Leslie Wylie
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Leslie Wylie


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Product Review: HWH20 Collection by Horseware

Leslie Wylie and Pixie Pumphrey setting off into the icy monsoon race organizers described as an “BIBLICAL.” Photo by Julian Herbert/Mongol Derby.

The most ridiculous rain I’ve ever encountered was on day two of the 2017 Mongol Derby. It felt like we were galloping through a hurricane, with visibility reduced to a stride or two in front of us. It seemed like it wasn’t just pouring down from above but blowing at us sideways and rising up from the ground as well. Alternate caption to the above photo: “Hang on, I’m Ubering us a Noah’s Ark.”

Coupled with the sub-zero windchill (one of the horse stations actually blew over, sending over 40 ponies skittering off into the hills), the monsoon was a recipe for hypothermia, which ended up taking sidelining several riders and taking one American out of the race completely.

If I hadn’t had top-of-the-line rain gear, I would have been toast. Soggy toast. Toast that got tossed into a pond and floated around for so long that even the ducks were too grossed out to eat it. Thankfully I was kitted out in a jacket from Horseware’s HWH2O Collection. Created from waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric complete with taped seams, with the HWH20 Jacket I could ride into the storm with confidence that if I died (not out of the question!) at least it wasn’t going to be because of the weather.

HWH20 Jacket. Image courtesy of Horseware.

Speaking of dying, did I mention that these ponies were semi-feral? One invaluable pre-race pro tip I received was to choose my rain jacket with extreme care, in the understanding that these equines don’t take kindly to any sort of flutter-flapping or noisy crinkling. This gal, for instance, didn’t fare too well:

The HWH20 Jacket, on the other hand, is lightweight yet has enough structure so it won’t be billowing about, critical whether you’re straddling some bug-eyed, fire-breathing descendant of a Mongol war horse or you’re taking a rainy-day jump lesson on a scary-fit event horse. The fabric, a breathable stretch woven polyester, is silky soft and not restrictive or rubbery feeling at all. Even on the stretches when it got warm, I never felt like I was getting sweaty or suffocating in there.

When it was cold, the jacket’s cut was generous enough to allow for layers yet still form fitting. I don’t care if you’re in Wellington or lost on the steppe, nobody wants to look like they’re riding around in a garbage bag! The reflective silvery accents were a nice touch. If I’m going to die, I at  least want to look fresh-to-death doing it.

Packability was a major perk as well. The jacket squished down into its own pocket, so it took up minimal space in my saddle bag.

Of course, ultimately, even the best rain jacket in the land could not save me from myself.

Oops! Luckily, I caught up with a jacket before the next storm rolled through, phew. A few more items of HWH2O gear that were clutch before, during and after the Derby …

HWH20 Poncho. Image courtesy of Horseware.

The HWH20 Poncho offers full-body rain protection. It drapes down to just above the knee, so paired with some wellies or waterproof boots you’re good to go anywhere the sun don’t shine. This poncho is as at home at the barn as it is out in “the real world.” I don’t know if it’s the elegant drape or what, but walking down the street in this makes me feel like the heroine of a French spy movie. The oversized front pocket is perfect for stashing stuff you don’t want to get wet — wallet, phone, check for the farrier, adorable baby marsupial … hey, I don’t know your life!

It also packs down into its own pocket, trés handy. Also available in a pretty grey.

HWH20 Pullups. Image courtesy of Horseware.

Rain pants! How have I never owned a pair of these before? When it comes to staying dry, why do we prioritize the top half of our body and leave the bottom half hanging?! HWH20 Pullups are perfect for slipping on over your breeches for rainy-day barn chores or a drizzly hack. An elastic strap slides over your boot to keep them from riding up, and the full-seat cut keeps you comfy and free to do your thing in the saddle.


HWH20 Bag. Photo courtesy of Horseware.

This! Bag! You guys! I used the HWH20 Bag as my Derby finish line bag so I’d have a stash of clean, dry clothes, some non-goat/mutton post-race victory snacks (read: chocolate bars and wine), and a few other essentials to get me through finish camp. But since then I’ve used it on camping trips and as a horse show bag — it’s basically a totally waterproof backpack, making it perfect for hauling out to the ring or the cross country finish no matter what the weather. Non-manufacturer-approved don’t-try-this-at-home-kids #protip: I’ve also used it as a portable beer cooler.

Horseware has been keeping our horses warm and dry for years, and now we humans can get in on the action, too. Bonus that the HWH20 line is a great value, and even better — it’s all currently on sale!

HWH20 Jacket ($130 $125)
HWH20 Poncho ($130 $120)
HWH20 Pullups ($130 $120)
HWH20 Bag ($70 $65)

Check out the complete HWH20 line here. Go Horseware. Go Eventing! 


USEF: Failure to Report Suspected Sexual Abuse & Misconduct Is a Crime

Logos via US Equestrian and U.S. Center for Safe Sport.

Following a letter issued to members yesterday (see “USEF President, CEO Issue Direct Address on Sexual Abuse and Misconduct“), the USEF has posted an update regarding previously pending Senate Bill 534, Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017.

The Bill went to the President’s desk after passing the House and Senate in late January. It was signed into law on Feb. 14 and is effective immediately.

An explanation of the law via the US Equestrian Communications Department:

Senate Bill 534, Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 has been signed into law, becoming effective immediately. The bill imposes a duty on amateur sports organizations, including US Equestrian and its members, to report suspected sex-abuse to local or federal law enforcement or to a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department, within 24 hours. Failure to report is subject to criminal penalties.

The bill amends two federal statutes: the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 and the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act of 1978.

Within the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990, the bill extends the mandatory duty to report to US Equestrian members and participants, who must report suspected sexual abuse to authorities within 24 hours. An individual who does not report the suspected sexual abuse is subject to criminal penalties. Additionally, the bill extends the statute of limitations for victims to bring a civil lawsuit against a perpetrator and allows a claim for punitive damages.

The bill also amends the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 in several ways. Firstly, it designates the U.S. Center for SafeSport to serve as the independent national safe sport organization. This designation includes the responsibility for developing policies and procedures to prevent emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of amateur athletes. The bill also modifies the obligations of amateur athletic organizations, including National Governing Bodies (NGBs) such as US Equestrian.

These organizations must abide by all policies and procedures to prevent any type of abuse. They also must comply with all reporting requirements, establish reasonable procedures to limit one-on-one interactions between athletes who are minors and an adult, offer and provide consistent training to members who are in contact with minors, as well as establish ways to prohibit retaliation against the victim.

Importantly, under the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s Code and US Equestrian’s Safe Sport Policy, members of and participants in US Equestrian-licensed competitions and sponsored programs are required to report any suspected sexual misconduct to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, regardless of when and where the misconduct occurred.

“US Equestrian, as the NGB of equestrian sport, puts the safety and welfare of our members and horses first,” says US Equestrian President Murray Kessler. “The safety of our children is of utmost importance and US Equestrian supports the passage of this bill and sees it as an important step towards making our sport safe and enjoyable for all. We have taken many necessary steps to educate our members on the importance of the Safe Sport, but the work has only begun. We value our partnership with the U.S. Center for SafeSport and look forward to connecting our members to the resources that it has to offer.”

View this FAQ for more information on the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. For more information about the U.S. Center for SafeSport or the Safe Sport Policy, contact Sonja S. Keating at [email protected].

Visit the USEF Safe Sport page here and the U.S. Center for Safe Sport website here

[Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 Signed Into Law]

[Safe Sport – Keeping Our Sport Safe for All]

[Bill Protecting Athletes From Abuse Signed Into Law]


Kris Belford Ferguson’s Memory Lives on at Fresno County Horse Park

Photo courtesy of Kris Belford Ferguson’s family.

In October 2016, Area VI lost a beloved member in Kris Belford Ferguson. Kris was a loving wife, devoted mother of two children, friend to all, and woman of many talents who harbored a lifelong love of horses and eventing in particular.

When she was overcome by cancer, friends within the eventing community sought a way to honor Kris’ memory. Earlier, Janice Barr had hatched an idea to to have a memorial cross country fence built at Fresno County Horse Park and worked with Kris to design it. A GoFundMe raised over $3,000 to turn their dream into reality, and the fence debuted on the course last year.

Sketch of the memorial fence. Courtesy of Janice Barr.

Photo courtesy of Janice Barr.

A perpetual trophy was also founded in Kris’ honor, to be awarded annually to the first year Preliminary rider who acquires the most points. Janice explains, “Kris always wanted to compete as a Preliminary rider but didn’t have time to make that happen.”

The trophy will be awarded for the first time tomorrow at this weekend’s Fresno County Horse Park H.T. Kris’ family will be in attendance at the award-giving.

The inaugural recipient is Jaya Mayne of Costa Mesa. Jaya is 15 years old and started eventing four-and-a-half years ago. She trains with Lisa and Brian Sabo and says, “Thanks to them and my parents, they are the reason that any of this is possible.”

Jaya’s horse is Graf Gerhardt, AKA “Gary,” an 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding she has owned since he was 6. They began competing at Prelim together last year, and she says the move-up was a steep learning curve — everything felt like it was coming up 10 times faster, she explains.

Jaya Mayne and Graf Gerhardt. Photo courtesy of Jaya Mayne.

“However, in doing this level, it really put us on the edge of our seats,” she says. “It forced Gary and I to grow as partners through all the aspects of this sport. I learned, and still am learning, that being a ‘shy’ person is not what is going to get you through this sport. It requires someone to think and ride as the leader. With that being said you have to know when to trust your horse which is very important.”

The pair has had several top finishes at the level, including wins at Copper Meadows last September and Galway Downs earlier this month. Jaya’s goals for 2018 are to successfully compete through the one-star level, earn her C2/HB Pony Club rating, and represent Area VI at NAJYRC this summer.

Jaya says that while Gary is “not the most affectionate horse in the barn, so to speak,” the two of them share a special bond that helps us get through the ups and downs of training: “We are absolute best friends. Everyday he greets me with a big smile in hoping of getting some treats … his big personality and humor around the barn is always something that can brighten your day. It’s hard to explain in words how strong our relationship has become over these past two years.”

Jaya Mayne and Graf Gerhardt. Photo by EK Photography.


Jaya describes winning the perpetual trophy as a tremendous honor. “My aspirations are to always be someone like Kris Belford Ferguson because of the amazing things and people she touched with her life,” she says. “I can not thank everyone enough for this amazing opportunity and wish to always be like Mrs. Ferguson in her character in this sport and community.”

Best of luck to Jaya, and many thanks to the eventing community for their dedication to honoring Kris’ memory. Janice says, “This perpetual trophy will be awarded for many years to come, so Kris Belford Ferguson’s spirit will be with us always.”

Event Horse Names: Valentine’s Day Edition

We eventers heart our horses! I mean, like, we heart-heart them. Even though they don’t always heart us back.

Based on a true story. Graphic by Leslie Wylie.

So it’s no surprise that there are a gazillion event horses out there with sweet mushy-gushy lovey-dovey names. Here’s a word cloud created from a few we pulled up from the USEA horse registration database:

Graphic by Leslie Wylie.

Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance, sired by A Fine Romance. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Pretty cute. But my favorite subgenre of Valentine’s Day appropropriate event horse names?

Fun fact: There are actually three horses named “Better Than a Boyfriend” in the USEA database. Nice work, ladies. Graphic by Leslie Wylie.

Happy Valentine’s Day out there!

In case you missed them, check out these previous editions of Event Horse Names: Authors, Books & CharactersBattle of the BoozeThe Empire BusinessMonster TrucksCelebritiesSnowSt. Paddy’s DayFourth of JulyPumpkin Party, Christmas and What’s For Breakfast?

2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event Releases Provisional Schedule

Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Sure, we still have a few months of pesky winter to suffer through, but in our hearts it’s already springtime in Kentucky and the birds are singing and the four-star horses are galloping past. Here’s the just-released provisional schedule to give you something tangible to cling to as the countdown to the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event begins.

It’s mostly business as usual, but there are a few debut activities to look forward to. New this year is Saturday’s CSI3* $225,000 Invitational Show Jumping Grand Prix, to be held after cross country country, and Friday’s $35,000 1.45m FEI ranking class, held after Friday’s dressage. There is no charge for the Grand Prix or ranking class tickets, but seats must be reserved through the ticketing system ahead of time. Speaking of tickets, you can get yours here.

Wednesday, April 25
1 p.m. Cross-Country Course Open to the Public
3 p.m. First Horse Inspection — High Hope Inspection Lane
4:30–6 p.m. Competitor Arena Familiarization — Rolex Stadium

Thursday, April 26
7 a.m. Gates Open
8 a.m.–5 p.m. Hospitality Tents Open (Hospitality Ticket Required)
8 a.m. Dressage Test Ride — Rolex Stadium
8:30 a.m.–Noon Dressage Tests Begin — Rolex Stadium
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Sponsor Village & Trade Fair Open
12:45–2:30 p.m. Demonstrations and Exhibitions — Walnut Ring unless otherwise noted
1:30–3:40 p.m. Dressage Tests Continue — Rolex Stadium
4:30–6 p.m. Arena Familiarization — Rolex Stadium
6:30–9 p.m. Barley, Barrels, and Bluegrass Dinner – The Livery (Ticket Required)

Friday, April 27
7 a.m. Gates Open
8 a.m.–5 p.m. Hospitality Tents Open (Hospitality Ticket Required)
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Sponsor Village & Trade Fair Open
8:30 a.m.–Noon Dressage Tests Resume — Rolex Stadium
10:45 a.m.–4 p.m. Demonstrations and Exhibitions — Walnut Ring unless otherwise noted
11 a.m. Kentucky Invitational CSI3* Horse Inspection — High Hope Inspection Lane
1:30–4:30 p.m. Dressage Tests Continue
6 p.m. Kentucky Invitational CSI3* $35,000 Welcome Speed Cup 1.45m — Rolex Stadium
6:30 p.m. The Head Up Heels Down 5K. Portion or proceeds go to the 2018 official charity, Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass. (Register to walk/run here.)

Saturday, April 28
7 a.m. Gates Open (including Land Rover Tailgating)
8 a.m.–5 p.m. Hospitality Tents Open (Hospitality Ticket Required)
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Sponsor Village & Trade Fair Open
8:30 a.m.–10 a.m. Prince Philip Cup Mounted Games — TBD
8:30 a.m.–2:15 p.m. Demonstrations and Exhibitions — Walnut Ring unless otherwise noted

10 a.m.–4 p.m. Cross-Country Test (Horses start every 4 minutes. There will not be a 1½ hour lunch break.)
11 a.m. Kentucky Invitational CSI3* Autograph Signing
Noon Kentucky Invitational CSI3* Course Walk — Rolex Stadium
3:30 p.m. Kentucky Invitational CSI3* Opening Ceremonies — Rolex Stadium
4:30 p.m. $225,000 Kentucky Invitational CSI3* 1.60m — Rolex Stadium

Sunday, April 29
7 a.m. Gates Open
7:30 a.m. Non-Denominational Worship Service — Pavilion between Stonelea/Claiborne Rings
8 a.m.–3 p.m. Hospitality Tents Open (Hospitality Ticket Required)
8 a.m. Second Inspection of Horses — High Hope Inspection Lane
8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Sponsor Village & Trade Fair Open
9:30–11 a.m. Champions Live! — Kentucky Club
11 a.m. Jumping Course Open for Competitor Inspection — Rolex Stadium
11:30 a.m. Presentation of the Teams of the USPC Prince Philip Cup — Rolex Stadium
Noon Opening Ceremony & Presentation of Officials and Flags — Rolex Stadium
1 p.m. Jumping Test Begins — Rolex Stadium
3 p.m. Presentation of the Awards — Rolex Stadium

For more information, visit the website here.

Consensus Collapses, Dies at Ocala Winter I H.T.

Julie Norman and Consensus. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

We are heartbroken to report that Consensus, an 18-year-old Thoroughbred/Hanoverian gelding owned by Julie Norman and ridden by Adriana Beruvides, collapsed and died this afternoon on the Prelim cross country course at Ocala Winter I H.T.

The USEA released the following statement:

“The Equiventures Organizing Committee regrets to announce the death of Consensus, an 18-year-old Thoroughbred/Hanoverian gelding (Contucci x Miss Me Not 2823) owned by Julie Norman and ridden by Adriana Beruvides.

“Consensus was competing in the Open Preliminary division, collapsed during the cross-country phase between fences 16 and 17 and died of natural causes. Beruvides was attended to on site and then was transferred to Ocala Regional Hospital for further care.

The Organizing Committee of the Equiventures Horse Trials and the USEA wishes to extend its deepest sympathy and condolences to all of Consensus’ connections.”

Consensus, known around the barn as “Thomas,” was campaigned through the four-star level by Julie Norman, with whom he completed the 2014 Kentucky Three-Day Event. The story of their partnership is a star-crossed one: She came across him being marketed as a dressage horse, and while he was 8 years old, had only ever jumped a few crossrails, and was quite the bucker, Julie was dazzled and set to work on her new event project. Her faith paid off and they steadily advanced up the levels, eventually tackling the biggest tracks in the country.

More recently, Julie handed the reins to student Adriana, whom Thomas has shown the ropes through the Prelim/one-star level over the past couple years, even contesting the NAJYRC 1* in 2017.

Our deepest sympathies to Julie, Adriana and all those whose lives Thomas touched.

Friday Videos from World Equestrian Brands: EA’s How-To Guide to Fitting MIM Clips

When it comes to eventing safety Equestrian Australia (EA) has led the eventing world by example. Several governing bodies have cast their support for mandatory use of frangible technology on certain types of cross country fences, but Australia was among the first to put its money where its mouth is.

In December 2017 EA instated a rule change effective Feb. 1, 2018, wherein frangible devices must be utilized “on those fences in 1*/2*/3*/4* courses in Australia (National and FEI events) where the materials fit the specifications for use of a frangible device.” To support the mandate, EA’s Making Eventing Safer Fund distributed $45,000 toward the rollout of frangible devices at all EA events across Australia, with funding to be matched by State Eventing Committees, meaning a total of $90,000 was earmarked for improving safety.

The U.S. has followed suit: In 2017, a new rule — EV140.9 b — was implemented requiring organizers to include frangible technology in the construction of oxers at the Modified level and above. As we reported earlier this week, USEF will be continuing its Eventing Frangible Technology Grant Program in 2018 in partnership with the USEA. Through the program, organizers of USEF-licensed events that offer divisions at Prelim and above may apply for a grant to supplement the cost of frangible devices for their cross country courses.

So we’re well on our way to safer cross country obstacles. Now it’s time to talk brass tacks: How do we install these things? EA has released a helpful series of videos to guide us through the process.

First up, some MIM clip 101:

How to fit the MIM system to tables:

Post and rail system:

Gate and wall system:

Keep up the good work, EA and all those fighting the good fight for a safer sport. Go Eventing!

Let’s Discuss: The USEA Launches EquiRatings Quality Index

An example of ERQIs listed on a USEA profile, via the USEA.

Today the much-anticipated EquiRatings Quality Index (ERQI) was launched on the USEA website. ERQIs, which use a “traffic light” color coding system to indicate the level of risk a horse carries on cross country, are now available for all USEA registered horses that have competed in the last five years.

The intent of the ERQI system is to allow USEA members to track and monitor risk in a tangible way. The ERQI is calculated as a probability, a number between 0 and 1, with horses closer to 1 showing statistically higher levels of positive performance in the cross country phase. ERQIs are displayed on each horse’s profile using the ‘data footprint’ (the past results) of each horse, and applies a marginal gains approach to improving fall rates.

Read more about ERQIs and how they are calculated here. The USEA has also posted a helpful ERQI FAQ here.

EquiRating’s Diarm Byrne told EN: “We have been working for the USEA for some time now to help create a metric around risk. Today is an exciting day to be able display the ERQI privately, but we hope to bring the project forward again in the coming 12 months. A good start, but only the start.”

A horse’s ERQI will only be displayed for associated riders or owners. To view a horse’s ERQI, login to USEA Online Services. Once logged in, click on “My Related Horses” in the Horses section of the home screen dashboard. If you want to view an ERQI for a horse that you are not currently related to, you will need to add yourself as a rider or owner to the horse’s record.

What do you think, EN? Have you logged in to check your horse’s ERQI yet?

[EquiRatings Quality Indexes (ERQIs) Now Available on USEA Horse Profiles]

Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass Named Official Charity of 2018 Kentucky Three-Day Event

Image courtesy of Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass.

In addition to showcasing top international eventing talent, the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is committed to showing love to charities that support equine organizations and serve the local community.

Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass (JA) has been announced as this year’s official LRK3DE charity. The organization, which is dedicated to educating students about work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs, serves 36 Kentucky counties.

“Junior Achievement is an amazing organization that really prepares young people for the real world,” says Stewart Perry, president of Equestrian Events, Inc., organizer of the LRK3DE. “JA has provided volunteers for our official event shop for many years, and EEI has made numerous contributions to them for their participation. We are proud to name them as the Official Charity of the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.”

JA will receive a portion of the proceeds from two fundraising activities: the Barley, Barrels and Bluegrass Dinner and the fourth annual Head Up Heels Down 5K. The dinner will be held on Thursday, April 26, at the Livery in downtown Lexington. Founded in 1868, the Livery was the city’s largest stable for horses and carriages heading in and out of town, and the dinner will feature uniquely Kentucky food and drink. Click here for more information. The 5K will be held on Friday, April 27 — for more information or to register, click here.

Junior Achievement partners with volunteers from the community to teach elementary students about their roles as individuals, workers and consumers, and to prepare middle and high school students for key economic and workforce issues they will face.

“We are honored to have been chosen by EEI as the Official Charity of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event,” says Lynn Hudgins, president of Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass. “We have been involved with this wonderful event since 2006 and recognize the prestige that this distinction brings to JA.”

In 2017, the support of more than 80,000 spectators allowed EEI to make donations in excess of $100,000 to over 25 different charitable organizations. Some of the organizations who received gifts include Central Kentucky Riding for Hope, the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, United States Pony Clubs and New Vocations.

LRK3DE takes place April 26-29, 2018. Visit the website for more information, and we hope to see you there!

Go Eventing.

Onward and Upward for Frangible Technology Grant Program in 2018

Photo courtesy of ERA International.

We are happy to hear that the USEF will be continuing the Eventing Frangible Technology Grant Program in 2018 in partnership with the USEA. Through the program, organizers of USEF-licensed events that offer divisions at Prelim and above may apply for a grant to supplement the cost of frangible devices for their cross country courses.

For 2018, the USEF will allocate grants up to $500 per event property on a first come, first served basis until all USEA/USEF funding is depleted for the year. View directions for accessing and completing grant applications here. The deadline is Nov. 2.

The USEF/USEA issued the following information about the program today:

Beginning in June 2008, the USEF began supplying frangible pins at no cost to organizers of licensed eventing competitions. Over the past 10 years, new frangible technologies have entered the marketplace supplementing the frangible pin, prompting the expansion of the program to different types of technology.

In 2017, a new rule (EV140.9 b) was implemented requiring organizers to include frangible technology in the construction of oxers at the Modified level and above. In an effort to minimize the financial impact of the new rule on organizers, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) awarded USEF a generous grant to ensure all who applied received a $500 grant in 2017. A portion of the USEA Grant monies remains for 2018.

“The USEA Board of Governors has been supportive of the USEF Eventing Frangible Technology Grant Program since its establishment,” said USEA CEO Rob Burk. “The decision to show that support with a financial commitment was supported unanimously by the Board in 2017. We would like to thank the competition organizers, product suppliers, course builders, and designers who have stepped up to install this safety equipment on all compatible fences. Moreover, we are appreciative of the USEF for its continued commitment to this program.”

“The USEF is committed to supporting safety in eventing, in particular on cross-country, in every way possible,” said USEF National Safety Officer Jonathan Holling. “The Frangible Technology Grant is one way we have been able to improve safety of both horses and riders in our beloved sport. We are thrilled to be supporting this program with our partners at USEA again in 2018. We are all in this together.”

For more information about the USEF Eventing Frangible Technology Grant Program, please contact Shealagh Costello, USEF Director of Eventing, National Programs, at [email protected] or (859) 225-6923.

[USEF to Continue Eventing Frangible Technology Grant Program in 2018 with Continued Support from the USEA]

Weekend Results Roundup Featuring Madison Park’s #revivaltour

Jen Carter and Madison Park. Photo by Kyle Carter.

How was everybody’s weekend? With events happening in Ocala, Aiken and Cali, all the east coast snowbirds and west coast early birds had a chance to get out there and flap their wings.

Shout-out to Jen Carter and Madison Park, who with eight dusty stars between the two of them romped around Training at Three Lakes H.T. To recall, Kyle announced the four-star warhorse’s retirement from top level competition last April, promising him, “Looking forward to growing old together, it’s all sailboats and margaritas from now on!!”

Parker is 20 this year but you wouldn’t know it watching gamely tackle the weekend’s course with Jen in the irons. He seems like the type of horse who is happiest when he has a job to do — cross country jumps ARE his “sailboats and margaritas.”


I had so much fun today riding the fantastic Madison Park! He is incredible and I know I smiled the entire way around!! Apparently I need to work on going faster since I would have won but I’m so lucky to have this opportunity!! Thx for the video Maxine Preston. #revivaltour (thx Morgan Kelly). #trailerpark

Posted by Jennifer Carter on Sunday, February 4, 2018

“Parker was awesome, as usual!” Jen said of their weekend. “He’s been doing great and was so happy to be out competing again. I thought to myself as we trotted up centerline, how lucky I am to ride such an unbelievable horse! So many people would love to be in my shoes.”

The pair was second after dressage on a 28.6 and a fault-free show jumping round earned them another boost on the scoreboard. “So I started out on cross country in first, but had a watch malfunction so didn’t know my time and ended up poking around so with my time faults dropped to sixth,” she says. “But it was the most fun I’ve had in so long — he has such a great gallop and is so rideable thanks to Kyle! Plus he was perfectly behaved all day!”

We’ll see this veteran pair out and about in coming months as Jen’s schedule allows, with an eye on Prelim later in the late spring: “That’s as far as we’ve gotten since he’s 20 this year!”

Forever young, Parker.

We spotted another four-star veteran at Sporting Days: Indian Mill, who earned top 20 finishes at Badminton and Pau with Paul Tapner before being sold to the U.S., where he was a three-star force to be reckoned with under Phillip Dutton. Now he and new owner Jackie LeMastus look to be hitting it off like peaches and cream, winning their first event together at Prelim/Training. Jackie placed second in the same division on another new ride, Lup the Loop, campaigned at the three-star level here and abroad by Kylie Lyman. That’s a fine string of ponies you’ve got there, Jackie — best of luck!

Jackie and Indian Mill. Photo courtesy of Jackie LeMastus.


Posted by Jackie LeMastus on Saturday, February 3, 2018

Here are your weekend winners. Special shout-out to Lacey Ogden and Cooley Higher Ground, who posted a 22.1 in a division of Open Novice at Three Lakes H.T., the lowest finishing score of the weekend in the country!

Three Lakes H.T. [Website] [Results]

Open Prelim: Joy Meyer & Jay of Diamonds (36.2)
Prelim Rider: Jane Cook & Monatrea Xavier (34.6)
Open Training A: Lauren Kieffer & Get Gaudi (28.1)
Open Training B: Parker Miller & Superstorm Sandy (27.4)
Training Rider: Francesca Spoltore & Fernhill Reflection (31.0)
Novice Rider: Courtenay Turner & Flying Private (30.7)
Open Novice A: Lacey Ogden & Cooley Higher Ground (22.1)
Open Novice B: Clark Montgomery & Hooked On Cooley (25.0)
Beginner Novice Rider: Julia Bitler & Lexington (30.3)
Open Beginner Novice: Selena O’Hanlon & Good to the Core (32.1)

Sporting Days H.T. [Website] [Results]

Intermediate/Prelim: Samantha Bielawski & Stick with Richie (39.6)
Open Prelim A: Ryan Wood & Fernhill Flame (27.2)
Open Prelim B: Susie Beale & Cooley Streetwise (35.5)
Prelim Rider: Samantha Hay & Tre’ Jolie (42.1)
Prelim/Training: Jackie LeMastus & Indian Mill (36.7)
Open Training A: Ryan Wood & Billy McClusky (29.3)
Open Training B: Joa Sigsbee & Primely Smitten (25.9)
Open Training C: Rebecca Lee & Bradley Cooper (31.4)
Training Rider: Karli Wright & Remastered (30.2)
Novice Rider A: Kathleen Bertuna & BT MacDiamond (30.1)
Novice Rider B: Rowan Edmonds & Liberty Bell (35.5)
Open Novice A: Jill Henneberg & Kimora (30.0)
Open Novice B: Colleen Rutledge & C Me Fly (30.7)
Beginner Novice Rider: Morgan Patton Brown & Jackhammer II (31.8)
Open Beginner Novice: Kelsey Horn & Swingtown (27.8)

Galway Downs Winter H.T. [Website] [Results]

Open Intermediate: Barb Crabo & Waterford (31.8)
Open Prelim: Erin Kellerhouse & Woodford Reserve (25.0)
Prelim Rider: Jordan Beckingham & Snap Decision II (28.8)
Junior Training Rider: Lilly Linder & Codigo (27.9)
Open Training: Erin Kellerhouse & Seychelles (23.6)
Training Rider: Karen Nyrop & Someday (31.2)
Junior Novice Rider: Madison Santley & Excellence (26.7)
Novice Rider: Shawn Ortiz & Patriot’s Liberty (30.7)
Open Novice: Whitney Tucker Billeter & Bill’s Midnight Magic (27.1)
Beginner Novice Rider: Shelby Murray & Ringo Starr (31.7)
Open Beginner Novice: Bari Boersma & Wild Media (30.8)
Intro: Keira McKeon & Change of Luck (46.9)

Go Eventing!

Time Is Up: SafeSport Polices Sexual Abuse in Olympic Sports

Embed from Getty Images

Last month we published an anonymous letter from an eventer detailing molestation at the hands of her trainer as a minor. It offered a harrowing story of how sexual misconduct can creep into the relationship between a young athlete and a mentor/trainer figure, of the mind-warping manipulation involved, of the helplessness and despair victims endure, and of the complicated reasons why they are likely to remain silent or even defend their abusers.

Our readers responded en masse via social media and email, with their words of support and sympathizing #metoo accounts. The validation of a truth nobody wants to talk about emerged: The letter-writer is not alone.

Abuse is real and more common than we’d like to think. Many of us have been following the trial of Larry Nassar, the disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor. After an emotional court hearing during which more than 150 women and girls testified that he sexually abused them over the past two decades, Nassar is now sentenced to life in prison.

But culpability doesn’t end with the abuser. Now the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Gymnastics and Michigan State are under fire for their roles in enabling Nassar’s continued abuse, as it has become clear that allegations against Nassar fell on deaf ears or were suppressed. Because of this, the future of USA Gymnastics is in question. Its board of directors was ordered to resign, and Michigan State’s Athletic Director also resigned. Hopefully that is just the beginning of a systemic purge of all individuals who are culpable, either through blatant cover-up or sit-still-and-hope-it-goes-away silence.

Fortunately, the days that allowed a national governing body to sweep abuse under the rug are over. The U.S. Center for SafeSport was created by the USOC in March 2017 as a wholly independent body to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct in Olympic National Governing Bodies. Any Olympic sport, including equestrian, falls under the SafeSport umbrella.

In addition to providing training and education, any participant in equestrian sport can report sexual misconduct to SafeSport, and it will be investigated. SafeSport maintains exclusive jurisdiction over sexual misconduct allegations — which means no longer can a national governing body sweep away sexual abuse cases.

At the USEF Annual Meeting this month, SafeSport COO Malia Arrington presented on the SafeSport initiative, and resources have been made available to members via a Safety & SafeSport Policy page on the US Equestrian website. Included are sections on how to recognize, respond to, and report misconduct and abuse. Under the Safe Sport Policy, all USEF Designees are now also required to successfully complete awareness training every two years.

It’s up to all of us — riders, parents, coaches, administrators, ALL participants in equestrian sport — to utilize this critical resource to help protect our young athletes.

From the new SafeSport page on the USEF website: “The USEF depends on the eyes and ears of its athletes, coaches, and USEF Designees to support its Safe Sport Policy. It is requested that all who participate in equestrian sport become familiar with the content of the Policy and be mindful of its guidelines during training sessions and competitions.”

We as a sport need to talk, we need to spread the word about SafeSport, and most importantly we need to police ourselves and take action when necessary. Turning a blind eye to abuse in any form never has been and never will be an acceptable response. We all share a collective responsibility to be the voice for victims of abuse.

What does this mean for equestrian athletes facing abuse? It means you have resources that you didn’t have before. There is a burgeoning expectation of justice for abuse survivors and a public ready to believe and support you.

What does this mean for any potential enablers within our sport? It hopefully means no stone will go unturned from now on. Were you helping to shed light on abuse or were you comfortable in the shadows? If anyone in a leadership role is unsure of their responsibilities and the repercussions if they turn a blind eye, read more about what faces administrators at USA Gymnastics, Michigan State and the USOC.

What does this mean for abusers? To quote Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman’s powerful testimony against Nassar: “The tables have turned … We are here, we have our voices, and we are not going anywhere.”

For more information, visit the Safety & SafeSport Policy page on the US Equestrian website.

Camilla Speirs Announces Retirement of Portersize Just a Jiff

Camilla Speirs and Portersize Just A Jiff. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Irish eventer Camilla Speirs has announced the retirement of Portersize Just a Jiff, her pocket rocket super star who has amassed a huge fan following around the world.

Now 18 years old, the 15.2-hand Irish Sport Horse (Crosskeys Rebel X Mizen Talent) carried Camilla from a successful young rider career all the way to the biggest international stages. They’ve contested Badminton a whopping five times and finished 6th at Pau in 2016, and have represented Team Ireland at two Nations Cup events, two World Equestrian Games (Kentucky 2010 and Normandy 2014) and the London Olympics in 2012.

“For 14 years I have had the privilege of working with a true legend,” Camilla says of her longtime partner. “Taking me from Pony Club to Olympic Games, Jif and I have shared such a special partnership. Like in all sports, there have been ups and downs, but our journey has been simply incredible! We have travelled the world together and took on the biggest tracks in the sport. I owe him so much and appreciate all that he has done for me.

“At 18 years of age, he is still looking and feeling amazing and that is why we have decided to retire him this year as it is certainly what he deserves. We have chosen to announce his official retirement as part of the Eventing Demo Tour so that all his fans will have the opportunity to see my incredible star and cherish his amazing career.”

Camilla Spiers and Portersize Just A Jiff. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The Eventing Demo Tour traverses Ireland in February, and Jif will appear at each venue: Maryville Stables in Cork on Feb. 2, Spruce Lodge Equestrian in Wicklow on Feb. 3, and Portmore Equestrian Centre in Antrim on Feb. 4. His appearance on the tour will support the fundraiser for the High-Performance Eventing athletes on their way to the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, held later on this year.

Ronan Murphy, CEO of Horse Sport Ireland, commented, “On behalf of Horse Sport Ireland, I would like to thank Bridget and Camilla Speirs for making the Irish Sport Horse, Portersize Just a Jiff, available for Team Ireland Equestrian. He was a rising star from day one. From his early days competing for Team Ireland Equestrian at the European Junior Eventing Championships in 2006, he then progressed through the ranks and took Camilla up to competing at senior level at some of the toughest competitions around the world including the World Equestrian Games and at the London Olympics. He has left his mark in the history books of Irish Eventing and we wish him all the best in his happy retirement.”

A retirement well-earned! Read more about Camilla and Jif’s remarkable story here.

Weekend Results Roundup: Rocking Horse & Full Gallop

Sandra Nasrallah & mustang event horse Kid Rock, winners of the Novice Rider B division at Rocking Horse Winter I H.T. Photo courtesy of Sandra Nasrallah.

2018 looks good on you, EN! Two events took place over the past weekend: Rocking Horse Winter I H.T. in Altoona, FL, and Full Gallop H.T. in Aiken, SC.

Rocking Horse Winter I H.T. [Website] [Results]

Rocking Horse looked to be packed to the rafters with entries out for an early season romp. Many thanks to I Love My Horse, Soteria, Jump 4 Joy, and Coat Defense for providing some amazing prizes for the winning pairs. Fist-bump to Janelle Phaneuf and Landmark’s Jungle ROC, who turned in the lowest score of the weekend of anybody anywhere, a 21.7 in the Open Novice A division.

Your weekend winners:

Intermediate Rider: Zoe Crawford & K.E.C. Zara (44.4)
Open Intermediate: Buck Davidson & Carlevo (28.8)
Open Intermediate 1-Day: Whitney Mahloch & Military Mind (31.9)
Intermediate/Prelim: Lexi Scovil & Chico’s Man VDF Z (39.3)
Open Prelim A: Katie Ruppel & Hannibal (27.4)
Open Prelim B: Joe Meyer & Gortglas Crazy Love (23.0)
Open Prelim 1-Day A: Lauren Kieffer & Landmark’s Monte Carlo (28.9)
Open Prelim 1-Day B: Lynn Symansky & Spectravet Tempranillo (25.9)
Prelim Horse: Joe Meyer & Lamondale Graciana (25.0)
Prelim Rider: Lacey Ogden & Cooley Renegade (29.9)
Open Training A: Savannah Fulton & Don Mac (27.1)
Open Training B: Charlotte Collis & Automagically (28.8)
Prelim / Training: Kylie Lyman & Glynnwood Mer Calido (33.1)
Training Horse: Caroline Martin & Ferrie’s Cello (26.4)
Training Rider A: Amelia Ebhardt & The Illusionist (30.7)
Training Rider B: Suzanne Stevens & Smokin’ Boots (29.8)
Novice Horse A: Tik Maynard & SW Taleyo (29.5)
Novice Horse B: Lizzy Jahnke & Lisheen Lismakeera (25.2)
Novice Rider A: Sunny Courtwright & Around Midnight (24.1)
Novice Rider B: Sandra Nasrallah & Kid Rock (31.3)
Open Novice A: Janelle Phaneuf & Landmark’s Jungle ROC (21.7)
Open Novice B: Brianna Gonzalez & The Perfect Gentleman (27.1)
Beginner Novice Rider: Rosemarie Albrizio & Evan GS (35.7)
Open Beginner Novice A: Zachary Brandt & Johnny Football (25.6)
Open Beginner Novice B: Lauren Balcomb & Verdini D’Houtveld Z (21.9)

Full Gallop H.T. [Website] [Results]

Love this big smile! You can follow this happy couple via their blog, Grey Horse Problems.

Double clear in our novice run! A ditch and a corner! We’re the real deal y’all. #grayhorseproblemsblog #fullgallopht…

Posted by Gray Horse Problems on Sunday, January 28, 2018

Full Gallop saw lots of confidence bolstering clear rounds for its first of eight USEA recognized events it will host this year. The farm’s calendar is also jam-packed with schooling horse trials and combined tests, clinics and ride-a-tests — have a look here.

Here are your weekend winners:

Intermediate: Bridgette Miller & Special Agent (59.7)
Intermediate/Prelim: Nobie Cannon & Bust A Groove (49.1)
Prelim: Susan Jellum & Rochambeau (32.0)
Prelim/Training: Mia Petersen & Parc Cooley (44.6)
Training: Edward Ewbank & Rock Star (37.6)
Novice A: Nobie Cannon & Mozzie’s Mission (27.1)
Novice B: Laurie Wettstone & Fandango (26.7)
Training/Novice: Kristen Rozycki & Jaywalker (44.1.)
Beginner Novice: Gabrielle Hutchison & Maximus (28.3)
Starter: Lily Stokes & Russian River (36.1)

Go Eventing.

Thursday Videos: Equestrians Speak Out Against Bullying

Anti-bullying campaigns have garnered support within the eventing community. Photo by Tudor Rose Equine.

Social media has made it all too easy for people to speak negatively and indiscriminately toward others under the guise of relative anonymity. The breadth of cyber-bullying is boundless and sadly extends to our equestrian community — I’ve felt it here at Eventing Nation and have experienced the pain and anxiety of having been personally attacked on social media myself, and I’m sure many of you reading this have as well.

Despite anti-bullying campaigns like #NotOnMyYard which have gained momentum within our community, online assaults ranging from careless to downright cruel persist. Eventing Nation stands against bullying of any sort, and we salute those who are speaking out.

Among them: U.S. Dressage Olympian Robert Dover, who recently addressed the participants of his Horsemastership Training Week in January after learning that spiteful comments had been posted online about one of his students. He called on social media users to think before they post, especially when young people are involved.

“No matter what one tries to do that is good, there’s someone out there who’s a critic,” he said. “We’re looking for people to find their better angels.”

Equestrians of all ages and from all walks of the sport have voiced their concerns about bullying. A young rider, who posts on YouTube under the name JM Eventing, created and shared this video earlier this week:

We can all play a role in helping to “stop the hate” by being considerate and compassionate in how we choose to interact with others both online and in person.

Go Eventing.

EV114 Confidential: OMG How Do I Style My New Eventing-Legal Brown Helmet?

SO. FETCH. All available from Charles Owen.

Rejoice, fellow fashionistas! A downright REVOLUTIONARY addition to eventing rule EV114.5, passed at last week’s US Equestrian Annual Meeting, specifically allows brown helmets and helmet covers in dressage and show jumping. (See the complete US Equestrian eventing rules of dress starting on page 712 here.)

I haven’t been this excited about eventing headgear fashion since … um … I found and ordered this amazing crushed velvet pom-pom helmet cover from the UK last week — which may immediately discredit my style judgement to some of you reading this, but …

Thank you, Johnny Weir.

To eventing fashion progressives, that US Equestrian has finally conceded to allow us to wear radical brown protective headgear may seem like a small victory, and that’s because it is. But we’ll take what we can get, and we’ll be grateful.

You heathens can wear your brown devil helmets … I suppose.

Thank you, US Equestrian! Y’all so cray!

Anyway, so now that we’ve got this whole new world opened up to us …

… what do we wear them with? A few ideas:

The Coat: 

So many options! Go with something sleek in a tech-fabric, perhaps with some contrast details for added flair. Or stay warm in some oh-so-British tweed, especially stylish in the autumn. (Note: Tweed is permitted at Beginner Novice through Prelim horse trials levels only).

Top: Sarm Hippique Verbania Show Coat in navy (L); Kingsland Magritte Jacket in brown (R). Bottom: Larabee LL12 Tweed in brown donegal with red fleck (L), Larabee LL9 (R).

The Stock: 

Try a pretty cream colored stock with metallic brocade, or something in a tattersall pattern if your jacket isn’t too busy. Pair with an understated brass brooch — you can find some really neat antique ones on etsy.

Top: Metallic Gold Diamond Brocade (L), Red Tattersall (R). Bottom: Cream, Red & Tan Tattersall (L), Cream Metallic Polka Dot Brocade (R). All available from StyleStock.co.

Boots & britches: 

The Johnny Weir in me is screaming, “Push the envelope! Let’s bring canary breeches back! Let’s petition US Equestrian for rust!” But while canary seemed like it was having a moment a few years back, and I totally still drag my 20-year-old rust breeches out for special occasions, for now we must pick our battles. So tan it is, paired with some brown boots, cute matchy-matchy socks and a tasteful belt.

Tory Leather Dee Keeper Belt w/ Holding Strap in havana; Kerrits Shoe-In Wool Socks in ebony; Mountain Horse Sovereign Field Boots in brown; Piper Breeches by SmartPak in tan/black. All available from SmartPak.

Brown dressage tack is a bonus. That’s what I ride in so I don’t have to clean and remember to pack two bridles when I go to an event because it’s stylish, but don’t let black tack hold you back from taking the brown helmet plunge. In fact, never let anything hold you back. You do you, EN.

About the author: Wylie is an EN editor and highly unqualified eventing fashion critic who has been eliminated at least twice and got a stern talking to from the TD once for violating various statutes of EV114, but looked good doing it and that’s the important thing. Have a burning fashion question to be featured in an upcoming edition of “EV114 Confidential”? Ask the “expert” at [email protected] 



2018 WEG Now Accepting Volunteer Inquiries

Want to volunteer at the 2018 Tryon World Equestrian Games? Good on you. If selected, not only do you get to play a helpful role in what is expected to be the largest event in North America next year, volunteers receive …

  • Credentials to enter the events where they are working for use on the days they are working. (Although WEG cannot guarantee that volunteers will be positioned to “see” the events while they are on duty.)
  • Meals on days of service and scheduled breaks.
  • A pass to the World Equine Expo for each day that they are scheduled to work. Expo passes are transferable.
  • Shuttle transportation to the venue where they are working.
  • Assistance with lodging, with two options are available: rental and complimentary. Volunteers requesting complimentary housing will be hosted by local families in the community within a 1.5-hour radius from the venue. (If you are a homeowner and would like more information on how to host a WEG volunteer, please contact [email protected].)
  • A uniform package, which must be purchased for $35, which includes at minimum a hat, pin and shirt(s).

The process of collating the 2018 WEG Volunteer Corp has begun and will continue throughout the spring. Note: There are a limited number of volunteer positions, and not everyone who signs up will be selected. Here’s a timeline of how the selection process will unfold:

Now: Currently, the WEG Volunteer Management Program is in the “Scope Phase” of receiving inquiries from prospective WEG volunteers. Submitting an online inquiry is the first in a sequence of steps required to complete a volunteer application. Click here to submit your volunteer inquiry. Anyone who has previously filled out the online inquiry form does not need to resubmit the form to receive an invitation to the online Volunteer Portal.

March: The scheduled launch of the online WEG Volunteer Portal in March will begin the “Recruitment Phase.” Volunteers who have submitted an inquiry through the existing online form will receive a link to the Volunteer Portal to begin an application. Volunteers will create a login and password, answer security and ability questions, purchase the uniform package, and sign a liability waiver.

April: Volunteers selected for service will be notified of their assignment(s) during the “Selection Phase.”

May: May 1 is the deadline for all volunteers to complete applications through the online Volunteer Portal.

June – September: “Orientation” and “Pilot Training Phases” will take place.

For more information about the WEG Volunteer Program, visit the website here.



Where Is the Diversity in Eventing?

Every year like clockwork on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I climb up on my EN soapbox and squeamishly point out the lack of diversity in equestrian sport. And every year I feel underqualified, overprivileged. Who am I to speak? I’m a middle-income, college-educated white woman who participates in one of the most expensive sports in the world on a pony named Princess, for God’s sake. What if I use the wrong words? And what have I done since the year before to make a real difference in the way we approach race as it pertains to our sport?

Embarrassingly, nothing. I think about it, though, year-round. I think about it when I glance around any given horse trial, and see — with the rare exception — only white people. I think about it when I look out into the stands at Kentucky and see an all-white crowd. I think about it when I thumb through horse magazines and see all-white story subjects and all-white models in ads. I think about it when I edit EN, and there is slim-to-zero representation of eventing athletes who are people of color, especially African Americans. It’s not like we’re edging persons of color out — they just, with the too-rare exception, don’t exist. Why?

While black athletes have made huge inroads into many traditionally white-dominated sports in recent decades, equestrian sport has remained woefully out of step with that trend. Just how “white” is eventing? Since we don’t have statistics to go by — there are no “describe your race” checkboxes on USEA membership forms or event entries — we have to rely on experiential data. And speaking from experience, I think we can all agree that, with a few exceptions, the vast majority of American eventers are white.

Racial homogeneity isn’t unique to our sport. Despite dramatic advances in the sports world at large to provide a more equal playing field, some sports have simply lagged behind. A Politico article published in advance of the 2016 Rio Olympics, “The Olympic Color Barrier,” called equestrian sport out for its “blindingly white” squad, along with archery, canoe/kayak, cycling, rowing, modern pentathlon, sailing, shooting and triathlon. 

The common denominator, according to Politico: “These are equipment sports. They require a bike, a horse, a weapon, a boat or — in the case of modern pentathlon — a horse and two weapons. At the elite level these things aren’t cheap. A custom-made gun costs $9,000, before you start firing the bullets at 40 cents each. An Olympic road bike can cost $25,000. A kit for an Olympic sailboard costs more than $6,000 and a boat in the Nacra class costs more than $25,000, and then you have to shell out for transport and regatta costs.

“Parents who want their child to become an equestrian champion, can start by spending $50,000 on a show pony, and must house and feed it and cart it to events. Olympic-quality horses change hands for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Michael Jung, a German who won gold medals in 2012 and 2016 for individual eventing, was lucky enough to have a father who owned a riding stable.”

Similarly, a study by University of Toronto researcher Dr. David Lawrence, “Sociodemographic Profile of an Olympic Team,” concluded that the sports of equestrian, sailing, cycling and rowing consistently favored white and privately educated athletes.

Let me be clear: I am not saying that we intended eventing to become one of the the last bastions of white sport, or that non-white athletes are greeted by our community with anything less than open arms. Moreover, this is a matter of privilege and access — who has access to the sport, and who does not.

That’s where vestigial socioeconomic barriers come in: Not everyone is in a financial position to invest in the training, equipment and competition costs required to participate, much less excel, in certain sports. This speaks to a deeper structural racism of who has access to what. Eventing, being an expensive sport to participate in on even the most basic of levels, is correspondingly one of the most exclusive and least racially diverse. If eventing wants to be considered a relevant sport in the 21st century, particularly in this moment of national crisis, we have to work harder to evolve. As the old saying goes, if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

How do we make our sport more accessible? That’s a question the eventing community loves to ask. But when we posit it, it’s in the self-serving context of, “How do we achieve more popular appeal, more airtime and more sponsors?” Not, “How do we share this experience with those who wouldn’t have access to it or interest in it otherwise?” The two questions, however, are more intertwined that you might think.

If our sport continues existing in its insular elitist bubble, someday it’s going to catch up with us. It’s worth remembering that equestrian sports aren’t a shoe-in for inclusion on the Olympic roster like, say, gymnastics or track. We have to make an effort to continue demonstrating global reach, appeal and relevancy.

Other traditionally white sports have made it through this dilemma intact, even flourishing through the transition to a more diverse participation. The emergence of sporting icons like Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters put “country club sports” like golf and tennis within the grasp, physically and conceptually, of a broader demographic. Young athletes had role models to look up to. Other traditionally white-dominated sports like gymnastics, swimming and figure skating have followed suit.

I’d love to see the USEA and USEF continue this conversation and put some meaningful programs in place that emphasize inclusion. How about a diversity scholarship rewarding talented minority riders? Or an outreach program providing riding lessons to underprivileged kids?

Sure, it’s easier (and cheaper) to hand kids a basketball than the reins to a horse, but if winter sports outreach programs have been successful in getting underserved youth onto the side of a mountain, surely we can get them to a nearby farm. What can I do to help, USEA/USEF? What can WE do to help? Because I know I’m not alone. And I don’t want to let another year go by.

In the meantime, there are things we can do as individuals. For instance, some years ago I got involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Once a week, I picked my brown-skinned “little” up from elementary school and we went to the barn. She loved grooming my horse and learning the basics of riding, and those hours in the country offered much-needed relief from a troubled home life in a low-income community. As eventers, we’ve been given a gift, and it’s our responsibility to share it.

It makes me incredibly sad to know that the experience of eventing is limited to a fortunate few. And I feel deeply troubled when I see our community fold further and further in on itself. Will we see a person of color on the Olympic podium in our lifetime? Who knows. But we can commit to growing a healthier, more diverse sport in which anything is possible.


PSA: Today Is Last Chance to Submit 2018 $100K Thoroughbred Makeover Applications!

“The Allisons” (Allison Thompson and Alison Wilaby), who finished 1st and 2nd in the Thoroughbred Makeover Eventing division in 2017; Alison Wilaby also won Dressage. Photo by Stephanie Griffiths.

If you’re thinking about throwing your hat in the ring of this year’s Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover, the time is now! Today marks the deadline for trainer applications, with trainer approvals to be announced on Feb. 1.

For roundabout the cost of a regular horse trial, you could not only jump-start the career of an off-track horse but also be part of the biggest OTTB lovefest of the year. The 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium takes place October 4-7 at the Kentucky Horse Park and will feature competition in 10 disciplines ranging from eventing to barrel racing and polo.

Horses and their trainers will compete for $100,000 in prize money and the title of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred. The event includes seminars, demonstrations, a sponsor fair, and a livestreamed finale featuring the top five horses in each discipline. Many of the horses are offered for sale, so it’s one-stop Thoroughbred shopping at its finest.

Detailed information is available at the RRP website’s 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover page but here’s a fast and dirty eventer’s guide:

How do I apply to be a Makeover trainer?

The Makeover is open to all members of RPP so if you aren’t already you’ll need to join. Membership is $45 a year and has several perks including a one-year subscription to Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, a copy of Retired Racehorse Resource Directory, a free ticket to the Thoroughbred Makeover, discounts from sponsors and other benefits. Professionals, amateurs and juniors are all welcome to apply.

The next step is filling out an online trainer application, which asks for competition highlights, references, and videos of your riding skills. The application window is Dec. 1, 2017 through Jan. 15, 2018.

There’s a $200 entry fee; if not accepted the fee will be returned minus a $25 processing fee.

Is my OTTB eligible?

The Makeover is open to Jockey Club registered horses that raced or had a published work after July 1, 2016. They must not have begun training for a second career before Dec. 1, 2017 other than a maximum of 15 allowable rides or training sessions that introduce skills specific to non-racing careers. Some trainers will already have horses identified and others will begin a search after they are approved. Trainers can contract with owners or acquire the horse themselves.

What does it cost? 

There’s a $200 entry fee; if not accepted the fee will be returned minus a $25 processing fee. Other expenses, such as stabling at the competition, are outlined here.

What if I need to withdraw my OTTB?

Trainers may withdraw a horse from the Makeover at any time using the online Makeover Horse Withdrawal Form. Trainers may replace a scratched horse with any eligible horse as late as August 1, 2018. Replacement horses must be registered with the online Makeover Horse Registration Form.

What does the Makeover competition for eventing entail? 

Format for dressage: All horses will perform USEF 2018 Beginner Novice Eventing Test A in a small arena (20m x 40m).

Format for Show Jumping: All horses will be judged over a course set at dimensions for United States Eventing Association (USEA) Beginner Novice (2’7” maximum), Novice (2’11” maximum), or Training (3’3” maximum). Trainers will select their level with their final entry form in August.

Format for Cross Country: All horses will be judged over a cross country course of approximately 12 obstacles. Each obstacle will have at least two options, one at Beginner Novice dimensions (2’7”) and the other at Novice (2’11”). Optional fences may be offered for riders to demonstrate a higher level of training as well. Riders should jump the obstacle choice that best demonstrates the quality and level of their horse’s training. They need not jump all fences at the same level.

Finale: The top three scoring horses will compete for additional points in the finale, demonstrating basic work on the flat and jumping a course that includes show jumps and cross country portables in the covered arena.

Attire and equipment should adhere to that described in USEF Rules for Eventing. Horses can earn a maximum of 100 points per each of the three phases. Overall scores will be the sum of the scores from each of the three phases. Ties will be broken by the cross country score, then show jumping, then dressage. Final placing for the top five finishers will be based on the sum of their three scores plus a fourth score awarded during the finale.

What happens after the Makeover is over?

Owners can choose to keep their horses at the end of the process or offer them for sale. The Makeover Horse Sale is not an auction but an opportunity for buyers and sellers to do business in a setting that allows trial rides, pre-purchase exams and observation of horses in competition.

For much more information, visit the RRP website’s 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover page.

Go OTTBs. Go Eventing.

2018 Gallop Poll, Part 1: Tell Us About Yourself!

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

“Gallop poll,” haha. Get it? Bad puns aside, it’s time for the smart, good-looking citizens of Eventing Nation to stand up and be counted.

The EN team is on an eternal quest to make this the best eventing website in the land, and the more we know about our readership the better we can shape the site into exactly what YOU want it to be. Help us out by answering 10 quick questions about yourself — it only takes a minute and we’ll send you a great big heaping scoop of EN karma in return!

Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in our survey. Karma’s in the mail!

Go Eventing.

Attention, Visual Learners! Here’s Your 2018 USEF Dressage Test Video Hookup

I’m a visual learner — you can talk at me until you’re blue in the face or write a novel on the subject, but until I’ve seen it with my own two eyes it’s going to go right over my head.

For instance: dressage tests. I need to watch a test be ridden for it to stick in my brain. Thankfully, patron saint of eventing video David Frechette, a la The Horse Pesterer, has done our sport yet another massive service in filming and posting the bulk of the new 2018 USEF dressage tests for Beginner Novice through Advanced horse trials, most of them via a schooling show at the Florida Horse Park over the weekend.

The new tests went into effect Dec. 1, 2017. Click here for helpful test-riding tips from Marilyn Payne via her 2018 test preview presentation at the USEA Convention. Watch more tests on The Horse Pesterer YouTube channel.

Beginner Novice Test A 

Novice Test A

Training Test A

Training Test B

Modified Test B

Prelim Test A 

Prelim Test B

Intermediate Test A

Intermediate Test B 

Advanced Test A

Advanced Test B

Many thanks to David and the demo riders for providing this great resource. Go Eventing!

Let’s Discuss: What Is Your Horse’s Theme Song?

Fun question this week, guys: What’s your horse’s theme song? 

For my pony sportscar Princess, Imma have to go with “Little Red Corvette” by Prince. Baby you’re much too fast … where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, about 50 times during my jump lesson this morning.

Liked it better when Prince was singing it. RIP Prince.

OK, citizens of EN, let ’em fly in the comments section below! Bonus EN karma if you dig up the music video.

#EventerSolutions: Making the Most of It

“Sweat scraper — also great for a snowy car!” -Olivia Webb

With winter-related #EventerProblems stacked to the rafters on Instagram, we dedicated an entire post to them a few days ago on EN. But where there are #EventerProblems, there are #EventerSolutions! See how these crafty eventers are making the most of snow, ice and leftover Christmas trees/New Year’s champagne flutes!

Tis the season to fill all the jumps with discarded Christmas trees! #EventerSolutions

A post shared by Katharine Stancliff (@katharinethestubbenlady) on


I have never made it a secret how much I hate Winter. But as a horse trainer based in central Illinois there is no escaping it. I don't have the option to move my operation South for the Winter and temperatures can be in the single digits or below 0. I challenged myself this Winter to everyday pick one thing that I enjoyed about the season. It's been a difficult task but I find that it greatly improves my appreciation for the winter and the subtle beauty it contains. Today, the sun was shining and while mostly silent, I could hear a lone cardinal calling in the woods. In spite of single digit temps, this was very peaceful. One Thing. STAY POSITIVE. . . . #winter #illinois #positive #eventersolutions #farmlife #horses

A post shared by Amy Nelson Eventer Official (@amynelsoneventer) on


Stay warm out there, EN! Here are a few more #EventerSolutions that caught our eye this week…



Go Eventing.