Jun 26, 2020

Ride Between the Flags with Jennie Brannigan

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Ever wonder what the pros see when they're out walking cross-country? In the Ride Between the Flags series, riders walk us through their approach to tackling different cross-country questions. Five-star eventer Jennie Brannigan explains how to ride the Intermediate sunken road at the Plantation Field Horse Trials.

After a spring season of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, eventers were finally able to gallop out of the start box once again at the beginning of June, and the Plantation Field Horse Trials was one of the first events to take place after the suspension of competition was lifted. Jennie Brannigan, who is based just down the road from Plantation Field in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, had five rides on Friday at Plantation Field – three in the Intermediate, one in the Preliminary, and one in the Training. Despite having a busy day, she took a moment to describe how she approached riding the Intermediate sunken road.

The sunken road on course designer Jeff Kibbie’s Intermediate course at Plantation Field was comprised of a cabin at the top of the hill, two strides to a down bank, and two more strides out over a brush. The sunken road sat approximately halfway around the 3,032-meter, 31-effort course.

The "A" element of the sunken road came off a turn, allowing riders to balance up after a long gallop. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Horses and riders had a long uphill pull from the “Hobbit House” down by the ruins to the top of the hill before turning right and approaching the “A” element of the sunken road on a very slight downhill. “I was concerned that the distance from the bank to the skinny was quite short, and I know my horse I Bella leaps off banks, so I wanted the A element to back them off a bit,” Brannigan described. “I came in actually quite quick and used the turn to get them balanced and put them in so the distance was close enough that they would rock back.”

After tackling the "A" element, horses and riders continued to roll downhill to the down bank. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

After landing from the “A” element, horses and riders continued two strides downhill to the down bank. “I tried to come quiet off the down bank and really held my body and had my reins long and my hands a little wider so that then then I could ride up to the two-stride out,” Brannigan continued. “I was concerned that if you rode in too strong or came in too straight or too long that the horses would get really bold, so I used the turn in to help that.”

The "C" element sat on a slight uphill, allowing riders to push to it when they landed off the bank. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Horses landed from the down bank on nearly flat ground that then actually sloped slightly uphill to the final “C” element. “Lillian Heard and I were concerned that the distance was going to be short coming out yesterday, but we were discussing that the ground sloped up which obviously would help,” Brannigan commented.

“The upper level horses, they can get a bit keen,” Brannigan observed, “so I tried to almost back them off and have them be a little bit surprised so they would look at the bank and just step down it. That way, I could ride up in two strides to the out. It actually ended up riding pretty well on all three horses. I’m glad I didn’t come in on a long straight approach at it because I think that would have made them a bit bold at it."

Watch Jennie and Nina Gardner's I Bella tackle the Intermediate sunken road!

Want to read more Ride Between the Flags articles? Click here!

Jan 26, 2022 Instructors

Position, Balance, and Aids: Three Core Topics Covered in the USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels

Whether you are a rider preparing for a move-up or a trainer looking to ensure your training program is well-rounded, the soon-to-be released USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is the go-to guide to assist you in navigating key decisions. Lucky enough, attendees of the 2022 USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Symposium at Barnstaple South Farm in Ocala, Florida on February 8-9 will be the first people outside of the those involved in its creation to access this passion project that the ICP Committee has put two years of research and hard work into developing.

Jan 25, 2022 Volunteers

2021 USEA Volunteer of the Year: Cynthia Smith and Her Record-Breaking Year

In 2021 Cynthia Smith recorded 536 hours and 59 minutes of volunteer time, setting the standard with the most amount of volunteer hours recorded in a single year since the creation of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program in 2016. The record-breaking number of volunteer time earned Smith the 2021 USEA Volunteer of the Year title.

Jan 24, 2022 Leaderboard

The USEA Lady Rider of 2021 is Leading the Charge in Elevating Eventing Competition on the West Coast

Tamie Smith’s year has been nothing short of action-packed as she packed up all 25 of her competition horses and made her way to the East Coast for the first part of the year before hopping on a jet to Tokyo where she served as the U.S. team reserve for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She then stayed overseas and competed abroad for a little while before returning home to the West Coast. While this year has been full of opportunities to show, her aspirations are bigger than just competition. The 2021 Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year has been full steam ahead chasing goals in both her riding career as well as in her impact on the sport’s future.

Jan 23, 2022 Area Resources

Meet the USEA Areas: Area I

Get to know each United States Eventing Association (USEA) Areas a little better in this new series, Meet the Areas! This month’s feature is USEA Area I which is comprised of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Founded in the 1960s, Area I was the birthplace of the United States Combined Training Association (USCTA) which was founded in 1959 and would later evolve into the USEA in 2001. In 2021 just under 800 members made up the membership count in Area I.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Real Estate Partner of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Horse Clothing of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA