A Day in the Life of Jessica Leto

Jessica Leto is a professional rider who runs JS Equine Ventures, LLC, a boutique sales and training operation based in Wellington, FL, with her partner Stephen Hirsh. Jessica graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Sports Administration and Business. Currently, Jessica competes at the five-star level with her mount Cimbura and also works with Stephen to maintain a strong group of hunter, jumper, and equitation sales horses. She takes particular pride in managing her business with a hands-on approach, investing time attending to all aspects of her horses’ care and training.

Keep reading for a behind-the-scenes look at a day in this professional rider’s life at the HITS Saugerties Horse Show Week VIII in Saugerties, NY, during the CSI5* $405,300 Grand Prix.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

5 a.m.

I’m typically an early riser so my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. I like to make sure I have time in the morning so I don’t have to rush. I drink my coffee while thinking about my plan for the day and getting any administrative work for the business done while it’s fresh in my mind.

6:30 a.m.

I walk Monday, my Jack Russell terrier, and feed her breakfast before heading to the show. We also have a German shepherd named Cali, but we find it hard to bring her everywhere as not all Airbnb options at shows are pet friendly.

7 a.m.

I get to the show, feed the horses, and help clean stalls. I also do other morning chores such as recording temperatures for the FEI horses and checking the legs and backs of all the horses. I’m very hands-on, as is Stephen, so every morning we like to take time to check for anything out of the ordinary in all our horses’ bodies. We look for both skin issues and areas of soreness from training or competition then take that into account when making our plan for the day. My horse Cimbura, or “Cimba,” gets his magnetic massage blanket every morning while eating breakfast to help warm up and relax his muscles before being ridden.

8 a.m.

I have two horses in FEI at this show. My morning is spent focusing on working them both. I am showing Cimba in the CSI5* $405,300 Grand Prix later today. My horse Frosty HD, or “Frosty,” is done showing for the week. I ride Frosty first, and he gets to be a bit of a practice horse to help me prepare for the class later today. I focus on myself and play over some poles to get my eye working. Stephen gives me feedback on what he sees from the ground. I also do a bit of no-stirrup work to warm up my leg muscles. During this time my FEI groom is hand walking Cimba and cleaning him up so I can ride him around 10:30.

Jessica Leto and Cimba competing at HITS Saugerties. Photo by ESI Photography

10:30 a.m.

When I flat Cimba I like to take my time and give him a long warm-up walk because he is a very high-energy horse. I do some transitions and lateral work to make sure all the buttons are working for the class this afternoon. My flatwork is based on how my horse feels after his classes from earlier in the week, how I want him listening, and how I want him energy wise for peak performance. I usually flat Cimba for about 45 minutes to an hour but today is a little chilly so I give myself some extra time in case he feels frisky.

12 p.m.

At this time the horses get lunch and Cimba gets ice boots and relaxes for a bit before his class. I also get lunch and some coffee. I make sure all my equipment and pre-show preparations are in order and being done on time.

1:30 p.m.

I walk the grand prix course and go over the plan in detail for the first round and jump-off with Stephen. I go later in the order so I choose a few riders who may have a similar course plan or a similar-strided horse to watch in the lineup. Then during the opening ceremonies, I take a walk wearing my headphones and listen to some inspiring or energy-lifting music. I give Cimba one last check over at his stall and make sure he has what he needs before getting into my head space for competition.

2:30 p.m.

The first horse is on course. Will Simpson was first in the order, and he was clear. Amanda Derbyshire and Hunter Holloway also go clear before I even get on my horse.

3:30 p.m.

So far, only three of the 20 or so combinations have put in a clear round within the allotted time. I do the boot check with FEI stewards and then my groom helps me with a leg up. I usually get on and warm up when I am around 10 horses out. I start jumping around four or five out. We do not do too many jumps, just a few fences to get Cimba’s legs warmed up and his eyes open and thinking. Then we head into the ring to pre-load and give him a little tour before the start buzzer sends us off to try our luck at the track that has shown itself to be pretty difficult this afternoon.

We jump clear and within the time allowed to become the fourth and final combination to qualify for the jump-off.

Jessica Leto and Cimba after earning fourth in the CSI5* $405,300 Grand Prix. Photo courtesy of Jessica Leto

4:00 p.m.

I return last for the jump-off, which is prime real estate since I’ll know how the other riders have done and what time I’ll need. Will and Amanda are fast, but both have a rail. Hunter goes before me and puts in a swift clear round so now I know I have to be fast and clear. Cimba and I were fast but had eight faults. We end up fourth, and we’re all very happy with the result and how Cimba jumped. Cimba and I get our ribbons and head in for the victory gallop. They play the “Top Gun: Maverick” theme song for the victory gallop, which I love.

4:30 p.m.

I got to attend my first press conference and sit among top riders to discuss our jump-off and what we thought of the class.

5 p.m.

Cimba got a bath, ice boots, and bandages while I was at the press conference. I am very into our feed program, so I make all the horses a celebratory bran mash with apples and bananas. I spend some time discussing my round and enjoying the results of the day with our team and horses before heading to get some Italian food. Monday gets to run loose and is very happy as well!

8 p.m.

Every evening we do night check to give hay, water, and take one more look at the horses before heading to bed. We also give them a lot of treats. It was a great day for our team, and I’m very proud of myself. Cimba is definitely one to remember!

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!


What To Know at an FEI Show: The Warm-Up

A successful warm-up is the key to a winning performance in the competition ring no matter what discipline. At the international level in a Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) show, there are particularities to be aware of when warming up. Being mindful of the specifics will ensure your warm-up goes smoothly and according to plan. For more information about regulations in the FEI stabling area, read part one of BarnManager’s What to Know at an FEI Show blog here.

10-Minute Area

For international dressage competitions, there is a 10-minute area, which is a designated space in the larger warm-up ring. This area serves as the last practice ring before entering the competition arena. Though riders are not required to use this space, there is only one athlete permitted in the 10-minute area at a time. This allows the next competing rider space to prepare any movements without the interference of other horses.

Order of Go

Since there is a set order of go, warm-up obstacles for cross-country and jumping are made available according to that list. If there are four warm-up jumps available, the next four riders to compete will be using those obstacles. When you are with the fifth horse in the order, you should plan to use the jump that the first horse is using once they are finished. An FEI steward in the warm-up area can help you if you are unsure of the order.

Jump Setting

The FEI stewards monitor show jumping and cross-country warm-ups. They ensure that all jumps being set are compliant with FEI rules. In all cases, obstacles being jumped must be marked with a white flag and a red flag. The red flag represents the right side of the obstacle, while the white flag represents the left side. The jump must be approached in the direction the flags indicate. If a rider wishes to approach the obstacle in the opposite direction, the flags must be changed with approval from the Chief FEI Steward.

In cross-country, the show’s organizers must provide jumps that can be knocked down as well as fixed obstacles to use to warm-up. Keep in mind that for the obstacles that can be knocked down, there are guidelines for how the poles must be used depending on the height and style of the jump.

Photo by Jump Media

Use of Extra Jumping Material and a Liverpool

In any FEI warm-up, you cannot cover the warm-up obstacles with extra materials like a scrim sheet, cooler, or towel. You also cannot bring any additional jumping materials to the warm-up. The show’s organizers must provide at least one liverpool that can be used if the athlete chooses.

If you are setting jumps for the warm-up and your rider would like to use the liverpool, be sure to keep an eye on it in the warm-up area. Typically, there are only one or two liverpools that are shared between all the riders. You’ll have to see when someone is finished using it before being able to use it yourself. Keep in mind other riders are warming up too. It’s also important to remember to pay attention to the other horses when you pass the warm-up fences. This is especially necessary when you are carrying a larger, spookier object like a liverpool.

Pre-Competition Boot Check

Both international eventing cross-country and show jumping competitions have pre-competition boot checks. Previously, riders could ask an FEI steward to conduct the boot check in the middle of the warm-up ring during their warm-up. Now, for safety reasons, the FEI steward(s) who are conducting the pre-competition boot check are located just outside the warm-up area or in a corner of the arena off to the side. Riders can still pause their warm-up routine to complete the boot check. However, it is important to note that doing so requires a little more planning since the horse likely needs to leave the ring to be checked before returning to finish their warm-up and head into the competition arena.

The FEI stewards conducting the boot check use walkie-talkies to communicate with the other FEI stewards in and around the warm-up. They keep track of everyone who completes the boot check by referencing the horse’s competition number. The competition number should be clearly displayed on the horse. It is helpful to also say the number aloud to the steward. In addition to checking all leg and footwear on the horse, the FEI steward will physically examine the competition hind boots to confirm they are compliant with the rules. They then will observe the groom or rider put the competition hind boots on the horse and fasten them to be sure this has been done correctly. Once the boot check has been completed, the boots cannot be changed or adjusted in any way without the supervision of an FEI steward.

Remember that every horse must complete the boot check. It is possible for multiple riders to want their horses checked at the same time. The boot check typically only lasts a few minutes. The FEI steward will try to prioritize horses depending on the order of go. Even still, having a plan for when you will complete your boot check is essential for a smooth, unrushed warm-up.

Special Cases

Some horses get nervous with a lot of horse traffic. If there is an additional warm-up area besides the one being generally used, the rider can ask an FEI steward for permission to use the other arena. An FEI steward must be available to monitor that warm-up area in order to make the request possible. A rider can also ask to go first in the class for a quieter warm-up experience for the horse. Any concessions made will be on a case-by-case basis and up to the Chief FEI Steward. What might be possible one time, might not be another.

Keeping track of the little nuances of the warm-up will help your competition preparation run smoothly. Make sure your whole team understands the plan and rules, so they are ready to execute their individual responsibilities. For more information about entering an FEI show, read BarnManager’s FEI Paperwork blogs with part one about horse passports here, part two regarding registrations and entries here, and part three pertaining to the check-in and jog here.

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

The BarnManager Q&A With: Alyssa Ferguson

The BarnManager Q&A With:

Alyssa Ferguson, Professional Groom at Ilan Ferder Stables, located in Wellington, FL

What are three things that are always in your ring bag?

I always have the heaviest ring bag! My friends like to joke that the only thing I don’t have is the kitchen sink. My three must-haves in any ring bag are back boots, extra leather pieces, and cookies. I bring a variety of back boots with me, between four to seven different kinds. The extra leather pieces are usually items such as a flash, a set of blinders, a pair of rein converters, and a set of draw reins at a minimum. Cookies are important because I want my horses to know that they will get rewarded for a job well done.

What is the most helpful habit that you practice at the barn?

Cleanliness and organization are two important habits. Often the show schedule or daily plan can get changed without much notice. I find it super helpful when everything is clean and tidy, labeled, and in a specific location. This way it’s easy for anyone to step in and know exactly where everything is for each horse if the main groom isn’t available.

How do you foster a great team environment in your business?

Alyssa and Gakhir, owned by Ilan Ferder and Esperanza Imports LLC. Photo by Jump Media

Humor and a positive attitude! This job, especially during shows and busy times, can be super stressful. I try to always keep the air light and keep everyone smiling. A positive attitude is contagious and makes for a nice work environment.

What’s your best tip or hack for grooming and horse care? Where did you learn it?

Honestly, I don’t think there are any tricks. I think the best way to give your horse the best care is to pay attention to what they want. I’ve had some horses that really dislike being brushed, so instead of forcing them to endure something they do not enjoy, I use a wet towel to remove the dirt or sweat. It’s all about knowing the horse’s likes and dislikes and trying your best to give them what they want.

What is your favorite equestrian competition and why?

Spruce Meadows is hands down my favorite outdoor venue.  The rings, fences, and spectators give off an incredible energy.

If you were a horse, what would you be and why?

If I were a horse, I’d honestly be a Shetland Pony. I am small and look sweet but can be pushy and have a little bit of an attitude.  Also, I’ll never say no to a snack or extra treats even if I know it’s bad for my waistline.

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

What To Know at an FEI Show: The Stabling Area

Competing at the international level in a Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) show comes with its own set of rules and regulations. From the stabling area, to the warm-up arena, to after the round, being aware of these intricacies can help you stay organized. The first step to having a successful show is good preparation and planning. Even before you leave the stabling area, there’s a lot you can do to keep your team on track. For more information about entering an FEI show, read BarnManager’s FEI Paperwork blog about horse passports here, and BarnManager’s FEI Paperwork blog about registrations and entries here.

Keep your credentials handy.

The FEI stabling area is fenced in with limited entrances that are always monitored. You must have an FEI credential to access the area. To learn more about obtaining an FEI credential, read BarnManager’s FEI Paperwork blog about the check-in and jog here. FEI competing horses must wear their competition number to temporarily exit the stabling area. Additionally, all FEI-designated areas, such as schooling and warm-up rings or grazing areas, are limited to credentialed personnel, so be sure to carry your FEI credential at all times to alert the stewards that you are authorized to be in FEI-designated areas.

Make note of the FEI stewards in the stabling area.

The FEI stabling area is regulated and monitored by the FEI competition stewards. Their job is to ensure the welfare of the horses. This includes checking that the stalls are clean and bedded sufficiently, that the horses are properly cared for, and that the horse show facilities are in working order. At any point during the competition, including in the stabling area, an FEI steward is permitted to inspect tack or equipment to confirm compliance with the rules. They also can examine a horse, especially if they suspect there might be an issue of misconduct. There is always at least one FEI steward in the stabling area, so if you have any questions or concerns, they are a very good resource.

Check in and check out of the stabling area at night.

The FEI stabling area is technically considered closed at night. To get in, such as for night check, you will need to see the entrance gate monitor. They will have a list to keep track of everyone entering and exiting the area. This list includes the times each person arrives and departs as well as the rider associated with the horse(s) they are seeing. As technology has advanced, some shows will have you scan your FEI credential to keep track of comings and goings.

Have a plan for medication.

In the FEI stabling compound, there are designated treatment stalls reserved for veterinary or therapeutic treatment. Unlike national stabling, you cannot bring medication administration materials, such as needles or syringes, into the FEI stabling area. Any medication must be given by a veterinarian in one of the designated treatment stalls in the presence of a steward. Furthermore, the competition vet may only administer medications during specific treatment hours. For this reason, it is important to plan ahead and consider anything you think your horse might need. Something as simple as an injectable joint support supplement must be given under these regulations. Also remember that the permitted and prohibited substances for FEI can differ from that of the National Federation. More information on FEI prohibited substances can be found here.

Pay attention to announcements.

During the competition, it is typical for a class’s progress to be announced over a loudspeaker in the stabling area. While a lot of shows also have live orders online that you can access through your phone, real-time announcements are a helpful tool to get to the ring on time. Other announcements, like scheduling changes, are important to listen for too. Significant updates will also be posted on the bulletin board either at the entrance to the FEI stabling area or by the FEI office.

Staying on top of the details will enable you to make the best plan and contribute most effectively to your team. When in doubt, the best thing to do is to ask questions to make sure you are correctly following all regulations. Sometimes the best way to learn is by doing!

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Getting Paperwork Organized for an FEI Competition: The Check-In and Jog

Even after preparing the horse’s passport and completing all of the registrations and entry paperwork, there are still some steps before being accepted at a Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) competition. Staying aware of everything you need and the timing of the FEI schedule at the show can help you make the best plan for your team and the horse. Read the first part of our FEI Paperwork blog HERE, and find the second piece HERE.

Before Arriving at the Show:

All FEI competing horses must be stabled in the designated FEI stabling compound. New in 2022, the FEI is now requiring a digitally signed waiver attesting to the horse’s health, as well as body temperature recordings of the horse in the morning and afternoon for three days prior to entering FEI stabling. This information needs to be recorded in the FEI Horse Manager mobile app. It should be completed by the staff taking care of the horse in FEI stabling throughout the competition. Temperature also needs to be taken in this manner for every day the horse is in FEI stabling.

Another important thing to check before getting to the show is FEI stabling credential passes. Only people with FEI stabling credentials are permitted to enter the FEI stabling area at any time. Some competitions give out credential wristbands at the veterinary inspection jog. At other shows, those with connections to the competing horse who wish to enter the FEI area, such as owners, riders, and trainers, need to apply for a stabling credential prior to arriving at the show and then pick up their pass – usually from the FEI office. There is a limit to how many people can have credentials per horse, and the number varies per show. It is a good idea to check how many credentials you may be given ahead of time if that might be a concern for your team. Look for announcements from the show’s organizers about when you should receive your credentials, how many are being distributed per horse, and if there are additional forms to complete.

Checking In to the Stabling Area:

All competing horses must arrive at the FEI stabling compound and complete the initial check-in process during the allotted time listed in the official FEI schedule. You will need your horse’s competition back number, so be sure to stop by the show office to pick it up. Plan your arrival to the show so you can promptly unload your trailer and have enough time to check-in.

The vets at the check-in verify the horse’s identity by scanning the microchip. They cross-reference that with the passport and back number. They also confirm the temperature logs and the horse’s temperature upon arrival to FEI stabling. Ensure that you come prepared with the horse’s passport, number, and enough help such that someone can hold the horse and someone else can take the temperature to present to the show vet.

Remember that once the horse has been admitted to the FEI stabling compound, it cannot leave the show grounds until it has finished competing for the week. Any time a horse temporarily leaves FEI stabling for exercise, hand walking, bathing, or competition, the person at the FEI stabling entrance gate needs to be able to see the horse’s back number to record when the horse leaves and re-enters the FEI stabling area.

Horses outside of the FEI stabling area need to be monitored by the FEI stewards. You must use the FEI-designated areas for riding, grazing, bathing, and competition. If the horse is temporarily leaving FEI stabling, it is essential that either the horse or horse-handler has the horse’s back number attached to them in some capacity. Many grooms choose to have a secondary number that they keep on them at all times when working in FEI stabling.

The Veterinary Inspection Jog:

The jog, also known as the veterinary inspection, happens at an indicated time after the check-in window. There might be separate jog times for different levels of competition if they are happening concurrently, or the jogs might happen simultaneously. Be sure to make note of the time of the jog and have a plan for your horse’s schedule. Some people like to have their horses ridden before the inspection so they are looser and more relaxed. If that is the case, you need to allow enough time to have the horse properly cooled off and groomed. Though it is not an official rule, it is generally expected that horses arrive at the jog nicely turned out. Remember that the jog is a veterinary inspection. This means that your horse should not have any tack or equipment besides the bridle. If it is raining, you could cover your horse with a rain sheet while you wait in line, but you’ll be asked to remove it for the actual jog.

At the veterinary inspection, the passport is checked thoroughly. You also have to jog the horse down and back for soundness on the designated strip. For this, you need the horse, passport, and number. If all goes well and the horse passes inspection, the stewards will keep the passport until the horse leaves FEI stabling at the conclusion of its competition week.

Make sure you factor enough time for the jog into your plans for the day. It can be challenging to avoid waiting in line since every horse needs to be seen at the inspection. Arriving a little early can sometimes help mitigate waiting for an extended period of time.

If you have a stallion, confer with a steward about where to wait for your turn to jog. In order to keep all the horses and people safe, stewards will usually keep stallions separated from the general lineup. They will slot them into the inspection when they can. If you have a particularly challenging horse to handle, it is always a good idea to speak with the steward ahead of time, so you can be as cautious as possible.

Don’t forget that you will need to jog your horse in a snaffle bit or double bridle. You will need to do this even if it is not something they use ordinarily. You can jog with the reins of the bridle, a lead line, or a lunge line. It is best to think about how your horse might react to the atmosphere at the jog and plan accordingly.

Making lists of what you need for each phase of the check-in and jog process can help you stay organized. Having reminders on your phone for different timings can also be helpful. While it can seem daunting at first, the great thing about participating in FEI competitions is that you are among the best athletes, stewards, veterinarians, grooms, etc. It is a great opportunity to learn, and the added intensity will make your successes feel even sweeter. Enjoy the experience, and don’t forget to retrieve your horse’s passport once you are done competing before you head home!

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Getting Paperwork Organized for an FEI Competition: Registrations and Entries

You’re excited to participate in your upcoming Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) designated competition, whether that be as a rider, groom, manager, or owner, and you’ve been charged with making sure the paperwork is organized. The horse’s passport is ready to go, so what do you need to do now to actually enter the show? Entering an FEI show is a bit more complicated than a national-level competition, so it requires a little organization and some advanced planning of your team’s show schedule. Read the first part of our FEI Paperwork blog HERE.


Rider USEF:

Similar to national competitions, it’s important to make sure the rider’s US Equestrian (USEF) membership is up to date. You should also be sure that they have completed their annual SafeSport training. Both items can be handled through USEF’s website.

Rider FEI:

If the rider has never competed in an FEI designated show, they will need to apply for an FEI registration number. This usually takes a few business days to process but is an important step to handle well in advance of the show in order to accomplish the other parts of the entry process. A rider’s initial FEI registration and annual renewal can be completed through the USEF portal’s Membership Dashboard. Be sure to look out for the confirmation email, so you can be certain everything is in order.

Horse USEF:

Horses with U.S. ownership must have lifetime USEF memberships (not just annual recordings) in order to be eligible for FEI competitions. You should make sure to confirm this status on USEF’s website.

Horse FEI:

Horses also need to be registered annually with the FEI. Like rider registrations and renewals, this can be handled through the rider’s Membership Dashboard on USEF’s website. Once a horse is registered, you will need to add it to the “Commonly Ridden Horses” list through the rider’s Athlete Dashboard in order to be able to enter it in any competitions.


Horse Show Entry:

Just as for any national competition, horses and riders competing in FEI classes must fill out the show’s entry form. This can be done either by paper or online. In addition, FEI entries must be accepted by both the rider’s National Federation and the show’s Organizing Committee.

USEF Portal Entry System:

In order to be accepted by the National Federation to compete at any FEI designated show, riders need to declare their intention to show with their chosen horse(s) through USEF’s Athlete Dashboard. There, you can select nationally and internationally hosted shows to enter. The submitted entry request then must be approved by USEF. If the request is accepted, the National Federation submits all horse and rider entries to the FEI.

If the level of competition being entered is interpreted by the USEF representatives as too advanced for the rider, they will not permit the intended entry. While a trainer’s note of explanation can help overturn an initial rejection, the USEF representatives ultimately make the final decision. An entry for a rider that is not in good standing also will not be permitted.

FEI Wish List:

The FEI invitation system, or “wish list” as it’s referred to, is only used for show jumping, but is an important step for those events. When a rider places in FEI competition, they earn ranking points in the Longines Global Ranking. Once a rider has a high enough rank, they are required to express their intention to compete in desired shows through the FEI SportsManager application or the FEI online portal. While all riders can view the entry system, only riders with ranking status can submit wishes. This is to allow a show’s Organizing Committee to accept higher-ranked athletes first and then see how many available spots there are to include lower-ranked and unranked athletes. Riders can be automatically accepted based on ranking if there is no entry limit to the show. However, if there is a limit, the show’s Organizing Committee can issue an acceptance manually based on the rider’s ranking and how many entries they receive overall.

With these “wishes,” riders specify which shows they would like to enter and with how many horses. As plans develop, they can change the selected horses at a later date if they so choose. Adding more than one horse to a wish reflects how many horses the rider wants to compete at the show. Wishes are made during the four-week period taking place eight to five weeks before the week of the competition. For this reason, you need to have your intended schedule planned out ahead of time.

Entry Acceptance:

It’s always good to have a backup plan in mind in the event your FEI entry is rejected by the Organizing Committee or National Federation. Your team might decide to enter national level classes at the same competition instead, or a different show altogether. For show jumping, the wish list helps enable riders to rank multiple wishes for competitions occurring during the same week in order of preference. Therefore, if the rider does not get accepted to a particular FEI competition, they might be admitted to a different FEI show taking place at another venue during the same week.

Entry Withdrawals:

Once the rider’s entry is accepted, it is important to remember that should anything change necessitating an entry scratch, there is a deadline to withdraw an FEI entry without financial consequence. Typically, this is the week before the veterinary inspection jog–which signifies the beginning of the competition–but it is always good to double-check for deadline dates in order to avoid an unnecessary fee. If the entry has already been accepted by both USEF and the horse show organizers, you must contact both parties to completely withdraw your entry.

Planning ahead and organizing your show schedule will help you keep track of which competitions you want to attend at the FEI level. Although it may seem overwhelming, creating a detailed calendar with deadlines will help. Having a system in place will ensure that you arrive at the veterinary inspection jog ready for competition!

(Did you know? BarnManager has a calendar feature with reminders so you do not have to worry about missing important dates!)

Handy Links:

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Getting Paperwork Organized for an FEI Competition: The Passport

Making the step from national to international- level competition is always exciting! Of course, participating in shows governed by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) comes with its own set of rules and paperwork. If you travel internationally, you need a passport, and similarly, your horse needs one to compete in designated international shows. If you’re thinking of competing in an FEI show, it’s important to make sure your horse’s passport is ready to go.

Many changes and updates to a passport must be completed at the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) office in Kentucky. It is important to allow enough time for the passport to be mailed in, processed, and mailed back. Planning your competition schedule in advance will enable you to have enough time to make sure everything is in order.


Like human passports, horse passports are valid for a fixed number of years. The FEI requires a passport renewal every four years. The first step is to check to make sure your horse’s passport is current. Usually, you can find the expiration date on the front cover of the passport. Some passports have a more recent revalidation sticker on the back cover. If you only need to renew your horse’s passport you can submit a “Passport Service Application” to USEF. They will send you a revalidation sticker in the mail. You will have to send the passport in to USEF along with the application if there is anything else that needs to be updated. If your horse has never had a passport, or an old passport is lost, you can submit the “Passport Service Application” to the USEF for a new one.


When you revalidate a passport, USEF will check that the ownership in the passport matches the ownership in its database. If the information does not match, USEF will require an ownership transfer to be recorded to correct the discrepancy. Any time a passport shows a new owner listed inside the front cover, the owner must physically sign the passport to make it official. Allow time to get this step completed as well.


Equine passports have a section dedicated to the horse’s vaccination record. Horses are required to be vaccinated against Equine Influenza Virus in order to participate in FEI events. Each time your horse receives an Equine Influenza Virus booster vaccine, it should be recorded in the passport by the administering veterinarian. The vet must include the vaccine serial number sticker as well as their official stamp and signature in order to make the vaccination recording complete.

When a horse’s vaccines are recorded consecutively, it’s referred to as a series. Check to make sure your horse’s vaccine series is continuous and correct. That means each vaccination recording is “complete,” and each booster is within seven months of the previous booster. If there is a previous booster in your horse’s vaccine series that is not “complete,” it makes the entire series invalid. This means your vet must start a new series. Your vet will also need to start a new series if your horse’s vaccine series has not been recently updated, creating an extended lapse between boosters.

Within the seven-month booster intervals, there is a window of time in which horses must have received their vaccine in order to enter FEI-designated stabling at the show. Horses need to be boosted within six months and 21 days of entering the FEI compound. They cannot enter if they have been vaccinated within the past seven days. Horses also cannot travel internationally if they have been vaccinated too recently. Therefore, it is necessary to be aware of this timing. Schedule your horse’s vaccines with your desired show and travel schedule in mind.


Equine passports also include a section where Coggins can and should be recorded. A Coggins test is a blood test for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) typically taken annually by your veterinarian. All horses need proof of a negative Coggins test to show at both the national level and in FEI competition. A Coggins test is also necessary for your vet to generate a Health Certificate. This is necessary for your horse to be able to pass agricultural inspections while traveling across the country. While an annual coggins is sufficient for domestic travel, if you are traveling abroad for an FEI show, such as in Canada or Europe, you may need a more recent Coggins test.

What might seem like a lot to organize at first becomes less complicated as you maintain the passport over time. After you have all the logistics settled, you’ll be able to focus on the excitement of your first FEI competition!

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Must-Watch Live Streams in April

The spring horse show season promises an exciting lineup of events to enjoy starting in April. Continue reading to find out where you can watch some of the biggest jumping, eventing, and dressage competitions for the month.

$500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5* at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF): April 2, 2022 – The highlight show jumping event of WEF is the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5*. This will take place on the derby field at Equestrian Village in Wellington, FL.

Where to watch: Wellington International

FEI World Cup™ Finals: April 6-10, 2022 – The 2022 FEI World Cup™ Finals for dressage and show jumping will take in Leipzig, Germany. The dressage team will include Anna Buffini and Ashley Holzer. Misti Cassar, Katie Dinan, Margie Engle, Hunter Holloway, Schuyler Riley, Aaron Vale, Kristen Vanderveen, Alessandra Volpi, and McLain Ward will represent the U.S. Jumping team.

Where to watch: ClipMyHorse.TV

Pin Oak Charity Horse Show Week III: April 6-10, 2022 – The final week of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, located in Katy, TX, features hunter, jumper, and equitation classes. There will be two grand prix classes taking place Thursday, April 7, and Saturday, April 9. Additionally, there will be a National and an International Hunter Derby held on Friday, April 8.

Where to watch: Horse & Country

National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) National Championship: April 14-16, 2022 – The NCEA National Championship is a competition for collegiate riders. It will be held at World Equestrian Center – Ocala. Riders competing in the jumping seat discipline are judged over fences and on the flat. Western riders compete in reining and horsemanship events.

Where to watch: Horse & Country

World Equestrian Center – Ocala Dressage III: April 14-16, 2022 – Dressage riders will take the spotlight at World Equestrian – Center Ocala during the Dressage III CDI3* show in Ocala, FL. It is also a USEF/USDF-sanctioned Level 5 competition. The CDI classes will be held in the Grand Arena, with the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3* under the lights on Friday, April 15.

Where to watch: ClipMyHorse.TV

Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Miami Beach: April 14-16, 2022 – This beautiful show features five-star, two-star, and Global Champions League show jumping competition right on the beach in Miami, FL. The Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Miami Beach will be the highlight event, taking place Saturday, April 16.

Where to watch: GCTV

Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event: April 28-May 1, 2022 – During the last week of April, five-star eventing competition will take place at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. It is held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. The dressage phase will begin on Thursday, April 28, and continue to Friday, April 29. Riders will test out the cross-country course on Saturday, April 30, and show jumping takes place on Sunday, May 1.

Where to watch: USEF Network


Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!