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/CCI4*

Latest Articles Written

Friday News & Notes

Ready for a partly sunny lesson. Photo by Christine Manske Lies.

Jon Holling spends so much time raising money for frangible fences and filming podcasts that he hasn’t got any time for shopping for a new pair of sunglasses. Or maybe he just prefers the pirate look? If anybody sees him at an event this weekend, perhaps one of you can take pity on him and find him a proper pair of sun shielding glasses with TWO eyes protected.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Galway Downs International H.T.: [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores] [Live Stream]

Stable View Spring 1*/2*/3*/4*: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Live Scores] [EN’s Coverage]

Full Gallop Farm March II H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Volunteer]

March H.T. at Majestic Oaks: [Website] [Volunteer]

Morven Park H.T.: [Website] [Volunteer]

Poplar Place Farm March H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Texas Rose Spring H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

News From Around the Globe:

Harry Meade is back at the top level this year, and we’re excited to see him at Kentucky this year. After suffering every rider’s worst nightmare of a fall last year, Harry has made an incredible recovery over the winter and has reorganized his lifestyle so that he can return to riding. He suffered real head trauma in the fall, and is still experiencing real after effects in his mental stamina, but is hopeful that things will continue to improve. He recently showed four horses at Oasby with clear cross country rounds and top-15 finishes for all. [Meade’s Recovery & Return to Competition]

Some of the top horse professionals in the world hardly ever ride, and that’s definitely true for Steffi Weigard. After 27 years as a professional groom for Michael Klimke, Stefi thought it might be time to retire. That is, until she got a call from Isabell Werth. Eight years later and she’s been by Werth’s side for gold medals at three FEI European Championships, two FEI World Equestrian Games, an Olympics and three consecutive FEI World Cup Final wins. Two of Wiegard’s charges, Bella Rose 2 and Weihegold OLD, have held the No. 1 Dressage World Ranking, and in 2017, three horses in her care were ranked in the top 10. In 2017 and 2018 she was nominated for the FEI Best Groom Award. [Groom Spotlight: The Woman Behind Isabell Werth’s Superstars]

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Thursday News & Notes from Ecovet

Zara Tindall as a wee babe at Badminton. Photo courtesy of Badminton HT FB.

Congratulations to Badminton rider Zara Tindall and husband Mike on the birth of their baby boy Lucas! Zara and Mike welcomed their third child this week in a quick birth at home. Born into royalty but always a horse girl at heart, Zara has long been a valued member of the British eventing squad. I absolutely love this photo that Badminton Horse Trials shared of Zara as a little girl patting
Mike Tucker’s horse General Bugle in the stables at Badminton.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Galway Downs International H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Stable View Spring 1*/2*/3*/4*: [Website]
[Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Full Gallop Farm March II H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Volunteer]

March H.T. at Majestic Oaks: [Website] [Volunteer]

Morven Park H.T.: [Website] [Volunteer]

Poplar Place Farm March H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Texas Rose Spring H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

News From Around the Globe:

With 199 entries this weekend at Stable View, it’s a packed event with horses of all levels. Stable View has been running FEI levels since 2018 at their Oktoberfest event at the end of September. This year is the first year they will also offer FEI levels in the spring – this week, Stable View will run CCI1*-S, CCI2*-S, and CCI3*-S, and CCI4*-S divisions and host the first Adequan/USEF Youth Team Challenge of the year. Ready for some fast facts? [Stable View Fast Facts]

A sunken road may include as many as four jumping components at the upper level. For instance, it could be a vertical, then a stride to a considerable drop into a pit, a one-stride distance to a bank going out of the pit, and beyond the bank, another vertical or even a bounce. But a sunken road is more than just a combination of cross-country elements. It tests your horse’s power, balance and agility to jump down, then rock back and rebalance within a short distance to jump up again. Learn how to train your horse for sunken roads with Boyd Martin in this article. [The Downs and Ups of Sunken Roads]

Chris Bartle knows a thing or two about what makes a winner. He should know – he’s won at the highest level of both eventing and dressage himself, and trained gold medal teams for two different nations. “It’s the third element that is critical to a champion, they are not worried about making a mistake. The first quality is will to win, the second is attention to detail, and third, not afraid of making mistakes – the willingness to take a risk. Fourth is mental toughness. I always say in every sport, life goes in waves, up and down, keep rowing the boat and you’ll meet the next wave coming up, but don’t jump out of the boat!” [What Makes a Winner?]

Looking to get in on ownership of a top talent from the beginning? Stephen Bradley has an amazing mare in Erika Louvo who he believes is a horse with potential for the upper levels of eventing, and he is looking for owners to form a partnership to keep her in his barn. Learn more and watch some videos of Erika here.

Ecovet is still having their spring sale! Don’t forget to stock up on the best ever fly spray that will last you all day by using the code SPRING2021 to get 30% off on everything from their site. [Ecovet Spring Sale]

Friday News & Notes

The right way to celebrate finishing dressage. Photo by Brittany Caroline.

I’m sad to be missing Carolina this year, I think it might be my favorite event of the year. The facility is impeccable, the weather is usually nice, the green grass is delightful, and the cross country is one of the best. I’ll be tuning in all weekend to cheer on my friends as they cruise through those pine woods and pump fists through the finish flags. Don’t forget to keep watching our remote coverage for all your updates too!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Carolina International CCI and H.T.: [Website] [Schedule] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Orders of Go] [Live Stream] [Volunteer]

Ocala Winter II H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Volunteer]

Pine Top Farm Spring H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Volunteer]

Southern Arizona Eventing Association H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times] [Volunteer]

International Eventing Preview:

Oasby Elite H.T. (UK): [Website] [Entries] [Live Stream]

News From Around the Globe:

I’m sure you’ve already been watching our coverage of Carolina International, but are you ready for some fast facts heading into the weekend? With four national levels T-A and three international levels 2*-4*, this weekend is packed with action from all your favorite pairs. Check out the USEA’s breakdown of all the divisions here. [Carolina International Fast Facts]

Our weekly email newsletter is getting a facelift! Starting today, we’ll transition to our all-new weekly email, the EN #ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)! Catch up on news you may have missed from the week, as well as useful links for the upcoming weekend’s events. It’s free to sign up – you can do so here.

Trust and understanding are Andrew McConnon’s two most important factors when training young horses. “Horses are very talented,” McConnon observed. “I think most of them can jump the height of the fences we ask them to jump, but if they don’t understand their jobs or they don’t feel comfortable with not only their rider but with themselves, that can limit a horse pretty drastically. So, if a horse understands me and what I’m going to ask of them, that becomes very important.” [Understanding the Young Event Horse with Andrew McConnon]

How do you celebrate turning 102? Well if you’re Lucia Sines, you put on a red leather jacket, some red boots, and a red cowboy hat and go for a riding lesson. Born in 1919, she’s always loved animals, but never had the opportunity to ride until this day. Worth waiting 102 years for! [Centenarian Goes Riding]

There was an article last week about young professionals experiencing burnoutwhich I felt what that writer was trying to convey. A lot of riders earning their stripes are treated poorly, and it’s tough. I understand feeling bummed by treatment from other humans in the equestrian world, but complaining about having to do laundry and ride “bad” horses doesn’t quite jibe with me. Are there bad horses? All horses you ride are a privilege, and each one will teach you something, the bad ones will teach you double. [There Will Be No Future Horse Trainers If All You Want To Ride is Nice Horses]

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Thursday News & Notes from Ecovet

Galway Downs looking particularly magical this week! Photo courtesy of Galway FB.

One sure way to make sure the horse gods laugh at you is the make plans. Plans, say, to finally leave home for a schooling jumper show because the weather is delightful and your horse is ready and all the stars are aligned. I shouldn’t have told my horse, because he decided instead to twist a shoe and stick a clip up in his foot, and of course proceed to limp around rather dramatically, thusly nixing any plans I had to do cool things. Maybe he liked 2020 and not competing a little too much??

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Carolina International CCI and H.T.: [Website] [Schedule] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Orders of Go] [Live Stream] [Volunteer]

Ocala Winter II H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Volunteer]

Pine Top Farm Spring H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Volunteer]

Southern Arizona Eventing Association H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times] [Volunteer]

International Eventing Preview:

Oasby Elite H.T. (UK): [Website] [Entries] [Live Stream]

News From Around the Globe:

Jennie Brannigan came out swinging at Red Hills, after deciding to keep her top horses at home for a later start in the season. With a win in the advanced and an eye on two entries at Kentucky, it seems her hard work from 2020 is paying off. It’s been 6 years since Jennie went to Kentucky with Cambalda, and this year she’s heading there with Stella Artois and FE Lifestyle, two very talented but different horses. She dishes on everything in this COTH interview. [Ringside Chat with Jennie Brannigan]

Looking to get in on the Eventing media game? The USEA is currently searching for qualified applicants for a position in the Media and Communications Department. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Communications, Media, or a related field are asked to apply. Preference will be given to applicants with experience in the equestrian sport of eventing, creating and executing a media plan for web and social media, managing a content management system for a website, the ability to write and develop high-quality articles, photography, and video skills. [Work for the USEA]

Meghan McNamara’s love of thoroughbreds goes all the way back to birth, and her family has long been fans of the breed. Her grandparents bred, owned, and raced thoroughbreds, and the whole family has a long history of tracking down horses and claiming them back for sentimental reasons. Her entry to the 2021 RRP Mega Makeover is Pied N True, the last horse her grandmother ever owned and raced, and Pied has a peculiar marking that will certainly set her apart! [Carrying on a Family Legacy]

Ecovet’s spring sale is in full swing! Get your hands on the best fly spray you can possibly find for 2021 to make it the best year ever. Ecovet lasts all day long, and you just spray a little bit a time, so no more walking around smelling like a citronella smoke bomb. Use the coupon code SPRING2021 to receive 30% off your online purchase on their website! [Ecovet Spring Sale]

 

Seven years ago one of us had the brilliant idea to put a helmet cam on me riding a bike at breakneck speed around the Carolina CIC3* (now 4*) course.

 

Friday News & Notes

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Jenni Autry.

You all remember that time that Allison Springer showed up at Kentucky, and trotted down the center line with a helmet instead of a top hat? Everybody really freaked out, but now look at us! Effective January 1st of this year, every single FEI rider will be wearing a helmet in dressage thanks to a new rule.

Article 140 – Protection of Athletes and Participating Support Personnel

“While riding anywhere on the show grounds, and for Driving Athletes and Grooms in the Marathon phase, the use of a properly fastened Protective Headgear is mandatory. The applicable Sports Rules may provide for an exception to this rule by permitting Athletes to remove their Protective Headgear while accepting prizes, during the playing of the National Anthem and any other ceremonial protocol. Failure to wear such Protective Headgear where and when required shall result in a Yellow Warning Card, being issued to the Athlete or Participating Support Personnel (as applicable) unless exceptional circumstances apply. The use of cameras on Athletes or Participating Support Personnel (as applicable) or equipment (such as on Protective Headgear, head covering or carriage) shall not be permitted, unless otherwise specifically agreed by the FEI. An Athlete’s decision to wear a camera while competing shall always be voluntary and at their own risk.”

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Red Hills International H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Show Photographer] [Volunteer] [EHV-1 Precautions]

Copper Meadows H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times] [EHV-1 Precautions] [Volunteer]

Full Gallop Farm H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Volunteer]

MeadowCreek Park Spring Social Event: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Show Photographer]

News From Around the Globe:

The first FEI competition of the 2021 U.S. eventing season is upon us at Elinor Klapp Phipps Park in Tallahassee Florida at the 23rd annual Red Hills International Horse Trials. As in years past, the event will offer CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI4*-S international divisions and Preliminary, Intermediate, and Advanced horse trials divisions. Ready for some fast facts about the event? [Red Hills Fast Facts]

In an effort to compile as much information concerning the European EHV-1 outbreak and the crop of cases scattered about the U.S., we’ll be continuously updating this post with new cases, updates from the FEI and USEF, and biosecurity measures that have been implemented at events around the country. We’ll make every effort to keep tabs on this important information but can always use help; please email [email protected] with any verified information that we may have missed.[EHV-1 Updates]

Horse people aren’t always great business people, but it’s necessary. Our impetus for joining this world came from a love of riding horses, not doing taxes. The Plaid Horse made this great guide to writing a business plan that all you young riders (and some older riders) should check out as you endeavor to make a living in the horse world. [5 Tips To Writing a Great Business Plan]

Eventers are nothing if not specialists in transforming racehorses into sporthorses. FEI “I” dressage and eventing Judge Christoph Hess lends his particularly talented voice to this cause, giving advice on how to get the best dressage out of a horse that was bred to do literally anything but that. [Training a Racehorse to Do Dressage]

Friday News & Notes

Photo courtesy of Rachel Martin.

The days getting longer is a blessing and a curse for the horse person, honestly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pumped that I get to enjoy warmer weather and there are more hours in the day for me to ride and bathe and pull manes and do all sorts of fun things. But, there are also more hours in the day which necessitate working outside, hence me spending hours every afternoon this week dragging my fields so that I can spend hours next week throwing down new grass seed. Live on a farm they said, it will be fun they said.

U.S. Weekend Preview

$50,000 Liftmaster Grand Prix Eventing at Bruce’s Field: [Website] [Entry Status] [Course Preview] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Chattahoochee Hills H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Full Gallop Farm March H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Stabling] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Rocking Horse Winter III H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Sporting Days Farm March H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Southern Pines H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Volunteer]

News From Around the Globe:

Red Hills Horse Trials will be implementing biosecurity precautions at next weekend’s Tallahassee, Fl. event due to ongoing concerns about EHV-1. To date, one case has been reported in Ocala, Fl. Red Hills posted the following on its website:

Biosecurity measures will be implemented at Red Hills due to a confirmed case of EHV-1 in a horse in Ocala. Three-Day Health Certificates will be required for each horse coming to Red Hills. Health Certificate Extensions will not be accepted. Each horse will have its temperature checked upon arrival at the showgrounds. Any horse with a sustained temperature of 102 degrees or more, and all horses traveling with that horse, will be asked to leave the show grounds.

Twice daily temperatures will be required to be taken and recorded for every horse on grounds during the event. Please be sure to pack thermometers

It caught a lot of eventers by surprise a week ago when they learned that the USEA’s Cross-Country Safety Subcommittee was recommending a rule change that would significantly toughen the minimum eligibility requirements to move up the levels, as well as establishing a tiered licensing system based on rider experience. COTH spoke to Danny Warrington, a member of the USEA Rider Safety Subcommittee, former steeplechase rider and upper-level eventer, and founder of the LandSafe Rider Fall Safety System, to find out how the committee came to these changes and what they mean for the sport as a whole. [Danny Warrington Explains New MER Rules]

One case of EHV-1 has been reported in Chester County, Pa. after a horse exhibiting neurological symptoms was euthanized at New Bolton Center on March 4.

Ketki Hotaling is an Indian American show jumper from Minnesota. She started loving horses at the age of three, and considered the barn her sanctuary. However, growing up in a majority white area, she was always told that she had to be on her best behavior, because she “stood out”. She has experienced racism from the equestrian community in subtle, and not so subtle ways. This is her open letter. [An Open Letter From an Indian Rider]

When you think about the challenges of riding, the physical is almost nothing close to the mental. To be able to survive and even thrive within the equestrian world, you really have to be able to control your mind in the saddle and out. Daniel Stewart talks this week about the anxiety cycle. Learn more about the chemical and scientific side effects of avoiding danger, and the way your brain tricks you into not succeeding. [Pressure Proof with Daniel Stewart: The Anxiety Cycle]

Best of Blogs: Advice for the Young and Talented: Don’t Settle Down Just Yet

Best of Blogs Pt II: On Burnout

Get your education on! Registration for Clarkson University’s new online equine studies course, BEA 113: Business and Bias in the Equestrian Industry, to be taught by Professor Piper Klemm, Ph.D., is open now! The two-credit-hour course, set for May 24 – June 26, 2021,  provides students with an intellectual skill set to navigate through and flourish within the equestrian industry and is aimed at educating not only college students, but high schoolers, equestrian professionals, equine business owners and others alike.

Thursday News & Notes from EcoVet

A very thirsty horse. Photo courtesy of Hannah Farrell.

You never really know how much you’ve missed the sunshine until you get a week of proper spring weather, and you feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. I live on a dirt road, so luckily I can walk and trot down that when the weather and footing are crummy, but it’s really unreasonably exciting to be able to do other activities. And in a t-shirt! Those of you who stayed north for the winter will appreciate this moment.

U.S. Weekend Preview

$50,000 Liftmaster Grand Prix Eventing at Bruce’s Field: [Website] [Entry Status] [Course Preview] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Chattahoochee Hills H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Full Gallop Farm March H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Stabling] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Rocking Horse Winter III H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Sporting Days Farm March H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Southern Pines H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Volunteer]

News From Around the Globe:

Tokyo Olympics have yet to confirm the status of spectators for the Games later this year. The new president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee stopped short of saying there would be no foreign fans at this year’s Games, but she certainly hinted at it Wednesday after online talks with IOC president Thomas Bach and others. The Japanese newspaper Mainichi reported Wednesday that the decision had already been made to exclude foreign fans. It cited only unnamed sources “involved in the discussions.” [Will There Be Spectators at the Olympics?]

Five-star eventer Kim Severson taught a show jumping clinic in January at Milestone Sport Horses where she instructed riders on the importance of forward riding for successful jumping. In this exercise, which Kim progressively adds additional pieces to, riders are instructed to focus on the quality of their canter. For one pair, Kim encourages the rider to add more leg to help the horse maintain his impulsion to the fences and focus on riding accurate lines for straightness. For a second pair, Kim instructs the rider to use a half-halt or transition to trot between the fences to reestablish control and balance. [Video Break with Kim Severson]

Hunter legend and horseman of a century Kenny Wheeler passed away this year at the age of 93. Kenny Wheeler defined breeding and training hunter horses for decades, and was well known as a literal living legend. COTH brings us this look back at an interview on his farm in Keswick, Virginia from 2012. [RIP Kenny Wheeler]

Billy Jackson was introduced to horses at a young age through his local 4-H program. As an adult, he is a Marketing Project Manager, and when he’s not at work, he’s a lower level eventer based at Poplar Place Farm. The volunteer coordinator of Poplar Place says, “He volunteers at every show he’s not competing in, and even then he’s happy to jump in as time allows,” she praised. “He scribes, does cross-country start and finish, and we’ve trained him to score in the office when our usual person was sick. He’s super dependable and the right combination of easygoing and meticulous. His only special request is he get out in time to go ride his own horse in the afternoon. We’d be lost without him as a volunteer at Poplar Place Farm.” [USEA Volunteer of the Month: Billy Jackson]

Horse Sport Ireland announced a specific EHV-1 Protocol for FEI horses returning to Ireland from France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, Germany and Slovakia. This EHV-1 Protocol is consistent with Great Britain’s protocol and includes strict isolation quarantine for horses, grooms and athletes, together with interval nasopharyngeal swabs. [Horse Sport Ireland]

Get yourself ready for spring with 25% off your first order from EcoVet! With your first order from EcoVet you can get 25% off! Head to their website and get your fly spray now so you are ready for spring! Use code 25%-OFF-FIRST-ORDER! [Fly Spray of the Gods].

Video: Another genius lifehack from Cathy Wieschhoff.

Friday News & Notes

It rained just a wee bit at Rocking Horse. Photo by JJ Sillman.

I was looking at all these amazing photos JJ took at Rocking Horse, and the pouring down rain that happened on cross country for some riders, and honestly my first thought was “Their poor tack!” All the slimy, wet, gross tack that would have to be cleaned and dried, and all those beautiful saddles with water damage, and the dirty boots and can you hear my OCD coming through the computer? I’m sure it wasn’t a picnic riding in that weather, but the aftermath of cleanup gives me nightmares.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Full Gallop Farm Mid-February H.T.: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Stabling, Volunteer

Pine Top Advanced H.T.: Website, Schedule, Entry Status, Stabling, Volunteer

Three Lakes Winter II H.T.: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Volunteer

Twin Rivers Winter H.T.: Website, Entry Status/Ride Times, Stabling, Volunteer

News From Around the Globe:

Equestrians from all disciplines are speaking out about needing more support for diversity. This article from The Plaid Horse hits the nail on the head. “If the equestrian community is so emotionally attached to a version of history about a piece of property that they are unwilling to learn from new information that requires them to think critically about how that history has harmed others who are also a part of the equestrian community, then this sport is no worse for wear when close-minded athletes, organizations, or owners take themselves out of the game.” [Horse Sports Aren’t Doing Enough to Support Diversity]

Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park has been sold to a new owner. Bromont, which has been for sale for well over a year, has been taken over by Marc-Antoine Samson and White Horse Productions (WHP), who will lease the property from Shefford County Agricultural Society (SACS) with the intent to buy it by the fall of 2022. The young entrepreneur had been contemplating acquiring the property for several years. “The primary reason for our commitment to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park is to restore its credentials” he stated. “We expect an economic impact, both direct and indirect, of up to $50 million dollars per year for the Bromont region in addition to local, national and international media exposure.” [Bromont Finds New Owners]

SmartPak USEA Pony of the Year award goes to Señor Santana, a 15-year-old Quarter Pony gelding of unknown breeding, owned and ridden by 13-year-old Riley Jones of Thompson’s Station, Tennessee. Before he was Pony of the Year and before he met Jones, “Santana” was a rescue horse. He was found on a farm in middle Tennessee in a nine-acre field with 37 other horses. “They had no grass and were eating trash,” Jones described. After Santana was rescued, Jones’s family purchased Santana from his first adoptive family when Jones was just 7 years old. [From Rescue Pony to Champion]

A shattered splint bone can hardly be considered a blessing, but COTH blogger Sophie Coffey found the rehab time with her mare Callie to be useful, and dare I say it, joyful? Not what you would expect from months of doing rehab walking around the arena, but if anybody can find a silver lining, it’s horse people. [The Silver Lining of Rehab]

Best of Blogs: The Princess And The “Whee!”

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Thursday News & Notes

Mikensey Johansen took some Florida with her at Rocking Horse. Photo by JJ Sillman.

You know when it’s that fake spring in February but you get a few days where it’s just beautiful and in the 60’s and you’re just so delighted to go on a “relaxing hack”? Yeah. That’s what I decided I would do yesterday to enjoy my first time in a t-shirt in months. My horse, however, didn’t get the memo about the “relaxing” part and spent about an hour of this hack doing extreme power walking slash asking maybe can we trot okay no but what if I toss my head while power walking? Le sigh. Repeat to self: I love my horse I love my horse I love my horse.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Full Gallop Farm Mid-February H.T.: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Stabling, Volunteer

Pine Top Advanced H.T.: Website, Schedule, Entry Status, Stabling, Volunteer

Three Lakes Winter II H.T.: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Volunteer

Twin Rivers Winter H.T.: Website, Entry Status/Ride Times, Stabling, Volunteer

News From Around the Globe:

It’s high time we have upper level riders speak honestly about mental health. There is absolutely no sport, no job, no existence that is exempt from mental health struggles, and quite frankly it’s absurd to pretend that it doesn’t enter the horse world. Emily King gave this honest interview with Noelle Floyd detailing her physical and mental health struggles throughout her life and career within the horse industry. Reading it makes us better, more empathetic humans who aren’t just inclined to believe the glamour of Instagram. [Emily King: My Struggle with Depression & Cyberbullying]

If you think board is expensive…we get it. But also, we get why it is expensive. The next time you feel like complaining that your board is too pricey, or advertising looking around for cheap board: you get what you pay for. And if you’re trying to cut corners in the care and housing of your horse, I’ve got bad news for you. Read this very digestible but detailed account of what it *actually* costs to keep a horse, then rethink your boarding prices. [The Business of Board]

Best of Blogs: Beyond the Black Square: Horse Sports Aren’t Doing Enough To Support Diversity

We’re off and running with EN’s Patreon, a dedicated eventing super-fan hub that we created in January. To say thank you to our Patrons, we’ve teamed up with Horse & Rider Books for a giveaway this week. Want to enter? Consider joining the party on Patreon!

Conformation Critique: Prince’s Stone, 3 -year-old Thoroughbred

The thoroughbred industry is not pleased with the stallion cap put into place this year. Three large Kentucky breeding farms have filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court in an attempt to put a halt to a new rule by The Jockey Club limiting Thoroughbred stallions to 140 foals each year. Spendthrift Farm, Ashford Stud, and Three Chimneys announced the suit Tuesday morning against The Jockey Club. The suit includes nine civil charges related to the rule, which would apply to stallions born in 2020 and onward. The rule would allow The Jockey Club to register only the foals from the first 140 mares bred to a stallion each year. [Big Three Sue Jockey Club]

Indiana Duo of Dan Kreitl and Kay Dixon Pursue Upper-Level Dreams Together

Dan Kreitl greets coach Sharon White at the finish. Photo by JJ Sillman.

Having a horse reach the Advanced level of three-day eventing is the dream of so many riders and owners.  It’s a small group of individuals who achieve this goal, and an even smaller group that accomplish it several times over. This past weekend, at Rocking Horse Winter Horse Trials, a little known rider quietly entered his first Advanced level horse trials, on not one, not two, but three horses that he trained from the very beginning. 

After seeing a photo of Dan Kreitl crossing the finish line with one of his three horses — and learning that it was his very first time at the Advanced level, as well as each horse’s debut — I had to know more. Reaching that elite level is something close to a miracle, but he might be the first to do it in triplicate. 

I chatted with both Dan and the horses’ owner, Kay Dixon, this weekend, and I can tell you that their mutual respect and passion for horses is the underlying current of their incredible journey thus far, and what truly inspires all of us to keep riding and learning every day. 

Dan grew up in Indianapolis, and as the ninth of ten children, his parents were deeply hopeful that he would outgrow his interest in horses. Instead, he garnered a job at a local Bashkir Curly horse breeding farm, exchanging labor for knowledge, and eventually working enough to earn a colt of his own named Sparty. 

Dan & Sparty at the Kentucky Horse Park. Photo courtesy of Xpress Foto.

Dan fancied a career as a rodeo rider, but the owner of this farm emphasized dressage first, so he learned dressage. After high school, he moved to Colorado to work for Grant Schniedman for a year. Grant rode for the USET in the 70’s and 80’s but now competes in pure dressage, and helped Dan secure a borrowed horse to compete in the 2008 North American Youth Championships. 

“I went to Young Riders, and I went out to watch the cross country portion of the eventing competition,” said Dan. “I saw that and thought, ‘Oh, this is a little more my style!’” From then on, eventing was his dream. 

Preparing to move back to Indiana for college at Ball State University, Dan was connected with Kay Dixon, as a point of contact regarding local boarding barns. With a three-year-old unbroke stallion in tow, he was hard pressed to find a farm willing to host him, so he met Kay during freshman orientation and convinced her to let him come to her barn. 

“I’m not set up for a commercial boarding barn,” said Kay. “My husband and I have a five stall barn and we just had our own horses, but Dan wiggled his way in here, and he’s been here ever since. I can’t imagine my life without him now.”

“I couldn’t be luckier or more blessed to stumble into Kay Dixon, she’s the toughest woman I’ve ever met but also the most generous.” said Dan. “She’s incredibly involved with the horses, helps take care of them, and wants to know how they’re doing every day.”

Eezy Cruise Lad making light work of the Intermediate at Morven Park. Photo by Janet Gallay.

During college, Dan started Sparty under saddle, and they began their Eventing journey together. Kay knew that the key to success was dependent on access to good education, so she connected him with her friend Lee Ann Zobbe, who makes a point of regularly hosting top level Eventing riders for clinics year-round at her farm. 

Dan and Sparty competed through the Intermediate level, but it was clear that was his limit, and Dan had bigger dreams. Kay started quietly considering the possibility of buying some more talented horses for her friend, and the two of them contacted Lesley Grant Law, who they knew through clinics at Lee Ann’s farm. 

Through Lesley, the pair started the adventure of importing several young horses with upper level potential. Dan knew he wanted young horses, and enjoyed the process of developing them from the ground up. They watched video after video, and narrowed down the search with Leslie’s connections in Europe providing feedback on each horse. 

In 2016, Eezy Cruise Lad became the first horse in their partnership. Sired by Carrick Diamond Lad out of a Cruising mare, this Irish gelding was sure to enjoy eventing. 

“He arrived as a coming five-year-old and he barely steered at all,” laughed Dan. Eezy has feet the size of dinner plates, but the heart of a lion, and he’s all business. Within two years, the pair was competing at Intermediate level easily, until Eezy was sidelined with an injury for two years. 

Horales is a 2013 Trakehner gelding. Photo by Lee Ann Zobbe.

In subsequent years, Carmango (Fritz) and Horales (Atticus) arrived from Germany as four year olds, and provided Dan with even more experience and an array of personalities to work with. 

“Fritz is the kindest, sweetest horse that just always wants to be with you, and I swear he would lay down his soul for Dan,” said Kay. “Atticus is flawless on cross country, but he’s a bit of a priss sometimes.” 

In finding all of these horses, they emphasized that they had to have good personalities and be easy to work with on the ground. At home in Indiana, Kay and Dan do all the barn work themselves, and Kay is in her 70s, so she didn’t want anything too wild. 

In fact, until about six months ago, Dan and Kay were doing everything on their own. Dan would go to a competition with three horses in tow, and occasionally Kay would be able to join him and groom for him, but otherwise he did it all himself. 

“I have to say though, after doing Advanced on three horses, I was exhausted! I’m a pretty physically fit guy, but that was really hard work.” Now with three at the highest level, Dan tries to get a friend to help with the braiding, icing, and care on the ground so he can focus on riding a little more. 

Advanced debut, clear: Check. Photo by JJ Sillman.

Dan and the horses are down in Florida for two months now, receiving intensive training from Sharon White, who has been helping him for the past two years through clinics in Indiana. 

“Sharon always seems to have the same level of excitement for every level of riders from starter to more accomplished. She seems to find genuine joy in helping any rider do anything better,” said Kay. 

For 2021, Dan and the three have to go back and achieve their FEI qualifications, as they’ve only competed in national horse trials thus far. They’re aiming at Jersey Fresh CCI3*-L for the spring, and hopefully another in the fall, with a few moderate Advanced horse trials scattered in between. 

“Personally, I care more about their confidence than anything, so they’ve never really had a bad experience yet,” said Dan. “Sharon cannot believe how honest and happy they are in their work. I think it will be perfect for them to go back and forth between Advanced and Intermediate this year.”

Kay giving Atticus some love. Photo by Janet Gallay.

It’s hard to tell in speaking with them who is having more fun, Dan or Kay. Their partnership through the years is a testament to their mutual love of the horses. 

“This is my first experience as an owner, and I’m always telling Dan, ‘I’m not much of a competitor, but I was born to be an owner!’” Kay competed a little half Arabian horse through Preliminary, but has truly found her joy in ownership. “I’ve always loved nice quality horses, but I’m not skilled enough to ride them. But now it’s perfect and I can enjoy them and get to be part of the journey, but I don’t have to ride them!”

Dan Kreitl and Carmango. Photo by JJ Sillman.

“We’re working together to help Dan realize his dreams, but at the same time I’m realizing my dreams.” 

The real dream, of course, is Land Rover Kentucky. I advised Dan that perhaps taking three at one time to his first CCI5* was a bit ambitious, but you know, shoot for the stars!

Friday News & Notes

Baby Liana, the newest member of the EN team! Photo by Maggie Deatrick.

Our very own number crunching, masterful analyzer, badass upper level riding, EN extraordinaire did the incredible during a pandemic and brought her very own little baby burrito into the world. Maggie Deatrick and her husband Eric welcomed Liana during a snow storm, and quite frankly, we can’t wait to indoctrinate her into the EN family. It is a very cute burrito, if I say so myself.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Holland Eventing at Holly Berry Farm YEH: Website

Paradise Farm H.T.: WebsiteEntry StatusRide TimesVolunteer

Rocking Horse Winter II Advanced H.T.: WebsiteEntry StatusRide TimesVolunteer

News From Around the Globe:

I love nothing more than tales of the old horse world from the 50’s and 60’s. I grew up listening to stories of Kathy Kusner, the Galloping Grandfather, and many other legends in equestrian sport. Sonny Brooks was certainly a legend, breaking records and barriers along the way, and always earning respect through his gentle manner with the horses, and his great skill as a rider. [Sonny Brooks Broke Records & Barriers]

2021 promises many things, but among those is the Retired Racehorse Project MEGA Makeover!  This week emails were sent out to accepted trainers, and they welcomed a record 484 trainers. The Thoroughbred Makeover is the world’s largest and most lucrative retraining competition for ex-racehorses, and the 2021 class combined with 322 trainers from the postponed 2020 competition year will make this the biggest Makeover yet. Congrats trainers, I know you’ll have a wonderful journey and a magnificent competition! [RRP Mega Makeover 2021]

The loss of Matthew Wright hit the eventing community hard, but riders have been inspired to give in his memory. Over £2,000 has been donated to the service set up to support Riders Minds, which was set up to support the mental health and well-being of the equestrian community. Matthew, who had always spoken openly about his mental health issues, created Riders Minds with his wife Victoria. The aim was to provide information, help and understanding, and to raise awareness of and promote conversations about mental wellbeing. You can donate to Riders Minds here.

Transform you horse’s canter with just two randomly placed poles? Chris Burton says it’s possible, so it must be so. Read these simple steps to take on possibly the least complicated but most difficult exercise and challenge yourself and your horse this month. [Transform Your Horse’s Canter with Christopher Burton]

 

 

Friday News & Notes


As I sit here writing this, there is snow piling up outside my window, but it’s not going to look as beautiful as this picture of Burghley. I mean, it might for a few hours in the morning, but then it will inevitably turn into more mud, which I can hardly believe is possible. Having my fields on the hillside is great most of the year because it helps my horses with their fitness, but in the winter, it’s a straight up slip ‘n’ slide. I have one flat paddock, and the dummies go in there for a few hours in the morning so they can get their hoohas out without breaking a leg. I wish I had an indoor for riding, but also maybe for turnout sometimes.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Fresno County Horse Park H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Full Gallop Farm February H.T.: [Website] [Volunteer]

Ocala Winter I H.T.: [Website] [Volunteer]

Pine Top Intermediate H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Show Photos] [Volunteer]

News From Around the Globe: 

Only two days left to take advantage of our Patreon launch promo! We’re giving a free EN Yeti tumbler or wine mug to every new Patron who signs up by Sunday, February 14. We’re excited about the exclusives our Patrons will get to take advantage of as members of our private Facebook group – don’t miss out! Click here to join us and become a supporting fan of EN.

Exercising your horses in the winter is different than during warmer weather, and not just because of the layers of clothing required. You’ll definitely want to increase your warmup and cool down times, keep an eye on the frozen footing, and sometimes you just have to sacrifice a workout for health reasons. If it’s too cold to breathe, it’s probably too cold for your horse to exercise, so just let it go. [Tips to Safely Exercise in the Winter]

In 2018, a Utah couple was doing landscaping in their backyard near the city of Provo when they unearthed something surprising: an almost complete skeleton of a horse about the size of a Shetland pony. Scientists and the media took note. Preliminary data suggested that the horse might be more than 10,000 years old. A new analysis of a horse previously believed to be from the Ice Age shows that the animal actually died just a few hundred years ago—and was raised, ridden and cared for by Native peoples. The study sheds light on the early relationships between horses and their guardians in the Americas. [Horse Remains Reveal New Insights into Native Peoples]

How do top grooms keep their tack so clean? Aside from a lot of elbow grease and experience, worldwide professional grooms have their own secrets to taking care of the expensive and valuable accessories for their top performance horses. [Tips & Tricks on Cleaning Tack]

Keep things steamy this Valentine’s Day weekend with Haygain! Steamed hay offers so many benefits to your horse, including respiratory health, digestion, increasing hydration, and improving palatability. What more could your love ask for this holiday season? Now even better because they’re having a Valentine’s Day sale! [Haygain Love]

Best of Blogs: WEC is the Future, and the Future is Here

Video: So pretty and proper.

 

 

Thursday News & Notes

Amy Tryon and Poggio II. Photo courtesy of Lauren Ferguson.

Athens 2004 Olympics was the first time I vividly remember watching the entirety of the Eventing portion with rapt attention, and following all of the US riders from start to finish. I was a teenager running around Training level, and I didn’t know any of them personally, so they were superstars in my mind. I particularly remember watching Poggio in the jumping phases, because his style of going over the fences was heart stopping. Not only was he unbelievably catty and quick, but he was pretty wild at times. I didn’t have a clue what it took to get to that level, but watching him go on cross country made me think one day I’d like to do that, and run that fast and jump that high. Thanks Poggio, for inspiring many young girls across the world with your unique style.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Fresno County Horse Park H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Full Gallop Farm February H.T.: [Website] [Volunteer]

Ocala Winter I H.T.: [Website] [Volunteer]

Pine Top Intermediate H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Show Photos] [Volunteer]

News From Around the Globe: 

Nothing we love more here at EN than snooping around famous riders’ farms! Ever wondered what Piggy March’s yard looks like from the inside? Wonder no more, my friends. Piggy is based in Northamptonshire, on a farm that was specifically built to meet all the needs of an Eventer, plus a view from the arena that’ll knock your socks off. Can I move in too? [Arena with a View: Piggy March’s Yard]

We’ve all known a grumpy horse or two, and chances are that it’s just brushed off as “that’s just him”. But new studies into equine behavioral science show that a horse that’s grumpy in the barn is likely not having a good time under saddle either. This study has shown that there’s a relationship between poor welfare in a stall and the expression of behaviors, postures, and even a particular way of moving when the horses are being ridden. [A Grumpy Horse]

Throwback Thursday to the 2010 YEH Championships, and the successful horses that came from there. With the east coast championships at Fair Hill and the west coast championships at Twin Rivers that year, the two championships saw 26 starters. Twelve of those horses fulfilled the program’s mission and went on to be successful at the upper levels of eventing. [YEH Yearbook: 2010]

Science confirms what we all knew to be true: pelvic mobility and control dictate riding efficacy. In general, the rider’s pelvis pitches in the opposite direction and rolls in the same direction as the rotation of the saddle. Riders need core stability to follow and guide the horse’s movements and avoid giving unintended or conflicting signals. In this study, they assessed performance in the saddle by measuring quality and harmony of a dressage test, as well as measuring the horse’s heart rate and salivary levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Riders were also studied on their ability to roll their pelvis on a giant rubber ball. [Importance of Pelvic Mobility]

 

Friday News & Notes

Jan Byyny and some frosted mirrors in Florida! Photo courtesy of Island Farm Ocala.

I know we’ve all been rocked this week by the news about Kentucky, but I’m hopeful anyway. If there is one thing I know, there is nothing like the heart of the eventing community, and our ability to band together and get stuff done. I’m sure more information and crowdsourcing will arise over the next few days, so let’s all just keep our hopes up for the possibility of Kentucky 2021!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Sporting Days Farm February H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Three Lakes Ranch H.T.: [Website] [Volunteer]

News From Around the Globe:

Have you joined the party on Patreon yet? Become an EN Patron at any tier before February 14 and we’ll send you an EN Yeti tumbler or wine mug. Gain access to an exclusive Facebook group just for Patrons that will be full of surprises and goodies – click here to learn more and sign up.

The great and wonderful Mary Coldren wins a prize! Mary Coldren’s kindness, expertise, and enthusiastic participating in Eventing has been a staple for thousands of riders for decades. Now, thanks to NTRA Advantage Equine Discounts, Coldren is also the owner of a new John Deere Gator as the winner of NTRA Advantage’s “Share How You Care” Contest. NTRA Advantage Equine Discounts asked US Equestrian members to nominate someone who has had a positive impact through horses and equestrian sports. Entrants submitted a written essay or video sharing an experience that illustrates how their nominee cares for the equestrian community and how a John Deere Gator would help them in their work. We can hardly think of a more deserving winner! [Mary Coldren Wins a Gator]

Best of Blogs: Without a Deadline It’s Only a Dream

Buff up on your USEA rule changes and join this virtual webinar on February 17th. After the popularity of Rules Open Forum held virtually during the 2020 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in December, the USEA Competitions, Calendar, and Rules Committee decided to host another rules webinar to share information about the extraordinary rule changes going into effect on April 1, 2021 and the rule change proposals being put forward to the USEF by March 1, 2021 for approval for the 2022 competition season. [USEA Rule Change Webinar]

I love nothing more than a good barn hack. Pro groom Liv Gude shares her absolute favorite and most accessible hacks in this blog, and I promise you’ll be inspired to incorporate some of them into your barn routine. [Expert Barn Hacks]

Just so we don’t forget:

Thursday News & Notes

Cooley Cross Border with his besties Crumpet and Lindsey. Photo courtesy of Lindsey Hall.

While we’re enduring enjoying snow here in Virginia, I have to say, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing videos of people in Florida complaining because they’re wearing a jacket. It’s a small comfort that while they’ve escaped to the warm state, they’re still cold, even if it’s only one jacket instead of three.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Sporting Days Farm February H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Three Lakes Ranch H.T.: [Website] [Volunteer]

News From Around the Globe:

As somebody who dealt with a horse who hated liverpools for 10 years, I can say it’s never too early to start teaching them. In this video break from the USEA Vault, Lucinda Green instructs a group of riders on how to introduce their horses to jumping a liverpool. Starting out at the walk over a tarp that’s been rolled up, Green increases the difficulty of the exercise by opening up the tarp and increasing from the walk to the trot to the canter. Green coaches riders through how to manage horses that are unsure about jumping over the tarp. Finally, Green adds a pole over the top of the tarp to simulate a jump with a liverpool beneath. [Introducing Liverpools with Lucinda Green]

In surprising news from the IOC, they’ve announced that COVID vaccines will not be required for Olympic participation. Organizers of the Tokyo games announced yesterday that athletes and officials will not be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to attend the Olympic Games, but they will encourage and assist individual countries to vaccinate their teams prior to arrival. [No Vaccination Required for Olympics]

Introducing a young horse to skinny fences is integral to your success as an Eventer, because they show up early now. British rider Caroline Moore has an excellent system for teaching confidence over skinnies. To develop confidence with a narrow fence, a rider needs good steering aids, the horse needs good jumping technique, and the pair need a good partnership. That, and holding a line. [Teaching Skinnies to a Young Horse]

Talking to your non horse friends can sometimes be…challenging. Not only do they think you’re crazy, but they don’t understand what you’re saying half the time. Now you can just link them here, for a comprehensive list of translations of common horse words so they can keep up. [Comprehensive Dictionary of Horse Terms for Non-Equestrians]

Friday News & Notes

Just taking a moment during cross country to hug her horse. Photo courtesy of Katherine Linkogel.

Oof, just when you think winter is close to being over, it comes with vengeance at the end of the longest January in the world. I’m a little spoiled in Virginia so that I’m offended when it’s in the teens overnight, but I realize anything north of this thinks it’s no biggie. I don’t know why I’m always surprised when January and February are the worst, but they always are. Don’t worry, I’ve perfected the art of layering until I look like the Michelin Man.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Full Gallop Farm H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status]

Galway Downs Winter H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status]

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

News From Around the Globe:

We hope you’ll join the EN team on Patreon! We created a Patreon dedicated to our superfans who want to connect with our team and our work here at Eventing Nation. Sign up by Valentine’s Day and we’ll even send you an EN Yeti mug or wine tumbler (pick your poison!). You’ll get access to a private Facebook group just for our patrons, special content and perks, and much more. Click here to learn more!

Get your online auction on! Check out the CDCTA online auction. With 95 items offered this year, you can get lessons from Olympians, vet services, custom leatherwork, photography sessions, cross country schooling, and so much more. The auction ends Sunday night at 10 pm EST.  [CDCTA Auction]

Don’t let bad myths ruin alfalfa for you or your horse. Alfalfa can be an important part of your horse’s diet, especially during the winter to keep the weight on. It won’t make your horse hyper, and it won’t cause kidney failure. [4 Misconceptions About Alfalfa]

Best of Blogs: When Riding Is a Key Component for Treating Mental Illness

Red Hills Horse Trials has a new look for 2021. Slated to be held at the beginning of March this year, there will be no spectators this year, and more changes to the cross country course. [Red Hills Horse Trials 2021]

Time to hone your skills for conformation critique with young horses. This week we’ve got a lovely 3-year-old thoroughbred gelding who shows good promise for the future. A key point of assessing a young horse is seeing past the possible awkward growth stages and envisioning what will become in a few years. [Conformation Critique with Chris Ryan]

Time to get those shoulders supple. Nope, not yours! Getting control of your horse’s shoulders is key for all phases, because without the shoulders your steering goes straight out the window. These exercises were specifically designed with the jumping horse and rider in mind by the great Jane Savoie, so don’t skip this link. [Exercises to Supple the Shoulders]

Thursday News & Notes

A totally not guilty very naughty pony. Photo by Sarah Smith.

Winter is the season of dirt road hacks and trots for me, because ring work for months on end drives both me and my horse totally insane. However, if you trot down the road in the dressage saddle, you can practice some shoulder in, haunches in, a little bit of leg yield back and forth, and today I experimented with some extended trot. I was pleasantly surprised to find a new gear in there! Sometimes your horse just grows up and gets stronger and you don’t even realize it until you test something out, and it’s a great feeling.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Full Gallop Farm H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status]

Galway Downs Winter H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status]

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

News From Around the Globe:

We hope you’ll join the EN team on Patreon! We created a Patreon dedicated to our superfans who want to connect with our team and our work here at Eventing Nation. Sign up by Valentine’s Day and we’ll even send you an EN Yeti mug or wine tumbler (pick your poison!). You’ll get access to a private Facebook group just for our patrons, special content and perks, and much more. Click here to learn more!

Amy Dragoo is sharing her COVID birthday with us all, with 40% off all her pictures! Don’t miss out, it’s for 24 hours only, and you can now indulge in all your favorite amazing photos from an incredible photographer. Even if you didn’t get out much last year, you can still buy photos from any year, any event, any horse. [AK Dragoo Big Bday Sale]

Vandyke has been crowned your 2020 6-yo USEA Horse of the Year. Owned by the Rico Syndicate and ridden by Allison Springer, Rico came from Karen Dixon in Ireland, and lives up to the Irish cross country reputation. Allison says that his dressage sometimes leaves something to be desired, but he’s still young, and nobody is more suited than Allison to fix that phase. [Vandyke is 6-yo USEA Champion]

Check out the new details on the British Young Horse Championships slated for this fall. Running from September 29th to October 3rd, on the Osberton Estate, the event will host the Four-year-old Showcase, Five-year-old CCI1*, Six and Seven-year-old CCIS 2* and 3*. With the aim of bringing the championships format together the dressage for the Five, Six and Seven-year-olds will run on the Thursday, with cross-country taking place on Friday, rounding off with the show jumping for all three age groups building to a fitting reverse order climax on the Saturday. [BE Young Horse Championships]

Curious about the new USEA leaderboard point system? We had some questions too, but luckily we’ve got more clarifications. Check out this article to answer all your queries for all levels about how points will be tallied from now on. [Leaderboard Point System]

 

Nothing to see here…

Friday News & Notes

Just….admiring the view?? Photo by Kristin Karlson.

Yesterday was a positively delightful day in January, sunny skies, warm weather, and no recent rain making everything muddy. So I tacked up my steady TB and threw a rope halter on my loony tune, and went for a hack down the road. With my dog accompanying, I’m pretty sure my neighbors think I’m insane, but hey, three for one exercise is the way to go!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Grand Oaks H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status]

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

News From Around the Globe: 

#ICYMI: Don’t miss our epic collection of memes from Bernie Sanders’ efficiently Vermont-esque appearance at this weeks inauguration.

After taking a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Worth The Trust Educational Scholarship will again be awarded at the end of 2021 for the 2022 calendar year and at the end of 2022 for the 2023 calendar year. Worth the Trust Educational Scholarships were established to provide financial assistance to amateurs to pursue their education in eventing. The funds from the Worth the Trust Educational Scholarships may be used for training opportunities such as clinics, working student positions, and private or group instruction, or to learn from an official, course designer, technical delegate, judge, veterinarian, or organizer. [Worth The Trust Returns for 2021]

Get yourself some sweet SEE swag for the 2021 season! Strides for Equality Equestrians partnered with Dreamers & Schemers for some new socks to add to your collection! And even better, Dreamers & Schemers’ “Dream & Do” program directly benefits other BIPOC access programs and scholarships. So sport your swag, be a visible ally, and get your fashion on. [SEE Swag]

Chrissy Teigan’s therapist suggested she start riding horses, and honestly we couldn’t agree more. What’s better for the heart and soul than hanging out with horses? Nothing. Being a mom and making time for the horses is tough, but lots of us can identify with how much that struggle is worth it. [Welcome Chrissy Teigan]

Bored on your trot sets? We’ve got a new podcast recommendation for you. The British Grooms’ Association is bringing the heat with engaging interviews about mental health, avoiding burnout, and top tips from amazing grooms like Jackie Potts. [Grooms’ Life Podcast]

Thursday News & Notes

When your mom cuts your hair and calls you a handsome young man. Photo by Archie Courtney.

The wonderful thing about developing young horses is watching them get stronger and bigger and seeing their bodies change into beefcakes. The less wonderful part of this is realizing that your horse has now outgrown his relatively new custom saddles, and you now have to get him all new saddles, because he is also a princess with a pea and if anything is slightly off he positively cannot function and will continue to try to buck you off. This part of young horses kinda sucks.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Grand Oaks H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status]

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

News From Around the Globe:

Big congratulations go out to Ben Noonan for winning the Linda Moore Trophy as the leading Young Rider in the US for 2020! 2020 was only Ben’s fourth full season competing in the eventing world and this season he picked up four wins, four additional top-three finishes, and only one finish outside the top 10, collecting a total of 76.5 points to top the national Young Rider leaderboard. He competes his two horses, Bojangles and Keep Kitty, at Preliminary and Intermediate levels, respectively, and trains with the O’Connors. [Benjamin Noonan Tops 2020 RevitaVet USEA Young Rider of the Year]

Riley Jones and her family rescued Señor Santana from near starvation, and now the pony pays back their good will in spades.  The now 16-year-old gelding was found with 37 other horses on nine acres in Tennessee, eating trash because there was nothing else to consume. At 10 years old and still a stallion, the pony was unstarted under saddle. Six years later, they’ve formed a formidable partnership, rarely finishing outside of the top four at the 14 events they contested in 2020, including three wins, and earning the USEA’s Pony of the Year award. [From Rescue Pony to Rockstar Eventer]

Liz Halliday-Sharp took a trail ride with her family in Colorado when she was 7, and never looked back. She got bucked off at her first competition trying to do a cross rails division at a hunter show, then joined the local Pony Club and found the joy of cross country was her real drug. Luckily, she got a little better as the years went on, and now is one of the leading riders in the United States. Learn more about Liz’s story with this incredible piece from Sidelines. [Liz Halliday-Sharp: Shifting Gears]

Friday News & Notes

When you’re just trying to take a nice photo of the sunset with your horse. Photo by Wendy Davenport.

There is a comment thread on OTTB United on Facebook asking people for the best Thoroughbred name they’ve ever encountered, and I am here for it. My current favorites are Likeuonlyprettier, Gottatwobeerbuzz, Aaaaaaar, and Tapit At Midnight. We always talk about terrible race names, but occasionally there are some pretty funny people trying to figure out how to work with the Jockey Club requirements and it’s worth it.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Horse Trials at Majestic Oaks: [Website] [Entries]

Fresno County Horse Park Combined Test: [Website] [Schedule]

News From Around the Globe:

CBD, what’s it all about? Ask the Vet is back with a special episode centered around the hottest supplement ingredient right now, CBD! SmartPaker Dan and Dr. Lydia Gray, SmartPak Staff Veterinarian, Research and Medical Director, answer five of the most common questions that we’ve gotten from viewers and customers about CBD, including what is CBD, how do I start a horse on a CBD supplement, research questions, showing a horse who is taking CBD, and more. [CBD For Horses]

Best of Blogs: You Don’t Have To Be a Competitive Athlete To Make a Difference

How do you talk about your horse? Changing the way you describe your horse can be the key to developing better emotional fitness. Emotional fitness includes your patience, kindness, and empathy towards other beings, especially your horse. If your horse makes you nervous or frustrated, there are options outside of calling him a jerk or an a**hole. Read more to find out how to become a better trainer through simple mental steps from Tik Maynard. [What You Say About Your Horse Says More About You]

With winter well and established, it’s time to talk about safety with water heaters. You won’t be surprised to hear that colic is the number one leading cause of equine death, but the second one is electrocution. So, better make sure your not going to murder your horse while preventing ice. [When Waterers Bite Back]

Coronavirus continues to delay the British Eventing season. Originally slated to start at the beginning of March, BE has now confirmed that the earliest date for competition will be the 26th of March. With the extended lockdown and the new strain of the virus causing more issues in England, we hope that British eventers get a spring season this year. [BE Delays Start of Competition for 2021]

Thursday News & Notes

Horses are so majestic. Photo by Jessica Joan Moncrieff Brown.

Tomorrow is the deadline to apply for the Retired Racehorse Project SUPER Makeover for fall 2021! I just spent last night talking to a friend of a friend who wanted advice and encouragement in her desire to enter and compete, and we just talked for a long time about our horses and I told her 1000% that she had to do it. Nothing brings people together like the love of thoroughbreds and the journey to the makeover. Glad to have made yet another RRP Makeover friend!

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Horse Trials at Majestic Oaks: [Website] [Entries]

Fresno County Horse Park Combined Test: [Website] [Schedule]

News From Around the Globe:

Catch up on the first session from the US Equestrian Annual Meeting with an update from each department of the organization here.

Jim Wofford has some observations on how the pandemic affected riders, and how it affected our sport. With all the down time without competitions, riders had to go back and really examine their weaknesses and the gaps in their horse’s training. Instead of just riding for the next event, and only fixing things for the short term, the break was beneficial for a lot of competitors. However, he has some concerns about the evolution of the sport in general. [Pandemic Report: Improved Sport But Worrisome Trends]

What does Will Coleman do in his first entry into a $20,000 Hunter Derby class at WEC? Win, of course. Riding Team Rebecca’s Tropics, a horse he’s known from the age of four, Will asked a few questions of more experienced hunter riders the day before, and went in the ring and positively nailed it. Tropics evented through Training level, but showed more promise in the showjumping ring, competing up to 1.40 meters. Now he shows his true versatility by cleaning up in the hunter derby ring. Check out the video below! [Olympic Eventer Wins Hunter Derby]

The three women behind C-6 Equestrian want you to know that there is more than one way to approach riding and training. Learn more about C-6 in our feature here and, if you’re so inclined, sign up for the next free webinar this evening at 6:30 p.m. ET. You can register for the webinar here.   
Now on Course: Mckenna Miller & Bo Jango
Will Coleman & Tropics win $20,000 Hunter Derby

Friday News & Notes

Winter wonderland! Photo by Genevieve Papagna.

Everybody can identify with getting a tree branch straight to the face. When I was a kid, I had a habit of going out into the field and climbing on my ponies bareback with nothing, which the pony didn’t really want any part of. Thus, she discovered the fastest way to dispose of me was to gallop as fast as she could towards a low hanging branch, and my choice was to either flatten myself on her back or bail and hope for the best. I was….largely unsupervised as a kid and made some interesting choices, ok?

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Barnstaple South H.T.: [Website]

News From Around the Globe:

The 2021 Olympics might be in jeopardy again, as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other prefectures in an attempt to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The measure, which will come into force tomorrow, will be in place in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba and will remain until at least February 7. It comes as Tokyo reported a record 2,447 daily cases of COVID-19 today, shattering the previous high of 1,591. [Tokyo Goes on Lockdown Again]

A London community riding stables is appealing for support to help buy its home or risk no longer being able to help those whose lives have been changed by horses. Park Lane Stables in Teddington has survived for hundreds of years while the surrounding area has been developed. The current operators have been told by the landlord that their lease, which expires in May, will not be renewed, so they have started a crowdfunding campaign to raise £1m to buy the premises and secure their home, for all those who benefit from the work they do with horses. [Park Lane Stables Fundraiser]

Learn more about Barnstaple South Horse Trials! Happening this weekend, this new event has two competitions on the 2021 calendar, one this weekend and one in May. [USEA Events: Barnstaple South]

Looking to revolutionize your horse’s feeding program in 2021, or just learn more about equine nutrition? The FEI has answers for you, including problem solving with common issues that horse owners encounter. [Feeding Problems and Solutions]

I love nothing more than my first pony stories from top riders:

 

Thursday News & Notes

London 52 celebrating in January of 2020, what’s coming this year? Photo by Laura Collett.

Today, Laura Collett takes her life into her hands and jumps London 52 (Dan) for the first time since his wire-t0-wire victory at the Pau 5* last year. We can hope for some seriously funny videos and screenshots, including lots of bouncing, bucking, kicking, and squealing like a dolphin. Please deliver, Laura, we need that kind of content this week. Dan, you know what to do.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Barnstaple South H.T.: [Website]

News From Around the Globe:

Check in with Coach Daniel Stewart for your monthly sports psychology workout. Two months ago, there was a conversation about riding rehearsals; using mental imagery to visualize our ride before actually riding. This month we dive into two new unique forms of riding rehearsals that evolved from two equally unique concepts called (1) positive realism: making the best of a bad situation without losing confidence, and (2) probabilistic thinking: identifying possible problems and solving them before they occur. [Pressure Proof with Coach Stewart]

Sara Kozumplik Murphy starts her days at 4:30am, and seems to have something like endless energy. Between early morning workouts, riding horses for herself and her husband, teaching, meeting with various consultants, and working on the computer, I honestly don’t know how she does it. [A Day In the Life: Sara Kozumplik Murphy]

Pony Paradise is my favorite series from the FEI. Not only do you get to snoop inside top level stables for competitive riders all over the globe, but you get to temporarily live in the imaginary world where you design your dream barn, and steal their facilities. [Pony Paradise: Cian O’Connor]

Etalon Diagnostics researchers have successfully determined a strong genetic component to Kissing Spines thanks to the success of their recent Kissing Spines study. Since so many sport horses include Thoroughbred ancestry, they feel an expanded study with a focus on Thoroughbreds is necessary. To do this well, they need to include older horses (9 years and up) with radiographs and diagnostics both horses with and without Kissing Spines. [Kissing Spines Study]