Jul 06, 2020

USEA Podcast #261: Planning Your Season

By USEA

The 2020 show season has looked a bit different than any of us anticipated, and for many people season-planning was placed on hold. In an episode that was recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicole Brown and Diarm Byrne welcome international five-star eventer Will Coleman and British high performance veterinarian Spike "The Vet" Milligan to the show to discuss some of the considerations for planning your season from each of their unique perspectives. While season-planning for many is taking place later than expected, these tips and tricks can be helpful for planning your season, no matter the time of year.

  • First off, Coleman walks through the process he uses to plan out the season for his string of horses, explaining that it usually takes place over a period of weeks, sometimes even as far back as November of the previous year. Typically, he starts with the horse's major goal for the season, whether that be Kentucky or Bromont or something overseas, and works backward from there.
  • Coleman emphasized that each horse is a bit different, and that will factor into the planning process.
  • “You’ve got to have a plan, but you’ve got to be flexible. They’re not machines.”
  • Another important consideration is going to the event that is going to suit your horse. Maybe one event has a particularly hilly cross-country track, or is known for having a tricky show jumping course, or the atmosphere is a factor. Pick the event that is going to best suit your horse's individual needs.
  • When considering moving your horse up to the next level, Coleman says it's important to take stock of how well your horse is handling all the work he's being asked to do, including at home, not just whether or not he's jumping clear at events. He looks for his horses to feel almost bored in competition before considering the move-up to the next level.
  • The concept of horsemanship is a key ingredient in the process of planning your season. You need to know your horse inside and out and be prepared to make the decisions that are in his best interest.
  • Spike "The Vet" Milligan introduces himself to our listeners and shares some of his experience, which includes more than 10 years working with event horses.
  • Milligan discusses some of the key considerations, from a veterinary perspective, for preparing your horse for an event, getting your horse through an event, and helping them recover after an event.
  • It's important to start with a baseline for your horse's health and fitness at the outset of the season so that you can continually reevaluate throughout the year and be able to compare to where your horse started.
  • Because of the distances that U.S. riders frequently have to travel to reach competitions, Milligan shares some tips and tricks for helping your horse well.
  • Milligan discusses his strategies for caring for a horse during a short-format event versus a long-format event. The information you gain from seeing how your horse recovers from a short-format or one-day event can inform your decisions about how to help your horse recover during a long-format event.
  • Byrne chimes in with a bit of information about how using statistical measurements of performance can also help create benchmarks for a season. Once you have a measurement tool in place for success, you can begin figuring out what other things you need to accomplish to reach those goals. Check out EquiRating's simple metrics for tools you can use to track your progress, and you can check out articles on the USEA website and in Eventing USA magazine as well.

Subscribe to the USEA Official Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, PodBean, or Stitcher, or click below to listen in!

May 12, 2021 Competitions

Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Announces $300,000 Prize Money for Inaugural Event

The Fair Hill Organizing Committee (FHOC), an affiliate of the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland (The Sport Corp.), today announced athletes and horses in the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill (CCI5*-L) will be competing for $300,000 in prize money. Additionally, the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) Eventing National Championship (CCI3*-L), running in conjunction with the 5 Star, will award $25,000 in prize money. Both events, as well as the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Young Event Horse East Coast Championships, will take place this October 14-17 at the new Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, Maryland.

May 12, 2021 Education

Pre-Purchase Examination 101: With Dr. Shauna Spurlock

You’ve seen a horse you like. You’ve ridden it; you love it. The money’s right; you’ve agreed to buy it. What happens next?

Pre-purchase veterinary examinations are one of those topics that a roomful of horsey people could discuss - and argue amongst themselves about - for hours. For the amateur rider, that can be confusing and slightly alarming.

So, let’s simplify it. What is a pre-purchase examination, why are they done, and what should you expect?

May 11, 2021 Intercollegiate

Eyes on the Prize at the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships

The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships will take place later this month at the Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) in Lexington, Va. across May 27-30. Following the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan, the USEA is working with VHT organizer Andy Bowles to ensure the Championships are still a destination competition for all Intercollegiate event riders, packed full with an opening ceremony, the traditional “college town” area, the prestigious spirit award, and an abundance of prizes.

May 10, 2021 Eventing News

2021 FEI MER Changes effective July 1

The FEI passed rule changes impacting Minimum Eligibility Requirements in November 2020 that go into effect on July 1, 2021. The changes will impact athletes who are uncategorized, “D” and “C” athletes competing at the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, CCI4*-L, and CCI5*-L levels. Please see below for the highlighted changes. The USEF requirements to compete at these levels remain unchanged, but please remember that the USEF requirements must be achieved within 12 months of the competition. These changes will be adopted into the USEF Eventing Rulebook by July 1. See Appendix 3 for qualification requirements.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Horse Clothing of the USEA