As COVID-19 hit the U.S. nationwide, it forced the cancellation of the eventing calendar from March 16 to June 1. During the suspension of USEA recognized events, the USEA Official Podcast kept members informed about what was happening with the sport and helped prepare everyone for a safe return to competition. Recording from the safety of their own homes, the hosts of the USEA Official Podcast dive deep into life amidst COVID-19 on episodes #255-#259.
Dating back to April 13 and up to June 8, the past seven episodes have memorable quotes on quarantine projects, event preparation, and how to adjust to the "new normal."
#255: Checking in From Self-Isolation – Monday, April 13
Special guest: Jonathan Elliott
“We are in lockdown in Washington state until the beginning of May. We have three young children and a chicken coop is being constructed at the moment. It’s nice to get the odds and end projects done at the farm, but there are some stir crazy days as well," said Jonathan Elliott, USEA Vice President of Competitions. “There is so much unknown in all of this. Nobody has a crystal ball.”
#256: Coach Sando on Rider Fitness for Performance and Safety – April 27, 2020
Special Guest: Tony Sandoval
“What we’re trying to do is build the most athletic, healthy, and injury-free rider as possible,” said Tony Sandoval (aka Coach Sando).
“When you are riding in pain - and because you love what you do - your body is going to try to mask pain. It’s going to desensitize the transmitters that are telling the brain there is something wrong with this joint for the sake of riding. The problem with that is, the only pathway to the brain is not going to allow you to learn a different skill or improve a skill when it’s trying to manage pain. Instead, it’s going to compensate.”
Bonus Episode: Bruce Davidson Hall of Fame Special – May 4, 2020
Special guest: Bruce Davidson Sr.
“I always wanted to ride, and my mother’s family grew up before automobiles, so everyone had horses to some extent. But, I as a child was very much taken by them, and I started riding when I was 4 years old,” said Bruce Davidson Sr.
“I just wanted to learn how to ride, I didn’t care what type of riding it was, I just wanted to learn how to become the best rider I could.”
#257: Top Tips from Top Grooms – May 11, 2020
Special guests: Emma Ford and Alex Van Tuyll
“You need to do what your horse does in an everyday training session - not just galloping. It goes back to the general horse care of being at home - is your horse a horse that sticks its head out looking at what’s going on? Or is it a horse that stands in the back of the stable resting quietly. When you get to a show, you can see if what he’s doing is normal,” said Alex Van Tuyll. “I always run my hands down their front legs, without fail, when I feed them in the morning.”
#258: Getting Back to Business – May 25, 2020
Special Guest: David O’Connor
“You really can’t get closer than six feet from rider to rider but it’s the people on the ground – the officials and volunteers - that we have to be super careful about,” said Max Corcoran. “They are going to have to wear masks,” Rob Burk added onto what people on the ground will be asked to do during competition.
“First and foremost, the reason behind this is to protect our riders, competitors, volunteers, and officials. But, even beyond that, we also don’t want to get these competitions shut down. We don’t want departments of health and local jurisdictions to come out and say, ‘This is too high risk, you can’t run,’ because then everybody has lost. It’s a small thing but we can do it,” said Burk.
#259: Sinead Maynard's Recipe for a Successful Return to Competition – June 5, 2020
Special guest: Sinead Halpin Maynard
“I think you have to look at the level you want to be back competing and look at the level you were competing and make your fitness plans from there – and recognize that it’s kind of like starting at the beginning of the season.”
“My horses, if they’ve been competing above the Preliminary level, they will be dropping down to Preliminary for their first run back. More so to see how they are feeling and get a read on their fitness level.”
“There are no spring three-day events left and the fall three-day events are months away, so there’s no rush. Dropping down a level or even two just to go out and get comfortable is only going to be good practice.”
Bonus Episode: EquiRatings Eventing Podcast 'The Hold Box Fitness Special' – June 8, 2020
Special Guests: Spike "The Vet" Milligan and Sam Watson
“You end up walking a tight rope,” Milligan said on having a very fit event horse or one that might be overfit, or fatigued, or overtrained.
In horses, Watson explained, “I want to condition (that’s the work and stress element) and manage (the rest element) the heart and lungs, and the body and mind.”
“There’s two different types of respiration: aerobic respiration, which is using oxygen like breathing, and anaerobic respiration, which is not using oxygen but using the energy stored in the horse,” said Milligan.
For over 20 years the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) has been educating all levels of eventing instructors to confirm their knowledge base, both theoretical and practical, upon which they will continue to build throughout their teaching lifetime. The USEA is now shining the spotlight each month on some of the 300 ICP Certified Instructors.
The future of three-day eventing is in the new USEA Event Management System (EMS)! This new software system will allow for competitors, coaches, organizers, and secretaries to have relevant event information in their hands. By using advanced technology, this new software system will be an all-encompassing tool used to provide a well-organized, smooth competition with limited contact and instant updates.
This past weekend, the footing of the new arenas at the Fair Hill Special Event Zone saw its very first hoofprints as competitors in the CCI3*-S at Fair Hill International also participated in the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Test Event. The new Fair Hill Special Event Zone, which has been specially designed with the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill in mind, consists of three brand-new arenas on the infield of the recently upgraded iconic turf track and a new cross-country course designed by Ian Stark.
How competitive have your Novice results been? What’s a good final score? What’s a good dressage score? What does it take to win? In our third installment of this series, EquiRatings showcases the Novice level. Use these graphs and statistics to help evaluate your Novice game.