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EVEN MORE PASSION . spring 2019 . $12

Volume 08 . 2018






Introducing Charles Ancona’s “Haute Couture”



CLR Media, LLC editor

Carina Roselli Editorial Assistants

Lays Coutinho - Afonso Westphal Contributing Writers

Jean French - Bob Grisel, DVM - Lisa Hellmer Olivia Lagoy-Weltz - Nelson Pessoa Carina Roselli - Molly Sorge SPECIAL THANKS TO

Olivia Lagoy-Weltz Hunter Messineo of Connie Sawyer, LLC Jennifer Wood of Jump Media, LLC photographers

Charles Ancona Doug Finstad - Carina Roselli COVER Photo:

Charles Ancona graphic designer

Afonso Westphal WEB DESIGNER


4222 Fortuna Center Plaza, Suite 660, Dumfries, VA 22025 A FEMALE VETERAN OWNED AND OPERATED LLC

Equestre Americas became EQ AM Magazine in Spring 2018. EQ AM is published four times a year and is distributed at select equestrian locations, shows, newsstands, and is available by subscription for home delivery or online viewing. SUBSCRIBE at - TO PURCHASE PAST ISSUES contact us at FOR SUBSCRIPTION MANAGEMENT AND ADDRESS CHANGES contact us at SEND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR to

©2019, CLR Media, LLC. All rights reserved by the Publisher: CLR Media, LLC. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the Publisher. Publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising. Publisher accepts no responsibility for advertisement errors beyond the cost of the portion of the advertisement occupied by the error within the advertisement itself. Publisher accepts no responsibility for submitted materials. Publisher is not responsible for the opinions and statements expressed in signed articles and paid advertisements. Such opinions are not necessarily the opinions of CLR Media, LLC and its staff. While Publisher makes every effort to avoid errors, we assume no liability to anyone for mistakes or omissions. Publisher will announce corrections when warranted. Kindly direct any corrections to the Editor, Carina Roselli, at All submitted materials are subject to editing.


USEF SAFE SPORT TRAINING REQUIREMENT Starting January 1, 2019, if you are a USEF Competing Member 18 years of age or older you are required to complete the core Safe Sport Training within 30 days of activating your membership. If you do not complete the training, you are ineligible to participate in all USEF activities including competitions. TAKE the SAFE SPORT TRAINING at by logging into your member dashboard.


CONTRIBUTORS Bob Grisel, DVM Dr. Bob Grisel graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine with honors and having received multiple awards. Bob’s recent publications focus on lameness, especially the correlation between abnormal gait characteristics and specific sources of pain in the horse. His new book, “Equine Lameness for the Laymen” is excerpted in this issue.

Jean French Jean French is the Owner/Instructor/Trainer of The Natural Connection, Inc. located in Linden, Virginia. In operation for over a decade, training in both western and English disciplines, her life has been dedicated to helping thousands of people learn the language of the horse. Accomplishments are measured in the many dozens of horses whose journeys led them to help and growth through Jean’s program.

Lisa Hellmer Lisa Hellmer is a USDF bronze and silver medalist on her Oldenburg, Aniko (“Sneaks”), currently competing at Intermediate I. She graduated summa cum laude from Johnson & Wales University with a degree in equine business management and riding. She is now a USEF Silver Para Dressage Coach and recently formed LCH Equestrian in Ocala, FL.

Molly Sorge Molly Sorge started working for The Chronicle of the Horse in 1998 as a staff writer and advanced to Senior Editor and Website Content Editor over her more than 20 years there. She’s covered Olympic Games, World Equestrian Games, FEI World Cup Finals, and most major events and venues in the U.S. In 2018, she became Jump Media’s new Managing Editor, overseeing client editorial and social media content.

NELSON PESSOA Nelson Pessoa is the biggest name in Brazilian equestrianism. His many major achievements include the tetra Brazilian championship, two World Cup silver medals (1984 and 1991), individual silver and team gold medals at the Winnipeg Pan American Games, and over 150 GPs in Europe and hundreds of competitions around the world.

Olivia Lagoy-Weltz Olivia Lagoy-Weltz is a USDF bronze, silver, and gold medalist. Her earlier experience includes working for and riding at several top barns in Holland and Germany. Olivia is currently competing her own Rassing’s Lonoir (“Lono”) on the CDI circuit in Wellington, Florida and throughout Europe. Most recently, USEF selected Olivia as Team USA’s traveling alternate for the World Equestrian Games, Tryon 2018.



dear reader, Welcome to EQ AM’s second issue! It’s jam-packed with new and interesting content—all from the USA. Even our Irish artist meets my discerning “Made in America” standards because he’s now creating amazing pieces out of his new studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. You may start to see his giant metal works popping up near you; they are very hard to miss. In this issue, you’ll meet our front and back cover model

this with medication and lead a mostly normal, horse-loving life.

“Haute Couture,” owned and photographed by Charles

This December–February, however, I experienced a dangerous

Ancona, and Olivia Lagoy-Weltz will walk you through

degree of depression that made it impossible for me to do pretty

choreographing a Grand Prix Freestyle; spoiler alert: it’s no

much anything—something even hippotherapy couldn’t cure.

quick feat. After Olivia talks competing at the highest levels,

Working with my medical team (yes, I have one thanks to the

our new contributor, Jean French, will bring you down from the

Army), we were able to sort me out and get me back on my

clouds as she introduces you to a horse named “Cruisetown”

feet—hence this awesome Spring Issue you are about to read.

whom—at age-12—she’s rebuilding from scratch using natural

I tell you this not to share a sob story, but because mental

horsemanship and a program she calls The Natural Connection.

health is becoming a more and more public discussion in the

Then, in the main feature of this issue, McLain Ward

equine community, and I want to support that effort any

and Adrienne Sternlicht tell us what they thought about the

way that I can. For me, that means “showing” myself to you

courses at the World Equestrian Games (WEG, Tryon 2018). On

and following up with in-depth content on “equestrians and

the other side of the fence, top show jumping course designer,

mental health” in EQ AM’s next issue.

Alan Wade, will walk you through his process for developing and executing the WEG, Tryon 2018 tracks.!

For all of you welcoming EQ AM into your lives, I thank you and wish you a great read.

Another new feature I hope you’ll enjoy comes from EQ AM’s new partnership with Vermont’s own Trafalgar Square Books: we’re teaming up to bring you sizeable extracts from

Carina Roselli - Editor

newly released books. This issue features an incredible cut from

P.S. I want your feedback! Contact me at

“Equine Lameness for the Layman,” by Dr. Bob Grisel. Bob’s

or DM me on social media @eqammag.

truly innovative book uses QR codes that send you to video tutorials that help you better evaluate your horse’s condition. Finally, you’ll learn that Lugano Diamonds is a lot more than “just” glitz and glamour; they are a philanthropic powerhouse dedicated to giving so much to so many organizations and communities, including ours. Read more about the good they do for us and others in this issue’s Our World. On an entirely personal note, you may have noticed I didn’t publish January’s planned Winter Issue. If you didn’t, that’s ok; I’m still going to share this because it’s important. I suffer from anxiety and depression secondary to fibromyalgia (which is secondary to an injury I earned in Iraq). Normally, I can control

Carina at National Sporting Museum & Library, Middleburg, Virginia


Photo by Doug Finstad

APRIL 17 – 21 (WCHR) MAY 22 – 26

| | |


MAY 15 – 19

MAY 29 – JUNE 2

NilforushanEquisportEvents |




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Eq Am Magazine | 11


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Andy Scott with Baron, one of the model horses for the Kelpies (photo credit Martin Shields)


Andy Scott

ART LARGER THAN LIFE Editor’s Note: Andy Scott is an interesting, but extraordinary choice of artist for EQ AM. As a publication, we focus on horse culture in America and Andy Scott is a Scottish sculptor. At first blush, featuring him and his equine art may seem “off brand,” but it’s not. After many years sculpting abroad in Europe and Australia, Andy has moved to America and set up a studio in northern Philadelphia.

He and his wife have landed here, literally on

when they saw my horse… That sculpture really

our shores, and Andy has brought his raw talent

raised the public’s awareness of my sculptural

and love of horses with him. I am certain we will

abilities and gradually a steady stream of

see more and more of his sculptures scattered

commissions began to flow into the studio.

throughout the U.S., so as he settles into his

A couple of years after “The Heavy Horse” I

north Philly studio, I can’t think of a better way

was offered the opportunity to exhibit in Australia,

to welcome him to our American horse culture

so I made another large-scale Clydesdale. That

than to introduce you to his amazing work.

sculpture sold, and then another equine request came along, and another, and before I knew

In his own words…

it I was developing a reputation for my horse

I was born and bred in the city of Glasgow


in central Scotland, went to school there,

I have to confess I didn’t grow up around

and graduated from the renowned Glasgow

horses, and I guess I kind of “fell into” my love

School of Art in 1987. I had little interest in the

for them as a subject matter in my art. While

Scottish gallery circuit, and instead established

by no means the only subject I tackle (an 18ft



tall grizzly bear currently dominates the studio)

metalworker. In the midst of learning how to

they have become a mainstay and probably the

work with other professionals, run a business,

subject I most love tackling. If I go for longer

and how to manage projects, I won an increasing

than a couple of months without one under way

number of artistic projects. In 1997 I landed the

in the studio, I begin to miss their presence. It’s a

commission to build “The Heavy Horse” and

strange thing to describe.





that was a game-changer.

I established a studio in Australia and

It is a prominent landmark and just about

eventually went on to create 15 sculptures there

everyone in my old home city of Glasgow knows

across several states while I was still running

it, standing as it does beside the main highway

my Scottish studio. Eventually I decided not to

into the city. If only I had a penny for every time

pursue the Australian adventure at that time,

someone told me they knew they were home

and consolidated the Scottish side of things.


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“Equus Clutha” Photo credit Andy Scott

This sculpture was bought by a local government regeneration agency in the town of Greenock in Scotland. They wanted a landmark artwork for a new streetscape in the former docks area of the town to celebrate the role horses played in the docks and shipyards of that formerly industrial part of Scotland. “Equus” is of course Latin for horse, but “Clutha” is actually Gaelic for “The Clyde,” the river beside which the horse stands. Local folks have taken to calling the sculpture “Ginger” in honor of a much-loved local horse who lost his life in an accident in one of the docks back in the 1930s. It’s particularly nice when local people adopt a sculpture this way.

In due course, after many exciting career twists and turns

brings a rational architect’s eye to project development and

based in Scotland (the life of a professional sculptor is never

presentations, and away from the studio we share the same

straightforward), my wife Hanneke and I decided it was time

interests in architecture and the built environment.

to broaden our horizons and we set up our current studio in the city of Philadelphia.

wonder why I do it. There are certainly easier ways to make

We’d visited the USA a number of times and exhibited

sculpture. It is hard work. Unforgiving. Steel doesn’t lend itself

in New York, Chicago, and Indiana. It gave us a sense that

to shaping the way clay does, and it certainly puts up a fight

there may be an audience and a market for our studio output,

as I try to form the nostrils of a Clydesdale or the fetlocks of a

but the sheer scale of the country dictated that we should

Cob. It offers all sorts of physical challenges, not only to me in

establish a physical presence here. We’ve been lucky to meet

the working, but to the structure of the sculpture.

some great artistic colleagues and set up a fully equipped 6,000 sq ft studio in north Philly.


I make most of the sculptures from steel. I sometimes

Most folks don’t think about it often, but a horse is a very heavy mass of beast to be balanced on such small and fragile

I should explain that Hanneke and I work as a team.

structures of bone and muscle. Replicating this in steel can

Hanneke is a qualified architect, and she manages the

create all sorts of challenges when one takes wind-loading

business side of the practice, overseeing the accountancy

and installations into consideration.

and the project management issues. This allows me free rein

I use a distinctive style of steelwork, wherein I assemble

to concentrate on the actual design and sculpting. She also

the sculptures from myriad sections of steel plates, carefully

“Arabesque” Photo credit Paul Ewart

The Horse Fair by Rosa Bonheur I made Arabesque at my old studio in Currumbin, Queensland, Australia for the annual Swell sculpture exhibition which takes place on the beach there. While I was working on another sculpture, a huge storm caused terrible coastal erosion. I was struck by the metaphor of “white horses” as the large breakers were crashing ashore. I wanted to make an equine piece which wasn’t a heavy breed, and opted for one of the most refined, an Arabian. I’m pleased to say Arabesque was subsequently purchased by Gold Coast City Council and is still a presence beside Highway 1 at the Broadbeach area of the city. I am sure my original meaning behind the sculpture has been lost over the years, but nevertheless it is still a much-loved local landmark for residents and the city’s many tourist visitors.

composed and aligned to create the form of the horse. It

I don’t use any computer modelling programs or scanning

could be described as a three-dimensional steel mosaic almost

processes. I draw them by hand and I make them by hand.

painterly approach. This welded steel technique allows a

“Real” art. Inevitably the larger projects and the workload

dynamic flow of light, both natural and man-made through

dictates that I hire assistants in the studio and I am lucky to

and around the sculptures. Careful positioning of the steel

say I have a great group of colleagues always willing and

accentuates muscles and gives the sense of the flow and

able to work with me at the Philly studio. I should also say of

movement, or a hint of emotion. I usually work at least one

course that the larger projects, such as The Kelpies, require

and a third life scale or larger, as the steel does not suit small

contemporary technologies as well as artistic vision and

scale working. The completed sculptures are then galvanized

we embrace those techniques and methods when they’re

and sometimes powder coated to protect them against the

required. But in the main, I am what these days you might call

elements. My daily studio life is one of trucks, cranes, sparks,

“old school”—I actually sculpt.

and flames, and a trusty old 60 ton ironworker guillotine.

Every day brings new challenges and it’s been an interesting

For the smaller maquettes and studies, I model in clay

and very demanding process establishing the studio in the US.

and have them cast in bronze. I also enjoy that process. It

It was a wake-up call going from being very well known in my

forces me to concentrate on tiny detailing and is sometimes a

old home country, making the biggest sculptures in the land, to

welcome respite from the physical hard work of the large-scale

being a “new boy” here where nobody knows a thing about me.

sculptures. They started as a necessary part of making larger

But I needed it, change is good. Complacency can creep into any

works, but the small-scale studies have taken a life of their

creative practice in a small locality, so Hanneke and I have really

own and we’re pleased with how well they’ve sold.

dived right into the deep end of this vast and diverse country.



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Photo credit Tracey Fullerton

Photo credit Tracey Fullerton


Photo credit Graham Wylie

The Kelpies: This major project is

almost impossible to sum up in a short paragraph or two. This pair of colossal

engineers, fabricators, lighting designers, electricians, project managers, etc. They’ve





horse heads consumed over eight years

have brought me considerable acclaim,

of my life in their creation, and was

including four honorary doctorates. They

an extremely demanding and difficult

were the subject of a BBC documentary,

project. In short, they are a pair of heavy


horse heads, standing 100 feet high and

and HM Queen Elizabeth on separate

weighing 300 tons each.

occasions, and have become a well-

by both


Princess Anne

They stand beside the Forth & Clyde

established part of the cultural landscape

Canal in Falkirk, central Scotland and have

of Scotland. They also created a huge

become hugely popular local and national

transformation in Falkirk, placing the

landmarks. They were a huge team effort

town on the map and bringing millions

and involved a cast of hundreds in their

of visitors to the previously overlooked


town. Captions by Andy Scott.





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Photo credits Andy Scott

You ask what I hope to evoke in the viewers of my sculptures. This is to some degree the same for all of my works: a feeling of pride of place, of ownership of the public sculptures, a relationship to them in some way. The subtleties of that lie with the individual viewer of course… they say beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. I hope my equine works evoke an appreciation of artistic skill and dexterity, of the sheer hard work that goes into their creation. I hope the viewer senses my reverence for the horse as a subject in art and, especially with private commissions, the celebration of the very personal bond that can exist between human and horse. I hope the viewer pauses a moment to consider the allegorical meanings that may lie behind the sculptures: Why that breed of horse? Why in that pose? Why in that material? But, I am also delighted if a passing motorist with too many things on his mind simply thinks “Hey, nice horse!”


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“Monarch” Photo credit Andy Scott

Monarch was a private commission some years ago. He called me at my studio as he was driving past my “Kelpies” sculptures, and asked if I could build him a Clydesdale. I wish all commissions were so straight forward. His property in Lanarkshire, central Scotland is the area where Clydesdales were originally bred, so there is a lovely historical link with the landscape around Monarch. The sculpture stands proudly on the crest of a hill on his property, and as one drives towards his residence you see the horse in perfect profile against the skyline.

“Zephyr” Photo credit Andy Scott I made this sculpture speculatively for an exhibition in Soho, New York. It subsequently went on display in the lobby of a skyscraper in downtown Philadelphia. It was a simple attempt to make an eye-catching equine piece for





steel technique at a much smaller scale than I usually work. It caught the attention of previous Californian clients who had commissioned a human figure sculpture a few years ago. They are building a property in Montana and thought it would be the perfect addition to that residence in the wilds.

Andy Scott with Baron, one of the model horses for the Kelpies.


COLOR MARVEL LOVE STORY What makes a horse beautiful? Aren’t they all beautiful? Even a dull-coated, underweight, roughed-up rescue is a beautiful horse. We all believe that or we wouldn’t be reading (or writing) this editorial. But, what made you choose your horse if you have one, or what horse do you daydream about if you don’t? What does that horse look like? I ask because it’s human nature to be attracted to certain traits in all things, from horses to puppies to people. We humans might even go so far as to call that attraction “love at first sight.”


e d i t or i a l

In our community, this might translate to

make sense.” To the average person, one

when you glimpse a horse for the first time

might say this whole thing didn’t make any

and just know—instantly—that’s your horse.

sense at all, but the color and markings

Has that ever happened to you? For the sake

Charles saw on Couture were, to him, high

of illustration, six years ago, it happened to

fashion on a horse. The New York designer

Charles Ancona, master tailor of show coats,

of the Garment District saw a horse who was

when he very literally caught a glimpse of a

dressed to kill.

2-year-old colt trotting across a video frame.








W ithout even seeing the horse in person, he

little-known American breed: the Georgian

instantly knew this colt was his horse, and

Grande, developed in Ohio (not Georgia)

that horse graces both our covers and these

by George Wagner, Jr. in the 1970s. The

next few pages. Meet “Haute Couture.”

Georgian Grande is a crossbreeding of the





American Saddlebred horse with a Friesian,

horseman six years ago. He also wasn’t a

intending to build a Saddlebred-type horse


with the stocky and stoic qualities of heavier








show coats back then; he actually borrowed


money to buy this horse he’d never met. It

Wagner believed this heavier Saddlebred

was very literally “love at first sight.” He

was common long ago, idolizing Robert E.

bought “Couture” (that’s his barn name;

Lee’s horse Traveller. Today, the Georgian

nothing fancy) and decided to figure out the

Grande has its own International Georgian

rest as he went along.

Grande Breed Registry and is an accepted

So I asked Charles, “What was it about

member of the US Dressage Federation

this horse that made you spring into action?”


He told me, “When things make sense, they

Horse Council. W ith his refined but sturdy







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confirmation and his black and white splashes of

HP in the arena, but he’s impeccably ground trained

paint—especially beautiful through his mane and

through Charles’s use of natural horsemanship.

tail—Couture hits every mark of his desired breed characteristics.

So what’s a man to do with his horse of atypical breed, with flashy features and a level head? Well, for

Back to Charles and his capacity for impulse

one thing, he stands as a handsome exemplar of a

buying; he’s absolutely in love with this horse. He

rare American Made breed. For another, he’s the ideal

says, “If I could build a horse from scratch, Couture

muse for any fashion label. So that’s kind of the

would be it.” Now, Couture is 8-yrs-old and no Adiah

plan: Couture is a super model.


d re s s a ge By. Olivia Lagoy-Weltz

Making a Grand Prix Freestyle For many spectators, freestyles are the highlight of international dressage competition and the aspect of our sport that is most easily appreciated by a broader audience. . A well done freestyle draws in the audience, creates

choreograph your own freestyle and edit your own music,

emotion, and is incredibly fun to watch (and hopefully fun

most top riders have student, competition, and travel

to ride). A perfect example of this kind of freestyle would

schedules that put a heavy demand on their time and make

be Debbie McDonalds “Respect” freestyle from the 2005

it far more practical to bring a freestyle designer onto your

World Cup in Las Vegas. The freestyle was comprised of

team. Besides, it is wise to have a professional designer’s

classic Motown pieces and finished with Debbie piaffing

experience and knowledge on your side (although, I am

and passaging down the final centerline to Aretha Franklin’s

sure there are outlying, amazingly talented riders who are

“Respect.” It brought down the house and put Debbie and

able to do all of this, but I don’t know them personally and

Brentina squarely in the hearts of the audience that day and

I am for sure not one of them!). These freestyle creating

for years to come. Generating this kind of special freestyle

professionals have a strong background in music of some

takes a lot of time and effort, and a little bit of luck, in

kind, either as a composer, editor, or musician, and several

finding that perfect music to showcase your horse.

also have a background working with other Olympic sports

What is the process for putting together an award

such as ice skating or gymnastics.

winning international freestyle? Step 2: Get to Work on the Choreography. Step 1: Hire a Professional.


This is the part I (and many riders) find the most tedious,

A freestyle at any level takes time and creativity to put

but it is also really important. During the choreography-

together, but when you reach the International Grand

building phase, there are a lot of elements to juggle and

Prix level the demands and expectations become much

you often spend many hours trying new patterns, videoing,

higher and much more complicated. While it is possible to

watching, trying something else, and videoing, watching,

tweaking, and doing it again.

difficulty points and having an overall pleasing flow. When

Some freestyle professionals can choreograph (or help

you do something hard, the goal is to make it look easy. If

you choreograph) your freestyle, and others prefer that you

you jam-pack your freestyle with difficulty at the expense

choreograph the freestyle with your trainer. Either way, at

of the quality of execution, than you won’t score well. On

the International level, most riders are very involved with

some horses this process can go very quickly and on others

the creation of their choreography. As riders, we are the

it seems to take forever. Having said all that, when we as

ones that know what movements our horses perform best

riders finish this phase, we often feel very relieved!

and what kind of setup we would like to demonstrate each of our movements.

Step 3: Music... Sweet Music.

In order to be internationally competitive you are going

Once you have gone through the process of

to need a very high degree of difficulty. Last year, the FEI

choreographing the freestyle, you make a final video and

introduced the Freestyle Floor Plan Creator. This computer

send it to your freestyle professional. It is not necessary

program is designed to help establish more objective

to pick music before you choreograph your freestyle, but

standards for the degree of difficulty score for both riders

generally your professional is starting to work on this during

and judges. I have actually found this program very fun to

the choreographing process. At this level, the choreography

work with because you can input the choreography and the

is not necessarily designed to interpret the music. If you

program generates a test sheet for your specific freestyle,

have picked your music first, than interpretation can begin

and calculates a degree of difficulty. Still, you must execute

during the choreography phase. More often, the music is

the difficulty with proficiency in order to receive credit.

actually selected to match the horse and edited to match

But, achieving maximum difficulty is not the only

the choreography in a manner that looks like the music

criterion. Sometimes less is more, particularly if you have a

had been interpreted. This is the main reason that you have

big, or green Grand Prix horse who needs a simpler pattern

a musical professional on your team: to reverse-engineer

to help build confidence, or simply to highlight the quality

the music to match the already established choreography.

of the horse’s movements. You always have to balance the

Ideally, the overall flow of the presentation will look like the

difficulty of your freestyle with how well your horse can

music came first, even if it didn’t.

execute the movements. If your horse can score an 8 or

So how do you pick music? What do you look for?

9 on changes on a straight line, but struggles when you

You start with trying to find your general theme or mood

put them on a bending or circle line, resulting in a score

of music. Do you want to go dramatic, fun, light, jazzy,

drop to a 6.5 or lower. The bonus points you could earn

classical, rock and roll, Motown, or musicals? Sometimes

for the circle line aren’t enough to warrant the risk, and the

the rider or the professional will already have an idea of the

discomfort felt by your horse might distract or detract from

direction they want to go for a particular horse, and that’s

your overall flow.

always helpful in narrowing the scope of music down.

The goal of good choreography is to showcase what

Often musical designers will work with music from

you and your horse are good at while minimizing or

movie soundtracks because there is generally a range of

downplaying any weaker areas—all while maximizing

music to work with and a common theme that ties them

d re s s a ge

all together. While it is possible to make it work, picking

look earthbound while picking music with an emphasis on

random pieces of music with nothing in common can be a

the upbeat can lighten that same horse. There’s so much

very difficult way to go about this and can make for a very

to choose from and yet all music affects horses differently

choppy freestyle if not done well. If you do choose random

so finding the perfect mix can take some time. This is

pieces, this music has to enhance your horse so well that

again where your professional comes in. They normally go

each piece in itself makes the horse look so good that it

through and find several options that they think will work

draws the audience and judges in so far that they don’t

for your horse and let you pick from there.

notice the variety of music as much as the horse’s ability to move within them.

Other considerations… Most freestyle music is purely instrumental and ranges from movies to Broadway to

Picking music that is recognizable to the audience tends

orchestrated versions of rock bands such as the Beatles.

to make your freestyle more memorable and can go a long

Debbie’s “Respect” was the first prominent international

way to getting the crowd drawn in and “with you” for the

freestyle to incorporate lyrics—an inclusion that had

dance. But, not every horse can handle the kind of freestyle

previously been taboo! Lyrics are more acceptable now,

that gets the crowd involved and different horses respond

but riders are advised to use them sparingly. Karaoke music

differently to different music. There’s also the rider’s taste

has gained some traction in freestyles, but using it is tricky

in music to consider because these highly technical, artfully

because the melody is missing. While hearing only the beat

choreographed freestyles are not one and done; chances

and background instrumentation can be impressive at first,

are you are going to be listening to that freestyle for years—

it can tend to sound repetitive very quickly. Without the

so you’d like to love it.

melody, there is also a risk of missing the dynamics in the

The other element that is very important—if not the most

music that are necessary for interpretation. In order for this

important—when picking music is that the music must match

kind of music to work, the melody line may need to be

the tempo of your horse in all gaits and movements of your

written back in.

choreography. Starting with a piece of music that is close to naturally correct makes this part of the process easier because you are working with your horse and not against them.

Step 4a: Editing Existing Music. Now that you have your music picked out, it’s time

Hours of viewing videos of your horse moving to

for your freestyle professional to bring everything together

different types of music helps to see what enhances their

with their editing skills. There are different levels of editing and

movement. If you have a quick horse, picking quick and

composing that must happen in order to bring your freestyle into

busy music can make them look rushed or frantic, even if the

one cohesive piece. They range from splicing/editing/blending,

music is to tempo. If you have a very rhythmic horse, picking

all the way to full composition recorded in a professional studio,

music with a strong beat can highlight their regularity, but

or any combination of all these techniques.

if their tempo isn’t steady, a strong beat will point that out.

It is by no means necessary to have something fully

Similarly, music with a downbeat can make a heavy horse

custom written and recorded in order to have an award


winning freestyle. Think about Laura Graves and her powerful freestyle based on the music from Rudy. Laura’s freestyle was custom selected and edited for Verdades (“Diddy”), but not custom written and has scored beautifully over the years. Kasey Perry Glass’s freestyle with Goerklintgaards Dublet, based on the music from Lord of the Rings, is also an example of good editing and layering that wasn’t composed from scratch. Step 4b: Composing a Whole New Jam. Some examples of a fully customized and orchestrated freestyles would be Debbie McDonald’s “Respect” freestyle for Brentina, Adrianne Lyle’s “Play that Funky Music” freestyle she used for Wizard, and Steffen Peters rap freestyle “Ice Ice Baby” he had composed for Legolas. Like Debbie, Adrienne, and Steffen, international riders are increasingly using music specifically composed to match their choreography much the same way a soundtrack is composed to match a movie. The biggest advantage to this method is flexibility. There is no need to be concerned with various selections that may not blend together, or with a song available in lyric version only, or with choppy editing while expressing the various movements. The final composition is seamless, orchestrated the same, has the option of including lyrics or not, and follows the movements as they change. So if composing and recording gives you such great ability to customize your freestyle, why doesn’t everyone do that? Many of the top riders do, but this also comes at a price. For a fully composed and orchestrated freestyle, you are probably looking at a starting price of around $25,000 to $30,000 and that can push upwards to six figures depending on the choreographer you’re working with and who you’re hiring to perform the music. For freestyles such as Laura’s or Kasey’s that are edited from existing music, the starting price is closer to $5,000 or $6,000. Step 5: The Final Phase Now that your music is edited and fully put together, you send a copy of your original (silent) video to your professional so they can overlay the music onto it, that way you can watch it a few times to get a feel for what it should look and sound like. Then get the music file or CD and start practicing. But at this point, everything should be more or less right on, with the exception of a few timing changes. If you need to make changes, you must make the final adjustments with your choreographer and then have a final version sent to you. Done, right? Well, not quite.

Photo courtesy of Olivia Lagoy-Weltz.

The author on her Grand Prix mount Rassing’s Lonoir (“Lono”).

Step 6: The Final, Final Phase


of small tweaks, slight changes, and sometimes

Horses go differently at shows then they do at

even partial revamps. Again, this is why having an

home. Until you start showing with the freestyle,

excellent professional choreographer to work with

you really won’t know exactly how it will ride. Many

is important, because they will continue to work

times there are more small adjustments to make

with you through all the evolutions of the freestyle.

after the first few goes. Once you smooth out those

Developing a top international Grand Prix

edges, I suppose you could call it “done,” but every

Freestyle is an involved process. It can be lots of

show is different, every ride is a little different, and

fun, but it can be very tedious as well. Having said

every day can be a bit different.

that, nothing beats the thrill of pulling off a brilliant

Freestyles are often evolving things. Horses

ride under the lights to amazing music. Dressage

change and mature. You may love a move in

is a very controlled sport where the personality of

practice and then discover that, under the lights

the horse and rider are carefully managed, and as

at night, it doesn’t ride as well. The choreography

a spectator you are given a withering look if you

can evolve over time, particularly if you designed

so much as sneeze in the stands. Freestyles are our

the freestyle for a young grand prix horse. A horse’s

sport’s chance to draw people in, have some fun,

tempos can change as they learn to cover more

and become more relatable to just about anyone

ground or become more collected. Chances are

walking by. Horses dancing to music are a spectacle

you may go through a round or two (or three…)

everyone can appreciate!


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For the Love of Horses

n a t ur a l e q u i n e Photos: Lauren B. Murphy of Handcrafted In Virginia

Meet Jean French and “Cruisetown”

The Natural Connection, Inc. Jean French is the owner and creator of The Natural Connection Inc. (TNC), a program dedicated to working with and naturally healing horses in a completely holistic manner. She looks at every horse from the inside out in order to create a training program that best suits individual needs. She uses her natural connection to “read” a horse’s body language, assessing its emotional and physical needs with humans and horses and in all different environments. Now Jean’s sharing her own story of “restarting” her own adopted horse “Cruisetown” to illustrate TNC natural horsemanship methods from the beginning.

Jean started riding at age 4 at any stables her parents

Upon opening TNC, a roping horse named Barney came

could find while living overseas. Upon moving to the United

into Jean’s life and he changed everything. She originally

States, she rode as a hunter and as a teenager she switched

purchased him to be her team roping horse, but he had too

to western recreational trail riding at the Marriott Ranch.

many health issues. After dealing with fellow equestrians,

After 11 years at Marriott, in her mid-20s, she moved her

farriers, and veterinarians who all answered the same

horse and became a competitive team roper on the Virginia

questions with totally different information, Jean decided to

Cowboy Association Circuit. Roping took a strain on both

just figure it out herself! She learned to trim her own horses’

Jean and her horse, so she left the roping world to teach. In

hooves, learned how to create individualized feed regimens,

2003, she formed TNC.

and created a variety of horse exercise programs for horses

It was at the Marriott Ranch as a teenager that Jean

with differing rehabilitative or maintenance needs. She

learned about rescuing and rehabilitating horses through

created a rehab program that started with three horses and

various training techniques—for better or for worse. She

grew now to 33.

spent hours with the herd of 55+ horses, learning about body language and how they communicated with each other. 32

Jean began teaching students about horsemanship, starting with groundwork and teaching them how to read

many layers to understand.” – Jean French

“Each horse is an onion that we must gently peel—there are

horses’ body language. As riders became more interested in

in the hands before they are rehomed. If the personality and

her program, they chose whether to pursue riding English

conformation is appropriate, some horses move into jumping

or Western because Jean could teach either one. But, the

training as well.

discipline was irrelevant; the goal was to create up-and-

Jean’s personal rehabilitation and training project is a

coming equestrians that had an awareness of their horse’s

12-year-old, 17.2hh, Irish Sport Horse named Cruisetown.

needs, their environment, and how everything can affect your

“Cruise” was originally from Upperville, VA where he was

time and interactions with a horse. Eventually, the program

competing in 1.15m jumpers. Cruise’s future was looking

became focused on teaching horse care and training, first-

promising until he started refusing jumps. Cruise underwent

time horse ownership skills, and the “language” of the

extensive health testing that was overall inconclusive. Absent

horse. Jean also believes continuing education is critical, so

any other ideas, Cruise went on turnout for a year and then

she arranged for her students to work with other clinicians

Jean adopted him in March 2018. She immediately started

in the horse world in both English and Western disciplines.

assessing who he is.

Jean and TNC shifted gears in 2017 by moving to its

“When I get a new horse, the first thing I do is create

current location in Linden, Virginia, the home of the Marriot

a ‘BASELINE’ of who they are. I need to know what certain

Ranch; Jean returned after 17 years away. TNC now focuses

traits, behaviors, and realities I can expect to see on a daily

on providing options for horses in need of retraining and

basis mentally, physically, and emotionally. Initially, I assess

sometimes rehoming. TNC also offers western trail riding

most of this through quiet observation.”

to the public, servicing Northern VA, Washington D.C., the

Jean’s goal is to restart Cruise as if he were an unbroke

greater metropolitan area, and neighboring states. The trail

colt. Join Jean on her journey with Cruise and watch how

rides are the primary income source to fund rehabilitating

fusing natural horsemanship with a methodical training

these horses. Some of the rehabilitated horses are mentally

program can create a new horse!

and physically fit to matriculate into the TNC program’s herd

Jean will take you through her process in her own words:

for training and trail rides. Others are rehomed according to

When I first met Cruise, his body language was that of a

their individual needs. Jean’s program and techniques have

horse who was “wary,” with an eye and an ear focused on

grown a reputation in the horse community as a place for

each side of his body, but watching him as he readily ate his

“unwanted” horses to get a last chance at life.

hay was a good sign because eating helps a more anxious

TNC always initially trains these new “applicants” under

horse relax.

western saddle, but if they are not a fit for the program,

I spent an hour trailer training him just to move him to his

Jean will transition them to English and start training for a

new home. In the end, he walked right in of his own accord,

new discipline. Horses training in English work on lower level

but he clearly was not a fan. Cruise’s lack of trust in tight

dressage and are taught to ride from the rider’s leg to contact

spaces tells me he has a lack of experience in small spaces

n a t ur a l e q u i n e

or he may even be a bit claustrophobic. I also had to teach

surroundings. It also told me that he was more prone to

him to accept his new rope halter and desensitize him to the

ulcers because he’s anxious, eating less, and pacing more.

stick and string as an extension of my arm—not something

So that means the food regimen—brand, type, nutrients,

to fear.

supplements, and amount—that I design for him is very

I also had to teach Cruise some basic skills such as

important. It also told me that, as an anxious horse, he has

sending, backing up, walking forward off of light pressure,

a higher likelihood of becoming dehydrated, so I must make

and even to appreciate praise. From this, it became clear that

a point to show him where his water source is and not leave

I must continue trailer training him after we’ve established

him alone on his first day until I see him drink from it. He did

a good, respectful relationship on the ground and under-

eventually drink, just before sundown, so I was able to leave

saddle, and after he learns to RELAX. So, I had to take trailer

the barn feeling that he knew how to find his hay and water.

training off of my radar for now, but I’ll put it back on at

I also introduced him to his new feed.

some point—and that’s ok.

A note on nutrition: Every horse owner must decide what

So, “Who is Cruise?” This is where establishing a

type of hay and feed to give their horse. This can be confusing

“BASELINE” comes in. Watching him out in his new field, he

and difficult because there is not one correct option—there

paced the fence line and called out to other nearby horses.

are dozens—and you must choose what works best for your

He was eating, but he’d grab a bite of hay from his pile on

horse and their situation. In extreme rehabilitation cases,

the fly, continuing with his walking. All of these behaviors

it’s certainly a good idea to employ your veterinarian and/or

indicated anxiety.

nutritionist in the decision-making.

“What does that tell me?”

To determine a BASELINE for Cruise’s nutrition, I assessed

First, it makes me hopeful that this is not the permanent

his body and saw a horse that was in good condition with a

BASELINE for his personality.

healthy coat, good weight, and excellent hooves. “What does

Upon arrival, his personality

that tell me?” Cruise most likely has a good immune system

was that of an anxious

and a normally functioning metabolic system; everything

horse that may or

was functioning well, as body condition and hoof quality



are strongly connected. We determined that Cruise didn’t

well in new


need any special diet or supplements to correct or balance the current state of his system. He just needed treatment for parasites and then I put him on a feed regimen that would help him build muscle and healthy fat as he slowly got back into work. Some nutritional suggestions: Since I work with CFC Farm and Home Center in Culpeper, Virginia (https://www. on the dietary needs of my ranch horses, it was only natural for me to look to them for help with Cruise. Tribute™ makes a fantastic feed called Essential K® GC Plus, which is a low NSC (non-structural carbohydrates; starch + sugar) ration balancer with glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane; organic sulfur) to support and maintain other body functions. This feed was perfect for Cruise because his diet consisted mostly of grass forage and orchard grass hay. Adding a “ration balancer” provided him the nutrients he needed without the bulk and weight-gaining properties that come in other feeds. This helped build his topline muscles without making him fat, while also providing the basic vitamins and minerals he needed, but didn’t get from forage alone. For the


n a t ur a l e q u i n e

knowing your horse’s BASELINE helps

you interpret and identify health

concerns quickly, which can save their life.” – Jean French

Photo credit Lauren B. Murphy of Handcrafted In Virginia

first week, I put him on a 1lb ration twice daily, with no added supplements, and plenty of turnout with hay. After just a few days on this regimen, Cruise’s BASELINE did in fact change: he became much more comfortable with his surroundings, he ate grass more and paced less, and he started to gain some weight.

Herd dynamics o Still shows herd-boundedness because, when pulled out of the pasture, he starts calling to his friends o

Paces the fence line when moved into a new field,

but stops after acclimating for a few days o

He’s made friends in his herd, enjoys the mares in

It is important to realize that a horse’s BASELINE will

particular, but is low man on the totem pole

likely change after acclimating to a new environment, and it

Physical attributes + Medical conditions

will certainly change over time as your horse’s training, age,


He’s a 3/4 on the weight scale; he has as a layer

health, and body condition change. Establishing a BASELINE

of muscle over the ribs, but ribsnoticeable when turning;

is a perennial task; you should regularly re-evaluate as time

no good musculature or topline visible; accepts Essential K®

goes on, always comparing it to your initial BASELINE to

well, eats 2 lbs. 2 x a day, watered down.

recognize positive or negative trends. If you arrive at the barn and observe something out of the ordinary BASELINE behavior for your horse, you’ll know that you may be seeing a sick or injured horse. With some


Has a bit of a “hay belly” which indicates he

probably needs de-worming; administered Ivermectin first week. o

Has a little rain rot on back and on his hind white

horses, knowing their BASELINE can tell you what you’re not

socks; treated with Banixx.

seeing. The Editor’s 13-year-old Belgian x Haflinger gelding,

Work ethic

for example, has a stoic BASELINE so he will not overtly tell


Stands well for farrier.

her when something is wrong, even if he’s literally bleeding


Stands well to be caught in field.

from avulsions on both hind legs; his ergots were torn off


Gets nervous and “looky” when going in the arena

by malfunctioning hind boots and he showed not one

to lunge and do ground work, but calms down considerably

misstep during her hour-long ride. Knowing he has a very

by the end of the session; he does release endorphins and

stoic BASELINE means she must be even more vigilant about

relax a lot after groundwork is completed.

observing his other BASELINE characteristics and thoroughly

After recording Cruise’s BASELINE, we intentionally

looking him over after each ride and when he comes in from

progressed slowly, with groundwork three times per week.

turnout. This is a good example of how knowing your horse’s

Sometimes we also lunged to build more muscle and create

BASELINE helps you interpret and identify health concerns

rhythm in all three gaits. With time, the BASELINE should

quickly, which can save their life.

change a little as he progresses. My TNC rules, however,

Cruisetown’s BASELINE, post-acclimation period: Personality

require the horse be medically and emotionally ready (not just sound) before focusing on his physical needs. Physically,

o Enjoys feeding time

Cruise needed to build muscle slowly, and eventually he was


Comes when called

ready to start training.


Drinks well from the water trough, particularly after

a workout or after eating large amounts of grass o

Does not like the barn with a small dark aisle way

(no surprise; we already knew he didn’t like the trailer)

We’ll discuss training Cruisetown with TNC’s natural horsemanship methods in EQ AM’s next issue. In the meantime, check out for more information about what we do and how we do it!

n o t e s f ro m n el s o n

notes from

nelson pessoa Note from the Editor: Our interviews with Nelson Pessoa started long ago when Equestre Americas, EQ AM’s predecessor, was a Brazilian publication. Since our purchase and rebranding to an American-themed publication, I had to think a bit as to whether we should continue to publish our conversations with Neco. Ultimately, it seemed absolutely nuts to turn away a living legend who has stuck by us through our transformation, so we didn’t. That being so, unless you readers tell me otherwise, EQ AM will carry on this one Brazilian tradition of publishing our “Notes from Nelson.” It will help us stay grounded on it’s own line.

It’s a considerable understatement to say that

What did you think of the WEG’s organization?

Nelson Pessoa has done a lot: five-time Olympic

Honestly, as far as the logistical organization

Show Jumping, dressage cross-training, and today

is concerned, I found it far below expectations.

training the solid Australian Eventing team for their

The general organization of the games sinned in

show jumping phase. Having such a wide array of

several respects; it seemed that nothing was 100%

experience makes him the perfect brain to pick

ready. There were few hotel options, difficulties

on just about anything equestrian. For this issue,

in the athletes transportation, very few spectators

we talked with Neco about the World Equestrian

most of the time, etc. I know they had to face

Games (WEG) 2018 and his new world of Eventing.

the threats of hurricane Florence, but I think


I was very pleased to see the beautiful dedication and attention these athletes had for all aspects of their horses and their sport. Nelson Pessoa

that, independent of this threat, many of the

ungrateful, sacrificial sport for both the horse

problems we faced during the contest were

and rider, and it’s a real test to prove if the

unrelated to the possible hurricane.

athlete is really a horseman. The athletes need

With regard to the technical part of the

extreme humility and a true love for the sport

World Equestrian Games, this was very good!

in order to be successful because, by its design,

The courses and routes were well traced, the

the sport has more possibilities and probabilities

competition was very competitive, and the riders

of problems when compared to show jumping

and horses presented a very high technical level.

and dressage alone. The rider must have full

And this was most important.

dedication to the whole sport, and while at WEG, I was very pleased to see the beautiful

Now that you coach an Eventing team, what

dedication and attention these athletes had for

did you think about the Eventing at WEG?

all aspects of their horses and their sport.

As a highly technical part of the contest, I







thought the cross-country phase was very good.

Eventing Team, and my growing experience with

On the course, Captain Mark Phillips performed

the sport, has greatly enriched my know-how

exemplary work; he created an excellent course

about equestrian sport generally. It’s made me

that was a fair test of the horses and really

realize there are more angles and nuances that

technical for the riders.

I did not know.

As “The Wizard” of Show Jumping, what do you think about Eventing? I’ve learned that eventing is a little bit of an

For more Notes from Neco, you can find our unprinted notes on our website at



Photo FEI/Martin Dokoupil


us top Showjumpers

McLain ward What I really want to know from you is whatever

out of the equation as possible. And during that time,

thoughts you had on the jumps and course designs

you can really focus and you can start to read the course

at the World Equestrian Games (WEG). Knowing

and understand the course designer.

Alan Wade, what did you think about his overall design?

Course designers are very professional and they’re predictable. As most people who are good at what they

Different designers, whether they are a home

do, they stick with what works. And so there are a lot

or interior designer, an architect, or a jump course

of things that, if you pay attention and you watch these

designer, they’re going to have a little different style

different designers, you can have some idea of the test

and preference. Some are more modern, some are more

that might be coming because they’re going to continue

traditional. I thought the jumps at WEG were beautiful.

to do what works well. You’re very rarely going to see

I thought the presentation was great. I thought that it

a test at any of these championships that the course

wasn’t too over the top. I don’t personally love it when

designers haven’t shown you in some way at some other

jumps get over the top theatrical; they start to look like

event. They won’t all of a sudden say, “Well, let me see

miniature golf.

how this works at the championships on the world

Alan has a mellow-type personality and he’s pretty conservative. So, I would say there was nothing

stage…” So if you pay attention, you can get an idea of what might be coming.

particularly radical at WEG versus say, Olaf Peterson’s course at the Seoul Olympics (1988) that he designed

Was there a particular jump that, for whatever

to be very theatrical. The designs are a reflection of that

reason, you really liked?

particular course builder’s personality and what they

I like some connection to nature, and tradition, and

think about the direction of the sport and therefore how

something classic. I also like a nice clean presentation,

the courses should be.

in my personal taste. So I thought they did a brilliant job keeping it in the balance. I think it was great jumping,

I didn’t realize just how much of their personality

it was very hard. It was a big test, and I thought the

and personal life course designers build into

“Whisky Still” jump was really beautiful.

their creations. It’s a real art form in that way. In fact, there was one jump—Kittyhawk—that Alan

Were there particular jumps that were difficult for

wouldn’t exactly tell me why he chose to make


it because his reasoning was something personal

Yeah… the ones I knocked down were particularly

between him and his wife. I thought that was really

difficult [laughs], but basically Clinta jumped brilliantly.

interesting and must be very special for them.

The back rail of the Liverpool was tough for us, so that

Speaking of doing things your own way, when you

was probably our most difficult jump.

do the course walkthrough, is there a particular “McLain Ward method” that you use?







I think the course walkthrough is of huge importance.

incorporate their belief about the direction of the

I want to know as much as can. I want to be as well

sport in their design. That being the case, I talked

prepared as possible. I want to take as many variables

to a couple of jumpers who felt that the tracks were



long in terms of distance and number of jumps. Did

and my calendars. I take into account what I know about

you think that?

their different styles. It’s no different than looking at how

Yeah, the courses were long. I think this year was the

different golf courses suit different types of players. We

first year without the final four, so I think that allowed

look at that within the horses and say, “Ok, this type of

Alan to build a little longer course; typically you’d see

designer is going to suit this particular horse.” And then

12-13 jumps and he went to 14, which is a factor by

obviously we think about different venues and different

the end of the week because it adds up to four or five

surfaces; it at all weighs in pretty heavily.

more fences that needed to be jumped. But again, if you pay attention you’ll know that Alan is pretty old school

Once you’ve decided which horse goes with which

in the way that he expects the horses to be fit and have

competition, what are you concerned about next?

endurance, and because he thinks those are major factors

Like with Clinta for the WEG, what were you

of the sport, he’s going to emphasize the test on them.

concerned about with her?

Yes, he definitely does think that way because he

always get a fence that’s a little bit of a surprise. And

Well, you know, there are always unknowns. You was surprised when I asked him the same question.

with my particular horse [Clinta] who I didn’t have a

His response was that any horse at this level ought

ton of experience with because I’d only had her for

to be able to jump that many jumps. So he is very, as

half a year, there were some unknowns with her that

you said, conservative. He’s literally “by the book”

I might not have had with [HH] Azur who I’ve had for

of regulations; he sticks to it and he builds a fair

a number of years so there are less unknowns.

course to test what he believes any horse at this level should be able to do. And he’s right. Right?

obstacles with her because she’s so careful over them

I think we have a sport that’s become more and more

and she comes at them at such an extreme height over

of an arena sport, so to speak, and less and less the

them, and I’d never jumped water with her at that

original, natural state of the sport. And I think that Alan’s

size and dimension, actually ever. I hadn’t had the

point is that—particularly in major championships—we

practice with the horse, so I was slightly concerned

have to keep that as a factor in our sport: that the horse

about what her reaction was going to be at that type

needs endurance and fitness and health at the

of test, especially since they’re most extreme at the

highest level.


Knowing that course designers have

As you were heading into the jump off after

their own way of doing things, does

you’d just run 14 fences, what were you thinking

the chosen course designer at a

going into that?

competition have a significant effect

It all happened very fast. I went towards the end

on whether or how you’re going to

of the first round and I was so focused on getting the

approach it?


I was particularly concerned about the water

score to get us into the jump off; then it was a very

It affects how we approach the year!

quick turnaround. And, it was a unique championship

We take into account the course designers

for me because I was also teaching one of the riders

when I’m planning out my team of horses

on the team, so I had to pay more attention to her

Photo credit FEI/Martin Dokoupil

I like some connection to nature, and tradition, and something classic.

I also like a nice clean presentation, in my personal taste..- mcLain ward

because she was going early in the first round.

like her in our stable, on our team, and in our

I had warmed up a little before my time in

life. She’s a spectacular talent. But, we’re really

the first round, and I had a moment to canter

lucky across the board; we have multiple horses

in the ring to kind of just take a breath before

jumping at that level right now. And it’s great

beginning. I thought to myself, “Well, if I screw

to have the backing and the support to put

this up twice [referring to WEG 2014] I might not

together this great team.

get out of this ring, so I better pull it together.” Editor’s Note: When McLain and Clinta dominated No pressure…

the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSIO4* during week 8 of the Winter Equestrian Festival in





through the WEG, are you the type of person

Wellington, FL, he had some interesting comments about that course as well:

who gets charged up by helping someone

It was a good track for me because you

along, or is it the kind of thing where you

could stay smooth. There were rollbacks, but

have to set strict limits for yourself to keep

there weren’t extreme slices. There were no

it together?

all or nothing turns, which I prefer. I think it

I think that for me, teaching Adrienne

actually suits the better riders because they can

at this level of riding that she’s at, I find it

consistently deliver a smooth round. Sometimes

exciting. I find it motivating. I’ve learned how

we have all or nothing rollbacks or inside cuts

to compartmentalize certain parts of it so

and it’s a little bit up to the gods. So, I liked the

that I can still focus on my job. It’s a lot about

course; I thought it was good class.

management. It’s a lot about the people you

And even though it was a fast-enough round

have helping you; it’s not a one-man show by

to win, I didn’t feel like I actually was extreme

any means, and that takes a lot of organization.

anywhere. I picked up a good gallop, and things were showing up out of stride. The thing about

My last question is just an open opportunity

[Clinta] is, she’s so careful; you don’t have to

for you to say anything you want to about

really setup the verticals, which saves you two-

Clinta as a teammate and what you see for

tenths [of a second] at every vertical. By the end

her and your future. What would you like

of the course that’s a lot.

to say? Obviously, I’m really excited to have a horse

He and Clinta are at it again… 41

Photo credit FEI/Martin Dokoupil


Adrienne sternlicht As the greenest member of the US Show Jumping Team

me to stay on the numbers that we count during the course walk. Thank you. Ok, back to what you were saying…

at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) 2018, I’d like

I think one of Alan’s greatest strengths as a course

to get your thoughts on the beautiful course designs

designer is that you see rails fall everywhere on course, so

created by Alan Wade.

you know it’s all challenging. And because of that, I think a

So first off, what did you think about the courses in

lot of the horses jumped better as the week went on.


What was nice was that the first day was not so big. It

On the first day, for me the difficulty was mostly about

was a large track, but it wasn’t so daunting that it was un-

related distances. As a rider, I tend to ride quite timid the

jumpable for the variety of nations there, and different caliber

first day. So, it was a bit about forcing myself to do the right

of horses, and riders with different levels of experience. I felt

numbers in the right places. It was a track that had a lot

like it was an inviting enough track, and he made good use

of options and Alan did a good job of creating courses that

of the space.

were good for horses with big strides and horses with some smaller strides.

And I had a bit of an advantage because I’m very lucky to be under McLain Ward’s guise. McLain has always been a huge proponent of Alan’s course building, and is generally

For the dressage rider in me, what are “related”

a fan of his. And so, knowing what he does, McLain has

distances? I’m not sure I know that term.

sort of made me aware that the best course designers are

What I mean is that there were a lot of bending lines,

quite predicable in some ways. Like, they’ll never throw you

the first day. There were a lot of bending lines. To the naked

an obstacle that you’ve never seen before. At some point it

eye, they weren’t straight lines that were straightforward. I

will have shown up in other courses that they’ve built. Did he

couldn’t just say, “I want to do five in this line,” or something

say this too?

like that. So as a bending line, we would have to decide if we were going to do nine, or ten, or eight to a combination, or

A little bit. We talked about how every course designer

through a turn.

has their own style, and you start to figure out their

We do a lot of counting of strides for a turn. I thought


styles over time.

that the first speed track on the first day really set you up to be

Yeah. I think one of the greatest advantages I have

able to make a lot of those sort of choices, which ultimately

as a rider is working with someone like McLain. With his

can be faster, especially on the right horse. As a rider who

experience and attention to detail, he can recognize and read

doesn’t have a particularly fast horse, it’s really important for

the courses of the best builders in the world, like Alan.

Was there a course that you found particularly

remember the course, but the last line that came down all

challenging? Was there one that you particularly liked?

the time, was like, five or six strides.

As a rider, I very much have some phobias—triple bars

So we walked five, and then McLain said, “it’s absolutely

off the right lead. There’s no real reason for it except that I’m

five after the combination to the last fence.” Then everyone

quite dominant on my left side and my horse [Cristalline] is

in the class did six to the last fence. When we saw how few

quite dominant on the left, too. So for me, two of the rails

people were jumping clear, he said, “If you’re clear, make

that I had down during the week were those back rails off

sure you do six into the combination.” So it ended up being

a short right turn, to a wide obstacle, with a wide triple bar.

six and not five. That’s an example of another advantage;

So that’s definitely an area that needs improvement for me.

you can make a lot of decisions even after the course walk

My favorite course was probably the final day, the final

when you don’t have to go first and can watch other riders.

round. I thought it was a super course, although it probably wasn’t the course best suited for my horse; but I enjoyed the

So after all that, do you ever adapt the plan in the

challenge of how large the fences were on the last day. They


said it was bigger than the Olympics. As a rider, I developed

Oh yeah.

a greater comfort level jumping over those big tracks—of course, they were the biggest tracks Cristilline and I had ever

But everything is happening so fast! I’m in awe of


show jumpers like you who are able to memorize, first the course, then the steps between the fences,

Did you find the tracks longer, or shorter, or more

and then make changes and adapt on the fly. I mean,

difficult than usual?

that’s incredible. Literally, on the fly ‘cause it’s really

I know there was some complaint about the length of


the courses. They were long. I think most of them were 14

Yeah, it is fast. Personally I feel so connected to

fences. I’m obviously quite green and I haven’t been to other

Cristalline that I try to always do what I feel is right for her

championships like this, but in my mind it seemed that an

in that moment, which for me usually means adding. I’m

event of this caliber should be more challenging and the

a bit of a control freak. But yeah, I think sometimes, often

courses should have different challenging features, like a

times, you won’t catch a certain fence the way you want to

longer track.

and you have to make a decision in that moment. For me it’s been about learning to trust myself and commit in that

Earlier you mentioned how important it is for you to

moment, especially when the stakes are as high as they were

stay on the numbers from your course walk. When

at the World Championships.

there are so many options, how do you figure out which of those many options you’re going to try?

That definitely makes sense because I suspect that if

I think it’s about knowing your horse and knowing the

you’re going to make a change in the saddle, you

places where you can take a risk and knowing the place

have to deliberately make it so that the confidence

where you shouldn’t. My horse has a big stride, and she’s a

goes through you into your horse. If you’re sort of

big horse. I typically tend to add into a combination, because

not sure, then I can see why that could create a real

otherwise, I land too far into the combination if I come in

problem in your connection.

with too much pace. When McLain and I walk the course together, sometimes

The greatest thing McLain has ever said to me (which he doesn’t know that I think it’s the greatest thing) was

we disagree on a number when we walk. We

when I was walking into the ring before probably my most

tend to come up with a plan together

important round during the Dublin Grand Prix and he said,

and then walk separately. As an example,

“I’m not asking for perfection, I’m asking for clarity.” And

on the second day, he was positive when

for me that’s how I can be the best rider possible.

we walked that we were going to do five to the last fence. I don’t know if you

Well, he will now.

you must have six fences and one double, so I kept it to the bare minimum, but all that has to be posted, and measured, and up on the board. I was prepared for it. When you design the course, do you think about how each rail can affect the score? Yesterday, there were riders who at one point in the track were in 22nd place, and then they knocked down that last rail and suddenly they we’re in 72nd place. That one rail cost so much. Do you factor that in? Can you imagine those things ahead of time? Well no, but four points is four points. As you see, even on the list, four points brings a lot of people into

Alan wade

medals. Then if they actually have two fences down, they drop a long way. So a rail, at this stage, can be the difference... Even a time fault… Even one time fault can be a medal lost.

EQ AM had the pleasure of speaking with WEG Course Designer Alan Wade right after Team USA

During the main competition today, I saw that you

bit into their gold medals. We asked him how

were evaluating everything as it was happening

he makes the magic happen on the World stage;

and you were talking with some of the folks who

it turns out he just follows the book… The FEI

are running the jumps. What are you doing? What’s

Rulebook that is.

going on?

So, you’ve had to design four courses so far

Just making sure they were prepared because we

(including the jump off). Can you tell me a little bit

knew we had to remove a couple of fences and we had

about what goes into that and your thoughts on

just four minutes to do it. I have a great team around

how each one progresses.

me, in fairness, and they’re putting in long hours, but

Well, the warmup was very simple and the first speed

just to keep them on the ball so that we were all ready

leg was to separate the teams. It was 1.55m, which was

to go. So should McLain knock the rail, we knew when

10 centimeters lower than today. So then the first team

he knocked the rail that we were prepared to come

leg yesterday was higher. I have sort of pictured it all in

in for a jump off. Before that, we had a plan for the

my mind. Then three different tests. Then mix up those

presentation. When the possibility of a jump off arrived

three up so that I’m not testing the same thing the whole

and then it was actually going to happen, we had to

time. With what might have suited someone yesterday, I

change to plan B.

tried to put in something today that wouldn’t suit them as much, just to see if they could get an overall balance

What else were you thinking as you watched your

and a good result. Then when you get an afternoon

course play out?

of jumping like this and you had a jump off. It was unbelievable!

Well, for me, I’m only the course designer. You know what I mean? I actually get embarrassed when I’m center stage sometimes at press conferences because it’s

You said earlier in the week that you didn’t think

actually the riders and the horses that should be center

there’d be a jump off, but then there was… Do you

stage, and they are. I’m only providing the test. As a

always have a jump off course in your pocket, just

team, we’re providing the test. They’re the super stars.

in case?


No, no, no. I was prepared for it, but I thought the

I think a lot of people are interested in what goes

possibilities were very slight at the start of the week.

into designing these courses. I think they’re very

It depends on the rules of the class, but this class had

interested to know how these courses are made—

to have a jump off prepared. I only wanted six fences;

how they come to be and how the brilliant people

short because obviously the riders had already jumped

that create them see them in their mind and then

their full round and they had two more possibly to go

make them happen. I think that you are more

on Sunday, so I kept it short and sweet. Under the rules,

thought of than you think, by even the lowest


levels of jumpers who are just aspiring to get up

starters actually went through the finish line, which is,

to this level.

at that level of competition at a world championships

I just try to be fair in all my courses, whatever show I design for. I start with a very simple course and I just...

with that height and difficultly, I think that was a fair achievement!

Even today, the line was very simple, if you analyze it. It was only about the distances.

Even though it’s simple and flowing, it’s still quite challenging. How do you balance those two things?

It’s fair to say that all course designers have their own identifiable style?

Well, at the top level, you need the fence material, you need the colors, you need the combination of

Without doubt. Yes, without doubt. That’s good.

colors, you need the combination of distances and you

You know what I mean? I think it’s very good. If we were

lengthen them and you shorten them. When you get

all the same it would get a bit boring.

up the grades to this level, you increase the challenging distances. It’s a bit like an accordion. You’re trying to

Do you ever go outside of that style to create

ask them to lengthen and then you’re asking them to

something unpredictable?

shorten to see if they have the control.

I have my way, and I have certain things I like and don’t like. I don’t change. You don’t come to a championship

What about the length of the course? When the

and change your style. I have a simple enough style, a

media got to walk the course this afternoon, some

simple enough line. I respect the horses and I try and

folks were commenting about how long the course

come from a simple line. I keep going back to that. I’ve

was: how many jumps it was and to have that

trusted that. I always say, “Keep it simple and flowing.”

length three days in a row. Did you intend for that

Other people build them differently than me; there are a

to be particularly challenging?

lot of top course designers out there. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, and as you can

horses are fit and they’ve trained to the last. I’ve been

see, if you have the right material in the right place, it

working with horses all my life. If your horse is fit and

can get difficult without being “over big.” I still have

healthy at this level, they should be able to do it. And

plenty of height left for Sunday, but I didn’t overbuild

the other thing is, you have to consider that the top

today, I didn’t panic. I just treated it as a Nation’s Cup

riders work with their management team and tailor their

course. The results were quite nice today; we had faults

warmup to suit this. For me, it’s just part of the test. And


I don’t think just because there’s 14 jumps it’s going be

And, I’m not worried about the numbers that clear. I

a really long course. Today’s course was actually shorter

just try and design something. But, I was over the moon

than yesterday’s. You’re only in there for a minute and

when I saw the results from yesterday. It turned out to

20 seconds. Hopefully a little less. You know what I’m

be a tougher track than I


thought, but 119 out of 121

Photo credit FEI/Martin Dokoupil

This is what you’re allowed under the rules. The


I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, and as you can see, if you have the right

material in the right place, it can get difficult without being “over big.” .- Alan wade

For those of us not as familiar with the FEI rules,

personal and we had to have the Kittyhawk in after that.

what is the limit for length and number of jumps? The length for yesterday and today had to be over

Was your wife here today? Yes. She was up there

500 meters and under 600 meters. We were in the

in the box with you? Yeah. She was sitting just beside

middle, I think, 545m today. Then on Sunday it drops

me. She’s there to support me. You need it. You know

down; we can be 450m. Then in the last round we can

what I mean? You do need someone to lean on when

drop down to 400m. It has to be the minimum length,

you’re dealing with very expensive animals and high-

but on Sunday we can have 13 fences in the first round

pressure athletes. They’re at the pinnacle of their sport.

and 12 in the second.

This is a big thing to them. We don’t want to … I try not to make mistakes. That puts a lot of pressure on my

Will the course for Sunday be all new jumps, or just

team and me, so you need someone there just to bring

different order?

you back to earth and to support you.

A different order. I make sure we have different fill. Say the middle of the jump, the wings will be basically

Do you worry about things as they’re playing out

the same, but we just change up what fill we put on

or just up to the start and then you can relax?

different fences.

Once we get started and we have the three horses gone and the time allowed is decided, I kind of relax

Did you have a say in the design and production of

because you cannot do anything about it then. You just

each jump?

let the sport play out after that, but up until that point,

Yes. Steve Stevens, from America, has been unbelievable.

you’re trying to control everything. But you cannot do it,

Steve is a top-level course designer in his own right. He

so sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling—

knew what I would like. I’ve been over and back to shows

with what over 30 years designing courses has taught

in America. I’ve met up with him, and we WhatsApp

me. You hope that everyone is safe and sound at the

every day, and went through each individual fence. He

end of the day, but that’s why you need a support team

was in charge of the overall fence production. I put in

around you—just to reaffirm your own decisions.

my designs. I came up with ideas and he came up with ideas. He had an artist draw them all up. We ended up with a list of maybe 40 different designs; then it was up to the organizing committee to go through them and see what they liked and didn’t like. It’s a long process. You try and make some special jumps, then you try and put them in the right place. As you’re designing them, are you already imaging where you’ll place them in the sequence, if they get accepted? I am. What’s was your favorite jump out there today, and why? I would have to say, and it’s for personal reasons, “Kittyhawk.” It’s just something that happened at home or whatever, when we were thinking about fences. My wife is a big help with the fences. She’s a lot more artistic then me. With the colors. She found the picture of the Biltmore windows to come up with that fence. That would be my second favorite, but Kittyhawk came from an article that she found in a book. It was very


Alan Smiling After USA Wins.


Listen to Your Horse…

with Your Eyes This editorial is a combination of pieces extracted from EQUINE LAMENESS FOR THE LAYMAN (©2018), written by G. Robert Grisel, DVM and published by Trafalgar Square Books of North Pomfret, VT.

Dr. Grisel’s new book has one of the most

that, the better chance we’ll have to facilitate a

interesting and clever technologies built right into

full recovery. In the end, our ability to recognize

its pages: QR Codes. People and businesses are

lameness will help to keep our horses happier

finding innovative ways to implement these codes,

for longer, as well as keep us in the saddle more

and Dr. Grisel has done so by incorporating the


codes into his book’s text so that when you scan it,

Remember: veterinary examinations are not

your phone magically takes you to an actual video

performed on horses that are considered to be

tutorial led by him in his veterinary practice! Oh,

sound by their owners. It is the horse owner, not

and the tutorials are free… How cool is that?

the veterinarian, who is best situated to initiate the

Bottom-line, this extract will teach you much

processes of lameness diagnosis and treatment.

about what you thought you already knew, and Dr.

Accordingly, observant horse owners make better

Grisel’s book offers about 220 more pages packed

horse owners. Since most owners and trainers

with easy to understand insights and codes that

have not been taught to properly observe horses

will bring on one “aha” moment after another.

for signs of lameness, however, only problems that

And with a Video Quick Reference Library of all

are obvious, chronic, or advanced tend to receive

the QR codes, Dr. Grisel’s new book is worth much

medical attention.

more than the purchase price ($34.95).

In an attempt to heighten your visual awareness and shorten the time period between the onset of


your horse’s problem and your recognition of that

Our horses are counting on us to recognize

problem, I would like to share a few tricks that

performance problems. The sooner we can do

may help you to better perceive and characterize


Our horses are counting on us to recognize performance problems. - Dr. Bob Grisel, DVM

equine performance issues (i.e. lameness).

limb(s), or even the structure within the

Specifically, we will discuss three things:

affected limb(s), that is likely responsible for

1.How to identify the horse’s lame limb

the lameness. Believe it or not, your horse is

2.How to determine the nature of the horse’s

imparting all of these details with each and

lameness, and

every step that it takes. As we’ll see, horses

3.How to gauge the degree (or severity) of

utilize a form of sign language that they


convey by altering the movement of their body

These features not only provide insight

and limbs. Those of us who learn to assimilate

into your horse’s current problem, they also


provide the information needed to properly

will become effective observers of equine

manage your horse’s performance over the

lameness. Of course this demands that we

long-term. For instance, if someone contacts

first explore the interplay between motion

our veterinary office and says their horse is

and meaning. It also requires that we listen

lame, all we really know is that something

with our eyes instead of our ears.





isn’t quite right with respect to how the horse

Presume, for instance, that your horse has

is moving. On the other hand, if someone

a problem in the left front foot. Or in the left

tells us that the horse is exhibiting a severe

front fetlock. Or even in the left shoulder.

weight-bearing lameness in the left hind limb

All of these problems would generate an

and is attempting to stand on the toe, we can

observable lameness in the left forelimb. But

presume that the likely cause is a foot bruise

your horse’s expression of left fore lameness

or abscess somewhere within the heel.

would be very different depending on which







of these structures was the source. A sore foot

determine which of the horse’s limb or

looks a lot different than a sore fetlock, which

limbs may be involved, but also gain some

looks a lot different than a sore shoulder.

appreciation for the region of the affected

The key to informative visual assessment



lies in our ability to recognize patterns of

looking at lame horses.

movement. The horse repeats both normal and

Let’s consider that your horse has a sore

abnormal actions with each stride, thereby

left front (LF) foot. It will effectively transfer

affording us the opportunity to develop and

the weight off of the sore LF foot and onto

confirm our impressions over time.

the more comfortable RF foot. As observers,

Before we get any further along, we

we can visibly perceive this

should define the term lameness. Simply

transfer of weight through

put, lameness is any alteration of the horse’s

motion of the body, head

normal gait. We typically think of lameness in


the context of something that hurts, although

drop and move to the horse’s

an alteration of the gait can also occur as a

comfortable (or right) side.




consequence of biomechanical restriction. For instance, we can alter a horse’s gait by applying a bandage that restricts motion of the carpus (or “knee”)… this will produce a conspicuous lameness even though the horse may not experience any pain. Neurologic dysfunction can also alter the horse’s gait in the absence of pain. A comfortable horse that doesn’t know where its legs are will assuredly demonstrate visible lameness. What causes the horse to alter its gait? In other words, why do horse’s limp? Most of us naturally think of pain as the inciter. We should realize, however, that even in this instance it isn’t pain that directly generates the horse’s lameness. Rather, it is the horse’s attempt to avoid the pain that generates the lameness. So as observers, we don’t directly see the source of the horse’s problem. Rather, we see how the horse alters its body movement to escape or accommodate the problem. This is an important distinction and will help us to better interpret our observations when

On the other hand, what if both of your horse’s feet were comparably sore? What would you see then? Your horse would prefer to under load one limb by transferring weight onto the other leg, but that would only accentuate pain in the opposing foot, a structure that your horse would also prefer to avoid loading. In essence, your horse can’t shift weight to either side without exacerbating pain somewhere. Accordingly, we may not be able to perceive any significant transfer of weight as the horse moves, causing us to believe that it is actually comfortable and sound. Of course, the horse is anything but comfortable: both front feet hurt; there just isn’t an effective way to express the pain in this case. The horse may walk funny, but not necessarily demonstrate an overt limp. We call this bilateral suppression of lameness. 50

Since horses have a hard time limping in

As observers, we should always remember to evaluate

two limbs at the same time, we may choose to

both the front and back halves of the horse. Moreover, it is

deliberately manipulate the evaluation stage for the

best to evaluate both halves separately: look at the horse’s

purpose of our assessment. Our goal is to create a setting

front end then inspect the horse’s back end. Also, try not

that enables the horse to visibly express its lameness so

to fixate on one aspect of the horse’s anatomy, but rather

that we can perceive it. If we put our horse with two sore feet on a hard surface and lunged it in both directions, for example, it would express visible lameness in the limb along the inside of the lungeing circle. That’s because the shift of the horse’s center of gravity while circling

on the regular oscillations of the median or axial anatomy. This is most easily achieved while the horse is trotting. In the forelimbs, the axial anatomy is represented by the horse’s head, neck, chest, and withers. In the hind limbs we watch movement of the horse’s pelvis. With practice you will begin to see these structures “sink into” the sound limb when the

dictates that the inside limb bears more weight than the

latter is on the ground. The lame limb, therefore, is the one

outside limb. As a consequence of bearing more weight,

on the opposite side of the horse.

the inside limb would hurt more, causing the horse to visibly shift

Determining the Nature of the Horse’s Lameness

some of the weight to the outside.

Now that we’ve decided which limb is lame, let’s

As observers, we can suddenly

determine the nature of the horse’s lameness. There are

perceive a lameness that was not

three general forms of lameness: weight-bearing lameness,

visible on a straight line.

non weight-bearing lameness, and combination lameness. Weight-bearing lameness is evident when the affected limb is

Determining the Horse’s Lame Limb How do we determine which limb is lame? If there is one thing that you glean from this article let it be this: Don’t look for the lame limb; look for the comfortable or sound limb. It is inherently easier to discern a horse dropping or falling into the comfortable side as opposed to favoring the uncomfortable side. The popular “down-on-sound” phrase commonly used to delineate the appearance of lameness in the horse typifies this concept: the horse will sink into its comfortable side. So if you see your horse’s chest, neck or head drop when the RF limb is on the ground that means that the LF limb is the lame one. Similarly, if you see your horse’s pelvis drop or sink into the RH limb when it’s on the ground, than that means it’s lame in the LH limb.

on the ground and bearing weight. If you put a rock in your left shoe you could comfortably swing your respective limb through the air, but as soon as you put your foot down you would feel that rock pressing into your foot and accordingly shift your weight onto your other limb. Non weight-bearing lameness, on the other hand, is evident during protraction or the flight phase of the limb. For instance, if you apply a brace on your left knee you could comfortably stand on the respective limb, but you’ll display an obvious limp when you go to pick up the limb and move it forward. Combination or mixed lameness is generated by something that alters the horse’s ability to both bear weight on the affected limb and move it forward. It would be like having a brace on your left knee and a rock in your left shoe at the same time.


Purely non weight-bearing lameness is generated by

limb. For an example, let’s say that your horse sinks into the RF

something that serves to actively move the limb forward,

limb, telling us that the LF limb is lame:

but does not bear an appreciable amount of the horse’s

• In the case of weight-bearing lameness, it will appear as

weight. In general, structures residing above the level of the

though your horse will step into a hole

horse’s carpus (forelimb) or tarsus (hind limb) most often fit

with RF limb. This action represents a

this description. If you guess that a horse displaying purely

transfer in weight from the lame (LF)

non weight-bearing lameness has a problem in the foot, you

limb to the comfortable (RF) limb. The

will be wrong every time. (See figure 4)

deeper the hole, the more severe the

Anatomy that serves to both bear the horse’s weight and

weight-bearing lameness.

move the limb forward will generate combination deficits when affected. Generally speaking, structures residing above

• In the case of non-weight-bearing lameness, it will appear as

the level of the fetlock and below the level of the carpus

though your horse is dragging a weight

(forelimb) or tarsus (hind limb) most often fit this description.

with the LF limb. This action represents

If the duties of load bearing and limb protraction are equally

an increase in effort needed to advance

distributed, then the resulting lameness will have equal

the lame (LF) limb forward. The heavier

weight-bearing and non weight-bearing components. If

the weight, the more severe the non-

the affected structure bears a lot of weight but moves very

weight-bearing lameness.

little, the horse will display a combination lameness with a predominant weight-bearing component. So in essence, you can learn the function of the tissue

• By reason, a combination lameness will look like your horse is stepping into a hole with the RF limb while concurrently

causing the lameness simply by determining the nature

dragging a weight with the LF limb.

of the lameness. In similar fashion, you can predict what a

When we see this, we know that the

lameness will look like if generated by a specific part of the

insulting tissue bears the horse’s weight

horse’s anatomy. We can predict that a problem in the foot

and moves the limb forward, and it’s

will generate a weight-bearing lameness because it obviously

most likely to reside somewhere along

bears the horse’s weight, but doesn’t distort appreciably when

the mid-limb.

the horse moves the limb forward. By contrast, the horse’s biceps tendon (located along the front of the shoulder)

This concept may seem fairly simple, but I use this technique

doesn’t serve to bear any significant amount of weight.

in my regular practice of veterinary medicine. For instance, many

It moves dramatically to help the horse advance the limb

MRI reports that I read contain up to a half dozen different

forward, however. Accordingly, we can predict that bicipital

diagnoses listed by the attending radiologist. This means that

problems will always generate a purely non weight-bearing

there are about six structural abnormalities visible on the images.

lameness. (See figure 5).

Are all of these things causing the horse’s lameness? Definitely

This sounds good, but how do you tell the difference

not! So which problem do I treat? My ability to determine the

between horses exhibiting weight-bearing, non-weight-

nature of the horse’s lameness through clinical examination (or

bearing, and combination lamenesses? It’s actually very easy.

video review) tells me what the structure causing the lameness

Like we said before, the horse will sink into the comfortable

essentially “does for a living.” Accordingly, I can effectively

limb, telling us that the opposing limb is the uncomfortable

rule-out the radiographic diagnoses that implicate tissues that

Figure 5.



do not fit this job description. In most cases, there is only one or two structures listed in the report that would be expected to generate the observed gait characteristics. It is on these structures (specifically) that I direct my attention with respect to further diagnostics and treatment.

Summary: It is best to think about the horse’s anatomy from two standpoints: (1) how much load each structure bears and

A one-of-a-kind reference with links to hundreds of videos!

(2) how much each structure moves (contorts). If a certain part of the anatomy experiences a weight-bearing load when the horse’s limb is on the ground, then pathology associated with this structure will produce a weight-bearing lameness. This is the

Û How horses helped

one woman find new life after marriage to an addict.

case, where the horse appears to step into a hole with the other (sound) limb. The deeper the imaginary hole, the more severe the lameness. If a certain part of the anatomy moves significantly as the horse advances the limb, any associated pathology will produce a non-weight-bearing lameness. In this case, it will appear as though the horse is dragging a weight with the lame limb. The heavier the imaginary weight, the more severe the lameness. Structures that serve both functions will generate combination lameness, and the relative proportions of weight-bearing versus non-weight-bearing is determined by the contribution the affected tissue affords each of the aforementioned functions. Horses displaying combination lameness will appear as though they are stepping into a hole with the sound limb while simultaneously dragging a weight with the lame limb. Remember, your horse is using sign language to convey where the problem is. Learning how to assimilate this language

Denny Emerson’s Û best advice for doing right by your horse.

will not only help you to better recognize and manage performance-related issues, it will also provide you with a deeper, more meaningful connection to your horse and a better start point when it might be time to call the vet. Read the Whole Story in Lameness for the Layman, a book by G. Robert Grisel, DVM (Trafalgar Square Books, 2018).



A d ver t or i a l

Hermès Vivace Saddle On February 26, 2019, Hermès hosted to



gorgeous their



the saddle and a forward balance


with stability and comfort for

saddle. Olympian and Hermès

those riders who like to be out of

Partner Rider, Anne Kursinski,

the saddle when jumping.

led a clinic featuring three up

The Vivace is entirely tailor-

and coming ladies, Karen Polle,

made with a calfskin seat and


knee roll, supple flexible flaps,




Connors. The Hermès Vivace offers a first-of-its-kind close contact feel

and thin and flat panels to spread contact surface over the horse’s back.

between horse and rider, while

“I really appreciate the effort

eliminating extra thickness and

done to remove all the elements

pressure to enhance the horses

which are not necessary. Less

overall comfort.


The Vivace is designed to be as thin as possible to maintain close 54

contact with the horse when in





contact with the horse.” - Anne Kursinski.

The Hermès Vivace saddle on display at it’s own little launch party.

Hermès never ceases to amaze with the classic beauty of its gatherings.

Lucy Deslauriers sitting pretty in her Hermès Vivace saddle.

Para dressage Laureen Johnson is the US Equestrian (USEF) Director of Para Dressage and Vaulting. EQ AM had the chance to talk with her about what qualifies someone for a para equestrian classification and the organization’s new Para Centers of Excellence (COEs).

First, can you educate our readers a bit about para

disability. There are five grades, I - V. Grade V is the

dressage in general? How long has it been a USEF sport?

least disabled and Grade I is the most disabled. Athletes

Laureen: To give a little history, the first para

within a grade compete against each other on a level

dressage competition was at the first Paralympic Games

playing field.

in Atlanta in 1996. So it’s been around for a while. How does a rider become qualified, and at what Would you agree though that, for the average equestrian, it’s not really on their radar? I had no idea it had been around that long.

grade? To get a national classification, you only need one classifier within your country, the U.S., to give you a

That is one of our issues. There’s very little known

bench evaluation and observe you riding. They determine

about the program. I am constantly hearing, “I had no

what grade you’re put in. Classifiers are either physical

idea there was such a program. I’d love to get involved.

therapists or doctors.

Can you tell me more about it?”

Of course, you can’t compete in international shows without an international classification, so for

So let’s work on that… What qualifies someone for

an international classification, they’re done at the

the para program?

CPDI 3* shows. These are our domestic international

You have to have a permanent, measurable, physical 56 | EQ AM MAGAZINE

competitions, and we will invite a classifier from Europe


to come to those competitions. It’s mandatory. And we

evaluated for their walk; otherwise it would make

would have one U.S. classifier as well. So, the individuals

this grade very, very difficult.

would receive a bench testing that’s two classifiers at once,

So does the rider find their horse? Or, does someone

and then be observed by the two classifiers to get the

from the para program find the horse and try to

national and international classification. We just had two

match it with the rider?

such events at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival that went very well; USA won the team competition.

No, the riders are responsible for finding their own mounts, and then they have them privately evaluated to determine if they are appropriate for para dressage and

Where do riders find horses suitable for para

a good match for that particular para rider. The rider may


ask the USEF para coach for his opinion, but generally the

Finding a para horse... Well, it is difficult, more difficult

riders find their own horses. Some barns may also help

than it is for the other disciplines because you have to

their riders find the right para horse if they have a deeper

have a very safe and reliable horse who is also capable

knowledge of para dressage.

of adapting to the para rider’s particular needs, and that requires an extra-sound mind. This is especially true for

Is para dressage judged differently than regular

horse’s paired with lower grade athletes, like Grade I, they


compete in walk only. And then, Grade II is walk and trot.

Yes, that’s the other thing about para-equestrian.

So, with each grade, it advances a little bit more. So, for

While the rider is judged in dressage, judges do not look

Grade I, you want a horse with a great walk, and that’s

at the rider in para-dressage; they only look at the way

actually not that easy to find, believe it or not.

the horse goes. So if a rider has a disability like scoliosis and their back was all crooked, they think, “Oh, I would

I do believe it. I recently read that the walk is the

never qualify because of the way I look on a horse,” but

hardest part of a dressage test. Most people overlook

the way they look does not matter: they are not judged on

it because they think, “it’s just a walk,” but it’s very

that at all.

Photo credit FEI/Liz Gregg

severely graded. When I watched the Grade I class at the World Equestrian Games (WEG), I was thinking

I didn’t know that, but that makes perfect sense because

that those horses must have been pretty strictly

para riders can’t really control how they look in the


p a r a d re s s a ge

saddle. What really matters is what they can get a

somebody on staff who does have a knowledge of

horse to perform in spite of their limitations. What

dressage. Right now we have seven centers. Our goal

are these new Centers of Excellence I’ve heard about?

is to have one in every state so that anybody who may

About three years ago, Will Connell, who is from

contact us and say, “I’m a disabled person who would

Great Britain and is now our sport director, suggested that

love to learn to ride. Where would I go?” We can send

we start these COEs within the Professional Association

them to their closest COE.

of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) therapeutic riding centers, as they do in Great Britain through what they

Where are the existing COEs located?

call “RDA” (Riding for the Disabled Association). The

Carlisle Academy (Lyman, ME)

purpose is for the PATH centers to identify talents within

o Contact: Sarah Armentrout, sarmentrout@

their therapeutic riding students. So, for those students

that are disabled that want to take on competitive

Healing Strides of VA (Boones Mill, VA)

riding, they would work with the COE to get there. The


Contact: Carol Young, carol@healingstridesofva.

COEs are the primary hubs for delivering the USEF Para-


Equestrian Dressage Developing and High Performance

North Texas Equestrian Center (NTEC) (Wylie, TX)

Programs, as well as coaching clinics.


Contact: Kai Handt,

Ride On Therapeutic Riding Center (Chatsworth, Is the COE more of a program, or is actually a delineated place? PATH centers apply to become a COE. We have certain criteria that they must meet, such as they need to have an arena and the footing needs to be proper for dressage. Having competitive horses is ideal and


CA) o

Contact: Megan McQueeney, jrsporthorses@ Therapeutic Riding, Inc (Ann Arbor, MI) o Contact:




Photo credit FEI/Paradressage





(Loxahatchee, FL) o

Contact: Susan Guinan,

Wheatland Farm Equestrian Center (Purcellville,

Where can our readers learn more about COEs? On our website: disciplines/para-equestrian/para-equestrian-dressageprograms-forms/centers-of-excellence

VA) o

Contact: Muriel Forrest, amurielforrest@gmail.

com Regarding certifying a COE in each state, what’s the status of that endeavor? We didn’t want to start growing it too quickly because we needed to ensure there were enough appropriately trained coaches and staff, so we started with pilot centers and to see how it would develop, and if there was any success with it. So far it’s going really well and we have three new applications for COE certification that just came in within the last month. We have a panel that will evaluate it and we’ll have someone from the panel go visit the center to make sure it’s safe and that the facility itself is what we’re looking for within USEF parameters. And then, if all goes well, we’ll name them Centers of Excellence.


e d i t or i a l

By Molly Sorge/Jump Media Photo by Sportfot

McLain Ward and Clinta captured the title in the 2018 $382,200 Longines Masters Grand Prix of New York. 60

What’s Happening at the Longines Masters of New York The best in the world are coming to New York, and it’s an event you won’t want to miss. The thrilling action of the Longines Masters Series returns to New York on April 25-28 with exhilarating show jumping action from the world’s top riders along with exquisite hospitality experiences and live entertainment. The Longines Masters of New York (LMNY)

26, at LMNY as the world’s top riders and up-

is the third stop of the 2018-2019 Longines

and-coming young stars lay it all on the line in

Masters Series, and global show jumping stars will

the Longines Speed Challenge. It’s known as the

converge in New York at the NYCB LIVE, Home of

fastest class in the world, and riders race hard

the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, for four

for the win. Instead of the usual four seconds

days of action-packed show jumping, mesmerizing

added for a rail, only two seconds get added

entertainment, and of course… family fun.

to a rider’s time for each rail, making them feel

On Saturday, April 27, you’ll see some of the

brave about taking all the risks. At the Longines

best riders in the world hold nothing back for a

Masters of Paris in November, French rider Kevin

team win in the Riders Masters Cup. It will be the

Staut scored a hugely popular win in the Longines

fourth edition of the Rider Masters Cup, and the

Speed Challenge in front of his home country

Riders USA team will be hungry to score their first

crowd, while Irish rider Bertram Allen outran

win in the series against Riders Europe on home

everyone else in the Longines Speed Challenge at

soil. In the Riders Masters Cup at the 2018 LMNY,

the Longines Masters of Hong Kong in February.

the team title came down to a breathtaking race

Last year, New York native and crowd favorite,

between USA’s McLain Ward and Europe’s Harrie

McLain Ward, claimed the prestigious title of

Smolders. Both riders dug deep as they galloped

winner of the Longines Grand Prix of New York.

around the track, but Smolders stopped the

On Sunday, April 28, the world’s best will again

timers just a few seconds sooner than Ward, to

contend for the honor. Some of the top U.S. riders

give Riders Europe the victory.

are scheduled to compete at LMNY, including

“That final duel was really one for the ages,”

Ward, New York City’s own Georgina Bloomberg,

said Riders USA Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland

Olympic team gold medalist Beezie Madden,

about the 2018 finish. “It’s really exciting to see

Olympic team silver medalists Kent Farrington and

the top riders in the world going for speed. It’s

Lucy Davis, and many other big-talent riders. Top-

a great format. We’ll be back again!” Ridland

ranked counterparts from Europe will join them in

will guide the Riders USA team as Chef d’Equipe,

the quest to win the Longines Grand Prix of New

while Philippe Guerdat acts as Chef d’Equipe for


Riders Europe as five riders from each team go head-to-head in two rounds of speed duels. Speed is also on the schedule for Friday, April

The schedule for Friday, April 26, includes the inaugural Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s Metropolitan Equitation Invitational, where select


Photo by World Redeye for EEM

Riders USA and Riders Europe teams will challenge each other for the coveted Riders Masters Cup.

intercollegiate riders will show off their skills. Just

between a horse and a rider that make our sport

24 IHSA Open level riders will compete in the first

so unique. We felt partnering with the AKC for

phase, an over-fences round, while 12 will return

an agility competition was a natural fit,” said

for the flat phase before judges decide the winner.

Christophe Ameeuw, CEO of EEM and founder of

On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the show,

Upon the conclusion of the Rider Masters Cup

take center stage in the ring with his remarkable

on Saturday evening, famed DJ Henri PRF will

liberty performance. Serra works to highlight

headline an after-party full of fun. “They’re really

the natural beauty and athletic ability of horses

making this an entertainment spectacle, which is

in the wild, showcasing their willingness to

phenomenal,” said Ward. “It’s something that’s

perform without the use of tack or force. Serra

been missing in promoting our sport; making it

refers to his animals as “actors,” and frequently

more exciting to a more diverse audience.”

includes his Border Collies in the performances. His hallmark is extraordinary choreography of human, horse, and dog. The

Photo by Bernstein Associates for EEM

the Longines Masters series.

popular Spanish equestrian artist Santi Serra will




Society way


provides experience






three levels of hospitality offering customized at

experiences with ringside seating and unlimited

LMNY will also include the

food and beverages in the Grant Thornton VIP







presented by EEM, where athletic

And, it’s all on TV!, which offers viewers

canines will take the spotlight on Thursday,

the chance to follow along with the competition

April 25. Some of the nation’s top dogs will

at all EEM events worldwide, is available live and

compete over a testing agility course for

free of charge.

top prizes. “We are honored to partner

To find out more about Longines Masters

with the AKC for the Agility Premier Cup.

of New York, visit

The incredible bond between a dog and its

en/new-york and to buy tickets visit www.

trainer is very similar to the relationship

Spectacular equestrian artist Santi Serra will enchant the crowd with his remarkable liberty performances of horse, human, and dog.


Eve Jobs on Venue D’fees Des Hazalles over the Lugano jump at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival / photo by Sportfot.

lugano diamonds

Giving Since the Beginning Ralph Waldo Emerson believed, “the purpose of life… is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Because of this belief, the Orange County-based

became a teenage European champion and continues

fine jeweler actively supports arts, education, medical

to be a well-respected and extremely successful trainer

research, humanitarian efforts, and of course… horses.

and horse merchant, working with some of the most

Lugano Diamonds is renowned for its leadership and

influential owners and riders of today’s horse world.

international reach to procure the largest, rarest, most

While Ilan takes a more literal approach to horse sport,

unique, and conflict free gemstones. Moti Ferder founded

brother Moti stewards the sport from every other angle.

the international jewelry company with the vision of

Though Ferder has arguably created one of the most

creating exquisite, one-of-a-kind, wearable works of art.

beautiful businesses in the world, he believes the real

By controlling all facets of production, Lugano’s small

glamor comes from the connection between art and

team of master artisans creates each piece of jewelry at

the culture of a community. In particular, he believes

the highest standards with meticulous attention to detail.

the connection between man and horse is a graceful art

We marvel at their equestrian-themed jewels every time

form. This connection has inspired Lugano to create an

we enter Lugano’s salons at our most favorite horse

entire line of gorgeous equestrian-themed jewelry. As


one of the most highly ranked sponsors of equestrian sports, you can view many of these exquisite, bespoke

See the art Ferder draws inspiration from many forms of art

pieces in Lugano Diamonds’ boutiques and marquees at equestrian events across the country.

and culture to create his jewelry, including America’s horse culture. Ferder’s love of horses grew out of his small family horse farm in Israel where his brother, Ilan, 64

Sponsor the sport At many of those same equestrian events, you’ll

our w orl d Written by Carina Roselli & Heather Wilkins

see the “Lugano Diamonds” jump prominently

causes. At the Winter Equestrian Festival, Lugano

featured mid-arena, representing the prominent

assisted with financial contributions and jewelry

place Ferder’s company now occupies as a proud

donations to support Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding

sponsor of several major competitions, including

Center, an organization that has served all ages of

the FEI World Equestrian Games (Tryon, NC 2018),

Palm Beach County citizens with physical, cognitive,

the Winter Equestrian Festival (Wellington, FL), Live

and emotional disabilities since 1982. At this year’s

Oak International (Ocala, FL), Sonoma Horse Park

Winter Equestrian Festival, Lugano sponsored the

(Sonoma, CA), Split Rock Jumping Tour Sonoma

Vinceremos Gala, which fundraises for the Center’s

International (Sonoma, CA), The Devon Horse Show

year-round operations. Vinceremos staff quipped,

and Country FairUpperville Colt & Horse Show

“Lugano Diamonds brought some real sparkle to

(Upperville, VA), Central Park Horse Show (New

this year’s Vinceremos Benefit!”

York, NY), Washington International Horse Show

Lugano also supports Washington International

(Washington, DC), the International Polo Club Palm

Horse Show’s (WIHS) partner charity, the Tragedy

Beach (Wellington, FL), the US Polo Team, and more


all the time!

counseling and assistance program for over 30,000











family members of fallen service men and women

shows, like the Giant Steps Charity Classic at the

across the U.S. and abroad. Lugano donates jewelry

Sonoma Horse Park. Giant Steps Charity is an

for TAPS to auction off each year on “Military Night”

amazing group offering therapeutic riding and

when Lugano and TAPS both have their own jumps

equine-assisted activities to children and adults

in the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final,

with disabilities, which dovetails nicely with Ferder’s

which includes the side-competition “Jump for TAPS.”

other philanthropic endeavors.

Lugano also provides a VIP dinner so that other donations accrue through table reservation, where

Support the community

philanthropic spectators can watch as each rider clears

Not only has Ferder led his company to steward

the TAPS jump and another donation is made to the

the sport through sponsorship, but he’s also made

organization. Lugano greatly admires and commends

Lugano a long-standing supporter of equestrian

TAPS’ work, and eagerly supports its efforts.

Photo Sportfot

Owner Moti Ferder and Operations Manager David Stillwagon (far left) present Beezie Madden with her 2018 WEF CSI4* Grand Prix winnings


our w orl d

Photo courtesy of Lugano Diamonds

Spread the philanthropy

Steward the rest

Lugano’s sense of service extends well beyond

One of Lugano’s tenants is “to be stewards

horse-related activities into the community

of giving while encouraging others to give

at large. The company is deeply involved in

back.” Ferder and Lugano conceptualize

supporting non-profit organizations. Ferder

everything they do for the greater good of

sits on several boards, including the American

“the community,” which for them sometimes

Film Institute, the Segerstrom Center for the

extends to the whole world. Ferder says,

Arts, and is a Fellow of the prestigious Aspen

“Our business is built on relationships, and

Institute of the Aspen Global Leadership

we invest our time and resources in projects

Network. Beyond that, Lugano supports a

that are close to our hearts and important

variety of nonprofit causes, organizations,

to our friends and clients. We believe in

and events, including CASA (Court Appointed

supporting efforts that help strengthen,

Special Advocates) for Children, United Way,

build, and better our communities to make

the Buddy Program (Aspen), the Tahirih Justice


Center, and The Orangewood Foundation for

and their children.” We are fortunate to

foster and community youth services. Lugano



stewarding our community.





positives them



for and




jewelry donations to these many important causes. Ferder also avidly supports many health and wellness research and medical care programs, such as Aspen Hospital, Alzheimer’s Orange County, the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, the Crohns & Colitis Foundation, the Cystinosis Research Foundation, Cure Duchenne, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Lupus Foundation of America, and the Mission Hospital Foundation.


Owner Moti Ferder and wife Idit



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This C4 belt is not here for advertisement. It’s here

Inside this belt is a crowd of one-hundred like-minded

because this awesome little piece of swag from the

and like-situated women ready to support each other

inaugural EQ Businesswomen’s Summit (held the first

anyway they can—74 new Instagram™ followers in two

week of January in tandem with US Equestrian’s Annual

minutes! Inside this belt is a lot of captured inspiration,

Meeting) makes me feel like a business Wonder Woman.

motivation, and dogged perseverance that we all need to

I know it’s bizarre, but when I have a day where this

push through the difficult (read “soul-sucking”) days in

magazine is eating me alive, I go put on that belt and I

the equine business world.

handle it! When I wake up exhausted and unmotivated

Somehow, this thin, thermoplastic belt holds all of that

to face the day, I put on that belt and I rise and shine. It’s

for me and probably about one-hundred other women.


Right now, as I’m pulling all-nighters to put this magazine

I think this happens because there’s a lot packed into

together, I haven’t left my home office—I could be wearing

this little belt that very few people can see. Inside this

sweatpants to grind this thing out—but I’m not because

belt is the graciousness of Jennifer Wood, who created

you can be damn sure I’m wearing my Wonder Woman

EQ Businesswomen—and gave us free super hero belts.



Introducing Charles Ancona’s “Haute Couture” From front to back, even his horse is high fashion.

@charlesancona arl e s anc o na. c o m NAMED USEF’S OFFICIAL SUPPLIER TO TEAM USA SHOW JUMPING, DRESSAGE, AND EVENTING Show clothes – Show gloves – jackets – t-shirts – riding pants - accessories

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EQ AM Spring 2019  

EQ AM Spring 2019  

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