Page 1


Ian Millar

Horse Shows



Nation’s Cup





Preparation For

The Grand Prix

An Interview With Aaron Vale




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inside this issue


International Show Jumping Icon... Ian Millar still has it.


Preparing yourself mentally for the Grand Prix ring. Aaron Vale gives his take on it.


USEF President Christine Tauber roles out new Jumper Rule Changes.

next issue we’re at HITS, Saugertise, NY pick up your copy at the show grounds





MARCH/APRIL ISSUE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Publisher: Bonnie Thibodeau

17 Rail Talk from the Publisher Bonnie Thibodeau 18 Interview with Homes to Ranches owner & Founder Gregory Lord


Icon...Ian Millar

30 It’s a family affair...ties that bind

*Rail Talk *Trainer Directory *Stallion Directory *Horse sales

To Advertise Call 352-598-6668 Media Kit can be found on



24 Preparing yourself mentally for the Grand Prix ring Aaron Vale talks

In Every Issue

Contributing Writers Megan Arszman Sarah E. Coleman

Sales Manager: Alexis Dulac Art Director: Glenn Wilson Marketing/ Web Sales: Rebecca Fox Photographer: Jilluann Martin-Valliere

Contributing Photographers Jilluann Martin-Valliere ESI Photography Cover Photo of Ian Millar by Jilluann Martin-Valliere PhotoArt By Jill

34 USEF Jumper Rule Changes 38 Nation cup at HITS OCALA 40 Snapped by Rail 42 Common Sport horse Injuries 54 Directories....Trainers-Stallions-Horse Sales



NATION’S CUP TEAM CANADA Member of “Team Canada” riding in HITS Nation’s Cup. See photos of Tiffany, and Nation’s Cup teams from Canada, USA, Columbia, Ireland and more captured by Above The Rail feature photographer Jilluann Martin-Valliere.


Bonnie Thibodeau

Alexis Dulac

G. A. Wilson

Jilluann Martin-Valliere

Above the Rail Magazine is Published 6 times a year By Equinox Media LLC Copyright 2014 Above the Rail and its subcontractors do not endorse opinions of its writers and assume liability for claims to advertise.

PhotoArt By Jill Personalized Books & DVDs l Fast Action Sports

l Life Events

Daniel Bluman “Columbian Nations Cup Team” Jilluann Martin-Valliere

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Georgina Bloomberg takes a peek to see

photo courtesy of PhotoArt By Jill

“Above The Rail”


Connections Created


ne of the most important connections I created with my daughter as she was growing up revolved around the horses. From learning to tack up a pony and groom to competing in the pony jumpers, the time we spent together traveling to and from lessons and horse shows, waiting at the in-gate and simply hanging out around the barn allowed me to be a part of her life like few other non-horsey parents ever experience.


watched the horses shape my daughter. They taught her patience, perseverance, empathy, compassion, love and humilityâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;but most of all they taught her bravery. I never worried (too much) about her falling in with the wrong crowd or partaking in risky behavior in high schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the horses kept her grounded. She knew that her part of the riding and competing bargain entailed hard work in school and good choices outside of it. And she held up her end of the bargain wonderfully.


blinked and she graduated from riding ponies to horses, gaining confidence and competence with

each passing year, both in the show ring and out of it. However, no matter how proficient she became or how nice the horse she was on, one thing held true: I always held my breath during the jump offs.


y daughter is now grown and graduated from college. She headed to California at the beginning of the year to begin her own life and forge her own path. While it is so very hard to feel left behind, I have great faith in her and her ability to set the world on fire.


his magazine is a labor of love that allows me to stay close to her. While I intensely miss the long horse-show days and the countless hours at the barn, I know she is on her way to something great.


hen she pulled out of the driveway to begin the 36-hour drive to her new life, I felt the familiar show-ring anticipation build. My breath caught as she backed out of the drive the same way it did when the buzzer sounded for the jump off. But this time, I know she will win.



Finding a new home can be nothing short of frustrating. But, if you’re in the market for not only a home for your family, but a home for your horses, too, it can feel like the search is downright impossible. It’s not that horse people are innately difficult to please--we just know what we need to keep our horses safe and us happy! There is one thing that makes property shopping infinitely easier: using a Realtor who knows horses. No one really understands horse people like those who share the passion for these great animals! Greg Lord, owner of Homes to Ranches Realty, Inc., truly gets what soon-to-be farm owners are searching for. In partnership with his daughter, Amy (Lord) Johnson, their business motto is: “Experience the difference— two generations serving you.”

A Horsey History

Greg has been around horses for most of his life. He began showing hunters when he was 10, but switched to American Saddlebreds in his mid-teens. After high school, Greg began roping both calves and steers, and attended over 100 rodeos and roping events each year. During the time he was roping, Greg worked as a Professional Farrier, where he had the opportunity to shoe some of the nicest show horses in the country, both stock horses and those competing on the hunter/jumper circuits. Greg says that he has always been partial to the hunters, for both riding and shoeing. He was lucky enough (and a good enough rider!) that several trainers he shoed for would give him a few to hop on and school whenever he came out to work with the horses. 18 ABOVE THE RAIL

Story by Sarah E. Coleman

“Experience the difference—two generations serving you.”

Amy (Lord) Johnson

Gregory Lord

The Great House Hunt

Finding the Perfect Farm

Finding a Forever Farm


fter being a farrier, Greg went on to train and race Thoroughbreds before finally settling in to the real-estate business. Seeing so many different sides of the equine industry has given Greg the ability to truly understand his client’s needs when it comes to buying a home and farm.

It’s in the Blood

As his professional life expanded, so did his family. Eventually, all three of his children, Jennifer, Amy and Greg Jr., followed his riding path; Greg started them in hunt-seat, but they eventually went on to rodeo in high school. Greg Jr., continued to rodeo in college. Greg’s equestrian involvement changed direction once again when he co-owned Legal Dose, who won the Palomino Horse Breeders of America World Championship show in hunter under saddle, working hunter, hunter hack and pleasure driving.

The Home Team Advantage

Greg has had both his real estate license and his auctioneer’s license since 1995. As his entire career has been in Ocala, he has developed very specific specialties: selling horse farms and developing horse communities in the Ocala area. Because of his varied equine history, he is truly adept at understanding not only what hunter/ jumper trainers and owners want, but also what roping and pleasure riders seek to find in a property, as well. “… all my life I have worked for or around the people I am selling to,” Greg notes. “I have been on most of the farms in this area and have traveled virtually every road where there may be a horse farm.” This bodes well for an equine enthusiast looking for an out-of-the-way location or for one looking to be in the hustle and bustle of horsey activity—Greg knows them all! Greg notes that he and his real estate team are selling a way of life. Because of this, Greg tries very hard to get to know his clients personally and discover exactly what it is they are looking for. “You cannot tell a horseman what is going to work best for him,” he observes. “Only he knows. My job is to make sure he sees everything available that will fit his needs, and then assist in determining investment potential.”

“We believe in establishing relationships,” Greg says. “We have had customers who have taken six years to find the perfect farm, coming back year after year to look” at available properties—and that’s OK! The team at Homes to Ranches truly understands that there is no timeline to finding the perfect farm. It’s not about selling a set number of properties a month or taking clients to see properties that might not be the perfect fit. It’s about helping people find exactly what they want, no matter how long it takes. Sounds like good people to have on your team, yes?

For More Information

Homes to Ranches is a full-service real estate company; they both list and sell, as well as work closely with land developers to find investment properties. You can contact them at 352-732-3276 or www.


Homes To Ranches

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Homes To Ranches

Hewitt Lake Manor Your own piece of paradise awaits!! 6 Beautiful Acres on Big Lake Hewitt!! Perfect for boating, skiing, paddle boarding. You also have to see the custom 3/2 two story home with the best views of the lake! Property also features, a boat ramp, large deck/dock for entertaining, a huge metal building with 3 stalls for your horses, completely fenced, two wells, two septic. There is so much to name, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t miss out on this one of a kind private oasis!! Second floor has a huge Master bedroom with walk in closet, separate sink, mini refrigerator and a private office. Beautiful deck overlooking the water.

Stoneridge Farm 6 Acre Mini Farm in popular NW location. Centrally located to HITS, shopping, restaurants & Goethe State Forest. Quality 4 bedroom 3 bath pool home with new 3 board fencing and a 2 stall barn. Very open floor plan consisting of a formal dining room and an office. Privacy gate and landscaping.

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Village at Hidden Lakes 3.58 Acre Corner Lot!! The perfect place for your individual oasis! You will enjoy paved road access and miles of bridle trails. This gated community is zoned agricultural/residential and offers the perfect setting for the equestrian enthusiast. Ideal location for those that prefer a rural setting but close to town. Also a short distance to the H.I.T.S. show grounds! Owner financing possible.

Summerfield Farm Beautiful 10.73 acre farm in south Marion County, Ocala, Florida. Close to the Florida Horse-park, the Green-way Trails, The Villages, all shopping and restaurants. Home built in 2007, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, new ceiling fans, quarts counter tops, stainless appliances, oversize garage with golf cart parking, gazebo with hot tub and tree house for the kids!

Destiny Awaits 2005 Immaculate custom built & designed home on 10 wooded acres, close to all amenities yet still private. Large Master suite with sitting area on the main floor. Two bedrooms upstairs with large bathroom and closets. There is also a powder room on the first floor. Country kitchen with center island and beautiful marshwood cabinets. Family room with a fireplace. Two full porches on the front and back of the home. This could be a wonderful horse property. 2455 NW 44th Avenue Ocala, FL 34482 22 ABOVE THE RAIL


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Homes To Ranches

Dally Up Farm Want location and the best view in Ocala? This farm has it all. Realtor owned, awesome location, directly across the street from Golden Hills Golf course, yet in horse community of 12 parcels. Completely turn key, electric gate, paved drive, screened pool, hardwood floors, 6 stall center aisle block barn, equipment building, riding arena, gas fireplace, cooking hot water and hot tub, this farm has it all! Sellers are licensed Florida Realtors.

To inquire about these and many more equestrian properties call:

Amy (Lord) Johnson Greg Lord Realtor Broker / Owner 352-502-5855 352-266-6180

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It’s All




GRAND PRIX RING By Megan Arszman


hen you approach the gate you’re not sure which is racing faster—your pulse or your mind. Between your horse’s ears you see some impressive jumps with massive spreads, at angles you know will make you hold your breath as you make the turn back. It’s the marquee event of the week—the grand prix—and you and your horse are ready for it, physically, but how about mentally? One lapse in concentration, even for a split second, can mean the difference between winning the big check and not making it to the jump off.

It’s All About Mental Prep

Grand prix riders are consummate professionals and have been riding for a long time, so the notion of the pressures of the class isn’t anything new to them. Riders like Aaron Vale, who has been competing in grand prixs since 1982 when he rode his first one at the young age of 14, is very proficient and are physically prepared with the strength and technical skills. “I think with experience it’s just kind of a routine,” says Vale. But about what that precious slight difference between winning and sixth? Photos by PHOTOART BY JILL 24 ABOVE THE RAIL

Aaron Vale It’s all mental, says mental skills coach and author Tonya Johnson, MA.

like to stay casual and continue to chat with friends and feel like it’s just another class, like Vale.

“As you get to the top levels of any sport, the mental becomes that much more important,” she says.

“I have the same mental approach with every ride, every class—every time I get on a horse I’m serious about it. Not that I don’t enjoy it, but I’m always focused on what I’m doing with a horse,” he says.

Grand prix riders have a tremendous amount of awareness of what works best for them—they might have their own program or routine. Some riders might go so far as to have a strict diet of what they want to eat on grand prix day. Some might want to spend time by themselves prior to the class to focus on the ride ahead, or they

“But for me it’s just a routine that I do all of the time. I don’t want to make a big deal about it and think that this class is a bigger deal, so I’m going to do this and this that I don’t normally do. It’s just sticking with the

routine and same focus you have any other time.” But the main thing about those kinds of personal differences is that you, as the rider, know what they are and you respect that. Johnson advises that you take steps to make sure those things happen for you on that day. So it’s a wide range of things you might use, whether it’s how you manage your energy (do you like to go walk around, get your blood moving, stretch or warm up), or how you manage handling others around you--do you like to be with friends? Do you like to listen to music? Whatever works best for you is your plan of action.


Visualization is important for mentally preparing for the grand prix because at that level the courses are very technical. Many athletes now make sure they’re taking the time to do a complete visualization of their ride ahead. When they’re in the moment in the ring, if there’s a particularly trying line or turn, they’ve already thought about it and already ridden it in their mind, so their reaction time is that much faster. They’re that much more efficient with thinking and choices. “When you’re talking about the grand prix where classes can be decided by the hundredths of a second, that kind of preparation is what can absolutely make the difference between winning sixth place,” explains Johnson. “Visualization enables you to train your mind and body about what to expect on course. It’s not a crystal ball—it’s not like you visualize and then you’ll go out and ride it exactly like you imagined it. But if you can get some reps in mentally riding that track and

making good choices, then when you’re physically in the ring, your reaction time is much quicker, your focus is much more dialed in.” Grand prix riders who visualize their rides are able to stay in the moment and trust the plan (whether it’s Plan A, B, or C) that you’ve thought about hopefully every possible scenario. You’ve already come up with your answers in your visualization about how you’re going to ride and be successful. That’s often part of people’s preparation to be successful. However, Vale doesn’t rely on visualization before the grand prix, unless it’s for the jump-off round. “I do some visualizing stuff for the jump off, for the shapes of the turns and what’s going to be the fastest track, but I don’t close my eyes and fully visualize it in my head,” he explains. “I try to walk the course and figure out where the best points for the apex of the turn and how it sets up with the angle of the fence and where you have to go next after that jump.”

Team Support

Another aspect of mental preparation is having your entire team—from grooms to clients and family and friends—on the same page when it comes to your preparation the day of the grand prix. Making sure your team has the plan and understands what you expect will help the grooms understand not

only what they need to do to care for the horse, but what you need to get yourself prepared and comfortable. They know that when you walk off to the other side of the ring before the course walk, they know what you’re doing and you don’t have explain yourself throughout the day. “I’m a big believer in preloading all of that information for your grooms, ground help, family, supporters, and all of the people around you so they have some kind of understanding of what you like to do to prepare yourself so they can give you the space you need to do what you need to do,” explains Johnson.

Channeling Adrenaline

Flying through the air and challenging yourself the clock can be a rush for everyone. One grand prix rider in California once said that anyone that tells you they’re not nervous before a grand prix is lying. It might not be nervousness but more like excitement and it’s important that riders take that adrenaline pulsing throughout their body and use it to your advantage. “You’re looking at some stout jumps, and some really good challenges, and your adrenaline is going to come up naturally,” says Johnson. “So many of the grand prix and international riders that I’ve talked to really look forward to that adrenaline and ABOVE THE RAIL 25



understand that when it’s there is when they’re able to be at their sharpest and when it’s missing is when their performance might fall a little flat.” The key is not to dread the adrenaline, like perhaps some junior or amateur riders might feel—they might hate feeling nervous. But, with more experience, the top riders realize that this nervous energy is just energy. Instead of letting your quickened pulse make you think you’re not going to ride well, you work towards channeling it to help you become more sharply focused and riding your best. “Make friends with it and understand it,” instructs Johnson. “It’s a positive, like your mind and body saying ‘Awesome. This looks tough, let’s get it.’ Instead of thinking ‘Uh oh.’”

Battling Fatigue

During heavy stretches of circuits, such as the HITS series, it’s easy to see how easily fatigued riders and horse can get—physically and mentally. Your brain is a muscle, and you use it so much throughout the days and weeks at show circuits, especially on the days of a grand prix. Like Vale’s thinking that the grand prix is just another class, Johnson says treating it just like another class is one of the best ways to help combat mental fatigue—it’s just part of your groove. “Yes, you can get mentally fatigued and that’s why you need to take care of yourself as an athlete,” she says. “Make sure your physical fitness is good, that your rest patterns are good, and that you’re scheduling rest—even if it’s just a half hour before your ride and putting your feet up. Being aware to include that in your calendar is really important. “You have to be able to peak—you can’t stay at this high level mentally. You peak for the class and you come back down—the way you come back down is you allow yourself have the occasional off day of either not riding or working out, really just mentally letting down. That takes awareness of what gets you into the zone and what makes you focus, and also what helps you relax and let go and let yourself relax and have downtime. That takes mindfulness to make sure both get integrated in the calendar.”

manage (your horse) so you have some horsepower left at that time.” Vale’s routine of relaxation includes a glass of smooth, red wine each night to help unwind his mind and body from the perils of the previous hours in the saddle. “You watch the pregame of football players wearing headphones and listening to music, but that’s not me—I’m just about routine. I just try to treat it the same as everything else,” he says. “If you train your horse serious enough, then it should be the same preparation for the grand prix. Just be focused at all times.”

The same goes with your horses. “At some of the larger circuits, you try to go a couple weeks, then take a week or two off,” says Vale. “You still want to have some freshness in your horse when you get to the end of the circuit, if he’s a contender for those bigger classes. You need to ABOVE THE RAIL 27



MILLAR Jump Canada Hall of Famer




It’s A Family Affair

Ties That Bind

Though occasionally fraught with tension, horse shows offer wonderful ways for families to spend meaningful time together.


r. Jennifer Speisman, a clinical psychologist licensed in both Florida and Kentucky, began taking lessons at 6 years old, after watching her mother participate in lessons for years. Though her riding began as a casual endeavor, Speisman quickly caught the horse-show bug and began showing in the hunters and jumpers, but focusing on the Big Eq.

As is typical in most families with multiple children who have various interests, Speisman and her mom spent countless hours together traveling to horse shows while her father attended her brother’s soccer games and tennis matches. Her father did attend horse shows as schedules permitted; he could typically be found reading a book by the rail, putting it down in time to video his daugh-

Story By Sarah E. Coleman

Photos Courtesy of PhotoArt By Jill


ter’s rounds and then letting her know how he thought she did.

What Horses Teach Us

Horses provide the opportunity to connect, grow and share with family members, Speisman notes. Spending time traveling together, being at the barn and at

conntinued on page 32


shows, and having a shared interested all promote a deep familial connection. Being able to laugh at a horse’s ridiculous antics in the barn or share in the journey of pursuing a goal can be very powerful in facilitating a family bond and connection, she says. This sense of sharing reinforces to children that they are part of a family unit--one that is cohesive no matter what is going on in the outside world. Simply being around horses fosters many positive traits in youth that will serve them well into adulthood, reinforcing ideas parents are trying to impress upon them. “Horses are extremely humbling animals that can teach us a considerable amount,” says Speisman. These animals can teach riders (and their families!) to be more flexible and resilient, and often the horses force people to acquire a set of coping strategies to deal with adversity (remember when your pony tried to buck you off after the first fence when he was so quiet in the warm up? Time to learn to think on your feet!). Horses also encourage effective communication, discipline, leadership and teamwork—all of which are traits integral to being a successful adult. While horseback riding may begin with a horse-crazy child, it may be worth investigating to see if the entire family would like to ride. Riding promotes physical wellness and offers amazing opportunities for stress relief. Because of their size, riding and handling horses builds self confidence 32 ABOVE THE RAIL

and helps both handlers and riders overcome fear. As a family, especially one where all or part of the family unit is frequently

want to continue to ride. It’s helpful to remind young adults that if they really want to keep horses in their lives, there is always a way. Speisman herself found herself back

Photos by PHOTOART BY JILL Alex Indeglia and her dad Bob horse shopping

on the road at shows, communication and openness are key to keeping everyone happy and in the know. While shooting a text of Skyping is easy (and encouraged), it doesn’t replace the in-person conversations. Parents should make sure that when the family is together that the children are engaged and focused, not buried in their phones.

in the tack after taking almost 10 years off. Her mom, who still rides, actually owns the horse on which Speisman competes. Her parents still love to see her show, just like they did when she was a junior. If they can’t attend, they request that she call them the minute she has time to fill them in on how it went, and to ensure that she is safe and her mount is healthy.

The End of the Road?

The time spent together as a family while she shows in Florida allows them to catch up and spend quality time together. Even years later, horse showing is still a family affair—and none of them would trade it for the world.

While it may seem that life in its entirety is shifting as a child gets ready to age out of the juniors, Spesiman reiterates that there is always a way back to the horses, should your child


USEF Jumper Rule Changes There have been a few changes to the show jumping world for the 2015 show season. Passed by the United States Equestrian Federation, the following rules were effective on Dec. 1, 2014 :

Tack and Attire

Draw reins and German martingales may only be used when schooling or in classes with no prize money that are offered at 1.20m or below. Ponies may not be ridden a Junior in draw reins or German martingales at any time. No other head set devices (chambon, etc.) are permitted in any class. The total maximum weight of equipment allowed to be added to a horse’s leg (front or hind) is 500 grams or 17.637 ounces (excluding the shoe). This weight is total, not per leg. Formal jumper attire constitutes dark, muted or similar colored or red (scarlet) coat; team or sponsored coats of different colors are permitted. Shirts must be fastened at the neck and tucked into breeches. Boots are required, and half chaps are permitted as long as the color matches the paddock boots being worn. Proper Jumper Attire: Coats of any color are required. Breeches must be light in color (white, fawn or canary). Pastel and dark-colored breeches are not allowed. Shirts, light in color, must be tucked into breeches and fastened at the top of the neck. Ties or chokers of any color must be worn unless the shirt, by design, has the choker built in. Boots are required. Half chaps are permitted as long as the color matches the paddock boots being worn. In Standard Jumper Attire, coats are not required. Breeches of any color are permitted. Shirts must have collars and sleeves. Sleeves may be long or short and polo shirts are permitted. Sleeveless shirts and shirts with exposed hoods are not permitted and shirts must be tucked into breeches. Boots are required, and half chaps are permitted as long as the color matches the paddock boots being worn. In extreme weather conditions, the use of jackets, sweaters or raincoats can be allowed by horse show management and/or permission from jumper judge(s). Permission must be grated before entering competition ring. In cases where the above requirements are not followed, the penalty will be either a possible warning (for the first offense) or elimination.

Sections/Classes Restricted by Age of Horse General Course Guidelines

In general, jumper courses should offer at least two changes of


direction, preferably more. The first obstacle should be inviting, and normal distances should be used in related lines, whether straight or bending. In used in Six- or Seven-Year-Old classes, the water jump must be in the second part of the course and jumped in the direction of the in-gate. In indoor arenas, whenever possible, jumps should not be placed directly on the wall.

Five-Year-Old Jumper Course Guidelines

Obstacles for this class should be inviting and not solid. Tripe combinations may not be included before July 1. Only one spread obstacle may be included in any combination before July 1. When using a Liverpool, the rails must be in the center and on safety cups; the Liverpool must be used as an option. The Liverpool may not be used as part of a combination. The first fence of any combination must be set 5cm lower than the height specified for the class.

Six-Year-Old Jumper Course Guidelines

Triple combinations may only include one spread obstacle before July 1. Water jumps may not exceed 11 feet (3.30m) and must use a rail over the water with a lath on the landing side. Water jumps should be used in the second half of the course and another obstacle must be offered as an option. The rail must be judged if the lath is to be judged; it must be marked on course. A Liverpool may not be used as part of a combination. Is using Table II, Section 1, courses should always be built as Table II, not Table III.

Seven-Year-Old Jumper Course Guidelines

If a Liverpool is used in a combination, it may only be used as the first element. Water jumps may not exceed 12 feet (3.60m) and must use a rail over the water with a lath on the landing side.

Thoroughbred Jumper

Thoroughbred restricted classes are open only to horses that are recorded with the United States Equestrian Federation, registered with the United States Hunter Jumper Assocation and are in possession of Breed Registry papers. Horses must have either been registered with the Jockey Club or meet the criteria below. All horse shows must require riders to verify registration on the day of the hrose show through one of the following methods: a. The Jockey Club Certificate of Foal Registration or a copy thereof. b. The horse’s lip tattoo, the horse’s five-cross pedigree and

the successful tattoo look-up fron the Jockey Club’s Tattoo Identification Services c. If neither of the above is available, a letter from the Jockey Club verifying the horse’s identity. Fence height to be set at 1.0m-1.05m. Cross entry into other sections is allowed unless otherwise stated in the prize list.

Water Obstacles

An obstacle with a minimum height of 40 cm and a maximum height of 50 cm must be placed on the takeoff side of a water obstacle.

Speed, Time Allowed, Time Limit, and Optimum Time

When the arena size is more than 5,000 square meters (approximately 55m x 90m or 180ft x 300ft), the maximum speed to be used for any division shall be 375 meters/min. In arenas of less than 5,000 square meters, the maximum speed shall be 350 meters/ minute.

Should a pole resting in ac up come to rest on the lip of the cup, or on a bracket that is an integral part of the cup, provided that all parts of the cup are still attached to the sleeve, it is not considered a knockdown.

Starting Order for Classes Offering $25,000 or More in Prize Money

PhotoArt By Jill


In any classes offering $25,000 or more in prize money, a steward must be present to witness the draw. A rider, trainer or owner of a horse in that class is welcome to witness the draw. The previous year’s winning rider may be seeded last if it is so stated in the prize list. If that rider has more than one horse in the class, a draw will be conducted to determine which of his/her horses will be seeded last. If a rider with multiple horses in a class scratches one or more of his horses, his/her remaining horses must be moved up to occupy the highest position for that rider. For more information, please visit https://www.usef. org/documents/ruleBook/2015/18-JP.pdf

USEF President Christine Tauber




Ireland Dominates Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup at HITS Ocala CSIO4* Ocala, Florida (February 13, 2015): Darragh Kenny, Lorcan Gallagher, Kevin Babington and Conor Swail led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Splaine, had the luck of the Irish on their side as they took home top honors in the Furusiyya FEI Nations CupTM, presented by Edge Brewing Barcelona at HITS Ocala CSIO4* on Friday, February 13. Coming to Ocala with a strong squad, Team Ireland will leave the Sunshine State with another FEI Nations CupTM title under their belts and their share of the $200,000 purse.


packed grandstand, sold out VIP, and two live webcasts looked on as six nations - Canada, Colombia, the United States, Mexico, Venezuela and Ireland - took their turns over a tworound competition course of 15 efforts set at 1.50m, designed by Martin Otto of Muenster, Germany. First of the 24 to show was Darragh Kenny (IRL) riding Oakland Ventures LLC’s Picolo. They were quick to set the tone for the afternoon with a clean round right out of the gate.

As each team’s first rider showed, Luis Alejandro Plascancia (MEX) and Caressini L, Lauren Hough (USA) and Ohlala, Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Verdi, as well as Daniel Bluman (COL) aboard Conconcerto Apardi, chased Kenny’s success but all fell victim to penalties along the way. That was, until Yann Candele (CAN) and Showgirl owned by Watermark Group, made the Canadian Team’s debut attempt at the course and a strong one at that. The pair owned the second clear trip of the day putting Canada in the game. On deck, 23-year-old Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) with Diktator van de Boslandhoeve, owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC and Shane Sweetnam, impressed in his first-ever FEI Nations CupTM to give Ireland their second clear round. Georgina Bloomberg (USA) and Gotham Enterprizes LLC’s Juvina entered the ring 9th and sailed through the obstacles free of faults to kick off the US Team’s round one success. “When I knew I was coming here, we made this a priority. I wanted to have her peak here,” said Bloomberg of Juvina. Clean trips continued for many, including Juan Pablo Betancourt (COL), Ilan Bluman 38 ABOVE THE RAIL

(COL), Ian Millar (CAN), Pablo Barrios (VEN), Eric Lamaze (CAN), in addition to Kevin Babington (IRL) and Conor Swail (IRL), placing Ireland with zero total penalties as the first round came to a close. After the FEI Nations CupTM scoring format was applied, dropping the highest penalty from each team, the (C)ESI Photography Kevin Babington and Shorapur give Ireland double clear rounds at standings going into the second round had the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup at HITS Ocala CSIO4* Ireland, Colombia and Canada tied for first keeping Colombia and Canada tied for with zero faults, the USA and Venezuela the top spot. tied for fourth with four faults and Mexico in sixth with 12 faults. Eight to go and hoping to comeback from teammate Lauren Hough’s round two, The energy was high as the first seven four penalty attempt, Bloomberg and her competitors took a second turn on Otto’s 14-year-old grey were confident in their course. It appeared that many of the craft. The pair secured the first clean go horses lost respect for the water jump, of round two and was the only second clearing all the fences but touching the team rider to go clear which moved tape in the water resulting in four faults. U.S.A. up in the ranks and kept Ireland, Colombia and Canada at bay. “The course designer did a fantastic job. The footing felt great. He was sympaRiding third for the U.S., Laura Kraut and thetic in the first round and significantly Cherry Knoll Farm LLC’s Cedric saw a tougher in the second round,” said Irescore of 15 penalties after Cedric tried land’s Chef d’Equipe Robert Splaine. to leave out a stride in the triple combination resulting in downed rails on the Of the three leading teams, Ireland was third element and pushing the U.S. out of first to take the ring in round two with first. Babington and his mount, Shorapur, Kenny facing eight penalties along the owned by Shorapur LLC, followed, clearway to drop his team down the leadering the course again igniting a match for board. Next in, Bluman (COL) improved first between the U.S. and Ireland, with from his first round trip of eight penalties Canada and Columbia hot on their heels. with just four in the second round. Candele (CAN) followed and faced the same, “She’s a fighter. It’s her first Nations

Cup and I’m very proud of her for two clean rounds. She doesn’t give up,” said Babington. The race was on for third as Ilan Bluman (COL) and Blue Star Investments & Mauricio Ga’s Exacto LS saw nine faults and international champion Ian Millar (CAN) riding Dixson, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, had four. Anchor for the U.S.A., Beezie Madden, aboard Abigal Wexner’s Simon, entered the ring 20th and defined American style with her second picturesque clear. Both Madden and Bloomberg provided double clean rounds leveraging the U.S. Team to second place overall. “Thank god for Georgina and Beezie who pulled us out of the pretty deep hole we put ourselves in in the first round,” said US Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “These Nations Cups early in the year, when you’re coming off a break, can have some unforeseen things happen and we certainly had a very interesting first round.” “The footing was excellent, the weather was perfect but there’s a lot at stake. It’s the most money we’ve ever jumped for at a Nations Cup in the US and those [Furusiyya] points are at stake. So sometimes funny things can happen,” added Ridland.

“[Ocala] is s a fresh place for us and it’s nice to go to a new venue,” said Madden. “For classical jumping, for real sport, this is nice. For something that really counts, it’s nice to have this atmosphere.” Feeling pressure as the last attempt for the Irish and 22nd in the order, Conor Swail (IRL) with Grafton, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, delivered his next clear of the day, ultimately gaining a leg up on the competition for first place. Throughout his ride, Swail’s teammates were giddy with excitement at the thought of taking home the prize. “It was my horse’s first Nations Cup and it was same for Kevin’s, and it was Lorcan’s first time to ride a Nations Cup while Darragh Kenny was on his speed horse,” said Swail. “When you’re riding on a good horse, and having had a nice first round, I was trying to be smooth and do a similar job that she had already done,” Swail continued. “It felt very good, I didn’t have to work too hard and thankfully it all went really well today.” Next to go, Roberto Teran Tafur (COL) and Ark Partners LLC’s Woklahoma delivered Colombia’s only clear trip of the round which was just what the team needed to finish with a competitive 12 total penalties and depending on Canada’s final go, third could go either way.

(C) ESI Photography Conor Swail sails through the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup at HITS Ocala CSIO4*course with two clean rounds.

The final trip of the afternoon was Eric Lamaze (CAN) aboard Zigali P S, owned by Artisan Farm LLC, who gave the Canadian’s a solid finish with 4 faults for 12 total penalties

resulting in a tie for third. According to FEI rules, if a tie for third occurs, the two Nations flip a coin to see who rides for the ribbons. Representing Fururisyya’s message of chivalry and good sportsmanship to the fullest, Canada opted to let their opponent ride, since it was Colombia’s first time in top three. With four first round penalties and 12 in the second, Venezuela took fifth place overall and Mexico made sixth with 28 total penalties. Dressed in signature Furusiyya FEI Nations CupTM garb of sashes and coolers, Team Ireland galloped into the prize-giving ceremony beaming with pride welcomed by an applauding audience of equine enthusiasts, HITS exhibitors and Marion County residents alike. Many onlookers waved flags of the six nations represented while the Irish fan zone’s cheers carried into the wind. “Thank you to Ocala for being such a wonderful city and host – they were extremely welcoming and professional. A special thank you and well done to Tom [Struzzieri] and the rest of his staff; they were really great to work with,” added FEI First Vice President John Madden. “We were pretty excited here at HITS to get this opportunity. We only had a few months’ notice but obviously Furusiyya and Longines are great sponsors who offer so much support,” said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri following the event. “I leaned on the U.S. Team and Robert as well. So we had a good support staff and are pretty happy with the results.” “We’re four great lads, we always try to come prepared and we love jumping in the Nations Cups. We’re thankful it all went very well,” said Swail. For more information on HITS Ocala CSIO4* and spectator opportunities, please visit $200,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup, presented by Edge Brewing Barcelona


Nations Cup

Juan Pablo Betancourt Columbia


Tiffany Foster Canada

Nicolas Pizarro Mexico

Ian Millar Canada

Conor Swail Ireland

Lorcan Gallagher Ireland

Daniel Bluman Columbia

Pablo Barrios Venezuela Darragh Kerins Ireland

All photographs courtesy of Jilluann Martin-Valliere of PhotoArt By Jill 40 ABOVE THE RAIL

Todd Minikus USA

Louis Larrazabel Venezuela

Kevin Babington Ireland Tiffany Foster Canada Lauren Hough USA

Georgina Bloomberg USA Alejandro Karolyi Venezuela

Sofia Larrea Mexico


Common Sport Horse Injuries

By Sarah E.Coleman


umpers are incredibly athletic horses. Not only are they asked to jump high, they’re often asked to jump wide, as well—and to produce all these jumping efforts at a high rate of speed. While good fitness and adequate footing are key to keeping jumpers in tip-top shape, certain injuries are more common in this discipline, regardless of the diligence paid by their owners, trainers and riders. Some common jumper injuries include: Suspensory Injuries With the movements jumpers are required to make while practicing and competing, they risk damaging their high suspensory ligaments—either at the origin or the branches. These types of injuries are usually either traumatic injuries (from an accident or hyperextension) or overload/overuse injuries that are a little more insidious and may take awhile for the horse to become consistently lame. Back Pain Many jumpers exhibit back pain, which can present in a variety of ways, from the horse pinning his ears while being tacked up, showing resistance when asked to move off leg or refusing to jump at all. There are many different cause of back pain, but they generally fall into three categories: poor fitting tack, conformational issues or a primary pathology (like kissing spine).


Some back pain can be treated with shock wave therapy, mesotherapy (multiple rows of shallow injections made by very small needles on both sides of the spine designed to stop the pain spasm cycle), acupuncture, massage or other modalities, but if the underlying problem is not addressed (like saddle fit or lack of fitness for example), the pain will remain. Conformational issues that are very obvious may limit the horse’s performance, but more subtle conformational faults could lead to lameness issues such as arthritis and traumatic injury. When dealing with pathological issues such as kissing spine, treatment options may include shock wave therapy, mesotherapy, corticosteroid injections, exercise and changes to address saddle fit.

Arthritis Hunter/jumpers are typically middle-aged or older horses in the prime of their careers, so keeping joints happy makes for longer, more-sound , athletic animals. Arthritis from repeated use of hocks and ankles can occur, but is typically manageable with a wellthought-out treatment plan. As always, it’s best to try to prevent arthritis from forming in the first place by using a joint supplement, either oral or injectible, and treating inflammation in an irritated joint with joint injections. Foot Problems Foot problems can plague show jumpers, but many of these issues can be prevented with proper shoeing, which may include radiographing each foot to ensure that angles of the hoof are actually correct.

Navicular disease is one of the most common causes of chronic lameness in equine athletes. A chronic, degenerative condition of the navicular bone, navicular changes can usually be managed with corrective shoeing to balance the hoof and the injection of corticosteroids into the coffin joint. Deep digital flexor tendon injuries are also common injuries seen in jumpers. The rupture of tendon fibers that causes this injury can occur with navicular bone abnormalities or on its own. It can be caused by fatigue, degenerative changes or direct trauma. It is often treated with cold therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and corrective farriery. Riders can minimize the risk of foot problems by paying close

attention to the footing on which they are riding and competing their horse. Sacroiliac Joint The sacroiliac joint (SI) in jumpers takes a lot of strain when a horse is rocking back on their hind end and jumping. Though SI pain is sometimes caused by hock or back pain, there is often a primary pathology caused by bone remodeling or narrowing of the joint space. SI issues typically can be treated and managed with steroid injections, mesotherapy and a targeted exercise plan. With all of these conditions, proper fitness and preventative care goes a long way to making sure little aches and pains donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t turn into major injuries that can side-

line these amazing athletes. Vets often liken keeping sport horses sound to maintaining 40-year-old football players. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re asked to do a lot, and are often hard on their bodies. Having a good working team of the trainer, farrier and vet to pinpoint problems early is key to ensuring longevity in the show ring. Drs. Holly Schmitt and Heather Woodruff, owners of Foxwood Equine, contributed to this piece. Based in Kentucky and Florida, Foxwood offers state-of-the-art diagnostics to provide personal treatment and rehabilitation for each of their equine clients. They can be found at


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Photo Mollie Bailey/Chronicle Of The Horse

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Cosmea Z

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Above the rail magazine 0002 march april issue  

Elite show jumping magazine for professionals and amateurs. Beautifully dynamic photography. Entertaining, engaging and insightful content....

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