ULR insight

With all the driving I do, one of my more recent addictions is the podcast Major League Eventing. They interview upper level riders, asking about their background, how they run their programs, what their future plans are, etc. I’m not much of an ULR groupie, but I do think it’s really interesting to hear how people got their start in the sport, and how they run their programs now.  Sometimes there are good little nuggets of wisdom in there, or things I hadn’t thought about.

Image result for major league eventing

I haven’t made it through all the episodes yet, but I’ve covered all the ones that originally caught my eye. People I was curious about, or liked, or in a few cases… disliked. In some cases the interviews made me some of them more, and in a few cases, less. It’s especially interesting to hear what drives people – for some it’s the love of sport and competition, for others it’s the love of the horse.

A few days ago I was scrolling through on my drive to the barn and saw a Kim Severson episode. She’s always been one of my favorites, so it was a no-brainer choice of entertainment for the day. Kim’s episode was short, but one of the most interesting so far. At least to me.

Y’all remember Kim’s epic save at Pine Top a few years ago? PC Hoof Clix

All of Kim’s horses live out 24/7, unless there’s a medical reason that they have to be inside. This seems pretty rare for an upper level rider. It’s kind of rare for any show horses in general. Her reasoning? Horses are meant to be horses, they’re designed to live outside where they’re healthier and happier. I totally agree, mine would definitely live outside if it was an option. Her whole “horses are meant to be horses” theory was kind of the recurring theme of Kim’s entire program… she values horsemanship above all else. A few other riders have said something similar, but you could tell that Kim really lives and breathes it, from how her horses live to how their careers are managed to how they’re trained.

They also asked if she has a particular liking for the Cooley horses, since she’s had several. Kim said that she really likes how they’re brought along/developed in the Cooley program, and mentioned that she thinks there is a lot of benefit to how Cooley incorporates a lot of in-hand cross country work in their horses’ training (you can see some video here). I’ve always really loved this about their program as well, and have emulated it with my own. Kim thinks that with this method the horses really learn to think for themselves and figure out where their feet are, and I agree. Liz Halliday-Sharp also made the same observation about the Cooley program on her episode, too.

The other interesting, and different, thing that Kim mentioned was that generally she is the one who initially approaches her sponsors. That it’s important to her that she likes and believes in the things that she’s representing. Most riders seem pretty hungry for any and all sponsors that would be willing, which I totally get, this business is tough. And Kim isn’t exactly lacking in sponsors. Still though, it’s refreshing to hear.

It’s possible that I have a slightly bigger girl crush on Kim after that. I was sad that the interview was so short, because I would have liked to hear more about her program.

Anyone else been listing to the MLE podcast, or maybe Eventing Radio Show? Any “must listen episodes”? Or have there been any interviews or tidbits that you thought really stood out from the crowd?

12 thoughts on “ULR insight

  1. I wish all show horses could live out 24/7. I know it’s single-handedly the reason Pig was able to keep going. (And is still going! Though obviously in a much less rigorous way.) I see so many dressage horses especially sidelined with injuries that seem to relate to a life lived on carefully managed footing. Turnout builds a better athlete and a calmer brain. Though, it is much less convenient. 😂


  2. Neither here nor there but when I was first starting Dassah out on xc fences, I actually caught a youtube video of the Cooley program and the in-hand work struck me as the most common sense approach! We started off under-saddle with limited success but once I worked her with a lunge line and let her figure it out without me flopping all around, it clicked with her. I think it did so much to build her confidence. Severson comes to the area once a year for a clinic and I have yet to even audit it due to schedules but my friends have all had extremely positive experiences in the clinics. Plus, who doesn’t love a ULR who keeps their horses out 24/7?! I’ve heard Mary King does that as well. “Knocks the dirt off and gets on”


  3. I loved MLE and loved her episode, as well as Boyd’s. They both just seem to really love the horses and do what is best for them. They’re very down-to-earth and seem to be in the sport for the right reasons. Which…. unfortunately isn’t the case for a lot of riders.


  4. I love the podcast and agree, really enjoyed Kim’s episode. I loved the most recent Boyd Martin one as well. Matt Brown and Dom Schramm, and how they really had to figure out how to make it work were great. Matt’s story about his first advanced horse had me in tears. Frankie Thieriot Stutes was a great ammy perspective. It’s very cool that we get to listen to stories from those we look up to and admire.


  5. That sounds like a really neat podcast. I ‘m going to add it to my list. Not that it is really the same, but when I was teaching Gem to be an endurance horse I would take her out on trail to job in hand with a lunge line. Everyone was always impressed with how she handled her feet on trail, chose her own paths and didn’t need me to micromanage every step. It was 100% due to making her job along beside me and figure her own way along.


  6. I love Major League Eventing! I also love the Eventing Podcast by Equiratings. And I do enjoy an odd episode of the Eventing Radio Show. I like that each of them has a different mix of hosts – some are riders, some are involved in horses in other ways. I just love podcasts in general.


  7. Buck’s episode is also really good. I wanted to listen to Hawley’s but it was in the earlier days and the audio was so bad I didn’t make it all the way through. Dom and Jimmie’s are good too. I also wished Kim’s had been longer. I don’t know her well, and would have liked to have learned more. I remember from an old PH article that she came east to work with/at the urging of Jack Le Goff and I would have loved to have heard about that in more detail. Rob and Karen have improved their interviewing techniques and the show is better and better. It is one of my favorites. Also Turnout, hosted by Carleigh Fedorka (A Yankee in Paris) isquite good. Lots of terrific info on the TB industry and breeding in general. Love podcasts!


  8. I enjoy Major League Eventing as well and I agree that after hearing some episodes I like that ULR more or less. Matt Brown has always been a rider I try to emulate (I’ve ridden with him several times on the West Coast) and listening to his podcast I was like, yes! Kim is also a favorite of mine and I was really disappointed in how short her episode was, especially since half of it was listing sponsors (although I did like that she reaches out to companies she likes)! I also keep my horses out 24/7 unless they need to be in and I think that has made them saner and sounder. My barn is empty 90% of the time and I love it!


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