News & Features
October 2018 - The Gallop: World Equestrian Games
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Thursday, 27 September 2018 20:31
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U.S. wins double silver in dressage, gold & silver in reining, while hurricane adds challenges to all.

by Kim F. Miller

Hurricane Florence made the World Equestrian Games even more interesting than it was already on track to be. Mark Bellissimo’s Tryon International Equestrian Center stepped up when the original host, Bromont, Canada, had to back out with just 18 months to prepare for the quadrennial competition that features eight disciplines over two weeks. There’s been a lot written about the parts of their ambitious plans that didn’t get finished in time, but watching from home on FEI-TV, and following media friends who are there, what strikes me is the remarkable amount of things they did finish and got right and the determination of all to see that the show goes on, so long as it can do so safely.     


The North Carolina venue has hosted equestrian competition for several years, and it’s exciting that the facilities they’ve added for the WEG will stay put to host major competitions far into the future. It seems like the long-term impact on the sport will be great.


Alex Luque Moral of Spain on Calandria PH leads after the restart of the endurance ride. Photo: FEI/Martin Dokoupil

North Carolina weather is often hot and humid in September, so participants and organizers were ready for that. As Hurricane Florence developed off the mid-Atlantic coast in the week preceding the Sept. 11 opening ceremonies, weather related prep went into high gear. An on-site weather station monitored changing conditions and shelter and evacuation plans were poised for worst-case scenarios.

But it wasn’t directly the storm that caused the shocking cancellation of endurance on Wednesday, Sept. 12. First, the race had to be re-started after several pairs were misdirected at an early leg of the course. At a press conference a few days later, there was no explanation as to how that happened but it was being looked into, officials assured. After the re-start, and just as the leaders were approaching the last part of the course, word came that the race had been cancelled altogether. The reason in this case was crystal clear: heat and humidity levels that exceeded those deemed safe by FEI horse welfare guidelines. Very sadly, it was later reported that one horse had to be euthanized and several were treated for heat-related issues.

Cade McCutcheon on Custom Made Gun, helping Team USA to another WEG gold! Photo: FEI/Liz Gregg

After these heartbreaking developments for endurance, dressage and eventing offered thrilling and inspiring competition. Extreme rain and wind forecast for Sunday, Sept. 16 prompted rescheduling of dressage freestyle and eventing’s show jumping to Monday, Sept. 17, originally an off-day for competition. Shortly after that decision was announced, news arrived that dressage freestyle was cancelled. This was mostly due to logistical concerns because the dressage horses were scheduled to leave the venue on Monday. Worries about the impact of the storm’s impact played their part, too.

Laura Graves of the United States on Verdades. Photo: FEI/Martin Dokoupil

Super Dressage

Dressage team competition was finished by then. Isabell Werth led the Germans to gold; Laura Graves, Kasey Perry-Glass, Adrienne Lyle and Steffen Peters led the U.S. to silver and Charlotte Dujardin led the British to bronze.  Completion of the team standings also meant that the top six teams, rounded out by Sweden, the Netherlands and Spain, had earned their berth at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. In the next day’s Grand Prix Special, the individual rankings repeated those of the indivduals in team competition: Isabell, Laura and Charlotte.

Dressage arena. Photo: FEI/Christophe Tanière

We guess team and individual silver medalist Laura Graves would have loved one more go at unseating Isabell Werth in the freestyle, but it was not to be. With Isabell riding Bella Rose, an earlier star returning from a lay-off, and Charlotte on the 9-year-old newbie, Mount St. John Freestyle, it seemed an unusually fair fight, so to speak, among these leading ladies of the sport. As Steffen noted in an interview, the fact that his and Suppenkasper’s 73.494 was the U.S. team’s drop score sheds light on the quality of the U.S. squad and the entire international field.

Along with rooting for our awesome U.S. team, it was fun to watch Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester, Edward Gal and Hans Peter Minderhaud, all of whom have given clinics in Southern California in the last two years, thanks to Scott Hayes Productions. Plus Laura Graves gave a terrific session with the CDS San Francisco chapter not long ago. And now Isabell Werth comes this month, Oct. 13-14, to San Diego. We are some lucky dressage fans here in California!

Rosalind Canter of Great Britain, riding Allstar B, leading Great Britain to Team Gold. Photo: FEI/Christophe Tanière

Eventing Kicks On

Eventing had to finish its third phase, stadium jumping, to determine team medals. After a very wet final jog on Sunday, Sept. 17, that phase went off smoothly on Monday. The United States finished dressage sitting third in the team standings, but Saturday brought some rough goes during the cross-country phase and they could not jump their way out of that hole for either a podium place or a top six spot that would have earned them a 2020 Olympic berth. Having finished 8th, the U.S. must now land top two at the Pan Am Games in 2019 to earn their ticket to Japan.

Dressage rider Laura Graves carrying the red, white & blue in the Opening Ceremonies. Photo: FEI/Liz Gregg

Captain Mark Phillips’ beautiful cross-country course made for exciting rides that shook up the standings for other countries, too. Great Britain, Ireland and France emerged top three and held those spots through show jumping to take gold, silver and bronze. As host of the 2020 Olympics, Japan didn’t need a top six finish to qualify, but they finished an impressive fourth. Germany was fifth and Australia, sixth.

The U.S. reiners won another team gold even amid increasingly intense competition from other countries. Belgium’s Bernard Fonck and What a Wave earned individual gold. The USA’s Dan Huss and Ms Dreamy were individual silver, followed by 18 year old Cade McCutcheon and Custom Made Gun in bronze.

Mark Bellissimo Photo: FEI/Liz Gregg

We went to press with this issue just as Week Two got underway. As of Wednesday, Sept 19, the U.S. had earned its first para-dressage WEG medal with Rebecca Hart’s bronze in the Individual Grade III test. Beyond that, show jumping, vaulting and driving were just starting under sunny skies.

We’ve very much enjoyed following the action via our FEI-TV subscription. Coverage has included great commentary and helmet-cam views, which were especially thrilling on cross-country. We’re so happy that almost all horses and people survived the dangerous weather, and send our thoughts to those thousands in Hurricane Florence’s path who were not so fortunate.
The Gallop welcomes news, tips and photos. Contact Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 949-644-2165.

October 2018 - Back on Track
Written by CRM
Thursday, 27 September 2018 20:25
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Carefully vetted new products expand the company’s comfort & health-oriented crusade.

The average pharmacy offers an overwhelming array of over-the-counter support devices for knees, ankles and other problematic joints. Some are called “sleeves” and some are called “braces.”

Though many consumers don’t know it, there’s a big difference. The “brace” designation denotes Federal Drug Administration approval, Back on Track’s extensive line of FDA approved braces is a distinction that means the world to the company’s U.S. leader Bo Lofvander. That level of dedication to proven product quality means a lot to the company’s consumers, too, because that is what helps them feel better, whether they are high performance athletes recovering from an injury, or a non-athlete anxious to ease everyday joint and muscle tension.


Welltex® is the foundation for all of Back on Track’s products and to its success. The innovative fabric consists of mineral-infused fibers that absorb and radiate body energy back to the wearer.



The result is what’s known as “long wave infrared radiation” which can help ease muscle tension, decrease inflammation and increase blood circulation. These combined effects play a big role in a range of supportive and therapeutic applications for joints and muscles, for horses, people and dogs.

The Welltex innovation launched the company 15 years ago and the insistence on highest quality and efficacy, as in the FDA brace distinction, is what has kept it at the top of the therapeutic equine industry.

“Our products have such a good reputation, so we will only add or recommend something that is truly exceptional,” Bo explains. “Back on Track is always striving to improve and expand our product line.”

The newest addition that meets Back on Track’s standard is Limber Up, the next generation of liniment and shampoo. The new products were developed by Stacey Small, founder of the former EquiLite and Sore No More liniments.

“I told Stacey that unless she could make a better liniment than what’s on the market already today, then I don’t want it,” Bo explains. After months of development, that’s exactly what she did, he states. “I did not give Stacey an easy task, but she excelled at creating a great all-natural product. We would not put the Back on Track logo on the product if we didn’t think it is the best in the market today! Limber Up is also safe to use with Back on Track products.”

Photo: Lynn Rose Equine Photography

The Limber Up Brace & Wash and Shampoo are rich in herbs and made of all-natural ingredients, rather than being alcohol-based. The “mint” part of its name gives it a refreshing scent and contributes to its soothing effect. Equally important, it’s been tested on the typically more sensitive skin of horses with albino or chestnut coats and found to have the desired effect.

In addition to Limber Up’s performance attributes, it has been Certified Drug Free by the Banned Substance Control Group. BSCG offers a complete suite of certification and testing services.

These programs offer protection to equines, canines or other competition animals subject to anti-doping policies of official animal-sport organizations including ARCI (Association of Racing Commissioners International), FEI (International Federation for Equestrian Sports), USEF (United States Equestrian Federation), and others. It offers assurance that the ingredients used to produce those products are free from banned substances and other harmful agents that can lead to health concerns or positive drug tests. (For more information visit

Regular product testing is integral to Back on Track’s business model. The company’s extensive range of products for riders, horses and dogs is produced at their own factories. As each new batch of material is made, an independent university tests the level of reflected energy and its wavelength to ensure it meets the company’s high standards.
Something For Every Body Part

Venturing into the world of protective headgear, Back on Track whole heartily recommends the EQ3 helmet by Trauma Void. It features MIPS technology and has been a hot seller since Trauma Void made it available in the States in January of this year.  It uses “slip plane” technology involving two layers of protection that rotate against each other, mirroring the rotation of protective fluids that help protect the brain from impact. Ski and bike racers are among the sports that embraced MIPS long ago.

Back on Track began catering to the equestrian market and has branched well beyond that to include therapeutic apparel for non-riders and dogs.

Olympic gold medalist show jumper McLain Ward is one of many believers in the company’s equine products. “By using Back on Track leg wraps, we do a better job of the horse’s legs and we’ve stopped using poultice so it cuts down on the problem of skin irritation and drying out the legs.

“Using the blankets, we’ve noticed a great difference in the horses’ backs,” he continues. “We can go longer between the chiropractic treatments. This is a wonderful product that keeps our horses in great shape.”

The leg wraps and blankets McLain mentions join a long list of equine products. These include mesh sheets and saddle pads, and boots and wraps for fetlocks, hocks and knees, bell boots and a variety of boots for protection and support for everything from jumping and dressage to racing and polo.

Head and neck comfort and performance are addressed with the equine shoulder guard, poll cover, head cap and neck cover. All made of Welltex, these versatile pieces help warm up muscles, reducing injury risk and increasing range of motion. Radiating back body heat to the head, through the poll cover and neck cap, can calm horses by easing tension in those areas.

Back on Track’s people products are designed for everyone, athletes or not, and address the same scope of anatomy as their equine counterparts. Braces for the arms and legs, neck and back are complemented by shirts and undergarments addressing a wide range of needs. T-shirts made of Welltex may help ease everyday joint pain, for example, while the neck wrap and Dickey Bib are made for those recovering from whiplash or other neck related injuries or discomforts. Socks, shoe in-soles, scarves, and gloves complete a line that enables nearly head to toe coverage and comfort.

In addition, Back on Track launched a new product line aimed at improving the lives of active people. The + physio Line products are uniquely designed with a comfortable four-way stretch and the support of a brace. The braces are FDA-approved and include all the benefits of Welltex technology.

With U.S. headquarters in Pottstown, PA, Back on Track is already outgrowing a 14,300 -square foot warehouse it moved into only four years ago. Twenty-two people work on Stateside operations and another team is expanding the brand’s global reach.

New colors for the best-selling collared mesh sheets and Quick Wraps await fans this season, along with new braces made of four-way stretch Welltex. With innovation as its modus operandi, there’s no limit to Back on Track’s future.
For more information, visit

October 2018 - Horse People: Emma Pacyna
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Thursday, 27 September 2018 20:15
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Hard-working Region 8 Maclay Medal winner inspires a little help from her friends.

by Kim F. Miller

"You need to talk to Emma Pacyna.”

Georgy Maskrey-Segesman got that message from a few friends and fellow equestrian professionals about a year ago. She operates a sporthorse sales and leasing program at her family’s Whitethorne Ranch in Moorpark and was on the lookout for a working student suited to making the most of the opportunity.


Georgy knew of the Pacyna family for several years. Led by mom Michelle Pacyna, the family’s Fieldstone Riding Club is just a few miles from Whitethorne. And, Emma’s older sister Zoey rode with Karen Healey as a junior, when Karen’s business was based at Whitethorne, and Karen had helped both girls periodically over the years.


Emma’s riding abilities had already caught Georgy’s eye. “She has such a beautiful position – the quintessentially American forward style of riding. It’s a very East Coast look, elastic in her elbows and she follows the horse so well off the ground.” As the sponsor of the Whitethorne American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenge, Georgy is a dedicated advocate of the style, following in the footsteps of mentors Karen and George Morris.

When friend Melissa Jones offered to set up a meeting with the Pacynas, Georgy was on board. Emma signed on as a working student, arriving at the HITS Thermal circuit early this year with several horses to campaign in the equitation divisions and help prepare for Whitethorne’s professional rider Savannah Jenkins.  

Emma Pacyna and Casalino at the Upperville Horse & Colt Show. Photo: Taylor Rains/Phelps Sports

She soon impressed Georgy to the point that the relationship now includes sponsoring 17 year old Emma through the final 18 months of her junior career. This includes a specific goal: earning an athletic scholarship to attend college and compete on a National Collegiate Equestrian Association team. “It’s always been my dream to ride in college,” says Emma, who hopes to become a veterinarian.

There’s a gravitational pull surrounding young people who help themselves, and Emma’s solar system is growing. Along with coaching and providing multiple horses for Emma to school at home and compete, Georgy helps with related costs. Savannah, an NCEA rider for Baylor University, offers support and advice and Karen provides pro bono coaching. Others are rooting for Emma as a hard working kid of normal economic means with talent and dreams in an unusually expensive sport.
Not Spoiled

“It’s so nice to do this with someone that’s not spoiled,” Georgy reflects. For Karen, Emma is the latest of several talented, hard working young riders she’s been happy to help over the years.

Emma’s character has been shaped by her parents, Michelle and Mark, and growing up in the family business at Fieldstone. The working student role is nothing new, including the experience of doing such a good job with a sales horse that it gets sold.

“My mom has always had sales horses, so I’m used to it now,” Emma confirms. “Plus it’s fun because you get to ride a bunch of different horses and have the experience of building up a connection with them.” Hands-on horsemanship is a Fieldstone priority, so grooming, stall mucking, tack cleaning and whatever else needs doing are a normal day’s duties for Emma.

Now a senior in high school, she’s been an independent study student since ninth grade and loves the schedule flexibility that allows. When the Whitethorne position entailed grooming for Savannah while she was campaigning Grand Prix horses at Spruce Meadows in Canada, Emma packed her homework and made the long haul with Georgy, Savannah and the horses.

They’ll do the same for many more big shows, but “not on a billionaire’s budget,” Georgy clarifies. Emma’s fearless attitude toward hard work is a perfect fit for the program’s do-it-yourself approach to hauling, mucking, grooming, etc., and her demeanor is the cherry on top. “She always has a smile, she’s wickedly funny and she rolls with the punches,” Georgy shares.

Photo: Jackie McFarland/EqSol

An Eastern Sensation

As the plan to attract the attention of top NCEA coaches took shape, Georgy decided a trip to the East Coast circuit was in order. Not to go after the big ribbons, but to check out the competition. “It was my first time going back East and it was meant more as a practice run,” Emma explains.

It turned out to be a little more than that. At the prestigious Devon Horse Show in May, Emma scored a 90 in the WIHS class for overall fifth amidst the nation’s top juniors. At the Upperville Colt & Horse Show in June, she won the USET Talent Search, the jumper phase of the WIHS Classic and the Vermont Horse Show Association/EMO Insurance Agency Hunter Seat Medal class.

Emma admits to being a tad intimidated by the quality of competition, though that didn’t affect her riding. Beautiful green scenery and chances to watch Olympic show jumpers Beezie Madden and McLain Ward compete in person were bonuses.

The much better than expected results should help in the recruiting process. “When she won the USET at Upperville, I almost had a heart attack,” laughs Georgy. With USET Talent Search Finals East and Maclay Finals winner McKayla Langmeier behind her on winner’s podium for one of those wins, Emma is no longer flying under the radar.

Back home in Southern California, Emma logged a big win of the Region 8 Maclay Finals in mid-September. These recent outings set up a confident return to the East Coast this month to tackle parts of the intensely competitive Indoors circuit. She and the Whitethorne crew head east for the Taylor Harris Medal Finals, the USHJA Jumping Seat Medal Finals – East, and the USEF Pessoa Hunt Seat Finals. The Maclay National Finals, at the National Horse Show in Kentucky, complete her ambitious fall itinerary on Nov. 4.

Gifts Gratefully Received

Casalino was Emma’s main equitation partner at Devon and Upperville. Not surprisingly, he’s since been sold. Going forward, however, Emma can count on having her Maclay Regionals partner, Constantinos, a 7 year old former jumper, for the duration of her junior career. It’s one of many gifts Emma is grateful for. “It’s great to have the chance to create a bond with him and really get to know him this year and next.”

“I turned down a half a million dollar offer for this horse,” Georgy acknowledges. “It may be a mistake, but he is not for sale. Yes, this is a business for me but, at the end of the day, this is my sport and I want to play!” Promoting a California kid to national prominence is another motivation. “We’re as good as the East Coast and I want to prove it.”

Plus, there’s the pure fun and excitement of being a team, or “a perfect storm of brilliance,” as Georgy calls it. “It’s not about me as a trainer, it’s about our collaboration – with Savannah and Karen and Emma. It’s success for all of us. That’s the dream.”

There’s a lot riding on Emma’s success and she hopes to deliver in a way that fulfills her own dreams and those of her team. Fieldstone’s veterinarians Maia Aerni, DVM and Marta Grandstedt, DVM, are among the many to whom she is grateful. Emma’s been a keen observer of their care over the years and cites that exposure as her motivation to join their profession. Last year, one of Fieldstone’s horses had kissing spine and Emma loved learning the back stretches and other techniques that helped him stay comfortable. She hopes to ride all her life, but says that “finding ways to keep horses comfortable and enjoying their lives” seems the most compelling career path.

Along with Georgy, Savannah and Karen, Michelle Pacyna gets credit and appreciation. “I have to thank my mom for allowing me to have this opportunity and teaching me everything up to point that I got this opportunity.” Sister Zoey gets a shout-out, too, as she’s happily picked up extra work at Fieldstone when Emma can’t spend her afternoons at the family training barn because she’s on the road competing.

Fieldstone has done its share of good deeds for young equestrians over the years, so Emma getting some help has a pay-it-forward feel. Georgy’s desire to support her is inspired by support she received from Tom Blackiston as a young rider.  And, also by the generosity and support of her parents and mentors in the sport.

Emma goes East just as recruiting inquiries are coming in and college applications await completion. Wherever the college quest ends, the journey is already as good at the destination for this inspiring team.

September 2018 - The Gallop: Calling All Contenders
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Thursday, 30 August 2018 04:36
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Entries rolling in before Sept. 14 deadline for inaugural AON/USHJA National Championships in Las Vegas.

by Kim F. Miller

Entries for the inaugural AON/USHJA National Championships are off to a strong start as the Sept. 14 deadline nears. Held concurrent with the Las Vegas National CSI4*-World Cup Nov. 13-18, in Las Vegas, this long-in-the-works competition fulfills what organizer Pat Doyle sees as a big hole in the sport. A prominent horse show manager based in Chicago, Pat estimates that a majority of exhibitors want and are inspired by the “energy and excitement of a real national championships.”

The AON/USHJA National Championships will feature National Hunter Championships for Amateur Owner Hunters, Junior Hunters, Pony Hunters, Green Hunters, Adult Amateur Hunters and Children’s Hunters. They will also include the USEF/USHJA National Jumper Championships with eight sections of Jumper competition from 1.10m to 1.40m for Junior, Amateur and Open Jumper competitors. The Championships will feature the first of its kind USHJA Affiliate Championships at fence heights of 2’ and 2’6”, and the Championships will offer the USHJA National Equitation Championships for riders 14 and under and those 15-17.

USHJA members need to qualify for the Championships through points and classes in their zone. The top two in each division by the September 9 end of the qualifying period are assured invites and it’s likely that invitations will extend well beyond that. If qualified riders from other zones opt not to make the trip, more spots open up. It could happen that a majority of spots are filled by Californians and that’s fine by Pat.  

altOn top of advocating for a national championship for nearly 10 years, Pat lobbied for a West Coast kick-off. Given the cross-country trek that Californians normally have to make to compete in the major medal finals or other division national championships, “We wanted to have it somewhere that the West Coast could get really excited about.” Future locations are up in the air, with the possibility that it may stay in the West another year before rotating to the Midwest and East Coast.

The Las Vegas National is the perfect fit, says Pat of the host show managed by Stephanie Wheeler and the Blenheim EquiSports team as the finale for their busy year of Southern California competition. “Everybody loves the show and having the FEI World Cup class is great.

“My passion is to give the other 90 percent of exhibitors who have not had the opportunity to say ‘I’m a national champion’ their chance to do that,” Pat continues. “It’s exciting and is something so many riders can aspire to all year.”

Education, Fun & Money!

Renowned horse and human physical therapist Sharon Classen headlines an in-progress roster of educational presenters during the Championships. With separate talks geared to pros and owners, amateurs and youngsters, Sharon will talk about horse and rider fitness and care. Another idea in the works is having the judges of Saturday’s West Coast Equestrian Finals, Diane Carney and Chance Arakelian, offer commentary and Q&A sessions during national equitation championships classes earlier in the show. “It should be a great way to get kids energized and focused on what the judge is looking for,” says Pat.

Championship riders and their families receive free VIP access and social activities are likely to include a fun gathering before the Saturday night World Cup jumping class.

Good prize money is another draw. For example, each hunter division, from Green to Amateurs, Juniors and Ponies, offers $4,000, with $2,500 awarded in the Classic. All jumper divisions offer $1,000 Warm-Ups and Speed classes, with $10,000 Classics, from Adults at 1.10-1.15M to Open Jumpers at 1.4M.

“We are thrilled to offer championships for hunter, jumper and equitation sections that have never before had championships at the national level,” says USHJA President Mary Babick. “With riders qualifying by zone, we are looking forward to seeing members come from across the country to compete in these exciting Championships.”

Entries are available online through, or members may mail their completed entry form to Ryegate Show Services.

For more information, visit The prize list is available at

The Gallop welcomes news, tips and photos. Contact Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 949-644-2165.

September 2018 - Showiest of Show Horses
Written by CRM
Thursday, 30 August 2018 04:25
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Andalusian World Cup brings beauties to Las Vegas.

Andalusian World Cup, Sept. 19-22 in Las Vegas, is a premiere horse show that boasts one of the largest gatherings of Iberian horses in the nation. The show is home to Andalusians, Friesians, Lusitanos, Partbreds and many more breeds. Despite being a breed show, it offers open Dressage and Working Equitation, making it a fun and diverse show.


For spectators, there is always something fascinating to watch. Andalusians are known for their inherent beauty -- the long manes and tails, their perfectly arched necks, their kind eye and sweet disposition.

But you need to see them live to fully appreciate this breed. Their expressive natural movement really shines through in the show ring.

“I never miss this show. The exhibitors are so nice and love sharing stories about their horses. There’s no place else where I get to see all the horses from my childhood dreams!” says three-time spectator Beth Schutte.  

In addition to Andalusian horses, AWC offers an inside look at the sister breed, Lusitano. Lusitano horses were bred in Portugal and have begun to make a name for themselves in the dressage world. Their exceptional work effort, intelligent minds, and natural athletic ability makes these horses a delight to watch.  

“As a dressage rider, I’ve been keeping my eye on this breed for the last couple of years. Some of the best scores in my area right now are from horses who have either Andalusian or Lusitano blood in them.

I’m going to the Andalusian World Cup this year to talk to breeders to find my next dressage horse. The show gives me the opportunity to see these horses in action before I buy,” says Caryn Von Der Bruegge.

The Andalusian World Cup show features many riding styles in different rings. Spectators will always have something exciting to watch. The show opens on Wednesday with an open USDF Dressage show and continues through Saturday evening. Spectators can watch Working Equitation, a three phase event featuring obstacles, which is the fastest growing equine sport in the world.

The AWC classes feature Western, English, and Saddleseat classes for all age divisions. And you’ll want to be sure to stay for the Grand Finale Supreme Championship classes on Saturday evening. These classes offer cash prizes and beautiful awards, including a silver-clad trophy saddle!

The prize list for this show surpasses anything seen within the Iberian horse community with four custom show saddles, show coolers, ribbons, trophies, and prize money worth over $60,000. The hospitality and environment for this show is also first rate.

“Our driving force is to not only present a show that is well worth going to, but one that surpasses people’s expectations,” says show host Kevin Kidder. “It is all about the community and the experience, putting the exhibitors and spectators first.”

Press release provided by the Andalusian World Cup. For more information, visit

September 2018 - Back To School Bash
Written by CRM
Thursday, 30 August 2018 04:16
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Wonderful welcome to the horse world.

The Paso Robles Horse Park hosted its first Back To School Bash Aug. 10-11, but it wasn’t traditional academics that were the focal point. Instead, speakers including Olympic gold medalist Will Simpson offered current and newbie equestrians a fun welcome and loads of useful information to the horse-owning world.


“Working with youth and creating opportunities for anyone to experience the incredible ability of horses to impact our lives has long been a passion of mine,” explained Will. His presentation shared stories of his early days beginning riding at the local riding school and Pony Club. From there, he made the decision to commit to the sport and grow his expertise until he found himself on the journey of pursuing qualification to participate in the Olympic trials, to pursuing selection to be on the Olympic team, to the realization that they were positioned to pursue, and eventually win, the Olympic gold medal.


The weekend also included Central Coast Trail Rides giving many attendees their first opportunity to ride a horse. Presentations on horse safety and show etiquette helped future competitors make the most of their first show experience. Demonstrations and information from local riding groups including Black Oak Pony Club, SLO County 4-H, and the Cal Poly Equestrian Team shared details of how people can get involved with horses.

Equine veterinarian Dr. Bogenrief and farrier Tony Knust presented on elements of horse health. Jessica Bohon, the grooming and show etiquette presenter said, “It was inspirational to experience first-hand the excitement and joy the attendees shared as they enjoyed their new exposure to horses.”

The inaugural event welcomed more than 40 riders, nearly 50 movie attendees and campers, and around 100 attendees to the educational sessions.

September 2018 - With A Little Help From Friends
Written by CRM
Thursday, 30 August 2018 03:54
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Tracy Bowman goes to World Para-Driving Championships.

Tracy Bowman is representing the United States at the FEI World Para-Driving Championships for Singles in Kronenberg, Netherlands, Aug. 28-Sept. 2. She’ll be in the driver’s seat herself, but is far from alone as her route there has been greatly aided by the help of those in the equestrian community and a special surprise grant awarded to her by Southern California Equestrian Sports.


Tracy and her equine partner Bella are a competitive pair. They’ve won divisions against able-bodied drivers, and have a strong chance to do the United States proud, but making it to the Netherlands from a financial standpoint is certainly overwhelming. Tracy and Bella have a specially designed custom carriage, which makes it possible for Tracy, who is paralyzed from the waist down, to be properly secured. The cost to get not only a horse and rider to the Netherlands in addition to their custom carriage is significant. For this reason, Tracy is actually the only member on the team who will be flying her equine partner overseas to compete, rather than leasing a horse for the event.


Tracey Bowman and Bella. Photo: Sherry Stewart

Tracy has helped many top riders in the equestrian community as a coach in the sport of three-day eventing through her Kismet Farms in Northern California’s Martinez. That community has taken notice of her profound accomplishments in her driving career, rallying behind her to make her journey to the World Championships possible.

Another big boost came from Southern California Equestrian Sports, an organization designed to help equestrian athletes of all disciplines expand their financial resources. SCES surprised Bowman with a $3,000 grant, presented in early August during a driving demonstration and fundraiser she was putting on in conjunction with the Woodside Summer Horse Trials.

Bowman has been overwhelmed by the support SCES has shown her and was unaware this type of financial assistance was possible to so many different types of equestrian athletes saying, “I am humbled and in awe. This grant has affirmed for me that our community really does care about helping one another. We are so fortunate to have an organization like SCES supporting us as athletes. I hope to make SCES and those who have so generously rallied behind me proud.”

SCES is open to riders in all equestrian disciplines, from a variety of countries, competing at the international levels of competition (FEI), which proudly includes Paralympic Athletes, and urges any interested equestrians to apply through their website at

Article provided by Athletux Equine.

September 2018 - It’s WEG Time
Written by CRM
Thursday, 30 August 2018 03:46
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Quadrennial competition starts Sept. 11 in North Carolina.

It’s finally time for the FEI World Equestrian Games™! Set for Sept. 11-23 at the Tyron International Equestrian Center, in Mill Spring, NC, this quadrennial, eight-discipline event is a massive undertaking and one of the biggest events on the global sporting calendar.

The FEI disciplines – jumping, dressage and para dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting and reining – are all included on the competition schedule, while equestrian-focused demonstrations and exhibitions will also be hosted throughout the duration of the event.

The Dutta Corp Dressage Team
Chef: Robert Dover


  • Laura Graves & Verdades
  • Adrienne Lyle & Salvino
  • Kasey Perry-Glass & Goerklintgaards Dublet
  • Steffen Peters & Rosamunde
  • Olivia LaGoy-Weltz & Lonoir are the alternate pair, and Steffen Peters’ new horse, Suppenkasper, is the alternate horse for him.

NetJets U.S. Jumping Team
Chef: Robert Ridland

  • Laura Kraut & Zeremonie
  • Devin Ryan & Eddie Blue
  • Adrienne Sternlicht & Cristalline
  • McLain Ward & Clinta and HH Azur
  • Beezie Madden and Darry Lou are the traveling reserve pair.

Eventing Team
High Performance Director: Erik Duvander

  • Phillip Dutton & Z
  • Lauren Kieffer & Vermiculus
  • Marilyn Little & RF Scandalous
  • Boyd Martin & Tsetserleg
  • Lynn Symansky & Donner

Para Dressage: Presented by Deloitte
Chef: Kai Hundt is technical delegate/chef with assistance from Michel Assouline

  • Rebecca Hart (Grade III) & El Corona Texel
  • Angela Peavy (Grade IV) & Royal Dark Chocolate
  • Kate Shoemaker (Grace IV) & Solitaer
  • Roxanne Trunnel (Grade I) & Dolton

For teams in the WEG’s other four disciplines, visit Television coverage was being finalized as we went to press. It’s expected to be on NBC, NBC Sports Network and the Olympic Channel, as well as streamed on FEI TV.

September 2018 - Dressage News & Views: Back to School
Written by by Nan Meek
Thursday, 30 August 2018 03:36
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Dressage education follows a year-round, life-long calendar.

by Nan Meek

Why do we think about “back to school” in September when the new school year almost always begins in August? Isn’t August considered vacation month?

School, learning, education – it’s always a good month to learn something new, and I was fortunate to have just spent the past weekend learning a lot about my favorite subject of dressage.

For two days, I played sponge and absorbed as much as I could from George Williams, US Dressage Youth Coach, USDF President, and someone whose own education I envy. He studied at the Reitinstitute von Neindorff in Karlsruhe, Germany, worked with and alongside Karl Mikolka at Tempel Farms here in the US for 20 years, and trained in Germany with Olympic gold medalist Klaus Balkenhol, former US Dressage Team Coach.


This experience served as a welcome reminder of the importance of lifelong learning.

Prepare to Learn


“Do your homework” is something every parent tells their children, but it applies equally to adults who want to get the most from their own educational experiences.

In the weeks leading up to this clinic, I combed through old issues of dressage magazines for articles about George and his training methods. I reread Egon von Neindorff, The Art of Classical Horsemanship. I watched videos of Klaus Balkenhol and his Olympic partner Goldstern, and re-read his open letter to the FEI in which he and a list of co-signers that reads like the “who’s who” of international equestrian sport had protested the practice of rollkur (hyperflexion) and advocated “for the good of the horses and the continued good repute of international equestrian sport.”

Was that overkill for a two-day dressage clinic? Not for me. It gave me a frame of reference for what I hoped to see and learn, a perspective about the importance of the principles of dressage and a reminder that even the basics – especially the basics – of dressage really matter. They are the foundation for the training upon which a dressage horse’s life is built.

I wanted to learn as much as possible from this clinician, so I did my homework.

Engage Eyes & Ears

Some people are more visual learners, while others learn better from reading and writing. If you know which style of learner you are, it makes your choice of note taking technique much easier and more productive, whether you prefer to take photos, hand write notes or record in sound, video or text on a digital device.

US Dressage Youth Coach and United States Dressage Federation President George Williams discusses her horse, Lemuria, with Kristina Tomalesky, Chair of the San Francisco Peninsula Chapter, California Dressage Society.

With everyone attached to their smartphones these days, you might think that handwritten notetaking has disappeared – but you might be surprised. An informal survey of clinic auditors showed more than half of the note takers using the classic spiral-bound notebook and pen to record George’s words of wisdom and to scribble diagrams of the exercises he used.

The more techie auditors among us were exercising thumbs or fingertips to type into notebook computers or smartphones instead of writing. The only drawback is that it doesn’t give you the flexibility to draw diagrams, unless you have a device with a stylus and drawing capability. If you’re really talented, you could watch, listen AND type.

Riders were able to have their clinic sessions recorded for their personal use, which is an incredible learning experience – as those of you who have been clinic riders will agree. The ability to watch and hear what you experienced in the clinic arena is truly priceless, as is the ability to watch it again and again, and to review it with your regular trainer.

One of the riders asked George during her Sunday ride about something that she’d noticed in the recording of her Saturday ride. The resulting clarification and the exercises that followed their discussion helped her and her horse have an even more productive ride on the second day of the clinic.

Was that the sign of a good student? Definitely!

A lifelong horse owner, Nan Meek lives on the scenic San Mateo County coast where dressage courts and riding trails overlook the Pacific Ocean. She competed in dressage to the Prix St. Georges level with her late beloved Lipizzan Andy (Maestoso II Athena II-1), and now practices the discipline of dressage with her handsome Spanish warmblood Helio Jerez 2000 and dotes on the newest family member Mischa (Neapolitano Angelica II-1).

Whether you attend a clinic or ride in one, the learning experience is what you make it. As an auditor, you can just sit back and soak in the education, you can take a few casual notes, or you can go all out and write down every word. There’s something to be said for all of the above – there’s no right or wrong way to audit.

Clinic riders can have a variety of goals. While one rider may be looking for techniques and eyes on the ground to help with a specific movement that has been giving them trouble, another rider may be looking for a new approach to raising the overall quality of their performance. Still others may want a combination of both. George spoke with each rider in advance about their goals for the clinic, and afterward the riders expressed the euphoria that comes from results exceeding even the highest expectations.

As one of the clinic volunteers, I was helping with set up, tear down, photography, running errands – a jack of all trades. But it didn’t prevent me from taking copious notes, which I’ll be transcribing, studying, and putting into practice. I learned a lot, and I’ll continue to learn as I use the exercises and techniques George taught the clinic riders when I practice with my own horse.

Practice, Practice, Practice

There’s a reason dressage is called a discipline – it takes discipline to keep practicing day after day! Especially when learning a new movement, or teaching your horse a new movement, or attempting to do both simultaneously.

Whether it’s trying to get your 20-meter circle to actually be a circle (“ride from quarter point to quarter point,” meaning the points at each quarter of the way around the circle) or figuring out how to develop flying changes of lead (“first you have to have the quality of the canter”) it takes practice to develop your aids and your horse’s response into a seemingly effortless, invisible symphony of communication.

That’s the elusive goal of every dressage rider, from Training Level to Grand Prix – and that’s why the discipline of dressage requires us to go back to school again and again. Fortunately for us, this kind of educational experience is addictive – the more you go to clinics (as an auditor or as a rider) and the more you learn, the more you want to learn even more.

So here’s to the “back to school” spirit and to the teachers, trainers, coaches and clinicians who help us enjoy a lifetime of learning.

August 2018 - The Gallop: The Road More Travelled
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Friday, 27 July 2018 18:59
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Jumping rider development pathway is becoming well trod.

by Kim F. Miller

DiAnn Langer has been talking about the “pathway” for a long time. As USEF Youth Chef d’Equipe, she’s led the way in establishing a clear progression for young athletes with international jumping aspirations. National governing bodies in mainstream sports – volleyball, basketball, baseball, etc. – have long had these and DiAnn is among many to feel equestrian sport deserved and needed the same.

August 2018 - Time Out for Education
Written by photos & text by Kim F. Miller
Friday, 27 July 2018 18:40
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Good turn-out for USHJA Trainer Certification Program clinic with Chris Kappler.

photos & text by Kim F. Miller

There are no natural breaks in the hunter/jumper show season, but 16 professionals took a weekend away from the circuit to up their game by attending the United States Hunter/Jumper Association Trainer Certification Clinic July 14-15. It was hosted by Peppertree Equestrian’s Kristin Baretto at Sycamore Trails Stables in San Juan Capistrano.

October 2018 - Horse People: Jaime Krupnick Geffen
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Thursday, 27 September 2018 20:19
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CPHA Foundation victory is the latest accomplishment in an already transformative year.

by Kim F. Miller

Jaime Krupnick Geffen was still on Cloud 9 three days after winning the CPHA Foundation Adult Equitation Championships in late August. She and her soon-to-be own horse, Conux, had elegantly mastered the riding and responsiveness challenges asked over two rounds held at Blenheim EquiSports’ Showpark Summer Classic. “The more technical the better when it comes to courses,” said Jaime of her enjoyment of the weekend’s counter-canters, trot fences, bending lines and striding challenges.


On-course challenges aren’t the only ones that bring out Jaime’s best. Along with winning rounds in the Adult Equitation and medal divisions and, increasingly, the Hunter Derbies, Jaime juggles motherhood with owning her own events management and production company, Geffen Events, Inc. Neither are 9-to-5 responsibilities.


Jaime realized earlier this year that balancing all that had to include giving higher priority to her own health and wellness. The epiphany led to the loss of 45 pounds this year, which has given her more energy for everything, including riding.

Photo: Kristin Lee Photography

She’s no stranger to the winners circle, as a junior and an amateur, and before and after attaining her current size and fitness level. After an 18-year break to attend college, establish her career and start a family with husband Jason, Jaime returned with a splash: winning the PCHA Adult Medal Finals in 2016 in one of her first outings. The comeback gave her the added fun of becoming the first person to  win both the PCHA Junior Adult Finals and PCHA Adult Medal Finals. Having started riding at 3 and achieved top junior success nationally thanks to the good guidance of the Foxfield Riding School, she regained ribbon-winning form fast.

Jaime was pleased to find the sport relatively unchanged after the hiatus, although competing as an amateur is pleasantly quite different. “Being an amateur is so much fun,” she explains. “It’s a very supportive group and we all cheer for each other.” The two weeks of August that kicked off the medal finals season were especially fun, she notes. “We all have separate lives and this is what we do for fun, so we are all rooting for each other and are happy for each other’s successes.”

Professionals she looked up as a junior, like Karen Healey, are still active, and others she remembers as kids have joined their respected ranks. Karen’s former assistant Archie Cox, for example, has long been a star in his own right with Brookway Stables. His assistant, Karli Postel, is someone Jaime recalls as a young pony rider at Foxfield.

Today, Conux lives at Foxfield, where Jaime grooms and schools him and takes lessons. She is grateful to meet and get help from Archie and Karli at shows.

Jaime and Archie after winning the Hunter Derby at Del Mar. Photo: Rick Osteen


Early in her return to riding, Jaime got the ride on Conux through Georgy Maskrey-Segesman, a friend dating back to their Foxfield youth. Through her Whitethorne Ranch, Georgy maintains for-lease and for-sale horses and offered Jaime the ride on a few, including Conux.

“We connected immediately,” Jaime remembers of their first ride, a qualifying class for the Ariat Medal Finals. “I fell in love with him then, but he was always for sale or on lease so I considered myself lucky every time he was available.” For the next year, there were sporadic chances to ride him. She enjoyed riding other horses for Georgy, but “he was always in the back of my mind.”

Over time, it became clear to both women that Conux and Jaime should be permanent partners. “He’s my spirit animal, my forever horse,” says Jaime, who is happily in the process of buying the 9 year old Holsteiner.  

The bay with the big white blaze is similar in appearance and attitude to Jaime’s top horse as a junior, a mare named Central Park. The trick with Conux, Jaime says, is embracing his strong-willed personality and letting him do his job. “He’s great at his job and I don’t interfere.”

Georgy learned of Jaime’s return to riding when they bumped into each other at Calabasas Saddlery.  When she first saw Jaime ride again, it was evident that her Foxfield friend had not lost her touch or her great eye for a distance. “She was always great, strong and had feel, and that doesn’t go away,” Georgy notes. Jaime is still “very competitive, for sure, and very funny and fun.”

She’s also “fiercely loyal” to Foxfield and Archie and those who’ve been part of her life with horses, past and present. “That’s a big part of her personality and it’s a rare thing in our business,” Georgy observes.

A Foxfielder for Life

The Foxfield family tree is broad going into its 52nd year in business and Jaime’s roots extend right to its base through her grandmother Nedra Diskant.  A friend of Foxfield’s founding sisters, JoAnn Postel and Nancy Turrill, Nedra rode with the girls at the Onondarka Riding Club then joined them at Foxfield when they began building their magical facility in Westlake Village’s Sherwood Forest. Jaime’s mom, Claudia Krupnick is a lifelong Foxfielder with a top show record as a junior and an amateur.

Jaime attended University of San Diego and dove into her career after graduation. Always involved in special event staging, she established a bi-coastal career and held demanding positions in the entertainment and studio industry. She stayed in touch with equestrian friends through that period, but there was no time to ride.    

When her son Cole was born eight-and-a-half years ago, “We talked about moving back to Westlake Village,” she recalls. The idea became real when he prepared for kindergarten, when school quality and proximity became concerns. The prospect of being close to Foxfield was a strong lure, too.

Jaime returned to riding around the same time as starting her own company, Geffen Events, Inc. “I’ve always admired women who are business owners and moms,” she said of joining their ranks. Organizing everything from large charity, red carpet studio and corporate events to smaller celebrations of wedding, birthdays and other personal occasions, she thrives on the variety and gratification of her work. Equestrian friends are frequent clients and that’s always a plus.

Meeting clients sees Jaime in Los Angeles most days of the week and their events are often on the weekends, frequently conflicting with a horse show. During last year’s CPHA Adult Finals, she competed in round-one in Orange County’s San Juan Capistrano on Saturday morning, then hustled back to Los Angeles to supervise a wedding that night, then back to the show venue early Sunday morning for round-two.

“It’s all about balance,” Jaime reiterates. She’s a meticulous calendar keeper and confident delegator to her established team of freelancers who help with events. Above all, she is eternally grateful to her parents, who live nearby, for their help with Cole.  

Looking ahead, Jaime is excited to return to the Ariat Adult Medal Finals back East and planning to contest the inaugural CPHA Style Of Riding Championship set for the HITS Sunshine Series in November at Thermal. Next year, she anticipates more equitation focus, along with a possible move into the International Hunter Derbies. She and Conux have been the highest placing amateur pair in several National Derbies already. Having competed as a 1.4M jumper in Europe, Conux is up to the task. “I’m just wrapping my brain around the idea,” Jaime says. The Handy round in the Derbies lights up Jaime’s eyes. “That’s like an equitation round, with trot fences, etc. I know we can excel in those.”

Most of all, she looks forward to whatever comes up in her “crazy, busy” life. Just like the challenging CPHA Foundation courses, she loves the chance to test her skills and take on new goals.



Weight Lost: Energy Gained

Few who know Jaime would have guessed she had 45 pounds to lose. At 5’11”, she carried some extra weight after becoming a mother, but not an amount that prevented her from riding to several top wins before the loss and leading a busy, happy life.

Her lifestyle change was prompted by meeting Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave, initially a former competitor on the show circuit and, more recently, a Geffen Events client. The daughter of John Mellencamp, Teddi rode professionally and more recently turned amateur. She is a Real Housewives of Beverly Hill actress and owner of All In By Teddi, the “accountability” fitness and health program through which Jaime lost the weight.

“It’s a real adjustment mentally and physically and my whole lifestyle is different now,” Jaime reports. Most importantly, she makes time to take care of herself. In addition to riding, she exercises one hour every day, whether it’s at the crack of dawn before a horse show or after a long day of meetings. “I hold myself accountable and understand that it’s my responsibility to take care of myself.” In doing so, she’s a better mom, business owner and rider, she asserts. “I was never a believer in the idea that exercise gives you more energy, but I can tell you now it is 200 percent the truth.”    

To her surprise, the weight loss didn’t instantly make riding easier. Instead, the big change in her body composition required learning to re-balance herself in the saddle.

“For the first few months I was asking myself, ‘Why can’t I just stay out of the saddle now that I weigh less?’” Jaime shares. “When you are heavier, you are weighted more forward. I’m finally getting it all, feeling good in my body and everything is coming together.”

Of course, the new body required all new riding apparel, along with a new saddle. “I always wanted a Butet and now I can fit into it and I love it!”

October 2018 - Safe Sport Training FAQs
Written by CRM
Thursday, 27 September 2018 20:12
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New USEF rule is a mandate for all adult competing members.

The US Equestrian Federation announced a rule change on Tuesday, August 28, 2018, requiring that, effective January 1, 2019, all USEF members 18 and over with an Adult Competing Membership must complete Safe Sport training in order to be eligible to participate in USEF activities, including competitions. Since that announcement, the Federation reports that over 3,500 USEF members completed the Safe Sport training. To provide further guidance, below are a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the new rule change.  

altWhere can I locate the required Safe Sport training? How long does it take? 

The required Safe Sport Core Training is on the U.S. Center for SafeSport website, which has Instructions on how to set up an account and access the training. It will take approximately 90 minutes to complete and consists of three modules: Sexual Misconduct Awareness Education, Mandatory Reporting, and Emotional and Physical Misconduct. All three modules must be completed in order to satisfy the requirement.

Who is required to take the Safe Sport training? 

Any USEF member who is 18 years old and above and who has a USEF Adult Competing Membership is required to take the Safe Sport training, including amateurs, professionals, and owners who have an annual, three-year, or lifetime membership. The Safe Sport training requirement does not include USEF Fan Members.

How long do I have to complete the requirement? 

All USEF Adult Competing Members must complete the training within 30 days of joining or renewing their membership. USEF will provide members who renew or join on or after December 1, 2018, a 30-day grace period to complete the Safe Sport training. Members joining prior to December 1, 2018, will have until January 1, 2019, to complete the training.

What happens if I do not comply with the training requirement? 

Those who do not complete the Safe Sport training will be ineligible to participate in USEF activities, including competitions.

How often do I need to complete the Safe Sport training?  

The required Safe Sport Core Training (approximately 90 minutes) only needs to be completed once. A Safe Sport Refresher training course, which takes approximately 30 minutes, must be completed annually thereafter. US Equestrian is providing Adult Competing Members a 30-day grace period to complete the training.

What happens if I join or renew at a horse show?

If someone joins or renews at a horse show, they have 30 days to take the training.

If I have already taken the Safe Sport training, do I have to take it again? 

If you have taken Safe Sport Core Training, approximately 90 minutes, after January 1, 2018, you will not need to take the Safe Sport Core Training again. If you have taken an older version of the Safe Sport Core Training prior to January 1, 2018, you will need to complete the new version to be eligible to participate in USEF activities, including competitions.

How long does it take for USEF to receive notification that someone has completed the Safe Sport training?
It can take up to 48 hours for USEF to receive notification and the system to reflect that someone has taken the training. At the end of completing all three training modules, you can print a certificate that says “SafeSport Trained” for verification purposes.

How will show secretaries and competition managers know if someone has taken the Safe Sport training? 

Competition management and secretaries will have access to a combined Suspension and Ineligibility List in the same manner as the current Suspension List to identify those who are ineligible to compete. USEF Safe Sport Training records from the U.S. Center for SafeSport automatically update the USEF system every 24 to 48 hours. If a person appears on the Safe Sport Training Ineligibility list but has completed their training before the system updates, they can print and take a copy of the SafeSport Trained certificate to the show office to prove they are eligible to compete. Anyone who has passed the 30-day grace period without taking the training will show up as ineligible to compete.

Why is there not a Safe Sport training for US Equestrian junior members?

There is a Safe Sport Training module for youth in the works. This training will be available approximately in October, 2018. Currently, there is a free Safe Sport training module for parents in addition to a Safe Sport Parent Toolkit, which has information for parents of preschool, middle school, and school-age children.

Why do I have to take the Safe Sport training when I have little or no interaction with those under the age of 18 years old? 

US Equestrian’s Safe Sport Policy and the rules that govern it have been created to protect all athletes from misconduct. Recognizing the signs and behaviors associated with abuse will help all of us to prevent it. In addition, the training covers information on reporting and, under federal law, we all have a mandate to report any reasonable suspicion of sexual misconduct with a minor.

Do parents have to complete the Safe Sport training? 

A parent signing an entry blank is not required to be a USEF member. We encourage all parents to take the free Safe Sport Parent’s Training and to become USEF Members to stay informed.

Can entire barns take the training together?

Currently that option is not available.

If the owner of my horse has not taken the Safe Sport training, is the horse ineligible to compete?
Horses entered under owners who are on the Safe Sport Ineligibility List are ineligible to compete at USEF-sanctioned competitions.

Do Farm Members have to take Safe Sport training?
Farm entities are not required to take Safe Sport training.

How do I get in contact with Safe Sport for technical support? 

Please call 720-676-6417 for technical support or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For assistance setting up a Safe Sport account, please call 720-531-0344.

Additional information and resources on Safe Sport, how to report sexual and non-sexual misconduct, access to a free training module for parents of equestrian athletes, a Safe Sport FAQ, the Safe Sport Sanctions list, and more can be found at, navigate to Safe Sport Training on the member dashboard.

September 2018 - Equine Sports Cars
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Thursday, 30 August 2018 04:28
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Allison Mathy offers Lusitanos whose good looks wrap a complete sporthorse package.

by Kim F. Miller

Kristin Evanson is not one for flash in a horse. “I’m not into stuff like that,” says the 60-year-old amateur dressage rider. But she couldn’t disagree when her friends teased her about her new “Barbi horse,” Déjà Vu. Kristin’s 11 year old Prix St. Georges-trained Lusitano is a palimino with lovely, indeed “flashy,” looks and gaits and temperament to match.

A Minnesota resident, Kristin looked far and wide for the right next horse. She’d been a fan of Iberian horses thanks to a good experience with her Andalusian/Thoroughbred cross. Intrigued by an ad for Déjà Vu placed by Allison Mathy of Lyric Dressage, Kristin made a trip to Northern California to meet the handsome steed.

Allison Mathy and her Lusitano stallion Xerifino. Photo: © J Mraz Photography

Encanto do Arête, Lusitano stallion for sale at Lyric Dressage

With her Lyric Dressage, Allison has a long history of show ring success with various breeds. She continues her dressage training, coaching and competing but has zeroed in on developing a Lusitano sales business, in partnership with established Lusitano breeder, trainer and judge André Ganc of Brazil. Often described as the “sports car model” of sporthorses, Lusitanos are enjoying increasing popularity in the United States. As such, Allison recognized the need for a sales program rooted in experience, knowledge and integrity. Five years ago, they began bringing Lusitanos to the States for those seeking well-trained, talented, safe and reliable horses from a trustworthy source.

Allison Mathy and her Lusitano stallion Vaquarius CD

André Ganc of Vale do Arête

“We are trainers first and foremost, so we select horses from that perspective,” Allison explains. She and André insist on knowing the provenance of each horse Allison brings to the States for sale. If not from André’s own breeding program, the horses come from a breeder the team knows and trusts. The horses’ early handling and training is equally important to make the most of the Lusitano’s naturally intelligent, kind and confident temperament. Lusitanos were bred specifically to be riding horses, so a classical dressage foundation is another “must have” for the horses they represent.

André Ganc

“I’m not a broker,” Allison notes. “I buy them. We’ve tried them out, done thorough pre-purchase exams and assume all the risks and responsibilities of bringing them to the States.” Upon arrival in Petaluma, Allison gets them fit after their travel and lays on whatever fine-tuning is needed to prepare them for potential clients.  
Good Experience In New Territory

Kristin didn’t know Allison when she saw the ad for Déjà vu. A friend gave the trainer a strong referral and Kristin made the first of what turned out to be three trips to California to test him out. At 60, the rider felt this might be her “last horse” and she wanted to be extra sure. She bought him in May of this year and quickly concluded that he is everything she dreamed of and more.

Susie Meyer-Beck and El Negro

Her report echoes a list of attributes that Allison seeks in her sales horses: “Super sweet, confident, intelligent, willing, bold, brave and intent on doing his job.” Kristin alternates between keeping Déjà Vu at a nearby training program and at her own home stable. “He is easy to have at home,” she says. “I don’t have to be under a trainer’s supervision to ride him. I still take lessons because I need to learn to ride him better, but he allows me more independence. As long as you are kind and not forceful, he’s very forgiving. He has confidence in himself and I adore that.”

Kristin has competed seriously over the years, but is currently focusing on and enjoying simply “getting to know my new horse better.”

Her only regret is that she hadn’t found him sooner. A petite rider who doesn’t want to become a gym rat just to be able to ride effectively, Kristin uses another car analogy to describe the experience of riding her new horse. “If you are driving a lot in the city, you don’t want a big pick-up truck.” It’s not just about size, it’s about handling and enjoying the ride. “It’s a little bit like a sports car,” she continues.

Imperio do Castanheiro owned by Tania Radda

“They can be very fancy, they’re not hard on your hand or super strong, even though they are physically strong.”

Her complete satisfaction with and enjoyment of Déjà Vu also reflects Allison’s work. “You can tell he was not trained under a lot of pressure,” Kristin concludes. “When I get on him, he’s calm, not worried. He doesn’t get all pumped up: he’s in the moment.”

“Your Wingman”

Kristin is one of several happy clients to corroborate what Allison has long known about her favorite breed: “The Lusitano is truly your partner, they’re your wingman.”

Carisma do Arête, FEI Lusitano stallion

In short, the perfect package: “athleticism, temperament, easily handled and brave. That’s what I expect of the horses I bring to the States and what I confidently offer.”

The USDF Gold, Silver and Bronze medal dressage trainer describes them as an “intellectual” versus “physical” ride. “Of course, you have to be fit, balanced in the saddle and have the basics, but they are so athletic and willing and such quick studies that you ride them more with your brain than with force or muscle.”

Allison Mathy and Saltando do Norte

Versatility is another Lusitano trait, as evidenced by their popularity in the equestrian sport of working equitation. Huge in Europe and South America, this mutli-faceted discipline is rapidly gaining enthusiasts in the United States. The sport is all about rideability, agility and speed, exhibited in a three- or four-phase competition.

Bob and Barbara Lawson are grateful to Allison for introducing them to both Lusitanos and working equitation. Prior to meeting her, the couple had ridden an Arabian and a Quarter Horse. Bob appreciated Allison’s open attitude toward helping him with his Quarter Horse when they first began working together, yet has no regrets about he and Barbara’s conversion to new horses and new ways of enjoying them through working equitation.

Young Lusitano Stallion for sale at Vale do Arête

Bob bought the couple’s first Lusitano as a gift for Barbara, and they’ve since bought two more from Allison. Bob bought his own horse, Burladero, three years ago as a 9-year-old, and Barbara’s Christmas horse is the 10 year old Dom do Nico. Bob has a little more mileage in working equitation competition and Barbara’s horse arrived with a bit less training and experience, but “now I have a hard time beating them!” he reports.

The Lawsons love their trainer as much as the horses they’ve bought from her. They live in Ukiah, a 90-minute drive from Allison, yet make the trek to ride with her two to three days a week. “She knows everything, she’s an excellent teacher and super positive,” Bob says. In his several years of owning horses, “I’ve never met anyone who is as qualified and talented as she is.”

Young Lusitano stallion for sale at Valle do Arête

Allison loves it when students buy her Lusitanos, but she’s equally dedicated to those who have the horses in training with other professionals and to those professionals. “I want the horse to have a successful life and career,” she explains. “André and I know these horses really well and I have candid, detailed, ongoing conversations with their new owners and trainers.” The same goes for buyers who work with the horses on their own. “It’s a continuous post-buying experience.”
Bred To Ride

From a big picture perspective, Lusitanos have benefited from growing acceptance of the Iberian breeds, horses from the Iberian Peninsula. When the Spanish team won Olympic dressage silver in Athens in 2000 with three Andalusians, it was a game changer for the horse owning public’s perception of the Iberian breeds’ suitability for dressage at the highest level. Yet there’s a double-edged sword in that because many perceive all Iberian or “Baroque” breeds to be the same and they are not, Allison stresses. Andalusians, from Spain, and Lusitanos, from Portugal and Brazil, are both considered Iberian, yet they are very different.

The Lusitanos’ origins are its most important characteristic, the trainer asserts. “They’ve always been bred for sport, to be a good partner, with a good mind and great work ethic.” Parades and beauty pageants were never their breeders’ intent. “People are getting wise to this,” Allison explains of the breed’s growing presence in the U.S. “These are superior sporthorses with a temperament that can’t be beat.”

Vaquarius CD

As has been the case with many breeds’ acceptance and popularity in the States, it comes with an influx of less-than-knowledgeable and sometimes unscrupulous representatives. That reality catalyzed Allison’s desire to partner with André in bringing Lusitanos to the States the right way.

“As a trainer, it’s heartbreaking to see some quality horses that had not been treated fairly,” she reflects. Having re-trained several horses who met that fate before coming to her, “I wondered what it would be like to get these horses before they acquired that baggage.”

Encanto do Arête

Allison got to know André because he exported her stallion, Vaquarius CD’s, sire, Quarteto do Top. “I always loved that horse and I wanted to know who found and trained him before he came to the United States.” They stayed in regular touch, with André coming to her training barn to give clinics and helping her on horse shopping visits to Brazil. “As professional horsemen, we have the same mindset and ethics about the way we treat the horse, how they should be cared for and trained,” Allison says of the common ground that triggered their partnership.    

From the get-go, the business model has been to bring in horses trained solidly to at least Third or Fourth Level dressage and that embody the breed’s highest standards in conformation, soundness and temperament. Buyers “were off and running” right away rather than having to “take three steps backwards” with their new horse, she says. The ripple effect of those stories circulating in the horse world has created ever-growing demand. “People are seeking us out for horses trained by responsible, conventional people using a respectable system,” Allison says. Their “very discriminating” approach to selecting horses keeps the breed standard at its highest as popularity here grows, for the good of the buyer and, most importantly, the horse.   

For more information, visit

September 2018 - And, We’re Off...
Written by by Catie Staszak
Thursday, 30 August 2018 04:19
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Longines FEI Jumping World Cup League is underway in the west.

by Catie Staszak

When Beezie Madden landed off the final fence at the 2018 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Paris with Breitling LS, her final, nearly perfect score of 4 not only secured the Cazenovia, NY native her second career victory in a World Cup Final, but it also marked the second straight year the North American League produced the World Cup Champion.


The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League was set to begin its fourth season Sunday 26 August at Thunderbird Show Park, Langley, B.C. The CSI 4*-W event kick started a league that has continued to grow in stature, as Madden’s Parisian victory followed up a win for McLain Ward and HH Azur in Omaha the previous year. The back-to-back American triumphs in show jumping’s most prestigious individual indoor championship give the North American League a 2/3 strike rate at the World Cup Final since the league’s inception in 2015.


The North American League is divided into two sub-leagues, with both the East Coast and West Coast receiving a new location in the 2018-2019 season. Columbus, Ohio, will serve as the second stop on the east coast on Sunday 7 October 2018, while Leon, Mexico, will conclude the West Coast sub league on Saturday 9 February 2019.

In addition to Madden, who receives automatic qualification as the event’s defending Champion, seven East Coast USA riders, three West Coast USA riders, two Canadian riders, and two Mexican riders will punch their tickets to the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, which begins on April 3. Riders may earn points in up to seven qualifying events throughout the league season, and their four best results from those classes will count toward their final league standing.
Strong California Contingent

An exciting cast of riders was headed to Langley as California Riding Magazine went to press. They included familiar favorites Jennifer Gates, Eve Jobs, three-time World Cup Final veteran Karl Cook, and 2012 World Cup Champion, Richard Fellers. The entries also include the California-based Ashlee Bond, who is set to represent Israel in the upcoming FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon in September. Alison Robitaille, Richard Spooner and Mandy Porter, who all qualified for the World Cup Final last season, are also slated to compete.

“Anytime you start a World Cup season, you’re just hoping to get some good points early, so there’s not a lot of pressure on you at the end,” said Spooner, who led the West Coast standings of the North American League last season. “The finals are in Gothenburg this season, and it’s a nice, big arena with a lot of history—that’s where it really all began with the World Cup. It’s an exciting year.”

Spooner planned to compete the 9-year-old Quirado RC in the $145,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Langley. The big grey, who finished fourth in Thermal’s World Cup class last season, won two five-star ranking classes this summer at Spruce Meadows. The gelding also finished fourth in the CSIO5* $235,000 Longines Grand Prix at Langley in May. His partner in Paris was the 11-year-old Chatinus, who won the World Cup qualifier at Las Vegas in 2017.

2018 FEI Jumping World Cup Finals champions Beezie Madden & Breitling LS getting a late-season tune-up, and reserve champion points, at HITS Coachella earlier this year. Once the World Equestrian Games are over, Beezie is likely to get started on a bid for a third Finals title. Photo: Kim F. Miller

“I’m looking forward to [Langley],” Spooner said. “Quirado is a 9-year-old and a little green, but he’s an extraordinary horse. I’m hoping to have Chatinus do some of the indoor [qualifiers] in the tighter indoor rings later in the season.”

Langley is the first West Coast sub-league event of the 2018-2019 North American League. The East Coast sub-league gets underway in North Salem, NY on Sunday 30 September 2018.

“The World Cup Final is the type of competition where you really have to have the right horse at the right time, and all cylinders have to be firing,” Spooner said. “The [North American League qualifiers] really set you up for that and let you know if everything is going in the right direction, or if you’re better off waiting for another year and another opportunity. The World Cup Final is always the highlight of the indoor season, and as a major, I enjoy it.”

Report edited from a press release provided by the FEI. Live-streaming of all qualifiers is available at


The schedule for the West sub league is a bit different this year:
•    Aug. 26—Thunderbird Show Park, Langley, B.C.
•    Oct. 6—Sacramento International Horse Show
•    Oct. 20—Del Mar International Horse Show
•    Nov. 10—HITS Coachella
•    Nov. 17—Las Vegas National Horse Show
•    Jan. 26, 2019—Guadalajara, Mexico
•    Feb. 9, 2019—Leon, Mexico


September 2018 - An Awe-Inducing Adventure
Written by by Linda Ballou
Thursday, 30 August 2018 04:04
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Riding in the wilds of British Columbia.

by Linda Ballou

I answered the call of the wild with a horse pack trip in British Columbia offered by Tyslos Park Lodge & Adventures. The McLean family has been taking international travelers into Chilcotin/Cariboo Country, one of the last great wilderness areas in North America, for over 60 years. Among their horseback riding vacations is a lodge stay for experienced riders who want to gallop over hill and dale, and horse pack trips for those who just want to rock along taking in gorgeous vistas. This region is also famous for its cayuse (wild horses) and grizzly bear populations, as well as world-class fly fishing. Expert guides and trustworthy mounts take riders, wildlife photographers, and fly fishers on an adventure into an untrammeled wilderness that can’t be reached any other way.


A short scenic flight out of Vancouver over the snow-frosted peaks of the Coastal Range gives you an idea of the vastness of the Chilcotin backcountry. You are greeted at a remote airport by the lodge wranglers eager to make your stay a memorable one. The lodge itself is a marvel built from local timbers and furnished with all the comforts of home. It sits on a knoll overlooking the azure blue Chilko Lake that extends 52 miles up a glacier-carved valley sheathed in fir trees.


Horses grazing at Goat Camp

I headed out with six riders, four pack horses, and two guides for our first base camp on the shore of a lagoon. There I awoke to the haunting call of a loon floating over still waters that mirrored granite spires sporting snow in July. On the far shore a moose with her gangly calf trotting behind was our breakfast entertainment.

Pack horses on forest trail. Photo: Linda Ballou

In crisp morning air with dew lifting from grassy meadows, we headed out for our next campsite. This is not just a ride, it’s a journey back into a time when you could ride for days and see no one. We rambled through a grove of quaking aspen to a rocky shore of the Chilko Lake to give the horses a drink. The trail that is only used a couple of times a season snakes through alder thickets and then begins to climb. Our sturdy, sure-footed horses charged up the steep ascent with aplomb.

Tika ran with us on our rides. Photo: Linda Ballou

Josh, our accomplished guide, encouraged us. “Stand up. Get out of the saddle. Grab mane if you have to! You don’t want to ‘sore up’ your horses on the climbs.” He was gentle with the animals and displayed a kind spirit and a helping hand to guests. With our safety in mind, he checked cinches and made sure all was secure before leading us along narrow tracks overlooking a charging river, splashing through creeks, and clamoring up and down steep ravines.

Deck at Tyslos lodge. Photo: Linda Ballou

Up We Go!

After breaking for lunch in a lush meadow peppered with purple lupine, we continued on to reach Goat Camp at 6,800 feet elevation. We had climbed 3,000 feet and now the air was crisp with temps hovering around 70 degrees. This magical setting was to be our home for the next three nights. The energetic voice of Pink Creek (so named as the minerals from the glacier feeding the stream turn it a salmon color) and the smell of crackling bacon woke me. I was amazed at the quality and variety of delicious meals prepared on an open flame by Louise, a seasoned cook from Australia who doubled as a guide.

The horses spent the nights in a picturesque alpine meadow guarded by granite giants munching on knee-high grass. The day ride without the pack horses is nothing short of spectacular. We charged through boughs of Jack Pine keeping a sharp eye out for trees that can bruise a knee. The forest floor is carpeted with salmon berry, devil’s club, huckleberry, cinquefoil, paintbrush, columbine, rock rose, and lavender asters along with many varieties of ferns and mosses. We hopped a sparkling rill stealing through an alpine meadow and began the switch-backing trail through scree to the top of the world.

Horses crossing on a wilderness pack trip. Photo: Tsylos Lodge

I heard my voice cracking when I tried to express the overwhelming humility I felt at the sight of one of Mother Nature’s finest handiworks. The head spinning 360-degree view takes in dazzling Chilko Lake and glacier rivers carving new valleys in the granite peaks packed with snow in a dome of unending baby blue sky. There is not one sign of man’s footprint here, or in the distance. A stillness and a peace soothed my city weary soul.
A Good Group

After a week in the bush, our tiny band of riders had become friends. Five of the riders were from Germany and spoke mostly their native tongue, yet the love for horses and the great outdoors was a language common to all. Everyone pitched in with camp chores and tacking up the horses. Ages spanned 13-70 with women outnumbering the men. It was touching to see a businessman with little riding experience spend quality time with his horse-crazy teenage daughter. They worked together to protect one another on the trail. “Dad, just trust your hoss and he will take care of you,” came from the young equestrienne.

Chilko Lake. Photo: Linda Ballou

I wasn’t the only solo traveler seeking tranquility; a young woman of 25 was also relishing the freedom of being off the grid. At the end of the day’s ride, all were accepted into the tribe over a glass of wine and delicious dinner around the campfire.

Pack trips to the Potato and Goat camps only go out a couple of times a season. They call for a modicum of fitness, a willingness to help others, the ability to tack you own horse, and a desire to see this gorgeous region up close and personal. The undulating 25-mile ride back to the lodge through forests of fir and sun-drenched wildflower meadows gives you the chance to enjoy a real hack. The pack horses know the trail by heart and are sent home on their own.

Horse Riding on Wilderness Pack Trip BC Canada. Photo: Tsylos Lodge

If you prefer shorter, faster rides with lodge comforts that include gourmet meals and a spa in the deck overlooking the pastoral valley and Chilko Lake, “lodge riding” might be a perfect fit for you. Riders from around the world seeking the most authentic riding experience gather here forming a stimulating international crowd. Many do the two-week combination with one week-long pack trip and one week of lodge riding. Non-riders come to Tyslos for fly-fishing. A 21-mile float down the Chilko River garners rainbow trout, bull trout, and salmon in the fall. Photographers from around the globe gather here to capture images of the over 100 grizzly bears that call the Chilko Valley home during the fall Sockeye Salmon run. Autumn is a lovely time of year to be here when the aspen are spinning gold.

Linda Ballou is the author of The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon. For more travel articles, visit her site,


If You Go - Tsylos Wilderness Lodge (pronounced Sigh-Loss)
I suggest the Pacific Gateway Hotel located near the International Airport in Vancouver. They have a free shuttle to South Terminal where you catch the charter flight to Tyslos Lodge, as well as to the International Airport.


September 2018 - Ready In the Desert
Written by CRM
Thursday, 30 August 2018 03:52
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Grass derby field among new highlights at Coachella Valley venue.

The installation of the new HITS Desert Horse Park Grass Hunter Derby Field is a highlight of the upcoming 10 weeks of hunter/jumper competition in the Coachella Valley venue formerly known as Thermal.

“We can’t wait to host some of our Hunter Derbies on the grass Derby Field that we are working on,” said HITS President and CEO, Thomas Struzzieri. “It’s something different and I think a lot of the Hunter exhibitors who show with us are going to really enjoy it.”


The AON HITS Desert Horse Park is home to 10 weeks of USEF Premier-Rated shows, chances to qualify for the HITS Championship that take place every September in Saugerties, New York, and $5 Million in prize money awarded.

Nayel Nassar & Lordan were last year’s champs in the FEI Longines World Cup Jumping Thermal. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Highlights include:
•    The National Sunshine Series features two weeks of FEI CSI3* Competition, including the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Thermal
•    AIG $1 Million Grand Prix (Week VIII) - qualifier classes held each week leading up to the Million! (Desert Circuit Week VIII)
•    Junior/Amateur-Owner/Amateur Jumper Classics for 1.25m, 1.35m, 1.45m each week

•    Two $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derbies
•    Two USHJA Pony Hunter Derbies
•    World Championship Hunter Rider - WCHR
•    Devoucoux and Platinum Performance Hunter Prix each week - qualifiers for the HITS Championship

•    NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals (National Sunshine Series II)
•    CPHA Style of Riding Championship (National Sunshine Series II)
•    R.W. Mutch Equitation Championship (Desert Circuit Week VIII)

Show Dates
•    National Sunshine Series I  |  October 31-November 4
•    National Sunshine Series II  |  November 7-11

•    Desert Circuit I  |  January 15-20
•    Desert Circuit II  |  January 22-27
•    Desert Circuit III  |  January 29-February 3
•    Desert Circuit IV  |  February 5-10
•    Desert Circuit V  |  February 19-24
•    Desert Circuit VI  |  February 26-March 3
•    Desert Circuit VII  |  March 5-10
•    Desert Circuit VIII  |  March 12-17

Press release provided by HITS.


September 2018 - Meet Chandler Meadows
Written by by Winter Hoffman, courtesy of Phelps Sports
Thursday, 30 August 2018 03:41
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Summer study abroad of an equestrian sort.

by Winter Hoffman, courtesy of Phelps Sports

Twenty-three-year-old Californian Chandler Meadows traded the Newport Beach seaside for the flower-filled meadows of Amsterdam, the pastoral manors of Germany and the cypress villas of Italy on her showjumping tour this summer.

WH: What was your childhood like and how were you introduced to riding?
CM: I started riding when I was about 10 years old, after my family moved into an equestrian neighborhood. My first few years of riding were all about horsemanship, riding bareback and really understanding how to take care of a horse. I spent every day during the summer at the barn and any chance I could get, I was around horses. I started competing in the hunters a few years after that.

WH: How did you come to have a passion for the sport? Through your parents or trainers?
CM: My late aunt Karen Price and uncle Tony Price rode at the Flintridge Riding Club in Pasadena for about 20 years with trainer Liz Denny. Other than that, my family wasn’t involved in the sport at all. After my sister Alexis and I started to get serious with our riding, my entire family became more involved and now we all enjoy it.

WH: Did you do the equitation? What are your thoughts on equitation as a foundation for show jumping?

Americans dominate the 1.40m CSI 2*. Joie Gatlin & Kimmel SCF claim first, Laura Hite & Solos Consept finish third, while Chandler & Damian end fifth.

CM: When I first started riding, I was doing the hunters and some equitation. Compared to other riders my age, I always felt like I was playing catch up in the equitation, especially my last few junior years. However, I kept working at it and eventually made it to Maclay Finals my last junior year. After that, it’s been all about the jumpers. Equitation taught important basics about riding and it has made me a better jumper rider for sure. You have to learn how to use your leg, seat and hands properly and how to maintain a balanced position, especially when the jumps start to get bigger.

WH: Was California an advantage or disadvantage for your junior show career?
CM: I was doing the equitation during my junior show career, which made California a great place to show. There were local shows every weekend, which offered opportunities to accumulate points for indoors. I was also in high school at the time, so showing close to home was a major benefit.

WH: You spent the summer competing in Europe. Please tell us how this came about, the high points and what you’ve learned from this experience.
CM: I have always wanted to show in Europe from the first time I traveled there. We had planned this trip for almost a year and the timing was right. I just graduated Chapman University and I have amazing, experienced horses that I feel comfortable on. One of my trainers, Joie Gatlin, has competed in Europe several times and represented the USA on many occasions, so she really encouraged me and my barnmate, Laura Hite, to show in Europe as well.    
The experience I have gained in just a few short weeks is tremendous. Getting outside of my comfort zone by not showing at familiar venues has already made me a better rider. In Europe, showjumping is a true sport and the crowds are proof of that. Not only are the venues amazing, the footing is great and the shows are very efficient with the way they run. You only show Thursday – Sunday, which makes each day more special, and the weeks less tiring for both the horses and humans.
Throughout my experience so far, I have learned how to ride faster and to think on my own more. It has also been fun to compete against different people, especially when you’re the only one from the USA in your class, there is a bit of extra excitement about ribboning. So far it has been great, and I hope this won’t be my last trip showing here.

WH: You must have a very supportive family – please tell us about them. Do they travel with you?
CM: I am so lucky to have an incredibly supportive family. My sister also rides and competes in the Amateur Owner hunter divisions, so it is fun to share our passion and love of horses. My parents are the best- they try to come to every horse show and they love to take my horses for hand-walks and grazes. As far as riding them, they both prefer to stay on the ground. My parents also enjoy investing in young horses, which is exciting to watch as they develop with my trainer, Joie Gatlin.

WH: What did you do between high school and college? If you took a break did it help?
CM: I went straight into college after high school. Luckily for me, I was able to continue riding and go to school, because both my barn and college were close by. It wasn’t easy juggling my time between my studies and horse shows, but it certainly taught me a lot about time management. This summer is the first time I won’t be going back to school in the fall, which is weird feeling. However, I’m looking into getting my master’s degree starting next year.

Chandler and Damian.

WH: Do you think what you study impacts your view of the sport or the training plan and path you chose for you and your horses?
CM: In college, I studied health science, which was a very broad major and offered me the opportunity to explore various subjects. I found that I have a passion for sports nutrition, which is what I am aiming to get my master’s degree in. It definitely plays a major role in my riding because nutrition is an important part of being an athlete. I love sharing my knowledge of nutrition with others, and I hope to be able to tie it into the showjumping world soon. Traveling to Europe has also opened my eyes to the different diets and lifestyles of countries, which is fun to learn about and experience myself.

WH: How do you manage the peripatetic lifestyle of an equestrian and the stress of traveling to horse shows?
CM: You have to learn how to live out of suitcase at times. One thing I have learned is that no matter where I am or where I am traveling, I always try to keep my same routine. Taking vitamins, getting exercise, drinking enough water is all doable if you make time for it. I feel the most stressed when I am not in my routine, so starting my day the same way is important for me. When it comes to schoolwork, that was also a challenge because it was hard to fit in the time to sit down and study, when all you want to be doing is riding or watching others ride. But, I also felt much more relaxed when the weekend came around if I knew that most of my work was already completed.
WH: What are your thoughts on the current state of show jumping in the USA and the rest of the world?
CM: Showing in Europe has really opened my eyes to how different it is in the USA vs. abroad. There are FEI shows every weekend in Europe, within only a few hours drive. At home, and especially on the West Coast, it is hard to gain experience jumping bigger tracks. I am hopeful that the West Coast can catch up with the rest of the world and offer more opportunities for both younger riders like myself and world ranking points so that we don’t always have to travel far from home.

WH: What is your favorite piece of equestrian equipment for horse? For rider?
CM: Oh that is a tough one! For horses, I love our Equifit boots, especially designing custom ones. For the rider, I am pretty basic, but I love wearing my Kastel shirts because they protect me from the sun but are also very breathable.

WH: What advice do you have for ambitious young riders?
CM: You might have more bad days than good, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t progressing. I have to constantly remind myself that I can’t expect top ribbons in every class, especially when the majority of the riders have much more experience than I do. This sport can be so challenging at times, and it will test every ounce of patience you have, so do enjoy the little victories, even if it is something very small. Be consistent in your routine, show up every day with a good attitude and eventually it will pay off.

WH: What is your day like? Please describe for the readers your training program.
CM: I am definitely a morning person, so my most productive hours are before noon. At home, I like to workout at least five times a week. It keeps me both physically and mentally fit and I love the endorphins after a workout. I think cross-training is important to work on core strength, flexibility and endurance. Riding at home is also very different than at shows. My trainers emphasize flat work and pole work, which keeps the horses in excellent condition. Before a show, we usually include a day of gymnastics and some light jumping.
At shows, and especially this summer, we are at the show all day, so it has been a bit different. We like to hack the horses in the morning (granted it’s not too hot) before we show and get them out of their stall at least twice a day. Traveling is tiring for horses, so keeping their routine the same is an important part of their program.

Chandler and Soleil de Cornu CH in the Grand Prix CSI 2*. Photo: Tim Heide

WH: You have outstanding horses, please tell us a little about each one and what qualities you favor in a show jumper? What were the high points of the past year?
CM: My two horses are both amazing. Damian is a 10-year-old KWPN gelding that I’ve had for about 1.5 years. He has the best personality and is the friendliest and happiest horse I have ever met. He begs for attention from anyone that walks by his stall and loves a big crowd in the show ring. He is a very careful and fast horse and he has taught me how to win. When he’s not in the show ring, he wants to be. We won our first Grand Prix together this past winter and he is my U25 and speed horse.
My newer horse, Soleil de Cornu CH (“Sosso’) is a 12-year-old Swiss Warmblood gelding. He is an amazing, experienced jumper that has done it all. I got him a few months ago and it has taken some time to figure each other out, but every round gets better. He is very scopey and can jump the moon, so I am learning to jump the bigger tracks on him. Sosso loves his sugar cubes, but other than that, he doesn’t enjoy the attention as much as Damian does.
The qualities I look for in a jumper are carefulness, scope and quick feet. I want a horse to be able to react quickly when I call upon them and doing so requires athleticism. Both of my horses also have a good mind and are very safe, which I am grateful for.

WH: How did you transition to the jumper division and what do you love about it?
CM: I have only been doing the jumpers for about give years, but I knew I always wanted to try it. I grew up playing many different sports, so I am no stranger to some good competition. It took me a few years to learn how to ride fast, but it’s been a great journey. I love the jumpers because it is very objective and unpredictable.

WH: How do your trainers prepare you and your horses? How does their coaching differ from the program you were in before? What do they have you practice?
CM: I am lucky to have my amazing trainers, Joie Gatlin and Morley Abey, who have taught me a tremendous amount in a short period of time. They both dedicate a lot of time and effort towards making me a better rider and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without the help of them both. I love to watch one of my trainers, Joie Gatlin, when she rides because she always gets the most out of every horse. No matter if she is sitting on her own horse, a 5-year-old or a client’s horse, her position is flawless yet effective and I try to mimic that as much as possible.
At home, we work on a lot of flat work, poles, cavalettis and some jumping before a show if needed. I’ve learned I can get to know my horses the best when I work with them on the flat and over poles, because I have to work on the little things that may slip my mind when I’m showing.

Chandler's dad wearing his 'Coach Rob' hat, overlooking the ring at CSI 2* Donaueschingen.

WH: You must have a routine to prepare yourself mentally before you go in the ring – what is it?
CM: My mental routine is very important to prepare myself for the ring, so I try to practice it every day. I like to walk the course at least once or twice with my trainers and use visualization practices to help remember the course and to ride effectively.

WH: What are your plans for the future?
CM: Right now, my focus is on riding, so in regards to that, I hope to continue to compete in the grand prix and U25 classes (until I age out) and become more competitive in time. I like to set goals for myself but I also need to be realistic and continue to learn as much as I can.

WH: What do you look for in a jumper prospect ?
CM: Being in Europe has made me much more aware of how important it is to look for young talent wherever you are. I love watching the young horse classes and looking for potential talents. I am always impressed by the horses that have good balance at a young age and good technique. It is hard to come across the next “Big Star” type of horse, but it is also fun to keep an eye out wherever I am.

WH: Please describe your favorite place to visit and ride on the West Coast or another part of the world?
CM: On the West Coast, I really enjoy showing at Thunderbird Showpark. The facility is beautiful, the staff and hospitality are amazing and the competition is fierce. We love to travel up there every year and support those shows. My second favorite place may be Europe now!

WH: Who is your favorite amateur jumper rider and your favorite international rider and why?
CM: My favorite international rider is McLain Ward. He has such a strong position and he rides every horse the same, which is hard to do.

WH: Who is your favorite international horse and why?
CM: I love Adrienne Sternlicht’s horse Cristalline. The mare has so much scope and I love the way she soars over the jumps.

WH: Thank you, Chandler!


September 2018 - What Makes a Helmet Safe?
Written by by Lyndsey White
Thursday, 30 August 2018 03:32
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An inside look at the different parts of the helmet.

by Lyndsey White

Gone are the days of simple hard plastic with a velveteen outer layer. Nowadays, helmets are held to a much higher standard of safety testing. They’re more aerodynamic and better padded, without adding extra weight, and they are stylish so riders will want to wear them. The safety of every ride is the main goal for each helmet manufacturer as they strive year after year to develop the safest helmet they can, while keeping it comfortable, attractive and easy to wear.

A few of the top helmet manufacturers around the world shared with us some of their most important components when it comes to making helmets.

The Outer Shell

Each component of the helmet is equally important, but it’s the outer shell that gets the most attention because it’s easily seen. The outer shell’s material must be made of something that can prevent penetration from an object such as a sharp rock or a horse’s hoof. Manufacturers these days work to find the most stylish design that’s lightweight, yet functional.

Ovation helmets, the Troxel Spirit helmet, and Back On Track’s Trauma Void helmets all have an outer shell that is made out of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) thermoplastic. What is ABS thermoplastic?

It is an engineering plastic that is easy to make and fabricate, and is a proven material for structural applications when impact resistance, strength and stiffness are required, such as a helmet.

The Gatehouse helmet is also constructed from a thermoplastic, with the additional of carbon fiber or aramid additional reinforcement.
The Middle Layer

The middle layer of the helmet is what should absorb the majority of the impact from a fall or accident. Liners can be made from expanded polystyrene—which is a very lightweight product made of expanded polystyrene beads—made of more than 95 percent air and only about 5 percent foam. Expanded polystyrene, like that found in Gatehouse and Troxel helmets, has strong shock absorbing properties and is compression resistant.

KEP Italia helmets feature a polycarbonate and carbon fiber combination. Polycarbonate is a pliable material commonly used in eyeglasses, greenhouses, digital discs, etc. The impact strength of polycarbonate rates towards the top for impact strength, but can be susceptible to scratching.
The Inner Layer

The inner layer of the helmet provides comfort for the wearer—if you had to wear something rigid day in and day out, you most likely wouldn’t be compelled to wear it, right? So helmet manufacturers may add a thin liner to the inside of the helmet for a softer feel, while also protecting the shock absorbing layer from the inside.

These inner layers can include a mesh comfort liner to help wick away the rider’s sweat, as well as some extra foam for the comfort and ability to make the fit a little more custom. One K’s Air helmet even includes inflatable air pockets in the liner, which allows for the riders to adjust the helmet for comfort and fit.

Retention Straps

No helmet is effective if the retention, or chin, straps do not exist. The retention system, often referred to as straps and buckle, keep the helmet on the rider’s head during a fall when fitted and used correctly.

Most retention straps are made from a nylon webbing and plastic buckle. Some may include soft fabric covers that can cover the underside, being held together with Velcro. Some, like Gatehouse, might also be made of suede or leather.
Passing The Test

Did you know that wearing a helmet could reduce the risk of riding-related head injury by an estimated 50 percent, as well as the risk of death due to head injury by a whopping 70-80 percent? To ensure a helmet can accomplish these tasks, it must pass a series of tests. There are several different tests based on where you are located around the world. For instance, in the United States the standard is the ASTM/SEI (American Society for Testing and Materials/Safety Equipment Institute), which includes three main tests: the impact test, the side distortion test, and the penetration test.

The impact test measures the helmet’s ability to absorb a blunt force impact should a rider fall on their head, say onto pavement while trail riding.

The side distortion test simulates what could happen if 1,200 pounds of horse happens to land on your head during a fall. It measures the ability of the helmet to resist distortion, should that scary accident happen to you.

The penetration test measures the resistance the helmet offers to a pointed object into the ventilation area. It uses an equestrian hazard anvil, designed to approximate the angle of a horseshoe or a jump standard edge, to ensure there is no penetration by a sharp object whilst wearing your helmet.

Other testing certifications include the PAS 015 (British standard), and the AS/NZS 3838 and ARB HS 2012 (Australian standards).
Time for a Change?

It is recommended that all helmets be replaced after an impact, even if you don’t see much physical damage to the helmet with your naked eye. General wear and tear of a helmet not only shows its age perhaps on the outer layer, but the materials that soften the impact can degrade within three to five years.

“Longevity depends on how frequently the hat is used, the conditions of use and how the helmet is stored and even transported,” says Paul Varnsverry, Technical and Safety Product Advisor for Gatehouse Hats.

All manufacturers recommend equestrians check their helmets regularly for any obvious signs of wear to the lining and retention straps, any cracks in the structure of the middle layer and the outer layer, and finally the operation and security of the buckle.

“Irrespective of any signs of deterioration, it is recommended to replace the helmet after five years because the protective capacity diminishes over time due to the ageing of materials,” explains Silvia Fantoni with KEP Italia SRL.
Working Together

There is no single most important material, or part of a helmet, because the manufacturers and safety experts believe these materials must work together to protect the rider.

The equestrian helmet covers more of a person’s head than does a bicycle helmet, fitting lower on the head, particularly at the back of the skull, and has protection distributed evenly around the head, rather than concentrated in the front and top, which is why careful attention is taken by the world’s top brands.
Article provided by Riders4Helmets. For more information on the Riders4Helmets campaign and more information on rider safety, visit

August 2018 - Go Zone 10!!
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Friday, 27 July 2018 18:44
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College-age Grand Prix riders to pony star jumpers are ready to represent in New York and Kentucky.

by Kim F. Miller

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Written by by Kim F. Miller
Friday, 27 July 2018 18:38
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