Leslie Wylie
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Terrifying Cavalry Training Tips Part 4: Skinnies

In honor of Veterans Day and in the spirit of celebrating eventing’s military roots, each day this week we are republishing a section of Wylie’s 2015 series “Terrifying Cavalry Training Tips.” So far we’ve tackled the subjects of down banks, grid work and water jumps, and now we present the series’ thrilling conclusion: skinnies. 

“I’ve eaten slices of pizza that were wider than this, y’all.” –Wylie. Photo courtesy of CrossCountryApp via Pau 2019.

Itty-bitty teeny-weenie skinnies, the kind that make you suck in your own gut just walking up to them, are pretty standard fare on modern cross-country courses.

But long before we were pointing our event horses at carved wooden waterfowl and corners the size of a billiard ball rack, cavalry riders were practicing their accuracy over obstacles like this (source: British Pathe):





Um, yeah. Which brings us to our Cavalry Training Tip of the Day, presented by the Cadre Noir de Saumur.

Now that's what you call a skinny. Photo: Flickr/jmbaud74/Creative Commons.

So skinny. Photo: Flickr/jmbaud74/Creative Commons.

Even skinnier. Photo: Croquant/Creative Commons.

Even skinnier. Photo: Croquant/Creative Commons.

Founded in 1828, the historic role of the Saumur School of Cavalry was to provide training for the officers and non-commissioned officers of the French cavalry. After World War II, however, the mounted element of the French Army had been greatly reduced and the need for a purely military riding academy had almost vanished. Fortunately, the international prestige of French horsemanship ensured the survival of the Saumur training centre in the form of a national riding school under the Ministry of Sports.

In 1972 the National School of Équitation was constituted around the Cadre Noir, which forms its core teaching staff. Today there are about 50 horses and a team of elite riders, usually limited to 22. The members of the Cadre Noir have either civilian or military status.

The equitation on which the school is built was taught by Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere, the French riding master to King Louis XV and author of the book École de Cavalerie, published in 1731.

Today this troupe of elite French riders still dazzles audiences with spectacular displays of horsemanship — like this bonkers progression of skinnies. First a table, then a chair, then for dessert … a single upright pole.

Well kids, there you have it. Drag that dining room furniture out to the ring and get started! (Note from EN’s lawyer: Eventing Nation shall not be held liable for broken, smashed or otherwise damaged personal property.)

Go Eventing.

Marilyn Little & RF Scandalous Take Center Stage on the Centerline in Ocala Jockey Club CCI4*-S

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Marilyn Little‘s partner RF Scandalous has been tucked away on the shelf for much of the past year. After an injury sidelined the mare in the lead-up to the 2018 World Equestrian Games, they’ve been MIA while the mare rested and, ultimately, recovered. Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event marks their international comeback, and they pair has come roaring back to form in the first phase, taking the CCI4*-S lead on 24.4.

“I can’t tell you how much fun it is to ride her here and have her back,” Marilyn says of the 14-year-old Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia, by Lario), owned by Ms. Jacqueline Mars and Phoebe and Michael Manders. The latter missed today’s competition but will be here to cheer the mare on this weekend. “When you’ve lost something and you get it back, it’s really cool so this is a really special weekend for me. It’s been a long road. There’s been an incredible team of people that have helped get her back here.”

Marilyn says “Kitty” was all business today, although their test was plenty effervescent. “She was very excited — she was calm right up until the last moment she went in and got a little excited in the atmosphere,” she says. “Two years ago we were here, and that translated into not such a great test, and she’s just become so mature and such a great partner that she went in and did her job like she always does … She did everything I hoped she would and kept a lid on the excitement.”

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

The pair’s preparations have been relatively light: a couple Prelim horse trials, an Advanced combined test, and a show jumping dress rehearsal at the Duke Horse Show in Raleigh, North Carolina en route to Florida (Marilyn won the Grand Prix with Karen O’Connor’s horse Clearwater). They knocked the cross country rust off at Liz Halliday-Sharp’s facility upon arrival. “I just have to rely a bit on the fact that she thinks she knows what she’s doing out there,” Marilyn says. “She has gotten to have a few outings, but not the steady preparation for an event like we would normally like to have.”

Certainly, the pair has experience in spades, including but not limited to a 3rd place finish at Kentucky in 2018, a 4th at Luhmühlen in 2017, and a win at Fair Hill in 2016.

“This is her first big event back,” Marilyn says. “In all fairness to her, the last big event she was preparing for was the Worlds and before that it was Kentucky. They absolutely know when it’s a big weekend and when it’s just a practice weekend, and she had a very big sense of that. I think she thought she was going in to a championship level event this weekend. She felt like it was that kind of day.

“It’s great that I’m back at an event with this horse. She’s such a special horse for me, so it’s wonderful to be back at an event, but it’s even better being back with a best friend, it’s that much more fun. For me, if I didn’t have this horse I wouldn’t be eventing so I event for her because I love her and it didn’t really make sense for me to be at them without her.”

Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’Ysieux. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’Ysieux, a 14-year-old Selle Français gelding (Balougran x Davidoff Silver Shadow, by Mr Blue) owned by the Rubens D’Ysieux Syndicate, are 2nd on 32.5.

This pair is something of a comeback story as well, as the horse has been recovering from colic surgery in April. “I haven’t really dealt with that before — he’s never been sick ever and I’ve actually never had a horse that had to go through that,” Sara says. “I’ve just been sort of taking my time making sure he feels good and playing it one day at a time but he honestly feels really good, I was very happy with him, he feels very strong.”

Their last international outing was the Bromont CCI4*-L in 2018, where they finished 8th.

Sara says, “He’s always a competitor, he’s a very kind horse, he’s a sassy horse, so I never have to worry from that perspective because he doesn’t like to be embarrassed. He’s a really, really good boy.”

She admits she was a bit surprised at their score, that she thought she’d be a couple marks lower. Her serpentine may not have been accurate enough, she reckons, and she may have lost some ground on her halt and reinback. “But I couldn’t have been happier with the horse,” she says. “He was super so I can’t really get too fussed about it.”

Looking forward to cross country, Sara says, “I’m expecting a nice course, they’re always really good courses here at the Jockey Club, it’s amazing terrain and it’s a proper galloping cross country place.”

Rebecca Brown with Dassett Choice. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Rounding out the top three is Rebecca Brown with Dassett Choice, her own 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Caricello x Vilja), on 34.7.

“It’s his second Advanced,” Rebecca says. “Actually, I didn’t love (my ride). He can really do a kind of amazing test, and I had two little blips but we’ve been working really hard and so obviously even that was still pretty competitive. I was obviously still pleased, but always knowing you can do better, right?”

Rebecca shared her first impressions of the cross country course: “The short does look nice, a little bit friendlier than the long which I appreciate. They always present it so well and I feel like it always rides really well.”

Alyssa Phillips and Oskar. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Alyssa Phillips and Oskar are 4th on 35.1, and Jessica Phoenix and Humble GS are 5th on 35.7.

Elsewhere, in the CCI3*-L, Leslie Law and Zick Zack have the overnight lead on 30.5. In the CCI2*-L Buck Davidson with Cooley Candyman and Will Coleman with Steam Engine are in equal first on 27.9. Dressage for those divisions continues Friday at 8 a.m. The CCI4*-L begins at 10:20 a.m.

Much more to come, stay tuned. Go Eventing!

#OJC3DE: WebsiteScheduleEntries,  Ride TimesDressage Order of GoLive ScoresLive StreamEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

CCI4*-S Top 10 After Dressage:

Photo Gallery: Dressage Is Fun & Everybody Is Having a Great Time at Ocala Jockey Club

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

You know that feeling when you’ve just nailed your dressage test and it’s like BOOM!!!!

(I don’t know that feeling, personally, but hopefully you do.)

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Segway to adorable pic of the Coleman fam.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

A hard act to follow, but these pups are pretty stinking cute, too:

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Good vibes are in the air here at Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event, taking place through the week here in Reddick, Florida.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

CCI4*-S dressage completed today, and CCI2*-L and CCI3*-L are back for more tomorrow along with the CCI4*-L. We’ve got a full report on the day forthcoming shortly, but thought we’d share a little teaser photo gallery by the great Shannon Brinkman as an appetizer.

Much more to come. Go Eventing!

#OJC3DE: WebsiteScheduleEntries,  Ride TimesDressage Order of GoLive ScoresLive StreamEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

So Much to Do at Ocala Jockey Club International

Sinead Halpin and Stakkato Bronx in the CCI2*-L. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

As if watching gorgeous horses performing feats of strength for four days straight wasn’t enough to keep us entertained, the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event has a full lineup of extracurricular activities lined up both for competitors and the community.



  • 12 – 1:15 p.m. – Ladies Luncheon with Liz Halliday-Sharp presented by Ocala Breeders Feed & Supply. Located at VIP Club in OJC Clubhouse. Admission is free to riders, officials and VIP Club credentials holders. $45 to Spectators, includes lunch and presentation.
  • 4-5:30 p.m. – Cross-Country Course Walk with Lucinda Green. Starts at XC Start Box.
  • 4:30 p.m. – High Performance Athlete Open Forum, located at Stabling Area Office.
  • 6 p.m. – Happy Hour at Fredericks International Equestrian Tent.
  • 6:30 p.m. – Friendsgiving Dinner, hosted by the Ruppel Family. Credentials required (riders, grooms, owners invited). No spectator entry. Located at Fredericks International Equestrian Tent.


  • Spectator Events include TailgatingHandsome Hat Day Competition (win $650 in cash prizes and more!), Kids Outdoor Fall Festival, and demonstrations.
  • All demonstrations are located in the OJC Main Arena.
    • 9:30 a.m. – Celtic Dancers
    • 10:30 a.m. – 4:10 p.m. – Ringside Beer Garden
    • 11:30 a.m.- Dance Alive National Ballet
    • 11:50 a.m. – Elisa Wallace and her Mustang Hwin
    • 12:10 p.m. – Tik Maynard Horsemanship Demonstration
    • 12:30 p.m. – Dance Alive National Ballet
    • 12:50 p.m. – Herding Dog Demonstration by Billy Bishop
    • 1:10 p.m.- “Highway” – the I-75 Miracle Horse
    • 1:30 p.m. – Mary Phelps – Driving her 2019 World Champion Pony Pair, “the Gangsters”
    • 1:50 p.m.- Celtic Dancers
    • 2:10 p.m. – Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horse Demonstration
    • 2:30 p.m. – Elisa Wallace and her Mustangs Fledge & Rune


Every Day

  • The Ocala Jockey Club is presenting complimentary tours of various aspects of the farm at set times of the day. To schedule your tour time, sign up online. Enjoy your choice of:
    • Farm and Townhome Tour
    • Stallion Tour
    • OJC Clubhouse Tour, or
    • Morning Nature Photography Tour.
  • Vendor Village –  Shopping and food, located next to OJC Main Arena.
  • VIP Club in OJC Clubhouse – Badges Required for Entry.
  • Beer Garden!

View a complete schedule of events and activities here.

Ocala Jockey Club International: WebsiteScheduleEntriesRide TimesLive StreamEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

They’re Off to the Races at Ocala Jockey Club International

EN’s own Maggie Deatrick is contesting the CCI2*-L with Cthulhu. Best of luck, Maggie! Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

If the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event was a race, the starting field would be loaded in the gate following the first horse inspection today here in Reddick, Florida.

In the CCI2*-L, one horse was sent to the holding box, Natasha Erschen’s mount Chai Tea Latte, but was accepted after re-presenting. Across the three- and four-star divisions, only one horse did not pass: Joe Meyer’s mount Gortglas Crazy Love, in the CCI3*-L. Emily Beshear’s mount Deal With It was sent to the hold in the CCI3*-L but passed upon re-presentation.

Black fences criss-crossing emerald fields, Spanish moss fluttering in a cool autumn breeze … it’s hard to capture the magnificence of this venue, a jewel in the crown of Thoroughbred country. Enjoy these sun-drenched snapshots of the first horse inspection by the brilliant Shannon Brinkman:

Emily Renfroe-Dailey and Point of It all in the CCI2*-L. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Rebecca von Schweinitz and Limited Edition in the CCI2*-L. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Emily Beshear and Deal With It in the CCI3*-L. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Laura Szeremi and Toxicodendron in the CCI2*-L. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Madeline O’Brien and Casarino. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Dressage starts at 8 a.m. tomorrow for half the CCI2*-L and the full CCI4*-S division — father-daughter team Rick and Elisa Wallace will be their test riders, respectively, beginning at 7:40 a.m. The first of two days of CCI3*-L dressage kicks off at 12:20 p.m. Click here for dressage start times.

There will be a live stream on EQTV Network beginning Friday; you view the schedule at the website.

Keep it locked on EN for everything you need to know from #OJC3DE. Go Eventing.

Ocala Jockey Club International: WebsiteScheduleEntries,  Ride TimesLive StreamEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

Terrifying Cavalry Training Tips Part 3: Water Jumps

In honor of Veterans Day and in the spirit of celebrating eventing’s military roots, each day this week we are republishing a section of Wylie’s 2015 series “Terrifying Cavalry Training Tips.”  From death-defying drop banks to gridlines that are literally on fire, this week we’ve been having a look at the madness that is military horse training.

Modern eventers may be a little bit wackadoodle-doodle-doo, but it’s not our fault, really. The condition is hereditary, and if you’ve been following along with this week’s Cavalry Training Tips series you know who left us their insanity inheritance.

Today’s topic: water jumps.

Water jumps are standard cross-country fare at every level these days but this hasn’t always been the case. Let’s kick things off with a canter back in time to the eventing competition at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

The cross-country course was a doozie, a five-phase test that spanned 36 kilometers (22 miles) with a time limit of just over two hours. It took two years to construct and contained many “new and unusual kinds of jumps,” including fence #4, the WORLD’S FIRST OFFICIAL WATER JUMP.

Nobody saw this thing coming.

Like, literally.


Many riders, not knowing how to approach such a jump, ran at it full-tilt, clearing the hurdle only to succumb to the drag of three-foot deep water and treacherously boggy footing on the other side. According to the official IOC report, of 46 horses who jumped into the pond, there were 18 horse/rider falls and 10 rider falls.

It’s worth noting that Germany wasn’t exactly in its “ethical prime” during this era. There was widespread speculation that the Germans, who claimed individual and team gold medals in all three equestrian disciplines, had known such a jump would be on the course and thus claimed an advantage.

You can see footage of the obstacle here. I can’t decide whose save is more amazing: the Italian’s…


…or the Norwegian’s.


But for sure my favorite moment is when the soggy rider marches off in disgust when his horse decides, post-fall, to seize the moment for a water break.


To their credit these are war horses we’re talking about, not show ponies. It’s not like they had never gotten their feet wet before. But whereas you and I might introduce our green mounts to the joy of water with a creek crossing or splash through a baby water complex, a cavalry horse’s initial experience with water may have been a little more belly flop than swan dive.


Portuguese Cavalry, 1917. Source: British Pathé.

As time went on, however, it appears that the cavalry came to embrace a happier, or at least less traumatic, approach to water familiarization. Peer pressure for the win!


Royal Scots Greys and 2nd Dragoons Cavalry, Britain, 1936. Source: Critical Past.


German Cavalry, 1939. Source: British Pathé.


German Cavalry, 1939. Source: British Pathé.

There’s one in every crowd. One more #protip: modern riding instructors tend to frown upon stripping down to your tighty-whities mid-lesson.

Stay tuned for more military-inspired training tips and exercises you definitely shouldn’t try at home. Go Eventing!

Oliver Townend Purchases Half-Brother to Cooley Master Class at Monart Sale

Could MBF Desert Dancer be Oliver Townend’s next five-star winner? Photo courtesy of the Monart Select Elite Event Horse Sale.

Oliver Townend laid claim to the top lot at this year’s Monart Sale, which took place in Co. Wexford, Ireland, Nov. 4-6. The horse, who was purchased by the reigning world no. 1 for a tune of €30,000: MBF Desert Dancer, a 3-year-old chestnut gelding who shares the same sire, Ramiro B, as Oliver’s back-to-back Kentucky CCI5* winner and European Championships ride Cooley Master Class.

The Monart Sale is among the equestrian world’s most well curated auctions. Every horse in the catalogue has been selected by a panel of five-star event riders — Polly Jackson (GB), Niall Griffin (IRL) and Bill Levett (AUS) — and vetted by former Team Ireland vet Marcus Swail.

Being a clearinghouse for top-notch prospects, this year’s auction was well attended by a who’s-who of European eventers. Notable buyers included Aoife Clark, Susie Berry, and Trish and Michael Ryan of Ireland; Kai Ruder and Julia Mestern of Germany; Emily King, Sam Ecroyd, Vicky Tuffs, David Britnell, and Vicky Brake of Great Britain; and Giovanni Ugalotti of Italy. The likes of Michael Jung and Astier Nicolas have previously purchased horses at Monart but were underbidders on several lots this year; Astier, however, did secure a horse for one of his clients.

We were excited to see several North Americans in the mix as well.

Megan Moore purchased lot 3 from Trade Horse Ltd.

Hallie Coon purchased lot 63 from Michael Griffin.

Sten-Ake Krist purchased lot 52 from Frank & Paula Cullen.

Canadian Karl Slezak always seems to pick up a lorry-full at Monart and this year was no exception. He purchased lot 44 from Lizzie Burcher, lot 62 from Martin Goff, and lot 78 from Creevagh Stables.

Fellow Canadian Sabrina Levere purchased lot 56 from Hugh Douglas.

This year’s Monart Sale saw the average price rise from €11,000 in 2018 to €13,000, setting a new record for the sale as it enters its 10th year. Sixty-three of the 90 horses presented to the auction were sold, bringing total auction sales to over €800,000.

“I was delighted with this year’s sale,” says organiser Niall Griffin. “Any sale where your clearance rate is over 70% is a good sale and the fact our average price was the highest it has ever been is a nice bonus. We had some amazing horses in it who have gone on to some fabulous riders, so we are very excited to see how they progress over the coming years.”

Previous sale graduates have gone on to big things, one U.S. import example being Charlie Tango, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Shannondale Sarco St Ghyvan x Our Queen Bee, by Ricardo Z) purchased at the 2011 sale, who has had wins and top finishes at the four-star level with Heather Morris. Others include Bill Levett’s 2018 WEG mount Lassban Diamond Lift, Paul Tapner’s long-listed 2016 Rio Olympic mount Prince Mayo, Jonty Evans’ top 10 2016 Rio Olympic finisher Cooley Rorkes Drift, among many accomplished eventers and show jumpers.

Prior to Wednesday’s auction the organizing team had discussed how the quality of horses presented to that sale increases each year. “We had over 300 3-year-olds come forward, and the quality has increased year on year,” says Niall. “This year we’ve truly been able to pick the best of the best. Buyers will see that this year’s catalogue has a higher percentage of thoroughbred blood than previous years.”

Niall added “I have no doubt there are several horses that were sold on Wednesday that will like so many before them become household names in our sport.”

A full round up of all sold lots can be found here. The dates for next year’s sale are Nov. 2-4, 2020.

SmartPak SmartStride Ultra ‘Long Spot’ Contest: Top 15 Finalists!

British readers weren’t eligible for the contest since SmartPak doesn’t ship abroad, but this photo of Kirsty Short and Cossan Lad taking a flyer at Burghley definitely could have been a contender! Kirsty Short and Cossan Lad at Burghley Horse Trials. Photo by Amy Burbage.

Last week we asked EN readers to send us your best “long spot” photos for a chance to win a month’s supply of SmartStride Ultra Pellets from our friends at SmartPak. After reviewing several hundred entries of your horses doing their best superman impressions — “Long spot, or short airplane ride?” as one reader put it — we narrowed the field down to 15 finalists.

Click on the pictures to scroll through the gallery and cast your vote for best long spot!

BTW, we confirmed that all the horses pictures were able to safely put down their landing gear on the other side. Which seems like definite proof that horses, in fact, can fly.

Many thanks to our friends at SmartPak for sponsoring this fun edition of SmartPak Supplement Shellout. We’ll announce the winner next Tuesday, Nov. 19. Go Eventing!


Terrifying Cavalry Training Tips Part 2: Grid Work

In honor of Veterans Day and in the spirit of celebrating eventing’s military roots, each day this week we are republishing a section of Wylie’s 2015 series “Terrifying Cavalry Training Tips.” Yesterday we tackled down banks — today we’re hitting up the grid! 

Don’t try this at home, ya’ll! Source: Flickr/Nicki/Creative Commons.

Even back in the black-and-white cavalry days, everyone understood how essential gridwork is to the training of horses and riders. I mean, you never know when you’re going to run into a triple combination of barbed wire fences out on the battlefield, right?

As such, the cavalry took its gymnastic training very, very seriously. For the second in our series of cavalry inspired training articles, we’ll take a look at some inspiring grid ideas that you should absolutely NOT try at home. Kind of like Jimmy Wofford’s gymnastic training manual, but for people who are completely insane.

Here we go!

EXERCISE #1: Jump multiple horses through a grid at once.

#ProTip: This is a great one for busy professionals looking to squeeze the most out of their day.



Royal Army Service Corps, Britain, 1950. Source: British Pathe.

EXERCISE #2: Enlist a pyromaniac trainer to set one of the fences on fire.

Pro tip: While any old straw-swaddled jump will do, keyholes are ideal. Nothing keeps a horse straight like an open flame! Plus, the next time your horse encounters this type of jump on course, he’ll be thinking, “Well, at least it’s not on fire.” Just watch your head!



Royal Army Service Corps, Britain, 1950. Source: British Pathe

EXERCISE #3: Same thing but while threading the needle with other riders.

#ProTip: Just try not to run into one another, m’kay?



Metropolitan Police, Britain, 2007. Source: FEI World Para Dressage Championships

EXERCISE #4: Vault off and back on in between jumps.

#ProTip: Land in the saddle, not behind it, to avoid being bucked off and/or your horse hating you forever.



16th Light Cavalry, India, 1935. Source: National Army Museum UK.

EXERCISE #5: Jump a moving gridline.

#ProTip: Survive this and you’ll never bat an eyelash over a false groundline ever again.


Life Guards, Britain, 1932. Source: British Pathe.

Well, that’s all the time we have for ill-advised training exercises today. Stay tuned for part 3, coming your way tomorrow!

Go Eventing.

Ohio Eventing Is Thriving at Stone Gate Farm Thanks to a Smith Family Effort

Julie Allison braves the cold to contest Stone Gate Farm jumper derby on Nov. 9. Photo by Miranda Akins / Photography In Stride.

We were all saddened to hear the recent news that South Farm, an Ohio venue and staple of the Area VIII eventing calendar for 25 years, would no longer be hosting recognized or mini horse trials. But eventing is still going strong at a nearby venue, Stone Gate Farm, a 171-acre farm in the rolling hills of Columbiana County.

In 2019 Stone Gate hosted USEA recognized events in May and September, as well as a number of other schooling opportunities throughout the year: two mini trials, two hunter paces, two jumper shows and derbies, a combined test and event derby, a dressage fix-a-test, two mountain trail challenges and several clinics.

“Whew!” says Jackie Smith, who owns the farm with husband Dave, recounting the non-stop roster of activities. Which, lately, have been something of a team effort, led by whom Jackie calls “the next generation of organizers who will hopefully keep the sport of eventing alive and well in Ohio.”

Brandi Podboy and Who Dat. Photo by Miranda Akins / Photography In Stride.

“In early October my kids Kyle, Kevin and his wife Laura came to me and told me that people were asking for another jumper show at that farm and asked if we could do one,” Jackie says. “By that time I had just finished the last competition of the year and I had no desire to run another show.”

They told her not to worry — that they would run it themselves.

“As long as I didn’t have to do anything it was fine with me!” Jackie says. “Interestingly enough, they picked a date that I was going judging out of town. I’m not sure if it was by accident or intentional, but it definitely kept me from being tempted to ‘help.’

The October show went so well that riders requested yet another show in November. Jackie was skeptical: “They were extremely lucky that they had a beautiful warm day at the end of October in Northeast Ohio, but November definitely could be a little dicier.”

Once again, Stone Gate’s fledgling crew of organizers were not deterred.

“In fact they decided to up their game by adding optional cross country fences so riders could have one last hurrah!,” Jackie says.

Photo courtesy of Laura Ann Kosiorek-Smith.

Photo courtesy of Laura Ann Kosiorek-Smith.

Photo courtesy of Laura Ann Kosiorek-Smith.

This time, however, the weather didn’t exactly cooperate. “It was dry but down right cold — as in 22 degrees cold!” Jackie says. “The start of the show was moved an hour later to give the ring a little more time to thaw out so it could be dragged. By the time the show started is was a balmy 32 degrees and it never did get to the predicted high of 41.”

“Regardless, the footing was perfect, the courses were great and everyone took advantage of a few cross country jumps. Although I didn’t show, I took full advantage of the course they had set up the next day when it was a more comfortable 50 degrees. It was great fun!”

The Ohio eventing community is lucky to have the Smith family’s energy and enthusiasm for the sport.

“The kids are already making plans for having a Derby Cross in the spring when people are itching to do a little cross country but the footing isn’t good enough,” Jackie says. “Ah, the next generation of organizers at Stone Gate Farm … maybe someday I will be able to retire!”

Stay warm up there, you guys! Keep an eye on the Stone Gate Farm website and Facebook page for news about upcoming events.

Terrifying Cavalry Training Tips Part 1: Down Banks

In honor of Veterans Day and in the spirit of celebrating eventing’s military roots, each day this week we are republishing a section of Wylie’s 2015 series “Terrifying Cavalry Training Tips.” Today we start with part 1: down banks!

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

“Red on right” and “white on left” are relatively new developments in the history of cross country riding. “Insanity in the middle,” on the other hand, is a centuries old tradition. And nobody did insane better than old-school cavalry riders.

I’ve made a case for this before on multiple occasions. If you’re into vicarious thrills, check out my roundup of terrifying cavalry jumps as well as this account of the military only 1936 Berlin Olympics eventing competition, a true survival-of-the-fittest affair.

Cavalry riders underwent intense training, and by “intense” I mean “deathwish-esque.” I thought all you modern-day crazies out there might enjoy a highlight reel of some of the zanier exercises. Maybe you can incorporate them into your own training program! (Just kidding: Do NOT try this at home.)

Let’s kick the series off with some down banks.

Every officer of the Italian Cavalry School in Pinerolo was required to go down “the descent of Mombrone” before they left the school. The 20-foot drop from the window of a ruined castle about three miles from Pinerolo was considered a test of nerve. Source: lrgaf.org

Every officer of the Italian Cavalry School in Pinerolo was required to go down “the descent of Mombrone” before they left the school. The 20-foot drop from the window of a ruined castle about three miles from Pinerolo was considered a test of nerve. Source: lrgaf.org

How do you train a horse to agreeably slide off the edge of the earth? I suppose, like anything else, you start small. A nice civilized staircase, perhaps, as demonstrated in this 1920s video from the Prelinger Archives. Thank goodness we have since invented brushing boots.


Next, move on to a steeper, more rustic grade, as seen in this excerpt from a 1914 video of U.S. Army Cavalry training exercises at Fort Crook, Nebraska, courtesy of Critical Past.


Once they’ve mastered the bum-scoot technique down, you can start adding speed. Going downhill fast! (Har-har.) From the Prelinger Archives:


Eyes up! Lean back! Or don’t. U.S. Cavalry circa 1931 via British Pathe:




And, this 25-foot plunge via the US Cavalry:


Next, incorporate a water element. From the Prelinger Archives:


Soon, with proper training, your horse will be fully trained to leap enthusiastically into any treacherous abyss. From the Prelinger Archives:


Stay tuned for more inadvisable training tips courtesy of the godfathers of our sport coming at you daily this week. Go Eventing!

Best of HN: (Almost) Every Horse Movie Ever Made Ranked & Reviewed

With winter coming on, ’tis the season to curl up in one’s pajamas to Netflix (or Amazon Prime, or Redbox, or Hulu, etc.) and chill with a good movie — especially one with horses involved.

Since its inception in 2012, Horse Nation has dug deep to identify, watch and ruthlessly deconstruct almost every horse movie that has ever been made. Here is an encyclopedia of horse movies you may or may not want to check out. Hey, we watch bad horse movies so you don’t have to! Click on the title for HN’s review, and take note of our one horse (meh) – four horse (a must-see) rating!

50 to 1“: The true story of 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. Solid. 🐴🐴🐴

A Cowgirl’s Story“: A straight-to-DVD teen drama that has some horses in it. Meh. 🐴

Albion: The Enchanted Stallion“: A talented cast of actors, including John Cleese, Richard Kind, Jennifer Morrison, and Debra Messing, doing the best they can with a disjointed storyline.  🐴🐴

A Fine Step“: When an expert horseman suffers a traumatic accident with his top horse, he overcomes his injury with the help of a young girl who helps rehabilitate him and the horse. 🐴

All the Wild Horses“: A harrowing and beautiful documentary about the 2015 Mongol Derby, the world’s toughest, wildest horse race. Will make you grateful for your couch. 🐴🐴🐴🐴

Amazing Racer“: Yet another movie featuring — wait for it — a damaged girl, an undervalued horse and an impossible dream. But this one is actually alright. 🐴🐴🐴

American Mustang“: A 3D journey showcasing wild horses of the American West with a unique mix of documentary and narrative. 🐴🐴🐴

Apple of My Eye“:  A 2017 story of teenager Bailey who tragically loses her sight in a riding accident. After seeing her struggle to adjust, a guide dog trainer introduces Bailey to Apple, a guide pony. 🐴🐴🐴

Black Beauty“: This timeless tale is best told via this 1994 adaptation. Bring tissues. 🐴🐴🐴🐴

Blue Fire Lady“: A classic heartwarming horse movie wrapped in ’70s kitsch. 🐴🐴🐴

Danny“: This 1979 flick features high-waisted pants, helmet-less heads, questionable acting and a plot that’s delightfully cliché. 🐴🐴

Dark Horse“: A documentary about a Welsh barmaid’s improbable dream of breeding an elite racehorse. 🐴🐴🐴

Dyna Does Dressage“: A documentary film telling the story of the first mule to compete at the USDF National Finals: Heart B Dyna, ridden by Laura Hermanson. 🐴🐴🐴

Electric Horseman“: Want old-fashioned police chases, a good looking cowboy and an iconic leading lady? We give you Electric Horseman circa 1979. 🐴🐴🐴

Emma’s Chance“: Set at a real-life horse rescue in California. 🐴🐴

Equus“: Our critic describes this 1977 film as “Silence of the Lambs meets The Saddle Club with a little American Horror Story thrown in.” 🐴🐴

Equus: Story of the Horse“: A PBS documentary that brings the evolution and both natural and artificial selection process throughout human history to your television in gorgeous storytelling. 🐴🐴🐴🐴

Flash“: A 1997 made-for-tv Disney movie that will warm the cockles of your heart. 🐴🐴🐴

Flicka 2“: A big-city teenager’s life is turned upside down when she moves to a horse ranch in Wyoming to live with her father. 🐴

Flicka 3: Country Pride“: Another variation on the Flicka theme, but with eventing! 🐴🐴

Healed by Grace“: There’s an injured girl and a Friesian. Why is is ALWAYS a Friesian? 🐴

Hidalgo“: Starring Viggo Mortensen, whom our critic declared “maybe or maybe not the hottest actor ever.” 🐴🐴🐴🐴

Hobbyhorse Revolution“: A documentary by the Oscar-nominated director Selma Vihunen focusing on the Finnish phenomenon that has thousands of young girls competing upon the backs of stick horses. 🐴🐴🐴

Horse Camp“: Starring Dean Cain, this one is a contender for “Best Worst Horse Movie Ever.” 🐴

Indian Relay“: An Independent Lens program aired on PBS that follows three teams from Native American communities during the Indian Relay race season. 🐴

International Velvet“:  The sequel to National Velvet follows Velvet Brown and the Pie into the world of three-day eventing. 🐴🐴

Into the West“: At some point, we’ve probably all fantasized about a white horse galloping into our lives and carrying us away. In this 1992 film, one does. 🐴🐴🐴

Lean on Pete“: A somber coming of age story about the effects of hopelessness, the consequences of running blindly from your problems, and an off-track racehorse. 🐴🐴🐴

Lump of Sugar“: The Best Korean Horse Movie Ever, featuring a defiant girl jockey, a fallen-through-the-cracks racehorse and a trainer named Mr. Yoon. 🐴🐴🐴

Martin Clunes: Heavy Horsepower“: A British documentary about working horses. 🐴🐴🐴

Miracle of the White Stallions“: Based on the autobiographical novel “The Dancing White Horses of Vienna” by Alois Podhajsky, the film tells the true story of the Lipizzaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School during WWII. 🐴🐴🐴

Misty“: A movie based on the Marguerite Henry classic, Misty of Chincoteague. 🐴🐴🐴

My Best Friend“:  A cliched but pleasant family horse movie that will entertain the kids while not being unbearable to the adults in the room. 🐴🐴

Natalie’s Rose“: When a young girl loses her mother… she finds hope in a white rose AKA grey Arabian. 🐴

National Geographic: Horses“: A Nat Geo documentary is all over the map, literally and figuratively. 🐴🐴

Nestor the Donkey“: This stop-motion animation about a long-eared donkey is guaranteed to steal some Rudolph thunder. 🐴🐴

Nico the Unicorn“: Kevin Zegers, international heartthrob, has a dark secret in his past. It involves a unicorn. 🐴🐴

Of Girls and Horses“: A German indie film. 🐴

On the Muscle: Portrait of a Thoroughbred Racing Stable“: A three-part documentary that gives us an in-depth look inside Richard Mandella’s training barn during the 2002 race season. 🐴🐴🐴

Palio“: A documentary film about the centuries-old horse race held in Siena, Italy. 🐴🐴

Racing Stripes“: Our critic has a remarkably high tolerance for silly, overwrought horse movies–but this one tested her patience. (Maybe because it’s a silly, overwrought “zebra” movie?) 🐴

Recon: Unbridled“: A documentary about Horse Sense and Soldiers, an intensive program for veterans suffering from PTSD led by Monty Roberts. 🐴🐴🐴

Return to Snowy River“: We head back to Australia for some more bandicoot stew, Tom Burlinson, and awesome horsemanship. 🐴🐴🐴🐴

Rodeo Girl“: A hunter/jumper gets her cowgirl on in the equestrian version of “Save the Last Dance.”  🐴🐴🐴

Ruffian“: A 2007 film about the racehorse whose spectacular racing career and tragic death touched the heart of a nation. 🐴🐴🐴🐴

Running Wild“: A 2013 documentary about the inspirational life of wild horse hero and old-style cowboy Dayton O. Hyde. 🐴🐴🐴

Saving Winston“: Can horses save delinquent teen Ashley from drinking, smoking and hot-pink hair highlights? We are trying hard to care. 🐴

Seabiscuit“: True story of the undersized Depression-era racehorse whose victories lifted not only the spirits of the team behind it but also those of their nation. 🐴🐴🐴🐴

Second Chances“: A washed out trainer, a broken down untameable horse AND a little girl with a big dream! 🐴

Secretariat“: Penny Chenery Tweedy and colleagues guide her long-shot but precocious stallion to set, in 1973, the unbeaten record for winning the Triple Crown. 🐴🐴🐴

Shergar“: Starring Ian Holm and Mickey Rourke, this 1999 movie is basically equestrian true crime about the disappearance of an Irish champion racehorse.  🐴🐴🐴

Storm Rider“: A film pairing a spoiled equestrian and a mule. 🐴

Sylvester“: You still have time to qualify for Kentucky! If you’re a character in this classic rags-to-riches eventing fairytale, that is. 🐴🐴🐴🐴

The Black Stallion“: That first iconic ride on the beach is one of the best movie scenes of all time. 🐴🐴🐴

The Caravan“: A documentary covering a five-month, 2,500 mile journey across America. 🐴🐴🐴🐴

The Colt“: Like War Horse, but more adorable! This 2005 Hallmark original stars Ryan Merriman and a colt born in the midst of the Civil War. 🐴🐴

The Cup“: A 2011 based-on-a-true-story narrative of an Australian jockey who is on his way to stardom until tragedy strikes. 🐴🐴🐴

The Derby Stallion“: Starring Zach Efron, it’s got everything you could want from a bad horse movie: clueless dialogue, pitiful riding and a glorious big finish. 🐴

The Great Dan Patch“: A 1949 film about harness racing star Dan Patch starring Dennis O’Keefe and Gail Russell. 🐴🐴

The Greening of Whitney Brown“: Starring a Gypsy Vanner named Bob and a city princess turned country girl. 🐴🐴

The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit“: The family-friendly 1968 Walt Disney classic, based on the book The Year of the Horse by Eric Hatch. 🐴🐴🐴

The Horses of McBride“: A made-for-TV Canadian movie based on a real-life rescue of two horses snowbound on the side of a mountain in 2008. 🐴🐴🐴

The Horse With the Flying Tail“: An Academy Award winning documentary about Nautical, a Palomino that defied his stock horse roots to win Team Gold at the 1959 Pan Am Games. 🐴🐴🐴🐴

The Last Horsemen of New York“: A documentary directed by Mary Haverstick that examines the embattled New York carriage industry and the drivers fighting to save their livelihoods. 🐴🐴

The Long Shot“: A 2003 Hallmark movie in which whats-her-name from Dexter stars as a down-on-her-luck dressage rider. 🐴🐴

The Man From Snowy River“: This 1982 classic was directed by George Miller and stars a fresh-faced Tom Burlinson and Kirk Douglas. 🐴🐴🐴🐴

The Path of the Horse“: A world-roaming 2012 documentary exploring the connection between horses and humans. 🐴🐴🐴

The Phantom Horse“: A classic Japanese film from 1955. 🐴🐴🐴

The Silver Brumby“: Russell Crowe and horses–whaaa??? Beautiful horses being chased by beautiful men over beautiful terrain. 🐴🐴🐴

The Small One“: A short Walt Disney film originally shown in theaters as a prelude to Pinnocchio. 🐴🐴🐴🐴

Tornado and the Kalahari Horse Whisperer“: A movie about a suicidal ex-track star who finds redemption in the form of an Arabian stallion. 🐴🐴

Virginia’s Run“: Cliches, bad sound effects, terrible and fairly dangerous riding, blatant changing of horses for the same horse character … this movie has it all. 🐴

War Horse“: Steven Spielberg’s “Best Picture” Academy Award nominated 2011 epic. 🐴🐴🐴

White Mane“: A 1953 French short about a young boy who befriends a wild Camargue stallion. 🐴

Wildfire“: This girls-love-boys-and-ponies television series ran on ABC Family from 2005 to 2008. 🐴🐴🐴

Wild Horse Wild Ride“: An award-winning 2011 documentary featuring the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge.

Winter’s Tale“: A grandiose fairy tale complete with Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell, Will Smith, a whole lot of lens flares and a magical Andalusian. 🐴🐴🐴

Thoroughbreds in the Spotlight at Ocala Jockey Club: RRP Charity Golf Classic + $15K Incentive

Being a Thoroughbred farm in the heart of Thoroughbred country, the breed is close to the heart of Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event. Here are some ways that Thoroughbreds will be taking the spotlight at the fourth annual event, which is fast-approaching Nov. 14-17, 2019.

Retired Racehorse Project Charity Golf Classic

If you’re local to the Ocala, Florida area, or coming into town for the Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event, then don’t forget your clubs!

Join your fellow equestrians and Thoroughbred enthusiasts for a golf tournament to benefit the Retired Racehorse Project on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Taking place at the beautiful Golden Ocala Golf Club (8300 NW 31st Lane Road, Ocala, FL 34482), the RRP Charity Golf Classic will be a four-player scramble-format tournament, with lunch served at 11:30 and a shotgun start at 12:30. Stick around for awards, refreshments and cash bar upon conclusion!

The RRP Charity Golf Classic is generously sponsored by I Love My Horse Equestrian Boutique & Tack and Buck and Andrea Davidson.

Entry is $150 per player (includes lunch, golf cart and prizes) and many other sponsorship opportunities are available!

Contact Terry Welsch ([email protected]) or Jen Roytz ([email protected]) for more information or to reserve a sponsorship or playing spot.

[RRP Charity Golf Classic]

Phillip Dutton will be competing Sea of Clouds, The Sea of Clouds Partnership’s 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Malibu Moon x Winner’s Ticket, by Jolie’s Halo), in the CCI4*-L. Sea of Clouds won a whopping $200 in his two starts on the track before beginning training with Phillip as a 4-year-old — he’ll have a chance to one-up those career earnings at OJC next week! Photo by Alison Green/Jersey Fresh.

Thoroughbred Eventing Champion Division

Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event is once again giving away $15,000 in prizes to top-placing Thoroughbreds in each of the four FEI Divisions (CCI2*-L, CCI3*-L, CCI4*-S, CCI4*-L) to compete in the Thoroughbred Eventing Champion category.

This incentive was launched in 2016 with the intention of highlighting and rewarding the use of off-track Thoroughbreds in second careers. The idea worked: 27% of that year’s OJC event were Thoroughbreds, compared to an average of just 6.5% in two other Ocala three-day events. Similar numbers have participated in each successive year of the event.

Thoroughbred Eventing Champion Division and T.I.P. Program Links: Thoroughbred Prize Eligibility FormT.I.P. Information Page, T.I.P. Eligibility FormT.I.P. Number Online ApplicationTattoo Number LookupThoroughbred Registered Name and Racing Record Search

[Thoroughbred Eventing Champion Division]

Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event: Website, Entries, Schedule, Live Scoring

A Call for Vintage Area I Eventing Photos!

Joan Davis from Flatlandsfoto competing at UNH Horse Trials in 1976(?)

In celebration of 60 years of eventing, Joan Davis from Flatlandsfoto is collecting old photos from Area I USCTA/USEA events to share in a slide show presentation during the 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention. Can you help?

  • Photos should be of good quality as well as on the larger size so they are suitable for the big screen.
  • Please include the rider’s name, horse’s name, event and year when known.
  • Photos can be emailed to [email protected] Please note “Photos for National Meeting” in the subject line so any emails landing in the spam folder can be rescued.
  • Deadline for this project is November 20th.  Feel free to email Joan directly with any questions.

Speaking of the Annual Meeting & Convention, it’s fast approaching! Can you believe the first meeting was held in 1959? Come celebrate the USEA’s 60th anniversary in Boston Dec. 12-15, 2019. Registration and more information is available here.


When in Doubt, Leave It Out? Show Us Your Long Spots to Win SmartPak SmartStride Ultra

Sarah O’Grady of Tasmania, Australia, demonstrates the art of the flyer. Photo courtesy of Sarah O’Grady.

You’re going to want to grab mane for the latest edition of EN’s SmartPak Supplement Shellout! This time we’re sending out a call for your best long-spot photos for a chance to win a month’s supply of SmartStride Ultra Pellets from our friends at SmartPak.

SmartStride Ultra can’t convince your horse to stay attached to planet earth for one more stride, but it can provide comprehensive joint and soft tissue support. SmartStride Ultra Pellets represent the next generation of joint support for horses, with a unique formula featuring cutting-edge ingredients for healthy joints, bones, tendons, and ligaments. While this supplement was created for horses in heavy work, it may also be a great choice for seniors.

This formula includes:

  • Revolutionary and new ingredients including turmeric and resveratrol for supporting a normal response to inflammation and boron for maintaining bone health
  • Tried and true ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and HA for joint health
  • Collagen and silica for resilient tendons and ligaments
  • A tasty pellet with no added sugar!

Photo via SmartPak.

Sound like something your horse could use? Show us those long spot photos, either in the Facebook comments or via email at [email protected] A committee of chinchillas will judge them for drama and style, and we’ll put their top 10 favorites to a reader vote! Entries close next Monday, Nov. 11, at midnight.

Go Eventing!

Trail to Tokyo: What You Need to Know About U.S. Team Selection for the 2020 Olympic Games

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

The eventing selection procedures for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are approved and available on the US Equestrian website. If you’re applying, click here to read the document in full — no shortcuts for you! You’ll also want to bookmark the site’s dedicated Tokyo 2020 Eventing Page, which will be updated with relevant information in coming months.

For the rest of us, here’s a need-to-know overview.


Olympic applications may be downloaded here. The application deadline is Feb. 14, 2020. After submission, applicants will receive details for completing the USOPC registration process, which has an estimated deadline of Feb. 21, 2020.

The team will be announced no later than June 1, 2020. Three combinations will be named to the team, as well as a traveling reserve and list of alternates. The selectors can name direct reserve horses for team riders. A direct reserve horse would be an automatic replacement if the original horse has to be substituted. The USOPC deadline for final entries is June 8, 2020.

The eventing portion of the Games will take place July 31-Aug. 3, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.


The following competitions have been confirmed as selection trials for the U.S. team:


  • Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event Event (USA) – CCI5*-L – April 24-29
  • Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) – CCI5*-L – May 1-5
  • Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event (USA) – CCI4*-L – May 8-12
  • Tattersalls International Horse Trials (IRE) – CCI4*-L – May 29-31
  • Bromont CCI Three-Day Event (CAN) – CCI4*-L – June 6-9
  • Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials (GER) – CCI5*-L – June 13-16
  • CHIO Aachen (GER) – CCI4*-S – July 18-20
  • The Event at Rebecca Farm (USA) – CCI4*-L – July 25-28
  • Millstreet International Horse Trials (IRE) – CCI4*-L – Aug. 22-25
  • Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) – CCI5*-L – Sept. 5-8
  • Military Boekelo – Enschede (NED) – CCI4*-L – Oct. 10-13
  • The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International (USA) – CCI4*-L – Oct. 16-20
  • Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event (USA) – CCI4*-L – Nov. 13-17


  • Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) – CCI5*-L – April 24-29
  • Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) – CCI5*-L – May 6-10
  • Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event (USA) – CCI4*-L – May 8-12

Additional competitions may be identified as Selection Trials should it become necessary and where practical.

All combinations wishing to compete on the Team must earn a FEI Certificate of Capability between Jan. 1, 2019 and June 2, 2020 at a CCI5*-L, or one CCI4*-S AND one CCI4*-L.


Combinations will be chosen for the team based on the following factors (in no particular order):

  • The overall performance and soundness of the combination in those 2019/2020 competitions designated as selection trials with emphasis on dressage scores, current fitness, cross country, and show jumping performance: jumping without faults and/or incurring time penalties, boldness, rideability, and speed.
  • Additional international experience of the athlete/horse combination; preference may be given to combinations who have demonstrated ability to succeed in multiple international eventing competitions.
  • The rider’s fitness.
  • The combination’s suitability to win an individual medal or contribute to a team medal at the Olympic Games.
  • The willingness of the athlete to work within the confines of Olympic accreditation allocation and restrictions.
  • The behavior of the rider and people associated with the rider (including, without limitation, owners, coaches, and grooms) that may have an impact on creating a positive team environment. Riders will be informed of any concerns regarding behavior.

The selectors are Robert Costello (chair), Jonathan Elliott, Jan Byyny, Debbie Furnas and Phyllis Dawson.


All of the combinations named to the team and reserves will be required to “demonstrate their continued preparation, soundness, and ability” by competing at a preparation event or multiple events. Details regarding the preparation event(s) will be released no later than May 15, 2020. At present it is anticipated that the preparation event(s) will be a CCI4*-S, an Advanced horse trial(s), or Advanced combined test(s) to be held after June 1, 2020.

All team and reserve combinations may be required to participate in mandatory training, except as explained below. At present it is envisioned that the mandatory training will be held sometime after July 1, 2020 in the U.S. potentially in conjunction with pre-export quarantine.

In exceptional circumstances, the selectors may grant a waiver for all or part of the requirements if it is in the perceived best interests of the results of the team.

USEF Links: Tokyo 2020 Eventing PageAthlete MemoSelection Procedures

FEI Links: Tokyo 2020 WebsiteTimetableOlympic Format Rules

Keep it locked on EN for all the latest news on the trail to Tokyo. Go Eventing!


Watch the Galway Downs International Live Stream

Galway Downs International Event Live Stream

The 2019 Galway Downs International is underway in Temecula, California, and thanks to our friends at Ride On Video we can all follow the action as it unfolds! Watch the live stream via the embed above or click here.

Times shown in Pacific Time. 

Galway Downs 3DE & H.T.: WebsiteEntry StatusRide TimesLive ScoresLive StreamEN’s Coverage

Who Patted Their Horse the Best? Galway Downs International CCI3*-L Edition

I may be a sentimental sap, but the dressage photos that I love most aren’t the ones of toe-flinging extended trots across the diagonal, or dramatic uphill canters, or even the perfect flying change. They’re the pics snapped after the final salute, of riders showing their horses some well-deserved love for the big effort they just put forth.

Globe-trotting photog Sherry Stewart, who is freshly returned to the States after a tour of European eventing that took her from Boekelo to Le Lion d’Angers, is at Galway Downs International this week, capturing the action with her lens. You can check out her Thursday dressage photos in Kim Miller’s dressage report here. On behalf of EN, thank you ladies for bringing our readers ringside for West Coast eventing action year-round!

Our “Who Jumped It Best?” series is an EN tradition, but lately we’ve been mixing it up a bit, too! Here’s the latest reincarnation of a reader favorite — you know what to do, EN! Vote for your favorite photo in the poll below.

Galway Downs 3DE & H.T.: WebsiteEntry StatusRide TimesLive ScoresEN’s Coverage

Anna Stein & Zaboomafoo. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Kaitlin Vossler & Clear Approval. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Jess Hargrave & Regenmann. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Sophie Click & Quidproquo. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

James Alliston & Cassio’s Picasso KD. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Erin Kellerhouse & Woodford Reserve. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Maddy Mazzola & So Cool. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Tamie Smith & Danito. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Tamie Smith & No App For That. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Kaylawna Smith Cook & Passepartout. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Helen Bouscaren & Paper Jam. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Go Eventing.

Friday News & Notes from World Equestrian Brands

Halloween, a two-part holiday for the Davidson fam. Photos via Andrea Leatherman Davidson’s Facebook page.

The best social media day of the year is Halloween, no contest, especially if you’re a sucker for photos of pets and small children in costume. Of course I’m partial to my own baby, AKA the party flamingo, but who really won the Facebooks for me yesterday was the Davidson family, who were similarly avian inspired and in Team BDJ colors to boot. Rubber gloves as chicken feet … gimme a break!!! Genius.

We’ll be leading the morning off with a photo gallery from Virginia Horse Trials, where a costume parade of horses and riders took to the jog strip yesterday. Spoiler alert: Will Faudree in a unicorn onesie. Stay tuned.

National Holiday: National Cook For Your Pets Day

Major Weekend Events:

Galway Downs 3DE & H.T. [Website]  [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Virginia 3DE & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

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

News From Around the Globe: 

Galway Downs International Three-Day Event is underway in Temecula, California. The event kicked off Thursday afternoon with the first horse inspection for the CCI4*-L, CCI3*-L, and CCI2*-L international divisions as well as the Hylofit USEA Classic Series Training Three-Day. After dressage, Tamie Smith leads the CCI3*-L with Danito on 24.3 as well as the CCI4*-L with En Vogue on 28.5. Whitney Tucker Billeter and Bill’s Midnight Magic leads the Training Three-Day on 25.9. [USEA: All Clear But One in Galway Downs International First Horse Inspection]

At Galway? A US Equestrian Open Athlete Forum will be held during the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event in Temecula, California, today at 4:30 p.m. PST in the Patron’s Tent. The final Open Athlete Forum of the 2019 season will take place during the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event, Nov. 13-17 in Reddick, Florida. Exact day/time to be confirmed. The High Performance sessions at the 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention will take place on Friday, Dec. 13 in Boston, Massachusetts. [Schedule and session times]

If you or your friends have been waiting impatiently for CrossCountry App on Android, here is your chance to test this exciting new app for free. You can download it from the Early Access Play Store and get updates just like a regular app, but it may not work perfectly all the time. That’s where testers come in: CrossCounty need you to report bugs and issues to help get it ready for its official release. It’s got all the features you know and love in the iPhone app with a an exciting new look and feel. [Get the Android App]

British Eventing membership prices, entry and start fees, prize money and abandonment insurance are all set to increase next season as the organisation looks at “revamping its membership offerings.” BE CEO Jude Matthews said BE and the British Event Organisers Association had agreed a formula for calculating any increase in entry fees, which was “designed to reflect the increasing costs an organiser incurs year on year.” [Horse & Hound: Cost of eventing to rise as more membership options considered]

Featured Video: OK, OK, OK here’s a teaser🦄.


Will Faudree you are my hero 😍😂 #happyhalloween #bestturnedout #spirit #goeventing

Posted by Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride on Thursday, October 31, 2019

And the Winner of the ‘Spooktacular’ SmartPak Supplement Shellout Is …

In the spirit of Halloween, last week we asked you to tell us what spooks your horse and your answers were … hilarious. Forget ghosts and ghouls — our equines will take pretty much any excuse to run the other way in terror.

A sampling of reader responses to our “Spooktacular” SmartPak Supplement Shellout, featuring a month’s supply of SmartCalm Ultra up for grabs:

  • The pitchfork that I just used to clean up her manure, and then placed against the wall near her on the cross ties. Absolutely terrifying!
  • My son’s Batman house. My 6-year-old son brought his Batman house out to play with in the arena sand, and when my horse saw it out of the corner of his eye he shot sideways across the length of the ring!
  • The pile of manure he just made last time around the arena
  • Turkeys spook my horse the most.
  • A mailbox
  • Leaves and corn husks “chasing” him
  • Cows
  • A wood stump that moved 6 inches
  • Horse racing up behind him
  • Wind
  • Leaves rustling in the wind (happened yesterday)
  • A deer statue
  • Leaves
  • Trampolines
  • His cooler hanging on the same chair it always hangs on!
  • Jumps in the corner of the arena he sees every single day
  • Well I own a mare … any horse that breathes next to her! I can be talking to a person the next thing I know we have gone sideways, hence no more conversation!
  • Depends on the day. Sometimes dirt in the concrete floor, water drops, shadows on the wall, almost anything!
  • Birds!! Flying birds, sitting birds, live birds, dead birds, chickens, geese, all birds are terrifying!
  • His own shadow!
  • Umbrellas
  • Big ears! Donkeys, bunnies, mules….
  • Loud car engines.
  • The mounting block. Every time.
  • New jumps, anything NEW … honestly.
  • Tractors … always tractors!
  • Dogs running around
  • Other horses. Literally spooks at the horses passing him in the arena, on trails, at shows … Mirrors don’t scare him though, must be a streak of vanity!
  • My husband taking out the trash
  • Garbage trucks.
  • Probably running out of food!
  • His blanket … like, me trying to put it on him. Obviously, I am trying to smother him. 🙄

And the winner, drawn at random, is …. Carey Shefte! Whose horse is apparently terrified of the mailbox. Not just any mailbox, mind you, but THIS mailbox in particular. 

Carey explains: “Here’s my little horse today facing his scary place. We pass by at least six or more mailboxes, many creek crossings and a scary bridge to get to this spot. He’s good about it now, but the first time by here,my trusty terriers, that ride out with me, had to give him a lead!”

Carey’s prize: SmartCalm Ultra Pellets, which can help persuade even the most spook-prone horses to take a breath. Features include …

  • An herb-free formula for nervous system function
  •  Ingredients including vitamins minerals and amino acids to help minimize excessive skittishness
  •  A tasty pellet with no added sugar!

Best of luck to Carey and her steed, who sounds like he’s got a bright future ahead. “He’s just recently ended his racing career and I have hopes for him to start foxhunting next season,” Carey says.

For more chances to win, keep an eye out for our November SmartPak Supplement Shellout coming soon!

Go Eventing.

ERA of NA Issues Statement on ‘FEI Article 549.2 – Run Out – Missing a Flag’ & Proposed Changes

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

FEI 2019 Eventing Rule Article 549.2 – Run Out – Missing a Flag has proven confusing and controversial since it was implemented at the beginning of this year (click here for EN’s best attempt at a clear-as-mud explanation of the rule). A Change.org petition compelling the FEI to remove the flag rule has garnered well over 5,000 signatures, and multiple elite level eventers have spoken out publicly in favor of revision.

The Eventing Riders Association of North America (ERA of NA) recently released the following statement:

“For much of the 2019 season FEI 2019 Eventing Rule Article 549.2 – Run Out – Missing a Flag has been a consistent source of discussion and confusion. This past weekend at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International this 15 Penalty Rule came into play and had a profound effect on the competition results, as well as prize money and FEI Ranking point allocations. This past weekend was not the first instance in North America that this rule has been applied with deeply warranted concerns for riders, owners and the entire eventing constituency. North American competitions have seen this rule have more influence on results than competitions held on any other continent.

“The ERA of NA would like to reiterate their support of the proposed changes to Article 549.2 that will be discussed and voted on at the FEI General Assembly November 16-19, 2019 and would go into effect January 1, 2020. The proposed updated wording would be as follows:

“Article No. 549.2 Run out – Missing a flag:

a) Clear: A Horse is considered to have cleared the fence when the head, neck and both shoulders of the Horse (to the point of the front of the saddle) pass between the extremities of the element or obstacle as originally flagged and the hindquarters of the horse jump the dimensions of the fence.

b) Missing a flag: A horse is considered to have missed a flag (15 penalties) if part of the Horses head, neck or shoulder (to the point of the front of the saddle) jump outside the extremities of the element or obstacle as originally flagged. The hindquarters must jump the dimensions of the fence.

c) Run-Out: A Horse is considered to have run out (20 penalties) if, having been presented at an element or obstacle on the course, it avoids it in such a way that the head, neck and both shoulders (to the point of the front of the saddle) fail to pass between the extremities of the element or obstacle as originally flagged or the hindquarters have not jumped dimensions of the fence. Continuing on course will incur elimination.

“The ERA of NA supports the proposed changes for Article No. 549.2 but the implementation and transparency of the rule going forward needs to be amended.

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

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

The 2019 FEI General Assembly 2019 will be held in Moscow, Russia, Nov. 16 to 19. All proposed rule changes and proposed modifications can be accessed here. We’ll be sure to keep you updated.

[ERA of NA Statement Regarding FEI Article 549.2 – Run Out – Missing a Flag and Proposed Changes]

Around the World with Erik Duvander and Team USA

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

It feels like we haven’t had a moment to catch our breaths yet this year, with eventing action virtually non-stop week after week, month after month, stateside and beyond. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but it certainly feels like we’ve had a record amount of U.S. representation abroad as Erik Duvander, USEF Eventing Performance Director, continues his determined effort to help our team gain traction on the international stage.

Throughout it all, we’ve greatly appreciated Erik’s communication, transparency and willingness to bring fans and supporters along on the team’s journey. He generously took the time to share a team update in the US Equestrian Eventing newsletter that landed in members’ inboxes this afternoon.

“Dear U.S. Eventing Community,

“Having achieved our Olympic qualification in Lima, winning the team gold and individual gold and silver, our greatest success at the Pan American Games was in how the team – from grooms, support team and riders – worked together to reach our goals. I was very proud of this team, as there is a very different and greater pressure in having to step up and win compared to just doing your best. The Pan American Games were Joanie Morris’ final tour with the team as Managing Director of Eventing. I think this was the best send-off we could give her after six years of servicing and supporting the team. She will be truly missed by all.

A golden result for Team USA at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

“The following week, we flew to Tokyo for the Olympic Test Event. Having been to the Equestrian Park before, which was built for 1964 Tokyo Olympics and lies in the middle of the city, it was amazing to see how the venue has been rebuilt to an absolute world-class permanent setup for dressage and show jumping. There are plenty of training arenas and air-conditioned stables, an indoor school, a vet clinic, a small area for cross country training and a gallop track. We did not get to see the Olympic Village, but we saw the newly laid cross country by the waterfront that Derek di Grazia has been planning and working on as course designer. Derek has done a super job laying out a 10-minute course on a fairly small area of land. It will for sure be hot and humid, and a lot of coordination will be required as we will be working out of three hubs. There will be travel in heavy traffic involved between the Equestrian Park, Olympic Village and the cross country course. It will be one of the most amazing Olympics, the food is fantastic, and the Japanese are incredibly organised and friendly. I truly hope we will have many supporters coming out next year to Tokyo.

Australia’s Andrew Hoy and Bloom Des Hauts Crets. Photo by FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi.

“After Tokyo, I flew to Ireland to have a four-day camp with our four riders going to compete at Millstreet. Holding training camps is something we do before championships, and I wanted to trial it for riders going to events abroad. It will not be possible to hold training camps every time we have riders overseas, but the feedback from the riders at Millstreet was very good, so we did the same in the lead-up for Boekelo and got the same feedback. This also gives me another opportunity to work with riders outside the Training List and arrive to the event with everyone on the same page. All our riders performed well at Millstreet, which is one of my favourite European venues.

“Burghley Horse Trials was next in line for us, with a record number of 11 U.S. combinations competing there. Walking the cross country course, it felt bigger and more technical this year and proved to be so. Every five-star course in the world has its own unique challenges to ride, but Burghley is definitely the toughest. It was great to see four U.S. riders finish in the top 15, and I hope our riders will continue to go there and try to close the gap to the top three. I know we can do it if we take the learnings from this year and work on it. Ariel Grald and her lovely young horse, Leamore Master Plan, who was awarded a Jacqueline B. Mars International Competition Grant, won the prize for best first-timer at Burghley with her 10th placing. We are fortunate to have these grants, and it is good to see when they pay dividends.

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan navigate the Trout Hatchery en route to 10th place at Burghley. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

“A few weeks ago, we traveled to Boekelo with a team to compete at the Nations Cup Final, which also served as a trial for the new Olympic format. Our plan was to go there and be competitive but also to learn more from competing in the new format. Boekelo has become one of the most competitive competitions in the world with a lot of very high-quality combinations, and this year had a new course designer in Adrian Ditcham, who did a fantastic job. Boekelo’s motto is to be the best event but also the most fun event in the world, so it was fantastic to have more than 50 U.S. owners and supporters there backing our team and also having fun. I hope we can continue to grow this interest in the future, as I believe it is a big part of what we should be doing as an organisation.

Team USA out in force at Boekelo. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

“We came off with a good start in the dressage, but after having one combination down in the cross country, our team chances were out, as there is no drop score under the new Olympic format. There is an ongoing conversation and debate around this new format with three riders on a team. However, this is how it will be at the 2020 Olympics, and it is up to us to have a game plan accordingly. This was also our new Managing Director of Eventing Jenni Autry’s first team competition in her role, and she did her duties with flying colours.

Erik Duvander walks the Boekelo show jumping course with team member Jennie Brannigan. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

“This year we have continuously worked on improving the connection between High Performance and our athletes in the eventing community. We have had several Open Forums at events this year, and will have our last ones at Galway Downs in California this weekend and at the Ocala Jockey Club in Florida next month. It is an opportunity for riders to ask questions about High Performance, and for us to give relevant information to our community. We have also been more involved in regular meetings with the Eligible Athletes Working Group, which Lynn Symansky does a great job with as Chair. We have a clear picture of how to run the High Performance Program, but we get very valuable feedback and information from this group that will help us consistently improve our program.

“It is with a bit of sadness to have seen the last Fair Hill International CCI4*-L at the old venue. Derek di Grazia built once again one of the best CCI4*-L cross country courses I have seen on the best land you can possibly find for our sport. However, everyone I have spoken to who has been to the new Fair Hill facilities on the other side of the road have been very impressed. I am myself very excited about having another CCI5*-L in the U.S. in 2020 and can’t wait to have the opportunity to see what Fair Hill’s team has accomplished.


Erik Duvander”

Go Team USA. Go Eventing!

Product Review: Équilibre ‘Firm Grip’ Hand Cream

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Horses are hard on hands. We’re out in the elements, we’re tugging on lead ropes and gripping reins, we’re hands-on in the truest respect. So we need a hand cream that works as hard as we do. After all, having “good hands” is the goal, right?

Équilibre, a line of cosmetics designed to benefit both equestrians and their horses, sought to create that product. Their Firm Grip Hand Cream contains “carefully chosen ingredients that pamper your skin, while also being 100% safe for animals, even soothing their senses.”

Those ingredients:

  • Organic lavender, which has a scientifically proven soothing effect on horses (and humans as well!)
  • Cocoa beans, a staple in skincare that helps nourish the skin, soothe irritation and itching, and keep it well hydrated.
  • Olives, the raw ingredient used to obtain squalane, a super-light oil that moisturizes, soothes and protects your skin.
  • … and more. Équilibre spent a great deal of time searching for the best ingredients, all of which are listed and thoroughly described on the website.

Olives, cocoa beans and lavender. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

With cold weather coming on, I always have to pay extra attention to my skincare, and hands especially. Cracks are NO BUENO. I’m excited to head into winter this year with Équilibre Hand Cream on my side, as it ticks all the boxes of what riders need to keep our mitts soft and protective year-round.

Almost but not quite as soft as your mitts, barn kitty. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

First things first, the name “Firm Grip” applies. The cream absorbs into skin quickly and leaves no greasy residue that is going to be a magnet for dirt and horse hair or be slippery on reins. All that remains after application is a pleasant, silky-smooth finish.

The next thing I noticed was its scent, a delicate aroma of lavender and rose geranium. In her “Weekly Training Tip” column last week, top eventer Kate Chadderton talked about the five senses — sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch — and how they uniquely inform horses’ and humans’ experiences of the world and one another. Smell is a big one for horses; Kate notes that horses rely on smell to find safe forage and to identify potential threats.

With that in mind, I’ve always avoided bringing potentially irritating scents, like perfume, into the barn. But it is possible to use horses’ sensitive sense of smell to our advantage; I can personally attest to the power of lavender to encourage rest and relaxation, whether as a drop of essential oil sprinkled on my pillowcase or used in a warm bath with epsom salts, so it makes sense to bring this soothing scent into the barn.

Human tested, pony approved. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

I wholeheartedly recommend Équilibre Hand Cream, and will be keeping a bottle of it by the tack cleaning station from here on out. No cracks this winter! #skincaregoals

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Learn more about Équilibre’s philosophy and check out their full line of products, which also includes a “Strong Start” Face Cream and “Smooth Ride” Body Lotion, at the website here. Find a local partner store near you here.

Go Eventing!