Articles Written 131
Article Views 174,315

Cheg Darlington

Achievements

Become an Eventing Nation Blogger

About Cheg Darlington

Latest Articles Written

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

If you watched the FEI Nations Cup final in Boekelo last season, you’ll remember that water and all the problems it caused, not least for reigning Olympic champion and overnight leader Julia Krajewski, riding Nickel 21, who, like a number of other competitors that day, took an early bath and ducked out of the competition. The footing was checked, of course – over and over – but the trips kept coming. It’s not the first time the main water has been a talking point for the wrong reasons at Boekelo, so it’s great news that the team are already on the case, with an update from course designer Adrian Ditcham detailing the changes being made as well as some exciting new fences to look forward to. Find out more in the video above.

Talking of safety improvements in horse sport, last weekend the British racing calendar threw up a thought-provoking response to the problems seen at the English Grand National in 2023, by making data driven decisions and responding to the ever-presence of social license in a positive, productive way.

Often synonymous (for those who oppose the race, and also many who don’t) with horse falls and fatalities, the English Grand National is the subject of controversy each year, particularly given its enormous, global audience and widespread publicity. This year the broadcasting team placed much emphasis on the fact that objections had been heard – and paid heed to – and that specific changes had been made in response to detailed analysis of previous races. These decisions appear to have paid off, with no horse falls and no fatalities occurring this year, as well as more finishers than I can ever remember crossing the line. It has to be noted that this isn’t actually an anomaly in terms of records – there have been other years, prior to the changes, when horses didn’t die.

But we have to respect the way in which this year’s race was approached by the industry. For the viewing public it perhaps wasn’t so exciting as before the safety measures came into play (you could argue the same for eventing, if you’re of that ilk) – but as this piece suggests, if you’re of that disposition perhaps cage fighting is more up your street. For those of us involved in horse sports for the right reasons, in a world where social license is a real threat, it certainly felt like a stride in the right direction.

Before I sign off, it’s only right to mention that our first 5* of the season is imminent! More on this tomorrow, until then, here are the links you need:

Adelaide Equestrian Festival [Website] [5* Entries] [Schedule] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

In the spirit of International Haiku Poetry Day, I’ll wrap this up with a relevant offering:

Go go go go go
Go go go go go go go
Go-o eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

Fair Hill International April H.T. & CCI-S (Elkton, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Masterson Equestrian Trust YEH/NEH Qualifier (Lexington, KY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Meadowcreek Park – The Spring Social Event (Kosse, TX) [Website] [Entries][Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Ocala International Festival of Eventing (Ocala, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Sporting Days Farm April H.T. III (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer][Scoring]

Major International Events

Adelaide Equestrian Festival [Website] [5* Entries] [Schedule] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

UK International Events

Kelsall Hill International [Website] [Entries] [Scoring]

European International Events

Strzegom Spring Open II [Website] [Entries] [Timetable] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

Wednesday News and Reading

Call out for volunteer for MARS Bromont CCI. We all know the eventing world’s wheels would fall off if it wasn’t for the awesome volunteers we’re so lucky to have in our midst, and if you’re one of those very cool people, this one’s for you. If you’re able to help out at the event, which runs June 6-9, please sign up here.

Here’s your chance to win at Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event without having to jump the quite frankly terrifying fences. If you’re lucky enough to be heading to the Horse Park next week, make like a scavenger and join in the annual hunt. All you need to do to be in with a shout of some cool prizes is download this app. Happy hunting!

Staying on the topic of Kentucky, Doug Payne’s headed to the 5* with two rides – how does he handle the pressure of competing at the top of the sport? Find out how he manages his nerves, his training philosophies, what his competition routines are, what advice he’d give to his younger self, and more in these 9 Questions with Doug Payne.

What do Boyd Martin, Tim and Jonelle Price, Andrew Hoy, Piggy March, and now Ros Canter have in common? Aside from being top eventers and all around stars of our sport that is? This select bunch are Defender Burghley Horse Trials Ambassadors, helping to spread the word about what a cool event Burghley is. Ros has recently joined the ranks and is particularly excited as Burghley is in her home county. We’ll be seeing much more of the ambassadors in the run up to the event later on in the eventing season.

Did you know…? A horse’s brain is half the weight of a human’s, but is actually one of the biggest of all land mammals. If you’ve got space going spare in your brain, why not fill it with these ten fascinating facts about equine neurology?

Riding on the correct diagonal isn’t something instructors make up to keep you on your toes – it can actually affect the soundness of your horse. No matter what discipline you enjoy, working on the correct diagonal is really important, and making changes of diagonal throughout your ride is vital if you want your horse to be balanced under saddle. Unsure about which diagonal is the right one, or why it matters? Here’s everything you need to know.

Sponsor Corner

This beautiful modern French chateau style home now has a new price tag! Right across the street from Ocala’s World Equestrian Center, you can literally hack to the show. Sitting lake-side and next to a golf course, this 10,674 sq. ft. house is waiting for you to call it home. Discover your dream home.

Video Break

When you’re there for the legend’s parade but you really, really wanna be in the race. Two-time winner of the English Grand National Tiger Roll makes his feelings very clear about not being allowed a shot at delivering the hattrick.

A Sad Farewell to ‘Dream Catcher’ and ‘King of the South’ LV Balou Jeanz

Sarah Clark and LV Balou Jeanz making dreams come true at Burghley. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Written by Cheg Darlington and Tilly Berendt.

We’re incredibly sad to report the passing of LV Balou Jeanz, ‘Dream Catcher’ and best friend of Australia’s Sarah Clark. In Sarah’s words, “How do you say goodbye to someone you can’t imagine life without? How do you thank a lost best friend who made your world whole and fulfilled your life’s purpose?”. Our thoughts go out to Sarah, co-owners Gill, Colin and Linda Clark and everyone who worked with, knew and loved Jeanz.

The 14-year-old gelding suffered an accident in the stables whilst at the FEI Nations Cup in Montelibretti, Italy in March. He was treated by on-site vets before being relocated to an equine veterinary clinic where he received further treatment to stabilize his injuries. He was transfered to Newmarket Equine Hospital in the UK where his wounds were found to have reopened and the difficult but necessary decision was made that it was in his best interests for him to be euthanized.

Sarah shared the devastating news on her Instagram account yesterday:

“Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

I have neither the words nor the heart to give him the goodbye and thank you he deserves. So for now Ill just briefly summarise the chain of events for those who’ve asked with as little emotion as possible.

LV Balou Jeanz suffered an accident in the stables at Montelibretti, sustaining deep lacerations to a hind leg and tendons. He was stabilised on site by the treating vets before we relocated him to an equine Veterinary clinic somewhere between midnight and 2am. I am so grateful to the help I received particularly that night but also the days and weeks that have followed. Thank you, all of you xxxx

It was evident to the surgeons who treated him that his injuries would be the end of his sporting career. Though devastated, the mission became to get him back to the uk, healed, then to a happy retirement as babysitter to my future young horses in Australia.

I’d been waiting for good news to share before posting anything, but it breaks my heart that none shall ever come as the situation only worsened. Upon arriving at Newmarket Equine Hospital UK, his wounds had reopened and because of their positioning over a joint, it was proving exceptionally hard for surgeons to immobilise and stabilise the injury. The likelihood of wounds reopening again and again was high. Not only that but given his highly strung nature, the likelihood of him causing further damage to himself while contained was a significant risk. In short, after numerous agonising discussions with vets, family, mentors and dear dear friends, it was decided it was not in his best interests – mentally or physically – to subject him to painful treatment and rehabilitation likely to lead to an uncomfortable retirement at best.

So…

How do you say goodbye to someone you can’t imagine life without? How do you thank a lost best friend who made your world whole and fulfilled your life’s purpose?

I cannot.

So I simply say goodnight, my King, for in dreams we shall meet again ….”

In 2022, Sarah left her native Australia to embark upon a Great British 5* adventure with Jeanz, boarding the flight with no return ticket and no funds to buy one. The decision to chase her dream of competing at Badminton and Burghley came off the back of huge success with the gelding as he rocketed up the levels on his way to the top of the sport – in twelve CCI4* FEI runs, they were top 10 in seven of them, with two wins, one second, one third and one fourth place, proving what a special and talented event horse he was, and earning him Eventing South Australia’s Horse of the Year in 2018 and 2022.

His 5* debut came at Adelaide when he was just a 9-year-old, where he finished 12th.

On reaching British shores, Sarah and Jeanz were based with fellow 5* eventer David Doel and she set about crowdfunding her way to Badminton. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and she withdrew before the competition got underway as Jeanz wasn’t feeling 100%. But there was another big B on her bucket list and her dream came true when Jeanz finished just outside the top 20 at Burghley in 2022, returning last season to add another British 5* completion to this horse’s truly impressive record.

It’s a real blow to the sport to have lost such an exciting talent and devastating that we won’t again see him galloping across the country and fulfilling his potential. We’ll leave you with Sarah’s words: “Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”.

Thursday News & Notes from Ecogold

The only 5* set in a city center. Photo via Adelaide Equestrian Festival Facebook.

We’re just a week out from our first 5* of the year, which surely calls for a massive eventing high five! ✋

That’s right, this time next week the high flying horses and riders of the Aussie and Kiwi eventing scene (and their canines – yes, there is a ‘Dog Jog’, of course) will be strutting their stuff at the First Horse Inspection before embarking on the only 5* event to take place in a city center. It really is a sight to behold so it’s great news that those of us not able to make the trip can watch along on H&C+ (subscription required).

Mike Etherington-Smith is the man in charge of the cross country course – here’s what he has to say about designing in an Olympic year, making things fair to the horses, and whether he’ll be ‘mean Mike’ when it comes to the finishing touches:

Adelaide Equestrian Festival [Website] [5* Entries] [Schedule] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

Close on the heels of the Aussie offering, Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event kicks off in just two weeks time. Could we be more excited?! Hard no on that front, for sure. We’ll be bringing you MUCH MORE on this – you know it! – but for now, here’s Jay Hambly, assistant to course designer Derek di Grazia, with his insights into Derek’s designing:

Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event [Website] [Entries] [Schedule] [Tickets] [Scoring] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

We’ve got a big couple of weeks coming up, so lock on to EN, buckle up and go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

F.E.N.C.E. H.T. (Tryon, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Longleaf Pine H.T. (Raeford, NC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Unionville Horse Trials (Unionville, PA) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Spring Bay H.T. (Lexington, KY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Twin Rivers Spring International (Paso Robles, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

International Events

Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International (Norfolk, UK) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

North Holland Horse Trials (The Netherlands) [Website] [Entries] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

Thursday News and Reading

Kiwi Chef d’Equipe Jock Paget has both eyes on Paris as things start to get serious in selection meetings. Managing a team that has potential Olympians based in both hemispheres can be tricky, but it’s an enviable state of affairs when a country has so many options. Jock talks training schedules, his role in selecting the team, and the positive vibe in the Kiwi camp as they embark on the road to Paris.

Staying with the Kiwi cohort, this week’s edition of the USEA Podcast talks to two New Zealand riders who are vying for Kentucky glory. Matthew Grayling traveled to the States with his ride, Trudeau, in cracking form – on the back of three consecutive wins, no less – and made his debut on US soil at Carolina this spring. Monica Spencer made the trip last year and has burst onto the American eventing scene in fine fashion, taking 7th at Maryland 5* and 5th in the 4*-S at TerraNova last month. They’re both up for the big one at Kentucky. Listen in as they join the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event preview show with stand-in host Rosie Russell. If you’re wondering where regular host Nicole Brown’s at, she’s been busy at home welcoming her new baby boy. Many congratulations to the Brown family from all of us at EN!

Eventing’s making a comeback in the Caribbean. The sport faced a serious downturn in Jamaica during the 1990s, but thanks to the FEI Solidarity initiative it’s back, with the first FEI competition in three decades being hailed as a new and exciting start for Jamaican eventing.

This is a really interesting – and enlightening – read. When horses display unusual behavior, it’s our job to work out what they’re communicating to us. This article looks at the ways physical pain shows up, or in some cases, doesn’t, as well as considering the psychological and ethological needs of horses that are often overlooked, albeit often with good intentions. The things we do to keep our horses safe can turn out to be more harmful than the perceived danger. None of us want to think that we’re not meeting the needs of our horses, but it’s a question we should be asking of ourselves often. This piece is a good starting point.

Hey buddy, got enough space there? Teaching my horse to stay out of my space has been a crucial lesson for us, and learning it has made all the difference in almost every other area of his training. This is my space, you stay outside. But I get to come into your space (for snuggles etc.) whenever I want. It sounds harsh, but being consistent with this has really improved my relationship with my guy – he knows where he stands, literally, and that makes him a whole lot happier than when he was so insecure he had to step on my toes to feel safe. Here’s how to go about showing your horse how to stay out of your space.

Sponsor Corner

Want to add a dose of adorable to your day? Check out amazing duo Finn and Quinn as they tackle a grid– hands-free! They’re using the new Ecogold saddle pad from the Pony Collection. Shop for yours here and get FREE shipping with code “EN”.

Video Break

Here’s a throwback to last year’s Maryland 5* and the $1 horse who came 5th in his debut at the top level. Mia Farley and Phelps are headed to Kentucky and we can’t wait to see them doin’ their thang at the Horse Park in a couple of weeks.

For now, enjoy this clip of their time at Maryland. You’ll find the full video here.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Queen Ingrid – just one of the big hitters heading to North Holland Horse Trials this weekend.

We’ve got a jam-packed eventing schedule this weekend, with eventers gearing up for the season’s 5*s along with the small matter of Olympic selection in everyone’s sights.

As well as events in the States from the east coast to the west (see U.S. Weekend Preview below), over in the UK, Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market is celebrating its 25th anniversary, with the likes of Kentucky contenders Oliver Townend and Cooley Rosalent and a whole bunch of Badminton entrants in the 4*-S class. Flying the flag for the US are Rowan Laird and Grace Taylor with Canada’s Michael Winter making sure the Maple Leaf gets in on the eventing action. France, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Denmark and South Africa are all represented too, making this a truly international competition.

Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International (Norfolk, UK) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

Meanwhile, across in Europe, North Holland Horse Trials is hosting an international event of its own, with a whole host of competitors who will be firmly on the selectors’ radars. US interests in the 4*-S lie with Hallie Coon who rides Cute Girl, with heavy hitters from across Europe and beyond all on the start list.

North Holland Horse Trials (The Netherlands) [Website] [Entries] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

Also happening this weekend, ‘the world’s greatest steeplechase’ – the English Grand National – an equestrian event that captures the imagination of non-horsey folk around the globe (in turn generating a ludicrous amount of money) on a scale that would have eventing die-hards doing an enormous conga, naked, and totally sober. It’s of course not without its controversy, but for those of you interested, you can find out more about the race here and check out how you can watch, wherever you are in the world, here.

National Day of Note: Hug Your Dog Day. Our barns wouldn’t be the same without ‘em, so make sure you give your puppers an extra squeeze today.

U.S. Weekend Preview

F.E.N.C.E. H.T. (Tryon, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Longleaf Pine H.T. (Raeford, NC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Unionville Horse Trials (Unionville, PA) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Spring Bay H.T. (Lexington, KY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Twin Rivers Spring International (Paso Robles, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

International Events

Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International (Norfolk, UK) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

North Holland Horse Trials (The Netherlands) [Website] [Entries] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

Wednesday News and Reading

Is it even the beginning of the eventing season if William Fox-Pitt doesn’t tease his impending retirement? Mr Reliable will be taking Maryland 5* runner-up Grafennacht to Badminton this year, and as has become a tradition in recent years, he’s hinting that it may be his last outing to the big B. Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure, when the day comes it will be a huge loss to eventing as we know it.

We’ve been talking about it since the announcement – the revised format for Olympic eventing. Listen in to the latest Eventing Dialogue from Ride IQ as Sinead Halpin Maynard, Shannon Lilley and Lynn Symansky discuss what’s afoot for LA 2028.

The official charity for Defender Burghley Horse Trials has been revealed. The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation – a charity which helps to improve the lives of those affected by motor neuron disease – was founded by Scotland rugby player and keen eventer Doddie Weir, who sadly passed away in 2022. As a special addition to the event, the Main Arena will host a tug-of-war competition between eventers and rugby players to commemorate Doddie and the important work of the charity.

And finally, an April Fools that turned out to be no joke. When Horse & Hound reported on the British Show Pony Society’s hobby horse championship, readers were quick to point out that they weren’t no fools. Alas, in so doing they’d inadvertently shown themselves up as not being au fait with the cutting edge of horse crazes, as hobby horsing is just that, with a World Championships no less. H&H had in fact put out a fun article befitting of the day – claiming that matchy-matchy was all the rage in 35,000 BC – but the hobby horsing shenanigans was totally a true story.

Sponsor Corner

Courtney Varney’s farm in Ocala.

Do you ever feel like your horse has a new injury, however minor, every time you go to the barn? We have ways you can horse-proof your farm, straight from the vet’s mouth. Veterinarian, Grand Prix dressage rider, and FEI technical delegate Dr. Courtney Varney fills us in on all the injuries she’s seen in the field, and how to prevent them, in this article sponsored by Ocala Horse Properties. Get the full story here.

Video Break

Luckily this cyclist is no stranger to the saddle in a horsey sense too, and was able to bring what could have been a disaster to a safe conclusion. Read more about what happened when a horse joined a bike race in Belgium here.

Thursday News & Notes from Ecogold

Not eventing but a great event all the same, the Gay Polo League‘s Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament begins tomorrow (Friday) with ‘Wigstock’ in support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, where revelry, dancing, an open bar and fancy hors’ d’oeuvres will set the mood to true Gay Polo League style before the serious business of polo gets underway on Saturday, when four teams will chukka it out in a display of sport, solidarity and celebration. You can keep up with all the joie-de-vivre of the league by following @gaypololeague.

If you’re lucky enough to be in the vicinity (Wellington, FL) and want to get in on the action, here’s everything you need to know about ticket options. If you’re curious about how a gay polo league came into being, here you go.

Whether you’re on the polo pitch or the cross country course this weekend, go eventing!

International Day of Note (particularly if you’re a horse, or a rabbit): Today is International Carrot Day, which, as far as I can deduce, means it’s the law to give your horse an extra carrot or two. My equine buddy says three (bags).

U.S. Weekend Preview

CDCTA Spring H.T. (Ruckersville, VA) [Website] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Pine Hill Spring H.T. (Bellville, TX) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Rocking Horse Spring H.T. (Altoona, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Stable View Spring 2/3/4* and H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Thursday News and Reading

At Sport Horse Nation we want to help every horse find the perfect home and every rider find their unicorn. We value your input to guide us in this journey. Please take a moment to complete this survey.

Got big B eventing dreams on your ultimate wishlist but want to start with something a little less, well, big? The Voltaire Design Grassroots Championships at Badminton may be more in your wheelhouse. I’m eternally envious of anyone who has the experience and steed for such a cool event – if you’re one of the lucky ones you’ll be interested to know that entries are now open.

A supportive network is one of the wonderful things about equestrian life. You know, those people who pick you up, cheer you on and celebrate all the good times. But there’s a fine line between being grateful for having so many supporters and feeling the weight of letting them down. If your worries are affecting your performance, here’s some help with taking the pressure off.

Rider position is really important if we want to communicate the aids clearly to our horses. Whatever discipline you ride, it’s always handy to check-in with yourself once in a while to ensure that you’re sitting pretty. Give yourself a tune-up with these tips.

You know what they say about all work and no play. No matter how old you are, nurturing your playful side is good for you, and it’s no different for horses. As well as being a great learning aid that can help alleviate boredom and frustration (and the resulting behaviors) when training, playing with your horse is also an effective way to deepen your bond with them. Not sure what playtime with your horse might look like? Try out these ideas for some horsey fun and games.

And finally, this horsegirl is serious about multi-tasking. If, say, you wanted to be a professional roper competing on the rodeo circuit, volleyball coach, rancher and full-time science teacher, how would you go about extending the number of hours in the day to at least one hundred sixty-five? Here’s a woman who’s doing all of that – and yes, she’s got the same 24-hour days we do.

Sponsor Corner

Evil ponies beware, the Ecogold Pony Saddle Pad Collection is here 😈 These pads have the same non-slip technology and high quality materials found in Ecogold’s performance saddle pads, so your saddle stays secure no matter what your pony throws your way. Shop here.

Video Break

Coming soon to the show jumping ring? We’ve seen bull riding at the rodeo but this guy’s taking things to the next level. Free jumping can be a fun activity in the school for horses, all the more so when you get to do it with your pals, as this somewhat unlikely duo demonstrate:

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

World No. 3 Boyd Martin will be many an eventing fan’s idol, but Boyd came across an idol of his own at Morven Park Spring Horse Trials last weekend – the legendary USEA Hall of Famer Bruce Davidson Sr. who was going eventing aboard homebred Chesterland’s Sunswick. The septuagenarian admitted to being held together by some hardware from surgery a few weeks ago, but he managed to jump double clear to finish on his dressage in 5th place in his division. He certainly puts forty-something-year-old me hobbling off my horse after every ride to shame. Seriously though, what a cool sport we’re involved in for athletes to have such longevity in their careers. Go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

CDCTA Spring H.T. (Ruckersville, VA) [Website] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Pine Hill Spring H.T. (Bellville, TX) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Rocking Horse Spring H.T. (Altoona, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Stable View Spring 2/3/4* and H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Wednesday News and Reading

The first 5* of the season is imminent… That’s right, in just two weeks time we’ll be gearing up for our first taste of the top level this year with Adelaide Equestrian Festival beginning on April 18th. For those of us too far away to attend, don’t fret, H&C+ has us covered (subscription required). Here’s a taste of all that’s to come from the Aussie event.

Whilst we’re on the topic of upcoming 5*s, the first top-level offering of the year on British soil draws ever closer. Despite the incessant rain here in Britain, the team at Badminton have pulled on their rubber boots, slid into their slickers, and headed out to gear up for the 75th anniversary celebrations of the great event. Entries are in, the Main Arena grandstands are up, and there’s a new-look cross country course on the way. Read all about the preparations in this month’s Director’s Blog.

Keen to get in on the OTTB thing? If you’ve got an eye for what you’re looking for, checking out the horses in their current career is one way to find the potential *add chosen second career here* of your dreams. But where to start, and what do you do when you’ve locked on to your chosen prospect? This Retired Racehorse Project article guides you through the process from admirer to OTTB owner.

Create a better connect with your horse simply by breathing better. For something as important as breathing, it’s kinda weird that so many of us put so little effort into doing it right. We train our bodies for riding, and in many cases our minds too, but it seems we neglect to give our breath the attention it deserves. From improving posture and balance, to helping us sync up with our horses, as well as being an aid in its own right, the breath is full of potential. If you’re keen to tap into this, here’s how to get started.

And finally, if you could go back and impart some sage advice on your rookie self, what would it be? Horse trainer and Gaucho Derby competitor Warwick Schiller lets us in on what he thinks are the big lessons he’s learned during his time working with horses. Some of the ideas here are potentially a bit ‘out there’ (Warwick says’ hokey’), but we’re all showing up from different places, so take what’s for you and skip what’s not, regardless, we can all get a little (or a lot of) good from this.

Sponsor Corner


Move into your very own modern French chateau in Golden Ocala 🥇 This 10,600+ square foot residence is across the street from the World Equestrian Center and features a wine cellar, beautifully designed pool, and stunning kitchen. Plus, it sits next to both a lake and a golf course. Tour your dream home — mansion — here.

Video Break

If you’re 5* dreamin’ and can’t wait for 2024’s top level events to get underway, here’s something to tide you over – highlights from last year’s edition of Adelaide Equestrian Festival.


Thursday News & Notes

Kids at Pioneer Park Elementary School, Florida had a really cool visitor when JustWorld International, Rodriguez Equestrian, StoryBook Treasures, and Belle Herbe Farm teamed up to deliver a healthy dose of horse to literacy lessons.

For the vast majority of the students, it was their first time getting up close to a horse and they had some imaginative questions for Guatemalan Olympic show jumper and JustWorld ambassador Juan Andres Rodriguez: Just how long does it take a horse to eat a carrot? How loud are horses’ sneezes? How fast can a horse go? Juan Andres demonstrated the latter with everyone’s favorite horse for the day, grey gelding Matrix, who was loaned by Maria Newman from Belle Herbe Farm.

The horsing around was followed up by some storybook time, with ‘Everything Horses and Ponies’ being the perfect choice for the day’s reading list, which the kids got to take a copy of home, courtesy of StoryBook Treasures.

JustWorld – a not-for-profit organization which connects equestrians to ways they can help impoverished children, and official charity partner of the FEI – and StoryBook Treasures – a not-for-profit which provides literacy materials to kids who don’t have access to them – have had an enormous impact through their work together, with marked improvements in reading proficiency at Pioneer Park through initiatives such as bringing literacy to life by inviting a horse to class.

You can read more about what happened when Matrix went to school here.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Bouckaert Equestrian H.T. (Fairburn, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Galway Downs International H.T. (Temecula, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer][Scoring]

Jumping Branch Farm Spring H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Morven Park Spring H.T. (Leesburg, VA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

The Event at TerraNova (Myakka City, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

International Events

BEDE Events’ Thoresby Eventing Spring Carnival (UK) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

Thursday News and Reading

Today is Wear a Hat Day. Founded by the Brain Tumour Research Foundation, the initiative is a fun way to raise awareness and funds for this important cause. And equestrians are particularly well suited to get in on the act – I know I spend more of my waking hours with my riding hat on than I do feeling the wind blow through my (helmet) hair, or the rain on my head. Whilst I’m on the topic of equestrian heads, British Equestrian has been producing some very useful resources about concussion – something all of us should be aware of. You’ll find them here.

Feeling tempted to spring into spring with a new challenge? The Hack 1000 Miles challenge is ready to reset and relaunch on April 1st. Run by Your Horse Magazine, and open to riders from around the world, you can log your miles on the digital leaderboard and connect with other hackers (the good kind, you know, with horses) via the dedicated Facebook group; there’s also a newsletter to help keep you going as you saddle up and head out with your favorite equine pal. Whether you’re off on the trails, country lanes, bridle paths or beaches, every step counts. You’ll find everything you need to get going here.

No matter which discipline(s) you enjoy, teaching your horse to turn on the forehand is a useful tool for all of us. From bend and softness to lead departures and flying changes, having this maneuver in your arsenal helps to build the foundation for more advanced work – it’s also a handy skill to have to help you out of tricky situations when you’re out on the trail. Ready to get started? Look no further.

Horse’s feet are heavy – and there’s nothing quite like trying to haul a hoof off the ground when your horse is outright refusing to cooperate. So long as there are no soundness issues, a horse that’s stubborn about you lifting its feet really does need training to offer its leg on cue. OK, but how exactly do you go about that? Here’s how.

Road to the Horse Champ – eventer turned cowboy – Tik Maynard earned his hat and buckle this week – making him bang on trend in the fashion stakes, according to Vogue. That’s right, Western is hot right now, so much so that Vogue had (ultra-fashionable) boots on the ground at the 2024 edition of Rodeo Houston last week. It seems chaps, hats, boots, buckles and fringe are what it’s all about in the fashion world right now, so make like Tik and cowboy up, and go eventing.

Video Break

Whilst eventing fans are locked onto the beginning of the 5* season, with Adelaide Equestrian Festival just three weeks away, MARS Badminton entries revealed this week, and Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event start lists imminent, behind the scenes, prepping for their turn in the spotlight later on in the year, Defender Burghley is taking shape.

It’s easy to focus on the awe-inspiring jumps, the creative fence decor, and the all-important ground when it comes to cross country day, and despite the humongous effort that goes into all of those things, there’s even more for course designers to think about when it comes to staging an event in historic parkland, as is the case for Burghley. How to protect the ancient trees from hordes of eventing fans scrambling to see their heroes and revved up horses running across the country, for example. Take a look at how the Burghley Estate ensures that no trees are harmed in the making of the competition.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Coming up this weekend in the States, Galway Downs International, which features divisions from Novice through 4*-S. Last year’s 4* winner came in the form of eventing hero Tamie Smith with the equally heroic Mai Baum just four weeks before they were crowned Kentucky champs at The Best Weekend All Year. Tamie’s back for another spin ’round Galway Downs – will she also return to defend her title at Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event? Entries are imminent – eyes on!

Galway Downs has put a call-out for volunteers. If you’re able to help out, here’s the link.

Galway Downs International H.T. (Temecula, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer][Scoring] [Tickets]

On the other side of the pond, eventers, course designers, judges, crew, volunteers and eventing fans are all thinking sunny thoughts ahead of this weekend’s BEDE Events’ Thoresby Eventing Spring Carnival. Hailed as the starting point for this season’s pathway to Paris, the 4*-S has drawn a whopping 126 entries as riders clamor to be at the top of the pack to break into the most elite of teams. The competition is hot, hot, hot, that’s for sure – fingers crossed for the weather to match. The entry list is basically straight out of the who’s who of British and Irish eventing – with an Olympic gold medalist, the World Champion, the European Champion, and the reigning Badminton, Burghley, Maryland, Luhmuhlen and Pau winners all in the line up. There’s also representation for New Zealand, the Netherlands, France, Italy, South Africa and Japan, with Cosby Green and Grace Taylor flying the Stars and Stripes for the States. If you’re not able to be there to witness all this eventing glory in the flesh, you can follow along with what’s sure to be a superb competition with H&C+ (subscription required). And if you just can’t wait to find out what the cross country course has in store for this truly world-class bunch, here’s a teaser from Captain Mark Philips.

Last year’s Carnival was a very, very wet one. If Galway Downs could send us some California sunshine, we’d be most grateful!

BEDE Events’ Thoresby Eventing Spring Carnival (UK) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

As ever, we’ll be bringing you all of the eventing news from this week’s competitions, so keep it locked on to EN and go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

Bouckaert Equestrian H.T. (Fairburn, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Galway Downs International H.T. (Temecula, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer][Scoring]

Jumping Branch Farm Spring H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Morven Park Spring H.T. (Leesburg, VA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

The Event at TerraNova (Myakka City, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

International Events

BEDE Events’ Thoresby Eventing Spring Carnival (UK) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

Wednesday News and Reading

Eventing hits the Sydney mainstream media thanks to this pair of Aussie legends. Eight-time Olympian Andrew Hoy made his Olympic debut four decades ago, and he’s hoping to make it nine this summer. At 65, he’s determined not to let his age get in the way of constant improvement – he’s just along for the ride and focusing on putting one hoof in front of the other. The story also covers Shane Rose’s recent accident and recovery, and despite extensive breaks and fractures, Shane’s still hoping to be alongside Andrew on the Australian team in Paris.

In the market for a new best friend but want to make sure you’re swiping right on the right horse for you before handing over the cash? Then don’t leave the house before you’ve checked out this Ultimate Guide to Buying Your Dream Horse, which covers all the questions you should be asking, all the things to watch out for when viewing horses, all the red flags you’ll probably come across and all the pro tips you’ll need when it comes to selecting the perfect partner.

Construction worker has “real shock” as he uncovers “a face”. Eventing news? Well, yes, actually. The face turned out to be belong to an ancient statue, thought to be from the First or Second Century, and it’s had a ring-side seat to all the Burghley eventing action since the first running of the event in 1961 (well, kind of – it’s been buried under a parking lot). The artifact has now been conserved and is on display in Burghley House.

Hot on Horse Nation: Five historic horsewomen you should know. Equestrian history is full of famous women working in every discipline you can imagine, from rodeo to the racetrack, and even a few disciplines you haven’t thought of – like fortunetelling! Check out these five unsung women equestrians who blazed their own trails.

The Gay Polo League has teamed up with the Elton John AIDS foundation for their Florida fundraiser. The 2024 Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament starts on Thursday April 4th in Wellington, Florida and runs through Saturday. Initiated to raise money “to help LGBTQ+ organizations better serve our communities”, the flagship event will host a ‘Wigstock’ extravaganza on the Friday night with celebrations – and wigs – in aid of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Sponsor Corner

Looking for a minifarm to call home? 6861 NW 54TH Loop, Ocala could be it! This 4+ acre farm is located just 4 miles from the World Equestrian Center. Amenities include a 3-stall center aisle barn, access to community bridle paths, outdoor riding ring, and beautiful pastures. Check it out.

Video Break

I was totally glued to this year’s edition of Road to the Horse and hollered with the best of them when eventing reigned supreme in the Western world thanks to horseman extraordinaire – and our hero – Tik Maynard.

If you were as inspired as me by the awesome display put on by the World Championship competitors, join me in trying out these three simple groundwork exercises, as explained by Road to the Horse competitor and recipient of the Jack Brainard Horsemanship Award Donal Hancock.

Thursday News & Notes

It’s almost go time for this year’s 5*s! We’re just four weeks out from Adelaide Equestrian Festival with Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event kicking off the following week. Meanwhile, entries for MARS Badminton Horse Trials close today and we can’t wait to see which horses and riders will be trotting up at the First Horse Inspection on May 8th. We’re in for a treat this time around as we’ll get to see even more of the top of our sport, with those competitors lucky enough to have three 5* horses in their barn not having to decide who to leave behind, due to entries having been extended to three horses rather than the usual two.

Things are hotting up at Badminton HQ as preparations get underway for the 75th anniversary celebrations with lots for eventing fans to look forward to. If you’re chomping at the bit for some Badminton action, you can relive some of the greatest Badminton moments on Badminton TV (subscription required), where you’ll find videos from the archives as far back as the wonderful (and hilarious – see video above) Lucinda Green’s 1984 win. After yet another wet start to the eventing season in Britain with a number of events canceled and abandoned, we’re calling on all ENers to cross their fingers for some drier weather over the next few weeks so we can try and avoid a repeat of the wet and wild Badminton we saw last year.

Talking of the weather and events not going ahead, check out Badminton and Burghley specialist Alfies Clover’s beautiful braids that he didn’t get to show off at Lincolnshire Horse Trials. All dressed up, no place to go, but for sure the smartest boy in the village.

Think sunny thoughts, and go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

Full Gallop Farm March II H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

March Horse Trials at Majestic Oaks (Reddick, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Texas Rose Horse Park H.T. (Tyler, TX)[Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Other Events

Kronenburg International (Netherlands): [Timing, Startlists, Scoring]

Road to the Horse (Lexington, Kentucky) March 21-24 [Website] [Schedule] [Competition Format] [Live Stream]

Thursday News and Reading

First up for today’s News and Reading is a very cool offering from the one and only, total legend, Lucinda Green. ‘Have you ever galloped down to a fence and thought, “Oh crap!”?’ Lucinda asks. Erm, yes Lucinda, yes we have. If you’re one of us, make sure you check out The Lucinda Green Academy’s 28 day See-a-Stride Challenge. Designed to train any horse and rider to find the sweet spot in front of the fence, regardless of the level you ride at, Lucinda’s not only being generous with her wealth of experience and expertise – there are cash prizes for the biggest transformation, because Lucinda knows just how spendy our sport can be. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning a share of $10,000 is to have someone video you jumping a simple fence, complete the 28 day challenge, then record yourself jumping the same fence. The entries will be reviewed by world-class eventing big-hitters the likes of Boyd Martin, Tim Price, Yasmin Ingham, William Fox-Pitt and Pippa Funnell, amongst others. Body protectors on, phones at the ready, go eventing, and good luck!

Bedroom rodeo makes a comeback for this summer’s Olympic Games. Whilst the last Games took place under Covid restrictions and social distancing, that will very much not be the case in Paris. The rules regarding athletes getting together for a little under-cover extra-curricular fitness and flexibility training in their down-time have been lifted and bow-chick-a-wow-wow is being welcomed back with a bang. In the interests of health and safety, the Village is being stocked with 300,000 condoms, with the Olympic Village Director clarifying, “It is very important that the conviviality here is something big … we wanted to create some places where the athletes would feel very enthusiastic and comfortable”. That’s a lot of conviviality right there.

Antibiotic resistance is everyone’s responsibility. These wonder drugs can be the difference between life and death when it comes to fighting infection in horses, but if we don’t use them correctly, there’s a chance they won’t work when we really need them to. How many of us are guilty of not finishing off the course of antibiotics prescribed by the vet? The clinical signs of infection are gone and your horse has honed the skills of a sniffer dog to such an extent there’s just no way you’re going to mix that feed sufficiently for him to not take offense to it. Much easier to just forgo the last few days of treatment. Right? Well, yes, it would be easier, but this is just one way that horse owners (all animal owners, really) are unwittingly contributing to what could become one of medicine’s greatest challenges. Find out more about what you can do to help minimize the risk of antibiotic resistance.

I’m not sure any animal lends itself to poetry with quite the same grace as the horse. In celebration of World Poetry Day, here’s a selection of horsey poems for your perusal.

And finally, this kid’s rockin’ the rodeo. Well, not actually a kid, but Kid Rock, whose love of all things Western has led to the creation of Kid Rock’s Rock N Rodeo, a $1million team-formatted rodeo which has drawn partnership from PBR and will make its debut at the PBR World Finals Championship in Fort Worth, Texas in May. Described as a “heart-and soul endeavor, a labor of love”, his intention is to “provide opportunities to athletes he respects while entertaining people he admires”. The long-term plan is to extend the offering to further cities. Rock on and rodeo.

Video Break

I’ve been spending a fair bit of time hanging out with my new horse in his stable, getting to know him and cluing him into the idea that I’m in this for the long haul. As well as grooming, singing (I read horses like it – he’s apparently got quite the taste for country music), and chatting ****, I’ve also been trying out some simple bodywork and massage. There’s nothing quite like the look on his face as he sighs and relaxes under my touch. If you fancy giving it a go yourself, @equinebodyworkonline has some great tips.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

In just five weeks time, eventing eyes will be firmly locked onto Lexington as the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event kicks off. Before that though, Kentucky Horse Park will host an altogether different kind of competition – Road to the Horse – which begins tomorrow (Thursday). This elite colt starting contest champions unity and trust between horse and handler, and competitors are judged on the effectiveness of their horsemanship methodology. First up on the agenda is the Wild Card Challenge, the winner of which will join the World Championship Competition, which starts on Friday.

What’s most exciting is that one of our very own will be cowboying up with the best in the world. A man of very many talents – including having been a full-time Modern Pentathlon athlete, two-time winner and judge at the Thoroughbred Makeover, and currently an instructor, author, horse trainer and three-day eventer – Tik Maynard will represent Canada in this year’s RTTH. He’s so good that’s he’s already won the first challenge: hauling two kiddos more than 11 hours by car, and was named winner of the best RTTH road trip video for his efforts – click here to watch. Those colts will be no trouble after that.

EN’s Veronica Green-Gott caught up with Tik as he prepared for his foray into the Western world – here’s what he had to say.

You can cheer Tik on – and watch all the action from Road to the Horse – for free via Pluto TV in the US; international viewers can watch on Western Horseman. For more info on the live streams, click here.

Make sure you’re following @roadtothehorse, @copperline_equestrian and @tikmaynardcompany as we get ready to witness horsemanship on another level.

Chaps on and go eventing!

Road to the Horse (Lexington, Kentucky) March 21-24 [Website] [Schedule] [Competition Format] [Live Stream]

International Holiday: Today is International Day of Happiness which I’m pretty sure means it’s totally legal to take the day off work and spend it in your happy place with your horse.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Full Gallop Farm March II H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

March Horse Trials at Majestic Oaks (Reddick, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Texas Rose Horse Park H.T. (Tyler, TX)[Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Wednesday News and Reading

You may not be be on the entry list for Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event, but you can still be in it to win it with this awesome VIP Insiders Package Sweepstake. Here’s how to make your trip to the Best Weekend All Year a VIP one. Simply fill out this form to be in with a shot at winning four VIP Hospitality Passes, a VIP course walk, a tailgate space plus six general admission tickets for cross country day, and a whole bunch of cool swag from Defender and USEF. Good luck!

Have an up-and-coming equestrian brand and looking for a step up? The Plaid Horse have put a call-out for submissions from businesses, disciplines and horse people from the US and Canada for their 2024 Brand Competition. With a grand prize worth over $50,000 in advertising – plus ten Champion prizes and ten Reserve Champion prizes – this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.

The results are in from the 2023 National Equine Economic Impact Study – and it’s good news. Described by the president of the American Horse Council as “the most effective tool in our advocacy quiver”, the results of the survey confirm the significant impact the horse industry has on the economy, both through the diversity of sectors positively impacted and the substantial employment areas created by the industry. The numbers prove that the equine industry is an important contributor on a number of levels.

Britain’s Gemma Stevens is not only a top eventer, but she’s pretty handy in the show jumping ring too. Lucky for us, then, that she’s shared these three training exercises which focus on your riding in order to help your horse develop a good rhythm whilst jumping.

Some salient thoughts from a hunter, jumper and equitation coach and judge about the move away from thoroughbreds to warmbloods. Dana Hart Callanan considers whether the change in type has been good or bad for the sport from her three wheelhouses: as trainer, judge and mom. She discusses talent and brain over breeding, how you really learn to ride when you’re sitting on a thoroughbred, caring about the whole picture – and not caring if it’s a zebra if it jumps great and is soft and relaxed – and picking the best option for her kids to learn on.

And finally, a horse sculpture has won out and will be displayed atop the fourth plinth of London Trafalgar Square. The home of a rolling program of temporary artworks, the fourth plinth was originally intended to have an equestrian theme, however the planned statue was never installed due to lack of funds. The winning sculpture, a green resin horse and rider – titled ‘Untitled’ – will go on show in 2028 and is said to “hover at the edge of visibility … Is it yet to be uncovered? Or is it an already canceled public monument – a ghost of history, a parody of itself?”. That’s some deep horsing around, that’s for sure.

Sponsor Corner

He’s done it again! Owned by Ocala Horse Properties and Deborah Palmer, Miks Master C has pulled off his fourth lifetime CCI4* win at the Carolina International 4*-S. Read all about it here.

Video Break

If you just can’t wait to see what Road to the Horse is all about, get your fix now with the final of last year’s event.

Oh Carolina! It’s Cross Country Day! Live Blog from the 4* Cross Country at Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International CCI.

‘The Hard Pass.’ Photo by Sally Spickard.

It’s a beautiful day in Carolina for cross country day and here at EN we’re primed and ready to bring you all of the action from Ian Stark’s course. As well as this live blog, make sure you check out EN’s Ultimate Guide for the low-down on all things Carolina and keep eyes on for our full round up, coming soon. You’ll find all of our Carolina content here. We’ve got a whole bunch of great IG content happening too, courtesy of our boots on the ground (headed up by Chinch) @goeventing.

If you want to watch along live H&C+ has your back (subscription required) and if obsessively watching the live leaderboard is your jam, here’s what you need.

Right, onto the course. Ian says he’s made no major changes this year as last year’s run was so successful. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” he says. Indeed. It’s his last year course designing and he acknowledges that next year someone else will come in and put their own stamp on things.

One thing he’s sure will be influential is the time, which is set at 6 minutes and 28 seconds. There are 23 numbered fences along the 3685 meter track, with 35 jumping efforts, which are made up of fourteen single fences, four treble combinations, and five doubles – three of which come in quick succession near the end of the course. The reaction to one of them (19AB) from a member of the EN team (who shall remain nameless): “I mean, there’s just no !**!ing way I would ever jump something like this”. It’s been re-named ‘The Hard Pass’ at EN HQ.

For more on the course, check out our full course preview here.

We’ll be kicking things off with Liz Halliday and Cooley Quicksilver – they’re due to leave the start box at 11:50am ET / 3:50pm GMT.

The top 10 as things stand will go in reverse order because we eventers love to keep things exciting right up to the last millisecond – that means our clubhouse leader Liz Halliday with Miks Master C is due to leave the start box at 1:26pm ET / 5:26pm GMT and so around 6 and a half minutes after that, we’ll have our winner. However, as Liz has THREE rides in the TOP 5 (!!!) – although we know she’s a speed queen and superstar and could totally pull off vaulting onto a horse in the starting box from the horse she’s galloping through the finish on – it’s probably only fair that she’ll ride out of order. There is news on the Liz front – second place overnight Cooley Moonshine has been withdrawn as part of Liz’s plan for this event.

A quick catch up with what’s been going on:

Leading after the dressage was Liz Halliday with Miks Master C who delivered a beautiful test for 22.5. Liz had the overnight podium all to herself, with Cooley Moonshine sitting in second on 25.5 and Cooley Quicksilver on 27.1. EquiRatings’ predictions were 3 for 3 in terms of the rider, but there was a slight shake-up between Cooley Moonshine and Liz’s fourth ride Cooley Nutcracker, who finished the day in 5th place on 28.7, rather than the second place the stats guys foresaw. Pan-Ams individual gold medalist Caroline Pamukcu split up Liz’s rides, slotting into 4th place with HSH Blake on a score of 27.9.

Fun fact: After the dressage, Will Coleman was the only male rider in the top 10. We’re not biased or anything, but go the girls!

Yesterday’s show jumping shook things up slightly. Caroline Pamukcu and HSH Blake were on the rise after their clear – and Liz Halliday‘s pole with Cooley Quicksilver – bumped them up into 3rd and Liz down to 6th. She remains at the top with Miks Master C after a clear round kept them on their dressage score. Cooley Moonshine also jumped clear to stay in 2nd, but his withdrawal has shifted things about slightly. Liz’s other ride, Cooley Nutcracker, delivered her a another clear, stepping up a place into 4th. Rounding out the top 5 was Meghan O’Donoghue and OTTB Palm Crescent, who stay on their dressage score of 29.3.

Right now the top 5 going into cross country looks like this:

1st Liz Halliday and Miks Master C – 22.5.
2nd Caroline Pamukcu and HSH Blake – 27.9.
3rd Liz Halliday and Cooley Nutcracker – 28.7.
4th Meghan O’Donoghue and Palm Crescent – 29.3.
5th Liz Halliday and Cooley Quicksilver – 31.1.

According to EquiRatings’ stats, no one’s ever had a rail and won Carolina 4* – that gives each of our top 4 a chance for the win, but as we know, anything can happen in eventing.

Here’s how things look scores-wise as we head into the cross country (although the placings have scooted up following Cooley Moonshine’s withdrawal):


Images from EventEntries.com

If you fancy a bit of eventing bingo, here’s some cool stuff to spot in the field this afternoon:

🐴 A pony in a 4*!
🥇 The reigning Pan-Ams individual gold medalist.
❗Liz Halliday’s hattrick of rides.
🥈 The entire US silver medal team from the Pan-Am Games in Santiago.
🚀 Barry, the high-flying horse.
⚾ A bunch of baseballs.

If you’re following along live, don’t forget to refresh this page periodically. If you’re reading this later, scroll down ⬇️ and read up ⬆️.

So, eyes on, enjoy the ride, and go eventing!

Carolina International CCI & H.T. (Raeford, NC) [Website] [Schedule] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [4* Cross Country Map] [Live Scores] [Live Stream] [EN’s Ultimate Guide] [EN’s Coverage]

1:37 ET And there we have it. Carolina 4* is over for another year and Liz Halliday has taken the win with Miks Master C on a score of 22.5 – finishing on their dressage score, in what’s been a stunning display across all three phases. What a rider! What a horse! What a competition!

Coming in 2nd is Caroline Pamukcu with HSH Blake on 30.7.
3rd place goes to Meghan O’Donoghue with Palm Crescent on a score of 30.9.
4th is Sydney Elliott with QC Diamantaire on 33.3.
And rounding out the top 5 is Liz Halliday with Cooley Nutcracker on 33.5.

EN’s round-up of the whole dang thang will be up shortly – eyes on! You’ll find all of our Carolina content here.

Thanks for following along! It’s been a blast and for sure a fitting way to whet our appetite for everything else that’s to come this season.

Always go eventing!

1:33 ET Liz has 8.2 penalties in hand to win this class. They go through the combinations at 19, 20 and 21 as though they’re demonstrating a masterclass. Beautiful. Two to go for them… She’s at the last… and through the finish… Liz is grinning… CLEAR AND EXACTLY ON THE TIME! Liz Halliday and Miks Master C take the win!

1:31 ET Blake’s a little backwards coming into the first part of Fence 19AB but Caroline encourages him forward and they make it through that section of the course clear. They’re just two from home now. Liz and Miks Master C are absolutely flying! Miks Master C is just eating up this course. They drop into the Lighthouse water at 14ABC and Liz gives him a really bold ride through there. Caroline and HSH Blake are through the finish – they’ve added just 2.8 time penalties and take the lead. They’ve squeaked in there – just 0.2 ahead of Meghan and Palm Crescent – man it’s close up there at the top! We just have Liz and Miks Master C on course now.

1:28 ET We’re onto the last to go! In just over 6 minutes we’ll have our winner! Overnight leaders – in fact, leading from the start with a score of 22.5 in the dressage – Liz Halliday and Miks Master C are on the course! They were individually 7th at the Pan-Ams in Santiago last season, where they took team silver for the US, 3rd in the 5* at Kentucky and 2nd here in the 4* last year. Will they go one better this time around? EquiRatings has them down as favorites for the win. Will the stats add up and equal 1? Let’s see! Meghan and Palmer finish with 1.6 time penalties and go into the lead! They’ll definitely have a podium finish. Caroline and Blake do a great job through the middle water and then pop up and over the Normandy Bank no trouble.

1:27 ET Sydney and QC Diamantaire go into the lead as things stand – they added just 1.6 time penalties. She can end up no worse than 4th. Caroline’s wasting no time with Blake at the early part of the course. Meanwhile, Meghan and Palmer look great through 19, 20 and 21 – what a horse that is, and clearly still loving his job at 18 years old.

1:24 ET Matthew and Trudeau canter through the flags carrying that 20 and adding 16 time penalties. Syd and QC Diamantaire have flown round and are now going through the three combinations at 19, 20 and 21. It’ll be exciting to see their time – QC is for sure one of the fastest horses in the field. Meghan and Palmer are easily through the coffin complex at 11ABC. Our penultimate combination are Pan-Ams Individual Gold and team silver winners Caroline Pamukcu and HSH Blake – they’re off and running. They were 3rd in the 3* here last season finishing on their dressage score. Can they pull off that feat again? With a clear in the show jumping yesterday, adding nothing to their dressage of 27.9 to leave them in 2nd overnight, they’re right on track!

1:21 ET Oh no! Matthew and Trudeau have had a run out at the second part of the Normandy Bank combination at 17ABC. They come back around and clear it, but that 20 will have dropped them down the standings. Sydney and QC Diamantaire make light work of the Lighthouse water whilst Matthew and Trudeau fiddle their way though 19, 20 and 21 – it’s a little disorganized and Trudeau shows just how honest he is as he jumps through clear. Meghan O’Donoghue and OTTB Palm Crescent are away! They were 17th here last season after 20 jumping penalties across the country – Megan will be looking to put that right this time around. ‘Palmer’ delivered a beautiful dressage test to go sub-30 – 29.3 to be exact – and topped that off with a clear in the jumping yesterday. They were in 4th after the show jumping – will end up even better?

1:19 ET Matthew and Trudeau manage the terrain through the combination at 6AB really well – they make a smooth pair. Meanwhile Will’s showing us all how it’s done through the combinations at 19, 20 and 21 with Diabolo – so balanced, just beautifully ridden. Matthew and Trudeau squirrel through the coffin in another display of great riding. They’re flying along this course. Sitting in 6th place after the show jumping on a score of 31.7, Sydney Elliott QC Diamantaire join us on the cross country. Part of the Pan-Ams team silver medal for the US in Santiago last season, where they finished 8th individually, they also have a top 10 finish in the Kentucky 5*, a third place in the 4* and top 20 at Luhmuhlen under their girth. They were 4th here last year delivering a speedy clear inside the time. Can they do it again? Meanwhile, Will and Diabolo are at the finish and add just 3.6 time to their scorecard.

1:16 ET Will is giving Diabolo a peach of a ride in the early stages of the course. Boyd steadies Miss Lulu through the water combination at 19AB, but she listens and they pick their way through the next two doubles also. Will and Diabolo rattle the MIM through the coffin complex, but nothing to worry about for them. Making their FEI debut outside New Zealand, Matthew Grayling and Trudeau are out of the start box. They finished up last season with a hattrick of wins. They were in 7th here on 31.9 after jumping clear yesterday. How will they find the Carolina course? We’re about to find out! Will and Diabolo are beautifully through the Lighthouse water at 14AB. Boyd and Miss Lulu are through the finish and have picked up 6 time penalties.

1:13 ET Doug goes through the tricky combinations at 19, 20 and 21 with no right stirrup! That is impressive. Quantum didn’t even notice. Now we have Will Coleman – last year’s winner with Chin Tonic (and winner in 2021 and 2022) – here this time around with new ride and Aussie import Diabolo, who finished up last season with two consecutive top 3 places at 4*. They were 8th place after the after the show jumping on a score of 32.3. Boyd and Miss Lulu show off some fancy footwork before the drop into the water at 14ABC, she balances herself beautifully and skips on through. And we have another double clear! Doug and Quantum Leap are clear inside the time!

1:11 ET We have our first double clear! They did it at Bruce’s Field, and they’ve done it here too – Waylon and OKE Ruby R are clear inside the time!

1:10 ET Waylon and Ruby are getting the job done as they near the end of the course. Briggs and Corture are through the finish with 9.6 time penalties to add. Doug and Quantum make absolutely nothing of the coffin combination – a beautifully ridden line through there. And we’re into the top 10! Sitting in 9th overnight on a score of 33, Boyd Martin and Miss LuLu Herself are out on course. Boyd took on the ride in 2022 and came to Carolina last season for the 4*, where they jumped clear across the country adding just time penalties to their dressage score. Will it be another clear for this mare? Eyes on!

1:06 ET Canada’s Waylon Roberts is away with OKE Ruby R. Apparently this mare is not an easy ride and Waylon really gets a song out of her. They’ve got one 4* completion on their record when they came 2nd with a clear inside the time. Super impressively, they were the only double clear cross country at the recent Grand Prix of Eventing at Bruce’s Field. They sat tied for 17th after yesterday’s jumping, on a score of 36.4. Waylon is very quick through the combination at 8 and make nothing of 9. Meanwhile, Briggs and Corture are at the water at 19. The distance is long but Corture stretches to the edges of her skin and they ride on through as though she’s at least 4 hands taller than she is. Waylon and Ruby are popping along nicely at the early part of the course. Doug Payne Quantum Leap Five 5* top 10s under his cinch. 6th here last year finishing on their dressage. They’re on track to repeat that after a clear round in the showjumping. They came into today in joint-12th place on 34.9.

1:03 ET Oh no! Rock Phantom hangs a leg on the drop into the first water at 14ABC and Sara is pitched over his head and takes a swim. Rock Phantom is totally fine, Sara’s very wet.

1:01 ET Sara Kozumplik and Rock Phantom join us on course. This is the former ride of Brazil’s Nilson Moreira da Silva – Sara took over the irons for the 2022 season. They come into today on a score of 38.1 in 20th. Meanwhile, Will and Pfun are through the doubles at 19, 20 and 21, making it look like a Pony Club course. They’re almost home. Sara gives Rock Phantom a great ride through the coffin complex. Briggs Surratt and itty-bitty Corture are off and running. You may be thinking that Corture looks kinda pony-like, and you’d be right – standing at 14.2hh on her tippy toes, she’s a total powerhouse that’s for sure. Fun fact – Couture was bred by fellow competitor Elisa Wallace. They go out in 32nd on a score of 51.5. Will and Pfun are through the finish and have added just 3.6 time penalties. Briggs and Corture are absolutely flying! The little gal is making nothing of these huge fences! Sara and Rock Phantom are still motoring along looking full of run and to be having a great ride.

12:58 ET Now out on course we have Will Faudree and long-time friend and campaigner PFun, who were 3rd here last season with a speedy clear inside the time across the country. They dropped from 8th to 11th after rolling a pole in the show jumping and come into today’s test on 34.4. Come on boy, let’s see one of your classic cross country clears! We also have Cassie Sanger and Fernhill Zoro out on course – sorry, I missed them start. They clocked up the air miles last season, competing not only in the US and Canada, but making the trip to Europe for Boekelo in the Netherlands and Strzegom in Poland. They come into this in 15th place on a score of 35.5. Although we haven’t seen much of them, they appear to have been having a great round and are coming to the end now. Elisa and Renkum Corsair finish up with 19.6 time penalties. Will and Pfun are handy through the water with Pfun showing every bit of his experience as he makes this course look very, very easy. They are class through the Normandy Bank combination. Cassie an Fernhill Zoro finish with just 4.4 time penalties.

12:53 ET Brooke gets thrown forward going down the massive drop into the water at 19, but gets herself right and makes it through that tricky section of the course clear with Cooley Space Grey. Eventer and mustang trainer, Elisa Wallace is away from the start box with 2022 USEF CCI3*-L National Champion Renkum Corsair. They were 15th here last season, jumping clear and adding some time. They sat in joint-17th place overnight on a score of 36.4. Brooke and Cooley Space Grey have finished with 6.4 time penalties. Elisa and Renkum Corsair have a very tricky moment at the first water – Renkum Corsair climbs all over the second element but they work together to make it through clear.

12:47 ET We here the MIM rattle as Alexa and Just to be Clear come through the coffin complex, but it stays up and they gallop on without giving it another thought. Brooke Burchianti and Cooley Space Grey join us on course. They’re making their eighth FEI start here this week. They climbed a couple of spots after jumping clear yesterday, and now sit in 29th on 44.2. They take the red flag at 6AB but are through no problem. They’re steady through the treble at 8ABC but clear through and on their way. Jennie and FE Lifestyle are home with 1.6 time penalties. OMG! There is some real stickability going on through the combinations at 19, 20 and 21 for Alexa and Just to be Clear – save(s) of the day for sure! She’s pitched right out of the tack, loses her stirrups, but fiddles her steering, gets pitched again, sits up and makes it all the way through. Meanwhile, Brooke and Cooley Space Grey take their own route through the coffin but it seems that Brooke had a plan and stuck to it and is through clear.

12:43 ET Arden and Sunday Times have a moment – Sunday Times drops his legs right in the ditch. But Arden sits up and helps him out and they carry on clear. Jennie and FE Lifestyle take a huge jump into the Lighthouse water at 14 – they’re flying! Alexa Thompson and Just To Be Clear are underway in their first 4* on home soil. Her debut came last season at Strzegom while she was based with France’s Maxime Livio – she finished 7th, beating out Michael Jung – what a debut story for her! With just seven FEI competitions under their belt, they’ve got a 100% clear cross country jumping record. Will the gelding’s performance live up to his form – and his name – today? They head out in 26th place on a score of 43. Jennie and Lifestyle do a great job at the Normandy Bank at 17ABC and make it look easy. We have a new fastest round of the day! Arden and Sunday Times are home just 2 seconds over – 0.8 to add for them.

12:39 ET Liz and Nutcracker make the Normandy Bank look like a Pony Club fence – this pair just look class. He’s full of running and they’re obviously such a great partnership. They pop through the three doubles at 19, 20 and 21 – a total masterclass from Liz. Arden Wildasin and Sunday Times are in the Carolina 4* for the first time, but jumped clear across the country in the 3* last season. They were 28th after the show jumping, sitting on a score of 44.1. Doug and Quiberon’s time is is – 27.6 penalties. They have that 20 on their card too. We have another new starter also – winners of the Best First-Timer award at Burghley last season where they finished 12th next up is Jennie Brannigan with FE Lifestyle. They were also 12th in the 5* at Kentucky. They come into today just inside the top 10 on a score of 33.3 after jumping clear in yesterday’s show jumping. And we have Liz and Cooley Nutcracker home with just 4.8 time penalties – that puts them ahead of Liz’s first ride, Cooley Quicksilver.

12:35 ET Ah! Doug gets pitched forward at 14ABC, but he manages to get his knitting back together and they carry on straight over the second element in the water. Impressive reactions from Doug. Out of order as Liz has a date in the start box with current leader Miks Master C as the last of the day, Liz Halliday and USEF CCI4*-L National Champion Cooley Nutcracker have now joined us out on course. This guy has been top 10 in his last six FEI runs. He’s on track for a podium finish here – currently sitting in 3rd on 28.7 – will he pull it off once more? Meanwhile, Alison and Vandyke are through the finish carrying that 20 penalties and adding 18.8 time. Oh my! Doug’s taken a very wiggly route through the water at 19AB – he was trying very hard not to cross his tracks. Not sure if he navigated it though. He’s been given 20 but it’ll be reviewed.

12:31 ET Wow! Sit up Emily! Corvett bounces Emily right out of the saddle as they drop into the water at 19AB but it’s a great save from Emily. This pair know each other so well. They motor on to the finish flags and add 7.6 time to their score. Doug Payne and the nine-year-old Quiberon have now joined us on course. They jumped clear across the country in the 3* here last season – can they do it in the 4* this time around? They sat in 25th coming into the cross country, on a score of 41.6. Alison and Vandyke bounce up the Normandy Bank and make absolutely nothing of the combination. Vandyke looks to be full of running and thoroughly enjoying himself galloping along the Carolina turf. Doug’s giving his young stallion Quiberon a really solid ride over the first half of the course. Oh no! Alison and Vandyke have a run past at the second element of Fence 19AB in the water. Her reins were long after the drop and the steering was lost for a second. A shame as they were going really nicely.

12:26 ET Emily Hamel and everyone’s favorite high jumper, Corvett are away. ‘Barry’ really is a high-flying kind of guy! They were top 10 in the 5* at Kentucky last season, top 20 at Burghley and 11th at Maryland. This is Emily’s first time in the 4* class here, but Barry’s been here before with Phillip Dutton. They sat in 21st overnight on a score of 38.3. Sharon does a great job with Claus through the Normandy Bank combination. She’s put that run out right to the back of her mind and is focusing on what’s ahead. Meanwhile, Emily and Corvett make a fabulous bend into the final element of the coffin complex – what a pro Barry is! Sharon and Claus have another moment at the first part of 19AB into the water, but they’re pushing on along and are now through the flags with 20 on their scorecard and 22.4 time. Allison Springer and Vandyke are up and running. They’ve got two previous 4* completions on their record – let’s hope they make it three here today. They started off the day in 24th on a score of 41. Caroline and She’s The One picked up 10.8 time.

12:23 ET Caroline and She’s The One look to be having a great time out on course. They’re over 17ABC and clear so far. Sharon White and Claus 63 have now joined us on course. They were 10th individually at the Pan-Ams in Santiago last season, taking silver with the US team. They sat in 22nd after yesterday’s show jumping, staying on their dressage score of 39.1. Claus looks to be full of run at the early part of the course. We have a score in for Rachel and High Tide – just 2.4 time penalties to add for them. Caroline really sets up for the drop into the water at 19AB. She takes it steady and approaches that trio of doubles very methodically – a really great job done. Oh no! Sharon and Claus have had a run out at the final element at 17ABC. They’re quick to come back around though and waste no time on their second attempt.

12:20 ET Bobby and Lumumba are the fastest so far – just 1.6 time penalties for them. Allie and Morswood finish with 12.4 time penalties. Overnight 2nd place with her other ride – and Pan-Ams individual gold medalist – Caroline Pamukcu heads out with She’s The One. They were sitting in 14th coming into this on a score of 35.1. They were 7th in the 3* here last season, when they jumped clear inside the time. Will they finish up on their dressage in the 4* this time around? There’s every chance! Rachel and High Tide are brave into the water at 19AB – they’re very quick through the three combinations out there. They hit the upright gate behind as they motor towards the finish flags, but the MIM isn’t activated and they’re safely over.

12:16 ET Allie sits back after the big drop at 19AB and makes it through that tricky combination. Bobby and Lumumba have a slight moment coming out of the complex at 11ABC, but they’re through and away to the first water. The mare finds the distance in the Lighthouse water at 14ABC very short, but she shows off her fancy footwork and does a fantastic job. Lumumba looks to be loving her job, flying every fence. Bobby’s taking some white flag chances, but nothing to worry about. Rachel Lawson and High Tide are out of the start box, making their Carolina debut here this week. When she’s not eventing, Rachel helps ex-racehorses find new careers once they’ve finished on the track, a passion inspired by OTTB High Tide. Rachel has a moment at 6AB – she gets popped out of the tack a little and has to pick her stirrup back up. There’s another heart in mouth moment for them through the coffin at 11ABC but Rachel’s riding forward.

12:12 ET Phillip and Possante finish up with 16.8 time penalties – that was a great round with a new ride. Ariel and Leamore Master Plan get a good shot at Fence 18 and come round to the scary drop into the water. They make their way through, with Ariel steering at the end of the rein between the rollercoaster of As and Bs there – three doubles in a row! Impressive riding. Meanwhile, Bobby Meyerhoff and his mare Lumumba are now away. They finished top 15 in the Maryland 5* last season. 12 faults in yesterday’s show jumping dropped them down the rankings to 30th on 44.3. Lumumba looks like she is so ready for this! They waste no time through the first few fences and stride out along the course. Further along the course, Allie and Morswood make absolutely nothing of the Normandy Bank at 17ABC – they pop through and on they go.

12:08 ET Andrew and Ferrie’s Cello finish with 6 time penalties. Meanwhile, Ariel and Leamore Master Plan are making light work of the first few fences. They do a great job working out the distance at 6AB. They’re one of the fastest combinations in the field so it’ll be interesting to see how close they can get to the time. Phillip and Possante are beautiful through the Normandy Bank and they make light work of the final fences to finish clear. Score to come. Ariel’s just tempted the flag rule at the Coffin complex, which will be reviewed. They looked to squeak through though. Alexandra Knowles and her 5* campaigner Morswood AKA ‘Ginge’ have joined us on course. They finished top 10 at Pau last season and top 10 at Maryland in 2022; they were 11th here last year. They go out onto cross country in 27th on 43.4.

12:05 ET Score in for Will and Mama’s Magic Way – just 3.2 time penalties. They finish on 48.6. Phillip Dutton’s out of the start box with former Emily King ride Possante, who’s making his stateside 4* debut with Phillip. They were in 16th place after the show jumping on a score of 36.1. They’re clear over the treble combination at 8ABC. Meanwhile Andrew and Ferrie’s Cello are through the tricky second water at 19AB. The crowd there are really encouraging these riders on. Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan join us now. They’re back after a bit of a break last season but showed great form in 2022, finishing on their dressage for 11th place individually at the World Championships in Pratoni, completing Badminton in 15th and taking 3rd at Luhmuhlen. They jumped clear yesterday and ended up tied for 12th place overnight on a score of 34.9.

12:02 ET Andrew McConnon and Ferrie’s Cello are out on course. They were 13th in the 5* at Maryland last season and haven’t been here since 2021, when they were 6th in the 3*. Andrew and ‘Eddy’ were in 19th coming into today, on a score of 36.7. Doug and Camarillo are home with what looks to be a 19.6 time penalties – wow, they looked to be going along some so that’s kind of surprising. Will and Mama’s Magic Way are almost at the end now. Meanwhile Andrew makes the Coffin complex look like a gymnastic exercise – nicely done.

11:59 ET News in that Liz has 7.2 time penalties – Ian did warn us that the time would be tight. We have Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way off and running. This pair were 16th at Burghley last season, 13th in the Kentucky 5* and 8th here at Carolina, jumping clear across the country and adding just 4.4 time. They’re currently in 31st on a score of 45.4. Doug and Camarillo make nothing of the Normandy Bank and are still flying. It’ll be interesting to see his time as this round has looked quick. He makes the massive drop at the water at 19AB but Camarillo leaves a leg on the fence in the water. Great recovery! They continue on. Will and Mama’s Magic Way look to be going nicely. They’ve cleared the triple brush out of the water at 19AB to huge cheers.

11:56 ET Camarillo looks full of running as he flies through the first part of the course. Doug’s got his foot down, that’s for sure. He clears the double at Fence 6 nicely and motors on. Liz is still running along happily with Cooley Quicksilver. They’re at the second water. There’s a lot to do up there but they make their way through and are on their way to the finish flags. Doug and Camarillo make the bend through the coffin complex at 11ABC and they’re making this look very easy. Pretty sure it’s not though!

11:53 ET So far so good for our pathfinder Liz. They’re clear through Fence 8 and have no trouble with the baseballs and bats at Home of the Brave, Fence 9. Doug Payne and Camarillo are our second pairing out on course. This 10-year-old gelding finished top 10 in the 4*-S at Kentucky last season and were 16th here last year after a steady clear cross country. Two poles in the show jumping dropped them down the order a bit to 23rd. Meanwhile, Liz uses all of her experience at the coffin complex and manages to keep Quicksilver between her legs to squirrel through. Impressive, drool-worthy riding. They come through the first water and 14ABC and are on their way.

11:50 ET Going out of order as Liz has SO MANY horses in the top 10, currently in 5th place on a score of 31.1, Liz Halliday and Cooley Quicksilver get the 4* cross country underway! They were top 5 at Luhmuhlen 5* in 2022 and took the win in the 4*-S at Kentucky, just one of his four wins at the level on his record. And we’re off! Quicksilver flies out of the start and looks very keen to be running. They take on the first few jumps and have got off to a great start.

11:49 ET We’re about to get going! It looks like everyone and their dog is having a great time in the Carolina sunshine. It sure seems to be a glorious day for cross country. Bring it on!

Thursday News & Notes

Whilst things kick off at Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International, over in Europe the first leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup is under starter’s orders. This year, the eight-competition series will take a trip around Europe, culminating at Boekelo in the Netherlands in October, but it’s Italy where eventing eyes will be focused this week as the teams step up to bag some series points and secure their spot on the leaderboard in this early stage of the competition.

Australia is one team that’s making an early play, with Sarah Clark heading out with two rides – the eight-year-old mare Casallia S and her 5* campaigner LV Balou Jeanz; Bill Levett brings forward his third place finisher in the recent 3*-S held at the Nations Cup venue, RNH Tom Tom R, and of particular interest given his return to eventing after a hiatus in the land of show jumping, Christopher Burton will also be back at Montelibretti following a run with his new horse Shadow Man (formally the ride of Britain’s Ben Hobday) in the same class as Bill a couple of weeks ago, where they posted a steady clear to end up 27th – a solid practice run to blow off the cobwebs for this week’s competition.

France and Spain are also fielding strong teams, along with Switzerland, with the Italians out in force at their home venue. We’ll also see entries from Sweden, Brazil, Poland, Czech Republic and Thailand as riders look to get the rounds in early this season under the watchful eyes of Olympic selectors.

Wherever you are in the world, the Nations Cup is free to watch via the FEI YouTube channel. Here are the times you need to know:

Dressage – Thursday (today) 1pm local time / 12 noon GMT / 8am EST [Live Stream Link] and Friday 11am local / 10am GMT / 6am EST [Live Stream Link]
Cross Country – Saturday 12 noon local / 11am GMT / 7am EST [Live Stream Link]
Show Jumping – Sunday 11am local / 10am GMT / 6am EST [Live Stream Link]

Make sure to keep it locked onto EN for all the eventing news from Carolina and Italy. Go eventing!

Carolina International CCI & H.T. (Raeford, NC) [Website] [Schedule] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Cross Country Maps] [Live Scores] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

FEI Eventing Nations Cup Leg 1 (Montelibretti, Italy) [Website] [Timetable] [Entries] [Live Scores] [Dressage Day 1 Live Stream] [Dressage Day 2 Live Stream] [Show Jumping Live Stream] [Cross Country Live Stream]

U.S. Weekend Preview

Carolina International CCI & H.T. (Raeford, NC) [Website] [Schedule] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Cross Country Maps] [Live Scores] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Ocala Winter II (Ocala, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Pine Top Spring H.T. (Thomson, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Ram Tap National H.T. (Fresno, [Scoring]CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

International Events

FEI Eventing Nations Cup Leg 1 (Montelibretti, Italy) [Website] [Timetable] [Entries] [Live Scores] [Dressage Day 1 Live Stream] [Dressage Day 2 Live Stream] [Show Jumping Live Stream] [Cross Country Live Stream]

Thursday News and Reading

It can be tough to take things out of the school when you’ve got goals you want to achieve – but getting out and about with your horse could be just the ticket to achieving those goals. Not only is hacking or trail riding good for your and your horse’s mental health – hello, nature – but it can motivate your horse to be more interested in his work and all the different sights and sounds will work wonders to boost his confidence. Riding on varied terrain is great for horses’ fitness and conditioning, with the added benefit of helping to strengthen your core too. Don’t believe me? Check out this list explaining all of the above, and more. Whilst it’s nice to go for a relaxing stroll, and pootling along the lanes can alleviate stiffness in your horse, there’s no reason why the lesson has to stop just because you’ve left the school behind. There are all sorts of exercises you can practice whilst out on the trails. And if you’re looking for some inspiration to help you get yourself out there, these are the accounts that you should be following.

I don’t know about you, but groundwork has been key to being able to work with my horse in a positive way. Every time I’ve asked for advice about my new horse, the answer has been groundwork. And whilst I obviously would prefer to be riding, without putting in the groundwork first, it wasn’t safe for me to get on my guy. Having seen the difference it’s made in his attitude, and felt the rewards in our relationship, I’m a total convert and spend just as much of my horse time (if not more) on the ground as I do in the saddle. When I first met my trainer he told me, a horse is way better than just something you can ride, you’ve got something you can train. No matter what horse you have, or what you do with him, being able to move his feet is something that should be in every horse owner’s toolkit. Here’s how to get started.

Whilst I’m all in to the school of thought that a good horse is never a bad color, we can’t ignore the science behind genetics. Yes, all horses should be treated as the individuals they are, just like humans, but sometimes it’s smart to take note of the science too when it comes to choosing a horse and how we go about working with specific horses. We’ve heard the stereotypes about chestnut mares, and although there are examples of these redheads living up to their reputation, there are also quite a few out there who prove the naysayers totally wrong. The way color and genetics can influence equine behavior is an interesting topic however, and can help horse owners to make educated decisions regarding training and management, as this research highlights.

If we want to improve we need to look at areas where we go wrong, but focusing on the negatives doesn’t do anyone any good. I’m totally guilty of this – feeling the pressure of doing everything right so my horse has the best chance of learning. So often I spend entire sessions berating myself – ‘Ah, I got that wrong, and that, and that…’. From the outside it’s easy to see how unhelpful perfectionism can be. But when we’re trapped into trying our best, it’s a sticky place to get out of. This article focuses on dressage, but is relevant to all of us who put ourselves under pressure at the detriment of progress.

A call for more compassion and understanding in the online horse world. This think piece takes a look at the trend on social media to be either pro-coach or pro-rider – with those on the coaching side suggesting that riders need to be tougher and work harder, and those on the riding side asking for more compassion and attention to wellbeing. The thing with social media is that there’s rarely a middle ground. What we really need is to remember that we’re all human people, ultimately on the same side – Team Horsepeople.

Video Break

What happens when an eventer and stunt rider switch things up and try out each other’s disciplines? Well, this…

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Oh Carolina!

Setters’ Run Farm is ready, the welcome party drinks are on ice, the courses are being walked, the ring familiarization is a go, and Team EN – headed up by Chinch – is geared up to bring you all of the news and action from what’s sure to be a great competition.

Here’s what’s happening, when:

Today (Wednesday) at 1pmthe complementary 4*-S course walk with Carolina International Rider Rep Ariel Grald.

The center line comes into play tomorrow (Thursday) at 9:20am EST / 6:20am PDT / 1:20pm GMT when the 4* dressage gets underway. Show jumping starts at 10am EST / 7am PDT / 2pm GMT on Friday for the 3* competitors, with the 4* going at 12 noon EST / 9am PDT / 4pm GMT. Ian Stark’s cross country course is the place to be on Saturday, with horses leaving the start box from 8am EST / 5am PDT / 12 noon GMT right through ’til 5pm EST / 2pm PDT / 9pm GMT. The 4* will be out on course from 11:46am EST / 8:46am PDT / 3:46pm GMT.

If you’re not able to be there but have Carolina on your mind, don’t fret. As well as our awesome coverage (if we do say so ourselves) via the EN website and @goeventing – including live updates from the 4* cross country – H&C+ is running a livestream (subscription required).

How many trading cards will Chinch snag? Will I finally beat my husband at Eventing Manager? Who will take home the big one and bag the 4* win? Carolina knows!

Carolina International CCI & H.T. (Raeford, NC) [Website] [Schedule] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Cross Country Maps] [Live Scores] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Meanwhile, over in Europe the first leg of the FEI Nations Cup is kicking off in Montelibretti, Italy. More on this in tomorrow’s News & Notes, but if you just can’t wait, here’s some info to get you started:

FEI Eventing Nations Cup Leg 1 (Montelibretti, Italy) [Website] [Timetable] [Entries] [Live Scores] [Dressage Day 1 Live Stream] [Dressage Day 2 Live Stream] [Show Jumping Live Stream] [Cross Country Live Stream]

U.S. Weekend Preview

Carolina International CCI & H.T. (Raeford, NC) [Website] [Schedule] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Cross Country Maps] [Live Scores] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Ocala Winter II (Ocala, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Pine Top Spring H.T. (Thomson, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Ram Tap National H.T. (Fresno, [Scoring]CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

International Events

FEI Eventing Nations Cup Leg 1 (Montelibretti, Italy) [Website] [Timetable] [Entries] [Live Scores] [Dressage Day 1 Live Stream] [Dressage Day 2 Live Stream] [Show Jumping Live Stream] [Cross Country Live Stream]

Wednesday News and Reading

Here’s your chance to walk the Badminton course with an Olympic, World and European gold medalist. That’s right, eventing hero Tina Cook will be doing a Badminton course walk on Thursday May 9th. Find out how to ride the famous fences from someone who spent three decades doing just that. Scan the QR code on this Instagram post to book your ticket.

If you’re stepping up to International competition this season, make sure you check out these new CCI1* offerings. There are now seven opportunities for British Eventing members to compete at International 1*, including new fixtures at Alnwick Ford and Catton Park. Here’s everything you need to know.

Will you be watching the Olympic equestrian events this summer? We all know that horse sports are treading a fine line when it comes to continuing as part of the Olympics. One way you can vote for them to stay is by tuning in to the equestrian events happening in Paris. Viewing figures bear some weight when it comes to deciding which sports to include in future Games – alongside financial and environmental considerations, and the ever present social license – so if you want to play your part in keeping us in the game, make sure you’re planning on tuning in.

Will the Kiwis be on the podium in Paris? High Performance Manager Jock Paget thinks so. There’s a confident air in the Kiwi camp, according to Jock. Twelve years after winning team bronze at London 2012, they are so ready to be back in the medals this summer, and Jock says that they’re “up for it”. It’s all to play for in Paris!

Horse trainer, author and 2024 Gaucho Derby rider Warwick Schiller talks about the lessons he learned whilst undertaking the greatest test of horsemanship on earth. This year’s Gaucho Derby threw up all of the stories you would expect from a mammoth 500km trek across the Patagonian wilderness. So much more than a race, the Derby calls for survival skills, fortitude, resilience and horsemanship on an epic level. Warwick describes his experience as a “spiritual journey” and shares the life lessons he gleaned from the trip in the latest episode of his Journey On Podcast. It’s a long listen, so a perfect accompaniment for those bigger barn chores, but not as long as the Derby.

We’ll finish up with fashion news, and horsegirl chic from Bella Hadid. Spotted taking inspiration from her cowboy boyfriend, teaming sparkly sequins with a Stetson (or other brand of cowboy hat that lacks the pleasing alliteration I’ve gone with here), the fact that Bella’s bringing the horseworld to Vogue is pretty cool, no matter what she wears.

Sponsor Corner

Liz Halliday and Ocala Horse Properties‘ Cooley Quicksilver, Miks Master C, and Cooley Nutcracker shone bright at the Conceal Grand Prix Eventing Showcase! Keep an eye on the Liz Halliday and Ocala Horse Properties‘ team this weekend at the SRF Carolina International CCI4*.

Video Break

Twelve months ago Caroline Pamukcu and HSH Blake took third in the 3*-S at Carolina International. Fast forward to the Pan-Am Games in Santiago and they delivered an individual gold medal performance. They’re in it to win it in the 4*-S at Carolina this year. Here’s a look back at their cross country round last time they visited Setters’ Run Farm.

Thursday News & Notes

Given that I’m taking a hiatus from English (and my eventing dreams) to cowgirl up and try out Western for a while, I’m totally here for Road to the Horse, a competitive colt starting competition which focuses on effective horsemanship with trust and unity at the heart of the process.

And it’s particularly exciting for eventing fans this year given that 4* eventer Tik Maynard will be amongst the elite ranks. Read what Tik had to say about his foray into Western horsemanship when EN’s Veronica Green-Gott caught up with him here.

Road to the Horse starts on March 21st and runs over four days. You can check out the schedule here and meet the competitors here. There will be a livestream of the event, which you’ll find me glued to – we’ll bring you the link as soon as it’s available.

Cowboy up, and go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

Bouckaert Equestrian H.T. International (Fairburn, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Full Gallop Farm March I H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

SAzEA Spring H.T. (Tucson, AZ) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Southern Pines H.T. I (Raeford, NC)[Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

International Events

Land Rover Horse of the Year (Hastings, New Zealand) [Website] [Program] [Equestrian Schedule] [Eventing Schedule] [Eventing Live Scores] [Live Stream]

Thursday News and Reading

Starting today on H&C+ – Cobs Can Go Eventing. Inspired by Morven Richie’s #SuperCob, Star X, the 14.2hh 20-year-old who took on Badminton Grassroots last year with all the feathered flair of a horse who absolutely can event, H&C+ brings us a new show all about eventing cobs. ‘Mikey’ captured the imagination of all of us who have cobs in our barn, with the #CobsCan initiative from British Eventing highlighting the surprising versatility of the breed. Packed full of training tips and information, I’ll be tuning in for sure – with visions of flying over the finish line on my hairy guy dancing before my eyes.

From one # to another – Steffen Peters talks taking dressage viral at Tokyo with #RaveHorse, Paris hopes, and more. Find out which horse brought the Olympic team silver medalist his favorite moment, and which comes a very, very close second; what happened when comedian and actor Kevin Hart asked for a photo op aboard ‘Mopsie’ (AKA Suppenkasper AKA Rave Horse); what advice Steffen has for adult amateurs in the sport, and how his hobby of flying model airplanes happened – all this and more in this Q&A with the Rave Horse rider himself.

Call out for creative writers! The Plaid Horse Equestrian Voices Creative Writing Contest is open for submissions. The theme is ‘A trainer who has made a significant impact on your life’, although this is a guide and all well-written articles will be eligible to win the $5,000 Grand Champion prize. So flex those fingers, get to typing, and good luck! The deadline for submissions is July 1st.

My horse has an almighty fart-powered flying buck that he breaks out from time to time – and when he does, he’s always letting me know that something’s not quite right with him. Sure, there are horses that buck for joy – I’ve had one of those too – and we’ve all almost certainly seen this kind of kicking up the heels shenanigans going on in the field, but bucking under saddle is something that should be looked at. Here are 9 physical and behavioral reasons that may lie beneath the buck.

AI is out there chatting **** about horses – but what does it really know? Tilly took the words right out of my mouth the other day when she vehemently and eloquently expressed her feelings towards the use of AI in the creative industries. And it seems we’re not alone. Horse Network’s #HorseWordNerd Rebecca Berry chimes in with her take on AI’s offerings for equestrian writing, summing the whole thing up as only a human would: “May the living brain continue to reign supreme”. Hear, hear!

Miranda Lambert reveals the inspiration behind her clothing and lifestyle brand Idyllwind – a feisty red-headed Welsh Cob who taught her how to ride. Honoring the inspirational equine in an Instagram post, the country singer proves that being brave, taking chances and trying new things no matter where you are in life – she started riding aged 30 – can lead to dreams coming true.

And finally, in case you were wondering, the moon phase at the time of conception has no impact on the sex of a foal (or likely any other species). This old wives’ tale has been proven to be just that, with researchers looking at over 65,000 examples and coming to the conclusion that there’s generally a 50/50 chance when it comes to whether a filly or colt emerges from its dam. You don’t say.

Video Break

Right now my trainer’s totally into yelling at me for my math skills (also my riding, but mainly my math). He’s not the first person to tell me my math’s sketchy. I just wish he’d test me on my punctuation instead – I’d have a fighting chance at passing that test.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Photo by Hoofs and Horns, 1980, Valerie Russell via Equestrian Memories Australia Facebook Page.

With the northern hemisphere eventing season springing into action proper last weekend, it feels like the start gates have swung open and we’re officially on the road to Paris. And whilst we await the season’s results that will bring us ever closer to longlists and shortlists and finally the team announcements for this year’s Games, here’s a flashback to a time before Andrew Hoy had graced the Olympic stage a whopping eight times. Captured at Badminton in 1980, Andrew’s mount Davey had taken him from Pony Club to the top of the sport, quite literally – they won Burghley the previous year – and it was his trusty Stockhorse that would see him make his Olympic debut at the 1984 LA Games. With three gold medals, two silver and one bronze under his cinch already, will Andrew find himself representing Australia at a ninth Olympics this year, and will he be bringing home yet more hardware to add to his shiny collection? It’s all to play for as the world’s eventers strive to be at the top of their game in the upcoming months, and secure their tickets on the flight to Paris. And we’ve got a ring-side seat as they battle it out for the three available spots on the team that everyone wants to be on. Watch this space, and go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

Bouckaert Equestrian H.T. International (Fairburn, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times]

Full Gallop Farm March I H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

SAzEA Spring H.T. (Tucson, AZ) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Southern Pines H.T. I (Raeford, NC)[Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

International Events

Land Rover Horse of the Year (Hastings, New Zealand) [Website] [Program] [Equestrian Schedule] [Eventing Schedule] [Eventing Live Scores] [Live Stream]

Wednesday News and Reading

You’ve got to be in it to win it and you for sure want to be in with a chance of winning this awesome giveaway from Fairfax and Favor. As well as a £500 gift card to spend on all the looks you’ve drooled over at 5* Horse Inspections, they’re also throwing in two tickets to this year’s Defender Kentucky 3-Day Event. Make sure your name’s in the hat by following @fairfaxandfavor and @kentuckythreedayevent on Instagram, like this post, and sign up here. Good luck!

You may or may not have noticed the online criticism surrounding the recent Dressage World Cup Qualifier in Amsterdam. There was a fair bit of heated discussion going on regarding the judging and the winner, with a whole heap of people – from journalists to spectators, to people who hadn’t even watched the competition – weighing in with their opinion. 5* dressage judge and former US Equestrian Federation Technical Advisor for Dressage Anne Gribbons has her say on the matter, as well as the use of AI in dressage judging and the impact of social license on the sport.

Horse trainer Carl Bledsoe has been honored by the Humane Society of the United States as its Humane Horseman of the Year. Instrumental in the increased awareness and welfare of Tennessee walking horses in particular, Carl turned around the traditions into which he was born to become an advocate for ethical and humane horse training. As such, the senior director of equine protection at the Society states, “Carl Bledsoe stands as a symbol of change and compassion in the equine industry. Renouncing harmful practices … [he] now serves as a role model for ethical conduct in the horse world. His commitment to the well-being of horses proves that success can be achieved with integrity and respect for equine welfare”. Here’s Carl’s story – from active participant in horse soring to being the voice which has brought about legislation to ban the cruel practice.

There’s no denying that riding is an athletic kind of activity that requires a whole lot of strength, flexibility and fitness if we’re to be fair to our horses. As a 43-year-old returning to the saddle after a rather long hiatus, I’ve been finding out the hard way that riding in the body I have today is very different from how it was in my teenage years. I’ve had to adapt in some areas, work at others and sometimes just accept what is. Every body is different, and how that translates to the saddle will vary too. But we can learn from one another’s experiences as we navigate our own journey. Here’s one rider’s 5 things that improved her plus-size riding life.

Do you have a plan for a potential apocalypse? One thing’s for sure, us horsey folk are highly likely to fare better than most, given our propensity for fixing things, almost unlimited tolerance of pain and discomfort, and highly developed immune systems, amongst a whole bunch of other skills – all detailed and examined in this most enjoyable, dark yet loving tribute to the crazy cohort that we call equestrians.

And finally, here’s your chance to bag a little Heartland, for real. Pre-bidding is now open for the Heartland Fan Appreciation Auction featuring actual stuff from the popular Hallmark show. When I saw this I immediately started plotting ways to raise the cash for the miracle girl saddle – my husband vetoed a remortgage of our house, and as I only have one horse, selling him (horse, not husband – the husband helps pay for the horse so I need him too) wasn’t on the cards, so my next best option was opening an OnlyFans account – but alas (or perhaps thank goodness), it’s not listed. Scrolling through the catalog is a pleasant trip down memory lane regardless, and it sure is interesting to see what’s commanding the bigger bucks.

Sponsor Corner

How did Liz Halliday find her home in Ocala? With help from Ocala Horse Properties‘ Chris, Rob, and Matt– who Liz calls her brothers. Hear more about Liz’s story with Ocala Horse Properties here.

Video Break

It’s always exciting when eventing makes the mainstream, especially when they actually get things right. (Remember when the Daily Mail captioned a photo of Zara Tindall’s “majestic horse Showtime” with the description “who donned a black hat featuring pointed horns”? If you don’t, here it is. In case you’re wondering, no the horse did not have a horned hat on, merely a bonnet covering his horsey ears.) Well, BBC Midlands did Laura Collett proud by getting not only the name of the sport right, but also doing a decent feature on her and London 52’s success thus far and Paris hopes. Go eventing!

Thursday News & Notes

We’re celebrating this leap year day with one of the most impressive and terrifying leaps in eventing – the leap of faith that is the Leaf Pit at Burghley. It’s one of those cross country fences that looks hella fun when I’m safely settled on my sofa enjoying the spectacle, but in real life – I’d want to be totally encased in around 24 layers of bubble wrap if I ever found myself looking down from the top of a horse up there, and for there to be a giant and generously-filled kids’ ball pit at the bottom, (also, ideally my mount would be more hobby horse than 5* fit eventer).

However you spend your bonus day, go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

2024 $100,000 Conceal Grand-Prix Eventing Showcase at Bruce’s Field (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Ride For Charity Teams] [Ride For Charity Online Vote] [Volunteer] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage] Schedule – [03/01 8am-2pm EST Dressage] [03/01 3pm-5pm EST Show Jumping] [03/02 12:30pm-3pm EST Cross Country]

Full Gallop Farm March Wednesday H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Rocking Horse Winter III H.T. (Altoona, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Sporting Days Farm March H.T. II (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Twin Rivers Winter H.T. (Paso Robles, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

International Events

Portuguese Spring Tour (Mata do Duque) [Timetable] [Entries] [Scoring] [Portuguese Eventing Association Facebook Page] [More Info]

Thursday News and Reading

For one day only – free registration for Equine Guelph’s online Introduction to Body Condition Scoring course. Learn how to assess your horse’s weight using the Henneke body condition scoring system and gain the tools you need to create an action plan based on the score. The course content is self-paced, around 15-20 hours and you get access for a full year. To benefit from the free registration offer, you need to sign up tomorrow (Friday March 1st).

As February draws to a close and we feel a sniff of spring in the air, Badminton approaches. Fences and camera crews and sponsors and tradestands and entries… it’s all going on at Badminton – read all about it in this month’s Director’s Blog.

Mistakes happen, of course they do – it’s what you do with them that counts. Rather than being embarrassed when we mess up, and going all defensive and blaming whoever and whatever is at hand, if we see our mistakes as opportunities, we’re more likely to grow from what went down rather than being weighed down by our whoopsie. Here’s some handy techniques for reaping the benefits that making mistakes can bring us.

Our choice of tack, and how we fit it, can be mighty controversial – there are so many opinions in the equestrian world. So it’s a good thing when actual scientific research is undertaken into the effect of tack on horse welfare, like this paper on nosebands and the increased stress levels horses display when they are fitted tightly, so much so that the report concludes: “On ethical grounds, the use of relentless pressure to eliminate oral behaviors in pursuit of a competitive advantage may be difficult to justify”.

Becoming unconsciously uncoupled from your horse is something we riders have to take on the chin from time to time – but when you’re analyzing it with your trainer or explaining your lame limp in the office, how do you phrase the fact that your horse basically dumped you? For all you horse/word geeks out there, here’s an interesting list of ways to describe hitting the deck. As an aside, I am in fact one of those ‘once in a blue moon’ riders who’ve come straight off the back of the horse – I call it the ‘didn’t-duck-under-the-tree-branch-quick-enough’ kind of fall.

And finally, as a champion of horses, books and awesome women, I couldn’t resist sharing this image of the Pack Horse Librarians in Kentucky. Traversing creek beds called Hell-for-Sartin, Troublesome, and Cut Shin, these tough gals took to horseback to deliver books and magazines to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to reading materials. Let’s hear it for these inspirational horsewomen.

Video Break

A couple weeks ago I shared the story of Shariah Harris, who was trailblazing on the polo pitch as the first Black woman to play in the US Open Women’s Polo Championship. From a single-income household in inner-city Philadelphia, Shariah’s introduction to the sport began with a literal wrong turn – which led her directly to her destiny. When her mom accidentally took the wrong road, they came upon the Work to Ride site, a program which involves urban youth in equestrian sports, and the rest, as they say, is history. Which is what Shariah made as she took to the pitch recently in the US Open Women’s Polo Championship. About her role as trailblazer, she says, “The more exposure I attract the more others will see and follow, then I won’t be the only one anymore”. Check out Shariah’s story in today’s Video Break.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Happening this week – the 2024 $100,000 Conceal Grand-Prix Eventing Showcase at Bruce’s Field, presented by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services (GPE) Organizing Committee and the Aiken Horse Park Foundation.

Making the podium at all five editions of the event – and scoring a hattrick of wins – Liz Halliday has three chances to defend her title, with Cooley Quicksilver (winner of the 4*S at Kentucky last season), Cooley Nutcracker (winner of two 4*L events in 2023) and last year’s champ (and Kentucky 5* third place finisher) Miks Master C all set to take their turn in the start box. It’s tough to bet against her, but with a super-stellar lineup, the competition is hot hot hot!

We’ll see all the US big hitters – the likes of Phillip Dutton, Will Coleman, Buck Davidson, Will Faudree and Lillian Heard Wood, who all bring two rides, with Boyd Martin and Doug Payne each having three shots at the title. And the list goes on… Maryland 5* winner Austin O’Connor is over from Ireland, and there are not one but two 2023 Pan-Am Games gold medalists in the form of Caroline Pamukcu (individual gold) and Canada’s Coleen Loach (team gold). There are just too many top contenders to mention here – one thing’s for sure, we’re in for a stacked competition and we can’t wait!

The action kicks off with dressage at 8am EST on Friday, followed by show jumping at 3pm. The cross country gets underway on Saturday at 12:30pm. You can watch it all play out live on H&C+ (subscription required) and we’ll of course be bringing you everything you need to know – keep it locked onto EN and follow @goeventing as we dive into the 2024 season.

2024 $100,000 Conceal Grand-Prix Eventing Showcase at Bruce’s Field (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Ride For Charity Teams] [Ride For Charity Online Vote] [Volunteer] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Also of note: Today is National Public Sleeping Day, which, to my understanding, means that it’s entirely legal – and indeed encouraged – for you to take a nap, wherever and whenever the Zs take you. Think staff meetings, while waiting in line, during particularly boring conversations you’d rather not be having – please not in the saddle. Apparently Oliver Townend snatches forty winks between cross country rounds at 5* events, which makes it totally plausible for me to round this off by saying go eventing, and nap.

U.S. Weekend Preview

2024 $100,000 Conceal Grand-Prix Eventing Showcase at Bruce’s Field (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Ride For Charity Teams] [Ride For Charity Online Vote] [Volunteer] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage] Schedule – [03/01 8am-2pm EST Dressage] [03/01 3pm-5pm EST Show Jumping] [03/02 12:30pm-3pm EST Cross Country]

Full Gallop Farm March Wednesday H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Rocking Horse Winter III H.T. (Altoona, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Sporting Days Farm March H.T. II (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Twin Rivers Winter H.T. (Paso Robles, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

International Events

Portuguese Spring Tour (Mata do Duque) [Timetable] [Entries] [Scoring] [Portuguese Eventing Association Facebook Page] [More Info]

Wednesday News and Reading

We’re kicking off today’s News and Reading with a couple of cool opportunities – first up the chance to have your event horse’s conformation critiqued by former USEA YEH Championship judge Chris Ryan. All you need to do is send a conformation photo and short video of your horse – straight on and from the side – being led at walk and trot to [email protected] and it’ll be considered as part of the USEA’s Conformation Critique series. You only have ‘til Wednesday March 6th, so cameras at the ready and have at it.

Next up, bookings are open for British Eventing’s webinar with Sally Mcginn from Mind Oddessey, where she’ll be talking all things reflection. From making balanced reflections and dealing with post competition blues to identifying strengths and working on the gaps, the session sounds like it’ll be super helpful for those of us who are striving towards competition aspirations as well as less competitive but thoughtful riders who use reflection to improve their performance when working towards goals at home. The webinar will take place on March 14th at 7pm GMT and costs £15.

And while we’re on the topic of things coming up – what better way to celebrate an extra day this year than to get quizzy with it? In aid of the British Eventing Support Trust but absolutely open to anyone around the world who enjoys getting quizzical, this leap year quiz night is sure to be a blast – and there’s a trophy at stake. If I win, can I claim it as an eventing win? My general knowledge may not be quite so general as it could be, but I’ve for sure got a better chance of winning a quiz than an event. If you’re up for the competition, you need to register to receive the Zoom link, which you can do right here. The questions will be comin’ at ya from 7pm GMT / 2pm EST tomorrow (February 29th). See you there.

With a bunch of medals to his name, including Olympic gold, US based British eventer and USEF Emerging and Development Coach Leslie Law is a voice we listen to when it comes to training tips. 17-year-old Austin Skeens got to do just that in person when he had the opportunity to train with Leslie as part of the USEF E18 training program, and lucky for us, he’s shared what he learned. With tips for all three phases, from straightness in dressage and nailing your show jumping warm up to making good choices for your horse on the cross country, there’s lots here for us all to take away and work on.

Yes, we’re once more revisiting the phenomenon that is Shane Rose’s mankini – which is apparently not one of the silliest riding costumes ever seen. A research poll conducted by the ‘Chillax Institute’ has concluded that the scrap of neon orange was actually a rather fitting choice, given its aerodynamic properties and the weather in Australia at this time of year. And as far as the accolade of ‘silliest riding costume’ goes, Shane’s mankini didn’t even make the top-five on the list. It’s probably time we put ‘mankini-gate’ to bed, but there’s for sure one more laugh to be had in this satirical jaunt.

And finally… Saving the best / weirdest / most hilarious ‘til last, I present to you donkey basketball. Yes, really. It’s basically basketball on donkey-back, and the justification for such an intriguing addition to the sport is the added unpredictability these stubborn equines bring to the game. You will see plenty of planting. You probably won’t see a donkey doing a slam dunk. (If you’re in any doubt that this is a thing, here’s proof.)

Sponsor Corner

Talk about turnout! 🌾🌿🌱 This 18+ acre farm has all the pasture space your horses could ever need. Featuring a 20 stall barn and an RV hookup 🚐 this property is perfect for someone who wants to build their dream home and keep their horses on property while they do it. Learn more on Ocala Horse Properties’ website.

Video Break

We’re so lucky to be involved in a sport where age and sex pose relatively limited barriers to not only enjoying the sport, but also competing at the highest levels within it. From show jumping legend John Whittaker, who’s still at the top of his game aged 68, to eventing’s own eight-time Olympian, Andrew Hoy, aged 65, and long-time hero Pippa Funnell, who’s smashing it for the horsegirls at 55, there are many shining examples of the longevity that equestrian sports provide athletes. At the other end of the scale are competitors such as Sky Brown, Britain’s youngest ever summer Olympian, who won a bronze medal in skateboarding in Tokyo. Here’s what went down when King of Dressage Carl Hester met the young talent:

Thursday News & Notes

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Phillip Dutton (@duttoneventing)

We’re obviously all locked onto the road to Paris as we gear up for an Olympic year, but the eventing world has one eye on the future, namely 2028 and the LA Games, when Olympic eventing as we currently know it will likely not feature. The deadline for National Federations to submit their comments on the proposed format changes passed on Tuesday and so our attention turns to the FEI, with feedback due to be presented to the IOC by March 1st.

Seven-time Olympian and three-time medalist Phillip Dutton has shared his thoughts on the future of eventing and what changes at Olympic level may mean for the sport as a whole:

“I do think there is a general consensus worldwide in the eventing community that it is important to modify the format if the International Olympic Committee recommends changes so that our sport can stay a part of the Olympics. Even though it will most likely be a watered-down event, it will still keep the sport part of the general sports viewers’ eyes and will help attract sponsorship and excitement and therefore create a more sustainable sport. Like in other sports, such as tennis, the gold medal winner at the Olympics is probably not remembered as well as the Wimbledon champion.⁣

For eventing, the five-star three-day events are the ultimate test of training, endurance, talent and horsemanship. It is imperative that the FEI recognizes this and puts out a statement committing to support the five-star events and that changing the Olympic format does NOT mean that the sport will go the way of the Olympic format.⁣”

We await the final decision with baited breath, but in the meantime, go eventing.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Full Gallop Farm Mid February H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Pine Top Advanced (Thomson, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Three Lakes Winter II H.T. at Caudle Ranch (Groveland, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Thursday News and Reading

We eventing fans sure do love a live stream and EN’s one-stop hub is where they’re all at. We’ve compiled this list and its accompanying global map to assist you and cut down on confusion and frustration when it comes to eventing live streams. We’ll be updating this as new streams are added, and you can request the addition of a live stream by emailing [email protected]. Eyes on, and go eventing!

5* eventer and mustang trainer Elisa Wallace joins the Genetics Unbridled Podcast and makes a cool discovery about two horses in her herd. Elisa gives her insights into working with the wild guys, how she bonds with them and the connection she builds through her training. We’ve loved following along with her vlogs as she navigated the Mustang Magic this year and now we get to listen in as she sheds light on some of the stuff that didn’t make it to YouTube. All this plus, we find out about Etalon’s innovative new project, Map-My-Mustang, how Elisa’s used genetic testing in her own program, and how she discovered that there are actually full siblings in her barn. Earbuds in and listen up.

Help your horse become a better athlete by adding calisthenics into your training routine. This conditioning work is not a new fad – I remember it from workout video tapes in the 80s, but it’s far older and wiser than that – it actually dates back to Ancient Greece and means ‘beauty’ and ‘strength’. And it’s not just a human thing – horses can do calisthenics too. Here are some simple exercises to help your horses find those muscles they probably don’t use in their day-to-day training to become more balanced, mobile, strong and beautifully conditioned.

Am I boring you, buddy? If you’ve got a yawner, you may be inclined to think that your horse is finding things a bit dull. But that may not actually be the case. Research has found that yawning can be a sign of frustration, and if you’ve got a horse who yawns frequently, it could be a red flag regarding their welfare.

I used to dream of having a real pony’s tail to brush as I dragged a tiny plastic comb through the candy-colored nylon glued to the rear of my My Little Pony. But man, does the real thing take some care and attention! It of course doesn’t help that I bought an almost pure white pony, who is right now mostly brown and sporting some pretty impressive skid marks the full length of his tail. (Sorry for that tasteful image if you’re eating breakfast right now.) With this in mind, I’m always on the look-out for tail care tips, like these four ways to keep your horse’s tail looking fabulously full.

And finally, some horsing around with your feet on the ground. You may have heard that hobby horsing is, no joke, a serious sport with its own Championships, well, it’s catching on in student circles too – California Polytechnic State University is hosting its first-ever hobby horsing competition, with the winners getting the chance to perform at the Cal Poly Rodeo student night. Here’s a taster (you know you want to). There are obvious benefits to this approach to equestrian sports in comparison to the living, breathing, **** producing, I’ll-buck-you-off-if-I-feel-like-it money pit reality of the four-legged variety.

Video Break

From wild horse to this in 100 days – check out the top ten freestyle performances at the Mustang Magic competition last month.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

The Ocala Horse Properties USEA YEH Symposium kicked off yesterday and has already been receiving great feedback on social media. Each year, it seems that this seminar (and its educational counterparts put on by the USEA) grows both in scope and in reach to new audience members.

Ocala Horse Partners came on board to support the YEH Symposium this year, which is a line of support that makes great since given their longstanding relationship with the sport as owners for Liz Halliday. Liz herself, along with countless other professionals, has had several horses come up through the levels after starting their careers in YEH program. Another recent success story is that of HSH Blake, ridden by Caroline Pamukcu to individual gold at he 2023 Pan Ams.

The program, intended to be a part of the big picture pipeline of the sport as well as a way for aspiring horse developers to have an avenue to follow, has yielded many future 5* and Championship horses.

You can read much more about the action from the YEH Symposium on the USEA website here.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Full Gallop Farm Mid February H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Pine Top Advanced (Thomson, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Three Lakes Winter II H.T. at Caudle Ranch (Groveland, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Wednesday News and Reading

We eventing fans sure do love a live stream and EN’s one-stop hub is where they’re all at. We’ve compiled this list and its accompanying global map to assist you and cut down on confusion and frustration when it comes to eventing live streams. We’ll be updating this as new live streams are added and you can request the addition of a live stream by emailing [email protected]. Eyes on, and go eventing!

Happening tomorrow – Conversations with Team Canada. Join Kyle Carter (Pan Ams and World Championships silver medalist), Tik Maynard (two-time freestyle winner at the Thoroughbred Makeover) and Holly Jacks (5* eventer and Pratoni World Championships team member) as they share their experience, knowledge and insights about developing young sport horses. As well as an informative discussion, there will also be a live Q&A, and as if that wasn’t enough, everyone who registers for the webinar will be entered into a draw with the chance of winning a Lululemon Team Canada clothing pack. Here’s where to sign up.

Top tips from a top farrier. Having got up close and personal with some very exciting hooves – including Tamie Smith’s Kentucky winner Mai Baum, Will Coleman’s Off the Record and Lauren Nicholson’s Vermiculus, as well as being the official farrier for the Tryon WEG – Chris Martelli knows a thing or two about hoofcare. From food and forage, to competition schedules, hoof oil and fly spray, here are his six top tips to keep horses’ hooves in tip top condition.

No matter what activities you enjoy with your equine pal, being balanced as they bend is key to having a horse that moves correctly. This is something I’m working on currently with my new horse, and I have to tell you, it can be a bit of a tricky business. It’s taking time and patience and a whole lot of work – on the ground and under saddle – and both with my horse and on the exercise mat – but all the work is totally worth it and I know we’ll both reap the benefits as we progress in our training. Here’s some sound advice for teaching your horse to bend effectively. And of course, it’s never all about the horse – as riders we need to be just as strong, supple and balanced as we want our horses to be – it takes a whole lotta leg to get that bend going in the right direction! If you fancy dialing up your rider fitness, the Horse Learner Fitness YouTube Channel is a good place to start.

Take a dive into the dictionary entries regarding dishorsing. This week’s foray into the vocabulary of the horse world is all about taking leave of your mount – ‘dismounting’, ‘dishorsing’, ‘hopping off’, or perhaps ‘slithering-to-the-ground-in-a-sweaty-broken-heap’, depending how your ride’s gone I guess.

We finish up here with ‘Ponyhenge’ – a graveyard for rocking horses, of course. Yes, really. It started out with one, then more appeared. Their numbers continue to grow, but no one’s ever witnessed one being dropped off. And yes, they do appear to move around. The mystery continues…

Sponsor Corner

Ocala is growing! Ocala Horse Properties sat down with John Harms to discuss his plans for a restaurant and retail space in northwest Ocala. Stretching 11 acres in the heart of horse country, the project will feature 100,000 square feet of office, entertainment, restaurant, and retail space. Read more.

Video Break

Back in November,Courtney Cooper announced a scholarship giving two amateur riders the opportunity to train with her for 7 days throughout the upcoming year. Here’s Jen Clapp, winner of one of the 2024 C Square Farm and Excel Star Sport Horses adult amateur scholarships, enjoying a day out at Bruce’s field with Excel Star Saint Nick. Keep your eyes peeled for Jen’s blog about her experiences – coming soon on EN.

Thursday News & Notes

I’m just a bit envious of Liz Halliday’s beautifully organized bit collection! Choosing the right bit for the right horse for the right job is obviously super important, but it can be a bit of a tricky process. It’s a bit handy then that self-confessed bit-nerd Liz is launching a social media series answering viewers’ bitting questions – just drop her a DM on Instagram @lizhallidaysharp. I’m chomping at the bit for this. (Sorry.)

Meanwhile, the Gaucho Derby runs on, with the leading pack nearing the finish line (as I write this). Will we have a winner by the time this is published? Perhaps. Find out and catch up with the action @theequestrianists.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Jumping Branch Farm H.T. (Aiken, SC)[Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Ocala Winter I (Ocala, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Ram Tap H.T. (Fresno, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

International Events

Portuguese Spring Tour (Mata do Duque) (Feb 17 – 20 and Feb 28 – Mar 3) [Timetable] [Entries] [Scoring] [Portuguese Eventing Association Facebook Page] [More Info]

Thursday News and Reading

Serious about improving your jumping position? Then this awesome opportunity is for you. Multi-Olympic, Pan Ams and World Championships medalist Beezie Madden will be reviewing selected photos and videos for a feature in Practical Horsemanship Magazine. It’s always helpful to have experienced eyes on the ground, and Beezie’s eyes are for sure some of the best in the biz. If you’re up for it – and why wouldn’t you be? – here’s the submission form.

International Grand Prix dressage rider Jeremy Steinberg weighs in on the dressage debate. Questioning the altering of the FEI ‘rules’ to ‘guidelines’ regarding rider position, gaits and movements, Jeremy considers the impact that ‘incorrect’ riding is having on competitive dressage, as well as commenting on the social media shares that may be catchy, but are in fact misguided and taken out of context.

Sort out the fact from the fiction when it comes to training aids. In the right hands and used correctly with the right horse, training aids can be just that – an aid to training. But notice the specifics – the right hands, the right horse, used correctly. In the wrong hands, used incorrectly and with a horse that just won’t benefit from this type of training, these aids can make problems worse and ultimately could be dangerous. Here’s the lowdown on how, when and why you may consider using training aids with your horse, and when to definitely leave them well alone.

Chatting to the Whole Equestrian for this week’s podcast: head groom for US eventer Hannah Sue Hollberg, Kristen Shepherd. Kristen shares her experiences starting out as a working student and progressing to head groom, traveling with Hannah Sue on the top-level international circuit, and transitioning to Vet Tech at the University of Florida. Listen in here.

Finding the right boots is a bit like finding a best friend or life partner – but what’s with the weird names? I never choose to wear my paddock boots in the paddock, especially at this time of year, they’re just not designed for fetlock-deep mud. A more appropriate name for them would be something like ‘all-weather school but mostly in stirrups’ boots. Lucky for us, the resident #horsewordnerd at Horse Network, Rebecca Berry, has taken on ‘The Case of the Weird Riding Boot Names’.

And finally, many of us could do with a little Lotto luck when it comes to the spendy business of horse show entries – well this couple lucked out big time. If you won big, what would you spend it on? – a cliched question that we’ve all considered from time to time. Chances are, horses are top of the list. And that’s exactly what this lucky couple plan to spend their $1 million Lotto winnings on – ticking off their horsey bucket list, with competing the first thing on their agenda.

Video Break

Having spent some time this week riding bareback, I’ve been forced to admit that I really need to put in some work out of the saddle (and off the horse) in order to be the rider I aspire to one day become. But where to start? Well, a pretty good place is dressage rider and friend of EN Amelia Newcomb’s 5 exercises to improve your riding, which yes, I’ve been doing in full riding gear.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Yes, I’m going to do it – I’m going to bring up that Valentine’s Day conundrum currently infiltrating countless relationships across the globe (shameless hyperbole, I know, but I’m getting into the spirit of the day).

How long into a relationship is long enough before you break out the ‘L’ word?

I’ve been very much declaring my ‘like’ for my new pony for the past three months, prefaced with ‘despite everything’: ‘Despite everything, I really like him’ (accompanied by a rueful grin, but with an unmistakable sparkle in my eye). It just felt a little early for those three small – yet mighty – words.

It only took the briefest mention that my boy might benefit from a short time-out at my trainer’s barn (to work on all the stuff I like him despite), which is thirty minutes further from me than he is usually, for me to tearfully turn to a pile of mush and declare my total and unequivocal love for the little guy. ‘But I love him and he’ll be so far away’ (sob). (I guess I’m not a long-distance relationship kinda gal.)

As it turns out, committing myself emotionally has given our training journey an unexpected boost as I’m now unconditionally invested in our future together, because of – not despite – everything. Hurrah for love!

In all seriousness, spending time with a trainer that’s right for you and your horse is something that, if it’s available to you, shouldn’t be overlooked, no matter how experienced you are or wherever you are in your equestrian journey, as top eventer Andrew Hoy acknowledges (above) – he’s been working with fellow legend Capt. Mark Phillips for more than four decades. I’ll wrap this up with some sage advice from a wise colleague during my meltdown this week: Find a trainer you trust implicitly and then trust the process. And, of course, go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

Jumping Branch Farm H.T. (Aiken, SC)[Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Ocala Winter I (Ocala, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Ram Tap H.T. (Fresno, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

International Events

Portuguese Spring Tour (Mata do Duque) (Feb 17 – 20 and Feb 28 – Mar 3) [Timetable] [Entries] [Scoring] [Portuguese Eventing Association Facebook Page] [More Info]

Wednesday News and Reading

It’s just one week until the 2024 Ocala Horse Properties USEA YEH Symposium – a great opportunity to learn everything you need to know about young event horse prospects. From educational sessions covering confirmation, training, jumping and galloping, and masterclasses from some of the best in the biz, the schedule is jam-packed – and there’s the chance to attend a complimentary behind-the-scenes tour of the World Equestrian Center. Find out what’s going on at the symposium here and register to attend here.

Steffen Peters is back in the saddle following a health scare and is looking towards Paris and another #ravehorse performance. Taking dressage viral in Tokyo, Suppenkasper has been hitting the ring at HITS Del Mar Dressage Opener CDI in California with German-born U.S. rider Steffen Peters, just two months after Steffen spent time in hospital due to blood clots in his left leg and lungs, which doctors believe was caused by too many hours traveling by air. He’s putting that behind him though as he focuses on Olympic qualification, and will hopefully be bringing the party to the Paris dressage competition in the summer.

When is a horse too much horse? So this is an article that feels like it was written just for me right now. To be honest, if I was an outsider looking at me and my horse (and of the judgy temperament, hey, we’re all human), I would probably be of the opinion that I’ve over-horsed myself. But you can’t know the whole story or see the bigger picture from the outside. This horse game is basically a huge – and incredibly steep – learning curve, that peaks and troughs and plateaus and sends you round in circles and up-side-down. I’ve found that I’m learning just as much about myself as I am about my horse. “Sometimes we end up with the horse that we actually need”, and sometimes that’s a whole lotta horse.

Using mindful pauses can totally change the experience your horse has when doing something new or scary. Horse trainer Warwick Schiller explains his ‘Watch-And-Pause’ method when saddling up, sharing the signs of tension we need to watch out for and how to tell when the horse’s focus has changed, allowing us to continue with the task at hand. Warrick is currently racing across the Patagonian wilderness as he navigates the Gaucho Derby – keep up with the latest race news here.

And finally, skijoring in Salt Lake City. Bringing this – kinda crazy – extreme sport to an urban environment is no mean feat, and included moving 60 trucks of snow from Solitude Mountain Resort into the city. The organizers believe it’s the most metropolitan destination that the sport has taken place in. In case you’re wondering, skijoring involves a horse and rider pulling a skier – think waterskiing, but the boat’s a horse and the water’s snow. Because, why not?

Sponsor Corner

Looking for a home with a unique flair? This 70 acre farm has it all. Loaded with lush green grass and majestic granddaddy oaks, the home features architectural field stone accents, cathedral ceilings, and more. Check it out.

Video Break

Here’s a little joy / fun / downright weirdness to help you through hump day – a throwback to the other Horse Inspection that happened at the wonder that is Les 5 Etoiles de Pau.

Thursday News & Notes from Achieve Equine

We’re used to a fair whack of crazy in our mad sport, but tipping the scale into total madness is the Gaucho Derby, which kicks off today.

The riders are under starters orders and ready to go forth with their steeds (borrowed from local gauchos) into the Patagonian wilderness, to navigate their way across 500km of heart-in-the-mouth terrain for the next ten days in a race that’s dubbed “the greatest test of horsemanship on earth”. If you’re wondering what masochists adventurous spirits sign up to this wild ride, you can see for yourself here.

All highly accomplished equestrians (you have to be to even have the tiniest smidge of temptation to enter this race), it remains to be seen whether they’re as good at navigating as they are at riding – there are no flags to lock onto out there. One or two of them are – unfathomably? – back for another go, and there are a couple of Mongol Derby (an equally mad race across 1000km of Mongolian steppe) veterans amongst their ranks, but for the majority, this is their first rodeo, so to speak. Ah, the bliss of ignorance – until they’re out of the gate and in the thick of it, that is.

Photo via Facebook, by The Equestrianists.

You can keep up with the race via the live race tracking, daily news updates and by following @theequestrianists. Find out more about the Gaucho Derby here and the Gauchos’ history with horses here.

You can also read what EN reporter Gillian Warner learned about horsemanship as she traversed through Argentina on horseback here.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Pine Top Intermediate H.T. (Thomson, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Rocking Horse Winter II H.T. (Altoona, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Thursday News and Reading

Two free VIP tickets to The Best Weekend All Year? Yes please. Here’s your chance to enter the ultimate Defender Kentucky Three-Day-Event giveaway in hopes of winning the two VIP tickets and a behind-the-scenes tour that are up for grabs. Here’s how to put your name in the hat.

Let’s face it, horses are a spendy hobby – and whilst we don’t want to cut corners, finding cost-effective ways to keep our equine pals is always welcome. With that in mind, here are some tips for working out a feeding program that’s healthy for your horse and your bank balance.

Change up your arena work and help your horse find their feet with some raised pole exercises. Suitable for most horses, raised pole work improves balance, core stability and footwork and can be a useful tool when it comes to thinking of new things to bring to your schooling practice. Here are some ideas for how to get started.

Shariah Harris is trailblazing on the polo pitch as the first Black woman to play in the US Open Women’s Polo Championship. From a single-income household in inner-city Philadelphia, Shariah’s introduction to the sport began with a literal wrong turn – which led her directly to her destiny. When her mom accidentally took the wrong road, they came upon the Work to Ride site, a program which involves urban youth in equestrian sports, and the rest, as they say, is history. Which is what Shariah is currently making as she takes to the pitch in the US Open Women’s Polo Championship, which started on Sunday and runs through February 18th. About her role as trailblazer, she says, “The more exposure I attract the more others will see and follow, then I won’t be the only one anymore”. You can cheer Shariah on and catch all the matches on the USPA Polo Network YouTube channel.

Ponies: “the biggest baddest horse you know shoved into a teeny tiny body”. As a pony owner myself, I did have a giggle at this totally relatable list. I must admit, when I’m talking to non-horsey types (and some horsefolk, to be honest), I do refer to my little(ish) guy as a horse. He may not have the length of leg as some of his field companions, but he more than makes up for it in attitude, smarts and swagger, that’s for sure. He may be small, but he is mighty! Here are six realities of owning a pony as an adult.

And finally, Fire Marshal Jax reporting for service. Jax (the horse) decided it was time for a fire drill at his barn, taking it upon himself to use the pull station to summon the fire brigade. Bedford Fire Department reported that Jax refused to answer any questions at the scene.

Sponsor Corner

Want your horse to feel moo-velous? (Sorry, not sorry 🐮) Shop the limited edition cow print Flair Strip. Production is very limited, so don’t wait! Shop here.

Video Break

Reigning World Champ Yasmin Ingham rounds-up her favorite shares in the latest edition of ‘My Insta Story’ from Team GB.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

There’s exciting news from leading Ocala farm realtors, event horse owners, and partners of EN Ocala Horse Properties – they’ve been named as title sponsor for the upcoming USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Symposium.

As well as selling some of the dreamiest equestrian properties out there, the team are total horse guys, and although they’ve personally hung up their competition boots, they remain huge eventing supporters with stakes in a number of US speed merchant Liz Halliday’s rides, such as Luhmuhlen 5* fifth place finisher Cooley Quicksilver (above), who they own alongside The Monster Partnership.

The Ocala Horse Properties USEA YEH Symposium will take place on February 20th at Majestic Oaks Ocala and Redtail Ridge Farm South and will feature a top-class panel of experts and international competitors.

Chris Desino, one third of Ocala Horse Properties, told USEA what being title sponsor of the YEH Symposium means to them: “Our horse program was built upon bringing along young horses to the top levels. With U.S. Eventing on the cusp of international acclaim, we recognize the vital role that programs like this play in shaping a bright future for the sport, and we are more than thrilled to support it.”

Go eventing!

National Holiday of Note: Today is National Girls and Women in Sports Day. We’re honored to be involved in a sport where competitors of any gender are able to compete as equals, so let’s give a huge shout out to all those who have inspired us, motivated us, and paved the way for us, and who continue to do so. There are so many examples of inspirational women in eventing, and we salute you all.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Pine Top Intermediate H.T. (Thomson, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Rocking Horse Winter II H.T. (Altoona, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Wednesday News and Reading

Maxime Livio pays tribute to Boleybawn Prince, who bows out of the sport aged 20. A truly international horse, having been campaigned by Austrian, Japanese, German, Thai and French riders, Boleybawn Prince represented Thailand at the Tokyo Olympics and the 2018 Asian Games with Arinadtha Chavatanont in the irons and has more recently been wowing the indoor crowd going arena eventing with Maxime, regularly topping the podium. He’ll now enjoy his retirement with his owner in Thailand.

Looking for something to listen to as you go about your barn chores? Catch up with Bubby Upton as she talks about her rehabilitation following a serious accident last season and find out what her plans are for 2024, and hear from 2023 winner of the British Eventing Newcomers League, thirteen-year-old Ollie Rowlands, about his goals for the year ahead – all brought to you by Nicole Brown and The British Eventing Show.

Spotted prepping for Paris..? Ros Canter has been working with four-time Olympian and dressage trainer Richard Davison on some tweaks to her tests with her top horses, Badminton and European champ Lordships Graffalo and 5* winner on his debut at the level at Pau Izilot DHI.

Training young horses can be a bit of a bumpy ride. You need a bucketload of resilience and a whole heap of patience just for starters. It’s tough to stay motivated when the going gets, well tough, so here’s some handy strategies to do just that. They may be geared towards working with young horses, but let’s be honest, all horse work can be tricky at times, so there’s something here for most of us, I’m sure.

Meet the very cool OTTBs honored at last week’s Retraining of Racehorses Awards. From having an impact in their community to going on to win in a variety of disciplines, the winners really highlight the potential of ex-racehorses to go on to live fulfilled and happy lives post-track. Find out more and watch the winners’ videos here.

Horses can do ballet. It’s World Ballet Day today so what better day to share this inspiring kids’ book? Jade Leahy aims to promote inclusivity through her stories, raising funds for the Riding for the Disabled Association in the process. Inspired by her real-life horses and her own experiences of disability, Jade’s latest book ‘Horses Can Do Ballet’ is available via her website.

Sponsor Corner

That chandelier! That geometric fireplace! The black and gold oven! Someone get the fainting couch, I’m about to swoon. Join me in drooling over this Golden Ocala Luxury home.

Video Break

OK, so as mentioned above, it’s World Ballet Day today and the easy option for today’s Video Break would surely be to share a dressage test. But this is EN. Instead, I’ve hunted down this throwback nail polish commercial that features dancers, a dance battle, a horse, and some amusing video editing. Don’t say we don’t give you anything. Enjoy.