Classic Eventing Nation

Sunday Links Presented by One K Helmets

Eventers are a resourceful bunch. Cash-strapped and feeling thrifty, you’ll see many clever endeavors under the #EventerSolutions hashtag. Bec Braitling took that to heart this weekend at Fresno. Californians have had heavy rainfall this week, and she decided to use what she had on hand to clean her tack. Waste not want not!

National Holiday: National Random Acts of Kindness Day

U.S. Weekend Action:

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

Paradise Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Fresno County Horse Park CCI & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Sunday Links:

FEI Olympic Qualifications Focus on Horse Welfare

Jonty Evans jumps for first time since cross-country accident

Now on Course: Like Mother, Like Son

Olympic legend to train racehorse alongside eventing career

‘I Feel More Pressure to Perform’: What It’s Really Like Getting the Ride on a Gold Medalist

Sunday Video: 

Best of HN: 15 Artful Body Clips

For horses who stay in heavy work over the winter, a full or partial clip can be a lifesaver, ensuring that horses don’t overheat in those thick winter coats. When it’s all the same to the horse, why not express yourself?

A few photos submitted for this week’s Horse Nation photo challenge:

Clip by ClipClop Bodyclipping by Morgan, inspired by Paisley Magazine’s Paisley Pony mascot/logo and photo by Sweet Fresno Equestrian Photography

Danielle Keating: My BN team for Team Challenge this year was “Superheroes”; my mare and I were Batman and I decided she needed a matching clip. Photo by Heather Dawson.

Photo by Kate Fremlin.

I always put a heart in my clip as this horse has my heart! Clip and photo by Victoria Tunis.

A snowflake for Snow Cat ❄️
Work of art by the amazing Ashleigh Rauen and photo by me, Madeleine McEntyre!

Pic and clip credit to Jamie Leuenberger.

Clip and photo by Christina Brock.

Clip and pic by Christie Hanson.

Nagi is a St. Patrick’s day baby, so I used to clip a clover into his hip☘️ photo by Sarah Marie

Game of thrones inspired clips, done by Mika Leah.

Clip and photo by NC Adams.

Go Seahawks! Clip and photo by KC Cordell!

Photo credit: Kelly Peine.
My daughter on our “Super Pony” Redford.

Keep an eye out for next week’s 24-hour photo challenge! We announce challenge subjects on Monday around the middle of the day on both Instagram and Facebook.

Go riding!

The Aging Eventer: What to Expect from Experience

As you age as a rider, pain becomes your motivator. Photo by Kayla Benney.

The answer to the question, “What can I gain from this?” can easily be answered by the Aging Eventer. “Pain.” Pretty much that is the state of most of my days, and most of the days of my Aging Eventer friends.

As you fossilize, yet continue to ride, you do gain all sorts of great experiences — and injuries, big and little, that follow you along the way. You body reminds you that you have done this before, and it usually hurts — as you slam painfully on the ground, and your intrepid mount scuttles away with empty stirrups flying in the breeze.

Do we muscle through these times? Yes. Do we pay for it later? Yes. But is it worth it? Yes, always yes. At least for me. Even though I have suffered through some very sore Mondays and Tuesdays at work after not-so-great weekends at events.

Often, the pain is a reminder that I should have done something differently. Made sure the stirrup pads were cleaned out before mounting with gummy mud on my boot soles. Changed to the rubber reins. Forgot to put the “Equitation In A Can” on my saddle. Walked the course more than once. Paid attention. Rode better. Been more fit. Jumped more at home. Took more lessons. Checked the dressage test one more time. Clinched the front shoes. Paid for the hock injections. Bought the nicer breeches. Gone to the bathroom before cross country. You get the picture.

Jimmy Wofford says pretty regularly that experience is what you get just after you need it. I’m a living and breathing Eventer Example of that rule. I am often wondering how on earth I’ve competed this long without knowing what I should be doing, or been eliminated more times for forgetting my armband. I wonder at my ability to keep liking this sport many times (and my family shares this wonder, trust me, I constantly am reminded of their skepticism).

You’d think, with age and experience (and treachery) you could make a case for being satisfied with what I have done. But no. There are more courses I want to ride. There are better dressage tests and show jump rounds out there and I want to see if I can do them. I don’t want to wait a minute longer to see if I can get to the Promised Land. Yes, I still — after many years of failure, many years of denial, many years of Not Quite There Yet — still want to event successfully.

The deep need to continually test oneself in this sport isn’t something we in eventing own alone. Although we laughingly refer to ourselves as routinely crazy, I think all horse sports do attract people for life. The goals are good ones. Most of the time they make us better horsepeople, better riders, and yes, better people for the dreaming and achieving.

Do you think you will event past age 60? Me neither. At least I never thought about it. I just thought I would ride until I couldn’t. And now that I am over that hill (way over it) and starting down the slope, I wonder every time I put foot in stirrup how is it I still do this. Riding now is as natural as breathing, as it should be for being well over 50 years of my life. Should I give it up? Should I let go? How much of a hindrance am I to my horses now? Because now it gets harder to get up from the falls, and it gets tougher to shake the fear of the subsequent pain if I do lose proper vertical order.

Pain is a great fear, but it is also a great incentive. I do a lot of two point, ride without stirrups, sit the trot practice and continue to really work on timing and fitness of both me and the horses. But the best thing to just keep doing is to RIDE. As much as I can. One of the problems is there isn’t much help in the way of what to do and how to do it correctly at this state of existence, since most of the people I know (who have more experience than I) are way younger than I am, still in flexible and functional bodies, and can’t relate to my creakiness.

Will I be able to hold my own against riders who are way less than half my age — more like one third? Maybe not. Yet, I don’t compete or want to compete for those reasons. I really just like to try to complete all three phases without penalties and believe me, that is tough enough in this sport!

So if you are not sure you can still keep going — or if you are young and seeing us Fossil Eventers still trying out there — know that it’s because we are just not quite done yet dreaming the dreams and reaching the goals. We may, or may not, get there. Just don’t let the ibuprofen bottle be empty.

 

Sport Horse Nation Spotlight: Four ‘Mochachino’ Eventers

In the market for a new four-legged partner? You may find your unicorn on our sister site, Sport Horse Nation. To help with the search, we’re going to feature a selection of current listings here on EN each week. We include the ad copy provided; click the links for videos, pricing and contact information.

Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Mochachino. Photo by Lisa Madren.

Fact: We all have a bit of a crush on Landmark’s Mochachino, the 8-year-old dun/paint gelding owned by Ms. Jacqueline Mars who has been collecting top ribbons at the Intermediate level with Lauren Kieffer in the irons. The horse turns heads everywhere he goes with his unique coloring — “Mochachino” is a fitting name, as he would perfectly match a mug of the creamy coffee drink.

Fancy a “mochachino” eventer of your own? Here are three dun colored horses, all available via Sport Horse Nation, who could be your next eventing partner!

SUPER IRISH CONNEMARA – COMPETITION PONY

***Barana Andy****

  • He is a 148cm, 7 y/o, Dun Connemara gelding.
  • He has a beautiful temperament and is always willing to please both under saddle and on the ground.
  • This pony has exceptional movement with three uphill balanced paces. He has well-established flatwork, is light in the hand and is obedient to the aids.
  • He is a fantastic jumper with lots of scope. He locks onto his fences and is very careful. He has a super jumping technique and is a pony for big tracks.
  • He is a cross-country machine. He is very brave and jumps everything in his path, be it water combinations, ditches, skinnies, coffins etc.
  • He is an incredibly talented pony and excels in all disciplines. He has the potential to make a top eventing pony. He recently placed 7th in the “RC National Eventing Championships 2018”.

He has competed in eventing, show jumping, cross country, dressage, working hunter, Connemara performance classes, charity rides, etc. This pony will bring his rider to a high level of competition.

He would be suitable for a teenager who is confident and who has the desire to compete at a high level. He is great in every way and is good to box, shoe, clip, hack alone or in company.

Cooper. Photo via Sport Horse Nation.

STUNNER ~ Imported Dun 16.1 Connie x ID Gelding

DROP DEAD GORGEOUS DUN!

16.1 rising 5yr old Imported ISH

Cooper is an absolutely stunning imported 16.1 just turning 5 year old gelding that we have recently imported! He is a very special boy and easy enough for an amateur!

  • He has been under saddle for a few months now and coming along so nicely! He is the sweetest soul and ready to be someone’s best friend! He has cross country schooled and popping small fences with ease! He would even be easy enough for a Junior to finish!
  • Extremely well priced prior to 2019 show season for a nice young horse. His price will go up once he starts competing here in the U.S.
  • No vices and clean full vetting, PM for more info!
  • 7 others available and can be tried in Ocala Florida!

Ardnehue April Gold. Photo by Louise O’Brien Photography.

Top class Irish Connemara competition Mare

***Ardnehue April Gold****

  • She is a 6 y/o, 15.1hh, grey/dun, Connemara performance mare.
  • She has the most beautiful temperament. She is easy, safe, sensible and a pleasure in every way.
  • She rides beautifully on the flat with three uphill established paces, always scoring high in her dressage tests.
  • She is a fantastic jumping mare, with lots of scope. Her sire is grade A showjumping stallion “Woodfield Sammy”. She is extremely careful and respects her fences. She has jumped up to 1.10m with ease. This lady jumps for fun, she takes on her fences and brings her rider so much enjoyment.
  • She is a cross country machine and jumps everything asked of her, be it skinnies, ditches, coffins, water combinations, banks, etc, she just loves cross country, is so trustworthy and again is so much fun to ride.
  • She is a seriously talented mare and will bring her rider to a high level of competition. She excels in all disciplines and is a true all-rounder. She would be suitable for a teenager or adult rider who has the desire to compete at a high level. This mare will bring her rider all the way.
  • A mare of this quality is not easily found. She has competed in showjumping, dressage, eventing, cross-country, working hunter, Connemara performance classes, derby’s, charity rides, etc. She is easy in every way, good to box, shoe, clip, in traffic and is a pleasure to hack both in company or alone.
  • She is a homebred — as a foal her and her dam qualified for the RDS (Royal Dublin Horse Show) Connemara performance Broodmare and foal championship. This consisted of the top Connemara mares and foals in Ireland where they came 3rd.

Photo via Sport Horse Nation.

STUNNING IMPORTED CONNEMARA X EVENTER/JUMPER FOR LEASE OR PURCHASE

15.2 dun 7yo Connemara x Tb mare available for lease or purchase.

Many miles in the jumper ring up to 1m20 and is almost unbeatable, rarely having a pole, never stops and has won multiple classes and championships. Very forgiving and careful with scope for bigger tracks.

Evented to training level both in the UK and USA with top placings and wins. Schooled prelim xc easily; very brave and catty. Would be ready to move up this fall.

Would suit a yr or aa wanting to win prizes in the jumper ring or someone aiming for NAYC one star and beyond. She is quite a forward ride so wouldn’t suit a timid rider but equally is very safe and a lot of fun.

I need the room in the barn so would be happy to lease her to the right home.

Listings included in this article are randomly selected and confirmed to be current and active before inclusion. Sport Horse Nation features user-generated content and therefore cannot verify or make any warranty as to the validity or reliability of information.

Getting Back on the Horse After Injury: 4 Steps for Psychological Healing

Horse Nation contributor, equestrian and certified life coach Julie Saillant understands the dark downward spiral that can mentally hobble an equestrian after injury. She shares four positive steps to take toward mentally strengthening oneself to get back in the saddle. 

Photo: Pixabay/CC.

In the past, athlete injury rehab has focused on getting the physical injury healed so the athlete can go back to riding their horse. Today, an equally important component to healing is incorporating psychological factors to connect the mind and body as one.

When you realize that you are seriously injured, you know it will take some time for your body to get back to normal, which will keep you out of the saddle.

This is when you may start to think “What am I going to do now?” An even worse fear can raise its ugly head and you think “What if I can’t ride at all? My life won’t be the same!” At this point, you may immediately shut down those thoughts, because not riding is too traumatic to even discuss.

This is a dark downward spiral that very few understand unless they have been hurt and have had a significant time off their horse.

What Fear Does to The Mind

Most of the time, it’s taboo to discuss your “feelings” in equestrian culture. Any vulnerability indicates a weakness that no one wants to be associated with. You will get the “Hope your feeling better! Atta girl!” type of thing. But that does NOT help with the feelings you are experiencing which may sound like this:

You: What on earth am I going to do? Why am I getting sweaty palms and shaky hands as I put on his bridle?
And your friends may say: “Hey, do you want to go for a quick ride with us?
You: “Umm, no, I can’t I have to get off and do some stuff.”

Which is code for: “I am TOO SCARED TO TAKE MYSELF AND MY HORSE OUT OF THIS RING! I am still traumatized and I don’t trust him or myself right now!”

This is a terrible feeling to have and it can stick with you for months, even years, if you don’t handle it correctly.

Good athletes master burying their feelings. They push fear and any outside negative stimulus out of their mind. In this case, what serves you right as an able-bodied athlete does NOT serve you as an injured athlete. Pushing away your negative feelings and not dealing with them properly, only makes you more nervous.

We all experience feelings of fear at certain times on our journey with our horse.  If you’re at the point where you are afraid and are riding in a diminished capacity, this is the point you might want to rethink how you are handling this trauma.

When Your Body Heals but You’re Not Healed

Your mind heals, but your body remembers trauma and going back to the place where you were hurt only magnifies the PTSD.

So how do we get though it and back to the happy rider you used to be?

Before I give you some tips, there are two important factors to consider.

1. Many riders have their whole identity wrapped up in their sport. It is who they are. When they are injured and cannot participate at all or at the level they were at, they feel like they have lost their identity.

2. Many equestrians think of riding and spending time with their horse as their “zen” place. It’s your happy place to escape to and when you are injured, that is taken away. Now you have the one-two-three punch of being unsure where you fit in, scared that you may not get back to the level of riding you were at and you have lost the one place in the world where you love to be.

The Four Steps for Psychological Healing to Get You Back in the Saddle

#1: SET YOUR GOALS

SETTING GOALS FOR MENTAL TRAINING IS PARAMOUNT WHEN YOU ARE INJURED. It gives you a focus, allows you take an active part in the healing process and puts you in control of your goals, offering you confidence in the process.

Studies have shown that injured athletes using goal setting as a healing tool, exhibit greater performance improvement than those who don’t. Goals can also be measured and allows you to course correct and change direction at any time, so you can do what’s best for you and your horse.

#2: ACCEPTANCE

Comparison is a large pitfall many of us experience after an injury. It keeps you stuck and small, causing a greater gap in where you want to be.

Here is an example of comparison and negative self-talk. “You used to be able to do this easily and now you are scared at every turn.” “What is wrong with you?! A ten- year-old can out ride you at this point! You are never going to excel, let alone get back to the level you were at before the injury!”

The quote by Theodore Roosevelt, “comparison is the thief of joy,” gives us incredible insight into how gut-wrenching comparison can be. You may be beating yourself up over small technical skills, when you should focus on the positives of where you are right now.

“Comparison dishonors your progress, severs your identity which was encompassed in the sport and stops you from moving forwards.” — Julie Saillant

When you compare yourself from where you WERE, to where you ARE now and how FAR you need to go to get back to where you WERE, it keeps your attention on the negative, not the positive.

Instead, change your viewpoint to one of acceptance. There is no shame in where you are. Start a positive thinking framework that sounds like this: “I am where I am. I will start with what I have right now and move forward.”

Once you have accepted where you are, there is only one place to go and that’s up. No longer will you focus on where you are broken, not in shape and not performing up to par. Doing this allows you to be grateful to ride and bring forward momentum to both you and your horse.

#3: POSITIVE GUIDED SELF-IMAGERY

Mental imagery is the process of using the imagination to rehearse and imagine a positive outcome to your riding goals.

Positive sports performance self-imagery has been shown to correlate to faster recovery times. You are seeing both you and your horse in a positive light, striving and accomplishing your goals which sets both your mind and body up for success.

I believe positive self-imagery can be transferred to your horse. Whatever you see in your mind’s eye is the picture that is sent directly to your horse. This is how top riders communicate with their horses and they seem to have a certain “flow” or knowingness pass between them.

To get the best results, practice positive self-imagery as much as possible, starting with small tasks and building from there.

#4: POSITIVE SELF-TALK

Positive self-talk is a process where you take negative thoughts and redirect them into positive images and thoughts in your mind. Following an injury, many equestrians dwell on the accident or injury and how far back they are in their training vs where they want to be.

Positive self-talk will produce confidence in you and your horse when you set the expectation that this ride/event/hacking session will be an extremely positive experience for both you and your horse. It sets the stage that this is a strong foundation from where your training begins anew.

As you know, positive self-talk relates to your mindset which can truly make or break your riding. What you focus on – expands. If you are only focused on expecting another fall, you will tense up and your horse will feel this. If you can breathe calmly and put an extremely positive picture in your mind, it will help you to focus on a positive outcome

#4: YOU 2.0

How you see yourself is critical in your progress coming back from an injury. If you picture yourself as small, unqualified and truly unable to ride your horse, the experience will follow your thoughts.

If you see yourself as competent, qualified and even enjoying your ride, your training session should be greatly improved.

You have the potential to see yourself in any light you choose. Why not choose the best possible outcome and picture for you so that you can thrive on your journey?

Top athletes have added another layer and viewed their progression as pre and post injury, seeing the post injury picture being vastly improved from the pre-injury. Instead of looking backwards to how they were, they look to their future with their highest, strongest self in the mind.

Change your thinking and look at your injury as a way to rebuild you to a stronger, faster and better version of who you were pre-injury. Think of yourself as a continually evolving person, like the $6 Million Dollar Woman!

Your body and mind will need time to recover before they improve, and by looking at how strong and capable you can be, allows you the room to actually step into that positive picture.

And It Takes Time

All of the tips above will work as I have road tested them myself as recently as yesterday. Injuries happen to many riders and it is usually the exceptional few that don’t have accidents. The most important thing to remember is that this is a process that takes time and due diligence to make it work. It is not a one and done deal. It is critical that you have a path that involves caring for yourself (physically and mentally), changing your thinking from negative to positive, and begin to trust yourself and your horse again.

Look at this as a positive opportunity to get stronger, improving both your communication and riding skills with your horse. The more time you spend in the saddle, the better. Please feel free to reach out to me, a friend, a trainer or therapist if you need more support.

Julie Saillant is a Certified Life Coach, Empath, Equine Communicator and Lifestyle Influencer. Her goal is to empower you to awaken your intuition and motivate you to take inspired action to live your best life. She is the bridge between horses and people and is here to give you the knowledge and tools to interact with your horse on a deeper level. Using her empathic intuition, Julie will guide you towards a stronger understanding of what you want your life to look like, while giving you the means to manifest your biggest dreams and make them a reality. Learn more at www.motivation-addict.com.

Photo by Kristin Lee Photography.

Saturday Links Presented by Nupafeed USA

Downright idyllic. Photo by Abby Powell.

This week I’ve gotten to check something off my eventing bucket list: I’ve now experienced Aiken! Granted, it’s only been for a couple days, but I think I’ve gotten a good taste of what it’s all about down here and I’ve certainly worked by butt off (and loved it) while I’ve been here. Not being from Area II and never having gone south before it’s really mind-boggling to be in a place where eventing is so concentrated in one area.

U.S. Weekend Action:

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

Paradise Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Fresno County Horse Park CCI & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

Saturday Links:

Jonty Evans jumps for first time since cross-country accident

FEI Olympic Qualifications Focus on Horse Welfare

Olympic legend to train racehorse alongside eventing career

Working Up Poor Performance in English Sport Horses

Attend the Richard Jeffery Show Jumping Seminar at Carolina International

Hot Take: Letting Your Green Horse Refuse Jumps Can Actually Pay Off Later

Saturday Video:

Friday Video from SmartPak: What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Ahh, Valentine’s Day – that most contentious of ‘holidays’. Once again, it’s come and gone, leaving pink and red devastation and more than a little bit of romantic ennui in its wake. (But hey, also discount chocolates, so there’s that.) Is it just me, or does it feel like Valentine’s Day makes sort of makes you feel, well, bad (not to mention broke) even if you’re coupled up? Like, whether you acknowledge it or not, you’ve probably not done the right thing, and also, did you get engaged? DID YOU? If you didn’t, you didn’t do enough, and if you did, someone is quietly judging you for doing it on the most obvious day of the year. Snore.

My take this year has been the same as any other year, romantically attached or otherwise: I bought a box of choccies, played truffle roulette, lost and got the coffee one, and then sacked the whole sorry endeavour off and went to snuggle my horse. And you know what? That’s MORE than good enough for me. So to celebrate the joyous passing of this arguably pointless day, here’s some gratuitous videos of horses in love. The best bit? Hallmark hasn’t seen a penny out of them.

Heart eyes. Heart eyes everywhere.

How’s Your Thigh Contact? An Excerpt from ’40 5-Minute Jumping Fixes’

Use this “5-Minute Fix” from biomechanics expert Wendy Murdoch’s 40 5-Minute Jumping Fixes to establish good thigh contact and a solid base of support over fences.

Photo courtesy of Trafalgar Square Books.

Next time you ride, pay attention to your thighs. Are they close to the saddle, or are your knees turned out? Is there a gap between your knee and the saddle flap? Do your knees ride forward over the knee roll? Does it feel as if your thighs are being “pushed” out by the saddle or the horse? Can someone see daylight between your thighs and the saddle over fences?

First take a moment to assess how well your saddle fits you. Your saddle has a tremendous influence on the way your thighs rest on your horse. You want to feel secure over fences so that you don’t have to resort to gripping, which, of course, interferes with your horse’s ability to jump.

Sitting in full seat with your thighs flat against your saddle, your weight is distributed across your seat and along the horse’s back over the rib cage. Spreading your weight over a larger surface area like this decreases pressure on the horse’s back in any one place.

When your thigh lies flat (correctly) on the saddle, the femur becomes a structural support for your stability without you having to brace your legs. This minimizes the amount of muscular effort needed to properly adhere to the saddle—and horse. Jumping with your knees turned out places your weight largely on the stirrups. This concentrates the pressure onto the area of the stirrup bars on the horse’s back. Even if you grip with the back of your calf you are subject to the stirrup’s pendulum effect, which is very unstable.

Pinching or gripping with your knees minimizes the surface area over which your weight is distributed to just your knees, and takes a lot of muscular effort. Pinching can cause knee rubs, limit your ability to follow the horse’s motion, and restrict the horse’s breathing since you are essentially squeezing his rib cage. Can you imagine what it would be like to have someone constantly gripping your ribs? Pinching also causes your knee to act as a pivot point around which your upper body and lower leg swing forward and back. Instead of absorbing the jump with flexible hips, knees, and ankles, your upper body rotates over your knee. This causes your lower leg to flip backward no matter how much weight you try to put into your heels. (A saddle that is too small for you, or doesn’t fit well in other aspects, can also cause the lower leg to swing back.)

The three primary bones of your seat are your pelvis and two femurs (thigh bones). These three form what is known as the “fork” of the seat. In full seat all three are in contact with the saddle, with primarily the thighs in contact when jumping. A correct leg position is often referred to as “the flat of the thigh” on the horse. This position of the femur distributes your weight around the horse’s sides through the saddle. However, when the back of the thigh is in contact (and knees are turned out) the femur is not positioned to transmit your weight to the horse’s sides. You have to compensate by resorting to other less-effective solutions, such as gripping with the back of your calf.

Photo courtesy of Trafalgar Square Books.

Try This

1. To feel what good thigh support is like, make an upside-down “V” with your index and middle finger to simulate your femurs.

2. Place them over your other forearm, which simulates the horse’s barrel. Feel how the “V” shape will only go down so far supporting the weight of your hand on the sides of your forearm. This is how your thigh transmits your weight to the horse’s sides, thus alleviating pressure on his back. When you widen your fingers (i.e. turn your knees out), you eliminate that thigh support. And when you pinch your fingers (i.e. gripping with your knees), you restrict your hips and pinch yourself off the saddle.

Photo courtesy of Trafalgar Square Books.

This excerpt from 40 5-Minute Jumping Fixes by Wendy Murdoch is reprinted with permission from Trafalgar Square Books (www.horseandriderbooks.com).

2nd Annual Rebecca Farm Skijoring Is Back on Track for March 2-3

Jen Johnson in the tack and Sarah Broussard skiing in the 2017 Skijoring at Rebecca Farm costume class. Photo by Tommy Diegel Photography.

Mother Nature grants requests on her own terms and timelines, and she declined Rebecca Farm’s initial plea for sufficient snow to host its second annual skijoring competition in late December. Better late than never, though, Rebecca Farm reports that snow finally arrived, and the competition has been rescheduled for March 2-3.

Last year’s skijoring (think: skiing behind horses) event was the first-ever at Rebecca Farm. Notwithstanding a blizzard the night before, the event drew nearly 90 teams from the Flathead Valley and surrounding counties, plus several from out of state. Thousands of spectators braved the snowdrifts and frigid temps to watch the fun.

“Skijoring is a thrilling sport for all involved, spectators and competitors alike,” says organizer Sarah Broussard. “We’re excited to be bringing skijoring to Kalispell and Rebecca Farm again this year. It’s important to us to be able to provide a place for the community to enjoy themselves on a winter weekend.”

Derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring meaning “ski driving,” skijoring is a winter sport that combines skiing and horseback riding. The sport consists of a horse pulling a skier through an obstacle course, all while hitting jumps that range in size from three to nine feet high. Competitors are judged based on how long it takes for them to run the track — the quicker the time, the better the score. Participants receive penalties for gates and rings missed along the course.

Photo by Tommy Diegel Photography, courtesy of Rebecca Farm.

Teams will compete in three classes, Open, Sport and Novice, vying for cash prizes, as well as a Costume class for entertainment. A newly-designed track will be built for this year’s competition.

“We’re looking forward to creating a track that will be exciting for both competitors and spectators,” says Sarah. “It’s our plan that this year’s course will be different from the one we built last year, but we won’t actually finalize the design until the weekend draws closer and we can take into consideration the current weather and snow conditions. We want to have an exciting, yet safe course for everyone’s enjoyment.”

Those fastest finishers will be awarded a total prize purse in excess of $20,000, funded by sponsorships. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Halt Cancer at X, an initiative created by Sarah that raises funds for breast cancer research and support services.

Any takers, EN? Registration information is available here. Volunteers are also needed, with duties to include course maintenance, gatekeeping, backup timing, warm up and ground crew. Shifts are four hours long and during that time, volunteers can enjoy free hot cocoa and coffee along with free entry to the event. Please sign up online here or contact Heidi at [email protected] or (406)270-3889.

Spectator admission is $5 and prime viewing is available right along the course. Kids are welcome (and free if under 13 years) at this family-friendly event, along with well-behaved, four-legged friends. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from local vendors, and Skijoring Stout, developed specifically for the Rebecca Farm event last year by Kalispell Brewing Company, will be on tap.

Go Skijoring!

Friday News & Notes from World Equestrian Brands

Can you guess which upper level eventing power couple got this romantic Valentine’s Day pair of tattoos? (I’ll ruin it for you — photo cred Kyle Carter).

I celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday by riding, teaching, feeding carrots to my ponies, dragging my ring and setting new jumps, hanging out with dogs, cleaning the barn, eating pasta, and taking photos. Honestly, sounds like love to me! I didn’t even eat any chocolates, but I can’t guarantee that I won’t make up for that this weekend. Not sorry!

National Holiday: Single’s Awareness Day

U.S. Weekend Preview:

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

Paradise Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Fresno County Horse Park CCI & H.T. [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe:

Young riders! Don’t forget your deadline to compete in this year’s North American Youth Championships! Eventing will be held the last week in July at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana, and your applications are due on March 1st. Be sure to read all the requirements, and get your application in on time so you don’t miss out on the experience of a lifetime. [Enter the 2019 NAYC]

As any equestrian knows, Valentine’s Day isn’t just for human significant others. Actually, in reality, Valentine’s Day is more for your horse(s). Fur-ever Valentines! Horse Nation got a whole pile of photos of horses really feeling the holiday spirit. Worth it. [36 Horses Feeling the Love]

Irish Olympic rider Aoife Clark announced that she will miss the spring competition season because she is expecting her first child. EN joins the rest of the world in offering congratulations to Aoife and her husband Simon! Aoife finished 7th individually at the 2012 London Olympics, is due in April, and plans to be competing at Bramham in June. [Aoife Clark Pregnant with First Child]

Some fancy Florida footwork courtesy of Caroline Martin: