News & Features
June 2021 - California Quarter Horse Captures Grand Prize in 2020 Farnam Supermask Supermodel Contest
Written by by Cynthia McFarland • photos: Shelley Paulson
Thursday, 27 May 2021 22:39
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by Cynthia McFarland • photos: Shelley Paulson

Doesn’t every handsome horse deserve to have a professional photo shoot? That was exactly the thought inspiring Abby Bruno of Moreno Valley, California, when she entered the 2020 Farnam SuperMask SuperModel Contest.

The winning horse is treated to a session with a professional photographer with his image to be used in an upcoming Farnam® SuperMask® fly mask ad. The winner also receives a grand prize jam packed with $1,000 worth of Farnam® fly control and grooming products.


The 2020 contest was the third annual for the popular event, which has drawn more entries each year. A panel of judges chooses the winner based on the following criteria: overall appeal and essence of a well-cared-for horse, audience appeal and appropriateness to contest theme.

“We had thousands of contenders this year so the judges had their work cut out for them. We were all so impressed with the quality of the submissions,” says Martha Lefebvre, senior marketing manager for Farnam. “We could easily see that our fans put a lot of effort into getting their horses groomed-up and looking beautiful for a chance to be the next SuperMask SuperModel.”
 
“When I saw the contest on Facebook I thought, why not try? I thought it would be cool to have Arnold be a super model and get his pictures done because I think he’s beautiful,” says Abby of her now 4-year-old Quarter Horse Bleu Steel who goes by the barn name “Arnold.”

Abby, a California native, nicknamed her photogenic gelding after the 38th governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“I never win contests, so I was 100 percent surprised. When I read the email saying he’d won, I wondered if it was spam, but I hoped it was legit,” recalls an overjoyed Abby. After calling the number in the email from Farnam, the amazing news was confirmed.

 



“The first person I told was my mom,” says Abby. “Then I told my friend Michaella, who felt a little responsible since she’s the one who encouraged me to buy him in the first place.

“Michaella and I grew up together, showing ponies and trail riding out here on my parents’ ranch in Moreno Valley,” adds Abby, 26. “We still ride our horses around bareback in halters like we did in high school.”

Horses have been at the heart of Abby Bruno’s life since she could walk.

Growing up on the ranch with parents who grew alfalfa and had a feed store, Abby immediately gravitated to the family’s horses. As soon as she showed an interest, she was given her first pony. It wasn’t long until her natural competitive nature revealed itself and her mother, who has shown for years, made sure Abby had lessons with a trainer.

“I have always loved horses; I live and breathe them,” says Abby, who was showing at the world level by age 8. “I started showing POAs when I was 6 years old doing leadline classes,” says Abby. I stayed with ponies until 2005, and then I started showing Appaloosas.”

Abby won her first youth world championship in the Appaloosa show ring in 2006 and would go on to win numerous championships over the next decade. Through the years she had great success with her Appaloosa gelding Shys Blue Boy, winning multiple championships together, including the 2010 High-Point Youth All-Around title and 2010 Reserve Youth World Championship.

In 2016, Abby made the decision to start showing Quarter Horses.

In 2018, Abby left California for Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, to pursue their animal science pre-vet program. For someone who’s always been surrounded by horses, going off to college without a horse felt strange.

“My dad said he wasn’t sending me to college with a horse,” laughs Abby. “I was only there a few weeks before I bought Arnold.”

In a world where people do so much online, it’s not surprising to look for horses there. But on Super Bowl Sunday 2019, Abby did more than look. She ended up buying the horse her friend Michaella from back home had spotted first.

“It all started when Michaella sent me an Instagram message with his picture saying I needed to buy him because he was pretty and she knew I’d always wanted a roan horse,” says Abby.

Turns out the good-looking 2-year-old bay roan Quarter Horse gelding by CBS Dirty Blue Revue was in a Facebook auction. After Abby sent his photo to her mother, she ended up bidding on him with her mom’s approval. (Abby admits she and her mother both have a fond place in their hearts for gray horses.)

“I set my timer and kept refreshing my Facebook page and I got him!” she grins.

Arnold was unbroken when Abby purchased him, so she promptly began his breaking process. She’s handled every bit of his training and Arnold proved to be a quick study. Abby has high hopes for him and he’s already off to a good start.

She decided to finish college in her home state and returned from Texas after a little over a year at Tarleton. Arnold came home with her, of course, and moved into the first stall at the barn on her family’s ranch.

“I want to finish my BS in biological sciences,” says Abby, who initially had hopes of becoming a veterinarian, but is undecided now. Along with many other students, her college plans were interrupted in early 2020 due to the pandemic. She’s happy to be safe at home and working at the family ranch.

Arnold may be young, but his show career is already under way. He and Abby competed in the AQHA Sun and Surf Circuit in Del Mar, California, on September 10-13, 2020.

“It was his first pattern class in the ranch riding, with all the spins and transitions, and he did really good,” says a proud Abby. “He was the only young snaffle bit horse in all his classes. When they asked for the extended lope, he was awesome. He has an amazing mind on him and nothing scares him. Everybody was drooling over him!”
 

Abby’s plans are to turn Arnold into an all-around horse and compete in horsemanship, showmanship, trail and western riding.

“When he was showing, he had his ears up the whole time and was enjoying it. I want him to last a lifetime, so I don’t want to push my horse into something he’s not ready to do. I’ve been in the horse show world a long time and I’ve seen how hard it can be on a horse if they’re pushed,” she notes.

Already 15.1 hands, Arnold still has some growing to do, so Abby intends to take her time guiding her young prospect into his show career.

Like her other horses, Arnold will benefit from the support of a whole team--veterinarian, farrier and equine physical therapist--to help him stay sound and healthy along the way.

Arnold’s SuperMask SuperModel photo shoot took place the first week of March 2021. Arnold handled it like the pro he is.

“Ears up and posing like crazy!” says Abby. “He likes his picture and he knows when it’s getting taken.”

She and Arnold have been enjoying the prize package extravaganza they received as SuperMask SuperModel winner.

“Oh my goodness, there were so many products! Opening the boxes felt like Christmas!” says Abby. “I was using some of the fly control products the very first day. I was already a SuperMask fly mask user, of course, and now Arnold has a new one.”

She especially appreciated the Vetrolin items and says the smell alone sparks wonderful memories.

“I’ve been using Vetrolin products since I had ponies and absolutely love them. That remarkable smell is so recognizable. It brings back memories and makes me think of getting ready for a horse show. I used Vetrolin all the time when I started showing as a youth, so I always associate it with a horse show,” says Abby.

“I’ve used Farnam products all my show career, so I’m really familiar with them, but there were some new products in the prize package I hadn’t used before,” she adds. “I’ve used the leather care products, but not the Leather New Total Care 2 in 1. I have leather chairs so I’m excited to use it on those.”

In addition to Arnold, Abby is happily using the Farnam windfall of products on her other horses too. These include Arnold’s full sibling, a weanling colt Abby bought from the original breeder, VS Lady N Bay, her 3-year-old Quarter Horse filly, Shys Blue Boy, the retired 20-year-old Appaloosa gelding she won so many titles with, and the 25-year-old POA Cookies Blue Ribbon (“Little Blue”), she first started showing on.

In late 2020, Abby added to her herd, with the purchase of Blaze in Trouble, a 2-year-old Quarter Horse filly.

“She’s a multiple National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA) champion, and I’ll be showing her in all the non-pro Western Pleasure futurities,” says Abby. “I’m very excited to show her and to continue showing Arnold.”

“Little Blue is the one who started it all. He’s the gray POA I showed as a kid and the one I won world and international titles on,” says Abby. “He’s never leaving; he will be here forever.”

Horses aren’t the only critters on the Bruno family ranch and in Abby’s life.

She has a border collie named Indie, a Pomeranian named Cowboy and a three-legged cat named Monster. Both Cowboy and Monster have logged many miles with Abby traveling across the country for horse shows.    

“When I’m not playing with horses, I love to road bike, paint and draw,” says Abby, a talented artist who has done some commissioned animal memorial portraits.

Her favorite part of creating those portraits is bringing to life the emotion and personality of the animal in its expression. It’s a special project for this dedicated animal lover.

 

 
June 2021 - Will Simpson and Chacco P Win the $100,000 Riders Cup Grand Prix
Written by by Brooke Goddard • photos: Julia B. Photography
Thursday, 27 May 2021 22:24
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by Brooke Goddard • photos: Julia B. Photography

Olympic Gold Medalist Will Simpson and Chacco P were victorious in the $100,000 Riders Cup Grand Prix at LA Equestrian Center (May 6-9), receiving the Judy Martin Perpetual Trophy. In second place was Cassio Rivetti and Go Eldor, and in third place was Matt Archer aboard Luigi VD Bisschop.
 


 

Simpson was thrilled with his win. “I’ve been working with this horse for three years, and this win is very gratifying. He’s so brave and so athletic that I just try to hang on and remember the course,” he commented. “Hap Hansen is one of my favorite riders and one of my favorite people in the world. To have this ring dedicated to him is a big honor.”
 
Course designer Guilherme Jorge was equally pleased with how the pair navigated his course. “I was very happy,” he said. “I think eight riders in the jump-off makes for a really good jump-off and an exciting first round. Chacco P is 18 hands and has a lot of scope. His turn to the double showed the tremendous scope that the horse has. Will was very efficient in the turns and proved unbeatable.”
 
“Seeing Will Simpson win the first Riders Cup here in Los Angeles was pretty exciting,” commented West Palms CEO Dale Harvey. “It was amazing just to see it all come together. I am really looking forward to hosting Riders Cup in October at LA Equestrian Center. We learned so much from doing this one and we can’t wait to improve even more.”
 
Mark your calendars for the next edition of Riders Cup at LA Equestrian Center (Oct. 21-24, 2021)! Visit www.westpalmsevents.com for more information.

Will Simpson and Chacco P

Will Simpson and Chacco P

Will Simpson and Chacco P

Will Simpson

Leading rider Shawn Casady receives a hay steamer from Haygain

Hap Hansen Arena

Dale Harvey, Hap Hansen, and Marnye Langer

Dale Harvey and Marnye Langer

 
June 2021 - Genuine Farms & ChuckUms®
Written by by Cheryl Erpelding
Thursday, 27 May 2021 21:54
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Interview with hunter/jumper trainer and entrepreneur Kristi Frishman.

by Cheryl Erpelding

Riding Magazine: What made you become a trainer?

Kristi: I was born obsessed with horses and by the age of 5 I knew I wanted to be a horse trainer. My parents showed their displeasure by telling me straight out, “That’s a stupid profession!” Thankfully,they did support my passion and allowed me to ride and show with Olympian Rob Gage and Cindy Grossman as a kid. Later,  I did follow their advice to go to UCLA and studied Kinesiology, which is the physiology of motion. I did love what I learned there but, it didn’t take long for me to lose interest in my “real”  job in health care as my  heart was with the horses. I began riding again as an amateur and trained with Michael Patrick at Blue Fox Farm before going to work as an assistant to Mary Morrison at Ivy Gate Farm. I was blessed during this time with Mary to work with Victor Hugo Vidal.


Riding Magazine: What makes your program at Genuine Farms unique?

Kristi: First and foremost, I love the horses and approach my training from the angle of the horse’s perspective. If they are treated with respect as a partner and physically comfortable they will enjoy their job more and perform better.  If they don’t feel good,  aren’t enjoying their work, or are spooky, there’s probably an underlying issue. I choose problem solving over domination. I am also really blessed to have the support of Katie Tayler both at home and at the shows.  She’s a super talent and has an amazing connection with the horses.

My studies in Kinesiology included a big dose of biomechanics and physiology which trained me to have a good eye for details and angles and a deeper  understanding of soundness issues with the horses. My program is very individualized to focus on the needs of each horse and rider. My barn also has a wonderful intimate family atmosphere.

Riding Magazine: You created a product, tell me about it?

Kristi: Out of a real need in my own barn  I, with the help of a few other horse women,  came up with ChuckUms® - Multi use Disposable Bandages for horses. This all started after coming back from Thermal a few years ago and one of the nice big geldings I had imported destroyed his third pair of brand new standing wraps. The idea literally just popped into my head, “Huggies for horses!” We researched the market and couldn’t find anything out there patent wise, so we  filed for a patent three years ago and went on to create ChuckUms®.

The product is quite unique and has been well received especially by veterinarians and rehab facilities.  It’s made with medical grade antimicrobial material that repels dirt and moisture so it works great for scratches, fungus, cellulitis and all types of wound care.  While we are looking for materials that are fully biodegradable that perform as well as what we are currently using,. It is now made of at least  65% recycled plastic bottles. ChuckUms® are multi use. If you need a clean wrap you’ve got it but if it’s just day to day I use them for about a week before I toss them. The disposable product saves gallons and gallons of water and diminishes the need for bleach which is toxic to the horses skin and to the environment. And, I no longer have to look at a pile of filthy wraps at the end of the horse show.



Riding Magazine: Where do you see it going?
Kristi: I see this product as a staple in every barn. The product is better for the horse’s legs and veterinary clinics appreciate the value ChuckUms® bring, especially in wound care and therapeutic treatments for their patients. I’ve been making samples and playing with materials to make sure we have the best product possible.  We are about ready to launch on a bigger scale. I’ve had a desire to invent something for many years and this is a new exciting adventure.

Riding Magazine: After many years at Sycamore Trails, you have been at Coto De Caza Equestrian Preserve. Tell us about that:

Kristi: I relocated to Coto De Caza Equestrian Preserve about three years ago. It’s a beautiful parklike facility with lots of trees and open space, two covered arenas, lots of turnout paddocks and access to miles of trails. My horses are very happy at Coto where they get to live in giant stalls with boxes and runs.  The facility is much quieter and more peaceful for the horses than the previous facility.

I love going to the shows.  I am really good at matching horses and riders and developing young/green horses.

I currently have openings for training and consignment horses.

To learn more about Genuine Farms visit www.GenuineFarms.com or call Kristi 949-212-3435.

To learn more about ChuckUms® visit www.ChuckUms.com.

 

 


“We are so grateful for everything Kristi at Genuine Farms has taught us. She has the perfect mix of challenging the horse and rider while always ensuring a safe and fun experience.  She cares for each horse with great compassion and attention that you would not expect from a trainer.  Whether you are just learning or already competing in Hunter or Jumper Shows, Kristi is right by your side supporting your goals. To top it off, the Coto De Caza equestrian center is by far the most beautiful facility in Orange County to ride.” -Jennifer Farr

“I have been with this trainer, Kristi Frishman, for quite some time. I had experienced many trainers before her and none had an attention to detail and safety like Kristi. She is an amazing rider and her barn is very friendly and welcoming to children and adults alike. Her horses are very well trained & they receive excellent care.  She is one of the most honest people I have met in this business.” -Joann Goltermann

“I have ridden with Kristi at Genuine Farms in Coto de Caza for over 5 years and she has been a wonderful thoughtful trainer. She has helped me find the perfect horse and worked with me to increase my confidence and encouraged me back into the show ring!!   Our horses receive the best care and safety is a top priority. I highly recommend this training program!” -Kim Nagle

 

 
May 2021 - Southern California Loses a Longtime Pioneer of Equestrian Construction
Written by by Ron & Laura Johnson
Friday, 30 April 2021 05:28
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by Ron & Laura Johnson

Harry H. Herndon III, owner of Easy Rider Arenas, passed away March 30, 2021 at the age of 72 after a long battle with lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Harry is survived by his wife Connie, and his two daughters Ashley and Elizabeth.


Harry worked in the construction industry for 45 years and 30 of those years he spent operating his company, Easy Rider Arenas, where he constructed and built equestrian facilities. He was the “pioneer of the equestrian construction business” and the first in the industry to introduce quality footing to the equestrian facilities and homeowners. Harry was very passionate and dedicated to his work and was the “go to man” to talk to in Southern California for all equestrian construction needs as he loved helping his clients.

Throughout the years of operating his business, Harry knew thousands of people in the horse world that were not only his customers and business associates, but became his friends. Harry was a shining light that had a great sense of humor, and a contagious personality with his “good ole boy charm” that made him beloved by all that knew him.

When Harry was not in the field running his jobs he had many favorite pastimes that included being outdoors as he had a love for nature and gardening. He was also avid about his daily exercise whether it was running, biking, or hitting the speed bag. He also loved to take his four legged best friend “Molly” with him everywhere including to the Poway Community Park for a jog together.

Harry will be immensely missed but not forgotten by his family, friends, and members of the horse community who had the opportunity to meet such a wonderful person. Rest in Peace Harry, we all love you and we will miss you!

 

 
April 2021 - Angie Taylor
Written by by Cheryl Erpelding
Thursday, 01 April 2021 22:05
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Saddle Fitter for Trilogy Performance Saddlery

by Cheryl Erpelding

Angie Taylor has been riding dressage for over 30 years and has ridden in almost everyone of the leading brands of dressage saddles. The first time she sat in a Trilogy saddle 10 years ago, she bought it right then and sold her saddle the next day. She was so impressed with the quality of the saddle and the company, that two years ago she completed the extensive 5-day training program owner Debbie Witty requires of her fitters. Debbie follows up with “On-the-Job Training,” coaching the saddle fitters every step of the way. She also has annual training which is required to be a fitter for Trilogy.


With her knowledge of dressage riding and training, the step into saddle fitting made perfect sense for Angie. She got into saddle fitting, because she was having a hard time finding a good fitter and getting help in a reasonable amount of time. A good saddle fit is one of the most important keys to helping horses move better and help riders to sit better. The training includes learning how to use the saddle fitting tools, what kind of wool to use, how the saddle panels affect the horse’s back and how the shape of the horse’s back impact’s the saddle fitting, and more. Angie is excited to be a part of the fitting team, as Debbie is always there to consult with the fitters via FaceTime and give every customer the customized fitting they need to help their horse’s perform at their best.

One of the most important concepts Angie wants to get across is that many people don’t realize that they should check their saddle fit every 6-8 months. Dressage horses, as they move up the levels, change the shape of their backs. Also when a horse gains or loses weight the saddle fit changes. Saddles need to be reflocked and make sure the transitions of the saddle panels are smooth and have even contact. There is more to saddle fit than just checking to see if the saddle clears the withers. Every saddle is different and every horse is different. Angie highly encourages all riders to read Debbie Witty’s “Seven Saddle-Fit Points that Every Rider Should Know” article which is on her website www.PerformanceSaddlery.com.

Trilogy also offers saddle repair and Angie can ship the saddle to be repaired by Josh who is an expert on the Trilogy team. Angie does saddle fitting for all brands of wool flockable saddles, and not just the Trilogy line. If a saddle is new and under warranty, those normally can not be reflocked by a fitter.

Angie also has demo saddles for riders wanting to try one of the Trilogy lines of saddles which in addition to their Classic and Monoflap dressage lines, they are offering a jumping saddle. Customizing the saddles is part of the services offered by Trilogy including block sizes, length of flaps, colors, textures and more.

Angie is on a nationwide team of 12 fitters. She covers the southern part of California from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. Angie began riding as a teenager and trained with some of the industries top trainers. She began her training program 24 years ago and now has a small clientele that she combines with her saddle fitting business. To reach Angie, call or text 858-335-8832.

 

 
April 2021 - Professional Announcer Darren Moore To Work With Farnam As Brand Ambassador
Written by courtesy of Farnam
Thursday, 01 April 2021 21:35
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courtesy of Farnam

If you’ve spent any time in the national horse show world, you already know Darren Moore’s voice, but you’ll be seeing more of his face now that he’s an ambassador for the Farnam® brand.

“Farnam has been a big fan and follower of Darren Moore for years. We are super excited about our partnership and working with him in and out of the arena. His positive attitude and enthusiasm for our industry is infectious; he builds momentum to get the crowd engaged and excited. Having him as part of our team at events brings a whole new dimension of fun and creativity to the Farnam consumer experience,” says Martha Lefebvre, senior marketing manager for Farnam.


Moore has been the official voice of the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA) for nearly a decade. He’s the voice of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and regularly announces at American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) shows, National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) and National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) events. His job keeps him on the road 200-plus days a year, from Massachusetts to California--and internationally.

As the man behind the microphone, it’s his task to inform and entertain everyone on the listening end, and he does far more than just announce results.

“The best part of what I do is being able to entertain not only the audience, but also the exhibitors,” says Moore, whose own experience as a lifelong rider and a rodeo competitor is icing on the cake for a career he was born to do.

“I don’t know anything else that I would enjoy as much or be as passionate about as announcing,” he adds. “I love meeting new people and I have a passion for horses and entertainment.”

He may wear a cowboy hat and boots, but Darren is well-versed in both English and Western competition. “I am a fan of a good horse, regardless of the discipline or breeding,” he says.
    
In his new role with Farnam, Moore puts his energy and people skills to work in a variety of roles, from interviewing exhibitors, to making fun videos that Farnam fans worldwide can watch and enjoy, to chatting with visitors to the Farnam booth. Team Farnam has a full slate of special projects to tap into this big industry personality and to bring you more Darren Moore.

At the 2020 Farnam AQHA World Championship Show last November, he helped celebrate the giveaways of six oversized chrome-plated show boxes stocked with $1000 worth of Farnam® products, an exciting Farnam promotion that will also take place at future events. Watch for it!
    
“We’ve got some fun new things planned as we celebrate 75 years of Farnam together,” says Martha Lefebvre. “Look for Farnam and the man behind the microphone at national events, on our social spaces and in our free ‘Life with Horses’ eNewsletter.”

Expect Darren Moore, “Moore Than Just An Announcer,” to dial up the energy at coming events and through Farnam videos on social media. Meanwhile, follow him on Facebook and Instagram and learn more at www.darrenwmoore.com.

Stay informed about Farnam® products and get the latest horse health tips and information at www.farnam.com.

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 nutritional supplements. Farnam is a registered trademark of Farnam Companies, Inc.

 

 
April 2021 - Appendix 3 Rule Change Proposal Tabled Until 2023 Competition Season
Written by CRM
Thursday, 01 April 2021 20:04
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On March 1, 2021 the USEA Board of Governors submitted a rule change proposal to US Equestrian (USEF) modifying Appendix 3 of the USEF Rules for Eventing. That proposal was outlined at the 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, shared in May 2020 by the Chair of the USEA Cross-Country Safety Subcommittee Jon Holling, later discussed in Eventing USA and through various other communication platforms including a live webinar hosted by the USEA. This was one of four different safety-related rule proposals submitted by the Board to the USEF and previously considered with the membership. The Board made it clear that they shared the position of the USEA Cross-Country Safety Subcommittee that more needs to be done to ensure that riders and their horses obtain more than just a minimal amount of experience before advancing through the levels. Moreover, riders, horse owners, and coaches need to take more seriously the increased risk related to moving up through the levels without adequate and substantial preparation.


“The USEA Cross-Country Safety Subcommittee has done an amazing job to champion a major change in how horses and riders are allowed to move through the ranks of our sport,” said USEA Vice President of Competitions, Jonathan Elliott. “The consensus from the feedback I have received and observed is that there is a need for this change, but there are many factors to consider. In the end, this is a safety-driven rule change proposal, and we need to make sure we get it right, not perfect because that will never happen, but right.”

Following submission to the USEF, the Board opened a public comment portal for the membership to respond regarding their thoughts on the Appendix 3 rule change proposal. The Board has received over 1,200 responses since the original announcement. They recognize those surveys include valid concerns that the USEA had not fully addressed publicly. Among that input, it has become clear that without an in person USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in 2020 and related meetings, a large portion of the membership did not feel fully informed about the proposal as developed. Following several committee meetings within the USEA as well as at the USEF, the Board determined that more work needed to be done to both investigate the questions raised and communicate the reasoning behind the rule change proposal.

“I believe more time is needed to continue to develop a complete proposal with justification for the proposed changes,” Elliott continued. “Big strides have been accomplished over the last few years with other safety-related rule changes and the frangible technology fundraising and I am optimistic an updated Appendix 3 will join that evolution of our sport in 2023.”

The USEA Board of Governors unanimously voted on March 11, 2021 to table the Appendix 3 rule change proposal with the intention to further investigate and communicate the purpose behind the proposal. The Board has made it clear that they will submit an amended proposal again with the intent for implementation in 2023. To this end, the USEA will establish a task force to further review the proposal, make additional inquiries into related data, and analyze the input received. This task force will consist of representation by individuals from diverse backgrounds and geographically varied locations around the country. The goal is to have an updated rule in effect for the 2023 competition year.
 
March 2021 - Ramona Couple Provide Forever Home for Retired Thoroughbred Race Horses
Written by courtesy of Ramona Sentinel
Monday, 01 March 2021 21:32
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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
Written by by Hollie Geraghty
Tuesday, 02 February 2021 21:08
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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
Written by courtesy of America’s Horse Daily
Tuesday, 02 February 2021 21:02
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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.

 
June 2021 - StressLess Horse Supplement Welcomes the California Riding Community
Written by photo: AJ Neste
Thursday, 27 May 2021 22:32
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photo: AJ Neste

Whether at the top levels of competition or just day to day interactions with your horses, StressLess show safe equine supplement is the key to promoting a calm mind, focus and mood balance.  Centerline Distribution, the top distributor of StressLess horse supplement in the United States, has announced its new focus on assisting the equestrian community in California reach their goals and improve their experiences with their horses.   

This proven hot horse remedy is not limited to any one type of riding.  Across the board of all disciplines, StressLess promotes a decrease in anxiety, overstimulation and nervousness.  This results in an increase in focus, a calm mind and mood balance. StressLess enhances behavior modification and trainability with a marked decrease in poor performance.
 


Make StressLess your “go to” for training, competing and performance at your horse’s highest level.  Here are just a few of our latest testimonials:

“StressLess has been a life saver during difficult training phases with some of my young horses. There are a lot of calming products on the market, but I’m confident in StressLess’s results and safety.  Rather than a product that only has short term effects, StressLess builds up in their systems and over time, I have decreased the amount of scoops I give everyday.  I love that it doesn’t make my horses feel drowsy or dopey, but still eases their nerves to make our rides productive and safe.  Aside from its calming effect under saddle, I’ve noticed a huge weight gain in my nervous, hard keeper young horses. Overall, my experience has been 5 stars from the efficacy of the product to the customer service.  Thank you StressLess!” - Mel Montagano of Prestige Performance Horses USA, Riding Stable

“I am always looking for better products to help my horses deal with the stresses involved with travel from Europe, from state to state and even with the stresses involved with day to day training and competing. Some of our old options provided a calm horse but they also negatively affected the horse’s energy required to compete and train at the FEI levels. I want to thank Betty Ledyard for introducing me to StressLess. StressLess is helping all my horses stay calm and focused in daily work, with crazy weather, and during travel and competing, but does not take away their energy and ability to perform at the highest levels!” - Elizabeth McConnell, Professional International Dressage Rider and Trainer, Inside Dressage Farm

Developed by a team of experts, StressLess is a unique equine supplement unlike the magnesium and B12 based products on the market today.  What makes it different?  StressLess is a casein-based feed additive that has shown an incredible result on horses of all ages.  

Casein is the protein derived from cow’s milk that results in a gentle anxiety relieving reaction in many animal species including horses, dogs, cats and even humans.  The casein in StressLess comes from an all-natural process called an enzymatic reaction. When the final product is ingested by horses, the equine brain presents a decrease in stress reactions.  Hot or spooky horses exhibit a decrease in agitation, over-excitability and nervousness.

The positive feedback from those benefitting from StressLess comes from every corner of the equestrian world: horse rescue organizations, champion trainers, junior riders, barrel racers, event riders, jockeys, show jumpers, dressage riders, Olympians, and backyard trail riders, among many others.  They report receptivity to training and behavior modification and a marked decrease in poor performance.  Best of all, StressLess does not affect a horse’s abilities in any way.

StressLess is the brain child of an elite group of research veterinarians, trainers and horse owners.  This dream team set out to formulate a hot horse remedy that would be safe for long-or short-term use with no side effects such as drowsiness or impaired motor function.  The supplement was given a palatable apple flavor with zero lactose and no preservatives.

The head of US distribution for StressLess is Betty Ledyard with her company Centerline Distribution, based in Florida.  As a lifetime equestrian herself, she discovered StressLess Horse Supplement for her own equine companion and the results were so profound she knew she had to get the product out to a wider audience in order to help others.

Important situations like showing, traveling, medical procedures, prolonged stall rest, moving, adoption, meeting new animals/people, and regular training are all times when StressLess may benefit your horse’s mood and disposition.  Find out more at www.hothorsesupplement.com.

 

 
June 2021 - USEA Young Rider Program: Age Increase to 25
Written by courtesy of USEA
Thursday, 27 May 2021 22:23
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courtesy of USEA

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the increase in age for eligibility in the USEA Young Rider program to USEA members aged 25 and under, effective immediately.

The purpose of the USEA Young Rider program is to encourage younger members to become involved in the sport of eventing and continue this involvement in their adult lives. The program seeks to promote a love of the sport as well as an appreciation and understanding of the horse while fostering the wonderful relationship that can develop between horse and rider. Further, involvement in this program helps to instill important moral values, such as responsibility and work ethic, as young riders evolve.


The USEA Young Rider program has traditionally been available to those aged 21 and under, but the USEA Young Rider Coordinators and Committee put forward a proposal to the USEA Board of Governors, requesting the age eligibility be increased to 25 in order to fully utilize training programs and youth series that are available.

The new age requirements now enable all USEA Area teams participating in the USEF Youth Team Challenge to compete for their USEA Areas and utilize the Area Young Rider funding. This will also be more inclusive to youth riders wishing to participate in the USEA Young Rider Advancement Program (YRAP) in their Areas, which may help provide additional young riders competing at the lower levels with the education and skills they need to progress through the levels of the sport.

The USEA membership database is now accepting membership updates for those members 25 and under who wish to upgrade their membership to include the Young Rider program. For USEA members aged 22-25 who are currently enrolled in the USEA Adult Rider program, those members may pay an upgrade fee to join the USEA Young Rider program additionally. Members aged 22-25 may choose to enroll in either the USEA Adult Rider Program, or the USEA Young Rider program, or both. The age eligibility for the Adult Rider program remains the same, available to any USEA members aged 22 or older.

To enroll in the USEA Young Rider program, please find the Young Rider membership application form here. The USEA staff is available to help enroll members in the program. Please call the USEA office at 703-779-0440 should anyone need help with their upgrade, and the USEA membership department staff would be happy to process the program upgrades.

 

 
June 2021 - Bruno Diniz Das Neves and Adele XIII Are Best in the $75,000 Interactive Mortgage Grand Prix
Written by courtesy of Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography
Thursday, 27 May 2021 21:44
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courtesy of Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography

Bruno Diniz Das Neves and Adele XIII punched a ticket to the top of the leaderboard in the $75,000 Interactive Mortgage “Ticket to Ride” 1.50m Grand Prix, held during the Ranch & Coast Classic at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, San Juan Capistrano, CA.

Neves and Adele XIII were one of only two entries from the 15-horse starting field to navigate the first-round, Ivan Tagle-designed course without fault, and Adele XIII’s naturally fast footspeed ultimately gave the pair the edge over second-place finishers Shawn Casady and Captain Jack.


Finishing in third place, with only one time fault in the first round, was Thursday’s $25,000 Markel Insurance Jumper Series 1.45m Jumper Classic winners, Saree Gordon Solanki and Azuro 108

“When I finished the first round, I could have already gone home happy!” said Neves, who rides for Portugal. “This is a big step up for my mare. I came here because I wanted to move up and try something different. I wanted to know if I’m ‘there’ or not and if my horse can do this or not.”

Neves got his answer as Adele XIII cleared the final Interactive Mortgage fence and flew through the jump-off timers. Casady and Captain Jack, owned by Neil Jones Equestrian, Inc., the first to return for the jump-off, had set the time to beat at 39.043 seconds, but Adele XIII made short work of that time, stopping the clock in 37.534 seconds for the win.

“With only two clear rounds, you go in the ring in the jump-off, and you know already that, worst-case scenario, you’re second,” said Neves. “I know that Shawn’s a very fast rider and very competitive; I know that horse wins a lot, but I trusted my mare because she’s so fast naturally. I knew I didn’t need to go crazy. So I just said, ‘I’m going to explore everything that she has naturally and hopefully we’re going to get there.’”

Neves has been partnered with Adele XIII for two years, and he’s found the Interactive Mortgage ‘Ticket to Ride’ High Performance Jumper Series to be the ideal move up for the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by BDN Horse Investments.

“I did the first [Interactive Mortgage Grand Prix during the Blenheim Spring Classic 3], and Adele XIII was awesome,” said Neves, who finished in fifth in the first class of the three-part series. “I think Robert Ridland is doing a great job of bringing up the level. I took the good option of doing this series because I think it’s a very big test.”

The Interactive Mortgage ‘Ticket to Ride’ High Performance Jumper Series was introduced by long-time sponsors and supporters of the sport, Gregg and Evette DeLong of Interactive Mortgage.

Prior to the jump-off of Saturday’s class, Robert Ridland, President of Blenheim EquiSports, spoke to the significance of the series and expressed appreciation to the DeLongs for their dedication to supporting the continuation and growth of top-end show jumping at Blenheim EquiSports.

Thanks to the support of Interactive Mortgage, the series showcases three grand prix classes held at the national standard, including two $75,000 1.50m grand prix events in the spring and a $100,000 1.50m grand prix in the fall with a discounted entry fee, plus a $20,000 bonus awarded to the top three riders. The top rider will receive a custom built Grand Prix Locker courtesy of Flexi Equine Tack Lockers.

Neves currently leads the series standings on 42 points, including 25 points earned in the first qualifier and 17 points awarded on Saturday. Sitting in second with 38 points is Michelle Parker, and Will Simpson rounds out the current top three with 30 points heading into the final $100,000 Interactive Mortgage “Ticket to Ride” 1.50m Grand Prix, to be held during the Blenheim International Jumping Festival in September.

 

 
May 2021 - You Can Lead a Horse to Water…
Written by by M. Nanette Chastine, DVM • courtesy of AAEP
Friday, 30 April 2021 05:19
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by M. Nanette Chastine, DVM • courtesy of AAEP

Most people involved with horses have heard the phrase, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” Unfortunately, while it may seem like a simple subject, getting a horse to consume the appropriate amount of water can be difficult. Age, body condition, fitness level and workload, reproductive status, environmental conditions, diet, and possible disease processes can all influence how much water a horse needs to maintain its correct hydration status. Add to that the temperature, freshness, purity, and palatability of the available water sources and it becomes obvious that there are many factors that need to be considered when providing water for our horses, especially if we want them to actually drink it.


The actual daily amount of water that most horses need to consume (at a minimum) to maintain body functions and remain properly hydrated is from a half gallon to a gallon per hundred pounds of body weight. This works out to be a minimum of five to ten gallons for a 1,000-pound horse that is not presently doing any work and is living in a temperate climate. If you increase the horse’s workload or the environmental temperatures are elevated, then this will increase the demand for water. Lactating mares, horses with diarrhea, and horses with certain medical conditions will also require more water each day.

The horse’s water consumption from the available water source may decrease if the horse is on a lush, green pasture, as those grasses typically contain 60-80% moisture. Likewise, if the horse is maintained in a dry lot and fed a dry matter forage such as hay, which typically has a 12-15% moisture level, the horse’s time spent at the water trough will increase. The type of forage fed will also affect the horse’s water consumption based upon the feed’s protein content. Protein requires water during the digestive process, and as a result, feeds that are higher in protein will require the horse to consume more water. For example, a horse in a dry lot fed alfalfa hay (typically around 21% crude protein) will require more water in its daily diet than the same horse in a dry lot fed grass hay (typically around 9% crude protein).

Studies have also found that a horse’s consumption of water will be greatly affected by the temperature of the water. The consumption of water appears to be best in water with a temperature range from 45° to 65° F, with more consumption occurring at the warmer temperatures.  This can be difficult to manage, especially in natural water sources such as creeks or ponds, when the weather drops below freezing. In fact, when the weather changes suddenly and temperatures drop precipitously, then even with fresh, palatable water available, many horses will reduce their water consumption drastically which can lead to problems such as impaction colic as the ingesta within the intestines loses its ability to progress normally without enough water. One way to combat this is to provide an ounce or two of a loose salt mix on the horse’s daily ration when weather changes are imminent (in addition to an available salt block) to ensure that the horse continues to consume water when the temperature does drop. Overfeeding of salt is not a problem if there is plenty of fresh water available.

A decrease in daily water consumption can also occur when the water source becomes frozen. This is why it is so important that water sources be checked at least once daily, if not more, to ensure that horses will have unfrozen water available to drink. For man-made water sources such as buckets, troughs, or automatic waterers, there are electric water heaters that are available for keeping the water from freezing solid. Most of these water heaters are efficient down to 0° F, with some capable of preventing water from freezing at temperatures down to -20° F, but below that there are not many commercially available options. The problem with some of the less expensive options or with improper barn wiring is stray electricity, or shorts in the wiring that result in electrifying the water source. It does not help the horse’s water consumption if the water is not frozen but the horse receives an electrical shock each time it attempts to drink.  So checking the water heater and the water source on a daily basis is crucial to make sure the horse is capable of drinking the water and is actually doing so.

In natural water sources such as creeks or ponds, moving water has a better chance of not freezing than stagnant water, but in really cold climates, even moving water can freeze if the flow is slow and the depth is shallow, so alternate water sources may need to be provided. Many believe that snow provides an alternative to fresh, unfrozen water; however, most snow is very low in actual moisture content and the horse would have to eat many pounds of it each day to meet its minimum daily water intake requirements. Also, the horse would burn increased amounts of energy to warm the consumed snow and convert it to a usable form, which would thereby increase its caloric and water requirements, so snow is not a practical alternative to fresh, unfrozen water.

That being said, horses in Alaska have been studied during harsh weather when no water sources were available and hay was the only available feed source. Initially, the horses did exhibit signs of dehydration, but over several days they did transition to utilizing solid sources of water for their daily requirements by eating snow and licking the ice. However, if we can offer an alternative water source, we can eliminate that transitional dehydration period from occurring.

The palatability and cleanliness of the water will also influence how much of it a horse will consume. For example, if the water from a natural source is fresh and not stagnant, is low in soluble contaminants (such as fertilizers or herbicides) from the surrounding land, and of an acceptable salt concentration (salinity), then most horses will readily consume it. However, horses are very sensitive to changes in the taste and smell of their water, which can make it difficult, especially when transporting horses where the available water will come from different sources. Some horses will not initially drink water that has been chlorinated, such as from a municipal water source, or if it contains higher concentrations of certain minerals such as from a natural water source, until they have been conditioned to drink it. Many horsemen will help their horses through this transition or conditioning period by adding a masking flavor such as Gatorade®, Kool-Aid®, or even Coca-Cola® to the horse’s initial water source for several days before transport in gradually increasing amounts.  They will then continue to add the masking flavor to the new water source for several days in gradually decreasing amounts to ensure the horse will consume the water from the new source.

Another difficulty arises in horses that have always had easy access to water from man-made sources such as buckets, troughs, or automatic waterers. Those horses may never have been exposed to water from natural sources and it may take them several days of watching more experienced horses to trust their instincts and “take the plunge.” During those initial days on the new water source, it is critical that the horse is observed for water consumption and for possible signs of dehydration. At times, some of those horses will need to be offered alternative water sources if they are not drinking from the natural water source. Most horses transitioning from natural water sources to man-made water sources have little difficulty as long as there is easy access and the water is fresh, clean, and palatable. If there are problems, it usually arises with chlorinated water from a municipal water source, which a horse has not been exposed to before. Masking the flavor sometimes helps in those situations.

When the horse is not consuming enough water on a daily basis to maintain the appropriate hydration status, then the horse can become dehydrated. When the horse becomes dehydrated from lack of water consumption, excessive sweating, lactation, a disease process or a combination thereof, then the horse’s bodily functions will become affected. As a result, the horse’s blood volume will decrease and this will result in an increase in heart rate and blood pressure as the body attempts to compensate for the reduced fluid volume. If the fluid deficit continues, then the body will begin to pull the fluids from surrounding tissues to help support the blood volume, and to help conserve fluids even further, urination will decrease.

As a result of these changes, horse owners can evaluate a horse’s hydration status by monitoring for an elevated heart or pulse rate (28-40 beats per minute is normal for an adult horse), changes in the color of the horse’s gums (bubblegum pink is normal) and feel (moist is normal), and in skin elasticity (skin pinch test in which the skin along the neck in front of the shoulder retracts back to normal in less than two seconds when pinched and released). Changes to those vital signs will occur when the horse is 4-6% dehydrated. Visual signs such as a sunken eyes and a tucked up appearance to the abdomen are also indicators, but they are typically seen with increased levels of dehydration approaching 8-10% dehydrated. Unfortunately, the horse’s performance (work, competition, or reproduction) will become adversely affected when the horse becomes 2% dehydrated, before visual signs become evident.

Luckily, dehydration in its mild forms can usually be corrected by offering fresh, palatable water to the horse (unless it is a disease process that is causing the dehydration), but when the dehydration starts approaching the level of 8-10%, a veterinarian needs to be contacted for appropriate diagnosis and fluid and electrolyte therapy, as well as any other treatments that may be required. This makes it important for the horse owner or horse care provider to be able to recognize signs of dehydration before the lack of water intake becomes a serious problem. This also emphasizes the need to make sure that the horse is being offered fresh, clean, palatable water of the appropriate temperature, especially if the horse is expected to perform successfully as an athlete or as a broodmare.

While it may seem as simple as putting water out and leading the horse to it, there are many factors that are involved in actually getting that horse to drink. Water is the most important nutrient that horses need to consume daily and it is up to us as horse care providers to ensure that horses receive the freshest, cleanest, most palatable water that we can provide.

 

 
April 2021 - Attractive Nuisances
Written by Courtesy of America’s Horse Daily
Thursday, 01 April 2021 22:02
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Learn the laws and liabilities for horseback-riding enthusiasts dealing with trespassing children.

courtesy of America’s Horse Daily

Gary Johnson lived in the middle of nowhere, his 15-acre horse farm nestled between hundreds of acres of corn and soybean fields in Kansas City, Missouri. He and his family enjoyed the peace and quiet without a neighbor in sight. Then suburbia hit – fast and hard. A few years ago, rows of corn were replaced by rows of houses, just feet from his horse pasture. Along with the houses came swarms of curious children, eager to meet their new four-legged neighbors just beyond the wire fence.


Gary was content to adjust to his new neighbors – until a group of small children gave him a big scare.

“One day, as I was walking out to the back pasture, I saw four little children: the oldest around 10 and the youngest around 2,” Gary recalls. “They had climbed through the fence to play with the horses. As I first looked, they were surrounded by my four horses. The kids were pulling out grass and hand-feeding it to the horses.

“I had to stop in my tracks because my horses always come running when they see me – they usually assume it’s time to head toward the barn for grain,” he continues. “I knew that if the horses wheeled around to head toward me, they might accidentally trample one of the children. So I dropped to my knees and waited.”

Fortunately, the horses never saw Gary, and the children eventually turned to crawl back through the fence for their homes.

“I ran to catch up with them to have a visit,” Gary says. “They were scared at first, thinking they were in big trouble. But I had a gentle conversation with them, warning them of the dangers they could have been in. I suggested that if they wanted to pet or feed the horses, they could have their parents contact me to arrange a supervised meeting with the horses.”

But those were just four children in a neighborhood full of youngsters, and Gary knows children regularly trespass on his pasture. The neighborhood parents don’t seem to mind – one parent even mowed a path to the fence line so his children could easily walk from their backyard to Gary’s horse pasture. Gary constantly worries that, one of these days, a child will accidentally get hurt in his pasture.

“I’m convinced that in most cases, kids and their parents simply don’t realize the basic dangers involved with horses,” Gary says.

What if a Child Gets Hurt?

Gary’s dilemma is common to horse owners across the country who face encroaching suburbia. No matter how gentle and calm our horses may be, any horse is capable of getting spooked or scared and forgetting to watch out for the youngster beside him. So there is a real, potential danger to children trespassing on Gary’s pasture.

As unfair as it might seem and regardless of his defenses, Gary might be held liable if one of his horses injures a trespassing child. But, he argues, “The parents should be supervising their activities or discouraging their children from trespassing. I have ‘No Trespassing’ signs posted. Plus, I was here first. They moved here knowing their children could be tempted to pet my horses.”

As attorney Julie Fershtman, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, explains, “Trespassing children are any horse facility’s nightmare. Children cannot – or simply do not – read warning signs,” she says. “They are capable of climbing over or crawling under fences.”

Of course, trespassing adults aren’t afforded many rights if injured while trespassing. But in the eyes of the law, trespassing children are a different, more complicated ballgame.

Why Could Gary Be Liable?

Gary’s pasture full of horses might be considered an attractive nuisance, which is a type of negligence. In many states, the attractive nuisance doctrine makes the landowner liable for harm caused to trespassing children. By definition, attractive nuisances are potentially harmful objects and conditions on the land or of the land that, by their features, have the ability to attract children. Examples include swimming pools, sewer drains, tractors, farm equipment and, in some cases, animals such as horses.

Courts consider many factors in evaluating whether landowners are liable under the legal theory of attractive nuisances. According to Julie, they look at:
•    whether the landowner knew or had reason to know that children could trespass near the hazard;
•    whether the hazard poses an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to children;
•    whether children, due to their age, could recognize the danger involved;
•    whether the landowner maintained the hazardous condition;
•    whether the hazardous condition is relatively easy to correct;
•    whether the landowner exercised reasonable care to eliminate the hazard or protect the children.

Consult a knowledgeable attorney for the attractive nuisance and trespassing child laws in your state. Courts in some states may not consider horses in a field an attractive nuisance, most likely because of the horse industry’s prominence and importance to the state’s economy. Your state might fall at any end of the spectrum. As one court in Louisiana put it in 1999, “We will not impose a duty on all owners or lessees of historical pastureland to ‘child proof’ their land.”

What Can Gary Do?

“I’ve talked to several lawyer friends about my situation, and most agree that a ‘No Trespassing’ sign would not hold up in court in the event a young child got hurt in my pasture,” Gary says. “The child’s lawyer would argue that the child could not read or understand the sign. Because there is no such thing as a childproof fence, the best advice I’ve gotten is to visit with the neighbors and nicely ask them to prohibit their children from entering my pasture. I’ve done this as much as possible and have gotten a positive response, but we all know that parents cannot keep their eyes on their children all the time.”

Julie suggests continuing the friendly conversations with the parents, but taking an added step for protection.

“Talking to the neighbors is good, but the only problem I have, as a lawyer, is that conversations get forgotten,” she says. “Friendly, neighborly conversations are certainly very important. However, for the best protection, it can help to have a letter confirming the discussion you had, so you have that as support if the worst should happen. Sending the letter is a good extra precaution.”

She recommends sending the friendly letter to the child’s parents soon after the child has made the uninvited visit. Consider sending it certified mail with a return receipt requested (from the U.S. Postal Service), and keep accurate records and copies of documents. Here is a sample letter:

Dear neighbor,

Thank you for talking with me yesterday about your son entering my property without permission. Please allow this letter to confirm our agreement and that you will keep him off of my property and away from my horses. But if you wish to bring him over some time for a special visit, you may call me to set up a workable day and time in which I can personally escort the two of you to see my horses. Thank you very much for your understanding.

Best wishes,
Gary Johnson

“In my opinion, a friendly letter to parents shows that you know the children have been trespassing and you don’t approve of it.” Julie says. “You’re reaffirming that the children are trespassers, and the parents are being set up for arguably negligent supervision of their children. You’re also trying to be neighborly and trying to accommodate the neighbors in a nice way.

“These efforts, in themselves, may not eliminate your liability, but they will help evidence the many precautions you are taking to protect others,” she adds. “It’s a friendlier method than a harsh letter that says, ‘Keep them out of there.’ Instead, you’re saying, ‘You can come back, by appointment only, when I’m available to escort you and your children.’ ”

Again, she suggests keeping good records. “If Gary agrees with the letter strategy, he would be wise to keep a record of who he sent the letter to, a copy of the letter and the return receipts if he sends them by certified mail.

Liability Insurance

As another important preventative measure, Julie suggests that Gary purchase liability insurance. Regardless of the nature of Gary’s horse facility (he currently does not board outside horses or provide riding/training lessons), he can greatly benefit from investing in one of the many policies available.

Liability insurance policies protect against claims that seek to hold you liable for an injury or damage to another’s property. “If you ever find yourself in the worst-case scenario of being sued, a proper insurance policy is there to provide a legal defense for you, pay any judgment that may be issued against you or settle the matter,” Julie says.

Liability insurance policies include home owners’, farm owners’, commercial, professional and personal horse owners’. Discuss your liability insurance options with a knowledgeable insurance agent. AQHA corporate partner Markel has a range of insurance options and offers a 10 percent credit to AQHA members who purchase certain types of coverage.

Peace of Mind

By following Julie’s suggestions, and by contacting his attorney for more suggestions based on Missouri laws, Gary will not only prevent potential injuries to the neighborhood children, but he’ll also protect himself against liability and ultimately rest a little easier at night.

“If you should get sued, you know that you have protection,” Julie says. “Even with the most extensive precautions, we live in a society where litigation is rampant. If you are sued, these precautions could help in your defense.”

About Julie Fershtman: A shareholder with the firm Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC, Julie Fershtman’s law practice crosses all equine breeds and disciplines and serves stables, professionals, associations, businesses and trainers across the country. She is one of fewer than 20 lawyers nationwide to be named a Fellow of the American College of Equine Attorneys and has successfully tried equine-related cases before juries in four states. She is the author of two books, “Equine Law & Horse Sense” and “More Equine Law & Horse Sense,” and writer of www.equinelawblog.com. She has spoken on equine law in 28 states. For more information, visit www.equinelaw.net, www.fosterswift.com or www.fershtmanlaw.com.

 

 
April 2021 - Mark your Calendars for Riders Cup
Written by by Brooke Goddard: photos: Julia B. Photography
Thursday, 01 April 2021 20:05
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Innovative Riders Cup Brings European Style Competition to Los Angeles

by Brooke Goddard: photos: Julia B. Photography

Top level show jumping is returning to Los Angeles with West Palms Events’ Riders Cup (May 6-9, 2021) at LA Equestrian Center. The show will feature $265,000 in prize money, an all-inclusive entry system, and courses built by Olympic Course Designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil.


Riders Cup was jointly designed by West Palms Events and Neil Jones Equestrian, modeled after European show jumping events. “We were very happy with the inaugural event in Del Mar last November and we really think the format works, it’s good for the future of the sport in California and exciting for the competitors,” commented Neil Jones. “I’m pleased Dale Harvey and his team secured the LA Equestrian Center and excited to be a part of Riders Cup at a new venue.”

West Palms Events is working closely with LEG Shows & Events and Los Angeles Equestrian Center to prepare for Riders Cup followed by a full calendar of competitions. “We are partnering with GGT Footing and continuing to enhance the entire facility,” explained Dale Harvey, CEO of West Palms Events. “We appreciate the continued support of GGT over the years and look forward to collaborating with them on a spectacular 2021 season.”

Riders Cup Highlights

•    $265,000 in Prize Money
•    All-Inclusive Entry System
•    Prize money paid at the competition

•    EQ International Real Estate Riders Lounge
•    Grooms Lounge
•    Leading Rider
•    Leading Lady Rider
•    $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
•    $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
•    Courses Designed by Guilherme Jorge

The prize list and entry forms are on www.westpalmsevents.com. Entries can be submitted through EquestrianConnect.com or emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Stalls are limited and expected to sell out. Entries for Riders Cup are due by April 12.

Riders Cup kicks off a full schedule of hunter/jumper competitions in Los Angeles for the 2021 season, with events at both LA Equestrian Center and Hansen Dam Horse Park.

Make sure to follow Riders Cup on Instagram and Facebook @riderscup.westpalms to keep up with the latest Riders Cup related news. Visit www.westpalmsevents.com to view the entire 2021 West Palms Events Competition Schedule.

 

 
March 2021 - The 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is Back On!
Written by by Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event 
Monday, 01 March 2021 21:34
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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
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 02 February 2021 21:20
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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
Written by by Les Thomson
Tuesday, 02 February 2021 21:05
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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
Written by by Leslie Potter, courtesy of US Equestrian
Tuesday, 02 February 2021 20:59
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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.

 
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