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Making USEF Horse Shows Fit Their Designations

When you go to McDonald’s, you know what to expect. Ditto the mid-range Outback Steakhouse and the high-end Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. But at U.S. Equestrian Federation-recognized horse shows, the nomenclature doesn’t always reflect what’s actually on the menu. As exhibitors arrive at a show rated Premier, they don’t anticipate finding less-than-ideal stabling, or perhaps footing that isn’t up to snuff. But some of those shows aren’t meeting competitors’ expectations. And although the USEF has many responsibilities as the USA...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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The U.S. Equestrian Federation is on a SafeSport Mission

The day is coming, and probably soon, when everyone who belongs to the U.S. Equestrian Federation will have to participate in SafeSport training via a video. At the USEF Board’s mid-year meeting in Kentucky this week, president Murray Kessler told the group he expects it to pass a rule making SafeSport education mandatory for the 25,000 trainers who belong to the organization. The regulation would take effect for those people at the start of the 2019 competition year on De...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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U.S. Olympic Discipline Teams Building Competitive Strength as WEG Looms

Since 2004, U.S. eventers haven’t won a team medal in a global championships (an Olympics or World Equestrian Games, WEG, as opposed to the Western Hemisphere’s Pan American Games). That may be about to change, however. The 2016 Olympic eventing squad discouragingly didn’t finish as a team in Rio. But Boyd Martin, who has been a part of American eventing efforts at WEGs and Olympics since 2010, said that while looking back over the past eight years, he believes, “this has been the year where as a country, we’ve looked the strongest...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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Championships for Younger Set Get New Life From U.S. Equestrian Federation

Reinvigorating the North American Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Championships was a key 2018 goal for U.S. Equestrian Federation President Murray Kessler, who announced at his organization’s annual meeting in January that he was determined to “elevate the importance of this critical event.” With the appointment of a task force that has representation from Canada and Mexico “to make this special again,” the federation wasted no time in focusing on it. The annual competition offers young people involved with show jumping, d...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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When is a WEG More than a WEG?

The eight disciplines of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ weren’t enough for Mark Bellissimo, the impresario extraordinaire of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, the Winter Equestrian Festival and so much more. Mark saved the 2018 WEG after financial problems short-circuited Bromont, the original choice to hold the compendium of eight world championships. But while the WEG at the site in Quebec was scheduled for August, during vacation time, the North Carolina WEG will start a month later (August is very hot in North Carolina) and r...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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Where is International Show Jumping Going?

It was quite a panel. The one and only George Morris. World Cup winner and Olympic medalist McLain Ward. Ten-time show jumping Olympian Ian Millar of Canada. Olympic course designers Leopoldo Palacios and Guilherme Jorge. Live Oak International Co-Chair Juliet Reid. Team Olympic and World Equestrian Games medalist Lucy Davis, the Millennial in the group. Trainer Max Amaya, a native of Argentina. Cesar Hirsch, the overall steward for September’s FEI World Equestrian Games, put these thinkers together last night at the Wanderers Club in Well...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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Embryo Auction Presents Chance to Get Good Bloodlines Without Spending a Fortune

Patient buyers looking for a bargain found their match in the Ocala Embryo Auction at Florida’s Live Oak International show last weekend. The concept takes some explaining. Luk Van Puymbroeck and his Flanders Foal Auction business partner, Gerald Lenaerts, offered 20 embryos with exceptional dam pedigrees. Chin Chin, Plot Blue and Quick Star were among the stallions represented on the bottom line. Flanders was the first outfit in Belgium to try this auction approach, said Luk. The arrangement enables buyers to keep their purchases, sche...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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U.S. Equestrian Federation Making Changes in Wake of Drug Testing Snafu

When the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s mantra of fair play and horse welfare got a double whammy in January from a mishandled drug testing process, the organization vowed to make things right and went into action on several fronts. It was more than just embarrassing that USEF had to announce during its annual meeting that a very high- profile case against a well-known trainer and a rider accused of using a calming agent was dropped because of the problem in the federation’s own laboratory. The incident shook belief in validity of the test...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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Big Names in Eventing Honed Dressage and Jumping Skills at WEF

We’ve all had those moments when we run into someone out of context (an acquaintance from home at a coffee shop in another town, a co-worker at a concert) and are startled because it doesn’t immediately compute. That’s what it was like to see eventer Boyd Martin competing in one of the national arenas at the same time the 5-star FEI show was going on at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida. As the likes of Laura Graves and Shelly Francis were battling it out during the Grand Prix in the main arena, Boyd was do...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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Wellington Has Plenty of Horses to Go Around

It started as a way to keep a Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifier in Wellington, Florida, when the Rolex-backed Winter Equestrian Festival had an obvious sponsor conflict. But in three years, a very special four-day show – the CP Palm Beach Masters CSI3***-W – has been built around the featured Sunday class, and there are entries enough to keep it and the WEF going simultaneously in the “Winter Horse Capital of the World” on the first weekend in February. The $35,000 Welcome class at the Masters, for instance, drew 55 big na...

By: Due South // Nancy Jaffer

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