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Veronica Green-Gott

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New Year, New Rules: Check in with Changes to the FEI Rulebook for 2023

The FEI, like the USEA, has revised its MERs for the 2023 season with the aim of making the sport safer. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

A new year means new rule changes from the USEA and FEI. This year, we’re looking at some sizable changes, mainly to the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) for Modified and above. The general gist of the rule changes? Ensuring that horses and athletes are better prepared for the level they’re riding at. 

For example, one of the new updates states that “Horses having not competed at FEI Competition for a period of 13 consecutive months or more will have to complete an event at a lower level before entering a CCI4*-S/L or CCI5*-L Event.”

Athlete categorization has also been updated, with slightly fewer MERs required, but the time in which the MERs are recorded halved. This means that athletes must now obtain more MERs per year than before. 

The new changes may have an effect on your athlete categorization level. Here’s how they’ll be decided for the 2023 season:

“Athletes will be categorized (A, B, C, D) according to their performance in a rolling four year period, rather than eight years. 

D – Ten (10) MERs at CCI2*-S or CCI2*-L level or above; or three (3) MERs at CCI-S or CCI-L at a higher level.

C – Ten (10) MERs at CCI3*-S or CCI3*-L level or above; or three (3) MERs at CCI-S or CCI-L at a higher level.

B – Ten (10) MERs at CCI4*-S or CCI4*-L level or above; or three (3) MERs CCI5*-L.

A – Ten (10) MERs at CCI4*-S or CCI4*-L level or above of which three (3) MERs were at CCI5*-L.”

Athlete categories will now be updated at the end of each month, but your category on the closing date of entries for a specific event will remain your category for that event, regardless of whether you move up to the next category between the close of entries and the event itself, and so you’ll need to ensure you’re adequately qualified as per your categorisation at the time of entry.

For category A riders, there are a few changes to CCI5*-L Qualifications. Now, horses without an existing CCI5*-L MER must achieve an MER as a combination at a CCI4*-L. Horses with an existing CCI5*-L MER must achieve an MER as a combination at either the CCI4*-L level or they must achieve two MERs at the CCI4*-S level. Note that World Championships and Olympic Games require 5* level MERs. 

Better stay on top of those show jumping faults! According to the FEI, “For short format competitions (when the Jumping test is before the Cross Country test), an athlete incurring 20 or more obstacle penalties during the Jumping test will not be authorized to start in the Cross Country test and will be automatically eliminated from the competition.”

The requirements to gain an MER at an international event generally remain much the same: athletes must not earn more than 45 penalty points in the dressage; they must not topple more than four rails in the showjumping; and they must ostensibly go clear in the cross-country without exceeding the optimum time by more than 75 seconds (100 seconds at 5*). That ostensible clear has previously allowed for one activation of a safety device (11 penalties); as of this year, it also allows for one missed flag (15 penalties), though the two cannot occur in the same round.

The Conflict of Interest statement that caused a pretty big uproar in 2022 has also been reworked after significant backlash and salient points made by many individuals, who observed that the majority of judges at FEI events must also teach to sustain their livelihood. The previous iteration of the statement disallowed competitors from riding in front of a judge that had previously taught them.

According to the FEI, the statement is now written as “Conflicts must be avoided whenever practicable. However, conflicts may be linked to experience and expertise that is necessary to qualify Officials. The specific balance between conflict and expertise shall be regulated by the relevant Sport Rules. (FEI General Regulations, Appendix H-FEI Officials’ code of conduct).”

If you have questions about rule changes, talk with your local official or the steward at your next trial. Review the 2023 FEI Rulebook here.

Modifications to National Requirements 

US competitors who stay below the CCI* level are also subject to MERs at the Modified level and above. According to the USEA, “All MER requirements for Modified, Preliminary, Intermediate, and Advanced levels (except Classic Three-day Events), are required for Horses and Athletes to move from one level to the next. After obtaining an MER at the Intro level or above horses and riders are established at the level. Horses and athletes having achieved an MER at the level and [who] have not competed at the level over twelve months must achieve a MER at the next lowest height level.”

The long and short of it is that athletes competing at or above Modified must have obtained at least six MERs at one level before moving up to the next. The horse must have also obtained at least four MERs at one level before moving up, and one of these four MERs must be in combination with the rider.

In the case of a loss of qualifications following dangerous riding penalties, or accumulated incidents as outlined in the USEA rulebook, an athlete “may be re-qualified by achieving two MERs at the next lower height level within any 6-month period and no sooner than 10 days following the loss of qualification.”

The period by which all MERs must be obtained in order to be valid has been shortened. “All Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER), except Classic Three-day Events, must be obtained within a 4-year period. One MER must be obtained within 12 weeks of the Event for which it is needed when moving from one level to the next.” 

If you’re planning on riding in a Classic Three Day Event at Modified or above, you’ll need to have obtained your MERs within a 24-month period of the start of the competition. 

 

 

An Introduction to Lucinda Green’s XC Mastermind: The Dream Team on Fear, Speed, and Respect

Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

“I’m Lucinda Green. I’m a has-been.”

That was how the great Lucinda Green started off her recent XC Mastermind Course, which featured Great Britain’s Piggy March, William Fox-Pitt, and Pippa Funnell, Australia’s Shane Rose, and the USA’s Boyd Martin. This team of household name riders covered everything from how to deal with fear, to where they get their income, to talking about the biggest eventing controversies of the day -– frangible pins to yellow cards to ground juries.

While I’d love to dive right into the deep end and ruffle some feathers, we have to leave some excitement and suspense to Lucinda and the team. Instead, I’m going to focus on my four biggest takeaways from one hour with the greats.

The Dream Team on…

Piggy March and Brookfield Quality. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Dealing with Fear

They get scared, too! Yes, folks. Even those badass 5* cross country machines need a little extra encouragement to get around the course sometimes. Or, as Shane Rose says, “If you don’t have fear in some fashion, you’re probably stupid.”

All six riders agreed that while they do get nerves and feel fear, it’s not so much the fear of falling, as it is the fear of letting down your horse, messing up on course, or losing. Each rider had their own way of dealing with these pre-ride nerves.

Pippa Funnell, who describes herself as an overthinker until she gets in the saddle, consciously focuses on the positive. She used a great quote that has become her motto for dealing with fear: “Don’t let the fear of failure outweigh the excitement of winning.”

One clear thread was present throughout the entire class, and especially in this particular discussion: these upper level riders support each other through the ups and downs of this sport. Piggy March told a moving story about being genuinely scared at her first ever big event (Burghley in 2002). She was sitting on her trailer ramp, terrified, when Pippa Funnell came along, supported her, and got her out on course.

Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Keeping Horses Happy

Next, the team tackled the question: What keeps your horses happy? The answer boiled down to varying the horse’s work and choosing the right horse for the job.

Piggy March’s horses do an intense school two to three times per week and then go hacking or do other forms of varied work. Pippa Funnell focuses on riding with empathy and compassion, while still kindly enforcing rules and boundaries. She believes that a horse that knows the rules is a happier horse.

Shane and Lucinda had a slightly different take and focused on working with horses that enjoy their job. Shane believes that his horses truly enjoy doing well in competition and being good at their jobs — they simply want to please their rider.

Similarly, Lucinda believes that while a horse doesn’t care what color ribbon they bring home, they do know and share in our aura, our happiness, when we do well.

William Fox-Pitt put it simply: focus on education without pressure and don’t overburden your horse.

Shane Rose and CP Qualified. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Going Fast on Cross Country

One question the team tackled was how you train to go fast on cross country. The surprising answer was that they don’t. At least, not in the way you might expect.

The overall consensus was that in order to go fast on course, you have to practice slow. Piggy March focused on knowing your horse and building trust so when you kick it into fifth gear on cross country, your movements, your relationship, and your trust will be rock solid.

Boyd Martin and Pippa Funnell focused on rideability and lightness. According to these two, the fastest horses are the lightest horses. Pippa especially emphasized safety first and prioritizing balance over speed.

Shane said that he gains the most time not by going flat out between fences, but by having a tight line and being economical at the fence. This does not necessarily mean leaving out strides. He and Lucinda both emphasized that sometimes adding a stride is faster than leaving one out. The goal is to be efficient when setting up your line.

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Riding Smaller Fences

As the sport of eventing explores the possibility of using smaller fences (Pratoni was mentioned here), Lucinda brought up a question about how to get your horse to back off of a smaller fence and take it just as seriously as a larger jump.

Shane had a personal story for this discussion. One of his worst crashes in his career was over a small fence because he didn’t take it seriously. His end takeaway was that as the rider, you cannot let your guard down just because it’s a smaller fence. Every fence has to be ridden with respect.

William Fox-Pitt, in his concise and to-the-point manner, advised viewers to “imagine they’re bigger than they are.” If you visualize the fence as quite massive and give it the respect it deserves, your horse is more likely to as well.

Altogether, the #dreamteam’s biggest piece of advice for getting your horse to respect every fence on the cross country field was to really rebalance your horse and remind them to pay attention.

At one point in the meeting, Boyd Martin quips, “We’re pretty lucky we found horses, cause we’d be bloody useless at anything else.”

Well, Boyd, we’re bloody lucky we have you and the rest of the team available in Lucinda Green’s XC Mastermind. From one student of the sport to another, this masterclass is worth the price tag for serious riders.

Get to know the Dream Team on Lucinda Green’s introduction to her XC Mastermind here, and if you’re not a current XC Academy member, the wait list will be opening soon! Sign up here to be added to the list. In the meantime, Lucinda’s hosting a few more free events to kick off 2023 in strong fashion. You can find links to each of the upcoming webinars below.

Pre-Season XC Webinar with Tim & Jonelle Price – February 4, 8 p.m. GMT / 3 p.m. EST / 12 p.m. PST

Pre-Season XC Webinar with Chris Bartle & Dickie Waygood – February 2, 8 p.m. GMT / 3 p.m. EST / 12 p.m. PST

Stable View’s Eventing Academy: Keeping Eventing Accessible for All Levels

Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

When was the last time you attended an unrecognized event? For many eventers, these horse trials tend to get overlooked. But these events play a crucial role in opening up the competition field to riders of all levels and financial backgrounds. The Eventing Academy at Stable View in Aiken, SC is one option for riders who are looking to put in more practice time and start competing in a low-pressure environment.

This unique event combines schooling days and unrecognized horse trials to allow riders and horses to build their confidence on the cross country course. On day one, riders can come to Stable View to school all three rounds: Stadium, Dressage, and Cross Country. On day two, riders can enter an unrecognized horse trial. Points are tracked all year long so riders can still get that special feeling of attending a year-end banquet and coming home with a championship ribbon.

Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

The Eventing Academy format is perfect for green riders and horses to get their feet –- or their hooves — wet before diving into a recognized competition. If your horse struggles with arena or course familiarization, Eventing Academy can help them get over the hump by giving them the day before the show to get used to the facility.

The unique format of the Eventing Academy is just one way that Stable View is supporting the local horse community.

In 2010, owners Barry and Cindy Oliff transformed Stable View from a quail hunting lodge into a top notch equestrian facility. Located in the close-knit equestrian community of Aiken, Stable View has become a gathering place for eventers. Hosting everything from unrecognized competitions to FEI shows on its 1000 acres of rolling hills, the Oliffs are passionate about creating a venue that’s a keystone of the Aiken community and accessible to all riders. Featuring among their many community involvement initiatives is the growing Brave Today program, which gives local youth from disadvantaged or marginalized backgrounds a chance to learn and interact with horses.

Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

2023 is a big year for Stable View, as the venue celebrates a decade of horse shows. As always, Cindy and Barry are sharing their success with the community. To celebrate 10 years of horse shows, Stable View is offering discounts, loyalty programs, and waived stall fees, office fees, and free parking for specific events. While the rest of the world is going up in price, Stable View is working hard to keep eventing accessible for all riders.

Mark off the following dates on your calendar for the 2023 Eventing Academy:

February 17th – 19th

March 10th – 12th

July 21st – 23rd

August 11th – 13th

October 13th – 15th

November 17th – 19th

December 15th – 17th

For more information on the Eventing Academy at Stable View, or to sign up, check out their website.

Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

Wherever you’re located, look for unrecognized horse shows in your area. These shows are not just a great tool for riders, they’re great for your local community. When you attend a schooling show, you’re supporting your local competition venues, getting in more practice time, and saving some money. Venues that host unrecognized competitions play a crucial role in keeping eventing accessible for riders from all backgrounds.

If you want to fill your summer show season with events that support local horse trials, keep the unrecognized calendar in mind. Schooling Horse Trials at Full Gallop Farm and the Mid-South Eventing & Dressage Association, the War Horse series at Carolina Horse Park, multiple schooling opportunities at Waredaca and Maryland Horse Trials, at Florida Horse Park and other locales near Ocala, as well as Stable View’s calendar — and this is by no means an all-inclusive list! — in mind when creating your schedule for 2023.

Cassandre Leblanc: The Road to Young Riders

Cassandre Leblanc and Riffel. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

When a determined 14-year-old Cassandre Leblanc showed up on trainer Holly Jack’s doorstep, she didn’t speak a word of English and had one goal: to find out what she was made of. Seven years later, she was winning at the 2022 USEF Young Rider Eventing Championships. 

As a young girl growing up on her mother’s horse farm, Cassandre knew that she wanted to ride professionally from a young age. She made the trip from Quebec to Holly Jack’s Ontario farm to see how she measured up outside of Quebec’s very small eventing community. 

Cassandre didn’t let the fact that she didn’t speak any English deter her from spending the entire summer working with Holly. Summers at Holly’s farm have become a routine for her, and she’s been going back for the last seven years to compete, groom, and work under Holly’s tutelage. 

Heading back home after her first summer with Holly, Cassandre couldn’t have known that a very special horse was waiting for her in her mother’s back pasture. Riffel was a homebred 10 year-old Percheron/Thoroughbred cross who had successfully scared off every single rider in her mother’s stable. Delegated to the back pasture, he had sat there for years, as no one wanted to risk getting on him. 

Sadly, Riffel had mysteriously stopped eating. Desperate to get him to eat, the family had tried every trick in the book. Nothing worked until Cassandre came home. He would only eat if she sat in the stall with him and held the grain bucket on her knees. Taking it as a sign, Cassandre’s mother knew they would be a show-stopping pair and encouraged Cassandre to work with the troubled gelding. 

Cassandre Leblanc and Riffel.

According to Cassandre, “When I was 14, I started riding him – well, falling off of him multiple times per ride. At the time, I didn’t know what ulcers were, what saddle fit was; you know, I was 14. I was riding bareback in a field. But when I learned about all of this, I knew that he was bad for a reason – there’s stuff going on here. So, I treated his ulcers, I had his saddle fitted; I did the best I could for him, as a 14 year old.”

Treating his physical health wasn’t a miracle cure. “There was all this behavior stuff that he had learned for years. So, I just held on really tight to him, not letting him buck me off, and eventually, got him to be a real horse.”

Riffel had one more big obstacle in his way to becoming an eventing star: he was scared of jumping. After having a few bad experiences as a young horse, Riffel wouldn’t even enter the arena if jumps were set up. “I never thought I would get the horse jumping again. I would just set up a jump in the ring, and he wouldn’t want to walk in.”

But in November 2022 and hundreds of miles away from Quebec, Riffel was galloping towards massive tables and taking Cassandre around a 2* course. The road to get here wasn’t easy. It was filled with blood, sweat, and tears – lots of tears. Small issues with the show jumping phase snowballed until Cassandre was falling off regularly again. Feeling defeated, Cassandre made her first trip to Florida, seeking out more opportunities to practice her show jumping. While there, Cassandre rode several of Holly’s horses and got in the ring as much as possible. 

Less than six months before her bronze medal win at the Young Riders Eventing Championships, Cassandre was thinking of quitting. “It just got worse and worse. I hit this bottom point where I was like, ‘I am done with this. I can’t do this. I can’t even jump a cavaletti properly.’ I was very desperate. But I kept trying — I wanted it so bad.”

On top of her show jumping woes, Cassandre also faced a financial barrier to getting to the Young Rider Championships. While she was qualified and had secured a spot on the team, she couldn’t afford to go. Cassandre had accepted this and held onto her faith that other opportunities would come down the line – but her family hadn’t. Holly Jacks and Cassandre’s sister worked together in secret to raise more than $5000 in 24 hours. After seeing their dedication, Cassandre knew she had to go. 

Cassandre Leblanc and Riffel. Photo by Cealy Tetley.

Holly and Cassandre’s sister weren’t the only ones who supported this young rider on her road to the Championships. Cassandre has close ties to the Zara Buren Foundation, who also provided her with a grant. “I knew Zara very well; I rode with her a lot when she was with Holly. Obviously, her passing was very hard for all of us. I stayed very close to her friends and family and we kept celebrating her every time we could. I kept wearing her colors and thinking about her a lot. And her mom called me one night and she said, ‘we’re going to do a special grant and we want to help you, because Zara would have been so proud of you and she would have wanted to go with you’.”

In a way, Zara was there with Cassandre, Riffel, and Holly at the Young Riders Eventing Championships. Cassandre wore her Zara Buren shirt all the time under her show jacket, to represent the presence of her friend whose memory and generous family helped to make Cassandre’s dreams come true.  

Despite all of the barriers along her road to the championships, Cassandre’s perseverance paid off. Her and Riffel’s performance earned her an individual bronze medal and landed Team Canada with a silver medal. When asked what advice she would give for other young riders who hope to follow in her footsteps, Cassandre says, “Don’t give up and get back on. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and are ready to help you when you need it. That’s probably my best advice because I couldn’t have done this without the community around me.”

 

Ocala Horse Properties Dream Farm of the Week: A French Twist

Are you looking for a unique piece of property in the heart of Ocala, Florida that you can make your own? I may have found you the perfect one.

Come home to beautiful black board and rail fencing and drive up a Live Oak lined driveway. If you’re someone like me who owns a “dogs welcome, people tolerated” door mat, you’ll appreciate the curved iron gate and light gray columns that will greet your guests.

As you drive up to the house, you’ll be able to check on all your horses, who are hopefully grazing happily in their manicured pastures, instead of trying to find new ways to injure themselves and cost you as much money as possible (a girl can dream, right?).

Once you’ve arrived, step onto the beautiful flagstone front porch. Any barn dog would be thrilled to watch the farm from the comfort of this wide and spacious porch. Starting at the front of the house, it wraps around and extends halfway down the side. I would spend hours on this porch, sipping lemonade and watching my horses in the pasture.

The real drama of this house begins when you walk through the front door and are greeted by French-inspired architecture.

This home may be only 2000 square feet, but it has a presence akin to any mansion. If I lived in this house, I would wear those slim French cigar pants and a blouse every day. All guests would have to have their hair in a chignon and use phrases like “je ne sais quoi” and “sacre bleu!”

Walking into the living room, the first thing you’ll notice is the massive column that holds the fireplace and television. Adorned with intricate woodwork at the top, you’ll be required to watch artful black and white documentaries in order to match the overall vibe. This living room feels quite tall, thanks to the 10-foot ceilings and multi-layered crown moulding. A chair rail and wainscotting add even more texture to the room.

Feel like you’re walking through the walls of a French manor as you exit the living room through an arched doorway supported by two graceful pillars, each of which are crowned with intricate moulding. Doorways supported by pillars or columns and topped with moulding are a definite theme throughout the home.


If you’re like me and you practice self-care by taking a way-too-long bubble bath with a glass of wine and a good book, then the master bathroom may just sell this house for you. An extra large corner bathtub complete with back-massaging jets will make you never want to get out of the tub. A tub like this is especially perfect for when you inevitably fall off your horse. (It happens to all of us, am I right?)


The cabinets in this kitchen are to die for. These beautiful glass-fronted cabinets will show off your perfectly matched and elegant dining ware. I can absolutely see this kitchen being the life of the party, with friends and family gathering around the granite island to discuss their last riding lesson. Or, picture yourself cooking over the sink with what looks to be a great view of your horse lounging in their well-ventilated and bright run-in shed.


This house is set up for drama. Throw open these glass double doors to make a sparkling entrance to your own dining room, where your guests will be waiting for you. The elegant details embedded into the glass are perfectly complemented by the gorgeous and intricate decorative moulding above the door. The dining room itself may be on the small side, but the beautifully curved arched doorway and intricate chandelier give it the presence of a room twice its size.

The magic of this property extends far beyond the house itself. Encompassing 21 acres, this property also includes six stalls, paddocks, feeders, and run-in sheds. If you’re not a fan of lugging around hoses or filling water buckets, this property is for you, as all paddocks have automatic waterers.


Bring your working student or live-in barn manager! This property features a one bedroom mobile home, complete with its own mini front porch and concrete patio with rudimentary grill. I can just see the barn parties now– boarders and management alike cooking hot dogs and drinking beer on a dusky summer evening.

It’s important to note that while this property does not have a formal barn, the owner is a career builder and would consider creating a custom barn for the buyer, which only adds to the property’s limitless potential. The beautifully maintained pastures are bordered by a galloping track that extends all the way around the property. Just imagine how convenient it would be to condition your horse for your next event on your very own track. Plus, this property has a round pen and hot walker to conveniently cool out your horse when you can’t do it yourself.


If you’re looking for a pocket-sized property (by Ocala standards) with a lot of personality, this is absolutely the home for you. Learn more about this horse farm on the Ocala Horse Properties website.

Product Review: Pantes by Eques Pante

Photo courtesy of Eques Pante.

Never did I ever think that my writing career would include reviewing underwear online, but boy am I glad it did.

Eques Pantes are the latest trend in equestrian riding underwear. Made in the USA, the slimming and sculpting knee-length “pantes” are designed to be completely seamless underneath your breeches. The custom, eco-conscious, moisture-wicking fabric is also designed to prevent chafing or rashes along the inner thigh, which is a common problem for many equestrians.

Founded by Jessica Andrews, Eques Pante was developed by an equestrian for equestrians. According to their website, her goal upon founding Eques Pante was to create “quality, durable athletic underwear that stays put while it also slims, sculpts, cools, wicks sweat, dries quickly, prevents chafing, and looks cute,” all without any panty lines.

So, do these pantes hold up to their claims? I put the Eques Pantes through a full day of work at the barn, plus riding, to find out if they do everything they claim.

My first impressions after getting my Eques Pantes were promising. The box itself had a nice easy-to-open design and the pantes seemed to be made of thick and sturdy fabric. I was able to pull on them and stretch them without signs of gapping at the seams or being able to see through them.

Now, if I’m going to test out a product, then I’m going to really put them through all the rigorous aspects of barn life, and these pantes were definitely put through the ringer. The first time I tested them out, I wore them for about 6 hours. During this time, I mucked 16 stalls, fed 20 horses, and walked in them constantly while turning horses in and out to pasture. This was not a walk in the park and the pantes were up to the task! For their first time out, I wore them underneath jeans and with a belt, which is my standard wear when I’m doing barn chores.

Beautiful packaging for this made in the USA product!

My biggest worry was that I would have the same problem I have with a lot of leggings or athletic wear: they tend to slide down or roll down at the waistband. Because of their knee length, I was also worried that these pantes would roll up at the knee from the continual friction of my jeans. But my worries were unfounded, these Eques Pantes stayed in place. I would, however, suggest sizing down for additional compression as their sizing is pretty generous. The size large that I normally wear was just a bit on the bigger side.

One bonus that I wasn’t expecting was that the pantes kept me warmer than I would typically be on a cold autumn afternoon at the barn. The extra length, plus the high-quality fabric, made me feel almost as though I was wearing long johns or thermal underwear, all without any visible seams.

While they performed well when worn underneath my jeans, I could tell the Eques Pantes were designed with breeches in mind as their first and foremost priority. The fabric has just enough slip to allow your breeches to slide seamlessly over the pantes, just like they would over your skin. I didn’t notice any visible seams underneath my breeches, but you could feel the slight seam towards the knee of the pantes if you ran your finger over it. Despite that, I still don’t think any seams were visible.

The pantes didn’t impact my freedom of movement at all, and I could still move in the saddle just as comfortably as if I were wearing breeches alone. I don’t typically get chafing from riding, unless I’m riding out for hours at a time. However, I feel as though these pantes would do a phenomenal job of protecting my legs no matter how long I was in the saddle. The thick fabric covers all of the vulnerable skin on the inner thigh and definitely creates an extra barrier between yourself and the saddle.

 

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Many equestrians work hard to stay fit when they’re out of the saddle, which may include taking up other sports such as running or yoga. If you’re one of these equestrians– these pantes are a must-have. The knee-length design is perfect to prevent the inner thigh chafing that so often plagues runners.

I could also imagine myself relaxing with some Sunday morning yoga in these pantes, without worrying that they’re falling down or that they’re see-through. The thick fabric means that you can downward dog all day long without worrying about the view of the person behind you.

Long story short– these Eques Pantes are well worth the investment. It’s not everyday you find a product that actually does everything it claims, but these pantes have managed to do it. Particularly for riders who struggle with chafing or saddle sores, the Eques Pantes could quickly become a must-have.

Click here to peruse through the collection of pantes on their website.

Product reviews on EN are conducted in partnership with sponsors. All information you read in our reviews comes directly from our reviewer, but we do need to disclose that we received compensation for conducting the review. Interested in having your product reviewed? Email [email protected].

Where Are They Now? Widespread Panic Went from ‘Ugly Duckling’ to Versatile Superstar

Megan Moore and Widespread Panic. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

When Megan Moore first brought Widespread Panic home from the racetrack, everyone at her barn thought she was crazy. Widespread Panic, barn name “Nemo”, was a bit (just a bit) of an ugly duckling.

Megan reminisces on that fateful day. “He looked like a baby Saddlebred. He had this enormous blaze on his face and he was in the middle of a growth spurt, so his head was much, much bigger than the rest of his body. And he was very awkward looking. When he arrived from the track, all the girls looked at me like, ‘What did you do?'”

But despite his ugly duckling appearance and “typewriter-esque trot”, Megan knew she had a special horse on her hands because of his kind eyes. “I just loved him from the minute I saw him because he’s just a kind, sweet horse and he never has a cross word for anybody,” she described. “So even though he was at a growth spurt where there were a lot of legs going a lot of different ways and his head was too big for his body, he just had that way about him. He was just a kind horse.”

Megan and Widespread Panic. Photo by Emily Daily.

It was a long road to success with Nemo. When he first came to Megan, he was what she calls ‘a big wimp and a big sweetheart’. He was the lowest horse in the pecking order in the pasture and Megan discovered he was aptly named, as he was the type to “look at you as though the world had just blown up.” Generally, he was a baby horse without any confidence who tended to get a little stressed.

But Megan’s trust in his kind eye paid off. As this ugly duckling grew up, he became a cross country machine. Nemo went on to be named to the USEF Developing Rider List, helped Megan earn her USDF Bronze Medal, and evented through the Advanced and then-3* level, winning more events than Megan can count.

“By the time he was stronger as an upper level horse, he had the best trot,” Megan recalls. “He won more Intermediates than I can count in his career and got really good dressage scores. But it was all just because he wanted to learn, he wanted to do it for you.”

At the age of 21 years young, Nemo is still happy to be out and showing at the top levels of dressage. Having been competing for 18 years straight, he’s now at a pure dressage barn where he is still sound, glowing, and ready to get out in the ring and win. Nemo is now partnered with Julia Magsam, and the pair just won their own USDF Bronze medal last month — Nemo’s second Bronze Medal-winning ride.

An 18-year competition career is long for any horse, but particularly for an off-the-track Thoroughbred. Nemo, however, beats all the odds. Megan credits his soundness and beautiful condition to the hard work put in by Julia and her team to keep him healthy and happy, as well as the excellent team of vets and farriers he had while he was with Megan. “Fortunately, Nemo is a very sane horse. He always allowed us to do every every bit of icing and wrapping and every bit of care you could possibly give a horse.”

Megan says Nemo is not the type of horse to retire and move to Florida with the rest of the snowbirds. This horse is here to stay. “He wants you to touch him every day and he wants you to work with him and he wants to be ridden. He doesn’t want to be chucked out in the field and retired.”

Next time you see Widespread Panic out and about at a horse show, take a moment to stop and watch. This horse is truly one-in-a-million, both for his growing list of achievements and his willing and kind attitude.

A long career (and, more importantly, a long and healthy life) is always a goal for our horses. Ask your veterinarian about Zoetis’ line-up of health support options that can help support your horse for a long-lasting and comfortable career and life.

Ocala Horse Properties Dream Farm of the Week: Spiraling into the 60s

Brick. Circles. 1960’s. 

That summarizes everything you need to know about this listing on Ocala Horse Properties. Join me on a ‘60s-themed field trip to the world of Dream Horse Farm. 

If you love Frank Lloyd Wright, the famed American architect and creator of eight World Heritage Sites, then we found the *perfect* horse farm for you. If you have no clue who that is, you might still like it. It’s just that good. 

Now, this property is a little different. And I know we’re all equestrians here who probably just want to hear about the barn, but hang tight, because this house is something to talk about. Let’s start with the most obvious– it’s a literal circle. 

Photo courtesy of Ocala Horse Properties.

Yes, that is a curved indoor swimming pool in one section. And yes, that is a circular courtyard in the middle of your circular house surrounded by curved trees and a semi-circle driveway. After living here, you’ll have no excuse if you can’t ride a perfect circle in your dressage test.

Photo courtesy of Ocala Horse Properties.

This 11,000 square foot house features carved brick walls with an equestrian motif, which is echoed in the gorgeous red brick barn with a carved brick mural of a horse over the entryway.

Photo courtesy of Ocala Horse Properties.

When I said that this house was committed to brick, I meant it. 

Do you have a side hustle? (What equestrian doesn’t, these days?) I just found your new home office. 

Photo courtesy of Ocala Horse Properties.

Doesn’t that dark wood wall just scream “make me your Zoom background!” Take your lunch break on the balcony or simply watch over your farm while you consider your client’s latest problem with a cup of coffee. Either way, this potential home office, complete with fireplace, is the perfect place to run your empire. 

Photo courtesy of Ocala Horse Properties.

If I lived here, I would say the phrase “take a turn about the gardens” as often as humanly possible because it would make me feel like I was living in a Bridgerton-esque universe. And, of course, for the pun.

Also, let’s just take a moment to close our eyes and imagine how nice it would be to hash out your dressage test with friends after a long show day while floating in that pool. Ahh, I can almost feel the margarita in my hand. 

Now to the important part of the tour– the bar. This bar, complete with an elegant photo of Audrey Hepburn, looks like something out of Mad Men. Invite your clients down for a glass of champagne after selling your latest prospect and making a ridiculous profit. Or host a party after a horse you own wins its most recent $100,000 Classic. 

Photo courtesy of Ocala Horse Properties.

This house has a good sense of humor, because on the other end of the house, the second bar is a little more light-hearted. 

Photo courtesy of Ocala Horse Properties.

I promised you a ‘60’s-themed rock-and-roll bar, and I’ll be darned if I didn’t deliver. This seems like an amazing place to hold a ‘60s-themed party with all the other equestrians in your neighborhood. Or, you know, if you’re a relatively normal person, I guess you could just have a normal non-themed party? But you know what they say about opportunity knocking… 

Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… the barn. Doesn’t that sleeping horse carving just instantly make you feel more relaxed? Maybe it’ll calm down your spicy chestnut mare, too, but no guarantees.

Photo courtesy of Ocala Horse Properties.

The good looks don’t end at the entryway. Inside, this barn is bright and airy with pristine white walls and rich hardwood accents (no cribbers allowed in my dream farm). You can almost feel the breeze blowing down that wide aisle way through the picture. 

Photo courtesy of Ocala Horse Properties.

I’m also very into covered arenas, so this was a huge plus for me. It might be an unpopular opinion, but I think they’re the best of both worlds. The roof keeps the worst of the weather off, but you still get that nice breeze and wide open feeling. Plus, this arena looks big enough for just about any discipline. 

Photo courtesy of Ocala Horse Properties.

Did we mention that this farm is situated on over 80 acres? You could trail ride for days and still see new sections of your own property. The rolling hills are perfect for conditioning your next eventing superstar or putting miles on that green prospect. 

If you’re like me and love a property that offers something a little different than your garden-variety rectangular house, check out this farm on Ocala Horse Properties. Or, if you want to play it safe, you can search for a beautiful house on their site

Ready to Have Fun?

Photo by Veronica Green-Gott.

“Are you ready to have fun?”

I greeted the little grey mare at the gate the same way each day. She hadn’t had the best start in life. Living out in a field, with no human interaction, and no vet or farrier care for her first five years. However, she did have food. Lots of food. Her previous owner would dump out a bag of grain each day for each horse. Needless to say, she was fat. I rubbed my hand through her tangled mane and felt her breathe. Then I slipped the halter on and we made our way up to the barn.

Gabby was a half-arab half-andalusian 15-hand mare with lots of spunk. But she was also heartbreakingly timid and when scared, would freeze. I’ve never been the rider with the best relationships with her horses. It pains me to admit it. But they rarely greet me at the gate and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure if they ever looked forward to our rides. I was competitive and intense. Unable to find the line between doing nothing and drilling every exercise in the book.

With Gabby, it had to be different. My goal for her wasn’t to win blue ribbons. I needed to start her under saddle and create a functioning citizen of the horse world. Gabby demanded that it was different. Without a relationship, she would have never progressed. With pinned ears or a wild eye, she would tell me when I wasn’t paying enough attention to her opinion. Hence, the same question every day. I wanted her to have fun. I wanted her to look forward to our rides and understand that we could build a solid relationship based on positivity, not competitive drive.

Because of this, our arena looked a little different. My trainer and I had tarps, balls, and poles laid out every which way. The kiddie pool and pedestal even made the occasional appearance. With the help of some creativity, we were making progress. But I have to admit, there were moments where I doubted our approach. The well-known classical dressage trainer would be working her students in perfect collection on circle after circle. I, on the other hand, would be teaching my whale of a scruffy grey pony how to stand on a pedestal. The trainer’s students asked me several times if she was pregnant.

Photo by Stacy Giordani.

Despite my doubts, we were making progress. She could walk, trot, and haphazardly canter around the ring. Trail rides were still out of the question, but she wasn’t scared of tarps, or plastic bags, or anything else. We would play games where I would hide treats (low-cal!) around the ring and she would hunt for them. We even started to lose weight as I could work her under saddle more and more.

The first time that I got on her was pure magic. Terrifying and adrenaline-rushing magic, but still one of the highlights of my riding career. After groundwork for two months, I could put our relationship to the test under saddle. I got on her with a bareback pad and my trainer ponied us around the ring. Then she let us loose. My heart was in my mouth. I was so thrilled and excited and terrified. The first ride is a crucial moment in every horse’s life. If I made it a bad experience, she could wind up with even more baggage to work through.

Gabby had to trust me in order to let me ride her around the ring after 9 years of barely any human contact. The fact that she allowed me onto her back spoke volumes about our relationship. After that ride, I felt like I had finally started to accomplish what I always wanted to.

For the first time in my riding career, I felt a true relationship with a horse that wasn’t built on competition or drive. Better yet, she started to come to me in the field. When I first met Gabby, catching her was a production. She was barely halter broke and would run away when she saw you. You had to approach her from the off-side. She would turn her rear end towards you and present you with a lovely visual of her gray tail. This intimidated the crap out of me, at first. But then I discovered that she was asking for bum scratches. Yes, this horse loved to have the base of her tail scratched down. Then and only then, would you be able to catch her.

After some trials and tribulations, she became easier to catch. The day that I called her name and saw her cantering, not walking, but cantering over the hill and towards the gate took my breath away. I felt like jumping for joy. I called my mom, “Gabby came to me today!”

We celebrated together over the phone. It was such a big step for a neglected little pony and filled me with so much joy.

Photo by Veronica Green-Gott.

My “have fun” philosophy that was slowly being cultivated with the help of my trainer caught me some flak at the barn. At one point, I was trying to work Gabby through a tarp and kiddie pool combination when I could hear the dressage trainer at the other end of the ring openly discussing my training strategy. “What do you think that kiddie pool is for?” she would say, half-scoffingly to her student. “What is she trying to do?”

It didn’t matter that Gabby was starting to enjoy her hunt for treats and was becoming a little bit braver with the ball. It didn’t matter that working with the kiddie pool would teach her to stand still for the inevitable hoof-soaking that she would need some day. Or that the pedestal taught her where her feet were and helped her stretch out her back. My methods weren’t on the dressage pyramid and therefore, were complete and utter bunk. I gritted my teeth in frustration and tried to ignore her mumblings at the other end of the ring.

It was almost the start of the show season and my competitive drive started to rear its head. My trainer and I discussed entering her in some low level dressage tests or maybe a trail class or two. Gabby and I’s sessions started to take on a little bit more intensity. Then, one rainy snowy night I walked up to Gabby’s paddock and she walked away from me.

That stung. A lot. I was in the middle of second-guessing our planned show season, when I noticed blood dripping down her hind leg. In the cold, dark air, I squinted. She was lame at the walk. My heart caught in my throat. She wasn’t letting me catch her because she was trying to tell me something– she was in pain. The moment I understood, she stopped and looked at me. We walked to the barn together painstakingly slowly.

After a few days of waiting, monitoring, and hoping, the worst was discovered. Gabby had a broken leg. Her cannon bone was fractured and a small piece had chipped off and was floating nearby. My trainer, who was also Gabby’s owner, mentioned euthanasia and my stomach just dropped. To some degree, I understood. Gabby wasn’t earning her any money and was just on field board. She couldn’t be on the stall rest she needed. On the other hand, I loved this little mare but didn’t have the funds or the time to provide her with what she needed.

The vet wanted to forge ahead in spite of our hesitations. If she was quiet enough out in the field, she could have a chance at healing. A month of bandage changes and stifled hopes later, we had some good news. She was healing relatively well, but still had a long road ahead of her. I was happy that she was healing, but I was still worried. My childhood horse had to be retired at the age of 13 after tearing a suspensory. It was so painful for me to give up the future that I saw with him. I couldn’t do it again. I felt helpless. As a college student, I didn’t have the money to buy Gabby and put her on the stall rest the vet recommended. I went to school an hour away, I couldn’t be there everyday to change her bandages and take care of her the way that I wanted to.

In my helplessness, I felt myself withdraw. It would be a stupid financial decision to take on a horse with a broken leg. Gabby and I had built a relationship based on trust and connection. It was so hard to let that go– but I couldn’t torture myself by watching her limp around her turnout paddock and be powerless to help.

Gabby eventually got the stall rest she needed with the help of a small turnout pen and a stall loaned to Gabby’s owner by a kind boarder. But for me, the damage was done. I felt powerless. I couldn’t help her. I had to leave her in the care of her owner and trust that she would continue to heal and wouldn’t be put to sleep. I left the barn and took the lessons that Gabby taught me with me.

Gabby taught me how to be patient, stand up for what I believe in, and most importantly, how to listen to what matters most. Riding isn’t always about the blue ribbon or perfect collection. Sometimes it’s just about that first ride on a scruffy little horse. Sometimes it’s about understanding how love and trust can create a relationship between two wildly different species, between predator and prey. Now, almost two years later, I greet my rescued 3-year-old mare with the same question I greeted Gabby.

Are you ready to have fun?