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Go eventing.

From H&H: Gypsy Cobs End Up at UK Equine Rescues

From Visionaire:

It's interesting how certain breeds of horses are viewed differently around the world.  Here in the US, the  Gypsy Vanner breed comes with a designer price tag to go along with the pinto color, lots of hair, big feet and feathers.  However, in the UK "coloured cobs" are a dime a dozen...and could be filling up equine rescues throughout Britain.

The Horse & Hound reports that thousands of gypsy cobs could end up at equine charities, and that World Horse Welfare is urging riders to consider the "underrated" animals.  Having worked with one myself, I  think they make great kids horses with their shorter size, friendly temperament, and Barbie-doll hair.  Like many draft-crosses, they're a bit heavy for serious jumping but could be good all-around mounts.  The one I rode showed great aptitude for dressage, and was quite fun!


Wednesday News and Notes from MDBarnmaster

From Abbie:

Good morning EN! We have big news here at EN. Read all about the new site launch here.

Rebecca Farm will not be hosting a CCI3* at their flagship event this summer. This means that there will be only three total CCI3* events in the entire country in 2014: Jersey Fresh, Fair Hill, and Galway Downs. While three may sound paltry, in fact that is the same number of CCI3* events that will run in Britain this year. And in addition many American pairs usually make the trek up to Quebec to compete in the CCI class at Bromont, so riders will still have the opportunity to choose among four chances to contest a CCI3*. It will be interesting to see if Rebecca adds their CCI3* division back during years in which international events like the WEG won't be stealing away entries, but only time will tell. The event will still offer a CIC3* and both a CIC and CCI at the one star and two star levels, meaning it will still be an ultimate destination event with a huge variety of competitors. [USEA]

Master Imp has been named the top sire of British event horses. The stallions are ranked by British Eventing by the number of points their progeny accumulated over the course of the yearlong competition season, and Master Imp's offspring accumulated 1,737 BE foundation points in 2013. Irish studs ran away with the show this year, as seven of the top ten stallions are Irish-based. Many of the stallions on the BE list are also featured in the WBFSH top 10 eventing sire rankings for 2013, though Master Imp was pushed down to second place on that list by the thoroughbred sire Heraldik. [Irish Independent]

Heidi Siegmund has been awarded the 2014 young adult Worth the Trust Scholarship. Heidi wrote an application essay about a serious injury she sustained last year that derailed much of her 2o13 competition season with her mare, Sierra. Even so, Heidi managed to make comeback and accomplish her goal of competing at the Prelim level before the year ended. She plans to use the scholarship to ride with clinicians and continue to pursue her immediate goal of completing a CCI1*. Click to read her whole essay on the USEA website. [USEA]

This week on the Eventing Radio Show: Riding for charity, a new idea for the AECs, and wintering in Florida. Hosts Samantha and Jess start off the episode talking with Rick Wallace about eventing in Florida, and then interview Emily Roepke about her novel idea for the AECs. Finally  they are joined by Amber Warren from Justworld International, a prominent fundraising charity in the show jumping world, to discuss raising the organization's profile in the eventing world. [Eventing Radio Show]

Calling all Area IIers: Daniel Stewart is coming back for a clinic. Daniel Stewart is a sports psychologist who has a regular column on the USEA website, and he will be hosting a clinic in Area II next month. The clinic a two-day mounted and unmounted affair titled "Sports Psychology and Rider Fitness Symposium" and will take place in Greenville, VA. Click for information about how to enter. [Area II Eventing]

This week on SmartPak's "Ask the Vet:" Demystifying daily dewormers. Dr. Lydia Gray takes on a question concerning feeding a wormer every day while also administering a paste wormer every other month. Dr. Gray notes that worming schedules depend on your horse's circumstances, and that daily dewormers should be part of a larger program instead of acting as a replacement for the paste wormers. [SmartPak Blog]

The Big News: Redesign Launching Tonight!

A sneak peak at the new EN logo!

While Boyd Martin launching his own underwear line turned out to be a very popular answer in our "What's the big news?" poll, here's the correct answer: We're launching a total redesign of Eventing Nation tonight! Many of you will have access to the all-new EN as soon as it goes live. It could take a bit longer for some of you, but don't worry! We'll keep posting on both the old and new versions of the site until we're confident everyone has access. If you do have trouble accessing the new site, please let us know via our Facebook page or by sending an email to

And because you all are awesome, here are some of the other answers you all posted when asked to guess the big news. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of your answers involved chinchillas:

  • Genetically modified, horse-sized chinchillas approved for eventing by FEI
  • Eventing Nation is having a baby!
  • Short format officially abandoned forever.
  • EN new look: John in boys nickers, made from faux chinchilla!
  • EN will now be broadcast on TV! Eventing 24/7!

While you wait for the new EN to go live, please enjoy this video of  Tiki the Dancing Chinchilla:

YouTube Preview Image

Go eventing.

Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: Teaching Beginners

YouTube Preview Image

Katie Cook, a USDF Silver Medalist and former Young Rider in dressage, is just getting her feet wet in eventing. She teaches riding lessons locally at her home base in Winooski, Vt., and she sent in this fun video to show how she teaches beginners — by riding bareback double with them. Did anyone learn to ride this way? Many thanks to Katie for sending in the video!


Why SpectraVET?

Reliable. Effective. Affordable.

SpectraVET is committed to providing only the highest-quality products and services to our customers, and to educating the world in the science and art of laser therapy.

We design and manufacture the broadest range of clinically-proven veterinary therapeutic laser products, which are represented and supported worldwide by our network of specialist distributors and authorized service centers.

We’ve Got Big News!

It's a big day, EN! We have a major announcement we'll be making later today. And by major, we mean BIG. B-I-G. We really wish we could share the fabulous news now, but we have to keep it a secret for a little while longer. But since we're dying to spill the beans, here's your chance to guess the announcement. And please feel free to write in your own answers — the more ridiculous the better. Get excited, EN!

10 Things You Just Don’t Say…

Valonia Hitching Post 2012

Have you ever been in a grocery store, Best Buy, Kmart, or a local cafe and seen an infant that you thought was absolutely hideous looking? I mean, you actually thought how could someone reasonably good looking produce that? C’mon, we’ve all been there. Out of respect and common decency most people see children and/or babies as cute, sweet, adorable, and precious, the list goes on and on. But there are some children who are just not very attractive. Perhaps they grow up to be on the cover of Vogue…who knows? Regardless, these children and infants do exist. I have relatives who are undeniably attractive, and yet some of their offspring are not the cuddliest looking creatures. General rule of thumb: You never EVER tell parents, particularly the mother, that their baby, their pride and joy, and their entire universe is ugly. You just don’t!

Same rules apply in the horse world. Some people are just more blunt than others and voice their opinions, while most equestrians acknowledge this unspoken rule. Let’s be honest, there are certain things you just do not say about someone else’s horse and here are a few don’ts…

That horse is ugly. You just don’t say that someone else’s horse is ugly. It may be true, it may not be true. Are all horses created equal? Well, that’s open for debate. For instance, I think I have two very attractive horses, Valonia and Skybreaker. Valonia’s conformation is not perfect, which I vivdly see every single day, though I do think she is lovely. Does everyone else think my mare is the most gorgeous creature in the world? I guarentee you not, but I don’t want to actually hear about it! Skybreaker is one of the most beautiful horses I have ever seen. Some people think he is too much of a hunk, with plates for feet, that his front legs are too short for his body, and he looks like he should be plowing a field….but I don’t want to hear it, because I am infatuated with my horses.

Skybreaker 2013

Bad Jumper. For all those trainers, teachers, and coaches, I am sure there are more tactful ways of telling someone their horse SUCKS at jumping. Clearly, not all horses can jump, and not all have impeccable form, and not all are extremely scopey. Haven't you ever been fence judging, or been watching some cross country at an event, and thought to yourself, "Yikes...that is one horrible jumper." Yet, this is not something you can openly tell someone, because it’s just not!

Bad Mover. Again, there are more diplomatic ways of telling someone that your dog is a better mover than their horse. Not all horses float like Totilas across the ground, and get perfect scores for movement. It’s really hard to go up to someone and tell them one of the reasons they are nineteenth out of nineteenth in dressage is because their horse is a bad mover. This is not something you can tell someone.

And here are a few more things you just DON’T say about someone else’s horse…

            Bad Manners.

            Evil Eye.


            Too Skinny.




For many, if not most, our horses ARE our infants, our babies, our life, our pride and joy, and we'll be damned if others don't like our "children." Did I forget any other insults, or is the list complete?

British Model Edie Campbell Promotes Eventing

Not many equestrians can say that they've been on the cover of Vogue, or led fashion campaigns for Marc Jacobs, Burberry and Alexander McQueen. Most riders don't moonlight on the runway for Yves Saint Laurent, Hermès and Chanel. Then again, British supermodel Edie Campbell isn't just any regular equestrian. In 2013, Edie was named Britain's "Model of the Year" at the British Fashion Awards, and yet she prefers to spend her time in the stables, where looking muddy, sweaty and clean faced is more in style.

Thanks to EN reader Rebecca Guinness who worked over the summer on the film of the model with filmmaker Linda Brownlee, we got the tip for this story. The film features Edie in the countryside both at home and at competition with her horses, and her thoughts on how riding horses keeps you grounded in reality, when modeling can often send you the other direction.

Edie has two competition horses, Dollywood and Rough Touch, whom she competes at Preliminary and Intermediate levels in England. "It makes you able to deal with failure," Campbell says, "and with the fact that no matter how much work you put into something, there isn't a formula for success."


Ask the Expert: ‘Fly away, little snowbird’ edition

Eventing can be a confusing sport. If I had a penny for every time I’ve been confounded by a question like “Will anyone notice if I sub in a different horse for dressage?” or “Why is the TD screaming at me again?,” I could afford to just buy myself a stupid Rolex and call it a day.

Fortunately, however, I have learned from my many, many mistakes. You might even say I’ve grown wise over the years, especially if you don’t know me that well. Every now and again, I distribute that wisdom free of charge via an advice column called “Ask the Expert”–kind of like “Dear Abby” if Abby was an event rider with questionable judgment and way too much time on her hands.


Dear EN,

I am so freaking sick of winter. I hate breaking ice in water troughs, I hate trotting around and around the indoor, I hate frozen poop balls... I hate it all. And more than anything, I hate seeing cheery little Facebook posts from fellow eventers who are preparing to head south for the winter. Why do I have to stay up here in blistering cold for three more months while they get to go start their seasons in paradise? Oh yeah, it's because I have a husband, kids and a real-world job. Any advice?

Miserable in Minnesota


Dear Miserable in Minnesota,

Man, do I understand your pain. Frozen poop balls are the worst! But I have some good news for you: Where there's a will, there's a way.

First, let's talk about your job. It sounds like a real drag. My advice: quit and find another one that better suits your snowbird lifestyle, a.k.a. enables you to make mad bank working from home (or an extended-stay hotel room at the winter eventing destination of your choice). There are loads of opportunities out there. In fact, here's an offer that popped up on my computer screen just a few minutes ago:


$750 a day! Do you make $750 a day at your current job? Um, probably not. Considering the fact that you participate in the world's most expensive sport, maybe it's time to raise the bar on your earning potential. Check your inbox and/or spam folder to see what sorts of exciting and lucrative work-from-home job offers await!

Next, the family "problem." I put "problem" in quotation marks because it's not that you don't love your family--it's just that they're holding you back from realizing your true winter eventing potential. It's a delicate situation, but there IS a solution that doesn't involve divorce court and a lifetime of abandonment issues for your kids.

You know that metaphor about boiled frogs? How if you put a frog in a pot of hot water it will jump out, but if you heat the water slowly the frog will cook to death without even realizing it? Well, that’s how you’re going to need to go about this.

First, pick an event--Rocking Horse, Sporting Days, etc.--and tell everyone you’re going down for the weekend to get a jump start on your season. Yeah, it's a long drive, but it's just a few days, no big deal! But on Sunday when you should be heading home, your truck “breaks down.” This is a totally believable story, as breaking down is pretty much what all trucks do. Then, on Monday, the “mechanic” tells you he can’t get the part until “later in the week.” Still believable. After a few days he calls you back to profusely apologize that “it’s a very rare part” and “he’s going to have to special order it from the factory.” Then, “the delivery truck gets snowed in by a 'blizzard,'” and so on and so forth. You think I’m kidding, but a variation on this theme bought me almost two months in Ocala one year.

Good luck, and Go Eventing!

Have a question for the “expert”? We’ve got a not necessarily legal, credible or factually correct answer! Email it to

Switzerland Bans Hyperflexion, Poling


Rolkur. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

While both the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) and multiple national federations currently prohibit hyperflexion (also known as rollkur) for horses in competition, the Swiss officials have stepped it up one notch and created a national law forbidding the use of hyperflexion anywhere in the country. Until this point, all rules relating to the use of rollkur have only applied to competition venues, but now in Switzerland it is also illegal to train using this method. In addition to that, they have banned “poling” horses, or whacking horses’ legs with jump poles as they clear jumps in order to make them jump higher.

Switzerland’s Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) proposed the ban in 2008, and it was approved in October of last year, taking effect at the beginning of 2014. Article 21 of the Ordonnance sur la Protection des Animaux states that it is forbidden to “require the horse to maintain its head and neck in hyperflexion (rollkur).”

The FEI has described rollkur as “a dressage method compromising the animal’s welfare". Further adding that "this method, used in dressage, consists of imposing on the horse a particularly low position of the head, either by aggressive pulling on the reins or by other means, which provokes a hyperflexion of the head and neck and excessive tension in the back”.