Classic Eventing Nation

Recipients in Three Categories Awarded Broussard ‘Going Forward’ Grants

Auditors gather to watch Silvio Mazzoni teach day two of the Ocala ICP Symposium in 2016. Photo by Sally Spickard.

The Broussard Charitable Foundation Trust, in partnership with the USEA Foundation, announced a new series of special educational grants in July of this year, and the first awards have just been given out across three categories of applicants. The “Going Forward” Grants are intended to reward “deserving candidates 18 years old and above who are passionate about moving their commitment to the sport forward”, and the following three categories were recognized:

  • Horsemanship Immersion Program
  • Instructors’ Certification Program
  • Eventing Officials “r” Training Program

A total of $32,000 was awarded to the following applicants:

Horse Immersion Program

  • Patricia “Peaches” Cava, Area VII

Instructors’ Certification Program

  • Laura Vello, Area V
  • Gina Pletch, Area VIII
  • Michael Graham, Area IX

Eventing Officials “r” Training Program

  • Jeanie Clarke, Area III
  • Jennifer Rousseau, Area IV
  • John Meriwether, Area VII

This first round of the “Going Forward” Grants will award seven individuals instead of the original four or five, a gesture of generosity from the Broussard Charitable Foundation Trust. To learn more about and donate to the USEA Foundation, click here.

Surefire Farm to Discontinue Recognized Horse Trials

Photo courtesy of Surefire Farm.

After hosting recognized horse trials on the Surefire Farm property since 2004, owner Jan Byyny has made the difficult decision to discontinue the competitions. Surefire Farm, located in the heart of Area II in Purcellville, Va., had hosted two recognized events running divisions from Beginner Novice through Intermediate, adding the second fall event in 2014.

“After much deliberation, I have decided that Surefire has run its final sanctioned horse trials,” Jan wrote in a statement. “This has been a really hard decision, but the time has come. I’m super glad, though, that we decided to run this past June, even as the pandemic was creating new challenges to putting on our event. I feel grateful that we ended on a really good note.”

Olivia Dutton and Santa’s Playboy at Surefire. Photo by Jenni Autry.

It was truly a village effort to run these events, which quickly grew to be a staple on the calendar for most riders in the area. Together with her family and a slew of other dedicated helpers, Jan focused on giving back to the sport she loved, investing in the property to make continual improvements to the aerated grass and the cross country courses.

“I want to say thank you to every single rider, volunteer, official, supplier, sponsor, and course builder who over the years helped, supported and created our amazing event,” Jan wrote. “There would have been no Surefire Horse Trials without Tom Finnen, Dick and Jo Byyny, and Christy Stauffer, and the list of others who were critical to our success is quite long. I appreciate everyone who pitched in, year after year, as part of our Surefire family. It is the memories of all who helped that stand out most for me.

Photo courtesy of Susan Merle-Smith/Surefire Farm.

“Don’t worry, I will still be training horses and riders as well as teaching clinics and doing anything and everything I can to make our sport better. This is the end of the Surefire Horse Trials but not the end of Surefire! We’ll be open for schooling for anyone that wants to come by, just contact me to make an appointment. We’re working on plans to run derby crosses, schooling horse trials and some other fun shows. I look forward to welcoming you back to Surefire Farm.”

Many thanks to Susan Merle-Smith for sending in some of her favorite photos of the property from the past few seasons and for sharing the promo video embedded below. We’d also like to express our eternal gratitude to Jan and her family for their enduring dedication to the sport.

Weekend Winners: Grand Oaks, Southern Arizona

Clayton and FE Boogie Woogie will maintain their lead in the open training division on their stunning 17.1 dressage…

Posted by Fredericks Equestrian International on Saturday, November 21, 2020

Just two events kept us in the eventing action this weekend, one on each end of the country at Grand Oaks in Ocala, Fl. and Southern Arizona in Tucson, Az.

Looking to our Unofficial Low Score Award, it’s Clayton Fredericks who takes the cake aboard FE Boogie Woogie, winning their Open Training division at Grand Oaks on a score of 17.1. FE Boogie Woogie is a 5-year-old Oldenburg gelding that has just begun his eventing career this year. This finishing score comes as an early personal best for the young horse. Well done!

Grand Oaks H.T.: Final Results

Open Preliminary: Karl Slezak and Hot Bobo (22.6)
Modified: Marcea Funk and Odyssey B (25.8)
Open Training: Clayton Fredericks and FE Boogie Woogie (17.1)
Training Rider: Heather Thomas and Famos 71 (24.8)
Novice Rider: Tessa Geven and Big Bear’s Cepheus (25.7)
Open Novice: Karl Slezak and FHS Liam McCarthy (25.7)
Beginner Novice Rider: Sidnee Milner and BeauJeste (26.7)
Open Beginner Novice: Diego Farje and Wise Hamlet du Rouet (24.7)

Southern Arizona H.T.: Final Results

Open Preliminary: James Atkinson and Archenemy (37.3)
Open Training: Jordan Crabo and Zimbabwe Express (32.0)
Training Rider: Sophia Hardesty and Muggle (29.9)
Novice Rider A: Laura Worl Kober and Sterling Impression (26.4)
Novice Rider B: Kate Chester and Orca (24.5)
Open Novice: Ghislaine Homan-Taylor and Mameluke (28.8)
Beginner Novice Rider A: Reagan Pickering and Denfer des Sablons (31.3)
Beginner Novice Rider B: Donna Hayden and FlynnStone (28.5)
Open Beginner Novice: Jennifer Row and Kaoimhe (21.0)
Introductory A: Anastasia Keyser and Mr Mackenzie (33.1)
Introductory B: Amber McKain and Burton Hill (33.9)

Monday News & Notes from Kentucky Performance Products

If there’s one thing I’m really, totally into, it’s democracy, baby. And that applies to your governing bodies, too – no matter where you compete, nor at which level, your needs are being looked after by a group of people who are largely voted in by members. So if you feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth from your membership, or you have concerns about the way the sport is going, make sure your voice is heard by participating in AGMs and voting for your board of directors.

Today’s the final day you’ll be able to do so for the British Eventing board of directors, so double-check your email for your voting links and cast your ballot for the person you want fighting your corner. You can find all the information on the candidates here. Then, be sure to tune into the Annual General Meeting tomorrow at 5pm via Zoom, where you’ll be able to put your questions and concerns to the Board, get insight into what’s to come in 2021 for BE, and cast an ‘in-person’ vote if you’re not able to do so today. Email [email protected] to register for your spot.

National Holiday: It’s National Cashew Day. Certainly in my top five nuts, the cashew.

US Weekend Results:

Grand Oaks H.T.: [Website] [Results]

Southern Arizona Eventing Association H.T.: [Website] [Results] [Show Photographer]

Global Eventing Round-Up:

  • The first week of the three-week Portugal Winter Tour kicked off with a bang, with a small but fiercely competitive group of international riders heading down to the sunny Lisbon suburbs to contest classes from 1* to 4*-S. Ireland’s Cathal Daniels rode Barrichello to victory in the top class, while Thailand’s Korntawat Samran and Bonero K took the CCI3*-S. Check out the report here.

Your Monday Reading List:

A free-range senior citizen pub horse is missing his booze and snacks with his local on lockdown. Honestly, I’ve never related to a horse more. [33-year-old pub horse misses his half-pint and crisps during lockdown]

Bad rides: they happen to all of us. But if a disappointing schooling session leaves you kicking yourself for the rest of the day – or even the week – it’s time to revolutionise the way you deal with the setbacks with this solid advice. [5 Things to Do After a Tough Ride]

There are few things harder than recognising that your horse just isn’t The One. Olympic eventer Sharon Hunt has plenty of advice for spotting when it’s just not going to work, and making sure your next partner is perfect for you. [What if my horse isn’t the right one for me?]

What’s actually happening with the 2020 — um, make that 2021 — Olympics, anyway? Our own Sally Spickard lays bare the facts and latest updates on the forthcoming Games, as well as the viability of inviting spectators into their midst. We remain on tenterhooks. [Eyes on Tokyo: The Latest Updates on 2021 Olympics]

Morning Viewing:

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto gives you some great pointers on getting it right…


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Ireland’s Cathal Daniels Wins First Leg of Portugal Winter Tour

Cathal Daniels (IRE) and Shannondale Mari. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The new “Tour” formats of the Strzegom Summer Tour, which placed out across two weekends in July in Poland, and the Portugal Winter Tour, a three-event series that kicked off this weekend at Barroca d’Alva, represent a creative solution to the problem of canceled FEI events this year. Not unlike winter circuit series here in the U.S. that span weeks or even months, the Tour format invites riders to settle in and stay a while — of particular convenience with current quarantine requirements and travel restrictions.

While Portuguese borders are currently open, competitors must still carry a letter with them from the event certifying their purpose of travel. Other national Covid-19 emergency measures are in place through at least Nov. 23, including a curfew.

The Portugal Winter Tour consists of three weeks of competition: Week 1 – Nov. 19-21, Week 2 – Nov. 26-28, and Week 3- Dec. 2-6. They provide the last opportunity in 2020 for athletes and horses to gain qualifications for international events in 2021 including the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Ireland’s 2019 European Championship bronze medallist Cathal Daniels has won the top class of the first leg of the Portugal Winter Tour, a CCI4*-S. He and his partner Barrichello, an 11-year-old gelding (Balou du Rouet x Matinee du Madon VII) owned by Sarah Hughes, led the 15-horse field from start to finish, winning on their dressage score of 29.7. This is a first win for the partnership of Cathal and Barichello although they have been knocking at the door this year — they were second in the CCI4*-S at Mallow and third in the CCI4*-S at Ballindenisk in August, and seventh in the CCI4*-L at the same venue the following month. Before Cathal, Barrichello was produced by Sharon March of Great Britain, followed by outings at the four-star level William Fox-Pitt and, for the year 2018, Alexander Bragg.

The Galway native also took sixth place with My Lucky Day (40.1) and was runner-up in the CCI3*-S with Shannondale Mari.

Cathal Daniels (IRE) and Shannondale Mari. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Britain’s Ben Hobday and his British Open Championship winner Shadow Man were second (31.5). Australia’s Samantha Birch riding Hunter Valley II was third (35.6) and also fifth on Finduss PFB (39.1) Sweden’s Ludwig Svennerstal and Balham Mist finished fourth (38.7).

Also represented in the field was a representation of Brazil, who qualified their team at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru: Marcio Appel CheuicheCarlos ParroRuy Fonseca and Marcio Carvalho Jorge. Thailand, which also has a ticket punched for the Games from a Special Qualifier for Groups F and G (Africa, the Middle East, South-East Asia, and Oceania) at Saumur, had a 12th place finish by Weerapat Pitakanonda. Spain’s Antonio Cejudo Caro, Belgium’s Joris Vanspringel and Australia’s Catherine Burrell all landed in the top 10.

The CCI3*-S was won by Thailand’s team gold and individual bronze medallist at the 2019 Asian Games, Korntawat Samran, with Bonero K on their dressage score of 31.5. Ludwig Svennerstal won the CCI2*-S with Jumble.

The Portugal Winter Tour continues Nov. 26-28 at Barroca d’Alva with CCI1*/ 2*S / 3*S  and National Championship classes; the final fixture, Dec. 2-6, has 1*/2*S/2*L/3*S/3*L /4*S/4*L classes.

Click here for complete results. To learn more, visit the 2020 Portugal Winter Tour website.

Eyes on Tokyo: The Latest Updates on Postponed 2020 Olympics

Embed from Getty Images

As the sporting world looks on anxiously, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo 2020 organizing team have pushed ahead with their plans to host the Summer Olympic Games a year removed from their original dates this past summer. Yet as Japan continues to report rising daily numbers of new coronavirus cases (despite having comparatively low numbers throughout the pandemic) this week and the virus showing little sign of slowing down, it remains to be seen what the final execution of the Games, now scheduled for July 23 through August 8, 2021, will look like.

The IOC and the organizing committee have remained steadfastly optimistic in the face of COVID-19, which is predictably showing a strong global surge in the waning months of the year. This week, IOC president Thomas Bach paid a visit to the site of the Games in Tokyo, checking in on the development and logistical progression.

Despite the pandemic, Japanese and IOC officials have continued working on bolstering the Games with additional technology and social distancing protocol in an effort to create a sustainable and safe experience for athletes.

While the IOC has said it will not, at this point, mandate vaccination for incoming athletes, officials have encouraged athletes to undergo proper vaccination – if it is available in time – before traveling to Tokyo. The Committee has also come out in support of footing the bill for said vaccinations, but has reiterated the importance of ensuring that those who need vaccines the most have access to them first.

“The first priority has to be a vaccine for the nurses, the medical doctors and the people who keep our society alive,” Mr. Bach said. “If afterwards a vaccine is available, the IOC would bear the cost so that participants can be offered a vaccine.”

Of course, this would all fall by the wayside if a vaccine – and a widely available one at that – does not emerge soon. Though there is notable progress to report – Pfizer Inc. and its German partner, BioNTech, have emerged this week as frontrunners in the race to release a viable option, reporting 95% efficacy from the latest stage of trials – the final outcome of the race to produce a vaccine remains unknown.

Therefore, much of the analytics used throughout the Tokyo site development have centered around testing and contact tracing. From this, the question arises: what about spectators?

Throughout this year, several mainstream and lesser known sports have resumed some sense of normalcy. The NBA, NHL, MLB, and now the NFL have played hybrid seasons, in the case of the NBA bubble without a single positive test. While the World Series and some NFL stadiums have allowed limited numbers of fans, these events are largely spectator-less. Meanwhile in Japan, which for the majority of the pandemic had reported one of the statistically lower totals of cases and deaths, sporting organizations have slowly scaled back into welcoming spectators back in the stands.

Near the beginning of November, a baseball stadium in Yokohama was the staging site of logistical testing with a nearly full load of spectators. Making use of high-precision cameras, carbon dioxide-monitoring devices, and wind speed measuring, the officials were able to collect data to be sent back for use in guiding the decisions around the Olympics and the next season of sports.

These demonstrations of success were cause for IOC president Bach to express positive sentiments about the potential for a “reasonable” amount of spectators attending the Games. “You can organize safe sports events,” he said at a press conference. “We have seen in the professional leagues, particularly in baseball, games already under the restrictions now with spectators that have been very successful. Of course everybody in the Olympic Games would like a full house, a full-capacity stadium. But the top priority of the IOC and of the organizing committee has always been, and remains, to offer a safe environment – also for spectators.”

There will undoubtedly still be many more developments to come in the forthcoming months, as the pandemic has proven it’s anything but predictable. In the meantime, construction continues on the remaining infrastructure that will, with any luck, soon be home to new feats of athletic ability.

Sunday Links

Allison Springer was the first five-star rider to don a helmet in the first phase. Leslie Threlkeld Photo.

Major news is shaking in the FEI General Assembly. Say goodbye to top hats as the FEI has officially put a foot down to require safety headgear on the flat. While helmets have become more and more common in the dressage, the move away from top hats will be a big change for traditionalists. FEI wants you to mind your melon. Follow up on all General Assembly eventing updates at this link.

National Holiday: National Espresso Day

U.S. Weekend Action :

Grand Oaks H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Southern Arizona Eventing Association H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status/Live Scores] [Show Photographer]

Major International Events:

Portugal Winter Tour Week 1/Barroca d’Alva: [Website] [Start Lists]

Sunday Links: 

Top 10 Tips for Purchasing a Horse with Courtney Cooper

Jaw-dropping photo of horse jumping over top of the wings goes viral

Nick Skelton and Piggy March urge bosses: give your staff a pizza!

World Equestrian Center vs. USEF Proves We Need More Options

Pushing Through Fear Back To Partnership Again

Eventers confront “stressage” in their return after lockdown

Hot on Horse Nation: 5 Ways to Soothe Sore Muscles From No-Stirrup November

Sunday Video: Stumbled across this piece of cuteness on YouTube today. Meet Chex Mix and his 11-year-old rider Annabella Reader. They finished seventh in the Intro B division at Twin Rivers this month. Well done!


US Equestrian to Launch USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Series

Image via US Equestrian.

US Equestrian is pleased to announce the development of a new youth team competition format for eventing athletes competing at the CCI1* through CCI3* levels, set to be introduced during the 2021 competition season. Eventing athletes between the FEI ages of 14 and 25 are invited to apply for the USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge for the upcoming competition season, with competition opportunities spanning from early spring through late fall.

This new concept will serve as an evolution of the North American Youth Championship for eventing and will provide opportunities for more athletes to represent their USEA Area in team competition throughout the year, culminating with two bi-coastal championships.

The Challenge will include three levels with the following age requirements:

  • CCI1* for FEI ages 14-18
  • CCI2* for FEI ages 14-21
  • CCI3* for FEI ages 16-25

The series will consist of four to six CCI-S competitions hosted at locations across the country to make the program accessible to as many qualified youth athletes as possible. It will conclude with two CCI-L competitions, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, at the end of the competition year. The bid process for host competitions is open through December 15, 2020, and locations will be announced at the end of January 2021.

“We are very excited about the increased opportunities this new Youth Team Challenge series will provide to youth athletes. Whereas youth athletes were aiming for one summer team championship with NAYC, athletes will now have the opportunity to compete in a team for the full season leading up to a final team championship on both coasts,” said Leslie Law, USEF Development and Emerging Athlete Coach.

“The U.S. does not currently have the opportunity to compete in FEI Pony, Junior and Young Rider Championships like in Europe, so we must continue to seek new ways to give our youth athletes more opportunities to compete in a team. The Youth Team Challenge will also give athletes up to the age of 25 the opportunity to gain this valuable team experience. This is an exciting and critical new initiative in further strengthening the Eventing Pathway, which aims to develop athletes to one day represent the U.S. on the world stage.”

Each team will consist of three to four horse/athlete combinations to be chosen from qualified applicants by the USEA Area Selectors based on performance, soundness, experience, and suitability for the competition. All interested athletes must submit an area declaration and a one-time application for the upcoming competition year. The deadline for area declarations and team applications is January 29, 2021. Log in to your athlete dashboard to access the application.

Note to applicants*: FEI age is defined as the age the athlete will turn during the calendar year of the competition. Athletes born between January 1 and December 31, 2007, will be considered FEI age 14 for the entire 2021 competition year. Additionally, athletes who intend to move up to the CCI1* level in the upcoming season are invited to apply, even if they have not yet competed at the level.

For more information, click here.

Saturday Links

Just two best friends sharing a blade of grass. Photo by Abby Powell.

I’m taking a new step in my journey as a horse owner this week and half-leasing out my pony to a friend of a friend. She’s not moving barns and I’ll still be riding her several days a week, so why do I feel like a parent sending their kid of to college?! I also just feel like such a proud mom watching her cart around someone that my heart could burst. This is a normal horse person feeling, right?

U.S. Weekend Action :

Grand Oaks H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Southern Arizona Eventing Association H.T.: [Website] [Entry Status/Live Scores] [Show Photographer]

Major International Events:

Portugal Winter Tour Week 1/Barroca d’Alva: [Website] [Start Lists]

Saturday Links:

Fresno County Horse Park Under New Ownership

‘It’s not easy to go out there and be yourself’: Carl Hester discusses his fears about social media and sport

Featured Clinician: Liz Halliday-Sharp

Locomotion of Circling Horses

World Equestrian Center vs. USEF Proves We Need More Options

Improve Elasticity in Horse and Rider

Just in on Jumper Nation: Top 5 Tips for Helping Your Favorite Equine Business Thrive

Saturday Video:

Friday Video from SmartPak: The $300 Thoroughbred Who Wowed the Eventing World

However our differences of opinion may divide us, one thing that universally unites the eventing world is a good underdog story – particularly when that underdog story involves a cheap-as-chips ex-racehorse who goes on to become a world beater.

That’s exactly what happened when Australia’s Rebel Morrow joined forces with Oaklea Groover, who was on his way to slaughter following the discovery of blood clots in his skull. Rebel stepped in, paid the owners what they’d have made in meat money, and began an extraordinary journey with the horse who would become her Athens Olympics partner.

In this episode of the Thoroughbred Network’s show, you’ll get to know the Aussie rider, whose based at Shane Rose’s Bimbadeen Park and learn the whole story behind Oaklea Groover’s exceptional career. Plus, she shares her insights on sourcing and retraining your own Thoroughbred so you can create your horse of a lifetime, too. A whole lot of heart for a diminutive sum – we might not be betting folk, but we do like those odds.

Go Eventing!