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Easter Eventing News and Notes by FLAIR

 This Easter Bunny is in it for the Carrots!


Good Day EN Readers! And for those of you who celebrate Easter, Happy Good Friday!  This weekend is not just for Bunnies and Egg Hunts… It’s also time for Competition!

Upcoming Events:

Good Luck Competitors!


And in other competition news… 

The Professional Riders Organization is reporting on The Fork CIC3* on their blog this week. Day One results were discussed on Thursday, wherein the blog states that “Today’s competition easily opens the door for Friday’s competitors to fight for the title of PRO Tour Series CIC3* champion and Advanced-A Division leader.”  Included in the commentary is a video interview with Day One leaders Michael Pollard, Karen O’Connor, and Marilyn Little-Meredith.  [Professional Riders Organization]

Eventing Nation mentioned Mary King’s decision to relinquish Chilli Morning after a difficult ride cross country at Belton Horse Trials in Lincolnshire. It’s now official that she will be passing the mount on to William Fox-Pitt. Chilli Morning is due to arrive at his Dorset stable in the next few days. Fox-Pitt is quoted saying he is “excited to see how [he] gets on with him.” []

Paul Tapner and top ride Inonothing are celebrating a great week after placing second at the Belton Park three-star international horse trials in Lincolnshire. Inonothing is coming back from a 2010 injury that took him out of the sport for over a year. Now, Tapner intends to take Inonothing to Badminton in May, saying that he’s  “pretty keen to get back to Badminton.” Following that, he hopes to claim a place on the 2012 Olympic team.  [Wiltshire Times]

As has been reported earlier this week, Gaby Cooke’s top horse, Sir Roscoe, suffered a freak injury at Belton which led to him being humanely euthanized on April 1st. Gaby, who has been maintaining a blog through Horse & Hound about her build up to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Trials, has written an entry sharing Sir Roscoe’s final ride. She speaks of his special personality and how much she enjoyed riding him, and extends a thank you to all the people who have sent her uplifting messages and support. [Horse & Hound]

Dubarry of Ireland, creators of the ever popular and iconic waterproof Galway boot, is celebrating 75 years in business! The enduring legacy of quality and style that is apparent in every pair of Dubarry boots began back in 1937 at their factory in Ballinasloe, County Galway. Even then, the founders of the company wanted to stand apart from other Irish brands by choosing a distinctive name and providing uniquely fashionable and sturdy footwear.  Retired employees from the factory share their memories and their (still high quality) shoes, passing the legacy on to their children – who now also work for Dubarry! Eventing Nation would like to extend its congratulations for 75 great years! We look forward to many more celebrations honoring the Dubarry brand! [Dubarry]

The newest episode of The Eventing Radio Show is now available for download! In episode 188, Olympic champion Leslie Law recounts his memories of winning the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens aboard Shear L’Eau. New Zealand equestrian journalist Joan Gilchrist also weighs in, offering a journalist’s perspective on reporting from five separate Olympic games! Additionally, the winner of the Five Day Rolex Three-Day Event Stay has been announced! [The Eventing Radio Show]


My final bit of news is something that appeals to both my love of horses, and to my love of the Stage! It appears that, for the first time ever, the popular Anna Sewell novel Black Beauty has been adapted for the stage. An open-air theatrical production of the book will be touring Britain this summer, hosted by some of the most opulent and beautiful Heritage and country houses in the country. According to Horsetalk, the production utilizes a unique combination of modern theater technology and classic historical backdrops to present an engaging experience that does the original book justice. Actors portraying the horses have specifically designed costumes that feature transparent horse heads, allowing performers to both express emotion and embody the personality of the equine character they play.

Black Beauty is slated to run on a 27-date tour throughout Britain. And while there’s a good chance I’ll never make it across the pond to see this performance, at least I can enjoy the included video below. Go Eventing!




Friday News and Notes from FLAIR

I totally mean the Eventing Games…. right. Photo courtesy of

Hi there EN Readers! It’s time for another round of Friday News and Notes! And I promise, even though I spent most of my night watching the midnight premiere of The Hunger Games, I’ve still got the best of your daily news fix for this week!


Competitions this Weekend:

  • Poplar Place Farm March Horse Trials – Hamilton, GA [Ride Times] [Live Scoring]  Samantha is at Poplar Place and there’s a rumor that Visionaire and John will be there Saturday so stay tuned for much more from a great weekend of eventing in GA.
  • Southern Pines Horse Trials II – Raeford, NC [Ride
    ] [Live


And speaking of
Competition… Exciting Developments First!

The Mitsubishi Motors
Badminton Horse Trials is coming! While the actual competition may not be until
May 3rd, the recently posted
list of accepted entries
has kept riders and spectators alike on their
Those listed among the 49 riders on the waiting list are not ready to
count themselves out, either! British Eventing calls the field “star studded,”
with the presence of Michael Jung, Mary King, William Fox-Pitt, and Mark Todd.
Zara Phillips has also been spotlighted by both British Eventing and Horse
& Hound as a strong contender for a top placing at the upcoming horse
trial. [Badminton Website] [British
] [Horse and


Badminton accepted competitors are already weighing in on
their blogs, too! 

Lauren Shannon, who
will be competing in this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials on
her fifteen year old gelding Zero Flight, updated readers
on her rocky
season start… not with the horses, but with personal illness! She shares news
about the new horse in the barn, as well as her upcoming trip to Gatcombe this
weekend. [Horse
& Hound

In her ‘Badminton
Horse Trials Diary,’ Eventer Gaby Cook shares her experiences at Lincolnshire
Horse Trials aboard four horses of varying levels and ages
, including the
Sir Roscoe and Broadway Star. It’s nice to know even upper-level eventers
sometimes have “Complete Brake Failure” on their horse! She also comments on
her “build-up to Badminton,” and eagerly awaits the final list of accepted
entries. [Horse
& Hound


In other news…


This weekend’s horse
trials at Poplar Place Farm are anticipated to see a large turnout, including
some notable Olympic contenders.
WTVM reports on the event’s free gate
access and daily competition schedule, hoping to attract those interested in
volunteering their time! [WTVM]



Tuesday News & Notes from Pennfield

Aw, shucks.

One more reason to attend Rolex: New Vocations is hosting a Symposium of Thoroughbreds in Second Careers on Saturday post-Rolex cross-country. It’s “an evening of education and fellowship for people who favor off-the-track Thoroughbreds combined with an invitation for equestrians to shop in Kentucky for the Thoroughbred of the dreams.” Highlights will include:
-Bruce Davidson, Sr., Dorothy Crowell and Cathy Weischoff evaluating the potential of recently retired racehorses available for adoption
-A demonstration led by Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron of how racehorses are ridden
-And, a special appearance by 1994 World Equestrian Games silver medalist and 1998 top-placed American at Rolex, Molokai, a Kentucky-bred racehorse
Basically, if you dig OTTBs, you gotta be there. The event will be held at West Wind Farm, about 15 miles from the Kentucky Horse Park. [US Eventing]

Greenwich Park is exempt from a garden hosing ban that will go into effect in London on April 5. You may recall that during last year, the test event was criticized by the FEI’s footing consultant for “running out of water.” Not gonna happen this time around–a piped supply has been secured rather than last year’s tactic of trucking water in.
The four-mile Olympic cross-country track at Greenwich has also been watered nearly daily for the past two years, and many hundreds of thousands of gallons will be at the ready to prepare the artificial dressage and show jumping surfaces in the Greenwich equestrian arena. Non-potable water from a water recycling plant supplies 40 percent of the park’s needs. The ban in is response to a drought stemming from extraordinarily low rainfall levels over the past two years. [Telegraph]

Thanks to an extended title sponsorship from Fidelity Worldwide Investments, Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials will be looking at some improvements for this year’s running of the event (Sept. 6-9).
The organizers intend to re-invest in some new fences, improve the going and introduce other enhancements.
[Bleinheim News]

Archaeologists have discovered the world’s earliest known metal bit. They found the bit, which was probably used on a donkey, in an equid burial site at Tel-Haror. It features round plates at either end fitted with triangular spikes that pressured the lips if the reins were pulled from one direction. The bit has been dated to between 1750 BC and 1650 BC, known as the Middle Bronze IIB Period. [Horse Talk]

Today on Horse Nation: Learn how to take your horse’s mugshot like a pro

Found on Facebook: The United States Pony Club’s FB page today teased an announcement that the producers who brought us quality programming like Sing Off and Cheerleader Nation are seeking teenage equestrians for a new reality show. Their casting call requires “outgoing, competitive, fun-loving girls” between the ages of 15 and 19 for a “docu-reality series that focuses on the highly hectic yet rewarding lives of high school girls who compete in rodeo and/or dressage.” Rodeo and/or dressage! This show is going to be a winner, I can already tell. USPC will be posting a flier today with full details.

Best of the Blogs: In her blog “Shoes, shoes, shoes… and horses,” Holly Ratcliff explains why Peyton Manning could be an eventer. Surprisingly, she fails to mention the fact that we already know his bum looks AMAZING in tight, white britches. Come’on, Holly. You’re a Tennessee girl. You mention his dedication, his resilience, his integrity, his grace… but not his bum?

Top of the Tweets: Hamish Cargill @hamishcargill — Monday AM, the harsh light of an office: self-consciousness strikes as you notice your hands carry the ingrained dirt of a w’end with horses.

You might recognize a few familiar faces in this one…


Your Turn: I stalked Kilrodan Abbott

Eddie doesn't really need to be held.jpg

Normal people get excited about normal celebrities–the sort that grace the cover of Us Weekly. But horse-people… our crushes are a little “different.” 

We recently received this bit of fan mail from Kirsten Collins, who is a WEE bit obsessed with Peter Barry’s four-star horse Kilrodan Abbott (“Eddie”). Like, Barry-you-might-wanna-think-about-a-restraining-order obsessed. We’ll let Kirsten explain.

From Kirsten:

There is something to be said about not paying attention to
where you are walking.

I ambled a little close to the competitor’s barns at Rolex
last spring.  Thankfully, I wasn’t busted
Hamish-and-Dave style.  Instead, I happened
upon a groom hand-grazing two horses in a grassy lane.  Feeling the urge to preserve the moment, I
asked to photograph them.  She got a call
just as I snapped the photo, so I waved and left as she began talking into her
cell phone.

In seconds, I heard someone calling out to me.  It was the same groom, and she motioned me
back, saying that she had to run back up to the barns immediately, and could I
please hold her horses for her?  Inside
my head I squealed “HELL YES!” but outside I replied with a nonchalant
“Okay.”  She told me the horses’ barn
names, handed the leads to me, and ran off. 

And so I found myself on a little island of Kentucky Horse
Park paradise, hand-grazing Pacific and his stable mate Eddie.  I was so excited to be hand-grazing these
horses that I whipped out the camera again and this time I videoed them and, in
a fabulous display of utter dorkiness, narrated who they were and why I was
with them.  Too soon, she returned, but it
was then I learned that she was Peter Barry’s groom and that Eddie was his
competition horse Kilrodan Abbott.  She
told me their number and to be sure to watch them on cross country because
Eddie was really good at going XC.  I
think I probably skipped when I left them, as I had already formed a profound
crush on Eddie.

Pacific, Colleen, Eddie.jpg

Cross country day dawned with me at the back of the course
as is my usual viewing strategy.  I
struck up a conversation with one of the galloping lane volunteers and in the
course of our talk she revealed that the organizers hadn’t had time to get the
order of go to them and she had no idea what horses were zipping past her.  Of course I immediately gave her my “go”
list, but this left me unprepared for Eddie’s big run.  My plan was to meet up with him in the middle
of the course and follow him through there, then run back in time to see him

I gasped when I heard Nigel calling out Peter and Eddie’s
progress.  I was still chattering away at
the back by the sheep shelter and I started running towards the opposite end of
the course. I managed to catch a glimpse of Peter and Eddie pounding past on
the way to the sunken road.  I listened
to Nigel as I heaved my way up the hill and over the front half of the course,
peeling off sweaty layers as I ran.  By
the time I made it to the finish, Eddie was just inside the vet box, with me on
the wrong side of the track.  I had blown
my big chance to see him finish.  Whereas
yesterday was all about being in the right place at the right time, today was
the polar opposite.  It took another
eternity to jog back past two jumps and cross the galloping lane to get
anywhere near the horses.

At the vet box, standing in a bucket of ice water that
lapped at his elbows, his lead rope slack, stood Eddie, calmly and coolly
observing the scene around him and thereby securing my deep and abiding stalker
love.  Nearby was Peter and his team, and
all I could do was sputter “Eddie!  I’m
so proud of you!”  Everyone was very nice
to the crazy breathless sweaty woman gushing at their horse, but still, they
all gently turned their backs and began ever-so-quietly inching away.  I stayed by the vet box for the rest of the
day, not wanting to forget a single moment.

Colleen, Peter, Eddie.jpg

I was so excited about stadium that next morning
that I
handled it like anybody else would by hitting the Bit of Britain tent
and buying
a new pair of boots.  I sauntered to the
warm-up arena with my new boot box pounding my right calf at my every
step, flapping
and urging me forward.  I watched Peter
and Eddie pop over a few jumps and then made my way into the
grandstand.  I was NOT going to miss them this time.  I didn’t think I
could sit still so I didn’t
bother going up to my seat and tucked myself into an alcove near a
entry.  When Eddie cleared that last jump
my arms and my new boot box went skyrocketing. 
I quietly exited when the security dudes shot a few concerned looks in
my direction.

If ever there were a pair that deserves a devoted group of stalkers
it is Peter Barry and the pride of Canada, Kilrodan Abbott.  Peter is an amateur eventer and Rolex was his
and Eddie’s first four star.  Can you
imagine being an amateur at the four star level?  (Yeah, I know… I dream about winning Rolex every
single night, too.)   The beauty about Rolex
is that it gives amateur horse and rider teams the opportunity to express their
athleticism, to show the world that it is possible to balance a talent at
equestrian sport with a life that is (somewhat) normal.  It gives every ammie in the world hope, and
it gives the rest of us a reason to beam with pride at their accomplishment, to
share in an incredibly wonderful moment.

Oh, and Eddie… I still love you.

eddie's big jump.jpg

Friday News and Notes from FLAIR

That’s what I call a Good Weekend!! (photo courtesy of quietintheworld)

Happy Friday EN Readers! 

It’s a start to another exciting weekend of shows in U.S. Eventing! I’m sure all our competitors are hoping to come home with a face full of ribbons (like the pony above!). Let’s just right in with the events taking place this long weekend:

In Addition to the Competitions, there are also a couple notable clinics and camps taking place over the next week:

I’d say eventers everywhere are gearing up for their show seasons! News and Notes today are heavily centered around upcoming competition and how to prepare for it. Check out the following:

Blogger Eventer79 of “We are Flying Solo” recounts her latest experience competing Beginner Novice with her young horse. Despite truly hurricane winds (seriously, just watch the video!) and a rough start in dressage, she and her horse, Encore, finished on a clear cross country round. As she says in her entry, “a crazy day, but very educational for horse and rider.” I think that’s the best kind of show experience anyone can hope for! [Team Flying Solo]

Over on COTH, Blogger Lauren Sprieser of Sprieser Sporthorse talks about the best way to “plan your season.” She discusses the challenges a trainer faces in scheduling shows for themselves as well as their students, and details her method for getting a complete picture of her area’s show calendar, including qualifying competitions and otherwise. Lauren includes links to her sites of reference and lays out the reasoning for her shows of choice. Using her model, a rider can plan to have a leg up in plotting out their next season! [COTH]

USEA’s Area I is showing its support to the upcoming calendar of events by sponsoring a scholarship program for all current USEA members. Area I is granting four awards of $250 to deserving applicants for use in lessons, clinics, and other educational purposes. The application deadline for the spring award is March 15, while the deadline for the fall award is August 15. [US Eventing]

The Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Incentive Program will be offering its own sponsorship to 167 approved horse shows during the 2012 season. The Jockey Club has committed $100,000 to be awarded to winners of the Thoroughbred-only classes and divisions in various disciplines. Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trial will be the first of the competitions to take place this year. [COTH]

Horse and Hound provides a useful article discussing what to wear for affiliated eventing competitions. While the information in the article may seem elementary, it’s a valuable reference guide for those just getting into the sport of eventing, or for those whom might be sure they fully understand the competition requirements.  H&H goes into excellent detail delineating the dress expectations between the levels, and in each phase of competition. [Horse & Hound]

Note: US Eventing Appears to have had the same idea, posting an “Eventing Refresher Course” on what to wear! [US Eventing]

Not stopping at the dress code, Horse & Hound has also produced an introductory article for those interested in getting started in affiliated eventing through British Eventing. If you’re unsure where to start, whether in BE80T or BE100, this informative piece will breakdown the elements of a BE affiliated event and hopefully provide riders of all levels with a solid understanding of upcoming competition. [Horse & Hound]

The informative news and notes continue with British Eventing itself! BE posted a list of reminders for eventers during the 2012 competition season. These reminders include updated regulations on Equine Doping, medical armband rules, hat tagging specifications, body protector requirements and the inclusion of three new dressage tests. If you’re eventing in the UK, these reminders are not to be missed! [British Eventing]

Back in America, COTH is reporting on the upcoming $75,000 FEI Nations Cup, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. America’s only Nations Cup competition will feature teams from 11 countries , including a US team consisting of Beezie Madden, Margie Engle, Mario Deslauriers and Lauren Hough. This group of talented veteran riders will be defending their 2011 victory against stiff competition from Canada, Australia, and eight other countries. Best of Luck, guys! [COTH]

And since we’ve all got competition on the brain (or at least I do!), I want to leave us with video of the German rider Marco Kutcher winning the final Rolex FEI World Cup Qualifier in Goteborg, aboard Satisfaction RFH! While I love to Go Eventing, sometimes it’s equally great to Go Jumping!

As a quick note from FLAIR, they are sponsoring Red Hills next week.  There will be strips in the prize packs and they will have a coupon placed in each competitors packet that is redeemable on site for a free FLAIR Strip application prior to XC.  FLAIR is also sponsoring Galway Downs and Jersey Fresh, also with free FLAIR strips in competitor packs, prize packs, and prior to XC rides.


Friday News and Notes from FLAIR

If only this really worked! (Photo Courtesy of makolane)

Good Morning EN Readers! It’s Friday! Let’s all cheer in celebration for another long week nearly over! Somedays I feel like I need Pony GPS (pictured above) just to get through my riding, my mind has been so scrambled by the pressures of everyday life. Fortunately, my sweet horses take pity on me during those days. Nothing proves to be a better detox than some quality time with your horsey friends!

My fellow internet bloggers appear to agree, as today’s News and Notes are peppered with quality entries about focusing on riding and gearing up for competition!

  •           Valerie Vizcarrondo writes about her arrival in Aiken, SC and her experience as president of the ground jury for Sporting Days [Blue Clover Eventing]

  •           Professional Riders Organization introduces Molly Rosin, owner of Havarah Equestrian. Molly is most well known for her horse, Havarah’s Charly, but is also working a number of developing horses for competition [Professional Riders Organization]

  •           Chronicle of the Horse spotlights another rider on their way to the Olympics, Margie Engle! Margie talks about the work she has done with her horse, Indigo, to get him Olympic-ready! [Chronicle of the Horse]


But the news isn’t only interviews and blogging today! We’ve also got some exciting announcements!

Eventing will be holding its first FEI Nations Cup series, in hopes of attracting top rides from around Europe. The three-star series debuts in Fontainebleau, France on March 22nd! [Horse and Country] [Chronicle of the Horse] [British Eventing]

Erin Gilmore reports on helmet maker Charles Owen announcing their decision to stop producing and selling unapproved hunt caps as of January 2012. Dover Saddlery has also been influenced, changing the way they market hunt caps from being classified as “helmets.” These items are now listed as “hats,” along with Top Hats. [Riders4Helmets]

The British Eventing Officials Conference recently honored David Merrit, who runs Kiln Saddlery, as 2011 British Eventing Official of the Year. David has been a TA for over 32 years, and also serves as an FEI Technical Delegate. [British Eventing]

According to Horse talk, five cities from around the world have officially submitted their bid to host the 2020 Olympics. The International Olympic Committee has received applications from Istanbul, Tokyo, Baku, Doha, and Madrid. [Horsetalk]

Horse & Hound reports on a new phone app designed for Horsebox drivers, called “Rescue App.” This app, available on iphone, Andriod, or Blackberry, provides a pay-on-use horsebox breakdown service. The app was created by PRP Breakdown Services, whom will come to the driver’s aid in case of an emergency. [Horse & Hound]

A service of thanksgiving for the life of Josh Gifford is to be held at Chichester Cathedral on Thursday, March 1st.  The memorial will be held at 2pm, and all are welcome to attend. [Horse & Hound]

Riders4Helmets has posted a Helmet Cam Alert on a fantastic new video of Christoffer Forsberg winning the VR Classics 2012, Neumuenster. While not as stable as some of the better known eventing helmet cam videos, it still features a great ride over a challenging course! [Riders4Helmets]

The Eventing Radio Show continues its tour of Ocala, interviewing Eventers Leslie Law, Betsy Watkins, Jessica Pheonix, and Gretchen Butts.  The Episode can be downloaded as a podcast on iTunes or can be listened to right on the website! [Eventing Radio]

Go Eventing!


Video Break: “Stuff Eventers Say” by Kerry Blackmer

Well, after things went viral with SmartPak’s “Stuff Riders Say” series (You can watch Part 1 and Part 2 right here on EN!), videos began popping up all over the internet to show representation of specific riding disciplines. And of course Eventing was one of the first to throw in their own special edition of “Stuff Eventers Say,” brought to you by Kerry Blackmer!



(my Favorite?… “The Grounds too hard, I’m going to Scratch…. The Grounds too soft, I’m going to Scratch.” Yep, this is sounding very familiar!)

Kerry Blackmer, an upper level event rider that runs Miles Ahead Farm, was recently chosen as one of the trainers for the Retired Racehorse Trainers Challenge. This challenge, organized by The Retired Racehorse Training Project, in which three trainers and three horses (with one alternate) team up to show the world that speed is not the only thing a racehorse can be known for!

To follow Kerry and her fellow trainers in their progress with these amazing ex-racehorses, check out the Retired Racehorse Trainers Challenge blog.

Go Eventing!

Captain Fritz’s Friday News and Notes from FLAIR


Capt. Jack Fritz, 1924 – 2012 (Photo courtesy of )

Hello, EN Readers. I come to you today with sad tidings in my news and notes, the likes of which no amount of funny viral videos can make better. It seems that whenever our sport loses one of its own, that loss is keenly felt by everyone – whether closely related or not. The riding community is a tight-knit family of shared experiences and passions, brought together by people just like Jack Fritz. His legacy lives on in those that honor the traditions of the sport through its organizations, now and always.

And so follows Friday’s News and Notes:

Captain John H. “Jack” Fritz, known for his immense influence on the development of the equestrian sport in America, passed away on the morning of February 9th. Fritz played vital roles in the emergence of the organizations that would become the USEA, the USDF, U.S. Pony Club, and the USEF. His contributions to all disciplines of riding will never be forgotten. [USEA News] [Chronicle of the Horse]

Denny Emerson pays tribute to Captain Jack Fritz in his blog, by recounting some of his many accomplishments and recalling his tenacious attitude. He describes Fritz and the “ultimate volunteer,” and that “..sometimes he was patient, sometimes irascible, but always, always, he was there.” [How Good Riders Get Good]

The equestrian sport suffered another loss this week in the passing of champion jockey and trainer, Josh Gifford. Gifford is best remembered as the trainer of 1981 Grand National winner Aldaniti, as well as being the father of British Eventing rider, Tina Cook. Eventing Nation extends its thoughts and condolences to the family of Josh Gifford. [Horse & Hound] [British Eventing]

The recent popularity of the film “War Horse,” has prompted Horsetalk’s article to memorialize the horses shipped from New Zealand in 1914.  The horses were meant as mounts for soldiers in the WWI war effort. Approximately 18,000 horses were shipped overseas during that wartime period, but only one would survive the brutal conditions of war long enough to return home. The article details the back-breaking labor, rationed food, and widespread disease that was part of a horse’s daily existence during WWI. [Horsetalk]

In a more uplifting turn of events, Horse & Hound is reporting on former four-star eventer Claire Lomas’s plan to walk the London Marathon on April 22nd. Lomas will be using the Re-Walk Suit, a powered exoskeleton that allows the wearer to walk with crutches. While Claire will be using a training suit for walking the marathon, fundraisers have helped her raise over £35,000 in order to buy the first personal suit, due to the delivered this summer. Readers can sponsor Claire by going to or sending her an email at [email protected].  [Horse & Hound]

British horse feed brand, Spillers, will now be sponsoring event rider William Fox-Pitt. He’ll be joining eventing team medalist Jeanette Brakewell and international show jumper Tim Stockdale in promoting Spillers’ collection of over 30 feeds meant to suit a wide variety of horses and discipline needs. [Horsetalk]

Sara Lieser at Chronicle of the Horse interviewed former Olympics, Rolex, and Burghley rider, Phyllis Dawson in a segment titled “Free Rein with Phyllis Dawson.” Lieser questions Dawson on her outlook for breeding horses and about her barn in Virginia, called Windchase Farm. [Chronicle of the Horse]

The British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association have combined forces to host a celebration supporting the forming of Team GB and Paralympics GB prior to the 2012 London Olympics. The evening celebration will include a black-tie dinner, followed by a line-up of the best in British music, performance, and comedy. The event, titled “Our Greatest Team,” will take place in the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London on Friday, May 11th. [British Eventing]


And let’s not forget that this Friday marks the first day of competition at the Ocala Horse Properties Winter II Horse Trial. Live Scoring is available throughout the weekend on
[Live Scoring]

Pine Top Winter II Horse Trial is also competing. Catch all the action as it’s updated through
[Live Scoring]

And now, in honor of the upcoming celebration courtesy of the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association, I’d like to leave you all with an oldie, but goodie, video of the 2007 World Para Dressage Championships. The demonstration begins a bit slow, but I have to say… it ends on an astounding note!!




Product Review: Quiessence Calming Supplement

Hi EN Readers!

About four months ago, I embarked on that exhausting journey to re-evaluate my competition horses’ supplement regimes. My prelim horse, Prophet, was the one that always defied my best efforts to find palatable and effective supplements to encourage weight gain and healthy maintenance. Hard Keeper doesn’t even begin to describe the animal I have in my care!

I had been considering putting Prophet on a legal calming agent for some time because I reasoned that much of his weight issues were related to stress and irritability. Of the available choices, I decided to go with Quiessence because of it’s multitude of related benefits for a horse like mine. Below is the review I’ve been sitting on for a while in order to get an accurate level of feedback for the product. This is neither an endorsement for Quiessence, nor is my opinion of the supplement representative of Eventing Nation’s stance on the product. 

If you’re considering Quiessence (or some other comparable supplement) for your own horse, I hope this review can give you a little insight into the probable benefits and side effects of using such a product!

Go Eventing!







What is it?

Quiessence is primarily a magnesium supplement that claims to serve multiple purposes. Most prominently, it is meant for nervous and overly tense horses who have difficulty relaxing. The Quiessence labels states “because Magnesium is important to nerve and muscle function, Quiessence may help horses that are tense, spooky and inattentive to attain a more balanced mental state.” Quiessence is also primarily fed to horses who suffer from being chronically overweight, with cresty necks and a tendency toward laminitis (or founder). Magnesium is also considered a factor in stabilizing horses at a healthy weight. The third function Quiessence claims to serve is to provide relief to horses with tight, sore muscles.

Quiessence comes in a pelleted form and can be purchased in 5lb pails, 14lb pails, and a 50lb bag. Dosage levels range from 2 to 4 ounces per day, with a maximum dose of 2 ounces per 250lbs of horse. It is considered competition legal in the USEA and USEF, even at the FEI level.

Quiessence – pelleted supplement

What’s in it?

The itemized breakdown of vitamins in Quiessence (per ounce) are as follows:


Elemental Magnesium

5,000 mg


1.2 mg


.0168 mg




46. 25 mg


0.042 mg

Pantothenic acid

0.23 mg


0.0056 mg


0.02 mg

Sodium Chloride


Chromium Piccolinate


The levels of Magnesium in this metabolic supplement is significantly higher than most of its competition, though the gap narrows marginally when compared to calming supplements instead. It’s probably a good thing that its the leading provider of magnesium, considering the brand hangs its hat on the vitamin as the source to so many solutions. But you’ll notice that the supplement doesn’t include any Tryptophane or Taurine, which many of the other supplements offer. Whether this makes a difference or not is hard to determine, but it’s something to be aware of if these are specific vitamins you are seeking in your supplemental feeding.

Other than the significant amount of magnesium, Quiessence also offers Niacin (also known as Vitamin B3), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), and Biotin (Vitamin B7), and Thiamin (Vitaming B1). These are all necessary daily nutrients for maintaining healthy bodyweight. Elements like these are a good indicator that the supplement is meant to alleviate instances of mild vitamin deficiency in horses that may not be subject to an ideal diet. This couold include horses on little to no grass, horses with high protein diets, and horses that receive only certain types of hay.

Does it work?

Obviously, this is the question everyone wants to know the answer to, yet is nearly impossible to answer. I managed to contact two different horse owners that validated Quiessence’s claims to stabilizing overweight and founder-prone horses. The Magnesium appears to function as the company suggests, lessening crestiness due to weight gain in mature/adult horses. I cannot verify the safety or effectiveness of using this supplement on young horses or excessively elderly horses, though I would advise caution. This supplement appears to have no effect on cushings and pre-cushings horses. The jury is still out on assisting underweight horses in gaining additional pounds.

when used as a calming supplement, I can provide a bit more personal insight. I recently began using Quiessence on my 14 year old Off-Track Thoroughbred, Prophet. I event him at the Preliminary level, so the horse is very fit and very active, with a naturally high strung attitude.  Prophet is perpetually underweight due to his nervous nature and his disinclination for eating grain. He also is prone to moving with a tight back and hollow frame, particularly when feeling stressed by his surrounding. 

Basically, Prophet is the perfect candidate for this supplement!

I put Prophet on Quiessence on October 3rd, 2011, and in a very short amount of time I saw a noticeable difference in his behavior. Within four days of application, Prophet became almost lethargic in-hand. He became less distracted while hitched to a post or in cross-ties, less prone to setting back at sudden stimuli. In fact, the horse even started dozing when I tacked him up!

Prophet is so chill – he’s snoozing!

Now, perhaps that is not an unusual occurance for other peoples’ horses, but I have owned Prophet for eight years now, and never once has this horse fallen asleep when I’m tacking him up! He’s extremely sensitive and touchy, and typically the whole saddling process is as bit of a tight rope walk. But now that he is on Quiessence, he hardly seems to notice that I’m tightening his girth or adjusting his pad. The whole experience was frankly alarming the first time I witnessed it! (which is why I took a picture!)

Over the course of the first month on Quiessence, Prophet also seemed more relaxed in his movement when we were working on Dressage. Whether this is related to the supplement “muscle relaxing” qualities or not, I cannot be sure. For Prophet, so much of his physical tension was related to his nervousness, that the two symptoms were often interchangeable. With Quiessence in his diet, he seemed just as willing to work, but also more capable of focusing through distractions.

I know these benefits sound like a double-edged blade, and I agree. While it is wonderful to think my horse has finally “relaxed” out of his high-strung instincts, that doesn’t mean I want to change who he is or turn him into a dead-head horse. Prophet is a wonderful mount, a strong and active-minded competitor, and literally my best buddy. I would never want him to be less than exactly who he is. So I did initially worry that perhaps Quiessence was altering his personality too much. I hypothesized that his body was still acclimating to the substance, and that he would become more alert again as his internal nutritional levels balance out. Or perhaps not. Only time would tell. What I could say with certainty was that I’ve worked him in dressage and over fences consistently since putting him on this supplement, and while he was certainly a bit lazier in dressage (not exactly his favorite discipline to begin with), he’s pretty much the same old Prophet when it comes to jumping. And that’s just as I hoped it would be!

Supplement Followup – Four Months Later


I’ve been sitting on this review for a little while because I felt it would be unfair to draw conclusions on Quiessence’s ability to produce the desired results just based on a single month’s research. So, here we are, four months later. It’s now February and Prophet has been given 2 scoops of Quiessence daily since October. How have things changed?

My earlier predictions about acclimating to the supplement proved correct. After about a month of sheer laziness, Prophet began to develop his old habits of being a lookie-loo in new places. In December, he set back against my trailer at a local horse show and took a scenic tour around the showgrounds at a sprightly canter. Prophet is definitely still Prophet, no more concerns about him becoming a “dead head.”


However, that’s not to say he isn’t improved to how he used to be. Temporary moments of insanity aside, Prophet does seem to have mellowed a bit, and more importantly his behavior under saddle reflects that he’s more capable of focusing when it’s time to actually work. I continue to struggle with moments in which new stimuli just “blows his mind,” but as long as I have his attention (which is easier to do these days), I have a solid horse.

And that’s not even the most significant influence that Quiessence has had on my horse. I’d say, hands down, that this supplement has managed to increase Prophet’s willingness to eat. Now, please take into account that I have used and tested a wide variety of weight gain supplements in my time owning this horse. Most of them Prophet won’t even try to eat (which is so catch-22, it’s infuriating!). But he liked Quiessence since the beginning, in its palatable pellet form. And I literally have no other explanation for why he now cleans out his feed bucket. He’ll even eat at shows (not alot, granted, but more than he used to)!


The positive effects of his increased appetite have been noticeable. He’s gained weight, not necessarily in his belly, but along his spine. That fat turned into muscle, and for the first time in his life, I can sit on my boney thoroughbred bareback without risking permanent damage to my…. body parts. Prophet is no longer slab-sided either, though he’ll always be slender, and his winter coat was actually fuzzier this year than it has been in the past. All of these changes I attribute to the improved nutritional health of my horse.


One final note about tense muscles and tight backs. Prophet will always be predisposed to hollow, especially in dressage. But the fluidity of his movement through his back has actually improved a great deal in the last two months. Again, it’s really hard to say whether this is directly related to the Quiessence supplement, but I know that being able to relax and focus is more than half of that battle. Even when I pulled his shoes for off-season, he has maintained a reaching trot that lifts through his back and stretches his entire frame. Such a result is both unexpected and unprecedented, and I can’t help but look towards this show season with high hopes for Prophet’s scores. Quiessence may not be the miracle cure I had hoped it would be, but there are definite benefits to it’s use!



So, with that said….

Where Can I Buy Quiessence?

The easiest and most inexpensive place to obtain Quiessence is on SmartPak. They offer it as one of their pre-packaged daily feeding options, as well as sell it in 14lb pails and 50lb bags. The pricing is as follows:

Quiessence can also be purchase directly from the retailer, Foxden Equine. Foxden is willing to provide free samples of their products, and also sells Quiessence in a 5lb bag, for those who don’t want to risk purchasing a month’s supply of a supplement their horse wont eat or doesn’t benefit from. The pricing for Quiessence through Foxden is as follows:

Quiessence can also be purchased from a number of other retailers in a similar competing price range. If you’re lucky, you might even locate it in your local feed store and save yourself the shipping costs!

Tuesday News and Notes from Pennfield

A Fantastic Contribution from Chloé Monnot! Teddy Loves his Eventing Nation!
Good morning, EN Readers! We’re at the very threshold of February, which means two things:  Valentine’s Day is coming, and (more importantly) we draw ever nearer to such exciting comeptitions as the Rolex Kentucky Three Day and The 2012 London Olympics!!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, right? Right now it’s time for some truly fabulous Tuesday Morning Links!
Molly Rosin and Havarah Equestrian catch us up on their seasonal move to Aiken, SC. Apparently they are getting their money’s worth out on the trails in Hitchcock Woods! Molly is enjoying the relaxed atmosphere and looking forward to upcoming competitions! [Havarah Equestrian]
Doug Payne was asked to write a blog series about his time leading up to the Rolex Kentucky Three Day, and the first part just went live! Doug fills us in on the progress of some of his jumpers, talks about his history both inside and outside the horse world, and gives us a little insight into his mount, Running Order. [Rolex Kentucky]
Bruce Springsteen fans will be excited to hear that the rockstar donated multiple items to a benefit auction, raising $550,000.00 USD for the US Equestrian Team! Springsteen made a surprise appearance at the “An English Country Evening” benefit, where he initially donated four VIP concert tickets to any concert in the states. As the night progressed, he increased that offer to Twenty Tickets, as well as signed Fender guitars and a personal backstage tour! Wow! [Horsetalk]
Eventer Tina Cook will be taking part in the St Patrick’s Derby at the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday, March 15th. She is one of twelve riders competing in the charity derby to support cancer research, a topic that she has personal interest in after losing her father to cancer last year. The article bears a link where you can donate to Tina’s sponsorship for this competition! [Horse and Hound]
Equestrian Sports New Zealand has completed their selection review of the horse and rider combinations selected for the New Zealand Eventing High Performance Programme. The 2012 squad includes multiple contributions from Mark Todd, Jonathan Paget, and Andrew Nicholson. [Uptown Eventing]
Lucinda Green was recently spotted teaching lessons to young Central District eventers in rural Tangimoana. While she typically teaches only in major areas, the instance appears to have been an exciting break from the norm, as a couple riders received the lesson of their dreams! [Manawatu Standard]
The Chronicle of the Horse is featuring a new helpful series entitled “Insurance Gobbledygook: Demystifying the Terms of Insurance.” The first installment tackles the topic of “Care, Custody, and Control,” how such coverage can protect barns and trainers from possible lawsuits for incidents occurring while a horse is under their care. It’s a great piece that may assist readers on determining if obtaining this level of coverage is for them. [Chronicle of the Horse]
William Fox-Pitt gives his perspective on the teams to beat for the upcoming 2012 Olympics. While he acknowledges that the German team is the “biggest threat,” Pitt also has his eye on the competitive New Zealand and French teams. He discusses his plans his three top horses, one of which will potentially be his mount for the Olympics. Pitt isn’t yet sure if he’ll run any of them in three-day events prior to the Olympics, but he says that these things “often work themselves out.” [Sporting Life]
In Blogging News: I think we can all commiserate with PonyEventer’s latest blog entry, bemoaning the change of attitude in her mount, Farrah. Their cross country phase has gone from a pleasent and balanced experience to the equivalent of riding an “arm pulling freight train!” We feel your pain! []
And because I can’t stand the cute factor, I have to draw attention to Doug Payne’s video of Running Order and his dog Bacon poking at each other. They’re such little twinkies in their Newmarket Blankets!
Go Eventing!


FTI’s Saturday Links from Tipperary


Happy Saturday EN Readers!

Or should I say, “Happy Grand Prix Jumping Day” instead? That’s right, while yesterday may have featured PRO Derby Cross (and congratulations to Team Guardian on their stellar win!), today is the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival’s day for the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix, CSI 2*! And this is only the beginning to a lengthy and exciting schedule of competition at the Festival, lasting until April 1st.  If you haven’t checked out the USEF Website for the Broadcast Schedule and Live Footage, I definitely recommend it! [USEF Network]

But in other (and mostly related) news, it’s time for Saturday Links!

William Fox-Pitt has confirmed that Cool Mountain is out of contention for the 2012 London Olympic Games

USEF has opened voting for its “Favorite Breed Competition” of 2012

Nick Skelton wins the $32,000.00 WEF Challenge Cup 2 at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

New Zealand has updated its list of high performance squads for probable involvement in the 2012 Olympic Games

USET Foundation to host “An English Country Evening” benefit on Friday, January 27. Six live auction items will be featured to raise money for the USET Riders preparing to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games

Horse & Hound launches their Digital Magazine, priced at $116 USD per year

The Institute of Sport & Exercise Science is conducting research into the fitness of the female event rider, and they’re looking for volunteers!

Allerton Park Horse Trials will be adding an Advanced Class to their Autumn Event in September, featuring course builder Dominic Lawrence

And in Blogger News:

Hoofbeats for Heartbeats has completed yet another piece in her series of gorgeous horse paper cutout artwork

Horse Listening discusses the revolutionary concept of “Not Cantering” in order to improve your transition work. Who knew it could be so easy?!

And because the PRO Derby Cross competition is fresh on our minds, I will leave you all with The Chonicle Connection’s Highlight Reel from last year’s Derby Cross! So many familiar faces, and so many great teams!

Go Eventing!



Neville’s Friday News and Notes from FLAIR

(Photo courtesy of Gawker)


Happy Friday, EN Readers! I hope you’ve all got your lucky rabbits’ feet with you, because it’s Friday The 13th! Yes, a day made legendary by suspiciously poor choices and notoriously bad remakes of already bad movies. Best to stay on Karma’s good side and avoid all black cats, mirrors, and step ladders today. Maybe your horse will let you borrow his shoes for good luck!

It’s not all bad news, though. If ever we need a reminder of how talented eventers are at turning bad situations into great opportunities, the links below are prime examples!

The New York Times has written a piece called “A Horse Named Neville,” spotlighting Neville Bardos and his miraculous survival and recovery from the devastating barn fire at True Prospect Farm in May 2011 that claimed six other horse’s lives. The article recounts the long road Boyd Martin and Neville traveled to achieve eventing success, both before and after the fire. Despite the damage done to Neville’s lungs and body in the fire, he made an astounding recover that not only left him competition fit less than three months after the fire, but has also seen him as one of three finalists for USEF International Horse of the Year. His story proves to be an inspiration to reader both in eventing and beyond. Note: NYTimes Articles expire over a duration of time and may not be available after 1/31/2012 [NYTimes]

The dates have been set for the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day! This year’s trials, presented by Bridgestone, will be held from April 26th to 29th, 2012 and will feature selection trials to choose the U.S. Eventing Team for the 2012 London Olympic Games. Also scheduled is the second annual Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup, which will be held April 27th and 28th. [wtvq]

In sad news, Horsetalk has reported that Germany’s “Voice of the Equestrian Sport” announcer Hans-Heinrich Isenbart passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 88. Isenhart is remembered for his live commentary for the equestrian competitions at the 1956 Olympic Games in Stockholm, and for the nearly 60 years of active commentating that followed. His funeral was held on January 10th, 2012 at Niedersachsenhalle indoor arena in Verden, Germany, where he had commentated on numerous horse shows. Approximately 700 mourners attended the service. [Horsetalk]

Draper Equine Therapy, makers of innovative therapeutic horse and equine products, will be sponsoring the Drapers’ “Best Foot Forward” award each week at the 2012 Winter Equestrian Festival and at he Global Dressage Festival. Winners of this award will receive prize packages worth up to $300 dollars in Draper products, and will be individuals that exemplify and inspire a positive attitude in themselves and others around them.  [COTH]

You’ve probably already heard of this handy app, but in the event you’re not on the iPhone bandwagon Horse and Hound has reported on a new Cross Country application called “Course Walk.” This app (available in the app exchange on all iPods Touches, iPhones, and iPads) replaces the need for a traditional measuring wheel by recording your progress on a course through GPS tracking. Users can add photos of the jumps, comments, and videos along the course. The app costs about $10.00 in the Appstore and is quickly becoming a favorite amongst eventers. [Horse and Hound]

Devon D’Angelo writes about the trials and tribulations of being a single female equestrian who must balance their love for horses with their desire to find new love in another person. The dating scene is not an easy place to be even for those without a “horse addiction,” and trying to explain your full time commitment to your sport can prove… interesting.  [COTH]

The Louisiana Horse Rescue Association and the Sabine Parish Human Society recently seized 60 horses from a farm in Many, LA. The horses found on the property were reportedly in “deplorable condition,” living in filth alongside the carcasses of approximately 25 previously deceased horses and aborted foal fetuses. Over the course of three days, all the horses were removed from the farm and treated for ailments including colic, malnutrition, diarrhea, and miscarriage. The LHRA hopes to have some of the horses available for adoption in as soon as three weeks. The current daily cost for their upkeep is around $450 dollars per day. Any assistance is appreciated. [Horsetalk]

Denny Emerson  pays homage to the Quarter Horse breed on his blog, “How Good Riders Get Good.” While most people associate the Quarter Horse with western disciplines, there is no denying that this breed is a popular choice in English riding as well, thanks to what Denny calls the built-in “Sanity Button.” While the American Quarter Horse may never be known for its competitiveness in international events such as Burghley, Denny reminds us that many of the upper echelon riders today got their start on this gentle and competent breed, and it remains a favorite among riders everywhere for good reason. [How Good Riders Get Good]

In perhaps the most ridiculous and pointless visual retelling ever written, the has posted “War Horse: An Illustrated Review” to express their opinion(?) on the recent Steven Spielberg film. This review does contain spoilers, though you may not be able to suss them out through all the ridiculousness and funny illustrations. I wouldn’t use this to determine whether you’ll see the movie, but it’s definitely good for some giggles []

Eventing Safety and Risk Management gives an update on the completion of Cross Country’s frangible device industrial standard in FEI competitions. Reports are still unconfirmed, but suggest that all frangible and breakaway jumps must conform to a set of standards determined by an FEI Eventing Committee Task Force and the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL). Pins, clips, and Styrofoam structures will be designed to break upon impact of a horse and rider, and the competing rider will be penalized 21 penalty points for the breakage. This topic has not been fully resolved, so more information should develop over time. [Eventing Safety]

Jennie Brannigan relates her training regime for the month of January, and her positive clinic experience with show jumper Lane Clarke. She comments on the tragic loss of Lee Lee Jones’ horse, Model Cadet, at True Prospect Farm, and extends her condolences to the young rider. On a happier note, Jennie also writes about the upcoming PRO DerbyCross set to be held on January 20 in Wellington, FL. She will be sharing a team with riders Phillip Dutton, Boyd Martin, Jeffrey Welles and Nic Roldan. [COTH]

Whew, that’s a lot of news! Hopefully it will keep everyone distracted and in a positive frame of mind this Friday. If not, a trip to the barn is always a cure for what ails you. For now, I leave you will the inspiring video interview the New York Times held with Boyd Martin about Neville’s “Unlikely Comeback.”

Go Eventing!


Unrelated Video Break of the Day: Tiny Pig Plays Piano

I really should be writing my next interesting and relevant article about Eventing, but instead I’ve spent the last hour or so being thoroughly distracted by and have come across the following video:

It literally has nothing to do with Eventing (or with anything, honestly), but I can’t help being charmed by a farm animal with musical aptitude! Plus, if we were offering food rewards, I know of a few horses who would figure out a way to pound a tune out of a children’s toy as well! 
Have you taught your horses or farm pets any particular tricks? Something to “wow” the relatives when they come out to see just what you do in the barn all day? I’d love to hear your stories! 
Go Piano Playing Eventing! 

George Morris’s Saturday Links from Tipperary


George Morris on Sinhon at the Olympics in Rome in 1960 (Photo courtesy of

Greetings EN Readers!

We’re now seven days into the new year, and it’s already shaping up to be a great one! Although, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can assure you my (hastily made) New Year’s Resolutions simply aren’t going to make it. Who honestly believes that committing to a late-night resolution to improve yourself, while tipsy on champagne, is in any way a valid plan for self improvement? I don’t!

But obviously some riders were interested in serious self improvement, as the reports from the 2012 George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Sessions continue to roll in. Chronicle of the Horse posted Day 2, entitled “Building Blocks of Success,” and Day 3, “Don’t Ride Stupid,” on their website yesterday. George himself has been unwell, so Kent Farrington and McClain Ward have been filling in as instructors. We here at Eventing Nation would like to extend our “Get Well Soon” wishes to George, and hope to see articles of his return to his Training Sessions very soon!

In other Linkage news:

Tickets are now on sale for the 2012 Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, set for September 6 – 9, 2011

Good News, Mitsubishi Lovers! The Car Company has expanded its sponsorship of Badminton Horse Trials to 2015!

The IDHSNA/USEA Future Event Horse Committee has enacted a few changes for the 2012 season, including that the minimum qualifying score has been changed to 68%

North Carolina has confirmed its first official case of the neurological form of Equine Herpesvirus 1

The Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) has added three more gelding clinics to their Operation Gelding Program

The Fédération Équestre Internationale is inviting interested parties to submit recommendations for the 2013 Equine Prohibited Substance List

British Eventing and the National School Series have decided to alter their qualification process and 2012 Championship

Event Rider Spencer Sturmey is in the hospital with two broken Vertebrae

Vita Flex Nutrition will be introducing The Vita Flex Victory during the 2012 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2012 Internation Eventing Forum is only one month away! This year’s theme will be “Focus on Success.”

Christopher Schofield, former chairman of eventing young rider selectors, has passed away at age 90

DVM Erik K. Dill discusses what you can do in a horse-related emergency situation

Paul Tapner has confirmed that Advanced Event horse Kilfinnie II was put down due to “complications.”

And since this is George Morris’s Saturday Links, I thought I’d leave you with a 2008 video that shows a little window into the George Morris Horsemastership Experience. Go Eventing!


Buck Davidson Clinic Brings Riders Back to Basics

Buck and Sydney Elliot.jpg
Buck Davidson gives instruction to Developing Rider Sydney Elliot at the 2011 Buck Davidson Clinic in Texas
(Photo courtesy of Luann McElduff)


Hello EN Readers!  It appears as though the craziness of the holiday season is finally beginning to die down, as people return from vacation and work projects begin again in earnest for the new year. At last I have a chance to write about a clinic that was truly one of my favorite experiences with an upper level rider (and not just because it happen to take place on my birthday!) – The Buck Davidson Clinic!

This clinic, organized by Kristy Limon of Excel Eventing, was held in Bellville, Texas at the established eventing facility, Pine Hill. Pine Hill hosts 100 acres of hilly fields and wooded areas perfect for practicing the different phases of the eventing sport. Since 1977, this facility has offered riders the opportunity to school and train, and has become one of Area Five’s most popular riding locations.

Students at the clinic were lucky enough to have Buck’s instruction just days (literally!) after he’d been awarded Preliminary Rider of the Year, Rider of the Year, Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion, Horse of the Year (for Ballynoe Castle RM) and Mare of the Year (on Absolute Liberty) at the USEA Year End Awards ceremony. Wow! To say we were all a little in awe of him is an understatement.

Buck Jumping into water.jpg
Buck Davidson won USEA’s 2011 Rider of the Year. Are we surprised? (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

But despite all the accolades and recognition, Buck arrived at Pine Hill in Bellville, Texas with the same low-key geniality and hard working attitude that he has become known for in eventing. His focus was on the horse and rider teams attending the clinic, their training needs, and finding an effective way to help them improve!

Fortunately, the students (of all levels) were ready for some serious work! We had riders in attendance from as far away as Louisiana, both at beginning levels and recognized on the “Developing Riders” list, and all were committed to getting the most from the clinic!

Buck told us that these winter months, typically a slow season for most eventers, was the perfect time to take training back to the basics. He wanted to work primarily on position and on asking the horse to respond correctly to the rider’s aids when asked to. Connection with the horse was vital, creating a situation that expected the horse to move into the connection correctly from the beginning was the goal. Buck spoke plainly about the necessity of solid riding and training basics by stating, “If you and your horse are cheating right now in training for the connection, when there is no show coming up, then what is going to happen in the middle of the show season? That’s when you’ll need your basics to be as correct and solid as possible, in case something unexpected happens.”

Through this clinic, Buck helped us all take a step back and turn a discerning eye on the foundation of our position, on whether we were preparing our horse to jump safely and accurately, and whether we were maintaining the essential connection between our bodies and our mounts. He did this by challenging the clinic students with a series of rigorous stadium jumping grids and ever-changing cross country combinations. Each days’ lessons went as follows:


Saturday – Stadium Jumping

Why yes, this is a gratuitous picture of me jumping at the Clinic. It’s my Blog Entry, I’ll do what I want! (Photo courtesy of Angie Pira)

Although Saturday’s focus was on stadium jumping, Buck began his instruction with a series of flatwork exercises meant to establish balance and connection from rider to horse. He asked the students to shorten their reins in such a way that would lift and collect their horses in the front, while also pushing the horse forward from their legs at the trot. The goal was to keep their horse “in front of their leg,” showing both impulsion and collection that would translate to a correct approach to fences. Riders were required to trot for this exercise, and Buck would not let anyone use speed to get their mounts moving forward into the connection. He insisted that riders set the expectation of connection, so that the horse could comply. “It’s a matter of you training the horse, not the horse training you,” He said.

Once he was satisfied with our trot work, we progressed to the canter, where we worked on elasticity of stride and the horses’ willingness to respond to aids. Cantering in a large circle, Buck required that we collect our horses as much as possible, then move forward on an interval. This process has us expanding and contracting the frame we had with our horses, all while never losing that earlier established connection. Each time we collected, Buck wanted us to ask for lift in the chest and shoulder, then maintain that lift even as we allowed the horse to move forward into a hand-gallop.

Buck Clinic for Lacy-2.jpg
Buck elaborates on Connection and Riding the Horse forward (Photo Courtesy of Luann McElduff)

 I’ll say something here that I’m sure every eventer knows….. Flatwork is hard work! Despite the cool morning, we were all sweating by the time Buck was ready to start jumping! But our horses were supple and responsive, primed for a good day of positive grid-work.

We began simply, cantering over ground poles that were 9 feet, 8 feet, and 7 feet apart before jumping over a vertical. The poles guided the rider’s collection upon approach to the jump, and using what we learned on the flat, most horses made the shortening distances easily.

The Ground Poles to Vertical Exercise!

From there, Buck began to expand on the pattern. He had students ride the poles to the vertical, then forward five strides to another set of ground poles to a short two-stride vertical combination. We then were required to ride all the way to the fence before turning around a standard. This taught us to maintain the horse’s balance all the way through the end of the line, and to not allow them to bend towards the inside on a turn.  Buck didn’t want us depending on the reins to turn our horse, he wanted us to use our bodies!

After we completed the expanded combination, Buck added additional gridwork, including a line of offset verticals at four stride intervals (on a continuous bending line). This was where the rider’s use of their body rather than their hands to ask for the bending line truly paid off. If the student simply turned the horse’s face, they overshot the bend and couldn’t make the four stride requirement!

The pattern continued to expand as the students successfully completed each portion. The next line challenged the students’ ability to remain precise in their steering and striding. It began with a vertical, a short two stride over a narrow brush box (minus the standards), then a forward moving three-stride over an oxer.

Students throughout the day completed the above elements in multiple combinations and at varying heights. I can safely say that everyone felt their position improving as the gridwork (and Buck’s constant reminder to “Keep your horse in front of your leg! Sit up!”) guided them into a better seat with more effective aids. Horses and riders alike ended the day energized with their accomplishments during the stadium lessons!

Christine McCarter completing the ground poles to Vertical exercise at the Buck Davidson Clinic

But the day didn’t end after the lessons were done. That night Buck gathered with the clinic attendees at Martin Farms for a delicious homecooked meal and a Q&A session that discussed his recent year-end awards, his success with Team USA at the Pan American Games, and his outlook on obtaining personal and professional goals in the sport. Buck stressed the importance of riding as part of a team, of placing independent aspirations second to supporting fellow team members and riders.  He reminded us all that not only do successful riders need to have ironclad work ethic to produce results in eventing, they also need to commit themselves to learning from their colleagues and sharing the accountability in training for competition. Buck was obviously proud and thankful to have been a part of the amazing US team, including Michael Pollard, Hannah Burnett, Shannon Lilly, and Lynn Symansky. He heaped praise upon them for their accomplishments, while downplaying his own success. Every student in attendance that night left with a greater appreciation for the sportsmanship and camaraderie of the eventing discipline, thanks to Buck Davidson.

Sunday – Cross Country

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King of the Mountain, Buck Davidson (Photo Courtesy of Luann McElduff)

Though Sunday was dedicated to practicing the cross country course, it quickly became clear that the lessons of the previous day were not to be forgotten. Like Saturday, riders were expected to begin their warm up by setting an expectation for proper connection with the horse. We revisited expanding and contracting the horses’ frames in the canter, as well as practicing moving from a cross country gallop to a coffin canter and back again within a restricted amount of strides. Buck wanted the students to be able to feel and identify the gallop, the stadium canter, and the coffin canter, so they could deliberately ask for the correct rhythm at the right moment. He told us, “It’s not a matter of speed, but of balance. Your horse can go as fast as you want, as long as they stay balanced and connected.”

Buck discussed the ideal position when on a cross country course, telling riders to stay in the middle of the horse, sitting up with shoulders back. Proper position allows the rider to be prepared for the unexpected. He told us, “I want you to be able to look at the distance to a jump and choose the pace, so that you don’t have to take the first distance you see, but could take the second or the third.”

Buck then applied this exercise to a sprawling course of seven to eight cross country jumps, requiring that we approach certain fences at a gallop and others at a coffin canter. Focus was put upon the ability to change the length and balance of the horse’s stride at any point on course, whether right before a jump or during a long gallop stretch.

Cindy Bower.jpg
Student Cindy Bower practices changing rhythm on course during the Buck Davidson Clinic (Photo Courtesy of Luann McElduff)

While exercising the water combination, Buck incorporated multiple turns that necessitated proper balancing of the horse through the water. He had students begin over two gallop-speed fences in the field, then slow the rhythm to a coffin canter on the approach to a two stride log jump to a bank down into the water . Once in the water, the rider then immediately turned left to canter out and over a roll-top on an ascending line.

A clinic student jumping the hill combination at the Buck Clinic


The same concept of balance and connection were applied once again on hilly terrain. Buck had riders jump stacked logs at the peak of a hill, ride in a controlled manner down the decline, turn to ride back up the hill and down again over a descending four stride combination, then turn again and ride another jump at the peak of the hill. All the while, the horse and rider were expected to maintain impulsion that put the horse in front of the rider’s leg, but remained in balance and controlled.

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Kimberly Jean rides the descending four-stride combination on the hill (Photo courtesy of Luann McElduff)

The theme continued throughout the day, over bank steps and trakehners. But no matter what we were jumping, Buck would always remind us of those vital points: Keep moving forward, maintain a connection, and seek the proper balance. Certainly words to live by, both in this sport and out!

Conclusion – Tired but Happy

Buck Clinic for Lacy-9.jpg
Photo Courtesy of Luann McElduff

This clinic is approximately the fifth time I’ve ridden with Buck in the past two years, and once again I believe I walked away with both a sense of accomplishment and a great deal to work on before he sees me again. Buck’s explanation of the most fundamental elements of riding are precise and technique driven, with continual reference to the consistency required to train both yourself and the horse. He never over-explains, but will verbally lay the groundwork and then let his jumping exercises speak for themselves. He is honest and kind in his critiques, and gives positive feedback whenever a rider does something correctly, which makes riding with him extremely rewarding. Even if Buck never won Rider of the Year, or helped USA clean up at the Pan America games, I would still consider him one of the most valuable assets to the eventing sport today. Not just for his extensive talent, but also for the core values he promotes within our sport: Teammwork, Dedication, and Consistancy.

Buck Davidson will be returning to Area Five again in February, and I have already sent in my deposit for my spot. Prophet and I have begun planning our training regime over the winter so we can show Buck our improvements. There is just nothing better on this earth than getting the “thumbs up” from Buck Davidson!

Go Eventing!

Last Saturday Links of 2011 by Tipperary

Happy New Year.jpg

Happy New Years, Horse Lovers!

Hello EN Readers!

Welcome to the Final Saturday Links post of 2011!! The next time we meet, it will be in the year  2012 (and will my Mayan calendar have run out? Who knows!). I hope everyone out there in the Eventing Nation can reflect upon the last twelve months with both a sense of satisfaction, and with hopeful anticipation for what the future might bring. It’s a brand new year, full of opportunities and surprises! I can’t wait to get started!

Denny Emerson deserves a bit more than a link this weekend for his insightful series of articles concerning Thoroughbred Pedigree and its influences in non-racing disciplines. He discusses the evolution of successful jumpers bred from TBs, and reviews contributing bloodlines in Zenyetta’s Pedigree. These are great installments to his continuing blog, “How Good Riders Get Good.”

Additional Links for your Upcoming Saturday:

Samantha Clark wishes Olivia Loiaconoi a very Happy Birthday!

Katie Murphy – of Murphy Eventing – looks back at the year 2011 with her horse, Fitty.

TalkingHorse.Net also takes a look at the year in Review

Recently released film, In Kennels, is being heralded as a “positive step forward” in promoting hunting. Originally a training aid, the film follows the huntsmen of multiple hound training facilities and shows insight into the world of hunting.

An Interview with USEA’s Owner of the Month: Major Kelly Dobert

Robert Dover hosts a Horsemastership Clinic as one of the new components of the Emerging Dressage Athlete Program in Wellington, FL

Molly Sarge’s next installment in the series “The Future of Showjumping” addresses the quality of horse shows available to riders in the US.

Ginny Elliot has named a provisional squad of 12 riders and 14 horses to participate in a squad training programme for Ireland’s Eventing Team in 2012.

Let’s close out this year with a bit of inspiration from “Mr. Stickability” himself, Andrew Nicholson. If he can hang in there during a tough spot, so can we! Go Eventing!


The Eternal Quest for Better Leg Protection


Gather ’round, EN readers, and listen to my tale of woe! It’s a story about the fruitless search for what I now perceive as Eventing’s “Holy Grail,” a prize so elusive and crafty that I have devoted countless hours of internet searching and tack shop scouring just to come up empty handed. This longed after but never obtained item is… The Porter Boot.


Kind of Anti-climactic, I know…

What Are Porter Boots:

For those not of the old school eventing mindset, Porter Boots are a form of leg support boot for horses in high intensity disciplines. The boots are most commonly used in eventing, though they are sometimes seen in competitive cross country driving and endurance as well. Comprised of a double layer of tough closed cell foam – one layer as a hard outer shell, the other a supportive inner lining designed to fit the tendons and cup the ankle – these boots are meant to wrap fully around the horses’s canon bones and be secured with vet wrap, Saratoga wraps, or some other form of elastic fastening.


Saratoga wraps – a stretchy wrap with grippy gel bands on the interior, for reduced slipping (Photo courtesy o )


Porter boots essentially come in one size that can be cut down to fit the horse’s specific need, and appear to be nearly indestructible as eventing accessories. I know a couple people who have had their porter boots for years and have not yet had to purchase a replacement set! Great value, right? Thats more than I can say for half my splint boots!


Porter Boots and Saratoga Wraps on a Horse (Photo courtesy of )

The Value of Porter Boots

Porter boots don’t particularly look like anything special, especially not after you’ve taken a pair of scissors to them so they’ll fit ole Trigger. But the level of leg support they offer to an competitive and hard working horse is without parallel, especially considering the price (On average, about $80 for a full set of four). Neither the porter boot neoprene material nor Saratoga wraps hold water weight, so the boots become an asset on a long cross country course. They allow a horse’s legs to remain cool and light without sacrificing all-around leg support and protection to the tendons.

Porter Boots take a licking and keep on ticking! (Photo courtesy of )

The Bad News

So perhaps now that you’ve read all this great information about the positive uses of Porter Boots in eventing, you’re interested in getting a pair for yourself. Well, Tough Cookies! Reports via the internet are inconclusive, and everything else is hearsay through the eventing grapevine, but it appears that Mr. Porter (the fabulous inventor of the Porter Boot) has either retired or passed away, and in doing so has pulled production of his product from the market. In short, no one makes or sells new Porter Boots anymore! Oh, the Humanity!

If this were any other piece of riding equipment – bridles, girths, whatever – the situation might not be so dire. After all, there are typically a hundred other companies making a knock off or imitation version of an original brand, usually produced for a cheaper price tag. Such is not the case with the Porter Boot. It appears to have been unique in its field, and to date only one company has managed to offer a product that even comes close to its design and function. That company is, of course, every eventer’s best friend – Nunn Finer.


The Richland Boot (Photo Courtesy of )

Currently John Nunn and the Nunn Finer brand are developing their own custom-designed version of the Porter Boot, anticipated to be competitive with the original product both in performance and price. This new design is called the Richland Boot, and you can bet I’ll be purchasing a pair! But while I am waiting on this new solution to my old problem, What am I to use for my Horse’s Leg Protection?!

The Alternative to Porter Boots

It’s not like Porter Boots are the only options available to an eventer wishing to provide protection and support for their horse’s legs. On the contrary, actually. These days there are more versions of wraps, boots, splints, and pads on the market than ever before. And even better, these things now come in Colors! So why am I all hell-bent on purchasing porter boots and saratogas for my horse? Well, a couple of reasons. Let’s review the alternatives:

Woof Boots/Splint Boots – The favorite “go-to” boot of most eventers today, this closed cell neoprene boot provides excellent protection against leg brushing and accidental impact during day to day riding. Their PVC strike pads are very resilient, and the Velcro straps are long lasting (I have a pair that are over a decade old!). I personally love these boots for my daily workouts on my horses because they are quick and easy while also offering the mid level protection I need during training work. However, many of these types of splint boots (whether Woof Wear, Nunn Finer, Davis, or Eskadron) provide little to no tendon support to the horse wearing them, and in fact can even prove harmful by trapping heat beneath the neoprene and in the tendons. This material also absorbs water, making them heavier after a pass through a water obstacle. Ultimately, while I favor these boots for daily workouts and training, they are not my choice for the physical rigors of the cross country phase during competition.

Tri-Zone® cross country boots (Photo Courtesy of

“Tri-Zone” Boots – These boots are less popular than Splint boots, but still a common choice for eventers seeking a cost efficient alternative to some of the more costly cross country boots available. Tri-Zone boots are also made by N.E.W. or Equilibrium, and all provide similar beneficial specs. They feature a hard outer shell (made of TPU) that cups around the back tendon and covers both sides of the cannon bone. Internal padding is made of breathable, impact absorbing EVA, and the front panel of the boot features a dense neoprene plate for added protection over the front tendon and canon. Additionally, Tri-Zone boots have a unique “slatted duct” that allows ventilation beneath the padding to reduce possible overheating of the legs. These boots are truly the next step up from the simple splint boots and provide fantastive impact protection for your horse. Unfortunately, there is still not much in the way of leg or tendon support, and these boots also collect water in the same manner that splint boots do.


Ecogold Boots (photo courtesy of

Ecogold Boots – As if these boots need Any introduction! EcoGolds are the elite line of leg protection for horses, much like their saddle pads are the paramount in back protection. These boots are made of flexible, 100% breathable, neoprene-free materials, comprised of a polycarbonate outer shield and three additional cushioning layers. The breathable memory foam conforms to the horse’s cannon bone and distributes pressure evenly, while a lack of hard outer trim reduces rubbing. These boots are Gorgeous and “tough as an axe!” In fact, if you check out the Ecogold website, you can watch a video of testers striking the polycarbonate shell of this boot with and axe and showing no damage beneath. That is how tough these bad boys are! They also offer an impressive level of support, thanks to the conforming nature of the boot. On top of all that, the material is not water absorbent and designed to allow moisture on the legs to evaporate quickly. This product is truly ideal for Cross Country, and I would love to own a full set. The only pain point is the price. $120.00 for a pair may not seem like a lot, but multiply that by three horses, and take into account that the memory foam is designed for that one pair should only ever really be worn by the same horse. Now, suddenly, there’s a hole in my wallet! 

The Hunt Continues

In conclusion… no wait, I’m still waiting on a conclusion. I haven’t actually found my perfect set of boots yet. Since writing this, I managed to scrape up a pair of hind Porter Boots from AJ Tack Wholesale, but the fronts are proving particularly elusive. My latest effort has involved buying a second hand pair of hind Porter Boots and cutting them into the shape of the front Porters. This whole experience has turned me into a mad scientist!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had interest in Porter Boots (or leg protection in general!), and I know I’m not the only one who uses them. If you’ve got a pair (or are searching for them), please share your stories with me! I’d love to find out that someone has a hidden stash of Porters secreted away in a cave. If they’re willing to share, even better!!

Either way, with Porters, with Splint Boots, even with Duct Tape and a Prayer…. 

Go Eventing!

Rebecca Farm’s Saturday Holiday Reader from Tipperary


Well, Someone is in the Holiday Spirit!! (Photo courtesy of Nelsons Funny Farm )


Merry Christmas Eve, EN Readers! Or, to be more politically correct, Happy Holiday Eve! (And Happy Fourth Day of Hanukkah!) Whatever your belief system, this coming weekend is certainly a reason to celebrate and enjoy the time with friends, family, and horses. I bring these links to you all from the cozy armchair of my childhood home, basking in the dim, multi-colored glow of obscenely over-decorated Christmas tree. Ah, it’s great to be home!

This time of year brings with it a sense of recollection and nostalgia, particularly if you (like me) are surrounded by the living memories of holidays past. My family moved to the country when I was 8 years old, specifically to nurture my love of horses and animals. During my first Christmas in our new house, my parent surprised me by bringing my pony to live with us in the newly erected barn and paddock. It was like all my dreams came true on that day.

Of course, every rider in that situation knows that what followed was literally years of hard labor to maintain the property, barn, and steadily growing herd of horses in our pastures. Certainly, the idylic illusion of a perfect riding facility faded away. But I don’t think I’ll ever forget how it felt the first time I looked out my bedroom window and saw my pony looking back at me. Even if he was neighing at me to come feed him.



Anyway, that’s plenty reminescing. It’s time for Holiday News and Notes!!

And speaking of memories, Rebecca Farms is celebrating the completion of their tenth year as a competition facility for event riders. In looking to the future, they have announced that Scottish equestrian Ian Stark has been selected to re-design the cross country course. Read more about it here

Curt Pool, of Chronicle of the Horse, shares his observations as an auditor of the George Morris clinic that took place on December 2nd and 3rd at Rich and Shelley Fellers’ Stable in Wilsonville, Oregon.

After numerous complaints about the show jumping footing at the Olympic test in Greenwich, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games has responded by testing a new surface earlier this week. Reportedly,, the new footing has received positive feedback and is pending the stamp of approval from the FEI.

Morevan Park’s executive director, Frank Milligan, is leading plans to make the 1,200 acre estate more accessible to the public. Future plans include improved access into and through the property, including trails and roadways to link the mansion grounds with the equestrian center across several fields and various ball field.

Abby Gibbon gives a review of the new feature film, “War Horse,” from the perspective of a rider and horse person. Warning, there are spoilers, but it might help you decide if you want to see the film!


Again, I hope everyone enjoys the time spent amongst friends and family during this holiday season. For now, I leave you all with a lovely video by Saddle Up Productions highlighting Hawley Bennet-Awad’s 2011 winning ride with Gin N’ Juice at Rebecca Farms on July 23, 2011. Go Eventing!


For the Eventer That Has Everything: Holiday Horse Cookies!

Somebody can’t wait for Santa!


Hello EN Readers!


The holidays are drawing near (only three days until Santa!), and if you’re anything like me then you’re looking around with a panic stricken expression, wondering where the time went! Wasn’t it only yesterday that we were deal hunting on Black Friday??

Eventing communities are often like families, so it’s no surprise that barns and associations everywhere this season are participating in festive gatherings and gift exchanges. But what can you possibly buy an eventer that they don’t already have out of necessity? And worse, what if you’re only just now realizing that you’ve forgotten that most important loved one?…. Your Faithful Horse!

While we might assume that having a warm stall, blankets, feed twice a day, and a grassy paddock should be gift enough, I think we all know that horses don’t quite see things the same way. They cart us around a series of long cross country courses for half the year, the least we can do is show our gratitude!


Fortunately, there is a solution to these holiday woes that is both easy, fun, and a real barn-crowd pleaser! Make your own special Holiday Horse Cookies!

I’ve had the benefit of trying my hand at a few of these homemade treats through the years, some with great success and some… not so much. Below is a list of homemade treats that I’ve found the best received by picky OTTBs and hungry equestrian friends alike!


Oat & Carrot Christmas Cookies

(Recipe Originally by Bijou)

Delicious Oat and Carrot Horse Cookies! (Photo courtesy of Bijou)


1.5 Cups of Oats

2 Whole Carrots

.5 Cups of Molasses

2 TBS of Water


  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
  2. Run the Oats and Carrots through a food processor to make into a fine, flour like meal
  3. Combine in bowl with Molasses, sprinkle in water until moist and mix well
  4. Form small balls of the mixture, size based on the size of the cookie you want (I try to keep my no larger than a spoonful)
  5. Place the balls on an ungreased baking sheet, squashing them slightly flat as you go.
  6. Bake in oven for approx. 25 minutes, or until the treats have dried out to your preference. 25 minutes should provide a dry, crunchy treat.
  7. Wait to cool, serve to willing animals and people!


What I like about this recipe is that it uses no enriched flour, no corn syrup, and no sugar. It’s all natural!



Apple & Flax Horse Cookies

1 Cup Sweet Feed

2 – 3 Cups Wheat Bran

1 Cup Flax Seed

1 TSP Salt

4 Large Apples, Shredded

1 Cup Molasses

.5 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce


  1. Mix molasses, brown sugar, apples and applesauce in bowl.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  3. Gradually combine wet and dry ingredients together, only using enough of the wet ingredients to make a thick dough. Add more bran if necessary.
  4. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with oil.
  5. Drop batter onto cookie sheet in tablespoon amounts. Flatten with a fork.
  6. Bake slowly at 300° F. for 1 hour, turn cookies over and continue to bake for another 45 minutes until thoroughly dried.
  7. Reduce heat if cookies begin to brown excessively or to burn.


I like these because of the Bran and Flax in the cookie, and because horses tend to like the apply flavor! (I may have tasted for myself as well….)



Easy No Cook “Apple Snaps”

(Recipe originally by Holistic Hoof and Horse Care)


4 Cups Bran (Wheat or otherwise)

4 Cups Unsweetened Applesauce


  1. Mix ingredients together until batter is doughy
  2. Roll out batter with rolling pin
  3. Cut into squares or shapes
  4. Allow dough to dry (takes about 24 hours) and serve


Obviously, I love these. They’re not as popular as the other cookies but they require significant less time and effort! A note, though…. If you live in a relatively humid climate, they can take a while to dry properly. I had sped up the process by putting the oven at it’s lowest setting and placing them on the center rack for about fifteen minutes.


Peppermint Patties

1/3 Cup Oats
1/3 Cup Grain (plain)
1/3 Cup Molasses
1/3 Cup Flour


  1. Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees
  2. If you prefer, use food processor to chop Oats and Grain into a finer texture
  3. Mix together all ingredients except for peppermints.
  4. Form cookies using spoon/scoop/hands and place on a lined cookie sheet
  5. Take a peppermint and place it in the middle of each ball of the cookie dough, pressing down to flatten slightly.
  6. Bake for 21 minutes or until golden brown. May need to let them dry out.
I real Horsie Favorite! The Peppermint adds just enough allure for the finicky eater.



Oat’n’Apple Chewies

(Recipe originally by Moniteau Saddle Club)


1.5 Cups Unsweetened Applesauce

1 Cup Oat Bran Cereal or Ground Oatmeal

.5 Cup All Purpose Flour (I prefer Wheat flour)


  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mix all ingrediants together until consistency is that of thick batter
  3. Oil/grease a 9 inch X 9 inch square cake pan (metal)
  4. Spread batter evenly in cake pan
  5. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes. The batter will shrink away from the edges of the cake pan, and be firm to the touch.
  6. Slice into squares while still warm. These chewies will not dry out and should be refrigerated


And Below is a new addition to my Recipe Box, recently posted by Professional’s Choice on their website! I haven’t had a chance to test these out, so if someone would like to give them a go, let me know how it works out!

Oat Molasses Cookies

(Recipe originally by Grullo Quarter Horses, via Professional’s Choice)

Oat Molasses Cookies look good enough to eat! (Photo Courtesy Professional’s Choice )

2 Cups Dry Oatmeal

.5 Cup Grated Carrots

3 TBS Molasses

.5 Cup Brown Sugar

Water to preference


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all Ingredients
  3. Add enough water to make a soft dough, Stirring well
  4. Form cookie balls
  5. Bake for 8 minutes or until golden brown
I hope everyone gets a chance to try out these great recipes, and that this holiday season is filled with love, laughter, and horses!
Go Eventing!

‘Tis the Season… for the High Point Farm Candy Cane Eventing Derby!


Woohoo! Summer Patton and Willie made great time on the jumper course at the High Point Farm Candy Cane Eventing Derby! (Photo Courtesy of David Patton)

Winter in Area Five is both a blessing and a curse to most eventing enthusiasts. These short few months typically mark a lull in show activity due to impending holidays and the chilly, wet weather. Event Riders are given the opportunity to rest their horses, take some much needed time off, or focus solely on training work at home. All of which can become incredibly dull without a goal to strive towards during the break. During this inactive time of year, many riders content themselves with schooling days and short hacks, all while waiting anxiously for spring to arrive and bring with it a new year of shows and combined tests.

But not this year! Fortunately for us, December 2011 marked the debut an exciting addition to the Area Five recognized schooling show circuit. The High Point Farm Candy Cane Eventing Derby! 

Stunning Jumps at the High Point Candy Cane Jumper Derby

High Point Farm is a new show facility located in Plantersville, Texas.  The 40-acre property, owned by longtime horse enthusiasts Steve and Jane McKetta, is perfectly situated a short drive from major roads into the scenic, small-town countryside. The farm features ample parking for trailers, level dressage courts with treated footing, and rolling fields offering cross country obstacles of all levels.

Dressage Courts at High Point Farm in Plantersville, Texas (Photo Courtesy of

This year’s Candy Cane Jumper Derby was organized by eventer Kristy Limon (of Excel Eventing) and sponsored by popular brands such as, The Grayston-Patton Team, Coufal Prater Equipment, LTD, Lubrisyn, Mrs. Pastures, Triple Crown feed, and Supracor. The show was recognized by the Greater Houston Combined Training Association and the Central Texas Eventing Association, and was considered a USEA registered schooling show. Kristy assured competitors this was only the first of many events to be held at High Point!

The Grayson-Patton Team was a title sponsor offering great awards and goodies at the Eventing Derby! (Photo Courtesy of David Patton)

The Candy Cane Eventing Derby consisted of completing a USEA recognized dressage test for attending judge Jennifer Bodtmann, then riding a timed jumping course consisting of both stadium and cross country obstacles across approximately 20 acres of hilly terrain.

Cross Country Jump featuring Event Sponsor, Lubrisyn

Divisions were offered for levels Preliminary through Green as Grass, with prizes for both Senior and Junior competitors. And what great prizes they were! Division first place winners received an engraved platter, gift certificate to Charlotte‘s Saddlery, a free quart of Lubrisyn, ice wraps, and other incredible goodies. Specialty prizes also included a saddle pad, a Supracor half pad, a leather halter, a cooler, neck sashes, and a trophy! All competitors were guaranteed a goodie bag upon arrival and a prize with their placing, so no one left this show empty handed. It was truly a great way to get into the Christmas eventing spirit!


Fabulous Prizes for the Jumping Derby Competitors! (Photo Courtesy of


Showing began promptly at 8:30am on Sunday morning, December 11, 2011. The weather was cool, but with minimal winds and a cloudless sky that promised a truly beautiful day ahead. Preliminary and Training competed in both dressage and jumping before the lunch break, while Novice Jr. and Sr. split their ride times between morning and afternoon. All riders in attendance were in good spirits, and many brought more than one horse to compete!
I’m very proud to write that your own Lacy Cotton here (riding Prophet) placed first in the Preliminary division on a dressage score of 38.2! LeeAnn McQuade and Corp Trip won the Training Division with a score of 37, and Novice Sr. was dominated by Donna Phillips on Benedict, earning 31.7 in dressage!

LeeAnn McQuade and Corp Trip compete at the High Point Candy Cane Eventing Derby


The Novice Jr. division was a tough group in which all horses pulled rails during the jumping phase. It was ultimately won by Audrie Stanka and Tacoma Longshot on a final score of 42.3!

Audrie Stanka and Tacoma Longshot completing their Jumping Course to win First Place!

Beginner Novice  Sr, Beginner Novice Jr, and Green as Grass divisions competed in the early afternoon, and were the largest and most popular divisions of the day. Esther Daubin and Falconwood’s Knight wowed the judges with a dressage score of 26.6 and no jumping or time faults on course. Not only did she win the Beginner Novice Sr division, but she also received the award for “Best Score Overall!”

Show Organizer Kristy Limon presents Esther Dauben with a neck sash and cooler blanket for “Best Score Overall” (Photo Courtesy of Kristy Limon)

The junior riders in the Beginner Novice division all performed well, but none better than Tiffany Bunnell on Tijuana Shuffle, who finished in first place on her dressage score of 31.9 and also won the “Best Junior Rider” award. Last but certainly not least, the Green as Grass division was a close competition between riders, starting with a tie for first place after dressage. Savannah Welch and Connect the Dots took the lead to win the division by .4 points with a score of 39.0! Congratulations competitors!

Competitor Tiffany Bunnell accepting the award for “Best Score Junior Rider”  from Organizer Kristy Limon at the Candy Cane Eventing Derby (Photo Courtesy of Kristy Limon)


Thanks to the diligent work of the judges and stewards at High Point Farm, the show ran smoothly and on time for the duration of the day. All festivities (including the fantastic product displays provided by sponsors in the office building!) were wrapped up by 3pm. Competitors and volunteers alike lingered to chat as friends and help with clean up, and the day drew to a close as the sun dipped behind the trees.

 The atmosphere at the Candy Cane Eventing Derby was truly filled with good holiday tidings and friendly well wishes. Competitors are already expressing how they eagerly look forward to next year’s show, and any other events taking place at High Point Farm! Notice has been posted about an upcoming eventing derby on March 28th, and you can bet I’ll be there!

Go Eventing!

Amanda Merrit and Beautiful Sakura were flying high at the High Point Candy Cane Eventing Derby!


Video Break: The Hamburg Derby Makes Eventers Look Tame!

The Hamburg German Jumping and Dressage Derby is one of ten events that is part of the Global Champions Tour, a series of Grand Prix jumping competitions spanning eight months and nine countries across the globe. The entire circuit series is intense, but Hamburg stands out for its Sunday Jumper Derby – a tradition that has lasted eight two years and continues to gain in popularity due to its challenging course and enticing prize money. 

And Holy Cow, what a Derby! As an eventer, I like to believe that our horses are well-rounded athletes with the skills to adapt to any situation. But there’s adapting… and then there’s just plain craziness!
The 2011 Hamburg Derby took place at Reitstadion Klein Flottbek in May of this year, and thanks to Youtube, we can enjoy a little of its excitement today!

This is Marcel Ewen of Luxembourg, riding Orgueil Fontaine. Ewen ultimately placed third in the derby and won 12,500.00 euros (that’s about $16,730.30!).

How’d you like to do a drop like that?! And he didn’t even win! The Derby winner for 2011 was Germany’s own Andre Thieme, riding Nacorde. Thieme’s winning ride brought him 35,000.00 euros ( $46,844.00, wowza!). His video isn’t quite as fun to watch (partially because of the nonstop narration in a language I cannot speak), but he’s a truly amazing rider with a fantastic horse. He also recently won the Pzifer One Million Dollar Gran Prix in Saugerties, NY. They make it look too easy!

I don’t know about you guys, but riding Preliminary level is hard enough. I think I’d wet myself if I had to face some of these jumps. We’re better off Eventing!

Boyd Martin is On a Roll in Area Five

Photo Courtesy of Luann McElduff

It wasn’t so long ago that Boyd Martin was visiting Area Five and teaching a highly anticipated clinic at Pine Hill Farms in Bellville, TX. It was then (in October) that Boyd and I got to sit down and chat about the financial demands of this sport. That clinic was such a success that organizer Kristy Limon (of Excel Eventing) immediately began planning Boyd’s next trip to the southern states for additional teaching opportunities. As luck would have it, he was available before the end of the year!

This past weekend, in torrential rains and blustery winds so relentless that any sane person would be safely indoors, twenty riders (and their various grooms/husbands/boyfriends/etc) gathered at Meadowcreek Park in Kosse, Texas for the yet another Area Five Boyd Martin Clinic. And inclement weather aside, Boyd made the whole experience a fun and educational success!

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Boyd Gives Instruction to Clinic Students on November 25, 2011 (Photo Courtesy of Luann McElduff)


Day One – Stadium

The stadium arena was a sloppy mess on Saturday morning, so nobody (from intermediate level to beginner novice) jumped very high. Evenso, the low level gymnastics Boyd designed were challenging and technical for the clinic-goers. He taught each group a similar theme that focused on flexibility and balance in both horse and rider, utilizing a multitude of turns and precise distances to pull the best ride out of everyone.


Ambra Pira and Alfie Complete an Exercise over an Oxer on Stadium Day (Photo courtesy of Angie Pira)

Exercises (for those who might want to pursue the idea at home) included:

– Three stride lines of varying distances, requiring lengthening and shortening of the horses stride

– a bounce line designed out of narrow brush boxes, without standards. This demanded very forward, active, and precise riding by the student to avoid losing impulsion or straightness. Boyd wanted us to “place” our horses where we deliberately wanted to go.

– A set of five alternating angled verticals, set in a zig zag pattern. These were used in a variety of ways, including jumping each one at a perpendicular angle, then completing a rollback to the next jump at a perpendicular angle, until the rider reached the end of the line of verticals. This truly tested the horses balance and flexibility in muddy conditions, and had riders planning their course. We also jumped straight down the line over each vertical at an angle, using an encouraging seat to send the horse forward and navigate the center of each jump

– A series of turn-heavy courses, requiring straightness on the approach to obtain the proper striding within the jump combinations and lines.


Boyd giving instruction to rider Maddie McElduff and Rosie during Stadium Day (Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Stephens)

Boyd was encouraging and inventive on stadium day, urging riders to be more proactive on their horses while also keeping the atmosphere light with humorous quips and jokes. We all had a lovely time during our lessons and felt ready for the excitement of the cross country day.

But let’s not forget the clinic participant dinner! Forty Six horse enthusiasts (all the riders, plus entourage!) met up at a small southern cooking restaurant called Austin’s in downtown Kosse for dinner and drinks among friendly faces. Boyd was the life of the party (naturally), moving around the table to swap friendly jokes and answer questions. We had a delicious home-style meal including fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and greens. And some of the clinic-goers even provided beer and wine! (Boyd’s favorite Amstel Light was in attendance, of course)


The Fabulous Clinic Attendee Dinner – Organized by Kristy Limon!

After the dinner had wound down at Austin’s, some of the group took the fun back to the barn to sit around a bonfire and talk under the stars. I think it’s safe to say that was a great night for everyone!


Day 2 – Cross Country



Boyd Demonstrating Proper Gallop Position on Kristy Limon’s horse, Elliott

Sunday morning started early, with the first group riding at a frosty 7:00am. The prior night’s temperatures had dropped as low as 31 degrees, and the chill had yet the wear off by the time the sun broke over the tree line. High winds buffeted the riders from all sides, but it wasn’t enough to deter our eventing spirit, or keep us off of Meadowcreek’s large cross country field. The one favor that the high winds did for us was to dry up the rain from the previous day, so the footing was firm but forgiving – perfect for a day of eventing!


Aly Mulconnery and Aspen begin a Cross Country Jump Combination on XC Day


Boyd’s lessons on this day focused heavily on rider position when riding cross country. He started by describing the gallop position to each group and having them demonstrate their ability to hold the position, correcting where necessary. He explained the importance of using rider posture, not their hands, to slow and lift a horse on the approach to a jump. Boyd also explained that one of the primary differences between stadium rides and cross country rides was the necessity for a longer rein on your horse, to allow a freer and more forward motion in jumping. Boyd wanted us to be able to change our position from a gallop to a jumping seat without changing the length of our horses’ necks.

Here’s Boyd himself explaining the importance of rider position!

And again, explaining why we strive to ride Cross Country well!

Many of the exercises on this day were meant to reinforce these main points, as well as the value of a good approach to the jump, with the horse in front of our leg. Boyd spoke several times on staying behind the horse in the saddle, stating that he’d “only ever seen one person fall off the back of the horse when jumping, most fell off the front!” We practiced building confidence in our horses over solid obstacles, and how to use our eye to ride a “twelve foot stride, twelve foot stride, ten foot stride” to the base of the jump.


Boyd Instructs a Clinic Rider over an Open Ditch

Although the day was relentlessly cold and windy, I don’t think there was a single rider that didn’t gain some useful instruction from the experience. For certain, no one regretted braving the chill to come out!

The Boyd Martin clinic was truly a great experience, and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to ride with him twice now. I honestly cannot wait for his return to Area Five next year!

And as a parting shot, here’s a little “Boyd Pantomime.” See if you can figure out what he’s saying over the wind!

Author Note: I’d like to give a big Birthday Shout-Out to Clinic Student, Maddie McElduff. Maddie turned Eleven Years old this Monday, and she celebrated her birthday in style at the Boyd Clinic. Maddie McElduff and Orion’s Rosealene finished this show season at the Top of the USEA 2011 Beginner Novice Leaderboard, coming in as the Number One junior rider in the country! Congratulations Maddie!!



Baby Goats. ‘Nuff Said!

Some days just dont go the way we want them to, and it’s enough to give any optimistic person a case of the Mondays.


But Good News! I’ve been reliably informed that the cure for all bad mood ailments is watching cute, cuddly animals do cute, cuddly things with other cute, cuddly animals. So to assist in your daily pick me up, I give you Video of a Baby Goat Riding a Horse! Don’t worry, not only is this video safe for work monitors, it’s also rated “Awwww-dorable!”