Thursday News & Notes

Kids at Pioneer Park Elementary School, Florida had a really cool visitor when JustWorld International, Rodriguez Equestrian, StoryBook Treasures, and Belle Herbe Farm teamed up to deliver a healthy dose of horse to literacy lessons.

For the vast majority of the students, it was their first time getting up close to a horse and they had some imaginative questions for Guatemalan Olympic show jumper and JustWorld ambassador Juan Andres Rodriguez: Just how long does it take a horse to eat a carrot? How loud are horses’ sneezes? How fast can a horse go? Juan Andres demonstrated the latter with everyone’s favorite horse for the day, grey gelding Matrix, who was loaned by Maria Newman from Belle Herbe Farm.

The horsing around was followed up by some storybook time, with ‘Everything Horses and Ponies’ being the perfect choice for the day’s reading list, which the kids got to take a copy of home, courtesy of StoryBook Treasures.

JustWorld – a not-for-profit organization which connects equestrians to ways they can help impoverished children, and official charity partner of the FEI – and StoryBook Treasures – a not-for-profit which provides literacy materials to kids who don’t have access to them – have had an enormous impact through their work together, with marked improvements in reading proficiency at Pioneer Park through initiatives such as bringing literacy to life by inviting a horse to class.

You can read more about what happened when Matrix went to school here.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Bouckaert Equestrian H.T. (Fairburn, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Galway Downs International H.T. (Temecula, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer][Scoring]

Jumping Branch Farm Spring H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Morven Park Spring H.T. (Leesburg, VA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

The Event at TerraNova (Myakka City, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

International Events

BEDE Events’ Thoresby Eventing Spring Carnival (UK) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

Thursday News and Reading

Today is Wear a Hat Day. Founded by the Brain Tumour Research Foundation, the initiative is a fun way to raise awareness and funds for this important cause. And equestrians are particularly well suited to get in on the act – I know I spend more of my waking hours with my riding hat on than I do feeling the wind blow through my (helmet) hair, or the rain on my head. Whilst I’m on the topic of equestrian heads, British Equestrian has been producing some very useful resources about concussion – something all of us should be aware of. You’ll find them here.

Feeling tempted to spring into spring with a new challenge? The Hack 1000 Miles challenge is ready to reset and relaunch on April 1st. Run by Your Horse Magazine, and open to riders from around the world, you can log your miles on the digital leaderboard and connect with other hackers (the good kind, you know, with horses) via the dedicated Facebook group; there’s also a newsletter to help keep you going as you saddle up and head out with your favorite equine pal. Whether you’re off on the trails, country lanes, bridle paths or beaches, every step counts. You’ll find everything you need to get going here.

No matter which discipline(s) you enjoy, teaching your horse to turn on the forehand is a useful tool for all of us. From bend and softness to lead departures and flying changes, having this maneuver in your arsenal helps to build the foundation for more advanced work – it’s also a handy skill to have to help you out of tricky situations when you’re out on the trail. Ready to get started? Look no further.

Horse’s feet are heavy – and there’s nothing quite like trying to haul a hoof off the ground when your horse is outright refusing to cooperate. So long as there are no soundness issues, a horse that’s stubborn about you lifting its feet really does need training to offer its leg on cue. OK, but how exactly do you go about that? Here’s how.

Road to the Horse Champ – eventer turned cowboy – Tik Maynard earned his hat and buckle this week – making him bang on trend in the fashion stakes, according to Vogue. That’s right, Western is hot right now, so much so that Vogue had (ultra-fashionable) boots on the ground at the 2024 edition of Rodeo Houston last week. It seems chaps, hats, boots, buckles and fringe are what it’s all about in the fashion world right now, so make like Tik and cowboy up, and go eventing.

Video Break

Whilst eventing fans are locked onto the beginning of the 5* season, with Adelaide Equestrian Festival just three weeks away, MARS Badminton entries revealed this week, and Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event start lists imminent, behind the scenes, prepping for their turn in the spotlight later on in the year, Defender Burghley is taking shape.

It’s easy to focus on the awe-inspiring jumps, the creative fence decor, and the all-important ground when it comes to cross country day, and despite the humongous effort that goes into all of those things, there’s even more for course designers to think about when it comes to staging an event in historic parkland, as is the case for Burghley. How to protect the ancient trees from hordes of eventing fans scrambling to see their heroes and revved up horses running across the country, for example. Take a look at how the Burghley Estate ensures that no trees are harmed in the making of the competition.

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