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Veronica Green-Gott

Achievements

About Veronica Green-Gott

Veronica Green-Gott has been riding for nearly two decades, the majority of which was spent competing in the equitation ring. Currently, she's training her 6 year old off-the-track thoroughbred, LB, to hopefully one day compete in eventing, but mostly they focus on teaching her to use her brain and mind her manners. Veronica combined her two passions for writing and horses into her company, Golden Fleece Farm Marketing (gffmarketing.com).

Latest Articles Written

Inside EN’s Holiday Gift Guide: Ideas for the Student of the Sport

An equestrian who is a true student of the sport is always looking for opportunities to learn something new about eventing or their horse. And, as all equestrians know, there’s always more to learn! This gift guide is designed to help the equestrian in your life continue their eventing education.

Audio Lessons to Listen to While They Ride

Image courtesy of Ride iQ.

Lessons are expensive. Ride iQ could be a great alternative to lessons, or used in addition to working with a trainer. With a Ride iQ subscription, your friend or family member can listen to audio lessons taught by world class equestrians while they ride.

52 Exercises to Improve Their Jumping Performance

If your friend, family member, or horse trainer loves to jump, then you know what a challenge it is to come up with new and exciting grids. With the Grid Pro Quo book, available on Horse & Rider Books, you can give them the gift of 52 new jumping exercises to try, from top trainers like Boyd Martin and Kim Severson. Give this book to your horse trainer if you dare…

Tickets to the Best Weekend All Year

Zoe Crawford and K.E.C. Zara. Photo by Shelby Allen.

For eventers in the United States, the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event is the biggest competition of the year. Going to LRK3DE is not like attending any other sporting event– it’s a learning opportunity, too! Tickets to LRK3DE may fit in a stocking, but these tickets could take the place of every present under the tree.

A Schooling, Lesson, or Entry Pass

Photo by Joan Davis / Flatlandsfoto.

For an equestrian who struggles to afford regular lessons, the best present you can give is a “gift card” or check for a lesson with a local trainer. If your rider loves to compete, another great gift idea is to fund an off-property cross country schooling trip or to pay the entry fees for their next show.

Auto-Tracking Portable Video Camera

Image courtesy of Pivo.

Cameras that automatically track your horse and record you while you ride are quickly becoming popular. For someone who wants to learn from their mistakes, this type of camera is priceless for its ability to allow for self-improvement and better progress tracking. Pivo is one of the best auto-tracking cameras on the market, thanks to its lightweight minimalist look, user-friendly design, and ability to connect right to your phone.

Helmet Cam to Relive Every Ride

Image courtesy of Cambox.

While nothing is more exhilarating than riding a cross country course, a close second is to relive every stride of the same course with the help of a helmet cam. It’s hard to learn everything you can from a cross country course while you ride it. Thanks to the Cambox V4 Pro Horse, your friend or family member will be able to watch the course over and over again, analyze their successes and mistakes, and take away even more from the experience.

A Notebook for All Things Dressage

For many eventers, dressage can be a really difficult phase. With the Dressage Rider’s Essential Notebook, your equestrian student has access to dressage arena diagram pages, a notebook, journal, and lesson index. With help from this notebook, they’ll be a dressage pro before long!

Whether you’re shopping for your barn bestie, your trainer, or your family member, you can find something for everyone on our 2022 Nation Media Holiday Gift Guide — click here to view it in full!

Inside EN’s Holiday Gift Guide: Ideas for the Competitive Eventer

Does your loved one love nothing more than the feeling of galloping out of the start box? Your shopping list for the competitive equestrian may look a little different than for the casual rider. Here’s our list of everything we think competitive eventers need this holiday season, plucked from our 2022 Holiday Gift Guide.

Workout Shorts & Seamless Underwear in One

Photo courtesy of Eques Pante.

The struggle to put together a beautiful show outfit and avoid panty lines is real. Eques Pantes are unique equestrian underwear that’s designed to give a seamless look, plus all the benefits of athletic underwear. You could even wear these knee-length pants to a yoga class or on a run!

Lightweight Leg Protection

Photo courtesy of World Equestrian Brands.

Eventers are known for protecting their horse’s with intense gear– from heavy duty brushing boots to bell boots made from ballistic material. But sometimes, what you really need is a lightweight breathable wrap that protects from knocks and is breathable in hot weather.
That’s where these Equilibrium Stretch & Flex Flatwork Wraps from World Equestrian Brands come in. These leg wraps are made from unique breathable Stomatex that regulates the skin temperature during work.

A Unique Cooler for the Rider Who Has Everything

Photo courtesy of Horseware.

If there’s one thing to know about horse people, it’s that one hill we will die on is protecting our fave brands. Horseware has a cult following of equestrians who love their blankets (me included!). If you’re shopping for an equestrian who is all about Horseware, this Embossed Jersey Cooler will keep their horse looking sharp in between phases at their next event.

A Half Pad in Their Custom Cross Country Colors

Photo courtesy of World Equestrian Brands.

Eventers are die-hard color enthusiasts. Each rider has their own cross country colors and are constantly looking for more gear in those colors. This Mattes Platinum Half Pad from World Equestrian Brands can be customized into any color combination under the sun!

Keep Your Rider Safe this Holiday Season

Photo courtesy of SmartPak.

If your loved one is an eventer, then you’re probably familiar with that sinking feeling you get when your rider is on course and you hear there’s a hold due to a fall. If that sounds like you, consider this a present for your loved one and for yourself. The Hit Air Advantage Air Vest is the perfect compromise between comfort and security, as it activates only in the event of a fall.

A Saddle Pad That Always Looks Brand New

Photo courtesy of Iconic Equestrian.

Is your rider always washing those big, bulky saddle pads? The Iconic Equestrian 2-in-1 Saddle Pad will save them some effort. This unique saddle part has a breathable and shock absorbing top pad and a removable inner liner pad. This design keeps your horse’s back dry and comfortable while protecting your saddle pad from sweat or dirt build-up. The end result: a saddle pad that stays cleaner for longer.

Boot Crowns for the Dressage Queen

Photo courtesy of Boot Crowns.

The dressage phase of every horse trial gets a bad reputation for being boring. But there are eventers out there, like me, who love the dressage phase. For us eventing Dressage Queens, these boot crowns would be the cherry on top of our show outfits. These Boot Crowns offer the same fancy, big bucks style as custom tall boots for half the cost.

Cozy Winter Breeches

Photo courtesy of LG Moena.

For those equestrians who aren’t lucky enough to head down South for the winter, we scrape through the cold months with the help of warm winter breeches, like the LG Moena Silicone Full Seat Breeches. These highly insulated breeches have a softshell outer layer that even helps to block the wind!

The holidays are stressful enough. Get all of your holiday shopping done in one place thanks to our Nation Media Holiday Gift Guide! Click here to view the Gift Guide in full.

The Morven Park 4*L Course: Creating Masters of Terrain

Two days before cross country, Morven Park is holding its breath for the big event: the 4*L course. Designed by Derek di Grazia for the second year in a row, it clocks in at 5804 meters, or just over three and a half miles, and the optimum time for the 25-fence course is 10 minutes and 11 seconds.

We hope our riders have done their homework, because fitness is a must for this course. Since it’s a good mix of long galloping stretches, technical questions, and lots and lots of terrain, completing this course within the time is going to take a horse at the peak of their physical health. According to Derek, “No matter what, they’ve got to be fit to go up and down the hills here.”

Our day one leader after dressage, Sharon White, agrees. “Starting with fence four, from there on you’ve got terrain the rest of the way. So, it doesn’t let up at the end. You have to have a fit horse and they’re going to have to stay focused and on their feet the whole way around.”

This course does not pull punches, but is fair and proper. Sharon describes Derek as a “master of course design” and calls the course “really lovely.”

The first combination on course comes early, and it’s a water question, but this will be a straightforward “get your feet wet” ask ahead of the remaining two — progressively more challenging — water complexes. Photo courtesy of CrossCountryApp.

Photo courtesy of CrossCountryApp.

As he has said in past interviews, Derek strives to use his designs to educate first and foremost, and this course is no exception. Derek’s priority was to help prepare horses and riders for the next step. When asked what he wanted to teach riders through this course, he responded, “To be better prepared for championships and Olympic Games. And also to keep competing, whether it’s to go abroad and do a four-star or five-star, but you always want to have these events, be able to give them the experience that they need to be able to compete in those different situations.”

The course itself is fairly designed and very representative of what riders should be expected to complete at this level. The first few minutes of the course are filled with formidable tables that Ema Klugman described as, “classic Derek.” But Derek also gives horses and riders some time to get into a good rhythm with a nice galloping start before really getting into the terrain after fence 4, where the course moves into technical questions on difficult terrain.

While the terrain tests fitness, the combinations set by Derek will test accuracy and “can you get your shoulder straight here”. Photo courtesy of CrossCountryApp.

According to Derek, in order to be successful on this course, “Riders have to know their horses and know how they’re going to deal with the terrain here.”

True to form, Derek has used the natural terrain provided by Morven Park to create a course that combines technical questions and a good flow. This was actually an important factor in Sharon’s decision to bring Claus 63 to this event. According to Sharon, “From fence 4 to the very end, you’re dealing with terrain, either up or down, and accuracy questions on terrain. And I think that is the best way to challenge a horse on cross country without putting them in danger.”

Derek uses the terrain expertly to elevate what could be simple questions. For example, combination 6AB goes through the woods and wraps around a unique rock formation that blocks the view of fence B, an upright and rather narrow coop. Without the rocks, this bending line may have been simple. With the rocks, it can be a real challenge.

Sit up tall at the Leaf Pit! Photo by Veronica Green-Gott.

Perhaps the best use of terrain on course is the Taylor Harris Leaf Pit. Regarded as one of the most difficult fences on course, the Leaf Pit is an homage to late course designer Tremaine Cooper who originally designed the combination.

According to Derek, “I think that the Leaf Pit is sort of Tremaine’s jump. He was the one that, I think, actually started using that many years ago. And it’s one of the feature fences of the course. I think we’ll always use it — it’s a great feature.”

Our tour guide, Ema Klugman, demonstrates the Leaf Pit on foot. Photo by Veronica Green-Gott.

According to Ema, the Leaf Pit is where the “heart palpitations start.” This formidable four-fence combination involves a steep drop. Fence A is a large brush fence that offers horses a few strides afterwards to prepare for the drop. Seen here is the drop at fence B with 6’3” Jeff Kibbie standing behind it. Riders have to stay organized after the drop to make it out over the brush fence and finish over the brush skinny.

Sharon describes the leaf pit as an “icon of Morven Park.”

“I think that’s a really good question early on,” she said. “You have to deal with a lot of terrain and stay on the line, which is a question that is asked a lot on this course. So, I’m not taking any of it for granted.”

Horses and riders will ride through three different water jumps on the Morven Park 4*L course. Combination 4AB features two small ponds with raised ground in the middle, providing a unique challenge as some horses may think it’s another ground line and try to jump it.

The second water question comes at 13, the SmartPak Splash. Photo by Veronica Green-Gott.

Two more water jumps later on in the course, the Smartpak Splash and the Devoucoux Frog Pond, will continue to challenge the horse’s fitness. The Smartpak Splash involves a tight turn where a tree acts almost like a second standard to an angled brush fence. The Devoucoux Frog Pond has a large log jump followed by a tight four strides that riders will have to bend in order to make it to fence B nicely.

Speaking of fitness, the steep climb up to the Taylor Harris Mansion Lawn followed by the downhill combination is perhaps the most fitness-challenging aspect of the course. 17A is an inviting ramp followed by a few short strides downhill towards a massive upright corner that blocks the view of the narrow, upright skinny that makes up the last aspect of the combination. Many horses will be starting to tire at this point in the course, and this challenging downhill triple combination will require them to sit back and stay organized. According to Ema, this triple combination may be, “in some ways, kind of the most technical job on course.”

The scenery here IS gorgeous. Photo by Veronica Green-Gott.

The latter half of the course also has some unique features, such as fence 20 – the Sold by Sue Cottage. This coop is actually a lower level fence built up to make a formidable, if adorable, cottage. True to form, it’s jumped on a downhill turn before riders will gallop up another hill and jump over an angled log. The cottage is just one more example of how Derek uses what’s available to him in new and unique ways.

Coming through to the end of the course, riders are going to be hard pressed to make up any time lost. So close to the home stretch, riders may be tempted to put on the gas, but fences like 22ABC are asking technical questions that aren’t conducive to a flat-out gallop.

The final combination at 24 will be a test of listening, which at this point on a Long course can be a big test. The skinny fences here will enforce the importance of accuracy, even in a fatigued state. Photo courtesy of CrossCountryApp.

Finally, riders will have to contend with a curving triple brush combination made of a downhill brush fence filled with the scent of freshly cut pine and two brush skinnies put on a curving line. So close to the finish line, our riders will gallop over a small bridge, through the woods and out to a left hand turn to a welcoming ramp– the Erin Gilmore Photo Frame, aptly named for its large rectangular wooden arch.

All in all, to conquer Derek di Grazia’s formidable and masterfully designed Morven Park 4*L course, riders and horses will have to be fit to the gills, have cat-like reflexes, and remember to have their mental game well in hand before leaving the start box.

Click/tap the image to view the full course and fence-by-fence photos.

You can view a full fence-by-fence photo guide to the Morven Park 4*-L track on CrossCountryApp here.

Morven Park Fall International CCI4*-L (Leesburg, VA): [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [CCI4*-L XC Preview] [Erin Gilmore Photography] [Scoring] [Volunteer]

10 Takeaways From a Clinic With Lucinda Green

Photo by Veronica Green-Gott.

When I first arrived on the cross country field at Loch Moy Farm, I was greeted by the strange sight of a small group of 10 to 15 auditors standing reverently behind a woman holding a small green sphere high in the air. I quickly figured out why when I heard Lucinda’s voice crackling out of this little box. Lucinda and the riders were bedecked with a headset so they could hear her easily from anywhere on the sprawling cross country course.

As for the auditors, we were like a herd of lemmings, religiously following the small green speaker everywhere for the next five or so hours. It made for a close-knit jovial group who rotated the speaker when someone had to leave and chatted with each other during short breaks in Lucinda’s teaching.

As a former hunter/jumper rider, I wasn’t too familiar with Olympic Silver Medalist and three-time World Champion Lucinda Green, so this was my first time watching her teach in-person. She has a really funny, stream of consciousness style of teaching. While Lucinda can be brutally honest and to the point, she makes up for it by giving praise where it’s due.

A few takeaways:

#1: “You should not be teaching strides. You should be teaching your students to ride a canter that has options. The trouble with walking your distance is that you don’t ever develop your eye. The riders just go on the mechanical number they walked.”

In this clinic, riders were required to not count strides. A short stride or long stride was almost congratulated as long as the horse found their footing, jumped where they were confident, and the rider stayed out of their way and respected their decision. Lucinda’s philosophy taught the students to jump a fence off of a feel and to allow changes in striding based on what the horse needed in that moment.

#2: “Terrain, terrain, terrain.”

Lucinda repeated this phrase frequently throughout the clinic and it was news to my ears. I have spent nearly two decades riding happily around on flat ground (former hunter/jumper rider here, can you tell?). But, according to Lucinda, being able to handle changes in terrain at any gait makes for a great rider. I immediately added work on hills at all gaits to my to-do list.

#3: “If he’s not happy in his bit, it’s very difficult to get the feeling of his brain in your hands.”

One high-headed horse had a tough time jumping off a drop and down into the water. Lucinda was able to determine that he was avoiding his three-ring bit by carrying his head up in the air. When he approached the drop, he couldn’t see it and had no idea it was even there. Essentially, the horse was so distracted by his bit that he couldn’t focus on what was happening in front of him.

A bonus takeaway from this exercise: Lucinda is not a fan of three-ring or two-ring bits. In her experience, very few horses go well in them.

#4: “Always have 3/4 of the horse in front of you at all times.”

No hunter perches here, folks! Lucinda encouraged her riders to keep at least three-quarters of the horse in front of them. Truly epitomizing riding from the hind end, these riders really sat back and kicked on. The result: horses who wanted to jump and riders who stayed safely out of the way.

#5: “He doesn’t have to be fast; he must be wanting.”

While Lucinda encouraged forward-thinking horses, she never wanted them to be run off their feet by an overly-enthusiastic rider. Similar to her mantra of “Have you seen it? Take me to it,” she really emphasized the importance of creating a horse who would truly hunt the jumps.

#6: “Remember, no horse ever knows where he’s going. He hasn’t walked the course.”

After a few horses balked at a surprise fence on the other side of a hill, Lucinda coached these riders on the importance of making it clear to the horse a fence was coming up. How? According to Lucinda, you have to figure out a way that works for you and your horse by yourself.

#7: “If you make a big deal of something, then the horse starts fighting you, not the water or the bank.”

Lucinda did not want her riders to pick fights with their horses over a refusal or hesitancy to go over an obstacle. While she did encourage the well-timed use of the crop (BEHIND the leg, NOT on the shoulder!), she had no use for over-reprimanding or reprimands that served no purpose.

#8: “If you run out you can’t ride, if you stop you can’t kick. In trot you have twice as much chance as getting over a fence. In the canter, you’ve got two legs on the ground at once.”

Our group of auditor-lemmings gasped at the harshness of this first sentence that crackled out of the little green speaker, but Lucinda made up for it with lots of well-earned praise. After one young rider and horse repeatedly had a run out at a particularly tricky downhill skinny combination, she coached them through it by having them school the fence in the trot. According to Lucinda, two legs on the ground at once, such as in a canter stride, give the horse twice as much power to run out or refuse.

#9: “Wait until they go ‘shit’ before you ride. Only when the horse goes ‘oh shit’ then you start riding. Sit behind the shit.”

I told you Lucinda was hilarious, right? Here, Lucinda was helping a group of riders ride the “oh shit” moment a horse has when they lock in on a big jump and have a small bauble in their confidence. After that moment, it’s the riders job to kick on. Before that moment, your kicks won’t matter because the horse doesn’t know where it’s going yet.

#10: “There’s nothing more dangerous than a horse that doesn’t get up off the leg and go.”

Lucinda said a horse that won’t respond to leg aids is more likely to run out, refuse, get caught in a jump, or hesitate. When you’re galloping at solid fences on the cross country field, few things are more dangerous than that.

Bonus:
“The wonderful thing about being old is that you remember the top riders when they were bloody useless.”

No matter what discipline you ride, if you have the chance to see a Lucinda Green clinic, do it. This clinic was sponsored by Succeed Equine, who gave a free three-month supply to the Most Impressive Rider of the clinic. Congratulations to Kelly Adams!

Veronica Green-Gott has been riding for nearly two decades, the majority of which was spent competing in the equitation ring. Currently, she’s training her 6 year old off-the-track thoroughbred, LB, to hopefully one day compete in eventing, but mostly they focus on teaching her to use her brain and mind her manners. Veronica combined her two passions for writing and horses into her company, Golden Fleece Farm Marketing (gffmarketing.com).