Page 1

special horse-health issue u s d f. o r g

June 2018

Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

Does Your Horse Have Allergies? New Research: Effects of Spurs and Whips (p. 16)

How the Basics Affect Your Scores (p. 22) Eat to Win: Nutrition for Riders

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In this Issue


Does Your Horse Have allergies?

He could actually be suffering from “hay fever”—or sensitivities to all sorts of other things. Here’s how to help him. By Katie Navarra


Eat to Win

Nutrition strategies for the busy dressage rider and competitor By Jennifer M. Miller

4 Inside USDF Your Voice in Governance By Lisa Gorretta

6 Ringside Achoo!

By Jennifer O. Bryant

16 horse-health connection Could Your Equipment Be Hurting Your Horse?

By Hilary Clayton, BVMS, PhD, Diplomate ACVSMR, MRCVS

22 the judge’s box Let’s Get Down to Basics

By Kathy Rowse

26 all-breeds connection Breed of the Month: Canadian Horse 42 usdf participating member delegate nominees


52 The Tail End Freestyle, Finally

By Laurie Ryan

In Every Issue

8 member connection 10 Heads UP 15 Sponsor Spotlight 48 Shop @ X 50 USDF Connection Submission Guidelines 50 Usdf OFFICE CONTACt DIRECTORY 51 Advertising Index on our cover Illustration by Jody Lynne Werner/Misfit Designs.

Volume 20, Number 1

USDF Connection

June 2018


inside usdf



Your Voice in Governance USDF’s delegates: valuable resources year-round

4 June 2018 • USDF Connection


Lisa Gorretta

18120 Snyder Road, Chagrin Falls, OH 44023 (216) 406-5475 • vicepresident@usdf.org

Margaret Freeman

sure that the delegates are aware of any concerns you may have, and of your opinions on topics or proposals that may come to a vote at the convention. Did you know that you can find the names and contact information of all current-year PM and GMO delegates on the USDF website? From the USDF home page (usdf.org), navigate to About, then Governance, then Nominations & Elections. Under the PM Delegate and GMO Delegate subheads you’ll find links to look up delegate listings. Log in with your USDF member number and password to view the listings. I’d also like to encourage all of our delegates to reach out to their constituents in advance of the USDF convention, to introduce themselves and to make themselves available as resources. When they agree to run for this position, delegates have a responsibility to become familiar with current events, proposed US Equestrian rule changes, and reports from not only their home regions but from the other eight, as well. Social media, regional websites, and GMO newsletters are all tools available to help you be informed and be in touch! USDF’s PM and GMO delegates work hard to represent their constituents. These volunteers travel on their own time and, in most cases, on their own dime to the convention to help make your voice heard in the democratic USDF governance process, and the USDF is grateful for their efforts and commitment. Help your delegates to shape the future of American dressage. Your delegates are resources. Use them! s

200 Aurora Lane, Tryon, NC 28782 (828) 859-6723 • secretary@usdf.org TREASURER


79 Jewett Street, Georgetown, MA 01833 (978) 360-6441 • treasurer@usdf.org



8246 Open Gate Road, Gordonsville, VA 22942 (540) 832-7611 • region1dir@usdf.org REGION 2 IL, IN, KY, MI, OH, WV, WI


330 North Mill Creek Road, Noblesville, IN 46062 (317) 773-4532 • region2dir@usdf.org 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


22750 County Road 37, Elbert, CO 80106 (303) 648-3164 • region5dir@usdf.org REGION 6 AK, ID, W. MT, OR, WA

Carolynn bunch

18430 111th Place SE, Snohomish, WA 98290 (360) 577-6201 • region6dir@usdf.org REGION 7 CA, HI, NV


31895 Nicolas Road, Temecula, CA 92591 (714) 514-5606 • region7dir@usdf.org REGION 8 CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VT


160 Woods Way Drive, Southbury, CT 06488 (203) 264-2148 • region8dir@usdf.org REGION 9 AR, LA, MS, OK, TX


18216 S. 397th East Avenue, Porter, OK 74454 (918) 640-1204 • region9dir@usdf.org


Sue Mandas

9508 Bridlewood Trail, Dayton, OH 45458 (937) 272-9068 •ald-activities@usdf.org ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL


PO Box 248, Dexter, MI 48130 (734) 426-2111 • ald-administrative@usdf.org Technical COUNCIL


6 Whitehaven Lane, Worcester, MA 01609 (508) 459-9209 • ald-technical@usdf.org

courtesy of lisa gorretta


421 Park Forest Way, Wellington, FL 33414 (937) 603-9134 • Fax: (740) 362-5539 president@usdf.org


By Lisa Gorretta, USDF Vice President

very year, around 100 delegates travel to the Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention, where in committee and regional meetings, and at the Board of Governors assembly, they represent the interests of their constituents—you. Each of USDF’s nine regions holds annual elections to select the delegates who will represent the USDF participating members (PMs) in those regions. A region is entitled to one delegate per 200 PMs, and one vote per 25 PMs. USDF’s group-member organizations (GMOs) also are represented in USDF’s governance structure. Each GMO is allotted one delegate per 200 group members (GMs), and one vote per 25 GMs. Delegates play a significant role in determining USDF’s future. They elect the president, regional directors, and other members of the USDF Executive Board—who in turn are responsible for working with our office staff to run, manage, and lead the organization. They vote on many significant measures, and they provide their stamp of approval on new program ideas that originate with USDF’s committees. The US Dressage Finals, which revolutionized nationalchampionship dressage competition for adult amateurs in particular, came into being as a result of a vote by USDF Board of Governors delegates. But delegates are not just a oncea-year resource. From the time PM delegates are elected in the summer (elections for the 2018 convention are being held this month), they represent the PMs in their region. I encourage all PMs to contact their delegates with opinions and concerns so that the delegates can more accurately represent their constituents’ interests at the USDF convention. Likewise, if you are a group member, find out who will be representing your GMO at convention and make


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.

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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.

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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



The Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation




6 June 2018 • USDF Connection

has always coughed once or twice when our work sessions begin, and he’s sensitive to bug bites and has been known to break out in hives at odd times. By the time Secret’s allergies were brought under control, a handful of other horses at our farm had also begun “allergy shots,” so on a bit of a whim I had Junior tested, too. When the results came back, I was gobsmacked. My sensitive boy tested positive for no fewer than 15 allergens, some as impossible to eradicate as dust, dandelion pollen, and gnat and horsefly bites. As you have probably guessed, Junior is now receiving allergy shots. We’ve changed his feed to eliminate soy, one of his food allergens, from his diet. A devoted consumer of carrots, Junior would be happy to know that those can continue because he’s not allergic. But it’s buh-bye, apples (there must be some clever inversion of the maxim about an apple a day, although I can’t think of one). No matter; the important thing is that Junior will, I hope, feel and look even better soon. And so I’ve learned yet another lesson about how profoundly our horses’ health affects their well-being and performance, in ways that we are continuing to discover. Wishing you a happy, healthy equine partner this summer season— and may the bugs not bite.

Jennifer O. Bryant, Editor @JenniferOBryant

Stephan Hienzsch 859/271-7887 • stephh1enz@usdf.org

——— Editorial——— EDITOR

Jennifer O. Bryant 610/344-0116 • jbryant@usdf.org CONTRIBUTING EDITOR


Melissa Creswick (CA) Margaret Freeman (NC) Lisa Gorretta (OH) Anne Gribbons (FL) Terry Wilson (CA)


Janine Malone Lisa Gorretta • Elisabeth Williams


Emily Koenig 859/271-7883 • ekoenig@usdf.org


Karl Lawrence 859/271-7881 • klawrence@usdf.org


Danielle Titland 720/300-2266 • dtitland@usdf.org USDF Connection is published ten times a year 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 © 2018 USDF. All rights reserved. Reproduction of articles requires permission from USDF. Other text may be reproduced with credit given to USDF Connection. 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.


As a fellow allergy sufferer, I feel my horse’s pain ’ve had seasonal allergies since my teens. I’m also wildly allergic to poison ivy, and many topical skincare products and cosmetics cause rashes and breakouts, so my family has learned not to give me gift baskets of bath products for Christmas. Yet despite all of this, it never occurred to me that horses could suffer from the same kinds of allergies as we do. I knew about “heaves,” or what’s now formally known as recurrent airway obstruction, but for some reason I never connected the dots and realized that horses can be allergic to anything and everything, from the grasses and trees around them to the foods they eat. Until Secret got diagnosed last summer, that is. Secret is a horse at the stable where I board. A “nontraditional” dressage horse, the Friesian-Arabian mare has attracted some attention for her success at the FEI levels—but a series of seemingly unrelated physical issues kept her from performing to her potential. Then Linda, Secret’s owner, had her mare tested for allergies, and the results were off the charts, as Linda recounts to freelance writer Katie Navarra in this month’s cover story, “Does Your Horse Have Allergies?” (page 28). Sweeping dietary and management changes ensued, as did ongoing immunotherapy. The difference in Secret has been dramatic. Watching this saga unfold, I knew I’d stumbled on an important topic. I hope that Secret’s case study, combined with the insights and advice from the equine-allergy experts Katie interviewed for our story, offer a possible way forward for other horse owners whose animals have been plagued with skin problems, respiratory issues, or other he’s-not-sick-orlame-but-he’s-not-quite-himself-ness. As it turns out, another one of those elusive cases was staring me in the face the entire time. Junior

usdf Connection



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member connection Cheers and Jeers Your Lilo Fore arusdf ConneCtion ticle was excellent Lilo Fore: A Trainer’s Trainer (“A Trainer’s Trainer,” April). I am writing to applaud Nancy Gorton’s write-up of the 2018 Adequan®/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference in Del Mar, CA (“Clinic: A Master’s Toolbox,” April). Seldom does one learn as much in a magazine clinic summary about method, technique, history, and philosophy as was presented in this very well-written, well-organized, sadly under-featured key article. The who, what, when, where, why, and how were consistently included, leaving no unanswered questions for the reader. Appropriate focus was placed on the whys and hows of Johann Hinnemann’s training methods, which he tended to modify and/or u s d f. o r g

April 2018

Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

The USDF Connection Interview Improve Your Horse with Tools from Dressage Master Johann Hinnemann (p. 16) Eco-Friendly Pest Control for Horses and Barns (p. 44)

Lebanon Junction, KY Permit # 559



Try One! A two week trial is free 2300 US Patented

8 June 2018 • USDF Connection

customize to suit each horse-andrider combination after he observed them at work. Nancy did a really nice job of writing succinct explanations as to why he chose his particular training paths to help reach successful outcomes for the demonstration riders and horses, who offered differing attributes and tendencies, which she also described well. Cheryl Erpelding’s photos were nicely composed and appropriately captioned to support Nancy’s excellent content. Again, great job! Lynn Vasil Freeland, WA I was insulted and appalled to read in your article profiling Lilo Fore the taking of our Lord and Savior’s name in vain. I have been a USDF member since the middle 1970s, a life member since 1992, and read USDF Connection cover to cover. I have always enjoyed your articles until now. I am also a Christian. USDF


Connection represents American dressage to the world and also me. Please, Lilo’s comment was not salty. It was profane and a misrepresentation. Mary Fowler Sharpsburg, GA



s the quip goes, reports of Harry Boldt’s death are greatly exaggerated. Due to an editing error, our April report on the 2018 Adequan®/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference contained a reference to “the late” German master. We are assured that Boldt is, in fact, alive and well and living in Australia. USDF Connection regrets the error.



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Heads Up

Your Dressage World This Month

World Cup Dressage Final

Werth, Graves Repeat 1-2 Finish in Paris


nly seven horse-rider combinations had captured more than one FEI World Cup Dressage Final title since the annual championship’s inception in 1986. But it was springtime in Paris for the 2017 victors, Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD: On April 14, they became the eighth duo to reclaim the title. The 2018 Final saw another repeat: a fierce battle between the gold and silver medalists. In Omaha, NE, last year, the USA’s Laura Graves and Verdades, Curt Maes’ and her 16-year-old KWPN gelding (Florett As x Goya), finished second to Werth and Weihegold OLD. In Paris, it looked as if the tables might turn when Graves earned a score of 81.413 percent in the Grand Prix, besting Werth’s 78.261.

NEW PERSONAL BEST: Laura Graves’ 89.082 percent in the Grand Prix Freestyle aboard Verdades was her career high score, giving her a second consecutive World Cup Dressage Final silver medal

But at the World Cup Dressage Final, the GP serves merely as a qualifier for the Grand Prix Freestyle, which determines the outcome. Riding second to last in the GP Freestyle, it looked as if Graves might have clinched the win when she earned a career high score of 89.082. Werth, however, showed that she hasn’t won ten Olympic medals, six World Equestrian Games medals, and 11 previous World Cup Dressage Final medals for nothing: In the final ride of the competition, the 48-year-old veteran fought off her challenger to earn the gold with a score of 90.657 percent aboard the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare (Don Schufro x Sandro Hit).

10 June 2018 • USDF Connection

Digital Edition Bonus Content

Watch highlights from Isabell Werth’s winning 2018 FEI World Cup Dressage Final freestyle aboard Weihegold OLD.


STILL THE CHAMPS: Germany’s Isabell Werth on Weihegold OLD won the FEI World Cup Dressage Final for the second consecutive year

“To have experience is an advantage if you use it in the right way,” Werth said afterward, “and I think we did that from yesterday to today. After a lot of years in the sport, you know how many things can happen, how things can change very quickly. It gives you the confidence to go in the ring and to try your best; you know what your horse can do, and you know what you can do. This was just a great day today.” The bronze medalist was Werth’s countrywoman Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, who earned a Freestyle score of 83.725 percent on the 17-year-old KWPN stallion Unee BB (Gribaldi x Dageraad). Also representing the USA in Paris were World Cup Dressage Final first-timers Shelly Francis on Danilo, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding (De Niro x Andiamo) owned by Patricia A. Stempel. With a Freestyle score of 74.189 percent, they finished twelfth in the field of 17.

financial aid


Dressage Instructors Receive Continuing-Education Grants


he Maryal and Charlie Barnett Continuing Education for Dressage Instructors Fund, administered by The Dressage Foundation (TDF), Lincoln, NE, has awarded grants to four individuals to attend the USDF Instructor/Trainer Program, TDF announced in March. Shannon Bossung, Harpers Ferry, WV; Carol

Cunefare, Durango, CO; Amanda Perkowski, Cream Ridge, NJ; and Krystal Wilt, Sand Lake, NY, each received a $1,000 grant. “It is important for instructors to continue their education for the betterment of our sport as a whole,” said TDF executive director Jenny Johnson. “The USDF Instructor/Trainer Program

has been beneficial for so many instructors, so we encourage others to apply for these grants in the future.” Instructors attending any portion of the Instructor/Trainer Program may use individual grants through this fund. Grants are awarded twice a year; the next deadline for applications is July 1.

In addition, five $1,000 grants are available to USDF group-member organizations (GMOs) that are hosting USDF Instructor/ Trainer Programs or general educational events for area instructors. Apply at least 90 days prior to the event. Learn more about TDF’s grants at DressageFoundation.org.

ALWAYS LEARNING: Instructor-grant recipients Bossung, Cunefare, Perkowski, and Wilt

Behind the scenes

Eva Peterson, Massage Therapist


ob title: Owner, Horsegate Massage, Bridgewater Corners, VT (evapetersonmassage.com) What I do: During the week, I have regular appointments at the barns. On the weekends, I try to be at horse shows for my clients who are competing. So if they need body work, I’m right there. I am also a human massage therapist, so I bring my massage table in the car. How I got started: In the 1970s, I was a groom at a racetrack for Standardbred racehorses. I actually got taught there by the grooms that had come up from Yonkers [Raceway in Yonkers, NY]. Right before their races, they would rub down the horses. They would give them massages. I asked them if they would teach me how to

do that. There was no formal program in the ’70s. People thought you were a little strange and a little weird to want to massage a horse. But the results spoke for themselves. Best thing about my job: Meeting people and horses that I absolutely adore. Worst thing about my job: I can’t really have a major, ongoing relationship because I’m always on the road. My horses: I don’t ride any more because I’m too busy with other riders and horses. But I have ridden for years. Tip: Watch your horse’s back. If you feel that your horse’s back is tight or stuck and he’s not working properly, get help. —Katherine Walcott

MAGIC TOUCH: Peterson and friend

USDF Connection

June 2018


Heads Up Philanthropy


Dressage4Kids Among Grant Recipients

he youth-focused organization Dressage4Kids, Bedford, NY, is among 12 nonprofits to receive grants from the USA Equestrian Trust, the Lexington, KY,based charity announced in April. Founded by US dressage Olympian Lendon Gray, Dressage4Kids received $4,000 to support its 2018 Weekend Equestrian Program, a two-day seminar held in January in Connecticut. Other 2017 grant recipients included the United States Sport Horse Breeders Association, which received $2,000 to fund an educational display booth; the Omaha (NE) Equestrian Foundation, which received $5,000 to fund workshops; and William Woods University (MO), which received $20,000 to support construction of its Center for Equine Medicine. Grants totaled more than $130,000, according to the press release. IRS-registered equine nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for USA Equestrian Trust grants. Learn more at trusthorses.org.

The Near Side

Your Dressage World This Month

world equestrian Games

US Dressage Short List Announced


n May 1, US Equestrian named the short-listed horses and riders for the Dutta Corp. US dressage team at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018. In alphabetical order, they are: Shelly Francis, Loxahatchee, FL, and Danilo, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Patricia Stempel Laura Graves, Geneva, FL, and Verdades, a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Curt Maes and the rider Ashley Holzer, New York, NY, and Havanna 145, an 11-year-old Hanoverian mare owned by Diane Fellows Olivia LaGoy-Weltz, Haymarket, VA, and Lonoir, a 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Mary Anne McPhail and the rider Adrienne Lyle, Ketchum, ID, and Salvino, an 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Betsy Juliano Kasey Perry-Glass, Wellington, FL, and Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 15-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Diane Perry Steffen Peters, San Diego, CA, and two mounts: Rosamunde, an 11-year-old Rheinlander mare; and Suppenkasper, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding, both owned by Four Winds Farm Sabine Schut-Kery, Thousand Oaks, CA, and Sanceo, a 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Alice Womble. The short-listed combinations are required to compete in a minimum of two designated observation events: Compiegne (France), May; Rotterdam (Netherlands), June; Leudelange (Luxembourg), July; and the mandatory outing, Aachen (Germany), July. The selectors, in consultation with the chef d’équipe and the team veterinarian, will name the four WEG team combinations no later than August 13, which is the closing date for the FEI “nominated entry.” The WEG (Tryon2018.com) begins September 11.

Sport-horse breeding


KWPN-NA to Require Testing

he Royal Dutch Warmblood Association of North America (KWPN-NA) has ramped up its position on testing for Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome (WFFS), from encouraging the testing of breeding stock (“Heads Up: Little-Known Genetic Disorder Shakes up Breeding World,” May) to requiring the testing of breeding stallions for WFFS. Based on its finding that three KWPN-approved stallions carry the WFFS gene (with many more stallions not yet tested), the KWPN in the Netherlands “is requiring testing for all active approved KWPN stallions of which offspring have been registered in the past five years, as well as any stallions that are currently participating in the performance test,” the KWPN-NA stated in a May 10 press release. Learn more at kwpn-na.org.

12 June 2018 • USDF Connection

Heads Up meet the instructor

usdf Bulletins

Reese Koffler-Stanfield Georgetown, KY

What you need to know this month


New Regional Championships Ownership Rule Effective for the 2018 Great American/USDF Regional Championships program year, a horse owner must have both a USDF participating or business membership and a US Equestrian membership (junior active, senior active, life, or recorded farm with active farm owner). If a horse has more than one owner, at least one owner must have both US Equestrian membership and USDF participating or business membership. For a business or farm to be the valid owner under this requirement, it must be listed as an owner of the horse with both US Equestrian and the USDF.

New L Education Program Website Stay up to date on the USDF L Education Program teachings with the new L program website. With access restricted to USDF members who are US Equestrian dressage judges, USDF L graduates, L graduates with distinction, L candidates, or L participants, the website contains all current L program material, including exclusive biomechanics, freestyle, and practice test videos. Access costs only $15 per year. Find the purchase link on the L Education Program page on the USDF website.

L Program Accepting Faculty Applications The USDF L Education Program is accepting applications for new faculty members. Applicants must meet the following requirements: • US Equestrian “S” dressage judge for two or more years • Experience teaching in a classroom or lecture environment • Willing to serve on the USDF L Education Program Committee and to assist in working toward the committee’s goals. Deadline for applications is November 15. For an application and more information, contact the USDF office.

Register for the Sport Horse Seminar Being held in conjunction with the USEF Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Judges Clinic, this year’s USDF Sport Horse Seminar will teach riders, breeders, owners, and trainers how conformation and movement can affect a horse’s competitive success, and how to evaluate dressage prospects. Combining classroom sessions and hands-on demonstrations with live horses, the seminar also serves as a prerequisite to becoming a USEF dressage sport-horse breeding (DSHB) judge. The seminar will be held August 5-6 at DG Bar Ranch, Hanford, CA. Registration is open to both participants and auditors through the USDF website.

Get Your Rider Awards It’s simple: After all award requirements are met, enter your USDF number, select your award, and enter payment information via the online USDF Rider Performance Awards application. To receive your award in the 2018 competition year, apply by September 30.

14 June 2018 • USDF Connection


eese Koffler-Stanfield holds a BS in agricultural economics and an MA in international commerce. She serves on the US Equestrian Para-Equestrian Sport Committee and the US Equestrian Dressage High Performance Rules Working Group. She is a USDF gold medalist, a USDF FEI-level certified instructor, and the head trainer at her Maplecrest Farm in Georgetown, KY. How I got started in dressage: I started in the hunter world at eight years old. I loved the flat work but always hated jumping. I saw my first dressage coach riding, and I was hooked! I wanted to become certified because: I started the process in 2003, and it has made me a better TOP CREDENTIALS: instructor, Koffler-Stanfield coach, and trainer. Two years ago, I decided to go through the FEI-level certification because I wanted to further improve my communication and theory skills. My horses: Jamaica and Goubergh’s Kasper were my international Grand Prix horses. I currently have several horses, including Town and Country Elancourt, Follow Me, and The Natural E. Tip: I think continuing education is important in every profession. The Dressage Foundation (dressagefoundation.org) offers grants to help certified instructors. Contact me: jrkoffler@aol.com or (859) 536-0636.

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Could Your Equipment Be Hurting Your Horse? New study shows how your choice of spurs and whips affects the risk of injuring your horse and getting eliminated By Hilary Clayton, BVMS, PhD, Diplomate ACVSMR, MRCVS


he rules governing equestrian sports are intended to create an equal playing field for all competitors, to ensure the safety of horses and riders, and to protect horses’ welfare. The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) is responsible

USE WITH CAUTION: Especially on the boots of an uneducated rider, spurs can do harm to the horse

for the rules for international competitions, while each nation’s sport governing body has its own rule book for national-level competitions. Here in the United States, US Equestrian is responsible for the national rule book (online at usef.org).


One of the difficulties in formulating rules for horse sports is that there is a lack of relevant information related to equine welfare during training and competition. The rules cover all aspects of competition, including approval or disapproval of tack and equipment. New items come on the market frequently, and the rules committee must assess whether there is any reason a specific item could be damaging or coercive to the horse. In most cases, there is little independent information on which to base a decision. In a study published recently in the Equine Veterinary Journal, FEI veterinarian Mette Uldahl and I released the results of a large-scale study recording the type of spurs, whips, bits, and nosebands used by riders in competitions sanctioned by the Danish Equestrian Federation. At the same time we recorded the presence of visible lesions on the horses’ bodies, then analyzed the data statistically to find associations between the presence of lesions and the use of specific items of tack. We gathered and analyzed data for four competitive disciplines (dressage, jumping, eventing, and endurance) at all levels of Danish national competition. The goals were to provide data describing what types of equipment were being used, how that equipment was adjusted, and whether specific items of tack or their adjustment were associated with visible injuries. The results provide information that will be useful in developing rules to safeguard horses’ welfare. This month, I’ll explain our findings on the first two items of equipment we studied: spurs and whips.

June 2018 • USDF Connection


Study Methodology The study involved examination of horses during Danish Equestrian Federation competitions. A group of experienced national technical delegates (TDs) underwent a special training program to become qualified as data collectors for the project. They were taught how to perform a standardized examination protocol to ensure that all horses were evaluated in exactly the same manner. This included using a multi-tool device with calipers on one end to measure spur length and a shaped probe at the other that slides under the noseband to measure its tightness. Evaluations took place at competitions in various areas throughout Denmark. The inspections were not announced in advance, as we did not want competitors to change their equipment. Under Danish competition rules, licensed TDs can request to examine a horse at any time during a competition, and riders who refuse are sanctioned. When horses were examined for our study, it was made clear to competitors that data were being recorded for research purposes only and that no penalties would be imposed based on the findings. The TDs who were appointed to work at the shows independent of the research project were fully informed about the data collections. Horses and riders were selected at random and were approached when they returned to the warm-up area after competing. Background information was recorded, including details of horse identification, discipline (dressage, jumping, eventing, or endurance), level of competition, and type (horse or pony). In the Danish system, there are eight competition levels. Level 0 competitions are lowlevel local competitions in which the majority of competitors are amateurs. Level 7 competitions are high-level national events with a degree of difficulty comparable to FEI competitions. A total of 3,143 horse/rider combinations were evaluated, with the number representing each sport


horse-health connection

Figure 1. Spur types recorded in the study and the frequency with which each type was used.

proportional to the number of horses registered in each discipline. The breakdown by disciplines was as follows: dressage, 1,383; jumping, 1,454; eventing, 113; and endurance, 193.

Spur Specifics The researchers recorded the presence or absence of spurs for each horse studied. When spurs were

P ed to rivate Sal throu a Friend o e: gh Jul f Dres y 1, 2 018 sage


present, its type was noted, and each spur was examined for the presence of hair, blood, or both. Both sides of the horse’s rib cage were examined, and the researcher noted whether the horse was clipped or unclipped, and whether its haircoat was worn in the region where the spurs contacted its sides. The presence of scarring, white hairs, lacerations, exudation (discharge), blood, or camouflage intended to hide existing lesions on the horse’s rib cage also were noted. Of the total sample, 2,420 of the 3,143 riders (77 percent) wore spurs. Eighty-eight percent (1,223) of the dressage riders wore spurs, as compared to 92 percent of the event riders, 74 percent of the jumper riders, and 8 percent of the endurance riders. The photographs in Figure 1 show the types of spurs that were used. The classic blunt spur was by far the most frequently used type, accounting for 61 percent of the total. Blunt, rounded spurs (18 percent) and smooth-roweled spurs (12 percent) were the sec-

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USDF Connection • June 2018


horse-health connection ond and third most popular, with the other types each accounting for less than 5 percent of the total. The photos show all the types of spurs that were recorded and how many competitors used each type as a percentage of the total. Our study also took note of the length of the spur shafts. Forty-four percent of the shafts were 2 cm long or less; 36 percent were 3 cm; 14 percent were 4 cm; and 2 percent were longer than 4 cm.

The Spur Study: Findings On visual inspection of each pair of spurs, if hair was adherent to either spur or if blood was present on either spur, it was recorded as a positive finding for hair or blood, respectively, for that horse/rider combination. Three percent of the horse/rider combinations had hair on the spurs. Blood was present on the spurs of 0.4 percent of the horse/rider combina-

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June 2018 • USDF Connection


tions. When blood was found, it was always associated with hair on the spur, so the presence of blood and hair were highly associated with each other. The presence of hair or blood on the spurs did not differ among the four equestrian disciplines. However, the type of spur, length of shank, and competition level were influential. Roller-ball wheel and hammer-style knob styles were significantly more likely than other types of spurs to show hair. The presence of blood, hair, or both was significantly associated with the use of spurs with longer shanks and with lower levels of competition. For every increase in competition level, the likelihood of finding hair on the spur decreased by 20 percent. Interestingly, the presence of hair and blood on the spur did not differ between clipped and unclipped horses.

Lesions Associated with Spur Use Our study found that 2.4 percent of horses had worn hair on their rib cages behind the girth, with no difference between right and left sides. The percentages were higher for dressage than for the other sports, with 4 percent of dressage horses and 3 percent of dressage ponies showing worn hair. The presence of worn hair was not associated with the use of any specific type of spur but was significantly associated with spur length: A 1-cm prolongation of the shank doubled the number of horses with worn hair. The number of horses with worn hair on the rib cage was significantly higher in the lower levels of competition. Not surprisingly, finding worn hair on the horse’s rib cage was associated with the presence of hair on the spur. From a total of 3,142 horses examined, the following numbers of horses showed specific spur-associated lesions: scars, 18; white hairs, 8; exudation, 6; lacerations, 6; blood, 6; and camouflage, 1.

Putting Findings into Practice Spurs are intended to facilitate the rider’s communication with the horse by giving a lighter and more delicate aid. Continuous or forceful use of spurs can cause hairs to be pulled out or broken off, resulting in worn or denuded areas on the horse’s sides, and may result in the development of skin abrasions or bleeding. The presence of hair or blood on the spurs, or the presence of worn patches or blood on a horse’s sides, is perceived as indicative of misuse of the spurs. Under the FEI rules for dressage, if a horse shows fresh blood anywhere on its body, or if the steward finds blood in the mouth or in the area of the spurs in the post-competition equipment check, it is cause for elimination. Based on the results of our study, riders can reduce the risk of falling afoul of the “blood rule” by avoiding hammer-knob and rollerball spurs and by using spurs with the shortest effective shank length. Some riders, particularly those competing at lower levels, may benefit from being educated about the correct use of spurs and how to determine the appropriate spur length for a specific horse/rider combination. Based on these findings, the sport governing bodies might also consider introducing rules to limit the use of spurs, the length of the spur shank, or both in lower-level competitions. One caveat: Because our study did not include pre-competition evaluations, we cannot infer a causal relationship between the equipment that was used and the presence of lesions. However, the presence of hair on spurs is likely related to the current competitive performance, and the presence of fresh blood is indicative of recent trauma sufficient to cause a new lesion or to irritate an existing lesion.

Whip-Related Lesions As part of the study, the data collectors recorded whether or not riders carried whips. If a whip was carried, USDF Connection • June 2018



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There are many styles of spurs to choose from. In our study, the only types that were shown to be more likely to result in injury were the roller-ball wheel and the hammerstyle knob. Longer spurs are more likely to injure the horse, so choose the shortest length that is appropriate for your needs. (The maximum spur length permitted in most US Equestrian dressage competition is 5.08 cm, or two inches, including rowels.) And because spur-related injuries occur more frequently at the lower levels, riders and their instructors should take extra care to ensure that the rider has developed a sufficiently educated leg before wearing spurs. Evidence of misuse of the whip

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Advice for Riders, Instructors, and TDs

was uncommon in our study. However, because dressage horses were most often affected, TDs should remain vigilant to ensure that riders are using the whip appropriately in the competition setting. s


r. Hilary Clayton is the professor and Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair emerita. She was the original holder of the Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, East Lansing, from 1997 to 2014. At the same time, she was a professor in MSU’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences. A world-renowned expert on equine biomechanics and conditioning, Dr. Clayton is president of Sport Horse Science, LC, which is dedicated to translating research data into practical advice for riders, trainers, and veterinarians through lectures, articles, and private consultations. A USDF gold, silver, and bronze medalist, she is a longtime USDF Connection contributing editor and a past member of the US Equestrian Federation’s Dressage Committee.

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they noted the type of whip (jumping whip, 100-cm dressage whip, 120-cm dressage whip, other). The skin of the horses’ shoulders, flanks, and hindquarters was examined for the presence of swelling, lesions, or blood that appeared to be related to whip use. Skin swellings were found in seven horses (five dressage horses and two jumpers). Skin lesions were recorded in three horses (two dressage horses and one jumper). Blood was present in a single horse. In addition, camouflage had been applied to the skin of one horse, with the apparent intent of hiding a whipassociated lesion. The whip is used to encourage the horse to increase its speed, to increase its activity, or to move in a certain direction. It is a potentially powerful and stressful tool, however, and should not be used for punishment. The low frequency of whip lesions across all sports suggests that abuse of the whip is not prevalent in the disciplines studied. However, the fact that five out of seven whipassociated lesions involved dressage horses indicates a need for continued vigilance.

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Let’s Get Down to Basics How the basics affect your dressage scores By Kathy Rowse


ressage judges are taught to use a scoring methodology so that they apply the same scale to every competitor, from Olympic medalists to pigtailed Pony Clubbers. Using this methodology enables a judge to give consistent scores, to place each class in the right order, and to apply a standard from which every competitor is measured fairly.

the basics are the fundamentals of dressage training and the most important factor in every score the judge gives. In this article, I’ll explain what the basics are, how they affect the scores you receive in dressage competition, and how to assess your performance to identify those basics that might need a little extra attention in your daily training.

WELL-HONED BASICS: Even accomplished Grand Prix-level pairs like Danilo (De Niro x Andiamo) and rider Shelly Francis (pictured at the 2015 Succeed/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference) spend most of their time on the basics. Methodical training pays off in a straight, expressive flying change.

Dressage-judging methodology is based on a formula. The judge uses this formula in determining the score for every movement on the test sheet: Basics + Criteria +/- Modifiers = Final score You’ll notice that basics are listed first in this equation. That’s because


Basics Are Basic In dressage, what we call the basics are the elements of the pyramid of training or “training scale”: rhythm, relaxation, connection, impulsion, straightness, and collection (see illustration on the opposite page). These

June 2018 • USDF Connection


elements are the first thing judges assess when formulating scores. In fact, the basics influence the majority of the score, both directly and indirectly. Without highly developed basics, it is difficult to successfully demonstrate the criteria of a movement (the specifics of how a movement is supposed to be performed). What’s more, if your horse lacks solid basics, you will probably have more negative modifiers (other nonspecific factors that affect the score, such as a spook, a stumble, or how well you ride your corners) than positive ones in your tests. The basics affect the purity and quality of the gaits and paces, as well as the horse’s gymnastic ability and physique. They also contribute to his willingness to be a happy partner with you, his rider. Good basics enable him to perform increasingly difficult elements with increasing ease. The importance of the basics is why all dressage riders should be familiar with the pyramid of training, as it is our key to understanding and developing the basics. Even at the top of our sport, the most successful riders spend the majority of their daily work on perfecting the basics, not on flashy movements like passage and piaffe. When you admire a gifted and successful Grand Prix horse, know that that horse and its rider and trainer have devoted countless hours to the details of the basic building blocks of dressage training.

The Basics and the Test Directives Let’s look at some of the US Equestrian dressage test sheets to see how much the basics are mentioned in the directive ideas. In almost every movement at every level, the first directive idea is the regularity and quality of the gait (walk, trot, or canter). As you’ll recall, the fundamental element of the pyramid of training is rhythm (a four-beat walk, two-beat trot, and three-beat


the judge’s box

ticity, cadence, scope, ground cover, and advanced balance. Quality can be summed up as the “wow factor” that gives you goose bumps when you watch the horse move. Yes, Mother Nature plays a role in determining the quality of a horse’s gaits; but the basics of the pyramid of training should enhance these attributes in any horse. A naturally talented horse can easily lose its quality through incorrect training or restrictive riding. To improve the quality of your horse’s

gaits, you may have to focus on your own skills or work on the impulsion or the suppleness of the topline. Now let’s take a look at the basics needed to ride several key movements and figures that appear frequently in the dressage tests through the levels. Basics in the “stretchy circle.” The trot stretchy circle is an important movement at both Training and First Levels. The criteria for the stretchy circle are “forward and downward stretch on a light contact.” In order to


usdf illustration


canter). If the regularity of a gait is compromised, then immediately the base score for that movement will be lowered, frequently to “insufficient.” The primary goal of dressage training is to preserve and enhance the gaits, and therefore a loss of rhythm is a serious degradation of the basics. Conversely, correct rhythm usually constitutes a base starting score of at least a 5, and often better. Here’s an example of how a problem with the basics can permeate the scores in a dressage test. Let’s say your horse loses the clear four-beat rhythm in the walk. At Training Level, the walk accounts for roughly 30 percent of the overall score. But that’s not all. Not only will the loss of rhythm be reflected in each walk-movement box on the test sheet; it will also bring down the collective mark for gaits, and possibly also the collectives for submission, rider’s effectiveness and use of the aids, or both. The takeaway: Think about how much you could improve your scores by spending 20 minutes a day on the walk and transitions within the walk! You’ll recall that the first directive idea on the test sheet is “regularity and quality” of the gaits. You might be surprised to learn that even quality— which might seem innate and therefore unchangeable—can be affected by the basics of the pyramid of training. Quality dressage horses show elas-

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USDF Connection • June 2018


the judge’s box

THE STRETCHING TEST: The “stretchy circle” in trot, a movement in the Training and First Level tests, is an excellent test of the basics at all levels. Karen Pavicic rides Beaujolais (Bordeaux x Londonderry) in a stretchy circle at the 2017 Adequan®/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference.

perform a good stretchy circle, your horse needs the following basics: • Correct and consistent tempo • Ability to use his back and to stretch over his topline • Acceptance of the contact and willingness to reach for the bit • Correct bend • Good balance relative to the level being shown. If you have all of these basics, then the forward and downward stretch on a light contact is easily accomplished. Basics in the 20-meter circle. Riding a 20-meter circle of the correct size and shape requires a dizzying array of basics. If the feedback from the judge is “too large” or “oval shape,” ask yourself what the reason was. Did your horse fall into the inside aids or against the outside aids? Could he bend in the correct manner? How was the tempo? Use of the topline? Connection to the bridle? As with the stretchy circle, if you have all of the ingredients, then correct execution of the figure is relatively simple.


Basics in transitions. The phrase “willing, calm transitions” is in every directive that involves a transition between gaits or paces. A horse that has achieved a high degree of relaxation, suppleness, attentiveness to the aids, and the appropriate balance will show fluid and seamless transitions. We’ve all experienced that not-sonice feeling of an abrupt downward transition. Why did it become abrupt? Again, look to possible problems with the basics: Was your horse heavy on the forehand? Did he lose impulsion? Did he lose the supple connection to the contact? Was he inattentive to the aids? The abrupt transition will improve when you focus on the basic or combination of basics that were the weak link. Basics in changes of direction. Changing from one rein to the other may sound elementary but actually is a test of many basics. Doing it well requires suppleness of the topline, tempo, straightness, supple bending both ways, straightness, and balance during the change of bend, to name a few.


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June 2018 • USDF Connection


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The Basics Are All Connected Look again at the illustration of the pyramid of training. Each level of the pyramid is connected to the next because all six levels are interrelated. They are all codependent on one another. In other words, a deficiency in one step is likely to affect at least one other step— and probably several other steps. Luckily, improving one basic will usually improve some of the others. Identify your horse’s weakest link (get input from a knowledgeable professional if you’re not sure what it is), and be determined to work on the details necessary to strengthen that basic. ImPodcast Alert


If your horse never bends well to one side, then you’ll need to improve this suppleness basic before you can change smoothly from one direction to the other. If his tempo is consistently quicker in one direction, it’s going to haunt you every time you change direction. Basics in flying changes. Judges frequently see problematic late flying changes. I have seen riders practicing late changes over and over with no improvement, and in a test the score for a late change will always be 4 or less. If you are having trouble with the changes, then your training time would be better spent going back to the basics of straightness (alignment and even connection to the bit), self-carriage, and throughness—not only in the change but also before and after, in counter-canter, and in the simple changes. Only by perfecting the basic elements will you be able to produce a consistently clean flying change that can score 7 or higher.

Check out podcast 124 for an insight from a USEF “S” judge and why symmetry is important at usdf.podbean.com.

provement happens over time, but the smart rider works at it methodically every day. The result is not just higher scores but a greater feeling of working in partnership with your horse. s USDF L program faculty member Kathy Rowse is a US Equestrian “S” dressage judge and a USDF bronze, silver, and gold medalist. With her husband, Mike, she owns and operates Silverleaf Farm in Suffolk, VA.

in the next issue

• Annual youth issue

• NAYC champions: Where are they now? • New research: Effects of bits and nosebands • Estate planning for horse owners

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USDF Connection • June 2018


all-breeds connection

Endangered breed is both historically significant and a rare gem


he Canadian Horse or Cheval Canadien is truly a French Canadian. This old and rare breed got its start in the 17th century, when Louis XIV of France sent horses bred at the French national stud in Le Pin-au-Haras to the French colony in Canada. Over the next 200 years, the herd became a genetically distinct breed.

CANADIAN PRIDE: Canadream Kelbeck YouAndMe, owned and ridden by Eliza Puttkamer-Banks, has competed through Second Level and is an All-Breeds awards winner in Materiale and at Training and First Level dressage


Today the Canadian Horse is classified as critically endangered by both the Livestock Conservancy and the Equus Survival Trust. With its colorful history—including its aristocratic origins and, exported to the US, the role it played in helping the Union prevail in the American Civil War—and its many attributes, not to mention its affordability, the breed deserves to be not only preserved but better known. The Canadian Horse is incredibly versatile and is known for its intelligence, athleticism, stamina, and soundness. It has an alert and energetic temperament without being nervous, and Canadians are known for their “in your pocket” personalities. Most individuals stand between fourteen and sixteen hands, and they come in all colors but are rarely gray. The Canadian Horse’s movement is free and vigorous with abundant action, and the breed shows the scopey, fluid movement and suspension desired in a sport horse. Powerful hindquarters and free shoulder movement provide the athleticism and grace needed for upper-level dressage, yet the breed’s levelheadedness makes the Canadian an excellent mount for youth riders and adult amateurs. Canadian Horses you might know: Leonidas Van Pelt, owned by Alison Otter and trained by Jenn Boblett, has competed through the Prix St. Georges level. Saguenay Eve Yukon Jospatriote, owned and trained by Kimberly Beldham, has competed through Fourth Level—and now is enjoying a career in mounted archery! The Canadian Horse Breeders Association: The CHBA has been working since 1895 to preserve and

June 2018 • USDF Connection

improve the Canadian Horse. The association’s purpose and objectives are to register individual animals belonging to the Canadian Horse breed, to promote and maintain breed standards, and to provide services to breeders of the Canadian Horse consistent with the ongoing improvement of the breed. The CHBA considers owners of Canadian Horses to be caretakers of an important part of both Canadian and American history. By showing this rare breed, riders are helping to promote an endangered breed that needs saving. All-Breeds awards offered: Top two placings in the Open awards category. How to participate: The horse owner must be a current CHBA member, and the horse must be registered with the CHBA. Learn more: lechevalcanadien. com. s

A Celebration of Breeds


he “All-Breeds Connection” column spotlights a USDF All-Breeds awards program participating organization and the breed it represents. Information and photos are furnished by the registries. The USDF does not endorse or promote any breed or registry over another. The USDF All-Breeds awards program is designed to reward the accomplishments of specific breeds in dressage, with recognition offered at the USDF Salute Gala & Annual Awards Banquet, and in the annual yearbook issue of USDF Connection. For eligibility requirements and a list of current participating organizations, visit usdf.org / Awards / All-Breeds.


Breed of the Month: Canadian Horse


American Connemara Pony Society *American Dutch Harness Horse Association American Hackney Horse Society American Haflinger Registry American Hanoverian Society American Holsteiner Horse Association American Morgan Horse Association American Mule Association American Mustang & Burro Association American Paint Horse Association American Quarter Horse Association American Rhineland Studbook American Saddlebred Registry American Shire Horse Association American Trakehner Association American Warmblood Registry American Warmblood Society and Sporthorse Registry Appaloosa Horse Club Arabian Horse Association Belgian Warmblood Breeding Association Canadian Hanoverian Society Canadian Horse Breeders Association Canadian Sport Horse Association Canadian Warmblood Horse Breeders Association Cleveland Bay Horse Society of North America Curly Sporthorse International Draft Cross Breeders & Owners Association Fell Pony Society of North America The Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse Friesian Heritage Horse & Sporthorse International Friesian Horse Association of North America Friesian Horse Society Friesian Sport Horse Registry Friesian Sporthorse Association

*German Sport Horse Association Gypsy Cob & Drum Horse Association Gypsy Horse Registry of America Gypsy Vanner Horse Society Hungarian Horse Association of America International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association International Drum Horse Association International Friesian Show Horse Association International Georgian Grande Horse Registry International Rescue Horse Registry International Sporthorse Registry/Oldenburg NA Irish Draught Horse Society of North America Knabstrupperforeningen for Danmark KWPN of North America New Forest Pony Society of North America North American Danish Warmblood Association North American Shagya Arabian Society North American Thoroughbred Society NorthAmerican Sportpony Registry Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry Oldenburg Horse Breeders Society NA Division of GOV *Percheron Horse Association of America Performance Horse Registry Performance Shagya-Arabian Registry Pinto Horse Association of America Rheinland Pfalz-Saar International Spanish-Norman Horse Registry Swedish Warmblood Association of North America United States Lipizzan Federation United States P.R.E. Association Welsh Pony & Cob Society of America Weser-Em Ponies & Small Horses *Westfalen NA *Denotes a new Participating Organization for 2018.

A complete listing of the AdequanÂŽ/USDF All-Breeds Awards Participating Organizations, program rules, and award standings are available on the USDF website at www.usdf.org. For questions e-mail allbreeds@usdf.org.

2018 All-Breeds Participating Organizations

These organizations, in partnership with USDF, promote and recognize a high standard of accomplishment within their breed, through their participation in the AdequanÂŽ/USDF All-Breeds Awards Program.

Does Your Horse Have Allergies? He could actually be suffering from “hay fever”—or sensitivities to all sorts of other things. Here’s how to help him.

EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY MISERY: Horses, like humans, can suffer from allergies

28 June 2018 • USDF Connection


By Katie Navarra



h, spring: flowers, lush greenery…and misery for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. If you yourself aren’t plagued by itchy eyes, sneezing, or other symptoms of allergic rhinitis (“hay fever”), chances are you know someone who is. The range of human allergies is well-documented, and horse owners are beginning to discover that our equine friends can suffer from allergies, as well—and that uncontrolled symptoms can have detrimental effects on performance. Adult-amateur dressage rider Linda Butz, Strafford, PA, had noticed a few oddities about her Friesian/Arabian-cross mare, BR Dannys Secret, in the 11 years since she bought “Secret” from her breeder in Wisconsin. Every summer, the mare’s reactions to insect bites were more extreme than those of other horses. And although Secret rested happily in her straw bedding at home, she never lay down when stabled overnight at shows, on the usual bedding of bagged pine shavings. At first, Butz says, acupuncture sessions seemed to help calm the insect-bite reactions. But as each season passed Secret’s sensitivity increased, to the point that the mare was driven so mad by itching that she practically tore out her mane and rubbed the dock of her tail bald. To make matters worse, the mare began having adverse reactions to the rhino/flu vaccine—which in most cases is required for attending US Equestrian-licensed/USDF-recognized dressage competitions. First, Butz says, she noticed minor swelling at the injection site, which was quelled by another acupuncture treatment and doses of the allergy-relief medication Zyrtec. At the same time, despite careful management, ample turnout, and a carefully designed diet, Secret developed a persistent case of gastric ulcers and seemed destined to remain on the equine ulcer medication Ulcergard for the rest of her life. To top off the list of frustrating issues, although Secret had progressed in dressage and was showing successfully at the FEI levels with Butz’s trainer, Glenmoore, PA,-based dressage pro Angelia Bean, both trainer and owner thought the mare’s performance wasn’t quite what she was capable of. The lightbulb finally went on in 2017, after Secret reacted so severely to a rhino/flu vaccine that Bean suggested that Butz get the mare tested for allergies. The results were shocking. Secret was allergic to nearly everything in a typical barn environment—pine trees (thus her reluctance to lie on shavings at shows), dust, even the alfalfa hay she was being fed in hopes that it would calm her ulcers. “I don’t have allergies,” Butz says, “so I didn’t think about them” as a possible cause of the mare’s woes. “I felt so bad, like we were poisoning her.”

PICTURE OF HEALTH: Her allergies finally under control, the Friesian/Arabian mare BR Dannys Secret gleamed at the horse inspection at the CDI Devon (PA) 2017

Allergies: The Immune System Gone Wild We want our bodies and our horses’ to fight off disease and infections. When the immune system detects the presence of bacteria, viruses, or other foreign matter, it mounts a response to destroy the invading cells. But sometimes the immune response becomes overenthusiastic, treating foods, dust, pollen, or other innocuous substances as threats to be overwhelmed. The resulting abnormal response is what’s known as an allergic reaction. Allergies in horses can be as problematic as they are for human allergy sufferers. In horses, the most common allergy symptoms are hives and itchiness from insect bites and sensitivity to shampoos or detergents. Coughing can be a sign of allergies, as can swelling at an injection site. Every little bump from a bug bite or passing cough isn’t necessarily a sign of capital-A allergies. But as in Secret’s case, when clinical symptoms affect a horse’s quality of life and ability to perform, it’s time to involve a veterinarian and to discuss the possibility of allergies.

How Common Are Equine Allergies? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other organizations have documented that allergies in humans—from food allergies to rhinitis—are on the rise. The epidemiology USDF Connection

June 2018


of equine allergies has not yet been studied, says Rosanna Marsella, DVM, professor of veterinary dermatology at the University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville. But she, for one, believes that allergies are becoming more common in horses and dogs. Why this is the case isn’t fully understood yet, says Marsella, but she like many other researchers believes that the “hygiene theory”—the belief that overzealous use of antibacterial agents and insistence on “sanitized” environments hampers a body’s ability to develop normal immune responses to everyday environmental pathogens—may be partially to blame. “Before lifestyle changes that prioritized cleanliness,” Marsella says, “the body was busy fighting internal parasites and bacteria. A healthy exposure to dirt and beneficial bacteria can actually educate the immune system to be more tolerant rather than reactive.” Food allergies in herbivores, including horses, are rare, says Laura Petroski, BVMS, a staff veterinarian at the equinenutrition research company and manufacturer Kentucky Equine Research (KER), Versailles, KY. Environmental allergies, she says, are more common in herbivore species. “It has been documented well in humans, cats, and dogs that these species experience a combination of allergies trigged by insects, food, drugs, and the environment,” Petroski says. “Perhaps in horses being fed more commercial diets, we may start to recognize a similar trend.” Citing the results of a 2006 study, “Equine Dermatology,” by veterinarians Anthony A. Yu and Stephen D. White (AAEP Proceedings, Vol. 52), Petroski notes that horses have been known to show adverse reactions to barley, beet pulp, bran, buckwheat, chicory, clover, lucerne, malt, oats, potatoes, St. John’s wort, wheat, and feed additives; but that the primary food-related equine allergies are associated with alfalfa, wheat, corn, and soy. Another culprit can be peanut hay, an alfalfa alternative fed mainly in the South, which Marsella says is extremely allergenic and frequently causes hives. “Things that are high in protein are more allergenic than others,” she explains.

Allergies Are All over the Map Apart from food sensitivities, most allergy triggers are environmental—substances that cause an immune response when they’re inhaled or when they contact the skin or are injected, as in the case of bee stings, insect bites, or vaccines. Your horse’s environment consists of a unique combination of plants, molds, and insects, combined with the

30 June 2018 • USDF Connection

local climate. If he happens to be allergic to one or more things that commonly exist in the air he breathes or take a bite out of him on a summer’s day, he may show symptoms. Geography plays a macro role in allergies, as well. “This is one reason that warmbloods bred and raised in Europe or in northern climates struggle to adapt when they are sold and relocated to southern states,” says Marsella. “They are not equipped to handle the pollen and insect pressure in these environments.” Petroski compares the phenomenon to her own experience. A native of northern Illinois, she has lived in Kentucky for two years, during which time her seasonal allergies have flared up. Unfortunately for Petroski, the aptly named Bluegrass State has prolific amounts of tree, grass, and weed pollens as well as of mold spores. That’s why some hay-fever sufferers find relief in drier climes. “The environment and climate in Kentucky are very favorable in exacerbating these allergies,” Petroski says. “Arizona and New Mexico have arid landscapes with little vegetation, so allergy symptoms are not as common or severe in areas like these.” In addition, research has shown that certain breeds of horses are predisposed to allergies. The University of California – Davis study “Equine Atopic Skin Disease and Response to Allergen-Specific Immunotherapy” (Stepnik, Outerbridge, White, & Kass, 2011) found that Dutch Warmbloods, Morgans, Swedish Warmbloods, Oldenburgs, Hackney horses, Paso Finos, Polish Arabians, and Arabian/Saddlebred crosses were overrepresented. “This suggests that allergies are a heritable disease,” Petroski says of the findings. Some horses’ resistance to allergies (or lack thereof ) may literally be skin-deep. Marsella was the lead author on a study that found ultrastructural (uber-microscopic) abnormalities in the skin of people and animals with allergies (“First Case Report of Ultrastructural Cutaneous Abnormalities in Equine Atopic Dermatitis,” Research in Veterinary Science, June 2014). Although the skin’s surface may appear smooth, it is packed with millions of epithelial cells, which are cells that line the surfaces of the body. In healthy skin, fats called ceramides fill the spaces between the cells and offer protection against foreign substances, including allergens. But in some horses, the skin structure is not as tightly organized. “This means that even though the skin looks OK, ultrastructurally it’s not,” Marsella explains, “and that may create predisposition to increased absorption of pollen and development of allergies, even though the horse doesn’t have clinical symptoms yet.”

Diagnosing Allergies

of Florida is a teaching hospital, “We subsidize the cost so we can show students how effective [IDT] is,” Marsella says. Marsella recommends testing for allergies if a horse’s sympAccording to our experts, the blood test and IDT aren’t toms are prolonged. There are currently two types of diagnosinterchangeable. For one, “many times the results of the skin tics: a blood-serum test and intradermal allergy testing (IDT). and blood test don’t correlate in findings because they are Butz’s veterinarian opted for the first method, sending a testing for different things,” Marsella says. Secret’s lab test sample of Secret’s blood to a laboratory that measured the screened for “high positive,” “low positive,” or negative allermare’s levels of allergen-specific immunoglobulin E, which gic reactions to pollens (12 types of grasses, 12 weeds, and is an antibody that is strongly linked to the body’s allergy 15 tree species), foods (12 commonly ingested substances, response. including carrots and apples), inhalants (10 types of mold If you or someone you know has undergone allergy testplus nine assorted airborne substances, from “house dust” ing, then you may be familiar with the second method, IDT, to hair and dander from cats, dogs, humans, and even horswhich involves injecting minute quantities of potential ales), and seven types of biting insects. IDT, by comparison, lergens under the skin and measuring the tissue’s inflamtests for 60 potential allergens, says Marsella. matory response. Equine IDT testing is typically performed To complicate matters, blood testing may not be an under sedation, says Petroski. ironclad way of determining allergies because “blood test“An area to be used as a testing site—typically the neck— ing has a significant percentage of false positives,” according is shaved free of hair, and allergens are injected intraderto Marsella. In other words, a normal horse may test posimally in a grid pattern. Skin-test reactions are assessed after tive for one or more substances yet may never show clinical fifteen minutes, after four hours, and sometimes at twentysigns of hypersensitivities. four hours after inoculation.” There is one category of allergen, however, for which IDT The complex nature of IDT testing means that many is not the gold standard. In cases of suspected food allergies, equine veterinarians refer clients to specialists or to university IDT is not as useful in pinpointing the culprit because some veterinary thead.qxp_Layout procedure. Because the7:51 University 01 Charlottehospitals USDF 1.5for page 1 2/19/18 PM Page 1allergy symptoms may be triggered by more than one aller-

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USDF Connection

June 2018


gen, Petroski says. She recommends a food-elimination diet (which we’ll discuss in more detail in a minute) as the best method of identifying which foodstuffs are problematic.

Controlling Allergies Horses with allergies—and their performance in the dressage arena—don’t have to suffer. A combination of management changes and allergy treatments can significantly improve a horse’s quality of life. And a horse that feels better tends to do better in its work. Although it’s not always possible to expunge an allergen from a horse’s environment, avoidance—or at least reducing exposure—is the simplest solution. Butz now totes bales of straw to shows instead of buying bagged shavings for the pine-allergic Secret. Likewise, turnout is the ticket for a horse with allergies to inhaled “indoor” substances, such as dust and molds, says Petroski. “Changing the location of your horse may greatly improve clinical signs,” Petroski continues. If this isn’t possible, she encourages owners to follow researchers Yu and White’s recommendations, which include switching to bedding made of shredded cardboard or newspaper, or simply lining stall floors with thick, well-cushioned rubber mats. Such steps “can significantly reduce a horse’s exposure to airborne dust particles, which is especially important for recurrent airway obstruction [‘heaves’] cases,” she says.

32 June 2018 • USDF Connection


IMMUNOTHERAPY: When a horse is allergic to items that can’t be eradicated from its environment, a course of “allergy shots” may offer the best hope for lasting relief from symptoms

Soaking hay in water before feeding is a long-standing method of reducing dust. The use of hay steamers has become a popular alternative for some horse owners—although Marsella points out that, although steaming is helpful if the allergens are dust, molds, or bacteria in the hay, it won’t do any good if the horse has a food allergy to the hay itself. If your horse is hypersensitive to insect bites, job one is to make his environment as pest-free as possible. Use fans in stalls and grooming areas. Keep stalls clean, and manage manure appropriately to curb insect populations. Consider keeping your horse stabled during times of high insect activity. When he goes out, use fly masks, fly sheets, and repellents as appropriate to help protect him. (Learn about eco-friendly pest-control methods in “Working with Nature to Control Nature,” April.) Environmental or contact-dermatitis allergies may be calmed with the aid of various topical creams and sprays. Shampoos and topical steroids are products shown to have positive effects on the clinical signs associated with allergies. “Bathing helps quiet the skin and remove topical irritants, and it encourages owners to look over their horses to monitor the resolution or worsening of clinical signs,” says Petroski, who favors using cool water for additional skin calming. If your horse is suspected of having a food allergy, then the trick will be figuring out which foods are his triggers. Petroski adheres to the protocol of taking the horse off all supplements and drugs, then feeding one of his regular food items. Reintroduce additional food items gradually, one at a time. If the horse is allergic to a reintroduced food item, he will show clinical signs—typically hives or skin bumps— within 24 to 72 hours, she says. “New diets should be introduced gradually if possible,” Petroski says. “Veterinary supervision should be utilized at the beginning of and during a dietary trial, not only to ensure horse health and safety but to confirm that the trial is being conducted correctly.” Based on the results of her mare’s allergy testing, Butz reevaluated Secret’s diet. She stopped feeding alfalfa and double-checked the ingredients lists of the supplements she uses. Secret is currently thriving on a diet of soaked timothy cubes, oats, a ration balancer, and flax, Butz says. In some cases, management changes alone aren’t enough to control allergies. Immunotherapy (“allergy shots”) is extremely effective in treating respiratory allergies, says Marsella. She’s treated horses that started off needing bronchodilators and steroids, and “six months after immunotherapy, they are off all the other drugs completely.” “Compared to a life of steroids, which bring the risk of founder, we think the cost [of allergy testing and treatment] is effective,” Marsella adds.

One horse owner who’s been pleased with the results is Butz, who for the past nine months has been giving Secret allergy shots. The mare’s course of immunotherapy started out as every-other-day injections and has since tapered to monthly shots. Butz says that the shots are “relatively easy and inexpensive, especially compared to other types of injections.” The combination of allergy treatments and dietary changes has changed Secret’s life significantly. Within the first six weeks, Butz reports, her mare’s mane, tail, and haircoat were looking better, and over time she was able to wean her off ulcer medication altogether. Best of all, she says, Secret’s performance has improved. “Sometimes I ride with [local FEI 4* dressage judge] Jeanne McDonald,” Butz says, “and she’s commented on the difference in Secret since we discovered that she has allergies.” Systemic corticosteroids, which can be administered orally or via injection or inhaler, help immensely. However, because of possible adverse effects associated with longterm corticosteroid use (it’s thought to increase the risk of laminitis), Petroski discourages owners from utilizing this treatment modality for anything but flare-ups. “Injectable forms [of systemic corticosteroids] are typically dexamethasone. Inhaled forms are typically beclomethasone or fluticasone,” says Petroski. “Dexamethasone

is ‘legal’ to be given therapeutically, but owners must be aware of consequences resulting from giving the drug too closely to a competition. Owners must educate themselves about the US Equestrian rules regarding corticosteroid use before choosing to include the drug in a treatment plan.”

A Team Effort Hives, itching, hair loss, coughing—if your horse persistently displays these or other signs of possible allergies, talk to your veterinarian. Note when symptoms are most prevalent, whether it’s seasonal, after eating, after being stall-bound for a while, after the application of a topical product, and so on. Your veterinarian can guide you in evaluating symptoms and, if warranted, in getting your horse tested for allergies and formulating the best approach to controlling the clinical signs. Allergy symptoms may mimic those of other ailments, so don’t self-diagnose or treat your horse without consulting your vet. “The investment in the testing and treatment, and the change in Secret’s diet, have been worth it,” says Butz. “She’s more comfortable, and hopefully it will extend her life and career.” s 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.

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Eat to Win Nutrition strategies for the busy dressage rider and competitor By Jennifer M. Miller

34 June 2018 • USDF Connection


EQUESTRIAN-ATHLETE FUEL: Feed your body right for peak performance

USDF Connection


June 2018



e scrutinize every aspect of our horses’ nutrition: how and what they eat, how much they drink or don’t, which supplements they need for optimum health and performance. Meanwhile, we rush from work to the barn or from riding horses to teaching lessons, grabbing whatever sustenance is handy. Early mornings, late nights, and hectic days make eating healthfully a challenge for many dressage enthusiasts. The problem can be even worse at horse shows, where erratic schedules and show nerves can make it hard to eat at all, much less eat well. But it is doable. We talked with nutrition experts—themselves experienced equestrians—who have developed ways to keep riders well-fueled on the go. We also got tips from USDF members, both a dressage professional and an adult amateur.

Healthy Life Hacks

36 June 2018 • USDF Connection

AN APPLE A DAY: Good for both rider (dressage pro Laura Fay) and horse (Laurie, a four-year-old Hanoverian mare by Liberty Gold)

Planning ahead is critical in keeping Madelyn Bricken’s hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) under control. Bricken, an FEI-level adult-amateur rider and a USDF bronze and silver medalist from Boerne, TX, says, “I’ll stick a small variety of snacks into my purse so I’m never without something. If you’re bouncing from the office to the barn, plan on having food with you.” (She blogs about “nosh and fitness,” among other topics, at TheBlondeAndTheBay.com.)

Long Days, Little Time “Start each day with breakfast to help give you energy and prevent you from overeating,” Gavi advises. “A quick and healthy breakfast is plain yogurt topped with frozen fruit, nuts, seeds, and/or oats. Overnight Oats are also a great option.” (Overnight Oats is a popular no-cook oatmeal recipe from the Food Network. Find it in “Steal This Recipe” on the opposite page.) Fay, also a fan of breakfast, favors a quick, light meal of cottage cheese and fruit or a skinny bagel with light cream cheese. Eating well can be a challenge for dressage pros who spend most of the day at the barn, Gavi acknowledges, but try not to skip meals and choose whole foods (foods processed or refined as little as possible, and free of additives or other artificial substances) when you can. If you don’t have time to sit, grab a snack and refuel between rides and chores.


Start by realizing that healthful eating, like dressage, is a journey. Take the long view. “Ditch the diet mentality, and don’t aim for perfection,” advises Los Angeles-based Registered Dietician Nutritionist and amateur hunter/jumper rider Natalie Gavi, MS, RDN, whose Gavi Equestrian offers services including customized nutrition counseling and meal plans for riders. “It’s not the one time you eat a cheeseburger that will trigger a heart attack, but years of poor eating.” Strive for balance and healthful eating over time, Gavi says. Small changes add up. Put one more fruit or vegetable on your plate each day. Make at least half of your grains whole. Eat more plant-based proteins. All of these will help you to feel more satisfied, with fewer cravings. At a show bombarded with junk food? Try not to dwell. “Consistency is the key,” says Leah Nelson. “If you build good habits, you can make good decisions when you’re crunched for time. Tweak your habits until you meet your nutritional goals.” A dressage pro who operates Sweet Water Equestrian at Spring Hill Farm, Duluth, MN, Nelson is a USDF bronze, silver, and gold medalist and a USDF-certified instructor through Second Level who holds a BS in food and nutrition. If you develop a dietary regimen that works for you, you’ll have one less thing to think about on busy days and you’ll routinely reach for healthful choices, says USDF bronze and silver medalist Laura Fay, who owns and operates Aering Green Equestrian Center in Schodack, NY. “I often have multiple lessons or rides, so I try to eat the same foods that give me energy but are easy to consume in the short time between horses and riders.”

Here again, a little forethought pays off. “Making hasty decisions at the gas station on the way to the barn does not set you up to make great choices, so plan ahead,” says Nelson, who advises developing a list of nutritious, filling snacks and then always keeping them on hand. Do you ride after school or work? Assemble a selection of portable snacks. “I like to keep individual nut-butter packets with me that I can squeeze onto my apple (good for you and your horse!), prepackaged trail mix, and low- or no-sugar granola bars,” says Gavi. (For Gavi’s complete list of go-to quick eats, see “Best Portable Snacks and Quick Meals for Busy Riders” on page 38.) After long days at work and at the barn, preparing elaborate dinners is probably not tops on your list. Fay uses meal kits that she puts together ahead of time, often with salad as a base; she adds veggies and shrimp for a wholesome, easy evening meal. Gavi’s quick-dinner suggestions: scrambled eggs with pre-sliced veggies; low-sodium soups; rotisserie-chicken meat on a sandwich or in a salad; canned-salmon salad or tuna-salad sandwiches; and precooked black beans heated with brown rice, paired with a prewashed salad mix tossed with oil, lemon, and vinegar. Getting home late leaves Bricken little motivation to cook dinner. She will stop at a fast-food restaurant for a grilled chicken sandwich, and at home she’ll pair it with a bag of mixed microwaveable vegetables. (“I’m getting my fast-food fix, but instead of french fries I’m opting for a cauliflower medley.”)

Performance Nutrition: What to Eat Before, During, and After You Ride Before: Focus on carbohydrates with a little protein for a steady release of energy, says Gavi. Carbs get broken down into glucose and stored as glycogen—your body’s fuel source. Thirty minutes to one hour before you get on, eat a 100-to-150 calorie snack, Gavi advises; wash it down with eight to 20 ounces of water or other liquid, Nelson adds. If you find that you experience gastrointestinal distress when you ride, Gavi suggests avoiding eating insoluble fiber (examples are fruit with the skin, raw vegetables, and whole wheat) before you saddle up. Bricken, who rides in the morning, opts for gluten-free toast with almond butter and fresh blueberries: “It’s light enough that I won’t feel sick when I’m riding, but filling enough to ward off pesky hunger.” During: Hydrate. Gavi suggests downing one bottle of water per one-hour ride. If it’s hot or you work for more than an hour, consider keeping one bottle of water on hand plus a sports drink to help replenish lost electrolytes. (See more hydration recommendations and get a do-ityourself sports-drink recipe in “Leah Nelson’s Hydration Tips” on page 40.)

Steal This Recipe Overnight Oats From the Food Network (foodnetwork.com)


1/3 to ½ cup liquid, such as dairy milk or almond, cashew, or coconut milk 1/3 to ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats 1/3 to ½ cup yogurt (optional) 1 tsp chia seeds (optional but recommended) ½ banana, mashed (optional)

Add ingredients to a jar or container and stir. Refrigerate overnight or for at least five hours. The mixture will keep for up to two days (up to four days if no banana used). In the morning, add additional liquid if desired. Top with your choice of fruit, nuts, nut butter, seeds, protein powder, granola, coconut, spices, citrus zest, or vanilla extract.

USDF Connection

June 2018


After: If you can, eat a complete meal that includes complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. If a full meal is not an option, eat a portable snack that contains protein and carbs to help replace nutrients lost during your ride, says Gavi. And drink more water, adds Nelson, who likes to complete the refueling process by having a small, unprocessed snack within 30 minutes of a ride.

Pre-Show Meal Strategizing With the whirlwind of activity involved in getting ready for a dressage show, thinking about what and where you’re going to eat may seem like one more chore you don’t have time for. Nutrition experts say that would be a mistake. “The best thing you can do is plan ahead,” says Nelson. “You wouldn’t bring your horse somewhere and just plan to feed him whatever you find along the way. There are two athletes to take care of, so plan for yourself as well as for your horse.” Start by packing “nonperishable, healthy snacks,” says Gavi, “and if you can bring a cooler, add peanut butter and jelly or turkey or hummus with veggies on a whole-wheat wrap.” Research food and dining options before you leave home, Gavi advises. What grocery stores and restaurants are located near the competition venue? What kinds of food options will be available on the show grounds? With the advent of food-delivery services such as Uber Eats (ubereats.

38 June 2018 • USDF Connection

Best Portable Snacks and Quick Meals for Busy Riders


hen you need quality, low-fuss energy, try these snacks and simple meal items as recommended by equestrian and nutrition expert Natalie Gavi, MS, RDN. Snacks Trail mix with nuts Seeds and dried fruits Fruit leather (recipe, p. 39) Granola bar with minimal or no added sugar Smoothie with protein powder Pre-sliced vegetables with hummus Apple or banana dipped in peanut, almond, or sunflower-seed butter Single-serving container of Greek yogurt with nuts and berries Hard-boiled eggs (prepare at home), string cheese, apple sauce, and whole wheat crackers. Quick bites PB&J (or peanut butter and banana) sandwich Turkey (or another grilled lean meat) in a wholewheat wrap.


ENERGIZED: Adult-amateur rider Madelyn Bricken and her Dutch Riding Horse-cross mare, Ulfilia DG (by Wolfgang)

com) and the Texas-based Favor (favordelivery.com), more and better meal choices can come to your (stall) door, even if you’re too busy at the show to get off the grounds to eat, Bricken points out. If you’ll be eating out, Gavi and Nelson agree that baked or grilled options are best bets. Ask for any dressings on the side, and include fruits and vegetables with your meals. If a horse show isn’t a horse show without french fries, order the smallest portion size—and try to eat the healthful stuff first, Gavi says. Competitors at “away” shows requiring overnight stays generally choose between hotels and house or room rentals. In the mornings at a restaurant or a hotel’s breakfast buffet, go for fruit with cereal (preferably whole-grain), add a veggie to eggs, or make toast with whole-grain bread, Gavi recommends; and make sure you’re well hydrated before you head to the show grounds. When they show, Fay and her clients prefer to rent a house so that they have access to a kitchen. Having a kitchen also allows picky eaters or those with special dietary needs to fix exactly what they want. When she shows, Bricken is realistic about meals. “Horse shows are not the weekend to diet. A salad and a plate of vegetables will not give you energy, especially if you

ride a physically demanding horse at the FEI levels.” She says she aims to balance comfort foods and treats with solid nutrition. “I’m not going to pass up chips and queso, but I’ll order beef and vegetable fajitas with a side of rice.” At least one meal each day contains a protein, a carb, and a vegetable, she says, for more balanced nutrition.

Fuel Your Performance: Show-Day Nutrition “A lot of riders experience show nerves, which makes them reluctant to eat while competing,” says Nelson, who recommends that competitors with a case of the butterflies “try to drink your nutrition with fruit and protein smoothies.” [

Steal This Recipe Fruit Leather From the Food Network (foodnetwork.com) Mix 1/3 cup no-sugar-added fruit preserves with 1 tsp cornstarch. Spread into a 2” x 12” strip on greased parchment. Bake 45 minutes at 225° F. Cool; then trim the parchment and roll up.

THIS IS NOT A MEAL: For lasting energy to fuel your dressage 1 5/16/18 4:30:41 PM food

USDF-Connection-July-Aug2018-20180515OL.pdf performance, steer clear of junk


2018 USDF Arts Contest 2 Divisions Art and Photography 3 Age Groups 15 and under, 16 to 21, and Adult



The grand prize winning entry will be used as the cover art for the USDF Member Guide.

www.usdf.org (awards/other awards)

Fit is Everything.

for complete contest rules and entry form

USDF Connection

June 2018


processed foods. All will produce a quick burst of energy and then you’ll crash, she says. Instead, choose whole fruits and vegetables mixed with quality proteins (such as eggs, cheese, and nuts) for lasting energy. Don’t forget to drink! Many competitors experience headaches, irritability, “brain fog,” fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramps, or side stitches at shows. Riders tend to attribute these symptoms to stress and show nerves, but they actually are signs of dehydration, according to Nelson. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink because by then you’re already dehydrated, Gavi adds. When she goes to one-day shows, Fay fills a container with a spigot with water, ice, and fruit—a quick and handy way for her students to grab a refreshing drink before and after their tests. After you’re done riding, replace nutrients and help your tired muscles recover by noshing on a combination of carbs, protein, and “good” fat, preferably of the whole-foods variety, Gavi suggests.

Leah Nelson’s Hydration Tips

Find the Foods That Work for You


he recommended water intake over the course of a normal day is two liters for women and three liters for men—more if you’re exercising or sweating, says dressage pro Leah Nelson, who has an academic background in nutrition. Don’t drink enough because you dislike the taste of plain water? Add a little lemon or lime juice to your water BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER: bottle, or try sparHydration is key to achieving kling water, with or peak performance in the saddle. without no-sugar Canadian Olympian Jacquie Brooks flavoring. takes a pre-ride swig before entering Sports drinks can the arena on her longtime partner, replenish electrolytes the Swedish Warmblood gelding D Niro (by D-Day). lost in sweat in hot weather or after heavy exercise, but some brands contain a lot of added sugar or artificial sweeteners, so read labels before you buy, Nelson advises. Or make your own sports drink by adding some unsweetened coconut water and lime juice to water.

40 June 2018 • USDF Connection

Every person has unique nutritional needs and preferences. To identify the foods and consumption schedule that help you feel and perform your best, keep a food journal, Gavi suggests. Note what and when you ate and drank and how they affected your rides. Pay particular attention to times when you felt or performed better or worse than usual, and see if you notice any patterns related to your pre- or postride food and liquid intake. If you want to try making a change in what or when you eat, Gavi and Nelson both advise doing your experimenting at home. At shows, they say, avoid eating anything unfamiliar and stick to your usual routine. It can be difficult to change our eating habits, especially when we’re busy or tired and the lure of quick, easy, cheap junk and fast food is strong. Bricken says it’s been a process learning to weed out the good snacks from the bad snacks. But through trial and error, she’s succeeded in finding things she likes that are healthful and that give her the energy her body needs to perform well. You take great care of your horse—but you’re an athlete, too. Don’t neglect your own nutritional needs. Fuel your body as carefully as you fuel your horse’s. You’ll feel better, ride better, and bring out the best in your horse as a result. s Jennifer M. Miller is a freelance writer and dressage rider from upstate New York.


Not right before you get on, though. “Try to avoid eating anything right before a ride,” says Gavi. “When riding, your body’s priority is to fuel your muscles, not digestion.” Eating too close to a ride can cause gastrointestinal pain or discomfort, she says. Three to four hours before your ride time, Gavi recommends, eat a balanced meal that includes carbs, protein, and a little healthy fat. Class at dawn? Thirty minutes to one hour before you put a foot in the stirrup, eat a 100-to150-calorie snack, such as a hard-boiled egg with a piece of toast, peanut butter with banana and toast, oatmeal, or applesauce with a handful of nuts. Bricken is a fan of “grazing” at shows, saying she eats something every few hours during the long competition days. “Competition weekends are so physically demanding that my body needs extra fuel,” she says. “Snacking gives me energy to perform my very best.” If you snack, snack wisely, advises Nelson. Avoid sodas, sugary junk foods such as doughnuts and candy, and highly

Financial Support for Adult Amateurs Adult Amateurs are the heart of the sport. Take a short break from your work and personal life and check out the opportunities that The Dressage Foundation has for amateurs of all levels.

Gifted Memorial Fund: Applications Due 9/15 Up to eleven $1,000 grants are available each year to enable the adult amateur rider to set aside time to work with their horse and a trainer of choice. These grants will give adult amateurs an opportunity for concentrated training away from home.

Visit www.dressagefoundation.org for application information.

Spanish Riding School Heldenberg Training Center Fund: Applications Due 6/1 The Grant is offered to non-professional dressage riders to attend one-, three-, or five-day classical dressage theory seminars at the Spanish Riding School in Austria.

Help us continue to support your dressage community — donate today.

Evie Tumlin Fund for Region 9 Adult Amateurs: Applications Due 3/1 Provides financial assistance to Adult Amateur riders who currently reside in USDF Region 9, to aid in their development in dressage. Grants will be used for educational experiences that will further the applicant’s knowledge of dressage and are in addition to the applicant’s typical training plan.

Photo Credit: Suzanne Fischer

THE DRESSAGE FOUNDATION 1314 ‘O’ Street, Suite 305 Lincoln, NE 68508

402-434-8585 info@dressagefoundation.org www.dressagefoundation.org

2018 Participating Member Delegate Nominees’ Biographies Listed below are the nominees who are running to become Participating Member Delegates from the time they are elected in 2018, until the election in 2019. All current participating members are eligible to vote. These brief biographies were provided by the nominees.

Region 1 Janine Malone

Janine Malone is a USEF “R” Dressage judge, “R” DSHB judge, “R” DTD and a FEI Level 3 Steward. Current member of the USDF Sport Horse and Regional Championships Committees; Past Region 1 Director (1996-2001), USDF Secretary (eleven years), USEF Vice-President, NCDCTA President, and organizing committee chairman and manager for the US Dressage Finals; Recipient of the first “ABIG/ USDF Volunteer of the Year” award (1998) and a USDF Lifetime Achievement Award (2014); Owner/Operator of Rosinburg Events LLC, with dressage competitions in NC and VA.

Debbie DelGiorno

Debbie, a PM delegate for the past nine years, is primarily focused on promoting our sport to youth and supporting youth development programs. In addition to being the FEI Jr/YR Coordinator and NAJYRC Chef d’Equipe for five years, Debbie has been involved with Lendon’s Youth Dressage Festival for twelve years.

Amy Parsons

I own and compete two Thoroughbreds in dressage and eventing, earning my USDF Bronze medal in 2017. I’m working on moving up to Fourth Level. I enjoy competing and traveling throughout our region. I attended the 2016 convention to learn, and hope to return as a PM delegate.

Lori Kaminski

Owner/Operator of Chesapeake Equestrian Events providing show management and secretarial services since 2004; Region 1 recording secretary; Member of USDF Nominating Committee; PM Delegate for more than ten years; President/CEO of Dressage at Devon since 2009. FEI Level 1 Dressage Steward.

Terry Wetzel

Terry is a member of the LVDA for five years, serving as their

Newsletter/Publications Editor and Webmaster. He was the 2017 Region 1 GMO Volunteer of the Year. Terry was a global manager for 20 years and has experience in networking at conventions and making presentations and recommendations to high level management.

Shannon Bossung

I have been active in USDF for over 30 years as a competitor, show manager/secretary, and trainer/coach. I have earned my Bronze and Silver medals from USDF. I feel we need to support not only the upper echelon riders, but lower levels and those new to the discipline as well.

Jennifer Mitchell

In addition to being a longtime dressage competitor, trainer and instructor, I’ve enjoyed many years of service to my GMO, as well as to Region 1 as former president of the NCDCTA and multiple terms as PM delegate. I also work as a medical assistant for Duke University Health System.

Martha Detering

Marty Detering and her partner of seven years, Rarity, have earned Bronze and Silver medals. With DVCTA she served as board member, secretary, on Chesterland Committee, organizer of Hill Top View Horse Trials and Dressage at Fair Hill. Previously an advanced eventer, she served as USEA Area 2 Chairman and Chair of Show Jumping at Fair Hill International.

Patricia Hildreth

I am an Adult Amateur that obtained my Bronze medal on a horse I raised and trained. I own a farm and small breeding operation and work as an engineer. I have been a PM delegate for several years and am on the USDF Competition Management Committee.

Meredith McGrath

Represented Region 1 as a PM delegate for 2017. Vice President of Southwest Virginia Dressage Association (SWVADA) for years. Managed the Virginia Dressage Association Chapter

Challenge schooling show several times and manage a schooling show for SWVADA every year. I always advocate for Jr/YR and AA riders locally at the lower levels as they are frequently overlooked by USDF.

Donna Kelly

My husband and I have lived in North Carolina for over 20 years. I’ve been active in the equestrian community as a horse owner, instructor/trainer and competitor. I recently earned my USEF “r” dressage license. I’ve served as a PM Delegate since 2013. I’ve also served at the local level as a board member of the NCDCTA, educational event organizer, and volunteer at a variety of USDF shows over the years. I look forward to continuing to serve our region.

Angelia Bean

Angelia Bean is owner and head trainer at Straight Forward Dressage in Glenmoore, PA, where she develops horses and riders of all breeds. Her credentials include L graduate with distinction, and Bronze and Silver medals. She is a regular face at competitions as both coach and competitor.

Lauren Annett

My husband and I are active participants in our local dressage community. I have served as a Region 1 PM delegate in 2015, 2016, and 2017. I have recently graduated as an “r” dressage judge.

Anne Moss

DVCTA member since 2002. Also a member of NEDA, VADA, OVCTA and FCEA. USEF ‘r’ Dressage and ‘R” Western Dressage judge. Competing at IA and 2nd Level with Grace and Rocky. Enthusiastic volunteer for education and judge training in Region 1. USPC National Examiner and A graduate. Side saddle dressage queen (SSDQ), quadrille junky and avid foxhunter. Member of the USDF Historical Recognition Committee and Freestyle Committee, and Dressage at Devon Board member.

Melanie Sloyer

Member of the USDF Sport Horse Committee. Active in sport horse show management, including Dressage at Devon and NEDA Fall Festival. Convention attendee since 2003.

Region 2 Sue Hughes

Being part of the governmental process of any organization is essential to its continuing relevance. Representing Participating Members of Region 2 is a worthwhile way for me to do that. My past volunteer work includes being the USDF Region 2 Director and Nominations Chair. I’m a current member of the USDF Bylaws Committee, Honorary Life Member of the Midwest Dressage Association, and Vice President of the Michigan Western Dressage Association Affiliate.

Kris Blacklock

Kris is an active Participating Member, volunteers for two Wisconsin GMOs (NEWDA and WDCTA), is NEWDA’s Membership Recorder, and coordinated a ‘Versatility of Dressage’ discipline demo at the 2018 Midwest Horse Fair that draws 60,000 attendees. Kris promotes all aspects of dressage by hosting educational sessions, clinics, live and virtual shows, writing news articles, and encouraging and supporting other’s horsemanship journey. She employs progressive training of dressage to develop confident, balanced and athletic horses/riders.

Susan Posner

Susan is a Bronze, Silver and Gold medalist, as well as a USEF ‘R’ judge. She has been around horses her entire life and started her riding career in Germany. She spent several years in California training and riding with Hilda Gurney. Susan is based in Lexington, KY.

Jennifer Roth

Jennifer is a USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medalist. She is a USEF ‘r’ and an active competitor and trainer. She

has been a PM delegate for the last seven years and is looking forward to representing Region 2’s membership in the future.

Debbie Garris

Debbie has been active in the dressage community since 2002. She has over 40 years of accounting, financial, auditing, tax and management experience. Debbie is also president of Horse Show Solutions, Inc., a competition management company. She is a current PM Delegate and member of the USDF Awards Committee.

Reese Koffler-Stanfield

USDF Bronze, Silver, Gold medalist and Silver, Gold Freestyle Bar medalist. Reese is a USDF Certified Instructor through 4th Level. Owner and Head Trainer of Maplecrest Farm in Georgetown, KY.

Kathryn Grisolia

Have been a manager/secretary for dressage shows for 30 years. Started training in dressage under Karen Rohlf and Anne Gribbons, competed up to Fourth Level. Served as a board member and President of the local GMO on Long Island when I previously lived there.

Joann Smith

Dressage is a passion of mine. Having been a competitor, owner and supporter, I hope to have the expertise to help solve some of the problems we are facing today. It would be my pleasure to help others keep the vitality of USDF as it moves into the future.

Nancy Wentz

Attended most annual meetings as GMO Delegate or proxy and/or PM Delegate. One of the founders of MODA; served as president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, newsletter editor, chair of awards, membership and organized many clinics. Past dressage TD. Seventeen years experience managing schooling and recognized competitions. Region 2’s rep on the USDF Competition Management Council for nine years. USDF Bronze medalist. Member of USDF, USEF, KDA, MODA, ODS, LDS and MSEDA.

Sophie Bayer

USDF Bronze and Silver medalist, L graduate with distinction, USEF “r” judge, competitor, trainer and instructor in Region 2 for almost 20 years.

Jennifer Truett

Owner/head trainer of Dancing Horse Farm in Lebanon, OH

(www.myDHFcom). Gold, Silver and Bronze medalist, L graduate with distinction, USDF Certified Instructor through 2nd Level, winner of numerous regional and national awards. Region 2 PM Delegate since 2010 and host of many educational events at Dancing Horse Farm, Lebanon, OH.

Bonna McCuiston

Past GMO President, professional teacher/trainer, competed to Grand Prix, L graduate, current GMO Vice President and Competition Chair, regular attendee of the USDF convention. I believe in the value of USDF and am a strong advocate for promoting dressage in Region 2.

Kristi Fly

Kristi Fly, of Bella Farm, Paris, KY, shows her Arabians and OTTB’s in dressage, while raising racing and sport horse Thoroughbreds. Working in the equine industry, she wishes to provide input to USDF organizational decisions affecting members and horses, and assist participating members. Member of the Louisville Dressage Society, the Arabian Sport Horse/Dressage Committees (AHA), SAHIBA, KY Thoroughbred Farm Managers, and USDF PM Delegate (2014 and 2016). EBW, USDF University Diamond Diploma and Training Level Rider Award.

Paula Briney

USDF Lifetime Member. Showed dressage for 30 years. Bronze, Silver and Gold rider and L graduate with distinction. Lifetime Member of the American Saddlebred Association. Western dressage rider and judge.

Penny Krug

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and Region 2. As a dressage enthusiast, I have been involved in our local GMO exceeding ten years; serving on the board and providing many volunteer hours. I would be honored to be your voice for Region 2. Thank you.

Catherine Jacob

Bronze and Silver medalist. Adult Amateur, L graduate, and member of several GMOs. Have held various offices throughout the years. Volunteer, schooling show secretary, local TD, and PM that has attended all BOG meetings since 2001. Creator and manager of the Region 2 Schooling Show Program. Presently competing PSG and schooling I1.

Region 3

sport interest me. I’m serious about education and growth in dressage.

Peggy Gaboury

Amy Swerdlin

Chris Trentelman

Barbara Cadwell

I have been riding and competing in dressage since 1974, and have been an active USDF member since 1976. I teach, still train a little (arthritic joints). I particularly enjoy bringing young people into the sport and bringing them along. Also, show secretary and occasional schooling show judge. Long-time active member of both USDF and STRIDE GMO. Bylaws Committee Chairman for over 20 years. Have attended every convention since 1980.

Loretta Lucas

I am an older AA who currently competes a non-traditional horse at Fourth Level, having worked my way up through the levels. As such, I understand the issues encountered by the average dressage competitor. I have also been very active in my local GMO over the last 20 years.

Heather Stalker

I am a USEF ‘r’ dressage judge and amateur rider and competitor. I am an active member of three USDF GMOs and received the USDF Volunteer of the Year award from Region 3 in 2015. I am also a recipient of the Carol Lavel Scholarship from The Dressage Foundation.

Judy Downer

Active competitor, trainer, coach and judge. Many years experience as a PM Delegate. Experienced GMO officer. Professor of Equine Studies at the College of Central Florida. USDF medals, year-end awards and regional championships earned on selftrained horses.

Mary Fowler

USDF Life and Georgia Dressage & CT member. Retired ‘R’ dressage judge; Bronze and Silver medalist remaining a strong advocate for the horses. Wish to see the continuation of USDF standards for competition and the organization’s support of local education for a broad base of classical training for our horses and riders.

Charlotte Trentelman

A USDF Lifetime member, Historical Recognition Committee Chair, and USEF “S” dressage judge, I have organized shows and judging programs. I’ve also been a TD, breeder, trainer and instructor. All aspects of the

I am a USDF Gold, Silver and Bronze medalist and L program graduate with distinction. I currently serve on the Region 3 Championship Site Selection Committee and the USDF Awards Committee. I am also very active with my local GMO and have been a board member for several years. Attended USDF meetings 25+ years. Many times PM Delegate. Breeder of USDF Year-End Award winners. Bronze and Silver medalist and L program graduate. Prior GMO president. Board member of The Dressage Foundation. On USDF Bylaws and Nominating Committees. Active member of my local GMO.

Robert Higgins

Robert is a Dressage TD (R), FEI Steward (2), assistant to the US Dressage Finals Manager and a member of the USDF Bylaws Committee. He previously chaired several USDF fiscal committees and was Region 3 TD Coordinator. He is a multi-regional USDF Awards Coordinator and has managed both regional and international dressage championships.

Region 4 PJ (Pamela Jean) Koehler

Past GMO memberships with Columbia DCTA, SLADS, NDA; current member of IaDCTA, USDF, USEF, WDAA; volunteer extraordinaire; competitor; USDF Nominating Committee member; thank you for your vote in past years and please vote PJ to serve as one of your qualified Region 4 PM Delegates for 2018.

Kim Krieckhaus

Kim Krieckhaus first engaged in dressage as a teen in Anchorage, AK. In 1990, she moved to New Jersey, became active in ESDCTA, and created a lesson program of 80+ students. In Missouri since 2000, Kim joined CDCTA, graduated the L Program, and has been judging Region 4 schooling shows since 2009.

Joyce Hardesty

USEF ‘R’ Technical Delegate, USDF L graduate, former Hanoverian breeder and AA competitor showing through I-1. Firm believer in strengthening our GMOs to build a strong

USDF. Longtime dedication to USDF having attended the last 30 conventions. Currently chair of the Regional Championships Committee; former chair of the USDF TD Council, University and Audit Committees.

Deb Devries

I am a USDF L graduate and I have earned my Bronze medal. I own and operate Cedar Falls Equestrian Center where I teach dressage and coach and lunge for Blue Sky Vaulters. I also stand the Friesian Ster Stallion, Phantom of Noble.

Region 5 Eva-Maria Adolphi

Founding member of the Utah Dressage Society and on the Board for 33 years as president or vice-president; currently the Board’s advisor. Experience as a competitor, show manager and show secretary. Students have competed at regionals. Technical Delegate since 1989. Attended eighteen USDF conventions, several times as a GMO Delegate and for the last seven years as a PM Delegate. Have been on some USDF committees.

Cynthia Ganem

I have been a member of my local GMO, Arizona Dressage Association (ADA), since 1995, and have been on the ADA Executive Board for over fifteen years. I also hold the position of Show Secretary/Treasurer for one of our three recognized shows and this year I was the show secretary for recognized and schooling shows. I have been a PM Delegate many times, and served as a GMO Delegate over six times. I am also a very active competitor, volunteer scribe, and L graduate with distinction.

Joan Clay

I’ve been a member of RMDS since 1993. Currently, I’m a RMDS TD and the Region 5 FEI Jr/YR Coordinator. I’ve been involved in our dressage community as an adult amateur (prior to 2008), an open competitor, USDF Certified Instructor (Training – First), show manager, RMDS Jr Camp director, and club officer.

Tania Radda

I have loved dressage since I first learned to ride, but I only took it on seriously about eight years ago. Today I find myself as our GMO President, and I love the opportunity to help others in this sport.

Beth Geier

I have been a volunteer for many years to RMDS and its chapters. I remain active as this sport provides each of us so much in terms of friendships, learning dressage and awesome educational opportunities. I wish to support USDF and RMDS by staying involved.

Laurie Mactavish

Laurie Mactavish is a Registered Dressage TD. Dedicated to the field for over 30 years, she attended the first learner judges program in Michigan, was a pony club examiner, competitor, clinician, and eventing TD. As a mediator, training in impartiality, listening, and communication skills offer strength in representing Region 5.

Maureen Mestas

Maureen Mestas began riding at age 5. Maureen trained extensively in Germany and holds Bronze and Silver medals in the German FN. Her experience is through Klasse S level. She has ten years of dressage and barn management training in Germany. She is a regular student of Rachel Saavedra and Conrad Schumacher. She is a member of the Board for NMDA (Region 5). Her farm website is www.hellcanyonfarm.com .

Rusty Cook

Rusty Cook has raised and shown horses since 1973, competing as an amateur. She is an ‘R’ Dressage Technical Delegate and officiates all over the country. She is actively involved with the dressage division of Arabian shows in her area and is a member of the New Mexico Horse Council.

Region 6 Peter Rothschild

I’m an AA competitor, show manager/secretary and have been a delegate several times. I am looking forward to working with the other delegates to elect a Regional Director who will assist the region in bringing out the best results for all of the membership.

Amanda Wilgenburg

I graduated from the L program with distinction and have also achieved my Bronze and Silver USDF medals. I enjoy volunteering, competing, and helping friends and competitors alike at the many show venues in our area and would like to be more involved in the decisions that affect our region.

Gaye McCabe

Actively involved in USDF since 1996, I am a past USDF Region 6 Director, have served as the Adult Education Chair and serve on the Bylaws Committee and Youth Programs Committee. Locally I have been an ODS member since 1986, and recently served my second term as the ODS President and have served in the capacity as Secretary, Treasurer, as well as the President elect. I am currently on the Dressage NW Board, which is responsible for running the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 6 Dressage Championship show.

Sigrun C. Robertson

A USDF member nearly since the beginning, I’ve also been an “r” Technical Delegate for many years. Born and raised in Sweden, I have consistently ridden and shown dressage since I arrived in Alaska in 1967. I’ve served in many positions for Alaska Dressage Association, of which I was a founding member. Although Alaska is far away, we have a serious group of dressage riders here, and it has been a joy to see dressage grow in this distant region.

Emma Dye

I have been a dressage trainer in Region 6 for 30 years and a PM Delegate for the last several. I have been to nine conventions. I feel that as delegates we can make a positive impact in the continuing growth of dressage in the USA.

Nicki Grandia

I am a USDF Gold medalist that has been involved in Region 6 since I was a young rider. I have stayed active in Region 6 with my training business helping horses and riders at all levels. I look forward to helping improve our community.

Michael Taylor

I am a Dressage Technical Delegate and IDEA GMO board member with seventeen years as show secretary for USEF/ USDF and AHA shows in the Northwest. I have attended three USDF conventions as a GMO Delegate. I am a horse husband and father and will continue supporting the dressage community in any way possible.

Matthew Eagan

Matt is a successful trainer, instructor and competitor at Pumpkin Farms in Snohomish. Matt looks to help further the

development of dressage in our region through an increased emphasis on education, clinics and shows.

Sam Clement

My name is Sam Clement and in addition to running to be a Region 6 PM Delegate, I am also one of the north region representatives for the Oregon Dressage Society (ODS), where I participate on the Adult Education Committee. I am working as an ODS committee and board member to provide great educational opportunities for riders of all skill levels.

Rick Edwards

Thank you for electing me as your delegate last year. Experience: engineering, manufacturing and currently working with my wife, Kari McClain, running a dressage training, boarding and sport horse breeding stable. I compete as an AA on my own horse and hope to earn the Silver medal this year, maybe…

Region 7 Brenda Forsythe

I am a veterinarian and practice owner in Santa Maria, CA. I have been involved with horses all of my life and have been involved in dressage as an Adult Amateur competitor for the past decade. I served as one of the Region 7 PM Delegates last year and found the experience very valuable. I would be honored to serve again if selected.

Doris North

Region 7 competitor, volunteer, and Hanoverian breeder. USEF “r” Technical Delegate, FEI Steward: Dressage/Reining. Participating member of the Dressage Technical Delegate Committee and USDF Awards Committee. Prior Board Member: CDS San Diego.

Jerry Beatty

2017 USDF Region 7 PM Delegate. CDS-SLO Chapter 2016 Volunteer of the Year. 2017 USDF Reserve Champion Adult Amateur Dressage. 2017 DASC Volunteer of the Year. Currently competing at First Level Adult Amateur Dressage. Employed as a Territory Manager for Henry Schein Animal Health.

Ruth Shirkey

I have been a USDF and CDS volunteer and competitor for the past fifteen years. I am devoted to the sport of dressage and the improvement of USDF as an

organization that supports its members. I want to represent Region 7 as a delegate and bring our interests to USDF.

Cassidy Gallman

Cassidy Gallman has represented USDF Region 7 as a member of three NAJYRC Teams (2012, 2014, 2015) and is a three time medalist at the event. She now serves as the USDF Region 7 Jr/YR Coordinator and hopes to inspire future generations of elite riders.

Axel Steiner

I am a founding member of USDF. I am an original and still active member of the L faculty, have been Chairman of the USDF Judges Committee, and was on the USEF Dressage Committee for 25 years. My FEI 5* judging tenure ended due to age restrictions, but I am still judging nationally, giving clinics and commenting via streaming video at major shows.

Connie Davenport

CDS Secretary 27+ years; show manager and secretary for 40 years. Contributor to CDS publication Dressage Letters. Former competitor and exhibition rider with Osierlea Quadrille. Have previous experience as a PM Delegate.

Region 8 Sophia Chavonelle

Sophia is a seventeen-year-old rider from Maine who has been a dressage competitor in Region 8 since 2013. Sophia has always been an avid member of Region 8 dressage, and is very proud and excited to represent the region as a PM Delegate at this year’s annual convention.

Regina Cristo

It has been a pleasure to represent Region 8 as a delegate the last few years. As an Adult Amateur, Bronze and Silver medalist, and L graduate with distinction, I have the experience to represent a broad variety of our Region 8 members. Thank you for considering me a choice as a delegate.

Darian Quinn

Darian is a member of the next generation of dressage enthusiasts. She is experienced in competition management, working closely with Dressage at Stockade. She is also an avid rider and competitor. Darian hopes to represent Region 8 and help collaborate on innovative ideas for the future of dressage.

Cynthia Wylie

I’m a Grand Prix Trainer/ Competitor from Georgetown,

MA where I own and operate Rosebrook Farm, a boarding/ training facility with my husband, Steve Schubert. In the past I served as Education Coordinator for NEDA, and have been a PM Delegate for many years. I’m current Chairperson of the USDF GMO Committee. I’m a USEF ‘R’ Judge, a USDF Certified Instructor through Fourth Level, and have earned my USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medals on horses that I’ve trained myself.

Stanley Horton

I am an owner/manager of the Dressage at Stockade series; 2017 manager, ENYDCTA Dressage Days; long-time ENYDCTA member/board member; past GMO Delegate and 2017 Region 8 PM Delegate; regular volunteer at the NEDA Fall Festival; dressage rider and competitor. Thank you for another opportunity to serve as a Region 8 PM Delegate!

Diane Holston

I’m an Adult Amateur. I own and ride a Dutch Warmblood mare. I have been going to the convention for many years and look forward to going again. I’m on the Awards Committee for Region 8. If you have any concerns or suggestions, please let me know and I will be happy to bring them to the committee.

Jane-Marie Law

I am passionate about the art of dressage, having ridden all my life. I compete but at 60, am turning my attention to service. My focus is recruiting young talent and making dressage available for interested riders and horses. Recruitment and retention in rural areas are important to me.

Robin Sachs

I am an Adult Amateur with a passion for horses and dressage. I have been a long-time member of the USDF and NEDA. I have attended many educational events hosted by NEDA, including symposiums with Anky Van Grunsven, Klaus Balkenhol and most recently Carl Hester. Currently, I have five horses; two retired, one is my equitation buddy, one gelding I have competed at Training and First Level, and I recently purchased a young horse and am looking forward to the future.

Kathy Hickerson

A longtime NEDA board member, I volunteer as the NEDA Sport Horse Director and

Sport Horse Committee Chair, NEDA Fall Show Committee member, USDF Sport Horse Committee member, USEF Breeding Committee member, KWPN-NA Stallion Committee Chair and Members Committee member. A Dutch Warmblood breeder, many of my horses and stallions have competed in dressage and dressage breeding up through Grand Prix. A previous USDF PM and GMO Delegate, I would be honored to represent our region for another year.

Fie Andersen

Fie Andersen owns Equito Dressage LLC, stands Rocazino at stud, and enjoys developing youngsters and competing through FEI. Fie has achieved her ‘r’ dressage judge license and plans to pursue the ‘R’ license. Fie currently serves on the USDF Adult Programs Committee and the USEF Dressage Rules Working Group.

Linda Mendenhall

Linda Mendenhall is the co-owner of Hof Mendenhall Hanoverians. She is a competitor in dressage through Fourth Level and Sport Horse In-hand. Linda is a member of the USDF Sport Horse and Nominating Committees. She is an active volunteer for NEDA and throughout Region 8.

Daniela Valentgas

I’m an adult amateur with a family and full time career. I’ve been riding since 1978, starting in Pony Club. I earned my Bronze medal in 2017. My goal is to represent the majority of the USDF membership. Through USDF, dressage will remain a viable sport in the US, insuring it remains not only a professional’s livelihood but also retains the devotion and enthusiasm of the amateur rider.

Region 9 Elizabeth G. Clifton

Elizabeth G. Clifton is the founder/manager of the MidSouth Dressage Academy (a non-profit riding school), a competition organizer, an active competitor, the owner of Top Hats & Under That (a dressage boutique), and the treasurer and membership officer for MADES GMO, who has been attending convention annually since 2006.

Kat Kyle

Former USDF Region 9 Director, often PM and/or GM Delegate, have regularly attended

the annual meeting for the past 25+ years, current USDF Nominating Committee Chair, current PM Delegate. I would be honored to continue to represent Region 9.

Tracy Augustine

I have been an active member of the Alamo Dressage Association (ADA) and Jr/YR Chair for four years. I am currently the Region 9 Jr/YR Coordinator. I also help manage the ADA shows in San Antonio and am an enthusiastic addition to our area.

Arlene Boylan Gaitan

USDF Silver medalist and L graduate. Region 9 member since 1992. Current Alamo Dressage Association President and newsletter editor for over ten years. Served as Region 9 competitor chair, newsletter editor and currently the Omnibus editor. Active Dressage “Mom” of a junior rider.

Marilyn Kulifay

I am a show manager and secretary, as well as officiating as ‘R’ Technical Delegate, FEI Steward and ‘r’ judge. I enjoy working at shows and riding my horse. I have previously served as a PM Delegate and would be honored to serve again.

Jan Colley

I am an active competitor, show manager/secretary and currently represent Region 9 on the USDF Competition Management Committee, as well as a current PM Delegate. Love our sport and promoting its growth in the riding community.

Sarah Jane Martin

Dressage TD (R), FEI Dressage Steward (Level 1), Secretary for USDF Region 9. Enrolled agent for IRS. USEF Licensed Judge for Welsh Friesian, Connemara. Raise cattle and horses.

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USEF licensed/USDF recognized competitions Breeders’ Championships Regional Championships USDF sponsored events USDF University accredited programs All the important deadlines and dates you might need

50 June 2018 • USDF Connection


MARCH 2010

Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation


NEW TRAINING SERIES: What Other Disciplines Can Teach Dressage Riders Basics of Freestyle Creation


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USDF Connection

June 2018


the tail end


Twenty years in the making, a rider's dream of creating a freestyle becomes reality By Laurie Ryan


s far back as I can remember after I got seriously involved in dressage in the 1990s, I’d wanted to do a musical freestyle. I have old index cards and a “Freestyle” file folder full of notes about musical pieces and other ideas that I’d hung onto for more than two decades. I have always felt a strong connection to music; I’ll hear a piece and think about how it feels like a certain movement or gait.

With my choreographer’s help, I selected most of the music myself. With the music on my iPhone, I practiced the timing in my home arena and took some lessons to work on the technical aspects of the ride. I had the choreographer put the music on a loop, since it is difficult to push the buttons on the phone, then grab the reins and proceed. So I was able to warm up while the music played the

BETTER THAN THE DREAM: The writer at the 2017 US Dressage Finals

Over the last few years, I have rehabbed and retrained an older horse. To maintain his soundness, he’s being ridden at the lower levels. He is a solid horse and very steady, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make my goal a reality and finally create and ride a freestyle. How to start? The best advice I received was to hire a choreographer. The person I chose does not live in my area, so we collaborated via video and e-mail in the fall of 2016 with the goal of competing in 2017 and maybe qualifying for the Great American/ USDF Regional Championships.

first time, ride the freestyle from start to finish on the second repeat, and then redo certain elements the third time around. I almost gave up on my endeavor several times because it is very intimidating to do something new. My biggest fear—of making a mistake— stemmed from my lack of a correctly sized arena to practice in. There were no schooling shows within reasonable driving distance where I could practice, so had to bite the bullet, enter a recognized show, and hope it all came together. Schooling at the show grounds,

52 June 2018 • USDF Connection

Laurie Ryan is an adult-amateur dressage rider from Willard, MO, and a member of the Kansas City Dressage Society.


Freestyle, Finally

my timing was way off, but I found the problems and hoped for the best in my class. It went very well, and I earned scores of 71.833 and 72.067 percent—high enough to qualify for the 2016 Region 4 championships. It was my first time competing in a Regional Championship and only the third time riding my freestyle. I was very happy with the ride, which earned a score of 73.817 percent— good enough for third place and the highest score by an adult amateur. To top it off, I qualified for the US Dressage Finals. A trainer/friend was also going to Kentucky and could haul my horse so I didn’t have to worry about making the trip in my old truck, so I was in. Competing at the Finals was a great experience. If I do it again, I’ll show in a warm-up class the day before because my horse was a bit of a fireball and we did not have our best freestyle. Still, to my surprise we placed eighth in a large class with a score of 68.856. To me, riding a freestyle feels very personal—nothing at all like riding a regular test. My non-horsey daughter came to the Finals to watch and take photos, and after my ride she said she’d shed a few tears and was proud of us, which shows how powerful the musical element can be. I am grateful that I was able to do a freestyle with this horse because I am so inexperienced at showing. I mostly ride alone at my farm, taking lessons when I can. I hope that other people who have the same goal see that even though trying something new can be intimidating, you just need to do it. I have a great relationship with my horse, which I think is the key. This experience has given me confidence for the future, and I will not wait 20 years to do another freestyle! s



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June 2018 USDF Connection  

United States Dressage Federation Official Publication

June 2018 USDF Connection  

United States Dressage Federation Official Publication

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