Mid-South Eventing & Dressage Association


  • 12/09/2023 9:11 AM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    by Robyn Munson

    In January 2023 I started the process of obtaining my USEF Technical Delegate License.  In this process, I have been apprenticing at several different shows with several different Technical Delegates.   I have noticed as I go to these events that riders have ignored or not known the rules that could get them disqualified from the competition.  Being disqualified from the event is different than being eliminated - elimination prevents that particular horse from continuing.  Disqualification means that if you are riding multiple horses, all rides will be disqualified.  This could make for a costly weekend! 


    As competitors we know that eventing involves a great deal of time, effort, and money.  We certainly do not want to end our weekend sitting on the sidelines if we can prevent it so I thought it would be a good idea to do a refresher of some of the rules that could cause a rider to be disqualified from the entire event.  

    Ways to get disqualified:

    ·       Allowing someone to ride and school your horse after the start of the event. Schooling is considered anything other than riding at a walk on a long rein.   

    ·       Riding in any dressage or show jumping arena or close to the cross- country obstacles before the event.

    ·       Jumping any practice fences

    o   that are not marked;

    o   have been raised above the height or spread permitted for your level of competition;

    o   that have been held; or

    o   any time other than those permitted by the organizer.

    ·       Walking the cross-country course before it is open to competitors.

    ·       Walking the show jumping course before it is open to competitors.

    ·       Entering the jumping arena on foot after the competition has started.

    ·       Any abuse of a horse.

    ·       Exercising with improper saddlery.

    ·       Use of a radio or cellular phone while competing.

    Please remember, it is your responsibility as a competitor to know the rules.  The rules are easily accessible, and should be reviewed regularly to ensure that you are aware of any new or amended rules.  If you do not understand a specific rule or need clarification, find an official at the competition and ask!   Do not wait until an official approaches you for an infraction and then claim you did not understand.  No official takes pleasure in disqualifying or eliminating a competitor, especially for something that could have been prevented if the rider had simply asked a question before it was too late. 

    I hope this article helps to remind our membership to follow the rules that will prevent someone from getting disqualified at a competition. 

  • 06/09/2023 11:29 AM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    Written by Jonathan Horowitz - USEA Staff

    The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, MSEDA member, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. 

    [Read More]

  • 01/18/2023 3:58 PM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

  • 01/18/2023 3:53 PM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    by Julia Burs

    I was so honored and excited to represent MSEDA at Team Challenge this year as part of the Beginner Novice team MSEDA Stranger Danger. For both my 7-year-old OTTB gelding Security Check Required (“Temba”) and I, Team Challenge was our first USEA-sanctioned horse trial. Even though I live in Lexington and am at the Horse Park all the time — I was even decorating cross-country with one of my teammates earlier that week! — it felt different and intimidating to be there doing something that we’d never done before. While my coach Jhett Jenkins was there with me on Saturday, and my barn bestie Kerri Sweet groomed for me the whole time, having a team of MSEDA members there riding with us all weekend made me feel more relaxed and confident than doing it all on my own. Furthermore, knowing that MSEDA leadership had taken a chance on Temba and me despite our lack of experience made me want to step up my game to earn that trust.

    And yes, I know, what a choice I made to debut at an event with maxed-out stadium and cross-country courses, at the end of the season when everyone else is on their fifth or tenth trial. It definitely wasn’t the plan at the beginning of the season, but I am so glad things worked out the way they did. Temba showed clear progress in our dressage test, but an operator error by me and the fact that we are still relatively new at this meant that our score was definitely the team “throwaway.” (The top three scores of four are counted toward the team score.) Stadium and cross country were both challenging, as promised, but we both found the challenges to be confidence-building, because both courses required thinking and planning but paced themselves to allow that planning to unfold. My MSEDA teammates helped me stay relaxed and laughing in warmup, and Temba was foot-perfect through stadium. In cross-country, we started fine but a little hesitant, and he took a hard look at the water but never stepped back. We became a better team through the back half of the course, trusting each other more and navigating complicated questions like the half coffin in the woods and the log at the lip of Pete’s Hollow with ease and even a little grace. We were thrilled to go double clear through both jump phases and finish with a score that contributed to our team’s overall 7th place finish. It was a fantastic experience, and I’m already counting the days until Team Challenge 2023!

  • 01/18/2023 3:46 PM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    Susan Posner

    Susan started riding in Germany at the age of 9 when her father was stationed there for the U.S. Army. At the age of 12 she won her German Bronze Riding Medal. She evented the great Pinto mare "Poltroon" through Preliminary. Susan was the first ATA member to take a Trakehner mare to Grand Prix. She has been riding and training through Grand Prix for over 30 years. Susan has competed in the selection trials for the Pan American Games and the World Championships. She has been a USEF 'R' Judge for over 25 years & also has her Western Dressage judging license. Susan has her USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals as well as her Silver & Gold Freestyle Bars. Susan has coached 3 riders to medals at the NAJYRC's. She has also been the horse show chair for KDA for 15 years, the MSEDA Vice President of Dressage and runs MSEDA Dressage at the Park. Susan has worked with all different breeds of horses from imported Warmbloods to Arabians to Fresians. She has also had a very successful career with mares. Susan's clientele ranges from adult amateurs to young riders. She is currently training & coaching in Lexington, Kentucky.

    Sue Mandas 

    Sue Mandas is a USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medalist, has also earned her Silver and Gold Freestyle Bars, and is a USEF "S" judge. Sue has been involved in the sport of Dressage as competitor, trainer, breeder and instructor for over 40 years. She is a USEF “S” dressage judge, a “R” Sport Horse Breed judge, and an FEI 3* Para-Equestrian Judge. A longtime member of the USDF Sport Horse Committee, she currently also serves as an At Large Director on the USDF executive board. Involved with breeding warmblood Sport horses for many years, her first Grand Prix horse was one she bred, raised and trained herself, with the help of instruction through clinics. Sue is a USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medalist and earned the Silver and Gold Freestyle Bars.  Sue has trained many horses to the FEI level, winning Regional Champion or Reserve Champion at every level, Second through Grand Prix, and making the USET longlist several times. Currently, she is living in Centerville, Ohio, where she rides, trains and teaches.

    Max Corcoran

    Meet panelist Max Corcoran. Max is former U.S. Eventing Association president, who gained recognition as a groom and barn manager for the O’Connor Eventing Team. While working with the O'Connors she traveled to the Olympic Games, World Championships, Pan American Games, and numerous CCIs all over North America and Europe. After leaving the O'Connors, Corcoran also worked as a freelance groom and has served as stable manager for the Canadian and Venezuelan Equestrian Teams. Max has a wealth of knowledge and is considered one of the foremost experts on horse management in the world. She also works as an event organizer for competitions such as The Fork Horse Trials at Tryon and the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event. While working with the O'Connors she traveled to the Olympic Games, World Championships, Pan American Games, and numerous CCIs all over North America and Europe. 


    Karen Winn

    Karen Winn grew up riding hunt seat in Princeton, New Jersey, but became interested in dressage and eventing while attending the University of Massachusetts in the 1970s. She was an active member of the UMass Intercollegiate Horse Show team and Equestrian Drill Team, while completing a BS degree in Animal Science.

    Karen came to Lexington, Kentucky in 1976 to teach riding at the University of Kentucky, and remained in the area, getting involved in many aspects of the horse business, and completing a second BS degree in Accounting at UK. She has worked for Midway College, the American Hanoverian Society, the US Pony Clubs, the American Saddlebred Horse Association, and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, and is now retired.

    Karen has had a long association as an instructor with the Lexington and Kentucky Horse Park Mounted Police units, and has been active with the Young Event Horse committee of the US Eventing Association, the Masterson Equestrian Trust, the MSEDA, Kentucky Dressage Association, and the Retired Racehorse Project. Karen participated in the original MSEDA Learner Dressage Judge Program, and first became a USEF licensed official in 1980. She currently is a USEF “R” rated Dressage and Western Dressage Judge, and a USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist. She is an FEI Eventing Judge and Technical Delegate, as well as an FEI Eventing Chief Steward. Karen has officiated at competitions across the US and in Canada, France, Ireland, Great Britain, Colombia, Costa Rica, and New Zealand. She also frequently judges in the Arabian Sport Horse division.

    Karen lives on a small farm in Lexington, Kentucky, and competes when time permits in Western Dressage on her homebred Thoroughbred, Shawkilito, who recently achieved his WDAA Register of Excellence. She also competes with her Black & Tan Coonhounds in conformation and various performance events, and is on the board of the Lexington Kennel Club and president of the American Black & Tan Coonhound Club.

    Marilyn Payne

    Marilyn is an FEI 4* Eventing Judge and a USEF “S” Dressage Judge who has officiated at major eventing and dressage competitions in the U.S. and around the world.  In addition to judging  twice at the Olympics – a rare honor – and at the World Equestrian Games, she has presided at the European Eventing Championships and the Central American Games, and has judged every 4* event in the world. She makes time in her busy judging schedule to teach seminars for FEI Eventing Officials and training programs for USEF dressage judges.  She is a member of the FEI Eventing Committee, representing the perspective of judges worldwide.  She is also a member of the USEF High Performance Committee and the USEF Eventing Committee.

    Marilyn has been instrumental in establishing the U.S. Eventing Association’s Young Event Horse (YEH) Committee, and spreading the word among breeders and competitors about this unique competition. Under her leadership, the YEH program and the training of YEH judges has grown by leaps and bounds. In 2017, Marilyn will teach a YEH seminar in Florida for officials, competitors and breeders.

    An active competitor in eventing and dressage and a highly popular clinician and trainer, Marilyn enjoys teaching all levels of riders, using a systematic approach to bring out the best in each horse/rider team. Whether she is judging at the Olympics or the World Equestrian Games, teaching a novice rider the basics of dressage, or staying up all night with a mare about to foal, Marilyn gives her total concentration to the task at hand, using the skills acquired during her lifetime with horses to assure the best possible outcome.

    Don’t Forget!  Education at annual meeting will count as education hours!

  • 01/25/2022 11:33 AM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    During the presentation of the 2022 USEF Eventing Dressage Tests at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, changes were discussed to help further clarify the movement requirements in the tests. Marilyn Payne, chair of the Test Writing Task Force, worked with the USEF to clarify the language used within the movements, without substantive changes to the movements themselves.

    The updated tests are published on the USEA Website here. Organizers who purchased the digital judge's copies from ShopUSEA will receive the updated versions free of charge.

    The following tests have been updated for the 2022 competition season.

    New for 2022 is a Starter test which was not announced in the original list. You can view this online here.

    For additional details, please contact Gemma Stobbs, Director, Eventing Programs, at gstobbs@usef.org.

  • 12/03/2021 2:00 PM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    I was so honored to receive a generous $500 educational grant from MSEDA for year end of 2020. I have been obsessed with this sport since I was a child and have been a member of MSEDA (previously MSCTA) since the 80’s. I am so grateful for the membership opportunities that MSEDA provides. I LOVE being a student of the sport and will always strive to educate myself in every single way to make myself a better rider so that every horse I may ever have the pleasure of working with will have the best opportunity to be successful. I enjoy so much taking lessons and especially participating in clinics. MSEDA provides its members wonderful opportunities to bring into our area knowledgeable professionals to ride with. This year I utilized this grant money to be able to ride with Kyle Carter and Gwen Poulin. I am so grateful for the MSEDA and am proud to be a part if this important organization! Thank you to all of you who make it possible!!

    -Megan Northrop

  • 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.

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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