Leslie Wylie
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Leslie Wylie

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#DogsOfEN: Making A Splash

Water jumps, troughs, ponds, pools or just plain puddles, dogs love them all, especially in the heat of summer. All the dogs in this week’s edition of #DogsOfEN are living their best aquatic lives.

“It’s hot” -Sawyer #dogsofEN #fitchscorner

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Beating the heat! #dogsofen

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Eventer Dog Oakley does water complexes with a little encouragement from Eventer Dad #dogsofen #labradork #poolday

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#theboys #doingsummer #lovetheirpool #dogsofen #dogsofinstagram #hodyandgroot

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#otterdog #borderterrier #dogsofEN

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Go Eventing.

#EventerFailFriday: Style Points

You do you, horse. Just be yourself out there. Especially if someone is out there watching with a camera.

Here are a few #EventerFailFriday photos that we found particularly inspiring this week. Be sure to tag yours on Instagram for a future edition!

This ditch was a lot wider than he thought… #shelovestrouble #blmmustang #teambadidea #eventerfailfriday

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I see the need of a belly guard girth in this mare’s furture.. #noscopenohope 💸💸

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#EventerProblems Vol. 125: Keep EN Weird

What a “unique” demographic we have in the people and horses of Eventing Nation. Here are a few snapshots from your very “special” lives.

Don’t forget to tag ’em #EventerProblems on social media!

That look when you eat French fries and realize you still have MTG on your fingers… #eventerproblems

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Thanks Monday. #eventerproblems #fml #wheelbarrow #eventer #eventing #farmlife #still10stallstoclean

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Baby birds! The mom built a nest in an unused helmet! #eventerproblems

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#takingittothenextlevel #bubblebath #spadayforthepony #spoiled #eventershavethebestaccesories #eventerproblems #iceicebaby

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When you find this in your helmet. #eventerproblems

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Go Eventing.

Wylie vs. the Mongol Derby, Powered by SmartPak: The Eagle Has Landed

In August 2017 writer/rider Leslie Wylie will be attempting her most fearsome feat of #YOLO yet: a 620-mile race across Mongolia. Riding 27 semi-wild native horses. Carrying only 11 pounds of gear. Relying on nomads for food, water and shelter. On a mission to help stop deforestation.

To be held Aug. 9-19, the Mongol Derby is widely regarded as the toughest horse race in the world. Inspired by the Genghis Khan’s original “pony express,” there’s no trail or set route, just 25 GPS checkpoints/horse exchange stations to hit over the course of 7-10 days. Keep it here for weekly updates from Leslie as she prepares to embark upon the ride of a lifetime! Click here to read previous stories in the series.

Send-off card photoshop wizardry from the inimitable Andrew Hock.

Mongolia might not not be ready for Leslie, but Leslie sure is ready for Mongolia. I’m here, I’ve had approximately six hours of sleep in the past 48 hours, and I’m ready to party. Or just take a nap. The jury is out.

My Knoxville-Chicago-Beijing-Ulaanbaatar flight arrived shortly after midnight on Friday.

Field notes from the Beijing airport: Crystal balls permitted in check-in luggage only. I can’t believe they confiscated mine. I thought I was going to have the Derby betting pool on lock!

Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia’s capital city, and not unlike The Hunger Games we were all instructed to meet up here for pre-race training. I couldn’t wait to intimidate the competition with my secret skills, like shooting an apple out of a pig’s mouth. Or a reindeer’s mouth. Or a yak’s mouth? Whatever it is they’re into here.

Unfortunately for the resistance, all I could muster on Saturday was a field trip to the state department store with a few of my fellow tributes. It was the Mongol version of a mall, except that instead of Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom there were more, uh, “primal” offerings. Bonus: it’s super fun to go shopping here because 1 USD = 2,500 Mongolian Tughriks, so even if you’re just spending $3 you feel like a high-roller.

Liv Wood, the Katniss of Canada, really wanted a wolf skin rug for her bathroom, so we hit up the fur department first.

“So. Much. Death,” bemoaned Pixie, a tiny blond gal from London whom we all feel sorry for because British Airways lost all her luggage.

Liv shook her head, defeated. The eyeball holes, the ratty ears, the big dead paws … she just couldn’t do it. It was too much.

They did, admittedly, have some cool hats tho.

After we got done putting dead animals on our head, we checked out the rest of the store. From weird and weirder saddles …

… to horse-head guitar things …

… to actual bows and arrows, just sitting out with some equestrian paperweights like NBD.

I Mongolia’ed so hard at that department store, I got back to the hotel and had to take a six-hour nap. I finally jolted awake at about 9:30 p.m. (which is 9:30 a.m. EST, I think), realized that I’d missed my dinner plans completely, and got to work on my Montana boot camp recap. Was that just last week?! I don’t even know what is real anymore.

By the time I published that story it was basically time to shower, eat breakfast and head to Derby orientation in a meeting room downstairs. A rider who’d pretty much just gotten off the plane from a 24-hour flight from Zambia and I practically propped one another up in the coffee line, making delirious small talk and laughing for no good reason at all.

Today’s orientation was all classroom stuff: an overview of race rules and protocols, a debriefing on the course …

Looks like a piece of cake on paper! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

… a how-to session on the emergency SPOT trackers we’re encouraged to deploy in the event that we’re actually dying, and veterinary/medical briefings.

Derby chief Katy Willings and rider manager Maggie Pattinson were as fun and hilarious, yet also legit knowledgeable and caring, in person as they were in my Horses in the Morning interviews with them here and here respectively. Both women earned my instant respect with their devotion to and advocacy for the real stars of the Derby, the horses themselves.

The veterinary briefing from Dr. Emma Alsop and the medical briefing from Deborah Swann were extra-entertaining because neither of them held back on their opinion of how insane this race truly is. Dr. Alsop, who oversaw the daunting logistical nightmare of looking at 2,000+ horses from which she selected 1,450 suitable for the race, straight up told us she thought we riders were “crazy.” Deborah, who has zero bedside manner and yet I innately feel like I could trust her with my physical life, opened her presentation with, “I swore I would never do this again but got sweet talked into it.”

Note to The Adventurists: Maybe next year you guys could integrate a motivational speaker into the mix? But all things considered, it’s a massively impressive production they put on here, pairing 40+ riders with 25+ horses apiece and doing everything within their power to ensure the safety and enjoyment of both parties.

Tomorrow morning we leave out at 6:30 a.m. for two days of training on the steppe before the race begins on Wednesday. Until my triumphant return, I’ll leave these updates in the trusty hands of Horse Nation editor Kristen Kovatch (you can also follow the race on the Derby website here). When you see a photo of me in a beautiful light blue silk scarf during the race, it’s a gift from Kristen. “Light blue in Mongolia symbolizes ‘the eternal sky’ and is considered a sacred color,” she told me. I’ll wear it with honor, my friend.

Speaking of which, I want to take one last opportunity to thank all of you who have supported me in so many important ways throughout this journey. I ride for you: Erika Adams, Ruth Ahearne, Josh and Jenni Autry, Danielle Bacher, Kaitlyn Barnhill, the Bateman family, Mogie Bearden-Muller, Jodi Becker, Molly Bender, Shellie Billings, the Bold-Greenes, Hilary Bornemann, Elizabeth Bourbon, Nancy Bowman, the Card family, Carol Carter, Tony Cheatham, Lee Choset, the Cochran family, Beth Collier, Casey Cordy, Mogie Bearden-Muller, Jon Bicho, Samantha Clark, Jill Decker, Krista Degitz, Emily Denman, Tony Desmond, Julie DeYoung, Andrew Dickson, Jason Dugmore, Tj Egg, Jen and Trent Ellenburg, Terry Emmitt, Amy Cowan Etsell, Barbara Folsom, Jamie Graves, Alex Green, Michelle Griffen, Matt Hagy, Rita Hanson, Alisha Hartley, Glenn and Jenn Hebert, Annie Higley, the Hill family, Jody Hoch, Laura Beth Ingle, Lorraine Evans Jackson, Violet Jen, Jamie Jennings, Katie Kelly, the Kelly family, Margaret Kimmel, Claire Kirsch, April Kmiec, Jim Koford, Kristen Kovatch, Richard Lamb, Yen Lai, Carla LaFleur, Stephanie Letarte, Lisa Lemke, Sara Lieser, Lida McAllister, Robin Duggins McClamroch, Jason McLean, Katherine McDonough, Angela Mcmanus, Mo Meyer, Cj Millar, Matt Miller, Thea Miller, Kimberly Ostertag, Jocelyn Pierce, Lynn Pop, Nicole Rettino-Lambert, Janelle Roads, Ilona Rule, Mary Schmitt, Brad Sellers, Gretchen Schmidt, Martha Sitwell, Lisa Slade, Lindsay Spain, Mollie Stanfill, Brenna Starch, John Thier, Leslie Threlkeld, the Traver family, Cathy Vogt, Kate Vosbury, Jon Wells, Cathy White, Pam White, the Wylie family, Rachel Zent and so many others who have made this journey possible.

I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. See you on the other side!

 

 

Wylie vs. the Mongol Derby, Powered by SmartPak: Montana Boot Camp!

At least there aren’t any grizzlies in Mongolia.

In August 2017 writer/rider Leslie Wylie will be attempting her most fearsome feat of #YOLO yet: a 620-mile race across Mongolia. Riding 25 semi-wild native horses. Carrying only 11 pounds of gear. Relying on nomads for food, water and shelter. On a mission to help stop deforestation.

The Mongol Derby, to take place Aug. 9-19, is widely regarded as the toughest horse race in the world. Inspired by the Genghis Khan’s original “pony express,” there’s no trail or set route, just 25 GPS checkpoints/horse exchange stations to hit over the course of 7-10 days. Keep it here for weekly updates from Leslie as she prepares to embark upon the ride of a lifetime! Click here to read previous stories in the series.

Montana Boot Camp! With Special Thanks to Swan Mountain Outfitters

I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but I’m guessing prissy folks don’t fare too well in the Mongol Derby. I’m no priss, but I do enjoy first-world creature comforts: white wine, bubble baths, white wine in a bubble bath, and of course kittens … none of which are readily available out on the steppe.

So in the spirit of “suck it up, buttercup,” I’ve spent the summer actively attempting to priss-proof myself. Some things I have already got on lock, like personal hygiene or rather the lack thereof. For the past few months my every waking hour has been spent riding, exercising or writing, all of which require minimal self-grooming. My pony isn’t keeping tabs on how often I shower, everybody smells like foot at the gym, and when you work from home you’re doing well just to change out of pajama pants. So seven to 10 days of degeneration into my grossest possible self during the Derby seems like more of a weird science experiment than a burden.

Other things have been more of a challenge. Like sleeping. During the Derby I’ll be crashing with whatever random nomadic families will take me in when I show up like a lost kitten on the doorstep of their ger. It’s an incredibly generous cultural gesture, but I struggle with insomnia even in our plush king-size bed, so I knew I needed to practice sleeping “outside the box.” Random places I’ve laid my weary head to rest this summer, with varying degrees of success: a rental car in Germany, a parking lot in Houston, a hammock in Kentucky, a horse trailer in North Carolina, the backseat of my car on the Obed, a few nights backcountry camping in the Smokies, and a couple airports including Newark, the ultimate “if you can sleep here, you can sleep anywhere” test. Which I failed, miserably.

While covering The Event at Rebecca Farm for Eventing Nation in the homestretch of the Derby, I took it to the next level, Airbnbing a teepee on a bison farm:

More like Airbnbear … note the brochure they set out for guests — some light bedtime reading.

To the horror of pretty much everyone, I even spent a night ON a cross country jump. Which was actually pretty amazing, actually; I fell asleep to shooting stars and woke up to a technicolor sunrise.

My sleeping bag on jump #19.

But the best was yet to come. Last summer my friend Casey returned from a vacation to Glacier National Park, just a stone’s throw from Rebecca Farm, raving about a wine-and-cheese llama trek she went on through Swan Mountain Outfitters. What?! Wine + cheese + llamas = these are a few of my favorite things. I contacted the company to book a trek while I was in the area but by the end of the conversation had been talked into a five-day pack trip. “It’s not for the faint of heart,” Katie LeBlanc, Marketing Director for Swan Mountain, warned me. Sold!

It seemed like the perfect pre-Derby bootcamp, and it was. We met up Monday morning, loaded our gear onto pack mules, and rode some 15 miles into the Bob Marshall Wilderness. At one million acres it’s even bigger than adjacent Glacier, and wilder — the only way to really get in there is by foot or on horseback. The lack of accessibility makes it feel even more special, like you’re seeing a part of the world that relatively few have seen before.

As we trekked further and further in, the scenery grew increasingly jaw-dropping. I’d always heard that the area was beautiful but THIS blew my senses completely. Crashing waterfalls, sun-dappled forests, craggy cliffs, meadows blanketed with crayon-hued wildflowers … I couldn’t wait to see what was around the next bend.

View between the ears of my trusty mount, Lakota.

After six or so hours of riding we reached upper base camp, which was already set up. We’d sleep in roomy canvas wall tents, replete with wood-burning stoves, and take our meals family-style at a big table in the kitchen tent. The hard-working horses and mules had a big comfy paddock, and as our (totally awesome!) guides Maddie and Sean turned them out the seven other guests and I convened around the campfire, happy for a rest after the long ride.

Swan Mountain’s upper base camp made up for whatever horrors I experienced that night at the Newark airport.

It quickly became apparent that our trek was going the be the perfect blend of physical challenge and rustic pampering. Each morning after a hearty breakfast compliments of camp chef Jess, we ventured into the wilderness on horseback with the pack mules trailing behind. We’d ride two or three hours to some postcard-perfect alpine lake, crystal clear and jumping with rainbow trout, and spend the day there fishing, hiking, swimming or just napping in the sun.

At the end of the afternoon we’d journey back to camp, where Jess would grill up the fresh-caught trout and serve it up alongside dutch oven baked bread and whatever else was on the menu for the evening: moose steaks, potatoes, even huckleberry cobbler made from berries she picked on the trail. Definitely “glamping” compared to Mongolia, but a nice stepping stone at least!

Pretty sure I’m not going to run into any fresh-baked huckleberry cobbler on the steppe.

One of my favorite things about the trek was its allowance for us to truly choose our own adventure — we could make the week whatever we wanted it to be. Me, I really wanted to log some miles on foot; after all, if during the Derby my horse dumps me halfway through a 25-mile leg and gallops off into the sunset with all my gear, I better be prepared to do some serious hiking.

Each day, armed with my GPS and maybe some bear spray, I’d climb six or seven miles up some mountain, always lingering for a while at the top. Sitting there amongst the glacier-carved peaks, some of them capped in snow or stripped bare by avalanches, feelings of awe and humility washed over me in waves. No matter how hard mankind tries to dominate the natural world, it will always be bigger and more powerful than us. What can we learn from its raw, honest beauty? How can we make our own worlds larger, our own lives more robust?

Katie wasn’t kidding with her “not for the faint of heart” disclaimer; some of the trails were downright harrowing! Our mounts carefully picked their way across terrain that ranged from shale rock faces to narrow cliffside paths, including a vertical maze of switchbacks up Lion Creek Pass so steep that the sound of a horse kicking a rock off the trail sent shivers up your spine.

One recurring theme I’ve encountered in my outside-the-comfort-zone horsey travels, whether while pointing an Irish foxhunter at a six-foot hedge, tolting an Icelandic horse along the side of a volcano, cantering Arabian endurance horses through deep sand, or trusting a Quarter horse with my life in Montana, is that sometimes we don’t give these incredibly tough, smart, resilient animals enough credit.

In the Olympic disciplines — eventing, dressage, show jumping — there’s a tendency toward borderline control-freak horsemanship. We practically bubble wrap our horses to keep them safe and sound. Under saddle we manipulate our horses’ bodies into cookie cutter shapes, micromanage their every footfall and designate ourselves the administrator of every decision. But in doing so we may also be inhibiting our equine partners’ own initiative and instincts.

There’s certainly a place in the world for submission and obedience. When Princess and I gallop out of the cross country startbox, I’m the only one of us who has walked the course, so she’d best listen up for advice about direction and speed. But there’s a fine line between democracy and dictatorship. I always want my pony to have some input as well, because ultimately she’s the one who has got to get us from one side of the obstacle to the other.

Lion Creek Pass was so steep the guests had to dismount and hike down, while the guides tied the horses and mules together and led them down by hand.

Similarly, when riding the Derby, I understand my place. I’m the one with the GPS, but the horses we’re riding have been bred for centuries to read and safely navigate the challenging terrain we’re going to be traversing. Every year Derby riders suffer terrible injuries when their horses step in a marmot hole and somersault, or lose precious time getting stuck in quicksand, etc. The ability to trust a horse, to let go of both the reins and our western world notions of what the horse-rider relationship is supposed to look like, is going to be one of the most important skills we’re going to need to survive the steppe.

Another thing I realized in Montana is that, not unlike the horses I ride, I sometimes don’t myself enough credit. We surround ourselves with so much “stuff” in life, oftentimes neglecting our most important assets of all, our bodies and our minds, in the process. My thoughts wandered constantly in Montana, sometimes contemplating the Derby and sometimes percolating on nothing much at all. It made me realize what little space I give myself in daily life to just sit alone with my thoughts. At home, my tendency is to cram every nook and cranny of my day to the brim. It’s definitely a contributing factor to my insomnia: I blaze through life at such a dizzying pace that I’m simply unable to shut it off at the end of the day.

This summer, over the process of paring my life down to the basics, I’ve rediscovered parts of myself that have gotten buried in the detritus of everyday life, or eroded away over the years by self-doubt. I remembered that I’m tough. I’m smart. I’m resilient. I relearned how to trust, not just horses, but myself. I realized that I already possess everything I need to survive, not just in Mongolia but amidst all of life’s unpredictable, unmappable geography.

Somewhere in the mountains of Montana, my insomnia disappeared, and it was only partly because I was physically spent. Moreso, it was because my mind was quiet and at peace, the usual hamster-wheel thoughts replaced by the white noise of a creek burbling outside my tent. Curled up inside my warm sleeping bag, inhaling and exhaling the brisk mountain air, I slept like a baby for the first time in years.

Just three days until the Derby! We’ll be bringing you daily updates, and you can also follow the race on the Derby website here.

Many thanks to Swan Mountain Outfitters for making this incredible experience possible! They offer a variety of horseback tours as well as guided hunting and fly fishing trips. This big game outfitter has access to thousands of acres of the Flathead National Forest, in and around the famed Bob Marshall Wilderness.

If you’re attending The Event at Rebecca Farm next year, consider sticking around for a Swan Mountain adventure. Have an unhorsey significant other in tow? Here’s a thought: Shoo him into the woods for a fishing or hunting excursion while you do your thing at the event, or treat him to a wine and cheese llama trek through sister company Swan Mountain Llama Trekking. Alternately, just make a vacation of it — I guarantee you’ll come back feeling like a new person, ready to take on the world. 

Each Derby competitor’s $12,995 entry helps benefit the Mongolian families whose generosity with their horses and their homes makes the race possible, as well as Cool Earth, a charity that works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction.

Can you help? Please visit the Wylie vs. Mongol Derby GoFundMe page — all donations are deeply and eternally appreciated!

Wylie vs. the Mongol Derby, Powered by SmartPak: The Unofficial Mongol Derby Betting Pool

In August 2017 writer/rider Leslie Wylie will be attempting her most fearsome feat of #YOLO yet: a 620-mile race across Mongolia. Riding 25 semi-wild native horses. Carrying only 11 pounds of gear. Relying on nomads for food, water and shelter. On a mission to help stop deforestation.

The Mongol Derby is widely regarded as the toughest horse race in the world. Inspired by the Genghis Khan’s original “pony express,” there’s no trail or set route, just 25 GPS checkpoints/horse exchange stations to hit over the course of 7-10 days. Keep it here for weekly updates from Leslie as she prepares to embark upon the ride of a lifetime! Click here to read previous stories in the series.

My pony Princess unamused by my “Man from Snowy River” impression atop a mountain in North Carolina.

The 2017 Mongol Derby start gun fires on Wednesday, Aug. 9, at which time some 38 of us will be unleashed onto the Steppe clinging for dear life to pint-sized equine rocketships with minds all their own. I’m writing this from an airplane somewhere between Knoxville, TN, and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia — thank you to all who have relayed support and well-wishes as I embark upon this life-altering crackpot adventure!

First order of business: Like any proper horse race, we’ve gotta have a betting pool! We Derby riders may not win much more than glory, a ceremonial scarf and a well-deserved nap if we cross the finish line first, but you guys following the race from home are in luck! Our good friends at SmartPak have kicked in a $100 gift card for one lucky bettor.

All you’ve gotta do is place your bet in the poll below before the start of the race and your name will be entered into a drawing for the gift card.

Insider tips: Whom to bet on? Hmmmm. My mom and mother-in-law are Team Wylie all the way, so just bear in mind that if you bet on me that you’re going up against two pretty fierce ladies. I’d advise giving the entry roster a scan — click “Download the 2017 Press Release” at the bottom of the Derby website here. So many interesting people from all around the world with so many interesting stories! And myriad reasons to root for them all.

One of the best parts of doing this Derby thing has been the opportunity to meet, interview and feel inspired by my fellow competitors. Among them: the favorite to win, Will Comisky. The 28-year-old Australian cattle runner was a joint-winner in 2016, and in 2017 he’s back to try and win it on his own. Check out my Horses in the Morning interview with him here. Another Aussie to keep an eye on is 29-year-old Ed Fernon, an Olympic pentathlete who summits the world’s largest mountains in his spare time, no big deal!

There are professional polo players, internationally competitive endurance riders, experienced adventurists, horse racing enthusiasts, a former tank commander in the British army, and many lifelong equestrians. Riding alongside them will be underdogs — like 61-year-old Mark Bauwens of London, who describes himself as “the oldest, fattest and least funny competitor!” — as well as everyday riders in pursuit of a challenge. We’re from all walks of life — there’s a potato farmer from South Africa, a sheep farmer from Iceland, a dairy farmer from England, a dog sledder from Sweden, an artist, a private investigator — united by a shared love of horses and adventure.

There are 10 North Americans in the mix. Hailing from Canada there’s Liv Wood, the 24-year-old force of nature I introduced you to earlier this summer when we endeavored a one-day 100-mile ride in Houston under the tutelage of Derby veteran Devan Horn. We recapped our ride on HITM here. And I’m looking forward to meeting Tamara Beckstead, a small animal vet from Ontario whose eventing career has earned her the name “Teflon Girl.”

Coincidentally, five of the eight riders representing the U.S. in this year’s Derby are from the south, myself included. When a southern broad sets her mind to something, you’d be unwise to bet against her, and the Derby is no exception. Earlier this summer one of them, Marianne Logue Williams, invited us all to her farm in Tryon, NC, for a weekend retreat, where we spent a couple days riding, swilling wine, comparing notes and basically becoming instant BFFs.

The Steel Magnolias: moi, Marianne Logue Williams, Clare Summers, Rachel Land and Julia Fisher.

Allow me to introduce you:

Maryanne is a modern-day pioneer woman trapped in the body of a blonde Barbie doll who once killed a rattlesnake with a bow and arrow. And then she put it in her fridge to make a belt from later, probably alongside the ingredients for making a mean cocktail which is also in her skill set. She’s fairly recently divorced, and whatever sugar-coated venom she’s packing is going to make her a force to reckon with on the steppe.

And then there’s the “Team Strong & Crazy” mentor-student combination of Rachel Land and Clare Summers, both from South Carolina. Rachel is a spunky, Crossfitting mother of four boys who I think is just looking forward to getting out of the house. Clare is a willowy, silver-haired southern goddess, and when she speaks you understand why tough horses turn to butter when she comes around. Together they’re a forcefield of no-detail-left-behind preparedness, and they plan to ride the race as a package deal. You can listen to my Horses in the Morning interview with them here.

Rachel Land: mother of four young boys, co-founder of Strong & Crazy, equestrian performer, ostrich jockey and endurance rider.

Last but not least is Julia Fischer, who at age 65 is my automatic hero for being the most senior rider in this year’s race. She’s a psycholinguist from South Carolina, serious and analytical, and from first impressions also one of the most stubborn, determined women I’ve ever met. She’s been dreaming about riding the race for years and finally, this year, decided that it was now or never. I also interviewed Julia on HITM — you can listen in here.

Julia Fisher teaches experimental psychology when she’s not competing in 50-mile endurance races.

In addition to the “Steel Magnolias,” Pierre Germain of Maryland, Amanda Charlton Herbert of Maine, and Rick Helson of Wyoming round out the American contingent, plus California-based German polo enthusiast Hanna Schumacher. Can’t wait to meet my fellow Americans! Maybe we’ll have time for a day trip to Russia — I hear they’re really loving those new sanctions we just imposed on them, could be exciting.

Without further ado, it’s time to place your bet.

Then let us know you voted by visiting the SmartPak Facebook page or just sharing your name and email so we can contact you!

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We’ll be bringing you daily Derby updates, and you can also follow the race on the Derby website here(more…)

#EventerFailFriday: The Long Spot

When your horse just can’t wait to get off the ground. Here’s your latest batch of #EventerFailFriday photos … when in doubt, leave it out! (Just kidding. Do not leave it out. You need that stride.)





Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: Carl Hester Enlisted to Train #BurghleyPony

World Horse Welfare Pamela, an 8.3-hand Shetland rescue pony, is set to become the smallest equine ever to participate in the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials this year. Supported by equestrian icons with her “star rider” yet to be revealed, the #BurghleyPony’s journey to four-star fame will be documented by a series of behind-the-scenes training videos released in the leadup to the event.

Burghley Horse Trials Event Director Elizabeth Inman explains, “Pamela was certainly a surprise late entry and once we had recovered from the initial shock at the prospect of a Shetland pony ‘competing’ at Burghley, we can now see that Pamela is no ordinary Shetland pony. To have received the backing of so many equestrian stars goes to show just how talented this pony really is and we are delighted that Pamela has chosen Burghley to be her four-star debut.”

The first video features Olympic gold medalist dressage rider Carl Hester, who predicts that they have their work cut out for them! Keep up with #BurghleyPony‘s progress via the World Horse Welfare and Burghley Facebook pages.

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A Golden Legacy: Los Angeles to Host 2028 Olympics

Bruce Davidson Sr. (USA) and JJ Babu. Photo by Virginia Hill/CC.

We knew that the the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympic Games were going to Paris and Los Angeles, although not necessarily in that order, but now it is well on its way to becoming official: Paris will be hosting the former and L.A. the latter.  The deal, announced yesterday by L.A. officials, will be formally confirmed by the IOC in September.

The 2028 Games will mark L.A.’s third time playing Olympic host, as it previously hosted the Games in 1932 and 1984. The U.S. eventing team has had good luck in Los Angeles, sweeping team gold both times it was held here. Those are some big shoes to fill, but we’ve got 11 years to whip U.S. eventing into gold medal shape — challenge accepted!

In 1932 the podium was topped by the three-man U.S. team of Earl Foster Thomson, Harry Chamberlin and Edwin Argo. In advance of last year’s Games Lorraine Jackson dug through the IOC archives and produced a fascinating article about what that year’s three-day eventing competition looked like. She described the endurance day layout as “mind-boggling,” as the cross country course crossed multiple major thoroughfares and cut off downtown Santa Monica from any traffic northwest of Centinela Avenue. Read more here: “10 Incredible Eventing Images from the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.”

Image via IOC.

Image via IOC.

In 1984, Bruce Davidson, the late Karen Stives, Michael Plumb and Torrance Fleischmann (nee Watkins) won the team gold medal and Karen and Ben Arthur won individual silver. The U.S. also won team gold and individual gold and silver in show jumping. I had some fun with the IOC archives here — “10 Photos from the 1984 Olympics That Will Blow Back Your Feathered Mullet” — and check out this video for some great footage from those Games.

J. Michael Plumb (USA) on Bluestone, who finished 10th in the individual competition. Photo by Virginia Hill/CC.

The Sepulvida Valley Sports Complex, located about 11 miles from the Olympic Village at UCLA, has been proposed as host site of the equestrian events in 2028. The venue will also host canoe slalom and shooting. Here’s a look around that venue:

Time to bring back the gold, kids! Go Eventing.

 

[Los Angeles Makes Deal to Host the 2028 Summer Olympics]

Rest in Peace, Salute The Truth

Photo courtesy of Steuart Pittman.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Salute The Truth, Steuart Pittman’s 22-year-old Maryland bred Thoroughbred stallion. Lightly raced under the Jockey Club name Boy Done Good (Salutely – Good Queen Liz, by Sir Raleigh), he went on to event through the CCI3* level and was a popular eventing sire. The big, handsome redhead had movement to spare, a first-rate cross country gallop and the biggest heart in the land, and his legacy will be revered by the eventing community.

Steuart, a Thoroughbred advocate and founder of the Retired Racehorse Project, shared a tribute to the horse on Facebook yesterday:

“Salute The Truth, aka Willie, moved on today. He’d started to lose weight the last few weeks, colicked mildly yesterday, and this morning was in distress. I had thought I couldn’t pull the trigger on the horse that to me was father, son, brother and best friend. He did everything I ever asked of him, and he kicked my ass when I needed it. He pushed me to my limits and I pushed him to his. We lived a hell of a great life together, jumping terrifying cross country courses, suffering through endless hours of dressage, and sharing thrilling moments in the breeding shed.

“Neither of my two favorite vets could get here until afternoon. Once I knew that this was the end of the road for the old guy I was glad to do it myself. Just me and my horse alone in his paddock with nobody watching. He was so ready. He held his head still, and I separated my heart from my brain just long enough to pull the damn trigger. I felt instant relief, grief, and then peace.

“Everything that horse did in his life was with dignity, and he sure as hell went out that way. Thank you Willie. I love the hell out of you.”

Go Willie.

Weekly OTTB Wishlist from Cosequin: New Vocations Edition

This week’s batch of wish-worthy OTTBs all hail from the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. Founded in 1992, New Vocations’ mission is to offer retiring racehorses a safe haven, rehabilitation and continued education through placement in experienced, caring homes.

The program is currently gearing up for its Third Annual All-Thoroughbred Charity Horse Show, to be held Friday, Sept. 8 and Saturday, Sept. 9 at the Kentucky Horse Park. In addition to two days of hunter, jumper and eventing classes, qualified exhibitors will be welcomed to the inaugural edition of The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) Championships, held on Sunday, Sept. 10. Here’s your chance to compete in the Rolex main arena! Learn more by visiting the website here.

Here are three New Vocations OTTBs that caught our eye this week:

Photo via New Vocations.

Sharp Omar (Sharp Humor – Best Feature, by El Gran Senor): 2011 15.3-hand Kentucky bred gelding

Sharp Omar has become a personable guy. He runs to the gate to meet you, looking for a peppermint or just a simple scratch on the head. He has a solid build with a good sized barrel that takes up a tall rider’s leg well.

Omar enjoys being ridden outside, has three nice gaits and is started over fences. He needs an experienced rider to further his training. He stands well for the vet and farrier — he is currently wearing front steel shoes and barefoot behind — and bathtime is his favorite time of the day, as he loves to play in the water.

Omar was gelded late as a 6-year-old and still exhibits boyish behavior. His handlers have experimented with different turnout situations and feel that he is best in a private turnout environment. Omar is sound and suitable for any riding discipline. He is looking for an experienced adopter with appropriate accommodations to build a lasting relationship.

Located in Hummelstown, PA.

View Sharp Omar on New Vocations.

Photo via New Vocations.

Riverboat Bandit (Time Bandit – Lady de Yukon, by Yukon): 2007 16.1-hand Louisiana bred gelding

Riverboat Bandit is one of the best types of OTTBs there are — a “war horse” who has been retired sound. A war horse is generally considered a TB who has started 50 or more times or earned over $100k. River raced an incredible 74 times and more impressively finished in the top three of 33 races. He has certainly proven his soundness and durability but what can’t be underappreciated is his heart.

Working under saddle now, he has little things to work on like a tendency to carry himself inverted and improving suppleness. What is irreplaceable is his willingness to learn and superb work ethic. He is not heavy in your hands and is agreeable to several different types of riders. He looks around his surroundings alertly but is not reactive, just aware. River has a ground covering stride and as he figures out his balance his canter is quite fun to ride.

River is just as agreeable on the ground. He is easy to work around and is low in the herd order. He can hold his own well enough that he integrates almost instantly into any group. He doesn’t tend to get involved in any of the wrestling and is loving the time outside on the Kentucky grass. The only thing he is absolutely afraid of so far is cows. He can’t figure out what they are or understand the noises they make. Aside from cows, he doesn’t seem to spook at anything else! River does not have any stall vices.

River is an excellent mount for an intermediate rider. He will do anything his rider asks and could go in just about any direction as far as riding discipline.

Located in Lexington, KY.

View Riverboat Bandit on New Vocations.

Photo via New Vocations.

Brandt Point (War Front – Viva La Flag, by Rahy): 2014 16.2-hand Kentucky bred gelding

Brandt Point has a dancer’s body, with long, lean lines that are beautiful to watch in motion. He is low-key to handle and has been a gentleman since day one. Brantley is low to middle in the herd. Summertime weather patterns here have been awful on the feet of many horses coming to New Vocations straight from the racetrack so while they did pull his hind shoes initially, they decided it was best for him to wait until fall to continue without them. He is a friendly soul who has not offered to kick any pasture mates so they have kept him in a group and on night turnout for plenty of grazing hours. He does not have any stall vices.

Brantley seemingly floats around the arena — it is almost intoxicating to watch. He has a natural collection although he can get behind the bit. He responds well to voice cues and needs to work on moving off of leg. His movement is so free and fluid, he has incredible potential for sure. Brantley had absolutely no desire to race and was retired sound after one unsuccessful start. He is suitable for all disciplines and will do best with at least an intermediate rider who does not push him too hard too fast. He can develop into an amazing partner for someone who takes their time and makes training fun for him.

Located in Lexington, KY.

View Brandt Point on New Vocations.

#EventerProblems Vol. 124: Summer Bummers

We’re entering the homestretch of summer and your seasonal #EventerProblems have kicked into high gear. Let ’em rip, Eventing Nation!

2 seconds before this photo was taken she was spotless… #eventerproblems

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Stung by a bee…. #eventerproblems #horsesofinstagram #ponyproblems

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Heat index of 111 in Illinois. Don't judge me. #eventerproblems #eventerfashion #hot #leggings #amynelsoneventer #collarmakesmelookprofessional

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When both your kids are mad you put sunscreen on and act really pitiful! #eventerproblems #sunscreenfail

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Somebody is trying a new look. ‍♀️ #thatsnotright #ottb #eventerproblems

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Go Eventing.

Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: Pioneers of Australian Eventing

Have you ever stopped to think just how extraordinary and hard-won Australia’s rise to power in the sport of eventing is? This video, produced for the Sydney International Horse Trials, interviews three influential figures in the history of outback eventing: Wyatt “Bunty” Thompson (Olympian, Stockholm 1956), Wayne Roycroft (Australian National Eventing Coach, 1988-2011) and Neale Lavis (Olympian, Rome 1960).

Go Eventing around the world.

4* Horses & Riders Hone Their Chops in Walton Cup

2015 and 2016 champion Buck Davidson on Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Lisa Thomas.

Summer is the season for polishing up your game, which has several seasoned four-star combinations heading to Walton Place Equestrian in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, for tomorrow’s Walton Cup.

The $5,000 mini-prix has attracted a who’s-who of eventers to contest the 1.20 – 1.25m course on Tuesday, Aug. 1. There’s plenty of draw: premium Attwood Equestrian Surfaces footing, a course designed by Chris Barnard, who is fresh off his trip to Montana where he was the course designer at Rebecca Farm, ample prize money and awards, and a wine-and-gourmet-cheese party to cap off the day!

Buck Davidson is the reigning champion, having won the past two years on Ballynoe Castle RM. He is among 30 entries in this year’s class — will be make it three for three, or will there be a new champion?

Other competitors include Lisa Marie Fergusson/Honor Me, Erika Nesler/Right Above It, 2014 winner Jennie Brannigan/Stella Artois, Courtney Cooper/Who’s A Star, Ryan Wood/Powell & Alcatraz, Lillian Heard/Share Option, Boyd Martin/Steady Eddie, Tura Lura and Tsetserleg, and many more!

In addition to the mini-prix several smaller jumper classes are offered. Entries are still being accepted with a late fee, or come on out and spectate! The mini-prix won’t begin before 3 p.m. Visit the website or Facebook page for directions and details.

A sneak peak at this year’s course, courtesy of Lisa Thomas:

 

Weekend Instagram Roundup: Movin’ on Up

‘Tis the weekend for moving up a level, it seems! Scrolling through your weekend Instagram photos we noticed that a lot of horses and riders around the country enjoyed successful next-level debuts. Here are a few of our favorites from Horse Park of New Jersey II H.T., Hunt Club Farms H.T. and Cobblestone Farms H.T. Congrats to all!

Had a positive first training outing with this guy :)

A post shared by Ava Anderson (@avaandersoneventing) on

This Horse!!! ❤️ Maggie and I both conquered our first Intermediate today and my heart is so full of happiness!! Bringing this incredible horse up through the levels myself has been one my greatest joys in life and greatest challenges! We definitely showed a little inexperience out on XC but we definitely started to get our groove out there! The biggest thank you to a great cheering squad of people who came out to watch me! I love you guys all so much! Also a big thank you to my incredible sponsors, who have believed in my dream from the beginning. My success is their success and I am deeply humbled to have them all a part of the Faith Eventing team. Love this horse!! @antaressellier @antaressellier_usa @gumbits @decopony @ariaswhips @mdc_stirrups @espanasilk @funbonnets @darkjeweldesigns @majykequipe @teamridesafe_official @charliejumper26 @c_morris40 @c4equestrian @c4belts @katherinecosmetics

A post shared by Genevieve Faith (@faitheventing) on

Abby was amazing in our first training together yesterday! Could not be happier with how our day went

A post shared by Catherine Butkus (@cgbeventing) on

we danced our way into 7th after dressage in our first prelim! #usea #dressageday #greennumbers

A post shared by Alicia Harbin (@aliciaaharbin) on

It’s a good day when you have, not one, but TWO newly minted event horses! So happy with Waffle & Birdie today❤

A post shared by Makenna Rold (@makennarold) on

Leo Visto M picked up a 2nd in the Novice at his first competition.

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#EventerFailFriday: Overachievers Anonymous

Welcome to #EventerFailFriday, a support group for sharing your most strugglebus moments. From slightly sticky moments to full-on bombs, join us in celebrating the fact that every road to success is paved with a few potholes.

The theme of this week’s edition is go big, or go home. These horses are giving it 150% effort, whether their riders want it or not. Maybe there’s a monster under the jump, or maybe they’re just feeling froggy … who knows, but you’ll be grabbing for mane yourself by the end of the post.

Have an eventing fail to share? Tag it on Instagram!

Cute little bank- must leap! #eventerproblems #carouselpony #ididntfall

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Dear zig… the jump was back there… #eventerproblems #ottbsofinstagram #jumper #eventersofinstagram #stadiumjumping

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Happy fail Friday! #3footcrossrail #theresamonsterinthebox #ottb #failfriday #eventerfailfriday

A post shared by Julie (@jewelcath) on

#failfriday (inflatable jump fillers are made of monsters, I guess?)

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Happy #failfriday! Almost didn’t make it over that one

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Weekly OTTB Wishlist from Cosequin: CANTER Colorado Edition

All three of this week’s wish-worthy OTTBs hail from CANTER Colorado and are located at Arapahoe Park. Come and get ’em, EN!

Photo courtesy of CANTER Colorado.

Ruben’s Pride (Proud Irish – Cyndi, by Diazo): 2009 16-hand New Mexico bred gelding

Get ready to fall in love with this guy! Ruben’s Pride has had 32 starts and is retiring sound. While he has spent his time mostly racing at the track, he is quiet enough to be used as a pony horse. CANTER Colorado has this to say about him …

His looks: “Ruben’s Pride is gorgeous to look at with his dark bay color and chrome. We really liked his build especially his nice hind end, short back and big shoulder. His neck goes into a natural frame with ease. We saw him jog and while he was a bit playful we liked his big stride.”

His personality: “Big sweetheart! He’s got great ground manners and loves attention. He’s so sweet that the owner’s 4-year-old grandson can hold him for baths. He loves to be scratched and will even start licking when you find his favorite scratching spots.”

His pedigree: “Ruben’s Pride is New Mexico bred by Proud Irish out of Proud Delta. His dam was a multiple graded stakes winner and won the Eclipse Award 1976 Champion Older Mare Honor. In her 31 starts she won over $387K! The Delta side of his pedigree all won over $100K in racing with his great grandsire on his dam’s side winning over $400K. This pedigree boasts athleticism and speed.”

His next career: “He can truly go in any direction. We think he would make a great foxhunter, hunter, jumper or eventer.”

View Ruben’s Pride on CANTER Colorado.

Photo courtesy of CANTER Colorado.

That’s Gin (Bernstein – Pocus Hocus, by Quiet American): 2010 16-hand Kentucky bred gelding

Big grey CANTER cutie! That’s Gin is an eye-catching gelding with 25 starts. The trainer describes this horse as super gentle, sweet and inquisitive. He has been used as a pony horse and has been introduced to western tack. He does need some reminders or additional training on the ground. The trainer says he has a really nice trot and loves his fair share of treats.

His CANTER connections noticed that he is well built and stood patiently while they took pictures of him. They are told he is sound and has even been introduced to pasture life.

He is sired by Bernstein and grand sired by Storm Cat with Affirmed in his pedigree on top.

View That’s Gin on CANTER Colorado.

Photo courtesy of CANTER Colorado.

Bixley (Papa Clem – Fortunee, by Wild Again): 2011 15.3-hand California bred gelding

Big personality right here! Bixley is looking for his next Advanced rider or trainer to bring him along in a new career. He is tremendously athletic, well-built and stands 15.3 hands. His CANTER connections like the shoulder on this horse, his high withers and the angles of his pasterns and hind end suggesting that he would be a great jumper prospect. Love those dapples!

The owner says they thought he was having issues on one of his ligaments but the x-rays came back clean. He’s been running well and there are no other soundness concerns. He can get mouthy so he needs an experienced handler.

Bixley’s feisty personality has also helped in in his racing career. He doesn’t shy away when it’s time to compete. He’s completed 23 career starts and has been in the money in half of his races winning nearly $70K. This guy is bold and likes to have a job.

Bixley is CA bred sired by Papa Clem out of Fortunee. His sire won over $1M in racing was a multiple stakes winner and was 24th in the Top 100 Rankings (since 2000). This horse comes from a very athletic line of horses and will be successful in his new career.

View Bixley on CANTER Colorado.

NAJYRC 2*: Area I/IV Takes Team Gold, William Zuschlag Wins Individual Gold

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

A scramble team of Area I and IV came out on top in the NAJYRC 2* competition. The squad — Cornelia Dorr and Sir Patico, Lily Geelan and Luksor, and Melanie Rousseau and Sullivan — got to Montana via creative fundraising efforts and did the best they could with the resources they had, even recruiting their moms to field the roles of team coach and manager.

Where there’s a will there’s a way. Area I’s Cornelia, who also secured individual silver and bronze, cleaned stalls at Groton House H.T. to help finance the journey, as did Lily and Melanie at Roebke’s Run H.T. They also sold hats, crowdfunded and had silent auctions to make the trip possible.

Cornelia hopes their success is an inspiration to other riders facing obstacles in their path to NAJYRC. “If you have a dream to go to Young Riders you should never let it get pushed away,” she says. “You should muscle it and get here for the team experience.”

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

A well deserved victory gallop!

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Congrats NAJYRC 2* champs! Area I/IV , Area VII , Canada

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William Zuschlag was nipping at Cornelia’s heels all weekend, finally overtaking her when she pulled three rails to his one rail in the show jumping today. His winning mount was RF Southern Command, his own 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.

“It feels really good,” William says. “It was a lot of fun. Young Riders is a great program that will prepare you for the future.”

NAJYRC 2* Top Three Teams: 

NAJYRC 2* Top 10 Individuals:

#RebeccaFarm: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoresNAJYRC Ride Times & Live ScoringLive StreamEN’s CoverageEN’s Instagram

Rebecca Farm Finale: Erin Sylvester Wins CCI3*, Tamie Smith Takes CIC3*, Derek di Grazia Bests 2*

Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy.

Yesterday’s three-star cross country leaders held fast to their thrones in today’s show jumping competition. Congrats to Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy, winners of the Adequan USEA CIC3* Gold Cup, and to Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royal, winners of the CCI3*! And a job well-done to Derek di Grazia and Ringwood Justice, winners of the CCI2*.

CCI3*

Erin Sylvester’s trip to Montana proved worthwhile today in spades. She returns home to Cochrane, Penn., with Paddy’s first FEI win in tow and an enthusiastic appreciation for the Event at Rebecca Farm. Frank Macentee’s 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding pinged around today’s show jumping course. Designed by Chris Barnard, it was plenty testing from start to finish, including a rollback right out of the gate.

Of the four CCI3* competitors left standing, three had clear rounds inside the time; only one, second-placed Heather Morris with Charlie Tango, had a rail.

“It means a lot,” Erin says of her experience at Rebecca. “This West Coast community is a really neat community. Everyone is so supportive of one another. Everyone has your back and they want to be there for you.”

To East Coast riders who entertain the idea of coming to Rebecca but are put off my distance and expense, she says, “They have to come. It’s attainable to make the trip. You can apply for a travel grant (as Erin did, the receipt of which sealed the deal of her own journey). The effort that they put in to go above and beyond for riders, spectators and owners is really special. Everything event has its ‘thing’ they drive home, and Rebecca tries to nail it all home and make it an amazing experience.

Heather Morris and Charlie Tango, 2nd place. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Andrea Baxter and Indy 500, 3rd place. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against, 4th place. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

CIC3*

Tamie Smith led the Adequan USEA CIC3* Gold Cup from start to finish with Fleeceworks Royal, an 8-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Judy McSwain. The win is a special one for both rider and owner, as Tamie has been developing Rory carefully since the horse was just a 4-year-old.

Fleeceworks Royale and entourage. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

“She jumped out of her skin,” Tamie says. “She can get a little too bold … she started out the course fantastic and was rideable, then she peeked at the liverpool so I had to tap her with my whip and then I regretted that the rest of the course!  She was jumping so well — her hind end was just ridiculous.”

Tamie hesitates to commit to any fall plans with the horse, but says she is toying with the idea of doing the CCI2* at Fair Hill or Galway. “She’s way ahead of the curve for her age but she’s still young,” Tamie says.

Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royale. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Like Erin and so many competitors we’ve spoken with this weekend, she applauds Rebecca Farm for the effort they’ve put into creating a destination event. For example, she says that earlier in the week when she walked cross country the footing was on the firm side, as Montana is experiencing a drought.

“I knew that they would do anything and everything they could do to make it better, and when I went out of the box on Saturday it was like some angel came out here and watered all night,” she says. “I don’t think a lot of people realize just how important footing is to us … and I just can’t thank them enough for the effort they put in. My hat goes off to everybody who made that possible.”

CCI2*

In addition to winning the CIC3*, Tamie placed 2nd in the CCI2* with Glock Pullman behind Derek di Grazia and Ringwood Justice. Tamie was leading heading in but pulled a rail, boosting Derek into the top spot. Everyone was thrilled to see the esteemed course designer capture a big win, Tamie included.

“He deserves it,” Tamie says. “If I was going to not win I’m thrilled for him because that horse is super and Derek’s round was picture perfect.”

“I’m having fun,” Derek says of his week. “I love to still be out competing and I love the horses.”

Derek’s wife Bea also contested the CCI2*, placing 9th with Ringwood Isabelle. He says that they aren’t competitive with one another, but rather just enjoy participating in the sport together. “We work together every day and that’s how it is,” he says. “We support each other and it’s been that way for a long time.”

And one more big congrats to dole out to Rebecca Braitling and Santana II, winners of the CCI1*!

CCI3* Final Results

CIC3* Final Top 5

 

CCI2* Final Top 5

CCI1* Final Top 5

#RebeccaFarm: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoresNAJYRC Ride Times & Live ScoringLive StreamEN’s CoverageEN’s Instagram

What’s in Your Arena? Presented by Attwood: Rebecca Farm CIC3* Edition

What’s in Your Arena? is an EN series sponsored by Attwood Equestrian Surfaces in which riders share their favorite jumping exercises. This week, however, we’re here at The Event at Rebecca Farm and we’re taking a slightly different tack! Let’s have a look at some of the show jumping fences that appear on today’s CIC3* course.

Rebecca Farm show jumping is underway! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Not to be outdone by the over-the-top cross country course, Rebecca Farm has once again knocked it out of the park in the show jumping ring as well. The course is inspired by the stunning Montana landscape surrounding it, and every jump is a work of art in and of itself.

Here’s a look at the CIC3* course, designed by Chris Barnard with assistance from William Robertson:

Course walk time!

#RebeccaFarm: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoresNAJYRC Ride Times & Live ScoringLive StreamEN’s CoverageEN’s Instagram

Do you have an exercise to share or is there an eventer you would like to nominate for the “What’s in Your Arena?” series? Email [email protected]

 

NAJYRC 1*: Area VI Takes Team Gold, Tosca Holmes-Smith Wins Individual Gold

Area VI, NAJYRC 1* gold medalists! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The 2017 Adequan FEI NAJYRC 1* champions have been crowned! After climbing the ladder all week the honor went to West Coasters Area VI.

The team — Mallory Hogan and Clarissa Purisima, Delaney Vaden and RedRox Jazzman, Bella Dowen and Lasse 73, and Kaley Sapper and Tuscan Sun — show jumped their way into the top spot. Of 29 starters in today’s competition, 11 trips were clear and inside the time, so the scoreboard saw plenty of movement.

In addition to team gold, Mallory won individual bronze, moving up from 8th after cross country on the wings of a fault-free round. She says that her horse was a little bit affected by the atmosphere but that he went to work for her in the ring. The NAJYRC experience, she says, has been an incredible one, from the journey to the reward.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

“It all came together at the right time,” she says. “Having these girls with me … I wouldn’t want to go to Montana with anyone else. My horse, my support team, my family, all of them helped and stood behind me the whole way. It’s like you have this family who is with you the whole time.”

Kaley says of the team experience, “You always have the pressure of competing but you have the support of your team. You’re dedicated to them and it’s like nothing else.”

Area VI (), Area II () and Canada () take their NAJYRC 1* lap of honor!

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“My teammates have been incredible,” Delaney agreed. Bella added, “It’s really cool when you’re having doubts to have a group of people who are lifting you up constantly. It’s awesome to have such a close support group.”

Shout-out to Area VI Young Rider Chef d’Equipe Lauren Billys and Young Rider Coach Bec Braitling as well. Congrats, all!

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The individual gold medal went to Tosca Holmes-Smith and Fiat, who moved up from bronze position after cross country. “The pressure was on. I was pretty nervous,” she says, noting that in addition to individual medal pressure she needed to go clear to secure bronze for her team. Plus, her sister Carmen won NAJYRC 1* gold last year and naturally Tosca wanted to keep it in the family!

Fiat delivered a clear round inside the time. “I was very happy with him,” she says. “He tried his heart out.”

Silver medalist Alexandra Baugh summed up the experience that seems to be universal among the young riders here this weekend: “I think I’ve learned a lot from my experience. I’ve made new friends, teammates … I would say to the Broussards, thank you for putting on such a great event.”

NAJYRC 1* Top Three Teams: 

NAJYRC 1* Individual Final Top 10: 

#RebeccaFarm: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoresNAJYRC Ride Times & Live ScoringLive StreamEN’s CoverageEN’s Instagram

Rebecca Farm Sunday Horse Inspection: All NAJYRC/CIC3* Pass, Two Spun in CCI3*

Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royal, leaders of the CIC3*. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Another stunning day has dawned here at Rebecca Farm, where final horse inspections for the FEI divisions have just wrapped up.

All NAJYRC horses cleared the final horse inspection and CH-J CC1* show jumping is underway. Best of luck to all!

All horses passed the CIC3*, including our overnight leaders Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royal.

Madeline Backus and P.S. Ariana are 5th in the CIC3*. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Jenn McFall and High Times are 4th in the CIC3*. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The CCI3* division, led by Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy, was less lucky, as Holly Jacks Smither/More Inspiration (4th) and Kirsten Buffamoyer/Jim (6th) were held and sadly did not pass upon re-presentation. Emilee Libby withdrew Nonsensical last night. Of note Tamie Smith’s CCI2* ride, Sunsprite Syrius, who was leading the division, was also spun.

Andrea Baxter and Indy 500 are 5th in the CCI3*. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Aren’t the mountains in these photos so pretty that they look kind of fake, like the backdrop of a movie set or something?

Show Jumping Schedule (in MT)

#RebeccaFarm: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoresNAJYRC Ride Times & Live ScoringLive StreamEN’s CoverageEN’s Instagram

 

Halt Cancer at X Challenge Cross Country: Yellow Cards for All

Still in the hunt after dressage: Bobby Stevenson of the ground jury, Rebecca Farm’s Sarah Broussard, course builder Bert Wood and USEA CEO Rob Burk. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The Halt Cancer at X Challenge continued Saturday evening at Rebecca Farm with the most incoherent demonstration of cross country riding that American eventing has witnessed in recent history, or at least since last year’s Challenge. The format was gambler’s choice, and in a new format twist that had spectators ducking for cover, this year all five riders went cross country simultaneously.

There were some overnight shake-ups from dressage — Gretchen Butts and Carol Kozlowski were out, replaced by USEF Chief Compliance Officer Matt “Tiny Dancer” Fine in a borrowed pink tutu and stuffed bra. He wasn’t happy about the latter: “I don’t need to stuff my bra,” he says. “I’m beautiful just the way I am.”

The catch ride was a bold move for Matt, a former Young Rider who has only ridden twice in the past six years, once in bike shorts and once to impress a girl. We were all impressed, or something, when he trotted his horse off the one-star bank.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Stand by your man, ladies. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Bobby “Superman” Stevenson, who represented Canada in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, took flight at the water complex.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Here’s the full sequence — notice how he’s laughing even before he hits the ground.

And then there was “Fatman in Pink” Rob Burk, who in his pre-USEA past life was a graduate H/A Pony Clubber and Young Rider who coached the Otterbein University Equestrian Team and the U.S. Naval Academy Equestrian Team.

The Dark Knight rises, er, drops. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

We were all concerned when he galloped out of sight on course only to reemerge some time later half covered in mud. Which was baffling, since Montana is in a drought and there is no apparent mud on the cross country course anywhere.

Breeches: Before. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Breeches: After. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Rob was limping a bit when we spotted him at the competitor’s party. Feel better soon, buddy!

To be fair, Sarah “Wonderwoman” Broussard and Bert “Thor” Wood looked quite competent out there. Sarah’s only dangerous riding violation came when she nearly mowed down some small children on the Western Town mound, and our only complaint about Bert was that he he left his hammer back at the barn.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The action continues with today’s Halt Cancer at X Challenge show jumping finale at 1:30 MT. There’s plenty more going on this weekend to benefit Halt Cancer at X, and we’ll keep you posted on that! Be sure to stop by Fleeceworks in the trade fair, where their great Ride for a Cause incentive is donating 10% of sales to Halt Cancer at X.

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