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The dressage warm-up arena can be a crowded place. Photo by Amber Heintzberger from MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON.

Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event 2017 starts today with the first horse inspection, and the dressage phase kicks off tomorrow morning. To make sure everyone’s ready to go, here are five tips for warming up prior to your dressage test from MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON:

1  Start in walk on a 20-meter circle if the warm-up area is large enough. Introduce “inside leg to outside rein.” I usually start on the left rein, because most horses go better to the left and it starts them off well mentally. Get the horse walking nicely forward, slightly bent around your inside leg, and encourage him to reach softly down and forward.

2  Use some leg-yielding exercises to reaffirm your training and get the horse listening to your leg in both directions, left and right. Once you have his attention at the walk, go to rising trot. Rather than thinking about the the test, focus more on the correctness of the horse: You want him reaching for the bit softly; obedient to inside leg to outside rein; and with flexion to the inside.

3  Do lots of changes of direction and transitions within the trot to keep your horse’s attention and prevent him from getting “stuck.” Once his back is supple and loose, do a little bit of sitting trot, then ask for the canter. 

4  Do canter-trot-canter transitions on each rein. This is a great way of testing how well the horse is on the aids. I don’t want him to run or hollow out, and he should stay obedient through the transition.

5  You can practice specific parts of the test a few times, but when there is one horse to go before you, go back and work on your horse’s correctness–getting him in tune with your aids. Do lots of transitions, keeping the horse listening and thinking. Also, vary the horse’s frame. This last part of the warm-up is really to reinforce his attention on you.

Find more eventing advice in MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE to download a free chapter or to order.

We’re thrilled to have two TSB authors competing at RK3DE this year: Phillip Dutton and Doug Payne. In addition, professional grooms Emma Ford and Cat Hill, and horseman Dan James, are involved in this exciting equestrian event.

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Doug Payne's book THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL was just released!

Doug Payne’s book THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL was just released!

We managed to snag a few minutes with TSB author Doug Payne between his fabulous dressage performance aboard Crown Talisman (“Tali”) at Rolex Kentucky Three-Day (April 23-26, 2014) and the pair’s first place finish at the Jersey Fresh CIC*** (May 7-11) to talk about the release of his new book THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL and just a few of his (other!) favorite things as he prepares to cross the ocean to ride in Saumur International Three-Day Event, May 22-25.

 

TSB: In your new book THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL, you explain that part of the reason you have gained recognition for your ability to find a way forward with “problem horses” is the sheer number of different kinds of horses you had the opportunity to ride during your childhood, as well as when you first began your training/retraining business. Can you tell us about one horse you remember who taught you a very important lesson from which you still benefit today?

DP: I rode a horse named “Just a Star” who was the first horse I rode at the Advanced Level. He was an incredible jumper, but his flatwork left some to be desired. After some time our partnership developed and our scores improved. The improvement in scores came only after a patient progression. Every time I tried to increase the pressure we went backward—literally and figuratively! Ever since, I have been very mindful to make sure that my horses progress at their own pace, and when in doubt I give them more time.

 

TSB: In THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL, you say that horse “problems” can arise from a physical issue, a “foundation flaw” (a missing component of training), or sometimes an attitude problem. It is common to hear a rider say her horse “has an attitude” or is “cranky” or “witchy” or “stubborn.” In your opinion, is an “attitude problem” usually the case the majority of the time as so many riders might have us think? Have you ever had a horse whose “attitude problem” prevented his ever reaching his potential in terms of performance?

DP: Seldom does it happen, but there have been a few who, for whatever reason, just don’t want to participate. I’d like to think that every horse has his job in which he will be happy. I generally try to steer them in that direction. I’ve only had one who would hurt herself in order to avoid doing work of any kind. This is the only one I “gave up” on—it’s not worth my health and life for a horse who has no sense of self-preservation.

 

TSB: What is the most important thing for the amateur rider to consider when dealing with a “problem horse”?

DP: You’re not alone, and your horse’s problems are not “unique” just to him or her. Look for help if you’re not progressing!

 

TSB: You once stated it was your goal to ride at the highest levels of dressage, show jumping, and eventing. With your recent successes in eventing, do you see yourself concentrating on your career in that discipline for good?

DP:  Not at all! Riding in the strict disciplines is such a tremendous challenge and only helps my eventers in the barn. At the moment I have a horse named Royal Tribute (owned by myself, Kristin Burgers, and Larry and Amelia Ross) who will be showing at Fourth Level dressage this spring/summer and a horse by the name of Eli (owned by Mike Rubin) who I am currently showing Grand Prix in show jumping.

 

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember sitting on a horse.

DP: I’m lucky enough to say I don’t! I grew up on a farm in New Jersey as a member of a very active horse family.

 

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember falling off a horse.

DP:  Ditto the question above.

 

Doug Payne grew up in a very horsey family. Here he is with his mom and "Popcorn."

Doug Payne grew up in a very horsey family. Here he is with his mom and “Popcorn.”

 

 

TSB: If you were trapped on a desert island with a horse and a book, what breed of horse would it be and which book would you choose?

DP:  Hopefully a cross would be acceptable: My favorite mix is a Holsteiner-Thoroughbred cross, which is the breeding of Crown Talisman, as well as 5 others on our farm. I’m not sure that I could narrow it down to just one book. My current favorite is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

 

TSB: If you had an iPad and WiFi on your island, what movie would you stream?

DP: I’d love to have access to the Internet! I have an obsessive personality and love to research just about anything. I would guess Wikipedia and Fox News would be top of my most visited list.

 

TSB: You are a pretty tech-savvy guy. What’s your favorite social media app and why?

DP:  Twitter: It’s the most immediate and efficient way to find out what’s happening anywhere in the world.

 

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a friend?

DP:  Honesty

 

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a horse?

DP:  Heart

 

TSB: If you could do one thing on horseback or with a horse that you haven’t yet done, what would it be?

DP:  At this point I’ve competed at the four-star (****) level of eventing, Grand Prix show jumping ,and Intermediaire I dressage. Grand Prix dressage is next to check off that list!

 

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?

DP:  I love food, so the type is not important. The perfect meal is a function of the company, so comfortably at home with Jess (my wife) and other great friends.

 

TSB: You recently got married. Where did you go on your honeymoon?

DP:  We haven’t yet!

 

TSB: What is your motto?

DP:  I actually have two:

What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.
and
Keep it simple, stupid.

 

Have you always wanted to ride the perfect cross-country round on a fabulous horse? Check out this great helmet-cam video: Ride along with Doug as he and Tali nail it this past weekend:

 

 

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL is available now from the TSB online bookstore where shipping in the US is free (CLICK HERE TO ORDER).

 

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Doug kicked off the spring season by marrying Jessica Hampf. Photo by Kristyn DeCaro Mangano

Doug kicked off the spring season by marrying Jessica Hampf. Photo by Kristyn DeCaro Mangano

TSB author and top event rider Doug Payne has had an intense and exciting start to the year! Doug kicked off 2014 with nothing less than nuptials: He wed Jessica Hampf in March. One celebration followed the other, with his fantastic new book released in early April. THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL is already receiving glowing reviews, and we’re hoping that Doug’s insightful (and fully tested!) advice helps all those riders out there with four-legged “problem children.” Check out the fab Horse Junkies United review below for more about Doug’s book!

Next up: Doug and Crown Talisman—the 2003 Holsteiner/Thoroughbred gelding he owns with Larry and Amelia Ross—are headed for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Rolex runs Thursday, April 24, through Sunday, April 27, 2014, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. And Doug and “Tali” were one of two horse-and-rider combinations awarded Land Rover Competition Grants to compete at the Saumur CCI3* in Saumur, France, May 22 through May 25, 2014.

So who is this “Tali” horse that Doug has taken to the top of international eventing competition?

Doug tells us about Tali and the challenges they faced together as they learned to become successful athletic partners in THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL. Here’s a short excerpt:

Doug and Crown Talisman ("Tali") at the 2012 Fair Hill International CCI**. Photo by Shannon Brinkman

Doug and Crown Talisman (“Tali”) at the 2012 Fair Hill International CCI**. Photo by Shannon Brinkman

“Tali stands 17.1 hands tall and is a striking, dark bay…just about the perfect physical specimen and the most talented horse I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding in dressage. Not only is he good there, but he’s an exceptionally good, brave jumper as well.

“Tali didn’t have a malicious bone in his body, but he was a bit of a rogue. The first day I rode him I just walked and picked up the trot for a short while. I knew from longeing him and from what I’d been told that he was athletic, but someone can tell you that all day long and it just doesn’t seem to sink in until you experience it firsthand. My introduction to Tali came in the form of noise: I’m still not sure what it was but some loud sharp bang in the background sent us into the air. Unlike any horse I’ve ever ridden, he could ‘levitate’ himself on a whim. Not a buck or rear, just all four feet off the ground at once, without warning. It took me a while to understand what was happening.

“Horses are creatures of habit. Most behaviors will repeat themselves. It didn’t really dawn on me until we were at his first event in Aiken, S.C. that spring exactly what was happening. If he heard a loud noise or bang, regardless of the gait, he’d levitate and spin so that upon landing, he would be facing the direction of the noise, planted like a statue, with his ears pricked to figure out where exactly it came from. I can’t find the words to describe how strong he was and how it’s possible to be trotting along, then in the air doing a 180-degree turn, then landing absolutely still. All other horses would be struggling for balance, or take a few steps to get planted into the ground—not Tali.”

You can read the full story of Tali and some of Doug’s other horse “success stories” in THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL. Doug shares these real-life case studies as proof of how the toolbox of tips and techniques he offers in his book can work for you. THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL just got a rave review on Horse Junkies United:

“This book is a must buy!” says reviewer (and rider!) Tracy Porter. “Whether you have a seasoned schoolmaster, a greenie who is just learning the ropes, or a problem child like my boy you will appreciate Doug’s honesty and vast knowledge in your pursuit of the perfect horse!”

You can read the full review on Horse Junkies United by CLICKING HERE.

 

CLICK IMAGE to read the full review of THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL on Horse Junkies United

CLICK IMAGE to read the full review of THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL on Horse Junkies United

 

Doug will be signing copies of THE RIDING HORSE REPAIR MANUAL at the Practical Horseman and Bit of Britain tents at the 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Watch the TSB Facebook page and follow TSB on Twitter for times and locations to be posted next week. Not going to Rolex? Doug’s book is available to order from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE. CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW.

 

Follow TSB on Facebook for signing times and locations at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Click the image above to follow TSB.

Follow TSB on Facebook for signing times and locations at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Click the image above to follow TSB.

 

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Thejoglegs

Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event unofficially begins Wednesday with the first jog or horse inspection, scheduled at 3:00 p.m EST. At all Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) sanctioned events, the veterinary delegate and the ground jury evaluate each competing horse twice–once prior to the competition (Wednesday) and once prior to the show jumping phase (the third and final phase)–to ensure he is fit to compete (Sunday).

“During the (first veterinary) exam the horse is identified according to its passport, its vaccination status is verified, and it is established that the horse does not have apparent contagious or infectious disease,” explained Lisa Crump, DVM, associate veterinarian for the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, in TheHorse.com Article #29022. “The baseline health is evaluated by a physical examination, including listening to heart and lungs, palpating limbs to investigate abnormalities, and (making) general observations.”

In addition to the practical matters of fitness and soundness, and particularly when the public is admitted to the jog, horse appearance and “trot-up outfits” (the rider’s attire) are of importance. In the following excerpt from MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON, Phillip’s former “Head Girl” Emma Ford shares her secrets to a successful jog, and Phillip provides a rundown on basic attire Dos and Donts.

Sign up to WIN THIS! Stop by the Cosequin booth in the Sponsor Village at Rolex Kentucky!

Sign up to WIN THIS! Stop by the Cosequin booth in the Sponsor Village at Rolex Kentucky!

A limited number of copies of MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON will be available for purchase and signing at Rolex Kentucky. CLICK HERE to read more about the special events planned for the weekend, and be sure to stop by the Cosequin booth in the Sponsor Village to find out the exact times for book signings and your chance to win great prizes, including a Gift Bucket full of Cosequin products, plus a copy of MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON and a $50 gift certificate to spend on books and DVDs at the TSB online bookstore (www.HorseandRiderBooks.com).

PREP FOR THE JOG

from MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON by Phillip Dutton with Amber Heintzberger

Out of respect for the judges (and because sometimes they offer great prizes for the best turned-out horse and rider), both should be immaculately turned out for the presentation to the Ground Jury. Below is a step-by-step description of how Phillip Dutton’s former “Head Girl” Emma Ford prepares each horse for the jog:

For the Wednesday jog Phillip normally rides the horse in the morning and then jogs him by hand to make sure that he is sound.

  • I give each horse a full bath including twice cleaning any white socks.
  • After the bath I use Cowboy Magic Super Bodyshine™ (CHARMAR ®) and spray it all over the horse and rub it in with a towel. It doesn’t make the coat slippery.
  • I put some detangler in the tail then put a tail wrap on while the tail is still wet; this remains on until just before Phillip jogs him out.
  • I braid the horse, increasing the number of braids from the 12–15 that I normally put in for a Horse Trials competition to 14–18 in for the jog. This lengthens the appearance of the horse’s neck—for aesthetic purposes.
  • Once the horse is ready I make sure the jog bridle is spotless and use metal polish to bring buckles to a shine.
  • Phillip likes to have the horse walking about 20 to 30 minutes prior to his jog time, so 30 minutes before that I bring him out of his stall, brush him off, rub him over with a towel, put Afro-Sheen™ (Johnson Products) in the tail and make sure the tail wrap is still in place.
  • I put baby oil on the skin around the eyes and muzzle.
  • For chestnuts, bays and black horses, I rub baby oil into my hands and run it down the crest of their neck and their legs to pick up any dust that might have accumulated.
  • I pick out the feet.
  • I use hoof oil on the walls and soles.
  • I add quarter markers to the hindquarters.
  • I like to put boots on prior to the jog to prevent any silly accidents that might prevent the horse from jogging up sound.
  • Then, I put the bridle on, and he’s ready for Phillip. (If you’re riding and by yourself, get the horse ready, then get dressed before you put the bridle on.)
  • Be aware of the weather; when it’s on the cool side, ensure the horse is warm while you are waiting so his muscles don’t tighten up.

Fashion Dos and Don’ts from Phillip:

Clean and conservative is always appropriate for the horse inspection. Photo by Amber Heintzberger from MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON (www.HorseandRiderBooks.com).

Clean and conservative is always appropriate for the horse inspection. Photo by Amber Heintzberger from MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON (www.HorseandRiderBooks.com).

It is important to wear something comfortable enough to jog in, which will not distract you or the ground jury from the main focus: your horse. Men are safe wearing khaki pants and a sport coat, adding a touch of style with an accessory like a hat or cowboy boots. Women can be a little more daring with skirts or dresses and fancy shoes, but a flapping mini skirt or tottering heels is unprofessional and distracting. Keep your style classic and simple for the best results, especially when it comes to footwear. Unless you are really comfortable jogging along next to a thousand pounds of horseflesh while wearing 3-inch heels, opt for something a little more practical.

DO

  • Wear pants that fit well. It may be worth hiring a tailor to get the right length and cut.
  • Coordinate your outfit to complement your horse. This is your chance to highlight your assets—take advantage of the opportunity.
  • Polish your shoes. You polish your riding boots, you polish your horse’s hooves, so take the time to polish your “jog” shoes, as well. Whether they are old paddock boots or Italian dress shoes, make sure they are clean and shiny.
  • Wear something that you like that flatters your body type. Fashion trends come and go, but nothing compares to feeling your best in whatever clothes you wear. If you like to take fashion risks, feel free to express yourself within reason, but if your style is more conservative, that’s fine, too.

DON’T

  • Wear clogs. Sprawling head over heels as you twist an ankle in these barn favorites will not earn favor with the ground jury.
  • Wear a skirt shorter than knee length. It should be of a heavy enough fabric that it does not flap around.
  • Wear a big floppy hat without securing it to your head.
  • Dress as if you are going out clubbing or to a dance party.
  • Wear anything with stains on it. Yes, it’s hard to stay clean when you are working with horses. Wear something over your nice clothes to keep them clean while you are getting ready, or have someone help you with your horse.

ModEventwPhilDutwebRead another FREE EXCERPT from MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON by CLICKING HERE.

Look for the Free Chapter Download link in red! And don’t forget to preorder your copy. Books ship at the end of May, 2013.

Click the image above to see photos (and "outfits"!) from the first horse inspection at the 2012 Rolex Kentucky on Eventing Nation.

Click the image above to see photos (and “outfits”!) from the first horse inspection at the 2012 Rolex Kentucky on Eventing Nation.

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Mary King and Michael Pollard, both profiled in Denny Emerson‘s new book HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD, are in the top 11 after the dressage phase at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. King, a member of the gold-medal-winning British eventing team at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, sits in second and fourth on Fernhill Urco and Kings Temptress, and Pollard, one of Denny Emerson’s former working students, is eleventh on Icarus.

We’ll see what tomorrow–cross-country day–brings. They’re actually saying in the sixties and sunny tomorrow in Lexington, which I’m sure is surprising to most of those who have experienced the usual gallop in the rain, mist, or muck that Rolex Saturday brings. Don’t forget that Denny Emerson will be signing copies of HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD at the Bit of Britain booth in the Trade Fair during the lunch break tomorrow…and if you didn’t make it to Lexington, you have one more day before our “Everything Eventing” month sale is over! Check out our discounts at the TSB bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

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Olympic eventer Denny Emerson will be signing copies of his best-selling new book HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD during the lunch break on Saturday at this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (April 28-May 1, 2011). Don’t miss the excitement of this event, where some of the world’s best (and most fearless) horses and riders converge on the famed grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. And definitely be sure to stop by the Bit of Britain shop at the Trade Fair during Saturday’s lunch break so you can meet Denny!

TSB author Denny Emerson on King Oscar at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 1996.

Denny’s book is garnering all sorts of attention–and with good reason. Not only does this excellent teacher provide the character traits, habits, and choices that he believes help turn average riders into good riders, and good riders into great ones, but he includes over 20 profiles of some of today’s finest horsemen, with their tips for the little (and big) things they did to reach the top. It’s a fabulous read and one that promises to get your act in gear and your seat in the saddle–don’t we all need a little reminder of how our day-to-day choices can lead us astray from our riding dreams? (I sure do!)

HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD is on sale all this month at the TSB bookstore. You can download a FREE sample chapter by clicking HERE and then choosing the FREE SAMPLE DOWNLOAD on the right side of the page.

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On course at Rolex...definitely identifiable as a pedestrian spectator!

Although I spent much of my preteen and teenage years imagining myself on horse and on course, deftly managing a blistering run over the daunting obstacles that are and always will be (at least in the minds of wild, horse-mad teenagers the world over) the Rolex Three-Day Event in Kentucky, it wasn’t until 2006–when I was 29 years old–that I finally made the trip to the hallowed grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park in late April. (I’d been there once before when in Kentucky for the national competition for Quiz Bowl…yes, I was a 4-H geek…but visiting the park during Rolex–THE EVENT–meant everything to me.)

I was at Rolex in a very different capacity than that I’d imagined as an ambitious young rider, as by 2006 I had been working at Trafalgar Square Books–publisher of equestrian books, hurrah!–for a number of years. We flew down from our offices in Vermont to meet with a number of current authors and prospective authors, so it was certainly a “business trip,” but I admittedly could not disguise my utter elation at the proximity to greatness, the immersion in all things eventing, and the thrill of riding vicariously that the experience offered.

I grew up in a small town in Vermont, rather ideally positioned next to the very town that is home to Denny Emerson’s northeastern abode Tamarack Hill Farm. Although I never got much closer than “right down the road,” the very nearness of the sport infused me with the desire to gallop hard at big sturdy fences, and I spent years fence judging at local horse trials studying just how one did that…sometimes with great success, and others with disaster.

I think this was called The Footbridge in 2006--I'm 5' 10", so you can see, umm, the seriousness of the situation on course.

But all those fences I’d studied and jumped, hungered for and gaped at, paled in comparison to viewing the number one fence on course at Rolex from a quarter mile away. It looked huge before I was anywhere near it. And when I finally reached it, I think I experienced my first true feeling of fear in relation to horses. Now, this is a pretty serious statement when you A) take into consideration that I am 5′ 10″ and no delicate flower (in other words, a big fence has to be REALLY BIG to make me feel, well, small); and B) I’d ridden some crazy horses and jumped some crazy fences in my life, and had been fully aware of the craziness factor at those times (call it youthful folly…I was blinded by riding lust).

Walking that course alongside Jimmy Wofford, and watching some of today’s great eventers navigate the trickier questions, was eye-opening, inspiring, and surprisingly fulfilling. At 29 and no doubt past my riding prime in many ways, I discovered that “One day I’ll ride at Rolex” was a proclamation that could be realized without owning an elite event horse. I had made that statement any number of times in my past, and sure enough, I’d made it–through Jimmy Wofford’s eyes, words, and expertise, and through the triumphs and failures of the many riders that year, I lived and died, I won and lost, I stumbled and rose again to finish.

Most importantly, I lived my childhood dream–perhaps in a slightly different form than I’d once imagined, but my dream all the same.

This month we’re celebrating the beginning of the eventing season, the 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, and the publication of Denny Emerson’s new book HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD with a selection of great books and DVDs on sale at the TSB bookstore. Check them out HERE.

Rebecca Didier

Senior Editor

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