Emma Ford is one of the most experienced and best-known grooms on the eventing circuit. She’s just back from the Tokyo Olympics - and planning a big life change. We catch up with her to find out what’s next, and what advice she has for anyone who wants to make a career out of grooming.
Rosie Napravnik currently sits in the sixth place position after the dressage and cross-country phases in the Bates USEA Preliminary Rider division at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The 2021 event is both her and her horse, Sanimo's, first eventing championship ever. However, she is no stranger to standing in the winner’s circle aboard a Thoroughbred. At only 33 years old, Napravnik is one of the most decorated Thoroughbred horse racing jockeys of her time having achieved the status of highest-ranked woman jockey in North America by 2014.
What is a five-star event horse made of? Undoubtedly they are fit, athletic, keen, and possess quite a bit of grit. Most five-star horses don’t share a lot of qualities in common with a lower-level, amateur-friendly mount, but 16-year-old Thoroughbred Jak My Style breaks the mold and happily takes his owner Kathleen Cuca around Beginner Novice when he isn’t helping his rider Buck Davidson tackle some of the biggest cross country courses in the world. Just a few months after competing at the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2021, “Jak” returned to competition at the Essex Horse Trials with owner Cuca in the irons to finish ninth in the Open Beginner Novice division.
Equine medical research has historically been underfunded. To address this underfunding, the Equine Medical Research Fund (EMRF) was created. Since 2014, United States Eventing Association (USEA) members have contributed a total of $284,052 one dollar at a time to the EMRF through their starter fees. An additional $22,700 was also donated by members through restricted donations.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) and leading international equestrian sports network Horse & Country (H&C) today announced the details of a wide-ranging partnership. The rationale behind the new arrangement is underpinned by H&C’s extensive eventing coverage, both domestic and international, which includes live and highlights sport, training content, and rider profiles, the increasing role of video in USEA’s communications activity, and the opportunity to showcase eventing from the U.S. to H&C’s global audience.
Very few stallions compete at the top level in eventing - let alone at the Olympics. Windfall did just that, winning a team bronze medal under Darren Chiacchia for the USA in Athens in 2004. The fact that Windfall now has not one, but two, sons due themselves to compete for the same country as their sire, the USA, in Tokyo really does make him one in a million.
We know a lot about the athletes representing the USA on our Tokyo team, but what about those essential people, the grooms? Catherine Austen finds out more about Courtney Carson, Emma Ford, Bridget London, and Steph Simpson in this edition of Tokyo Talk.
Phillip Dutton and Z are on the road to Tokyo! Dutton, the 6-time Olympian, is going into his 7th Olympic Games. Dutton’s first three Olympics he represented Australia and helped secure the team gold medal twice (1996 - team gold, 2000 - team gold, and 2004). The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games were the first Olympic Games that Dutton rode for the U.S., and he has been on the U.S. Olympic team ever since. Dutton’s most recent Olympic performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics, he earned the individual bronze medal with Mighty Nice.
Australian eventing legend Andrew Hoy may be approaching his eighth Olympic Games, but the thrill of the world’s greatest sporting showpiece never dims.
“It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it,” he says.
Andrew, 62, has already taken part in more Olympics than any other Australian athlete. His first was Los Angeles in 1984, and he has been to every one since, except for Beijing in 2008. He has three team gold medals - from Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, and Sydney in 2000, and an individual silver from Sydney, too.
Many things about the Tokyo Olympics will be new and different for its eventing participants, including, of course, the venue. However, they will be greeted by many familiar faces, for the world of elite eventing is a close-knit one. The majority of Tokyo-bound riders will know Technical Delegate Philip Surl, a British-based former top-level rider who has officiated at horse trials all over the globe, including the CCI5*s at Kentucky and Burghley.
The cross-country course at the Tokyo Olympics will be the focus of eventing fans worldwide next month. We talked to the man responsible for building it, renowned British course-builder and designer David Evans to learn more about what goes into building the Olympic course.
Q: What’s the first thing you do when you’re appointed as course-builder?
When an Olympics or a World Championships is on a brand-new site and you’ve got committees involved that don’t necessarily know anything about horses, it’s important to get on-site as soon as you can. It doesn’t matter what designer you’re working for; some of them have experience at the Olympics, some of them don’t, so you’ve got to be there to advise them if you’ve been lucky enough to do one before. My team built the course for the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong, which gave us a great deal of experience of wetter, humid climates – and especially with the amount of rain they can have per hour. Hong Kong, in the last six weeks, we had 2.7 meters of rain. The track has got to cope with that.