Troubleshoot Your Hunter Round What Are They Feeding? Nutrition Plans of the Pros
Ponies Tack Fitting Solutions
Choosing a College
6 Jenna Leigh Teti Photography
Questions To Ask
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Troubleshooting the Hunter Trip Professional trainer, Kristi Smith, discusses how to improve your hunter round. By Jodi Fortier
Your College Path Six Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing a College By Audrey Humphrey
Nutrition Plans of the Pros Head inside the barns of five pros and get the details on what keeps their horses performing at the top of their game. By Pamela MansďŹ eld
The Right Fit Helpful Ideas for Finding and Fitting Pony Tack By Kandace York
8, Equine Journal, July 2011
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Stall Barns, Riding Arenas, Storage Sheds, Run-in Sheds, Cupolas and Dairy Barns July 2011, Equine Journal, 9
Standards, Styles & Trends in Friesian Grooming By Kandace York
Nine Auspicious Breeds Mountain and Moorland Ponies make a name for themselves in North America. By Kelly Davidson Chou
Sweet Slumber An inside look at horses and their sleep habits. By Natalie Defee Mendik
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Notes from Natalee
Letters to the Editor
Ask the Vet
Horse Care: Myths & Tips
Real Estate Showcase
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HORSE HEALTH AT ITS BEST!
Sara, my eleven year old mare, had experienced no lameness issues prior to May of 2007. Suddenly, with no warning, she went lame. She had been showing in the low amateur-owner division on the A circuit. We went the usual route, a lameness evaluation by my local veterinarian, who had been responsible for Sara's care since I had purchased her. He spent the summer working on her, primarily through joint injections and a significantly reduced work schedule. By autumn, he recommended visiting an equine clinic.
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Sara went to the clinic. She was there for several days. They conducted many tests, including a nuclear scan. No progress was made. Nothing unusual for an eleven-year-old show jumper. We started to work with another veterinarian. A very similar experience, but he was quicker to send us to another equine clinic. Sara was there for a few more days. Lots of tests. Injections. Still nothing improved her condition. We were now at fall of 2008. Sara had been lame for eighteen months. She was two months from being sent to the breeding shed. And I was close to giving up. And we all know that horse-people are not quitters! My ever-loyal blacksmith kept asking questions. He mentioned Sara's ongoing problems to a vet he knew. She suggested that we explore muscle conditions. Our vet did a biopsy on Sara, which came back negative. My blacksmith (who is also Donna’s blacksmith) had by this time spoken to Donna White, who suspected EPSSM or something related, she prepared a diet for Sara, regardless of the test results. We changed Sara's feed in November of 2008. Donna told me not to expect to see any results for four to six weeks. By the middle of the first week, I felt a difference in Sara. She was definitely better. Every week showed improvement. Sara strengthened and became totally sound. We loaded Sara up for the trip to Wellington in January. By February Sara made her debut in the schooling jumpers. By March she was in the modifieds. In May she was back in the low a/o's. And she was eating up the jumps. Sara participated in all the spring shows. The more she worked and jumped, the better she felt. Several caveats with this program: Sara needs to be worked! Daily. The feeding program must be followed exactly. Donna is always there to assist. When the weather changes, Donna advises on how to modify the feed. When I went away for several weeks and I couldn't work Sara, Donna told me how to get Sara through the time. Sara is preparing for Wellington again. She is strong and sound. And it is all thanks to Donna and her feeding program. Donna saved my horse! — Pam Nalefski, NH NOTE: While Sara's biopsy (DNA for EPSSM) showed negative my feeling was to feed her as an EPSSM or similar issue horse as that could DO NO HARM. Sara's story is a successful one but I still encourage working with your Veterinarian. A TEAM approach of Pam Nalefski, Donna White and Dr. Fred Nostrant of Concord, MA has yielded a successful outcome. — Donna White Update October 2010: The decision was made to breed Sara and we wanted to ensure she did not have an inherited muscle disease that could be transmitted to her foal. A muscle biopsy taken from her hamstring muscle and was sent to the University of Minnesota. This biopsy showed no evidence of PSSM or other inherited muscle diseases. There were some nonspecific signs of Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolysis (RER or chronic "Tying-Up") found on the muscle biopsy of this mare. — Dr. Fred Nostrant, North Bridge Equine Associates, Concord, MA
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NOTES FROM NATALEE
Back in theRing O
ur summer has been off to a busy start, both in the Roberts household and at the ofﬁce. Monday morning reports of horse shows, trail rides and other equine adventures keep the chatter lively. My oldest granddaughter, Kiera, has already competed at three shows in leadline and over Memorial Day weekend, I made my foray back into the show ring at the Arabian Horse Club of Connecticut Annual “A” show. A special thank you to Michelle Laudano who loaned her trusty steed so I could participate in the beneﬁt class for The Cure Starts Now Foundation in memory of John Cinelli. Over 50 riders participated in the class and it was a moment that I will remember for some time to come. While it was great fun to be “back in the saddle,” as a grandmother to two girls, I’ve been struggling to ﬁnd the right equipment, especially saddles, for our next generation. Finding those small sizes is no easy task and of course, everything needs to be pink! Kandace York’s article this month couldn’t have been more timely, as she spoke with industry insiders on how to ﬁnd and ﬁt pony tack. This issue has something for everyone. A few months ago we asked our readers through a Facebook posting what their biggest challenge was in the hunter/jumper ring. A common theme emerged and thus our feature on Fixing Rider Errors was born. In addition to our feature articles that you can read in print or online, be sure to check out the video component courtesy of our partnership with Competitive Rider (www.competitiverider.com). Simply go to equinejournal.com, click on the featured article to read it in full and view the video tips right on our website. For additional tips and a full-length video to download, visit Competitive Rider. We are thrilled to bring this added dimension of learning to you! As we are all out traveling to competitions and trail rides this summer, the recent EHV-1 outbreak that originated in Utah is a reminder that we all need to take precautions and put the best interest of our horses at the forefront. While no one likes to cancel a show or stay home after training for months, I was relieved to hear that many of you did just that with your horse’s welfare in mind. For updates on EHV-1 and other critical news, be sure to sign up for our daily updates on equinejournal.com and Fan us on Facebook. Not only will you get news you need, but you will also receive notiﬁcations on upcoming contests. Past winners have received gift certiﬁcates to SmartPak and Wild Horsefeathers, product from Absorbine, Grand Meadows and Farnam or Equine Journal personalized products like saddle pads and blankets. You don’t want to miss out! Yours in Sport,
Don’t Miss these extras on EquineJournal.com this month!
✦ Video: Kristi Smith discusses how to diagnose a jump ✦ Communicating with Your Horse ✦ The latest news from your discipline and region 20, Equine Journal, July 2011
July 2011, Equine Journal, 21
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Patricia Burg, a recent Equine Journal contest winner writes, â€œI just received my ShowSheenÂŽ gift pack in the mail this week that I won from you! Thank you so much for it â€“ I have a young grey/turning white horse who could use the extra shine and help staying clean!â€? Be sure to visit www.EquineJournal.com for your chance to win great prizes.
On behalf of the entire High Hopes community, we would like to thank Equine Journal so very much for the donation of 480 Blue Seal horse cookies! Please know how grateful we are to have you thinking about our needs and taking such special care of the High Hopes herd. It is greatly appreciated by all! As a token of our appreciation, we will include a personal thank you in our Annual Horse Show Days program. Thank you so much! Kitty Stalsburg Executive Director High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc Old Lyme, CT
Fjord Frenzy I was so happy to see an article about the Fjord in the May issue. I own a 10-year-old Fjord gelding that I use for driving and trail riding. Fjords are great horses, and I would highly recommend owning one! They are docile, friendly and you gotta love the hair! Tamara Ames Via Email
Send your letters to the editor to: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to: Equine Journal, 103 Roxbury Street, Keene, NH 03431
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Going Green By Equine Facility Architect, Ellen Whittemore
Track Systems: An Alternative to Pastures and Paddocks t has been raining for days, the weather report says that more is on the way, and you and your horses are starting to lose your sense of humor. You would like to put the horses out, but, the pastures and paddocks are so wet, you are afraid they will get torn up and turn into mudslides. Then, too, turning them out when it is so wet is not good for your horses’ feet, nor is it good for the environment. If erosion gets to the point where the ability to hold vegetation and soak up water is compromised, tainted water could run off into nearby waterways.
stand wear and tear from horses’ feet during wet weather. Constructing these takes a certain amount of commitment, so you need to weigh the pros and cons. At a minimum, they require removing the top organic layer of earth and replacing it with layers of crushed stone, similar to arena footing. In some very wet and environmentally-sensitive areas, perforated drainpipe might be required in or below the gravel as well.
One solution is to create a sacriﬁce or dry paddock. Sacriﬁce paddocks are designed to with-
Lynnette Batt, of Sustainable Stables (sustainablestables.com), is an expert in sustainable
REG ION AL SEC TIO N
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www.equinejournal.com 24, Equine Journal, July 2011
Stand Out From The Crowd! Represent your entire Region and target your clientele with a cover page in the Equine Journal!
HORSE HEALTH AT ITS BEST! Blaze N Boots is a 10 yr. old, 16h, ex-harness racing, Registered Standardbred that was retired from the track due to a weak stifle. He was underweight, with bad teeth, bad feet and he was a sad example of a horse that for some unknown reason, grabbed at my heart. After a few months of struggling thru worms, ulcers, shoeing’s, and blankets, I began to see a glimmer of a new horse but still the weight would not come. I consulted with Donna White at White Haven Farm in Upton MA and we switched him to Seminole Wellness Senior, adjusted the amounts and I watched as he continued to blossom. Formula 4 Feet is the most amazing product, he is barefoot now. But even as we continued to solve one issue at a time, he still wasn’t quite “right”.
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The few times I rode him, he felt a little “off”.. Donna told me about a fantastic vet, Dr. Fred Nostrant from Concord MA. After x-rays and ultrasounds, turns out that my Blaze N Boots has a broken stifle. Severe injury, bad arthritis and not a good prognosis, but regardless, I decided to go forward with a stifle injection. And then back to Donna to formulate our plan of attack! Donna helped with products for inflammation, joint fluids, and pain. As we were able to get his pain reduced, he continued to blossom into the horse I have today. He is easy to have around, a pleasure to watch how much he enjoys life now. Today he is pasture sound and good company with all the horses.
Thank you Donna, for all your help, for listening, for all your wisdom and advice, and for sometimes, just saying nothing at all. — Nancy Kitchen, Lakeville MA
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housekeeping and recommends a track system as a good alternative to sacriﬁce paddocks. Lynnette explains that the track system was popularized by Jaime Jackson, a renowned hoof care expert, in his book Paddock Paradise: A Guide to Natural Horse Boarding (Star Ridge Publishing). The system mimics a wild, natural, horse environment via the creation of paths where horses can wander and forage at will. Grass grazing, which can cause laminitis, is avoided with slow hay feeders placed along the paths, which in combination with the provision of water holes, shaded areas and other areas of interest, encourage horses to wander along the paths. Lynnette sees beneﬁt to using a track system in combination with paddocks and pastures. Lynnette shares that, in her business, there is no prescribed solution to laying out a facility, but that it depends on the speciﬁc needs of the owner and their horses. Where laminitis is not a problem, track systems
can achieve the same thing as dry paddocks, giving your horses a place to go when pastures and paddocks are rain-soaked, or when you want to rotate your pastures. A simple electric line can be run inside the perimeter fence around the property or around an existing paddock, farm buildings, etc. to create a path that should be 12’ to 15’ wide. If it’s too wide, it will not encourage horses to move along. Like many ideas in the horse world, practical problems can be solved simultaneously with protecting the environment. The track system is a way to do just that while contributing to horses’ physical and mental well-being, not to mention your sense of humor. We would love to feature YOUR creativity and ideas. Contact Ellen Whittemore at email@example.com Copyright 2010 Ellen Whittemore
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COVER STORY By Audrey Humphrey Photos: Jenna Leigh Teti Photography
Kensington, New Hampshire
ometimes the best pony memories from childhood – brushing manes, feeding carrots, feeling conﬁdent in the saddle – can be difﬁcult for even “super parents” to facilitate. In today’s fast-paced world of demanding jobs, confusing smartphones, and the go-go-go mantra, even hobbies and activities are made to run on a tight schedule. Jocelyn McQuillan, a corporate lawyer working out of Boston, and her husband Brian, a former member of the Canadian diplomatic corps, understand this scenario all too well and have reﬂected this knowledge in their premiere hunter, jumper, and equitation equestrian facility, Kensington Equestrian Center. Located less than an hour north of Boston in New Hampshire’s picturesque seacoast area, Kensington Equestrian Center is a full-service facility, turning out some of the area’s ﬁnest competitive teams while maintaining a family-style atmosphere geared toward the ease and convenience of each client. McQuillan knew when her daughter, Zoë, was only 18months old that horses would become a big part of her life. “Pony rides became an every-weekend request, and her passion progressed to having her own pony; and, here we are today!” McQuillan says happily. A long-time rider herself, McQuillan loved horses and rode as a child and also throughout her college years, taking a break to meet the vigorous demands of law school and her fast-paced career, which she still works hard at today. Yet, ﬁ nding a balance and sanctuary to enjoy herself and her family is something McQuillan has achieved, and she strives to help others do the same with Kensington Equestrian Center. “People get a little lost in their horse time here,” McQuillan explains. “My husband and I are a team, overseeing that the property and direction of the farm and horses are handled with care. We like to slow it down a little because everything is just so rushed these days, especially for kids.” The farm is the epitome of family-friendly, with bountiful swing set areas and rock piles that the kids like to play on, pulverizing rocks to make imaginary “unicorn feed.” McQuillan says that because some of the kids are too young to ride, there are lots of play areas for them to enjoy while older siblings are riding. “Playing in the rock walls and rolling around in the mud with the barn dogs – just enjoying themselves – that is what it’s all about,” she explains. Barbecues, entertaining costume parties, and other family-based events are regularly held at the farm, furthering the sense of community and recreation for all the families involved. For adults who are unable to steal away from work emails and phone calls for too long, but wish to allow their children 28, Equine Journal, July 2011
Kensington Equestrian Center strives to prove to all horse lovers that there can be a balance struck between work and play.
more horse time, McQuillan invites them to relax in the 1725 farmhouse or guest ofﬁce with complimentary computer use and Internet access. “We are always outside here,” says McQuillan of her family and friends. “We didn’t even have a television in our house up until three weeks ago, and that’s hardly ever used.” A self-proclaimed Type A personality, McQuillan believes that the horses help balance her career terriﬁcally, and she refuses to carry her cell phone during her riding time. “It’s my time and my space and just so liberating and healthy for the whole family,” she says, “and I want Kensington Equestrian Center to allow other families to relish that bond and balance.” Understanding and sincere, McQuillan is both realistic and positive about the family commitment to the rider in the family and strives to make the situation a fun and enjoyable time for all family members involved. While Kensington Equestrian Facility is extremely familyoriented and friendly, the facility is also one of the leading competition stables in the Northeast, allowing each client interested in showing the opportunity to participate in local, regional, and “AA” rated shows with fabulous mounts and terriﬁc trainers. A ﬁrst class facility, Kensington Equestrian Center is framed with white, four-rail fencing enclosing lush, carefully-tended paddocks with individual run-in sheds. Monitored 24-hours a day, riders can enjoy indoor riding on renowned Pinnacle footing or enjoy the sunshine in a brand-new 200 ft. x 300 ft. hunter derby ring. A heated viewing room, heated tack room, and indoor washing stall are alluring additions to all those New Englanders who battle the harsh winter. Behind Kensington Equestrian Center is a vast expanse of freshly-restored trail networks (132 acres to be exact, with seven horse-friendly bridges). McQuillan is excited at the prospect of hunter paces, organized trail rides
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and new faces that the trail networks are sure to bring. “Probably one of the most exciting changes here at Kensington Equestrian Center is the arrival of our new team of professionals,” McQuillan says with enthusiasm. “Chelise Storace, Lucy Davies and Jessica Elliott recentA ﬁrst class facility, Kensington Equestrian Center ly joined Kensington Equestrian Center and is framed with white, four-rail fencing enclosing lush, carefully-tended paddocks with individual offer exceptional instruction and training run-in sheds. for our clients.” On April 1, Chelise Storace of Cressbrook Stables joined Kensington Equestrian Center as head trainer/instructor. An accomplished and highly-regarded hunter, jumper and equitation trainer/instructor, Storace rode with world-renowned hunter and jumper instructor, George Morris, as an amateur rider and continues to ride with him as a professional. Storace is the immediate past president of the New Hampshire Hunter Jumper Association and brings to her students a plethora of experience and a wealth of knowledge. Storace is joined by her assistant trainer since 2007, Lucy Davies. A long-time rider hailing from Kingswinford, England, Davies has a degree in fashion and is a licensed instructor in the state of Massachusetts. Davies has a passion for taking her students on trail rides, beach adventures, and hunter paces and will be sure to head the exploring efforts in Kensington Equestrian Center’s new trail networks. Storace and Davies offer riding instruction for intermediate to advanced junior riders and all levels of adult riders from the ﬁrst ride to the serious competitor. Brentwood native, Jessica Elliott, is also part of Kensington Equestrian Center’s all-star lineup. A graduate of the StoneleighBurnham School, Elliott was team captain on the national champion Stoneleigh-Burnham IEA team and a member of the Lynchburg College IHSA team. As a junior rider, Elliott won numerous AQHA championship titles in events including, work-
ing hunter, hunter hack, hunter under saddle, equitation over fences, jumping, western riding, barrel racing and pole bending. Elliott has ridden with noted instructors including: Todd Karn, Bill Ellis, David Connors, Frank Madden and Sherrye Johnson Trafton. Hardworking and talented, Elliot aided in the stable While Kensington Equestrian Facility is extremely management aspects family-oriented and friendly, the facility is also one during the openof the leading competition stables in the Northeast. ing of Kensington Equestrian Center. She offers riding instruction for beginner riders and children, while also leading the camp program and coaching the IEA team. In addition to the new faces and expanding services that Kensington Equestrian Center has to offer, there are ongoing clinics and events at the facility throughout the year open to both clients and visitors interested in exploring new methods, ideas, and trainers. The big happenings at Kensington Equestrian Center prove to all horse lovers that there can be a balance struck between work and play, and that in the right circumstances, a pony can bring a family together for fun and laughter. Zoë’s ﬁrst pony was a small grey POA named Oshkosh B’Gosh, and while Zoë is beginning to outgrow him and is starting into a show career with her new welsh pony, “Fritz”, McQuillan notes that Zoë is wise beyond her years with concern for “Oshy”. “She says that all horses should be treated like members of the family, and that when she is too big for him, she’ll drive him around rather than ride him. He’ll always have a home here,” says McQuillan. “And, of course, that is how it should be.” If you would like information on the team and/or how to get involved at Kensington Equestrian Center, please contact Jocelyn or Brian McQuillan at 603-778-2828 or team@KensingtonEques trianCenter.com. ■
Kensington Equestrian Center is pleased to welcome its new trainers Chelise Storace, Lucy Davies and Jessica Elliott HUNTERS, JUMPERS, EQUITATION 38 Amesbury Road (Rt.150) Kensington, New Hampshire 03833 www.KensingtonEquestrianCenter.com 603.778.2828 30, Equine Journal, July 2011
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National News Fuel Economy forCrude Horse Owners oil prices continue to remain over $100 a barrel in 2011, with resulting gasoline prices reaching $4 per gallon. It will be more important than ever to conserve energy and save fuel costs. Horse owners can do their part to reduce their fuel consumption with practical travel tips that actually work. USRider® offers these suggestions for conserving fuel while traveling. These tips work for most vehicles: • Keep your engine properly tuned. Depending upon the kind of repair done, this can result in an average 4 percent increase in fuel efﬁciency. Replacing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve fuel mileage as much as 40 percent. • Check and replace the air ﬁlter. Replacing a clogged air ﬁlter can improve your vehicle’s mileage up to 10 percent. • Keep the tires properly inﬂated. Proper inﬂation can increase your mileage by around three percent. An added beneﬁt is that properly inﬂated tires are safer and last longer. • Use the recommended grade of motor oil. Using the incorrect weight can increase fuel consumption by one to two percent. Look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives. • Observe the speed limit. The Department of Energy says that each ﬁve mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.21 for each gallon of fuel. An added beneﬁt is that observing the speed limit is also safer for your horse(s). • Avoid excessive idling. Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. • Use cruise control. Using cruise control (where applicable) helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save fuel. • Use overdrive gears. When your engine speed goes down, your mileage goes up. An added beneﬁt is that using overdrive gears reduces engine wear. Numerous Internet resources are available to help in the hunt for cheaper fuel: • www.gaspricewatch.com. This website uses volunteers to report prices at over 100,000 fuel places all over the country. Simply enter your ZIP code. • www.gasbuddy.com. The website also works with ZIP codes and compiles information from other websites that track local prices. Additional fuel economy tips are posted on www.fueleconomy.gov. Through its Equestrian Motor Plan, USRider offers nationwide roadside assistance specially designed for equestrians. For more information about USRider and more equine trailer safety tips, visit the USRider website at www. usrider.org.
32, Equine Journal, July 2011
Photo of the Month Sheryl Hinckley and her horse, Jesse James, on New Year’s Day.
Farnam® Horse Products SM Joins Facebook Look for the “Ofﬁcial Farnam Horse Products” Facebook site at www.facebook.com/farnamhorse. Farnam wants to provide their customers with a forum to celebrate living their life with horses: talk about their event victories, share their opinions, and talk about their horse(s) with other equestrians. Be sure to check it out and share your story!
Equine Feed Oat Project The Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA) has launched the ofﬁcial website of the Equine Feed Oat Project (EFOP), www. equineoats.org. The EFOP was created in 2009 to research, educate and communicate information about oats to the equine industry. The EFOP’s ﬁrst commissioned research project was performed by one of the leading equine nutrition experts in the industry, Dr. Laurie Lawrence, Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky Equine Division. Dr. Lawrence has conducted extensive work in the area of equine nutrition throughout her career. Dr. Lawrence reviewed more than 260 published research documents covering the nutritional value of oats in the equine diet. Her study, “Oats: The HorseHealthy Grain,” analyzes palatability, composition, digestibility, behavior inﬂuence and safety of oats. In her research, Dr. Lawrence conﬁrms that oats have been recognized as the preferred grain for horses for at least a century for several reasons. A summary of Dr. Lawrence’s study may be downloaded through the EFOP website at www.equineoats.org/research.
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July 2011, Equine Journal, 33
New Sponsor for ASPC/AMHR
✦ Over 30 years experience in the breed ✦ Sales of trained show and recreational horses ✦ Lessons for youth and amateur riders ✦ Training for the show ring or trail ✦ Proud participant of the 2010 World Equestrian Games in the Paso Fino demonstration, Fianza de Herencia with Charlie Minter, trainer and rider, owned by Bill Francis At Heritage Farm & Stables we offer one of the most comprehensive programs in the breed, from breeding services with our nationally competitive stallions to training services for pleasure and trail riders, plus everything in between. Our horses are bred, handled, and trained to be suitable for amateur and youth riders to enjoy. We welcome the opportunity to introduce you to the Paso Fino Breed.”
Heritage Farm & Stables Paso Fino Horses Charles Minter, Jr, and Milda Minter 1833 Perryman Road, Lexington, NC, 27295 336-764-4785 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.heritagefarmpasofino.com
American Shetland Pony Club and the American Miniature Horse Registry proudly announce their new Corporate Sponsor: Kensington Protective Products of Pomona, California. The Kensington Protective Products team has been designing and manufacturing custom equine protective wear since 1959. Kensington has been a longtime supporter of the youth programs for the AMHR Miniature National Show in Tulsa, OK, every September and the Shetland Congress, which is being held in Des Moines, IA, in July. “We are very happy that Kensington has continued and expanded its support this year by becoming a Corporate Sponsor,” said Lisa Caldwell, Breed Promotions for ASPC/AMHR. “Their products have always been top of the line, and our members really enjoy receiving them for prizes and awards.” Kensington has a complete line of Pony and Miniature products that have been exclusively made for the small equine. They have kept the excellent quality and craftsmanship that their big horse blankets are known for and incorporated the wants and needs of the small equine. Kensington will have their complete line of Miniature and Pony products available at both the Shetland Congress (July 1216) and the AMHR Miniature Nationals (September 7-18). For further information, visit www.shetlandminiature.com, or call 309-263-4044.
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By Jodi Fortier
Troubleshooting the Hunter Trip Professional trainer, Kristi Smith, discusses how to improve your hunter round.
hen we envision the perfect hunter horse, what comes to mind is the pretty, well-balanced horse that has the long, low stride to easily cover the ground. In addition, its longer, well-shaped neck will come out of its shoulder at the right angle for a natural, lower head carriage. In the air, the horse will be careful and use its knees tightly and squarely, as well as round its neck and back, creating a lovely bascule over the fence. The jumps should appear effortless â€“ the horse straight at all times, the changes automatic and without an adjustment in rhythm. The horseâ€™s expression should be bright, with the ears forward. The ideal hunter would also travel with light contact from the rider. A neat turnout, shiny coat, polished hooves and a tidy braid job all add to the elegance of the whole picture. This month, Equine Journal talks with Kristi Smith of Cedar Brook Farm in Madison, Connecticut, about what makes the perfect hunter round and what are some common problems riders encounter. 36, Equine Journal, July 2011
The Good and The Bad What we like to see in the perfect hunter trip is the horse who is brilliant from the ﬁrst step into the ring. Brilliance refers to the horse that comes in attentive, poised and ready to do the job with just the right amount of energy and scope. A key factor to winning a hunter trip is consistency. From the moment the horse picks up the gallop until it ﬁnishes its course, judges are looking for cruise control, or the horse that stays at the exact same pace and in the exact same frame from start to ﬁnish. It is the rider’s job to know the horse’s length of stride and tempo, or as Geoff Teall once phrased it, “the home base pace.” This tempo, established on the courtesy circle, is the speed at which the horse needs to travel to easily make the lines. This will vary from horse to horse, depending on its size and length of stride. Most lines are set for a 12’ stride, but this can vary as well, depending on fence height, footing, size of the arena, etc. In addition to cruise control, each fence should be jumped in the center and right in stride, as if part of the gallop. In the ideal trip, the horse will easily make it down the lines, work well into the corners, maintaining straightness, and change its leads effortlessly. The careful hunter will have enough scope to easily clear the fence and won’t rub a rail. Some common problems the horse and rider face are
speeding up or slowing down in front of the fence. Other faults include: getting quick and leaning in or cutting the corners, losing tempo, balance and valuable space that may be needed for a clean lead change. Most unappealing is the horse whose frame changes on the approach – inverting or getting quick and hollow, or raising its head a few strides out in anticipation of the fence. Some may root down, giving the appearance of dragging their rider to the base of the fence. Over-jumping can disturb the even tempo by landing the horse much deeper into the line, necessitating a shortening of stride to get out of the line with the right number of strides. Chipping at the base, or adding an extra stride in the line, is heavily penalized.
Diagnosis Now that we know what we’re after, we can discuss the “How to” of the perfect hunter round and the “What happened?” of the not-so-perfect hunter round. Understanding how to ride your horse for the optimum performance will lead to a successful partnership. Kristi Smith, of Cedar Brook Farm in Madison, Connecticut, has ridden her share of hunters, jumpers and Grand Prix horses to the tricolors. After a successful lifetime career as a rider, Kristi has trained many hunter, jumper and equitation riders, leading them to victories in state, regional and national ﬁnals. Kristi, who co-trains
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Smith-Worthington Saddlery w w w. s m i t h w o r t h i n g t o n . c o m 38, Equine Journal, July 2011
In this month’s feature article on troubleshooting the hunter trip, professional trainer Kristi Smith discusses how to diagnose chips, improve track and distance to a jump and remain centered and balanced during a hunter round. Her companion video demonstrates how she helps her riders achieve these goals. Find out more at
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111TH ANNUAL MYOPIA HORSE SHOW
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This historic show will have divisions for all levels of Hunters, Jumpers and Equitation including NEHC and MHC recognized Children’s and Adult Hunters. All MHC and NEHC Medals will be held as well as: $3,000 Myopia Cross-3’6” $2,500 Hunter Derby $1,000 Child/Adult Jumper Classic Please join us for a great weekend on the historic Myopia Hunt Field for a well run show, with good courses and classes for all levels of riders. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Photo: Gerald Wheeler
with Mark Jungherr and Irving Evans of Starlite Farm in Amesbury, MA, has headed up Cedar Brook for the last three years. Smith likes a hunter with a good canter that is smooth, even paced and scopey. The horse should look and feel as if it’s capable of jumping higher, not one that appears to be struggling with the height. Smith adds, “A good horse would be one that jumps well out of any distance with an invisible adjustment. A hunter should be pretty, but you can make a not-so-pretty horse more appealing by paying particular attention to its turnout.”
If the horse increases or decreases pace, the rider’s body has to be ready to react to make the correction before the horse is going too forward or backward.
The Chip In diagnosing the “chip” or the abrupt, tight half-step at the base of the jump,
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44, Equine Journal, July 2011
Grand Prix rider Debbie Stephens
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Smith feels itâ€™s most often related to pace. A horse that changes rhythm out of a turn or in the line can often result in the deep, weak distance. â€œThe chip is born out of a bad pace, a bad track, a bad turn, or bad balance,â€? says Smith. She likes to establish the pace from the ďŹ rst step of the canter in the courtesy circle. â€œIâ€™m a counter,â€? says Smith. â€œI think of the canter as a musical rhythm, and I like to keep a steady backbeat, or a metronome, going. The riderâ€™s core is what helps to establish the rhythm in the horse.â€? The rider has to be really cognizant of any changes in tempo the second the â€œbackbeatâ€? changes and make the adjustment then. If the horse increases or decreases pace, the riderâ€™s body has to be ready to react to make the correction before the horse is going too forward or backward. Counting to the rhythm of the canter, either out loud or in your head, will help you ďŹ nd where and when the cadence is changing. Smith will have the rider count out the strides in front of the fence. She can tell when the rider is nervous or agitated by the change in pitch of the voice before the fence. â€œWhen the rider is nervous, or the horse is high or spooky, your own rhythm speeds up.â€? A green horse may have its tempo interrupted by backing off to a new fence, spooking or not traveling straight, all of which can result in a chip. â€œQuite often, the missed distance is misjudgment or miscommunication on the riderâ€™s part.â€?
Photo: Mystical Photography
The rider who is ďŹ‚uid and following allows the horse to do its job and use itself well on the ďŹ‚at and in the air.
Your Track and Distance A bad track will lead to a poor distance as well. Smith feels turning too soon or turning too late takes you off of the correct track to the fence. â€œCutting the corner can often bring the horse in unbalanced or unable to see the fence. It also
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FEATURE makes it difďŹ cult for the rider to see the distance and ride the line or fence straight.â€? The rider who stares down at the base of the fence is prone to the shorter distance. This same rider may also lean at the distance, creating a chip. â€œItâ€™s ok to eye the base of the jump until you are three or four strides out, but then you need to look across the top.â€? The long, weak distance is another common fault that detracts from the perfect hunter ride. â€œThe long distance comes from looking too early and taking the ďŹ rst thing the rider sees without thinking it through.â€? Smith refers to this as a â€œhard eye.â€? The rider who is stiff and quick to move ahead to the long, desperate distance will create a stiff horse that lacks the soft and ďŹ‚uid way of going. â€œThe rider should be invisible, keeping the horse moving straight and in a balanced frame with two hands, two legs and two seat bones.â€? The rider who moves with the horse will give the horse a better advantage in the air and will not upset the balance of the takeoff or landing.
Centered & Balanced Smith feels the â€œcardinal sinâ€? is falling behind the horse, making its job much more difďŹ cult. Getting left back causes the rider to hit the horse in the mouth, or the back, preventing it from ďŹ nishing the jump with its hind end, often resulting in a hind-end rail. This feels like a punishment to the horse, and if it happens enough times, he will be reluctant to jump.
On the other hand, jumping ahead of the horse can lead to a variety of problems as well. â€œThrowing the riders weight forward on the takeoff of the jump can cause the horse to weight its forehand, quite often preventing it from leaving the ground smoothly,â€? says Smith. â€œThis can lead to a chip, or worse yet, a stop. If the horse attempts the jump, the loss of balance more than likely will cost it a front-end rail.â€? A rider that pinches with the knee is capable of committing both sins. â€œPivoting at the knee generates a lack of balance and strength, creating a â€œteeter-totterâ€? movement from the rider. A rider with a strong base and core is able to follow the horseâ€™s movements and still remain soft.â€? The rider who is ďŹ‚uid and following allows the horse to do its job and use itself well on the ďŹ‚at and in the air. The rider who restricts the horseâ€™s movement by not giving enough rein, or by staying too heavy in the tack on the takeoff, detracts from the horseâ€™s natural capability and good form. Too much movement on the part of the rider, or a clash of aids, can cause the horse to travel in a hollow frame or jump inverted. A common fault for junior or amateur riders is trying to hold the horse out in the turn with an outside rein, while leaning inside themselves. Pulling the horse left will usually result in the horse falling right, especially when aided by the leaning rider. â€œWhen landing off a fence, the rider needs to keep the horse between the aids, look straight and ride straight to keep
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Equine Journal and Competitive Rider are teaming up to offer you insightful articles and videos that help demonstrate training tips for all disciplines. This month, don’t miss the video with Kristi Smith that discusses how to diagnose a jump and remain centered and balanced during a hunter round. Visit equinejournal.com for a clip of the video and information on downloading the video right to your computer for future reference. Also, be sure to visit competitiverider.com to download the complete video as well as other helpful videos on a variety of equine topics.
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the horse in balance.” If the horse is not straight and balanced, it makes it difﬁcult to get the good distance before a fence or a clean lead change after a fence, which can result in cross-cantering. At the top of the hit list for undesirable traits, cross-cantering can often be prevented by straightening the horse before asking for the change. Relax and be patient. The best hunter rides come from thinking clearly and sticking to the plan. Consistency is the cornerstone to success. Smith recalls seeing riders come into the ring so rattled that they rush off onto the incorrect lead, blowing the class before they begin. Take a breath and let the musical “backbeat” in your head be your guide. ■
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By Audrey Humphrey
Your College Path
Six Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing a College
ost can recall the exercise growing up that used to help a person decide what he or she wanted to do for a profession. The idea is to pretend you have won the lottery and never have to work for a paycheck. What would you do with your time for fun and enjoyment? Once you choose your hobby, you are supposed to create a career based on that idea. For instance, if you would play golf all the time, then a career in coaching golf, or some sort of sales in the golf profession, would be a vocation to consider. For so many equine lovers, this exercise makes perfect sense. With the wide variety of equine-related careers, enthusiasts can make a comfortable living and “live the dream” by doing what they love. Continuing education schools today support and make possible this very situation, by providing the training, life skills, and education needed to succeed in the wide world of equine careers. The seemingly endless list of careers includes: stunt rider, therapeutic riding instructor, show photographer, auctioneer, drug inspector, artiﬁcial breeding technician, equine geneticist, race track manager, and on and on!
What Am I Interested In? Choosing the right school takes planning, research, and investigating on your part. Nobody wants to enroll in a college and realize later that the chosen school just isn’t the right ﬁt – and a closer look should have been taken. A good place to start is to decide what area of interest you want to focus on. This doesn’t have to be set in stone – a list of your top three interests will sufﬁce. Then, make sure every school you look at offers programs in these areas. That way, if you change your mind a year into school, you can easily modify your major or focus without issue, rather than relocate to a different college. You want to see that the schools you are
considering are strong in those areas, because this ensures you will receive an education that propels you into a career after your graduation.
Which Degree Do I Want? Different schools have different requirements for degrees in equine areas, and these requests can vary widely. One career path might necessitate an associate degree, while a Ph.D. may be required for another role. Know your own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, somebody strong in math and science might want to consider becoming a veterinarian, or earn a bachelor’s degree in equine science to open the door to many possible careers. A strong ability in writing might sway a person to check out a degree in equestrian studies, which can lead to equine insurance, instruction, or business owning. Some schools offer different paths to a master’s degree – some involve a thesis, as an opening to a Ph.D. program, while the other, non-thesis route might be for somebody who wants to work in the industry.
On or Off Campus? Deciding whether to live on or off campus can be a major decision for students. Cost can sometimes factor into this particular choice. On-campus housing is available to most students at a discount (as opposed to ﬁnding an apartment independent of the school). Many housing options include a meal plan and laundry discounts. These options reduce the stress of commuting from another location and remembering to bring a lunch, or needing to think about purchasing lunch, snack, or sometimes dinner (depending on the class times). On the other hand, for some students, July 2011, Equine Journal, 55
Earning a Degree Online Nowadays, the Internet is more than just a tool used to check your email, look up directions, and shop for shoes. You can continue your education and earn a degree from home with this amazing information superhighway. More and more schools are becoming Internet savvy, realizing that in a person’s hectic life, the ability to log on at one’s own convenience is a bonus worth its weight in gold. But, can you really achieve your educational goals without ever stepping foot inside a real classroom? Let’s log on and check out the pros and cons of earning a degree online. By earning a degree online, you decide when and where you study. Some classroom environments can be stiﬂing and stressful, and many believe that the comforts of home (or another trusted location) make all the difference in test scores and information retention. No daily commute and no dorm room means a large reduction in overall cost, and by tailoring your program to ﬁt your needs, you can successfully maintain responsibilities and activities (such as a job or riding) without a problem. Additionally, online degrees are almost always less expensive than traditional tuition. Depending on your home life, you can choose to take just a few courses at a time, or a full course load, without worrying about fulﬁlling a certain number of credits per semester. For “horse people” looking to specialize in a speciﬁc ﬁeld, online colleges may surprisingly offer more courses – and with more regularity than a traditional school. Since the
course is online, schools are able to offer almost unlimited course enrollment, thus eliminating the frustration of classes showing up full at a regular college. Nothing shows your future employers personal work ethic better than holding yourself accountable to completing an online degree. This demonstrates that you are able to keep yourself motivated and responsible without a professor standing over your shoulder – which brings us to the cons of earning a degree online. If you are not a very organized, self-disciplined individual, you may ﬁnd it difﬁcult to keep yourself going with an online course load. You may need the interaction with your peers and professor to stay on track. In this case, an online degree may be less beneﬁcial for your personality. While you can work from home or ofﬁce, these places need to be equipped with the Internet, and you may need to upgrade if your current computer is very old or crashes periodically. Nothing is worse than losing work on a computer when it crashes – it can be downright depressing. At a traditional college, students can enjoy going to a computer lab at school where the equipment is in good working order and the Internet is always available and fast. Achieving a degree online means you are responsible for an established Internet connection and computer – both of which can become expensive and, at times, frustrating.
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Mount Ida College is a comprehensive, affordable college that enrolls 1,500 students in more than 25 degree programs that combine the liberal arts with professional preparation. • Equine Management (B.S.) Concentrations in equine health management and equine facility management • Veterinary Technology (B.S.) • Veterinary Technician (A.S.) • IHSA Equestrian Team 2-time Regional Reserve Champions
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56, Equine Journal, July 2011
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FEATURE the payoff (both monetarily and emotionally) of staying home and commuting to college is a worthwhile reality. By living at home, the cost of the overall situation is reduced, and this setup will allow the student to enjoy the comfort and familiarity of home and continue daily routines, part-time jobs, and other daily obligations.
Does the School’s Philosophy Match My Own? A good equine school will have a barrage of professionals in the different ﬁelds, and each of these professionals will have his or her own theories, philosophy, and experiences. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the institution’s central standpoint in the industries. For example, if you are attending a school for training, what is the philosophy of that school in the facets of the training process and approach – is it in keeping with your own standards and outlooks? Before visiting a school in person, peruse their website or order a brochure and then do some investigating. The Internet is a great source to learn about articles written by potential professors and a way to stumble upon some behind-the-scenes biographies. Additionally, does the school offer a wide variety of programs that prepare a student for not only a certain trade, but also the business and economic education to back up this trade in the reality of the real world?
Can I Picture Myself Here? No matter how great the school looks on paper, visiting a school in person is the only way to really get a good feel. The campus, classrooms, dining hall, dorms, and stables (if applicable) are a great place to start. Check out lab equipment, materials available
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58, Equine Journal, July 2011
Knowledge and Faith for a Purposeful Life.
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