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USEF Competition COVID Protocols Update: Developing Plans to Permit Spectators at USEF Competitions

US Equestrian has released the following letter to members regarding updates to COVID protocols and spectators at USEF-licensed competitions:

Photo by Shelby Allen.

Dear USEF Members,

We have all been watching the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking forward to the day when our world will return to a level of pre-pandemic normalcy. As more and more individuals across the country are getting vaccinated, hope is increasing that we are getting closer to this goal. However, the threats posed by the numerous virus variants, coupled with the increase in COVID cases in many of the states that have recently lifted restrictions, remind us that now is not the time to let our guard down. We must remain vigilant and continue to engage in the practices proven to reduce the risk of virus transmission (mask-wearing, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing).

To this end, the current USEF COVID-19 Action Plan remains in place for all USEF-licensed competitions. However, we are optimistic that we will be able to permit a limited number of spectators at USEF-licensed competitions by mid-May. Further updates and new protocols will be provided in the coming weeks so that organizers and spectators have time to prepare in advance.

To develop the safest possible USEF spectator protocols for use at competitions nationwide, we are regularly consulting with our USEF Chief Medical Officer and national public health organizations while staying up to date on the COVID status in each state. Like the other requirements outlined in the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan, these protocols will apply unilaterally to all USEF-licensed competitions, regardless of location. The only exceptions involve instances where state, county, or local government and health authorities or a particular competition organizer have more stringent requirements in place, in which case those more stringent requirements take precedence.

We thank you for your participation in USEF competitions and your support of the COVID-19 Action Plan. Your efforts have helped keep you and those around you safe and healthy and our sport open and operating during this devastating global pandemic. It is important that we all continue to work together on a safe return to more normal and healthier times for everyone.

Best regards,

Thomas F. X. O’Mara

William J. Moroney
Chief Executive Officer

Next Up in US Equestrian’s DEI Community Conversations Series: Accessibility and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

US Equestrian is pleased to announce that the next DEI Community Conversation, “Harnessing Accessibility and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities,” will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, April 14, from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. ET. Hosted in partnership with RespectAbility, this conversation will focus on the lived experience of people with different disabilities in the equestrian industry and beyond, as well as offer 10 tips for disability etiquette. Para dressage rider and disability advocate Alanna Flax-Clark will be the keynote speaker.

“Harnessing Accessibility and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities” is free to attend and open to all people. You do not need to be a USEF member. Captions and an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter will be provided for this DEI Community Conversation.

Register Here

Can’t make the live session? USEF members will be able to access the conversation on demand in the Learning Center. Join US Equestrian for free by signing up for a fan membership here using promo code inclusion21.

Meet the Panelists

Alanna Flax-Clark, M.S.Ed. (Glen Gardner, N.J.) is a para-equestrian competing in dressage, as well as an actress, model, and writer. She was a member of the silver medal-winning Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team at the 2019 Caledon Spring Jubilee CPEDI3* and was named the 2019 Adequan/United States Dressage Federation Para Dressage Rider of the Year, among many other impressive performances.

Photo courtesy of Alanna Flax-Clark

Flax-Clark is a disability advocate, mentor to newly disabled members of the community, and aims to bring greater awareness to how sports and an active lifestyle can positively affect people with disabilities. She was diagnosed with a chronic neurological disease when she was younger and contracted a severe case of the influenza virus in her mid-20s that caused her immune system to attack her nerves, leaving her a quadriplegic. Flax-Clark decided to test out equine-assisted activities and therapies after becoming frustrated with her traditional rehab. She fell in love with horses and the sport of para dressage. Full Bio

Photo courtesy Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt.

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt is an avid equestrian and a writer, actress, and advocate for disability and autism representation in the entertainment industry. As an Entertainment Media Communications Fellow with RespectAbility, she consults on television shows and movies with studios like Disney and Netflix. Rigelhaupt started her disability advocacy as a founding member of a neurodiverse theatre company and as an inclusion intern at Trinity Repertory Company in Rhode Island. Rigelhaupt wants to write for TV or film and continue her love of acting by working with entertainment companies and professionals to create more opportunities for diverse people with disabilities in the entertainment industry. Full Bio

Photo by Rick Guidotti, Positive Exposure 109

Abigail Shaw is a long-distance runner and received a Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies from Appalachian State University and currently is pursuing a Master of Social Work from Fordham University. She works at Learning Ally, an educational solutions organization serving individuals with learning disabilities and those who are blind or low-vision. She is the College Success Program’s mentorship coordinator and the production coordinator of audiobooks at Learning Ally. Shaw is co-captain of the New York City chapter of Achilles International, an organization promoting mainstream athletics for people with disabilities. Whether by plane, train, automobile, or on foot, Shaw’s preferred method of transportation includes her yellow lab guide dog, Kit, by her side. Full Bio (Photo by Rick Guidotti, Positive Exposure 109)

Photo courtesy of Rabbi Darby Leigh.

Rabbi Darby Leigh is a passionate snowboarder and the rabbi of Congregation Kerem Shalom in Concord, Mass. He is an advocate for the deaf community, committed to creating an inclusive, caring community with intellectual honesty and spiritual depth. Leigh is a published author, including a chapter in Deaf Identities: Exploring New Frontiers. He was a consultant for Hands On, an organization that provides sign language interpreting services for Broadway and off-Broadway productions, as well as for the Oscar-nominated documentary Sound and Fury. Leigh has also worked to create online videos with numerous other organizations where he has taught on issues related to deafness and disability access, earning many accolades along the way. He is married to Dr. Randi Leigh and they have three daughters. Full Bio

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Fink.

Jennifer Fink is a routine dog walker of her two retrievers, health care consultant for a D.C.-based firm, and social entrepreneur. Her passion lies in promoting behavioral and community health to empower individuals learning to cope with anxiety and depression. Fink lives with these nonvisible disabilities due to an accident and illness in her mid-20s. Fink had founded a nonprofit and co-authored a children’s book supporting military-connected children. She collaborated with the Obama White House’s Joining Forces Initiative; and due to Fink’s finesse, former First Lady Michelle Obama filmed a video for a USO Asia-Pacific Tour that Fink co-led. Fink offers simple tips in “mental fitness” that can benefit everyone, during and beyond the pandemic. A captivating and relatable storyteller, she weaves in humor and grace as she shares her story, wisdom, and lessons learned from her journey. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Fink)

Photo by Peter Michelena.

Andrea Jennings is a former events planner and the founder of Shifting Creative Paradigms Entertainment and Productions, a production company dedicated to creating and producing inclusive and diverse content for television, film, theatre, and music productions. She is also guest lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles, and advocates for accessibility and disability rights through various advisory committees and as a commissioner. She trains individuals and industry professionals to “level the playing field” by teaching them creative solutions to influence social change in the arts, fashion, entertainment, and more. Jennings experienced a major car accident when she was working for a global advertising conglomerate. The accident left her with multiple life-changing injuries, which affected her ability to walk and work. After the accident, she realized her purpose was to create equitable solutions for social change and accessible events through her lived experience so that she could help others.(Photo by Peter Michelena)

Photo courtesy of Debbie Fink.

Debbie Fink is the moderator, director, and producer of DEI Community Conversations: Harnessing Accessibility and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. Fink is the outgoing Director of Community Outreach and Impact for RespectAbility and the incoming Vice President of Disability, Education, and Inclusion at the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, where she will oversee the national scaling of the disability inclusion school-based program, “Just Say Hi.”



About RespectAbility

RespectAbility is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. To realize its mission, RespectAbility works collaboratively with employers, elected officials, policy makers, educators, self-advocates, non-profits, faith-based organizations, philanthropists, and the entertainment and news media. Led by diverse people with disabilities and allies, RespectAbility knows that people with disabilities and their families have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. All six panelists for this DEI Community Conversation are speakers with RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau (NDSB). To learn more about the NDSB, and/or to book one of its speakers, email [email protected].

About the DEI Community Conversations Series

US Equestrian’s DEI Community Conversations series will serve as a forum for raising awareness about the various experiences and issues affecting equestrians from under-represented or under-served communities. The series aims to lift traditionally marginalized voices from the equestrian community, and beyond, while building community across the broad network of horse sport enthusiasts. The series is an initiative of the DEI Action Plan’s comprehensive marketing plan strategy, one of 10 strategies to advance DEI in the sport over the next three to five years.

Doug Payne and Vandiver Grab the Win in The Fork at TIEC CCI4*-S

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Sunday saw thrilling finishes across the board for The Fork at TIEC presented by Nutrena®, but none as definitive as Doug Payne (USA) topping the leaderboard in the ProElite® CCI4*-S Division, in addition to top-ten placings with Quantum Leap and Starr Witness, in fifth and eighth. In between rides and coaching across all divisions in Eventing, Payne was also winning in the Jumper rings as part of Tryon Welcome 2 competition, where he went two-for-two aboard Quintessence. Read more about Tryon Welcome 2 results here.

Sunday at Tryon International Equestrian Center and Resort (TIEC) saw competitors contest Cross-Country and Show Jumping phases of The Fork at TIEC presented by Nutrena®, with upper levels challenging the Captain Mark Phillips (GBR) course design on the White Oak Cross-Country Course and Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) designing Show Jumping courses in Tryon Stadium. Read below to see results and interviews from all divisions.

Doug Payne (USA) and Vandiver, the 2004 Trakehner gelding (Windfall 2 – Visions of Grandeur, by Mystic Replica xx) owned by Debi Crowley and Doug and Jessica Payne, were the only pair to avoid adding time faults to their score after Cross-Country, securing the win in the ProElite® CCI 4*-S Division on a score of 25.7. Payne also collected fifth place with Quantum Leap, the 2011 DSP gelding (Quite Capitol – Report to Sloopy, by Corporate Report) owned by Doug and Jessica Payne, on a score of 34.6, while Starr Witness, the 2011 Dutch Warmblood mare (Chello III VDL – Carmen, by Veneur) owned by Laurie H. McRee, Doug Payne, and Catherine Winter, scored 37.9 to grab eighth place. Holding steady all weekend at second place, Boyd Martin (USA) finished on a score of 28.1 for reserve with Tsetserleg, the 2007 Trakehner gelding (Windfall *PG* – Thabanna, by Buddenbrock) owned by Christine, Thomas IV and Tommie Turner. Tamie Smith (USA) held onto the podium with Mai Baum, adding 7.2 to her score to finish with a 28.4 in third aboard the 2006 German Sport Horse gelding (Loredano – Ramira, by Rike) owned by Alexandra Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell.

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Payne, whose three CCI 4*-S mounts are all qualified for Tokyo should he get the chance to go, reported that his goal with each horse was to “let them flow and see what we could get done,” which resulted in top ten finishes. “Quinn [Vandiver] is the old man of the group, but he’s just getting better and better each year! He’s honestly easy and efficient – it’s not that I wasn’t trying to go fast, but he’s just a quick horse. He covers the ground and is easy on himself,” Payne explained. “Whereas, with Quantum [Leap], who was pretty close to the time, every once in a while needs to be set up a little more. He’s a five-star horse in the making, without a doubt.”

Starr Witness, Payne’s Pan-American Games mount, is aiming at a 4*-L run in Jersey unlike the others, who are aimed at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, he explained. “Clearly, she’s a classy horse as well. She just doesn’t have the base fitness that the other two do at the moment. Fitness is a little less urgent with her right now. We’ll see what we can do the rest of the season!”

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Payne was one of numerous riders to take advantage of jump schooling opportunities under the lights in Tryon Stadium and Dressage test of choice schooling offerings. “I think it’s a great opportunity, and honestly, under-utilized,” Payne shared. “You seldom ever get a chance to ride in an atmosphere that’s provided here, so to do that in a schooling environment is awesome. Hopefully that continues, because it was super valuable.

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

“Only at Tryon could you jump and event in the same weekend easily,” Payne emphasized about his multidiscipline weekend. “The footing [on Cross-Country] was excellent, I thought. It’s super helpful that they pulled the little jumps off last night. I can’t say enough [about the team here.] Tryon has done an excellent job here, and we look forward to coming back as often as we can!” Payne concluded, “I’m really lucky to have this group of horses and the team behind us that makes it all happen. There’s certainly a lot going on, but it’s great.”

Lucienne Elms and Tremanton. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Lucienne Elms and Tremanton Breeze to CCI 3*-S Win

Lucienne Elms (GBR) blazed around the White Oak Cross-Country Course with Tremanton to maintain their lead in the CCI 3*-S Division, finishing on a score of 28.9 for the win. Allison Springer (USA) and Crystal Crescent Moon, the 2013 Connemara cross gelding (Catherston Dazzler – Ebony Moon, by Mystic Replica) owned by Nancy Winter, grabbed reserve on a score of 29.3 after their double-clear Cross-Country run, while Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California, the 2011 Silla Argentina mare (Caspara – Solaguayre Calandria, by Casall) owned by David and Julianne Guariglia, kept their 30.8 score to receive third place.

Elms said that the 2012 Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain mare (Birkhof’s Graffenstolz – Trevia, by Hand in Glove) felt confident and balanced, lending to a speedier ride than she had anticipated. “Genuinely, my plan was actually just to let her find a rhythm and then not hassle her out a bit, but I set off riding forward and actually, the way they built it, the course rewarded quite forward riding, I guess, and the combinations were built to sort of just keep moving. So she felt confident, and balanced, and the ground was great. So I just kept the same rhythm and when I got to the furthest part of the course, I saw that I was on a pretty good time at that point. Every time she landed, I kept her just moving forward; she’s got a lot of blood in her with a natural gallop. I rode carefully through the second water. That was a little bit big for her. And then she had loads of gallop left!

“That’s the joy of her having a full thoroughbred dam: she can open up and dig deep when she needs to!” Elms emphasized. “But I’ll definitely now back off for a month or so to give her some time, but I’m really encouraged with that run. The course was brilliant; it was really educational, and there was a table on four strides to a corner on the way home. When they build like that, it’s lovely cause it just prepares them for the next level. It’s just lovely education for the horses’ brains.”

After a successful weekend with multiple rides beneath her, Elms is now looking to aim Tremanton for a 3*-L at the Tryon International Three-Day Event in November, after a lighter summer ahead of her. “I really just want to say thank you so much to the Tryon team for creating such a professional, international environment. The arenas and the footing are fantastic. I know how much effort they’ve had to put in, given that we had so much rain here last week,” she concluded.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Maya Black and Double Diamond C Dominate CCI 2*-S Division

Maya Black (USA) and Double Diamond C, the 2015 Hanoverian gelding (Diacontinus – Lois Lane CBF) owned by Laurie Cameron, capped off the weekend with a win in the CCI 2*-S Division, making light work of the White Oak Cross-Country course to finish on a score of 28.8. Meghan O’Donoghue (USA) and Fashionable Man, her own 2013 Thoroughbred gelding (Charitable Man – So Francie), claimed second place on a score of 30.8, while third place went to Jordan Crabo (USA) on a score of 32.3 aboard her own FE Uncle Sam, a 2014 Holsteiner gelding (Uriko – Tinka I, by Paramount).

Black summed up her Cross-Country tour with Double Diamond C, whom she calls “Perfect Peter,” as a “pretty perfect round. He was perfect out there, and everything rode great. He jumped very confidently, and very rideable, and he jumped really well into the water. Sometimes he can jump a bit big into the water, but now at this level, the water jumps are getting bigger, so he’s jumping more normally into the water because it’s a bigger drop. He felt very well prepared and comfortable and just galloped around and felt exactly how I would have hoped him to be!”

Facing no trouble at the drop-in at the water obstacle that caused her to take a tumble last fall, Black emphasized that she was extra prepared to have good rides on all three shots she took on course. “I jumped off that jump into the water three times today, and I made sure to put my arm back all three times, which might’ve been a little extreme, but I [was determined] to not do that again! They all three jumped in super, and didn’t have any bobbles, so that was good.”

After qualifying her rides for a 2*-L later on in the season, Black will give her young mounts some well-deserved rest time before planning for the fall season. “Really, for their age, my horses are ahead of schedule, basically, so they’re going to have an easy while when we head back to Virginia. They’ll get out in the fields for a month or so, and then we’ll start working on flat work and fitness again before we look at the plan for the fall. I’m trying to keep them sound and happy for the future!”

Boyd Martin and On Cue. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Austin Skeens and What Gives Win their First CCI 1*-S

Austin Skeens (USA) the 2014 Thoroughbred gelding owned by Heather Skeens, What Gives, made light work of the CCI 1*-S Division to claim the gelding’s first FEI event on a score of 39.4. Second place went to Anna Billings (USA) with her own Wexford Cruise, the 2013 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Loch Cruise – Glebe Creme, by Rich Rebel), on a score of 44.1, while Sandra Holden (USA) and Cano Cristales, her own 2003 Hanoverian gelding (Conteur – Konny, by Kolibri), rounded out the podium on a final score of 65.6.

Skeens reported that he wasn’t sure how What Gives would handle the massive environment that TIEC offers as a venue, but was amazed to see his young mount take everything in stride. “We came into this not exactly sure what we’d have, because it’s just such a big venue, especially [for a horse] who’s never been here. But he was just such an absolute superstar, in all three phases. I’m just incredibly impressed with the way he handled all of the atmosphere everywhere that he went.”

Beyond the scores, Skeens is excited to have discovered that What Gives handles atmosphere and excitement “like a pro” and that even on Cross-Country, they left the start box and “didn’t look back. He was super super fast, and jumped everything just as well as he could and carried on straight to the finish line. He had lots of gas left in the tank at the end, even after the big hill. At the bottom, he was ready to take me right up it. It was really, really great.”

Going forward, Skeens will reassess his plans for What Gives after such a successful outing, he admitted. “We will just kind of see where the road takes us. When you have a weekend like this, you kind of look at everything in a different light. He came into the Dressage and really held his own against some really nice horses, and then of course he ran Cross-Country like a champion. He’s proving that he’s really a great horse, so we’re just lucky to have him on board.”

Though he’s competed at TIEC before, at the 2017 American Eventing Championships, Skeens concluded that he had especially enjoyed arriving early and enjoying Tryon Resort’s atmosphere outside of the competition rings. “I just brought one horse, so being at Tryon has been great. I always love coming here – whenever you get an excuse to come to a place like this, definitely do! It’s just another world, you know. The experience is great, and it’s like Disneyland! It was nice to have an extra day to kind of take in the sights and spend Friday just enjoying the park and enjoying life here. It’s just really fun to be here, and it was a great weekend. We will definitely be back!”

Arden Wildasin and Tokyo Drift. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Will Faudree and Boyd Martin Collect Advanced Division Wins

Will Faudree (Southern Pines, NC) and Mama’s Magic Way, the 2011 Hanoverian gelding (Mighty Magic – Straightaway) owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables, collected a win in the Advanced – Test A Division despite pulling two rails in Show Jumping and adding 16.4 time penalties after Cross-Country, finishing on a 52.2. Lucienne Elms (Campobello, SC) and Atlantic Vital Spark, her own 2010 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Atlantic Sparky – Atlantic Biance), improved from fourth to second on a final score of 58.7, while Sarah Kuhn (Aiken, SC) and Mr. Cash van de Start, Deborah Kuhn’s 2012 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Deauville de la Vie – Ishtar van de Start), retained third place honors on a final score of 59.1.

Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way led the entire weekend in the division, and he calls the gelding a “kindred spirit” who is really starting to come together as an Advanced horse. “He’s a really cool horse. Everybody that knows me and him knows we’re basically like kindred spirits, like 3-year-old toddlers let loose in a candy store on a sugar high. The Dressage is starting to come together, and there’s more there, which is really exciting. He’s a super jumper and he’s really fun to ride on the Cross Country and in the Show Jumping.”

Though pulling a few rails in Tryon Stadium Saturday night didn’t cost them the win, Faudree mentioned that his horse’s extreme carefulness became a bit of a foil when shadows on the ground started to look like ground poles: “I felt a bit bad for him last night. One rail, I could’ve given him a bit more room, but the next rail it was like he was trying to bounce the shadow rail in front of the jump. The lighting in the ring at the time, about an hour before sunset when he went, just made him a bit spooky. I felt a bit bad for him because he does not like to touch things! He was just superb at Cross-Country,” Faudree shared. “It was a great track and a great venue to be at leading up to Kentucky in a couple weeks.”

Boyd Martin (Cochranville, PA) retained his one-two placing in the Advanced – Test B Division, with Long Island T taking over the lead after Cross-Country phase to finish on a score of 41.8 with the 2006 Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding (Ludwig von Bayern – Highlight) owned by the Long Island T Syndicate. Luke 140, the 2011 Holsteiner gelding (Landos – Omega VI) owned by the Luke 140 Syndicate, finished in reserve on a score of 42.7. Staying steady in third, Daniela Moguel (Shelby, NC) piloted Cecelia, the 2003 Thoroughbred mare (Connecticut – Penny Stock) owned by Jorge Martinez and Paloma Garcia, to third place with a final tally of 47.3 points.

Tamie Smith and Danito. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Caroline Martin and Vamonos are Victorious in Open Preliminary

Caroline Martin (Miami Beach, FL) and Vamonos, the 2015 Zangersheide gelding (Andiamo VH Kapelhof Z – Quasimodelle Kapelhof Z), which she owns with Sherrie Martin, scored a win in the Open Preliminary Division on a final total of 32.2, improving from second to first and trading places with Paige Crotty (Southboro, MA) aboard Excel Star Armina Z, her own 2012 Irish Zangersheide mare (Air Jordan Z – Cromina Z), who finished on a score of 33.4 for reserve after adding four faults to her score. In third, Mary Bess Davis (Mansfield, GA) and her own Imperio Magic, the 2014 Warmblood gelding (Cassander C – Khadija des Hayattes), scored 38.1 after pulling a rail in Tryon Stadium.

Martin is still getting to know Vamonos, after she received him as a wedding present recently, she revealed. “I just started riding him about a month and a half ago. He was produced by Emily King, who took him to young horse championships and stuff like that as a six year old. He had a quiet year last year and went back to his home in Ireland. Funny enough, he’s a wedding present! My friend who is a dealer and sells horses with me got him for me as an engagement/wedding present. He’s a super horse, and I ended up buying him. We’re just getting to know each other.”

Though they’ve only been to a few shows together yet, Martin sees Vamonos as a horse to bring up the levels and keep in her string for the long haul. “He’s definitely able to go up the levels. We’ve got a big future, and we’re looking more towards next year! It was a good weekend for all of the horses,” she concluded. “The surfaces for Dressage are amazing, and the Show Jumping under the lights in the big stadium is a great atmosphere for the horses. It was very good practice for them, and the Cross-Country course was lovely.”

Benita Strini and DHI Kevin G Collect Open Novice Win

Benita Strini (Scottsville, VA) and DHI Kevin G, the 2015 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Plain Dealing Farm, led Open Novice the whole way to finish on a score of 20.2 in their competitive division. Kelly Waters (Verbank, NY) earned second place aboard Family Man, her own 2008 Hanoverian gelding, ending up with a final score of 21.2, while Audrie Stanka (Simonton, TX) and Jenny, the 2014 Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Zachary Brandt, took home third place on a score of 23.3.

The Fork at TIEC: [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Area 2, Area 1 Victorious in Inaugural USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Aiken

A total of 29 youth athletes participated in the inaugural Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Aiken on March 25-27, 2021, at Stable View Farm in Aiken, S.C., representing Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8.

A new USEF Eventing program launched in 2021 as an evolution of the FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC), the Youth Team Challenge (YTC) mimics the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ Series by offering youth athletes between the FEI ages of 14-25 the opportunity to compete for their Areas in selected short-format competitions throughout the season, culminating in a long-format Final in the fall on both coasts.

“We were thrilled with the strong response from athletes across seven different Areas to make the inaugural Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Aiken such a success,” said Jenni Autry, USEF Managing Director of Eventing. “The feedback from athletes has been very encouraging, and we will continue to seek ways to promote, grow, and expand this program in its pilot year and beyond. Creating team opportunities for youth athletes is a vitally important component of the Eventing Pathway, and the Youth Team Challenge provides a format for us to facilitate these opportunities.”

CCI3*-S Team and Individual Results
The Area 2 team of Sydney Solomon, 23, (Dayton, Md.) and her own and Leslie Solomon’s FE Mactan; Meg Pellegrini, 16, (Wayne, Pa.) and her own RF Eloquence; Isabelle Bosley, 23, (Cochranville, Pa.) and her own Night Quality; and Calli Lipping, 19, (Bethesda, Md.) and her own Wild Affair topped the YTC CCI3*-S podium on a final team score of 148.5. Two double-clear show jumping rounds around Chris Barnard’s tough track ultimately boosted the team to victory.

Meg Pellegrini and RF Eloquence GRC Photography

Meg Pellegrini & RF Eloquence. Photo courtesy of

Area 4’s team of Greta Schwickert, 22, (Kasota, Minn.) and her own and Jane and Kent Schwickert’s Matchless; Kristine Burgess, 22, (Lino Lakes, Minn.)  and her own Twoggeron; and Caitlyn Ruud, 17, (Franksville, Wisc.) and Light Speed Equestrian’s Up to You de Lorage took second place in the CCI3*-S team results. A scramble team of Area 2’s Vanessa Stoltzfus, 22, (Lancaster, Pa.) and Teddy Sarc; Area 5’s Kit Ferguson, 19, (Tulsa, Okla.) and Cilbhrid Tom; and Area 4’s Caitlyn Ruud and MGH Heartbeat finished third.

In the individual CCI3*-S YTC standings, Area 2’s Isabelle Bosley and Night Quality took the top podium spot on a final score of 32.9, which placed them third overall in a large field of more than 50 combinations. Bosley said her clear round inside the time on Capt. Mark Phillips’ cross-country course stands out as a highlight of the competition.

Sydney Solomon & FE Mactan. Photo courtesy of

“My goal was a good run to prep us for the bigger shows later in the spring. He did a good dressage test and felt super in show jumping. By that point, I knew we were in a competitive spot and thought we would go for the time on cross-country. He was really bold cross-country and gave me a great feeling all the way around. I was thrilled. I wanted to get a good confident run, and it was a cherry on top to have the result we did,” Bosley said, adding that she enjoyed competing in a team environment.

“I work for and train with Lillian Heard. The Area 2 team consisted of my coworker, Calli, and Meg and Sydney, who are both students of Lillian. We are all close already, so it made it really fun that we were all able to compete together. It gave the weekend a bit of a special of feel to it. It’s really fun to have the team environment, and it makes the whole show more exciting and makes you more jazzed for all phases because you want to do the best you can for your teammates.”

Calli Lipping & Wild Affair. Photo courtesy of

The YTC Aiken was Bosley’s first team experience, as she had not previously participated at NAYC.

“Previously I had never applied for NAYC because it wasn’t as affordable and realistic for me, as I needed to be able to work and couldn’t be away from home for so long. With this new format, I was able to groom and work for Lillian while competing in the Team Challenge, so it makes it much more accessible for me. NAYC didn’t fit in with my schedule and my life, but this is something that can definitely work for me.”

Area 8’s Alex Baugh,19, (Lexington, Ky.) and Altorac Farm’s Mr. Candyman finished second in the YTC CCI3*-S individual standings and 11th overall on a final score of 42.0. Area 2’s Meg Pellegrini and RF Eloquence finished third in the YTC standings and 16th overall on a final score of 45.3.

CCI2*-S Team and Individual Results
Weather delays did not stop the Area 1 team of Elizabeth Gill, 18, (Wellesley, Mass.) and her own Opportunity Knoxx; Libby Scruton, 18, (Elizaville, N.Y.) and her own One and Only; Ayden Schain, 17, (Bradford, Vt.) and Dawn Barclay’s Fernhill Hole Shot; and Jack Curtis, 17, (Beverly, Mass.) and Betsy Curtis’s Luska Candy Clover from leading the CCI2*-S team competition from start to finish. The team delivered three double-clear cross-country rounds to finish on a team score of 96.4.

Libby Scruton & One and Only. Photo courtesy of

The scramble team for Areas 3 and 4 of Katarina Midgley, 18, (Franklin, Tenn.) and her own Ditch; Mya Poulos, 16, (Barrington Hills, Ill.) and her own Sir Duke; Carly Blank, 16, (Alpharetta, Ga.) and her own Connacht Dinin; and Rebecca Roth, 16, (Malone, Wisc.) and Stephanie Roth’s Chapter Two took second place on a score of 134.3.

Rounding out the top three teams was the scramble team for Areas 5 and 2 of Anna Pierce, 20, (McGregor, Texas) and her own and Diane Pierce’s Obiejohn; Mikayla Cutler, 19, (Annapolis, Md.) and her own Reverie; Kenna Jensen, 17, (League City, Texas) and her own Gowiene; and Vienna Allport, 14, (Rockwall, Texas) and Darren Allport’s DHI Zatopek B.

Area 1 also swept the CCI2*-S individual standings, with Ayden Schain and Fernhill Hole Shot taking top honors, finishing on their dressage score of 30.9 to place the combination eighth in a competitive division of more than 60 horses. This was the first FEI competition and first team competition for Schain, and she said the pressure of the team environment changed the feel of the competition.

Ayden Schain & Fernhill Hole Shot. GRC PhotographyPhoto courtesy of

“[Fernhill Hole Shot] had some of his best work in the dressage, so I was really pleased with him. He’s a really nice moving horse, so the dressage comes very naturally to him. He’s like a dancing partner, and that’s been fun for me to feel. The show jumping was foot perfect. He’s a bigger horse at 17.2, so the jumps aren’t super big for him and he’s pretty scopey. On the cross-country, he’s really come a long way since I’ve had him. It was a great confidence-boosting round for us. He’s gotten really brave, and to feel that over the last year has been fun. I felt like it all came together on course,” Schain said.

“Normally when I compete, I am really competitive, but I know I’m only competing for myself and against myself. But with the team, I felt like every time I went in the arena or left the start box, the pressure was on. It was a different feeling, but I really liked it knowing that the team score was on the line. I was last to go out for the team on cross-country and everyone before me had clear rounds, and I knew I had to jump clean and I had to go fast. I hadn’t made time with him yet, and I made time at Stable View. Knowing the pressure was on made me really push for it.”

Elizabeth Gill & Opportuntity Knoxx. Photo courtesy of

Looking to the rest of the YTC CCI2*-S standings, Jack Curtis and Luska Candy Clover finished second on the individual leaderboard and ninth overall in the division on a final score of 31.0. Libby Scruton and One and Only rounded out the top three in the individual YTC standings and placed 16th on a final score of 34.5.

The YTC also offers a new opportunity for athletes between the FEI ages of 14-18 to participate at the CCI1* level. While no Areas brought forward teams for the CCI1*, Area 1’s Crockett Miller, 15, (Ellerslie, Ga.) and her own Mr. Panda added only one rail in show jumping to their dressage score of 32.6 to top the individual YTC CCI1* leaderboard and finish second overall in the division.

Barry Olliff, owner of Stable View Farm, was thrilled to add the YTC to the venue’s spring FEI competition, which also hosted a CCI4*-S in addition to the other FEI levels.

Jack Curtis & Luska Candy Clover. Photo courtesy of

“Stable View was very proud to have hosted the first Youth Team Challenge,” Olliff said. “Apart from some heavy rain, which was great for cross-country, the three days went very smoothly and the competition went well. This is a great format for the future of U.S. Eventing.”

Team Results
Individual Results

Thank you to Adequan for their title sponsorship of the Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge, and to Attwood Equestrian Surfaces for donating a cooler to the top-placed individuals in the CCI2*-S and CCI3*-S.

Learn more about the Youth Team Challenge and future competitions on the USEF Eventing website at

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FEI Publishes Return to Competition Measures for Mainland Europe

Stock image via Canva.

The FEI has today published the Return To Competition measures that will allow for a safe resumption of international sport in mainland Europe on April 12 following a six-week shutdown to control the spread of the neurological form of the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1).

The measures focus on six key areas: Pre-event venue preparations by Organisers; Athlete pre-event preparations; Examination on Arrival; Onsite at Event Venue; Departure from Events; and Jurisdiction.

The Return To Competition measures, which were comprehensively reviewed at a stakeholder consultation session last week and fine-tuned by both the FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group and the FEI Veterinary Committee, have now been approved by the FEI Board.

Stakeholders who joined last week’s two-hour online consultation session included Athlete Representatives Pedro Veniss (Jumping) and Beatriz Ferrer Salat (Dressage), Eleonora Ottaviani (International Jumping Riders Club), Klaus Roeser (International Dressage Riders Club), Peter Bollen (Equestrian Organisers), Dominique Megret (Jumping Owners Club), Quentin Simonet and Ulf Helgstrand (European Equestrian Federation), together with international grooms Heidi Mulari (Steve Guerdat) and Kirsty Pascoe (Jérôme Guery), and FEI Events Stable Manager Patrick Borg.

The measures include a series of temporary provisions, which will remain in place until May 30, 2021, providing a science-based safety margin to allow for monitoring of any further related outbreaks. This date can be extended if required and advance notice will be provided to the community. These temporary provisions will be formalised in legally binding Bylaws which will be published during the week commencing April 5 2021.

The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group has agreed that there is currently no evidence indicating that it would be unsafe to return to international competition in mainland Europe as planned on April 12, provided the mandated enhanced preventive measures are implemented and there are no further linked outbreaks. The Group will continue to monitor the evolution of the European outbreak on a daily basis.

The FEI HorseApp will be updated with new modules which will allow for enhanced traceability as part of the EHV-1 Return To Competition measures. These will be launched in the second week of April.

The Return To Competition measures, which clearly outline roles and responsibilities, are available online and for download in the dedicated EHV-1 hub. Additional documentation will be added in the coming days.

How to Watch the Elite Eventing Action at Oasby Tomorrow

Piggy March and Vanir Kamira. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Many of the world’s leading event riders are set to converge on Oasby in the UK for their Elite event on Monday, March 22.

Organised by the team at BEDE Events, Oasby Elite attracts major names in the sport and Horse & Country will live stream more than five hours of action from the cross-country phase.

Riders making their way to the Lincolnshire event include 2020 Pau 5* winner, Laura Collet and London 52, Burghley winners, Pippa Funnell and MGH Grafton Street along with Piggy March, Tom McEwen and Ros Canter. The line-up is second to none with many riders bringing their top horses to take part in the Open Intermediate section and get their season underway.

The stream starts at 7:30 a.m. EST/11:30 a.m. BST on Monday and will run until around 1 p.m. EST/5 p.m. BST with the cross-country course designed to give riders and horses a good “pipe opener” as they start their competition campaign. Well-known commentator and international rider, Spencer Sturmey, will bring the action to life as riders make their way around Stuart Buntine’s cross-country course.

H&C Director of Content, Jonathan Rippon said: “We are delighted to be live streaming Oasby Elite. It will be a real feast for eventing fans to be able to see so many of the country’s major stars in action throughout the Monday afternoon. It is brilliant to get live stream coverage from the UK underway and showcase what a magical sport eventing is to our worldwide audience. We will also be live streaming Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in April and hope to announce more upcoming live streaming from other events as they get confirmed.”

To watch the live stream, make sure you are signed up to H&C+, Horse & Country’s worldwide streaming service. H&C+ members can watch online or with H&C’s mobile apps, as well as on Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire. Membership is just £5.99 per month and full details on how to join can be found at

Oasby Elite: [Schedule and Entries]

Friends of Ferdinand, Inc. Launches New Broodmare Pilot Program

Stock image.

Friends of Ferdinand, Inc. (FFI) is thrilled to announce the launch of their new pilot program called Broodmare Bunch. This program is an expansion of FFI’s current mission to rehab, retrain, and rehome Thoroughbreds directly off the track after their racing careers. Broodmare Bunch will be open to Thoroughbred mares who have been pensioned from broodmare duty as part of the horseracing breeding industry. The program will assist potentially at-risk broodmares in finding homes after their breeding careers have ended.

“While there are many organizations that assist horses fresh from the racetrack, there are very few that have a program dedicated to the broodmares. This is an unmet need,” says FFI President Sara Busbice. “Anything from fertility issues, difficulty foaling, lack of successful racing offspring, or downsizing a herd can cause a broodmare to be removed from a breeding farm, often at a young enough age that she could go on to have a terrific ‘third’ career after her jobs on the racetrack and as a mother are over.”

Trainer Lori Miller, who runs Greenstone Stables where many of FFI’s horses live during their retraining, expressed her excitement about FFI expanding into this new realm of the Thoroughbred industry. “We would certainly be fulfilling an industry need by adding broodmares to our roster,” she says. “Diversifying our herd will give us the ability to have more horses available for different levels of potential adopters. We are looking forward to expanding our existing program by bringing these new horses into our barn!”

The pilot program for FFI’s Broodmare Bunch is launching in March 2021. Individuals or farms interested in submitting a broodmare for consideration into the program can do so by filling out a “Donate a Horse” form on the Friends of Ferdinand website. A limited, select number of broodmares will be accepted into the program initially. Preference will be given to horses with connections to racing or breeding in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.

As the only Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance-accredited program in Indiana, FFI is dedicated to assisting off-track Thoroughbreds transition to their second or third careers. The program has TAA-accredited farms around Indiana and Ohio as rehabilitation and retraining facilities for Off-Track Thoroughbreds, and these will also be available for mares that are part of the Broodmare Bunch.

The Broodmare Bunch is funded in part by groups and individuals donating to FFI. One of the first, and largest, benefactors of the Broodmare Bunch is the Indiana Thoroughbred Alliance (ITA). ITA is a collaboration of breeders, owners, trainers, and horse-racing enthusiasts dedicated to the continued success of Thoroughbred breeding and racing in the state of Indiana. Their donation of $5,000 will help to launch the program. The money was raised from ITA’s first stallion service auction in December.

“As passionate breeders in Indiana, we know how important it is to not only find second careers for our racehorses, but also for our broodmares,” says Christine Cagle, owner of Springcliff Farm and ITA board member. “The ITA is not only dedicated to the promotion of horse racing in Indiana, but also to the transition of second, or third, careers for our Thoroughbreds. This partnership was a no-brainer.”

Photo courtesy of Friends of Ferdinand.

To learn more about the Broodmare Bunch program, visit the Friends of Ferdinand website. If resources for these broodmares are important to you, and you want to support Broodmare Bunch or get involved, you can direct your questions and comments to [email protected]. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support this new program, you can do so securely through the Friends of Ferdinand website

For more updates on this exciting new expansion of Friends of Ferdinand’s retraining program, and to learn about the mares that will be accepted into the pilot program of Broodmare Bunch and eventually listed for adoption, follow FFI on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay in the loop.

Friends of Ferdinand, Inc. (FFI) is a 501c3 nonprofit equine organization that is dedicated to retired racehorses, and the only organization in Indiana that is accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA). Graduates from the FFI program have gone on to have success in eventing, dressage, calf-roping, western riding, trail riding, as hunter/jumpers, and as therapy horses. 

Woods Baughman to Receive USET Foundation Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant

Woods Baughman and C’est La Vie 135. Photo by Abby Powell.

The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation has named Woods Baughman of Lexington, Ky., as the recipient of the 2021 Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant. Baughman is a current member of the US Equestrian 2021 Eventing High Performance Pre-Elite Training List.

As the recipient of the grant, Baughman will receive up to $5,000 to help offset expenses associated with his training over the next year.

“I can’t thank the USET Foundation and the people involved with this grant enough,” stated Baughman, 25. “You can never have enough training, and I’ll certainly put this to good use.

“It can be hard trying to put yourself in the right place without having enough financial backing to get the training and support that will help the rider and horses improve,” he continued. “Having good eyes on you is important because there is always something you’re missing. It’s huge to have this help and not have to worry about if I can make this happen.”

Baughman plans to use the grant to support training with his horse C’est La Vie 135, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I x Aarking xx).

“C’est La Vie is at the top of the sport and I think if I can polish him, he’s really world class,” explained Baughman. “Anything and everything I can do to fill my gaps [in training] so that I can show off the horse I am lucky to ride is worth it.”

The USET Foundation Amanda Pirie Warrington Fund allocates the Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant annually. Pirie’s family established the fund in her memory for the purpose of providing financial assistance to an eventing athlete identified with great talent and ability to represent the United States in the future. It is intended for a recipient that will benefit most from the opportunity to continue their training with top coaches and to compete against the world’s best in eventing, one of three Olympic equestrian disciplines.

Thanks to the Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant, Baughman can continue to focus on his training and prepare for competitions, helping to reach his goal of representing the United States on the international stage.

2021 Carolina International Will Stream Exclusively on Horse & Country TV

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Horse & Country (H&C), the international equestrian sports network, is pleased to announce exclusive coverage of the 2021 Carolina International on its streaming service, H&C+ from the 18th to the 20th of March. With the event closed to the public, in line with USEF and FEI guidelines, H&C+ members can still enjoy the action from one of the most prestigious three-day events in the calendar.

Viewers will be able to watch all three phases from the 4*, as well as the Showjumping and Cross Country from the 3*. Riders confirmed include Will Coleman, Phillip Dutton, Will Faudree, Clayton Fredericks and Liz Halliday-Sharp. With an Ian Stark designed Cross Country course, it’s set to be a fascinating competition as combinations set their sights on Kentucky.

“We’re delighted to be streaming the Carolina International,” said H&C Executive Producer, David Qualls. “Our coverage will ensure that, notwithstanding the closed doors, the event reaches the widest possible audience in 2021.”

H&C+ members can watch online or with H&C’s mobile apps, as well as on Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire. Membership is just $9.99 per month and full details on how to join can be found at

Over and above H&C’s extensive sports coverage, members also get access to over 1,600 hours of programming, including Masterclasses by Will Faudree and Will Coleman, and episodes of H&C’s Barn Talk series featuring profiles of both Wills and Liz Halliday-Sharp.

Retired Racehorse Project Presents $5,000 Highpoint Thoroughbred Award at 2021 LiftMaster Grand-Prix Eventing

Holly Jacks-Smither and More Inspiration, winners of the Retired Racehorse Project Highpoint Thoroughbred Award at LiftMaster Grand-Prix Eventing, Bruce’s Field, Aiken, SC. Photo by Chris Quinn.

The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) proudly presented the $5,000 Highpoint Thoroughbred Award at the 2021 LiftMaster Grand-Prix Eventing at Bruce’s Field in Aiken, SC on Saturday, March 6. Holly Jacks-Smither and More Inspiration took top honors as the highest-placed Thoroughbred, with Colleen Rutledge and Confidence Game coming in second.

The Highpoint Thoroughbred Award was first introduced at the 2020 Grand-Prix Eventing, and the Retired Racehorse Project continued the tradition thanks to the contributions of Dr. Kevin Pfiester of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Dr. Stuart E. Brown of Brownstead Farm, Dr. Andy Clark and Kathleen Sullivan, and Dr. Rebecca Newell and William Griffin. The RRP’s board president Carolyn Karlson was on hand to present the award.

RRP board president Carolyn Karlson, Holly Jacks-Smither, Dr. Rebecca Newell. Photo by Chris Quinn.

“Showcasing Thoroughbred competing successfully at the highest levels of equestrian sport goes a long way in increasing demand for them in the equestrian world,” said the RRP’s executive director Jen Roytz. “The RRP was proud to support this year’s Highpoint Thoroughbred Award, along with Dr. Kevin Pfiester, Dr. Stuart Brown, Dr. Andy Clark and Kathleen Sullivan, and Dr. Rebecca Newell and William Griffin. All of us are thrilled to shine a light on More Inspiration, Confidence Game, and their talented riders in this way.”

Holly Jacks-Smither’s More Inspiration is a 16-year-old Ontario-bred gelding bred by Display Farm, by Inspired Prospect out of the Buckley Boy mare Gentle Buck. He made 28 starts in Ontario, winning four for total career earnings of $55,560. With strong ties to the racing industry — Jacks-Smither started galloping racehorses at age 12 and her husband is a racing trainer — it’s fitting that she has taken an off-track Thoroughbred to the highest levels of eventing.

Holly Jacks-Smither and More Inspiration, winners of the Retired Racehorse Project Highpoint Thoroughbred Award at LiftMaster Grand-Prix Eventing, Bruce’s Field, Aiken, SC. Photo by Chris Quinn.

“I grew up riding Thoroughbreds and that’s essentially almost all I’ve ever ridden, so it’s amazing to have the Retired Racehorse Project getting behind these horses!” stated Jacks-Smither. “It’s always special to have one you produced yourself come up through the levels, especially More Inspiration — he’s the horse that made my career.”

Taking home the second prize for the Highpoint Thoroughbred Award, Confidence Game is Jockey Club-registered as Pam’s Luc, an 11-year-old Arkansas-bred stallion bred by Richard Hessee. Confidence Game is by Morluc out of the Brief Ruckus mare Pam’s Ruckus. Colleen Rutledge sourced the horse through Three Plain Bays, a private Thoroughbred reseller based in Maryland.

Colleen Rutledge and Confidence Game (JC: Pam’s Luc), second place in the Retired Racehorse Project Highpoint Thoroughbred Award at LiftMaster Grand-Prix Eventing, Bruce’s Field, Aiken, SC. Photo by Chris Quinn.

“I’m so proud of Confidence Game and how he handled the weekend,” described Rutledge. “This was the toughest course he’s ever seen from a visual aspect. Thoroughbreds have such great heart, and he gave me everything I could have asked from him on the cross-country and show jumping.”

The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds in the equestrian world. In addition to producing the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, the organization also publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts off-track Thoroughbred retraining clinics and programming at major horse expos and events around the country, and maintains the online Thoroughbred Sport Tracker (the internet’s only user-driven database tracking second career talents and accomplishments of registered Thoroughbreds). Visit the RRP online at

FEI Extends Mainland Europe Shutdowns Through April 11

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The FEI has imposed a further two-week extension of the shutdown of all international events in mainland Europe until April 11, 2021 due to the ongoing outbreak of the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1). The FEI had previously announced a 28-day shutdown on March 1.

The move, which aims to minimize the further spread of the very aggressive strain of the virus, was unanimously approved at an emergency FEI Executive Board meeting today. The extended lockdown applies to all FEI disciplines.

The decision is based on detailed scientific risk assessment conducted by world leading epidemiologist Dr. Richard Newton and the FEI Veterinary Department.

The extended lockdown applies to all countries that have international scheduled events in the period to 11 April – Austria, Belgium, Spain, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Sweden. However, the FEI again strongly recommends that all National Federations in mainland Europe cancel their national events in order to minimize horse movement.

The shutdown will mean the cancellation of the FEI World Cup™ Finals for the second consecutive year following the loss of the 2020 Finals in Las Vegas (USA) to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final and the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final were scheduled to be held in Gothenburg (SWE) from March 31 through April 4.

“The extension of the lockdown is difficult for everyone, and the loss of the FEI World Cup Finals for a second year is particularly devastating, especially for the qualified athletes and for our loyal Top Partner Longines,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said. “We know how much work Tomas Torgersen and his incredible team in Gothenburg have put into organizing the 2021 Finals, which would have been part of the 400th birthday anniversary celebrations for the city, so this is a desperately bitter blow.

“We cannot eradicate EHV as it is endemic in many countries, but we need to work together to minimize the transmission of this particular strain, which has already caused the death of 12 horses in Europe. All of the original in-contact horses from Valencia, Vejer de la Frontera and Doha are already blocked on the FEI Database, but the whole community needs to be on the alert and monitoring their horses. We strongly urge all European-based FEI athletes to avoid travel with their horses during this prolonged shutdown, as travel is a very clear risk factor.

“Sadly this additional lockdown is crucial to slow down the spread of the virus so that we can preserve the rest of the season, get our athletes and horses back competing safely and allow as long a period as possible for those aiming for Tokyo to earn their Minimum Eligibility Requirements and confirmation results, and of course to prepare their horses for the Games.

“Nobody wants to see an outbreak like this ever again. There will be a comprehensive and fully transparent investigation into every aspect of this outbreak and the way it has been handled, and the findings will be published so that, together with our community, we can all learn from this.

“We will be putting in place enhanced protocols to allow for a safe return to play once this outbreak is under control, and we will advise our community on those well in advance of the resumption of international events, but the priority right now has to be the treatment of sick horses and getting healthy horses back to their home countries in a safe and biosecure way. We all need to focus on safeguarding not just FEI horses, but the wider European horse community.”

Work on identifying the gene sequencing of this strain of the virus is already underway, and the FEI is continuing to monitor the evolution of the virus through the FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group, which was formalized this week. The Group is composed of world-leading EHV specialists, the FEI Veterinary Director and FEI Senior Veterinary Advisor, supported by the Chair of the FEI Veterinary Committee. Reports and recommendations from this Group will be published on a weekly basis.

The FEI is also publishing daily updates on the dedicated EHV-1 hub. You can read more updates on EHV-1 cases in the U.S. (which at this time have not been linked to the European outbreak) here.

FEI Cancels All Competition on European Mainland Through 3/28 Due to EHV-1 Outbreak

Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The FEI has cancelled international events in 10 countries on the European mainland with immediate effect and until 28 March 2021 due to the rapid evolution of a very aggressive strain of the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), which originated in Valencia (ESP) and has already resulted in related outbreaks in at least three other countries in Europe.

This decision applies to all FEI disciplines, but in order to prevent huge numbers of horses simultaneously departing the Jumping Tours on the Iberian Peninsula, in Italy and Belgium that have been ongoing for a number of weeks, these specific Tours will be allowed to continue as individual “bubbles” on the condition that absolutely no new horses are allowed to enter the venues and no positive cases of EHV-1 are confirmed.

The Jumping Tour venues in Vejer de la Frontera (ESP), Vilamoura (POR), San Giovanni in Marignano (ITA) and Gorla Minore (ITA) will have stringent biosecurity protocols in place and additional FEI Veterinary Delegates onsite. Horses will only be permitted to leave these venues when they are in possession of an official health certificate from the local Veterinary Authorities. Any horses leaving these venues without this documentation will be blocked on the FEI Database. It is also illegal to transport a horse without an official health certificate.

Oliva Nova (ESP) had already advised the FEI this afternoon that it has decided to cancel the rest of its scheduled competitions in the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour III. Opglabbeek (BEL) has also informed the FEI that it has cancelled its events in March.

A number of countries, including France, have already cancelled all their events to minimise transmission of the virus.

The decision, which covers events in France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, Germany and Slovakia, has been made in accordance with FEI General Regulations Article 112.3, which state: The Secretary General shall have the authority to remove any Competition and/or Event from the Calendar if justified circumstances relating to a Competition or the Event are established.

“This was not an easy decision to block events in mainland Europe, particularly after the major disruption to the FEI Calendar caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said, “but this EHV-1 outbreak is probably the most serious we have had in Europe for many decades and our decision is based on clearly identified epidemiological risk factors.

“This strain of EHV-1 is particularly aggressive and has already caused equine fatalities and a very large number of severe clinical cases. We need to keep our horses safe.

“We are also aware that a large number of horses left the venue in Valencia without an official health certificate, meaning they had an unknown health status. Some horses were already sick, and the risk of transmission from these horses is a major concern.

“Cancelling these competitions in mainland Europe, with the exception of the ongoing Jumping Tours in the Iberian Peninsula and Italy, limits the number of horses travelling internationally and therefore reduces the likelihood of this very serious virus being transmitted on an increasingly wider scale. We also strongly recommend that the affected member Federations should also cancel their national events.

“We are very conscious of the fact that this is a very stressful and distressing time, and that this is potentially hugely disruptive for those athletes aiming for their Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) or confirmation results for Tokyo, but we are looking at ways to alleviate that in order to assist athlete/horse combinations in getting their MERs or confirmation results once the events in mainland Europe are allowed to resume.”

The FEI is conscious that some athletes have already arrived on competition venues or are en route, and is directly contacting all impacted athletes entered in Events between now and 28 March 2021.

Previous FEI updates since the FEI was first notified of the EHV-1 outbreak on 20 February are available here.

Equine herpesvirus type 1, or rhinopneumonia, is a relatively common respiratory condition that’s spread through horse-to-horse contact. But this doesn’t necessary mean the horses need to be in close enough proximity to touch noses – aerosol droplets or nasal discharge can contaminate surfaces, such as grooming tools, buckets, and even clothing and hands, spreading the virus quickly and efficiently among a number of horses. For this reason, it can become hard to control very swiftly – particularly as carriers may not show any symptoms while actively spreading the virus over its 2–10 day incubation period.
Although EHV-1 can lead to abortion in pregnant mares or ongoing respiratory issues, it’s a largely innocuous virus that an enormous amount of horses will come into contact with at some point or another. So what makes this outbreak different? Simple: it’s the progression into a neurological form of the disease, known as Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy, or EHM. This progression happens when EHV-1 progresses into the bloodstream, causing inflammation in the microvasculature. This, in turn, can restrict blood flow to areas of the spinal cord, leading to neurologic disease.
EHM is a very rare and incurable form of EHV-1, which can show up in a multitude of ways: some horses may experience a biphasic fever, which has two ‘spikes’, a sudden lack of coordination, limb weakness, loss of balance and inability to stand normally, inability to urinate effectively, or depression. Though there’s no cure, EHM-positive horses can be administered NSAIDs such as bute or banamine to reduce fever and pain. Some horses do go on to recover from EHM – often with lingering neurological deficits – but the fatality rate is high at 30%.
Though there’s no vaccine for EHM, it’s most often caused by EHV-1, so ensuring your horses’ vaccinations are up to date is the most effective way of protecting them against an outbreak. Implementing a robust quarantine strategy when introducing a new horse to your property, too, is essential: keep the new horse separate for ten to fourteen days, limiting the number of people who have access to it and ensuring that all tools and clothing are thoroughly disinfected, and hands washed, before coming into contact with another horse.

Entries for Land Rover Kentucky CCI5*/CCI4*S Open Today

Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

After much shuffling and a massive amount of support from the hardworking eventing public that generated $550,000 in donations, the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event will go forward after an initial cancelation, and for riders hoping to compete in this year’s hybrid CCI5* and CCI4*S event entries are now open.

A new partnership between Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI), producer of the world-class event, and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation combined with the support of US Equestrian and longstanding sponsors Land Rover, MARS Equestrian, and Rolex has ensured that the CCI5*-L and CCI4*-S three-day events will be held, without spectators, April 22-25 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. The Kentucky CSI3* Invitational Grand Prix presented by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute will not be held this year.

Known as “The Best Weekend All Year,” LRK3DE is one of only seven annual Five Star three-day events in the world along with Badminton and Burghley in England; Luhmuhlen in Germany; Pau in France; Adelaide in Australia and the new Five Star event in Maryland. As the United States’ premier three-day event, LRK3DE serves as the Land Rover/USEF CCI-5*-L Eventing National Championship Presented by MARS Equestrian™ for U.S. athletes.

EN will provide updates on the entry list as they are populated, so stay tuned right here for more from #LRK3DE.

Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Launches Partnership with Ocala Dept. of Juvenile Justice

Building on more than 35 years of experience “Saving Horses and Saving Lives” in partnership with Correctional Facilities across the United States, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) has established its first-ever partnership with a Department of Juvenile Justice program.

Presented as a live-streaming launch event, the TRF and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice will introduce the new equine program, TRF Second Chances Juvenile Program at CSI-Ocala, to a national audience on February 23rd.

The event will feature remarks from the Secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and include a tour of the new equine program facility constructed at the Center for Success and Independence (CSI), a juvenile residential commitment program operated by Youth Opportunity Investments in Ocala, Florida. The audience and media in attendance will meet the TRF retired racehorses and the equine program instructor, learn about the skills-based and therapeutic curriculum and hear examples of the positive outcomes for the youths in the program.

The TRF Second Chances Juvenile Program at CSI-Ocala reflects more than three decades of experience with an innovative public-private partnership model. Since opening the first TRF Second Chances Program in 1983, the private, nonprofit Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation has provided for the safety and welfare of retired Thoroughbred racehorses through partnership with public partners in state-level correctional facilities across the United States.

With the launch of this first-ever juvenile program, the TRF expands the impact of its herd of 500 horses to a new audience of individuals. While the TRF focuses on the welfare of the retired horses, the Department of Juvenile Justice meets an identified need for therapeutic services and vocational training for the youth in the Department’s care. The Department recognizes the value of animal-assisted interventions from a therapeutic perspective. Together, these two organizations have found a new way to accomplish their respective missions.

“The launch of the Juvenile Program in Ocala represents a meaningful milestone in the long history of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation”, said Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Executive Director, Pat Stickney. “The TRF Second Chances Juvenile Program at CSI-Ocala is the first of its kind in the United States and it represents the beginning of a new chapter for our flagship program. The partnership with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has been the critical catalyst in our long-held dream of placing the retired Thoroughbred racehorses of the TRF in an environment where they can positively influence the lives of young people. This new program will set a new standard for the impact of the TRF horses by changing the trajectory of the lives of young people who are deemed ‘at risk’.”

Founded in 1983, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is a national organization devoted to saving Thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete at the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse, and slaughter. As the oldest Thoroughbred rescue in the country, the TRF provides sanctuary to retired Thoroughbreds throughout their lifetime.

TRF cares for 500+ rescued and retired Thoroughbreds at Second Chances prison farms and Sanctuary Farms across the country. The organization is funded entirely by private donations. The TRF is accredited by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and has a Platinum rating with Guide Star. For more information visit

Location: TRF Second Chances Juvenile Program at CSI-Ocala
Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Time: 10am Eastern Time (30 min duration)
Access: Streaming live on TRF YouTube and on Facebook and Twitter
No Tickets or RSVP Required. Details at:

US Equestrian Community Conversations Series Kicks Off Monday

US Equestrian will offer a new Community Conversations series dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). These DEI Community Conversations will serve as a forum for raising awareness about the various experiences and issues affecting equestrians from under-represented or under-served communities. The series aims to lift traditionally marginalized voices from the equestrian community, and beyond, while building community across the broad network of horse sport enthusiasts. DEI Community Conversations will be recorded and accessible on demand as an educational resource for USEF members. The series is an initiative of the DEI Action Plan’s comprehensive marketing plan strategy, one of 10 strategies to advance DEI in the sport over the next three to five years.

In honor of Black History Month, the DEI Community Conversations series will kick off with “Horses in Black Communities” on Monday, February 22, from 5-6:30 p.m. ET. Panelists Dr. Anastasia Curwood, Kareem Rosser, and Caitlin Gooch will discuss key moments in U.S. history for Black Americans and explore the impact Black Americans have had on the equestrian industry so far. The panelists will also speak to the value that horses and horse sports can bring to Black communities. The session will conclude with panelists responding to audience questions.

Click here to register and submit your questions in advance for DEI Community Conversations: Horses in Black Communities.

Meet the Panelists

Photo courtesy of Anastasia Curwood.

Dr. Anastasia Curwood (Lexington, Ky.) is Associate Professor of History and Director of the African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky. Curwood earned her Ph.D. in History from Princeton University. Her work in 20th century Black history has been recognized with fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University. She is Co-Chair of the United States Eventing Association’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and a founder of Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE). Curwood is a member of US Equestrian, competing her OTTB in eventing and dressage.

Photo by Daymar Rosser.

Kareem Rosser (Philadelphia, Pa.) is a financial analyst and the Executive Director of Friends of Work to Ride, the fundraising arm of the Work to Ride (WTR) equestrian program in Philadelphia. Under his leadership, the organization has raised more than $800,000 to support WTR’s lesson program and wraparound services. As a child, Rosser learned to ride and play polo through WTR, eventually leading their polo team to a national championship in 2011. They were the first-ever Black polo team to win the title. Rosser has played polo all over the world and has been featured on major national media platforms, including HBO, 60 Minutes, and ESPN.

Photo courtesy of Abriana Johnson.

Caitlin Gooch (Wendell, N.C.) is the founder of Saddle Up and Read, a program striving to encourage youth to achieve literary excellence through equine activities. Gooch is also the co-host of the popular Young Black Equestrians podcast. She is passionate about spreading love and hope in her local community through opportunities to connect with horses. (photo courtesy of Abriana Johnson)

Watch On Demand

“Horses in Black Communities” will be recorded and available to for USEF members to watch on demand with the USEF Network. Sign up for a free fan membership here using promo code inclusion21.

Follow US Equestrian on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and TikTok to stay up to date with equestrian news, competition highlights, and much more year-round.

[US Equestrian Community Conversations Series Kicks Off]

US Equestrian Announces 2021 Eventing Emerging Athlete Program List

Alex Baugh and Mr Candyman. Photo by Shelby Allen.

US Equestrian is pleased to announce the athletes selected for the 2021 USEF Eventing Emerging Athlete Program. Eventers age 25 and under are eligible for the program, which identifies and supports athlete/horse combinations that have shown the potential to develop into future U.S. team candidates.

Participants in the Emerging Athlete Program have the opportunity to work with U.S. Eventing Development and Emerging Coach Leslie Law in honing their skills in competition as well as their knowledge of the pathway to high performance.

“We had a very strong group of applicants for this year’s Emerging Athlete Program, which became all the more clear when I evaluated the athletes in person at the assessment sessions,” said Law. “The quality of the horses and athletes for the Emerging Athlete Program continues to improve each year, and I am very excited about working with this group in a mentorship and coaching capacity.”

Athletes are selected for the Emerging Athlete Program based on their application, which includes their results at the CCI3*-L level. Applicants who have not yet achieved an MER at a CCI3*-L may be talent spotted into the program by the Performance Advisory Team. For this year’s program, applicants were evaluated at assessment sessions in January at Stable View in Aiken, S.C.; the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Fla.; and at Kingsway Farm/Next Level Eventing in Temecula, Calif.

The following athletes have been selected to participate in the 2021 USEF Eventing Emerging Athlete Program, in alphabetical order:

  • Charlotte Babbitt (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.)
  • Alexandra Baugh (Lexington, Ky.)
  • Amanda Beale Clement (Phoenixville, Pa.)
  • Sophie Click (Snoqualmie, Wash.)
  • Katherine Delaney* (Rockville, Va.)
  • Cornelia Dorr (Manchester By The Sea, Mass.)
  • Mia Farley (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)
  • Savannah Gwin* (San Clemente, Calif.)
  • Gabrielle Hutchison (Cleveland, N.C.)
  • Katie Lichten (South Hamilton, Mass.)
  • Benjamin Noonan (Ballwin, Mo.)
  • Meg Pellegrini (Wayne, Pa.)
  • Alyssa Phillips (Fort Worth, Texas)
  • Kaylawna Smith-Cook (Temecula, Calif.)
  • Megan Sykes (Midland, Texas)
  • Madison Temkin (Sebastapol, Calif.)
    *Denotes athlete was talent spotted onto the list

To learn more about the Eventing Pathway Program, please contact Christina Vaughn, Director of Eventing Programs and Program Support, at [email protected] or Jenni Autry, Managing Director of Eventing, at [email protected].

Zara Buren Memorial Award Recipient Announced

Zara Buren and Make My Day. Photo by Christina D Equine Photos.

The Ontario Eventing Association, in partnership with the Zara Buren Memorial Foundation, has announced the recipient of the inaugural Zara Buren Memorial Award.

Fourteen-year-old Zara tragically lost her life on September 21st of last year, while saving her beloved horse, Monkey, who had become trapped in a marshy bog. Zara is remembered for her kindness, drive for excellence, passionate love of animals and dedication to her horse and the sport of eventing.

The Zara Buren Memorial Foundation was established with the focus on helping youth with the desire, talent, and work ethic to pursue their passion. The Memorial Foundation will support the Zara Buren Memorial Award to be given annually through the Ontario Eventing Association to a junior rider who exhibits a passion for eventing, sportsmanship and a commitment to their horse. Zara was a talented rider with an intense dedication to training and learning, always putting her horse first.

A total of 18 applicants applied for this award. The selection committee was comprised of members of the Ontario Eventing Association Board of Directors as well as Zara’s family.

Said Zara’s parents, Sabrina Haque and Robert Buren, “Sabrina and I were impressed by the number and strength of applications received for the first Zara Buren Memorial Award. The kindness, dedication, discipline, and work ethic exhibited by all of the young riders reminds us of our dear Zara and gives us confidence that the sport of eventing in Ontario has a strong future.

This year, in addition to the primary award and in response to the number of strong candidates, the Zara Buren Memorial Foundation is proud to support four additional athletes with Grants of Distinction. We are excited to watch you all flourish as you continue your eventing journey.

Thank you to the Ontario Eventing Association for creating the Zara Buren Memorial Award and for leading the process, and to all the applicants and their coaches, parents, and references. We hope that the traits that this award recognizes will continue to grow amongst all riders, and the memories of Zara will carry on for everyone who was lucky enough to know her, and those who continue to #rideforzara.”

Avery Brennan and Havana. Photo by C Denault.

The Ontario Eventing Association is pleased to announce Avery Brennan, an eventer from the Ottawa area, as the recipient of the inaugural award, a $6,000 dollar grant as well as a cooler and bonnet in burgundy, Zara’s show colours.

Said Olympian and Pan AM Medalist, WEG Medalist Selena O’Hanlon, Canadian Equestrian Team member in Eventing, who coaches Avery, “I am thrilled for Avery and for the eventing community with this choice: Avery shows excellent sportsmanship in every aspect of this sport. He’s a very kind and thoughtful person, a dedicated horseman and animal lover, all super attributes in such a talented young rider. Knowing Zara, I think she would be proud of Avery. Thank you so much to everyone involved. Her memory will live on and we will strive to be ‘more like Zara’ in every aspect of life.”

The four Grants of Distinction recipients are, whom each will receive a grant of $1,000 dollars, in alphabetical order:

  • Matthew Heinzle
  • Olivia MacLeod
  • Ava Lema Nilsson
  • Alexandra Wickett

Congratulations once again to all applicants and grant recipients.

[Zara Buren Memorial Award Recipient]

This Year’s Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover Will Be the Biggest Yet

The Makeover Marketplace allows buyers to watch, try, vet and buy in one location in one weekend. Photo by Giulia Garcia.

The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) welcomes today 484 accepted applications, representing 480 unique trainers and teams, to the 2021 class of the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. The Thoroughbred Makeover is the world’s largest and most lucrative retraining competition for ex-racehorses, and the 2021 class combined with 322 trainers from the postponed 2020 competition year will make this the biggest Makeover yet.

The Thoroughbred Makeover is a retraining competition open to professionals, junior, amateurs and teams, competing side-by-side. Ten disciplines of competition are offered, including barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunter, polo, ranch work, show hunter, show jumper, and freestyle (a free-form discipline to demonstrate skills of the trainer’s choice). Horses can compete in one or two of those disciplines.

Horses from each competition year will compete in separate preliminary rounds, and the five top-placed horses in each discipline after preliminary competition will return for the Finale where they will compete once more to determine final placings. New for this year (intended to be part of the 2020 Makeover), a panel consisting of all the judges from the ten disciplines will determine the overall Thoroughbred Makeover Champion in each competition year, selecting the best-trained horse from the ten discipline winners. A popular vote placed by spectators watching both in-person and online via live stream will determine a People’s Choice winner in each competition year, who wins the right to direct a donation to an equine charity of their choosing.

2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion Cowboy Swagger, trained by Fallon Taylor. Photo by CanterClix.

“After the pandemic forced the cancelation of the 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover, it was important to us to preserve the opportunity for our 2020 class to compete, and thanks to so many loyal sponsors and donors from the racing, breeding and sport horse worlds, we are going to be putting on the largest retraining competition in history,” said RRP executive director Jen Roytz.

Accepted trainers are encouraged to register their horses at as soon as they acquire them. Horse registration closes on July 31, but registration upon acquisition allows the RRP to better gather data on horses undergoing the Makeover process.

The application process for the 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover required trainers to demonstrate their skills and expertise through competition results, videos and references, as well as a letter from a vet stating that that the applicant has the necessary skills and knowledge to appropriately care for a horse transitioning off the track. The RRP’s selection committee took into consideration both candidates’ ability to effectively retrain an off-track Thoroughbred and candidates’ commitment to the RRP’s mission of promoting off-track Thoroughbreds in second careers.

“We’re always humbled by the interest we receive from applicants each year, but with hundreds of 2020 entries still in play and known logistical challenges — move-in, daylight hours, running two Finales, and more — the application committee had the tough task of narrowing down the 2021 entry pool to meet our schedule capacity,” said RRP managing director Kirsten Green. “The primary goal of the Makeover is to showcase Thoroughbreds at their very best, so this means we’re looking for trainers whose application demonstrates that they’re equipped to meet that goal on the timeline provided.”

The Makeover has historically attracted a broad cross-section of the horse industry, represented by junior, amateur and professional equestrians, as well as teams. The great equalizer at the Makeover are the horses: eligible Thoroughbreds competing in 2021 will all come from similar backgrounds, with no more than 10 months of retraining for a second career and all having raced or trained to race within the past two years.

Warlander and Haylie after their final show jumping round at the Makeover. Photo by Canter Clix.

This format allows trainers in all categories to compete side-by-side on equal footing. Juniors and amateurs routinely enjoy great success at the Makeover and have earned many top-five finishes; the 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion Old Tavern was trained by junior Charlie Caldwell.

“Driving demand for Thoroughbreds after racing is a critical aspect of aftercare, and the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover is central to that mission,” says Erin Crady, executive director of TCA. “We believe in the importance of that mission and are thrilled to support the RRP as it prepares for the biggest Makeover in its history.”

Accepted trainers for 2021 include Becky Huestis, assistant rider and manager for John Madden Sales; Darby Mazzarisi, champion hunter trainer; and Natalie (Voss) Nevills, two-time Eclipse Award-winning turf writer for Paulick Report. They join a diverse class of trainers hailing from 46 states and four Canadian provinces. Trainers range in age from 11 (will be 12 at the time of the Makeover as per rules) to 74.

Trainers for the 2021 class have signed up to bring a total of 521 horses. Combined with the declared horses from the 2020 competition year, a total of 953 horses will participate in the Makeover process this year. The full list of trainers accepted for the 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover can be found at the event website.

With the uncertainty of training green horses, the length of time between acceptance of trainers and Final Entry, and the fact that some horses sell before the Makeover, the RRP is once again offering a wait list. Individuals who missed the initial round of applications are welcome to apply to the wait list and can do so by contacting [email protected]. The wait list does not guarantee final entry into the competition, but does widen the impact of the Makeover and helps more horses transition to second careers.

Photo courtesy of Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover.

For riders seeking a well-started off-track Thoroughbred for competition or pleasure, the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace will return in 2021, offering buyers the unique opportunity to watch a horse compete, trial-ride, and complete a pre-purchase exam all in one location. Over 100 horses are expected to be entered in the Marketplace from both competition years.

In addition to a weekend of Thoroughbred competition and celebration of what makes the off-track Thoroughbred great, the Makeover also offers ample opportunity for education for both trainers and the public: educational seminars and panel discussion will take place on Friday, October 15, as well as the Makeover Master Class, a retraining clinic for recently-retired racehorses. Structured similarly to popular colt-starting competitions but without the competitive aspect, the Makeover Master Class offers spectators the opportunity to watch experienced off-track Thoroughbred trainers assess a prospect’s conformation and movement, as well as demonstrate their process for initial training and first rides. A vendor fair provides plenty of shopping opportunities as well!

The Thoroughbred Makeover is the flagship event for the RRP, a 501(c)3 non-profit committed to increasing the demand for and value of Thoroughbreds in their careers after racing. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover.

Thoroughbred Makeover fast facts:

▪ The 2021 competition is open to any Thoroughbred that raced or had a published work after July 1, 2019 and did not start retraining for a second career before December 1, 2020
▪ Trainers indicate a primary (and optional secondary) discipline on their applications, but are free to change disciplines as the competition approaches and they learn their horses’ strengths. A horse can compete in up to two disciplines, and a trainer can compete a maximum of two horses in a single competition year.
▪ Trainers do not need to have obtained the horse they intend to compete at the time of their application. Some trainers have already obtained their Thoroughbred Makeover mounts, but many are still searching. Trainers may begin registering their horses today, but have through July 31 to complete horse registration
▪ Participation in the Thoroughbred Makeover Marketplace sale is entirely voluntary, but many trainers take advantage of the extra exposure to market their prospects. All sales are private contracts between individual trainers and buyers; the RRP is not involved and receives no commissions

US Equestrian Issues Update on Licensing of 2021 Unionville Event

Photo by Eventing Nation.

US Equestrian has issued an update regarding the 2021 licensing status for the eventing venue in Unionville, Pennsylvania in the wake of controversy regarding its name last year. Bill Moroney, US Equestrian’s Chief Executive Officer, shared the following statement with EN on Monday, Feb. 15. The venue is confirmed to host national horse trials on April 17-19, May 8 and June 5; its international event on Sept. 15-19 is listed as “Pending USEF Approval” as of Feb. 16, 2021.

“The USEF Board is committed to our comprehensive US Equestrian Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan, which focuses on the expansion of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in our sport and the implementation of new strategies to bring the joy of horse sports to everyone. Given the focus and commitment to our DEI plan, we strongly encourage all involved in equestrian sport to remain aware and sensitive to the fact that words matter. We encourage all USEF competition organizers and members to review the purpose and accompanying strategies outlined in the US Equestrian Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan and the impact of the use of offensive words and phrases, but decisions regarding venue and competition names are ultimately at the discretion and the responsibility of individual organizers.”

US Equestrian will offer a new Community Conversations series dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), beginning on Monday, February 22, from 5-6:30 p.m with a session on “Horses in Black Communities.” Anyone interested is invited to register and submit questions in advance for the panelists.

U.S. Eventing Team Hosts First High Performance Training Session of 2021

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Taylor Pence/US Equestrian Photo.

The U.S. Eventing Team hosted the first high performance training session of the 2021 competition year in Ocala, Florida last week, welcoming athletes from the Elite and Pre-Elite Training Lists to an intensive four-day camp focused on individualized training with Erik Duvander, the U.S. Eventing Team’s High Performance Director, and the program’s new show jumping coach, Peter Wylde.

The training session offered athletes the ability to familiarize themselves with Wylde’s coaching style and focus on fine-tuning their jumping technique with the opportunity to train on multiple horses each day. The first two days showcased combinations named to the program’s Elite list, with the final two days tailored to athlete and horse combinations on the Pre-Elite list.

Duvander, who is entering his third year with the program, was pleased with the talent and quality the combinations displayed over the four days and also discussed his enthusiasm welcoming Wylde to the coaching staff of the program.

Erik Duvander (left) and Peter Wylde (right). Taylor Pence/US Equestrian Photo.

“This is the first session of the year, so this is an opportunity for Peter to check in on the horses and get to know some of the horses he hasn’t seen yet,” said Duvander. “The first day started with easy exercises to get the horses nice and supple and jumping in a relaxed manner. The second day was jumping more of a real track, not of high difficulty, but seeing more of what we need to focus on for the next training session and working on the fundamentals before the competition season so these riders can apply in their own training at home.”

Wylde holds an impressive resume having competed for the U.S. Jumping Team for more than two decades and represented the United States at the 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, where he secured an individual bronze medal aboard Fein Cera. He was selected to the team for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, helping to secure team gold. Wylde has recently turned his focus to coaching and training – a perfect fit for the needs of the U.S. Eventing Team program.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap. Taylor Pence/US Equestrian Photo.

“We have been working on control, having a really good relationship with the horse, and getting the horses supple and jumping well, their rideability – these are all things that we do and focus on the pure show jumping side, too,” said Wylde. “I have to say, I’m so impressed with the riding and the horses. We have an incredible group of riders, both the seasoned ones and the younger athletes, who are just fantastic with really good horses.”

“This group likes to ride with a faster pace and more forward to jumps. That’s just normal with cross-country being a part of what you do. Everything that I feel – and the more I’ve done this with the eventing group it further strengthens my opinion – is to actually work on collection, suppleness, control, and getting the jump to be much more vertical and up than forward and flat. That’s a big part of it. It includes the roundness of the jumps and gymnastics training, so that’s really what we’ve worked on a lot. Most of it is very simple: low jumps, jumping out of hand, jumping with collection, landing and having collection after the fences.”

Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire. Photo: Taylor Pence/US Equestrian

Building support around the program has been a key strategic focus for Duvander, who has enlisted top trainers from around the world to offer their expertise and coaching to program athletes. Duvander, who started his tenure with the program in 2018, sees the growth and progress so far in just three years, and the talent, quality, and competition results of program combinations are consistently trending in the right direction. In addition to Wylde, Duvander has also recruited Johann Hinnemann to join the team as the U.S. Eventing Team Dressage Coach.

“I’ve been in this role for a few years now and have been looking for someone as a show jumping trainer who would be the right fit for us. I got connected up with Peter about a year ago, and I was always a great fan of Peter, especially when he was riding and competing internationally. He rides in such a beautiful way. We had the chance to try him with a few riders at the start of training last year and it’s been super suitable, not just for the jumping, but the same style flows into the dressage and cross-country with the softness and the harmony,” added Duvander. “It’s very important to me to have a system that is a consistent way of training horses, so the jump training doesn’t do one thing and the dressage training does another.”

Last week’s jumping session was the first of 10 training days with Duvander and Wylde scheduled for the Elite and Pre-Elite athletes in the lead-up to the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, and dressage-focused training with Hinnemann will be introduced soon.

Jo Ann Wilson with C’est La Vie 135. Taylor Pence/US Equestrian Photo.

“We were thrilled to host a successful and safe training session in Ocala under the USEF’s COVID-19 protocols,” said Jenni Autry, USEF Managing Director of Eventing. “The horses on the Elite/Pre-Elite squad were also evaluated by Team Vet Dr. Susan Johns, Team Equine Physio Jo-Ann Wilson, and Program Farrier Beck Ratte to establish a baseline for the year. We were lucky to host both the training session and vet evaluations at Rob and Chris Desinos’ beautiful farm and are very grateful for their support and generosity.”

As an important spring season on the horizon will culminate with team selection for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Duvander feels confident and pleased looking ahead to the future and the progress made so far.

“This year is the first year I really feel like things are starting to gel,” he said. “When I look at the quality of the riders and horses we have at the moment, and their focuses, I think we’re really on to good times ahead of us.”

View the photo galleries and coverage from the 2021 USEF Eventing Winter High Performance Training Session here.

Watch the 2021 USEF Eventing Winter High Performance Training Session highlight video here.

The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOPC, and USEF sponsors and members.

[U.S. Eventing Team Hosts First High Performance Training Session of 2021]

2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event Will Go Forward in April

Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

An unprecedented outpouring of public support and a grassroots fundraising effort have led to a reversal of the announced cancellation of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI Five Star presented by MARS Equestrian™ (LRK3DE). A new partnership between Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI), producer of the world-class event, and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation combined with the support of US Equestrian and longstanding sponsors Land Rover, Mars Equestrian, and Rolex will ensure that the CCI5*-L three-day event will be held, without spectators, alongside a new CCI4*-S, April 22-25 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.

“The uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic placed us in the financially impossible position of having to run the Five Star event without spectators, a situation that left us no choice but to cancel the Five Star for 2021 in order to preserve it for many years to come,” said Mike Cooper, president of EEI. “We are humbled and honored by the response of the eventing community as they’ve stepped up in a mind-blowing way enabling us to go forward.”

A fundraising campaign was started by athletes and fueled by the grassroots effort of the broader eventing community, generating more than $550,000 in donations to run the event. “While that still leaves us short of the amount needed, it is enough to convince us that the balance can be raised,” added Cooper. “We are now, with the assistance of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, committed to going forward with the Five Star.”

In the new partnership, EEI and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, both 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organizations, bring strong and distinct skill sets – the Foundation in fundraising and EEI in event management. Using their respective expertise and resources, the Foundation will take the lead in soliciting donations to supplement the grassroots effort, and EEI will focus its attention on running the nation’s premier equestrian event in an environment that is safe for all during the current world-wide pandemic.

“The Kentucky Three-Day Event is the foremost event held at the Kentucky Horse Park and the lifeblood of the eventing world,” said Clay Green, Chairman of the Board of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation. “The Horse Park was established for the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships which gave birth to the annual Kentucky Three-Day Event whose success is responsible for the Park’s position of prominence and so much that has happened at the Park, including the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Seeing the number of people pleading for the event to happen this year made it very clear that we must do all we can to ensure that it does.”

“Seeing the athletes, community, our sponsors, and these two organizations, the KHP Foundation and EEI, come together in a united way to allow the CCI5*-L and CCI4*-S to go forward despite the challenges presented by the pandemic is nothing short of remarkable. This will allow our athletes and horses aiming for Tokyo this summer the best opportunity to qualify and prepare, while ensuring the safest possible environment for participants seeking to complete a CCI5*-L or CCI4*-S,” shared Bill Moroney, Chief Executive Officer of US Equestrian. “We extend a huge thank you to all involved, especially to our sponsors, for their flexibility and continued commitment to this event.”

“We are thrilled to return as the title sponsor for the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event CCI5*-L, CCI4*-S and support the event broadcasts on NBC, NBC Sports Network, and USEF Network so everyone can watch this historic event from the comfort of their homes. We applaud the efforts of the equestrian community who have gone above and beyond to raise funds to support this event and ensure another great year of world-class eventing can take place at the highest level at the Kentucky Horse Park,” said Michael Curmi, Director Brand Experience, Jaguar Land Rover USA.

“We applaud the efforts of so many organizers, fans, competitors, and sponsors, supported by MARS Equestrian, which will allow the CCI5*-L competition to continue forward in 2021. This event is an equestrian treasure we are proud to sponsor as we all look for safe ways to hold top level competition,” stated Geoffrey Galant, VP Mars Equestrian.

Spectators are not allowed at this time, but USEF will continue to monitor the effects of the pandemic to determine if a limited number of spectators can be permitted at some point closer to the event with priority given to 2020 rolled over ticket holders. Those who paid for the 2020 event and chose to roll their money over for 2021 will have the option of full refunds or rolling their money over again for 2022. “Ticket holders can expect an email regarding their options, one of which will be to join this incredible grassroots movement on behalf of the sport of eventing,” said Cooper. “Those who wish to do so can donate some or all of the money they’ve paid. We applaud and thank everyone who has contributed so far; without you there would be no Five Star this year and all of you have our utmost gratitude and appreciation!”

Those wishing to be part of the growing movement to save the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event Five Star can do so through the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation website.

Host Locations for 2021 Adequan®/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Announced

The 2018 NAYC CICOY2* podium. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

US Equestrian has announced the inaugural host locations for the 2021 Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge, the newly evolved format of the former North American Youth Championships (NAYC). The Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge offers opportunities for eventing athletes ages 14-25 to gain valuable experience in a team competition environment representing their respective United States Eventing Association (USEA) Areas at the FEI CCI 1/2/3* levels. The Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge will host multiple bi-coastal legs in the short format and culminate with two long format finals in the fall of 2021.

“We have spent a great deal of time developing this concept to provide an important development opportunity for our youth athletes to gain valuable team experience and participate in a championship format that we believe can be successful across the country,” said Jenni Autry, Managing Director of Eventing. “We are working to finalize additional West Coast short format competitions, which we will announce in the coming weeks, and look forward to launching this new pathway competition for our youth eventing athletes in 2021.”

The selected locations for the 2021 Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge are listed below and have been approved by the USEF Board of Directors:

East Coast

Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Aiken (Stable View) – March 25-27, 2021 – Levels: CCI1*, CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S – Aiken, S.C.

Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Adamstown – July 2-4, 2021 – Levels: CCI1*, CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S – Adamstown, Md.

Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Unionville – Sept. 15-19, 2021 – Levels: CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S – Unionville, Penn.

Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Ocala (World Equestrian Center) – October 21-23, 2021 – Levels: CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S – Ocala, Fla.

East Coast Final: Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Tryon – November 10-14, 2021 – Levels: CCI1*, CCI2*-L, CCI3*-L – Tryon, N.C.
West Coast
Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Yelm – June 11-13, 2021 – Levels: CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S – Yelm, Wash.

West Coast Final: Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Temecula – Nov. 3-7, 2021 – Levels: CCI2*-L, CCI3*-L – Temecula, Calif.

Each team will consist of three to four horse/athlete combinations to be chosen from qualified applicants by the USEA Area Selectors based on performance, soundness, experience, and suitability for the competition. All interested U.S. athletes must submit an Area Declaration and a one-time application for the upcoming competition year by February 15, 2021. Selection procedures for the Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge are available here.

A second Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Informational Webinar will be hosted in partnership with the USEA on February 8, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. The webinar will cover the new format for the Youth Team Challenge, host location questions and area declaration questions. Register here.

For More Information

Adequan/USEF Youth Team Challenge FAQ
Adequan/USEF Youth Team Challenge Informational Webinar

For questions regarding the USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge, contact Christina Vaughn, USEF Director, Eventing Performance and Program Support, at (859) 225-6917 or [email protected].

Stay up to date by following USA Eventing on Facebook and Instagram. Use #USAEventing.


[Host Locations for 2021 Adequan®/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Announced]

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Horse & Country Launches New Series ‘In the Frame’ Featuring Legends of Equestrian Sport

William Fox-Pitt and Oratorio II. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Horse & Country (H&C) has announced the launch of new series “In the Frame” featuring some of the biggest names from the world of horse sport. In each episode presenter Alice Plunkett asks an equestrian legend to choose five photographs that define their career. The interviews are full of insight and emotion and take us right to the heart of what it takes to get to the very top.

For the first episode Alice doesn’t have to travel far from home, as the subject is her husband William Fox-Pitt. William’s selections encompass both the highs and lows of his extraordinary career. A particular favourite is the family photo taken shortly after victory at Badminton with Chilli Morning in 2015, whilst a sequence recording a spectacular fall at Kentucky highlights the dangers of the sport with which William, and Alice, are all too familiar.

William draws on two images from the early days to reflect on the camaraderie of the eventing world. The pictures feature him with Tina Cook and Pippa Funnell, described by Alice as “the two most important women in his professional life” and his “surrogate wives” when he’s eventing. William talks about the balance between being fiercely competitive with each other at the same time as always willing their success, particularly shared success when competing together in teams for their country.

Alice Plunkett. Photo courtesy of Horse & Country.

There’s humour too as William harks back to the 2012 Olympics which he describes as the highlight of his career thus far. A shot taken in the Olympic Village shows William surrounded by basketball players, one of the few times in his life when the six and a half footer has been the smallest in the room.

Future episodes will feature dressage legend Carl Hester, six-time Badminton winner Lucinda Green, five-time Olympian David Broome and the doyen of equestrian photographers, Kit Houghton, who in a wide-ranging career has covered nine Olympic Games.

Commenting on the new series Director of Content at H&C, Jonathan Rippon, said, “In the Frame is a great example of H&C’s commitment to offer our viewers real insight into the lives of some of the most enduring names in equestrian sport. It’s a really emotional programme, reflecting both the intensity and passion that defines these extraordinary careers.”

Episode 1 of In the Frame was released on H&C+ on Saturday, 23rd January, with further episodes coming out on a weekly basis. The series was produced for H&C by Jenny Rudall. To learn more about H&C+ and to subscribe, click here.