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Tilly Berendt


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Thursday Video: Carolina Through the Ears

I’ve been back from the Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International for just a couple of days, but I’m still basking in the glow of how much I enjoyed the event and, particularly, its very cool Ian Stark-designed CCI4*-S course. This is a seriously up-to-standard four-star, and one that’s a great prep for big spring aims to come — but even with that in mind, we still saw a couple of first-timers at the level. One of those was Elisa Wallace’s Maryland CCI3* winner Renkum Corsair, who finished 15th after a steady clear across the country, looking every bit an upper-level horse on his way around. Now, you can see the round from Elisa’s perspective with a great hatcam video. Go Eventing!

Win The Ultimate Trip to the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk FRH. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

‘Tis the season for seriously beefed-up prize packages for eventing fans! Yesterday, we shared details of Ride iQ’s competition to win an all-expenses-paid trip for two to any horse show in the world; today, we’re back with a prize bundle that gives you everything you could possibly need to have the trip of a lifetime to this spring’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS Equestrian, with your best pals!

This year’s event takes place from April 26–30, and one Grand Prize winner in the Defender VIP Insiders Package Sweepstakes will receive:

  • Four VIP Hospitality Passes for the 2023 EEI Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event
  • A VIP course walk for four people during the event
  • Defender-branded swag and USEF-branded swag
  • One Preferred Tailgate space for the 2023 event which will include six general admission tickets for Saturday, April 29

Not too shabby of an offering, all things considered! Entries are open until 11.59 p.m. ET on April 1, and you can make sure your name is in the draw by submitting an entry here. Good luck, and Go Eventing!

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Join in With a Leslie Law Training Session

Just the other day, we stumbled upon our new favourite video: Boyd, deep in a dressage training session, being coached simultaneously by both wife Silva and German legend Bettina Hoy. The video, which took the audio from the trio’s mic’d up headsets, offered a fascinating insight into just how much focus on the fine details goes into a truly top-notch performance.

So now, of course, we’re utterly delighted to see that the mic’d up training video trend appears to be catching on; this time, it’s the US Equestrian Team who’ve jumped onto the format, mic’ing up Leslie Law for a recent team training session. It’s a short but sweet video, but packed with plenty of little insights that make it well worth the watch — and perfect for those of us who can’t get ourselves into a Leslie Law clinic any time soon!

Poor performance? Sour attitude?

Neigh-Lox® Advanced provides a scientifically advanced blend of ingredients that work synergistically to maintain your horse’s digestive tract in peak condition by supporting both the gastrointestinal tissues and the beneficial bacteria that populate the gut. Maintaining a healthy digestive tract reduces the risk of colonic and gastric ulcers, colic, laminitis related to hindgut acidosis, and oxidative stress that damages digestive tract tissues themselves. Horses with a well-balanced GI tract have good appetites, absorb more nutrients from their diets, maintain a strong immune system, and stay healthier.

The horse that matters to you matters to us®.

Have you grabbed your winter running horse stickers? Check them out at

Who Jumped It Best: The 1* Oxer-to-Triple Brush at SRF Carolina International (Part Two!)

Who Jumped It Best?

Earlier this week, we took a look at one of the earliest combinations on Beth Perkins’s Dark Waterspoon, LLC CCI1* course at the Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International, which came up at 7AB and featured a clipped timber oxer on a positive four-stride line to a skinny brush at B. Then, we had a look at half the class’s competitors and how they tackled that A element – and now, we’re looking at the other half and how they got over the B. You know what to do: scroll down through the following photos, then cast your vote for the best effort at the bottom of the page. Go Eventing!

Kelsey Seidel and Diamant de J’Adore YSH. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Gianna Fernandez and Excel Star Vero Amore. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Jasmine Hobart and Dresden Green. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Jordyn Mary and PS Master Cobra. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Lee Maher and HSH Explosion. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Mallory Stiver and Hennessy Venom. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Samantha Homeyer and Final Notice. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International: [Website] [Entries] [Schedule] [Scores] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage] [EN’s Form Guide] [Volunteer]

Win a Trip to ANY Event of Your Choice with Ride iQ

Will Coleman’s 2021 winner, Off The Record, adds another Aachen rosette to his collection, finishing tenth on his return. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Have you got an equestrian event bucket list stashed away somewhere? Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of a trip to Badminton, or fancy a week spent at a European Championship or Pan-Ams, or you fancy the crème-de-la-crème all-discipline showcase of CHIO Aachen (truly the ultimate bucket list event, if you ask me!). But travelling around the world to follow horse sport isn’t necessarily a cheap endeavor, which can make some of those dreams feel a little out of reach.

Enter Ride iQ, the clever app-based learning system that allows equestrian education to be accessible to everyone, no matter where they’re based. Now, they’re expanding that idea with a rather brilliant contest that’ll allow one lucky winner to pick an event of their choosing, grab a pal, and plan the trip of a lifetime — all expenses paid.

Entries close on April 5 at midnight ET, and entering is totally free. Click here to get your name in the hat, and start coming up with your destination of choice — we reckon the EN archives are a pretty good place to start hunting for some inspiration!


Tuesday News & Notes from Kentucky Performance Products

Wow — what an enormous couple of days it’s been for eventing news. Between the release of Badminton entries (with no waitlist for the first time that I can remember!), the passing of Oratorio and Primmore’s Pride, the swapping of nationalities of Georgie Goss (nee Spence; formerly British, now Irish), the semi-retirement of Vanir Kamira, and, honestly, I’m probably still forgetting something, I’ve barely had time to even process my jet lag from Carolina. Something tells me it’ll hit me at some point this week though. Wish me luck!

Events Opening Today: Riga Meadow at Coole Park Combined TestWindRidge Farm Spring H.T.Texas Rose Horse Park H.T.- Modified Pending USEF ApprovalStable View Local Charities H.T.Catalpa Corner May Madness Horse TrialsThe Event at Skyline

Events Closing Today: CDCTA Spring H.T.Pine Hill Spring H.T.Rocking Horse Spring H.T.Stable View Spring 2/3/4* and H.T.

Tuesday News & Notes from Around the World:

If you’re a fan of showjumping, you’re probably a fan of supermare HH Azur. But where did McLain Ward’s superstar — who’s now won two Rolex Grand Slam legs — come from? Here’s the full story.

Despite vocal demand and a whopping 25 years of development, UK vets are reporting limited uptake for the new strangles vaccine. The vaccine, which is 94% effective in the prevention of this nasty respiratory virus, could be a huge boon for busy yards with plenty of horses coming and going. Here’s more on that.

Jessica Phoenix is an unarguable champion of OTTBs — and this lovely piece sheds some light on where the delightful Wabbit and Mike came from. I just really love horses with human names, tbh.

Sponsor Corner: I once groomed at a five-star for a horse who would go on hunger strike the second he arrived anywhere new. That is EXTREMELY stressful, frankly, especially when you know there’s a gruelling cross-country challenge to come. This useful article from KPP explains how to increase your horse’s appetite and avoid those quiet panics in a temporary stable somewhere in Germany.

Watch This: 

In honour of the great Primmore’s Pride, who died yesterday, relive his showjumping round with Pippa Funnell at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Who Jumped It Best: The 1* Oxer-to-Triple Brush at SRF Carolina International (Part One!)

Who Jumped It Best?

I’ve had a lot of fun at the Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International this weekend, but I’m willing to bet even I didn’t reach the lofty heights of fun achieved by the lucky competitors in the CCI1* division, who closed out yesterday’s cross-country over a positive, interesting course by Beth Perkins, who designed not just this level’s track but also the Training, Modified, Prelim, Intermediate, and 2* tracks. This level is such a boon to the calendar, and I hope more and more FEI events start adding it into their roster – it’s a great way for riders and horses alike to gain experience competing at the international levels without the pressure and stress that can come with stepping up to 2*.

This course in particular was one that had me itching to saddle up and head for the start box: it covered much of the same ground as the higher-level classes earlier in the day, with plenty of terrain, stretches in and out of the woods, and clever, educational combinations that rewarded a forward ride and gave competitors a super feeling in the air. One of those was fence 7AB, the second combination of the course, which was situated in the in-field just before the first wooded segment of the track. This question, which was preceded by a single fence at 6, featured a MIM-clipped oxer at the A element, followed by a skinny brush fence at B on a positive four stride line that came up nice and easy if you got a balanced, forward shot to the A element. We’ll be taking a look at that B element later in the week, but for now, let’s turn our attention to the A. Cast your eye over these shots, and then scroll on down to the bottom of the page to cast your vote for the pair who you think tackled the question best in preparation for the line to come!

Caroline Martin and Cascadella 8. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Kelsey Seidel and Water Mill Smooth. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Lainey Phillips and Global Excellencia Z. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Anna Antrobius and Dark Energy. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Maggie Buchanan and 3, 2, 1, Blastoff. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Sandra Holden and Evil Munchkin. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

You know what to do, folks – cast your vote here:

Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International: [Website] [Entries] [Schedule] [Scores] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage] [EN’s Form Guide] [Volunteer]

Walk the Carolina Course That’s Keeping Ian Stark Up at Night


Welcome back to the atmospheric and, let’s be real, just utterly beautiful Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International, where cross-country is just a couple of hours away from starting. Our primary focus for today? The Yanmar America CCI4*-S, which is arguably one of the toughest events of the level in the US, and provides a super preparation for long-formats to come. We caught up with designer Ian Stark to get to know the challenge to come.

“We’ve tweaked it a bit, but we kept the same flow to the course,” explains Ian, who considers Carolina’s spot in the calendar an enormous educational opportunity for horses and riders alike. “When I was asked to come here originally, the brief was and my thoughts have always been that it’s to give the horses a good run before Kentucky. There’s plenty of opportunities in different events, but when I was competing, I always liked to have a good, tough, attacking course for a horse before a big five-star, so that’s kind of what my aim has been here: to make it educational but make it a challenge, and have the riders riding their horses and the horses jumping big fences. I don’t go for a lot of twists and turns; it’s still challenging and they’re meeting fences off turns, but there’s not a lot of pulling horses around in the middle of them. I’m not a great fan of that. And, if you’re going to do that, then do that when it’s Championship or the five-star or the final run of the season, the big game for the horse for the season. I want it to be a good competition here. I want horses and riders to go away ready for the next one, is what I’m always thinking.”

And with that in mind, let’s head out on course!


Distance: 3728m

Optimum time: 6:33

Efforts: 36

Fence one starts you off nicely, with its wide, straightforward profile and relatively low jumpable height. Its function isn’t to test, nor to educate: it’s simply to get competitors going in a confident rhythm and help horses flow away from their pals in the warm-up across the road, so it’s really designed to be a bit of a ‘gimme’ fence. I mean, I still wouldn’t jump it, but for these guys, there shouldn’t be a second thought.

After clearing that, they’ll continue on the left-handed curving line they set out on right out of the startbox, abutting yesterday’s showjumping warm-up area. This one’s similar to the first in terms of its function, its straightforwardness, and its complete lack of appeal to me, a career Training level bumbler. In a really lovely touch, though, it’s been dedicated to the late, much-loved Richard Picken, who played such a significant part in so many riders’ lives — and I know that they’ll be sending a little bit of that buzz they get from the feeling of being airborne over a big table straight on to him.

You’d better hope your steering wheel turns well to the left early here on the Carolina course, because after crossing the dirt road, there’s yet another left-handed turn into a fence, this time the A element of the first combination on the track. After that, though, they’ll get to use the other rein for a second, which will probably feel quite novel. 3A is a decent-sized table set into the fence line of the showjumping arena, followed up by a fairly wide skinny question at B. This shouldn’t cause any issues, and if it does, that’ll be a sure sign that the horse and rider who’ve struggled need to fill a couple of gaps in their foundation before their spring long-format run.

Then, it’s a quick dash out the other side of the showjumping ring over this beefy timber boi at 4, which will have the picket fencing on its take-off side removed. There’s lots of other distractions around, though, so this is an early opportunity to really make sure horses are focused on the job at hand, and not on the fact that the Carolina Club does a really good Bloody Mary.

The next fence they’ll meet after galloping away from the hustle and bustle of the arena area is 5, this big, wide table out in the field. It’s a real attacking, straightforward fence, and will give a great feeling before the second combination on the course, which comes up after a wiggly route to the right back towards the arena.

That combination, when they meet it, is 6AB: a slim timber rolltop flanked by trees, followed by a left-handed dogleg turn to a right-handed brush corner. That’s a pretty chunky corner, all things considered, but the line is clear and the brush makes it feel a bit more forgiving — plus, the four stride distance comes up neatly. It’s not a challenging question, per se, but riders who haven’t yet got their horses focused could chance a drive-by at the B element. Most, though, will have a nice clear and a bit of a chance to remind their horses that there’ll be plenty more to come soon.

Fence 7, which follows a reasonably short but not insignificant gallop stretch, is a single fence, but it’s indubitably related to the combination that follows it at 8ABC. This smallish hanging log is followed swiftly by another of the same stamp, situated in the same fence line but effectively set on a 20m half circle. Once they jump the first, they’ll bounce themselves off that far fence line and find themselves a nice line to take them over the second hanging log and straight on over another at an offset angle at 8B, and then down to a triple brush at 8C. Finding the direct line will make this a gridwork exercise, though the undulating ground in the lead-up to C adds some extra interest.

Here’s a closer look at that C element, which is stacked with brush:

Next, they’ll head down to the far end of the field and jump another low, wide table at 9 — this one slightly inexplicably decorated to the hilt with baseball memorabilia.

Batter up and all that! No one should end up in the dugout here.

Fence 10 is the first question we’ll find in the wooded segment of the course, and it’s a familiar face: the keyhole of last year returns, and again, some riders have looked at it askance and wondered if that hole is just a little bit small. But, Ian assures us, it’s been expanded and fits into the FEI guidelines for a keyhole — if only just. It’s a relief to anyone who first walked it before it got a haircut, though.

“The builders re-brushed it but we left the old brush in, so it was the same size as last year,” Ian says. “As I explained to them carefully, in a year, a lot of that brush can sag so it was definitely a little bit tighter. So we’ve just opened it and it just looks rounder and easier now.”

His goal here isn’t to hinder anyone’s efforts, he points out: “I try and help them, the riders, sometimes — not always. I lie in bed and think of how I can get them,” he laughs, before turning serious for a moment. “No, I’m joking. I went to bed before seven o’clock last night with the idea of just lying in bed and watching the telly, and I fell asleep and I woke up thinking that I’d forgotten to put a tree in the ditch in the trakehner or on the mound last year, I put a tree in the ditch to stop anybody drifting left and landing in the ditch and I woke up and I had no idea that the telly was on. It was dark outside, I have no idea what time it was. I sent [course builder] Tyson a message saying ‘put the tree in, put the tree in in the morning!’ I don’t even remember doing it properly. In the morning, he said, ‘What were you on?’ I kind of get excited. I know the riders think I can be a bit of a pain in the ass and they ask me questions, but I spent a lot of time worrying about it as well. I don’t care if the riders are frightened, but I want to get it right for the horses. That’s my huge thing in my head: if the horses can’t read my questions, I need to give up. So I go through hell thinking about it.”

Speaking of things that might frighten riders — but that will also educate them — the next fence on the track is a serious enough coffin combination at 11ABCD. This follows a proper downhill approach, and so riders will need to really think about rebalancing for the hanging rail of the A element — especially because it’s MIM-clipped, and a sloppy effort could earn them an expensive 11 penalties for activating one of these safety devices. They’ll land still running downhill, put in a big stride, and then jump the ditch, landing uphill and then popping another clipped rail. Then, it’s down again to another triple brush. Lots of quick thinking to be done here, but this is a seriously useful question for anyone planning to head to Kentucky’s tough four-star with its hugely influential coffin complex.

There’s a let-up fence at 12 in the form of a wide timber table, which, if ridden positively, will help inject the attack back into horses before the first water.

13ABC might not be the main water, but it’s still a big enough question. The A element features a log drop into the drink, and then competitors will splash on through the pond, aiming for exit on the right hand side, where they’ll meet two big timber corners. The first, at B, is a right-handed effort, while the second, on a left-handed turn at C, is a left-handed one. The uphill trajectory to B will help get the horses sitting on their bums and powering through, which is a great aid, but riders will need to have planned a good line through these questions, otherwise it’ll be easy enough to take their horses’ eyes off the prize.

Not quite a throwaway fence, is it?

Next, they’ll hang a left and run downhill through the woods until they reach 14, an angled brush trakehner. This will be jumpable from a good, positive pace, though it’s not super tall so shouldn’t be keeping anyone awake at night.

Next up is fifteen, which, on its own, is a pretty unremarkable rolltop — so it’s the undulating ground beforehand that’s a bit more interesting. This is really just a question of balancing and deciding whether your horse needs a collected or an attacking ride through, and riding accordingly.

Then it’s on to the Normandy Bank at 16ABC, which is a great question and a good footwork test. There’s a huge groundline in front of the ditch and bank, so horses should get a great leap up there with plenty of power to negotiate the bounce distance to the hanging log on top. Then, they’ll run on down to the C element, a left-handed shoulder brush which comes up on a positive four. That positivity will be aided by the downhill slop on the landing side of the log at B, which will open up the stride.

Once safely through the challenge of the Normandy bank, competitors can take a deep breath, and their horses can let their lungs fill with air, too: they’ll now meet the longest galloping stretch on the whole course.

Once they’ve pulled up from their long canter stretch, they’ll take a right-handed turn, which will set them up for 17 — a classic galloping ditch and brush fence. Once they get here, though, they’ll know it’s all about to become a real degree-level bit of cross-country.

“It’s quite an intense field. We’ve got a long gallop from the Normandy bank to the big ditch brush — which is a jump I love, but this year, I asked if we could trim off the bottom of the trees and all around the trees, so it’s much brighter and it’s easier to see. But if there’s a horse with a ditch issue, they might see the ditch a bit more. There’s a long gallop and then that, and then from there until they get out of the Montrose field and over the gate, you know, it’s all boom, boom, boom  it’s happening quite quickly.”

That means that competitors need to manage that long galloping stretch well, using it to move it a consistently swift pace, but not going hell-bent for leather and draining their horses in the process: “I think our riders have to be careful that they haven’t tried to do the time and get to the Montrose field on a horse that’s feeling a little bit like, ‘wow, I’ve worked quite hard here.’ They need to save a bit of energy so that the horses are still jumping,” Ian says. 

Ian’s philosophy for these short-format courses has shifted more and more towards moving the intensity to the latter half of the course as a way to teach riders to moderate their horses’ energy use — a dogma he subscribed to while designing at England’s Chatsworth during the run of Event Rider Masters competitions a few years ago.

“At the Event Riders Masters, when they did the cross country last, I hated that because it put pressure on everybody to go fast,” he remembers. “There was a lot of people galloping the legs off their horses, and I saw one or two falls at the end of the courses. So I made the one I did at Chatsworth combination-heavy at the end, so the riders had to save the energy. And actually, it meant them getting home better, because the questions were at the end, so they had to save the energy and they had to ride at the end — they weren’t just trying to push for the clock. So I’m letting my head get into a bit more of that, and I think it’s quite a good idea.

“Also at the three-day events, you haven’t got the phase B at the steeplechase now, so I like to let the riders have a bit of a gallop at the beginning, a bit of a kick on, and get the horses thinking forward, and then bring in the big questions. So the beginning of the course is kind of like the steeplechase and it’s kind of encouraging, and galloping, and opening up and jumping, and then I ask the questions. It’s kind of how my thought process has been evolving over the years, as well.” He laughs to himself here, and then adds, “He says ‘evolving’ — next year is my last year. I’m retired after next year, so I don’t have to worry about it after that. But I’ve still got a lot of work to do in the meantime.”

Once they’ve popped that ditch and brush, it’s going to get really serious — and first up to bat is the huge brush drop into the Yanmar America water at 18.

“I’ve always put fences in this water, but I decided this year not to — to have a big drop in, yes, but I wanted more of a question coming out,” he explains. That question is not at all insignificant: after crossing through the water, they’ll canter uphill to a brush fence situated in a ditch, which is two compact strides from an angled shoulder brush with a downhill landing at 19AB. Then, 20ABC comes up so quick it’s practically a related distance, and features two big angled trakehners on a bending left-handed line — with a serious drop on the second of them — to a brush-topped timber skinny rolltop on a right-handed line.

That’s one of the questions that has had competitors scratching their heads and collaring the seasoned designer for a chat: “There’s one or two riders that have asked, ‘do you want us to go across there [19AB] in one?’ And I said, ‘No, I don’t.’ I’m expecting them to jump up and round over the first one, land, and then kind of press them into the base, get the two strides — it’s a big drop, and if they were to go for one there, they would probably crumble and fall over on landing.” 

Here’s a side-on look at 19AB:

As with the rest of the course, Ian is looking to test and progress essential skills here, and fast thinking is one of them.

“I’m kind of looking for them to be quick with their footwork and reacting, and they don’t get to see the second brush till they’re taking off for the first one,” he says. “The riders have got to make the plan and the horse has got to just respond.”

That serious question at 20ABC looks a little familiar to riders and spectators who were here last year – but Ian is keen to always learn from his own courses, too, and as such, he’s made some crucial adjustments based off how it rode then.

Last year, we had the same trakehner to the drop to the skinny, but the skinny last year was tiny, and I felt they were almost tripping over it. I only put it there again this year I put a slightly bigger fence and put brush on the top of that final element to get the horses eye up because it’s right at the end of the course; it’s the third to last fence, and they come off that drop into the landing a little bit dead, and then they were on their forehand.”

Here’s a look at 20B from the landing side, so you can get a sense of the drop that horses and riders will need to navigate. From the take-off side, it looks like much the same question as the trakehner on flat ground just before it — so it’s up to the riders to manage the pace and balance so their mounts can assess the question on the go. Beefing up the C element slightly will, Ian hopes, help with that task.

What I want to do is have a big enough fence so they could land, and the horse and rider had a reason to sit up and pick up for the next element,” says Ian. “It’s not a difficult fence, but it’s just to make the recovery better, so that they go to the last few fences and they’re not galloping on their head.”

It’s certainly no throwaway question, but after that, there’s just a bit of box-ticking to do: our competitors will now get to skedaddle out of that high-intensity field (I’m checking my notes app on my phone here, where I quickly jotted down ‘this is one busy ass field, man’ while zooming away on my golf cart, so that’s good, I guess) and across a little track to an upright gate, the penultimate fence at 21.

Cute, this! It’s not very high, which could mean that horses don’t pick up well over it, but it’s got two things going for it: it’s super easy to see, with that bright white paint, friendly approach, and straw groundline, and it’s MIM-clipped, so even if a tired horse hangs a leg, there shouldn’t be a thing to worry about. The decision to put a MIM-clipped fence there isn’t an accident, either.

We had some of the five-star course designer at what we call Mark Phillips’s Amsterdam meeting every January — it used to be in Amsterdam, but not now, it’s at Heathrow Airport, but we still call it the Amsterdam meeting and there were comments from riders and from Dickie Waygood, who helps Chris Bartle with the British riders. A lot of them were saying that they actually would quite like us to use the frangible fences near the end to make sure the horses are still jumping,” Ian explains. “What the riders hate is a frangible fence going into a coffin. I mean, they all hate that, because  and I don’t blame them they’re frightened that the hind legs are going to give them 11 penalties. So they were saying, ‘give us a question to slow us down and make sure the horses are still jumping at the end.’ That’s why I moved the gates there.”

Then, it’s a quick check of the stopwatch, down the track, back into a little copse of trees…

…and then a left-handed turn to fence 22, an inviting timber table and every rider’s favourite fence: the last one. That left-handed turn will do two useful things here: it’ll help to set horses up, and it’ll force riders to be considered in their approach, rather than giving them a straight shot to gun down towards the finish and risk a silly mistake en route.

“Provided you’re not being a complete yahoo, it’s just a bit of a gimme,” says Ian with a smile. 

It’s one final, subtle bit of sensible, smart design from Ian, and it should give both horses and riders a really nice, confidence-boosting feeling to finish their weekend on. Big pats all around and a sugar cube for the course designer.

Twenty-one pairs will go up against Ian Stark’s four-star course, beginning at 11:48 a.m. You can follow along live with the action on Horse & Country’s live stream. You’ll need an H&C+ subscription (you can save 15% off an annual subscription here using code EVENTINGNATION15 – the code is case-sensitive – this weekend only!), or you can also purchase a one-time viewing pass for this event for $19.99. Click here to access the live stream — and Go Eventing!

Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International: [Website] [Entries] [Schedule] [Ride Times] [Order of Go] [Live Scoring] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage] [EN’s Form Guide] [Volunteer]

Tuesday News & Notes from Kentucky Performance Products


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A post shared by Laura Collett MBE (@laura_collett)

The Cheltenham Festival starts today in England, and for eventing fans who are also jumps racing fans, there’s no one in the world who’s currently living the dream more than Laura Collett. The Badminton winner has long been involved with racing, supplementing her income by jump schooling racehorses throughout the off-season, and today, she got the chance to do so over the real deal fences when she rode out at Cheltenham for trainer Gordon Elliott. The cross-country race is always my favourite part of the week and I can only imagine the buzz and thrill she got from tackling those fences!

Events Opening Today: University of New Hampshire Spring H.T.Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Spring H.T.Horse Park of New Jersey Spring H.T.

Events Closing Today: Chattahoochee Hills H.T,, Morven Park Spring H.T.Jumping Branch Farm H.T.The Event at TerraNovaGalway Downs International H.T.

Tuesday News & Notes from Around the World:

Speaking of Cheltenham, if you want to have a (responsible) bet this week, you’ll want some tips. To save you from wading through endless pages of the Racing Post, Horse&Hound has done their own quick fire tips with help from some expert pundits. I’ll be keeping this on hand for when I chuck my obligatory fiver on something. 

It’s Carolina week! We’re going to have a big EN team on site this week (including me — I’m boarding a plane from Heathrow tomorrow morning and I can’t wait) and we’re so psyched for a packed week of sporting action. We’ll be bringing you a tonne of content today, but for now, if you want the fast facts, here they are. 

A number of lucky riders recently gathered for a clinic with William Fox-Pitt in Virginia. Hosted at Zaragoza Acres, the clinic’s cross-country day focused on nailing the basics — rhythm and balance, namely. As always, Lanky Will imparted some absolute pearls of wisdom, and even if you missed out on taking part, you can benefit from what he taught his students with this clinic report. 

Some positive news for Canadian jumpers: CAN Jump is a new fundraising initiative that’s been set up to help contend with the huge costs of competing internationally. It was created after a number of Canadian jumpers had to turn down spots on the Canadian team due to financial barriers, and although it’s discipline specific at the moment, hopefully we’ll soon see a trickle-down effect to eventing. 

Sponsor Corner:

We’re just about at that time again, where the spring grass peaks through one day and then rampages through the next, sending our horses a bit loopy and our ponies, if we’re not careful, a bit laminitis. Here’s how to manage the transition safely and sensibly with some great advice from KPP.

Watch This:

I love these icons videos from the FEI, and this one, on Pippa Funnell’s exceptional Supreme Rock, is a cool, short watch to start your day!

Monday News & Notes from FutureTrack

Eventing season’s coming! Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Poor British Eventing – it had a bit of a non-starter of a weekend after an unexpected snowfall ground competition to a halt. Kudos to the team at BEDE Events and Oasby who managed to relay the bad news early (like, 4am early!) to save competitors as much of a long trip as they could. It’s always a bummer when events are cancelled after all the hard work’s been done, but we know that BEDE’s next event — the first 4* of the season at Thoresby — is going to be a whopper. We can’t wait!

National Holiday: It’s National K9 Veterans Day. Marrow bones all round!

U.S. Weekend Action:

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

SAzEA Spring H.T. (Tucson, AZ) : [Website] [Results]

Southern Pines H.T. (Raeford, NC) : [Website] [Results]

Full Gallop Farm March I H.T. (Aiken, SC) : [Website] [Results]

Monday News & Notes:

Over in the world of showjumping, McLain Ward has put himself in an enviable spot in the Grand Slam hunt. He’s now got two of the three legs under his belt after taking the win in the Dutch Masters Grand Prix over the weekend with HH Azur, with whom he also won his first leg at Geneva in December. [Here’s how it played out]

We wrote briefly about the passing of Cupid March, Piggy March’s five-year-old stallion, in N&N the other day. Here’s the full story, and a bit more about what made the young stallion so special. [Goodbye to Cupid March]

Not all of us can have the extraordinary good luck of taking our high school experience online so we can focus on our riding. But that’s exactly what young rider Devon Tresan has done, allowing her to take on a working student position with Zach Brandt, to help with her parents’ animal casting business, and to compete at training level herself with an eye on the FEI classes soon. [This kid’s got a fun life]

The diagnosis of hoof lameness can be a tricky thing. But new developments in thermal imaging are making it easier for vets to spot palmar pain in the foot, which could be great news for getting our four-legged pals feeling tip-top again. [Here’s what they’ve found]

The FutureTrack Follow:

We’re all about following developing eventing nations here at EN, and Yuxuan Su, who rides for Hong Kong and is currently based in Ireland, is a great example of a rider who’s making great strides under a lesser-seen flag. (He’s also doing it with a Masters degree in Bioethics in hand, so he’s quite a clever cookie.) Give him a follow to keep tabs on his string of horses, his unapologetically thirst-trappy workout videos, and his very good sports podcast, too.

Morning Viewing:

Rewatch all the cross-country action from the First Nations Cup of the year at Montelibretti!

British Eventers Invited to ‘Drown Their Sorrows’ with Boozy Compensation Prizes

TV star Jeremy Clarkson is toasting the tough days with eventers this year. Photo courtesy of Hawkstone.

We’ve all been there: sometimes the day you’d planned (replete with rosettes, eternal glory, and an obligatory mug of lukewarm champagne to toast your successes back at the lorry) doesn’t quite work out, and you end up driving home with the blue dye of the water jump seeping into your knickers because once again, you forgot to pack a spare pair of breeches and once again, your horse took an aversion to the log drop in and sayanara-d you straight into the drink. Now, you really need one. A drink, that is.

Enter Jeremy Clarkson, a man mostly known for car nerd porno show Top Gear, also pretty well known for having a farm and a show about it, and, well… to be honest, he’s known for some other things, too, but I’m mates with the PR in charge of this campaign and I suspect she’ll murder me if I say what I really think of the chap here. Anyway, my opinions don’t matter that much: what matters is that A) the horsey set really like a bit of JC and B) he’s come up with a pretty great way to perk up those water-soaked-knickers sort of days.

One of the ventures that aul’ Jezza has got on the go at that farm of his is a line of lagers and ciders, which he sells under the Hawkstone moniker. Quite delightfully, Hawkstone and BEDE Events, who are in charge of rather a lot of events on the British Eventing calendar, have teamed up for 2023 to create an official ‘watering hole’ — and deliver some great ‘prizes’, too. Taking some inspiration from hunt clubs and their tumblers’ prizes, Hawkstone will now offer much-needed bevvies to those who fail to finish their weekend.

In a letter to Oasby (1) competitors, Jeremy Clarkson wrote: “As a compensation for your bravery – or is it lunacy? Should things not go to plan this weekend and you get eliminated or fall off I will offer you a free case of beer, cider, or vodka to drown your sorrows.”

Of the new partnership, Stuart Buntine, Director of BEDE Events, says: “what an honour to partner with such a new and iconic British brand as Hawkstone. At BEDE we’re all for celebrating the sport and having a little fun along the way, and the new Hawkstone partnership relationship does just that – drown your sorrows or toast your successes!”

Hawkstone Lager and Cider will be available to sample and purchase at The Eventing Spring Carnival at Thoresby Park from the 31st March – 2nd April. Tickets are still available to purchase via Competitors will also be able to claim 10% off their first purchase of any of Clarkson’s lagers, vodka or Kaleb’s delicious cider, by registering at and using BEDE as a discount code.

Friday Video: A Spectator’s Eye View of Bruce’s Field

One of my favorite pastimes in the week after an event is reading through all the coverage written by other outlets and journalists of said event, to see which angle everyone chose to take to cover the same overall story. But as it turns out, I also really like finding videos and social media ‘coverage’ of the event from those who attended as keen spectators — and this lovingly collected and edited compilation really does the $50,000 Grand-Prix Eventing Festival at Bruce’s Field justice. We get so used to seeing these events from the media zone behind the scenes that it’s pretty incredible to see it through your eyes — and it helps stave off the post-event blues, too. A win-win, as they say!

Aston le Walls Takes on Barbury’s International Classes – Plus Adds a New CCI1*

Behind closed doors but no less buzzy for it, Aston-le-Walls has set the stage for a useful spring four-star this season. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Following the news of Barbury International’s departure from the British Eventing and FEI calendar, a successful tender process has resulted in its International fixtures being relocated to another popular venue. Aston le Walls in Northamptonshire will now host Barbury’s Novice, CCI3*-S, and CCI4*-S classes, subject to FEI approval, from July 7 to 9 — and in even more exciting news, they’ll also be adding a CCI1*, which gives less experienced competitors the chance to try their hand at FEI competition. This class was previously hosted at Offchurch Bury.

Also well-served by new appointments are Pony riders, who will now benefit from a CCIP2* at Aston from May 10-14. This class joins the British Pony Championships at Belsay (June 1-4) and the CCI1* at Blair Castle (August 24-27) as a three-strong offering specifically for ponies in 2023.

“We are really looking forward to seeing international competition at Aston le Walls this summer,” says BE Chief Executive, Helen West. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Nigel Taylor and his team for their efforts in stepping up to deliver this fixture, which I am sure will provide three days of fabulous competition. There has been significant reinvestment back into the Aston site providing all-weather surfaces and guaranteed good going at a time of the year when ground conditions can be challenging. I am confident this will be well-received by the competitors.”

This isn’t the first time Aston, which also runs a full repertoire of national-level events through the year, has hosted an International. They played host to a Chatsworth replacement in 2021 behind closed doors, proving that they have the space and the facilities to run a busy fixture at the four-star level.

Friday News & Notes Presented by Stable View


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A post shared by Piggy March (@piggy.march)

Our thoughts are with Piggy and Tom March, who unexpectedly lost Cupid March, the young stallion at the heart of their fledgling breeding programme, to a sudden colic earlier this week. Owning horses can be so replete with extraordinary highs, but the lows — particularly the ones that blindside you, like a colic can — are so low. We have no doubt that with their combined experience and unrivalled eye for a horse, they’ll have another exciting young stallion on the roster soon — but nothing can ever truly replace a horse you’ve loved.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (Fairburn, GA): [Website] [Ride Times] [Scoring] [Volunteer]

SAzEA Spring H.T. (Tucson, AZ) : [Website] [Entries] [Scoring] [Volunteer]

Southern Pines H.T. (Raeford, NC) : [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring] [Volunteer]

Full Gallop Farm March I H.T. (Aiken, SC) : [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer]

News From Around the Globe:

Picking the perfect coach is a little bit like finding the right horse. It’s not always an easy process, and sometimes you have to try a bunch that don’t quite work before you land on the right fit for you — but waiting for the best match is always worth the wait in the long run. The right coach, like the right horse, will make learning fun, even on the crap days, and will fill you with confidence while you tackle things beyond your comfort zone. Here’s an interesting read on how, and why, to take the time to get it right.

Is the whip on its way out? Captain Mark Phillips thinks so — and, he reckons, if we want to survive as a sport, we need to get used to that fact sooner rather than later. His latest column for Horse&Hound focuses on the shifting nature of sport amid the beady eyes of social licence, as well as some of the key topics debated at this year’s FEI Eventing Forum. It’s a salient read, and one that raises some very thoughtful points into the debate.

Reckon you’d like a job in a breeding shed? Being a broodmare manager has some seriously cool moments — hello, playing with adorable foals! — but is also a seriously tough role. (Also, foals kick.) Find out more about the qualifications needed and the expectations within the job here.

If you’re a Wordle player, you probably had a big day the other day. Unless, of course, you don’t use ‘horse’ as your starting word, and then maybe you feel a bit like you were left out of all the fun. My starting word is ‘auger’, so I feel ya.

Are you in charge of a bunch of barn rats? Sign them up for this free online course aimed at teens, which focuses on equine diseases and prevention, and is free for a limited time!

Watch This:

Tune in for live dressage from Montelibretti, where the First Nations Cup of the year is underway!

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Move to New Zealand to Work on a Stud (Vicariously, Anyway)

I love a good documentary feature on horses that’s aimed at the uninitiated, who I can always imagine watching it with some mix of revulsion and shock and maybe a little bit of wonder, too – especially when it’s about breeding. In this episode of ‘Just the Job’, one of those great shows in which some hapless chap tries out a bunch of highly specialised and usually fairly difficult roles, we’re heading to New Zealand to see how a career in the enigmatically labelled ‘equine’ suits him. Buckle up, you poor chap.

Poor performance? Sour attitude?

Neigh-Lox® Advanced provides a scientifically advanced blend of ingredients that work synergistically to maintain your horse’s digestive tract in peak condition by supporting both the gastrointestinal tissues and the beneficial bacteria that populate the gut. Maintaining a healthy digestive tract reduces the risk of colonic and gastric ulcers, colic, laminitis related to hindgut acidosis, and oxidative stress that damages digestive tract tissues themselves. Horses with a well-balanced GI tract have good appetites, absorb more nutrients from their diets, maintain a strong immune system, and stay healthier.

The horse that matters to you matters to us®.

Have you grabbed your winter running horse stickers? Check them out at

Tuesday News & Notes from Kentucky Performance Products

I’m going to leave this here for you with little to no comment, because that squeal really does speak for itself, doesn’t it?

Events Opening Today: Meadowcreek Park-The Spring Social EventSporting Days Farm April H.T. IIIRiver Glen Spring H.T.Fair Hill International April H.T. & CCI-S

Events Closing Today: Full Gallop Farm March II H.T.Texas Rose Horse Park H.T.March Horse Trials at Majestic Oaks

Tuesday News & Notes from Around the World:

We all know a bit about soft tissue injury in horses: how to prevent it, how to treat it, how much time off to factor in after it happens. But what about our own tendons and ligaments? What does a similar injury mean for a rider? Writer and dressage rider Laura Adriaanse found out firsthand when a potentially torn ACL derailed her best-laid plans for 2023 – and she’s learned a thing or two along the way about herself, too. [A good blog to start your day]

Showjumper Ludger Beerbaum has had a bit of a dampener to the start of his 2023 season. The German rider took a tumble while competing at the Global Champions Tour in Qatar and has broken his leg, requiring a significant surgery and a few new bits of metal to stabilise the whole thing. He’s recovering well now and will no doubt be back in action soon. [Ludger sidelined]

Ever wondered who the folks behind the scenes at USEA are? In their ongoing series, they’re aiming to make sure you can put a face to a name — and this week, you can ‘meet’ the dynamic duo behind the Membership department. [Meet Jennifer and Cindy]

And finally, if you follow Swedish eventer Sofia Sjoborg on Instagram, you’ve probably seen her horses wearing some pretty funky trousers. Those trousers are actually a new device designed to minimise lower-limb swelling, and we’ve got the research behind them for your perusal. [Great if your horse isn’t easily embarrassed]

Sponsor Corner:

Are you planning to put your mare in foal this year? It’s important you get up-to-speed on Vitamin E, and what it can mean for your horse’s reproductive efficiency. Save time, stress, and expense by giving your mare all the nutrients she needs – more info here from Kentucky Performance Products here!

Watch This:

Getting ready for your first event of the year? You’re in good company.

Monday News & Notes from FutureTrack


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A post shared by Tom McEwen (@tommceweneventing)

The British eventing season FINALLY began over the weekend, and in true English style, it was cold, a bit damp, and absolutely packed to the rafters with superstars out for their first spin. We’re counting down the days until our first UK competition, which will see an EN two-hander head to Thoresby at the end of the month. Bring it on!

National Holiday: It’s National Dentist Day. Have you checked your horse’s hooks lately?

U.S. Weekend Action:

$50,000 Grand-Prix Eventing at Bruce’s Field (Aiken, SC): [Website] [Live Stream] [Results] ] [EN’s Coverage]

Full Gallop Farm March Wednesday H.T. (Aiken, SC): [Website] [Results]

Rocking Horse Winter III H.T (Altoona, FL): [Website] [Results]

Sporting Days Farm March H.T. II (Aiken, SC): [Website] [Results]

Twin Rivers Winter H.T. (Paso Robles, CA): [Website] [Results]

Monday News & Notes:

Imagine the scene: you buy one horse, expecting to have a lovely new steed to ride, and a few weeks later, you get two bonus ones. That’s what happened with this sweet mare, who unexpectedly popped out not one but two foals just after finding herself with a safe place to land. Some quick thinking and teamwork meant that all three came through the experience healthy and happy. [A true baby boom]

The counter-canter is one of the most useful tools you can have at your disposal. Not only does it help you rebalance your horse and develop lateral suppleness and independence — it’s also something you’ll need to demonstrate in some tests. [Here’s how to perfect it]

Ensuring your horse is cared for in his twilight years is one of the most crucial parts of being an owner. Unfortunately, it’s often one of the trickiest, too — especially when some retirement facilities prioritise dollar signs over care. This interesting op-ed posits that competitive governing bodies should take some responsibility for retirees, just as racing does. [Join the conversation]

The FutureTrack Follow:

British-based Moroccan eventer Noor Slaoui brings some very cool content to your feed: from updates on her training and competitions, to insights on what it’s like to be one of your country’s sole representatives in the sport, to flashback posts like this one.

Morning Viewing:

Get your youngster ready for his first course with these super tips from Heidi Woodhead and DHI Sport Horses.

Saturday Video: Check Out the $50,000 Grand-Prix Eventing Cross-Country

It’s been a wildly exciting couple of days at the $50,000 Grand-Prix Eventing Festival at Bruce’s Field, where we watched Doug Payne deliver a stonking sub-20 start with Starr Witness, hold his lead through showjumping — and then, ultimately, slip just one spot down to second with a classy cross-country round. You can head on over to the full competition report to find out who took the win, but in the meantime, enjoy reliving his ride and check out this tough, exciting course!

Thursday Video: Gridwork for the Green Horse

I’ve gotten a big rush of the pre-season thirst for education this week, and so you’ve probably noticed a theme to my video picks: most of them are training tips that’ll help you get your horse into the swing of things to come as we tackle March. More specifically, I’ve been watching a lot of videos tailored to the inexperienced horse, many of whom will find their workload starting to step up a notch in intensity and technicality this month. Today’s video comes from Heidi Woodhead of DHI Sport Horses, who has some great gridwork tips to help you set yourself up for success this weekend. Happy riding!

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Warming Up Your Youngster for Jumping

Jay Halim is a bit of a legend in his own right: previously a top-level event rider himself, he’s now a prolific showjumper. But beyond that? He keeps a foot in both camps as a trainer, and most notably, he’s known for helping Laura Collett and London 52 basically take over the world with his final-phase wisdom. Not all of us are lucky enough to be able to wangle a spot in his busy schedule, but fortunately for us all, he’s embarked upon an educational training series with Horse&CountryTV, and the first episode — which focuses on warming up the young horse for jumping — is free to watch. Check it out!

Poor performance? Sour attitude?

Neigh-Lox® Advanced provides a scientifically advanced blend of ingredients that work synergistically to maintain your horse’s digestive tract in peak condition by supporting both the gastrointestinal tissues and the beneficial bacteria that populate the gut. Maintaining a healthy digestive tract reduces the risk of colonic and gastric ulcers, colic, laminitis related to hindgut acidosis, and oxidative stress that damages digestive tract tissues themselves. Horses with a well-balanced GI tract have good appetites, absorb more nutrients from their diets, maintain a strong immune system, and stay healthier.

The horse that matters to you matters to us®.

Have you grabbed your winter running horse stickers? Check them out at

Tuesday News & Notes from Kentucky Performance Products

Michael Jung and fisherChipmunk FRH. Photo by Shelby Allen.

And just like that, Kentucky entries have officially opened! We can’t wait to see who’s going to come forward for this showcase of top-end equestrian sport: will Magic Michi return to defend his 2022 crown? Will we see a Brit attempt to regain control? Or will we have another US victor for the first time since 2008? Hold onto your hats, folks, because it’s all getting exciting now!

Events Opening Today: Poplar Place April H.T.Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day EventSpring Bay H.T., Unionville H.T. (pending USEF approval)Longleaf Pine H.T.FENCE H.T.Twin Rivers Spring International

Events Closing Today: Ram Tap National H.T.Pine Top Spring H.T.Ocala Winter IICarolina International CCI & H.T.

Tuesday News & Notes from Around the World:

When you think of the riders of USEA’s Stallion of the Year awards, you probably think about factory-line pros. But for Bethany Hutchins-Kristen, whose Geluk HVF won the title in 2022, life is much more of a balancing act. [Meet the winners]

Lauren Spritzer’s weighing in on the social license debate, and as ever, her take is measured, sensible, and opens up the floor for discussion. In it, she presents the point that most people outside our industry don’t actually have a knowledge of the specifics of horse sport — but they do have the capacity to have an emotional response to what they see. That, she argues, isn’t helped by our tendency to ‘eat our young’ on social media, vilifying one another for tiny moments in time that we interpret as we see fit. [Read her thoughts here]

Speaking of social media, it can make us feel like everyone is progressing faster than us. And actually, there are few educational benchmarks for riders, other than, say, moving up a level, which should never be the be-all and end-all anyway. So how can you make sure your education is progressing at the right clip? [Here are some good ideas]

Sponsor Corner:

Eventing season is looming, and if your horse is looking a bit like a broodmare, your stress levels are no doubt rising — how on earth are you going to get this thing eventing fit in time?! Fortunately for you, Kentucky Performance Products has the feeding tips you need for the chubby horse coming into spring, so you and your four-legged best friend will be flying ’round those beefy courses again in no time. [Here’s how to slim down — safely]

Watch This:

There’s nothing I enjoy more than the gentle chaos of the first cross-country school of the year. Join in with Lucy Robinson and ex-racehorse Ember’s first go here:

Monday News & Notes from FutureTrack

This sweet tribute to Allstar B, Ros Canter’s late World Champion, has really got me this morning. It reminds me how lucky we all our to share our lives with our own special horses, but it also reminds me how truly fortunate I am to get to travel the world watching these legends of the sport in action week after week. Hug your ponies for me today, gang, because through the good days and the bad, they remain pretty great, don’t they?

National Holiday: It’s International Polar Bear Day. These guys are having a pretty crap time at the moment, all things considered, with the speedy melting of the polar ice caps, so for their sake, let’s all try to be a bit sustainably-minded today (and, well, forever, if we can!).

U.S. Weekend Action:

Full Gallop Farm Mid February H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Results]

Pine Top Advance H.T. (Thomson, GA) [Website] [Results]

Three Lakes Winter II H.T. at Caudle Ranch (Groveland, FL) [Website] [Results]

Your Monday Reading List:

When Anne Sagalyn first set eyes on Arabian ex-racehorse Laz, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. But over time, and with plenty of trust and patience, something magical started to happen – and her background in clinical psychology certainly played a major part in helping her to figure out the troubled, unhappy little horse she’d brought him. [From shut down to thriving]

Introducing a young horse to lateral work for the first time can be a processBut there’s actually plenty you can do to help them understand the aids through groundwork first, and it can make the whole shebang go a heck of a lot easier. [Here’s how the dressage pros do it]

We’ve all been there: one day, out of nowhere, your horse is 10/10 three-legged lame, and you don’t know why. Often, these dramatic lamenesses come down to one thing — and that’s a pesky hoof abscess. Here’s the 411 on what they are, where they come from, and how to deal with them. [The bane of horsey folk]

Meet Qatari showjumper Rami Younis, who actually rides for Canada despite living and riding in his Middle Eastern home country. The up-and-comer enjoyed spending last week competing at the spectacular CHI Al Shaqab, which truly took him back to his roots: prior to the Al Shaqab facility being one of the Gulf region’s biggest competition venues, it was structured more like a pony club around the extant Arab breeding facilities. [Showjumping around the world]

The FutureTrack Follow:

Fancy one extra bit of eventing inspiration on your feed each day? Amateur photographer Mace McLean can help, with his random rider of the day posts highlighting the great snaps he’s taken up and down the UK each year.

Morning Viewing:

Take a spin with baby horse Bea as she tackles her first cross-country with Elisa Wallace:

Barbury International No More: Unaffiliated Competition Dispute Sees BE and FEI Event Depart 2023 Calendar

Felicity Collins and RSH Contend OR jump through Barbury’s iconic Woodhenge fence. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Musketeer Event Management, the event organisation conglomerate responsible for a number of British Eventing’s most popular events, has today announced that it will not go ahead with its midsummer FEI fixture, Barbury International Horse Trials, in 2023. The decision was made as the result of recent restrictions placed upon venues by British Eventing, which limit fixtures hosting international classes from also hosting unaffiliated competition throughout the year in order to safeguard against unregulated competition.

Though Barbury has been a firm fixture within the British calendar since 2005, when it was awarded a CCI4*-S (then CIC3*) class in its first year of running. Since then, that class has remained its feature — and, for a few years, played host to an Event Rider Masters leg, too — and in 2019, Musketeer adopted it into its stable of competitions. In 2021, they added an unaffiliated fixture “to financially support the International fixture, which facilitates viability and continued investment in the wonderful site,” they write in a statement released today.

“MEM and BE sought to find a solution for alternative options, to ensure the viability of the International fixture at Barbury and, although BE offered the venue the opportunity to host a new GOBE fixture, no regular classes were permitted to run alongside,” continues the statement. “On review of entry levels for the events which hosted GOBE classes in 2022, it was determined that taking the risk of forfeiting three days of the Unaffiliated sport was too great. Consequently, in conjunction with Barbury Castle Estates, the decision was taken that the only financially viable option for the venue is to continue with the running of the Cotswold Cup fixture taking place over the weekend of 15th & 16th July.”

The cost of living crisis in Britain, and the rising cost of keeping horses, has seen a sharp uptick in participation in unaffiliated competition, which is often run over BE-approved courses at affiliated venues, but at a fraction of the cost. Series such as the Cotswold Cup aim to provide pathways and championships for those riders who want to continue with unaffiliated competition but still want access high-standard competition opportunities and exciting prize pots. Since its launch in 2021, the Cotswold Cup has offered a £10,000 prize pot at its Championship finale, making it grassroots eventing’s most significant payout.

“Barbury Castle Estate and Musketeer Event Management both remain completely committed to the continuation of International and grassroots Eventing at the venue, are extremely grateful for the support of all the sponsors and volunteers that add so much to the event and sincerely hope the International fixture will have the opportunity to return to this iconic venue in the future.”

“The decision by British Eventing to cancel the Barbury International Horse Trials is lamentable,” says Chris Woodhouse of Barbury Castle Estates. “Musketeer Event Management supported by the Estate have made a considerable investment over recent years to improve the event, support its financial viability during Covid and broaden the appeal to junior competitors. Insisting on affiliation of all events in order to boost the finances of British Eventing in a post Covid environment when competitors and the general public are struggling with the cost of living appears to me to be elitist and non-inclusive.”

British Eventing has also released a statement, which reads:

“The BE Board determined that, in light of the increased spotlight on equestrian sport’s social licence to operate, venues holding International fixtures in 2023 would be required not to hold unregulated competitions. As the National Governing Body for eventing in the UK, BE is committed to delivering a consistently regulated, safe, clean sport. BE has no jurisdiction over unregulated competitions, and cannot vouch for their compliance with FEI and BE requirements for sport; which have horse and rider welfare at their heart.

BE had hoped that Barbury would use the GO BE series to allow a wider group of competitors to access this iconic venue as part of the BE affiliated calendar; but regrettably the Organiser has opted not to.”

BE Chief Executive Helen West says, “As a National Governing Body for Olympic sport we need to set a standard. International events on home soil showcase the sport at its very best; providing a fair and level playing-field where safety, equine welfare, safeguarding and clean sport are mandatory. We feel that these standards should be upheld consistently by all those who are allocated international fixtures, therefore the decision was made by the BE Board that no international fixtures should be awarded to venues that run unregulated sport.”

Following the loss of Barbury, ordinarily held in the first week of July, there will now be a six-week gap between CCI4*-S classes in the UK in the middle of the season — but Barbury’s approximate date will be tendered to existing BE organisers in order to fill this gap.