Gillian Warner
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Gillian Warner

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About Gillian Warner

As a young professional based in State College, Pennsylvania, I recently started my business to focus on training, lessons, and clinics. With national level certifications (HB/B) from the U.S. Pony Club and experience trained with Eventing Olympian and FEI Grand Prix Show Jumper, Doug Payne, as well as Canadian Grand Prix Dressage Rider David Ziegler, Eventing Olympian Mara DePuy, FEI Grand Prix Show Jumper August Torsilieri, and USEF "R” Judge and USDF Gold Medalist Ange Bean, my approach to my work emphasizes a holistic approach to training with a solid foundation in horsemanship.

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Maryland 5 Star Right Around the Corner: Catch up with Entries

Boyd Martin and On Cue. Photo by Abby Powell.

It’s hard to believe, but we’re just over three weeks until the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory kicks off from October 13-16. We did a first look at the entries for the CCI5*-L and the CCI3*-L earlier this month, but with entries since closing on September 13th, it’s time to do another roundup and get excited for what’s to come!

With 24 entries in the CCI5*-L, there are fewer entries than their inaugural event in 2021, but it’s a strong field nonetheless. We’ll see experienced partnerships such as Olympians Phillip Dutton and Z, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z and Cooley Quicksilver, reigning USEF National Champions Doug Payne and Quantum Leap, and Great Britain’s Harry Meade and Superstition.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap. Photo by Abby Powell.

Woods Baughman will bring C’est La Vie 135 out for another attempt at a fall 5* after ending his Burghley weekend early — the pair bounced back with a competitive finish in Unionville this weekend and are all systems go for round two at Maryland.

For silver medal-winning Team USA, we’ll also see Will Coleman with DonDante, Lauren Nicholson with Landmark’s Monte Carlo, and Tamie Smith with Danito. At this juncture, we will not see Boyd Martin return to defend his 2021 title won at the inaugural Maryland 5 Star — he’s got Fedarman B aiming for Boekelo the weekend before instead — but he does have a handful of entries in the Young Event Horse finals and 3*-L.

Zachary Brandt and Direct Advance. Photo by Shelby Allen.

We also have one 5* first-timers on the entry list: Zach Brandt and Direct Advance. We’ll also welcome Australian rider Hayley Frielick for her first 5* stateside with Dunedin Black Watch. This will be this horse’s 5* debut, but Hayley has previously done the Adelaide 5*, finishing 10th at its last running in 2019 with Class Action LP.

Maryland 5 Star also offers the USEF National CCI3* Championship, which will see 76 entries, along with East Coast Young Event Horse Championships for 4- and 5-Year-Olds; these divisions currently have a total of 95 entries between them.

You can sneak a peek at the entry list here. We’re looking forward to an incredible week returning to Maryland October 13-16, and you can still get your tickets and tailgating passes here!

“The Questions Kept Coming”: North Americans Reflect on Blenheim

Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials ran this past weekend in Oxfordshire, England, with a competitive 4*L and 4*S. With the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II, England, and Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials are working to honor her memory and legacy. United States rider Kimmy Cecere remarked on the efforts taken by Blenheim to honor the Queen, with moments of silence each day, honorable mentions, and black bands for competitors to wear during each phase to express how the importance of this moment for the community.

In the 4*L, Germany’s Malin Hansen-Hotopp maintained the lead she established in the dressage to win her first British event. In the 4*S, Britain’s Piggy March took home the win, just two weeks after her victorious weekend in the 5* at Burghley.

Malin Hansen-Hotopp and Carlito’s Quidditch K. Photo courtesy of Blenheim Palace International.

A handful of North American riders were representing their home countries at Blenheim this weekend, with Grace Taylor (22nd), Kimmy Cecere (57th), Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride (31st), Gillian Beale King (E), and Canadian Jamie Kellock (50th) in the 4*L. In the 4*S, Canadian Kathryn Robinson finished 42nd with Cloud K, while U.S. rider Gillian Beale King finished 23rd with Derena Super Star and withdrew her second ride, RCA Royal Summer.

While you can rewatch the live streams from this past weekend, we caught up with a few of the 4*L riders to hear about the weekend first hand… what better way to gain insight into the course and atmosphere?

Gillian Beale King

U.S. rider Gillian Beale King has been based in Ireland since the spring of 2021, riding for Richard and Tanja Ames of Belline Estate. This past weekend at Blenheim, we saw her listed with three separate rides: Rebeliant in his 4*L debut, and RCA Royal Summer and Derena Super Star in the 4*S.

“This was my first time competing at a British event, and it did not disappoint… I was expecting stiff competition, which was there! It was surreal to be riding in front of the palace, with some of the best riders in the world.” Being at such a beautiful, iconic event attracts a certain type of atmosphere, which Gillian immediately noticed: “Dressage especially had quite the atmosphere, with tents, stands, and crowds to look at. It all adds to it.”

American rider Gillian Beale King sits atop the 4*-S on a personal best with Derena Super Star. Photo courtesy of Blenheim Palace International.

Moving into the cross country, the courses were walking well, with a variety of options a horse and riders combination could take. Gillian noted multiple times the choices that the riders could make dependent on the type of horse you had, or the round you wanted. “The questions were just phenomenal… [the questions] just kept coming. You had to ride your plan and know your horse. The course rode really well, and [course designer David Evans] played the land to his advantage, with strategic placement of fences.”

“Unfortunately, [Rebeliant] was just not having the best day, energy wise – I ended up pulling up around fence 19. I grew up with a focus to be not just a rider, but a horsewoman. You always put your horse first, and the best thing to save him for another day,” Gillian reflected.

Despite an early end to the weekend in the 4*L, Gillian had plenty of great moments this weekend, just one of which being achieving the best ever dressage score by a U.S. rider in the history of Blenheim 8/9 Year-Olds with Derena Super Star. Gillian was thrilled with how good her horses felt, how eye opening it was to ride against the best riders in the world, and for the educational opportunities to collaborate with other competitors in tackling the courses and challenges in front of them.

“I’m incentivized by doing better – this weekend showed me I on the right path. After focusing on Show Jumping for the past ten years, I’ve only been back to Eventing for 18 months. This weekend showed that the hard work paying off, and that we have a great team.”

While reflecting on this weekend, Gillian was sure to recognize the tragedy and heartbreak in Samantha Lissington’s fall with Ricker Ridge Ricochet, which resulted in a horse fatality and rider hospitalization. “Times like these are such a strong reminder to not take the opportunity to do what we do for granted. The journey that we are on makes it so we never stop learning, because life never stops teaching. We are so lucky to ride, train, and enjoy our partnerships,” Gillian states. Our thoughts are with Samantha’s team and Ricker Ridge Ricochet’s connections.

Jamie Kellock

Canadian rider Jamie Kellock flew to England the Tuesday before Blenheim to compete in the 4*L in her first overseas event. While this was Jamie’s riding debut abroad, she is no stranger to overseas competition itself, working previously as a groom for Jessica Phoenix, grooming for Jessica at the Pan American and Olympic Games.

“My past experience flying with the horses, going to international events – I’m super thankful for that, as I was able to take things in stride this time around, and really enjoy every second of the process,” Jamie said.

“The overall atmosphere really felt like a big time event, with the trade fair, spectators, and of course the breathtaking view of the palace. The first time I rode and hacked around the grounds, I took so many pictures!” Jamie laughed.

“Not only [were the grounds] stunning, but the cross country course as well. Although the course looked quite big the first time I walked, the second time around I only felt excitement – the course suited my horse, with a lot of galloping.” With an order of go draw right in the middle of the pack, Jamie felt lucky, as she was able to watch many riders before her go successfully. “So many were having a great ride. The combinations were riding well, and watching how things were working out, I was able to determine where I’d have to work hard.”

“I came into Blenheim for educational purposes for the future. The whole experience, going over and competing against the best, watching how everyone works their horses, was super educational. I know I need to continue to put myself in those situations so I can continue developing as a rider and to hopefully represent Canada one day.”

“I do need to thank my coach, my family, and everyone at home… Everyone who took time to say good luck, or donated to the GoFundMe. It is such a significant endeavor to undertake, and was incredibly humbling to have so much support.”

Kimmy Cecere

Kimmy Cecere and Landmarks Monaco. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

“Blenheim [had the biggest] crowds [Landmarks] Monaco and I have ever seen. It was a little overwhelming with hoards of people on course, but was amazing to hear the big applause after a jump on cross country. It was all very encouraging.”

Kimmy has been based in the UK since March, and recognized the challenges and the effort put into this event to have it run smoothly and successfully. “It’s been a dry summer here, which has been tough on the events. But the crew at Blenheim did an amazing job making sure the footing was perfect, from measuring the depth of the footing, to aerating, to daily course maintenance,” Kimmy reflected. “It was a beautiful course, and was so well decorated, with amazing views of the palace.”

“There was a little bit of the same feeling of Kentucky – [going into the dressage] chute, it opens to a big ring, with big crowds, and big screens – it caused some horses to tense up. Monaco definitely was a bit tense with all of that, which hindered some of the trot work. I was pleased we had no major mistakes, and was overall very happy with him. Sometimes when they get tense like that, you don’t know how it will come out in the test.”

Moving into cross country, despite the 40 jump penalties picked up, Kimmy was ecstatic with Monaco’s performance. “Monaco was unbelievable! He’s never been that keen, taking me to the jumps so well. I was excited too… [I just had] two big mistakes – Jumping into fence 5, there was then 4-5 strides to the next option. Going to the B element, I pulled a bit too hard and ran past the corner. Later in the course, right around minute 6, Monaco was still pulling, and we went into the water a bit to big, [causing another penalty]. We came back with a better canter, and it rode well.”

“Despite a long course, Monaco was a wild man on Sunday! He was very excited in the show jumping, a phase we’ve previously struggled in. I knew I had to ride through it aggressively, and came in well under the time. I am so proud of him in our first Blenheim experience.”

With Kimmy spending a significant time in England leading up to the event, I was curious of the reflections she had on her time abroad – and there were plenty! A key takeaway, which helped her during her time at Blenheim, and reflect on the growth she’d like to make next, has to do with mindset: “Being over in England, I’ve been surprised by how little dwelling there is on the small detailed mistakes. [They’re] much more ‘pick your head up, you know what you did wrong, let’s move onto the next thing’. The mentality is to not overanalyze, but to move on, and keep trying. That’s changed my mentality to analyze my rides in a healthier way, [instead of] beating myself up over it. I journal now, and write a recap of it all – how I want to improve or get better.”

As Kimmy looks to the future and the growth she wants to make, it is first important to recognize and appreciate the opportunities and people that have supported her throughout her journey. “Without Ms. Mars, and without the Wilton Fair Grant, I wouldn’t be here,” Kimmy expressed with gratitude.

Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride

U.S.-based Valerie and her 5* partner Favian have spent the last few months based with William Fox-Pitt in preparation for Blenheim. Valerie made it clear how “inspiring it was to have come to a competition that the best of the best look forward to attending. Unreal that even with the World Championships this weekend, over 200 incredibly talented horses ran! They set the bar high!”

“It was a fantastic weekend of sport. Perfect weather and footing, even though they had [had to prep] the track for 3 weeks… you could tell [the amount of work they put in]!” Valerie stated. “[It was] so humbling to be a part of a competition with so many entries, all of them with their eye on the prize. [Blenheim] is such a destination – it was an honor to be there, and experience several big changes in the course this year,” Valerie reflected. “The turning question on the end was certainly the talk of the competition… I’m not sure anyone said it was their highlight of the course, but [a job] well done to just get it done… on any sort of stride possible!”

In addition to an impressive weekend of sport, Valerie emphasized that “it was momentous being a part of the moments of silence for Her Majesty.”

Blenheim Palace International (Oxfordshire, England): [Website] [Results] [Live Stream]

Weekend Winners: Aspen Farm, Skyline, Flying Cross, Marlborough, Otter Creek, Stone Gate, Tryon, and Unionville

What an action packed weekend! Outside of the FEI World Championships for Eventing, UK Eventers were busy at Munstead, Allerton Park, Pontispool, Monmouth, and Blenheim, and US Eventers covered the map, from Pennsylvania to Washington, and everything in between.

Join us in celebrating and congratulating so many horse and rider combinations for getting out and about!

Aspen Farm H.T. (Yelm, WA): [Website] [Results]

Advanced: Marc Grandia and Campari FFF (55.0)
Area VII Open Intermediate Championship: Karen O’Neal and Clooney 14 (38.7)
Open Intermediate: Stephanie Goodman and Carolina Morning (44.9)
Area VII Open Preliminary Championship: Kelsey Horn and Cleared For Take Off (26.5)
Open Preliminary A: Karen O’Neal and Cooley Sligo (29.2)
Open Preliminary B: Megan Robinson and Daisy (37.3)
Area VII Jr. Training Championship: Lizzie Hoff and HSH Explosion (26.6)
Area VII Open Training Championship: Stephanie Goodman and Esmèe (23.3)
Area VII Training Rider Championship: Bryce Meeker and Centerfield Pixel Star (26.2)
Open Training A: Kate Helffrich and Coquette (27.9)
Open Training B: Carlie Wells and CC Gipsy King (26.0)
Area VII Jr. Novice Championship: Macy Hale and Ardeo Audacity (23.9)
Area VII Novice Rider Championship: Amanda Zeddy and Johnny’s Sparrow (30.5)
Area VII Open Novice Championship: Jordan Linstedt and Liberty R (25.9)
Open Novice A: Anni Grandia-Dodson and Redfield Mettaphor (31.3)
Open Novice B: Susannah Bard and Baron de Chevalier (28.6)
Open Novice C: Jayne Fife and The Bees Knees (28.6)
Area VII Jr. Beginner Novice Championship: Rhys Bentley and Overtime magic (26.9)
Area VII Open Beginner Novice Championship: Crystal McRae and Pursha (20.3)
Open Beginner Novice A: Holly Yoder and Thunder (32.2)
Open Beginner Novice B: Tommy Greengard and Ben (18.4)

The Event at Skyline (Mount Pleasant, UT): [Website] [Results]

Open Intermediate/Preliminary: Anna Cummings and Fernhill Cruiseaway (54.4)
Open Preliminary: Erin Hofmann and UBQuiet (25.7)
Open Preliminary/Training: Madeline Backus and Baratheon (25.9)
Open Training: Kate Swain and Rathcairn Henry (28.7)
Open Novice A: Mary “Marybeth” Hansen and Zip Wyatt (25.6)
Open Novice B: Sophia Greenwood and Fendi (26.4)
Open Beginner Novice A: Ashley Carr and Cooley All Business (35.0)
Open Beginner Novice B: Madeline Backus and Grand Lily (25.6)
Starter A: Carly Atkinson and Ironie (23.0)
Starter B: Wendy Williams and P.S. King of Hearts (20.7)

Flying Cross Farm H.T. (Goshen, KY): [Website] [Results]

HT-Preliminary-Open: Anabelle Friend and Fine With Me (37.0)
HT-Training-Open: Jamie Allison and Jedi (28.3)
HT-Training-Rider A: Margaret Kimmel and Garfunkel (32.9)
HT-Training-Rider B: Jennifer Boshart and Blaze of Charm (30.5)
HT-Novice-Open: Jane Papke and Wilderness Run (28.3)
HT-Novice-Rider A: Catelyn Harms and Farfadet De Barbereau (25.8)
HT-Novice-Rider B: Simone Cardosa and I’d Toast to That! (27.5)
HT-Novice-Rider C: Taylor Bratcher and Aigle Allegre (29.7)
HT-Beginner Novice-Open: Sally Eyles-Goldfarb and Lucien (28.1)
HT-Beginner Novice-Rider A: Hannah Rutledge and Ten Indian (25.0)
HT-Beginner Novice-Rider B: Ava Bischoff and Jack (26.9)
HT-Beginner Novice-Rider C: Hayley Palmer and Sir Edward (24.1)
FEH-2 Year-old-Open: Anna-louise Smith and Aurion II RR (74.9)
FEH-3 Year-old-Open: Rosie Napravnik and TOUR TAKER (78.0)
FEH-Yearling-Open: Ann Proffitt and Everbright’s Skywalker (73.9)
YEH-4 Year-old-Open: Kim Wendel and Kilderry’s Storm (76.8)
YEH-5 Year-old-Open: Jennifer Reisenbichler and Scotch Whiskey (80.1)

Marlborough H.T. (Upper Marlboro, MD): [Website] [Results]

Open Training: Autumn Rae and Luz De La Luna (33.3)
Training Rider: Marissa Bacino and Stretch Four (36.5)
Novice Rider: Jessie Doernberger and Wheres My Tail (32.8)
Open Novice: Courtney Sendak-Waskiewicz and DGE Swipe Right (31.1)
Beginner Novice Rider: Kendal Fansler and Delilah’s Boy (27.4)
Open Beginner Novice: Laury Marshall and Finley (32.7)
Starter Horse: Elizabeth Burns and Lindbergh (31.1)
Starter Rider: Kelsey Klein and Forever Faithful Fella (44.3)

Otter Creek Fall H.T. (Wheeler, WI): [Website] [Results]

Open Intermediate: Todd Wulf and Kilcannon Max (51.5)
Intermediate/Preliminary: Kristine Burgess and Arakan (41.0)
Open Preliminary: Elle Kennedy and Wayward girl (45.4)
Preliminary – Championships: Ali Kuhn and Little Hail (33.9)
Junior Training Rider: Maia Ramberg and WL Bon Bellini (35.4)
Open Training: Jessica Saari and Sir NoNo (38.8)
Preliminary/Training: Olivia Caspers and Carisma (24.3)
Senior Training Rider: Montana Takalo and Georgia’s Girl (34.1)
Training – Championships: Sarah Coltrin and Madam Dragon (29.4)
Junior Novice Rider: Camila Saenz and Subtle Punch (31.5)
Novice – Championships: Alexandria Novotny Pasker and Soft Spoken 307 (30.9)
Open Novice: Allison Icenogle and Fernhill Revelation (28.3)
Senior Novice Rider A: Jennifer Rogness and My Happy Place (33.1)
Senior Novice Rider B: Laura Holen and Bravissimo Brego (32.1)
Beginner Novice – Championships: Lianne Burgess and Marisol (32.5)
Junior Beginner Novice Rider: Lahn Looney and Socks (26.3)
Open Beginner Novice: Brad Hall and Montauk Blue (29.4)
Senior Beginner Novice Rider A: Michelle Kwiatkowski and Charley Horse (31.6)
Senior Beginner Novice Rider B: Sue Goepfert and Isabeau VT (21.9)
Starter A: Tammy Carlson and Sebastian (35.3)
Starter B: Clara Lompart and Dwight K. Schrute (30.3)

Stone Gate Farm H.T. (Hanoverton, OH): [Website] [Results]

Preliminary: Brooke Molde and Groundwork (35.1)
Training: Adriene Kramer and Bayou Biscuit (35.0)
Novice A: Corinna Garcia and Schiller Nav (23.9)
Novice B: Madeline Bletzacker and Drummer Boy (22.5)
Beginner Novice A: Laura Kosiorek-smith and Bob’s your uncle (25.3)
Beginner Novice B: Chloe Long and Cecilia (29.1)
Starter A: Sue Hines and Excommunicator (28.5)
Starter B: Paige Liptak and Ace Three (34.7)

Tryon Fall H.T. (Mill Spring, NC): [Website] [Results]

Advanced – Test B: Lexi Scovil and Chico’s Man VDF Z (41.1)
Open Intermediate: Andrew McConnon and D’Luxe Steel (41.8)
Open Preliminary: Joe Meyer and FE Chiara Mia (29.0)
Preliminary Rider: Leila Cluff-Ryan and Grand Finale (28.6)
Modified: Paige Roy and E.I. Lexington’s MinuteMan (25.5)
Open Training: Danielle Busbee and Fernhill Tsunami (33.4)
Training Rider: Brianna Manning and Adrenaline Rush (35.6)
Novice Rider A: Kristen Wilson and FGF Wonderwall (29.8)
Novice Rider B: Stephanie Letarte and GarryNdruig Albie (30.0)
Open Novice: Zoe Crawford and Willbrook Brown Yeats (33.1)
Beginner Novice Rider A: Abby Buenting and Calvin (31.8)
Beginner Novice Rider B: Christine Reinhart and Two Step Hero (27.7)
Open Beginner Novice: Kathleen Herbig and Global Mayday (35.0)

Unionville H.T. (Unionville, PA): [Website] [Results]

CCI Four Star – S: Bruce Davidson, Jr. and Carlevo (32.5)
CCI Three Star – S: Anna Loschiavo and Spartacus Q (28.2)
CCI Two Star – S A: Sydney Hagaman and Charmeur (27.1)
CCI Two Star – S B: Meg Pellegrini and Global Naxos (33.5)

Also On Tap: Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials Kicks Off with First Horse Inspection

The winners of the Hi Ho Silver Best Dressed at the Horse Inspection were….

🏆 Roberto Scalisi leading ALAMEIN
🏆 Rosie Fry Eventing leading ARISE CAVALIER

Posted by Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials on Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials event is scheduled to run today through Sunday, September 18th in England. With the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Blenheim runs in her honor this weekend as its team extends heartfelt condolences to King Charles III and all members of the Royal Family at this deeply saddening time.

As scheduled, there will be both CCI-L4* and CCI-S 4* divisions running, and today all pairs passed the first horse inspection in front of Ground Jury President Robert Stevenson (USA) and members Douglas Hibbert (GBR) and Sue Baxter (GBR). Let’s take a closer look at the pairs we’ll see this week:

 

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A post shared by Grace Taylor (@gracetaylorequestrian)

For our U.S. riders in the 4*L, UK based 27-year old Grace Taylor is entered with Ann Taylor’s Game Changer. With a recent elimination at the 4*L level earlier this year, the pair will look to their previous 4* experience, including a 4*S run at Blenheim last year, where they finished fourth, to expand on their experience.

Kimmy Cecere and Landmarks Monaco. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Kimmy Cecere and Jacqueline Mars’ Landmarks Monaco have been gearing up towards Blenheim with a stay in the UK since this past spring. With runs at the 3* and 4*S levels at Floors Castle, Houghton Hall, Bramham, and Le Pin au Haras, we’ll be keeping an eye on the pair to see how their UK prep has served them to make a run at the 4*L at Blenheim.

Valerie Pride an Favian at the Maryland 5 Star. Photo by Abby Powell.

U.S. based Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride and her Oldenburg gelding Favian have been prepping for this event with the one and only William Fox-Pitt. With two 5*L attempts, and one 5*L finish at Maryland last fall, Favian and Valerie have built their partnership from their first FEI competition at the 1* level in 2016. We’ve been watching Valerie’s Instagram for pictures from around the Fox-Pitt yard, and are excited to follow along this week as well!

Gillian Beale King has been riding for Richard and Tanja Ames of Belline Estate in Ireland since the spring of 2021. Now, we see her listed with three separate rides at Blenheim! In the 4*L, Gillian is riding Rebeliant, the 11 year-old Polish bred gelding. This will be both Gillian and Rebeliant’s 4*L debut.

Gillian Beale King is the only U.S. rider to compete in the 4*S at Blenheim this week, with Richard Ames’ RCA Royal Summer and Derena Super Star. Both horses have been previously been campaigned by Gillian at the 4*S level. RCA Royal Summer most recently finished sixth at Millstreet in the 4*S, with Derena Super Star close behind in 11th.

Outside of U.S. riders, Blenheim has attracted riders from 14 countries. For Canada, we’ll see Jamie Kellock and Summer Bay in the 4*L and Kathryn Robinson and Cloud K in the 4*S. We also see a number of familiar faces within this list, notably Sarah Bullimore with Corouet, Felicity Collins and RSH Contend OR, and Zara Tindall and Class Affair rerouting from Burghley just a few weeks ago, where both riders retired at the 5*L level.

Dressage begins tomorrow and continues into Friday, with the first pair to see at 9:00 a.m. BST / 4:00 a.m. EST (Aimee Penny and PSH Encore). You can view 4*-L times here and 4*-S times here. Notable ride times include:

4*L

  • Grace Taylor and Game Changer: 9:35 a.m. BST / 4:35 a.m. EST
  • Sarah Bullimore and Corouet: 11:26 a.m. BST / 6:26 a.m. EST
  • Felicity Collins and RSH Contend OR: 3:45 p.m. BST / 10:45 a.m. EST
  • Dirk Schrade and Casino 80: 3:52 p.m. BST / 10:52 p.m. EST
  • Kimmy Cecere and Landmarks Monaco: 3:59 p.m. BST / 10:59 a.m. EST
  • Jamie Kellock and Summer Bay: 4:13 p.m. BST / 11:13 a.m. EST
  • Valerie Pride and Favian: FRIDAY 12:45 p.m. BST / 10:45 a.m. EST
  • Pippa Funnell and MGH Grafton Street: FRIDAY 2:50 p.m. BST / 9:50 a.m. EST
  • Gemma Stevens and Jalepeno III: FRIDAY 4:15 p.m. BST / 11:15 a.m. EST
  • Gillian Beale King and Rebeliant: FRIDAY 4:36 p.m. BST / 11:36 a.m. EST

Both the 4*L and the 4*S will have a free live stream available via the Blenheim Palace website — click here for tomorrow’s dressage stream and here to see the rest of the broadcast schedule. Many thanks to the team at Blenheim for making this available!

Take a look at some social media from trot-up day at Blenheim below!

Blenheim Palace International (Oxfordshire, England): [Website] [Schedule] [Entry Status] [Timing & Scoring] [Live Stream]

Weekend Winners: CDCTA, Chardon Valley, Five Points, Flora Lea, GMHA

Even with the weather cooling down, the competition season is hot! With five recognized events running this past weekend, including Area I Championships, we have plenty of Eventers to congratulate and celebrate from this weekend.

CDCTA Fall H.T. (Berryville, VA): [Website] [Results]

Open Preliminary: Martin Douzant and Silver Ruby (35.1)
Open Training 1: Kaitlin Clasing and Above the Fold (29.6)
Open Training 2: Mia Valdez and Perfect Storm (35.6)
Open Novice 1: Angela Bowles and Excel Star Aurora (32.5)
Open Novice 2: Lynn Symansky and Chesterland’s Juice (33.3)
Novice Junior: Sarah Bush and Spryte (29.4)
Open Beginner Novice 1: Jennifer Berdell and Waffle (29.4)
Open Beginner Novice 2: Crystal Sorrenti and Money Is Due (33.2)
Beginner Novice Junior: Lillian Weidner and Just Keep Swimming (26.2)
Intro: Daisy Shumaker and Seabeescando (42.0)
TIP Preliminary: Courtney Sendak-Waskiewicz and Where’s My Tail (48.0)
TIP Training: Alexandra Wikstrom and Viking Navigator (33.8)
TIP Novice: Scout Knull and Ron Juan (32.5)
TIP Beginner Novice: Lillian Weidner and Just Keep Swimming (26.2)
TIP Intro: Tamara Zerbo and Donatello (45.3)
VABRED Intro: London Roberts-Shipway and Flying First Class (91.3)
VABRED Beginner Novice: Sharon White and Namara CFF (33.2)
VABRED Novice: Sharon White and Arden’s Noblest (33.3)

Chardon Valley H.T. (Decatur, MI): [Website] [Results]

CCI2* Combined Test-unsanctioned: Carrie Mulks and Colony’s Finale (54.4)
Modified-Open: Bentlee Swisz and Isabel (32.3)
Open Modified-Training: Carrie Mulks and Malibu Rum (52.5)
Training Junior Rider: Olivia Cannizzaro and Mahogany Dancer (40.0)
Training-Open: Lily Thomas and Elysee (40.3)
Novice Junior Rider: Katie Schutte and Rigden (28.9)
Novice-Open: Jordan Riske and MM Irish Clover (25.3)
Beginner Novice Junior Rider: Afton Markoski and Paper Maker (33.1)
Beginner Novice-Open: Halley Widlak and Starscream (24.4)
Starter Junior Rider: Taylor Goodwin and Princess (32.9)
Starter-Open: Margaret Kinsinger and Leap of Faith (32.2)

Five Points H.T. (Raeford, NC): [Website] [Results]

Advanced: Bobby Meyerhoff and Lumumba (42.2)
Intermediate: Leslie Lamb and Banjo (28.0)
Open Preliminary: Emeline Gilbert and EWSZ Mozart (28.4)
Preliminary CT: Hugh Wrigley and Luksor (30.5)
Preliminary Rider: Leila Cluff-Ryan and Grand Finale (29.8)
Modified Rider: Carroll Courtenay and Mr.Puff Higgens Jr. (30.2)
Open Modified: Hugh Wrigley and FE Santos (20.7)
Open Training A: Kim Severson and Cooley Corraghy Diamond (32.5)
Open Training B: Bennett Camp-Crowder and Sheeran (27.9)
Training Rider: Ruth Cruz and Achiever’s Tribute (27.4)
Novice CT: Andrea St.Hilaire and Kiss the Stars AND John Michael Durr and Cactus Willie (31.1)
Novice Rider: Lauren Hill and Phineas Flynn (24.4)
Open Novice A: Leslie Lamb and Journeyman (27.5)
Open Novice B: Barbara Gibson and Emmett Otter (33.9)
Beginner Novice CT: Christine Chatham and Poppy (39.9)
Beginner Novice Rider: Roisin O’Rahilly and Ziggy (27.2)
Open Beginner Novice: Susan Thomas and Fernhill Coastal Cowboy (28.8)
New Event Horse: McKenzie Dey Cumbea and Hoosier Zip (76.300)
Future Event Horse – Yearling: Trina Gomez and Crixus (76.100)
Future Event Horse – 3 Year Old: Kaitlyn Dudley and Bend The Rules (77.050)
Young Event Horse – 4 Year Old: Alexandra Green Kerby and Serrano B (80.200)
Young Event Horse – 5 Year Old: Kim Severson and Cooley Corraghy Diamond (84.500)

Flora Lea Fall H.T. (Medford, NJ): [Website] [Results]

Open Preliminary: Jennifer Brannigan and Ottakringer (29.0)
Preliminary Rider: Katherine Maroko and Rosie’s Little Miss Liberty (39.6)
Open Training: Jennifer Brannigan and FE Flint (28.7)
Training Rider: Olivia Ford and Kilcannon Pride (31.1)
Novice Rider: Tara Astacio and Money to Burn (33.7)
Open Novice: Delaney Emerson and Merlins Redfield HSH (28.6)
Beginner Novice Rider: Taylor Davidson and Jax and Taylor (35.9)
Open Beginner Novice: Delaney Emerson and Redfield Kylian A (29.0)
Young Event Horse – Four Year Old: Jennifer Brannigan and Cool Macallan (81.350)
Young Event Horse – Five Year Old: Kurt Martin and K.M. Baliaretto (86.400)

GMHA September H.T. & Area I Championships (South Woodstock, VT): [Website] [Results]

Open Preliminary: Amy Conforti and Just Say Yes (35.9)
Open Preliminary – Championships: Emily Van Gemeren and Winter Carnival (41.3)
Preliminary Rider: Eliza Quigley and Kwibus (45.6)
Junior Training: Leeci Rowsell and Man of Conviction (27.5)
Open Training: Sarah Morton and Smiling’s My Favorite (29.4)
Training Horse – Championships: Danielle Downing and Caribe PCH (32.9)
Training Rider: Carroll Rayner and Amazing Grace (28.7)
Training Rider – Championships: Eleanor Winter and Figlio (27.9)
Junior Novice: Lucy Hill and Journey to Ernie (31.4)
Novice Horse – Championships: Annabelle Sprague and Freddie (21.9)
Novice Rider: Nick Olijslager and Olaf W (31.7)
Novice Rider – Championships: Pamela Bolek and Well Decorated (23.6)
Open Novice: Alexander Conrad and Sachem (30.0)
Beginner Novice Horse – Championships: Alison Eastman-Lawler and Sara Bella (27.5)
Beginner Novice Rider: Caitlin Dwyer and Shadow of Night (29.3)
Beginner Novice Rider – Championships: Quinn Ellis and Good Harbour (28.4)
Junior Beginner Novice: Moira Danzig and Magical Daydream (30.0)
Open Beginner Novice: Amie Loring and Excel Star Cast Away (22.7)

Labor Day Weekend Winners: AECs, Park Equine Kentucky, Course Brook, Silverwood, Chattahoochee, SVPC, Bucks County

As September kicks off, the fall season is starting strong with a busy weekend across the U.S. From the American Eventing Championships in Kalispell, MT, to numerous other events running throughout Kentucky, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Georgia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, Eventers were out in full force.

Take a look at this weekend’s recap as we send a big congratulations to all of the partnerships out and about this weekend, with a special shout out to this Weekend’s Winners.

USEA American Eventing Championships (Kalispell, MT): [Website] [Final Scores] [Shannon Brinkman Photography] [Ride On Video]

$60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final: Helen Alliston and Ebay (32.8)
USEA Intermediate Championship: Tommy Greengard and Joshuay MBF (32.9)
Bates USEA Jr./YR Preliminary Championship: Maddie Smith and Versace (44.2)
Bates USEA Preliminary Horse Championship: Nicole Aden and Illustrator (26.8)
Bates USEA Preliminary Rider Championship: Eileen Galoostian and Ardeo Lord Lancelot (34.5)
Bates USEA Preliminary Amateur Championship: Amy Haugen and Ebenholtz (31.2)
Festival Open Preliminary: Kelly Groot and Super Nova (23.4)
Festival Open Modified: Sarah Sullivan and La Copine (26.4)
USEA Open Modified Championship: Madison Langerak and Normandy Kivalo (20.6)
Festival Open Training: Stephanie Goodman and Esmèe (23.8)
USEA Training Amateur Championship: Amber Pearson and Chosen One DF (27.6)
USEA Training Horse Championship: Tommy Greengard and Shannondale Farm (25.8)
USEA Training Jr. Championship: Lizzie Hoff and HSH Limited Edition (24.8)
USEA Training Rider Championship: Sarah Ross and Fernhill Heart Throb (28.6)
Festival Open Novice A: McLaine Mangum and Grantstown Mr. Big (32.9)
Festival Open Novice B: Teresa Harcourt and Csongor (26.4)
USEA Novice Amateur Championship: Kyla Tovar and Kilcoltrim Jacko (28.3)
USEA Novice Horse Championship: Tommy Greengard and Cappachina (26.4)
USEA Novice Jr. Championship: Olivia Keye and Oso Mighty (27.2)
USEA Novice Rider Championship: Alyssa Cairo and Paddington (25.4)
Festival Open Beginner Novice A: Louise Leslie and Cnick Cnack JJM (32.2)
Festival Open Beginner Novice B: Kelly Schwisow and Redfield Out Of The Blue (26.3)
USEA Beginner Novice Amateur Championship: Jenna McFadden and Take a Shot (28.3)
USEA Beginner Novice Horse Championship: Madeline Backus and Slew the Blues (26.6)
USEA Beginner Novice Jr. Championship: Bridget Kelly and Windover Tarragon (27.8)
USEA Beginner Novice Rider Championship: Mandy Collins and Vatino (29.2)

Park Equine Kentucky Classique H.T. (Lexington, KY): [Website] [Final Scores]

Open Advanced: Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Nutcracker (44.9)
Open Intermediate: Kelly Ransom and Heart of Hollywood (35.0)
Open Intermediate Championship: Alexandra Baugh and MHS Fernhill Finale (45.2)
Open Preliminary: Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Quite Nice 11 (24.6)
Preliminary Championship: Leah Snowden and Ormolu (34.0)
Modified Championship: Emily Watson and Kilcandra Prince Dignified (33.8)
Open Modified: Camryn Holcomb and Quite Breit (28.3)
Open Training: Tate Northrop and Harrison (28.9)
Training Championship: Julia Spatt and Uptown Funk (33.1)
Training Rider: Lillian Dobat and Looks Like Lotte (30.7)
Novice Championship: Jane Musselman and Bentley’s Best (26.8)
Novice Rider A: Madeline Bletzacker and Drummer Boy (24.7)
Novice Rider B: Madeline Bletzacker and Landtino S (28.1)
Open Novice A: Lori Miller and Alien invasion (34.4)
Open Novice B: Alexandra Knowles and Exmoor Denver (29.7)
Beginner Novice Championship: Claire Rigney and Ballyerk Comet (27.8)
Beginner Novice Rider A: Ana Montalvo and Musketeer (30.0)
Beginner Novice Rider B: Abigail Walker and Galway Bay Cooley (33.8)
Open Beginner Novice: April Hays and Anteros HSH (24.1)
Beginner Novice 3-Day: Hannah Reeser and Ltl Ireland Summr Soldier (27.8)
Open Starter A: Lila Beshear and Zillions of Promises (30.0)
Open Starter B: Willa Newell and Take A Chance (34.7)

Course Brook Farm Fall H.T. (Sherborn, MA): [Website] [Final Scores]

Preliminary: Charlotte Collis and Call The Law (53.8)
Modified/Training: Madison Haney and Chesterland’s Sweet Charlotte (32.1)
Training: Isabelle Cless and Donnybrook’s Paddy Magee (30.2)
Novice A: Talia Feeney and Kristofferson (30.8)
Novice B: Bryn Lauer and Dare To Dream (30.8)
Novice C: Darrah Alexander and Captain Kismit (21.9)
Beginner Novice A: Jenna Bunce and Remember When DDD (29.4)
Beginner Novice B: Leslie Bell and Sansa (30.0)
Starter: Jillian Hoag and Dark Secret (27.0)

Silverwood Farm Fall H.T. (Camp Lake, WI): [Website] [Final Scores]<

Open Beginner Novice A: Mark Ward and Moonlight Clover (30.3)
Open Beginner Novice B: Madison Bonamarte and Keeneghan Lad (34.9)
Open Beginner Novice C: Kathryn Elliott and Duke of Wellington (35.1)
Open Novice A: Morgan Risseeuw and Havana Skye (28.3)
Open Novice B: Jordan Scroggins and C25’s Bugatti (28.1)
Open Training: Eric Dierks and Quintano (20.8)
Preliminary/Training: Erin Dierks and Frontier Force (37.0)
Starter A: Macy Herman and Sirocco (32.4)
Starter B: Brad Hall and Sandro’s Spinne (30.8)

Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (Fairburn, GA): [Website] [Final Scores]

CCI Three Star – S: Conor Rollins and Prime Target (33.3)
CCI Two Star – S: Kalli Core and Mastermind (28.8)
CCI One Star: Breeana Robinette and Cape Kimberly (34.0)
Advanced: Leslie Law and Voltaire De Tre (34.8)
Open Intermediate: Leslie Law and Castle Howard Romeo (31.0)
Open Preliminary A: Candace Elizabeth Bell and Fernhill Philm Star (24.1)
Open Preliminary B: Donna Miller and Coud’Poker (31.6)
Modified Rider: Riley Lorenz and Cracker T (40.3)
Open Modified: Leslie Law and Really All Gold (26.3)
Open Training A: Lara Roberts and Fernhill Show Biz (28.3)
Open Training B: Katie Malensek and Mister Capri Jr (24.0)
Training Rider A: Livy Chambers and Fernhill Destiny (29.7)
Training Rider B: Sarah Estess and Lottery Ticket (34.7)
Novice Rider: Maggie Shuman and Zach Eyed Pea (29.4)
Open Novice: Elisabeth Chizek and Military Tradition (30.6)
Beginner Novice Rider: Lizzie Brennan and Holy City (29.7)
Open Beginner Novice: Andrew Palmer and Top Shelf (28.8)

Seneca Valley PC H.T. (Poolesville, MD): [Website] [Final Scores]

Open Intermediate: Ryan Wood and Check Point (52.8)
Open Preliminary: Tiffany Wandy and CV Outlaw (38.9)
Open Modified 1: Erin Murphy and Cooley Cadence (31.0)
Open Modified 2: Kendyl Tracy and Justified (25.7)
Modified Rider: Lisa Apted and Yeats Royale (34.3)
Training Senior: Jessica Gehman and Ray Price (25.7)
Training Junior: Emma Wick and Avalon Realta (26.0)
Open Training 1: Michael Pendleton and Adorrado (30.0)
Open Training 2: Marley Stone Bourke and Superstorm Sandy (24.3)
Novice Horse: Keara Schmidt and Electric Quality (25.5)
Open Novice 1: Katherine Lorenzen and Mitford (26.1)
Open Novice 2: Krissy Smith Shellenberger and Quantum K (21.9)
Novice Junior: Iselin Byars and Bloomfield Pocket Money (27.8)
Novice Senior: Lauren Allen and FGF Bob’s Wired (31.7)
Novice Rider: Kate Wood and Prinz S.W. (23.7)
Open Beginner Novice: Michael Pendleton and Chance of Liftoff (26.9)
Beginner Novice Junior: Rivka Abelow and Vino del Porto (33.8)
Beginner Novice Senior: Kate Hill and Bijoux Bay (32.8)
TIP Intermediate: Daisy Trayford and Ermintrude (63.7)
TIP Preliminary: Tiffany Wandy and CV Outlaw (39.0)
TIP Modified: Brittany Hebets Miller and Stuck on Gold (36.0)
TIP Training: Victoria Miller and Caspers Run (31.0)
TIP Novice: Amy Boccia and Fireflly (28.0)
TIP Beginner Novice: Melissa Fox and Rogue Patriot (32.0)



Bucks County Horse Park H.T.
(Revere, PA): [Website] [Final Scores]

HT-Preliminary/Training-Open: Jennifer Brannigan and Ottakringer (40.7)
Open Training I: Ryan Wood and I’mhereallday (27.9)
Open Training II: Jennifer Brannigan and FE Flint (27.9)
Open Novice I: Ryan Wood and Ben Lomond (29.2)
Open Novice II: Caitlin Silliman and Tullibards Xcellence (23.3)
Open Novice III: Kevin Keane and Fernhill Shutterfly (27.3)
Open Beginner Novice 1: Elena Carmichael and Take Flight (32.0)
Open Beginner Novice II: Brian Kilgo-Kelly and Caspian (29.0)

Erik Duvander 2022 Clinic Availability

Erik Duvander, Swedish Olympian, former USEF eventing performance director, and current private coach to top riders such as Ariel Grald, Jennie Brannigan, Phillip Dutton, Caroline Martin, Liz Halliday-Sharp, and Boyd Martin, has availability for two clinic dates in 2022.

Upper-level riders and barns take note, as we’re sure these dates will fill fast. If you are interested in hosting a clinic for September 4-5 or October 20-21, reach out at [email protected] for more information.

Weekend Winners: Event at Archer, Caber Farm H.T., GVRDRC H.T., Huntington Farm H.T., Ocala H.T. II, Waredaca Farm H.T.

A big weekend for the U.S. event scene. From Vermont to Florida to Wyoming, Eventers are closing out the summer season well!

The Event at Archer and Area IX Championships (Cheyenne, WY): [Website] [Results]

CT-Intermediate-Open: Travis Atkinson and Don Darco (32.5)
HT-Preliminary-Championship: Amy Bowers and Del Mar Belle (35.5)
HT-Preliminary-Open: Sean Worrall and Osito (25.7)
HT-Modified-Championship: Ashley Horowitz and Tiny Dancer (38.5)
HT-Modified-Open: Madeline Backus and Baratheon (36.3)
HT-Training-Championship: Travis Atkinson and Something (24.3)
HT-Training-Open: Grace Lebrecht and Semper Fortis (35.0)
HT-Novice-Championship: Madison Manley and NDR’s Fez (21.0)
HT-Novice-Open: Travis Atkinson and Ironie (21.9)
HT-Beginner Novice-Championship: C’Dale Jore and A Mariner (27.4)
HT-Beginner Novice-Open: Madeline Backus and Grand Lilly (23.8)
HT-Starter-Championship: Wendy Williams and P.S. King of Hearts (31.7)
HT-Starter-JR: Grace Damelio and Ashes West (29.0)
HT-Starter-Open: Natalie Ellis and Maggie Belle (27.0)

Caber Farm H.T. (Onalaska, WA): [Website] [Results]

Advanced/Intermediate: Sophia Click and Quidproquo (61.9)
Open Intermediate: Kerry Groot and Super Nova (71.0)
Open Preliminary A: Kathryn Nichwander and Fool’s Gold (38.5)
Open Preliminary B: Reese Blinks and I’M Jaguar (31.7)
Jr. Training: Nicole Manning and Redfield Quidam Doty (27.1)
Sr. Open Training A: Karen O’Neal and Cooley Sligo (28.8)
Sr. Open Training B: Bryce Meeker and Centerfield Pixel Star (26.9)
Jr. Novice: Nora Bissonnette and Royce the Rolls of Ponies (38.4)
Sr. Open Novice A: Mary Burke and Valentino (25.8)
Sr. Open Novice B: Jenni Turla and Gingersnap (28.0)
Sr. Open Novice C: Natallya Hyldahl and Crypto Bonn (37.1)
Sr. Open Novice D: Jenna Lounsbery and Stewart (23.9)
Jr. Beg. Novice: Nicole Manning and Sunday Blues “Steve” (36.2)
Sr. Open Beg. Novice A: Brooke Phillips and Tiramisu BEC (26.9)
Sr. Open Beg. Novice B: Brianna Spencer and Gaia (30.3)
Sr. Open Beg. Novice C: Elizabeth Hoffmann and EMMA (26.3)
Starter: Karen O’Neal and Limitless P (19.7)

Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club H.T. (Geneseo, NY): [Website] [Results]

Modified: Carol Kozlowski and Welbourne (47.4)
Training: Peytyn Geer and Dublin Red (39.6)
Novice A: Carol Kozlowski and Kieran (25.6)
Novice B: Jennifer Treacy and Bene (30.6)
Beginner Novice A: Kimberly Crane and Princess Buttercup (27.7)
Beginner Novice B: Emilija Zygelyte and Sydney (34.0)
Beginner Novice C: Kaitlyn Gallagher and Sailin Shoes (27.1)
Future Event Horse – Two Year Old: Kenneth Estes and JoGlenn Scout (65.400)
Future Event Horse – Three Year Old: Sarah Stewart and Ganache (75.400)
Future Event Horse – Four Year Old: Alice Knoll and Paint the Stars (73.600)
Future Event Horse – Yearling: Carmen Fagnani and Wicked Americano IF (69.750)
Starter A: Ryan Lefkowitz and Mastermind ES (32.7)
Starter B: Bailey Kudla-Williams and Seale (31.3)
Starter C: Karen Kelley and Full Gallop’s King Red (22.7)
Starter D: Genevieve Hay and Knight smoke (32.0)

Huntington Farm H.T. (South Strafford, VT): [Website] [Results]

Open Preliminary: Stephanie Nan Sills and Salt (38.0)
Junior Training: Lyman Ordway and SRF Reverie (41.3)
Open Training A: Lisa Niccolai and KC’s Celtic Kharacter (25.3)
Open Training B: Kate Day and Fortissimo (29.2)
Junior Novice: Max van der Schoot and Playing With Quarters (Andy) (32.8)
Open Novice A: Laura Madalena Pitassi and Jagermeister (25.8)
Open Novice B: Anna Loschiavo and Peaddar (26.7)
Junior Beginner Novice: Rory Cashman and Sandy Prince (40.6)
Open Beginner Novice: Christine Williams and Gigi (27.9)

Ocala Summer H.T. II (Ocala, FL): [Website] [Results]

Advanced/Intermediate: Lexi Scovil and Chico’s Man VDF Z (37.0)
Intermediate/Preliminary: Karl Slezak and Hot Bobo (30.2)
Open Intermediate: Joe Meyer and Harbin (35.8)
Open Preliminary A: Benjamin Noonan and First Class (25.7)
Open Preliminary B: Elisa Wallace and Sharp Decision (30.7)
Preliminary Rider: Tawnie Anderson and Gorgeous In Grey (38.3)
Modified – Open: Alexander O’Neal and FE Thunderstruck (31.8)
Modified – Rider: Juliana Cassar and Cheranimo (31.7)
Open Training: Katie Malensek and MRF Qwlkstep (25.0)
Training Rider: Tracey Corey and Byrnwyck West (26.9)
Novice Rider: Danica Rowlett and Rudianos (22.5)
Open Novice A: Benjamin Noonan and Kay-O (25.6)
Open Novice B: Zachary Brandt and Larcinio Z (25.6)

Waredaca Farm H.T. (Gaithersburg, MD): [Website] [Results]

Open Preliminary: Kirsten Schuitema and One Sly Fox (36.2)
Modified A: Diego Farje and Carnaby (34.7)
Modified B: Sharon White and Jaguar Duende (22.6)
Open Modified – Jackpot: Martin Douzant and Silver Ruby (25.7)
Open Training: Meghan O’Donoghue and PS Duty Calls (22.9)
Open Training – Jackpot: Kendyl Tracy and HSH Golden Boy (24.7)
Training Rider A: Sylvia Byars and CSF Dassett Decoy (34.8)
Training Rider B: Kelly Coile and D.A. Got Game (36.1)
Novice Rider A: Kate Wood and Prinz S.W. (20.0)
Novice Rider B: Lillian Huey and Zodiac Matador (30.9)
Novice Rider C: Jamie Merrill and Addi (24.2)
Open Novice A: Krissy Smith Shellenberger and Quantum K (21.9)
Open Novice B: Michael Pendleton and Clive Christian (27.5)
Beginner Novice Rider A: Haley Miller and He’s True Brew (29.7)
Beginner Novice Rider B: Luba Abrams and Huey (32.5)
Open Beginner Novice: Savannah Fulton and DB Cooper (26.5)
Young Event Horse – Four Year Old: Michael Pendleton and King Siegfred (77.550)
Young Event Horse – Five Year Old: Michael Pendleton and A-Debussy Royale (86.700)

Product Review: Sterling Essentials Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

I pulled out my package of Sterling Essentials Lavender Leather Cleaner and Conditioner and was immediately met with a pleasantly light smell of lavender. I’ve had many tack cleaning products over the years, and was expecting something similar, not necessarily anything particularly remarkable.

However, as I started cleaning a bridle that had been neglected for too long, I was amazed with how easily the cleaner removed the dirt while leaving the leather light to the touch. Made with natural ingredients with the horse’s well being in mind, while taking steps to protect the leather in the long run, Sterling Essentials Lavender Leather Cleaner and Conditioner has been a great addition to my tack trunk.

With a pleasant smell and a light feel that productively cleaned my tack, Sterling Essentials Cleaner and Conditioner gave my bridle some much needed TLC.

Components

With their simple natural ingredients, including beeswax, food grade natural oils, and top-of-the-line therapeutic essential oils, Sterling Essentials’ leather cleaning products are vegetarian and provide a natural barrier to protect against water damage, mold, and mildew. Additionally, Sterling Essentials’ Leather Cleaner is specifically formulated to match the pH of leather in order to prevent deterioration.

Impressions

There’s no doubt about it — the product definitely smells good, cleans well, and leaves leather soft, supple, and protected. With an easy spray and wipe from the 16 oz cleaner, and an 8oz jar of the conditioner to rub into leather, the product is easily stored and applied.

While that’s all wonderful by itself, what really stuck out to me was how “light” the product felt.

With so many of the cleaners and conditioners I’ve used in the past, I feel like my hands are absolutely coated in the product after use… sometimes I scrub my hands multiple times and I can still feel the cleaner and conditioner on my skin. I saw this affect the leather too, dressing the leather with a slimy residue that only seemed to build on the leather. But with Sterling Essentials, my tack and my hands were left without that sticky goo feeling I’m so familiar with when cleaning tack.

With just a quick clean, Sterling Essentials brought my work boots back to life after a long day at the barn.

Because of its lightness, I would recommend daily use to keep leather looking good, and in good condition. My hard wear and tear on my boots is hard to keep up with, so making sure I am committed to a quick wipe down daily with Sterling Essentials will take full advantage of what this product has to offer.

Whether you’re looking for a daily cleaner and conditioner, or a product that will protect your gear when going into storage, Sterling Essentials has considered everything from the ease of use, smell, and science behind leather care to provide a product for every equestrian.

Sterling Essentials wants you to have more information about the science of clean tack. After all, tack is a huge investment! There’s a whole slew of cool educational content available on the Sterling Essential website and social media channels, so be sure to give them a follow for more. Ready to give Sterling Essentials a spin? You can save 15% off your order using code EN2022!

Checking in from the Steppe: August Mongol Derby Riders Reach Halfway Point

Riders of the second 2022 Mongol Derby are experiencing the realization that this race is more than just a horse race. From variable weather to gear malfunctions to navigation and nutrition, there are numerous components that riders have to consider and challenges they have to face that go beyond their mad riding skills.

Despite gear malfunction with a broken stirrup, herder Erdene-Ochir Uuganbayar, veterinarian student Bilegbat Erdenesukh, and horse trainer and instructor Callie King are neck and neck. With a close competition among the leaders, and days left in the race, be sure to keep an eye on the live tracking for updates as the ride evolves.

Although competition is tight and the challenges riders are facing serious, there’s always time to enjoy the journey… or a pickup game of basketball to unwind from the day.

However, as they continue on to the days ahead, riders must be careful with the constantly changing weather. From incredibly soggy weather to scorching hot days, riders have already been feeling the trials of the steppe. Hydration, nutrition, and some steppe self-care will be critical for riders’ well-being.

Wonder how these riders are surviving at all? Thinking about giving it a go? Before jumping in, check out some tips and tricks from July 2022 Mongol Derby rider Kristin Carpenter through Intrepid Medics on “How not to die in the Mongol Derby”…

Clearly, this adventure is not for the faint of heart. Luckily, with a solid team of organizers, medics, vets, and encouraging families along the way, riders have the opportunity to test themselves, their riding, and their resiliency. And enjoy the challenge along the way. Just a few more days to go.

Beautiful nights at the horse stations. Photo from The Equestrianists’ Twitter.

Spend a Day Abroad with Cornelia Dorr

Cornelia Dorr and Daytona Beach 8. Photo by Shelby Allen.

With an exciting Young Rider career and kick off as a professional, Cornelia Dorr has had an exciting season, most recently picking up a top 10 finish in the CCIO4* at Avenches in July. We hear Cornelia’s aiming for a little event that begins with a B in September, so we thought it high time to catch up with her as she’s currently based in the UK with McNab Eventing. Cornelia has earmarked this year as an educational opportunity to further her riding and horsemanship.

We’re also following along with Cornelia live today as she takes over our Instagram story! Give us a follow at @goeventing to see snapshots from her day.

Cornelia fills us in on a “normal” day on the yard:

First Things First

Around 6:15, I wake up and first things first – I grab coffee and a light breakfast.

Coffee to kick off the day is a necessity. Photo by Cornelia Dorr.

By 6:45 I’m heading to the car to drive to the yard. Claire, my groom, and I take turns having the car at night, so sometimes she picks me up, and other times I pick her up. We have our cute, bright blue Volkswagen named Darcy! Kevin [McNab] has two flats that everyone on the yard lives in. Claire is in one and I am in the other.

We arrive by 7:00, where we start normal morning chores: feed, hay, clean stalls. Daytona wears the Activo-Med blanket first thing every morning, so we get that on her and started while she eats. With four horses and two people the chores go quickly.

Between Cornelia and her groom Claire, chores speed by! Photo by Cornelia Dorr.

By 8:00, I am normally getting on my first ride of the day, which is typically Daytona. I always try to ride her first, as she is my best horse and we both prefer to start our day that way. She goes outside after she’s done being ridden, around 9:00. While I ride Daytona, Claire turns the other horses out and gets the next one ready for me.

Best way to kick off the day with your top horse. Photo by Cornelia Dorr.

From 9:00 to 1:00 I ride the rest of the horses. They come in to get worked and then normally go back outside until 2/2:30 when we bring them in for the night.

Currently based with McNab Eventing, Cornelia and her horses are enjoying a facility with amenities specific to training. Photo by Cornelia Dorr.

By 3:00 it’s time for afternoon chores: clean stalls and feed hay.

Settled in for the night, the horses enjoy roomy boxes. Photo by Cornelia Dorr.

Around 4:30, Daytona either goes on the treadmill or gets hand walked, depending on what she did with her ride that day. By 5:00, we’re feeding for the evening, and by 7:00 we’re all finished at the barn and I’m heading to the gym to finish my day. I alternate between yoga, abs, and weight lifting.

The feed room at McNab Eventing. Photo by Cornelia Dorr.

Both horse and rider fitness is important! Spending time in the gym, Cornelia makes sure to put the work in. Photo by Cornelia Dorr.

The Barnstaple USEA Educational Program and Classic Three-Day Event Announcement

Looking to expand your knowledge of and experience in a Classic Three-Day event? You’ll want to mark your calendars for this one!

Picture from Lauren Romanelli’s Facebook Page.

Coming this November (16th-20th) in Morriston, Florida, Barnstaple will be hosting an educational program and unrecognized competition (starter through training) with the purpose of using the Classic Three-Day format to further the education of both the competitors and auditors. Professionals such as Peter Gray, Max Corcoran, Leslie Law, Kyle Carter, Lauren Nicholson, Buck Davidson, Jr., Sinead Halpin, Tik Maynard, Dorothy Crowell, and Sarah Kozumplik will be hosting demonstrations and talks in order for participants to have the opportunity to learn from some of the top professionals in the industry. Participants will then be able to apply that knowledge to their own preparations for the unrecognized event.

Sitting down to talk with the event’s Education Coordinator Dorothy Crowell, it is clear that this program and competition was formed around the passion for the education of the event horse and rider.

“Riders with Classic Three-Day experience have to learn how to schedule fitness, lessons, and vet and farrier to coordinate with the Three-Day. They need to learn TPR, how to properly, and efficiently cool their horses, how to wrap legs, ice after hard work, and know their horses legs so they can tell if something is different – even in a dark stall. They need to understand their horse’s minds, so they know when to ask the hard questions and when to back off, learn to train their horses in hand in order to be ready for the jog, understand how important time off is, as well as the importance of long walks when bringing them back into work. They need to learn how vital their own fitness is, both physical and mental. These are imperative horsemanship skills whether your goal is to ride at the next local Horse Trial, or for the U.S. Team!” Dorothy explained.

To further help riders, and the larger equine community, The Barnstaple USEA Educational Program and Classic Three-Day Event is working with small businesses in a one-time-only rider sponsorship program. Additionally, the event gives back to beneficiaries such as The Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award and The Ocala Horse Alliance’s Black Stallion Reading Project.

“I am so excited about the talented professionals attaching their name to an educational program that gives back to both riders and the community,” Dorothy expressed.

With pre-registration up and running, keep a close eye on Barnstaple’s website for more information and further announcements.

Conversations at the Finish Line: Your 2022 Mongol Derby Winners!

Deirdre Griffith (USA) and Willemien Jooste (SA) crossed the finish line of the 2022 Mongol Derby two days ago as unplanned partners. The two riders hadn’t anticipated riding together, but had unexpectedly met up to ride out to camp on Day 2 of the race, and never turned back.

I had a chance to talk with both riders to hear about their experience, the highs and the lows of the Derby, key takeaways, and helpful tips for future participants. A big thank you to Erik Cooper of The Equestrianists for connecting us.

Both Deirdre and Willemien immediately expressed their gratitude of having the partnership to support them through the race. “It’s helpful to have another person to help navigate and make decisions, but also to keep you smiling, to keep that optimism,” Willemien stated. Deirdre shared similar sentiments, expressing “It would have been hard to do alone. And the horses go better when they’re together.”

The partnership between Deirdre and Willemien served them well, combining the two riders’ experience with packing and distance rides with navigation practice. Both Deirdre and Willemien come from horse-related backgrounds.

Deirdre, of Jackson, WY, grew up riding English and in Pony Club, which she mentioned was a wonderful upbringing with horses. During her time in high school at the Thacher School in California, Deirdre was introduced to and involved in everything horse related: rodeo, gymkhana, and eventually, packing.

Packing horses turned into Deirdre’s passion, which she continued through her time in undergraduate and graduate school at the Colorado State University. Continuing to work on ranches and on packing trips through her time in school, Deirdre moved to Wyoming after graduation to work as a wrangler on these pack trips.

While these experiences uniquely prepared Deirdre to take on the Mongol Derby, preparing for the race didn’t come without nerves. With a determination to set and achieve a goal, have something to focus and train on, and show her young children that they too can achieve goals they set, Deirdre’s focus, experience, and resiliency set her up for success.

Willemien has a horse background as well, although had come back from a riding hiatus to participate in the Derby. Growing up on a farm in South Africa with horses, cattle, and dogs, Willemien is no stranger to working around animals. That said, Willemien hadn’t been riding much when she saw the Mongol Derby on social media.

Seeing the Derby for the first time on social media in 2019 immediately captivated Willemien. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” she reflected. “I applied out of a moment of weakness, I guess!”

In preparation to further train for the Derby, Willemien began her endurance riding endeavors in 2021, which helped in fitness for riding long distances. It certainly was useful practice, as crossing 1000km of Mongolian steppe is no easy feat.

Despite years of experience and practice in preparation for the Derby, both riders stressed the importance of navigation time and time again – “You’re not just following a line on a GPS… navigation is complex, and plays a big factor of where you need to go to save your horse’s energy while getting as far as possible,” Willemien states. “Although we had a GPS, it is even more important to be able to read a map, to understand elevation, and to ask “is it worth it?” to go over or around an obstacle,” Deirdre suggests. So, future participants beware: practice with those maps!!

While each rider sets off in the Derby as an individual, they are by no means alone. Neither Deirdre nor Willemien had been to Mongolia previously, yet felt so welcomed and accepted from the first day.

“We stayed many nights with families in their gers,” Willemien reflected. “It is remarkable how everyone works as a team. When you come in from a long ride, no matter how terrible you feel, you are met with people that are happy to see you, and happy to help.”

“What really struck me was the generosity [of the families] to take in complete strangers and give us the food off of their tables, and space in their gers,” Deirdre commented.

Even thought the riders were facing the challenge alone, each of them on riding their own race, and on their own horse, help and encouragement were never far away. From the friendships built between riders, the welcoming atmosphere created by the families along the steppe, the support, care, and attention to detail from the vets, medics, and coordinators working to organize the race, and each and every friend and family member back home cheering for their person, each rider was riding with a group of people rooting for their success.

Are you interested in taking part in the longest and toughest horse race in the world? If so, head over to The Equestrianists website to sign up for future races.

From the Ground Up: Managing Expectations

Most of my time is spent working with young and inexperienced horses, which means every single day is different — new challenges arise, new equine opinions develop, and there’s a constant feeling of two steps forward, one step back.

As a serial planner, I like to know what I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it. I have to fight that urge to have everything mapped out, as when working with horses, almost nothing goes ‘to plan’.

Many times, when working with young or inexperienced horses, I’ve had to remain both consistent and open-minded, in order to explore communication methods that help me be clearer for the horse.

There are days when I fully intend to back a horse, only to realize they’re exceptionally cranky that day, or an unusually tense horse as a result of a windy day interferes with our goal of developing a flying change.

Of course, learning to work despite challenges that arise is critical — no atmosphere will ever be perfect, and you certainly can’t control what’s going to happen. I am a firm believer in helping horses develop emotional control as a way to ensure continued progress despite challenges. (You can read more about the concept of emotional control in my previous article!) That said, it’s just as important to set yourself — and very importantly, your horse — up for success. Forcing a tense or unwilling horse to learn something new will only hinder the learning process itself, making the work unproductive… or destructive.

Waiting for a “good” day – where distractions are limited, the weather is cooperative, and you and the horse are communicating well – to try something new is important. Here, waiting for the “right” time paid off with a successful first ride on Abbey.

My students can confirm that I frequently talk about managing expectations. Considering the larger environment in which you’re working and keeping the bigger picture — of your progress, and steps towards your goals — in mind will allow you to remain flexible on the days when things don’t click in the way you anticipate.

Instead of forcing that new flying change on a spooky day, try to set a new goal for the day. Maybe you aim to instead find relaxation in a flat ride. Setting a more realistic goal for that particular day allows the horse to find success, even if it’s not the expectation you first had. The ride is still a productive win, while continuing to move forward towards what you originally had in mind. Rewarding and celebrating the horse overcoming something that they perceive as difficult will further develop the partnership in a way where they learn they can (and want to!) cooperate even when other factors aren’t ideal. This will help you nail that flying change the next time, with or without distractions.

Listening to your horse keeps your efforts centered on their well being and success, allowing for their curiosity, softness, and willingness to participate to shine through.

Progress is not linear. It’s a long and windy path, especially when working with animals. Learning to allow myself to be comfortable with changing plans in order to productively work with horses in training has allowed me to meet my horses where they are that day. Meeting my horses where they’re at has allowed me to come into and out of each training session positively, while still moving in the direction we’d like to go without compromising the horses’ curiosity, softness, and willingness to participate.

The Mongol Derby is Back! Updates + How to Follow

The Mongol Derby, described as the world’s longest and toughest horse race, kicked off over the weekend, sending nearly 50 riders out to traverse 1000km of Mongolian steppe. The riders, a mixture of endurance, eventing, and outdoors enthusiasts will spend 10 days navigating difficult terrain and an unfamiliar landscape while working with semi-wild horses. This year marks the return of the Mongol Derby after two years of absence due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This year, 46 riders committed to this race, putting their mental and physical strength to the test as they strap on to feisty Mongolian horses, face intense storms and varied weather, and set off across the steppe.

Riders are currently en-route, with exciting updates coming in daily. To follow riders along on their trek, the Equestrianists provide a live race tracking. Additionally, The Mongol Derby’s Instagram account always has some wicked cool stories to watch.

With 19 U.S. riders, we’re well represented. That said, the entire group of international, gutsy, and adventurous equestrians tackling this race are inspiring. Take a look at their profiles and join us in encouraging them along this trip! Spoiler: Eventers are well represented with this group!

A special shout out goes to our USEA members taking the Mongol Derby head on: Renee Senter, Morgan Kelly, Kristin Carpenter, Julie Wolfert, Brandy Dobbyn, Claire Vile, Ashton Garner, and Allison Kohlberg.

And if you’re new to the Mongol Derby, you can take a look back in the EN archives to relive the adventures of our own Leslie Wylie, who competed in the race in 2017. There’s also a great documentary film, All the Wild Horses, available to learn more about the history and logistics of this grand adventure.

Horsemanship Around the World: Learning from Herders in the Mongolian Steppe

I hear galloping hooves behind me, and immediately feel my horse stiffen, ready to run. The goat leather reins bite into my hands as my horse’s head flings up, leaning his body forward, begging me to let him go. Quickening his step, his hooves crunch into the steppe grass underneath.

Glancing over my shoulder, I lock eyes with the galloping herdsmen, Ganerdene, in a challenge of a race. I know there is little chance of me winning — he knows the steppe like the back of his hand. It doesn’t help that he’s on a race horse we had nicknamed “The Dragon”. I take the challenge anyway.

After softening my hands slightly, my horse immediately launches forward, breathing a sigh of relief that I had finally come around. We bolt forward right as Ganerdene reaches us. Looking over, he yells something to me. I don’t speak Mongolian, but I can understand what he’s saying: faster.

Feeling such power and drive as I did from my horse in this race is a feeling I will never forget.
Photo by Erik Cooper.

With every galloping step, my grin seems to stretch wider and wider. I don’t dare look down, scared to realize how quickly the ground is flying by us. I keep my eyes trained forward, scanning for marmot holes as I take moments to enjoy the view where the snow capped mountains intermingle with the clouds.

I see a flutter of Ganerdene’s green deel as he attempts to cut me and my horse off. Swerving out of the way, we lose some ground on him, so I hunker down lower and feel my horse kick into yet another gear as we race through the Land of the Blue Sky.

* * *

Getting to Mongolia has always felt like a far-fetched dream. With its rich history and continued emphasis on the horse, I’ve always wanted to go visit.

However, making the trip around the world to a country where I didn’t know anyone and didn’t speak the language seemed daunting. As a way to attempt to satisfy my curiosity of the country, I found and thoroughly scrolled through Erik Cooper’s Instagram.

Erik has lived primarily in Mongolia for the last ten years, after he first completed the Mongol Derby in 2012. Since then, he has worked for the Derby, while also leading trips to visit the families with which he’s grown close. In a trek that is wildly adventurous, and filled with new challenges and friendships, you see the country in a completely unique way, surrounded by families and friends living and experiencing life in the steppe. He has trips to visit his friends in Reindeerland, but also with the Eagle Hunters of Mongolia.

Our friend and adventure leader, Erik Cooper.
Photo by Dulguunsuren Sergelen

I casually had connected with Erik over Instagram years ago. He always encouraged me to come, but life always seemed too busy to take on such an overwhelming trip.

Until this past fall, when I was finishing a job and planning to move back home to kick off my business. I was feeling happy and confident, but in need of a next big challenge — something that really pushed me out of my comfort zone, something that would show myself that I was capable and competent.

I took the plunge, and got on the flight to Ulaanbaatar.

* * *

Reaching our horse-herding friends was no easy feat, requiring 15 hours of off-roading adventure in our Russian furgon. As we bounced and zig-zagged around streams, rocks, herds of sheep, and across mountains, those struggling with car sickness clung to their anti-motion sickness support. For those just needing to pass the time, the trip was accompanied by a fantastic playlist, thanks to Erik and the group.

Finally arriving at horse camp, we were welcomed with warm salt milk tea and snacks in the ger. With a long standing relationship with the family, Erik was greeted by the herder boys with hugs, tackles, and grins that radiated warmth and love. We all felt very quickly at home, experiencing the hospitality and generosity of feeding and providing for any traveler that comes their way.

Immediately welcomed into gers and teepees we came across, we were able to connect with new friends across Mongolia.
Photo by Lizzy Peck.

After refueling ourselves with snacks and drinks, it was time to work: we had to catch our horses for our departure to Reindeerland the following day.

With the horses living free range on the steppe, this is no easy task. Hopping on a motorcycle, the herders tracked down and herded the group back, pushing them into a corral next to their ger. The horses are smart, quick, and feral, and so it took multiple drives to get a group together. Once collected, we all took turns attempting to lasso the ones that would be joining us.

Watching the herder boys work was mesmerizing. Not only did they have a killer sense of direction, somehow always knowing where the herd was, or where an escaped pack horse wandered off to later in the trip, but they had a flawless feel of the horses, and an intuition of the horses’ energy, that comes from growing up surrounded by and working with such a spirited animal.

One of the awesome herders that accompanied us on the trip, Gantomor, helped us catch some of our rides.
Photo by Erik Cooper.

The fierceness of the horses still shone through in the process of corralling and lassoing them, but once they were caught and haltered, they were quite calm. It was incredible to see such spirit in the body that was controlled just enough to work with their herders, but not enough to completely tame them.

Soon, I would understand and appreciate that the horses still maintain their feral spirit, as we had to face terrain and weather that wouldn’t have been passable with any other horse.

I look back on the mountains we climbed, slopes we slid down, glaciers we crossed, and the rocky path along the way with disbelief — it’s hard to even describe the twists and turns taken, but even more impossible to describe the ease in which the horses and herders followed the path. The horses, bringing their natural understanding and spunk to the table, navigated the terrain with no problem, pushing through shoulder-high water and bogs, never taking one wrong step.

I quickly learned it was best to trust the horse underneath me – the feral horse that showed his impressive rear when first lassoed, and attempted to bolt past the others multiple times. It was hard to let go of the feeling of control I desperately tried to cling to, but as soon as I was able to let go of my own fear and inexperienced instincts, I immediately felt the depth of knowledge and confidence my horse had to share with me.

Building a partnership with my horse over the few weeks we were together gave me the strength and ability to navigate a new country and difficult terrain. I couldn’t have done this without him.
Photo by Erik Cooper.

I have never ridden a horse with that much self awareness, power, spirit, and desire to absolutely go. Despite their small size, Mongolian horses are strong, fierce, and entirely capable.

From the first time I swung onto my horse’s back (which was filled with nerves and uncertainty on my part) to our final, free gallop together across the steppe, I developed a trust in my horse to get me home safely, no matter the speed at which we were traveling. Feeling that kind of partnership and connection between two entirely individual beings with their own spirit, their own freedoms, and their own abilities meant more than I can express.

My horse didn’t have to work with me. He didn’t have to win that race against Ganerdene, and he certainly didn’t have to let me ride him. His spirit and fierceness gives him the ability to survive and thrive in a harsh environment. But his natural curiosity and willing attitude allows humans to work with him to achieve goals through transportation and work. Without this feral, yet kind horse, how would this terrain have been navigated?

The working partnership between the herders and their horses opened my eyes to the absolute importance of keeping a horse’s spirit and fire alive in the training process. Although a majority of horses won’t ever see the terrain and life that Mongolian horses face daily, the spirit of the horse can bring an instinct and ferocity to a jump course, a dressage test, or a trail ride across a new area. It emphasizes the partnership between two individuals, instead of a robotic sense of obedience that skims the surface of what the horses we connect with can provide the partnership we so deeply value.

Inspired by the horses’ spirit and fire, I felt myself growing confidence in my own self, capabilities, wants, and needs. Being connected to a horse that is so sure of himself forced me to be grounded in my own self.
Photo by Erik Cooper.

I reflect on this trip feeling entirely inspired, alive, and happy. My curiosity is unparalleled to anything I’ve felt before, and I’m itching to get back to answer my ever expanding questions. Learning from Mongolian herders and horses has opened my eyes to a new energy and approach to my work that I’m encouraged to continue diving into.

Ebony Horse Club: You Belong Where You Want to Be

Ebony’s center has become a place for participants to thrive both in and out of the saddle. Picture from Ebony Horse Club’s Instagram.

Ebony Horse Club is not your typical riding stable, located on a farm in a rural community. Instead, Ebony Horse Club is a charity based in Brixton in South London — far from where horses are found typically. I called Naomi Howgate, Ebony’s General Manager, to learn more about the charity, what it offers, and how the larger equine industry can support its mission.

Despite its unique location, Ebony offers equestrian activities (mounted and unmounted) to provide new opportunities to riders who would otherwise have limited interactions with horses. Through its work with horses, Ebony aims to develop life skills, raise aspirations, and provide new opportunities to participants.

Ebony was founded over 25 years ago when there was a clear lack of opportunity for people living within cities to interact with horses. Beginning as road trips to the country with a few kids, Ebony quickly developed interest, requiring more fundraising and organization to continue with the programming.

These field trips continued to be, and still are, part of Ebony’s services. However, in effort to expand access to a greater number of riders in a more convenient location, a stable was built in London in 2011 to act as a center for the charity.

At this center, there is now a youth classroom, offices, stalls for 9 horses, a small paddock, and a ring. Participants have access to riding lessons (mounted and unmounted), demos, introductions to new disciplines and pathways, youth work sessions (such as learning about healthy eating, or just enjoying a movie night), and the continuation of trips off of the center site to be introduced to other opportunities out there.

Introducing students to a variety of horse and non-horse related paths is key to Ebony’s work. Through introducing these new options, Naomi stressed Ebony wants to make it clear to participants that “[they] belong where [they] want to be”.

Access to horses can be challenging in a city. Ebony works to increase access to equestrian opportunities, so any young person can find success as an equestrian. Picture from Ebony Horse Club’s Instagram.

With their center, Ebony can now serve 150 kids per week. These riders are from the local Brixton community and often face challenges such as coming from low income areas, being excluded at school, violence, or poverty. To assist in serving so many riders from such a variety of backgrounds, eight staff members are assisted by a huge team of volunteers who help with the barn work, lessons, and trips. Additionally, other community groups in the area collaborate and support one another by participating in activity exchanges, and supporters help develop the organization by showcasing Ebony’s work, and supporting in funding.

Ebony has been successful in introducing new participants to horses. However, the mission and success of Ebony is so much broader than that. Ebony wants to see riders “thrive both in and out of the saddle”. Due to this, Ebony’s success to them is defined by the success of the young people involved. Do they feel supported, happy, and healthy? Are they thriving? Providing a safe space for people to be and connect with new friends in a community affected by youth violence, gangs, and poverty, allows participants to see a sport (and a whole horsey world!) that would not otherwise be on their radar. Bringing the equine world into the city, instead of bringing the people into the equine world made it accessible to a whole new audience. Some participants even go on to find jobs and careers in an industry that was previously inaccessible.

Access to horses can be challenging in a city. Ebony works to increase access to equestrian opportunities, so any young person can find success as an equestrian. Picture from Ebony Horse Club’s Instagram.

While Ebony has enjoyed success for their participants and community, it does not come without challenges! Meeting the demand for services can be difficult – “We’re limited by our space. Our number of horses impacts the number of lessons we can teach,” Naomi stresses. To accommodate for the increasing demand, Ebony is expanding to allow for more youth work to take place, serving a larger number of students, and possibly new communities. Of course with expansion comes the need for fundraising too, which seems to be never ending.

Despite these challenges and the evolution of the charity, Naomi emphasized the large and important role that the larger equine industry plays in the success of the charity. Professional riders willing to dedicate their time to connect with Ebony’s participants, provide clinics or training videos, and highlight the career paths in the industry assists in connecting the lessons learned at Ebony to real world circumstances.

Ebony is proof that you can do things differently and still be successful – you don’t need endless acres, massive amounts of money, or a horsey family to “make it” in the horse world. “Any young person can go out there and be a great rider, be a success,” Naomi says.

The larger equine industry can support Ebony Horse Club, and other charities working to expand equine access, by “being open minded to the mission, support and champion the “underdog” riders, assist in fundraising efforts, or creating work experience opportunities for participants.” We all have the ability to promote and develop our sport to be increasingly open minded, creative, and accessible, reminding all riders that “[they] belong where [they] want to be”.

We’re pleased to have Christine Lewis from Ebony Horse Club taking over EN’s Instagram this Saturday, June 25! Head on over to @goeventing to follow along (and be sure to follow @ebonyhorseclubbrixton as well), meet some of the horses and riders, and learn more about the mission of EHC and how you can support it.

We are seeking nominations for editorial series complemented by banner ads for nonprofits and access programs dedicated to broadening the reach of equestrian sports. Tip us by emailing [email protected]!

From the Ground Up: Finding Time to Slow Down

Gillian Warner is bringing us along for the ride as she strikes out on her own to launch her business as a professional. You can catch up on the preceding columns from this series here.

Setting realistic expectations for what can be accomplished and organizing my day to fight against my “energizer bunny” mode has provided me with the opportunity to be present.

As anyone with horse experience knows, there’s always more to be done.

Whether that’s progression in your training, fields that need to be mowed, tack that needs to be cleaned, or office work to complete, life on a farm never stops moving.

Despite fully recognizing that I’ll never completely “finish” the work, I still have a hard time accepting that. I have what has been nicknamed my “energizer bunny” mode – when I start to feel overwhelmed by tasks, I go into overdrive. The plus side of this is that I get a lot done. But it’s neither realistic nor sustainable.

“At my age, it takes a little longer than it used to for me to get back up the hill. But when you aren’t in a hurry about things, you’re liable to notice more, so I don’t mind.” ~ Bill Dorrance

Learning a lesson from the wise words of Bill Dorrance in the quote above, I’ve been challenging myself to maintain my efficiency while relaxing into the work as well.

I want to be fully present, instead of flitting about from one task to the next. I love spending time with horses (otherwise I wouldn’t have my job), but in the daily routine, and under the ever-growing list of tasks, I sometimes feel that focus gets lost. When I’m in overdrive, I miss out on the subtle interactions between horse and rider, observations that could be made, and the feeling of joy that’s so commonly associated with being around horses.

Managing and caring for a farm and so many animals means the work never stops. But giving yourself time to notice the little details and enjoy the work is critical to sustainability.

I still have so much growing left to do in this area. But I’ve already identified steps to make progress.

To begin with, for me, it’s all about setting and maintaining realistic expectations for my day. Yes, I try to fit a lot in – I want to fill any free time with another lesson, another ride, or tackle another project. However, fighting the urge to overwhelm myself with tasks by setting boundaries and expectations gives me the time to be present in the task in front of me. Also surrounding myself with a team I trust and enjoy working with has allowed me to delegate some projects and responsibility to spread the wealth of work!

Additionally, lists are critical to my attention and focus. While I’m going about my day, random new tasks pop up needing attention. If it’s time sensitive, of course I prioritize getting it done. Otherwise, I have multiple white boards for different tasks (to do today, this week, and miscellaneous projects to work on when I get “bored”). Writing new tasks on my lists takes it off of my mental to-do list while ensuring it will be remembered for later. Once it’s on the board, I can mentally move beyond it and dive into the task at present.

I enjoy being busy. I enjoy diving into projects. And I enjoy having time to spend with my horses. Finding opportunities to prevent my “energizer bunny” mode from creating a whirlwind of movement and mental overdrive has allowed me to be present in the moment, notice more details, and find joy in the endless work.

From the Ground Up: Building Your Network

Gillian Warner is bringing us along for the ride as she strikes out on her own to launch her business as a professional. You can catch up on the preceding columns from this series here.

Surrounding yourself with a network that pushes you to develop as a horse(wo)man ensures progress to being the best version of yourself possible.

Over my junior, young rider, and now my professional career, I have been so lucky to have countless coaches, trainers, mentors, and friends who support me, encourage my crazy ideas, challenge new ideas, push me to grow, and allow me to take risks. I’m surrounded by compassionate, driven, and hard working horsemen and women who inspire me in my own path.

Identifying role models in my life has been an important step for me, especially as I work to establish myself as a professional. Finding other horsemen and women that share similar values as I do has been instrumental in developing my training approach, philosophy, and outlook on my personal and professional careers.

Who qualifies as a role model for me is so broad. I find inspiration in the excitement my new beginner students bring to their lessons. I admire horsemen like Mark Rashid and Buck Brannaman for their consistent and thoughtful approach to horsemanship. As I mentioned in a previous article, Luke Gingerich’s open-mindedness spurs my own creativity to think outside of the box. Female business owners and entrepreneurs provide guidance and strength when I’m feeling uncertain of my next steps. My trainers, such as Ange Bean and Doug and Jess Payne, approach training in a way that prioritizes the horses’ welfare, bringing biomechanics and science into work that values feel and connection as well.

I have role models outside of the equine industry as well, found in my college professors’ critical thinking, my friends’ adventurous spirits, my parents’ and grandparents’ commitment, love, and hard work, and my sisters’ light and passion for everything she does.

My family is filled with role models that encourage me in my life-long learning process.

Pulling from the philosophies, approaches, and spirit of such a diverse group has allowed me to approach any situation as a student with curiosity that drives genuine questions, collaboration, and experimentation that might feel like a bold leap of faith, but instead leads to new opportunities and solutions.

By keeping this open-minded, creative, life-long-learner spirit in my work has encouraged me to continue connecting with new role models. Reaching out to strangers who are working hard, trying something new, passionate about what they do, and who share values has allowed me to connect with an ever expanding network that continues to push me to grow and change every day.

I’ve walked up to people registering voters on the street to thank them for their work and learn more about what motivates them. I’ve reached out to individuals on Instagram that have introduced me to something new, or have spurred my thinking. I’ve connected with trainers that share mutual friends about their work, and how we could support one another.

Inspiration can originate anywhere, and developing your network with role models that share your values, challenge your approach, stimulate your thinking, and support your growth can lead to opportunities, thoughts, and ideas you never could have previously imagined.

Who can you connect with today?

From the Ground Up: Establishing Boundaries and Being Comfortable with the Word ‘No’

Gillian Warner is bringing us along for the ride as she strikes out on her own to launch her business as a professional. You can catch up on the preceding columns from this series here.

Working with students and clients towards their goals for themselves and their horses is a passion of mine. But setting boundaries has proven to be important in preserving that passion.

I’m settling into bed and my phone lights up. I glance over, reading the white numbers on the screen signaling that it’s 11:36 p.m. I should have gone to bed hours ago, but needed to wrap up some paperwork.

The text on the screen is from a client of mine, asking for another lesson slot the following day.

My internal argument between being accessible and finding time to rest springs to the surface. I want to be approachable as a young professional, and I care about my clients and their goals — I want to help by providing that lesson. However, I’m tired after a long day, it’s well outside of normal business hours, and I don’t have time in my schedule the following day.

Do I respond?

When I first kicked off my business, messages such as these were quite commonplace. And I responded promptly. I struggled to set boundaries from the get go to protect my own time, rest, and goals. I was eager to please and forgot about the need for balance.

Once I found a steady client base and schedule, I had more confidence and ability to be clear and straightforward regarding those boundaries. I’m lucky to have understanding and kind clients, who of course recognized what I was saying immediately. While I was so nervous about asking for space, setting boundaries on hours I’d respond and what I could give actually allowed me to give more to my clients in the time I had with them, instead of feeling strung out and disorganized in my interactions.

I also realized the power of saying “no”. Of course, I want to do all I can to help my riders and their horses. It’s what I strive for every day, to help each of them be and feel the best they can be. However, I’ve filled up my lesson slots, and am working off of a waitlist. When riders asked for more than I could give, I felt guilty (and honestly, I still do!) But finding the strength to say “I can’t right now” protects me from stretching myself too thin, which again can only result in disorganized interactions and an exceptionally tired self.

Whereas I used to respond to those late night and crazy early text messages, I now wait until normal business hours — hours that I’ve set and explained to my clients. They all know I’m accessible any time in case of emergency, but otherwise will hear from me as soon as I can. Setting and holding these boundaries by being clear, consistent, and confident in what I also need has helped me to be a better trainer, coach, and manager.

Emotional Control in the Face of Pressure: Giving Horses the Tools to Succeed with Luke Gingerich

Developing both a physical and emotional connection with his horses is key to Luke’s mission and work. Photo by Winslow Photography.

One of the best parts of my job is working with young horses. Introducing horses to communication with people and watching them think and problem-solve is fascinating to me. My work within the beginning stages of horse-human interaction largely revolves around ground work, allowing the horse to understand what my body and voice cues mean, but also allowing them to have choice, especially in our first interactions.

Another favorite part of my job is researching (I get it, I’m a nerd!). I love to read, learn about experiences other trainers have had, and brainstorm new ideas and exercises to utilize. During one of my deep dives into research, a friend of mine suggested I take a look at Luke Gingerich’s work. Watching some of his bridleless rides and his work at liberty with his horses made me realize I just had to learn more.

Luke teaches liberty horsemanship, and competes in reining, ranch versatility, and freestyle reining, where he incorporates both bridleless reining and liberty work into his performances. As someone who is detail oriented, Luke was drawn to the “relationship and level of communication that liberty horsemanship displays, and how subtle and refined [the training] can become.” He believes that the “finesse, trust, and communication this requires is a great way to test [the] relationship and showcase what [has been] built together.”

Luke experienced an eye-opening moment early on in his liberty career with his partner, Rio. “After introducing positive reinforcement and clicker training, I incorporated it into my liberty work. When working Rio on a liberty circle, I reinforced the moments where he was soft and collected. Before long, he was holding a consistent stretch at liberty”.

This experience with Rio opened Luke’s eyes to the opportunity to combine liberty work, positive reinforcement (such as clicker training), and negative reinforcement (such as pressure and release) to help horses make the choice to be soft, confident, and controlled, even in the face of pressure.

Training horses at liberty does leave a choice for the horse to engage, or disengage. Providing horses with the space for choice also leaves them with the space and responsibility to develop physical and emotional control, even under pressure.

Horses are bound to face pressure in life — we all are! Whether the pressure is coming from a human (such as a cue to go faster or move over) or an environmental factor out of our control (the weather, traffic noise, crowds, etc.) horses will experience situations where they’re challenged, and their focus and control is tested.

In addition to ridden work, Luke works with his horses at liberty on the ground. Photo by Winslow Photography.

This is where Luke believes liberty work can come into handy. By giving horses the space to learn how to physically and emotionally control themselves, while encouraging and marking the desired behavior, and utilizing pressure and release to show that working through pressure can result in comfort, horses can develop trust and relaxation through stressful situations.

When horses learn that they can work within pressure, and even influence pressure with their response, (such as stepping sideways, resulting in a person releasing their cue), they develop the tool to think through and problem-solve while maintaining mental relaxation.

“Much of my liberty work is built on the basis that a horse naturally wants to mirror, or be in sync with, other members of the herd. I channel that desire and natural instinct to read subtle shifts and changes in body language, to be able to create complex maneuvers and behaviors that my horses become capable of doing at liberty with me.”

“The combination of both the mental and emotional connection, combined with the physical body control and muscle memory that [liberty] work creates can then be carried directly over into riding in many other competitive disciplines,” Luke believes.

Moving forward, Luke would be interested to see liberty horsemanship develop into more of a foundational piece of training horses, for ridden and ground work. Communicating with horses in this capacity has allowed Luke to connect with them on a physical and emotional level, and he now works to help other horse and rider partnerships to experience this connection.

Luke and his mare Chloe performing bridleless. Photo by Winslow Photography.

Additionally, as more people are aware of or participate in this work, opportunities to showcase the development of the horse/rider partnership can assist in further introducing this approach, and help spur collaboration among trainers.

While he’s already achieved numerous goals, Luke aims to continue developing as a liberty horsemanship trainer and as a competitive rider, pushed by the question: How adjustable can myself and my horse be to differentiate between disciplines and explore new challenges?

To Luke, this looks like expanding into bridleless dressage, showing in western dressage, and increasing his and his horses’ body control through higher level movements on the ground. If we each ask ourselves this question, what opportunities open up to explore a new physical and emotional connection with our own horses?

From the Ground Up: Finding Your Niche

Gillian Warner is bringing us along for the ride as she strikes out on her own to launch her business as a professional. You can catch up on the first part of this series here.

Growing up as a competitive equestrian, I always thought becoming a professional would mean a strong emphasis on competing. I’ve come to realize it can be incredibly broad.

There are many capacities in which someone could become a professional equestrian. I’ve always imagined working with horses full time as a model that’s heavily focused on competition — finding owners, bringing horses along, and competing at international-level competitions.

While, of course, that is one path to take, and a path that does involve goals of mine, when trying to determine whether or not I wanted a professional career with horses, I realized that the path I wanted to take didn’t completely resemble what I had always envisioned.

For many years in high school and college, when I was contemplating a switch to professional status, I was always hesitant to do so, since I wasn’t sure I wanted to follow the competition-oriented model I’ve seen outlined so many times before. I enjoy competing, and setting goals for myself and my horses to reach, but it isn’t what I love most about working with horses — it doesn’t fire me up in the same way watching a young horse problem-solve does, or helping a student clear their first fence.

When considering why I wanted to pursue an equine career, I came to recognize my passions within the industry: I love to teach, engage with the community surrounding all things horses, and work with young horses, or horses and riders struggling to communicate clearly. After finding positions that allowed me to prioritize these passions, I knew I wanted to pursue building a career centered on them.

Creating my tagline “Building Partnerships” serves as a daily reminder of my model and focus.

There’s nothing like starting a horse that goes to a home that loves him more than you ever thought possible. Or encouraging a new rider to try their first canter, resulting in a smile that seems to stretch on for miles. The flutter of excitement when a previously hard-to-catch horse canters up to you in the field, or an older horse finding a new sense of curiosity in positive reinforcement and target training keeps me motivated day in and day out.

These moments clarified that my reason for doing this work is to build partnerships between horses and riders. I want to introduce riders to the sport, give horses a kind, compassionate, and consistent foundation, and clarify the communication we can have with our equine partners.

Being honest enough to recognize what I love, even if it’s not what I envisioned, allowed me to create a better model for me: One that allowed me to focus on teaching and training in efforts in line with my passions and goals. Focusing my time and energy on opportunities consistent with my why helps re-energize me, even during a long day.

The point of all of this being, there are many capacities in which riders could find a career with horses. Tailoring your work to match your needs is possible. Do you want to work with horses full-time, or find a way to balance an equine career with your other professional passions? Do you want to primarily compete, or do you not want to compete at all? Do you like to manage and organize teams? Maybe finding a role as a barn manager could be right for you. There are a host of opportunities that fall well within these spectrums.

Finding opportunities to work to build partnerships between horses and riders and invite the community into the equine industry are two components of the work I’ve established that bring meaning to what I do every day.

If you’re considering kick starting a career with horses, or you’re interested in finding a new balance in your own riding, spend some time thinking about your why. Consider your passions, and also think about the needs around you. What does your community need or want? Are there opportunities to introduce students to riding? Or is your community lacking upper-level opportunities? What are some skills that you have to fill those needs? Of course, you can think of those skills as directly relating to horses, but they could also include networking or organizing if you see clinic or show opportunities as lacking.

Working with horses is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Considering the numerous capacities you could fulfill will open opportunities not regularly recognized, and even help develop your community while supporting you in finding work that you find to be meaningful and energizing. Once I took the pressure off of myself to be the professional I thought I “should” be, I was allowed to step into a role that gives back to both myself and the people and horses around me. Don’t be afraid to explore creative approaches to how you engage with the equine industry!

From the Ground Up: Stepping into a Professional Equestrian Career

Navigating my interests while starting out as a professional is challenging, but with a strong passion for what I do and a great support system, I feel up to the task.

People looked at me as though I had grown three heads when I told them I moved back to Central Pennsylvania in January to start working with horses. Leaving the (relatively) warm climate of North Carolina where I was working for Doug and Jessica Payne to embrace the snowy tundra in the depths of Pennsylvania’s winter certainly put my grit, and my cozy wool sweaters, to the test.

It’s been one month since I jumped into the equine industry as a professional. There are days when I feel like I am living my dream and experiencing everything I have wished (and worked) for, and there are days where it feels as though I’m running headfirst into a brick wall – again and again.

From finding clients, navigating the creation of my LLC, finding the “right” insurance, growing comfortable with self promotion on social media (blah), mucking stalls, and maintaining some hint of a non-horsey life, starting my own equine business has been an adventure. While I certainly don’t have all of the answers, I’m starting my column “From the Ground Up” to serve as a space for readers to ask questions, share personal experiences, and learn together.

No joke, I had a total of eight layers on in this picture.

Before we jump into the highs, lows, and stories from horsey (and non-horsey) adventures, I figured I could take a minute to introduce myself. I absolutely love meeting new people, so please feel free to reach out to me on my Instagram, or comment below!

My name is Gillian Warner. I’m a young professional based in State College, Pennsylvania, where I work as an Assistant Barn Manager while operating my new business, Warner Equine, providing lessons, training, and clinics.

I started riding when I was four years old, growing from a young horse obsessed girl, to a professional horse obsessed girl. Growing up in Pony Club (through which I have my HB/B certifications), my background is diverse and well-rounded. While I evented through most of my middle and high school years, I also dabbled in dressage, and now primarily focus on show jumping. While I love to compete, my main passion lies in connecting people with horses. Studying Community Development at Penn State (where I graduated May 2021), I constantly researched human-equine connections – how do horses help us develop as individuals, and help us become “good” community members?

While I’ve frequently been recognized as the horse girl among my school peers, I was also known to be the biggest nerd – serving as the student government president at my high school. Also passionate about local government, I considered pursuing a career in community planning and organizing. However, as graduation approached, I realized I wanted to give a career with horses a real shot.

Shortly after graduating from college, I packed my bags and moved to North Carolina. First, I worked as the Equestrian Director for Camp Wayfarer for the summer before starting a position with Doug and Jessica Payne in the fall. Loving the experiences of teaching at camp and competing with the Paynes, I decided to dive a step further and start my own business.

Although I decided to pursue a career outside of community development, I still love to be engaged in local government, and believe it’s important to find a balance between my horsey and non-horsey passions.

As a firm believer that horses have the capacity to develop responsible, empathetic, community-oriented individuals, I use every opportunity to explore the benefits that horses bring to us. My research and the belief that horses have the ability to develop these values lies at the foundation of my business. My goal is to build partnerships between horse and rider that will be mutually beneficial to both involved. I thrive off of assisting horses and riders find their “light bulb” moments in learning to communicate.

Despite feeling like I’m occasionally on a rollercoaster, I wouldn’t change my current plans for the world. And I feel fortunate to have had previous jobs and experiences to help prepare me for this new role. However, there is still so much I want (and need) to learn. If you’re on a similar journey, interested in efforts to kickstart a business in the dead of winter, or generally are looking to hear some funny stories, deep conversations with myself while cleaning stalls, and appreciation for the opportunity to spend so much time with horses, I hope you’ll join me! Welcome to From the Ground Up!