Category Archives: USEF

Bridget Hay Flying US-Bred Flag in Dressage Ring

Bridget competing on Amy Price’s Fauna, a mare Bridget bred, foaled, and trained (©2018 by Nancy Jaffer)

Bridget Hay has a simple reason why she began breeding dressage horses at her Hunterdon County, N.J., farm.

“It started years ago because I could never afford to import horses or buy well-bred horses,” she explained. “So I make them myself and train them myself.”

She has quite an array of homebreds at the Rainbow Ridge Equestrian Center, from which she has turned in successful performances at the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® in Lexington, Ky., the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions in Wayne, Ill., and Dressage at Devon in Devon, Pa.

Hay, who operates Rainbow Ridge with her mother, Barbara, is one of a growing number of U.S. dressage breeders who are enjoying success in a discipline that long has been dominated by European warmbloods. She is unusual, however, because she not only breeds and foals her horses, but she also goes on to train and show them herself.

Bridget recalled that five years ago during Dressage at Devon, a man who was watching while she warmed up her stallion, Faolan, asked, “Why are people importing horses when there are horses like this bred in this country?”

Her answer: “I don’t know why they’re not.”

But reconsidering the question this autumn, she commented, “My horses don’t start out moving the fanciest. But they have three decent gaits and the brain and temperament to be very trainable. You teach them how to move. I have to make them myself.”

And it has worked. Last year, Faolan was U.S. Dressage Federation Intermediate 2 Horse of the Year, and won the Intermediate 2 Open Finals class at the US Dressage Finals in November.

Hay takes lessons, often via video, from Olympian and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 team silver medalist Adrienne Lyle.

Lyle competes successfully in the U.S. and Europe on a U.S.-bred horse, Duval Partners LLC’s Harmony’s Duval.

Duval was spotted by Bob McDonald in a field at Leslie Malone’s Harmony Sport Horses in Colorado. McDonald, the husband of U.S. Dressage Technical Advisor Debbie McDonald, years earlier also selected Brentina, the Hanoverian mare purchased in Germany who headlined for U.S. dressage with his wife during the late 1990s and well into the 2000s.

Lyle thinks U.S. breeders have the potential to compete with those producing horses abroad.

“The possibilities are very good. There’s no reason, structurally, when you look at our country versus Europe, that we can’t replicate what they’ve done with breeding and training programs,” she stated.

There’s an advantage in finding top prospects in America “because the Europeans aren’t always going to let the best horses go,” she pointed out. And, of course, it’s possible to save money on a U.S. purchase, because the horse doesn’t have to be flown across the ocean and no expensive trans-Atlantic shopping trips are involved.

However, Lyle noted, “Right away we’re at a bit of a disadvantage because they’re (the Europeans) scraping the cream off the top. So if we can make our own cream here and keep it in the country, that would be hugely beneficial.”

Duval, she noted, “walked into Aachen (this year) and got a 75 in the Grand Prix. There was nothing holding him back there for being U.S.-bred.”

Lyle called Hay’s efforts “inspiring,” adding, “That’s one of the reasons I make sure I carve time out to help her. I really admire people who find a way to do this.”

Lyle observed that Hay is “mainly on her own, not with a big budget, but really trying to do things the right way and trying to get help any way she can.”

Hay’s example, she commented, “could show people you don’t have to be a huge multi-million-dollar factory in order to produce and train horses up to Grand Prix.  If we had more people like that, it betters our chances. It can be intimidating otherwise for people to think there’s any place for them in a breeding program, unless they’re some big state stud or something like that, but you don’t have to be.”

During Dressage at Devon this year, USEF Dressage Youth Coach George Williams told a group of competitors that it’s a goal to have at least some U.S. riders on U.S.-bred horses for the team at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Williams, a former Grand Prix competitor and former president of the United States Dressage Federation, said that concept came out of a meeting among USEF dressage coaches, knowing “how important it is to use an event like this to set a goal. If we could have U.S. riders on U.S.-bred and -trained horses, that would be terrific. And certainly we’d like to be on the podium with that as well.”

There are precedents for U.S.-bred horses succeeding in key international championships. Hilda Gurney’s Thoroughbred, Keen, won team gold and individual silver at the 1975 Pan American Games, a pair of gold medals at the 1979 PAG, and was part of the 1976 Olympic bronze medal team. More recently, Paragon, from the Oak Hill Ranch in Louisiana, was ridden by Heather Blitz to team gold and individual silver medals at the 2011 Pan American Games.

“The thinking is that we want to use a major event, like having the Olympics back in this country for the first time since 1996, as a motivator to come together as a community of athletes, trainers, breeders, and owners and see what it can do for the U.S.,” Williams commented.

He believes it is realistic to think “we should be able to have at least part of the (2028) team on U.S.-bred horses.”

The prospects for future U.S. success are in the cards. A few years ago, Williams watched Lehua Custer’s horse, FJ Ramzes, at a California clinic and was impressed.

“I said, ‘This is the best horse I’ve seen in a long, long time,’” he recalled about Ramzes, who was bred by Cornell University and competed at the U.S. Nationals in 2017, when he won the Third Level Open.

Another of Custer’s promising horses, Fortunato H2O, was bred by Kendra Hansis’s Runningwater Warmbloods, located in the same New Jersey county as Hay’s operation. Hansis, an adjunct English professor at several colleges who began her breeding operation in 2001, explained, “I wanted to breed the kind of horse I could not afford to buy.”

Custer, who trains with McDonald and was Hilda Gurney’s assistant trainer for 10 years, spent the summer at Betsy Juliano’s Havensafe Farm in Middlefield, Ohio. The owner of Lyle’s 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games mount, Salvino, Juliano was inspired to buy a foal from Hansis and purchased the filly Starlight H2O earlier this year.

Juliano understands what American breeders have to go through to produce their prospects, and appreciates the desire to see U.S.-bred horses with U.S. riders in the Olympics and other championships.

But as she puts it, “Until you get behind these people, it’s not going to happen. I feel one of the next phases of development in my ownership career is going to be to look very seriously at the U.S. horses, and, when possible, buy them.”

by Nancy Jaffer
© 2019 United States Equestrian Federation

Costume Inspiration from US Equestrian Breed Affiliates’ National Championships

Sjaantje as a honeybee and Gail Aumiller as a beekeeper at the IFSHA World & Grand National Championship Horse Show (Avalon Photography)

With Halloween just around the corner, equestrians are brainstorming or perfecting costumes for themselves and their horses. Several of US Equestrian’s breeds have costumes classes at their national championships that allow competitors to get creative and show their individual style. Costumes ranging from whimsical creatures to native tack and attire acknowledging the breed’s heritage impress the judges and spectators at the national championships. US Equestrian spoke with three experts to hear about their creations and tips they have to help you be successful in the show ring.

Molly Rinedollar and Welsh Pony Helicon Just Notice

The Welsh Pony & Cob Society of America’s American National Show was livestreamed on USEF Network this year, and the costume class was arguably one of the most entertaining classes to watch from the show. One standout entry in the class was Helicon Just Notice, owned by Molly Rinedollar of Helicon Show Stables in Parker, Colo. The Welsh pony entered the ring dressed as a piñata with children from the barn dressed up as M&Ms who tossed candy into the crowd.

Rinedollar’s barn has worked together to create other impressive pony costumes, including the flag of Wales, which involved Helicon Just Notice masquerading as a red dragon and children from the barn dressing up as knights and peasants at the 2018 American National Show. Rinedollar’s inspiration for the flag of Wales dragon costume was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the WPCSA.

“One of my [barn] moms, Sue Williams, helped me with the piñata,” Rinedollar said. “She sewed all the felt pieces on for the piñata. So we had to cut strips and sew them on, then we did the cuts up to make the layers of the piñata.”

The dragon costume for the flag of Wales was more time consuming. “Laurie Grayson, from Boulder, and her group helped with the dragon, which was a little hard because she lives over an hour away, so trying to get that together was tough,” Rinedollar explained. “We got one of those blow-up dragons that go in your yard and cut it up, sewed it, and painted it. That one took a lot of time. It had wings and the tail, so it was pretty time consuming.”

Rinedollar estimated that the piñata took two to four hours to assemble, while the dragon for the flag of Wales took at least 10 hours. The dragon costume also required several sessions to make sure the various pieces were fitting and coming together properly.

Rinedollar recommended trying costumes out before competing in them, especially if you plan on riding your horse or pony in the costume as things can shift unexpectedly. Having an easy-going pony to dress up was another tip from Rinedollar, as Helicon Just Notice was unfazed by his elaborate costumes. “He’s very tolerant and really likes it,” Rinedollar said. “He is pretty simple about the whole thing. I think he likes wearing costumes.”

Rinedollar enjoyed that the whole barn – kids and parents alike – can get involved in the costume class.  “I think it brings everybody together,” Rinedollar said. “The camaraderie of it is fun, and the kids all have a great time. They like dressing up, too.”

While the next American National Show is about 11 months away, Rinedollar and her barn are already making plans for next year’s costume. “We kind of have one that we want to do, but I don’t know how we will pull it together,” Rinedollar said with a laugh.

Gail Aumiller and Friesian Sjaantje

Gail Aumiller of Dreams Come True Farm in Carlisle, Pa. is frequent competitor at the International Friesian Show Horse Association World & Grand National Championship Horse Show, and she has partnered with her Friesian mare Sjaantje to make two carriage pleasure driving costumes come to life. Aumiller and Sjaantje teamed up as a beekeeper and honeybee in 2019, while they were a ringmaster and circus horse, respectively, along with Aumiller’s friends joining as a trick rider, a fortune teller, and a clown for a circus theme in 2016. Both years, Aumiller and Sjaantje claimed the World Champion Friesian Carriage Pleasure Driving – Costume title for their efforts.

Aumiller said she tries to come up with unique and novel costume ideas. She had seen a Friesian dressed as an eagle, and the costume’s wings that fluttered with the horse’s movements inspired Aumiller to have a winged costume for Sjaantje, thus the honeybee costume. For the circus theme, Aumiller acquired a period costume for her horse, which got her brainstorming on ways to highlight the costume. Being able to include her friends in the circus theme was highly desirable for Aumiller, too.

“It was really a lot of fun because, from an exhibitor’s standpoint, you don’t often have the opportunity to share your show ring competition with friends,” Aumiller explained. “But in a costume class like that, where you can take others and you can share it with your friends, made it very enjoyable for me.”

Aumiller spent a full year working on her costumes, from coming up with the idea to perfecting details. She handled the dressing up herself and her horse, but her cousin helped her with anything that needed to be built and added to the carriage. She did one dress rehearsal at home with two to three helpers before each of the costumes’ debuts at the IFSHA World & Grand National Championship Horse Show.

“It seems like every time I use a costume, I tweak it a little bit more. One time with the circus show, I had to use a different carriage, so I didn’t have room to put more than the trick rider and one other person in it so I had to lose the fortune teller,” Aumiller said. “And with my honeybee, the second time I used it I thought, ‘I should have a basket with honeybee products,’ so I put honey in it and beeswax candles and different things like that.”

Aumiller recommended gradually introducing a costume to a horse, so there are no surprises and you are ready to shine in the show ring. “You just have to desensitize them, like if you are putting a flowing robe on them, you just have to do it and get them used to it,” Aumiller explained. “Sometimes it takes more than one or two sessions for them to get used to it.”

Aumiller pointed out that it is important to know what the judges are looking for in any costume class you enter. “In the costume class, originality is supposed to be one of the main things that the judges are focusing on. Of course, in a period costume class it would be on authenticity. If you really want to have a chance at winning, you need to know what the criteria is that the judges are judging you on. Then, you need to focus on that and develop that.”

Aumiller has begun working on her costume for next year’s IFSHA World & Grand National Championship Horse Show, and her cousin has already created a cardboard mockup for the carriage. Sjaantje will have to wait and see what her next costume will be.

“She is a true champion,” Aumiller said of Sjaantje. “She does anything she can to please me, so I like to think that if I like it, then she is going to like it.”

Mario Contreras and His Andalusian and Lusitano Mounts

Mario Contreras of MC Horse Training LLC in Elgin, Ill. has claimed multiple titles at the International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association National Championships while displaying the native tack and attire that acknowledges the origins of the Andalusian and Lusitano horses, horses from Spain and Portugal, respectively.

When Contreras first got started showing in Andalusian/Lusitano classes highlighting the native tack and attire for the breed, he didn’t have many options until he found the right distributors, Lisa Oberman of El Sueño Español and Bill from Iberian Connection. Contreras said he now has eight to 10 outfits that range from traditional native attire to exhibition costumes.

While Contreras has a variety of outfits, each class has specific criteria that is being judged. “I have shown in the Nationals with Andalusians, the Spanish horses, and it is very important that you match the saddle, the saddle pad, the bridle, the [rider’s] shoes, the spurs, the hat, everything has to go with the Spanish outfit and a Spanish horse,” Contreras explained. “And it’s the same thing if you are riding a Portuguese horse, a Lusitano, you have got to make sure that you have everything that goes with it.”

Contreras noted that judges are taught to know the difference between Spanish and Portuguese tack and attire. “When you go into a competition, some judges are nice enough to tell you that that doesn’t go with the outfit and eventually you get more education,” Contreras said. He suggested that competitors in native tack and attire classes do their research or have an experienced individual guide their tack and attire selections.

In addition to compiling the rider’s outfits, the horses have specific tack that they wear as well. “If you see some of the bridles, the buckles that go into the bridles are actually different and sometimes it gives it away if it is Spanish or Portuguese,” Contreras said. “Also, for the doma vaquera classes (pattern work highlighting the breeds’ maneuverability and impulsion) on the presentations, the bridles have what we call a mosquero. The mosquero is actually made out of horse hair and it goes on the forehead on the browband of the bridle. You can use the same bridle, but you can use a different mosquero depending on the horse’s colors. … It is called mosquero because it kind of gets the flies away from the horse’s face. Also, when you are riding and doing doma vaquera, you want the mosquero to swing side to side and, to the judge, that will give a good sense of the horse having a good rhythm on the walk.”

Since some of the native tack pieces may seem out of the ordinary, Contreras suggested treating each horse as an individual as you introduce them to something new. “It just depends on the horse. Some horses are very sensitive, more so than others, just like people,” Contreras said. “I think the mosquero is one of the most difficult things because not all horses accept the mosquero right away, so you have got to be careful how you introduce it and, of course, doing it slowly will be the best thing to do. Sometimes just pass it by his face. What I usually do is when I see a horse who is not too comfortable with it in the beginning, I usually put a little shredded plastic bag at the end of my whip and slowly start petting him with it until the horse gets used to it. Then, eventually you put the mosquero on the browband of the bridle.”

In addition to native tack and attire and doma vaquero classes being fun, they also give a valuable recognition to the heritage of the Andalusian and Lusitano breeds. “It is important to continue the tradition, and I love that the association continues to promote and have those classes for people,” Contreras said. “Every time I go to Nationals, I think that is one of my favorite classes to dress up and really show the breed because, at the end of the day, we are promoting horses. There is nothing better than continuing to show their beginnings and the culture of how horses became what they are now.”

by Kathleen Landwehr
© 2019 United States Equestrian Federation

Wheatland Farm and Marie Vonderheyden Named as Finalists for FEI Awards 2019

Lausanne, Switzerland – The Fédération Équestre International (FEI) has released the list of finalists for the FEI Awards 2019, which includes United States Equestrian Federation/U.S. Para-Equestrian Association Para-Dressage Center of Excellence Wheatland Farm in the FEI Solidarity category and U.S. para-dressage rider Marie Vonderheyden in the FEI Against All Odds category. Public voting to help determine the winners closes Monday, October 7. Category winners will be honored at the FEI Awards Gala on November 19, hosted during the 2019 FEI General Assembly in Moscow, Russia.

Public voting will count towards 50% of the overall selection for each category. Click here to VOTE NOW.

Wheatland Farm, founded by Mark and Muriel Forrest, is one of only nine USEF/USPEA Para-Dressage Centers of Excellence and is a leading member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.), providing therapeutic riding and equine-assisted activities and therapeutic programs. As a Center of Excellence, Wheatland Farm is instrumental in providing educational and developmental opportunities for para-dressage athletes and coaches in the United States, offering services which include classification, trainer/coach identification, and sport opportunities, as well as programs in both human and equine sports science and medicine. Wheatland Farm has remained heavily involved with the U.S. Para-Dressage Program and serves as an important touch point between the Developing and High Performance teams and the therapeutic riding community.

“We are honored and humbled to be shortlisted for such a wonderful award. Wheatland Farm’s mission is to provide healing and hope through an excellent, world-class adaptive sport program that is inclusive of all equestrians,” said Muriel Forrest, co-founder of Wheatland Farm. “We are grateful for the support of US Equestrian, who together with the United States Para-Equestrian Association, are providing amazing support for para-equestrian sport, and we are honored to be a Center of Excellence for them in that capacity. We believe that this nomination will help to raise national and global awareness of para-equestrian sport in general and para-dressage, in particular. Thank you to the FEI for considering Wheatland Farm, and we humbly ask our friends in the equestrian community and the general public to lift up para-equestrians by voting for Wheatland Farm.”

Marie Vonderheyden, the only U.S. athlete nominated for this year’s awards, suffered a devastating riding accident in 2015, which led to medical professionals placing her in a medically induced coma for seven weeks. When she awoke, her family was informed that the regulatory part of her brain controlling personality and speech was irreparably damaged and her chances of walking again were slim. She showed tremendous perseverance throughout the recovery process, in which she re-learned how to swallow, the alphabet, colors, emotions, and balance. She reconnected with horses through therapeutic riding rehabilitation and progressed from there, ultimately learning how to ride again without assistance. She competed in her first para-dressage competition in 2019 and has intentions of qualifying for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Marie’s commitment and determination to return to the saddle is truly inspiring.

“A friend of ours submitted Marie’s story. We’re just amazed and so thrilled. We’re very humbled. We have so much thanks and appreciation for the people supporting and promoting Marie,” said Cecile Vonderheyden, Marie’s mother. “This is going to help us tremendously in our quest for Marie to go further in this sport and to help her accomplish her goal of competing at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.”

About the FEI Awards
Launched in 2009, the FEI Awards have celebrated the champions of the sport both on and off the field, inspiring individuals and organizations from all over the world. The nominated categories presented at the FEI Awards Gala are the Longines FEI Rising Star, Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete, Cavalor FEI Best Groom, FEI Against All Odds, and the FEI Solidarity award.

More about the FEI Awards here: https://www.fei.org/awards/about.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Graves Earns World Cup Silver for Third Time in Gothenburg

Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Gothenburg, Sweden – In the dramatic conclusion of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final, Laura Graves and her loyal mount Verdades piaffed their way to silver in front of an enthusiastic Swedish crowd of more than 11,500. Showing the strength of the American dressage program, all three U.S. combinations broke the top seven with scores over 80%.

“I was thrilled. [Verdades] was so rideable, and I was just really thrilled with his focus and his energy today,” said Graves. “Like Isabel [Werth] said, the crowd was amazing. They all have this ticker of a live score, and as riders you are going ‘yeah, this feels pretty good.’ You kind of hope that the judges are agreeing with [the crowd]. You hear the crowd clapping along and you think ‘okay, well at least everyone is enjoying it as much as I am,’ and that’s really special.”

With a final score of 87.179%, Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her and Curt Maes’s 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding gave now three-time World Cup champion Isabel Werth (Germany) and Weihegold OLD a run for their money. With 10 combinations scoring over 80%, it was a tight race to the finish and Graves rode 14th in the order.

© 2019 US Equestrian Federation

Graves Takes Second in FEI Dressage World Cup Final Grand Prix

Laura Graves and Verdades (Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Gothenburg, Sweden – In an exciting day of competition, U.S. dressage and jumping combinations found their rhythm at the FEI World Cup™ Finals. Laura Graves and Verdades earned second in the FEI Dressage World Cup Final Grand Prix, while Beezie Madden and Breitling LS advanced to fourth after the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final II.

With poise and grace, the U.S. dressage combinations trotted down centerline on Friday ready to represent American dressage. Their hard work and dedication paid off, resulting in all three combinations placing in the top eight in the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final Grand Prix. Laura Graves and Verdades led the way for the U.S., placing second on 80.109% closely behind Germany’s Isabel Werth.

Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own and Curt Maes’s 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding found their rhythm in the large Scandinavium Arena in front of a knowledgeable Swedish audience.

“I thought [feeling super]. He was super rideable today,” said Graves. “I think tomorrow will be an interesting competition for everyone, and, hopefully, my horse gives me the same great feeling that he did today… I feel really, really confident in how we have prepared him for this competition.”

Madden Moves Up, Tied for Fourth after Round II of Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final

With ground to cover, the U.S. combinations headed into Friday evening’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final II looking to improve their positions in the second round of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final. Round II saw a shift in the leaderboard, and Madden and Breitling LS jumped a commanding and nearly flawless round to place fifth in the class and fourth overall.

After jumping a clear round on a time of 76.41 seconds, Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Abigail Wexner’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion headed into the jump-off with seven other top combinations. Their jump-off time of 34.75 seconds was the fastest of the round but a rail at the final jump cost them the double-clear. Sitting on just three penalties, and tied for fourth with Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels and Olivier Philippaerts, as well as Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs, Madden and Breitling LS sit less than one rail from the current leader headed into Sunday’s final.

By US Equestrian Communications Department

The Exciting Longines Masters of New York Is Back

Top riders in the world will gather for the Longines Masters of New York, April 25-28, as the Riders USA team seeks to earn the win against the Riders Europe team in the thrilling speed duals that make up the Riders Masters Cup, a new intercontinental jumping event. On Saturday, April 27, the Longines Masters of New York will host the fourth edition of the Riders Masters Cup, which has been dominated by the Riders Europe team since its inception. But in April, in front of a home crowd and with an enthusiastic audience cheering them on, the Riders USA team may have the home-team advantage.

The action for top international riders continues with the Longines Masters Grand Prix of New York on Sunday, April 28, and the Longines Speed Challenge on Friday, April 26, while up-and-coming riders go head to head in the Masters Two classes each day, ranging from 1.15m to 1.45m. Tickets are available for day and evening sessions. Other entertainment includes the AKC Agility Premier Cup canine agility competition on Thursday, April 25, the IHSA Metropolitan Invitational collegiate rider competition on Friday, April 26, and the remarkable equestrian performer Santi Serra on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 26-28.

Head to www.longinesmasters.com/en/new-york for the full schedule, information, and tickets.

Buy your tickets before April 7 and save 20% on all session tickets using promo code USEF20.

© 2019 US Equestrian Federation

USEF Network and Equestrian Sport Productions Announce Live Streaming Partnership

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian and Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) are pleased to announce their partnership designating the USEF Network as the exclusive live streaming platform for ESP events for the remainder of the 2019 season at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF).

Events streamed on the USEF Network will be free to watch for US Equestrian competing and fan members. Free fan member sign-up and promotional codes will be available each week, beginning with the $25,000 ProElite® National Jumper Classic on Thursday, February 28, using code 2019WEF8. To sign up for a free fan membership, please visit here.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with US Equestrian and the USEF Network for the remainder of the winter season here in Wellington for our streaming needs. We have a great working relationship with US Equestrian and it was very logical for us to work together to help bring our competition streams to a mass audience,” said Michael Stone, President of ESP. “The streams are free to view with a fan membership, which we feel is a great way to help US Equestrian build comradery and interest in our U.S. athletes and competitions.”

The following are the remaining 2019 events to be streamed by the USEF Network:

  • Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) 8 (February 27 – March 3), including the $150,000 FEI Nations Cup CSIO4*
  • WEF 9 (March 6-10)
  • WEF 10 (March 13-17)
  • WEF 11 (March 20-24)
  • WEF 12 (March 27-31), including the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5*
  • AGDF 8 (March 1), including “Friday Night Stars” Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W presented by Havensafe Farm
  • AGDF 10 (March 15), including the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ USA
  • AGDF 12 (March 29)

Visit the USEF Network for a full list of live, upcoming, and on-demand content.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Live Oak International: Ten Things to Know

Allison Stroud’s four-in-hand competes at the 2018 Live Oak International. Photo: Bianca McCarty.

Live Oak International, which takes place March 7-10 in Ocala, Fla., offers world-class competition in two sports: driving and jumping. The driving event is one of the largest driving competitions in the United States, and the jumping competition, the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Ocala, is part of the prestigious North American League. But there’s a lot more to know about this unique competition. We’ve got you covered with 10 fast facts, including live stream information and how to buy tickets to attend in person.

By US Equestrian Communications

US Equestrian Launches Pilot Phase of U.S. Dressage Coaches Support Network

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian (USEF) has announced the launch of a new U.S. Dressage Coaches Support Network that will gain momentum in 2019. Still in its infancy, the aim of this pilot program is to establish a group of like-minded dressage trainers to support U.S. dressage program events and initiatives. Select dressage trainers will work in concert with and support the current U.S. dressage coaching staff of Technical Advisor and Chef d’Equipe Debbie McDonald, Development Coach Charlotte Bredahl, Youth Coach George Williams, and Young Horse Coach Christine Traurig.

The immediate initiatives of the Coaches Support Network will seek to make U.S. dressage programs more accessible, working with the U.S. dressage coaching staff to seek out new and developing talent, provide support at competitions, offer additional training opportunities to athletes, and build comradery amongst the U.S. dressage community. Willy Arts (Hanford, Calif.), Allison Brock (Wellington, Fla.), Ashley Holzer (Wellington, Fla.), and Guenter Seidel (Cardiff, Calif.) have been identified as the first trainers to be selected to the network.

“We are very excited to be bringing on a network of trainers and coaches that already exist in our own U.S. dressage community,” said McDonald. “Bringing in dressage coaches with similar goals to our program can only help us to further reach out to and develop the pool of talent that we know exists among our athletes and horses.”

More information will follow in the coming months regarding the U.S. Dressage Coaches Support Network and other initiatives designed to continue to build depth in the dressage programs in the U.S.

For more information on the U.S. Dressage Coaches Support Network, please contact Hallye Griffin, Managing Director of Dressage at hgriffin@usef.org.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Brenin: The Story behind the Roster

Photo: Jeanne@Genie Images.

When Darcie Grote receives her copy of US Equestrian magazine’s annual Horse of the Year issue in mid-April, she’ll have an extra reason to celebrate her horse’s year-end championship. Brenin — or Nickie, as he’s known around the barn — lost an eye in January 2018 to a cancer so rare that he’s the only horse ever documented as having it. But that didn’t stop him from having a successful season, and Grote says the experience has only strengthened their partnership and her respect for his stoicism and big heart.

Read more here.

© 2019 US Equestrian Federation