Thursday News & Notes

Whilst things kick off at Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International, over in Europe the first leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup is under starter’s orders. This year, the eight-competition series will take a trip around Europe, culminating at Boekelo in the Netherlands in October, but it’s Italy where eventing eyes will be focused this week as the teams step up to bag some series points and secure their spot on the leaderboard in this early stage of the competition.

Australia is one team that’s making an early play, with Sarah Clark heading out with two rides – the eight-year-old mare Casallia S and her 5* campaigner LV Balou Jeanz; Bill Levett brings forward his third place finisher in the recent 3*-S held at the Nations Cup venue, RNH Tom Tom R, and of particular interest given his return to eventing after a hiatus in the land of show jumping, Christopher Burton will also be back at Montelibretti following a run with his new horse Shadow Man (formally the ride of Britain’s Ben Hobday) in the same class as Bill a couple of weeks ago, where they posted a steady clear to end up 27th – a solid practice run to blow off the cobwebs for this week’s competition.

France and Spain are also fielding strong teams, along with Switzerland, with the Italians out in force at their home venue. We’ll also see entries from Sweden, Brazil, Poland, Czech Republic and Thailand as riders look to get the rounds in early this season under the watchful eyes of Olympic selectors.

Wherever you are in the world, the Nations Cup is free to watch via the FEI YouTube channel. Here are the times you need to know:

Dressage – Thursday (today) 1pm local time / 12 noon GMT / 8am EST [Live Stream Link] and Friday 11am local / 10am GMT / 6am EST [Live Stream Link]
Cross Country – Saturday 12 noon local / 11am GMT / 7am EST [Live Stream Link]
Show Jumping – Sunday 11am local / 10am GMT / 6am EST [Live Stream Link]

Make sure to keep it locked onto EN for all the eventing news from Carolina and Italy. Go eventing!

Carolina International CCI & H.T. (Raeford, NC) [Website] [Schedule] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Cross Country Maps] [Live Scores] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

FEI Eventing Nations Cup Leg 1 (Montelibretti, Italy) [Website] [Timetable] [Entries] [Live Scores] [Dressage Day 1 Live Stream] [Dressage Day 2 Live Stream] [Show Jumping Live Stream] [Cross Country Live Stream]

U.S. Weekend Preview

Carolina International CCI & H.T. (Raeford, NC) [Website] [Schedule] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Cross Country Maps] [Live Scores] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Ocala Winter II (Ocala, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Pine Top Spring H.T. (Thomson, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Ram Tap National H.T. (Fresno, [Scoring]CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

International Events

FEI Eventing Nations Cup Leg 1 (Montelibretti, Italy) [Website] [Timetable] [Entries] [Live Scores] [Dressage Day 1 Live Stream] [Dressage Day 2 Live Stream] [Show Jumping Live Stream] [Cross Country Live Stream]

Thursday News and Reading

It can be tough to take things out of the school when you’ve got goals you want to achieve – but getting out and about with your horse could be just the ticket to achieving those goals. Not only is hacking or trail riding good for your and your horse’s mental health – hello, nature – but it can motivate your horse to be more interested in his work and all the different sights and sounds will work wonders to boost his confidence. Riding on varied terrain is great for horses’ fitness and conditioning, with the added benefit of helping to strengthen your core too. Don’t believe me? Check out this list explaining all of the above, and more. Whilst it’s nice to go for a relaxing stroll, and pootling along the lanes can alleviate stiffness in your horse, there’s no reason why the lesson has to stop just because you’ve left the school behind. There are all sorts of exercises you can practice whilst out on the trails. And if you’re looking for some inspiration to help you get yourself out there, these are the accounts that you should be following.

I don’t know about you, but groundwork has been key to being able to work with my horse in a positive way. Every time I’ve asked for advice about my new horse, the answer has been groundwork. And whilst I obviously would prefer to be riding, without putting in the groundwork first, it wasn’t safe for me to get on my guy. Having seen the difference it’s made in his attitude, and felt the rewards in our relationship, I’m a total convert and spend just as much of my horse time (if not more) on the ground as I do in the saddle. When I first met my trainer he told me, a horse is way better than just something you can ride, you’ve got something you can train. No matter what horse you have, or what you do with him, being able to move his feet is something that should be in every horse owner’s toolkit. Here’s how to get started.

Whilst I’m all in to the school of thought that a good horse is never a bad color, we can’t ignore the science behind genetics. Yes, all horses should be treated as the individuals they are, just like humans, but sometimes it’s smart to take note of the science too when it comes to choosing a horse and how we go about working with specific horses. We’ve heard the stereotypes about chestnut mares, and although there are examples of these redheads living up to their reputation, there are also quite a few out there who prove the naysayers totally wrong. The way color and genetics can influence equine behavior is an interesting topic however, and can help horse owners to make educated decisions regarding training and management, as this research highlights.

If we want to improve we need to look at areas where we go wrong, but focusing on the negatives doesn’t do anyone any good. I’m totally guilty of this – feeling the pressure of doing everything right so my horse has the best chance of learning. So often I spend entire sessions berating myself – ‘Ah, I got that wrong, and that, and that…’. From the outside it’s easy to see how unhelpful perfectionism can be. But when we’re trapped into trying our best, it’s a sticky place to get out of. This article focuses on dressage, but is relevant to all of us who put ourselves under pressure at the detriment of progress.

A call for more compassion and understanding in the online horse world. This think piece takes a look at the trend on social media to be either pro-coach or pro-rider – with those on the coaching side suggesting that riders need to be tougher and work harder, and those on the riding side asking for more compassion and attention to wellbeing. The thing with social media is that there’s rarely a middle ground. What we really need is to remember that we’re all human people, ultimately on the same side – Team Horsepeople.

Video Break

What happens when an eventer and stunt rider switch things up and try out each other’s disciplines? Well, this…

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