Author Archives: Ema Klugman

How making your own mistakes will transform you into a better rider


  I keep on hearing this phrase from event riders: “experience is the thing you get right after you needed it.” It seems to be said at least once after Rolex every year. I’ve heard it in no other sport or profession. The phrase applies perfectly to cross-country riding. With experience, riders know when to egg a horse on at a CCI or when to ease off the gas pedal. With experience, riders know with how much pace to approach a big drop into the water, and how to create a shape that minimizes the risk of the horse hitting…

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This gelding defines a perfect upper level Eventing prospect – Goresbridge Auction

Lot 07, Mulvin Mr Mermus.

  May Select Sale of Eventers (May 29th): [Website] [Catalogue] [Performance footage] Over the next week and a bit, Eventing Connect writers are going to bring you their fantasy shopping list from the May Select Sale Of Eventers (May 29th). The Eventing Connect writers were reviewing the catalogue and dreaming and wanted share our thoughts on some very interesting prospects to open up the airwaves for discussion about what to look for in a new horse. Lot 07, Mulvin Mr Mermus is a classy type with a well-proportioned body and kind eye. At five years old, he appears to have a fabulous work ethic and some spunk to pair…

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Welcome to the horse world’s social media rat race

Ema & Joker’s Win at MCTA horse trials. Photo by Cynthia Sayre Gilbert.

  Social media has changed our sport. I think many of us are unaware of how online commentary and images affect how we view ourselves, our horses, and our goals. It’s been well-documented and noted that social media, in general, tends to produce a skewed view of people. People showcase their best moments—posing at prom, smiling at graduation, hugging friends against a beautiful backdrop when they’re on vacation. Horse people, for the most part, do the same. We post pictures that make ourselves and our horses look like winners. We sometimes put up unflattering moments—spectacular falls can provide comic relief!…

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Celebrating a win – Should more events have victory gallops?

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  You’ve probably seen them at the biggest events in the U.S., like Fair Hill and Kentucky. If you’re not a rider who’s placed in the top 20 at FHI or Rolex or a three-day of that caliber, and unless you’ve done well at the AECs, you haven’t had the wind whip at your smile and the ribbon flap on your horse’s bridle as you canter around the show jumping arena after an event. You haven’t heard the clapping from those watching, congratulating you and your competitors on your weekend. Instead, these days the collective clapping emerges in the form…

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Five tips to get the most out of your cross-country warm-up

Bendigo in warm-up. Forward, straight, and rideable is key. Photo by Natalie Huso.

  I was talking to a friend the other day about how funny it is to discuss our sport with non-horse people. She said that her friends couldn’t understand why she was still taking lessons. “Don’t you already know how to ride?” they asked. “Well, yes,” she said. “But I’m always trying to get better.” Competing in this sport successfully means you at least know the basics and can perform them well the majority of the time. But as we all know, beyond the basics there are so many intricacies on the path to success. Each time you move up…

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How to conquer your bogey fence – Four simple steps

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  Whether we admit it or not, most of us have a bogey fence. Course designers have a broad range of fence types from which to choose (in both the show jumping and cross country phases). The most common candidates for bogey fences are probably trakheners and ditches-and-walls, but every rider is different. For one person it may be up-banks on cross country, while for another it might be triple-bars in the show jumping arena. Riders often express fear or doubt about these particular types of fences, which can negatively affect their riding and their horses. Here are the steps…

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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

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  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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