Florida Sporthorse Magazine

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Sporthorse Florida

Winter 2010


Vol. 1, No. 2 FREE

Charly Miller & Coverboy Their steady rise to the top






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6 Step by Step Charly Miller and her horse Coverboy’s slow and steady progress earns them a national title.


More Than Horses

Community involvement makes the Red Hills International Horse Trials a point of pride for Tallahassee.

13 Sage Advice The FEI Trainer’s Conference offered more than training tips for dressage riders. Henk van Bergen’s advice applies across disciplines.


Riding 101

Through college-sanctioned clubs and NCAA programs, students have ways to continue riding while pursuing a higher education.

23 18 World Class

Little Everglades Ranch hosts its first Combined Driving Event.

Core Strength

A personal trainer offers tips for creating core strength, the key to better balance.

27 Joint Decision

Dr. Emily Weaver answers FAQs about joint injections. Are they right for your horse?

29 In Their Element Understanding your horse’s constitutional element can help with long-term training goals.

32 An Ounce of Prevention

Attention to detail and quality care can go a long way toward preventing many sport horse injuries.

34 Home Grown Necessity led a Florida woman to develop her own line of horse care products.

14 Living in the Moment

36 Meet Dr. Barrett

Dr. Brent Barrett uses his background as a farParrish dressage rider Melissa Jackson balances teaching and training rier and his training as a vet to help owners find the source of soundness issues. with a busy family life.


4 Inside Florida Sporthorse


The gift that keeps on giving Editor and Publisher

Christie Gold


don’t watch much television. Working full time as a public school teacher, producing this magazine, riding my horses and caring for my small farm doesn’t allow me much time, and when I do get the opportunity to sink into my sofa and reach for the remote, I almost always fall asleep before the first commercial break. One program I watch semi-religiously, however, is Grey’s Anatomy. Well-developed characters and interesting plot twists combined with a great soundtrack help me ward off sleep for at least an hour every Thursday night. The success of any program is often measured by how much chatter it generates between cubicles the following day. This season, Christina, the type-A, fiercely competitive resident finds herself forced to choose between the love of a fellow doctor and her surgical aspirations. In a highly-charged scene with another doctor where she feels backed into a corner, she exclaims, “I choose my gift.” Romantics everywhere—both on the show and around office water coolers—were aghast. Who would reject love for ambition? Although it is February, and we find ourselves assaulted with commercials demanding that we proclaim our love on Valentine’s day through diamonds, roses and chocolates, most horse people I know

Christie R. Gold

Senior Contributor understand Christina’s predicament… perhaps not to the extent that we must make the kind of dramatic choice that makes for good television, but we do have some basis of comparison. Unlike other avocations, horses are allconsuming. We cannot simply park them in the garage and drape a tarp over them when they are not in use. Ronald Regan once said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” That “good” something is nothing short of addictive. We are drawn to the beauty, the power, and our connection to nature and our rural past. This month, several stories focus on that all-consuming love—from a dressage rider with international ambitions who has struck a balance between riding and family to the dedication of two Florida communities in staging international equestrian events. To a certain extent, every time we choose horse shows for weekend cruises, every time we put a foot in the stirrup or write a check to the farrier, every morning we spend walking a colicking horse, every time we tax our washing machines by stuffing hairy saddle pads and blankets into them, every time we fall exhausted onto the sofa in front of our television sets, we choose our gift. Frankly, I can think of no choice I’d rather make.

About the cover Pictured on the cover is Charly Miller and Coverboy. Miller finished first in the Marshall and Sterling Children’s Jumper League Final for 2009. Miller trains at Foxwood Farm in Pinellas Park. Photo by Donna Miller.

Jane Whitehurst

Editorial Office 8205 Quail Run Dr. Wesley Chapel, FL 33544 (813) 973-3770

email: floridasporthorse@gmail.com

website: floridasporthorsemagazine.com

Florida Sporthorse Magazine is committed to providing a quarterly publication that presents content encompassing a broad range of topics of interest to Florida’s dressage, eventing, hunter/ jumper and sport horse breeding communities. Topics include training, health, nutrition and human interest. It includes profiles of riders, trainers and breeders who are influential around the state and beyond, as well as product reviews of items of particular interest to Florida equestrians. Florida Sporthorse Magazine accepts freelance material on subjects that support our mission. Submission information is available at www.floridasporthorsemagazine. com or by calling or writing the editorial office.

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CONTRIBUTORS 1. Jane Whitehurst Florida native Jane Whitehurst is a 1982 University of Florida

graduate from the College of Agriculture where she majored in Animal Science. In 1985, she received her master’s degree from Nova University in Educational Leadership. Jane recently retired from 20 years of teaching high school and is focusing on a second career as a writer. She is currently working on her second novel. For 25 years, she has been an active dressage competitor. She has a USDF Bronze and Silver medal and is currently working toward her Gold. Jane is married and owns two horses, two cats, one dog and a tank full of tropical fish.

2. Jennifer Bate is a freelance writer and an Arabian horse owner who has been riding

and showing at the national level since the age of 12. She and her horses have earned a combined 23 national titles and 36 regional titles with the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). A three-time winner of a USEF National Champion Horse of the Year Award, she has also earned numerous AHA Legion Achievement Awards including Legion of Excellence Champion in 2008. Jennifer is currently a journalism student at the University of Florida with plans for future graduate studies.

3. Christina Heddesheimer graduated Fall 2008 with a Bachelors of Science in Equine

Industry from The University of Florida. Her most recent riding activities include foxhunting with North Florida’s Misty Morning Hounds and training with eventer Patricia Deasy. She enjoys working with all types of horses, but is especially a fan of paint horses. Christina recently found a job in College Station, Texas, as the Office Manager of a boutique equine law firm called Alison Rowe Equine Legal Services. This month, she profiled Bernardo Vergara. Christina is excited about her new job and the opportunity to write for Florida Sporthorse Magazine.

4. Jean White is the owner of Hammock Farms in Brooksville, FL, where for the past 25 years she has trained students and horses from the lower levels to FEI. She earned her USDF Bronze and Silver medals, is a scholarship recipient from The Dressage Foundation, and won the Kimball Award at Prix St. Georges/Intermediare 1. Certified by the United States Dressage Federation as an Instructor through 4th level, Jean also participated in and attended many FEI Trainers Conferences, Musical Freestyle Symposiums, Regional and National Dressage Instructor Seminars, and National Dressage Symposiums. Jean continues to add to her knowledge of this sport through continuing education. Jean now teaches just the staff instructors at Hammock Farms. This allows her to use her extensive knowledge of riding to breed and produce the best Welsh Ponies and Andalusians with the easy trainability and soundness required for amateur and junior riders to excel in dressage and competitive driving.

5. Debra Redmond has trained has trained and shown through the FEI levels of dressage and

has garnered over 20 regional and national awards. A riding injury led her to seek pain management through Eastern medicine. After experiencing relief first hand, she decided to study the modalities so that she could treat animals. She completed several programs eventually completed a doctorate. She continues to be amazed at the body’s ability to heal, adapt, compensate and seek balance, and she loves being able to assist owners and animals in restoring health and movement through the modalities of body work, spinal balancing, acupuncture, laser, and homeopathy.

6. Emily Weaver, DVM is a 2005 graduate of the University of Florida College of Vet-

erinary Medicine in Gainesville, Florida. After graduation she completed an internship at Manor Equine Hospital, a private ambulatory and surgical referral practice, in Monkton, Maryland. She joined the Odessa Equine Clinic in 2006. She enjoys all facets of equine practice but has special interests in wellness care, lameness and acupuncture. Dr. Weaver has lived in Florida all of her life, she grew up around horses, riding and competing in eventing and U.S. Pony Club. In her free time she enjoys riding and spending time with her husband and two dogs.

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6 Florida Sporthorse Magazine

Step by Step

A systematic approach pays off for Charly Miller and Coverboy Christie Gold


n Aesop’s tale “The Tortoise and the Hare,” an overly ambitious rabbit ultimately loses a race to the persistent tortoise ignoring the frenetic pace of his competitor, opting for steady progress. Eighteen-year-old Pinellas County rider Charly Miller and her trainer, Ann Louise Powers of Foxwood Farm, understand the moral of that fable: Slow and steady wins the race. This approach paid off in 2009 when Miller and her horse Coverboy finished first in the national Marshall & Sterling Children’s Jumper League. Three years ago, as Miller was searching for a horse to take her from the pony ranks into children’s jumper classes, she found Coverboy, a bay Belgian warmblood. The talented fouryear-old was already finding success in Level 4 jumper classes with North Florida rider Andras Szieberth, who bred and trained him. Coverboy impressed Powers and Miller with his sweet temperament and impressive athletic ability. Miller purchased the horse, but she did not immediately advance into the jumper ranks. Instead, under Powers’ watchful eye, she and Coverboy started slowly, showing in hunter and equitation classes in order to build a partnership and develop the skills that led them to success in the jumper ring. Powers believes the focus on equitation lays a solid foundation for success. “I make all of the kids do equitation,” she said. “It provides my riders with structure, and it graduates them to the jumpers.” Powers says that the focus on form helps the horse and rider develop a partnership and ultimately allows the horse to jump a better jump. “Equitation takes discipline,” she

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said. “And when a horse and rider are confident going over smaller fences in good form, then later on the bigger jumps aren’t a problem.” As Powers talks about the virtues of equitation, Miller groans. She admits that she does not particularly enjoy equitation classes even though she has found success in them. “It’s a lot of work,” she said. Powers explains that for Miller, winning in equitation took great skill. In classes that tend to reward riders with long, lithe bodies, the petite Miller had to focus on riding a better course. “We struggled through,” Powers said. “It’s hard when you are short. You have to be a rocket scientist on course to beat the tall, thin riders.” As Miller and Coverboy’s relationship grew stronger, they began finding success in children’s jumper classes. In 2008, Miller found herself in tenth place in the Marshall & Sterling Children’s Jumper League final. “For the first time I thought, ‘I want to try to win,’” Miller said. To reach that goal, Miller had to

Opposite page: Charly Mil er and Coverboy’s persistence over the year paid off in the 2009 Marshall and Sterling League final. This page upper left: Mil er finished 10th in the 2008 finals. Above: Mil er with trainer Ann Louise Powers at the 2010 finals. Left: Mil er schooling at Foxwood farm in Pinellas Park.

increase the number of shows she attended. “I can’t tell you how many classes I rode in,” she said. Throughout the year, Miller placed in the majority of her qualifying classes and won thousands in prize money. When it came time for the finals in

Fellow Foxwood student and friend Kristin Mohr finished tenth for the year and hopes to follow in Miller’s footsteps next year. Miller admits that competing with Mohr made her better, though she does not think of herself as particularly competitive. “I like it best when I get to ride when I can focus just on my “I like it best when I get first, horse and me and not worry about to ride first, when I can the ribbon,” she said. At 18, Miller is the consummate focus just on my horse horsewoman. She helps pay her and me and not worry expenses by working at Foxwood about the ribbon.” and at the shows. Long before classes start at a competition, she is September, she had a commanding lead mucking stalls, bathing horses, cleaning in the national standings. tack and braiding manes and tails. Miller says that there is nothing Then, there is Coverboy who performs quite like showing in the finals. The best when he is hacked in the morning ring in Saugerties, NY, is the size of two and shown in the afternoon. football fields, the jumps are big and “It makes for some long days,” bright, and the atmosphere is electric. Powers said. “But I want her to “It is definitely a bit intimidating understand that this business requires riding in there the first time,” she said. hard work.” Although Miller, who admits that 2010 will be a transitional year for she dislikes stress and “big tests” did Miller. For one, she will graduate from not finish in the money at the finals, she St. Petersburg High School where she still had enough points to be year-end see Careful Planning/page 37 champion.

8 Florida Sporthorse Magazine

‘Much more than horses’ Tallahassee takes pride in its horse trials

Above: Red Hil s organizers Marvin Mayer, Jane Barron and Terrie Brooks are the backbone of the horse trials. Right: Red Hil s is located on public land near Tallahassee. Photos


courtesy of Shems Hamilton photography.

Christie Gold

eneath ancient oak trees draped in veils of Spanish moss, the underbrush grows thick and unruly, a sharp contrast to the shocking green of newly planted rye across the acres of open space. Most of this is public land, but aside from an occasional biker pedaling over the gravel roads, Tallahassee’s Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park is empty. It is nearly Christmas, but in a matter of days, an army of city workers and a brigade of volunteers will begin transforming this rolling North Florida terrain into the site of a world-class three-day event, one of two qualifiers for the 2010 Alltec World Equestrian Games. The herculean effort of the entire community—city and county workers as well as nearly 600 volunteers-is one of many distinguishing features of the Red Hills Horse Trials, an event that organizer Marvin Mayer calls, “A point of pride in Tallahassee.” In fact, from Red Hills’ humble beginnings in 1998, community involvement was key. Colin Phipps, owner of The Farm, an equestrian center

adjacent to the park, offered to build a cross country course if original organizers Sylvia Ochs and Sallie Ausley would run the horse trials. Mayer and fellow organizer Jane Barron were volunteers from the very beginning, drawn to the sport by their children’s involvement in combined training. In those early years, Barron took a hands-on role organizing the dressage phase, and Mayer passed out programs. Today, along with Terrie Brooks and Lisa Perry, they comprise the backbone of what has evolved into an elite international competition. Barron and Mayer insist that Red Hills is about so much more than horses, and that is why it holds such a special place in the community. Both residents and local businesses put their mark on every aspect of the event. Garden club ladies help with tours and take on the task of decorating jumps on both the cross country and stadium courses, and the agriculture program at nearby Lincoln High School takes on a jump


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Unlike other horse trials, Red HIl s is built from the ground up every year. Each January, work begins on constructing world-class dressage rings and a cross country course (left). Below, crowds gather on the final day to watch stadium jumping. Alll photos courtesy of Shems Hamilton photography.

as a class project. Capital Eurocars donates a one-year lease on a Mercedes SUV to the winner of the advanced division, and other local dealerships provide high-end cars that transport officials for the duration of the event. Volunteers from a local engineering firm drive the shuttles that transport spectators from the parking area to the competition venues. So popular is the event that city workers fight to work the event and the University of Florida’s veterinary school holds a competition for students who want to man the school’s MEDS (Mobile Equine Diagnostic Service) van that remains onsite. According to Mayer, this is all part of the allure. “There is a level of expectation from the management to the people who pass out programs. Everyone wants Red Hills to reflect positively on Tallahassee. It doesn’t have to be a conscious thing. It’s just there,” he said. A hallmark of Red Hills is its educational focus. The organizers and the community make certain that

spectators understand the complexities of each phase of three day eventing. Local CBS affiliate WCTV is a strong supporter; the station produces an educational series on the horse trails explaining each phase—dressage, cross country and stadium jumping. On each of the three days, the individual phases are key hits on their website. To further educate the public, organizers set up a Red Hills 101 tent along vendors’ row, and the trollies and wagons that transport spectators from parking areas to the competition areas are manned with docents who explain the sport. In a college town where Florida State University athletics often dominate the headlines, Red Hills has generated its own following. Upwards to 30,000 visit the event. “It’s amazing how many non-equine people become fans,” Mayer said. Those fans return year after year to root for their favorite horses and riders.

10 Florida Sporthorse Magazine “The riders are wonderful,” Barron said. “They sign of green space. The sensitivity of the park presents a challenge for autographs and are very open to the public.” Mayer says the crowds do more than provide organizers who must balance the reality of over 200 horses galloping over the terrain with the environmental support. concerns of the area. “The turn out They are careful not to helps bring elite disturb native plants or riders to Red Hills. the sensitive habitat of Cross country is D ate: March 5-7, 2010 rare species such as the lined with spectators. Golden Banded Skipper It’s great exposure Admission: $15 suggested donation per day or Butterfly. and experience for The fact that the the horses before an $25 for a three-day pass event is run in a park event such as Rolex and conservation area or the WEGs (World Location: Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park: is another unique Equestrian Games),” characteristic of Red 1700 Miller Landing Road, Tallahassee, FL he said. Hills. Aside from a But the education wildlife viewing station of the spectators For more information: www.rhht.org and a well, there are no does not end with permanent structures. an explanation of Everything, from the the movements of a dressage test or the importance of time in cross dressage and stadium jumping arenas to the cross country country. Red Hills provides spectators with important fences, is assembled prior to the event. Tents for vendors, educational groups, first aid and environmental lessons. The water management district officials are brought in along with temporary stabling, and owns part of the land, and local biologists conduct tours over the three days to educate people on the importance miles of stakes and rope line the cross country course.

Red Hills International Horse Trials


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Above: Spectators stroll along vendors’ row during the horse trials. Far right: The city of Tallahassee provides a playground for children. Right: Nearly 500 volunteers contribute tot he success of the event. Alll photos courtesy of Shems Hamilton photography.

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Florida Sporthorse Magazine 11 “We literally build Red Hills every year,” Mayer said. “A week after the event, there is nothing.” Such a major construction project may seem daunting, but Mayer and Barron have tremendous faith in the “topend technicians” who are brought in. Course designer Hugh Lochore is an FEI-certified course designer with vast experience in Europe. Eric Bull of Charlottsville is the course builder. Both are on the cutting edge of course design and research. Even with the tremendous community support and the organizers’ meticulous attention to detail, Red Hills has not been immune to the economic recession. Last January, the organizers made the pain-staking decision to cancel the event. Red Hills is a non-profit organization that begins each year at zero. Organizers must raise 3/4 million dollars. Although they have many sponsors at the $10,000 level, they have yet to secure a title sponsor, someone who will commit to $100,000 annually for three years. The tight budget makes the number of entries crucial. In previous years, the 200 entries needed to run the event came in shortly after the opening date. Last year, as the closing date loomed, Red Hills had 88. “With the state of the economy, everything came into play,” Mayer said. “We would have jeopardized the future of Red Hills. Ultimately, we felt one year would be time well spent.” 2009 was a year without an international eventing championship such as WEG or the Olympics, and Mayer believes that might have been the reason that riders were procrastinated with their entries.

“They realize now that they have to come,” Barron said. “The riders now understand the ramifications of not committing.” Riders at every level have promised to return. Olympic medalists David and Karen O’ Connor made a point to tell Barron and Mayer that they would be back for 2010 as have other high profile competitors such as Buck Davidson and Jon Holling. Barron says there was great sadness in the community when they had to cancel. “People asked, ‘Why didn’t you come to us for help,’” she said. In response, Perry created “Club Red Hills” so that individuals could help sponsor the horse trials. For $45, club members receive a three-day pass to the event, 10 percent off of Red Hills merchandise, invitations to other Red Hills-sponsored events and other perks. “Response has been really fun,” Perry said. “We have grandparents buying memberships for their grand kids. Our sponsorships start at the $500 level, and not everyone can do that, so this allows more people to take part.” Due to extensive planning required to host Red Hills, Mayer says they had to make a decision about 2010 not long after they had cancelled for 2009. “A week later Jane and I went to visit the mayor and city planner. We told them that we would be back, and they were thrilled,” he said. “It’s not just a three-day event. It’s the shops, it’s the exhibits, It’s one of Tallahassee’s top social and sporting events of the year.”

Left: Winners line up following the stadium phase. Despite its youth, the Red Hil s Horse Trials is regarded as one of the top three-day evnets in the country. Organizers say that the community focus sets it apart from other evnets. Photo courtesy of Shems Hamilton photography.

12 Florida Sporthorse Magazine

Safety First

Research and rehearsal are part of Red Hills’ commitment to horses and riders

During the cross country phase at Red HIl s, each horse and rider pair is tracked, jump by jump. If an accident occurs, medical and veterinary personnel are quick to respond. Photo

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Christie Gold Combined training is a high-risk sport, and with risk there When riders are injured, Red Hills organizers depend on is always the possibility of accidents and injuries. personnel from the Leon County EMS. A host of Sheriff’s As part of a committment to make eventing safer for its Department deputies, who are stationed throughout the competitors, the Red Hills staff relies on research ton ensure course, respond to clear the route, control crowds and remove that the conditions are as safe as they can be and a carefully- course ropings so medical personnel can reach the rider. There rehearsed protocol to use when accidents happen. “We stay are two helicopter landing sites designated on course plus one abreast of current research. When there is an opportunity over on Elinor Klapp Phipps Park for Life Flight helicopters if for research to be done at a facility, we are the first in line,” they are needed. organizer Marvin Mayer said. A team of veterinarians remains at the event during its Currently, Red Hills is part of an Exercise-Induced duration both to monitor the well-being of competition horses Pulmonary Hemorrhage study sponsored primarily by the as well as to respond to any problems that may arise. US Eventing Association. It involves top veterinarians from “We have three vets on the course, accompanied by Red across the nation including Dr. Eleanor Hills volunteers and stewards Green, formerly of University of Florida who are familiar with their “I think about my own girls assigned zones and can drive and Dr. Carol Clarke of Peterson and Smith riding out there. Safety for the vets directly to a problem in Ocala. The study is part aggressive, ongoing research focusing on causes of our horses and riders is our anywhere on the property. equine deaths in eventing. Each vet unit is equipped with top priority.” Cross country fences built at Red Hills first-responder equipment also reflect current research. Many are and screens,” Barron said. manufactured by Safer Building Materials, Inc., a company “The responding veterinarian will quickly assess the situation, that developed frangible cross country logs made of expanded and if needed, will call for stabilization equipment, extrication polystyrene. equipment or transport. A fourth vet is at the start/finish to “Kyle Carter and Mike Winter (two veteran Canadian event monitor horses coming off the cross-country course, as well as riders) put their heads together with a physicist to develop keep an eye on the final stage of warm-up to make certain all these logs that break away or collapse when hit with enough of the horses look fine going out on course.” force,” organizer Jane Barron said. In addition, Dr. Michael Porter and the University of When accidents do happen, particularly during cross Florida’s Mobile Equine Diagnostic Service (the MEDS unit) country, Red Hills relies on a carefully orchestrated, detailed are stationed in the stabling area, ready to evaluate and treat response protocol. any horse that might need attention. According to Barron, every horse and rider pair is tracked Barron, whose daughters compete in horse trials, says that along the cross country course, jump by jump. If anything she takes safety issues personally. happens on the course, a jump judge or steward radios the “I think about my own girls riding out there. Safety for our central command center to dispatch the appropriate response riders and horses is our top priority. Our emphasis has always team. been on the well-being of the horses and riders.”

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January’s FEI Trainer’s Conference in Wellington is aimed at dressage riders and trainers, but Henk van Bergen’s tips apply to every discipline.

Jean White

Sage Advice

I have attended many seminars over the years, some good and some not so helpful. Some of the biggest “names” in dressage who are superb riders may not be the best of teachers. Then there are some of the lesser-known horse people (at least to most us in the States) who can improve your riding and your horse’s training with just a sentence. Henk Van Bergen of Holland is one of those instructors. He proved to be a great communicator, teacher, and horseman through-out the two day USDF FEI-Level Trainer’s Conference. As is fitting in an FEI level conference, we studied many ways of training and addressing problems in the three “P’s” (piaffe, passage, pirouette) as well as in the tempi changes, half passes, and shoulderin. Yet in each lesson Bergen offered tips that apply across the board at all levels and in all disciplines. The conference’s demonstration horses were sparkling with perfect braids, white polo wraps and pads. The seven beautiful horses, ridden by the six fit and supple demonstration riders, enabled me to learn much about Bergen’s ideas on training. The demo riders were Lynda Alicki, Wellington, FL; Mary Ann Grant, Wellington, FL; Shawna Harding Aiken, SC; Sharon McCusker, Ashby, MA; Melissa Allen, Holden, MO; and Silke Rembracz, Wellington, FL.

Tips from a Master

>>A good teacher looks for solutions. Bad teachers look for excuses. >>A consistent system of training is very important. >>The training system must be logical. >>When things go wrong, always look to the rider first. >>Warm-up as short as possible and as long as necessary. >>When teaching, give the rider the message and then let them work. >>The talent of the horse is there by nature, and so is the weakness; respect the horse’s weakness. >>You can have a goal but not a deadline. >>The science of dressage comes before the art. >>A stiff rider can never make a supple horse. >>In the horse a stiff neck=a stiff back. A stiff back=hind legs out behind. >>Ask the horse a question and reward only after the answer is given in the correct way. >>Never make more activity in the hind legs then you can deal with in the contact. >>Very good and just wrong are very close together. >>Good preparation is not a guarantee but at least you have a chance.


14 Florida Sporthorse Magazine

Living in the moment Jane Whitehurst

In the quiet town of Parrish lives an accomplished Grand Prix rider who is learning to live her life in the present and to cherish every moment. Melissa Jackson, a professional trainer, instructor and USDF gold medalist, has gained recognition in the southwest region of Florida where she teaches and trains, and in West Palm where she is a regular competitor.


few days before Christmas, Florida Sporthorse interviewed Melissa at her farm, aptly named Windfall, because she felt it was a gift from God. Melissa is married and has two daughters, Jessica (10) and Faith (8). Melissa credits John Jackson for being a husband who goes above and beyond. Whenever she hits a road block, he is there to help pitch in, give an encouraging word, and find a detour to help get her where she needs to be. Animal members in her family include a newly adopted dog, Nala, and her most noteworthy mount to date, Wellington. Wellington could be considered another windfall. In 2005, Melissa and John were on a buying trip in Germany looking at resale horses and horses for clients. At one farm, she saw a handsome chestnut gelding doing a half pass and wondered what it would feel like to sit on a horse like that. As the day wore on, she continued talking about Wellington even though he was not on the market. John, realizing the time had come, offered to buy Melissa the type of horse that would be competitive on an international level. As they searched, Melissa rode some talented horses, but she couldn’t get the nine year old chestnut out of her head--even after she returned to the States. On a later trip overseas, they negotiated an offer and purchased “Welly,” at that juncture he was doing all the Prix. St. George movements. Today, he is a competitive Grand Prix horse.

FSH: Things look rather busy around here. What’s a typical day like as you juggle your career and family?

MJ: My day is very scheduled. At 6:00 a.m., the horses

are fed and then John and I get the girls ready for school. John takes the girls to school at 7:30. By then, I’m hopefully on my first horse. I usually average riding six horses per day along with teaching two to four lessons. Each day varies depending on how much work is off of my property. At 3:00 p.m., I pick the girls up from school, so my afternoons cannot be as flexible. It is sometimes 7:00 in the evening before I make it from the barn and into the house. Then it’s dinner, homework, showers and preparing the girls for the next day. After they go to bed, I catch up on the house chores and paper work for our businesses. Fortunately, John is very helpful and is always willing to pitch in. He definitely goes above and beyond. and I could not manage without his backing and encouragement. FSH: Florida show season will be gearing up soon. How do you manage your duties as a mom when you are trying to concentrate on competing?

MJ: My parents are awesome. Both my mom and dad come

to the shows and help out with the girls. If they can’t attend a particular show, the girls will stay with them so John and I can go together. They have always been supportive; years ago when Jess was an infant, my dad would pick her up at the house and watch her all day while I taught and rode.

FSH: Throughout your dressage career, what instructors have left a mark on your riding?

MJ: There are so many wonderful riders that have so much to offer and some have influenced me without even knowing me. I mimic the riders I admire and listen to only those I respect. When a rider speaks passionately about the feel of a horse and how your body influences the horse’s body, that’s


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16 Florida Sporthorse Magazine

FEI rider Melissa Jackson balances family life with an activie training and teaching schedule. Above: Jackson showing in Palm Beach on Jaggar, owned by Lynn Wolpman. At left, Jackson says daughters Jessica and Faith and husband John give her life balance. Photos courtesy of Melissa Jackson.

the stuff that really makes sense to me. Anytime I hear Robert Dover teach a lesson or speak on dressage, I get incredibly inspired. On a buying trip I was on, someone asked him a question, which he immediately answered, but it was the way he answered it that I remember. The answer was natural, like it was a part of him, and he didn’t need to think about it. For some reason I’ve never forgotten that. Bent Jensen is another big influence. Even before I rode with him, I remember watching him at a show in Venice and thinking it was beautiful. Betsy Steiner I credit with inspiring me to feel things, and Kathy Connolly taught me to count strides which sounds very basic but is really helpful. I know the number of Welly’s strides on the long side, short side and across the diagonal for all extended and collected gaits. If adrenaline tries to take over at the shows, I have a base from which I can check the tempo instead of trusting what my nerves are telling me. Now my biggest inspiration is Hubertus Schmidt. I can watch him ride all day. He is perfection. His aids are quick and effective, and he does everything quietly with total relaxation of the horse. It might seem like a contradiction to be quick and quiet at the same time, but he can feel a horse before it goes out of balance, so his corrections are never big and noticeable because he never gives his horses the opportunity to get to that point.

FSH: Through your years of riding you must have had some “light bulb moments” that you feel have helped you gain a greater understanding of the sport or have significantly changed the way your horses were moving.

MJ: There have been many, and I hope many more to come. A very big and recent “light bulb” moment came soon after sending Welly to Europe to train with Hubertus. We were just coming off the selection process for the Pan Am Games. For the last year and a half I had focused on nothing but working to make the team. Showing was all about getting the score and trying to achieve the next goal. Later, while showing my young horse in a training level class, it occurred to me that I was once again having fun. In fact, the whole weekend turned out to be a blast. It was obvious I had lost all the joy in showing, so I have made a conscientious decision never to let the score become more important than the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy my horse. So many instances of realization have occurred while training with Hubertus such as “forward is not always a speed, but also a direction.” He has taught me how to simplify my training sessions by working through relaxation instead of tension. He helps me comprehend things that I already know and work toward my goals, but with a greater and different level of understanding. FSH: Going to Germany to work with Hubertus Schmidt has to be a dream come true for you. How did that come together? MJ: This was yet another time I have to credit John with lifting the road blocks. We were at the last show before the Pan Am selections. I was telling him about my life-long dream to train in Germany, but I had come to terms with the fact that it just didn’t seem to


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Florida Sporthorse Magazine 17

Career Highlights Dressage rider and trainer Melissa Jackson USDF bronze, silver and gold medals 2006 Intermediare national championships 5th place overall 2007 Intermediare national championships 8th place overall 2007 Long-listed for the 2007 Pan American Games Summer 2007 through winter 2008 training in Germany with Hubertus Schmidt 2009 winner of the Grand Prix Palm Beach Dressage Derby, National Division

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Welly the time he needs to warm up. I feel like I can say be in the cards for me. John, like usual, put it all in perspective for me. He said, anything to him and he understands. Together we can figure “why can’t you ? Just because you can’t do it like most out anything, and that gives our partnership a real team doesn’t mean you can’t do it at all.” So we talked about it and feeling. I’m grateful to have someone who cares enough to came up with a plan. Hubertus was so easy to work with. He want the best for me. understood I could only come every other month and then FSH: What type of maintenance program do you suggest for stay only two to three weeks at a time. Every time I went to Germany, Hubertus gave me 110% keeping a Grand Prix horse in optimal condition? just as he does for all his clients. Each time, I could see marked improvement in Welly. He just kept getting better and better. MJ: Every horse is different but I have found the most Hubertus focused his goals to turning Welly into a Grand Prix important point is to surround yourself with a team of horse. He helped me so much with the tension that Welly was professionals that know your horse. This includes farriers, vets, dentists, chiropractors and exhibiting in the show ring. He equine massage therapists. When really instilled in me the need for Welly to come to a relaxed place “Everyday I work to enjoy something goes wrong with a horse, instead of just trying to work it myself with my family and my people are more than happy to voice out of him, which only made him horses. Every ride we work their opinions. It is best to have a team that already knows your horse. a tired, tense horse. to capture a team spot, but Hubertus’ teaching is quite it no longer consumes me.” FSH: What are your future plans for different from anything else I Wellington? am used to. He never lets you compromise for less than your horse is able to do, but he also recognizes where your horse MJ: After the Pan Am experience, I have learned to appreciate is in it’s training, and he doesn’t push too hard. This is an the saying, “Enjoy the journey not the destination.” With amazing confidence builder for the horse. I can’t say enough Wellington, I am blessed to have such a super horse. one that tries and possesses an honest soul. about how he simplified my training routine. As far as his future, we work everyday to be better than the Every riding session we do a little of every movement so now when I go to a show I can go through my warm up day before. I have learned from the past not to live my life for without thinking about it. This makes Welly more confident a team spot. Everyday I work to enjoy myself with my family and my horses. Every ride we work our best to capture a because it’s the same thing each time. team spot, but it no longer consumes me. Of course, my dream would be to represent our country; FSH: Do you have a ground person at shows here in the States? if given the opportunity, I know I will remember to enjoy the MJ: Here in the States, I work with Todd Fletrich. He was journey and to savor each experience. I heard someone once in Germany when I started working with Hubertus, so he say about me that I did not want it badly enough, and that knows where we started and where we are now. At the shows hurt because they didn’t even know me. I guess to sum it up, I would say I am a big believer in I count on his excellent eye and his positive outlook. Like Hubertus, he also has a soft but quick approach when enjoying life. Just because I won’t let it drive me crazy doesn’t he rides. Since I tend to override at shows, I’m fortunate that mean I don’t want it. I just don’t want to ignore everything Todd is there to calm me and keep me focused so that I give else at the same time.

18 Florida Sporthorse Magazine

WORLD class

Spectator-friendly Little Everglades plays host to WEG qualifier

Christie Gold


ome to Hanoverian Horses and Galloway Belted Cattle, Little Everglades Ranch sits just north of Dade City on 2500 rolling acres. This January, the working cattle ranch played host to a premier event where some of the best drivers in North America vied for spots on the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG) team. It may seem unusual that a new venue would enter the competitive realm by hosting a USEF selection trial, but the seemingly unassuming ranch is no stranger to high-profile athletic competition. For seven years, they hosted the Little Everglades Steeplechase. In addition to being the southernmost stop on the National Steeplechase Association circuit, the event grew into a Tampa Bay-area social event where spectators spent the day watching the horses, cheering at Jack Russell Terrier races, wandering vendor’s row and tailgating in the infield. The ranch is also home to the Florida High School Athletic Association State Cross Country Finals and an American Cancer Society breast cancer walk. Two years ago, owners started planning the driving competition, and their experience hosting other events was evident in the planning of this year’s event. To prepare for the Jan. 28-31 competition, organizers held a Continuous Drive at the ranch in late November. The drive served as a sort of “dress rehearsal” for the International event, but it also allowed the driving community-from beginners to more advanced competitors--to test themselves in a fun,

see Dade City/page 25

The marathon phase of the Little Everglades Combined Driving Event allows spectators to follow teams from obstacle to obstacle. The water hazard, known as the Palm Plaza Obstacle, includes tight turns around bunkers and through palm trees. The final element, the Autobahn Obstacle, challenged competitors with tricky turns and tight spaces. All photos by Christie Gold.

Florida Sporthorse Magazine 19

20 Florida Sporthorse Magazine

Riding 101

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Despite interest, state lacks NCAA team Christina Heddesheimer


s Florida’s young riders grow older, the time comes when many must put down their reins, pick up their No. 2 pencils and apply to college. Listed by The American Horse Council as the nation’s third largest horse state (behind Texas and California), it is no surprise that Florida produces some of the country’s most accomplished young riders, many of whom hope to continue their riding careers at the collegiate level. Unfortunately, for those riders who aspire to show on a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) varsity equestrian team, their sunny days in Florida are numbered, as the state boasts not one such team. Despite its lack of varsity equestrian programs, five universities and one community college in Florida do have

student-run club teams, all of which compete within the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). With its strong equestrian background and many active, successful club teams, will a university in Florida ever take the leap and add NCAA equestrian to its athletic roster? Currently, 23 Division I and II schools have NCAAsanctioned equestrian teams, classifying it as an NCAA “emerging sport.” This means that it has no NCAA National Collegiate Championship and has the potential to be removed altogether from the NCAA if it does not show sufficient growth and progress. In order to become an official NCAA sport, 40 schools must develop teams. Progress towards the required 40 schools has been slow, but it has little to do with schools’ unwillingness to fund their equestrian programs. Approximately 20 schools already have IHSA teams that are completely funded by the

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Florida Sporthorse Magazine 21 university. These schools hesitate to join the NCAA as some of its guidelines would greatly limit participation in the sport and be incompatible with the year-round training and care of the horses. Unfortunately, varsity equestrian faces an uphill battle for Florida schools, as no university in Florida sponsors its IHSA club team, and the transition to becoming an NCAA team would mean both agreeing to NCAA guidelines and finding the resources to fund the program. Of the five universities in Florida who have IHSA teams, not one appears to have equestrian on their radar of sports to consider sponsoring in the future. “The University of Florida announced in the summer of 2006 the addition of women’s lacrosse to its varsity sports. There are currently no plans to add any additional sports to UF’s varsity offerings,” Lynda Tealer, Senior Associate Athletic Director of the University of Florida said, Statements from Florida State University, the University of Central Florida, the University of South Florida and the University of Miami all expressed the same disinterest in developing an NCAA equestrian team. Barry Clements, the Senior Associate Director of Athletics at the University of South Florida, offers some insights into a university’s decision to sponsor an NCAA sport. The main consideration is whether the school has the resources to fund all aspects of the program including scholarships, staffing, sports medicine, strength and conditioning, facilities and horses. Clements says that given the current state of the economy, funding for new NCAA sports is not at the forefront of budget planning. Another factor is opportunities for regional play, or how many participating schools are close enough to compete against. The four closest NCAA equestrian teams to Florida are at the University of Georgia, Auburn University, The University of South Carolina and The College of Charleston. Beyond those four schools, the distances become too great to travel for weekend competition and Clements expressed concerns over these limited number of schools. Of course, the more Florida schools adopt NCAA equestrian programs, the less of an issue this becomes. A final factor is the level of high school involvement a sport has, of which equestrian has plenty. The future of NCAA equestrian looks fairly bleak for Florida and it is unlikely that a team will develop within the next five years. Adding equestrian has benefits for schools. As a female varsity sport, one of the main draws equestrian has is that it can be used to help fulfill a school’s Title IX requirement. It also attracts athletes who excel academically. Additionally, equestrian is a fairly inexpensive sport for a university to run, with an average annual cost of $100,000-$450,000 and the potential to receive funding from a unique set of donors who otherwise would not contribute to a school’s athletic program. For their part, equestrian student athletes provide a strong foundation of passion and support. Katie Sickling, president of the University of Miami’s equestrian team, said, “We would love to someday have an

NCAA-sanctioned Equestrian team; in fact, it seems to be every new president’s goal.” Regrettably, for now it seems that riders like Sickling will have to “hold their horses” and for a time when schools have the resources and the desire to bring NCAA equestrian to the state of Florida.

Recruiting site assists college-bound equestrians Christina Heddesheimer For the college-bound equestrian, finding a school that fits both academically and athletically can be a challenge. Inspired by his own son’s struggle to find the right school, Michael Imparato of Beverly Hills, FL, launched a website in September 2008 aimed at assisting riders with their college recruiting needs. The website, www.equestriancollegerecruiter. com, allows riders the opportunity to present their academic and riding credentials to interested schools in one organized place. In addition to photos and profiles, the website also offers footage of the riders competing in shows. Coaches can then browse through rider profiles to see if any would be a good match for their program. This service can be especially valuable for riders hoping to be recruited by a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) team, as the NCAA has strict recruiting guidelines for coaches. According to Imparato, The website has assisted between 40 and 50 riders since it began less than two years ago. Thanks to the site, one rider received offers from two NCAA schools and another received a full academic and athletic scholarship to Virginia Intermont, a school that competes within the International Horse Show Association (IHSA). Additionally, Imparato can help riders understand the differences between various collegiate riding programs and offer advice on the type of program that might best suit them. Alhough the site’s emphasis is on equestrian recruiting, Imparato advises that students always look at a school’s academic reputation before its riding team. For more information about Michael Imparato’s recruiting site, please visit him on the web at www. equestriancollegerecruiter.com or read his blog at www. myequinejournal.com.

22 Florida Sporthorse Magazine

Core Training


Improving fitness and balance starts with a strong core Jane Whitehurst

Happy New Year! Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? According to CNN health.com American’s top three resolutions are to get out of debt or save money, to lose weight, and to develop a healthy habit such as exercising. Let’s assume for all practical reasons that getting out of debt or saving money is just not well, practical. Given that you are reading this magazine there is a good chance you own at least one horse, which makes resolution number one virtually unattainable. Instead, let’s focus on something we can all do such as exercising, specifically the core. While in the past core exercise programs traditionally focused on the abdominals, core strengthening now considers the kegel, (pubococcygeus muscles that attach to the pelvis), up through the sternum along with everything in between. In fact, your leg and arm appendages, beginning at their point of attachment, are the only muscles not considered core. The core is where you find your center of gravity. A good

core program can support proper posture, manage back pain, and increase sport performance. Some common causes of chronic lower back pain are sedentary lifestyles, poor flexibility, being over weight, or having a prolonged injury . Just as we strive to achieve fitness for our horses by encouraging them to carry themselves through lifting their abdominal muscles and supporting their backs, thereby minimizing the impact on their legs, we human counterparts must do the same. Strengthening your core will not only provide you with more confidence, especially through transitions, but will also allow you to sit lighter on the horse. Riders who are fit and tone can maximize their horse’s movements with lightened aids through coordinated actions. Whether you are a dressage rider trying to sit the extended trot, a hunter/jumper trying to keep your position over a fence, or a combined driver taking a team of horses across a treacherous cross country course, you need to constantly improve your core strength. Success stems from a well though-out plan and this applies

Prisoner Squat: Keep your heels down don’t dip your hips below your knees and don’t let your knees go over

the toes, always adjust your feet not your knees when trying to line up the two. From the side the knee to hip angle should be parallel to the floor. Your lower leg and upper body should have parallel angles to evenly distribute weight between the ankle, knee and hip.

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Florida Sporthorse Magazine 23 to your exercise regime. What time of day and where you plan to work out should be your first thoughts. If you choose to work out at home, there are plenty of core videos on the market today to accompany you, some geared specifically for the rider. For those that prefer joining a gym; core group classes and a multitude of equipment will help you to obtain results. Many fitness clubs and gyms now have personal trainers. These trainers can provide the motivation to push you beyond what you might do on your own. They provide the theory behind each exercise so as to best optimize your workout, and by watching and correcting you along the way, they minimize any risk of injury. Chad White and Chad Johnson are two personal trainers at Lifestyles Family Fitness in Palm Harbor, Florida. White focuses his training program using the following components in this order. 1. Stabilization 2. Strength 3. Power White is concerned with the number of people who come fresh off the street to begin “pumping iron,” in other words going right to the power without first working on the stabilization and strength. He explains that going straight for the power is one way people end up hurting themselves. It is not uncommon to see the “big guys” pumping a load of weight with few reps. But many of these same lifters could not sustain half that amount of weight for any length of time. Chad insists that you can only produce power and strength to the point of stabilization the joint then you must make sure the muscle’s are strengthened. Strengthening the muscle is conditioning the muscle so it may endure. It is much better to do more repetitions with less weight and then build upon that. Once you have mastered a certain weight that your joints can stabilize and your muscles have the strength for, you can add more weight and begin the process over again. Just as a beginner rider would not make a four foot oxer her first fence to jump, you have to watch going straight for too much power. Remember it is a constant and cyclic progression. Each time you increase the weight you have to go back and check the stabilization and strength of your joints and muscles.

Plank: Lie on your stomach. Raise yourself up so that

you’re resting on your forearms and your knees. Align your head and neck with your back, and place your shoulders directly above your elbows. In this exercise, the body should be even from the top of head to heel, no sagging or hiking your butt. It is best to look down to minimize torquing the neck.

Side Plank: Balance on your left side. As you balance yourself, tighten your abdominal muscles. Hold for three deep breaths. Repeat on your right side. For added challenge, balance on your left hand. Raise your hips off the floor and extend your hand toward the ceiling. Hold for three deep breaths.

Before and after your workout

Remember, before exercising do your stretches but first make sure your muscles are warm. This will prevent tearing. A hot shower or five minutes of walking , marching or bicycling will help to warm those muscles fibers. Through stretching your muscles the fibers lengthen, and become more flexible. Shortened muscles can throw the spine out of alignment and cause back pain. Remember the body is connected; any movement or problems in one area, can affect other areas of the body. Your lower back pain may not have originated there but instead the unfortunate result of tight hamstrings. At the end of your workout remember to cool down gradually to restore your body to it’s normal heart and respiratory rate. Walking calmly for five minutes after a workout can help flush waste products like lactic acid from your muscles there-

J. Whitehurst

24 Florida Sporthorse Magazine by preventing post exercise pain. Also, remember to drink lots of water. Whether you work out at home or at the gym, the stability ball is a must have for the rider. White likes working clients with the stability ball because it takes away the artificial support of a bench or the floor and makes you do the supporting. “Our bodies are like water,” he said. “If left to its own, it will take the path of least resistance. You have to make them support themselves.” The drawing in maneuver is a technique White encourages all his clients to do while they are walking, sitting at a computer or driving a car. While breathing normally pull your belly button toward your spine. Do this without squeezing or flexing. Chad Johnson, the manager of the personal trainers at Lifestyles Fitness said, “The essence of working the core is drawing in because it creates a vacuum around the spine thus protecting it. Pulling your belly button in will allow your spine to act as a stable pivot point in which your joints can safely operate. Otherwise your limbs would be flailing about wildly.” In any exercise White believes in working opposing muscles together. This goes back to the beginning of the article where we discussed that core exercises used to only focus on the abdominal muscles. Now we know that if we are to have strong abs we must also have a strong back. Keep this in mind while you’re working out. If you push then also pull. Adduct and abduct, bend and extend, if you move counterclockwise also move clockwise. The following exercises are an excellent beginning to strengthening your core, but as with anything you will need to modify and change up. Continue to challenge your neuromuscular system by varying the exercises with both the left and right side of your body. Working on your coordination will not only help with your body but your brain, too. For 2010 be that one out of 5 who actually sticks with their resolution. Your horse will love you for it.

Superman: Lie on your stomach. As you reach up with

your legs and arms, squeeze your butt and extend your lower back.

Using the exercise ball. A stability ball is an excellent tool for exercising the core, and just sitting on one can improve rider balance.: Ab crunches on the ball: Lie face-up with the ball

resting under your mid/lower back. Cross your arms over the chest or place them behind your head. Contract your abs to lift your torso off the ball, pulling the bottom of your ribcage down toward your hips. As you curl up, keep the ball stable.

Backstroke: Lie face-up with the ball restingbetween

the shoulder blades. Holding your abs tight, slowly bring each arm back while keeping the ball stable.

Bird dog: Keep hips even; don’t let them rotate. Keep your arms and leg even too as you reach with opposite limbs.

J. Whitehurst

Florida Sporthorse Magazine 25 Multiplanar lunges: When you step out to do lunges

always step out then drop never step out and then keep moving forward. Don’t let you knees go over your toes Make your lunges three dimensional by rotating approximately 135 degrees to each side.

/Dade City ranch hosts qualifier from page 18

low-key atmosphere. Most notable about Little Everglades is the spectatorfriendly marathon course. Drivers trek across open fields out of the fans’ sight only to return to the viewing area to navigate each obstacle. This makes it easy for spectators to see their favorite horse and rider teams tackle more than one hazard. The event drew over 50 entries from Florida to Canada including 26 FEI-level combinations. USA coach Peter Tisher was on hand to watch the competitors throughout the event. FEI Division winners included: Vivian Creigh (VT), Single Ponies; Jennifer Matheson (SC), Pair Ponies; Elizabeth Keathley (TN), Team Ponies; Kimberly Stover (DE), Single Horse; Misdee Wrigley-Miller (KY), Pair Horse; Michael Freud (GER), Team Horse. For more results, go to www.littleevergladessteeplechase. org. In late March, Floridians will have another opportunity to watch FEI-level driving at the Live Oak Combined Driving Event. Since 1995, the Ocala event has hosted Selection Trials for both the United States and Canadian Equestrian Teams and in 1998, was granted international sanctioning. For more information on the Live Oak Combined Driving Event, go to www.cailiveoak.com.

Creekside Farm Breeding top-quality sporthorses

Young prospects available from weanlings through undersaddle. Bloodlines from Lotus T, Camiros, Linaro, Lemgo, Landkonig, and Noble Champion.

J. Whitehurst

941-223-0870 creeksidehorses@verizon.net

26 Florida Sporthorse Magazine


Joint Decision

FAQs about joint injections

What is a joint injection? A joint (intra-articular) injection is direct administration of a medication into a joint in a sterile manner. There are two main reasons to perform a joint injection; to anesthetize or “block” the joint and to administer therapeutic medications into the joint. A joint block is where local anesthetic is delivered directly into the joint to localize the source of a lameness. While not always used during a lameness exam, a joint block can be very useful at specifically pinpointing the source of a lameness when regional nerve blocks or radiographs are inconclusive. Therapeutic joint injections involve delivering one or more medications directly into the joint to treat joint disease, pain and inflammation. There are three main medications used in therapeutic joint injections: corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid (HA), and polysulfated glycosaminoglycans (PSGAGs). While these medications vary slightly in their mechanism of action, the resulting goal is the same, to decrease inflammation within an inflamed/diseased joint.

How much do injections cost? Depending on what is injected into a joint, the costs can vary. In our area (Tampa), a typical joint injection of a corticosteroid plus HA averages $200-250 per joint.

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Emily Weaver, DVM If you’ve been around horses for any length of time, especially sport horses, you likely have been exposed to the use of joint injections as a means to treat lameness or joint disease. There is a wide array of opinions from owners and trainers regarding their use, with some people wanting to inject every joint possible. Others won’t inject at all, fearing it will be detrimental to the longterm health of the horse’s joint. This article is intended to provide an overview of joint injections as well as answers to commonly-asked questions about the use of joint injections.

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How is a joint injection performed? It is important that proper technique be used to minimize the risks of infection or injury. First the joint is cleaned with an antibacterial scrub (chlorhexidine or betadine) to minimize the bacteria on the skin. Excessively hairy or dirty animals my be clipped prior to scrubbing, but is not usually necessary. Once the joint is cleaned, it is rinsed with alcohol and the veterinarian wears sterile gloves to draw up and inject the medications into the joint. Proper restraint of the horse during the injection is very important. The horse needs to be still during the procedure to minimize the risks to himself and to the veterinarian. Most veterinarians use sedatives and/or a twitch to restrain the horse.

What are the benefits of joint injections? By decreasing inflammation within a joint, you relieve pain, increase mobility, and restore the horse to its optimum performance level. Inflammation within the joint can be damaging to cartilage health, hastening the development of arthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD). Joint injections provide protection to the cartilage and can slow down the development of DJD within a joint.

When are joint injections indicated? Joint injections are indicated to treat lameness that has been isolated to a specific joint, as well as used in performance horses that may not show a specific lameness, but that aren’t competing at their previous or optimum level. Common scenarios I encounter are horses suddenly stopping at jumps, having difficulty in swapping leads or not being able to collect at the canter like they used to. As these horses age and perform at higher levels, their joints go through wear and tear. When I encounter these scenarios, I examine the horse for

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Florida Sporthorse Magazine 27 lameness and perform diagnostics, such as flexion tests and radiographs to determine if a joint injection is indicated. Horses that derive the most benefit from therapeutic joint injections show signs of joint inflammation specific to a joint, such as heat and/or effusion within a joint (i.e. filling in the joint) and a positive response to joint flexion. Horses that are lame but don’t show these signs may not respond to a joint injection because the source of pain may be located outside of the joint, so medicating the joint will not help. Joint injections are also indicated postoperatively to improve healing and cosmetic appearance of a joint that has been operated on.

When are they contraindicated? Injecting horses with severe injuries, like a fracture or severe cartilage damage, could potentially mask pain that would otherwise cause a horse to protect its limb. This could lead to a horse outperforming what he is actually capable of doing and lead to a career- ending injury. It is always important to diagnose and address the cause of the inflammation so as not to put the horse at risk of performing on a joint that may need to be rested.

How often do I need to inject my horse? This varies from horse to horse and from joint to joint. A

horse with an acute injury that gets a joint injection along with adequate time for recovery may only need one injection, while an older horse with hock arthritis may need his hocks injected once or twice a year. Often times, riders and trainers can tell when it’s time to repeat an injection.

Are there any risks of performing joint injections? There are a few very rare but potentially serious problems that can occur when performing joint injections. Probably the biggest concern is with joint infection. A joint infection occurs when bacteria gets introduced into the joint during the procedure and it multiplies. An acute, non-weight bearing lameness three to five days post injection should be treated as an emergency. A joint infection usually requires hospitalization and can be potentially life threatening. The risks of infection are minimized by using proper sterile technique and not injecting joints with overlying skin infections. Some veterinarians choose to inject a small amount of antibiotic with the other medications as an extra “insurance” against infection. A joint flare is another rare complication. A flare occurs when a horse has a reaction to the medication itself within the joint. A joint flare also causes an acute lameness, but usually occurs within a few hours after a joint injection. While not career ending, a joint flare may cause a lameness that persists for a few days to a few weeks. It is treated like an acute injury with rest, cold therapy and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), like phenylbutazone. It is very important to have your veterinarian distinguish it from the more serious joint infection. One of the most common concerns owners/trainers have when it comes to joint injections is the belief that corticosteroids will hasten the development of arthritis within the joint. This is a potentially real problem, called steroid chondropathy. Research has shown that small amounts of corticosteroids within the joint is protective of the cartilage and improves overall joint health. It is only when large amounts of corticosteroids are injected repeatedly that they begin to cause damage to the cartilage. Most veterinarians administer HA or PSGAGs along with corticosteroids to further protect the cartilage and improve the joint environment.

Take home message: Joint injections can safely localize a lameness or medicate a joint, and rarely they can have serious complications. Joint injections are not a cure all and are just one part of the picture when it comes to maintaining sport horses. They should be combined with other therapies such as joint supplements, NSAIDs, massage, cold therapy, and thoughtful conditioning/ exercise programs. Every time you enter a joint there is that slight risk, so the goal should be to prolong the interval between injections as long as possible. Judicious and appropriate use of joint injections can help maintain a horse at his current level of competition and prolong the athletic career.

28 Florida Sporthorse Magazine


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Understanding the five elements of Chinese medicine can help riders with a variety of training issues Debra Redmond A. Horneland

The Chinese Five Element Theory can be useful for understanding a horse’s personality, pinpointing typical problem areas and implementing effective training methods. The Five Element Theory assumes that we are all born with a strong preference to one of the elements. We all have parts of each of the elements, and during different portions of our life we’ll identify with certain elements, but our true nature is manifest when we enter the world and stays with us throughout our lifetime. This element is called our constitutional element. Here’s an overview to the five elements:

W ood

The time of our birth until about our late childhood is the time of the element wood. Everything is new and exciting and the world revolves around us. We explore our environment, conquer our surroundings and learn how we can control the world we find ourselves in. We learn to control our body, develop our muscles and seek to find our limits. We boldly go where we haven’t gone. We explore our environment and strive to influence everything in it.

F ire

The next stage is the fire stage. At some point during late childhood our awareness expands, our hormones kick in and we begin to seek out others. This is the phase of connection, drama and intensity. During this phase we’re interested in

making contact with others. We recognize that life isn’t just about us. We develop friendships and relationships with members of the opposite sex. We have strong emotions and opinions. Anyone having lived through the drama of a teenage girl in the household can attest to how quickly her mood can change and how dramatic she can be when life doesn’t go her way.

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As we mature we develop relationships that become lasting. We’re more comfortable with the world and others in it. We’re able to nurture others. The third stage is the earth stage. It’s generally when we’re raising our families. We’re dependable and comfortable with the world and our place in it. We try to get along and adapt.

M etal

The fourth stage is the stage of metal. We move into this stage somewhere during our middle age. Our children have been reared, we’ve made our place in the world and we’ve come to terms with our choices in life. We aren’t as adaptable to change as we were in the prior stages. We’re a bit more rigid in our choices and sometimes more judgmental. We like our routines and the rhythm of our life and sometimes are resistant when the routine is disrupted. We aren’t as spontaneous as we once were. We’re reliable, appropriate, and practical.

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As we advance to old age we enter the water stage. We become less able to perform tasks and lose some of our independence. We’re suspicious of many new things and are concerned our ability to handle life’s challenges. We aren’t as willing or able to be involved in social groups. We become aware of our diminishing physical abilities. We may become more spiritual as our physical abilities fade. Every person and animal has characteristics of each of the elements. Their constitutional element is the element with which they most strongly resonate. Each element has typical personality traits and physical

Florida Sporthorse Magazine 29 areas of susceptible weakness. By identifying your horse’s constitutional element you can gain insight into his personality, be watchful of physical symptoms that need prompt attention and develop a training program that will succeed at conditioning his body and mind without overwhelming him physically or mentally. In coming editions of Florida Sporthorse Magazine, we’ll look at an example of what the Five Elements might look like in a horse, and afterward I’ll point out some typical personality traits, physical areas of susceptibility, and training methods that apply to the element.

C ase S tudy Training the Wood Horse I met him when he was six. The muscular wood horse moved unlike any horse in my price range, and I figured there had to be a catch. I asked around and quickly heard through the rumor mill that the horse had notches on his stall for the number of riders he’d been through since his arrival from Germany as a rising five year old. “How many people has he dumped?” I queried every person who’d seen him on both the jumping circuit and the winter dressage festival in Florida. I could verify 12. By the time I rode him and decided to take a chance on purchasing him, his price barely covered his importation fees. Still, he was young, and so was I; what’s the worst that could happen? I had a cursory vet check done and other than his dry hooves, the obvious over development of his neck, and some needed dental work (the root of his stiff jaw and obvious TMJ problems), there was nothing to comment on. Did I mention that the vet noted watching him playing with the ledge of his stall? He didn’t crib, but he sure seemed headed in that direction. She advised me not to stable him next to a cribber and provide plenty of turnout. One other tiny note, his coat looked very rough but surely that was attributable to the time he spent in Florida’s brutal sun. The night before I planned to pick him up his current agent called to inform me that their transport company was planning to deliver him in the morning. Hmmmm…… how bad a loader was he? I never had anyone offer to commercially deliver an animal before, especially when advised that I had a large trailer and no plans to pay for an additional service. I gave the chestnut a week or so to settle. I noted he was a busy guy. He quickly took over the lead position in the small band of geldings I had turned him out with. I hadn’t actually turned him out with the group initially, but he became impatient with my timetable. With one powerful leap he landed in the pasture next to his original

turnout. I had placed him in a stallion paddock with a six-foot fence, but he seemed to have a slight problem with restraint. After two tumbles to the ground in my first attempt to ride him, I finally called for assistance. My friend and mentor suggested an equine chiropractor and lots of hacking. The chiropractor adjusted TMJ, a number of cervical vertebrae and recommended I pull his shoes for the summer. I worked on the ground with stretches and retraining as well as removing the bit and replacing it with a hackamore for a summer of trail riding. The first month of sandwiching the chestnut between two experienced trail mares (as well as their ever so patient riders) was truly cathartic for the wood. He was allowed to regain his trust in people while I kept his mind busy with teaching him cues. Meanwhile, his body was allowed to keep moving without constantly being taxed. We passed six months trail riding with the intention of doing nothing faster than a walk, but my mount didn’t completely adhere to the plan. I was determined not to fight with him, so I sat on him as he cantered away from his companion mares until he realized that the girls were oblivious to his need for speed. Sooner or later he would stop, recognize that the women were ignoring him and offer to return to the group. Throughout the months of trail riding, he continued to receive chiropractic adjustments, was turned out 24/7 and was returned to an oat and grass diet. Within a year, the confrontational, angry wood horse, turned into a bold, powerful partner that went on to compete at FEI dressage. After years of competition, this wonderful example of

30 Florida Sporthorse Magazine a constitutional wood horse is still sound, still the leader of his herd and still going strong at age 28. Some of the typical personality traits of a wood horse are characterized in the example above. Woods like to be in charge. Often they’re the herd leader or attempting to move up in the herd hierarchy. The wood horse is competitive and determined. Even in situations where speed isn’t the objective, he wants to be out in front, controlling and exploring. When a wood isn’t able to control the situation, he is prone to becoming angry and confrontational. When confined or bored, the wood is prone to developing stall vices such as cribbing or weaving, and he can become very territorial, pinning his ears and acting aggressively to anyone entering “his” space. Wood horses are also impatient and will push beyond reasonable limits. Because they tend to be bold and outgoing, the confident wood horse isn’t easily spooked. A healthy wood horse is generally muscular and athletic with energy and power to spare with healthy hoofs and tendons. Some of the physical areas of susceptibility are the wood’s tendons, hock and hip joints, eyes and tearducts, hoofs, allergies, and mental disorders such as depression, hysteria, and neurosis. The physical susceptibilities are organs and systems which are controlled by the liver and gallbladder meridians. (Meridians, according to Chinese Medicine, are energy channels that run through the body) The liver and gallbladder role in Chinese Medicine involves storing, filtering, and supplying blood and energy. The tissues of the body that are controlled by these meridians include the tendons and ligaments, the Dr. Debra Redmond and Wanted. “Wally” is a classic wood: muscular, bold and competitive. smaller muscles involved in moving joints, peripheral nerves, Patience and careful consideration of his constitution led Redmond and Wally to a successful hoofs, and external genitalia. FEI dressage career. Photo courtesy of Debra Redmond. When the body is healthy and the meridians are balanced the features of wood include strong sinewy limbs, bright, clear When training a Wood try to provide opportunities to vary eyes, strong hooves and a muscular physique. their routine. Cross training this type of horse is a benefit, When too much energy flows through the Liver and as they quickly tire of the same exercises performed in the Gallbladder meridians an excess is created and the Wood same place. Before moving on to more difficult exercises, be becomes prone to muscle cramps, tendon injuries, eye issues, certain that the Wood’s muscular development has had time hoof problems such as laminitis etc. When the meridian to develop. Just because they are able to jump a six foot fence doesn’t have enough energy, the issues that are commonly seen doesn’t mean that their muscular development is adequate to are tension in the muscles, especially jump a Grand Prix course. the neck and shoulders, contracted The trainer has to use his tendons, dry or itchy haircoat and “Some of the most successful judgment because the wood’s dry hoofs. race horses, jumpers and competitive nature will often take In any meridian imbalance, there speed event competitors over in competition. Many wood may be TMJ and cervical subluxations, horses excel in competition due are wood horses.” peripheral nerve problems, skin to their athletic and competitive issues or allergies, and mental issues nature. They seldom make a good such as cribbing, and stall walking. choice for the first time horse When dealing with a Wood horse, it’s important to establish owner, as they tend to be too strong willed and pushy for a yourself as the leader. Natural horsemanship methods offer novice. Likewise, the Wood horse is usually a poor choice for a many opportunities to establish yourself as the benevolent school horse except for experienced riders trying to accomplish leader of the herd. more advanced work. Some of the most successful race horses, Because the Wood horse is so athletic, it’s easy to push the jumpers and speed event competitors are wood horses. horse’s training too quickly. Due to their competitive nature, If you’re lucky enough to own such a horse, provide him the Wood horse will often work past his optimum point and with suitable turnout and opportunity to express himself with subject himself to injury and a depleted state in the process. other equine companions, vary his work routine and make Their strong personality and bold nature is often harmed by sure he is well muscled for the type of work he is engaged in, boredom and confinement. and enjoy the competitive nature of this marvelous athlete.

Florida Sporthorse Magazine 31


Combined Driving

Feb. 6-7: American Dressage Concours, Fox Lea Farm, Venice Feb. 13-14: Sweetheart Cup, Clarcona Horseman’s Park, Orlando

Feb. 25-28: Sunshine State CDE, Florida Horse Park, Ocala Mar. 25-28: Live Oak CDE, Ocala

Feb. 27-28: Florida Dressage Concours, Fox Lea Farm, Venice


Feb. 27-28: Welcome Back to White Fences, Loxahatchee

Feb. 9-14: HITS, Winter Classic, Ocala

Mar.: 13-14: Ocala Spring Dressage, Florida Horse Park, Ocala

Feb. 12-14: Progressive Show Jumping, Newberry

Feb. 27-28: Twice as Nice, Canterbury Showplace, Newberry

Mar. 28-29: Heidelberg Cup, Clarcona Horseman’s Park, Orlando

Combined Training Feb. 12-14: Florida Horse Park Winter Horse Trials, Ocala Mar. 5-7: Red Hil s Horse Trials, Tallahassee

Feb. 16-21: HITS, Ocala Winter Festival, Ocala Feb.19-21: Progressive Show Jumping, Newberry Feb. 23-28: HITS, Ocala Masters, Ocala Mar. 2-7: HITS, Ocala Tournament, Ocala Mar.: 9-14: HITS, Ocala Winter Finals, Ocala Mar. 16-21: HITS Ocala Winter Celebration, Ocala

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Chiropractic Laser Acupuncture Homeopathy

Dr. Debra Redmond Make a day of it!

Horses Dogs Cats

Get together a group of friends at your barn and be prepared to learn about your horse’s constitutional element, conformational imbalances and developed assemetry. Get training tips and have your horse aligned and moving more comfortably.

Travel to Orlando, Tampa, Ocala and neighboring areas with a minimum of three appointments. Homeopathic phone consultations by appointment 18427 Success Rd. Brooksville, FL 34604 (352) 797-0474 (828) 817-5585

32 Florida Sporthorse Magazine

An ounce of prevention Patience, attention necessary to avoid most training injuries Jennifer Bate Preventing injury isn’t easy. Even the world’s fittest, toughest Stretching cold muscles may cause injury. However, most athletes may take an awkward step and injure themselves; manual stretching is not going to be rigorous enough to injure a horse, so doing a few carrot neck however, often accidental injuries may be stretches and girth stretches should be prevented. Proper conditioning is critical fine. in maintaining performance and health. Correct farrier work, proper saddle Knowing when to quit working Athletes don’t sit around on couch then fit and a careful warm-up all help requires knowing the horses’ physical go run a marathon, just as a novice jumper capabilities. prevent injuries. doesn’t begin by jumping standards. “Some horses are just lazy but others “Horses aren’t weekend warriors,” that are true work horses will go till they Marilyn Maler, DVM and chiropractitioner drop. You really need to watch them,” said. “They need to build up to what we Maler said. “If you’re ever questioning are going to ask them to do. A training how long to work, err on the side of level dressage horse isn’t conditioned to safety.” do a pirouette. It takes years and years to Don’t simply warm-up, work and build correct muscle.” then stop either. When muscles are While building muscle tone and worked, lactates build up in muscle endurance play an important role in cells. Cooling-down helps to flush these conditioning, there are other components lactates. to consider. Another aspect to conditioning is A good warm-up will vary according cooling down after a workout. Stretching to how long you plan to work. The main is not as essential when cooling down. point of warming up is to literally warm Maler says the main purpose of cooling up the muscles, increasing circulation and down is to keep blood flowing through elasticity of soft tissues. ` the muscles to remove lactic acid buildIf warming up under saddle, try to up. limber up muscles through stretching The amount of lactic acid in muscle while walking. cells is reduced through natural “Generally if I’m going to ride for an processes. hour, I need a good ten to twenty minute At first, lactates release energy warm-up,” Maler said. “I walk and do to resynthesize ATP through the some 20-meter circles, serpentines, and leg breakdown of carbohydrates; resulting yields; which stretch the quadriceps and in the formation of pyruvic acid and hamstrings through lateral movement.” hydrogen ions. Horses that have been standing in a When hydrogen ions build up in stall or that are working on cold days may muscle cells, the cells become acidic. require longer warm ups. This acidity impairs cell operation and People may consider warming up consequently, muscle contraction. To getting on and walking around, but the best fix this, hydrogen ions are removed by rides will follow an active warm-up. Don’t carrier molecules. just go through the motions, mindlessly With insufficient oxygen, hydrogen walking around instead of riding. Do ions are not able to be released; causing suppling exercises; watch and listen to the a build-up of these ions inside muscle horse, be focused. A good warm up will cells. make the ride much better. To prevent the rise in acidity, lactic Under saddle stretching exercises are acid is formed. That lactic acid is broken a good alternative to manual stretching. down as lactate and hydrogen ions. It is highly recommended that the horse Lactate and hydrogen ions enter the be walked and trotted prior to manual bloodstream; reducing the hydrogen stretching so that muscles are not cold.

The Essentials


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Florida Sporthorse Magazine 33 ion concentration muscle cells. This removal of lactic acid generally takes about one hour; however, a proper cool down accelerates the process by ensuring a continual supply of oxygen to the muscle cells. When a horse is fatigued he can’t react in time as muscles aren’t able to respond quickly because of the buildup of lactic acid and hydrogen ions, leading to possible missteps, poor jumping or muscle strain. Though we think of traumatic injuries as resulting from a singular event, often that event was caused by something else. “We have this misconception that he must have stepped on something, slipped, fallen down, but often it wasn’t the accident, it’s the imbalance or slow reaction that caused the slip

or fall,” Maler said. “I think most injuries occur from an imbalance leading to compensating. Imbalances may start in one particular sport but they may travel and affect other areas.” Accidents due to imbalance can often be avoided through proper care and maintenance of feet, teeth, nutrition and saddle fitting. Humans have shoes for almost everything; whether walking, running, playing basketball, comfort or keeping warm. Horses too, need different shoes for different activities, different sizes and shapes, and different maintenance schedules for different animals. Good hoof maintenance minimizes stress on softtissue structures and is essential in proper health maintenance. A farrier will be able to tell when a horse needs to be shod, how often and what his individual needs are. Sit down and become familiar with each horses’ needs, whether balancing, trimming, or shoeing, and create a schedule. Good teeth management will allow for free www.hammockfarms.com www.hammockfarmsponies.com range of motion in jaw. When working out a nutrition plan be sure to (352) 799-4742 include electrolytes. If the flocking is asymmetrical or the tree is not properly shaped, the saddle could cause more harm than good by not letting the horse Imported PRE Andalusian use its body correctly. When a saddle fits a horse 16 hds. Dressage Winner. correctly, he is able to move properly and have an uninhibited range of motion. A poorly fit saddle Proven Producer. most commonly limits shoulder movement or Stud Fee: $1000 AI causes a horse to hollow his back. Approved Mares Only Injuries are not likely to result when working in good footing. However, poor footing creates the perfect setup for a soft-tissue injury. When working in footing that is too deep, uneven or slippery, an accidents is in the making. To avoid these situations be sure to maintain work area footing, and never work when conditions are not ideal. One show is not worth Welsh Pony of Cob Type ( C ) a day, or even lifetime of injury. The show may have been paid for, but injuries come with pricey 13.1 hds Bay vet bills and days of stall rest. Supreme Champion Always be watching for signs or symptoms Champion ADT of an injury to come. Become familiar with behavior and appearances so that if a horse Stud Fee: $650 AI is acting different or there is abnormal heart of swelling, things are addressed in a timely LESSONS manner before serious issues may occur. If a horse doesn’t look as bright as usual, is fatigued, Joanna Compton- Mys – Beg thru 1stlevel. joanna@hammockfarms.com lame or has other noticeable changes, be sure to Jill Hardt – 1st level thru Grand Prix. jean@hammockfarms.com contact a vet to further evaluate the situation. BOARDING There are always instances in which accidents happen, even with preventative measures; but Paddock board with Run-ins and grass turn-out. by taking simple maintenance measures and SHOWS precautions, the chance of such injuries is greatly We attend: Dressage, ADT’s, Pleasure Driving, and Welsh Shows. reduced. Horses are partners. Take care of him and he will take care of you.



Puntero VI

Lascaux Ginkgo “Wilson”

34 Florida Sporthorse Magazine


Home Grown

Necessity leads to development of natural horse care products Jane Whitehurst


welve years ago Bethany Padgett was CEO of Telesis Equestrian Center, Inc., a successful, upscale boarding center in Palmetto, Florida. But that was only part of her life. Besides managing the needs of well-groomed and well-fed equines, her other job was rescuing abused and neglected horses, dogs and cats. She began Telesis Animal Rescue, Inc., after rescuing her first horse, a once champion American Saddlebred who came to her in need of help. The gelding’s name was Telesis, and he became the inspiration for the names of three companies. Although Telesis has long since passed away, Padgett remains diligent and devoted in her goals to replace the suffering of each animal she comes in contact with health and love. Her third company, Telesis Animal Health, Inc., came about out of necessity. Among the many animals she has taken in under her care one mare stands out the most, Sahara. The Andalusian schoolmaster had fallen into some serious misfortune. When Bethany took her in she had advanced rain rot over 80 percent of her body. She was also riddled with ringworm, sweet itch and severe dew poisoning (scratches), and could not stop scratching. In her stall she would constantly rub her body against the walls; out in the pasture she bent gates into U-shapes. Padgett bought every equine skin product on the market. She consulted veterinarians and purchased their specialty products, but nothing worked. Even after spending $1500 over a period of three months, the mare was still itchy. As Padgett says, both she and the horse were at the brink of insanity. Determined to come across a formula to ease Sahara’s torment, Padgett began

Courtesy of B. Padgett

Entrepreneur Bethany Padgett with one of her horses. When a rescue horse came into her barn with severe skin problems that traditional treatments would not alleviate, Padgett set out to develop her own line of products.

her own research. She was adamant that her formula be safe, pain free, antibacterial, antifungal and contain ingredients that would painlessly soften

her newly made formula over Sahara’s body. Then she waited listening to the horses chewing contently. And then the miracle. A half hour into the treatment, the mare stopped scratching. Two weeks later Sahara’s coat was glossy and her suffering had ended. Word spread quickly through the community. Many people had come to know of Sahara’s plight and were excited to see the horse was well. Now they wanted some of the magic for their own horses. To help fund the rescue company, Padgett began making small batches of her secret recipe and selling bottles

Padgett bought every equine skin product on the market. She consulted veterinarians and purchased their specialty products, but nothing worked. and remove the crusty scabs. On a hot summer night Padgett set out to the barn. After feeding the horses their night hay, she poured a gallon of

Equiderma Products



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What Florida horse owners say about Equiderma Products Anna Urquhart dressage competitor

Keli Harrelson Keystone Sporthorses

“I have been a long term user of Equiderma skin lotion for horses and swear by it. I was introduced to it when I first moved to Manatee County about 10 years ago. My gelding has had many skin issues over the years and the skin lotion works wonders on various skin irritations. The most common is the dry skin/fungus horses commonly get on the front and/or back of their cannon bones. If caught early, one application of the lotion clears it right up. If it’s a more severe case, it usually clears up after 2-3 applications (be sure to read the instructions and only apply it every other day). With the skin issues my horse had when he was younger I have tried just about every product. This one by far is the best I have used for these types of irritations. I was recently asked to try Equiderma Fly Spray and see what I thought. With my horse having such sensitive skin. I have to use a fly spray that prevents the insects from biting, not just one that kills them after they bite, so I am very picky about the fly sprays I use and have one I have used successfully for several years now. I found the Equiderma fly spray to be one of the better sprays I have tried with regard to effectiveness. It doesn’t work quite as well as my other spray on mosquitoes, but it seems to work well on flies. It also smells great!

“We love the Equiderma line!! It is non-irritating to the horses and soothing to their skin that is affected by the soil here in Florida. The lotion is so easy to use. There is no need to scrub the horse raw and cause the animal further irritation. You just apply and let it soak in and it comes off easily with grooming. There is also no chemical smell to it so it is nice to work with. It is a great preventative. Just a couple applications a week helps keep the horses fungus free. We recommend the products to all of our borders. It is by far the best product we have come across!!”

Traci Weston hunter/jumper judge “I ride 6 to 7 horses a day and am emphatic about their grooming. I tried Equiderma products for the first time and was quite impressed. The sheath cleaner is way more effective than the other products on the market. The fly spray seems to be keeping the little biting flies off the horses but I would recommend changing the sprayer. Finally I tried the shampoo and conditioner and was amazed that they were able to whiten the socks without the harsh detergent ingredients. The horses get clean without stripping them off their natural oils. Over all I am quite impressed.”

Florida Sporthorse Magazine 35 from her farm. She named her first product Equiderma Leave on Lotion, and before she knew it, she had a fullblown business. Today Padgett lives on a small farm in Madison County. A few years ago she left her former life to seek refuge in the country. Her plan, to continue with Telesis Animal Health and concentrate on taking better care of herself, was short-lived. More animals in need found her. Presently, she has four horses and numerous cats and dogs all from abandoned or neglected circumstances. Since she dropped her 501C3 nonprofit tax ID number when she moved, she can no longer accept donations, but her dream is to one day have enough land and the means to operate the largest equine sanctuary in Florida, a place where horses can live out the rest of their lives happy and cared for. For now her main goal is to put neglected horses on the right track. Once the animal is looking and feeling healthier she finds a lucky home for them, usually in the Ocala area. One of Padgett’s favorite places to send the horses is Windhorse Sanctuary. Bobbie Burns is the proprietor and Bethany says she is always in need of help or money to fund her facility. (windhorsesanctuary.org) Through the years Telesis Equiderma Skin Products have expanded to include everything from sheath cleaner to a helpful colic information chart. Padgett says she is always working on new products. Her latest project is creating a formula for safely removing proud flesh.

We welcome story ideas! Florida Sporthorse Magazine is always looking for interesting and inspiring stories about equestrians involved in dressage, combined training, hunter/jumpers, combined driving and sporthohorse breeding. Send ideas to Christie Gold: floridasporthorse@gmail.com

36 Florida Sporthorse Magazine

Brent Barrett

Bridging the gap between shoers and vets

Veterinarian and certified journeyman farrier has started Equine Podiatry Services in Ocala..

Christie Gold Horse owners know the adage, “No foot, no horse.” Yet when problems arise, striking a balance between the farrier— who trims and shoes the horse every 5-6 weeks—and the veterinarian—who may only see the horse a few times a year—can be a challenge. As one of only a few licensed veterinarians that are also an American Farrier’s Association Certified Journeyman Farrier, Dr. Brent Barrett of Ocala hopes to bridge the gap between the two equine professions in order to efficiently and effectively treat a variety of soundness problems. Drawing upon his background as a farrier, his training as a veterinarian, and his experience as a show vet at major competitions, Dr. Barrett has founded Equine Podiatry Services. He specializes in rehabilitation and treatment of horses with hoof pathology. Dr. Barrett admits that becoming a farrier was initially a means to an end. “I started shoeing to help pay for vet school and was

surprised how much I enjoyed it. I like the physical labor as well as the artistic side of shoeing. Building shoes allows you to use your imagination for problem solving,” he said. “As a farrier, it didn’t take me long to realize how much hoof care impacts the overall soundness of the horse. I acquired this understanding while experiencing success working on lame horses. When you shoe a horse that is having problems and the owner calls and says the horse is better, that gets you excited,” Dr. Barrett said. He kept shoeing as much as he could while attending veterinary school at Colorado State University. His experience as a farrier helped define his long-term goals, and knew he wanted to specialize in lameness and podiatry. While Dr. Barrett was employed as an associate for Dr. Robert Barber, he gained extensive experience on the hunter/ jumper circuit. He has served as a veterinarian at HITS Ocala, HITS Culpepper and Washington International. “Working on the “A” circuit took me out of the farrier realm and turned my focus to lameness. As one of the best in the best in the business, Dr. Barber was a great mentor with an abundance of knowledge to share. That experience enabled me to perform a thorough lameness exam, achieve a diagnosis, and develop a treatment plan. It was a great experience,” he said. Dr. Barrett admits that most horses on the “A” circuit have good footwork. However, he began to notice that many subtle lameness problems were related to issues in the feet. For example, if the angle of the coffin bone in relation to the ground is too low, many of these horses will have chronic issues. When the time came for Dr. Barrett to start his own practice, podiatry was a natural choice, and his enthusiasm for solving hoof problems is evident. “A hock is a hock,” he said. “But the foot is so dynamic. It can change rapidly, and there are many contributing factors— environment, genetics, work load, nutrition, and shoeing. Many of these changes may be subtle but can affect the horse’s performance.” In his own practice, he says being both a vet and a farrier is advantageous, particularly with laminitis or other cases where changing the hoof angle is part of the treatment. “We can take radiographs, apply the shoes, take more radiographs and adjust the shoes again if necessary. This allows for a change in the plan along the way if necessary,” he said. He feels radiographs are essential not only for the initial assessment but also taking follow-up radiographs to monitor response to treatment. When he is working with other vets and farriers, his background gives him the ability to understand both points of view. “I can talk with either a farrier or a vet and effectively discuss the treatment options with either party, he said.”


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Florida Sporthorse Magazine 37 Dr. Barrett stresses that communication between farriers and vets is essential for the well being of the horse. “One of the potentially most disastrous things for the vet/ farrier relationship is for a vet to look at a horse once and then write a prescription for the farrier,” Dr. Barrett said. He says at the minimum, the veterinarian and farrier should talk about the horse over the phone, though meeting to discuss options is the most ideal situation. That provides an opportunity where one can learn from the other. Dr. Barrett says that farriers often feel blindsided by a vet’s instructions and that puts them on guard. He believes

that owners can help by informing the farrier whenever they suspect a problem with the feet. When the vet is called, they should continue to keep the shoer in the loop. “If a problem arises the owner can help by not taking sides, but both the vet and the shoer need to check their egos at the door. For me and the horse, it’s important to get the two together.” In upcoming issues, Dr. Barrett will discuss a variety of issues relating to podiatry, shoeing and overall soundness.

from page 9

Careful planning leads to Mil er’s success she has been a student in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. IB is defined by its rigorous curriculum, and students in it often set lofty academic goals. Miller, however, is not interested in competing for a spot at an elite private university. She would prefer to stay closer to home and attend either the University of South Florida in Tampa or the University of Florida in Gainesville, so that she can continue working on her riding goals in a familiar setting. Since she is no longer eligible for the children’s jumper classes, this year she will work on moving into the adult amateur classes. Miller understands that competing in classes where the fences exceed four feet will pose a new challenge. “[Coverboy] can do it. I can do it. The question is whether we are ready to do it together. I want to be sure. If we aren’t together it could be, well, dangerous.” Powers would like Miller to dabble in the USET talent search classes. “The fences are four feet, so it’s a nice transition, and Charly is eligible until she is 21.” Smiling at Miller she adds, “And those are equitation classes.”

Have something to sell? Classified ads are only $50 and include color photos, a headline and 25 words! Paypal available. To place your ad, email Christie: floridasporthorse@gmail.com