Page 1

2017 A dequan ®/USDF C onvention P review ( p . 30)



Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

SIDELINED FROM THE CENTER LINE Getting Back in the Saddle After an Injury

Sarah Geikie:

How to Nurture Your Horse’s Precious Walk (p. 24) On the Road Again? Read This Before Your Next Long Trailer Trip (p. 40)

Guenter Seidel and Crush on You

Lebanon Junction, KY Permit # 559




My Horse

He probably took twice as long as other horses to accomplish each level of training, but it's not just about the sport for me. It's about the journey. I was a little girl when I got Diddy, and he was a baby. We've grown up together. I'll probably never feel this way about another horse. We're so connected. I ride a lot of other horses, and I can't help but compare how they ride to riding Diddy. He's just amazing!

Verdades Aka “Diddy”

Dutch Warmblood Gelding

Laura Graves

Olympic Bronze Medalist, Team Dressage, Platinum Performance® Client since 2015 Laura Graves is a sponsored endorsee and actual client.

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40 48


Got a long-distance trip with horses planned? Read this first By Sarah Evers Conrad


Tales of dressage riders’ rehab and recovery By Penny Hawes

4 INSIDE USDF Summer Reflections

6 RINGSIDE True Grit

By Anne Sushko

By Jennifer O. Bryant

16 CLINIC The Importance of Posting Diagonals

By Cindy Sydnor

24 THE JUDGE’S BOX Walk This Way

By Sarah Geikie


32 CLUB CONNECTION Leadership Lessons By Jennifer M. Miller

36 HISTORICAL CONNECTION American Dressage Legends: Elizabeth Searle


8 10 18 56 58 58 59


38 ALL-BREEDS CONNECTION Breed of the Month: Haflinger

54 RIDER’S MARKET The Horse-Health Edition

By Jennifer O. Bryant

60 THE TAIL END Ride of the Century

By Esther Siegel

ON OUR COVER Physical therapy and an elite-level fitness regimen helped three-time Olympian Guenter Seidel get back in the saddle after a riding accident. He’s pictured aboard the 2007 KWPN mare Crush on You (Prestige VDL - Willy R, Kannan), whom he co-owns with Egbert Kraak, at a 2017 competition in California. Story, p. 48. Photo by Terri Miller.

Volume 19, Number 4


September 2017


inside usdf



Summer Reflections What does dressage mean to me? I’ll spell it out.


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


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

By Anne Sushko, Region 4 Director ummer is a time of long lazy days—for some people! Before I retired, summertime was my time to reflect on the past school year, recuperate, set goals for the coming school year, and make plans for how to accomplish those goals. Now that I have retired, summer is weekends filled with horse shows, working as a US Equestrian technical delegate, an FEI steward, or a show secretary. Weekdays are for catching up on laundry and yard work, spending time with my husband, dog, and horse, and getting ready for the next show. Yet there is always time for reflection. Many days I think about why the sport of dressage means so much to such a broad spectrum of people. Here is what it means to me (and you might be able to tell that I taught middle school!): Enjoyment ● Excellence ● Enduring ● Exercise of mind, body, and spirit Demanding ● Daily involvement




Dreaded (sometimes) Unique to one’s needs and goals ● Ultimately beautiful ● Undeniably challenging Cohesive ● Contained ● Comical ● Challenging Arena of life ● Awe-inspiring ● Active Transitional ● Time-consuming ● Tactful Inviting ● Initiatives ● Individual ● Insightful Onward ● Overt ● Official ● Occasionally Obtuse Never-ending quest for growth. So no matter how you fill your days, take time to reflect on why you participate in this sport that we all love. For me, it is all about EDUCATION! s ●

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Support the US Dressage Finals by making a tax deductible gift.


Patron gifts received by October 16, 2017 will be recognized in the event program, the yearbook issue of USDF Connection, and receive a commemorative gift of appreciation.

4 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION


usdressagefinals.com For more information please contact us at donate@usdf.org, or (859) 971-7826

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The Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

True Grit



pain set in immediately. My quest for relief eventually led me to a local physical-therapy practice. Chuck, my PT, listened to my tale of woe, then looked me over and “watched me go”—I felt like a horse getting flexed and jogged. He pronounced me not too far gone, but in need of some core strengthening to shore up the weakened support structures around my SI joint. I was surprised. I’ve done Pilates for years, among other things. But I wasn’t about to argue with the expert, so I followed Chuck’s regimen of bird dogs, plank variations, and other exercises faithfully. Within a few weeks, the pain I’d felt while sitting (most of the time), riding (sometimes), and driving (all the time) abated. As I write this, I have “graduated” from PT, but the prescribed exercises are with me for the rest of my life. This was my first serious bout with persistent pain, and I have no desire to have it take up permanent residence in my body. I also want to ride dressage to the best of my ability, for as long as I can. If you have ever suffered an injury that affected your riding, I feel your pain—literally. Life takes its toll on the body, and horses can exact their own special price. Some dressage riders continue to swing a leg over despite physical setbacks. They work extra-hard to be able to keep doing the sport they love. That’s true grit.

Jennifer O. Bryant, Editor @JenniferOBryant

6 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

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 © 2017 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.


The dressage enthusiast’s first question after getting hurt: When can I ride again? ou should do a story on riders who have suffered injuries,” Sue Bender, USDF’s Region 3 director, said over the phone. The phone was Sue’s preferred communication method at the time; typing, you see, was tricky given that Sue had only one good hand. Sue’s other hand had had an unfortunate encounter with a horse’s hoof, and the kick fractured the base of her pinky finger. The injury, which should have sidelined Sue for a few months, morphed into more than a year out of the saddle— a year marked by pain, faulty treatments, complications, and more pain. It was during this difficult time that Sue called me with the story idea. Sue wanted other USDF members to know that, although it can be a slow process, there may be a way back to riding after an injury. Freelance writer Penny Hawes took Sue’s idea (and her case story) and ran with it, and the result is this month’s cover feature, “Sidelined from the Center Line” (p. 48). The riders Penny interviewed—from adult amateurs like Sue all the way up to three-time US dressage Olympian Guenter Seidel—agree that the road back to the sport we love is frequently paved with physical therapy. As it happens, while I was editing the story, I was undergoing physical therapy myself. As bodies go, mine is pretty flexible. I always regarded my Gumby-ness as a blessing, but now I realize that hypermobility can also be a curse because the joints lack stability. According to my doctor, we hypermobile types are less likely to break bones but more likely to suffer soft-tissue injuries. Well, that’s what happened. My “inciting incident” wasn’t even a riding accident; it happened while I was trying to get my injured Greyhound into the car at the vet’s. I felt the pop in my left sacroiliac joint—my landing site, not coincidentally, after a few nasty bucks over the years. The muscle spasms and


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member connection The Asymmetrical Rider Thank you for this article (“HorseHealth Connection: Are You Bad for Your Horse’s Health?,” June) and the many others that are about Dr. Hilary Clayton’s work. As a physical therapist and a rider, I work with many riders who have the symmetry issues that were described in the article. However, studying how people present is just the beginning. We have to ask an additional set of questions to help solve a symmetry issue: Is it a mechanical issue, an neuromuscular-control issue, or a motor-control issue? Mechanical issues: Most riders have parted ways with a horse at one point or another, as well as sustaining other injuries that create asymmetries. Neuromuscular control: Is the brain able to fire the correct muscles to stabilize or move a part of the body involved in the task, and does the body have the strength and endurance to perform the task? Motor control is the complete program the brain has

for sitting, standing, bending, lifting, riding, walking, running, and so on. According to Dr. Clayton, many riders’ right legs are externally rotated. Is this because of a lack of range of motion in a hip, or linked to the observation that the riders weightbear on the left? Then, does the person have the ability to fire the local muscles to sit evenly? Is the brain programmed to sit evenly? So much of our posture is dictated by mechanical availability and our perception of where we are in space. Dr. Clayton also defined neutral posture. I agree with the criteria she mentioned, and I would add two more that link to functional performance. In neutral posture, your core (internal and external obliques, deep fibers of the psoas, transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, quadratus, rototores, multifidi, deep neck flexors, and scapular-thoracic muscles) should fire automatically as the need arises. (Some studies have shown an automatic response in the core is stronger than a conscious contraction.) In this neutral position, you will also have more overall strength in your arms and legs. Someday I would love to do research that builds on the biomechanical concepts that Dr. Clayton has explored. So much can be done to help riders to become more symmetrical. In the meantime, I will continue to work on my own alignment and with other riders at home. Nancy Harrison Lafayette, CO

Beyond the Equestrian “1 Percent” I wanted to respond to the letter from Susan Reed in the July/August issue (“Member Connection: Value Judgments”). The stable I ride at found itself in an increasingly low-income area after the financial downturn of 2008. So we started a nonprofit 501(c) (3) to help finance riding lessons and horse experiences for low-income kids.

8 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION


One of our main fund-raisers is “pony rides” held at fairs and various community events. No serious rider like pony rides. But remember, everyone sat on a horse that first time. Our “pony ride” string are our ambassadors for the sport we love. We have our pampered performance horses, but we also pay it back by helping the community, and we also keep the “horse thing” going by looking to the next generation and promoting their learning experiences. Dawn Gronlund Springdale, WA Dawn, yours sounds like a clever solution and a proactive effort to aid the horse industry. Stables and other groups interested in reaching out to their communities and helping to attract new horse enthusiasts should check out Time to Ride (timetoride. com), an American Horse Council initiative that includes a challenge with cash and prizes to those who connect newcomers to horses. USDF Connection welcomes your feedback on magazine content and USDF matters. Send letters to editorial@usdf.org along with your full name, hometown, and state. Letters may be edited for length, clarity, grammar, and style.



mma Claire Stephens, the accomplished young subject of our July/August profile “The Entertainer,” has achieved many notable dressage milestones in her 13 years, but being the youngest-ever USDF member to earn the bronze rider medal isn’t one of them. Emma Claire was 10 when she earned her bronze, but the current record-holder is Paige Hendrick of Rhode Island, who was eight when she earned her bronze in November 2016. Our apologies (and a big Wow!) to Paige.


Your Dressage World This Month



National Dressage Pony Cup Championships Mark 10th Anniversary


f the US Dressage Finals are the destination national dressage championships for many adult amateurs and open riders, then the National Dressage Pony Cup Championship Show is its counterpart for sport-pony enthusiasts. Riders from across the country made the trek to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington—likewise the site of the US Dressage Finals—for the tenth annual NDPC championships,

Welsh-cross gelding, The Hot Topic of SpringSong, Lasher won the FEI Test of Choice Open division and the Open Musical Freestyle championship. Friends and family from around the country were able to watch Lasher and “Dolce” splash to victory in the rain-dampened arenas, thanks to the competition live stream on the USEF Network. The NDPC Championship Show was expanded last year to include a Young Pony Futurity and a pony-only DSHB division. The big winner in 2017 was Ryann, a Weser-Ems mare (Ridley x Dexter S) owned by Matthew Miller, bred by Chris Rush, and ridden and handled by Betty Bryant, Virginia Beach, VA. Ryann swept the NDPC Four-Year-Old Futurity, the NDPC Mare Championship, the NCPC Mature Pony Championship, and the NDPC Grand Championship. For complete results, visit dressageponycup.com.

10 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

he International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed to the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) that the traditional Olympic equestrian disciplines of eventing, jumping, and dressage will remain on the Olympic program through the 2024 Games. In a June 9 press release, FEI president Ingmar De Vos called the confirmation “a direct acknowledgment of our willingness to adapt and modernize our sport.” That adaptation centers on the FEI’s proposed format changes, which will be adopted at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: Equestrian teams will consist of only three horse/rider combinations instead of the traditional four, and there will be no drop scores. Smaller teams will enable more nations to participate, and one of the IOC’s main objectives has been to see as many flags as possible represented in each Olympic sport. In another departure from tradition, the IOC is expected to announce the host cities of both the 2024 and 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games after its session this month. The two candidate cities are Paris and Los Angeles. According to De Vos, the equestrian events of the Paris Games— including eventing cross-country—will be held on the grounds of the palace of Versailles. Los Angeles organizers plan to stage equestrian “in the beautiful Sepulveda Basin, just 15 minutes from the Athletes’ Village, on the site of an existing golf course,” he said.


July 7-9. Riders vied for titles at all levels in amateur, open, junior, and young-rider divisions. There was also a dressage sport-horse breeding (DSHB) division. One competitor who made her very long journey worthwhile was Emily Lasher, of Poway, CA. With her

Competition format to change for Tokyo 2020


DSHB CHAMPION: The Weser-Ems mare Ryann (with handler/rider Betty Bryant) won multiple NDPC titles including the Four-YearOld Futurity and the NDPC in-hand grand championship

FEI WINNER: With owner/rider Emily Lasher (CA), the Welsh cross The Hot Topic of SpringSong took the FEI Test of Choice Open and Open Musical Freestyle titles at the 2017 NDPC Championships

Equestrian Sports’ Future Assured Through 2024



USDF Connection Wins Top Equine Media Award


Declare and Nominate for the US Dressage Finals

SDF Connection, the USDF’s member magazine, won a coveted General Excellence award in the 2017 American Horse Publications Equine Media Awards contest (americanhorsepubs.org). USDF Connection received the General Excellence Association Publication award in its circulation category of 15,000 and over. Entries were judged on a combination of editorial content, design, and the publication’s effectiveness in meeting its stated mission. 2016 ADE

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Wysocki Promoted to FEI 5* Para-Dressage Judge



ara-equestrian dressage judge Kristi Wysocki, of Elbert, CO, has become the first US judge in that discipline to be promoted to 5* status by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the US ParaEquestrian Association announced in July. Five-star accreditation is the highest international-judge ranking. Wysocki joins an elite group: Currently there are only 19 other FEI 5* para-dressage judges in the world. BIG TIME: Wysocki Wysocki is also an FEI 3* dressage judge, a US Equestrian “S” dressage judge, and a US Equestrian “R” dressage sport-horse breeding judge. She is the chair of the US Equestrian Para-Dressage Committee and the para-dressage representative to the US Equestrian International Disciplines Council. USDF members know her as the chair of the Sport Horse Committee and a popular clinician and USDF convention speaker on sport-horse topics. Last month she co-headlined the 2017 USDF Sport Horse Seminar with fellow judge Susan Mandas.

oping to compete at the 2017 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®? Horse/rider combinations must declare their intention to participate by filing a Declaration of Intent form (usdressagefinals.com/ declare). The deadline to declare is midnight the day prior to the first day of your Great American/ USDF Regional Championship competition (including any day of open competition before the start of championship classes). You must declare at the level(s) and eligible division(s) in which you intend to compete. There is no fee to declare. In addition, nomination (preliminary entry) is required for participation in US Dressage Finals classes. The nomination deadline is midnight, 96 hours after the last day of your Regional Championship. Find the nomination form at usdressagefinals.com/nominate. See page 23 for declaration, nomination, and entry deadlines by region. See usdressagefinals.com for the prize list and other information.

US Dressage Finals to Offer High-Score Breed Awards


he popular high-score breed awards will again be offered at the 2017 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®. Participating breed and performance registries will award two high-score awards in the adult-amateur and open divisions: one for the national levels (Training through Fourth) and one for the FEI levels (Prix St. Georges through Grand Prix). To be eligible, declare your horse for the awards when you enter. Learn more at usdressagefinals.com.


September 2017



Your Dressage World This Month

INTERCOLLEGIATE DRESSAGE lizabeth Affeld, a member of the class of 2019 at Lake Erie College, Painesville, OH, was the overall winner of the 2017 USDF/IDA National Quiz Challenge, held at the 2017 Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) National Championship Competition. Affeld, who competed in the Lower Training division, receives the grand prize: a four-week internship at the well-known sport-horse facility Hilltop Farm Inc., Colora, MD. The Quiz Challenge consisted of three rounds of competition, with the first two via USDF’s eTRAK online educational portal. The top five scorers in the categories of Introductory, Lower Training, Upper Training, and First Level advanced to

the finals, which were held April 29-30 at Centenary College’s equestrian center in Hackettstown, NJ. “I wasn’t expecting to win,” said Affeld. “I’m very excited that Hilltop Farm is offering the internship again, and I can’t wait to learn about their operation!” The other division winners were Kira Witty of Meredith Manor International Equestrian Center (Introductory Level), Giuliana Raggio of Lake Erie College (Upper Training Level), and Renee Monzon of Lake Erie College (First Level). For more information about the USDF/IDA National Quiz Challenge, visit the IDA website at teamdressage. com and the USDF website at usdf. org.


DRESSAGE SCHOLAR: 2017 USDF/IDA National Quiz Challenge overall champion Elizabeth Affeld


Charles Tota, Dressage Specialty Retailer and Designer


ob title: Owner, The Dressage Connection (thedressageconnection. com); owner/designer, Tota Comfort System bridlework (totacomfortsystem.com), Wellington, FL

BRINGING THE GOODS: Tota at a horseshow trade fair

What I do: By seven o’clock every morning, I’m at the store going through e-mails and responding to customer questions. From there, I start scheduling my day to go to barns for saddle fittings. Most afternoons I’m back at the store to measure customers

for boots and to make sure the retail operation is going smoothly. During the off season, a lot of the horse shows are up north, so I travel quite a bit. I do a lot of saddle-fitting clinics. How I got started: I was originally in the lawn-and-garden industry in the New York metropolitan area. I wanted a change of industry, and my wife at the time and I both rode dressage, so we said, well, let’s bring equestrian products in from Europe. We had a retail store in New Jersey for many years, but then the season started getting long in Florida, so it just didn’t make sense to stay there. Best thing about my job: Changing the way a horse goes. Seeing a smile on the rider’s face. Worst thing about my job: The hours. My horses: I don’t ride regularly any more due to time issues. Tip: You invest a lot in your horse’s care and training, so you shouldn’t have bad equipment. —Katherine Walcott

12 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION


FEI Launches Education Portal

n June the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) launched FEI Campus (campus.fei.org), a free e-learning gateway that it hopes will become “the virtual reference point for millions of equestrian fans globally, as well as athletes and FEI officials,” according to a press release. For horse-sport enthusiasts, FEI Campus will offer online courses targeted at the FEI’s nine equestrian disciplines (at press time, the dressage and para-dressage courses were not yet available). A tenth category, Horsemanship, comprises 10 subtopics ranging from Equine Anatomy and Physiology to The Equine Athlete. Besides helping the FEI meet its goal of connecting and engaging fans, FEI Campus is intended to make education less expensive for current and future FEI officials.



Lake Erie Student Tops 2017 USDF/IDA National Quiz Challenge


Leah Nelson, Duluth, MN


eah Nelson is the resident trainer and manager of Spring Hill Farm in Duluth, MN. She earned her USDF Training-Second Level instructor/trainer certification in October 2016. Why I think certification is important: I started the program because I believe in upholding a national standard of quality in training. I now know that all other certified instructor/trainers have proven that they know some theory and can articulate it in results-oriented lessons. They know how to bring a horse along, efficiently identify and address weak points, and keep everyone safe in the process. Highlight of the Instructor/Trainer TESTED AND Program: The program was challenging, PROVEN: Nelson but in the end I gained a lot of confidence in my knowledge and abilities. This program won’t teach you from scratch how to be a good instructor, but it will test—and I mean test!—your methods, theory, teaching ability, and your eye. Training tip: Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge, including the Instructor/Trainer Program curriculum, that is online on USDF’s eTRAK. Add our recommended-reading list to your library; it will enhance your learning, and your instructor will appreciate it! Contact me: leah.nelson@hotmail.com or (218) 940-2138. —Jamie Humphries

All Animals Welcome, Just Like on That Other Ark

The Ark at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Jamaica, NY (pictured during a press tour), finally opened its doors to horses in late June. The equine import/export center and quarantine facility took five years to complete but now is ready to handle horses from all over the world. The facility is the first of its kind in the US and the first privately-owned airport handling and quarantine facility in the world. Learn more at arkjfk.com. —Diana De Rosa





North Carolina Breeders Receive Education Grant

essica Stallings and Jennifer DesRoche of Signature Sporthorses, Sunbury, NC, have received a grant from The Dressage Foundation’s Elysium Farm Fund for US Breeder Excellence, TDF announced in July. Signature Sporthorses was awarded $1,000 to attend the Hanoverian Breed Orientation Course in Verden, Germany, in October. The course consists of a week-long trip to various farms and a stallion performance-testing station, a course on sport-horse judging, and three days at a Hanoverian stallion licensing. Signature Sporthorses will video-blog the experience for TDF. Financial assistance from the Elysium Farm Fund helps sport-horse breeders to pursue educational opportunities that will advance their careers, promote sound breeding practices, and enhance the quality of American-bred dressage horses. The next application deadline is May 1, 2018. Learn more at dressagefoundation.org. USDF CONNECTION

September 2017



Your Dressage World This Month


What you need to know this month Awards Deadlines Approaching Don’t miss out on a USDF award! September 30 is the deadline for: • Submitting birthdates for Vintage Cup, adult-amateur, and jr/young rider awards • Filing Vintage Cup status and verifying adult-amateur status • Joining USDF for Breeder of the Year awards • Submitting online Rider Performance Award applications • Submitting online Horse Performance Certificate applications.

How Were the Regionals? THE USDF WANTS your Great American/USDF Regional Championships experience to be memorable. After the competition, you will be e-mailed an electronic evaluation form. Your survey feedback is valuable to both USDF and competition management. Best of luck at Regionals!

Awards Equivalency Change for FEI Children’s Tests EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, for the purposes of rider and year-end awards, the FEI Children’s Individual and Team tests will be equivalent to Second Level. See the USDF Member Guide for more information.

New Dressage-Seat Equitation Program THE USDF REGIONAL ADULT AMATEUR EQUITATION PROGRAM, which kicks off in 2018, is the newest opportunity for AA competitors at all levels. This program promotes correct seat, position, and use of aids in dressage. Learn about qualifying opportunities and additional requirements at usdf.org.

USDF Apprentice Technical Delegate Clinic THE ANNUAL USDF APPRENTICE TECHNICAL DELEGATE CLINIC will be held November 29 during the 2017 Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention in Lexington, KY. This clinic is required for apprentice TDs but is open to all. Topics will include how to become a TD; dressage attire, tack, and equipment; and US Equestrian and USDF forms and publications. Register by November 24.

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 at least two years • Experience teaching in a classroom or lecture environment • Willing to serve on the USDF L 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 L Program Committee liaison at lprogram@usdf.org.

14 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

Check Your Scores CHECK YOUR SCORES at USDFScores.com. Contact the USDF Competitions Department at scorecorrections@usdf.org or at (859) 971-2277 if you notice an error. The 2017 competition year ends September 30. All corrections must be reported by October 15 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Yearbook Photo Deadlines SUBMIT RIDER-AWARD PHOTOS by October 6 and year-end awards photos (first place only) by October 27 in order to be considered for inclusion in the 2017 yearbook issue of USDF Connection. See the USDF photo-release form (on the USDF website under Awards/ Forms and Documents) for submission instructions.

Regional Championships Qualifying Fee to Increase EFFECTIVE BEGINNING WITH THE 2018 Great American/ USDF Regional Championships qualifying season, eligible competitors must be given the option to enter an applicable class as “USDF qualifying” for an additional fee of $15, which must be paid to the show secretary prior to riding in the class. Half of each qualifying fee will continue to be deposited into the Regional Championship prize-money fund.

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The Importance of Posting Diagonals Yes, it matters which one you’re on! Here’s why. Text and photographs by Cindy Sydnor


ost equestrians who ride in English tack learn their posting (aka rising) trot diagonals in the first few lessons. I’ve seen children become amazingly proficient as young as four to six years of age. Very few riders, however, are taught why one posts on a certain diagonal. I suspect that few instructors know why, either, because they were once these very young riders who learned simply to look at the horse’s outside shoulder and stand up when it moves forward.

There is a reason, though, and in this article I’ll share it with you. I’ll start by outlining the mechanics of the horse and rider in the rising trot. Next, I’ll explain when to change diagonals and why. Finally, I’ll give you some fun exercises to help you learn how to pick up the correct diagonal and confirm your skill in becoming a master at it.

Biomechanics of Rising Trot As he moves, your horse’s inside hind leg works slightly harder than his out-

side hind. When you are traveling on the right rein (clockwise), for example, his right hind supports slightly more weight and therefore has to thrust slightly harder than his left hind. This is especially true if he is ridden correctly on straight and bent lines and travels in “first position,” with his inside hind tracking between the paths of his two front feet. (If he is allowed to travel in a “crooked” way—with his haunches slightly to the inside—then he is usually unbalanced and somewhat on the forehand.)
 When you rise or post to the trot, your horse feels your weight in the “down” moment when you sit in the saddle. In the “up” moment, the pressure on his back is significantly reduced. When you sit in the saddle, you can influence your horse’s carrying and thrusting powers—the two powers of the hind legs. When your seat is out of the saddle, you are less able to influence him.
 You may be wondering why, if the rider’s influence is reduced in the rising trot, dressage riders don’t just sit the trot all the time. There are two main reasons: First, with young horses, whose backs are not yet conditioned to carry a rider’s weight, sitting the trot would likely make the horse sore in the back, which could lead to training problems. (In German, the rising trot is referred to as Leichtreiten, which means “riding lightly.”) Second, the rising trot is preferred for warming up a horse of any age because it is often more conducive to getting the horse’s back to “swing.” Sitting the trot immediately may cause the horse to stiffen or even hollow his back.

Rising Trot as Training Tool

ALL RISE: The “up” moment of the posting (rising) trot. The rider’s seat leaves the saddle as the horse’s outside foreleg and inside hind leg leave the ground. As the inside hind leg lands, the rider will sit for the early carrying phase of that limb. Katherine Tackett rides Fuerst Blush, owned by Ashley Powell Nosek, Greensboro, NC.

16 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

The correct way to ride rising trot is to sit when the horse’s inside hind leg lands and pushes off into the next stride. With this timing, you can help influence this important moment, either by either driving slightly with your seat and leg or by half-halting with your seat and outside rein to slow a rushed tempo. Your added weight and the influence of your seat in the saddle

helps to gymnasticize your horse’s inside hind leg by promoting muscular development and engagement. That’s why correct posting is important in the training of young horses and the maintenance of mature horses. It is a basic part of the timing of the aids.
 There is one instance when posting on the “wrong” diagonal (the outside hind) is useful and correct: in teaching a very green horse to make a transition from trot to canter. By sitting on the outside hind leg (posting on the wrong


diagonal), the rider can influence the horse’s outside hind leg when asking for the canter transition. Because the outside hind leg initiates the canter transition, this technique often helps the green horse to find the coordination he needs to make the transition into the first stride of the canter, instead of speeding up the trot and rushing into the canter. This technique also helps horses that have difficulty taking a particular lead and tend to canter on the wrong lead in one direction. [

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SIT TO INFLUENCE: 1) Katherine in the sitting moment of the posting trot, when she can use her seat and driving aids to influence the thrust of Fuerst Blush’s inside hind leg. 2) Midway through the thrusting phase, the mare is responding to the driving aids by pushing off more strongly with her inside hind. 3) The maximum thrusting phase of the inside hind leg, just before the opposite hind leg pushes off and Katherine rises to the trot.

www.fallclassicsale.com USDF CONNECTION • September 2017




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Choosing and Changing Posting Diagonals “Fix your diagonal” is not terribly helpful in teaching a rider to recognize correct diagonals. Most riders will change the diagonal when told, but they didn’t see or feel it themselves. It would be better to say, “Change the hind leg,” which is a translation of the German Fuss wechseln. Americans are taught to check posting diagonals by looking at the horse’s outside shoulder, but doing so tells the rider nothing about the horse’s hind legs. That said, you can check your diagonal by observing the forward movement of your horse’s outside shoulder and coordinating that moment with rising. Try to use your peripheral vision instead of looking down. With practice, this will become easy. Even better, try to feel when your horse’s inside hind is landing, and sit in that moment. (I’ll give you exercises to help with this on page 20.) When you change directions, you’ll want to change diagonals to stay in sync with your horse’s new inside hind leg. To change diagonals, sit for two strides instead of just one; then resume the regular one-two, up-down posting rhythm. You’ll also change diagonals as you ride a diagonal line (e.g., M-X-K), a serpentine, or a loop. Here’s when to change diagonals during these figures: On a diagonal line such as M-X-K in working trot, change diagonals at X—but in a trot lengthen-

Cindy’s Tip: “Inside” vs. “Outside”


n dressage, “inside” and “outside” are always relative to the bend through the length of the horse’s body, not to the direction you are riding in the arena. If you are aware of where “inside” and “outside” are on your horse at any given moment, you will always know which posting diagonal to be on.

ing, wait until the end of the diagonal line to change posting diagonals. In riding a serpentine, change diagonals just before you cross the center line—one or two strides before you change the bend in your horse. This timing prepares him for a more supple change of bend and increased engagement of the new inside hind leg. It’s optional to change diagonals while riding a loop, but I think it is good to do so because the loop is a lateral suppling exercise, similar to a stretched-out serpentine. In a loop, change diagonals each time you cross the quarter line of the arena.


Posting-Trot Exercises Leg-yield. A good example of the benefit of riding on the correct hind leg or diagonal is in the exercise of legyielding. In leg-yield, the horse moves forward and sideways away from the rider’s inside leg, without bend but with slight inside flexion of the poll. As your horse leg-yields, his inside USDF-Connection-Sep-2017-AnneGribbons-20170717OL.pdf hind leg crosses in front of his outside



3:59:27 PM

Fit is Everything. USDF CONNECTION • September 2017


clinic hind leg and moves under his center of gravity. As you rise to the trot during this movement, you sit when the crossing hind leg contacts the ground. In this moment, you can use forwardsideways driving aids to stimulate the crossing hind leg to reach further and push harder. This is a good overall strengthening exercise, especially for the crossing hind leg. Ride leg-yield in both directions to help develop your horse evenly. A more advanced leg-yield exer-


cise is to leg-yield away from the track for a few strides and then leg-yield in the opposite direction, back to the track. If you’re on the right rein, you’d leg-yield right away from your left (inside) leg. After a few strides, stop riding leg-yield and ride straight forward, parallel to the track, for a few feet before leg-yielding left (away from your right leg) back to the track. Change your posting diagonal just before each change of leg-yield direction. Counting strides. Here’s my

Where Do You And Your Horse Rank? You could receive an award!

Don’t Miss These Important Year-end Award Deadlines! • September 30, 2017 • Submission deadline for: birthdates for vintage cup; adult amateur and junior/young rider awards • Declaration deadline for vintage cup and verifying adult amateur status • Membership deadline for USDF Breeder of the Year eligibility • October 15, 2017 • All corrections must be reported to USDF by 5:00 p.m. ET • October 27, 2017 • Photo submission deadline (first place recipients only) for inclusion in the yearbook issue of USDF Connection • November 3, 2017 • If planning to receive your award at the Salute Gala & Annual Awards Banquet purchase your banquet ticket online and provide USDF award recipient information

Learn more about the year-end award requirements in the USDF Member Guide. Check your scores at USDFScores.com Visit usdf.org/awards/preliminary to find out where you and your horse are ranked.

20 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

favorite exercise to check that I’m posting on the correct diagonal. Start in rising trot on a 20-meter circle or on the track. You’ll sit the trot for an uneven number of strides and then resume rising, in this pattern: Sit three, post three; sit five, post five; sit seven, post seven; sit nine, post nine. Then go back down, nine-seven-fivethree. Each time you resume posting, check to see if you are on the correct diagonal. Repeat on the opposite rein. Children master this exercise with just a little practice. Adults can do it, too! Voice-aided timing. It’s common for novice riders to post on the same diagonal on both reins. Learn the difference with this exercise. Start by riding a transition from walk to working trot sitting. Remain sitting as you look at your horse’s outside shoulder, and say “up” out loud every time you see his outside shoulder going forward. Continue to say “up” as you prepare to rise in rhythm with your voice. Take your time. Sit for as long as it takes until you can literally tell yourself when to rise. And if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! You can master this. Develop feel. Another fun exercise is to learn to feel when the horse’s outside shoulder is going forward without having to look at it. Start in working trot sitting. Look ahead at your horse’s ears or even higher, at the tree line or the roof line of the indoor arena—no glancing down!—and concentrate on


• “Comfort” bridles: Does your horse need one? • NAJYRC dressage coverage • Dr. Hilary Clayton: Biomechanics of the horse’s neck

• Meet the USDF Executive Board candidates

feeling the left-right-left-right movements of his shoulders. When you are sure you can feel his outside shoulder going forward, rise into posting.

The Ambidextrous Horse and Rider Horses that have been ridden on only one diagonal don’t like it when a rider changes to the “other” diagonal. They often learn the trick of taking a short, quick step to get the rider to change to the diagonal they have come to prefer. Persevere in riding such horses on the correct diagonal to strengthen the weaker hind leg, which is the root of the problem. And that’s why it makes a difference in your horse’s muscular development, and ultimately in the development of his gaits, to ride rising trot on the correct diagonal. Correct posting is important. Luckily, there are only two diagonals! s

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indy Sydnor was an examiner in the USDF Instructor/Trainer Program for more than 20 years and retired in 2013. She was a US Equestrian “R” dressage judge for more than 30 years. After riding and training in the US, Germany, Austria, and Brazil, she established her own dressage training facility on her husband’s cattle ranch, Braeburn Farm, in Snow Camp, NC. She has taught and trained numerous riders and horses at all levels. Learn more at braeburnfarms.com.

USDF CONNECTION • September 2017


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The Nomination (preliminary entry) deadline is midnight, 96 hours after the last championship day of your Regional Championship. The Nomination fee paid will be applied to the total amount due at Closing Date. Nominated entries that do not receive an invitation will receive a full refund of nomination fees paid minus the $10 processing fee per nominated class. Priority for all stabling requests (including stabling in heated Alltech Barn and for double stalls) will be based on the date of receipt of the completed entry and allotted Alltech stalls per region. To maintain priority consideration, a completed entry must be received within five days after the nomination deadline.

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the judge’s box

Many riders give little thought to this gait. Big mistake. Here’s why. By Sarah Geikie


good walk has very distinct qualities. Most important, it has a clear four-beat rhythm in which the purity of the gait is maintained. It covers ground, with engaged hind legs and good shoulder freedom. The horse’s back and topline move in a relaxed, swinging manner that travels through to the neck and head so that he reaches in a soft, round way into a receiving contact. The best walks have an energetic, marching, purposeful

corrupted of the three gaits. It is difficult for a rider to improve a horse’s natural walk, but it is very easy to do irreparable damage to it.

Not Just “Break Time” Riders need to change their thinking regarding the walk. In my experience, the majority of riders through Second Level go on “coffee break” every time they come to the walk and

A WALK TO REMEMBER: The five-year-old Hanoverian stallion Totem (Totilas x Donnerhall), ridden by Karen Pavicic of Canada, shows excellent “round” stretch over his topline in the walk during a dressage training demonstration at the 2017 FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha

take a break during their schooling sessions. The walk is a gait that needs to be nurtured continually, regardless of whether you are taking a break or schooling. Develop mindfulness as to the quality of the walk. As the saying goes, every moment that you are with your horse, you are either training him or untraining him.

24 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

How to Ride the Walk (and Avoid Damaging It) Always ride the walk energetically forward. Your horse should “march” in a clear rhythm. You want to train him to always offer a nice, forward walk. Make sure that your own biomechanics are correct when you ride the walk. Many riders lock and stiffen their hips and backs. Instead, work on swinging through your hips and lower back and following your horse’s movement. In other words, your hips should move with your horse’s hips. As your horse walks, you need to follow the undulating movements of his neck and head with an elastic contact. Some riders mistakenly try to follow the walk by moving their shoulders forward and back. Your shoulders should remain quiet while your supple elbows absorb the natural forward-and-back movements of your horse’s head and neck. A tight seat and leg will create tension in the horse’s body and disturb the rhythm of the walk (I’ll discuss that cardinal sin, the lateral walk, later in this article). Work to sit deeper into your horse, with a long, draped leg that is loose but also quiet. Ride lots of curved lines in the walk. The bend will encourage your Podcast Alert


look as well as a “Marilyn Monroe” quality—the horse’s entire body moves. The walk is a pace that has no moment of suspension (“air time”), and therefore it cannot possess impulsion, although the walk can develop the engagement and activity of the horse’s hind legs. Because the walk lacks suspension, its rhythm is the most easily

Always keep in mind that one of the goals of dressage training is the development of the gaits. At Training and First Levels, the horse is establishing an understanding and acceptance of the aids, pushing power in the hind legs, suppleness, balance, and connection appropriate to the horse’s outline, which is a horizontal balance. When the horse reaches Second Level, we expect to see the positive results of the training as the gaits begin to develop more expression, freedom, activity, and suppleness.

Listen to podcast 163 for an interview with Sarah Geikie at usdf. podbean.com.


Walk This Way



V IS FOR VERY GOOD WALK: In a walk that has good energy and ground cover, a clear “V” can be seen as the horse moves.

horse to stretch forward and downward toward the contact with a relaxed, swinging back. Ride many transitions in the free walk (see “Walks Defined” on page 28), from a normal walk to slightly smaller steps until you can do so from your weight aids only, with no hand. The more the horse knows how to react to your weight aids, the more successful you will be in developing his supple, swinging back.


Troubleshooting Some horses are naturally very tight and contracted in their backs and necks in the walk. With such a horse, take care to ride him in a deeper, rounder outline to encourage him to relax his topline. This type of horse very often is behind the leg, giving the rider the feeling that she cannot put the leg on. But that is exactly what you need to do! Use leg-yields and lateral work to help develop better acceptance of the aids. Other horses tend to get long and “strung out” in their frames in the walk, with their “under necks” too strong and their backs hollow. This horse needs to learn to accept the contact and the bit before you can improve the walk itself. Use lots of transitions, turns on the forehand, and leg-yields to teach him to become more reactive to the aids. Such a horse can get too long in his strides, as well, so he ends up balancing too low over his shoulders. After he becomes more responsive, the rider can then use half-halts to develop better contact and balance. [

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the judge’s box


DON’T WALK THIS WAY: In a lateral walk, the foreleg and the hind leg on the same side move almost synchronously. This is a serious fault because the horse has lost the four-beat rhythm of the gait.

The purity of the walk and the correct rhythm are of utmost importance. Any deviation of the correct walk rhythm is a serious fault. If it occurs for only a few steps, it is less serious. If it is pervasive, it is very serious and must result in a low score. In addition, an insufficient walk score must also be factored into the gait score. Remember, one of the goals of dressage training is

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Walks Defined


he US Equestrian dressage tests include the following walks: medium, collected, extended, and free. Here are the definitions of these paces, from DR 103 of the US Equestrian rule book: Medium walk. A clear, regular, and unconstrained walk of moderate lengthening. The horse, remaining “on the bit,” walks energetically but relaxed with even and determined steps, the hind feet touching the ground in front of the hoof prints of the fore feet. The rider maintains a light, soft, and steady contact with the mouth, allowing the natural movement of the head and neck. Collected walk. The horse, remaining “on the bit,” moves resolutely forward, with its neck raised and arched and showing a clear self-carriage. The head approaches the vertical position and a light contact is maintained with the mouth. The hind legs are engaged with good hock action. The gait should remain marching and vigorous, the feet being placed in regular sequence. The steps cover less ground and are higher than at the medium walk, because all the joints bend more markedly. The collected walk is shorter than the medium walk, although showing greater activity. Extended walk. The horse covers as much ground as possible, without haste and without losing the regularity of the steps. The hind feet touch the ground clearly in front of the hoof prints of the fore feet. The rider allows the horse to stretch out the head and neck (forward and downward) without losing contact with the mouth and control of the poll. The nose must be clearly in front of the vertical. Free walk. The free walk is a pace of relaxation in which the horse is allowed complete freedom to lower and stretch out his head and neck. The degree of ground cover and length of strides, with hind feet stepping clearly in front of the footprints of the front feet, are essential to the quality of the free walk.

to develop and enhance the gaits. The US Equestrian rule book (DR 103) explains that “When the foreleg and the hind leg on the same side swing forward almost synchronously, the walk has a lateral rhythm. This irregularity is a serious deterioration of the gait.” If your horse’s walk becomes lateral, ride some steps of leg-yield in the walk, as a horse cannot be lateral in the leg-yield. Alternate between steps of leg-yield to restore the rhythm and walking straight ahead. Avoid trying to collect a walk that has a lateral tendency. Focus on riding medium or free walk to encourage your horse to relax his back and topline, and to stretch forward and out to the contact. Take care to stay relaxed and swinging through your own back and seat.

28 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

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In the Show Ring Dressage judges are looking for purity of the pace, suppleness of the back, freedom in the shoulders, and an honest seeking of the contact forward. Tip: The free and extended walks are coefficient movements (x 2). It will pay off to develop your horse’s walk! s Sarah Geikie, Lebanon, CT, is an examiner in the USDF Instructor/Trainer Program and a former faculty member of the USDF L Education Program. She is an FEI 4* dressage judge and a US Equestrian “S” dressage judge. A USDF bronze and silver medalist and a wellknown clinician, she has taught and trained many riders and horses through the Grand Prix level. Her website is SarahGeikieDressage.com.

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Daily Highlights Wednesday, Nov. 29

Registration opens Executive Sessions (Closed) Committee Meetings (Closed) USDF Apprentice Technical Delegate Clinic (Ticketed event)

Thursday, Nov. 30

Interactive Rider Fitness (Daily a.m. program) Committee Chairs & Delegates Meeting Region 1-9 Meetings USEF Rule Change Forum Committee Meetings (Open) Featured Education Presentation Welcome Party Judges Open Forum

Friday, Dec. 1

Region 1-9 Meetings Competition Open Forum with Q&A GMO Roundtable Featured Education Presentations Board of Governors General Assembly

Saturday, Dec. 2

Board of Governors General Assembly Youth Education Youth Open Forum USEF Dressage TD Clinic (Ticketed event) USEF Athlete Forum Featured Education Presentations Salute Gala & Annual Awards Banquet (Ticketed event)

For the most complete and up-to-date draft agenda visit


Thank You to Our Corporate Sponsor

2017 Adequa Annual Con Welcome to our old Kentucky home November 29 – December 2, 2017 Lexington, KY

an®/ USDF nvention Travel to the heart of the Bluegrass and network with your peers, learn from some of the country’s most respected experts, and keep abreast with the latest developments through various forums and roundtable discussions. Cap off your week celebrating at the Salute Gala & Annual Awards Banquet, all while enjoying our old Kentucky home!

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Additional Events ΠSalute Gala & Annual Awards Banquet $90 (onsite $110) ΠUSDF Apprentice Dressage Technical Delegate Clinic (Tickets must be purchased by November 24, 2017.) $175

Hyatt Regency Lexington Our host hotel this year is the Hyatt Regency Lexington, located in downtown Lexington. Stroll around downtown to check out local restaurants, historical sites, and shopping opportunities. For the more adventurous, take a scenic drive to experience the horse capital of the world.

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Leadership Lessons

Want a stronger, more vibrant GMO? Help your directors learn how to lead. By Jennifer M. Miller


ith more than 100 USDFaffiliated dressage organizations across the country, at this very moment the board of a group-member organization (GMO) could be meeting to discuss important business, from upcoming events to the club’s finances. More often than not, these all-volunteer boards of directors have more experience training horses and running shows and clinics than spearheading organizations. Some find themselves struggling to manage the inevitable

use in navigating the leadership- and management-training options.

Start with the USDF’s GMO Resources One resource that’s both free and aimed specifically at the needs of the GMO is USDF’s GMO Guide. The GMO Guide, which includes an extensive GMO Handbook (online at usdf. org), covers a range of topics including finance, membership, and marketing. Among the USDF’s 18 committees

IN FORMATION: Effective leaders create unity, build consensus

conflicts and to lead effectively. GMOs are becoming increasingly aware that their boards can govern more effectively if they build directors’ leadership and management skills. Where to start? A quick online search brings up thousands of workshops, webinars, conferences, books, and more, at costs ranging from free to thousands of dollars. In this article, we’ll give you tips that your GMO can

is the Group Member Organization Committee, whose mission is “growth and development of GMOs to broaden and strengthen the dressage community and increase access to education.” With a member from each of USDF’s nine regions, the GMO Committee is a resource for clubs on training topics, including leadership and management. “USDF offers more than is often recognized in terms of leadership and

32 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION


management programs,” says GMO Committee chair Cindi Rose Wylie, of Georgetown, MA, the chair of the USDF GMO Committee, a longtime New England Dressage Association member, and a professional dressage rider and trainer. Wylie points out that the USDF maintains an e-mail list for GMO presidents (the “GMO Prezlist”) and a closed Facebook group for GMO Officials, in which club leaders can exchange ideas and advice. (To request to join either or both, send e-mail to gmo@usdf.org.) One of the best ways to learn more about leading a GMO, says Wylie, is to attend the Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention. She recommends the popular GMO roundtable sessions, at which interested USDF members can participate in small-group discussions on a variety of GMO-related topics, subdivided by club size. Three to four topics typically are on the convention roster; last year, GMO leadership was the focus of a session. The topic of bylaws is on the agenda for the 2017 convention in Lexington, KY, November 29-December 2, Wylie says. For more convention information, visit the USDF website or see the preview in this issue on page 30. You may well attend industry meetings and similar events as part of your job. If you hold a leadership role in your GMO, consider USDF convention attendance part of your professional-development strategy, says Dr. Lisa Toaldo, of Montague, NJ, the Region 1 GMO Committee representative and a past president of the Eastern States Dressage and Combined Training Association. If your GMO can help foot the bill to offset the costs of attending convention, it will be a wise investment in your club’s future, she says. And if your GMO can’t afford to send anyone to convention? Consider banding together with other GMO boards in your region to seek leadership training. GMO Committee members have much experience with their own GMO boards and have other types of


club connection

A WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE: GMO representatives seek solutions and offer advice at the well-attended roundtable discussions at the USDF convention

training, as well, which makes them valuable resources to GMO leaders seeking management and other solutions, says Wylie. “We are always happy to help and support our local GMOs and recognize how important they are to the growth and well-being of the USDF,” she says. Oregon Dressage Society executive director and Region 6 GMO Committee representative Corinne Tindal Stonier urges club reps to reach out to committee members when an issue or question first arises, so they can help before it’s too late. (They’d love to hear your GMO’s success stories, too, she adds.) Find a list of the GMO Committee members and their contact info on the USDF website under About/Governance/Councils and Committees.

American Eventer Clark Montgomery



Resources for Nonprofits Your GMO, like the USDF, is a nonprofit organization. Take advantage of the variety of local, state, national, and online resources available to nonprofits. “It’s tough for board members, since you don’t know what you don’t know,” says Rick Cohen, director of communications and operations at the National Council of Nonprofits (councilofnonprofits.org) in Washington, DC. Cohen recommends the online resource Boardsource (boardsource. org), which provides free information and affordable training, plus tips on tax, financial, and fund-raising reporting requirements for nonprofits,

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USDF CONNECTION • September 2017


club connection which vary from state to state. Another good source of information, says Stonier, is the bimonthly e-newsletter Blue Avocado (blueavocado.org), published by American Nonprofits, a membership association for US 501(c)(3) organizations. Look to other nonprofits in your area as potential resources. Perhaps the head of another organization’s board would be willing to speak about his or her leadership experiences at your GMO’s next board meeting.

Likewise, if your board has some wisdom to share, offer to do so. Toaldo reached out to a new GMO in her region to share her expertise and to help the board access USDF resources. If your GMO board has question or a problem, chances are other organizations have grappled with similar issues. That’s why it makes sense to tap into the pool of existing knowledge, says Toaldo. “Don’t waste your time reinventing the wheel, since there are many resources already available,” she says.

Join TDF’s Family as a Sustaining Partner Your monthly gift of $10, $25, or an amount you choose, is an easy way to make a big impact for your dressage community! “I support TDF because it helps the sport I love at ALL levels. It always surprises me at the end of the year to find that my ‘small’ monthly contribution has added up to a nice donation! It’s a terrific and easy way to participate in the development of our sport!” - Anne Sushko

Give easily and often with a monthly donation. Visit www.dressagefoundation.org and click on “Support” to get started, or call TDF at (402) 434-8585. 34 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION


A GMO with sufficient financial resources might consider joining its state nonprofit association (like those affiliated with the National Council of Nonprofits). As a member, the club would be eligible to send board members to relevant workshops, or to engage an expert to facilitate a customized training session. The Oregon Dressage Society, for one, is a member of the Nonprofit Association of Oregon and sent its treasurer to a training session, Stonier says.

Serious About Leadership Training


he Oregon Dressage Society (ODS) believes in “empowering leaders on the ground,” according to ODS executive director and Region 6 USDF Group Member Organization Committee representative Corinne Tindal Stonier, of Hillsboro, OR. The organization puts its money where its mouth is by hosting an annual retreat. Leaders from ODS’s 13 chapters gather in late January to learn about the organization’s history as well as management and event planning. Stonier, a paid part-timer who’s held her position since 2004, says the ODS launched the retreats sometime in the 1990s to help share information and provide a support structure to train new club leaders, from directors to committee members and event organizers. “Burnout is an issue,” Stonier says. “People don’t step up if they don’t see something is broken.” Those who attend the retreat tend to be the club’s most successful leaders, according to Stonier. “New blood” stepped up into more senior roles after last year’s retreat and have remained involved over the year, she says.

Even if joining your state’s nonprofit association isn’t an option, your GMO may be able to send people to workshops by paying the higher nonmember rate. The investment may pay dividends in the long run, says Stonier, who recommends that GMO leaders connect with their states’ nonprofit organizations for help understanding state laws and relevant tax-filing requirements. Beyond the board, a club might decide to hold a leadership-training session open to all members as a service to the area equine-business community. (See “Serious About Leadership Training” opposite.) Help offset costs by seeking event sponsorship. Many GMO members are dressage-facility owners and professional instructor/ trainers whose own businesses could benefit from leadership training—and the session could help your club identify potential new board members, as well.

Be Wary of the Friend Trap One challenge many GMOs face is finding and retaining board members. After all, the role of a board member is more involved than many other volunteer positions and requires a longer and more ongoing commitment. In this dilemma, GMOs are not alone, says Cohen; many nonprofits struggle to develop and retain their directors. “Passion, and not necessarily running an organization or reading a 990

[a nonprofit’s IRS tax-return form], is what brings members to a board,” he says. “So although they come together for the love of the sport, it is often a struggle to effectively lead and manage the organization.” It’s only natural that like-minded people turn to other like-minded people when it’s time to fill a vacant board seat—but if the person isn’t qualified, the decision might not in your GMO’s best interest, says Cohen. It’s common for GMO board members to recruit friends, and serving on a board with your buddies can be fun; but the most effective directors tend to be people who bring relevant professional skills— from accounting and website maintenance to communications and public relations—to their volunteer positions. Cohen and Toaldo both advise avoiding the “friend trap.” Instead, approach GMO members or related industry contacts who possess valuable skills, even if those people aren’t in your circle of close friends. Cast a wide net, and keep in mind that you may stumble across a promising candidate in any number of ways. Toaldo, who is also a dressage technical delegate, met the ESDCTA’s current treasurer at a seminar on bit-checking and scribing that she conducted at local barns. Toaldo discovered that the person had professional financial experience, and she recruited her for the GMO’s board. Cohen further suggests that board

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members ask themselves: “What are the skill sets we need beyond our circle?” Then work your collective networks to find people with those skills who might be interested in supporting your GMO. A candidate might be a parent or other family member, or even a vendor associated with the industry.

Leadership at All Levels As elected leaders, board members give much of their “time, talent, and treasures” to their organizations and to the sport of dressage, says Toaldo. As a past GMO president herself, she strongly believes that the president plays a key role in educating board members about governance and leadership. However, all members—not just the board of directors—have a hand in their clubs’ leadership. “Leadership starts and ends with the GMO membership,” Toaldo says. “The ownership of the club belongs to the membership at large.” Engaged, effective leaders help to create organizations people want to support. By providing resources to train your GMO’s directors and volunteer managers to lead effectively, you may find that members respond by getting more involved. s Jennifer M. Miller is a freelance writer based in Albany, NY, with almost two decades of professional marketing and communications experience.

2016 Recap and Results • 2016 US Dressage Finals Results • Social Media Highlights • Regions Cup • Perpetual Trophies • High Score Breed Awards • 2016 Media Coverage USDF CONNECTION • September 2017


historical connection


American Dressage Legends: Elizabeth Searle A lifetime of pioneering equestrian achievements

TIRELESS ACHIEVER: Receiving her USDF Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 from then-USDF president Sam Barish

36 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

DANCING PARTNER: Searle (left, in 1971) enjoyed pas de deux and promoted it along with quadrille and freestyle as fun for both horse and rider

to Germany in 1956 and immediately understood its value, especially for horseless young equestrian enthusiasts, according to Moore. Searle went on to co-found the American Vaulting Association, to serve as the AVA’s first president, and to become a national and international vaulting judge. A string of other prestigious national awards followed Searle’s USDF Lifetime Achievement Award. She received the Pegasus Award from the American Horse Shows Association (now US Equestrian) in 2003 in recognition of her service to horse sport. In 2007 she received a second AHSA honor, the Walter B. Devereaux Award, for her sportsmanship and service. At the 2012 US Equestrian convention, Searle was posthumously placed on the Honor Roll of Distinguished Officials.


oore has written frequently about Searle over the years, his tributes usually punctuated with amusing behind-the-scenes anecdotes that offer Podcast Alert


The inaugural USDF Lifetime Achievement Awards were bestowed in 2002. The first recipients were two women without whose efforts the USDF would not be what it is today: Lazelle Knocke (profiled in our April issue) and Elizabeth “Liz” Searle. Name almost any aspect of the sport of dressage—or of several other equestrian disciplines, for that matter—and Searle (1917-2012) had a hand in it. In 1967, in her home state of California, she helped to found the California Dressage Society, USDF’s largest group-member organization;

the organizing meeting was held at Molehaven, Searle’s facility in Soquel. She was a prominent organizer of West Coast dressage shows, clinics, and seminars. In the 1950s, she founded the first Pony Club west of the Mississippi, and she continued to support Pony Club for many years as national vice president and examiner. She was a co-founder of the California Quadrille Association, an outgrowth of the Osierlea Quadrille, an exhibition team of her students at the dressage facility in San Juan Bautista that she co-owned and operated with her partner, J. Ashton “Jeff” Moore. An accomplished dressage rider and competitor in her own right—she won a dressage national-championship title in the 1960s—Searle became even better known as a dressage judge. A US Equestrian “S” and FEI “I” (now 4*) judge, she served as a faculty member of the USDF L Education Program, and she chaired the USDF Judges Committee from 1984 to 2001. From 1989 to 1996, Searle was also the USDF vice president. Searle and Moore were also passionate about sport-horse breeding. They were among the earliest importers of Dutch Warmbloods to the US (including Taxateur, the first licensed KWPN stallion to stand in this country), and Searle became instrumental in the formation of the North American branch of the Royal Dutch Warmblood Studbook, known as the KWPN-NA. A dressage sport-horse breeding judge, Searle was the primary judge of KWPNNA keurings from 1985 to 1999. An equestrian with wide-ranging interests, Searle promoted pas de deux and freestyle in addition to quadrille, saying that these dressage offshoots provided needed fun for both riders and horses. She was introduced to the sport of vaulting during a trip

For more on Elizabeth Searle, check out podcast 164 at usdf. podbean.com.



even years after establishing its Hall of Fame, the USDF realized that a second category of recognition was in order: to honor a lifetime of extraordinary volunteer contributions to the organization on a national level.

a glimpse of dressage’s pioneer days in America. Of Searle’s earliest dressage attempts in the 1940s, he wrote the following for the California Dressage Society: Liz rode a little Standardbred mare with a gaited double bridle. She entered a dressage competition judged by Herman Friedlaender from Germany. After she won the class, he approached her and she set herself up for congratulations. He said: “That was the most agonizing performance I have ever seen. I wouldn’t ride that horse for a thousand dollars” (a lot of money in the 1940s). Liz replied: “I wouldn’t let you ride my horse for a thousand dollars.” More curious than chastised, she called him a few days later to ask if he would help her with the horse, and he agreed. He showed up for the lesson with a thick hollow-mouth German snaffle bit and proceeded to show her how to get the horse on the bit and relaxed. It must have been a good lesson; they were married for 25 years.

Moore wrote the following tribute to Searle for this article. USDF Connection salutes this great lady of dressage, who did so much for so many and whose contributions forever improved the sport in America.

eventing, dressage became Liz’s great area of expertise. Over 50 years she kept me on the straight and narrow about her concept of classical dressage, no matter the current dressage “expert” of fashion or bastardization of the sport in the pursuit of showing. At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Liz renewed an acquaintance with the Swedish Olympic gold medalist Baron Hans von Blixen-Finecke. She invited him to Osierlea to teach, thus beginning a 25-year relationship that brought his genius to Americans. Liz’s ability to be supportive yet still “hold the line” about the individual and the sport was unique. She never let me get too impressed with myself, but was always completely supportive. The number of national and international equestrian projects we founded together are a legacy to her abilities and tenacity. She supported the USDF in so many ways over so many years— but it was just another facet of her remarkable character. —J. Ashton Moore

YOURDRESSAGE available on the USDF app! USDF’s publication, YourDressage, features stories written by participants from throughout the dressage community. Experience their stories as they navigate through the wonderful world of dressage. Download the free USDF app, USDF: Your Dressage Connection, and get connected!


lizabeth Searle, “Liz” to all, contributed, over her 94 years, enormously to many aspects of equestrian art. She changed the lives of many individuals, some of them troubled young people. I was one of those individuals. I showed up, at age 15, at a meeting of the Santa Cruz (CA) County Pony Club, of which Liz was the district commissioner and chief instructor. I had ridden hunters and jumpers since the age of 9, and had no clue about, and no interest in, dressage. Liz said that I would have to “do dressage” because it was part of the Pony Club program. At 17 she took me on as a working student, and our 50 years as partners began. She got me a “gig” as a working student with her friend Kyra Downton, which allowed me to train extensively with Col. Alois Podhajsky and Col. Waldemar Seunig, as well as other classical luminaries. Although she was a successful competitor in hunters, jumpers, and

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all-breeds connection

Much more than “cute blond ponies,” these horses are little dressage powerhouses


hen Haflingers were first imported into the US in 1958, they were a smaller and stockier breed, used mostly for driving. Since that time, through selective breeding, the Haflinger has returned to more closely align with the Austrian original: an all-around small, agile, and athletic horse.

makes an excellent dressage mount for any level. The breed’s powerful hindquarters are an asset for the collected work needed for upper-level dressage. Haflingers you might know: Owner/rider Jillian Santi put Starwars TOF (Stars n’ Stripes TOF – Abella TOF) on the dressage map when she trained the gelding from Training Level to Grand Prix. Now retired from dressage competition, the versatile “Star” enjoys doing Western dressage, sorting cattle, practicing mounted shooting, and riding the trails in Washington state. With owner/rider Linden Thompson (MI) and rider Petra Warlimont (CO), N’Tempo SSH1 (Nickerson SFF – Malta’s Margie CAF) (pictured) was the American Haflinger Registry’s All-Breeds First Level Open BLOND AMBITION: The eye-catching Haflinger gelding N’Tempo champion in 2015 and SSH1 and owner/rider Linden Thompson at the National Dressage also competed at the Pony Cup in Kentucky National Dressage Pony Cup that year. The breed’s curiosity and willing“When I show ‘Beau,’ he draws a ness make it versatile, and its size makes crowd,” says Thompson. “People start off it handy. A Haflinger owner can show saying ‘Cute’ and end up saying ‘Wow!’” in dressage one weekend, swim at the Cassandra OOS (Aristobelle RP beach the next, and sort cows the third. – Carma OOS) carried owner/rider The Haflinger ranges in height from Jan Chambers (OH), 60, to her USDF pony- to horse-sized, so there’s one for Training Level Rider Performance every age and height of rider. Known for Award in 2014 and in 2015 earned a its willing can-do attitude, intelligence, USDF Horse Performance Certificate strength, and kindness, the Haflinger at Training Level.

38 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

“As an older rider,” says Chambers, “my Haflinger has allowed me to continue to grow and learn as a rider, and more important, to feel safe and have fun. At age 50 I had a fall and, for the first time in my life, contemplated giving up riding. Fortunately, Haflingers entered my life. My mare’s unflappable temperament and tremendous work ethic allowed me to overcome my fear issues and to once again be able to ride with confidence, participate in clinics, and take part in recognized shows. At a show last summer, the judge wrote, ‘Well-matched and happy pair.’ Who could ask for anything more?” The American Haflinger Registry: The AHR is the North American Haflinger registry and studbook of record. It strives to promote the breed for all uses, including dressage. All-Breeds awards offered: Top five placings, all categories. How to participate: The horse must be registered with the AHR. The owner must be a current AHR member. Learn more: haflingerhorse.com or (330) 784-0000. 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: Haflinger


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In It for the

LONG HAUL Got a long-distance trip with horses planned? Read this first. BY SARAH EVERS CONRAD

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: A trip of 12 or more hours requires extra advance planning and preparation

40 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION


t’s almost fall, and that means it’s championship season for many USDF members. Great American/USDF Regional Championships are under way, and some competitors will soon be planning their trips to Kentucky for the US Dressage Finals. After that comes the annual migration to Florida for a winter of training and shows. And these are just some of the higher-profile reasons that dressage riders hit the road with their horses. Whatever the reason for the trip, many of these journeys have one thing in common: They’re long. Just ask dressage pro Morgan Barrows, who in 2016 hauled two horses to the US Dressage Finals from her Zoo Station Dressage in Monroe, WA—a four-day-long affair. Or anyone who’s made the drive to “Welly World” in Florida from the Northeast or Midwest, a slog that can top 18 hours. Even seasoned haulers who don’t blink at day-long drives may be daunted at the prospect of 12-plus hours on the road with horses. A trip of that magnitude requires extra planning and precautions to help ensure that your precious cargo arrives healthy and in the best physical condition possible. We’ve gathered recommendations from veterinarians, road warriors, and professional shippers.

The Do-It-Yourselfer Barrows regularly hauls long distances—which was a plus for the Kentucky trip because she’s comfortable with her rig, is confident that her horses trailer well, and knows how many hours on the road she and the horses can handle in a day. En route to the US Dressage Finals, she laid over in Boise, ID; Denver; and Lincoln, NE. The nightly stops gave the horses a break and a chance to rest. You want to have a safe and road-ready rig even if you’re just hauling down the road, but you really want everything to be shipshape if you’re planning a long trip. Maintain your truck and trailer regularly, even if they’re used infrequently, says Peter Tufano, who with two family members co-owns Meadowbrook Horse Transportation, a commercial shipper based in Florida. “For weekend warriors, their trailer sits for six months and then they use it for two weeks, and then it sits another four months, and then they use it,” Tufano says. Barrows, for one, has a professional mechanic give her trailer a going-over before every major haul.


Hire a Pro? Some horse owners dislike trailering, especially long distances. “If you’re nervous about hauling, reach out to a commercial hauler,” advises Christina Russillo, DVM, a sportUSDF CONNECTION

September 2017


GOING IN STYLE: Shipping commercially is more expensive than hauling a horse yourself, but some owners find the stress relief and the horse comfort worth the price

horse veterinarian with Virginia Equine Imaging in Middleburg, VA, and Wellington, FL, and the current US Equestrian dressage team veterinarian. “The peace of mind due to the experience and professionalism they can bring to the equation—it may be worth the fee to you.” Dressage trainer, competitor, and clinician Marie Pet-

tersson regularly does shorter hauls herself from her North Salem, NY, home base. But when it comes to her annual treks to and from Florida’s “Welly World,” she lets someone else do the driving. “I much prefer a commercial shipper for several reasons,” says Pettersson. “The larger trucks have air suspen-

By Jennifer Bryant, Editor, USDF Connection


ver several decades of hauling horses, including throughout California and all over the East Coast, I’ve amassed a slew of stuff that helps to make trailering a little easier and safer. Here are the things that are always on board my rig: • Water. Five-gallon jugs for the horses, and a cooler filled with water and Gatorade for the humans. • Food. Plenty of hay, sandwiches, and snacks. • A fully charged smartphone, a charging cable for the vehicle, and the Waze navigation app. • A GPS with the latest map updates downloaded (I like multiple sources of routing info). By the time you read this, I will have upgraded to a GPS made specifically for truckers or RV drivers, which should help to keep me from blundering down a road that is not suitable for horse trailers. • A US Rider membership card. Because I never want to have a problem on the road and have no one to call. • Walkie-talkies. These two-way radios are great for

42 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

quick and safe communiqués if you’re convoying with someone. • A vial of equine tranquilizer and syringes for intramuscular injection. My veterinarian prepared this kit for me, in case I ever have to quiet a horse in the event of an incident on the road. • A container of Progressive Nutrition’s Aqua-Aide electrolyte mix, which is basically powdered Gatorade for horses. My horse finds it irresistible and will drink it on the road or any time he’s inclined to turn up his nose at plain water. • A tire-pressure monitoring system. The readout serves as advance notice before a flat or a blowout. • Properly inflated spare tires (both truck and trailer) and a drive-on trailer jack. • Fans in the trailer. A real lifesaver for the horses if you get stuck in traffic on a hot day. • An external RV battery and solar-powered battery charger. Powers the trailer lights and fans when the tow vehicle is disconnected or shut off.


Ease on Down the Road: Trailering Tips and Tricks


WHEELS UP: An Emirates B-777 cargo aircraft carrying 34 horses from 10 European nations departs London’s Stansted Airport for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

sion and give your horse a much more comfortable ride when standing for longer periods of time. Many times there will be several drivers taking turns driving, and therefore they are able to drive straight through to the destination without a layover at night.” (Although Pettersson likes for her horses to travel nonstop, some people find one or more layovers preferable. One year, Barrows hired a commercial hauler to transport horses to the US Dressage Finals, and the shipper drove straight through. Barrows says her horses arrived in Kentucky more fatigued because they didn’t get the nightly R&R she gave them when she did the hauling. Regardless, she says, she always plans for the horses to arrive two days before the start of competition so that they have an extra day to rest, rehydrate, and recover.) Research commercial haulers by asking local stables or trainers for recommendations; then ask the shipper for references, Pettersson advises. On her list of must-haves: punctuality; extensive horse-care experience; good client communication, especially if there any problems or delays arise; and a history of delivering horses in good health and condition. Tufano suggests asking the prospective shipper whether it’s picking up other horses along the way, if horses will lay over or go straight through, what type of stall the horse will be in (straight stall or box? Tied or loose?), whether the horse will stay on the same trailer for the entire trip or switch rigs part way, how often the horses are checked and

given hay and water, and whether the drivers have horse experience. One advantage of going commercial: the liability issue. “We are licensed and insured carriers,” says Tufano. “We hold all the responsibility if there’s an accident. If they were hauling their horses themselves, that puts a lot on the line for them just as a liability.”

Air Transport If the destination is far enough away, you may find yourself exploring air transport as an option to a long over-the-road journey. Specialty shippers regularly fly horses around the globe, but horses also are flown cross-country and other very long distances. Clients choose the Lexington, KY,-based H. E. “Tex” Sutton Forwarding Company, an equine air transporter, over road shippers because of the time savings, according to operations manager Mike Payne. Flying is also “a lot less stressful” to horses, he says. “Once we’re up in the air, it doesn’t even feel like you’re moving other than hearing the wind noise, so they are very relaxed.” Fly or drive? When you’re considering a trip for yourself, you may weigh such factors as travel time to the airport and the necessary advance airport arrival time in your decision. The same goes for transporting horses, says Pettersson, who points out that similar time add-ons can make some trips take about as long in total by air as by road. Then, of course, there’s the price difference: Transporting a horse by air can USDF CONNECTION

September 2017


PASSPORT, PLEASE: Horses traveling internationally are shipped with plenty of documents. Billy the Biz, a British event horse ridden by Pippa Funnell, is shown on his way to the 2016 Olympics accompanied by his FEI passport and other paperwork.

cost thousands of dollars, which puts the flying option out of reach of some owners’ pocketbooks, especially if they need to transport multiple horses. For more on equine air-transport considerations, see “Into the Wild Blue Yonder” on the facing page.

Preparing the Paperwork Whether your horse will travel by land or by air, make sure that all of the required health documents go with him. A current negative Coggins certificate is a must. Have a valid health

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certificate on board if your horse will be crossing state lines; without it, the vehicle could be refused entry. Many shows and equestrian venues require health certificates, even for instate horses, and US Equestrian rules require documentation of equine influenza and equine herpes virus (aka rhinopneumonitis) (“flu/rhino”) vaccination within six months of the date of a licensed competition. Read the flu/rhino rule (US Equestrian GR845) and download the Equine Vaccination Record form at usef.org. Competition prize lists state their documentation requirements, and your veterinarian can guide you through the process and furnish health certificates and required signatures (or a signed letter, if your horse can’t tolerate the flu/rhino vaccine). If your horse will be crossing an international border, things get more complicated. For one, his health certificate must be countersigned by a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarian, and this process takes time, says Russillo. And if quarantine or importation and exportation is

involved, then you’ll need to research the vaccination and other paperwork requirements of the destination country. Your vet and the shipper should be able to offer guidance. While you’re gathering your paperwork, find out what travel-related issues your insurance policies cover, such as injury, illness, and accidental death. Equine mortality policies generally do not cover air travel, but a rider can be purchased. Put any desired coverage in place before your horse gets on the trailer or the plane.

The Healthy Traveler It’s well-documented that transport is stressful to horses; and a stressed horse, like a stressed human, is more vulnerable to illness. “The number-one thing we’re worried about is shipping fever,” says Russillo. Shipping fever is a respiratory infection characterized by nasal discharge, coughing, fever, loss of

Into the Wild Blue Yonder



lying a horse across the country or overseas may seem like a luxury to some, but many who want to succeed at top championships here and abroad use air transport. Here’s a quick overview of how it works. Equine air transporters take pains to ensure the smoothest of rides for their four-legged passengers, says Mike Payne, operations manager for the H. E. “Tex” Sutton Forwarding Company, Lexington, KY. “We make wider turns, slower descents, and they start leveling it off a lot quicker than a commercial flight,” he says—not to mention that horses are spared the bumps and jolts of road travel. Horses fly in the airplane’s temperature-controlled cargo hold. Some transporters, such as Sutton, use specially modified aircraft with built-in stalls; horses are led up a ramp into the hold and into their stalls. Others, including North Salem, NY,-based The Dutta Corp., use pallets of “jet stalls” that are loaded onto the aircraft like freight. Attendants travel with the horses to help ensure their safety and comfort, and give them water and hay during the flight. Air-transporter employees help clients figure out the many details, from how to get the horse to the airport to whether the animal will have to go through a quarantine period on entering a foreign country. If you want to fly with your horse or to send a groom with him, find out what’s involved and whether it will cost extra, Payne says. Ask whether you can send all of the horse’s equipment on the same plane or whether

RIO BOUND: Horses are loaded onto a cargo plane at London’s Stansted Airport for the flight to the 2016 Olympics

it has to be shipped separately, he advises. If you’re shipping a horse overseas to compete or train, allow him extra time to recover and acclimate, advises J. Tim Dutta, founder and CEO of The Dutta Corp. “Just like human beings, horses have jet lag,” says Dutta. The stresses of travel take their toll on the body, and “they will get to Europe and be muscle-sore. They’ll be back-sore. They’ll be sore over their SI [sacroiliac] joint and their gluteus and their necks and bodies.” Dutta’s clients have told him that, seven to nine days after an overseas flight, horses tend to get tired, unfocused, and muscle-sore, he says. But most bounce back by the 21-day mark—which is also about the time they’ve fully switched over to the new country’s hay, feed, and water. At this point, the horse is usually fresh enough to begin competition, he says. —Sarah Evers Conrad


September 2017


appetite, and signs of depression. Clinical signs may begin during transport or several days after arrival. Research has shown that the risk for shipping fever increases in horses traveling longer than 12 hours and in proportion to the duration of transport. To establish a baseline and help catch anything brewing, Russillo recommends starting a temperature log at least one day before the start of travel. Russillo also recommends that show horses stay current on flu/rhino vaccines. She administers the encephalitis vaccines if the horse is traveling to an area with the associated mosquito-borne diseases, and she gives boosters to those traveling to Florida for the winter show circuit. Digital Edition Bonus Content

Watch the FEI’s video of horses arriving by air in Omaha for the 2017 FEI World Cup Finals.

46 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

En Route Opinions differ as to the use of leg protection in transporting horses. Some shippers advise against wrapping legs or using shipping boots on long hauls, saying that they can slip, come undone, cause injuries, or make horses hotter. Others wouldn’t dream of putting a horse on a trailer without a full traveling suit of boots, a nonslip tail wrap, a shipping halter outfitted with cushioning and sweat-absorbing tubes of woolen fleece, and a head bumper. If you want to use leg protection, Russillo prefers commercially available shipping boots to bandages, saying that they fit well, stay in place, conform to the leg, are durable, and have protective strike plates around the coronet bands. However, she says, the choice “has to be consistent with what your horse will tolerate. Some horses won’t stand in boots, and they’re going to be more apt to hurt themselves and start kicking if they are in boots.” While on the road, our experts agree, check on horses every


BOOTED UP: A competitor from Great Britain wears shipping boots for the trip to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

A second concern in long-distance transport is hydration. Russillo likes to hydrate a horse’s gut prior to travel, pointing out that the gut is a third source of hydration for the horse, besides the bloodstream and the cells. She advises clients to wet horses’ hay, and to add water to make feed the consistency of gruel for the three meals prior to departure. In hot weather, she’ll also supplement with electrolytes. Gastric ulcers are another transport worry. Russillo gives a half tube of the anti-ulcer oral paste medication Gastrogard the day before travel, one-quarter tube the day the horse begins travel, and one-quarter tube the day after arrival. “Remember that you need to start it 24 hours in advance of the stressor in order for it to be effective,” she says. If the horse is journeying to a warmer climate, Russillo recommends body-clipping in advance to help prevent overheating on the trailer. She blankets as necessary in colder climes during the trip. Seasoned haulers like to ensure that horses are well rested before embarking on a long journey. “In the days leading up to shipping, I reduce my horse’s workload,” says Pettersson. “The day before shipping, I will only do a light stretch ride.” The route you choose will affect your horse, as well. Relatively straight, well-maintained roads that can be traveled at constant speeds, such as many major highways, require less balancing and shifting of weight than ones with lots of hills, bumps, or tight turns. Barrows suggests asking friends for trailer-friendly route recommendations and suggestions of places to stop or lay over. When Pettersson plans to lay over during a haul, she uses the online directory Horse Motels International (horsemotel. com) to find equine lodging along her route.

three to four hours—Barrows stops more frequently if a horse isn’t hauling or drinking well—offer water, and allow them time to lower their heads to clear their respiratory tracts and rest. Tufano watches horses carefully to ensure they’re not overheating and to make sure they’re staying hydrated—which can be challenging because some horses tend to refuse water while on the road. Russillo will try the old trick of flavoring water with apple juice or Gatorade to tempt the finicky drinker. Ventilation on the trailer is crucial to help horses stay cool, and some trailers have better airflow design than others, says Russillo. Adjust windows and roof vents as needed to suit the conditions. Russillo likes to check the temperatures for the destination and points along the way before the trip; she formulates an in-transit blanketing and ventilationadjustment strategy based on the forecast. If possible, haul at night or early in the morning during hot weather, she says.

Are We There Yet? You’ve breathed a sigh of relief when you and your horse arrive safely at your destination, but your work isn’t over just yet. Take his temperature 20 minutes after he has settled into his new digs and again the following morning, Russillo advises. Monitor him for signs of illness, and inspect him

carefully for any dings, bumps, or other injuries sustained during travel. Your horse, just like you, will be tired, a bit stressed, and perhaps a touch dehydrated after such a long journey. Give him a chance to rest, drink his fill, and get accustomed to the new scenery and weather conditions before you make any major performance demands of him. A many-hours trip with horses isn’t a small undertaking, and it requires careful planning and preparation. But a successful show, training experience, or horse purchase makes the effort worthwhile—Barrows’ 2016 Washington-to-Kentucky marathon was rewarded with the US Dressage Finals Intermediate I Open Freestyle Championship for herself and the Amateur Grand Prix title for her student, to name one example—and so many dressage riders will continue to be road warriors in pursuit of their dreams. s Sarah Evers Conrad, of Lexington, KY, is a journalist, editor of the Certified Horsemanship Association’s The Instructor magazine, and a digital marketer. She has been a staffer at The Horse magazine and at US Equestrian’s Equestrian magazine before serving as US Equestrian’s director of e-communications. Now as owner of All in Stride Marketing, she helps small businesses with their marketing and content needs in addition to writing for publications.


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September 2017


Sidelined from the Center Line Tales of dressage riders’ rehab and recovery BY PENNY HAWES

REHAB GUIDE: Many injured athletes find that a good physical therapist is their best ally

48 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION


our horse suffers an injury, and you don’t hesitate to write checks to his veterinarian, chiropractor, acupuncturist, and massage therapist. You don’t think twice about spending time cold-hosing, wrapping, stretching, and hand-walking during the rehab process. In the meantime, your shoulder still bothers you from that fall two years ago, your lower back has never been quite the same since that unfortunate incident with the “bombproof ” horse you tried for a student, and your left knee can forecast rain better than the National Weather Service. If this sounds like you (I know it sounds like me), you’ve had a few injuries and haven’t always taken the best care of them. Who needs physical therapy? Isn’t mucking 20 stalls physical enough? As for strength training, well, lugging water buckets builds plenty of muscle. You’ll do what it takes help an injured horse recover the strength and flexibility he needs for dressage, but the chances are good you’re not doing the same for yourself as a rider. Read on to learn how getting serious about your own rehab can produce some serious in-the-saddle benefits.


It’s Not Your Sport That’s Hurting You USDF gold medalist and physical therapist Anne Howard, MPT, has a better understanding of equestrian-related injuries and rehab than most riders. Not only does she treat riders at her Bodies in Balance practice in Watsonville, CA, but she’s also been through the rehab process with her own injuries. After Howard ruptured her Achilles tendon going up a flight of stairs, her orthopedic surgeon told her she could ride—without stirrups—but wanted her to promise that she wouldn’t get bucked off. She offered the compromise that she would “avoid imprudent situations” and spent that year competing two horses without stirrups. To her surprise, her no-stirrup year produced unexpected benefits. “The asymmetry through my body that the stirrups always magnified went away,” Howard says, “and it was one of my most competitive seasons ever, which was interesting. Jogging the horse for a CDI was a bit of a challenge, though.” Howard knows how hard it can be for riders to rehab. “I’m the PT that people come to when they’ve failed five or six other therapies. Patients’ issues are almost always trauma-related, and often it’s the trauma of riding over previous traumas that they’ve continued riding through.” Example: “Maybe you have some scar tissue in your pelvic bowl from that fall you took when you were 18 that has continued to change your hip biomechanics for 20 years, and now you’re having hip pain when you try to ride your USDF CONNECTION

September 2017


The Importance of Biomechanics

slightly-too-wide warmblood. For really hard-core athletes, it can be hard to get them to back off a bit. I tell them, ‘It’s not your sport that’s hurting you; it’s the traumas.’”

It Should Have Been Two or Three Months… USDF Region 3 director Susan Bender, of Beech Island, SC, knows more than she would like about trauma. In February 2016, she was kicked in the hand and suffered a fracture at the base of her pinky finger. “It should have been two or three months at the most out of the saddle, and it turned out to be more than a year,” Bender says. The first orthopedist Bender saw put a half-cast on and replaced it with a full cast a week later. The cast was too tight, and when she returned to have it removed, “my hand was throbbing and hurting; I’ve never been in that much pain.” The doctor reapplied the cast and recommended painkillers and vitamin C. But Bender said no to the painkillers because she felt they didn’t address the underlying issue. “Pain is the indication of a problem,” she says, “and killing the pain doesn’t solve the problem.” Four weeks later, when the cast was removed, Bender’s hand “looked like a boxing glove, and nothing moved. After the cast came off, I started PT and the pain kept radiating up my arm, and then my shoulder locked, so I couldn’t move my right arm at all.” Bender changed doctors and worked diligently with her occupational and physical therapists, but her rehab was a long process. It took her five months to get her shoulder to move again. She figures it will take another year to get her muscles back to normal.

50 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

Fitness Plays a Role Along with body awareness, dressage riders need to focus on fitness. USDF gold medalist Danielle Rowland, PT, DPT, sees many riders in her work at Pivot Physical Therapy’s Suffolk, VA, office. To help equestrians become stronger and avoid injury, she created a class called Fit to Ride, with targeted exercises to help the rider establish an independent seat. “Strength training should help muscles that are underused in your sport,” Rowland says. “Stretching, yoga, and Pilates are great to help us rebalance. We need to stretch what’s tight and work counter-muscles. Yoga helps us develop strength and stability, and also helps align hips and shoulders. It takes strength to have the stability to ride independently and use your limbs independently.” Rowland advises: “Make sure you take the time to improve yourself off the horse as well as on the horse. The


BETTER DAYS: USDF Region 3 director Susan Bender and her halfArabian mare, Rulette, prior to Bender’s hand injury

Because Bender was familiar with the Alexander Technique, a method of correcting posture issues, she was acutely aware that there was a problem with her body. Many of us, however, know far more about our horses’ way of going than we do about our own. The fact is, our own “way of going” often sets us up for pain and injury. Poor posture, improper muscle-use patterns that evolved over years or even decades, and exercise that puts more strain on one side of the body than the other (golf, for instance, or even mucking stalls) can lead to painful shoulders, necks, or backs that flare up with the slightest provocation. Howard notes that although back pain is “ridiculously common,” affecting about 90 percent of us at some point in our lives, “it doesn’t have to be there. It’s usually the result of faulty biomechanics, even for people who aren’t riders. “Riding correctly is actually very good for your body,” Howard says, “but riding with bad biomechanics is horrific and can create a lot of problems.” Unfortunately, “I think most riders have a very limited understanding of their biomechanics in the saddle. Biomechanics is a very popular term right now, but just saying that you do biomechanics doesn’t mean you’re addressing things in the right way for the rider’s health. I work a lot with [British expert and Ride with Your Mind series author] Mary Wanless, who is quite good for that. I think she’s one of the real leaders in getting riders to address the finer points of what they are doing as it reflects how they’re communicating with their horse.”

more fit and flexible you are, the less chance of injury and the quicker your recovery will be” if you do get hurt. Similarly, when Howard meets a new patient, she asks herself: “Are they essentially an athlete going in, or is part of the reason they’re injured that they’re not fit enough to be doing the job they’re asking of their body, so they have to condition on top of the healing?” Like Rowland, Howard encourages riders to pursue fitness out of the saddle. “Don’t think riding is your fitness activity. You have to cross-train so that you can ride well, but you also have to cross-train so that you can sustain the inactivity of the typical American job. You have to be fitter to be a desk jockey if you don’t want that to ruin your body. You actually have to be really fit to sustain that much inactivity.” But fitness for riders, Howard notes, doesn’t mean pumping iron like a bodybuilder. “I do think cross-training is good, but I’m a little dismayed by people who just want to get stronger and stronger and stronger,” she says. “Riding is not ultimately about strength. There is the quality of getting stronger, but it’s always within correct posture and correct biomechanics. Getting stronger in incorrect balance or alignment isn’t going to do anyone any good.”

The Importance of a Good Physical Therapist Even the best riders can get hurt. Guenter Seidel, who won team bronze medals at the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic Games, made headlines when he suffered a horrific set of injuries in 2010. Seidel had flown from his home in Cardiff, CA, to Germany that June to train with the German dressage Olympian Klaus Balkenhol. His first day in Germany, Seidel mounted Dick and Jane Brown’s U II and the horse bucked him off. Seidel sustained broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and what is known as an open-book fracture of the pelvis, in which the front of the pelvis opens up like the covers of a book. After being airlifted to a hospital, Seidel underwent surgery and then spent two weeks in the ICU, followed by two more weeks in the hospital and a long period of physical therapy. And it was with the PT that Seidel had his greatest stroke of luck after a very unlucky accident. “I was very fortunate with my physical therapy,” Seidel recalls. “I was living in this tiny town, and the woman there who was the physical therapist was the sister of the man who sold me my [2004 Olympic mount] Aragon. She was very, very good, and I was so fortunate to have good therapy. You need


© High Time Photography

USDF Salutes the 2017 Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Championship Competitors


September 2017


Digital Edition Bonus Content

Olympian Guenter Seidel continues a challenging regimen to maintain his elite-athlete fitness for dressage and following his devastating 2010 riding injuries. Watch this video of Seidel working out near his home in California, and prepare to be impressed!

BACK IN THE SADDLE: A challenging PT regimen helped Olympian Guenter Seidel (at his home base, Albert Court Ltd., Rancho Santa Fe, CA) to rehab from extensive riding injuries—and now he always wears a helmet

to have someone very experienced. They know when pain is OK and when you should not push through it. You have to go through so much pain. If you’re working on your own, you’d be afraid of hurting yourself and doing more damage.” “Develop a good relationship with your PT, and make sure they know you ride,” Rowland advises. “The PT needs to know your passion to help you be your best. Don’t wait

until you’re injured to develop a relationship with a PT. Get regular checkups, just like with your dentist or primarycare doctor. Most insurance companies allow direct access to PT and don’t require a referral.” Gradually, Seidel’s pain began to lessen. “After a few months, you wake up and say, ‘Well, it doesn’t hurt.’ You’re pretty happy because it’s getting better, and then you have a bad day. It was about a year when I really noticed that I had no pain.” Seven years after the accident, Seidel continues to work out regularly. His doctors say that his fitness level as an elite athlete contributed greatly to his healing.

The Healing Process The first question on anyone’s mind following an injury is: How long before it’s healed? And if you’re an equestrian: When can I ride again? According to Howard, although healing times vary, the typical muscle strain heals fairly quickly, in around four to six weeks. Other types of injuries have longer rehab times— something horse owners probably already know but may ignore when the injured party is themselves.

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52 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

“Strains that involve ligaments,” says Howard, “take around six to eight weeks as long as they’re not too serious. Tendons, however, are made of collagen, which takes a year to fully mature. So if you have a lot of damage to tendons (known as sprains), you might feel better, but the actual structures aren’t fully mature for just about 12 months. That’s why a lot of people experience recovery slower than they expect.” Healing is a physical process, of course, but there’s also a psychological component to rehab, says Howard. Considerations include: • Have you addressed your rehab responsibly? • Have you determined that the affected structures are sufficiently healed to stand up to the stresses of your sport? • Have you retrained your brain and motor patterns to ride correctly, or are you holding on to altered mechanics and “guarding” the affected area because you fear reinjury? “Just because a person has ‘recovered’ from surgery doesn’t mean everything is fine,” Howard cautions. “People think, ‘I injured myself, I got weak; now I have to go strengthen what got injured, and then I’ll be fine.’ It’s much more profound than that. [Physical therapists] look at the micro-movements, as well. Does the joint have the proper

biomechanics to allow correct movement so that you’ll not just have movement, you’ll have healthy movement and really have the subtle qualities that make you a graceful mover, rather than just being able to get it done?”

Life After Injury Patients tend to assume they’re “fixed” when their PT sessions end, but the work isn’t always over, Howard says: “Some stuff has to be managed.” Just as with our horses, the site of a prior injury may never again be as strong, and you may need to keep up with those exercises and to check in with your PT from time to time as Rowland advises, especially if you have a flare-up of pain. “Be smart with [wearing] helmets, and have a good attitude,” says Seidel. “You have to look at things with a good attitude.” Above all, know your body and seek help—or another expert’s opinion—if pain persists or something just doesn’t feel right. Don’t assume that the doctor is omniscient. As Bender puts it, “We have to listen to ourselves. We are important.” s Penny Hawes is a writer, dressage rider, and chronic volunteer from Virginia. She hasn’t always followed the advice in this article, but she’s working on it. Read her blog at thehorseylife. com/DF.

NOV. 9-12, 2017

W. SPRINGFIELD, MA, Eastern States Exposition

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Fabulous Horses, Phenomenal Opportunities, Unforgettable Experiences... • Enjoy an unparalleled program of clinics, seminars, and demos • Explore the largest horse-related trade show in the East • Discover dozens of breeds of horses and horses for sale in the Breed Pavilion, Horse & Farm Exhibits, and demonstrations • Experience the Fantasia (sponsored by Absorbine®) — Equine Affaire’s signature musical celebration of the horse on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights • Compete in the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition (sponsored by Nutrena) on Friday — a fast-paced timed and judged race through an obstacle course with $5,500 at stake! • Ride in a clinic at Equine Affaire through our Ride With The Best program • Acquire basic horse and horsemanship expertise through demos, video presentations, interactive exhibits, and activities for new riders and horse owners of all ages at the Equine Fundamentals Forum © 2017 Equine Affaire, Inc.

For all you need to know including the event schedule, ticket information, host hotels, camping, or participating in clinics consult equineaffaire.com or call (740) 845-0085.

Julie Goodnight Chris Irwin

Steffen Peters (Dressage) Phillip Dutton (Eventing) Greg Best (Hunter/Jumper) Craig Johnson (Reining & Ranch Riding) Suzy Stafford (Driving) Barbra Schulte (Cutting & Sports Psychology) Vitor Silva (Dressage & Classical In-hand Training) Robin Gollehon (Western Pleasure) Elizabeth Graves (Easy Gaited Horses) John Bennett (English Pleasure) Wendy Murdoch (Equine & Equestrian Biomechanics)

Sylvia Zerbini (Liberty) Jeff Wilson (Cowboy Dressage) Kellie & Sam Rettinger (Draft Horses) Joy Seymour (Mounted Games) Interscholastic Equestrian Association (Scholastic Competition)

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September 2017


rider’s market

The Horse-Health Edition New products to make your horse feel better—plus one just for you By Jennifer O. Bryant

Therapeutic Leg Wraps Smart QuikWraps are the latest addition to the BeneFab by Sore No-More line of products. BeneFab by Sore NoMore Smart QuikWraps are the first on the market to offer the benefits of both ceramic and magnetic therapy in a single product. The ceramic-infused fabric provides soothing relief from swelling and pain, and the strategically placed magnets target acupuncture points for further therapy. The wraps have a doublelayer design. Use the entire wrap as a simple, complete leg wrap; or use the inner layer on its own as a comfortable, therapeutic base for a compression wrap. BeneFab by Sore No-More Smart QuikWraps are durable and machine-washable. They can be used safely in conjunction with your favorite Sore No-More gelotion, liniment, or poultice, and worn for up to 12 hours without worry. Learn more: Arenus.com.

The twoinch adhesivebacked tag affixes to any surface. ThermoPeanut’s sensor connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth through its iOS and Android app. The tag sends temperature data to the app, called SensePeanut, which can be used to set desired ranges and to alert the user if it gets too hot or too cold. (You can use it in your home, too.) Learn more: ThermoPeanut.com.

Red Wine for Horses! Well, not exactly. But the substance in red wine and some other foods that’s gotten a lot of attention as being heart-healthy—resveratrol—is also showing promise as an oral “nutraceutical” to combat joint pain and even insulin resistance in horses.


Resveratrol helps to protect against inflammation that can cause pain, but without the gastrointestinal upset that some nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause. And unlike traditional NSAIDs, which address existing inflammation, resveratrol is a proactive therapy that inhibits inflammation before it occurs. The supplement Equithrive Joint, by Biological Prospects LLC, contains a proprietary resveratrol product called Resverasyn. And in a study, another Equithrive product, Metabarol (not pictured), which also contains Resverasyn, reduced insulin levels by 25 to 30 percent in horses with equine metabolic syndrome. Learn more: Equithrive.com. 

A Different Kind of Thunder from Down Under Riding and farm chores are hard on the hands. Treat your dry, cracked, callused digits to a heavy-duty hand moisturizer from Australia that’s now sold in the US. Tough Hands by DU’IT heals while forming a nongreasy protective barrier that shields skin from harsh environmental stress. The product is free of lanolin, parabens, mineral oil, petrolatum, and propylene glycol. Learn more: DU-IT.com.

Smart Temperature Sensor

Help Heal the Stubborn Hock Sore

How hot or cold is it in your barn or horse trailer? Monitor the temperature—and get an alert if temps go outside a set range—with ThermoPeanut, a smart wireless thermometer by Sen.se.

Anyone whose horse has ever suffered a wound in the hock area or developed a hock sore knows how frustrating these can be to heal. The Hock Shield by Click Horse Products

54 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION




is a specially designed protective wrap that stays put (not intended for use in turnout, however). The Hock Shield is made of tearresistant neoprene and lined with soft fleece. A beefed-up model, the Hock Shield Ultra, also covers the front of the hock to offer additional stay-inplace security or covering if the hock is bandaged. Learn more: Hockshield.com.

Liniment for Sensitive Skin Liniments are great for cooling and refreshing hot horses, but not so much if your horse’s skin can’t tolerate them. Absorbine, already famous for its liniments, introduces CoolDown, an after-workout rinse whose gentle herbal formula may be better tolerated by horses that are sensitive to the stronger products.

CoolDown is made with 12 herbs and essential oils, including rosemary oil, peppermint oil, lavender oil, aloe vera juice, arnica extract, and sassafras oil. It’s not only refreshing, but the essential oils also condition the skin and coat. One ounce of the concentrated rinse per gallon of water is all you need. Learn more: Absorbine.com. s “Rider’s Market” contains notices of new products judged to be of potential interest to USDF members. Information and images are supplied by manufacturers. Inclusion of an item does not constitute an endorsement or a product review.

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The 2017 USDF Online Stallion Guide is now LIVE!

2017 USDF Online Stallion Guide

This annual online stallion guide is released by the United States Dressage Federation for the dressage community. The guide is available both through the USDF website and the USDF app. This guide contains interactive links to give you all the information you need to make a favorable breeding decision. Whether interested in breeding, or looking for a breeder with offspring already on the ground, this is a great way to learn more about dressage breeders throughout North America.

The Hottest Bloodlines in Rio

Trending Stallions in the Sport Horse Arena: USDFBC Statistics

Pursit of Excellence: Regional Championship Statistics

Finals by the Numbers: US Dressage Finals Statistics

USDF CALENDAR To make sure we provide our members with the most up-todate deadlines and events, the USDF Calendar has moved online.

Visit www.usdf.org/calendar for • • • • • •

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

58 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

W W W. U S D F. O R G

MARCH 2010



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


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Accounting .....................................................................(859) 271-7891 ...................................... accounting@usdf.org Address and E-mail Updates ...........................................(859) 971-2277 ...........................................changes@usdf.org Adult Education Programs .............................................(859) 271-7882 ........................................ education@usdf.org Adult Team Competitions ................................................(859) 971-7360 ..................... adultteamcompetition@usdf.org All-Breeds Awards ..........................................................(859) 271-7895 ..........................................allbreeds@usdf.org Applications Submitted at Competitions..........................(859) 271-7880 ..........................................affidavits@usdf.org Breeders & Materiale Championships Series .....................(859) 271-7894 ....................................... sporthorse@usdf.org Demographics and Statistics ...........................................(859) 271-7083 ................................................ stats@usdf.org Donations .......................................................................(859) 971-7826 .............................................donate@usdf.org Dover Medal Program .....................................................(859) 971-7361 ..................................... dovermedal@usdf.org eTRAK.............................................................................(859) 271-7882 ................................................etrak@usdf.org Group Membership.........................................................(859) 971-7048 ................................................ gmo@usdf.org Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Awards ..............(859) 271-7882 ....................................... halloffame@usdf.org Horse Performance Certificates ........................................(859) 971-7361 ............................horseperformance@usdf.org Horse Registration...........................................................(859) 271-7880 ..............................horseregistration@usdf.org Horse/Rider Score Reports. ............................................(859) 271-7894 .............................................reports@usdf.org Human Resources/Career Opportunities...........................(859) 271-7885 .................................................... hr@usdf.org Instructor Certification ....................................................(859) 271-7877 .......................instructorcertification@usdf.org Insurance Certificates for Competitions............................(859) 271-7886 .......................................... compins@usdf.org Junior/Young Rider Clinics ...............................................(859) 971-7360 ..........................................jryrclinics@usdf.org L Education and Continuing Education 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Lebanon Junction, KY Permit # 559

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USDF Connection

Pages Z.indd 59


September 2017

59 8/9/2017 2:19:44 PM

the tail end

100 YEARS OF DRESSAGE: The writer and her Arabian gelding, Harmony, pose with judge Anne Howard after their Century Club ride

to enter a dressage show hosted by the California Dressage Society’s Lake County chapter, at Highland Springs Equestrian Center in Kelseyville. We scored 64.34 percent at Training Level Test 1, judged by Anne Howard, to great fanfare, no stumbling, robust applause, a cake, and a special Century Club ribbon and plaque. It was a most special day indeed. Although Harmony and I competed together for more than 25 years, riding 42 tests up to Second Level, I have to say that our Century Club ride was definitely the most fun. One of the most challenging things about doing this ride was trying to figure out how much practice time and then warm-up time at the show were appropriate for a 35-yearold horse. There isn’t much literature or guidelines on this topic! I stabled Harmony at the facility the night before the show to avoid the stress of trailering the same day as the ride. It was a gamble, as this was his first overnight at a new barn. The barn had a nice pile of straw in the paddock waiting for him—which unfortunately had to be removed, down to the last piece. Harmony lacks the back teeth to chew hay or straw well enough to swallow, so any that he tries to eat gets stuck in the back of his mouth and he drools until it is flushed out. This would definitely not work for his last public ride! We are proud to be Century Club team #244. When the issue of The Century Club News announcing our accomplishment arrived, it was an unexpected joy to read about the other new teams in the newsletter. In 2016, the year of our ride, only one of the 52 Century Club horses was older than Harmony. The coolest thing was to see two riders, each 90 years old. Again, I thought to myself, way to go! ▲

are horse-rider pairs whose combined age is at least 100, and who ride any judged test at a dressage show. New members receive recognition and an award from The Dressage Foundation. The seed was planted: I wanted to

Esther Siegel teaches riding in northern California. She is also a psychotherapist who uses horses in equineassisted psychotherapy. She continues to take riding lessons and rides her Morgan in local dressage shows.

Ride of the Century Century Club ride is a celebration of older riders and horses By Esther Siegel


any of us have marveled at seeing an elderly equestrian ride into the show ring. I would often wonder whether the person was new to the sport or a lifetime rider. Either way, I would think admiringly, way to go! It was six years ago that I heard about the Century Club, which is administered by The Dressage Foundation. Century Club members

do this special ride someday. I was 60 years old at the time, and it seemed it could be possible. I quietly hoped that both my 30-year-old Arabian gelding, Harmony, and I would remain sound long enough. Harmony was still giving riding lessons and doing light competition, and I was riding regularly without pain or injuries, so I kept my fingers crossed. Five years sped by, and in 2016

I officially became a “senior” rider. Harmony was still sound with only a little stumbling now and then, so I contacted The Dressage Foundation for information and a Century Club application. They made it easy for us

60 September 2017 • USDF CONNECTION



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September 2017 USDF Connection  

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