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August 30, 2014

World Games Cross-Country Course Walk: Grooms' Perspective

Chronicle blogger Meg Kepferle—also known as head groom at Sinead Halpin Equestrian and the caretaker of World Games mount Manoir de Carneville—weighed in with some valuable insights on Pierre Michelet's 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games cross-country course. Don't miss her top tips on deciding when to take the conservative route, giving your horse banshee-like vocal encouragement and finding the best place on course to stop for a snack break:



August 28, 2014

Words From The World Games: We're An Army Of Six

As I lay here in my "snooze box," which is the equivalent of a very small luxury freshman dormitory room, I feel like it's the calm before the storm. Or I suppose it is actually already storming. Please somebody turn off the water, this cross-country can not handle one additional drop of rain!

All horses looked great at the jog yesterday and have been looking super in their work this week. Trailblazers Buck, Sinead and Phillip are our U.S. representation for dressage today and they put in solid tests, rounded out by Kim, myself and Boyd tomorrow. 

August 27, 2014

Getting To Work

Things have been go, go, go since we arrived here in Normandie. 

We moved into the stables on Thursday the 21st. The horses were happy and the stabling could not be better! Between team processing, team meetings, evening events—and oh yeah, riding!—we have been busy every minute of the day.

With the large number of horses, the scheduling has been very tight and I have to say, impeccably organized. 

August 27, 2014

Words From The World Games: Jog Day

Le Pin-au-Haras, France—Aug. 27

It's 6:45 a.m. and today is Jog Day.

The week so far has been really about getting as comfortable with our surroundings and getting into a routine. The venue is actually quite rural and doesn't have a World Championship feel but yesterday as I was cantering in the arena with Ingrid Klimke and Michael Jung I knew this was "real.” 

August 25, 2014

Words From The World Games: Sinead Checks In

Chantilly, France—Aug. 24

We've been training in Chantilly before we head to Normandy—it has already been one hell of an experience. First and foremost: there is no lacking in Team Morale!!

August 23, 2014

Standing In (Hilarious) Judgement

Let me be clear: being a dressage judge is one of the toughest jobs on the planet. First, you're watching for tiny nuances of performance in a 1,000 pound animal, and then holding them up against a standard. I don't care if you're the best judge on the planet, you can't have your eyes on all the horse's body parts all at once. You're going to miss stuff, and you're only human, but everyone expects you to be ON IT, ALL THE TIME.


1 week 3 days ago

All the best to Billy and Kristin

Maybe 23 will be the year, but I rode Michael and Vera's Dotato until he was almost 27, and he was still making it from the rail to the quarter line in a single bound. He still passages just for the fun of it. (He's 28 now.)
1 week 3 days ago

In my very first dressage

In my very first dressage test, I was riding an aged Percheron/TB mare. She hadn't been to a show in a while & needless to say was thrilled to be back in the arena. When it came time for the free walk on a long rein in our first test, Annie took it upon herself to frame up like we were riding FEI level test & proceeded to passage the entire length of the arena! The judge looked close to falling off of her chair from laughing so hard! For that she wrote, "Horse shows great exuberance & enthusiasm, however this test (Intro A) does not require passage." Our Intro B test simply came with, "See comments on previous test!"
1 week 2 days ago

After one particularly tragic test,

the only positive thing the judge could find to write was "nice braids."
1 week 1 day ago

Judge's Comments

I rode my extremely volatile OTTB gelding in my second-ever dressage show. Training Level. He scooted, spooked,and bulged his way through the test. Frankly, I don't remember the score. I don't recall her writetn comments. What I will remember to my last breathe, is that after the final salute, the judge leaned out of the booth and pronounced - "Better luck next time". The judge was no less than Lazelle Knocke. At the time I was absolutely mortified. Now I laugh about it. She was a wonderful woman that I showed in front of many times after over the years and I NEVER,EVER mentioned that ride!!
August 20, 2014

Horse Show Mom Vs. Mom That Horse Shows

Like any great outfit that begins with a fabulous pair of new shoes, my son’s leadline “debut” began with the purchase of a fabulous bowtie. Neither the bowtie nor leadline would have seemed like good ideas but for the two (maybe three?) martinis that preceded them.  

I did learn this: A mom that horse shows does not a “Horse Show Mom” make. I don’t know how the pony moms do it. Never mind the financials, I mean the nerves.

August 20, 2014

Moats, Castles And France's Version Of Walmart

Chronicle blogger and eventing groom extraordinaire Megan Kepferle is in France with her equine charge, Sinead Halpin’s Manoir de Carneville, and she’s checking in with a report of all the behind-the-scenes shenanigans from the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team’s training base in Chantilly.

So apparently people want to know what’s happening in Camp USA.

What I can tell you today is that Boyd is turning 35 years old, so spread the word.

August 19, 2014

How Plans Change!

The Chronicle's newest blogger is Laura Graves, who is preparing to represent the United States for the first time at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games with Verdades. She's going to keep Chronicle readers informed about her journeys in Europe.  

I have been in Europe with my horse Verdades for exactly two months now in preparation for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

August 19, 2014

Nothing Runs Like A Deer

I bought Donner six years ago. He was 5, and I was retiring my previous four-star horse to the lower levels. I initially got Donner as a project.

He was a beautiful stamp of a horse, had a good canter and a good enough jump. He was wild, but the price was right so I figured I'd take the chance. Either he would turn out to be something for me in the future, or I'd put some work into him and sell him on if he didn’t turn out to be an upper level horse.