Thursday News & Notes

We’re celebrating this leap year day with one of the most impressive and terrifying leaps in eventing – the leap of faith that is the Leaf Pit at Burghley. It’s one of those cross country fences that looks hella fun when I’m safely settled on my sofa enjoying the spectacle, but in real life – I’d want to be totally encased in around 24 layers of bubble wrap if I ever found myself looking down from the top of a horse up there, and for there to be a giant and generously-filled kids’ ball pit at the bottom, (also, ideally my mount would be more hobby horse than 5* fit eventer).

However you spend your bonus day, go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

2024 $100,000 Conceal Grand-Prix Eventing Showcase at Bruce’s Field (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Ride For Charity Teams] [Ride For Charity Online Vote] [Volunteer] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage] Schedule – [03/01 8am-2pm EST Dressage] [03/01 3pm-5pm EST Show Jumping] [03/02 12:30pm-3pm EST Cross Country]

Full Gallop Farm March Wednesday H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

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

Sporting Days Farm March H.T. II (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Twin Rivers Winter H.T. (Paso Robles, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

International Events

Portuguese Spring Tour (Mata do Duque) [Timetable] [Entries] [Scoring] [Portuguese Eventing Association Facebook Page] [More Info]

Thursday News and Reading

For one day only – free registration for Equine Guelph’s online Introduction to Body Condition Scoring course. Learn how to assess your horse’s weight using the Henneke body condition scoring system and gain the tools you need to create an action plan based on the score. The course content is self-paced, around 15-20 hours and you get access for a full year. To benefit from the free registration offer, you need to sign up tomorrow (Friday March 1st).

As February draws to a close and we feel a sniff of spring in the air, Badminton approaches. Fences and camera crews and sponsors and tradestands and entries… it’s all going on at Badminton – read all about it in this month’s Director’s Blog.

Mistakes happen, of course they do – it’s what you do with them that counts. Rather than being embarrassed when we mess up, and going all defensive and blaming whoever and whatever is at hand, if we see our mistakes as opportunities, we’re more likely to grow from what went down rather than being weighed down by our whoopsie. Here’s some handy techniques for reaping the benefits that making mistakes can bring us.

Our choice of tack, and how we fit it, can be mighty controversial – there are so many opinions in the equestrian world. So it’s a good thing when actual scientific research is undertaken into the effect of tack on horse welfare, like this paper on nosebands and the increased stress levels horses display when they are fitted tightly, so much so that the report concludes: “On ethical grounds, the use of relentless pressure to eliminate oral behaviors in pursuit of a competitive advantage may be difficult to justify”.

Becoming unconsciously uncoupled from your horse is something we riders have to take on the chin from time to time – but when you’re analyzing it with your trainer or explaining your lame limp in the office, how do you phrase the fact that your horse basically dumped you? For all you horse/word geeks out there, here’s an interesting list of ways to describe hitting the deck. As an aside, I am in fact one of those ‘once in a blue moon’ riders who’ve come straight off the back of the horse – I call it the ‘didn’t-duck-under-the-tree-branch-quick-enough’ kind of fall.

And finally, as a champion of horses, books and awesome women, I couldn’t resist sharing this image of the Pack Horse Librarians in Kentucky. Traversing creek beds called Hell-for-Sartin, Troublesome, and Cut Shin, these tough gals took to horseback to deliver books and magazines to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to reading materials. Let’s hear it for these inspirational horsewomen.

Video Break

A couple weeks ago I shared the story of Shariah Harris, who was trailblazing on the polo pitch as the first Black woman to play in the US Open Women’s Polo Championship. From a single-income household in inner-city Philadelphia, Shariah’s introduction to the sport began with a literal wrong turn – which led her directly to her destiny. When her mom accidentally took the wrong road, they came upon the Work to Ride site, a program which involves urban youth in equestrian sports, and the rest, as they say, is history. Which is what Shariah made as she took to the pitch recently in the US Open Women’s Polo Championship. About her role as trailblazer, she says, “The more exposure I attract the more others will see and follow, then I won’t be the only one anymore”. Check out Shariah’s story in today’s Video Break.

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