Classic Eventing Nation

Aachen Dressage: Ingrid Klimke Puts the ‘Fun’ Back in ‘Function’

Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD take the lead at Aachen. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

“He’s really such a wonderful horse,” says Ingrid Klimke, a broad smile lighting up her face as she talks about longtime partner SAP Hale Bob OLD. There’s no denying the veracity of her claim, either – the fifteen-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Helikon xx Goldige) has had a remarkable career thus far. He’s the reigning European Champion, after all, but to focus on that would be to barely scrape the tip of an iceberg big enough to sink a fair few ships. He’s been a five-star champion, at Pau in 2014, and a Badminton runner-up in 2015. He’s an Olympian, a veteran of the World Equestrian Games, and thrice the Reserve National Champion, and in 28 runs at the four- and five-star levels, he’s finished in the top ten 21 times. In short, he’s a national hero – and when he makes his way into a stadium like Aachen’s, his very presence is a spectacle. When he performs like he did today, producing a score of 20.7 and taking the lead in the CCIO4*-S, it’s nothing short of magical.

Home-grown heroes: Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

“He loves the crowds – he grows when he sees them,” Ingrid says. It’s a good thing, too – with the enormous atmosphere and reverberating sound, we’ve seen otherwise relaxed horses bubble over as a result of the crowd’s applause at the end of the test. But when Ingrid and Bobby entered the arena, they were met a roar – and Bobby, true to form, pricked his ears and strode boldly into it.

“I think he’s very proud of himself, he likes to come in and say that he’s the biggest horse,” laughs Ingrid, who is making her sixteenth appearance at the venue this week. Although her score is remarkable by any standard, it’s also a venue PB for the enormously experienced German rider, and one of two results today to move into the top ten best-ever tests at Aachen.

A taste of the top. Courtesy of our great pals at EquiRatings and SAP.

So what makes a test that good? Well, good old-fashioned accuracy certainly comes into it, and with his wealth of experience and his rider’s impeccable dressage pedigree, Bobby isn’t lacking that.

“He knows these tests inside out by now – he knows that he sets himself up for the next movement and where it will come, so I’m able to just enjoy myself in there,” explains Ingrid. “I can sit and think about things like, ‘am I sitting straight? Are my hands even?’ He’s always 100% with me.'”

Happy Hale Bob Day! Ingrid redirects the enthusiastic crowds’ adulation to her horse after producing the leading test. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Accuracy and extra polish become two essential points in a triad completed by a little something special – sheer fun and joy in the job. We can’t all be rockstars in the ring, but one thing was plainly apparent in Ingrid’s performance today: if you can enjoy the process and own the electricity, you might just stumble upon the music in the movements.

Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk FRH. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

21.5 might not have been quite low enough for the lead, but Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk FRH still join Ingrid in reshaping the landscape of the all-time top ten here at Aachen. Though it rarely comes as much of a surprise to see either Ze Terminator or Chipmunk atop a dressage leaderboard, this is still very much a partnership in its fledgling stages. Produced by fellow German dynamo Julia Krajewski, the eleven-year-old Hanoverian changed hands over the winter, prompting a tumult of public discussion about whether the horse would continue on his exceptional career trajectory when piloted by another rider for the first time.

Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk FRH. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Today’s test – their most public and prestigious as a pair – certainly seems to indicate so. But as Michael explains, it’s not always as simple as hopping on a proven performer and hitting the buttons.

“He’s a super quality horse and has been very well ridden, and he’s very clever, too. But in the beginning, we had a few misunderstandings, because every rider, no matter how good they are, gives a few different signals and at slightly different times,” he says. “So this is what we have to learn together. I have to learn most how best to prepare him, and how to create the right warm up, and he has to learn to be ridden by me, too. It just takes some time, but he’s an amazing horse, and it’s great that we’ve been able to keep him in Germany.”

Refining their communication: Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk FRH make great headway in their young partnership. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Michael has two rides in this class – Chipmunk, who has been tipped as his choice for the Europeans, comes forward as an individual competitor, while stablemate Star Connection, sitting in joint eleventh place on a score of 26.9, is part of the formidable German team.

“We are working to find a solution [for the Europeans] together,” says Michael of the decision. “I will try to win for Star Connection too, and of course for the team, but this means that with Chipmunk, I can decide what he needs. If it’s better for him to go fast, I will, and if I think I would go slow for a few fences and give him a bit more time, then that’s okay too. This will probably be his last competition before the Championships, so it’s better to learn what we need to.”

Though they’re inarguably exceptional horses and very capable jumpers, both Hale Bob and Chipmunk carry a question mark with them into the showjumping phase. The former memorably – and heartbreakingly – lost out on the Badminton win in 2017 after an uncharacteristic stop and subsequent rails, and in his most recent run at Wiesbaden, he toppled three poles – considerably higher than his usual one or none. The latter, for his part, has been as capable of a two-pole round as a clear, but knocked four in his most recent outing with Michael.

“He’s a very good jumper, but he’s just sometimes a little bit too forward, and then he can get tense and spooky,” he explains. “Obviously in the showjumping it’s everything coming up very quickly anyway. But this is part of forming that partnership – we learn together how to make the right warm-up and preparation, and then he can start to give that same great feeling that he gives me at home.”

Laura Collett and London 52: back at their best at Aachen. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Laura Collett and her ten-year-old prodigy London 52 showed off their best work between the boards, scoring 22.9 to sit third after this phase. This is a best-ever international score for the pair, who come here after an extraordinarily exciting spring season was somewhat blemished by an out-of-character performance at Bramham in the horse’s first long-format four-star. Last year’s Blenheim eight- and nine-year-old CCI4*-S winner, though, has amassed a remarkable record in his three-and-a-bit years of eventing – a very good finish here is absolutely not out of his grasp.

Tim Price and Wesko. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Dutch national champions Tim Lips and Bayro sit in fourth place on 23.2, while Tim Price and his 2015 Luhmühlen winner Wesko hold onto fifth on 23.8 – a best-ever international test in the World Number One’s enviable career.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z join an illustrious top ten. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro lead the way for Team USA in eighth place on a 26.5, after producing a mature and polished test – “the changes were clean, just a little bit scruffy,” laughs Liz, who has been working tirelessly with top dressage trainer Pammy Hutton to master her horse’s weak spot and push his scores towards the low-20s marks they’ll become.

Phillip Dutton and Z. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Phillip Dutton and occupy 29th position on a score of 32.8 after moments of tension in the walk pulled their mark down, while Caroline Martin and Islandwood Captain Jack lie 40th on 36.3 in their Aachen debut.

“He’s getting way better – physically, it’s hard for him,” she says of the rangy ten-year-old. “Erik Duvander has worked really hard with us since January; he’s a very weak horse because he’s so young and so big, so holding himself is difficult. But he’s very sweet, and he tries so hard, and he’s able to cope with the atmosphere, too – it doesn’t affect him at all.”

Caroline Martin and Islandwood Captain Jack. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Islandwood Captain Jack may be young, but he’s holding onto an exciting advantage in the next phase – he spent the winter jumping 1.40m classes, including a Grand Prix at Wellington’s Winter Equestrian Festival.

“He’s also the strongest cross-country horse I’ve ever had, in a mental capacity,” says Caroline. “He’ll never be a Danger Mouse in the first phase, but I hope he’ll be a Badminton or Burghley horse.”

Germany heads the team competition on a score of 75.7, while Great Britain sits just behind on 78.8. New Zealand rounds out the top three on 79.1, while Team USA are fifth with 95.6. There’s no room for anyone to get comfortable, certainly: this evening’s showjumping competition moves our field into the colossal main stadium, and with only a pole between the top five and two between the top 21, we could be about to see a significant reshuffle. And a fun fact for you to take into your afternoon of live-streaming? EquiRatings provides us with this snippet: nobody has ever gone on to win this class after knocking a rail.

It all kicks off at 5.45 p.m./4.45 p.m. BST/11.45 a.m. EST – we’ll see you on the other side.

The top ten as we head into this evening’s showjumping phase.

CHIO Aachen: Website, Entries & Start Times, Live Scoring, Live Stream, EN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

Lindsey’s Road to the Thoroughbred Makeover: Perfect Imperfections

For 673 accepted trainers, the 2019 Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover is fast approaching! From the beginning of the year until the Makeover, to take place Oct. 2-5 at the Kentucky Horse Park, four of those trainers have been blogging their journeys, including their triumphs and their heartbreaks, successes and failures, for Eventing Nation readers. Read more from EN’s 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Bloggers: Lindsey BurnsHillary McMichaelClare MansmannJennifer Reisenbichler.

The start of a friendship. Photo courtesy of Lindsey Burns.

If you follow my social media you’ll already know that Crash is perfect. In every way. Well, I guess first you have to overlook the disfiguring scars on his hip and front leg. Yeah, that’s right, he’s beat up. Story has it that he crashed through a fence as a baby. He raced six times though and was never put on the vet’s list (any horse that pulls up lame after a race is placed on that list and has to earn the right to race again). I figured he was worth the gamble. 

There are a lot of horses that fit that description. Some scar, some lump, some bit of history that makes potential purchasers pass them over. It breaks my heart. I know I know, there is a very large chance that an old bow is not going to hold up to gallop around Kentucky or Fair Hill. I also know that there is a very large chance that most of us riders are also not going to gallop around Kentucky or Fair Hill. I’ve seen a lot of horses with lumps and bumps gallop around Training or even Prelim, or dance their way to USDF bronze medals, or bring home division champion in the hunter ring. Those beat up horses can also rock it on the trail or riding fence lines at a ranch. 

Enjoying the view of the north Georgia mountains on a 3-year-old OTTB — he’s the calmest horse on the farm. Photo courtesy of Lindsey Burns.

I’m not saying skip the pre-purchase; I’m not saying pretend a lame horse is sound. What I am saying is be realistic about your goals for riding and for what you want in an equine partner. Don’t let an ugly but serviceable scar make you pass on an otherwise lovely horse. Don’t let a trainer being honest about an old injury that has healed make you run for the hills. Chat with them about it — chances are if you are up front about what you are needing a horse to do they will also be up front about what they think their horse will be able to do. And listen. Many race trainers are extremely good at spotting lameness and injuries, they know a lot about rehab, and they are well versed in what type of injuries usually stay away and what type keep coming back. If the horse is everything you are looking for, except with the addition of a lump/bump, talk with the trainer and the vet, figure out if that particular injury could be a non issue with your goals.

Our not-so-wild-west early days of the relationship. Note the beat-up hip. Photo courtesy of Lindsey Burns.

Sometimes after all that, the decision still needs to be made to pass on the horse, but other times you may have found your dream horse who just has a little extra character. When I decided to work with Crash I knew he had an amazing brain, so I knew if he couldn’t hold up to the rigors of what I wanted to ask of him I would be able to place him in an appropriate home with more low key goals. So far though he has exceeded every one of my expectations. Sometimes he takes a tight step with that hip, but hill work and long and low arena work continue to make those tight steps fade into the past. He is like a sure footed mountain goat on the trails — I call him my man from snowy river horse. I don’t even have to touch the reins going down steep hills, he picks the best path and pace and delivers us safely to the bottom every time.

Crossing creeks like a boss. Photo courtesy of Lindsey Burns.

The most awesome part of that last paragraph is me talking about enjoying trails. I may have started my riding addiction with the sport of endurance, but bravery on the trails has been elusive over the years. I’ve had many fun trail rides, but historically the first twenty minutes are spent wondering if I might have a heart attack. A while back I was trail riding with a friend who was wondering why I kept saying trail rides stressed me out, and in an effort to not freak out the young horse I was on I recounted my history of hitting the open range. The more I chat and distract myself from the frantic beating of my heart, the sooner the enjoyment can start.

After several minutes of stories about frankly dangerous moments on the trails due to years filled with riding lunatic horses, my friend stopped me. She told me I had every right to be stressed about trail rides, that maybe I just hadn’t been on horses that made them enjoyable. It was such a simple statement, but it somehow gave me permission to quit judging myself for not feeling brave out in wide open spaces. I quit trying to ride horses on trails that made for harrowing experiences and instead only took out horses that I believed would be fun. Fast forward a few years, now I’m loving trail rides. Sometimes the stress sneaks up and I chat with my horse or a friend or even myself until the moment passes. 

This journey has carried over into cross country as well. I am far braver than I used to be, and I am far pickier about the horses I ride on cross country than I used to be. Learn your strengths and weaknesses and learn how to work with them instead of judging yourself for them.

How does this apply to horses with lumps and bumps? Maybe the best horse to learn how to enjoy cross country on isn’t the majestic fire breathing dragon that passes every extensive vet check and makes you dream of jumping clean at Burghley. Maybe the best horse for right now is the one with kind eyes that is happy with its head being level with its withers that had a chip removed from its knee last year and has come back sound to racing but is too slow to win. Or maybe the horse has an old bow that has healed up nice and hard and handled being back in race training, but the trainer would rather retire before the strains of racing take their toll again, that horse could probably canter around Beginner Novice for years.

Again, I’m not saying buy the most beat-up horse you can find and then come yelling to me when it doesn’t hold up. I’m just saying to be realistic about your riding goals and what you need from a horse. Talk with the vet, talk with the trainer, maybe your unicorn has a big old scar on his hip that matches those on your heart and together you will be unstoppable.

Dream horses come in every shape package. Photo courtesy of Lindsey Burns.

This Week in Horse Health News Presented by MediVet Equine

Keeping our equine athletes/ best friends happy, healthy and comfortable is always at the forefront of our minds — that’s why we’re extra excited to welcome MediVet Equine as our newest sponsor!

MediVet Equine is a leader in scientifically-based preventative and regenerative therapies for horses. Their products, all of which are all-natural and drug-free, help the horse’s body to heal and strengthen itself. Partnerships with research teams at the University of Sidney and the University of Kentucky, along with over three years of research and development before launching their products to the veterinary community and nine years now on the market, ensure that their biological therapies are second to none.

A few riders you may have heard of (like, you know, Boyd Martin and Marcia Kulak) trust MediVet Equine to help their top horses perform their best. We’ll hear more about them and which products they use in the coming weeks. Each Friday, courtesy of MediVet Equine, we’ll be bringing you the top equine health headlines from around the world right here in an easy to read manner. Ready to educate yourself? Let’s get started!

This Week in Horse Health News:

US Equestrian Federation Announces Transition of Laboratory to the University of Kentucky: The USEF Equine Drug Testing and Research Laboratory now becomes the UK Equine Regulatory Testing Laboratory and will be led by Dr. Scott Stanley, an equine toxicologist and UK faculty member. The new lab will be responsible for analyzing the random samples collected at competitions across the country and will also provide opportunities for research in equine pharmacology and toxicology [US Equestrian]

Research on racehorses can help our sport horses as well: Injuries to racehorses tend to be high profile and can be catastrophic. As a result, industry organizations have increased their funding to support research on injury prevention and risk factor identification. The sport horse world can utilize much of this information as well, to the benefit of our own equine athlete’s health and longevity. Here are some recent highlights:

  • Research from the University of Kentucky suggests that breakdowns are the result of a chronic injury pattern, rather than an acute event. Blood work may reveal biomarkers that indicate a predisposition to injury.
  • Researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario analyzed data regarding racehorse deaths in Ontario from 2003 to 2015. According to the researchers, the most notable finding was that death rate was highest among two-year-old intact male Thoroughbreds.
  • All-weather surfaces may increase fatality risk in flat races, according to a study from the Royal Veterinary College in the U.K. which analyzed data from Thoroughbreds in Great Britain from 2000 to 2013. Other risk factors identified included firmer (turf) or faster (all-weather) tracks and increased racing distance.
  • Research from the University of California at Davis has already led to a number of changes to the racing industry in the state including dragging the tracks for frequently during training sessions in order to help prevent injury. UC Davis is also also planning future research on how riding surfaces affect dressage and show jumping horses.

[The Horse]

You probably know what an overgrown hoof looks like, but do you know what makes them grow that way? It’s that abnormal, dished shape where the hoof curls upward from the coronary band to the toe. A collaborative team of veterinarians, physicists, mathematicians and stem cell biologists from the University of Nottingham and the Royal Veterinary College set out find an answer as to why hooves grow in the shape that they do.

Amongst their findings were that the rate of hoof growth from the coronary band tended to be faster from the quarters than from the toe region, leading to a curved shape over time. Interestingly, they also found that hoof growth from more obese horses may be straighter due to promoted hoof growth, compared to underweight horses. However, they also hypothesize that the outermost layer of cells on the hoof wall may be stimulated to grow by the presence of insulin – which can generally be elevated in obese horses prone to metabolic syndrome –  also leading to the curved hoof shape. Hoof biology … it’s tricky! [HorseTalk]

About MediVet Equine:

MediVet Equine‘s mission is to bring state-of-the-art science, and principled stewardship, to performance horses, their owners and the equine industry. Following the medical model of “do no harm,” MediVet Equine, the original creators of the breakthrough MediVet Autologous Conditioned Serum (MediVet ACS), develops scientifically based biological therapeutics, enabling the horse to call on its own healing ability to achieve its full performance potential.

Specializing in regenerative treatments that help the body heal and regain strength, MediVet Equine’s products are designed to activate specific cells and growth factors within horses to encourage and enhance healing. As a result, their products are safe and suitable for all performance horses.

Friday News & Notes from World Equestrian Brands

Honestly I still do this. Photo courtesy of Horse Humor FB.

Ok outside workers here is my pro-tip for surviving what is turning out to be the worst season of 2019: electrolyte capsules. You know that feeling when you’ve literally had so much to drink and you still feel dehydrated but also super full and kinda sick from chugging water? Get yourself some electrolyte pills online, and take them when you wake up, in the middle of the day, and even right before bed. This will change your life, I promise. Sincerely, a person who has had heat stroke a few too many times and had to learn the hard way.

National Holiday: National Daiquiri Day

CCIO4*-S Aachen: Website, Ride Times/ResultsEN’s Coverage

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Silverwood Farm Summer H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

Larkin Hill H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Full Moon Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

News From Around the Globe: 

Are you a mare person? If you have had the honor of being owned by a mare, you’ll know that it’s not quite like other equine relationships. Mares don’t tolerate ego in the saddle, and they have an innate sense of intuition about who is on their back. There are certainly people who swear off all mares, and personally I think they’re just afraid of a girlfriend holding them accountable for their mistakes, but a good mare is hard to beat. [I Am a Mare Person]

Speaking of heat survival, it’s not just about you! Even if you think you can cut it during the worst temperatures, it’s important to think about your horse’s heat tolerance as well, and provide him with an environment and post-ride rituals to help him feel his best. Even the most enthusiastic horse can feel unwell when it’s terribly hot, and longterm exposure to heat without respite can really sap them of their will to live. [How to Help Your Horse Beat The Heat]

Can my horse read my mind?? Yeah, I’m pretty sure mine can. A rider’s intentions are telegraphed from mind to muscle, even when the rider isn’t consciously aware of it. From the moment the rider’s brain thinks about changing speed or direction, that message is automatically transmitted through the nervous system to the muscles in preparation for action. Small changes in the position and tension of the rider’s muscles anywhere in the body—legs, hands, arms, seat, rhythm, and breathing—can get the horse’s attention and foreshadow a specific action. The more experienced the rider is, the more automatic the unconscious the intention movement will be. [Telepathic Horses]

Best of Blogs: Mucking: A Love Story

Get pumped for Great Meadow!



Fab Freebie: Sunshield Long Sleeve 1/4 Zip from SmartPak

Photo via SmartPak.

It’s HOT out there, and nobody wants to come home from the barn feeling like burnt toast. In the spirit of beating the heat, EN is teaming up with SmartPak to hook one lucky reader up with the new and improved Sunshield Long Sleeve 1/4 Zip.

Just in time for the dog days of summer, this shirt will keep you cool, dry, and protected from the sun. Designed for all day wear, it will be appropriate for schooling on hot days or even during your other favorite outdoor activities — with UPF 50 sun protection you’ll always be covered! In addition, moisture wicking and cooling technology keeps you dry and an added antimicrobial treatment help keeps things fresh between washes. You’ll also love how it moves with you while wearing so you’ll have free range of movement with whatever you’re doing.

The shirts, which retail for $59.95, are available in XS through XXL sizes and eight different colors: White, Black, Navy, Wedgwood, Ombre Blue, Indigo Blue, Hyacinth and Feather Grey.

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below. Entries will close at midnight EST on Sunday, and we will announce the winner in News & Notes on Monday. Good luck! Go Eventing.

Aachen: One Pair Spun at First Horse Inspection

Welcome to equestrian nirvana. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

“It’s better than Disneyland,” said Sherrie Martin, shortly after daughter Caroline completed the first horse inspection with Islandwood Captain Jack. And you know what? I’ve spent a full day ricocheting my way around CHIO Aachen, getting lost in its rabbit warrens of opulence and excess and exceptional equestrian sport, and the only thing I’ve managed to say about it all is that I can’t find the words to describe a first visit to this incredible place. Thank god for mums, eh? They save the day in mysterious ways.

An equine walk of fame wends its way across the front of the media centre, highlighting some of the sport’s greatest athletes. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

She’s right on the money, for what it’s worth – the sheer scale and attention to detail here gives it the vibe of a horse addict’s theme park, complete with comical mascots, branding in the most innocuous of places, and an evident love for every facet of the sport and everyone within it. Nothing is too much to ask for here, and in almost every instance, my expectations have been blown out of the water. You get the sense that the casual viewer – or the diehard fan – of the sport is every bit as important as the world-class riders contesting the various disciplines, as important as the support teams behind the incomparable equine athletes roaming the multitude of arenas, and the owners tying the whole thing together. And you know what? That’s exactly as it should be.

Each year, the competition is held in partnership with another country – this year it’s France, which means that the opening ceremony, many of the decorations, and the ‘halftime’ performances have a distinctly Gallic flair. The Cadre Noir has been hard at work entertaining a captive audience. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

I’ll save you a full-on love letter to the place – for now – in favour of diving into what we’ve all actually been getting up to amidst the madness. The first horse inspection took place this afternoon for the CCIO4*-S – a team competition, though not actually part of the FEI Nations Cup series – and gave us our first chance to take a look at the field in the flesh.

Kazuma Tomoto and Tacoma d’Horset. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Presided over by a ground jury made up of Martin Plewa (GER), Anne-Mette Binder (DEN), and Peter Andrew Shaw (AUS), the trot-up saw 44 horse and rider combinations come forward, representing 10 nations. Though it largely passed without drama, our sole Japanese entrant will not proceed to dressage: Kazuma Tomoto‘s World Equestrian Games mount, Tacoma d’Horset, was unfortunately spun after being re-presented from the hold box. We’ll be sad not to cheer on one of eventing’s sunniest talents this week, but look forward to seeing the dynamic duo in action again soon.

Model behaviour: Caroline Martin and Islandwood Captain Jack. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Our American contingent has been whittled down to three after the pre-competition withdrawal of Tamie Smith and Wembley, but Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro ZPhillip Dutton and Z, and Caroline Martin and Islandwood Captain Jack each sailed through with aplomb.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Phillip Dutton and Z. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The field this week is mind-bogglingly competitive, as befits a competition dubbed the World Equestrian Festival, and will guarantee some incredible viewing in each phase. We’ve got five-star winners in the mix: both Tim and Jonelle Price bring forward Luhmühlen winners in Wesko and Faerie Dianimo, respectively, while Ingrid Klimke brings forward her Pau winner, former European Champion, previous Aachen victor, and general legend of the sport SAP Hale Bob OLD. Chris Burton will pilot last year’s runner-up Quality Purdey for a second attempt at the title, and Michael Jung rides FischerChipmunk FRH as one of his entries in the event.

Tim Price and Wesko. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Wherever you are, you’ll be able to live-stream the competition through, and for those of you who like to enjoy a deep-dive into what makes a class like this so eminently intense, both SAP and EquiRatings will have some real treats in store for fans. Keep it locked onto EN, and we’ll funnel all the good stuff through to you (although I’m keeping the beer and sausages for myself, and I am entirely without remorse.)

The stars – they’re just like us. Michael Jung enjoys a cuddle. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The competition gets underway bright and early tomorrow morning, with dressage starting at 8.30 a.m. /7.30 a.m. BST/2.30 a.m. EST. Our US team will ride at the following times:

  • Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z: 10.21 a.m./9.21 a.m. BST/4.21 a.m. EST
  • Caroline Martin and Islandwood Captain Jack: 12.36 p.m./11.36 a.m. BST/6.36 a.m. EST
  • Phillip Dutton and Z: 2.19 p.m./1.19 p.m. BST/8.19 a.m. EST

Showjumping will follow in the evening, while cross-country takes place on Saturday morning. We’ll be back with more Aachen content than you can shake a sausage at (please don’t) soon – until then, auf wiedersehen, guten abend, and GO EVENTING!

CHIO Aachen: Website, Entries & Start Times, Live Scoring, Live Stream, EN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

Thursday Video from Ecovet: Birds’-Eye View

Firestorm Competition WLRCA

A bit of our handy drone work yesterday for the Firestorm Drill Team. Thank you Tricia Reed for inviting us. Great job by our Drone Pilot Alex Bunko DJI Mavic Air

Posted by Video Productions Northwest on Sunday, July 14, 2019

Truth be told, a pas de deux kind of blows my mind — I mean dressage is hard enough with only one horse in the arena — but this drill team took it to the next level. The 16 member Firestorm Drill Team navigates an eight minute performance in perfect harmony. Preliminary Test B isn’t looking too bad now!

Ecovet fly spray is not a pyrethrin/pyrethroid derivative (which can be toxic), and it is also not an essential oil product. Instead, Ecovet‘s formulation is 5% each of three food-grade fatty acids, 84% silicone oil and 1% fragrance. Shop now at

Road to Rebecca Farm: For the Love of a Big Red Draft Horse

Photo by Duane Dubouer for Shannon Brinkman.

As our favorite time of the year approaches, Rebecca Farm, I reflect on the love for a big red draft cross named Danny Boy. He isn’t a big sexy warmblood, or a fast OTTB. He wasn’t really planned much or the product of a sophisticated breeding program. He is simply a steady, adorable, stubborn, athletic lower level eventing horse.

I am a late bloomer and just started riding, at all, six years ago at the age of 44. I starting off competing at low level hunter/jumpers and then moved to eventing when my friend Krissta convinced me how much more fun it was. Unfortunately, I made several bad decisions about horses in my first three years and finally realized the green horse, green rider model didn’t work. Crying in my trailer once again after my most recent unceremonious dismount, I was at a critical decision point. Give up this crazy sport that had smitten me or find a horse that could teach me how to be an eventer.

I am so thankful that I chose the latter. That is where the big red draft horse comes in. Discouraged with horse shopping after repeatedly not being in the right place at the right time to get the low level “packer” I was in such desperate need of, I got wind of Daniel. Within 48 hours, I was on a plane to Georgia, and within 20 minutes of meeting Daniel, I knew he was the one.

What I didn’t know at the time was that bringing him back to Montana was more than a financial transaction. I had to cut the mustard with his girl, Hannah and her entire family, the Ledfords. Thankfully, I passed the pre-purchase exam and so did Daniel. Not only did I get to bring Daniel home, but I also inherited an extended family in Georgia.

On July 3, 2016, the big red beast was in Montana. Daniel has taught me so much over the last three years, and I am on the verge of being able to move up to Training level — a division I never thought I would be able to compete in. Moving up is exciting, but comes at a price. I can’t move up with my Daniel. Daniel isn’t ready to retire, but he is wanting to ease slowly into semi-retirement. With a new horse at home, another naughty redhead named Harley, to work on moving up, where does Daniel fit in? I love him with all my heart and could not bear to part with him. He has been such a blessing to me, it was time to share him.

Share him with Rachel, my trainer’s working student who rode him for a week and then won her Novice division at Copper Meadows. Share him with Nick, a lower level hunter/jumper, who rides him twice a week and at his first big show won four ribbons and was the reserve champ in the 0.7m jumpers. And finally full circle, share him once again with Hannah, his Georgia Girl.

Harley and I will be headed to Rebecca, but Daniel wanted to go again too, at least one more time. At 18 he is amazingly healthy, but none of us know how many more Rebecca’s he has in him. As an inexperienced adult amateur, the idea of riding two horses at Rebecca seemed too daunting. Hannah is now off to college, but has dreamed of riding Daniel at least one more time, and has always dreamed of riding at Rebecca Farm.

Every Rebecca Farm, I have ever been to has been special, either as a spectator or a rider, but this year it will be even more so. That wonderful big red chestnut draft cross that I call Daniel, because he is older and more sophisticated now, and Hannah calls Danny will compete at Rebecca Farm with his Georgia Girl. Daniel/Danny is Hannah and my heart horse and I am so grateful that we get to share him. I dream of Harley and I nailing our dressage test, unlikely, going double clear and winning my division at Rebecca. But even more so, I can’t wait to cheer Hannah and Danny on. Daniel/Danny is a gift and being able to share him with other riders that need his confidence, steadiness, goofiness and love is just another blessing he has given me.

Daniel is very special, and the best horse ever if you ask Hannah or I, but there are lots of Daniels in the eventing world. Horses that will never be upper level stars or Olympians, but horses that make our hearts sing, and our lives more full because we knew them. Thank you to all the Daniels out there and especially my Daniel.

Daniel and his people:

Thursday News & Notes from Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS)

Chris Talley and Wyeth cleared 5’3″ to win in 2016. Photo by Cindy Lawler.

Come for the eventing, stay for the bareback puissance! We’re excited to share the news that the bareback puissance competition is returning to the MARS Great Meadow International this year! With the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S and CCI2*-S divisions running between August 22-25th, the bareback puissance will take place on Friday, August 23rd.

Are you up for the challenge? Riders interested in competing in the bareback puissance (for a $500 cash prize!) should email Chris Talley at [email protected].

National Holiday: National Get to Know Your Customers Day

CCIO4*-S Aachen: Website, Ride Times/ResultsEN’s Coverage

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Silverwood Farm Summer H.T. [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

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

Larkin Hill H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Full Moon Farm H.T. [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Your Thursday News & Notes:

EN sends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Clare Bedford. Clare died as the result of a fall while competing in the 100cm section at the Solihull Riding Club one-day-event in England. Her horse was unharmed. [Rider who died following cross-country fall named]

Heads up if you’re heading to Penny Oaks H.T. this weekend: the Indiana Department of Transportation is is doing heavy roadwork to resurface, patch potholes and make repairs to the highways of Marion County. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there are some road closures to be aware of![Marion County Construction Plan 2019]

All eyes are on Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg ahead of the Pan American Games next month. Boyd and the dreamy black Trakehner gelding are our reigning USEF CCI5*-L National Champions, but Chirstine Turner’s “Thomas” is a rather unassuming little horse day-to-day on the farm. Get to know the little horse that could ahead of the big competition. [Pan Am Profile: Tsetserleg]

Truer words have never bee spoken: “Sisters, they argue,” says Holly Perry Gorman, head groom and older sister to Olympic dressage rider Kasey Perry-Glass. Now that’s a unique business relationship! How do they do it? [Groom Spotlight: Gorman Puts Sisterly Squabbles Aside As Head Groom To Olympian Perry-Glass]

Are you competing in Europe this summer? As one of the leading international equine insurance agencies in the United States, Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) agents are ready to help you extend your coverage for a trip abroad! [Request a Quote from THIS]

Wednesday Video from SmartPak: Jonelle Leads Series After Jardy + ERM Highlights

Leg 4 of the Event Rider Masters proved that this year’s series is far from decided. New faces rose to the top of the podium at Haras de Jardy, and a surprise withdrawal from Chris Burton left room for new series leader Jonelle Price to take over. But it ain’t over ’til it’s over — Australia’s Bill Levett trails only 7 points behind in second place, and there’s plenty of room for shuffling in the last two legs.

Click here to view final results, and click here to view the rankings following Leg 4.

It was a big weekend, and if you missed any of it here’s your bite sized recap: