I recently had the chance to take part in the great eventing migration south and although my trip was only a little over a week-long, it was an amazing experience. I left Middleburg, Virginia after work one afternoon with my dog wedged in the back seat of my trusty SUV amid every rain jacket I own, all of my show equipment, and a trunk full of fun items I had collected over the winter months. I reached Aiken sometime in the middle of the night (thanks to my roommate Ashley Kriegel for not minding the late arrival), but the 8-hour drive was painless knowing my destination was a week of eventing-bliss at Lynn Symansky Equestrian South.
With daylight at a premium in the winter I tend to use the dark evenings doing more online shopping than I really should. My websites of choice are of course SmartPak, Bit of Britain, VTO Saddlery, and a variety of other tack stores that I frequent all too often. I had accumulated a few fun things that I finally got to put to the test while competing in Aiken!
I am kind of a wimp when it comes to speed on cross-country so although I always feel like I am going way too fast, I am normally reprimanded for looking like I was out for a Sunday hack and not on cross-country after I cross the finish line. The Hi-one+ watch was super easy to use for my first time on course of the season. I didn’t even read any directions – just strapped it on and hit start as the timer told me to “have a great ride.” The watch came in black or white and there a ton of different wristband patterns and colors to match your cross-country outfit. The Hi-one+ beeped every minute and was intuitive to use when changing modes. Overall I give it two thumbs up and would recommend it for anyone looking for a new watch this season.
Hi-one+ retails for $99 and can be purchased from www.vtosaddlery.com
Professional’s Choice VenTECH Leather Open Front Jumping and Ankle Boots
My open front and ankle boots were in desperate need of being replaced and when Professional’s Choice launched their new boots, I jumped at the chance to try them. I went with the black VenTECH leather boots and was very happy with my decision. Immediately upon pulling them out of the packaging, I could tell they were well made and would be really comfortable for my horse. The leather boots are lined with a squishy neoprene that conformed easily and the mediums fit my 16 hand gelding perfectly. I tried them out for the first time at the Paradise Farm CT and anyone who was in Aiken that week knows that the entire town was underwater. Luckily the boots were very easy to clean after their mud bath on the show jumping course, and they look as good as new once again after a hosing down.
The front boots retail for $99.95 and the hinds for $71.95. They can be purchased directly from the Professional Choice website.
Red Oxx Flying Fortress Garment Bag
I don’t own a truck and trailer, so one of the biggest struggles I have when showing is easily transporting all of my gear into my trainer’s (or whoever was kind enough to give my horse a ride) trailer. I tend to want all of my items packed compactly so I can efficiently store it in the tack room and quickly get it out of the way when we arrive at the show. I have been on a longtime search for a bag that would hold all my clothing and safety equipment for every phase, and I finally found the answer in the form of the Red Oxx Flying Fortress Garment Bag. I stuffed it to the gills with my show jacket, body protector, two pairs of breeches, shirts, rain jackets, stock ties, two helmets, tall boots, and every other little item I would need for the event and still had room to throw in a bag of peppermints for my horse. The bag was stowed in the tack room without a problem and upon arrival I hung it on the outside of the trailer for easy access to everything I needed throughout the day. I would highly recommend it if you are looking for a heavy-duty equipment bag that can store the multiple outfit changes required for eventing.
The Red Oxx Flying Fortress Garment Bag is available on the Red Oxx website.
Plenty of event riders have chosen to cross oceans and base themselves thousands of miles away from “home” in pursuit of their career dreams - look at the likes of New Zealanders Sir Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson, and now Tim and Jonelle Price, while Andrew Hoy, Clayton Fredericks and of course Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton have set sail from Australian shores. Not many American riders do it, though, probably because the sport is big enough and competitive enough in the U.S. not to make it necessary.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
Strides for Equality Equestrians and the United States Eventing Association Foundation are proud to announce the first recipient of the Ever So Sweet Scholarship. The scholarship, which is the first of its kind, provides a fully-funded opportunity for riders from diverse backgrounds to train with upper-level professionals. Helen Casteel of Maryland is the first recipient of the bi-annual scholarship.
Tomorrow is Juneteenth, which marks the day in 1865 when the federal order was read in Galveston, Texas stating that all enslaved people in Texas were free. This federal order was critical because it represented the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved African Americans in the Confederate States. Although Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed all people enslaved in the Confederacy almost two and a half years earlier, Union enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent, especially in Texas. Slavery would continue in two states that had remained in the Union— Kentucky and Delaware — until the ratification of the 13th Amendment in December 1865.