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Time for U.S. Eventing to Gear Up

When Erik Duvander took over in October 2017 as the USA’s eventing performance director, there were only 10 months until the FEI World Equestrian Games. On top of that, it had been 13 years since U.S. eventers won a team medal at a global international championship (as opposed to a Western Hemisphere-only Pan American Games). So no pressure… U.S. eventing “had come off a couple of years of changing coaches, it just seemed like it was quite an unsettled sort of situation, and unsettled for the future of the sport,” observed Erik, who ...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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From Challenge Comes Opportunity

When does a challenge become an opportunity? For the U.S. Equestrian Federation, that happened in the wake of an embarrassing laboratory mistake involving a high-profile drug test. The error and subsequent cover-up led to the federation reversing hefty suspensions and fines levied against hunter trainer Larry Glefke and rider Kelley Farmer. They were accused in connection with a horse that had tested positive for Gaba, a prohibited substance. The situation was particularly difficult because at the USEF’s 2017 annual meeting, the big news w...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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An American Takes Stock of the Royal

There’s nothing like it in the USA. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair continues to make a success of tradition while keeping up with the times. Spectators in formal dress at the Royal hearken back to the National Horse Show’s long-gone era of white tie and evening gowns, when that show was at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. If you’re nostalgic for those days, come to the Royal. It has never given up its cachet and remains a fitting climax to the long march through the North American Fall Indoor Circuit, which begins with t...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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National Horse Show, You’re Gonna Make it After All

From the edge of extinction to an exciting evolution, the 135-year-old National Horse Show has survived major changes of venue, loss of title sponsors and uncertainty about its future. Now it’s definitely on firmer footing. During its eighth edition at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena, which wrapped up Nov. 4, the show demonstrated style and maturity, generating exhibitor enthusiasm in a way that harked back to the glory years in its original home, Madison Square Garden. Being in the Blue Grass isn’t the same as a venue in the h...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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After WEG Double Silver, What’s Next for U.S. Dressage?

It took 16 years for the U.S. dressage team to replicate its historic placing at the 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, when it took team silver once again at the 2018 WEG, following years of Olympic and world championship bronze medals – as well as a couple of dry periods. The day after the WEG team prizes were awarded at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, another chapter was written in the history books when Laura Graves became the first American to take individual silver at a global championship in the discipline. ...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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What Should we Think About WEG 2018 Now that it’s Over?

The eighth edition of the FEI World Equestrian Games had more than its share of problems, but then, problems seem to go with the genre. The compilation of eight world championships, up from six at the well-planned, highly successful first WEG in Stockholm 28 years ago, has gotten ever-more difficult and raises questions about whether it should continue. This WEG started out with a whole host of difficulties, from the omnipresent construction at the Tryon International Equestrian Center for the first week and part of the second; unseasonably ...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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The Key Word is Depression…

After a rugged Week One of the star-crossed 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, there are hopes that Week Two will have less drama. The WEG, which required an enormous effort to stage at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina, underwent some criticism for the amount of work still left to be completed at the venue by the day of the low-key opening ceremonies. But the real problem was the weather, even as Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm and then a “tropical depression.” The prospect of heavy rains...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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WEG Will Run Without its Companion WEQx™ Games

The FEI World Equestrian Games, with its eight disciplines, is an ambitious project for any entity to stage – hence the current absence of bids for the 2022 edition, if there is to be one. But Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners and a variety of other enterprises from the East Coast to Colorado, always looks at things from a different perspective. Although the Tryon International Equestrian Center had less than two years to organize the 2018 WEG in North Carolina after Bromont, Quebec, bowed out, Mark as usual wa...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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NARG is Revving Up for a Comeback

The North American Riders Group, once among the most active equestrian organizations, has practically disappeared from view after achieving many of its goals. But now it’s waiting in the wings for its next act, under the guidance of president Mark Leone. One of NARG’s chief aims was to improve shows on this continent, naming the top 25 every year. The eagerly awaited list was offered with a critique about what shows did right, and what they could do better. The shows at the top of the list publicized their selection. Those further dow...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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What’s Happening With the USEF Testing Lab?

More than six months after a major scandal prompted formation of a task force looking into the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s drugs and medications program and testing laboratory, no decision has been announced on whether the organization will scrap the lab. The bet here is that the USEF will continue to be the world’s sole sports federation that runs its own lab, but likely with some adjustments. Many federations not only outsource lab work, but the hearing process as well, something which USEF also conducts in-house. Over the last 10 yea...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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