Category Archives: eventing

Lessons from Portman Horse Trials

By Wiola Grabowska

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Run on the grounds of a beautiful Rushmore Park in Dorset, Portman Horse Trials welcomed us with bright sunshine, good going and a nice, calm vibe. Although not a surprise, it’s always interesting to see how very differently the horses warmed up on grass as opposed to when they work on surface.

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Walking the XC course
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Watching the warm up before the dressage

Lesson 1. Get schooling on grass pronto. All bendy lines, circles and corners seem like a triple challenge in comparison to a non-undulated, well groomed surface of an indoor arena 😉 

The dressage tests on grass in arenas set one next to another always seems to come with a few issues, main one being accuracy and control.

Lesson 2. Practice tests in a well measured space ON GRASS to quicken rider’s reaction time and improve quality of preparation for each movement when dealing with uneven, slightly undulated ground. 

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Lou and Robyn – dressage

Show Jumping course at Portman is short but well spaced out giving horses of all shapes, sizes and length of strides an opportunity to do well.

The challenge here was not to get overwhelmed by the size of the arena and the atmosphere, get a good rhythm going from the start and keep the pace active yet controlled. Many horses ran into trouble on this seemingly simple course, plenty of stops and canter troubles.

Lesson 3: Practice powerful, controllable canter ON GRASS, play with different lengths of strides and adjustability, play with balance on undulation in a controlled canter (as oppose to more open XC canter). Build confidence in one another. Pick level of events very wisely as confidence is lost quickly and takes ages to build. School on undulation regularly.

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Merehead show-jumping

The XC course is one of the most varied at lower levels and I love it. There is plenty of gradient, challenging the rider to balance the horse well and the horse is challenged to look after oneself. All the jumps are fair and questions are well matched to the level I think but the course does require a fit horse to ride well. Many combinations were off the bridle and low in the neck half way through the course, visibly tired and jumping clumsily.

Emma has kept Merehead moderately fit to help keep the cap on his exuberance but she got it spot on, he finished inside the time and full of running.

Lesson 4 – adjust the fitness level to the course. A too fit a horse that is so wound up it’s unrideable is not great, tired one is a hazard. 

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Merehead after last jump looking full of running and ready to keep going
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Little Florence attempting to help with Eventing lark 😉 

#WEG2014 Video snippets: Boyd Martin, Team USA captain, at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

For all those who wish they were watching WEG in real life! Little video snippet from the start of the eventing adventures in Normandy:

Team USA ready for the Games to begin in Normandy

Land Rover catch up with Boyd Martin, Team USA captain, at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian GamesTM currently being staged in Normandy, France to find out how he and the team are feeling on the eve of the eventing competition. Find out which countries he feels are a potential threat to the USA, and what he thought of the cross country course which the team saw for the first time today. Also see the various competitors take part in the trot up at Haras du Pin, the picturesque venue for the eventing competition.

Information source:

Sally Price | Senior Communications Director | Fast Track

Part of CSM Sport & Entertainment

Pearls of Wisdom from The Dressage Convention with Carl Hester, Richard Davison, Sylvia Loch, Miguel Ralão and Charlotte Dujardin

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The hosts: Richard Davison (left) and Carl Hester (right)
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From left: Richard Davison, Sylvia Loch and Carl Hester
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Click on the image for the event’s website

Monday after a great educational event – The Dressage Convention 2013 – surely must be perfectly suited to some note taking – have a look at some pearls of wisdom from Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin, Richard Davison, Sylvia Loch and Miguel Ralão .

It seems that The Dressage Convention is here to stay and will be a yearly event which I am very excited about as I couldn’t make this one in person.

If you are on Twitter, have a look at #TDCTalk tag for various updates from the event. Horse and Hound Magazine also ran a super tweet-report live from Bury Farm and I recommend having a look at their profile for many thought provoking lines: @horseandhound

Here is a little taste for what happened at the weekend. My resolution is to make the 2014 one in person!

Emily King (Mary King’s Daughter) & Brookleigh Drama or How To Fight For What You Want

If you follow the eventing world a little bit you might have seen that the owner of Emily King‘s top horse, Brookleigh, decided to sell him…If you haven’t, I copied below Mary’s plead for help in creating a syndicate that would allow Emily to keep the horse.

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Click on photo above to read comments

Then it turns out that a proactive teenager as Emily King is, she put together a poster which she used on her social media to draw more attention to the case and to find supporters.

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I first saw the information on Emily King’s Twitter and thought ‘damn I hope they find someone to buy the horse’ . I then read comments online under various mentions of this news and those comments are the reason for this post.

Vast majority of feedback on Emily’s initiative had been of course positive but the not-so-positive part made me think ( I won’t cite all the comments here, if you are interested in the dynamics of equestrian community I do encourage you to have a scan through replies on Mary King‘s Facebook). You might also want to have a read on Horse & Hound Forum: Mary King’s daughter losing her ride on Brookleigh…..?

Some people thought using social media to raise money for syndicate was “unprofessional”, some that it was a scam, others that Mary King should have sold one of her top horses and buy Brookleigh for her daughter.  As I said, reading the comments made me think about more general use of publicity, gaining awareness and rising interest through use of the Internet powers and thought I would share my opinion.

Continue reading Emily King (Mary King’s Daughter) & Brookleigh Drama or How To Fight For What You Want