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September 2021 - Olympia Footing LLC Offers Riders the Newest Technology in Arena Construction
Written by photos: Danielle Joy Photography
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 01:03
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Water control and groomer equipment are key to a well maintained arena.

photos: Danielle Joy Photography

Arena footing and arena maintenance are a couple of the most important components top trainers and riders focus on to give their horses the best opportunity to reach their highest potential.

Olympia Footing LLC has been a leader in building world class arenas for top riders in the US, including the Olympic silver medal dressage team riders. The newest product they are installing is the Otto sport perforated base mat, which is an arena base system that offers drainage, stability, provides cushion and adds to the longevity of your arena. The Otto sport base mat is used in arenas underneath the footing to provide the maximum drainage possible, water conservation, and stability for the horse and rider.

The Otto Sport Perforated Base Mat is ideally used in conjunction with the Ebb and Flow system of Premier Equestrian’s Arion Smart Arena system. Olympia Footing LLC, based in Northern California is the leading installer for both systems. Tony Judge of Olympia Footing states that, “control is the Ebb and Flow systems main advantage.” Modeled on rising and lowering tides in nature, the system delivers water to the arena from bottom to top and gives owners control over how much water is released into the arena and how much is drained out. They also control where that excess water is let out through drainage pipes that can empty a considerable distance from the arena if that best suits the property’s needs.

Thinking of these underground water systems as automated watering/drainage solution is critical to understanding how it works. “You have full control over how much water you want to add to it.” That quantity of water starts with replacing water lost to evaporation, which is minimal. Beyond that, the quantity varies based on what type of footing additive and sand is used and how they are blended, plus the type of riding the arena is used for and the owner’s preferences. Whatever that amount is, it is going to be small, which is great for water conservation and ease of maintenance of the arena. The system has been known to use about 60% less water than a standard system.

Some of the most important parts of maintaining your footing are the groomer and having the right amount of water.

Choosing a groomer is key to maintaining the consistency of the footing. What you should look for in a groomer is something that can be adjusted easily but will also allow you to control the under footing from becoming overly impacted. This allows you more time in between having your footing professionally flipped and re-laser leveled. We choose a combination of chisel tips for the mixing and plowing of the footing with a selected amount of coal tines to knit the footing back together all in one swoop. It is also important to have depth control over each type of groomer. Being able to go from low to high and adjust the coil tines as needed is key.

Check out the new technologies that serious horse people are putting into their arenas.

Ebb and Flow system:

Otto Sport Perforated Base Mat:

Key to keeping the footing together is having the right combination of moisture. This will give you the correct density and keep the fibers and textiles connected to each other. Over 85% of the issues we see once we arrive on site have to do with not having the correct amount of moisture on the arena. It is important to stay consistent even if that means running a water cycle at night to keep the moisture content in the arena correct at all times.

Olympia Footing was one of the first companies back in 2015 to begin introducing a larger particle size sand in their blend of sands to allow for more consistent side to side and forward sheer. This allows the hoof to connect and have the ability to move forward to reduce the hoof from stopping too soon without losing stability.

Olympia Footing LLC, started in 2014, is owned by Tony and Tiffany Judge, based out of Northern California and servicing all 50 states. Visit us at

“We have been so impressed with the amazing arena Olympia Footing installed for us! Not only was the installation done to 100% perfection but the follow up and maintenance have been second to none. They helped us to choose the right materials and their crew were absolute professionals from start to finish!”
~ Steffen and Shannon Peters • Arroyo Del Mar

“Olympia Footing LLC will always be my first choice when it comes to arena installation companies. Their prompt service, their seamless installation of arenas and their footing are just the beginning. Local to the West Coast and close to home, the team at Olympia Footing are knowledgeable, supportive and they don’t just install a project and leave. They are diligent in the care of their arenas and are always willing to offer customer support and service when needed. For me, choosing Olympia Footing LLC is a no brainer. It’s no wonder why top professionals trust Olympia Footing, they are world class and the most reliable arena installation company out there.”
~ Sabine Schut-Kery • Toyon Farms, Napa

“A proper, safe and well-maintained surface is crucial for any top athlete to train on. Tony Judge and his team at Olympia Footing take the need for high performance footing to heart. They used their knowledge to work seamlessly with Premier Equestrian to pick the perfect blend of textile and sand that created the ideal high performance riding surface for our facility, TYL Dressage. The team sticks to the schedule they set, communicates clearly and are very pleasant and professional to work with. The end result was a perfect surface for our high-performance dressage horses from 3 yrs old to Grand Prix to train on daily! Thank you Olympia Footing for creating the perfect surface at TYL Dressage with fabulous customer service! There is no one out there that we would trust more!”
~ Adrienne Lyle and Katie Johnson

“I ride my Olympic horse, Don John on Olympia Footing. Of all the arenas I ride on, it’s by far my favorite. After discussing our needs with the team at Olympia Footing, they were able to create just the right footing to make my training surface ideal.”
~ Nick Wagman

Olympia Footing LLC would like to mention that the above clients are on the US Olympic Team. They brought home silver medals from the Olympics held this summer in Tokyo, and they are riding on our arenas at home.


September 2021 - U.S. Dressage Team Earns Silver Medal in FEI Grand Prix Special for Team Medals at Tokyo 2020
Written by article & photo courtesy of U.S. Equestrian
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:59
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article & photo courtesy of U.S. Equestrian

The U.S. Dressage Team finished team competition at Tokyo 2020 capturing the silver medal under the lights at Equestrian Park in Tokyo, Japan, the first time the team has collected a team silver since the London Olympic Games in 1948. The team competition saw eight nations vie for the three coveted podium positions, with Germany taking gold, the U.S. earning the silver, and Great Britain awarded the bronze medal. The team competition saw eight nations vie for the three coveted podium positions, with Germany taking gold, the U.S. earning the silver, and Great Britain awarded the bronze medal.

Adrienne Lyle and Salvino received a 76.109 percent from the panel, while Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper, who rode in the second group, finished the competition with a 77.766, a personal best for the combination. Sabine Schut-Kery and Sanceo anchored the team and received a career-high 81.596 percent from the judges as one of the final rides of the evening.


Lyle (Wellington, Fla.) and Salvino, a 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Betsy Juliano LLC, were the trailblazers for the U.S. Dressage Team, riding early in the first group order. The pair executed a mistake-free test, giving momentum to the team for their second ride with Peters and Suppenkasper.

“I’m super thrilled. I was really hoping we could pull off a score like that for the team today. We were a little conservative in the Grand Prix, and it wasn’t our greatest display, so I wanted to come out here and push for a little bit more,” said Lyle. “Despite the heat and humidity, he was really a good boy and he delivered with no mistakes and that’s what you want for the team test.”

In the second grouping of combinations, Peters (San Diego, Calif.) and Suppenkasper, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Akiko Yamazaki and Four Winds Farm, rode one of their best tests to date and earned a superb score, improving from their test on Sunday in the team qualifier competition.

“This is exactly what I wanted for my team. It’s one thing to ride individually, but when you pull a good score for your team it’s an incredible feeling. When we came out of the arena, I gave Mopsie a big hug and thanked him from the bottom of my heart,” said Peters. “We were seriously in the zone. When we were out there about to go in the ring, I said, ‘Mopsie, please just do what we just did out here in warm-up,’ and we had a good schooling this morning. He did that for me when it counted and it’s an incredible feeling when a horse will fight for you like that in the arena.”

As the anchor combination for the team, Schut-Kery (Napa, Calif.) and Sanceo, a 15-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Alice Womble, rounded out the team’s effort with another stellar performance and personal best. The duo, who made their presence known in their first outing on Saturday, returned with another strong performance for the U.S. Dressage Team, helping them to clinch their second-place finish.

“For me, this was my first time here at the Olympics, and it was quite intense to wait that long for the end of the class, but I am so proud of my horse, my team, my owners, and the coaches. It’s been a really, really great experience and I am still a bit speechless,” said Schut-Kery. “I was filled with joy and pride. It’s such a team effort. It’s a big relief to deliver for the whole team, not just my teammates, but everyone involved, and it just meant everything. It was just pure happiness.”
With team competition concluded, Chef d’Equipe Debbie McDonald discussed her team’s performance throughout the team competition, as she was overcome with emotion.
“I am just so proud of this team. This is truly the dream team,” said McDonald. “They each persevered and delivered when their team needed them most. I am so elated by their accomplishment tonight, and wow, what a moment to be remembered for this program. We’ll be back tomorrow and ready for our last competition of this journey, which I am so proud to be a part of, and I have to thank all of the amazing coaches, support staff, and owners, as this wouldn’t have been possible without their dedication and unwavering commitment to our athletes and their horses.”

September 2021 - U.S. Jumping Team Takes Silver Medal in Jumping Team Final To Conclude Equestrian Competition At Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Written by article & photo courtesy of U.S. Equestrian
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:57
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article & photo courtesy of U.S. Equestrian

The U.S. Jumping Team earned the silver medal after an intense jump-off battle with Sweden in the Jumping Team Final to conclude equestrian competition at Tokyo 2020. The team of Laura Kraut and Baloutinue, Jessica Springsteen and Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, and McLain Ward and Contagious put the pressure on the Swedish team, showcasing the best of the sport under the lights in Tokyo. The Swedish topped the podium, with the Belgian team finishing with the bronze.

Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Baloutinue, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by St. Bride’s Farm were the first combination to test the second-round track built by Santiago Varela (ESP) for the final night of team competition and the pair delivered with a clear round to start the team off strong. The scores were wiped clean from yesterday’s qualifier, making each round critical for the overall team standings.

“Today he was just in the game. He was relaxed and focused and just did everything I asked of him,” said Kraut. “He’s just one of the best horses I’ve ever had the privilege to ride and for him to come in here tonight, he’s still new to this level of jumping, and he’s gotten better each day that he’s jumped.”

Following Kraut’s fantastic finish, Springsteen (Colts Neck, N.J.) picked up the baton and guided Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Stone Hill Farm, to a fast four fault round, keeping the team within reach of the podium. In the pair’s championship debut, they exceled under the pressure.

“This course was super technical. The first time I walked it I made a plan, and that was what I stuck with in the ring. There were a lot of half strides where you had the option to choose whether you wanted to do one less or one more and my horse has a big step and I was able to do most of the leave-outs which really helped me with the time allowed,” explained Springsteen about her first round.

As the pair’s anchor combination, Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Contagious, a 12-year-old Deutches Sportpferd owned by Beechwood Stables, LLC, found themselves needing to keep the team within striking range of the Swedish, and delivered with a solid round, as Contagious barely tapped a rail to add four to their score. Ultimately the team’s total of eight, tied them with the Swedish team, forcing a jump-off to determine the gold and silver medals.

“I thought the horses jumped great last night and really well again today. The task for me was a bit difficult to go in cold to that round last night and I was a little bit anxious about it,” said Ward. “I had a feeling that we were going to settle in, and everyone delivered. Jess stayed as cool as can be after having an early rail and I thought my horse’s rail was a little unlucky, and Laura was just lights out.”

The order for the jump-off remained the same as the second-round order, with Kraut and Baloutinue entering the ring first to set the pace. The duo finished with a quick clear round and were followed by Henrick von Eckermann and King Edward, who matched their pace and kept the score even. Springsteen was tasked with keeping the team on zero in the jump-off and delivered with Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, crossing through the timers with another fast clear for the U.S. With the draw order, Ward would need to pull out all the stops to try to keep the gold medal out of Sweden’s grasp. He pushed Contagious and delivered a brilliantly fast, clear effort for the U.S., as the rest of the team waited to see what Peder Fredericson and All In would deliver. Ultimately, the gold was earned by the Swedish team, which was well-deserved after their tremendous performance this past week, with the U.S. team securing their second consecutive team silver medal at an Olympic Games.

“Sweden has been lights out, which was expected, but they have really been on a different level. We would have had an incredible day to beat them, and I think we pushed them right to the limit and in competition, when you push them to that limit and they still win, you’ve got to be proud with the fight and the medal,” said Ward.

“This was a hard-fought battle,” said Kraut. “McLain is fast, and we know he’s fast, and he definitely put the pressure on Peder. He had .4 seconds to make up and Peder and All In are just so fast, just like we saw on the individual final. This is what we do this for. It’s a lot of work, sweat, and tears, but I’m just so thrilled and I’m so fortunate to have a great team here with me.”

“This was truly a team of four, plus the army behind us,” added Ward, to Kraut’s testament to the team comradery and the support they received from teammate Kent Farrington, who competed in the Individual Qualifier, but sat out for the team competition.

Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland was thrilled with the way the team’s strategy played to their preparation and noted that they were confident the team competition would most likely go to three rounds and made a point to be sure the horses were fresh and ready for the task at hand.

“It’s what you dream of. We came up with a plan a long time ago and the emphasis was always going to be on the team competition. The plan was, of course, that we’re bringing four riders here and all four were going to be whatever results we were able to get,” said Ridland. “Today was supposed to be the day that we really channeled everything, and we tried to leave as much gas in the tank as we could through the qualifying round to get there, and we’ve all been saying that the team was going to be three rounds and we were prepared for that. It just became magical. It was sweet revenge for Sweden and it’s a great rivalry. They were amazing and we pushed them to the limit and that’s what has made us proud.”


September 2021 - Getting In On The Ground Floor
Written by courtesy of SmartPak
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:54
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courtesy of SmartPak

Keeping your horse’s toes in tip-top shape isn’t just a great way to impress handsome farriers and make your barn mates jealous, it’s an investment in your horse’s health and soundness.

Hooves are to horses as foundations are to houses—they’re the base that everything else is built upon. And just like your house’s foundation, your horse’s hooves need to be strong, solid and reliable. But you probably knew that already. What you might not know is what you can do to support healthy hoof growth. That’s where we come in! We’ve got supplement solutions to nourish hooves from the inside-out, and top-rated topicals that work from the outside, in.

What to Put In

If a horse constantly loses his shoes, or his hooves frequently chip and crack, most people will say he has “bad” feet. But that’s not quite fair. His hooves aren’t staying out late, cutting class and talking back. You see, they’re not “bad,” they’re actually unhealthy.

The quality of your horse’s hooves can be influenced by a number of factors, from genetics to environment to workload. But all horses have certain nutritional requirements that need to be met in order for them to maintain strong, healthy, resilient hooves.

A study by Josseck, Zenker and Geyer, published in the Equine Veterinary Journal, showed that daily supplementation of 20 mg of Biotin (a member of the B Vitamin family) resulted in significant improvement in hoof horn quality and health. Furthermore, this improved quality was maintained over three further years of observation.

Amino acids are critical to hoof health. Lysine, Methionine and Threonine are essential amino acids, which means your horse can’t make enough on his own, so he has to get them from his diet. They’re also limiting amino acids, so if your horse doesn’t get enough, it’ll compromise his ability to synthesize the protein he needs for strong connective tissues (like hoof structures).

Zinc (Zn) is a micro-mineral that plays an important role in the formation of keratin, which is the structural protein that gives hooves their hardness.

Did You Know?

Your horse’s largest organ is his dermal tissue, which makes up his skin, hair and—you guessed it—hooves! So before you slather anything on, think about his hooves as living things.


September 2021 - Woodside Day of the Horse Has Something for Everyone
Written by article & photos by Nan Meek
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:46
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article & photos by Nan Meek

One life lesson that equestrians learned from the pandemic is that our enduring love of horses, and the myriad ways they enrich our lives, is worth preserving and sharing, now more than ever before.

That’s exactly what the Woodside-area Horse Owners Association (WHOA!) will be doing with its popular Woodside Day of the Horse celebration during three days of equestrian activities, Friday to Sunday, October 8-10. There’s something for everyone, equestrians and not-yet equestrians alike.

Having fun with horses and sharing it with neighbors in person and online, reflects the mission of WHOA! – to preserve the fundamental role of horses in maintaining the rural character of the Town of Woodside and neighboring foothill communities, to enhance opportunities for equestrian activities, and to promote the enjoyment of horses in all their various roles.

Woodside-area Horse Owners Association (WHOA!) welcomes visitors to its innovative drive-through Family Fun Horse Fair with welcoming banners that show the way to families eager to experience the joy of horses.

Woodside Art of the Horse

Created to celebrate the beauty and nobility of horses in our lives, Woodside Art of the Horse reveals the unique visions of equine artists portraying their favorite subjects.

From its opening reception through the following two days of equine art exhibitions, Woodside Art of the Horse will present a juried art show, a youth art show, an online art exhibition, and a silent auction.

New this year is the selection of works by young artists age 18 and under from their own live (not online) Youth Art Show for the 2022 Young Equine Artists Calendar. Youth artists will also be awarded prizes and raffle items.

Woodside Art of the Horse takes place live on Friday, October 8, 6-8 PM, and Saturday and Sunday, October 9-10, from 11 AM - 6 PM, at the Woodside Village Church. For more information, and information about the online art exhibition, visit or email questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

At the Woodside Day of the Horse Family Fun Horse Fair, visitors discover some of the many ways horses are helping people.

Progressive Trail Ride

Woodside Day of the Horse is renowned among recreational trail riders for its annual costume theme and its route along Town of Woodside trails that wind through the Town’s equine estates and landmarks.

Open to the public, all riders must pre-register, sign a liability release, and make a minimum donation per rider. Costumes reflecting the 2021 theme “Oktoberfest” are encouraged, although any costumes are welcome and are optional. Boots and helmets are strongly advised, and no stallions or dogs are permitted.

Costumed riders bring to life each year’s unique theme during Woodside Day of the Horse’s Progressive Trail Ride, riding the Town of Woodside trails and pausing for refreshments at ride stops that comply with safety regulations.

The official route uses only Town of Woodside trails without gates. Trail stop locations are noted on the map, with directions as needed and well-marked signs. Ride stops include both public and private horse-friendly locations, concentrating in the areas near central Woodside.

Registration opens September 1 online, and the ride is on Saturday, October 9, 11 AM to 3 PM, on Town of Woodside Trails. For more information, visit .

Youth art was an important part of the original Woodside Art of the Horse exhibition in 2019, and this year selected works by young artists will appear in the 2022 Young Equine Artists Calendar.

Family Fun Horse Fair

Last year at the height of the pandemic, WHOA! created the innovative drive-through Family Fun Horse Fair, inspired by the drive-by birthday and graduation parades that substituted for conventional parties. This year, WHOA! decided to repeat that success: Free admission, free plush ponies for children, and an exciting array of all things equine.

Instead of traditional booths with horses and equine information, the drive-through route in the parking lot at Woodside Town Hall passes by exhibitions of horses from the American Quarter Horse to an imported dressage champion; from a sweet miniature horse to a draft breed giant. An equine therapy horse demonstration, vaulting exhibition, and a farrier shoeing horses also gave visitors a comprehensive introduction to the world of horses.

Woodside Day of the Horse Family Fun Horse Fair is on Sunday, October 10, 11 AM to 1:30 PM, in the parking lot of Woodside Town Hall. Vehicles lined up early last year, from the parking lot entrance down Woodside Road, with two and sometimes three generations of a family eager to experience the horse fair. For more information, visit .

From paintings to photographs to sculpture, there’s art to delight the eye of every visitor to the Woodside Art of the Horse exhibition.

Horses for All

In these still-challenging times, the role of the horse in helping humans through the ups and downs of life is as important as ever. This year’s Woodside Day of the Horse celebration has something for everyone. Find out more about WHOA! and Woodside Day of the Horse at


September 2021 - West Palms Events Continues to Raise the Bar with Riders Cup
Written by by Brooke Goddard • photos: Image by Katie
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:43
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by Brooke Goddard • photos: Image by Katie

West Palms Events welcomes top-level show jumping competition back to Los Angeles this fall with Riders Cup (Oct. 21-24, 2021) at LA Equestrian Center. The competition will feature $306,000 in prize money paid same-day, an all-inclusive entry system, and courses built by Marina Azevedo of Brazil and Kevin Holowack of Canada.

At Riders Cup in May 2021 at the LA Equestrian Center, Gold Medalist Will Simpson and Chacco P were victorious in the $100,000 Riders Cup Grand Prix. “Riders Cup is all the right things for a great show and a great competition, done by people who know how to put on a show,” said Simpson.

This fall’s edition of Riders Cup will feature the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association (PCHA) $55,000 Jumper Championships.  PCHA has expanded its Child/Adult Jumper Championships to include both Low Child/Adult riders at 1.0m and Junior/Amateur riders at 1.20m and West Palms is sponsoring the $55,000 of prize money up for grabs.

“It’s something new, different, and really great,” said Archie Cox, PCHA President. “I am very excited that West Palms is hosting the PCHA Jumper Championships. We are getting a lot of interest and I have no doubt that West Palms Events will do a first-class job with it.”

Entries for Riders Cup are due by Oct. 1, 2021, and can be emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or submitted through Equestrian Connect. Spectators are welcome, and a limited number of VIP Tables and Cabanas are available for purchase. For more information, contact Adrienne Karazissis at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

West Palms is excited to implement feedback from Riders Cup in May to continue to raise the bar. “We learned so much from hosting Riders Cup in May at LA Equestrian Center and can’t wait to improve on it,” said West Palms CEO Dale Harvey.

Riders Cup Classes Include:


  • $100,000 Riders Cup Grand Prix
  • $55,000 PCHA Jumper Championship
  • $25,000 1.40m Jumper Classic with U25 presented by Neil Jones Equestrian
  • $25,000 1.45m Jumper Classic with U25 presented by Neil Jones Equestrian
  • $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
  • $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
September 2021 - Skylar Wireman and Emily Williams Win CPHA Hunt Seat Medal Finals
Written by provided by Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:33
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provided by Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography

Junior rider Skylar Wireman and amateur Emily Williams emerged victorious following two days of competition in the California Professional Horseman’s Association (CPHA) Junior and Amateur Hunt Seat Medal Finals at the Blenheim Summer Classic.

The Finals, held August 20-21, welcomed 57 juniors and 16 amateur riders for their respective opening rounds of competition, held on Friday afternoon in the Olympic Sand Arena at Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano, CA.

From there, all riders returned for a second round on Saturday, which featured a slightly more challenging track set by course designer Scott Starnes. In each round, riders received scores from each of the three judges, Rusty Stewart, Virginia Edwards and Rita Timpanaro, with the top 10 amateurs and top 10 juniors each ultimately returning for a third and final round on Saturday afternoon.

Heading into the finale of the CPHA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Final, Wireman sat in fourth place aboard Hot Pants – which was just where Wireman wanted to be.

“Being on top is a lot of pressure going into the final round,” said Wireman, who trains with her mother, Shayne Wireman. “I was third yesterday and fourth today. That’s kind of perfect and where you want to be. It leaves room to move up and room to improve and really wow them in the last round. Being on top is a lot of pressure because you know you’re on top and you have to align everything. Then you debate whether you take the risk or not. I took some risks today because I was in fourth, and it paid off!”

Wireman took advantage of an inside turn option to help her earn scores of 88, 88 and 91 for a third-round total of 267 and the winning score of 791. Second place with a final score of 785.50 went to Bella Primavera riding Carrico Sun, and Zoe Brown rounded out the top three with a score of 781.75 aboard The Original. While Madison Nadolenco held the lead going into the final round, she would ultimately finish in fourth aboard Couer de Lion.

“Today they gave us a little bit harder test and trickier jumps, with Swedish oxers, and it was easier to have a rail down; they were a little bit spookier jumps,” said Wireman, 16. “I think the third round definitely asked good questions, and there were lots of options for different types of horses. Blenheim’s done such a great job. They did a great job in the Olympic Sand Arena, and it was really fun!”

Skylar Wireman was crowned the 2021 CPHA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Final Champion

2021 CPHA Hunt Seat Medal Finals Champion Skylar Wireman

Reserve Champion Bella Primavera

Skylar Wireman is all smiles leading the victory gallop in the junior section of 2021 CPHA Hunt Seat Medal Finals

For the win, Wireman was presented with an impressive array of awards, including a CWD gift certificate, a Valencia Saddlery leather halter, a cooler, a Kastel CPHA riding shirt, a CPHA belt buckle, DeNiro Salentos boots, Harlow Horse Cookies, a SmartPak gift certificate and more.

While Wireman may have preferred not to hold the lead heading into the final round of the CPHA Amateur Hunt Seat Medal, for Emily Williams, the top of the leaderboard is where she thrives.

In 2018, Williams and Carlo won the CPHA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals, and this year, the pair returned to lead the CPHA Amateur Hunt Seat Medal Finals from beginning to end.

“I never thought that Carlo would still be the horse that I won the CPHA Amateur Hunt Seat Medal Finals on!” said Williams, who trains with Archie Cox. “He’s a really special horse. I think I said in 2018 that he was my dream horse. He still is my dream horse. He’s one of the most amazing horses that I’ve ever ridden.”

“He was out for a little bit. I never thought he would actually come back and especially to the 3’6”, so the fact that he was able to do that, it means more to me than anything,” continued Williams in speaking of the 15-year-old Warmblood gelding. “I’m just so grateful to this horse for everything that he’s done.”

With scores of 263.50 and 260 in the first two rounds, Williams was a far-and-away front runner heading into the final round, and she only further cemented her lead with scores of 90, 88 and 85 for an overall total score of 786.50. Second place with a score of 751.50 went to Stacey Bacheller riding Alalux, and a score of 731 earned the third-place honor for Catherine Westling and Rigoletto.

“I felt a decent amount of pressure across the whole class,” said Williams. “My horse is 15 this year, so I would really like this to be his last year doing the 3’6”. I really just wanted to do the best that I could for him and have consistent rounds. When I went into round three, I really just wanted to be the most consistent that I could over anything else. I just went out there and did what I know how to do. I didn’t try anything risky. I just rode my horse. I rode the horse that I have.”

For the win, Williams was also presented with a CWD gift certificate, a Valencia Saddlery leather halter, a cooler, a Kastel CPHA riding shirt, a CPHA belt buckle, DeNiro Salentos boots, Harlow Horse Cookies and a SmartPak gift certificate. Williams name will also be added to a perpetual trophy, sponsored by DiAnn Langer.

“I’m super grateful to CPHA for putting this on,” concluded Williams. “I love the ring that they used this year. All of the jumps looked great, and the courses were super fun. I loved all the bending lines that they incorporated. I just love how special they made it.”

In addition to Williams being honored as the winner, Westling was recognized with a special cooler, ribbon, sash and necklace as the top 36 and over rider.

The second and third place finishers in each division also received coolers, leather halters from Valencia Sport Saddlery, medals and CPHA belt buckles. All of the top ten finishers took home great prizes, including CPHA belt buckles, ribbons, medals and bouquets of flowers.

Equitation competition continues next week at Blenheim EquiSports with the Showpark Summer Classic, to be held August 25-29, featuring the CPHA Foundation Medal Finals. To learn more about Blenheim EquiSports, the #PlaceToJump all season long, visit


Emily Williams was crowned the 2021 CPHA Amateur Hunt Seat Medal Final Champion

2021 CPHA Hunt Seat Medal Finals Champion Emily Williams

Reserve Champion Stacey Bacheller

Emily Williams leading the victory gallop in the amateur section of the 2021 CPHA Hunt Seat Medal Finals

September 2021 - Proper Physiological Horseshoeing
Written by by Stephen E O’Grady, BVSc, MRCVS • courtesy of AAEP
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:26
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by Stephen E O’Grady, BVSc, MRCVS • courtesy of AAEP

There may be no other routine procedure performed on a horse that has more influence on soundness than hoof preparation and shoeing. The goal should be to promote a healthy, functional foot, restore and maintain biomechanical efficiency, and prevent lameness.

Each horse should be evaluated individually, the optimal trimming and shoeing approach for that horse being dependent on the horse’s size, hoof and limb conformation, movement patterns and athletic use. While methods may vary, the basic objectives when trimming and shoeing are to facilitate breakover, protect the sole and provide adequate heel support.

Facilitating Breakover

Breakover is the phase of the stride between the time the horse›s heel lifts off the ground and the time the toe is lifted. During this phase, the toe acts as a pivot point (fulcrum) around which the heel rotates. Changes in toe length, hoof-pastern axis and hoof angle all affect breakover. In general, breakover is significantly delayed with the presence of a long toe and a low hoof angle (angle between the front of the hoof wall and the ground surface). The long toe acts as a long lever arm, requiring more time and effort to rotate the heel around the toe. In addition, excessive toe length can result in tearing of the attachment between the hoof wall and the coffin bone at the toe, which weakens the wall and may lead to hoof wall distortion. Shortening the lever arm facilitates breakover.

Depending on the horse, facilitating breakover may involve trimming the foot to decrease toe length (the distance between the ground and the top of the hoof wall at the front of the foot) and/or applying a rolled- toe, rockered-toe, or square-toe shoe.

Sole Protection

The function of the sole is to protect and support the underlying structures (primarily the coffin bone and the network of blood vessels that supply the sole and wall). The sole also bears some weight around the perimeter, where it meets the hoof wall. The sole should be concave (cupped) and firm on thumb pressure. Loss of concavity (i.e. flattening of the sole) and having some “give” or spring to thumb pressure should be considered abnormal.

A good depth of sole is necessary to maintain the concavity of the sole and to protect the underlying structures from injury. Inadequate sole depth is the most common cause of chronic sole bruising. Sole depth can be maintained simply by trimming the hoof wall appropriately and removing very little, if any, sole at each trimming. If a regular shoe does not provide sufficient sole protection, a pad can be placed between the sole and the shoe.

Heel Support

It is important to provide heel support because of the great forces placed on the heels during the landing and weight-bearing phases of the stride. The heel is a commonly overloaded part of the foot, and is thus prone to chronic bruising and shearing of the wall and its attachments. Abnormal hoof–pastern axis greatly contributes to overloading of the heels and chronic heel pain. A normal hoof–pastern axis is one in which a line drawn along the front of the hoof wall is parallel to the pastern. In this situation, each of the bones of the lower leg are in normal alignment. A low hoof angle creates a broken-back hoof–pastern axis, where the angle of the hoof wall is lower than the pastern angle. This configuration is commonly caused by the long-toe/underrun-heel foot conformation. This abnormality contributes to navicular syndrome, chronic heel pain, coffin joint inflammation, quarter and heel cracks and interference during motion. A high hoof angle creates a broken-forward hoof–pastern axis, where the angle of the hoof wall is higher than the angle of the pastern. This abnormality also contributes to coffin joint inflammation and pain in the navicular area, and to sole bruising.

In addition to trimming the hoof to normalize the hoof–pastern axis, it is important that the weight-bearing surface of the wall extends as far back as possible. Ideally, an imaginary line dropped down from the center of the cannon bone should land right where the heel ends (not well behind the heels, as is often the case). A commonly used principle is to trim the heels to the widest part of the frog (i.e. ensure that the weight-bearing part of the wall at the heels extends back as far as the widest part of the frog). However, while this approach may be appropriate in many horses, it may not be advisable or even possible in horses with low or underrun heels. Even though it may be possible to trim the heels to reach the widest part of the frog, it may have to be done at the expense of the hoof–pastern axis. We may have worsened the broken-back hoof–pastern axis in the process of trimming the heels to the widest part of the frog!

If the heel cannot be trimmed to provide optimal support at the back of the foot, the branches of the shoe can be extended to compensate and optimize the bearing surface area. In this way, the requirement for adequate heel support is met and the integrity and function of the hoof are preserved.

In summary, regardless of the horse’s breed, size, hoof shape, limb conformation, or use, applying these basic principles in a moderate, common-sense way maximizes the chances of restoring and maintaining strong, healthy, fully functional feet.


September 2021 - Farnam Celebrates Milestone with Spectacular 75th Anniversary Giveaway 
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 01:01
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Farnam has been keeping horses healthy and happy since the company was founded in 1946. In honor of the trusted partnerships that have united Farnam and the equine community across the decades, the company is marking its diamond anniversary with a special event for its loyal customers.  
Horse owners are invited to enter Farnam’s 75th Anniversary Giveaway.

Front and center is the Grand Prize, a 2021 Farnam-branded John Deere® Gator® XUV835M (approximate retail value, $18,000), loaded with $1,000 worth of Farnam® products including supplements, fly control, hoof care and grooming.
In addition, there will be 10 First Prizes featuring $75 worth of popular Farnam® products in a handy five-gallon bucket.
Since its earliest days, Farnam has been committed to providing horse owners with the best horse care products. This enduring dedication to the equine community set the company apart — and still does.

With over 100 products on the market today, Farnam is recognized as a leader in the industry. Its wide-ranging selection of equine essentials — from fly control, dewormers, grooming, and hoof and leg care products to wound care treatments, leather care, stable supplies and supplements — is unmatched.
The 75th Anniversary Giveaway begins August 9, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. (PDT), and entries will be accepted through December 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. (PDT). Only one entry is allowed per person. You must be a horse owner and legal U.S. resident of one of the 48 contiguous states or the District of Columbia and 18 or older as of August 9, 2021 with a valid driver’s license to enter. Please visit for complete rules.
Founded in 1946, Farnam Companies, Inc., has grown to become one of the most widely recognized names in the animal health products industry, and has become one of the largest marketers of equine products in the country. No one knows horses better than Farnam. That’s why no one offers a more complete selection of horse care products. Farnam Horse Products serves both the pleasure horse and the performance horse markets with products for fly control, deworming, hoof and leg care, grooming, wound treatment and leather care, plus supplements.


September 2021 - U.S. Eventing Team Finishes in Sixth Place at Conclusion of Team Competition at Tokyo 2020 With All Three Combinations Finishing In The Top 25 Individually
Written by article & photo courtesy of U.S. Equestrian
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:58
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article & photo courtesy of U.S. Equestrian

The U.S. Eventing Team finished in sixth place out of 14 nations on the final day of competition at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and end the competition with a team total of 125.80 faults. Doug Payne and Vandiver added four jumping faults to their overall score to finish the team phase with a 43.80, and Phillip Dutton and Z added eight jumping faults to their total for a final score of 43.30. The anchor combination of Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg added a single rail to their overall total to finish on 38.70.

All three combinations finished in the top 25 and moved on to jump a second round for individual medals. Following their individual rounds, Payne and Vandiver finished as the highest-placed U.S. combination on a total of 48.20 for 16th place, Martin and Tsetserleg on a 52.30 for 20th place, and Dutton and Z with a 52.30 for 21st.

In the team competition, Payne (Rougemont, N.C.) and Vandiver, a 17-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Debi Crowley, Doug Payne, and Jessica Payne, jumped a great round, and barely tapped the hind rail of the oxer into the one stride combination, ultimately adding four faults to their score.

“He was jumping absolutely great and got a little shifty in the line and we got caught out on the back rail at the red and yellow, and honestly I’m pretty frustrated at that, but he was jumping so well that I couldn’t ask a whole lot more from him,” said Payne. “He’s shown a lot of heart this week and I’m just so thankful to have him.”

Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and Z, a 13-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Evie Dutton, Ann Jones, Suzanne Lacy, Caroline Moran, Simon Roosevelt, and Thomas Tierney pulled two uncharacteristic rails around the course, to complete the team phase on 43.30 penalties. While disappointed with the round, Dutton commended Z’s effort and overall, the improvement of the team standings from the past several Olympic cycles and is looking forward to the continued growth of the program and team.

“I’m really disappointed, obviously. He was trying really hard, and I was going to try and get down to the triple in six and then I had to change my mind, and he had to work so hard to get out, that he had the out down and that rattled him a little bit,” commented Dutton. “It’s a good course and you’ve got to be able to be on an open stride or add and you can’t try to do both. You have to keep it all in perspective. This is certainly an improvement from the team perspective for the U.S. for a while now and we had aimed for higher, but we hit the board.”

As the final combination in the rotation for the team, Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Tsetserleg, a 14-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner, Tommie Turner, and Thomas Turner, edged the same rail as Payne and Vandiver to add four faults to their score. Martin was proud of the round with “Thomas” as the jumping phase is notably his toughest phase and he jumped well with Martin in the irons.

“I thought my horse came out and jumped very well. He’s always a bit tricky in combinations and I was dreading that red and yellow one stride oxer to vertical and I think in hindsight I got there a touch too early, and he just nicked it with a toe, so saying that I’m pretty pleased with him all around. He’s a great horse and tries hard and he’s a champion,” said Martin.

With a sixth-place finish, the team felt the sting of being unable to deliver a podium finish, but overall, the improvement and depth of the team is something to be built upon with the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on the horizon. Chef d’Equipe Erik Duvander felt the team had the opportunity to reach the medals if things had gone more their way, but overall, the improvement and growth is something to be attested to for the future. In total, the team has been on the road for the past three-and-a-half weeks with a trip to Aachen, Germany before their two week stay in Tokyo, and Duvander commented on the logistics and travel associated with these Games.

“In all of my years of competing and coaching in Championships in this sport, I have never experienced such a adruous trip for the horses. Our team handled the process without doubt and ultimately kept the welfare of our horses at the forefront of every decision. Our team truly showed their mettle on the cross country yesterday. The horses gave their absolute all on the final day in show jumping and tried until the end with everything they had left,” said Duvander. “Our grooms and staff who have worked so meticulously to care for these horses deserved a better result. It has been an extraordinary effort across the board since we left the U.S., from everyone on the long list — the reserve combinations who traveled to Germany and those who participated at the Mandatory Outing — everyone has fronted up for the U.S team and done everything within their power to support our success. I have a great belief in the future of the U.S., as I know we are on the right track.”


September 2021 - U.S. Squad Earns Silver at 2021 FEI Vaulting World Championships For Juniors
Written by courtesy of U.S. Equestrian • photos: Les Garennes
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:56
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courtesy of U.S. Equestrian • photos: Les Garennes

A talented group of U.S. youth athletes had strong performances at the 2021 FEI Vaulting World Championships for Juniors in Le Mans, France from July 29-August 1. The contingent of U.S. competitors in the individual female, pas de deux, and squad divisions delivered on the world stage under the guidance of Chef d’Equipe Emma Seely. The U.S. Squad took home the silver medal against a talented field, while their U.S. teammates put forth solid efforts in the individual female and pas de deux divisions.

“The U.S. vaulters did an awesome job. They did what they needed to do,” said Seely. “The squad got the silver medal, which was super exciting. The pas de deux pairs were good, and the individual women were awesome. It was a huge playing field, a lot of people in the competition, so I’m quite proud of what we were able to do coming out of a pandemic into this big event.”

The U.S. Squad was made up of Melanie Ford (Fort Collins, Colo.), Emma Milito (Brighton, Colo.), Augusta Rose Lewis (Longmont, Colo.), Rhianon Hampton (Greeley, Colo.), Giana Massaro (Costa Mesa, Calif.), and Bryleigh Thornton (Thornton, Colo.), and they showed poise beyond their years at the world championship. They partnered with longeur Jacqueline Lux and Goldjunge, Lux’s 2008 gelding, and began the competition with a compulsory test score of 6.697 and a free test score of 8.077 in round one. The squad finished on a high note with an excellent free test in round two to score 8.234. The overall score of 7.669 clinched the silver medal for the U.S. Squad.

In the pas de deux division, Persephone Brown (Brighton, Colo.) and Danica Rinard (Fort Lupton, Colo.) were the top U.S. pair in sixth place. Brown and Rinard teamed up with longeur Thordis Thoroe and Lightning Jack 12, Thoroe’s 2007 Holsteiner gelding. They scored 7.250 in the round one free test and 7.118 in the round two free test for an overall score of 7.184.

Peyton Daley (San Mateo, Calif.) and Aria Deshpande (San Francisco, Calif.) finished in 13th place in the pas de deux division. They partnered with longeur Carolyn Bland and Icarus, Nienke De Wolff’s 2013 KWPN gelding. They had some bobbles in the round one free test, scoring 4.567. They made a comeback with their round two free test to score 6.042, finishing on an overall score of 5.305.

The individual female division was massive with 56 competitors. Three U.S. athletes competed in the division: Hallie Dudley (Elizabeth, Colo.), Melanie Ford (Fort Collins, Colo.), and Kylynn Ghafouri (Murrieta, Calif.). Round one consisted of a compulsory test and a free test, and only the top 15 vaulters moved on to round two. Ghafouri with longeur Nienke De Wolff and Christmas PS Z, De Wolff’s 2013 Zangersheide gelding, finished round one in 22nd place on a score of 7.219, while Dudley with longeur De Wolff and Icarus finished in 24th place on a score of 7.151. Ford was the sole U.S. representative to move on to round two, sitting in 12th place on a score of 7.422.

In round two, Ford with longeur Andrea Boe and Ronaldo 200, Marie Struwe’s 2007 Westphalian gelding, scored 7.569 in the compulsory test and 7.216 in the free test. They finished on an overall score of 7.408 for 13th place.


September 2021 - Let’s Show News Its Countdown Time for the Big 3
Written by courtesy of Let’s Show
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:52
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courtesy of Let’s Show

Fall Festival
Sept 16-19
Fall Festival prize list is available on the Brookside Show Park website ( and Let’s Show website ( It’s a new date and a new feel with lots of exciting classes and giveaways including hosting the SAHJA Grebitus Cup.

Fall Festival is an NSBA approved show. The NSBA has so much to offer and give back to the exhibitors. Just one of the programs to highlight is for the Junior members. A junior will pay a one time $25.00 enrollment fee to join the “Smart Points” program which enables them to start a “savings plan.” The program credits money (in 2021 to date the amount is $27.67 per point) for each ribbon won in an NSBA approved class. The point-money is deposited into the Junior account and is paid out to them directly when they turn 18. The NSBA has many other programs available and for more information. We encourage you to please take a moment to look at the website ( East Coast shows are already transitioning to NSBA and this year, along with Almaden, the 2 Fall Shows (Fall Festival & Fall Finale) are NSBA approved. The goal is next year to have ALL Let’s Show & Brookside shows NSBA approved and look forward to the benefits for exhibitors.

Fall Finale: October 13-17
Halloween Championship Show: October 27-31


September 2021 - To Clip or Not to Clip?
Written by courtesy of SmartPak
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:44
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courtesy of SmartPak

Like just about everything in the horse world, the answer is “that depends on your horse.” Environment, management and personal preference all play a role in deciding whether or not to clip. Start by answering some key questions:


As in, who’s going to be responsible for dressing your horse? If you or your barn staff can’t check on your horse at least twice a day to make any necessary wardrobe changes, you should step away from the clippers and let your horse do his own thermoregulation.



That is, what will your horse be doing this winter? If he’s taking it easy, there’s no real reason to clip (we promise, he’ll look adorable all woolly!). However, if he’s regularly working up a sweat, having less hair will help him dry out quick and reduce the likelihood of him catching a chill.


Geography plays a factor since winter weather can be mild or severe in different parts of the country. But where your horse spends his time on your property is also a key factor. If he lives in a heated barn and rarely gets turned out, clip away! If he’s out in the elements24/7, it’s probably best to leave him be. If he spends his time both indoors and out, choose the most conservative clip you can get away with, and then choose the appropriate blanket.


Most riders clip sometime around late September – October (resist the urge to carve a jack-o-lantern in his hindquarters!). If you’re planning on showing through the winter or in the early spring, you may want to clip again later in the fall. Just be sure not to clip after the winter solstice on December 21st. Once the days start getting longer, the increased sunlight cues your horse to start growing his spring coat (and you don’t want to clip that off!).

Types of Clips

A Trace Clip is the most conservative, removing the winter coat only in the most sweatprone areas, including the underside of the neck and chest. It’s a great choice for horses who spend most of the day outside and aren’t ridden heavily in winter.

The Blanket Clip leaves a “blanket” of hair on the back, which keeps the topline warm and the legs protected but removes hair in sweat-prone areas. This is a great choice for horses who receive regular exercise and also spend time turned out.

If your horse stays in full work all winter and spends most of his time indoors or in very mild weather, a Fullbody Clip is probably your best bet. It greatly reduces coolout time and keeps your horse looking show-ring ready all season long.


September 2021 - Hannah Loly Goes for Gold in the 12th $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix
Written by provided by Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:39
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provided by Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography

The 12th qualifying leg of the $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series was contested Saturday afternoon on the Oaks International Grand Prix Field at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. Following an exciting eight horse jump-off, it was Hannah Loly leading the victory gallop aboard her own 15-year-old Holsteiner mare Quitana 11. Laura Hite finished in second aboard the 13-year-old Warmblood gelding Calypso VD Zuuthoeve, owned by HF Farms LLC. Rounding out the podium was Trent McGee aboard his 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Boucherom.

Prior to the start of the Grand Prix, Robert Ridland, the Chef d’Equipe for Team USA Show Jumping, addressed the spectators and continued the Olympic celebrations at Blenheim EquiSports by discussing Team USA’s silver medal finish at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games just two weeks ago. Spectators and fans eagerly awaited the opportunity to have their photo taken with Ridland and see Laura Kraut’s silver medal from the Games. After Ridland’s announcements, Alex Zulia honored long-time equestrian, vendor, and friend Monica Ward with a moment of silence.

Hannah Loly and Quitana 11 win the $25,000 1.45m Markel Insurance Grand Prix during the Blenheim Summer Classic.

Hannah Loly aboard Quitana 11.

Spectators packed the hillside of the grass field to watch as a starting field of 23 horse-and-rider combinations contested the course designed by acclaimed course designer and 1976 individual Olympic Silver Medalist Michel Vaillancourt, which included a triple bar oxer, triple combination, a Liverpool, roll back turns, and several direct lines.

Ultimately, eight competitors managed to negotiate the course fault-free to qualify for the jump off. Nicole Haunert was the first to provide a double-clear effort in the jump off, finishing the course in 44.732s. The next rider, Trent McGee and his long-time partner Boucherom provided a jump-off performance that left the crowd believing it couldn’t be beat, crossing the finish line in a time of 41.15s. Loly was the next to navigate the jump-off fault free, her tidy roll-back turns pushed her into the lead, crossing the timers in just 38.943s. The last rider to attempt the jump-off track was Laura Hite, who finished in second-place in a time of 39.311s.

Loly, who came to Blenheim EquiSports after a very successful two weeks of competing at the Colorado Horsepark, spoke about her experience in the jump off of Grand Prix, “Jump offs with her are something else compared to any other horse I ride. She is incredibly fast and can be as tidy as you want. I cut both of the rollback turns very tight because, while some horses slow and lose their step through the turns, she doesn’t do that at all – she comes through the turns very nicely.”

Loly is home for the summer after completing her first year at Tufts University, but this will be her last competition until she returns home for the summer next May. For her win, Loly was presented with a gift bag from ShadyLady Sun Protection and a gift certificate and frame from Topline Design Ribbon Wreaths.

Hannah Loly and Quitana 11 leading the victory gallop.

Second place finisher Laura Hite and Calypso VD Zuuthoeve.

The Markel Insurance Jumper Series will conclude with the top twenty-five placing individuals invited to take part in the finale event at the Las Vegas National Horse Show in November. To view the series specifications and the full leaderboard to date, click here.

This year’s prizes are the best to date. At the finale, the winner will be awarded with a custom-built Flexi Equine Tack Locker, currently displayed in the Blenheim EquiSports’ Show Office, and a custom Solea Equestrian show coat. Additionally, the Leading Lady and Leading Gentleman riders will each receive a cash bonus based on points accumulated throughout the series.

Competition for the Blenheim Summer Classic concluded Sunday, August 22nd but the fun didn’t stop there. The Showpark Summer Classic began August 25th and features the thirteenth leg of the Markel Insurance Jumper Series, a $5000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, and the CPHA Foundation Medal Finals! Blenheim EquiSports is #ThePlaceToJump all season long. Visit our website to view a full show schedule and to learn more.


September 2021 - Horse Grooming Tools Guide
Written by courtesy of SmartPak
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:28
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courtesy of SmartPak

Many people know the best part of owning a horse is the personal time you get to spend with them grooming before and after you ride. Grooming connects the rider and horse and helps to form a relationship between horse and handler, which can carry over to other aspects of owning a horse and most importantly riding.

While creating and strengthen a bond is important, it’s not the only reason you should take the time to groom your horse. Grooming is very beneficial to their health and well-being. Cleaning your horse before you ride and paying close attention to the areas where your tack goes will prevent chafing and other discomforts for your horse. Another great advantage to daily grooming is that you are massaging the skin and encouraging circulation and thus improving the health of the skin and coat.

Grooming doesn’t just stop at helping your horse’s circulation, either! While grooming, you are getting up close and personal with your horse. You are touching almost every part of his or her body and this helps to decrease the chance of various health problems such as thrush, scratches, and other skin problems.

You might be asking yourself now, what are the best tools for grooming? Here is our breakdown of the different types of grooming tools you can use and what they’re used for:

Curry Comb

A curry comb is usually the first tool that you’ll use in your daily grooming. It is a tool made of rubber or plastic with short “teeth” on one side, that slides onto the hand. The horse is rubbed or “curried” to help loosen dirt, hair, and other detritus, plus stimulate the skin to produce natural oils. Another type of curry to have on hand is a rubber grooming mitt, for those more sensitive skinned horses or for those tricky areas, like a sweaty armpit. Some horses find the hard plastic and pressure of a classic curry comb to be bothersome and may cause them discomfort. The rubber mitt, fits nicely on your hand and are made of a softer rubber. The mitt is covered with smaller, round plastic dots instead of “teeth” on your classic curry. The mitt will give you a closer feel and allow you to add or subtract pressure to your horse’s body, depending on their tolerance.

Dandy or Hard Brush

A dandy or hard brush is usually a stiff-bristled brush that is used to remove the dirt, hair, and other material stirred up by the curry. These brushes are used in the direction of the horse’s hair coat growth, with a slight flick motion. I do not recommend using them on sensitive areas like the face. I also consider medium fiber brushes to be in the same category of the hard brush. Like most brushes you can find option in either a synthetic bristle or natural. I personally prefer a synthetic for my hard brush, it’s easier to clean and takes to really dirty horses better and can easily be rinsed off afterwards, with minimal drying needed.

Soft Brush

This brush is a soft-bristled brush that removes finer particles and dust, adds a shine to the coat and is soothing to the horse. The body brush is generally the last brush I use. I have also heard people refer to this as the finishing brush. I prefer a natural hair opposed to synthetic. Whether you’re looking for natural or synthetic, we have both option on the website.

Face Brush

A face brush is similar to the soft brush, but usually smaller in design and, you guessed it, it’s used on the face. You can use this on the rest of the body too. Do be careful to make sure there is no debris on it because that might irritate parts of your horse’s face.

Hoof Pick

A hoof pick is a hooked tool, usually of metal, with a plastic or wood handle, used to clean the hooves of a horse. Some designs include a small, very stiff brush for removing additional mud or dirt. They range in prices depending on materials and features.

Mane & Tail Brush

There are many variations of mane & tail brushes. For horses with short, pulled manes, I recommend combs with a wide-toothed plastic or metal comb. Tails and long manes can be brushed with either a dandy brush or a suitable human hairbrush. If you plan on using a mane and tail spray, apply that first before brushing. This will help make your brushing gentler. By apply the spray first, it will help the brush nicely glide through those tangles and you eliminate the possibility of ripping hair out.

Coat Conditioners & Detanglers

Today, there’s a number of coat conditioner and detangler products offered for the skin, coat, mane, and tail. Usually in spray form, they add extra gloss, smoothness, or shine to a coat. Some sprays are oil-based, but those can attract dust. More common coat enhancement sprays are oil-free, and are often called “silicone” sprays. These leave the coat very smooth, shiny, and slick. Most are applied to the horse after it has been bathed and dried, though they can be used on a horse that has not been bathed to add a quick gloss and immediate shine. Lastly, they are used as a daily detangler, especially on those long manes and tails. Keep in mind that when you’re using coat spray, you should steer clear of the saddle area, because silicone-based sprays can leave your horse’s coat slick and slippery.

Shedding Blade

Shedding blades are usually made of metal, and have “teeth” on one side. Some are straight, while others are rounded – the style depends on the manufacturer. During shedding season, a metal shedding blade with short, dull teeth is used to remove any loose winter hair. A shedding blade can also be useful for removing caked-on mud. In a pinch, the non-teeth side of the shedding blade can be used as a sweat scraper after baths, too.

Grooming Tote

Whether you choose one that’s made of wood, fabric, or plastic, or one that’s a tote or one that’s a box, your grooming tote is as essential as the brushes you choose. This is where you store and organize all your grooming tools. Most grooming totes offer dividers and separate pockets to help you keep your brushes organized, and they usually have a handle for easy carrying.

Fabric grooming totes are easy to shove into your tack locker or trunk, and can easily be hosed off to keep them clean. In addition, some cloth grooming totes have shoulder straps, which are a great way to free up your hands so that you can carry more things back to the tack room at once.


September 2021 - Veterinary Technicians
Written by courtesy of Pet Talk
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 00:23
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courtesy of Pet Talk

Most pet owners have visited the veterinarian’s office at least once. Although veterinarians play an important role in treating and caring for pets, they are not the only people involved in pet care. Veterinary technicians, the people who provide the technical support for patient care, assist veterinarians with many responsibilities. D’Lisa Whaley, veterinary technician at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained her responsibilities as a veterinary technician.

“Veterinary technicians have such a wide range of responsibilities such as restraining a patient for a physical exam, checking vital signs, administering medications, obtaining diagnostic samples, monitoring a patient under anesthesia, or assisting a veterinarian during a surgical procedure,” Whaley said.

Technicians are also trained to operate and troubleshoot all of the equipment in a veterinary hospital or clinic, including monitoring equipment, anesthesia machines, and radiology equipment, Whaley said.

Although veterinary technicians can be trained on the job by shadowing a veterinarian, the landscape of the profession is changing. Whaley said many practices are hiring formally educated technicians over those without training or education in veterinary medicine.

“In order to receive a degree in veterinary technology, one must attend and complete an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited technician program,” Whaley explained. “Many of these programs are offered at junior or community colleges. Some programs even offer a ‘2+2’ program in partnership with a four year college so that the student is able to earn a bachelor’s degree in animal science. After completing the veterinary technology program, the student can take a national exam and a state exam to earn the title of licensed or registered veterinary technician.”

Though Whaley said there are many things she loves about being a veterinary technician, her favorite aspects of her job include a challenging and fast-paced work environment, interacting with patients and finding the best treatment options, and obtaining diagnostic samples. Additionally, Whaley enjoys interacting with Texas A&M veterinary students.

“Since I work at a teaching hospital, my situation is pretty unique,” she said. “I enjoy working with our senior veterinary students on the best ways to train future technicians. I also like developing long-term relationships with patients and clients. Snuggling with puppies and kittens is a pretty great part of the job as well.”

Although veterinary technicians help provide care for furry patients and save animal lives, there are challenges veterinary technicians may face, such as comforting an owner about their sick pet.

“One of the most challenging aspects of being a veterinary technician is compassion fatigue,” Whaley said. “Whenever our patients are in pain, we do everything we can to help make them more comfortable. When we lose a patient or comfort an owner as they make the difficult decision to euthanize their beloved pet, we grieve along with the family.”

Despite this challenge, Whaley said, “The great things about this job far outweigh the bad, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”


Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.