Articles Written 118
Article Views 124,837

Edited Press Release


Become an Eventing Nation Blogger

About Edited Press Release

Latest Articles Written

Notes and Updates from US Equestrian’s Public Board of Directors Meeting

The US Equestrian Board of Directors met virtually via Zoom on Sunday, January 17, the final day of the 2021 US Equestrian Annual Meeting. During this meeting, elections occurred for the office of Secretary/Treasurer and for an independent seat, and board members discussed and voted on committee appointees, reviewed council updates and reports, and discussed other pertinent business. Watch the BOD Meeting public session here.

The Board Meeting began in the morning, with outgoing President Murray Kessler leading the final BOD session of his tenure. Kessler and President-Elect Tom O’Mara reviewed the positive financial position of the Federation despite the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, commending both the staff and board members for their flexibility and commitment to reducing costs to ensure the viability of the organization. The board thanked Kessler for his vision, commitment, and leadership over the past four years at the helm of the organization, and Kessler officially handed over the reins to newly elected president, Tom O’Mara.

The second session began with the board elections and ratification of the composition of a number of committees. Current independent board member Judy Sloan was voted into the Secretary/Treasurer position and longtime equestrian Admiral Jon Kreitz was elected to the independent board seat.

US Equestrian CEO Bill Moroney recapped the 2020 budget management process that took place due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting event closures in the spring of 2020. Flexibility, weekly financial review and continuous forecasting were integral to responsibly managing the USEF finances. While revenues were negatively impacted, expenses reductions also occurred, primarily due to postponement and cancellation of events. This resulted in a surplus at year-end, however many of the expenses reduced as a result of event postponements will carry forward to 2021 as those events are expected to occur. The 2020 approach to managing finances will continue through 2021.

Bill provided updates on the USEF’s decision to join the AAEP, AHC, and other organizations in opposing the proposed compromise PAST Act. He also reported that recommendations will be brought forward to modify the mileage rule exemption process for competitions, taking into consideration feedback from members including the efficiency, consistency, transparency and accountability of the process. A proposal will be put forward in the next 7-10 days for feedback from affiliates and members before it goes to the board. The Competition Task Force will be repopulated by this Friday and will begin the important work of analyzing the member feedback and ideas that have been submitted to the USEF for consideration. Lastly, Bill announced that the 2020 Annual Report will be out by the end of the month.

The CEO’s report begins at 2:29:25.

International Disciplines Council Chair Joe Mattingly and National Breeds & Disciplines Council Chair Mary Knowlton gave updates on the work of both international and national sport councils respectively, outlining the successes and challenges of 2020, and the work ahead in 2021, including the preparation for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and a variety of program expansion plans and growth opportunities. Bill Moroney provided the report of the Member Services Council which included highlights of their 2020 accomplishments and 2021 goals.

Chief Marketing and Content Officer, Vicki Lowell updated the Board of Directors on USEF’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Action Plan progress to date and shared plans for key initiatives that will launch in 2021. Among those are the “I Am US Equestrian” mini-documentary series and a rollout of DEI training for USEF representatives. Another key USEF DEI action plan strategy involves partnering with existing organizations already accomplishing meaningful work in increasing access to horses for underrepresented communities. To this end, the Community Outreach Organizations program and Opportunity Fund will create an avenue for USEF to provide visibility, free fan memberships, and access to qualifying grassroots equine organizations across the country as well as the chance to apply for competitive grants from a new Opportunity Fund. The board approved the allocation of $50,000 from the 2022 budget to launch the Opportunity Fund. More details will be announced on how organizations, members and sponsors can participate in the program in the coming weeks.

The marketing report begins at 2:44:07.

Watch the full BOD Public Session and more from the 2021 US Equestrian Annual Meeting on the USEF Network.

Opportunity Abounds in New USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge: How to Learn More

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

Near the end of 2020, US Equestrian announced the forthcoming launch of the USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge as part of the evolutionary pivot of the North American Youth Championships. This program is aimed to include even more riders in the opportunity to compete in a team environment, removing the constraints put on by hosting only one championship each year in favor of competitions all over the country culminating in an East and West coast championship.

USEF Development and Emerging Athlete Coach Leslie Law penned the following letter introducing the program to interested parties. If you would like to learn more about this exciting new venture, register to attend the free informational webinar on Monday, January 18 at 6:30 p.m. ET. To learn more about the Youth Team Challenge, click here.

Dear U.S. Youth Athletes and Young Rider Coordinators,

I hope this email finds everyone well and gearing up for the 2021 competition year. The challenging times of 2020 gave us the opportunity to pivot the Eventing North American Youth Championships to a new series that will open the door for more youth athletes to compete in team competitions across the country. I encourage all U.S. athletes between the ages of 14 to 25 to participate in the inaugural 2021 Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge.

Why is the Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge such a key next step for U.S. Eventing?

It fills a critical void in providing a vital stepping stone on the Eventing Pathway, ultimately paving the way to the Elite level of the sport. The U.S. does not currently have the opportunity to compete in FEI Pony, Junior and Young Rider Championships like in Europe, so we must continue to seek new ways to give our youth athletes more opportunities to compete in a team. The Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge will give athletes up to the age of 25 the opportunity to gain this valuable team experience. This is an exciting new initiative in further strengthening the Eventing Pathway, which aims to develop athletes to one day represent the U.S. on the world stage.

The Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge is modeled after the FEI Eventing Nations Cup series with multiple short format competitions during the season leading up to a long format final in the autumn on both the East and West coasts. Each USEA Area will select their team for each competition, and athletes may participate in one competition or multiple competitions throughout the season. If you are currently qualified to compete at the CCI1*, CCI2* or CCI3* levels, you are qualified to compete in the Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge series.

Gaining team experience was integral in my ability to put forward the best performances to secure medals when it mattered most. We invite U.S. youth athletes to participate in the inaugural Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge season and become a part of creating sustainable success on the world stage for the U.S. Every Olympic gold medalist has a story of their very first team competition. Will you join us?

Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge Webinar: Monday, January 18 at 6:30 p.m. EST

Please mark your calendars for an informational webinar on Monday, January 18 at 6:30 p.m. EST to learn more about the Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge and how you can get involved. Please submit any questions about the Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge to [email protected] in advance so we can be sure to answer them during the webinar. You can register for the webinar by clicking here.

Important Reminder – USEF FEI Entry Portal

Dear U.S. Eventing Athletes,

As we look ahead with hope and optimism to the start of the 2021 FEI season, I first and foremost hope you and your family continue to be safe and well. With our first FEI competition fast approaching, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you of these key factors regarding FEI entries:

If you intend to compete in a U.S. FEI competition, your entry must be submitted in the USEF FEI Entry Portal no later than 3 p.m. EST on the Definite Entry Date listed on the competition’s FEI Schedule.
You are not considered as entered in the competition until your entry is not submitted in the USEF FEI Entry Portal.
No new entries will be accepted in the USEF FEI Entry Portal after 3 p.m. EST on the Definite Entry Date.

FEI Schedules: The FEI Schedule is your official resource for all information regarding U.S. FEI eventing competitions. FEI Schedules can be found by utilizing the FEI Calendar Search and on the U.S. FEI Competitions page on the USEF Eventing website. We recommend you bookmark this page and refer back to it when preparing to enter an FEI competition.

Definite Entry Date: The “Closing Date for Definite Entries” is the most important date to mark on your calendar and can be found under section VII on the FEI Schedule and on the U.S. FEI Competitions page. This Definite Entry Date may be as early as four weeks prior to the competition but no later than Friday of the week prior to the competition. The USEF FEI Entry Portal will close and no new entries will be accepted after 3 p.m. EST on the Definite Entry Date.

Changes to existing entries may be accepted after the Definite Entry Date with the approval of the competition’s Organizing Committee no later than 3 p.m. EST on the “Last date for substitutions” as stated on the FEI Schedule. These changes are limited to substitution of a qualified horse or athlete or a change of division, i.e. switching from CCI4*-S to CCI3*-S.

Enter early: You can enter an FEI competition through the USEF FEI Entry Portal before the opening date of the competition. There are no fees involved when entering through the USEF FEI Entry Portal, and having your entry in the system is a critical piece of a complete entry. You can make changes to or withdraw your entry at any time up until the Definite Entry Date.

It is equally important to remember that if a competition is over-subscribed, only COMPLETE entries – which means all fees are paid and the athlete/horse membership, registration and passports are up to date – will be considered for balloting purposes. Remember that the Definite Entry Date for the USEF FEI Entry Portal supersedes the date of entry with the Organizing Committee.

Register first: You will not be able to enter a competition through the USEF FEI Entry Portal without a current FEI rider registration. Once you have completed your FEI registration, follow these steps to complete your entry:

Go to and log into your user account.
Click on My USEF.
Scroll down and click on the “Athlete Dashboard” (blue) tile.
You will find two important (blue) tiles: one titled “Commonly Ridden Horses” and another titled “FEI Entry.”
If you have not already populated information under Commonly Ridden Horses, you must do so before proceeding to the FEI Entry. Once added, information about your horses will always be there for you to select for entries, add/delete information or update as needed.
Click on FEI Entry, choose U.S. FEI Competitions or Foreign FEI Competition, select discipline, month, and then pick the competition you wish to enter.

Member Dashboard

Athlete Dashboard

Should you have any issues during the entry process, please send an e-mail to [email protected].

Check your existing passport(s): Make a habit of checking all existing passports every year prior to the spring competition season. Make sure vaccinations are up to date and recorded as necessary. Check the expiration date on FEI passports, and remember the expiration date format on FEI passports is listed as day/month/year.

Please note that due to COVID-19 mailing delays, current processing times for passports are 2-3 weeks, unless you mark the passport as expedited.

New passports and upgrades for breed passports: Review the Horse Passports 101 document before applying for a passport. Once you are ready to apply for a new passport or upgrade for a breed passport, the following scenarios may cause a delay:

Incomplete vaccination records or insufficient vaccinations.
Incomplete or incorrect horse description (i.e. whorls, snips, etc. not recorded as required).
Incomplete information for breed passport upgrades.

We hope you find this information helpful in navigating the USEF FEI Entry Portal. Please feel free to contact Christina Vaughn at 859-225-6917 or [email protected] with questions regarding the portal. We wish you all the best for a successful 2021 eventing season.


Jenni Autry

USEF Managing Director of Eventing

USET Foundation Awards Will Faudree With the Connaught Grant

Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation has awarded the Connaught Grant to Will Faudree, and his mount, Mama’s Magic Way, a ten-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Jennifer Mosing.

Each year, the USET administers up to $25,000 to a CCI* or CCI2* horse in the U.S. that is seen as a potential candidate to represent Team USA on an international level. The grant was established by Caroline Moran in memory of her dear friend, the late R. Bruce Duchossois, who was passionate about and dedicated to encouraging the development of eventing horses in the United States, and is named after the famous eventing horse Connaught, who was owned by Duchossois and ridden by Phillip Dutton.

As the recipient of the Connaught Grant, Faudree, who is an athlete on US Equestrian’s Eventing High Performance Pre-Elite Training List, will be able to use the funds to support further competition and training toward this goal.

“I’m very lucky to have known Bruce [Duchossois] and see his passion for his horses and the American team,” stated Faudree. “He is a huge inspiration for me—not just as an owner and supporter of the U.S. equestrian team—but as a rider and horseman. I also recall exactly where I was sitting the day Phillip [Dutton] won Kentucky Three-Day with Connaught in 2008. He is also an inspiration. So, to be the recipient of the Connaught Grant is a huge honor and incredibly humbling.

“Jennifer [Mosing] and I are very excited about Mama’s Magic Way’s future,” Faudree continued. “We have a really fun partnership, and he loves the sport and loves his job. I know that we have our work cut out for us, but he and I are up for the challenge and we’re ready to do Bruce proud.”

“It’s an honor to carry on [Bruce Duchossois’] legacy in supporting up-and-coming horses that show great promise for representing our country,” Moran shared. “[As part of the Connaught Grant Committee], I was very excited by the strong group of horses that were put in front of us [for this grant] and I send my congratulations to Will. I hope that he has a great schedule ahead of him and look forward to supporting him and Mama’s Magic Way on their journey.”

Though competition plans remain tentative as the world navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, Faudree says the ultimate goal would be to compete Mama’s Magic Way at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (England) in September. Faudree added, “[Mama’s Magic Way] is still young and relatively inexperienced, but he feels ready [for the horse’s first CCI5*]. We’re looking at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in the spring, but if he needs more time before his first CCI5*, we may reroute to the Bramham Horse Trials (England), or the Bromont Horse Trials (Canada).”

Thanks to the Connaught Grant, Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way can continue their training with the goal of representing the United States in future international competitions.

USEF COVID-19 Action Plan: Looking Ahead to 2021

Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

As 2020 comes to a close, US Equestrian extends our sincere appreciation to all of our competition participants, officials, and organizers for their unwavering commitment to following the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan. We have all experienced a tremendous amount of disruption and change to our daily lives this year. The efforts each and every one of you have made to wear face coverings, socially distance, and frequently wash your hands and avoid indoor social gatherings have been paramount to allowing the safe return of many equestrian competitions during the ongoing pandemic. The ability to have competitions continue has been a bright spot for participants and has kept many people who make their living in the equestrian industry employed.

USEF Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Mark Hart, who has been working closely with CDC and WHO officials, strongly encourages members to receive the COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as availability allows. “Thanks to the unprecedented global collaboration of the scientific and pharmaceutical communities over this past year, we now have safe and incredibly effective vaccines. It can’t be emphasized enough, the role that vaccines will play in bringing this pandemic under control by achieving earlier ‘herd immunity’ (70-85% of the population) and hence a return to some sense of normality in our personal and professional lives. While it could be late Spring before the vaccine is widely available to the general public, we could potentially achieve umbrella immunity here in the US by late summer or early fall 2021. While there is finally light at the end of the tunnel for ending this pandemic, we are still facing several more months of high COVID-19 infection and death rates until the curve is flattened with increasing vaccination numbers. We all have a role in preventing many of these intervening infections by continuing to closely adhere to well established public health measures (keeping masks on, social distancing, good handwashing and avoiding indoor social gatherings) as well as getting vaccinated as soon as it is available to you.

“There is concern among public health officials that there is some hesitancy by certain segments of our society to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Those individuals should be assured that the review and approval process has been independent and transparent, made by scientific and public health experts who have no allegiance to the federal government or pharmaceutical companies. Another concern is recent reports of new ‘strains’ of COVID-19. Like all RNA viruses, the COVID-19 virus has had some expected and naturally occurring genetic variants documented which to date have been seen to be more ‘transmittable’ but possibly less lethal. Fortunately, there is no evidence that the current approved vaccines will not be effective against these observed variants. There are multiple ongoing surveillance programs worldwide to monitor these genetic ‘drift’ mutations and possible considerations for vaccines.”

While vaccines may not substantially decrease the COVID infection rates for at least the next 3-4 months, active preparations are ongoing for the day when we can gradually allow USEF competitions to host spectators once again. We are currently developing the necessary protocols to evaluate when this can safely occur. The hope is that once COVID infections are under better control, we will be able to permit a restricted level of spectators. This goal will be subject to certain public health conditions as well as all applicable local and state requirements. For the time being, spectators will continue to be prohibited from USEF-licensed competition grounds. The USEF recognizes the disappointment faced by the many fans who enjoy the sport as well as the countless owners who have missed the thrill and excitement of being an active and crucial participant in the development of their horses. Their continued support is greatly appreciated and has allowed our riders and horses to continue to reach their goals in an otherwise uncertain year.

While we cautiously look ahead to reopening events to spectators, the ability to ease the Action Plan requirements is contingent upon the continued progress in controlling the spread of the virus. We must all diligently follow the current Action Plan mandates in order to continue to achieve the success we have seen since restarting limited competitions last June.

Thank you for your continued support of the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan and our community effort to keep our sport open. Please continue to refer to the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan for further updates.

Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Designates Maryland Food Bank as an Event Beneficiary

We love seeing our sport give back to the communities that support them. Last week the Fair Hill Organizing Committee (FHOC), an affiliate of the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland (The Sport Corp.), announced the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill has designated the Maryland Food Bank (MFB) as an event beneficiary.

MFB is a nonprofit hunger-relief organization dedicated to feeding people, strengthening communities, and ending hunger for more Marylanders. The Maryland 5 Star is a multi-day international event featuring top Eventing riders and horses competing at the sport’s highest-level. The inaugural event takes place October 14-17, 2021 at the new Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, Maryland.

In addition to making a financial contribution to MFB, the Maryland 5 Star will be actively fundraising for the organization during the year through the event’s website, social media platforms and e-newsletters. The FHOC team and its partners will also volunteer at the food bank throughout the year and help raise awareness around MFB’s COVID-19 Phase 2 Response Plan via the event’s promotional materials, as well as during the competition with signage in the venue and coverage during the broadcast and livestream.

“We want to thank The Fair Hill Organizing Committee and the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill for stepping up and offering their support toward our efforts to combat food insecurity during this especially challenging time for so many Marylanders,” said MFB President & CEO Carmen Del Guercio. “This is an exciting event for our state, and we’re hopeful that this partnership will not only help raise awareness around the issue of hunger, but also generate much-needed funds to feed an increasing number of individuals and families facing hunger as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

MFB is the heart of Maryland’s food assistance network, providing food to more than 1,200 soup kitchens, pantries, shelters, and other community-based distribution points across the state. The food bank is currently concentrating on expanding food access to those who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

FHOC President and CEO, Jeff Newman commented, “The FHOC and everyone involved with the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill is thrilled to partner with the Maryland Food Bank especially during a time when their work is so critical. We are extremely proud to be helping Carmen and his incredible team in their efforts to keep up with the growing demands for food and expanding food access to those who are struggling the most during these challenging times.”

USEA Rider of the Year Liz Halliday-Sharp Joins Team Equilume

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley HHS Calmaria. Photo by Shelby Allen

Equilume, an Irish biotech firm offering lighting solutions for the international equine industry, are delighted to announce an exciting new partnership with USEA Rider of The Year, Liz Halliday-Sharp.

Californian, Halliday-Sharp, an established member of the US Eventing High Performance Training List with multiple International wins up to CCI5* level, recently installed Equilume Performance lighting in her barns having trialled an Equilume Cashel Light Mask on her mare HHS Cooley Calmaria. The mare subsequently won the Tryon CCI2*-L in November and Liz was convinced of the benefits of Equilume’s blue light technology for her horses.

Liz, who splits her time between her farms in Ocala, FL and Lexington, KY, has a strong team of horses for 2021 with her sights set on the Tokyo Olympics, said:

“I am very excited to announce my new partnership with Equilume. Equilume is performance lighting which supports circadian rhythms for the horses, these are very important for health, happiness and overall well-being. We want our horses to perform at their best and be as happy and healthy as they can, that is why we have chosen to partner with Equilume.”

Liz joins other international event riders Phillip Dutton and Sam Watson on Equilume’s team of riders, both of whom have noted positive effects on behaviour, focus in training, healing and coat condition in their teams of horses.

Photo courtesy of Liz Halliday-Sharp.

Equilume is a world leader in the research and development of light therapy solutions to assist the global equine industry in maximising reproductive efficiency and performance.

The company was established as a result of pioneering research at UCD by Dr Barbara Murphy, in collaboration with Professor John Sheridan, a UCD optoelectronics engineer, who identified the optimum light level required to advance the breeding season in horses, giving rise to the successful launch of the innovative Equilume Light Mask.

The Equilume Cashel Light Mask is an individual headpiece for horses that provides timed, low-level blue light to a single eye throughout the day to ensure optimum health, performance and coat condition. Designed specifically for the Sport Horse market, this mask ensures that horses receive optimum wavelengths of light that mimic natural sunlight when they are stabled, travelling or away at competition.

The Equilume Stable Light provides horses with biologically effective light in a system that replicates the benefits of Nature’s environmental lighting indoors, designed to maximise health, performance and breeding efficiency for stabled horses. Modern management of horses requires that they spend a large proportion of the 24 hr day indoors, unexposed to optimum daylight and frequently disrupted by light at night. This regime negatively impacts the horse’s body clock and can result in impaired growth, reduced immune response, poor appetite and performance. The Equilume Stable Light was designed to counteract these problems by providing the horse with biologically effective light. Key features of the system are blue-enriched light by day, gradual transitions at dawn and dusk, red light at night and a circannual program that optimises performance throughout the year.

Sally Ike to Be Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award at US Equestrian Annual Meeting

Sally Ike and Evening Mail competing at Blue Ridge Horse Trials. Photo courtesy Sally Ike/US Equestrian.

US Equestrian is pleased to announce the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Junior Equestrian of the Year Award to be presented at the virtual 2021 US Equestrian Annual Meeting. Sally Ike is the winner of the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award, while Lucy Enns is the 2020 Junior Equestrian of the Year. Ike and Enns, along with other prestigious award winners, will be recognized at the virtual 2020 USEF Pegasus and Horse of the Year Awards Celebration on Saturday, January 16, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

September 1, 2020, marked the end of an era for US Equestrian as Sally Ike, who has been with the organization for more than 30 years, transitioned from her post as Managing Director of Licensed Officials and Education into an independent contractor role. Ike has been an integral part of US Equestrian’s success and growth since 1989, working extensively with the USEF Sport Department. She has managed countless responsibilities and held numerous titles throughout her tenure, including Chef de Mission, Discipline Director of Eventing, Managing Director of Jumping, and Director of Vaulting Activities. She also served as the jumping team leader for every Olympic Games, Pan American Games, FEI World Equestrian Games, and FEI World Cup Finals from 1990 through 2008.

Sally Ike and David O’Connor. Photo courtesy George Oliver Bugbee/US Equestrian.

An accomplished equestrian, Ike successfully competed at the Burghley Horse Trials in 1967 and completed the 1968 Badminton Horse Trials on Evening Mail, earning an Olympic team nomination. She was selected as a non-traveling reserve for the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.

Ike’s many roles also have included course designer, technical delegate, steward, and judge at numerous three-day events across the country, as well as managing the jumping department and traveling around the world with top international U.S. Jumping teams.

Ike has always been a welcoming and dependable supporter of all equestrian disciplines. Her pledge to ensure the success of US Equestrian’s teams and programs has left a lasting impression not only on the disciplines she has been so deeply tied to throughout her career, but also on those she has mentored and worked with over the years.

Ingrid Klimke, Groom Carmen Thiemann Win Big at FEI Awards 2020

Winners in the FEI Awards 2020 five categories were revealed last week, with multi-medalled young Dressage star Semmieke Rothenberger claiming the Longines FEI Rising Star Award for the second year in a row, and Eventing legend Ingrid Klimke also taking back-to-back wins as Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete.

This year the task of choosing the best of the best from the past decade’s previous awards winners was entirely in the hands of the public who cast their votes for the 55 nominees from 19 nations. Over 70,000 votes were cast on and on the Chinese social media platform WeChat. Podiums in each of the five categories were occupied by a global spread from Germany, Great Britain, Australia, China, Ireland, Palestine, South Africa, The Netherlands and Zambia.

With the FEI Awards Gala cancelled this year due to the pandemic, the winners were revealed to their online audience in a moving video narrated by British Paralympic champion Natasha Baker.

Semmieke Rothenberger, winner of the Longines FEI Rising Star Award, was overcome with emotion when her family held a surprise presentation of the award at their home in Germany.

“I’m very grateful that so many people voted for me and that there is such a big fan base of people that support me,” Semmieke Rothenberger said. “It is also quite surreal because there were so many good athletes in this category, including my brother Sönke, so I didn’t really expect that I would win it again.”

The 21-year-old, winner of 22 FEI European Championship medals through all the youth categories right up to Young Riders, has even bigger goals for the future.

“My parents have always taught me to dream big and reach for my goals and I would really like to canter on that centre line of the Olympic Games one day. I’ve been to the Olympic Games in Rio with my brother and I would love to see myself there with one of my horses and feel the atmosphere of representing my country at the Olympics!”

Along with other individual FEI Award winners, Semmieke Rothenberger received an elegant timepiece from FEI Top Partner Longines, the Swiss watch brand which attaches great importance to encouraging young people to practice sports.

“This Longines FEI Rising Star Award was created to recognise young athletes between the ages of 14 and 21 who demonstrate outstanding equestrian sporting talent,” Longines Vice President of Marketing Matthieu Baumgartner said. “We are delighted to once again celebrate Semmieke Rothenberger’s dedication to equestrian sport and we applaud her determination, passion and energy, which we are confident will take her to the very top in her sporting career.”

Double Olympic Eventing team gold medallist and five-time Olympian Ingrid Klimke (GER) was delighted to win a second Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award, together with a horse transport voucher from title sponsor and Official FEI Equine Logistics Partner, Peden Bloodstock.

“This is all still a little bit unreal but I’m so thrilled and happy,” she said. The 52-year-old, who was also nominated for the Award in 2015 and 2017, going on to win in 2019, is only the second person in history to win back-to-back European titles on the same horse, claiming individual gold with SAP Hale Bob OLD at the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships in 2017 and 2019. This year she took her fifth German National Championship, having won previously in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2009, sharing the spotlight with her daughter Greta Busacker, who was crowned German National Junior Champion on the same day.

Although Ingrid Klimke has set her sights on winning her first individual gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games next year, she is not shy of stating her longer term ambitions. “I’m already thinking of Paris 2024 which is not so far away. I love to ride, I love to compete and I love to keep going.”

There was further cause for celebration at the Klimke stables when Carmen Thiemann, head groom for more than two decades, won the Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award and a voucher from title sponsor and FEI Official Nutrition Partner, Cavalor.

“It’s the trust between us and the fun we have with the horses,” Carmen Thiemann said when asked about the longevity of her professional partnership with Ingrid Klimke. “I try to make the horses happy and healthy so that they are ready to work with Ingrid.”

Carmen Thiemann, who won the FEI Best Groom Award in 2013, has a special bond with the Klimke family having started her career as a groom for Ingrid’s father Dr Reiner Klimke, an Olympic Dressage legend for Germany.

“Everyone who knows Carmen knows how valuable she is as a person and especially in her job with the horses,” a delighted Ingrid Klimke said.

“We have been successful as a team for many years and I would never go to a show or a Championship without Carmen. She is a best friend to the horses and I can totally focus on my job, either in Cross Country or in Dressage, knowing that Carmen brings them out as happy and healthy as possible.”

It is also interesting to note that the runner-ups in these two respective categories – Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete and Cavalor FEI Best Groom – went to another dynamic duo: Great Britain’s superstar Charlotte Dujardin and Alan Davies, the experienced and highly respected “Super Groom” to Carl Hester’s horses, and also a key member of the FEI Grooms Working Group.

Ten years after winning their first award, the Ebony Horse Club (GBR) was once again the recipient of the FEI Solidarity Award.

“This award, coming at the end of a really challenging year, just validates everything that we’re working for,” General Manager of the Ebony Horse Club Naomi Howate said. “To be recognised as the best of the decade is such a huge accolade and has made us extremely proud of the work that we do here.

“Ebony is a youth club with horses, rather than a riding centre, because our ethos is all about helping our young people be the best they can be both on and off the horses.”

The organisation, which is based in Brixton, South London, provides young people from low income families with the opportunity to ride horses and take part in a variety of sporting and educational activities.

The FEI has provided the 2020 FEI Solidarity Award winner with a financial donation to support the Ebony Horse Club projects. “We are a small club and we don’t have lots of resources,” Naomi Howgate said. “Donations are everything, as it is how we can provide the work we are doing. We support about 400 young people in a year and we can only do that with donations of money that allow us to run our services. So receiving this from the FEI is really fantastic!”

This year’s FEI Against All Odds Award goes to German Paralympian Dr Angelika Trabert. Born without legs and only three fingers on her right hand, Angelika is well known in the equestrian community for her indefatigable spirit and her motto, “It’s ability, not disability, that counts.”

She had just won individual gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2010 when she picked up her first FEI Against All Odds award, given to the person who has pursued their equestrian ambitions despite a physical handicap or extremely difficult personal circumstances.

Dr Trabert, an anaesthetist by profession, was inspired to be an athlete and coach in the years after tragically losing her long-time partner in 2005. She has won six Paralympic medals and four at the FEI World Equestrian Games™. She is also the current Para Athlete representative on the FEI Athletes’ Committee and a member of the FEI Para Equestrian Committee.

“I feel this is an award and a reward for the work I’ve been doing and what I feel is important for our sport,” Angelika Trabert said. “You should always look on the positive side, especially in these times. It’s very hard for a lot of people and it counts more than ever to look upon the possibilities and abilities that we have. And there are many.”

“Our global and diverse community is built on our shared passion for horsemanship and the team spirit, which is so present in all five of our winners, is replicated around the world and at every level of the sport, both on and off the field,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

“Passion and resilience define our community, and these values are echoed in the stories of each of our FEI Awards winners for 2020. Congratulations to all the nominees and especially to our winners, thank you for your commitment to the sport and the values which make the equestrian world so rewarding and inspiring.”

FEI Confirms Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Official CCI5*-L Status

Tim Bourke and Quality Time at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill’s test event in August. Photo by Amy Dragoo.

It’s all systems go for the postponed-from-2020 Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill, now scheduled for Oct. 14-17, 2021. The inaugural event has been granted official CCI5*-L status following support from the FEI.  The formal ratification was received following the FEI’s evaluation of the host venue at a test event in August 2020 held at the newly constructed Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, Maryland.

FEI officials were on-site at Fair Hill in August where competitors utilized the new Special Event Zone for the first time since construction was completed in February 2020. The CCI3*-S event served as the test event for the Maryland 5 Star after the original test event planned for April was cancelled because of the pandemic.

“The five-star designation is the top level of our sport and in turn, there is an extensive evaluation process that takes place in order to host such an event,” said Catrin Norinder, FEI Director of Eventing and Olympic. “Despite the challenges 2020 has presented, the organizers have made tremendous strides and met the necessary requirements to date, and the FEI Eventing Committee supported its inclusion in the FEI Calendar.”

In 2017, the USEF board of directors selected Fair Hill as a potential host site for the newest CCI5*-L competition on the international eventing circuit. Last year, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved funding for the construction of the Fair Hill Special Event Zone to serve as the annual host site for the Maryland 5 Star. Phase One of the project was completed this year including the construction of a new cross country course designed by Ian Stark, as well as new dressage and show jumping arenas located within the infield of the refurbished Turf Course at Fair Hill.

“On behalf of The Fair Hill Organizing Committee and our partner Fair Hill International, we want to thank the FEI for their continued support,” said Jeff Newman, Fair Hill Organizing Committee President and CEO. “This validation of the new Fair Hill Special Event Zone to host a five-star level event is yet another exciting step forward as we gear up for the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill next fall.”

The event will be the seventh CCI5*-L worldwide and Maryland will join Kentucky as the second location in the United States.

“The Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill will be a significant addition to our country’s eventing calendar and is the result of a major, multi-year initiative to bring a second CCI5*-L to the U.S.,” said Bill Moroney, Chief Executive Officer of US Equestrian. “This event is the culmination of that vision and we’re looking forward to working with the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill team to support a successful event in 2021 and beyond.”

The Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill recently hosted a virtual event as part of Governor Larry Hogan’s proclamation of October as Maryland Horse Month. Exclusive content showcasing the Fair Hill Special Event Zone can still be viewed on the event’s website here.

US Equestrian Announces Athletes Invited to Eventing 25 Assessment Sessions

Mia Farley and BGS Firecracker. Photo by Abby Powell.

US Equestrian has announced the list of athletes who have been invited to the 2021 Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Assessment Sessions. The USEF Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Program offers athletes 25 years of age and under access to coaching and instruction, high intensity training sessions, and continued mentorship to further support the development of the Eventing Pathway.

The Eventing Performance Advisory Team (PAT) reviewed applications and invited 24 athletes to participate in a two-day assessment session with USEF Developing and Emerging Athlete Coach Leslie Law prior to the final program selection.

Participants in the assessment sessions are eventing athletes age 25 and under who have completed a Minimum Eligibility Requirement at a CCI3*-L or have been talent spotted into the assessment sessions.

The following athletes have been invited to participate in the 2021 Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Assessment Sessions:

  • Arielle Aharoni (Bedminster, N.J.)
  • Charlotte Babbitt (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.)
  • Alexandra Baugh (Lexington, Ky.)
  • Amanda Beale Clement (Phoenixville, Penn.)
  • Mia Braundel (Clayton, N.C.)
  • Sophie Click (Snoqualmie, Wash.)
  • Katherine Delaney* (Rockville, Va.)
  • Cornelia Dorr (Manchester By The Sea, Mass.)
  • Mia Farley (San Juan Capo, Calif.)
  • Colin Gaffney (Akron, Ohio)
  • Alexa Gartenberg (Gladwyne, Penn.)
  • Savannah Gwin* (San Clemente, Calif.)
  • Mallory Hogan (Belvedere, Calif.)
  • Sophie Hulme (Portola Vally, Calif.)
  • Gabrielle Hutchison (Cleveland, N.C.)
  • Katie Lichten (South Hamilton, Mass.)
  • Benjamin Noonan (Ballwin, Missouri)
  • Meg Pellegrini (Wayne, Penn.)
  • Alyssa Phillips (Fort Worth, Tex.)
  • Danielle Poulsen (Newark, Del.)
  • Kaylawna Smith-Cook (Temecula, Calif.)
  • Sydney Solomon (Dayton, Md.)
  • Megan Sykes (Midland, Tex.)
  • Madison Temkin (Sebastopol, Calif.)

Three assessment sessions will be held in January 2021: one session in Ocala, Fla., one session in Aiken, S.C., and one session in Temecula, California.

USEF Development and Emerging Athlete Coach Leslie Law and members of the Eventing Performance Advisory Team will determine the final athletes named to the 2021 Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 program following the conclusion of the assessment sessions.

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].

*Talent spotted into the assessment sessions for having not met the CCI3*-L requirement.

Updates to USEF’s COVID-19 Action Plan

Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

US Equestrian remains committed to efforts that mitigate the risk of COVID-19 virus transmission and keep our members and competition participants as safe as possible. To remain aligned with public health authorities in these efforts, we have updated the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan for USEF-Licensed Competitions to reflect the most recent CDC guidance related to quarantine protocols following COVID-19 exposure.

Exposure is considered close contact with a COVID-19-infected individual (exhibiting symptoms or confirmed by a positive test result) within a distance of six feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more. This exposure results in the need to quarantine.

It is important to note that, due to the virus’ incubation period, the CDC still recommends a quarantine period of 14 days. However, it is recognized that a shorter quarantine time may balance significant societal personal burdens against the progressive smaller possibility of spreading the virus over time following exposure. Therefore, effective immediately, USEF is adopting the CDC’s following options to shorten the quarantine time after exposure.

An individual exposed to COVID-19 through close contact with a person suspected or confirmed to be infected may discontinue quarantine (and therefore gain access to a competition venue):

  • After Day 10, following close contact (exposure) without testing if no COVID-19 symptoms are present, or;
  • After Day 7, if no COVID-19 symptoms are present and after receiving a negative COVID-19 test result (testing must occur on Day 5 or later after exposure)

After discontinuing quarantine, all individuals should

  • Monitor for symptoms for 14 days after exposure
  • Immediately self-isolate if symptoms develop and contact a personal healthcare provider or public health authority
  • Wear a face mask/face covering, maintain social distancing of at least six feet from others, and wash hands frequently

Check the CDC website for additional details related to quarantine times following virus exposure.

This most recent change relates to quarantine times associated with virus exposure only. It does not change the requirement for individuals who test positive for COVID-19. These individuals are still not allowed to access competition grounds, and they are required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days following the first onset of symptoms or receipt of a positive test result. Additionally, at the end of the 10 days, the individual must be fever-free for a 24-hour period without the use of fever-reducing medications before being allowed to be around others.

Please reference the updated USEF COVID-19 Action Plan for USEF-Licensed Competitions.

IOC Confirms Inclusion of and Quotas for Equestrian Sports at Paris 2024

Charlotte Dujardin celebrates at the Rio Olympics. Photo by Arnd Bronkhorst/FEI.

All three equestrian disciplines – Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing – have been formally confirmed for the Paris 2024 Olympic program. In addition, the six events – team and individual across each of the three disciplines – and the full quota of 200 athlete/horse combinations have also been endorsed.

News of the confirmation came during today’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board online meeting, at which the full program for Paris 2024 was formally approved. Individual International Federations were also provided with details of the event program and athlete quotas for their sport in an official letter from IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper.

The ratification means that equestrian will keep its quota of 75 athlete/horse combinations for Jumping, 65 for Eventing and 60 for Dressage.

Rendering via Paris 2024.

“We are very happy to receive formal approval of our three disciplines for Paris 2024 from the IOC Executive Board and also confirmation that our athlete quota remains untouched at 200”, FEI President and IOC Member Ingmar De Vos said.

“This confirmation is also a token of appreciation for the efforts the FEI and the equestrian community have made to increase the fan base and improve digital figures for our sport. We really appreciate that the IOC didn’t touch our quota as we knew they needed to reduce the overall Games-wide quota to 10,500 athletes, but our sport has grown so much over the last decade that a reduction of our quota would have been detrimental to the universality of our Olympic competitions.”

The equestrian events will be staged in the grounds of Versailles, with King Louis XIV’s Palace as a stunning backdrop at one of the French capital’s most iconic Games time venues. The UNESCO World Heritage Site will also be the site for Modern Pentathlon.

Full details of the Paris 2024 event program were publicly announced at a press conference with the IOC President today. The IOC press release is available on

Full Schedule for 2020 USEF Virtual Meeting Released

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

US Equestrian is pleased to share the complete schedule for the USEF Annual Meeting, which will be held virtually January 13-17, 2021. All sessions including the 2020 Pegasus and Horse of the Year Awards Celebration are free for all members.

Members are invited to attend special presentations given by the Member Services Council, National Breeds & Disciplines Council, and International Disciplines Council throughout the week to learn more about results from 2020 and plans for 2021. Additionally, there will be a special Calendar Management Meeting and Q&A open to members on Wednesday, January 13, at 6:00 p.m. The General Session will be held during the afternoon of Saturday, January 16, via Zoom and the USEF Pegasus and Horse of the Year Awards Celebration will take place that evening on USEF Network. The 2021 meeting will conclude with the Board Meeting on Sunday, January 17, via Zoom. Details and times are below, so please mark your calendars! Registration information for each session will be available online and shared via e-mail in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, January 13: Ideas into Action

• 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. | Member Services Council Presentation
• 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. | Calendar Management Meeting and Q&A

Thursday, January 14: Grassroots to Grand Champion

• 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. | National Breeds & Disciplines Council Presentation

Friday, January 15: Growing the FEI Disciplines at Home & Abroad

• 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. | International Disciplines Council Presentation

Saturday, January 16: Listen, Learn & Lead Together

• 4:30 p.m. | General Session Presentation given by President Murray Kessler & President Elect Tom O’Mara
• 7:30 p.m. | 2020 USEF Pegasus and Horse of the Year Awards Celebration

Sunday, January 17: Board of Directors Meeting

• 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. | New Board Member Orientation (Closed)
• 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Session One (Open)
• 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. | Session Two (Open)

View more information about the 2021 USEF Annual Meeting at

Helmet Research Fundraising Hits Milestone … Research will Begin

Through the collaborative and generous commitments of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA), the U.S. Eventing Association (USEA), and a major matching grant from Jacqueline Mars, more than $425,000 has been committed in just a few short months to further the safety of equestrian athletes across all breeds and disciplines. The USET Foundation has provided their enthusiastic endorsement of the program via education and awareness with their constituents as well. These critical funds will support further research into U.S. helmet safety standards and the creation of an equestrian-specific rating system, providing riders insight into how helmet models compare when looking at safety and protection. One hundred percent of funds raised will support independent research at the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab to develop this important sport-specific rating system. In addition to the financial fundraising component of the program, USEF has shared important data on falls and injuries from USEF competitions, which will be used in the research and development of the Equestrian STAR rating project at the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab.

“Fundraising and awareness efforts accelerated quickly for the project following a presentation I gave one year ago at the USHJA Annual Meeting on the VT Helmet Lab STAR Ratings,” said Dr. Barry Miller, Director of Outreach and Business Development for the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab. “We were asked what it would take to develop the system for equestrian sport: $450,000 to have the system available in 18-24 months. The USHJA jumped on board immediately with a generous commitment, then Jacqueline Mars stepped up with her own matching donation, which the USEF Board of Directors and USEA Board of Governors matched dollar for dollar. We are ready now to get the initiative underway.

“It was great to work with the leaders from all the organizations, together with Jacqueline Mars, to quickly and collectively pull this together on behalf of all members across all breeds and disciplines to benefit improved safety for all.”

To date, the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab has developed STAR helmet ratings for sports including football, youth football, soccer, flag football, cycling, and hockey. Since 2011, Virginia Tech researchers have been providing unbiased helmet ratings that allow consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing helmets. The helmet ratings are the culmination of over 10 years of injury biomechanics research with special attention to concussions and which helmets best reduce concussion risk (

With $425,000 committed, work will begin on the rating system, but the fund will remain open for donations. Any additional money raised will go towards accelerating the development timeline. Your tax-deductible donation can be made directly to the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, with 100% of all funds going directly to this research.

[Helmet Research Fundraising Hits Milestone … Research will Begin]

2021 USEF Eventing High Performance Winter Training Lists Announced

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

US Equestrian has announced the USEF Eventing High Performance Elite, Pre-Elite, and Development Training Lists for the winter of 2021. The training lists are part of U.S. Performance Director Erik Duvander’s U.S. Eventing Pathway Program, focused on developing combinations to deliver sustainable success for the USEF Eventing Program at the international championship level. Full program details and criteria for the training lists are available here.

“Having the Olympic Games next year and World Championships in 2022 has brought a new level of complexity to the selection of our Elite and Pre-Elite Training List,” said Duvander. “Tokyo will be run in the Olympic format of three combinations with no drop score over an eight minute cross country course. In contrast, the World Championships in Pratoni (ITA) will have four combinations with one drop score, as well as one individual. I believe the World Championship cross country course will be at maximum distance and number of jumping efforts with challenging terrain that will demand a different type of expectation from Tokyo.

“The selection of our training list has considered the different demands of both Tokyo and Pratoni; however, some combinations have the capability to suit both. I have been studying our riders and horses closely over the last three years with this in mind, and the training list has been refreshed with excellent input and the advice from the Performance Advisory Team. As always, the door is open for other combinations to show form before Olympic and World Championship selections and we will constantly look for more talent in both horses and riders.”

The following athletes have been approved for the Elite, Pre-Elite and Development programs by an Ad Hoc Group of the Eventing Sport Committee at the recommendation of Duvander, with input from Duvander’s Performance Advisory Team of Bobby Costello, Derek di Grazia, Leslie Law, Karen O’Connor and Ian Stark.

2021 Elite Training List

The Elite Program supports athlete and horse combinations who demonstrate the ability to contribute to medal-winning potential at the World Championship level, with targets measured against world-leading performances and aiming to compete at the next Olympics or World Championship.

The following combinations have been named to the Elite Training List (in alphabetical order):

  • Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and Z, a 12-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Ann Jones, Caroline Moran, Suzanne Lacy, Simon Roosevelt and Tom Tierney
  • Liz Halliday-Sharp (Lexington, Ky.) and Deniro Z, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Ocala Horse Properties & The Deniro Syndicate
  • Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Tsetserleg TSF, a 13-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner
  • Doug Payne (Aiken, S.C.) and Vandiver, a 16-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Debi Crowley

2021 Pre-Elite Training List

The Pre-Elite Program aims to identify and support athlete and horse combinations with the perceived potential to meet Elite status within the next two to four years, with the target of competing on a Championship team in the next four years.

The following combinations have been named to the Pre-Elite Training List (in alphabetical order):

  • Woods Baughman (Lexington, Ky.) and his own C’est la Vie 135, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding
  • Jennie Brannigan (West Grove, Pa.) and Stella Artois, a 12-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred mare owned by the Stella
  • Artois Syndicate and FE Lifestyle, a 10-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Nina & Tim Gardner
  • Will Coleman (Gordonsville, Va.) and Off The Record, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Off The Record Syndicate and Don Dante, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Team Rebecca, LLC
  • Sydney Elliott (Bossier City, La.) and QC Diamantaire, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Carol Stephens
  • Will Faudree (Southern Pines, N.C.) and Mama’s Magic Way, a nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Jennifer Mosing & Sterling Silver Stables
  • Ariel Grald (Southern Pines, N.C.) and Leamore Master Plan, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Anne Eldridge
  • Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Luke 140, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by the Luke 140 Syndicate
  • Doug Payne (Aiken, S.C.) and Quantum Leap, a nine-year-old RPSI gelding owned by Doug & Jessica Payne
  • Erin Sylvester (Cochranville, Pa.) and Paddy The Caddy, a 13-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding owned by Frank McEntee
  • Lynn Symansky (Middleburg, Va.) and RF Cool Play, a 12-year-old German Sport Horse gelding owned by The Donner Syndicate, LLC

2021 Development Training List

The Development Program, led by USEF Development and Emerging Athlete Coach Leslie Law, aims to support athletes with the perceived talent and ability to reach Elite status in the next four to eight years by focusing on developing the skills needed to progress on the Pathway.

The following athletes have been named to the Development Training List (in alphabetical order):

  • Maya Black (Clinton, Wash.)
  • Rebecca Brown (Seagoville, Texas)
  • Daniel Clasing (Lovettsville, Va.)
  • Zoe Crawford (Boston, Fla.)
  • Jacob Fletcher (North Little Rock, Ark.)
  • Caroline Martin (Miami Beach, Fla.)
  • Andrew McConnon (Vass, N.C.)
  • Sara Mittleider (Kuna, Idaho)
  • Mike Pendleton (Waynesboro, Va.)
  • Caitlin Silliman (Cochranville, Pa.)

*Please note: The Performance Director may remove an athlete from the Elite and Pre-Elite programs in consultation with the Performance Advisory Team if the athlete fails to meet program criteria. Athletes/horses with a long-term injury will be removed from the Training List in consultation with the Performance Advisory Team, Team Veterinarian and/or Team Physician. Training opportunities may be limited for combinations with short-term injuries. Inclusion or exclusion on a Training List does not imply or preclude an athlete from selection for a Games and Championships. This list will be reviewed in June 2021.

Report of the FEI Eventing Committee

The full FEI Eventing Committee report which was released following the FEI General Assembly is available here.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos (R) and Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez at the FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI). FEI/Richard Julliart Photo.

Given the current Covid-19 pandemic situation the Eventing Committee met for monthly videoconference calls between March November 2020, led by the Chair David O’Connor and attended by all the Eventing Committee Members and FEI Eventing Department. The Eventing Committee videoconference calls included many discussions to finding solutions to the ramifications of the Covid-19 virus in order to encourage the organization of eventing competitions, Nations Cup, and Championships.

The different National Governments’ decrees in most countries on Covid-19 countermeasures in regard to mass gatherings and travel restrictions had led to most of eventing competitions being canceled worldwide from March until July 2020. Return-to-play had started to resume from July with most regular events in the calendar taking being organized without spectators and with Government and FEI Return-to-Play policies in place.


The main points discussed during the 2020 Eventing Committee videoconference calls were:

  • Olympic Games: During the Eventing Committee Conference Calls, official communications from the IOC had been published to inform that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were to be rescheduled to the following year, reflecting the 2020 dates. Most deadlines would be reviewed to closely reflect the dates planned for 2020 with a year’s delay. Together with the other disciplines, the Eligibility requirements had been reviewed to take into account the additional year. The IOC had equally confirmed that all Nations having already achieved an Olympic Qualification quota place would retain this despite the postponement of the Games.
  • Covid-19 impact on eventing: An Eventing Calendar Task Force, one of the eight discipline-specific task forces, had been created by the FEI to evaluate the impact on the FEI Calendar and propose ways of mitigating Covid-19 effects on the discipline (i.e. qualification events for the postponed Olympic, Continental Games, Championships, Nations Cup Series, 2020 organizational requirements and Calendar) and to provide proposed solutions to the FEI Secretary General and the Board. The Eventing Task Force held its first meeting via videoconference on 24 April 2020.
  • Covid-19 impact on officials and athletes: The Board (FEI Board Emergency resolution July 21, 2020) agreed to extend the exemption that is currently in place for Australia and New Zealand to all countries. With this exemption, which would be reviewed end December 2020, foreign official requirements would not be compulsory, for CCI4* Long & short formats however two (2) Judges, Technical Delegate and Course Designer would need to be selected from the Level 3 lists.The Eventing Athlete Categorization used to determine eligibility requirements for events according to the rules are calculated on July 1, 2020 and was based on an eight-year rolling period. Considering the current situation and the lack of qualification opportunity for athletes in 2020, the Eventing Committee agreed to take 8.5 years into account for the July 1, 2020 Athletes Categories review, to be reviewed for an extension by the Eventing Committee for the next Category review on January 1, 2021.
  • Covid-19 Eventing Specific Guidelines: The FEI Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the Covid-19 Pandemic – Effective for FEI Events held as of July 1, 2020, has been published on the FEI website as a guide to help Organizing Committees with Return to Competition during the pandemic. The Covid-19 Eventing discipline Specific Guidelines had been finalized with the input of the Committee and Organisers. This document aimed to provide OCs with detailed guidance for the management of FEI Eventing Events during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition to COVD-related matters, the Eventing Committee discussed:

  • Risk Management: Measures and recommendations of the Risk Management Report were reviewed including improvement of Horse injury reporting, EquiRatings®’ Horse Form Index studies and use, clarification of Rotational and Torsional fall, Frangible Standard 2.0 with the introduction of the kettlebell pendulum test and new MIM clip to be fixed at an angle (yellow clip). (details below under sections 4 and 5)
  • Education: The revision of the Officials Education program to line up with the FEI Education Departments all discipline approach was on-going, as well as the redefinition of Officials’ roles and responsibilities by the Eventing Officials Education Working Group. The criteria of appointment of Eventing Overall Course Director, the composition of the new Eventing Officials Education Working Group and the adjustment proposals of the CES System to the current circumstances were reviewed.
  • Eventing Documents Supporting Rules: The Cross-Country Guide for Officials, Memorandum, and Equipment & Tack FAQ had been reviewed throughout 2020, finalized and published on the FEI website.
  • FEI Eventing World Challenge: During the first Eventing Committee Videoconference of the year (March 25, 2020), the Eventing Committee had agreed to the development of an FEI Eventing World Challenge, following discussions with the FEI Solidarity Department in 2019 regarding possibilities of developing eventing, as this would give a change to developing countries to reach international level. The FEI Eventing Committee Chairman encouraged the development of the Eventing Challenge and would pursue the project including the review of fence construction with the help of the FEI Solidarity Department and Eventing Department.
  • Elkton, Fair Hill (USA) CCI5*-L: Following the review of the reports provided by the Technical Delegate of the test event held in August 2020 in Fair Hill, the Eventing Committee agreed to put forward to the FEI Board the inclusion in the 2021 FEI Calendar of a CCI5*-L in Elkton (Fair Hill, USA) on a five-year basis with an initial review after three editions.


All suggestions for modifications received from National Federations and Stakeholders by March 1, 2020, and falling in one of the revision criteria had been taken into account. New suggestions received after that deadline or not falling in one of the revision criteria would be included as part of the next rules revision process. The 2020 FEI Eventing rules had been reviewed by the Eventing Committee according to the new FEI rules revisions policy.

The Eventing Committee provided the initial proposal for NFs review, and then considered the feedback for recommendations and clarifications for the 2021 Eventing Rules proposal which could not wait for the full revision. The rationale for each proposal was added as per the format agreed by the FEI Board.

It included updates due to last year’s rules revision processes, especially in regards to the new education system and the modification of the sanctions system.

The proposals also included: number of individuals at World Individual and Team Championships, ages of ponies, prizemoney distribution, requirements for promotion and maintenance of status, TD General Duties, CD responsibilities, the strengthening of the qualification requirements for less experienced Athletes participating at Higher level Events, official clothing, mandatory protective headgear, permitted and forbidden saddlery, permitted mouthpieces, cheek pieces, and nosebands, water crossings, ground lines on cross-country obstacles, obstacles with alternatives, Annex D Medical Services and qualification requirements for Pony Events. In regards to risk management, it has been decided to maintain the proposal to have mandatory frangible technologies at all levels as of January 1, 2021.

All eventing rule changes which were voted on can be viewed here.


The FEI Eventing Risk Management Program including data collection has been ongoing since 2000 and now includes 20 years. The data collected by the Eventing Department includes fence description forms, fall reports, and fence analysis. The amount of data now allows for a significant base for information queries in regard to risk management and all other questions related to qualification and technical issues in the discipline. The effort is substantial however the results are invaluable.

For 2020, the number of competitions had decreased by 51.5%, from 742 in 2019 to 360 (figures at end October 2020) due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation. The number of announced competitions in the calendar in January 2020 was 763 (which would have been an increase of 2.83% compared to 2019). However, more than 50% of the competitions have been canceled.


1. The ongoing primary commitment of the FEI Eventing Committee is to ensure that the FEI Risk Management Policy and Action plan is endorsed and implemented by all involved in the Sport with the support and dynamic involvement of National Federations, National Safety Officers, Athletes, Officials, Organizers, Owners, and Sponsors.

2. The FEI Eventing Risk Management (NSO) Seminar was organized together with a “Future of the Sport” Forum in Aintree (GBR) in January 2020. A total of 145 participants from 29 countries attended. All sessions of the Forum were live-streamed and are available to watch on replay on the FEI website, which was very appreciated by the eventing community.

The main points of discussion included the future of eventing, the internal structure of the sport, risk management, data and the use of statistics, the safety program, rule changes, dressage tests, the importance of athlete education, cross-country specific items such as course design, the role of officials on cross-country day, Cross-Country Performance Indicator.

The Forum was followed by an NSO Seminar where 67 National Safety Officers and NF representatives from 25 countries participated. The agenda focused on the Risk Management Program update, including discussions on body protectors, rider representative role, frangible devices, horse injuries, etc. In addition, each nation had the opportunity to give a presentation on the Risk Management program in their country.

The FEI Eventing Risk Management Steering Group met further to the Eventing Risk Management (NSO) Seminar and recommendations were put forward to the Eventing Committee.

3. The 2021 FEI Eventing Risk Management (NSO) Seminar will be organized online due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation. It will be held in January 2021 over two to three days and available to all Eventing Officials and NSOs. The subjects could include: Officials roles during cross-country, education of athletes and coaches, Covid-19 related to risk management, return to play of horses, horse injuries, EquiRatings Horse Form Index, and new technologies

4. Continued work in partnership with EquiRatings® to implement a reviewed and improved Cross-Country Horse performance index (HFI) available in the FEI Database available for Athletes and their NFs. EquiRatings mandate with the FEI also includes specific data analysis for decision making support to the Eventing Committee and Eventing Risk Management Steering Group.


  • The number of competitions is growing consistently, with an increase of 10.8% and an increase of starters of 2.8% over the last five years (2015-2019).
  • Falls: The total falls are stable (except at the five-star level where the low number of starters had an influence on the percentage of falls). The horse falls have decreased from 1.41% in 2015 to 1.36% in 2019. The number of rotational falls is very small with 26 falls in 2019, the percentage has dropped over the last 10 years from 0.31% in 2010 to 0.12% in 2019. Up to 2017, falls on the flat, included all falls not related to a cross-country fence (dressage, show jumping, warm-up areas, and on the flat in cross-country), as of 2018, the split showing where the falls occurred allowed a better understanding of the non-fence related falls. Out of 1,166 falls reported for 2019, 54 were cross-country falls on the flat (4.63%), 109 in show jumping (9.35 %), one in Dressage (0.09%), and 72 in warm-up (6.17 %).Falls per athlete category: At all levels of competition, the non-categorized athletes incurred the highest number of falls, it is concluded that this could be due to a lack of training and/or adequate cross-country education.The provisional 2020 data (end July) shows a total fall rate of 3.67% (128 falls for 3,690 starters). The significant decrease of total falls from 5.57% in 2019 could be linked to the lack of five-star competitions. This figure could evolve as the remainder of the 2020 competitions are entered in the Risk Management database.


The Risk Management Steering Group Meeting as a subgroup for the Eventing Committee met in January 2020 following the Risk Management Forum and the Eventing Risk Management (NSO) Seminar. An additional member, Dr. Dave Vos (USA) had been nominated, his knowledge and work on the Update of the Frangible Device Standard as well as the video projects were very valuable. Members include: Geoff Sinclair (AUS) (Chair), Mike Etherington-Smith (GBR), Jonathan Holling (USA), Rob Stevenson (CAN), Gert Naber (NED), Staffan Lidbeck (SWE), Laurent Bousquet (FRA), and Dave Vos (USA)

In addition, conference calls took place in August and September to discuss the following points: · Qualification Criteria / Higher Level Events: Increased MERs for CCI5*-L competitions to be adapted depending on the athlete category

  • Education of Coaches / Athletes / Officials: development of a video to be made available on FEI Campus
  • Update of the Injury of Athletes and Horses definitions
  • Update of Cross-Country Design Guide on sloping shoulders, minimum widths of fences, and a description guide for ground lines
  • Frangible Technologies: Finalization of the Updated Standard for Frangible Devices to be implemented as of January 1, 2021.
  • Communication: increased number of posts on the NSO Facebook page
  • Risk Management Policy and Action Plan: Review and update of the current version needed to take place based on a “risk matrix” used during company risk assessment to define the level of risk by considering the category of probability or likelihood against the category of consequence severity
  • Body protectors Standards: suggestion to the Medical Committee to change the body protectors standards currently recommended in the Rules to mandatory
  • Update of the Medical Coverage at Events (Annex D) with the Medical Committee
  • Video at CCI5*-L Events: Further to the valuable technical information obtained based on the filming in 2019, the projects would be pursued in 2020
  • Online reporting for Officials: the importance of developing for officials the possibility to enter the Risk Management related data in the FEI database was again emphasized
  • Horse Injury Reporting: coordination with the Veterinary Department to correlate the information from the Veterinary Reports and the Eventing Fall Reports


FEI Eventing Nation’s Cup Series: In 2020, the Eventing Nations Cup season was challenged by travel and border restrictions due to Covid-19. Six (6) out of the eight (8) originally allocated legs were cancelled. Montelibretti (ITA) offered to run the last leg, after ITA had to cancel Pratoni, ultimately comprising a three-legged Series: Strzegom (POL), Le Pin au Haras (FRA) and Montelibretti (ITA). To date, 10 nations had competed in two events and the final classification would be decided at the last event in Montelibretti (ITA).

Following the Eventing Committee recommendation to adapt the overall 2020 Nations Cup Classification, agreed by the FEI Board as follows: If three or above Nations Cup Events take place: a classification would be made end 2020 of the best team based on the two best event results.

In 2021, further to the reallocation of the 2020 Events to 2021 and possibility additional applications to be reviewed by the FEI Board taking in account the financial situation, the 2021 FEI Eventing Nations Cup Series would include the same number of events as planned in 2020 taking place on a monthly basis from April to October 2021.


The regular Education Programs for Officials in Eventing were highly impacted by Covid-19 travel restrictions:

a) The Official Exchange Program – Eventing had 12 Officials enrolled, but only one had been able to travel in 2020 and officiate within the program.

b) The Course Calendar 2020 and the regular training courses for all four categories of Eventing Officials were affected: two in-person courses for J/TD/CD could take place, one in POR and one in POL, whilst the Stewards could join only one in-person course, in POL.

The Overall Course Directors Conformity seminar took place in Lausanne in February 2020, and the following topics were discussed:

– The in-person courses themes highlighted for 2020 – in addition to the actual Syllabus:

– Review of the 2020 Rules changes, with emphasis on:

  • Narrow fences – Missing flags (clear, 20 pen and EL) with selection of video support
  • Updated sanction system and implementation

– Frangibles/MIM (understanding of correct fitting)

– Serious incident management

– The reinforcement of the role of President of the Ground Jury, the review of GJ Members roles, the TD’s cross-country involvement and expertise, and the Course Designers increased responsibility during cross-country.

The 2021 course calendar looked promising, with eight in-persons courses planned for J/TD/CD in AUS, BLR, BRA, FRA, GER, ITA, and USA and seven for Stewards, in AUS, BRA, COL, FRA, HUN, SWE, and USA. Three additional requests to host in-person courses of national level were also received from AUS, BRA, and RUS.

Based on the RMSG recommendations, the Eventing Department worked with several officials on the production of video clips/webinars on various topics such horse welfare, dangerous riding, fence judge function, coach and athlete education, etc. to be posted on FEI Campus. The idea was to have short, comprehensive, and educative clips on important topics available for the eventing community, and made by experienced eventing officials.

Recipients in Three Categories Awarded Broussard ‘Going Forward’ Grants

Auditors gather to watch Silvio Mazzoni teach day two of the Ocala ICP Symposium in 2016. Photo by Sally Spickard.

The Broussard Charitable Foundation Trust, in partnership with the USEA Foundation, announced a new series of special educational grants in July of this year, and the first awards have just been given out across three categories of applicants. The “Going Forward” Grants are intended to reward “deserving candidates 18 years old and above who are passionate about moving their commitment to the sport forward”, and the following three categories were recognized:

  • Horsemanship Immersion Program
  • Instructors’ Certification Program
  • Eventing Officials “r” Training Program

A total of $32,000 was awarded to the following applicants:

Horse Immersion Program

  • Patricia “Peaches” Cava, Area VII

Instructors’ Certification Program

  • Laura Vello, Area V
  • Gina Pletch, Area VIII
  • Michael Graham, Area IX

Eventing Officials “r” Training Program

  • Jeanie Clarke, Area III
  • Jennifer Rousseau, Area IV
  • John Meriwether, Area VII

This first round of the “Going Forward” Grants will award seven individuals instead of the original four or five, a gesture of generosity from the Broussard Charitable Foundation Trust. To learn more about and donate to the USEA Foundation, click here.

US Equestrian to Launch USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Series

Image via US Equestrian.

US Equestrian is pleased to announce the development of a new youth team competition format for eventing athletes competing at the CCI1* through CCI3* levels, set to be introduced during the 2021 competition season. Eventing athletes between the FEI ages of 14 and 25 are invited to apply for the USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge for the upcoming competition season, with competition opportunities spanning from early spring through late fall.

This new concept will serve as an evolution of the North American Youth Championship for eventing and will provide opportunities for more athletes to represent their USEA Area in team competition throughout the year, culminating with two bi-coastal championships.

The Challenge will include three levels with the following age requirements:

  • CCI1* for FEI ages 14-18
  • CCI2* for FEI ages 14-21
  • CCI3* for FEI ages 16-25

The series will consist of four to six CCI-S competitions hosted at locations across the country to make the program accessible to as many qualified youth athletes as possible. It will conclude with two CCI-L competitions, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, at the end of the competition year. The bid process for host competitions is open through December 15, 2020, and locations will be announced at the end of January 2021.

“We are very excited about the increased opportunities this new Youth Team Challenge series will provide to youth athletes. Whereas youth athletes were aiming for one summer team championship with NAYC, athletes will now have the opportunity to compete in a team for the full season leading up to a final team championship on both coasts,” said Leslie Law, USEF Development and Emerging Athlete Coach.

“The U.S. does not currently have the opportunity to compete in FEI Pony, Junior and Young Rider Championships like in Europe, so we must continue to seek new ways to give our youth athletes more opportunities to compete in a team. The Youth Team Challenge will also give athletes up to the age of 25 the opportunity to gain this valuable team experience. This is an exciting and critical new initiative in further strengthening the Eventing Pathway, which aims to develop athletes to one day represent the U.S. on the world stage.”

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 athletes must submit an area declaration and a one-time application for the upcoming competition year. The deadline for area declarations and team applications is January 29, 2021. Log in to your athlete dashboard to access the application.

Note to applicants*: FEI age is defined as the age the athlete will turn during the calendar year of the competition. Athletes born between January 1 and December 31, 2007, will be considered FEI age 14 for the entire 2021 competition year. Additionally, athletes who intend to move up to the CCI1* level in the upcoming season are invited to apply, even if they have not yet competed at the level.

For more information, click here.

Jenny Caras and Trendy Fernhill Top Tryon International CCI4*-S Division

CarasTR20brinkman11-15x1ag-8612Jenny Caras and Trendy Fernhill. Photo by Alison Green for Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Jenny Caras and Trendy Fernhill carried their lead through to the finish in the CCI4*-S division, adding 20.80 penalties for time to their cross-country run and still keeping the lead score of 47.80. In second, Joe Meyer and Clip Clop, the 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Crosstown Dancer x Wolverlife) owned by Madison Foote, Theresa Foote and John Meyer, cleared the White Oak Course with 12.40 time penalties for a total score of 48.50. Rounding out the top three, Nobie Cannon (USA) and Bust A Groove, her own 2004 Thoroughbred gelding (Busterwaggley x Groovy), were by far the closest to making the time on a muddy course, adding only eight time penalties for a total score of 52.20.

Caras mentioned that it was only the third Advanced competition for the 2011 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ars Vivendi x Cruising) owned by Elyse Eisenberg, and that the atmosphere only added some nice spark to an already nice dressage test. “I was going for consistency and no mistakes, and I was happy with him overall,” she recalled. “He couldn’t have been better in the show jumping. I know that it can be hard to make the time in that ring, and he has a long stride and can be a bit slow, so I went in and rode forward. He’s such a great jumper and it’s nice to be able to just focus on the riding and the plan.”

Caras ended up walking the White Oak cross-country course many times due to schedule changes that occurred throughout, and said that the Tryon team “made cross-country happen in impossible circumstances. I couldn’t be happier with the way he handled the course. He was a little spooky in the first combination and so I just put him on his feet and kept him together. He finished well and confident, which I think is the most important thing.”

Caras concluded, “I think all of the riders are very grateful to Tryon for stepping in to host this event. All of the effort that they put in to make it so we could run cross-country was appreciated from all sides. It’s truly a privilege to be able to compete here.”

meyerTR20brinkman11-15xcTM-8150Joe Meyer and Clip Clop. Photo by Tanner Messer for Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Meyer rose from 15th after dressage with Clip Clop, who he called a “super quirky” ride but one that has serious talent. “He’s an awesome horse. I was originally sent him to be sold. He’s super quirky and has thrown me off time after time. He’s gotten better and better, and we’ve formed a partnership. Now, he’s done five-star competitions!”

The nearly-17-year-old acts more like a four-year-old, Meyer revealed, and has recently found a new level in the show jumping phase: “He’s fantastic. He’s always been a good show jumper, but now that he’s gotten older he’s awesome. It gives you an amazing sense of confidence as well. He’s hot on the flat, and that’s his only drawback. I do think that if he could do dressage as relaxed as he does at home, I would have an Olympic horse. I guess that’s just how it goes. There are only certain people that can ride him.”

Like many competitors, Meyer and Clip Clop found the Chimney Rock Combination to be a bit trickier than expected, in part due to Clip Clop’s drive to get through the flags at a faster pace than Meyer intended. “It’s funny, because I watched and watched yesterday, and had an idea in my head of what was going to go on, but it didn’t work out that way. I thought for sure I’d just pop down the Chimney Rock combination in five strides, and then another four [to the third wedge]. I went quiet to the top and saw a going distance, waited for one stride, he popped in, then just rocket-shipped down the hill,” Meyer recapped. “He landed and balanced and knew what he was doing because he’s experienced. He did one stride, slipped, but then picked himself right back up and looked for the flags!

“I want to thank everybody at Tryon: the organizers, officials, volunteers, and everyone else, for the effort that they put into getting the cross-country running,” Meyer concluded. “What they did was unbelievable! The course is beautiful. A massive thank you to everybody.”

CannonTR20brinkman11-15x2ag-19538Nobie Cannon and Bust A Groove. Photo by Tamer Messer for Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Cannon and “Busta” were the fastest pairs on course Sunday, and she reported that she felt comfortable with the footing even after a full day of competition running on the course the day prior. “Boy, the crew at Tryon did a crazy job getting the course back to where the footing was runnable,” she emphasized. “It was muddy in spots, but nothing that I felt was dangerous. We just went for it! He didn’t slip or anything. I was actually surprised when I looked down at my minute marker and wasn’t as far off as I usually am. It was exciting!”

Cannon is carefully considering when to retire her mount, and says that his performance this weekend couldn’t have been any better. “The dressage is never our strong point. We’ve been working really hard on it this year, since there haven’t been a ton of shows. He put in a really good test. He tried and he really stayed with me. With the show jumping, I got nervous in that atmosphere, to be honest. I could’ve ridden better to avoid those two rails that we had, but such is life! I think he could go a little longer, but I think we’re pretty close to the end for him because he’s done everything I could’ve asked from him. It was really cool that we got to end this way.”

A frequent competitor at TIEC, Cannon and Busta contested their first Advanced together at the Blue Ridge Mountain Horse Trials last September, and it felt fitting to conclude his career – for now, at least – at one of their favorite venues. “We keep coming back. The footing is great and the courses are always challenging, but ride well. I like that we can go eat at the restaurants. Tryon is a fun destination.”

MARS Tryon International: WebsiteFinal ScoresCoverage

CCI4*-S Final Top 10: 

Coverage of Tryon International this weekend is brought to you by Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE). Diversity and inclusion in all equestrian sports are important, and we’ll be bringing you tidbits on what this new organization hopes to accomplish.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley HHS Calmaria Climb to Tryon International CCI2*-L Win

hallidaySharpCooley HHSCalmariaTR20brinkman11-15s1EA-6145Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley HHS Calmaria. Photo by Alleyn Evans for Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Liz Halliday-Sharp prevailed in the Tryon International Guardian Horse Bedding CCI2*-L division with Cooley HHS Calmaria, ending on their dressage score of 28.30. Elizabeth Bortuzzo (USA) and Belongs to Teufer, the 2009 Thoroughbred gelding (Teuflesberg x Belong To Me) owned by John. A Witte, held steady to their dressage score to end up in second on a score of 28.60, while the weeklong leader, Sara Kozumplik Murphy (USA) and Otta B Quality, Edith Rameika’s 2013 Dutch Warmblood gelding, dropped just one rail on course to land in third with a score of 29.20.

Halliday-Sharp and the 2013 Irish Sport Horse mare (Cyrano 145 x Chester Lass) owned in partnership with Cooley Farm have only been partnered since June of this year, she revealed, and found the win to be “a nice surprise” but one that only confirms the quality of the up-and-coming mount.

“It’s a mare that I’ve only had since June, and she only did her first preliminary in July,” Halliday-Sharp revealed. “She’s one of the trickiest horses I’ve ever had and one of the most talented, and I was absolutely thrilled with her this weekend. She definitely did the best dressage that she’s done, which has been our trickiest phase, and she was so perfect on cross-country and exceptional today. She’s very pleased with herself, and I’m really excited about her for the future. I think there is a lot more to come from her, and she’ll be a horse that everyone’s looking up to,” Halliday-Sharp predicted.

Echoing the remarks of her peers, Halliday-Sharp believes “this is an outstanding venue, and I’d say it’s one of the best in the world, undeniably. I can’t think of anywhere better. The efforts that everyone put in was truly Herculean to make everything run,” she continued. “I was the 78th horse out of the box on the 4* and actually, the ground wasn’t that bad. I felt like the ground continued to improve as the day went on, which is incredible.

“I’ve not actually ever experienced any event that put that much true grit and effort into making things run the best they could for the horses,” Halliday-Sharp concluded. “And in terms of the arena, it feels like you’re at a championship here, so I truly hope [this is a regular] event going forward; I cannot think of anywhere that could deliver it like Tryon did.”

BortuzzoTR20brinkman11-15s1EA-7794Elizabeth Bortuzzo and Belongs to Teufer. Photo by Alleyn Evans for Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Bortuzzo acknowledged that while cross-country felt “easy” for her horse, show jumping tends to be “quite an effort” and she was pleased to keep her dressage score the whole weekend through. “We had a consistently decent dressage test, and he was phenomenal out on cross-country. It felt easy, and I think we were going a bit too fast, but he was just traveling around and it felt great. For him, show jumping is quite an effort. I was very surprised but very happy about it. So overall, I couldn’t be happier about how we did across all three phases.”

Bortuzzo is a first-time competitor at TIEC and shared that she was originally uncertain about making the trip from Pittstown, NJ, but now plans to return if she’s able. “I haven’t ever been to the venue and it is quite gorgeous. I brought the horses on quite a few trail rides across the whole property, and it is lovely. For not being quite perfect condition-wise, the cross-country course was lovely, too. I had no intention of coming all the way down to North Carolina, but we are very glad we came!” Bortuzzo admitted.

“It was a little bit of a year full of ups and downs. But hopefully this horse will get going next year with some intermediates and a 2*-L at some point. But, we hope to be back here next fall. Hopefully we can pull off a great result again! We are very thankful for you guys for hosting such a lovely event, and even in these challenging times it all came off with any hitches,” she concluded.

kozumplikmurphySaraTR20brinkman11-15s1EA-7969Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Otta B Quality. Photo by Alleyn Evans for Shannon Brinkman Photography.

After a heartbreaking touch that dropped a rail, Murphy remained in third place with Otta B Quality and conceded that it was a great result for the gelding’s first FEI competition. “I was disappointed, obviously. He’s a very clean show jumper generally, and he just touched the middle of the triple, which wasn’t that big of a deal. It’s just how it goes. Coming into the competition I would have certainly been happy with third place, but it’s hard when you drop from first to third! That’s just how it goes. That’s why it’s three phases and you have to pull it out on every one of them.”

Most importantly, Murphy commented, was that her horse gained strength and experience from his time at the venue and will only come back next season a stronger, more powerful ride. “He tried very hard and it’s been a very big year for him. As he’s moving up the levels he’s getting a lot stronger. He’s trying very hard and will certainly come away from this event a much better horse. He’s going to go have a big holiday now! I’ll let him completely down and then bring him back up again. My goal is to be here next year in the three-star.”

Her three-star goals don’t mean that she will rush “Otter” in any way, Murphy added. “He doesn’t need to do a three-star in the spring, but I think he should just keep picking away and gaining experience [where he’s at now] while working all year to do the next level up [in the fall]. That should be the goal. This horse is a slow grower and needs time to make sure he’s strong enough. When they’re big and loose movers like he is, you have to be extra sure that they’re really strong.”

Murphy concluded, “I think he’s pretty special. I didn’t have exactly the weekend that I wanted, but my horses did well in every situation, and the venue did everything they could to pull this off. This wouldn’t have been possible without Tryon because there was nowhere else that could’ve done it. It’s nice for us to be able to get out and keep our sport going.”

MARS Tryon International: WebsiteFinal ScoresCoverage

CCI2*-L Final Top 10: 

Coverage of Tryon International this weekend is brought to you by Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE). Diversity and inclusion in all equestrian sports are important, and we’ll be bringing you tidbits on what this new organization hopes to accomplish.

Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS Cruise to Tryon International CCI3*-L Win

Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS. By Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS sailed to a win in the Tryon International 3-Day Event CCI3*-L Division, holding the lead all the way for a final score of 25.70 with the 2012 Holsteiner gelding (Chin Champ x Quinar) owned by Hyperion Stud LLC.. In second, Boyd Martin piloted Contessa, the 2009 Holsteiner mare (Contender x Esteban) owned by Club Contessa, to a score of 25.90, adding nothing to their score all weekend, while Leslie Law improved from fourth place third with Lady Chatterley, the 2011 Holsteiner mare (Connor 48 x Mytens XX) owned by Lesley Grant-Law and Jackie and Steve Brown, walking away with a score of 27.80. Ending on fourth after a tiebreaker with Law, Ariel Grald and Caballe, the 2012 Holsteiner mare (Cliostro x Lansing) owned by Anna Elridge, also ended on a score of 27.80.

Coleman was piloting Chin Tonic HS through his first 3*-L this weekend and noted that he was still quite fresh after cross-country yesterday: “The show jumping went well, and my horse jumped great. He was looking around a bit when the wind started blowing and things like the flowers and fillers were moving. He still felt pretty fresh after yesterday!”

Though they led from start to finish, Coleman was most excited about the educational experience his up-and-coming star gained by competing in a big environment, albeit sans spectators. “There’s always a tremendous atmosphere here at Tryon. They get a taste of what the big time will be like – and is like. I thought that the cross-country course was solid. It wasn’t overly difficult, yet it was still a great education for him,” he reported. “It was his first three-star long, and it was an almost nine-minute course. There’s no question that it was a huge experience for him and I think it’ll serve him very well going forward.”

Coleman concluded, “I’m thankful for this weekend and that we’re still able to compete during this time. I’m also very thankful to Hyperion Stud and Vicky Castregen and the whole team. I’ve got a wonderful group of people helping me. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am. I’m very lucky!”

Boyd Martin and Contessa. Photo by
Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Holding onto second for the entirety of the weekend with Contessa, Martin called the mare “just a fantastic jumper, who’s all class and quality. She’s full of energy after yesterday’s cross-country, and put in a great round of jumping.”

Though Martin has mostly been working with Contessa at home thus far, he reported that he has high hopes for his mount: “I think this weekend she not only performed well and got a great result, but she got a great education of things to come. The stadium feeling in the dressage and show jumping is definitely a lot of pressure and atmosphere, and the cross-country course is obviously a real test and sign of a horse for the future.”

Leslie Law and Lady Chatterley. Photo by
Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Rounding out the podium, Law and Lady Chatterley finished on their dressage score, which Law called a “very good test for her,” and ended up being a great learning experience for both his three-star mounts, he shared. “We’ve been quite fortunate that once the events got started again, we were able to put a program together and stick with it in the second half of the season.”

Like many of his peers, Law emphasized the dedication of the TIEC staff to making the event happen, both before the date and once the course was damaged just before the start of competition. “I think everybody that’s involved here at Tryon obviously have gone above and beyond, first to get it off the floor, and get it to happen. Probably the bigger challenge, though, was all the rain when we got here and all that had to be done. And that [credit] goes to the management here at Tryon and the staff. [Technical Delegate] Andy Bowles and [Course Designer] Mark Phillips… I think what they did was incredible,” Law continued. “They might not have been able to do it without the hands that are available here, but for Mark Phillips and Andy Bowles to put something together which looked impossible and pull it off, I think hats off to those two and everyone who supported and helped them.

“The ground on the day [of competition] was good ground,” Law continued. “We had to look after our horses for a little bit on that short stretch coming back across the road, but as long as you rode sensibly, it was good ground. Obviously, I’ve been doing this for quite some time now, and it is not long ago that we consistently were running in a lot worse ground than this, even at places like Badminton,” he noted.

Law concluded, “I’m really thankful to everyone who put this event on, and hopefully we see it here again and again; that would be a nice thing. It is a great venue, the facilities are fantastic, the rings are fantastic and the cross-country course is top class. Mark Phillips, I think, is like red wine, he just gets better and better. The courses were super, they really were.”

MARS Tryon International: WebsiteFinal ScoresCoverage

CCI3*-L Final Top 10: 

Coverage of Tryon International this weekend is brought to you by Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE). Diversity and inclusion in all equestrian sports are important, and we’ll be bringing you tidbits on what this new organization hopes to accomplish.

The Best of the Rest: Tryon International CCI4*-S, CCI 3*-L & CCI 2*-L Cross Country Recap

We recapped Tryon International 3-Day Event CCI4*-L cross country here (and you can review the play-by-play here); now, we look to USEF for a roundup of the best of the rest of the international divisions.

Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS. Photo by
Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS Coast to Continued CCI 3*-L Lead

Will Coleman (USA) and Chin Tonic HS cleared the White Oak Course to hold their CCI 3*-L lead, and he called Chin Tonic’s run “the best of the day for me” despite challenging his first 3*-L with the 2012 Holsteiner gelding (Chin Champ x Quinar) owned by Hyperion Stud LLC. The duo sits on a score of 25.70 heading into the final phase. The remainder of the podium also remains unchanged: with a score of 25.90, Boyd Martin (USA) and Contessa, the 2009 Holsteiner mare (Contender x Esteban) owned by Club Contessa, hold second, while third place currently rests with Jonathan Holling (USA) and Prophet, the 2012 Trakehner gelding (Tatendrang x Pennant) owned in partnership with Chuck McGrath, on a score of 26.90.

“This was his first 3*-L. He’s just an eight-year-old, but he’s a really magic horse. You know, the light was a bit funny [by the afternoon] – he came out of the box a little looky and he felt almost green, but he’s just so honest and got better and better as he went. I was thrilled with him; his conditioning felt great, and he really jumped the jumps all very easily.

“I thought the courses rode well,” Coleman continued. “The cross-country course here is not just about how the lines walk or how the jumps present themselves. The terrain itself is one of the biggest challenges – it’s all the little dips and nuances. Mark set a really nice track, but those little intricacies are really what make it kind of hard. I think that’s why the time is so hard to get, but my horses performed great, and I’m very lucky to have them. And, I have a great team behind me led by my wife.”

Coleman admitted that while he and his team are happy to have an Olympic qualifier to attend, he laughed that he “never want[s] to be eventing in November again! Obviously, it was amazing for Tryon to host this. There was really no opportunity otherwise [for qualification], so we’re all hugely appreciative of that. It’s just a very long year for the horses, and really difficult for a lot of us because with COVID, you never really knew where your target is.”

Coleman elaborated that he had originally aimed his horses to peak for Morven Park’s national championship and qualifier divisions, “so six weeks later with an event horse is a very big deal. So for me, I felt like my horses, and maybe my team in general, were all a bit weary by the time we got here and we’re just glad that hopefully we can finish the weekend strong and get the year behind us.”

Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Otta B Quality. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Otta B Quality Hold Guardian Horse Bedding CCI 2*-L Division Lead

Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Otta B Quality, the 2013 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Edith Rameika, maintained their hold on the Guardian Horse Bedding CCI 2*-L Division after their double-clear Cross-Country round, carrying forward their score of 25.20. Dani Sussman (USA) and Jos Bravio, the self-owned 2011 Argentinian Warmblood gelding (Jos Fapillon x Remonta Guinea), improved from fourth to second and sit on a score of 27.30 after a clear cross-country round, with third belonging to Tik Maynard and Galileo, the 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Richard Maynard, who added 2.00 penalties for time to hold a score of 28.10.

“The course rode super well,” Murphy shared. “The footing was really good, and they worked so hard on it. Otter went out at 8:20am, so I went out and walked [the course] as soon as it was light out, and I was really happy with the ground. I was curious as to how it was going to ride going down the hill and things like that, but it was all lovely,” she reported. “There was a good balance going down there. As I said yesterday, the course was really appropriate for the level. It was all exceptionally well built with good designing. You had all of the questions that you needed, but it was appropriate for the level, so it encouraged the young horses or younger riders with older horses.”

For Murphy, she knew in advance that her young jumper tends to have more hang time in the air, and chose to be cognisant of her time as much as possible on course. “ I knew I was going to have to go a little bit more on these courses that are a bit winding. He’s a good jumper so he has quite a bit of airtime, so I just wanted to make sure that we weren’t going to give points away because all of our dressage scores were so close. He cruised across the ground, and still had plenty of play left at the end. He’s very proud of himself!”

“Otter” has jumped up to 1.20m at the venue this summer, so the 1.15m height shouldn’t be a problem, Murphy shared, but she’s interested to see how he will take to jumping in the stadium following the cross-country phase:

“He’s a very nice quality horse and good show jumper, so I just need to make sure I ride properly. At the two-star level they jump 1.15m on the final day, and it’s always different after riding a horse it’s on cross-country versus the horse trials, where we do the show jumping before. Since he’s a young horse, we haven’t done it a lot, so we’ll have to play it by ear, but he’s fit, happy, and jogged really well just now,” she concluded. “I’ll still have to ride properly and not be silly!”

Jenny Caras and Trendy Fernhill. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Jenny Caras and Trendy Fernhill Keep Their CCI 4*-S Lead After Two Phases

Jenny Caras (USA) and Trendy Fernhill, the 2011 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ars Vivendi x Cruising) owned by Elyse Eisenberg, jumped clear to maintain their lead on a score of 27.00. Lillian Heard (USA) and CharmKing, the 2011 Holsteiner gelding (Cassito x Heraldik XX) owned by CharmKing LLC, still hold a score of 27.40 to keep second place, with Will Faudree (USA) and Caeleste, the 2007 Holsteiner mare (Contender x Lucky Lionell) owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables, sitting on a score of 30.60 for third. The division will contest cross-country beginning at 10:00am EST on Sunday to round out the weekend. While live streaming will be unavailable, live scores can be found at

Schedule Update:

Due to weather, CCI 4*-S and HT divisions will run cross-country on Sunday, November 15. Live streaming for Sunday will include all show jumping divisions in Tryon stadium. To learn more about the revised schedule, click here.

MARS Tryon International: WebsiteEntry StatusScheduleOrder of GoRide TimesLive ScoresLive StreamCoverage

CCI4*-S Top 10 After Show Jumping:

CCI3*-L Top 10 After Cross Country:

CCI2*-L Top 10 After Cross Country:


Coverage of Tryon International this weekend is brought to you by Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE). Diversity and inclusion in all equestrian sports are important, and we’ll be bringing you tidbits on what this new organization hopes to accomplish.