Mid-South Eventing & Dressage Association


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  • 03/07/2016 9:40 AM | Deleted user

    By Stacy Curwood

    I’m Stacy Curwood, and I’m the rider and owner of Special Dark, aka Sparky.  Sparky is a six-year old Thoroughbred off the track and I am a 41-year-old history professor at UK. We’ve been together for almost two years, ever since I saw Sparky on a video and had him shipped to me sight unseen.  He’s called Sparky because he is a bit opinionated in the barn, but he’s turned out to be a very willing and athletic partner, and I’m excited about our future together.

    We completed a couple of Beginner Novice horse trials in 2015, and both times he was a superstar jumping.  I was frustrated with the dressage phase, however.  Sparky has good gaits and is more than capable in the sandbox, but I did not have him solidly on the aids and it showed. I vowed to go home and do some homework. I moved Sparky to a facility with an indoor arena and good footing, and was delighted to discover that talented trainer Megan Lynn was available to teach there.  With Megan’s help we spent the fall building basics on the flat and over jumps, making significant progress in both areas. My equitation and Sparky’s responses to my aids improved greatly.

    When I applied for the MSEDA scholarship, I decided to focus on dressage and to return to a trainer who has made a huge impact on my riding: Sandy Osborn.  Sandy is a USEF “S” judge and USDF Gold Medalist who teaches and trains near Atlanta, Georgia.  Sandy had helped me previously with my older horse Cat Burglar (“Taco”), and transformed my riding by teaching me to engage my core muscles and feel straightness in the horse. Every lesson with her was an immersion experience, both incredibly demanding and rewarding.  Now I wanted to utilize her skills in pushing horses and riders to new levels of excellence with Sparky. When I was lucky enough to win the MSEDA Education Scholarship, I signed us up for a week of dressage “boot camp” with Sandy.


    I pull into Ashland Farm, a fabulous facility in Walnut Grove, Georgia.  Ashland has belonged to multiple generations of the Calhoun family and, after farming cotton, cattle, and fresh produce it developed into an equestrian paradise a few decades ago. It has a boarding barn but what makes it special is that non-boarders can purchase a membership and use two dressage arenas, a showjumping arena, a cross-country schooling field up to Preliminary, and 300 acres of wooded trails and fields to hack in. The boarding barn is adjacent to a covered arena with textile footing.

    Lucy Calhoun, the owner, greets me. Sparky is to stay in one of the six stalls that are attached to the covered arena and reserved especially for guests. We get him settled in and she patiently writes down the detailed feeding instructions I give her. I give Sparky a kiss goodnight and head off to my friend Lynda’s house to bed myself down.


    I tack Sparky up and ride into Ashland’s covered arena.  Right away, Sandy notices me clamping my leg at the walk. She has me relax my leg and bump him lightly with both calves to tell him to walk forward.  This will be a theme for the whole lesson—bump with one leg or both, then relax and let my legs lie on his sides.  The aids should be short-lived and definite.  Not only that, I have to be certain to allow him to step forward with the rest of my body.  Sit back so more of the horse is in front of me. Weight my elbows but keep my hands weightless so that he can lift his wither and drop his neck over onto the bit. If I want to slow the tempo, I must do so with my core and not the reins, because the reins stop his hind legs and encourage him to drop behind the bit, one of his go-to evasions.

    We also address straightness. Since he is carrying his haunches to the left, Sandy has me push him from my left leg into a leg yield on a left-handed 20-meter circle. My tendency is to lean over my left hand and pull on that rein, but that solves nothing. The real problem is that he is not stepping from his left hind into the right rein, so the leg yield is a tool to push him into the proper alignment and help him start learning to step through with the left hind. She has me either leg-yielding or being prepared to leg yield every moment when we are tracking left so that we preserve the correct alignment. Going right, I am to curve his body around a right leg that is weighted and directly underneath me, keeping his haunches correctly positioned to the right. We think we have improved the straightness so Sandy has me trot a serpentine to test it.  I ask him to turn left with his haunches on the correct track—and he has a tantrum! Back to the circle, pushing the haunches left until he settles. We try again.  Much better this time!

    To finish, we do a little bit of canter.  Sandy wants me to kick forward, much more than I think I need to, almost thinking medium.  The canter seems too fast to me and I am tempted to lean forward and slow him down with my reins.  But she tells me to sit back and follow with my elbows, and to my surprise Sparky’s wither lifts under me and he balances himself for several steps.

    We finish there. Sparky and I are going to sleep well tonight!


    I meet saddle fitter Nancy Bardy at the barn in the morning.  Nancy sold me my dressage saddle two years ago, but at the time she had flocked it for Taco.  Now that Sparky is my main competition partner, it’s time to flock it for him.  Nancy finds that she can make some substantial changes that will greatly improve the fit. We’re both pleased with the result.  Sparky has his own saddle now!

    In my lesson, Sparky is already better.  Between the saddle reflock and his memory of what we worked on the day before, he is straighter and more willing to go forward. I’m still weighting and elongating my right side, sitting back to allow the hind legs to come forward, and pairing heavy elbows with weightless hands. Today Sandy pushes us to move more forward in all three gaits, keeping the energy constant. On the circle left, I concentrate on leading him with my right rein, always encouraging him to step over to it but without changing his bend so his shoulder follows the path of the circle. We spend less time leg-yielding on the circle (though always making sure the haunches don’t fall left) and practice leg yields on the center line.  He’s stepping to my right rein better when we leg yield over toward the right.  When I weight my right stirrup and gently push with my left leg, he moves fluidly over to the wall.  Leg yielding toward the left, where he wanted to lead with his haunches and fly over to the left, he is staying underneath me. Sometimes we just trot the center line and don’t leg yield, just to ensure that we can maintain straightness without the arena wall.

    At the canter, I practice allowing with my elbows again and establishing a forward hand-gallop.  This time, when I sit back and lighten my seat, thinking about lifting his front end with my lower abdomen, he lifts his wither for several circles and stays wonderfully light in the reins.  He feels like a real dressage horse now!

    As I’m finishing my ride, Dr. Kim Keeton, a sport horse veterinarian who happens to be a dear friend and the person who helped me find Sparky, watches him at all three gaits and then walking in hand. He shows some asymmetries, so we decide to acupuncture and do a chiropractic adjustment.  I’m excited to see how he feels tomorrow.


    I’m excited to see the sun when I wake up in the morning because the past two days have been rainy—and then I hear the wind howling. Trees are swaying and when I get on Sparky and ride into the arena leaves are dancing around his feet.  He has a little spook at one end but, when we start to work, he becomes steady and attentive.  He’s easier to straighten today and Sandy notices greater swing behind the saddle, very likely a result of his bodywork yesterday.

    My hands are still bouncing around, however, and Sandy decides to have me put a bridge in my reins for better stability. Then she tells me to think about “sitting him through” instead of pushing him through to the contact.  This image helps me sit taller and counteract my frustrating tendency to tip forward in the saddle.  It also helps me push his hind legs so that he opens the angle of his throat latch into a more correct outline rather than ducking behind the contact as he tends to do. I engage my core to moderate his tempo—and I am the one who dictates the tempo, not him. I am also more able to drape my legs on his sides, especially at the canter, and give more definite leg aids.

    At first I feel that I am not riding him round enough and that he is above the bit.  But the video another of Sandy’s students shoots of me shows a different reality: he is carrying himself correctly, with a longer neck and lighter on the forehand.  My leg yields are far more consistent and I am riding both sides of him more classically, with true bend each way. His canter is far more coordinated. We wrap up with a short hack around one of Ashland’s wooded trail loops.  Even though it has started to spit cold rain, I’m warmed by a sense that we are getting somewhere and I don’t mind the weather anymore.


    Sparky’s last day of work before two days off is very similar to the previous three rides: the theme is bringing his hind legs under his body and ensuring straightness.  But that second item is becoming easier each ride.  I’m still using the leg yield on the circle left in order to straighten him here and there, but I can ride with classical bending aids most of the time in both directions.

    This time, Sandy increases the demands somewhat.  We leg yield from quarter line to quarter line, with no wall to catch us at the end.  This requires me to keep him between my right and left aids, neither allowing him to trail his haunches nor escape my outside rein and fly outward. We start with bridged reins again but I drop the bridge halfway through the ride, working hard to keep the feeling of having the same bearing and independence of the reins.

    We also pay more attention to trot-canter transitions. In preparation, I ask for a bit more step with the hind legs, again keeping the tempo steady.  Sparky doesn’t like that!  He kicks and bucks, behavior that Sandy tells me to ignore.  I keep up the pressure and his trot grows more expressive and I can even sit in preparation for canter departures.  I’m to keep the hind legs under and the correct bend, thinking about keeping him pushing toward the outside rein and maintaining bend in the ribcage with inside leg. Some transitions are mediocre, but some of them are the best I’ve ever felt on him.

    We finish the week practicing carefully letting his neck out into a stretch at the trot, then picking him up again, and then allowing stretch again.  Sandy suggests that I add this exercise into his repertoire, as well as near-transitions to walk followed by trotting off again, in order to keep his hind legs responsible and stepping underneath him, even when we are wrapping up a ride.


    Sparky gets some well-deserved time off while Sandy and I travel to Pine Top Farm for the Advanced Horse Trials and CIC. Sandy is judging all day Saturday, and I am her loyal scribe (aka fly on the wall).  Since I first met Sandy scribing at this same event, I know that I will learn much from the day and it doesn’t disappoint.  The theme of the day is balance: depending on the level, the horse should be in level or uphill balance.  The majority of Sandy’s comments relate to the horse being on the forehand (I write “4hd” at least 50 times throughout the day) and the balance makes a big difference in the scores each movement gets.  She also makes many comments that horses need more bend in circles and in the shoulder-ins and haunches-ins.  She notes that eventers tend to do better halts and rein-backs than dressage horses do, in her experience.  The day reminds me that the judges can only evaluate what they see in front of them during the four to six minutes of a test, and that the test directives dictate how the judge evaluates each movement.


    After a morning of cross-country jump judging at Pine Top, I’m back at Ashland for another lesson.  Sparky seems refreshed after two days off, and I’m happy to be back in the saddle too. As in the previous two rides, I start out with my bridge and work on pushing him out in front of me, creating the feeling of pushing the energy from his hind legs up and forward. As we keep going, I drop the bridge and Sandy asks for more and more of that uphill tendency. She has me visualize his shoulder and front legs reaching up and out, and lift my own core to facilitate that.  He feels more swingy today, and he’s not dropping behind the contact. I still have to work hard to keep my right leg positioned correctly at the girth, but he is moving in better alignment.

    Sandy introduces an exercise that combines the bending figures and lateral movements we’ve been doing during the week.  We do a ten- or twelve- meter half circle on to the center line (or just off it), then head back to the track.  As we do so, I change the bend and ask for a leg yield to the track.  Once on the track, I do a ten-or 12-meter circle, and then continue on down the track in shoulder-in.  After several rounds of this, Sparky feels much more supple, and asking him for more uphill work yields a satisfying feeling.


    We squeeze in another lesson on Monday morning before I have to head back to Kentucky. We do leg yields right out of the box (they are a warm-up exercise, Sandy likes to remind me) and some canter work that includes baby counter canter on a shallow serpentine along the long side. Today it is really helping when I visualize a small circle from the side that includes my elbows and my hip bones, and I want both parts of my body to stay in the circle.  Expand that circle, and it includes my seatbones, the tops of my legs, and his withers—in other words, our shared center of gravity. We finish with walk-trot-walk transitions around the outside of the arena, working on preserving the energy through the down transitions (I should feel like I could trot off again at any moment during the process) and the suppleness during up transitions.

    The horse I bring home is much improved from the one I started out with a week previously. He’s easier to keep straight and more responsive to my leg and weight aids.  He’s helped by a rider who is sitting taller and more evenly (though I think I will need to be aware of keeping my right side long and my right leg underneath me for the foreseeable future!). He’s swinging and rounder behind the saddle and he’s gotten a better idea of how to use his abdominal muscles to lift his wither and take more weight on his hind legs. All in all, it’s been a tremendously educational week and we are leaving with plenty of homework.  I can’t wait to try out our new skills this season—catch us trotting down center line at a competition near you soon!

  • 02/23/2016 4:05 PM | Deleted user

    By Sarah E Coleman

    As with most girls, Erin Pullen, owner of Go Big Eventing in Shelby County, Ky., was drawn to horses as a young girl. Erin fell in love with the sport of eventing because of influential force Jennifer Crossen of Windy Knoll Farm in Winchester, Ky. Jennifer taught Erin on some very kind lesson horses that instilled in her the confidence to run cross county. “I owe Jennifer so much,” says Erin. “Without her guidance I doubt I’d be the rider I am today.”

    Erin began Go Big Eventing in 2012, catering to a vast array of horses and riders, though her specialty is off-the-track Thoroughbreds. Having worked on the track for 13 years, in positons ranging from galloping, assistant training and eventually having 30 racehorses under her care, Erin loves and truly understands the Thoroughbreds. “They have their own language, one I very patiently learned to understand,” she explains.

    Erin’s clientele also includes adult riders who started riding a little later in life, and Saddlebreds that have recently flocked toward her. One of Erin’s favorite parts of Go Big Eventing is seeing horses and riders learn and excel at new disciplines. As with the Thoroughbreds, Erin is extremely patient in helping her students reach their goals, whether that is the American Eventing Championships or a one-star event.

    In addition to training and teaching, Erin has lofty goals for her two personal upper-level horses, Big and Tag, as well: She would love to compete at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and abroad.

    Erin’s OTTB Big is currently competing at the Intermediate level. Erin and Big have an extensive history together: Erin owned and trained him during his racing career, then retired him as a 4-year-old after he suffered a minor injury. “He and I have the greatest partnership, he’s a beast and a blast on cross country, and has so much grace and elegance in the dressage ring. He has helped me with every other horse I bring along,” Erin says of Big           P
    hoto by Liz Crawley

    Tag, Erin’s second horse, is also an OTTB. In 2014, the duo was 11th at the AEC’s at Novice, and at Team Challenge that same year they were second at Training. In 2015, the pair moved to Prelim, where they completed the CCI* at the Hagyard Midsouth Team Challenge and then finished seventh in their first Intermediate at River Glen in November. 

    Photo by Liz Crawley

    The Fitness Formula

    So what does it take to keep her upper-level horses fit and ready to compete? Diligence. As Erin doesn’t go South to train in the winter it’s absolutely imperative that she be based at a facility where she can continue to ride year-round. Erin is based out of Allday Farm, owned by Dr. Steve and Kim Allday, who were Erin’s first sponsors. Erin has 16 stalls on the property, which includes 82 acres with some cross country jumps, a generous covered arena and an outdoor arena.

    PC Walter LehnerPhoto by Walter Lehner

    After the conclusion of her show season in November, Erin allows both her horses to have the month of December off, then begins to leg them back up in January. Her goal is to compete her horses, on average, once a month. As she is now riding at the upper levels, more travel is necessary to get to events like Poplar Place and Chattahoochee Hills.

    Erin begins to bring her horses back into shape with lots of flat work, riding them six days a week. She works on the basics, including transitions, balance, straightness and lateral work. She incorporates in ground poles, raised poles and cavaletti before starting any sort of conditioning work. Once the flatwork becomes easier, with fewer breaks needed before being pushed, Erin begins to get her horses out of the ring for conditioning work, which she can do on the farm. She can then ask them for hill work, with lots of walking up and down hills first, then trotting.

    “I let the horses tell me when they’re ready to start galloping,” Erin explains. “I have to be careful galloping Big and Tag, they tend to keep themselves pretty fit. They both have knack for having silly antics in the dressage arena if they’re a little too fit!” 

    Depending on the level of horse, they’re in work at least a month before going back to competing, Erin explains. “With Big, I always drop him down a level when he starts out in the year. As he’s getting older, I don’t ever want to push him past what he’s ready for.”

    “He’s a funny one—he’ll let on that he is tougher than he is, but I have to be able to recognize that and protect him from himself,” she comments. Here again, knowing Thoroughbreds and her horses is imperative to getting Big properly conditioned for his show season.

    Photo by Liz Crawley

    Maintaining Human Fitness

    Erin doesn’t have to do any specific training to get herself ready to perform at the upper levels, as her job tends to keep her quite fit. “The farm has a lot of space in between paddocks, so I do a lot of walking. I ride at least six or seven horses a day, and I do stalls,” she explains. “When I teach, you’ll never see me sitting; quite often I will be constantly walking or sometimes running next to one of my beginner riders.”

    However, Erin does pay close attention to her diet. “I don’t eat junk food or drink soda,” she says. “I always have a bottle of water nearby and healthy snacks that are easily grabbed” so she can fill up on the good stuff instead of quick, tide-me-over-for-now junk food.

    Photo Credit Xpress Foto

    She keeps grapes, cheese cubes, smoothies and protein bars on hand, and constantly drinking water keeps her from getting the “oh my gosh, I have to eat right now!” feeling.

    A conscientious approach to horses, which Erin honed on the track, has served her well with Go Big Eventing. Taking care of herself, as well, can only help her on the path to success. 

  • 02/23/2016 3:55 PM | Deleted user

    By Sarah E Coleman

    Midsouth Eventing and Dressage Association has a unique requirement for membership in addition to paying dues: members must volunteer at events to be eligible for year-end honors.

    While this may seem onerous to some, the number of hours to volunteer is not a burden: Members must donate 8 hours of their time total, over the course of the competition year (December 1 through the end of the Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event in October as it is the last horse show in the area). Four of these volunteer hours can be at any MSEDA-sanctioned show, but the other four hours must be at either MSEDA Dressage in the Park or Hagyard Midsouth Team Challenge. Members can obtain hours by fence judging, stewarding, bit checking, scoring and jump crewing, to name just a few possibilities. Riders, too, are eligible for these awards in the division in which they compete. For example; a rider who competes in Preliminary Eventing is eligible for awards at that level. If the same rider competes at Preliminary Combined Tests and First Level Dressage, they will be eligible in those categories as well. If they garner the most points of all of the competitors in a given discipline (Eventing, Dressage or Combined Tests), they are eligible for overall High Point Rider, Overall High Point Horse or Mare of the Year, Master Rider (for adults over the age of 50), Junior/Young Rider (for anyone under the age of 21), or special awards such as the Grasshopper Award, for the High Point Thoroughbred, or the Pony Club Award for active Pony Club members who are also MSEDA members, to name a few.

    Volunteer coordinators at each show must sign off on volunteer hours. Forms can be found and printed from the MSEDA website.  Completed forms must be sent to Mary Margaret Sterling (sprgcrk@bellsouth.net). All forms MUST be SIGNED by the Volunteer Coordinator at the show for the hours to be counted. If a member is interested in a special award such as the Pony Club Award, the Grasshopper Award, the Adult Amateur Award, or the Hall of Distinction they must notify Mary Margaret Sterling in writing that they would like to be considered. Points for those awards will not start accruing until Mary Margaret is notified.

    In addition to being eligible for year-end ridden awards, there are also year-end awards that recognize the people who accrue the most volunteer hours during the competition year called the Volunteer Awards. Twelve people who accumulate the most hours are recognized at the MSEDA banquet. Incredibly, the top winner of the 2015 MSEDA Volunteer Awards, logged over 158 hours helping at events!

    Click here to read the Volunteer Awards from 2015.

    Download the form to begin tracking your hours here.

  • 02/23/2016 9:03 AM | Deleted user

    By Jen Roytz

    Around this time each year riders young and old are thinking about what competitions they want to enter throughout the upcoming season with their horse(s). What is the best way to create a plan that will be easy to follow and allow you and your horse to peak at the right time?

    Lexington-based trainer Jenn O’Neill, barn manager and trainer at Antebellum Farm, says it is important to be goal-oriented.

    “I suggest my students pick one or two goals for the upcoming season,” said O’Neill. “They don’t have to be big ‘riding career-defining’ goals, like winning the AECs or a big FEI competition, but they need to have a goal,” said O’Neill.

    The goals can be simple, like moving up a level in competition throughout the year, qualifying for the American Eventing Championships (AECs) or competing in their first one-star event. Then, it is all about mapping out a plan to get there.

    When moving up a level in competition, for example, O’Neill suggests deciding well in advance what specific competition will be the least intimidating to move up to a more challenging level, then plan your competition schedule using that as an end-goal. She also strongly suggests making sure your coach can be there for support and guidance.

    “Moving up a level can be stressful, and having someone there to remind you that you can do it is really important,” said O’Neill, an advanced level rider who has competed at the CCI** level. “I find that meeting the minimum requirements to move up a level is seldom enough to be prepared, so I want my students to be overly prepared and confident to go out and get the job done safely.”

    Be considerate of your horse’s abilities as well as your own. If he or she is struggling to comply with what you are asking, they may not be as ready as you are for such a big challenge. An outside perspective from your coach or a trainer can be helpful.

    Photo credit JJ Sillman

    As is the case with everything in life, even the best laid plans often need to be adjusted along the way. So many things can impact your progress, from weather and injuries to having an uncharacteristic poor performance. Be open to modifying your plan, allowing you to stay focused on your greater goal.

    “It’s always good to have a back-up plan in case an outing doesn’t go

    as anticipated,” said O’Neill. “So much of the sport is mental, so talk with your coach if you get frustrated or overwhelmed, or if something makes you start to question the plan you’ve set for yourself.”

    The bottom line is that the goals one sets should be fun an achievable. It is good to have a bit of nervous excitement when attempting a new challenge, but the task you are facing should never feel overwhelming or scary.

    “Choose goals that are realistic and achievable with hard work, but don’t forget to dream a little,” said O’Neill. “Go out of your comfort zone a little with that end-of-year goal, but don’t forget, this sport is supposed to be fun for both the rider and the horse!”

    Photo credit JJ Sillman

  • 02/23/2016 8:24 AM | Deleted user

    Congratulations to our door prize winners and a huge THANK YOU to all those who donated prizes! We are so grateful for your support of MSEDA!


    1- E-Z View Number System A Friend of MSEDA Susan Posner
    1-Horseshoe Ornament X/C  KVT ART Carol Lee
    1-Horseshoe Ornament X/C  KVT ART Tiffany Smith
    1-Horseshoe Ornament Dressage KVT ART Janice Holmes
    1- Thoroughbred Pillow Friend of MSEDA Chelsea Smith
    1- Thoroughbred Pillow Friend of MSEDA Susan Moran
    1- Blue/ Gray MSEDA Halter Valley Vet Supply  Marianne deBarbadillo
    1- McCauley's All Natural Rice Bran Oil McCauley's & Alltech Mary Margaret Sterling
    1- Black Crown Crystal Dressage Bridle Dover Saddlery Cincinnati, Ohio Pam Kimmel
    1-Horseshoe Wine Holder Nonesuch Horse Shoe Design Marianne deBarbadillo
    1-Black Halter Luckett's Tack Shop Joe Carr
    1-Horseshoe Design Drink Coasters Nonesuch Horse Shoe Design Shawna White
    1-Avon Big Tote Bag Friend of MSEDA Chris Hayner
    1-Avon Big Tote Bag Friend of MSEDA Rachel Henson
    1-Avon Big Tote Bag Friend of MSEDA Shawna White
    1- Wine Cards/42 Facts and Quotations/Nectar of the Gods Friend of MSEDA Julie Congleton
    1- Hasbro Fur Real Friends Life Size Pony Friend of MSEDA Mary Margaret Sterling
    1-Framed Artist White Head Fox Hunt Print Friend of MSEDA Marian Zeitlin
    1-Pair of Horse Pierced Earrings/ Valley Vet Supply T-Shirt Friend of MSEDA/ Valley Vet Supply Katie Hagerty
    1- Camargo Hunt Calendar A Friend of MSEDA Elaine Farr
    1- Camargo Hunt Calendar Friend of MSEDA Anastasi Curwood
    1- Picture Frame Horse Shoe Nonesuch Horse Shoe Design Chris Hayner
    1- Gold Filly Pins/ Mouse Pad/ T Shirt Valley Vet Supply/ Friend of MSEDA Robyn Munson
    1-EquiOtic Ice Pack Cooler and Pastes Doug Froh/EquiOtic Elaine Farr
    1-EquiOtic Ice Pack Cooler and Pastes Doug Froh/EquiOtic Chris Hayner
    1- Fine Art Custom Design Show Bowl Beth Goldstein Designs Sara Hubbard
    1- bag of Buckeye Nutriton EQ 8 Gut Health Buckeye Nutrition Mary File
    1- bag of Buckeye Nutriton EQ 8 Gut Health Buckeye Nutrition Lynn Miles
    1-5lb-McCauley's Hydrolyte and Calendar McCauley's & Alltech Ellen Thomson
    1- 5lb-McCauley's Hydrolyte and Hat McCauley's & Alltech Linda Lauren
    1- Bath Perfume Cubes Along/ Scented Candles A Friend of MSEDA Bev Henson
    1-T-Shirt/ Musical Box Old Kentucky Home Valley Vet Supply/ Friend of MSEDA Erin Woodall
    1-Fox figurine and Hunt Pin A Friend of MSEDA Anastasi Curwood
    Gift Cards and Certificates    
    1-Annual Maintenance Service Mark Kubicki Trailer Service Janice Holmes
    1- Certificate for DEVER 3- Day Upgrade to 4 Golf Cart Dever Inc Julie Congleton
    1- Equine Movement Therapy Sesson EHB Elise Bealer Anita Bolen
    1- KHP Family 4 Pack/ General Admission KHP Janet Rivers Erin Pullen
    1 Hr Full Massage Janet Grisco Mandy Alexander
    1- $25.00 Amazon Gift Card Friend of MSEDA Pam Kimmel
    1- Annual KHP Parking Pass Kentucky Horse Park Julie Congleton
    1- DVD Taped Combined Test at Participating Show Another Point of View Anita Bolen
    1- DVD Taped Dressage Ride at Participating Show Another Point of View Ellen Thomson
    1-Gift Certificate $25.00 The Tack Shop of Lexington Elaine Farr
    1-Gift Certificate $25.00 The Tack Shop of Lexington Mandy Alexander
    1-Gift Certificate $25.00 The Tack Shop of Lexington Jolene Fullerton
    1-Gift Certificate $25.00 The Tack Shop of Lexington Mary Fike
    Gift Certificate Suzanne Fisher Photo Suzanne Fischer Meg Upchurch
    Gift Certificate Suzanne Fisher Photo Suzanne Fischer Chelsea Smith
    1-X/C Shooling Fee at Land's End Farm Martha Lambert Bev Henson
    1- 2016 X/C Shooling Session at the KHP KHP Foundation/ Laura Klumb Marian Zeitlin
    1- 2016 X/C Shooling Session at the KHP KHP Foundation/ Laura Klumb Mandy Alexander
    1- 4-Day General Admission to the RK3DE Vanessa Coleman Robyn Munson
    1- 4-Day General Admission to the RK3DE Vanessa Coleman Shelley Ryan
    Horse Show and Clinic Entries    
    1- Horse Trial Entry Fee Spring Bay Horse Trial Erin Woodall
    1- Horse Trial Entry Fee Kentucky Classic Horse Trial  Linda Laurel
    1- Certificate for entry to Combined Test Wilderness Trace Pony Club CT Suan Posner
    1-Certificate for entry to Combined Test Wilderness Trace Pony Club CT Cathy Jacob
    1- Entry Paul Frazier Combined Test and Dressage Show Paul Frazier Show/ Anita Bolen Jolene Fullerton
    1-MET Hunter/Jumper Entry Fee Masterson Equestrian Trust (MET) Mandy Alexander
    1-Hunter Pace Entry Masterson Equestrian Trust (MET) Rachel Henson
    1-Spring Run Farm Dressage Show Entry Spring Run Farm/ Susan Harris Carol Scherbak
    1-Spring Run Farm Dressage Show Entry Spring Run Farm/ Susan Harris Martha Lambert
    1-Lands End Farm Mini Horse Trial Entry Fee Lands End Farm/ Martha Lambert Carol Scherbak
    1-Covered Bridge Pony Club Combined Test Entry Peggy Bindner Anita Bolen
    1-Mid South Pony Club Horse Trial Entry Fee Midsouth Pony Club/ Erin Woodall Carol Scherbak
    1-Entry for Stone Place Stables Hunter/Jumper Show Stone Place Stables, Prospect,  Ky Chelsea Smith
    1-Entry for Stone Place Stables Hunter/Jumper Show Stone Place Stables, Prospect,  Ky Kristin Posner
    1- Entry Fee Stone Place Stables Mini Horse Trial Stone Place Stables, Prospect,  Ky Erin Woodall
    1 Entry Fee either Combined Test or Dressage Class Sayre School Combined Tests and Dressage Show Sarah Andres
    1-Horse Trial Entry Fee Jumpstart Horsetrial Mary Margaret Sterling
    1-Dressage Class Entry Snowbird Dressage Show March 2016 Martha Lambert
    1-Dressage Class Entry Snowbird Dressage Show March 2016 Nany Wentz
    1-Entry 2016 Camargo Hunter Trials Camargo Hunt Mary Ann Andres
    1-Entry Camargo Hunt Pace 2016 Camargo Hunt Julie Congleton
    1- Entry 2016 Camargo Hunter Trials Camargo Hunt Mary Lynn Garett

  • 02/09/2016 8:16 AM | Deleted user

    By Sarah E Coleman

    Eager participants were greeted with enthusiasm during Daniel Stewart’seducational clinic at the MSEDA Annual Meeting held at the Four Point by Sheraton.  Starting Saturday morning, and continuing through the afternoon, attendees were taught a plethora of helpful hints to manage their horse-show nerves.

    A successful international trainer and instructor for over 25 years with a degree in Sport Science and a host of World Championships, World Equestrian Games and Olympics competitors on his resume, Stewart believes that one of the easiest ways to be a successful rider is to think positively. Throughout the day, he incorporated the power of positive thinking into everything he taught, and imparted ways to stay positive in the heat of the moment.

    Some of these ideas included:

    -          Humans focus on the “bad” because of natural, caveman instincts to protect ourselves. Because of the way humans operate, we can only focus on one thing at time, good or bad--we should focus on the good.

    -          Mental multi-tasking doesn't work.

    -          Being focused can help keep you in the ring when you get hit by "the duck,” which is anything that takes your greatness away. This “duck” could be your horse, your lack of confidence or anything that makes you lose your focus while competing.

    -          Pressure and stress make us rush and makes us forgetful.

    -          Horseback riding is error-based learning; mistakes are good and lead to growth and learning. Riders need to learn mistakablility: The ability to make a mistake and realize that it is beneficial and we learn something. “Don't blame mistakes away,” says Stewart. The best mistakes are the ones that we learn and grow from. We only grow outside of the comfort zone.

    -          All riders need a positive affirmation sentence to train ourselves. Even better, make it a positive affirmation song. A positive affirmation song is simply music that makes you happy, which in turn will make you more optimistic. Everyone needs an “athletic anthem.”(One example is Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.”)

    -          All riders should also create an athletic acronym in addition to their anthem. This are cue words with five or fewer letters that form one sentence. For example, BIG (breathing is good) BEST (balance every single transition) SANDY (smile and never doubt yourself) is an acronym that will help a rider remember specifically what it is she should do at different points in her ride. Acronyms fire the memory center of the brain.

    -          Science proves that you are 34 percent better at a task when you are happy.

    -          Never ask of your horse what you are not willing to do yourself.

  • 02/08/2016 1:43 PM | Deleted user

    By Jen Roytz

    The Mid-South Eventing and Dressage Association’s annual meeting and awards banquet was held on January 30th and 31st in Lexington, Kentucky and included a wide arrange of speaker topics, updates and, of course, the year-end awards for the 2015 competition season.

    Photo by Suzanne Fischer

    The featured educational speaker on Saturday was internationally renowned coach, clinician and author Daniel Stewart. Stewart, who has trained riders to success in various World Championships, World Equestrian Games and Olympics, also gave a riding clinic on Sunday and Monday at the Kentucky Horse Park.

    Sunday’s MSEDA board meeting covered a wide range of topics, including updates and takeaways from the USEA and USDF conventions, the unveiling of the new MSEDA website and the election of six new MSEDA board members for 2016: Kristin Posner (VP, Dressage), Cheryl Steele (Treasurer), Julie Congleton (Central Seat), Chelsea Smith (Central Seat), Megan Carr (Western Seat) and Eric Sampson (Northwestern Seat).

    The highline of the weekend was Saturday evening’s 2015 MSEDA Awards Banquet, which honored all year-end award winners. Special award winners include:

    Volunteer Julep Cups

    Debbie Hinkle- 158 hours

    Millard Spencer- 140.5 hours

    Vicki Baumgardner- 124.5 hours

    Ron McGinley- 123.5 hours

    Carol Robertson- 121.5 hours

    Shelley Ryan- 101.5 hours

    Leigh Ann Robertson- 95.5 hours

    Rudy Vogt-90.5 hours

    Thomas Bell- 87.5 hours

    Mary Ann Andres- 83.5 hours

    Lori Snyder- 81.5 hours

    Margorie Hines- 80.5 hours

    Special Recognition Awards

    Mary Margaret Sterling

    Lynn Anthony Miles

    MSEDA Grants for 2016

    Anastasia Curwood $500

    Susan Harris $1,000

    Christine Brown Memorial Grant (2016)

    Katie Hagerty- $1,500

    Dressage Show of the Year (2015)


    Horse Trials of the Year (2015)

    Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trials

    Kob Ryen Memorial Trophy

    Mary Margaret Sterling

    Dressage High Point Junior Rider

    Mary Grace Timmons

    Dressage High Point Young Rider

    Madison Deaton

    Dressage High Point Senior Rider

    Joan Gariboldi

    Dressage High Point Master Rider

    Catherine B. Jacob (tie)

    Susan Posner (tie)

    Dressage High Point Adult Amateur

    Catherine B. Jacob

    The Spy Games Memorial Trophy Dressage High Point Award

    Susan Posner and Tympani

    The Tundra Memorial Trophy Dressage High Point Mare

    Aryus (tie) owned by Catherine B. Jacob

    Brunswik (tie) owned by Catherine B. Jacob

    The Craig Bryant Memorial Trophy Eventing High Point Junior Rider

    Paige Pence

    Eventing High Point Young Rider

    Chelsea Kolman

    The Bennet Trophy Eventing High Point Senior Rider

     Megan Moore

    The Helmut Graetz Trophy Eventing High Point Master Rider

    Alston Kerr

    The Midnight Sam Memorial Trophy Eventing High Point Award

    Sir Earl Grey owned by Alston Kerr

    The Philosopher Trophy Eventing High Point Mare

    Miss Airheart owned by Mandy Alexander

    The Grasshopper Trophy High Point MSEDA OTTB

    Miss Airheart owned by Mandy Alexander

    The Bryn Wilborn Memorial Trophy for MSEDA members who competed at the NAJYRC Championships

    Paige Pence and Class Action

    Hope Walden and Lily Langtry

    Mary Peabody Camp and Rivertown Lad

    Click here to see the full list of year-end award winners.

  • 02/08/2016 10:43 AM | Deleted user

    By Sarah E Coleman

    Congratulations to all of our recent MSEDA Grant recipients. These grants were awarded at the MSEDA Annual Awards Banquet on Jan. 30, 2015. 

    $1,500 Christine Brown Memorial Grant: Katie Hagerty

    Katie Hagerty is a sophomore at the University of Kentucky, where she is studying to be a business marketing major. Her ideal career will be in the equine industry working at a sales rep. Katie trains under Allie Knowles and is currently in Ocala, Fla., at Buck Davidson’s farm with her two horses: Rocksteady (also known as Eddie), a 10-year-old Thoroughbred and Courtly Miss (also known as Missy), a 10-year-old Thoroughbred.  

    Katie is using her grant money to ready both mares for competition; Missy for  The Fork and the Carolina International two-star prior to the Ocala International CCI two-star. All of these events are in preparation for the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in Colorado this summer. Katie is aiming Eddie for a one-star in Ocala in 2017.


    $500 MSEDA Educational Grant: Stacy Curwood

    A MSEDA member since 2009, Stacy Curwood has a 6-year-old Thoroughbred named Special Dark, or Sparky. Stacy will use her grant to attend a week of dressage “boot camp” with “S” judge and USDF gold medalist Sandy Osborn at Ashland Farm in Georgia. Stacy will be blogging through a training diary while there and will be bringing Sandy up to Kentucky for a Ride-a-Test clinic later this year, open to MSEDA members, and the dressage and eventing communities. Stacy is honored to have been chosen for the scholarship, and is hopeful that MSEDA members will benefit from what I learn and from the clinic.

     Photo by  Wendy Wooley/ EquiSport Photos

    $1,000 MSEDA Educational Grant: Susan Harris

    Susan Harris is very thankful to receive this grant; she is training in Wellington, Fla., with Kathy Priest and Shelly Francis on her 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Endavour Adventure. Learning his flying changes and aiming toward Third and Fourth level, Kathy is so thankful for the grant to allow her to continue his training. She also used part of the grant money to attend the USDF Trainers Conference in Loxahatchee, Fla., with Johann Hinnemann.

  • 01/25/2016 2:58 PM | Deleted user

    By Jen Roytz

    As the temperatures dip down around freezing or below, it can be difficult to keep weight on our horses, especially those who are up in age or known for staying on the lean side. At least every two weeks, it is advised that you asses a horse’s BCS (Body Condition Score) and weight, using a weight tape or scale.  Based on the nuanced changes you see in your horse’s weight and BCS, there are simple adjustments you can make to manage their weight.  

    Staying Warm

    One of the easiest things you can do to help your horses maintain weight is to help them stay warm during the winter, as the colder they are, the more calories they will burn trying to keep their body warm. If they aren’t in regular work, the best option is to let their body do what it does naturally and grown a thick winter coat, which provides plenty of insulation to keep them warm. If they are outside most or all of the time, making sure they have some type of shelter to avoid harsh wind and freezing rain is key.

    If they are in work and you are keeping their coat thinner or clipped. Note that the blanket is smoothing the coat down, thus taking away much of its heat-retaining properties, so changing blanket weight or layers as temperatures warm or cool is necessary to maintain the horse’s comfort. Also, be sure to inspect the horse without a blanket on regularly to make sure it is maintaining weight and isn’t developing any skin irritations or rubs.

    Regardless of whether the horse is indoors or outdoors, be sure their access to water is not compromised (frozen) and that they are drinking enough, as a reduced water intake can lead to decreased food intake and gastrointestinal issues.


    Horses don’t have ample grass to graze upon in the winter, so owners must be sure they provide enough forage for their horses – about 1.25 to 2% of forage per day. While increasing the amount of forage offered is important during winter months, increasing the quality is also paramount, especially for individuals who are proven hard keepers.

    “Select less mature grass hay that contains more leaves than stems and include a legume forage, such as alfalfa, clover, or lespedeza that can provide more calories than typical grass hays on an equal weight basis,” said Catherine Whitehouse, MS, Nutrition Advisor for Kentucky Equine Research. “Offering poor-quality hay – those high in indigestible fiber – can limit the amount horses will consume, which can be a factor in weight loss, even if they have access to forage such as a round bale.”

    If forage quality is an issue, Whitehouse suggest providing an alternative forage product, such as beet pulp, forage cubes, pellets, or chaff, which are high in fermentable fiber.

    “If the horse is receiving grain, it may be as simple as increasing the amount offered by two to three pounds per day,” added Whitehouse.

    Adding a top dressing to a horse’s feed, such as stabilized rice bran or vegetable oil, offers highly digestible energy and calories, which will help horses maintain body heat and weight.

    Hard Keepers

    When it comes to senior horses or those who are known to be hard keepers, being proactive can help them immensely as temperatures drop.

    “Horses that repeatedly lose body weight during the winter should have their BCS assessed in the fall and, if needed, be started on a weight-gain diet with a larger amount of calories prior to the start of winter,” said Whitehouse. “Consider reducing their workload during the winter, if possible, to allow more calories to be used for maintaining weight and condition.”

    She also suggests using a fixed formula concentrate with fixed ingredients that uses a combination of energy sources, such as starch, fat and fermentable fiber, which should help maintain weight.

    If you have questions about how to help your horses maintain a healthy weight through the winter, KER nutrition advisors are available for consultation via email or phone. Go to www.ker.com for more information.

  • 01/01/2016 3:05 PM | Deleted user

    By Sarah E Coleman

    We all know one: A blanket-busting horse that seems to delight in ruining even the toughest-denier cover-up money can buy. Inevitably, these horses seem to destroy their blankets right before a holiday, major weather event or when their other blanket of the same weight is out for laundering. 

    Even though we’ve been lucky so far this winter, with our horses going without heavyweight blankets for many months past normal, there’s still plenty of time for your beast to beat up his clothes. If he decides now is a good time to put air conditioning in his blanket or rip off straps and buckles, here are some quick ways to keep your kid comfortably covered until you can get his blankets to a professional. 


    Unfortunately, your blanket needs to be as clean as possible to make the repair—usually a tough thing as Kentucky winters don’t really lend themselves to clean horse clothes. If the body of the blanket is torn, and you’re worried that washing it completely may cause the fill to fall out, spot washing near the repair is A-OK. The most important this is to ensure that at least the edges of where you will repair, in addition to a few inches on either side, are clean. While you could soak the blanket and clean it with soap and water, cleaning it with rubbing alcohol and letting it dry will work just fine.

    Addressing the Broken Bits

    Broken straps, chest, belly or leg, are the most difficult to repair without professional help. If your horse was able to break these straps that were professionally put on, it’s likely that he’ll blow through most repairs you are likely to make, as well, but don’t let that discourage you from trying!

    Most home sewing machines don’t have the oomph to get through both the blanket’s fill and the strap to hold the straps on securely. In addition, some horses manage to destroy the almost the entire length of a belly strap, leaving you very little to work with!

    If your horse has destroyed his belly straps, an elastic blanket surcingle can be used behind the withers to hold the blanket in place until you can properly repair it. If you happen to have an older blanket on hand, you can try cobbling together a new strap, sewing the new piece onto the old and sewing a new hook onto the body of the blanket for a fastener. 


    With any blanket repair, you’ll want to use the heaviest thread you can. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have heavy thread on hand, try using braiding thread, dental floss or fishing line. While a large, blunt needle may be easier to wield, working it through all the layers of fabrics and straps is tough. 

    If your horse has frayed the elastic and lost a T-strap, you can either use a sewing machine or hand-stitch the elastic around a new piece of hardware. 

    Though smaller, leg straps can be a bit harder of a repair as they require stitching through additional layers of fabric. A heavy-duty sewing machine is usually necessary to fasten the hooks securely to the body of the blanket. If you do try to reattach the straps, consider using leather or heavy canvas as a backing to make the repair less prone to re-tearing.

    If you can’t seem to get the leg strap to stay even with a repair, you can tighten the remaining strap as much as possible between his hind legs or you can use baling twine as a tail cord to try to keep his clothes in place until they can be professionally repaired. 


    Your Horse May Look Homeless … But At Least He’ll Be Dry

    Horse can be such stinkers; even if he’s top-dog in his field, it seems like a given that he’ll find some nail or other sharp object on which to tear his (usually new and/or very expensive) blanket.

    Large rips and small holes in the body of the blanket can be the easiest to repair. If your blanket is made of polyester, consider using a lighter to (carefully) seal the hole. Though it may smell horrible, this usually works for smaller tears. 

    For blankets made of other materials, try making a woven duct-tape patch to hold the tear together (like the lattice weave you do for the bottom of a hoof pack). A blanket-specific waterproof patch is also easy to apply, as is an iron-on jean patch from a craft store. Simply trim the patch to a size slightly larger than the tear, iron on and let cool completely before putting it back on your horse.

    Super glue is also an option to repair tears and small holes; just be sure to allow the glue to dry completely before testing its strength.

    No matter what repair you make, waterproofing the repair is never a bad idea. Spray-on waterproofing is the easiest and quickest to use—just double-check that the type of waterproofing you purchase is useable on your blanket’s material. Also, be sure to check what temperature is recommended to get the best effects of the waterproofing; if it recommends over 50 degrees F, you may need to take the blanket into a garage or other climate-controlled area for best results.

    Even if you’re not a super-savvy seamstress, sewing is best for large tears. Remember that the repair need not be beautiful—it just has to be functional. A straight or zip zag stitch is easiest, and hand sewing is always an option. 


    When to Cry Uncle

    Finally, if your horse is ripped from stem to stern, it may be time to call it quits. If you do choose to trash your blanket, be sure to cut off all the hardware (including leg or belly straps, if they’re salvageable) and save them for later use. 

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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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