Classic Eventing Nation

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: All Hail Boleybawn Prince, Indoor Eventing Superstar

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You don’t need to be fluent in French to understand the gist of Maxime Livio‘s latest Instagram reel: the nineteen-year-old Boleybawn Prince has begun the year as he finished the last, picking up his third consecutive win in a row in an indoor eventing competition. This one came at Saumur, and follows on from decisive victories at Geneva and Stockholm — proving that age truly ain’t nothin’ but a number. Check out his lightning fast round and get inspired!

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1% More: Planning for the Year Ahead with Woodge Fulton

Woodge Fulton and Captain Jack. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

“1% More” is a blog series in which World Equestrian Brands-endorsed and trainer team riders give us one booster tip that will help us to improve our competitive edge by 1%. As any true athlete knows, all of those 1%s add up to significant results.

It’s January! Time to set goals and make big plans for the new year. If you are lucky, you have already or are getting ready to head down to Florida for the winter season. But what about the rest of us? How do we work towards our big goal horse show of the year when our ponies are fat, hairy, and covered in snow?

We sat down with 5* event rider Woodge Fulton to learn how we can approach 2023, even if it’s not yet time to hit the ground running. Click here to read the full blog on the World Equestrian Brands site.

WEB: Thanks for sitting down with us, Woodge! We’d love to chat a little about what happens when we start setting goals in January that might be months away, especially if we happen to not be headed somewhere warm to get a leg up on the competition.

WF: I think this tends to attract a type-A go-getter, goal-setting mentality, which I think in a lot of ways can work to our advantage. I think we want to be careful that our horse has no idea it’s January 1. And so you just want to be careful that we weren’t having a nice holiday and we had Christmas, and we’re getting on maybe two days a week and hacking around. And then all of a sudden, January 1 comes and there’s a big wave of publicity about the New Year. And everyone on social media down south is jumping big and galloping fast and your pony is a little fat and hairy. I think it’s really easy to sort of lose sight of your own goals and what your milestones are, and A), get discouraged and then B), the tendency would be to push too hard because it’s January 2 now and we’ve got big plans. We don’t want to break anyone in January, that’s for sure!

WEB: We don’t! So what can someone do if they’re sitting in a cold place, thinking about what to do for all of their big goals and they’re not going to Florida?

WF: Walk! I think walking is underrated — it’s boring and it’s especially not much fun to do when it is freezing. But get some heated gloves and some heated socks, and if you have a safe place to walk on the road and it’s not super icy. Just getting out of the ring and going and walking until you freeze to death is a good place to start!

And then also create a plan week by week by week for your horse’s fitness so that way it doesn’t come March and you haven’t even seen your dressage saddle in three months. There’s no reason you can’t walk in your dressage saddle and there’s no reason the horse can’t walk on the bit. There’s no reason you can’t do little lateral stuff as you’re walking. But I think those bite-sized pieces every single day adds up over time.

I think on the flip side of that, just being mindful, too, of the day you’re having — if it’s negative 40 and everything’s covered in ice, maybe just take the blanket off and groom your horse.

I think social media is great in a lot of ways, and it opens everyone’s eyes to different ways of learning, and you’re able to see everything. But on the other hand, everyone is only putting their best work out there. So while it may look like Susie Q in Ocala is training from sun up to sun down every single day, that doesn’t mean that’s your program or that’s going to work best for you and your horse.

[Read the rest of this blog on the World Equestrian Brands website]

Will Coleman Named 2023 Recipient of the USET Foundation’s Whitney Stone Cup

Will Coleman received the USET Foundation’s 2023 Whitney Stone Cup from the USET Foundation’s Chairman, President, and CEO W. James McNerney, Jr. (left), and the USET Foundation’s Vice President of the Board of Trustees William H. Weeks (right) at a special ceremony in Wellington, Florida. Photo by Jump Media.

Eventing Olympian Will Coleman of Gordonsville, Virginia, was awarded the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation’s Whitney Stone Cup for 2023 at a special ceremony held during the USET Foundation’s Gold Medal Club Reception on January 22, 2023, at The Wanderer’s Club in Wellington, FL.

The Whitney Stone Cup is awarded annually by the USET Foundation to an active competitor whose consistent excellence in international competition and whose standard for sportsmanlike conduct and contributions as an ambassador for the sport and for the USET Foundation exemplify the Team’s highest ideals and traditions.

“It’s a tremendous honor to receive the Whitney Stone Cup,” said Coleman, who was ranked fifth on the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) World Eventing Athlete Rankings at the end of 2022. “The competitors that have received this award are and were some of the greatest horse people in the world — many of whom I’ve looked up to my entire life. Some of the people I most admire in our sport have won it, so to be that person and to be given this award is humbling. I’ve never thought of myself as being the type of person to receive this award, so it’s really gratifying.

“Success in eventing is often at the end of a very long and challenging road,” continued Coleman. “For every great experience and achievement, there are many disappointing and formative moments. You go through these ups and downs many times and at many different levels throughout your career. It is thanks to the support from organizations like the USET Foundation, and from your owners and sponsors, that you can continue to climb the ladder and reach your fullest potential. Hopefully that is at an event like CHIO Aachen or the FEI World Championships, but wherever you have success on an international level, the USET Foundation certainly helps you to get there.”

Will Coleman and Off The Record. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

An athlete on the USEF High Performance Training List since the age of 18, Coleman has taken advantage of the opportunities presented to him in order to reach his greatest potential. He was a member of the U.S. eventing team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, with Twizzel and at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, with Tight Lines.

More recently, Coleman has produced top results with Off The Record, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Off The Record Syndicate. The pair won the 2018 Great Meadow International CCIO4*-S; the 2019 Jersey Fresh International CCI4*-S; and the 2021 Carolina International CCI4*-S. In September of 2021, the pair made history as the first American combination to win the CCIO4*-S division at CHIO Aachen, Germany.

In September of 2022, Coleman and Off The Record were part of the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team that claimed the silver medal at the FEI Eventing World Championship held at Pratoni del Vivaro in Rome, Italy, and qualified the U.S. team for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.

Going forward, Coleman hopes to continue to successfully represent the U.S. on the international stage.

“We have another big year in front of us,” he stated. “The horses will hopefully head to the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event; that is our first big goal of the year. If the opportunity is there, I’d always want to go to CHIO Aachen again. We also have the Pan American Games at the end of the year, and I have a couple of younger horses who might be in the running for selection for that championship.”

The Whitney Stone Cup, which was presented to the Team by the Officers and Directors of the USET Foundation, is given in honor of the late Whitney Stone. Stone served as President and Chairman of the Board of the USET and was instrumental in the creation of a civilian team when the Army retired from competitive horse sports after 1948.

Previous Whitney Stone Cup Recipients:

1980 – Michael Matz

1981 – James C. Wofford

1982 – Norman Dello Joio

1983 – Melanie Smith (Taylor)

1984 – Carole Grant

1985 – Joe Fargis

1986 – Conrad Homfeld

1987 – Katie Monahan Prudent

1988 – Bruce O. Davidson

1989 – Gregory A. Best

1990 – William Long

1991 – Hap Hansen

1992 – Lana DuPont Wright

1993 – Carol Lavell

1994 – J. Michael Plumb

1995 – Robert Dover

1996 – Anne Kursinski

1997 – Leslie Burr Howard

1998 – David O’Connor

1999 – Valerie Kanavy

2000 – Karen O’Connor

2001 – Tucker Johnson

2002 – Guenter Seidel

2003 – Peter Wylde

2004 – Debbie McDonald

2005 – Chris Kappler

2006 – Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden

2007 – Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden

2008 – Miranda (Randy) Caldwell

2009 – Steffen Peters

2010 – McLain Ward

2011 – Tucker S. Johnson

2012 – Christine McCrea

2013 – Rich Fellers

2014 – Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden

2015 – Chester Weber

2016 – Phillip Dutton

2017 – Laura Graves

2018 – McLain Ward

2019 – Laura Graves

2020 – Boyd Martin

2021 – Roxanne Trunnell

2022 – Laura Kraut

Wednesday News & Notes from SRF Carolina International

Full disclosure: I’m a bit of a biomechanics nerd these days. I fully believe that we as riders should understand the workings of our bodies as they relate to our horse. It’s really not about being “fit” or “strong” (both things I think should be a part of lives, to be fair), but rather about understanding how we affect our horses. In my mind, learning about these relationships and strengthening the body parts we use in the saddle is about bettering our relationships to our horses. Of course, the happy side effects are greater levels of fitness, body awareness and, relatedly, body control. I’ve recently discovered the @ifa.fit Instagram page, which is chock full of fitness and body awareness education. There are several fitness pages catering to equestrians, but you can start here for some great pointers!

U.S. Weekend Preview

Full Gallop Farm January H.T. (Aiken, SC): [Website] [Volunteer]

Rocking Horse Winter I H.T. (Altoona, FL): [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring] [Volunteer]

Wednesday News & Reading

If you’re like, well, most people reading this, you’ve likely dealt with performance anxiety and all around nerves. Well, Boyd Martin wants to help you work through those, and he’s launching a new webinar series aimed at working through those nerves that tend to show up at the most inopportune time. This first webinar in the series is happening January 31, at 7 p.m. EST. Tickets are available for purchase here.

Waredaca got a facelift in the off-season! We’re big fans of all the opportunity Waredaca provides to eventers of all levels, and this new indoor is sure to make the regulars quite happy! [An Indoor Facelift at Waredaca]

Essex Horse Trials will shift its date once more in 2023, this time scheduling its popular competition June 3-4. Key for this special event is its recent relocation of the dressage and show jumping phases to the storied USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone. Like competing in Yankee Stadium, Nancy Jaffer writes, and it’s true! Make sure to mark this event on your schedule. More on the new dates and what’s coming in 2023 here.

Key takeaways from this year’s USEF Annual Meeting have been published on the US Equestrian website, offering summaries of important sessions held throughout the week. I found this summary of recent safety equipment surveys to be interesting, and you can read more of the reports here.

It’s been awhile since we caught up with RF Demeter — and given her stunning presence in the first phase of competition it’s hardly a surprise she’s rocking it in the dressage world these days! Catch up with “Demi” and her current partner, Amira Cooney, here.

Sponsor Corner: You can experience this year’s Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International from a whole new angle with reservation of Carolina Club tickets! Premier ringside viewing, provided daily breakfast and lunch, and an open bar?? You had me at, well, open bar, if I’m being honest… Click here to join the Carolina Club!

Wednesday Video Break

When your 5* horse is scared of….things…

#TrainingTipTuesday Video: Improve Bascule and Canter Quality with Booli Selmayr’s Gridwork

Booli Selmayr and Urania. Photo by Abby Powell.

We love a good educational video here at EN, and thanks to our friends at Millbrook Horse Trials, we’ve got a fresh new grid exercise for you to integrate into your practice at home. 5* rider Booli Selmayr is the instructor du jour for these exercises, which focus on improving a horse’s jump form and canter quality, while also giving the rider a chance to hone their own position.

From Booli, here are some instructions for these exercises:

Grid I: Encourage the horse to bascule & reach across the fence

What you need: Two cavalettis and a pole

How: Place the two cavalettis right next to each other and lay the pole over diagonally on top. This will help the horse understand as you widen the cavalettis they are not to touch down between the two.

Cantering on a large circle, get your horse quite round, and jump the cavaletti on a curving line. Gradually widen the cavalettis. You can also adjust the size of the canter circle depending on the level of training of your horse.

Grid II: Improve the quality of your canter to and from the fence

What you need: 3-4 poles & blocks, or cavalettis, 4x standards and poles to make an oxer.

How: Place 3-4 canter bounces on a curved line on one end of the circle. The middle to middle of the poles should measure 12' and the inside should measure 10'. Place the oxer directly across from the canter rails on the circle. Depending on you and your horse's experience will determine how large your circle & strides are in between the oxer to canter rails. The smaller the circle, the more advanced the exercise becomes. Do this in both directions, you can start with rails or oxer, there are lots of ways to play around with this exercise.

Take a look in the video below (or click here to watch it directly on Facebook):

Winter is usually a good time for eventers to practice on fine tuning the small details in preparation for the 2023 season. Our very own Booli Selmayr- Fox Valley Sport Horses shares two of her favorite grid exercises that you can easily do in an indoor, outdoor or field. Have Fun! Thanks Booli!

From Booli:

Grid I: Encourage the horse to bascule & reach across the fence

What you need: Two cavalettis and a pole

How: Place the two cavalettis right next to each other and lay the pole over diagonally on top. This will help the horse understand as you widen the cavalettis they are not to touch down between the two.
Cantering on a large circle, get your horse quite round, and jump the cavaletti on a curving line. Gradually widen the cavalettis. You can also adjust the size of the canter circle depending on the level of training of your horse.

Grid II: Improve the quality of your canter to and from the fence

What you need: 3-4 poles & blocks, or cavalettis, 4x standards and poles to make an oxer.

How: Place 3-4 canter bounces on a curved line on one end of the circle. The middle to middle of the poles should measure 12' and the inside should measure 10'. Place the oxer directly across from the canter rails on the circle. Depending on you and your horse's experience will determine how large your circle & strides are in between the oxer to canter rails. The smaller the circle, the more advanced the exercise becomes. Do this in both directions, you can start with rails or oxer, there are lots of ways to play around with this exercise.

Posted by Millbrook Horse Trials on Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Building Back after the Rain: Northern California’s CBC Equine is Focused on the Future

Brittney Chambers was eager to get back into the rhythm of the busy season after the holidays brought a slower time in her barn, out of which she runs CBC Therapeutic Horseback Riding Academy in Elk Grove, CA. CBC Equine was founded to provide a resource for the local community in the form of riding lessons and therapeutic sessions. Since its founding, CBC Equine has become an integral part of the Sacramento county area and its surroundings, partnering with safe houses, after-school programs, youth programs, and other communities seeking a connection with horses.

But that all came to a flooding halt earlier this month, as winter rain storms ravaged the California landscape unaccustomed to taking on such large quantities of water at once.

“The levee had broken,” Brittney described. The barn her business uses is on a property that houses multiple riding programs, and the flooding made for some necessary evacuations to higher ground. “The water just came right across our back field and our barn was right there.”

Lost to the floodwaters were several small animals kept for use in the therapeutic program, as well as the classroom used for educational sessions and most of the supplies CBC Equine needs to continue providing its services to the community.

Compounding on the stressful situation was the impact on the business finances, Brittney explained. After a holiday break, where many kids didn’t come in for lessons, the program was in need of revenue — and then, the rains came. “It’s been hard, financially, for us,” Brittney continued. “Since the road has re-opened, we’ve been able to start getting some make-up lessons in, but between the lost revenue and the lost assets, we’re hurting a little.”

CBC Equine started an Amazon Wish List, much of which has been fulfilled but to which more items are still being added as the damages continue to be assessed on site. “There’s still a lot on our wish list we could use,” Brittney said. “I didn’t want a million things on the list at one time, so I’ve added new things as things have gotten purchased. On the website, people wanting to help can also donate financially through PayPal. I was able to get us a new classroom furniture set, but there are definitely other things that we need — our wishlist is wonderful.”

With about 100 students in the program and more community organizations reaching out regularly to join, it’s important that CBC Equine is able to get back to full operations. For most of the kids riding with Brittney and her team, their weekly lessons are their only access point to horses — and we all know how impactful “the bug” can be once caught! Let’s help CBC Equine get back on its feet: you can donate via the program’s Amazon Wish List here or directly on their website here.

US Equestrian Announces Bid Allocations for the 2023-2027 U.S. Eventing Calendar for Area VI

2021 Galway Downs International CCI4*-L winner Alexandra MacLeod & Newmarket Jack (PC: Tina Fitch Photography)

Following a review of Area VI community feedback, modifications to the 2023-2027 U.S. Eventing Calendar were recommended by the Eventing Strategic Calendar Task Force to the Eventing Sport Committee, who in turn recommended the modifications to an Ad Hoc of the Board of Directors.

Due to hardships demonstrated for qualification under the current structure and criteria, and to limit the travel to achieve those qualifications in the interest of horse welfare, the following modifications were approved to offer the best preparation for high-performance athletes and horses. More on those modifications can be found here.

Due to the criteria changes, bid processes were opened for Week 15, 21, 40, and 42. Competitors preparing horses for the 3*-L, 4*-L, and 5* level will now have a better-structured calendar through which to prepare, with the addition of a 4*-S, Advanced, and 3*-L at Twin Rivers in Week 15 as well as a 4*-S/Advanced at Woodside (week 40) and an Advanced at Ram Tap in week 42. In total, Area VI will offer two 3*-L events, one at Twin Rivers in the spring and one at Galway Downs in the fall.

Week 15
Twin Rivers Spring International
Bid Levels: CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, & Advanced
Non-bid Levels: BN, N, T, M, P, I, CCI1*, CCI2*-S, CCI2*-L, CCI3*-S
Dates: Apr. 13-16, 2023; Apr 11-14, 2024; Apr. 10-13, 2025; Apr. 9-12, 2026; Apr. 8-11, 2027

Week 21
Woodside Horse Trials
Bid Level: Advanced
Non-bid Levels: BN, N, T, P, I
Dates: May 26-28, 2023; May 24-26, 2024; May 23-25, 2025; May 22-24, 2026; May 21-23, 2027

Week 40
Woodside Fall Horse Trials
Bid Levels: CCI4*-S & Advanced
Non-bid Levels: BN, N, T, P, I, CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S
Dates: Oct. 6-8, 2023; Oct. 4-6, 2024; Oct. 3-5, 2025; Oct. 2-4, 2026; Oct. 1-3, 2027

Week 42
Ram Tap National Horse Trials
Bid Level: Advanced
Non-bid Levels: BN, N, T, M, P, I
Dates: Oct. 20-22, 2023; Oct. 18-20, 2024; Oct. 17-19, 2025; Oct. 16-18, 2026; Oct. 15-17, 2027

Remaining vacant weeks on the 2023-2027 Eventing Calendar HERE.

View the full 2023-2027 U.S. Eventing Calendar HERE.

Tuesday News & Notes from Kentucky Performance Products

Here at EN, we truly believe that grooms are some of the real superheroes of our industry, and we love every opportunity we get to pick their brains and see them in action at events all over the world. And one groom in particular has been a real celebrity for anyone who wants to be a better groom, or simply a better horseman: the ineffable Jackie Potts.

This year, Jackie celebrates 30 years as the head honcho of Fox-Pitt Eventing this year, a tenure that began for her right at the beginning of William’s international career. She’s been by his side as the architect of his success all the way through, and in the last few years, she’s been the lynchpin of Kazu Tomoto’s extraordinary career, too. My own interactions with Jackie have been numerous, and varied, and all completely brilliant: ‘Grans’, as she’s known on the circuit, is always quick with a smile and a chat at events, and will answer even the silliest of questions as she juggles her millions of responsibilities and basically keeps the world turning.

But I first met her not as a journalist, but as a teenaged eventing enthusiast spending three days trialling for a working pupil job at William’s. It was there that Jackie taught me several things that I’ve used consistently since — horse management tips, mostly, but above all, the concept of the ‘shit sandwich’. This pillar of Jackie’s much-loved and respected management style works like this: when you want to make a constructive criticism or point out a mistake, you begin by mentioning something that the person has done well. Then, you offer advice for improvement on the thing that’s not so good, before finishing with another positive point.

It works in every facet of life, because it leads with kindness and makes people feel even more motivated to improve and succeed. So from all of us at EN, happy anniversary, Jackie! Thanks for your wisdom and your positivity. We have no criticisms to put in this sandwich.

Events Opening Today: SAzEA Spring H.T.Southern Pines H.T.Chattahoochee Hills H.T.

Events Closing Today: Pine Top Intermediate H.T.Full Gallop Farm February I H.T.Rocking Horse Winter II H.T.

Tuesday News & Notes from Around the World:

We’ve all been glued to the FEI Eventing Forum, which took place in France over the weekend. One of the major topics on the roster was safety within the sport, and how it can be improved — and some of the numbers crunched showed that although rotational falls are on the decline, the severity of those that do still occur is significant. Here’s what that means, and what the next steps could look like. [Eliminating rotationals]

One of my favourite parts of the season is seeing the Intercollegiate competition photos. Weirdly specific? Not if you’ve ever seen a truly hilarious photo of a college sports mascot invading a cross-country course, nor if you’ve ever felt your heart warmed by the sheer joy of a team of students absolutely smashing out a win. It’s a brilliant programme, and one I would love to see even more of this year — so if you’re a college student who loves eventing, check out the newly-released calendar and start planning! [The Intercollegiate Eventing League calendar is here]

Winter’s not good for much, but it is a chance to get your horse’s mane and tail in check. I’m a bit lazy, so I tend to let my horse have a bit of a free-growth period before I get the pulling comb out ready for early-season plaits, but even if your horse needs to look show-ready throughout the winter, you can use this time to tend to those scabby bits, the bald patches, and all the rest. [Here’s how]

It’s a tough call to make — but sometimes, stepping back from eventing is the right thing to do. That’s the call that five-star competitor Hannah Bate after discovering that eventing just doesn’t light her fire anymore. Her experience isn’t totally uncommon, and it’s an interesting one to read. [Hannah’s next steps]

Sponsor Corner:  Could Vitamin E help horses with neurological disease? New research shows that the right vitamin E supplement could be beneficial! Check out this blog on the topic from Kentucky Performance Products!

Watch This:

Can’t cross-country school at the moment for whatever reason? Reap the benefits by tuning in for British eventer Ashley Harrison’s lessons:

Monday Video: 2014 Helmet Cam from Stable View’s Inaugural Horse Trials

After last week’s clip with Jennarose Ortmeyer on Michelle Green’s most adorable Chilli Star, we’re bringing you another Helmet Cam Monday to start your week off right. Can’t wait for videos from this past weekend’s Stable View Aiken Opener Horse Trials? In honor of the dedication of the new Joannah Glass Arena at Stable View, named after the woman credited with bringing the equestrian sport of eventing to Aiken, let’s throw it back to Stable View’s inaugural event way back in 2014 with this helmet cam from Brendan Quinn’s Preliminary run on his Percheron cross, Smoke. Can you believe this was already almost 9 years ago? The property looks so different from our current view!

International Collaboration on Safety Innovations: Updates from the FEI Eventing Forum in Jardy

Lively discussions, presentations and proposals provided a vibrant atmosphere at the FEI Eventing Forum & National Safety Officers Seminar 2023 hosted by the French Equestrian Federation (FFE) which concluded at Haras de Jardy (FRA) today.

American Olympian, FEI Board Member, FEI Eventing Committee Chair and USEF Chief of Sport David O’Connor presenting at the FEI Eventing Forum & National Safety Officers Seminar 2023 at the Haras de Jardy (FRA). Photo ©FEI

A total of 108 delegates from 24 National Federations (NF) attended, and once again the Forum was moderated by decorated American Olympian, FEI Board Member, Chair of the FEI Eventing Committee and USEF Chief of Sport David O’Connor, alongside Geoff Sinclair, Chair of the FEI Eventing Risk Management Steering Group (RMSG).

Business

The busy three-day programme was preceded by a one-day course led by frangible device MIM’s founder Mats Björnetun and course builder James Willis on Thursday 19 January which was attended by 72 NF representatives. This included the latest technology updates on the fitting of frangible devices correctly, and advice on adapting currently-used devices to the new standard.

Friday morning began with a tour of the spectacular Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games venue in Versailles, with representatives from the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, namely Anne Murac; a delegation from GL events Equestrian Sport including Sylvie Robert, Jean Morel and members of the team responsible for the design, planning, installation and management at the site on behalf of Paris 2024; FFE’s Head of International Relations Quentin Simonet and Technical Director Sophie Dubourg; and finally, footing specialist Paul Jacques Tanvez (FRA) and Laurent Bousquet (FRA), a member of the FEI Eventing Risk Management Steering Group, acting as guides.

Photo ©FEI

Topics

Social License and Media Training were the first topics to be tackled following the visit in Versailles, followed by a discussion on sanctions to help improve safety and the future development of 5* events with detailed feedback from the Organisers of Badminton, Burghley, Lexington and Pau.

The remainder of the first day was dedicated to discussions around Risk Management statistics and trends based on comprehensive data collected since 2004, and also highlighting 2022 had recorded the lowest number of rotational falls at FEI level since reporting had started. The delegates also discussed standards for cross-country courses; the potential to make safety stirrups mandatory; as well as the use of the Horse Form Index within the community. Throughout the Forum, the delegates were also presented a number of technology and design related innovations to increase safety from enhanced biometric data to boot design.

Among the breakthroughs from the weekend, a proposal made by Sweden’s Staffan Lidbeck regarding cross-country flag rules and the addition of penalties for displacing a flag was met with overwhelming support.

Lidbeck referred to the system currently used at national level in Sweden, where at present the rule is zero penalties for jumping clear through the flags, 7 penalties when a flag loses its upper attachment, and 20 penalties for a run-out or when a horse jumps the fence with no part of the hind end going through the flag. A show of hands confirmed the majority of the delegates agreed to the concept, with consensus that further discussion needed to take place regarding the proposed number of penalties to be applied.

Talking about the effect of the new rule on the sport in Sweden, Lidbeck’s fellow-countryman and leading Eventing Technical Delegate and Course Designer Lars Christensson said, “I think it has made riders respect fences more, and they ride more correctly. We will be going the right way if we introduce this in the sport”.

Breakout groups

A range of subjects covered during the Forum were also discussed in seven different Breakout Groups (refer to the agenda here) on the Saturday, with the findings and different solutions and ideas presented to the entire delegation. The final day focused on Risk Management statistics and programmes being conducted by National Federations with National Safety Officers from eleven countries – Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and USA – making individual presentations and sharing their safety initiatives at a national level.

The Forum came to a close with Risk Management Group Chair, Australia’s Geoff Sinclair, thanking David O’Connor and members Laurent Bousquet (FRA), Jonathan Holling and Dave Vos (USA), Great Britain’s Mike Etherington-Smith for driving much of the work of the group in previous years, Stuart Buntine (AUS) who has now replaced him, Rob Stevenson (CAN) and Staffan Lidbeck (SWE). “They are a great group of people and of course we are also very grateful to the FEI Eventing team for all the hard work”, he said.

David O’Connor was pleased with the outcome of this year’s Forum and thanked the delegates for their positive involvement. “All the topics we have covered have been raised in the spirit of consultation so that we can make the right decisions for the future of the sport”, he said.

“By working together and in the same direction at both national and international level, we become increasingly effective from an educational, communications, procedural and standards perspective, and we know just how important this is to minimise risk within the sport, and increase engagement and appreciation for Eventing.”

“It’s been a great few days with great conversation, interacting and exchange of ideas, we now have a lot of action items and discussion points going forward and I’d like to thank you for your help, your participation and your contributions”, he concluded.

Video recordings from the 2023 Forum and Seminar will be available here in the coming days and a fully detailed report will be published within the next fortnight.

About FEI Eventing Risk Management

Since 2004, the FEI has embraced a holistic approach to risk management, with thorough data collection and analysis in order to have a detailed overview of what is happening in the sport to understand the trends, and to monitor the effects of the different actions put in place to mitigate and minimise risk. Part of the holistic approach also requires having a broad view on the different risk factors, including data analysis on fences and the use of frangible technology but also other mitigating factors.

For more details on the FEI Eventing Risk Management Policy, Action Plan, Seminars, Statistics, the Horse Form Index, National Safety Officers and other related topics, click here.