Sep 27, 2019

The Two Veterinary Checks on Endurance Day with Lauren Billys

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
Billys on Phase D at the Rebecca Farm Training Three-Day. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Next month the Hylofit USEA Classic Series will have six classic series events taking place all over the United States. These upcoming long format events will have endurance day that has four phases and two veterinary checks. The first veterinary check is done after phase C and before phase D. The second veterinary check is done after the final phase, phase D, also known as cross-country.

“Keep your reins and gloves dry,” advised Lauren Billys while in the 10-minute box. Lauren Billys, competes at the highest levels of eventing and bases her program, Lauren Billys Eventing, out of Carmel Valley, California. With three horses in the Training Three-Day Event last year at Rebecca Farm, she explains that competing in a long format event is “a huge accomplishment and is a great teaching tool to develop horses and riders for the future of their careers.”


In 2018, Lauren Billys competed three horses in the Training Three-Day at Rebecca Farm. All three horses finished in the top 10. Pictured is Billys and Caletina who finished second. USEA/Kate Lokey Photo.

“The 10-minute box is to prepare the horse for cross-country. The veterinarian check after cross-country is to help the horse completely recover for the following day,” said Billys. “In the final veterinary check after cross-country, there is no time limit. All the tack should be removed including the boots and the horse should be the number one and only focus. Like the 10-minute box, the horse’s vitals are taken first, but following this, all tack is removed. Once the tack is removed the same sponging and scraping process will begin with walks between each of these sponging sessions. The veterinarians will check the horses until they are completely ready to return to the barn for icing and recovery.”

The final veterinary check after cross-country is seen at two types of three-day events: international three-day events and Hylofit USEA Classic Series Events. But, the only type of event to have a 10-minute box where a veterinarian checks the horse’s vitals prior to cross-country is a Hylofit USEA Classic Series Event. There are “three primary focuses in the 10-minute box: horse, tack, and rider,” described Billys.

Cross-country cooldown at Loch Moy Farm’s Beginner Novice Three-Day. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Billys always has a plan set in place to maximize the 10 minutes after phase C and before phase D. “If my horse comes in with a high temperature, we will begin sponging on water, ice, and possibly alcohol and sweat scraping it off with walking periods. If my horse looks to be cooled out at this point, we may do some light sponging and scraping and mostly walk to keep my horse’s muscles loose and ready for the cross-country phase.”

“The second focus [in the 10-minute box] is to evaluate the equipment. I will check to make sure all four shoes are in place, the studs are all accounted for, check that the boots are properly secured, and evaluate the saddle and bridle to make sure that they are properly secured to the horse and are in good shape. A small but crucial step in this process is to make sure the reins stay dry during the cool down period.”

“The third and final focus of this time is to prepare for the final phase. I make sure I sit down, visualize my course, review my minute markers, and drink some water. It is important to have a good team helping you so that you, as a rider, are able to complete this final step. The 10-minute box can be a stressful time but having a great team can make it smooth and less stressful for you as the rider to really get the focus you need for the final phase.”

Billys on phase D at Rebecca Farm’s Training Three-Day. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

“Having a good team is ideal. They support you and keep the calmness in the 10-minute box. I always make sure to thank each gate person as I ride through phases A and C. This helps me be focused to go through each gate correctly, and for them to see me clearly pass through each set of flags. Keep your reins and gloves dry and have fun!

Lauren Billys equipment checklist for the veterinary check on endurance day

  • 4 buckets
  • 4 sponges
  • 4 sweat scrapers
  • Small drinking bucket for the horse that is separate and marked so that it is not contaminated with sponging materials
  • Extra horseshoes
  • Tape
  • Studs
  • Scissors
  • Extra reins
  • Towels
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • A halter with a number attached
  • A chair
  • Water/sports drink
  • Course map with minutes
  • A wagon to carry equipment

About the Hylofit USEA Classic Series

The Hylofit USEA Classic Series keeps the spirit of the classic long ­format three­-day events alive for Beginner Novice through the Preliminary levels. Competitors can experience the rush of endurance day, including roads and tracks, steeplechase, the vet box, and cross­-country, as well as participate in formal veterinary inspections and educational activities with experts on the ins and outs of competing in a long ­format three-­day event. Riders who compete in a Hylofit USEA Classic Series event during the year will have the chance to win a variety of prizes at the events from USEA sponsors. Click here to learn more about the Hylofit USEA Classic Series.

The USEA would like to thank Hylofit, FLAIR, FITS, SmartPak Equine, Stackhouse & Ellis Saddles, Bates Saddles and Parker Equine Insurance for sponsoring the Hylofit USEA Classic Series.

About Hylofit

Now available to purchase, the Hylofit system hit the marketplace in 2018. The Hylofit system is the only equine wearable to offer in-ride feedback for horse and rider. Hylofit’s state-of-the-art product is designed to maximize communication between horse and rider, improve training results, and promote the overall health and well-being of the horse. Hylofit unique features include real-time feedback, post-ride insights, rider insights, overall well-being of the horse and rider, zone training, sharing features, video features, weather impact features, and more. The Hylofit system that tracks both horse and rider’s heart rate is comprised of four hardware components, an app for iOS or Android, and an optional app for the iWatch.

Hylofit is generously providing a 10 percent discount for Hylofit products to all USEA Classic Series competitors! Hylofit will also provide 11 Hylofit systems to the high scorers of each USEA Classic Series event at the 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.

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