27 October 2012

HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013: Paget shows all his promise at Pau

Jonathan Paget (NZL), who was foot-perfect across country on Clifton Promise to take the lead at Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA), opening leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013. (Kit Houghton/FEI)
Lausanne (SUI), 27 October 2012

HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013: Paget shows all his promise at Pau
By Kate Green
Jonathan Paget (NZL) rode across country with typical New Zealand verve to take a slender lead at the end of a thrilling day at Les Etoiles de Pau, the first leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013.
Olympic champion Michael Jung (GER) is breathing down Paget’s neck after an equally classy display on Leopin FST, while Paget’s compatriot Andrew Nicholson, who steered two horses round clear and inside the optimum time, is third on Nereo, and young Astier Nicolas (FRA) thrilled the large home crowd with a flamboyant clear on Jhakti du Janlie to claim overnight fourth.

Just one Jumping rail covers the top four riders after a day of unexpected drama over a Cross Country course which rewarded bold, committed riding.

As predicted, the early fences proved influential. Dressage leaders Christopher Burton (AUS) and Underdiscussion had a runout at the narrow fence at four and later retired after a further stop at the third water complex (fence 23).

Bill Levett (AUS), seventh after Dressage on Hippolyte, and Karin Donckers (BEL), eighth on Lamicell Charizard, refused at the imposing water complex at fence six and both rider subsequently decided to call it a day.\

Regular Pau visitor Oliver Townend (GBR) was eliminated when Sonas Rovatio missed the bank out of the water and fell at 6d, and 2010 winner Andreas Dibowski (GER) retired when FRH Butts Avedon stopped halfway over the log into the water at 6c. Buck Davidson (USA), riding Ballynoe Castle RM, and Laura Collett (GBR) on the former show hunter Noble Bestman also gave up after stops here.

The two most experienced competitors in the field, Mary King (GBR) and Mark Todd (NZL), both landed on the floor in surprise incidents.

King’s Imperial Cavalier, sixth after Dressage, slipped on landing after fence nine, a hay wagon, while Todd’s Major Milestone hit the spread at fence 19. Neither horse was hurt, and the riders were on their feet immediately, more frustrated than anything else. In an unfortunate day for the British rider, she also retired her first ride Kings Temptress after a runout at four.

Paget’s performance was all the more creditable as he only started riding 10 years ago, his first introduction being a bronco-riding competition in Australia. His progress has been meteoric, with individual seventh place at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™, fifth at Burghley in 2011 and 2012, and a team bronze medal and 10th place at the London Olympic Games on Clifton Promise.  
“This was a different sort of course for me but it rode better than I expected,” said Paget, who is known on the circuit as Jock. “I found it quite mentally challenging, but the ground held up well and was not too slippery.”
MICHAEL JUNG riding LEOPIN FST 2nd after the cross country.

The Olympic champion was also pleased with his day’s work. “Leopin really proved himself today,” said Michael Jung, who still achieved the optimum time of 10 minutes 54 seconds despite taking a long route at the second water complex (fence 12) where the quick option comprised two sharply angled brushes. “He has a long galloping stride and I knew I could do a long route and still get the time.”
Andrew Nicholson’s two rides were typically smooth – he is also in seventh place on Mr Cruise Control. “Both horses felt lovely and it’s been an enjoyable day,” said the HSBC Rankings leader. “I’m lucky to have them to ride. I always like this course because you’ve got to be switched on.”
ANDREW NICHOLSON riding NEREO after the cross country.

Astier Nicolas, who has been based in Britain training with Olympic Ground Jury member Nick Burton at Hartpury, was visibly thrilled to find himself in such elevated company, especially as Pau is his local event – he lives near Toulouse. “I had a runout on both my other CCI4* rides so I’m very pleased to have this under my belt. Perhaps I am more mature now,” he smiled.

“I always thought I could go clear at a CCI4*, but now I know I can. It took me a little while to get into the course and my horse was a bit hesitant at the first water, but he was great after that. He’s an honest horse that goes for the flags and having everyone cheering really helped me.”
Last year’s winner William Fox-Pitt (GBR) proved an assured pathfinder on the stallion Chilli Morning, on which he has risen seven places to sixth. He also had a great round on the nine-year-old Bay My Hero, now in fifth.

Fox-Pitt admitted to feeling apprehensive before Cross Country, partly due to the overnight torrential rain and black clouds which only lifted just as the CCI4* began, and partly because he was concerned the stallion, a new ride this season, might come unstuck at fence six. He is also nervously awaiting the arrival of his third child, as his wife Alice is due to give birth at any minute.

“I’ve had a few things playing on my mind this week and it was in the back of my head that if the horses didn’t go well I could just go home early, but it’s all turned out a lot better than expected!” he said.

“I’ve had quite an interrupted season with Chilli but he is accepting me more. He gave me a lovely ride. And with Bay My Hero it’s a bit like riding my old 14.2hh pony. He knows where to go and is clever and cat-like, despite the fact that the ground was more slippery by the time I went on him.”
At the end of the day, there were 33 completions from 62 starters with 22 clear rounds, 11 of which were inside the optimum time. The scores are agonizingly close at the top, so a thrilling Jumping finale is assured. Watch all the action live on FEI TV tomorrow.

Results after Cross Country
1 Jonathan Paget/Clifton Promise (NZL) 36.7 + 0 = 36.7
2 Michael Jung/Leopin FST (GER) 38.3 + 0 = 38.3
3 Andrew Nicholson/Nereo (NZL) 39.0 + 0 = 39.0
4 Astier Nicolas/Jhakti du Janlie (FRA) 39.5 + 0 = 39.5
5 William Fox-Pitt/Bay My Hero (GBR) 41.7 + 0 = 41.7
6 William Fox-Pitt/Chilli Morning (GBR) 44.7 + 0 = 44.7
7 Andrew Nicholson/Mr Cruise Control (NZL) 45.7 + 0 = 45.7
8 Kevin McNab/Clifton Pinot (AUS) 50.2 + 0 = 50.2
9 Gemma Tattersall/Stormhill Kossack (GBR) 42.6 + 8.0 = 60.6
10 Caroline Powell/Onwards And Upwards (NZL) 53.2 + 0 = 53.2
Full results on www.event-pau.fr
Follow the action on FEI TV www.feitv.org
Download the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013 press kit: www.feipresskits.org/
HSBC’s Training Bursary
At the centre of HSBC’s sponsorship is a commitment to the development of the sport of Eventing at every level. As part of its support of the HSBC FEI Classics™, HSBC has introduced a Training Bursary. This is a unique award which is presented to the highest placed rider never to have previously completed a 4-star level event. The winning rider receives a training voucher to the value of US $1,000 to be spent on sessions with a trainer of the athlete’s choice approved by the FEI and National Federation. 
HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013 calendar
1 Les Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) - 24-28 October 2012
2 Australian International 3 Day Event (AUS) - 22-25 November 2012
3 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) - 25-28 April 2013
4 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) - 3-6 May 2013
5 Luhm├╝hlen CCI 4* (GER) - 13-16 June 2013
6 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) - 5-8 September 2013
Notes to editors
HSBC, the platinum partner of the FEI and global sponsor of Eventing, has supported the HSBC FEI Classics™ series, which unites the top end of the international Eventing circuit, since 2008.
In our HSBC FEI Hub: www.fei.org/hsbc/hsbc-fei-classics, you can access the HSBC Rankings, past series news and the information below:
HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012 Final Standings (full 2012 standings here).
1 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 40 points ($150,000, Series Champion)
2 Andrew Nicholson (NZL) 39 ($75,000)
3 Alison Springer (USA) 17 ($50,000)
4 Michael Jung (GER) 15 ($33,000)
5 Stuart Tinney (AUS) 15 ($25,000)
Prize money
The HSBC FEI Classics™ prize fund is the largest on offer in the sport of Eventing on an annual basis. At the end of the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013 season, the five riders with the highest number of points collected across the six HSBC FEI Classics™ events will be awarded their share of a total fund of US$333,000 split as follows:
1st - US$150,000 (Series Champion)
2nd - US$75,000
3rd - US$50,000
4th - US$33,000
5th - US$25,000
HSBC Rankings
The rider at the top of the HSBC Rankings at the end of the 2012 Eventing season will receive a US $50,000 bonus. The winning rider will be announced in December 2012.
Watch the action LIVE from Pau on FEI TV, the FEI’s official video website:
28 October - Jumping: 14.15 CET

02 May 2012

The Debate Continues at the FEI Eventing Round Table

 FEI Eventing Committee chair, Giuseppe della Chiesa, led the Eventing Round Table held on the final day of the FEI Sports Forum. (Edouard Curchod/FEI)

Lausanne (SUI), 2 May 2012


The difference between CCI and CIC competitions, qualifications and rider licences, were the key topics discussed by more than 80 delegates at the Eventing Round Table, one of two Round Table sessions held today as the final element of the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne (SUI).

The Eventing Round Table was a follow-up to the four Open Forums that had been held in Luhm├╝hlen (GER), Guadalajara (MEX), Adelaide (AUS) and Kihikihi (NZL), Sports Forum in the past year.

FEI Eventing Committee chair Giuseppe della Chiesa led the meeting, with support from FEI Eventing Committee member Gillian Rolton, who had re-routed from her Ground Jury President role at Badminton, and Catrin Norinder FEI Director Eventing & Olympics.

It has been agreed that there is a need to make a clear difference between CCI and CIC competitions, but also a need to reduce the intensity of effort so as to put less pressure on the horses. Two options have been put forward by the Eventing Committee – reducing the required speed on the Cross Country, or a reduction in the number of obstacles on the course.

The CIC, or short format, is viewed as preparatory training for the move up to CCI or long format competition. The collective viewpoint that has come out of the consultation process through the Open Forums is that the CCI, the compulsory format for Championships and Games, is seen as the essence of Eventing.

Roger Haller (USA) expressed the opinion that reducing the speeds in CICs was not a positive move, as horses and riders would gain more from operating at the same speed that they would have to adopt at CCIs. This was countered by Gillian Rolton, who stated that slower speeds give riders more time to prepare their horses for fences so accidents are reduced and horses are allowed to gallop in a better rhythm. “A lot of the riders are very much in support of the changes”, she said.

Mike Etherington-Smith (GBR) stated that the Event Riders Association was not in favour of slower speeds, and Ruediger Schwartz (GER) cautioned against reducing speed, as this would place more emphasis on the Dressage and Jumping phases, making the transition to long format harder.

Catrin Norinder stressed the importance of maintaining the CIC from a development perspective. “It may be seen as a training and preparatory competition for the bigger countries, but this is the sport in the smaller nations”, she said.

It was agreed that participants needed more time to evaluate the proposed changes before consensus could be reached.

Proposals to introduce rider licences and reverse qualifications were also discussed. Rider licences would be obtained after a sufficient number of qualifying results at that level that would attest a “reliable and consistent competence for that level”, but would be lost after a period with no qualifying results at the level or a series of significant discipline infringements such as dangerous riding.

Reverse qualifications for horses would be triggered by two cross-country eliminations in a 12-month rolling period, dangerous riding or fall of horse or rider. The horse would need to obtain a new Minimum Eligibility Requirement (MER) at the lower level before being eligible to compete again at the higher level.

Having fulfilled the MER does not automatically imply competence or fitness to compete at a higher level, Giuseppe della Chiesa stated. The choice if and when to upgrade a horse or rider must remain with the rider, trainer and owner under the control of the National Federation and should not become an automatic consequence of the fulfilment of MERs.

Cross Country scoring, frangible pins, and ponies were also discussed in a morning of constructive and informative debate that brought the FEI Sports Forum to a positive finish.

30 April 2012

DYNAFORMER And Gratitude

Dynaformer in his Paddock - enjoying the spring sunshine (Photo courtesy of Three Chimneys Farm)
I make no bones about the fact that I am a huge fan of horse racing.  From an early age, I have adored racing in all it's incarnations.   But the flat -- now that was the end all for me. EXTERMINATOR, BULL LEA, MAN O WAR, NATIVE DANCER, SWAPS, FOREGO, KELSO, DR FAGER, REGRET -- these were the names I remember hearing and reading about voraciously -- from very early on.

I remember, vividly, the 1973 Belmont stakes, my jaw dropped in disbelief, as SECRETARIAT quickly overwhelmed and then blew away the field.  It was, in fact, the most memorable race of my recollection.  I also watched in shock and sadness as the legendary BARBARO, a horse I had on the radar at the top of my list throughout the entire 2005-2006 racing season, was clipped in the Preakness. With outstanding love and care, he survived for a time --  on sheer strength and the will to win --- to attain different kind of equine greatness.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to meet some of the great thoroughbred stallions.  From, SECRETARIAT, to SMARTY JONES, SILVER CHARM & CHARISMATIC, BIG BROWN to AP INDY, etc.  I have been lucky to have the access and for that I am grateful.

One hot, humid, downright sticky mid-seventies Sunday morning in June, more years ago than I care think about, I showed up unannounced at the farm gate and talked myself onto Claiborne.  Although it was Sunday,  it's a breeding farm, so it was business as usual.  SECRETARIAT had been to the breeding shed earlier in the morning but the stallion manager brought him out of his stall.

What a thrill.  Red looked bored with the entire affaire, but I was over the moon. Here he was, right in front of me, as large as life!  To stroke the neck that had helped propel that perfectly proportioned frame through such an amazing racing career was an almost swoon-able experience for me.  Heady to say the least.  Although I doubt my attention gave the object of my adoration much of a charge.  He'd had a hard morning at the office and just wanted to go lay down for awhile. I was grateful for his tolerance of this minor being's attentions.

Years later, I would go to Claiborne again to visit Red's grave, remembering that sticky summer morning when I'd been lucky enough to touch true equine greatness. I was thankful.

Last week, on a beautiful spring morning, I saw equine greatness again. I was invited by Jen Roytz to visit Three Chimneys Farm for a private tour.  I had visited the farm before, as part of a tour group. But this was different.  It was quieter, more intimate.

It was during this visit that I had an opportunity to see DYNAFORMER for the last time.  He had recently suffered a cardiac episode so his visitors were severely curtailed.  I felt honored and concerned as I stood in the doorway of his barn, quietly watching him from a distance as he stood in his stall, enjoying the dappled spring sunshine.  I didn't take a photo.  I didn't maneuver for a better look. I just watched him as he enjoyed a beautiful morning in what was to be an all too brief retirement.  Now that he is gone and I realize just how lucky I was to be able to quietly say goodbye to greatness.

You see, DYNAFORMER was Thoroughbred greatness of another kind.  While not considered to be a classically beautiful horse, he had a great racing record.  And, he did have beautiful offspring, like the legendary BARBARO. But, more than a classic beauty, he offered and gave the Thoroughbred another kind of beauty -- that of incredible strength, stamina, longevity, and an intense will to win.  The greatest, perhaps leser known characteristic he passed along to his progeny- in my opinion -- was the tendency not to bleed (EIPH).  While that may not seem like such a big deal,  if you're at all attuned to what is currently going on in the Thoroughbred industry , you know that the tendency NOT not to bleed is a very big deal.

To those who loved him, like everyone at Three Chimneys, the loss of this stallion is the loss of a member of the family.  To the Thoroughbred breed itself, the greatest loss is that he is no longer here to pass along his exceptional physical attributes first hand to another generation of offspring.  To me, it is the loss of a horse for whom I recently acquired even more admiration --  for yet another reason.  Because, after suffering a major cardiac event that would have brought every other horse to it's knees and kept them there, DYNAFORMER,  with his incredible strength and will to win, was able get up and survive to enjoy the dappled spring sunshine a few days longer.

Like many other of his outstanding offspring, DYNAFORMER'S sons NICANOR and LENTENOR (BARBARO's full little brothers), are or will be racing soon. And so, DYNAFORMER lives on in his strong, exceptional offspring. His wonderful characteristics will continue to enrich the breed.

Hopefully, I will visit DYNAFORMER again, as he lies in the dappled spring sunshine.  I will thank him again for giving so much of himself to a wonderful breed.  And, as a lover of the breed and the sport, for this and much, much more, I am very grateful.

DYNAFORMER - Photo courtesy of Three Chimneys Farm

William Has A New Watch...

Sheer talent -- William Fox-Pitt and PARKLANE HAWK -- what else is there to say but WOW! A second Rolex Kentucky win in three years for William! $80K and new Rolex Watch to serve as twin to the one he took home two years ago! A second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam!  And, another very good week for British Eventing -- currently the true force in the sport. 

William now has two legs of the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam -- the first since Pippa Funnell in 2003.  "This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to winning the Rolex Grand Slam. I’ve never managed to win two four-stars in a row, and this is wonderful, but to win three in a row is fairly unlikely,” said Fox-Pitt of his achievement.  "It was a serious show jumping track, and I’m just very lucky that Allison took that long route at the third to last fence yesterday.” 

There was definitely drama --  and a few close calls  -- during XC.  Derek DiGrazia's course proved challenging for most --  with  quite a few slow walks back to the vet box from out on the course --  especially before the break.  19 out of 54 horses retired on course or were eliminated, three others were withdrawn.  When the likes of New Zealand's Andrew Nicholson, Karen O'Connor, Becky Holder, Laine Ashker, and Jolie Wentworth are eliminated it's a tough course. Said Jock Padget (NZL) of his fellow teammate and the course, " You know you're in for a bad day when Andrew walks home."

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/04/28/2168248/fox-pitt-leads-after-tricky-cross.html#storylink=cpy

There appear to have been no serious injuries, although there was a fairly long hold on course after James Alliston's PARKER fell.  (PARKER was reported to be resting comfortably, after being checked by vets but I have no other information about his condition at this time.) 

Clark Montgomery and LOUGHAN GLEN, were eliminated by a mistake at the third-to-last jump that left Clark's horse hung up in the jump. The horse could not extract himself from the brush arch.  It took Clark literally diving under the jump and working at it to finally free LOUGHAN GLEN, who appeared to be unhurt.

Of the 32 horses that finished XC, 22 horses had clear rounds but only seven were within the time allowed.

Of his stadium round, William said, "I thought that the fence I had down (in show jumping) was going to be a tricky fence for Parklane Hawk. He was just arguing with the bit today, and I was thinking, ‘You need to look at the jump, mate.’ When you have a fence down it makes a huge difference, and when the cushion is gone, panic can set in.”

Allison Springer and ARTHUR (owned by Allison and her delightful her parents William & Caroline Springer)  took the slow option on fence 27, putting her 8 seconds over the optimum -- adding 3.2 time faults to her first-placed Dressage score, moving her into second place. 

Of the competition, Allison said "... I was very, very pleased with Arthur. Four years ago, I went into show jumping in fifth place, and I stopped counting after five rails. But this time I was excited to come in the show jumping ring because I knew what I had to do, and I did it. It’s great to feel that way after all three days.”

Besides the runner up's share of the purse ($37K), as the highest placed American, Allison goes home with a 15 month lease on a new Range Rover.  "It’s a good thing they kept someone in the car with me, or I’d have been out there doing donuts!”, said Allison of her first experience in her new ride.

Boyd Martin took third with OTIS BARBOTIERE -- a syndicate-owned import from France --  moving up to third place on 51.0 to earn $30,000. Of his relatively new ride, Boyd said, "It was a huge gamble, and I’m happy this horse has confirmed what I thought of him. It’s a fantastic result for his first four-star."   He also finished 8th on REMINGTON XXV.  With such strong performances by two more horses, Boyd has a quiver full of four potential London Olympic talent just waiting to be drawn. 

Speaking of horse owners, on Friday, I had the opportunity to meet and spend a bit of time with Parklane Hawk's British owner, Catherine Witt, in the Sponsor's tent.  What an extremely nice -- and fun --  gal!  I'm so happy for her. At that point, she was very excited and a bit nervous.  Looks like keeping all her fingers crossed paid off!

Rolex was busy, cold, hot, wet, dry -- you name it. Plenty of shopping with many new vendors in the trade fair. Lots of course walks, two of which were sponsored by our (and Rolex Kentucky's) sponsor, FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips

Phillip Dutton led 50 lucky folks on a somewhat intimate, four-element walk, on Thursday afternoon.  At the conclusion of his walk, Phillip handed out swag -- a autographed photograph and a FLAIR Nasal Strip -- to each walker. Phillip Dutton enjoys stepping out of the limelight to spend time with his fans, and you could really see that on this course walk.  

And, I have to say the dynamic duo of Eric Dierks and Ralph Hill leading a course walk on Friday morning was a sheer gold delight!  Those two buddies really play off each other -- delivering to the rather large group of walkers the perfect balance of knowledge and anecdote.  They could do their own radio show! The Eric and Ralph in the Morning Eventing Show... Now there's a thought.

Another Rolex has come and gone -- my 21st consecutive to be exact!  Every spring I wait for it and, when it's over, I'm sooooo glad to go home. Rolex is always so exciting, so filled with delight and drama, personalities and pitfalls -- and sometimes pain --  that I always wonder if I'll ever go again. But then, the spring rolls back around, and I'm ready to go back to Central Kentucky for one more Rolex Kentucky...

16 April 2012

Wheel Barrow Job Alert: Downunder Horsemanship Seeks Warehouse Manager

Hot off the press!  Clinton Anderson is looking for a Warehouse Manger in Stephenville TX!

Downunder Horsemanship
Job Description

Title:  Warehouse Manager (reports to the Vice President)

Qualifications/Skills:   Manage, organize, direct and inspect the operations and staff of warehouse, purchasing, shipping, receiving and assembly departments.  That includes developing budgets, safety management, developing standards, managing processes, inventory control, reporting skills, analyzing information, equipment maintenance, judgment and effective leadership to achieve an overall well-oiled operation.

Specific requirements:
·        Fluency in Microsoft Applications and order/warehouse management systems
·        Extensive experience managing multiple direct reports in multiple departments with successful track record.
·        Juggle and maintain multiple priorities, situations and levels of focus
·        Understanding of warehouse operations
·        Critical thinking and decision making
·        Organize inputs, make decisions, delegate, inspect and hold staff accountable to commitments
·        Ability to take a holistic view of the roles and responsibility of the department and the company
Duties, Responsibilities, Objectives:
·   Maintains receiving, warehousing, and distribution operations by initiating, coordinating, and enforcing program, operational, and personnel policies and procedures.
·   Complies with federal, state, and local warehousing, material handling, and shipping requirements by studying existing and new legislation; enforcing adherence to requirements; advising management on needed actions.
·   Safeguards warehouse operations and contents by establishing and monitoring security procedures and protocols.
·   Controls inventory levels by conducting physical counts; reconciling with data storage system.
·   Maintains physical condition of warehouse by planning and implementing new design layouts; inspecting equipment; issuing work orders for repair and requisitions for replacement.
·   Achieves financial objectives by preparing an annual budget; scheduling expenditures; analyzing variances; initiating corrective actions.
·   Completes warehouse operational requirements by scheduling and assigning employees; following up on work results.
·   Maintains warehouse staff by recruiting, selecting, orienting, and training employees.
·   Maintains warehouse staff job results by coaching, counseling, and disciplining employees; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results.
·   Maintains professional and technical knowledge by various methods, i.e. attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications; establishing personal networks; participating in professional societies.
·   Contributes to team effort by accomplishing related results as needed.

Areas of focus under supervision
·        Purchasing/Inventory
·        Shipping/Receiving
·        Light assembly manufacturing
·        Trade show packing
·        Fleet management(1-class 8 tractor trailer)

13 April 2012

Amy Tryon...

Amy and Woodstock, RK3DE, 2006
I've watched Amy Tryon ride for years.   She was always high on the radar...  

There were some very great times during the Olympic and WEG years when Amy and POGGIO II well-represented not only the USA, but all we arm-chair Eventers who only dream of reaching that level of competition. It seemed she was at her happiest then. She also went through some painful times -- as do we all.  She toughed it out and continued doing what she loved - very well.  

I saw Amy two weeks ago at Galway Downs.  It's unusual for me to be on the west coast at a horse trials,  so it was nice to see familiar faces out there -- like Amy's.  She was zipping back and forth between her horse's stables and her student's stabling.  I bet she rode her little scooter 100 miles in the park that weekend. But she was her usual self.  Quiet, driven, focused on what she needed to do. She smiled and waved, chatted a moment or two, but she had her agenda and that was her focus.  She loved what she was doing.

Amy was a pleasure to watch on the cross-country course, in stadium, and in the dressage ring...  

In dressage, she assumed a quiet softness that helped her make the most of any horse she was on.

On XC, she was all strength and determination.  The focus on her horse was visible in every image and obvious in her results.  She was a true Eventer.

Her stadium was marked by it's accuracy and precision.

I'd like to tell her family how much we in the Evening world will miss Amy.  I can't do that personally, so I'll just say it here.  

The last time I saw Amy, she was mounted -- heading out towards the start-box to ride cross-country.  She smiled and gave a little wave.  Thank you Amy, for all the great rides...

Amy and Poggio II Rk3de 2006
Amy and Poggio II Rk3de, 2006

Amy and Woodstock, Rk3de, 2006
Amy and Poggio II,  Rk3de 2005
Amy and Woodstock, Rk3de 2006

06 March 2012


Here here!

FEI President HRH Princess Haya signs the agreement for the adoption of the Brighton Declaration on Women and Sport by the FEI in the company of 1st Vice President John McEwen (right) and 2nd Vice President Pablo Mayorga (left).

Lausanne (SUI), 6 March 2012


FEI President HRH Princess Haya, 1st Vice President John McEwen and 2nd Vice President Pablo Mayorga today signed the agreement for the formal adoption by the FEI of the Brighton Declaration on Women and Sport, joining an impressive list of signatories that include the IOC, IPC and numerous International Federations.

The FEI member Federations voted unanimously at the 2011 FEI General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro in support of the FEI becoming a signatory of the Brighton Declaration.

The document was signed during the FEI Executive Board’s March meeting and Princess Haya, one of only two female International Federation presidents, used the opportunity to comment on the ongoing commitment of both the FEI and the IOC to promoting women in sport.

“Equestrian sport is one of the few Olympic sports in which women compete on equal terms with men. Signing the Brighton Declaration today shows the ongoing commitment of the FEI to equality in our sport”, Princess Haya said.

“The IOC is working hard to have female participation and representation at all levels. The IOC and President Rogge in particular have done so much to promote women in sport and in the Olympic movement, both in the sporting arena itself and on the governance side.

“The Olympic Charter states that sports are a right for everyone and there should be no discrimination in practicing sports on the basis of gender. That is central to the FEI ethos and we truly value the fact that our sport is one based on equality. Not only do men and women compete on equal terms, but we also have women serving in senior positions at all levels in our sport.”

Women first competed in Olympic equestrian sport 60 years ago. Denmark’s Lis Hartel, individual silver medallist in Dressage at the 1952 Olympic Games, was one of four female riders competing in Helsinki. The first woman to participate in Olympic Jumping was Pat Smythe (GBR), who won team bronze at the 1956 Olympic Games in Stockholm. Eight years later, Lana du Pont (USA) was the first woman to compete in an Olympic three-day event when she rode in Tokyo (JPN) in 1964.

In 1976 in Montreal (CAN), Barbara Kemp became the first woman to design an Olympic Cross Country course. The first woman to design an Olympic Jumping course was Linda Allen, who produced the courses at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (USA).

Notes to Editors:
The Brighton Declaration on Women and Sport was the result of an international conference on women and sport in Brighton, UK in 1994. The Declaration is based on 10 Principles: Equity and Equality in Society and Sport; Facilities; School and Junior Sport; Developing Participation; High Performance Sport; Leadership in Sport; Education, Training and Development; Sports Information and Research; Resources; Domestic and International Cooperation.

For further information on the Brighton Declaration on Women and Sport please visit: http://www.iwg-gti.org/conference-legacies/brighton-1994/

02 March 2012

The Finale -- Retired Racehorse Training Project

Like many of you, I have been enjoying the Retired Racehorse Training Project's Trainer Challenge. Personally, I was happy with the outcome because I know what a wonderful teacher and trainer Eric Dierks is, not to mention a really great guy to work with.  That said, all of the trainers did such a great job working with these freshly off-the-track horses. Kudos to all!

One of the things I've loved especially about this project is that it has defied the conventional wisdom about OTTB's. You've all heard and read it. If you buy a horse off the track, you have HAVE to turn them out for at least six months for them to decompress.  While I do not disagree that turning any horse out for an extended period of time is just the vacay that many horses need, and crave,  it's not often practical for those on limited incomes who want a reasonably priced horse and can't always afford to have the horse eating it's head off for three months -- offering no other return to the owner than it's beautiful presence in a boarding barn that charges by the month.

The RRTP went a long way towards proving that these horses are not always the hot tamales that we have been lead to believe -- not always anyway.  Rather, they are intelligent, sensitive (to be sure) and adaptable. After all, they move from track to track, personality to personality, trainer to trainer (if they've been claimed - and most on the lower rung have -- often multiple times).  Adaptation is their middle name.  They are up to the task of taking on a new life if they are given time to accept each stage of their training.  If trained with patience and sensitivity, these wonderful animals are up to almost anything you throw at them.

We all know there are so many out there.  This is just a drop in the bucket -- but we're on the right track - pun intended.

Thanks to Steuart and Erin Pittman for this great project. Hope to see more in the future.  Now watch the finale!  Love the retreads!!

02 February 2012

New Post from Tori Trafford!

The UK's Tori Trafford has just sent us news from across the pond.  We love hearing from Tori.  She has two new horses, an interesting diagnosis for some problems she's been having with another,  headcams, and lots of plans for the 2012 competition season. Thanks Tori! ~ Nan

Eventing Day Blog – January

Happy New Year all Eventing fans!

Finally glad to have the New Year upon us, which means the Eventing season is soon to get underway and I’m itching to start.

A few things have happened since last time.  That’s The Way has been sold to Devon she is off to be the Hunts Masters horse and from the emails I’ve been receiving she is now a well-seasoned hunter and thoroughly loving her job.

I’ve been a very spoilt girl in the last few months in the form of two new horses a lovely six year old by Power Blade called Birthday Blade or BB for short and a four year old who I’ve just backed called Pioneering Triumph or Spindle to her friends. It’s all been go here in the Trafford Eventing Team home from lots of lessons to dressage and showjumping, just ticking over till the season kicks off again.

Tina has been trialing a product Winningedge Gold from a company called Equifeast. At the end of the season Tina was a little erratic on the cross country course and it caused us to get pulled up by the BE Steward. Pulling my hair out I couldn’t understand why she was being like this when I read an article in a magazine about horses that had ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and it explained Tina to a ‘T’:  hard pulling, loss of concentration, not listening to my aids. So I spoke to a man called Malcolm Green and agreed to trial Tina on the product and also take blood samples to see how this affects her.
The results have been phenomenal! Tina is a completely changed horse with the extra training I’m able to reinforce my aids and she’s been so easy to deal with. Even to a point we have been doing exceedingly well showjumping as this was her weakest phase we went out and won. It’s all to do with calcium and if we feed to keep the muscles and joints going why not feed the brain and teach it how to cope with the extra adrenaline as we feel this is what Tina was running off.  For more info please visit their website www.equifeast.com they are going to update the site in the next few months but they are brilliant to chat too and very helpful – great customer service.

I’ve also been lucky to team up with another great company called Hedcamz www.hedcamz.com I will now have an extremely light weight camera for my cross country rounds all in HD too! It’s such a privilege to team up with such a wonderful company so watch this space for lots of videos!

A friend of mine and a brilliant photographer came up from Essex to do a special shoot for the horses and of course Tina was pictured the most, but she is a complete poser. The one below is my absolute favourite and Dan is a very talented photographer! http://fozphotography.500px.com/

Great Future has been having a small holiday after I weaned Rosie off her. I’ve officially named Rosie Parthia High (my great granddad had a derby winner called Parthia so I’m going to use this as my breeding prefix and her sire is called Rainbow High). She will come back into work mid-February where she will start her fittening work and getting ready to start Eventing in the middle of the season.

I was also interviewed for the Eventing Radio show with Chris Stafford, which I thoroughly enjoyed to listen to my show please click the link http://eventingradio.horseradionetwork.com/2012/01/19/eventing-radio-episode-177-by-bit-of-britain-focus-on-amateurs/

So overall we have been busy even though the Eventing season has been off but I’m getting very excited I have entered Tina for her first BE event of the season at Oasby on the 9th March so counting down the days.

Until next time!

20 January 2012

It's Derby Cross Tonight!!

 It's Derby Cross time again and we LOVE Derby Cross!  Our friends at FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips are sponsoring again!  Watch all the action live from Wellington tonight on USEF Network tonight at 7 p.m eastern!

For Immediate Release
January 11, 2012


Flair LLC, makers of FLAIR® Equine Nasal Strips, is pleased to announce its continuing sponsorship of the Wellington PRO Rider Derby Cross Competition.  This year’s competition is to be held on January 20, 2012 at 7pm at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington Florida, with The Calcutta Welcoming Party to be held at The Gallery on January 19, 2012 at 6:30pm – also in Wellington, Florida.

FLAIR Strips – which support and protect the respiratory system of the hard-working equine athlete -- will be provided to all competitors and the company will sponsor a cross-country fence during the Wellington competition.

PRO Derby Cross is a hybridized form of interactive entertainment and sporting competition designed to showcase some of the best equestrian talent in the United States and Canada.

PRO Derby Cross Teams are comprised of five horse and rider combinations drawn from the worlds of Eventing, Show Jumping, and Polo. Each team is captained by an internationally renowned Eventer and filled in with two more Eventers, one Show Jumper, and one Polo Player- each a world-class equestrian in his or her own right.

This year, six Derby Cross teams will compete individually over a three-minute course that will again be designed by Olympic Gold Medalist and Canadian Eventing Team Coach David O’Connor. The course will ask horses and riders to be brave over the cross-country fences and accurate over show jumps all while competing against the clock.

For more information about FLAIR Nasal Strips please visit http://www.flairstrips.com

For more information about PRO Derby Cross, please visit http://www.derbycross.com

For more information about Pro Riders visit http://www.professionalriders.org/