July/August 2019 USDF Connection

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July/August 2019

Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

SPECIAL HORSE-HEALTH ISSUE Neurologic Disease Demystified Complementary Therapies for All Budgets (p. 46) What Is ‘Ridability’? (p. 34)

Sarah Lockman and First Apple

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The Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Stephan Hienzsch (859) 271-7887 • stephh1enz@usdf.org EDITOR Jennifer O. Bryant (610) 344-0116 • jbryant@usdf.org CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Hilary M. Clayton, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS EDITORIAL ADVISORS Melissa Creswick (CA), Margaret Freeman (NC), Anne Gribbons (FL), Roberta Willliams (FL), Terry Wilson (CA)

An official property of the United States Dressage Federation

TECHNICAL ADVISORS Janine Malone, Lisa Gorretta, Elisabeth Williams SENIOR PUBLICATIONS COORDINATOR Emily Koenig (859) 271-7883 • ekoenig@usdf.org

YourDressage delivers exclusive dressage stories, editorial, and education, relevant to ALL dressage enthusiasts and is your daily source for dressage! Look for these featured articles online at YourDressage.org


GRAPHIC & MULTIMEDIA COORDINATOR Katie Lewis (859) 271-7881 • klewis@usdf.org ADVERTISING SALES REPRESENTATIVE Danielle Titland (720) 300-2266 • dtitland@usdf.org

USDF OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE BOARD PRESIDENT LISA GORRETTA 19 Daisy Lane, Chagrin Falls, OH 44022 (216) 406-5475 • president@usdf.org VICE PRESIDENT TERRY WILSON 2535 Fordyce Road, Ojai, CA 93023 (805) 890-7399 • vicepresident@usdf.org SECRETARY MARGARET FREEMAN 200 Aurora Lane, Tryon, NC 28782 (828) 859-6723 • secretary@usdf.org TREASURER LORRAINE MUSSELMAN 7538 NC 39 Hwy, Zebulon, NC 27497 (919) 218-6802 • treasurer@usdf.org


“Riding Is One of the Most Difficult Forms of Artistic Sport”

REGION 1 DC, DE, MD, NC, NJ, PA, VA BETTINA G. LONGAKER 8246 Open Gate Road, Gordonsville, VA 22942 (540) 832-7611 • region1dir@usdf.org REGION 2 IL, IN, KY, MI, OH, WV, WI DEBBY SAVAGE 7011 cobblestone Lane, Mentor, OH 44060 (908) 892-5335 • region2dir@usdf.org

The German-born dressage master Walter Zettl wrote this previously unpublished essay shortly before his death in June 2018.

REGION 3 AL, FL, GA, SC, TN SUSAN BENDER 1024 Grand Prix Drive, Beech Island, SC 29842 (803) 295-2525 • region3dir@usdf.org REGION 4 IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD ANNE SUSHKO 1942 Clifford Street, Dubuque, IA 52002 (563) 580-0510 • region4dir@usdf.org


REGION 5 AZ, CO, E. MT, NM, UT, W. TX, WY HEATHER PETERSEN 22750 County Road 37, Elbert, CO 80106 (303) 648-3164 • region5dir@usdf.org


After a busy career that left little time for exploring her passion, a late-in-liferider & her late-to-start-dressage-horse find themselves Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championship bound.

REGION 6 AK, ID, W. MT, OR, WA PETER ROTHSCHILD 1120 Arcadia Street NW, Olympia, WA 98502 (206) 200-3522 • region6dir@usdf.org


REGION 9 AR, LA, MS, OK, TX SHERRY GUESS 18216 S. 397th East Avenue, Porter, OK 74454(918) 640-1204 • region9dir@usdf.org

REGION 7 CA, HI, NV CAROL TICE 31895 Nicolas Road, Temecula, CA 92591 (714) 514-5606 • region7dir@usdf.org REGION 8 CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VT DEBRA REINHARDT 160 Woods Way Drive, Southbury, CT 06488 (203) 264-2148 • region8dir@usdf.org

“USDF/IDA Quiz Challenge Memories”

AT-LARGE DIRECTORS ACTIVITIES COUNCIL SUE MANDAS 9508 Bridlewood Trail, Dayton, OH 45458 (937) 272-9068 • ald-activities@usdf.org

A college student takes us inside the USDF/IDA Quiz Challenge, & all the fun ways she found to fit in studying, often to the confusion of her “non-horsey friends.”

ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL KEVIN BRADBURY PO Box 248, Dexter, MI 48130 (734) 426-2111 • ald-administrative@usdf.org TECHNICAL COUNCIL SUE MCKEOWN 6 Whitehaven Lane, Worcester, MA 01609 (508) 459-9209 • ald-technical@usdf.org

COMMUNITY “True Tails – If your horse had a human job, what would it be?”

Readers submitted some great answers, including pilot, stand-up comedian, angry cafeteria lady, & Hollywood movie star.

It’s YourDressage, be a part of it! Visit https://yourdressage.org/ for all these stories & much more!

USDF Connection is published bimonthly by the United States Dressage Federation, 4051 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511. Phone: 859/971-2277. Fax: 859/971-7722. E-mail: usdressage@usdf.org, Web site: www.usdf.org. USDF members receive USDF Connection as a membership benefit, paid by membership dues. Copyright © 2019 USDF. All rights reserved. USDF reserves the right to refuse any advertising or copy that is deemed unsuitable for USDF and its policies. Excluding advertisements, all photos with mounted riders must have safety head gear or USEF-approved competition hat. USDF assumes no responsibility for the claims made in advertisements. Statements of fact and opinion are those of the experts consulted and authors, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the policy of USDF. The publishers reserve the right to reject any advertising deemed unsuitable for USDF, as well as the right to reject or edit any manuscripts received for publication. USDF assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. All materials must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Questions about your subscription or change in address? Contact USDF Membership Department, 859/971-2277, or usdressage@usdf.org. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO: USDF, 4051 IRON WORKS PARKWAY, LEXINGTON, KY 40511. Canadian Agreement No. 1741527. Canada return address: Station A, P.O. Box 54, Windsor, Ontario N9A 6J5.

2 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

USDF Connection

JULY/AUGUST 2019 Volume 21, Number 2



4 Inside USDF

Dressage Goes to College

By Debby Savage

6 Ringside

Are You Listening?

By Jennifer O. Bryant

Departments 20 Clinic

Sequential Schooling of the Dressage Horse

By Hilda Gurney

24 Sport Horse

Handle with Care

By Caitlin Gallagher


26 GMO


30 Salute

The Neurologic Dressage Horse

They’re not the top-of-mind suspects when a horse is not quite right, but nervous-system problems may be more common that we realize

By Heather Smith Thomas

Faith, Family, Friends, and Fortitude

By Colleen Scott

34 Free Rein


Taking Care of Business

By Penny Hawes

The Ridability Question

By Maurine “Mo” Swanson

58 Reviews

Complementary Therapies:

Does Your Dressage Horse Need Them?

It’s easy to spend big bucks on therapies purported to enhance equine health and performance. Here’s how to evaluate when your horse may benefit—and when you can save your money.

By Katie Navarra

Summer Reading

64 My Dressage

My Savior

By Peter Rothschild



5 Sponsor Spotlight

The Judge Is Your Ally

Highly trained, dressage judges are valuable resources for competitors

8 Contact

By Lisa El-Ramey

10 Collection 60 Rider’s Market 62 USDF Connection Submission Guidelines

On Our Cover Many dressage riders and trainers, including 2019 Pan Am Games team member Sarah Lockman on First Apple, embrace complementary therapies. Story, p. 46. Photo by TerriMiller.com.

62 USDF Office Contact Directory 63 Advertising Index

USDF CONNECTION | July/August 2019


Inside USDF Dressage Goes to College The Intercollegiate Dressage Association helps youth combine riding with college—but the program’s success requires a key ingredient


n preparation for the USDF Region 2 directorship, I asked GMO presidents and USDF participating members about their challenges. Most everyone responded: developing our youth. How many ads have you seen that say, “Horse for sale; rider off to college”? Going to college doesn’t have to mean quitting riding—but isn’t higher education expensive enough already? How can dressage enthusiasts continue riding during their college years? Enter the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (teamdressage.com), which offers an excellent opportunity for students to continue to ride and to develop other valuable skills, as well. There are more than 50 IDA teams across the country. Some are incorporated into collegiate equinestudies programs, while others are club teams based at private stables. You will see all levels of riders, including upper-level competitors, “catch riding” at an IDA show. The IDA helps to bridge the gap between horse ownership and higher education. Many participants aren’t horse owners, but they have talent and a strong work ethic. IDA riders hone their equestrian skills while gaining an education to become better critical thinkers, writers, and business people. What could be better, both for the students and for the future of our sport? Not only does the IDA offer the unique opportunity to continue to ride in college affordably; it also gives dressage riders a taste of the team experience that’s rare in our highly individualized sport. Participation builds camaraderie and all pull together, whether the student is on the competition

team or not. IDA riders learn what it takes to put on a team competition— again, quite unlike a “normal” dressage show—as well as the value of working together toward a common goal. Each person contributes to the team’s overall success, regardless of whether he or she is on the riding team, in the barn preparing the horses, or scribing. IDA team membership helps to develop leadership, cooperation, and peer relationships. And the IDA has a special partnership with the USDF, emphasizing horsemanship through the USDF/ IDA Quiz Challenge (see page 11 for a report on this year’s Quiz Challenge and IDA championships). So if there are any young dressage riders in your life looking forward to going off to college, encourage them to find one where they can continue their riding. Now, about those college riding programs. Those affiliated with colleges that offer equine-studies programs depend on the donations of horses. In

4 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

the dressage world, such horses are few and far between because the ones that are best for a school program (usually no older than 14, sound and sane, with some training or show-ring experience) are quite desirable! That said, let’s bust the myth that donated horses are overworked and not well cared for. Although not all programs are the same, at the ones with which I am familiar, these horses are so incredibly valued. For example, Lake Erie College in Ohio has been honored by many top riders with donations due to the integrity of their program. (Disclosure: I am a faculty member of Lake Erie’s equine-studies program.) Yes, it takes a certain type of horse to fit into these programs, but the care is very good, and the students love them and care for them diligently. Most horses flourish in the college environment, and while it may take a bit longer, they do develop correctly. No, they are not overworked; yes, they are well maintained. Good programs go to great lengths to keep donors apprised of how their horses are doing. They depend on their stellar reputations to earn potential donors’ trust and referrals. Keeping young dressage riders engaged and developing requires a twopronged approach. First, identify the right school for each rider. Second, keep those schools’ dressage programs supplied with horses that students can learn on by donating horses. To learn more, visit the Intercollegiate section of the US Equestrian website at usef. org/start-riding/youth-programs/ intercollegiate.


By Debby Savage, Region 2 Director


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USDF Breeders Championship Series


Ringside Are You Listening? Making training and management decisions requires experience and attention to detail

language, track their performance, and look for clues that something may be amiss. This can be harder than it sounds because a decline in performance can happen so gradually that it goes unnoticed, or is attributed to some other issue, until one day suddenly (or so it seems) you have a capital-P Problem. In hindsight the issue may be crystal-clear, but while you’re in the middle of it you haven’t yet connected the dots. This frustrating sequence played out for my horse and me at a latespring show. Junior had been going very well, and we’d spent the winter and spring working on getting him more solid in his connection and collection for Third Level. A couple of weeks before the competition, my instructor and I noticed that Junior was going better in the double bridle than the snaffle. We thought he was at a stage of development in which the curb aided his balance and also discouraged the “leaning” he was doing in the snaffle. We were wrong. At the show, my horse was heavy in the hand and unmotivated about “forward.” He’s been known to back off when he goes down center line—a few years ago, if something in the show ring

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scared him he’d do a lot more than just get behind my leg—but this behavior wasn’t fear-based. It felt alarmingly like “I don’t wanna.” Was Junior telling me he’d gone as far as he would or could go in dressage? With scores in the basement, it certainly looked and felt like it. But my instructor suggested having the veterinarian give Junior a once-over after we got home—and sure enough, my horse presented with a combination of sore hocks and low-grade Lyme disease. Thankfully both conditions are treatable, and as of this writing Junior is pretty much his old self again or even a bit better, sort of like Junior 2.0. But I beat myself up for showing when my horse was trying to tell me he was uncomfortable. I told him I was sorry and that I’ll try to do better next time—for with horses, there’s inevitably a next time. Part of doing better is taking proactive measures to keep my horse feeling his best. Junior, like many dressage horses, receives regular massages and other “complementary” therapies. In this sport-horse issue, we sift through some of the most popular modalities and offer advice on figuring out which methods will benefit which horses (page 46). But there’s no fancy therapy that can substitute for knowing your horse. Like me, you may make mistakes along the way, but if you do your best to listen, he’ll help guide you.

Jennifer O. Bryant, Editor @JenniferOBryant



he longer I ride, the more strongly I’m convinced that learning when to push a horse, when to back off, and when to call the vet is the key to becoming a humane, effective trainer. If you’re too lenient, allowing the horse to “change the channel” when the work gets the least bit challenging, the horse learns to ignore the aids and to give subpar effort. If you’re too demanding, especially if you overdrill, the horse gets sour, stressed, scared, or all three. When the work gets harder, horses protest, as we ourselves do when our instructors or fitness trainers kick it up a notch. We struggle for a bit, and maybe sweat and swear a little, but before long the new standard feels doable. That’s the OK form of equine pushback—when I use my aids to say something like, “I want you to react to my leg by using your core to lift your back,” and my horse responds with, “Are you kidding me? Well, OK, but maybe for just a few strides,” and I say, “Actually, I meant all the time,” and he says, “Hahahaha that’s funny!,” and I say, “Do I act like I’m joking?”, and he says, “Um, no. I’ll try, but it’s haaaarrdd!”, and I say, “I know, and thank you for trying,” and give him a break. The not-OK form of equine pushback is the “resistance” that stems from confusion, fear, or pain. As every human athlete knows, there is a difference between “good pain” and “bad pain.” It can be difficult to distinguish between the two when the athlete cannot talk and tell you what he’s feeling. When we work with horses, we have to try to read their body

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Contact Praise for New Vegan Tack Line


I just read through USDF CONNECTION IT’S SHOW SEASON! the very enjoyable April issue and felt compelled to write to express my delight and excitement at the announcement of Robert Dover’s vegan tack (“Heads Up: Robert Dover Co-Launches Vegan Tack Line”). I’ve been a decades-long vegan and lifelong lover of animals—all of them. While I’ve been criticized for not being vegan enough because of my dressage profession, I have U S D F. O R G

APRIL 2019

Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

Ready to Try “Recognized”?

What to Know Before You Show (p. 32)

Adult Amateur’s Guide to CDIs

CDIAm competitor Jessica Howington and Quinto

Dressage Coaches’ Gymnastic Exercises: Top Trainers Conference Takeaways (p. 22)

always tried to limit my use of leather. But of course it is impossible to totally do without. Until now! Can’t wait for the line to be introduced. I will be the first buyer! Thank you again for the wonderful articles. Michele Inman Wildwood, Missouri

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www.yourdressage.org 8 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

INTEGRITY Photo: Sharon Packer











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Collection Bits and Pieces from USDF and the World of Dressage BEHIND THE SCENES Karl Mikolka Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame member and renowned dressage master Karl Mikolka, 83, of Gloucester, Massachusetts, died May 12 after a battle with cancer. A native of Vienna, Mr. Mikolka lived through the Nazi occupation of Austria during World War II. After he completed his formal education he entered the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, where he eventually earned the title of Oberbereiter (senior rider) after leaving the SRS. In 1968, Mr. Mikolka left the SRS for a job working to develop a Brazilian dressage team. An offer to help found a dressage program at the Massachusetts Dressage Academy at Friar’s Gate Farm, Pembroke, Massachusetts, followed, and Mr. Mikolka immigrated to the US, where he would remain the rest of his life. Mr. Mikolka was a dressage clinician, coach, and judge. In 1980 his equestrian career turned MASTER AND TEACHER: Mikolka during a 2013 clinic back toward its classical roots with his appointment as head trainer at Tempel Farms, Wadsworth, Illinois, where until 1997 he trained Lipizzan stallions, rode in performances, and mentored protégé George Williams, who would go on to become a high-performance dressage competitor and a USDF president. With his wife, Jocelyn “Lynn” Chaparro, Mr. Mikolka moved back to Massachusetts in 1997. He contributed articles to equestrian publications and continued to teach dressage clinics. He was inducted into the USDF Hall of Fame in 2003 in recognition of his many contributions to American dressage. “Not only was Karl an amazing rider; his gift for teaching was second to none,” said longtime student Shannon Peters, an FEI-level trainer and competitor based in San Diego. “His ability to break down training principles and exercises to help the rider and horse understand what is being asked of them was brilliant. He worked tirelessly from the ground, even in his last clinic with us at 82 years young. He was steadfast in his principles for the Spanish Riding School and so proud of his heritage. How I approached horse training and teaching was forever changed when I met him 25 years ago.” Besides his wife, Mr. Mikolka is survived by his sons, Alexander and Günther; a daughter-in-law; three grandchildren; and his former wife, the dressage professional Cindy Sydnor.

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Eileen Phethean, Equine-Nutrition Company Executive

STOCKED UP: Phethean checks feed supplies for an international competition

Job title: Chief operating officer, Kentucky Equine Research, Versailles, Kentucky (ker.com) What I do: My role has changed over the years. I’m working on my seventeenth year now. I started out as [KER founder] Dr. [Joe] Pagan’s assistant, and now I manage the company. Most of my job is strategy. I help with software support and development. I also answer nutrition questions. KER has been the supplier of feed, hay, and bedding to the last six Olympic Games since Atlanta 1996. I’ve been involved in three of those. I do everything. I will do all the accounting, all the ordering, and I’ll schlep feed and hay. How I got started: My mom’s a trainer. I wanted to work in the industry. I want to have a steady paycheck. Growing up in a boarding stable, you understand theoretical income. Best thing about my job: The fact that every day is different. Worst thing about my job: Trying to keep up with the pace of the new advances that we make. My horses: I’ve got four at the moment, one of which is my competition horse. I do a little bit of everything with him. Tip: Feed your horse enough good-quality forage. Seek expert advice for nutrition questions. —Katherine Walcott



INTERCOLLEGIATE DRESSAGE Virginia Tech Student Tops 2019 USDF/IDA National Quiz Challenge Challenge Held as Part of IDA National Championships Virginia Tech student Molly Sutton ’21 was the overall winner of the 2019 USDF/Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) National Quiz Challenge, held at the 2019 TheraPlate IDA National Championships. Lake Erie College, Painesville, Ohio, hosted the April 25-28 event.

dressage, and it gave me a whole new appreciation for the sport. I think that this new understanding will help me to be a better horsewoman, rider, and competitor.” Cazenovia College’s Linzy Closs enjoyed the camaraderie among the Quiz Challenge competitors, calling it “the true meaning of intercollegiate dressage—fostering lifelong connections among collegiate riders who love this beautiful sport.” For more information about the USDF/IDA National Quiz Challenge, visit the IDA Website at teamdressage.org and the USDF website at usdf.org.


WELL-SCHOOLED: 2019 USDF/IDA National Quiz Challenge champion Molly Sutton (right) with former IDA president Beth Beukema

Sutton, who competed in the Lower Training division, receives the grand prize: registration to the 2020 USDF/USEF Young Rider Graduate Program in West Palm Beach, Florida. The other division winners were Kristin Feedback of Virginia Tech (Introductory Level), Erin Panizza of Otterbein University (Upper Training Level), and Sage Crandall of Miami University (First Level). Winners received gifts from Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supplies. The Quiz Challenge comprised two rounds of competition. The first round took place online through USDF, focusing on dressage training theory and competition rules. The five highest-scoring individuals in each of the four divisions advanced to the finals. Before she began studying for the Quiz Challenge, “I never realized how little I really knew about the sport,” said Sutton. “I learned about the theory and reasoning behind

TEAM CHAMPIONS: Otterbein University

Otterbein Wins IDA Team Title Otterbein University, Westerville, Ohio, coached by Jennifer Roth, bested 11 other teams to take its first-ever IDA Nationals team championship. The team members were Bronwyn Buy du Plessis (First Level), Camille Stewart (Upper Training), Megan Leclerc (Lower Training), and McKenna Shaffer (Intro Level). Averett University, Danville, Virginia, coached by Ginger Henderson, won the reserve team championship (Elizaveta Anikeeva/ First Level, Noel Muehlbauer/Upper Training, Christina Hyde/Lower Training, and Madeline Augustine/ Intro).

FIRST LEVEL INDIVIDUAL: Ribbon winners pose with champion Melissa Lempicki (right)

In the individual competition, Melissa Lempicki of Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, Virginia, received the Trip Harting Memorial Trophy as the First Level Individual champion. The reserve champion was Abby Fleischli of Stanford University, Stanford, California. Averett University’s Noel Muehlbauer won the Upper Training Level Individual championship, with the reserve title going to Otterbein’s Camille Stewart. In the Lower Training Level Individual division, Ryan Terwiliger of the University of New Hampshire won the title over Katie Szewczky of the University of Florida. Winner of the Mary Beth McLean Perpetual Trophy as the Intro Level Individual champion was UNH’s Katie Kelley. The reserve title went to Otterbein’s McKenna Shaffer. The IDA Nationals also include a dressage-seat equitation division. At First Level, Miami University’s Sage Crandall bested the University of Massachusetts’ Mackenzie Gilligan for the championship title. Hannah Brown of Mount Holyoke College won the Upper Training Level championship over Eleanor Boyle of Emory & Henry College. The Lower Training Level DSE champion was Emory & Henry’s Gwyneth Stromdahl, with Mariana Reisacher of Cazenovia in reserve. At Intro Level, Lindsay Askew of Appalachian State University won over Hallie Goss of Miami University.

USDF CONNECTION | July/August 2019



The Dressage Foundation director emeritus John Boomer (pictured with wife Lynn) celebrated his 90th birthday April 23. The son of TDF founder and USDF founding member Lowell Boomer, John Boomer managed TDF for many years, alongside his wife. On the big day, TDF presented Boomer with a “card shower” of well wishes from supporters from around the country.


12 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

EVENTING Townend Earns Second Consecutive LRK3DE Win There was some hope at this year’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Mars Equestrian that an American would win for the first time since Phillip Dutton in 2008. But US fans’ hopes were dashed when the 2018 winners, the Englishman Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class, took hold and didn’t look back. In fact, an American never made it onto the leader board at Kentucky. Swiss rider Felix Vogg on Colero took the early lead on the first day of dressage with a score of 28. Americans Liz Halliday-Sharp on TWO IN A ROW: Great Britain’s Oliver Deniro Z (30.9) and Townend and Cooley Master Class repeated last year’s Kentucky win Buck Davidson on Park Trader (32.1) stood in second and third place, respectively. All were eclipsed the following day when Townend took the lead in the 41-horse field with a score of 24.1. Townend’s countrywoman Piggy French on Quarrycrest Echo moved into second place on 27.1. The highest-placed US rider after dressage, Boyd Martin, landed in third place on 27.9. Townend added only 1.2 time penalties to his dressage score during cross-country, an issue he attributed to “Cooley’s” losing a shoe halfway around the course. Martin moved up to second place with a clean trip; and in his quest to take the second leg in the Rolex Grand Slam, New Zealand’s Tim Price on Xavier Faer moved up to third on 30.9. The competition came down to the last fence in the show-jumping phase, but Townend and Cooley successfully defended their Kentucky title with a faultless round. Martin and Tsetserleg also turned in a fault-free round to finish second, earning them the Land Rover/US Equestrian CCI5*-L Championship. Price held on to finish third. “This year he has come out blazing,” Martin said of “Thomas.” “He exceeded my expectations, and I think he is only going to grow and get better from this event.” Including Martin, five US combinations had top-ten LRK3DE finishes. Doug Payne was fifth with Vandiver, Phillip Dutton on Z was seventh, and Lauren Kieffer finished eighth and ninth with Jacqueline Mars’s Paramount Importance and Vermiculus, respectively. —Emily Koenig


Happy Birthday, John Boomer!

The Equestrian World Returns to Las Vegas APRIL 15 - 19, 2020



Collection USDF BULLETINS Planning to Compete at the US Dressage Finals? Visit usdressagefinals.com for the 2019 prize list. Declarations for this year’s Finals are open. Horse/rider combinations must declare their intention to participate by completing the Declaration of Intent form by midnight on the day prior to the first day of their Regional Championship competition (including any open-class day before the start of championship classes). There is no fee to declare, but horse/rider combinations must declare at the level(s) and eligible division(s) they intend to compete in.

All-Breeds Declaration Deadline Approaching The deadline to declare a horse for the 2019 USDF All-Breeds Awards Program is August 1. Submit your horse’s breed-registry papers and a completed All-Breeds Awards Declaration Form to the USDF office before that date.

Check out USDFScores.com Check your scores on USDFScores.com. If you spot an error, e-mail scorecorrections@usdf.org or call (859) 971-2277. Score corrections must be reported by October 15 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

USDF Benefit Classes USDF benefit classes support dressage education in the US though USDF educational programs. Winners receive special USDF awards! Ask competition management to host a USDF benefit class.

See You at the Great American/USDF Regional Championships Check the Regional Championship Competitors page on the USDF website to verify that you’ve qualified for the 2019 Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships. Then make sure that all applicable scores are designated as “qualifying” on USDFScores.com.

Have You Qualified for the USDF Regional Adult Amateur Equitation Program? In order to qualify for a USDF Adult Amateur Equitation Regional Final class, riders must earn a score of 70% or above in an applicable dressage-seat equitation class or qualify at any level (excluding freestyles) for the Great American/USDF Regional Championships. An AA Equitation Regional Final class will be held in conjunction with each of the nine Great American/USDF Regional Championship competitions.

Apply for a Grant One deserving USDF group member will receive the Ruth Arvanette Memorial Fund Grant to attend the 2019 Adequan®/ USDF Annual Convention in Savannah, Georgia. The grant includes full convention registration and partial reimbursement for travel expenses. See the USDF website for an application, which is due in the USDF office by August 31.

GOVERNANCE The cannabinoids (CBD) craze won’t fly with horses at US Equestrian-licensed competitions beginning late this summer. As of September 1, a positive test for natural or synthetic cannabinoids and other cannabimimetics will be considered in violation of USEF GR4, the drugs-and-medications rule.

US Equestrian to Ban CBD “CBD, both natural and synthetic forms, are likely to effect [sic] the performance of a horse due to its reported anxiolytic effects,” US Equestrian stated in its May 14 press release announcing the impending ban. Exhibitors of horses that test positive for CBD prior to September 1 will receive warnings. Additional detections of

14 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

cannabinoids after September 1 will be considered prior violations. US Equestrian cautions competitors about the use of CBD products in horses because “their composition widely varies and may not be representative of their label claims, as there is no regulatory oversight from the FDA, nor guarantee of their safety in horses.”

SCHOOL’S IN SESSION USDF Regional Schooling Show Awards Program

NEW FOR 2020 Recognizing USDF Group Members for finishing at the “top of their class” in each of USDF’s nine regions, for their achievements at schooling shows. 4 DIVISIONS


Open* Junior/Young Rider Adult Amateur Non-Professional

Introductory Third Training Fourth First FEI Second

*Introductory not awarded in Open Division

Photo by Bob Tarr



Collection MEET THE INSTRUCTOR Kate Fleming-Kuhn, New Berlin, Illinois Kate Fleming-Kuhn is a USDFcertified instructor through Fourth Level and a USDF bronze, silver (at age 16), and gold medalist (at age 21).

AWARDS USDF Connection Content Receives AHP Awards The USDF’s member magazine and its talented freelance contributors received recognition in its circulation category in the 2019 American Horse Publications Equine Media Awards contest, for material published in 2018. Awards were presented June 1 during the 2019 AHP High Desert Media Roundup conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 2nd: “Does Your Horse Have Allergies?” by Katie Navarra (June), Horse Care Single Article 3rd: “From Foal to FEI” by Sarah Evers Conrad (December/January), Service to the Consumer Single Article Honorable mention: “Baby, Get Back in the Saddle” by Amber Heintzberger (April), Service to the Consumer Single Article 2nd: “Silver Linings” by Jennifer Bryant (November), Editorial Event Coverage Single Article Honorable mention: “Golden Oldies” by Patti Schofler (September), Freelance Writer Equine-Related Journalism 2nd: “Para-Equestrian Dressage Competitor Kate Shoemaker and Solitaer 40 at the 2018 WEG” by Allen MacMillan (December/January), Editorial Human-Animal Bond Photograph.

YOUTH USDF Members Receive Pony Club Recognition


—Jamie Humphries

USDF congratulates the following members, who have achieved their US Pony Clubs (USPC) dressage specialty ratings: C+ Dressage: Michelle Chapman, Connecticut; Jessica Fan, Texas; Lauren Wright, Georgia. C-3 Dressage: Will Englehardt, Idaho; Daisy Hanretty, California; Katrina Rowe, Maryland; Ava Severs, Colorado. B Dressage: Anna Douglas, Massachusetts; Julia Marrinan, Connecticut. A Dressage: Nila Venkat, California; Grace Walker, California. The USPC recognized the following USDF members for participation in both USDF competitions and USPC rallies: Blue Ribbon Club: Alexis Troutman, Georgia. Medallion Club: Jocelyn Hunt, Maryland. Bronze Medal Club: Grace Harmon, Virginia; Iselle Longman, North Carolina; Sophie Wayner, New Jersey. Silver Medal Club: Kimberly Crane, New York; Santina Hackett, Texas. Gold Medal Club: Valerie Golden, Ohio. For more information about this recognition program, visit the USPC website at ponyclub.org.

HORSE INDUSTRY Equitana USA Announces Dates The famed German equine expo Equitana, which previously announced its intention to mount a US version at the Kentucky Horse Park in 2020 (“Heads Up: Equitana USA to Return to Kentucky,” April), has set September 25-27 as the dates for the Lexington event. Organizers have already established collaborations with US Equestrian, the United States Pony Clubs, and the Retired Racehorse Project. US Equestrian and the USPC are headquartered at the Kentucky Horse Park. Learn more at equitanausa.com or kyhorsepark.com.

16 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION


How I got started in dressage: My introduction to horses came early through my father, Dr. James Fleming. I began dressage lessons at StarWest, New Berlin, Illinois, with Alice Martin at the age of nine. I continue my education under my longtime mentors, Gerhard Politz and Cindy Ishoy. I wanted to become certified because: I was encouraged to get certified by Gerhard Politz. The program was especially useful for my teaching skills and lesson organization. My horses: I have a few youngsters growing up as well as Washburn SW, a six-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding that my husband, Martin Kuhn, and I bred. Training tip: Don’t be discouraged when you get feedback on how to improve. We all want to hear what we are doing right, but we learn the most from hearing what could be better. Contact me: kflemingkuhn@mac. com or (217) 972-0451.

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August 21-25, 2019 Lamplight Equestrian Center Wayne, IL


FEATURING USEF Grand Prix & Intermediaire I National Championships USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ National Championship USEF Young Rider & Junior National Championships USEF Pony Rider & Children National Championships Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals



Sequential Schooling of the Dressage Horse Ninth in a series. Conclusion: Work in hand and passage.

a horse understands that we want him to engage and to maintain activity in the half-steps, he can be ridden less forward until the steps are performed almost “on the spot,” achieving piaffe. I usually begin half-steps when the horse is four or five and understands

FIGURE 1. An effective method of working in hand is using two people. This method gives maximum control over the horse.

Many of our modern horses, which have been selectively bred for their ability to perform the movements of Grand Prix dressage, offer both piaffe and passage naturally, making the training of these difficult movements much easier. I start piaffe by using half-steps, which are very short steps in trot with increased engagement, activity, and uphill balance (for more on piaffe, see “Clinic” in the last issue). As Adapted from a series published in Dressage & CT, September 1978-October 1979. Reprinted by permission of the estate of Ivan I. Bezugloff Jr.

the concept of collection. Horses that don’t naturally engage their haunches when I brush my legs back may need help with taps on their buttocks or croup with a long, flexible whip. Care must be taken to maintain the clear two-beat trot as well as not to overengage the horse. This can cause him to bring his front legs too far under his body, resulting in loss of balance and shoulder lift. It is very important to keep the horse rounded over his topline when performing these exercises in order to maintain the oscillation of his

20 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

back muscles and clear flexion of his joints. With horses that need more hock flexion, schooling in cross-ties or with a ground person can be very helpful. I teach all of my horses to pick up their legs when tapped lightly on the front of the cannon bone. I always practice this alternating left and right so that the horse maintains the thought of diagonal movement. Horses that are less naturally inclined to piaffe can also be schooled through work in hand. Work in hand is very beneficial in schooling halfsteps and piaffe because it allows the horse to learn to engage and carry increased loading on his haunches without the added stress of the rider’s weight. Work in hand also serves to keep the trainer very fit and may be substituted for jogging, both forwards and backwards. Avoiding flying heels helps to keep the trainer alert. In order to control the horse from the ground effectively, it’s best to work with an assistant. Several items of equipment are necessary: side reins, four- to six-foot whip, lunge line, lead rope, and cavesson (optional). Side reins are adjusted to a length that helps to keep the horse in a proper frame without restricting him too much (Figure 1). To the inside bit ring (or cavesson ring) the lead rope is attached. The lunge line is attached to the outside ring and brought over the horse’s neck just in front of the withers. The forward person holds the lead shank and keeps the horse moving forward and straight. The rear person has the more difficult task of using the whip as well as the lunge line to maintain straightness. Work in hand is best done next to a wall or fence in order to keep the horse from falling outward.



iaffe is usually taught before passage in order to avoid confusion on the horse’s part between the two movements. Piaffe can be taught by many methods: under saddle, in hand, or between pillars (which I do not use).

By Hilda Gurney

haunches, where it’s easy to tap both hind legs. However, with kickers or horses that are unaccustomed to work in hand, it’s a better idea to stand either more forward (Figure 2) or much farther back, substituting a lunge whip for the in-hand whip. With horses that tend to go crooked, step unevenly, or not engage enough, walking directly behind them is effective (although possibly dangerous). (See the previous installment in the May/June issue for a discussion of

where the whip is used most effectively on the horse’s body.) After the horse understands trothalt transitions, he can be asked to shorten the trot with checking actions on the lines while alternating taps with the whip on his hind legs. Understanding that a tap means to pick up his leg, the horse will shorten his stride in order to pick up his legs. As soon as the horse does this, stop and reward him (Figure 3). This method is effective for

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Leg tapping is an effective way to introduce the whip. Tap a leg lightly with the whip until the horse picks it up. Reward him for picking it up by immediately stopping with the whip and patting him. Begin with light taps and gradually increase the strength of the taps until the horse responds. Your goal is to have the horse quickly and quietly pick up whatever leg is tapped. When the horse understands the whip as an aid, he will not develop a phobia. Overly severe use of the whip before the horse understands what is expected of him can develop an enduring phobia of in-hand and piaffe work. Two of my horses developed severe phobias from trainers hitting them too hard, too soon. One never made Grand Prix because of this phobia. If common sense is used in schooling with a ground whip, these problems will not occur. Piaffe is not taught in a day any more than flying changes or pirouettes. The next phase is to accustom the horse to walking forward when the whip is raised toward his haunches and to halt straight in response to pressure on the lead shank and lunge line. Both trainers must communicate and coordinate their aids. The tip of the whip should be lowered whenever the horse is asked to halt. Next, trot-halt transitions are practiced until the horse performs them quietly and straight and both trainers are proficient at jogging both sideways and backward. Whenever the above are mastered in one direction, reverse, switch over the lead rope and lunge line, and practice in the other direction. Be sure the horse really feels confident about what is being demanded of him in the first direction before reversing, which may confuse him. Near the horse’s head is a good position for the forward person. The rear person has several options of position, depending on the needs of the horse and the length of the whip. Generally with well-behaved horses, one can stand just inside the

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horses that don’t move forward easily. Horses that move forward easily may be worked from the halt. Light taps ask the horse to lift his hind legs while the forward person leads him forward in a shortened trot. After a few good steps, the horse is halted and rewarded. Halts should be frequent during in-hand work, since prolonged periods of half-steps or piaffe are very taxing to the horse. The half-steps generally shorten into piaffe in a short period of time. However, never school piaffe exactly in place, as the horse may develop a tendency to step backward. Always keep the piaffe moving at least half a hoof breadth forward, both in hand and under saddle. This method of schooling has a beneficial side effect of markedly improving horses’ halts. Five to ten minutes a day of work in hand is plenty. When the horse becomes proficient and easy to control in hand, he can be worked by only one person (Figure 4), but this is not usually as effective as work-

FIGURE 3. Reward is the most important part of all schooling. The horse must always work confidently, seeking the trainer’s approval.

Schooling Passage Whenever the horse clearly understands the basic concept of lowering the haunches and shortening his steps, maintaining his activity and diagonal movement, it is time to introduce passage. Passage is generally schooled under saddle. Usually passage is taught from piaffe, but I have worked with several horses that learned passage best from the trot. Passage can be used as a resistance when schooling piaffe, so generally piaffe is taught first. However, again I have worked with several exceptions that learned to do lovely piaffes after they had been taught passage. Passage differs in many ways from piaffe. It has a suspension period, while piaffe has little or no suspension. Passage is not as highly engaged as piaffe. Passage has a great deal of thrust that springs the rider out of the saddle. The engagement and bending of the hocks in piaffe muffle the motion so much that the rider feels almost nothing. Passage is less taxing on the horse than piaffe. Tempo is the one similarity of the two movements. Both are cadenced. Passage is usually best introduced when the horse performs a reliable, energetic piaffe. To aid for

22 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

FIGURE 4. A person may work a horse in hand alone after a good foundation has been developed.

passage, the rider deepens his/her seat and moves his/her legs slightly forward from the piaffe position, but not as forward as for trot. The farther-backward position of the legs in piaffe helps with engagement. Since the haunches aren’t as engaged in passage as in piaffe, the rider’s leg aids need to shift slightly forward in order to indicate this to the horse. The deeper seat allows the rider to use his/her back aids in order to push the horse more forward in passage. However, the rider must never sit on his/her tailbone, causing the horse to hollow his back and disengage his haunches. Rhythmic pulsations are given by the rider’s legs. Some riders pulsate both legs together, while others use alternating legs. More leg is needed on the side to which the horse swings his haunches or is less active. At first the rider should push the horse forward from piaffe into more “passage-y” half-steps. “Passage-y” half-steps have less engagement, a stride length of about one foot, and the same rhythm as piaffe. The horse must move into the bit and remain straight. The biggest problem is generally that the horse remains too engaged, sitting down too much behind to be able to push enough to develop a suspension period. Alternating the “passage-y” half-steps with trot and making sure that the rider’s legs aren’t too far back will usually solve this problem. At this stage, rhythm is the most important thing to establish. When the rhythm is established in the “passage-y”


FIGURE 2. A ground person is helpful in schooling piaffe and passage on horses with problems of engagement or impulsion.

ing with two people, although much more convenient. Work in hand at piaffe can be practiced either alone or in conjunction with piaffe work mounted. Mounted work following good-quality in-hand work is a very effective method of schooling piaffe. The ground person can assist the rider (Figure 2). As the horse gains proficiency at piaffe, the rider must gradually wean himself or herself from the ground person. In cases when the horse forgets to engage his haunches or steps back with a leg, a ground person may continue to be needed for a longer period of time to assist the horse to develop correct habits of using his body.


A sequence of moments in the passage: A deep rhythmic driving seat is used in passage.

1. The moment of support before the thrust.

2. The thrust—an awkward moment to both sit and photograph.

3. Again the moment of support.

half-steps, the rider can endeavor to develop more bouncy steps. Tapping with the whip behind the leg, clucking, and alternating with medium trot are all ways that will help the horse develop suspension. The most effective method of all is to find a situation in which your horse tends to passage naturally. (Ahoy learned passage in an arena we have that is in a deep canyon surrounded by cattails and rushes that make tremendous noises in the wind. The noises drove Ahoy literally to distraction [passage] on windy days.) When the horse gives you some bouncier steps, reward him, then ask again so he learns what you want from him. The horse must develop more rhythm and bounce (sometimes called “soft passage”) consistently before the rider should start asking for the impulsion and elevation of the finished passage. Asking for impulsion and elevation too soon will only lead to resistances such as avoiding going into the passage rhythm, irregularities, and coming off the bit. In cases where the horse avoids going into the passage rhythm, cluck and continue driving him into the bit, even if he is almost cantering in place. An active canter in place is more tiring than passage, and sooner or later the horse will pick up the passage. Of course he should then be rewarded with pats and free walk. The above is true only with horses that understand that you want passage or soft passage but are looking for easier ways out. Neither passage or piaffe

should be practiced very long, and frequent periods of free walk should be given between short periods of practicing piaffe and passage. Irregularities in passage are basically the same as in piaffe and may be corrected in the same manner. Straightness is very important for a regular passage. Passage should be taught mostly on straight lines. Working the horse too much on circles at the beginning may cause irregularities to develop. Whenever rhythm and regularity are established, more impulsion and activity can be demanded. Stronger leg aids, whip taps, or help from a ground person are all effective. However, regularity and being “on the bit” must always have priority over activity. Transitions between piaffe and passage may be introduced as soon as the horse understands both movements. The pulsating aids of the rider maintain rhythm. In order to go from passage to piaffe, the rider gives a half-halt, lightens his/her seat slightly, and moves his/her pulsating legs farther back. The transition from piaffe to passage is performed by moving the legs slightly forward and pushing strongly with the hips while deepening the seat. Hand aids may become slightly lighter, although the horse must continue to move into the bit. Transitions generally are not a problem as long as the rider maintains rhythm and impulsion. Horses with problems engaging enough for piaffe may benefit from help from the ground in the form of whip taps on the haunches during the transition

from passage to piaffe. Passage and piaffe should never be overly practiced, although it’s always tempting to do so since they are so much fun to do. Too much of these strenuous movements may lead to hock problems. Generally, I figure on two years’ time after a horse is Third Level to school a reliable, confident piaffe and passage. Personally, I enjoy every schooling session during that time, since training horses is very rewarding. The greatest accomplishment in dressage is to enjoy schooling your horse to the highest attainable standard of which both of you are capable. Your horse will develop suppleness and muscle—piaffe and passage are especially good exercises for developing muscle through the haunches and topline—and you will stay healthier and happier practicing a sport you enjoy.

When Hilda Gurney wrote this series for Dressage & CT magazine, it had been only two years since she had won a team bronze medal at the 1976 Olympics with her legendary Thoroughbred, Keen. Forty years later, Gurney is still going strong at her Keenridge in Moorpark, CA, where she continues to ride, train, and teach. For her contributions as a dressage professional, competitor, judge, sport-horse breeder, and more, she was inducted into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame in 2007. Keen was inducted in 1997.

USDF CONNECTION | July/August 2019


Sport Horse Handle with Care Inaugural USDF Handler Clinic teaches the skills needed to show sport horses in hand


he USDF Sport Horse Committee designed the new USDF Handler Clinic to teach future professionals and amateurs alike the art of handling. The inaugural clinic, held April 6-7 at Hilltop Farm Inc. in Colora, Maryland, was filled to capacity, with 30 participants and 20 auditors, all of whom came to learn more about showing dressage prospects in hand.

POLISHED: A USDF Handler Clinic participant practices presenting a sport horse in hand

The two days were filled with both classroom-style and hands-on learning. The first day started with clinicians Michael Bragdell, Sara Vanecek, and Kristi Wysocki, along

By Caitlin Gallagher Photographs courtesy of Hilltop Farm Inc. with Hilltop Farm managing director Natalie DiBerardinis, giving a brief talk about the handler’s role in the dressage sport-horse community and what to expect at a breed show. Wysocki, a US Equestrian dressage sport-horse breeding (DSHB) judge, then discussed what to look for in a dressage horse’s conformation and movement so that we can use that information later to help present our horses in front of a judge. A live demonstration followed, with Bragdell presenting two Hilltop Farm horses. Wysocki helped the audience to evaluate each horse’s conformation and movement, showing them what to look for on their own. An introduction to DSHB competition and handling followed, with the two professional handlers, Bragdell and Vanecek, presenting more horses from Hilltop Farm. The participants then split into two groups, with a handler working with each group to teach how to show horses on the triangle: presenting the horse for conformation evaluation and then walking and trotting the triangle in hand. Safety, skill, and understanding are paramount in handling a horse in competition, they said. Allowing the horse to

HAPPY HANDLERS: Clinic presenters and participants in Hilltop Farm’s indoor arena

24 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

WEALTH OF EXPERTISE: Clinic presenters Sara Vanecek, Kristi Wysocki, and Michael Bragdell

move to the best of its ability and helping to showcase the movement in front of a judge are the handler’s number-one job.

A Career as a Sport-Horse Handler Day two began with a roundtable discussion on career paths for handlers. Bragdell, Vanecek, Wysocki, and DiBerardinis all agreed that handlers are important to the future of the dressage sport, with declining numbers of handlers having created the need for new blood. Those who wish to pursue a career as a handler are not alone, they said, with most current pros willing to serve as mentors.

Vanecek and Bragdell discussed the particulars of handling mares and foals at breed shows as well as how to handle multiple horses in a group class, using Hilltop Farm horses to demonstrate a group-class scenario. Participants then divided into their two groups, switching professional handlers from the day before for further instruction and new perspectives. To end the seminar, Wysocki judged a mock competition, scoring according to the USDF Amateur/Junior/Young Rider Handler Scoresheet, followed by a Q&A session. The USDF Handler Clinic was a wonderful experience, with an amazing amount of education presented in the two days. Thanks to Hilltop Farm owner Jane MacElree for the use of her facility, to the presenters, and to the owners who lent their horses for the practicehandling work.

Caitlin Gallagher graduated from Delaware Valley University, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, in 2019 with a degree in equine science: breeding. She is in her second year as a USDF sport-horse youth ambassador, and she has participated in numerous USDF sporthorse and young-breeder programs. She plans to compete her horse, Arturo, at Second Level in the coming year.


• Attracting new blood: What our sport is doing to bring youth into dressage • Gerhard Politz: How to use the lungeing cavesson • Finance guide for competition organizers • Christine Traurig: The USDF Connection interview

USDF CONNECTION | July/August 2019


GMO Taking Care of Business What your GMO needs to know about getting—and keeping—tax-exempt corporate status


he only certainties in life, as the old saying goes, are death and taxes. Depending on your relationship with the Internal Revenue Service, you may occasionally feel as if dealing with the latter is the more challenging scenario. And that’s never more true than when your USDF group-member organization (GMO) is the subject of the tax issue.

Knowing how to best structure your GMO for tax purposes can be complicated, to say the least. In this article, I’ll give you a brief overview of the tax-status options. (The usual disclaimer: I’m not a tax professional; your GMO’s circumstances may differ from any examples presented; and always seek the advice of a certified public accountant or a lawyer, or perhaps both.)

Becoming a Nonprofit Your GMO is a business. In order to be deemed a nonprofit, an organization must first file articles of incorporation (consult a good tax professional, a lawyer, or both for help with this) and then apply to the IRS for taxexempt status. In addition to the tax exemption, nonprofit status confers other valuable benCRUNCHING THE NUMBERS: Dealing with the IRS’s laws regarding tax- efits, including exempt status requires professional guidance limitations on officers’ personIt’s not as if the governing board al liability—which, for an organizaof your GMO has nothing else to do, tion hosting competitions, can be a but if you haven’t set up your organi- huge plus because, although riders zation as a nonprofit with the IRS, and handlers sign a waiver and that’s something that should move release as part of every entry form, to the top of your club’s to-do list. that doesn’t mean that someone

26 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

won’t initiate a lawsuit if they or their horse gets injured at the show. The plaintiff may lose the case, but you’d likely still have to fork over legal fees for your defense. (And if your GMO’s entry form doesn’t include a strongly worded release, consult with a lawyer and get that added immediately.) Your GMO’s articles of incorporation need to clearly state the organization’s purpose—and then the club must adhere to those activities set forth. As the IRS explains on its website (irs.gov): A charity’s organizing document must limit the organization’s purposes to exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) and must not expressly empower it to engage, other than as an insubstantial part of its activities, in activities that do not further those purposes. This requirement may be met if the purposes stated in the organizing document are limited by reference to section 501(c)(3). And that is one of the simpler paragraphs on the IRS site! If you find the preceding text confusing, don’t feel bad. This is why, unless a lawyer or a certified public accountant (CPA) sits on your GMO’s board of directors, consulting a tax professional is strongly recommended.

Don’t Try This at Home There are 28 subsections of the 501 section of the US tax code (clunkily entitled “Exemptions from tax on corporations, certain trusts, etc.”). The most common 501 subclassification for GMOs is 501(c)(3), “charitable organization.” This is the designation of most well-known notfor-profit groups that solicit tax-deductible donations. Having contribu-


By Penny Hawes

tions be deductible for donors can be a huge benefit for your GMO and is one of the reasons that organizations apply for 501(c)(3) status. If your GMO isn’t yet incorporated, then 501(c)(3) is likely the way to go. However, if the organization is already incorporated under a different 501 subsection, such as 501(c)(7) (which covers amateur sports clubs), you may wish to consult with a CPA or a tax lawyer about the possibility of changing its status to 501(c)(3). The 501(c)(7) status may seem like a good fit initially, but there are a few restrictions worth noting. First, the vast percentage of participants in any event need to be members of the organization. In addition, tax-exempt status is applicable only to monies derived from members; income received from nonmembers may be subject to income tax. In the dressage world, that means that, if your GMO hosts competitions, you may run afoul of these requirements unless all entrants are members. An IRS audit could end up costing your club substantial amounts of money and your board substantial amounts of stress, not to mention possible loss of your tax-exempt designation. Don’t try to set up your GMO’s articles of incorporation, to change its IRS status, or to complete its annual IRS Form 990 (the nonprofits’ version of a tax return) on your own, advises Steve Schubert, of Georgetown, Massachusetts, the USDF’s immediate past treasurer, who holds an MBA specializing in accounting and taxation. “Hire a good CPA. This isn’t a good place to try to save money,” Schubert says. And “be proactive, not reactive”: Changing an organization’s 501 status can be a lengthy and labor-intensive process. At least one GMO chapter we know of has been through this arduous experience, which took over a year and required extensive red tape, capped by the threat of losing the 501 designation entirely, according to a board member who didn’t wish to be identified for this article. [

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GMO Keep “very good records,” Schubert advises, and implement a system of checks and balances in your GMO’s bookkeeping process— not just for the IRS, but also to protect the organization against the possibility of embezzlement.

Show Me the Money The IRS requires that any profits earned by a 501(c)(3) organization be from a “related activity.” While the line between related and unrelated activities can seem fuzzy, related activities typically relate to the purpose of the organization as stated in its articles of incorporation. If your GMO hosts one or more competitions from which it turns a profit, you want to ensure that the activity is clearly noted as a source of income

in your club’s official documents. Income from unrelated activities may be subject to income tax.

IRS Resources Your GMO is going to hire a tax professional to help it navigate the shark-infested waters of the tax code (right?), but don’t overlook the IRS itself as an informational resource. The website irs.gov contains downloadable PDFs, forms, a newsletter for nonprofits, and even courses and webinars. While it’s not exactly light reading, the site is very searchfriendly and, unlike some places you might end up online, you know that the source of the material is legitimate. Here are a few helpful IRS pages to get you started. • irs.gov/newsroom/online-courseshelp-charities-understand-tax-issues

• irs.gov/charities-non-profits • irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicc96. pdf. So whether your GMO is considering incorporating and applying for tax-exempt status or it’s currently classified otherwise, check out the IRS website, contact a tax professional, and get the job done right. The investment of time and money now may just give you a bit of confidence about handling the latter of life’s certainties. Freelance writer Penny Hawes is president of the Virginia Dressage Association’s Charlottesville chapter. She loves volunteering and serving on the board; however, she has no desire to be chapter treasurer, and she does not do her own or anyone else’s taxes.

BECOME A PATRON Support the US Dressage Finals by making a tax deductible gift. Patron gifts will be recognized in the event program, the yearbook issue of USDF Connection, and receive a commemorative gift of appreciation. Patron levels of giving are: • Platinum $2,500+ • Gold $1,000 - $2,499 • Silver $500 - $999 • Bronze $250 - $499 • Friends < $250 Gifts received after October 15, 2019 will not be recognized in the event program.

28 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

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Salute Faith, Family, Friends, and Fortitude Meet the dressage pro who spearheaded rescue efforts after Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle

Gulf Coast, it became the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous US since Andrew in 1992 and left an estimated $25.1 billion in damage in its wake.

The Aftermath Kelly-Baxley and the horses returned to her Southern Cross Equestrian Center midweek following the hurricane to find the facility unscathed. Others in the area weren’t so lucky. “We kept hearing that barns and homes had been destroyed or damaged, and we couldn’t reach some people,” Kelly-Baxley says. “Nobody could confirm anything.” Frustrated

STEPPING UP: When Jodie Kelly-Baxley isn’t directing rescue efforts, she’s a winning dressage trainer/competitor. She’s pictured aboard Beth Godwin’s Caymus, the 2017 Adequan®/USDF Intermediate I Horse of the Year.

“The Florida Panhandle….We don’t wait for FEMA, we go to work. Neighbor helping neighbor. Ya see, in times like these we don’t cry because the government hasn’t shown up yet. Nope, we grab tools, sandwiches, water, and whatever we need to help each other. We drive back roads to reach our families.…Faith, family, friends, and fortitude. We are Panhandle Strong.” Forgoing a scheduled trip to the 2018 Region 3 Great American/ USDF Regional Dressage Championships, Kelly-Baxley and her family set out in their truck with supplies, ready to help. DEVASTATED: Hurricane Michael left this Florida stallion barn without a roof last October

With Hurricane Michael projected to make landfall on October 10, 2018, Kelly-Baxley opted to evacuate the 30 horses in her care to Pensacola, about two hours inland. When Michael slammed into the

with the lack of information and fearing for the safety of horses and humans alike, she and her parents took to the streets themselves. In her first Facebook post following the disaster, she wrote:

30 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

“Like Something out of a Bad Movie” On the first day of their rescue mission, Kelly-Baxley posted: “Today was like something out of a bad movie….The devastation is every bit as bad as anyone can imagine.”



he path of a hurricane is hard to predict. Stay put or evacuate? If you go, which direction and how far? Move the horses? These are decisions that Destin, Florida, native and USDF bronze, silver, and gold medalist Jodie KellyBaxley has been making all her life. The daughter of a charter-boat captain, Kelly-Baxley, who operates Jodie Kelly Dressage in her hometown, learned from one of the best. “Every storm is different and has a unique path,” Kelly-Baxley says. “If you’re going to evacuate with boats or horses, you have to do it days in advance. The storm may wobble, so you never know for sure what the right decision is.”

By Colleen Scott


VOLUNTEER SPIRIT: Jodie Kelly-Baxley and her father, Brant Kelly, assisting at a hurricaneravaged facility

One of the first places KellyBaxley and her parents checked on was Aqua Farms Sport Horses in Panama City, a noted Trakehner breeding operation. “Sadly, Joe lost two horses in the storm,” Kelly-Baxley says of farm owner Joe Pimentel. “His stallion barn was destroyed, and his home was heavily damaged. He had no running water and no way of watering his horses. My dad was able to get his water running again with a generator.” She adds: “Seeing a grown man cry over having running water really puts things into perspective.” The impromptu rescue team also pitched in at Sara Warner’s Black Bay Farm, Grand Ridge, Florida. Warner’s mile-long driveway was covered with fallen trees that “looked like matchsticks, but they were giant trees,” recalls KellyBaxley. “We worked for a full day with chainsaws and only made it through a quarter of the way. Sara’s only access was via a swampy creek by canoe. She was hauling water in barrels behind her.” With additional help the next day, they were able to clear a path for Warner.

APB: More Help Needed As the enormity of the hurricane damage began to sink in, KellyBaxley began recruiting assistance. “We put out messages on social media asking for people’s time, monetary donations, hay, grain, shavings, water, and other resources,” she says. The community responded,

ALL LOST: A steel barn reduced to rubble

and soon Kelly-Baxley; her mother, Laurie Kelly; and other volunteers were operating a full-time “supply bank” effort. “Most of the suppliers to the area, such as feed stores and grain suppliers, had been wiped out, too,” KellyBaxley explains. “So besides dealing with damaged property, the people in that area were dealing with a lack of supplies to care for their horses.” The volunteers established central supply locations and directed people in need to the pickup points, where additional helpers sorted through and doled out the badly needed provisions.

All Creatures Large and Larger The Alaqua Animal Refuge, Freeport, Florida, began assisting pet owners immediately following Hurricane Michael, but the facility soon became overwhelmed with requests. Alaqua officials asked Kelly-Baxley and her mother to take over the management of the large-animal rescue and rehoming efforts. The duo soon had goats, pigs, donkeys, and ducks in their care.

The Bigger Picture Although Kelly-Baxley missed last year’s Regional Championships, she says she wouldn’t change a thing. “We all take our jobs very seriously as [dressage] trainers,” she says, “but it’s amazing how unimportant a 20-meter circle becomes

when someone an hour away from you doesn’t have running water.”

Colleen Scott lives, works, and rides in Kansas City, Missouri. She competes with her half-Arabian mare, Kiss a Girl LOA, on the Arabian circuit in the hunter pleasure division.

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featuring $100,000 in prize money $50,000 in US Dressage Finals Travel Grant Funds Available To help alleviate some of the financial burden for those traveling the greatest distances to the US Dressage Finals, USDF is making up to $50,000 in travel grant funds available to eligible competitors.

FOUR IMPORTANT STEPS AND DEADLINES 1. Declare – Complete a Declaration of Intent for each level and division for which the horse/rider combination may qualify.

2. Qualify at one of the Great American/USDF Regional Championships. 3. Nominate – Each US Dressage Finals horse/rider combination is required to complete the nomination (preliminary entry) process.

4. Enter

US Dressage Finals Deadlines Regional Championship




Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Thursday, October 17, 2019


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Thursday, October 3, 2019


Wednesday September 18, 2019

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Above deadlines are midnight in the time zone of the specified Regional Championship

Entry Closing Date is October 21, 2019 midnight Eastern Time Deadline for Alltech stabling priority is five days after the nomination deadline for each region. See Official Prize List for more information.

For additional qualifying, declaration, nomination, and entry information visit


Free Rein The Ridability Question A sport-horse breeder weighs in on this desirable trait, and discusses its role in making breeding and buying decisions By Maurine “Mo” Swanson


recent social-media discussion regarding ridability brought up some questions and a variety of answers. How does ridability relate to breeding dressage horses? To have good riding, you need good riding horses. Producing these should be every dressage breeder’s goal. What is ridability, anyway? Does the definition vary with the rider’s skill level—say, a beginner looking for a “bombproof ” horse, an ama-

buyer obtain data about it? Can this trait be selected for in breeding decisions, or is it a genetic crapshoot? To me, ridability is separate from character and temperament, although those traits may play a role. I view ridability as an indication of the horse’s suitability for the sport it was bred for—jumping, dressage, eventing, hunters, and so on. It is a measure of a horse’s willingness to cooperate, its ability to adjust to different riders and their riding styles,

a few studies done on this trait, and the findings generally indicate a positive correlation between ridability and the elastic quality of the three basic gaits, especially the trot, which has a statistically higher correlation (I’ll discuss the research more in a minute). A horse that can push off the ground, swinging through its entire body to a steady contact, is more ridable than one with a stiff back and short, choppy strides. I’m pretty sure that no rider would need statistics in order to agree with this statement! Studies have also found a positive genetic correlation between head, neck, saddle position, and frame and the quality of the gaits and the ridability scores. Athletes with good points in these areas find the job easier to do.

RIDABILITY IN ACTION: Rolling Stone Farm’s homebred Special Premium Shcooter at her GOV Mare Performance Test in 2015. Shcooter’s sire is the RSF homebred Shakespeare RSF (Sandro Hit x Arrian), who won his 70-day stallion test and who was the 2016 Adequan®/ USDF Intermediate II reserve champion Horse of the Year. Her dam is the RSF third-generation homebred Elite Mare Rheporter (Royal Prince x Weltmeyer), who was grand champion at Dressage at Devon (Pennsylvania) in 2011.

teur with USDF medal goals, an experienced equestrian looking for a Grand Prix prospect, or a breeder choosing mares and stallions for pairings? What is the heritability of ridability, and can a prospective

its submissiveness and response to the rider’s aids, and its elasticity and athleticism in a nonresistant way. Ridability can be difficult to assess in an untrained or poorly trained horse. There have been quite

34 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

To be included in their studbooks, European sport-horse registries and their American societies hold mare inspections. Most also offer mare performance tests (MPT). Stallions must also be inspected and approved for breeding, and most stallions also undergo a stallion performance test (SPT) or fulfill competition requirements in order to retain approval as breeding stock. Among the many scores recorded during an MPT or an SPT is one for the horse’s ridability, which is assessed either by the judges on the ground as they observe the horse under saddle, or by a guest test rider after a short ride. A numerical score from 1 to 10 is given based on the scoring scale used for dressage, with 10 being the highest. In SPTs, ridability is also scored during the


Ridability Scores Explained

test days, as those tests are usually conducted over a number of days. Ridability is scored separately from character and temperament. In the MPT, only ridability, not character and temperament, is scored. There is no official test for geldings. Since they can never be bred, it is assumed that they will prove themselves in sport. As a believer in the value of the MPT, I have tested every mare I have bred for the past 35 years or so, with the majority being tested at three years of age. I have also sent six stallions to the SPT, all of them younger than five. I view ridability in a very young horse as a willingness to work and a “volunteer” attitude. The horse willingly cooperates and, even though it is untrained, tries to do what the rider is asking it to do. The horse is comfortable to sit on (or appears so to the onlooker). It engages its hindquarters, allowing the energy to flow over its back to the contact with its mouth. An “up-

hill” tendency is rewarded, but this can vary greatly depending on the timing of the occasional awkward growth spurt. Warmbloods are not

If I breed a ridable horse, it can be enjoyed by the majority of my customers. fully mature until they are around six years old, and sometimes all you get as they grow are occasional glimpses into what they will eventually look and move like. The MPT and SPT are just a moment in time, but most judges take all of this into account. Slight

misbehaviors, missed or late cues, and little mistakes are not penalized. Contact with the horse’s mouth is not fully developed, and it too can vary quite a bit based on the stage of growth; but the horse should feel confident and comfortable in the mouth without a lot of pulling or fighting. A rider’s ability can make a huge difference in the judging of a MPT or SPT because a skilled rider can make a tough horse appear easy to ride. I believe that the ridability shown by a young horse allows a glimpse into its future ridability as the training progresses. “Volunteers” are genetically programmed and can retain those desirable attitudes even as the work gets more difficult as long as discomfort, pain, and bad training are avoided. An uncooperative young horse can be made more ridable through correct and patient training—but as a breeder, I want the genetic propensity for good ridability there from the beginning. [

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Free Rein Can Ridability Predict Upper-Level Talent? In my opinion, ridability does not correlate with a horse’s ability to passage and piaffe. I believe that the best predictor of offspring with those talents is to choose pedigrees in which the offspring—or the sire and dam themselves—have demonstrated the ability to passage and piaffe. Passage and piaffe can be taught to any horse with a good mind and a cooperative nature (sometimes the least likely candidate is a star), but let’s face it, some horses are just born with a talent for it. For most of my buyers, three good gaits and good ridability will get a horse to Prix St. Georges/Intermedi-


ate I with correct training. Passage and piaffe with the quality needed for upper-level competition is the big unknown. This is why ridability is so important to me as a breeder. If I breed a ridable horse, I have bred one that can be enjoyed by the majority of my customers—a horse that can be trained to the highest levels because of its cooperative nature and three good gaits. It may not be “hot” or fancy enough to be a world-class competitor, but it will be enjoyed and, I hope, have a useful, long, and loved life. Most professional riders would like a horse with good ridability, as well, but maybe with a bit more fire and spark, with more extravagant gaits. I breed some of these, too!

Learn More: Sport-Horse Resources

here are many resources available for those who wish to do a deeper dive into sport-horse statistics, research, and rankings. Unfortunately for American breeders and stallion owners, however, North American stallions are not listed unless they have recently been imported. Here are some of my favorite sources. Each November, the World Breeding Federation of Sport Horses (WBFSH) publishes sire rankings based on progeny results in international competitions under FEI rules. A wbfsh.org/GB/Rankings/Sire%20Rankings.aspx The German National Equestrian Federation (FN)’s annual stallion rankings are based on the BLUP (Best Linear Unbiased Predictor) animal model, a mathematical model that uses genetic-based values to predict the quality of offspring. The rankings take into account the results of the stallions’ own performance tests, their offspring’s SPTs and MPTs, and results of offspring young-horse classes and other competition. No American stallions are listed unless recently imported. The site is in German, but the stallion lists are alphabetical and self-explanatory. The first number refers to the breed value, and the second is the accuracy of the breeding value expressed as a percentage. A pferd-aktuell.de/.../fn-zuchtwertschaetzung-2018 Christopher Hector of Australia’s The Horse Magazine writes excellent articles comparing FN and WBFSH values and compiles his own Breeding News rankings. A horsemagazine.com/thm/2019/01/the-stallion-hit-parade-new-germanbreeding-values/ Most of the major warmblood registries publish annual stallion guides, some of which include testing results and scores. Contact the specific registry for details.

36 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

Heritability: The Statistics Many studies have looked at the heritability of ridability as well as that of other traits, such as conformation, gaits, and free-jumping ability. High heritability is not a high number. A heritability of less than 20% is considered insignificant; 20 to 40% is considered average; and above 40% is strong. In some studies, heritability is expressed in numbers like 0.27 to 0.38. Findings show that the heritability of ridability is not as high as that of the trot, conformation, type, or free-jumping ability. There is a high genetic correlation between ridability values for MPTs versus the SPT. In one study, ridability heritability scored at 29%, slightly lower than the heritability of the gaits. In that same study, free-jumping ability had the highest heritability, at 40%. The correlation between ridability and the basic gaits, especially the trot, was positive. How does one find out about these statistics and values? For some suggested resources, see “Learn More: Sport-Horse Resources” at left.

Are Americans the Last to Know? It does seem at times that we American breeders are the last to learn about ridability and behavior issues that the Europeans have discovered about certain bloodlines and stallions. Many times, word doesn’t get out to us until we’ve already used the frozen semen and the offspring are not what we wanted. Perhaps the American market needs offspring of American stallions, which generally are honestly represented…but now I’m starting to sound like a seller. As an American breeder, the lack of information on US horses is just another hurdle I must jump over. Some Americans seem to think that if the horse is in Europe, it must be better than what’s available here. Information on European stallions is certainly more readily avail-

able—as are the fancy, professionally produced videos that show only the most spectacular movement. I’m not sure that these European choices are always right for our American buyer,

but that’s a topic for another day. Bottom line: Ridability is just one aspect to keep in mind when choosing your next riding partner or when making breeding or buying


decisions. I think it is certainly one of the most important aspects.

Meet the Columnist

ur sport-horse columnist, Maurine “Mo” Swanson, has been breeding horses for 40 years. With her husband, Jim, she owns Rolling Stone Farm in eastern Pennsylvania, where she stands the stallions Shakespeare RSF, Sir James, Fhitzgerald, Dheputy, and Shavane. She has bred about 400 foals, including 37 Elite Mares and Elite Mare Candidates and two State Premium Mares for the American Hanoverian Society and the German Hanoverian Verband; and 26 Special Premium mares, 12 Verbands Premium mares, 178 Premium Foals, and 48 Foals of Distinction for the German Oldenburg Verband, plus nine licensed stallions. Swanson got her equestrian start in hunters and jumpers, then rode dressage up to the Prix St. Georges level, earning her USDF bronze and silver medals in 2018. Her homebred Hanoverians and Oldenburgs have earned top-ten national dressage rankings and have won many titles both under saddle and in hand. She has been consistently highly ranked in the Adequan®/USDF Dressage Breeder of the Year, the Adequan®/USDF Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Breeder of the Year, and the US Equestrian Dressage Breeder of the Year standings. She won the Adequan®/USDF DSHB Breeder of the Year title in 2016 and 2018, and has been the US Equestrian Dressage Breeder of the Year every year since 2014. Rolling Stone Farm sells young stock and about 20 to 25 riding horses a year. Swanson’s greatest pleasure has been breeding suitable horses for the amateur market in the discipline of dressage with an emphasis on ridability and movement.



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The Neurologic Dressage Horse They’re not the top-of-mind suspects when a horse is not quite right, but nervous-system problems may be more common than we realize BY HEATHER SMITH THOMAS

38 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION


oday’s dressage horses are asked for extreme athleticism. Any physical issue can interfere with optimum performance. Lameness, obviously. Gastric ulcers get fingered as the cause of all sorts of unwanted behaviors. But another category of disease that can be even more serious than ulcers and difficult to pinpoint is neurologic disease, or disorders of the horse’s central nervous system. In a neurologic disorder, a spinal lesion, spinal compression, or disease disrupts the body’s ability to send signals from the brain through the spinal cord to the nerves governing the muscles. An affected horse’s proprioception (body awareness) may be affected, and as a result he may lose coordination and muscle strength, among other things. In more severe cases the horse may become unsafe to ride or handle. Anyone who’s ever suffered from sciatica knows that nerve impingement can also produce extreme and sometimes unpredictable pain. In recent years, the conventional wisdom among some dressage enthusiasts has been that neurologic signs are cropping up more frequently in the modern extravagant-moving, super-elastic sport horse. To find out whether that’s true, and to sort out the differences among the many ailments that produce neurologic deficits, we asked three prominent sport-horse veterinarians and neurology experts to share their insights.

A Diagnostic Challenge


NERVE CENTER: Spinal issues, particularly in the neck, can lead to neurologic disorders

Determining a neurologic issue can involve some trial and error because symptoms may be subtle, vague, intermittent, or similar to those of other physical or behavioral problems. The problem “may be just an unevenness or abnormal way of moving, or sometimes just failure to move up the levels,” says Amy Johnson, DVM, DACVIM, an associate professor of large-animal medicine and neurology at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center in Kennett Square. In some instances, the horse seems fine outwardly but the rider notices a change in behavior, Johnson says. “Sometimes a horse just loses eagerness to work. Maybe he previously seemed to enjoy schooling, training, and performing and now doesn’t. The horse may become increasingly spooky or unpredictable—bolting, bucking, or resistant.” “Nice horses that become fussy or difficult to shoe, or any horse that changes behavior, may be telling us he’s in pain,” says Barrie Grant, DVM, MS, ACVS, MRCVS, who

USDF CONNECTION | July/August 2019


has worked with horses with the neurologic disease known as “wobbler syndrome” since the late 1970s and who maintains a consulting practice in Bonsall, California. “Sometimes when we see x-rays of a horse’s neck, it’s easy to see why he’s fussy or resists having one leg picked up, standing with all the weight on the other— when there’s a big facet [vertebral joint] shoving on nerves exiting the spinal canal. This can be very painful.” A mercurial lameness issue can be another red flag. “He may favor one leg, then another, rather than [showing] a specific lameness,” Grant says. Presented with such symptoms, the veterinarian will typically begin by ruling out illness and unsoundness. “If there’s no systemic health problem or lameness, we do a neurologic evaluation—and sometimes that’s the root of the issue,” Johnson says. “In horses, usually the signs are consistent with spinal-cord disease, specifically in the neck region: All four limbs are not moving as precisely and coordinated as they should. These signs are what we call general proprioceptive ataxia.”

The Neuro Exam Unlike lameness, which tends to be most apparent at a trot, a neurological exam is generally conducted at a walk, says Yvette S. Nout-Lomas, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVECC, associate professor of equine internal medicine at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Fort Collins. Typically, the veterinarian observes as a handler turns the horse in tight circles, asks him to back up, and walks him up and down an incline. To test the horse’s hind-end strength and stability, a helper may pull on the horse’s tail in one direction and the other; a horse that can be pulled significantly off balance may have neurologicrelated weakness. Additional diagnostics may include tests of blood and spinal fluid, radiographs, myelography, and computerized tomography (CT) scans. Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM), a disease of the central nervous system caused by the protozoan S. neurona, is diagnosed by comparing antibody titers

40 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

in blood and (even more accurately) in spinal fluid, says Johnson. (Learn more about EPM in “EPM: Not Just Playing Possum,” June 2016.) If a spinal-cord lesion is causing the clinical signs, the neuro-exam findings can point the way to the likely location of the lesion, says Nout-Lomas. For instance, if neurologic signs are evident only in the hind legs, the defect might be in the horse’s back. If all four legs are affected, the lesion may be in the neck. And “if the horse has abnormal behavior or is circling to one side, the lesion might be in the brain,” she says. Spinal-cord compression, another potential cause of neurologic symptoms, shows up using a combination of survey radiographs and myelography, says Johnson. A neck CT scan also can show spinal-cord compression as well as other abnormalities not visible on radiographs, says Grant. Unfortunately, the only current method of definitely diagnosing the degenerative condition known as equine motor neuron disease (an umbrella term encompassing two


NEURO TESTS: A neurologic exam includes tests of the horse’s coordination, strength, and balance, such as the tail pull and watching him navigate a hill

similar conditions known as equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy and neuroaxomal dystrophy, which we’ll discuss more in a minute) is to look at a horse’s brain and spinal cord under a microscope at necropsy. “To diagnose a live horse, we must rule out everything else and [then we] assume it is EDM or NAD,” says Johnson. “If a horse with neurologic disease is negative for EPM and has no evidence of spinalcord compression, we suspect a neurodegenerative disorder, though it is hard to prove.”

Types of Neurologic Disease Most neurologic disorders seen in sport horses cause signs consistent with cervical myelopathy, which “just means dysfunction of the spi-

1 2 INSIDE LOOK: CT scan images of two horses’ cervical (neck) joints. Photo 1 shows normal anatomy. The horse in photo 2 has severe arthritis of a vertebral facet joint that is protruding toward the spinal cord (circled in yellow).

nal cord in the neck region,” Johnson says. Although many diseases can affect the cervical spinal cord, most affected horses fall into one of three categories, she says. Compressive or stenotic myelopathy comprises several conditions.

“Most well-known is cervical vertebral stenotic myelopathy (CVSM), often called wobbler disease; but other things, like trauma, tumors, or abscesses, can put pressure on the spinal cord,” says Johnson. As the name suggests, physical


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compression of the spinal cord produces the neurologic symptoms. Older horses may be more prone to developing “wobblers” and to neck arthritis causing secondary spinalcord compression, Johnson says. Wobblers is the most common cause of neurologic dysfunction in dressage horses, according to NoutLomas. “This problem can occur when anything narrows the canal through which the spinal cord runs, in the neck,” Nout-Lomas says. A foal can be born with the defect but show no clinical signs until it’s a few months old or, more commonly, between the ages of two and four. Other horses develop the condition when they reach the double digits, and sometimes not until their late teens, she says. In the US, infectious disease as a cause of neurologic disease usually means EPM or West Nile virus, and possibly herpes, according to Johnson. EPM is the most common infectious neurologic disease in horses in this country, especially east of the Mississippi. Although the symptoms of EPM can mimic those of wobblers disease, “horses with EPM tend to have more asymmetric signs, more muscle atrophy, or some signs that would be indicative of disease in the brain stem in addition to the spinal cord,” Johnson says. According to Johnson, one infectious disease that usually isn’t to blame for neurologic problems is Lyme disease. “In theory, neurologic Lyme disease could affect this region of the spinal cord, but it is rare,” she says. Degenerative disease is the most difficult of the three types to diagnose, says Johnson. Equine motor neuron disease (EMND) causes degeneration of muscle nerves, which eventually leads to muscle weak-

ness and atrophy with weight loss. EMND “goes by two names but is basically the same disease—equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (EDM) and neuroaxomal dystrophy (NAD),” she says. EMND is more prevalent in California and in parts of the East and Midwest, according to Nout-Lomas. “It seems to develop in young horses from a combination of vitamin E deficiency and genetic predisposition,” she says. Horses that receive limited turnout may become short on vitamin E because levels of this vitamin diminish in dried, stored forage. “If these horses do not receive any supplemental vitamin E or a ration balancer, they could be at risk for EMND or vitamin E-related myopathy,” Nout-Lomas says. Although Nout-Lomas says she’s seeing fewer cases of EMND caused by vitamin E deficiency, at New Bolton Center Johnson reports seeing more—and she doesn’t know why. “In my case population, over the last couple years the number of EDM cases I’ve diagnosed surpassed the number of EPM cases or wobblers, and these are not young horses,” says Johnson, who adds that EDM has turned up in warmbloods of all bloodlines, Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, and other breeds. “These horses are usually in the prime of their career—between five and 15 years old,” Johnson says. In the typical case, “the owner first notices the bolting, spooking, rearing, bucking, et cetera, that is out of character for the horse. Later we start to detect mild to moderate ataxia,” she says. Some research has indicated a possible genetic component—an inability to absorb vitamin E normally—that in some cases could

42 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

be a contributing factor to the development of EDM. A University of California, Davis study found a degenerative disease in a group of Quarter Horses that may be related to inability to absorb vitamin E. Years ago, an Oregon State University researcher discovered a family line of Appaloosas with the same problem. In such cases, “these horses may respond if supplemented with vitamin E at high levels so they can get enough,” Grant says.

Treatment and Prognosis Some horses diagnosed with a neurologic disorder “plateau at a certain level of function for a long time— even years—and don’t deteriorate further,” says Johnson. “The question then is whether that level is safe for them [to be working or at pasture] or safe for the people handling and riding them. In other horses, this disease progresses more rapidly.” “I’ve seen wobblers that were negative on x-rays and myelogram,” says Grant, “and then we checked blood levels and found they were very low [on vitamin E]—and when we supplemented with vitamin E they returned to normal after about three months. It’s always wise to check vitamin E.” Some horses with mild neurologic disease continue to compete successfully at the lower levels, and occasionally even at higher levels. But “the disease may progress over time, and then the horse struggles to maintain performance or develops a second problem, such as lameness,” says Johnson. “I think many horses can compensate fairly well for a single problem, but when you stack more problems, some of their compensatory mechanisms begin to fall apart. If the horse is lame, some neurologic signs may become more evident,” she says.

“It can be tricky to know how much the neurologic problem is contributing to the overall picture. In some cases it clearly is the primary reason for poor performance, and in other cases there may be something else at play as well.” “If a veterinarian says your horse might be a wobbler,” says Grant, “we need a differential diagnosis to figure out which problem it might be. Simply treating symptoms won’t do much good—although most of these horses respond temporarily to small doses of phenylbutazone” (“bute,” a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug). “Some will also respond favorably to steroid injections in their hocks or neck, but the underlying problem is still there. When we inject a joint, steroids also get into the bloodstream and go to whatever place is inflamed. People tell us their horse went so much better after they injected the hocks, but the hocks may not have been the problem,” he says.


Research: Focus on the Equine Neck Recent research has shown that surprising numbers of horses have spinal anomalies in the cervical (neck) area, according to Grant. In one study of various breeds including warmbloods, 12 to 38 percent were found to have congenital defects in the transverse processes (the bony projections off the vertebrae) in the cervical vertebrae at the base of the neck identified as C6 and C7, he says. And in a UC Davis study reported at the 2018 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, of a sample of 100 horses, a full 50% showed arthritis in their necks—“yet they were still showing and competing,” Grant says. Given the evidence, “we wonder

DIAGNOSIS: Radiographs (x-rays) can show neck arthritis and spinal-cord compression. A technician prepares to radiograph the area of the equine neck that sometimes shows a vertebral defect that can lead to neurologic disease.

if these abnormalities are detrimental. For example, a change in the navicular bone on a radiograph doesn’t necessarily mean the horse is lame,” Grant says. At the same time, radiographic changes could indicate that “sooner or later, the horse may have a problem.” More details need to be fleshed out in order for researchers to draw firmer conclusions, Grant says. For instance, “if we looked at older show horses that were still actively showing and none of them had that [congenital C6/C7] anomaly, does that mean that the younger horses that have this anomaly will never make it to be successful middle-aged show horses? If none of the older horses have this—yet 20 to 30% of the population is thought to have this anomaly—it must mean it hinders their ability to be successful.” Research is also ongoing to find ways to help horses with neck problems. Several surgical procedures have shown promising results in recent decades, such as modifying the bone to relieve spinal-cord compression, to stabilize disc spaces, and to fuse the vertebrae to resolve the

narrowing that presses on the spinal cord. Stem cells have also been used. A new method was developed recently at Colorado State University, based on research in humans. NoutLomas and two other veterinary researchers used an intervertebral device to reduce compression while also inserting connecting rods and screws with rotating heads to stabilize the problem vertebrae.

Nature, Nurture, and Neurology The development of neurologic disease is not specific to any particular breed or equestrian discipline, says Nout-Lomas. “In warmbloods there’s no specific condition that we don’t see in other breeds,” she says. So is there in fact any link between extravagant movement and neurologic disease? Not that’s been discovered, our experts say; but some similarity in movement patterns may give rise to the speculation. “When there’s disease of the spinal cord in the neck,” explains Johnson, “the neuronal tracts affected

USDF CONNECTION | July/August 2019


include the upper motor neuron and the general proprioceptive tracts. Upper motor neuron involvement tends to cause a long-strided, overreaching type of gait. It looks like the horse has a long, sometimes very floating stride, which is often looked on favorably when selecting dressage horses.” “Some of these [dressage] movements are similar to what we see in some horses with neurologic disease,” Nout-Lomas concurs, “but there’s no evidence at this point to say that any of the horses that move this way have neurologic disease.” That said, experts don’t discount the idea that selective breeding could—at least in theory—lead to the production of greater numbers of neurologic-disease-prone equines. “In other breeds,” Johnson observes, “people have selectively bred for certain traits or qualities that, when taken to extreme, become

health issues. This could theoretically occur in horses selected for dressage, if as youngsters they have mild neurologic disease and look very ‘floaty’ and fancy in their movement. Some people might unintentionally select for problems.” Or, as Grant puts it, “When does a good trait become a bad one? Certain things, taken to extreme, can be detrimental. Some of the things we want to see in a dressage horse, like floating gait and excessive suspension, may actually be a gait abnormality. We’ve noticed in treadmill testing that some of the older wobbler horses can’t take as many strides as a normal horse. They tend to ‘float’ more because they can’t quite get themselves together. It’s a form of incoordination—unable to adapt the gait fast enough. Everything is in slow motion. They have more ‘air time,’ but that’s not always the best for staying sound.” But rest assured that there’s a

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major difference between a big mover and a bona fide neurologic case. A horse suffering from proprioceptive ataxia “has lost a sense of where its feet are relative to the ground and to the body’s center of gravity, and is making coordination mistakes,” Johnson explains. Nout-Lomas postulates that spinal biomechanics may play a role in the development of wobblers disease. “This in part may be related to head position, the type of work the horse is doing, and so on. Some wobblers have OCD lesions in the neck.” Genetics also may play a role in wobblers disease; some breeding pairs have been known to produce multiple foals with problems. However, genetics is not the only factor, says Nout-Lomas. “There are many situations where a sire or dam produce one wobbler but plenty of other foals with no problems.” Then there’s dressage training


UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED: A horse with proprioceptive ataxia has diminished coordination and, in serious cases, can pose a danger to himself and to riders and handlers

itself. The takeaway: Don’t overdrill. “Horses don’t need to be always collected, tucked in, and in ‘frame’ all the time,” says Grant. “A horse in the wild trying to get away from a predator isn’t having to travel with his neck bowed and his nose pointed toward his chest. This is not a normal way to move. We see some stress and strain problems and even some deformities that may be caused or aggravated by what we do to these horses. If there are structural changes in the lower part of the neck, it may be detrimental to crank the neck around.”

If in Doubt, Check It Out As veterinary medicine advances, evidence continues to mount that many so-called resistances or behavioral issues may in fact stem from physical discomfort. As Grant

points out, “Some horses go through multiple trainers or frustrating periods in training where the owner, rider, or trainer thinks it’s a training issue or a behavioral problem, and later we discover it’s a medical or neurologic issue that prompted the behavior.” Early diagnosis of neurologic disease may enable better management of the condition, says Johnson—who admits that “sometimes this is difficult because signs in the beginning can be so subtle you don’t recognize them as a medical problem. Some clues may be misread.” When a horse’s performance begins to deteriorate or a previously willing partner objects to his work, “Most people assume it’s a lameness or gastric ulcers because these are more common issues,” says Johnson, “but it’s important to do a neurologic exam, even just to know that the

horse is neurologically normal and to rule out any neurologic disease.” “If gait abnormalities can’t be readily identified, owners, trainers, and riders need to think about neurologic disease,” says Nout-Lomas. “We see horses that have been sold, moved to another place, maybe had a year of pasture turnout to try to resolve a problem, evaluated again and again, joints injected, and so on; then someone does a thorough neurologic exam and identifies neurologic disease. If a horse is not following expectations, it is better to check for neurologic disease sooner rather than later.”

Idaho cattle rancher and freelance writer Heather Smith Thomas has been writing about horses and cattle, and raising and training horses, for 50 years.

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Complementary Therapies: Does Your Dressage Horse Need Them? It’s easy to spend big bucks on therapies purported to enhance equine health and performance. Here’s how to evaluate when your horse may benefit—and when you can save your money.

HITTING THE SPOT: From massages to high-tech therapies, there’s nothing dressage riders won’t do to help their mounts feel and perform their best

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f you were a horse, you might want to reside at Summit Farm in Murrieta, California. There, under the watchful eye of FEI-level rider/trainer Sarah Lockman, you’d enjoy regular massages or other forms of “complementary therapy” pampering designed to help keep you feeling and performing your best. “I go to the gym regularly and work on areas that are weak for me, and I’m sore for a few days after. The sauna and physio make me feel better,” says Lockman, who at press time had just been named to the 2019 US Pan American Games dressage team with Gerry Ibanez’s nineyear-old KWPN stallion, First Apple (Vivaldi x Partout). “As riders and trainers, we’re asking our horses to work their body parts that are their weakest. It’s up to us to keep them healthy, comfortable, and willing to work.” Once reserved for injury rehabilitation or “need a little extra help” senior horses, various types of body work and other modalities have become de rigeur in the management of dressage horses of all ages. But choosing among the options—not to mention keeping a handle on costs—can be challenging. Do you need to jump on the therapy bandwagon for your horse’s sake, or should you save your money? We asked experienced trainers and a sport-horse veterinarian to weigh in.

Therapies Can Help...

FIT AND SOUND: Therapies for both horse and rider have helped Sarah Lockman and First Apple make the 2019 US Pan American Games dressage team

Magna Wave treatments (see “Popular Options” on page 48 for more on pulsed electromagnetic field therapy). Others in Steiner’s string receive body work and acupuncture according to their competition schedules. “No two horses are the same,” says Steiner, “and it’s up to us as their caretakers to work together to see what’s best for the individual.”

Integrated into a solid gymnastic training program backed by good management, complementary therapies can aid in the development of the equine athlete, trainers say. Lockman points to Dehavilland, a now eightJust because Lockman and Steiner incorporate multiple year-old Oldenburg (Diamond Hit x Hohenstein) that therapies into their programs doesn’t mean that you she bought as a foal. As a youngster, she says, the geldshould rush to add any or all to your own horse’s manageing was weak in his topline, so she combined hill work, ment regimen. Using a therapy cavaletti, and gymnastic work simply for the sake of using one with acupuncture and pulsed can be costly and not necessarily electromagnetic field therapy effective. Worse, some therapies (PEMF) to help transform him can actually exacerbate an injury into a strong-backed FEI prosif used unwisely. That’s why both pect. of these dressage pros consult FEI-level instructor/trainer with their veterinarians before and 1990 FEI World Equestrian employing any modality. Games competitor Betsy Steiner –Dr. Clara Fenger “We work as a team—my vet, is another believer—but she emmy farrier, and the therapists,” phasizes that there’s no-one-sizeLockman says. “We’re all a close-knit team that discusses fits-all approach to choosing modalities. One mare in a full show schedule at her New Jersey- and Florida-based options and evaluates feedback before, during, and after we start a therapy.” [ Steiner Dressage receives body work along with weekly

...If You Choose Wisely


Some therapies can actually exacerbate an injury if used unwisely.

USDF CONNECTION | July/August 2019


Massage is the only “do no harm” therapy that can be administered without the risk of injury, says Kentucky-based veterinarian Clara Fenger, DVM, PhD, DACVIM. Although chiropractic, acupuncture, therapeutic ultrasound, and other modalities can encourage healing and promote circulation, used in the wrong situation they can hurt a horse, she says. “I’ve had clients with a horse that has a tendon injury, and they will ask me about ultrasound. I typically suggest they wait six weeks to allow the injury to heal first,” Fenger explains. Especially in years past, some veterinarians were suspicious of what once were called “alternative” therapies, doubting their efficacy. Lockman acknowledges that some modalities, such as acupuncture, are not rooted in Western medicine and are considered by some a bit “touchy-feely,” as she puts it, with research limited and often based on outcomes in human medical studies. To complicate matters, study results can be conflicting, making it difficult to determine which therapies really work and which are questionable. But times have changed: According to Fenger, most vets nowadays are willing to discuss complementary

therapies—when they are included in the decision-making process. Steiner likes for the therapies she uses to be evidence-based. She says she looks at the science behind a modality and discusses it with her veterinarian before beginning any therapy. She also talks with other riders and trainers, to learn about their experiences with various methods. Finally, she discusses the horse’s issues and hoped-for outcomes with the therapist before any treatment begins.

Popular Options We asked our experts to share their insights into the modalities they’ve found useful—as well as their advice on sorting through which may be most effective before you write the check. Some of the most common modalities fall into the category of body work, which MedicineNet. com defines as “any of a number of therapeutic or simply relaxing practices that involve the manipulation, massage, or regimented movement of body parts. Body work may be used as an adjunct to medical treatment, or it may be prescribed as a form of physical therapy for certain conditions.”

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WELL ADJUSTED: Veterinarian and equine chiropractor Dr. Patricia Blakeslee of Unionville Equine Associates, Oxford, Pennsylvania, at work

It’s important to keep in mind that many equine body workers are not veterinarians and therefore are neither trained nor permitted to diagnose lameness or disease. Licensing requirements vary dramatically from one state to the next. Choosing a therapist who is experienced and who has invested in training and continuing education is important. A good one, experts say, is able to “read” a horse’s physical and mental state as they work with his body, similar to the way that experienced riders can often discern discomfort or pain in their mounts through feel. “I really want to know the actual therapist. I think that is the key as to who is doing the work,” Steiner says. In the case of dressage horses, body work most frequently refers to massage, chiropractic care, or acupuncture. “Acupuncture and chiropractic work brilliantly for horses in heavy performance schedules,” says Fenger. “The frequency of treatment should depend on the intensity of the horse’s training and competition routines.” Massage. “Massage and body work are great indicators to me as to how to proceed in my work program,” Steiner says. “I know how my horse feels from the saddle, but any extra information I can get from our body worker gives me additional information—if I’m pushing too much, or if my horse is comfortable in the work we’re doing.” Chiropractic. Chiropractors focus on the musculoskeletal system, with the aim of facilitating spinal and joint health. Practitioners use specific, controlled force on a joint to restore proper function and mobility. “What I really like about chiropractic care,” says Fenger, “is that the person checks every joint in the horse’s body for mobility and, if


there is an abnormality, adjusts it. Then they examine the horse again, adjust, examine, adjust, et cetera. “I’ll recommend chiropractic care once or twice a season for weekend competitors and recreational show horses because their routine not as demanding as upper-level performance horses,” Fenger continues. “Upper-level and Grand Prix horses are working much harder, and so I often suggest chiropractic care every four to six weeks for them.” Acupuncture. In this staple of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a veterinary acupuncturist inserts very fine needles to stimulate certain points on the horse’s body, with the goal of alleviating pain or helping to treat a variety of conditions. TCM practitioners believe that the needling enhances the flow of energy (Qi) along pathways, called meridians, thereby restoring health and balance. In horses, acupuncture is used to address issues ranging from performance problems to allergies and chronic colic. (A related therapy, acupressure, is the needleless method of stimulating acupuncture points through touch.) Acupuncture treatments are more likely to be scheduled as needed instead of administered at regular intervals, Fenger says. “I’ve found acupuncture works for some horses but not all of them,” Lockman says. “Some show signs of improved movement under saddle, while others don’t show signs of benefiting.” Machine-based therapies. Magnetic blankets, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF), ultrasound, cold-laser therapy, solariums, and the like all purport to stimulate circulation and therefore encourage cell recovery. Devices can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

PINCUSHION? No, it’s the croup of a horse receiving acupuncture treatment

GOOD VIBRATIONS: A horse receiving pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF)

Before you buy or rent the latest and greatest, check with your veterinarian, Fenger advises. “Therapists can make claims that may not be supportable,” she says. “It’s important to include your veterinarian in the discussion when it comes to any of these modalities.” Shock-wave therapy is one method that Fenger has recommended to clients. Formally known as extracorporeal shock-wave therapy (ESWT), this modality utilizes high-intensity sound waves that recruit stem cells to

a region to improve blood circulation in an area, she explains. Some horses find the machine’s jackhammer-like noise unsettling, but most get over it after one or two treatments, Fenger says. However, when she’s using ESWT to treat splints or a condition close to the bone, she usually sedates the horse as a precaution. ESWT “can also provide a brief [48-hour] pain-relieving effect, too,” says Fenger—which is why US Equestrian forbids its administration within three days prior to

USDF CONNECTION | July/August 2019


competition, with certain narrow exceptions. “I like to use shock-wave therapy on horses with back pain, kissing spines, compartmental syndrome, and high-suspensory issues.” Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) is another modality commonly used in performance horses, and one that’s backed with science, according to Fenger, who says that she’s encouraged interested clients to try it in “do no harm” situations. Magna Wave is one widely known product that delivers PEMF treatments. “I really love the Magna Wave therapy,” says Steiner, who says she’s

Cost-EFFective Therapies for Every Stable When we think of equine therapies, we tend to assume that trained practitioners and special equipment (and the associated costs) are involved. Lockman takes a broader view of the category, saying that two of her

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favorite options are within the reach of every equestrian. The first is good old-fashioned cold therapy. “My vet and I are big believers in icing,” says Lockman, “and it’s something I can do myself. All of my horses are iced daily.” Lockman ices horses’ legs for 20 to 30 minutes after the conclusion of every workout. She’s tried some pricey cold-therapy machines but finds herself returning to simple ice boots, which are available from numerous sources at reasonable price points. Cold therapy might be oldschool, but it remains a cornerstone of human sports-training programs—most athletes are familiar with the RICE protocol of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Evaluation—and equine veterinarians generally give it the thumbs-up, as well, for uses ranging from reducing inflammation in a laminitic horse’s feet to post-workout cold therapy. Applying ice can be as simple as standing your horse in a large, clean muck bucket or tub filled with half water, half ice. For do-it-yourself ice boots, fill clean IV bags with ice and secure them around your horse’s legs. Lockman’s second go-to—and it’s completely free!—is walking. “Motion is lotion” is a motto Lockman takes seriously. The simple act of walking creates a natural lubrication that prepares muscles and tendons for exercise. As Lockman points out, professional human athletes don’t start a high-intensity workout without first warming up. “Our horses need that same opportunity to loosen up before working hard,” she says. The horses in her stable walk for 20 minutes before their morning rides. Then they are turned out all day and are handwalked in the afternoon. [


ICE, ICE, BABY: Low-tech but effective, icing is a mainstay in many dressage trainers’ regimens. Boots made to fit lower legs (top), hocks (above), and other body parts contain refreezable inserts for no-mess ease of use.

noticed “a real difference in my horse’s suppleness and well-being” after its use. Some trainers like laser therapy and red-light therapy, which are delivered through special blankets and solariums. Red-light therapy is reported to loosen muscles and calm the horse. Lockman, for one, is a fan. “I have found the horses respond to the laser by coming out more relaxed, supple, and ready to work,” she says. “I think it helps promote healing by increasing circulation and can aid in muscle recovery.” Despite the anecdotal evidence, the equine-veterinary community maintains that the benefits of laser and light therapy are up for debate. According to Fenger, studies have shown that the light emitted penetrates horses’ dark-pigmented skin only a few millimeters—not deep enough to produce substantial therapeutic benefit. Nevertheless, Lockman remains convinced that the modality produces results, and she and her health-care team have decided that light therapy has a place in her program. But some caveat emptor is still in order, says Fenger: “All these devices can be purchased, and the person can hang out a shingle and start offering services. There are some licensing organizations, which indicate a person has had some training, but it’s always good to have [the practitioner] talk with your veterinarian.”

Celebrating 30 years 1989-2019

Honoring the Past

Founder Lowell Boomer

Since it's inception, The Dressage Foundation has been led by visionaries of our sport. From Founder Lowell Boomer and the original Board Members, to those who have followed in their footsteps to guide the Foundation, we are thankful for their vision, ideals, and influence.

Through the generosity of many donors, over $200,000 is available each year through our grant programs. Help is available for instructors, judges, adult amateurs, youth, breeders, FEI riders, dressage clubs, and more.

Bob Tarr

Enjoying the Present

Donor Carol Lavell with Gifted

Looking to the Future

Terri Miller

Please make a gift today! www.dressagefoundation.org

MA Brackenridge

We invite you to join our donor family, so you can help create a stronger U.S. dressage community through educational opportunities. Help the sport you love!

Grant Recipient Sabine Schut-Kery

PARTNERS: Your horse will tell you which therapies he likes and dislikes, says dressage pro Betsy Steiner, pictured competing at the 2019 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival in Florida with Swiss W, a 2007 Wurttemberg mare (Sir Oldenburg – Arabesque, Andros) owned by H. Whitney Bailey

Let Your Horse Have a Say It’s up to you, your horse’s rider and caretaker, to work with his healthcare team to develop a program that works best for him. To that end, Steiner devotes considerable time to monitoring each horse and evaluating which therapies resonate—or don’t—with each individual. You may love getting a massage— or you may hate being touched by

a stranger. Similarly, your horse may take to one form of therapy and resent another modality. That’s why it’s important to recognize and respect his signs of acceptance or dislike, our experts say. For instance, says Lockman, “Most of my horses fall asleep when I put the PEMF blanket on them. They fall asleep and their lips hang down.” But “I have one Friesian who doesn’t like it, and she lets me know by putting her ears back.” As part of a well-thought-out addition to your horse’s management program, the right complementary therapy can even give you valuable input that can help guide your dressage training. Says Steiner: “Maybe your horse is stiff on one side. Your bodyworker can address his stiffness,

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and you can determine if the work has made any difference when you ride. The body work can determine the origin of the stiffness and give the rider more information as to how to move forward in the horse’s work.” Above all, Steiner advises, listen to your horse. The horse “will give me absolutely the best advice as to whether the therapy is making any kind of difference. And I keep listening to him to see if we need anything more or less.”

Katie Navarra is an award-winning writer based in upstate New York. A lifelong horse lover, she competes in ranch-horse events with her dun Quarter Horse mare.


“In the wild, horses cover a significant distance every day,” Lockman says. “Riding a horse for 30 to 40 minutes a day and then putting them back into a stall isn’t adequate for them. I believe giving them plenty of time to move goes a long way in keeping them sound and healthy.”

USDF DRESSAGE SEAT MEDAL SEMI-FINALS POSITION YOURSELF FOR SUCCESS For information on qualifying and locations, visit

www.usdf.org For rider divisions 13 and under, and 14 to 18.

Photo by Emma Miller


RESOURCE: Well-educated through the USDF L Education Program (pictured with L program faculty member Lois Yukins, at left) and the US Equestrian training and licensing process, American dressage judges can help competitors further their understanding of the sport

The Judge Is Your Ally Highly trained, dressage judges are valuable resources for competitors

t most dressage shows, communication between the competitor and the judge is limited to a perfunctory greeting and then a word of thanks after the test is complete. Many riders view the judge as more of an adversary than an ally. In this article, I hope to persuade you to change your view of the competitor-judge dynamic. Judges can be valuable resources in a rider’s dressage education. US Equestrian-licensed dressage judges have received extensive education, met stringent riding requirements, and been thoroughly assessed by instructors and examiners in their judge-training programs. In evaluating your performance, the judge brings not only experience and knowledge, but also objectivity. Regardless of whether a test is your personal best or something significantly less, the judge is obligated to deliver a neutral third-party evaluation. Since the judge has no personal or professional relationship with you (if one exists, you

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are not permitted to show under that judge), any bias should be minimized.

Overview of Judge Training Dressage judges in the US have received an extensive education and demonstrated their own riding skills long before they face a competitor. The USDF and US Equestrian have developed a judge-training program that has become a model for dressage-judge education and licensing worldwide. Here’s an overview of the process. The USDF L Education Program. Part 1 of the L program has educated countless enthusiasts—both prospective judges and nonparticipating auditors—about the fundamentals of evaluating dressage performance. Qualified Part 1 participants who wish to enter the first requirement of dressage-judge licensure continue to Part 2 of the L program, which concludes with a final exam.




The Collective Marks Explained Those who pass the exam are known as L graduates, and those who achieve sufficiently high exam scores graduate “with distinction.” Both L graduates and L graduates with distinction are frequently invited to judge at unrecognized dressage competitions (schooling shows), but only “with distinction” graduates may move on to the first step in the licensing process, the US Equestrian “r” (Registered) program. US Equestrian judge licensing. US Equestrian licenses national-level dressage judges in this country; at press time, the USDF is in the process of taking over the responsibilities of national-level judge education. Here is a quick look at the licensing requirements. For details, see the US Equestrian Licensed Officials Policies and Procedures on the US Equestrian website (usef.org). The applicant must be a member in good standing with both the USDF and US Equestrian. He or she must meet riding requirements in the form of scores earned at designated levels from four different judges at US Equestrianlicensed/USDF-recognized dressage competitions (freestyle scores do not apply): • “r” (Recorded): five scores of 65% or higher at Fourth Level or above • “R” (Registered): five scores of 65% or higher at Prix St. Georges or above • “S” (Senior): five scores of 60% at Intermediate A/B/II/Grand Prix/Grand Prix Special. Three of the five must be at the Grand Prix level. All licenses require a training program, completed within the two years prior to application; attendance at a national-level dressage-judges clinic during the two years of training (if none offered, within a year of the application for licensure); and extensive apprenticeships, as well as additional sitting/observation requirements. If a judge is working toward promotion from “r” or “R,” there are additional requirements: officiating at a minimum number of competitions and judging the highest test of the highest level of the current license held. Before applying for acceptance into a training program and a promotion, a judge must hold the current license for a minimum of two years. After meeting all licensing requirements and completing the mandatory training pro-


fter the test is complete, the judge awards five additional scores intended to sum up the key elements of the performance: for gaits, impulsion, submission, rider’s position and seat, and rider’s correct and effective use of aids. Here is what these scores, known as the collective marks, mean and how to learn from them. The collective mark for gaits reflects the purity (regularity) and expression (freedom) of the horse’s gaits. Regularity, which is the underpinning of all dressage training, refers to the footfalls of a particular gait stride. When regularity is lost, such as from lameness or a loss of rhythm (e.g., in a lateral walk or canter), it is a serious fault and will be reflected in a lowered gaits score. In the case of marked lameness, the judge has the discretion to eliminate the competitor. Freedom and expression are associated with the quality of a horse’s movement and its ability to move in a visually pleasing way. A horse’s mental, emotional, and physical state during the performance can affect both the regularity and the freedom of its gaits. A good rule of thumb to help understand the concepts of impulsion, submission, and rider is the following: Can the horse? Will the horse? Was the horse asked? Impulsion is the “physical capacity” of the horse. Impulsion is demonstrated by the suppleness, energy, and elasticity displayed as a result of balance and engagement. As the horse becomes better balanced for the level being shown, its ability to carry weight on its hindquarters increases. The carrying of weight on the hindquarters is produced in conjunction with lift in the forehand by the thoracic sling. This increased capacity of the hindquarters and resulting more uphill balance help to “free” the horse’s forehand and topline, thereby producing more elastic and swinging movement. Submission, which refers to the horse’s mental state, is expressed through willingness to participate with the rider’s requests. A relaxed and receptive horse accepts the aids and demonstrates a harmonious partnership with the rider. Rider’s position and seat refers to the rider’s form, which is based on the classical equitation position for many disciplines: aligned vertically through the ear, shoulder, hip, and heel when observed from the side. This score also takes into account the rider’s ability to accompany the movement of the horse while demonstrating an independent seat and hand. The second rider score, for correct and effective use of aids, addresses the rider’s functionality. This collective mark is more likely than the position score to be affected by the performance. Correctness refers to the standard of a particular aid or rider position for a transition or movement, while effectiveness is most influenced by the test quality. In general, the more effective the rider, the more successful the performance—although there are exceptions, such as in the case of a difficult horse being piloted tactfully and skillfully under challenging circumstances. In general, the higher the level being shown, the less lenient the judge is in scoring this collective mark if the test has persistent problems.

USDF CONNECTION | July/August 2019


grams and steps, the candidate must take a final examination consisting of a closed-book exam, an oral exam, and practical judging. On satisfactory completion, the candidate is presented to the US Equestrian Licensed Officials Committee for approval. The LOC is the authority and can choose to require additional apprenticeships, sitting/observation, or both if it feels that the candidate needs additional experience. Dressage-competition managers choose which judges they hire for their events. Each license has a range of levels the judge is authorized to adjudicate: • “r”: Introductory through Second Level • “R”: Introductory through Fourth Level • “S”: Introductory through Grand Prix.

The Invaluable Evaluation The judge’s evaluation will include a movement-by-movement assessment based on the standard for each exercise or movement performed. The standard in turn is rooted in the objectives and principles of dressage. The evaluation culminates with the collective marks, an encapsulation of what transpired throughout the entire performance in terms of gaits, impulsion, submission, and the rider (see “The Collective Marks Explained” on the previous page).

Yes, You Can Talk to the Judge As a competitor, you want to get the most out of your show experience. If you read your test sheet and feel that the judge’s feedback

How do you spend your time?




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does not adequately assist in your understanding, you have the right to request an audience with the judge by approaching the show’s technical delegate (TD) and asking him or her to arrange a meeting. TDs are required officials at all US Equestrian-licensed/USDFrecognized dressage competitions. One duty of the TD is to act as a mediator among show management, judges, competitors, and US Equestrian, as needed. Explain clearly to the TD what you would like to discuss with the judge during the requested meeting. The TD will approach the judge on your behalf and ask whether he or she is willing to meet with you; most judges are happy to speak with competitors if time allows. The meeting will include the TD, who may act as a moderator and witness. Do not feel intimidated by this process, as it is

strictly a formality. Any meeting will occur only after all your scheduled rides under that judge are complete. Dressage judges take their role in the sport seriously and are a fantastic source of information regarding your riding and training progress. Next time you have the chance to compete, consider asking to speak with the judge to review your test, to help improve your riding, training, and understanding of dressage.

Meet the Expert




lorida native Lisa El-Ramey began riding at the age of three and was introduced to dressage at 13 after years of showing her family’s Arabians saddle seat. After she earned a BS in zoology from the University of Florida, she embarked on a career in dressage. She is a USDF bronze, silver, and gold medalist; a USDF bronze and silver freestyle bar recipient; and a US Equestrian “S” dressage judge. She and her students have earned multiple Great American/USDF Regional Championship titles, US Equestrian and USDF Horse of the Year honors, and breed-division awards. She teaches and trains out of her Oak Hammock Farm in Loxahatchee, Florida.

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Reviews Summer Reading Contemplate, learn, or just enjoy these new books By Jennifer O. Bryant

The World of Dressage

Your Back in the Saddle

There’s the German school. The French school. The Spanish Riding School. Each, supporters say, is the One True Path to dressage success and enlightenment. Which path should a student of dressage take? All of them? One? None? The classically oriented, US-based trainer and author Paul Belasik (Riding Towards the Light) set out to find the answer. He details his globe-trotting travels and dressage discoveries in his latest book, Dressage for No Country (Trafalgar Square, 126 pp., horseandriderbooks.com). Belasik made pilgrimages to some of the world’s best-known dressage centers to see for himself, and to compare methods. Any reader who worships a certain “school” is in for some deflation, for Belasik calls ’em like he sees ’em, from Baucher’s harsh methods to a lack of hindquarter engagement in horses at Oliviera’s school in Portugal. He is also critical of today’s mainstream dressage scene, arguing that the current system of competition and judging may be inherently biased toward the warmblood breeds. Probably at least one of Belasik’s assertions will irritate you, but Dressage for No Country will also make you think.

Equestrians in all disciplines experience back pain related to their sport, whether it’s from poor equitation, riding injuries, or heaving saddles and bales of hay. Retired neurosurgeon and equestrian James Warson, MD, has revised and updated his popular guide to rider back health, The Rider’s Pain-Free Back (Trafalgar Square, 177 pp., horseandriderbooks.com). Warson explains why the human back is vulnerable to injury—and why most of us will suffer from back pain at some point in our lives. The Rider’s Pain-Free Back discusses common injuries and treatment options, the roles of management and fitness, proper lifting and mounting techniques to avoid injury, riding during pregnancy and after hip or knee replacement, and exercises and stretches. Read this book if you enjoy being in the saddle and want to stay there for as many years as you can.

Dressage as Backdrop for New Novel Author Catherine Ryan Hyde (best known for the book-turned-movie Pay It Forward) is an adult-amateur dressage rider, and it shows. Sarah, the 14-year-old girl at the center of Hyde’s recent novel Just After Midnight (Lake Union/Amazon Publishing, 370 pp., amazon.com), is a budding star rider from a troubled family. When Sarah’s father sells

58 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

her talented “heart horse,” Sarah and an older woman she befriends go in search of the mare. Along the way, they help each other reckon with their own personal demons. Although some of the details enter the realm of cliché—a teenaged girl, a stunning jet-black horse (named, of course, Midnight) that only wants to perform for the girl, not to mention a flawless piaffe and passage—Hyde knows how to spin an entertaining yarn, and dressage enthusiasts will enjoy seeing our sport spotlighted in Just After Midnight.

Which Leg Is Lame? In a fourlegged animal, it can be surprisingly difficult to answer that question. G. Robert Grisel, DVM, offers a comprehensive course in equine anatomy, biomechanics, gait analysis, and of course lameness detection in the somewhat deceptively titled Equine Lameness for the Layman (Trafalgar Square, 238 pp., horseandriderbooks.com). No broad-brush overview, Equine Lameness for the Layman is a veterinary text sweetened with helpful illustrations and such plainlanguage descriptions as “right front

non-weight-bearing lameness looks as if the horse is dragging a brick with the right front pastern.” If you’re the type who consults “Dr. Google” when you have the sniffles and come away convinced you have a rare disease, some of Grisel’s lists of possible lameness causes may provoke a flutter. Keep calm, read on, and consult your veterinarian for the best and most thorough approach to figuring out what’s wrong the next time your horse is not quite right.

his is your opportunity to view the dressage tests and learn what is new and what you, as a competitor, need to know! With narrations by international dressage riders, trainers, coaches, and judges, riders will demonstrate proper execution and some common faults in the riding of the latest tests, effective through November 30, 2022.

2019 US Dressage Tests I n t r o d u c t o r y

F o u r t h

L e v e l



ON THE LEVELS 7th Edition


ON THE LEVELS is a trademark of the United States Dresage Federation.

United States Dressage Federation, Inc. 4051 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511 Phone: (859) 971-2277 • Fax: (859) 971-7722 • www.usdf.org

L e v e l

©2018 United States Dressage Federation (USDF) and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited by law. Neither USDF nor USEF is responsible for any errors or omissions in the publication or for the use of its copyrighted material in an unauthorized manner.

F o u r t h

Filmed at Starr Vaughn Equestrian Center, CA, Valley View Farm, KY, and Meadowbrook Farm, Marlborough, CT. USDF and USEF would like to thank the demonstration riders and owners of the horses used, along with the support staff at each filming location. We would also like to thank the following contributors to this project: • FEI 5* Judge Janet Foy • FEI 4* Judges Lois Yukins, Mike Osinski, and William Warren • USEF ‘S’ and retired FEI 4* Judge Natalie Lamping • FEI 4* Judge and USDF Certified Instructor Sarah Geikie • USEF ‘R’ Judge and USDF Certified Instructor William McMullin • USDF FEI Level Certified Instructors Reese Koffler-Stanfield, Rachel Saavedra, and Volker Brommann • USDF Certified Instructor Heidi Chote

This magazine called the first edition of Dressage School: A Sourcebook of Movements and Tips “a great reference book for all levels,” and the same holds true for this revised edition (Trafalgar Square, 179 pp., horseandriderbooks.com). German equestrian journalist and Grand Prix-level rider Britta Schöffmann manages to explain—and this is no easy feat—the how and why of everything from walk-trot transitions and lengthenings to piaffe/passage and flying changes, each in about a page of text with a photo or diagram. Schöffmann covers what the movement should look like, its purpose as part of dressage training, the correct aids, common mistakes, and how it relates to the pyramid of training. Particularly fun are the photos showing horses and riders demonstrating the movements, from a young woman on a sturdy draft cross to Olympians Isabell Werth and Kristina BröringSprehe on two of their Big Tour horses.

I n t r o d u c t o r y


2019 US Dressage Tests

A Trusted Reference Gets an Update

Effective December 1, 2018 through November 30, 2022

On the Levels 2019 jacket.indd 1

1/7/2019 2:12:40 PM

2019 US Dressage Tests I n t r o d u c t o r y

F o u r t h

L e v e l

©2018 United States Dressage Federation (USDF) and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited by law. Neither USDF nor USEF is responsible for any errors or omissions in the publication or for the use of its copyrighted material in an unauthorized manner.

United States Dressage Federation, Inc. 4051 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511 Phone: (859) 971-2277 • Fax: (859) 971-7722 • www.usdf.org

2019 Test booklet cover.indd 2-3

Cover photo ©SusanJStickle

Effective December 1, 2018 through November 30, 2022

10/17/2018 2:33:43 PM

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Sneak Peek: New USDF Freestyle Tests

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Does That Foal Have FEI Potential? (p. 24)



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Sport-Horse Conditioning Tips from Dr. Hilary Clayton (p. 12)

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Air Your Views

USDF Connection welcomes letters to the editor. Please send your digital submission by e-mail to jbryant@ usdf.org. Please include your hometown, state, and daytime telephone number. We’ll publish letters as space allows; all submissions are subject to editing. Unsigned letters will not be considered, although writers may request that their names be withheld. All letters become the property of USDF.

Ask a Question

Do you have a dressage- or USDFrelated question? Send it to “FAQ” and you may get an expert response in a future issue of USDF Connection. Send your question, along with your full name, hometown, state, and daytime telephone number to editorial@usdf.org. Include “FAQ” in the subject line of your message.

Share Your Story...

…or your views on a topic pertaining to dressage or USDF in “My Dressage,” USDF Connection’s member-written “back page.” Share your dressage discoveries, “aha” moments, challenges, and oberservations. Short “guest editorial” essays are also considered. All “My Dressage” columns are the opinions of the writers and not necessarily those of the editors or USDF. Submissions accepted by e-mail only. Send submissions, along with your full name, hometown, state and daytime telephone number to jbryant@usdf.org, subject line should read “My Dressage.” Please be prepared to supply a clear color digital photograph of yourself if your piece is accepted. Simultaneous submissions will not be accepted.



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USDF CONNECTION | July/August 2019


My Dressage My Savior In the darkest hour following an untimely death, a horse helps to lift his rider’s grief


s a teen growing up on a farm, there were times when I just had to get away from my siblings and who knows what else. My horse gave me the freedom to escape whatever it was that was getting me down. Fifty years later, when I least expected it and needed it most, a horse would save me once again. I’d stopped riding before my wife, Lynne Flaherty, and I were married in 1988. It was Lynne who got me back on a horse. Lynne and I made our home in Washington

were diving in the cold waters near Washington’s Pacific Coast. That morning, the skipper had greeted us with the news that we were going to make a special dive because the conditions appeared perfect. The six of us dove into the flat, calm ocean. I saw Lynne framed by the sunlight hitting the surface of the water, 80 feet above us. It was the last time I saw her. One moment she was there, and the next she was gone. Something—we never determined what happened—had gone terribly wrong. Several weeks later, Lynne was declared dead. In the weeks and months that followed, I’d go to the barn. I’d bring my Pinto gelding, Enigma, out of his stall, brush him, saddle him, bridle him, and walk him to the arena, depressed and despondent. But then I’d swing my leg over “Iggy’s” HEALING POWER: The writer’s horse, Enigma, helped him get through back, and the the aftermath of his wife’s tragic death outside world would cease to state, where we enjoyed riding exist. For the next hour it was just my dressage and became experienced horse and me—no haunting image scuba divers. We had a wonderful of my wife in the water, no agonizlife together, but in August 2015 the ing over “What should I have done?” course of our lives changed in an After the ride ended, the image and instant. the heartache would return, but for With four friends, Lynne and I an hour there was peace.

64 July/August 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

Because I rode during the day, usually the only other person around was my trainer—our trainer—and we shared tears nearly every day. But then she’d say, “Peter, more inside leg” or “Peter, don’t let him do that!”, and there would be no more time for thoughts or tears. For a little while, it was just Iggy and me. Some days, my trainer and I would load the horses into the trailer and drive to a nearby housing development, where we’d ride the several miles of trail that circumnavigated the neighborhood. That hour of peace a day helped me to reenter the “normal world” slowly, gently, day by day, until I was able to relive the harrowing event without too many tears. Time does help heal the soul, but nothing helps heal the soul like an equine partner. So when you are down, even if it’s for just a day, go for a ride but keep it simple—just walk and feel your horse. If you’re angry, let it go for that hour and just feel. If you’re sad, allow the healing power of your equine partner to bring you joy, at least for a moment. Use that equine therapy to help you. It does work. Honest. Our horses are our partners, but sometimes they are more than that. They are our saviors. Thank you, Ig, for taking care of me.

Peter Rothschild, of Olympia, Washington, is the USDF Region 6 director. He is a USDF bronze and silver medalist and has earned the USDF bronze freestyle bar with his horse, Enigma. This September, he is getting remarried (to a non-rider).


By Peter Rothschild

OSPHOS® (clodronate injection) Bisphosphonate For use in horses only. Brief Summary (For Full Prescribing Information, see package insert) CAUTION: Federal (USA) law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. DESCRIPTION: Clodronate disodium is a non-amino, chlorocontaining bisphosphonate. Chemically, clodronate disodium is (dichloromethylene) diphosphonic acid disodium salt and is manufactured from the tetrahydrate form. INDICATION: For the control of clinical signs associated with navicular syndrome in horses. CONTRAINDICATIONS: Horses with hypersensitivity to clodronate disodium should not receive OSPHOS.

controls the clinical signs associated with

NAVICULAR SYNDROME Easily Administered via intramuscular injection

Well Tolerated* in clinical trials

Proven Efficacy* at 6 months post treatment

No Reconstitution Required

Learn more online

WARNINGS: Do not use in horses intended for human consumption. HUMAN WARNINGS: Not for human use. Keep this and all drugs out of the reach of children. Consult a physician in case of accidental human exposure. PRECAUTIONS: As a class, bisphosphonates may be associated with gastrointestinal and renal toxicity. Sensitivity to drug associated adverse reactions varies with the individual patient. Renal and gastrointestinal adverse reactions may be associated with plasma concentrations of the drug. Bisphosphonates are excreted by the kidney; therefore, conditions causing renal impairment may increase plasma bisphosphonate concentrations resulting in an increased risk for adverse reactions. Concurrent administration of other potentially nephrotoxic drugs should be approached with caution and renal function should be monitored. Use of bisphosphonates in patients with conditions or diseases affecting renal function is not recommended. Administration of bisphosphonates has been associated with abdominal pain (colic), discomfort, and agitation in horses. Clinical signs usually occur shortly after drug administration and may be associated with alterations in intestinal motility. In horses treated with OSPHOS these clinical signs usually began within 2 hours of treatment. Horses should be monitored for at least 2 hours following administration of OSPHOS. Bisphosphonates affect plasma concentrations of some minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, immediately post-treatment, with effects lasting up to several hours. Caution should be used when administering bisphosphonates to horses with conditions affecting mineral or electrolyte homeostasis (e.g. hyperkalemic periodic paralysis, hypocalcemia, etc.). The safe use of OSPHOS has not been evaluated in horses less than 4 years of age. The effect of bisphosphonates on the skeleton of growing horses has not been studied; however, bisphosphonates inhibit osteoclast activity which impacts bone turnover and may affect bone growth. Bisphosphonates should not be used in pregnant or lactating mares, or mares intended for breeding. The safe use of OSPHOS has not been evaluated in breeding horses or pregnant or lactating mares. Bisphosphonates are incorporated into the bone matrix, from where they are gradually released over periods of months to years. The extent of bisphosphonate incorporation into adult bone, and hence, the amount available for release back into the systemic circulation, is directly related to the total dose and duration of bisphosphonate use. Bisphosphonates have been shown to cause fetal developmental abnormalities in laboratory animals. The uptake of bisphosphonates into fetal bone may be greater than into maternal bone creating a possible risk for skeletal or other abnormalities in the fetus. Many drugs, including bisphosphonates, may be excreted in milk and may be absorbed by nursing animals. Increased bone fragility has been observed in animals treated with bisphosphonates at high doses or for long periods of time. Bisphosphonates inhibit bone resorption and decrease bone turnover which may lead to an inability to repair micro damage within the bone. In humans, atypical femur fractures have been reported in patients on long term bisphosphonate therapy; however, a causal relationship has not been established. ADVERSE REACTIONS: The most common adverse reactions reported in the field study were clinical signs of discomfort or nervousness, colic and/or pawing. Other signs reported were lip licking, yawning, head shaking, injection site swelling, and hives/pruritus.

www.dechra-us.com www.osphos.com

As with all drugs, side effects may occur. In field studies, the most common side effects reported were signs of discomfort or nervousness, colic, and/or pawing. OSPHOS should not be used in pregnant or lactating mares, or mares intended for breeding. Use of OSPHOS in patients with conditions affecting renal function or mineral or electrolyte homeostasis is not recommended. Refer to the prescribing information for complete details or visit www.dechra-us.com or call 866.933.2472.

CAUTION: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of licensed veterinarian. * Freedom of Information Summary, Original New Animal Drug Application, NADA 141-427, for OSPHOS. April 28, 2014. Dechra Veterinary Products US and the Dechra D logo are registered trademarks of Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC. © 2016 Dechra Ltd.

Distributed by: Dechra Veterinary Products 7015 College Boulevard, Suite 525 Overland Park, KS 66211 866-933-2472 © 2016 Dechra Ltd. OSPHOS is a registered trademark of Dechra Ltd. All rights reserved. NADA 141-427, Approved by FDA

my Horse This is


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