The Plaid Horse July 2021 The Horse Care Issue

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NORTH AMERICA’S HORSE SHOW MAGAZINE • PUBLISHED SINCE 2003 • JULY 2021 FEATURING: Alltech, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Equine Elixirs, Vitalize, Excel Supplements, Equine Health International, Platinum Perfomance, Perfect Products, Smart Earth Camelina

The Horse Care Issue COVER STORY


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Publisher & Editor-in-Chief:

PIPER KLEMM, PH.D. Art Direction:

L/BAILEY DESIGN Online Editor:





Subscriptions & Plaidcast Manager:


CIRA PACE MALTA Online Manager:

CATIE STASZAK Editorial Manager:



Piper Klemm, Ph.D., 14 Mechanic St, Canton, New York 13617








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For Your Next Performance

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Alltech: Feeding Horses, Minimizing Environmental Impact Every Little Breath You Take... Can Improve Your Riding

Finding Excellence with Equine Elixirs


New Technology from Vitalize Helps Reduce Heat Stress in Horses


The GraysonJockey Club Research Foundation: Benefitting the Health of All Horses


Excel: Bring Simplicity Back to Your Supplements

Cynthia Hampton’s Classic Champions Series: Developing Young Jumpers in America History, Heroines, & Saving Species: Horseback Vacations That Take the High Road The ‘‘Step Down’’ Horse: A Secret Weapon of the Horse Show World It Happens! With Michael Tokaruk, Don Stewart and Allison Kroff The Plaid Horse Questionnaire with Stephanie Danhakl Hydroponic Farms

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A Publisher’s Life in Pictures AS WE GET BACK into

the swing of normal life again, I’ve found myself here, there, and everywhere. On the pages that follow, snapshots from a grateful life well spent working and riding. I count my blessings every day.


(Follow me on Instagram at @piperklemm)

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Warming up for the Adult Hunters in the double schooling ring with MTM Sandwich at Kentucky Horse Shows. WEARING: Soless (Visor), GPA First Lady (helmet), Nezumi (timepiece), Fabbri (boots), Pessoa (bridle), Butet (saddle), Total Comfort Fit (girth), & Wilkers (saddle pad).

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Judging May 16th at the Allstar Horse Show Association’s Spring Horse Show at Ludwig’s Corner in Pennsylvania. I showed in that ring growing up, so coming back to judge is always incredible.

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Brand new apparel line from The Plaid Horse—our camo crop top debuted in June at At home photographing new apparel, including this sweatshirt. WEARING: Nezumi (timepiece), (sweatshirt).

July 2021     THE PLAID HORSE




The horse show ritual of waking Reuben up to compete. He always hits the snooze button a few times, so I get dressed and come back. Reuben is always in a good mood after he wakes up and gets his canter on. We walk plenty and then always canter first when he’s been napping to loosen up. Emily Elek warms me up with a vertical only when I’m terrified and then an oxer only when we’re confident. The schooling classes and first day of the Adults, we only had a vertical; the second day of the Adults, we were confident enough to not be scared.

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The real in-gate situation: Out of breath, drinking water, and Emily telling Reuben that he’s the best boy for always taking care of his mom. Back to school teaching at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. My three summer courses started: BEA 115 Business & Bias in the Equestrian Industry; BEA 114 English Riding: History, Culture, and Industry Evolution: 1950 – Present; and BEA 115 Grit, Toughness, and Contemporary Equestrian Coaching.

Post-horse show bath time in the permanent barns next to the Alltech Arena.

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Focusing on getting the right canter. NEAR LEFT:

Walking out of the Claiborne Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park—my first time showing in this ring after watching thousands of trips in here over the last decade. FAR LEFT:

Judging at the Fox Rust Horse Show on June 6, 2021 in Canton, New York. WEARING: Lilly Pulitzer (clipboard), The Plaid Horse slouchy tee (


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Feeding Horses, Minimizing Environmental Impact Founded in 1980, Alltech is focused on providing green, sustainable solutions to horse owners’ needs for balanced feeds, supplements, and additives for horses WHEN WAS THE last time you considered the envi-




ronmental impact of your horse’s weekly bag of feed? While that may be a new thought for many horse owners, the environmental impact of agriculture has been one of the driving forces behind Alltech ever since it was founded over 40 years ago. The brainchild of Irish entrepreneur Dr. Pearse Lyons, Alltech is an innovative, green company with operations in animal feed, meat, brewing, and distilling. Its goal is to use scientific innovation and nutritional technology to benefit animals, feed consumers, and sustain the environment.

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“Alltech is like a family. We have colleagues in over a hundred countries, but everyone has the same zeal and love for what we do.” —MEGHAN NIEHAUS, LIFESTYLE MARKETING COORDINATOR, ALLTECH NORTH AMERICAN FEED DIVISION

Along with his wife, Deirdre, Dr. Lyons immigrated to the United States in the 1970s with a dream of spearheading a wave of green, sustainable practices in the agricultural industry. In 1980, that dream came true when the Lyons family founded Alltech with just $10,000. Today, Alltech is a global leader in animal health with more than 6,000 team members spread all over the world. The company is headquartered in Nicholasville, KY, with regional offices located across the United States and international branches in such countries as Canada, Mexico, Mongolia, Brazil, China, and Ireland. Since 1980, Alltech has grown by leaps and bounds, but its heart remains faithful to Dr. Lyons’ vision of producing nutritious food for people while caring for animals and sustaining the environment. Dr. Lyons passed away in 2018, but Alltech continues to be family-owned and operated to this day. His wife, Deirdre Lyons, serves as the company’s co-founder and director of

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corporate image and design, while their son, Dr. Mark Lyons, is president and CEO. “Alltech is like a family. We have colleagues in over a hundred countries, but everyone has the same zeal and love for what we do,” says Meghan Niehaus, lifestyle and marketing coordinator for Alltech’s North American feed division. “For me, one of the most appealing aspects of working at Alltech is the fact that we focus not just on improving animal nutrition today, but on improving animal nutrition now and in the future, too. We are strongly focused on doing things that are good for the environment, good for the animal, and good for consumers, too.” Alltech is a multifaceted company that provides feed and other products for a variety of species and industries, but they are also major suppliers of feeds, complete feeds, pre-mixed supplements, and additives for the horse industry. For much of its history, Alltech has focused on business-to-business interactions;

now, according to Niehaus, the company has shifted focus to leveraging its equine brands, such as Hubbard and McCauley’s, to sell feed and supplements directly to consumers in the horse industry.

FEEDING HORSES WHILE CARING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT In addition to feeds and complete feeds, Alltech produces supplements and additives for equines. “The word ‘additive’ sometimes has a negative connotation, because in human nutrition, it makes us think about synthetics or chemicals,” says Emily Dickson, Alltech’s North American multi-species marketing coordinator. “But in animal nutrition, additives are just something extra that you add to the feed. For example, in a bag of horse feed, you may have corn, oats, and alfalfa, but it’s not a balanced feed until you add in minerals, vitamins, and sometimes pre- and probiotics. Those micronutrients are examples of additives.”

with as little waste as possible. It’s not just about how a mineral is used in the animal, but also how much of that trace mineral is wasted and goes back into the environment.” Since its inception, Alltech has been focused on providing an organic and sustainable food supply for all animals, including horses. “In the last decade or so, people have become really interested in organic, nonGMO foods, and naturally, we’ve become more inclined to translate that into what we feed to our companion animals and horses, too,” Dickson says. “But these technologies and ideas have been researched at Alltech for over 40 years. We’re already there, and now we’re moving forward into making our packaging more sustainable, too, by using recycled materials. We’re always looking forward.”

horse feeds, and Cool Command, which is a line of controlled starch feeds. “I think the Cool Command line is pretty exciting in the current equine market because it focuses on low-starch and low-sugar feeds,” Niehaus says. “Many horse owners are concerned about that these days. Cool Command Controlled Starch is a standard 14% protein feed with controlled starch, but we also have Cool Command Balancer 30, which is a premixed ration balancer that provides a horse on pasture with all the micronutrients they need to stay healthy. Cool Command Senior Horse Feed is a multi-form product with an extruded fat nugget as well as joint health support to support those senior horses who need an extra calorie boost.” Alltech also offers six premium equine supplements through Lifeforce, which are designed to be 100% digestible for horses.

“We know how important it is to provide support to horses, because our horses create such a deep connection with us, and they can mean so much to so many people.” As part of Alltech’s drive to create green, sustainable practices in the equine feed industry, the company focuses on producing environmentally friendly horse feeds. For example, Alltech uses nutritional technologies to include trace minerals in horse feeds that are as digestible as possible to minimize the amount of minerals that are passed through manure into the environment. “I think as horse owners, we can forget that if an animal isn’t utilizing all the nutrients in a feed product, those nutrients return to the soil and that can impact the ecology around our facilities,” Niehaus explains. “We want to minimize that environmental impact. A lot of our technologies are based on fermentation using the yeast cell, and the idea is that if you starve a yeast cell and then offer it something that it can eat, it will absorb that and take it in. Then you can turn a yeast cell into a form of micronutrient that can be used by the horse’s body

LOOKING FOR A NEW FEED OR SUPPLEMENT? TRY ALLTECH! While Alltech produces feeds for a variety of species, the team itself is largely composed of equine enthusiasts who want to produce feeds that are healthy, effective choices for horses of all ages and disciplines. “Most of our team is equine-focused,” Niehaus says. “We have great nutritionists on staff, but we’re also equine competitors and horse owners here, so we are our own audience. We know how important it is to provide support to horses, because our horses create such a deep connection with us, and they can mean so much to so many people. I think having a team who understands and relates to that is important.” Horse owners can purchase Alltech equine products from a variety of Alltechowned brands including McCauley’s, Hubbard, and Lifeforce. The newly revamped and revitalized Hubbard Horse Feed line of products includes Summit, which includes traditional performance

“We just launched a completely redesigned line of Lifeforce supplements on May 3, and we are super excited,” Dickson says. “Lifeforce Digestion includes Alltech’s signature gut health technologies. Lifeforce Calming is an herb-free supplement designed to support the nervous horse. Lifeforce Joint includes all four key joint nutrients, as well as probiotics. Lifeforce Hoof also contains added probiotics and Lifeforce Weight Booster is high in omega-3 fatty acids to help boost weight and skin health. And finally, we’re very excited about Lifeforce Elite Performance, our comprehensive, all-in-one supplement with joint, hoof, and gut nutrients, 100% organic trace minerals, 100% organic selenium, and more. In my opinion, any type of performance horse would benefit from Elite.” To learn more about Alltech and its green solutions to all your equine feed needs, visit Alltech on Facebook, Instagram, and at

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Every Little Breath You Take... Can Improve Your Riding WORDS: TONYA


THE MOST POWERFUL SKILL you possess is something you have in common with your horse: breathing. Of course, you were both born knowing how to breathe. Most of the time you really don’t think about it and things tend to work out fine. However, just because you know the basics of how to breathe doesn’t mean you know how to breathe optimally. In fact, according to experts, most people breathe at only 10 to 20% of their full capacity. Should this be interesting to you as an athlete? Absolutely! In fact, it should be exciting to know that you are probably walking around with a fair amount of unused potential. Improving your regular, everyday breathing habits will enhance things such as your: • Ability to focus • Stamina during exercise • Overall wellness

• Sleep quality • Immune response • Quiet mind

Now, you may have already built some breathing techniques into your pre-ride routine and your time with your horse, which is a wonderful start! However, employing high quality breathing methods all day long (instead of just before starting a course in a lesson, for example) will allow you to have a good store of energy and calm to draw on when you need it. Now let’s explore ways to make sure that influence is positive and improve your regular breathing so that you have more positive energy to share with your horse.

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This may sound obvious, because that is what your nose was designed for—but many, many people breathe through their mouths. Breathing through your mouth activates shallow, upper chest breathing, which is bad for many reasons, especially because the body associates it with the fightor-flight response. By contrast, nose breathing encourages high quality abdominal—or diaphragmatic—breathing. EXERCISE: Place one hand on your chest,

and one on your stomach. Now take a deep breath through your mouth. Notice how your chest expands and lifts up. Now take a slow deep breath through your nose and feel your belly expand under your hand. Breathing through your nose encourages you to take full, deep breaths, which in turn increases oxygen in the bloodstream. In addition, your sinuses produce nitric oxide, which when carried to your lungs by your breath will help you fight disease, regulate blood pressure and boost your immune system.



Although this idea simply sounds like common sense, recent research supports the idea that if you breathe slowly and smoothly you will naturally feel calmer. Stanford scientists have identified neurons in the brain that track how you are breathing and report it to the structure that generates arousal. Therefore, if you are anxious, your rapid breathing reinforces this state of mind and you stay stuck in a challenging feedback loop between your breath and your brain. When your everyday breathing stays slow and smooth, however, your mind will operate from a more composed default state.


This high quality, functional breathing will have a positive effect on your day—including your pre-ride preparation and your skills on your horse. Slowing down your breathing but taking in more air per breath will also help you to maintain a better level of energy throughout the day, giving you more to draw on when you get on your horse to hack, take a lesson or go to the show ring. EXERCISE: Set a timer for one minute and

count the number of breaths you take. Observe the total and write it down. Pay attention to the speed of your breathing this week and repeat a one-minute trial every day, recording your total. See if you can get more comfortable with slow, smooth breathing each day—striving for an optimal 6 breaths per minute.


• Breathe (2016) by Belisa Vranich • Breathing for Warriors (2020) by Belisa Vranich & Brian Sabin • How to Breathe (2019) by Ashley Neese • The Oxygen Advantage (2015) by Patrick McKeown


Your posture can affect the quality of your breathing by up to 30%. Rounding your shoulders and keeping your head down (for example when scrolling or reading on your phone) causes the muscles around your chest to tighten. This tightness keeps your lungs from expanding, keeping your breathing shallow and fast. Conversely, breathing with your chest open and your upper body tall helps your muscles stay relaxed, enhances flexibility in your mid-section and therefore increases your breath capacity and the amount of oxygen you can bring into your body. Pay special attention to your breathing posture when you are seated - like when you are watching ringside or driving to the barn or horse show because sitting can negatively affect your posture, and consequently the quality of your breathing. Check in with your posture regularly throughout the day and stretch tall as you inhale in order to optimize your breathing.




Try this: Sit down, staying away from the back of your chair and take a big, giant breath. Did your shoulders go up towards the sky? Did your lungs lift? You just

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RECOMMENDED BREATHING APPS: • Box Breathing • breathe • Breathing Zone • Calm

experienced a vertical breath. You want to retrain your body to take horizontal breaths to maximize the quality of every breath your body takes. Vertical breathing means that as you inhale your shoulders and upper body lift up towards the sky. Your breath typically stays shallow with this type of breath, utilizing only the top third of your lungs. This can throw off your balance as you overuse your neck and shoulder muscles, taxing your back muscles that are working to keep you upright. Vertical breathing also makes you anxious because your breaths are less efficient, which induces mental and physical stress. Another factor that can induce vertical, shallow breathing is bracing your belly. Fear, nerves, tight waistbands, old injuries, etc. can all play into this bracing as well. When you take a horizontal breath, you expand your diaphragm and belly as you inhale. It will then feel natural to bring your breath to the center of gravity in your body which is a place below and behind your belly button. You will feel more grounded as a result. The balance you will feel is both physical and psychological, leaving you better prepared to face the demands of the day. Please note that to take a proper horizontal breath you want a full extension—360 degrees around the middle of your body. Think about expanding all the way around your midsection (as in your belly, ribs and back) to make space for a complete full breath. Making this type of horizontal breath a habit will help your balance and ability to stay in the center of your horse’s back. EXERCISE: Lay on your back, with your

knees bent and your feet on the floor. Put a small stack of books on your belly. Breathe slowly through your nose and make it a goal to watch the books rise and fall with your breath. This exercise will make breathing horizontally with the diaphragm more tangible and realistic. You will actually see and feel the outcome of using the proper muscles to breathe, a feeling you can then memorize for reference.

The physical and mental benefits of effective breathing are immense, and your breathing can help you with every part of your riding. It helps you harness the mind/body connection, feel energized, let go of tension, be present in the moment, focus on a task—the list is long. Pay special attention to improving your everyday breathing so you can bring your best self to the partnership you share with your horse.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER WITH YOUR HORSE Try this everyday breathing practice the next time you are hand walking your horse or when you get on for your walk warmup: • Take a slow inhale through your nose. Lengthen your spine by lifting your head towards the sky, open your chest and allow the breath to expand your midsection. • Exhale slowly through your nose while feeling your belly flatten. • Repeat and get in touch with your horse’s walk rhythm. It may be quick, slow or medium, depending on the day. Allow yourself to settle your mind and connect to your breath. • Count your horse’s steps with your inhale and exhale. Repeat. • Experiment to find an optimal count that feels right to you and then adjust your count to exhale fortwo steps longer than you inhale. Try this for a few breaths in a row, take breaks as you need. With practice this will become a terrific way to get in sync with your horse while fine tuning your breathing. You may even notice your horse exhale with you—what a wonderful way to connect! Tonya Johnston, MA Is a mental skills coach for riders with over 25 years of experience. Her book Inside Your Ride is available on, and her podcast Is a part of The Plaid Horse Magazine’s Plaldcast. Connect with Tonya at




visit us at www . rammfence . com | follow us on


Lexington Spring Encore ‘AA’ Hunter Jumper Show at the Virginia Horse Center


2 3

1 Hotspot & Sloane Coles win the $10,000 Welcome Stake during Week II. • 2 Jumper divisions were full both weeks. • 3 The Robert M. Reel Perpetual Trophy, presented by the Kenneth Wheeler Family to the Grand Conformation Hunter Champion was awarded to Genuine, owned by Peg Seals (left) and ridden by Winn Alden (right) of Warrenton, Virginia. • 4 Kite Payton (Brooke Kemper, trainer) won the SaraLisa trophy for Best Child Pony for performances with McCool in the Small/Medium Children’s Pony Hunters. • 5 Quantum Trost 3 & owner/rider Abby Grabowski (Kama Godek, trainer) captured the $25,000 Rockbridge Grand Prix during Week I. 6 Heather Bamford’s Basalt & Mary Lisa Leffler (Patty Foster, trainer) win the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby during Week I. TERESA RAMSEY AND A WYNNING ADVANTAGE


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founded by a horse owner for horse owners. In 2016, when her horse began showing signs of gastric ulcers, amateur rider Elizabeth Ehrlich could not find a solution on the market that met her needs. So she set out to make her own affordable, all-natural gastric support supplement made of forage-based ingredients. And with that, Ulceraser was born. After that, an entire line of equine supplements followed. Ehrlich named the supplement line Equine Elixirs, and the brand is paving the way for the future of equine supplements. Produced locally in Wellington, FL, these USHJA-safe, USEF-safe and FEI-safe supplements are favorites among well-known professionals, including McLain Ward, Georgina Bloomberg, Stacia Madden, and more. Not only are professionals taking note of Equine Elixirs, but amateur riders are finding success in the show ring using the products on their horses. On the following pages, several amateurs and professionals share their personal reviews of the supplements.

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Stuart, owned by Natasha Freeman, has benefited from Equine Elixirs’ Calmakazi.

Josie Cassens and Shadowfax

“With using Equine Elixirs, he’s a lot more relaxed ... the supplements really keep him in a good mental state.” —JOSIE CASSENS, ABOUT USING CALMAKAZI


“Being a competitive athlete is in my blood and I think of my horses as athletes too. As athletes, I only want to put the best ingredients into their systems.” —EMILY GOLDBERG



Positude is made from highly concentrated leaf, berry, and root extracts that act upon the pituitary to maintain even hormone levels in mares, geldings, and stallions. Mimicking the effects of progesterone therapy, Positude is safe to handle, easy to feed, and its daily delivery system eliminates peaks and troughs of hormonal fluctuations.

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EMILY GOLDBERG Amateur rider Emily Goldberg takes her horses’ health and wellbeing seriously. Since graduating from college, she has been working as a private tutor, specializing in helping young equestrians achieve their academic goals. “I’m grateful my job gives me the liberty to train every day and spend as much as time as possible with my horses,” Goldberg says. “It’s important to me to not only be a rider but also a horsewoman and know everything that’s going into my horses.” Goldberg recently starting dabbling in the jumper ring after an extensive junior career competing in the hunters and equitation. “I’m competing with two horses right now: Mojito, my Amateur-Owner Hunter, and Davos B, a jumper owned by Beth Underhill,” Goldberg adds. “Davos B or ‘Zach’ is the first jumper I’ve ever ridden, and we recently moved up to the 1.10m level. These horses are quite wonderful; I’d do anything to make them feel their best.” A key part of Goldberg’s winning formula is Calmakazi used in conjunction with Postitude. “I haven’t loved a lot of products in the past. What I love about the Equine Elixirs is that there is no ‘sketchy stuff ’ inside and all the ingredients are natural,” she says. “Unlike some other supplements, it doesn’t make them sleepy. Instead, it helps regulate their mood and stress levels. We travel a lot to various horse shows and my work schedule changes daily, so my horses must adapt to that. Using Calmakazi and Postitude helps them be more consistent inside and outside the show ring.” “I want to be the best that I can be and using Equine Elixirs helps keep my horses more focused when we are competing,” says Goldberg, who is also granddaughter of the late Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda. “Being a competitive athlete is in my blood and I think of my horses as athletes too. As athletes, I only want to put the best ingredients into their systems. It’s cool that Equine Elixirs has ingredients like lentils, peas, and sunflower seeds.”

JOSEPHINE CASSENS Using Calmakazi has helped take Josephine Cassens’ Shadowfax to the next level. “When I got Shadowfax or ‘Joey’ almost ten years ago, he was very spooky and had room for growth,” Cassens says. “He eventually developed into a fantastic Junior Hunter and was part of my high school equestrian team with me. However, if we were at a show with a lot of people, he would

Josie Cassens and Shadowfax

need a lot of prep. By nature, Joey is a very spooky horse, and he sees the world in a way I don’t think any other horse does.” Cassens started Joey on Calmakazi during the pandemic, and since returning to the show ring, has noticed an improvement. “With using Equine Elixirs, he’s a lot more relaxed and doesn’t spook at random things that I don’t see,” she says. “The supplements really keep him in a good mental state.” As a student at the University of Chicago, Cassens balances her time between studying and riding. “I don’t always get to put in the hours that I would like to in the saddle, so it’s really reassuring to know that I have Calmakazi to help keep Joey calm and collected.” Just recently, the pair earned the championship in the Adult Amateur Hunter Division at the West Palms LA May Premier Horse Show, and she is looking forward to a great show season. “Whatever I need him to do, he can grow with me,” Cassens adds. “Since starting the Calmakazi, he’s been so much simpler and doesn’t need as much prep. It’s more than just making him calm; it makes him happier and that makes me happier.”

NATASHA FREEMAN Stuart, a 14-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred gelding owned by Natasha Freeman of Binghamton, NY, sustained an injury in April that required him to go on stall rest. While Freeman notes that Stuart is typically calm, cool, and collected, he can still have his moments—like any horse. In an effort to keep him safe and to ensure speedy healing, Freeman turned to Equine Elixirs’ all-natural nervous system support supplement Calmakazi to help Stuart remain calm during the extended downtime. Freeman also decided that all-natural gastric support supplement Ulceraser would complement his supplement regimen knowing that it would be possible for ulcers to develop as a “stress response” to the injury and lack of turnout. Within weeks of starting Calmakazi,

Freeman says that she had a very content horse. “He was just so mellow,” she says. “My trainer even commented on how well he was behaving during our hand walks. I think that these are supplements everybody should be using because they are all-natural and whole-food based. They are also at a price point where ‘run of the mill’ people can use them; they are not just something that people at the top of the sport can afford.” Stuart is now back in work, and pleased with how great Stuart looks and feels, Freeman doesn’t have any plans to take her horse off the supplements. The pair hopes to return to hunter shows this summer and looks forward to competing again with the help of Equine Elixirs.



Calmakazi’s unique and effective multi-pronged approach offers full coverage for the broadest group of horses and their individual needs. Forage-based ingredients containing magnesium, tryptophan, and B vitamins help promote optimal nervous system function, while apoptogenic extracts help regulate cortisol and serotonin in response to external stressors.

Kristen Agger’s Barry

KRISTEN AGGERS In August of 2020, Kristen Aggers of Napa, CA, took a chance on a six-year-old German Warmblood gelding named Baudric (“Barry”) by purchasing him sight unseen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Trained to second level dressage, Aggers had high hopes for the young horse. After he arrived, however, it was clear that he wasn’t feeling quite right. After Aggers consulted with veterinarians and experts to

Natasha Freeman and Stuart



Immunox is an immunity and antioxidant blend that helps reduce daily oxidative stress. Intense physical exercise, traveling, and exposure to sick horses can compromise your horse’s immune system requiring longer periods of recovery, and leaving them more susceptible to infection, soreness, or tying-up. By providing a highly bioavailable source of natural Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopheryl acetate) and potent antioxidants in conjunction with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, selenium, and polyphenols, Immunox strengthens your horse’s natural defense system and boosts natural immune function.

determine the root of Barry’s discomfort, she ultimately got the horse’s diagnosis—kissing spines. In Barry’s case, the best way to remedy this back pain-inducing condition was surgery. Knowing that she’d need to keep Barry calm and comfortable, and to aid in a fast and full recovery, Aggers turned to a trio of Equine Elixirs all-natural supplements. Aggers was first introduced to Equine Elixirs after she won a sample of hormone support supplement, Positude, from a contest. After recognizing a huge difference in Barry’s ability to focus almost immediately after putting him on it, Aggers reached out to Equine Elixirs to learn about the other products. With guidance from founder Liz Ehrlich, Aggers added nervous system support supplement Calmakazi to Barry’s supplement routine to help keep him at ease during recovery from surgery as well as antioxidant and immunity support supplement Immunox. “I wanted Barry on Immunox for its source of natural Vitamin E to help with the healing and trauma to his body,” says Aggers. “Also, we were seeing a lot of breathing-related issues and asthma in the horses due to the poor air quality caused by the lingering smoke from the wildfires [in northern California at the time]. With all of this in mind, adding Immunox into Barry’s regimen made sense.” The three products in combination did wonders for Barry who is now recovering well from surgery and working on the lunge line for 20 minutes every day. “When I put Barry on Calmakazi, his whole affect changed,” says Aggers.

July 2021     THE PLAID HORSE



“He seemed less edgy, more at peace, more settled, and able to cope with stress in different environments. Being on all of these products, I’ve seen a big improvement in his coat, overall demeanor, and his ability to focus. I swear by [these supplements]. I canceled all of my other supplements and switched completely to Equine Elixirs. I think it’s important to say that I am not sponsored by the brand. It’s simply a line of products that I really believe in.”

Grafton Ridge LLC is an Equine Elixirs customer

KAROLINE SAULS Like the founder of Equine Elixirs, Karoline Sauls was once an amateur rider seeking out a natural solution for her horses’ digestion issues. “I would get on my horse, Pacco, and start to trot. Then, he would stop dead in his tracks and wrap his nose around my foot,” Sauls explains. “My trainer at the time suggested scoping him for ulcers and we discovered that he had gastric ulcers and did a 30-day treatment of Ulcerguard. It got me curious about what causes ulcers and what kinds of supplements I could do to prevent them from coming back in the future.” Sauls was pleasantly surprised when she learned about the natural ingredients in Ulceraser. “My trainer recommended Equine Elixirs Ulceraser and I was a bit skeptical at first,” she says. “Then, I started researching the ingredients. I noticed it had various seeds and I found studies showing that these seeds were proven to help with gastric ulcers. I looked into buying the seeds in bulk but then realized it was more affordable to buy Ulceraser. At that point, I started Pacco on Ulceraser and he has not had any signs of ulcers since then.” In January 2019, two of her other horses (who

Karoline Sauls and Casanova

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Ulceraser’s forage-based all-natural proprietary blend provides daily support of the entire GI tract. Ulceraser is ideal for horses subject to the most common risk factors for digestive upset and ulcers, including training, traveling, competition, limited turnout, large grain meals, use of non-steroidal antiinflammatories, changes in weather, or other forms of stress.

were not yet on the Ulceraser) were rushed into colic surgery within less than two weeks of each other. “Cheers Casiro and Casanova both needed colic surgery for a displacement,” she says. “I asked the surgeon at the hospital if there was anything that could have caused this and he explained that it was purely a coincidence. It was so heart wrenching. These are your soul mates and it’s awful for them.” As her horses recovered from their surgeries, Sauls started them on Ulceraser. “Now I have all of my competing horses on Ulceraser and it helps keep them happy and healthy,” she adds. “I recommend it to people all the time because they are natural and affordable. I love the customer service and how I can even put the supplements on autoship.”

LOOKING AHEAD Ehrlich and her team at Equine Elixirs are excited about continuing to innovate in the equine supplement space. They’ve recently added Electrofresh®, a banana-flavored electrolyte, and Sudden Comfort ®, a calming paste, to their lineup of natural supplements, and they are hard at work creating even more new products. In addition to developing supplements, the team enjoys making connections and helping horse owners. “We really get to know a lot of the horses that use our products, and we love making those personal connections,” says Kimberly Ercius of Equine Elixirs. “Our relationship with our customers is so important to us. We have a direct line listed on our website and our response time on social media is less than two minutes. We are horse owners ourselves, so we genuinely care and enjoy interacting with our customers.” To learn more about Equine Elixirs, their products, and their team, visit


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NEW TECHNOLOGY FROM ® VITALIZE Helps Reduce Heat Stress in Horses HORSES HAVE A natural ability to handle extreme

temperatures much more effectively than humans. This is important to remember; however, it is also important to consider the upper and lower limits of their comfort zone. Also known as the thermoneutral zone, a horse’s “comfort zone” is generally between 40° and 80° Fahrenheit. Inside of these

50     THE PLAID HORSE     July 2021


July 2021     THE PLAID HORSE



temperatures, horses can maintain a normal body temperature without expending excess energy for heat dissipation or generation. Higher than the 80° mark, horses will likely encounter heat stress. No matter if you live in the northeast or southwest, your horse may exceed the upper limits of his or her comfort zone frequently in the summertime and experience heat stress. When the temperature rises, horses must initiate physiological processes to cool itself, and these are often the first signs of heat stress. A horse dissipates body heat by: • Sweating (evaporative cooling) • Rapid breathing/respiration (evaporative cooling) • Vasodilation/maximizing blood flow to skin’s surface (convective cooling) The first sign of heat stress may be something as simple as poor performance or lethargy, followed by dehydration, high body temperature, or even decreased gut sounds. As the temperatures continue to rise, heat stress can become much more serious and, if left unchecked, potentially fatal. Don’t let heat stress have a negative impact on your horse. BioZyme® Inc. has just introduced Vitalize® Blazin’, the most innovative product available to help manage the effects of heat stress in horses.

Vitalize Blazin’ is an oral liquid product to support normal recovery from heat stress and exertion in horses, beginning at the cellular level. It contains a proprietary blend of L-arginine, L-citrulline, and Aspergillus oryzae to support blood flow and cooling. In addition, it promotes water retention and contains antioxidants to mitigate damaging free radicals that are caused by exertion and exposure to heat. “As the temperature rises, horses may begin to experience heat stress. This can result in discomfort, fatigue, poor performance, or even more severe symptoms. In addition to often being in warm climates, performance horses are also at a greater risk for heat stress because exercise generates heat. Recent work published in the Australian Veterinary Journal demonstrated that racehorses generate enough heat to raise their core body temperature by 1.8° Fahrenheit each minute they are galloping,” said Lynsey Whitacre, Ph.D., BioZyme® Inc. Companion Animal Business Development. To help keep horses comfortable and performing to their greatest ability, Vitalize Blazin’ is recommended for use during times of elevated exercise, exertion or performance, when the heat index reaches above 90° or when acclimating to a new climate. Whitacre reminds equine enthusiasts that it typically takes a horse 15 to 21 days to acclimate to a new climate. Blazin’ is an easy-to-use top dress, and best results are seen when the product is used for three or more consecutive days. “For decades, electrolytes have been used to support horses during heat stress. Blazin’ is a new, innovative approach — the next generation of product to help horses perform at their greatest potential, even when it is blazin’ hot,” Whitacre said. “It works by actually supporting blood flow to the skin’s surface, allowing the horse to cool itself more efficiently, while also supporting water retention. It’s a product that is innovative and unparalleled in the industry.” To learn more about mitigating heat stress in your horse with the new Vitalize Blazin’ or to find a dealer near you, visit

52     THE PLAID HORSE     July 2021

HOW TO HELP YOUR HORSE IN THE HEAT In addition to using the technology in Vitalize Blazin’, here are some other ways to help mitigate the effects of heat stress in your equine companion: HYDRATION

Provide plenty of fresh and clean water to help compensate for the fluids lost while sweating. You can also check for proper hydration by pressing on the horse’s gum just above an upper incisor and note how long it takes for the pink color to return to the area. If the color returns in less than two seconds, the horse is well hydrated. More than two seconds indicates dehydration.


If you work your horse during hot days, do so in the morning or evening when temperatures are not as extreme. Remember to consider the humidity in addition to the actual air temperature. As a rule of thumb, you can determine if it’s too hot to ride by adding the actual temperature to the percent of humidity. For a hot summery day in the Midwest, that total could be 150 or more (90° and 60% humidity). When the total is above 150, it is advisable to take caution when riding. Consider all the factors like the horse’s fitness, familiarity with the weather conditions, cloud cover, and intensity of work when deciding whether or not to ride. If you do choose to go for a ride in the extreme heat of the day, be sure to help your horse cool off by giving a bath or rinsing him or her off. However, be sure to scrape the excess water off the horse afterward to prevent the water from holding in the heat and actually working against your attempt to cool the horse down.


It is important to maintain a proper body condition score in horses, especially during times of extreme heat. Pay attention to horse’s weight and do not allow them to become too fat in the summer months, as this provides insulation and reduces their natural ability to cool themselves. Certain diet adjustments may also help support horses during the summer. First, don’t overfeed protein. Excess protein in the diet must be broken down through a process called deamination, which generates more metabolic heat compared to regular digestion and absorption of protein. If your horse needs more weight or energy, use a high-fat feed or supplement. Fat is digested and absorbed very efficiently, meaning it produces less metabolic heat. Additionally, if a horse is not drinking well or needs increased water consumption, a well-soaked feed such as beet pulp or forage pellets can be a good option.

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OV E R 4 0 0



The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation:



I PURCHASED Norsk out of a herd of low-level racehorses—2-, 3-, and

4-year-olds—who didn’t make the cut as winners. He was one of the few in the field without “racing jewelry” on his legs, and he had the shiniest coat of the bunch. In seven starts as a 2-year-old, he won a paltry $70. After a starting gate accident, his racing career was over. Norsk’s face was loveably sad and his demeanor was kind. I took him home as a project, thinking I could train him up and sell him in exchange for a “real horse.” Little did I know, he was my “real horse.” He would be my show hunter, show jumper, equitation horse, three-day-eventer, fox hunter, my children’s first horse, my broken-leg rehab horse, and my trail/camping horse extraordinaire. There was nothing he couldn’t or wouldn’t do. Twenty years after picking him out from that herd, he died in my arms—a champion and teacher on so many levels. But ultimately colic took him from me. He developed chronic colic in his teens that might have been prevented had I been aware of the important research on gastric ulcers, shipping, diet—plus the practical application of that science to a horse like mine—research funded by the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation (GJCRF).

54     THE PLAID HORSE     July 2021

But for Holly White’s Appendix Quarter Horse, Gus, the research funded by GJCRF did save his life. Gus was admitted to Cornell University with severe colic that required surgery. He initially recovered well, but developed adhesions in his abdomen permanently trapping the colon in the wrong position, causing chronic colic and suspected gastric ulcers. Left untreated, the ulcers could contribute to ongoing colic episodes. Knowing the research, White changed Gus’ diet from long-stem forage to a low-bulk diet of Hydration Hay (haylage) and soaked hay pellets, affectionately referred to as “slop.” The life-saving measures, diet, and post colic treatments were the result of GJCRF projects straight out of Michigan State University and

July 2021     THE PLAID HORSE



FUN FACTS • In 2021, $1,648,434 has been spent to date funding 13 new projects at 12 universities. • There are 12 continuing projects, and two career development awards worth $20,000 each. • For seven straight years, more than $1 million has been approved for use. • The 2021 slate of research brings GraysonJockey Club Research Foundation’s totals since 1983 to more than $30.6 million to underwrite 397 projects at 45 universities.

North Carolina State University. White was so transformed by the experience, she is now the development officer for the foundation. “I think that the public can’t always link that the research we are doing benefits their own horses,” says White. “Research is sometimes hard to understand because it’s not necessarily a tangible item. The general public doesn’t always link equine health research to their own horse until they have a horse with gastric ulcers, or one that undergoes colic surgery, or laminitis treated with cryotherapy, or stem cells used in a soft tissue injury. They don’t link how that process stemmed from research to a treatment.” That statement sums up my personal experience, and considering the U.S. has a horse population of almost 4 million, I can’t be alone in this. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had heard of the foundation, but thought it focused only on racehorses. I didn’t connect the science to the sport horse industry at a high level, or for at-home amateurs like me. The truth is that the health of the horse is everyone’s responsibility, from the top levels to the entry levels, from owners to trainers, riders, vets, farriers, and even transport staff. “The foundation adheres to the philosophy that research fosters the health and soundness of all horses, from those in an individual’s backyard to those in a top trainer’s stable,” says White.


It all started in 1940 when the original Grayson Foundation was formed and named after Admiral Cary Grayson—a surgeon in the U.S.

56     THE PLAID HORSE     July 2021

Navy and personal physician to President Woodrow Wilson. An avid horseman who loved Thoroughbred horse racing, Grayson owned Blue Ridge Farm, a breeding/training/racing operation in Upperville, Va. It is still owned by the Grayson family and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The original foundation assisted in the promotion of research for horses, and The Jockey Club was an early supporter. It helped raise part of the $100,000 in seed money to bring Grayson’s research funding idea to life. The mission was always to fund research at existing institutions rather than carry out research itself. In 1983, The Jockey Club Research Foundation joined the Grayson Foundation to become the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation Inc., now the nation’s leading source of equine research funding. The research helps all breeds of horses. The organization is led by a 32-member Research Advisory Committee (RAC) composed of research scientists and practicing veterinarians from across the country. They meet annually to evaluate proposals, which are whittled down to the best ideas for recommendation to the board of directors, who make the final decisions. Any funded project is expected to produce at least one peer-reviewed published article. Of 230 completed projects since 1999, all have met this criterion. The powerful path of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation has led to the raising of $30.6 million to fund 397 projects at 45 universities that are focused on helping horses of all breeds. “All of the research is done through universities so that there are no lab set-up costs,” says Jamie Haydon, president of GJCRF. “We exist to help all horses by funding excellent and significant veterinary research at universities throughout North America and beyond and are committed to the advancement of horse health for all horses regardless of breed or discipline.” Most of the studies average two years at a cost of $200,000 per project—probably much more than what Dr. Grayson could ever imagine in his day. The current hot topics of research include infectious disease, reproduction, laminitis, colic, and respiratory and musculoskeletal issues. A great example of how a single GJCRF-funded research project became beneficial to all horsemen was data that proves shipping horses in box stalls is more comfortable for the horse and leads to less shipping fever and coughing.

CAREER DEVELOPMENT It’s not just money that GJCRF depends on, but also people. Top people. Without the dedicated

minds of brilliant up-and-coming equine veterinarians and researchers, the well of information could run dry. So, Lucy Young Hamilton and Richard Klein stepped forward to support career development with two awards given to prospective researchers in order to attract and keep such minds engaged in equine research. Hamilton, through the Storm Cat Award, and Klein, through his family’s foundation and in honor of his parents, Elaine and Bert Klein, have bolstered the salaries of post-residency doctors working toward a PhD. The foundation solicits and evaluates proposals from these career development awards. Of 27 doctors who have received these awards, 21 are still doing equine research, helping fill the pipeline with the next generation of researchers. Going back to Gus and Holly White, one of the veterinarians on the case was Dr. Jonathan Cheetham. He was awarded the inaugural Storm Cat Award and now sits on Grayson’s RAC, which assisted in selecting projects for funding, a great example of this very needed “mind pipeline.”

SOME AMAZING SAVES A decade ago, our family had a pony with laminitis. It seemed to happen overnight as a reaction to a steroid injection. She recovered to a sound and competitive life, but it took years and daily dedication to her hoof health, diet, and body condition. To see her in pain was crushing, and it’s no different for high performance horses ... laminitis is the second leading cause of premature death in horses next to colic. With GJCRF funds, research on cryotherapy for laminitis has proved highly effective. It could have made treating our pony easier and faster, just as it did for Grade 1-winning Thoroughbreds Bal a Bali, Lady Eli, Lord Nelson, and Paynter. Incredibly, Lady Eli and Bal a Bali returned to successful racing careers, and the others retired as pasture-sound and happy breeding horses. Cryotherapy can be used both for prevention and treatment for acute laminitis in the following ways: • Apply cryotherapy as first aid to limit disease progression • Provide pain relief and reduce inflammation with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs • Restrict the horse’s movement via stall rest • Use orthotic/corrective shoeing Cryotherapy is described as “foot cooling,” requiring use of a cooling device from the knee/ hock down. Think: ice sleeves, ice pack wraps, ice boots, or even tethering a horse in a stream

or pool of cold water for an extended period. Other methods involve the recirculation of refrigerated water using recirculating pumps (such as the Equine Spa). Specifically, they found the following key effects of cryotherapy in laminitic horses: • Reduces metabolic activity (energy requirements and consumption) in the lamellar tissue of the feet while preserving hoof function and balance ... possibly a key to inhibiting pathologic processes in laminitis

HOW GRAYSON-FUNDED RESEARCH HELPS HORSES • First Equine Influenza Vaccine • Development of Administration to Treat Equine Gastric Ulcers

• Inhibits inflammatory signaling within the feet

• Refinement of Knowledge Regarding Safer Horseshoes and the Horse/Racetrack Interface

• Inhibits growth factor signaling and cell growth within the lamellae that contributes to stretch and damage within the feet

• Use of Stem Cells for Cartilage Repair

Now the research is focused on developing a method to deliver cryotherapy on laminitic, septic, or pre-laminitic horses that can be used for consistent and continuous cooling for several days.

REACHING OUT GJCRF provides the largest amount of grant funding for horse research. Led by super scientists, they make the impossible possible. There are a number of different ways to get involved with Grayson, from becoming an annual member to leaving a lasting legacy through a planned gift to paying tribute to a special horse in your life. “Prominent horsemen have ensured the success of the foundation through the years with their generosity,” says Haydon. A quick visit to the GJCRF website offers endless details about the history and people behind the organization, the breakthrough research and practical application of it to all horses, plus what is happening currently in the world of equine research health. In Jamie Haydon’s words, “We’ve always viewed the foundation as very important to all horses. When you hear Grayson-Jockey Club you instantly associate it with Thoroughbred racing, but all of us who love these animals have to bind together to fund this important research. Disease and injury doesn’t come up to a horse and ask what breed it is. Injuries happen to all horses, and all breeds have been the benefactors of our research funds.”

• New Approaches to Vaccination against R. Equi Pneumonia • Diagnosis and Cause of Placentitis in Mares • Muscular Factors Influencing Airway Size in Exercising Horses • Studies of Immunity to Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis • Laminitis Study Leading to Cryotherapy Treatment Protocols • Initiated Research and Development of the First Equine Positron Emission Tomography

For more information about this vital organization, please visit:

July 2021     THE PLAID HORSE


Clockwise from top left: ExcelEQ ProElite; sponsored Rider Amanda Steege and Lafitte de Muze; Easter at Chancel Stables; a field of Excel’s different Camelina varietals

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Bring Simplicity Back to Your Supplements FINDING THE best combination of supple-

ments for your horse can feel like alchemy. You want every new addition to their diet to add value—but ever-changing trends, weather, and workloads can make that nearly impossible. That’s why Excel Supplements is dedicated to making your horse’s feeding routine feel like gold again. Established in 2015, the company’s proprietary blend of camelina sativa seed oil is backed by 20 years of research and fortified with a unique blend of Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9. This is important because it helps the horse’s body properly absorb the nutrients, so you know they’re getting what their body needs.




July 2021     THE PLAID HORSE



Sponsored rider Morgan Kennedy and Casrevel

“Frankie,” Oasis Inc (Taylor Czesnik)

“For equine athletes, a lower blood lactate level means faster recovery and better endurance, especially during long competitions.” MORE THAN OIL Excel Supplements carries several products specifically geared towards horses in almost any stage of life. They can also provide the same benefits in a single supplement that other feed plans need several supplements to accomplish. ExcelEQ was the first formula developed by Excel Supplements to provide a one-stop solution to health concerns that horse owners face every day. It was created to address joint mobility, enhance coat condition, provide digestive support, create better muscle development, help alleviate allergies, and foster strong hoof growth, all through a single supplement. Their newest supplement, ExcelEQ ProElite, was created to do everything ExcelEQ could do, as both have the benefit of vitamin E to assist equine athletes in performance and recovery. ProElite also adds a potent

62     THE PLAID HORSE     July 2021

anti-inflammatory via Olive Triterpenes. Excel Supplements is proud to take the guess work out of figuring out what works best for your horse. “It helps take the worry out of a feed program when you can feed a supplement you can rely on,” says director of sales and marketing, Maddie Webb. “I think we forgot it can be that simple.”

USING RESEARCH TO BUILD THEIR CASE From day one, Excel Supplements has relied on research to prove the value of their product. Despite being successful on the market for almost 10 years, the company continues to support studies which evaluate their impact on horses in a wide variety of areas. In one such study, blood lactate was measured in a group of Arabians to assess the effects of Excel ProElite on their metabolic response during an endurance

race. Their blood lactate levels were measured both without any exposure to Excel ProElite, and after six weeks of ProElite as part of their diets. After the six weeks, all three horses’ blood lactate values after an endurance race were significantly lower than they had been prior to using Excel ProElite. While consistently conducting studies is valuable, it’s important to know how that translates to a feed regimen. “Horses in almost every discipline use the product. We work with reiners, hunters, dressage horses, jumpers—pretty much everything,” Webb says, “For equine athletes, a lower blood lactate level means faster recovery and better endurance, especially during long competitions.” This can be especially valuable for athletes such as eventers, who compete heavily for several days at a time. While their studies are on-going, Excel

“We just want to do what’s best for the horse. We make our decisions based on what’s going to be best for them.”

Sponsored rider Rachel Kennedy and Caymus

Supplements has already researched a variety of ways in which their products can be used, including how it benefits lactating mares, horses with ulcers, weanlings, and more.

WHEN ATTENTION TO DETAIL BECOMES A PASSION For the team at Excel Supplements, creating a product that works is a passion. In addition to their emphasis on research, their concern for quality control led them to own their supply chain. That means they know exactly where the oil for their supplements is coming from and how it’s handled throughout every step of the process. Their attention to detail doesn’t end with the production of their product. The proprietary blend of camelina sativa oil used by Excel Supplements was created specifically to address the way in which a

horse absorbs nutrients in its food. For example, many products promote their use of omega-3, but omega-9 helps the body use the omega-3 more efficiently. In addition, the Vitamin E is aided by the omega-6, which carries the fat that Vitamin E needs to be absorbed into the body. By creating a product that has all of these elements, Excel Supplements created a formula designed to have maximum positive impact.

STAYING TRUE TO THEIR VISION From the moment the camelina sativa seeds are planted until the time the oil is packaged and shipped to horse owners around the world, Excel Supplements keeps their most important customer in mind: The horse. They are a company created by horse people, for horses, who pride themselves on providing the highestquality, all-natural products they can.

“We just want to do what’s best for the horse,” Webb says. “We make our decisions based on what’s going to be best for them.” In addition to creating high-quality equine and canine supplements, Excel Supplements is passionate about community involvement and supporting equine organizations of every size. From off-track Thoroughbred retraining and rehabilitation to animal rescue, they are proud to promote organizations who want to create a better world for animals. As the company continues to grow, they’ve remained true to their goal of creating a natural supplement with many benefits, while continuing to push the boundaries of what their products can accomplish. Whether you own a single retired horse, or a stable full of athletes, Excel Supplements will make you feel good about what your horse is eating.

July 2021     THE PLAID HORSE



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64     THE PLAID HORSE     July 2021



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COVER STORY David O’Brien pilots Octavius SCF

Cynthia Hampton’s Classic Champions Series:

Developing Young Jumpers in America When most people look at a jumper course, they see obstacles. Cynthia Hampton sees opportunities.

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July 2021     THE PLAID HORSE




CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT: Virginia ODF ridden by Charlie Jayne at the Classic Champions Young Jumper Finals in Kentucky; Tom Holden and Cynthia Hampton; The Jumbotron in the Rolex Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park.

VER SINCE the founder of

Classic Champions—a Florida nonprofit organization dedicated to the education of developing young jumpers—first sat on a horse at age 3, she has been fascinated by the bond and love between horses and humans. “It takes understanding to communicate with a very large animal that utters no words,” says Hampton. “Yet the conversation is real, for those who listen.” Education is as central for horses as it is for humans and helps deepen the bond between horse and rider, she adds. “Education has proven to help us understand what we see. In this country, we need true educational opportunities for horses in our competition arenas.” Hampton believes the effective education of young American horses in the competition ring will provide great opportunities in the future for a new group of producers. She believes the achievement of their potential is limited by a number of factors—and she is on a mission to help that paradigm evolve. “It is difficult and expensive to develop a young jumper in this country,” she says, noting that this has hindered the United States’ efforts to dominate the world stage in Grand Prix jumping with horses bred and raised here, as Europeans have effectively done with theirs. Her eyes were opened during her 20 years of training in France, where she observed the methodical use of the show ring to develop young jumpers. The focus there, she says, resides in the mindset that a young jumper’s competitive career should be

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developed in accordance with its age and inherent ability, rather than moving the horse up as soon as it shows the physical ability to jump class height. “It’s not productive to go too fast, too soon. Your horse will be forever limited,” says Hampton. “I respect history and its proven techniques, and I am excited about ensuring our success in such ways. When the horse enjoys its job, it is most generous and feels both free and confident to express its best efforts.” Using the European model as a guide, the Classic Champions series was founded to create an enjoyable and confidence-building structure for young jumper competition in North America. It features adapted heights, types of fences, lines and turns designed by internationally renowned course designers. Many

“In this country, we need true educational opportunities for horses in our competition arenas … It’s not productive to go too fast, too soon. Your horse will be forever limited.” —CYNTHIA HAMPTON

of them have been competitive riders themselves, and all have received education specific to the developing young jumper. “I am very excited to share this proven approach with the showjumping world here in North America,” says Hampton. Classic Champions introduced its young jumper series at shows like The Ridge, Old Salem Farm, Palm Beach Masters, and a series and final at the Kentucky Horse Park. Hampton brought in FEI course designers who specialize in young jumpers, among them Irishman Tom Holden, Olympian Frédéric Cottier, and Michel Ismalun, who once won the 5-year-old championship in France. Ismalun, a 3* FEI course designer who created the first Classic Champions courses for 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds, says the main difference in designing courses for jumpers of different ages is “the amount of space you put between the jumps. The horse needs time to breathe.” For example, he says, sometimes the designer will incorporate a U-turn between the first and second fences to clearly separate them. On a course for 4-year-olds, he says, a combination should never come before fence 5. “That wouldn’t be fair to the horse because it is difficult. It takes four or five jumps to set a young horse into a good rhythm,” says Ismalun. In addition, he believes the first combination must be situated so that it is jumped in the direction of the out-gate. “That gives the horse incentive because he is alone in the ring and wants to be with the other horses,” he says, noting that the same is true with a liverpool or water jump. FEI 4* course designer Cottier is like-minded. “It’s an educational system, so the way to design courses for young horses over three days should be completely different,” says Cottier, who believes it’s crucial to present young horses with


flowing courses that incrementally build. Many years of experience taught him that the first class should be more inviting than the second, particularly in an impressive arena. When it comes to ages, he says, “The first day, especially for a 5-year-old, has to be like a promenade over the arena. Six is a little different, and seven is completely different.” During her years of training and competing in France, Hampton came to realize that young horses have distinct needs in reaching their potential over fences. “They need time to think, compute and breathe,” she says. They need to feel their rider’s love.” She notes that in Europe, jumper competition season opens with classes for 4-year-olds that encourage the horse to go forward over small natural obstacles and have fun. At 5, competition becomes increasingly more technical as the season progresses. “The 6-year-old mares jump the open water all three days consecutively. The final feels like Aachen!” she says. The challenges presented at the Classic Champions Developing Jumper Tours are tempered by the concerted efforts of course designers to make competition enjoyable for young jumpers. “As in Europe, they emphasize the relationship between the rider and the horse,” says Hampton. “That’s what creates a winning partnership.” That realization hit home when a young mare she owned, Kismet 50, competed stunningly well under Christophe Escande, Hampton’s trainer in France. He brought the horse along after she acquired her as a 5-year-old. Kismet had only competed in three local classes in Belgium. Hampton remembers that the mare, sired by Kannan, “showed exceptional strength, both physically and mentally, from the moment we first saw her. We put her into the young

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“The courses are friendly to the horse, and they are designed to build them up throughout the year. You don’t have to come out and jump big jumps on day one.” —DAVID O’BRIEN, SPY COAST FARM

jumper events in France, and she steadily evolved into a first-class athlete.” Kismet’s proper preparation became apparent during her first round of competition at Fontainebleau. As she approached a turn to a jump, a water cannon accidentally went off. Unlike the usual horse of her age, she did not flinch. Rather, her focus actually sharpened, recalls Hampton. “She calmly studied the distraction and turned normally to measure her approach to the next obstacle. Without missing a beat, she maintained her rhythm and flew over the jump,” she says. Kismet qualified for the 5-year-old finals, but Hampton and Escande elected not to enter her. “Finals are emotional and physical stress for a horse,” says Hampton. “We knew the mare would develop a great deal more in the following competition season, so we decided to save that trial for her sixth year.” As Kismet was coming 7, Hampton sold her to Olympian Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, who was ranked number one in the world at the time. The pair went on to achieve tremendous success at the highest level of show jumping across Europe. Holden, the Irish FEI 3* course designer who has built courses for the Irish Young Horse Championships at Dublin Horse Show for many years, joined Cynthia to serve as vice president of Classic Champions. He He designed the Classic Champions courses at the Deeridge Palm Beach Masters in Wellington, FL, in 2018 and at the finals at the Kentucky Horse Park in 2019. He believes there are many fine American course designers who incorporate European principles into their courses. Holden says his courses for Classic Champions include elements of those used in his home country. “The courses we design in Ireland largely

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take into consideration what one would expect of a reasonably trained and experienced 5-year-old. We recognize and adjust for the fact that it’s not a 10-year-old going over these courses, and we don’t expect the same abilities from a 5-year-old,” he says. “The key is to balance the level of difficulty and the experience of the horse.” Hampton underscores that “The whole picture revolves around the horse, firmly located at the very center.” She sees such efforts expanding in this country, noting that esteemed breeders such as Spy Coast Farm, Our Day Farm, Wild Turkey, Aliboo Farm, and Pomponio Ranch are “ever more dedicated to producing top-quality showjumping competitors. They are actively involved in making our sport here world class.” Eric Navet, the fine French horseman and Olympian rider, is the ambassador for Classic Champions. Hampton knew him from her time in his home country. Navet was first noticed for his distinction in the development of young jumpers in the show ring. “It is very important for me that all these young horses receive the best formation possible and are produced and developed in the best way. This is why I support Classic Champions,” he says. David O’Brien of Spy Coast Farm, a frequent winner at the Classic Champions Developing Jumper series says, “The courses are friendly to the horse, and they are designed to build them up throughout the year. You don’t have to come out and jump big jumps on day one. You’re steadily building up over eight weeks to the finals. It is important to have this tour, and everyone on the Classic Champions team works together. To see all of these people work in harmony to produce horses is great.”

Kismet 50 and Christophe Escande take the water jump in the 6-year-old final at Fontainbleau.


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KENYA Looking for that ‘Out of Africa’ experience? Kenya’s Donyo Lodge Safari Ride lets you ride with wildlife while supporting conservation efforts.

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out and life lists are in, according to experts with a finger on the pulse of a reawakening travel industry. Elizabeth Blount McCormick, president of the international travel management company Uniglobe Travel Designers, told The Washington Post in April that people “don’t want to put [travel] off anymore. They want to create experiences.” The last year spurred an urgency for fulfilling those “life list” items that people are no longer willing to put off. They want to seize today, while they have the health and freedom to enjoy it. July 2021     THE PLAID HORSE



Equestrian entrepreneur Stacey Adams suggests considering one of three types of trips to replenish the soul rather than adding to a souvenirs collection. Since 2008, her Active Riding Trips, LLC, has offered curated, conscientious, and handpicked horseback riding trips. “I call 2020 the year of dreams,” says Adams, of Stanfordville, NY. “We were all dreaming about things that we should have been doing or we’d like to be doing.” It’s time to dream again. Want to improve your equitation? There’s a trip for that. Want to become the heroine of your own life? Can do. Protect endangered species? Sure. Ride real-time history? You got it. Saddle up. It’s time to get active again.

TRIPS TO TRAIN AND TRANSFORM Training vacations are perfect if you want to come home a wiser rider than when you left home. Riders can experience a truly through, upper level dressage horse for a day (or week) in Florida or Massachusetts with a Classical Dressage Program getaway to Vitor Silva’s Sons of the Wind Farm. Riders will have the opportunity to mount horses that look like they trotted out of a Caravaggio painting, and have been schooled through Prix St George to Grand Prix. “It’s nearly impossible to find a vacation in the United States that offers upper level

CALIFORNIA Northern Yosemite guide John Rosica says you’ll almost touch the sky while riding to remote jewels like Upper Twin Lake.

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Experience an upper level dressage horse for a day (or week) with a Classical Dressage Program at Vitor Silva’s Sons of the Wind Farm.


training on highly schooled horses,” Adams says. Here, horses “move with strong top lines and impulsion.” And you can also focus on “how the movements should feel in your own hips, legs and upper body.” For a cross country experience, there’s Train and Trail Ride at Fox Run Farm, in the bucolic heart of New York’s Hudson Valley hunt country. You can ride daily over fences and through the fields over a three- or six-day stay with A-show trainers Lynn Reed and Tammy Geiger. This trip leaves riders happy, tired, and often finding “breakthroughs” in their progress. The 1798 farmhouse, on 130 acres, has indoor and outdoor arenas, a field of natural obstacles and miles of groomed trails for riders of all ages and abilities.

Italy’s Roman Countryside Ride offers a balance of lessons and trail riding at Country Relais I Due Laghi, the first British Horse Society-approved ‘agritourismo’ estate in Italy. A week’s stay promises ample flatwork and cross country jumping on agile and athletic Maremmano horses descended from the same North African stock that became the traditional ‘cowpony’ of butteri cattlemen. The Maremmano were courageous WWII cavalry horses navigating the Russian steppes. And your mount will carry you down ancient roads like the Via di Polline (VIII B.C.) to explore Etruscan ruins, an aqueduct built by the son of Julius Cesar, or the 15th century Castle Odescalchi where Tom Cruise married Katie Holmes. Ever hear of a transhumance? It’s a type of nomadism that (unlike actress Frances McDormand’s journey in a van) involves the seasonal movement of livestock between summer and winter pastures that’s been going on for centuries. Today, it has evolved into a new horseback travel experience. “It is a true horse drive,” Adams says of France’s Seasonal Round Up. “You join the adventure by assisting guides as they bring horses back from winter pastures in Peyruis in upper Provence to begin a new season. It’s a fun way to see the French countryside, watch horses in their natural environment, and test your riding as the horses start their ‘school year.’ ” November’s drive begins along the foot of the Luberon and Cézanne’s beloved Sainte Victoire mountain and, after crossing the Aiguebrun, it’s on to the 11th century Carluc Priory and village of Simiane-laRotonde-Céreste in upper Provence. Next up: a seven-hour ride through the lavender fields of Lure Mountain to winter pastures in Cruis-Peyruis. Or you can ride further back in time within the glacial Emigrant Wilderness of California’s Northern Yosemite Ride, with guide John Rosica of Kennedy Meadows Resort and Pack Station.

EUROPE Italy’s Roman Countryside Ride has lessons, trail riding and discriminating menus at Country Relais I Due Laghi. LEFT: France’s Seasonal Round Up rides through lavendar fields and historic Provence.

“Native peoples occupied this area for 10,000 years, hunting the high country and trading with groups like the Sierra Miwok and Piute,” says Rosica. “A true jewel in Yosemite is Upper Twin Lake, which will never be seen by a majority of people due to its remote location.” John promises trails up and through the canyon to breathtaking vistas at Haystack Peak and Bond Pass, where you can “almost touch the sky.”

BE A HEROINE FOR YOURSELF OR ANOTHER SPECIES Looking for something with deeper resonance? What about a riding retreat for ‘Women of a Certain Age’ or one where you can ‘Be the Heroine of Your Life?’” Bobbi Wade, owner and head wrangler at Blue Sky Sage riding retreats for women in Wyoming, calls a retreat a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax; a period of seclusion for the purposes of prayer and meditation; and a place one goes for peace. With a willing horse to carry

you and Wyoming’s wide open spaces, the possibilities to prioritize the healing and serenity of your own heart and mind are as vast as the big sky country. “You can hold your own space here,” says Wade, “whether meditating in the saddle or soaking in the creek. Peace can be found with Mother Nature.” Wyoming’s Wide Open Spaces offers room to gallop and to breathe. “Depending on the day’s riding and how many miles a group wants to cover, you can expect to be on horseback about five to six hours, and cover 10-25 miles each day,” Stacey says. “Add the possibility of seeing mustangs in their natural environment and this will be a week of riding that you will never forget.” Seeing wildlife is one thing—helping to save it bumps a trip up an eco-tourism notch. Looking for that ‘Out of Africa’ experience? Kenya’s Donyo Lodge Safari Ride takes you along the foothills of the

Chyulu hills, a volcanic range that Ernest Hemingway called the “green hills of Africa,” and from the lodge you’ll have a stunning view of Mount Kilimanjaro. “Experientially, the best vacation ever,” Stacey was told by a happy dad, after making an heirloom memory with his daughter. “Julia was a great traveling companion who loved riding every day. I liked doing a safari where we did not sit in a truck all day but got to ride.” “Being the equine manager [at Donyo Lodge], I feel that riding amongst wildlife brings you closer to nature,” says Lana Flowers. “Our stables are five minutes from the lodge and we regularly get elephants and other animals visiting the stables to drink from our troughs. We have a stable of 18 horses, with a mixture of Arabians, Boerperds, and Friesian and Shire crosses, who roam freely during the day to become accustomed to the wildlife and terrain.”


July 2021     THE PLAID HORSE



In an effort to curtail poaching, Great Plains Conservation, which pioneered the concept of luxury safari experiences sustained on solar power, adds a conservation and community levy to each stay. Through this levy, each traveler to the lodge helps conserve and expand natural habitats and contributes to projects like Rhinos Without Borders and Project Ranger. When travel and tourism were brought to a standstill by COVID-19, many wilderness areas were left vacant and workers were left with uncertainty of

personal income. This ‘perfect storm’ left endangered animals highly vulnerable to wildlife crime. Project Ranger is filling a critical gap in monitoring, surveying, and anti-poaching operations of existing NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) in Africa through an emergency fund supporting those on the front lines of conservation.

THE BEST REVENGE IS TO TRAVEL WELL Another post-pandemic phenomenon is the concept of ‘revenge travel.’ “While revenge travel is the hot new

term,” says Tripscout app CEO, Konrad Waliszewski, “it explains exactly what travelers have been saying since the pandemic started. We are no longer going to take for granted that there will always be a flight tomorrow and an open border waiting to greet us. We will make up for lost time and experiences with a vengeance.” And with a horse. Follow updates on domestic and international travel plans and learn more about horseback riding trips to more than 17 global getaways at

WYOMING Wyoming’s Wide Open Spaces promises room for you to ride, and mustangs to roam in their natural environment.


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THE ‘‘STEP DOWN ’’ HORSE A Secret Weapon of the Horse Show World A seasoned campaigner in need of a lighter job can give green riders confidence WORDS:






DON’T LIKE the term ‘stepdown’ horse,” says Paul Cronin, the longtime

director of the Sweet Briar College equestrian team (1967-2001) when I call to discuss this type of horse. Cronin, who is also a trainer, recognized hunter/jumper judge and the author of Schooling and Riding the Sport Horse prefers to call them “new career horses.”

Mr. Cronin has worked with many such “new career” horses over his 50-plus year career. Sometimes they were show jumpers retired from the circuit, sometimes they were horses whose owners could no longer afford, and sometimes they came from owners in search of a tax deduction. (In this final instance meant, owners sometimes greatly inflated their worth.) Mr. Cronin has received—and retrained—hundreds of such stepdown/new career

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horses that he incorporated into his program. The horses, in turn, gave Sweet Briar student riders confidence and helped to improve their technique. “These horses play a part in everyone’s career,” says Cronin. In my case, a stepdown horse helped me to return to the sport that I loved. After a bad riding accident and a six-month hiatus from the barn three years ago, my trainer, Ariel Secula, suggested that I try the

Tenderly showing with the author and in 2017 (inset) with Danielle Sagliano.

July 2021     THE PLAID HORSE



aptly-named Tenderly, a then 18-year-old Dutch warmblood mare. Tenderly would “take care” of me, says Secula, of Furlyn Farm and Stable in Greendell, New Jersey. When I first met Tenderly she had already “stepped down” from a big show career. Her owner, Danielle Sagliano, had been campaigning Tenderly in equitation and the hunters on the East Coast. Danielle, now 24 and working as an IEA coach and trainer at Limelight Farms in Bedford, New York, was only ten when her parents bought Tenderly. “We used to joke with my family we got great bang for our buck; Tenderly did everything,” Danielle says. Danielle and Tenderly’s successful partnership included Ariat medal class wins and qualifying for Marshall & Sterling finals. After she left to work in New York, Danielle entrusted Tenderly to Denise Furtkevic, owner of Furlyn Farms. At the time, Tenderly wasn’t quite ready to retire but needed an Tenderly showing with easier job. In fact, before she and I crossed Danielle Sagliano in paths, Tenderly had already brought a few Princeton (right) and with other Furlyn riders up the ranks, including Jordan Cinnante (below). 27-year-old Jourdan Cinnante. “Tenderly had all the show experience and didn’t need any prep. You knew she was always going to be there for you,” says Jourdan, who leased and showed Tenderly in equitation and 2'3" hunters for a season. Tenderly gave Jourdan the confidence to lease a young rather green Appendix mare named Platinum Belle with whom she now successfully competes in the 2'6" hunters. Tenderly, who I leased for eight months, not only helped me win championships in a few small local shows, but she also gave me the confidence to purchase a green Appendix mare of my own named Alice last year. (I told the story of Alice in The Plaid Horse last year). I’ve shown Alice in Hunter Pleasure and equitation and a talented young rider named Becca Bender has shown Alice over fences in Beginner Hunter, winning a couple of Reserve Championships. On our last outing, at the Sussex Benefit Series in Augusta, New Jersey, I ran into trainer Mark Leone of Ri-Arm Farm in Oakland, New Jersey. Leone, an international show jumping champion rider and trainer, with there his 14-year-old son James Leone, who was riding his own stepdown horse. Mr. Leone and I had discussed stepdown horses in a phone call a couple of weeks earlier in which he had recalled their importance in his own career. “When I was a junior, 13 or 14 years old, we understood that it was necessary for the horse to teach the rider,” says Leone. “For my son James, I want a horse that has been around and has the experience.” Leone acquired his son’s horse, a 14-yearold gelding named Devne from McLain Ward. (Clearly Mr. Leone chose well; James won his ASPCA Maclay class that day.) A great stepdown horse is not only hard to find but can also be very expensive, Mr. Leone notes. “That’s what’s tricky about this business—the scarcity of the horses. An adult 2'6" to 3' hunter is

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“Tenderly had all the show experience and didn’t need any prep. You knew she was always going to be there for you.” —JOURDAN CINNANTE

$25,000 to $45,000 lease-to-purchase, and a top-of-the line horse can cost $150,000 or more.” Mr. Leone is currently looking for a stepdown horse for a “timid” client but he’s discerning about his sources. “I know it’s very popular to look on the Internet and people are willing to buy horses off videos, but you can protect the client when you work with someone you know and trust,” he adds. Top hunter trainer Peter Foley of Woodhall Farm of Aldie, VA, says temperament is key in a great stepdown horse. “They’re sweet, they’re easy,” he says. Such horses are particularly useful for green riders at horse shows. “I say ‘somebody needs to know what they’re doing,” Foley adds with a laugh. The biggest variable in a stepdown horse is soundness, says Mr. Foley. A horse that has competed at a very high level may require maintenance to remain sound. This might be anything from special shoes to injections to even softer work. And of course, a stepdown may eventually need to retire altogether. Tenderly, now 21 years old, is fully retired and living at Furlyn Farm. “She did so much for so many people, let her sit in a nice field and let her enjoy her retirement,” says Danielle. Every great stepdown horse deserves as much.


It Happens! We all make mistakes. But horse people, as a group, aren’t always the best at handling them. So TPH reached out to some top riders to share their own show ring bloopers to prove, once and for all, that mistakes really do happen to the best of us! BY



Hear more It Happens moments on the #Plaidcast at

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MICHAEL TOKARUK My first time ever doing Medal Finals at Harrisburg, I catch-rode this really big, tall equitation horse of Missy Clark’s. I was having an amazing round until the last bending line which was a 6 or a 7-stride option line. Stupid me on the giant horse should have just done 6, but instead I chocolate chipped the last jump in 6 and a half ! It was one of those skinny riviera gates they have at Harrisburg, so the whole gate fell down and I mowed one of the standards down, too! The crowd moaned when they saw me chip because I was so close to having such a great round … but boy, did I screw that last jump up. What a mess! It still bugs me to this day. But— it happens!”

Without A Doubt and Don Stewart at Upperville Colt & Horse Show in 1986



It was the mid ’70s and I was riding an outside course in the field at Bramblewood Horse Show in Aiken, South Carolina. The horse stopped and I flopped off. When I was getting up I yelled, “Call for the forklift!”

My most embarrassing memory in the ring was when I was 15 or 16 years old. It was one of my first times competing in Chicago so I put together a very lengthy bio for the Grand Prix, listing all my recent Grand Prix wins and placings. The first jump was a triple bar. As I approached it my horse spooked and stopped at it, resulting in me falling off. I picked myself up and walked out of the ring with my horse in hand, and the whole time the announcer was reading my bio. Finally, as I was almost out of the ring, he looked up and said, “Oh.” Since then, I never use more than a one sentence bio. Pictured is my horse Atlantis and I jumping a very similar triple bar jump. Clearly she didn’t care about it this day.”

July 2021     THE PLAID HORSE

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Blenheim Equisports Spring Classic SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CALIFORNIA MARCH 23 – APRIL 18, 2021 PHOTOS:


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1 Zoie Brogdon rode Emilon to the win in the Children’s Jumpers during Blenheim Spring Classic III. • 2 Gail Ellis was awarded with the Arthur Hawkins Award of Excellence for her ongoing commitment and contribution to the Show Hunter industry. • 3 Vani Kohsla and Billy Mexico landing a victory in the Silver Tour at Blenheim EquiSports. • 4 Barn mates celebrate in the winner’s circle after topping the competition during Blenheim Spring Classic III. • 5 Luis Sabino and Camino Imperio Egipcio raced to victory in the $100 Gold Tour Grand Prix, sponsored by the Inn at Mission in San Juan Capistrano.

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6 Etalon, ridden by Kyle King, in the Silver Tour during Blenheim Spring Classic II. 7 Nicole Haunert aboard Concolue took home the win at Blenheim Spring Classic IV in the $25,000 1.45m Markel Insurance Grand Prix. • 8 Leila Diab and Unang De Kergane competed in the North American Youth Championship trials at Blenheim EquiSports. • 9 Ashley Terrel and Warbucks, winners of the first Interactive Mortgage ‘Ticket to Ride’ Adult Amateur Jumper Series.



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STEPHANIE DANHAKL RIDER STATUS: AMATEUR • HOMETOWN: BOSTON, MA • TRAINER: SCOTT STEWART As a horsewoman, I am most proud of my ability to empathize and connect with my horse. • As a horsewoman, I would most like to improve my knowledge of training young horses. • I’d be lost without my Charles Owen helmet in my tack trunk and my lucky spurs in my ring bag. • I think the biggest misconception about our sport is that it’s easy. • My best piece of advice for young riders is never take your emotions or frustrations out on your horse. Always keep a cool head no matter what happens.

• My favorite horse book is Black Beauty. • My favorite non-horse book is Vanity Fair. • The part of riding I struggle most with is doing proper lead changes. • The part of riding I’m best at is keeping a smooth, balanced rhythm to the jumps and around the course. • I’m a sucker for a horse with a good eye. You can tell a lot about a horse from the eye and expression. • On Mondays, you’ll find me working on my dissertation. I also love to needlepoint, bird watch, and hike. • I sometimes wish I had the time to learn how to read music. • I’m afraid of head injuries.


Respect yourself, respect others, and respect your horse. 100     THE PLAID HORSE     July 2021

• The horse person I most admire is my trainer Scott Stewart because he has an uncanny eye for a good horse and is an expert at all aspects of training, riding, horse care, and horse management. He is a consummate horseman. • Something I say ten times a day is “you can do this.” • My greatest show ring victories are any time I am able to perform my best under significant pressure. Earning Grand Champion at big shows like Devon and Indoors is exciting, especially when I need to win the final class in order to make it happen. • One of the best horse names I’ve ever heard is Golden Rule. • My absolute favorite show is Devon because it has the toughest competition. PHOTO: KIND MEDIA (TOP)

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1 Dharma Crabtree & Finn • 2 Andrea Tucker & Thor • 3 Logan Carrier & Hot Buttered Biscuit • 4 Finley Thomas & Tanquita • 5 Stacey Albro & Tommy PHOTOS:

104     THE PLAID HORSE     July 2021



The Horse Care Issue Through the Years












THE GRASS IS GREENER AS THE OLD SAYING GOES, “The grass is always greener on the other side,” but at

Hydroponic Farms, the grass really is greener … not to mention organic, locally grown, and a perfect nutritional supplement for horses of all activity levels. Hydroponic Farms’ ‘farm to stall’ daily, always-on-time delivery ensures an incredible, edible grass mat experience for your horse. Founder Hector J. Loyola’s team of equine nutritionists and expert hydroponic growers have developed a unique seed and sprout that provides an ideal source of nutrition and roughage for optimal equine digestive function. Hydroponic Farms’ grass mats are comprised of 4-6-inch long sprouts, an optimal length for equine digestion. Horses are evolved to continually digest this sort of roughage, usually from lush pasture, but today’s performance horses are usually lacking in this nutrient rich energy source. Unlike grains, the fiber found in Hydroponic Farms’ grass mats supplies natural energy, and is a source of necessary nutrition for heathy gut function. Add in 100% organic ingredients and fresh daily deliveries, and it’s hard to believe monthly packages start at just $200 a month! Subscriptions range from yearly to monthly, with discounts for longer commitments to your horse’s optimal nutrition. The grass mats can be delivered to the Palm Beach County horse community in a single 3’ sheet to be fed once a day, two 1.5’ sheets to be fed twice a day, or a chopped

sheet for easy use with a hay net or feeder. The entire grass mat, including the white roots and seeds, is completely edible and an excellent source of organic fiber. The mats are not only an excellent supplement for horses without ready access to pasture, but also are a fun way to keep them engaged and occupied while stalled. “We want to give our customers horses the very best and, most of all, deliver a high quality and worry-free way of providing top nutrition, energy, and performance,” said Loyola, who founded Hydroponic Farms in 1993 as a pioneer in the hydroponic industry (he’s also an FEI course designer). “Whether it’s for one horse or 60, our promise to you and them is to only source from the highest caliber seed, maintain an organic source-to-delivery supply chain, and deliver on-time, every time.” Hydroponic refers to growing plants in an alternative medium to soil or earth. For most hydroponic growers, this medium is liquid, hence the prefix “hydro-.” At Hydroponic Farms, this liquid medium has been purposefully crafted into an ideal growth source for equine roughage. Founded in 1993, Hydroponic Farms has done more than refine an old tradition; they’ve started a new one. Guided by science and new growing methods, their experts fuse hydroponic techniques with the best seeds from around the world to create interesting flavors and textures for horses. With all of their mats grown locally in Wellington, Florida, they are pioneers in alternative feed sources and hydroponic grass growth. To achieve this optimal nutrition, Hydroponic Farms uses only the finest sourced seeds and an organic-certified growing facility to make every grass mat worthy of the daily care and attention equines deserve. Learn more at or follow @hydroponicgrass on Instagram.


“The book impressed me so much that The Plaid Horse wanted to be a part of its new life with a new printing in order to get it into as many equestrians’ hands as possible. Geoff ’s work remains as strong and relevant as ever. As much as things have changed in our sport, so much about riding hunters, jumpers, and equitation has not. ‘Classic’ still wins in the show ring.” NOTE TO THE READER BY PIPER KLEMM, PHD

Even Keel Equestrian is a hunter/jumper facility that offers boarding, training, leasing, and clinics Located just 40 minutes south of Boston Even Keel Equestrian Evenkeelequestrian Head Trainer: Lauren Koslosky (774) 216 - 0282

Get your copy at


Nashville Country Champions Maddie Farrell & Audacious Crown

Select Champions COLORADO SPRING FINAL Parker, CO



MAY 26-30, 2021

MAY 26-30, 2021

MAY 29, 2021

Adult Amateur Jumper

Pre Child/Adult Amateur Jumper

VHSA Working Hunter

Zarco & Grant Muller

Audacious Crown & Maddie Farrell

Equitation 15-17

Cannavaro & Anisa Hajibrahim

Green Rider Cross Rails Opportunity

1.30 m Jumper

How ’Bout Them Apples & Lottie Faust

Madges Lane Gem & Michelle Bion Performance Hunter 3'6"

As You Wish & Andrea Van Meenen

Amateur Owner Hunter 3'6"

Solo Con Te 2 & Rachel Sutton Children’s Hunter 15-17

Cinsational & Julia McAdam

Rated July 1 “C” July 9 “C” July 11 N July 25 “C” Aug. 12 N Aug. 27 “C”

For more information, call:

Aug. 28 “C”



822 Gardnertown Farm Rd. Newburgh, NY 12550

July 28 WHVPHA schooling Hunter Derby

(845) 564-6658 EST. 1979

Two indoor arenas, lessons, and indoor arena polo VISIT US AT:

Rocksino & Emily Simmons Pleasure Hunter

Ayo K & Melissa Jurick

Special Adult Hunter

Elixir & Sydney Speak

Working Hunter

Bronze Star & Jason Berry

RED, WHITE, & BLUE MEMORIAL HORSE SHOW Conyers, Georgia MAY 29-30, 2021 0.75 m Hopeful Jumper TIP

Mystery Date & Jessican Sheehan 1.10 m Jumper

Moreland’s Achiever & Laura Schettler 0.65 Beginner Jumper 2'

Wingardium Leviosa & Tatum Williams Performance Hunter

Quick Check & Baylee Cowart


Allstar Horse Show Series Spring at Ludwig’s LUDWIG’S CORNER, PENNSYLVANIA • MAY 16, 2021



TAKE COURSES with Professor Piper Klemm, Ph.D.

More information at:

Pick up a book & READ! What readers are saying about SHOW STRIDES, BOOK 1 and 2: “My 10-year-old daughter started reading this series over the summer and hasn’t put it down. She is able to identify with a lot of the characters in the books and is excited for the 3rd book of the series to be available.”

Rider Keira Lancelle Bates reads SHOW STRIDES, BOOK 1: School Horses & Show Ponies

A ARE YOU DES I R SHOW STER? D A E R g to self readin

o of your Email a phot es rid e! ShowSt ith us onlin or share w esReader rid St w ho #S



“I loved the messages the book portrayed about hard work, dedication and learning to handle disappointment. These concepts were woven in throughout a great story that had me reading from cover to cover. If there is a horse-crazy kid in your life, don’t think twice, buy it now!” —AMAZON REVIEWER ★★★★★

“This story is about working hard to achieve athletic and personal goals. A great read for young women, athletes, and horse-lovers.” —AMAZON REVIEWER ★★★★★

“Great listen for rides to horseshows and lessons. This book is for serious, young riders, written by serious riders! Read by the author, which is cool.” —AMAZON REVIEWER ★★★★★

Read all three!




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