Leslie Wylie
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What’s Happening? Your Guide to Clinics, Schooling Shows & More [Updated 1/14]

Featured Activity: Windy Hill Ranch in Colbert, Georgia, is hosting the second Athens Area Horse Community Jumper Show of the winter on Feb. 28. This fun, casual show is meant to be a great experience for horses and riders. Click here for more information. 

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

Need a way to accept digital entries and payment for your venue’s next equestrian activity? Join Strider, a mobile friendly, user-controlled services platform that connects organizers with riders. It’s easy and fast to use — click here to get started.

Here is what’s happening in your USEA Area!

Location Quick Links: Area I | Area II | Area III | Area IV | Area V | Area VI | Area 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.

Eventers Hone Their Ringcraft at World Equestrian Center in Ocala

Will Coleman and Tropics, winners of the $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″ – 3’9″. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

Eventers have taken advantage of dressage and jumping competitions at the new World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida — and doing quite well for themselves! This gorgeous venue is a tremendous asset to eventers who live or winter in area and will soon become a fixture on the eventing calendar as well as it is set to host an inaugural CCI2-S,CCI3-S and CCI4-S event on Oct. 21-24, 2021.

Will Coleman turned heads on Saturday by winning the $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″ – 3’9″. His ride was Tropics, a 10-year-old Selle Français gelding by Diarado owned by Jill Grant, whom Will evented through Training before shifting course toward jumpers. This was their premier voyage into the realm of hunters and hunter derbies, however.

Will told WEC after his win, “I’m very new at this. My day job is eventing, and my second day job is show jumping. I did my first hunter class about two weeks ago, then I did this derby. It’s pretty new for both Tropics and me, but he was great. He’s a good boy and he wants to please.”

Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

In their first course, Will and Tropics laid down a flawless round and took all four high options for a score of 91. They returned in the handy round and demstrated rideability with inside turns to several of the fences for a score of 93, bringing their overall score to 184 for the win. Only one other entry in the class scored in the 90s.

Of Tropics, Will commented, “I actually got him out of France as a 4-year-old. We thought that he might make a good event horse, but he just developed into a different horse. He was always a good jumper. He did some small grands prix and even won a couple of them. The owner of this horse, Jill Grant, wanted him to do hunter derbies. She recently purchased him from us and I train her, and she wanted me to show him in some derbies. He’s a chameleon, he can blend in anywhere.”

Will heads south from his farm in Virginia, Okonokos, to Ocala for the winter months. “We have some wonderful sponsors that purchased a beautiful farm on the other side of town for us to base out of and we absolutely adore Ocala,” Will said. “We are really lucky to be here. Now, with World Equestrian Center here, it’s like a dream come true. I don’t think there’s anything like it anywhere else in the world.”

Peter Gray and Babuh. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

More eventers were spotted in WEC’s dressage rings last week, including Peter Gray who finished second in the FEI Prix St. Georges and Intermediare I classes on scores of 68.529% and 66.176% respectively. His partner was Babuh, a 17.2-hand Hanoverian gelding that Peter purchased in Germany as a 5-year-old. By Burlington out of a half-Trakehner mare, he was sourced by the late Jean Moyer of Seattle who was responsible for importing many of the top eventers on the West Coast. Peter has produced the horse, who is now 12, through the levels.

“I have brought him along slowly; he is an absolute joy to ride every day and easy in everything we do together,” Peter told EN. “He has no bad habits and a lovely soft snaffle mouth. I still show him in a snaffle at the National shows where we do FEI classes. He does road work and fitness trots to keep his fitness up and fresh for his work days.”

Peter Gray and Babuh. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

Cornelia Dorr also paid a visit to WEC, competing the HCS Syndicate’s Daytona Beach 8 at Third Level. Cornelia and the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Duke of Hearts XX x Sandance, by Santanger H) finished 24th in the Tryon International CCI4*-L start in November.

Other eventers spotted include Liz Lund, who won two Second Level classes with Indian RoseDean Graham had a green horse, Barbara Cadwell’s Wisdom, out at Training, winning two classes and finishing 2nd in another. His wife Megan Fischer-Graham, a dressage rider who has helped a few eventers out over the years, had horses going at First and Intermediare II levels. You can view complete WEC Ocala results here.

WEC’s Winter Spectacular 2021 series continues weekly through the end of March, featuring $4 million in prize money and prizes and free stabling for competing horse. Dressage at WEC Ocala takes place monthly through April.

WEC Ocala’s stunning 368-acre facility boasts 22 outdoor rings, four climate-controlled indoor arenas, on-site accommodations and dining options. EN checked out some of the amenities here. For more information about WEC and to view a complete calendar of events, visit the website here.

 

EN Has a New Managing Editor, Sally Spickard!

Sally Spickard and her former event horse, Mischief Managed. Photo courtesy of Sally Spickard.

Sally Spickard needs little introduction, as she’s been a member of the EN family since 2013. Now, some 2,867 posts later, we’re excited to share that she has stepped up into a well-earned leadership role as our Managing Editor. 

With her background in journalism and communication Sally has worn many hats in the equestrian industry. In addition to EN, she has been a writer and editor for Heels Down Magazine and NöelleFloyd.com; she has also worked in PR for companies such as Athletux and Hylofit. Since moving to San Diego a few years ago, she’s had a finger on the pulse of West Coast eventing that we’ve benefited greatly from here at EN. 

Sally is a direct reflection of the values that are at the core of EN’s mission. She has been a part of our team since finishing in the top four in the annual EN blogger contest (I was the first winner in 2011 and Jenni Autry was the second in 2012) in 2013, so she’s seen the site evolve from the ground up. Sally is extremely knowledgeable about high-performance eventing while steadfastly advocating for the adult amateurs and young riders who are the heart and soul of EN. A rider since her early teens, she harbors a pure love of horses and sharing the stories of our partnerships with them. Exhibit A: one of her very first EN stories, “Giving Thanks for the Horse Bug,” in which she recalls begging her parents daily to take her to give apples to the horses at the dude ranch down the road from her early childhood home. 

Sally Spickard and Mischief Managed. Photo by Captured Moments Photography.

As a South Korean adoptee, Sally has been a guiding presence in EN’s discussions about diversity and inclusion. She’s worked tirelessly toward making the sport a more welcome place for all, including briefly serving on the USEA Diversity Committee and now a part of the Steering Committee of eventing’s progressive new allyship program Strides For Equestrian Equality. Increased representation of minority voices is an important goal for EN and it makes us incredibly proud to have Sally at the top of EN’s masthead. 

As for me, I’m not going anywhere. EN is my heartbeat, and I will never stop working in the service of this sport which has been the bedrock of my life for the past 25+ years. I’ve never been prouder of the EN #dreamteam — and our sport — than I was in 2020, not in spite of but because of all its challenges. At this time last year, who could have foreseen what was heading our way, and the ways in which we would adapt? Throughout it all, I have maintained belief that our sport would come out stronger on the other side. The interruption of Covid-19 has forced us all to sit quietly with our lives, for a moment, and reassess. 

The late poet Mary Oliver wrote, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” After almost 10 years of doing EN 24/7, I have decided to move into a more part-time role. I look forward to working alongside Sally as a writer/editor and helping fulfill her vision for EN’s future, but I have other values as well. I want to be more present for my not-quite-2-year-old son and my family, which has weathered much recent loss. I am eager to invest more energy in causes that are important to me at the grassroots, community level, which my present schedule does not allow. 

And last but not least, I look forward to spending less time at my computer and more time at the barn. The horses are my raison d’être, always. 

EN is in good hands, past, present and future. Go get ‘em, Sally. Now more than ever, Go Eventing.

Sunday Links

Never change, please, Laura Szeremi! Indeed, gloriously, changes to the updated USEF Rules for Eventing for the 2021 season include relaxed dress requirements, which you can view here. Self-expression, I am so here for it. Laura is competing at Barnstaple South’s inaugural recognized horse trial, taking place this weekend in Morriston, Florida. Best of luck to all who are getting their season off the ground early at this great venue.

P.S. I’ve been meaning for some months to give a shout-out to Laura’s incredible true crime/wrongful conviction podcast and blog, called “Aggravating Circumstances.” Season 1, episodes 1 through 23, are out and it’s a smart, important and very relevant listen, as most wrongful convictions are rooted in systemic racism. This week, especially, its mission hits home.

National Holiday: National Bittersweet Chocolate Day 🍫

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Barnstaple South H.T.: [Website] [Ride Times] [Course Maps]

Links

Video: 2020 USEA Year-End Awards Ceremony

A Day In The Life With: Sara Kozumplik Murphy

Jockey Club orders ‘offensive’ name changed; Guillot banned

Rider whose son’s father took his own life aims to support equestrian mental health

‘A cheer went up as they arrived’: racecourses and showgrounds serving as Covid vaccination centres

Video of the Day: The wait is over! We’ve all been on tenterhooks awaiting what aerial theatrics London 52 might bring to the table in his first jump school since winning Pau, and he certainly delivered. Laura Collett was a champion rodeo bull rider in a past life, I’m fairly certain.

France Names Long List for Tokyo Olympics

Team France won eventing team gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. From left: Karim Florent Laghouag, Mathieu Lemoine, Astier Nicolas and Thibaut Vallette. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Team France has announced its long list for the Tokyo Olympic Games, noting that the list is likely to evolve as competitions resume. France is the reigning Olympic eventing champion and three out of four of its riders from Rio make an appearance on this year’s list, as well as three-fourths of its bronze-medal winning 2018 WEG squad. Thibaut Vallette and and Maxime Livio represented France at both championships.

The named rider and horse combinations are as follows:

Jean-Lou Bigot & Utrillo du Halage, owned by Florence and Jean-François Assar.

Thomas Carlile & Birmane, owned by S.C.E.A. de Beliard.

Sébastien Cavaillon & Sarah d’Argouges, owned by Michel Lancelot.

Sidney Dufresne & Tresor Mail, owned by Agnès Touble and Iris de Fleurieu.

Gwendolen Fer & Romantic Love, owned by S.A.R.L. Equi L.

Karim Laghouag  & Triton Fontaine, owned by Philippe Lemoine, Guy Bessat, S.A.R.L. Ecurie, Karim Laghouag and Camille Laffitte.

Gireg Le Coz & Aisprit de la Loge, owned by Frédérique Grand and Augustin Grand.

Maxime Livio & Api du Libaire, owned by S.D.F. Api Club.

Astier Nicolas & Babylon de Gamma, owned by Marielle Grivot Bize, Etienne Grivot, Bénédicte Nicolas De Monval and Astier Nicolas.

Ugo Provasi  & Shadd’Oc, owned by Sophie Bonduelle and Ugo Provasi.

Christopher Six & Totem de Brecey, owned by François Souweine and Juliane Souweine.

Nicolas Touzaint & Absolut Gold*HDC, owned by S.A.R.L. Haras des Coudrettes.

Thibaut Vallette & Qing du Briot*IFCE, owned by l’Institut Français du Cheval et de l’Equitation.

A few photos of the long-listed riders from our archives:

The French Equestrian Federation’s JOP 2021-2024 Sports Project includes two lists, FFE JOP Tokyo 2021 (above) and FFE JOP Paris 2024, used to identify and prepare championship teams. The FFE JOP Paris 2024 list will be released soon, the Federation says.

Eventing at the Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to take place Aug. 1-Aug. 4, 2021, with the first horse inspection on July 31. You can view a timetable here.

[TOKYO 2021 : LES COUPLES DANS LES STARTING-BLOCKS] [LISTE FFE JOP TOKYO 2021]

The 17 Most Artistic Cross Country Jumps of 2020

Photos courtesy of CrossCountryApp.

What goes on in the mind of a course designer or a course builder? Some pretty wild stuff, apparently. We compiled a gallery of 10 jumps that captured our imagination in 2020, as seen on cross country courses in seven different countries across four different continents.

Have an addition to the list? Share it in the comments section — we might just put together a part II! Many thanks to our friends at CrossCountryApp for the hard work they put in year-round to bring us closer to the action through virtual course walks of events around the world.

This year, we spotted several musical instrument themed obstacles:

“Cordes et vents” on the Le Lion D’Angers 6-year-old course in Mondial, France.

“Cordes et Vents du Crédit Mutuel” on the Le Lion D’Angers 7-year-old course in Mondial, France.

“Piano” on the CCN3* course at DRB Floats & Warwick Horse Trials ODE in Southern Downs, Queensland, Australia. View the complete course here.

Pau, per tradition, got into the artistic spirit. This obstacle appears on the 5* course each year but always repainted.

“Palette de Peintre” on the CCI5* course at Les Etoiles de Pau. View the complete course here.

For the literary set, a couple of books were jumped on course this year:

“Etten Leur Zwaar” in memory of Jan van Beek: “Your last ride came far too soon. Your excellent advice lives on in many riders. You will always be in our hearts.” — Team Etten-Leur. In Etten-Leur, Netherlands. View the complete course here.

“La Fable de la Fontaine Fiduciale” on the Le Lion D’Angers 7-year-old course in Mondial, France.

And, as always, there was plenty of wildlife scattered about:

“L’arraignée de la Com Com” on the Le Lion D’Angers 6-year-old course in Mondial, France.

“La Fable de La Fontaine Fiduciale” on the CCI2*-L 6-year-old at Le Lion d’Angers in Mondial, France.

“Le Perchoir du Hibou Crédit Agricole” on the Le Lion D’Angers 6-year-old course in Mondial, France.

“Le Félin du Lion d’Angers” on the Le Lion D’Angers 7-year-old course in Mondial, France.

“Gow-Gates Insurance Wallaby” at Wallaby Hill International Three-Day Event in Australia.

There were these supersized replications of items from everyday life:

Wallaby Hill International 3-Day Event CCI4*-L in Australia.

Stafford BE100 in Stafford, UK.

Yet we also appreciated how these courses built themselves into the natural landscape, literally:

Wesel-Obrighoven CCI2*-S in Wesel, Germany.

“Pier” on the CCI3*-L course at Tryon International 3-Day Event in Mill Springs, North Carolina, USA. View the complete course here.

Wallaby Hill International 3-Day Event CCI4 in Australia.

And this one just tugged at our heartstrings.

“Le Cœur Mécénat Chirugie Cardiaque” on the CCI3*-L 7-year-old class at Le Lion d’Angers in France. View the complete course here.

To course designers and builders around the world, thank you for all of your hard work and vision in the year 2020! Go Eventing.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: Eventing Edition

Time to revisit another EN Christmas favorite! Donner, Lynn Symansky’s stuff-of-legends OTTB and Team USA veteran, is the closest thing our sport has to a magic flying reindeer. We originally published this in 2014 and it’s a holiday tradition to dust it off each December 24! Here we go …

Is that Donner the Reindeer? Read on to find out!

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the farm

not an event horse was stirring in Lynn Symansky’s barn.

All the bridles were hung on their racks with care

horses wondering, “We’re getting tomorrow off, right? That only seems fair.”

Donner was nestled all snug in his stall

dreaming of four-stars and his scheme to conquer them all

and maybe, just maybe, if all goes according to plan

on an Olympic podium in Rio Tokyo his mom could stand

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter

Donner sprang up from the ground to see what was the matter.

The barn lights clicked on and Donner peered out his stall

to see a gang of reindeer marching down the hall.

“Yeah, that’s him,” said the one with the glowing red nose.

“Hey Donner!” he exclaimed, and Donner’s heart froze.

“There’s been a mistake!” Donner neighed in desperate plea.

“I’ve heard of the guy you’re looking for — it’s not me!”

But Rudolph, he wouldn’t take no for an answer

nor would Vixen, Cupid, Blitzen, Dasher or Dancer.

Donner followed them outside, his head hung low.

“Mom’s gonna kill me,” he sighed as he walked through the snow.

But then, to his surprise, what did he spot?

A familiar face among Rudolph’s flock!

“Courageous Comet, is that you, dude?” Donner neighed

to a familiar looking, confused-faced gray.

Comet said, “Yeah man, I guess they needed a sub …

a couple of the reindeer have abscesses or something, welcome to the club.”

They stood motionless as Santa hooked them onto the sled

staring up at the sky with a terrible dread.

But Santa, he knew how to make this crowd fly:

“3, 2, 1 … Have a great ride!”

They took off galloping and at the moment when Santa clucked

They gathered their courage, rocked back on their haunches and jumped.

“Hey,” Donner said, “this almost feels like a dream”

Comet snorted: “I guess you could say we made the team!”

For hours they ran and jumped with no regrets

and it made them thankful for all those long trot sets.

At the end of the night Santa dropped them back at the farm

just before the sound of Lynn and Becky’s alarms.

They dozed off, happy memories filling their heads …

saving Christmas was (almost) as fun as country country at WEG!

Merry Christmas and Go Eventing!

Year in Review: The EN Storylines That Stood Out in 2020

It’s always a useful year-end exercise for us here at EN to see which stories resonated most with our readers over the past 12 months. 2020 has been, to put it mildly, a year like no other — but everything we’ve been through, we’ve gone through it together.

Has it only been a year? Scrolling back to January 2020 feels like it was a lifetime ago, and even now things remain far from normal. Here are a few of the more memorable stories and storylines published on EN this year.

Laura Collett and London 52 took the win at the 2020 edition of Les 5 Etoiles de Pau. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Live Coverage (When We Could)

Covid-19 chewed gaping holes into the national and international eventing calendar, eating alive six out of seven CCI5* events worldwide and postponing the Tokyo Olympics to 2021. Championships were shuffled about, fixtures were rescheduled or canceled outright, and our hats are off to the organizers, riders and stakeholders who still managed to cobble together some semblance of a season out of the chaos.

When it was all said and done only one five-star event, Pau, was left standing, and we savored every moment of Laura Collett’s wire-to-win win with London 52. Tilly Berendt also covered the Young Horse World Championships at Le Lion d’Angers and Haras du Pin CCIO4*-S, as well as Belton and Britain’s only CCI4*-L of 2020, Burnham Market.

Stateside, we had boots on the ground when we could and remote coverage when we couldn’t. A recap: Blue Ridge MountainBruce’s FieldChattahoochee Hills, Fresno CountyGalway DownsGreat MeadowMorven ParkPine TopRebecca FarmRed HillsRocking HorseStable View, Tryon International, Twin Rivers, VirginiaWellington Showcase and Woodside. We rounded up results from all events each Monday via our ongoing Weekend Winners series.

Virtual Eventing raised £178,500 for the NHS & Medical Charities fighting COVID-19. Photos courtesy of Virtual Eventing.

Conquering the Quarantine Blues

The coronavirus has cut to the quick of our lives this year in innumerable ways, ranging from derailed goals and isolation to financial hardship, sickness and loss. Some of us found ourselves cut off from that which anchors us the most, our own horses. As Leslie Threlkeld wrote in her March 28 editorial, “The Barn Isn’t a Safe Place Anymore“: “As I planned my last visits to literally say goodbye to Beau for who knows how long, I got really, really sad. Until now, the pandemic hasn’t affected a whole lot of my day-to-day routine. I felt a little bit like I was watching everything unfold from a distance, safe in my little mountain town. But it’s here now. It’s all around us.”

But from virtual horse shows (EN’s March Event Horse Madness was an especially bit hit this year and virus or not, the utterly bonkers Virtual Eventing needs to become an annual tradition) to fundraisers and Zoom meetups, our community found creative ways to take care of ourselves and one another and stay connected. In between event cancellation notices, we traded notes and best practices and lifted one another up. And of course we managed to get a few laughs in, too!

The USEA Foundation’s Frangible Technology Fund at work! Photo by Shelby Allen.

Frangibles at the Forefront

With the death of Katharine Morel due to a cross country rotational fall in February came a renewed urgency for real actionable change. In her widely circulated editorial, “A Plea for Transparency,” Maggie Deatrick cited a sobering statistic: “We have lost five women in in eight months in cross-country related accidents in North America alone.” Then she asked the question that makes many squirm in their seats: Why? “Tragic accident is the official story, and so often is all the information that we as the public receive. But every accident occurs due to the decisions leading up to it.” She cited the need for a safety investigation, with a publicly released report, following fatal accidents in the future — and many readers agreed.

Even better by an immeasurable margin is a future with no fatal accidents, as I wrote in related editorial, “This Is How We Save Lives, and Our Sport:” “Not one rider on the planet is immune to making a mistake. Bad decisions will happen, no matter what stopgaps — qualifications, risk indexes, rules, watch lists — are in place to prevent them. Riders will press their luck. Horses will miss. Accidents will happen, but when they do it shouldn’t cost us our lives, or the lives of our horses … There must be a safeguard in place, a buffer between a serious wake-up call and a funeral. That safeguard is frangible technology.”

Since then eventers have kicked into overdrive, fundraising over $430,000 for frangible fences to be implemented on courses across the country — and there is still work to be done. Click here to make your secure, tax-deductible donation, earmarked for Frangible Fence Research, today.

Earl Robinson competing at Shepherd Ranch H.T. Photo by Aaron Sonego.

A Racial Reckoning

As America’s reckoning with its racial history continues, the topic of equal access and opportunity within the equestrian community has come to the forefront as never before. We’ve been thrilled to see eventers mobilize to create innovative nonprofits, such as Strides for Equestrian Equality (SEE), and scholarship funds — we look forward to continuing our Annual Diversity Scholarship, which benefitted 27 minority equestrians in its inaugural year, in 2021. We’ve also seen an increased representation of non-white riders in media, companies stepping up with their words and actions, the formation of diversity committees at USEF and USEA, the Tom Bass Seminar for Diversity in Equestrian Sport which took place during Tryon International, and many collaborative efforts to cultivate a more welcoming sport for all.

EN’s Sept. 8 editorial “The Problem With ‘Plantation’” drew controversy but also strong support from many who agreed that a reconsideration of the venue name was overdue. As Earl Robinson wrote in his Sept. 17 editorial, “Why Words Matter“: “I understand that there are many who want to hang on to the old ways. But in my experience, when people won’t welcome feedback about the language they use that impacts people of color, I can rest assure they wouldn’t welcome me either.” Change is hard, indeed, but it’s coming and we welcome it with open arms.

 

Thank you for trusting EN for yet another yet as your go-to eventing news source. We are humbled by your support and vow to continue covering the sport with the utmost dedication, integrity and insanity in 2021 and beyond.

Go Eventing.

No Eventers Nominated for USEF Year-End Superlatives (Lots of Arabians, Tho)

Try harder next year, eventers!

We kid, we kid.

The USEF has announced its 2020 Equestrian and Horse of the Year candidates, and indeed there are no eventers on the list of 11 total rider and horse candidates. No offense to Arabians, they have many laudable qualities including but not limited to great hair and very archy necks, but it does seem weird that exhibitors of the breed took five out of six of the Equestrian of the Year nominee list. Also one Paso Fino in the mix — the Friesians are getting stiffed, woof! Also of note, there is only one nominee for International Equestrian of Honor, show jumper Kent Farrington, and his mount Gazelle is one of two up for International Horses of Honor. Well, good to know that someone out there had a good 2020!

Author’s note: For the record, my commentary above is tongue in cheek — congrats to all horses nominated, ESPECIALLY the Arabians! The versatility and athleticism of this breed is demonstrated by the range of disciplines they have excelled at, as you can see below. They also make great event horses. My first event horse, whom I competed through Training level, was an Arabian; I owned him from age 3 until he passed away last year at age 29 — I wrote a story about him here

Another note from the author: I heard from USEF about how nominees are selected — they rely on discipline/breed affiliates to nominate horses and riders for the International and National Equestrian of the Year & Horse of the Year honors. This year, Kent was the only international athlete nominated by an affiliate (USHJA), which is why he is the automatic award winner on the international side. This year was an unconventional one at best and they do typically receive more nominations. 

Here are this year’s nominees — you can read more about them here:

International Horses of Honor

Dolton (Para Dressage). Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Gazelle (Jumping). Photo by US Equestrian.

National Horses of Honor

Pritchard Hill (Hunter). Photo by Irene Powlick.

Vivaldi de Besilu (Paso Fino). Photo by Stunning Steeds.

International Equestrian of Honor

Kent Farrington (Jumper). Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Equestrian of the Year Nominees

Margy Cox (Arabian). Photo by Don Stine.

Tracy Fenney (Hunter). Photo by Shawn McMillen.

Joel Gangi (Arabian). Photo by Howard Schatzberg.

Sandro Pinha (Arabian). Photo by Kelly Campbell.

Colby Powell (Arabian). Photo by Howard Schatzberg.

Jonathan Ramsay (Arabian). Photo by Kelly Kenneally.

Click here to submit your vote.

Go Eventing.

30 Eventing Legends Face Off in Equiratings Wonderful Willberry Holiday Sim

Mark Todd and Charisma, David O’Connor and Custom Made, Ginny Leng and Priceless, Mary King and Star Appeal … how might these legendary partnerships stack up against the world-beaters of today like Michael Jung with La Biosthetique Sam FBW or Ingrid Klimke with SAP Hale Bob OLD? A very special Equiratings Eventing Manager simulated competition is pitting 30 of the best horses of the last 40 years against one another — and all for a great cause. A Wonderful Willberry Holiday Sim is aimed at raising awareness and support for Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony, a charity dedicated to #kickingcancersbutt.

“After a really hard year, we also want to raise some cheer over two nights of lighthearted merriment,” the invite says. “Pick your team, pour the cocoa and tune in.”

If you haven’t played Eventing Manager before, here’s the drill: First, download the app. With a virtual budget of $10M per competition,  you’ll then “buy” a team of four riders and hope your team has success in all three phases for a chance to win. Models powered by SAP Predictive Analytics will create the likely results for the dressage, show jumping and cross country phases of the competition. Every competitor in the simulation has a chance of having a good or bad competition; they could have a dressage PR, only to throw it all away with a 20 penalty refusal in the cross country phase. It really is eventing as we know it, as the exciting sport of a million variables. Fans can play their own tactical game during each simulation, and a league table pits them up against all other EM App players around the world.

If you have played Eventing Manager, you’ll notice a few changes in the app. The big one: The more demand for a combination, the higher their price will go. This means prices now rise and fall before the event starts. Pick your team early to make sure you can afford your favourites or try the “buy low, sell high” strategy.

Featured leagues are loaded into the app with prizes on offer and the weekend coverage will be complete with your favourite commentators plus some very special guest appearances.

The market is open until Saturday, 19 December at noon (UK), 7 am (EST) when the simulated dressage phase begins on the EquiRatings Facebook page. After dressage, the market will re-open but selections will close for good once the simulated jumping phases begin on Sunday, 20 December at 7:30 pm (UK), 2:30 pm (EST).

Equiratings has also recorded a limited-release episode of the EquiRatings Eventing Podcast featuring Ingrid Klimke, Piggy March, Chris Bartle, Shane Rose and Kitty King. We’re not publicly releasing these powerhouse interviews but donating any amount to Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity will grant you access to the special episode via your donation confirmation email.

To learn more, visit the event webpage!

Equiratings Geekery Takes Center Stage on Friday at the Virtual USEA Convention

Tbh I liked eventing more before Sam Watson and Diarm Byrne of Equiratings came along. EN’s in-house statistician Maggie Deatrick really ruined it for me, too. As someone who grew up on movies like Sylvester and International Velvet, I still hold dear some outlandishly romanticized notions of the sport. I wish it were more like the movies, wherein at any given event some dark horse could saunter in from the cow pasture and scoop the big prize out from beneath the noses of the Michael Jungs and Ingrid Klimkes of the world.

But “it’s anyone’s game” is an outdated notion, if it ever even existed at all. The numbers have always been there, but it’s only been in recent years that these human calculators have come along, ruthlessly crunching them like potato chips. In her “By the Numbers” predictions, Maggie tells us who is going to win not just the event, but each phase of the event, with freakish accuracy well before the first horse even canters down the centerline. It’s like running wrapped presents through an x-ray machine on Christmas Eve.

I kid, I kid. Among other advancements Equiratings’ risk management work has paved the way for a safer sport, the importance of which can’t be understated — I’d venture to say they are literally saving lives. And Maggie’s columns save me the trouble of photographing all 40 horses in the dressage at events, since I already have a good idea of how the top five are going to land.

I still hanker sometimes, though, for a good surprise. With Sam and Diarm’s presentation at this year’s virtual USEA Convention, Engineering Success – From Personal Milestones to Team Gold Medals, they delivered some exciting news: there’s a solid chance that at the (*knocks on wood*) Tokyo Olympics in 2021, myself — and all you other “dark horse” affectionados out there — might just get our wish. With the new three-person team format it could, truly, be anybody’s game. Beyond that though, most results remain a product of design, not chance. So what does it take to win?

Diarm begins with an apology: “We are both so boring. As nerds who are involved in data what we think may be interesting may not be interesting to other people.”

You’re not wrong, Diarm. The sort of charts and graphs and decimal-point detail that Equiratings deals in could make your eyes glaze over, but all the minutiae adds up to some truly fascinating stuff. Today, he says, they’re here to pull the curtain back on the topic of winning (or, he notes, whatever “winning” looks like to you  — maybe it’s a top five finish or just a personal best.)

“We get that the sport is not all about winning, and that is not the purpose of this presentation,” Diarm says. “But it is a crucial part of sport.”

It’s also a measurable journey that begins with an honest assessment of where you are right now and an intention of where you want to be. What is the route in between? It’s also important to access what the sport looks like at the level you are at. They begin with two graphs using “zone analysis,” which Sam explains is a fancy word meaning brackets showing where your finishing score is at:

At the five-star level, you can see that on average about a third of competitors fail to complete — which Sam calls “pretty shocking in an eye-opening way.” Another third finishes with on a score over 60, and the final third finishes with a sub-60 score. At the two-star level, the DNF percentage drops to 20%; 20% complete with a score over 60; and the remaining 60% complete with a sub-60 score.

The further down the levels you go, the more achievable a clear round is — and, inversely, the more important your dressage score becomes. “If you want to win at the two- and three-star level, you have to be below a 36 … The current scoring system is set up to reward really good dressage and being adequate in the other two phases. The cross country begins to have more of an impact at five-star.”

Eventing is, obviously, a three-phase sport, but while in dressage you can keep lowering your penalty score, in the jumping the best you can do is finish with 0 penalties, which is achievable even if you’re just average — you aren’t going to earn extra marks for rhythm or style. The key to winning is to start low and not add further penalties in the jumping. “Dressage is the only phase that is about being the best,” Sam says. “At the lower levels the jumping phases are even easier.”

How to keep the sport from becoming a dressage show? We can either reduce the influence of dressage or increase the influence of show jumping and cross country. Sam proposes a radical solution: What if there was an optimum score for dressage, perhaps 70% (or 30.0, which is a polished test), and you only collected penalty points if you scored poorer than that mark? So everyone with a dressage score of 30.0 or lower heads into jumping on a penalty score of 0. There would likely be several joint leaders after dressage, but nobody would be so far ahead that they could have a couple rails and still win.

Meanwhile, dressage scores continue getting lower and lower across every level each year.

Bad news for me and Princess! The good news is, there is always room for improvement. What are your goals for 2021? What are you trying to achieve?

The problem with the “top five” or “medals” approach, Sam and Diarm explain, is that it’s dependent on other people. Depending on who shows up on any given weekend, your finishing score could equal a win or a 10th place — it’s relative to the scores of other competitors. “You find these type of goals sometimes, like the thought of a medal, can get you out of bed in the morning, but when you’re on your horse you need something more tangible,” Sam says. You have to think critically about where you are weak and think purposefully about how to improve.

So what does it take to win? Again, at the lower levels the flashy, dressage-y type of horse has the advantage over the real gallopy, fast horse who is strong on the cross country. The scales shift as you move up the levels, and at the very top of the table the cross country horse begins to gain the advantage.

“There’s nothing complex in here, it’s just the averages,” Diarm says, pulling up the next slides. “We’ve not done anything fancy. This what winning looks like so it’s what do you need to [to win].”

OK, so there it is in black and white: If you want to have a shot at winning a Beginner Novice outing, you’ve got to be able to achieve a sub-30 dressage test and jump clear. If that’s your goal, the next step is to sit down and think about how to get from point A to point B.

When you’re in the grind it can be easy to get tunnel vision, but some basic self-analysis can go a long way: “It’s so much easier if you take the time to say ‘where am I now, and where do I want to get to?'” There a concept called “simple metrics” you can use to that they’ve found to be quite accurate — Equiratings walks us through the process of calculating here.

“The best thing I have ever done was stop worrying about the outside world, about medals, and instead ‘where is this horse now and how do I get to the next step?” Sam says. “You set where you want to get to … you need a clear goal of where to get to have real, measurable, achievable progress.” The medal, for Sam, followed.

 

Unlike the human magic-8 balls guiding this Zoom session, I’m crap at predicting winners. Instead of using my head and statistical logic, I’ll lead with my heart every time, always hedging my bets on the underdog. I played Equiratings Eventing Manager prediction game, wherein you “buy” a team of riders for a simulated SAP-powered competition, once and failed spectacularly. Meanwhile, Jenni Autry finished in first or second, I can’t recall, which is one of many reasons why she is managing the U.S. Eventing Team while her old pal Leslie is still sitting around in her pajamas writing about horses for the internet.

But after today’s Equiratings session, I’m feeling pretty stoked for a shake-up next year at (*knocks on wood, again*) Tokyo. “The sport has changed seismically with the current shift from four rider teams to three rider teams,” Diarm says. “Cross country day at Tokyo will be one of the most exciting — or stressful — days that the sport has ever seen.”

 

You can see with this chart that there’s quite a big range as for what wins gold, what wins silver, what wins bronze. For the individuals, it’s going to be hard to medal if you can’t start with a dressage score below 30, but you can help win a team medal.

What’s going to be necessary to win a medal in Tokyo is a clean jumping sheet — and this time, it’s going to be without the cushion of a drop score. Diarm “lets the analyst out of his cage:”

The data goose is loose! At this point Sam pulls up a program that, well, you just need to be sure to watch the video because my scrawny screenshots are not doing it justice. It demonstrates just how elusive that clean sheet is going to be in Tokyo, how difficult it is going to be to land three clear rounds. “You don’t have that discard score, so every team is never off the hook as the three riders go around.” There’s also a team picker program that is what I imagine the inside of Jenni’s brain looks like.

Only six countries have won medals in eventing in the past 50 years since the Moscow Olympics: Australia, France, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand and the United States. But this year, with the three-person teams, you could see a Sweden, or an Ireland, or a Japan swooping in because you’ve taken away the drop score. Not making any jumping mistakes, rather than winning the dressage, becomes the medaling prerequisite.

Statistics are great and important but I also love a little wild card. And I get the feeling that Diarm and Sam, for all their statistical savvy, are pretty pumped about the possibility of one, too.

“Britain, maybe the Germans, go in as favorites, and there’s a 50% chance they don’t even get a medal,” Sam says. “It will be unreal to watch.”

Well played, dorks! Thanks to Equiratings as always — you can learn more at their website here. The USEA Annual Meeting and Convention will draw to a virtual close tomorrow — click here to view the schedule. Tune in at 2 p.m. EST tomorrow (Saturday, December 12) for the Annual Meeting where we’ll learn the winners of this year’s awards as well as hear from keynote speakers Liz Halliday-Sharp and Piggy March.

Go Eventing.

Friday Video from SmartPak: ‘Horses Building Trust’ Features Ebony Horsewomen Inc.

SmartPak never ceases to amaze and impress us with its commitment to making the equestrian community (and the world!) a better place. The fourth story in their “Horses Building Trust” video series features Ebony Horsewomen Inc., a program in Hartford, Connecticut, whose mission is to empower youth through education, horsemanship and equine-assisted therapy. In addition they are donating 5% of sales on SmartPak brand tack and apparel yesterday through today to the team at Ebony Horsewomen, as well as partnering with Ariat to provide a donation of quality products for the riders and staff there.

Founded by Patricia E. Kelly in 1984, Ebony Horsewomen’s students have the opportunity to attend various programs including Junior Mounted Patrol, Young Ladies Leadership Dressage Academy, and Saturday Saddle Club. These programs are run by professional instructors, many of whom are alumni of the program. There’s a great feature on Ebony Horsewomen on the SmartPak blog — we encourage you to check it out here.

Groundbreaking Australian Entry System, Compete Easy, Is Coming Stateside

An Australian online entry system called Nominate will soon be making its stateside debut. Under the name Compete Easy, it is certain to revolutionize the processing of information at U.S. events.

What if you could enter an event with the same ease of point-and-click customization that you booked an airline ticket? All your information populates automatically including results, eliminating the need to dig through records and re-enter information time and time again. You can prearrange each detail, from selecting your stall the same way you select a seat on a plane to choosing how many bags of shavings you wish to have waiting for you when you get there, as you might choose an in-flight meal. Did your horse miss some fitness work or lose a bit of convenience at its last outing, so you want to drop down a level? No need to email the secretary — just hop into the system and change it yourself.

Screenshot courtesy of Compete Easy.

The service doesn’t stop when you get to the show. Because dressage judges upload your scores directly into the system, movement by movement, you’ll know in real time how you performed — as can anybody with the free and easily downloadable app, making it a much more interactive experience for spectators both ringside and following along from afar. Think: the jumbotron at a five-star event, marking each movement in realtime, but on your phone. And a live stream can be easily integrated.

Similarly for cross country, anyone can follow along in real time, ticking off each obstacle cleared via the app. For riders, literally by the time you get back to your stall or trailer, you’ll know your official time and penalty score. The Australian version of the app, Nominate, which has been around for 15 years, has found that the instant access discourages scoring delays because of appeals.

The cross country jump judges have the ability to video any or all horses if they want to, and the TD can retrieve the video. There’s a safety angle, too: the cross country controller can see where everyone is on course at all times, and if a horse has, say, two stops, the TD can select that horse on the app and immediately access its history. What were its most recent results? Did it have five rails in show jumping? Instant access to historical and current data can help inform a TD’s decision to pull a rider up.

From an organizer’s perspective, Compete Easy is nothing short of a revelation. The system saves an average of about 15 minutes of office work per rider. So if you have 400 horses, that’s 100 hours. Rather than puzzling together a stabling plan that accommodates riders who want to stable together, riders essentially create the stabling plan themselves. Rather than the office punching in 150 dressage tests between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., the scoring populates automatically. Rather than double, triple and quadruple handling of information, there becomes a single point of entry. The scorer becomes a supervisor. Office work, which is so often dependent on the labor of increasingly scarce volunteers, becomes automated.

Since its founding in 2001, the Australian app Nominate has since grown to process entries for a wide range of sports — in excess of 10,000 transactions per week — and has integrated membership and ticketing systems that are used by a large number of sporting and non-sporting clients. They have also developed the world’s first technology in their SpeedCheck and LiveScore dressage systems, and they developed and maintain the national databases for several national sporting bodies including Equestrian Australia.

Stable View in Aiken, South Carolina, will be one of Compete Easy’s earliest adopters, and we expect many more U.S. events to follow suit. We’ll be bringing you all the latest updates as this system comes to life and no doubt changes the experience of our sport for competitors, organizers and fans alike.

You can download the app at the App Store for free: Compete Easy, or, www.competeeasy.com.

 

EN’s Top 10 Videos of 2020, #10: Carter, Age 4, Is Crushing It!

We’re looking back on the wild year that has been 2020 this month and are counting down the top-viewed videos shared on EN this year. Let’s kick things off with #10, all about rising star Carter Grandia-Dodson.

Photo courtesy of Anni Grandia-Dodson.

Last Saturday we met Laila Alexander, age 4, who had just completed her first mini-trial — yay Laila! This week we’d like to introduce you to another 4-year-old rising superstar, Carter Grandia-Dodson.

Mom Anni shares, “His pony is Polka Dot and he loves to do what the big kids do. He loves to go cross country schooling and jump his pony. He did his first derby a few weeks ago and won his 5-and-under division. Carter has an uncle that events in area VII, I also event and run an event, grandma and his aunt do dressage. We’re producing the next generation here in area VII!”

Photo courtesy of Anni Grandia-Dodson.

Photo courtesy of Anni Grandia-Dodson.

Photo courtesy of Anni Grandia-Dodson.

We love to see it! Go get ’em, Carter!!!

Area VI Council Launches Fund Drive on Giving Tuesday

Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Just in time for Giving Tuesday the Area VI Council has launched a two-week giving campaign — and their goal is 100% participation from their area’s members (of course, members from other areas are welcome, too!) Can you help them get there? Donate here.

The Council shared this announcement yesterday:

“As we get ready to close the books on this year, we, like so many other businesses across the country (and around the globe) are assessing the impact 2020 has had on our bottom line. With our eventing calendar cut to a fraction of normal this year we are looking at heavy losses from reduced event fees, an absence of fundraisers, as well as camps, clinics and a myriad of other revenue-generating opportunities which were halted due to the global Coronavirus pandemic.

“Normally, we as an Area each year put together an auction event to raise much needed funds for our Young Riders, Adult Riders and the Area Administration. This year, after serious consideration, the Area VI Council deemed it to be inappropriate to reach out to our wonderful sponsors asking for contributions (merchandise, travel accommodations, services, etc.) at a time when many are just trying to keep their doors open. Yet, we must raise income to springboard us towards gaining some financial recovery in 2021.

“So often, in times of hardship, we must look within and find a solution. This year we are asking our membership … each and every member … to take part in our year-end Appeal by making a $50 tax-deductible contribution to Area VI.

“While it is understood that some may need to give less, and others may be in a position to give above the $50 ask, the importance lies with 100% participation from our community. The responsibility to rebound from the setbacks faced this year rests with each and every one of us here in Area VI and together we can set the foundation for a strong comeback in 2021.

“As the Area VI Council, we ask for your support in sharing this campaign with your students, friends and all Area VI Members. We have created a flyer you can download here to share via text and email.

“Thank you for your participation and support,
The Area VI Council”

Every dollar counts! A tax-deductible donation can be made by scanning the QR code below with your smartphone camera or visiting givebutter.com/areaviappeal.

 

 

Keep OTTBs in Mind on Giving Tuesday

Andrea Baxter and Indy 500 at the 2020 Tryon International Three-Day Event. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Have you thanked an OTTB event horse today? We are grateful to these special athletes for their willingness to rebound from a career in racing and give it a go in a new direction.

One way you can show them you care is by donating to an organization working in the service of OTTBs. Below, we’ve listed a few large non-profits as well as some smaller local or regional sanctuary/rehab/adoption facilities that could use a helping hand on Giving Tuesday.

CANTER: The Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses (CANTER) has chapters throughout the country. Through its different programs and its website, CANTER and its volunteers provide retiring Thoroughbred racehorses with opportunities for new careers by helping to place, rehabilitate, and retrain these amazing athletes. [Donate]

New Vocations: New Vocations is the largest racehorse adoption program in the country serving more than 500 horses a year. Founded in 1992, their mission to rehabilitate, retrain and rehome retired racehorses has led to the placement of over 7,000 individuals. With eight facilities in Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, New Vocations serves over 40 racetracks, working directly with owners and trainers in need of equine aftercare options. [Donate]

Retired Racehorse Project: The RRP exists to facilitate placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them in equestrian sports and serving the farms, trainers, and organizations that transition them. Since its 2010 founding, the RRP has inspired thousands to choose an OTTB. Thanks to 160,000+ Facebook followers, 3,000,000+ website hits annually, constant press coverage, and sell out crowds at horse expos, the popularity and value of OTTBs are on the rise. [Donate]

Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance: The 501(c)(3) nonprofit Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance accredits, inspects, and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retrain, retire, and rehome Thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding. Since 2012, the TAA has granted more than $20.7 million to accredited aftercare organizations and 11,000 Thoroughbreds have been retrained, rehomed, or retired by accredited organizations. Currently, 81 organizations with approximately 170 facilities hold TAA accreditation. [Donate]

Thoroughbred Charities of America: TCA raises and distributes money to approved charitable organizations assisting with Thoroughbred rehabilitation, retraining, and rehoming; backstretch and farm employee programs; and equine-assisted therapy programs. Over the past 30 years, TCA has provided over $24 million grants to more than 200 Thoroughbred-related organizations [Donate]

Thoroughbred Retirement FoundationThe TRF is the largest and oldest organization of its kind in the world, devoted to protecting the Thoroughbred racehorse when his racing days are over to prevent him from possible neglect, abuse or slaughter. To this mission, TRF has sheltered thousands of animals, with many going on to second careers while some remain at sanctuary. TRF has also partnered with State of New York Department of Correctional Services to create a vocational training program for inmates, focusing on equine care and management. [Donate]

Below is a listing of Thoroughbred aftercare organizations accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

Go OTTBs. Go Eventing.

Give Back to Your Favorite Sport on Giving Tuesday

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Think about all the ways that the sport of eventing has positively impacted your life. Today is the day to pay it forward! This Giving Tuesday, consider making a secure, tax-deductible donation to the USEA Foundation to help ensure a happy, healthy future for our sport.

From a $25 “Novice” donation to a $1,000 “Four-Star” donation and beyond, gifts of any amount are welcome and can make a big difference. You can designate your donation for use where needed or earmark it to benefit your favorite program. A few options:

  • Where it is needed most — Supporting the immediate needs of USEA Inc.
  • Poggio Horsemanship Study (USEA Foundation) — Studying equine soundness, health and training
  • USEA Foundation — Securing the Future of Education and the Sport
  • Frangible Fence Research (USEA Inc.) — Collapsible Fence Study and other safety initiatives
  • Roger Haller Officials’ Education (USEA Inc.) — Funds and scholarships for Officials’ Education
  • Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) (USEA Inc.) — Funds for Instructors Certification Program (ICP)
  • Equine Welfare (USEA Inc.) — Funds for equine safety and welfare
  • Young Event Horse (USEA Inc.) — Funds for Young Event Horse (YEH) Program
  • Future Event Horse (USEA Inc.) — Funds for Future Event Horse (FEH) Program
  • Juniors/Young Riders (USEA Inc.) — Funds for national Junior and Young Rider Program
  • Liz Cochran Memorial Grooms Award (USEA Foundation) — National Grooms Award
  • Volunteer Incentive Program (USEA Inc.) — Funds support the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program

Go give back. Go Eventing!

Sunday Links

A few weeks ago I watched that movie The Social Dilemma about the horrifying damage social media is inflicting on society and ever since I’ve been fantasizing about just deleting my Facebook, Instagram, all the stuff. And then somebody tips me off to a group like shiteventersunite, which describes itself as such: “For all the crap eventers out there! We want your event reports about how bad your day went! No more ‘event reports’ like ‘Biggles and I would have been selected for the Europeans if we hadn’t have had that pole in the 80,’ ‘an unlucky run out cost us the win’ etc etc. No ‘unlucky poles’ here! Hands up if you need to sack the jockey!✋ … Share your crapness here without judgement.”

This weekend Horse & Hound published a wonderful interview with the creator, Cressida Kitchin-Townshend — you can read it here. The group’s popularity has exploded of late, and she guesses that its honesty really resonates with people. “I think people are relieved,” she says. “When you get back to the yard and people ask how you did, and you say ‘eliminated,’ or when people do event reports, I think there’s real pressure to say ‘my horse stopped at every fence but I still love him’, or ‘we’ll learn from it’; to be positive. There’s so much pressure to be perfect but it’s OK if it goes wrong. I might say I had an unlucky 12 faults but it wasn’t unlucky, it was because I rode like a muppet.”

It’s easy to take ourselves too seriously and lose perspective. Along the same lines, 10/10 recommend the Instagrams jog.it.or.drop.it and, of course, her royal highness dressage_queen_of_memes. Thanks for keeping it real out there, folks. Insanity in the middle 4ever.

U.S. National Holiday: National Mousse Day

U.S. Weekend Action:

Pine Top Thanksgiving H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Major International Events:

Portugal Winter Tour/Barroca d’Alva: [Website] [Entries]

Sunday Links: 

Olympic riders back campaign to boost diversity in equestrianism

Michael Jung Is Engaged

Equestrian events at Paris 2024 Olympics to be held at Versailles

Todd Minikus: Show-Jump Salvage Job

Now on Course: Amber Luce Comes Back from the Brink

From a Wheelchair to the World Equestrian Center: An Average Equestrian’s Quest Through Pain

Video: As one of three sisters who grew up riding together (statistically speaking, at least one of us fell off at every event), I’m sending up a cheer up for the Duda sisters who did very well for themselves at Twin Rivers at Twin Rivers H.T. a couple weekends ago!

Remembering Katie Lindsay (1935-2020)

Photo by Katie Lindsay. As one of EN’s very first writers, Katie’s columns were always headlined by the same photo — this one. We thought it fitting to headline her send-off with it as well.

The eventing community lost a great one in the passing of Katie Lindsay this week. We hear she died peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday, surrounded by her beloved dachshunds. She poured her heart into the sport of eventing and she will be deeply missed.

Katie wore many hats in the sport — USEA outlined some of her contributions here:

“Katie was a well-known USEF Technical Delegate, FEI Steward, and the organizer of the Wayne DuPage and Maui Jim Horse Trials. She served as a member of the USEA Board of Governors and sat on many USEA and USEF committees. She was the first chair of the USEA Organizers Committee and was a frequent contributor to Eventing USA magazine.

“Katie switched from hunters to eventing after attending the 1978 World Eventing Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park. Her first horse trials organizing job was just two years later in 1980. After retiring from international horse trials organizing in 2009, she continued to organize the Wayne Eventing Derby at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Illinois. She was also a longtime member of the Wayne-DuPage Hunt.

“Katie was awarded a USEA Governor’s Cup in 1988 in recognition of her volunteer service to the sport of eventing and received the Wofford Cup in 2010 for her outstanding contributions to the sport.”

Here at EN we consider Katie a legend who helped shape the voice of the site: She was one of the first EN writers and contributed columns regularly between 2010 and 2014. At that time eventing was in a period of real change, and much of her writing explored concerns about changes and shifting attitudes she perceived in the sport. No matter how intense the subject matter, though, her love for the sport burned brightly in every word she wrote — usually accompanied by a walloping dose of humor! She believed strongly in the power of discussion: “[The editor] knows that I’m opinionated, I’ve been around a long time and I’m not afraid to talk about things that may be controversial. I love it when people argue with what I’ve written. It means they are alive and thinking!”

In one of her final EN columns, she shared “The Sportsman’s Charter” and encouraged eventers to read it carefully and think hard about it:

The Sportsman’s Charter

That sport is something done for the fun of doing it and that it ceases to be sport when it becomes a business only, something done for what there is in it;

That amateurism is something of the heart and spirit – not a matter of exact technical qualifications;

That good manners of sport are fundamentally important;

That the code must be strictly upheld;

That the whole structure of sport is not only preserved from the absurdity of undue importance, but is justified by a kind of romance which animates it, and by the positive virtues of courage, patience, good temper, and unselfishness which are demanded by the code;

That the exploitation of sport for profit alone kills the spirit and retains only the husk and semblance of the thing;

That the qualities of frankness, courage, and sincerity which mark the good sportsman in private life shall mark the discussions of his interests at a competition.

With her words and actions, her unbridled enthusiasm and get-her-hands-dirty work ethic, her diplomacy and positivity, Katie truly embodied The Sportsman’s Charter. Her life’s work in the service of our sport will not be forgotten.

Katie is “survived by a niece and nephew, two spoiled-rotten dachshunds, and an enormous group of misfit friends.” She requested to be cremated and there be no memorial service.

If you would like to make a donation in her honor, Katie’s two favorite charitable organizations are the Midwest Dachshund Rescue (2023 Ridgewood Street, Highland, IN 46322) and the Illinois-Wisconsin Search & Rescue Dogs (P.O. Box 96, Woodstock, IL 60098).

[Katie Lindsay (1935-2020)]

Ireland’s Cathal Daniels Wins First Leg of Portugal Winter Tour

Cathal Daniels (IRE) and Shannondale Mari. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The new “Tour” formats of the Strzegom Summer Tour, which placed out across two weekends in July in Poland, and the Portugal Winter Tour, a three-event series that kicked off this weekend at Barroca d’Alva, represent a creative solution to the problem of canceled FEI events this year. Not unlike winter circuit series here in the U.S. that span weeks or even months, the Tour format invites riders to settle in and stay a while — of particular convenience with current quarantine requirements and travel restrictions.

While Portuguese borders are currently open, competitors must still carry a letter with them from the event certifying their purpose of travel. Other national Covid-19 emergency measures are in place through at least Nov. 23, including a curfew.

The Portugal Winter Tour consists of three weeks of competition: Week 1 – Nov. 19-21, Week 2 – Nov. 26-28, and Week 3- Dec. 2-6. They provide the last opportunity in 2020 for athletes and horses to gain qualifications for international events in 2021 including the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Ireland’s 2019 European Championship bronze medallist Cathal Daniels has won the top class of the first leg of the Portugal Winter Tour, a CCI4*-S. He and his partner Barrichello, an 11-year-old gelding (Balou du Rouet x Matinee du Madon VII) owned by Sarah Hughes, led the 15-horse field from start to finish, winning on their dressage score of 29.7. This is a first win for the partnership of Cathal and Barichello although they have been knocking at the door this year — they were second in the CCI4*-S at Mallow and third in the CCI4*-S at Ballindenisk in August, and seventh in the CCI4*-L at the same venue the following month. Before Cathal, Barrichello was produced by Sharon March of Great Britain, followed by outings at the four-star level William Fox-Pitt and, for the year 2018, Alexander Bragg.

The Galway native also took sixth place with My Lucky Day (40.1) and was runner-up in the CCI3*-S with Shannondale Mari.

Cathal Daniels (IRE) and Shannondale Mari. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Britain’s Ben Hobday and his British Open Championship winner Shadow Man were second (31.5). Australia’s Samantha Birch riding Hunter Valley II was third (35.6) and also fifth on Finduss PFB (39.1) Sweden’s Ludwig Svennerstal and Balham Mist finished fourth (38.7).

Also represented in the field was a representation of Brazil, who qualified their team at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru: Marcio Appel CheuicheCarlos ParroRuy Fonseca and Marcio Carvalho Jorge. Thailand, which also has a ticket punched for the Games from a Special Qualifier for Groups F and G (Africa, the Middle East, South-East Asia, and Oceania) at Saumur, had a 12th place finish by Weerapat Pitakanonda. Spain’s Antonio Cejudo Caro, Belgium’s Joris Vanspringel and Australia’s Catherine Burrell all landed in the top 10.

The CCI3*-S was won by Thailand’s team gold and individual bronze medallist at the 2019 Asian Games, Korntawat Samran, with Bonero K on their dressage score of 31.5. Ludwig Svennerstal won the CCI2*-S with Jumble.

The Portugal Winter Tour continues Nov. 26-28 at Barroca d’Alva with CCI1*/ 2*S / 3*S  and National Championship classes; the final fixture, Dec. 2-6, has 1*/2*S/2*L/3*S/3*L /4*S/4*L classes.

Click here for complete results. To learn more, visit the 2020 Portugal Winter Tour website.

Area VI: Twin Rivers Photo Gallery + a Bright Future for Fresno County Horse Park

Twin Rivers Intermediate division winners Maddy Mazzola and So Cool. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

When the Fresno County Horse Park had to cancel  their traditional end of the season event because of the pandemic, the Baxter Family stepped up to run it at Twin Rivers. The event, which took place Nov. 13-15 in Paso Robles, California, was well attended and competitors enjoyed bright blue skies and a happy last hurrah for Area VI’s 2020 eventing calendar.

We’re glad to hear that Fresno County Horse Park has a bright future, as Terry Hilst has purchased the property from John Marshall. Terry will run all of the Horse Trials as scheduled in 2021, Covid willing. She has stepped up to continue the Horse Trials that began as RamTap over 50 years ago. During his eight year stewardship, John Marshall poured his heart and soul into improving the property and event for the riders of Area VI. It is wonderful that all of the investment in energy, time and money will compound for the future.

As for Twin Rivers, we catch of a glimpse of the weekend’s action through the lens of Sherry Stewart, who explains, “My daughter had wanted to show her new horse so I was able to go for my first outing since March. I did find time to shoot the Intermediate division between granddaughter duties, fence judging and meal producing in this Covid time of no spectators.”

Maddy Mazzola and So Cool. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

The 18-horse division was won by Maddy Mazzola and her own So Cool, who held the top spot from start to finish.

Helen Bouscaren and Irish Pop. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Helen Bouscaren was second with Alliston Equestrian’s Irish Pop.

James Alliston and Czechers. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

James Alliston was third with Alliston Equestrian’s Czechers. You can view full results here.

Many thanks to Sherry for the gorgeous photos!

 

French Links, Frangibles & More: What’s Being Voted on at the 2020 FEI General Assembly

The 2020 FEI General Assembly, originally scheduled to be hosted by the National Federation of South Africa, will this year be solemnly devoid of glitzy galas heaped to the rafters with all-you-can-eat shrimp and horse-shaped ice sculptures, followed by late-night hotel bar brawls over obscure fine-print rule changes (can’t we just agree to disagree about French link snaffles?). Thanks, Coronavirus! It’s still taking place though, albeit virtually, and we can still follow along with all the scintillating administrative action.

It’s not exactly thrills-and-spills cross country, but nonetheless we have the opportunity to follow the FEI General Assembly in real time via live stream. And, on second thought, you just never know what sort of madness the FEI thinktank will cook up when you gather them up from all round the world and stuff them into a Zoom chat together (who can forget their proposed rebranding of eventing to “equestrian triathlon,” “equestrathon” or “tri-equathlon” in 2015) …

… so it’s best to keep a close eye on their proceedings. We appreciate that they make that easy via transparent coverage, including a live stream of the sessions and rolling online updates.

Some sessions of the 2020 General Assembly, moved online due to the pandemic, are already underway: Regional Group, Continental Associations and Board meetings have been taking place since Nov. 13. Anti-doping and Rules meetings take place on Saturday, Nov. 21 — you can see what Eventing Rules changes will be voted upon here, and I’ve squandered X amount of hours of my life that I’ll never get back synopsizing them for you below:

501.3.4 World Individual and Team Championships: The maximum number of Athletes per National Federation is limited five if the World Championships are combined with other Championships or six combinations when the Eventing World Championships are held separately from the other disciplines.

505.3.1 Distribution (Prizemoney): The total amount of money published in the schedule must be distributed; BUT organizers have some new flexibility with regard to allocation.

511 Requirements for Promotion: The requirement for transfer and maintenance of status will be included in a separate document dedicated to the Education system and removed from the FEI Eventing Rules.

513.1 Short Format (CCIs-S and CCIOs-S), 513.2 Long Format (CCIs-L and CCIOsL), 513.3 CCI 1*-Intro (Unified Level), 513.5 Championships & Games, 513.5.1 Championships and Games: Further to the update of the Veterinary rules in regard to veterinary officials educations/eligibility a number of revisions have been proposed.

515.3.1 General Duties: The TD is now responsible for an event’s Serious Incident Management Plan.

515.4.1 Course Designer & 515.4.1 Cross Country & 515.4.2 Jumping: The Course Designer role during cross country is to work with the Technical Delegate and Ground Jury to deal with judging queries, sanctions, reviewing of course/fences during XC in case of repetitive falls or weather situations. The Course Designers are responsible to ensure that all frangible technologies are fitted in accordance to the rules and guidelines.

520.1 Athletes not yet categorised at the level of the Competition: Qualification requirements for less experienced riders to participate at higher level events will be strengthened, to be implemented after the Olympic Games deadline for qualification of July 1, 2021.

523.3 Examination after a fall & 524.3.2 Cross Country – Finishing Area: Clarification that an athlete leaving the venue without seeing a doctor or without having his horse checked by the vet is considered a specific eventing sanction.

525.2 Warnings and Penalties (Dangerous riding): Clarification that in case of Dangerous riding the sanction is either 25 penalties or elimination.

526.1 Definition (abuse of Horse): A serious case of Dangerous Riding should be sanctioned by a Yellow Warning Card and added to the list of Abuse of Horse.

538.1.1 Protective Headgear (Dress) & 538.2.1 Civilian (Dressage Test) & 538.2.2 Members and employees of military establishments and national studs: While riding anywhere on the show grounds, the use of a properly fastened Protective Headgear is mandatory. See rule for details and exceptions.

538.2.1 Civilian (Dress) & 538.4.1 Civilian (Dress): Athletes shall wear the official clothing of their NF.

539.1.2 Permitted (Training and exercising saddlery), 539.1.4 Forbidden (Training and exercising saddlery), 539.2.2 Permitted (Dressage test),539.2.3 Forbidden (Dressage test), 539.3.2 Forbidden (Cross Country and Jumping test saddlery) & Annex A 1.4 Illegal bits & 1.5 Permitted Mouthpieces: 

  • Blinkers are not allowed for the cross country; for show jumping, jumping rules apply
  • Further to the Eventing Rules update last year including a differentiated list of bits allowed for Eventing compared to Dressage, the following needs to be clarified:
    • Leather bits and leather-covered bits are permitted
    • Leather-like material for bridles for dressage are permitted
    • Throat lashes are compulsory for cross country
    • Sliding Hanging Cheek mouthpieces are not allowed; clarification that the bit cannot slide vertically and that the rein must be able to move freely in the ring of the bit
    • A bit may have a curved port; the height of the deviation is but the width is not. In order to clarify this, the proposal is to line with the Dressage rules and use the same wording.
    • Clarification of what type of mouthpiece/cheekpiece can be used for a Briddoon when a double bridle is used

544.1.2 Scoring Flying Change: The Eventing Committee had agreed to review the rule proposal on a yearly basis. Now that the dressage tests have been modified, it should be easier to judge the flying change and therefore it should not be necessary to review a video.

547.2.4 Frangible/Deformable Obstacles: The introduction of mandatory frangible devices to higher level events will be extended across all levels for 2021. All open oxers, open corners, verticals or near verticals with open rails, top rail on triple bars and gates where the rail dimensions and weight fit the acceptable parameters of an FEI approved frangible device, must be fitted with frangible devices.

547.2.5 Water Crossings: Each cross-country course must have at least one obstacle related to water.

547.2.7 Ground Lines: Ground lines must be used on fences at all levels.

547.5.2 Obstacles with Alternatives: An alternative obstacle must be sited in such a way that the horse/ rider must make a new attempt/approach after a refusal or run out.’

Annex A 1.2 & 1. 5 (Dressage bits): The ‘French link’ snaffle is allowed.

Annex D – Medical Services Explanation: Recommendations for Medical services at FEI Eventing Events including specific requirements for the cross country test should be considered as guidelines for two years before being implemented as mandatory.

Annex H.1.2 – International Pony Events and Qualification: CCIP2-S results should also count as a qualification for Championships.

The big event, the Ordinary General Assembly Board Meeting, will take place on Monday, Nov. 23, from 12 to 4:30 p.m. CET (6 to 10:30 a.m. EST) and will be available to watch live hereA summary of the key discussions from the two sessions on Anti-Doping and Rules on Nov. 21 will be published hereWrap-ups, including resolutions and main decisions from the FEI Board meetings, will be published on Inside.FEI.org the following day and can be found hereAll information on the FEI General Assembly, including the program, is available on the GA 2020 hub.

 

See you there (or not!)

Watch & Interact with the Tom Bass Equestrian Diversity Seminar LIVE Via Zoom From Tryon

Running alongside Tryon International 3-Day Event this weekend is the 2nd annual Tom Bass Seminar, featuring a four-hour series of panels exploring issues of race in equestrian sport. The year’s seminar, hosted by Tryon International Equestrian Center, will be presented virtually due to Covid-19 from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. — click here to view the schedule of panels. ET.

3:35 p.m. Panel One: Domestic

4:35 p.m.: Panel Two: Youth

5:20 p.m. Panel Three: Media

6:05 p.m. Panel Four: International

The four sessions will conclude with a Q&A session at 6:45 p.m. EST and a closure at 7:15 p.m. EST. Will you be following? Please register here. After registering you will receive a link via email to join the meeting. Be sure to use the chat and Q&A functions to interact with the panelists.

Rewatch here:

MARS Tryon International: WebsiteEntry StatusScheduleOrder of GoRide TimesLive ScoresLive StreamCoverage

Coverage of Tryon International this weekend is brought to you by Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE). Diversity and inclusion in all equestrian sports are important, and we’ll be bringing you tidbits on what this new organization hopes to accomplish.