Mid-South Eventing & Dressage Association


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  • 12/02/2021 9:02 AM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    In April, 2021, I rode in the Hawley Bennett clinic put on at Carriage Station Farm. I was in the Training/Modified class with SS Willow. I love riding with Hawley! She really focuses on confidence of horse and rider in her clinics. She takes the time to help the horses understand the exercises and builds them up slowly. She isn’t afraid to point out holes to work on, AND she gives you the tools to fill the gaps.Photo: JJ Sillman

    I love the grid work exercises that Hawley sets up. They really get the horse moving it’s feet and gives the rider opportunity to focus on their own position. Hawley really helped me find the correct pace out on the cross country course as well. We all know that it always feels faster than it is to gallop at a large, solid fence! I highly recommend joining the fun! Her enthusiasm is contagious and leaves you feeling like you can jump the moon!

    Hope to see you there!

    Jen Coleman
    Solstice Sporthorses

  • 10/20/2021 8:42 AM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    By: Kelly Rover

    My heart horse Barney (Fifth Avenue) injured his right hind deep digital flexor tendon in September 2020 (cause known) and he has been in rehab ever since.  After 20 years of horse ownership, I finally had to deal with my first horse rehab situation and I’ve learned a lot from it.  In addition to horse rehab, I also learned a lot about grief and how it impacts my day to day life.

    According to Wikipedia, grief is defined as “…the response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or some living thing that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed.”  Despite the fact that Barney did not die, I still ended up dealing with a good deal of grief having lost the ability to ride my heart horse, my main way to bond with my friend group, my basic form of physical activity, my number one stress reliever and distraction from work, and even a bit of my identity.  With this loss, I experienced the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance – in addition to a good amount of stress and anxiety over the last year. 

    Denial: Because Barney was sound during his first few months of rehab, I was optimistic that he would heal quickly and be back to riding in no time.  Barney and I were entered in several Fall shows last year and I held on to the entries convinced that we would be back to riding in a matter of days or weeks, not months or years.  I was in denial, or at least naive, regarding the seriousness of Barney’s injury and prognosis.

    Anger: After the denial came the anger.  I was angry at the show barn that kicked Barney out 48 hours after his diagnosis.  I was angry at the podiatrist who changed Barney’s shoeing angles too quickly in the middle of rehab.  I was mad at the rain that caused Barney to be locked in a stall for days at a time to keep him from slipping in the mud.  I was frustrated with the never-ending vet bills, rehab bills, and podiatry bills that never seemed to coincide with progress or good news.  I was angry about all the things I was missing – the time in the saddle, the shows, the trail rides, and Florida trip, and time with friends.  I had a lot of anger, but I did my best to hide it from people so as not to alienate myself further. 

    Bargaining: Sometime in January I realized that Barney wouldn’t be healed any time soon and I didn’t want to miss an entire year of riding.  I bargained with myself that if I could lease a horse to ride until Barney got better then I wouldn’t miss out on so much.  I bargained that if I focused on the excitement of riding a new horse, I could bury the grief that I felt from Barney’s injury.  Unfortunately, my plans for bargaining backfired and only resulted in further fueling my sadness, anger, and depression.  A failed lease trial in January, a catastrophic event in March, an ended lease in May, a failed pre-purchase trial in June, and another failed match in September left me wondering if any of this is worth the time, the money, or the heartache. 

    Depression: The fourth stage of grief, depression, has consumed most of my year.  Most days I feel like my life is covered in a dense fog and I’m frozen in my tracks and unable to move.  My energy has been spent and my desire to act or react is gone.  I go through the motions of putting in long hours at work, but I have a hard time mustering up the energy to do much other than eat, sleep, and work most days.  Anyone who knows me will describe me as a goal oriented, action focused, and always on the move so this is a complete 180 from my “normal” self.  I try to find joy in meeting friends for a drink or borrowing a friend’s horse to hack, but those opportunities are fleeting and just as quickly I fall back into depression.

    Acceptance:  In the last 30 days my husband and I made the spontaneous decision to buy a horse farm.  I feel like this was a big step in accepting Barney’s prognosis.  At 13 years old, it is safe to assume that Barney will need a place to safely live out the next 15-20 years of his life and that boarding is impractical.  I told myself that having Barney in my backyard for me to groom and snuggle and spoil every day would help heal my heart.  All of those things are true, but part of me also wonders if I bought a horse farm so that I wouldn’t quit horses entirely.  So that I wouldn’t let my depression swallow me up and hide me from the equestrian life which I love.  So that the last year of grief doesn’t erase the 20+ years of happiness that horses have given me.

    I must admit that I don’t fully feel like I’ve conquered my grief yet.  I expect that I will continue to cycle through the various stages of grief for a while longer but I hope that it starts to fade over time and get replaced with peace, hope, pride, and joy.   In the meantime, I will be busy setting up my new farm, feeding Barney peppermints over the backyard fence, living vicariously through my equestrian friends, and looking for my next riding partner.

  • 06/05/2021 2:32 PM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    Every winter I count down the days until I can head to Aiken, South Carolina for my annual spring training trip with my horse. This is the perfect chance to step away from work and my adult responsibilities in Kentucky and enjoy a week focused on my horse and spending time with friends.

    This year, my horse Barney was laid up with a soft tissue injury. Luckily, someone at the barn was generous enough to let me borrow their 10 yo thoroughbred gelding Biggs (Big Brass Band) to take on the trip.

    by CanterClix

    Biggs and I started our trip early Friday, March 19th and made the 8 hour drive to Jumping Branch Farm. We spent the week hacking around the picturesque property and getting dressage, show jumping, and cross country lessons. I was fortunate to get coaching from Jennifer Merrick-Brooks of Equijenn Equestrian International based in Michigan. Jenn has a unique talent for building confidence in timid horses and riders with an emphasis on having fun! I learned a lot from Jenn, and her daughter and Equijenn co-owner Brittney Weber, throughout the week.

    In dressage, Biggs tends to curl behind the bit at the trot and Jenn gave me advice on how to warm up in the canter to get him thinking forward before putting him together and working through various dressage test movements and transitions at the walk, trot, and canter. We also practiced an exercise of riding square corners in an open field to help me support Biggs and keep him from running through the right shoulder and rib cage.

    by Nancy Kowalski

    In show jumping, we worked on my keeping my leg long and heels low which enabled me to support Biggs’s large barrel and help lift him up with my leg instead of sending him shooting forward. We also worked on my ability to half halt and rebalance Biggs with my seat and body (tilt my pelvis to sit on my seat bones and keep my shoulders tall) while keeping my hands low and soft. It took a while for me to find the right combination of supportive leg, body balancing half halt, and soft hand to maintain an even and consistent rhythm around the jump field.

    Towards the end of the week I got to school cross country at Jumping Branch Farm. I worked on applying what I learned in my show jumping lessons to my cross country riding. Biggs and I were successful in keeping a steady rhythm and balance from jump to jump even while navigating ditches, banks, and water. So much fun!

    The week was a great experience learning to ride a new horse while having a blast hanging out with my friends. A huge thanks to the MSEDA which provided me with the grant to cover the cost of my lessons while I was in Aiken. I cannot wait until Aiken 2022!

    This is a report provided by the grant recipient Kelly Rover.

  • 01/18/2021 10:56 AM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    (USEA) - US Equestrian (USEF) has released the updated USEF Rules for Eventing for the 2021 season which will go into effect on December 1, 2020. Changes this year include relaxed dress requirements, riders will no longer be required to wear a medical armband (unless they have a relevant medical condition), activating a frangible device will now carry a penalty of 11 points, and this coming year we will see the addition of the new Modified Three-Day Event!

    Click here to ready the whole post.

  • 01/18/2021 9:22 AM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    (USEA News) - There are currently 34 FEI events on the U.S. Eventing calendar for 2021 with the first taking place in mid-March. While all national events in the U.S. follow the USEF Rules For Eventing, international events follow the FEI Rulebook.

    The FEI General Assembly met in early December and unanimously approved all proposals for 2020 modifications to the eventing rules. In addition, there were a few important modifications to the general regulations and veterinary regulations.

    Click here to read the rest of the post.

  • 08/06/2020 10:31 AM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    The United States Eventing Association (USEA) and Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI) have made the extremely difficult decision to cancel the 2020 edition of the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The USEA Board of Governors weighed every option, but ultimately voted not to proceed to host the national championships due to the health and safety concerns of holding a national competition during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "Canceling the AEC is devastating for so many that have worked so hard to get to this point," said USEA CEO Rob Burk. "With riders coming from 41 states we could not ignore the geographic pull of this event and the implications of that. The immense amount of uncertainty caused by recent cancellations of similar-sized events at the Kentucky Horse Park weighed heavily on the USEA leadership.”

    “If the AEC had moved forward I am confident that our team led by EEI, Mary Fike, and the USEA Staff would have put on a spectacular competition in as safe an atmosphere as is possible. Ultimately though the inability to guarantee that the event wouldn't be canceled by regional governments or other authorities left too much uncertainty. By canceling before the closing date for entries we are hopeful that riders can reroute to their local events which desperately need their support and are working incredibly hard to hold safe events. Over the next month, the USEA Board of Governors will look into the qualifications for the 2021 AEC to see what can be done for those that worked so hard to qualify in 2020."

    “The USEA Board of Governors held a lengthy discussion tonight and it was not an easy decision,” added USEA President Max Corcoran. “We have full faith in EEI, the Kentucky Horse Park, and the competitors themselves that we could run a safe competition, but ultimately we voted not to proceed. It’s the horrible decision of what we want and what is right. The AEC is a national championships with competitors coming from 41 different states, and it is not in the best interest of our members to host such a geographically diverse competition during a global pandemic. I am very sad that we are not having the AEC this year, but in these uncertain times, we wanted to make the decision as far out as possible in order for people to plan accordingly. Not hosting the AEC will be a financial hit for both the USEA and EEI, but in the end, it is the right decision ethically for the staff, volunteers, officials, and competitors. I look forward to cheering you all on in Kentucky in 2021!”

    “While canceling the 2020 AEC was a difficult decision, we know that the health and safety of our competitors far outweigh any event,” said EEI Executive Director Lee Carter. “USEA, EEI, and Mary Fike recognize that 2020 has created challenges for many organizations. Our hope and expectation are that in 2021 we will be stronger than ever. Until then . . . on we go!”

    Please direct any questions concerning entries or stabling to Anna Robinson at aecentries@gmail.com.

  • 05/11/2020 10:31 AM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    Dear MSEDA members,

    I hope you have been safe and healthy during the recent pandemic.

    Since we follow the recommendations of the USEF, USEA, and USDF, we will be recognizing points for our schooling shows starting June 1st.

    We urge you to contact organizers to determine local protocols to protect everyone at the shows.

    I look forward to seeing all of you soon, and hope we can have a great show season.

    Good luck,
    MSEDA Board of Directors 
  • 04/29/2020 11:01 AM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    Dear USEF Members and Competition Organizers (Licensees and Managers),

    We continue to carefully monitor the COVID-19 Pandemic situation and the position of health experts, including the CDC and other public health authorities. It appears that in several areas of the country, restrictions put in place by State Governors, such as the “stay-at-home” orders, are making a positive difference. Federal, state and local governments are discussing plans for re-opening the environment in the near future. However, this will not occur overnight and will very likely consist of a graduated easing of restrictions over several weeks, which may vary greatly state-to-state, as well as within the states themselves. 

    The success of these plans is predicated on a mindful and responsible approach to easing restrictions while also maintaining best practices that we have all learned and adopted in order to reduce exposure to and transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Once USEF competitions resume, we must all continue to support and maintain these best practices as part of our daily activities to help prevent further disruptions to our lives. We hope that resumption of competition comes soon.

    With that in mind, the suspension of all USEF owned and named events, selection trials, training camps, clinics and activities is being extended through May 31, 2020. This suspension also includes points, scores, money won, qualifications, or rankings toward any USEF award programs, USEF owned and named events, or selection to a US team including USEF National Championships. Upon the expiration of this suspension, competitions must comply with requirements issued by USEF for operating sport horse competitions in this environment.

    Collaborating with competition organizers, affiliate leaders and other industry experts, USEF has been developing competition protocols for safely operating competitions and mitigating the risks associated with COVID-19. Once finalized, we will be providing all competition organizers with these protocols as well as other risk mitigation tools for their use. These tools and resources will also be front-facing on our website and accessible by all members and website visitors.

    We have been working on amendments to qualification and selection processes for numerous USEF owned and named events as well as how USEF HOTY awards and ranking lists are calculated. We have started announcing modifications that will make the process as fair as possible for all participants, despite the disruption to the competition year and the likelihood of a staggered regional start-up.

    We have received inquiries as to whether USEF will grant exemptions to the junior competitor age restrictions, equine age restrictions and equine eligibility restrictions based on competitive experience. While these topics are being discussed, it is still too early to make definitive conclusions regarding these issues. 

    We will continue to assess the pandemic impact, and we will keep you informed of any updates to our position as circumstances warrant or as instructed by the government and public health authorities. 

    The safety and welfare of our members and their horses must continue to be our top priority.

    Stay safe,

    William J. Moroney
    Chief Executive Officer

  • 10/28/2019 2:20 PM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    Founded in 2000 by Olympian Michael Poulin, the Young Rider International Dream Program, hosted by The Dressage Foundation, takes four top American dressage riders under the age of 22 to Europe to introduce them to the pinnacle of dressage sport: CHIO Aachen, in Germany.

    However, these up-and-coming riders got more than just awesome seats for the horse show: They received insider information from top professionals in all facets of the equestrian industry, including riders, trainers, judges, photographers, tack makers and more.

    MSEDA member Reese Koffler-Stanfield (USDF FEI Certified Instructor) was asked to chaperone the 2019 trip, which took place July 15 through 22. Recipients of the scholarship for the week-long excursion included Sophia Chavonelle of Maine, Raissa Chunko of Colorado, Emma Sevriens of Georgia and Bridgid Browne, also of Georgia. The second chaperone was Bill McMullin of Wellington, FL, an “R” judge and international rider and trainer.

    A Trip Abroad

    No stranger to international competition, Reese was delighted to have the opportunity to return to Germany to show the riders what encompasses the “best horse show in the world!” And there truly is no other equestrian competition or venue quite like the CHIO Aachen World Equestrian Festival. Competition takes place in five disciplines: show jumping, dressage, eventing, driving and vaulting.

    The main stadium seats 40,000—and Reese notes that the stadium routinely sells out. “The entire town comes out,” says Reese. “There are loads of school kids and the whole town celebrates the horse show. It’s a true showcase of German horse sport.” There are literally tens of thousands of visitors every day; in total, 368,500 people attended the event in 2019—that’s certainly a dichotomy from State-side competition when venues, even those hosting elite riders, are routinely less than half full.

    And what else is notable about the showground? The shopping! “Oh, the trade fair!” Reese says as she scrolls through pictures that include literally walls of blinged-out browbands, saddlepads, bits and every equine accoutrement a horse lover can possibly dream of. There’s nothing that really compares to the shopping at Aachen, Reese says.

    Meeting the Makers

    In addition to the amazing competition, Reese and Bill set up meet-and-greets for the young riders with 27 professionals from various facets of the equine industry. These included judges, photographers, a bit designer for Herm Sprenger and industry powerhouses like Carl Hester, Janet Foy, Axel Steiner, Steffen Peters, Katherine Bateson, and Adrienne Lyle (Steffen, Katherine, and Adrienne are members of the US Dressage Team).

    Though incredibly busy, each professional offered 100 percent of their attention to the four aspiring professionals, speaking candidly about the trials and tribulations of making it to the top in a very competitive sport. The riders in particular spoke openly about the financial need to locate and secure sponsors and owners for international competition.

    While the interactions with professionals were designed with the young riders in mind, Reese notes that everything they said was applicable to the adult chaperones, as well. “One of the goals of the trip is to foster professional relationships,” said Reese, and to encourage the young riders to ask questions and for advice—all of which is helpful no matter your age.

    Best Seat in the House

    The competition was nothing short of remarkable; the young riders got to not only watch some of the best horse-and-rider teams in the world compete, but they also got to see them warm-up, which, as any devoted rider knows, is where you may learn even more than you do when watching the competition arena.

    The riders and their chaperones got to really analyze the tests they were watching; Germans are so deeply passionate about horse sport that many audience members had an app where they could live score along with the judges and see the judging results in real time.

    The competition was amazing, but the real learning for the young riders took place outside the arenas, where they met with professionals from all equestrian genres who took them seriously and spoke to them candidly and as adults. There’s no doubt that this week-long trip will leave a lasting impression as these young riders begin their journeys as professional riders and trainers.

    Read more about the Aachen CIO here. https://www.chioaachen.de/en/

    Interested in learning more about the Young Rider International Dream Program and all the grants available through the Dressage Foundation? Click here. https://www.dressagefoundation.org/grants-and-programs/apply/young/dream.html

  • 08/12/2019 12:26 PM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    Victory Gallop

    Area VIII Young Riders brought home some impressive hardware from the 2019 Adequan/FEI North American Youth Championships presented by Gotham North last month! Held at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, MT, Area VIII fielded two teams, both a CCI2* and a CCI3* team. The riders returned home with Team Gold in the CCI 2* and Team Silver in the CCI 3*! To round out the stellar weekend, two individual medals were won by Elizabeth Henry (Individual Silver in the 2*) and Cosby Green (Individual Bronze in the 3*).

    Members of the CCI2* team included:
    Elizabeth Henry on Charlotte La Bouff
    Cierra Daratony on Rio De Janeiro
    Gracie Elliott on Ballylanders Finn McCool
    Tate Northrop on Fine With Me

    Members of the CCI3* Star Team were fielded from Area IV and Area VIII. They included:
    Cosby Green on Takine De La Barbais
    Heather Morris on Jos UFO De Quidam
    Emma Fetting on Spanning the Globe
    Greta Schwickert on Charles Owen

    For Area VIII, Emily Beshear was the coach, Maxine Preston was the Chef d’Equipe and Shelley Ryan was the coordinator. Additional support was provided by Dr. Laura Werner of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute as the team’s vet.Podium

    The Area VIII Young Riders Program is open to riders competing in Beginner Novice and above, who are 21 years old and younger who live in Area VIII. This unique program offers young eventers educational opportunities to learn skills they need to compete well and safely. It also teaches necessary riding techniques as they move into the upper levels of competition. Riders in Area VIII must be selected to be a representative of the area at the CCI1* and CCI2* competition at the  North American Young Riders Championship.

    MSEDA caught up with Gold Medal team members Tate Northrop and Gracie Elliott to ask about their awesome trip West.

    MSEDA: Where did you qualify for Young Riders?
    Gracie Elliott: I qualified for Young Riders at Chattahoochee Hills 2* short!
    Tate Northrop: I started this season in Aiken to complete my Preliminary qualifications for the 2* level. I then completed my two CCI2* events, one at Virginia Horse Trials (which I recommend!) in May and another at Fox River Valley in June. That allowed me to make my minimum qualifications to be eligible for the team!

    MSEDA: Was this your first year competing in this event?
    GE: This was my first time competing at Young Riders! The rest of my team had never competed there either, so winning gold as a rookie team was extra special!!
    TN: Yes, I’m 14, so this was the first year I was eligible.

    MSEDA: What horse did you ride?
    GE: I rode my own Ballylanders Finn McCool, known in the barn as Finn. He is an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding that I brought over a little over 3 years ago. When he came over, he had not gone to any events, so I have been able to produce him from the start!
    TN: I rode my horse Frank, show under the name Fine With Me. We bought him 2 years ago to help me get to Young Riders. He’s also known as “my teacher.”

    MSEDA: How did you find your horse?
    GE: One of my coaches, Megan Moore, sourced him for me in Ireland.
    TN: We bought him from Martha Lambert, who was selling him for her sister Margie Darling, who had owned him since his racing days. Martha and her daughter Lauren were a big part of his training and even campaigned him up through the Intermediate level. We were very lucky to find him so close to us.

    MSEDA: Who is your trainer?
    GE: I train with Megan Moore out of Georgetown, KY, and Linda Strine out of Nicholasville, KY.
    TN: I kind of freelance; I do lots of clinics and get to train with Emily Beshar, who is the Area 8 coach. Also a big shout-out to Emily Ragan for helping me from the start!

    MSEDA: Did you know the other members of your team before you got out West? 
    GE: Before heading out to Montana, I knew my teammate Cierra, as well as Cosby Green, who was on the 3-star team. It was such an awesome experience to get to know Elizabeth, Tate and Heather throughout the week!
    TN: I knew of them, but we got to get really close through the Area 8 training sessions and camps. But sharing this experience in Montana brought us even closer.

    MSEDA: Have you been to Rebecca Farm before?
    GE: I had never been to Rebecca Farms before, but it is one of the most beautiful venues I have had the opportunity of competing at! It took the horses about 36 hours on the van and it took me about 8 hours to get there from Kentucky by plane!
    TN: No, but I certainly hope we get to go again! Rebecca Farms is amazing! It took a long time to get there (thank you Brook Ledge Horse Transportation!) and a whole lot of delayed and canceled flights, but we finally got there.

    MSEDA: What was your favorite part of the trip?
    GE: It’s so hard to pick my favorite part of the trip! I loved getting to hang out with the team (and go white water rafting in the national park!), hack around and explore the venue, and of course get to compete! It was truly a dream come true!
    TN: My favorite part of the trip was the team experience and the awesome girls I shared it with.

    MSEDA: How did you feel your competition went?
    GE: All of the pieces seemed to come together during the competition. Our dressage test was the best that we could lay down at this point in our training, we had the best cross country round of our lives-- I was absolutely thrilled to go double clear--and we had an amazing show jumping round that was just one silly second over the time! I couldn’t believe that we only added .4 penalties to my score at the biggest competition we have ever been to!
    TN: We had some of our best performances up there, including having a double-clear cross country run at our first long format.

    MSEDA: Was it fun to be a part of a team?
    GE: I think the best part of competing at NAYC was the team experience. It was incredible to get close with other riders who showed up to every one of each other’s rides to cheer every teammate on. We laughed together, we cried together and standing up on the podium together was something I will never forget!!
    TN: Yes, it was one of my favorite parts of this experience. The best part is having all the support from our coach, chef, organizer and vet, along with the encouragement from my teammates.

    MSEDA: Would you recommend other equestrians try to take part in Young Riders?
    GE: I would 100 percent recommend Young Riders to anybody who will listen!! It takes a lot of work to get there and is not for the faint of heart, but it is one of the most rewarding experiences that I have been blessed to immerse myself in!
    TN: Yes, I would definitely recommend it. I loved the experience, but know it’s not for everyone.

    MSEDA: What are you taking away from this competition?
    GE: My biggest take-away from the competition is having confidence in my horse and my riding. It was a long road to produce Finn up to this level, and I often doubt that I have prepared him enough for the task at hand. He really stepped up to the plate at NAYC and proved to me that we can both do it and do it well!
    TN: Overall, I have a greater appreciation of the sport and all the people it takes to make these competitions happen.

    MSEDA: What advice would you give to someone who dreams of riding at Young Riders?
    GE: If I were to give advice to someone trying to get to Young Riders, I would encourage them not to compare themselves to others. I went from doing Preliminary on my previous horse to running around a Beginner Novice on Finn, so it took me a while to put things in perspective when I was seeing the friends I had been competing against move up the levels while I was starting from scratch. It takes a lot of time to get ready for something like this, but it is so, so worth it!
    TN: This definitely would not have been possible without finding the right horse like Frank or having such supportive parents and people around me.

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Midsouth Eventing & Dressage Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

MSEDA’s mission is to promote and preserve the sports of Eventing and Dressage in the Mid-South area, by providing leadership and education to its members and the community at large. To further these goals, MSEDA will provide educational opportunities, fair and safe competitions, promote the welfare of the horse and rider and reward the pursuit of excellence from the grass roots to the FEI level.

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