Author Archives: Ema Klugman

Follow these four tips to start your Eventing season successfully


  Given that lots of riders spend the winter months down south and thus start competing quite early in the year, this article might be late for a portion of event riders in the U.S. However, for those riders (like me!) who winter up north and perhaps give their horses an extended holiday, the following tips for having a good debut may prove useful. I’ll use myself as an example–I just ran my first horse trial of the year at Fair Hill with my two geldings. 1) Realistically evaluate your and your horse’s state of fitness. Are you and your…

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The big ‘A’ – Why this milestone is just the beginning

Ema Klugman & Bendigo. Photo by Julieann Prettyman

  When I called my trainer, Packy McGuaghan, after Carolina International to ask whether I could move up to Advanced, he gave me an answer I didn’t really understand. He said ‘maybe.’ Here was an Eventing god, a man with answers to any and all obscure training problems, a voice of wisdom from competition strategies to veterinary procedures to conditioning schedules, telling me for the first time that he couldn’t answer my question. Surely he knew if the horse had it in him, didn’t he? You see, the thing about Bendigo is that he’s full of surprises. He can have…

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Friday’s Five – Tips to get the most out of your trot sets


  Before and during the season, eventers use interval training to strengthen and improve their and their horses’ fitness. Do you suffer from feelings of boredom or futility as you clunk around your arena or field, completing trot set after trot set? Do you wonder why you’re doing them when you could be practicing your simple changes or improving your horse’s jumping technique with gridwork? Do you wonder what value these trot sets actually hold in the long run? Trot sets are a fantastic way to improve your horse’s fitness and top eventers from around the world incorporate them into…

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Training horses isn’t math – Quit thinking like a human

sable party munchkin IMG_4558

  It’s fairly easy to think of Eventing, and horse training in general, in terms of numbers. A balanced canter departure is a 7; a very straight, prompt and uphill canter departure is an 8. A crooked or drifting horse on cross-country perhaps amounts to 20 penalties. A poor rhythm in show jumping delivers 4 or 8 penalties. But it’s beginning to dawn on me that training horses is not about numbers at all. In fact, the questions we encounter in training—the roadblocks along our ascent up the training scale—are far more like essay questions than math questions. Here’s my…

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Five simple steps to find the ideal bit for your horse

bit horse head

  The perfect bit: is it out there? Where is it hiding? No matter your level, you want to find an appropriate bit for your horse that both maximizes the quality of his performance and permits you to have enough control to train and compete safely. Follow these steps in your bit search:  1)    Know what your end goal is. An appropriate bit will encourage the horse to connect to both reins evenly. It will also provide the rider with enough influence to turn and slow down in a safe manner. If you have a particular problem that you want your bitting choice to…

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10 reasons why you need to get your butt to Rolex Kentucky

Rolex 2016

  The countdown is on until this year’s Rolex Kentucky CCI4* . You can expect to see the world’s best, vying for a coveted four-star win. There are six four-stars in the world and only one in North America – Rolex Kentucky (April 27th to 30th).  Few eventers ever make it to this level and even less are successful at it. Don’t pass up on a chance to watch the best in the world and take advantage of all these additional opportunities by attending: 1) A healthy dose of inspiration. The simplest and most obvious feature of the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* is…

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Processing disappointment – An essential skill for equestrians

Ema and Bendigo. Photo by Chris O’Hagan Quinn.

  I have had a pretty shit start to the season. I began showing earlier this year because I am living farther south. I wanted to take advantage of events in Area III that I had never competed at before. Two weeks ago, I had quite a good go in the Intermediate at Pine Top with my partner of many years, Ben. I misrode a line to a right-pointed corner off of a mound, and he ran out. I did almost exactly the same thing this week, though this time it was a right-pointed corner coming up a mound out…

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Six tips to assess a horse’s record before you buy

Ema XC

  You are looking to buy or lease a new horse. How do you consider its competition record? Before you think about going to try a horse, you should look up its record. This will save you time and travel expenses because it will give you a gauge to whether or not the horse is suited to your goals. The horse will have a published record if it has competed at recognized shows; if it has only done schooling shows you should request the results of such competitions from the owner. In the U.S., you can the find public results…

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Introducing angled fences to horses in six simple steps

Jennie Brannigan & Stella Artois.

  Angled fences show up on almost every upper level cross country course around the world. Even if you are currently at the novice level, it’s important to start introducing this concept to yourself and your horse so that you are comfortable with it in the future. A few things to remember about angling fences—you don’t have to be a rider to realize these, you just have to think mathematically. First, when you angle a fence you make it wider. If the table is three feet wide when you jump it perpendicularly, then it may be four or five feet…

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Pretty and effective – How you can be both in the saddle

Bendigo at Fair Hill CCI2*. Photo by Tami Beauchamp Tritapoe.

  Along with a few billion other people, last week I made new year’s resolutions. Like them, I made a few generic resolutions: exercising more, eating meat only a few days a week, limiting my time on social media, becoming more empathetic and a better listener. But I also made another one: to become a prettier rider. There are those people just look beautiful on a horse: they have long legs that seem to fall without effort into place, gorgeous posture, lengthy arms. They look like they were meant to sit on one. Their position comes easily, swiftly, to them….

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