Classic Eventing Nation

Friday News & Notes

Tim and Jonelle are bringing a literal herd to Kentucky. Photo courtesy of Team Price.

It’s Fridaaaaayyy! One day closer to Kentucky, y’all and I cannot tell you how excited the whole team and I are about the upcoming festivities. While most of us won’t be attending in person, the EN team is going to do our absolute darnedest to bring ou even more information and action from the front lines than ever before, to make this truly the Best Weekend Ever.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Ocala International Festival of Eventing: [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

F.E.N.C.E. H.T.: [Website] [Entries]

Holly Hill H.T.: [Website] [Entries] [Show Photographer]

Longleaf Pine H.T.: [Website] [Entries] [Show Photographer] [Volunteer]

Sporting Days Farm April III H.T.: [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Show Photographer] [Volunteer]

Unionville H.T.: [Website] [Entries] [Show Photographer] [Volunteer]

News From Around the Globe:

Have you shopped EN’s 2nd Annual Virtual Village yet? New deals are dropping daily through this Saturday, April 17, and there are some really great discounts available that you won’t want to miss out on. Click here to shop today’s deals.

As we are full steam ahead into Kentucky next week, we’re looking forward to bringing you our famous EN coverage in a whole new way. Early next week, we’ll be launching the first-ever EN Ultimate Form Guide to Kentucky, available as a download for a small fee. We’re also launching the LRK3DE Daily Digest (click here to sign up – it’s free!), a daily email sent out early each morning during competition full of coverage links, predictions, giveaways/contests, and more. Finally, it’s a great time to become an EN Patreon supporter – we’ll be doing some exclusive content in our private Facebook group just for Patrons all week long.

A heroic effort from horsemen, the Elmont Fire Department and New York Racing Association, Inc. security personnel saved the lives of 58 horses following a quick response to Tuesday’s active fire in Barn 60 at Belmont Park. A team of horsemen rendered immediate assistance in conjunction with NYRA security to the horses stabled in Barn 60, which holds stalls for horses trained by Wayne Potts and Jeffrey Englehart. Two Potts trainees, American Sailor and Beastie D, succumbed in the fire. Three workers were treated onsite for minor issues. [Horsemen Save Lives in Fire at Belmont]

Phillip Dutton heads to Kentucky next week with two very different horses: Fernhill Singapore for his first attempt at th level, and the very experienced Z. While Z has been to Kentucky twice before as well as competing at the WEG, Singapore is just now coming into his power and will be a new face galloping across the bluegrass. Phillip discusses his training, and his mental preparation for an event like Kentucky in this article. [Countdown to Kentucky]

Oliver Townend has confirmed his two horses for Kentucky, leaving one off the list. Originally entered on Ballaghmor Class, Cooley Master Class, and Tregilder, Oliver has narrowed it down to the first two, with Tregilder headed to Burgham this weekend instead. Ballaghmor Class is certainly the hot favorite to win the class, despite his stablemate being a previous winner in the bluegrass state. [Oliver Townend’s Final Entries]


Get a sneak peek at the upcoming 5* course!

Clock Is Ticking on These Thursday Virtual Vendor Village Deals — Don’t Miss Out!

No secret that vendor shopping is one of my favorite eventing pastimes, and we’re so very happy here at EN to connect our favorite companies with other like-minded shoppers! Each day we’re bringing you new deals via EN’s second annual Virtual Vendor Village (check out Thursday’s deals here), then sharing our top picks of the day. Here are five that caught my fancy today!

Photo by Kerrits, Words/Longings by Leslie Wylie.

Kerrits: Our friends at Kerrits have rolled out the red carpet for EN’s Virtual Vendor Village.  Their Tent Sale is offering incredible bargains on breeches, gloves, tops, jackets, outerwear and more. My Kerrits krush — the Stretch Competitor Koat, marked down from $129 to just $69. It comes in gorgeous colors like Plumeria, Henna, Skylark and Flint Plaid … so fresh and springy!

VIP Equestrian: Don’t listen to me, who has won exactly zero (0) medals — listen to six-time Olympian Phillip Dutton, who says, “I’m really excited about the VIP saddle pads. I think the concept is a revolution for horses’ backs and the way that they fit.” That endorsement, plus this video of it protecting an iPhone as it gets run over by a car, is all you need to know. Get $10 off an order (valid 1 use per customer, good through 4/30/2021) using code LR2021.

ShowAssist: When you need an extra hand at the horse show, wouldn’t it be nice to hire some short-term help with the click of a button? ShowAssist is a mobile app that connects owners, trainers and riders with experienced grooms and other support staff for help with everything from “StallAssist” tasks like bathing and braiding, stall setup/takedown, hand-grazing and night checks to “RingAssist” tasks like schooling ring jump crew and ringside grooming. Technology … the future is now! Learn more and download the app here.

Stable View: If you have a Stable View event on your 2021 calendar (even if it’s just in pencil), this is the deal is for you (and it could turn that pencil into pen!). The premier Aiken, South Carolina venue has three offers running for Thursday: William Fox Pitt hat and DVD for $25 shipped; 50% off Oktoberfest accommodations (call 484-356-3173 to redeem); 50% off Eventing Academy Horse Trials (call 484-356-3173 to redeem).

Ecovet: It’s starting to get buggy out there — are you stocked up on fly spray? Now’s your chance to stockpile the good stuff with this 30% off offer from Ecovet (use promo code Virtual30), the first fatty-acid fly repellent for horses. Tested and endorsed by veterinarians, Ecovet provides a legit alternative to toxic pesticides. We’ve all been burnt before by “all-natural fly sprays” that turn out to be useless garbage, but this one is different — IT REALLY WORKS. And! It stays put. Many thanks to Dr. John and his crew for their continued support of EN!

Check out the full list of Thursday deals here. Go Eventing, and Go Shopping!



Thursday Video from Cambox: Beach Break on the Bordeaux Coast

Bordeaux, France, has wine AND a beach? Sign me up.

This video was shared by a rider named Jade, who recently hit the surf with her horses Safir and Kantoum de Soulac. We’ve fired it up at about the 7:40 mark, when the ocean is just coming into view. Watch as your stress washes away with the waves.

Cambox is currently on sale for up to 30% off! Click here to score a deal.

Cobblestone Farms Looking Forward to Filling Area VIII’s Eventing Needs

The new water complex at Revel Run, the new home of Michigan’s Cobblestone Farms Horse Trials. Photo courtesy of Cobblestone Farms.

There are some big things afoot at Cobblestone Farms. Under the leadership of Cobblestone Farms owners, the Daratony family, the well-established Dexter, Michigan facility now plans to expand its operations to a new, expansive 150-acre property nearby that entices visions of future eventing grandeur, running its two USEA-recognized events in a new home for 2021.

“We usually run our show on the 80 acres next to the farm, but it had just gotten to the point where that space wasn’t big enough,” Jim Daratony explained. “So we’ve just acquired a 150-acre golf course and have been working diligently for the last year to get it ready for 2021.”

The show jumping field at the former Cobblestone Farms property.

The new property, which will operate under the name Revel Run, had some existing infrastructure in place that will now be converted over time to top-of-the-line facilities for the avid equestrian; replacing the golf clubhouse will be a new clubhouse complete with a restaurant and biergarten for entertaining and kicking back after your rides.

A big part of the plans for Revel Run is a “true” Modified course – one with all its own jumps – in the works, something Jim says the community wants and needs.

“Many events will share jumps for the Modified to save costs, and we really wanted to provide a true Modified track on the Jeff Kibbie-designed course for our riders,” he explained. Building a standalone Modified course will cost between $40,000 and $50,000, so the team is working hard to provide options for sponsorship and fundraising to secure the future of the new course.

Jeff Kibbie, Jimmy Schauer and Jim Daratony work on the water complex at Revel Run. Photo courtesy of Cobblestone Farms.

“We believe offering a mid-range level specifically designed as a stepping stone in the education of horse and rider, is the perfect opportunity to expand the relevance of our sport – and appeal to an incredible range of competitors,” the team states on the Revel Run fundraising page, which can be accessed here.

As work continues on the property to get it ready for the first Cobblestone Farms at Revel Run H.T., Jim says the local eventing community has been nothing short of excited at the new developments. Indeed, after the shutdown of the beloved Richland Park H.T., Michigan’s sole FEI event for decades, in 2017, a void was left and riders found themselves without a marquee event to circle on the calendar each year. Jim hopes that this new site at Revel Run can become that hub of eventing the area needs.

“We’re really excited to offer it and hope people come and ride,” Jim said. “My daughters would always ride at Richland and really enjoyed it, so it was hard when it went by the wayside. So now we’re trying to pick up the load.”

Construction on the water complex. Photo courtesy of Cobblestone Farms.

It’s a communal effort, to be sure. Jim says he hopes the community will band together to support Revel Run’s fundraising efforts. Aiming to start modestly and build from there – near future plans include an Intermediate course — Cobblestone Farms is destined to become a family destination and a host for events of all kinds, from weddings to equestrian events. But the work required to pull off the venture is immense, and the Daratony family is grateful for the efforts of all involved.

Jim encourages the local Area VIII (and beyond!) riders to come together, raising the profile for the new Revel Run facility and chipping in to help meet fundraising goals. More information about how you can support this refreshed event can be found here. We’ll be checking in with the Daratony family and Cobblestone Farms this spring as they continue working toward the first event, July 3-4, at Revel Run. Levels from Beginner Novice through Intermediate/Preliminary will be offered. The second event at Revel Run is slated for August 6-8, offering the same options of levels. You can also follow Cobblestone Farms on Facebook for more updates on these exciting developments.

USEF Announces Competition Spectator Capacity

Photo courtesy of US Equestrian.

US Equestrian is pleased to announce that beginning May 3, 2021, licensees of USEF competitions are permitted to welcome a limited number of spectators back to their competitions. Dr. Mark Hart, USEF Chief Medical Officer stated, “In the spirit of moving our sport forward and recognizing the ever-changing dynamics of the Covid-19 pandemic resulting from the increasing number of distributed vaccines, we are working to finalize the specific protocols related to a measured return of spectator attendance. We continue to collaborate with our USEF stakeholders and public health officials and plan to distribute these new measures along with any other pertinent updates in the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan next Tuesday, April 20, 2021.”

Beginning May 3, 2021, spectators will be allowed on competition grounds under the following capacity restrictions:

  • Outdoor Venues: A maximum of 40% of the ticketed spectator capacity for competitions that operate with a ticketed gate, OR a maximum of 400 spectators for competitions that do not ticket spectators, whichever is greater.
  • Indoor Venues: A maximum of 30% of the ticketed spectator capacity for competitions that operate with a ticketed gate, OR a maximum of 300 spectators for competitions that do not ticket spectators, whichever is greater.
  • For venues that consist of both outdoor and indoor components, the above capacity restrictions apply accordingly.

It is important to note that spectators must comply with all applicable requirements of the Action Plan, including but not limited to wearing face masks/face coverings, social distancing, and frequent hand washing. The capacity numbers included above are the maximum permitted at a USEF competition each day. Because of the requirement to socially distance, some venues or situations might not allow organizers to accommodate the maximum allowable number of spectators.

Additionally, USEF has expanded the definition of sponsors to include individual persons or business entities that have an agreement in place with the competition to provide goods, services, or financial support integral to the sustainability of a competition. Sponsors, participants, competition staff, support personnel, volunteers, and service providers are not included in the spectator capacity numbers.

USEF hopes that the community will continue its collective effort to keep the sport open as restrictions are eased by remaining compliant with the requirements of the Action Plan. “We will continue to carefully monitor conditions and regularly consult with health authorities with the goal of being able to provide additional updates in the coming weeks and months that will further ease restrictions without endangering the health and safety of competitors,” added Dr. Hart.

Thank you for your participation in USEF competitions and your support of the COVID-19 Action Plan. Your efforts have helped keep you and those around you safe and healthy while also keeping the sport open and operating during a global pandemic.

[USEF Announces Competition Spectator Capacity]

EN Virtual Vendor Village: Thursday’s Deals!

If you’ve been missing out on shopping the vendors of spring events, we’ve got just the thing for you. We are very excited to present the 2nd Annual Eventing Nation Virtual Vendor Village, a week-long online opportunity to score fantastic deals and discover new products from our favorite brands.

As you get geared up for the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event later this month, this is a great way to feed the stoke and shop for awesome gear. It’s also a great way to show our support for equestrian businesses even when we can’t shop in person due to coronavirus restrictions. It truly does take a “village”!

The Virtual Vendor Village is taking place right here on EN through Saturday, April 17. Throughout the week, some of our favorite companies will be offering a “Deal of the Day” on their products — which means you’ll want to check in on their “booths” daily to make sure you don’t miss a sale! Expect deep discounts, special promotions and product giveaways.

Really, you’re in for all the shopping you could want this month since not only do we have myriad deals for you this week, but also Kentucky is hosting its own Vendor Village all week during the Three-Day Event, April 21-25. You’ll be able to find more on this online shopping event on the Kentucky website here.

Thursday’s Deal Summary!

Banixx: Automatically get 20% off when you purchase at Valley Vet.

Brooks Belts: Get 15% off with code EN2021.

CamBox: Multiple deals that will run throughout the week: Cambox V4 Pro full bundle — Cambox V4 Pro + 64 Gb SD Card + 2 additional fasteners + protective case + Cambox cap + power bank + warranty extension $499 instead of $600; Cambox V4 Pro + 64 Gb Memory Card bundle — $475 instead of $525; Cambox V4 Standard + 32 Gb card + 2 velcro fasteners + Cambox Cap — $399 instead of $449; Cambox Origin + 16 Gb SD card + case + cap $199 instead of $276

Ecovet: Get 30% off through 4/17 with code Virtual30

Horse & Country TV: One month free trial if you sign up during the week of the Virtual Vendor Village

Horse & Rider Books: Get 20% off plus FREE SHIPPING on all print and ebooks and videos from the online bookstore with code VV21 at checkout

Kentucky Performance Products: Receive 20% off and free shipping with code ENVV2021 at checkout

Kerrits: Up to 60% off of at the Eventing Nation Sales Event

Legends Horse Feed:  $10 off one bag of Nutrena® Empower® Digestive Balance; $10 off one bag of Nutrena® ProForce® Feeds; $10 off one bag of ProElite® Feeds or Supplements

Mare Modern Goods21% off for customers using code KLREN21

Perri’s Leather: Get a leather turnout halter for $49.95 (usual cost is $69.95) using code LEATHER at checkout

Ride Heels Down: 20% OFF SITE-WIDE with coupon LRK3DE21 + FREE SHIPPING on in-stock items in the USA (Excludes customized items and Covid Collection products)

ShowAssist: Download the app!

SmartPak: Tack Bundle Giveaway — Harwich Bridle, AP or Dressage Medium Diamond Saddle Pad, SmartPak Classic Ear Bonnet; runs 4/15 and 4/16

Stable View: William Fox Pitt hat and DVD for $25 shipped; 50% off Oktoberfest accommodations (call 484-356-3173 to redeem); 50% off Eventing Academy Horse Trials (call 484-356-3173 to redeem)

VIP Equestrian: Get $10 off an order (valid 1 use per customer, good through 4/30/2021) using code LR2021

Tapestry Equine Products From 4/15 through 4/17 get a free pair of Spursuaders with orders of over $300 or more when you use code LR300 at checkout

Welcome to Thursday’s Deals! 

Click on each brand’s tile to be taken directly to the featured item or brand website. Just a quick heads up: Stable View has three great offers, but two of them will not redirect you to a website. You’ll need to call to take advantage of those deals.


Go shopping and go eventing!

Thursday News & Notes from Ecovet

Oratorio “Rio” looking relaxed for his flight to Kentucky! Photo via Fox Pitt Eventing.

This time next week, you’ll all be waking up to the start of the first day of the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event. While traditionally Thursday dressage isn’t the most anticipated day of competition, we’re all so starved for some 5* action worldwide, I have a feeling that we’ll all be glued to our livestreams for the entire four days. The foreign horses just started their flights yesterday, and it’s beginning to feel really serious! Stay tuned for our incredible first-ever EN Ultimate Form Guide to Kentucky…you’re not even going to know what hit ya when you see it.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Ocala International Festival of Eventing: [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

F.E.N.C.E. H.T.: [Website] [Entries]

Holly Hill H.T.: [Website] [Entries] [Show Photographer]

Longleaf Pine H.T.: [Website] [Entries] [Show Photographer] [Volunteer]

Sporting Days Farm April III H.T.: [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Show Photographer] [Volunteer]

Unionville H.T.: [Website] [Entries] [Show Photographer] [Volunteer]

News From Around the Globe:

Have you shopped EN’s 2nd Annual Virtual Village yet? New deals are dropping daily through this Saturday, April 17, and there are some really great discounts available that you won’t want to miss out on. Click here to shop today’s deals.

As we are full steam ahead into Kentucky next week, we’re looking forward to bringing you our famous EN coverage in a whole new way. Early next week, we’ll be launching the first-ever EN Ultimate Form Guide to Kentucky, available as a download for a small fee. We’re also launching the LRK3DE Daily Digest (click here to sign up – it’s free!), a daily email sent out early each morning during competition full of coverage links, predictions, giveaways/contests, and more. Finally, it’s a great time to become an EN Patreon supporter – we’ll be doing some exclusive content in our private Facebook group just for Patrons all week long.

The USEF has announced that as of May 3rd, competitions will be allowed to welcome a limited number of spectators back to equestrian sports. Outdoor facilities will be allowed to have 40% of ticketed spectators or 400 people, and indoor events will be allowed to have 30% or 300 people, whichever number is greater. [USEF Changes Spectator Rules]

What kind of Olympic fan are you? Silly question, an equestrian fan! This simple questionnaire from NBC Sports helps you vote for more equestrian coverage, so everyone do it! Also you’re entered to win some Olympic prizes, so that’s cool. [Equestrian Olympics FTW]

Get to know Sydney Elliott’s 5* entry, QC Diamantaire. Q might not fulfill the requirements of fire breathing dragon that is usually expected at the upper levels, but having a mellow and quiet personality works just fine for him. What doesn’t work for him is having his head bathed in any way, so good thing he’s not grey! [Behind the Stall Door with QC Diamantaire]

Ecovet really is the shiz. Don’t believe me? Check out this not sponsored, totally honest blog and review from one user who tried it and realized it was a game changer. [Fly Spray That Actually WORKS!]


Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: RNS Video ‘Event Magazine’ Is a Time Capsule

The RNS Video Media archives are a wild and wonderful place, and they recently released a “video magazine” series from WAY back in the day featuring footage from long lost events like North Georgia and Trojan Ranch. The list of cameos goes on and on: Lisa Sabo, Bea & Derek DiGrazia, Jack LeGoff, Vicky Koss, Linda Waltenspiel, David Wilding Davies, Nick Holmes-Smith, Irja Solner, Pam Newell, John Staples, Lisa & Jon Tatham, Mike Huber, Therese Washstock, Michael Godfrey, Jamie Walton, Courtnay Ramsay, Missy Rasenhouse, Bruce Davidson, Tom Wilson, Captain Mark Phillips, Jim Graham, Karen “Lende” O’Connor, Nancy Guyotte, Grant Shneidman, Karen Reuter, Jane Sleeper, Jiffy Read, Anne Dorsey, Nini Stevenson, Trish Gilbert, Kelli McMullen, Lisa Anderson, Karen Stives … I could recite names for another five minutes but I’m already out of breath.

One memorable moment is an interview with Jimmy Wofford, in which he is asked about what the future holds. “The future of eventing is good,” he said. “It’s a growth sport. There are more and more people getting into it right now. There are a lot of things they like about it — it’s not a political scene like some of the show ring sports that they’ve been in. There’s a lot more excitement. People are outdoors, it’s a very risk oriented group of people.”

Keep these time capsules coming, please, RNS Video Media! Subscribe to their YouTube channel here, and be sure to support them by ordering your videos at events.

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Don’t Miss Our Top Picks from Wednesday’s Virtual Vendor Village

It’s quite hard to believe that our 2nd Annual Virtual Vendor Village is halfway over, but here we are. Each day (click here to see all of today’s deals), our team picks out our favorite deals featured in the Village – some of which are short-term deals only. Stay tuned for more to come between now and the final day of shopping on Saturday.

What’s cooking today? Here’s a look at our top picks for Wednesday:

We’ve been featuring Cambox‘s superb line of helmet cams here on EN for a few weeks now, and we love the slim profile of these cameras that fit onto most any helmet. Cambox is running several great bundle deals this week where you can save up to 30% on your new helmet cam.

Deals include: Cambox V4 Pro full bundle — Cambox V4 Pro + 64 Gb SD Card + 2 additional fasteners + protective case + Cambox cap + power bank + warranty extension for $499 instead of $600, the Cambox V4 Pro + 64 Gb Memory Card bundle — $475 instead of $525; Cambox V4 Standard + 32 Gb card + 2 velcro fasteners + Cambox Cap — $399 instead of $449; Cambox Origin + 16 Gb SD card + case + cap $199 instead of $276.

Unbox a Cambox and see what you’ll be getting:

I’m a big fan of a good belt. Thank goodness for mid or high-rise breeches nowadays, as there’s just such a cool, polished look when you pair your pants with a coordinating belt. Brooks Belts has joined the Virtual Vendor Village this year and is offering 15% off your purchase using code “EN2021”. Brooks Belts are handmade and come in a wide array of colors perfect for matching your cross country gear or barn colors.

Horse & Country TV has invested loads of time into building its extensive content library. Not only has H&C TV expanded its live stream offerings here in the States this year, there are also hours upon hours of educational and documentary content to stream to your heart’s desire. Educational videos with Will Coleman, Laura Collett, Ingrid Klimke, Liz Halliday-Sharp, Pippa Funnell, and many more will set your training library up with plenty of new tools.

This week, H&C is offering a free month for new users using code “FREETRIAL”. You can click here to sign up and get started streaming.

We’ve also been fans of Ride Heels Down for many years now. Their artful creations are perfect for expressing your personality, and there is plenty of eventing themed merchandise and apparel to choose from.

This week, you can save 20% on your purchase site-wide (some restrictions apply) using code “LRK3DE21”. Shoppers in the U.S. will also receive free shipping on in-stock items.

Lastly, our friends at SmartPak have launched another unique raffle, which ends today so get those entries in! This raffle is for a bundle of SmartPak Piper apparel, including Piper Original breeches, Piper Sun Shirt, and a Piper UV Tech Cooldown Jacket. You can enter this raffle by clicking here – and check back tomorrow for an all-new chance to win.

To shop the rest of Wednesday’s deals, click here.

Thoroughbreds of the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

The Thoroughbred has been long regarded as the ultimate horse for the sport of three-day eventing, and while many modern eventers are infusing Thoroughbred blood into warmblood breeding, some are going straight to the source: 10 entries for this year’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event at the 5* level will be piloting Thoroughbreds around the bluegrass.

The Retired Racehorse Project is again teaming up with Eventing Nation to tell you all you need to know about the Thoroughbreds who will be taking on Kentucky this year!

Horses being horses, we expect the list of entrants to change right up until the competition starts. We’ll be keeping our guide at updated with the latest information and changes.

Withdrawn: Chris Talley announced on April 13 that Unmarked Bills was withdrawn.

All ten of this year’s competing Thoroughbreds were bred with the intention to race, and seven made at least one start. AP Prime (Leah Lang-Gluscic), More Inspiration (Holly Jacks-Smither), Palm Crescent (Meghan O’Donoghue), Steady Eddie (Michael Pendleton), and Unmarked Bills (Chris Talley) were all winners (Steady Eddie found the wire the most with seven wins).

In total, the Thoroughbreds in this year’s Kentucky field made 144 starts for combined earnings of $178,340. Unmarked Bills is once again the high-money earner of the field with $67,250.

The oldest Thoroughbred in the field is Daniela Moguel’s Cecelia at 18. (Steady Eddie is also a 2003 model, but being a New Zealand-bred, he will not “officially” turn 18 until August.) Allison Springer’s Business Ben is the youngest at 11.

Make sure you bookmark Eventing Nation’s Kentucky coverage for up-to-the-minute updates on everything going on at the Horse Park!

Read our previous years’ summaries of the Thoroughbreds competing in Kentucky (note that not all of the horses profiled in the articles actually started the eventing):



Eventing Nation photo

AP PRIME (Leah Lang-Gluscic, USA)
Owners: CML Horses LLC
Breeding: 2005 gelding by Aptitude (A.P. Indy) out of Czarina Kate (The Prime Minister)
Racing name: A.P. Prime (KY)
Racing record: 31 starts (2-4-5), $20,175
Breeder: Dixiana Stables, Inc.
Auction: 2006 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, $11,000

AP Prime and Leah Lang-Gluscic’s upper-level career all started with a CANTER listing: Lang-Gluscic made a fateful stop at Fairmount Park while en route to pick up a horse trailer, inquiring after a horse she had seen listed through CANTER Illinois. That horse turned out to be AP Prime, who had a fairly long racing career spanning four seasons with a total of 31 starts.

Lang-Gluscic, who had recently left a career as an investment banker to become a professional in the horse industry, felt upper-level potential in AP Prime after their first event together at Beginner Novice, despite her original intentions to make him a resale project. They moved up through the levels to Intermediate and spent some time there to fully develop all three phases.

The pair’s first five-star attempt (then four-star, on the old rating) came in 2015, withdrawing before cross-country at Kentucky. They finished 33rd in 2016. While AP Prime sat out for most of 2017 to heal a tendon injury, he made a return to the upper levels in 2018, including their most recent run at Kentucky that culminated in a withdrawal after cross-country. They’re back now in 2020 for a fourth crack at the event.

This year, the pair kicked off the season going double-clear on cross country and placing fourth in the Intermediate at Ocala Winter Horse Trials, then placed third in Preliminary at Rocking Horse. They returned to FEI-level competition in the CCI4*-S at Red Hills, placing 10th, and also completed the CCI4*-S at Stable View.

Shelby Allen photo

BUSINESS BEN (Allison Springer, USA)
Owners: The Business Ben Partnership
Breeding: 2010 gelding by Artie Schiller (El Prado [IRE]) out of Min Elreeh (Danzig)
Racing name: Business Ben
Racing record: unraced
Breeder: Liberation Farm & Brandywine Farm
Auction: 2011 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, $40,000; 2012 Fasig-Tipton Midatlantic Two Year Olds in Training Sale, $50,000

Bred, raised, and sold to race, Business Ben entered training under the ownership of Zayat Stables, but suffered a tendon injury before making his first start. The two-year-old was sent to Fair Hill Equine Therapy Center to rehabilitate, and then moved to Andrew Motion to continue the healing process. When it became clear that the colt, now a three-year-old, would not be a viable racehorse, the Zayats asked Motion to help find him a new career.

“He was always a really cool character of a horse,” describes Motion. “He might have been okay in a more mundane second career, but I really felt from the horse’s character that he needed more occupation, and that eventing would be a good option. I’m a big fan of Artie Schillers — they tend to be big, athletic animals.”

Andrew Motion rehabilitated the injured tendon slowly and patiently, and along with his wife Janie took the horse out on hacks and light riding before reaching out to Allison Springer to see if the four-year-old would be sellable as an event horse.

It didn’t take long for Springer to find the potential in Business Ben: she brought him to a local combined test, then took him to the four-year-old class at Surefire in September where his high score qualified him for the four-year-old championships at Fair Hill. “He did everything on course at Fair Hill so well,” Springer recalls. “Including some things we had never done before at all — like a drop into water.”

Springer purchased the horse for herself: “I had upper-level dreams for him early on,” she describes. In the horse’s six-year-old year, Springer and her business partner Anna McWane formed the Business Ben Partnership and co-own the horse together. “Ben” and Springer continued to climb the levels; the properly-rehabilitated tendon has given him no trouble.

This spring, Business Ben and Springer have had three completions: fourth place in the intermediate at Pine Top, 18th in the Advanced at Pine Top, and sixth in Advanced at The Fork. Kentucky will be their first five-star appearance for this relatively young horse.

Shelby Allen photo

CECEILA (Daniela Moguel, MEX)
Owners: Jorge Martinez Castrejon and Paloma Garcia
Breeding: 2003 mare by Connecticut (Ogygian) out of Penny Stock (Spend A Buck)
Racing name: Constock (IA)
Racing record: unraced

Breeder: Timber Creek Farm

Daniela Moguel wasn’t horse shopping at the time her husband found Cecelia available for purchase, and recalls that he brought it up to her three days in a row before she finally agreed to try the horse. Her husband’s intuition turned out to be correct: Moguel’s supporters purchased the unraced Iowa-bred mare in 2014, who had been campaigning through the four-star level with Leslie Chelstrom Lamb.

Daniela Moguel and Cecelia made their third trip to Kentucky in 2019 and rode one of the best tests of their career with a score of 35.4. The pair had an unfortunate run-out early on cross-country but recovered well and finished strong; they dropped two rails in show jumping. Later, the pair was unfortunately disqualified under veterinary regulations.

Since their last 5* outing, Moguel and Cecelia finished seventh at Morven Park International in the 4*-S, and 11th in the Ocala Jockey Club International at the 4*-L, both in 2019, and earned a win at River Glen in the 3*-S in August of 2020. This year, they started their 2021 season finishing 13th at Rocking Horse in the Advanced and 16th at Red Hills in the 4*-S.

Moguel has the distinction of being the first rider to ever represent Mexico at Kentucky, which she historically has done without any financial support from her national federation. She credits her mare’s Thoroughbred blood with always finding a little more to give on cross-country day. Her advice to other Thoroughbred riders in 2019? “Grab mane and enjoy the ride.”

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JAK MY STYLE (Buck Davidson, USA)
Owners: Kathleen Cuca
Breeding: unregistered
Racing record: unraced
Breeder: unknown

Jak My Style could be called the “dark horse” of the field, but for unusual reasons: we know he’s a Thoroughbred and that he was bred to race, but he was never tattooed or registered with the Jockey Club and was sold via estate sale without papers. Prior to sale, the horse did apparently undergo some race training and became notorious for dumping riders; he became equally challenging for his next owners who intended to train him as a hunter/jumper.

Matthew Bryner took the horse on as a seven-year-old, naming him “Jak My Style” and patiently worked through his quirks, aware there was a lot of natural talent to work with. Once the pair reached a semblance of an understanding, they moved up the levels, competing through Advanced and CCI3*-S before Bryner offered the horse for sale. He was purchased by Kathleen Cuca, with Justine Dutton taking the ride and competing the horse through CCI4*-L.

After a rotational fall that left “Jak” unhurt but sidelined Dutton for a time, Buck Davidson took over the ride and brought Jak to top-ten finishes at the four-star level. An injury sidelined the horse for much of 2018, but he came back stronger than ever in 2019 and made his 5* debut at Kentucky, dancing to a dressage score of 34.1. Unfortunately, Davidson came off of his first mount of three on cross-country day and broke his collarbone, forcing him to withdraw his other two horses, including Jak.

This year, Jak and Davidson’s prep events have included two top-ten finishes in as many starts: they were ninth at Rocking Horse in the Advanced, and fifth at Stable View in the CCI4*-S.

Leslie Threlkeld photo

Owners: Team Johnny Syndicate
Breeding: 2008 gelding by His Royal Highness [NZ] (Grosvenor [NZ]) out of Chivaney [NZ] (Tights)
Racing name: Chivas Royale [NZ]
Racing record: 8 starts (0-0-0), $170
Breeder: John Wheeler

Both Johnny Royale and Joe Meyer hail from New Zealand, but they found their way to each other via the UK: Johnny Royale was produced to the British equivalent of Preliminary by Lizzie Green, who imported the horse after a brief racing career that lasted eight starts with just $170 in earnings. Originally, Johnny Royale was purchased for Meyer by investors with intent to resell, but Meyer quickly realized he had advanced potential; the investors provided an opportunity to syndicate and keep the horse.

Johnny Royale made his Kentucky debut in 2019 with Olympian Joe Meyer, putting together an experience-building trip to the bluegrass. The pair scored a 44.4 in dressage and then had a cracking trip on cross-country, accruing just 3.2 time penalties and jumping clear. Unfortunately, they racked up rails in show jumping, finished 28th overall.

Meyer will be looking to capitalize on what they learned in 2019 in their return to the five-star level this year. Johnny Royale was a “New Zealand ten-year-old” in 2019 (Southern Hemisphere horses turn one year older on August 1), which was relatively young to be contesting the highest levels of sport. They kicked off their 2021 season placing tenth in the Intermediate at Rocking Horse I, sixth in the Advanced at Rocking Horse II, and 36th in the CCI4*-S at Stable View.

Meyer is quick to commend the Thoroughbred as the perfect horse for the sport of eventing: “I’d rather ride a Thoroughbred than any of the other horses that are a bit more warmblooded. At the end of cross-country, you can just shake the reins at a Thoroughbred and they’ll find another gear.”

Eventing Nation photo

MORE INSPIRATION (Holly Jacks-Smither, CAN)
Owners: Bruce Smither and Holly Jacks-Smither
Breeding: 2005 gelding by Inspired Prospect (Woodman) out of Gentle Buck (Buckley Boy)
Racing name: More Inspiration
Racing record: 28 starts (4-2-2), $55,560
Breeder: Display Farm

Holly Jacks-Smither and More Inspiration, aka “Morris,” are making their third run at Kentucky, and their fourth attempt at a five-star in the gelding’s career. “It’s always special to have one you produced come up the levels — especially More Inspiration,” Jacks-Smither told the RRP after winning the Highpoint Thoroughbred Award at the LiftMaster Grand-Prix Eventing earlier this year. “He’s the horse that made my career.”

Jacks-Smither was no stranger to Thoroughbreds when she crossed paths with Morris: she grew up galloping horses on the track starting at age 12. She’s still involved with the racing industry — her husband Bruce Smither is a trainer. She produced Morris from a four-year-old off-track prospect with intents to resell into a five-star contender on the national squad list for Canada.

Their first trip to the five-star level brought them to Kentucky in 2017, where Jacks-Smither had issues with her reins slipping in the Head of the Lake and accrued penalties for crossing her own path to take the long option. However, the completed safely and finished 26. The pair was unfortunately eliminated on cross-country in 2018. While they sat out Kentucky in 2019, they traveled to Pau to contend France’s five-star, and finished an impressive 12th.

This season, Jacks-Smither and Morris kicked things off by placing fifth in the Advanced at Rocking Horse Winter II, plus 23rd at the Grand-Prix Eventing at Bruce’s Field where they also picked up the Highpoint Thoroughbred Award. Most recently, the pair placed fourth in the CCI4*-S at Stable View, priming them for their third run at Kentucky at the end of April.

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PALM CRESCENT (Meghan O’Donoghue, USA)
Owners: Meghan O’Donoghue
Breeding: 2006 gelding by Quiet American (Fappiano) out of Edey’s Village (Silver Deputy)
Racing name: Palm Crescent
Racing record: 12 starts (1-0-0) $9,462
Breeder: Eugene Melnyk

Palm Crescent’s 12-race career spanned over three years before he was retired mid-season and placed to find a second career with CANTER MidAtlantic. The horse was placed with Allie Conrad for his initial transition from racing, then went to Patricia Vos; Conrad and Vos worked together with many horses to help them find homes. From there, he was purchased by Jan Byyny as a resale prospect, for whom Meghan O’Donoghue was working at the time.

“Jan always loved him,” O’Donoghue recalls. Byyny gave the horse his start in eventing, competing him through Training level. He was then purchased by the Shipka family for rising star junior Chase, who trained with Byyny. Shipka took him through Intermediate before she began the transition to riding straight dressage. At this stage, the Shipkas turned to O’Donoghue to help sell their event horses.

“This was in 2015,” O’Donoghue shares. “I had just completed Kentucky with my upper-level hose Pirate, and he had an injury after Kentucky and so I didn’t have a horse to compete. Darcy and Ron Shipka approached me for help to sell their horses, but offered me the ride on ‘Palmer’ while Pirate was recuperating.”

O’Donoghue and Palmer began competing, and the Shipkas chose to keep her on the horse to see how far they could go as a team. “For five years they kept supporting me as we moved up to Advanced,” O’Donoghue describes. She was able to purchase the horse outright in 2020, but while she says the Shipkas might no longer be listed as the owners, she still feels their hand in this opportunity to take the horse to the pinnacle of the sport. “I’m very thankful for their support over the years, and to have them along for this ride!”

This year, O’Donoghue and Palmer placed tenth at Ocala Winter I in the Advanced/Intermediate, seventh in the Advanced at Red Hills, and ninth in the CCI4*-S at The Fork. Kentucky will be Palmer’s first five-star.

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STEADY EDDIE (Michael Pendleton, USA)
Owners: Pierre Colin, Denise Lahey, George and Gretchen Wintersteen
Breeding: 2003 gelding by Jetball [AUS] (Marscay [AUS]) out of Tuonela [AUS] (Chief’s Crown)
Racing name: Big Jet [NZ]
Racing record: 36 starts (7-2-3), $19,852
Breeder: Seven Creeks Estate

If Steady Eddie’s name sounds familiar to you, you’re probably accustomed to seeing him romping around the upper levels with Olympian Boyd Martin. In early 2019, Martin’s assistant rider Michael Pendleton got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take over the ride on the upper-level master, and is preparing to make his own five-star debut on the New Zealand Thoroughbred.

Martin famously test-rode Steady Eddie in flip-flops and shorts after meeting him for the first time turned out after retiring from the track. Liking the potential he felt in the tenacious horse, he imported him to the US in 2010 and brought him up the levels of eventing. Martin and “Eddie” haven’t had great luck at Kentucky itself, finishing 42nd in 2016, suffering a fall for elimination in 2017, and retiring on course in 2018. However, the pair placed 10th at Burghley in the fall of 2017, as well as earned multiple top-ten finishes at the three- and four-star level.

Since taking over the ride in 2019, Pendleton and Eddie have worked their way steadily from Intermediate/two-star up the levels, getting to know each other. This year, they’ve placed third in the Intermediate at Pine Top, 11th at the Advanced at Pine Top, and 20th in the CCI4*-S at The Fork. They haven’t picked up a single cross-country jump penalty all year.

Pendleton penned an open letter on Martin’s website in the fall of 2019 seeking supporters to join “Club Steady Eddie” and get a taste for event horse ownership while helping to defray the cost of upper level competition. “I was very fortunate for the owners of Steady Eddie to give me the ride at the beginning of the year,” he wrote. “I am grateful because they had the chance to sell the horse, but instead they allowed me to take over the ride. This is an unbelievable opportunity to compete at the top level for a person like me that is just starting out my career.”

Eventing Nation photo

TIGHT LINES (Will Coleman, USA)
Owners: The Conair Syndicate
Breeding: 2007 gelding by Turgeon (Caro [IRE]) out of Merindole [FR] (Tel Quel [FR])
Racing name: Tight Lines [FR]
Racing record: 5 starts (0-1-0), $5,871
Breeder: Henri Devin

French-bred former steeplechaser Tight Lines was the highest-placed Thoroughbred pair at Kentucky in 2019; he and Will Coleman scored 35.7 in dressage and had a blazing fast cross-country trip. A contested flag penalty at 11A on cross-country incurred 15 penalty points. Combined with a double clear show jumping, they finished 13th.

Coleman and Tight Lines’ partnership began in 2014, when the horse was purchased by Coleman’s partnership connections through Canadian eventer Lindsay Traisnel and her husband Xavier. “Phish” had competed previously through CCI2*-L, produced by French eventer Paul Gatien in the barn of Nicolas and Theirry Touzaint.

“He’s an amazing galloper,” Coleman said of Tight Lines after cross-country in Kentucky in 2019. “He wants to please and tries so much. He’s as enthusiastic at Fence 1 as he is at Fence 31.”

After Kentucky in 2019, Coleman and Phish contested Burghley’s 5*, finishing 25th. This year, they placed fourth in the Intermediate at Rocking Horse, followed by finishing 16th in the CCI4*-S at Carolina International. Phish hasn’t had a single cross-country jumping penalty since his 2019 trip around Burghley.

Owners: Unmarked Bills Syndicate
Breeding: 2009 gelding by Posse (Silver Deputy) out of Kelli’s Ransom (Red Ransom)
Racing Name: Unmarked Bills [KY]
Racing record: 24 starts (3-6-2), $67,250
Breeder: Diamond A Racing Corp.
Auction: 2010 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, RNA

2019 “Land Rover rookies” Chris Talley and Unmarked Bills captured fans’ hearts with their first trip around the bluegrass, living every OTTB-riding eventer’s dream of producing their own horse from off-track prospect to true upper-level contender. The pair scored 42.0 in dressage, jumped a clear cross-country with 16.4 time penalties, and accused 16 jump and 2 time penalties in show jumping to finish 27th at their very first five-star.

Talley is candid about the challenges Billy presents — he started out a bit high-strung and he has some physical issues that prevented him from being a resale prospect, including kissing spines. But he also believes that the relationship he built with the horse, taking the horse over his very first jump and producing him up the levels himself, has been the secret to their success, allowing them to perform such feats as going Preliminary less than one year after the horse’s last race, and completing their first five-star just five years into their partnership.

After their Kentucky completion, Talley and Billy, with the support of his business partner Hannah Salazar of Zaragoza Acres as well as crowdfunding help, headed to Burghley for a second five-star. They completed a tough cross-country track and Talley made the decision to withdraw before the final horse inspection and show jumping.

Talley and Billy kicked off their 2021 season with a third-place finished in the Intermediate at Pine Top, and most recently completed the CCI4*-S at Stable View.

Withdrawn prior to LRK3DE.