Classic Eventing Nation

Wednesday News & Notes from Ecovet

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Andrew Hoy has sadly reported the passing of one of his well-known partners, Master Monarch, this week. Andrew paid tribute to Master Monarch on social media, touching on many of the incredible moments they shared together:

“Master Monarch, owned by Tom Attwood, passed away at the wonderful age of 29 today.

He has been an incredible horse and we have enjoyed many fabulous events & successes together, with 2006 certainly being the ‘standout year’ in our partnership:

We started the season on winning the CCI4* (now CCI5*-L) at Kentucky / USA [Kentucky Three Day Event] and then won Bronze with the Australian Team at the [CHIO Aachen] World Equestrian Games later that year.

Our journey took us around many of the major events and alongside top 3 placings at both Badminton and Burghley he also won the World Cup Event in Fontainebleau and Marbach.

I am so very thankful to his owner for giving me the chance to ride such a wonderful horse and for the very special times we had together.
So many beautiful memories.

Rest in peace, my friend.”

National Holiday: April Fool’s, which almost seems cruel at this point. However, April Fool’s is one of EN’s most revered holidays. In honor of this day, here’s a look at a story that I had a lot of fun writing a few years back.

What’s the story behind the medals U.S. Eventing has collected? Take a deep dive into the history books, starting with the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, and learn about each medal won through the years by the American team. [History of U.S. Eventing Medals]

Need resources to navigate the coronavirus pandemic? US Equestrian maintains a robust guide and resource list for equine professionals and riders affected by the outbreak. Keep this page bookmarked. [US Equestrian Coronavirus Resources]

Maryland 5 Star Competition Director Mary Coldren certainly knows her way around a three-day event. A huge supporter of the sport through her work at Fair Hill International and elsewhere, Mary was recently featured in the Maryland Sports Commission newsletter as a recognition of her ongoing efforts. [Women In Sports: Mary Coldren]

Badminton Horse Trials Director Jane Tuckwell is no stranger to cancellations. Faced with the coronavirus pandemic and the forced cancellation of this year’s Badminton, Jane reflects on the difficult decision that comes at no small cost to anyone involved. [Director’s Blog: Jane Tuckwell]

Wednesday Video: Since this week would be The Fork week, let’s relive 2019 with Doug Payne and Quantum Leap in the CCI4*-S.

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Tuesday Video from Flexible Fit Equestrian USA: An Update on Madison Park

Posted by Kyle Carter on Thursday, March 26, 2020

Who what’s Madison Park been up to since his retirement three years ago? Having a crack at the lower levels, and obviously killing it, but now Kyle Carter is using this downtime to have some fun with his old friend.

Kyle said:

“Having a bit more time on my hands for obvious reasons I did a little school over fences on Mr Madison Park! My partner in crime for 11 years at the advanced level and 9, 5 star appearances 3 teams and 2 medals. My last jump on him was at his last advanced when he was 19. Now at 22 I just wanted to appreciate that I could still have a chance to do this. We both have less in front of us than behind but how lucky am I to still have this opportunity to spend time with him.”

At 22, Parker looks like he has many happy years ahead of him. Thanks, Kyle, for sharing this update with all of his fans.

Go eventing.

Posted by Kyle Carter on Thursday, March 26, 2020

Posted by Kyle Carter on Thursday, March 26, 2020

Flexible Fit Equestrian: Redefining Comfort & Quality at an Affordable Price. Learn more at

Entries Open for Stable View’s First Virtual Dressage Competition

Photo courtesy of Stable View.

Looking to stay sharp while competitions are on hold? Stable View has just the thing for you. They’ve announced a new virtual dressage show series.

All you need is a video of your test to enter. Licensed judges will review the rides and provide feedback. Ribbons and $100 will be awarded to the top three winners for each test.

Only the first ten entries will be accepted for the class. To enter, email a link to your video to [email protected]

Here’s the rules:

  • The test must be ridden from start to finish in one video.
  • Please follow your local guidelines or restrictions regarding social distancing.
  • Classes are open to professionals, amateurs and junior riders.
  • Dress and turnout is optional, show attire not required.
  • Test callers are permitted.
  • Upload your video to Youtube with your name, your horse’s name, and the test you are riding.

Week 1

Tests: USDF Training Test 3 or USDF First Level Test 3
Judges: Sue Smithson (S) and Debbie Rodriguez (S)
Submission Deadline: April 6

Week 2

Tests: USEA Novice A and USEA Training A
Judges: Amanda Miller (R) and Janis Linnan (S)
Submission Deadline: April 13

Week 3

Tests: USDF Training Level 1 and USEA Beginner Novice A
Judges: TBD and TBD
Submission Deadline: April 20

Canceled/Postponed Events: Virginia H.T., Groton House Farm H.T., Intercollegiate Eventing Championships

Two more events have announced cancellations or postponements today due to conditions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Both Virginia Horse Trials and Groton House Farms will not run their previously scheduled events:

Virginia Horse Trials (May 21-24, 2020 in Lexington, VA):

Following an order issued by Governor of Virginia declaring a ban on all gatherings of 10 or more people and stay-at-home orders, Virginia Horse Trials has announced the postponement of its May horse trials, scheduled to run May 21-24. The event will now look to move the event to July, if possible. The organizing team issued the following statement:

Following the Executive Order of the Governor of Virginia yesterday banning gatherings of greater than 10 people until 10th June 2020, and in the best interests of everyone’s health and safety, it is with great regret we have to announce that we will not be able to run Virginia Horse Trials on 21-24th May 2020.

It is our intention to work with USEF, FEI and Virginia Horse Center to find a new date in July if possible to run the event. It is likely that it will run during the week as we have so many events already running at the weekends however we will be as flexible as possible in finding a solution.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your support and I hope that during these unknown times everyone stays safe,” said VHT Organizer Andy Bowles. “We look forward to seeing you once we get through this.”

Groton House Farms Horse Trials (June 6 and June 21 in South Hamilton, MS):

The situation with the Coronavirus definitely seems to be escalating and will not be over soon. This leads to the clear, yet disappointing reality that after 40+ years GHF 2020 will not be able to run this year. This will also include the Spring Two-phase and the Summer Classic.
We can now focus on getting through this crisis and looking forward to GHF 2021 with renewed energy and enthusiasm !
Stay well everyone!
Intercollegiate Eventing Championships (May 16-17 at Chattahoochee Hills in Fairburn, GA):
The USEA has announced the cancellation of its Intercollegiate Eventing Championships, which were scheduled to be held May 16-17 alongside Chattahoochee Hills Horse Trials. At this time, Chattahoochee Hills’ May event is still scheduled to run.

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is disappointed to announce that due to COVID-19, the 2020 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships on May 16-17 at Chattahoochee Hills Horse Trials are canceled.

“I am so very sorry for the students, especially the seniors, who have been looking forward to the Championships. They have worked incredibly hard all year to train and fundraise, but in the interest of a level playing field, I believe this is the right decision. I urge our students now to remember the spirit of the intercollegiate program and show their utmost camaraderie and friendship during this difficult time for our sport, our community, and our world. We will come back from this better than ever,” said the USEA Intercollegiate Committee Chair Leslie Threlkeld.

 To stay abreast of the most recent updates to the equestrian competition schedule during the coronavirus pandemic, follow this continuously updated post.

Balancing College and Eventing: A Success Story from the University of Louisville

Paige Thompson is a 22-year-old two-star eventer who co-founded the University of Louisville Eventing Team in the spring of 2017. A graduating senior this spring, she was recently named the 2020 Robert G. Lawrence award winner by the UofL Equine Industry Program. The story of how she managed competing two upper-level horses while managing the team and keeping up an impressive GPA is nothing short of inspiring — and we hope it inspires other aspiring student equestrians! Learn more about the USEA’s Intercollegiate Eventing Program here

Paige Thompson and Wreckless of Zipping (Cole). Photo by Xpress Foto.

In the fall of 2016 I arrived in Louisville, Kentucky with my two horses Cole and Mikey. After getting them settled into their new beautiful farm, my parents helped me move into my new dorm at the University of Louisville.

From a young age I always knew I wanted a career with horses, however my parents had also made it very clear that I was expected to receive a college education. When looking at schools, UofL quickly became my top choice. UofL has the unique Equine Industry Program, which allows students to receive a full bachelor’s degree in equine business.

On top of that, I knew the event trainer Lauren Ferguson was local to the area. I had met Lauren during high school when I was involved in the Area VIII Young Rider Program. She was extremely helpful during camps and clinics, so I knew she would offer my horses and I a great program to be a part of. Being able to continue competing my horses while going to school was a part of the deal with my parents.

There was never a question of selling the horses when it came time to go to college.  I am extremely lucky to have great parents that support my riding, but they have always had one condition: school comes first.

Paige Thompson and Magic Mike (Mikey). Photo by Lori Thompson.

The transition to college is a notoriously difficult one. However, I found that having my horses there with me from the beginning made it easier. I did not know anyone going into UofL, so being able to have a safe familiar place to go to everyday was extremely helpful. Since I got my first horse Cole at the age of 11, I have been going out to the barn everyday to ride and take care of him. So for me, making time to get out to the barn everyday was easy, it was a priority. In fact, I found that the more open-structured class schedule of college was a breath of fresh air.

As equestrians, most of us learn time management skills from young age, and college is the time to put those skills to use. Throughout my four years here, I did my best to schedule my classes as close together as possible so I would be able to spend all morning at the barn and all afternoon on campus, or vice versa. Additionally, I would try to schedule my classes all on Tuesdays/Thursdays or Mondays/Wednesdays in order to miss minimal class when it came time to travel to events on the weekends.

I was grateful to be welcomed into the Lauren Ferguson Event Team, which was filled with friendly faces; however I needed to get to know my fellow UofL students better. There was one thing missing from UofL when I came here: an eventing team. I decided there was no reason why this school shouldn’t have one, it is surrounded by event barns, and we have a hunt seat team, western team, saddle seat team, and polo team, so why not eventing?

The Equine Industry Program is a fairly small program, which made it easy to get to know everyone in it. Through my equine classes I knew of a few other girls who were into eventing, so I decided to reach out to them to see if they would be interested in helping me start an eventing team.

Paige Thompson and Wreckless of Zipping (Cole). Photo by Lori Thompson.

After some hard work establishing ourselves as a recognized student organization (or club) with UofL, we started the Louisville Eventing Team in the spring of 2017. Our new team started out small with just four members my freshman year, but now at the end of my senior year we are up to twelve and continuing to grow. I have served as President of the team throughout my time here, and have been extremely proud to see how much it has grown in such a short period of time.

We have worked to bring two more intercollegiate events to Area VIII, hosting challenges at both Spring Bay H.T. and Flying Cross Farm H.T. Last spring we went to our first Intercollegiate Championships at Chatt Hills in May and placed 6th out of 22 teams. The Louisville Eventing Team is made up of a great group of hardworking girls who have become some of my closest friends. I know they will continue to do fantastic things after I graduate this spring.

Paige Thompson and Wreckless of Zipping (Cole). Photo by Lori Thompson.

Now I was managing a team, competing two upper level horses, and maintaining a 3.6 GPA. Do not get me wrong, this is not easy. My trainer Lauren experienced the many mental breakdowns I would have at the barn when I was feeling overwhelmed. She would always do a great job of calming me down, reassuring me I was doing my best juggling everything.

Sometimes I would feel as though I wasn’t spending enough time with my horses, and other times I would feel like I hadn’t been focusing on my school work enough. When I do something, I want to do it well, which caused me to put a lot of pressure on myself both as a student and a rider. But as I learned throughout college, everything is a balance.

It is important to stick to a schedule for your horses, however it can become flexible when all of a sudden there’s a paper due tomorrow that you forgot about. I have learned is that it is okay to break down sometimes, but cry about it and then move on. Dwelling on how much you have to do isn’t going to help you get it done.

Paige Thompson and Magic Mike (Mikey). Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

My time in school with my horses has had many ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. There were times where I felt completely defeated like when both Cole and Mikey sustained soft tissue injuries at the same time. However, I learned that I was surrounded by great people who were there to help me through anything. Lauren gave me the ride on her horse Slewdelu in order to keep me in the show ring, and I was able to compete him for two years up through the CCI2*-L level.

My fantastic vet Dr. Laura Werner helped me rehab my horses in order to come back better than ever. Cole went on to do two more CCI2*-Ls, and we competed in our first Intermediate horse trial last fall. Mikey made a strong comeback at the Intercollegiate Championships last May, and both horses had top five finishes at the 2019 AECs. All the patience, hard work, and stress become worth it in those moments.

With school I was recently named the 2020 Robert G. Lawrence award winner by the UofL Equine Industry Program. This award recognizes the top senior in the program, and is based on GPA, performance in equine classes, and is voted on by the equine faculty. I am extremely grateful for my college experience and all of the valuable lessons I have learned both inside and outside of the classroom.

For anyone questioning whether or not they should ride during college, I want them to know it is very doable, especially when surrounded by supportive friends and barn family. The USEA’s intercollegiate eventing program provides a great opportunity to get involved in a fun riding team atmosphere, while still supporting education. Even if your school doesn’t have an eventing team, you can start one or just enjoy your college experience with your horse by your side.

Paige Thompson with Slewdelu (Slick) and Wreckless of Zipping (Cole). Photo by Lori Thompson.

Learn more about the USEA’s Intercollegiate Eventing Program here

Handling Social Distancing and Horses: How Equestrians Can Safely Make the Most of It

This time of social distancing and quarantine can feel scary, confusing, and strange – but it’s also important to adhere to these measures in order to keep yourself and those that you love and care about safe and healthy.

By self-quarantining, we are able to help protect ourselves and others from the coronavirus, and it allows us to help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 cases. However, self-quarantining can also lead to a far lesser problem: boredom. And a serious one for many equestrians facing cancelled shows, events, and lessons: financial loss.

In order to help combat both of these, we’ve compiled a list of five ways to help you safely make the most of this time.

1. Spend quality time with your horse(s). – If you keep your horse at home or if your boarding facility is still allowing visitors, take advantage of the extra time to ride, get outside in the sunshine, love on, groom, and care for your horse.

There is currently no evidence that horses can spread or contract CO-VID19, which Palm Beach Equine Clinic explains further in this blog post.

2. Implement new cleaning and social distancing protocols at the barn in order to allow operations to safely continue. – While we do advise spending as much time with your horse as possible during this time, we also recommend only doing it safely. Now isn’t the time to organize a trail ride with 10 of your barn friends or to plan a clinic since your spring horse show was cancelled. Instead, whether you’re a barn owner, boarder, or lesson student, it’s important to implement or follow some important new protocols.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Adhere to the CDC’s recommended six to nine feet of social distancing between you and others. That means limiting riding close together and not stopping to chat closely in the tack room or barn aisle. For barn owners or trainers continuing to provide lessons, Tara Swersie from Event Clinics recommends scheduling 15-minute blocks between lessons to help limit the number of people present at any time.
  • Along the same vein, group lessons should be limited to no more than four people – and possibly fewer depending on the size of the ring.
  • Clean and sanitize! Wherever you can, try to greatly reduce the number of shared items or surfaces such as whiteboard markers, pitchforks, and brooms. For places where it’s more difficult to reduce common contact, such as door knobs, crossties, light switches, or stall doors, incorporate frequent sanitization of these surfaces into your daily routine.

3. Try a new workout. – While going to the public gym isn’t advised (and currently in most areas isn’t allowed), there’s no reason not to work on your fitness during this time. Many fitness trainers and programs are currently offering free or greatly discounted online workouts, and YouTube workouts – like this Yoga For Equestrians routine with Yoga With Adriene – are always a great option.

If yoga is your thing (or if you’d like to try to make it your thing during self-quarantine), Yoga With Adriene has a great, free 30-day program, and CorePower is offering free yoga on demand.

If yoga isn’t your thing, Les Mills is also offering a 30-day free trial of all workouts on demand, like the program’s popular Body Pump class.

Here are a few easy-to-try-at-home CrossFit workout ideas, and the Fit Equestrian has programs specifically tailored to riders available for purchase here. The US Equestrian Learning Center even has a few workout videos!

BarnManager is a cloud-based software solution that provides horse owners and managers with the tools they need to streamline and simplify their daily management responsibilities. The program offers digitized record keeping for the many facets of horse care and has developed intuitive and simple business tools to make small business management accessible and easy. Want more daily news, tips, and motivation from BarnManager? Follow on Instagram here and like on Facebook here!