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Equine Online december-january 2016

Equidays special

dressage standardbreds: training the canter

manawatu pc Show Hunter Championships

Road riding: keep you and your horse safe

plus! the new equine online directory

List your business or service in the new

Equine Online directory NZ’s first downloadable and printable online directory!

List your business or service for ONE year for ONLY: $15 for a text listing OR $35 for an 1/8th page advert The directory will be eq Fo ui r m live in December! ne o on re lin info e. rm co a .n tio z/ n di vis re it ct or y



Yvette Morrissey


Liana Mikarea, Laura Walters, Luke Kirkeby, Hayley Clarke, Kaylee Mcbeth, Chantelle Flett, Julia Latham, Freya Thompson, Senara Caddy, Grace Gray, Brooke Burns, Ellie O’Brien, Jenn Savill.


Ashlee Barlow and Raptures Unforgettable were the winners of the 14.2hh Show Pony Championship class, Champion Rider 12, 13, and 14 years and Reserve Champion Junior Rider at Equidays. Photo credit: Kaylee Mcbeth Photography


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From the Editor As I write this, I have just heard news of the severe earthquake and many severe aftershocks that have rocked New Zealand. Luckily for me, I was overseas when the earthquake occurred, but one of my first panicked thoughts was about the well-being of my horses back in New Zealand. The earthquakes are a timely reminder that mother nature can strike at any time, and proper preparation is key to the survival and well-being of ourselves and our equines. Now is the time to check your fencing (a friend’s horse ended up at the neighbours after the earthquake!), stock up on horse Yvette herre-stock horse Regi the first aid kit (human and horse!). feed,with and Life is such a precious thing. Before leaving New Zealand, I spent a lot of time mulling around in my horse’s paddock. It occurred to me I hadn’t really spent much one-on-one time wih my horse in his environment- I was always rushing to catch him, saddle him and go for a ride. I try and practice mindfulness in every other area of my life, yet I’d never done it when with my horse. I let him approach me and make first contact. I stood still and let him nuzzle and groom me, letting his chin rest on my shoulder while he inhaled the scent of my hair. I laughed at his astonishment when he saw my bare legs which were usually covered with jodphers, and I brought him carrots and did some stretches with him. I feel by just being present in the moment with him, our trust and respect for each other increased. So this month, why not spend some quality time with your horse?


Yvette equineonlinenz

this issue 6 8

24 26


contents 6 | NEWS






Dressage: Have a go!

New Online Directory A new online directory that helps horse owners find the businesses and services is being launched this December! Find the businesses and services you require at the click of a finger in Equine Online’s new online directory. The directory, set to launch the first week of December, is the first online directory that horse owners can download and print. Equine Online Editor, Yvette Morrissey, says the directory will list equine businesses and services first by area, and then by type to make it as easy as possible for horse owners

Never done a dressage test? Want to improve your riding? Want to try a higher level without the pressure? The Dressage Academy is hosting a ‘Have a Go Day’ at their headquaters in Burnham on December 18. It is only $35 for the day, and tests can be ridden bitless. No plaiting is required. All proceeds from the practice day go towards the Dressage Academy. To enter and for more info, visit the Dressage Academy website by clicking here.

to find the service they require. “I’m incredibly excited to launch the directory and connect horse owners with local businesses,” she says. The directory is free to access, and can be found by visiting If you own an equestrian business it’s not too late to be listed! Simply visit the above link or email advertise@equineonline. for more information.

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Eye wrinkles show stress

It’s time to educate NZ drivers

A study has found that wrinkles around the eyes can provide an insight into the horses emotional state. The study was carried out in Switzerland, and found that the wrinkles in horses eyes change when the horse is exposed to positive and negative conditions. Read the full study here.

Christmas horse treats! Spoil your favourite equine with this delicious recipe this Christmas.

Did you know?

Ingredients: 1 cup rolled oats ¼ cup water 1 to 2 tbsp. molasses 5 peppermints Method: Mix the oats and water until the oats are damp. Add molasses by the tablespoon until the mixture is sticky. Roll into balls and press a peppermint in the middle of each cookie (or break up the peppermint and sprinkle). Put in refrigerator (uncovered) to harden overnight.

Ponies respond to visual cues better than horses! An Australian study published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. found that horses and ponies both use visual and auditory cues successfully, however ponies outperform horses when responding to visual cues. They also found that using visual and auditory cues at the same time did not significantly improve the horses’ or ponies performance.

A Manawatu rider is taking a stand against irresponsible drivers. Liana Mikaera spoke to the Feilding Herald with her concerns after she noticed a growing number of motorists ignoring and scaring her horse when she would ride her horse down rural roads. “I find many drivers barely acknowledge I’m there. The road I ride along is wide with plenty of room for everyone but even with all the space they don’t make an effort to move over,” she says. There are currently no speed guidelines for overtaking horses in New Zealand, but Mikaera thinks this needs to change. “I think that it is crazy that there is no rule about how fast a driver should go past a horse. Drivers won’t bother slowing down unless there is a set speed limit.” In August, journalist Karen Rutherford was lucky to be alive after a foreign driver crashed into her and her horse. Rutherford suffered a broken leg and concussion, and her Kaimanawa gelding, George, was killed. Last year, Chanelle Smith turned to social media for change after her horse, Bodie, was clipped by a car. She created the Facebook page ‘Bodie’s Fight for Horses Rights’ to share Bodie’s story and to follow his road to recovery. No charges were made against the driver.


By Grace Gray The Akhal-Teke is known for its unusual metallic looking coat. Its coat can come in many colours but is common in black, golden bay, golden buckskin, palomino and cream which is why the Akhal-Teke is known as the “Golden horse�. These horses were originally called Argamaks and lived with nomadic tribesmen in Turkmenistan. In 1881 Russian General Kuropatkin was so impressed with these horses during the wars at that time that he developed a breeding farm for them. He renamed them the Akhal-Teke after the Teke Turkmen tribe that lived around the Akhal

By Grace Grey

oasis. The Russians closed the studbook in 1932 and it was printed nine years later. In Asia, the stallions are not gelded. The Akhal-Teke has a fine, yet elegant head, and stands at an average height of 16hh. Their agility, stamina and ability to withstand hot conditions made this breed perfect for the tribesmen in the nineteenth century. In the early twentieth century, a breeding programme between the Akhal-Teke and the Thoroughbred was introduced to create a faster long-distance racehorse. Despite their higher head carriage, today the Akhal-Teke makes a good mount for dressage, eventing and endurance.

SPECIAL Contributors: Luke Kirkeby, Hayley Clarke Photographers: Kaylee Mcbeth Photography, Chantelle Flett Enjoy the next 14 pages of photos and articles from Equidays!



Beyond any By Luke Kirkeby


Taupo eventer Bryar Kirkeby had a blast with her former racehorse during the Beyond the Barriers New Zealand Dunstan Ex-Factor 2016 challenge at Equidays last month. The personal trainer and her Taupo bred mare Here and Now Sporthorses (HNS) Supreme (Jane), who formally went by the race name Tainesupreme, came away with multiple placings during the annual event at Hamilton’s Mystery Creek. The aim of the challenge, which featured 45 retired racehorses from around the country, was to promote the versatility and suitability of racehorses as pleasure and sporthorses after their racing days were over. The pair “smoked” the field of 22 by 12 seconds in the competition’s Palamountains Derby challenge which required rider and horse combinations to jump 13 obstacles over cross country terrain. The fastest to complete was declared winner with Kirkeby described as “ultra quick” by the commentator, completing it within a time of 125.49. In second and third place respectively were fellow eventers Amanda Pottinger, 130.22, and Donna Edwards-Smith, 130.93.

Kirkeby said she couldn’t be happier with Jane’s performance. “She was going really well and was doing everything I asked of her. I’ve definitely got a soft spot for her,” she said. “I have a really good bond with her and trust her a lot and she trusts me. It is not always easy to find with a horse so she is quite special.” She also managed to place sixth in the challenge’s Beyond the Bit Dressage which featured 19 horses. She finished the overall competition in sixth place. “She went really well the whole weekend. It was a massive atmosphere and she went a lot better than I expected,” she said. Kirkeby said she would like to thank all the sponsors who helped make the competition possible and said she would definitely recommend the challenge to others. “You have to know how to retrain horses which takes a lot of patience and you are not going to have great days everyday with them but you push through things and you do get great days and it is really worth it,“ she said.


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A review

Equidays 2016 was held at Mystery Creek on October 14-16. We sent reporter Hayley Clarke along to check out the action. Read on to find out what she got up to at the event! PHOTOGRAPHY: KAYLEE MCBETH & CHANTELLE FLETT

Equidays, or should it be Equi-sisters or Wilson-days? 2016 was a blast! Apart from three days of cold weather and rain, the atmosphere was amazing. The weather didn’t scare the crowds away and a lot of that is down to the Wilson Sisters being named Equidays ambassadors. But no matter how mad you are about them, there are plenty of other things to keep your eye on over the three days. There were many clinics by held by trainers famous in the equestrian arena.

The likes of Clarke Johnstone, Dan Steers, Vanessa Way, Albert Voom and Warwick Schiller, just to name a few, produced many knowledgeable ways of doing all things equine. The younger kids also had their chance in the limelight with youth camps that included daily lessons from Jody Hartstone, Amanda Wilson and Vicki Wilson. The shopping was incredible. There were some amazing deals from every exhibitor and everyone spent far too much money,



including myself, with no regrets however! Because of the weather the shops were all flooded with people throughout the whole weekend so many of the bargains were snapped up. If after all that shopping you felt a little hungry, there was a variety of food to suit everyones needs. Bacon and egg rolls, Subway, Pita Pit, pork belly burgers, hot dogs, chips, crepes, ice cream and the hot drinks caravans were over loaded all weekend! There were some amazing displays of horsemanship throughout the competitions over all three days. Napier’s Olivia Ahlborn aboard Aorangi Ragtime won the Honda NZ Pony Derby on the first day of competition. On Saturday, Lucy Olphert and Eve Saint Laurent won the Hyundai Derby with the only double-clear round. There were a few challenges that ran over the three days including the Kaimanawa Heritage Horse Stallion Challenge. Tina Fagan and Bullwinkle took out the overall win. Vicki Wilson received the People’s Choice Award with her horse, Mascot. DSE Sunset Pass, ridden by Donna

Edwards-Smith was the winner of the Beyond The Barriers Dunstan Feeds ExFactor Challenge which was held over the three days. Holly Morrell and Alani won the well contested Isuzu D-Max Cross Country and Show Jumping Challenge. The champion of all had to be crowned with Trey Cadwallader on Leeara Park First Edition taking out the Lisa Chittick Memorial class for the Champion of Champions. The night shows were a major highlight for me this year. Friday night saw the Equidays Showjumping Spectacular Show where two competitors set off against each other at different ends of the indoor arena to complete their course the fastest in order to move on to the next round. There was also an appearance from Amanda Wilsons’ mustang, Bragg, later followed by some barrel racing. Later on was the moment everyone had been waiting for: the Equidays Grand Prix Show Jumping. With some amazing jumping shown from all competitors it came down to the final two who happened to be sisters Vicki and



Amanda Wilson. Amanda completed a clear round and had to wait on Vicki to compete to see which one of them had won the title. Vicki knocked a few rails so the win went to Amanda and Showtym Cassonova. Saturday night saw the Horseplay and Hijinks show come to life. The entire show was very impressive; we saw a horse sitting on a bean bag, a horse carrying a dummy around, cutting, a Fresian display, acrobatic dancers, carriage driving and so much more. But what had everyone laughing was the battle of the breeds. Vicki, Kelly and Amanda Wilson all brought their horses out, Vicki’s kaimanawa, Argo; Kelly’s brumby, Shyla, and Amanda’s mustang, Bragg. The girls had the crowds in hysterics as they completed tasks to see who would rein in Champion of the Breeds. Amanda and Bragg took it out with their faultless bareback jumping and Amanda’s hilarious American accent. After three days of horses, food and shopping everyone packed up and headed home. This year I camped on site which gave me easy access to the show, discounted breakfasts and best of all I could unload my arms full of shopping bags and head back in for more! For all the horse mad people out there, even if you’re not quite mad yet, you need to get along to Equidays- you won’t regret it!

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Wild at heart Ellie O’Brien from Finesse Equestrian Training is one of the trainers that has been selected to take part in the 2016 Kaimanawa Stallion Challenge. Her stallion, Tama, was sent to her after this year’s muster. In part five, we found out how Ellie and Tama went at the Kaimanawa Stallion Challenge at Equidays! Equidays was quickly approaching and all was tracking well with Tama’s training. I’d even made a last minute decision to take him on his first outing to a gymkhana the weekend before. Not only did Tama handle it like a pro, he had my eight year old daughter as his rider and came home with a neck full of ribbons! Unfortunately that day was tainted with the loss of my young Friesian stallion in a paddock accident. I didn’t even feel like doing horses at all that week and all final preparations went out the window. But, I felt I owed it to Tama and the Kaimanawa Heritage Foundation to pull it together and give it our best - after all, Tama’s story could help save the life of another older stallion. We arrived at Mystery Creek the night before and had a wonderful ride as the sun went down. I felt slightly more ready. I reminded myself that this was just another step in his training and to simply treat it as such. The next three days were a blur and Tama exceeded my expectations. He was the perfect child’s pony! He wasn’t fancy and didn’t do any tricks, but he was calm and quiet, he took his time and when he was worried he looked to me for reassurance and then

carried on. We were always too slow in all our classes but did everything that was asked - afterall that is Tama’s style! We had perfect scores in leg yield and comments about our partnership in the trail class. I finally found Tama’s motivator, a good scratch on his neck was enough to offer another step forward across the scary bridge! I hadn’t put too much effort in to the freestyle for Sunday as I’d doubted we would make it in. All I knew was I wanted to dedicate it to my late cousin Luke (Tama), who I’d named Tama after. I couldn’t believe it when I received a message to say wed made the top six! Sunday morning came and I put on my military uniform with pride and stepped into the stirrup to ride down to the main arena. As we walked down the hill I burst in to tears to see Luke’s mum and sister walking in to watch us go. Outside the arena Aunty Lynne fastened Luke’s medals to my chest and a cross with poppies, the New Zealand flag and his photo was placed in the middle of the arena. The music started and I forgot about all the people



watching. It’s just another training session at home, I told myself. Tama was tense but felt incredible as he gave me a beautiful extended trot down the long side of the arena. We showed all three paces, stops, good control of hindquarters and shoulders- all the good basic foundations a rider would want in a horse. I dismounted and handed the reins to his new ridermy daughter! What a journey! We ended up with a sixth in ridden,

fourth in the freestyle and sixth overall. The experience of learning from a wild stallion, gaining his trust and respect and now having a lifelong friend for our family is priceless! Tama is now having a well deserved break with five broodmares who he loves to keep in line. Soon he’ll be brought back in as he has a new job of taking Bella to the school bus each morning! You can follow Ellie and Tama’s journey by clicking here and liking their Facebook page.



r e t t e l n a n o pe

to nz road users

Horse riding on the roads has been a hot topic in the media recently after a foreign driver crashed into Newshub journalist Karen Rutherford, killing her horse and leaving Rutherford with a broken leg. Feilding horse rider, Liana Mikaera, believes New Zealand road users need more education when it comes to sharing the road with our beloved equines. I would like to please ask on behalf of all horse riders to slow down or stop when you see a horse on the road. Did you know it would take less time for you if you stop your vehicle and let us walk our horse past you if the horse is scared? A horse can spook sideways at approximately 86 kilometres (54 miles) – this was recorded on a riders GPS. If you were driving past in a car, would you have been a safe distance and safe speed to stop in time? If we don’t wave to you, please understand we do appreciate you slowing down or stopping but we can’t take our hands off the reins. If a rider dismounts it usually means they are unsure of how the horse will react as you pass and extra caution would be recommended. Rider’s lives are in drivers hands, your response to us is what could cause or prevent a

horrific accident from happening. I have helped bury a friend’s horse this year and console her as she struggles to come to terms with losing her best friend (her surrogate legs). Here are just some things that make horses take flight: • Height of your vehicle as it approaches can spook a horse • Wheels in the side of the road – noise of being on the seal then dropping onto shingle can change the noise which can make a horse react • Wheels that splash through a puddle • Shingle can spring up and hit the horse as you pass • Whistling side mirrors • Flapping tarpaulins • A flapping strop on a trailer


• If you hit a bump on the road with a trailer they can rattle • Dogs that bark just as you pass • A car stereo that is going ‘doof, doof’ can scare a horse at it approaches as it can’t see what is making the strange noise • A sudden gust of wind • Stock in a paddock that have their head through the wire can pull back and the twang of the wire spook a horse • Rabbit running out of the grass • A flapping plastic bag • Cyclists are silent and fast when they sneak up. If you frighten the horse it could kick, please yell out “hello” from a distance when approaching. When the horse realises you are a person they usually calm down The list goes on! As you can see riders have a lot to look out for while out riding on the road. I understand that some riders may frustrate you on the road but please give us ideas on how we can also help you on the road to avoid frustration. Please horse riders it is up to us to try and help people understand that horses move extremely fast and scare easy. We are now in a generation that haven’t had anything to do with horses so there is no understanding of how they can react. • Explain to your non-horsey friends how to pass a horse safely as they are the ones that care about you which means they will listen and take on your advice. Tell them to spread the word to their family and friends. Yelling at a driver and making them think we are all abusive does not help them respect

us, it just makes them angry and resentful so when they pass next time they are not in the right frame of mind to be courteous. • Please do not hold up traffic unless you have a genuine reason. • It is important to be as visible as possible, wear a helmet and hi viz. • Cross the road or go into a gate way if you have time. • Dismount and become your horses anchor if you know he will be scared of something approaching, sometimes this helps drivers realise there could be an issue and they try to slow down. • Ring trucking firms to thank them if you have a good driver experience • Mouth the words “thank you” (in the past when I have yelled thank you the driver has mistaken it for me abusing them), with a smile, if you can’t take your hands off the reins. • Stop your horse, get in as close to the fence as you can and face the traffic. If your horse takes flight it is easier to get them under control and it limits the risk of something like a rabbit running out of the grass as he walks which could spook them into the path of a vehicle. When this process becomes a habit, your horse will start to let you know something is coming, when you’re unaware, by starting to move over. Horse riders are just trying to enjoy their sport; they don’t purposefully ride on the road to make a nuisance of themselves! All I ask please is that riders are considerate to drivers and drivers are considerate to riders. For more information for both riders and drivers please check out the latest NZ Road Code.



Training the Standardbred

to canter

Jenn Savill is a show and dressage rider that has been retraining Standardbreds under saddle for five years. In this article she covers the biggest problem many Standardbred riders encounter- teaching them to canter under saddle. Retraining the ‘off the track’ Standardbred can be a challenge; they are not used to being told what to do from up top and definitely not used to the rider’s legs or any ridden aids. As a rider, it is our job to educate them to become the good ridden horses they can be. Well-schooled standardbreds are becoming more and more popular and accepted in the show and dressage rings. A common misconception is that Standardbreds are not taught to canter in harness and won’t canter in the paddock. This is not true at all- most standardbreds happily canter, some just need to be shown how to go about it and as with anything horse related there are many ways to do it!

Before starting work with any horse I like to check there are no ongoing issues. I check the saddle is a good fit, the teeth have been seen to by the dentist and the horse’s body is in good shape. Ensuring everything is good and well in these areas means the horse is more likely to wan to try, and that you are setting the horse up to succeed. I find it easier to teach the Standardbred to canter from the ground up; I have recently been working on with my young gelding and have taught many other horses with the same consideration. To begin with I like to teach my horses to canter on the lunge so they can balance themselves without worrying about a rider. Let them get really forward and into it until they have



a big bowling canter, this will increase their confidence at this gait. Eventually I will add a saddle into the mix. Teaching the canter on a voice command makes it alot easier to teach under saddle. Sometimes achieving canter on the lunge is easier said than done, it requires patience and encouragement on the trainers behalf. It is important to remember than even three strides is a win, and there is always tomorrow to try again. Your horse may not get it right the first time but practice makes perfect and transitions are a brilliant way to get your horse balanced and listening. Teaching canter under saddle is usually easier done on an adventure, where the horse wants to be forward. I find going uphill helps to develop the rolling canter. Begin by trotting up and most horses will naturally want to go into the canter, if not you should have a pretty solid voice button installed. Don’t be afraid to use a little leg for encouragment. Bunny hops and baby bucks are ok and don’t panic about getting the right lead at this stage. Once the horse is in canter let them go forward;

you might find riding in two point easier too (the horse certainly will!) Once the Standardbred has developed the confidence to canter uphill, it is easier to achieve on the flat. Sitting quietly to the trot; make sure the horse has enough bend around your inside leg to achieve the correct lead, apply your outside leg to ask for the canter and at the same time use your voice aid. The transition doesn’t have to be pretty! Eventually you won’t need to use a voice aid, but in the mean time it is useful. Your horse doesn’t have to be round during the learning phase either- remember he is learning something very new and always reward the positive. It is important not to spend hours in the arena trying to canter, hacks out are just as vital for the mind and body as schooling is. You want to set your horse up for success, not to stress everytime you ask him to ‘canter’. This is particularly important because if your horse is stressed every time you ride you will achieve nothing. Always remember riding is all about having fun and enjoying your partnership.


Manawatu Pony Club National Show Hunter Teams Championships reaches a decade By Laura Walters Over the past 10 years about 6400 hooves, 200 team managers, 4000 jumps, hundreds of kilos of feed, countless cups of coffee and a lot of hard work have made up the Manawatu Pony Club National Show Hunter Teams Championships. The annual, national show launched in 2007 after Manawatu Pony Club saw a gap in the types of events offered to young horse riders across the country. Dressage, show jumping, cross country and games were covered but there wasn’t a national show hunter competition at pony club level. At the time the focus was largely on show jumping, where kids on their ponies wanted to go fast and jump high. The event’s founders, many who are still the heart and soul of show hunter champs today, saw an opportunity to teach young riders more about jumping technique, style, line, conformation, safety and horsemastership – something they could carry over into other areas of their riding. Those running the competition have always aimed to keep teamwork, encouragement and good sportsmanship at the heart of the event. This has made for a supportive and fun environment, and keeps teams coming back. This year’s event was no exception.

Riders, coaches, managers and supporters travel to Foxton Racecourse from as far north as Whangarei and as far south as Wellington year after year, during the October school holidays. First-time teams have commented on the breadth of the event. Some say they’re amazed riders and supporters from far and wide make the journey for the event that’s become a highlight of their competition calendar. This year there are 21 teams, made up of eight riders. The number of teams has varied from 17 to 24 during the past 10 years. Each team has two riders in each of the four categories – Category A (little ponies), Category B (slightly bigger ponies), Category C (the biggest ponies), and Hack (the horses). Each rider has one practice round on the Friday, followed by four rounds on the Saturday and one on Sunday. The judges, who come from across the country, look for things like rhythm, line and jumping style. The rider’s equitation is also assessed during Sunday’s round – with two judges marking the riders on their style and technique. This year, Wellington Gold took away the top team prize, with



Central Hawke’s Bay coming in second. For equitation: Whangarei’s Shanti Aplin and Stardust won Category A, Carlyle’s Taylar Morrison and Lorien Ruby took out Category B, Hamilton’s Estelle Laboyrie and Mr Sandman II topped Category C and Central Hawke’s Bay’s Sally Ward and Paradox placed top of the Hack’s. But the teams aren’t just judged on their riding. The horsemastership component of the event takes into account the way the riders care for their horses, their teammates and their equipment. As well as, how they present themselves and their horses. It was a close competition this year, with Heretaunga coming out on top. New Zealand Pony Club board member Dudley Brown has been in involved in pony club for many years and a first-time horsemastership judge at this year’s competition. Dudley says he’s been blown away by the teams’ etiquette and the way they help and support each other. Pony club members walked around lending a hand where they could during the weekend – moving jumps, picking up rubbish and helping other members with their horses. The event started at Manfield in Feilding then moved to Tielcey Park in Aokautere, before moving to Foxton five years ago. The current venue’s sand base means riders can compete in rain or shine – and there’s often quite a lot of rain. To mark 10 years of show hunter champs former pony club member Laura van Velthooven did a commentated show hunter demonstration before the competition kicked off. During the annual Friday night teams’ dinner, which is catered by Manawatu Pony Club volunteers, New Zealand representative Chloe Hansen and her mum Jane Akers gave a talk about the life of a high-level competitor and the life of a horse mum, respectively. Then on Saturday, stunt rider and eventer Jane Kernahan and her horse Florian, who starred in a chase scene in the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, carried out a demonstration. A small but dedicated group on the Manawatu Show Hunter Committee spent the year planning and prepping for the 10th anniversary weekend. Show hunter champs also has support from sponsors – some of whom have been backing the event for the past decade and some who have come on board in 2016. Like everything in Pony Club, the success of the event is largely dependent on volunteers stepping up to cook, clean, set up, pack down, and organise. Despite more than 30 millimetres of rain on Saturday, this year’s event was a galloping success.

In a fast-moving world, where everyone wants to go fast and jump high, the annual event is a chance to reflect on what team events are all about – camaraderie and sportsmanship. In this way, Manawatu Pony Club National Show Hunter Teams Championship is true reflection of the pony club spirit.



Mind, body and soul

Hip Pain After a Fall

This month Freya talks about a topic many riders can relate to, but not many of us will seek help for- pain in our hips after a tumble from a horse. As amazing as horse riding is, we have chosen a sport that carries a fair amount of risk. The majority of riders would have had a traumatic accident, whether that being falling awkwardly, being crushed, dragged, or thrown into something. This, of course, will lead to bruising, strains, broken bones, and potentially concussion. Something many riders fail to think about is our joint health after an accident. A common injury seen in the hip area after traumatic or extreme accidents is a “labral tear�. These will often get left undiagnosed as the initial symptoms will be discomfort, and after a big accident many assume it is a muscle tear or deep bruising. The labrum is a ridge of cartilage around the rim of the hip joint which acts to stabilize the hip. If this becomes detached or torn you will feel pain in the groin or deep buttock areas. Hip clicking or locking is also common. Sometimes people will complain of the hip giving way. Left undiagnosed this tear may become much worse requiring surgery.

If you have noticed pain in the hip, clicking, locking, or catching at a certain range of motion, contact your local physio or GP. It is better to get checked and be fine, rather than left untreated until the pain worsens.



The road to success

My First Grand Prix

Follow aspiring showjumper, Brooke Burns, and her journey to Grand Prix. We were always told in school to never give up, follow your dreams and set yourself goals; that you were only going to succeed by aiming higher in order to become the best you can be. It is exactly the same in equestrian. Whether your goal is to clear that 30cm crossbar, nail that leg yield or keep up that barrel, setting goals and believing in your own ability will help you on your road to success. I sure wouldn’t be where I am today, after finishing my first Grand Prix in one piece, without striving to be better a better rider and horse owner. My first season in the showjumping ring wasn’t too great, and after begging and pleading my parents for another pony, we brought a cheaply priced chestnut mare called Milli. Milli wasn’t a show jumper, but was considered more as an all-rounder. What appealed to me about Milli was that she was your typical chestnut mare, hot-headed and opinionated, perfect for the show jumping ring, right? She had a bit of attitude and a fire in her that

I thought would make her unbeatable in a jump off. But oh boy was I wrong. She was low on confidence as I soon discovered, as she crashed through 80cm jumps. I thought my career had ended before it even began. After a season filled with eliminations, falls and a few tears, I stuck with it, all because my mother had incredible patience and perseverance. Without her, I surely would have stopped at our first show, after not even making it over fence number one, because of one of Milli’s tantrums. But now, after being together for nearly two years, this pony has taught me more than any school teacher could. She has taught me that sometimes, good things take time, that usually you won’t get your dreams handed to you on a silver plate. And I’m proud to say, that after two whole years filled with so much hard work, we finally came out on top, winning our first ever dress rug.

“Without my mum, I surely would have given up after not even making it over fence number one because of Milli’s tantrums.”



Coaches Corner

Rules of Engagement This month Senara discusses a topic that often gets riders confused: engagement. What does it mean when your instructor says or a dressage judge writes “the horse needs to be more engaged”? The engagement of the hindquarters is quite literally the advancement of the horse’s hind legs underneath himself. The hindquarters are the engine and the starting point of all movement. If you observe a horse galloping loose without a rider you will see the hind legs stepping well underneath his body. With the rider on board often this natural movement can be either encouraged or blocked in some way. So when you hear or read the comment ”horse needs more engagement“ it means that during the riders effort to get the horse into the required shape, somehow some of the horses natural movement has been lost. When riding it is easy to become obsessed with what we can see – the horses head and neck position. The fact that the horse’s power originates from the hind quarters makes it so important to turn the rider’s awareness to the hindquarters. Here are some exercises you can do to

improve your awareness of engagement in your horse: Unmounted exercise - Observe riders and horses. This can be done by watching different riders at different levels at competitions or even on DVDs. Focus on the hind legs for a while and watch for the correlation between the action of the hind legs and the overall harmony of the picture.

When you hear or read Mounted exercise – Walk the commen “horse on a long rein. Close your needs more engagement” eyes. Feel the movement of horse’s hind legs through it means that during the the your seat. You will feel a dip riders effort to get the in your seat bone as the hind of that side come horse into the required leg underneath the horse. Do this for a while to have a shape, some of the good feel for the back legs horses natural movement coming under. When you open your eyes and pick up has been lost.

the reins the hind legs should maintain the same rhythm.

Spend some time improving your feel and analysing the movement of your horse’s hind quarters. It will improve the overall way your horse goes.



The Confident Rider

The Not So Perfect Rider Meet our new columnist, confidence coach and trainer, Julia Latham. Hi everyone and welcome to my new column! I want to motivate and inspire you; to educate you and to make you realise that you are not alone in feeling inadequate or hopeless or unconfident! We all feel this way sooner or later when working with horses. Sometimes I think we focus too much on how wonderful other riders look and how lucky they are to have the perfect horse…the perfect position…the perfect facilities. We forget that the most important thing is that YOU love YOUR HORSE. Your horse may not reach Olympic level but you’ll find he or she doesn’t actually care about stuff like that. Your trainer should respect this. A good trainer will help you set goals and work within the horse’s capability to achieve them. Having the most fashionable rolled sheepskin saddle blanket won’t make you do dressage any better and a good trainer will know this! A few years ago I was offered a free lesson with a very well-known trainer the following day, if he could use my arena to give some other lessons. I put down the phone and then it hit me. NO, NO, NO! The kids I teach had spent the

day playing groundwork games with my horses including painting my dressage horse with glitter! He had very bright purple glitter hooves, a gold ear and green stripes on his legs. That stuff does not come off! I scrubbed and washed and even tried using sandpaper on his hooves to no avail. I was devastated. How could I have a dressage lesson with my horse looking like he belonged to a five-year old? But I was desperate to learn from this trainer so I showed up to the lesson anyway. Some of the other riders gave me horrified looks, but the trainer silently watched me warm up, his eyes darting from one glittery patch to another. I was mortified. After a few minutes, he beckoned me over. “So you do dressage?” “Yes” I replied. I was expecting him to say he wouldn’t teach me. “Get off” he said. My heart sank. I was almost in tears. “I have never ridden a dressage horse with purple glittery hooves and I want to!” So Bill Noble got on my purple and gold glittery clydesdale and arabian cross and rode him!


Equine Online December/January 2017