Sally Spickard
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Sally Spickard

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About Sally Spickard

Sally Spickard is a Korean adoptee living in San Diego, California. Sally joined the Eventing Nation team in 2013 and has subsequently written for Noelle Floyd, Heels Down Mag, and other publications both in and out of the equestrian world. Sally is an eventing fan through and through and enjoys telling the stories of riders who are not well-represented within equestrian media.

Latest Articles Written

Working Students and Grooms Needed: These Programs Are Seeking Help [Updated 1/16]

Smooch! These equine athletes with their part-time modeling careers owe it all to their hardworking grooms. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

If you’ve tossed around the idea of going to work for a professional rider, the winter season and its mass migration south can be a good time to get your foot in the door. While we look ahead to the coming competition year, there are some new opportunities cropping up for would-be working students or grooms.

We’ll update this post periodically with new openings, some of which may even be outside of the eventing world. If you have a current position available at your business, please email [email protected] to add your listing. EN cannot guarantee the availability of these positions but we will do our best to maintain them with current status.

Matt and Cecily Brown / East West Eventing – Aiken, Sc

East West Eventing/Matt Brown is looking for 2 workers in Aiken – January-end of March: 1. Full time (paid) groom 2….

Posted by Matt Cecily Brown on Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Kyle and Jennifer Carter – Citra, Fl

Looking for a full time, reliable groom. Must have horse experience. All duties associated with horse care.
Click here to learn more and apply.

Courtney Cooper – C Square Farm – Nottingham,Pa/Aiken, Sc

Are you a competitive eventer looking to make it to the top of the sport, but need some investment in your future and…

Posted by Courtney Cooper, C Square Farm on Thursday, January 14, 2021

Justine Dutton – Notting Hill Farm – Ocala, Fl

Trying this again but with slightly different specs!!

BOUTIQUE SHOWJUMPING/SALES FACILITY ISO OF PART TIME, SEASONAL OR…

Posted by Justine Dutton on Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Carmen Elisa Franco – Loxahatchee, Fl

Here we go again…
Looking for WORKING STUDENT or GROOM.
Searching for a team member for my "small" operation. No…

Posted by Carmen Elisa Franco on Sunday, January 3, 2021

Pippa Funnell – Surrey, UK

🌟Looking for a groom to join Pippa Funnell’s Team – Surrey, UK🌟

Fantastic opportunity to work with a great team that…

Posted by Pippa Funnell on Friday, January 8, 2021

Ronald Zabala Goetschel – Wise Horses Farm – Ocala, Fl

WISE HORSES FARM – OCALA

Looking to add

TWO WORKING STUDENTS TO THE TEAM

Great opportunity to learn from:

– Ronald…

Posted by Ronald Zabala Goetschel on Wednesday, January 13, 2021

David Hopper, Inc – Amenia, Ny

We’re Hiring! ✅
Easy hours, good pay, and quiet work environment.

📞 Please call or text 508.858.7535 to express…

Posted by David Hopper Inc. on Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Meyerhoff Show Horses – Ocala, FL

Team Meyerhoff is looking for another person to join the squad! We have a very busy spring schedule and were looking for…

Posted by Danica Meyerhoff on Monday, January 4, 2021

Kaylawna Smith / K. Smith Eventing – CA to East Coast

💫ISO : Assistant Groom while traveling to east coast – Feb-April mid May. Help groom for top professionals and travel to shows weekly.
Groom experience is a plus!
Message for details 🤩🦄

Posted by K. Smith Equestrian on Sunday, January 3, 2021

TerraNova Equestrian Center – Myakka City, FL

ISO: Full time groom for eventing program! We are looking for a hardworking, experienced, and motivated groom to join our team at TerraNova Equestrian Center! This position would include, but not limited to, tacking up, cooling out, lunging, trot sets, show quality grooming/braiding, travel to horse shows 2-3 times per month. The ideal candidate would be 18+, interested in long term, have experience showing or being a show groom, reliable, trustworthy, professional, and able to work alone or with a team. This is a salary position with benefits! Salary depends on experience.
If interested, please email [email protected] with resume and references.

Hoping for the Best, Preparing for the Worst: How We Can Help the Kentucky Three-Day Survive

Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The economic devastation of the global coronavirus pandemic continues to impact businesses both large and small, forcing quick thinking and willingness to pivot in order to survive. In the wake of the cancelation of the 2020 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI) — the organization that has managed major horse trials at Kentucky Horse Park since 1975 — is looking ahead to this year’s event, scheduled for April 22-25, with cautious and realistic optimism.

With many variables still up in the air, EEI Executive Director Lee Carter this week issued a letter stating his team’s determination to run the event. The state of Kentucky, at this juncture, has allowed small percentages of spectators at sporting events, which Lee views positively as he looks to April. The event’s success this year, he says, is highly reliant on ticket and spectator revenue. This remains a fluid situation, however, as the state remains in the “Critical” tier for its Current Incidence Rate and the COVID-19 vaccine has been slower than anticipate to roll out.

EEI was forced to reduce its staff by nearly 70% at the height of the economic withdrawal, but was able to secure Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster funding to bring its staffing numbers back up to 50% — still a skeleton crew of six for the monumental task of pulling off an international event.

Regrettably, Lee says, the prospect of running without spectators at all is not financially feasible. The organization has $900,000 in its reserve from rolled over ticket and sponsorship sales. If the event is canceled or run without spectators, those funds will need to be returned, effectively eliminating the funding to run the event at all.

So what can we do to support what was North America’s sole five-star until the Maryland Five Star came to fruition? Lee says Equestrian Events, Inc. is asking for tax-deductible donations and is also open to suggestions for fundraising and other ways to salvage the event in the worst case scenario.

“We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit, but historically we have not gone out and solicited donations,” he explained. “We haven’t needed to, as the event in April has sustained us. We know how hard other, smaller events work to stay afloat and we don’t want to take away from that. We want to use our event to lift up the entire sport as best we can.”

“Those funds rolled over from 2020 are going to come due one way or another,” Lee said. “So if we have to refund everybody, how much do we have left and how much can we deal with?”

There are too many variables to make a definitive call right now. Lee says EEI will apply for the second round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which opened up this week. He also feels comfortable with the status of EEI’s investments — though a tumultuous market in 2020 has him cautious in terms of future projections.

At the end of the day, Lee does “believe there is a pathway forward,” but with so much still up in the air — and likely still to change — the best he can do is plan for the best but prepare for the worst.

Lee told EN he is happy to accept ideas for fundraising or other means of assistance — those interested in providing feedback can email [email protected]. You can also make a tax-deductible donation to EEI here. Those donating $500 or more will qualify for an exclusive ticket presale for the 2021 event.

“The eventing community is tremendous,” he said. “I meant what I wrote in my letter that we know they will do whatever we ask them to do to run this event responsibly. There is a scenario where (the end of the event) is where we are, but there is also a scenario where we live to fight another day.”

We will continue to update this story as it evolves. Go Eventing.

Thursday Video: Teaching a Thoroughbred to Jump with Elisa Wallace

Many of our readers may be working with a new off-track Thoroughbred this winter, and Elisa Wallace has some advice on starting these athletic horses over fences in their new careers.

Elisa spends time working over fences with show jumper Anne Kursinski on her 7-year-old lightly raced Thoroughbred, I Reckon So or “Ricky”. “You can see he’s sorting out his body and his balance,” Elisa explains, observing the horse’s reactions to the new concept and reiterating that it’s important that the horse is allowed to understand each question and learn through mistakes.

Other key takeaways from Elisa’s pointers:

  • Repetition is key – allowing the horse to learn little by little over a fence should yield more understanding
  • Do your best to stay out of the horse’s way – assume a neutral, stable position over the fences, avoiding yanking the mouth or otherwise punishing the green horse for jumping
  • Allow the horse to sort out his own balance

Elisa is always hard at work producing more content for her followers, and you can support her endeavors through Patreon by clicking here.

Volunteer Nation: Five Opportunities to Help Out This Weekend

One of Stable View’s hardest working volunteers, Zeus! Photo courtesy of Stable View.

There are numerous opportunities available to help out your local event this weekend as the eventing season begins to wake up for the year. Don’t forget, the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program is full of year-end prizes and rewards for dedicated volunteers who spend time helping out. Your help goes a long way!

We’ve compiled some resources on volunteering with COVID-19 regulations in mind. We’ll reference this list each week in Volunteer Nation, so take a few moments to familiarize yourself with what’s new and different.

COVID-19 Resources for Eventers
Volunteers Adapt to the New Normal
Volunteers Weigh In on New COVID-19 Protocols

As always, you can earn merit points when you donate your time through the USEA’s Volunteer Incentive Program. Registering to volunteer through EventingVolunteers.com makes it easy and seamless to both find a job and shift as well as learn what your role will entail.

Event: Carolina Horse Park Pipe Opener
Dates: Saturday, January 16
Address: 2814 Montrose Rd., Raeford, NC, 28376
Positions Available: General Help, SJ Jump Crew

Event: Fresno County Horse Park January Combined Test
Dates: Friday, January 15 through Sunday, January 17
Address: 7430 North Weber AVe, Fresno, CA, 93722
Positions Available: Dressage Crossing Guard, SJ Jump Crew

Event: Horse Trials at Majestic Oaks
Dates: Saturday, January 16 through Sunday, January 17
Address: 17500 N US Highway 441, Reddick, FL, 32686
Positions Available: Hospitality Steward, Floater, XC Crossing Guard, XC Finish Timer, XC Jump Judge, XC Score Runner, General Help, SJ Jump Crew, SJ Scribe

Event: Pine Hill GHCTA Schooling H.T.
Dates: Saturday, January 16 through Sunday, January 17
Address: 1720 Hwy 159 East, Bellville, TX, 77418
Positions Available: Greeter, Parking Steward, XC Crossing Guard, XC Finish Timer, XC Jump Judge, XC On-Course Timer, Event Takedown – XC, Floater

Event: Stable View Combined Test
Dates: Saturday, January 16
Address: 117 Stable Drive , Aiken, SC, 29801
Positions Available: Dressage Score Runner, Dressage Scribe

Also seeking volunteer help this Friday, January 15 is Martin Douzant of The Frame Sport Horses. This young horse clinic is being held at Milestone Sport Horses in Lovettsville, Va.

We're looking for a couple of volunteers for the day for this Friday the 15th, at Milestone Sport Horses in Lovettsville for our Jump Chute Clinic. If you are available and would like to spend the day helping and learning, let us know!

If you're already participating in the Young Horse Show Series you can earn $50 for the day.

Thanks!!

@milestonesporthorses Milestone Sport Horses
#volunteer #gratitude #education #horses #younghorses #younghorseshow #VAhorses #horsetrainer #jumper #hunterjumper #equestrianlife #equinelife

Posted by The Frame Sport Horses on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Three Mental Health Hurdles Every Eventer Can Relate To

What do event riders struggle with the most in terms of mental health? It’s no secret that the inextricable reach of the internet and social media has made everyone just a bit more miserable. Comparison being the thief of joy and all, this element can pile on to the mountain of worries we all carry at any given moment.

I spoke at length with Sarah Carlan, MSW, a licensed social worker and transformational coach, about the nuances of being an equestrian and how the sport affects our view of ourselves. Truth be told, I left the conversation feeling a little less alone.

In her work with not only equestrian athletes but also individuals from varying backgrounds who passionately pursue their endeavors, Sarah has observed several commonalities among riders. An eventer herself, she understands the mental demands of the sport – and she wants everyone reading this to know that they aren’t alone in the insecurity they feel. Indeed, it’s true that we all feel these at some point along the way.

“To use a horse as an analogy, if our horses are worried about life or spooky or have ulcers, it doesn’t matter how perfectly we get them to the base of the fence – they’re not going to really be able to demonstrate their greatness,” she explained. “And so we have to take care of those fundamental pieces before we really expect them to perform at their peak.”

Sarah Carlan. Anna Lens Equine Photo.

The same concept applies to us as riders. What does Sarah work with riders the most on? Let’s dive in:

Equestrians often feel diminished when explaining their sport to “non-horse folk”.

“Horse people struggle with the difficulty of explaining to the general population why we do what we do. It is a very privileged sport. But a lot of us figure out how to scrape it together, and the amount of sacrifice it takes is tremendous.

Yet people see it as an elite, privileged sport. What they don’t see is what drives most of us to be there. At our core, especially the amateurs working full-time and riding at night, taking their one vacation week to go to a show, we are willing to sacrifice just about anything. It’s hard for others to understand why we do that, and that can feel us leaving unseen.

That’s why horse people can’t stop talking about horses when they’re with each other! Because they feel seen. It’s such a core passion, it’s in our DNA, so to have other people get it is really incredible.”

Many riders have grown accustomed to self-criticism as a form of “toughness”.

“Think of the early coaches you might have had that screamed and yelled. Now think of how that might affect you now. How do you approach improvement? Through curiosity, or through self-flagellation?

We are taught that if we aren’t super hard on ourselves, we aren’t going to make it. We beat ourselves up, and then nerves arise from these expectations of doing well. While there is such a thing as the other side of the coin – too much positivity with too little accountability – there is a huge difference between accountability and self-flagellation, but many riders don’t seem to understand the distinction.”

The performance of an eventer is impacted by many variables, making for a mental rollercoaster.

“We as riders are very performance oriented, and our evaluation of our performance is impacted, especially in eventing, by so many variables that if we don’t have a very good, stable ego, it can knock us off so easily.

You can go to a hunter/jumper show and your chances of getting a few ribbons – a few chances to get it right – are pretty high. But at an event, one mistake might ruin your entire weekend, and you don’t get another chance to do it. Imagine the pressure this creates!”

Mindfulness. It’s likely a term you’ve heard or read about at some point – but how does it play into our riding (and our everyday lives)? This is a topic we’ll be diving into with Sarah in the coming weeks – and she wants to answer your questions, too! In an effort to create a more open dialog around the topic of mental health (destigmatizing for the win!), we’ll be working with Sarah to answer reader-submitted questions and explore the concepts of mindfulness and mental health in equestrian sports.

Do you have a question you’d like Sarah to answer in a future column? Please tip me by emailing [email protected]. Questions can be provided anonymously.

What’s On Tap for the US Equestrian Annual Meeting This Week

Vicki Lowell (far right) leads a panel discussion with (far left to right) Andrea Evans, Taryn Young, Rich Cronin, and Bob Hughes at the 2020 US Equestrian Annual Meeting. Photo courtesy of
US Equestrian.

The US Equestrian Annual Meeting commences this afternoon and will continue with virtual sessions through Sunday, January 17. The sessions will be available for live viewing via Zoom and the 2020 USEF Pegasus and Horse of the Year Awards Celebration will be broadcast on the USEF Network. You can view the full schedule, along with Zoom registration links, here.

Wednesday, January 13:

Tune in at 4 p.m. ET for the Member Services Council Presentation, operating with the theme “Ideas Into Action”. Expect this to be an overview of accomplishments and upcoming goals from each department of the USEF.

Then at 6 p.m. ET, tune in for what is sure to be a popular session: Competitions – Member Feedback, Survey Results and Next Steps. During this session, US Equestrian CEO Bill Moroney will address member ideas and feedback submitted to the USEF Competitions Task Force.

Thursday, January 14:

At 4 p.m. ET, tune in for the National Breeds & Discipline Council – Grassroots to Grand Champion session.

Friday, January 15:

The International Disciplines Council will meet at 4 p.m. ET to discuss the concept of growth across FEI disciplines, both at home and abroad. The International Discipline Council will also present updates on the Olympics and the path forward to the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.

Saturday, January 16:

A General Session will be held at 4:30 p.m. ET lead by USEF President Murray Kessler and President-Elect Tom O’Mara along the theme of Listen, Learn, and Lead Together.

Then, at 7:30 p.m. you can tune in for the 2020 USEF Pegasus and Horse of the Year Awards Celebration, which will be carried live on the USEF Network.

Sunday, January 17:

Finally, two public sessions of the Board of Directors Meeting will be held, the first from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET and the second at 12:30 p.m.

For more information and to register for the sessions you’d like to follow, click here.

Wednesday News & Notes from Haygain

Michele’s comprehensive program allows for her students and clients to fully understand the why’s and how’s of riding…

Posted by In Stride Equestrian on Saturday, January 9, 2021

When I joined the Equestrians of Color Facebook group, I was anticipating meeting some incredible new people from a rich and diverse array of background. What has been particularly positive to see are the posts from professionals and trainers welcoming BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and every other rider into their program. Seeking out a new barn or a new trainer is an overwhelming process to begin with; add in any type of marginalization and many riders feel uncomfortable at the prospect of starting their search.

Will the people at this barn accept me, or will they stare at my hair? Will the coach treat me as the equal of the other riders, or will they make assumptions about my ability based on my looks? These are questions riders must ask, and having professionals stepping up to be visible allies is invaluable. Many thanks to Aiken-based Michelle Arana of In Stride Equestrian for making a post voicing her allyship. “As an equestrian of color I want to support brown and black communities through my business and offer discounted lessons,” she wrote in the group. You can reach out to In Stride Equestrian though the embedded post above.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

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

Wednesday Reading List:

New year, new clean barn? It’s a great time of year to refreshing your barn – but are you missing two key culprits of unhealthy barn air? The latest blog from Haygain details the importance of hay and bedding in terms of their contributions to air quality and your horse’s respiratory system.

“I’m not saying you can’t have any fun with horses, just that you have to maintain your focus on why you ride, rather than on how you did at the last competition.” Jim Wofford muses on the effects of the pandemic – both positive and negative – on riding in this thought-provoking read from Practical Horseman.

Following the FEI suspension of Australian eventer Callum Buczak after he was charged with rape in 2019, fellow rider Alexandra McDonough has also been suspended on allegations of stalking and psychological abuse of the alleged rape victim.

Looking to sharpen your skills this off-season? Add these polework exercises from top British eventers to your list of things to do.

Australian race trainer Annabel Neasham has seen every corner of the equestrian world. A former show jumper, eventer, point-to-point rider, and Mongol Derby winner, Annabel is now striking off on her own with an all-female team with an eye to reach more racing success. Get to know Annabel in this piece from Paulick Report.

Wednesday Video Break: Learn all about northern California-based Brittney Chambers of CBC Therapeutic Horseback Riding Academy and her mission to empower more kids through horses in this interview with Elysia Buss.

Tuesday Video: Visit Courtney Cooper’s Winter Base in Aiken

🐴 Here we go! On today's extended version of #TrainingTipTuesday we're spending the day with Courtney as she takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour on the farm in Aiken! Meet the horses, catch up on what everyone is planning for the winter and meet the new staff (some new faces and some you'll know!)

☀️ Don't forget to post your questions in the comments for Courtney, and thanks for joining us to enjoy the Aiken sunshine!

Posted by Courtney Cooper, C Square Farm on Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Courtney Cooper, of C Square Farm and Excel Star Sport Horses, has made her annual trip to Aiken, Sc. for the winter, and in the latest of her social media video series she takes us on a tour of the facility she and her team will call home for the next few months. Featuring plenty of turnout space and even a cross country field, this Aiken base is a true eventer’s paradise. Enjoy the tour!

Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event Wants to Run with ‘Carefully Managed’ Amount of Spectators

Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI) Executive Director Lee Carter wrote a letter updating followers on the status of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS Equestrian. Currently scheduled for April 22-25, 2021, Mr. Carter says that the goal is to run both the Three-Day and the Kentucky Invitational Grand Prix “with a carefully managed level of spectators”. The 2020 Kentucky Three-Day Event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“For months the single, most asked question we’ve heard is, ‘What will the 2021 Kentucky Three-Day Event look like?’,” he wrote. “Our typical responses ranged from, ‘Great question,’ to ‘it changes every day.’ These answers are still applicable.”

“We cannot achieve our goal alone,” he continued. “We have been and continue to be in constant contact with US Equestrian, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Horse Park. The approval for spectators from each of these organizations is key to achieving our goal. These partners also recognize the challenges ahead and the work that must be done. They too are resilient.”

As the coronavirus refuses to yield its hold on the world, vaccine manufacturers are scrambling to produce the massive quantities that will be needed to inoculate enough people. Despite limited vaccine availability, some states in the U.S. have began to allow spectators back into sporting events. These stadiums, primarily within the National Football League, are operating on a case-by-case basis and allowing small amounts of spectators in states such as Florida and Texas. Looking to the status of spectators in Kentucky, the University of Kentucky did allow for about 12,000 spectators at its football games over the fall season after governor Andy Beshear authorized 20% capacity at stadiums back in September.

We will continue to keep you abreast of any changes in the ongoing situation surrounding the status of events and spectators. Go Eventing.

Equestrian Sports New Zealand Names 2021 High Performance Eventing Squads

Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Equestrian Sports New Zealand has named its 2021 Eventing Squads, consisting of High Performance, High Performance Futures, High Performance Potential, Talent Development, and Talent ID lists. The new season brings about a change in management, with Jock Paget announced as the High Performance general manager late last year.

“It has been a tough year for everyone in many ways but particularly for gaining selection onto a squad given there haven’t been many opportunities to show form,” Jock said. ESNZ high performance eventing manager Graeme Thome recognized the collective efforts of all involved for pulling together through the rollercoaster that was 2020. “I cannot say enough about the efforts everyone has made during this trying time,” he said. “Our riders have been immeasurably supported by their owners. Our support team of coaches and horse health professionals have been making every effort possible to make things happen.”

Tim Price and Ascona M. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Featuring prominently among the High Performance selections is the power duo of Jonelle and Tim Price, who between themselves have eight horses named to the top squad. Included among this star-powered list are 2019 Luhmühlen winner Ascona M, 2018 Burghley winner Ringwood Sky Boy, 2018 Badminton winner Classic Moet, and 2018 Luhmühlen winner Faerie Dianimo.

Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation. Photo courtesy of the Australian International 3DE.

Also making the High Performance squad for 2021 are Clarke Johnstone with his seasoned campaigner, Balmoral Sensation. This pair came sixth individually at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 and also won the Adelaide International then-CCI4* in 2017.

All three riders are also named to the High Performance Futures Squad.

ESNZ Eventing High Performance Squad:

  • Clarke Johnstone – Balmoral Sensation (Johnstone family)
  • Jonelle Price – Classic Moet (Trisha Rickards and Jonelle Price)
  • Jonelle Price – Faerie Dianimo (Trisha Rickards, Jacky Green and Jonelle Price)
  • Jonelle Price – Grovine de Reve (Therese Miller, Jo Preston-Hunt and Philip Hunt)
  • Tim Price – Ascona M (Suzanne Houchin, Lucy & Ben Sangster and Sir Peter Vela)
  • Tim Price – Bango (Numero Uno Syndicate)
  • Tim Price – Ringwood Sky Boy (Robert Taylor, Varenna Allen and Tim Price)
  • Tim Price – Xavier Faer (Trisha Rickards, Nigella Hall and Tim Price)
  • Tim Price – Wesko (The Windrush Equestrian Foundation)

ESNZ Eventing High Performance Futures Squad:

  • Amanda Pottinger – Just Kidding (The Pottinger Family)
  • Bundy Philpott – Tresca NZPH (Bryan Philpott and Bundy Philpott)
  • Caroline Powell – On The Brash (Sarah Tobey and Sue Smiley)
  • Clarke Johnstone – Aces High (Johnstone Family)
  • Dan Jocelyn – Blackthorn Cruise (Panda Christie and Dan Jocelyn)
  • James Avery – One of A Kind (Hazel and Chloe Livesey and James Avery)
  • James Avery – Mr Sneezy (Tiny Clapham, Heidi Woodhead and James Avery)
  • Jesse Campbell – Cleveland (Kent Gardner and Jesse Campbell)
  • Jesse Campbell – Diachello (Kent Gardner and Jesse Campbell)
  • Jonelle Price – McClaren (David and Katherine Thomson)
  • Jonelle Price – Grappa Nera (The Grape Syndicate and Jonelle Price)
  • Maddison Crowe – Waitangi Pinterest (Crowe Family)
  • Monica Oakley – Acrobat (Monica Oakley)
  • Monica Oakley – Artist (Monica Oakley)
  • Tim Price – Falco (Sue Benson, Jackie Oliver and Tim Price)

To view the remaining ESNZ talent lists and the full press release, click here.

Ms. Jacqueline Mars Receives USEA President’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Ms. Jacqueline B. Mars accepting the R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award at the 2017 Gold Medal Club Reception with Tucker Johnson (left) and Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. (right). Photo courtesy of the USET Foundation.

Ms. Jacqueline Mars, a beloved longtime supporter of the sport of eventing, was awarded the USEA President’s Lifetime Achievement Award during the virtual USEA Year-End Awards Ceremony on Friday. Ms. Mars has been involved with countless facets of the eventing industry, supporting the careers of riders such as Karen and David O’Connor, Lauren Nicholson, and Hannah Sue Burnett, breeding quality sport horses, administering millions in grant funding to further U.S. eventing, and much more. She is a true champion of and believer in the sport of eventing and has never missed a chance to put her full weight behind that belief.

“It is perhaps her emotional and physical support that means the most to us,” USEA president Max Corcoran said during the ceremony, which can be viewed in its entirety here. “Having her at the events both local and international watching and cheering her horses on, whether it’s Beginner Novice or at a five-star event, she’s always there to lend a hand, to give a pat on the shoulder, wipe away a tear, or celebrate a victory.”

“She is compassionate and encouraging,” Max continued. “It is not just her own horses she celebrates, but the victories of all competitors. She is a true supporter of the sport at every level and we are so lucky to have her presence. She is willing to share her wisdom gained from years of experience being around horses and always stays on the forefront of wanting more for the sport, for both horses and riders.”

Ms. Mars was inducted into the USEA Hall of Fame in 2015 and was awarded the USET Foundation’s R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award in 2017

Please join us in congratulating Ms. Mars on this award and in thanking her for her ongoing generosity and unwavering support of our sport. Go Eventing.

Weekend Winners: Kicking Off the 2021 Season at Barnstaple South

The first event of 2021 is officially done and dusted, which means we’re off and running with Weekend Winners to kick off your Monday mornings. This year, look for more international results to make appearances every now and then as we love keeping tabs on eventing in all corners of the world. If you spot a good story from an event over the weekend, please tip me by emailing [email protected]ngnation.com.

Leah Lang-Gluscic got her year off to a rocking start with two wins at Barnstaple South. Bollywood, a 6-year-old Oldenburg gelding who began eventing with Leah in June of last year, picked up the blue in the Open Novice division, also earning the first Unofficial Low Score Award of 2021 on a final score of 23.3. Meanwhile his stablemate, Only the Silk, owned by Lee Thibodeau, finished the Open Beginner Novice event with a win on a score of 26.1. This was the third career start at the level for the 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding.

Looking to the other divisions, here’s how the weekend concluded (view full results from Barnstaple South here):

Open Preliminary: Jean Thomas and Magic John (41.0)
Training Rider: Taylore Clarke and Excel Star Challenge Accepted (34.2)
Open Training: Maxine Preston and Wants To Be Cooley (27.5)
Open Novice: Leah Lang-Gluscic and Bollywood (23.3)
Novice Rider: Ava Jezowski and Outlander (28.6)
Beginner Novice Rider: Kristen Ayers and Pack Leader (34.8)
Open Beginner Novice: Leah Lang-Gluscic and Only the Silk (26.1)

Identifying Your Bad Habits and How to Break Them

Photo by Shelby Allen.

Let’s face it: we all have a whole slew of bad habits following us around at any given point in time.

Often, a habit becomes so deeply embedded that our movements become nearly automatic, driven not by conscious decision but more by instinct. It’s easy to see, then, how seemingly impossible it can feel to break bad habits or create new habits.

While there are many different numbers of days thrown about in terms of time needed to create a habit – good or bad – the fact is that there is no one size fits all timeline, and habits are created, recreated, and broken through the practice of repetition. If in the midst of your new year goal planning you’ve decided that this is your year of getting over that bad habit hump, Coach Daniel Stewart has some timely advice to take to heart.

“Some patterns deserve to be broken,” Daniel explains. “Let’s say a rider rides really well on Wednesday evening after work, but gets tense and tight at the show on Saturday. That’s their pattern, and it’s not a great pattern. That pattern deserves to be broken.”

Daniel then calls on riders to call upon a new set of behaviors during the times at which we believe we struggle the most. This process – which takes time, practice, and awareness – allows riders to replace their bad habits with a more healthy overall relationship to behaviors.

Let’s use the example of the rider who rides phenomenally at home but succumbs to nerves at competitions. Daniel identifies three time periods in which habits in need of improvement can most frequently be created for riders:

Pre-ride: This could be a fear of failure, a fear of losing, a fear of messing up – all of the things we anticipate before our ride.

Prime-ride: Fears or bad habits that arise in the midst of your ride. This could manifest in the form of mistakes – missing a change, getting a bad distance – and often stem from the pre-ride breakers.

Post-ride: After the ride often comes the disappointment or embarrassment.

“Among those three, identify the times in which you struggle the most,” Daniel encourages riders. “And for each one, come up with a new pattern that you can then use to break that old habit.”

This process of identifying trigger points is important in the process of breaking habits. After all, how are we to know where our outward reactions are coming from if we have not first identified the internal fears and the thoughts those fears generate? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy references a flow of situational thoughts, feelings, and behaviors wherein a situation prompts thoughts, which in turn churn up emotions, which then manifest in the form of our outward reactions. In many cases, we go straight from a situation to the emotions, rather than stopping to identify the thoughts triggered by the situation that have caused these emotions. Thus, negative habits can become automatic and in need of replacement.

A flow explaining situational thought, emotion, and behavior flow. Graphic from Clayton Therapy.

“There is a relationship between pressure and memory,” Daniel says. “As the pressure goes up, our memory often goes down. We forget. So a trigger is something that triggers a rider’s brain into doing tasks automatically without thought.”

In time, a rider who consistently suffers from nerves may have an automatic physiological response to the situation (being at a competition), further reinforcing the idea that showing gives that rider anxiety. By stepping back and identifying these patterns, we can begin to insert replacement habits in a more intentional way.

“The rider who feels nervous as soon as she hears the bell ring for the dressage ring might identify the bell as her trigger and resolve to take a deep breath and open her shoulders,” Daniel says. “But here’s the thing: we have to practice these new patterns in situations where that pressure and tension aren’t there, too. This solidifies the habit through repetition.”

Practice makes perfect, right? Finding a behavioral substitute – taking a deep breath, stretching up through the spine – is all well and good, but it will not become a habit unless it’s practiced in all situations.

“The underlying message is to find the things you’re doing when you’re nervous that happen automatically,” Daniel says in conclusion. “Slow down to identify these trigger points, then work to substitute inappropriate behavior with the positive behavior. Eventually, the brain will think, ‘ok, these two things seem to be related,’ and you’ll soon have a new, better automatic response.”

Just as we can automatically associate getting in a car with putting a seat belt on, so can we create new and healthier habits for ourselves. Make this a challenge for yourself this year – and don’t forget to pre-order a copy of Coach Stewarts fourth book, Bolder, Brave, Brighter: The Rider’s Guide to Living Your Best Life on Horseback, due to be published in February.

Thursday Video: You Might Recognize the Location in This New Eventing-Centric Movie

There’s a brand new horse movie in town, and eventing enthusiasts watching are likely to recognize one of the filming locations: the much-loved Full Moon Farm in Carroll County, Md. Hope’s Legacy, the sequel to the 2016 film Christmas Ranch, picks up approximately 15 years after Christmas Ranch and finds Lizzy (Taylor Lyons), now a young woman, the heir to her late grandmother’s ranch. Determined to hold on to it, she finds her way into equestrian eventing with the help of former event rider and coach Linda (Dyan Cannon). Lizzy learns to stand tall as she faces challenges from her competitor Bethany (Abigail Reed) and plans for her upcoming wedding with fiancé, James (Allen Williamson).

Grace Fulton appears as the riding body double in the film, as does resident Full Moon horse Wild Orange, who stars in the film as Legacy, so there are plenty of Easter eggs to pick out for shrewd viewers. Hope’s Legacy is now available to rent or buy on most video-on-demand streaming platforms.

Volunteer to Help the First USEA Event at Barnstaple South This Weekend

Photo via Barnstaple South on Facebook.

It’s nearly time for the very first USEA-recognized event hosted at Derek Strine’s beautiful Barnstaple South facility in Morriston, Fl. just to the northwest of Ocala. It’s been just over a year since Derek opened the 80-acre facility to the public with the intent of creating a facility perfectly appointed for eventers, and since then Barnstaple South has played host to multiple events including clinics, schooling shows, and educational symposiums. This weekend’s first foray into recognized events will host riders competing from Beginner Novice up through Preliminary. A second event is also on the calendar for May 1-2, 2021.

If you’d like to have a chance to check out this beautiful new venue and do some early-2021 good for our sport, there are still opportunities to volunteer at Barnstaple South this weekend. You can sign up for the role of your choosing on EventingVolunteers.com. Here’s a look at the jobs still open for this weekend:

  • XC Decorator
  • General Event Prep
  • Dressage Check-In
  • XC Jump Judge
  • General Clean-Up

We’ve compiled some resources on volunteering with COVID-19 regulations in mind. We’ll reference this list each week in Volunteer Nation, so take a few moments to familiarize yourself with what’s new and different.

COVID-19 Resources for Eventers
Volunteers Adapt to the New Normal
Volunteers Weigh In on New COVID-19 Protocols

As always, you can earn merit points when you donate your time through the USEA’s Volunteer Incentive Program. Registering to volunteer through EventingVolunteers.com makes it easy and seamless to both find a job and shift as well as learn what your role will entail.

Don’t Miss the USEA Virtual Year-End Awards Ceremony Tomorrow

2018 AEC Jr. Beginner Novice champions Ella Robinson and Fernhill Fearless des Terdrix. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

After postponing the year-end award ceremony typically hosted during the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, the 2020 class of winners will be recognized in a virtual prize-giving tomorrow, January 8 at 6:30 p.m. EST.

James “Jim” Wofford will be the Master of Ceremonies for the awards tomorrow, and all USEA year-end awards and leaderboard winners will be recognized for their achievements that will come as a particularly sweet reward after a strange and difficult year.

This event is free for all to attend on Zoom; you can register for the meeting by clicking here.

Featuring among the awards to be distributed during tomorrow’s ceremony are:

  • Leaderboard Champions presented by Nunn Finer (Beginner Novice through Advanced)
  • USEA Classic Series Training Three-Day Winner presented by D.G. Stackhouse & Ellis
  • USEA Volunteer of the Year presented by Sunsprite Warmbloods
  • RevitaVet USEA Young Rider of the Year
  • USEA Adult Amateur Rider of the Year
  • Bates USEA Mare of the Year
  • Smartpak USEA Stallion of the Year
  • Smartpak USEA Pony of the Year
  • Standlee Premium Western Forage USEA Horse of the Year
  • Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year
  • World Equestrian Brands USEA Rider of the Year
  • USEA Groom of the Year
  • Vintage Cup Award
  • Cornerstone Instructor’s Award
  • Sue Hershey Award
  • Ironmaster Trophy
  • Andrew H. Popiel Award
  • Wofford Cup
  • Governor’s Cup
  • USEA President’s Lifetime Achievement Award

You can catch up on some of the awards that have already been announced in this article, but you’ll want to tune in for the full list of winners tomorrow evening. Congratulations to all, and Go Eventing!

Homegrown Talent: Through Partnership, More Growth is Possible for American Sport Horse Breeding

Kate Chadderton and Crescenda, Crescenda (Contratto x Gi Gi Giselle/Grandom), one horse sent to Kate to start her career. Photo by Brant Gamma Photography.

It was equal parts happenstance and a demonstration of the positive power of social media that brought a dark bay new ride to Kate Chadderton’s barn in 2019.

Kate, who is based in Woodbine, Md., had just returned from an unsuccessful horse shopping trip in Europe when she kicked back at a bar with some friends. Bemoaning the lack of success on her trip, she pulled up her Facebook app and typed up a post. Would anyone happen to be connected to a talented young horse with upper level potential? While the U.S. may not be as geographically friendly for horse shoppers as smaller countries in the UK, there is still much “homegrown” quality to be found. Perhaps she’d have a bit of luck by reaching out to the vast internet.

And so it would be this innocuous Facebook post that connected Kate with Brandi Smith of Fox Lair Sport Horses in White Plains, Md. After Kate paid the farm a visit and sat down with the team, a partnership ensued. Soon enough, young horses were being sent off to Kate to begin their careers as sport horses.

Crescenda as a foal. Photo courtesy of Fox Lair Sport Horses.

“Our program was started in 2010 and is dedicated to breeding and training Hanoverians, though we’ve begun to branch out to other registries in recent years,” Brandi explained. She and her breeding manager of seven years, Meghan Palensky, share a passion for equine matchmaking and producing. Working for Valerie and Dr. Ken Fox to breed quality horses that could eventually be either sold, kept for future breeding, or produced to be a part of the family’s competition string, the two women have established a robust, boutique operation featuring top-shelf sport mares.

“I started teaching their daughter, Katie Fox, who had ambition to be a grand prix show jumper,” Brandi said. “Once her parents figured out how expensive the sport is, they decided that breeding their own horses would be the way to go. And now we’ve built this small little empire.”

A large obstacle often faced by breeders in the U.S. is finding a way to properly produce and market these young horses. This process is risky, and it’s expensive. And while breeders want to market to amateur riders, they often have difficulty reaching this target demographic with young horses in need of training. Within this gap, a growing number of professionals are seizing opportunity to collaborate with breeders and produce young horses, the budding partnership between Kate and Fox Lair Sport Horses as just one example.

We asked Kate and Brandi for their perspective on breeding and selecting quality young horses for eventing purposes. We’ll continue to feature other breeding programs and young horses coming out of them in forthcoming articles here on EN (tip me at [email protected] if you have a lead!).

Photo by Brant Gamma Photography.

What qualities do you as a rider look for in an event prospect?

Temperament, Kate says, is perhaps one of the most vital components she looks for in a prospective event horse. “I’ve ridden a variety of horses to the Advanced level, and the commonality among them is their desire to do the sport,” Kate explained. “It’s the attitude to please and the desire to do the sport that I’m looking for.”

For breeding purposes, Kate emphasizes the importance of having a mare with a good temperament; after all, the foal spends all of its formative days with its mother. An even temperament can be passed on through bond.

This concept is echoed by Brandi and Meghan, who have spent years building up a quality broodmare barn. “Like many breeding operations, we don’t want to just breed to one stallion every year,” Brandi said. “We want different options, so it’s easier for us to have a large group of mares.”

Kate also recommends building this relationship yourself when you’ve got a new young horse. “Find out what they like, what they don’t like,” she explained. “I had one mare who was obedient but just didn’t really care about what I was asking. So I happened to spend some time grooming her one day, and I discovered that she went better if I was spending that extra time with her rather than having a working student get her ready. Just little things like that.”

What are some training tips for starting a young horse’s education?

It depends on temperament, Kate says. For example, Crescenda, the 2016 mare sent who began her eventing career under Kate’s tutelage, has a very curious temperament so “I kind of go down whatever path she wants to take me,” she explains. If a horse is curious and can hack out, do so. “At that age, I don’t think you can do that much training as far as schooling the dressage, it’s more just making them happy with being ridden and enjoying their job, keeping them happy. They can learn through play.”

Photo courtesy of Fox Lair Sport Horses.

How can riders and breeders work together more here in the U.S.?

Finances, Brandi and Meghan agree, pose the biggest challenge. It’s a financial risk for both a breeder and a rider to take on a young horse that may or may not show prowess for a sport career. Many breeders, as a result, find themselves loaded with young horses that could be matches for amateurs down the road – with a little polish. And that polish can be hard to find when professionals have their own bills to pay, their own next big star to find.

“Europe is several hundred years more advanced than us with breeding programs that are more established,” Brandi explained. “It’s hard to be a breeder for business here, you have to make money somehow. It’s hard to get these horses to professionals. So the breeders have to be able to financially support these horses until they’re three, four, five years old and then they have to afford to send them off to be started.”

Much of the risk, then, falls on the breeder. Brandi says she is grateful to have found Kate, happenstance and all, as a potential pipeline to send horses through. Some may show talent for the upper levels and stay on with her, others may move on to dabble in other disciplines or be sold. But regardless of the outcome, it’s a moving system that shows promise in terms of promoting sustainable growth. “I think the biggest thing is if we could get more professionals involved with the breeders to even out the risk factor, then that helps cover the amateur market because now more horses have been professionally produced.”

“We got lucky with Kate,” Brandi and Meghan continued. “She wanted to be in a relationship with a breeder. We would love to see more breeders getting in with trainers – that’s going to be the way to grow the breeding in our country.”

C-6 Equestrian Wants to Show Riders ‘How Women Do It’ with New Symposium Series

What comes to mind if I were to tell you to picture the origins of equestrian sport? In my mind’s eye, that origin looks a little something like this:

Embed from Getty Images

The roots of the sport of eventing, among others, are heavily military-driven. Originally designed as a fitness and suitability test for cavalry horses and the officers riding them, the sport of eventing has since evolved into the iteration of the sport that we see today after first becoming an Olympic sport in 1912 (and even then, only open to amateur riders in the military). It’s a noble beginning for any sport, but there is one undercurrent worth noting: cavalry riders were men, the officers training them were men. Indeed, a woman would not enlist in the U.S. military for the first time until 1917; women were not made a permanent part of the military until 1948. Even throughout the sport’s evolution, its foundational male influence can be seen in the way we now think about and train our horses.

This year, three women are setting out to show the world that there is another way – “how women do it” – and in the process, they hope to create more empowered, confident female riders ready to accomplish their goals and conquer their fears.

The C-6 Equestrian Energy for Confidence and Connection symposium series is the result of a collaboration between sport psychologist Dr. Jenny Susser, PhD, international dressage rider Mette Larsen, and international event rider Sinead Halpin. Jenny and Mette had begun teaching clinics together previously, and it was at one such event that Sinead was first introduced to the concept of energy-focused teaching.

“I was so moved by the energy, so impressed by the concepts,” Sinead recalled. “The funny thing is, I wasn’t one of those people who felt strongly about or felt influenced by the presence of men – until that clinic. Things there just felt totally different – not better or worse, just different.”

Sinead, who together with her husband, Tik Maynard, live in the same area of Citra, Fl. as Jenny and Mette, asked if there was a way she could be involved in the clinics in the future. After a few brainstorming sessions, the women emerged with a powerful new idea and a way to promote the concept to an even wider audience. The group has since signed a production deal with Horse & Country TV, who will film and produce the first Energy for Confidence and Connection in Horsewomen symposium, happening January 23-24, for distribution on its streaming platform.

The Six Cs

At the core of the teaching and the symposium lie the six Cs, the core values around which the three women chose to build their messaging.

  • Confidence
  • Connection
  • Commitment
  • Communication
  • Community
  • Culture

“For 10 years, I’ve been helping scared, terrified, self-punishing women,” Jenny explained. She described how a male-driven, male-originating model of training that encourages strength and brawn over compassion and connection can create less confident riders. “What these women have done is they’ve had to violate their own instincts. The idea of strength and force is a model that doesn’t fit – it’s like wearing a man’s shoe.”

Of course, this isn’t intended to label all male-driven training models as wrong; indeed, there are countless examples of compassionate male trainers, and much of the foundation of horse training centers around a relationship and partnership with the horse. However, the reality is quite simple: women understand women, and from this place of mutual understanding emerges a different school of thought, a different way to find solutions rather than simply adhering to what’s always been done.

Posted by C-6 Equestrian on Saturday, December 12, 2020

Mette drove the notion of compassion and connection with the horse home as she recounted her early riding days and how her career has shaped her current path. “I don’t think I’ve ever used the word ‘submission’,” she explained. “Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t want my horses to work hard. I want them to perform, but I want them to leave the arena feeling like they weren’t ‘done to’, that they were an active, engaged participant. So many of the dressage clinics I attended through the years were so much about ‘don’t let them get away with that’ or ‘make him listen to you’ – all very dominant concepts. And that kind of ride can leave you feeling bad after a hard ride.”

How many times have we all gotten off our horses after a particularly difficult ride, feeling like we’ve let them down? Maybe we’ve struggled, maybe we’ve “made” the horse do something, but at the end of the day we don’t feel like we’re on the same page, and this leads to guilt. “That’s not love,” Mette said. “We always want our horses to feel ‘with us’, even after a hard work.”

This is where the C-6 symposiums will differ. “We didn’t even want to use the word ‘clinic’ as we know that even just the word can elicit a negative connotation,” Jenny said. “And it’s really about tools and using them well. You can use a tool well, but it also depends on who is swinging the hammer, which is where our model comes in. We may use the same tools as a man, but we’ll use them differently.”

The symposium will take place with a small group of riders and will include riding demonstrations, candid conversation sessions, and riding instruction with an eye to connect to each rider and help them through their uncertainties. The group also plans to host regular clinics beyond this month and add virtual options in order to reach as many riders as possible.

Sinead says her visit to that first clinic Jenny and Mette invited her to changed her life, and now the group is working furiously to share what they’ve discovered – and seen the results of – with a larger audience. They hope the project will empower more women to feel safe, seen, and heard. Indeed, this has already begun: as word spreads about the project, more women reach out, eager to finally feel understood.

“The thing we don’t get, especially as women, is to explore what the relationship to ourselves means,” Jenny said. “And whatever sort of fishbowl you’ve been raised in shapes what you believe that you’re supposed to think about yourself. You should be confident, quiet, calm, reserved – whatever it is. And when internal doesn’t match external, you get problems. So what we do is work with people to help them bring out some of that – our swirling private voice that is just so bad to ourselves – and understand how to manage it, to understand that there is another way.”

For the most current information about C-6 Equestrian, follow them on Facebook here.

Wednesday News & Notes from Haygain

How do horses take part in your life today?

"I attended Delaware State University where I was the first African…

Posted by Equestrians of Color Photography Project on Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A recent story on the Equestrians of Color Photography Project page caught my eye, as it’s always encouraging to read the stories of those who have accomplished firsts in terms of representation. Kamerra Brown-Allen attended Delaware State University, where she was the first African American to receive a full Equestrian Scholarship. She now enjoys her career coaching college students at William Woods University in Fulton, Mo. You can read more about Kamerra and her journey (in addition to enjoying gorgeous photos produced by the Equestrians of Color photography team) here.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Barnstaple South H.T.: [Website]

Wednesday Reading List:

Congratulations to Erica H., the winner of last week’s Fab Freebie with Horse & Rider Books!

Do you have a Haygain steamer in your barn? With the onset of colder weather, you may be wondering how to best maintain your Haygain. Learn best practices for winter maintenance in this blog.

Take a deep dive into the world of the cowboys who call have Burkina Faso, a small country in West Africa, home for centuries. The photography project created by Aurélien Gillier, “Cowboys are still Black”, has gone on to win artistic awards while also bringing a beautifully captured light to the subjects.

If you or someone you know is eligible to apply for the next round of the Optimum Youth Equestrian Scholarship, applications are due on Friday, January 15. Learn more about this diversity and opportunity-focused scholarship here.

What if “failure” is the best tool in the box? “We have an allergy in our culture; we are allergic to failure and it shouldn’t be that way. I want you to fail. I tell the high performing individuals that I work with that they should be failing at up to 50% of their goals,” Dr. Jenny Susser advises in this thought-provoking read from Noëlle Floyd.

Jane Savoie, a well-known dressage rider and beloved instructional author, has passed away at the age of 72. Jane was a successful international competitor, a renowned Olympic-caliber coach, and a wonderful author who published nine coaching books as well as a novel before her passing, and she will be greatly missed.

Wednesday Video Break: It’s literally never a bad time for a Brookby Heights International sales video.

Tuesday Video: Using Your Leg Effectively for Dressage

If you look hard enough, there are countless resources available on the internet of today just waiting to be consumed by the right people who are eager to learn. I was recently happy to discover a new-to-me YouTube channel full of riding insights for dressage riders. Of course, dressage is a vital part of any eventer’s repertoire, so the concepts that trainer Amelia Newcomb discusses and demonstrates are easily applicable to our sport, too.

This video focuses on the concept of leg and how its different parts can work together to create the correct aids. There are, Amelia describes, four areas that can communicate with the horse in their own way: the upper leg, the calk, the heel, and the spur.

You can find more instructional videos on Amelia’s page here.

SmartPak’s Annual Clearance Event Has Begun!

Admit it: you’re in full-fledged prep mode for the upcoming season. If you’re nodding your head, trust that many eventers reading this are right there with you, already looking ahead to the new year with goals swimming in your head. Of course, as with any sport it’s important to make sure you are safe and up-to-date with the equipment you need – but this stuff gets expensive, and quickly!

We always look forward to SmartPak’s Annual Clearance Sale for this precise reason: a competitive price is hard to pass up, especially for horse owners. With the sale kicking off this week, there are plenty of deals to be had to gear up for the season or simply grab an item you’ve been eyeing for awhile. If you need some inspiration (though who are we kidding? I know my SmartPak cart has no less than 10 items in it at any given time), here are a few items on sale that we’re loving this week:

1: A SmartPak Soft Padded Leather Halter

Image courtesy of SmartPak.

2. This cozy-looking Piper Cowl Neck Full Zip

Image courtesy of SmartPak.

3. For the coach who teaches in cold weather: the Hadley Down Trainer’s Coat

Image courtesy of SmartPak.

4. Save on the Charles Owen GR8 Plus Helmet

Image courtesy of SmartPak.

5. Replace worn blankets with the SmartPak Ultimate EasyMotion Turnout Blanket (hint: there are also a multitude of other blanket options, also on sale as a part of the Annual Clearance!)

Image courtesy of SmartPak.

New deals will be added to the Clearance section here, but there are already pages upon pages of markdowns on everything from rider apparel to horse blankets. You can click here to start your shopping.

It’s Time to Sign Up for the Annual Galway Downs Fundraiser Clinic

The 23rd Annual Eventing Fundraising Clinic invites riders and horses of all levels to leap into the New Year with new…

Posted by Galway Downs on Tuesday, December 22, 2020

West coast eventers are gearing up for the quickly-approaching 2021 season, and it’s become tradition for many riders to book a lesson with their favorite upper level rider as a part of the Galway Downs Annual Fundraising Clinic. This year’s clinic is scheduled for January 22-24 in Temecula, Ca. and will feature learning opportunities from over 25 of the West coast’s top trainers.

This is the 23rd year of the fundraising clinic, the proceeds from which are used to fund facility and cross country course improvements at the sprawling 240-acre property located in the heart of Temecula’s wine country.

Riders who sign up for a lesson will participate in two lessons with their trainer of choice; the entry fee also includes stabling from Thursday, January 21 through Sunday, January 24. Featuring among the trainers this year are:

  • Hawley Bennett-Awad
  • Auburn Excell Brady
  • Rebecca Braitling
  • Barb Crabo
  • Nick Cwick
  • Gina Economou
  • Jessica Hargrave
  • Emilee Libby
  • Olivia Loiacono
  • Katy Robinson
  • Lisa Sabo
  • Tamie Smith
  • …and many, many more!

To sign up for lessons with the trainer of your choice, click here. Riders can also book additional nights of stabling and order hay and shavings on the entry form.

Rider Biomechanics: How This Physical Therapist is Helping Riders Get Stronger

Britta Pederson works with a client using resistance bands. Photo by Sally Spickard.

There’s no getting around it: riding is tough on the body. As with any sport, the wear and tear brought about by the physical exertion as well as any injuries that may occur can wreak havoc on even the healthiest rider. But ask any rider what comes first: horse care or self-care, and you can predict what their answer will be. All too often, we neglect the wellness of our own bodies and minds in favor of that of our horses. Britta Pederson of The Performance Refinery in San Diego, Ca. is out to change this notion.

Take a moment to think of the physical irregularities that show up in your riding. Perhaps you struggle to keep your shoulders down and back, or you can’t seem to weight the right seat bone as well as you can the left. Now think of how these might transfer to your horse’s way of going. As with riding a bike, any shift in balance on the part of the rider can affect the straightness and direction of the horse.

Q&A: What can I expect in an Equiformance S.M.A.R.T Rider Clinic with Britta … ???

👀 Full On & Off Horse…

Posted by The Performance Refinery on Tuesday, December 1, 2020

When riders attend a clinic with Britta, a Registered Senior Physiotherapist & Equestrian specific Performance Trainer from New Zealand who has also competed at the Advanced level of eventing and Grand Prix level of dressage, they’ll experience a hybrid format, one part riding instruction and one part bodywork.

Britta takes a teaching break to work on a student’s weak points. Photo by Sally Spickard.

“The notion of taking care of our horses’ bodies is important, but this doesn’t mean you should set yourself aside,” Britta explained. In order to effectively correlate our body’s function to our riding, Britta incorporates basic anatomy into her instruction. She’s also patented the concept of using resistance bands to encourage lengthening of a rider’s body and proper application of the aids while working on the flat – a topic we’ll dive deeper into in a future article.

Britta works with each rider individually to identify their physical strengths and weaknesses, astutely pinpointing a source of a problem and working to correct the issue through physical therapy.

But first, it’s important to know where you need to improve and how riding affects your body. Generally speaking, Britta says, a lot of rider issues stem from the following areas:

Weak Core Stabilizers
These could one or a combination of any of the following: Lower Abdominals/Obliques/Glutes/Mid Back

In today’s society and the nature of our sport we spend a vast amount of time, both in and out of the saddle, in anterior chain-dominant positions. Think mucking stalls, wrapping legs, jump schooling in two-point (hello hip flexion), replying to emails, and working from home online behind your workstation.

“One fairly simple way that we can combat these demands placed on our bodies is by making sure that we are as stable as possible from our innermost core levels,” Britta says. “This takes a little bit of thought and assessment of where your weak areas are and then putting a plan in place. Core stability work should only take up two or three days and 20-30 minutes of your time … and you can get creative, meaning minimal equipment required. A Stability Ball will be your best friend as it can see all levels of core training from beginner to advanced.”

Some Level 1 & 2 exercise ideas for core conditioning:


Poor Hip Mobility

Restricted Hip Joints are a common complaint and pathology that Britta often sees in the clinic setting. “If you have poor range of movement here it will affect your global musculature activation and ability to move your pelvic girdle efficiently over fences,” she explains. “A ‘stuck’ pelvis can limit your lower leg effectiveness and indirectly your balance.”

To test your own body, try this Hip Mobility Test and Drill:

Overactive Quads & Psoas (Hip Flexors) & Short Adductors

“One of the main muscle groups that are tight in jumpers, due to jumping positions and the eccentric control needed as a rider from your hips/legs to slow your body on landing, are your quadriceps and hip flexors,” Britta says. “If these become highly overactive, they can lead to lower back pain and poor core function. See the images below for good Hip Flexor (a), Quad (b) and short adductor stretches (c):

Another element of The Performance Refinery that riders find useful is Britta’s Equiformance Program for fitness. Fitness is a key element of success in the saddle – much of a rider’s ability relies on core strength as well as upper and lower body stability in order to effectively apply aids. After the coronavirus pandemic surged this year, Britta doubled down on her efforts to expand the Equiformance Program, making use of a dedicated app to create and distribute customized workout plans. Each plan is tailored to the athlete’s goals, schedule, and level of training, with workouts that can be done with minimal or no gym equipment needed.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be diving in deeper with Britta to explore the concept of rider biomechanics and fitness – and her innovative training method using resistance bands. We’ll also bring you some additional content with exercises you can do out of the saddle as well as some advice for making 2021 your best fitness year yet.