March 2021 - The 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is Back On!

by Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

An unprecedented outpouring of public support and a grassroots fundraising effort have led to a reversal of the announced cancellation of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI Five-Star presented by MARS Equestrian™ (LRK3DE). A new partnership between Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI), producer of the world-class event, and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation combined with the support of US Equestrian and longstanding sponsors Land Rover, Mars Equestrian, and Rolex will ensure that the CCI5*-L three-day event will be held, without spectators, alongside a new CCI4*-S, April 22-25 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.


“The uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic placed us in the financially impossible position of having to run the five-star event without spectators, a situation that left us no choice but to cancel the five-star for 2021 in order to preserve it for many years to come,” said Mike Cooper, President of EEI. “We are humbled and honored by the response of the eventing community as they’ve stepped up in a mind-blowing way enabling us to go forward.”

A fundraising campaign was started by athletes and fueled by the grassroots effort of the broader eventing community, generating more than $550,000 in donations to run the event. “While that still leaves us short of the amount needed, it is enough to convince us that the balance can be raised,” added Cooper. “We are now, with the assistance of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, committed to going forward with the five-star.”

In the new partnership, EEI and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, both 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organizations, bring strong and distinct skill sets – the Foundation in fundraising and EEI in event management. Using their respective expertise and resources, the Foundation will take the lead in soliciting donations to supplement the grassroots effort, and EEI will focus its attention on running the nation’s premier equestrian event in an environment that is safe for all during the current pandemic.

“The Kentucky Three-Day Event is the foremost event held at the Kentucky Horse Park and the lifeblood of the eventing world,” said Clay Green, Chairman of the Board of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation. “The Horse Park was established for the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships which gave birth to the annual Kentucky Three-Day Event whose success is responsible for the Park’s position of prominence and so much that has happened at the Park, including the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Seeing the number of people pleading for the event to happen this year made it very clear that we must do all we can to ensure that it does.”

“Seeing the athletes, community, our sponsors, and these two organizations, the KHP Foundation and EEI, come together in a united way to allow the CCI5*-L and CCI4*-S to go forward despite the challenges presented by the pandemic is nothing short of remarkable. This will allow our athletes and horses aiming for Tokyo this summer the best opportunity to qualify and prepare, while ensuring the safest possible environment for participants seeking to complete a CCI5*-L or CCI4*-S,” shared Bill Moroney, Chief Executive Officer of US Equestrian. “We extend a huge thank you to all involved, especially to our sponsors, for their flexibility and continued commitment to this event.”

“We are thrilled to return as the title sponsor for the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event and support the event broadcasts on NBC, NBC Sports Network, and the USEF Network to bring this historic event into the homes of the fans in the safest way possible. We applaud the efforts of the equestrian community who have gone above and beyond to raise funds to support this event and ensure another great year of world-class eventing can take place at the renowned Kentucky Horse Park,” said Michael Curmi, Director Brand Experience, Jaguar Land Rover North America.

“We applaud the efforts of so many organizers, fans, competitors, and sponsors, supported by MARS Equestrian, which will allow the CCI5*-L competition to continue forward in 2021. This event is an equestrian treasure we are proud to sponsor as we all look for safe ways to hold top level competition,” stated Geoffrey Galant, VP of Mars Equestrian.

Spectators are not allowed at this time, but USEF will continue to monitor the effects of the pandemic to determine if a limited number of spectators can be permitted at some point closer to the event with priority given to 2020 rolled over ticket holders. Those who paid for the 2020 event and chose to roll their money over for 2021 will have the option of full refunds or rolling their money over again for 2022. “Ticket holders can expect an email regarding their options, one of which will be to join this incredible grassroots movement on behalf of the sport of eventing,” said Cooper. “Those who wish to do so can donate some or all of the money they’ve paid. We applaud and thank everyone who has contributed so far; without you there would be no five-star this year and all of you have our utmost gratitude and appreciation!”

Those wishing to be part of the growing movement to save the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event Five Star can do so through the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation website at Donate – Kentucky Horse Park Foundation: www.khpfoundation.org.

 

 
February 2021 - Nothing Can Replace Your Beloved Pet

But now you can add years of the unconditional love and companionship you enjoy.

Preserving your dog, cat or horse’s DNA makes it possible for ViaGen Pets & Equine to produce their genetically identical twin. Genetics play a large role in their physical appearance, as well as drive their personality and behavioral traits such as friendliness, obedience, temperament, and intelligence. So, you can look forward to the joy of extending the relationship you have with your beloved, furry family member.


The first crucial step in cloning a pet is Genetic Preservation. Genetic Preservation is $1,600 (USD) and includes a biopsy kit, shipped to you or directly to your veterinarian. The biopsy kit contains the items required to take and ship biopsy samples to us. Your veterinarian would obtain 2 to 4 small (4 mm) skin biopsies under a local or general anesthetic. The biopsies are then shipped right away to our lab in Texas where we culture millions of cells from the tissues. Each cell contains your pet’s complete DNA, and these cells will be the starting point for cloning. The cell culture takes a few weeks to be completed, then the cells are cryopreserved and stored and remain viable indefinitely. You do not have to clone right away; these cells can be used at any point down the road for cloning. An annual storage fee of $150 (USD) begins one year after the samples are received.

We are commonly asked questions like; what age does my pet need to be for samples to be taken? Can samples be taken if my pet has passed? How do I know that my genetically preserved or cloned pet is authentic? How do I know my samples are safely stored? Will the biopsy process harm my pet?

Genetic Preservation can be done with pets of all ages. We recommend considering having the samples collected during routine veterinarian visits such as vaccinations, dental check-ups, and procedures where the pet will already be under general anesthesia. If your pet has passed, we can accept samples up to five days postmortem. Note, there are several factors that need to be considered if the animal has passed. Tissue cannot be frozen at any time and should be refrigerated. For more detailed information please review the Emergency instructions on our website.

While ViaGen Pets & Equine is working on culturing and preserving your pet’s cells, an independent, University veterinary genetics laboratory is working on a genetic report for your pet. This report is essentially your pet’s DNA fingerprint, unique to them. We will keep this report on file to confirm your cloned pet is genetically identical to your pet.

Rest knowing that we at ViaGen Pets & Equine take the security of your pet’s genetic material very seriously. We ensure the safety of your pet’s genes in several ways, including keeping the cells stored in multiple locations, alarm systems and limited personnel access.

The tissue biopsy sample taken by your veterinarian will not harm your pet. Typically, your pet will be fully healed from the tissue biopsy in a just a few days.

To learn more visit www.viagenpets.com or call 888-876-6104.

 

 
February 2021 - Rancho Pasatiempo

A Home for Horses

by Les Thomson

Christy and I purchased a property in Winchester near Temecula several years ago and our main idea was to make it an inviting place where we could have horses that are either retiring, horses needing a place to rest while recovering from injury, or horses just needing a break from their job.


When a new horse arrives, we keep them by themselves in a stall with an adjacent paddock, so they can be inside or outside at any time. When we feel they have adjusted to their new environment we move them to a larger paddock. If they are here short term, 30 days to 6 months, we keep them by themselves to avoid any injury from other horses. Long term horses are placed in a pasture with other horses which gives them a chance to have a buddy. Horses are herd animals and enjoy being together. We only put four horses to a pasture. Mares and geldings are kept separate.

We charge a flat fee with no extra charges for extra care such as feeding supplements, giving medicine, doctoring injuries or hand walking. We feed alfalfa hay three times a day. All the horses are groomed monthly. We take care of getting their feet trimmed or shod, vaccinations, worming and teeth floating.

For more information or a brochure, please feel free to call or text me at 949-874-0677.

 

 
February 2021 - Here’s the Thing About Riding

Eight Takeaways from the 2021 USEF Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic Week

by Leslie Potter, courtesy of US Equestrian

Twenty of America’s top young dressage athletes had the opportunity to work with former U.S. Dressage Technical Advisor and Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover and other prominent coaches as part of the 2021 USEF Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic Week (RDHCW). This year’s program took place at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Fla., January 7-10.

With a lifetime of experience as a competitive dressage rider and a long history coaching elite athletes in the sport, Dover brings his expert eye and well-earned wisdom to the one-on-one sessions at the RDHCW. Here are eight key points from this year’s clinic.


 

1. Have A Vision Of Greatness.

“In every moment, from half-halt to half-halt, you’re seeing a movie in your mind, and the movie is you and Tiko being the most beautiful, grand, fearless, fierce, and invested combination. It doesn’t mean something won’t ever go wrong, but it means your vision is clear: your rhythm, your sense of cadence, your sense of your half-halt, your sense of greatness in every step.”

Dover offered this advice to Allison Nemeth (Flemington, N.J.) as she worked on an extended trot with Tiko, a 10-year-old Danish Warmblood mare owned by Karen Nemeth. Dover repeated this concept in nearly every individual session, driving home the importance of visualizing the best version of your horse in the movement at hand.

“If you’re not seeing it in your mind, how do you create it? If the only eyes you’re looking at everything in life is your eyeballs, how do you create the next thing?” Dover said to Sydney Lipar (The Woodlands, Texas) as she rode Herzkonig, aka Percy, a 17-year-old Hanoverian Gelding owned by Denise Lipar. “I teach in pictures; I try to make you see a movie. In your mind, when you’re riding in the walk, and I say you’re going to do an extended trot for five strides, you’re going to see only one vision, and that’s you and Percy walking with so much collection and energy that in the next half-halt, which comes from your thought, you see only one thing.”

Dover frequently invoked the top riders in the world, including Laura Graves, Charlotte Dujardin, and Isabel Werth, as riders who have only one vision with every horse they ride, and that vision is of perfection. They don’t leave room for “what ifs.”

2. Give The Lightest Aid Possible.

“If a fly touched your horse’s side and he didn’t react, he’d get bitten up. If you touch his side and you think, ‘It doesn’t matter if you don’t go forward or react,’ he’s always going to require that you do more than that to make him do more than what he’s doing. You can’t expect him to react in one moment with that amount of spur, if in another moment, he didn’t think that he was required to react.”

Dover brought up the innate sensitivity of horses in his opening lecture and referenced it throughout the sessions. Horses can feel a fly land on their side and react immediately with a twitch of the skin, he explained, indicating that they are capable of responding to the lightest touch.

“Every touch is training,” Dover said to Kayla Kadlubek (Fairfax Station, Va.) as she worked with Perfect Step, her 20-year-old Hanoverian gelding. “That’s why you see beautiful dressage riders and their feet are faced [toes pointed in]. You don’t see a lot of spur. You rarely see the spur touch. Even the thought of the touch is more than enough. The spur is a refinement. It’s a tool, for sure, if they don’t listen to the lightest possible aid. But the more you use it, the more problematic it is.”

3. You Need To Be In Control Of Pace, Tempo, Frame, And Length Of Stride.

“There are four things that you have to always be in control of from half-halt to half-halt,” Dover told Averi Allen (Pleasant Hill, Mo.), who rode Superman, Jonni Allen’s seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding.

“One is the rhythm of the horse, meaning the rhythm of his footfalls in each gait, how fast or how slow his feet come to the ground.

“The next thing is the tempo: how fast or how slow in each gait he’s going over every meter of ground.

“The third thing is his frame: You decide how high, how low, how long or how short his frame is from your vision.

“The fourth thing is his length of stride. Collection isn’t a subtraction from extension. Collection is an addition of engagement into the collection from his extension. It’s up to you to own those four things, and that can only happen when you clearly know what you want.”

4. Praise your horse.

“Don’t forget to tell him when he’s a good boy,” Dover told Kadlubek.

“Say to yourself, I don’t need to keep this all together. I just need to ride, keeping my legs beautiful, keeping my hands beautiful, riding the half-halt that makes them come up to that beautiful spot. And then the key is: ‘Good boy! Good boy! Keep doing it yourself! Keep being motivated so that I don’t have to work so hard!’”

5. Use Your Breath In Three Steps.

Dover helped Lexie Kment (Palmyra, Neb.) with Montagny von der Heide, Laureen Van Norman’s 16-year-old Trakehner gelding, in honing precision in the location of each movement and transition. He explained that the movement should begin when the rider’s body is aligned with the letter, and using breath to prepare and execute a movement can help.

“When the horse’s nose arrives at the letter is the beginning—the breath in. Close your legs, close your fist. Then the breath out. It’s three steps: breathe in the nose; bring your aids on and say, ‘this is where we’re going now’; and as he starts into his half-halt, you breathe out and he goes there.”

6. Collection And Extension Live Within Each Other.

“The true distance between the grandest collection and the greatest extension of any gait is the thought,” Dover told Lydia McLeod (Charleston, S.C.) as she rode her nine-year-old KWPN gelding Honneur B. “In every step of the most collected trot—the piaffe—the horse’s desire is still, ‘I could do an extended trot. I’m trotting on the spot but I could do an extended trot.’ That means he has each one of those in the other at all times. While he’s in the extended trot, he could piaffe at any stride because he’s through and on the aids. And when he’s in the collected piaffe, he’s forward-thinking. Those are what we call access points, where you truly know how to access collection and extension and you don’t lose one for the other.”

7. Have A Purpose For Each Part Of Your Warmup.

While working with Hannah Irons (Queenstown, Md.) on her warmup routine with her own Scola Bella, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare, Dover illustrated the need for a mindful warmup, recalling an accomplished student he’d coached in the past.

“One of my students was an Olympic rider who’d had loads of training. She would get on every horse and go through the exact same training [routine]. I could tell you every single time what they were going to do; it was always exactly the same. There is a lot to be said for doing that, provided it all brings the horse to a perfect place to do the next thing. But she had one horse that got better and better that way and another horse that, by the time she did all that, was exhausted. By the time she went into the ring, instead of having the most brilliant animal, he was brilliant 20 minutes ago.”

For example, Dover says, if you get the leg yield that you want in three steps, you don’t necessarily need to continue all the way across the diagonal.

“Don’t stay [in the movement] so long that she says, ‘OK, I’ve done it, [my rider] hasn’t said ‘good’ and now I’m going to fail.’ Every step that you’re going around where you’re not creating something are just steps. You’re either making it better or you’re just going around for the sake of going around. So when you get great feelings, when she’s done what you want, you don’t need to keep doing that. One half-halt that brings her to a perfect state of balance and attention, and you say, ‘Thank you. Now we can go on to some other things.’”

8. Throughness Is A Solution To Spookiness.

Early in their session, Allison Nemeth and Tiko had some trouble where Tiko wanted to shy away from the video camera at the end of the arena. Dover explained that while spookiness is an innate part of horses because of their evolution as a flight animal, it doesn’t mean that spooking is inevitable.

“When a horse is out in the field, they look around, because they’re animals of flight. Their head and neck are in constant motion,” said Dover. “Except when they—stallions especially—start to show off, and then you’ll see them go on the bit with no bridle at all. They’ll arch their neck and start passaging around, floating all over the place. They’ll get that shape for a period of time because their brain gets invested in that moment of showing off. They’re concentrated in that moment and they’re not spooking or shying and jumping away from things. And when that moment, under saddle, becomes the way they’re trained such that their brain is always going, ‘I’m on the aids. Allison is talking to me. We’re having this conversation back and forth, totally balanced, I have no other thoughts other than what Mom wants and I’m waiting for her next cue.’ That’s when spookiness goes away.”

Watch the USEF RDHCW 2021 sessions on-demand on USEF Network thanks in part to a grant from The Dressage Foundation.

 
January 2021 - Suppenkasper Named Adequan®/USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year

courtesy of United States Dressage Federation™

The United States Dressage Federation™ (USDF) would like to congratulate the twelve-year-old, 18.0 hand, Dutch Warmblood gelding, Suppenkasper, owned by Akiko Yamazaki’s Four Winds Farm LLC, and ridden by Steffen Peters of San Diego, California, for being named 2020 Adequan®/USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year. Suppenkasper›s median score of 76.149 percent made him the top horse in the United States competing at this level and the recipient of USDF’s highest honor.   


Suppenkasper was recognized during the 2020 Adequan®/USDF Year-End and All-Breeds Awards presentation, as part of the 2020 Adequan®/USDF Virtual Convention. In recognition of this achievement, a commemorative personalized plaque, an embroidered cooler, and a gift certificate provided by Dressage Extensions will be awarded.  Also, Suppenkasper is the recipient of the Colonel Thackeray Award and will have his name engraved on a silver trophy to be on permanent display in the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame, housed at the USDF National Education Center, located at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“USDF is thrilled to be able to recognize this extraordinary horse for his many accomplishments during this unique and trying 2020 competition season. We also congratulate Akiko Yamazaki, Four Winds Farm, Steffen Peters, and the entire Suppenkasper team,” stated USDF Executive Director Stephan Hienzsch.

For more information about the Adequan®/USDF Horse of the Year awards or to access a list of past and current recipients, visit the USDF website at www.usdf.org, or contact the USDF office at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 
January 2021 - US Equestrian

US Equestrian Announces Addition of 2020 Green Pony Hunter Section to 2021 USEF Pony Hunter National Championships

by US Equestrian Communications Department

US Equestrian has announced the addition of a 2020 Green Pony Hunter section to the competition schedule of the 2021 USEF Pony Hunter National Championships to be hosted in Lexington, Ky. at the Kentucky Horse Park from August 9-15, 2021. The Ad Hoc Selections Group of the USEF Board approved the addition on December 2, 2020.


The 2020 Green Pony Hunter section will be split into Small/Medium/Large sections and awards will be presented for each phase and section, including an Overall Grand 2020 Green Pony Hunter Champion and Reserve Champion.

In order to enter the 2020 Green Pony Hunter section, ponies must have been eligible for the Green Pony Hunter section at the time of the 2020 USEF Pony Finals (August 3, 2020) and did not receive a Green Pony reinstatement or waiver for the 2020 competition season. Ponies who qualified for the 2020 USEF Pony Finals and meet the eligibility requirements are qualified for the section in 2021, as are those who qualify for the 2021 USEF Pony Finals in the Regular Pony Hunter section. Ponies competing in the 2020 Green Pony Hunter section cannot cross enter into the Regular Pony Hunter section or the 2021 Green Pony Hunter section.

Eligible riders must be Juniors and may only compete on a maximum of six ponies in the hunter height sections. Riders cannot exceed three Regular ponies and three Green ponies with a maximum of one pony entered per height section.

For further questions or inquiries, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 
March 2021 - Ramona Couple Provide Forever Home for Retired Thoroughbred Race Horses

courtesy of Ramona Sentinel

Rescuing horses after their racing days are over can be an expensive proposition, but Ramona residents Sherrel and Maggi Heath have found a way to support the upkeep of nine retired thoroughbreds and two other horses using income from a thriving equine and canine supplement business.


Maggi and Sherrel Heath show off their retired thoroughbreds, 25-year-old Twinkling Lights, left, and her daughter Cat, 19. Photo: Julie Gallant

The Heaths enjoyed the company of horses long before they ventured into racing them and opening Sher-Mar Enterprises.

They founded the company in 1990 to provide a treatment for joint pain and arthritic conditions in mostly horses and dogs. A short time later, Sherrel Heath said, friends and acquaintances lured him into the race horsing arena, one race at a time.

“I’ve always been enamored with horse racing and so I bred a couple of mares and I raced a few of my horses at Del Mar, Hollywood Park and Santa Anita,” said Sherrel, who grew up poor in the foothills of Virginia and Tennessee and rode neighbors’ horses for pleasure.

In his youth, Heath helped earn extra money to supplement his father’s earnings as an appliance repairman. The young Heath occasionally worked on tobacco farms and hay fields in his hometown of Bristol, Va.

“I did not live on a ranch or farm but they were around us,” he said. “When you grow up like that, that’s what you did and, of course, go to school.”

Most of the horses the Heaths have now are thoroughbreds that he bred and raced and brought home and retired.

Thoroughbreds typically race for a half-dozen years or so if they stay sound and healthy, but their lifespan can extend 30 years or more, Heath said. After their useful life on the track is over, many of the well-trained thoroughbreds are sold at auction. Some are bought by rescues, but others are sent to Mexico where they can be sold for profit, and some are sent to slaughterhouses, or as Heath says, “who knows where.”

The Heaths were determined not to let that happen to their former racehorses, so they brought the horses to their 8-acre ranch near Creelman and Jean Ann Lane to let them live out the rest of their lives. The Heaths lovingly refer to their aging horses as “pasture ornaments,” since they spend most of their time hanging out and grazing in their spacious corrals. But friends also stop by occasionally to ride two of the horses.

0321 sherrel2Former real estate agent Sherrel Heath founded Sher-Mar Enterprises in 1990. Photo: Julie Gallant

The Heaths met in La Mesa in 1978 while Sherrel was selling a condo conversion and Maggi, formally known as Marguerite, was handling the escrow transaction. They each have 35 years of experience in their fields, Sherrel, 78, as a real estate agent and broker, and Maggi, 68, as an escrow officer.

It was through their mutual love of horses that they ventured into a sideline business. Sherrel Heath said he had been giving horses owned by himself and friends a yucca powder to treat their joints and arthritis, and saw big improvements in the animals as a result. The Heaths had relied on yucca, which had been sold extensively throughout the United States for that purpose for a number of years.

“We were buying it commercially and I decided to find out exactly what it was, where it came from and why it was so effective,” he said. “I did six to eight months of research. Then I decided I was going to start selling the yucca product myself.”

Heath discovered that the particular type of yucca plant they were using grows mainly in the American Southwest, from Baja California into California and Arizona. Yucca has long been known to be an anti-inflammatory and has been shown to improve the efficiency of the digestive system, he said.

As time went on, new ingredients for the treatment of arthritis in animals came on the market — glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.

“Those ingredients are huge now, but those ingredients were not on the market then,” Heath said. “Those ingredients became more popular throughout the ‘90s and I was selling some of those ingredients as well as the yucca to horse owners.”

In 2000, after experimenting with ingredients and their effectiveness, Heath formulated Fourflex, which he calls a complete joint supplement. The powder contains yucca, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, MSM and vitamin C combined with a base of stabilized rice bran.

He developed a process of buying select ingredients and hiring a contract manufacturer to blend, package and label Fourflex. While declining to specify revenues of the business, he said he sells the product to catalog companies, distributors, feed stores and also online at fourflex.com.

One of Sher-Mar’s regular customers is Blue Apple Ranch off Mussey Grade Road in Ramona. The nearly 300-acre property is a sanctuary for abused and neglected horses, some of whom the owners say have been previously harmed or are old and worn out. The ranch is home to 70 horses, many of them ranging from 25 to 30 years old and some as old as 38.

Adrienne Holmes, daughter of Blue Apple owners Lloyd and Lynn Wells, said they have been using Fourflex for six years and have been impressed with how well it works. She said lame horses have shown improvement in their ability to walk after consuming the powder mixed into their grain

“We’ve tried so many different things and had different vets come out,” Holmes said. “Compared to any others we’ve used this is superior. I believe the product works and it has worked for our horses over the years.”

0321 sherrel3This Mustang named Farrah is one of 70 rescued horses currently at homeat the Blue Apple Ranch sanctuary in Ramona. Photo: courtesy of Blue Apple Ranch

Fourflex is geared primarily to horses, but the Heaths sell smaller containers of the product to dog owners.

Income from the business has helped support the maintenance of his thoroughbreds and other horses, Heath said, adding he enjoys working and having the flexibility to set his own schedule.

“I’m my own boss and I work out of my house,” he said. “If I want to go play golf, I’ll play golf. I can regulate my own time. When I started this business I realized I wanted to get more into this business and I moved out of the real estate brokering business.”

Heath is aware there are other rescues and organizations that take in ex-racehorses throughout the United States. He said many of these off-the-track thoroughbreds can be retrained and make excellent riding horses, show horses and jumpers.

“It’s difficult to raise the money to care for a large rescue operation — there’s a lot of good people who try and want to,” he said.

Bringing his own thoroughbreds home is the right thing to do, Heath said, recalling his mom’s words, “If you own them, you better take care of them,” in reference to his pet dogs.

“By bringing them here we know what their fate is and we know they won’t go to auction,” he said. “We prefer to take care of them so we don’t have to worry about them.”

 

 
February 2021 - Singer and Entrepreneur Ekin Ozlen on Finding Home in Riding

by Hollie Geraghty

When Ekin Ozlen was 11 years old and saying a tearful goodbye to her summer horse at her grandparents’ Texas farm, she dreamed of the day when she would have a horse of her very own. The mare, a quarter horse affectionately named Sheza Skippin’ Jodie, would steal her heart and be the horse she learned to ride bare-back on. It was the start of her love affair with riding.

Many things have changed for Los Angeles based entrepreneur and singer Ekin since her earliest riding days. But the one constant all these years has been her relationship with the equestrian world. This commitment to the riding community would even go on to play a huge part in establishing her beauty brand Keracell.


 

Horseback riding has been in Ekin’s blood since she was born, with her grandfather opening the first riding club in her birthplace of Ankara, Turkey, the very place where her equestrian parents would first meet. When Ekin was five she moved to Cocoa Beach, Florida and started taking riding lessons. However in her twenties a blossoming modeling career whisked her away from the hazy Florida humidity and up into the harsh New York City winters. The biggest sacrifice in chasing her dream career was saying goodbye to the life she had with horses. “I was so bummed that they weren’t in my life anymore and I was living in this concrete jungle of Manhattan and just working,” she says.

Desperate to get a riding fix again, she would rent horses by the hour on the west side of Manhattan, walking them onto the icy New York City streets and into Central Park. The risky set up encouraged her to invest in riding lessons on the North Shore of Long Island four days a week with her own Holsteiner, a mare her trainer imported from Europe. “I would be in the car for hours in traffic to get to my horse, it would be snowing. But I would do anything,” she says. “This goes to show you how once it gets into your heart, you’ll do anything to be with them.”

Ekin went on to buy two imported warmblood horses, a mare named Prestige and a gelding named Zoltaire, and began working extensively with a trainer. However, a fall that led to a broken hand would be the turning point that took her career to Los Angeles so her horses could live in the California sunshine everyday. She found her dream stable that was “heaven” for the horses, and found success on the local show circuit. It was here that the same horse that previously bucked her off and broke her hand, was trained to absolute perfection.



During this time Ekin was working in both the music and modeling industries, while on the side developing a cosmeceutical brand, which began as an effort to help her stepmother with hormonal hair loss. She had no idea at the time that the product would go on to become the very beginnings of the Keracell beauty empire. In a perfect synergy of her equestrian life and the new brand, her riding friends would be her very first clients, and the stables clubhouse, her first showcase venue. The hair products in particular helped Ekin and her equestrian friends with “helmet hairline recession” brought on by constantly wearing riding helmets.

The multi disciplined creative searched for a way to fuse her vocations into one creative package, and now uses music to market her brand’s products. For her 2019 song release “La Noche”, Ekin featured her horses in the music video, and the brand new Keracell infomercial which is airing this month also puts them in the spotlight. The balance of riding while running a business has been essential for her in staying grounded and managing stress. “I’m such a better human being for having them in my life,” she explains. “I must have saved thousands of dollars in therapy, because they are my medicine.”

Throughout Ekin’s career she’s been presented with many crossroads that threatened to draw her away from her horses, but her commitment to the equestrian lifestyle always realigns her focus. From her Texas summers to the frosty New York winters, everything fell into place when she flew herself and her horses across the country to Los Angeles. It was a huge life change that put her horses first, but for Ekin, it was really the only option. “They are literally my greatest treasures and I would do anything for them.”

To learn more visit www.keracell.com.

 
February 2021 - Managing Green

courtesy of America’s Horse Daily

We are surrounded by energy-saving devices at home and at work from appliances to energy-efficient light bulbs, all designed to limit the amount of water and electricity we consume. But when we head out to the barn, do we take “green practices” with us? With planning and investment, equine facilities, too, can implement environmentally sustainable practices that can also be economic.

Compared to houses and commercial buildings, “equine facilities are inherently green friendly,” says Joe Martinolich of CMW Architects. “Barns are low-energy users as compared to a house or commercial building because they are not usually air conditioned or heated.”


 

Often, “green practices” go hand-in-hand with good horse husbandry.

“Natural ventilation is great for animals,” he adds. “Open, vaulted spaces allow warm air to rise and exhaust. Ridge vents bring fresh air back in.”

High ceilings and exterior stall doors, with half doors that can be opened, also encourage airflow and provide a natural light source, reducing a barn’s reliance on electricity.

Here are some additional up-and-coming green practices that have been showing up on horse properties in places across the country.

From Waste to Product

Whether spread on a field, hauled away in a trailer or composted on site, removing manure is ultimately getting rid of a stable’s waste. Surprisingly, with a little help, manure can become more than waste – it can be converted into energy and, in some cases, it can become a source of income.

Biologically, manure can be broken down anaerobically or aerobically. When the process is anaerobic, (without oxygen), methane gas is produced, and methane mixed with carbon dioxide creates biogas.

Dairy farms, searching for ways to control increasing operating costs, are converting biogas into electricity to eliminate utility bills. Large-scale dairies are able to power their own facilities with biogas alone and can have enough energy left over to sell to utility companies.

Conversely, when manure is aerobically (with oxygen) processed through composting, heat is produced. Composting allows microorganisms to aerobically digest manure and used bedding. The heat can be captured and converted into useable energy.

Composting on a covered pad to harvest the heat eliminates the flipping process normally required during the composting process. The finished product can also be used in place of fertilizer to restore nutrients to the soil, and compost can become a sellable farm product to landscapers and gardeners.

Water Options

Riding in a dusty arena is unpleasant and unhealthy for horse and rider.

“Water is the secret ingredient to footing,” says David Steffee, owner of Steffee Surfaces, “and controlling the amount of water applied is critical.”

Maintaining a stable moisture level provides a consistent surface and reduces the amount of water needed. The equipment used to apply water to a riding surface dramatically affects how well the footing surface is maintained.

Based on the “ebb and flow” theory similar to the edge of a beach, David recommends a watering system installed beneath the riding surface.

“Mimicking the sand at the edge of the ocean and controlling the water level in the system below the riding surface takes advantage of the capillary effect of sand to keep it moist,” he explains.

A valve installed with the system allows the stable owner to adjust the amount of water held underneath the footing. The water savings using the subsurface irrigation system can be remarkable.

“One show ring in Ohio is 60,000 square feet and only requires 2,000 gallons of water every day to maintain it (using the subsurface system),” he says, “and an arena next to it that is smaller in size uses nearly 50,000 gallons of water every day.”

David adds, “The ebb-flow footings are very easy to maintain. They require a tractor with minimal horse power and a lightweight spring harrow that has a solid packing wheel on it. After the arena has settled in, it doesn’t need to be drug very often.”

For barns and stables not in the position to build a new arena or renovate an existing one, overhead sprinkler originally designed for greenhouses can be installed. The spinner on the sprinkler spreads the water evenly across the diameter of the sprinkler’s throw. Because of this design, it waters with uniformity. Maintaining the footing in an overhead watering system would be much the same as with a regular watering system.

Barn owners looking to drastically reduce the amount of water used can consider rainwater harvesting systems that trap rainwater and store it for later use.

“The roof on a 200-foot by 100-foot barn is equivalent to almost a half-acre,” architect Joe Martinolich points out. “If you catch and use that water (for purposes other than drinking) that is a sizeable amount of water.”

Before pursuing any type of rainwater-capturing system, be sure to check your state and local regulations and water rights laws, especially in western states.

Green Landscaping

Well-planned landscaping provides more than aesthetic benefits. Carefully selected trees provide shade for arenas and barns, and decorative cobblestone pavers beautify walk-ways and aisles.

However, these aesthetic items are as functional as they are beautiful.

Large surface areas like rooflines, driveways, grassy paddocks and sun-dried earth shed rainfall without directing it anywhere in particular. If not guided, the excess water erodes soil and carries silt, sand and other pollutants directly into natural streams and waterways.

Permeable pavers, though similar in look to traditional concrete pavers, are manufactured with a spacer along each edge so that when installed, small gaps are left between each paver. The permeable paving system allows for water and air to move through the area once it has been installed. The small gaps provide water a place to go, directing it downward into the ground, rather than allowing it to flow across a hard surface.

Permeable pavers are gaining in popularity because of their environmental benefits, but also because national legislation requires municipalities and construction companies to use products to manage storm water runoff.

“Equine facilities in New Jersey are especially concerned with storm water runoff because of state regulations that point to runoff from horse farms as carrying pathogens and nutrients into streams and lakes and impairing the health of those water systems,” says Amy Boyajian, program associate for Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

Rain gardens are one tactic being used to filter and treat storm water before it re-enters streams and waterways.

“Places like Rutgers University Equine Science Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey, have installed rain gardens to capture and treat the storm water runoff from one of their paddocks,” she adds.

A rain garden is a 200- to 300-square foot depression made in the ground that is filled with native plants. Excess water is directed to the rain garden where it sits for a day while the plants soak it in, filter it and return it to underground water sources.

“Plant type and selection is key,” Amy adds. “Native plants are the best option because they will survive well without a lot of maintenance. Most importantly, be sure the plants selected are not toxic to horses.”

For help in deciding what greenery to use, consult Cornell University’s Plants Poisonous to Livestock and other Animals Database at www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/index.html.

Reducing Carbon Hoof Prints

Implementing environmentally sustainable practices in a stable can require creative thinking and an open mind. It may even mean trying techniques used in other industries.

The suggestions above are just a few ways stables can reduce their carbon hoof prints, drawing from strategies used in other barns, on dairy farms and in the landscape industry.

A few just might have potential for your farm.

 
February 2021 - World Equestrian Center

Ocala Winter Spectacular #1 Highlights

courtesy Of World Equestrian Center • photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography

Ocala Winter Spectacular kicked off with a full slate of hunter and jumper competition along with eight exciting feature classes. Exhibitors and visitors enjoyed delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks at our four on-site restaurants. Live music filled the Grand Plaza both Friday and Saturday evenings, adding to the excitement of the show. Feature classes ranged from 2’6” derbies to a 1.50m grand prix, offering fun classes with prize money for exhibitors of every level.


Dorrie Douglas and MTM Chelsea 98 topped the $20,000 Welcome Prix 1.45m.

Feature class action began in the WEC Grand Arena with 26 entries in the $20,000 Welcome Prix 1.45m. Four entries managed double clear rounds, but it was Dorrie Douglas and MTM Farm’s MTM Chelsea 98 (Cristallo x Lacanau) that sped to the win. Douglas and the 11-year-old Westphalian mare took their time in the first round, jumping clear in 83.000 seconds, one second under the time allowed. The pair picked up the pace on the short course, mirroring Lambre’s inside track and blazing through the timers. They stopped the clock at 42.084 seconds, taking the win.

William Coleman and Tropics took the blue in the $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6”-3’9”.

Melissa Donnelly and Grand Tour won the $15,000 WEC Derby 3’ Open.

Friday saw three hunter derbies including the $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6”-3’9”, the $15,000 WEC Derby 3’ Open and the $15,000 WEC Derby 3’ Non Pro in the beautiful 5,000 seat stadium. William Coleman and Jill Grant’s Tropics (Diarado) nabbed the win in the $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6”-3’9”, taking to the course early in the order, setting the bar high by laying down a flawless course for a score of 91. Coleman and the 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding were last to return in the handy round and held nothing back, taking inside turns to fences 1, 2, 4, and 6. With an option to turn right or left to a final line after fence 6, the pair chose to turn left, demonstrating a brilliant effort over the final fence for a score of 93, brining their overall score to 184 for the win.

Laura Cho and Westley earned first place in the $15,000 WEC Derby 3’ Non Pro.

Twenty-seven entries filled the stadium for the $15,000 WEC Derby 3’ Open. Competition was close, but Melissa Donnelly claimed the win in the class aboard Elizabeth Becker’s Grand Tour. The pair navigated a lovely first round for a score of 88, then returned in the handy round to show off their skills. Donnelly and Grand Tour chose inside turns to fences 4, 5, 7 and 9, and crafted a beautiful rollback to the trot fence option. The pair were rewarded with a score of 89 in the handy round, brining their overall total score to 177 for the blue ribbon.

Aaron Vale took first and second place in the $75,000 WEC Grand Prix 1.50m.

The $15,000 WEC Derby 3’ Non Pro saw 20 entries vying for the win. Several entries scored into the high 80s and low 90s, however none could beat Laura Cho and her own Westley (Clarimo x Unique VIII). Cho and her 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding were first in the order, setting a high standard with an impressive round and a score of 89. The duo returned near the end of the order for the handy round, displaying their handy abilities with inside tracks to fences 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9, and topped off their performance with an effortless, tidy rollback to the trot fence. Cho and Westley earned a second score of 89 for an overall total of 178 to top the class.

Christina Kelly and Kingdom jumped to the win in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.40m.

WEC $75,000  Grand Prix 1.50m saw an international field of 30 entries battling for the lion’s share of the prize money, a World Equestrian Center — Ocala scrim and a stunning trophy from the National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA). Aaron Vale owned the class, claiming 1st and 2nd place aboard Thinkslikeahorse’s Elusive (Rodrigoo x Alouette) and Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Major (Carmargue x Pinot), respectively. Vale piloted both horses through clear first rounds before returning for the jump-off. Vale and Elusive were first in the order, Vale and Elusive shooting into a full gallop between each fence. The pair flew through the timers, leaving all rails up in a time of 40.570 seconds, which would prove unbeatable. Vale then returned aboard Major, again taking to the course at full speed. The pair crossed the timers at 42.520 seconds, moving into 2nd place by two-hundredths of a second.

Susannah Morrell and Sunset’s Sparkle eared top honors in the $2,500 WEC Pony Hunter Derby.

Saturday also saw 24 entries vying for the win in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.40m. Ireland’s Christina Kelly and her own Kingdom (Lux Z) stole the win near the bottom of the order with an impossibly quick jump-off, besting 2nd place by more than three seconds. Kelly and the 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse Gelding navigated one of the quickest clear first rounds in 84.117 seconds, then continued straight to the jump-off. The pair chose the inside track and raced through the timers at 42.122 seconds to steal the win.

Bradley Federico and Zamundo took the win in the $2,500 Non Pro Hunter Derby 2’6”.

Bradley Federico and Hope Farm LLC’s Zamundo (Zambesi) took home the blue ribbon in the $2,500 Non Pro Hunter Derby 2’6” out of 23 entries. The duo laid down two beautiful rounds to top the class.

 

 
January 2021 - Del Mar Horsepark to Discontinue Shows, Boarding in 2021

by Luke Harold

Horse boarding and shows will be suspended at Del Mar Horsepark in 2021, Del Mar Fairgrounds officials announced.

The suspension of horse shows at the horse park allows the board of directors that oversees the state-owned fairgrounds, which owns the park, to evaluate “the necessary investment required to meet water quality requirements for equestrian activities,” according to a news release. The horse park is located next to the San Dieguito River, about two miles east of the fairgrounds.


Del Mar Horse Park. Photo: K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune

Fairgrounds staff will attempt to move horse shows to the fairgrounds, where there have been infrastructure upgrades “that can accommodate large-scale equestrian events.”

Those upgrades were part of a recently completed two-year, $15 million infrastructure project that added a holding pond, a constructed wetlands treatment area and other improvements to the racetrack infield. The fairgrounds has also built a stormwater treatment plant to comply with state and local regulations designed to protect nearby waters.

According to fairgrounds spokeswoman Jennifer Hellman, the horse park has a conditional waiver of waste discharge from animal operations from the Regional Water Quality Control Board. She added that the fair board “needs time to do its due diligence to consider the expenditure required for the upgrades necessary to continue equestrian operations at Horsepark.” The fairgrounds is navigating a precarious financial future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the cancellation of the large events that provide most of its revenue.

There are 38 horses boarded at the horse park by three trainers who have monthly stall rentals that expire at the end of 2020, Hellman said. They were given through March 2021 to vacate.

Ellie Hardesty, entering her fourth year as president of the California Dressage Society, said the Del Mar Horsepark “has always been a loyal facility” for the shows her organization has held. Plans for 2021, including lining up judges and sponsorships, were in the works before she learned last week of its closure.

“We would have liked to know that this was actually going to happen and we could have made different arrangements,” said Hardesty, adding that the shows are planned at least six months in advance.

Rancho Santa Fe resident Rochelle Putnam said she has participated in about 50 shows at the horse park over the last 10 years. She said its closure is “going to be a huge gap to fill.”

“I’d have to think that provided significant economic boosts to Del Mar and Solana Beach and everything in terms of hotel stays, restaurants, Mary’s Tack and Feed is right there (across the street from the horse park),” she added. “There are a lot of businesses that really benefited from hosting these big, successful horse shows.”

 

 
January 2021 - USHJA Brings New Competitive Opportunities

USHJA Brings New Competitive Opportunities to Adult Amateurs, Children’s Hunters, Young Jumpers, Adult Equitation and Derby Competitors in 2021

Courtesy of USHJA

The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association is pleased to announce five new competitive opportunities for members for the 2021 competition year: the USHJA Hunter Team Challenge, USHJA Young Jumper Championships, USHJA 3’3” Adult Jumping Seat Medal and regional championships for the USHJA National Hunter Derby and International Hunter Derby programs.


The USHJA Hunter Team Challenge offers riders competing in the 2’-2’6” Children’s Pony Hunters, Low Child/Adult Hunters and 3’ Children’s/Adult Amateur Hunter divisions a unique team experience. There are no qualifying procedures, but riders must meet eligibility requirements listed in the program specifications. To participate, riders must pre-enter with the horse show on a first come, first served basis. Sixteen riders in each of the three sections will be accepted.

The Hunter Team Challenge will take place over two days, consisting of over fences and an under saddle, and will be held in three regions: East, Central and West. For more information and to see 2021 Hunter Team Challenge dates and locations, visit www.ushja.org/HunterTeamChallenge.

The USHJA Young Jumper Championships will serve as the national championship for young jumpers in the U.S., allowing talented prospects to be showcased by owners, breeders and riders and shown at the national level. The competition will offer separate Championships for 4-, 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds. Four-year-olds will compete in a Style and Jumping Championship, which includes a First Qualifier and Final set at .90m. Five- through 8-year-olds compete over a three-round format that features First and Second Qualifiers and a Final set from 1.15-1.40m based on each age section, as well as a Consolation Classic for horses not competing in the Final. In addition to prize money, incentives and bonus prize money will be offered for United States breeders and American-bred horses.

Horses must be enrolled to be eligible and must be registered with USHJA and recorded with USEF to participate. The 2021 Championships will be held September 8-12 at the MMG Fall Show in Traverse City, Michigan. For more information and to enroll, visit www.ushja.org/YoungJumper.

Making its debut as the first USHJA adult equitation program, the USHJA 3’3” Adult Jumping Seat Medal class will begin August 2, 2021, with inaugural Finals being held in 2022. Modeled after the successful EMO Insurance/USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal for junior riders, the Adult section is open to Adult Amateur riders 18 and over who have not competed in a USEF Talent Search or jumped at 1.30m or higher in the same competition year. Riders must be current Amateur members of USEF and USHJA. Riders qualify for the USHJA 3’3” Adult Jumping Seat Medal Finals by earning 10 or more points during the qualifying period. Finals will be hosted on each coast, and qualified riders may choose either location. For more information and program specifications, visit www.ushja.org/JumpSeatMedal.

Regional Championships for the USHJA National Hunter Derby and USHJA International Hunter Derby competitors will also be available starting in 2021. Six regional championships will be offered for each: North, North Central, Northwest, South, South Central and Southwest. The National Hunter Derby Regional Championships will follow the same two-round format as the regular National Hunter Derby Class, however the championships will be offered in three sections: Open, Amateurs and Juniors. For more information about National Hunter Derby Regional Championships including dates and locations, visit www.ushja.org/NHDRC.

Six Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Regional Championships will also be held in addition to the national Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship held in Kentucky. As part of a new requirement for the International Hunter Derby program in 2021, horses must be enrolled to be eligible to participate in International Hunter Derby classes, regional championships and the national championship. For more information about International Hunter Derby Regional Championships including dates and locations, visit www.ushja.org/IHDRC.

 

 
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