Kate Samuels
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Kate Samuels

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About Kate Samuels

Kate Samuels is an avid 3-Day Eventer who currently competes at the Advanced/3* level with her wonderful Selle Francais gelding, Nyls du Terroir. A rider since the tender age of three, she is a young professional in the sport learning as much as she can from various mentors, both equine and human. Kate has worked for Eventing Nation since 2011, and has enjoyed every minute of it. She brings a lifetime of experience with horses as well as a wealth of knowledge gained through competing at the top levels of the sport. When not riding through the boiling hot, freezing cold, rain or snow, Kate enjoys baking pies, photography, and finding ridiculous videos on the internet.

Eventing Background

USEA Rider Profile Click to view profile
Area Area II
Highest Level Competed Advanced/CIC3*

Latest Articles Written

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

When you're prepping for your first Advanced... Photo from Chris Talley.

When you’re prepping for your first Advanced… Photo from Chris Talley.

Yesterday was my birthday, which of course meant that I basically did the same thing I do every day (wake up at 6, clean the barn, ride horses for 10 hours, clean the barn, eat food, fall half asleep in a chair) but it was special because I was reminded of all the different people I know from around the world through their Facebook well wishes. Social media can be a crazy place, but on your birthday, it can feel like a whole lotta love. That, and I got exclusively chocolate and/or booze themed gifts, so that feels like love too.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Rocking Horse Winter II H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Paradise Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Fresno County Horse Park CIC & H.T. [Website] [Ride Times/Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

The Farm House Tack shop in Landrum, SC has paired up with Nunn Finer to help Eric and Trayce Dierks. For the next seven days, 30% of all Nunn Finer purchases made through The Farm House will go directly to the Dierks to help with Eric’s medical expenses. Let’s keep that Eventing community love coming! [Farm House Tack Shop]

German eventing team rider Kai Steffen-Meier will teach an Eventing 101 clinic at in Ocala, FL Feb 24-26th. He will focus on how better dressage work improves your cross country riding, and will specifically address amateurs (although not excluding professionals). All rides will be filmed and later evaluated during class room sessions so the riders can learn about themselves while watching their own rides. All levels are welcome. Additional speakers include event horse breeding and training expert Dr. Maren Engelhardt and equine nutrition and lameness prevention specialist Kimberly Kojima. To register and for more information, email [email protected].

In case you missed it, the bitless bridles in dressage discussion continues here. With a member of British Dressage sending in a request to have bitless bridles legalized for recognized competition, both sides of the controversy remain staunchly opposed. On one hand, riding bitless can’t possibly be a threat to those with a bit, but on the other hand, how do you deal with the classical dressage commandment of “acceptance of the bit”? We may never know. [Let’s Discuss Bitless Bridles]

What are the items that you can’t live your horsey life without? I would say right now that Dubarry boots, gloves, good leggings and chapstick are at the top of my list. Also, a horse vacuum because #mudeverywhere. Staff at Horse & Hound know the things that make your world go ’round. [50 Things Horse Owners Really Really Can’t Live Without]

Hot on Horse Nation: Riding The Skywalk

Winter can’t touch me, because I’ve got my Under Armour leggings game going strong. Seriously, I’m wearing these leggings right now as I type this, because not only are they warm as hell to wear during the blustery cold day underneath my riding pants, but they’re comfy as all get out to wear just as leggings around the house! These Under Armour Authentic ColdGear Leggings rock my world. I have three pairs. I wear them all the time. So should you. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

A Troll back in action!

https://youtu.be/ALCFeUiUlsQ

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Kate Chadderton killing that reflection game. Photo courtesy of Kate.

Kate Chadderton killing that reflection game. Photo courtesy of Kate.

Note to self: never, ever assume that a horse you’ve owned for almost 12 years who is going on his 16th year of life has “grown up” and decided to start “acting trained”. This applies especially to those early gallop sets coming out of winter doldrums. Yesterday, it was warm and only marginally windy, and the ground was good, so I hacked over to a turf track down the road and over a river, to have a little fitness day. It’s a good thing nobody was there to witness the atrocities that followed, because the ping-pong zip-line spastic behavior was just second to next. Spook at: clump of grass, spot of weird dirt, open gate in fence line, stump over there, shadow over here, bolt going this direction, balk going that direction. I give up.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Rocking Horse Winter II H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Paradise Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Live Scores]

Fresno County Horse Park CIC & H.T. [Website] [Ride Times/Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

A British rider has petitioned to allow bitless bridles to be allowed in recognized dressage competitions. Tam Russell has called for British Dressage to change their rules about requiring bits for dressage in competition. Unfortunately for her, BD responded thus: “This decision is based on one of the fundamental principles of dressage being built on the acceptance of the bit (while much of the terminology of this relates to acceptance of the bridle, it is widely understood that this is the acceptance of the bit).“To change this principle would have far-reaching consequences, not least that we have to have a competition structure that progresses in to international sport. For this reason alone, we have to align closely with the FEI.” [BD Responds to Request for Bitless Bridles]

Great news for fans of Fresno County Horse Park and Aspen Farms, as Southern California Equestrian Sports has added $2,000 in prize money to the events this year. SCES will be handing out prize money in the CIC* and CIC2* divisions at both Fresno County Horse Park this weekend, as well as the CIC* and CIC2* divisions at Aspen Farms in the second week of June. SCES is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping riders and organizations raise funds to compete in and support their national and international competitions in the US. [SCES Adds Big Prize Money]

The Thoroughbred Incentive Program Youth Ambassador of the Month for February is Morgan Kastner! Morgan is from Minnesota, and at 18 years old, she competes two thoroughbreds in both English and Western disciplines. She is incredibly passionate about the thoroughbred breed, and believes thoroughly in their ability to do any kind of job you could possibly want. [Horse Nation Spotlight]

Laughing at British People Laughing at Us: American Horsey Jargon That Leaves Us Baffled

Best of Blogs: 20 Best Tumblr Posts About Living With Horses 

 

Welly World from Elisa Wallace:

 

Product Review: Professional’s Choice VenTECH Leather Girths

Nyls modeling the Sex VenTECH Leather Monoflap Girth. Photo by Kate Samuels

Nyls modeling the brown VenTECH Leather Monoflap Girth. Photo by Kate Samuels

Professional’s Choice is offering some really exciting products this season in their equine accessories lines, and these VenTECH leather girths are no different. I got the chance to try out both the dressage girth and the jumping monoflap girth, both of which are extremely stylish, and best of all, highly functional and super comfortable for your horse.

For a long time, we’ve been stuck with the choice of a fancy leather show girth or perhaps an old girth that you use at home to school in. Now, thanks to combining tradition and technology, you can have both. These girths will look right at home in a show environment, but are are also useable and functional at home.

The VenTECH technology is the highlight of this product, as it is extremely comfortable, breathable, washable and offers the advantage of being non-slip. One of the advantages of using these girths is that they stay put so well, you don’t have to crank your girth as tight as you would with others. The non-slip neoprene conforms to your horse, allows heat and moisture to escape, and holds on tight. I’ve also used this product on several horses that are extremely sensitive and prone to rubs, and I can say that the grip is excellent, and does not rub or pinch in any way.

A close-up of the VenTECH technology on the underside of the girth. Photo by Kate Samuels.

A close-up of the VenTECH technology on the underside of the girth. Photo by Kate Samuels.

You can also remove the neoprene liner from the leather portion of the girth, so that you can easily hand wash the inside of the girth, keeping it free of dirt and grit. This ensures that your horse’s skin stays comfortable, and when you’re using this girth a lot, you can stay sane! Just pull it off the velcro, squirt it down and hang it up to dry. Easy as that!

The SMx VenTECH Leather Monoflap Girth has both a Carabineer clip and a built-in D-ring, so that you can use both a breast plate and a training aid at the same time. The SMx VenTECH Leather Dressage Girth only features the D-ring in the center.

One of my favorite features of these girths is the sturdy construction of the buckles and the placement holders for the billets. The buckles are stainless steel rollers, which makes life just that much easier when you’re leaning down to fix your girth, and are very sturdy for longterm use. I love that each billet gets its own slot to go through, and they are very secure. The amount of times I have ripped a limp billet holder is infuriating, and I can tell you these will not fall to the same fate.

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Stainless steel roller buckles and triple elastic on both ends make for easy adjustability. Photo by Kate Samuels.

While you don’t need to tighten your girth as much with the neoprene non-slip aspect, both girths feature elastic on both ends, for increased comfort and adjustability. One of my horses is always quite crabby about having his girth tightened, and so elastic is essential to make him happy. Durable elastic is essential to make me happy, as there’s nothing worse than a girth that slowly bags out and stretches two sizes. I can also attest to the longevity of the elastic on these girths, as I’ve been using their longer leather jump girth for years now with no visible change.

The SMx VenTECH Leather Girths are also ergonomically designed, so they sit in an excellent place on your horse. The wide base and the cutback of the ends allows for a greater pressure distribution along your horse’s sternum, which can be a really big issue with discomfort and lack of mobility. Nobody likes a really tight and thin belt, just like no horse likes a lot of pressure right behind their front legs.

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The VenTECH Leather Monoflap Girth is stylish as all get out, but also incredibly functional for both show and home. Photo by Kate Samuels.

You can find both of these girths online for purchase through Professional’s Choice, each priced at $257.95.

Go Professional’s Choice. Go Eventing.

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Pine Top. Photos by Leslie Threlkeld.

Pine Top. Photos by Leslie Threlkeld.

Wow! Look at those photos from Pine Top, it’s so green!! The mild winter continues, and mother earth thinks that winter is over already, clearly. Usually Pine Top is still in the winter doldrums in February, and more often than not we’re hit with a cold snap or even a poorly timed winter storm on Pine Top weekend. This year though, sunny skies and green grass!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Full Gallop Farm February H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Ocala Winter II H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Pine Top Intermediate H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

In 2016, Eventing Ireland became the first nation worldwide to use the ERQI (EquiRatings Quality Index) system, and they’re pushing forward in 2017 thanks to great results from last year. The ERQI is a system of cross-country risk analysis indictors developed by Equestrian data science company EquiRatings. The ERQI system provided traffic light indictors of risk for all horses at all levels competing in Ireland in 2016. Horses which displayed amber ERQIs were shown to be carrying a statistically higher risk profile than desired, and riders were urged to strongly consider competing at a lower-class level until their performance was in line with appropriate risk levels. Horses with red ERQIs were shown to be carrying a significant level of risk at that level and in line with the new Eventing Ireland rules, were restricted from competing at that level. [Eventing Ireland Stepping Forward for Safety]

USEA’s Volunteer of the Month Dale Clabagh has been involved in the horse world in every way you can think of, and now she’s a staple volunteer at the Maryland Horse Trials. Dale has ridden horses her whole life, ran a huge boarding barn in her earlier years, organized and ran horse trials up to Advanced level, and now she fulfills every possible duty as a volunteer. From announcing to being a cross country steward, Dale finds herself busy volunteering at an Event almost every weekend from March to November, talk about commitment! Go Dale!!! [USEA Volunteer of the Month]

How about a trip back into the USEA archives for past Horse of the Year winners? Founded in 1963 with “Duck Soup” as the first recipient, a look back at the names is a story of magnificence throughout the years in US Eventing. Winsome Adante is still the only horse to appear on the list multiple times – having won the Horse of the Year award in 2001, 2002 and 2004. When Mighty Nice earned the title in 2016, he became the fourth horse Phillip Dutton rode to Horse of the Year status – tying Karen O’Connor for the most appearances on the list. [USEA HOTY History]

What Made Me Die of Laughter Today: Godzilla, Friend of Horses

I was never one for horse cookies, until a few years ago. Then I realized that I could accomplish ten times more things with my horses if I had a pocket full of cookies, and used them intentionally for training. Mind you, I don’t just hand them out willy nilly, and I don’t tolerate snatchy mouths, but I do tend to have some on me almost all the time. If used in exchange for a task either on the ground or under saddle, cookies can help you master everything from silly tricks to fancy dressage moves. These Smart Cookies come in two flavors, either Chia Mint or Guilt-Free Carrot Cake, so your horse can choose his favorite taste! [SmartPak Product of the Day]

 

 

 

 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Icabad Crane reunited with racing trainer Graham Motion. Photo via Icabad's FB.

Icabad Crane reunited with racing trainer Graham Motion. Photo via Icabad’s FB.

Remember Icabad Crane? The original Retired Racehorse Makeover champion? He’s stayed in Phillip Dutton’s barn, and competed through the 1* level with Phillip, but now he is the ride of Olivia Dutton. She has two fabulous OTTBs in her string, with Icabad and Santa’s Playboy both competing at Preliminary this year. Once a horse in the Preakness, now a champion Eventing superstar teaching the next generation!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Full Gallop Farm February H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Ocala Winter II H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Pine Top Intermediate H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

The Charles Owen Technical Merit award kicks off in February at the Pine Top Advanced HT. Founded by the USEA Professional Horsemans’ Council, the idea behind the award is to provide incentives for amateur and junior riders who demonstrate safe and appropriate cross country riding technique, as well as providing education to riders and trainers as to what constitutes safe XC riding. At each event, riders will be entered to win a Charles Owen Body Protector and helmet bag, and year-end high point winners will receive a Charles Owen Helmet. [Charles Owen Technical Merit Award for Safe Cross Country Riding]

Totilas is slated to make his first public appearance since his messy performance at the Europeans in 2015 and subsequent retirement. The horse that first brought everyone back to the world of Dressage, and dazzled us all for years, he will be shown in hand at France’s major Saint-Lô show, which runs from 18-19 February. Other stallions in the multi-stud affair include the top eventing stallion Contendro, Balou Du Rouet, Catoki and Orient Express, as well as the dressage sires Fürstenball, Soliman De Hus and Vitalis. [Toto Reappears]

After the success of last year’s competition Shearwater Insurance and Tri-Star Eventing are thrilled to announce the return of The Shearwater Insurance Tri-Star Grand Slam. The unique series offers a ‘winner-takes-all’ prize fund of £50,000 for any rider who can win three of the five CIC3* events included in the competition. The events are Belton International, Burnham Market International, Houghton International, Burgham International, and newly added Hartpury International, all at the CIC3* level. [Shearwater Insurance]

Best of Blogs: Dear Horse…Thank You

 

 

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Team Lee Lee at Wellington Showcase! Photo courtesy of Jennie Brannigan.

Team Lee Lee at Wellington Showcase! Photo courtesy of Jennie Brannigan.

Ahhhh today I’m off to join Jenni at the Wellington Showcase!! Unfortunately I will miss the dressage, but I’m getting there in time for the exciting stuff, don’t worry. I’ve packed several different kinds of sunscreen, because I’m ghostly pale from riding indoors with ten thousand layers on for the past few months, but I’m sure I’ll still be turning red. It’s just inevitable! Super excited to spend a few days in the sunshine state, I haven’t been for years. Get ready Jenni, here I come!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Wellington Eventing Showcase: [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Stable View Winter H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Poplar Place Farm February H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Sporting Days Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Full Gallop Farm February H.T. [Website]

Galway Downs Winter H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

How does one go about becoming a Technical Delegate? If you’ve ever been interested in getting more involved, officially (pun intended), in the sport of Eventing, here’s your chance. TD Tim Murray explains the process of getting licensed in this USEA series featuring officials of Eventing. Being a TD for a competition is a big deal, with a lot of duties and responsibilities, so learning everything for the role takes some time, but it’s incredibly rewarding. [Get Licensed: Become a TD]

The University of Florida is bringing their game hard with their newly minted Eventing Team. Based in Ocala, of course, the team is made up of twelve members and coached by four-star rider Ashley Johnson. They only just officially formed in the fall of 2016, but they’re looking ahead to great things in the future. Some of the riders have been converted from hunter/jumpers to the dark side (yay!) and they’re already winning events. [UF’s New Eventing Team]

Oh, did you want to see a slideshow of Boyd Martin and WFP hanging out at Stable View this past week? We got you covered. [Time of Your Life]

Hot on Horse Nation: Fantasy Farm Thursday: A $3 Million Horse Farm with a Side of Guac

I feel like my tack room is a constant battle to keep organized, and I don’t think I’m alone. After years of horses, you just accumulate a lot of….stuff…miscellaneous stuff. I have extra boots and blankets that aren’t the right size for my current horses, bottles of potions and hoof polishes with 1/3 left, all that kind of stuff. I got one of these Burlingham Sports Storage Bins at work recently, and holy cow I need like three more. All the stuff that was previously on shelves or stacked in corners can be safely tucked away in these neat bins, and ta-da! My tack room is a cluttered mess no more. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Relive Wellington 2016 with Doug Payne and Vandiver:

 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Jenni Autry has been sneaking in  a few days of extra sun in Ocala before the Wellington Showcase. Photo by Jenni.

Jenni Autry has been sneaking in a few days of extra sun in Ocala before the Wellington Showcase. Photo by Jenni.

So, I’m going to the Wellington Showcase this weekend, courtesy of my sister hosting me in her house in Wellington, and I’m actually pretty psyched. I haven’t been to Florida for several years now, and I’ve never been to Wellington at all, although I’ve heard many stories. Lots of my friends and family winter down there for almost half the year, as the dressage and hunter/jumper crowd consider WEF to be the holy land, but Eventers don’t generally venture that far. While the winter has been mild so far in Virginia, I really can’t say no to some 80 degree weather. Yes, I will be sunburned because I am so pale right now it’s not even funny.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Wellington Eventing Showcase: [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Stable View Winter H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Poplar Place Farm February H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Sporting Days Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

Full Gallop Farm February H.T. [Website]

Galway Downs Winter H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

The Wellington Eventing Showcase starts tomorrow morning, with a bigger than ever entry list. With top riders like William Fox Pitt and Mark Todd (on two horses each) battling it out with the best riders in the US, it’s bound to be exciting. Dressage is on Friday, with Show Jumping and Cross Country on Saturday. COTH is live streaming all three phases (holla!) and Jenni and I will be there to bring you up to date as the action is happening. [Wellington Showcase: What You Need To Know]

The ICP and FEH/YEH Programs are teaming up this year to bring USEA members the ultimate educational opportunity in Florida this year. While these seminars are usually hosted separately, this year they have joined forces so that young horse enthusiasts and instructors alike can enjoy top level instruction from Chris Burton, Chris Ryan, Leslie Law, Robin Walker, Marilyn Payne and Susan Graham White. [ICP & YEH/FEH Join Forces for Spring 2017]

Hot on Horse Nation: 5 Ways to Enjoy Winter (That Your Horse Will Hate)

The USEF has announced the launch of their “Elite” program for Dressage in 2017. Established to provide support and resources to horses and riders who have proven themselves competitive internationally, the athletes will work with Robert Dover as a technical advisor regarding specific goals and schedules. In this program, they will also receive training and competition grants to help them reach goals and to increase the influence of US Dressage as a whole for the foreseeable future. [USEF Announces Elite Program]

 

 

 

 

 

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

New Pony! Photo courtesy of Kate Chadderton.

New Pony! Photo courtesy of Kate Chadderton.

Kate Chadderton celebrated Australia Day this week by welcoming a brand new Australian horse to her herd! Fresh off the boat, this striking looking filly is bred by Finch Farms, in Toowoomba Australia. Her name is FF Fortitude, and she’s by the lauded Holsteiner stallion, Calgary GNZ, known for his jumping bloodlines. Congrats to Kate, and what a way to celebrate ‘Straya Day!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Rocking Horse Winter I H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Full Gallop Farm January H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Stable View Winter H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe: 

Congratulations to Michele C., this week’s Fab Freebie winner! Michele is the lucky recipient of a new C4 skinny belt to up her style game this season. [Fab Freebie: C4]

Interested in becoming an Event Organizer or Secretary? While these positions don’t require licensing like a Technical Delegate or a Course Designer, they do require superhuman skills in a lot of other ways. There are a million and one jobs for the Organizer or Secretary of an event, but Molly Bull, a four-star rider married to a four-star course builder, walks us through how to get acquainted with the job, and possibly get involved. [How to Become an Organizer or Secretary]

Area II’s of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) was such a smash hit in 2016, they’re rolling it out nationwide for 2017. The first roots of the program grew from the many efforts of the late Seema Sonnad, and offers a lot of benefits for both organizers and volunteers. They have an online portal which is also available on iPhone and Android apps, which make volunteering easy, accessible, and fun. Check out the site today! [VIP Program Full Force in 2017]

Hot on Horse Nation: A Tribute to the Horse Significant Other

Best Listicle: 30 Lies Grooms Tell Their Riders

For your inspiring story of the week, check out how Mavis Spencer went from grooming for the stars to competing in Grand Prix herself in a matter of years. Mavis competed as a junior, but upon entering the adult ranks, took it upon herself to become a professional groom for top riders in the show jumping world. She groomed at all the big shows in the US, Europe, and even for an Italian rider at the WEG. Luck and hard work went her way, and soon Mavis found herself promoted from stall mucking to exercising and showing. Now she has a string of her own, and she’s doing impressively well. [One to Watch: Mavis Spencer]

Dogs need blankets too in the winter weather! Good thing SmartPak has an entire section devoted to our doggy companions, as they wisely know that every horse person in the world has a dog (or five). This SmartPak Deluxe Dog Blanket fits everything from Corgis to Great Danes, comes with a fluffy fleece liner, a tough turnout outer layer, and all the cool colors. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

 

Product Review: Omega Alpha Chill Ultra & Equisel-BCAA Paste

A whole host of Omega Alpha products, made to make your horse feel like a million bucks. Photo by Kate Samuels.

A whole host of Omega Alpha products, made to make your horse feel like a million bucks. Photo by Kate Samuels.

With competition margins so crucial in this day and age of eventing, many if not most riders have realized the efficacy of herbal supplements in improving performances during the weekend of an event. Not only do we want our horses to feel at the tip top of their game while they are competing, but we want them to recover from the strenuous exercise and feel just as good on Monday when they get home. Omega Alpha Equine offers many paste forms of their supplements, which makes travel and administration on the road really easy.

To begin, all Omega Alpha products are herbal formulations, which means that they are all-natural but also have been thoroughly tested and evaluated by master herbalists, pharmacists, veterinarians, medical doctors and naturopathic doctors. All of the OA products are also safe for horses to consume while under the scrutiny of the ever increasing FEI drug regulations, which makes it a handy product to have in a high-level competition barn.

It’s no secret that one of the most difficult challenges of eventing is getting an incredibly fit horse to focus in the dressage, or even be calm and careful in the show jumping. With the Thoroughbred blood that is so essential to success on the cross country course comes a touch (or more) of hot behavior that isn’t always helpful. The market has responded with a plethora of calming agents that are both legal and varying degrees of effective.

Almost everything from Omega Alpha that is time sensitive can be bought in a paste form, for use at competitions or otherwise. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Almost everything from Omega Alpha that is time sensitive can be bought in a paste form, for use at competitions or otherwise. Photo by Kate Samuels.

My three-star horse, Nyls, is a Selle Francais, but if you analyze his bloodlines, he’s about 70% Thoroughbred blood, and notoriously spooky and intense and silly in all three phases. I have had him 11 years, so I can tell you that I’ve tried every possible tube of calming juice out there. I don’t just need it for dressage, I need it for all three phases, because he’s also unmanageable in the warm-up for show jumping and cross country because he’s so excited.

Prior to this review, I had converted to Chill Ultra as the most effective paste for my uses. It is suggested that you use 30-60cc one hour prior to competing to calm excitable horses with pre-performance jitters. Chill Ultra combines the formula of the daily supplement Chill with the added benefits of Vitamin B1 and Magnesium for maximum effect. You can also combine them both with a daily supplement in the feed and then a booster from the paste an hour before competing.

In particular, I found that combining Chill Ultra with Gastra-FX Ultra had the best effect upon my horse, making him both reasonable and trainable in all the warm-ups, as well as attentive in the ring. While he does not have ulcers or gastric issues, I believe that his emotional state of excitement and anticipation gives him excess stomach acid, and the combination of the two pastes was my formula towards increased success. (You can read my review on the Gastra-FX here).

Equisel-BCAA is a recovery formula with branched chain amino acids. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Equisel-BCAA is a recovery formula with branched chain amino acids. Photo by Kate Samuels.

In addition to expecting the best performance we can get, as riders we always want our horse to be able to recover from the strenuous exercise as well as they can. Eventing is no joke, and a cross country course at any level requires proper care afterwards to ease any aching muscles and recuperate vitamins lost during the effort.

Equisel-BCAA (branched chain amino acid) paste promotes the repair of muscles after exercise while also replacing the minerals lost in sweat. It contains all the usual minerals you look for, such as Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium and Chloride, but also has essential amino acids like Leucine, Valine and Isoleucine, which are responsible for regeneration of muscle tissue that is broken down in exercise.

BCAA’s have been highly researched in human athletic recovery, and found to be very effective post exercise for both resistance training and endurance. I have personally been using this product for well over a year, and find that my horse feels very well rested rather quickly after cross country. You administer the entire 80cc tube within two hours of the completion of exercise, and can be useful for not only competition, but recovery from gallops or strenuous jump schools as well. This is a great product to keep in mind for your CCI competitions, with an eye on the jogs on Sunday morning.

All Omega Alpha products reviewed on Eventing Nation have been Nyls certified "tasty". Photo by Kate Samuels.

All Omega Alpha products reviewed on Eventing Nation have been Nyls certified “tasty.” Photo by Kate Samuels.

All Omega Alpha products can be perused online at their website, and purchased online through four different dealers listed therein. You can also search for a store near you on their search engine, with many options available through the United States and Canada. Tune in to Eventing Nation product reviews for a continued exploration into the Omega Alpha product line, as I go through everything that I sampled.

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

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For the first time in almost forever, my news feed on Facebook is not filled with horses. In fact, it was almost difficult to find a photo of horses that would be fun for this news and notes post. While politics are raging, all I have to say is, practice kindness and empathy, even when you don’t really feel like it. That, and look at this picture of my donkey, Pepe, because he is absurdly cute.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Rocking Horse Winter I H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Full Gallop Farm January H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Stable View Winter H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe: 

Area II’s of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) was such a smash hit in 2016, they’re rolling it out nationwide for 2017. The first roots of the program grew from the many efforts of the late Seema Sonnad, and offers a lot of benefits for both organizers and volunteers. They have an online portal which is also available on iPhone and Android apps, which make volunteering easy, accessible, and fun. Check out the site today! [VIP Program Full Force in 2017]

Endurance is under more fire as two catastrophic in Dubai this week at a 40km qualifier race. This brings the total number of deaths to six at this venue since mid-December. The FEI is beginning works with the UAE to address several rules that might be causing increased risk, such as age of horse and rider, and an “elite” rider rule which allows experienced riders to start unqualified horses in championship events which they have never even ridden before. They also believe that over training is a large part of the issues, and are looking for ways to regulate that. [Endurance Rules Under Scrutiny from FEI]

In these times of strife, we need to remember there is a place in Holland called PonyparkCity. If you’re intrigued, read on, because this is quite possibly the best place I’ve ever heard of. Basically, you come to PonyparkCity, stay for a week with your family and live in a cabin THAT COMES WITH A PONY. Like a fully-stocked hotel: clean towels, complimentary shampoo, pony. You get to ride around bareback on your pony all week, and if you need more ponies, you can rent them. CLICK FOR MORE SERIOUSLY. [Horse Nation]

Best of Blogs: Green Plus Green Equals Black and Blue?

Elisa Wallace’s most recent vlog!

https://youtu.be/wk4br8A4eAA

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Joan Hampf's farm is right across from Team Dutton in Aiken, SC and she hung this sign to support Lee Lee. Love you Joan! Photo by Doug Payne.

Joan Hampf’s farm is right across from Team Dutton in Aiken, SC and she hung this sign to support Lee Lee. Love you Joan! Photo by Doug Payne.

Sometimes, going back to one of your golden oldie exercises with your horses is the way to success. At the beginning of the year, I’m just starting to jump my horses a bit again (as weather allows) and sometimes I feel like I’ve forgotten all my fancy jump exercises. Inspired by a bit of “Whats In Your Ring” and of course “Grid Pro Quo”, I’ll be reminded of excellent standbys, and I’m always rewarded when I spend an hour setting them up and then they work perfectly!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Poplar Place Farm January H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

News From Around the Globe:

Canada’s Graeme Thom has accepted the position as New Zealand’s High Performance Eventing Manager, effective February 1st. Thom was an integral part of Canada’s Eventing High Performance committee from 2005 to 2014, during which time the team earned four medals at various championships. While Thom is delighted to have taken a job with an excellent team, Canadian riders are less enthusiastic about losing yet another great influence in the warfare that is Equestrian Canada these days. [Graeme Thom Becomes NZ High Performance Manager]

The buzz is all about the Emerging Athletes Eventing 25 and 18 Training Sessions this past week, so the USEA put together a little podcast to let us onto the backstage. Featuring Lizzie Snow and Zach Brandt, who were both part of the 2017 Eventing 25 group, they chat about what they worked on with coach Leslie Law, and how it’s helped their programs and their horses. Then, we get the big coach himself on to talk about the goals of the program at large. [Review of Emerging Athletes]

Physiologically, what makes a horse so much more athletic than its size appropriate counterpart, the cow? In other words, why are horses able to do rather amazing athletic feats and a cow of the same size looks like it struggles to canter? Lots of reasons, in short. Horses have a similar heart rate as cattle, but a maximum cardiac output rate that is 2.5 times greater, and lungs that are twice as big, which means they can maximize blood oxygen transport. Look, there’s a lot of sciencey things here that I’m not great at explaining, but this is interesting to look at how and why horses bodies work so well. [Horses Physiological Response to Exercise]

Best of Blogs: Making it to the Thoroughbred Makeover

This horse won the YEH 5-yo class at Burghley last year, a new ride for Buck:

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

EN's own Sally Spickard and  enjoying a Buck Davidson clinic in sunny California. Photo via Sally.

EN’s own Sally Spickard enjoying a Buck Davidson clinic in sunny California. Photo via Sally.

Virginia is cruel in the winter, and not in the same way as many other snowy states. It’s cruel because throughout the winter months, it likes to go from below freezing to over 60 and then back again almost every week. It’s so unpredictably unpredictable, you need all the different kinds of clothes that could be required to cover activities in 25 and raining all the way up to sunny and 65. This means SO many blanket changes that you want to poke your eyes out, and a mass buildup of extra jackets in my car. I am not pleased.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Poplar Place Farm January H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

News From Around the Globe:

The USEF Board of Directors has considered the list for possible fall 4* competitions and come up with a short list. They have concluded that due to changes in date and location for the 2018 World Equestrian Games that the inaugural 4* will be slated for 2019, and will be held at either Fair Hill or Great Meadow. The objective of the application process was to select a venue and management team that is capable of conducting and prioritizing a competition at the CCI4* level, and to ensure that the event fits into the training and competition calendar for the eventing discipline. [USEF Announces Short List for 4*]

 We’ve been doing sales videos all wrong. Enter: the greatest (and maybe longest) sales video of all time. Meet Zack and Walter, one is human and the other is equine. Walter will pick up your hat, drag a canoe, sit down and have a snack with you, and is maybe the most desensitized horse in the world. He is super chill. This video might be long, but you’d be missing out if you didn’t treat yourself. P.S. is Walter maybe the greatest horse ever?? [Extensive & Amazing Sales Video]

Best of Blogs: Love the Horse or Love the Win? A Rider’s Dilemma

One of the best parts of winter is Grid Pro Quo! This week it is with four-star rider and overall incredible lady, Jan Byyny. Jan is the jumping master both in her riding and her coaching. She shows you how to set up a grid that can benefit both the young babies learning their footing and be equally useful for the top level horses coming back into work in the spring. Love this easy and awesome grid! [Grid Pro Quo]

 

This is priceless….

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Lainey and Al just modeling in some cold Virginia weather. Photo by Tylir Penton.

Lainey and Al just modeling in some cold Virginia weather. Photo by Tylir Penton.

I’ve started pony-ing my horses on trot sets down my dirt road, because frankly, it’s way more efficient. With the footing all gross everywhere else, a lot of my winter is walking and trotting up and down the road, and it’s not bad really. They hardly ever put down new gravel, and when it’s soggy everywhere else, the dirt has a nice give to it. All my horses are used to it, and legged up properly, so they like it. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that Nyls, the warmblood, is WAY more competitive than any of the other horses and can barely be contained when paired with someone else. He tries to beat them at the walk! I guess it’s good motivation for him, because otherwise he’s a bit of a kick along sometimes, but seriously…you’re not a racehorse dude and you’ve never been one, get it together.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Stable View Aiken Opener H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Three Lakes January H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

News From Around the Globe:

NPR wants to know, exactly how smart are horses? While the rest of the world still thinks horses might fall somewhere below dogs, we horse people know better. Japanese scientists have taken it upon themselves to measure the cognition of horses, by doing a few experiments with horses and their human counterparts. Their findings point not only to advanced cognition but also to flexible cognition, with the horses adjusting their communicative behavior to the humans’ knowledge state. DUH. [How Smart Are Horses?]

The Event at Rebecca Farm continues to expand, as does their economic impact every year. The 2016 competition brought in $5.5 million in economic revenue to the Flathead Valley, a full 25% increase from 2015, and welcomed over 600 competitors and 10,000 spectators. With attendees coming from 25 of the United States as well as Canada, many visitors stay to enjoy more of the outdoor beauties that Montana has to offer. [Rebecca Farm Impacts the Community]

Scary news from California, as a Brook Ledge trailer full of competition horses was hit by another tractor trailer while driving on the highway. The tractor trailer lost control and swerved into the center divider, bounced off, went back toward the slow lanes of traffic and side-swiped the large Brook Ledge Horse Transportation trailer, ripping a portion of the side. Of the seven horses on board, three were injured, with varying degrees of seriousness. [Horses Injured in Brook Ledge Crash]

Ah, saddle fit, the struggle that plagues so many of us riders. Not every horse (or horse parent) can afford a perfectly customized saddle, but the effects of a poorly fitted saddle can be varied and long lasting. In a society that prefers quick fixes and cheap solutions, saddles and horses are not a good match for this philosophy. Do you invest in a fitted saddle? Or wait for the horse to prove himself? But what if he can’t prove himself with a poorly fitted saddle? [Thoughts on Saddles and Training]

At some point, we’ve all looked for the magical “indestructible bell boot”. Everyone has one of those horses, the one that constantly pulls shoes, the one that destroys bell boots left right and center, or just loses them in the field every day. I’ve had some of these lovely beasts in my care, and honestly, I’ve tried all the bell boots. I feel terrible spending $50 on the nice ones I want to show in, just to have them ripped off in the field. My personal favorite for very hard wearing but still affordable are these Davis Bell Boots, which look unassuming and average, but are anything but. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Best of #TBT: USCTA 1987 “Tack Madness”

 

 

 

 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Because who DOESN'T like tip toeing up and down an icy packed dirt road?? Photo by Kate Samuels.

Because who DOESN’T like tip toeing up and down an icy packed dirt road?? Photo by Kate Samuels.

It’s official, I’m over it. In fact, I’m #snowoverit. When I can’t ride for almost a week in total because it’s below 20 degrees and literally every option is covered in ice and snow and frozen rock solid, there is only so much a girl can take. Granted, my baking has been given a good run, but my horses are starting to get bored (and feral). So yesterday I attempted to go on a walk/trot down the dirt road where I live. There were a few short stretches where it was ok, but most of it was packed down ice. Good thing I took Nyls out first, as he’s a champ at mincing along and very sure footed.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Stable View Aiken Opener H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Three Lakes January H.T. [Website] [Entry Status]

News From Around the Globe:

Badminton tickets are officially on sale! Get your tickets today to one of the hardest four-stars in the entire world, which runs May 3rd-7th in the Duke of Beaufort’s Gloucestershire park. This year they are offering a first prize of £100,000 for the first time, with money prizes going all the way down through 20th place with an expected field of eighty starters. This year will also be the first time that Eric Winter is designing the cross country course, but he is well known for designing Blenheim 3* for the past ten years. [Badminton Tickets on Sale]

Are you an amateur rider who owns and competes a horse in Dressage, Show Jumping and/or Eventing? You are invited to participate in a short online research study conducted by Michael Willham from Otterbein University. The study is regarding behavior patterns with new market media trends in the horse industry, specifically the advertising considerations of buying and selling sport horses. After completing the survey, you can enter to win one of four $25 SmartPak gift cards! [Otterbein Amateur Owner Survey]

After coaching the German Eventing team for the past 16 years, British born Christopher Bartle is delighted to be back coaching his home team. After a successful riding career of his own, including trips to the Olympics as a rider, Bartle helped Britain at Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 before switching to coach the German national team. With them, he scooped team eventing gold at both Beijing and London. Will he bring the British team back to the podium in four years time? [Yorkshire’s Chris Bartle Happy To Be Back]

Interested in becoming a course designer? Here’s how. You can follow Beth Perkins’ lead, by signing up for the USEA Training Program for Licensed Officials, which is a general program about how to design courses, because designers need to recognize how to have a progression from novice to training to prelim so horses and riders are ready. After that, the next step is to apprentice with two upper level designers for a minimum of 8 hours each, work as an assistant designer at a recognized event at the preliminary level, and design a training level course under the advice of a licensed designer. [Become a License Course Designer]

Thursday Video: Who says squeaky toys are only for dogs? Olympic bronze medallist Rosevelt disagrees.

Product Review: Omega Alpha RegenerEQ & Gastra-FX

A whole host of Omega Alpha products, made to make your horse feel like a million bucks. Photo by Kate Samuels.

A whole host of Omega Alpha products, made to make your horse feel like a million bucks. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Finding supplements that work in this day and age can be a daunting task, given that there are so many choices available to the discerning horse owner. It is rare that you find a company that has such passion for the job, as well as earnest, scientifically backed research behind the function of each individual product. I was lucky enough to sample several of Omega Alpha supplements on a variety of horses over a period of several months, and I was pleased with my findings for all of them.

To begin, all Omega Alpha products are herbal formulations, which means that they are all-natural but also have been thoroughly tested and evaluated by master herbalists, pharmacists, veterinarians, medical doctors and naturopathic doctors. All of the OA products are also safe for horses to consume while under the scrutiny of the ever increasing FEI drug regulations, which makes it a handy product to have in a high-level competition barn.

One of the most exciting items on the list is the Omega Alpha RegenerEQ. As one of the company’s most highly promoted products, and highly recommended by fellow professionals, I was eager to see what all the fuss was about.

Regenereq also comes in a tube for ease of travel administration. Photo by Kate Samuels.

RegenerEQ also comes in a tube for ease of travel administration. Photo by Kate Samuels.

RegenerEQ is labeled as a gastro-intestinal regenerator and appetite stimulant, serving to normalize the integrity of the gastro-intestinal tract. As many of us know, the function of our competition partners’ stomach is at the base of everything we are able to accomplish, and more horses than ever show signs of distress in this category. If your horse is unable to eat properly without feeling acidic related pain, or unable to perform under duress, you haven’t got much chance in making him happy to do a job.

The real future of RegenerEQ lies in the treatment of gastric ulcers, and research is currently being performed by several independent veterinarians on the success of a thirty-day treatment with this product, as compared to the regular healing medications such as Ranitidine or Gastroguard. Jeff Beshear, DVM, and also husband to 4* eventer Emily Beshear, has confirmed that he has been performing a small scale experiment of his own with RegenerEQ. He has scoped several horses with ulcers and treated for 30 days with RegenerEQ, and re-scoped to find a clean stomach. This is promising news for sport horse owners.

RegenerEQ is administered via an oral syringe at 15mL twice daily for 30 days, and then once daily for maintenance. It is available in 16 oz bottles, and also in a four-dose travel syringe, for when you go to competitions and don’t want to bring the whole feed room.

Gastra FX comes in a gallon pump container as well as a multi-dose travel tube. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Gastra-FX comes in a gallon pump container as well as a multi-dose travel tube. Photo by Kate Samuels.

The second product that I found to be a good pairing with the RegenerEQ is the Gastra-FX. I personally fell in love with this item, and I’m not afraid to admit it. The main function of the Gastra-FX is to soothe stomach acid and promote a healthy gut, and I found it incredibly effective in using it with a variety of different horses.

This is a daily supplement that you can give in their feed, but also is administered via an oral syringe about 15 minutes prior to tacking up and exercising. I found it to be incredibly useful on several different horses who have nervous behavior under saddle related to previous bad experiences and the memories that accompany such things. I had horses that were turning themselves inside out and jigging and rearing, mostly inconsolable until I began using the Gastra-FX prior to our rides. Through using this, I was able to mentally reach those horses during times of duress, and be an effective trainer instead of just a survivor.

I also used the Gastra-FX on my 3* horse at several competitions, as he is notoriously amped up and jittery in both jumping warm ups. I have used many many different calming solutions, but only when I used the OA Chill Ultra combined with the Gastra-FX Ultra did I finally have a horse who was able to walk and not skitter sideways for 20 minutes.

As an added bonus, I found that the Gastra-FX is very tasty to all horses I have used it on, which is good when you are sticking a syringe up their mouth right before you ride them. Most of them even open their mouths, delighted for the flavor. The loading dose is 50CC three times daily for the first two weeks, and then you can back down to one dose a day depending on the severity of the problem.

All Omega Alpha products reviewed on Eventing Nation have been Nyls certified "tasty". Photo by Kate Samuels.

All Omega Alpha products reviewed on Eventing Nation have been Nyls certified “tasty”. Photo by Kate Samuels.

All Omega Alpha products can be perused online at their website, and purchased online through four different dealers listed therein. You can also search for a store near you on their search engine, with many options available through the United States and Canada. Tune in to Eventing Nation product reviews for a continued exploration into the Omega Alpha product line, as I go through everything that I sampled this fall.

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

I am dying. Photo courtesy of Devon Lyver.

I am dying. Photo courtesy of Devon Lyver.

You guys. That’s a REAL pony, pulling a real child in a real sleigh. In the snow! I can’t even deal with this right now. This is “cuteness overload” defined. Thanks to Devon Lyver for sending in this ridiculously adorable photo of her rescue pony pulling her son in a sleigh. Even though Christmas is over, this photo will live on forever. Keep sending us pictures, people! We love seeing funny/adorable/crazy photos that you collect from different parts of the world, and hearing the stories that go alongside.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Ocala Winter I H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

Day one of the George Morris Horsemastership clinic wrapped yesterday, with a resounding message that eventers can seriously relate to: Effective Before Pretty was the chant of the day from Anne Kursinki. A lot of the riders participating are big winners in the equitation ring, which Kursinski says is great, but, “It’s not about being a mannequin up there—it’s about being supple and elastic and in the right place at the right time.” [Effective Before Pretty]

The biggest news of the week is the end of Maya Black’s partnership with diminutive champion Doesn’t Play Fair. After a fairytale year in 2016 that included wins at the CIC3* level, a third place at Rolex and a short list for the Olympics, Cody’s owners have decided to take him back to the West Coast to enjoy a different pace of life. We wish Maya all the best in her search to find a horse that can compare, and in the meantime, we look back at a beautiful article by Jenni in Practical Horseman. [An Unlikely Partnership]

The Millbrook Horse Trials gives back with a donation of $2,500 to the Pine Plains Community Food Locker to support local families in need. The donation was made in partnership with Coole Park Farm and made possible through proceeds from the very popular August MHT. Founded in 1951 and operating out of the basement of the United Methodist Church on East Church Street, PPCFL depends on volunteer energy and each year spends about $15,000 on food purchases. Volunteers serve the entire Pine Plains school district, which includes nine towns, and visit about 40 local families every month to assess their needs and provide assistance. [Millbrook Horse Trials Gives Back]

Good news for fans of mustangs and Elisa Wallace, tiny grey champion mare Hwin has officially been made into a Breyer! The gray Adobe Town mare originally came to Elisa as an Extreme Mustang Makeover horse, and Elisa quickly realized the incredible potential of the mare as an eventer. The 14.3 hand mare has a little extra height, huge scope, and lovely gaits, and Elisa know right away that she couldn’t let the mare get away from her. [Hwin Makes It Big Time with Breyer]

Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center celebrated an amazing 2016, with a record-breaking 62 Thoroughbred adoptions. MMSC is a premier non-profit re-schooling facility for Thoroughbreds looking for a second career, and handily located in the Kentucky Horse Park. The program is unique in their system that develops and trains the horses in a way that makes them suitable for amateurs to continue developing in the future. Their approach is “horse centric” and has earned them accolades from many professionals in the sport horse business. [MMSC Celebrates 2016]

Can we talk about how cozy this Horseware Padua Long Down Coat looks? If normal people look at designer clothes and drool, I look at jackets that are stylish yet toasty warm and it really gets me going. I want a jacket that I could theoretically survive the cold barn chores in, but then also wash it up a bit and go out as a “normal” person maybe to dinner or seeming. This stylish coat looks like it fulfills both requirements AND it has a fur hood. Done. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Senior pictures gone awry! Photo courtesy of Teresa Rozenboom.

Senior pictures gone awry! Photo by Annie Hill Photography.

High school senior Rachel Rozenboom thought that including her OTTB mare, Allie, in her senior pictures was an obvious must, but as we know with horses, things don’t always go to plan. They took Allie down to a picturesque location, that just so happened to be located near a field full of very tall and scary corn, and the wind was up high. Needless to say, the mare decided to have her say about this “photoshoot” nonsense and Rachel comes out looking like a lion tamer in a white dress! Oh, horses!!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Ocala Winter I H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

News From Around the Globe:

While the tragic loss of Olivia Inglis is still fresh from the past year, her newly created foundation is looking out for the safety of riders in the future. The Olivia Inglis Scholarship Fund, established by Equestrian NSW through the Australian Sports Foundation, was the initiative of the Scone Horse Trials Organizing Committee after she died while competing in a two-star competition at the New South Wales Eventing Championships in March 2016. The fund was originally aimed to help young riders, but after the death of Australian young rider Caitlyn Fischer, it moved towards improving eventing safety. The fund has raised more than A$167,000 to date. [Olivia Inglis Foundation]

With the first event of the year coming up this weekend, you better make sure you brush up on your 2017 rule changes. This includes, but is not limited to, dress code, opening dates, how to break a score tie, dressage scoring (also now you can fall off in dressage and not get eliminated?!), and rules for the new Modified division. This, and many many more. Seriously, look at this before you go to an event, you never know what has changed in just a few months. [USEA Rules Refresher]

If you’re bored/standing with the farrier/at work and don’t want to be today, tune in to the live USEF stream of the George Morris Horsemastership Training Sessions. Unfortunately, George himself will not be there to educate these young minds with his own brand of humor and shame, but you will get to see the likes of Anne Kursinksi, Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut (holla girl squad!), which is still pretty good. If you’re stuck at home with the winter blues, this might just cheer you up and inspire you to go home and practice the show jumping! [George Morris Horsemastership Live Stream]

The first Pharoah has been born! Brookdale Farm of Versailles, Kentucky announced yesterday that what is believed to be the first foal of American Pharoah has been born! The bay colt was born Tuesday morning just after midnight, the first foal to maiden mare Kakadu. As a side note, I know automatically spell the word “Pharaoh” like Pharoah and the correct way looks weird. #horsegirlproblems [Baby Pharoah]

Get yourself inspired this winter with the latest USEA Grid Pro Quo from Joe Meyer. Grids are an awesome way to improve strength and balance for both horse and rider, and a good way to keep things interesting during the winter when you’re stuck in a smaller indoor or just working from the bottom up. Joe Meyer illustrates two simple grids that are easy to set up and easy to use for both young horses and more experienced ones coming back into work. [Grid Pro Quo]

 

Holiday horse cookies!! Don’t mind if I do….

 

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Happy enjoying his winter vacation! Photo courtesy of Phillip Dutton Eventing.

Happy enjoying his winter vacation! Photo courtesy of Phillip Dutton Eventing.

Even Olympic champs get to roll in the mud and then lead their groom around the farm, as seen here by Mighty Nice, or Happy as he is known. A really great part of being an event horse is how the vast majority of them get big chunks of the year to just go out in a field and get back to being a horse, and be filthy and eat tons of grass. Don’t forget that voting is still open for the 2016 USEF International Horse of the Year through January 4th! You can vote for Happy, click here!

News From Around the Globe:

After a seriously intense Twitter battle for the 2016 EquiRatings Horse of the Year, Alex Hua Tian’s Don Geniro emerged as the commanding winner with 57% of the vote. The Don, as he is known, averages a 41.9 in dressage, has had 22 international appearances, and has never incurred a cross country penalty in any of them. This year he won the Event Rider Masters leg at Bramham 3* on his dressage score of 40.1, and also finished 8th individually at the Olympics, all in his 9-year-old year! [Don Geniro Wins EquiRatings HOTY]

#ForRealThough Moment of the Day: Winter: A Love/Hate Relationship

USEA Top Fifteen Photos Of 2016

Throwback Thursday is at least one good tradition that came out of 2016, and COTH is here to celebrate it with us. They’ve been in publication for over 75 years, and they can really throw it back. Top TBT moments from 2016 include a Thoroughbred jumping 7’5″, the 1948 Olympic Show Jumping team in their training sessions, grand prix riders on teeny tiny ponies, and George Morris advice galore. [Top TBT 2016]

Best of Blogs: Unicorn, Found

Sometimes you just have to have a jacket that comes down below your knees to survive the day. Even better, when this jacket is also designed to spread out into a cool skirt so you can have your own blanket while your riding, and protect your legs from the bitter cold! This Mountain Horse Adventure Parka is a warm waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric with many functional riding detail for optimal comfort. Don’t leave home without one this winter! [SmartPak Product of the Day]

Four star horses like to be ridden bareback and bridle less too:

 

 

Wednesday News & Notes from Attwood Equestrian Services

A little hunting in the virginia mud! Photo by Kate Samuels.

A little hunting in the virginia mud! Photo by Kate Samuels.

Yesterday I finally got to go hunting again, as every time I try to schedule a day to take my giant red dinosaur out, it rains/ices/gets cancelled for weather related reasons. This has proved very frustrating. So, I went despite the ankle deep mud, and for a horse who was absolutely petrified of mud a few years ago, he did honorably. After that, I went and bought duck legs from the local butcher to make duck confit for some friends tonight, and then proceeded to ride and bathe all of my other horses, as they had rolled every body part in the mud during a 60 degree day. Now everyone is clean! Until they roll again today.

News From Around the Globe:

 The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program was created in 2014, and has since taken off with over forty schools affiliated and more than 100 members registered as collegiate riders. One of the biggest milestones of the program was the introduction of the Intercollegiate Leaderboard in 2016. This let college riders earn points at competitions around the country which reflected in their year-end status on the leaderboard. At the convention this fall, they finally introduced the leaders at Preliminary through Beginner Novice. [Meet Inaugural Intercollegiate Winners]

Uh oh, the gauntlet has been thrown down. Time to take the ultimate Eventing 2016 quiz and see how much of an eventing nerd you really are. [Ultimate Eventing Quiz]

Horse & Hound knows how to celebrate the end of 2016, by giving us a top ten list of the most heart warming and popular articles published during the year. [H&H Top Ten]

Also celebrating the holiday seasons are the twelve ponies of Christmas, featuring twelve ponies that were neglected or abused and then brought back to life with help from the World Horse Welfare Organization. Angharad is a yearling pony filly who has now been handled and gentled, and is looking for a home for a year or two before she can return to WHW for potential backing and training. [12 Ponies of Christmas]

Best of Blogs: No Kicking of Cans

After years of making my own crazy winter hair concoctions, I finally broke down and bought some legit stuff. This Healthy HairCare Hair Moisturizer is the bomb dot com, and I’m not exaggerating. It conditions the hair and makes it silky soft, but not slippery like show sheen. It also smells amazing, and makes your muddy pony look a lot cleaner than he/she might actually be. Diluted with water, it’s one of my new favorite grooming hacks. [SmartPak Product of the Day]

 

Wednesday Video: Why do top professionals choose footing from Attwood Equestrian Surfaces?

Good Footing – Attwood Equestrian Surfaces from Bold Horse Media on Vimeo.

 

 

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

Sigh. Photo courtesy of Caroline Martin, in Florida enjoying the sun.

Sigh. Photo courtesy of Caroline Martin, in Florida enjoying the sun.

I have a really horse specific first world problem specifically about the winter season, and I just can’t let it go. It’s confusing enough that Virginia likes to spend several months being below freezing at night and then sunny and mid-fifties during the day, not only for my wardrobe, but also for the blanketing needs of my horses. There’s nothing worse than having to do multiple clothing changes per day for a ton of horses, except of course for this one thing. The day that it gets so hot that you HAVE to take off the sheets, which immediately results in each and every horse rolling in all available mud. Which then means that you can’t just blanket them back up, you have to bathe them or do an intense cleaning/vacuuming session. WHY must you be so muddy, ponies???

News From Around the Globe:

In case you missed it, the USEF announced Eventing 25 and 18 lists yesterday. With eleven riders on the Eventing 25 list and a whopping seventeen on the Eventing 18 list, its a wonderful sign of upcoming talent. USEF Eventing Emerging Athlete Coach Leslie Law will be helping these young riders both in Ocala, Florida and Temecula, California this spring. [Emerging Athletes Lists]

Your vet is one of your best friends, as your life as a horse owner means you rather rely on him or her. Vets are part magician, part puzzle pro, part therapist, and part pharmacist. If you’ve got to call the vet out for something or other this winter, here are a few hot tips to make his or her life easier, and make the visit go as smoothly as possible. [Preparing for the Vet]

The voting is over for the host of the 2018 World Equestrian Games, but what about 2022? Lexington, Kentucky has their eye on the prize, with an early bid to host the WEG for a second time. They hosted in 2010 with great success, and are only up against Samorin, Slovakia, so far. [Kentucky Horse Park Bids for WEG 2022]

As 2016 comes to an end, we’re all looking back at our top moments from the year. COTH compiled their top ten most popular articles, and unsurprisingly, two of them feature Valegro! Ah, memories. [COTH Top Ten of 2016]

Ice on water buckets, my winter morning chore nemesis. When it dips down below twenty, the buckets invariably freeze, and I’m stuck trying to blast them with hot water to cleanse the hay and gunk out, or just piling them all in the tack room to thaw during the day. I can’t do water heaters because I’m terrified I’ll be the one to burn the barn down, but I can deal with these handy bucket insulators from SmartPak. One per horse, so I know they have at least one bucket that stays cozy and they can slurp all night long. [SmartPak Insulated Water Bucket Cover]

 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

Bless you, Will Faudree photoshop committee.

Bless you, Will Faudree photoshop committee.

Only three days until Christmas, and most importantly, today is the last day to get something on Amazon Prime in time for Sunday. You know who you are, Christmas procrastinators, and I used to be one of you. This year was the first of my fully formed “adulting” in this category, as I intentionally saved gift ideas for friends all year long, just like my Grandma has been telling me to for the past 28 years. So when November rolled around, I wasn’t desperately asking leading questions to find out what they desired (and what I could afford), but instead had sneaky ideas lodged in the back of my brain. Listen up, Grandma knows what’s best, because this has been the least stressful last week before Christmas of my life.

News From Around the Globe:

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has named 10 event riders athletes who have been selected for the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Podium Potential Programme for the next two years. With one of the best rider development programs in the world, being named to this list is a huge honor and a great way to advance one’s career as an event rider. Athletes will receive support through world class coaching, human and equine sports science and medicine, nutrition and sports psychology. The recipients are: Bert Bolton, Rosalind Canter, Genevieve Clarke, Sam Ecroyd, William Furlong, Tom Jackson, Tom McEwan, Imogen Murray, Sarah Parkes and Francesca Reid-Warrilow. [BEF Names Riders to Potential Podium Program]

Why do we feel the need to dress our horses in Santa outfits? The world may never know, but it continues to feel funny and festive and good, so we keep doing it. I literally did a full barn santa hat photo shoot this past week, and I’m not even a little ashamed. Turns out, folks in the UK also think this is hilarious fun. [Is That Santa, or a Horse?]

Is your property winter chore efficient? In any location that experiences winter weather, the design focuses around how to function when its horrible and cold and frozen and wet and muddy etc. There are ways you can prepare and make your life easier for the coming months, including putting some footing down at gates to paddocks, removing your muck piles before they build up too high, and forming plans for ice storms. [Winter Chore Efficiency Guide]

Best of Blogs: Amateurs Like Us: Realignments and Reawakenings

An excellent way to learn about your horse’s personality, or even just horse behavior in general, is to sit down and watch the herd. Observing your herd dynamics and social structure can tell you a lot about individual horses, and also give you hints as to how horses communicate with the world. But where do you start? Susan McDonnell gives a great guide to getting the most out of your observation sessions. [Watching The Herd]

 

 

Friday News & Notes from Nupafeed

This never gets old.

This never gets old.

Yesterday, winter actually really arrived in my part of town, starting with a balmy 10 degrees to do the barn chores in the morning. Luckily, nothing warms you up like vigorously scooping poop and throwing hay and sweeping the aisle. Unfortunately, after that, it’s still only 7:30 and I have to survive the rest of the day out in the wind. My problems are nothing compared to those who live in a more northern manner, and I can’t possibly imagine how people in Vermont function. Kudos to you, you crazy, crazy people.

News From Around the Globe:

Starting from literally nothing with an un-broke eventing prospect might just be the most daunting task for any rider. Daniel Clasing and Kaitlin Spurlock have spent years learning from the best in the sporting world as well as competing through the 4* level, and now have started their own business with a primary focus on developing young horses. In this first article from the USEA, Kaitlin and Daniel illustrate how you can go about selecting a prospect with just an examination and a good feeling. [Evaluating the Unbroken Event Prospect]

The Brooke has met its goal of reaching two million working horses, donkeys and mules in a single year. The ambitious goal to reach this vast number of working horses and donkeys to relieve their suffering and improve welfare through training, research and treatment was set almost six years ago. An estimated 100 million equines are supporting more than 600 million people in the developing world. The majority of those animals are suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, malnourishment, crippling injuries, lameness, and/or contagious diseases, nearly all of which can be prevented with proper training for their owners, which the Brooke provides in spades. [The Brooke Beats the Odds]

The Mars Essex Horse Trials, slated to run again in June of 2017 after a 19-year hiatus, is excited to announce that they’ve partnered with the Greater Newark LifeCamp as the event’s sole beneficiary for the re-start of competition. LifeCamp is an organization that provides an enriching summer camp experience for Newark public school students from the ages of 6-13. The Mars Essex HT will be integrating LifeCamp campers into the happenings at Essex while they bring back this historic competition and throw it back to the spirit of the “old” Essex Horse Trials. [Greater Newark LifeCamp] [Mars Essex HT]

Best of Blogs: Why And How Should We Ride Without Stirrups?

The competition is heating up for the five candidates to host the second CCI4* in North America as the decision will be made next month. The USEF will select one of the proposals next month and then submit that to the FEI, which inevitably will take much longer, but the possible hosts are waiting on pins and needles. Great Meadow specifically hopes that they will win the bid, alongside a possible new quarantine facility located handily at Dulles Airport in Washington DC. [Who Will Win the CCI4* Bid]

 

Thursday News & Notes from SmartPak

How to fly a plane, by Reed Kessler and Up Des Chaines. Photo courtesy of Reed Kessler.

How to fly a plane, by Reed Kessler and Up Des Chaines. Photo courtesy of Reed Kessler.

It’s 10 days out from christmas, so I hope you have all your holiday planning done by now! I got super into the Christmas spirit this week by finally decorating the tree I cut down last week, and hanging lights all over my house. I listened to shameless Christmas music on Spotify the whole time, and I’m not even afraid to tell you that I’ve been listening to it while I ride too. Tell me you can listen to “You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch” by Jim Carey or literally anything holiday from Mariah Carey and not smile a little bit. Hey, you gotta have something to keep you occupied when the temperature for the morning barn chores is a toasty 10 degrees….!

News From Around the Globe:

As you might have seen from the photos of the USEA convention, Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois won the 2016 Connaught Grant. The Connaught Grant was established by Caroline Moran in honor of the late R. Bruce Duchossois, and awards $25,000 to a CCI* or CCI2* horse in the U.S. that is seen as a potential candidate to represent the U.S. Equestrian Team on an international level. The pair won the Fair Hill CC2* this fall and Jennie hopes to use the money to travel abroad next spring and expand the mare’s experience at the 2* level before stepping up to 3*. [Jennie & Stella Win Connaught Grant]

Charlotte Dujardin blew it out of the park with the now-retired Valegro at Olympia. After winning literally everything there is to possibly win in the dressage world, Blueberry has rightfully earned a peaceful retirement, but Charlotte brought him out for one more freestyle exhibition, and we all got goosebumps. They did a perfect rendition of their gold medal London freestyle routine, and it was an ideal exit for the pair. [Charlotte & Valegro Olympia Exhibition]

Also relevant: Charlotte & Valegro Top 5 Moments

Hot on Horse Nation: 11 Signs Equestrians Are Easy To Please: Winter Edition

Could you design the last fence on the Badminton 2017 cross country course? Maybe! The organizers of Badminton are asking fans of the competition to submit designs for the final obstacle for next spring’s course. Course designer Eric Winter, event director Hugh Thomas and media director Julian Seaman will select their favourite 10 designs, and a public vote will decide the winner. [Design the Badminton Fence]