Middleburg Life March 2012 “ready” to put it all together at a real show. It’s an interesting site to explore, and Horse Show Ventures Winter Warm-up hunter and equitation classes are open until March 18—the top two riders in each class receive Dover Saddlery gift certificates worth $350 and $150, and the trainer of each winner gets $150. It’s another one of those win-win situations with fence heights ranging from 2’6” to 3-feet and several flat classes, to boot.
Retired Racehorse Trainer Challenge
The Retired Racehorse Trainer Challenge held its grand finale Feb. 26 at the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo where it was SRO (standing room only). Judges included Upperville horseman Jimmy Wofford who’ll be the first to tell you that he prefers Thoroughbred or TB-type horses, especially for
of how willing they are and what a great work ethic they have from the track. They thrived on attention and turned into pets in the barn as well.” High Level is staying with Catledge for more training. His owner has him for sale. Catledge thinks the horse will make “a lovely show hunter, but he’s brave enough to do eventing and fancy enough to do well in the dressage.” As for advice to anyone thinking about adopting a retired racehorse, Catledge said: “I would advise someone getting a horse off the track to invest in some training and lessons right from the start to get off to a good start with their new partner. If you can get started with making sure you establish good ground manners and a confident start together undersaddle you will be able to build a wonderful relationship with your OTTB.”
Tiffany Catledge and High Level, the horse who came from behind in the Retired Racehorse Trainer Challenge to put in a good showing at the finale. High Level spent several weeks recuperating from an abscess in his hoof, but his sensible attitude and willingness to train took him to the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo on Feb. 26. He’s back in Middleburg, in training and for sale. Photo by Lauren R Giannini
eventing. Eric Dierks (NC) won with Brazilian Wedding. However, Tiffany Catledge of Middleburg (see story in February Middleburg Life) was pleased with both of the two horses she trained over the five weeks: Solidify (Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue) and High Level (James Falk). “I thought the challenge was great,” recapped Catledge. “There were 3,000 people that attended the finale and the support and interest online was awesome. I know how incredible OTTBs (Off the Track Thoroughbreds) are but the challenge just reminded me
As for her partnership with High Level, he had an abscess for the first three weeks in Catledge’s care, so he really only got two weeks of training. All the same, she calls him her ‘little buddy.’ RRTP founder Steuart Pittman (Dodon Farm, Davidsonville, MD) said: “All three of these trainers set a very high bar for the rest of us to aspire to in our work with horses off the track. They shared their methods and proved their skills. The horses themselves, however, were the stars of the show. They proved beyond any doubt that Thoroughbreds are well prepared for second careers when they
come off the track, and that there are no limits to what they can do and learn. It was an extraordinary demonstration.” The Retired Racehorse Training Project has planned a second Trainer Challenge. It will be open to both amateurs and professionals and take place over a three-month period, with a public event in Kentucky on the after-
noon and evening after cross country at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** at the end of April. For more information: www.retiredracehorsetraining.org. OK, that’s it for now. Think spring and remember to stop and smell the blossoms. Have fun horsing around and see you at the races!
Equine Eco Green: A New Spin On Manure Management By Lauren R. Giannini For Middleburg Life There’s no denying that eyebrows climbed foreheads, when Virginia horseman Snowden Clarke said, “You are not going to believe this incredible solution to horse manure management—it’s called Equine Eco Green.” Yes, it boggles the mind. The U.S. horse industry figures the total number of horses at about 9.2 million and then face the incontrovertible fact that one half-ton equid produces roughly 9 tons of manure each year. Here’s the math: the equine population in the USA results in 173 billion pounds of manure per annum. That’s a lot of horse doody. Even if everyone composted, the horse industry would still have a waste management problem, because it isn’t feasible or practical to compost it all. Someone was thinking outside the box—the box stall, that is—and if success resides in simplicity, then Shelly Townsend’s Complete Equine Waste Solution borders on genius. Her patents for Equine Eco Green are pending, the formulas are in place, and equine waste awaits in epicenters of equestrian activity across the nation, but most specifically in Wellington, FL, where the sunshine circuit attracts thousands of horses every season. The numbers from Townsend’s demographic study indicate that 3,000 horses will produce per month at least 2,700,000 pounds of manure and use 48,000 bags of wood shavings, which are made from trees. In this age of going green and saving the planet, why not recycle and re-use? She used to work in interior design and started thinking laterally: that wood can be considered a textile. “We wash our clothes, so why can’t we wash the bedding? I had to figure out the formulas and the details of the process and my patents are pending,” Townsend said. “The first time I did it, it worked. From there it was a matter of testing it and making it even better.” The idea of re-using and recycling soiled horse bedding is novel, to say the least, but there is no doubt that it will save trees, reduce phenols that can cause skin allergies and respiratory compromise in both humans and horses, as well as the important issues of saving time and money. The shavings can
be processed and re-sold five to seven times before they become the fuel for the dryer. Some shavings are diverted early in the cleaning process to be made into briquettes and fuel pellets that are sold to burn in fireplaces and woodstoves. The extracted manure is turned into organic fertilizer. “With Equine Eco Green, there is no waste,” Townsend said. “Even in the briquette stage, the product is not smelling bad. It is not like raw sewage. I’ve tested it. I know what this process can do for waste management in the horse world. It’s stupid to throw away the by-products that can be made out of soiled horse bedding and manure. This is the responsible way to be.” The applications and the idea that 42 regional plants can be sustained by the Equine Eco Green Solution still boggles the mind. If you’re a horse person, you know what your manure pile does to the ground when there’s a lot of rain: the wet runs out of the bedding and pools in stagnating puddles; if there’s any slope it runs down and will at some point contaminate a source of water. Eventually the moisture gets re-absorbed, but not without great risk to water sources. “South Florida is a very good place to have a model plant,” says Townsend. “I have the patents pending for processing used straw bedding and all cellulose material. Eventually a plant would serve breeding farms and racetracks that bed only on straw, but for now I’m going after a model plant in Florida. It’s a matter of sticking with one thing and doing it well. Wellington is where I want to show that Equine Eco Green works.” The Townsend’s Eco Green process meets a lot of business criteria in an ethical way. It permits removal of horse waste at a discount and then turns the waste into profitable products at a discount to current prices as soil amendments, logs/fuel pellets and recycled bedding. Equine Eco Green puts a new spin on the concept of barn laundry. It also reduces the carbon footprint, lowers deforestation and it answers the call for more awareness and stewardship toward the environment. Plus, it will save consumers money and turn profits for investors. For more information, go online to: http://equineecogreen.com.
The March 2012 issue of Middleburg LIfe