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Great Quote of the Week by Premier Equine Insurance

Karen O'Connor and the indomitable Theodore O'Connor Photo:

Karen O’Connor and the indomitable Theodore O’Connor. Photo by

Karen and Teddy kick off our new series of inspiring, entertaining, helpful and otherwise great quotes brought to you by our friends at Premier Equine Insurance.

By definition, Alexander’s quote is officially Great. The guy clearly could have excelled at eventing if he’d taken a break from all that conquering. He won ownership of his famous charger Bucephalus by taming what was a giant, snorting beast. The legend goes the 13-year-old emperor-to-be spoke soothingly to the horse and turned him toward the sun so he could no longer see his shadow, which apparently had been freaking him out. The rest is (ancient) history.

Do you have a favorite training quote? Send it in to [email protected].

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New Sponsor Spotlight: Premier Equine Insurance

Hurry Murray, Kristen and David Buffamoyer, of Premier Equine Insurance

Hurry Murray, Kirsten and David Buffamoyer of Premier Equine Insurance. Photo courtesy of PEI.

David and Kirsten Buffamoyer understand both the fine print on a coverage contract and the finer pleasure of a horse nickering to you as you enter the barn. Both passionate riders, they merged their love for horses and insurance experience to create Premier Equine Insurance, Eventing Nation’s newest sponsor.

“Being horse people ourselves, we understand exactly how important your horse is to you on a personal level, and the emotional as well as financial investment that comes along with a life with horses,” David said. “From this understanding comes a level of personal service you won’t find anywhere else.”

Kirsten’s campaigning two horses this season, Hurry Murray, who she’ll take Training, and Jim, who she’ll ride Intermediate.


Yep. “Jim” is even his show name.

“That’s what happens when you leave your husband in charge of naming your new horse!” Kirsten said.

Kristen & Jim

Kirsten and Jim. Photo courtesy of PEI.

In addition to eventing, Kirsten’s won national titles in reining competitions. David rides the reiners as well, though riding was not his first sport. That would be baseball. He played catcher for the Yankees for four years.

David Buffamoyer

David Buffamoyer. Photo courtesy PEI.

These two know the pressures and pleasures of competing on the road and investing your heart and resources into your horses.

“And we know horses don’t wear watches,” David, who welcomes calls any time, said.

Premier Insurance offers a wide range of policies for your horse, from full mortality to stallion infertilityhorse club and organization coverage, farm packages and commercial equine liability insurance.

Check out the website, or give them a call toll-free at 877-68-HORSE (46773) for a free quote.

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Erin Go Irish: Buck Davidson’s Irish Sport Horse Team

Erin Go Irish is our newest series highlighting the success of Irish-bred horses and ponies in eventing. Michael Doherty of Irish Horse Gateway will be writing each week to discuss what makes Irish horses so competitive in our sport. This week, Michael takes a look at Buck’s Irish horses. Last week, he wrote about Irish Sport Horses who have won Rolex.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM may have only competed in three international events together last year but impressively the Irish Sport Horse gelding finished the 2013 season as number 31 in the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horse (WBFSH) rankings, helping the studbook to claim the top spot yet again. Two third place CIC3* finishes in Tallahassee (Red Hills) and Norwood (The Fork) provided the perfect buildup to Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM finishing best of the U.S. combinations at Rolex CCI4*, taking fourth place and collecting the Pinnacle Trophy as a result. A stall injury resulted in Ballynoe Castle RM unfortunately missing the majority of the 2013 season.

As of December 31,  2013, Ballynoe Castle RM, a member of the U.S. 2010 World Equestrian Games squad, was the third highest point scoring event horse in the United States Eventing Association (USEA) leader board. Bred by Sylvester Cullen in County Wexford, Ballynoecastle RM is by Harthill Stud’s Ramiro B and out of the Blue Laser (TB) sired mare Ballyvaldon Laser (ISH). The now 14-year-old gelding is one of an impressive team of Irish Sport Horse’s that Buck Davidson has successfully partnered.

Buck Davidson and Park Trader

Buck Davidson and Park Trader. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Park Trader is another strong member of Davidson’s team. The 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse competed at Rolex Kentucky in 2013, gaining valuable experience and is again on the entry list for this year’s competition. By the renowned Thoroughbred sire Master Imp, and out of the Irish Sport Horse mare Ballyhast Polly, by Highland King (ISH), Park Trader was bred by Christopher Bailey, also in County Wexford. Park Trader finished the international eventing season with a second placing at Fair Hill  CCI3*.

As well as the more proven mounts Buck Davidson also has some exciting younger horses coming up through the ranks. The 8-year-old Knight Lion and the 7-year-old Tiger Lion are both bred by Patricia Nicholson and hail from the family of the great Eagle Lion with whom Bruce Davidson Sr. enjoyed great success including winning Badminton in 1995.

Bruce Davidson's Eagle Lion [courtesy Irish Horse Gateway]

Bruce Davidson’s Eagle Lion. Photo courtesy Irish Horse Gateway.

Cool ‘N Cavalier is a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse bred by John B. Hughes and is by his former resident stallion Cavalier Royale (HOLST).  The bay gelding got off to a promising start this year placing fourth in the Open Intermediate in Ocala, a class in which Davidson won aboard another promising young Irish Sport Horse Copper Beech. Copper Beech has become a flagship representative of the Goresbridge “Go For Gold” select event horse sale. By the Belmont House Stud sire Radolin (KWPN), the 8-year-old Copper Beach recorded some encouraging international results in 2013. In April, Davidson and Copper Beach took fourth in the Ocala CCI2* and seventh in the CIC2* in Unionville later in the season. This year has already seen Davidson step Copper Beach up to Advanced and we will watch their progress with great interest.

Buck Davidson and Copper Beech.  Photo by

Buck Davidson and Copper Beech. Photo by

The season ahead looks bright for Buck Davidson and his exciting team of Irish Sport Horses.

The Irish Horse Gateway connects buyers to sellers of Irish horses and ponies, promoting the Irish horse and pony around the world through a portal that offers sale horses, information about the breeds and travel to Ireland. All registered sellers on the Irish Horse Gateway have signed a code of conduct which gives prospective buyers increased confidence. The site was launched last year by Horse Sport Ireland, the Emerald Isle’s official equine organization. Visit for further details. 

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New Sponsor Spotlight: EquiVentures

equiventures logo

Hot on the heels of a thrilling weekend in Florida, Eventing Nation is excited to add another Sunshine State sponsor to our amazing team: Equiventures, the hardworking people who organize all the USEA competitions at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala. The final event of the series, which begins in November, will be the The Ocala Horse Properties International 3-Day Event, will be run April 10-13. (Yep, it’s those Ocala Horse Properties guys doing even more to support eventers!).

Founded by Olympian Peter Gray and international four-star eventer Jon Holling, the company’s focused not only on putting on a spectacular eventing series, they’re hoping to shine the spotlight on Ocala as an eventing hotspot (literally) in general. To further both efforts, they’ve hired Brit Richard Trayford. Trayford has an extensive background in the international eventing community. He runs Exmoor Eventing with his wife, pro rider Daisy Trayford (who’s coached Madonna).

Buck Davidson at last year's event

Buck Davidson at last year’s event. Photo courtesy of Equiventures.

“We’re committed to making Ocala a global center of excellence for the sport of eventing,” Richard said. He’s working to involve the community more in the eventing like it is in full tropical force in Red Hills. “We’re going to work to raise awareness of eventing in Ocala,where all the thunder is taken by H.I.T.S.,” he said.

Ahhhh, Ocala in winter.

Ahhhh, Ocala in winter. Photo courtesy of Equiventures.

Richard’s also working to raise Ocala’s profile among eventers in general, a profile that’s already growing. “Eventers are buying farms here because they have the confidence that the eventing community here is well rooted,” Chris Desino of Ocala Horse Properties told EN in February. “With both the Canadian and U.S. team coaches committed to being in Ocala for six months of the year, we’re starting to see a lot of eventers who would normally go to Aiken go to Ocala instead.”

“We want to help the greater eventing community recognize our series as bona fide competitions in their own right,” Richars said. “There’s been a bit of a feeling that people come down here to escape the weather as much as anything.”

No more, says Richard. If the Equiventures crew has anything to do with it, riders (and sponsors) will be flocking to Ocala like blue hairs to the Early Bird Special in Boca — or eventers to an open bar competitors’ party.

ocala splash

Photo courtesy of Equiventures

The Ocala Horse Properties International 3-Day Event awards $20,000 in prizes and features competitors from seven countries. Entries close March 25. The series beings in November, and includes a CCI * and FEI** competitions. Check out pictures and a wrap-up of last year’s April event.

Follow Equiventures on Facebook and Twitter for the latest details and the countdown to April’s event.

Go Eventing in Ocala!

Erin Go Irish: Past Rolex Champions

Erin Go Irish is our newest series highlighting the success of Irish-bred horses and ponies in eventing. Michael Doherty of Irish Horse Gateway will be writing each week to discuss what makes Irish horses so competitive in our sport. This week, Michael takes a look at the Irish horses short-listed for Canada’s team. Last time, he wrote about the Irish Sport Horses on the 2014 Canadian Team.

Photo courtesy Irish Horse Gateway

David O’Connor and Giltedge. Photo courtesy Irish Horse Gateway.

From Michael:

Now that Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event officials have announced the first round of entries, Rolex fever can officially begin. From an Irish-bred perspective, the Lexington event has already begun attracting some interesting combinations, such as Harbour Pilot (ISH) and Hannah Sue Burnett (USA), Fernhill Present (ISH) and Alice Dunsdon (GBR), Ballylaffin Bracken (ISH) and Kristin Schmolze (USA) and Bay My Hero (ISH) with William Fox-Pitt (GBR). Bay My Hero has not contested an international event since taking fourth place in Pau CCI4*in October 2012.

Since becoming a CCI4* event in 1998, three Irish Sport Horses have clinched first place at Rolex Kentucky. In 2001, USA’s David O’Connor won the event riding the Glen Bar (ISH) sired gelding Giltedge (ISH). O’Connor and Giltedge, affectionately known as Tex, enjoyed an illustrious career resulting in an impressive medal tally. Interestingly, Jacqueline Mars, who owned the gelding, is also the owner of a 2014 entrant in Harbour Pilot.

“Mark Phillips called him (Giltedge) a ‘useful’ horse. But he won two three-stars and a four-star, and ended up with six medals to his credit. That’s pretty good for not being ‘the most talented.’ Biko, Eagle Lion, Out And About, and Custom Made were the stars who were supposed to bring home the big medals for the team during the mid- to late 1990s. Well, every time you turned around, Tex was the highest-placed American horse on the team, and he just kept doing it. That’s why his victory at Rolex Kentucky in 2001 was such a big emotional win for me — because it was Tex being the star at last.” — David O’Connor in “Life in the Galloping Lane”

In 2007, Clayton Fredericks (AUS) and Ben Along Time (ISH) emerged victorious, narrowly beating another Irish Sport Horse, Connaught (ISH), who finished in second place.

Ben Along Time at the World Cup Final in Malmo, 2005. Photo courtesy Irish Horse Gateway

Ben Along Time at the World Cup Final in Malmo, 2005. Photo courtesy Irish Horse Gateway.

Speaking after the CCI4* win, Fredericks told the Sports Image Times: “I really can’t say enough about my horse. I never expected this, but he tries his heart out and has real star quality. I am quite fortunate to be able to ride him.”
Under Fredericks, Ben Along Time recorded major international wins, including two World Cup finals in Malmö (2005) and Deauville (2008). The 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen saw the duo impressively take home both individual silver and team bronze. They later added to the medal tally when winning team silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where they also finished in a highly respectable seventh place individually. Sired by the internationally renowned Cavalier Royale (HOLST), Ben Along Time was bred by James Jameson in County Monaghan out of his Campaigner (TB) mare, Campaigner’s Dream (ISH).

Connaught and his rider Phillip Dutton (USA) returned to the Lexington venue in 2008 and this time emerged victorious. “It’s very rewarding because he has not been an easy horse. He’s super talented, but a lot of people have put a lot of effort in, and Bruce (Duchossois) has been very patient. Persistence is the key. We’ve stuck with him and had faith in him,”  Dutton told the Chronicle of the Horse following his victory.

Phillip Dutton and Connaught

Phillip Dutton and Connaught. Photo courtesy Irish Horse Gateway.

In total, Dutton rode Connaught four times in the Rolex Kentucky CCI4*, finishing within the top 10 each time. Originally named Ballysimon’s Best, Connaught is by the Irish Sport Horse sire Ballysimon and out of Bromehill Rogue (ISH), by Royal Rogue (TB). The 1993 gelding was bred in County Clare by Michael Kelly.

See highlights of Phillip and Connaught’s Rolex rides here, courtesy of his YouTube Channel.

We at the Irish Horse Gateway will be closely watching the entry list and the competition itself to see if we will have another Irish-bred winner to celebrate in 2014!

The Irish Horse Gateway connects buyers to sellers of Irish horses and ponies, promoting the Irish horse and pony around the world through a portal that offers sale horses, information about the breeds and travel to Ireland. All registered sellers on the Irish Horse Gateway have signed a code of conduct which gives prospective buyers increased confidence. The site was launched last year by Horse Sport Ireland, the Emerald Isle’s official equine organization with the mission of uniting the breeding, sport and leisure aspects of the horse sector. Visit for further details.

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New Sponsor Spotlight: Professional’s Choice

Our newest sponsor, Professional’s Choice, has an origin story way better than any Marvel comic character. It involves a little girl, her dad and a horse with a butt “the size of a schoolbus.”

When Michele Scott was a horse-crazy 6-year-old, her family moved to a home that had room for a horse. Her father, Dal, who had grown up on a ranch, succumbed to the uniquely energetic persuasive powers of a little girl. He brought home Ivan, a gentle giant, 16.2-hand, “some kind of Draft/Quarter thing,” Michele writes on the company’s website.

Dal insisted on accompanying Michele and Ivan on their first ride out, putt-putting behind them on a little motorbike. On the way home, Ivan realized it was dinner time, and took off back to the barn, leaving Michele and Dal in the dust. The little girl was fine. Ivan was early for dinner. And Dal had broken his leg in several places. He’d fallen off his motorbike chasing after the runaways.

Here’s the silver, er, neoprene lining. Frustrated that he couldn’t swim in his pool with his leg in a cast, Dal Scott created a product that eventually became The Dri-Cast, a neoprene protector that allows you to get wet while your cast stays dry. He successfully marketed the product. Then, realizing there was nothing available to protect and support horses’ legs, he went on a research mission and eventually created what would become the first Sports Medicine Boot and the company, Professional’s Choice.

Michele Scott & friends

Michele Scott and friends. Photo courtesy Professional’s Choice.

Michele went on to ride many horses, and Ivan proved himself “worth millions,” she says, teaching a host of people of all ages to ride. He lived until he was 30 and is buried on the Scotts’ property under his favorite tree.

This season, the company presents the newest version of that first boot, the VenTECH leather open front jumping boot, which blends classic design and cutting edge science. The VenTECH lining promotes air flow to the leg while remaining water resistant.

VENtech Leather Open Front Jumping Boots

VENtech Leather Open Front Jumping Boots

Professional’s Choice invests in a ton of research to create the most comfortable, high performance products, including boots, fly protection pieces, saddle pads, trailer goodies and a line of bits developed by Professional Choice endorser Gina Miles.

Gina Miles with Professional's Choice VENtech boots (All photos courtesty Professional's Choice)

Gina Miles with Professional’s Choice VENtech boots. Photo courtesy Professional’s Choice.

She’s also worked with them to develop the Gina Miles Contoured Monoflap Saddle Pad.

The Gina Miles Cotoured Monoflap Saddle Pad

The Gina Miles Cotoured Monoflap Saddle Pad

“As a competitive rider, I’m excited about the new collection of English products by Professional’s Choice because I know their products integrate the latest technology to keep my horse performing at their best and competition ready,” Gina said.

The company’s also endorsed by James Alliston and Tamra Smith.

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One of Gina’s bits. Photo courtesy Professional’s Choice.

From the Gina Miles line of bits

From the Gina Miles line of bits

Meanwhile, somewhere in horsey heaven, Ivan is smiling: The company has kept his priorities in mind with a line of hay bags.

Keep up with Professional’s Choice products and pro riders on their Facebook page and on Twitter.


Go Professional’s Choice. Go eventing.

Erin Go Irish: Two Irish Sport Horses Make 2014 Canadian Team

Erin Go Irish is our newest series highlighting the success of Irish-bred horses and ponies in eventing. Michael Doherty of Irish Horse Gateway will be writing each week to discuss what makes Irish horses so competitive in our sport. This week, Michael takes a look at the Irish horses short-listed for Canada’s team. Last week, he wrote about Fenyas Elegance, Kironan and The Deputy.

Peter Barry & Kilrodan Abbott, Rolex 2013. Photo: Kasey Mueller

Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott at Rolex 2013. Photo by Kasey Mueller

From Michael:

With the recent announcement by Equine Canada of the 2014 Canadian National Eventing Team, two Irish Sport Horses feature on the 10 horse strong short list. Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott (ISH) made the cut based on their performance at Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in 2013, with Shandiss McDonald (formally Wewiora) and Rockfield Grant Juan (ISH) doing likewise.

Now owned by Peter, Susan and Dylan Barry, Kilrodan Abbott began his eventing career in Ireland with Frances Younghusband in 2004. The partnership got off to a flying start, as they won their very first Eventing Ireland competition together, the Novice-B in Kilcooley, County Tipperary. During the following three seasons, Younghusband successfully campaigned Kilrodan Abbott with regular placings up to CCI2* level.

German-born Peter Barry then took the reins, making his first international outing with Kilrodan Abbott in 2008. Since then, the duo have climbed the international ranks, culminating in a 11th-place finish in Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in 2012. Olympic Games selection followed for Barry and Kilrodan Abbott, but unfortunately a fall during the cross-country phase at the London event resulted in elimination for the pair. This February has seen Barry and Kilrodan Abbott back to their winning ways, as they clinched the Open Intermediate class at Pine Top Horse Trials in Georgia.

Bred by Michael Hogan, County Tipperary, Kilrodan Abbott is by the Irish Sport Horse stallion Clover Brigade out of Gentle Lassie (ISH), by Leabeg (ISH). Clover Brigade is also the sire of international eventers such as Oliver Townend’s former mount Brigadier, now with Italy’s Fabio Gorini and Cast Away, who competed under Piggy French and Chloe Newton.

Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott last year at The Fork




Rockfield Grant Juan

Shandiss McDonald and Rockfield Grant Juan

Shandiss McDonald and Rockfield Grant Juan. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Rockfield Grant Juan is a flagship graduate from the first Gorsebridge Go for Gold sale held at Monart Equestrian Centre, County Wexford, in 2010. Now operating from Barnadown Showjumping in County Wexford, the sale’s other flag bearers include Buck Davidson’s promising Copper Beach (ISH), by Radolin (KWPN); Glencento (ISH), by Inocent (KWPN), who has competed up to CCI2* level with Samantha McDonald’s husband Jordan; and November Night (ISH), by Bonnie Prince (ISH), who represented the Irish Sport Horse studbook at FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses in 2013 with Ciaran Glynn (IRL).

Prior to been sold through the Go for Gold sale, Rockfield Grant Juan was produced by Jenni Lamminen, who competed the 2002 gelding at Novice level. Since then, Shandiss McDonald has campaigned Rockfield Grant Juan, who is currently owned by Jorge Bernhard, up to CCI4* level, which resulted in them being the reserve for the London Olympic Games in 2012.

Shandiss McDonald & Rockfield Grant Juan at Pau

The talent of Rockfield Grant Juan is of no surprise when we take a closer look at his family. Bred by Anne Hughes in County Kilkenny, Rockfield Grant Juan is out of the Irish Sport Horse mare Noblina. Noblina is also the dam of the 1.40-meter show jumper Du Noble, by Harlequin du Carel (SF), now competing in Argentina, and NLF Newsflash (ISH), by Last News (TB), who is competing at international 1.40-meter level in Sweden. The damline of Rockfield Grant Juan has produced numerous additional international show jumpers, including Rolo Tomasi (ISH), Two Mills Showtime (ISH) and Tiffany (ISH), to name but a few.

Don Juan de la Bouverie (sBs), the sire of Rockfield Grant Juan, has sired multiple international eventers, such as Ballylynch Adventure (ISH), who competed at the London Olympic Games under Ireland’s Michael Ryan; Walterstown Don (ISH) ridden by Clayton Fredericks (AUS); and Carneyhaugh Conquistador (ISH) campaigned by Suzanne Hagen (IRL).

It looks like a big season lies ahead for our Irish Sport Horse representatives and their respective Canadian riders.

The Irish Horse Gateway connects buyers to sellers of Irish horses and ponies, promoting the Irish horse and pony around the world through a portal that offers sale horses, information about the breeds and travel to Ireland. All registered sellers on the Irish Horse Gateway have signed a code of conduct which gives prospective buyers increased confidence. The site was launched last year by Horse Sport Ireland, the Emerald Isle’s official equine organization with the mission of uniting the breeding, sport and leisure aspects of the horse sector. Visit for further details.

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Inside William Micklem’s Skull

Niklas Lindbäck and Cendrillon won the dressage at Boekelo last year in a Micklem bridle. Photo by Jenni Autry. Niklas Lindbäck and Cendrillon won the dressage at Boekelo last year in a Micklem bridle. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Legendary horseman William Micklem’s been traveling the world with a big old horse skull. Does he enjoy freaking out T.S.A. agents? No. But it’s worth it to have such an ideal visual aid when he’s explaining how his Rambo Micklem Multibridle works. He designed the bridle as a more humane, more effective alternative to the traditional bridle.

You might have noticed more and more pros appearing with Micklems. Increasingly, amateurs are discovering it here in the states as well. But we’ve not embraced it as much as they have across the pond. People are a little leery of trying something that looks different. Micklem told me when I met him (and got to touch his skull!) at the American Equestrian Trade Association show. Top riders have not had such worries. Micklem fans include Karen O’Connor, Mark Todd, William Fox-Pitt and Andrew Nicholson. You think The Silver Fox cares if people think his bridle looks different?

Micklem designed the bridle about 20 years ago in a quest for something that worked better and was kinder to horses. Has he succeeded? Clearly the top pros using the bridles think so. But some people remain doubtful. “They say, ‘Ah, William … He’s full of the talk …’” said Micklem, blue eyes sparkling as he smiled, “’… It’s too good to be true.’” But it’s not. Testimonials reveal how much happier and more willing horses are after switching from traditional bridles. (I figure it’s got to be similar to getting rid of the horse/bridle equivalent of wearing the most uncomfortable underwire bra — on your face.)

Here are the five main areas where Micklem’s improved on the traditional design:

1. Behind the ears. “This is such a sensitive area,” said Micklem, “genuine Indian hackamores worked solely off pressure at this point.” He designed a wider-in-the-rear headpiece with built-in padding that disperses pressure. Plus, because there’s no cavesson strap threading underneath it, the design alleviates even more potential pressure.

2. Facial nerves. Micklem points to two holes in his skull  between the nostril and the eye. “This is where main facial nerves come through,” he said.


Skull via

A traditionally-placed noseband pinches those nerves. “It numbs the face. It makes less sensitive the very part you want to be most sensitive,” he said. He explained one demo he’s seen countless times. Poke a horse lightly above the nostril with a pin. He’ll flinch. Tighten a traditional noseband, wait 10 minutes and try again. “They won’t even notice,” said Micklem. He designed his bridle’s unique noseband around the nerves, using angles that avoid such numbing pressure.

3. Flesh and tissue around the teeth. Growing up in Cornwall, William learned a ton about equine teeth from his father, a horse trader and young horse specialist, who knew boatloads more about equine choppers than your average dad. “Look how far the top jaw protrudes over the bottom jaw,” he said, pointing to his skull.

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It’s like an an overhanging cliff of giant yellow teeth. “With a traditional and tightly strapped flash noseband or bitless bridle, the flesh over the teeth gets squished or lacerated,” he said. To help prevent it, people have the teeth floated. “But a horse’s teeth are like lead pencils; you can file them down to nothing. And when you shorten a horse’s teeth, you’re shortening their life.”

Micklem gave me a stunning example of the damage a traditional noseband can wreak. Legendary grand prix showjumper Boomerang, ridden by Eddie Macken, famously went in a bitless bridle. But pull back the jumper’s lips and you’d see he lacked two molars. “The noseband had literally broken those two teeth off,” said Micklem. He created a bridle that works around those overhanging molars.

4. Nasal bones. Even if you’re a frequent snout-smoocher (guilty), you might not know just how fragile the thin bones at the end of the horse’s nose are. On Micklem’s skull, they’re about half a chopstick thick. It’s easy to see how they’re sometimes fractured by too-tight nosebands. Not with a Micklem. The noseband’s designed to be fastened only as tight “as you hold your frail granny’s hand crossing the street,” said Micklem.

5. Bars of the mouth. Micklem had me run my fingers along the bones that sit in a horse’s mouth under the tongue. I had no idea how sharp these suckers were until I felt them on the skull. Looking at bit fitting, I’ve always focused on how the bit sits on top of the tongue and teeth. “You’ve got to also look at the underside of the tongue,” he said. The clips that hold the bit on the Micklem are designed to keep the pressure on the top of the noseband, rather than the sensitive tongue.

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Here’s how the entire bridle sits on the skull, its angles working around the bone, nerve and teeth:


Photo via

The “multi” aspect of the Micklem bridle means you can seamlessly transition from lunging to riding, with a bit or without, something Micklem appreciates working his youngsters at Annacrivey Stud, where he stands Jackaroo (brother to Mandiba and High Kingdom).

Zara Phillips' High Kingdom with multibridle as lunging cavesson. [Photos courtesy WIlliam Micklem]

Zara Phillips’ High Kingdom using the Micklem Multibridle as a lunging cavesson. Photo courtesy William Micklem.

The bridle’s legal for dressage.

Aidan and Wilson at the Nations Cup in Aachen, Photo by: Jenni Autry

Aidan Keogh and Master Tredstep at the Nations Cup in Aachen. Photo by Jenni Autry.

And for snacking in the kitchen.

Micklem's daughter Holly on Buie (Drambuie), their 30-year-old Kerry Bog Pony who can jump his own height [Photo courtesy William Micklem]

Micklem’s daughter Holly on Buie (Drambuie), their 30-year-old Kerry Bog Pony who can jump his own height. Photo courtesy William Micklem.

Micklem’s delighted his bridle’s catching on in the U.S. (In fact, the pony on your USEA membership card’s sporting one). You can order them through SmartPak, where you can also find out more about accurate fitting, which is important. Meanwhile, armed with bridle and skull, William Micklem continues on his mission to make horses more comfortable and happy in their work, one bridle at a time.

Have skull. Will travel.

Have skull. Will travel.

* Full disclosure, I use a Micklem on my draft-cross, whose head weights nearly as much as my whole body, a fact I know very well, as I’ve been carrying it around for years, resulting, sadly, in biceps bigger than my boobs. With the Micklem, my guy’s lighter in my hands, higher in the poll and less likely to throw me his “f***-you” face when I ask him to engage his substantial butt.

Erin Go Irish: Irish Horses Dominate British Eventing Year-End Rankings, Part 2

Erin Go Irish is our newest series highlighting the success of Irish-bred horses and ponies in eventing. Michael Doherty of Irish Horse Gateway will be writing each week to discuss what makes Irish horses so competitive in our sport. This week, Michael continues his look  at the year-end British Eventing rankings, which featured Irish horses in five of the top 20 spots. Last week, he wrote about Mr. Cruise Control and Calico Joe.

Jonelle Richards & The Deputy

Jonelle Richards and The Deputy. Photo by Samantha Clark.

From Michael:

British Eventing recently published its final rankings for 2013, and five of the top 20 places went to Irish-bred horses. The prolific Andrew Nicholson took the top rider spot with his Irish Sport Horse mount Mr. Cruise Control. As a result, Mr. Cruise Control’s owners, Nicholson, Robin E.A. and Nicola Salmon, pick up the Calcutta Light Horse Trophy in recognition of his impressive achievement. Following behind first place Mr Cruise Control, another Andrew Nicholson ride Calico Joe finished sixth; The Deputy took 14th; 17th went to Kilronan; and the Irish-bred, owned and ridden Fenyas Elegance came in at number 19.

Owned by Tim Morice, Jan Morice and Lucy Sangster, The Deputy has been produced by New Zealand’s Jonelle Richards from novice through to CCI4*. The 11-year-old gelding is by the now deceased Canadian Thoroughbred stallion Cult Hero out of Catania, by the Holsteiner stallion Calypso II. Bred by James Maguire in County Wexford, The Deputy is the second international eventer bred out of Catania. Bru Maguire, a half brother to The Deputy, evented up to CCI4* with America’s Ursula Brush.

The Deputy and Richard’s recorded their best result to date when finishing sixth in the Burghley CCI4* this September. One month earlier, they took thrd place at Hartpury CIC3*, with Mr Cruise Control and Nicholson closely behind them in fourth. Cult Hero has produced multiple other CCI4* event horses, including Bay My Hero (William Fox-Pitt), Flying Machine (Piggy French) and Westwood Mariner (previously Polly Stockton and now with Piggy French). The 2013 WBFSH eventing sire rankings see Cult Hero coming in at number 13.

Paul Tapner and Kilronan

Paul Tapner and Kilronan at Badminton. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Next up is the Irish Sport Horse Kilronan ridden by Great Britain’s Paul Tapner. The 12-year-old grey is owned by Capt. Fred and Penny Barker, along with Paul Tapner. According to Tapner Eventing, Kilronan is being aimed at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. In their international partnership, Tapner has already ridden Kilronan to victory in Somerly Park CIC2*, Gatcombe CIC2*, Ardingly CIC* and Gatcombe CIC3* in both 2012 and again this year.

“We all wish we had a yard full of horses like Tom (Kilronan),” writes Tapner, on He is so easy-going and a really lovely horse to deal with and ride. Tom is very talented in all three phases, but can be a bit of a worrier and likes to have things just so!”

Kilronan is by the now deceased British Thoroughbred sire Ghareeb, who stood with JJ Bowe at the renowned Kiltealy Stud, which was previously home to top eventing sires such as Sky Boy, Porter Rhodes (USA), Kiltealy Spring and Taldi (IRE). Ghareeb  has also sired international event horses such as Coolio (Mark Kyle) and Trig Point (Nicki Roncoroni). Out of the Diamond Lad mare Ramble View, Kilronan was bred in County Kilkenny by Patrick Fenlon.

fenyas elegance

Fenyas Elegance at Blenheim. Photo by Samantha Clark.

Of the five Irish-bred horses in the British Eventing top 20 rankings, Fenyas Elegance is particularly unique in that she is still owned by her breeder, P.J. Hegarty from County Cork. Now ridden by Ireland’s Aoife Clark, Fenyas Elegance was previously campaigned by Brian Morrison (IRL). Morrison and Fenyas Elegance previously represented the Irish Sport Horse Studbook at the at the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses in Le Lion d’Angers, France, where they placed 18th. 2013 has seen Aoife Clark and Fenyas Elegance place second in Chatsworth CIC3*, eight in Gatcombe CIC3* and most impressively win the Blenheim CCI3* in September.

An embryo transfer herself, Fenyas Elegance is by the stallion Ricardo Z (ZANG) out of the Irish Sport Horse mare Fenya, who showjumped to the 1.20-meter level in Ireland, and by Thoroughbred stallion Good Thyne (USA).

Proud breeder and owner, P.J. Hegarty, spoke to the Irish Examiner about the mare in the fall: “She has class and style in all three disciplines, and there is more improvement in this mare, and I would be very surprised if she did not make it to the top. Of course, luck is a requirement too… It is the most exciting thing that has hit us in a long time, and exciting times lie ahead.” He also spoke with Irish Horse TV.

Ricardo Z progeny have featured prominently in international eventing this year, and as a result, the Kedrah House Stud owned sire takes the number 3 slot in the WBFSH eventing sire rankings for 2013. With first place going to Heraldik (TB) and second to Master Imp (TB), this makes Ricardo Z the highest ranked living event horse sire of 2013. Other noteworthy international eventing progeny include Sportsfield Othello (Joseph Murphy), Ballyengland Rebel (Niklas Bschorer) and Ballylaffin Bracken (Kristin Schmolze).

The Irish Horse Gateway connects buyers to sellers of Irish horses and ponies, promoting the Irish horse and pony around the world through a portal that offers sale horses, information about the breeds and travel to Ireland. All registered sellers on the Irish Horse Gateway have signed a code of conduct which gives prospective buyers increased confidence. The site was launched last year by Horse Sport Ireland, the Emerald Isle’s official equine organization with the mission of uniting the breeding, sport and leisure aspects of the horse sector. Visit for further details.

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Erin Go Irish: Irish Horses Dominate British Eventing Year-End Rankings

Erin Go Irish is our newest series highlighting the success of Irish-bred horses and ponies in eventing. Michael Doherty of Irish Horse Gateway will be writing each week to discuss what makes Irish horses so competitive in our sport. This week, Michael looks at the year-end British Eventing rankings, which featured Irish horses in five of the top 20 spots.

Andrew Nicholson and Mr. Cruise Control. Photo: Kate Samuels

Andrew Nicholson and Mr. Cruise Control. Photo by Kate Samuels

From Michael:

British Eventing recently published its final rankings for 2013, and five of the top 20 places went to Irish-bred horses. The prolific Andrew Nicholson took the top rider spot with his Irish Sport Horse mount Mr. Cruise Control. As a result Mr. Cruise Control’s owners, Nicholson, Robin E.A. and Nicola Salmon, pick up the Calcutta Light Horse Trophy in recognition of his impressive achievement. Following behind first place Mr Cruise Control, another Andrew Nicholson ride Calico Joe finished sixth; The Deputy took 14th; 17th went to Kilronan; and the Irish-bred, owned and ridden Fenyas Elegance came in at number 19.

Here’s a closer look at the top-placed five:

Andrew Nicholson and Mr. Cruise Control at Pau, 2013 Photo: Jenni Autry

Andrew Nicholson and Mr. Cruise Control at Pau. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Mr. Cruise Control has been a consistent and reliable competitor for Nicholson since the gelding made his international debut in 2007. Having represented the Irish Sport Horse Studbook at the World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses in both 2007, placing fourth, and 2008, placing 11th, Mr. Cruise Control went on to claim wins in international events such as Hartpury CIC3* in 2010 and again in 2011. The pair previously placed fourth in Luhmuhlen CCI4* in 2010. This June, however, Nicholson and Mr. Cruise Control went one better and clinched the Luhmuhlen CCI4* ahead of Great Britain’s Zara Philips riding her Olympic mount, another Irish Sport Horse, High Kingdom.

“He’s a big horse that’s taken time but he’s kept improving through all his training, and that means that out of all my four-star wins this one is particularly rewarding,” Nicholson told the FEI following his Luhmühlen victory.

Bred by Jenny McCann of Hartwell Stud in Co. Kildare, Mr. Cruise Control is by the McCann’s resident stallion Cruising. The iconic Irish Sport Horse Stallion Cruising took fifth place in the recently published World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses eventing sire rankings for 2013 thanks to international eventing progeny such as Harbour Pilot, ridden by Hannah Sue Burnett; Electric Cruise, ridden by Joseph Murphy; Mr. Medicott, ridden by Phillip Dutton; and, of course, Mr. Cruise Control. The dam of Mr. Cruise Control, the Irish Sport Horse mare Chia who was also bred by Hartwell Stud, is by the American Thoroughbred stallion Broussard.

A bit of Andrew and Mr. Cruise Control’s winning show jumping round at Luhmühlen:

Both owned and ridden by Andrew Nicholson, Calico Joe is an 11-year-old Irish-bred Thoroughbred who was bred by former Irish international event rider Alfie Buller at his former Scarvagh Stud in County Down. He is by the American Thoroughbred stallion Clerkenwell, who previously stood at Scarvagh Stud, out of Elle’Sheree (IRE), by Beau Sher. Nicholson and Calico Joe recorded impressive international results in 2013 starting with a third placing at Rolex Kentucky CCI4* and picking up $30,000 in prize money.

Nicholson and Calico Joe jog at Rolex 2013 Photo: Kasey Mueller

Andrew Nicholson and Calico Joe at Rolex 2013. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

Watch Calico Joe and Nicholson cross country at Rolex 2013:

“He is a very, very fast horse — normally with him the last two minutes of the course is very fast — it felt like I was slowing up, slowing up — of course I was thinking of the $5,000 for wearing the right gloves, and I knew William had done one second on that, and I knew I had gone too fast so was slowing up, slowing up — but that’s a nice problem to have,” Andrew Nicholson said at Rolex last year.

Most recently, the pair finished Burghley CCI4*in eighth place with Andrew Nicholson also impressively claiming the second and third position.

Check back next week to learn about The Deputy, Kilronan, and Fenyas Elegance.

The Irish Horse Gateway connects buyers to sellers of Irish horses and ponies, promoting the Irish horse and pony around the world through a portal that offers sale horses, information about the breeds and travel to Ireland. All registered sellers on the Irish Horse Gateway have signed a code of conduct which gives prospective buyers increased confidence. The site was launched last year by Horse Sport Ireland, the Emerald Isle’s official equine organization with the mission of uniting the breeding, sport and leisure aspects of the horse sector. Visit for further details.

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Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

Rolling out equine decor Rolling out equine decor

I spotted these handy products at a trade show over the weekend. The barbed wire roll puzzled me a bit. But I was even more puzzled as to why they didn’t have a roll printed with dressage tests. Wouldn’t it be a satisfying way to wipe away a crappy ride?

Events opening today: MeadowCreek Park – The Spring Social Event (Texas, A-5), Full Gallop Farm February H.T. (South Carolina, A-3), Sporting Days Farm H. T. (South Carolina, A-3), Rocking Horse Winter III H.T. (Florida, A-3), Twin Rivers Winter H.T. (California, A-6)

Events closing today: Sporting Days Farm H. T. (South Carolina, A-3), Galway Downs Winter H.T. (California, A-6), Poplar Place H.T. (A-3)


Horses run amuck in Beijing subways. “Frighteningly realistic 3D horse paintings scare the life out of Beijing commuters,” writes the Mirror. The Chinese government’s commissioned a series of pretty cool 3-D murals for subway stations to celebrate the Year of the Horse. Apparently, for some city dwellers, the equines are a bit too real. [Mirror]

Cavalor Feed for Thought: Winter’s often known as “colic season.” Why? The barometric pressure brought on by cold fronts affects the gases in horses’ sensitive guts. While we can’t do anything about the weather, there are a few things we can do to reduce the risk of colic this time of year. [Feed For Thought]

Tyson should have chomped his other ear off too. During an episode of “U.K. Celebrity Big Brother” ex-heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield confessed he punched a horse  after she bucked him off — punched her in the face. Not only that, she was a pregnant horse. After the confession, his roommates quickly booted him off the show. [TMZ]

Even worse. Argentina’s abuzz with accusations of equinicide. If that’s a word. The president of Argentine Meat-packing Plants, Jorge Martine,z has been accused of shooting his horse after it threw him. [Buenos Aires Herald]

Stress down centerline. Horse & Hound presents an interesting article questioning whether new FEI dressage tests are putting unnecessary wear and tear on horses’ legs, something elite riders in the story suggest. Oddly, they don’t mention mental stress on the riders resulting from the sheer length of the tests. Have you ever perused a dressage-dressage test? They’re written in long paragraphs. [H&H]

Herculean saddle sores. Brawny actor Kellan Lutz “actually had a bout with butt chafing while mastering the art of equestrianism,” while filming “The Legend of Hercules,” reports E!News. (Equestrianism?)  But there was also a bright side. The horse provided a great workout, according to the actor: “I had my trusty beast—my horse—to work on my legs with every time I rode him and then also working with a sword—it works your shoulders and your chests quite well, so I love it,” he said. [E]

SmartPak Product of the Day: Your horses spending a bit more time in a stall these days due to ice/snow/frigid temps/gale force winds or injuries caused by a delightful combination of these seasonal delights? Let them entertain themselves with a Likit Boredom Breaker Starter Kit, which dangles nearly impossible to destroy goodies from the ceiling. Kind of like a (slowly) edible PlayStation for your steed.

Video of the Day: Last week Area IX suffered a stunning loss when Don Gerlach, competitor, volunteer, organizer, sponsor and best friend to all (man & beast), died suddenly. Teresa Craig, of the Powder Basin Equestrian Center, wrote this moving tribute. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Don, soaring over prelim fences at an Eric Smiley clinic in his iconoclastic form on his diminutive quarter horse, cowboy boots on his feet, toothpick in his mouth and a smile as bigger than Wyoming on his face. He was everything that is good about our sport. Here’s a video tribute by Hilary Carrel:


Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

Photo via Fit Body Now. Photo via Fit Body Now.

Somewhere, people are splashing through the Caribbean with horses. I am not one of them. But it’s nice to dream. Today’s news includes dreams of August one-stars, better lives for OTTBs and a nod from the Academy for Andrew Nicholson. Nope, not that Academy, though I’m sure the Silver Fox would rock  formalwear that doesn’t include protective headgear.

Events opening today: Pine Top Spring Advanced H.T. (Georgia, A-3)

Events closing today: Rocking Horse Winter I H.T. (Florida, A-3), Fresno County Horse Park Combined Test(California, A-6), Full Gallop Farm H.T. (South Carolina, A-7)

Nicholson simultaneously takes on biker, rugby player, race car driver. Not in a celebrity smackdown – though we’d sure love to see that. Andrew Nicholson’s been named a finalist for Sportsman of the Year in New Zealand’s prestigious Halberg Awards. A Voting Academy made up of 30 former athletes, coaches and media members will select the winner from across all sports.  []

GMHA Festival of Eventing gets a star. While the folks at the Green Mountain Horse Association always put on a stellar event, this year it’s official: there will be a CIC* as part of the August Festival of Eventing. They’re hoping for a high of six degrees today in South Woodstock, Vermont, but keeping warm with thoughts of the Novice/Training Classic Three-Day, the clinic with Bobby Costello and Bonnie Mosser and $10,000 in prize money for Intermediate. [GMHAInc]

But they didn’t get to do-over their dressage test. U.K. Ministry of Defense paid over $328,000 to compensation people injured after military aircraft spooked their horses this past year. []

RRTP in winner’s circle, philanthropically speaking.  The Retired Racehorse Training Project received a huge honor last weekend when the Thoroughbred Charities of America gave the organization its Industry Service Award at its annual awards dinner at Keeneland Racecourse. The award is given to an organization that best exemplify’s TCA’s mission, which includes “providing a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers.” [retiredracehorsetraining]

Millions await 12-step program. Admitting you have a problem, of course, is always the first step. Horse & Hound helps you self-diagnose this week with “15 signs you’re a horse addict.” [H&H]

How do you steal a herd of Arabians? Police in Kentucky are scratching their heads. Ten horses belonging to ten different owners were allegedly stolen from a boarding facility on Jan. 2. The horses have since been recovered. “There are things we still need to work out” authorities told Clearly. [thehorse]

Smartpak Product of the Day: What are the perfect accessories for a polar vortex? SSG 10 Below Winter Gloves. These bomber gloves are truly water (and booger) proof on the outside and soft polar fleece on the inside. Plus, grippy stuff on the palm and enough stretch to allow you to use your fingers without having the finger-strength of a pro climber or thumb wrestler.  Be sure to order them roomy enough to slip in hand warmer packets and your hands, at least, will be toasty.

Video of the Day: Sham-wow. Here’s a look at Boyd’s newset ride, Shamwari 4, last year in the sandbox at Pau with Swedish rider Ludvig Svennerstal:

Eventing News & Notes from Cavalor

Happy New Year!

May we all be as gleeful at Michael Jung is here at some point in 2014. Here’s a flashback from the Indoor Event at Stuttgart, taken by Julia Rau. Ze Terminator had just won the event.  And a Mercedes earlier in the week in the Jump and Drive. Cheers!

Events Opening Today: Fresno County Horse Park CIC & H.T. (California, A-6), Paradise Farm H.T. (South Carolina, A-3), Rocking Horse Winter H.T. (Florida, A-3)


Get crafty. Save snouts. A few years ago, the World Society for the Protection of Animals asked its UK supporters to sew simple noseband covers for the working equines of the Middle East, where the chains used as nosebands often dig into soft flesh and fester. Thousands of covers were made, saving thousands of noses. But they’ve worn out. If you’re vaguely crafty and have a few moments, find out how to make and send them here. []

My friends know to bring their own towels. The Chronicle has a great letter to non-horsey friends who might catch a ride in your car. It covers all the accessories that don’t come with most car models, like horse and dog hair, a ripe aroma and, of course, flies. [COTH]

National healthcare- for horses. Tomorrow, millions of people will begin coverage under Obamacare. Meanwhile, veterinarians have been working on a national equine healthcare plan that involves much less political hysteria. The American Horse Council and USDA are creating a National Equine Health Plan designed to aid authorities in equine diseases surveillance and make recommendations about biosecurity measures. [thehorse]

Who needs the Wolf of Wall Street? We’ve got the Hound of Hunt Seat. Live. If you can’t make it to Wellington for the George Morris Horsemastership Training Sessions this week, catch them here on the presented by Smartpak. And, don’t forget our own version of George: Bad Jumping Clinic With George Morris. [HN]

And, lest you forget your flatwork, remember “8 Movements that aren’t in the new FEI dressage tests, but should be” (They’re the same movements they forgot to put in the new eventing dressage tests). [HN]

SmartPak Product of the Day: In honor of George Morris, we present the Wilker’s Custom Winning Colors Saddle Pad in bright purple. Because chances are, you’re not one of the hair-netted, spit-shined youngsters riding for Mr. Morris this week in Florida and a cheerful, cushy new pad will give you the same little shot of happy that a correctly placed stirrup iron gives George. These 100 percent cotton quilted pads are durable and washer and dryer safe. And they’ve got those gripper pads on the underside to help prevent slipping.

Video of the Day:A classic look at the (black tie) 1959 National Horse Show, narrated by George Morris, back where our team’s  turnout was “impeccable,” course walks “were more social than technical” and the jumping was preceded by Roman chariot racing chaos.



From Horse Nation: 11 Resolutions You Won’t Keep

These resolutions ain’t gonna happen. But it’s fun to dream…

1. I will improve my lower leg and pay homage to George Morris by riding without stirrups 10 minutes every day.

Feel the burn

Feel the burn


2. I will clean my bit and bridle after every use.



3. I will not run errands in public wearing the world’s most unflattering pants (breeches), helping ensure I remain single forever.

Because my butt doesn't look like this

Because my butt doesn’t look like this


4. I will not shoot daggers of fire at people with my eyes when asked: “You have a riding lesson today? Why do you still need lessons?”

5. I will work on my spoiled-rotten horse’s manners — during a time he’s not knocking me over itching his 200-pound head on my shoulder, snatching a bite of grass, picking my pockets, rubbing his nose on my pants….

6. I will stay classy and limit my use of duct tape on tack. Or at least get fun, colored duct tape.

duct tape

A rainbow of ways to keep my galloping boots secure!


7. I will waste no energy being jealous of people who have regular lessons, horse trailers, trucks, dressage saddles, soft hands, legs longer than my stubs, trust funds, butts that look good in white breeches….

8. I will try to also display photos of human family members in my cube.

horse cube


9. I will not longingly fondle other people’s trucks and trailers in public. At least not while they’re looking.

A rig in my price range

A rig in my price range


10. I will try sodoku, ginko biloba, or perhaps less box o’wine, in an earnest effort to improve my chances of remembering my course, my dressage test  and where in the tack room I left my phone.

11. I will not be the craziest Crazy Horse Lady at the barn.

crazy horse lady


Go Riding!


See the original post on Horse Nation here.

Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

Christmas Skillz

Christmas Skillz

Naughty or nice? Check out the elfish grins on these two. Boyd Martin and Dom Schramm rock the season’s finest fashions at  Trading Aces syndicate  members Katie and Cuyler Walker’s party, celebrating the season with hundreds of members of the equestrian community united across the disciplines by their love of horses and hideous sweaters.  [Boyd and Silva’s Blog]


Ultimate Canadian. Team Wallace announced the sale of Rick Wallace’s upper level partner, Ultimate Victory, a.k.a. Cody, to Canadian Jane Tourikian for her daughter Natalie to ride. “I am very happy that Cody is going to an up-and-coming event rider,” said Rick on Facebook. “He has been an incredible partner and we have had many successes over the years. I look forward to seeing Natalie and Cody make their mark in the coming years.” [Team Wallace FB]

Jingle NOW! Hurry! You’ve got until tonight at midnight to enter your submission to the Christmas Jingle Contest Presented by Point Two for a chance to win a Point Two Pro Air Jacket values at $675. Doesn’t matter if you’ve been naughty or nice all year – just be clever. Find out more here.

Colorado rides for Claire Davis. The Colorado horse community rallied over the weekend to raise money for the family of school shooting victim Claire Davis, who was an avid equestrian. 5280 Equestrian Center held a multi-discipline game day, featuring everything from barrel racing to apple bobbing to raise funds for the Davis family. [CBS Local]

Police track sadistic slayer of six minis. Australian police continue the hunt for the person who slaughtered six miniature horses Friday night. []

Horse survives freak “sledding” accident. Nike the horse laid down for a snooze and instead because an equine toboggan, sliding 63 ft. down a hill into a stand of oaks, which flipped the horse upside down, lodging his head between two solid trunks. [CBS Local]

Hercules saves lives. The 2,000-pound Belgian mascot of the University of Minnesota vet school, gives blood to save other horses, poses for calendars, paints with his hooves and struts his stuff with a snazzy hat during polo fundraisers. He’s even got his own Facebook page.  See how vet student Zach Loppnow coaxed the hero out of his shell. [CBS Local]

SmartPak Product of the Day: Leave cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer if you want tonight, but if you really feel like treating your horse, order up some Willie Muffins. The all-natural mini-muffins come in flavors your horse will love, like apple, graham cracker and water melon. They’ve even got peppermint for sweet pony breath.

Video of the Day: 

Brits are so polite. Enjoy how this TV news reporter still says “please” as he’s falling off a horse while getting some tips with last weekend’s Olympia Grand Prix winner Ben Maher And find out why the lights went out when he hit the ground:


Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

Photo credit: Doc Ferrer, Woodland Democrat Photo credit: Doc Ferrer, Woodland Democrat

Today, Main Street. Tomorrow, Head of the Lake. Four-star rider Natalie Rooney’s daughter parades her steed, er, reindeer, in the Woodland Holiday Parade in Woodland, Calif. Her mom’s horse, Jedi, was also in the parade, along with seven other antler-clad equines pulling a sleigh (Natalie’s truck). After the North Pole, Jedi hopes to head to Rolex.


That’s what you get for eating Seabiscuit. Meat from horses used in French pharmaceutical labs accidentally landed on French dinner plates. Authorities arrested 21 people in a pre-dawn raid, which busted a network of vets, computer experts and others who allegedly worked together to fake documents that allowed the horses to be processed as food. [ABC News]

Yo Eventing Nation wraps. Chillax, no need to rhyme. Just wrap your horse’s legs in the most creative way possible to celebrate the season and the invention of STAYONS Instant Poultice Wraps from Hamilton BioVet. To enter, snap a pic of your wrap job (must include one legitimate horse leg) and sent it to [email protected] by midnight tonight.  We’ll post our favorites, then your vote selects the top three who get a prize pack from Hamilton Biovet. [Wrap Your Horse’s Legs Presented by Hamilton BioVet]

As if you need another reason to head to Ocala in February: The USEA presents the 2014 Instructors’ Certification Program Symposium on Feb 10 and 11 at Longwood Farm South. This year’s symposium features dressage with Jacqueline Brooks and show jumping with Aaron Vale. [USEA]

Horsey onesies not so snuggly. At least their customer service reps aren’t. Horse and Hound sadly relays reports of customer service rep rudeness unleashed on people trying to buy the fleecy one-piece outfits. Apparently, horses across the U.K. are  still waiting for their $240 loungewear months after their people forked out the $240. And we thought those French horses had it bad. [H&H]

Mary & Joseph use protection. (Not like it made a difference last time.) British press has been buzzing about how the children who played Mary and Joseph, aged 8 and 5, in a church nativity play were required to wear helmets. The owner of the donkeys used in the production insisted on the helmets, which were easily hidden by the kids’ costumes. Newspapers ran headlines like “Elf and Safety forces Mary to ride on donkey with hard hat.” []

SmartPak Product of the Day. Jingle bells – for safety dashing through the snow or anywhere else. SmartPak’s got Heavy Duty Bell Boots with double velcro for $19.95. The hook and loop tabs are sewn down for extra strength. The boots don’t jingle, but the change in your wallet will after not spending a ton on these necessities.

Video of the Day: In case holiday shopping doesn’t already make your head spin, whoa ho ho:


From Horse & Hound: 6 Characters You’ll Find at Every Horse Trial

The Inflatable Cowboy is not one of them

Horse & Hound presents six characters of the eventing world you’ll encounter at every horse trial. Have you seen one lately? ARE you one?

They include:

The Top Trainer: “…the trainer everybody wants. Most people are too scared to ring and ask. Actually, he’s available for 50 pounds an hour…”

The Course Designer: “…A former multi-medalist, he had to swim his horse through the water at the Mexico Olympics, so he has no truck with anyone complaining about water fences. Today’s generation of riders are just so incredibly feeble…”

 The Hard-working Amateur: “…constantly exhausted, she hasn’t been in bed after 4 am for a decade….her mood in the office is entirely dependent on the previous weekend’s eventing result — choose the week after a double clear to ask her a favor and steer clear following a run out…”

The Old Stager: “…she has more metal in her body than a Posche. Various eventing injuries have left her registering 10/10 on the lameness scale and mean she hasn’t trotted up her own horse for 20 years…”

See if you recognize anyone here.

Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor


A "jumper" on a jumper. Get it?

We couldn’t help bringing back this shot of jockey A.P. McCoy on Dr. Livingstone resplendent in Christmas sweaters, er, jumpers.  The horse was painted as part of the U.K. Jockey Club’s interactive advent calendar that they ran online leading up to Christmas last year. Livingstone’s sweater was the least itchy Christmas sweater ever.

Events Opening today: Poplar Place Farm January H.T. (Georgia, A-3)


Australia and the international eventing community mourn the loss of Jim Dunn, former Australian eventing selector chairman and Chef d’Equipe to the Australian Eventing team when the Aussies won gold on home turf at the 2000 Olympics. Among many accolades, he received the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to equestrian sport. Dunn died after a long illness at the age of 67.  [horsetalk]

What are you waiting for? You’ve only got until midnight tonight to send a selfie of you and your horse for a chance to win a pair of breeches from the Tredstep Ireland Symphony collection. We’ll pick our top 10 favorite selfies, then you’ll get to vote on three winners who will receive brand new breeches. Hey, even if you don’t win, you can use that selfie as a holiday card pic. Send your best to [email protected]

Need a $20,400 saddle to decorate your home? You’re in luck! Hermes offers a miniature, arty version of the Steinkraus saddle in grass green Niloticus crocodile leather (which is clearly far superior to regular old crocodile leather) complete with a cool nickel-plated support that suspends the creation above your coffee table, or wherever you choose to display a $20,400 mini-saddle. [hermes]

Andrew Nicholson defends fellow Kiwi Jock Paget in this news clip from New Zealand. He says he’s confident Paget did not act intentionally and says the incident’s a warning to riders who rely on feed manufacturers to test the food their horses ingest. Nicholson also talks about being a bit in the shadow of the Olympic bling of  other riders. The interview was conducted in the  “Mark Todd Room ” at the Australian High Performance Sport offices. [3news]

But what do they dream about? has a nifty feature explaining equines’ built-in “sleep apparatus” and how it works. Horses don’t need as much REM sleep as other animals, though no one’s sure exactly how much they require. In all, experts say horses probably need about four and half hours of sleep, total, each night. The rest of the time they plot how to take off one another’s blankets. [thehorse]

Who moonwalks like no other and rocks a Christmas sweater like a shaggy champ? Socks, the Shetland pony! Admired by millions when his online dancing video went viral earlier this year, the pony’s back in a new version of the ad. “We are delighted to see that he is once again showing off not just his dance moves and new Fair Isle knitwear, but also the spectacular scenery of this unique and magical part of the world,” said Steve Mathieson of VisitScotland. []

SmartPak Product of the Day: You’re probably still savoring those Thanksgiving leftovers. But what did your horse get for the holiday? Maybe not even a day off. Make it up to him with his own special feast: Equine Edible’s Bran Mash – Old Time Recipe. It’s super easy, even for the culinarily challenged–just add water. It’s like instant oatmeal packs for horses, but probably tastes better. With peppermint, white willow bark and yucca it’s a natural remedy for aches and pains. Plus your pony will have lovely breath.

Video of the Day:

If this lovely little movie by Rebecca Manley doesn’t warm you heart, you probably don’t have one.

The Girl & the Horse from Rebecca Manley on Vimeo.

Holiday Gift Ideas: OTTB Pride

Enough with the “H,” the “O” and whatever those antler things are on Trakhener butts.

There’s finally a sweet logo for the rest of us.

“When I realized that all the high-end European horses had their own brands, I thought that creating one for OTTBs would be a great way to add some panache to these already sophisticated, but overlooked horses,” Maryland OTTB devotee Caitlin Taylor said.

Taylor worked up a logo worthy of the lineage and created a line of products that (tastefully, of course) allows us to brag about our racetrack rejects, er, royalty. The logo’s available on saddle pads and ear bonnets, blankets, decals, stall tags and a great stretchy long-sleeve, half-zip shirt.  There’s even a collection of classy brushes.

What makes them even cooler?

A portion of the proceeds go to help OTTB charities, so a gift for your horsey friends (or yourself!) is also a gift to horses in need. While Taylor’s based in Maryland, she donates to OTTB charities across the country.

Taylor, a classical dressage rider,  fosters OTTBs and owns two.  Cinnamon is 12 years old and Cato is 4. “Cinnamon has debilitating injuries from the track so she is just a walk/trot horse,” Taylor said. “Cato had a slab fracture at age three that has been repaired with a screw. I’m hoping that with that surgery and 12 to 18 months off, I can get him sound enough to be a low-level dressage horse.”

“I find that getting the horse as balanced and fit as possible gives them a great foundation,” Taylor said. “If I ever get my hands on a sound OTTB, I might try jumping, but I’m a sucker for the broken ones!”


“Creating this OTTB logo is the most important thing I’ve ever done,” Taylor said. “It means everything to me to be a part of the OTTB movement and to be able to contribute to the organization’s that rescue them.”


And go buy stuff:


Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

Best use of Thanksgiving cornucopia Best use of Thanksgiving cornucopia

Given, the “Hunger Games” cornucopia is wicked cool, but the ones Robert Yates made for a British cross country course look way more fun. Yates specializes in weaving reeds around metal frames to make, among other things, Venetian gondolas and African-style villages you jump in and out of for events like Badminton, Burghley and Bramham. See more at Brampton Willows. Who said majoring in basket weaving was a dead end?

Events opening soon: Ocala Horse Properties Winter I H.T. (Florida, A-3)


Tail thieves strike again in Indiana. Indy cops are investigating a series of incidents involving hair cut from horses’ manes and tail – not by their owners. The Horse reports that horse hair can retail from $40 to $200 a pound for horse hair extensions, jewelry and musical instruments. My former mustang, Vinnie Barbarino, orneriest and smartest little horse in the world who broke every piece of tack, fencing and all my toes, was a victim of similar crime spree here in Colorado a few years ago. When I told my trainer about it she offered one word: “karma.” [thehorse]

“Don’t puke at C.” The Chronicle features a funny collections of readers’ favorite sayings from their trainers, including “No twerking.” [COTH]

Get Wiser about your horses’ supplements. Not a DVM, but still want add exactly the right critical goodies to your horse’s nutrition? No prob. Kentucky Performances Products just launched a new line of supps called Wiser Concepts Nutritional Supplements, available only through vets. Work with your vet to find the ideal supplements for your horse’s unique needs. Check it out:

Double check your gate latches. A Utah woman was killed over the weekend as she was trying to catch her horses who’d escaped from her property and was hit by a car. The horses were unharmed. [KSL]

Drive by shooting kills Amish buggy horse. Drive -bys in Amish Country? Honestly, what’s the world coming to? A horse pulling five passengers in a buggy in rural Lancaster County was shot by someone as they drove by in a car. []

Smartpak Product of the Day: This winter, limit the times you land on your butt to genuine falls off your horse. The new, Pajar Ice Gripper Boots are the Wheelies of winter. These toasty, water-proof, wool lined winter boots have a hinged ice gripper that you can flip out when you’re navigating across icy areas and flip back when you’re on solid ground. Brilliant! Hopefully, they’ll make them for horse shoes next, so you can simply flip out studs when you need them.

Video of the Day: As you enjoy this one, check out the dog, who seems to think doing these things with horses or people, is kind of weird.


Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

(Except the one banned from racing for 10 years)

[Lingfield Park]

What’s wrong with this promo poster for British track Lingfield Park’s Flat Jockeys Handicap Hurdle Race? (Besides the jockey’s  creepy expressions.)  One of them’s  facing a pretty serious handicap indeed. Eddie Ahern’s been banned from racing for horse fixing for 10 years — one of the longest penalties ever doled out by the British Horseracing Authority. Horse & Hound busted them for the mix-up. The posterboy fail is reminiscent of the WEG poster featuring endurance rider Ali Al Muhairi, who is currently banned from his sport for four years for doping.


Hot Toddy. Mark Todd’s aiming for his 7th Olympics, though he regrets being too tall for the homestretch. “”I’ve always been very keen on racing and I was sort of a frustrated jockey – I grew up too big,” he told the Yorkshire Post. [YorkshirePost]

Teenaged hunter shoots Shetland. A crew of kiddies in Vermont will not be getting riding lessons for Christmas, as  Ladybug, a lesson pony, was shot and killed by a 14-year-old hunter. [Rutlandherald] Horse Nation offers a few tips on keeping your horse safe. [HN]

African horse sickness studied in… you guessed it — Africa. Researchers completed a investigation of viruses including African horse sickness and hoof and mouth disease in Ethiopia that has the potential to improve strategies for controlling and fighting diseases like these (and camel pox! ick!). []

What’s your type? Horse&Hound gives us “6 types of event horse you’ll find at every horse trial,” including “the amateur’s dream,” “the wannabe dressage horse,” and  “the mad one.” [H&H]

 “Savor the beauty of lush Dressage.” Nope, not an ad for drunken pas de deux, this is a headline in a story about a new luxury enclave of “estate homes” in Canada. The 4,000 square-foot homes lack equine extras (in fact, “horse” is not mentioned at all), but do include “breathtaking spiral staircases” and “floor-to-ceiling stone fireplaces.” [Calgary Sun]

SmartPak Product of the Day:  Lube it up for happier sessions. Clipping sessions, people, get your minds out of the gutter! Each spritz of Oster Kool Lube is an investment in the life of your blades. This stuff cools off your clipper blades while you’re sculpting your horse’s winter ‘do, and prolongs the life of blades if you spray a bit on them when you’re finished. Plus, because it doesn’t contain scary CFCs, it won’t deplete the ozone layer, just help deplete your horse’s woolly mammoth layer.

Video of the Day: Clipped cuteness in Germany, complete with ewok ears and shaggy legwarmer  legs.



Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor


Open bar at the competitors' party is not always a good idea

Apparently, it was a wild night in Bavaria. An unnamed 26-year-old Bavarian man was stumbling home from a party a few weeks ago when he decided he could walk no further in the freezing cold, according to the local paper. Spotting a nice, cozy barn he wandered in. Perhaps a deep-seated survival instinct prevented him from curling up under the hooves. Perhaps he was trying to go for a ride. Either way, the horse’s owner found him passed out when she arrived at 8:15 the next morning. The horse, apparently, didn’t let the extra layer interfere with his breakfast. Neither did his neighbor. The police arrived to help with his dismount.

Events Closing Today: Pine Top Thanksgiving H.T. (Georgia, A-3)


Aussies in their underwear. Last year, the organizers of the Barbury Horse Trials painted Laura Collett’s horse with the Union Jack. Aussies, as we know, are apt to take things farther. This year the organizers of the Australian International Three-Day Event painted Olympic silver medalist Megan Jones. Check her out riding  in body paint  – and underwear, don’t get too excited. [horseandcountrytv]

Check out Caitlin Silliman’s new website. Great pics and video of her with Hoku, Remi (and Boyd & Silva, of course).  [sillimaneventing]

Noggin knowledge. The Jockey Club is offering free concussion testing for all jockeys who use the Jockey Health Information Systems, a database that tracks their health and helps emergency medical staff access info immediately in the event of an injury and help jockeys and their docs make return-to-ride decisions. [bloodhorse]

Little girl, big heart. Twelve-year-old Paula Tover is auctioning off her filly, Oreo, to raise money for an 11-year-old suffering from cancer. The girl felt helpless while her grandfather was critically ill. When she heard a boy her age was stricken, “I decided I should help,” she said, even though they’d never met. [Billings Gazette]

Anti-colic Activia? British researchers analyzed horse guts searching for explanations for frequent unhappiness in the area and found that colic may be very much about bugs – of the bacterial variety. []

Calvary craziness. Check out these 21 historic pics of crazy brave members of the armed forces training on horseback, including Italians descending the “Mombrone,” a 20-foot drop from the window of a ruined castle that was kind of like their final exam.

Please help one of our own.  Last Monday, trainer Amy Lanier, who coaches eventers in the Tennessee and North Georgia area, was kicked in the head, resulting in a traumatic brain injury and skull fracture. Currently Amy is in the ICU in a medically-induced coma after emergency surgery to repair her skull fracture and is  stable. “Amy is one of the absolutely strongest women I know,” writes student and friend Marisa Goode.” Her husband and three little girls are hanging in there, and are incredibly tough, but Amy is going to have a long and expensive road to recovery ahead of her. Her barn family has set up a GoFundMe account to help aid in her recovery and medical costs, because as we all know, a catastrophic injury isn’t only physically devastating, it can be financially devastating.” Give what you can.

SmartPak Product of the Day: As a 5’1″ person with a 16.1-hand horse, I have wobbled on many  inappropriate items in order to reach my horse’s butt/head/braids. The Stand ‘N Store Step Stool not only is a much safer option than upside-down buckets, shavings bags and folding chairs (very bad idea), it also keeps things handy. I know taller people also appreciate it’s durability and nifty removable try for little things that you will no longer need to dig to find, but it’s a personal favorite because it does what little else can: make me taller and more organized. I’d like one for my kitchen.

Video of the Day: ‘Roos at the races! Not that anything like this could happen at Adelaide this weekend, but check out footage from a kangaroo invasion of an Australian (horse) race track.


Tuesday News & Notes from Cavalor

Buck Almighty. Photo submitted by Victoria Garland.

Reader Victoria Garland and her two friends traveled 23 hours just to witness Galway greatness. “We’re huge Buck fans, so watching him with Petite Flower was a huge deal!” she said. “He’s like Bruce Almighty Jr. Praise Buck!” Buck’s CCI3* win was even more holy awesome because the mare was bred by his father.

Events Closing Today: MeadowCreek Park H.T.- The Fall Social Event  (Texas, Area V)

Your Tuesday News:

The Amy Barrington Recovery Page posted a heartwarming video of Amy venturing out on her own two feet. The video made the announcement that Amy is now “off of stall rest,” so to speak. It goes without saying the massive outpouring of support from around the country is nothing short of impressive as Amy continues to recover from her brain injury. Go Amy. [Video]

Cincinnati suddenly got a lot more appealing. None other than David O’Connor will be the keynote speaker at the next  USEA Annual Meeting and Convention. Find out what else is planned here. [USEA]

Think your horse is heavy on the forehand? Check out the competitors of the heavy-horse pull event at Farm Fair International in Edmonton. The draft horse pairs train all year to pull a flat-bottomed sled loaded with cement blocks. Each round, more weight is added to the 4,000-lb. starting load. [Edmonton Journal]

Girl, pony, saved from swampy death. A 13-year-old German girl spent hours calling from help while up to her chest in mud with  her Shetland pony after she tried to rescue him when he got stuck in a swamp. Hundreds of volunteers scoured the area and found the desperate pair after midnight. Neither were seriously hurt. But the pony is seriously cute, even when soggy. []

Zebras could make excellent eventers. Except for the whole wild animal part. This month, three rare Hartmann’s Mountain zebras were born in zoos around the world. There’s only about 8,200 left on the planet. Though smaller than Teddy O’Connor, these little guys can run 40 miles per hour, jump six feet and go four days without water. The dressage, however, might be a challenge. [Horse Nation]

Thoroughbred bridesmaid didn’t have to wear a hideous dress. Alex Well’s bridesmaid, Toffee, just had to sport a purple halter and a bow to match the maid of honor for the wedding of Wells, 28, of Nottinghamshire, U.K. to Graham Sales, 29. Sales was in no doubt about where he stood in the family: second to the 17-year-old mare. “Alex goes to see Toffee twice a day and will spend weekends with her, so I am always competing with her for attention,” he told [Metro]

You can lead a (carriage) horse to water – for now. As the days of carriage horses in New York City seem to be ending, the New York Times featured an interesting story about some of the historic fountains built for the horses (and dogs) back in the metropolis’s equine hay day, where 40,000 horses clip-clopped around the city’s streets. [New York Times]

SmartPak Product of the Day: At first my gelding hated his bra. But soon, he got used to it. It’s the price one has to pay for being blessed with a very, um, generous, chest.  His lingerie of choice, the Stretchies Shoulder Guard, prevents his less-than-perfectly-fitting blanket from rubbing. The elastic, velcro-adjustable belly band keeps it from sliding, very important, because as all geldings know, an uncomfortable bra is the worst.

Video of the Day: Buck doesn’t only have human fans. Dogs love him too. Here, he gets a canine escort at Red Hills. In 2009, his approach to the Sunken Road at Rolex was foiled by a pooch. Neither was likely trained to pee in a toilet.