Classic Eventing Nation

Preview the Stacked Great Meadow International Entries

Hannah Sue Burnett and Lukeswell. Photo by Shelby Allen.

With the cancellation of the USEA American Eventing Championships — among other things — Great Meadow International has been pushed even more into prominence. There are a whopping 75 entries in the CCI4*-S division, 49 in the CCI3*-S, and 12 in the new CCI3*-L.

With so much of the 2020 season on pause, horses and riders will be gunning for a spectacular event. Take a look at all the heavy hitters on the entry status.

Phillip Dutton has five entered in the class: Z, Fernhill Singapore, and Sea of Clouds along with Luke 140 and Blackfoot Mystery, who he is piloting for Boyd Martin.

Winner of the 2018 edition Will Colman, returns with TKS Cooley, Tight Lines and Dondante.

Buck Davidson is likely to be the busiest of the bunch with six entries: Erroll Gobey, Copper Beach, Carlevo, Ms. Poppins, Morswood, and Business Class, the latter three who he is riding for Allie Knowles.

Liz Halliday-Sharp will surely bring the heat with her three four-star rides. Her lineup includes Fernhill By Night, Flash Cooley, Deniro Z, and Cooley Quicksilver.

The competition kicks off Wednesday, August 19th. Horse & Country TV is offering live streaming with commentary from Karen O’Connor and Sinead Halpin.

Livestream Schedule:

Friday, Aug. 21: CCI3*-L, CCI2*-S and Preliminary cross country; CCI4*-S dressage

Saturday, Aug. 22: Show jumping all day

Sunday, Aug. 23: CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S XC all day

Stay tuned for more from GMI!

Picky Horses, Rejoice! Cosequin ASU Is Now Available in Pellets

“On the international stage, it’s important to keep horses in top athletic shape. That’s why I rely on Cosequin to maintain healthy joints for all my horses on the road to peak performance.” Cosequin user Phillip Dutton and Z at the Wellington Eventing Showcase in February 2020. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Like many eventers (and veterinarians), Cosequin® is my go-to joint supplement. In particular I like Cosequin ASU, which offers broad spectrum joint support though its trademarked formulas of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate plus Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU), which has been shown in cell culture studies to be more effective in reducing the breakdown of cartilage than glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate alone. Plus it has MSM and Boswellia to provide a winning combination of bioavailable ingredients. All in all for hard-working sport horses it really covers its bases.

Not all horse are into the taste of the powder, though, so we’re excited to help share news that Cosequin® ASU is now available in PELLETS! “Horse owners let us know, pellets are by far the preferred delivery form for supplements,” says Melissa Consalvo, Equine Brand Manager at Nutramax. “Utilizing our high-quality, researched ingredients and strict manufacturing standards, we now have the technology to produce pellets in-house with the quality expected of Nutramax products.”

Photo courtesy of Cosequin.

Three distinct ways that the new Cosequin® ASU PELLETS cater to horse owners:

1) They are easy to feed.
2) The tasty, tiny pellets are palatable to horses, helping to ensure they will consume their servings.
3) Cosequin® ASU Pellets contain the trademarked ingredients that horse owners have come to know and believe in, now offered in the horse owner’s preferred administration form.’

Cosequin is celebrating the launch with an introductory offer that includes a COLLECTIBLE storage bucket for added product protection from environmental conditions, such as pests, moisture, and dust. The NEW Cosequin® ASU PELLETS can be purchased at select online and in-store retailers, your veterinarian, and DIRECT from Nutramax by visiting CosequinEquine.com/pellets.

 

Aki Joy Maruyama: ‘My Hope Is That Other Minorities Watching Me Compete Feel Inspired to Enter the Sport’

In summer 2020 we launched a 1st Annual $5,000+ Diversity Scholarship with the support of generous donors, inviting minority equestrians to contribute to the discussion of diversity and inclusion in equestrian sport. It is the mission of this annual bursary, which we intend to expand in coming years, to call for, encourage, elevate and give a platform to minority voices in a space where they are underrepresented.

How do we build a more diverse, inclusive and accessible sport? In the coming weeks we will explore this question alongside many of the 27 Scholarship recipients as they share with us their essays in full. Collectively, their perspectives coalesce into a body of work that will no doubt help inform a viable path forward for equestrian sport, and we are committed to connecting their actionable ideas with the public as well as leaders and stakeholders of the sport.

Today we welcome Aki Joy Maruyama. More voices: Caden Barrera | Madison Buening | Anastasia Curwood | Deonte Sewell | Dawn Edgerton-Cameron | Jordyn Hale | Jen Spencer

Aki Joy Maruyama and Balou Moon. Photo by Leszek Wójcik.

My name is Aki Joy Maruyama and I’m an Asian American eventer.

I got my first view of eventing when a friend invited me to watch the American Eventing Championships at Chattahoochee Hills in 2011. I was immediately in awe of the sport as I watched top riders tackle the cross country course. I aspired to do the same.

Over the years, I noticed the lack of minorities participating in eventing, especially in the upper levels. I came to understand the tremendous cost in the sport and my dream of becoming a 5* and Olympic rider seemed unreachable. However, I wanted to go as far as I could and moved to Florida when I was 15 to be a working student for Kyle Carter, whom I had met at Young Rider Camp.

Aki Joy Maruyama and Balou Moon. Photo by Leszek Wójcik.

I had many disappointments along the way such as not being able to be compete at the Young Rider Championships despite my best efforts to earn money for a costly trip out west. Up to this point, with the support and help of family, friends, relatives, and a whole lot of luck, I was able to successfully compete up to the CIC2* (old format) level.

As I was starting to feel my financial limitations to continue, Kai-Steffen Meier offered me a position as a working student in Belgium after taking a clinic with him in Ocala, Florida. What an amazing opportunity!! Although I was hesitant to move to a foreign country and leave life as I knew it, I felt this was the only way to pursue my goals without being a further burden to my parents.

Aki Joy Maruyama and Balou Moon. Photo by Leszek Wójcik.

It’s been a little over a year now since coming to Arville and training with Kai-Steffen Meier and Lara de Liedekerke. I feel I am having a once in a lifetime experience competing in international competitions throughout Europe. Although my training and board are covered through my work, I would love to receive a scholarship to pay for needed items such as a shadbelly that actually fits and has all the buttons! Every penny is valuable and helpful to me.

At the recent competitions at Waregem and Strzegom, I was conscious of being a minority presence. My sincere hope is that other minorities watching me compete would feel inspired to enter the sport and the equestrian community.

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

Get involved: I recently conducted an interview for an upcoming profile on Aki, and a simple story she told me has stayed with me since our conversation. Seeing yourself represented in the things you want to do has a remarkable value that I believe many don’t realize. I asked Aki who she looked up to as a younger rider, and she listed off the stalwart names: O’Connor, Fox-Pitt, Martin. But then she told me of a Japanese rider who approached her at a recent event. “Jardy was really an amazing moment for me because another Japanese rider was there, and he came and watched my dressage and even filmed for me,” she said. “We hadn’t even really met before. But when I talked to him, he said ‘you are Japanese, you ride for Japan, we will support you.'” That moment, Aki says, will stay with her forever. And it’s just one small example of how feeling truly seen and represented will do a world of good for our industry. 

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

Wednesday News & Notes from Ecovet

The Metropolitan Equestrian team is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to providing access to horse sports for young riders of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Through an extensive program that includes hands-on education as well as online learning, students are able to embrace the relationship between horse and rider when they may not otherwise have the opportunity to do so. The MET also has a college advising arm aimed at helping students bolster their college applications through mentorship and support.

There are multiple ways to get involved with a program such as the Metropolitan Equestrian Team – including an upcoming online fundraising auction scheduled to run from August 19 through September 17. To learn more about the work MET is doing, click here.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Full Gallop Farm H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status]

Genesee Valley Riding and Driving Club H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status]

Ocala Summer H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times]

Waredaca Farm H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status]

Wednesday Reading List:

Have you been reading the essays of the Nation Media Diversity Scholarship? Not only do these riders have incredible experiences and perspectives, there are many ways in which we can take action to create a better industry for all who participate. We’ve included, at the bottom of each essay, ideas and ways for each of us to get involved. You can catch up on the essays by clicking here – and stay tuned for much more to come right here on the Nation Media family of websites.

Congrats to the winners of last week’s Fab Freebie Ecovet Fly Spray giveaway! Elizabeth Karrmann of Green Bay, Wisconsin and Christina Hoggan of Pineville, North Carolina, will each receive two bottles of Ecovet, a revolutionary fly spray formula that is effective, non-toxic and long-lasting. Click the link to learn more! [Ecovet]

The New Vocations All-Thoroughbred Charity Horse Show and TIP September Championships have sadly been canceled. The competition, in partnership between New Vocations and the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program, was scheduled to be held at Kentucky Horse Park next month. ““Multiple factors contributed to this outcome, including the cancellation of other Kentucky Horse Park championship events, the spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the country, various state travel restrictions that would affect many exhibitors and the inability to ensure that the regional governments would not force the cancellation of the event, potentially once the show was underway,” New Vocations director of community and public relations Sarah Coleman said in a press release.

The USEA unveiled its new Event Management System (EMS) aimed at streamlining competition organization and execution. In light of new social distancing and public health protocol, it’s imperative that events are able to run as smoothly and with as little contact as possible. The new EMS program is designed to alleviate these stressors. This new system will roll out in 2021 after garnering approval from the USEA Board of Governors in 2019.

Polework is an important part of every rider’s routine. Using poles helps horses learn their footwork and balance without improper wear and tear, and the FEI has a fresh tutorial complete with some pole exercises for you to try at home.

Wednesday Video Break: I thought this visualization of how much a horse’s back moves from Dr. David Marlin to be all out fascinating. If there was ever an argument for properly fitting tack, this is it…

Horse on treadmill walking and trotting viewed from above 0.5x normal speed

EQUINE BACK MOTIONA lot of people have been asking on the earlier saddle post today about how much the horses back moves during exercise. There are a fair number of papers now published on this but visuals are always good.Here is a short video of a horse walking and trotting on a treadmill viewed from above with painted markers along the spine and IMU's (orange) to record motion. Replayed at half normal speed Copyright Dr David Marlin 2020.

Posted by Dr David Marlin on Friday, July 17, 2020

Ecovet is an entirely different type of fly spray … and you apply it to your horse in a different way, too. With fly season upon us, we’re sharing some tips for how to best apply Ecovet:

Tuesday Video: Mustang’s First Horse Trial

You may have been following along with Elisa Wallace’s 2019 Georgia Mustang TIP Challenge horse, Eton, as he learned the ropes of freestyle work and competitive training. Now, Eton has completed his first baby horse trial, and Elisa brought her video camera along to document.

Eton is a 7 year old Mustang gelding from Green Mountain in Wyoming, and his time with Elisa has been well-documented on her blog. You can catch up to speed on his journey here and here. Watching Elisa coax new things out of her horses is always an inspiration, and Eton’s journey is no different. Enjoy!

#EventerProblems Vol. 238, Presented by Haygain: Yee Haw

Y’all are the yee to our haw. Your #EventerProblems both inspire and terrify us. Keep ’em coming!

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#equestrianproblems #eventerproblems #goriding

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Paul Tapner Progressing After Fall, Brain Bleed

Paul Tapner and ‘perfect’ Bob Chaplin. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

We’re pleased to report positive progress from the Tapner Eventing camp as they continue to rally around Paul Tapner, who sustained two brain bleeds after a fall during a hack. An update posted to the Tapner Facebook page today by Paul’s wife, Georgina, shows improvements, though there will still be a long road ahead for the 45 year old Australian rider:

“Paul is progressing well. Medically he is good. Physically he aches and mentally he is improving!

His long term memory is very good, but his short term memory from the day of the accident until yesterday is sketchy. Today however he is remembering things like what he has eaten, why he is in hospital and what he needs to do to get better. He is likely to remain in hospital for a little longer before he can start his program of rehabilitation.

Thank you all so much for your messages, I have read everyone, unfortunately I cannot reply to them all, but please know every single one has meant a lot as I am sure they will to Paul when he can read and process them.

The kids are coping well, Josh is busy helping with the harvest and working in the pub in the evenings. Maddie competed little Rocky at Waverton on Saturday and managed to come 2nd with a double clear! And we sold lovely Minty over the weekend to a wonderful home.

Next week all things working out Maddie will compete at Westwilts and I will compete in the BD champs at Hartpury. So things at Team Tapner are still moving forward, we are just waiting, but of course being patient for the boss to return!”

The EN team and eventing community continues to send its well-wishes to Paul, Georgina, and the whole Tapner team and will bring you more updates on Paul’s recovery as they become available.

In Defense of the Lower Levels

Syd and I aren’t normally this brave…Syd maybe…me? Not so much. Photo: Lisa Phillips

The other day after I finished hosing my pony off after a particularly sweaty ride, I had an interesting conversation with the woman who owns the barn where I board my horse. We were discussing the current state of eventing and going to shows and wearing masks…you know, the usual eventing conversation. The topic turned to adult amateurs and competing at the lower levels, particularly how much more technical and demanding the Novice division cross country courses have become over the past few years.

Now. Anyone who knows me at all would probably say that I am a big weenie. I’m a blogger. I love to write (and ride). So it has been well documented. And yes, admittedly I can be a bit of a weenie. When the fences start moving upward, the pterodactyls in my stomach and the wimpiness in my always over-analyzing adult ammy brain tend to take over just a bit. OK, sometimes more than a bit. And in my defense I do have a pretty nasty accident in my past that left me with what my husband likes to call my bionic right arm, but that accident was well in my past. And it has absolutely nothing to do with my current, fabulous, superstar of a pony Syd who almost never takes a wrong step and always takes care of me even when I am all but closing my eyes and saying a Hail Mary over a fence.

Syd free jumping a few (cough cough) years back. Photo by Michelle Wadley.

And here’s where I have to take a moment to sing the praises of my heart horse; I promise this is a relevant digression. Syd could literally have gone anywhere and done anything. On more than one occasion I have been offered quite a lot of money to sell him. And in my mind he’s perfect and worth every penny I’ve been offered. He’s also my horse of a lifetime best friend, and I wouldn’t sell him for all the money in the world.

But I do wonder sometimes what he could have accomplished if he had not have been stuck with lower level adult amateur me. That’s a question that will never be answered, and as the years have passed, I have finally begun to be okay with that. And here’s why: As super talented as Syd is, he is also quite literally the perfect match for me. We trail ride; we hack out; we face fears together; he isn’t spooky; he saves my arse! I never have to wonder about whether or not he is going to refuse a fence he’s never seen. His attitude is always, “Hang on Mom! I’ve got this!” Do I still have to ride? Yes! Do I still have to work at dressage? Absolutely! BUT his trustworthy, kind, big-hearted spirit is exactly what this fifty-something mom needs. HE gives me confidence. HE makes it okay, and I adore him for it.

So what does this have to do with defending the lower levels? Well, I’ll tell ya. Buckle up, buttercup, and get ready for a rant. We as eventers are an adrenaline fueled group. Bigger, faster, further, higher! Dressage be damned! We’re in this for the guts and glory of cross country day! Huzzah! And yes. We are. But as I have gotten older and become a mom, I have also begun to face the very stark reality of my own mortality.

I have responsibilities! I have a child! I don’t bounce! (Let’s be real. I didn’t ever bounce.) What happens if I get seriously injured? To my family? To my job? To my horse? And again, let’s be real, this sport is dangerous. It is! Folks get hurt walking a horse down a barn aisle! Even if you are the safest of the safe riding the Guinness Book of World Record holding most bomb proof mount, you are STILL dealing with another creature who has his own brain and could accidentally hurt you.

Another rare occasion when I ate my Wheaties. Photo: Annie Fike

Please don’t misunderstand me. I LOVE my sport. I defend it regularly to all sorts of folks. I have been volunteering at the Kentucky Three Day Event for over 10 years. I am by no means trying to degrade or call into question anyone who rides at the upper levels. That is absolutely not my intent. What I am simply trying to do is defend those of us who don’t want to. Ride at the upper levels, that is. Because I think that sometimes we lower level folks are looked down upon because we DON’T go bigger, faster, higher, further.

Sometimes, I think the perception is that we CANNOT jump higher, or even worse, that because we are not, we lack knowledge or expertise in what we do. And sure, sometimes that is true. But let me give you this example: I turned 52 this summer. I hold two college degrees, and almost a Master’s. I have been riding since I was FIVE. I’m a writer and a researcher by nature who has owned a tack shop. I LOVE horses, eventing and everything to do with them, and because I love to read and study and audit, I am constantly learning. I enjoy educating myself on all things horse because I love what I do. But as an adult I have not competed above Beginner Novice. I have done that quite successfully; and I have schooled fences that are at the Novice and even Training level, but that’s it.

If you looked at me on paper alone you would wonder what in the heck was wrong with me. What’s wrong with my horse? NOTHING! (See the paragraph above) The knowledge in my brain far exceeds the level I have competed. Does that make me incompetent? Absolutely not. And it irks me that sometimes I am perceived that way. Because here is the bottom line for me and so many others like me: I CHOOSE to ride at the lower levels. Why? Because that’s where I am comfortable and that’s where I enjoy myself. Both Syd and I could absolutely school and compete at a much higher level than we do, but I choose not to.

Don’t get me wrong; I am super competitive. My family loves to talk about the famous domino throwing incident at Christmas one year when I got mad because I lost to my sister. I love to compete! I also love to take lessons and school (I ride 4 to 5 times a week). For me, it’s simply that I want to live to ride another day. I love what I do, and I want to continue doing it. All of it. But that’s just me! If you want to contest Land Rover, good on you! Go for it! But remember some of us just want to work on our horsemanship, love on our ponies, and become better riders.

Choosing to be an adult amateur rider is simply that: my choice; just as vying for the Olympics might be yours. Lower level adult amateur riders make up the largest demographic in the USEF, and we spend a lot of our hard-earned income to be a part of the horse community. There are quite a lot of us out there supporting and cheering on those who ride at levels we choose not to.

Happiness at a dressage clinic. PC: My long suffering horse husband Tim Wadley

One final thought: A few years back at a horse trial, someone asked me at what level I was competing. I replied, “Just beginner novice.” An older lady sitting nearby whipped her head around and quickly corrected me, “NEVER say ‘just.’ You are out there taking a chance and getting it done. Some folks never even throw their leg over the saddle. You are brave and courageous just to be here. There’s no ‘JUST’ to it.”

Wise words.

Go eventing.

Jen Spencer: Meet the Creator of Instagram’s ‘Black Equestrians’

In summer 2020 we launched a 1st Annual $5,000+ Diversity Scholarship with the support of generous donors, inviting minority equestrians to contribute to the discussion of diversity and inclusion in equestrian sport. It is the mission of this annual bursary, which we intend to expand in coming years, to call for, encourage, elevate and give a platform to minority voices in a space where they are underrepresented.

How do we build a more diverse, inclusive and accessible sport? In the coming weeks we will explore this question alongside many of the 27 Scholarship recipients as they share with us their essays in full. Collectively, their perspectives coalesce into a body of work that will no doubt help inform a viable path forward for equestrian sport, and we are committed to connecting their actionable ideas with the public as well as leaders and stakeholders of the sport.

Today we welcome Jen Spencer, creator of the Black Equestrians Instagram page. More voices: Caden Barrera | Madison Buening | Anastasia Curwood | Deonte Sewell | Dawn Edgerton-Cameron | Jordyn Hale

Hi, I’m Jen. I’m 26 and from Toronto, Canada and I’m a Black equestrian. Let me tell you a little bit about myself and my background in riding.

The first time I fell in love with horses was actually in a bookstore. I noticed this book with a beautiful horse running across the cover and I was completely captivated so I begged my mom to buy me the book. She did, and I think I read that book every day for two years until I finally took real horseback riding lessons. My parents were not horsey people and I think they saw it as, you know, the usual girl-likes-horses kind of interest as opposed to like a real passion. My my mom immigrated from Jamaica in the 1970s and my dad was raised by a single mom, so in their world having a horse was such a weird and foreign concept to them.

So because I couldn’t ride, instead I learned as much as I could about horses by watching as many horse videos as I could and reading as many horse books as the library had to offer. It really wasn’t until I had a job of my own and I could drive myself to my own lessons that I really got into horses the way that I wanted to consistently. I’ve been riding for four years now. Two years ago I adopted a retired racehorse named Piper. I got really lucky with Piper — he’s incredibly talented, very sweet and he’s done so much for me in terms of realizing some of my dreams like attending my first horse show. I’ve grown as a rider so much because of him.

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[email protected]: “Gem & I are similar in color. We’re both brown. However, I deal with racism in the equestrian world & in my everyday life. He doesn’t, but he & the rest of his species don’t have the brain capacity to understand racism & injustice. In fact no other species on earth that I know of has that kind of brain capacity. In this case there are role models all around us: animals. My horses don’t discriminate, they groom each other & their coats are all different colors. Why can’t we be more like them? It’s a more simple way of life instead of having to be taught & understand hatred against races. They’ve done it for millions of years. We’ve done it thousands & look where it got us.” #equestrian #blackequestrians #horse #horsesofinstagram

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I don’t currently have the means to show so instead I love going to watch other people show, and when I go to these show venues I’m very aware that out of the hundreds and hundreds of riders I’m the only Black person I see all day. I’ve always been aware of the huge racial disparity in equestrian sports, but I wasn’t really sure what I could do about it. Then during the Black Lives Matter movement of 2020 this year, I started to really think more critically about race, and I’ve always been passionate about social justice and Black issues as separate interests outside of riding, and the idea of bringing them together was something I hadn’t really considered. Then at one point an acquaintance of mine reached out to me about joining a group of Black equestrians so I thought, great, it’s a chance to connect with a few people that I have two things in common with.

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From @kirstieeemarie: “How much weight can a horse carry? “In my experience, a horse can carry an infinite amount. They can carry the weight of broken hearts, broken homes, and broken bodies. Countless tears sometimes comb their tangled manes. Moments when parents and friends cannot be there to help and hold a person, horses embrace and empower. They carry physical, mental, and emotional handicaps. They carry hopes and dreams; and they will carry the stress from your day when you can't carry it anymore. They carry graduations, they carry new careers, they carry moves away from everything familiar, they carry marriages, they carry divorces, they carry funerals, they carry babys before they are born, and sometimes they carry the mothers who cannot carry their own baby. They carry mistakes, they carry joy, they carry the good and they carry the bad. They carry drugs and addictions, but they also carry the celebrations. They will carry you to success when all you have felt is failure. They will carry you, never knowing the weight of your burdens and triumphs. If you let them, they will carry you through life, and life is hard, life is heavy. But a horse will make you feel weightless under it all.” Written by Sage Sapergia Photo by @kirstieeemarie

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I was literally shocked at how many people were in this group of Black equestrians. We had to make a second group because the first one got too big and we couldn’t fit any more people into it. There are tons of Black equestrians. We’re still very much a minority in this sport but there is a much bigger group than I anticipated.

I thought I knew a lot about race before the protests and I really started to dig deeper into social issues and realized even as a Black woman I didn’t really know that much. There are so many layers to race and the way it relates to the social sphere — politics, history, culture, far beyond anything I ever knew and I grew up learning a lot about race. Another thing I’ve noticed is how often a lot of history of race and racism ended up going back to horses. Of course as a horse girl this was a subcategory I was fascinated by — for example 25 percent of cowboys were Black but they were never portrayed in western movies. I also didn’t know that horse racing was largely Black people at one point.

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From @nytimes: “When videos of a Black man on horseback wearing a bulletproof vest spread widely on social media in late May, some users suggested that he had stolen a policeman’s horse.⁣ ⁣ But Adam Hollingsworth, a 33-year-old Chicagoan, is no thief. The horse in the video, Prince, is 1 of 4 he owns and rides around the city, where he is known as the Dreadhead Cowboy.⁣ ⁣ But as the false accusations piled up, Hollingsworth said that his car was vandalized and that he received death threats. The experience hammered home for him that his reason for riding — to expand people’s ideas about Black masculinity and to promote a message of unity in some of Chicago’s most racially segregated neighborhoods — remains urgent.⁣ ⁣ The fallout from the viral posts about him and Prince left him scared and concerned about how quickly bad information travels online. But he is harnessing his growing fame to give back to his community by raising money to build a barn in the city. He’s also taking recommended precautions for the virus.⁣ ⁣ “I’m social distancing being on top of the horse,” he said. “Being a Black man, I’m taking a chance every day by stepping outside.”⁣ ⁣ Tap the link in our bio to read more about how a Black cowboy became a disinformation target. Photos by @dascruggs_⁣” ⁣

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Anyway I knew I had a lot of learning to do and so did everyone else. I had so many ideas and so many things I wanted to talk about but I wasn’t sure where to begin, so I just started and created an Instagram page called Black Equestrians which just hit 3,000 followers [update at time of publication: over 4,100+]. Initially my goal was to just feature Black riders and show diversity within horseback riding, but then I quickly decided that it wasn’t good enough. It needed more. There’s so much privilege in equestrian sports. As we all know that is by no means a bad thing but it can really cloud your perception of the world outside of you, so I figured what a better audience to tackle issues of race and privilege than equestrians.

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From @horse_celebrities: “When Shariah Harris’ (@shariah_h) mom stumbled upon the Work to Ride program’s West Philadelphia horse stable, no one could have predicted Harris would become one of the most groundbreaking riders in the sport’s history. But Harris quickly took to the horses—she remembers feeling fearless even when she first began to play polo. In a male-dominated sport, she was a natural leader with undeniable skills. • After the Postage Stamp Farm team owner Annabelle Garrett suffered a back injury before the prestigious Silver Cup tournament at the Greenwich Polo Club in 2017, she tapped Harris to take her spot on the team. That’s when Harris became the first-ever African American woman to play at the highest tier of US polo. “I just can’t stop thinking about it,” recounts Harris, who had been introduced to Garrett at a tournament in Argentina, but was still surprised when the call came in. “It was a big moment for me to be playing with and against the professionals that I’ve looked up to just coming into the sport,” she says. “I’ve always watched their games, but to be on the field playing with them was just mind-boggling for me.” • Now at Cornell University Harris is busy studying animal sciences and leading the women’s polo team to the National Intercollegiate semifinals, while also mentoring kids in the Work to Ride program. As for her big advice to young polo players? “Trust yourself and trust the horses,” she says. “It’s what I believe makes you a better player and rider—that fearless factor.” | #equestrian #blackequestrian #ralphlauren #horsepolo #polo

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In the first month I’ve been writing Black equestrians I’ve learned three really valuable lessons. The first lesson: A lot of people don’t know what they don’t know. Race is very much like good riding or a good horse. When you grow up with it you know exactly what to look for and you can really see those subtle nuances from miles away. In the realm of racism a lot of white people are beginner crossrail riders. We have the basics down, we all know that racism is bad, but a lot of people legitimately cannot recognize the varying spectrum of more subtle racism. There are so many variations in levels, microaggressions, lack of diversity, inclusivity cultural appropriation, the list goes on.

I thought I knew a lot about race but I now realize I really don’t. And this is a world I grew up in in the sense that I had a Black mother who was always teaching about racism. A lot of people have a hard time talking about racism because they don’t see it. There needs to be a huge shift and we need to remind people that racism is very much alive. The civil rights movement of Martin Luther King dealt with the more loud racism, like segregation and lynching. In the new generation of the civil rights movement we need to start learning about quiet racism and the subtle racism so we can stamp it out.

The second lesson is that white people are really keen to learn. Since I started Black Equestrians I have been pleasantly surprised at how white people are responding. They’re engaged, they’re sharing, I get messages all the time saying stuff like I didn’t know that or that’s a really great point, I hadn’t thought about it like that. For an industry like riding, where as I mentioned before it’s a particularly concentrated hub of privileged white people, I really thought that this would be more of an uphill battle. Not to say that there aren’t people who aren’t as open to learning or examining their own privilege, but ultimately people seem willing to listen and learn. And so it’s important that we create a medium to express Black issues for everyone to learn and what will be great as Black Equestrians develops is that we’ll be able to tackle the very niche problems about Black equestrians and what they face and we now have a platform to amplify those voices to people who are listening.

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From @savannahskeete: “With everything going on in the world it has taken me a long time to formulate my words and thoughts. Silence is conformity with the opposition – and I condemn racism to rule any part of my world. So I am going to speak my truth about how institutionalized racism has effected me in the equestrian community. As I grew up riding along side everyone else I realized how I was unlike my counterparts, I didn’t quite fit in, and it was hard to make friends. I look back now and see how rarely I ride with people who look like me, are sponsored riders globally recognized, or are coaches or professionals in the community. The inability for people who look like me to be in the equestrian community is a key example of the inequalities and inequities that have lead to injustices throughout history. People who look like me do not have the opportunities to enter a community riddled with white privilege. Instead people who look like me are murdered, killed, and demonized for their colour by a system that refuses to treat them with justice, equality, and equity. This fact has always effected me in the equestrian community. And to move forward voices like mine, voices of black people and people of colour must be heard. And when they are heard, when there words are seen as fact, and only then will change take progress. I implore everyone in and outside of the equestrian community to listen and educate themselves. Become an ally for justice, equality, and equity throughout the world and in the future I hope and will fight for more people who look like me to be able to have the opportunity to be in the equestrian community.” • #equestrian #horse #horsesofinstagram #blackequestrians #ridersofcolor #blackgirlmagic #blackexcellence

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And the third and final lesson is that the best way to increase diversity in equestrian sports is to create an environment where everyone can see this as something that they can do. There isn’t a lot of diversity reflected in equestrian product advertisements or in magazines, and when we watch professionals compete at upper levels it’s again not particularly diverse. Those areas will take different amounts of time and resources to reflect diversity, but it’s important that we start. Diversity in equestrian sports is small but it’s there and it’s strong. In expanding the way equestrian sports are represented we can move away from the widely held idea of what a traditional equestrian looks like.

This sport has people from all walks of life, different income brackets, different races, different sexual orientations and different ages. The best way to increase diversity within our sport is if we create a sport where everyone sees a reflection of themselves, where where they can see this as something that they can do and be a part of especially because that really is what horses are about. They are the true reflection of Martin Luther King’s dream —  they don’t care about the color of your skin, they only care about the content of your character.

Get Involved: First things first, if you aren’t already following Black Equestrians on Instagram, do it right now! Black Equestrians also has an Etsy shop with a bunch of fun, feisty tee-shirts — I just ordered this one … 

… and this one … 

Social media is a powerful tool in the fight for social justice and social change. What are some of your favorite diversity-and-inclusion focused social media accounts to follow, equestrian or otherwise? Share them in the comments so that we can follow them, too!

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

Tuesday News & Notes from Legends Horse Feeds

Congratulations are in order for Kaylawna Cook and her husband Tyler who are expecting their first child. Their daughter will make her grand entrance this November. I guess this means that Tamie Smith is a “grandma” now, though she certainly doesn’t look it.  Congratulations Kaylawna and Tyler!

National Holiday: National Raspberry Bombe Day

Events Opening This Week: Larkin Hill H.T.FEH Qualifier at Loch Moy FarmThe Middleburg H.T.FEH Championships at Loch Moy FarmESDCTA New Jersey H.T. at the HorseparkStable View Oktoberfest 1/ 2/3/4* and H.T.Fleur de Leap H.T.The Event at ArcherThe Event at Isaacks RanchJump Start H.T.

Events Closing This Week: Chattahoochee Hills H.T.Silverwood Farm Fall H.T.Valinor Farm H.T.

Tuesday News: 

Our prayers are with Paul Tapner as he recovers from a fall sustained hacking last week. The fall caused him to have two brain bleeds, which led to a small stroke. He’s expected to make a full recovery, but the process will likely take weeks or months. [‘Slow recovery’ expected for former Badminton winner after brain bleeds and a stroke]

Fair Hill’s newest additions were on full display this weekend at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Test Event. Phillip Dutton ultimately won the CCI3*-S class aboard Fernhill Singapore. This was also a first look at the changes we can expect for the new cross country track, designed by Ian Stark. [Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill off to a Great Start with Test Event]

Happy 9th anniversary, Athletux! Must be why 10-year-old EN is so tight with y’all, because we went to preschool together. In honor of the occasion, today, August 11th, enter to win a Huge Athletux Prize Package! This includes an iconic Athletux Backpack, Bucket Bag, Saddle Pad Bag, Inspiration Gear, and Athletux Hat signed by the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event Competitors valued at over $350. [Enter]

“If there is an art to riding, there is a science to falling.” [LandSafe Is Changing The Way We Think About Falling]

Stay Up-to-Date with All Event Cancellations and Changes: Event Cancellations and Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Tuesday Video: Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Test Event winners Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Singapore

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Singapore

What a great weekend at Fair Hill International and the debut of the Five Star Footing. Team coach Erik Duvander said the footing was absolutely perfect. The riders loved the color and even though we didn't actually ask the horses how they felt about it, they seemed to be jumping very well on it. Here's the winner Phillip Dutton Eventing – Training Center and Fernhill Singapore making easy work of the course.

Posted by Attwood Equestrian Surfaces on Monday, August 10, 2020