Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Last Post for Road to WEG

Although the road to WEG is over, I thought it would be good to put in one last post. Obviously, there couldn't be 5 more disappointed people than the US 3 Day Event Team. Having been behind the scenes during and leading up to the event, I can say without exception that these 5 people tried their hearts out to win a medal and unfortunately it did not happen. That is sport and anyone involved with horses knows that anything can happen.

Now it is time to regroup and set our very determined sites on London.

Thanks for reading and supporting Phillip's Road To WEG!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

cross country day

What a day! Everyone knew the course was big and challenging and that certainly was the case. The good riders and horses made it look easy though. The first rider on the course, Great Britain's Opposition Buzz stormed around clear and under the time - it was amazing to watch. The U.S. Team's first horse out Boyd's Neville Bardos jumped great for another clear and under the time. Nev is not easy and can get a bit strong, so Boyd's main job was to keep him focused on the jumps and his lines and striding, which he did beautifully. So, one clear and under time for the team! Buck was next to go with Regie. Regie was a bit sticky at the first water and again at the coffin, but Buck was riding him strongly and letting him know he meant business. Regie had another lucky moment at the big corner wall. Then he jumped the double corners perfectly and things were looking better until the sunken road. Regie said NO to the in and in that second had 20 penalties. It is heart renching, but Buck rode sensibly to get him home clear without any more jumping faults.

The pressure was then on for Karen and Mandiba. At Mandiba's last cross country run at the AEC's, he had a stop at the second fence. Not sure if Karen was thinking about that, but Mandiba looked a picture going around and Karen rode like I have not seen her ride for awhile. She was so determined and focused and gave Mandiba a perfect ride - they came in with no jumping penalties and only 2 seconds over optimimum time. The Team was now back in the hunt!

Becky and Courageous Comet were next on course as our individual rider and they went great for another clear jumping but with a few time faults. Unfortunately, I did not see this round as I was helping Phillip get ready for his ride.

After waiting and watching all day, it was now time for Phillip to go. As we walked down to the start, the timer said there was a hold on course. The hold dragged on and so Phillip got off Woodburn. As you can imagine, this is a tough position to be in - Woodburn was all warmed up and ready to go and then to have to wait, really can rattle the nerves and break your rythm. Finally, after about 20 minutes, he was off! I know this sounds crazy, but I did not watch his round. I get so nervous that I sort of pace around and listen to the announcer. I had my friend Joanie Morris watch the moniter and give me a thumbs up at each fence so I didn't miss anything. Clear and fast! Phillip and Woodburn were home and I think I was jumping out of my skin I was so excited. Everyone said that Woodburn never looked better and that Phillip rode masterfully!

So at the end the day the team standings have the Brits in first, the US in 2nd and the Canadians in 3rd and the New Zealand Team in 4th. It was a day of excitement and some disappointments. As we go into showjumping today we are less than a rail behind the Brits.

Stay tuned,


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dressage Day 2

Good news first - Karen did a nice and steady test to add to our team score with a 44. Becky and Comet had a beautiful test and scored a 39.8. There were some amazing scores and tests throughout the day with Michael Jung in the lead on a 33!

Phillip was very disappointed with his test. It started off well with some lovely extensions in the trot work and good lateral work. Woodburn's canter can be a bit difficult to hold steady and together and unfortunately after getting 9-9-8 for his medium canter down the long side, Woodburn got tense and switched leads in the corner. Once this mistake was made it was hard to get him back to where he was and the damage was done. His score of 48 could easily have been in the low 40s. However, that is behind us now. As Jan Byyny said "the fat lady has not sung yet".

So, we head in to cross country day. I do hope (and pray) that I will have good news to report from all our riders.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dressage Day 1

The Americans are off to a good start. Our first team rider out is Boyd Martin and Neville Bardos. Neville can be a bit tricky, but Boyd kept it all together for a personal best score of 49. Buck rode BallyNoe Castle RM (aka Reggie) later in the day and scored well with a 47. Reggie did some beautiful trot work but just got a bit tense in the walk and rein back. The judges seem to be looking for a relaxed test that is fault free. I did not see the current leader, Simone Dietermann, a German rider who is riding as an individual, test but she is on a score of 36. The other good scores of the day came from Ingrid Klimke who is in 2nd on a score of 41 and William Fox Pitt on a score of 42. At the moment the team scores have the Germans in the lead, the Aussies in 2nd and the Brits third with the US in 4th.

Phillip rides Woodburn at the end of the day. He has been doing some lovely work and we are keeping are fingers and toes crossed that he keeps it all together and produces his best in the test.

We have all been enjoying watching the other disciplines as well. The Dressage Freestyle is tonight and apparantly is the only event that has been sold out. Reining is also a big favorite here drawing big crowds. The weather continues to be nice with temps in the 70s today.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

First Jog

This blog has been about Phillip's road to the WEG - now he is officially there! I will be writing on behalf of Phillip (mainly because he can't type) and more seriously because he has a lot to do!

The US team jogged this morning. Sadly, Kim Severson had to withdraw her horse. You can't underestimate how tough it is and our hearts go out to Kim and her team. All the other horses jogged well and now it is official - with Kim out it changes the team a bit and Karen will step into the team slot with Mandiba. We walked the course yesterday for the first time and it is BIG! You definitely know you are at a championship when you walk around the track. The head of the lake is quite daunting with a lot to do there. If you can get on to a website to see the pictures it is worthwhile.

Phillip will do his dressage test on Friday, which seems a long way off, but it will go by quickly. Will keep you updated each day on the team's progress.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Opening Ceremony

It is the day after the opening ceremonies for the World Equestrian Games. Our team was very patriotically attired in bluejeans, blazers, cowboy boots and hats! It was an amazing spectacle and really gets your blood going that you are at the biggest competition of your life! The Kentucky Horse Park looks amazing and the competitions are well underway with reining and the endurance horses in the midst of competition.

Our horses traveled well from Georgia and have all settled into their new home at the Kentucky Horse Park. It is good to get into a bit cooler temperatures for the horses. I have TruLuck here as well stabled off the show grounds, so had to ride him this morning before heading out to the horse park. Non competing horses are'nt allowed on the grounds so he is staying at Cathy Weishoffs barn down the road. Tomorrow we work the horses and then on Tuesday we have our briefing and are able to see the course for the first time. Wednesday we have the first trot up at 9:00. Once that starts, I know things will move very quickly, so I will try to keep you posted on how things are going. I hope everyone is crossing all appendages!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Training Camp

I returned from my brief visit home on Monday morning. It was really nice to see my parents, see the kids and to attend the final day of the Plantation Field International Horse Trials. This event is our home event and Evie and I have been involved in the organization for the past three years. It is very exciting to see how the event has grown and all the effort put into it by Denis and Bambi Glaccum, Katie Walker, Amy Borun, Colby Saddington, Evie and all the volunteers. I was so pleased for Jennie Brannigan who won the CIC*** class with Nina Gardner's Cambalda. This is a super combination and Jennie has worked really hard bringing this young horse along. Since I was unable to ride, Jennie rode a few of my usual mounts, Vidalia, Paprika and Young Man, producing good scores in all phases.

Back to reality and training. Oded Shimoni and Katie Prudent arrived to work with all of us for the past few days. I am very pleased with our progress - there is a lot of detail to work on such as going through the test with fresh eyes to see where we can get an extra point or two. The horses are jumping well so that is positive.

We had a team dinner last night at our host's Carl Boukeart's home. It was a fun occasion with blindfolded canoe races before hand. I am happy to say that my teammate Karen and I prevailed. With Karen paddling and me shouting "left, now right, paddle harder!" it was a blast.

We leave tomorrow for Kentucky - so I will have more to post then.


Saturday, September 18, 2010


It has been a fairly tough process and I am one of the few lucky ones to announce that I along with two of my horses, Woodburn and TruLuck, have been selected to represent the United States at the World Equestrian Games. You might say that I have been around for awhile, so I should be prepared for the process, but nonetheless it is pretty darn stressful. Woodburn has been named as my nuber one horse with TruLuck as my backup. I am sure everyone else knows the other team members, so I won't publish that here.
We are all in "camp" now at Carl Boukaert's beautiful farm outside of Atlanta where the final selection trial was held during the AECs. We are here until the end of the week to train until moving on to Kentucky. Oded Shimoni, our dressage coach, arrived and we are working on fine tuning the movements for our dressage test. At this stage, you really aren't trying to change too much, just get each movement the best you can for maximum points! This morning we will gallop to keep the horses in top condition before the test coming in less then two weeks.
I have to admit that blogging (or anything on the computer) is not my strong suit so, I apologize for the days in between my posting. I hope you will continue to follow and I will try to keep you posted on the goings on here in Georgia.

All the best,


P.S. am going home later today to see my parents who have just arrived from Australia. They are in there 80s so this was a big trip for them. I haven't seen them since we went to Australia after the Hong Kong Olympics, so I am very excited. Will post after I return on Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Showjumping at the AECs

Sunday was a bit hectic at the AECs but very successful. I jumped all five of mine first thing in the morning - the four listed horses I schooled with Katie Prudent to give them a little warm up. I had Connaught and Fernhill Eagle in the Advanced class with decent placings. Connaught was his usual exuberant self and jumped a beautiful clear round. I was super pleased with my young horse, Fernhill Eagle, who also jumped clear.

Then it was a mad rush to jump the other three who did not run cross country and therefore had to jump at the end of the division. But they were all superb! Woodburn was a little fiesty from not running the day before, but jumped well, The Foreman tried his heart out and also jumped a clear round as did TruLuck. Five clear showjumping rounds over a decent Advanced track. It is a nice confidence booster before the test that will come in a few weeks.

The team will be announced later today - so fingers crossed that all will go well.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dressage Day

I was really pleased with all of my horses during the dressage. It was a long hot day, but they all performed well with some room for improvement before the WEG. They are all a few points out of the lead of Allison Springer's Arthur who is on a good score of 35.

The ground here in Georgia is pretty hard so I'm not running The Foreman, TruLuck and Woodburn, who have had good runs cross country in the past few weeks.

Fingers crossed for Connaught and Fernhill Eagle.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

AECs here we come!

It was an early start at 2:00 am to head down to Chattahoochie Hills the site of this years' American Eventing Championships and the final selection trial for the US Eventing Team. I wanted to make sure that I gave my horses the best possible conditions for travel, so it meant an early start as the trip is about 14 hours.

We arrived safely and after waiting approximately 20 minutes in a queu of trailers we got our stable assignment and unloaded. There is an unprecidented 700 entries for this years' event, so it will be quite an event to see and to participate in.

Sadly, Kheops Du Quesnay did not make the trip, but he will have his day.

I will try to keep you posted over the week and weekend as things progress. Until then, good luck to everyone at the AECs.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Richland Horse Trials

I just arrived back from a long but successful weekend at Richland Park in Michigan. Those of you that followed this event would have noticed that most of the potential combinations for the US team ran here. Overall it was a great weekend for everyone.

Three of my short listed horses ran at Richland, The Foreman, Woodburn and Kheops du Quesnay. All three were placed high up, so I was very pleased. I have to say I am very excited by the way The Foreman and Woodburn are going and went this past weekend. They each had three solid phases.

So now we just have the AECs left to compete. This is a compulsory event for all the horses on the short list, so everyone will be there. The team is then named two days after the conclusion of the event, so fingers crossed until then!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Culpepper Show

Just a quick blog to keep you posted on what the horses have been doing in between comps. Last week I took TruLuck, Woodburn and The Foreman to the Culpepper show to work with Katie Prudent on their showjumping. It was a great experience for all of us and I think we made some good progress. Katie is a great technician and it is always helpful to focus on the details of showjumping. Next, is Richland ... will post more after that event.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I just returned from Millbrook where my long time partner, Connaught, started in the Advanced division. He was so glad to be back competing - you could see it in his eye and the way he carried himself! He was good in all phases and ended up 6th.
This event was part of the PRO Tour. These are events throughout the country that the organizers and the Professional Riders Organization (PRO) join together to run. Our idea is to bring in more spectators and fans to the sport by adding to the entertainment for the weekend, such as a pony club gymkana and course walks for the show jumping and cross country like they did at Millbrook. This seems to be working with a nice crowd and an overall successful event. The next event on the PRO tour is the Plantation Field International Horse Trials in Unvionville, PA September 17-19.
The next two weeks of my WEG preparation entails jump lessons with Katie Prudent in Middleburg, VA. I will have Woodburn, TruLuck and The Foreman there this week and then next week possibly a jumper class or two. Hopefully, I will have good things to report next time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I just arrived home from The Event at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana. It was an incredible experience and a great success. All credit is given to the Broussard Family and organizers for putting on such a fantastic event. Everything was done so well. From the flight for the horses, the footing, weather and scenery made it a great trip and a good experience for the horses.

I was pleased overall with my three horses. TruLuck was 3rd, Inmidair was 6th and Fernhill Eagle was 12th in the CIC***-W division. I did not have such a great day on show jump day with TruLuck and so have some work to do there.

I am home for the weekend and then gear up for Millbrook Horse Trials next week. Connaught is making his first appearance in his build up to the WEG!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cosequin Stuart Horse Trials Photos

Cosequin Stuart Horse Trials

I just got back from a very well run Cosequin Stuart Horse Trials. Situated in Victor, NY, this is a real community event. The very hilly terrain makes for great spectator viewing of the cross country and makes it pretty demanding fitness wise for the horses. I was very pleased with my horses and felt they had a really good educational run. Syd Kent was 2nd in the CIC** and Why Not won one of the preliminary divisions.

I am off to Montana where my horses are waiting for me. More after that event. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Few Busy Weeks Ahead!

I just got back from a busy weekend in Maryland at Loch Moy Horse Trials. Luckily we have just gotten some well deserved rain over the weekend and today! Although my priority is preparing for the WEG, my job and responsibilities carry on with some of my younger horses and taking care of things at home. I competed 5 horses on Saturaday and 4 on Sunday at Loch Moy. A young volunteer named, Brooklyn and her grandfather who were helping in the showjump warmup calculated that I had jumped 382 jumps that weekend....something you don't usually think about, but I found interesting. It's going to be a little easier this weekend at Stuart Horse Trials with the added bonus of Evie and the girls travelling up to spend the weekend. We then have a quick turnaround and I fly to Rebecca Farm in Montana to compete Truluck and Fernhill Eagle in the CIC3*. I am really looking forward to competing there, I have heard great things about it!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Heat!

I am sure its the same for almost everyone ... we are in the middle of a pretty nasty heat wave on the east coast. Luckily last week was a bit cooler for us while we hosted our annual camp. The camp days were long but very rewarding. It means so much more as a teacher and coach when you get to know each rider and horse on a day to day basis. I really enjoyed our group this year and look forward to following their progress throughout the year.

Milo and Woodburn returned from their dressage month in Florida with Oded Shimoni. It has been a great exercise for both horses and for me as well. Woodburn is so much more trusting now and is accepting of the work and training. Sometimes he can be a bit of a red head!

Milo is getting ready for his first run in leadup to the WEG. This will be the CIC*** at Rebecca Farm in Montana. It is really exciting as there is a group of east coast horses going out to support the event. I sure do hope it is cooler in Montana!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Training with Oded Shimoni

Just returned from Florida where Woodburn and TruLuck have been in training with Oded Shimoni. I am very excited about their progress. They arrive back on Saturday and I can't wait to have them home. The Foreman and Connaught are back in work and progressing well. My first outing with these guys is taking TruLuck out to Rebecca Farm in Montana the third week in July. It is our first time going there and is really exciting.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Cosequin Training Tips Filming

On Tuesday, Cosequin came up to the farm to film me giving some training tips. These will be short 30 second to 2 minute spots that will hopefully shed some light on basic horsemanship skills and solutions for riders of all levels. It was a perfect sunny morning for filming, with rain expected in the afternoon. Luckily we got all the filming done and my mount, Zanadoo, was really well behaved with the crew and their cameras (see photos below). Once all the editing is completed, Cosequin will be posting my training tips on their site, http://www.nutramaxlabs.com/. Make sure you check them out!

This weekend, my two WEG hopefuls, Woodburn and TruLuck, will be heading down to Florida to work on their dressage with Oded Shimoni. I will be going down to train over the next few weeks, which I am looking forward to.

Will keep you posted on their progress.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chattahoochee Hills

I have an easier week now with no competitions this weekend, which is rare but should be an opportunity to tackle some yard work! I was at Chattahoochee Hills last weekend in Georgia. This is the venue for the American Eventing Championships in September and also the final selection trial before the World Equestrian Games. It is an incredible facility on the Chattahoochee River and only 30 minutes from the Atlanta Airport. It is still very new, but I think will become one of the nicest venues in the country.

I am very excited to have Woodburn back in the barn after his post Rolex break at his owner's(Annie Jones) farm. He will start off with one week of walking and then slowly I will add flatwork and conditioning. Milo (TruLuck) has been with me all along since he didn't do a CCI this year. It is great to be able to spend more time training him without the taxing effect of a big event. Chip (The Foreman) is still at Annie's farm and is doing his walking week there.

Summer is fastly approaching and I know will fly by in the lead up to all the excitement this fall.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jersey Fresh CCI*** & CIC***

Just completed the Jersey Fresh Three Day Event. I had Jan Byyny's young horse, Inmidair (JR), in the CCI*** and TruLuck (Milo) in the CIC***. JR and I didn't get our act together that well in the dressage phase and received a score of 58. Things looked up from there with a good, fast cross country round on Saturday and a clean SJ on Sunday to end in second place to the exciting pair of Tiana Coudray and her lovely grey horse. Milo won the CIC despite my rider error in the SJ which added 4 penalties to his score. Both horses will have an easier time for a couple of weeks and then start the final build up to the WEG.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Jersey Fresh

So, I had a week to catch my breath and catch up on some sleep after Rolex and am now on my way to the CCI*** and CIC*** at Jersey Fresh. Unfortunately, I had to scratch Connaught as he was not right, so I just have TruLuck in the CIC*** and Jan Byyny's Inmidair in the CCI***. It will still be a pretty busy weekend, as I have a handful of students to help as well. I hope to update on my progress throughout the weekend.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Post Rolex

Rolex has come and gone and seems a bit of a blur. Once you start at a three-day event like Rolex you have four days of constant pressure and concentration, so I am a bit in recovery mode.
Most everyone knows that Rolex was won convincingly by William Fox-Pitt of the UK on a horse at his first four star. They were impressive all weekend, and it brings it home to all of us that you have to be consistent (and not make any mistakes) in all three phases to win a major championship or medal.
I was very pleased for Woodburn who was second and was truly a star in all three phases. I will be working hard on improving his changes and polishing his dressage movements going forward. He is an unbelievable cross-country horse and handled every question with ease. He has the most incredible ground-covering gallop, so the time on cross country is normally not a problem for him. He tried so hard in the show jumping, which in the past has often been a bit difficult for him. The Foreman was 6th after lowering two poles in the show jumping. I feel that I did not give him the ride that he needed in that phase. However, I am so proud of him after such a long hiatus from competing at the four star level. Unfortunately, Waterfront had an early runout on cross country, so we decided to withdraw him on course. This decision was made with his owner and rider Jan Byyny, and we all decided that was in his best interest.
I have to say that I am super lucky to have such incredible support from my grooms, Emma, Kelley and Lizzy, who worked their tail ends off all weekend looking after four horses. It is a lot of work to look after one horse let alone four! I also have incredible owners who couldn't be more understanding when things don't go quite to plan, such as having to withdraw Khoeps Du Quesnay and when things are so hectic such as they were this weekend. So many thanks to Annie Jones, Becky Broussard, Mardie Faucette, Acorn Hill Farm and the Byyny family.
All the horses will now get some down time before the big buildup to the WEG.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rolex show jumping pix

Above: Phillip & The Foreman
Below: Phillip & Woodburn finished 2nd. Read more at EquiSearch.com.
Photos by Hunter Messineo

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pix from Rolex cross-country and signing autographs

Above: Phillip & Woodburn go cross-country on 4/24/10.
Below: Phillip signs autographs at the Cosequin booth.

Rolex dressage pix with Waterfront

Phillip & Waterfront on 4/23/10
Photos by Hunter Messineo

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rolex dressage wrap-up, Danny scratched

Dressage is finished and all horses placed well. I believe we have three in the top ten. The cross country course looks challenging as ever! I have decided to scratch Danny (Khoeps Du Quesnay) due to a small amount of heat and swelling in one part of his leg, just bad timing! Let's hope for a good day tomorrow!


Rolex dressage pix with Woodburn

Phillip & Woodburn today in the rain
Photos by Hunter Messineo

Rolex Dressage Day 1

I got off to a pretty good start at Rolex. Chip went well in third. Danny got a 55 score, so I was pleased for his first 4 star. Woodburn and Waterfront go today. Had to have last minute change of plans for Woodburn who was meant to travel to Badminton.  Hard to schedule two flights to Europe this week! Fingers crossed for today.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Volcano and Woodburn

It is hard to believe that of all the reasons a horse doesn't get to Badminton is because of a Volcano. But that is exactly what has happened to Woodburn who was due to fly out to the UK on Wednesday. After a whirlwind couple of days speaking to the shippers, Woodburn's owners and I decided to reenter Woodburn at Rolex. So, pending FEI approval I will have 4 horses running at Rolex this weekend! I am upset to not be able to run him at Badminton, but given the extenuating circumstances this was the best option for all involved. More later after I arrive in Lexington.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

First Blog

This is my first enry on my blog "Road to WEG" and my first blog ever! We are coming down to the last days before Rolex and Badminton and things are pretty hectic at the barn. It has been a long Spring build up and now the two Spring four stars are nearly here. We pull out early Monday morning for Lexington and then I leave the Sunday night after Rolex for Badminton.

I used the Southern Pines and The Fork Horse Trials as a final prep for Rolex and Badminton for my potential WEG horses.

The Foreman, aka Chip, and Khoeps Du Quesnay, aka Danny, had their last runs at Southern Pines. Both ran well, coming 3rd and 4th respectively in the Advanced class and came out of it pretty well. Chip and Danny are both aimed at Rolex. Chip is experienced at this level but it is Danny's first four star. Woodburn finished 6th at The Fork in the CIC*** division and is going to Badminton. I also have Waterfront, Jan Byyny's horse, going to Rolex. We are still getting to know each other, but he was 5th in the Advanced class at the Fork, so that is looking pretty good. TruLuck was 3rd at The Fork. Coming off his 4th place at Burghley in September he will just do horse trials leading up to WEG.

Rolex this year is going to be really exciting and a perfect build up to the WEG. I encourage any fans and supporters to come out to watch next week. Once again, I will be signing posters at the Cosequin booth after Cross Country on Saturday. Hope to see you there!