Maccabiah Games: Practicing on Ponies and Mandiba

Eventers Rebecca Brown and Alexa Perkiel are in the final stretch of preparing to represent Team USA in the Maccabiah Games (think Jewish Olympics) in Israel later this month. Rebecca is competing in dressage while Alexa is competing in show jumping. Many thanks to Rebecca and Alexa for writing! Go Maccabiah Games!


Rebecca Brown in preparation for the Maccabiah Games. Photo by Harley Cozewith.

From Rebecca: 

We are quickly nearing our July 10 departure date for the 2013 Maccabiah Games in Israel, and Alexa Perkiel and myself have been training hard to represent the USA to the best of our abilities! Final numbers have come in, and there will be 8,500 athletes representing 40 countries during these Games. The U.S. is sending one of the largest contingents with 1,130 representatives. We depart on July 10th, tour Israel for six days, and then opening ceremonies take place on July 18. Alexa and I will be blogging throughout the competition, so make sure to check back here on Eventing Nation or on my personal website,

Last week we received the rules and schedule for our competitions. They are abundant, so here are the highlights:

•  Our training days are strictly regulated. For instance, no more than six obstacles may be jumped in any of Alexa’s practice sessions. Meaning by the time the competition has started, Alexa will have jumped a maximum of 24 jumps. Now, the rules state that a double or a triple count as one jumping effort. Also, three attempts at jumping an obstacle count as one obstacle.

•  Your trainer is allowed to ride the horse, but that deducts from your time during the practice sessions.

•  Israeli equestrians get to ride their personal horses but are also responsible for providing foreign athletes with borrowed horses.

•  If your horse is hurt, you are allowed to ride a reserve horse; however, only for the daily prize and not to compete for the Championship.

•  We are required to use the horse’s usual tack — saddles and bits.

•  Everything is run under FEI rules.

The timetable for our training days:

For my preparation for my dressage competition, it’s been life as usual at Buckbranch Farm in Wilmer, Texas, riding many horses a day. To prepare for the numerous possibilities of what my borrowed horse could be like, I’m riding everything from 13.3-hand ponies to 15.3-hand CCI*** winners to 17-hand OTTB green beans. Seems like that should cover the realm of possibilities! I’m polishing up my dressage tests and making sure I don’t have too much bling.


At High Acre Farm in The Plains, Va. Photo by Alexa Perkiel.

From Alexa:

I arrived a few weeks ago to The Plains, Va., to resume my training at Karen and David O’Connor’s barn at Ms. Mars’ beautiful High Acre Farm. There are a few horses here that I have been riding and caring for since David is busy with Team USA and Karen has been busy teaching and traveling to support Team USA.

I love being in the hard working and competitive atmosphere of an upper level event barn, which encompasses this entire farm. I feel lucky to have had some rides with David and also my good friend and Under 25 rider Lauren Kieffer.

One horse I must mention is Joan Goswell’s Mandiba. He has been a joy to ride and learn on. It is so generous of Joan to allow me to ride such a “been there, done that” type of horse. Mandiba has been a great horse to help me sharpen my skills for our competitions in Israel. Riding different types of horses is always a bit of a challenge, but so helpful in the long run.

It was nice to have the opportunity to watch some lessons of Aachen U.S. team member Will Faudree while he was here prepping for his competition overseas. This farm has raised and assisted a lot of great riders that our country has, and I am grateful to be a part of it. I hope to use what I have learned in my short time here before the Maccabiah Games to help our team perform to the best of our ability in Israel next month. It is going to be an amazing journey. Rebecca and I, and the rest of Team USA, are ready to embark on this adventure! Go USA at the Maccabiah Games!

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