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USEF Competitions Update: Wildfires and Air Quality Impacting the West Coast

Photo by DevonWood.

The 2020 competition year continues to challenge everyone in the equestrian community. Now, the impacts initially caused by the pandemic are being amplified on the West Coast due to the tragic wildfires affecting the states of California, Oregon and Washington. In light of these devastating wildfires, concerns over air quality are ever-present since both humans and equines can be equally impacted.

USEF believes the decision by organizers to operate, suspend, or cancel competitions due to compromised air quality is best made by each individual organizer, because venue conditions can vary and can change rapidly depending upon weather, geography, and other factors. In order to make the most informed decision, competition organizers must consult with state and local health authorities and government agencies and should frequently review the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines involving air quality at AirNow.gov to determine whether or not to operate their events. Additionally, to best protect the health and safety of both equine and human competitors, the USEF strongly recommends that, in situations where the Air Quality Index (AQI) reaches 151 or above, an organizer consider suspending or cancelling competition. In cases of cancellation, organizers must inform competitors about refund or credit policies.

Similarly, members must conduct their own risk assessment with regard to air quality based on the situation in their area and determine whether to compete. Certainly, anyone with underlying medical conditions should individually consider not competing in situations where the AQI is in the orange zone of 101 to 150. Many resources exist to monitor the air quality including AirNow.gov, a website formed in a collaborative effort by several national agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Weather Service, the CDC, and many others. AirNow.gov reports air quality using the official, color-coded U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI).

[USEF Competitions Update: Wildfires and Air Quality Impacting the West Coast]

Will Coleman Claims Intermediate A + More Top Results from Blue Mountain Ridge H.T.

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

In the Open Intermediate A Division, Will Coleman (Charlottesville, VA) continued his winning streak by clinching first place overall aboard Chin Tonic HS, owned by Hyperion Stud, LLC, after placing first in all three phases with a final score of 37.20. Lucienne Elms (Campobello, SC) and her own Mistralou rose from thirteenth place to secure second with a final score of 33.80. In third place, Bobby Meyerhoff (Statesville, NC) and Lumumba, whom he owns with The Donovan Group, finished with 41.40.

“The Cross-Country course was great!” Coleman reported of the Captain Mark Phillips track. “I had a really nice go. [Chin Tonic HS] is still a little bit green, but he handled it well. I was really pleased with how he ran. He’s growing up and I’m excited about his future. Mark built a really great track, with plenty of good questions.”

Lucienne Elms and Mistralou. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

It was Coleman and Chin Tonic HS all the way this weekend, and while he acknowledged that a win felt nice, he’s got his eyes on the future ahead:

“It’s always nice to go home with a win, but more importantly, all of the horses behaved well and they’re happy about their job. In Chin Tonic’s case, he came out of it with a really good taste in his mouth.”

Bobby Meyerhoff and Lumumba. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Like many top-level competitors competing at the Blue Ridge Mountain Horse Trials presented by EquiSafe Global, Coleman will be returning in November for international competition at TIEC with a recent positive experience coming with him. “Hopefully we’ll just keep moving him up. It’s a long race and we’re nowhere near the finish line so to speak, but he keeps going in the right direction and we’re happy about that. I’m pleased for the horse and pleased for his owners. Hyperion Stud has been a great supporter of ours,” he concluded.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Maryville Sir Henry. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (Lexington, KY) and Maryville Sir Henry were untouchable all weekend in the Open Repliminary A Division, ending on a score of 28.50 after a clear Cross-Country run on the Captain Mark Phillips course design. Dominic Schramm (Cochranville, PA) and Quadrocana, the Quadrocana Syndicate-owned 2013 German Sport Horse mare (Quadrofino x Ituango XX), climbed to second by ending up on a score of 30.00 after all three phases, while Nilson da Silva (Aiken, SC) and Giana, the 2008 Oldenburg mare (Gatsby x Exetera) owned by Cindy Burke, improved their sixth place score to finish on 32.90 in third.

Halliday-Sharp and her own 2013 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Sir Shutterfly x Cavalier Royale) were up for the challenge on course, and he was “outstanding,” Halliday-Sharp reported. “I was really happy with him. I thought it rode really well, and all the courses were up to height this weekend, which was good. Mark [Phillips] always designs them that way, which I think is very good.

Dominic Schramm and Quadrocana. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

“I think this was, and particularly Intermediate, too, was one of the stronger tracks I’ve ridden for a long time. It was a bit stronger than we’ve seen since COVID in a few divisions, and that’s not a bad thing because maybe we need a kick in the [pants], and it’s given us a preview for what it’s going to be like in November.” Halliday-Sharp elaborated that the White Oak Cross-Country Course, also utilized at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, grabs rider attention even between fences. “It’s always quite intense here, because even when you’re not jumping you have so much undulation and different ground, so it always rides intense, and that side of it makes things more challenging sometimes.”

Nilson da Silva and Giana. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Halliday-Sharp will be bouncing back and forth between several competitions between now and the Tryon International Three Day-Event in November, but will have prepared her horses for the challenge by getting them to the venue in September, she concluded:

“I’m pretty busy between now and November. It’s insane, but we’re just trying to break up the rides so we don’t take ten horses to every event. It’s just better, especially when the upper level horses are running. The [Blue Ridge Mountain Horse Trials presented by EquiSafe Global] is a great event, and we love coming to this venue. It’s just so good for the horses to be in the big arena and experience all the atmosphere. It was an educational weekend for all!”

Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Shanoe Cooley. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (Lexington, KY) maintained first place across all three phrases in the Open Training A Division on Cooley Farm’s Shanoe Cooley, earning a final score of 25.90. John Michael Durr (Shelby, NC) and Chantal Megchelenbrink’s No Matter What bumped up from third in phase one to second overall with a score of 26.80. Kimberly Keeton (Watkinsville, GA) and Amarula rounded out the podium with third place with a total score of 26.90.

Mary Carol Harsch and Theodore alCoda. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

In the Open Beginner Novice Division, Mary Carol Harsch (Chatt Hills, GA) took first place with her own Theodore alCoda with a three-day tally of 29.50. Morgan Batton (Aiken, SC) and Charmin, owned by Mickey Hayden, secured second place with a final score of 30.30. Third place went to Erin Flynn Mobley (Mansfield, GA) and Lauren Duhamel’s Fate’s Fine Magic with an overall score of 31.00.

To follow along with all our Blue Ridge Mountain H.T. coverage, click here.

Blue Ridge Mountain H.T. at TIEC: WebsiteEntriesRide TimesLive ScoringLive StreamingWhite Oak Course XC Maps

Centered Riding Instructor Diversity Scholarship Offered for 2021

Founded by the late Sally Swift, the principles of Centered Riding approach are founded on imagery, horse and rider biomechanics, and elements from the martial arts using functional anatomy, imagery, horse and rider biomechanics, and elements from the martial arts as tools to improve the balance and effectiveness of the rider. Some would say she was ahead of her time.

Image via Centered Riding.

Centered Riding® Inc. is proud to announce the launch of a Centered Riding Instructor Diversity Scholarship for 2021, sponsored by Susan E. Harris, a Senior Centered Riding Level IV Clinician, and Secretary of the CR Board of Trustees.

The goal of the Centered Riding Diversity Scholarship is to create more robust opportunities for riding instructors who are Black, Indigenous and/or Persons of Color to train and certify as Centered Riding Instructors. These groups of people are significantly under-represented in equestrian sport and in the horse industry.

“The new Centered Riding Diversity Scholarship truly reflects the values of Centered Riding founder Sally Swift, who passed away in 2009. Sally was a visionary who practiced inclusion and embraced diversity in all aspects of her life and work,” said Peggy Brown, President of the Centered Riding Board of Trustees, and a Centered Riding Level IV Clinician. “In the 1980s, during Centered Riding’s early growth and development, Sally selected two Black women, Saundra Code Cabell and Ruth Labbe, to be her apprentices, and thus join the first cadre of qualified CR Instructors.”

The Centered Riding Diversity Scholarship will provide up to $1,500 to cover the instructor’s clinic fees for the initial qualifying two- or three-day Open Centered Riding Clinic and for the seven-day Centered Riding Instructor Certification Course. In 2021, the Centered Riding Instructor Diversity Scholarship will be awarded to a U.S.-based riding instructor who is Black, Indigenous and/or a Person of Color. The riding instructor may be a practitioner in any equestrian discipline.

“I am very pleased to be the sponsor of the 2021 Centered Riding Diversity Scholarship – the first-ever of its kind,” said Susan Harris, who has sponsored the Scholarship. “People who are Black, Indigenous and/or Persons of Color have long been under-represented in the equestrian world. I hope this scholarship will help empower them to advance in education and training, professional development and recognition in the horse industry, and to teach others.

“My hope, too, is that the Centered Riding Diversity Scholarship will continue in future years, beyond 2021, and that it will be available in other countries, as well as in the United States,” Harris added.

To apply for the Centered Riding 2021 Diversity Scholarship, individuals must meet requirements for the Centered Riding Instructor Course in the United States, and for the Scholarship, as follows:

  • be at least 18 years old;
  • be from North America;
  • be Black, Indigenous and/or a Person of Color;
  • be a safe, experienced riding instructor (in any equestrian discipline);
  • be able to ride a horse at the walk, trot and canter in a group; and
  • read and accept the terms of the Centered Riding Instructor Course.
  • Preference will be given to candidates who will use their Centered Riding training and qualifications to introduce to horses and equestrian sport riders who are Black, Indigenous and/or Persons of Color, and/or to support such riders in advancing in equestrian sport and in the horse industry.

Interested persons may download the 2021 CR Diversity Scholarship information package and application form here.

Applicants may send their completed applications to:

Centered Riding Instructor Diversity Scholarship
c/o Centered Riding Inc.
One Regency Drive
PO Box 30=
Bloomfield, CT 06002

The Centered Riding Office must receive Scholarship applications no later than November 1, 2020. The Scholarship recipient will be notified during the first week of January 2021.

Anyone who wishes to support the Centered Riding Instructor Diversity Scholarship Fund may make a donation via the Centered Riding website or by contacting the Centered Riding Office at [email protected]. Centered Riding Inc. is a 501 c-3 non-profit organization; donations are tax deductible in the U.S.A.

Meet the Cooley Horses Available at the Unique A.D. Auction

One featured Cooley horse in the Alex Delazer Auction this weekend: Cooley Rules. Photo courtesy of The A.D. Auction.

The Alex Delazer Auction is coming up September 11-14, and its unique virtual format will bring quality event horses right to buyers’ living rooms. One familiar name you may spot in the auction catalog is Cooley Farm, a world-renowned excellence for Irish event horses. The Alex Delazer Auction will present seven horses in the ‘Celtic Collection’.

Cooley Farm is set on a paradise of over 200 acres, adjoining three and half thousand acres of natural forest on the island of Ireland. “It all started over ten years ago when we saw a niche in the market for top class Irish event horses and started selling to the International market. We specialize in finding, producing and selling young talents”, explained Georgina Philips, co-founder of Cooley Farm, along with her husband Richard Sheane. Cooley Horses are can be seen winning at all levels of eventing across the World with the pinnacle being Oliver Townend, World No 1, winning Kentucky CCI5* two years in row.

Lion d’Angers is always an important event for Cooley Farm and while many medals have been won by Cooley horses, last year saw Cooley Lancer and Piggy French take the gold medal. “We love the Irish Sport Horse and we believe when crossed correctly with direct warmblood sires, they can breed the ultimate event horse. We love to see Cruising on the Dam side and in terms of Sires Ramiro B, Livello, Vittorio and Colandro are some of our firm favorites. We breed a small number here, but we also work with a large number of breeders here in Ireland who work tirelessly to keep top genetics.”

Sheane and Philips are known for their honesty, integrity and insatiable desire to grow and improve. Sheane spends a lot of time on the road looking for the best horses. He goes everywhere and buys everywhere, even in the most remote corners of Ireland, but at the core of his business one thing is never missing: quality.

“Our secret recipe to success? Always look for the best!” Richard Sheane tells us smiling. “We buy good horses and sell good horses. We always try to buy the best that the market offers.”

For the Celtic Collection, which will characterize the first edition of The Alex Delazer Auction and is also the first international auction that includes eventers, Cooley Farm have selected some top-quality horses.

“The world is changing and COVID-19 has only accelerated that change. Here at Cooley Farm, we like to keep up with the times and we have seen a great opportunity to do so in The Alex Delazer Auction. We are proud of all the horses we present at the auction, but for sure Countess Cooley (ISH, 2015, by Ramiro B), a full sister to Cooley Earl, who we bred and produced here at Cooley Farm, holds a special place in our hearts.”

This top-quality bay mare was placed 4th in the 4-year-old Cavan Winter Show Jumping Championships in 2019. She had a super attitude to work from the very start and she has been showing tremendous promise for both show jumping and eventing.

Another special horse presented at the auction is Cooley Rules, a 2014 gelding by Beachball. The latter is a son of OBOS Quality, a very influential stallion in Irish breeding, who has produced some top offspring. One example would be Mark Q, who under the saddle of Kevin Babington has given proof of his qualities as a top horse. The Dam of Beachball has competed successfully up to CSI5* level with Cian O’Connor. Cooley Rules has evented to 1m10 level having won in his first run and finished 3rd in his second. He has also show-jumped successfully to 1m25.

For over 10 years now, Cooley horses have been competitive across the World and at the most prestigious international events and are famous all over the world for their outstanding quality.

To find out more about the horses presented by Cooley Farm for the Celtic Collection of The AD Auction: www.theadauction.com.

From September 11 to September 14 on www.theadauction.com the innovative online auction “The AD Auction” will take place: the Celtic Collection offers the unique opportunity to enter the stables of Cooley Farm, Wrenwood Stables and Babes Horses, who will present 20 horses in the showjumping, eventing and American hunting disciplines.

The Innovative A.D. Auction Brings Quality Event Horses to Your Living Room

From September 11 to September 14 on www.theadauction.com the innovative online auction “The Alex Delazer Auction” will launch its first edition. The Celtic Collection is a unique opportunity to enter the stables of Cooley Farm, Wrenwood Stables and Babes Horses, who will present 20 horses in the showjumping, eventing and American hunting disciplines.

Countess Cooley (ISH, 2015 by Ramiro B), one of the top horses available at the innovative A.D. Auction. Photo courtesy of The A.D. Auction.

The A.D. Auction is a new and innovative way to connect sellers and buyers. From September 11 to September 14 on www.theadauction.com Cooley Farm, Wrenwood Stables and Babes Horses will kick off the first edition of The A.D. Auction with the Celtic Collection. This exclusive online auction brings together show jumping and eventing horses and American hunters from two Irish stables and one Scottish stable of ages 0 to 7 years. They have top-level pedigrees with very important mare lines that have produced several international 160 jumpers.

“The collection is really exclusive and presents some very important horses,” says Alex Delazer, entrepreneur, organizer of the CSI4* Dolomites Horse Show, a horse lover and creator of The A.D. Auction. “Among these is a descendant of the legendary Centa de Muze, who has produced various international 160 jumpers, such as Freestyle de Muze, Horizon de Regor, Kerly de Regor and the current mare of Edwina Tops-Alexander, Latisha de Regor, to name a few. Among the eventing horses, the most promising one is a full sister to Cooley Earl, who was placed at the top of the international rankings, including the Badminton Horse Trials and Hickstead’s CSI5*.”

Alex Delazer. Photo courtesy of The A.D. Auction.

“The idea of The A.D. Auction came to me during lockdown. I realized that it would no longer be possible for potential buyers to travel to look for horses. That’s why I thought of creating an online platform that would act as a showcase for breeders and dealers, allowing customers to virtually enter their stables.”

For the first edition of The A.D. Auction, three stables will open their doors for us, two in Ireland, one in Scotland: Cooley Farm, Wrenwood Stables and Babes Horses.

Cooley Farm is world-famous for its Irish eventing horses. They are best known for producing to the top level and selling Cooley Master Class, who under the saddle of Briton Oliver Townend won the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event for two consecutive years. At The A.D. Auction they will present seven horses. Among them the most promising one is definitely Countess Cooley (ISH, 2015 by Ramiro B), Cooley Earl’s full sister. In 2020 she placed fourth in the finals reserved for 4-year-old horses of the Cavan Winter Show Jumping Championships. Bred and produced by Cooley Farm, she has demonstrated tremendous promise from the beginning, showing great potential both in the show jumping discipline and in eventing.

Wrenwood Phoenix (2020, ISH, Chacoon Blue x Quidam de Revel II Z). Photo courtesy of The A.D. Auction.

Two foal stallions and two geldings are the horses presented by Wrenwood Stables. Based in Dublin, Ireland, Dan Walsh and Stacey Babes have produced and sold many horses that have competed successfully at the top level in both show-jumping and eventing. One of these is Peder Fredricson’s H&M Sibon, who competed successfully at the highest level, including the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy. With their combined passion for the sport and love of horses, their breeding program was born. Through this, there are offspring from mares that are currently competing in today’s top sport, along with mares from proven 1.60m families, including the mother of H&M Sibon and two wonderful daughters from super mare Centa de Muze, who is recognized as one of the most influential mares in modern breeding. Wrenwood Phoenix, born on July 17, 2020 by Chacoon Blue x Phia de Regor, and a grandson of the legendary Centa de Muze is definitely a very special future star presented at the auction by Wrenwood.

The Babes family has been breeding and dealing high quality horses for over thirty years, from world-class horses to ponies. Babes Horses was established with the aim of breeding and selling top level horses that can take their riders to the top of international rankings. To do so, they have set up a breeding program based on the use of the best bloodlines in the world. For The A.D. Auction, their selection is the most exclusive: we will find sons of Big Star, Balou du Rouet, Zirocco Blue, Goodyear VDL and Stakkato.

“I expect the first edition of The A.D. Auction to be a great success. With the Celtic Collection, we present the horses of three very important stables that have selected some of the best they have. I’m very proud that we will be the first online auction in the world to also include eventing horses and that these three stables have decided to rely on us to auction their horses. While the first edition is only weeks away, I am already thinking about a second edition in a couple of months. The A.D. Auction is the first online auction conceived by Italians and as such I would like to take this opportunity to make Italian breeding known abroad. So why not dedicate an auction exclusively to Italian breeders?”

Click here to learn more about the auction.

US Equestrian Names East Coast 2020 Adequan USEF Futures Team Challenge Rosters

US Equestrian has announced the horse and rider combinations selected to compete at the 2020 Adequan USEF Futures Team Challenge – East Coast to be held in Unionville, Pa., from September 17-20, 2020. Additional teams yet to be named will compete in the West Coast Adequan USEF Futures Team Challenge, scheduled for October 28-31, 2020 in at Galway Downs in Temecula, California.

The format of the Adequan USEF Futures Team Challenge provides an opportunity for eventing athletes to gain valuable team competition experience in an unofficial team scenario on home soil at the CCI3* and CCI4* levels.

The concept initiated by Erik Duvander, U.S. Eventing Director of High Performance, has created a more defined structure to the High Performance eventing pipeline in the United States and fosters a competitive and elite atmosphere for future team and program riders. This year’s teams will be coached by Duvander and Leslie Law, USEF Eventing Development and Emerging Coach, both serving as Chef d’Equipe for their respective teams.

Applications were submitted to the USEF Performance Advisory Team and selected based off of results, potential, willingness to learn, and commitment to developing as future team athletes, following the FEI Nations Cup selection criteria as guidance. The team selections are as follows:

Erik Duvander’s Team

  • Daniel Clasing (Lovettsville, Va.) and his own MW Gangster’s Game, a 10-year-old Anglo European Sporthorse gelding
  • Andrew McConnon (Vass, N.C.) and Ferrie’s Cello, an eight-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Caroline Martin and Jeanne Shigo
  • Meg Pellegrini (Wayne, Pa.) and her own RF Eloquence, a 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding
  • Caitlin Silliman (Swathmore, Pa.) and Ally KGO, an 11-year-old Trakehner mare owned by Morgan McCue

Leslie Law’s Team

  • Fylicia Barr (West Grove, Pa.) and her own Galloway Sunrise, a 12-year-old American Warmblood mare
  • Woods Baughman (Lexington, Ky.) and C’est La Vie 135, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding he co-owns with Kim and James Baughman
  • Maya Black (Clinton, Wash.) and Miks Master C, an eight-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion owned by Laurie Cameron
  • Ariel Grald (Southern Pines, N.C.) and Leamore Master Plan, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Anne Eldridge
  • Reserve: Amanda Beale Clement (Phoenixville, Pa.) and Carlson 119, a 10-year-old German Sport Horse gelding owned by Get Ready Syndicate LLC

Congratulations to all selected!

US Equestrian Announces New Dates & Locations for CCI3*-L & CCI4*-L National Championships

New dates and locations have been selected for the USEF CCI3*-L and CCI4*-L Eventing National Championships for 2020.

The CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship will be held at the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event in Temecula, Calif., October 29 – November 1. The CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship will be held at the Tryon International Three-Day Event in Tryon, N.C., November 11-15.

The Galway Downs International Three-Day Event is a long-running fall season competition and one of the premier events on the West Coast. Along with the CCI3*-L National Championship, Galway Downs is a 2020 host of the Adequan® USEF Futures Team Challenge. The fall event also includes competition for Beginner Novice through FEI levels.

“We are excited to host the CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship at Galway Downs and would like to thank the USEF for the efforts to bring it to the West Coast. It is an incredible opportunity for athletes on the West Coast,” said Robert Kellerhouse, Organizer of the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event. “We are looking forward to having Clayton Fredericks as the new cross-country course designer this year, as well as unveiling the new improvements to the venue.”

In addition to the CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship, the Tryon International Three-Day Event will host a CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, and CCI2*-L. Competitors will tackle Captain Mark Phillip’s cross-country test, built on the same grounds as the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games course.

“We are incredibly honored to be awarded the 2020 USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championships and look forward to hosting this prestigious competition on our White Oak Course,” said Sharon Decker, President of Tryon Equestrian Properties, Carolinas Operations. “We continue to be grateful to be hosting competition safely in this environment and appreciate the continued support of our equestrian community. We are looking forward to the fall competition!”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, spectators will not be permitted on the grounds of either event.

Learn more at galwaydowns.net and tryon.com.

[US Equestrian Announces New Dates and Locations for CCI3*-L and CCI4*-L Eventing National Championships]

 

TIEC Announces Addition of CCI4*-L & FEI Divisions to Fall Eventing Calendar

Photo courtesy of TIEC.

Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort is pleased to announce the addition of a new CCI4*-L Eventing competition to be held November 12-15, 2020, pending USEF and FEI approval. The event will feature international competition at the CCI4*-L, CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, and CCI2*-L levels, and offer the only CCI4*-L competition on the East Coast for the 2020 season.

TIEC has successfully operated rated hunter, jumper and dressage competition since June 3, 2020, implementing rigorous COVID-19 safety, sanitation and operations policies in place to protect competitors and staff alike. The 19-page Tryon Resort COVID-19 Action Plan includes protocols like mandatory masks and social distancing for all persons on property, temperature checks at the entrance and a thermal camera system onsite. Attendance onsite for competitions is limited to competitors and their family, barn staff and essential personnel only and spectators are not permitted.

The event will include cross country course design by Captain Mark Phillips, hosted on the White Oak Cross Country Course featured in the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018, and will utilize the venue’s 1,200 permanent stalls to allow for ample distancing between competitors alongside stringent safety protocols.

“We are thrilled to be awarded the bid for a CCI4*-L this November,” said Sharon Decker president of Tryon Equestrian Properties, Carolinas Operations. “We have worked incredibly hard to keep equestrian sport safe and operational during this pandemic. So far we have managed beautifully because of strong protocols and guest cooperation, and we don’t take this for granted. We earn the privilege to host equestrian sport every day and are honored to host this premier competition. We will continue to enforce strict protocols to keep everyone safe so we can continue enjoying this sport we all love.”

“Following the cancellation of multiple CCI4*-L competitions this year due to COVID-19, the USEF opened a bid process to add a CCI4*-L for 2020 in order to give athletes the opportunity to secure qualifying results for the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games and the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event,” said Jenni Autry, USEF Managing Director of Eventing. “We realize what an incredibly difficult year it has been for organizers, and we are grateful to Tryon for stepping up to fill this critical void in the U.S. calendar.”

While spectators are not permitted to attend any competitions at TIEC through 2020 per the facility’s existing safety policies, free live streaming will be available for both the November CCI4*-L and Blue Ridge Mountain Horse Trials, a national event set to run September 11-13. Live streaming of highlight classes at Hunter/Jumper competition is currently available at www.Tryon.com/streaming.

Competition Entry Information:
Entry information and other details will be posted on www.Tryon.com/Eventing. For questions, contact [email protected].

COVID-19 Safety:
Tryon Resort is committed to providing a safe and fun experience for all competitors and barn staff, Tryon Resort staff and all members of the equestrian community. In conjunction with local, state and federal recommendations and mandates, including those from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), TIEC has implemented additional guidelines and cleaning protocols, added to previously existing stringent standards, to alleviate the potential impact of COVID-19 and to ensure that the operation horse shows is smooth, efficient and most importantly, safe for all involved. Tryon Resort management is in close communication and collaboration with NC Governor Roy Cooper’s Emergency Preparedness Staff and with the Polk County Manager and the Directors of Health Services and Emergency Preparedness. Click here to read the full Tryon Resort COVID-19 Action Plan.

[Tryon International Equestrian Center Announces Addition of CCI4*-L and FEI Divisions to Fall Eventing Calendar]

Morven Park Cancels FEI Divisions, National Levels Will Go Forward

Emma Klugman and Bendigo at Morven Park. Photo courtesy of GRC Photo/Morven Park.

The FEI levels originally scheduled at the Morven Park Fall Horse Trials from Oct. 2-4, 2020 have been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. This would have been the first time a CCI4*-L was offered at Morven Park. Park staff were anticipating a record number of competitors, volunteers, and officials to attend from around the United States and other countries. Additionally, inaugural CCI2*YH-S and CCI3*YH-S levels had been planned to showcase up-and-coming horses.

Morven Park will continue to offer Novice through Advanced levels of competition and registration via EventEntries.com will open on August 18. Morven Park has proudly featured annual horse trials since 1974 and looks forward to welcoming equestrians to compete in dressage, show jumping, and cross-country.

Morven Park has been working for months to prepare for the FEI levels of competition. Ultimately, the increased risk of hosting an international horse trials amid rising COVID-19 cases, compounded with the additional cost of safety measures, proved to be too great.

“This decision was about safety,” according to the Park’s Executive Director, Sheryl Williams. “Running an event of this scale is difficult, but to try to host FEI levels during a global pandemic proved to be too taxing on our resources and too risky for everyone’s health. This adjusted format allows us to move forward with competition and provide a great weekend of eventing.”

While spectators will not be allowed to attend the Morven Park Fall Horse Trials due to COVID-19 restrictions, Morven Park’s Media Sponsor, Eventing Nation, will be streaming the competition live on their website. Streaming details will be released closer to the event date and will be available on MorvenPark.org/HorseTrials and Eventing Nation.com.

In addition to the Morven Park Fall Horse Trials, the 2020 calendar has been expanded to include the Morven Park Winter Horse Trials, scheduled for November 14–15, 2020. Beginner Novice through Preliminary competition will be offered. Registration will open on Sept. 29. Visit MorvenPark.org/Equestrian for event details.

[Morven Park Fall Horse Trials Announcement]

 

US Equestrian Launches USEF Helmet Safety Research Fund

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

US Equestrian has announced the USEF Helmet Research Safety Fund, a fundraising effort to further the safety of equestrian athletes across all breeds and disciplines. The fund will support further research into U.S. helmet safety standards and the creation of an equestrian-specific rating system, providing riders insight into how helmet models compare when looking at safety and protection. US Equestrian is partnering with the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, and 100% of funds raised will support the independent research to develop this important sport-specific rating system. In addition to the financial fundraising component of the program, USEF will be sharing important data on falls and injuries from USEF competitions which will be utilized in the research and development of the Equestrian STAR rating project at the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab.

“All of us at the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab are excited to partner with US Equestrian on the helmet rating project,” Dr. Barry Miller, Director of Outreach and Business Development for the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, said. “US Equestrian’s involvement will increase awareness, promotion, fundraising, and cross-breed/discipline benefits, as well as the broad-based connections USEF can provide to other sports in the NGB family.”

“Currently, equestrian helmets must meet basic safety standards on a pass/fail system to receive the ASTM/SEI approval,” US Equestrian CEO Bill Moroney explained. “This is a fantastic project for everyone to be involved with and we embrace the opportunity to work with all of our affiliates on a community-wide initiative to support this research and enjoy the shared benefits of the results.”

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

US Equestrian is launching an awareness campaign educating the equestrian community on the importance of this research and inviting everyone to donate towards the Virginia Tech helmet fundraising goal of $450,000. Notably, the USEF affiliate United States Hunter Jumper Association has announced a donation of $100,000 to Virginia Tech’s helmet fund. Future virtual meetings will bring together US Equestrian affiliates, partners, helmet manufacturers, and industry thought leaders to work together to advance this initiative.

If you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the USEF Helmet Research Safety Fund, click here.

US Equestrian COVID-19 Action Plan Update: Face Coverings Now Mandated Unless Mounted/Driving

Photo via Rebecca Farm on Facebook.

US Equestrian has released an update to its Action Plan for Licensed Competitions in its continued effort to keep shows and events moving while maintaining safety and public health standards. The latest update will now mandate face coverings at competitions at all times, except when mounted on a horse or driving a horse-drawn carriage or cart.

A statement released by CEO Bill Moroney reads as follows:

We truly appreciate the diligence and cooperation of participants and organizers who have gone above and beyond to ensure the health and safety of their competition communities by adhering to the various state and local requirements, as well as the requirements and recommendations outlined in the USEF Action Plan for Licensed Competitions. However, USEF has received reports of non-compliance with and non-enforcement of the Action Plan. Every instance of non-compliance and non-enforcement not only endangers the health and safety of your fellow participants, but also threatens our ability to continue having competitions in this extremely tenuous environment.

The ability to keep competitions operating depends on every one of us, individually and collectively. It hinges on our cooperative participation in efforts to control the spread of the virus.

With that in mind, effective immediately, USEF mandates the use of face masks/face coverings at all times while on the competition grounds except when mounted on a horse or driving a horse-drawn carriage or cart. The USEF Action Plan update, released yesterday, reflects this strengthened mandate.

In addition to the updated face mask/face covering requirement, USEF expects that:

  • All participants will adhere to, and all competition organizers will enforce, social distancing requirements at all times while on competition grounds.
  • Competition organizers will restrict access to competition grounds in accordance with state and local travel and quarantine restrictions.
  • During a competition, Stewards and Technical Delegates will report non-compliance to competition management, and individuals who continue to demonstrate non-compliance with social distancing or mask/face covering requirements will be promptly removed from the competition grounds by competition management.
  • Stewards and Technical Delegates will document and include in their report to the USEF all incidents of non-compliance, so that USEF can address any deficiencies.

We all share the enormous responsibility of doing our utmost to maintain a safe competition environment. It is no easy task. It can sometimes be uncomfortable, even unpleasant. However, in this significantly altered environment, these steps are necessary to keep our competitions as safe as possible and keep them operating. We cannot lose sight of the wide-reaching and devastating impacts facing our industry that would result from competitions being shut down due to failure to comply with mitigation efforts. If you are unwilling or unable to adhere to the COVID-19 requirements mandated by USEF or state and local agencies, please stay home and refrain from attending or operating USEF-recognized events until the pandemic resolves.

We continue to monitor and assess the pandemic impact, and we will keep you informed of any updates to our position as circumstances warrant or as instructed by the government and public health authorities.

The safety and welfare of our members and their horses remains our top priority, and everyone must do their part and take every step necessary to keep fellow competitors as safe and healthy as possible and to keep the competition environment open.

You can read the statement and get up to speed on the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan for Licensed Competitions here. For more information on coronavirus protocol and competition, visit this link.

Broussard Charitable Foundation Trust to Offer One-Time ‘Going Forward USEA Member’s Grants’

The Broussard family, through the Broussard Charitable Foundation Trust, has announced that for 2020 only, several special educational grants will be available to USEA members. The Trust has made a very generous gift of $25,000 to the USEA Foundation to be awarded to deserving candidates 18-years-old and above who are passionate about moving their commitment to the sport forward.

The Going Forward USEA Members’ Grants will cover three areas:

1.      Horsemanship Immersion Program
2.      Instructor’s Certification Program
3.      Eventing Official’s “r” Training Program

Are you a rider interested in immersing yourself in an all-encompassing training course with a top coach, then you will want to apply for the Horsemanship Immersion Program. Always wanted to become a certified instructor? Then the grant focused on helping you become ICP certified is for you. The grant for the Eventing Official’s “r” Training Program will help all qualified riders who want to get on the first rung of the ladder on their way to becoming an Eventing Judge or Technical Delegate.

Candidates will complete a “Going Forward USEA Member’s Grant application, submit references, and participate in an interview with the panel. The grants, a minimum of $5,000 each, will be awarded based on merit.

The USEA Foundation is proud to be working with the Broussard Charitable Foundation Trust on this very worthwhile project. The current pandemic might have played havoc with the Eventing calendar and the usual grant procedures, resulting in the Rebecca Broussard International and National Developing Rider’s Grants being impossible to award this year. Still, the Broussard family has not let that prevent them from finding ways to further the education and the eventing careers of USEA Members, and our thanks go out to the family for their kindness.

Full details of the three grant types are available here. USEA members in good standing are encouraged to apply for a grant using the online application here.

[Broussard Charitable Foundation Trust to Offer One-Time ‘Going Forward USEA Member’s Grants’]

2020 Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event Cancelled

Especially since its designation as new host of the CCI4*-L National Championships, the Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event (Nov. 14-15, 2020) was considered a hugely important fixture on the U.S. fall eventing calendar. Early this morning the event announced its cancellation and released the following statement. 

Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

The health of our competitors, spectators, officials, volunteers and everyone else involved in the Ocala Jockey Club 3-Day Event production is very important to us. We announced on May 24th that we felt confident in OJC’s ability to run the 2020 Event and the accompanying CCI4*-L National Championships as scheduled. We have continued to feel confident in our ability to implement ample and strict social distancing, sanitization, mask and health screening protocols on site. It was clear in March that Covid-19 would not make it possible for OJC to conduct the 2020 Event as the high-profile community and spectator-friendly event of the past four years that has created over $1 million of annual economic impact to the community. Still, OJC heard the desire of competitors and USEF to run the Event as a spectator-free competition-only event.

The 2020 Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event was set to run from November 12th to 15th at the picturesque 950-acre Ocala Jockey Club farm in Reddick, Florida. It was designated as the CCI4*-L National Championships. Additionally, due to the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games set to occur in the summer of 2021, the OJC Event was to serve as an important Olympic qualifier. As a number of 4* and 5* events have cancelled across the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic, OJC has recognized the importance of the OJC Event to Team USA and USEF High Performance program and worked diligently to plan the Event. However, with less than four months remaining for the planning of the Event, OJC’s Covid-19 concerns have become significant enough that the hard decision to cancel needed to be made. Ocala Jockey Club wishes to provide competitors sufficient notice in the hope that they will be able to re-route to other events for their qualification requirements.

“We have wished to serve our part in the economic recovery of the community and the competition needs of the eventing sport, however there has been increased concern on OJC’s part regarding the significant increase in community transmission of Covid-19, and a corresponding concern regarding current and continuing insufficient availability of local and national tools to combat such community transmission of this virus,” said Pavla Nygaard, President of the Ocala Jockey Club. “Hope is not a success strategy. We felt responsible to define a strategy that would provide the economic and community benefits to Marion County, the 3-Day Eventing sport and the Thoroughbred Eventing Champion program we have been proud to advance at our Event, but only if we could reliably minimize public health risks.

“While there are current and upcoming equestrian competitions on the calendar at this time, our responsibility is to study trends and project likely impacts on a competition four months in the future. I have read hundreds of articles and scientific studies about the virus’ behavior, transmission, prevention, available therapeutics, screening apps, wearable technology, mitigation effectiveness and otherwise. In addition to USEF and FEI guidelines, I have followed the design, effectiveness and limitations of protocols of major sports such as NFL, NBA, MLB and horse racing. I have spoken to organizers and competitors of other equestrian competitions regarding protocols, compliance and factors affecting decisions of when and how to run. OJC has worked on designing protocols including health and other feasibility metrics that would assist us with pre-event and onsite decisions and processes.

“While most 5* and 4* Eventing competitions around the world have cancelled months ago, until recently we have felt that our strategies were feasible to continue even in a very uncertain environment. However, with recent spikes in infections and changes in the demographics affected, available public health metrics no longer give us the same comfort that the strategies within our control would reliably overcome the elements outside of OJC’s control.”

Some of OJC’s concerns include:

  • While the end of May showed positive trends in declines of new cases, this trend has now reversed for much worse both nationally (almost two million increase in cases) and locally (almost a 12-fold increase in cases). Barring significant changes in mitigation strategies, this trend is expect to continue into fall and winter of 2020 and has prompted many cancellations of in-person college programs, professional sports and even the full remainder of the 2020 Broadway season. While hospitalizations and deaths were trending lower for some time even as cases increased, this trend is also beginning to reverse to concerning levels.
  • The recent changes in the demographic affected by Covid-19 to affect younger adults, including increased hospitalizations, are more likely to impact our multi-day gathering of 700 or more competitors and related staff than we anticipated, even with mostly less risky outdoor activities and the already planned ban on attendance by anyone other than competitors and event staff.
  • Unlike at the end of May when public compliance with public health directives was high, current personal and political divisions regarding basic infection mitigation strategies have been laid bare and are likely to affect our guests’ health and safety during travel or while in the community, aside from our onsite protocols. As the Event is scheduled just 8 days after the upcoming presidential election, which now experts believe could take a week to gather results for, we expect these politically driven divisions to continue to impact health risk mitigation outside of the Event’s control.
  • While major sports leagues and workplaces with significant financial and human resources have designed valuable protocols to mitigate against the effects of the virus, they have still experienced case positives and illness in otherwise healthy athletes.
  • Testing strategies, among other valuable tools available to sports leagues to combat the pandemic, have proven a limitation for other organizations due to lack of availability of diagnostic tests, or key components such as reagents and swabs. Some tests are unreliable or results too late to be useful. There is significant variability of testing availability by state or country, becoming exceedingly challenging to employ as a reliable mitigation tool for the OJC 2020 Event.
  • Our competitors and officials typically arrive not just from Marion County or Florida, but from every corner of the United States as well as internationally from at least three continents. Therefore, some of the Event’s key international delegates would be more vulnerable to travel health risks, travel restrictions or mandatory 14-day quarantines, such as those currently restricting travel for Canadians or Europeans needing to enter the US or return back home.
  • Most competitors are in the less risky young, healthy and fit category. However, they are not an island and a sizeable share of officials, volunteers and OJC employees fall into higher risk categories for COVID-19 health complications. With high community transmission, even strict onsite protocols may not be sufficiently protective.
  • While the scientific community continues to work tirelessly on vaccine candidates and therapeutic options to mitigate against Covid-19, it is now clear that even early vaccine candidates, with expected limited availability in October, would not be available in time to be useful to our stakeholders. While current treatments such as remdesivir and dexamethasone provide some relief to some of the hardest hit patients, there are no therapeutics available yet to rely on as a prevention or mitigation strategy.
  • Our typical staff team is lean and mean, and there is little room to losing key members to illness, travel quarantine or exposure-related isolation. It would be necessary for us to establish a long list of Plan B options for all key personnel, necessitating increased funding. Similarly, there would be increased resources needed for increased sanitation protocols, masks and other PPE, pre-event and at-event testing and/or health screening, any needed contact tracing or isolation if indicated onsite, stabling configurations to allow social distancing, and protocol enforcement personnel.
  • Unlike lower-level competitions which are structured to be compensated solely or mainly from competitor entry fees, FEI level competitions are much heavier on event production expenses. Competitor entries cover a smaller share of the event budget. The OJC event, as other FEI level competitions, relies on non-competition income such as sponsorships, VIP hospitality, spectator and tailgating ticket sales, vendors, and advertising to offset event expenses. Due to social distancing requirements, these non-competition aspects are currently not allowed under USEF Covid-19 mitigation rules. Our conversations with select sponsors and other event organizers point to a clear need to understand supporters’ economic challenges to their support in these times. We understand that everyone has been affected differently in this pandemic, and feel it necessary for our supporters to be able to regroup their own lives and operations. However important this Event may be, we feel that this is not the year to ask people for increased support.

The Ocala Jockey Club has heard from many participants over the years about the importance of this Event. Jennie Jarnstrom, an eventing rider who has competed at OJC Events, wrote to OJC in May: “Just can’t thank you enough for keeping the hope up and motivate us to work towards one of the Greatest Events in the country.” It was for the benefit of tireless and committed competitors like Jennie that we continued to search for ways to produce a safe high-quality level even with restrictions on many activities.

However, as more of us now know those who have been affected by severe illness or death due to Covid-19, the more important it is to recognize our responsibility to take care of each other, even if it means that it is wiser to cancel this Event than to keep pressing on this year. Updates and information about the 2021 Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event will be available in due course at the Event website at www.OJC3de.com. For more information on the Ocala Jockey Club, visit www.ocalajc.com. Best of luck to all staying safe, happy, healthy and successful in 2020. See you in November 2021!

Equilume Announces Partnerships with Phillip Dutton, Sam Watson

Photos by Tilly Berendt.

Equilume, the world leader in the research and development of light therapy solutions for the global horse industry, announced two new partnerships with award-winning riders: Phillip Dutton of the United States and Sam Watson of Ireland. With these partnerships, both Phillip and Sam have installed the Equilume Stable Light System at their respective home stables and use the Equilume Cashel Light Masks on their horses while traveling to competitions throughout the year.

Headquartered in County Kildare, Ireland, Equilume designs and manufactures lighting solutions to harness the benefits of natural daylight for stabled horses and permit continued exposure to optimum lighting while horses travel or are at pasture. The Equilume Stable Light provides horses with biologically effective light that maximizes the health, performance and breeding efficiency for stabled horses. The Equilume Cashel Light Mask is an individual headpiece for horses that provides timed, low-level blue light to a single eye throughout the day to ensure optimum health, performance and coat condition when they are stabled, traveling or away at competition.

Three-time Olympic medallist, Phillip Dutton says he has seen remarkable improvements in his horses after learning about and implementing Equilume’s light therapy concept.

“I had read about the Equilume light concept and the theory of improving a horse’s trainability, attitude, and healing improvements, so I decided to try one of their Cashel Light Masks. The horse I selected was a very talented but somewhat difficult horse to train on a daily basis. I was told it would take about six weeks of use with the Cashel mask to see the full benefits on the horse,” Phillip said. “After just three weeks, I saw a remarkable improvement in the horse’s attitude and willingness to enjoy his work. The logic of more light for a stabled horse makes sense to me, and I was able to see the results. I am excited about what benefits this will have for all my horses – so we are in the process of installing the Equilume Stable Lights throughout our barn.”

Sam Watson, a member of the Irish eventing silver medal winning team at the World Equestrian Games in 2018, also commented on the benefits of keeping horses in the best quality conditions.

“Getting horses in great condition is often about keeping them in the best conditions. Health, muscle growth, mood, energy, rest and recovery are all areas that I personally feel are negatively impacted on dark and gloomy days. The Equilume team has the science to show that the same is true for horses and that the lighting solutions work to improve these factors,” he said. “We’ve got our broodmares and performance horses using the Equilume Stable Lights and Light Masks. We want the best for our horses and we don’t want to miss out on a performance edge. Lighting clearly has an important part to play. Plus, who doesn’t want their day brightened up?”

Equilume, a University College Dublin spin-out company supported through NovaUCD, is best known for the global success of their award-winning blue light mask that aids fertility in breeding stock. The company’s continued investment in research and development has led to an expanded product line, including the Equilume Stable Light and the Equilume Cashel Light Mask, targeted at the national and international Sport Horse market.

Equilume also works with Enterprise Ireland, the Irish State agency that partners with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate, and win export sales in global markets. Enterprise Ireland is thrilled to support Equilume as its technologies continue to help horses to remain happy and healthy.

“We are delighted that two such accomplished and respected riders are seeing the benefits of our products and that Equilume is playing a part in keeping their horses looking and feeling their best while performing at the highest levels,” said Dr Barbara Murphy, Founder of Equilume.

Equilume is a world leader in the research and development of light therapy solutions to assist the global equine industry in maximising reproductive efficiency and performance. The company was established as a result of pioneering research at UCD by Dr Barbara Murphy, in collaboration with Professor John Sheridan, a UCD optoelectronics engineer, who identified the optimum light level required to advance the breeding season in horses, giving rise to the successful launch of the innovative Equilume Light Mask. For more information on the Equilume Stable Light and the Equilume Cashel Light Mask, please visit www.equilume.com.

MARS Great Meadow International Adds CCI3*-L to August Event

Lynn Symansky and Under Suspection, winners of the 2019 MARS Great Meadow International CCI4*-S. Photo by Shelby Allen.

As equestrian events pick up after a delayed 2020 season, the MARS Great Meadow International (MARSGMI) is pleased to announce a new CCI 3*-L division at its event, pending final approval from the USEF and FEI. The event is scheduled for August 20-23, 2020.

The CCI3*-L will run alongside GMI’s CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, CCI4*-S. Event organizer Five Rings Eventing made the decision to add a CCI3*-L this year to give athletes an additional opportunity to obtain qualifications in light of the many event cancellations this year.

”We’re looking forward to welcoming the eventing community back to Northern Virginia’s horse country this August for the 2020 MARSGMI,” says David O’Connor of Five Rings Eventing. “This year has been challenging for everyone, and we’re excited to be able to offer a new CCI 3*-L to provide eventing athletes with an opportunity to earn their qualifications for the fall season, along with a safe and welcoming competition experience at Great Meadow.”

Also new for 2020, a national Preliminary division was added to open this one-of-a-kind event to more competitors.

MARSGMI will be run in compliance with all state and local health regulations as well as FEI regulation and the USEF COVID-19 Competition Action Plan. This compliance includes limiting spectators to people associated with the event, such as competitors and their connections and sponsors. Fortunately, there are a variety of socially distanced tailgating sponsorships at all price points to allow people to get involved and come to the event. Find out more about tailgating sponsorship opportunities by clicking here.

Volunteer opportunities are still available for the 2020 MARSGMI. Learn more and sign up here

“We are grateful to the team at Great Meadow for stepping up to add a CCI3*-L to their existing competition,” said Jenni Autry, USEF Managing Director of Eventing. “Following cancellations due to COVID-19, this will be the first CCI3*-L that runs in North America in 2020. From a High Performance standpoint, it is critical for our younger, up-and-coming horses to have the opportunity to gain qualifications at the CCI3*-L level. This also creates the option for horses to compete at Great Meadow and go on to the Ocala Jockey Club in the fall.”

[MARS Great Meadow International Adds CCI3*-L to August Event]

2020 Thoroughbred Makeover & National Symposium Postponed to 2021

After extensive information gathering, research and consideration, the board of the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) has made the difficult but unanimous decision to postpone the 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA), until 2021. The RRP plans to host an expanded Thoroughbred Makeover on October 12-17, 2021 that will offer separate classes in all ten disciplines for both 2020 and 2021 entries.

Click here to watch a video message from the RRP.

Put on each year by the RRP, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, the Thoroughbred Makeover typically draws hundreds of competitors from 40+ states and multiple Canadian provinces, each of whom has taken on the challenge of bringing along a Thoroughbred in his or her first year of retraining post-racing. In a normal year, the event also includes the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace (a large-scale horse shopping experience), a vendor fair with more than 70 on-site retailers and other equine businesses, seminars, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit and various social and networking events.

To comply with COVID-19 pandemic event guidelines as recommended by US Equestrian and the Kentucky Horse Park, many of these aspects, which monetize a significant portion of the event, would have to be eliminated or heavily modified.

“This was a decision that was not entered into lightly,” said the RRP’s executive director Jen Roytz. “We went to great lengths to look at the feasibility of putting on the event from various perspectives, including preparedness of our competitors, current sponsorship commitments, the cost and steps necessary to implement COVID-19 risk management protocols for an event like ours, and what changes we would need to make to the event to comply with state and venue regulations. We also explored various ‘what if’ scenarios with our legal counsel, insurance company, and board, and what their impacts could be on not only the event, but our organization as a whole.”

Photo courtesy of Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover.

With the Thoroughbred Makeover being a competition for horses in their first year of training after racing, the organization sent out two surveys to its competitors, one in April and one in June, to better understand how the pandemic was affecting its competitors’ ability to prepare their horses. Questions in the survey also aimed to gauge how their competitors would feel about the changes to the event that would have to be made in 2020 in order to put it on.

Trainers expressed concern through these surveys about having their horses adequately prepared for the show environment, as well as financial concerns due to lost income during shutdowns. In some cases, horses could not receive necessary maintenance care or undergo elective veterinary or therapy procedures. Furthermore, every state’s pandemic guidelines were different which had, and continues to have, an impact on competitors.

“We worked hard to identify what the best course of action would be, not only for our constituents and horses, but for the long-term viability and stability of our organization,” continued Roytz. “Our competitor survey responses showed us not only that a significant percentage of our competitors were behind on their training due to a variety of factors, but also that if we were to implement the changes that the pandemic would force us to make, it would not only put our organization in a precarious position financially but would negatively impact our competitors’ enjoyment of the event.”

Photo courtesy of Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover.

A critical aspect of the Thoroughbred Makeover on the part of participating trainers is having recently retired racehorses, all of which are relatively green in terms of their show career, adequately prepared for a big show environment at the Kentucky Horse Park. Typically, this is achieved by trainers exposing their horses to various competitive environments in the ten-month training period prior to the Makeover.

“The Thoroughbred Makeover at its core is designed to serve the mission of the RRP as a showcase of the versatility and trainability of the breed,” said Managing Director and Event Organizer, Kirsten Green. “Much of the feedback we’ve received, as well as the results of our surveys, tell us that the majority of our competitors are not feeling as confident as they typically would about their ability to showcase their horses as well as they otherwise would have. Furthermore, the Makeover typically draws entries from more than 40 states, as well as a significant Canadian contingent, and we’re still contending with a continually changing landscape over the coming months. We don’t yet know when the Canadian border will reopen, we’re seeing states re-implementing quarantine mandates for travelers, trainers having their income impacted, and more. That is only compounded by the financial challenges we and other nonprofits have faced in recent months and changes we would have to make in order to move forward with the event. By postponing the competition until next year and expanding the Marketplace virtually for this year, we felt it was the best way to create the most opportunities for all involved, while also doing what is in the best interest of the horses and our organization.”

Photo courtesy of Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover.

Several aspects of the 2020 TCA Thoroughbred Makeover will be run virtually this year in October, including a virtual vendor fair, webinars in place of seminars, and the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace. The Marketplace will transition into an expanded online showcase of transitioned Thoroughbreds who were intended to compete in October and be offered for sale or adoption at the Makeover.

“I know I speak on behalf of the entire RRP board and staff when I say this was an incredibly difficult decision, but we feel it’s the right one,” said RRP board president Carolyn Karlson. “The challenges presented by the pandemic are unprecedented. The RRP expanded its online educational offerings this year to better support those retraining horses amid all of the travel and shelter-in-place restrictions, like our Five-Minute Clinic series and webinars, and we have several more exciting initiatives to roll out as the year goes on. We are steadfast to our commitment to our competitors, sponsors, vendors, volunteers, supporters and, most importantly, the horses we and they serve.”

Trainers who entered this year’s Thoroughbred Makeover will have the opportunity to retain their registered 2020 horses to compete in a special 2020 division at the 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover. They also have the option to withdraw their 2020 horses and roll their entry fee to the 2021 competition with a new 2021-eligible horse. In some cases, some 2020-entered horses will be able to retain their eligibility for the 2021 division as long as they do not exceed the maximum of 15 retraining rides before December 1, 2020.

“It’s been a priority for us to make sure that we found a solution that was flexible for our trainers and their horses and give them options to suit whatever their goals might be,” said Green. “We look forward to working with everyone to offer content and activities to honor the Makeover this October, and to welcome everyone back to the Bluegrass for a knockout event in 2021.”

Photo courtesy of Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover.

Added Roytz, “We are incredibly grateful to the TCA, ASPCA and our other major sponsors and donors for being exceedingly understanding and supportive of this decision. Many of them have also been affected by this pandemic and anticipate feeling the effects well into the coming year, but were eager to help us find ways to support both this year’s and next year’s classes of Makeover competitors in meaningful ways.”

For more information and updates about the Thoroughbred Makeover, please visit tbmakeover.org. More announcements about virtual activities and events will be released throughout the summer and early fall. Sign up to receive the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace catalog at tbmakeover.org/catalogsignup.

Hartpury to Host FEI European Eventing Championships for Young Riders & Juniors in 2022

Photo courtesy of Hartbury Equine Events.

Hartpury University and Hartpury College have been allocated the 2022 FEI Dressage and Eventing European Championships for Young Riders & Juniors. The Gloucestershire venue had been due to host the 2020 Championships until they were cancelled in May due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The FEI Board reached the decision during a three-day video conference meeting last week, where the allocation of other FEI Championships and key events for 2021 and 2022 was also discussed. The date for the Championships is yet to be confirmed.

British Dressage Chief Executive, Jason Brautigam, commented: “After the huge disappointment that we all felt when Hartpury had to cancel the FEI Junior and Young Rider European Championships that were due to take place in July, we were absolutely thrilled to hear that the college had been successful in their bid to host the event in 2022 instead. This at least provides some consolation after all of the hard work, effort and investment that went into planning this year’s Championships and provides our talented under 21 riders with another valuable target to aim for in two years’ time. We are immensely grateful for the support we have received from all of the team at Hartpury during the COVID crisis and look forward to national and international competition returning to the venue in the near future.”

British Eventing Chief Executive, Jude Matthews, added: “British Eventing is delighted that Hartpury have been awarded the 2022 FEI Dressage and Eventing European Championships for Young Riders & Juniors, particularly following the disappointment from having to cancel this year. The team at Hartpury have worked extremely hard on their plans for this year’s competition, and we look forward to working with them to deliver an outstanding competition opportunity for the youth riders in 2022.”

Hartpury previously hosted the 1997 European Pony Championships and annually organises the NAF Five Star Hartpury Festival of Dressage, NAF Five Star Hartpury Showjumping Spectacular and NAF Five Star International Hartpury Horse Trials.

Phillip Cheetham, Equine Director at Hartpury, said “We are thrilled to have been allocated the 2022 FEI Dressage and Eventing European Championships for Young Riders & Juniors. The decision to cancel the 2020 championships was not taken lightly and we were extremely disappointed not to be able to welcome riders and their support teams to Hartpury this summer.

We’re very grateful to the FEI for allowing us to host the event in two years’ time, and we’re extremely excited about providing the perfect environment in which the best young riders in Europe can perform to the best of their abilities. We must also thank the BEF, British Dressage and British Eventing for their continued support.

Our team is extremely experienced when it comes to staging world-class equestrian events and planning has started in earnest. Rest assured that we’ll be pulling out all the stops to put on a truly outstanding Championships in 2022,” he added.

Find more information on Hartpury here.

USEF Mid-Year Board Meeting Day 1 Notes: New President, Rule Changes + Diversity/Inclusion

Image via US Equestrian.

The US Equestrian Mid-Year Board of Directors Meeting is taking place virtually this year, from Monday June 22 to Tuesday June 23. A few key notes from the Monday session:

Tom O’Mara Elected President of US Equestrian for 2021-2025 Term

The Board unanimously elected Tom O’Mara as the organization’s new president with his term beginning in January 2021. O’Mara has been a member of the Board for four years and served as Secretary/Treasurer for the past two years. He took on the task of heading the Drugs and Medications/Lab Review Task Force and has been active in promoting varsity equestrian. O’Mara will take office at the 2021 US Equestrian Annual Meeting, currently scheduled for January 12-17, in Austin, Texas.

Noteworthy Updates & Rule Changes 

  • Membership and Horse Recording Fees: The Board of Directors voted not to refund membership or horse recording fees or to extend the term of membership or horse recording for 2020 despite the 11 week suspension of USEF-licensed competitions.
  • Junior Year Reinstatement: While the Board recognized the disappointment that some equestrians in their final junior year may be experiencing resulting from event cancellations, the decision was made not to extend junior member status for members currently in their 17-year-old year.
  • Horse of the Year Points & Awards: The 2020 USEF Horse of the Year program will continue without any changes despite the interrupted competition season.
  • Rule Change for GR845.6 – Accident Preparedness Plan: All competitions must have in place, prior to the start of the competition, an accident preparedness plan and isolation protocol for horses on-site who show signs and/or symptoms of a potentially infectious disease.

Board Approves Diversity and Inclusion Commitment Statement and Development of Action Plan

The Board approved a public-facing Diversity and Inclusion Commitment Statement, as well as the development of a Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.

The Commitment Statement reads as follows:

“Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to US Equestrian’s vision: To bring the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible.

“We recognize the need to achieve increased diversity and that our growth and success depends on the inclusion of all people.

“We are committed to providing access and opportunity for people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active military personnel, people with disabilities, and those of all ages, religions, ancestries, and genders and gender identities to harness the synergy of diverse talents.”

The Board also approved the development of a Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, aimed at delivering specific requirements and goals of US Equestrian staff and programming, as well as provide resources to the equestrian community. US Equestrian is in the process of developing a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion webpage and Resource Center.

Post-Meeting Wednesday Webinar Open to Members

US Equestrian will host a webinar following the Mid-Year Board of Directors Meeting to review key board decisions and approved rule changes. Important updates on the COVID-19 Action Plan and return to competition will also be reviewed. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation. Please submit your questions in advance. The webinar will take place Wednesday, June 24, at 4 p.m. ET.

Letter from US Equestrian CEO Regarding Racism

As a community of equestrians, we must do all we can to combat racism and make our sport a welcoming place for people of all race and color, as well as gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, age and disability. We are very thankful to our national governing body, US Equestrian, for making transparent its stance on racism and discrimination of any kind. 

Yesterday, Chief Executive Officer Bill Moroney issued the following letter to members, which includes a wellspring of educational resources along with steps the organization is taking to uphold its commitment to do its part to fight against racism. 

Dear Equestrian Community,

The protests and political unrest ignited by the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis have dominated the news throughout the world and motivated hundreds of thousands – including many of our employees – to protest peacefully against racial injustice. This has been a difficult and emotional time, and we wanted to share with you the steps US Equestrian is taking to listen, learn, and do more.

Last Tuesday, US Equestrian participated in #BlackoutTuesday and issued the following statement:

We pause in solidarity and support of the black members of our community. We are committed to listening and learning from you. We hear you. We stand with you. We can and will do better. Black lives matter. #BlackoutTuesday

We are energized by the overwhelming amount of support from this community for Black equestrians and your desire for us to do more.

We believe it is important to be very clear: Black lives matter to US Equestrian. We stand firmly against racism and discrimination of any kind and are taking steps to further educate our staff and create a more inclusive and diverse community for all staff and participants.

We are energized by the overwhelming amount of support from this community for Black equestrians and your desire for us to do more.

We believe it is important to be very clear: Black lives matter to US Equestrian. We stand firmly against racism and discrimination of any kind and are taking steps to further educate our staff and create a more inclusive and diverse community for all staff and participants.

1. Educating ourselves is the first step. Going forward, every employee will be required to take Diversity and Inclusion training, as well as Unconscious Bias training, each year.

As we work to schedule these trainings, there are many resources immediately available to our entire equestrian community. We are asking our employees and encouraging our members to take some time and utilize the resources below to educate themselves on the history and importance of these issues.

Resources include:

The Inclusion Playbook

  • The Inclusion Playbook is a Sports Impact project led by a civil rights advocate and former Division 1 athlete with the goal of empowering social change agents to transform communities in and through sports.
  • The Inclusion Playbook is hosting a series of free webinars this summer, beginning this week on June 11 at 2pm ET with “Olympic Impact: Emerging Issues in Sports Diversity & Inclusion.” We encourage all staff to attend. They are free: https://www.inclusionplaybook.com/webinar.

Podcasts

Books (Listed alphabetically)

Film and Television (Listed alphabetically)

Organizations Leading the Way (sampling of organizations leading the discussion, listed alphabetically)

What You Can Do to Drive Change

2. Board approval and implementation of a US Equestrian Diversity and Inclusion Commitment Statement and Action Plan. Over the past several months, Ashley Swift, a dedicated member of our Communications Department, has been leading this work and her recommendations will be presented to the Board of Directors at the Mid-Year Meeting. There will be opportunities for members and staff of US Equestrian to engage with and contribute to this program.

3. Increased communication to members on US Equestrian’s commitment to do its part to fight against racism. This includes providing members with educational resources – including training on Diversity and Inclusion, and Unconscious Bias – and ways to work to end racism. We know we cannot do this alone, but we can – and will – do our part.

We understand this is an emotional and difficult time for many. Remember, US Equestrian paid fan and competing members have access 24/7 to a mental health first aid hotline at 1-800-633-3353. Please do not hesitate to reach out and take advantage of these free services.

Thank you all for your efforts to spread the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible, and for advancing our goal of increasing diversity in equestrian sport through an educated and open equestrian community.

Respectfully,

Bill Moroney
Chief Executive Officer
US Equestrian

 

MARS Great Meadow International Is Looking Forward to a Safe, Successful Event in August

Good news from MARS Great Meadow International, scheduled to take place Aug. 20-23, 2020 in The Plains, VA: The organizing committee is working hard to move forward with a safe, successful event, with confirmed support from title sponsor MARS Equestrian. The event has released this statement.

Lynn Symansky and Under Suspection, winners of the MARS Great Meadow International CCI4*-S. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Five Rings Eventing, LLC is pleased to announce the return of MARS Equestrian™, a division of Mars, Incorporated, as the title sponsor of the Great Meadow International CIC2, 3 and 4*-S.

The MARS Great Meadow International (MARSGMI) takes place in The Plains, Virginia on August 20-23, 2020. At this point, MARSGMI is planning to proceed as scheduled. The Organizing Committee is in the process of developing protocols to ensure the safety of everyone involved with the event, following all local, national, USEA and FEI requirements related to the COVID-19 health crisis. The driving force for all involved will be the health and safety of all competitors, volunteers, and competition staff.

“The sport of eventing may be on hold for now, but when it is safe to return to competition, MARS Equestrian is a perfect long term partner, committed to the future success of MARSGMI. As we navigate this difficult time, we are so grateful to once again have their support, and look forward with hope to a safe, exciting event in August.” said David O’Connor of Five Rings Eventing.

“MARS Equestrian is delighted to return as the Title Sponsor of GMI,” said Geoff Galant, Vice President of MARS Equestrian. “Ultimately, the partnership with GMI is central to our goal of supporting competition in local areas. Finding new ways to connect with fans and business partners while supporting the event is important to us. The team at GMI is working hard to host a top level competition during these challenging times and we support their efforts.”

In the meantime, new for 2020, MARSGMI will offer a national Preliminary division to include more competitors in this destination event.

“Great Meadow is truly a special place in the heart of Northern Virginia horse country,” said O’Connor. “We are especially excited to broaden the reach of this event to be more inclusive of our community members, businesses, and organizations who share our love of open space, animal well-being, and the Piedmont.”

MARSGMI will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and maintain communication with the Great Meadow Foundation, state and local health officials, and the USEF and FEI.

For more information, visit Great Meadow International.

[MARS Equestrian Returns as the Title Sponsor of 2020 Great Meadow International and Is in Close Partnership with the Organizing Committee to Run a Safe Event]

Covid-19 Statement on Status of 2020 Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event

Especially since its designation as new host of the CCI4*-L National Championships, the Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event is a hugely important fixture on the U.S. fall eventing calendar. Scheduled to take place Nov. 12-15, 2020 in Reddick, Florida, the event has this morning released the following statement on its status.

Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

The health of our competitors, spectators, officials, volunteers and everyone else involved in the Ocala Jockey Club 3-Day Event production is very important to us. We have been following all related updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic to assess the potential impact on the OJC Event. Based on what we know at this time, we feel confident that the 2020 event can run as scheduled. To keep up to date with updates, please subscribe to our email newsletter and follow us at our social media channels.

The 2020 Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event is designated as the CCI4*-L National Championships. Additionally, due to the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games set to occur in the summer of 2021, the OJC Event is an important Olympic qualifier. As a number of 4* and 5* events have cancelled across the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is highly important to Team USA and USEF the High Performance program that this event be held as scheduled.

The 5th annual Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event is set to run from November 12th to 15th at the 950-acre Ocala Jockey Club farm in Reddick, Florida. The scenery is breathtaking, with the cross-country competition weaving its way through Spanish-moss laden oak trees and rolling hills unexpected in the Florida landscape. The prepared galloping tracks have gained reputation among riders as having some of the best footing in the country, if not in the world.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly created much uncertainty to health and the economy in all corners of activities and locations. This is even more so the case for sport events of international caliber like the OJC 3-Day Event, with competitors and spectators traveling domestically and internationally,” said Pavla Nygaard, President of the Ocala Jockey Club. “There are many months of planning involved to stage a world-class event. Based on our communications with stakeholders to date, it is clear that competitors are excited for the OJC Event to run, and so is the Ocala community.”

In 2018 Ocala Jockey Club 3-Day Event won the 2018 Florida Sports Foundation’s Small Market Event of the Year award.

“While some of our regular sponsors may need to pull back in times of economic recovery, we are looking forward to working creatively together with the community toward another successful competition,” Pavla continued. “The event has provided over $1 million annual economic impact to Marion County. This year, more than ever before, the community will benefit from this event. America has missed the inspiration that sports provide, and we believe that this event is an important part of recovery for Ocala, Florida and our nation. As an outdoors event set on hundreds of acres, we feel confident that the event can run safely and successfully with social distancing and other safety protocols.”

There will be four FEI levels of competition: CCI2*-L, CCI3*-L, CCI4*-S and CCI4*-L. Each of the levels also features special recognition and prizes for young horses and off-track Thoroughbreds, with the popular Thoroughbred Makeover Masterclass event showcased by the Retired Racehorse Project. More updates and information about the Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event will be available at the event website at www.OJC3de.com.

The Ocala Jockey Club facility is a 950-acre crown jewel in the horse country of Ocala, Florida. It serves as a Thoroughbred training farm and to stand stallions, as well as featuring townhomes and an iconic clubhouse functioning as a unique venue for weddings, meetings and other special events. For more information on the Ocala Jockey Club, visit www.ocalajc.com.

[COVID-19 STATEMENT: 2020 Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event Status]

Land Rover Blair Castle International H.T. Is Canceled

Photo by Julia Shearwood courtesy of Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials.

Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials, the Scottish CCI4*-L/S, CCI3*-L and CCI2*-L scheduled to take place Aug. 27-30 in Perthshire, released the following announcement today: 

It is with great regret that we announce the cancellation of this year’s Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials, due to take place from 27th – 30th August.

We know that this will come as an enormous disappointment, not only to the many competitors, exhibitors, sponsors and spectators who were planning to attend the event, but also to us as organisers and hosts.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly. Land Rover Blair Castle International is an incredibly important event for the Scottish equestrian community and the local economy – but we need to prioritise the health and safety of everyone involved.

We explored numerous ways to keep various competition elements, but it is important to us to host an inclusive event, and it didn’t feel right to run without our spectators and trade exhibitors in attendance.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our event partners, especially Jaguar Land Rover who provides key support, facilitating us to bring together the special event that we run each August.

“It is with a heavy heart we announce the cancellation of the Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials 2020,” said Sarah Troughton, Head Trustee, Atholl Estates. “It was an unavoidable decision, taken with the safety of the local community, all the riders, and the many helpers and volunteers uppermost in our minds. The 2021 event will be all the more special, and we look forward to seeing you then.”

The Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trial will be back between 26th – 29th August 2021, so please put the dates in your diary now. We look forward to welcoming you again to the wonderful Highlands of Scotland.

With best wishes,

Sarah Troughton, Head Trustee Atholl Estates, and Alec Lochore, Event Director Land Rover Blair Castle International

[Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials]

 

Virtual Eventing Raises £178,500 for the NHS & Medical Charities fighting COVID-19

Virtual Eventing supported by NAF announced that £178,500 has been raised for the NHS and medical charities around the world following the five-day competition, which was live-streamed between May 6-10.

The amazing commitment and effort from riders and presenters, kind donations by the sponsors, and generosity of those who pledged auction prizes meant initial targets were smashed, and a legacy has been left by the eventing world in helping to tackle COVID-19.

Over a million people tuned in to watch 50 world-class riders take part in a series of challenges to mirror elements of modern three-day eventing with a twist. The entertainment came thick and fast, from roller skates to snorkels, stethoscopes to stilettos; this was no eventing fake news story, confirmed by the appearance of Donald Trump. Decorated eventing Olympian William Fox-Pitt (Nurse) and fellow British team member Gemma Tattersall (Unicorn) trotted off with the HiHo Silver best-dressed male and female prizes following the public vote on Facebook.

The dressage was a rare opportunity to see some of the world’s best equine training facilities, as horses and riders floated across our computer screens from their arenas at home under the watchful eye of the judges. Accuracy and precision saw the supremely talented GB Team Rider Laura Collett and London 52 lead at the end of the phase on 24.9.

Cross-Country consisted of a multi-part obstacle course on foot with each rider accompanied by a dog, teddy bear, or, in the case of Australian Olympian Megan Jones, a Shetland pony. Collett’s dominance didn’t last after an impressive dunking at the water complex. Clear rounds were few and far between, with refusals racking up and the clocks ticking down. Flying Frenchman Sebastien Cavaillon proved the most agile with Gemma Tattersall moving into second and Britain’s Matt Heath in third.

Show jumping has so often proved the undoing of many, and at the end of the hotly contested four-day competition, riders were given the final leg up into the saddle, this time on their bikes. Britain’s Kirsty Chabert, who sat sixth at the start of the day’s competition, produced a perfect and penalty-free round to put pressure on the top five.

An abundance of kicking and peddling saw Louisa Lockwood (GB), Olympian Tom Carlile (FR), and Matt Heath produce competitive rounds, while Gemma Tattersall slipped to fifth with four time faults. Tension mounted with Sebastien Cavaillon last to go, on the cusp of glory until an unfortunate error which saw two feet hit the ground, costing him dearly and dropping him to seventeenth place, meaning Wiltshire based Chabert was crowned the winner.

Chabert commented on victory, “I feel terrible for Sebastien and certainly never thought I would finish on my dressage score!”

“It’s really important we do our bit for the NHS and medical charities. They have helped riders on numerous occasions, picking us up off the floor, so it’s the least we could do for an amazing cause.”

Each rider trained diligently for the challenge alongside fundraising from their own Virgin Giving Money platform. Seventeen-year-old Archie Smith-Maxwell (GB) topped the individual fundraising table with a phenomenal £25,000 raised. The French team flew their flag for their nation, with Arthur Chabert, Sebastien Cavaillon, and Tom Carlile collecting the best part of £5,619 for Foundation de France.

Aside from the high octane equestrian action, streamers were invited to browse the silent auction where funds swelled. Generously donated lots, included staycations, lessons with the world’s best riders and bespoke luxury items, which added £41,331 to the fundraising haul. The shopping theme continued; people were able to purchase Virtual Eventing merchandise such as hats and t-shirts, with all proceeds going to charity, while the Virtual Shopping Village saw hundreds of stalls exhibited across the five days.

Rachel Wakefield, organiser of Virtual Eventing, commented, “Eventing has a big community of competitors and fans, and it’s been amazing to see how our sport has united. I never anticipated the support we have had, and to raise nearly £180,000, it is exceptional.”

“My thanks must go to our riders and their owners, auction donors, title sponsor NAF, and all our day sponsors; FMBS, Monbeg Sport Horses, Lotus Romero, Dubarry Of Ireland, SEIB Insurance, Equestriana, Saracens, SEIB Insurance, Voltaire Design, Bloomfield Horseboxes, and Houso, without whose support, this would not have been possible.”

For further information about Virtual Eventing and to watch the event on-demand, visit www.virtualeventing.com and follow at Virtual Eventing on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.