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The Event at Rebecca Farm Set to Host 2020 NAYC

Team gold for Area III/VII in the 2019 NAYC CCIY3*-S. Photo by Shelby Allen.

For the past three years, North America’s best and brightest young eventers have been covening in Kalispell, Montana, each July for the Adequan North American Youth Championships (NAYC). Today US Equestrian confirmed that NAYC will return to The Event at Rebecca Farm once again in 2020, with the competition scheduled to run from July 22-26.

“US Equestrian is thrilled that The Event at Rebecca Farm will once again host the NAYC,” said Bill Moroney, CEO of US Equestrian. “This fantastic event and venue, which is one of the only opportunities for our youth eventing athletes to emulate international team competition format, continues to be incredibly valuable for their future success at the highest levels of the sport. We thank the Broussard family and Rebecca Farm team for their continued commitment in ensuring the success of this event.”

The NAYC offers an elite opportunity for rising talent to build confidence in both a team and individual championship competition environment, while representing their country under international FEI rules. The competition format, which emulates that of senior championship competition, is essential in the continued development of athletes, while ensuring future success for US Equestrian’s Olympic programs.

“US Equestrian is thrilled that The Event at Rebecca Farm will once again host the NAYC. This fantastic event and venue, which is one of the only opportunities for our youth eventing athletes to emulate international team competition format, continues to be incredibly valuable for their future success at the highest levels of the sport,” said Bill Moroney, CEO of US Equestrian. “We thank the Broussard family and Rebecca Farm team for their continued commitment in ensuring the success of this event.”

In addition to the NAYC divisions, The Event at Rebecca Farm offers FEI competition at the CCI4*-L, CCI4*-S*, CCI3*-L, and CCI2*-L levels, as well as national competition at the Novice through the Intermediate levels. Athletes and spectators from across the country come to Rebecca Farm to experience the world-class competition.

“We’re excited to play host to the NAYC again this year and welcome combinations from around the country to Montana for our event,” said Sarah Broussard of Rebecca Farm. “It’s our continued mission at Rebecca Farm to provide valuable experience for the next generation of talented eventing athletes, which directly mirrors the goal and purpose of NAYC and its importance for the future success of our country’s eventing program.”

Stay up to date on the Adequan North American Youth Championships by following NAYC on Facebook and Twitter. Use #FEINAYC.

[The Event at Rebecca Farm Set to Host 2020 Adequan®­ North American Youth Championships]

Host Sites Announced for 2020/2021 USEF CCI4*-L & CCI3*-L National Championships

Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography courtesy of US Equestrian.

US Equestrian has announced the selected host venues for the 2020/2021 USEF CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L Eventing National Championships as the Ocala Jockey Club and Fair Hill International, respectively. The Ocala Jockey Club will add the USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship to their fall horse trials, hosted from November 11-15, 2020, while the USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship will remain at Fair Hill International and run alongside the new Maryland CCI5*-L from October 14-18, 2020.

Fair Hill International in Elkton, Md., hosted both the USEF CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L Eventing National Championships for 31 years. When the venue was awarded a new fall CCI5*-L for 2020 – which will become only the seventh CCI5*-L in the world – US Equestrian opened a two-year bidding process to seek hosts for the 2020/2021 USEF CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L Eventing National Championships. All U.S. venues that currently host a fall CCI3*-L and/or CCI4*-L were invited to submit bid applications to US Equestrian.

“It is a season of change for U.S. Eventing and that is certainly reflected in the selected venues for the 2020/2021 USEF CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L National Championships,” said Jenni Autry, USEF Managing Director of Eventing. “The Ocala Jockey Club has quickly become a staple venue on the U.S. eventing calendar, and we are confident their team will do a fantastic job in hosting the USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship in November. Fair Hill has a rich history of hosting national championships, so it is fitting for the USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship to remain at this iconic venue and run alongside the new CCI5*-L in October.”

The USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship, which presents the division’s top placing combination with the Guy V. Henry Memorial Trophy, will run alongside the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event in Reddick, Fla. The Ocala Jockey Club’s inaugural horse trials ran in 2016 with a CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L and CCI2*-L, and the venue successfully added the CCI4*-L level in 2018; the venue is one of only five to run a CCI4*-L in the U.S.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography courtesy of US Equestrian.

“It is an honor for any facility and event to be awarded to run any national championships. For the Ocala Jockey Club to be chosen to do so is a testament to the special land that the farm stands on, the horse-loving Ocala community, and the number of people who have worked to make this event become the prestigious venture that would qualify to host the CCI4*-L National Championship,” said Pavla Nygaard, Owner and President of the Ocala Jockey Club. “We are excited for this year’s event to continue to build on the first four years of the competition. We are excited for the Ocala Jockey Club to be recognized by the USEF and to be chosen to host the 2020/2021 USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championships.”

The USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championships will remain at Fair Hill International and run concurrently with the new CCI5*-L competition. The USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship will also include the USEF Young Riders National Championship for the John H. Fritz Trophy and the USEF Young Horse National Championship for the Jonathan R. Burton Trophy.

“On behalf of the Fair Hill Organizing Committee and our partner Fair Hill International, we are thrilled that the Maryland CCI5*-L at Fair Hill has been named by the USEF as the host event for the 2020/2021 USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championships,” said Jeff Newman, President and CEO of the Fair Hill Organizing Committee. “It’s truly an honor to be selected amongst so many other deserving events. Continuing with this designation along with the elevation of our CCI4*-L competition to the prestigious CCI5*-L level in 2020 validates our efforts towards showcasing the very best in our sport.”

[US Equestrian Announces Host Sites for 2020/2021 USEF CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L Eventing National Championships]

US Equestrian Launches New Online Safe Sport Resource Center for Members

Earlier this week, all USEF members received an email notifying them of the launch of a new online resource center regarding Safe Sport. Safe Sport has been at the forefront of discussion amongst equestrians since its implementation after it was authorized by Congress in 2018. We’d like to share this press release and urge everyone to click around the new website and get to know the resources available to you.

There is nothing more important to US Equestrian than the health and safety of our members, especially our young ones. We share this goal with our vast membership and are committed to working together to create a safe environment for all equestrians. This is what Safe Sport is all about and today, as we previewed at our Annual Meeting last week, we will be unveiling a revamped section of the US Equestrian website dedicated solely to Safe Sport. Our goal is to ensure everyone participating in our sport understands where and how to easily access these resources in order to ask questions, find answers and receive clarification. We hope these updates will highlight the information everyone needs to know in order to create environments that are supportive and safe, so all equestrians can flourish in sport and beyond.

The updated Safe Sport sections are separated by audience group, so everyone — trainers, horse owners, competitors, parents, organizers, licensed officials, and affiliates — can quickly find answers to any lingering questions and, most importantly, understand where to go if they need to make a report to the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

The revamped site features videos highlighting what you need to know about Safe Sport and the response and resolution process, common myths and misconceptions, as well as fact sheets and instructions on how to be in compliance with SafeSport policies.

As we prepare for an exciting year in equestrian sport, it’s important everyone takes a few minutes to explore these new and updated resources, while understanding the important role Safe Sport plays in our shared commitment to keep our members and our sport safe. Regardless of whether your involvement with equestrian sport brings you into everyday contact with young participants or not, everyone has a role to play, because protecting our children and members requires us all to be part of the solution.

[Visit the new Safe Sport Resource Center]

Safe Sport Panel at USEF Annual Meeting Provides Explanations, Addresses Misconceptions

The 2020 US Equestrian Annual Meeting is well underway in West Palm Beach, Florida, where it will continue through Saturday. We would like to share this report from yesterday’s panel discussion, Safe Sport – What’s New to Know, as it addressed many of the misconceptions that have proliferated about SafeSport procedures.  

The Safe Sport – What’s New to Know Panel at the 2020 US Equestrian Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Fla. Photo via US Equestrian.

Since its inception in 2017, the U.S. Center for SafeSport has received over 4,600 reports of alleged abuse in sport and the center continues to work diligently to provide resources and resolution for survivors of abuse across the 52 sports embodied by the Olympic movement and the United Stated Olympic and Paralympic Committee. There is a rough estimate that more than 18+ million people are involved in sports that fall under Safe Sport’s jurisdictional umbrella and that number only continues to increase over time, making the support, understanding, and education surrounding the U.S. Center for Safe Sport’s purpose and mission more important than ever.

The informational session and discussion included updates and explanation from Michael Henry, Chief Officer of Response & Resolution at the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and Sonja Keating, General Counsel for US Equestrian, as well as testimony and a first-hand account of the SafeSport process from survivor Hillary Ridland, while moderation of the panel was conducted by Sarah Hamilton, Managing Director of Kivvit, a top communications firm based in Chicago. If you missed this panel today, it is available on demand on USEF Network.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport has exclusive jurisdiction over reports of sexual misconduct within National Governing Bodies (NGB) who are part of the Olympic movement. Henry, who recently spoke at the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association Annual Meeting, discussed the misnomers and misconceptions commonly referenced and disseminated regarding SafeSport procedures, which are detrimental to the integrity of the overall reporting and investigative process, specifically addressing the concern surrounding anonymous reporting.

“We do take anonymous reports, but that does not mean action is taken exclusively based on an anonymous report, that would defy fundamental fairness. While we may receive anonymous reports, we go through a process called the preliminary inquiry process before any type of action is ever taken, which we use to identify who the report is about, who are the players, what has actually been alleged here,” commented Henry. “Sometimes that’s more descriptive and sometimes we have to do a bit more digging to uncover what that is. There are many cases that don’t even make it past the preliminary inquiry process because there is simply insufficient information to move forward.”

Hillary Ridland, a well-known rider and active member of the equestrian community, discussed her experience with the U.S. Center for SafeSport and the importance of the process. Initially hesitant to participate in the investigation, she was compelled to end the cycle of abuse after a claimant gave permission to the center to disclose details of the case to her directly. “I found the center to be very discrete and supportive. I was not interested in talking to them until I was made aware of the fact that this particular abuser had a long span of abuse that I was not aware of. When I realized that, it made it really important for me that nobody else go through that. The center kept asking me the questions diligently and I realized that our sport was going to go in the wrong direction if I didn’t speak up about this.”

Henry also discussed the process in which a respondent, or the individual in question, is included in an investigation. He explained that before disciplinary action is taken, “A respondent is always made aware of the allegations and who the allegation concerns, when, and where it happened, and is given a full opportunity to respond and participate throughout the investigative process. We often communicate multiple times, conduct multiple interviews, and have interactions with respondents, claimants, witnesses and their advisors and attorneys.”

To conclude the panel session, Sonja Keating, General Counsel for US Equestrian, urged members and attendees to do their own due diligence in understanding USEF’s Safe Sport policy and the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s Code, while also encouraging people to fact check before blindly believing information online.

“Don’t believe everything you read on social media and before you draw a conclusion based on what you see there, do a fact check. We’re always available to provide the facts about the policies and processes. Drawing opinions and conclusions based on what you see is dangerous because you are most likely going to walk away with misinformation,” said Keating.

Key Takeaways for Members:

  • Read the SafeSport Code and familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures of the movement. The U.S. Center for SafeSport’s Code and US Equestrians Safe Sport Policy are both available online and should be used as a resource to understand the definition of expectations for participation in sport, as well as the process the center employs during the response and resolution process. “Take the time to read the Code. The USEF Safe Sport Policy mirrors the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s Code in most respects. As it relates to the forms of misconduct that are prohibited and the definitions of those, it’s identical. I know it can be very dry, but it’s worth taking the time. This is a community effort and we need our community to be as knowledgeable as possible,” said Keating.
  • There is a misconception of secretive versus confidential. Confidentiality is incredibly important to the investigative process and will remain a key component of the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s procedure when collecting evidence in reports of sexual abuse in sport. “Confidentiality is important and necessary. It comes down to the fact that you shouldn’t have to out yourself publicly if you have been sexually abused, physically or emotionally abused within the context of sport, in order for that behavior to be addressed, particularly when that behavior poses a risk to the rest of the sporting community,” said Henry.
  • Temporary measures are enacted very rarely and used in a limited fashion – less than one half of one percent of all equestrian cases brought forward have been issued a temporary suspension. According to Henry, the number is misrepresented as greater than it is because there is more impact when temporary suspensions are issued. “We don’t perceive it that way because of the implications. When we issue a temporary suspension, allegations that are sufficiently severe – we’re not issuing temporary suspensions for sexual harassment, but for egregious sexual abuse in the worst of forms – it has to have a sufficient amount of evidence that makes it plausible that the allegations brought forward are true and present a risk to the rest of the community,” commented Henry.
  • There is a difference between the criminal justice system and the administrative process of the U.S. Center for SafeSport. “Within the administrative context, you’re afforded certain procedural rights because it is fair or because that’s what prescribed by policy. This is an administrative process. This is not a civil process or criminal process. The harshest sanction we can implement is that you cannot be a part of a community anymore, which is very similar to any other membership-based community. We know that is not to be taken lightly or belittled because participation within the Olympic movement is what people have spent decades of their lives building,” Henry explained.
  • False reports are a violation of the SafeSport Code and can/will be sanctioned. Henry commented, “We do not take action on reports unless we have met a certain level of sufficiency. A sufficiency of risk, a sufficiency of evidence, and a sufficiency of understanding who the parties are. When you think about weaponization, people are concerned that someone could make a claim against someone else and they would be immediately suspended. That isn’t possible. We don’t readily suspend people. We understand the implications of that and hold ourselves to a high standard. We want to get to the truth and that is why we utilize an exhaustive, reliable, and impartial investigative process.”

Bill Moroney, CEO of US Equestrian, concluded with remarks and encouraged members and attendees to join together in owning the responsibility of making equestrian sport a safe place for all participants.

“We should be the ambassadors for our community and the ambassadors for our sport. We need to tell people we have training, we have resources, we have education, we have reporting systems, and we are proud to have that. Parents should feel comfortable bringing their children to our sport, or husbands and wives and significant others. Come feel safe in our sport. We need to be promoting that our environment is safe, instead of buying into the process of tearing it down. It’s natural for people to have a fear of change, but read, understand, and ask your questions.

“We completely support the survivors coming forward. It takes a lot of fortitude and perseverance for somebody to come forward. It’s important that we support them, we embrace them, and it’s important that we believe them. We, as a community, have to change the way we have been operating for hundreds of years – we as a culture have to embrace this. This is the right thing to do and we need to make sure that everyone in our community is safe. We all share in the responsibility of doing that,” concluded Moroney.

US Equestrian Announces Updated Selection Structure for 2020 USEF Eventing 25 Program

Arielle Aharoni, shown here with Dutch Times, is among the 33 USEF Eventing 25 Program applicants invited to participate in assessment sessions in 2020. Photo by Jenni Autry.

US Equestrian is pleased to announce the list of athletes who have been named to participate in an assessment of their skills prior to the 2020 USEF Eventing 25 Program selection. The USEF 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 High Performance Pathway and Program.

The Eventing Performance Advisory Team (PAT) received and reviewed 55 applications for consideration for the 2020 USEF Eventing 25 Program. Thirty-three of the applicants will be invited to participate in USEF Eventing 25 Program Assessment Sessions with USEF Developing and Emerging Athlete Coach Leslie Law prior to the final program selection. It is anticipated that four assessment sessions will be held in January: two sessions in Ocala, Fla., one session in Aiken, S.C., and one session in California.

Participating athletes have achieved an MER at a CCI3*-L or have been talent spotted into the assessment sessions. Members of the PAT will be present at each session to further evaluate athletes and combinations alongside Law. Following the conclusion of the assessment sessions, the PAT will narrow the list of participating athletes, and a smaller group of identified athletes will be named to the 2020 USEF Eventing 25 Program.

“We received a strong pool of applications for the 2020 USEF Eventing 25 Program that identified an exciting group of athletes. We decided to do a slightly different selection for 2020 in that we’re going to look at a greater number of athletes at two-day assessment sessions in January,” explained Law. “This will give us the opportunity to evaluate the athletes in person prior to making the final selection. The 2020 program will focus on mentoring and helping these athletes go forward and progress up the pathway to achieve their ambitions of riding for the United States.”

The following athletes have been selected to participate in the USEF Eventing 25 Program Assessment Sessions:

Arielle Aharoni (Bedminster, N.J.)
Fylicia Barr (West Grove, Pa.)
Alexandra Baugh (Lexington, Ky.)
Woods Baughman (Lexington, Ky.)
Amanda Beale Clement (Phoenixville, Pa.)
Mia Braundel (Clayton, N.C.)
Jenny Caras (Cartersville, Ga.)
Sophie Click (Fall City, Wash.)
Charlotte Collier (Winchester, Va.)
Hallie Coon (Ocala, Fla.)
Kalli Core (Orange, Texas)
Zoe Crawford (Reddick, Fla.)
Cornelia Dorr (Manchester by the Sea, Mass.)
Mia Farley (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)
Savannah Fulton (Finskburg, Md.)
Alexa Gartenberg (Gladwyne, Penn.)
Cosby Green (Lexington, Ky.)
Mallory Hogan (Belvedere, Calif.)
Sophie Hulme (Portola Valley, Calif.)
Ryan Keefe (Sandy Spring, Md.)
William Kidwell* (Roswell, Ga.)
Emma Lomangino (Millbrook, N.Y.)
Ashlynn Meuchel (Anthony, Fla.)
Heather Morris (Lewisville, Texas)
Abigail Niles (Sherborn, Mass.)
Alyssa Phillips (Fort Worth, Texas)
Danielle Poulsen (Elkton, Md.)
Gabrielle Ruane (Ocala, Fla.)
Kaylawna Smith-Cook (Murrieta, Calif.)
Sydney Solomon (Dayton, Md.)
Francesca Spoltore (Columbia, Tenn.)
Megan Sykes (Midland, Texas)
Madison Temkin (Sebastopol, Calif.)

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

For more information on the USEF Eventing 25 Program, please contact Christina Vaughn, Director of Eventing Programs and Program Support, at [email protected]. To learn more about the Eventing Pathway Program, please contact Jenni Autry, Managing Director of Eventing, at [email protected].

[US Equestrian Announces Updated Selection Structure for 2020 USEF Eventing 25 Program]

US Equestrian Announces Updates to Training Lists for U.S. Eventing Pathway Program

Phillip Dutton and Z at Fair Hill International 2019. Photo by Abby Powell.

Hot off the presses! With the conclusion of major events for the 2019 season, US Equestrian has announced updates to the Elite, Pre-Elite and Development Training Lists with are part of U.S. Performance Director Erik Duvander’s U.S. Eventing Pathway Program. More information about the structure of the Pathway Program can be reviewed here.

“With just over eight months until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it is exciting to have many combinations that could up their game in the spring and show readiness to compete at the Olympic level,” Erik Duvander said. “Tokyo will possibly be one of the most demanding Olympic Games of our time with a new format, logistical challenges and maximal climate preparation needed for both horses and athletes, both prior to and during the event. Combinations must prove their mental, physical and technical skills, as well as their ability to work as a team during this upcoming season.”

“The increased number of combinations on the training lists shows the growing depth of talent within the country, which is critical as we look to build a strong program for the future. The key areas of focus for the High Performance program will be on competitive performance, horse health and the continued commitment to develop a culture of excellence. With limited resources spread over more combinations, we will be very disciplined in how we allocate grants and time to ensure the best possible impact on overall performance.”

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.

This list is updated from the previous one announced in August 2019.

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, Ann Jones, Caroline Moran, Suzanne Lacy, Simon Roosevelt and Tom Tierney’s 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding
  • Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Tsetserleg, Christine Turner’s 12-year-old Trakehner gelding

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):

  • Jennie Brannigan (West Grove, Pa.) and Stella Artois, Stella Artois Syndicate’s 11-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred mare
  • Will Coleman (Gordonsville, Va.) and Off The Record, Off The Record Syndicate’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding
  • Liz Halliday-Sharp (Ocala, Fla.) and Deniro Z, The Deniro Syndicate and Ocala Horse Properties’ 11-year-old KWPN gelding
  • Lauren Kieffer (The Plains, Va.) and Vermiculus, Jacqueline Mars’ 12-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding
  • Marilyn Little (Frederick, Md.) and RF Scandalous, Michael Manders, Phoebe Manders and Jacqueline Mars’ 14-year-old Oldenburg mare
  • Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Long Island T, Long Island T Syndicate’s 13-year-old Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding, as well as On Cue, Christine Turner’s 13-year-old English Sport Horse mare
  • Caroline Martin (Miami Beach, Fla.) and Islandwood Captain Jack, Caroline and Sherrie Martin’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding
  • Doug Payne (Aiken, S.C.) and Vandiver, Debi Crowley, Doug Payne and Jessica Payne’s 15-year-old Trakehner gelding
  • Tamie Smith (Murrieta, Calif.) and Mai Baum, Alex Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell’s 13-year-old German Sport Horse gelding
  • Erin Sylvester (Cochranville, Pa.) and Paddy The Caddy, Frank McEntee’s 12-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding
  • Lynn Symansky (Middleburg, Va.) and RF Cool Play, The Donner Syndicate LLC’s 11-year-old German Sport Horse gelding, as well as Under Suspection, Mary Ann Ghadban’s 15-year-old Holsteiner mare
  • Frankie Thieriot Stutes (Occidental, Calif.) and Chatwin, The Chatwin Group’s 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding

Development Training List

The Development Program 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.)
  • Katherine Coleman (New Orleans, La.)
  • Sydney Elliott (Bossier City, La.)
  • Jacob Fletcher (North Little Rock, Ark.)
  • Matt Flynn (Reddick, Fla.)
  • Ariel Grald (Vass, N.C.)
  • Allie Knowles (Lexington, Ky.)
  • Sara Mittleider (Kuna, Idaho)
  • Alex O’Neal (Reddick, Fla.)
  • Mike Pendleton (Waynesboro, Va.)
  • Caitlin Silliman (Cochranville, Pa.)

Applications for the Eventing 25 program are due Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. Program participants will be announced prior to the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, which will take place in Boston, Massachusetts on Dec. 11-15, 2019. Click here for full details on how to apply.

[US Equestrian Announces Updates to Training Lists for U.S. Eventing Pathway Program]

Nominations Open for 2019 ERA of NA Year End Awards

ERA of NA President Shannon Lilley with Elisa Wallace and members of The Simply Priceless Syndicate, winners of the 2018 As You Like It Owners Award. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The Eventing Riders Association of North America (ERA of NA) is now accepting nominations for the 2019 ERA of NA Year End Awards. These awards recognize individuals who have had an outstanding and profound effect on the sport of eventing. The nomination period for the Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award, As You Like It Owner’s Award, Seema Sonnad Above & Beyond Event Personnel Award and Amateur Impact Award will run through Dec. 6, 2019.

The Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award recognizes an outstanding groom who has had a large influence on their rider’s career and the health and well-being of the horses under their care. Nominees should epitomize the example set forth by Liz Cochran in setting the standard for a professional groom.

The As You Like It Owner’s Award is awarded to an outstanding owner who has had a large influence on a rider’s career. Additionally, nominees will also be recognized for having made an exceptional contribution to the sport of eventing.

The Seema Sonnad Above & Beyond Event Personnel Award is offered to an event organizer, secretary, volunteer or other staff members who throughout the year went “above and beyond.” Nominees will have carried out their work in a manner that notably improved the experience for those attending the event as competitors, owners, grooms, sponsors, or spectators.

The Amateur Impact Award recognizes an Adult Amateur that embodies dedication to the sport of eventing, outstanding sportsmanship and has made a direct impact on eventing in North America. The recipient of Amateur Impact Award is an individual that is highly respected by their peers, has demonstrated leadership within the sport and seeks to see eventing continue to grow and flourish.

Please send a detailed submission, including examples, regarding why an individual should receive an award to Helen Murray at [email protected] by Dec. 6, 2019.​​​​​​​

Additionally, the ERA of NA continues to fundraise to endow the Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award and those wishing to donate can send a check made out to the USEA Foundation with “Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award” noted in the memo line to ERA of NA, 129 Delmont Dr, Lexington, KY 40504. For those looking to contribute online a donation can be through the USEA Foundation Website and in the “Use my donation to support” dropdown menu select the “Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award.”

[Nominations Open for 2019 ERA of NA Year End Awards]

Ingrid Klimke Wins FEI Best Athlete Award at FEI Awards Gala in Moscow

The winners of the FEI Awards 2019, left to right: Ingrid Klimke  (Best Athlete), Uno Yxklinten (Solidarity Award), Madeleine Broek (Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award), Semmieke Rothenberger (Longines FEI Rising Star Award), Zuxian Li and Yaofeng Li (Against All Odds Award).

Double Olympic team gold medallist and five-time Olympian Ingrid Klimke was announced as winner of the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award at the FEI Awards Gala presented by Longines in Moscow tonight.

The glittering gala awards ceremony, which took place in the splendid surrounds of the Kremlin State Palace in the Russian capital, was attended by more than 400 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, National Federations, FEI partners and stakeholders.

Tonight’s award is the latest in a series of accolades for German Eventing legend Klimke, who was also nominated for the Best Athlete honour in 2015 and 2017. Klimke received the award from Peden Bloodstock’s Managing Director Martin Atock.

In September, the 51-year-old successfully defended her title at the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships on home turf in Luhmühlen with SAP Hale Bob OLD, becoming only the second person in European history to win back-to-back titles on the same horse. Klimke’s stunning performance in Luhmühlen also led Germany to team gold.

Klimke is the third German female to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award, following in the footsteps of six-time Dressage Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth in 2017 and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Jumping champion Simone Blum in 2018.

“I’m really proud that after Isabell Werth and Simone Blum, I’m now winning,” Klimke said. “It’s three women from Germany from three different disciplines. I’m very proud to be here and to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award.”

The evening saw Semmieke Rothenberger also flying the flag high for Germany when she took home this year’s Longines FEI Rising Star Award. The 20-year-old has won 22 FEI European Championship medals ranging from ponies category through to Young Riders.

“To win the Longines FEI Rising Star Award it’s really special for me as it sums up this year perfectly,” Rothenberger said. “What makes it really special is that my brother has won it before. So now we’ve got two people in this family who’ve won the Rising Star award. That just makes me very, very happy. My future goal, after following in the footsteps of my brother, is to compete in the Olympic Games. Now that’s a very big goal but it would be a nice thing to work towards.”

Rothenberger received her award from Longines Vice President of Marketing Matthieu Baumgartner. “This award celebrates youth, talent, determination and the stars of tomorrow,” Baumgartner said. “The work ethic and drive that you see in rising stars like Semmieke is closely aligned with our brand values and one of the main reasons why Longines supports this award. We are proud to be part of this journey in such a talented young athlete’s life.”

The Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award was presented to Madeleine Broek (NED) in recognition of her tireless efforts behind the scenes for Dutch Olympian and Jumping star Marc Houtzager. The award, presented by Cavalor’s Founder and Managing Director Peter Bollen, is given each year to grooms who work behind the scenes providing the best possible care for their equine athletes.

“It’s not really a job but a way of living and you get so much back from the horse, so that’s why it will never be a boring day or a boring week,” Broek said. “Winning the Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award means a lot to me because you feel really appreciated for everything you do. It’s a lot of work and I feel really appreciated.”

This year’s FEI Solidarity Award went to Uno Yxklinten (SWE), the Educational Leader of the first Farriers’ training programme in Zambia, set up with the aim of increasing the know-how of farriers in order to improve the well-being of horses in the African country.

Presented by Russian National Federation President Marina Sechina, the award is given each year to an equestrian development project or an individual or organisation that has demonstrated skill, dedication and energy in expanding equestrian sport. “Winning the FEI Solidarity Award 2019 is of course something big,” Yxklinten said. “I’m humbled and I’m so happy that we actually got this prize. It makes a difference in Zambia for many people.”

Taking the FEI Against All Odds Award was Zhenqiang Li (CHN) who started riding at the age of 27 and became a professional athlete just two years later. He was the first Chinese equestrian athlete to obtain the minimum eligibility requirements for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Sadly, in 2009, his horse Jumpy passed away from cancer leaving Zhenqiang without his beloved equine partner and in financial trouble. Zhenqiang recovered from those difficult times, setting up an equestrian centre in Guangzhou.

“I hope that other Chinese riders will now follow the title of this award, Against All Odds, to work together to overcome the challenges of developing Chinese equestrianism,” Li said. “Thank you to the FEI for supporting the sport in China and for all the people who voted for me at home and abroad. Your support and encouragement will inspire other Chinese riders to reach their goals.”

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez presented the award to Li’s children Yaofeng Li and Zuxian Li who were in the Russian capital on their father’s behalf. Zhenqiang Li competed with his son Yoafeng Li, a former Youth Olympic Games athlete, to earn China’s qualification earlier this year for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The FEI Against All Odds Award is for someone who has pursued their equestrian ambitions despite a physical handicap or extremely difficult personal circumstances.

“Each year we receive a high calibre of nominees for the FEI Awards,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “Our winners this evening are perfect examples of the excellence, commitment, dedication and courage that are required in equestrian sport.

“When my predecessor HRH Princess Haya introduced these awards 11 years ago, our hope was to celebrate not just sporting achievement but also the unsung champions of our sport. This evening’s winners have inspired everyone at tonight’s gala here in Moscow as well as a new generation of athletes who need heroes to emulate.”

For the second year running, Paralympic gold medalist Natasha Baker (GBR) and Dressage ace Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) took to the stage to emcee the Awards ceremony.  

The winners of the five awards were decided by combining 50% of a public vote and 50% of the judges’ vote for the final result. There were 130,000 online votes cast this year for the nominees.

[Multiple Olympian Klimke takes FEI Best Athlete award in Moscow]

USEA Foundation to Administer the MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program

MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program participant Ema Klugman finished 20th in the Ocala Jockey Club CCI2*-L with Bronte Beach and 3rd in CCI4*-L with Bendigo. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Big news following a successful weekend for young riders at the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-day Event: the new MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program will now be administered by the USEA Foundation. The program was first introduced at Bromont Three-day Event last June when nine riders under the age of 25 were awarded grants of $3,000 Canadian to assist with the expenses incurred in preparing for and competing in the Bromont CCI. A complete training program was devised to help the riders prepare themselves and their horses for the competition. An additional six riders were invited to participate in the training sessions and were given free entries to the event.

The program was then extended to include the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-day Event, which took place last week in Reddick, Florida. The following riders, who were awarded grants to assist with their preparation and competition expenses, produced some impressive results.

  • Nicole Aden & Truckee Bash – 14th, CCI4*-S
  • Arielle Aharoni & Dutch Times – RF XC, CCI4*-L
  • Charlotte Babbitt & 2 A.M. – 17th, CCI3*-L
  • Isabelle Bosley & Night Quality – 7th, CCI2*-L
  • Elizabeth Henry & Charlotte La Bouff – 22nd, CCI2*-L
  • Ema Klugman – 20th in CCI2*-L with Bronte Beach; 3rd in CCI4*-L with Bendigo
  • Barrett Phillips & Whole Nine Yards – 34th in CCI2*-L
  • Kaelen Speck & Sweet Rebellion – 5th, CCI4*-S
  • Nicholas Staples & WF Drousseau – 53rd, CCI2*-L
  • Samantha Tinney & Glenbrook Cooley – 28th, CCI2*-L

Arielle Aharoni and Dutch Times. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Chair of the USEA Foundation, Diane Pitts, said, “We are thrilled to welcome the MARS Bromont Rising program into the USEA Foundation family. Assisting our developing riders through education and opportunity are important goals of the USEA and the USEA Foundation and this program furthers those goals. We look forward to working with the organizers of this program.”

The riders were invited to a two-day training session at Mardanza Farms in Ocala, Florida, with top coaches providing instruction. Sessions include a Centerline Workshop with a review of the FEI dressage tests and hints on how to improve their scores through ringmanship. Sara and Brian Murphy not only lent their expertise in the dressage and show jumping sessions but also generously provided a welcome dinner with special guest Leslie Law as a speaker.

The second day’s session included test rides judged by Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride and an inside view of show jumping course design as presented by Chris Barnard. Max Corcoran followed this up with a detailed lesson on managing competition horses from the ground.

Of critical importance to the futures of these young riders is the ability to attract and retain owners and sponsors. Two of the sport’s most supportive owners, Steve Blauner and Jim Wildasin of the Event Owners Task Force, were on site to help explain this vital aspect of the sport.
Riders put into practice the tips taught in the lecture.

The training sessions wrapped up with a welcome party hosted by Fredericks Equestrian. Cross-country schooling opportunities were made available by Jon Holling.

The MARS Bromont Rising U25 award recipients then headed to the Ocala Jockey Club, where they will be treated to a celebrity course walk with none other than six-time Badminton winner and veteran of numerous Olympic and World Championships teams, Lucinda Green.

Mark Hart, trustee of the USEA Foundation, recognized those who had made the Bromont Rising program possible when he said: “This program was established by Steve Blauner, an event horse owner who saw the need to develop and support the next generation of Team riders. He has enthusiastically shared his vision with other Team horse owners such as Jacqueline Mars who is currently cosponsoring the program with Steve to get it firmly established. For this vision the USEA Foundation and the sport thanks them.”

The USEA Foundation is delighted to be involved with such an admirable and worthwhile program and thanks all those who have made this venture possible.

[USEA FOUNDATION TO ADMINISTER THE MARS BROMONT RISING U25 PROGRAM]

USEF Bans Use of Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (MPA) in Competing Horses

The USEF Board of Directors voted to prohibit the use of Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (MPA) in horses competing at licensed competitions. The prohibition goes into effect December 1, 2019; however, due to the length of time it takes for MPA to clear a horses’ system, sanctions for positive test results will go into effect June 1, 2020. MPA is now classified as a Category III substance, punishable with a penalty range starting at a three to six month suspension and a fine of $3,000 to $6,000 for a first offense.

Following reports of equine fatalities and anaphylaxis related to MPA use, the USEF’s MPA panel met October 22 and further analyzed MPA usage in competition horses. The panel reviewed a recent petition by veterinarians requesting that the USEF ban MPA – the petition was supported by documentation citing 23 MPA-related fatalities over the past three years, research on MPA’s efficacy, and results from the collection of MPA medication reports.

The panel determined MPA has no therapeutic use in competition horses, because it does not interrupt estrus in mares – its original intended purpose. MPA is not approved by the FDA for equine use and its use has been associated with several cases of anaphylaxis and fatality. With this analysis, the panel unanimously voted to recommend MPA be added to the USEF’s prohibited substances list.

Said USEF president Murray Kessler, “In 2017, we debated the use of this substance and its efficacy, but now, with numerous fatalities associated with the use of MPA, this decision became clear: MPA must be banned. I commend the Panel for confronting a difficult task that involved very strong opinions on both sides of the issue from our membership. The information clearly supports the prohibition of this substance and I am proud of the decision of the Board of Directors. USEF has a responsibility to ensure the welfare of our horses, and the loss of one horse resulting from the use of a non-therapeutic substance such as MPA is one too many.”

FEI Publishes Tokyo Horse Monitoring Research Project Findings

The FEI has published the full report of the horse monitoring research project conducted at the Ready Steady Tokyo test event in August, won by Olympic champion Michael Jung (GER) with fischerWild Wave. Photo by FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi.

The results of a major research study commissioned by the FEI, aimed at identifying best practices and management of horses training and competing in hot and humid environments, have been published today.

Conducted at the Ready Steady Tokyo Test Event in August 2019, and led by the FEI’s climate expert Dr David Marlin, the study monitored the combined effects of long travelling times and distances, time zone disruptions and heat and humidity on competing horses.

Horses were monitored before and during the test event, including how they adapted to the challenging climate in Tokyo. Central to the report is data collected on-course and post-competition, which allowed for detailed analysis of the cross country test.

The study findings show that horses generally coped extremely well with the conditions and remained in good health for the duration of the test event, held at the same time of year as the Games in 2020, despite the fact that conditions were thermally challenging, with Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer (WBGT) Index readings frequently in the region of 32-33°C. (The WBGT index is used to measure heat, humidity, solar radiation and wind factor.)

The report confirms that on cross country day (Aug. 13), the high WBGT Index, steep initial climb and sharp turns on the course produced a significant challenge for competing horses. Heart rates during cross country, and blood lactate, heart rate and rectal temperature after cross country, indicated that horses were working at close to maximal capacity.

A new heart rate monitor that also displays the ECG, plus infra-red thermal imaging to provide a rapid and accurate estimate of horses’ temperature were key pieces of technology used in data collection for the study.

The report highlights that “all possibilities must be explored to mitigate the effects of the likely climatic conditions, including reduction in distance appropriate for the conditions and bringing the cross country start time forward to avoid the highest WBGT conditions that would normally peak between late morning and mid-afternoon”.

Following discussions between the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG), the IOC and the FEI, consensus has been reached on advancing the cross country start time to either 07.30 or 08.00 on Aug. 2, 2020 as part of the heat countermeasures. A final decision on the move, which is fully supported by the findings in the Marlin report published today, will be made by the IOC Executive Board.

“We have worked very closely with TOCOG to put in place the best possible heat countermeasures for both our equine and human athletes for Tokyo 2020, and the findings in this important research study will play a crucial role in guiding final decisions on appropriate facilities and support,” FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström said. “The report will also be a valuable tool for athletes and National Federations as they prepare their horses in the build-up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Heat countermeasures that are already in place for horses include air conditioned stables at both equestrian venues (Bajikoen and Sea Forest), early morning and evening training and competition sessions under floodlights, constant and close monitoring by a world class veterinary team, and multiple cooling facilities including the provision of shade tents, cooling fans, ice and water, and mobile cooling units.

The FEI has been working on optimising equine performance in challenging climates with Dr Marlin since before the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. Dr Marlin has been working with the FEI for the past three years specifically on Tokyo, reviewing historical climate records, analysing data collected at the main venue at Bajikoen (EQP) and at the cross-country course at Sea Forest (SFC), and leading the test event research project.

The findings from the research project have been sent to TOCOG, the IOC, all National Olympic and Paralympic Committees with athletes competing in equestrian sport, and all National Federations affiliated to the FEI.

The full report is available here.

[FEI Publishes Tokyo Horse Monitoring Research Findings]

Record Entries Take Virginia Horse Trials to New Heights

Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) International is thrilled to welcome its highest ever number of entries at the autumn 2019 edition of the event taking place October 31-November 3. Over 580 entries have been received, which includes 53 current entries vying for the USEF CCI2*-L Eventing National Championship.

New for this event is the CCI1*-L, which is the Modified (3’5”) level run under international long format rules. VHT is currently the only event in the country to offer the CCI1*-L, which serves as an introduction to FEI competition at the Modified height. Even with this addition, Modified horse trials entry numbers are approaching 50 horses, an increase of 30% since the spring VHT International.

Happily, Starter numbers have more than doubled, with over 20 entries scheduled in this small but mighty level. VHT hosts three unrecognized starter trials throughout the year. It is a pleasure to see competitors from the unrecognized events also joining us at the recognized events.

“I want to thank everyone for choosing to come to Virginia Horse Trials,” said VHT Organizer Andy Bowles. “We are honored to have the two-star championships again, and it’s great to see people coming to try the one-star long.

“But just as important as the FEI divisions, we’re seeing horses and riders who enjoy our unrecognized shows at the lower levels stepping up to experience the atmosphere and challenge of a recognized environment. We will do our best to provide them with a positive experience so they continue to pursue recognized competition. In this way, we are thrilled to further the mission of the US Eventing Association to educate horses and riders and promote the sport of eventing.”

Back by popular demand is the Intercollegiate and Alumni Team Challenge. Whether currently in school, recently graduated, or graduated any number of years ago, riders are invited to don their school colors, chant fight songs, and enjoy a healthy dose of school rivalry. Teams may be made up of alumni only, current students only, or a mix of both. As of writing, 13 teams were registered to compete in the team challenge.

In addition to those levels already mentioned, VHT’s fall edition offers both a CCI3*-L and CCI3*-S, as well as a CCI2*-S, which was offered for the first time at the May event. National competitors have a broad choice of Beginner Novice through Advanced/Intermediate. Bowles, Carsten Meyer, and David Taylor will design the tracks on two separate cross-country courses, and Chris Barnard returns as the show jumping designer.

Prize money is once again on the table for the FEI competitors, as well as special awards for Best Conditioned horse and Best Turned Out rider, ribbons through tenth place, and additional gifts and prizes. The top three finishers of every national horse trials division receives discount coupons for future entries.

Given that the competition takes place on Halloween weekend, don’t be surprised to see a few characters working in the show office. We also invite all horse show dogs to don their favorite outfit and strut their stuff in a doggie costume contest prior to the complimentary Saturday night competitor party, where everyone is welcome for supper and socializing.

VHT: WebsiteOmnibusFacebookInstagram

Harry Meade and Superstition Sweep Strzegom CCI4*-L

Harry Meade and Superstition. Photo by Leszek Wójcik.

The winner of the CCI4*-L class, the feature class of the Strzegom October Festival, was Harry Meade with the 10-year-old Superstition.
The Brit took the lead after a clear round in the cross-country. Even one knockdown and a slight tardiness in the showjumping could not threaten his leading position.
Second place went to the four-time Olympic champion – Andrew Hoy (AUS) with Vassily de Lassos. The pair went clear in the cross-country and jumped up from the 10th to second position before the jumping. Maxime Livio (FRA) with Vegas des Boursons finished third.
The leader after dressage – Kylie Roddy (GBR) with Carden Earl Grey – was not as fast in the cross-country and the time penalties decided that she would finish as eighth.
The best Polish rider in the class was Małgorzata Korycka riding Canvalencia, as they finished at the 14th position.
Strzegom October Festival had record-breaking entries this year. Over 440 horses have galloped through the hippodrome in Morawa. During four days, the audiences had the chance to see riders from 28 countries, including, for the first time, Mexico and Turkey. Athletes competed in seven international and three national classes at various difficulty levels.

Andreas Dibowski and Butts Avedon. Photo by Mariusz Chmieliński.

The best rider of the CCI4*-S was Andreas Dibowski with the 16-year-old FRH Butts Avedon. A clear round in the show jumping gave him the lead in the class, despite having picked up time penalties on cross-country. Second place went to Nicolas Wettstein (ECU) with Meyer’s Happy, and third – to Lea Siegl (AUT) with Fighting Line.
The CCI3*-L podium was dominated by Germany. First place, after a clear cross-country, went to Ann-Catrin Bierlein riding Auf Geht’s Fraeulein Hummel. Calvin Böckmann with Altair de la Cense was second, and Nadine Marzahl with Victoria 108 were third.
For the first time in Strzegom, we had a rider from India as the winner of the CCI3*-S class. Fouaad Mirza and Dajara 4 took home the first place, beating Swedish athletes – Sandra Gustafsson with Kaminskij and Aminda Ingulfson with Hot Cup VH.
The CCI2*-L was divided into two sections. The best rider of section A was Jrina Giesswein (SUI) with Chester SP, and the winner of section B was Brandon Schäfer-Gehrau with Florentine. The CCI1*-Intro belonged to Hanna Jensen (GER) with EH Clara.
The CCIP2*-L class for ponies was dominated by German riders. The best of them was Jule Krueger riding Mas Que Dos.
The national one-star class win went to Miroslav Trunda (CZE) with Teqila Ruf. Jule Krueger (GER) with Hulingshofs Winchester was the best in CNC L. The best result of the CNC L18 class was of Julia Kałużyńska (POL) with Kalma. The easiest class of the show – CNC LL – went to Eliška Orctova (CZE) with Kirea.
Click here for results.

MARS Bromont Rising Program Grants Announced for OJC International Three-Day Event

The Ocala Jockey Club Arch. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The organizers of the MARS Bromont Rising Program have just announced the riders who have been selected to participate in a two-day training camp at Mardanza Farms and compete at the nearby Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event this fall.

  • Ema Klugman
  • Charlotte Babbitt
  • Isabelle Bosley
  • Kaelen Speck
  • Arielle Aharoni
  • Barrett Phillips
  • Samantha Tinney
  • Elizabeth Henry
  • Ryan Keefe
  • Nicole Aden

Alternates:

  • Maxine Preston
  • Nicholas Staples

All of the riders will participate in the training camp, which will be taught by Peter Gray, Sara Kozumplik Murphy, Brian Murphy and Max Corcoran. “We are absolutely thrilled with the level of interest in the program,” said Peter Gray, the international dressage judge who runs the program. “The quality of the applicants and their commitment to the sport is inspiring.”

The 10 participants will each receive $3,000 to cover their travel and competition expenses, while the alternates will receive $1,000 each. The opportunity to participate in the training sessions – priceless. “You simply can’t replicate the opportunity that these riders are getting through the MARS Bromont Rising Program,” said Peter.

The MARS Bromont Rising Program, which offers financial aid and training to eventers under the age of 25, debuted at the MARS Equestrian Bromont Three-Day Event in June. It was a huge success, with most of the participants posting personal best dressage scores at Bromont and one of the participants, Brooke Massie, winning the Bromont CCI4*-S in her first time at the level.

A huge shout out to Peter, Sara, Brian and Max. And special thanks to Sara and Brian for hosting the training camp at beautiful Mardanza Farms.

The Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event will take place November 14-17, 2019 in Reddick, Florida.

 

Time to Crown a Champion: Previewing the ERM Series Finale at Lignieres en Berry

Photo courtesy of ERM.

The 2019 Event Rider Masters series finale takes us to the heart of French eventing at Lignieres en Berry, where the door is wide open in the hunt for podium placings. And with over €100,000 on the line, nobody’s coming to play.

Nestled in the Berry province in the Center-Val de Loire region, in France’s most verdant countryside, Lignieres en Berry offers everything you’ve come to expect from the Event Riders Masters: a beautiful setting, a tough and influential cross-country course, and a host of familiar faces to battle it all out.

We’re on the final countdown to the biggest stage of them all. But the first phase of the competition? Making it through #ERMtheCut, in which our field of entrants is whittled down to the final selection. The result? Twenty-five of the biggest stars in the sport of eventing. Twenty-five riders, and 25 horses, who are ready to give everything they’ve got for a chance to get on the most coveted podium of the series. Here’s what to expect.

All three of our previous series champions come forward for the 2019 finale, as do 10 previous leg winners — but there are six riders in particular who stand to take the top honours in this year’s series.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

Current series leader Chris Burton will be hoping to romp to a win on Quality Purdey, the fast and feisty mare with whom he made a podium appearance at Arville. But the Fastest Man in the World can’t afford to leave any marks on the table – the home nation’s surprise hero, Gireg Le Coz, is just five points behind him in the series rankings, and with his top horse, Jardy winner Aisprit de la Loge, he’ll be a formidable force to be reckoned with.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

It’s never a two-horse race at the ERM finale, and this year is no different – just a solitary point behind Gireg sits Badminton and Luhmühlen winner Jonelle Price. After two top-ten finishes in ERM legs this season and a close second at Camphire’s CCI4*-L, Grovine de Reve comes forward ready to produce the goods. Can the relatively new partnership overtake the established combinations ahead of them? We recommend never underestimating the Kiwi phenom – though she be but little, she is fierce, indeed.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

Sarah Cohen and Treason are mainstays of the Event Rider Masters series , and they nabbed themselves second place on the 2017 podium – but with 63 points to their names this year, they’ll need to put everything on the line to go one better. They’re not the only long-time partnership hoping to make one final leap up the board, either – Alex Bragg and the evergreen Zagreb will be aiming to capitalise on the 50 points they’ve earned so far. A win here could turn the leaderboard as we know it on its head.

And let’s not forget the 2017 series champion: Gemma Tattersall might not be at the top of this year’s rankings, but with a very respectable 44 points under her belt, she and Jalapeno — a new partnership, but second in Bramham’s tough CCI4*-L this summer – could just surprise us.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

It’s not just a battle between the series podium candidates, though, and the series finale will be just as ferociously campaigned by its outliers. Michael Jung and Star Connection FRH took Wiesbaden – but can they take Lignieres, too? Or can 2016 champion Oliver Townend make the most of his brand new partnership with the ultra-talented Alcatraz? Or will World Number One Tim Price take the top prize, riding his Luhmühlen winner Ascona M?

Photo courtesy of ERM.

The Draw

Horse and rider combinations are seeded into three groups based on prior performance and dressage averages. Once they’re through the initial seeding process, our competitors’ numbers are randomly drawn by ERM presenter Nicole Brown who is joined by Emmanuel Legarde of the Lignieres organising team. The draw determines the order in which they’ll enter the ring — will they have the tough task of trying to impress the judges early on? Will they follow an Event Rider Masters champion? Or will they close out the day’s competition, leaving an impression on the scoreboard and the spectators, for better or for worse?

Saturday’s competition gets off to an exciting start with 2016 series champion Oliver Townend heading down the centreline as our pathfinder with new ride Alcatraz at 10.15 a.m. local time/9.15 a.m. BST. At 10.30 a.m., we’ll see our first home-nation rider of the day — and Jardy winners Gireg le Coz and Aisprit de la Loge have plenty to fight for. Gireg sits third on the series leaderboard, just five penalties from the top in his first year contesting the Event Rider Masters. Young rider Phoebe Locke wraps up the first session at 10.53 a.m. with Pica d’Or, at what has been a happy hunting ground for them — they scored a 24.9 at Lignieres CCI2*-S in their first international together last year.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

The competition gets ever hotter as we head into the second session of the day, commencing at 11.15 a.m. local/10.15 a.m. BST. The home side brings forward some of its fiercest competitors, with Maxime Livio leading the way aboard Api du Libaire.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

Tom Carlile, the two-time winner of the ERM’s Barbury leg, follows at 11.23 a.m. riding Atos Barbotiere, while Arnaud Boiteau concludes the session at 11.53 a.m. with Quoriano ENE HN. And between them all? Indomitable Kiwi Jonelle Price (11.30 a.m.), who sits in fourth place on the series rankings and will look to climb onto the podium with Grovine de Reve this week. Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto (11.38 a.m.) has swiftly become one of the most formidable competitors in the world – and with the former Astier Nicolas ride Vinci de la Vigne JRA, he hasn’t been out of the top six in an international this year. Watch them closely.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

The final session of the day, commencing at 12.15 p.m. local/11.15 a.m. BST, is where things really start to get interesting. Michael Jung and Star Connection FRH whet the palate as the first to go – and the previous winners of Wiesbaden and Jardy are expected to throw down the gauntlet with a mid-to-high 20s score. Though they’ll be hot in pursuit of a win in this leg, they can’t quite catch up with the series leaders – but Sarah Cohen and Treason, who follow them into the arena at 12.23 p.m., certainly can. In fifth place on the current rankings, Sarah sits just 10 points behind the leader.

And what a leader he is. You won’t want to miss the Australian sensation Chris Burton (12.45 p.m.), our 2018 Event Rider Masters champion, who leads the way for 2019. Riding Quality Purdey – his fast and ferociously clever dragon of a mare – he’ll be one of the hottest topics at this weekend’s competition. But if there’s one rider who can threaten his grasp on the Lignieres title, it’s fellow Antipodean Tim Price. Coming in strong at 12.53 p.m., the World Number One rides his Luhmühlen CCI5* winner Ascona M – and according to EquiRatings, this is the pair with the best chance of winning here.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

Our last combination of the day is a real crowd favourite – but will Alex Bragg and Zagreb deliver a mark in their usual upper 20s, or will they show off the precision and panache they had when posting their PB of 23.6 to win Jardy last year? In seventh place on the season rankings so far, Alex has a chance to step onto the biggest podium of them all – but he’ll need to risk it all to have it all. Don’t miss their test, at 13.00 p.m. local time/12.00 p.m. BST.

With the best riders in the world heading up a truly global 11-nation field, the competition is guaranteed to sizzle until its final seconds. Join us as we crown the 2019 Event Rider Masters series champion. Once more unto the breach, eventing fans. Are you ready?

ERM Series Finale at Lignieres en Berry: Website, Start Times, Course Walk, Live Scores, Live Stream

Eventing Legend Custom Made Passes Away at 34

David O’Connor and Custom Made. Photo courtesy of US Equestrian.Eventing Legend Custom Made Passes Away at 34

Custom Made, a legendary U.S. event horse, was laid to rest on October 2 at the age of 34. Custom Made, the 17.1-hand Irish Sport Horse gelding (Bassompierre x Purple Heather/Ben Purple), was foaled in Ireland in 1985 and was imported to the U.S. in 1995 by owner Joseph Zada of Xandarius, LLC, to be a mount for David O’Connor. In their first year of partnership, “Tailor” and O’Connor won the 1995 Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI3*.

The pair formed a strong partnership and continued to secure top results. In 1996, Custom Made and O’Connor finished third in the Badminton Horse Trials CCI4* and were named to the U.S. Eventing Team for the Atlanta Olympic Games, placing fifth individually. The following year, they won the Badminton Horse Trials CCI4*.

The 2000 Sydney Olympic Games were a career highlight for Custom Made and O’Connor. They clinched the eventing individual gold medal, the first eventing Olympic gold medal for the U.S. in 25 years.

Custom Made continued to find success in the years to come. In 2001, he and O’Connor finished third at the Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI3*. Custom Made closed out his career with by winning the 2002 Fair Hill International Three-Day Event CCI3*.

He was formally retired at the 2004 Kentucky Three-Day Event and was inducted into the United States Eventing Hall of Fame in 2009. He lived out this retirement at David and Karen O’Connor’s Stonehall Farm in The Plains, Va., and was the last member of the “Fab Four,” which also included the O’Connors’ top mounts Biko, Giltedge, and Prince Panache.

“Obviously he was the horse of a lifetime, but probably one of the greats of our time that I have ever been around, especially thinking about it in the classic format, which is where he did most of his career,” O’Connor said. “From an athlete’s point of view, he was the most powerful athlete that I have ever ridden. Then after that, it was 10 years of great retirement at Stonehall, originally with all four of those Olympic horses. He was the last one to go. He is gone now but will be with me forever.”

[Eventing Legend Custom Made Passes Away at 34]

US Equestrian Announces 2019 Land Rover Eventing Grant Recipients

US Equestrian has announced the recipients of the 2019 Land Rover/USEF Competition Grants for the remainder of the 2019 season.

The following athletes will receive funding for the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ The Netherlands hosted at the Military Boekelo CCIO4*-L in Enschede, the Netherlands from October 10-13:

  • Jennie Brannigan (West Grove, Pa.) and Stella Artois, the Stella Artois Syndicate’s 11-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred mare

Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois. Photo by Jenni Autry.

  • Matt Flynn (Reddick, Fla.) and Wizzerd, A. Patrick Flynn, Kathleen Flynn, and Merry Go Round Farm’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding

Matt Flynn and Wizzerd. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

  • Tamie Smith (Murrieta, Calif.) and Mai Baum, Alexandra Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn, and Eric Markell’s 13-year-old German Sport Horse gelding

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Jennie and Tamie will represent Team USA along with Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver, the Monster Partnership’s eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup. Matt and Wizzerd are named as the traveling team reserves. Caroline Martin and Danger Mouse, her and Sherrie Martin’s 11-year-old Warmblood gelding, are named as first alternates.

The competition also serves as a test event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The competition rules are based on the Tokyo 2020 competition format with teams of three plus one reserve. Full FEI Regulations for Equestrian Events at the Olympic Games are available here.

View more information about the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ the Netherlands.

[US Equestrian Announces 2019 Land Rover Eventing Grant Recipients]

Catching Up with Winners of the Inaugural Blue Ridge Mountain H.T.

By all accounts last weekend’s Blue Ridge Mountain H.T. at Tryon International Equestrian Center was a success, with 150 entries from Beginner Novice through Advanced contesting the inaugural event. In addition to the world class venue’s usual amenities — super footing, beautiful stabling, a big-time atmosphere — all the levels were invited to 2018 WEG cross country venue, the White Oak Course, which featured seven tracks designed by Captain Mark Phillips and built by ETB Equine Construction.

Earlier this week we shared a quick results recap; today we follow up with interviews with the winners of the Advanced, Intermediate and Prelim divisions.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

ADVANCED

In the Advanced, Doug Payne piloted Quantum Leap to the win on a final score of 40.6. Allison Springer and Sapphire Blue B, a 2010 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Heritage Fortunus x Lucy Blue) owned by Katie Lichten, finished second on 51.7, while Ema Klugman and Bendigo, a 2002 Trakehner gelding owned by Jeni Klugman, took third on 52.4.

Doug’s ride, Quantum, made his Advanced level debut earlier this year at Pine Top and has since tackled a handful of CCI4*-S events. “He is an eight-year-old and still greenish to the level for sure — he has probably five events under his belt at this point,” Payne said of the 2011 Zweibrucker gelding (Quite Capitol x Report to Sloopy), co-owned with his wife, Jessica Payne and Susan Drillock.

The pair was third after dressage on 28.6, then turned in a fault-free show jumping round and the fastest cross country round of the day. Doug picked up 12 time, but nobody got closer to beating the clock and it was enough to move them into the lead.

Of his cross country strategy, Doug explained, “I wasn’t looking to going crazy fast, but he’s a very efficient and good galloping horse, so he just covers the ground so well. I’m very, very lucky to have such a talented and willing horse to go with. He goes in a rubber snaffle, and you barely have to touch him.”

Doug commended the course design to accommodate multiple courses on one footprint. “Initially I was thinking [the course] might get real busy, but there is enough space here that it’s quite good,” Doug said. “The course was wonderful. I think the footing couldn’t have been any better. It was a good, flowing course, and I think the whole competition has been excellent.”

Allison Springer and Sapphire Blue B. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

After turning in a clear show jumping round with 0.4 time on Saturday night under the lights in Tryon Stadium, Allison and Sapphire Blue B were still leading on their dressage score of 27.7.  They picked up 23.6 time cross country to ultimately finish second.

“He is my student Katie Lichten’s horse,” Springer said. “We call him Steve in the barn — he’s a unicorn. He’s young, and was definitely spooky in there but he jumped great. He’s a talented young horse, and I feel really honored to be able to ride him for Katie.”

INTERMEDIATE

The cross country clock made all the difference in the Intermediate division as well, with Lucienne Elms and her own Mistralou posting the fastest round to move from 8th after dressage into the top spot on 46.4. Second place went to Annie Goodwin and Mettraise, owned by Jeanne Sylvester, on a score of 52.5, while John Michael Durr finishing just behind in third on 52.6 with Becky Brown’s Tilikum.

Lucienne Elms and Mistralou. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

“It was a fantastic course design; Mark Phillips is ever the master,” Lucienne said. “[The course] rode really well, there were plenty of questions, with all combinations rewarding to just keep a forward rhythm, too.”

Although Lucienne just started competing again after sustaining injuries in late 2018, her determination to be competitive hasn’t wavered. “I wanted a strong result,” she said. “Mistralou is not green, so I intended to set out for the time. He is a full-blood horse and always a pleasure to finish on [since] he just keeps galloping, so I was confident I would be competitive providing the time wasn’t easy to attain.”

Lucienne hopes to return Mistralou to 4*-L competition later this year and looks forward to returning to TIEC in 2020: “TIEC really is a world-class venue: the cross country venue has the best ground you could ask for, the show jumping gives great mileage to the horses prepping for an international run, as the main arena really creates an educational atmosphere for both horse and rider requiring the exposure, and the footing for dressage is immaculate with plenty of space to work in.”

Kimberly Steinbuch and PDQ Leigh. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

Kimberly Durr (née Steinbuch) and PDQ Leigh, owned by Jil Walton, led the pack Saturday after scoring a 29.3 to lead the dressage phase and producing a fault-free show jumping round. They dropped to 4th after collected 24.4 time faults cross country. “He’s very new to me — I’ve had him for just over two and a half weeks,” Kimmy admitted. “I’m very excited about him and looking forward to a very good partnership.”

Kimmy shared that the course set by course designer Chris Barnard was her first show jumping round “under the lights,” and only her second show jumping round with PDQ Leigh. “It was a little back-and-forth and a little discussionary, but he knows his job is just to leave all of the rails in the cups,” she said.

Kimmy is not used to riding a horse of PDQ Leigh’s size and said that it could be a challenging dynamic on cross country: “He’s definitely over 17 hands, so it’s very different for me to have a horse his size to try and ride around, but he’s pretty straightforward and he knows his job.”

Kimmy and her husband, John Michael Durr, operate out of Shelby, North Carolina, which allows them to compete at TIEC as often as they wish, she said. “We’re here two to three weeks a month, so we basically live here. We do all the jumpers and hunters here, and then we do eventing on the weekends. It’s nice to be centrally located.”

OPEN PRELIMINARY

John Michael Durr maintained his lead from the first day of competition in the Open Preliminary division to win it all, earning a final score of 29.1 aboard Casofino, owned by Madigan Murphy. Ema Klugman and Jeni Klugman’s Bronte Beach Z came in a close second after finishing with a final score of 30.0, while Doug Payne  and Stephen Blauner’s Baymax finished in third with a final score of 34.40.

John Michael Durr and Casofino. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

“The course rode really well,” John Michael said. “Mark [Phillips] did an amazing job; even though there were a lot of courses it felt like the horses were never confused about where they were going. It was really well done. There were several different tracks, and he nailed it.”

He explained that he has been working on giving Casofino “consistent miles and education” before turning the reins back over to his adult-amateur owner, who is also Durr’s student. “He’s a really exciting young horse. He just needed a little making up to win with his adult amateur,” he said. “This was the first time he had been in a ring like this under the lights. His heart was going a million miles a minute and he saw every kid rolling down the grass, but he focused on the jumps and did his job.”

John Michael Durr and Casofino. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

He concluded, “Every part of what Tryon does makes you feel special — it doesn’t matter whether you’re there for a national horse trials, a B-rated Hunter/Jumper show, or the 5* week. Tryon gives you that championship feeling all the time, so when my students do go to the championships or go to Young Riders or something like that, they don’t fall apart, because they’re used to being in a big atmosphere.”

Congrats to all the event’s winners!

Advanced A: Doug Payne and Quantum Leap (40.6)
Intermediate/Preliminary: Magdalena Valenti and Wish I Am (43.6)
Open Intermediate: Lucienne Elms and Mistralou (46.4)
Open Preliminary: John Michael Durr and Casofino (29.1)
Preliminary Rider: Maddie McElduff and Spring Easy (32.9)
Modified: Erin Kimmer and Jude (32.7)
Open Training: Tiffani Loudon-Meetze and Mini Cooper (29.5)
Preliminary/Training: Alison Smith and Irish Blend (51.2)
Training Rider: Karli Wright and Sorocaima (34.7)
Novice Rider: Karli Wright and Master Eli (18.3)
Open Novice: Jessica Schultz and FGF Peri Whan (23.1)
Beginner Novice Rider: Lynn Welles and Quiet Love (23.7)
Open Beginner Novice: Keileigh McMurray and Rapport (29.8)

For full results from the Blue Ridge Mountain Horse Trials at TIEC, click here.

Waredaca Classic Three-Day ‘Road to the Three-Day Challenge’ Returns for 2019

Photo courtesy of Waredaca.

The Waredaca Classic Three Day is fortunate be supported by a group of organizers in Area II who believe firmly in the importance of the Classic Format. Together with the Horse Park of New Jersey (HPNJ) Horse Trials, Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials, Surefire Horse Trials, and Morven Park Horse Trials, Waredaca is pleased to announce the 2019 Road to the Three Day Challenge.

The Waredaca Classic Three Day Event is a formative experience for young riders, amateurs and professionals alike, and back for 2019 as lead clinician will be Eric Smiley, International Eventing Competitor, Coach and FEI Official. Waredaca Classic competitors are treated to three days filled with instruction, insight and inspiration.

Photo courtesy of Waredaca.

The Road to the Three-Day is paved with preparation, and these five events offer an ideal path to success at the Waredaca Three Day:

Horse Park of New Jersey Horse Trials – July 26-28
Waredaca Horse Trials – Aug. 17-18
Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials – Sept. 7-8
Surefire Farm Horse Trials – Sept. 28-29
Morven Park Horse Trials – Oct. 4-6

To be eligible for the Challenge*, competitors must complete a minimum of two of the five events in addition to the Three Day. Points will be awarded according to placing with 1st place worth 10 points, 2nd worth eight (8), 3rd place seven (7), 4th place six (6), 5th place five (5) and 6th place four (4). Completion of an event that meets the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) will be awarded three points. Points for the Three Day will be doubled in value.

Winners will be awarded a cooler, generously donated by RideSafe, as well as free entry to all five participating events in 2020. A winner will be named at each of the levels offered at the Classic: Novice, Training and Preliminary.

Photo courtesy of Waredaca.

Photo courtesy of Waredaca.

Also scheduled for the week before … Lucinda Green doing what Lucinda does best!! On Sunday and Monday of Waredaca Classic Week AND the equally exceptional Max Corcoran will be doing a discussion regarding the Proper Care of the Three Day Horse at the Classic. That will be scheduled either Wednesday evening or Thursday—stay tuned for more details!

*The USEA has Classic Series qualifications for each level offered in the series. Completion of the Road to the Three Day Challenge does not, by default, qualify you for the Classic. Qualification requirements can be found on the Waredaca Classic Three Day website.

Photo courtesy of Waredaca.

That’s a Wrap for 2019 Land Rover Blair Castle International

Sunday saw the finale of international divisions at Land Rover Blair Castle. Here’s a recap of the CCI4*-L, CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, CCI2*-L results.

Emilie Chandler & Gortfadda Diamond. Photo by Julia Shearwood.

CCI4*-L: Emilie Has a Real Diamond

Emilie Chandler won her first ever CCI4*-L event here at Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials with Maria Doel’s Gortfadda Diamond, a horse who she believes has real 5* potential.

The pair had the luxury of three fences in hand over runners-up Rosa Onslow and Diamond Sundance going into the show jumping arena but they required none of this buffer, concluding their Blair campaign with a classy clear round, although like all competitors in this small class, they picked up time faults.

“I’m thrilled he jumped clear,” admitted Emily. “This win is really special as I think an awful lot of him and I’ve not been this close to a big win since finishing second in the U25 Championship at Bramham in 2002.”

Gortfadda Diamond was none the worse for wear after posting the fastest cross-country time on Saturday.

“He felt quite bright in the collecting ring,” said Emily, “and I was almost thinking I should have worked him harder. He’s just an amazing horse – he’s come on so much in the last year and I’m very proud of him.”

Scotland’s Rosa Onslow and Diamond Sundance added just .8 of a time penalty to their two-phase score to finish second, with Simon Grieve and Mr Fahrenheit III third.

Astier Nicolas and Babylon de Gamma. Photo by Douglas Lamont.

CCI4*-S: French rider Crowned Scottish Open Champion

Speed and accuracy across country handed French Olympic gold medallist Astier Nicolas victory in the CCI4*-S at the Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials.

Astier and the exciting grey eight-year-old Babylon De Gamma had dropped from second after dressage to fourth with a pole down in Saturday’s showjumping phase. But they were the fastest of the class round Land Rover Blair Castle’s director and cross-country course-designer Alec Lochore’s track, picking up just 5.6 time-faults, and when leader Daisy Berkeley was not quite so fast aboard Ballinteskin Cooper S, the 30-year-old Frenchman climbed to the top of the podium.

It was Astier’s second Land Rover Blair Castle victory in as many visits; he took the CCI4*-L here on Quickly Du Buguet in 2014.

“It feels very exotic to be Scottish Champion!” he said. “Babylon is a top horse – I’ve always said so, and he showed it again today. I didn’t rush him cross-country, but he was always going smoothly; he did it easily and recovered really well afterwards. He showed pure class.”

Sam Ecroyd finished second, 0.4 penalties behind Astier, on Vicki Irlam’s Davinci III, a new ride for him this season.

Equal second after dressage with the eventual winners, Sam and the 13-year-old gelding showjumped clear but were a little steadier across country for 10 time-faults.

“I don’t know him hugely well yet, but he improves every single time I ride him,”said Sam.

Daisy Berkeley was initially awarded 15 penalties for missing a flag at a skinny brush corner coming out of the Malcolm Lochan water complex, but those were taken away on appeal to the ground jury and she finished third on 10-year-old Ballinteskin Cooper S, who is owned by Daisy, her mother Caroline Dick, Roxana White and Mary Scott-Gall.

Local rider Wills Oakden, who is based in Perthshire, took fourth on Debbie Whalley and Liz Magennis’s nine-year-old Oughterard Cooley. A clear showjumping round and eight cross-country time-faults moved him up from ninth after dressage.

Wills, the highest-placed Scottish rider, said: “I’m delighted with him; he’s a cross-country machine, which is what Blair is all about.”

And Northumberland’s Jessica McKie achieved her best result to date with fifth place on her mother Tockie’s Ask The Boss.

Land Rover Blair Castle’s cross-country tracks, which utilise the varied and demanding terrain surrounding the castle, are never to be underestimated, and the CCI4*-S course caused a few problems. William Fox-Pitt, three times a winner here, was unseated in the later stages of the course from Yes I Can, seventh after dressage.

Eleanor Hope & Limestone Romeo. Photo by Julia Shearwood.

CCI3*-L: Eleanor’s Birthday Hopes Come True

Eleanor Hope celebrated her 20th birthday in fine style at Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials, winning the CCI3*-L class on Limestone Romeo.

Eleanor, a student at Reading University, was 13th after dressage with a mark of 36.1, but added nothing to that score to take her first senior international title.

“I’m very relieved – I didn’t expect it and it’s a very good birthday present,” said Eleanor. “The second and third riders both jumped clear and I knew I couldn’t even have a time-fault.”

Eleanor’s parents, Margaret and Simon, bought eight-year-old Limestone Romeo from the Goresbridge Going For Gold sale as a five-year-old, and Eleanor has produced him through the grades herself.

Victoria Wilson was second, just 0.6 of a penalty behind Eleanor, on Dont You Know. Victoria, 20, finished on her dressage score of 36.7 at her first long-format three-star event.

“I only came here for a qualifying score – I can’t believe it,” said Victoria. “He’s phenomenal – he’s the only horse I have to event, I did my first ever British Eventing competition on him; he’s taken me all this way and I hope we’ve got much further to go.”

Third was Ashley Harrison, who also completed on her dressage score (38) on Zebedee IX. It made up for quite a dramatic week for the 26-year-old: Ashley’s lorry broke down on the way up to Land Rover Blair Castle from her Hampshire home, she dropped her phone in the loo and Zebedee IX lost a shoe yesterday after the cross-country.

“But this makes up for it – it’s a brilliant event and I’ll definitely be back,” she said. “He made the cross-country feel as easy as it could be yesterday.”

Charlotte Parry-Ashcroft’s showjumping clear on Wil Jack B King meant she rose from seventh to fourth, while Emma Hobday and Shadow Copperwood finished fifth.

Hayden Hankey & Cartown Galaxy. Photo by Julia Shearwood.

CCI2*-L: A First Three Day Win for Hayden Hankey

Hayden Hankey scored his first ever international win in the CCI2*-L class at Land Rover Blair Castle. The Cheshire-based 39-year-old was foot-perfect in all three phases on the six-year-old Olympic Lux mare Cartown Galaxy and stayed on his dressage score of 30.6, rising from fourth after dressage to the top spot.

“It really is a great feeling – anyone can win a one-day event, but to win a three-day is very special,” said Hayden, who has made his mark in all aspects of horse sport, from showing to race-riding to eventing and showjumping.

“When you like a horse as much as I like her [Cartown Galaxy, whom he bought last year on a trip to Ireland to judge at Dublin Horse Show], you ride with so much more confidence.”

Scottish rider Morven Pringle, who is based in Moffat, was very emotional about her second place. The 24-year-old was riding Miss Contender, who was owned and ridden by Morven’s best friend Natasha Galpin, who was killed in a fall on the gallops in January.

“Natasha rode Miss Contender here last year,” said Morven, for whom it was a best international result so far. “She was brilliant in every phase – I’m so pleased with how she’s gone.”

The pair also completed on their dressage score, 31.8, to rise up from fifth after dressage in this 70-strong class.

Germany’s Josephine Schnaufer took third place on Viktor 107, while Aimee Penny was fourth on Gary Power’s PSH Deneb.

“She’s an angel – one of my favourites,” said Aimee, who works as first rider at Power Sport Horses in Wales.

Polly Stockton and Sir Alfred II, who led after dressage and cross-country, tipped one showjump and dropped to sixth place behind Hayden Hankey and his second ride, DHI Homana. Hayden was also ninth on Fools In Love.

This report has been adapted from a press release.

Land Rover Blair Castle Horse Trials: WebsiteResultsCross Country Course PreviewsTwitterFacebookInstagram

Competition Heats Up on Day Three of Land Rover Blair Castle International

Emilie Chandler and Gortfadda Diamond. Photo courtesy of Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials.

The action continued on Saturday at Land Rover Blair Castle Horse Trials in Perthshire, Scotland. Here’s your recap!

A Class Apart: Emilie Chandler Retains Lead in CCI4*-L

Emilie Chandler proved a class apart across country in the CCI4*-L at Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials, and has a sizable lead going into the final show jumping phase.

Leicestershire-based Emilie was much the fastest of the class, adding just 3.2 time-faults to her dressage score of 31.8 on Maria Doel’s 10-year-old Gortfadda Diamond. She has 13.1 penalties in hand over second-placed Rosa Onslow and Diamond Sundance.

“I’m thrilled – he gave me a fantastic ride,” said Emilie. “He never really tired and kept galloping for me. I think he’s real class – an out-and-out event horse who’s good in all three phases.

“It was a good cross country course: very fair, and I like the way this year the course made sure they had got their blood up before they went uphill.”

Rosa, 20, recently represented Britain at the Young Rider European Eventing Championships in The Netherlands on 13-year-old Diamond Sundance. This is their first CCI4*-L competition, and they were clear across country with 11.2 time-faults. Simon Grieve and Mr Fahrenheit III are in third place after collecting 13.2 time penalties.

Daisy Berkeley & Ballinteskin Cooper S. Photo by Iain Campbell.

Daisy Rides Her Luck in the CCI4*-S

Daisy Berkeley has held on to her lead in the CCI4*-S after showjumping with a clear round on Ballinteskin Cooper S. The 10-year-old threw Daisy up into the air over fence three and it wasn’t the smoothest round they have jumped together, but they never looked in danger of touching a pole and remain on their dressage score of 30.4.

“I nearly fell off over fence three – both my knees came off the saddle and my hat tipped forward over my eyes,” admitted Daisy, who has won several team medals for Britain at major championships in the past. “But he has so much scope and wasn’t ever going to touch a fence. Now I am going to have to go fast across country tomorrow!”

Sam Ecroyd also showjumped clear on Davinci III and is in second place, just 0.1 of a penalty behind Daisy. Third is Perthshire’s Wills Oakden, whose clear round on Oughterard Cooley means he stays on his dressage mark of 34.2 and climbs up from ninth place after the first phase.

There were just seven showjumping clear rounds in Land Rover Blair Castle’s large, atmospheric arena. France’s Astier Nicolas, who was in joint second place with Sam after dressage, tipped the second part of the double and is now in fourth place with Babylon De Gamma, while Northumberland rider Jessica McKie’s clear on Ask The Boss means she is in fifth place.

The CCI4*-S competitors tackle course-designer Alec Lochore’s cross-country track at 10.30am on Sunday morning, and the showjumping phase of the three long-format international classes follows on from that.

Eleanor Hope & Limestone Romeo. Photo by Iain Campbell.

Hope Springs in the CCI3*-L

Tomorrow (Sunday, 25 August), could be a very big day for Eleanor Hope. It’s her 20th birthday – and she heads the CCI3*-L going into showjumping.

Eleanor, who has travelled up to Land Rover Blair Castle from Aylesbury, was 13th after dressage on eight-year-old Limestone Romeo with 36.1, but a clear cross-country round within the time has propelled her up to first.

“He was point and shoot today,” said Eleanor, a student at Reading University. “His dressage is improving, but he just loves to jump. He’s a good showjumper – I’m not so good. Hopefully he will help me out tomorrow.”

Cross-country speed was significant in this class. Victoria Wilson, now second on Don’t You Know, just 0.6 penalties behind Eleanor, and Ashley Harrison (Zebedee IX), third, shot up from 14th and 15th places after dressage. French duo Astier Nicolas and Lumberton, leaders going into cross-country, had a run-out at the brush corner coming out of the water.

Polly Stockton and Sir Alfred II. Photo by Iain Campbell.

No Margin for Error in the CCI2*-L

Polly Stockton, who already has two international wins at Land Rover Blair Castle to her credit, is in pole position in the CCI2*-L with Sir Alfred II. She shared second position after dressage with Germany’s Josephine Schnaufer (Ronaldo IV) on 30.5; both riders went clear across country with no time-faults, but Polly was closer to the optimum time so officially took the lead.

Josephine, who is also in fifth place on seven-year-old Viktor 107, said: “I bought Ronaldo IV from the Czech Republic as a seven-year-old. He wasn’t at all easy at the beginning but is getting better and better – he’s a real pleasure to ride now.

“I thought it was a technical, tough CCI2*-L track when I walked it, but it was really fun to ride. The questions were clear to the horses.”

This is Josephine’s third visit to Land Rover Blair Castle, and she said: “It is one of the nicest events, and really good preparation for horses for the future.”

Hayden Hankey and the six-year-old mare Cartown Galaxy are just 0.1 penalties behind Polly and Josephine in third place.

“I bought her last summer when I went over to Ireland to judge hunters at Dublin Show,” said Hankey. “She’s one of the best I’ve ridden – straight, fast and brave.”

Rose Macpherson & HHS Canya. Photo by Douglas Lamont.

Equine ‘Allsorts’ Impress on Day Two of the Grassroots Championships

Rose Macpherson and HHS Canya retained their overnight lead in the BE100 Scottish Grassroots Championship after they posted one of only seven clear rounds in this morning’s show jumping phase, which again took  place in Land Rover Blair Castle International’s imposing main arena.

The seven-year-old has the pedigree for the job, being by Shane Breen’s Nations Cup ride Can Ya Makan. However, Rose admitted that the mare can be very sharp and, while genuine, likes to have a good look at anything that she doesn’t feel looks ‘quite right’.

“This was the biggest arena she’s been in and it was certainly a real eyeful for her,” Rose said.

The pair heads into tomorrow’s cross-country phase on a score of 25.3, a full five penalties ahead of closest rivals, Crieff-based Eilidh Macaulay with Rockcon. Reckcon is another mare with impressive show jumping lines – she is by William Funnell’s long time partner Billy Congo and out of Billy Rockaway, herself by Cevin Z.

A clear round from Emma Buchanan and Blaze ensured they retained the third place they had held after dressage on 30.5.

The rest of the leader board was shuffled quite considerably but the competition is far from over. There are just over 10 penalties between the top 15 going into the cross-country and the track will inevitably play a big part in the final standings.

“I think it’s a strong track,” said Rose Macpherson. “There are several technical questions and I think the water will be influential as a lot of the horses at this level just won’t have seen the number of spectators that those fences attract.”

Fourteen year old Cameron Swales from East Lothian and Machno Showtime rose from equal fourth after dressage to the top of the leader board in the BE90 Championship, taking full advantage of those who were above them rolling poles.

The pair goes into cross-country on a combined score of 29.8, the same as second placed Gillian Edward riding Benny Station. However, Cameron and Showtime have the advantage courtesy of a faster show jumping round.

“I’m really pleased with him,” said Gillian after her round. “he found the arena very atmospheric yesterday and backed off a bit today – show jumping isn’t our strongest phase so I couldn’t be happier.”

Dressage leaders Leona Blacklaws and Shannondale Enya dropped to third after they lowered the final fence and now sit just .5 of a penalty ahead of fourth placed Rachael Aiton and Splash Of Fun on 30.5.

Proving that event horses can come from all backgrounds, 5th placed Ruby Red II, ridden by Cumbrian-based Claire Light, is an ex-trekking pony who only began eventing when Claire offered to do some rehab work with her for owner Deborah Hogg after the mare broke a leg.

“I persuaded Deborah to let me do some BE80(T) classes with her,” said Claire, “and she’s amazed us ever since. She gets so excited but we’ll have to go flat out tomorrow to get the time – she’s 100% cob but doesn’t seem to know it!”

The final cross-country phase for the BE90 section starts tomorrow at approximately 12.30, followed by the BE100.

Amy Ogilvie & L.A Diamond. Photo by Alasdair Lamont.

Grassroots Riders Rise to the Challenge

Competitors in the Scottish Grassroots Eventing Festival at Land Rover Blair Castle International performed their dressage tests in the main arena today, either side of the CCI4* short format riders. Hunter class winner from yesterday, Amy Ogilvie riding L.A Diamond, admitted: “It was pretty scary to be riding alongside William Fox-Pitt – fortunately ‘Erin’ behaved herself.”

West Lothian based Amy only started eventing in May, and this is L.A Diamond’s third ever event, having qualified for the Championships first time out, at Hopetoun.

Leading the BE90 class is 21-year-old Leona Blacklaws from Kincardineshire. Leona recently graduated from Glasgow University and is taking a year out to ride. Her partner is the seven-year-old mare Shannondale Enya.

“I’ve had her for two years, but it took a year to really get up and running and build her confidence,” Leona explained. “She can be spooky but was settled today so I was pleased with her test.

“I’ve done showjumping classes at Blair before but it’s been on my ‘bucket list’ to event here. I loved riding in the main arena!”

Sitting on a dressage score of 26.5, Leona has a narrow lead over second placed Rhyian Skinner who rode Watt The Fox to a mark of 28.0, while Amanda Waugh on Fan Daby Angus is still very much in the mix on 28.5.

Meanwhile the BE100 Championship is headed by last year’s BE100 Champion Rose Macpherson, this year riding HHS Canya. This combination has not been out of the top eight this season, and today posted a score of 25.3. Rose’s nearest rival is Lara Bayley Kerr riding Far N Away on 26.0, with Keeley Gordon (Thunder VII) and Emma Buchanan (Blaze) tied for third place on 26.5.

The Scottish Grassroots Championships showjumping starts tomorrow at 8.30am. They run across country on Sunday.

Rosie Findlater & Ffermyllong Spice Girl. Photo by Iain Campbell.

Young and Old Shine at Blair: Day Two Showing

It was another busy day of showing today with the NPS Scotland Finals and Silver Medal Championships taking place across three arenas. Some familiar faces from yesterday’s classes found themselves in the ribbons again, with prize winners, equine and human, ranging from yearlings to octogenarians. We caught up with a handful of the winners.

It was a Dumfries 1-2 in the Mountain and Moorland Senior Championships with Gillian McMurray’s Highland pony Trailtrow Tearlach adding to yesterday’s prize haul when he was crowned Champion. Richard Telford and Castle Neptune were Reserve Champions.

Both Gillian and Richard featured in several other prize givings throughout the day. Gillian and Trailtrow Tearlach were also crowned Senior and Overall NPS Scotland/Townhead Pet n Pony In Hand Mountain and Moorland Champions. Richard produced the six-year-old Connemara Castle Neptune and the six year old has enjoyed success in his five shows to date under the saddle.

Owned by Winsome Aird and bred by Henry O’Toole, Castle Neptune was only gelded in March:

“I’m so pleased with him,” said Richard. “He kept his balance really well but he still needs to strengthen up. He’ll go to HOYS and then have the winter off.”

He had to settle for the bridesmaids position again in the Mountain and Moorland Open Ridden Final, this time riding the eye-catching Highland gelding Jack The Lad Of Ednam House into Reserve Champion status behind winners Joanna Jack and Margaret Of Meggernie, another combination on Championship winning form yesterday:

“It’s amazing, I’m going to retire now,” joked Jo. “I’m just an amateur really.”

Eastlands Stud owner John Staveley belied his 85 years as he ran around the arenas, taking the NPS/Kilmannan Stud In Hand Silver Medal Rosette Championship with Eastlands Rashiebrae.

At the other end of the age spectrum six year old Rosie Findlater and her eight year old grey mare Ffermyllong Spice Girl, aka Molly, won both the Mountain and Moorland lead rein and overall led rein and first ridden championship.

Molly was Rosie’s Christmas present last year and, amazingly, the eight-year-old was only backed in April, having enjoyed a former career as a companion on a showjumping yard.

Juliet Rogers’ 12hh Exmoor stallion Barhill Danny was victorious in Mountain and Moorland Working Hunter Pony not exceeding 12hh and was then subsequently crowned overall champion under Gail Whetter:

“I bred Danny out of my Riding Club mare,” explained Juliet. “He was her first foal. He’s had some kind of virus for the last four weeks and hasn’t been ridden so this was his first outing for a while and he was very pleased to be out and about.”

This report has been adapted from a press release.

Land Rover Blair Castle Horse Trials: WebsiteScheduleRide TimesLive ScoresCross Country Course PreviewsTwitterFacebookInstagram

Lucy Jackson Takes Millstreet ERM Win + U.S. Contingent Report

Lucy Jackson and Superstition. Photo courtesy of Event Rider Masters.

Lots of action afoot at Millstreet International Horse Trials! Let’s get down to it, shall we?

Event Rider Masters CCI4*-S

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, creating a ferocious, fast-paced fight for the finish. But there was no stopping the Kiwi, who climbed from outside the podium to take her first-ever Event Rider Masters win.

“I’ve never been on the top spot of a podium, and I can’t tell you how good it feels – it’s absolutely fantastic,” said a celebrating Lucy Jackson, who made her first podium appearance when finishing third at the ERM opening leg at Chatsworth with Superstition this spring.

Lucy’s exceptional 26.4 dressage had put her into equal fourth place overnight and a clear round this morning bumped her up into third – but it was a lightning-fast clear round across the country that allowed her to take the win, aided by the withdrawal of two-phase leader Oliver Townend.

Photo courtesy of Event Rider Masters.

Though she didn’t deliver one of the three clear rounds inside the time, Lucy added a tiny two seconds to the 6:05 optimum time, allowing her to take the win by a 0.3 penalty margin.

“It’s huge pressure having a point-to-point rider as an other half,” she said with a laugh. “The whole way around I was thinking, ‘don’t be slow – don’t be slow!’ I’m not known for being fast, but the little horse is a superstar. There’ll be a lot of drinking in the pub this afternoon!”

Sam Watson and Imperial Sky. Photo courtesy of Event Rider Masters.

The enormous influence of the tight time allowed Sam Watson and Imperial Sky to take second place for the home nation. They delivered a 27.5 first-phase mark and were one of only two combinations to finish on their dressage score, catapulting them from seventh place to the podium after Sam romped home exactly on the optimum time.

“I’m happy because I didn’t leave anything behind out there, and the horse didn’t either – so I was beaten, I didn’t lose [the win],” he said. “It’s great to be here, on home soil and with an Irish crowd and everything.”

But Sam, who juggles running a busy yard with spearheading equestrian statistics company EquiRatings, was quick to pass the baton to wife Hannah, better known as Sparks. Formerly Pippa Funnell’s competition groom, Sparks now accompanies Sam and his horses around the world, providing top-notch care, impeccable turnout, and an inimitable sunniness to the Watson team effort.

“There’s one person, and she’s about half a mile away right now, looking after the horse – Sparks is amazing. She leaves tonight to go to the European Championships and she doesn’t get to see our kids; she’s on the road for ten days,” he explained, smiling through his tears. “She just loves the horses, and they always come first – except when we’re home, then it’s kids and horses. She’s incredible – so thank you so much to her.”

Alex Bragg and Zagreb. Photo courtesy of Event Rider Masters.

Alex Bragg and Zagreb raced away from a tough week as the only other combination to finish on their dressage score to climb from ninth to third. They were only the second combination of the day to make the time, after a masterclass from Chris Burton – ostensibly the fastest man in the world – saw him sail home comfortably within the optimum cross-country time.

“I’m thrilled to bits to be on the podium,” said Alex with a broad smile. “I have a smiley face on today! I keep saying that [Zagreb] is a good horse, and this doesn’t come as a surprise to me at all. He’s so consistent, he has the heart of a lion, and he just keeps on giving – as long as I do my job, this is where he should always be.”

Ireland’s Sarah Ennis slipped from the leading spot after showjumping down to fourth place after she and Horseware Stellor Rebound added 2.8 time penalties across the country. Normally exceptionally fast, the pair added an extra stride in the water complex – and Millstreet’s tough, quick track didn’t allow any room to catch up on the clock. But for Sarah, who piloted the experienced gelding as part of Ireland’s silver medal-winning team at the World Equestrian Games last year, it’s a promising return to competition with her long-term partner.

With just one leg left in the Event Rider Masters series, the race for the 2019 title has reached fever pitch. With leader Jonelle Price sitting the Millstreet leg out, second-placed Bill Levett and third-placed Chris Burton were both in the hunt for valuable points – and with Bill finishing fourteenth with Shannondale Titan and Burto finishing eighth with Graf Liberty, they both got them. To be precise, they each picked up enough series points that they both now sit on a tally of 73 – just six points ahead of Jonelle and five ahead of Gireg le Coz, and with no margin for error as we look ahead to Lignieres. The stage has been set for an epic showdown in France.

Click here to view final results, and click here to view the rankings following Leg 5.

The final leg of the 2019 Event Rider Masters Series takes us to France’s Ligniére en Berry, where romantic villages and fairytale woodlands abut the stage for our finale showdown. It’ll take guts to find glory – but only one rider can become our 2019 champion. Who will take the top spot – and the big payout? There’s only one way to find out. Stay turned for the 2019 series final on Oct. 5-6.

A Great Day for the U.S. Contingent 

Our sole U.S. combination in the ERM class, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night, scored a 29.4 to sit 13th after dressage and turned in a clear show jumping round to move up to 11th, but withdrew before the final cross country phase.

Liz finished two horses in the top 10 in the CCI4*-S division: Cooley Quicksilver was 7th on a final score of 43.1, and Burghley-bound Deniro Z was 10th on 44.4. A busy lady, she was also 20th with Carpe Diem IV  heading into cross country he was her highest placed mount, sitting second, but picked up 24 time faults.

The CCI4*-S was also contested by Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan, who finished 18th on a final score of 50.6. The pair scored a 34.6 in dressage, then turned in a clear show jumping round followed by a cross country performance with 16 time faults. Wishing them the best of luck heading into Burghley!

In the CCI4*-L, Caroline Martin and Islandwood Captain Jack are in 5th and Will Faudree and Pfun sit 7th heading into the final show jumping phase tomorrow. Caroline added 0.4 cross country time faults to their dressage score of 37.5; Will and Pfun scored a 38.8 in dressage and a clear cross country round with no time boosted them from 20th right into the top 10 mix.

Willbury Wonderpony caught a ride with Sam Watson. Photo courtesy of Millstreet International Horse Trials.

The Best of the Rest

The Noel C. Duggan Engineering CCI4*L sees British rider Harry Meade lie 1st and 2nd and Irish rider Michael McNally is in 3rd.  The trot up takes place early on Sunday morning.

Ludwig Svennerstal (SWE) made his first trip to Millstreet a winning one by taking the Donagh Hickey Motors CCI 2* L.  Darcy Zander (GBR) took second place while Daniel Alderson (GBR) was 3rd and 6th.

Mrs. Chamberlain collected the prizes on behalf of Oliver as owner and breeder of Dreamliner. Dreamliner’s full brother runs in the 3* tomorrow and his sister completed the guinea pig test earlier in the week when a splint prevented them running in the competition proper.

The Connollys RED MILLS CCI4*-S concluded with another Millstreet win for Izzy Taylor (GBR) on Fonbherna Lancer. Oliver Townend (GBR) was 2nd. Regular Millstreet competitor Bubby Upton (GBR) continued her purple patch here and was 3rd on Fernhill Rockstar.  “Rocky” will retire after the competition today so it was a great end to his glittering career.  A tearful Bubby said that he had done everything she had asked of him and would now enjoy a slightly easier life.

Course designer Mike Etherington-Smith commented, “It has been a great event, the weather turned good just in time at the end of the week.  Competitors rose to the occasion, it has been fantastic to see so many lovely horses and the ERM was a great addition. The course team coped brilliantly with the conditions and it was some team effort to pull the event off.  Well done and thank you as  everyone has had to improvise as we have gone along due to the weather. It has been great to see how the competitors understood the challenges and bore with us when we were making changes.”

We are very sorry to report a horse fatality in on CCI4*-S cross country: Amazing, a 15-year-old Westphalian mare owned by Caroline Harris and ridden by Flora Harris of Great Britain, was euthanized following at catastrophic injury at fence 16C. The pair, which has had several good results at the level, had jumped clear to this point on the course; the rider was uninjured in the incident. We extend our condolences to Flora, Caroline and the horse’s connections. 

This report has been adapted from a press release.

Millstreet ERM CCI4*-S Final Top 10: 

Millstreet CCI4*-L Top 10 After Cross Country:

Millstreet CCI4*-S Final Top 10: 

Millstreet International Horse Trials: WebsiteRide TimesLive ScoresEvent Rider MastersERM Live StreamNon-ERM Live Stream

Twin Rivers Appoints Hugh Lochore as New Cross Country Course Designer

Photo by Marcus Greene Photography.

Twin Rivers Ranch is excited to welcome Hugh Lochore as their new cross country course designer for the Intermediate through CCI4* levels, beginning immediately with their September International event. This will be the first time FEI divisions will be included in the Fall Horse Trials in several years as the organizing committee expanded the program following record entries at their April FEI event.

“We are very excited to welcome Hugh to our team at Twin Rivers. We look forward to having some new eyes on the property to get a fresh crack at the courses,” Twin Rivers organizer Connie Baxter said. “This fall will allow Hugh to get used to the property and the flow of the show, in order to really put forward a new vision for 2020.”

Lochore is excited to bring his experience to Twin Rivers in Paso Robles, CA. Having designed all over the United States, and the world, he has an amazing eye for developing courses which incorporate the natural terrain of a property, creating a positive flow for both horses and riders. Lochore is visiting the venue and is excited to continue to work with Tommy Nenneman and his team of course builders, at Twin Rivers to get a feel for the courses and elements at the venue.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to design courses at Twin Rivers and work with the Baxter family. I have been a fan of this venue for quite a long time, and I look forward to the opportunity of utilizing some of the wonderful elements already present while adding my own touch to the courses at this prominent West Coast venue,” Lochore added.

This fall, competition at the family-owned and operated ranch located in the heart of the Paso Robles wine country will begin Thursday, September 19th with the West Coast Future Event Horse Championship. Jeff and Connie Baxter, owners of Twin Rivers Ranch, have hosted eventing competitions since 2004 and with more record-breaking numbers predicted, they are excited to welcome competitors to the first fall FEI event that Twin Rivers has hosted in several years.

In addition to the exciting competition spectators can enjoy in person, Twin Rivers will also be bringing back the live stream for the FEI divisions after an overwhelmingly positive response at the April event. Sponsorship packages are available with 30-second commercial opportunities on the live stream. For more information contact [email protected] Viewership was extremely high during the April event and Twin Rivers is looking forward to providing the same high-quality coverage in September.

Twin Rivers Ranch appreciates the generosity of the following sponsors: APF, Estrella Equine Hospital, Ice Horse, Professional’s Choice, Riding Warehouse, and Whirlwind Excavating.

For the full schedule and results, as well as to learn more, please visit the Twin Rivers Ranch website.

[Twin Rivers Appoints Hugh Lochore as New Cross Country Course Designer]