Leslie Wylie
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Leslie Wylie


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Celebrity Course Walk: Fair Hill With Shia LaBeouf

I don’t know too much about Shia LaBeouf except that he’s in some movies and seems like a pretty intense guy, especially when it comes to making your dreams come true. I admire a person who really goes all in, and Shia was recently in the news for getting his entire chest permanently tattooed with the word “CREEPER” for an upcoming role. That’s commitment. Seems like somebody Jon Holling would really get along with.

Commitment is a must when you leave the cross country startbox so Shia is guiding this week’s Celebrity Course Walk, following in the footsteps of Leslie Knope a lá Parks & Rec who led us around Bicton Arena and of joy-sparkin’ painter Bob Ross who took us on a happy stroll around Barbury. If you have a request for a future celebrity course walk, do submit yours to DJ Chinch at our 24-hour all-request hotline.

Many thanks to Holly Covey for these photos from the new course at Fair Hill! In the CCI3*-S Phillip Dutton and one Fernhill horse lead the division after dressage on a penalty score of 21.9, with also-Phillip and another Fernhill horse hot on their heels. Phillip has two more rides in the division: some horse named Tsetserleg, currently 7th, and the OTTB Sea of Clouds in 13th. Lots of fun combos to keep an eye on.

Who’s ready to go a little bit aggro on Fair Hill cross country?!?!!!!

Alright! Here we go!

Fence 2. Photo by Holly Covey.

Photo by Holly Covey.

3ab left turn. Singerly road is on the right, the new turf course to left. Photo by Holly Covey.

A signature Ian Stark hump log cabin at the top a steep downhill to a trakehner. Photo by Holly Covey.

Photo by Holly Covey.

Photo by Holly Covey.

Haystack with a scotch plaid bow on the sheep for Ian. Photo by Holly Covey.

Photo by Holly Covey.

The first water, duck to skinny stump – 6ab. Photo by Holly Covey.

Photo by Holly Covey.

7ab offset tables with pheasants. 8 is a covered wagon rolltop on the way to the back field. 9 is a cabin drop. 10 is a blue table with beach decor. Photo by Holly Covey.

11abc coffin– really steep downhill to a, really steep to b. Photo by Holly Covey.

Frangible open oxer – 12. Photo by Holly Covey.

Photo by Holly Covey.

13ab drop into water after rooftop, wedge out. Photo by Holly Covey.

Fence 16. Fence 17 is a ditch and brush. Photo by Holly Covey.

18ab, red top table to corner. Photo by Holly Covey.

Photo by Holly Covey.

Last water 20ab. Photo by Holly Covey.

Final fence, 21. Photo by Holly Covey.

Thanks coach Shia! That was really inspiring. Now let’s all go out and …

Fair Hill International HT: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores] [Schedule]


What’s Happening? Your Weekly Guide to Clinics, Schooling Shows & More [Updated 8/7]

Featured Activity of the Week: #Jenlon? Jaylon? Jenaylon? Wayly? Wanny? Wenny? … hmmm, we’ll keep thinking on it. In any case, the eventing power couple of Jenny Caras/Waylon Roberts is teaching a clinic at beautiful Majestic Oaks in Ocala, FL on Sunday, Aug. 9. View more information here. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

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

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

Here is what’s happening in your USEA Area this summer!

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

Area I

Area II

Area III

Area IV

Area V

Area VI

Area VII


Area IX

Area X

Go Eventing.

Well-Wishes to Paul Tapner Following Hacking Accident

Paul Tapner and Bonza King of Rouge in the 2018 MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge. Photo courtesy of the All England Jumping Course, Hickstead.

Our thoughts and well-wishes are with Australian five-star eventer Paul Tapner and his connections, who issued the following statement on Facebook today:

“Paul took a fall out hacking on Wednesday evening.

“Following scans it has been found that he has two tiny bleeds on his brain. One of the bleeds has unfortunately caused him to have a very mild stroke.

“He has remained conscious and is starting to be less distressed and more restful. The consultant says she can not see why he will not make a full recovery, but that this will be slowly over weeks and possibly months.

“Georgina, Joshua and Madison would like to thank everybody for being so supportive and of course are so grateful to the medical teams. They have been overwhelmed by support and offers of help.

“We will update as necessary when we can. Please bear with us and understand that Paul’s family would appreciate a bit of space at this distressing time

“With thanks
All at Team Tapner”

We will keep this post updated.


Friday News & Notes from World Equestrian Brands

After a devastating explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday, many of us are left wondering how we can help this city, whose children and families are already facing COVID-19, as well as economic and political crisis. Mellisa Warden, USEF R Event TD and USEF r Event Judge, shared the following message on Facebook yesterday:

“We live in a great disparity. The death toll of the blast in Beirut has risen to ~150 and reports of 200,000-300,000 left homeless amidst a pandemic. Meanwhile, a horse show was cancelled and people are pissed/devastated/heart broken, and many are upset at the time they spent to get qualified. I must be the only person who sees something terribly wrong with this picture.

“As competitors entered, we should all be getting our entries back, except for $25, which means around $700+ back in our pockets. I urge every single person who was scheduled to compete at AEC’s to take a little of the refund you will receive (and for most of us, out of sight, out of mind), and donate it to one of the organizations like Doctors Without Borders (MSF Lebanon), the Lebanese Children’s Relief Fund, or one of the nonprofits on the ground in Beirut right now. If you don’t want to see your money go overseas, there are plenty of organizations within our country that need your help — just make sure you’re doing due diligence and are aware of how your money is being spent.

“As equestrians, we are PRIVILEGED to ride horses, regardless of how broke we are. We all have a roof over our head tonight, while hundreds of thousands do not. The cancelation of a horse show will not leave us homeless or with significant and potentially life threatening injuries. Meanwhile, there are people who have lost everything and we can do a little part to help. If there were 500 entered at AEC’s (so far) and we all donate $50 to help, that is $25k!

“Alone we are just one, but together we can be real change and help those in need!”

Can you help? Click here for a list of ways to get involved.

National Holiday: National Water Balloon Day🎈

The Summer Event at Woodside: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

IEA Horse Trials: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

GMHA Festival of Eventing HT: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Otter Creek HT: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Fair Hill International HT: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores] [Schedule]

Spring Gulch HT: [Website] [Ride Times] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

WindRidge Farms Summer HT: [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

News & Notes: 

We know that the USEA had a difficult decision to make in determining the fate of this year’s AEC. We applaud their decision and the way in which they communicated it, as well as our community’s understanding response. [A Letter From the USEA CEO: AEC Difficult Decisions, Kentucky Horse Park Open for Business]

Check out this link to some interesting research that could apply to cross-country and stadium/show jumping since athletes need to make rapid decisions on visual information, especially when the horse does something unexpected at or near a jump. Many thanks to Lynne Kaye for sharing! [How Vision Training Can Turn Those Ground Balls into Line Drives]

If you are looking to build safe cross-country jumps at home, what are some of the considerations you need to take into account before you actually start building? Tremaine Cooper shares some tips. [Considerations for Building Cross-Country Jumps at Home]

Get to know Whidbey Island Horse Trials! The Oak Harbor, Washington event takes place in early July of each year and offers Beginner Novice through Advanced/Intermediate horse trials. The Whidbey Island Horse Trials lost their venue in 2019 but are working on finalizing a new venue for 2021. [USEA Events A-Z: Whidbey Island Horse Trials

Outdoor shows in Scotland have been given the green light to resume under government guidance, but riders have been urged to work with governing bodies – not against them. [Joy as equestrian competition gets the nod to resume in Scotland]

The US Equestrian Athlete Lettering Program is getting a new look! US Equestrian is excited to unveil a new name and an updated look for its popular student athlete recognition program. [US Equestrian Announces Updated Equestrian Interscholastic Athlete Program for Riders in 5th through 12th Grade]

Just in on Jumper Nation: Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final 2020 in Barcelona Canceled 

Hot on Horse Nation: Ecovet Presents Mind Your Melon: Enjoying the Highlands

Video: “It’s a small and complex country with a big heart and some very, very big problems.”

Meet Riley Grose & Kodak Moment, River Glen Starter Division Winners

Riley Grose and Kodak Moment. Photo by Heather Gross.

It takes all of about two minutes spent around Riley Grose and her splashy paint Kodak Moment to know that they are BFF 4ever. They have that special connection trademarked by teenage girls and their horses, and especially by teenage girls and horses who’ve endured some rough patches in their past. For Riley, it was a bad riding accident when she was 8 that resulted in two broken arms, a broken wrist, a dislocated elbow and a crisis of confidence. Kodak Moment (“Koda”) was starved and badly neglected in the early years of his life, and by the time he made it to Riley three years ago, as an $800 greenbroke 7- or 8-year-old, the only thing he knew was was that pulling on the reins meant stop.

“He had no idea about steering, no clue in the world about what leg pressure meant,” says Riley, age 16. “But one thing I noticed from the start was that every new thing we’ve thrown at him, he’s always taken it in stride.”

Including but not limited to his very first horse trial last weekend at River Glen in New Market, Tennessee. Riley and Koda won their Starter division on a score of 31.5 despite it being their very first crack at eventing. They’d done a couple combined tests and a hunter-jumper show together before, but never put all three phases together.

Photo by Heather Grose.

“Compared to the other ones he’s been to this was was huge!” Riley says. “He was just so good.” Koda marched into the warm-up ring, they walked a couple laps on a loose rein to get used to the atmosphere, and then warmed up and performed a workmanlike test. The show jumping was fault free, and then it was off to cross country, decked out in the teal and grey colors she’d been dreaming of wearing since she was a kid. “I was so excited. Since I was little I knew my cross country horse needed to wear teal. We got all suited up and went to the warm up and I could tell he had no idea what we were about to do. He was just asleep at the start box and I had to say ‘OK buddy, we’re about to go.'”

Riley explains that Koda has always had a confidence problem and in the video you can hear her coaxing him along with clucks and words of praise. The horse responds with pricked ears and a willingness to trust her and give it his all, even in moments of uncertainty. “At jump #7 he almost didn’t jump it,” Riley recalls. “He kind of locked onto one of the giant jumps and got distracted and had a wiggly moment. I got him to trot it.”

You wouldn’t know it by seeing Riley and Koda cantering nonchalantly around Penrose Farm, often sans saddle.

Riley credits trainer Katie Setledge for helping her find her courage again after her accident. “I was pretty fearful for a while,” she says. “I think that if I hadn’t started riding with Katie I wouldn’t be riding right now,” she says. Koda has had a bad injury too, some pinched nerves a couple years ago that forced him to be on stall rest and out of commission for eight months. With the help of treatment from Dr. Chris Newton of Rood & Riddle, Riley rehabbed Koda slowly, working him in the Pessoa system on the lunge for nine weeks straight before progressing to tack walking and groundwork.

Photo courtesy of Riley Grose.

Photo courtesy of Riley Grose.

“Since then he’s just been doing great,” Riley says. “We’re jumping bigger and bigger, and he’s excelling in the flatwork. A year ago he was jumping cross rails and now we’re schooling 2’6″-2’9″.”

Recently Riley and her mother, Heather, had a DNA test done on Koda, curious about his breeding. The test came back last week and it turns out their “backyard horse” is actually half Hanoverian, with the other half split between Quarter Horse and Missouri Fox Trotter. Who knew?

Horses, and their people, never cease to surprise, amaze and inspire.


Fab Freebie: Win a Bottle of Ecovet, Your Go-To Fly Spray

Photo courtesy of Ecovet.

Most horse owners have a go-to fly spray, and with fly season in full swing, you’re likely stocking up on your favorite brand. But if you’re like me, you’re also always hunting for equine products that are less toxic and lean in a more all-natural direction.

In the past, using a less toxic fly spray has often meant sacrificing effectiveness. Ecovet is changing the game with their unique formula, which was developed in the U.S. by veterinarians and has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

After extensively testing Ecovet, EN is ready to give our stamp of approval. Here are five reasons why Ecovet should be your go-to fly spray this summer.

Ecovet works. What makes this fly spray so effective? It’s a simple science lesson. Bugs are attracted to certain scents, while other odors repel them. Ecovet uses three naturally derived, food-grade fatty acids in the formula to mimic the repellent smells found naturally on horses.

The formula works by evaporating and creating a repellent vapor barrier against insects. By overwhelming their “GPS system,” insects are unable to detect and ultimately swarm, pester, and bite our horses.

Ecovet is non-toxic. The three naturally derived fatty acids in Ecovet make up 15% of the formula and are carried in silicone oil, which comprises 84% of the formula. An additional 1% of fragrance completes the formula.

The new scent is an “herbal blend of lavender with a hint of tea,” but the fatty acids in the formula still have a strong smell. We found that following the recommendation to spray Ecovet outside and about 6 inches away from the horse’s body helped prevent sneezing.

Ecovet is long-lasting. Thanks to the powerful formula, one application of Ecovet can last for up to three days. In certain climates that cause horses to sweat more, Ecovet can and will evaporate faster from what we found. Even on the hottest and most humid days, one application per day in our testing was enough to keep flies at bay.

For horses that are bug magnets or suffer from allergic reactions to insect bites, Ecovet recommends starting with twice daily applications focusing on the most troublesome areas, usually the mane, tail, head and belly, and then tapering off to less frequent applications. (Here is a helpful blog post on how to help severely allergic horses.)

Less is more with Ecovet. Because Ecovet is so effective, you can use less spray per application than you typically would when applying fly spray. That means each bottle lasts longer, and in a sport as expensive as eventing, every penny you can save matters.

To apply Ecovet, you spray a fine mist over the horse’s legs and belly, then a little on the top of the head (using a rag or applicator mitt to apply on the head is helpful). We also found in our testing that Ecovet works best on dry horses, so don’t spray it just after bathing or on super sweaty horse.

Top eventers trust Ecovet. While Ecovet is a newer formula on the fly spray market, the word is out about how effective it is. Top event riders like Allison Springer, Jennifer McFall, Bobby Meyerhoff, and Jennifer Wooten trust Ecovet. Click here to read a slew of positive testimonials.

Have questions about Ecovet? Be sure to read the extensive FAQ on the Ecovet website, which includes detailed information about the formula and how to apply for maximum effectiveness.

Ecovet is currently available in the U.S. with retail pricing of $7.95 for an 8-ounce bottle, $26 for an 18-ounce bottle, and $140 for a 1-gallon refill. A little goes a long way, and the bottles have a lengthy shelf-life. Click here to purchase Ecovet online. And enter to win a bottle yourself via the Rafflecopter widget below!

Tuesday Video From Flexible Fit Equestrian USA: The Inspirational Story of Para-Rider Evie Toombes

“There’s no way you’re just 16 hands up. You’re on cloud nine.” Meet Para equestrian Evie Toombes, the FEI’s first #ForTheLoveOfEquestrian rider story. Born with spina bifida, Evie’s passion, dedication and adoration for her horses has inspired her to live life to the fullest by her message of “Find A Way, Not An Excuse.” Thank you, Evie, for using your voice to champion awareness for invisible illness. Learn more about Evie by visiting her website here

By the way, on Sunday the Olympic Organising Committee confirmed the Paralympic Games Competition Schedule for 2021. For Para Dressage, the competition dates have been moved forward by one day so as to mirror the 2020 daily schedule. The Para Dressage events which were due to start on Thursday, Aug. 27 2020 and finish on Saturday, Aug. 29 2020 will now run from Thursday, Aug. 26 26 2021 to Monday, Aug. 30 2021. There are also some minor modifications to the starting times. The timetable for 2021 can be viewed here on the FEI’s Paralympic hub.

Go Para Equestrians!

Flexible Fit Equestrian: Redefining Comfort & Quality at an Affordable Price. Learn more at www.ffequestrian.com.au.



Product Review: Bye Bye Insects Fly Spray by Spalding Labs

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Spalding Labs is probably best known for its Fly Predators, a natural alternative to fly sprays and traps that kills flies before they emerge. I started using them after winning a gift certificate for a summer’s worth at the American Eventing Championships some 10 years ago, and so long as I used them I rarely saw a single fly in the barn I was managing at the time. Fixing the problem, rather than just treating the symptom, just made sense. Plus, getting a monthly package of lil baby bugs in the mail always made me giggle.

Last year Spalding introduced another revelatory insect control product: Bye Bye Insects, an essential oil fly spray with performance comparable to popular Pyrethroid Synthetic Chemicals products.

A few years ago, when it began to occur to me that I wasn’t actually the invincible human I believed myself to be in my youth, I began making some changes in my life. Some have been a work in progress, like consistently choosing to eat organic whole foods instead of processed garbage. The rat poison, or whatever it is, in Diet Coke just tastes so good! Others have been easier, like wearing sunscreen and not wading into a mist of toxic pesticides every time I fly sprayed my horse.

I’ve been impressed by one or two natural fly sprays but most of them just aren’t effective. It’s disappointing, the same way you feel when you crack open a can of Zevia soda hoping to get your Coke fix and it’s just … not the same. I’m happy to report that Bye Bye Insects has joined the club.

There’s nothing synthetic in Bye Bye Insects’ active ingredients, which include essential oils of Geraniol, Rosemary, Citronella, Peppermint and Lemongrass. All of which meet EPA’s 25(b) Minimum Risk Requirements — it’s so safe, you can even spray it on yourself to keep away mosquitos! I would describe its smell as “floral-y” sweet, almost citrusy with the citronella and lemongrass notes; I’ve heard other people pick up on the peppermint or rosemary scents. However you would describe it, it’s definitely not unpleasant or chemically like traditional sprays. The essential oils do separate from the aqueous solution, much like oil and vinegar salad dressing, so be sure to give it a good shake before use.

Bye Bye Insects is a concentrate so, if you live in a real insect war zone you can use it full-strength, or you can dilute it to meet your needs. Spalding recommends that, on your first quart spray bottle, use the full strength until half is gone, then refill it with tap water and see if you notice a difference. In their tests, half strength lasts roughly 1-2 hours less than full strength. After you’ve used the first quart ($24.99 + tax) you can refill it from the eco-friendly, stay-fresh three-quart refill pouch ($49.99), instead of buying a whole new bottle. Between the refill pouch and the possibility of dilution, you’re looking at one of the most cost-effective fly sprays out there — diluted to 50% it comes to $8.33 quart.

My only word of caution with this spray is that it can strain grey horses a little yellow-ish, so avoid if you’re trying to keep your horse snow-white.

For more information on Bye Bye Insects and other Spalding Labs products, visit the website here.

Peter Gray Keeps Eventers on Their Toes During and After Competition Hiatus

Isabelle Santamauro working on a head-to-the-wall leg yield under Peter’s watchful eye. Photo by Joan Davis / Flatlandsfoto.

During this year’s competition hiatus, Peter Gray continued doing what he does best — helping horses and riders improve — via his Remote Centerline Workshop series, in which he virtually judged dressage tests. Now, as the sport begins to emerges from its shell, Peter has been helping horses and riders find their way back into fighting form with a series of clinics on the east coast.

Peter’s resumé as a rider is impressive enough: three Olympics, Badminton and Burghley, two WEGs, individual Bronze medalist at the Pan Am Games, the list goes on. Not every great rider is also a great coach, but Peter is an exception, having served as a High Performance Eventing Coach for Canada, Venezuela, Guatemala and Columbia. He’s also a five-star eventing judge, manages horse shows, always seems to be working on about a million side projects, and promptly replies when you text him a question at 5:30 a.m.

If memory serves, the first time I encountered him in person was 10 or 15 years ago, and it was twice in one day: in the morning he was giving a cross country lesson to a Canadian team rider at Jon Hollings,’ and later in the day he was passaging a pure dressage horse around the ring at his farm. I was like, “Is this the same rider? Eventers aren’t supposed to be that good at everything.”

Alas, he is, and the best we can do is benefit from his experience.

Suzi Gornall and Lindsey Elwell preparing for their jump lesson. Photo by Joan Davis / Flatlandsfoto.

Samantha Morse, a 17-year-old young rider, was among the participants at Kay Slater’s True North Farm clinic in Harwich, MA. She shared the following comments:

“I was thrilled to be able to ride with such a well respected and intellectual individual who I knew would focus on precise, positive and elastic work for not only myself and my mare, but also every individual who rode with him,” Samantha says. “My mare came out better each day, clearly happy and proud of herself through Peter’s thoughtful instruction.

“Through shifting the focus to training the horse, my riding improved and thus my mare’s suppleness, mood, and relaxation improved. Not only did she feel happy to work, relaxed, forward-thinking and ready for more after each set, but so did I. I felt confident, pleased and excited for more while also very satisfied and thankful for such an opportunity from Peter and Kay.

“After the past weekend with Peter, I am looking forward to this year’s training with my mare, future clinics with him and the rest of the competition season. A deeply felt thank you goes out to Peter for the extraordinary instruction that left myself and my horse feeling proud and pleased, and to Kay for always putting thought into who she brings into the farm, what they offer for the riders and horses, as well as creating a positive training environment through constantly encouraging others to always be learning, work hard, and provide correct, thoughtful care for their horse.”

Photo by Joan Davis / Flatlandsfoto.

Katherine Cooper is another who has recently benefited from Peter’s instruction: “Coping with the COVID has been hard for us all, so having the chance for my friend Peter Gray come for a quick clinic at Beniah Lane Farm in Epping, NH, was a very happy occasion!  We had several really helpful dressage lessons, where Peter shared his wealth of knowledge and sense of humour to get horses and humans to lower their heads and move forward! We then moved to the jump field for lessons that started with elevated trot poles and progressed to turning exercises emphasizing a soft, following hand.

“We then headed to Pinetree Equestrian in Beverly, MA where Peter took over my usual Thursday clinic. The kids were so excited to host such a highly qualified trainer that they painted all the jumps and turned their ponies to the max! There was a party atmosphere with friends and family coming out to watch a socially-distant learning opportunity. Peter used his keen eye to help a variety of horses and riders improve their connection and his wit to keep everyone laughing. We were sorry to send him off to the Cape at the end of the day but hope he can make it back again!”

Peter is a tricky one to keep up with — he’s teaching in Boston this week then off to judge at Fair Hill, then … TBA. He’s teaching a clinic at L’Esprit Equestrian in Woodstock, Illinois, on Aug. 15-16 (view information about that here) among future dates, I’m sure. Should you happen upon an opportunity to ride with him, don’t hesitate!

‘DSP Goes Cross Country’ Online Auction Features Nine Top-Class German Sport Horse Foals

Lot 1: Ardingly (Asagao xx x Lupina, by Cefalo), a 2020 German Sport Horse colt. View details. Photo courtesy of Deutsches Sportpferd.

The bidding has begun for nine select foals standing at online auction via the German Sport Horse Association. All of them are bred to the nines with top-class stallions and Thoroughbred dam lines that have produced five-star winners including La Biosthetique Sam FBW and fischerRocana FST as well as Billy the Red, DSP Quintana P and Asha P.

The bidding began on Friday, July 31 and will end on Tuesday, Aug. 4 at 7:30 p.m. local time / 1:30 p.m. EST with the final bid-up!

Not only do all foals have the coveted Thoroughbred in their pedigree, their mothers and siblings have successful performance records in the sport of eventing. Foals from the lines of well-known four- and five-star eventing horses such as John the Bull, by Luidam; Cooley Master Class, by Ramiro B; and Kelecyn Supernatural xx, by Filante xx. As sires Asago xx, Gentleman, Colorit, Dominator, Asca, Perigueux, Balvenie and Hickstead White are on the collection list. All foals are shown with detailed video sequences and a health certificate in detail here. Further information can be obtained from sales manager Fritz Fleischmann +49 151 53115783.

Don’t miss to secure your future eventing star now! Visit the online auction here

Lot 2: Geneva (Gentleman x Capuccina, by Con Sherry), a 2020 German Sport Horse colt. View details. Photo courtesy of Deutsches Sportpferd.

Lot 3: Charlbury (Colorit x Amangani xx, by Goofalik xx), a 2020 German Sport Horse colt. View details. Photo courtesy of Deutsches Sportpferd.

Lot 4: Deauville (Dominator Z x Fee IV, by Lauries Crusador), a 2020 German Sport Horse colt. View details. Photo courtesy of Deutsches Sportpferd.

Lot 5: Albury (Asca x Halle Berry, by Heraldik xx), a 2020 German Sport Horse colt. View details. Photo courtesy of Deutsches Sportpferd.

Lot 6: Alnwick Ford (Asagao xx x Kir Royal, by Kolibri), a 2020 German Sport Horse filly. View details. Photo courtesy of Deutsches Sportpferd.

Lot 7: Pompadour (Perigueux x Birke, by Betel xx), a 2020 German Sport Horse filly. View details. Photo courtesy of Deutsches Sportpferd.

Lot 8: Burghley (Balvenie x Quinta Calida, by Quintus Gold), a 2020 German Sport Horse colt. View details. Photo courtesy of Deutsches Sportpferd.

Lot 9: Hartpury (Hickstead White x Foresta xx, by Petit Loup xx), a 2020 German Sport Horse filly. View details. Photo courtesy of Deutsches Sportpferd.

$5,000+ Diversity Scholarship to Benefit 27 Minority Equestrians

Earlier this month we launched a 1st Annual $5,000 Diversity Scholarship with the support of generous donors, inviting minority equestrians to contribute to the discussion of diversity and inclusion in equestrian sport. It is the mission of this annual bursary, which we intend to expand in coming years, to call for, encourage, elevate and give a platform to minority voices in a space where they are underrepresented.

We received 27 submissions representing a broad spectrum of gender, racial, ethnic, sexual and class identities. They are eventers, hunter/jumpers, dressage riders, polo players, western riders, and more. There is no way to “judge” or “rank” them, as each voice is important and limitless in its own value. In lieu of declaring a winner we have expanded the fund to award each applicant $200. Whether it’s put toward lessons or a show entry or a needed item of tack/rider gear, the fund is intended as a tangible gesture of support and a small contribution toward change with much more work still to be done in the future.

How do we build a more diverse, inclusive and accessible sport? In the coming weeks we will explore this question alongside many of the Scholarship recipients as they share with us their essays in full. We urge you to sit with them, and truly listen with an open mind and heart. Caden Barrera advises, “Take your hands off the keyboard. Take a breath and wait. Stop drowning out qualms of oppressed peoples. Let them, let us have the microphone for a second. Hear what we have to say.”

And we hope that hearing these voices will spur you to take action. The time for a radical redress of our sport is long past due, and it’s going to take a community-wide commitment and follow-through to create real structural change. To help facilitate this, NM will be collating the essayists’ actionable ideas and connecting them with the public as well as leaders and stakeholders of the sport. “This is a catalytic moment within our community,” says Malachi Hinton.

A heartfelt thank-you to all 27 Scholarship recipients who have contributed to this important discussion. Collectly, their perspectives, insights and ideas coalesce into a body of work that will no doubt help inform a viable path forward for equestrian sport. We’ve patchwork-quilted together some highlights from their essays below with much more to come.

To all minority equestrians, please know that you always have a seat at the table here.

Dawn Edgerton-Cameron. Photo by Rough Coat Photography.

“Why is there such a lack of diversity in horse sports, and how do we foster more inclusion?”

Dawn Edgerton-Cameron begins with this question, for which which there is no easy answer. “Like most complicated issues, there are many reasons, which means there’s no one path to resolution and correcting it requires a multifaceted approach.” In her opinion, the key factors are exposure, opportunity, perception, and reception.”Each in itself is a multi-layered issue but also overlaps with the others, making it an even thornier issue to untangle.” Dawn lists some ways we can help in the areas of marketing and support/allyship. “If each of us commits to taking just one or two of the above actions,” she concludes, “we can get there a lot faster.”

Photo courtesy of Anastasia Curwood.

Anastasia Curwood points out how Jim Crow racism largely erased the rich history of Black equestrianism: “Americans quickly forgot that the foundations of the tremendously popular sport were in Black talent. By the time I was putting a leg over a school pony almost 100 years later, it seemed like horses had always been for white people only.” Now, she says, she knows better and is proud to be a Black equestrian who is looking to resurrect the historical memory of my forebears via the Chronicle of African Americans in the Horse Industry project. “We need to change the idea that horse sports are not for Black people.”

Photo courtesy of Lea Jih-Vieira.

Lea Jih-Vieira explores the relationship between race and vestigial socio-economic issues have made horses an impossible dream for many. “The historic systems in place, meant to limit people of color, are so interwoven in the fabric of our country that we may not even realize how much they influence our lives today,” she writes. “If we fail to acknowledge just how many barriers are inherent to the sport, we fail to make it accessible to all.”

Katherine Un lists out those barriers, including but not limited to access to land, financing and education. “Our histories of disempowerment mean that young minority equestrians do not have the generational wealth and social capital of our white counterparts.” She reminds us that that equestrian sport does not exist in a bubble nor should our efforts be self contained: “In parallel to diversity and inclusion work in our equestrian community, I would strongly encourage all horse-people to support anti-racist efforts outside the horse world.”

Caden Barrera. Photo by Amanda Plucker Photography.

The problem runs deeper than socioeconomics, adds Caden Barrera. “Our discussion on inclusivity and equality needs to begin shifting to more personal critiques — of ourselves and of others who may not be making our spaces safe and accepting. I want to see the conversations about economic status and politics equally matched by conversations about how our local barns can do better, how we can start unlearning bias, how we can make changes.”

Photo courtesy of Julie Upshur.

Racism, as well as homophobia and elitism, manifest in myriad ways. Julie Upshur writes that the racism she has experienced as a rider would mainly be classified as micro-aggressions, perhaps even out of ignorance, like being asked how she fits her hair under her helmet. Once, a white woman said to her that she was lucky to take care of such nice horses: “To her, I couldn’t possibly be anything but the help.” Scnobia Stewart talks of prejudice and discrimination disguised in witty, covert remarks: “These forms of subtle racism are extraordinarily disheartening to individuals who are just trying to have fun participating in a sport they are passionate about.” Many spoke of stares and sideways glances that seemed to say, what are you doing here?

Malachi Hinton and F15. Photo courtesy of Malachi Hinton.

Other recipients recall more opaquely discriminatory experiences. Like Malachi Hinton, who writes of how at one of her first local shows another competitor refused to share the ring with her.

Leilani Jackson and Primo. Photo courtesy of Leilani Jackson.

Or Leilani Marie Jackson, who was verbally and nearly physically abused while volunteering at the in-gate of a horse show.

Madison Buening and Finn. Photo by Studio 360 Photography in Pewaukee, WI.

And Madison Buening, who was taken advantage of, accused of lying, and denied pay while working at the barn and horse shows — “a slap in the face,” she writes. “Since then, the only being in the horse world that I have trusted is my horse.

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Kojima.

When Kimberly Kojima hears the phrase “systemic racism,” she says thinks of how as a boy her father, along with some 120,000 other Japanese Americans, were forced into internment camps. He was sent to live in a horse stall on a Salinas, California, racetrack turned internment camp, while his father was separated from their family for four years. When Kimberly’s father first put her on a horse, she said, it was an act of taking back their power. 

All of the above factors, and more, add up to a glaring absence of diversity within the horse world.

“I have never met another Black eventer in person. Never,” says Julie Upton. “I occasionally see upper-level riders who are part of the LGBTQ community, but I have never seen any other transgender people,” says Caden Barrera.

Dana Bivens. Photo by Brant Gamma.

For 28 years, I have yet to meet a single equestrian who looks like me,” reflects Dana Bivens. “This is a sobering and isolating truth, which speaks to how homogenous our sport is and how this lack of diversity limits our potential to expand audiences, grow equestrian communities, generate revenue and support, and to make the joys of riding and horses available to everyone.” It took seeing a Black eventer at Fair Hill to convince Deonte Sewell that he could be more than a racetrack groom. Aki Joy Maruyama, age 20, says, “My hope is that other minorities watching me compete feel inspired to enter the sport.”

Aki Joy Maruyama And Balou Moon. Photo by Mathieu O’Regan.


Media representation, too, has historically focused on the images and stories of white riders. Deonte Sewell observes, “In most old Hollywood movies the farmhands/grooms were always of a minority descent. They seemed to always know more about riding and horses than the actual trainers but never portrayed the trainers or professional riders themselves. Why does it seem that the only place in the show world for minorities is to pick up after the kings and queens of the sport?” That lack of representation continues today, says Helen Casteel: “Right now when I open an equestrian magazine, I usually see nothing but pale faces. You all literally can’t see us.”

White stakeholders who are “listening,” “learning” and striving to “do better,” without doing much beyond posting a black square or a vague statement about racial justice on social media, are falling short. Lyssette Williams writes, “While #BlackOutTuesday was a resounding social media success – BIPOC riders like me are watching and waiting. It is not enough to commodify a moment in a movement – brands, publications, and organizations now need to roll-up their sleeves and buckle down for a lifetime of work building trust and equity for the BIPOC equestrian community.” While acknowledging that minority riders should not have to shoulder the brunt of the work, she follows that up with a 2,000-word actionable list for organizations and management companies to start conversations internally.

Helen Casteel and Unapproachable. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Helen Casteel urges the sport’s leaders to be more proactive in expanding the sport’s reach. What if, she asks, professional riders took it upon themselves to engage area riding students, as British Olympic show jumping gold medalist Ben Maher did with the Ebony Horse Club? What if USEF leadership facilitated these new relationships and supported their growth? Like Lysette, she clarifies that the responsibility to create and implement solutions shouldn’t fall to minorities. White equestrians and stakeholders must assume accountability. “Real change will only happen when white people truly prioritize diversity and representation efforts. This has to become your problem to solve.”

Alvin Geronimo Markey. Photo courtesy of Frank Markey.

What is at stake is not just our sport’s ability to survive a rightful moment of reckoning; it’s about dismantling it and rebuilding it for future generations. Among the essayists were young riders like 9-year-old Alvin Geronimo Markey, who dreams of being “a world champion reiner and horse doctor someday”; 12-year-old eventer Jordyn Hale, who felt pigeonholed as “the black girl who rides” until she discovered an accepting community in Pony Club, and 13-year-old Mitike Mathews, who loves eventing but says “sometimes when I score low I wonder if it’s because I’m not white.”

Photo courtesy of Katarina Stovall.

Historically young people have been drivers of social change, as we’ve seen in recent months with the Black Lives Matter movement. Within the equestrian community we have been encouraged to see activism from young equestrians, who are thinking outside the box for creative, effective solutions. Morgan Fenrick, the 20-year-old founder of the Queens University of Charlotte eventing team, proposes a virtual mentorship program connecting industry professionals and minorities. Katarina Stovall, age 15, would like to see a nonprofit that collects used tack from upper level riders as a donation and loans to it to riders with more limited resources. Christine Wilson, age 24envisions a developmental program “focused on creating and maintaining diversity in our sport, similar to Young Riders programs, [that] will create opportunities for minority riders to access a network of mentorship, sponsorship, and funding. This program will be a safe and inclusive space for those that have historically felt unwelcomed in the sport by providing access to resources which will level the playing field for minority equestrians to pursue their goals.”

Photo courtesy of Briannah McGee.

In spite of troubling narratives we noticed a pervasive thread of optimism throughout the essays, a shared belief in the power of horses to unite rather than divide us. Briannah McGee, age 15, writes, “When we ride together, our ethnicities, sexuality, cultures, or any other differences do not define us,” noting that horses can also break down barriers for people with mental health issues or physical disabilities. At its best, the equestrian community can be a safe space of acceptance and welcoming. Muhammad Shahroze Rehman recalls his anxiety at his first University of Florida equestrian club meeting, being both a minority and a male in a room full of more than 100 females. “I became nervous and took a seat in the farthest corner,” he says. “My anxiety and nervousness went away when my team captain approached me and said, ‘Hey Muhammad, why don’t you come to sit with the Eventing team.'”

Christopher Ferralez and Cubscout BG. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

Many of the essays also brim with pride. Christopher Ferralez says, “Minorities can be a positive and powerful voice in our community … I find that being Latino is a very valuable asset. I am fluent in both English and Spanish and I feel that I am more relatable and personable to some of our industry’s amazing staff that only speak Spanish.” An affirmation from Jen Spencer:”Diversity in equestrian sport is small, but it’s there and it’s strong.”

Kaylawna Smith-Cook and Passepartout. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Collectively and as individuals, it is our responsibility to create a more diverse, inclusive and accessible sport. The work has already begun and there is a place for us all in the effort. This will not be easy, says Lyssette Williams. “It is an uphill climb that will require everyone who cares for the longevity of equestrian sports to do the work. The love we have for horses should be what brings us together and raise us up, not tear us apart.”

To conclude, a call to action from Kaylawna Smith-Cook: “Now is the time for us to develop a better future so that our children and loved ones may live in a world free of racism and discrimination, one where they can truly be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.”

Nation Media wishes to thank Barry and Cyndy Oliff, Katherine Coleman and Hannah Hawkins for their generous financial support of this Scholarship. We also wish to thank our readers for their support, both of this endeavor and in advance for all the important work still to come.

Virginia Horse Trials to Host 2020 USEA YEH East Coast Championships

Virginia in autumn! Rachel Lawson and High Tide at Virginia Horse Trials in 2017. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

A new venue has been secured for the The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships for 2020, which was originally set to take place alongside the postponed inaugural Maryland Five-Star at Fair Hill. In the interest of rescheduling, the USEA reviewed several expressions of interest from East Coast organizers and ultimately recommended the bid from the Virginia Horse Trials.

The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships are now confirmed to take place at the Virginia Horse Trials, Wednesday-Thursday, Oct. 28-29, 2020.

From the USEA:

“We’re very happy to be able to keep the YEH [East Coast] Championships going during these difficult times,” said VHT organizer Andy Bowles. “We will ensure that people feel valued and their experience at Virginia is one that they will remember. Our aim is to run the dressage in the grand prix dressage arena and the YEH cross-country will be across the street on Oak Hill, so the course doesn’t feel cluttered amongst all the national classes.”

The 2020 YEH Championship judges originally contracted were Chris Ryan (IRL) and Debbie Adams (USA). Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Ryan will not be able to travel from Ireland to judge this year. However, The USEA Young Event Horse Committee and the USEA Executive Committee voted to approve Peter Gray (CAN) as the new YEH judge for 2020. Adams will judge the dressage section while Gray does the conformation section, and then the two will judge the jumping/galloping phase together.

“As we all navigate and adjust during the unprecedented times, we want to thank the USEA, the YEH Committee, and the Virginia Horse Trials organizing team for coming together to keep The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships on the calendar. We look forward to seeing everyone in October,” said Tim Dutta of The Dutta Corporation.

New Qualification Criteria: Due to COVID-19 and the loss of some YEH qualifier competitions, the YEH Committee also recently voted to ease the YEH Championships qualifying score to a 70% for both the 2020 East and West Coast Championships. In 2021, the qualifying score will go back up to 75%, but for 2020, horses will need to earn one score of 70% or higher at any YEH qualifier competition. All competitors who are currently qualified will be contacted in the coming weeks, and the YEH qualified horse list will be updated.

What’s at Stake: The Holekamp/Turner YEH Lion d’Angers Prize and Grant is awarded to the highest placed horse from the USEA YEH 5-year-old Championships, who two years later, is qualified and willing to compete in the FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships at Le Mondial du Lion d’Angers in France. North American bred winners will be awarded $17,500 in aid; imported winners will be awarded $8,000. New for 2020, title sponsor The Dutta Corp. is offering a round trip flight to the Holekamp/Turner Grant recipient to travel to Mondial du Lion.


We look forward to it. Go Eventing!

[New Location Announced for The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast Championships]

Take 5 With Phillip, Presented by Equilume: The Equine Namesakes of True Prospect Farm

We’ve been enjoying following along with Equilume sponsored rider Phillip Dutton each Thursday as he takes a trip down memory lane to recall relationships with the special horses who have defined his career. A couple weeks ago we took a moment to remember True Blue Girdwood, Phillip’s partner for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games when his original competitive nationality, Australia, won Team Gold.

“True” Blue Girdwood represents half of the namesake of the farm in West Grove, Pennsylvania, where Phillip is based: True Prospect Farm. The other half — “Prospect” — is a tribute to another of Phillip’s legend partners, Sky’s Prospect.

The flea bitten grey American Thoroughbred (Tank’s Prospect x Third and Ten), born in 1987, was a steeplechase horse bought by Tim and Nina Gardner, the first horse of many eventers that Phillip would go on to ride for them.

“He was incredibly honest on cross country and had quite a high knee action on the flat,” Phillip recalls. “The main area we had to work on was his show jumping, where he was quick to go flat and low, like he’d been taught racing. He did very well, including winning the Fair Hill CCI3* and a top-10 finish at Bramham. He also jumped around clean at Burghley, representing Australia in the 1997 Open European Championships.”

Thursday again already which means it’s time to dig into the archives….something pretty special today: Sky’s Prospect,…

Posted by Phillip Dutton Eventing on Thursday, July 16, 2020

Go Phillip. Go Eventing!

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USEA Area 1 Championships Postponed to GMHA Spring H.T. in 2021

The 2020 USEA Area 1 Championships, originally scheduled to take place at the GMHA September H.T. (Sept. 12-13 in South Woodstock, Vermont), have been postponed to the GMHA Spring Horse Trials in June of 2021.

Suzanne Adams, Area 1 Chair, issued the following explanation on behalf of the Area I Council in a newsletter this afternoon:

First let’s celebrate that Area 1 has kicked off our season and the first three events went off without a hitch. Everyone at the shows respected the USEF/USEA COVID-19 guidelines — social distancing, mask wearing while not riding and I suspect that we all are experts at washing our hands. I look forward to continuing the season with more competitions and continued health for all.

But let’s all agree that we are in a new normal and things are not quite the same. Cross-border travel restrictions, health concerns and a limited season made the Area 1 Council and GMHA, our Championship host venue, consider the logistics of holding the Area 1 Championships at the GMHA September Horse Trials.

After surveying our membership (thanks to all respondents and to Amy Winnen for conducting the survey), we knew that there was interest and desire for the Area to hold Championships as well a many who were cautious/reluctant to attend because of COVID-19.

With the support of GMHA, it was recommended and approved to postpone running the 2020 Area 1 Championships until the GMHA Spring Horse Trials in 2021. Let me explain:

If you qualified for the 2020 Area 1 Championships (qualifying period 8/6/19 – 8/25/20), you will have the opportunity to compete for the Area 1 Championships at the GMHA Spring Horse Trials in June of 2021.

If you qualify for the 2021 Area 1 Championships (qualifying period 8/26/20 – opening day of 2021 GMHA Fall Horse Trials), you will be able to compete at the 2021 GMHA Fall Horse Trials.

Yes, there is a potential that you could qualify and compete at 2 Championship events in 2021. Good for you!

Also included in the newsletter:

  • Updates on the National Adult Team Championships at the AEC and the Regional Adult Team Challenge at Town Hill Horse Trials
  • Updates for Area 1 Young Riders

You can view a calendar of remaining USEA Area 1 events in 2020 here. Visit the Area I website here.



Rebecca Farm in Photos: Montana, Motherhood & Making the Most of It

Kaylawna Smith-Cook and and Tamie Smith swept the top four places in the Advanced division. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

There’s no more fun horse show to photograph than The Event at Rebecca Farm, with its crayon box palette, omnipresent sun and natural backdrop straight out of a “Greetings from Montana … Wish You Were Here!” postcard. And indeed, we do wish we were there — EN hasn’t missed an edition since 2014, the year we first headed west to see what was up with this field-of-dreams event everybody was gushing about like it was some sort of eventing Disneyland. We returned home with Mickey Mouse ears on, so to speak.

Who thinks to frame a shot like this? Shannon does. Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

The next best thing to being there in person, however, is watching the event through Shannon Brinkman’s always artful lens. She captures the magic wherever she goes, and there’s always an awful lot of magic circulating in the air during the Event at Rebecca Farm, even during this year’s scaled down edition.

What a strange moment it is that we are living in.

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum with Sarah Broussard in the Rebecca Farm Advanced prize giving. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Kudos to all at Rebecca Farm for wearing masks. Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

It’s no secret that I’m a big ol’ softie marshmallow for this sport, and no matter if it’s a five-star or the 14-and-under BN division at the AEC, victory gallops always leave me sniffling. In particular, prize-giving ceremonies at Rebecca Farm always give me the feels (Exhibit A: Mr. Medicott’s emotional retirement ceremony). By Sunday it’s like I’ve been on a five-day emotional roller coaster loaded up with hundreds of thrill-seekers from all around the country (possible inspiration for this jump?).

Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

From amateurs to pros to NAYC kids, I always just want to hug everyone who has hauled their horse from God-only-knows-where to Kalispell, Montana, to test their skill, risk their pride, and gamble serious gas money. It’s a long drive to Rebecca Farm and an even longer drive home if things don’t go according to plan.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

The furthest I’ve ever driven to an event was 10 hours from Newnan, Georgia to Morven Park, but 25 hours if you count the part where we broke down on I-81 and had to overnight at a farm in Wytheville along the way. Long for me, but par for the course for west coasters. We finally got there, unloaded and walked my Prelim cross country by flashlight. The next morning I promptly fell right off at the first water.

“Did I clear it?” Sara Mittleider and La Paz, who finished 5th in the division. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

That’s the sport, though. It goes your way or it doesn’t, or you land somewhere in the middle. And then there’s a drive home afterward. No matter the level, eventing requires so much time, commitment and most of all vulnerability — a quality not usually ascribed to eventers, who more often pride themselves on toughness and bravery. But as Brené Brown defined it in her famous TED Talk: “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s Rebecca Farm event was a pared down version of its usual self, with the top division being not NAYC or a four-star but an Advanced horse trials. The division had just 10 entries but a great storyline — mom and daughter, going head to head — and a happy ending, as Tamie Smith and Kaylawna Smith-Cook combined swept the top four placings.

Kaylawna Smith-Cook and and Tamie Smith. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

No mother can anticipate the person that their child will grow up to be. I’m a new mom; I can’t keep up with what is making my 15-month-old’s world go around from minute to minute, much less imagine what he’ll be into in five, 10, 20 years from now. For now he loves going to the barn, reaching up to pet velvet muzzles, even riding in tandem with his mom. I don’t know what role horses will play in his life, if any, and I don’t care. My wish for him is that he finds a passion in life, as I have. Something that fuels him. Anything so long as it makes him happy.

Kaylawna Smith-Cook and Passepartout. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Having said that, it’s a special thing when a child’s passion ends up aligning with that of a parent. You can nurture passion in a child, but you can’t force it. You can’t manufacture the look that was on Kaylawna’s face as she stormed around cross country at Rebecca on Saturday, her third crack at the blue numbers. Or that of Taylor McFall, who rode her mom Jen’s five-star horse to 3rd in Prelim. Examples abound in our sport of passion not so much inherited from parent to child, but born again in them new.

Tamie Smith and En Vogue. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Like Roya Brinkman, sometimes photographer assistant to Shannon, whose intuition behind the lens is perhaps inspired by her mom but ultimately wholly her own. At the end of the day decisions about how we frame our lives, what we focus in on and what gets softened in our gaze, are ours alone to make. Of all the millions, billions, of split second freeze-frames in our lives, which do we choose to define ourselves?

The best things in life, I think, are often born of uncertainty, and of vulnerability, and of a certain type of confidence that can only be born from letting go. Follow your path, wherever it leads, and take lots of pictures along the way.

Onward and upward into the great unknown, EN. Go Eventing.

The Event at Rebecca Farm: WebsiteResults


Smith Mother-Daughter Team Complete 1-2-3-4 Sweep in Rebecca Farm Advanced

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

The mother-daughter team of Tamie Smith and Kaylawna Smith-Cook dominated the Advanced division at The Event at Rebecca Farm, staking out the top four placings of the 10-horse division. Tamie Smith finished first through third respectively with her three rides — Mai Baum, Danito and En Vogue — and Kaylawna Smith-Cook with Passepartout finished fourth.

Tamie and ‘Lexus,’ a 14-year-old German Sport Horse gelding owned by Alex and Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell, began their weekend with a jaw-dropping dressage score of 17.7 and increased their lead throughout the jumping phases. They posted the fastest cross country run in the division, collecting just 6.4 time penalties, and capped it with a clear show jumping round today to win by a margin of nearly 14 points.

This seasoned combination, who represented the gold medal-winning Team USA at the Pan Am Games in Lima last summer, have been a partnership for five years now, and the mindmeld is complete. “Lexus and I, we think the same now,” Tamie told EN over the phone while grazing her horse. “I think ‘turn’ and he turns. It’s so amazing.”

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Tamie has been putting the caesura in this year’s competition schedule to good use. In addition to regular training sessions with USEF Performance Director for Eventing Erik Duvander, Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin have helped her with cross country, Johann Hinnamenn with dressage and Ali Nilforushan for show jumping. Aside from a couple abridged combined test outings, this is her and Lexus’ first full event since Boekelo last October, where they finished an admirable 11th. “We’ve been plugging along and it’s great to put it to a test,” she says.

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Tamie is 2nd with Ruth Bley’s Danito, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding. They scored a 23.6 in dressage — Tamie said he got a bit tired in the canter work — and collected 10.4 cross country time penalties. “He got a little barn bound going to the first water; I had to get a little scrappy there,” she remarked over their round. They sat 3rd heading into show jumping this morning, with Tamie and En Vogue in 2nd, but the horses switched places when Danito had one rail and En Vogue had two.

Tamie Smith and Danito. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Tamie Smith and Danito. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

En Vogue, a 15-year-old Hanoverian mare also owned by Ruth Bley, finished third, and Tamie says she couldn’t be more pleased with the trifecta. “They were all three great,” Tamie says. “I’m so lucky. I’m on cloud nine getting to ride the horses I get to ride now. All three are just firing on all cylinders. They’re all so trained and ready to go.”

Tamie Smith and En Vogue. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

The Event at Rebecca Farm’s usual marquee events — the 2020 FEI Adequan NAYC, international divisions through the four-star level, and popular Classic Three-Day divisions — were of course canceled due to the pandemic. But Tamie says the course was top-class despite the damper on this year’s competition: “It was a great track. It rode great. There’s been a ton of rain so the ground was the best it’s ever been.”

As show jumping continues today, Tamie also leads the Intermediate division with Julianne Guariglia’s Galicia and Open Prelim B with Solaguayre California, also owned by Guariglia.

Kaylawna Smith-Cook and Passepartout. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Nipping at Tamie’s heels throughout the weekend was Kaylawna Smith-Cook with Passepartout. “I love how good she’s going and that horse is incredible, he’s on fire,” Tamie says, adding before handing the phone over to her daughter. “She’s way better than me.”

Kaylawna had a cracking cross country round with Gretchen and Mark Cook’s 11-year-old German Sport Horse gelding. “He was really phenomenal,” she says. “It feels so easy for him and it was exciting to open him up for the first time.” They followed that up with a clear show jumping round this morning.

Kaylawna and “Pasco” have been a pair since March of last year, getting to know one another at a couple Prelims before moving up to Intermediate, training through the winter, and moving up at Twin Rivers. Rebecca Farm marks Kaylawna’s third Advanced and Passepartout’s second.

Kaylawna was named to the 2020 USEF Eventing 25 Emerging Athletes Program and it’s great to see her linking up with some talented partners.  A recent profile of Kaylawna in Chronicle of the Horse, “One to Watch: Smith-Cook’s Star is Rising at Rebecca Farm,” is a must-read. We also caught up with Kaylawna about how she spent the competition break (spoiler alert: training!) and her newer ride, Mai Blume, on EN last week.

As for the experience of going toe-to-toe with her mother, Kaylawna says, “I feel like this has been my most competitive year. She’s basically in her own league but I am competitive as well.”

Sara Mittleider and La Paz. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Sara Mittleider and her own La Paz finished 5th. They posted one of the three clear show jumping rounds this morning, the other two being Tamie with Mai Baum and Kaylawna with Passepartout.

Marc Grandia and Campari FFF. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Marc Grandia and Team Rebecca LLC’s Campari FFF finished 6th. Marc is also leading the Prelim A division heading into the final phase with Sunsprite Ranch LLC’s Sunsprite Seryndipity. We already shared this video on EN once, but we think it warrants another view.

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We made it to the most beautiful event in the country @rebeccafarm . . @marcgran showed us how to execute the ditch brush on our course walk but might need some work on the landing. . . It was awesome to see the new frangible table technology provided by @useventing foundation. . . Can’t tell you all how great it feels to be back in paradise #rebeccafarm #teamnle #frangiblenow #useventing @fleeceworks @samshieldamerica @frilly__fillies @soless_visors @customsaddlery @auburn_laboratories @c4belts @profchoice @jump4joyusa @coat_defense @nupafeed__usa @devoucoux @ezupshelters @totalsaddlefit @mdc_stirrups @soundhoofconditioner @revitavet @flairstrips @nutrenafeed @premierequestrian @cavallo__boots.fashion @uptimeenergy @haygainUSA @flexineb @mannaprohorse @multiradiance @hylofit @frilly_fillies @neueschuleusa @neue_schule_bits

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Ryleigh Leavitt and her own MoonLight Crush finished 7th.

Ryleigh Leavitt and MoonLight Crush. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Brennan Kappes and Willis Kurtz’ Amistoso finished 8th; Sophie Click and her own Quidproquo were 9th. Andrea Nielson and her own LC O’Shawnisee were eliminated cross country at fence 15.

Many thanks to Shannon Brinkman for the gorgeous photos! Enjoy an Advanced show jumping photo gallery here.

Advanced Final Top 10: 

The Event at Rebecca Farm: [Website] [Entries/Ride Times] [Live Stream] [Live Scores]

Watch The Event at Rebecca Farm Live Stream

Thank you, Ride on Video!

The Event at Rebecca Farm is a highlight of our year and we’re bummed to not be there in person. However! The event organizers in cooperation with Ride on Video have gone above and beyond to provide extensive live stream coverage so that all of us stuck at home can follow along.

Here is the schedule (subject to change):

From the event: “We ask for continued flexibility and patience as any part of our live stream schedule is subject to change. Thank you for your understanding and support as we embark on the competition’s special circumstances this year. We are excited for another fantastic event filled with amazing riders and dedicated viewers of Rebecca Farm! Thank you.”

Riders, be sure to support our sport’s hardworking videographers and photographers by purchasing your official Rebecca Farm videos (Ride on Video) and photos (Shannon Brinkman Photo). Please visit The Event at Rebecca Farm Facebook Event for more information.

Rebecca Farm Live Stream July 2020

Rebecca Farm Saturday N, BN Show Jumping

Go Eventing!

The Event at Rebecca Farm: [Website] [Entries/Ride Times] [Live Stream] [Live Scores]

Celebrity Course Walk: Bicton Arena with Leslie Knope

Following the overwhelmingly milquetoast reception of my Bob Ross-led Barbury Intermediate course walk a couple weeks back, I’ve decided to double down and launch an ongoing series of celebrity course walks that nobody asked for and probably nobody wants.

Leading the troops this week: Leslie Knope, the unflappably positive ringleader from Parks and Rec. She might not know a dang thing about horses, but she knows what it takes to win at LIFE.

This week we’re traveling to Bicton Arena in Budleigh Salterton, UK, where Helen West has designed a challenging Advanced Intermediate track. From the looks of it, amidst some happy-go-lucky gallopy things and maybe one too many cheerful blue-roofed heart-shape-shutter cabins, there are plenty of technical questions mixed in as well. Keep an eye on the two extra skinny triple brushes that will test accuracy after the Cottages and the Step.

Leslie’s pep talk to your horse pre-cross country:

And away we go!

Phew! It got a lil hairy there at the end, but you made it! Leslie to your horse at the finish:

You can check out the full course at CrossCountryApp. View event details, competitor info and scores here.

Thursday News & Notes from THIS

Photos courtesy of Amber Young.

We love seeing riders catch the eventing bug! A warm welcome to the club, Amber Young of Bergen, NY, and Emmerich (“Henry”), a 17.2 Hanoverian who gets an “A” for effort but could probably step over most of the obstacles in their first cross country school together. No hope no scope, as they say. Poor Amber nearly got rocket-blasted out of the tack a time or two but held fast and laughed it off in hindsight, so we think she’ll fit right in around these parts!

“We had our first cross country schooling event today,” Amber told EN. “We are both greenies — we’ve never done solid jumps, ditches, water or banks before, but we trust each other and we’ve been working hard with our trainer (Carrie Wehle of Wehle Farm). We had a blast and are looking forward to doing our first intro event this year!”

Best of luck to you two.🚀

National Holiday: National Gorgeous Grandma Day

U.S. Weekend Preview

Virginia HT & CCI: [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

The Event at Rebecca Farm: [Website] [Entries/Ride Times] [Live Stream]

Horse Park of New Jersey HT: [Website] [Ride Times]

FENCE HT: [Website] [Entry Status]

Hunt Club Farns HT: [Website] [Entry Status]

Thursday Reading List:

The USEA Young Event Horse class of 2007 went on to do big things. Its 5-year-old graduate horses that went on to reach the highest levels of eventing include All The Buzz, Java, Vidalia, Gin Fizz, Peabody, Fantasy Impromptu, Normandy Soldier, and Parfait. [The YEH Yearbook: Class of 2007]

Worth the Trust … it will be worth the wait. The 2021 Worth The Trust Scholarship, which was slated to be awarded at the 2020 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in December, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Information will be released next year about applying for the 2022 scholarship, which will be awarded in December of 2021 for use during the 2022 calendar year. [Worth The Trust Scholarship Postponed to 2022]

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this photo gallery from Britain’s Aston-le-Walls is worth 17,000. So much fun to see stars like Ros Canter, Kitty King, Dan Jocelyn, Kevin McNab, Izzy Taylor, Alex Hua Tian, Tom McEwen, Paul Tapner and so many more out and about. [Three medallists, two Olympic horses and a five-star runner-up: 17 top eventers enjoy a run at Aston-le-Walls]

Whether you want to advertise your business or organization, or spotlight your OTTB for sale, the Retired Racehorse Project can connect you with clients. Opportunities are available for both the Fall 2020 issue of Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine and the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace catalog. [Ad specs and pricing]

Hot on Horse Nation: I Get Knocked Down (But I Get Up Again): The Refrain of 2020

Just in on Jumper Nation: Watch: No Injury Can Get Her Down…Ali Wolff is Back in Action, Presented by Back Gate

Listen: In the latest episode of the Major League Eventing podcast, Karen and Rob get to know Cindy Anderson Blank.  Cindy is not only a top event rider she is team Windchase and Olympian Phyllis Dawson’s competition rider, trainer and instructor.  Cindy came from a western background until the eventing bug bit her and the rest is history. [Episode #120]

Watch: Ponies, bless ’em. When they’re good they’re good, and when they’re naughty (see pony #1 here) … you just love them even harder. View Leg 2 Strzegom Summer Tour results here.

Social: Just be a friend.

“When the world is so complicated, the simple gift of friendship is within all of our hands.”

📸 ©FEI/ Ctanierephotographie

Posted by Fédération Equestre Internationale on Wednesday, July 22, 2020



Take 5 With Phillip, Presented by Equilume: Phillip Dutton Loses Ride on Mighty Nice

Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Sorry-not sorry … that was about as click-baity a headline as I’ve ever written. But it’s true! Sounds like “Happy,” 16-year-old patron saint of Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, is back. And he’s got a new jockey.

And Phillip has new barn lights! You’ll have to watch the video to see which “young gun” is taking Happy’s reins.

After being impressed with the Equilume halter that I used for a while in the Spring, we went ahead and installed the…

Posted by Phillip Dutton Eventing on Monday, July 20, 2020

We love it so much. You’re in good hands always, Happy.

Phillip Dutton hugs Mighty Nice after winning the bronze medal. Photo by Caroline Moran.

Phillip and Olivia Dutton, and Max Corcoran, at the retirement ceremony of another lovingly handed-down Olympian, Mr Medicott. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Go Eventing!

Equilume is an Irish equine biotech company providing scientifically validated lighting solutions to the global equine industry. Their patented blue light technology strengthens circadian rhythms and has profound effects on equine health and behaviour.

The Equilume Cashel Light Mask is an individual headpiece that provides timed, low-level blue light to a single eye throughout the day to stimulate optimum health, performance and coat condition.

The Equilume Stable Light provides horses with biologically effective light in a system that replicates the benefits of Nature’s light indoors, designed to maximise health, performance and breeding efficiency for stabled horses.

Equilume products are backed by science and trusted by equestrians and veterinarians worldwide. 

Hagyard Midsouth 3DE & Team Challenge to Add Intermediate H.T. & Three-Star Divisions

2018 Hagyard Midsouth YR/JR CCI2* winners Jackie LeMastus and Indian Mill. Photo by Lori Ebert Thompson.

Covid-19 took to the 2020 eventing calendar like a tornado in Oklahoma, leveling everything in its path and requiring a near total reconstruction in its wake. We’ve been impressed at the way some still-standing events have gone above and beyond to help repair and repave the road for riders who have missed critical outings, to help keep them on track for future goals. From rescheduling to adding divisions and dates, it’s been a true team effort to keep a roof on our sport this year.

Hagyard Midsouth 3DE & Team Challenge, scheduled to take place Oct. 14 – 18 at the Kentucky Horse Park, is the latest event to join the effort. From the event’s Facebook page yesterday:

“Big news – we will be adding a CCI3* this year. The 3*-S is confirmed and the 3*-L is pending approval. Also, we are adding an Open Intermediate division to the Horse Trials. This is a big commitment in these uncertain times, but we are committed to helping our riders get the outings they need. We are counting on your support and can’t wait to see everyone in October!”

Hagyard Midsouth also offers Beginner Novice through Prelim horse trials, Training and Prelim Three-Day Events, and CCI2*-L divisions. You can view the event’s USEA calendar listing here.

MARS Great Meadow International also recently added a CCI3*-L to its August 20-23, 2020 event.

Go Eventing.



SmartPak Product Review: SmartTherapy Saddle Pads

SmartPak launched a new line of unique SmartTherapy products on June 15, and since then NM’s editors have been putting them to the test! Last week Jumper Nation editor Lynn Mueller reviewed the SmartTherapy Mesh Sheet — you can check out her observations here. This week, Eventing Nation editor Leslie Wylie is taking the SmartTherapy Dressage Saddle Pad and SmartTherapy All Purpose Saddle Pad for a test drive. Next, we’ll be testing the wraps with Horse Nation editor DeAnn Sloan. 

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

I am 100% that girl who borrows her horse’s ice boots after a hard workout, uses a Back on Track sheet as a throw blanket, and buys epsom salts in bulk for ridiculously long, hot baths with wine + the most recent Chronicle issue “abscesses.”

And I know for a fact that I’m not alone. (See: “#EventerSolutions: 15 Times We Borrowed Our Horse’s Stuff for DIY Physical Therapy.”)

Don’t judge. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Let me be clear: There are times when stealing cookies from your horse’s wellness cookie jar isn’t a great idea. Like last year when, four weeks postpartum, I used Vetrap to keep my guts from literally falling out of my C-section incision during a jump lesson. Not a great idea!

But it’s no breaking news that, when it comes to our equine partners, we’re always looking for ways to keep them happier, healthier and better performing — and hey, if we can benefit a little on the side, OK!

Which is why I’m looking forward to using my horse’s new SmartTherapy saddle pads as a therapeutic mini-dress, or bath towel, or yoga mat, or something because the technology it utilizes — ceramic far infrared radiation (cFIR) — works. To wit: Ceramic particles are embedded in the fabric to absorb body heat and reflect it back to the horse as soothing far infrared rays that activate blood flow, which may help to decrease inflammation, improve recovery, and protect from oxidative stress. That translates into a more supple and loose back.

I tried the AP and Dressage pad styles and loved the result: a horse that warms up quicker, performs better, and recovers easier. If “tight in the back” or “tense” are common refrains on your dressage score sheets, this pad along is a great tool in your toolbox along with plenty of suppling work. It’s like the pad’s technology encouraged my mare to take a deep breath and relax her topline into work. I think the results would be exponential in a horse that was cold-backed or high performance.

SmartTherapy Dressage Pad. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

SmartTherapy AP Pad. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

With all the technical talk about recycled body heat, combined with 90+ degree temps this summer, I was worried about it getting too hot under there. But the pad actually had the opposite effect: The back muscles are warm and loose from the ThermoBalance™ material on the underside of the pad but not overheated thanks to ample ventilation from the exterior mesh layer.

The back muscles are warm and loose from the ThermoBalance™ material on the underside of the pad but not overheated thanks to ample ventilation from the exterior mesh layer. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

When I take the saddle off there are no pressure points or marks. For a human equivalent, it’s the difference between wearing a cotton tee-shirt and a technical fabric tee — one traps heat, and the other lets your skin breath. Post-ride it dried quickly, too.

Like all SmartPak pads, the curving ergonomic shape hugs my horse’s topline with plenty of wither clearance. Bonus: I love how a hint of metallic thread peeking through the exterior mesh layer gives it a subtle shimmer in the sun! The black binding, grey piping and subtle shine are très chic. The girth and billet straps are well placed and plenty sturdy.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The pad is available in AP, Dressage and Western cuts and retails for $59.95 or $56.95 with the USEF member discount. 

Go Eventing.

Sunday Video: It’s the Michael Jung Show at Strzegom

Photo by Mariusz Chmieliński.

Michael Jung took down the competition in two classes this weekend in the second leg of the Strzegom Summer Tour, winning the CCI4*-S with fischerChipmunk FRH and the CCI3*-S with fischerWild Wave.

He and Chipmunk scored an impressive 19.4 in the dressage (you can read our dressage recap and watch a video of Michael’s test here), following it up with the only double-clear cross country trip in his class and a faultless show jumping round.

Dutch rider Raf Kooremans with Dimitri N.O.P. finished second in the CCI3*-S after a clear jumping trial. Third place went to Lea Siegl (AUT) with Fighting Line.

Hier könnt ihr euch meine Runde mit fischerChipmunk im 4* Gelände anschauen.

Chip hat sich super reiten lassen und mir ein gutes Gefühl gegeben 😃

Posted by Michael Jung on Saturday, July 18, 2020

Michi brought three horses to Strzegom and placed at the podium with each of them. With the up-and-coming 8-year-old fischerWild Wave, he was the best in the CCI3*-S, in spite of one knockdown in the jumping. He was third in the same class with Go For S. Second place went to Lea Siegl (AUT) with van Helsing P. A clear round in the cross country and jumping boosted her up the scoreboard after placing 14th in dressage.

Mit einer tollen Nullrunde von fischerChipmunk und somit dem Sieg in der CCI4* geht ein erfolgreiches Wochenende in…

Posted by Michael Jung on Sunday, July 19, 2020

More than 300 horses from 18 countries competed in the show. Athletes faced each other in four short-format classes and a 2* class for ponies.

As many as 85 horses competed in the two-star class. The winner was Mateusz Kiempa riding Pitagoras. The Polish rider was fourth after dressage and secured his win with clear showjumping and cross country rounds. The next two places went to German riders: Sonja Buck with Carla Bruni R and Vanessa Bölting riding Ready To Go W.

Photo by Mariusz Chmieliński.

Photo by Leszek Wójcik.

The winner of the CCIP2*-L class was Matti Garlichs from Germany with Andante D. Kato De Smidt (NED) was second with Orchid’s Tigersun, and Emilia Vogel (GER) took home the third place with Tina. The only Polish pair in the class – Julia Witkowska with Chester – finished 9th.

The one-star Intro class belonged to Levi Cordes (GER) with Calesco 3. Second place went to his teammate Carlo Klippel with Carismo 22, and Sterre van Houte (NED) riding Guapo 29 was third.

You can view complete results here.