Success through the levels as a rider, driver and judge Vol. 1, No. 3
Florida Sporthorse Magazine 3
From Every Angle
From riding and judging to breeding and driving, Charlotte Trentelman has found success across equestrian disciplines.
This month, Florida Sporthorse features a series of articles emphasizing the importance of wearing protective headgear.
13 18 Hot Blooded
Looking for a dressage mount? Some Florida trainers say you shouldnâ€™t overlook Arabians and Arab crosses.
Ringside with RMI
Spend a few minutes getting to know John and Pam Rush of Rush Management, Inc., who bring their popular Mid-Florida series to HITS.
Bay-area judge and competitor Traci Weston shares her insights a a judge and competitor.
Racing to the Ring
A new award recognizes race horses who find successful second careers in the show ring.
19 Kristen Petzold FEI rider and trainer Kristen Petzold proves that success can come in smaller packages.
29 HOPE through Horses An Archer organization provides physical and occupational therapy through riding.
32 In their Element In part two of this series on the Constitutional Elements in horses, Debra Redmond discusses training and riding the Fire Horse.
22 Everything in Balance
Adding yoga to your fitness routine improves body control and balance for a better ride.
34 Healing from Within Ortho-Bionomy uses the bodyâ€™s own healing capabilities to manage pain.
4 Inside Florida Sporthorse
The circle of life Christie Gold
Editor and Publisher Christie R. Gold
Senior Contributor I am the baby of my family and the only girl, but I was never treated like a princess. From early on, my dad seemed to hold some insight into what my life might become, so from the time I could walk, talk and push a wheelbarrow, I learned to become both handy and self reliant. My dad was never a “show dad”; in fact, he found them boring, silly affairs, but this didn’t mean that he wasn’t supportive my equestrian pursuits. He just preferred to be more hands on. Rather than hold my coat, he taught me to hold a hammer, and together, my dad and I built small stables in three locations and ran miles of electrical, water and fence lines. When I settled on my small farm here in Wesley Chapel, he bought me a used tractor that looked as if it came off a salvage lot, but with his care, it ran, and still runs, like it did when it was showroom new, and my initiation into the world of the Yanmar Diesel Tractors included endless lessons in upkeep and maintenance. Even over the past few years as macular degeneration took his sight, he could still dictate in precise detail how to repair or replace just about anything: a rusted apron chain on the manure spreader; the mercury light that illuminates the front of the barn; broken mower belts. I lost my dad in March. We grow up knowing that someday our parents will die, but nothing prepares us for
the moment when it actually happens. I am amazed that, six weeks later, the dull ache of his absence is still so acute. He was my compass, and each day I struggle to navigate life without him. A few weeks ago, in an attempt to distract me from my sadness, a friend invited me to his breeding farm for a few days. Long rides through the woods and gallops over open fields are always a prescription for happiness. One afternoon, he offered to teach me how to inseminate a mare. My background is in journalism and English literature, not animal science. Most things medical make me squeamish. I confess: even after decades working with horses, I cannot bring myself to administer intervenous injections, so helping with the mare took a certain amount of pluck on my part. As if by some master plan, the first foal of the season was born later that night. As I watched the colt take wobbly steps towards his mother, my own tentative steps toward recovery seemed to begin. The universe righted itself, replacing my overwhelming grief with the marvel of new life. The rites of spring—religious and otherwise—are a reminder of this continuous cycle. It’s one of the many lessons that the privilege of a life with horses gives us.
About the cover Pictured on the cover is Charlotte Trentelman and Kismette. Trentelman is an Ocala-area dressage judge, breeder, rider and driver. She has competed through the FEI levels in both dressage and driving. Photo by Darlene Wohlart.
Advertising Manager Sara Scozzafava
8205 Quail Run Dr. Wesley Chapel, FL 33544 (813) 973-3770
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. Bryony Anderson, RYT, LMT has been riding horses since childhood. She has been
practicing yoga for over 24 years, and began teaching in1997. In addition to teaching yoga for equestrians, Bryony offers massage, Reiki, and Ortho-Bionomy for both horse and rider. The aim of her work is to help improve relationships between horses and humans by assisting both partners in experiencing better alignment and ease of movement in their bodies. She teaches weekly classes at Good Apple Equine in Ocala and also privately by appointment. Yoga for Equestrians audio CD’s are available at Ocala tack stores and on her website: www.movingintobalance.com.
Florida Sporthorse Magazine 5
6 Florida Sporthorse Magazine
From every angle
From competive dressage and driving to judging, Charlotte Trentelman loves a challenge
Above: ‘S’ judge Charlotte Trentelman officiating at the Arabian National Championships. Right: Trentelman and her husband Chris competing in the FEI Single Pony Division at Little Everglades Ranch with the Haflinger, Mary.
In sports where achievement at the highest levels is often synonymous with affluence, connections and a string of talented horses, Ocala rider, driver and judge Charlotte Trentelman has earned success the old fashioned way: through hard work. In the 70s and 80s when dressage was still in its infancy in Florida, Trentelman was a high school English teacher in Ocala, guiding her students through the classics and bringing along one horse at a time. A horse named Condor changed that. Together, the pair rose through the FEI levels winning state championships and breed awards through the American Holsteiner Horse Assoc.(AHHA) along the way. As Condor started to age, he began to experience some soundness problems, so with the encouragement of the late Col. John Kimball, who is
often known as the “father” of dressage in Florida, Trentelman entered the United States Dressage Federation’s ‘L’ program and then the American Horse Shows Association’s (AHSA--now the United States Equestrian Federation) ‘r’ program for dressage judges.
for judging. “It is—and always has been—a solid program that was meant to develop strong learner judges. From the beginning, USDF wanted the ‘L’ program to be stronger than the AHSA’s ‘r’ program. “When we found Condor and bought Rebel Ridge, I knew my life was headed in a different direction,” Trentelman said. Trentelman and her husband purchased their farm in 1988 and soon after, she left the classroom. “My husband thought I would have more time at home if I quit teaching,” she said laughing. Last year, Trentelman’s judging duties took her away from home 33 weekends. “My location makes it easy to fly out of Jacksonville, Orlando or Tampa. When I leave home for the airport, I always stop at the bottom of the driveway and check my tickets. I have this nightmare that I will find myself at
“My husband thought I would have more time at home if I quit teaching.” “John Kimball really believed in me,” she said. “He wanted me to keep going, to get my ‘R.’ Unfortunately, he died before he saw that happen.” Today, Trentelman is an ‘S’ judge, qualified to officiate through the FEI levels. Trentelman credits the ‘L’ program with providing her a solid foundation
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the wrong airport,” she said. Trentelman credits her popularity as a judge to her ability to empathize with riders who show less traditional breeds. “Dressage principles apply to every breed,” she said. “I’ve shown everything—warmbloods, Arabians, Andalusians—so I’ve learned to be empathetic toward ‘non-traditional’ horses. I know not to dismiss a pony or less traditional breed of horse. Every breed has good representatives. Some just have higher percentages.”
Trentelman also takes pride in her honest, yet tactful approach to judging. “I tell riders what needs to be improved, and in the final remarks, I always take the time to tell them what will improve their scores. My job is not to tear a person down. I want to encourage each pair to do better.” Beyond the judge’s box, Trentelman and her husband have taken active roles in USDF for over two decades. She has served as Region 3 Director, and Chris has served as head of the by-laws
Florida Sporthorse Magazine 7 committee. “We have not missed an annual convention in 25 years,” she said. “Chris and I genuinely enjoy going—working and meeting people.” Trentelman’s husband took an active interest in her riding from the very beginning. “He became involved when we were engaged. He took some jumping lessons, and he can do everything on the ground, but he loved dressage from the first day,” she said. Trentelman had been involved in Arabian shows, and she never really knew over the course of the day when she would compete. “Chris fell in love with the punctuality of dressage,” she said. “If the program said I would ride at 1:35, I did.” As Trentelman’s interests have turned to the sport of combined driving, Chris has found a new job as her navigator. “Once he discovered that I wasn’t going to kill myself, he jumped on,” she said. Trentelman’s involvement in combined driving actually came about accidentally. At the time, she was serving on the AHHA board. “Some of the other board members kind of complained that I wasn’t a breeder, so I bought a Holsteiner mare. She was owned by some drivers who were on the American Driving Society board. They knew I judged dressage, and they asked me to judge a driving schooling event. Over the course of the event, I watched, judged, navigated and learned to hitch a four-in-hand.” After that weekend, she was hooked. It took Trentelman six years to find a safe, experienced horse. “It’s really important when you get into driving to find the whole package—the cart, horse, harness—especially if you are not in a driving barn.” That was in 1998; by 1999 Trentelman was competing at Live Oak. It was her third event. Her current competition horse is Mary, a Haflinger. The pair currently show in the FEI Single Pony Division. Just as some dressage judges have biases against certain breeds, so do driving see Trentelman/page 31
From young riders to professionals, protective headwear is essential for every equestrian
Photo courtesy of Jean White
Photo courtesy of Jean White
Karen Kennedy/Icon Studios Photography Karen Kennedy/Icon Studios Photography
While not all equestrian endeavors require the use of approved protective headwear, advancements in the fit, appearance and weight of helmets has made them more widely worn by riders of all levels. Large photo: Mary Alice Malone of Iron Springs Farm aboard Meinse 354. Inset photos from top to bottom: Jean White of Hammock Farm with a young rider in a lead line class. White navigating Wilson in a driving class. Brooke Aabel riding Honey Baked.
Christie Gold The sand and clay footing of a dressage or jumping arena may seem like a universe away from the chalk-lined gridirons of professional football or the ice rinks of professional hockey, but when it comes to research that protects athletes’ heads, equestrians owe a great deal to organizations such as the National Football and National Hockey Leagues. “The injured human brain has no idea in which sport it has been impacted, and the beauty of the ASTM consensus standard system is that smaller sports like [equestrian] can benefit free from the very expensive research being done by subsidized sports,” Drucilla Malvase, Co-Chair and spokesperson of the ASTM Equestrian Helmet Subcommittee said. According to Malvase, that research includes intensive, ongoing research into making helmets not only more effective at protecting athletes against injury, but also lighter and more comfortable as well. One study by the Simbex Corporation uses instrumented
helmets in real time on athletes who are then monitored by computer from the sidelines. Simbex is a corporation largely comprised of biomedical engineers who research sports and orthopedic biomechanics. The HIT (Head Impact Telemetry) system has monitored impact in contact sports such as Division I football but is also studying data collected in Irish Steeplechasing. In the area of product development, there are a few new helmet construction methods being developed. One has a series of small air pockets inside the liner which are said to be able to react to the amount of energy impacting them, adjusting to an actual blow. This new air bladder helmet developed by Xenith Helmets is currently being used only in football, but the research is being used in the development of new equestrian helmets as well. According to the Equestrian Medical Safety Association
10 reasons to wear a helmet 1. Approximately 20 percent of horserelated injuries occur on the ground and not riding. 2. Most riding injuries occur during pleasure riding. 3. The most common reason among riders for admission to hospital and death are head injuries. 4. A fall from two feet can cause permanent brain damage. A horse elevates a rider eight feet or more above ground. 5. A human skull can be shattered by an impact of 4-6 mph. Horses can gallop at 40 mph. 6. According to the National Electronic Surveillance System figures the most likely ages for injury is at 5-14, and 25-44 years with each decade having about 20 percent of the injuries. 7. Death is not the only serious outcome of unprotected head injuries. Those who survive with brain injury may suffer epilepsy, intellectual and memory impairment, and personality changes.
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8. Helmets work. Most deaths from head injury can be prevented by wearing ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials), SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) approved helmets that fit correctly and have the harness firmly applied. Other types of helmets, including bike helmets, are inadequate. 9. Racing organizations require helmets and as a result jockeys now suffer fewer head injuries than pleasure riders. 10.
The US Pony Club lowered their head injury rate 29 percent with mandatory helmet use. Britainâ€™s hospital admission rate for equestrians fell 46 percent after helmet design improved and they came into routine use.
Source: Equestrian Medical Safety Association
Florida Sporthorse Magazine 9 there is no evidence that more expensive helmets offer greater protection than their less expensive counterparts. Some ultra-light helmets with soft shells on the outside must add extra liner material in order to pass the equestrian hazard anvil test. This test approximates the edge of a horseshoe or the sharp edge of a jump standard. However, correct fit is essential and some lower priced helmets that come only in small, medium or large sizes as opposed to 1/8 increments may not fit as well. Advancements with liners, adjustable dials and other fitting systems are helping to ensure that less expensive, lightweight helmets offer a more secure and customized fit. Riders who have questions about the safety ratings of their helmets can access information directly from the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) website. www.seinet.org. SEI-participant companies are listed there.
10 Florida Sporthorse Magazine
A man with a mission Tragedy turns a South Florida man’s grief into activism that now protects young equestrians
Gov. Charlie Crist signs “Nicole’s Law,” legislation that requires young riders to wear protective headgear when riding on public lands.
Jean White It’s a summer day in Loxahatchee, Florida. The Hornstein On June 8, 2009, after three years of hard work, Governor family has just buried their 12-year-old daughter. When Crist, in a ceremony held at a Loxahatchee riding park, signed the funeral is over Gary Hornstein visits the spot where his the legislation now known as “Nicole’s Law.” The law officially daughter, Nicole, fell from a friend’s horse and hit her helmetless took effect in October 2009. “Nicole’s Law” now requires riders head on the pavement. The grieving father decides then that under 16 years of age to wear helmets when riding equines he will try to prevent the same tragedy from happening to on public land; it also provides requirements for persons another family. “No one should have to go through watching renting or leasing equines to riders under 16 years of age to their daughter die a little bit at a provide a helmet if the rider does time over the 20 days that she was not have one; it prohibits a parent “She thought [her helmet] or guardian from authorizing in a coma,”Hornstein said. This began Hornstein’s journey was hot and heavy, and or permitting a rider under age to get a state wide helmet law for to ride without a helmet on she saw dressage riders 16 young riders. public land; and provides criminal not wearing them. We penalties. “Nicole’s Law” also Nicole’s fall from the horse was in June 2006. By 2008 after fought constantly about it.” provides exceptions when riding unsuccessfully getting a lobby on private lands. to pass a statewide helmet law, “Nicole was always taking her Hornstein encouraged local communities to support his helmet off” notes Hornstein. “She thought it was hot and initiative and pass local ordinances that would require helmet heavy and saw dressage riders not wearing them, We fought use by youth riders. Several local communities including constantly about it.” Wellington, Parkland, Davie and Plantation did pass resolutions His advice to other parents? “Make them put the helmet or ordinances requiring youth riders to wear helmets. on,” he said. “I am not a rich man,” Hornstein said, but despite the cost Continuing in his campaign for safe riding for kids, he continued in his efforts to get a state law passed. Hornstein has talked to Troxel, a leading helmet manufacturer, “I am not political” he said. “I just want to spare other about helmet design for kids. families from this grief.” “I want there to be a helmet that kids like to wear,” he said. Luckily, Senator Dave Aronberg and Representative Joseph “I saw where Nicole hit her head and a helmet would have Abruzzo came onboard to help the Hornsteins in educating saved her. When Nicole got her horse, her whole life changed. Florida law makers about the dangers and likelihood of head Her grades were better, she lost weight and she became more injuries and deaths from riding horses. Head injuries are the confident. That horse was everything to her.” number one cause of equestrian-related deaths according There are many young equestrians who feel the same about to the Equestrian Medical Association. In January 2009, the their own horses. Thanks to Gary Hornstein and “Nicole’s Nicole Hornstein Act was introduced in the Florida Senate and Law,” they will be able to enjoy the thrill of riding for years in the House of Representatives, and it passed. to come.
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Florida Sporthorse Magazine 11
THINK about falling off
You might as well because it is going to happen Jean White
Dispelling helmet myths... Myth: Only amateurs and juniors really need to worry about wearing helmets.
Truth: The better you ride the harder you fall. Think of
the movement it takes to get a beginner rider unseated. A five year old rider’s pony gives a big cough and, oops, down the neck and onto the ground. Or, an adult beginner’s horse does a little spook and pop, slip, flop-- the rider slides down the horse’s shoulder and onto the ground. It doesn’t take much movement to unseat the beginner who is appropriately mounted. Now take the strong professional or amateur with a great seat. They tend to ride high- powered, quick and sensitive horses. They do not come off with a simple stumble, buck, leap, rear or bolt. It has to be an exceptionally high powered or prolonged incident to get them off. Beginners fall off. Experienced riders get launched.
Myth: Helmets are hot and unattractive. Truth: Wear a helmet. They are not that attractive, but
neither are football helmets, boxing helmets, bicycle helmets, race car helmets, baseball helmets or any other kind of sports helmet but professionals and amateurs in these sports wear them.
Myth: It’s my head; if I want to take a risk, it’s my own business.
Truth: Well, that is your right, but it is not just your risk.
More than likely, you will not die from a fall but will suffer a life-altering injury that results in others having to care for you. Not wearing a helmet risks changing someone else’s life.
Myth: My horse is really quiet, so I don’t need to worry about
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Truth: Yes, you do. I once witnessed a tragedy involving a
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very quiet horse. While on a ride to raise money for a charity, one of the horses in the ride got loose. A woman on a quiet horse turned her horse sideways to block the loose horse from continuing down the paved road. The loose horse couldn’t stop on the pavement and slid into the quiet horse. The quiet horse went down, and the helmetless rider died. It may not be your quiet horse that is the problem. Wear your helmet all the time, every time.
Karen Kennedy/Icon Studios Photography
Diane Morrison riding Tresor. Morrison’s helmet is attractive, fits well and follows the protocol for dressage.
Myth: I just cannot find an affordable helmet that fits me well. Truth: There are now so many different styles and shapes of
helmets. Got a huge round head? There is a helmet that will fit you. A tiny oval head? There is a helmet that will fit you. You can purchase an approved helmet in styles that range from a plain Jane $29.99 to a custom made $900.00. There are approved helmets that fit under beautiful hats made for pleasure driving, derbies for dressage or even cowboy hats. Helmet design continues to improve in looks and in safety.
12 Florida Sporthorse Magazine
A helmet is only safe if it fits correctly
Jane Whitehurst Jeanine Caruso owner of JC Saddlery in Odessa knows a great deal about helmets. Her shop carries over eight brands from the prestigious Charles Owen, worn by the Queen of England herself, to more common and affordable brands such as Ovation and Troxel. Helmets prices range from $39.95 to $469.00 depending on brand and material. Most schooling helmets are plastic and come in a variety of colors while show helmets are covered with traditional velvet or velveteen. International Riding Helmets, (IRH), are known for mimicking the look and style of the more expensive helmets at an affordable cost making it hard to differentiate in the show ring. Whether your helmet is a GPA, Aegis, or Tipperary, helmets today are lighter-weight with built in air vents; most importantly, many are ASTM/SEI approved. The ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) is an organization comprised of thousands of skilled professionals including doctors, engineers and physicists who are responsible for setting the standards for safety equipment. The standards for horseback riding helmets are summarized in ASTM F 1163. The SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) is an independent laboratory that tests helmets to be sure they meet the ASTM standards. Caruso is a fan of the dial fit because it creates a safe helmet that is easy to fit to most riders’ heads; in addition, there are only two sizes to stock. In contrast, many of the more expensive helmets will not have adjustment features but instead are sized in 1/8 increments so ensuring a proper fit for every ride is much more difficult.
1. The helmet should fit with even pressure all around your head. The dial in the back of the helmet can be turned to regulate this pressure. 2. Make sure the helmet is snug enough to move your skin but not so snug that it feels tight. 3. Check that the helmet is directly above your eye brow and is level. A helmet tipped back or brought down over the eyebrows is not safe. 4. The triangle part of the harness should fit just below the earlobe, not in front or behind. 5. The harness should be tight enough to allow two fingers in. When you depress your jaw you should feel the strap comfortably. 6. Ride only in ASTM approved helmets. Caruso is adamant about riders wearing helmets and believes there is no excuse not to now that helmets are less bulky, lightweight and comfortable. Her final advice? “Remember the safest helmet is one you wear every time. So choose one you like!”
Jordan Penna models protective helmets at JC Saddlery in Odessa. Penna is a 19-year-old hunter rider.
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Flo be Jeanine Caruso of JC Saddlery likes dial fit helmets like the one above because they are adjustable and ensure a snug fit.
Head’s Up! The staff at Florida Sporthorse Magazine would like its gratitude to the following people who helped make this special section on the importance of protective headgear possible:
The photo above shows a helmet that fits incorrectly. It is too loose and has tipped too far back.
>>Karen Kennedy, Icon Studios
>>Jean White, Hammock Farm
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>>Jeanine Caruso, JC Saddlery
>>Drucilla Malvase, Equestrian Medical Safety Board
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A perfectly-fitting helmet should be level with the eyes with the strap fastened snugly beneath the chin.
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Florida Sporthorse Magazine 13
Rush Management Creating a family-friendly show atmosphere is a top priority for John and Pam Rush Christie Gold Rush Management currently produces almost twenty hunter/jumper horse shows in the southeast and began its Mid-Florida series in 2001. The series is now comprised of six “A” shows which take place at the HITS Post Time facility in Ocala. Managers John and Pamela Rush draw on their extensive experience as riders, judges and managers. Both are USEF “R” judges rated for Hunter, Hunter Breeding, Hunt Seat Equitation and Jumpers as well as USEF “C1” stewards. John is also an USEF Course Designer, FEI Jumper Judge and FEI Steward. Florida Sporthorse Magazine caught up with them at the beginning of the busy 2010 RMI Mid-Florida series. FSM: You are both accomplished riders and officials. How did the two of you become involved in the management end of horse shows?
John Rush (top) and Pam Rush (bottom) manage hunter/jumper shows throughout the Southeast. Profile photos courtesy of Rush Management. .
It takes a lot of patience and a lot of love; John and Pam have very different management styles. But we both like what we do, have complete agreement on what we are trying to accomplish, and the “product” we are trying to offer. FSM: Since horses and showing are such a huge part of your lives, do you find time for other activities?
RMI: John began working as an FSM assistant manager at the Heaven Trees Farm Horse Shows in RMI: Our vacation is being at home where Jacksonville after completing his degree putter in the garden and around the Upcoming Shows we at the University of Florida in Business house with the honey-do list. Pam is Administration. He was developing involved in several volunteer positions May 7-9, 2010 subdivisions with his grandfather after and John is a top-level bridge player. graduating; at the same time he was May 21-23, 2010 working for Dr. Houston at the Heaven June 4-6, 2010 FSM: What does the future hold for Rush Trees shows. When his grandfather Management? passed away, John sold the last parcels to builders and focused full-time on horse All events at RMI: We try to stay current with the market shows. Pam was an investment banker HITS Post time, Ocala. and with the direction of the USEF; new and commercial litigation attorney for www.rushshows.com rules change our business every day. We years while being a horse show judge. don’t see our business philosophy changing. At the end of 1998 we decided it would be best for our family if Pam left the executive suite to be FSM: What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the hunter more available to our family. Overtime, Pam has gotten more jumper ranks over the years (both positive and negative)? involved in the activities of John’s management company.
FSM: Florida hosts an active horse show circuit. What makes the Rush Management shows different from other events?
RMI: The biggest change has been the influx of adult riders combined with the emphasis on year-round showing rather than lessons and training at home. The latter has helped fuel the tremendous increase in the number of shows being offered at all levels of the industry.
RMI: We are a family business and we try to make our shows family friendly with extra-care in the office, a full range of class offerings (including divisions that FSM: What is the best part of your job? do not incur USEF fees), and competitive showing fees. RMI: Picking which twenty-four hours a day we work. FSM: It’s interesting that you both are involved in the business. How do you balance work and home life?
Traci Weston 14 Florida Sporthorse Magazine
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Florida Sporthorse Magazine 15
From the saddle to the judge’s box Jane Whitehurst
s a young girl, heading off to college, Traci Weston’s father encouraged her to pick a career that would support horses, so she picked a career in horses. Today, Weston resides in Hillsborough county with her husband Eddie and her two Welsh Corgis Bear and Bunny, whom she refers to as her trainers when she’s schooling over jumps. She is a rated hunter/jumper judge and has just recently reintered the professional ranks after a temporary stint as an amateur. A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Weston knew she was burning herself out managing a large barn while training and taking clients to shows. She was at the barn for too many hours and even in her sleep she was dreaming of wrapping legs and ordering feed. She knew it wasn’t a healthy situation but she couldn’t walk away from horses; they were in her blood. That’s when she decided to become a judge. Now, almost every weekend during the season, Weston is either judging a show or competing in one. Florida Sporthorse met with her during the week at Keystone Sporthorse where she boards and does most of her training. Although she is still a perfectionist with regards to riding and caring for horses, her life is now more balanced and she is no experiences the anxiety that comes from feeling overwhelmed.
FSH: How did you decide to become a judge, and what was the process?
TW: While I was still managing Cheval Equestrian Center
and coming to terms with knowing I needed to do something else, I began my apprenticeship. I applied and received my learner card then went to all the best horse shows and sat with the best judges. Because I was still so busy back at the farm I would hit the shows that had a multitude of R-rated judges (registered judges). Right away I applied for my small r-rated judge (recorded status). The judges would ask me how I would pin the class and other questions, then in private they would fill out my evaluations and send them off to USEF, (United States Equestrian Federation). I also submitted a list of referrals to the Licensed Official Committee and attended mandatory judges clinics along with taking the examination. Three times a year the committee meets and goes over each applicant’s paper work then makes the final decision.
FSH: What classes are you qualified to judge with your license, and how often do you renew?
At right: Traci Weston in the jumper ring. Above: Traci showing in the hunter ring. The active judge and competitor says that judging has given her an appreciation for the behindthe-scenes work that goes into running competitions as well as for riders who put extra effort into their turn out. Photos courtesy of Traci Weston.
in the show ring?
competitor and a better exhibitor. When you get the chance to observe a horse show from the other side you realize how important it is to present yourself professionally. Turnout for the horse and rider is a big part of it and when you see it done right you know that is how you want to be seen. Another thing that people don’t always consider is how much work goes on in putting on a show from the show management to the guys setting the jumps. You become much more respectful and appreciative. I believe everyone should have to work a horse show at least once.
TW: Becoming a judge has certainly made me a better
FSH: Are the big barns always the winners at the shows or
TW: I can judge all types of hunter classes and all jumping
classes that are not FEI sanctioned. Every four years you have to take a test to keep your jumping judges license current. Anything over an 80% is acceptable. This last time I got a 98%, can’t believe I got one wrong! For hunter recertification you need to attend clinics every few years. I usually do that the same time I take my examination.
FSH: Has becoming a judge made you more savvy as a participant
16 Florida Sporthorse Magazine does the educated backyard rider have an equally fair chance?
TW: We are encouraged in the sport to promote quality
regardless of who the rider trains with. When I was a young trainer and relatively unknown, I took a nice horse to the Capitol Challenge in Maryland. We had a great showing there with one horse being the champion in Adult Hunter.
FSH: What tips can you give our readers as to how to best represent themselves and their horses. Also, what are some common errors you see that can cause participants valuable points?
TW: The first thing I would say is to make sure your horse
is in the right division and that neither the horse nor the rider is over-faced. If you’re in an equitation class play close attention on how you are representing yourself. No fly-away hair or dusty boots. Again, turn-out is huge, it shows you did your homework and that you care. Also, take your time to take a breath. Think about what you are doing and don’t rush. It’s a shame to have to knock a rider down because they missed a lead on an otherwise lovely ride With regard to the horse it should be a pleasure to watch. An attractive horse that moves light and effortlessly will catch the attention of the judge. Make sure in the show ring, especially with a large amount of horses, to stay by yourself and to give the other exhibitor’s space. It is certainly not proper etiquette to ride up close behind another horse.
FSH: How do judges pin the large under saddle classes so quickly?
TW: I use a scratch pad and write down ever horse’s number
with their color and markings as quick as I can as they come into the ring. Then I give them a chance to walk and get positioned. When everyone is ready we announce to the competitors they are being judged at the walk. The walk is where we get our first impression. Once the horse trots I stagger their numbers under four different levels. Excellent, Good, Fair and Poor. Then they are asked to canter. Since the canter is the most important gait in hunters I put more emphasizes on it. A horse that trotted well but did not have a good canter might drop down on my tier system. I try to have the horses pinned before they change direction, In the new direction I watch to see if the horses I’ve placed maintain their position. I also continue to keep an eye on the horses that are not in my top eight in case there is a major mistake. Sometimes horses are obviously one-sided and after the change of direction it becomes evident, then I have to rethink my placing.
Weston iand her husband Eddie. Weston is an active judge and competitor from the Tampa Bay area. Photo courtesy of Traci Weston.
FSH: Would you encourage someone to go into the judges program?
TW: Yes, but not until they were at least in their 30’s with a lifetime of riding and showing. I just don’t think you have enough experience until you’re older. Plus, you have to be thick -skinned and confident you have made the right decision. That is not always easy for a younger person. I think judging is a great way to earn money doing something you love. If you are well-liked and respected you could base your whole income on it. I’m very fortunate that I can manipulate my schedule to judge shows and also have the chance to compete as well.
FSH: When you go to shows away from home for a few days what is your down time like?
TW: Judging all day can be very tiring; especially when
you are sitting in inclement weather. Sometimes I will go to dinner with other judges or show management but never the competitors. Usually, judges are so spent by the end of the day you just want to grab something to eat and watch a little TV.
FSH: What things, as a judge, do you see in the show ring that
concerns you and what are some of the things that make you smile?
TW: One rather big concern I have is with the lack of
knowledge that many of the riders have. It is much easier to judge a class of great riders than one of poorly-educated riders. Many of the kids today are pushed too quickly and so are the horses. Nobody wants to spend the time to make their own horse they want to buy them and if it doesn’t go well, or it is a mismatch, the horse is often to blame. What makes me smile? A well-matched combination, nicely turned-out, leaving the arena with the rider elatedly patting their horse’s neck after a trip of a lifetime.
Florida Sporthorse Magazine 17
Group honors race horses who excel in the showring
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The inaugural Racing to the Ring High Achievement Award was presented by Loraine Roe, Racing to the Ring’s CEO and Margo Flynn of Tampa Bay Downs to the Thoroughbred, Current Man, and his owner/rider Cathy Bailey. The award honors thoroughbreds who have found success in the show ring after their racing careers have ended. Owners nominate their own horses by submitting essays about their horses’s success. This year’s winner, Current Man, was retired from racing in 1998 with a bowed tendon. Bailey rehabilitated and retrained him, eventually landing in the show ring. Current man has been shown under the name Rapid Fire on the hunter/jumper circuit here in Florida. His show record includes 97 blue ribbons, 33 champions, 19 reserve champions and 11 year end awards. Racing to the Ring finds the praise of a Thoroughbred’s second career to be significant to the Thoroughbred industry. Racing to the Ring is currently accepting stories for successful ex-racehorses excelling in their in career via on- Cathy Bailey and her horse Rapid Fire, who raced under the name Current Man, were the winners of the inaugural Race to the Ring High Achievement Award which honors firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found at former race horses who go on to have successful showring careers. Photo courtesy of www.racingtothering.com Raching to the Ring.
18 Florida Sporthorse Magazine
Breeders, trainers take closer look at Arabian lines
The evolution of the dressage horse is one that begins back in the middle ages. Ever since horses were first tamed, they have been selectively bred for specific uses. Today’s dressage horses are no different. After years of warmblood horses dominating the sporthorse industry, breeders are reevaluating lineage to find ways to improve their horses. “Warmblood breeders are using Arabians to bring back some hot-blood and refine their dressage horses,” Ocalabased trainer Greta Wrigley said. Wrigley has been breeding and showing dressage horses internationally since 1988. For more than 200 years, Arabian blood also has been an essential ingredient in the breeding programs of some of the world’s most popular sporthorse breeds, such as Oldenburg, Holsteiner and Trakehner. “I think this breeding cross is a boom,” breeder Ricci Desiderio said. Desiderio breeds and trains both Arabian and Warmblood sporthorses. When choosing which horses to include in his breeding program Desiderio looks for horses with rhythmic gaits, a sound mind, intelligence and stamina. “It’s really coming on now,” Desiderio said. “People are looking for quality purebred Arabians to better their stock.” The modern dressage horse traces its bloodlines back thousands of years to the horses of Europe’s Middle Ages. Back in the 1400’s, knights relied upon heavy draft horses to carry them in full armor. As time passed, warfare changed and armor was no longer required, so lighter, leaner horses were able to do the job. These light horses were very well suited to cavalry. In order to refine the originally cold-blooded draft breeds, the only two hot blooded breeds, the
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Above: Arabian warmblood cross CS Afiirefli at the Sunshine Classic Sporthorse Breeding show.Below: Art Nouveau, TW, an Arabian Dutch Cross. Photos courtesy of Robin Petzold and Michael Brown.
Arabian and endurance and greater maneuverability. The result was a warmblood horse. Lords and princes kept studbooks, which were written records of bloodlines and the breeding pairs each year. The warmblooded horses were then bred to each other, creating a new type
of breed. However, today, many breeders are facing the challenge of having heavier horses. “When warmbloods are bred to warmbloods, the foal tends to revert back to the draft horse genes, making the foals heavier,” Wrigley said.
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According to the United States Dressage Federation, most people who compete in purebred Arabian dressage shows are middle-aged amateur women. Warmbloods can be difficult for some women to handle due to their incredible size. This makes an Arabian horse a logical mount as they conformation that is better suited to a female rider. Arabian horses tend to have shorter backs and smaller frames which create a
smoother, more elastic trot, that is easy to sit and does not cause the rider back pain. Another issue is the horses are not very easy to handle or maneuver. Wrigley points out that substantial size and a wide frame are not good attributes to breed for, as the average dressage rider is a woman in her late twenties. “Riding a Warmblood is like driving a Mac truck,” she said. “They are very
Florida Sporthorse Magazine 19
Name: Kristen Petzold Location: Ocala, FL Kristen Petzold has been riding dressage for 12 years and owns and trains her own horses at Centerline Sporthorses in Citra. She’s earned her USDF Bronze and Silver medals on her Arabian and Half-Arabian dressage horses, although most have been on her current mount HR Puf N Stuf. Currently, Kristen is working towards her AA degree in Central Florida Community College’s equine exercise program. Although she balances a busy schedule, she’s quite dedicated to her horses, her farm and her academics. She hopes to transfer to the University of Florida in the coming semesters and pursue her dreams of riding dressage internationally, hopefully at the Olympic level.
Current Level: FEI Intermediare 1, going to the Region 12 Arabian and HalfArabian Championships for the PSG and I1 Continued on page 21
20 Florida Sporthorse Magazine big and very hard to maneuver.” In contrast, Wrigley says that Arabians are very good at framing. The horses are very intelligent and when they figure out where the rider is trying to place them, they carry themselves there. The Arabian horse is a lighter, more agile horse. Arabians bring to the table many of the features that it gave the warmblood back when it helped to create the breed, but were lost over time. “When you compare the two, Arabians are lighter off the ground, have higher-set necks, more energy and more intelligence, making them easier to handle as well as more elegant,” Wrigley said. Dressage rider Kristen Petzhold of Centerline Sporthorses is an advocate of Arabians in dressage. “[Crossing Arabians with warmbloods] used to be a trend on a smaller-scale,” Petzold said. “Breeders are now realizing that they need to introduce Arabians to refine their horses, give them shorter backs and stronger hindquarters which allow them to dig in and drive from behind.” Petzold added that endurance, intelligence and beauty are also qualities that Warmblood breeders are hoping to get out of the Arabian cross. “Most people don’t realize it, but riding a Grand Prix dressage test is like running a marathon and doing gymnastics at the same time,” Wrigley said. “It takes incredible stamina.” Not only does an Arabian’s smaller size make it a more manageable mount, but their great endurance allows them to be good performance horses. “People used to really underestimate Arabs in dressage,” Petzold said. Competitors and breeders are also attracted to Arabians for that hot blood spirit. Introducing Arabian lines infuses some of that hot-blooded nature back into the sport horse breeds. Sandy Lieds, a top American Warmblood breeder, has been choosing Arabians to refine her horses for about a decade. This year, she chose Petzold’s stallion Khaphur Khopy. Khapur Khopy’s Arabian-Warmblood foals have been big horses characterized by strong hindquarters and good hip angles, and they show a lot of promise for international sporthorse competition, Petzold said. “They always say ‘you put the blood on top,’” Wrigley said, referring to pedigree lines. The sire stands a better chance of
refining a horse, while the mare provides the base genetics. It’s important to consider that about 60 percent of the time, foals are stamped out by their mothers. This makes it really important to make sure that the qualities a foal receives from its father are the most desirable, so the father should be the near-perfect image of the desired result. Wrigley says that, like with all breeding, some bloodlines cross well, and others don’t. However, the different warmblood breed registries help breeders with that through annual inspections. “This is only the beginning of something big,” Desiderio said. “The Arabian horses will be redefining what sporthorses are.”
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Peltzold/from page 19 What was your favorite show memory? My favorite dressage memory would have to be a show down in Miami FL, it was a USET final for Dressage, and they had International Judges in for the GP Freestyle, but they were judging the other classes as well. I rode Puffy, my half-Arabian half-Dutch Harness Horse, in the Second and Third level, and had two judges (one from Germany and one from Poland). I was really nervous being at a big show on my Half-Arab in front of international judges. I was warming up for my Second
Florida Sporthorse Magazine 21 Level test and Sue Blinks was out Schooling Flim Flam in the warm up when I was riding. I got to watch all of the United States Grand Prix riders perform their freestyles. After they were done, the new US team was announced and Sue Blinks was offered a spot but Declined, Flim Flam was retired shortly after that. Puffy and I also had two great rides, and won both classes. After my second ride the German Judge told me that Puffy was “a lovely horse.” What’s your favorite riding accessory? My favorite accessory would be my Helmet for sure, I watched a video when I was first starting out about helmet’s and the importance of wearing them, I called it the “Bumping-heads video.” I’ve always worn my helmet whenever I ride, at shows and at home, not only does it keep me safe, but now there are so many options! I have one that has an interchangeable color piece (Right now it’s pink), and with new designs in the summer it’s cooler and more comfortable to wear. With Courtney King’s accident I hope that we start seeing more trainers and riders wearing helmets, it’s really a great accessory for many reasons. Which horse taught you the most? The horse that taught me the most would have to be Puffy, I’ve learned so much from all my horses, but Puffy is the first horse that I have brought up the levels, when I first got him he was just green broke and had never even been to a show. He’s taught me how to be patient, learn how to condition and prepare my horses mentally and physically, how to take my horses out of their comfort zone to learn something new without stressing them out, to listen to what my horses are telling me, and to how to keep their work more like “play”, which has lead to a partnership with Puffy that can’t be matched. Because we have been moving up the levels together, I was learning how to do- and train- new things while I was teaching him. The knowledge that I’ve gained from that is immeasurable. He’s my best friend, and we know each other so well.
22 Florida Sporthorse Magazine
Everything in balance
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Practice on the mat to improve your time in the saddle Bryrony Anderson It is often said that the key to any good relationship is communication. In the partnership between horse and rider, our bodies and minds are our means of communication. Unfortunately, we often unknowingly send mixed signals or communicate ineffectively to our equine partners. Many times “training problems” and “performance problems” can actually be the result of tension, imbalance or misalignment in the body of the horse or rider, often both. Riders often forget that in the horse/rider partnership there are two athletes, and it is our responsibility as riders not only to develop our mount’s athletic ability, but to develop our own as well. We cannot hope to achieve self-carriage in the saddle or to effectively influence the horse without first achieving some level of strength, flexibility, self-carriage, balance and control of our own bodies on the ground. Additionally, the element of the mind needs to be addressed, as a true athlete is not only physically fit but also mentally
photos by Caralee Gould focused. Yoga is an excellent way to accomplish all of these goals and more.
Body Language In our bodies, tensions and misalignments exist that are so habitual, we are unaware of them, yet our horses are keenly aware and respond to the messages our bodies are sending them. In my experience, horses might not do what we want them to do, but they almost always do what our bodies tell them to do. Additionally, our horses mirror our bodies and reflect our misalignments and tension patterns. In fact, within just two years a horse will mirror his rider’s misalignments right down to the same cervical vertebra; a farrier I know says he can tell which of the grooms is riding which horse in a barn within three months, by the way that the horse’s hoof growth and wear patterns change. All too often, I have witnessed frustrated riders blaming
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Florida Sporthorse Magazine 23
Opposite page: Yoga instructor Bryrony Anderson demonstrates the warrior pose to dressage rider Cori Forte Zivojnovich. This pose helps her learn to engage her upper back, to develop new muscle memory to improve self-carriage and balance in the saddle.. Above: Dressage instructor Stacy Parvey-Larsson and Anderson discuss Zivojnovich’s position. Right: Zivojnovich practices the warrior pose on her horse. By improving balance and alignment, yoga enables riders to better ommunicate with their horses.
the horse when things don’t go right: “He knows what I am asking him for! He’s just being difficult!” In reality, the rider’s body being out of alignment makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the horse to do what is expected of him. The horse cannot get his own body in balance while the rider is throwing him off. It is therefore in the best interest of ourselves, our horses, and our relationships with them to work on improving our own condition before getting in the saddle.
Horses: The Ultimate Teachers
Many years ago I was sharing my horse with my friend, Jillian. We’d go to the stable on alternate days and leave each other notes each time explaining what we did with Marco that day and how he went for us. One day, Jillian was having a lot of difficulty getting him to canter to the left. His right lead was beautiful, but the left was as if he couldn’t get his body coordinated to go that direction at all. She left me a note to tell me what she had worked on and the trouble she’d had. Interestingly, the next day when I rode Marco, I had no problem getting the left lead, but the right lead was uncoordinated and sloppy! I had known that my left shoulder had a tendency to fall in, causing the alignment of my shoulders-over-hips to shift and my weight to fall more heavily onto my right seat bone. I thought that I managed it pretty well in the saddle, and that Marco would be used to my body (and more forgiving!) having worked together for a few years at that point. But I could not deny what I was witnessing: my horse was
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responding to the alignment of his rider—whoever happened to be on him at that moment—despite what we were trying to ask him to do. Having a sensitive horse has actually been a great blessing to me: he is my best teacher, and makes me very aware of when I am even slightly out of alignment or my mind is distracted. As I adjust my body and bring my mind back to the present moment, his responses give me immediate feedback.
Yoga to the Rescue Working with Marco and other sensitive horses, I soon realized that I’d have my best rides right after doing yoga or receiving bodywork, when my mind was calm and clear and when my body was aligned, balanced from left to right, and free of tension. I began to notice that specific yoga poses related directly to what I needed to do in my body while riding to communicate effectively with my horse. Since then, I have been designing yoga practices for riders to help them improve specific aspects of their riding that give them the most difficulty. Yoga practice develops strength, symmetry and selfcarriage, and improves alignment, flexibility, coordination and balance. Yoga cultivates concentration and a calm, focused mind so that we can interact with our horses in an effective, non-reactive way. The practitioner gains self-awareness and begins to recognize what adjustments to make in his/her own body to be most effective and at ease while riding and doing other daily activities. Of course, any exercise that you enjoy and do regularly
24 Florida Sporthorse Magazine will help you to be more physically fit, and therefore better at controlling your body in the saddle. However, yoga stands apart as superior in a number of ways: it reprograms habitual patterns of use and realigns the body; it develops the body symmetrically, and improves both strength and flexibility; and it focuses the mind.
By holding the yoga postures and breathing steadily, you actually re-set your musclesâ€™ resting length and reprogram habitual patterns of movement. Unlike other forms of exercise that simply reinforce ineffective patterns and asymmetries, yoga develops the body equally on both sides. Yoga also differs from mere exercise in that it develops the practitionerâ€™s self-awareness; as a rider, this is extremely
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Practice Here are a few simple yoga moves you can do to get started. Except for the Cat Stretch, hold each pose for three full breaths, noticing the quality of your breath. The breath should be free and easy. If it becomes strained, it is a good sign that you are trying too hard and forcing, so ease up.
Begin on your hands and knees (above). With an inhalation, lift your tailbone and look ahead of you, dropping your belly towards the floor. As you exhale, tuck your tailbone down and pull your navel towards your spine, rounding your back. Repeat for several breath cycles, letting your breath set the pace for the movement. This exercise helps improve flexibility in the spine and pelvis to better follow the movements of your horse.
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beneficial because it enables you to feel where you are “off” and to sense what you need to do in your body to achieve the desired results. And perhaps the most important way that yoga helps us as riders is by developing a calm mind, centered in the present moment-- where our horses are and where we must be if we are to clearly communicate with them. As you continue practicing and learn to honor your body’s
Supine Twist Lie on your back, legs extended. Bring your right knee to your chest, and your right arm out to your side (palm up). With your leftt hand, bring your bent knee across your body to the left, rolling onto your left hip. Hold your best position, remembering to breathe comfortably. Twisting poses improve your body symmetry and give you greater awareness of the relationship between the alignment of your shoulders and hips. This is the same action used in your body to turn your horse. (TIP: If your horse has difficulty turning to one direction, it may be because you have trouble turning your body that way.)
Standing Side Bend Stand with your feet either together or hip-width apart. With an inhalation, bring your arms overhead, lengthening the sides of the waist and lifting the ribcage away from the pelvis. Exhale, and bend to one side. Try to keep your upper shoulder from falling forward. (You can do this pose standing against a wall to get a better sense of your shoulder-hip alignment) Hold for 3 full breath cycles, then inhale back to center. Exhale, bending to the other side, again holding for 3 full breaths. This pose will help you in doing lateral work, and will develop symmetry between the right and left sides of the body. This exercise is great if you tend to have one hip higher than the other, sitting heavier on the opposite
Florida Sporthorse Magazine 25 signals to you, you will soon become better at understanding your horse’s feedback, and recognizing the valuable teacher your equine partner can be. Yoga can help you to overcome some of your most difficult riding challenges, even if you can only practice for a short time a few days a week.
Wide-legged forward bend with twist Stand with your feet wide apart, heels out further than your toes (inset photo). Bend forward from your hips and place your hands on the floor (or on a yoga block or chair if you can’t comfortably reach the floor). Bring your left hand to your sacrum (the back of your pelvis), palm down. Exhale, and twist to look towards your left. Try to keep your pelvis parallel with the floor. Hold for three full breaths, then return to center and repeat to the other side. This pose lengthens the inner thigh muscles, helps you to remember not to grip when you ride and develops the ability to operate your upper body independently of your lower body for an “independent seat.” Like other twisting poses, it helps you improve the way you ride circles and turns.
26 Florida Sporthorse Magazine
HOPE through horses Archer therapeutic riding center helps patients build confidence as well as coordination
Christina Heddesheimer The 1952 Olympic Games, held in Helsinki, Finland, was a landmark event for both women and therapeutic riding. Lis Hartel of Denmark became the first woman to compete in an Olympic equestrian event. Her dressage performance was enough to earn her a silver medal, but Hartelâ€™s gender was not the only thing that separated her from the rest of the Olympians that year. Following her test, as Hartel began to dismount, gold medalist Henri Saint Cyr rushed to her side to help her, carrying her to the podium for the medal ceremony. Hartel could not mount or dismount without assistance, as she was paralyzed from the knee down, the result of polio she contracted in 1944 at the age of 23. Undeterred by her doctors, who predicted she would never ride again, Hartel underwent physical therapy, regaining her strength and ability to ride. In the mid-50â€™s, Hartel founded the first therapeutic riding center in Europe. By the late 60â€™s, medical communities in the United States began to recognize therapeutic riding as a valuable form of therapy. Florida is home to 43 Therapeutic Riding Centers accredited by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA), an organization created to promote safe and effective therapeutic riding by establishing standards that all accredited centers must meet. One such center, Horses Helping People (HOPE), is a 40-acre farm located in Archer, just outside of Gainesville that provides occupational therapy and therapeutic riding lessons to children and adults in the community. Occupational therapy utilizes horses to strengthen skills needed in everyday life, such as communication and muscle coordination, while therapeutic riding focuses on improving the riding ability
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Florida Sporthorse Magazine 27
Opposite page: Volunteers lead a HOPE rider around the farm in a session. Above: Dale Ginder has benefitted from his time in the saddle at HOPE. Photos by Rick Ginder.
child in the event he or she loses their of the patient. The Occupational Therapist at HOPE, balance. Lessons are typically private and Cathi Brown, is a certified NARHA instructor who is present during all designed for each patient’s goals and Occupational Therapy therapeutic riding and occupational capabilities. usually has specific goals set by a therapy lessons. patient’s doctor and may include things HOPE currently teaches riders like improved between the ages mobility and of five and 40, with nformation about upcoming communication an average age between 10 and 12. events and volunteer opportunities skills. Activities off The farm is can be found at HOPE’s website: the horse, such home to eight as grooming, horses, many that www.horseshel p i n gpeopl e .org. can also be have had successful used to improve show careers before becoming therapeutic riding horses. things like the ability to follow a set of Therapeutic riding horses must be calm, instructions. Therapeutic riding is a far cry from reliable and enjoy people, as they are subjected to much petting, brushing, the typical hospital environment often used for therapy. poking and, of course, riding. HOPE’s executive director, Kristen When a horse arrives on the farm, it Shimeall said, “A lot of our patients undergoes a trial period to determine whether or not it may be suitable for are seeing several different doctors and therapeutic riding. Training involves therapists throughout the week, so this simulating exercises and games that is a chance for them to come and be in patients will do while on horseback, a therapy environment but not really such as throwing balls into a basketball know they’re doing therapy. They just hoop and having “sidewalkers,” walk think that they’re learning how to ride closely beside the horse. “Sidewalkers” a horse.” The enjoyment riders receive from are two people placed on either side of the horse during the lesson, to catch a interacting with the horses is a critical
component to the success of the therapy. Riders are motivated to achieve their goals so they can accomplish more with the horses. One rider, Dale Ginder, is an 8year-old boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s ability to produce protein dystrophin, a critical structural component within muscle tissue. The disorder causes progressive muscle weakness, as the body is unable to properly replace damaged muscle fibers. Dale has been riding at HOPE for almost two years and his mother, Lelia Ginder has noticed significant improvements in his confidence and social skills. “I think he’s come out of his shell socially a little bit…At first he was kind of shy and didn’t show a lot of himself, but now, he goes out there and he’s ‘Mr. Personality’, everybody loves him,” she said. Dale is comfortable around horses and easily connects with them. “Horses don’t judge him, they just love him for who he is,” Lelia said. Lelia thinks therapeutic riding has been beneficial for the entire family. “The whole family enjoys going out there. It’s such a peaceful place. It kind of takes you out of your daily routine. My husband and I jokingly fight over who’s going to take Dale to the farm,” she said. In addition to lessons on the farm, HOPE also does outreach activities in the community. Their 36-inch miniature pony, Rocky makes various appearances at places like nursing homes and hospitals. They are also involved in Horses for Heroes, a national program developed by NAHRA that offers free therapy and riding lessons to military veterans and service personnel. HOPE receives funding from various sources throughout the community and holds several annual events to help raise money. In addition to fundraising efforts, HOPE is always looking for reliable volunteers, preferably with horse experience. Volunteers are needed to feed horses, assist during lessons and exercise lesson horses.
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28 Florida Sporthorse Magazine
In their ‘element’
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Part two in a four-part series Last month: The Wood Horse This month: The Fire Horse
(past articles available at floridasporthorsemagazine.com)
In Chinese medicine the five elements symbolize moving through the stages of life. It is thought that each being is born identifying more strongly with one of the elements, while possessing some characteristics of each of the elements. Birth and childhood are the time of the Wood element. The Wood sees the world anew, growth and exploration are important themes. It’s the time of spring, adventure, competition and boldly setting out to conquer the surrounding environment. As a youngster continues to grow strong and confident they move into the symbolic time of Fire. Summer, with its intense heat and storms is the time of the element Fire. Fire is driven by the need to connect with another. It’s the time of drama and developing connections with another. Indian summer follows bringing with it a softness and warmth. This is the time of Earth. It symbolizes the time of harvest and nurturing and peacefulness. Autumn brings the first signs of decline. The leaves fall and the sky starts to turn grey. Autumn symbolizes the time of Metal. It possesses a certain rigidity and a certain loss of the ability to see an endless number of possibilities. There is a certainty of what is right and wrong and a conservation of energy that may be needed at a latter time. As the last leaves fall it brings the time of Water which is associated with winter. The time of Water is symbolized by a monochromatic landscape when everything in the world turns white with snow and becomes blended. Water takes the path of least resistance, seeping into unoccupied space. The element Water is spiritual and needs support in order to contain it and give it form. The previous article discussed some of the typical characteristics of the Wood horse and methods used successfully in order to train a Wood. I also pointed out some typical physical issues associated with the Chinese element of Wood. In this issue’s article I’ll discuss the Fire horse and in subsequent issues I’ll provide
examples of the other elements. The fire horse is the dramatic, hot blooded animal that everyone notices. Fire is associated with circulation, especially the veins, arteries and the heart. Aside from the intensity of the Fire horse, most people will notice the thin skin appearance, with the veins evident just under the surface of the skin. The nostrils are large and often flaring. Many Fire horses have excellent endurance when they are in a balanced state. According to the Chinese, the heart, which is the organ most closely associated with the element of Fire, is also the home of emotions. The Fire horse is notoriously emotional and strives to be connected to another. I bought my Fire horse when he was only three days old. I’d met his sire, dam, and numerous full siblings. If I had the opportunity I would have purchased any of his full siblings. They were all brilliant examples of the modern sport horse breeders strive to produce. The colt I bought was no exception. Long before he was weaned. it was evident that he was all boy. A At three months of age he jumped over a dutch door into a pasture of mares and tried to breed one of them. After his arrival at my farm, the call of his hormones caused him to go searching for a female suitor. I came home to find him missing in action. I called the local sheriff’s department and numerous neighbors. I couldn’t find the colt. Hours later he came trotting up our lane as if nothing had happened. Apparently he’d jumped out of our four board pasture and into a barbed wire field some distance away where a group of mares were grazing. He apparently jumped back out of the field and returned home around dinner time. I placed him in his stall, and there he remained until the vet could come out and geld him. Fire horses are highly sexual and the need to connect with another is extremely strong. I tried to keep my colts intact
Most Fire’s are distraught if left alone. At a minimum, they’ll call for their buddy and pace until the return of a companion.
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until they were two or three years old, but this overly sexual colt barely made it a year. Gelding the colt Koncord improved his urge to roam, but it didn’t diminish his need to be with other horses. When I wanted to take my older horse away from home to a show or lesson I had to have another horse in the barn or the pasture with Koncord or he would self destruct. If I left him in a stall he’d try to jump or climb out. If he was in a pasture he would jump the fence or run the fence line and scream. Another horse was the only solution. Most Fire’s are distraught if left alone. At a minimum, they’ll call for their buddy and pace until the return of a companion. Developmentally the time of Fire occurs around puberty. Sexuality is an important theme and connecting with others is paramount. When I think about the element of Fire I think about the drama and intensity of human teenagers. Relationships are a matter of life and death to many teenagers. They want to be part of the group, and their intense Dramatic and athletic with a desire to perform, Koncord was the epitome of a fire horse. Photo courtesty of Debra Redmond. feelings are often “over the top.” Training a Fire to focus on a mere mortal is challenging to competition season. She had a bigger, more active barn and say the least. The natural horsemanship principals of “join up” I felt that providing him with additional stimulation would benefit him. are successful in establishing the human as a capable leader. When we competed we would often arrive a day earlier In order to deal with the fire’s distress without his “herd” I than most competitors in order to give him time to become gradually increased the time of separation from other horses. accustomed to a new venue. I found that I had to repeat the separation training in different In a balanced state the fire horse is dramatic but manageable. locations in order to be successful with the Fire horse. Training in familiar settings on home turf is generally the least stressful; When in a deficient state the fire can burn up the body’s fluids however, the process needed to be repeated in many settings and suffer from an inability to sweat. In an excess state the fire horse actually loses too much fluid and sweats excessively. in order to keep my Fire horse focused on training. Either excess or deficiency can ultimately leave a Fire Koncord grew to be a 17.1 hand, ebony dressage competitor. He was dramatic and sensitive. He needed to be the star of the anemic and suffering from poor physical endurance. Think show and usually he was. Good or bad, it was impossible to about the stereotypical Arabian or Thoroughbred race horse. The thin- skinned athlete shows every vein just beneath the ignore him. The highest dressage scores I ever earned were astride skin and their nostrils flare. The stimulation of running can actually pump them up, and they’ll have a difficult time Koncord; ditto with the lowest scores I ever earned. Fire controls the heart, circulation, mental conditions (in winding down after the race has been run. The tongue is also controlled by Fire. Fire horses sometimes Chinese Medicine called Shen), the pericardium, and small have difficulty accepting the bit or are particularly difficult to intestines. Every outing with Koncord demonstrated how important bit correctly. Some Fire horses have developed the problem of mental preparation was for this fire. If Koncord wasn’t given getting their tongues over the bit. Many Fire horses will play adequate time to acclimate to new surrounding. he would with the bit, salivate either excessively or not enough. Koncord “burn out.” He would become hyperactive and overly excited was responsible for a large percentage of my bit collection. My fire horse was probably the animal that taught me the by the new and stimulating surroundings. The burst of adrenalin would wear off and he’d be exhausted and unable importance of using my seat and legs before using my hands. On the ground Koncord could be difficult to keep focused to perform well. I learned to expose him to something new and stimulating everyday and to take him to different areas to but once I wrapped my legs around him he seemed to become more aware of my presence and confident. He liked the feeling work him at home. I ended up stabling him at a friend’s barn during the of being connected and supported.
30 Florida Sporthorse Magazine As his training progressed he was easy to direct with a slight shift of my weight or a squeeze of my thighs. I became very aware of what my seat bones, thighs, and calves were saying to my sensitive partner. He was steady and supple but disliked have his balance upset by my poor planning of a movement, and he always
Debra Redmond aboard Koncord. The fire horse likes to feel connected to his rider and are often easier to control under saddle than from the ground.
let me know when I used my rein aid before my leg and seat aids. Touch and connection were always meaningful to Koncord. He loved being admired, groomed and doted on. If he felt he was the focus, all was well. He would stand patiently on the cross ties for grooming sessions but waiting for the line up during awards ceremonies was brutal. In Koncord’s world the audience was waiting for him and he didn’t appreciate making his fans wait. He needed to connect NOW. When he occasionally finished second and needed to defer to another horse in the line up, he made it very clear that there must have been a mistake. I learned to excuse myself before the victory lap. Fire can burn out of control so it’s very important to establish boundaries. I learned to use my horse’s need to connect to my advantage. I learned not to escalate an argument and tried to make his connection to me more important than his need to connect with the other horses around him. I provided him with opportunities to learn about new places without being too demanding and I always allowed him plenty of contact with other horses. When he tuned into our partnership. it was spine tingling. The connection between us made every transition appear effortless. Koncord’s big heart, sensitivity, great gaits, and dramatic presence made my Fire horse a spectacular competitor.
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Florida Sporthorse Magazine 31
Ortho-Bionomy offers alternatives to pain management
Bryony Anderson Forever Savvy Farm and Bryony Anderson hosted Florida’s inaugural Equine Ortho-Bionomy Clinic on April 17-18, 2010. People came from all over the country to experience the use of this non-force, pain-free bodywork modality. International Ortho-Bionomy Instructor, Zarna Carter, and Equine massage therapist Gretchen Davis flew in from Australia to teach this two-day clinic focusing on gait assessment, postural alignment and re-education of movement patterns. Equine Ortho-Bionomy uses gentle, non-invasive methods of moving the body into positions that reduce pain and tension. It is distinct from other bodywork modalities in that it moves the body away from pain to alleviate pain, thus allowing a return to more natural self-carriage and postural alignment. In this first clinic, participants learned techniques to assess shoulder movements, hind-end movements, and the quality of impulsion through the muscles of the horse’s back and spine. Range of motion exercises were taught to distinguish between free and restricted movements within the horse. Specific Ortho-Bionomy techniques were then employed to release pain and tension and the compensatory movements in each particular area of the horse’s body, improving overall range of motion. During the clinic techniques addressing the pelvis were used to decompress the long back muscles. This allows for a greater translation of movement and energy from the horse’s hind end up through the spine and into the front end, thus liberating the horse’s forward impulsion. For example Duncan, a retired FEI dressage horse presented with chronic back pain and restricted hind end mobility. During his career, he persistently expressed his discomfort through bucking, resentment and resistance to the work he was being asked to do. He became introverted and shut down, which culminated in explosive episodes, shortening his promising career. By addressing the ilio-psoas muscle group, sacro-iliac joint, and lumbar function he is now moving with greater comfort, aiding his return to training. The simplicity of this work is its reliance on the selfcorrective capacity of the body. It is well recognized that the use of force in the human-equine partnership can lead to resistance. Summoning the body’s corrective instincts invites the horse to actively engage in this partnership. OrthoBionomy sessions take into account the specific training and performance demands of each horse, tailoring the work to
Work during the clinic with Marco. Ortho-Bionomy uses non-evasive techniques to improve performance.
address the individual horse’s needs. A program can be established for horses in rehabilitation through to horses in heavy training and competition, complementing training routines, holistic and veterinary therapies. For more information about Equine Ortho-Bionomy, go to www.eprortho.com.
Zarna Carter is an Ortho-Bionomy Instructor, Homoeopath and Herbalist, teaching Equine Ortho-Bionomy and Equine Positional Release across the US, Australia and New Zealand. She developed Equine Positional Release and Equine OrthoBionomy as a culmination of her work in the fields of homoeopathy and Ortho-Bionomy, coupled with knowledge gleaned from her years living with horses.
Gretchen Davis is an Equine Body Worker, who practices in Darwin, Northern Territory Australia. She has worked in New Zealand in the Thoroughbred industry and extensively the UK within the Hunt, Dressage and Pleasure horse industry.
Trentelman/from page 7 driving judges, and Trentelman says she has to work twice as hard with a Haflinger. Over the course of her career, Trentelman has watched dressage come of age in Florida. The state is now home to top competitors year-round. She sees a similar evolution in driving. “There is a strong enough base developing now to support many schooling opportunities,” she said. “Just like in
dressage, Florida is becoming a place where, if you compete well here, you can do well anywhere.” From riding to breeding and judging to driving, Trentelman’s life has included a rich array of equestrian experiences, and she hopes to continue to develop and grow in these areas for years to come. “I believe in a multi-faceted approach to everything. I like to learn about things from every possible angle.”
Published on May 7, 2010
A magazine dedicated to Florida's dressage, driving, eventing, hunter/jumper and sporthorse breeding communities.