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Equine Online october-november 2016




to All you needure know to ens happy your horse is and healthy

dressage WI



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Yvette Morrissey


Brugs Nicholls, Julia Latham, Freya Thompson, Senara Caddy, Grace Gray, Brooke Burns, Jana Kruyshaar, Ellie O’Brien.


Jenn Savill riding Atramento. Photo credit: Kaylee Mcbeth Photography


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From the Editor This month you may notice a few changes to the magazine. Firstly, the columns have been redesigned and are looking amazing (in my opinion). We also have a new columnist, Brooke Burns, who is an aspiring Grand Prix showjumper. Follow her journey on page 28. In our next issue, we also have a new columnist joining the team! Stay tuned for a segment that is going to give you a whole lot of riding confidence and inspiration. I have a wee announcement myself. I’m going to pursue another passion of mine- travel. Yvette her horse Regibe starting my overseas adventure in Canada. Nextwith month I will Due to time and proximity restraints (I will be working full time on the ski fields), this means the Equine Online will transition to a bi-monthly magazine, with issues coming out in late November, January, March, July, and September. Don’t worry however, there will be plenty of content regularly available on our website This also means I will be able to bring you a whole lot more worldly content, as I plan on tracking down as many horses and riders as I can while abroad! And finally (our most exciting announcement), Equine Online is launching an online directory for equestrian businesses in New Zealand. You will be able to download and print the directory for quick and easy use, or simply visit our website to find the services and businesses you require in your area. This will be the first printable online equestrian directory in New Zealand, so if you own a business or offer a service, I highly recommend you list! It’s only $15 to be listed for one whole year- so you get a whole lot of advertising for a very small price! The directory will be live in December. Make sure you like us on Facebook to see 8the announcement when it is available!


this issue







contents 6 | NEWS







HORSEING AROUND WITH ART By Yvette Morrissey movements and expressions.” All of the horses are New Zealand horses, many of them thoroughbreds exhibited at the Karaka sales over the last couple of years. Neal said the collection took him four months to paint, however he had painted a few of them over the years. The largest piece in the collection is a four panel painting titled ‘Shades of Grey’. It is an acrylic and silver leaf painting, standing at 2.3 metres tall and 2.9 metres wide. The exhibition coincides with the 2016 Melbourne Cup. Entry to the exhibition is free.

The largest piece in the on display ‘Shades of Grey.’



An exhibition of equine paintings will be on display in Auckland from October 20 to November 8. The collection of 15 paintings, titled Horseing Around, were painted by well-regarded Auckland realist artist, Neal Palmer and will be on display at the nkb Gallery in Mt Eden. Neal, who is known for his large scale botanical paintings, said his passion for horses as a young boy inspired the collection of paintings. “I had riding lessons from the age of 10 to 13 and this is where my emotional attachment for horses came from. I wanted to show this through the paintings and evoke the lovely senses of the horse and the way they react by way of

Holistically Improving Performance Everything we do, from our training methods to our grooming products, is focussed on holistically improving performance.

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for a happier horse

We all want the best for our equines, but sometimes it is very easy to slip into a routine and forget about our key goal: to ensure our horse is as happy and healthy as possible! Here are 10 things you can do to ensure your horse is happy in his body, mind and spirit.

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Summer is inching closer! Aim to ride in the morning or early evening when it is cooler and there are less flies around to annoy your horse.

Give your horse a iodine bath. Iodine helps prevent unwanted skin conditions and adds shine to your horses coat. It is also great for mudfever and clearing other skin conditions.


Buy your horse a bag of treats, stow a few in the pockets of your jodphers and encourage your horse to stretch his neck to each of his shoulders by holding the treat next to them.

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Ensure your horse always has access to grass or hay and a fresh supply of water. That means giving your trough a good scrub!

Horses need friends too. Take your horse out for a hack with a friend and their horse, or turn your horse other with another, rugs off, and let them have a good scratch!

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Let your horse be a horse and take his rugs off on the warmer days. Who cares if it’s show season?

Give your horse a massage or reiki treament. They will love you for it! You could even win a massage for your horse by visiting page 17 of this month’s issue of Equine Online!


Is your horse looking bored in his paddock? Give him something to do. Buy him a mineral or salt lick. There are plenty of horse balls and toys on the market to keep boredom at bay.


Muck out your paddocks daily to reduce the amount of flies from irritating your horse. You can also add garlic powder to your horses hard feed or water to help repel flies.


Do something fun that you wouldn’t usually do. Are you a dressage rider? Take your horse over a few jumps! Show jumper? Why not give a cross country course a try. Trips to the beach or hacking are also a great way to mix things up.



By Grace Gray The Arabian horse is a fascinating and well known breed of horse throughout the world. Known particularly for their high-arched necks and dished faces, Arabians are one of the most elegant breeds of horses. These horses have existed for approximately 5000 years and were one of the first domestic breeds. They were bred in the Arabian Peninsula by a desert tribe called the Bedouins so that they could be used for war. Because of the dry climate the Arabian was bred and ridden in, they developed a hardiness which is often shown in the breed today. These days Arabians are most commonly used as endurance horses due to their stamina and

By Grace Grey

ability to handle intense heat and rough terrain. Although endurance is their main known discipline, they also excel in many other disciplines including showing, dressage, show jumping and eventing. As mentioned before, the Arabian horse has a high arched neck and dished face, but what else is special about them? The Arabian has one less vertebrae than most other horses, and one less pair of ribs! Arabians also have black skin under their coats which helped to protect them from the sun when they lived in the desert. Arabians generally grow from 14hh-15hh and are commonly bay, chestnut or grey, although they do come in many more colours.

Get travel


By Julia Latham Is your horse float registered and up to Warrant of Fitness standard? Just because it has a current WOF sticker does not necessarily mean that it is legal or safe to use on the road. Prior to backing in and hooking up your vehicle/trailer, check that the tow ball is compatible with the hitch receiver on the float. There are two trailer tow ball/ hitch sizes used in New Zealand. This is generally stamped into the top of the tow ball. The tow ball and the hitch receiver must be the same size. Also stamped into the ball is the Maximum Tow Weight Rating. For example, 1200 kilograms means that your loaded float can weigh no more than

1200 kilograms. Given that an average double horse float weighs 800-1000kg empty and an average hack weighs 300400kg then a heavier rated tow ball may be necessary. With the average float costing between $5,000 to $10,000 (many a lot more) plus the value of your horse (although your horse may be priceless if he is one in a million) there is a lot riding on a tow ball, especially in an emergency! Now that your satisfied the tow/hitch is



correct go ahead and back your vehicle in and hook it up, ensuring that the hitch locks down securely onto the ball. Ensure the one or two chains are attached for safety in case there is a problem with the main hitch. The safety chains and shackles should be ‘rated’ and approved and attached separately to the vehicle. The double chains should be crossed over. Plug in the light connector ensuring it is long enough to allow for turning corners but not dragging on the ground. Some Loom Tube or old garden hose can be used to protect the cable from stone damage. Get some help and activate all the lights, indicators, brakes and confirm they are all working on your float. Often a poor connection or earth is responsible for faulty or intermittent trailer lights. Does the float move freely? Brake or wheel bearing issues commonly occur after a trailer has been stationary over winter. Check the tyre tread for depth and uneven wear and most importantly,

check the pressure. Tyre pressure on a trailer should be 30-40 psi depending on the weight of the load. A tyre that looks alright now may be underinflated once the weight of the horses are loaded. Remember to check the spare tyre. Does your vehicle jack/wheel brace fit the float/wheel nuts? Check all the wheel nuts are tight. A good idea after winter is to lubricate all the door hinges, latches, catches with a bit of oil or CRC. Horse manure and urine is highly corrosive. Check that the floor of your float is sound and there are no rotting or soft areas. Also check there are no protruding screws or fasteners anywhere inside or out of the float. Get any loose rivets or fasteners replaced. If you are satisfied that your horse float is serviceable and ready for the new season both you and your horse should be able to travel safer and with less stress. Remember while towing to always drive with your horses welfare in mind at times.



When you

By Julia Latham Injuries happen to all of us, often at the most frustrating times! Bringing your horse back into work after being turned out during the winter also carries with it the risk of injury. Redeveloping muscle and building strength shouldn’t be rushed and done with proper care, however a pulled muscle for rider or horse can still happen no matter how careful you are. Whether your horse has injured itself and you can’t ride or you are currently without a mount, there are still many ways you can make use of your ‘time off’!


Take stock of your gear We are all guilty of hanging onto covers, bridles and halters that don’t fit our current horses. Go through all your stuff and sort out what you use, what is too small, and what needs fixing. Organise a tack swap afternoon with friends. Something you have no use for may be just what someone else is after! You could also organise a car boot sale with the local pony club and turn your unwanted horse gear into cash!


Clean and check your gear Check all your stitching for wear and get any repairs done before the season starts. Check the stirrup treads for wear and the stirrup leathers to see they haven’t

can’t ride stretched and are even. Make sure your horse’s bit is smooth with no sharp edges from wear.


Book a goal setting session with your trainer I encourage all my clients to do this as it is a great way to turn your dreams into achievable goals. No matter whether you are into trekking or competing, a planning session will benefit you and your horse. Your trainer will have a better idea of what you want to achieve and you will have a clearer outline of what you need to do to achieve your goal.


Do a budget Horses aren’t cheap! By planning what you want to do for when you are back in the saddle, you’ll get an idea of how much it’s going to cost. If you put a little money aside every week you’ll find it easier to afford that show or those lessons. Can you buy feed in bulk and save money? Get some friends together to split the cost of a pallet of feed between you to save some money. Can you do without yet another blingy browband and put that money towards a

lesson? Can you buy second hand instead of new?


Get fit We are all conscious of keeping our horses fit and the correct weight, but what would your horse say about your fitness and weight? Now is a great time to do pilates, go the gym, and walk the dog more. Make it your goal to be the best you can be for your horse. They will appreciate it if you are fit and able to balance yourself better when you ride.


Get some bodywork done Treat yourself and go and get a massage! Do some preventative maintenance so your muscles are ready for work. Why not book an assessment with a physiotherapist as well? They will be able to tell you what your weaknesses are so you can perfect them before you jump back into the saddle.


Take time out Take the opportunity to cuddle up on the couch with a horse book or dvd. This will help to keep you motivated and increase your equine knowledge.


Equine Therapy Learn what treatments such as acupuncture, reiki, massage, chiropractic, physiotherapy and Zero Balancing can do for you and your horse


The range of equine therapies around New Zealand is vast and continually growing, which can be confusing when deciding which is the right one to choose for you and your horse. Yvette Morrissey talked to several body workers around New Zealand about the equine therapy they practice and why these therapies should be an important part of your horses’ health regime.

Lillian Bonner completed her doctorate of veterinary medicine at the University of Georgia. She is also a certified veterinary acupuncturist and has been combining Western and Eastern medicine therapy for 12 years. She is based in Canterbury. “All the systems in the horses’ body are connected to one another. Acupuncture primarily works on the nervous system, but balances all of the systems so the horses’ body can heal itself. Thin needles are inserted into

Note: It is important to always seek a qualified vet first if your horse is sick or injured. Alternative treatments should be done only by trained and licensed professionals.

Reiki Jeanne Northwood is a qualified Reiki practitioner based in Auckland. She is also a Magnetic/Auric Healer. She has been practicing energy work for over eight years. “Reiki is a very gentle, noninvasive form of natural energy

healing. It works by balancing the energy of the body, mind and spirit and can be used for healing in both people and animals. The word ‘reiki’ is a Japanese term that translates roughly to meaning ‘Universal Life Force Energy’. It is administered by laying the hands on the horse and is based on the idea that an unseen ‘life force energy’ flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If the life force energy is low, then the horse is more susceptible to sickness and stress. Reiki is used for emotional healing, healing for sickness or injury, stress, chronic and acute pain, behavioural problems and general health maintenance.

specific points of the horses’ body to clear negative energy and strengthen the overall system. The needles can also be connected to an electrical stimulator which delivers small electrical impulses between the needles. Acupuncture can be used to treat existing issues such as back pain, hip pain, arthritis or any musculoskeletal issues. It is also an invaluable preventative treatment- many horses will transition up the levels much easier when they receive regular treatments. Horses respond to it really well. Because of their size, it can be hard to reach certain issues. Most of the time pain is so subtle, and the horse cannot tell you where he is sore, so it is a good idea to get your horse assessed before any lameness occurs. After an injury, results can be seen after 2-3 treatments. Acupuncture also compliments other techniques such as chiropractic, physiotherapy, and herbal and food therapies.”

The body is programmed to self heal. If it is unable to heal there may be a deeper issue, such as an emotional concern. I work on physical injuries, but I also work on the emotional level of an injury or concern too. Depending on what the issue is, the emotional level may run deeper still even after the physical injury looks healed. In an ideal world horse owners should have their horses treated once a month, and of course at the first sign of injury and/or ill health. My motto is prevention is always better than cure. Reiki work doesn’t need to be carried out onsite. Reiki can be done at any time very successfully over distance.”


Physiotherapy & Chiropractic Nicolett Gelderman qualified as an Equine Physiotherapist DIPO at the German Institute for Horse Osteopathie, which is an advanced educational centre for equine/canine therapists. In 2012 she studied equine chiropractic care. She also holds a Masters of Education and a diploma in Equine Breeding, Training and Care, and is based in Canterbury. “Equine Physiotherapy is the use of physical techniques and manual therapy for the treatment of movement dysfunction and soft tissue injuries. It also provides support in the re-education of correct posture for your horse. As an Equine Physiotherapist I am trained in using palpation techniques to detect and assess potential problem areas, asymmetry, compensation and lack of joint mobility that may cause poor performance, stiffness, lameness or behavioural problems. Physiotherapy and chiropractic care are both important in improving the performance and flexibility of your horse, solving training issues, assisting with healing and to help your horse be in the best physical condition

possible. The goal is to achieve relaxation in deeper tissue structures, stretch out adhesions in muscles and optimise joint mobility. As a result this improves the biomechanics of the horse and its body can function at its maximum potential. Physiotherapy often works in collaboration with your vet as a part of supplement treatment in the post injury phase and as part of a preventing future injuries. For horses with mild problems 2-3 treatments are recommended 2-4 weeks apart, then it can be maintained as needed. Horses with ongoing structural problems or competitive horses may require more frequent care. It is my job to evaluate the horse and then develop a therapy plan.”



Jana Kruyshaar is an Equinology Equine Body Worker (Level One) and the owner of JK Equine Massage. She offers her massage services in Central Otago and Queenstown. “Equine massage is similar to

Zero Balancing Anne Kershaw is a qualified therapist and teacher of Zero Balancing. She also practices CranioSacral therapy and Visceral Manipulation for horses and humans. Anne has been practicing Zero Balancing for over 10 years. “Zero Balancing (ZB) is a bodymind therapy that uses touch to balance the relationship of energy and the structure of the horses’ body. Finger pressure is used on

human sports massage but is generally gentler, as horses are much more sensitive. As a massage therapist I identify where there are issues within the muscle tissue and then apply a series of strokes to soften the tissue, increase circulation and reduce tension. Soft, moderate or firm pressure is applied to further reduce knots and blockages to assist with the body’s natural healing process. Stretching is carried out during the massage while the muscles are warm, and gentle exercise is often carried out after the massage depending on the individual’s level of fitness and strength. For a healthy horse, with close to ideal living and exercise conditions, masage will help to

reduce tension, ease muscular pain, improve flexibility, increase range of motion, improve circulation and maintain good health and wellbeing. For a horse with an injury, massage will help to alleviate some of the symptoms. In this situation it is best to involve other equine therapists such as the vet, farrier, dentist or trainer. If you’re using a good massage therapist on a regular basis you’re more likely to identify potential issues before they turn into an injury. If a horse has a number of issues then I recommend a few sessions in relatively close succession at the start. After that I would aim to get the horse on a maintenance schedule suitable to their, and their owners needs.”

areas of tension in the bones, joints, and soft tissue to create points of balance so the horses’ body can relax and reorganise. There are very few therapies that actually work at the energetic level of the skeleton. Therapies are usually energetic or structural, there are none that interface them both. This is the reason it’s so special. I focus a lot on correct saddle fitting as this impacts the foundation joints we work with in ZB. Unbalanced shoeing or dentistry work can also have a huge effect on the horses’ skeleton. Each session usually lasts one hour. Horses that have had treatments before can usually have a 20-30 minutes if they are at a show. Any restriction in the horses’ movement is often freed up in 1-2 sessions. After treatment, riders always report their horses move better under saddle and are much happier in themselves.”




We are giving you the chance to win a one hour massage treatment for your horse from JK Equine Massage! To enter, click here to like us on Facebook and then email with your name, address and contact phone number. *Please note the winning horse must be located in Central Otago. For full terms and conditions, please email



What about the rider? The rider’s health and wellbeing is just as, if not more, important than the horses. After all, how can we ensure the best quality care for our horses if we are experiencing pain riding or when doing general chores around the stable? No rider is immune to the involuntary dismount or trodden on foot. Problems with our physical health can even develop when there is no horse in sight- for example, if you work in an office, sitting down for a prolonged period of time can have an adverse affect on your physical wellbeing which can be transferred to your riding, and then eventually to your horse! It is therefore important to take regular care of ourselves by seeking the help of qualified professionals.

Physiotherapy Sophie Hargreaves is a NZ registered physiotherapist and has been practicing for 26 years after graduating from Otago University in 1990. She is based in Christchurch and has been studying Equipilates in the UK.

Adele Watkins holds an International Certificate Diploma in Body Therapy, a National Certificate in Body Therapy (Level 4) and is a qualified massage therapist (Thai and Kinesiology) and has been practicing for 14 years. She is based in Manawatu.

“Massage provides the body with numerous benefits. It aids in blood circulation, stimulates the lymphatic system, and aids in waste elimanation within the body. It helps with removal of lactic acid and can prevent future injuries by enhancing the body’s performance. Horse riders often suffer from strained muscles or incorrect posture that puts stress on areas such as the back, hips, pelvis, and knees. A few sessions will provide a better balanced body and a greater range of movement while in and out of the saddle. This is vital for your horses’ health too as they often compensate for an unbalanced rider.“

“The aim of physiotherapy is to restore movement and function of the rider, improve their riding and reduce any pain. As a physiotherapist, I assess what issues the rider has and how they are affecting their performance, for example if the rider has shortened or weaker muscles on one side. I look at the influence the rider has on the horse, and vice versa. If a rider is having pain somewhere and they shift their weight in the saddle to compensate the pain, this may lead to back pain or other discomfort in the horse. There are also many other factors that affect the harmony of horse and rider- nutrition, the fit of the saddle and other equipment,

teeth, feet, suitability of horse and rider and the atmosphere. Physiotherapy isn’t just for riders who have injuries- everyone has weaknesses. Having an assessment with a qualified therapist will give you a good understanding of your asymmetries. Some of the treatments I offer include massage, joint mobilisations, soft tissue trigger point release, dry needling and an exercise plan to help improve your performance. How often you see your physiotherapist differs from rider to rider, but I recommend getting an assessment done first and getting a check up every few months. This assessment can be on or off your horse.”




Brugs Nicholls:

Dressage breeding explained

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Our expert Brugs Nicholls has ridden four horses to PSG level and trained three horses to Grand Prix, one of which was listed for the British Olympic Team in 1980. Brugs was on the Young Rider CDIY team for four years running with her Appaloosa, Spotty. Brugs and Spotty were named as the youngest combination to train to Grand Prix in the United Kingdom. Here, Brugs explains the often confusing German and Dutch bloodlines.

German and Dutch lines You may have heard people talking about the D, R, F, W, S, G and F, J lines. These letters stand for the dressage foundation lines used with great success in Germany and Holland; they stand for: The German lines: • Donnerhall • Rubinstein • Florestan • Weltmeyer • Sandro Hit • Gribaldi The Dutch lines: • Ferro • Jazz The top 20 horses a the Rio Olympics all had connections to the bloodlines above, and only two horses, Mister X and Cosmo, weren’t from these foundation lines. On the whole it shows you cannot go wrong with descendants from these main lines!



Lines of the top 20 horses at Rio Stallion

Started at Rio Father line

Mother line

















Sandro Hit














More is more Ten of the top 20 Olympic horses had two or more of the top foundation sires in their pedigree. Rubinstein progeny mixed with Donnerhall four times and Weltmeyer once. Sandro Hit progeny, Showtime FRH, had Donnerhall and Rubinstein on the mother line and Weihegold with Donnerhall on the father line and Sandro Hit on the mother line. Ferro progeny, Dublet, also carried Donnerhall on the father line. You can also look at the Dressage World Breeding Rankings for stallions (WBFSH) which gives a good insight into the success of the progeny of the stallion (including jumping and eventing rankings). The list is updated on a yearly basis. The stallions at the top of this list are there as their progeny have been so successful at FEI Grand Prix Level; making them proven producers of winners at the highest level of dressage.

Rolex WBFSH Top 10 Sire Dressage Ranking 2015 1 De Niro 2 Gribaldi 3 Jazz 4 Sandro Hit 5 Michellino

6 Florestan I 7 Ferro 8 Rubin-Royal 9 Negro 10 Diamond Hit



The mother line Probably the best advice I could give anyone wanting to breed would be get a mother as good, if not better, than the father. What has been proven, to produce the horse you are after, is that when you read a pedigree you start with the sire and work down on a line to dam’s sire and grand dams sire. Here is an example, using the stallion For Romance:

Furst Heinrich Furst Romancier Ronja

Sir Donnerhall I Gesina Gesine

Florestan I Dawina Romancier Edwina Sandro Hit St. Contenance Don Schufro Gaby

This pedigree has all the ingredients of a super modern stallion called For Romance. He carries the F, S, and D lines, plus Romancier is by Rosenkavalier who is the sire of Rubinstein. The mare that gave birth to For Romance is responsible for 50% of the genes, in Europe many say more. It is not uncommon to find a mother line that produces top horses no matter what stallion is used. Take Poesie, for example, she produced Poetin with Sandro Hit and Passionata (the mother of Quaterback or Maureen), and Marella and Maradonna, who time again produce top horses, including Furstenball. It is so important to have the best proven mare you can get to breed your foals of the future. I hope this has helped you understand a little more about the European breeding program. The good news is that some of these lines are available in New Zealand through stallions such as Fugato SW (F, R, D lines), Wordly (W line), Swarovski (S, D, R lines), Donnerubin (D, R lines), and Royal Mirage W (R, W lines) to name but a few. You can also purchase frozen semen from many European stallions. But remember; a good mare is just, if not more, important.



Wild at heart Ellie O’Brien from Finesse Equestrian Training is one of six 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 IV, Ellie gets Tama out and about to prepare for the Kaimanawa Stallion Challenge at Equidays. Another month down and it’s only two weeks out from Equidays where myself and Tama will compete in the Kaimanawa Stallion Challenge! I am so proud of how Tama he is shaping up both physically and mentally. The latter is often forgotten about in training but mental contentment makes all the difference in whether you have a safe and enjoyable ride, keeping those rails up in your jumping round, or getting those extra points in your dressage test. We now have walk, trot and canter under saddle with basic steering and cues becoming more responsive and understood. He is beginning to understand lateral flexion, to soften to the bit, move away from the leg and to move his shoulders away from the rein. This has been tricky as Tama is such a ‘fight’ type of horse and leans in to pressure and resists so I have had to spend a lot of time working on softness. It’s a work in progress and something that is much easier to teach on a more sensitive, flighty type of horse...but this will also be the thing that will make him an exceptional kids pony! I decided I’d better get him out and about, and this

month we have been hitting the road a fair bit! We have traveled to Ohakune to join in on my clinic, walked the main street of Raetihi, sat bareback under the mountain while he grazed on the tussocks and braved the freezing swimming hole where I spent many summers with my ponies growing up. We’ve ridden in indoor arenas, been to the beach and a two hour ride through the Redwood Forest where we had our first canter. Tama has even been a walking school bus for my daughter. He doesn’t seem the slightest bit fazed by her school bag bumping around on his back or cars zooming past. What better way to prep for Equidays environment then to have lots of fast moving, high energy children?! One thing I have found tough is the fact that although we have huge trust in each other, I can see in his eye, if he had the option he would rather be wild. I’ve been searching for something to help build a ‘want or enjoyment’ of being in human company like all of our other horses.



I thought perhaps clicker training and incorporating treats may help seeming as we have beautiful respect on the ground. Unfortunately no treat seems to work - not even the grain he loves in his feed! But what I have found is when I have taken him out hacking he seems to come to life and the spark comes back in his eye. Hopefully one day he will enjoy our company more, but in the mean time we will carry on rewarding for

the smallest try and remain thankful for the opportunity to save the life of a wild horse who could have easily been sent to slaughter. You can follow Ellie and Tama’s journey by clicking here and liking their Facebook page. You can also follow the other rider and stallion combinations by joining the Kaimanawa Stallion Challenge Facebook page.




Mind, body and soul

Breathe it in This month Freya talks about how diaphragmatic breathing can keep the rider and horse calm. We all know that horses can sense our emotions. If we are tense or anxious, our horses will follow suit. This can lead to all sorts of behavioural issues such as spooking, bolting, rearing and bucking. So how can we keep ourselves calm? Many athletes use breathing techniques to help calm themselves and maintain focus before a big event. Diaphragmatic breathing (also known as belly breathing) is widely used by life coaches, yoga instructors and psychiatrists to help people calm and centre themselves. If we can calm our own bodies and thoughts through breathing correctly, we can also transfer this calmness and focus to the other member of our team, the horse. Try this: From a seated or lying down position place one hand on your belly, the other hand on your chest. As you inhale allow your belly to puff up like a balloon, whilst keeping your chest and shoulders relaxed. Use your hands to feel the lift in your belly-

your chest hand should not rise. Exhale and feel your stomach deflate. Breathe in again, hold your breath for ten seconds (or as close as you can) and then slowly exhale. Breathe in through your stomach, hold it for five seconds, lift the breath into your chest (feel your chest hand rise and your stomach suck in), slowly exhale on a ten second count Repeat this three times, of course if you feel like doing more, go for it. You can use this technqiue any time you are feeling anxious or nervous.

“If we can calm our own bodies through breathing correctly, we can also transfer this calmness to the other member of our team, our horse.”

Freya gained her Bachelor in Sport and Exercise from Massey University in 2009 and has been working as a personal trainer for the past seven years. She works mostly with clients with chronic conditions such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis but also works with the New Zealand Jockey Apprentice School to encourage a healthier lifestyle and therefore longer careers for young jockeys. She has competed in a variety of disciplines including Level 4 dressage, showjumping up to 1.20m, and 1* eventing. She has also ridden track work for several years and retrained several ex-racehorses into sport horses.

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Coaches Corner

The half halt This month Senara discusses the holy grail of training aids: the half halt. The half halt is often confused with ‘slowing down’ when in fact its aim is to rebalance the horse and prepare the horse for what is coming. Compare it to a comma in the middle of a sentence. The half halt, if correctly applied, should transfer more of the horses weight onto the hindquarters so that the shoulders become more elevated, allowing the horse to carry out the next movement in an upward and forward manner with more body control. There is a specific order of sequence in which the aids for the half halt are applied: seat, hand and then leg. This can be confusing for both young horses and inexperienced riders. Exercises that help to develop a feel for the half halt include: Keeping your body vertical, lift both of your legs away from the horse’s sides so only your seat bones are in contact with the horse. Close your hands around the reins to contain the movement for a stride or two. Allow your legs to come back around the horse, soften your hands and allow the horse to go forward. Once you have practiced this exercise a few times, you will no longer need to take your legs away from the horse’s sides- instead, let the movement become a relaxation of the leg

from the hip, downwards. Once the rider becomes familiar with the sequence and the horse responds in a straightforward manner, the amount of time between the application of seat, hand and leg reduces. When introducing anything new to a young horse, classical aids are not always appropriate. You often have to do something that makes your request clear to the horse. For example. if you apply a half halt with your seat on a young horse, this may be construed as a forward aid. The use of the rein aid, which the young horse understands as ‘slow down’ can create confusion- you ask me to go forward and now you want me to slow down? Try this exercise when teaching the young horse to half halt: Squeeze a few times on the rein as if you were saying ‘hey hey’. If you do not get a satisfactory response, try again a couple of strides later. Reward a good response with a voice cue and gently riding forward. The horse must understand that you want him to come back to you. When he does, you can start to emphasise your seat and leg. Remember not to rush, and ensure your horse fully understands this before introducig the sequence of aids.

The half halt, when applied correctly, should transfer more of the horses weight onto the hindquarters so tha the shoulders become more elevated.



The road to success

Early days Meet our new columnist and aspiring showjumper, Brooke Burns. We all have dreams of becoming great in our equine world, whether it be in English or Western, dressage or racing. We all look up to and aspire to be the next Mark Todd or Charlotte Dujardin; one day competing alongside them. I aspire to be like Jonelle Price and I dream of becoming a successful showjumper: flying over ridiculous heights on my honest horse, standing in the winner’s circle with a large grin on my face and a red rosette- but it’s not all that easy. Established or well-bred horses aren’t cheap, so when you are as dedicated and determined as I am, you take whatever horse you can. My first ever ‘showjumper’ was a tubby grey pony called Capri. She had terrible manners and was incredibly lazy, but had a big heart and would do anything for a good scratch and a carrot! I leased Capri for two years and we didn’t start out all too well. Our first show was a local training day set up by the district’s pony club. I was trotting around the warm up ring almost in tears because Capri just didn’t want to be a showjumper that day. She would drop her head at any chance for a

snatch of grass, and adding the occasional buck and rear to show me she really didn’t want to be there. I was not confident at all, riding into that ring after being unable to get Capril over a practice jump. One thing I do remember about that day was taking a glimpse at my support crewmy grandmother, a bundle of my friends (horsey and non-horsey) and my amazing mother. They all had encouraging smiles and were excited for me. They all knew the odds weren’t in my favour, but they cheered and smiled nevertheless. I think that is one major factor to getting anywhere in the horseworld- having a good support crew to help you when things don’t go to plan. Surprisingly, having my support crew at that show made all the difference. I had a clear round and Capri cooperated. We ended up winning our class, and two years later, that red ribbon still hangs above my desk where I am writing from now, as a reminder of the support I received that day

“I dream of becoming a successful show jumper...flying over ridiculous heights on my honest horse, standing in the winner’s circle with a grin on my face and a red rosette.”


Equine Online October-November 2016  

In this issue...all you need to know to ensure your horse is happy and healthy in our equine therapy guide, dressage breeding explained, the...

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