all for themselves. Tomorrow is Dressage Day for our 4* riders, and you won’t want to miss the absolutely stunning show I’ve been catching glimpses of in the warmup ring. For those watching from home, you can watch the livestream of #TheBestEventInTheWest (if that’s not already a hashtag, I’d like to propose that we make it one) for free on both Horse & Country and Ride On Video.

Good luck to everyone tomorrow and Go Eventing!

EN’s coverage of Rebecca Farm is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. You can learn all about Kentucky Performance Products’ full line of trusted, science-backed nutritional supplements by visiting

The Event at Rebecca Farm (Kalispell, MT) [Website] [Ride Times/Scoring] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Sunday Links from SmartPak

I love nothing more than seeing pictures of top-level horses just being horses. Here, Laura Collet has gifted us all with a very cute Between the Ears moment on one of our most recent 5* champions, London 52, as they partake in what looks to be a very lovely and very green hack out in the fields. If that’s not a happy horse, what is?

U.S. Weekend Action

Champagne Run at the Park H.T. (Lexington, KY): Website | Scoring | Entry Status & Ride Times

The Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy Farm (Adamstown, MD): Website | ScoringRide Times | Entry Status

Links to Start Your Sunday:

Lillian Heard Wood’s team is hiring

… and so is Team Price!

Olympian Mighty Nice is enjoying his retirement at True Prospect Farm

Hard ground: why it is a problem for your horse and how to help

‘City to Saddle’ brings kids from Dallas’ Bonton neighborhood to Equest barn

Weekly Pick from SmartPak: Horses are basically the law enforcement of the barn 🤷‍♀️ Check out this great tweet from SmartPak.

Morning Viewing: As it turns out, Thomas is just not that into cake. On Cue — queen that she is — simply didn’t want to dirty her very royal nose, but the rest of Boyd Martin’s five-star crew were more than happy to have their cake and eat it too. I’m not going to lie to you… I watched this at least three times — it’s incredibly cute.