Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Photo by Hoofs and Horns, 1980, Valerie Russell via Equestrian Memories Australia Facebook Page.

With the northern hemisphere eventing season springing into action proper last weekend, it feels like the start gates have swung open and we’re officially on the road to Paris. And whilst we await the season’s results that will bring us ever closer to longlists and shortlists and finally the team announcements for this year’s Games, here’s a flashback to a time before Andrew Hoy had graced the Olympic stage a whopping eight times. Captured at Badminton in 1980, Andrew’s mount Davey had taken him from Pony Club to the top of the sport, quite literally – they won Burghley the previous year – and it was his trusty Stockhorse that would see him make his Olympic debut at the 1984 LA Games. With three gold medals, two silver and one bronze under his cinch already, will Andrew find himself representing Australia at a ninth Olympics this year, and will he be bringing home yet more hardware to add to his shiny collection? It’s all to play for as the world’s eventers strive to be at the top of their game in the upcoming months, and secure their tickets on the flight to Paris. And we’ve got a ring-side seat as they battle it out for the three available spots on the team that everyone wants to be on. Watch this space, and go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

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

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

SAzEA Spring H.T. (Tucson, AZ) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Southern Pines H.T. I (Raeford, NC)[Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

International Events

Land Rover Horse of the Year (Hastings, New Zealand) [Website] [Program] [Equestrian Schedule] [Eventing Schedule] [Eventing Live Scores] [Live Stream]

Wednesday News and Reading

You’ve got to be in it to win it and you for sure want to be in with a chance of winning this awesome giveaway from Fairfax and Favor. As well as a £500 gift card to spend on all the looks you’ve drooled over at 5* Horse Inspections, they’re also throwing in two tickets to this year’s Defender Kentucky 3-Day Event. Make sure your name’s in the hat by following @fairfaxandfavor and @kentuckythreedayevent on Instagram, like this post, and sign up here. Good luck!

You may or may not have noticed the online criticism surrounding the recent Dressage World Cup Qualifier in Amsterdam. There was a fair bit of heated discussion going on regarding the judging and the winner, with a whole heap of people – from journalists to spectators, to people who hadn’t even watched the competition – weighing in with their opinion. 5* dressage judge and former US Equestrian Federation Technical Advisor for Dressage Anne Gribbons has her say on the matter, as well as the use of AI in dressage judging and the impact of social license on the sport.

Horse trainer Carl Bledsoe has been honored by the Humane Society of the United States as its Humane Horseman of the Year. Instrumental in the increased awareness and welfare of Tennessee walking horses in particular, Carl turned around the traditions into which he was born to become an advocate for ethical and humane horse training. As such, the senior director of equine protection at the Society states, “Carl Bledsoe stands as a symbol of change and compassion in the equine industry. Renouncing harmful practices … [he] now serves as a role model for ethical conduct in the horse world. His commitment to the well-being of horses proves that success can be achieved with integrity and respect for equine welfare”. Here’s Carl’s story – from active participant in horse soring to being the voice which has brought about legislation to ban the cruel practice.

There’s no denying that riding is an athletic kind of activity that requires a whole lot of strength, flexibility and fitness if we’re to be fair to our horses. As a 43-year-old returning to the saddle after a rather long hiatus, I’ve been finding out the hard way that riding in the body I have today is very different from how it was in my teenage years. I’ve had to adapt in some areas, work at others and sometimes just accept what is. Every body is different, and how that translates to the saddle will vary too. But we can learn from one another’s experiences as we navigate our own journey. Here’s one rider’s 5 things that improved her plus-size riding life.

Do you have a plan for a potential apocalypse? One thing’s for sure, us horsey folk are highly likely to fare better than most, given our propensity for fixing things, almost unlimited tolerance of pain and discomfort, and highly developed immune systems, amongst a whole bunch of other skills – all detailed and examined in this most enjoyable, dark yet loving tribute to the crazy cohort that we call equestrians.

And finally, here’s your chance to bag a little Heartland, for real. Pre-bidding is now open for the Heartland Fan Appreciation Auction featuring actual stuff from the popular Hallmark show. When I saw this I immediately started plotting ways to raise the cash for the miracle girl saddle – my husband vetoed a remortgage of our house, and as I only have one horse, selling him (horse, not husband – the husband helps pay for the horse so I need him too) wasn’t on the cards, so my next best option was opening an OnlyFans account – but alas (or perhaps thank goodness), it’s not listed. Scrolling through the catalog is a pleasant trip down memory lane regardless, and it sure is interesting to see what’s commanding the bigger bucks.

Sponsor Corner

How did Liz Halliday find her home in Ocala? With help from Ocala Horse Properties‘ Chris, Rob, and Matt– who Liz calls her brothers. Hear more about Liz’s story with Ocala Horse Properties here.

Video Break

It’s always exciting when eventing makes the mainstream, especially when they actually get things right. (Remember when the Daily Mail captioned a photo of Zara Tindall’s “majestic horse Showtime” with the description “who donned a black hat featuring pointed horns”? If you don’t, here it is. In case you’re wondering, no the horse did not have a horned hat on, merely a bonnet covering his horsey ears.) Well, BBC Midlands did Laura Collett proud by getting not only the name of the sport right, but also doing a decent feature on her and London 52’s success thus far and Paris hopes. Go eventing!

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