Cindy DePorter fit all the pieces together to make it possible to take her horse, Drop the Buck, to the USEA Adult Team Championship in September. DePorter is the Co-Chair of the USEA Adult Riders’ Committee, and while she plays a big role in making the ATC happen for adult riders across the country, she decided to take part in the fun for herself this year.
The time is drawing nigh, as the old saying goes. In just a few days I will hit the road with my traveling mate to head to the USEA Adult Team Championships in Tyler, Texas! My teammate Adele “Sugar” Baker and I will intersect our paths at a designated location near I-85 (USEA President Diane Pitts suggested the southern route to Tyler), so I will stop and get her on Tuesday night. We will drive through the night and hopefully get into Tyler midday Wednesday!
Buck and I have had an interesting preparation for the ATCs. We used one of my favorite events, the Five Points Horse Trials at the Carolina Horse Park, as a preparatory event for Texas. Dressage went well; a 38 put us in third place. It would probably have been higher but the silly horse bucked through his medium canter. He was on the muscle! Show Jumping was tough and we dropped one cheap rail, but the majority of the division had a rail too so I stayed in third place.
Cross-country had a lot of big questions but Buck and I were rocking and rolling along. We came down to the coffin and I just didn’t sit up and ride. You actually have to have some pace to jump (a novel concept!) and he just quietly stopped. I gave him a smack, turned around and he said, “Oh, you wanted me to jump it?” Yeah silly, I did.
He had been jumping great until that point and eating up the course, but it taught me not to take anything on course for granted. He had an old abscess blow two weeks prior and I really think that contributed to the stop at the first element of the coffin as it was downhill and a little hard. But it was a good wake-up call and he will be soaked and re-soaked. The blacksmith is taking a look to cover all my bases.
The weather at Five Points was brutal - in the upper nineties with the most oppressive humidity I have ever dealt with. By the end of each, ride my clothes were dripping as was the horse, and I had been deliberately riding in the heat in order to acclimate us both. We are ready for Texas heat!
Last week for conditioning I did four trot sets with five minute walk intervals, and this week I’ll do 25 minutes straight of trotting on Friday before we ship, which should tighten him down. I have upped his grain to 4.5 pounds two times a day with all the hay and grass he wants.
My trainer Holly Hudspeth has been working our butts off and it did pay off at Five Points. Our stadium was really fab-o. We have been doing bending lines, roll backs (these seem to be the “thing” this year), liver pools, long gallops to big oxers, one stride in-and-outs, two stride in-and-outs and big oxers off of turns. Marc Donovan, one of my favorite course designers, had covered all the bases that I mentioned; his first two turns were roll backs, and he ended with two more roll backs! I took all the short routes as Holly planned, it was like driving a sports car! GO BUCK!
For cross-country, we have schooled drops into water, sunken roads, oxers, gallops and related distances. Holly’s preparation is fabulous and Buck and I are lucky to have her! The second drop we jumped on cross-country [at Five Points], he just bounded off and we both felt the line and the distance to the big mushroom jump. I looked and he went! YEHAW Buck! It was just so sweet! We will have at least one more jump school before we ship and I have to officiate a couple of times before I head to the ATC, so Holly is going to ride him some for me while I am gone. Personally I am now trying to run at least four days a week instead of three as I need to up own fitness, so that would put me up to at least six miles a week!
Are the ATCs just another horse show? Hell no! They are the championships and I intend to go down and be as competitive as possible! This week served as a reminder that I better have my game on. Buck always does but I have to really ride him to step up and do the job! I hate that I didn’t ride that coffin better but it reminded me that I can’t just sit up there and hope he jumps. So the pressure is on for us to do the job and not let my teammates down! Watch out Texas, here we come!
If you are on the fence about attending the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention this December 7-11 in Savannah, GA, the schedule of thought-provoking and insightful educational sessions planned for the event is sure to convince you to register today! To learn more about the various sessions and their hosts, click here.
This summer, five USEA Emerging Athlete 21 (EA21) Clinics took place across the country giving young riders the opportunity to hone in on their horsemanship skills, improve their consistency in the saddle and show ring, and create a pipeline for potential team riders by identifying and developing young talent. We caught up with many of the riders from the two West Coast sessions to hear their takes on the USEA’s newest program.
It’s about that time of year again when eventers across the country are packing their trunks and making arrangements to new locations for the winter months. While some owners might feel more comfortable transporting their own horses, time and resources make it more expedient for others to load their horses onto someone else’s rig for the potentially long journey to their winter quarters. For the safety and peace of mind of everyone involved – especially the equine passengers – two trusted shippers based on the east coast shared their tips for best practices when preparing horses for long trailer rides.
One of the most valuable awards at the Waredaca Classic Three-Day Event on October 21-23, 2022, were the prizes for the Road to the Three-Day Challenge. The Challenge started in July and ended at the Waredaca Classic in October. Novice and Training level riders had to compete in at least three of the events in the Challenge and Beginner Novice riders had to compete in at least two of the events, in addition to completing the Waredaca Classic.