All Posts from February, 2011

February 26th, 2011

Happy Weekend!

The weekend is underway and I’m glad it’s looking more like Spring than like Winter. How are your ponies?  Will you be riding this weekend?  I’ll be heading out to the country in a moment to enjoy the sun and look longingly at the hills where we’ll soon be doing trot sets. That after a most divine brunch with friends in Georgetown this morning. Doesn’t that make for the most perfect day?  I hope yours looks much the same.

Horse charms that are, yes, charming

Talk with Andrew Hoy

Want moves like Boyd and Silva Martin?  Get ’em.

Vineyard Vines and 3-Day Eventing. What do you think?

Photographer Nico Morgan plays cricket, loves dogs, and has some photography tips for you!

image via naughty secretary club

February 26th, 2011

Eventing Radio with Kerry Millikin with German and Belgian Team Coaches

German Team Coach, Chris Bartle, Belgian Team Coach, Eric Smiley join Kerry Millikin and Chris this week to discuss coaching. Take a listen right here…

Eventing Radio Episode 120 by Bit of Britain – Show Notes and Links:

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February 24th, 2011

Stepping out this Spring with Derby Cross

Spring is nearly here. Celebrate it!  This March 5, 2011 our favorite PRO eventers will be cavorting across the Derby Cross field at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Palm Beach, Florida. The teams are as follows:

Team HAYGAIN: Captain Phillip Dutton (E); Sinead Halpin (E), Jennie Brannigan (E), Katie Prudent (SJ) and Nic Roldan (P)

Team FarmVet/Cavalor: Captain Buck Davidson (E), Bruce Davidson (E), Will Faudree (E), Aaron Vale (SJ) and Kris Kampsen (P)

Team O’Connor: Captain Karen O’Connor (E), Clark Montgomery (E), Hannah Sue Burnett (E), Laura Kraut (SJ) and John Gobin (P)

Team Triple Crown: Captain Allison Springer (E), Marcia Kulak (E), Will Coleman (E), Georgina Bloomberg (SJ) and Luis Escobar (P)

Team Canada: Captain Kyle Carter (E), Rebecca Howard (E), Jessica Phoenix (E), Ian Millar (SJ) and Brandon Phillips (P)

These tops riders across disciplines will take to the field to compete against each other during the prestigious Nation’s Cup Weekend. The always-entertaining Boyd Martin and Leslie Law will host the event much to everyone’s delight, to be sure.

What’s Derby Cross?

The PRO Derby Cross Team competition features five teams of five riders who compete individually over a three-minute course designed by Olympic Gold Medalist David O’Connor. The course will ask horses and riders to be brave over the cross country fences and accurate over show jumps all while competing against the clock.  Basically it’s a lot of jumping right there before your very eyes while you’re looking fabulous and having an even more fabulous time.

What should I Wear for Derby Cross?

Speaking of, it’s a super opportunity to look your best at the Winter Equestrian Festival.  This calls for (ladies) your favorite Spring dress and heels (may I suggest Lauren Moffatt’s sweet Tourist at the Tower dress?)

and (gents) that awesome bow tie from Band of Outsiders.

No, don’t wear it along. Khakis and an oxford will go a long way with the bow tie.  And those Joules shoes from yesterday’s post for sure.

Throw a mohito in your hand and you’re ready to watch your favorite PRO eventers in Derby Cross along side the greats of showjumping like Katie Prudent and Aaron Vale.  It will launch your Spring season quite well, don’t you think?

February 23rd, 2011

Attn: Gents. Please Wear This.

Alright. I’m giving this to you on a silver platter and I suggest you take it and run.  The Joules 2011 Spring line hits the nail on the head.  Just about every piece, for men or women, is exactly what I hope for.  I put together this look in a flash without even trying.  You can wear it to walk your cross-country course, go to dinner with friends, take a Spring walk with the dogs when the thermometer allows, cook dinner with your special someone, or early in the morning when you get to the barn to feed your horse.  What’s even better is that you can get everything in one place so you don’t have to lark around looking for this here and that there. I know you don’t want to do that.

The look is simple (so you’ll actually wear it) while being totally hip (sweet):

The vest is classic navy but the red plaid offers a welcome update and gives it an edge of hip.  The two-tone blue with the red stripe along the zipper adds interest and design. It will keep you warm and hip.

The white tee is also classic (think James Dean) but leans towards today’s hipsters thanks to the line-drawn car. Do you think it’s an old-school Camero? Nice motor, indeed.

The jeans are also right on the mark.  Thanks to a dark wash with roughed in legs and you’ll look like you’ve got your act together but don’t need to pay attention to do it. Go ahead and cuff them. Yes, cool.

The belt, though not necessary, adds interest as well as a dash of color (but not too much). Plus that belt buckle will bring out the buttons on the vest which will look excellent and pull the whole look together.

The shoes were an incredible finale to an already perfect look. Plus, you’ve got options. Go with the boots if you’re really hiking around in the mud but opt for the ankle boots for anything else.  You’ll be in the height of hip while looking like you’re wearing vintage. Or, if you’ve got a pair of beat-up brown paddock boots just wear those. Then you’re totally authentic and look just as good.

Should we send a thank you letter from all eventers to Joules for giving us easy style without trying too hard or missing the mark?  They’ve got it all wrapped up and we owe them one.  Do go to and get the whole shebang. Easy-peasy. And be the hippest eventer this season.

By Courtney in Style | 1 Comment »
February 22nd, 2011

PRO Creates Opportunities for Young Event Riders

Top event riders don’t just wander out of the forest one bright and sunny day. They are created over time, and often from a young age.  Take a look at some of your favorites like Buck Davidson, Doug Payne, or Allison Springer. They have been riding since they were knee high to grasshopper and were fierce, and often dominant, competitors by their teens.  These riders have talent, yes, but that talent had to be cultivated over time so that they could become the world-reknowned event riders they are today.

The Professional Riders Organization has created an opportunity for a Junior rider to take a huge stride towards in cultivating their own talent.  This opportunity is called the PRO Junior Young Rider Training Level Scholarship Program.  It will focus on the education and mentorship of juniors and young riders participating in competitions at the Training Level and the objective is to offer deserving riders the opportunity to train with a top PRO professional based on their merit within scholarship guidelines. Says Marcia Kulak, one of the driving forces behind the initiative, “I believe that PRO as an organization has to show ways to give back and cultivate the future of our sport.” But it’s not just about creating future team members. “It’s important to develop future event riders for the sport even if that rider never represents the US . The reality is that the vast number of kids won’t go on to represent the US. But what if we can point someone in the right direction to be a better professional or judge or better American and to reach their full potential as a citizen? We have influenced that person in a positive way in some endeavor even if it’s not horses. I’ve touched far more young riders that never carried on to be a professional but 100% have said their experience with me helped shape their life in a positive way. Are we going to help make a better person and shape them in a positive direction? It will be icing on the cake  if they go on to Young Riders or to a three-star or four-star and, by god, are lucky enough to become an Olympic candidate one day. It’s not just how can we find better riders and make riders, but how can we develop people to their full potential?  All the attributes to become a top event rider like physical skill and mental determination and the ability to overcome obstacles – wouldn’t that be beneficial in any walk of life?”

The program will take place at designated events associated with PRO on both the east and west coasts such as Galway Downs (in California) and The Fork (in North Carolina).  Three PRO professional members, to be designated prior to each competition, will observe and score the training level divisions with participating PRO Junior/Young riders. Kulak describes the scoring process, “We won’t put emphasis on what place they finished but more on horsemanship skills. Hopefully any child with enough desire and interest and fortitude will get recognized not just because they won but because they showed the very qualities we’re looking for. I hope it brings out the best in young people even if they are not on the fanciest horse.” PRO professional members will provide a copy of the scoring sheet to the event secretary at each competition and it is each rider’s responsibility to pick up the scoring sheet.

The PRO Junior Young Rider Training Level Scholarship Program will spot upcoming talent based on set criteria and provide an opportunity to train in a PRO rider’s high performance program, with minimal financial burden, for one week. The Scholarship Award will consist of one week of training at the facilities of Marcia Kulak, Jan Byyny, Hawley Bennett-Awad, or Amy Tryon. The award includes the boarding of both horse and rider at no cost to the scholarship awardees. Says Kulak, “We want to make that all-inclusive with a place for the child to stay, board for their horse, and training with a lesson every day.  They will be integrated into a program and expected to be there first thing in the morning to the last thing at night. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be exposed to a high-end program and how a barn runs, in good weather and in bad weather. They’ll realize what it takes to run, essentially, a small corporation.”  The top two point earning riders from the eastern half of the country will each earn a scholarship award with Marcia Kulak and Jan Byyny respectively. The top point earning rider from the western half of the country will earn a scholarship week with Hawley Bennett-Awad or Amy Tyron.  By cultivating promising junior riders early PRO aims to feed talent into the pipeline of future USET riders.  That’s a train you’ll want to board!  If I were 15 years old (or so) once again and every bit as competitive and ambitious as I was then I would be gunning to win this scholarship.  There are three reasons why.

1.  The Best Coaching

As I said before, the coach is a major, and irreplaceable, part of any good event rider’s team. The top event riders and coaches participating in this scholarship award are not just good professionals, they’re seasoned riders with major competitions like Rolex and Badminton under their belts so can offer advice to young and hopeful riders not on how to ride a bounce to a one-stride grid but also about the stresses and pressures of competing, how to form goals and meet them, and recommend what program would best suit your own horse. These words of advice are priceless.

2. Networking

Meeting top riders like Marcia Kulak, Jan Byyny, and Hawley Bennett-Awad means making friends with key players in the eventing world. They’ll have an eye on you not just the week that you train with them but no doubt from then on out. How could they not when they find out how cool you and your horse are?! It’s helpful to have those eyes on you when you’re navigating your way to the top.

3.  Setting Goals and The Scholarship Point System

The PRO Junior Young Rider Training Level Scholarship will work on a point system that rewards riders for things like safety in warm up, turnout, knowledge of dressage tests, and the ability to ride in balance over cross-country.  This kind of concrete breakdown in skill set reminds me of the Pony Club levels, which helps riders gain knowledge and skills as they go up the levels. It’s a super way to gauge how you’re doing, what you’re doing well, and what you need to improve. This relates to setting concrete goals and, more importantly, reaching them. You can’t reach your goals if you haven’t figured out the steps to get there. The point system lays out those baby steps and shows you the route. An asset in your climb to the top.

Right, so how do you enter?  The PRO Junior Young Rider Training Level Scholarship Program is open to all Junior/Young rider members of PRO. Riders may become members at any time in the year, but must declare via email letter to PRO that they wish to participate in the program. All participating riders must also include, in their email, a schedule of participating competitions that they intend to compete at and it is the responsibility of the rider to inform PRO of any schedule changes.

If you, or a Junior rider you know, has starry eyes about one day carrying an American Flag for the American Eventing team then don’t wait for the talent to hit you like a lightening bolt out of a clear sky. Set your sights on it – early – and go after it.  The PRO Junior Young Rider Training Level Scholarship Program is the first step in the right direction.

Want to know more?  Kulak says, “I encourage parents or young riders to bring questions to us. This is first year there will be growing pains. I want parents and young riders to be involved. I’m only a phone call or email away.”  She can be reached at

February 22nd, 2011

Let’s Write Letters to Each Other

Yes, I’m quite in love with paper and stationary. It started out slow, surreptitiously buying pretty notecards here and there. Then I started making my own stationary, and now it’s a full-blown love affair.  So when I come across horse-themed paper goods I sort of lose my mind with delight.  Minted makes exquisite paper and stationary whether its custom wedding invites, thank yous, or personalized stationary (which, as you might have guessed) I’m a great fan.

I think the rustic fete wedding invitation is as a pretty as a spring wedding on a perfect May afternoon.

The Trot (how cute is that?!) personalized stationary is almost triumphant, though is evocative enough of more formal days past as to end up in the perfect balance. Plus, don’t you love that green? So Kate Spade.

Oh, right, the Paris + Vinatge Ribbon stationary has nothing to do with horses. But I fell so madly in love with it I couldn’t help but want to share it with you (are you mad?). There’s something about that pretty, perfect bow that reminds me of Ellie and Paris all at once. The perfect combination, really. “Juste un petit mot”. If I had it I would write you love letters from Pau telling you every last detail.

I could spend ages on the Minted site (and have) and can’t recommend it enough. What’s your favorite?

By Courtney in Style | 1 Comment »
February 21st, 2011

Horsey ABC’s with Alecia Underhill

I’ve discovered I have a penchant for ABC prints like the one above from equine artist Alecia Underhill.  Isn’t it sweet?  I like the playful ponies and mischevious foals.  Most of all I love that each pose is something I’ve seen before. Horses sure are lithe creatures.  The print below is from fave stationers Rifle Paper Co. isn’t horse-related, but has long been a favorite of mine. Cute, no? I keep trying to drum up a justification for buying one of these. Can you help me out?

images via Alecia Underhill and Rifle Paper Co.

February 18th, 2011

Happy Weekend!

It’s the weekend! What will you be up to?  My weekend will mostly be in front of a computer but I am hoping for a Sunday hack (fingers crossed that the weather holds) with friends. If you’re doing something fun and sunny think of me and Miss Ellie (Simon too).  K? Enjoy these equestrian tidbits too!

Boyd Martin chosen as The Eventing Horseman of the Year by The Chronicle of the Horse.  Congrats Boyd!

Equestrian Sports Statistics & Facts: What You Should Know

Schedule of Events at the 2012 Olympics.

Are you like your horse? Is your horse like you? Thanks to Regarding Horses for the tip-off on this fascinating post.

Take a winter hack through the Virginia Countryside

I could look at these horse sculptures forever

Adorable ponies galore (including a strong Thelwell candidate)

Regarding Horses is super stylish!

February 18th, 2011

If you’ve been following our book recommendations from Jimmy Wofford then you’ve got a lot of reading on your nightstand.  But keep in mind that the recommendations have come from a source who has his own excellent reads. And, as eventers, may be the place to begin. I know that’s where I’ll be starting this pile of winter reads! Jimmy Wofford’s own books are as follows:

No. 1/ No. 2/ No. 3

February 18th, 2011

Eventing Radio Show with Aussie Prue Barrett

Australian Eventing has a new National Performance Director and Team Coach in Prue Barrett and we hear about her plans for leading the team on its journey to the 2012 London Olympic Games. Rolex Kentucky 3DE Director of Competition, Christina Gray tells us what’s in store for this year’s event. Plus news of a new scholarship from PRO…and Bobby Costello is back in the co-host chair. Tune in right here…

Eventing Radio Episode 119 by Bit of Britain – Show Notes and Links:

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