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‘Kick on for Koalas’ Ocala Clinic to Raise Funds for Australian Bushfire Relief

Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

More than 16 million acres of southeastern Australia have gone up in flames this season, causing devastation on an epic scale. Canadian Olympian Selena O’Hanlon felt moved to organize an effort within the eventing community to help.

“The images out of Australia were horrifying,” Selena says. “I was in tears thinking about the loss of life. Those poor people, those poor animals. With the idea of a fundraiser and clinic, I approached others and the event snowballed.”

With that, “Kick on for Koalas” was set into motion. Florida landowner Derek Strine stepped up right away and offered the use of his outstanding equestrian facility, Barnstaple South, to hold the clinic. An “A” list of top riders followed forming a dream team of international riders and trainers who are eager to donate their time.

The list includes:

  • Buck Davidson, who has represented the USA in the WEG and international events around the world
  • Lauren Kieffer, Olympian and member of the gold medal-winning team at the 2015 Pan Ams
  • Scott Keach, two-time Olympian for Australia — 1988 in eventing and 2016 in show jumping.
  • Dom Schramm, a former member of Australia’s Young Rider Squad and now five-star rider
  • Lesley Grant-Law, a Canadian top-level eventer, named alternate for the Canadian Olympic Eventing team in the 2008 Beijing Games
  • Selena O’Hanlon, who made her international riding debut riding for Canada in the 2008 Olympics

“Kick On For Koalas” will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at Barnstaple South (10800 NW 145th Ave. / Morriston, FL, 32668). Participants will have their choice of top-level instruction in dressage, show jumping and cross country.

All of the funds raised at the clinic will be split between Equestrian Fire Relief Australia and the World Wildlife Federation’s Australian Bushfire Emergency Fund.

Selena hopes this fundraiser will raise significant funds to help Australia recover from the devastating fires. “My mother and I raised over $14,000 for Japanese relief after the 2011 earthquake and $24,000 for the tsunami,” she says. “I know the eventing community can dig deep and make a difference for Australia now.”

The O’Hanlons are reaching out to Corporations like Tallman Group, who are stepping up and sponsoring individual cross-country jumps

Riders wishing to participate in the clinic can ride in a session with one of the dream-team trainers for $200 per show jumping or cross country session, $150 per dressage session — click here for a link to the entry form. For more information, visit the Facebook event page here.

In order to raise additional funds, riders are encouraged to have friends, family, and others pledge an amount on behalf of the rider taking the clinic. People wishing to sponsor riders can do so by completing the sponsorship form found in discussions.

Go Eventing.

What’s Happening This Winter? Your Weekly Guide to Clinics, Schooling Shows & More [Updated 1/23]

Our featured clinic this week is a unique one: rider biomechanics. The concept of rider biometrics has become a more frequently discussed topic among riders, and we are beginning to see more instructors picking up new tools designed to improve the position and effectiveness of rider position. Join Verago Equestrian in Union Bridge, MD for an hour-long lesson taught by USDF Bronze Medalist Ally Schultz and learn more about improving balance, elasticity, and rhythm in your riding. For more information on this clinic, which begins Saturday, click here.

“What’s Happening This Winter,” presented in partnership with Event Clinics, is your complete guide to clinics, schooling shows and other riding and educational opportunities.

Want your activity listed in What’s Happening? Register it with Event Clinics, a mobile friendly, user-controlled services platform that connects organizers with riders. It’s easy and free to post your listing — click here to get started.

Here is what’s happening in your USEA Area this winter.

Location Quick Links: Area I | Area II | Area III | Area IV | Area V | Area VIArea VII | Area VIII | Area IX | Area X

Area I

Area II

Area III

Area IV

Area V

Area VI

Area VII

Area VIII

Area IX

Area X

Go Eventing.

Thursday News & Notes from Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS)

Tom Crisp and Coolys Luxury. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Have an Advanced horse? British eventer Tom Crisp wants to ride it! Specifically, he’d like to borrow it for the Wellington Eventing Showcase. The event takes place Feb. 8-9 at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida, and we’re all very much looking forward to it. Except for Tom, who is entered but may have to canter round the course on foot unless he finds a catch ride. Which would actually be quite entertaining.

First held in 2015, the Wellington Eventing Showcase offered one of the largest prize pots on the North American eventing circuit, with $100,000 awarded in 2017. Boyd Martin won the showcase all three years it ran, from 2015-2017. After taking 2018-2019 off, the competition returns next month with an all star lineup of riders.

Tom is a good friend of EN’s — he’s a fun guy to drink a beer with (though not near as much fun as his head girl, the inimitable Amy Akehurst) and a helluva rider. Fun fact: in 2018, the year he finished 6th at Pau, he was the only rider to complete all four of the European four-stars. So, he probably won’t screw up your horse too badly. In fact, he might even do quite well — remember when William Fox-Pitt piloted his catch ride, Sandro’s Star, handily into the top three at last year’s $50,000 LiftMaster Grand-Prix Eventing at Bruce’s Field?

Alright already, EN, somebody out there pony up a pony for Tom!

National Holiday: National Pie Day

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Rocking Horse Winter I H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Full Gallop Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Your Wednesday News & Notes:

Kailey Giancola continues to make progress at the Shepherd Center. The 25-year-old eventer suffered a severe brain stem injury in a horse-related accident on Dec. 16. Yesterday’s update: “Kailey started off the day with a big surprise for staff as the morning nurse came in and was shocked to see Kailey lying in her bed with her eyes open. There have now been several instances where Kailey opens her eyes spontaneously without associated stimulus. Kailey’s lead physician has been very pleased with this development and stated that this is exactly what they would like to see prior to her progressing to a higher level of consciousness.” Keep kicking, Kailey! [Kailey’s CaringBridge Journal] [GoFundMe]

We are also rooting for Hanna Kittrell, a 16-year-old Indiana eventer who is facing medical challenges after a car accident on Dec. 30. Described as “a spunky rider and friendly soul” by those who know her, Hanna suffered damage to her organs and multiple broken bones, and underwent amputation of her lower leg last week. She is being transferred to Mary Free Bed Rehab Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI, for rehabilitation, and a GoFundMe has been set up to help defray medical expenses. Let’s show both of these young ladies lots of love and support as they tackle the tough roads that lie ahead ahead. [Hanna’s CaringBridge Journal] [GoFundMe]

The Pacific Northwest eventing community community lost a good one earlier this month. Jean Moyer of Gig Harbor, Washington, was an an accomplished rider and beloved coach. A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, Feb. 8, at 1 p.m. at Aspen Farms in Yelm, Washington. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to USPC-NW Region. [In Memoriam: Jean Moyer]

Is your horse new to eventing? A USEA New Event Horse (NEH) competition is a cost-effective, low-pressure way to introduce the sport. Its structure is similar to the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Series with two phases: dressage and jumping. The 2020 NEH calendar is now available. [The 2020 New Event Horse Calendar is Now Available]

How are those New Year’s fitness resolutions going? Janice Dulak, author of “Pilates for Dressage,” will be teaching her trademark equestrian Pilates Mat classes every Monday and Wednesday from 5:30-7 p.m. now through March 18th at the Clubhouse at the Ocala Jockey Club. Perfect for equestrians of all disciplines! Try one class or sign up for the season. Can’t beat the serene setting and the fantastic view. Sunsets included at no extra charge. [Ocala Jockey Club]

Today is your last chance to enter our Fab Freebie for a full Hylofit System! Included with the Hylofit System are a horse and a rider heart rate monitor, a girth attachment, and a rider chest strap — a $249 value. [Enter Now]

Hot on Horse Nation: 5 Reasons I Bought an Already-Restarted OTTB for My Next Horse

Just in on Jumper Nation: Time For Change: Why We Shouldn’t Be Teaching Riders To ‘Up-Down’

Featured Video: Mmmm … delicious, delicious Christmas tree.

Stable View ‘Aiken Opener’ H.T. Photo Gallery

Photo by Christine Rhodes.

We can always count on Christine Rhodes to hook up us with an epic photo gallery from each edition of Stable View Horse Trials! The venue’s 2020 season kicked off over the weekend and was by all accounts a success with well over 250 starters in Beginner Novice through Preliminary divisions.

See someone you know in the photo gallery below? Tag them in the Facebook comments! And be sure to check out the Stable View website for a complete calendar of upcoming events.

Stable View Aiken Opener H.T. [Website] [Final Scores]

Australia Day Demo Event & Online Auction to Support Equestrians Affected by Bushfires

UK-based Australian eventer Chris Burton and Santano II at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Numerous Australian equestrians, and eventers in particular, now live outside of Australia in order to further their competitive careers. They, along with the wider international equestrian community, have a huge desire to support their fellow horsemen and horsewomen in Australia who may have been affected by the bushfire disaster that continues to unfold.

In support, Eventing Riders Association of Great Britain (ERA of GB) has organized fundraising efforts — an Online Auction and the Australia Day Lecture Demo Day — with proceeds to be split between three charities: Blaze Aid, a volunteer-based organization that works with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters; Buy a Bale, which provides feed, water, volunteers, financial assistance and other resource to Australia’s rural communities and farmers; and Equestrian Fire Relief Australia (EFRA), which was launched to support the Australian equestrian community affected by the 2019-2020 summer bush fires.

ONLINE AUCTION

The online auction was made possible by generous donations from a number of events, brands and individuals. Its offerings include everything from tack and riding gear to training opportunities with top riders, hunting cap fees and hospitality packages at major events. The Australian saddlery brand Bates was particularly giving, having donated a saddle and associated accessories and numerous autographed items.

Leading UK events have rallied around ERA’s fundraising efforts and have pledged their support. Blenheim International Horse Trials, whose reigning champion is the Australian Chris Burton among other ties to the southern hemisphere, stepped up to the cause. The event has made a significant donation to the fundraising effort in addition to donating 40 tickets to the auction and raffle, with the aim of raising further funds.

View the online auction here.

AUSTRALIA DAY

On Australia Day 2020 (Sunday, Jan. 26) a group of celebrity riders will conduct a lecture demo event with tickets to benefit the fire relief charities. The event will take place at Lowlands Equestrian Centre, CV35 7AX Warwick, Warwickshire.

Each celebrity rider will have a 20-30 minute slot to do their own unique demo, the theme being ‘This is one of my favorite training exercises.’ Each rider will format their session in their own unique style. Some will ride themselves, some will teach one of their own student riders, and some follow celebrity guest riders as their demo riders! Celebrity riders thus far include Sam Griffiths, Chris Burton, Bill Levett, Tim Price, Paul Tapner, Piggy French and Alex Bragg.

Tickets to the event are sold out; however, Horse & Country, supported by the Cavewood Productions team, will be livestreaming the Australia Day event to a global equestrian audience. “ERA of GB is incredibly grateful to H&C, and the team giving up their time on the day,
for providing the global livestream of our Australia Day event. With such high demand for attending the event, we’re really hoping that the free livestream will help connect the global eventing community and the wider equestrian audience to our fundraising effort,” says Bruce Haskell, ERA of GB President.

H&C will show the evening performance between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. GMT free on their streaming service at horseandcountry.tv. A recording of the evening will be made available, following the event, on H&C.

Find more info about the event and make a donation here.

ABOVE & BEYOND

From individuals to brands and events, it’s wonderful to see the international equestrian community rallying to support our fellow eventers in Australia.

One such example: Blenheim International Horse Trials has had a long association with its Southern Hemisphere competitors, not only via the reigning champion Chris Burton, but also as a previous host of the Asia-Pacific Championships as a qualifier for the 2004 Athens Olympics. The event has made a significant donation to the fundraising effort in addition to donating 40 tickets to the online auction and raffle, with the aim of raising further funds.

“Eventing is such a ‘community’ sport and like members of the ERA we are keen to do what we can,” says Mandy Hervieu, Event Director. “Blenheim Horse Trials are owned by British Eventing who usually invest any event profits back into the sport for the benefit of members. British Eventing have kindly agreed to let us make a significant donation to the Equestrian Fire Relief Australia Fund, as well as tickets to our 2020 event to help further their fundraising efforts. We hope a huge sum can be raised for this urgent cause and encourage everyone to give what they can.”

“Blenheim is a truly global and fantastic event for the whole of the eventing community, and as riders we really appreciate their support and investment in our sport.  We know their investment will be repaid through the loyalty of riders to this top-class event,” says Bruce Haskell, ERA President.

Bede Events, run by Australian Stuart Buntine, has provided a hospitality table for eight at the new ‘Spring Eventing Carnival’ hosted at the spectacular new Thoresby Park venue.  The table will be hosted by eventing legend Lucinda Green during the Grantham Cup. Musketeer Events and Burghley Horse Trials have also pledged hospitality and membership packages to support the fundraising efforts.

Let’s all do our part to help our Australian friends. Visit the online auction, watch Australia Day live or on the live stream, and make a donation if you are able.

Go Eventing.

US Equestrian President Murray Kessler Won’t Be Seeking Re-Election

US Equestrian President Murray Kessler addresses the General Session of the US Equestrian Annual Meeting held in West Palm Beach earlier this month. Photo courtesy of US Equestrian.

US Equestrian President Murray Kessler has announced that he won’t be seeking re-election as US Equestrian President next year. He issued the following statement to members today:

Dear US Equestrian Members,

After much thought, I have decided that I will not run for a second term as US Equestrian President. The reason is simple: my professional circumstances have changed. While I am confident that I can successfully balance my leadership positions at both USEF and at Perrigo, a multinational company, as its President and Chief Executive Officer for my final year as USEF President, I believe this would be difficult to sustain for the long term.

Over the last three years, we have brought about significant changes to USEF through implementation of our Strategic Plan including growing membership, sponsorship and advertising, revamping leadership, bringing on new coaches, relocating our headquarters, outsourcing the laboratory, implementing Safe Sport, regaining our place as a global powerhouse in international high performance, winning our first Para-Medals in years, and much, much more.

I won’t say my goodbyes yet. I will save that for this time next year when my term ends. In the meantime, we have a lot to do to keep the great momentum we have created together for USEF over the last three years!

Sincerely,

Murray S. Kessler

President

We thank Mr. Kessler in advance for his leadership and service to equestrian sport.

 

Weekend Winners: Stable View Aiken Opener & Grand Oaks H.T.

It’s great to have the 2020 eventing season up and running! Let’s recap your results from the weekend, which was headlined by Stable View Aiken Opener in Aiken, South Carolina, and Grand Oaks Horse Trials in Weirsdale, Florida.

The lowest scoring finisher of the weekend was Kurt Martin with Captain Chacco, who won the Open Preliminary-A division at Grand Oaks on a penalty score of 20.7. A couple other bits of blue ribbon trivia from the weekend: two riders — Lillian Heard at Stable View and Leslie Law at Grand Oaks — won two divisions apiece. And it was a great weekend for Cooley horses, who topped a total of four divisions: Absolut Cooley Quality and Galway Bay Cooley at Stable View, and Rock on Cooley and Hooked on Cooley at Grand Oaks.

And now, for your weekend winners:

Stable View Aiken Opener H.T. [Website] [Final Scores]
Open Preliminary-A: Lillian Heard & Dassett Olympus (32.6)
Open Preliminary-B: Waylon Roberts & New Dealer (30.5)
Preliminary Jr/Young Rider: Katherine Christopher & Frodo of the Shire (35.3)
Preliminary Rider: Vanessa Stoltzfus & Teddy Sarco (44.8)
Modified: Lillian Heard & Chilly (30.7)
Open Training A: Skyler E. Decker & HHS Iris (26.7)
Open Training B: Adalee Ladwig & Diego (32.4)
Training Rider: Jessica Ebzery & Absolut Cooley Quality (31.2)
Novice Rider-A: Nancy Z. Wilson & Lagerfeld (29.8)
Novice Rider-B: Tracy Strobel & Quality Stock (28.1)
Open Novice-A: Alexander Conrad & Lexington II (26.2)
Open Novice-B: Ryan Wood & Bellavista (25.9)
Open Novice-C: Kate Kirchdorfer & Galway Bay Cooley (27.9)
Beginner Novice Rider: Beth Allen & Remastered (29.7)
Open Beginner Novice A: Mary Carol Harsch & Theodore alCoda (27.5)
Open Beginner Novice B: Keely Cooley & An Irish Blessing (30.0)

Grand Oaks H.T. [Website] [Final Scores]
Open Preliminary-A: Kurt Martin & Captain Chacco (20.7)
Open Preliminary-B: Clayton Fredericks & FE Money Made (25.4)
Preliminary Rider: Isabel Holden & Rebel Soul (29.5)
Modified: Lauren Kieffer & I’ll Have Another (22.6)
Jr. Training Rider: Ella Kay Lane & Double Dare (31.0)
Open Training-A: Leslie Law & MTH Shannondale Khaleesi (23.8)
Open Training-B: Leslie Law & Rock on Cooley (25.0)
Sr. Training Rider: Kathleen Abrams & Spintastic (31.6)
Jr. Novice Rider: Tessa Geven & Big Bear’s Cepheus (29.5)
Open Novice-A: Alexandra Knowles & Hooked on Cooley (24.8)
Open Novice-B: Caroline Martin & Redfield Galwaybay HSH (25.0)
Sr. Novice Rider: Lydia Anderson & My Ballyanihan Boy (30.7)
Beginner Novice Rider: Krista Wilson & Stella (29.7)
Open Beginner Novice: Lee Maher & Redfield Lord Dix (21.7)

Many thanks to Lisa Madren for this photo gallery of division winners and top placed finishers!

 

Cheers to you all! Go Eventing.

Saturday Video: ‘Tis the Season for Cavaletti

Wendy Bebie and Calero, “Roo.” Photo by GRC Photography.

How do you keep from going crazy in the indoor during the long, dark, cold winter months? Kim Keppick, an Advanced level event rider who has competed internationally as a member of the Irish three-day team and is the developer of Rein-Aid Productions, sent us this reminder that cavaletti can be a valuable tool.

“Former eventer Wendy Bebie who does dressage now is making her Calero much stronger by using raised poles at trot and canter,” Kim says. “It keeps him happy with his work as it adds variety to his routine. He has become a solid Fourth Level dressage horse.”

Calero, a 15-year-old German-bred Holsteiner gelding (Calato x Rancune, by Baloubet du Rouet), was a fierce competitor in eventing. He competed through Prelim with Wendy, and through the two-star level with previous owner Kelli Temple. We’re glad to see that he’s thriving in his dressage career, and we’re sure he loves the challenge that cavaletti presents.

“Cantering raised poles is just another way to help Roo stay mentally alert and physically engaged during the winter,” Wendy says.

Feeling inspired? Here are three posts from the EN archives to get you started.

Sunday Video: Cavaletti Exercises with Evention

What’s in Your Arena? Presented by Attwood: Cavaletti Chaos

5 Ground Pole Exercises to Add to Your Winter Routine

What are YOUR favorite exercises to help get you through the winter, EN?

Fab Freebie: We’re Giving Away a Full Hylofit System!

Photo by Jenni Autry.

Hylofit wants to help you reach your goals this new year. With that in mind, EN is teaming up with Hylofit to give away a full Hylofit System (a $249 value) to one lucky reader. Included with the Hylofit System are a horse and a rider heart rate monitor, a girth attachment, and a rider chest strap.

Hylofit provides real-time heart rate monitoring through the free Hylofit App and allows riders to set up a horse profile for each horse they ride. Through the use of interval training and heart rate data, Hylofit helps riders know whether or not their program is working, and through consistent monitoring of heart rate they can have a better understanding of their horse’s health, happiness, and wellbeing.

To enter, simply use the widget in this post to submit your information. By agreeing to share your email address, you’ll be signed up for emails from Hylofit (don’t worry, they won’t spam you or share your information, and you’re welcome to unsubscribe at any time). Entries close at midnight on Friday, January 24.

Click here to read more about how using Hylofit can up your fitness game. Want to learn more about using a heart-rate monitor? EN has a handy guide here. You can also sign up here to receive updates and tips from Hylofit on how to make the most of your conditioning and training work at any level. Good luck to all! Go Amateurs. Go Eventing.

Aiken Opener is Underway at Stable View Farm

Kirsten LaVassar and Mahogany Mist at the 2017 Stable View Aiken Opener H.T. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Between 200 entries at Grand Oaks H.T. in Florida and another 278 at Stable View in Aiken, it boggles the mind to think that nearly 500 U.S. event horses are startbox-ready this early in the season!

Stable View Farm’s ‘Aiken Opener’ H.T. is underway this weekend, with entries spread across Beginner Novice through Prelim levels. Each division is running as a one-day — Training, Modified and Prelim run on Saturday, and Beginner Novice and Novice run on Sunday. The action gets underway at 8 a.m.

We got a sneak preview of the event earlier this week; today we’ll check out the entry list.

There’s a tie for the honor of “busiest rider of the weekend”: Sarah Cousins and Lillian Heard have six rides apiece. Courtney Cooper is runner-up with five.

We spotted a handful of four-star veterans and team horses on the start list: Truly Wiley, who finished 16th at Kentucky in 2018 with Kelly Prather, is in Open Prelim A with Sarah Cousins. In the same division is Colleen Loach with her 2019 Pan Am Games mount FE Golden Eye.

A true case of celebrity event horse “where are they now?”: Neville Bardos, who with Boyd Martin in the irons finished in the top 10 twice at Kentucky (2008 and 2010), was 10th at the 2010 WEG, finished 7th at Burghley in 2011, and won Fair Hill in 2009, is at 21 years young contesting Novice Rider A with Shelby Fromm. Looks like his first horse trial start since 2015. We love to see it!

The Aiken forecast is showing a 50% chance of rain on Saturday, dropping down to a 10% chance on Sunday, with highs in the mid-50s both days. Fingers crossed that it stays on the dry side!

If you’re available, Stable View is still looking to fill some volunteer positions — and you’ll get a free schooling pass, lunch and snacks, or other thank you gifts in exchange. You can sign up via Eventing Volunteers here.

Many thanks to our friends at Stable View for playing host to this class event and many more throughout the year. Best of luck to all this weekend’s riders. Go Eventing!

Stable View H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Riders Are Raring to Go at Grand Oaks H.T.

We are getting ready for the first of the Grand Oaks Triple Crown Eventing Series 2020. See you at the Grand Oaks this Saturday Jan 18 and 19#eventing

Posted by The Grand Oaks Resort on Monday, January 13, 2020

The Florida winter eventing circuit is already cranking up, with Majestic Oaks H.T. ringing in the new calendar year last weekend and Grand Oaks H.T. underway this weekend.

The Weirsdale, Florida event boasts a hearty field of 200 entries contesting Starter through Prelim levels. It’s the first of three USEA recognized events the venue will host this year, the others being held Nov. 7-8 and Nov. 21-22. The event is generously offering a $10,000 Triple Crown series to the top-scoring horse/rider combination in two out of three of its 2020 horse trials.

Caroline Martin will once again be the busiest rider of the weekend, as she was at Majestic Oaks. She has 10 horses running, including Cheranimo with whom she won Open Prelim last weekend. Nobody else comes close to 10, but a handful of others have four rides — plenty enough to keep your hands full at a two-day event: Hallie Coon, Alexa Ehlers, Jacob Fletcher, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Alex O’Neal.

Dressage begins on Saturday at 8 a.m followed by show jumping beginning at 10. Chris Barnard’s show jumping course on the grass derby field provides plenty of atmosphere; Clayton Fredericks’ course, built by the dream team of Tyson Rementer and Levi Ryckewaert, is beautifully presented. The course offers quite a bit of terrain, which is a rare find in Florida and a fantastic opportunity to build fitness early in the season.

In addition to hosting horse shows, weddings and events, Grand Oaks is a resort featuring an RV park and 18 homes and cottages for rent (some with barns attached!) and a clubhouse, with amenities including a restaurant, The Bistro; Player’s Club Lounge, with weekend entertainment; and a coffee shop. Recreation includes indoor pickleball courts, fishing, croquet, a golf putting green, 7 miles of walking and bicycling paths, and a salon and massage therapist. Stalls and paddocks are available, and the venue also boasts the area’s largest covered arena (170′ x 300′). Can we all just move in for the winter, please?!

Will we see you there? If you’re going to be in the area but not riding, Grand Oaks could use a few more volunteers! You can sign up at Eventing Volunteers.

Best of luck to all competitors this weekend! Go Eventing.

Grand Oaks H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

 

15-Penalty Flag Rule Reform: ERA of NA Seeks Stories/Video of the Rule’s Impact

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

At the 2019 FEI General Assembly, which took place in Moscow, Russia, in November, all proposed eventing rule changes for 2020 were passed including a revision to the FEI’s much debated rule regarding missing a flag on cross country.

The revision to Article 549.2, which became effective on Jan. 1, 2020, is as follows:

  • a) Clear (0 penalties): A horse is considered to have cleared the fence when the head, neck and both shoulders of the horse (to the point of the front of the saddle) pass between the extremities of the element or obstacle as originally flagged and the hindquarters of the horse jump the dimensions of the fence. 
  • b) Missing a flag (15 penalties): A horse is considered to have missed a flag if part of the horse’s head, neck or shoulder (to the point of the front of the saddle) jump outside the extremities of the element or obstacle as originally flagged. The hindquarters must jump the dimensions of the fence.
  • c) Run-Out (20 penalties): A horse is considered to have run out if, having been presented at an element or obstacle on the course, it avoids it in such a way that the head, neck and both shoulders (to the point of the front of the saddle) fail to pass between the extremities of the element or obstacle as originally flagged or the hindquarters have not jumped dimensions of the fence. Continuing on course will incur elimination.

Additionally:

Faults: In the event of an appeal, only official video recording can to be used as evidence.it was in the event of an appeal, only official video recording can to be used as evidence.

In October, the Event Riders Association of North America came out in support of the proposed changes to Article 549.2 following the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International, when the 15 Penalty Rule came into play and had a profound effect on the competition results, as well as prize money and FEI Ranking point allocations. However, ERA of NA noted, “the implementation and transparency of the rule going forward needs to be amended.”

While the ERA of NA believes this update is an improvement on the current rule, we also believe the following points should be considered and implemented.

  •  Assessment and adjudication of Article 549.2 should be handled uniformly at every FEI competition regardless of level or location.
  •  Should there be a question as to whether a horse-and-rider combination has cleared a fence, the issue should be reviewed immediately by the Technical Delegate and/or a member of the Ground Jury as opposed to waiting until the end of the competition day.
  • The Official Video that is reviewed by the Ground Jury should be made public in a timely fashion to aid in transparency and serve as an educational resource for riders, officials and the eventing constituency.
  • Video or photographs other than the Official Video should be allowed to be submitted and reviewed when an appeal is made.
  • At fences where Official Video will be used for review, a clear marker of where the camera will be placed should be present at the time the course officially becomes open. In addition, there should be clear guidelines for officials as to the positioning of cameras to ensure the fair and consistent application of the rule.
  • When setting the flags on a narrow fence or corner, Course Designers could further consider the positioning of flags in a way that increases the likelihood horses are not penalized when a good faith effort has been made to jump the fence correctly.”

On Jan. 10 ERA of NA president Shannon Lilley issued the following memo to members:

The ERA of NA and the Eligible Athletes Group are working in conjunction with Event Owners Task Force to prepare for the FEI Eventing Risk Management Seminar and Forum at Aintree Racecourse, Jan. 24-26, 2020. At this Forum guidelines for the newly revised 15 Penalty Flag rule will be discussed. We would like your stories and/or videos if you were affected by the flag rule last year. The more video footage we have, the better we can make a case for implementing the rule consistently and transparently.

Can you help, EN? Please submit videos to [email protected]

Click here to read the full document of proposed, and now approved, rule changes for 2020. The complete 2020 FEI Eventing Rules can be viewed here.

Kailey Giancola Keeps Kicking as She Begins Therapy at the Shepherd Center

Kailey Giancola and Pete. Photo by Becca Knopf via the EN archives.

Kailey Giancola, the 25-year-old eventer who suffered a severe brain stem injury in a horse-related accident on Dec. 16, is nothing if not a fighter, and her strength continues to be revealed in her recovery.

After initial admission to Ocala Regional Medical Center followed by three weeks in the Neurointensive Care Unit at the UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, on Jan. 9 she was discharged and transferred to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta to begin rehabilitation. This signaled a huge step forward in her progress as she began therapy with the center’s skilled team of brain injury specialists.

Kailey’s brother, David, has been keeping family and friends posted via a Caring Bridge online journal here. From the first flickering of her eyes to all the physical and emotional mile-markers of moving through the stages of a coma, we are grateful to the Giancola family for sharing daily updates.

Since Kailey arrived at the Shepherd Center she has undergone initial baseline testing, begun speech therapy, visited with her first therapy dog, and was fit for a custom wheelchair with PT. The family is awaiting results from an MRI performed on Saturday to reveal another depiction of Kailey’s injuries, the results of which will help them obtain a more accurate prognosis for the future.

David’s latest update, from Sunday, Jan. 12:

Kailey has had a great day today as she demonstrated the ability to grasp and lift an object on-command for the very first time. Her strength and endurance continues to grow each and every day. She remains very active in all extremities but has been doing much better with little to no vast spikes in her vitals. It seems the neurostorming events that were rather prominent before have settled at least for the time being. Respiratory therapy was back again today and stated that Kailey has been doing much better with her respirations since the changes they had noticed when she first arrived. They feel that if progress continues, they should be able to completely wean her from the ventilator in 5-7 days. [Before leaving UF, Kailey was breathing unassisted for up to a 14-hour stretch.] The new imaging, MRI with contrast, that was requested yesterday has been completed, but due to the weekend, a specialist could not be consulted for a more in-depth interpretation until tomorrow.

You can read more updates and share well-wishes via the journal here. David writes, “We have created this site to share Kailey’s recovery story with the world as she demonstrates her resilience, unwavering determination and spirit to return the riding arena.”

You’ve got this, Kailey!

The eventing community continues to rally around Kailey in every way possible, including contributions to a GoFundMe set up to assist the Giancola family with medical bills. The fund is just $4,000 shy of its $50,000 goal — you can make a donation today here to help them cross that threshold. We hear some #RideForKailey saddle pads are in the works as well and we’ll let you know when those are available.

Go Kailey. Go Eventing.

Rolling Reports from the 2020 US Equestrian Annual Meeting

The 2020 US Equestrian Annual Meeting is well underway in West Palm Beach, Florida, where it will continue through Saturday. Here’s a rolling recap of the proceedings — be sure to check back for more updates:

Saturday, January 11

Darry Lou, 2019 International Horse of the Year. Photo by Andrea Evans courtesy of US Equestrian.

Darry Lou and El Primero Win 2019 Horse of the Year Titles: US Equestrian is pleased to share that Darry Lou, Abigail Wexner’s 2008 Dutch Warmblood stallion, has been voted the 2019 International Horse of the Year and El Primero, Bryan Baldwin and Meralex Farm’s 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding, has been voted the 2019 National Horse of the Year …. READ MORE.

Friday, January 10

Beezie Madden, 2019 International Equestrian of the Year. Photo by Taylor Pence courtesy of US Equestrian.

Beezie Madden and Nick Haness Named 2019 Equestrians of the Year at Pegasus Awards Presented by Adequan®: US Equestrian is pleased to share that Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) has been voted the 2019 International Equestrian of the Year and Nick Haness (Temecula, Calif.) has been voted the 2019 National Equestrian of the Year. Madden and Haness were presented with the Robert P. Strub Trophy at the Pegasus Awards presented by Adequan® during the US Equestrian Annual Meeting. International Equestrian of the Year Beezie Madden, 2019 International Equestrian of the … READ MORE.

US Equestrian President Murray Kessler speaks at the General Session. Photo courtesy of US Equestrian.

President Murray Kessler Outlines Key Areas of Success and Introduces Goals for the Future at 2020 US Equestrian Annual Meeting: In 2017, US Equestrian’s President Murray Kessler launched the now widely-referenced Strategic Plan, intended to revitalize and re-establish membership, support, and success within US Equestrian and the many services it provides. During Thursday afternoon’s General Session, Kessler spoke to an engaged group of members, affiliates, and staff about the continued commitment to the strategic goals of the organization and the many positive changes identified since the plan’s … READ MORE.

Thursday, January 9

Equestrian Community’s Impact on Global, Environmental, and Social Issues presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN. Photo courtesy of US Equestrian.

Panel: Equestrian Community’s Impact on Global, Environmental, and Social Issues presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN: Notable panelists, led by host Jim Wolf and moderator Bridgett McIntosh, spoke with expertise on a range of global, environmental, and social issues facing the world today, while connecting their unique affiliation to the equestrian community and the larger impact those involved with the industry can have on societal change. The fundamental challenges we face as a global society have continued to escalate with the ever-changing development of our planet, creating further need to educate and … READ MORE.

US Equestrian CEO Bill Moroney speaks during the General Session. Photo courtesy of Taylor Pence/US Equestrian.

US Equestrian CEO Moroney and Senior Team Discuss Priorities for 2020 in General Session: US Equestrian Chief Executive Officer Bill Moroney led the second portion of the General Session with the theme of Focus on the Future. Moroney, along with Kelly Bolton , Director of Human Resources; Sarah Hamilton , communications consultant and Managing Director of Kivvit; Will Connell , Director of Sport; Terri Dolan , Director of National Breeds & Non-FEI Disciplines Sport; and Vicki Lowell , Chief Marketing & Content Officer, elaborated on what members and fans should watch for in … READ MORE.

Wednesday, December 8

Vicki Lowell (far right) led a panel discussion with (far left to right) Andrea Evans, Taryn Young, Rich Cronin, and Bob Hughes. Photo courtesy of
US Equestrian.

Panel: Media Broadcast & Beyond presented by Carr-Hughes Productions: A talented group of media experts made up the panel discussing the changing media landscape and how equestrian sport fits into the picture. Vicki Lowell , US Equestrian’s Chief Marketing and Content Officer, moderated the discussion between Rich Cronin , a media consultant for Ride TV; Andrea Evans, US Equestrian’s Director of Digital and Social Media Strategy; Bob Hughes , Carr-Hughes Productions’ Executive Producer; and Taryn Young , founder of @warmbloodsandwine … READ MORE.

Justin Provost (far right) leads a discussion with (far left to right) Nathan Rolfe, Eric Willemenot, and Shelly Campf. Photos courtesy of Andrea Evans/US Equestrian.

Panel: The Future of Equestrian: Leveraging Data & Technology: For this engaging conversation about data and technology in the equestrian world— available on demand at USEF Network — US Equestrian’s Chief Information Officer Justin Provost joined Nathan Rolfe , co-founder of the new Center for Equine Performance; Shelley Campf , owner of the OZ Incorporated training center in Oregon and co-owner of Team NW Equestrian Sports; and Eric Willemenot , founder of Move ’N See and inventor of the Pixio robotic video camera … READ MORE.

The Safe Sport – What’s New to Know Panel. Photo courtesy of US Equestrian.

Panel: Safe Sport – What’s New to Know: Since its inception in 2017, the U.S. Center for SafeSport has received over 4,600 reports of alleged abuse in sport and the center continues to work diligently to provide resources and resolution for survivors of abuse across the 52 sports embodied by the Olympic movement and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. There is a rough estimate that more than 18+ million people are involved in sports that fall under U.S. Center for SafeSport’s jurisdictional umbrella and that … READ MORE.

US Equestrian Annual Meeting: Website, ScheduleLive Stream, EN’S Coverage

2020 U.S. Eventing Season Kicks Off This Weekend at Majestic Oaks!

Joe Meyer, shown here with Fernhill Freestyle at Majestic Oaks H.T. in January 2019, has seven horses entered in this weekend’s horse trials including his five-star partner Clip Clop. Photo by Jenni Autry.

This weekend’s Majestic Oaks Horse Trials marks the very first horse trial of the 2020 U.S. eventing calendar year. The event in Reddick, Florida, is ringing in the new year with a bang, with some 180 horse/rider combinations contesting Starter through Prelim levels.

To sweeten the pot, a total of $4,125 is up for grabs between the Jan. 11-12 and March 20-22 events. Points are awarded to the 1st through 6th place finishers in each division, with points to accumulate from the January and March events. Prize money will be awarded to the the winning rider/horse combinations after the conclusion of the March Horse Trials. Click here for more info.

It’s always fun to look at these early season event starter lists, to see who’s knocking off the dust and getting a jump start on the year. This weekend’s entries include a lot of babies and green beans as well as some five-star veterans: Lauren Kieffer has her now 18-year-old 2016 Rio Olympic Games mare, Veronica, entered in Open Prelim. This will be their first outing since mid-2018, the year they posted a top 10 finish at Badminton. Another five-star horse we haven’t seen out in a long while (since Majestic Oaks last January, actually, where they won the Intermediate-Prelim division) is Clip Clop, now 17 — he’s also entered in Open Prelim with Joe Meyer. Kevin Keane‘s former five-star mount, Fernhill Flutter, is also still going strong at 18 years old, and is entered in Open Training-A with Natasha Erschen.

The busiest rider of the weekend will be Caroline Martin, who has nine horses entered. Joe Meyer has seven, and both Alex Green Kerby and Alex O’Neal have four.

Best of luck to all, and have fun out there! P.S. The event could still use a few volunteers — you can sign up via Eventing Volunteers here.

Majestic Oaks is located at 17500 N US Hwy 441 / Reddick, FL 32686. For more information, visit the website here.

Go Eventing at Majestic Oaks!

Majestic Oaks H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

 

Fab Freebie: CLM DWN Transdermal Recovery Gel

Image courtesy of CLM DWN.

Our horses are athletes, and we ask so much of them in both training and competition. CLM DWN Transdermal Recovery Gel helps our hardworking partners achieve optimal recovery of both body and mind. We’re giving away a bottle of the gel as this week’s Fab Freebie — here’s some info on this fantastic product!

CLM DWN Transdermal Recovery Gel targets areas of concern and penetrates to relax and recover muscles faster, reduce pain and inflammation, boost the immune system, enhance mood, and ultimately, improve sports performance with less risk of injury. Meanwhile, CLM DWN’s equine specific essential oil blend utilizes the olfactory system to calm the mind. It’s the only supplement that utilizes a transdermal delivery system of Magnesium, MSM, and B vitamins. Oral supplements have an absorption rate of only 4-34% while CLM DWN’s proprietary topical blend has an 88.8% absorption rate.

Benefits include:

  • Encourages muscles to relax and recover faster by increasing cellular metabolism
  • Supports connective tissue, tendon, ligament, joint mobility and elasticity
  • Promotes blood flow to assist in the healing process and reduce pain
  • Maximizes the benefits of exercise through inflammation relief and muscle recovery
  • 100% natural, drug-free, and chemical-free
  • FEI clean

You can massage it into affected areas pre-ride to reduce risk of injury or strain, or apply post-ride for muscle and trauma recovery. It’s safe to apply under wraps, blankets and tack, and you can even use it on yourself! Add it to a hot bath and soak for 20+ minutes after a long day at the barn.

Ready to win? Take a quick trip to CLM DWN’s Facebook page via the Rafflecopter widget below, then click “I visited!” The winner will be announced next week’s Monday Video from CLM DWN on Jan. 13.

Go Eventing.

Bookmark This 2020 Calendar of North American CCIs and Advanced H.T.

The Grand Oaks H.T. in Weirsdale, Florida, will host the first North American FEI event of the year, a CCI1* on Jan. 17-19, 2020. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Happy New Year! Time to pull out that fresh clean slate of a calendar and start mapping out your eventing plans for 2020. For your convenience, here is a provisional calendar of North American CCIs and Advanced H.T. for the upcoming year.

Useful links:
USEA Calendar of Events
USEA 2020 Calendar Updates
USEF 2020 FEI & Advanced H.T.
Equestrian Canada Calendar of Events
FEI Calendar Search

FEBRUARY

  • Showcase: 2/8-9/2020 – Wellington Eventing Showcase (Wellington, FL)
  • Advanced:  2/13-16/2020 – Rocking Horse Winter II H.T. (Altoona, FL)
  • CCI3*S, CCI2*S, Advanced: 2/15-16/2020 – Fresno County Horse Park H.T. (Fresno, CA)
  • Advanced: 2/21-23/2020 – Pine Top Advanced H.T. (Thompson, GA)
  • Showcase: 2/28-29/2020 – Grand Prix Eventing (Aiken, SC)
  • Advanced: 2/28-March 1/2020 – Twin Rivers Winter H.T. (Paso Robles, CA)

MARCH

  • CI4*S, CCI3*S & CCI2*S, Advanced: 3/5-8/2020 – Red Hills H.T. (Tallahassee, FL)
  • Advanced: 3/13-15/2020 – Pine Top Advanced H.T. (Thompson, GA)
  • Advanced: 3/13-15/2020 – Copper Meadows H.T. (Ramona, CA)
  • CCI4*S, CCI3*S, CCI2*S, Advanced: 3/18-22/2020 – Carolina International CCI & H.T. (Raeford, NC)
  • CCI4*S, CCI3*S, CCI2*S, CCI1*: 3/27-28/2020 – Designer Builders Stable View Spring CCI-S (Aiken, SC)
  • CCI4*S, CCI3*S, CCI2*S, Advanced: 3/27-29/2020 – Galway Downs International H.T. (Temecula, CA)

APRIL

  • CCI4*S, CCI3*S, CCI2*S, CCI1*, Advanced: 4/2-5/2020 – The Fork at Tryon International Equestrian Center (Mill Spring, NC)
  • CCI4*S, CCI3*S, CCI2*S, Advanced: 4/3-5/2020 – CHC International at Chattahoochee Hills (Fairburn, GA)
  • CCI3*L, CCI2*L, CCI1*: 4/9-12/2020 – Ocala International 3-Day Festival of Eventing (Ocala, FL)
  • CCI4*L, CCI3*L, CCI2*L, CCI4S*, CCI3*S, Advanced: 4/9-12/2020 –  Twin Rivers CCI & H.T. (Paso Robles, CA)
  • CCI4*S, CCI3*S, CCI2*S, Advanced: 4/11-12/2020 – Fair Hill International April H.T. & CICs (Elkton, MD)
  • CCI5*L: 4/22-26/2020 – Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day (Lexington, KY)

MAY

  • CCI2*L, CCI3*S: 5/8-10/2020 – Texas Rose Horse Park H.T. (Tyler, TX)
  • CCI4*L,CCI3*L,CCI4*S, CCI3*S: 5/6-10/2020 – Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event (Allentown, NJ)
  • Advanced: 5/16-17/2020 – Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (Fairburn, GA)
  • CCI3*S ,CCI2*S, CCI2*L, CCI1*: 5/21-24/2020 – VHT International & H.T. (Lexington, VA)
  • Advanced: 5/22-24/2020 – Spring Event at Woodside (Woodside, CA)

JUNE

  • CCI4*-L, CCI3*-L, CCI2*-L, CCIU253*-L: Bromont International CCI (Bromont, QC)
  • CCI3*S, CCI2*S : 6/6-7/2020 – River Glen June H.T. (New Market, TN)
  • CCI3*S, CCI2*S 6/13-14/2020 – Aspen Farm H.T. (Yelm, WA)
  • Advanced: 6/20-21/2020 – Stable View H.T. (Aiken, SC)
  • Advanced: 6/27-28/2020 – Horse Park of New Jersey H.T. (Allentown, NJ)
  • CCI2*L, CCI2*S: 6/27-28/2020 – Fox River Valley PC H.T. (Barrington, IL)

JULY

  • Advanced: 7/2-5/2020 – Twin Rivers Summer H.T. (Paso Robles, CA)
  • CCI3*S, CCI2*S: 7/3-5/2020 – Will O’Wind H.T. (Orangeville, ON)
  • CCI3*S, CIC2*S & CCI1*: 7/3-5/2020 – The Maryland H.T. at Loch Moy Farm II (Adamstown, MD)
  • Advanced: 7/18-19/2020 – Essex H.T. (Far Hills, NJ)
  • CCI4*L, CCI3*L, CCI2*L, CCI4*S: 7/22-26/2020 – The Event at Rebecca Farm (Kalispell, MT)
  • CCI3*S & CCI2*S: 7/24-26/2020 – The Horse Park of New Jersey H.T. II (Allentown, NJ)
  • Advanced: 7/30-8/2/2020 – Millbrook H.T. (Millbrook, NY)

AUGUST

  • CCI2*S: 8/7-9/2020 – GMHA Festival of Eventing August H.T. (Woodstock, VT)
  • CCIO4*-NC-S, CCI3*S, CCI2*S, CCI-U25-3*S: 8/14-16/2020 – Bromont CCI-S Three Day Event (Bromont, QC)
  • CCI4* S, CCI3*S, CCI2*-S :8/20-23/2020 – Great Meadow International (The Plains, VA)
  • Advanced: 8/25-30/2020 – USEA AEC, Adequan Gold Cup Finals (Lexington, KY)
  • CCI2*L, CCI1*Intro: 8/28/2020 – Foshay International (Jemseg, New Brunswick, CAN)
  • CCI3*S, CCI2*S, Advanced: 8/29-30/2020 – Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (Fairburn, GA)

SEPTEMBER

  • Advanced: 9/4-6/2020 – Aspen Farms H.T. (Yelm, WA)
  • Advanced: 9/4-6/2020 – Copper Meadows H.T. (Ramona, CA)
  • Advanced: 9/5-6/2020 – Five Points H.T. (Raeford, NC)
  • Advanced: 9/12-13/2020 – Blue Ridge Mountain H.T. at TIEC (Tryon, NC)
  • CCI4*S, CCI3*S, CCI2*S: 9/16-20/2020 – Plantation Field Horse Trials (Unionville, PA)
  • CCI4*S, CCI3*S, CCI2*S, Advanced: 9/17-20/2020 – Twin Rivers Fall H.T. (Paso Robles, CA)
  • CCI4*S, CCI3*S, CCI2*S, CCI1*, Advanced: 9/24-27/2020 – Stable View Advanced Horse Trials (Aiken, SC)

OCTOBER

  • CCI4*L, CCIYH3*L, CCIYH2*L, CCI4*S, CCI3*S, CCI2*S, Advanced: 10/2-4/2019 – Morven Park H.T. & CCI (Leesburg, VA)
  • CCI4*S, CCI3*S, CCI2*S, Advanced: 10/1-4/2020 – Woodside International H.T. (Woodside, CA)
  • CCI3*S, CIC2*S, CCI1*: 10/1-4/2020 – Spokane Sport Horse Sixth Annual Fall H.T. (Spokane, WA)
  • Advanced: 10/10-11/2020 –  Ocala Fall H.T. (Ocala, FL)
  • CCI5*L, CCI3*L: 10/14-18/2020 – Fair Hill International (Elkton, MD)
  • CCI2L*: 10/14-18/2020 – Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event & Team Challenge (Lexington, KY)
  • Advanced: 10/24-25/2020 – Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (Fairburn, GA)
  • CCI4*L, CCI3*L, CCI2*L: 10/29-11/1/2020 – Galway Downs International Event & H.T. (Temecula, CA)
  • CCI3*L, CCI2*L, CCI3*S, CCI2*S, CCI1*: 10/29-11 – 11/1/2020 – VHT International & H.T. (Lexington, VA)

NOVEMBER

  • CCI4*L, CCI3*L, CCI2*L, CCI4*S: 11/12-15/2020 – Ocala Jockey Club 3-Day International Event (Reddick, FL)
  • CCI1*: 11/21-22/2020 – The Grand Oaks H.T. (Weirsdale, FL)

See you out there, EN. Go Eventing.

Year in Review: The EN Stories You Loved the Most in 2019

It’s been real, 2019! Happy New Year to all our readers. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

It’s always a fun and fascinating year-end exercise for us here at EN to see which stories received the most views over the past 12 months. We had nearly 7 million page views in 2019, and as you would expect live coverage and heavy-hitting headlines led the way.

Our live coverage of eventing in 2019 was more extensive and global than ever. To recap the hefty ones: Kentucky, Badminton, Luhmühlen, Pan American Games, European Championships, Burghley, Pau, Adelaide. In addition to these, we had EN boots on the ground at another couple dozen events this year, among them: Pine Top, Bruce’s Field, Red Hills, Carolina International, Belton, The Fork, Jersey Fresh, Houghton, Tattersalls, Bromont, Bramham, Rebecca Farm, Hartpury, Great Meadow, AEC, Blenheim, Stable View, Boekelo, Le Lion, Fair Hill, and Ocala Jockey Club, and provided coverage remotely for many, MANY more. Many thanks to Shelby Allen, Jenni Autry, Tilly Berendt, and Abby Powell for their fantastic live coverage this year, as well as to the many writers and photographers who have so generously submitted dispatches to us from events around the world. (Have an event recap to share in 2020? Send it our way!)

As we look through the posts that captured the most clicks this year, it’s worth taking a deeper dive to remember the stories that made us laugh and cry, inspired us, and ultimately made us fall even more head-over-heels in love with the sport. With that concept in mind, here are a few of the stories that, judging from your views, shares and comments, you deemed the best of 2019.

The Story That Made You Laugh

‘You Weren’t Really On Him That Long’: The Boyd Martin Backstory: “I did a pretty ordinary dressage test, fell off twice in cross-country, and once more in show jumping. I think I finished on 380 penalties. While it wasn’t the best start for my eventing career, obviously, I could only improve from there.” And so begins the story of Boyd Martin, who of course has gone on to become a cornerstone of Team USA. He shared his backstory in this excerpt from Riding For The Teama new book from Trafalgar Square Books and the United States Equestrian Team Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Boyd Martin.

The Story That Challenged You

Is the Sport of Eventing Still Worth Fighting For?: It’s been a tough year, and the EN team has shed many a tear in shouldering the crushing task of sharing sad news. But what keeps us going, day after day and year after year, is a belief that in our shared sport. Trainer Jeanie Clark was among those in attendance at the Green Mountain Horse Association Festival of Eventing, where Jeffie Chapin suffered a fatal accident on August 11. Whether or not we knew Jeffie personally, as a community we experienced a shared trauma, and we faced shared questions about how to move on in the wake of that trauma. Jeanie’s powerful essay offered some guidance in a dark hour.

Jeffie Chapin and Joinem. Photo by Abby Powell.

Bravest Story of the Year

My Uncomfortable Truth in Deciding a Career in Horses Wasn’t for Me: “Who am I apart from horses? What do I want out of my life apart from horses? What type of person did I want to be apart from horses? Well I want a lot of things, and I’m no longer afraid to accept them.” At just 20 years old, Tayler Stewart had a long list of accomplishments to her name: a four-star resume, a spot on emerging rider lists, and a NAYC team gold and individual silver medal. But she wanted something different for herself that the path of going professional that she felt was expected of her. Her frank, poignant essay resonated with the nearly 45,000 people who read it.

Tayler Stewart and Ideal Contini at the 2018 FEI North American Youth Championships. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Your Favorite History Lesson 

Terrifying Cavalry Training Tips: Part 1 – Down BanksPart 2 – GridworkPart 3 – Water JumpsPart 4 – Skinnies: “‘Red on right and white on left’ are relatively new developments in the history of cross country riding. “Insanity in the middle,” on the other hand, is a centuries old tradition.” Some 55,000 readers tuned into this Veterans Day series, in the spirit of celebrating eventing’s military roots. From death-defying drop banks to gridlines that are literally on fire, Leslie Wylie explored the madness that is military horse training.

From “Riding Forward: Modern Horsemanship for Beginners” written in 1934 by Vladimir Littauer, Captain, 1st Hussars, Russian Imperial Cavalry. Photo from imh.org.

The Photo That Got Your Attention

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words: Bobby Meyerhoff and Fortuna: “They say that if you can get a mare on your side, the sky may just be the limit.” Bobby Meyerhoff’s four-star mount Fortuna definitely earned some skymiles this year, as seen in JJ Sillman’s dramatic photo from Plantation Field. Sally Spickard got the story behind this 15.2-hand Dutch Warmblood mare and her special partnership with Bobby, garnering over 22,000 views.

Bobby Meyerhoff and Fortuna. Photo by JJ Sillman.

The Contests You Wanted to Win

EN readers love free stuff, especially when there’s a fun photo challenge involved! Two of our most well-received contests of 2019 were the Zandonà ‘No Scope, No Hope’ Photo Challenge, won by this high-flying team from Australia, and the SmartPak SmartStride Ultra ‘Long Spot’ Contest — see the winning photo here. Other contests of note: World Equestrian Brands’ recent Horse Holiday Costume Contest, the E.A. Mattes “Best Cross Country Style?” Contest, and of course our Annual Kentucky Pick ‘Em Contest. Here’s to more contests from our fantastic sponsors in 2019!

Margaret Kitts and Melody Keys, winners of the the SmartPak SmartStride Ultra ‘Long Spot’ Contest.

Your Favorite (and Longest-Running) Series

The EN team has created a few monsters over the years. As former EN editor Jenni Autry used to say, “We created the monster. And now we have to feed it.” Chinch is among those monsters. Several years ago — 2013? 2014? — I thought it would be funny to bring a stuffed mascot to Kentucky to photobomb riders, inspired by the legend of the EN chinchilla, and now I can’t take him anywhere without being mobbed. Another monster is #EventerProblems, a series that began in 2015 and reached a benchmark of Vol. 208 this week, with Haygain as its title sponsor. Check out the #EventerProblems archive in its entirety here.

What were your other favorites stories of 2019, EN? Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for trusting EN as your go-to news source. We are humbled by your support and vow to continue covering the sport with the utmost dedication, integrity and insanity in 2020 and beyond.

Happy New Year! Go Eventing.

My Heroes of 2019: A Tribute to the EN #DreamTeam

“Just stay in there until cross country is over, OK baby?”

April 27, 2019: It’s cross country day at Kentucky, and for the first time in at least a decade I’m not standing beside the galloping lanes. I’m at the hospital, in labor. Between contractions I’m watching the live stream and following a Slack thread the EN team has set up to communicate during the event, dubbed #dreamteam. Eventually I have to close my laptop — the action keeps making my heart rate monitors spike.

At 2:02 p.m. the last horse crosses the finish flags. Two hours later I give birth to my first child, a baby boy. There’s a bet going on the #dreamteam thread that I have to name him after the horse that wins Kentucky. We give him a family name, Thomas, but it’s also perhaps an omen of the horse who would be crowned USEF Five-Star National Champion the following day and go on to win double Pan Am Gold.

“It says Tsetserleg on his birth certificate,” I joke, “but we’ll call him Thomas around the barn.”

The rest of the year has been a blur. Thomas is now a bright-eyed eight-month old, and I couldn’t ask for a happier, sweeter, more chill little guy. EN is wrapping up one of its most dynamic years yet, but it’s not been without challenges.

Being Nation Media’s sole full-time employee, I couldn’t really justify taking maternity leave, especially with EN linchpin Jenni Autry leaving to take on an important and well-deserved new role at USEF. But neither could I have been prepared for the metamorphic physical and emotional challenges of new motherhood: the bone-deep exhaustion, the hormonal turbulence, a complete upheaval of life as I knew it.

Since then I’ve been carving out time for EN wherever I can, which means my office hours are a far cry from anything resembling 9-5. I’m literally writing this post at 4 a.m., as the wee hours have become my most productive time to work. It’s quiet. I can think clearly. There are no emails or phone calls coming in. Thomas is, knock on wood, fast asleep.

Photo by Mary Hollis Baird.

But it’s not a schedule particularly in sync with the news cycle of eventing, and I live in constant fear that I’ll miss some important storyline because I’ve got a baby on my boob, or we’re at a doctor appointment, or I’m rolling around with him in a pile of stuffed animals. He squeaks during conference calls and wants to party when I’m sorting through spreadsheets. My laptop is covered in milk spatters. I make stupid typos that I never would have before sleep deprivation turned my brain into dry, crunchy toast.

It’s been a great year, but also one of the toughest in my life, and I never could have made it through without the herculean efforts of my colleagues and freelance crew. Truly, 2019 has been a #dreamteam effort.

American Eventing Championships in September 2019.

In no particular order, I would like to give thanks to:

Shelby Allen: EN usually rolls up to Kentucky with a big enough crew to take up an entire table in the media center. Not this year, though. Shelby was our sole boots-on-the-ground reporter, and coupled with the herculean efforts of Abby, Maggie and Tilly working remotely, she delivered the superlative coverage that EN readers have come to expect. Shelby went on to provide coverage for us from Rebecca Farm, Great Meadow and Stable View, and despite heading to nursing school this fall she still writes several posts a week and edits the site most weekends. Beast mode.

Jenni Autry: Jenni, EN’s bedrock. The boss kitty who gave shape to this website as we know it. Who put us on the map. Who carried me through the tough times of my pregnancy, told me to not worry about the site, she’d handle it, go take a nap or stick my head in the toilet or whatever I needed to do. Who made sure EN was in a good place and in good hands before marching off to serve our sport from a different perspective. You’ll always be #dreamteam family, Jenni.

Tilly Berendt: EN’s global footprint has grown exponentially over the past couple years thanks in large part to our British correspondent Tilly. Her coverage of eventing abroad for us in 2019 — Belton, Badminton, Houghton, Tattersalls, Bramham, Hartpury, Aachen, the Euros, Burghley, Luhmühlen, Pau, Blenheim, Boekelo … I’m probably forgetting something — was consistently colorful and smart, and it’s no wonder she was recently named BEF Journalist of the Year. And her form guides from this year … epic. Hang onto your butts, because Tilly is coming stateside to help us cover Kentucky this spring!

Shannon Brinkman: Shannon’s photography is instantly recognizable. She manages to capture what it is about our sport that makes it special, what gives it value: the motion, the emotion, the partnership. She brought some of the biggest events of 2019 to life for us this year: Kentucky and the Pan Am Games, among others. Not to mention her sweet and precocious daughter Roya babysitting little Thomas at Ocala Jockey Club! Thank you for showing us the world through your lens, Shannon.

Maggie Deatrick: I don’t know why EquiRatings hasn’t hired this gal away from us, yet. Maggie’s “By the Numbers” posts, culled from a comprehensive statistics database she created, offer freakishly accurate predictions of how events are going to shake out. That series might be what she is best known for as a writer, but what readers don’t see are the contributions she makes behind the scenes, providing insight and judgement that helps us shape the voice and direction of the site. She has a lot of very, very smart things to say about our sport and — in all that “spare time” she has — she’s promised to share some of them with EN this winter.

Abby Powell: In addition to working a full-time job at MIT, Abby has contributed over 700 posts as an EN freelancer since 2015. We really threw her in the deep end this year — her first gig as a reporter was covering Millbrook H.T., then we slapped her on the back and sent her on her way to Fair Hill. She rolled up her sleeves and got the job done, professionally — the writing, the photos, the whole package. Her relentlessly positive presence is a cornerstone of our team’s camaraderie. Here’s to another 700 posts, Abby!

Jimmie Schramm: Without sponsors, EN wouldn’t exist, and we wouldn’t have sponsors without Jimmie. In addition to competing at the tip-top of the sport and running a business — folks cramming at least two lives into the space of one seems to be a running theme here — Jimmie took on the task of managing our sponsors this year and has been crushing it. Not all heroes wear capes, Jimmie. Thank you.

John Thier: John, EN’s site founder and publisher, isn’t just my boss. In the eight years I’ve been working for EN, he’s become my friend and my mentor. Running a business isn’t in my natural skill set, but I’ve learned so much from him about how to think strategically and get the best out of people. One thing he’s always been adamant about is the importance of gathering a strong team around yourself — or #dreamteam, if you will — and that really sunk in this year when I found myself leaning on them for so much support. And then there are the other things, the stuff they don’t teach you in business school. While John is certainly a workhorse, he demonstrates through his own words and actions that life is so much bigger than what we do for a living. Family comes first, and I’ll always be grateful to him for the warm welcome he’s given the newest addition to my own.

Ocala Jockey Club International in November 2019.

Teamwork makes the dream work, and there are so many others to whom I owe a debt of thanks: my sister NM editors DeAnn Sloan, Megan DeLisle and former editor Kristen KovatchSally Spickard, who came to the rescue when I needed an editorial lifeline this fall; Kate Samuels, who stays up late to crank out News & Notes twice a week yet I’m pretty sure hasn’t invoiced us in years; the hardworking and passionate #dreamteam at USEASamantha Clark, for her encouraging words, glasses of wine when you need them most, and surprise books in the mail; photographers Joan Davis and Sherry Stewart for taking us ringside this year; our incredible stable of freelancers and contributors; my husband Tommy Bateman for his unending love and support; my mother in-law Linda Bateman, sister in-law Tricia Bateman, and mother Pat Wylie for so much babysitting, I cannot thank them enough; to everyone at Penrose Farm and the Road Less Traveled Eventing Team who looks after my pony on the days when I just can’t make it out (which is most days, sadly, but aiming for a better balance in 2020); and to the eventing community at large, for reminding me every day with their incredible spirit why this sport is still worth going to bat for.

Happy New Year, #dreamteam. Go Eventing.

Majestic Oaks to Offer Over $4K in Prize Money for January and March H.T.

Photo courtesy of Majestic Oaks Ocala.

Majestic Oaks Ocala is all-systems-go for an exciting new year, featuring four recognized horse trials as well as three-phase schooling shows and jumper schooling shows.

This beautiful venue plays host to the very first USEA recognized horse trial of 2020, taking place Jan. 11-12. A total of $4,125 is up for grabs between the January and March 20-22 events, with no increase in the cost of registration due to the prize money offered. Beginner Novice through Prelim divisions are available. The closing date for the January event has been extended to January 3, so go register today!

Guidelines:

  1. The horse, rider, and division must remain the same during both horse trials.
  2. A division must have a minimum of 10 riders in each horse trials for the points to be awarded to the 1st-6th place.
  3. When there are more than 40 riders the divisions will only be divided into an A and B divisions.
  4. Points will accumulate from the January and March Horse Trials.
  5. Prize money is awarded to the winning rider/horse combinations after the conclusion of the March Horse Trials. Monies are awarded to the winning combinations after the close of the March Horse Trials. Also after the required time for receipt of any challenges/inquiries of the results from competitors.

Prize money will be awarded as follows:

1st place $250 x 5 = $1,250
2nd place $200 x 5 = $1,000
3rd place $150 x 5 = $ 750
4th place $100 x 5 = $ 500
5th place $75 x 5 = $ 375
6th place $ 50 x 5 = $ 250
Total Prize Money: $4,125

What better way to kick off the year than at Majestic Oaks? The facility is stunning, the John Williams designed courses are educational, and with a little luck the sun will be shining warm and bright. If you’re not competing, come on out to spectate — volunteers are also needed and welcome!

The action continues throughout the year, with two more horse trials in 2020: May 9-10 and Nov. 7-8.

Majestic Oaks is located at 17500 N US Hwy 441 / Reddick, FL 32686. For more information, visit the website here.

Go Eventing at Majestic Oaks!

Nupafeed Weekend Winners: 2019 Five-Star Winner Remix

What a year it has been for five-star eventing! From the U.S. to Great Britain, Germany to France, and all the way to Australia, we watched the best in the world go head-to-head for a shot at the throne.

Here’s a recap of who-won what, and how:

Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class led the North American five-star from start to finish. They added just 1.2 time faults cross country to their dressage score, finishing on 25.3 penalties and earning their second consecutive win at the event.

“He’s just a very, very cool horse but it was definitely the most pressurizing round that I’ve ever ridden under,” he said. “I was just very happy with the way he performed for me and I’m glad I didn’t muck it up for him.”

Watch their dressage test here, their cross country round here, and their show jumping round here.

Next year’s event takes place April 23-26, 2020.

#LRK3DE: WebsiteResultsEN’s Coverage

Piggy French and Vanir Kamira. Photo by Nico Morgan Photography.

Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 

A fraction of a second show jumping cost dressage<cross country leaders Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class the Badminton trophy and catapulted Piggy French with Vanir Kamira from second into the top spot. Piggy’s win was her first in 25 five-star starts.

“There’s something about her, and those great little mares that just do enough when they need to,” Piggy said. “If they’re on your side, they’re just incredible.”

Next year’s event takes place May 6-10, 2020.

#MMBHT: Website, ResultsEN’s Coverage

Tim Price and Ascona M. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials

Tim Price and Ascona M jumped from second after dressage into the lead after cross country and held onto it through the final phase, ensuring that the Luhmühlen trophy stay in the family another year (wife Jonelle won the event last year with Faerie Dianimo). It was Tim’s third win at the level and his second at the venue.

“These days don’t come around every day, or every year, or every half-century!” Tim said. “It’s been a long, hard road – we have to invest so much time and faith into every horse, but then when you get there, it’s so much fun for everyone.”

Next year’s event takes place June 18-21, 2020.

Luhmühlen: WebsiteResults, EN’s Coverage

Pippa Funnell and MGH Grafton Street. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials

It had been 16 years since her last Burghley win and 14 years since her last five-star victory when Pippa Funnell took the win at this year’s Burghley Horse Trials. She and MGH Grafton Street led the event from start to finish, winning on a final penalty score of 30.8.

“It’s been such an amazing journey, and hopefully it will continue, but it’s the horses that have kept me going,” Pippa said. “They keep me young – it’s the belief in the horses, and the belief in their talent. It’s that pure love of the day-to-day graft working with them.”

Next year’s event takes place Sept. 2-6, 2020.

#LRBHT19: WebsiteResults, EN’s Coverage

Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

5 Etoiles de Pau

Tom McEwen earned his first CCI5* victory with Toledo de Kerser, leading the event from pillar to post to finish on a score of 25.7.

“I know everyone always goes on about their horse deserving a win, and all that rubbish, but he’s a mega horse and when you’re sat on something like that on the last day… yeah, he sailed,” Tom said. “It’s a horrible thing to say, but it felt easy – he’s incredible. The horse fully deserves it; he’s an amazing horse.”

Next year’s event takes place from Oct. 22-25, 2020.

5 Etoiles de Pau: WebsiteResultsEN’s Coverage

Hazel Shannon and Willingapark Clifford. Photo courtesy of the Australian Eventing Team.

 Mitsubishi Motors Australian International 3-Day Event

In 2019 Hazel Shannon and Willingapark Clifford became the first combination to earn three CCI5* wins at the Australian International Three-Day Event, finishing on 38.7 penalties. This achievement permits their entry into an elite five-member club of horses who are triple winners at the same venue, a club that includes the likes of Avebury and Winsome Adante.

“So much work has gone into this for years, so it is nice for it to pay off,” Hazel said.

Next year’s event takes place Nov. 12-15, 2020.

Australian International 3-Day Event: Website, Results, EN’s Coverage

Until next year … Go Eventing.

Thursday Video from Professional’s Choice: 60 Years of Eventing in Area I

Happy 60th anniversary, USEA! Area I was the birthplace of it all, and fittingly Joan Davis of Flatlandsfoto has assembled a slideshow chronicling the sport’s history in this area. The video aired at the 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention earlier this month in Boston, Massachusetts, and it’s quite the nostalgic walk down memory lane as well as a celebration of the area’s vibrant present.

Joan also had 2020 Area I Anniversary Edition Calendars for sale at Convention, packed with photos of familiar faces competing at all levels as well as organizers, volunteers, spectators and more. I picked up a copy …

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

… and I bet she has a few left! Shoot her an email at [email protected]

Go Eventing.

An Update on Kailey Giancola

Kailey Giancola and her two-star horse Saturday Night Clive. Photo by Brant Gamma.

As families gathered for holiday festivities yesterday, so has the eventing community gathered around Kailey Giancola, who has been in a coma since falling from her horse last Monday, Dec. 16. Well wishes for the 25-year-old have poured in from near and far, and a fund that was started to help towards Kailey’s medical bills has reached $40,000 in seven days.

Laura Welsh, for whom Kailey has been working as groom and rider, shared that Kailey’s family has been amazed at the outreach and is so appreciative. She kindly provided us this update on Christmas evening:

“Kailey has continued to make great strides forward in the Neurointensive Care Unit at UF Shands (Gainesville, Florida). Her wonderful medical team of doctors and nurses is taking exceptional care of her.

“While Kailey remains in a coma, she has continued to demonstrate movement in her right side and fluttering of both eyelids. She is still on a ventilator, but initiates every breath on her own. Her intracranial pressure has been decreasing over the last 48 hours.

“Kailey is scheduled for a tracheostomy and gastrostomy as soon as the surgical trauma team is available, which will be the next step towards discontinuing use of the ventilator.

“Kailey has been practicing holding the reins and having a ‘riding lesson’ every day. She spent part of her Christmas morning listening to commentary from Great Meadow’s cross country.

“Once Kailey is stable enough to be released from intensive care, she will be transported to a neurorehabilitation center to begin steps towards recovery, and it is our greatest hope that she will ride again.

“This Christmas, we are all so grateful for the equestrian community’s continued support of Kailey, and appreciate every single dollar that has been contributed to her GoFundMe.”

Keep kicking, Kailey! We’re all rooting for you.