Tag Archives: USEF

Positive Tests of Cannabinoids (CBD) Will Result in GR4 Violations as of Sept. 1, 2019

Tasked with protecting the welfare of equine athletes and ensuring the balance of competition, the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) Equine Drugs and Medications Program consistently monitors new products and product claims. From time to time, new products appear on the equine supplement market claiming to enhance a horse’s performance. Over the last several years, cannabinoids have gained increased attention and have become nearly mainstream.

In 2018 Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act, also known as the “Farm Bill”, which defines “hemp” as both the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any derivatives of cannabis with less than 0.3% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). With the enactment of this bill, “hemp” is no longer considered a controlled substance under federal law, but THC remains a Schedule I drug with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The passage of the Farm Bill has created some potential confusion with respect to the use of these substances with competition horses.

USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Rules prohibit cannabidiols (CBD) and their metabolites. While hemp does not contain more than 0.3% THC, it does contain CBD. CBD, both natural and synthetic forms, are likely to affect the performance of a horse due to its reported anxiolytic effects. This substance is no different than legitimate therapeutics that effect mentation and behavior in horses. It is for these reasons that USEF prohibits CBD and all related cannabinoids. Horses competing under USEF rules who test positive for natural cannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, and other cannabimimetics will be considered in violation of GR4 beginning September 1, 2019.

It is important to note that analytical methods are being implemented to detect CBD and similar cannabinoids. Both USEF and FEI list natural cannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, and other cannabimimetics as prohibited substances. Caution is important when using these products as their composition widely varies and may not be representative of their label claims as there is no regulatory oversight from the FDA, nor guarantee of their safety in horses.

As published literature does not exist noting detection times of these substances in the horse, and because products can widely vary in their compositions and concentrations, detections prior to September 1 will receive warnings. They will be considered to be in “Prior” violation if there are additional detections of cannabinoids following September 1. GR411 Conditions for Therapeutic Administrations of Prohibited Substances does not apply for cannabinoids and medication report forms do not apply.

With regards to human use, any athlete who is subject to testing under the World Anti-Doping Code can refer to the regulations for human use of cannabinoids here.

by US Equestrian Communications Department

Martin and Tsetserleg Earn Land Rover/USEF CCI5* Eventing National Championship

Martin and Tsetserleg (Photo by Alex Banks for US Equestrian)

Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class defend their Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

Lexington, Ky. – In the culminating phase of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN (LRK3DE), Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg jumped a nail-biting clear round around Richard Jeffrey’s course to finish on their dressage score of 27.9. Finishing second overall behind defending LRK3DE champions Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class from Great Britain, Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and the 12-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner put in a masterful performance from start to finish in their second LRK3DE together to win the Land Rover/USEF CCI5* Eventing National Championship presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN.

“I was thrilled with my bloke today. [Tsetserleg] doesn’t give you the most confidence in the warm-up, he was jumping all over the place and twisting and I heard these two [Townend and Tim Price] giggling at me in the warm-up,” joked Martin. “But [Tsetserleg] is a great little horse. He gets in the ring and a bit like Tim [Price’s] horse, just spooks that little bit; I do have to say, I think he loves a bit of atmosphere and the crowd. He tapped the first fence a bit and I thought, ‘Aw crap, this is going to be a long round,’ but at the second fence he really tried, and then I thought, ‘Oh, I’ve got a shot here.’

“He’s been a bit difficult in the combinations. He usually jumps really, really big over the first part and gets too close to the second part, so I felt like I had to really come in slow and short to the fence 4ab,” continued Martin. “Once he cleared [4ab], I knew I was in for a chance at a clear round. But all in all, I couldn’t be happier or more satisfied. … This year he has come out blazing. He exceeded my expectations and I think he is only going to grow and get better from this event.”

Watch Martin and Tsetserleg’s jumping round here.

In front of a crowd of approximately 23,000 on Sunday, and nearly 100,000 over the course of the four days of LRK3DE competition, the five top-placed combinations jumped clear rounds in the final phase. Going head-to-head for the top spot, Townend, Martin, and New Zealand’s Tim Price made it an exciting competition to the very finish.

As the highest-placed Americans, Martin and his FEI World Equestrian Games ™ (WEG) Tryon 2018 mount earned the Roger Haller Trophy for the national championship after their clear jumping round, a double-clear cross-country effort, and their second-best dressage score. Doug Payne (Aiken, S.C.) and Vandiver, a 15-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by the rider, Jessica Payne, and Debi Crowley also jumped a clear round, earning them the reserve national championship title.

In their third LRK3DE together, and Payne’s fifth, Payne and Vandiver’s fifth-place standing overall is the highest that Payne has achieved at the LRK3DE, with a score of 35.9 and a cross-country ride with just a single second over the optimum time.

“[Vandiver] is one exceptional creature,” said Payne. “He is pretty much a seeing-eye dog. You get him in the rough proximity [to the jump] and he is there to help you out. You wouldn’t ask for a better horse to head out on.”

Phillip Dutton (West Grove Pa.) and Z, an 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Thomas Tierney, Simon Roosevelt, Suzanne Lacy, Ann Jones, and Caroline Moran, finished third in the national championship and seventh overall at the LRK3DE on a score 39.7.

Defending his 2018 title, Townend and Cooley Master Class became only the fourth combination in the history of the LRK3DE to win back-to-back years, finishing on a score of 25.3 after jumping a clear-round of stadium jumping. Price and Xavier Faer held onto their number-three position, jumping a clear round as well to finish on their dressage score of 30.9.

Five American combinations would finish in the top-ten of the LRK3DE. In addition to Martin, Payne, and Dutton, Lauren Kieffer (The Plains, Va.) finished eighth and ninth with Jacqueline Mars’s Paramount Importance, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, and Vermiculus, a 12-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding, on scores of 46.0 and 46.6, respectively.

Overall LRK3DE Standings

by US Equestrian Communications Department

Martin and Tsetserleg Hold On to Lead in Land Rover/USEF CCI5* Eventing National Championship

Martin and Tsetserleg (Photo by Alex Banks for US Equestrian)

Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class maintain lead at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

Lexington, Ky. – In the second phase of the “best weekend all year,” Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg held on to their lead in the Land Rover/USEF CCI5* Eventing National Championship presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN on Saturday. Jumping a highly technical course designed by 2020 Tokyo Olympics course designer Derek di Grazia, Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and the 12-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner finished within the 11 minute and 20 second time allowed to stay on their dressage score of 27.9. The double-clear cross-country run moved the combination into second place overall in the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5* presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN (LRK3DE).

“My little guy felt a lot more seasoned this year,” said Martin. “I feel like we are a bit more of a partnership. [Tsetserleg] is a real trier. For a half-bred horse, he has a wonderful gallop, plenty of speed, and he is very, very fit. Throughout the course, he just kept trying, and trying, and trying; he never looked for a way out. … He is a good little horse. He is a gutsy little trier and he had plenty left at the end. I couldn’t be happier with him.”

Watch Martin and Tsetserleg’s cross-country run here.

Fellow American combination Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and Z, an 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Thomas Tierney, Simon Roosevelt, Suzanne Lacy, Ann Jones, and Caroline Moran, also finished on their dressage score of 31.7 with a double-clear ride to firmly place them in second in the Land Rover/USEF CCI5* Eventing National Championship and moving them from seventh to fourth overall in the LRK3DE. Doug Payne (Aiken, S.C.) and Vandiver, a 15-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by the rider, Jessica Payne, and Debi Crowley, were just over the time allowed to finish cross-country on 35.9, sitting third in the national championship and moving from 19th to seventh overall.

Holding onto the lead in the LRK3DE, Great Britain’s Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class finished their cross-country run with 1.2 time penalties, adding to their dressage score to finish the second phase on 25.3. New Zealand’s Tim Price and Xavier Faer improved upon their fifth-place tie after dressage to move to third with a double-clear cross-country ride and a score of 30.9.

With a crowd of 34,889 watching closely, the 6,452 meter course saw just three combinations successfully complete the tougher option at the famed obstacle 20, the Normandy Bank: Martin, Dutton, and Townend. Martin, Dutton, Price, and American Will Coleman were the only four combinations to complete the course within the time allowed. Living up to the five-star expectations, the cross-country course required long gallops and strategic maneuvers by athletic horse and riders, resulting in 31 combinations completing the phase.

“My guy looks like he has come through [cross-country] alright; [Tsetserleg] is a good, tough horse,” said Martin when asked about his preparation for the jumping in the final phase on Sunday. “[Tsetserleg] is a bit tricky in the show jumping, so I will probably ride him for a bit after the trot-up [Sunday morning] and get him a bit more balanced. … I will do my very best, try to ride him well, and it will be what it will be.”

Tsetserleg served as Martin’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) Tryon 2018 mount, and this is his second LRK3DE. The combination finished just outside of the top ten at the 2018 LRK3DE.

Visit the LRK3DE website for updated ride times, schedule of events, and scoring.

by US Equestrian Communications Department

Martin and Tsetserleg Lead Land Rover/USEF CCI5* Eventing National Championship after Dressage

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg (Photo by Alex Banks for US Equestrian)

Defending champions Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class first at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

Lexington, Ky. – In front of a home crowd of over 11,600 spectators, Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg earned a 27.9 after their dressage test to launch them into first place in the Land Rover/USEF CCI5* Eventing National Championship presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN as the leading U.S. combination at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN (LRK3DE). Sitting third overall, Martin sits behind a duo of riders from Great Britain, Piggy French and Quarrycrest Echo in second on a score of 27.1 and LRK3DE defending champions Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class in first on a score of 24.1.

With both the LRK3DE and CCI5* national championship titles on the line, U.S. combination Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z, The Deniro Syndicate and Ocala Horse Properties’ 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, head into cross-country sitting tied for fifth overall and second in the national championship after their Thursday dressage score of 30.9. Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and Z, an 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Thomas Tierney, Simon Roosevelt, Suzanne Lacy, Ann Jones, and Caroline Moran, sit seventh overall and third in the national championship after finishing on a score of 31.7 after dressage.

Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and his FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) Tryon 2018 mount, Tsetserleg, a 12-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner, put in a stellar test as the third-to-last combination to finish out the dressage phase at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“I was happy with my bloke,” said Martin. “[Tsetserleg] put in a good test. Dressage is a frustrating sport because you can always look back on it and wish you did this a little bit better, or wish you did that a little bit better, but he is getting better and better. Last year, he was very green here and sort of scraped through all three phases. This year, he is a bit more seasoned and confirmed at this level. He has been working really, really well. He is a very quiet horse and relaxed. … I am really looking forward to tomorrow. It should be really fun.

“I think this is our third year together,” continued Martin. “It takes about two years to form a partnership. Last year, it was probably a little bit of a rush, getting through [LRK3DE] and then to the [WEG Tryon 2018]. It sort of felt like we were doing everything on a wish and a prayer, but it has been good just taking a bit of a moment to get to know each other well. He is a little bit of a quirky horse and we have had a bit of time now to figure each other out. … It is wonderful having a horse that tries his guts out.”

Watch Martin and Tsetserleg’s dressage test here.

Martin and Tsetserleg will be nearly the last combination to leave the start box on Saturday. However, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z will start third on cross-country, following fellow American combinations Caroline Martin and Islandwood Captain Jack and Buck Davidson and Park Trader.

“I am very, very early on. I am third to go, so it is going be an occasion [where] I don’t get to watch any,” said Halliday-Sharp. “I’ve just got to make my own plan and stick to it, which actually suits me and [Deniro Z] anyway. I know him well and I think it is a strong track. I think Derek [di Grazia] builds a cross-country course that encourages bold riding. It is a good galloping course, which I hope will suit Deniro [Z]. There is a lot to do in the later part of the course. I think that is one of the biggest challenges – [the course] is sort of busy in that last minute and a half. … It will take a fit horse. I think the challenge is there and we just have to work hard and battle through it.”

Visit the LRK3DE website for updated ride times, schedule of events, and scoring.

by US Equestrian Communications Department

EQUITANA USA Announces Show Dates Alongside New Collaborations

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 24, 2019) – EQUITANA USA and the Kentucky Horse Park are pleased to announce the official show dates alongside three new collaborations. The new EQUITANA USA show will run Friday, September 25 – Sunday, September 27, 2020, making it a complete three day shopping and educational equestrian event. Taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, the late September dates provide attendees and exhibitors a beautiful early fall backdrop, with enjoyable temperatures and spectacular fall foliage, as well as affordable travel.

In tandem with the official date announcement, EQUITANA USA has launched early collaborations with three major renowned equine associations: United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the United States Pony Clubs (USPC), and the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP). EQUITANA USA is fully dedicated to working with associations that have positive missions in the horse industry and are able to touch all levels, ages, breeds, and disciplines.

USEF, which serves as the National Governing Body for equestrian sport, is “dedicated to uniting the equestrian community, honoring achievement, and serving as guardians of equestrian sport.” An ideal association to work alongside EQUITANA USA in its efforts to enhance equine and personal excellence among those with a passion for horses, USEF will have a booth, fan membership registration and onsite presence at the event.

“We are pleased to welcome EQUITANA USA to the United States, as well as to the Kentucky Horse Park, for the first time,” said USEF Chief Executive Officer, Bill Moroney. “This partnership will allow USEF to fulfill our mission of bringing the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible, while celebrating horses of all different breeds and disciplines. We encourage and invite fans of all different horse backgrounds to join us in experiencing this exciting new event.”

The United States Pony Clubs and its focus on youth development of character, leadership, confidence, and a sense of community also align naturally with EQUITANA USA‘s goal to inspire and educate young riders. Pony Club Members will have the chance to receive exciting early information about EQUITANA USA directly through Pony Club. The USPC will have a branded booth and Educational display during all three show days.

In addition to USEF and USPC, EQUITANA USA has formed a collaboration with the Retired Racehorse Project to support its mission of building demand for Thoroughbreds in equestrian circles after racing. Since its foundation in 2010, the Retired Racehorse Project has inspired thousands to transition off-track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs). With more than 170K social media followers, over 3.7 million annual page views on their websites, and frequent press coverage, the value of off-track Thoroughbreds and the Retired Racehorse Projects’ success is on the rise. EQUITANA USA and the Retired Racehorse Project will work together to bring additional awareness to the growing off-track Thoroughbred community. RRP will be on-site at EQUITANA USA for customers to learn more about supporting ex-racehorses in their new careers.

For more information about EQUITANA USA, visit www.equitanausa.com or www.kyhorsepark.com.

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

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

Annex A, Supplement to Dressage DR121 of USEF Dressage Rules, Updates Effective Feb. 1

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian (USEF) requests that members review Annex A, a supplement to DR121 of the USEF Dressage Rules, for updates and changes that are in effect as of February 1, 2019. These rules can be found on the USEF website under the Dressage “Rules & Equipment” section, in the forms and publications.

Important to note are the following, in addition to the updates and changes:

  • Some previously unpermitted bits are now allowed at USEF/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) dressage competitions.
  • New in 2019, for curb bits used in a double bridle, the maximum height of the deviation is 30 mm from the lower part of the tongue side to the highest part of the deviation. The widest part of the deviation must be where the mouthpiece contacts the tongue and must have a minimum width of 30 mm.
  • All bits/equipment labeled as “Pending Review” in Annex A are not allowed in USEF/USDF competitions until determined otherwise (in Annex A).
  • Please refer to the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Dressage Rules directly for permitted saddlery/equipment in FEI CDI events.

Complete USEF Dressage Rules can be found on the USEF website here. The Dressage “Rules & Equipment” section of the USEF website will be the official place for posting updates to DR121 regarding legal or illegal bits and equipment for dressage competition based upon FEI rulings and submissions for approval to the USEF Dressage Department. Additionally, competitors are reminded to periodically review Annex A for updates regarding bits and equipment throughout the competition year.

Questions related to Annex A and Dressage DR121 should be directed to Hallye Griffin, Managing Director of Dressage, at hgriffin@usef.org or Hannah Niebielski, Director of Dressage, National Programs, at hniebielski@usef.org.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

US Equestrian Is Excited to Launch Para-Equestrian Dressage Coach Certificate Program

Michel Assouline working with Para-Dressage athlete and Coach.

Lexington, KY – January 16, 2019 – US Equestrian is excited to launch the Para-Equestrian Dressage Coach Certificate Program, a first of its kind for the industry. This certificate program covers the principles of para-dressage coaching including guided improvement process, coaching philosophy, and sport-specific skill acquisition.  It develops a coach’s ability to prepare athletes from grassroots education to international competitions, along a continuum of progressive certificate levels. With the goal of coach development, the program uses classroom lecture time as well as simulated lessons, where coaches are given information and feedback on their teaching, knowledge, and overall performance.  The certificate program will take 3-6 months to complete, with a fast-track program offered, and involves onsite practicums, self-study, online exams, and final assessments.

Michel Assouline, USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor and Head of Coach Development, is responsible for spearheading this initiative, bringing a decade of curriculum development and Paralympic coaching experience to bear. Michel will be joined by other USEF-approved faculty to approve applications, deliver on-site practicums, and perform final assessments. The 2019 dates for the Para-Dressage Coach Certificate Program are listed below. The link to the full information booklet showing the application process and certification levels can be found here:  https://www.usef.org/compete/disciplines/para-equestrian/para-equestrian-dressage-programs-forms/usef-para-dressage-coach-certificate-program.

US Equestrian would like to thank the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for providing the Federal Adaptive Sport Grant which has helped to make this coach certificate program possible. This initiative has been conducted in partnership with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship with a goal of increasing awareness and coach education opportunities within Paralympic Equestrian Sports and to aid in the development of a USEF Coach database to support the competition pipeline for para-eligible athletes.

2019 Dates: Para-Dressage Coach Certificate Program

Program Launch Announcement: January 11, 2019, USEF Annual Meeting, Wellington, FL

Fast Track Program: (candidates choose one if they are eligible)
*    Option 1: March 3-4; Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center, Loxahatchee, FL
*    Option 2: September 7-8; Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, NC

Formal Program: (candidates attend both)
*    Onsite Practicum 1, May 15-16; Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, NC
*    Final Practicum & Assessment, Sept 9-10; Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, NC

For more information on dates and eligibility, please contact Laureen Johnson, Director of Para-Equestrian, at USEF, 859-225-7693, lkjohnson@usef.org.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Verdades and Cobra Win at 2018 Horse of the Year Gala

West Palm Beach, Fla. – US Equestrian is pleased to share that Verdades, owned by Laura Graves and Curt Maes, has been voted the 2018 International Horse of the Year, and Cobra, owned by Marsha Hartford-Sapp, has been voted the 2018 National Horse of the Year.

Verdades (Florett AS x Liwilarda/Goya), a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, affectionately known as Diddy, began his journey to international success in 2014 after garnering attention from his reserve-champion finish at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. Since his launch into the spotlight with his life-long rider and trainer Graves, Verdades’s achievements and continued success are profound. In 2018, Verdades again proved why he is one of the best horses to grace the international dressage ring as he won the Grand Prix at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals in Paris and helped the U.S. team earn a silver medal in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ Germany. He and Graves then rode for silver medal-winning The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) Tryon 2018.

Since being rounded up in the mountains of Nevada at the age of six, Cobra’s trainer and owner Marsha Hartford-Sapp has been devoted to the 14-year-old mustang gelding and proceeded training him with caution and respect for his instincts, creating a deep bond. Their mutual trust has seen them through competitions in both classical and Western dressage, where Cobra’s versatility and talent for each has been apparent. As one of the founding horses of USEF Western dressage competition, Cobra was one of the first recipients of the 2015 Horse of the Year awards in that discipline and has continued to collect numerous accolades ever since.

“It wasn’t even about that moment when the Olympic medal was placed around my neck. It was about the joy. Despite hardships, heartbreaks, and massive, massive life failures, always overwhelming joy… [and] the fact that this great horse brings so much joy to so many people.” – Laura Graves on her 2018 International Horse of the Year

“Several years ago, I stood in the middle of a round pen with a horse that was six years old, rounded up by a helicopter, and never touched by human hands.” – Marsha Hartford-Sapp

© 2019 US Equestrian Federation