September 2018 USDF Connection

Page 1

2018 A dequan ®/USDF C onvention P review ( p . 30) u s d f. o r g

september 2018

Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

Special Sport-Horse Issue

Golden Oldies: How to Keep Your Senior Horse Going Strong The ‘Amateur’ Rules Demystified (p. 18) Hock Injections: Does Your Horse Need Them? (p. 50)

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In this Issue


Golden Oldies

Today’s dressage horses seem to improve with age. Here’s how to keep your senior equine partner feeling and performing his best.


4 Inside USDF Take That First Step

6 Ringside Will This Be Laura’s Golden Year?

By Patti Schofler


By Sue McKeown

By Jennifer O. Bryant

Tryon Visitor’s Guide

18 amateur hour Blurred Lines

By Amber Heintzberger

26 clinic Sequential Schooling of the Dressage Horse

Where to eat, shop, and sightsee, during or after the 2018 World Equestrian Games

Hock Injections: A sound Practice?

This procedure is common in dressage horses. For some, it’s routine “maintenance.” Should it be? By Sarah Evers Conrad

8 member connection 10 Heads UP 17 Sponsor Spotlight 56 Shop @ X 58 USDF Connection Submission Guidelines 58 Usdf OFFICE CONTACt DIRECTORY 59 Advertising Index

By Hilda Gurney

32 the judge’s box New Opportunities For Para-Equestrian Dressage Riders

By David Schmutz

34 all-breeds connection Breed of the Month: Connemara

36 In Every Issue

By Jennifer M. Keeler

54 rider’s market To Your Horse’s Health 60 The Tail End In the Moment

By Eve M. Tai

on our cover Joy McCourt (MI) shares some love with her 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Mendelsohn. Story, p. 36. Photo by Diana Hadsall Photography.

Volume 20, Number 4

USDF Connection

September 2018


inside usdf


You never know where your volunteer efforts may lead By Sue McKeown, At-Large Director, USDF Technical Council


s I write this, show season is in full swing here in New England. I love the structure of a dressage show—so many things going on at once, but everything seeming so smooth and effortless. It is the epitome of the metaphor about the goose on the pond: sailing smoothly along but paddling like crazy underneath. At a dressage show, volunteers are the ones paddling like crazy behind the scenes to help ensure that competitors, sponsors, judges, and spectators enjoy a seamless experience. I don’t know of another major sporting event that depends so heavily on the willingness of people to give of their time (and in some cases, their money) to help others. Why do people volunteer in the sport of dressage, anyway? What’s in it for them? The answer is: You never know! You never know where that first step in volunteering is going to lead. To be sure, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you helped others and contributed to the sport you love. But if you are open to the possibilities and are willing to try new and different things, then you could end up with a lifetime of experiences that you will enjoy for years to come. By learning to ring-steward at small recognized shows or even schooling shows, for instance, you might later be able to serve as a steward at a larger competition, perhaps a Great American/USDF Regional Championships. Those experiences may likewise spark your interest in learning about the job of a dressage technical delegate or a show manager. A friend of mine began her volunteer journey by scribing at local dressage shows. She went on to scribe at FEI North American Youth Championships and other large competitions around the country, and this month she will be scribing at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018 in North Carolina. All of those opportunities

stemmed from her decision to try scribing at a schooling show. My friend still volunteers at the local shows as a scribe or scorer, to continue her support of her hometown dressage community. It isn’t just at shows that a first step as a volunteer can lead to wonderful opportunities. The USDF itself is very much a volunteer-driven organization that is always happy to have new people get involved. There are almost 20 permanent USDF committees, each of which have eight to 12 volunteer members (find the list on; click on About, then Governance, then Councils and Committees). These volunteers get involved with committees that focus on their own interests or skills, and most business is conducted via conference call. Once a year, the committees meet in person at the Adequan®/ USDF Annual Convention, which is also an opportunity to meet and talk with dressage enthusiasts from around the country and from your own USDF region, not to mention a chance to see parts of the country that you might not otherwise visit. It’s not uncommon that committee members eventually decide to step up their USDF involvement by taking on the responsibilities of a committee chair—or even, as in my own case, by deciding to run for a USDF Executive Board position. So get involved, have fun, and be willing to take that first step. You never know where it will lead. As the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase; just take the first step.” s

4 September 2018 • USDF Connection

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Will This Be Laura’s Golden Year? Verdades is poised to medal at this month’s World Equestrian Games


merican dressage has had an off-again, on-again relationship with the international medal podiums. First, we were off—as in nowhere near medal contention—at Olympic Games and FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG). Team USA finally broke the decades-long drought when it won bronze at the 1992 Olympics. That good fortune lasted through the mid-2000s, and then the well went dry again. In one sparkling oasis, Steffen Peters and Ravel won two individual bronze medals at the 2010 Alltech FEI WEG in Kentucky. But otherwise, the Olympic and WEG medal podiums had become once again frustratingly out of reach. The 2014 WEG in Normandy set the scene for the turnaround, when Laura Graves and Verdades—can you believe that we didn’t know who they were, just four years ago?—swept past better-known US riders and most of the European establishment to finish fifth individually. Two years later, Graves and “Diddy” led Team USA onto the bronzemedal podium at the Rio Olympics. In nothing less than a real-life fairy tale, Cinderella and her handsome Dutch Warmblood gelding have gone on to win back-to-back silver medals at the 2017 and 2018 FEI World Cup Dressage Finals. This July, they won the Grand Prix at Aachen, Germany, and helped Team USA to claim the Nations Cup silver medal. At this month’s FEI WEG Tryon 2018, it’s widely anticipated that Graves, and probably also the US team, will medal again. With such strong recent finishes, we in the US are beginning to indulge in the luxury of speculating not whether we will medal, but which color, and how many. Until Aachen, only one name stood between Graves and the top podium: Isabell Werth. Twice the decorated German defeated Graves at World Cup Finals, both times riding the elegant black

mare Weihegold OLD. Werth beat Graves again at Aachen this year, winning the Grand Prix Special and the GP Freestyle aboard another of her never-ending string of equine fabulousness, Emilio 107. And yes, Werth was long-listed for the 2018 WEG with both of these mounts plus a third, her 2014 WEG partner, Bella Rose. (At press time, Germany had not yet announced its WEG dressage team.) But if Aachen showed us anything, it’s that horses are, well, horses. Werth and Graves may have scored big wins, but they also had lower-than-expected finishes: Werth was seventeenth in the Grand Prix, and Graves placed eleventh in the Special. And Graves’ 2016 Olympic teammate Kasey Perry-Glass on Goerklintgaards Dublet was third in the Special, and second in the Freestyle to Graves’ third. We may all have an inkling of who’s going to figure in the WEG medal hunt: Germany and the US, natch, and an individual gold medal could be within Graves’ grasp. But a few newer combinations, such as Denmark’s Cathrin Dufour on Atterupgaards Cassidy, Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin on Mount St. John Freestyle, and Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg on Damsey FRH, may bring surprises of their own. So I’m packing my bags for Tryon, and I’ll be bringing you reports and photos from the WEG dressage competition. Best of luck to Team USA!

Jennifer O. Bryant, Editor @JenniferOBryant

6 September 2018 • USDF Connection

usdf Connection The Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Stephan Hienzsch 859/271-7887 •

——— Editorial——— EDITOR

Jennifer O. Bryant 610/344-0116 • 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 •


Karl Lawrence 859/271-7881 •


Danielle Titland 720/300-2266 • 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:, Web site: USDF members 7 receive USDF Connection as a membership benefit, paid by membership dues. Copyright © 2018 USDF. All rights reserved. Reproduction of articles requires permission from USDF. Other text may be reproduced with credit given to USDF Connection. USDF reserves the right to refuse any advertising or copy that is deemed unsuitable for USDF and its policies. Excluding advertisements, all photos with mounted riders must have safety head gear or USEF-approved competition hat. USDF assumes no responsibility for the claims made in advertisements. Statements of fact and opinion are those of the experts consulted and authors, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the policy of USDF. The publishers reserve the right to reject any advertising deemed unsuitable for USDF, as well as the right to reject or edit any manuscripts received for publication. USDF assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. All materials must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Questions about your subscription or change in address? Contact USDF Membership Department, 859/971-2277, or 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.



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Dressage at the FEI World Equestrian Gamesâ„¢ Tryon 2018! Tryon International Equestrian Center - Tryon, NC

WEDNESDAY September 12 FEI Grand Prix


THURSDAY September 13 FEI Grand Prix

FRIDAY September 14 FEI Grand Prix Special


SUNDAY September 16 FEI Grand Prix Freestyle

Purchase your Dressage Discipline Pass or individual Dressage tickets at

member connection Spurs, Bits, and Nosebands Great article on the research done on the effects of spurs on our horses (“Horse-Health Connection: Could Your Equipment Be Hurting Your Horse?,” June). I was very surprised with the result on the roller-ball-wheel spur, although very few riders used them in this research project. I had a Third Level horse whose skin was so sensitive to the blunt spurs that the only type I could use was the roller-ball-wheel. With this type of spur, there was no more hair being worn off, and no hair turned white. Thanks for your great articles in USDF Connection. Lorraine Hill Lethbridge, AB Thank you for publishing Dr. Hilary Clayton’s article “Are Your Bit and Noseband Hurting Your Horse?” (“Horse-Health Connection,” July/ August). As always, Dr. Clayton was informative and diplomatic. As a trainer; a USDF gold, silver, and bronze medalist; and the author of one book on riding with feeling in Dutch and three books in German, which I wrote while living there for several years, I have broached the subject of tight nosebands several times. Unfortunately, most dressage horses in competition these days are ridden with very tight nosebands. It is scientifically proven that in order for a horse to perform with a swinging back, it must be able to chew and move its jaw. So why are most dressage horses ridden with tight nosebands? In my opinion, it’s because the majority of riders and trainers don’t take the time to let the horses be in self-carriage. If you tighten the noseband, you can lean back and pull on the horse’s mouth to get more expression in the front legs without losing points for the horse’s mouth being open. How sad is that? David De Wispelaere Wellington, FL

In her article, Dr. Clayton said that she and her co-researcher saw no correlation between mouth lesions and the types of bits being used. I have had issues over the years with sores near the corners of my horse’s mouth, but they occurred only when I used a loose-ring snaffle. I tried using bits slightly larger or smaller but still had the same issue. After I changed to an eggbutt bit or a loose-ring with “wings,” the problem was solved. I also realize that many curb bits have sliding cheeks, which could also contribute to the issue. I wonder if they looked at this as part of their study. Sally Baker Oxford, MI Dr. Hilary Clayton responds: The study looked for but did not find a statistical association between the number of lesions at the corners of the lips and the type of bit used. That said, I have seen a small number of horses that developed sores when wearing a loose-ring snaffle, and there may be something about the individual horse’s oral conformation that affects the way the bit is held in the corners of the mouth, or these horses may have thinner skin or mucosa that allows it to be more easily damaged. Another possibility is that sometimes the bit moves too far to one side of the horse’s mouth, so part of the bit ring and its connection to the mouthpiece slide inside the mouth. In some horses, the bit always slides to the same side; in others, it can slide to either side. When this happens, the position of the bit is more easily seen by an observer on the ground than from the saddle.

NAYC Riders, Then and Now I thoroughly enjoyed Catie Staszak’s article about past FEI North American Youth Championships medal winners (“Springboard to the Open Waters,” July/August). But as I read through the article, I kept looking for another up-and-coming young trainer

8 September 2018 • USDF Connection

who I was disappointed that she did not include. Katie Johnson won the Young Rider Individual medal and was a member of the Region 7 goldmedal team at the 2008 NAYC on a horse that she had ridden for only four months prior to the competition. She is now a professional trainer and rider for Kylee Lourie’s TYL Dressage in Colorado and Florida. Pam Brown Schachter, PhD Rolling Hills Estates, CA



ccording to USDF FEI Junior/Young Rider Committee chair Roberta Williams, the competition now known as the FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC) has gone by even more names than we listed in our article, “Springboard to the Open Waters” (July/August). Founded in 1974 as an eventing championships, the North American Junior Team Challenge was held at Jokers Hill, Ontario. Dressage joined the roster in 1981. When jumping was added a year later, the competition name was changed to the Continental Young Riders Championships. In 1988 it was rechristened the North American Young Riders Championships, and the NAYRC name remained until the FEI Junior division was added in 2006. The pedigree of a horse mentioned in “Springboard to the Open Waters” was listed incorrectly. Ronin, a Hanoverian ridden by Martin Kuhn and owned by Phil Pan and Debra Klamen, is by Blue Hors Romanov and out of a Sir Donnerhall mare.

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Heads Up

Your Dressage World This Month

world equestrian games

US Dressage, Para-Dressage Teams Are Ready for Tryon

10 September 2018 • USDF Connection



he FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) Tryon 2018 kicks off this month—the opening ceremony is September 11—and dressage and para-equestrian dressage enthusiasts from around the country will be cheering on the riders and horses representing Team USA. The Dutta Corp. US Dressage Team, as announced by US Equestrian: Laura Graves, THE 2018 US WEG DRESSAGE TEAM: Graves, Lyle, Perry-Glass, and Peters Geneva, FL, and Verdades, a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett As x Goya) owned by the rider and Curt Maes Adrienne Lyle, Ketchum, ID, and Salvino (Sandro Hit x Donnerhall), an 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Betsy Juliano LLC Kasey PerryGlass, Wellington, FL, and Goerklintgaards Dublet (Diamond Hit x Ferro), a 15-year-old Danish THE 2018 US WEG PARA-DRESSAGE TEAM: Hart, Peavy, Shoemaker, and Trunnell Warmblood gelding owned by Diane Perry Dark Chocolate, a 10-year-old Oldenburg mare (Royal Steffen Peters, San Diego, CA, and Rosamunde, an Doruto x Don Larino) owned by Rebecca Reno 11-year-old Rheinlander mare (Rock Forever x Fidermark) Kate Shoemaker (Grade IV), Peoria, AZ, and owned by Four Winds Farm. Solitaer 40, an 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Sandro The US Para-Equestrian Dressage Team presented by Hit x De Niro) owned by the rider and Craig and Deena Deloitte, as announced by US Equestrian: Shoemaker Rebecca Hart (Grade III), Wellington, FL, and El Roxanne Trunnell (Grade I), Rowlett, TX, and Corona Texel, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Dolton, a six-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Danone I x (Wynton x Goodtimes) owned by Rowan O’Reilly Londonderry) owned by Kate Shoemaker. Angela Peavy (Grade IV), Wellington, FL, and Royal

young horses

World’s Top Young Dressage Horses Crowned at Ermelo


he 2018 Longines FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses brought 180 horses from 19 studbooks to Ermelo, Netherlands, to compete for titles in the three FEI Young Horse categories of Five-, Six-, and Seven-Year-Old. The five-year-olds competed first in the August 1-5 event. Earning two

scores of 10 in the final, the Westfalen stallion Revolution (Rocky Lee x Rouletto) won the championship with a score of 9.62 under Andreas Helgstrand of Denmark. The reserve champion was Destacado (Desperados x Londonderry), a Hanoverian stallion ridden by Matthias Alexander Rath of Germany (9.48). In the Seven-Year-Old division, Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry rode the KWPN stallion Glamourdale (Lord Leatherdale x Negro) to the championship title with a score of 87.050 percent, including a mark of 10 for his canter. Dutch Olympian Adelinde Cornelissen

rode the KWPN stallion GovernorStr (Totilas x Jazz) to the reserve championship on 84.143. Last to go were the six-year-olds. With a score of 9.26, Olympian Severo Jurado Lopez of Spain rode away with his fourth championship at this event, this time aboard the Hanoverian stallion d’Avie (Don Juan de Hus x Londonderry). The reserve champion was Villeneuve (Vitalis x Dancier), a Rheinlander stallion ridden by Laura Strobel of Germany. No US horses participated in this year’s competition. Go to for complete results.

Digital Edition Bonus Content

SEVEN-YEAR-OLD CHAMPION: Glamourdale, ridden by Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry

Watch the wrap-up video from the 2018 Longines FEI/ WBFSH World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses.

Us dressage finals


Important 2018 US Dressage Finals Updates Declare and nominate. Horse/rider combinations must declare their intention to participate in the 2018 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® by filing a Declaration of Intent form ( 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 ( nominate). The nomination deadline is midnight, 96 hours after the last

day of your Regional Championship. See page 24 of this issue for declaration, nomination, and entry deadlines by region. High-score breed awards. The popular high-score breed awards will again be offered this year. Participating breed and performance registries will award two high-score awards in both 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 the competition. Learn more at

USDF Connection

September 2018


Heads Up

Your Dressage World This Month

sport ponies

Small Horses Join Roster at Biggest-Ever National Dressage Pony Cup


ith the addition of a championships for small horses (defined as under 16 hands), the 2018 edition of the National Dressage Pony Cup was the biggest in the event’s 12-year history. A total of 225 entries from around the country flocked to the 2018 National Dressage Pony Cup and Small Horse Championship Show, July 20-22. This year’s event moved from the original location, the Kentucky Horse Park, to Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, IL. The 51 NDPC divisions filled all seven of Lamplight’s rings, and 26 breed organizations sponsored special awards. “I had no idea what I was getting into,” laughed show manager William Solyntjes. “When we offered to take on the Pony Cup this year, we might have well have taken on saving the world. There’s been so much enthusiasm and appreciation from the competitors, and it’s wonderful to experience.” Solyntjes commended the addition of the smallhorse division. “Hunter shows have small-hunter divisions, and they’re very popular, so it just makes sense to do this for dressage,” he said. “Just like the Pony Cup did for ponies, I think these new NDPC Small Horse Championships are such a great way for people with smaller mounts to also have a chance to shine against their peers.” For complete results, visit

NDPC Third Level Adult Amateur champions Shannon Sullivan (OH) and her Fjord gelding, SNF Bridar

Daphne Bigelow (IL) won the NDPC Third Level Young Rider Championship and the NDPC Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Grand Championship with her Connemara-cross mare, Kiss Me Kate (Tre Awain Irish Sweeps – Hillside Elizabeth, Tre Awain DeValera, bred by Eileen Berkley of Kansas)

Small Horse FEI Open and Open Freestyle champions Kathryn FlemingKuhn (IL) and Ida Noll’s PRE gelding, Madrono XXXVI

Six-Year-Old NDPC Young Pony Futurity champion Wrolex, a New Forest Pony gelding (Wasabi – Hoppenhof’s Silvia, Nieuwmoeds Patrick) owned by Katie O’Brien, bred by Lesley Feakins, and ridden by Karri McFadden

behind the scenes


ob title: President and CEO, The Dressage Foundation (TDF), Lincoln, NE ( What I do: We try to level the field by providing financial help to worthy riders, judges, instructors, and breeders. How I got started: Educating riders has been a lifelong goal. It began when my husband and I videoed the Aachen [Germany] horse show in the ’80s and ’90s with the idea that riders could imitate the best in the world. I continued that interest in education as the technical editor of Dressage Today magazine and through the writing of my book, When Two Spines Align: Dressage Dynamics.


In 2000, I was introduced to The Dressage Foundation and was asked to administer their International

12 September 2018 • USDF Connection

Dream Program, which sends four young riders to Europe every summer. I loved that, and my interest in TDF grew from there. Best thing about my job: Providing the funds that people need to fulfill their dreams. Worst thing about my job: We’d like to have a larger family of donors— small, medium, and large. Currently our donor pool is only about 2 percent of the dressage population. My horses: Currently I’m horseless, but I keep busy traveling to teach clinics and symposia. Tip: If you’re a candidate for one of TDF’s grants, please apply. —Katherine Walcott


Beth Baumert, The Dressage Foundation




Gerd Zuther

arly sport-horse importer, judge, and coach of both dressage and event riders Gerd Zuther, of Mattapoisett, MA, died on June 29. He was 78. Born in Germany, Mr. Zuther earned his Reitlehler FN license from the German Equestrian Federation and taught and trained riders and horses in dressage, eventing, and jumping. He and his wife, Yvonne, operated a riding school, and he competed in dressage through the Grand Prix level. Chafing under city regulations and lamenting the loss of open space around their stable, the Zuthers accepted a 1979 invitation to move to the US, where Mr. Zuther became the manager of November Hill Farm in Keswick, VA. There he conducted 100-day stallion performance tests, imported top young horses from Germany, and held sport-horse auctions. Among the future stars he imported were Robert Dover’s 1988 Olympic horse, Federleicht; and Kathy von Ertfelda’s 1996 and 1997 Volvo World Cup Dressage Finals partner, Dutch, according to a career summary on the website of Mr. Zuther’s eventing student Nina Lamsam Ligon. Mr. Zuther was well-known in the American sport-horse community as a US Equestrian dressage sport-horsebreeding (DSHB) judge and as an inspection judge for the American Hanoverian Society. He also coached several well-known eventing competitors, including Bruce and Buck Davidson and Kim Severson, in dressage. One student who received worldwide attention was the US-based Ligon, who in 2012 became the first Asian woman to compete in eventing at an Olympic Games, riding for Thailand. Mr. Zuther is survived by his wife, Yvonne; two children; and five grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to help Mr. Zuther’s grandson Lucas Ayers, who suffers from various health issues, to purchase a service dog. Send donations to Lucas Ayers, PO Box 713, Marion, MA 02738.

meet the instructor

Kathy Wood Copa, Lima, NY


athy Wood Copa is a USDF bronze and silver medalist, a USDF-certified instructor through Fourth Level, and a USDF “L” graduate. She is a licensed landscape architect in San Francisco with a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis. How I got started in dressage: I started riding at age four and explored multiple disciplines until I decided dressage was the right fit. I took two horses and relocated to south HARMONIOUS: Copa and Lohengrin Florida, began importing Danish horses, and started my FEI career. I wanted to become certified because: I saw it as a way to verify and enhance my training and teaching. My horses: I have a variety of horses, including FEI schoolmasters, off-the-track Thoroughbreds starting new careers, warmbloods, a multifaceted Arab stallion, and a Rocky Mountain Horse. Highlight of the Instructor/Trainer Program: The process was valuable, and the intensity and thoroughness were unsurpassed. Training tip: The road to harmonious success in dressage work is the classical position and use of aids. These fundamentals are well worth continual refinement and improvement. Incorrect foundations only make horse and rider work harder and sacrifice harmony in the process. Contact me: copawood@rochester. or (585) 703-2668. —Jamie Humphries

financial aid

The Dressage Foundation— Not Just for Riders


he Dressage Foundation (TDF), Lincoln, NE, has awarded grants to help a sport-horse breeder and a show manager further their professional development.

IN TRAINING: Show Management Development Grant recipient Penny Krug

Margaret Neider, co-owner of North Hill Farm, Fabius, NY, will receive a $2,500 grant from TDF’s Elysium Farm Fund to attend the Oldenburg Winter Meeting Breeder’s Course in Vechta, Germany. Penny Krug, Hilliard, OH, wanted to learn more about dressage-show management. She has been awarded TDF’s Lloyd Landkamer Show Management Development Grant, which she plans to use to shadow and train at the Kentucky Dressage Association Fall Classic Show in October. This grant is available to show managers and secretaries who wish to expand their skills and further their careers in show management. Learn more about these and other TDF funds and grants at

USDF Connection

September 2018


Heads Up

Your Dressage World This Month

high-performance dressage


Debbie McDonald Named US Dressage Technical Advisor

he United States Equestrian Federation (US Equestrian) announced in June that Debbie McDonald will succeed Robert Dover as the US dressage technical advisor and chef d’équipe. She takes the reins on December 1. A six-time Olympian, Dover has served as technical advisor since 2013. He had planned to step down following the end of his contract this year, according to US Equestrian. McDonald, who competed in two Olympic Games and in 2003 became the first American to win the FEI World Cup Dressage Final, all with the famous mare Brentina, is the current US Equestrian dressage development coach. She has not been involved with

the team-selection process for this month’s FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) Tryon 2018, but she will be a visible presence in Tryon as the coach of three of the four US dressage riders: Laura Graves, Kasey Perry-Glass, and Adrienne Lyle. “I could not be happier” with the appointment of McDonald, Dover stated in the press release. “Debbie has literally been my right arm for the past six years. Our training and coaching philosophies are identical, and this creates a seamless transition for our US athletes. I know America is in the very best hands, and our future remains strong.” In August, US Equestrian launched its search for McDonald’s replacement as dressage development coach.

The Near Side

Solid Partnership: Dressage development coach Debbie McDonald will take over as technical advisor after Robert Dover’s retirement


Surcingle Use Could Cancel out Lungeing’s Benefits

14 September 2018 • USDF Connection



lthough The USDF Lungeing Manual teaches that a lungeing surcingle should be used over a saddle, some people lunge horses using the surcingle alone. According to a recent study, that may not be good for your LOW PRESSURE: To avoid a horse. lungeing surcingle’s potentially British researchers placing unwanted pressure on the published their findings horse’s spine, use it over a saddle in a 2017 issue of the Equine Veterinary Journal. They determined that improperly fitted surcingles (called training rollers in the UK) can place significant pressure on a horse’s thoracic vertebrae, especially if the equipment is overtightened. The undesirable spinal pressure could effectively negate the beneficial training effects of correct lungeing technique, they concluded. The researchers’ next project: a study to formulate recommendations of how to fit lungeing surcingles properly. Until then, use the surcingle over a saddle, or pad the horse’s withers to alleviate surcingle pressure.

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

controls the clinical signs associated with

NAVICULAR SYNDROME Easily Administered via intramuscular injection

Well Tolerated* in clinical trials

Proven Efficacy* at 6 months post treatment

No Reconstitution Required

Learn more online

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

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

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

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

Heads Up

Your Dressage World This Month

usdf Bulletins

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 junior/ 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.

Check Your Scores Check your scores at Contact the USDF Competitions Department at or at (859) 971-2277 if you notice an error. The 2018 competition year ends September 30. All corrections must be reported by October 15 at 5:00 p.m. ET.



October 5: Rider awards October 26: Year-end awards (first place only) See the USDF photo-release form for submission instructions.

Great American/USDF Regional Championship Competitor Survey USDF wants to hear from competitors at this year’s Great American/USDF Regional Dressage Championships. Please complete the electronic evaluation form that will be e-mailed after your Regional Championship competition.

horse owners

Dressage at Devon to Hold New Breed Classes for Ponies ressage horses and enthusiasts from around the country will make the pilgrimage to Devon, PA, later this month for the 2018 edition of Dressage at Devon (DAD). This year, there will be an influx of smaller hoofprints at the September 25-30 event, courtesy of new breed classes for ponies. Mirroring the established in-hand classes for horses, there will be

Yearbook Photo Deadlines

pony-only classes and championships for colts, fillies, foals, mares, and stallions, according to DAD breeddivision chair Melanie Sloyer. Points earned in DAD pony classes will count toward National Dressage Pony Cup year-end awards, she said. Learn more at dressageatdevon. org.

16 September 2018 • USDF Connection

New Website Helps Horses, Owners Reconnect


f you’ve lost track of a special horse, a new website may be able to help. Purina Animal Nutrition has launched, which incorporates social media, networking, and geotargeting. It’s organized by US regions and incorporated into a public Facebook group. Users are encouraged to network with one another to locate and trace horses in their areas and beyond. “People utilize these networks to reconnect with friends from all over,” said Purina Animal Nutrition marketing VP Pete Theisen. “We thought, why not expand this and reconnect people with their old horses?”

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amateur hour

Riders both amateur and pro are becoming stars on social media. But there are strict rules about what amateurs can and cannot do. If you compete as an amateur, here’s how to avoid some common rules-related pitfalls. By Jennifer M. Keeler


icture this: Adult-amateur Amy is at this weekend’s dressage show, and she can’t wait to ride in her new saddle. When Amy took delivery of the long-awaited saddle last week, the representative also gave her a lovely saddle pad bearing the company’s logo. Saddle and pad look stunning, and Amy proudly proceeds to the warm-up arena. But as she’s trying to focus and get her nerves in order before her first test, the show’s technical delegate—this is a US Equestrian-licensed/USDFrecognized dressage competition, after all—waves Amy over. The TD informs Amy that if she enters the competition arena with her logo-emblazoned saddle pad, she risks elimination for being in violation of US Equestrian Dressage Division rules. Flustered, Amy hurries back to the barn to try to find a plain saddle pad and still make it back to the arena for her assigned ride time. Could this happen in real life? Definitely, says US Equestrian dressage TD and FEI dressage steward Janine Malone, of Zebulon, NC. In fact, Malone says, she sees this exact scenario play out regularly. It happens despite the fact that the US Equestrian dressage rules specifically prohibit amateurs from displaying a business or product name, logo, or combination thereof at shows unless they actu-


ally own that business. (See “The Logo Rule” opposite for the rule text.) The rules may be clear, but compliance may not seem so straightforward— especially considering that the distinction between amateur and professional classification for dressage-competition purposes can be, well, blurry. Many competitors understand that teaching riding and training horses professionally are verboten under the US Equestrian amateur rules, but displaying logos? That’s an aspect of the rules some riders have never even considered. And when it comes to social media, where amateurs as well as pros can become “influencers” and “product ambassadors,” it’s a brave new world for our national federation. For this article, we asked Malone— who’s also a former USDF secretary, USDF Region 1 director, US Equestrian Dressage Committee member, and USDF Connection “Rode Rules” column contributor—to help keep you on the right side of the dressage rules.

Your Logo Here (or Not) The US Equestrian rule book (online at can be heavy going. However, “the rules regarding logos are actually one of the least complicated things to explain, thanks to clarifications made to the Dressage

September 2018 • USDF Connection

Division rules in the last few years,” Malone says. “To cut to the chase as far as amateurs go, they can have the logo of a stable name, a national flag, a breed registry, awards from a competition such as ‘high point,’ or federation names and logos. But the rule is clear that an amateur cannot have a sponsorship or display names or logos from a business or product unless they own the company.” But even if the rules are relatively clear (and ultimately it is competitors’ responsibility to know them and comply), enforcement isn’t necessarily uniform, according to Malone. “I think a lot of people don’t want to talk about amateur issues and rules or deal with it, and sometimes we even have officials at competitions who don’t think it’s a big deal and don’t enforce the rules,” she says. “So what happens is, riders will compete for a period of time without anyone saying anything, and then all of a sudden they get eliminated and can’t understand why they weren’t informed previously that there was a problem. And that’s unfortunate. As licensed officials, we can’t pick and choose what rules to enforce just because your personal opinion is that a rule is ‘ridiculous.’ Where do you draw the line? Do you enforce federation rules for welfare but not for saddlery? Because the rules are equally clear, and the expectations for enforcement are the same for all rules.”

Um, I Saw Your Post on Facebook… People love to post and share photos and goings-on online, but more than one avowed amateur has unwittingly run afoul of the rules as a result. “Sometimes we hear murmurs that So-and-So is riding as an amateur but is giving lessons, advertising for training, or selling horses online,” Malone says. “Remember, social media is a whole new world, and it makes the horse community a whole lot smaller: It’s so easy to go online and Google someone or look them up on Facebook and see what they’ve been doing. You can find out just about anything about

The Logo Rule





ere’s the US Equestrian rule (contained in DR121, Saddlery and Equipment) regarding saddle-pad logos in dressage competition: “…While in the competition ring and during awards ceremonies, a logo/monogram or name may appear on either or both sides of a saddle cloth in an area not exceeding 200 cm2 (26.632 sq. inches). Only the following logos or names are permitted: breed logos (for horses registered with that breed); a national flag (for citizens of that country); USEF or USDF names/ logos. Professionals of any age may have a business or product name/logo of their official sponsor. Amateurs may not have a business or product name/logo unless they own the business. Competition award pads and stable name pads are permitted. No other advertisement or publicity is permitted on saddle cloths or horses.” Got it? Test yourself by reviewing these six photos and deciding whether (or under what circumstances) these saddle-pad logos would be OK for an amateur to display in dressage competition.




Answers: 1. No. Amateurs may not display sponsor logos. 2. No, unless the amateur rider owns this business. 3. No, unless the amateur rider owns this business. 4. Yes, if the horse is registered with this breed. 5. Yes, if this is a “stable name pad.” If it’s a business logo, then no unless the amateur rider owns this business. 6. Yes, if the amateur rider is a citizen of this country.



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USDF Connection • September 2018


amateur hour anybody. I’ve seen cases where riders with adult-amateur status who are actively competing in that division have been caught doing things in violation of the rules, but I think it has probably decreased quite a bit in recent years because USEF has been quite diligent about following up on reports.” As a refresher, Malone reminds competitors that US Equestrian considers a professional to be someone who derives income from equestrian sport. Classic examples are those who get

paid to ride or train horses or to teach riding lessons. The “amateur rule” (US Equestrian rule GR1306) spells out what activities are and aren’t permitted as an amateur. (You can be an equine veterinarian, photographer, or journalist, for instance, and not jeopardize your amateur status.) Interestingly, unlike most other breeds and disciplines under the US Equestrian umbrella, accepting prize money won in dressage competition does not impact adult-amateur status. (Test your knowledge of the “ama-

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

Don’t Miss These Important Year-end Award Deadlines! • September 30, 2018 • 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

teur rule” by taking our eight-question quick quiz on page 23.)

How Social-Media Activity Affects Amateurs OK, so you can’t hold amateur status and accept compensation for giving lessons. But what about entering an online contest to win a year’s worth of your horse’s favorite supplement, or answering the call to become a product ambassador? And what’s up with advertisements featuring amateur riders endorsing products? “It’s a whole new world now,” Malone says, “and a lot of it’s a gray area. There’s a new product and situation coming along all the time, and the federation rules have to constantly adapt to it.” Malone encourages competitors and rule enforcers alike to use remuneration as the litmus test. “For instance, people may talk about a product they happen to like on their website or Facebook page, and it’s not necessarily an official


• October 15, 2018 • All corrections must be reported to USDF by 5:00 p.m. ET • October 26, 2018 • Photo submission deadline (first place recipients only) for inclusion in the yearbook issue of USDF Connection • November 2, 2018 • 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 Visit to find out where you and your horse are ranked.


September 2018 • USDF Connection


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endorsement or sponsorship by the company,” she says. In other words, you won’t jeopardize your amateur status by posting that your horse just loves his Acme Horse Cookies. But what if the Acme Horse Cookie company sees your Instagram photo of Dobbin devouring his treats and decides to express its gratitude by sending you a case of goodies? “Then it can start to get tricky,” Malone says, “because there are limits [on what amateurs can accept]. But currently USEF’s rules about this are not perfectly clear about every single situation, and we have to be careful with interpretations. Also, remember that USEF can’t possibly monitor everyone’s activity; they are dependent on reports of violations to investigate.”

From the Horse’s Mouth We asked the US Equestrian Regulations Department to weigh in on these issues. In reply, we received the following statement: “In the past, the Federation discouraged amateurs from accepting (or in some cases, applying for) ambassadorships, as the arrangement was often similar to that of sponsorships….Sponsorships are considered a professional activity. However, the Federation is currently taking an in-depth look at the arising need for social-media ambassadors and how this new phenomenon fits in with the

What About Youth?


S Equestrian rules pertaining to, or definitions of, amateurs and professionals do not apply to juniors or young riders competing in dressage. That’s because, according to the dressage rules, individuals are not eligible to be classified as adult amateurs or professionals until the beginning of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 22.

USDF Connection • September 2018


amateur hour Federation rules. We are hoping to release more information in this regard during the 2018 competition year.” The “amateur rule” currently “allows an amateur to receive a nonmonetary token gift of appreciation valued less than $300 annually,” the statement continues. “At this time, we believe social-media ambassadorship agreements would fall in this category and would be permissible for amateurs to partake in, as long as the product/service they are receiving for

free in exchange for their promotion of the company does not exceed $300, cumulative, per year. The same applies to discounted products and services: The discount(s) received cannot exceed $300 in cumulative value per year.” The Regulations Department points out that US Equestrian’s definition of remuneration may differ from the dictionary version. That’s why some members believe, incorrectly, that only monetary compensation constitutes remuneration. In fact, the

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September 2018 • USDF Connection

US Equestrian rule book defines remuneration as “compensation or payment in any form, such as cash, goods, sponsorships, discounts or services; reimbursement of any expenses; or trade or in-kind exchange of goods or services, such as board or training.”

The Rules, They Are a-Changing According to US Equestrian, the rules regarding amateur status and social-media ambassadorships are likely to evolve. “We continually encourage our members to monitor our website,” the Regulations Department states, “as we expect there will be more information to come on this very topic and possible changes to the rule which may impact amateurs.” The rule book may not be the most exciting reading, but if you’re an adult-amateur competitor, you’d be wise to keep abreast of the applicable rules and any potential rule changes. If you have any questions, send them to before your next show.

Amateur or Pro? Take This Quick Quiz


ow well do you know the US Equestrian “amateur rule” (GR1306, Professional/Amateur Status)? Take this eight-question true/false quiz and test yourself. Answers are below. It’s OK if an amateur… (circle one)

“While I certainly think there are some gray areas with social media, in general I think the line between amateur and professional is still pretty clear,” says Malone. “I think of it as coming down to this: Do I make money from this [activity] or not? Do I get anything in return for doing something? If yes, then it may not be OK, and I need to look into it further.” s Jennifer Keeler is a freelance writer and photographer, and a three-time

American Horse Publications Equine Media Award winner. She is the owner of Yellow Horse Marketing, Paris, KY. Editor’s note: US Equestrian and USEF are shorthand for the same organization: the United States Equestrian Federation, the national governing body of horse sports in the USA. The organization rebranded itself US Equestrian last year, but the USEF abbreviation remains widely used.

1. …works as a groom, a farrier, or a barn manager. T F 2. …is paid to organize or manage dressage clinics or competitions. T F 3. …receives an educational competition or training grant. T F 4. …appears in an advertisement or an article that mentions his/her personal or business sponsorship of a competition, or awards won by his/her horses. T F 5. …rides or shows a horse that a family member or cohabitant (or that person’s business) receives remuneration for boarding, training, riding, or showing. T F 6. …receives lessons and horse board in exchange for serving as an unpaid working student who occasionally rides horses owned by the trainer’s clients. T F 7. …is a bestselling author of horse books. T


8. …receives free product in exchange for appearing in an advertisement for the product. T F

Answers: 1. T 2. T 3. T 4. T 5. F 6. F 7. T 8. F

USDF Connection • September 2018


Nov. 8-11, 2018 • Kentucky Horse Park

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

Four Important Steps and Deadlines 1. Declare - Complete a Declaration of Intent for each level and division for

which the horse/rider combination may qualify.

2. Qualify at one of the Great American/USDF Regional Championships. 3. Nominate - Nomination is required for participation in US Dressage Finals classes, whether qualifying through placing in a Regional Championship class or by Wild Card Eligibility.

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.

4. Enter

- Entry Opening Date is September 6, 2018. Entry Closing Date is

October 25, 2018 midnight Eastern Time. US Dressage Finals Deadlines Regional Championship




Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Thursday, October 18, 2018


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Thursday, October 18, 2018


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Thursday, October 18, 2018


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Thursday, September 13, 2018


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Thursday, October 4, 2018


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

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

Entry Closing Date is October 25, 2018 midnight Eastern Time Deadline for Alltech stabling priority is five days after the nomination deadline for each region. See Official Prize List for more information.

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


Training Classic

Sequential Schooling of the Dressage Horse First in a series. This month: The dressage prospect. By Hilda Gurney Photographs by Hillair Carthine Bell


our dressage prospect should be fairly athletic and have three good paces. He should travel evenly and have strong, sound hind legs. The breed, size and color are not important. Your horse doesn’t have to be the super-athletic Olympic prospect in order to achieve the Grand Prix level of schooling. Training your horse to perform the Grand Prix test correctly to the best of his ability is a

Active, energetic trot of a good dressage prospect

very satisfying goal. The joy of working such a horse is extremely rewarding even though he may not possess the scope to make the Olympic team. You must like your horse if you are to school him an hour a day for at least five years. Nervous, unaggressive riders usually do better with sensitive horses. Demanding, high-strung riders often succeed with less sensitive, Adapted from a series published in Dressage & CT, September 1978-October 1979. Reprinted by permission of the estate of Ivan I. Bezugloff Jr.


somewhat phlegmatic horses. Quiet, patient riders do well with more highly strung horses. The super-athletic horses usually require riders who can handle super-athletic stunts. Overmounted riders live with fear, which stifles both them and their horses. Three good gaits are essential for the competitive dressage prospect. The walk should be even, long-strided, and four-beat with an overstep, even when led on the line. Avoid horses that pace or are so long-backed or short-strided that they can’t overstep. Marked winging, winding, rotating hocks, and other forms of crookedness are undesirable, but not as serious as faults like pacing or lack of overstep. Uneven steps are also quite undesirable. The trot should also be fairly straight, with long, loose strides. The dressage prospect should show potential for extension and collection. His hocks should work under his body. Horses that push out with their hocks (“chicken hocked”’) are usually difficult to collect. Marked dragging of the hind legs is another sign of lazy haunches. A tendency to spread the hocks apart as viewed from the rear may indicate problems later with spraddling extensions. The hocks should flex well at each stride but not show greater action than the forelegs. Even the young horse should give you a feeling that thrusting haunches power the forehand. Horses that trot with short strides, lack suspension, or seem to have a disconnected head-nodding trot are less desirable as prospects. When asked to lengthen the trot, very few young horses will be able to show much. However, if the horse can easily

September 2018 • USDF Connection

A horse that is not tracking up at the trot. Causes might be: 1. Horse restricted by rider. 2. Horse not moving forward. 3. Lack of freedom in gait—which means that the horse would not be a good dressage prospect.

overstep his front tracks with his hind legs and doesn’t have too high knee action, he will probably develop extensions. Horses that spraddle behind or are short-strided, stiff-hocked, or have high knee action frequently have difficulty learning to extend their strides. Horses that are “chicken hocked” may have lovely free lengthenings; however, such horses are difficult to balance and engage for higher-level work. At lower levels, many “chicken hocked” horses win consistently but are rarely able to advance to higher levels. A round, springy, fluid canter is ideal. It should have three beats and a pronounced suspension period. The hind legs should come well under the horse’s body at each stride. Many young horses will gallop at first, but should show the ability to bring the haunches under the body as well as a distinct suspension period. The hind legs should bend well, and the horse should not appear to pace with the inside pair of legs. This pacing type of canter is called a lateral canter. Prospects with lateral canters tend to hurry in canter extensions but are usually very quick to learn flying changes. Many horses have a very different canter on one lead as compared to the other. This unevenness often causes problems throughout schooling. When a horse has a shorter stride on one canter lead than on the other, the tempi changes tend to be ir-

generalizations that will be helpful in evaluating the dressage prospect’s conformation. High croups frequently lead to problems in developing engagement. It is preferable to have a lower croup than withers, although I have observed horses which in spite of having a high croup when standing, move well under behind and appear lower-crouped when moving. Low-carried necks tend to put a horse more on the forehand, although necks can be developed with schooling. Necks that are much more strongly muscled Left: Nice straight legs, set neither too close nor too far apart. Right: A pair of nicely developed, straight hind legs.

regular and more difficult for the horse to learn. Horses that perform a “running” canter with little or no suspension period start dressage schooling at a disadvantage. These horses must be ridden more forward with emphasis put on the roundness and suspension period until their canter becomes correct. Such “running” canters are often a result of schooling a horse to canter slowly with a long, low frame. In nature a horse will almost always canter with a fairly high neck and a marked suspension period. When schooled to canter with a low neck, the horse will frequently compensate by losing the period of suspension. A very crooked canter may indicate that the horse is evading using his haunches. Such horses frequently like to switch leads behind and have difficulty holding the counter lead. A slightly crooked canter is natural. In fact, the only really unnatural movement we teach the horse in dressage is a straight canter. However, a straight canter is necessary in order for the horse to learn fluid tempi changes and small, balanced pirouettes. A short, stiff canter is difficult to develop into an elastic round gait and should be avoided. In dressage, conformation is not as important as gaits. A good shoulder is a shoulder that moves freely. A horse that moves elastically with a good overstep and suspension must have a functionally proper length of back. In short, function determines the correctness of the conformation. However, there are a few

underneath than above are indicative of a horse that resists the bit. Forearms that are more strongly muscled than gaskins tell loudly and clearly which end of the horse is doing the work. A horse with a forehand markedly more developed than the haunches would have to be completely changed from using his forehand to using his haunches. Straight hind legs frequently relate to shorter, less-engaged strides. Wide-set hocks tend to spraddle. A too-thick throatlatch or overdeveloped glands in the throat-

Give back to the sport you love... and the organization that helps you.

Photo Credit: Ron Berg

Your donation to The Dressage Foundation is an investment in the future of U.S. dressage. Help horses and riders today, and support the future of dressage in our country. Your tax-deductible gift can be made at, by calling 402-434-8585, or by sending a check to TDF: 1314 ‘O’ Street #305, Lincoln, NE 68508. USDF Connection • September 2018


clinic latch region can make a horse completely unsuited for dressage. Flexing the poll on such horses may obstruct the trachea, making “on the bit” a choking matter. Closely set elbows or excess fat may interfere with the freedom of movement of the elbows. Crooked-appearing legs are not much of a problem for dressage as long as the horse moves fairly straight. However, your dressage prospect must travel sound and free of pain if he is to perform long, springy gaits. Weak stifles and hocks are the enemy of the dres-

sage horse. A weak-stifled horse can give many years of service as a hunter, whereas dressage work would break him down. Riders might remember the stress on their horses’ haunches whenever they practice high-stress movements. There is less chance that strain will occur if such movements are practiced for short periods of time and are alternated with other movements or rest periods. Correct dressage results in the improvement of the horse’s movements and appearance. Elastic, springy, bal-

anced, rhythmic gaits are a result of good schooling. I have been amazed over and over again at the complete metamorphosis of a short-strided, ewe-necked, unmuscled prospect into an elastic, free-moving, rounded, powerful Grand Prix horse. However, the more correctly moving and conformed your prospect is, the easier the task of schooling him will be, as long as both your temperaments are compatible. Remember that there is no such thing as the perfect horse, and you must understand both the strengths and weaknesses in order to understand your horse effectively.


$75,000 is available for High Performance riders. Thanks to generous donors, The Dressage Foundation is pleased to offer grants from the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize and the Anne Barlow Ramsay Fund for U.S.-Bred Horses. $25,000 Anne L. Barlow Ramsay Grant for U.S.-Bred Horses

$25,000 Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize

The purpose of this Fund is to showcase talented American-bred horses by providing funds to train and compete in Europe.

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Deadline: December 13 Photo Credit: Susan Stickle

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September 2018 • USDF Connection

Appropriate equipment makes the schooling task more efficient as well as decreasing the chance of injuries to the horse and trainer. Horses will injure themselves even under the best conditions, but poor equipment, careless stable management, and poor judgment will greatly increase the injury rate. Young horses tend to interfere and will frequently clumsily knock their legs together. For that reason, it is wise to use galloping boots, wraps, or polo bandages during the first stages of schooling until their motor coordination improves. Lungeing requires a lungeing cavesson, lunge line, lunge whip with a nice long lash, and easily adjusted long side reins. A nice lunge line or tape has a swivel clip at the end and is not made of nylon. The nylon tapes can burn terribly if they are pulled through your hands by an unruly horse. Knots must not be allowed to get into the tape, as the constant pulling tightens them and makes them very difficult to remove. Side reins should be even in length and easily adjusted. Numbered holes are an asset. Elastic side reins can be useful for very light-mouthed horses, but I prefer solid side reins since most horses won’t lug on them quite as much. Horses shouldn’t be ridden with side reins. If a horse fights the side reins, he may easily rear over backward on his rider. Also, too much walking on side reins damages the qual-

above the withers tends to have the deepest point far back toward the cantle, forcing the rider into a chair seat. When buying a saddle, make sure it fits both the horse and rider well. Well-chosen and maintained equipment will last for years and even decades. Good equipment must be carefully chosen and fitted and will greatly aid the dressage rider in schooling the horse. s Left: An excellent prospect: well-set neck, withers higher than croup, balanced muscling of forehand and haunches (although haunches could be more developed), hocks nicely bent. Right: Another good prospect: nicely set neck, too thick at throatlatch, which might cause problems with flexion or cause wind restriction. More development necessary through loins and back.

ity of the walk, since the horse is unable to nod his head and neck. Generally a fairly mild snaffle should be used on the young horse. The bit should be adjusted so that it isn’t too low, inviting the horse to put his tongue over it. Correct width of the bit is also important, since a bit that is too narrow may pinch the horse’s mouth and one too wide will

allow the joint to hang too far down in the horse’s mouth. Use of a dropped noseband is advisable to prevent the horse from getting into the habit of opening his mouth or crossing his jaw. Fitting the saddle is important for both horse and rider. Clearance over the withers and spine is extremely important to prevent pain or injury. However, a saddle that sits too far

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

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USDF Connection • September 2018


Daily Highlights Wednesday, Nov. 28

Registration opens Executive Sessions (Closed) Closed Committee Meetings USDF Apprentice Technical Delegate Clinic (Ticketed event. Must be purchased by November 23, 2018.)

2018 Adequa Annual Con

Thursday, Nov. 29

Committee Chairs & Delegates Orientation Region 1-9 Meetings Judges, L Program, & Freestyle Open Forum Membership Committee & Communications Open Forum USEF/USDF Open Forum: Trending Topics in Sport & USEF Rule Changes Open Committee Meetings US Dressage Finals Open Forum Featured Education Presentations Welcome Reception

Friday, Nov. 30

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

Saturday, Dec. 1

Board of Governors General Assembly (Part 2) Youth Activities Meeting Youth Education USEF Dressage Technical Delegate Clinic (Separate USEF registration required) USDF Competition Management Education Session (Ticketed event. Must be purchased by November 23, 2018.) USEF Athlete Open Forum Featured Education Presentations

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Convention Package $195 USDF member (onsite $235) $215 Non-Member (onsite $260) $90 Youth (21 and under) The convention package includes: All featured education presentations All interactive education opportunities All business meetings Committee meetings Regional meetings Board of Governors (BOG) General Assembly Open forums Welcome Reception

Additional Events Salute Gala & Annual Awards Banquet $100 (onsite $120) USDF Apprentice Dressage Technical Delegate Clinic (Ticketed event. Must be purchased by November 23, 2018.) $175 USDF Competition Management Education Session (Ticketed event. Must be purchased by November 23, 2018.) $35

Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek

The host hotel this year is the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek. Located in the heart of the Salt Lake City, the downtown hotel offers upscale amenities and easy access to the area’s most popular attractions, including the city’s premier shopping, dining and entertainment district, City Creek, right next door. Each room offers beautiful views of the city from an inviting, relaxed setting.

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the judge’s box

New Opportunities For ParaEquestrian Dressage Riders

producers of competition dressagetest diagrams, such as Dressage Illustrated, offer diagrams of the new tests. Many European countries with strong para-equestrian programs, such as the Netherlands, utilize these tests for the development of their upcoming riders. Marco Orsini, the FEI para-equestrian judge general, made the following comments about the new FEI Introductory tests: There was obviously a big need for these easier tests. It is very important that our para athletes have some tests which they can really manage and feel confident to perform. They need the feeling of success which gives them motivation to carry on. There is no sport where athletes start competing at the top level. Therefore, the para riders should develop their skills by consistent schooling and training beginning on the Introductory level, through the Novice level, and finally reaching the Championship level (Team and Individual tests). This goes hand in hand with local, national, and international development programs. We must not forget that this development of the rider needs to be parallel to the development of the horse. In our sport both athletes, the rider and the horse, must be able to fulfill the requirements of the different levels. With the new Introductory tests, FEI created a perfect starting point for competitions for para riders.

Introductory level tests, clarifying rules aim to pave the way for the sport By David Schmutz

Developing: Alexandria Henry (CA) and US para-dressage chef d’equipe Kai Handt at a training camp in Texas

In the past, riders were obliged to compete using the top tests of each of the five grades (disability classifications) used in para-equestrian dressage competition. The Novice, Team, Individual, and Freestyle tests are of progressive difficulty and used in CPEDI (FEI-recognized para-equestrian) competitions. The question of how riders new to competition might begin at a more welcoming level was not entirely addressed. Although some of the FEI para-dressage tests appear to be quite basic, imagine having to fulfill the


demands of any grade as a rider with substantial disabilities. Bending and balance become very daunting with the loss or paralysis of a limb or limbs.

New Level: Introductory To this end, the FEI has created the Introductory level of tests. These tests may be used only at national (US Equestrian-licensed) shows here in this country. This is a first, as the FEI has never before created tests that cannot be used at FEI international events. The Introductory para-dressage tests are easier than the tests used in CPEDI competition and are totally appropriate for interested para riders who are beginning their show careers. Each of the five para-equestrian grades has two Introductory tests, labeled A and B. Many of our national-level dressage competitions offer the para “test of choice” in their prize lists. The Introductory tests can be easily used in that situation. Copies of these tests are available on the FEI website ( for download. Some PARA EQUESTRIAN DRESSAGE TEST 2018

20mx40m Arena


INTRODUCTORY TEST A Event : _______________________ Competitor No :

Date :

Name :

Judge : NF :

Time 5’00’’ (for information only)

Position Horse :


Minimum age of horse: 6 years

This test is to give experience to the Horse/Athlete combination and to be used in National Classes ONLY






Directive Ideas


Quality of walk, halt, and transitions. Straightness. Contact and poll. Immobility. Prompt depart


Enter in medium walk Halt. Immobility. Salute. Proceed in medium walk Track right



Medium walk





Medium walk Half volte right 10m Ø) Half volte left 10m Ø) Medium walk


Regularity, maintenance of rhythm and activity, fluent changes of bend, shape and size of half voltes



Volte right of rhythm M AN FEI FIRST: The new Introductory para-dressage testsmaintenance are the first ever created by the FEI for and activity, bend, 10m Ø) in medium shape and size of volte use at national-levelwalk shows

September 2018 • USDF Connection


courtesy of alexandria henry


eginning this year, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has developed a new series of para-equestrian dressage tests exclusively for use at the national level.

With the goal of helping para athletes in the upcoming competition year, US Equestrian has developed a new set of rules to help direct para-equestrian competitions approved within its Dressage Division. It has been submitted and approved as rule DR 3 Para Dressage. These new rules are available on the US Equestrian website ( under DR 138 (tracking #273-17) under rules set to be implemented on December 1, 2018. One of the improvements in the new rule is a clarification chart of “Standard and Non-Standard Compensating Aids.” It goes on to list other approved equipment and competition practice within the para-dressage division. National athletes, ring stewards, and technical delegates will find improved direction and clarity as to what is permitted with these riders. Our developing para-equestrian dressage riders need better opportunities and support at national-level dressage competitions in order to develop their confidence and skills. These local competitions will help to establish a developing group of competitors who can become the international stars of the future. s

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USDF Connection • September 2018


all-breeds connection

These ponies have serious dressage cred


he Connemara pony is surefooted, hardy, and agile, with great stamina. Connemaras are renowned for their versatility and for their gentle, tractable, sensible, and willing dispositions. The breed’s most important characteristic is its temperament, with a willingness to work with a human partner. Connemaras are known for their keenness and work ethic. Intelligent, they do not have to be drilled once they learn a job.

and in 2005 was inducted into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame. Another of Gray’s well-known dressage mounts was Last Scene, also a Connemara/TB cross. Nowadays, several Connemaras from Pam Liddell’s Kynynmont Farm in Pennsylvania are making dressage headlines. The stallions Kynynmont Cooper O’Grady (*Gun Smoke ­– Kynynmont Moira, Ballywhim Sterling Moss) and the three-fourths Connemara Kynynmont Gunsmoke’s Gideon (*Gun Smoke – Kynynmont Tara, Greystone McErrill) are both competing at the FEI levels. The mare Kynynmont Blue Sapphire (Landgate Bluebeard – Kynynmont Moira) is starting Grand Prix work. The stallion Cashel’s Rock of Ages (Custusha’s Cashel Rock – Erinmoor Lily PONY POWER: The 2005 Connemara mare Kynynmont Kerrianna O’Fallon, Hisega (*Gun Smoke – Kynynmont Arianna, *Canal Laurinston), bred by Pam Meadows Erin Liddell (PA) and owned by Gail Kopp (NJ) Bobby), owned by Kathy Lucas Connemaras you might know: (CA), earned nine USDF All-Breeds The most famous Connemara in championship titles and was the 2008 dressage history is the Grand PrixAdequan®/USDF All-Breeds Prix St. level Connemara/Thoroughbred cross Georges open champion. Another Seldom Seen, owned by Peg Whitestallion, Tricreek Greystone Riley hurst. Trained and ridden by Olympian (Greystone McErrill – Cornerstone’s Lendon Gray (NY), the 14.2-hand geldArianna, Greystone Tiger O’Toole), ing won the individual gold medal at the owned by Mary Lou Thall (NY), is com1981 US Olympic Festival and swept all peting successfully at Prix St. Georges. three Grand Prix classes at Dressage at The American Connemara Devon (PA) in 1987. He died in 1996 Pony Society: The mission of the


September 2018 • USDF Connection

ACPS is to assist and promote the breeding, registration, importation, training, exhibition, and general use of the Connemara for pleasure, sport, equestrian competition, and therapeutic horsemanship in North America. The registry strives to preserve the Connemara’s unique qualities by encouraging selective breeding for type and conformation as described in the Society’s breed standards. The ACPS also promotes local, national, and international equestrian competition and keeps its members informed in all matters concerning the Connemara. All-Breeds awards offered: Top three placings in the Adult Amateur, AA Musical Freestyle, Dressage Sport Horse Breeding, Junior/Young Rider, Musical Freestyle, Open, and Vintage Cup categories. Results and photos are featured in American Connemara magazine. How to participate: Competitors must ride registered purebred or half-bred Connemaras that are permanently registered with the American Connemara Pony Society. Learn more: or (540) 886-2239. 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 / Awards / All-Breeds.


Breed of the Month: Connemara

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Golden Oldies Today’s dressage horses seem to improve with age. Here’s how to keep your senior equine partner feeling and performing his best. By Patti Schofler

LIFELONG LOVE: An older dressage horse is a treasure to cherish. Joy McCourt, Saginaw, MI, kisses her 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Mendelsohn (Metternich–Grendina, Gletscher).

36 September 2018 • USDF Connection


t had been a great run for Wendy Luscombe and Aastrakhan. Luscombe, a longtime adult-amateur dressage rider and Arabian-horse enthusiast, had bred the 1991 Arabian mare (Multir Ibn Al Malik – Courtney) and later competed as a rider or owner through Fourth Level. But eventually the physical demands began to be a bit much for the then 16-year-old mare. Aastrakhan was ready to step her workload down a notch, but she was in good health and still had valuable years left to play the role of schoolmistress for other riders. Having for years owned horses for and trained with Bedford, NY,-based Olympian Lendon Gray, Luscombe, of Craryville, NY, was well acquainted with Gray’s Dressage4Kids organization. She donated Aastrakahn to Gray as a Dressage4Kids mount. First paired with 13-year-old Rachel Chowanec in 2007, Aastrakhan showed her young pupil the ropes, competing at Second and Third Levels and winning the FEI Pony title at Lendon’s Youth Dressage Festival that year. When Chowanec was ready to move on, Aastrakahn took another step down, teaching First and Second Levels to her next young partners. It was aboard Aastrakahn that junior rider Victoria Grace Jennings placed sixth in the 13-and-under division at the 2010 USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals. “She went through five riders, is now 27, and doing very basic work,” Gray says of her mare. Thanks to good care and advances in veterinary medicine, our equine partners are living longer and more productive lives than ever before. Dressage horses regularly win international titles in their teens, and it’s not unusual for our senior friends to enjoy active careers well into their twenties. But just like ourselves, horses as they age may develop health concerns and require some extra TLC to keep them feeling and performing their age-appropriate best. In this article, dressage trainers, veterinary specialists, and an equine nutritionist share advice on keeping our precious senior horses active and happy in their golden years.

An important part of being a sympathetic dressage rider and trainer, experts say, is learning how far a horse can go—comfortably and confidently—in his training. “Some horses get stuck at Second [Level]; some, at Prix St. Georges,” says Gray. “We need to recognize their limits but allow them to continue to be athletes.” “Athlete” is the key word when it comes to managing an older horse. [ USDF Connection

September 2018



Keep Him Moving

“I felt strongly about keeping my Olympic horses going when they were no longer competitive for me,” Gray says. “They last longer if they are doing something. To take a horse that has been pampered the way our horses have been, turn him out in pasture, and suddenly ignore him is not necessarily good. The longer we put that off, the longer they keep fit and sound. I had one in my stable that had competed internationally for another country, who did lower and lower levels until he was 28. He thrived doing light work as a beginner-y horse.” That stepping-down process—guided by frequent reassessment—that Gray describes is an excellent way of keeping an older horse working happily and comfortably, says Ashlee Watts, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, assistant professor of largeanimal surgery at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, College Station. “Everything changes throughout the horse’s life, and you have to be ready to adjust his management program annually or even monthly to make it right for that horse’s stage of life. There is no one right formula,” Watts says. (Watts has sport-horse cred that extends beyond the academic: A decorated adult-amateur dressage rider, she has two US Dressage Finals championship titles, one reserve title, and numerous other wins under her belt. With her Danish Warmblood gelding, Hampton, she graced the 2016 yearbook-issue cover of USDF Connection.) Foremost, Watts says, horses are designed and programmed to move. “A joint in motion stays in motion. Older equine athletes do better with regular exercise, whether they are ridden, turned out, or both.” How that horse exercises—as an active competitor, a les-

38 September 2018 • USDF Connection

son horse, or a pleasure mount—depends on the individual. We know “people in their late sixties who can’t walk down the street,” says FEI-level trainer and competitor Rosalind “Roz” Kinstler, Ann Arbor, MI, and Wellington, FL, and others “the same age who can run a marathon. You have to be clever and recognize that this [horse] we can push; this one we can’t.” “I remind people that your ambition can’t be your horse’s ambition,” adds Kinstler, a longtime instructor of dressage juniors and young riders, who also coached a student to a berth on the 2012 US Paralympic dressage team. “I have two students who were given eighteen- and nineteen-year-old FEI horses because the owners felt sure that they would not be taken advantage of or overfaced at that age.” Knowing when to it’s time to turn a horse over to a different rider with more modest goals takes keen and selfless observation power. Holding on to your senior with the goal of taking him further up the levels, or even just hoping that he will maintain his current level for years to come, may be unrealistic. If your 15-year-old horse has never learned flying changes, it may be that he’s not the right partner for your Fourth Level ambitions—but that same mount might rack up the high-score awards as a Second Level schoolmaster for another grateful rider. “You have to be happy with what your horse can do. I’ve seen older horses who still do their upper-level jobs, but the joy is gone from them,” Kinstler observes. “Horses communicate if we will listen,” Gray says. “When the work has lost some of its joy and he starts getting heavier, taking longer to warm up, becoming more resistant, it’s time for change. My last Grand Prix horse stayed in my


A HORSE FOR THE AGES: Above: the Arabian mare Aastrakhan, then age 15, showing Third Level with breeder/owner/rider Wendy Luscombe at Dressage at Saratoga (NY) in 2006. Right: 19-year-old Aastrakhan winning sixth place at the 2010 USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals with 13-and-under rider Victoria Grace Jennings.

stable with an older woman whose attitude was, ‘Whatever you want to give me, I’m here to receive it.’”

Keep Him Fit

The other 23 hours of the day? “Turnout is a tremendous benefit for an old guy,” Kinstler says, but if your senior is unaccustomed to lengthy pasture time, “introduce it slowly. Use a smaller area or a limited time, according to what they can manage and not get carried away with their abilities.” If you compete your senior dressage horse, hand- or tackwalking between classes helps to prevent stiffness, says Kinstler. Make warm-ups economical. At this point in horses’ careers, “they know how to do their job and should be fit enough. They don’t need to be trained at the show. They get tired.” Older horses, like older people, may be less able to cope with heat and humidity. “For our fifteen- and sixteen-yearold horses at Prix St. Georges, we go ringside with a bucket of water and a little alcohol and rub them down a few times,” Kinstler says. In addition, “we closely monitor their drinking” to help ensure that horses stay properly hydrated. Talk to your veterinarian about proactive measures you can take to help your older horse manage the stresses of showing in the heat.

Your older horse knows his job. Most don’t require (or enjoy) daily drilling. Our experts recommend a modest and varied exercise regimen to help keep their bodies and minds fresh, fit, and engaged. Kinstler likes to work an older horse five consecutive days a week, not on an every-other-day schedule. “The five days of work,” she explains, “vary in intensity and length. The week begins with suppling, builds to the hardest work midweek, then tapers to avoid overdoing but still maintaining a good fitness level.” She keeps sessions short, with frequent breaks and a long walk or cool-down period at the end. On days six and seven, Kinstler turns the horse out or hand-walks him to keep his muscles from getting stiff. “If decent turnout isn’t available, then day six can be a long tack-walk or hack. To me, for mental health, it’s also good to Osteoarthritis, the joint inflammation that causes pain and [give the horse] a day off, even if it means staying in a stall. If stiffness, is inevitable if a horse lives long enough, Watts says. that’s the case, then the first day back to work needs a long “Horses are athletes, even if they live in a field all their walk before actually beginning the session.” USDF-Connection-July-Aug2018-20180515OL.pdf 1 5/16/18 4:30:41 PMTake muslives, and they can still develop osteoarthritis.

Keep Him Comfortable

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September 2018


WORTH THEIR WEIGHT IN GOLD: Older schoolmasters have made many riders’ dreams come true, like the 22-year-old Oldenburg gelding Fabio (West Coast–Doramber, Doormaat), owned by Dr. Kristy Lund (FL), who helped adult-amateur rider Jenifer Gaffney (OH) earn her USDF gold medal in 2016

40 September 2018 • USDF Connection

In Action: Here’s our cover horse Mendolsohn again, shown helping Janelle Deisig (MI) earn the Grand Prix scores toward her USDF gold medal

Watts participated in a recent study of the antioxidant resveratrol, a molecule found in the skin of red grapes (and the key substance in articles touting the health benefits of drinking red wine and red grape juice), to assess resveratrol’s ability to reduce inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. Based on the study findings, she says, horses with lameness related to the lower hock joints might benefit from daily resveratrol to lessen lameness severity.

Keep Him Healthy In humans, resveratrol also has been shown to help prevent insulin resistance, a condition that can lead to diabetes. It may also have other anti-aging and disease-fighting powers. “While resveratrol has been proven to reduce hockassociated lameness,” says Watts, “it may also help horses prone to laminitis, insulin dysregulation, and obesity. When used in conjunction with medications like pergolide, resveratrol may also improve the clinical signs associated with the endocrine disorder known as Cushing’s disease [formal name: pars pituitary intermedia dysfunction, or PPID], a disease that many older horses develop.” For now, a diet restricting overall starch and sugar can minimize risks associated with insulin dysregulation (laminitis is a classic fear), especially in horses that already demonstrate additional risk factors, such as obesity or PPID.


tangs: They don’t just stand around and graze. They push the limits of their bodies, getting small injuries to their joints that can lead to arthritis. And once the horse gets arthritis, it’s here to stay. However, proper management can alleviate inflammation, pain, and stiffness.” Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as phenylbutazone (“bute”), flunixin meglumine (Banamine), and firocoxib (Equioxx), may help ease older horses’ joint-related aches and pains. (If you plan to compete in US Equestrian-licensed/USDF-recognized dressage competition, review the rules regarding drugs and medications carefully to be sure your horse is in compliance with all regulations.) In cases of prolonged or more severe discomfort, your veterinarian may recommend injecting the affected joints with a corticosteroid, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. But joint injections are more of a last resort than a first line of defense, says Cara Wright, DVM, of Sawtooth Equine Service, Bellevue, ID, who specializes in geriatric care. “It’s important that we’ve addressed everything before we inject,” Wright says. “Commonly, an older horse has lameness in the front, and the majority of forelimb lameness is in the foot. Be sure you’re not missing something: Maybe, instead of drugs, the horse needs a shoeing change. “Routine joint injections are not something I do,” Wright continues. “A horse isn’t a car that needs an oil change every three thousand miles. If lameness is from the hocks and it has been localized to the hocks, then it’s the right thing to do. Oftentimes, the horse may get an injection and not need it again for years. They get stronger and use the hock better.” (For more on the subject of hock injections, see “Hock Injections: A Sound Practice?” on page 50.)

You don’t want your horse to be fat at any age, but it’s especially true when he’s older. “Weight management is key to senior horse management,” says Clair Thunes, PhD, who operates the independent consulting firm Summit Equine Nutrition, Sacramento, CA. “We often think of [older horses becoming] skinny, not overweight. But overweight horses are likely to be insulinresistant. Plus, senior horses are probably struggling with arthritis and joint pain that can be made worse by extra weight.” Equine “senior feeds,” which are popular low-starch, low-sugar choices, contain large amounts of easily digestible fiber, ground up into pelleted form so they dissolve in the mouth and don’t require a lot of chewing. Typical senior horse feeds are higher in calories per pound than hay and are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Most are complete feeds, meaning that they are formulated to be fed in large servings without hay—something that many horse owners don’t realize, according to Thunes. “People feed hay and a scoop of senior feed, not realizing that in order to get the full benefit of the feed, you need to serve the fully recommended amount. At fifteen pounds per day, that is very expensive,” she says. Instead, Thunes suggests giving the senior dressage horse a good-quality performance feed, even though it contains

slightly higher levels of crude protein and trace minerals. “The little research out there about feeding seniors shows they don’t utilize dietary protein or absorb minerals quite as well.” Even if senior feeds aren’t the right choice for you and your horse, the rationale behind their formulation is sensible: Older horses’ teeth change, and our senior equine friends may need special dental care and softer feeds if they can’t chew as well. Equine teeth continually erupt to replenish what’s worn away by normal chewing. As a horse ages, his teeth reshape, take on wear patterns, and change angle (which is why we can approximate a horse’s age by looking at his teeth). But new tooth growth doesn’t happen forever, and eventually the horse’s mouth runs out of replacement material and the teeth are shed, says Dr. Teresa Crocker of North Coast Equine, Santa Rosa, CA, who focuses on geriatrics and dentistry. The typical modern horse wears one inch off the surface of his teeth every 10 years. With slower wear, the teeth may wear to the root surface by age 30 and then naturally exfoliate (fall out). A horse that’s undergone considerable dental work over the years may shed his teeth after only 20 years. Removing less tooth during dental-care visits will extend the life of the tooth, she says. Don’t skip the dental care, however. Routine checks and

November 8-11, 2018

W. SPRINGFIELD, MA Eastern States Exposition


Fabulous Horses, Phenomenal Opportunities, Unforgettable Experiences... • An Unparalleled Educational Program • Career / College Fair Scavenger Hunt on Saturday – Explore equine-related career paths and college • The Largest Horse-Related Trade Show in the East opportunities, an engaging way to meet a variety of • Breed Pavilion, Horse & Farm Exhibits, industry professionals and college representatives. Horses for Sale and Demonstrations • The Fantasia (sponsored by Absorbine®) — Equine Affaire’s signature musical celebration of the horse on Thursday, Friday and • Ride a Horse for the first time! We’re partnering with Saturday nights the American Horse Council’s Time to Ride program to • The Versatile Horse & Rider Competition give aspiring new riders an opportunity to enjoy their (sponsored by Nutrena®) on Friday — a fast-paced first ride at Equine Affaire on Thursday and Saturday. timed and judged race through an obstacle course • Land Safe Equestrian — Learn how to safely fall from with $5,500 at stake! your horse in the event of an emergency. Practice • Equine Fundamentals Forum (sponsored by tactics on the ground and on an equine simulator Cosequin®) — Educational presentations, exhibits, adjacent to the Equine Fundamentals Forum in the and activities for new riders and horse owners of Mallary South. all ages


© 2018 Equine Affaire, Inc.

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

Clinton Anderson Brandi Lyons Tik Maynard

Mark Rashid Warwick Schiller

Jan Ebeling (Dressage) Lynn Symanksy (Eventing) Jeff Cook (Hunter/Jumper) Warwick Schiller (Reining) Silke Rembacz (Dressage) Paul Humphrey (Barrel Racing) Muffy Seaton (Driving) Tom Chown (Western Horsemanship, Showmanship) Marcie Morey (Easy Gaited Horses) Mark Bolender (Mountain Trail) Brandi Lyons (Ranch Sorting) Christine Smith (Sport Horse In-Hand) Steve Edwards (Mules) Janice Dulak (Biomechanics & Pilates) Suzanne Marshall (Working Equitation) Scott Seymour (Draft Horses) Heidi McLaughlin (Sport Psychology) Copper Hills Vaulting Team (Vaulting) US Mounted Games Association (Mounted Games)

USDF Connection

September 2018


floating (removing hooks and sharp edges) will help your senior horse maintain his weight, absorb nutrients from his food, and perform more comfortably, says Crocker. For the senior horse, a twice-yearly inspection may lead to better feeding choices and head off disease. “If the horse isn’t chewing properly, too-long pieces of hay can cause gastrointestinal inflammation, diarrhea, or colic,” Crocker explains. “On the other hand, when you feed a diet of soaked pellets with a soupy consistency, you lose the buffering capacity of saliva, which is released from chewing. We want them to have some forage. Chewing causes the jaw to work and keeps up the strength and health of the TMJ [the temporomandibular joint, which connects the lower jaw to the skull]. Shredded beet pulp, fresh pasture grass, and soaked hay cubes work.” Senior horses are more prone to dental-related disease, including: Equine odontoclastic tooth resorption and hypercementosis (EOTRH). The equine tooth is composed of dentin, enamel, and cementum to provide strength and flexibility. If a tooth cracks or the surrounding tissue becomes inflamed, the body can’t create more dentin to save the tooth. However, it can weep cementum into the crack and repair itself.

In the condition known as EOTRH, the roots of the teeth begin to dissolve. To protect the teeth and keep them anchored to the jawbone, the body lays down excessive amounts of cementum (hypercementosis). This production enlarges the roots, refiguring them into a bulbous shape. “When the roots are carrot-shaped, the teeth all fit nicely. With [excess] cementum, the teeth spread apart and are going every which way. That is an incredibly painful disease,” says Crocker. “It is suspected that it can happen from not enough wear of the incisors, with the back teeth worn faster than the incisors. That places pressure on the roots, which decay. If you see receding gum lines with overly long incisors, it’s worth radiographing to see if there is reabsorption, the beginning of the disease.” Periodontal (gum) disease. A young horse’s teeth are tightly packed together. As teeth erupt and wear, the crowns narrow, leaving gaps between the teeth that are prime spots for bits of food to accumulate. Normally, saliva, white blood cells, and beneficial bacteria clean out these gaps; but misaligned teeth, decreased saliva production, and other factors may interfere with this process. If packed food remains between the teeth, the horse’s immune system must fight the resulting “bad” bacteria—which is particularly problematic for seniors with PPID,

Senior Gamble Pays Off

42 September 2018 • USDF Connection



ot every horse sails through life unburdened by injuries. Conventional wisdom dictates that older horses don’t bounce back as well, so even the tempting offer of a talented schoolmaster, but one that had suffered an injury, might not have had many takers. But for the rider who took on the rehab challenge, the gamble paid off. “A young adult who had been in our Dressage4Kids program took on a Grand Prix horse with a soft-tissue injury,” Olympian and program founder Lendon Gray recalls. “She spent an entire year caring for him before she competed him. Now she has a very nice Grand Prix horse.” The horse, the 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding GOOD BET: After successfully rehabbing her donated older horse, Versace N (by Sandro Hit), “had shown up to Prix Versace N, Alexa Derr is competing at Grand Prix St. Georges and was schooling some of the Grand Prix prior to his suspensory injury,” says owner Alexa Derr, 23, a D4K “alumna” who now teaches and trains at Vue de Lou Dressage in Reinholds, PA. In 2015, through D4K and Everglades Dressage LLC in Wellington, FL, “Versace” went to Derr as a project: a free lease for a year, during which time she would rehab him and see if he could stay sound. “When I got him, he was trotting for fifteen minutes and cantering one lap each direction,” Derr says. “We slowly and meticulously rehabbed from there, and we made our Grand Prix debut in June 2017.” The pair has since been competing successfully at Grand Prix and in the FEI Under 25 Grand Prix division.

especially when gum recession becomes severe. Unchecked gum disease results in pain and tooth loss. To treat gum disease, a veterinarian will clean out the feed pockets, repair misalignments, consider a course of antibiotics, protect pockets from further invasion, and in advanced cases extract a tooth or teeth. End-stage dentition. At some point in a horse’s life, the teeth may lose the grinding surfaces needed to process food. Arthritis. We tend to think of arthritis as affecting the hocks and other such joints, but the TMJ is equally susceptible. According to Crocker, use of a dental halter to support the horse’s head from above during dental procedures may adversely affect the horse’s cervical spine, put weight on its lower jaw, and cause TMJ strain. If the horse’s head needs to be steadied for dental work, Crocker prefers to use a stand on which the horse rests its head. TMJ arthritis makes it difficult for the horse to open its mouth, Crocker says. A speculum that is cantilevered, she says, distributes the weight across the jaw muscle so that there is less pressure on the TMJ. Crocker is also careful not to position the horse’s head and neck at exaggerated angles when she works. “I check the range of motion in the neck, and I don’t lift the head high. I get down low to float the teeth. If you raise the head up, the horse will likely need more drugs for the procedure. Also, [if the head and neck are raised too high] you might pinch a nerve in the neck, and then the horse can’t feel his back legs, so he could fall.” Senior horses may require special consideration when it comes to dental work, Crocker says. “The amount and type of sedation may be different for an older horse that has circulatory or cardiac issues,” she says. In addition, “seniors may be better trained and more compliant—or they may have had bad experiences,” which may

make them more or less tolerant of dental work as a result. Use of the dental speculum, which keeps the horse’s mouth open, may also have to be altered to keep the older horse comfortable, Crocker says. The senior’s forward-angled incisors may not rest properly on the speculum plates, which can cause the upper plate to cut into the horse’s palate. And if the teeth are worn short, the grooves in the plates can cut into the gums. Crocker uses a speculum that allows her to change the plates as needed, and one type she uses has rubberized plates for extra comfort.

Cherish Your Horse’s Golden Years Our “golden oldies” have so much to offer: They can teach the next generation of riders. Many have extensive travel and show miles, so they’re more sane and sensible than their younger counterparts. They can even offer a reassuring presence to a green horse at its first show. Some are competitive for a surprisingly long time, going down center line into their twenties or even beyond. And even in retirement or semi-retirement, your senior horse may have a life expectancy into his thirties—and it’s not unheard of for a well-cared-for horse to hit the big 4-0. Your horse may not need glasses or a hearing aid as he ages, but he does need regular veterinary checkups to monitor his weight and to keep an eye on his insulin levels, his endocrine system, his teeth, and his overall comfort. Plan at least twice-yearly wellness exams, and ask your veterinarian to help develop a strategy to keep your golden oldie healthy and happy for many years to come. s Patti Schofler is an award-winning writer based in northern California. She is a USDF L graduate and a passionate dressage rider.

Relive the Excitement!

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

September 2018


Tryon Visitor’s Guide Where to eat, shop, and sightsee, during or after the World Equestrian Games By Amber Heintzberger

ALL ABOUT HORSES: Morris the Horse welcomes visitors to Tryon, NC, site of the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games

44 September 2018 • USDF Connection



estled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, Tryon, NC, has long been a sleepy little village with strong connections to the horse community. With the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games coming this month to the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in nearby Mill Spring, the area is getting global attention. Even if you didn’t score tickets for the WEG (or don’t want to pay a high price for lodging to attend—rooms are going for a premium), there are a number of dressage shows and other equestrian competitions at TIEC and the nearby Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) that draw top riders throughout the year. Combine the equine and other attractions with the area’s natural beauty, and you have a destination worth putting on your must-do list, even after the WEG has left town. Here’s an overview of the best dining options and sights in and around Tryon, for when you’re not ringside glued to the equestrian action. [ USDF Connection

September 2018


On the Grounds You don’t have to leave the TIEC to eat well. Choose from grab-and-go sandwiches or ice-cream cones at the General Store, burgers at Roger’s Diner, or an upscale buffet at the exclusive Legends Club, which overlooks the 6,000seat George Morris Arena, site of para-equestrian dressage and eventing dressage at the 2018 WEG. There are also sushi and Italian options as well as a pub-like atmosphere at Legends Grille. Most restaurants on the TIEC grounds also feature a bar, but the outdoor Silo Bar is the party zone after hours.

In Town The closest town to TIEC is Columbus, NC, which offers a few casual dining options and Openroad Coffee Roastery, which features a drive-through. There is also a new Tractor Supply in town, which may be of interest if you’ve brought horses with you. Drive a little further and you’ll reach the charming village of Tryon, with its many businesses catering to the equestrian set (the local landmark is Morris, a giant wooden toy horse, which observes the downtown corridor). Tryon boasts several new restaurants as well as favorite old standbys.

46 September 2018 • USDF Connection

Huckleberry’s, located right in the middle of downtown, has an inviting patio and a new outdoor bar area. Side Street Pizza & Pasta is a consistent draw, in part because it’s open on Sundays, when much of the town is closed, and in part because it attracts diners from Spartanburg and Greenville Counties, SC, which until recently had “blue laws” prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Sundays. For Sunday brunch, try Lavender Bistro or the new Harper Eatery & Pub, owned by a pair of brothers who returned to their roots after spending the past 10 years in trendy Charleston, SC. Support independent bookstores with a visit to The Book Shelf, and check out Tryon’s several boutique clothing stores. Get your Zen on at Clover Acupuncture and Wellness Studio, which includes a yoga studio with Yoga for Riders on the schedule. No horse-friendly area would be complete without a tack shop. Located on the road between Tryon and nearby Landrum, SC, is The Farm House Tack Shop, offering everything from gifts and apparel to saddlery and grooming supplies.

Further Afield Landrum is just a short drive down the road (or one exit south of Tryon/Columbus on Interstate 26). Its charming


DINING IN STYLE: Legends Club patrons enjoy fine food and the best views of the George Morris Arena at the Tryon International Equestrian Center

BOOTS, BREECHES, AND DOGS WELCOME: Painted horse welcomes patrons to the dog-friendly outdoor patio at Huckleberry’s restaurant in downtown Tryon

Resource Guide



earn more about the restaurants and attractions mentioned in this article. Tryon International Equestrian Center: tryon. Biltmore Estate: The Book Shelf: Chimney Rock State Park: chimney-rock-state-park Clover Acupuncture and Wellness Studio: NATURAL BEAUTY: Dock overlooks picturesque Lake Lure, NC DuPont State Recreational Forest: dupontforest. com Peace Center: The Farm House Tack Shop: The Purple Onion: Foothills Equestrian Nature Center: Side Street Pizza & Pasta: Harper Eatery & Pub: Soulisa’s Fine Thai Dining: The Hare & Hound: Southside Smokehouse: Huckleberry’s: Starbucks: Lake Lure: Stone Soup Market & Cafe: Lavender Bistro: Tractor Supply: Openroad Coffee Roastery: openroadcoffeeroastery. Wildflour Bakery: com

USDF Connection

September 2018


downtown boasts a number of antique shops, art galleries, and interior-design stores, as well as a toy store with a vast selection for the “short stirrup” set. The Hare & Hound is a pub with traditional fare and an outdoor seating area, and Soulisa’s Fine Thai Dining offers fresh Thai and Japanese food. Just outside of town, Southside Smokehouse features Southern specialties and BBQ favorites as well as a fresh, seasonal menu. Head toward the highway and you can’t miss Stone Soup Market & Cafe, a cozy restaurant located in an old roadside house, with a community dog run out back. For caffeine junkies, the only local Starbucks is located inside the Ingles supermarket just off the Landrum exit from I-26. Head west on I-26 for a short drive up the mountain and you’ll arrive at the tiny town of Saluda, where The Purple Onion offers fresh, locally sourced food with lots of veg-

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See You in Tryon Whether you’re in the area for an extended stay or just stopping by for a day or two, there are ample opportunities in and around Tryon for dining out, cultural experiences, and outdoor excursions. Lodging is limited, so book early, and enjoy the hospitality of the Foothills region. s Amber Heintzberger called the Tryon area home for more than 15 years and spent her formative years there competing in eventing and dressage and involved in Pony Club. Her father, Hank, is a local farrier, and her parents board retired horses on their small farm. Amber now lives outside of New York City with her husband and children, and they visit the Tryon area several times each year.


Y’ALL COME VISIT: Tryon is preparing to welcome the world

etarian options, live music, and an inviting patio. Wildflour Bakery has lots of homemade goodies, and on Saturday mornings it attracts numerous cyclists who make the trek up the winding roads of the Saluda Watershed from Greenville, SC, looking for fortification. A longer drive up I-26 will take you to Hendersonville, NC, with a larger downtown and lots of dining and shopping options. For the more adventurous, Asheville, NC, is situated to the north, about a 45-to-60-minute drive away. Known for its hip, outdoorsy vibe, Asheville is home to numerous art galleries and shops, excellent restaurants, and craft beers. Its biggest claim to fame is the Biltmore Estate; allow at least a full day to tour this palatial home and gardens built by the Vanderbilt family. Heading south, Spartanburg and Greenville, SC, also have robust, cosmopolitan city centers with numerous dining options. Peace Center in Greenville regularly features music and theater productions, and there are carriagedrawn tours through the architecturally diverse downtown. If you have a few extra days to go sightseeing, the greater Tryon area offers many opportunities for hiking, rafting, and kayaking. In Asheville, you can rent kayaks or a raft to go down the French Broad River. Lake Lure (of Dirty Dancing fame), about half an hour north of Mill Spring, has a small beach where you can rent a kayak or boat and spend an hour or more on the water; and nearby Chimney Rock State Park has excellent hiking trails with spectacular views. If you feel like a lazy afternoon outdoors, drive up the Green River about 15 minutes from Mill Spring and go tubing: for a few dollars, various outfitters will rent you an inner tube and bus you upriver, where you then float back down to your starting point. DuPont State Recreational Forest, west of Hendersonville, has several stunning waterfalls and trails for hiking or riding.

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USDF Connection

September 2018


Hock Injections: A Sound Practice? This procedure is common in dressage horses. For some, it’s routine “maintenance.” Should it be? By Sarah Evers Conrad


f only our horses could talk and tell us where it hurts, we’d no longer have to guess what might be causing them to feel “off” when we ride, or why those frustrating performance problems have started happening. But over time we learn which parts of the horse’s body are prone to wear and tear—and because of the demands that dressage places on the horse’s hindquarter joints, for many riders and horse owners, the hocks wind up being the usual suspects. The stresses of athletic performance can lead to inflammation and osteoarthritis (OA) in the hock joints. To combat the resulting stiffness and pain, some horse owners routinely have the joints injected, usually with steroids or other anti-inflammatories, with substances designed to improve joint function, or with some combination of these. No joint injection is risk-free, however, and not all experts are on board with the idea of regularly scheduled hock injections as “maintenance.” For this article, we asked two well-known sport-horse veterinarians to explain the benefits and potential drawbacks of hock injections, as well as for guidance in determining when—or if—they might help your horse feel and perform better.

Not One Joint but Four

NEEDLE POINT: A veterinarian performs a joint injection on a horse’s hock

50 September 2018 • USDF Connection

Diagnosing Hock Problems Hock issues can run the gamut: from so slight that it’s just a feeling that the horse is off, to noticeable inflammation, radiographic changes, a positive flexion test during a lame-


That’s right: There’s not just one “hock joint.” The horse’s hock (the tarsus, in veterinary terms) consists of four joints, any one (or more) of which may be a source of discomfort. The tarsocrural joint, a high-motion joint at the top of the hock, is the largest joint in the hock (see illustration on the opposite page). From top to bottom, the three smaller joints are the proximal intertarsal joint, the distal intertarsal joint, and the tarsal-metatarsal joint. These smaller joints are considered low-motion joints. Despite the fact that the smaller joints don’t move much, most hock OA is found in the lower two hock joints—the distal intertarsal and the tarsal-metatarsal—says Rick Mitchell, DVM, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVSMR, of Fairfield Equine Associates, Newtown, CT. “Other issues may occur related to collateral and intertarsal ligament strain that may also lead to discomfort and/ or arthritic changes,” Mitchell adds. Issues in the tarsocrural joint, also known as the tibio-tarsal joint, can include osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) lesions, which produce inflammation and soreness related to developing synovitis; and fluid swelling (“bog spavin”), Mitchell says.

HOCK ANATOMY: Bones of the left hock as seen from the lateral (left) side and from the front

ness exam, or some combination of the latter, says Jack Snyder, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, an international sport-horse veterinarian based out of Circle Oak Equine, Petaluma, CA. Like Mitchell, Snyder is a former US Equestrian Team veterinarian, caring for US horses at Olympic Games, World Equestrian Games, and other major championships. Although changes on hock radiographs tend to worry horse owners, Snyder says that hock disease does not always match the pictures. “You can have horrible x-ray changes, and the horse is fine,” he says, “and vice versa: where you can have very little changes or no changes, and it’s bothering the horse.” That’s part of the reason a thorough lameness examination is step 1 in addressing any suspected hock issue, Mitchell says. Before your veterinarian can discuss treatment options, the source of the discomfort must be pinpointed.


Hock Injections Explained If a lameness examination indicates that your horse indeed is experiencing discomfort in one or more hock joints, your veterinarian may recommend proceeding with the injection process. There is an array of products that can be injected into the space between one or more affected hock joints (called an intra-articular, or IA, injection). Current options include: • Corticosteroids, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties • Polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, or PSGAG (Adequan® IA), to help stimulate cartilage repair, restore synovial lubrication, and inhibit enzymes that attack cartilage and synovial fluid. Mitchell favors Adequan® IM, which is injected into the muscle. • Hyaluronic acid/sodium hyaluronate (Legend), an important component of synovial fluid, which cushions the joints • Biologics (substances created by the horse’s own body),

such as interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein (IRAP); platelet-rich plasma (PRP); and a system called Pro-Stride Autologous Protein Solution, which contains a concentrated solution of cells, platelets, growth factors, and anti-inflammatory proteins, including IRAP. “Generally, the substances injected reduce inflammation and allow the joint environment to assume a more normal state and level of function, producing better-quality joint fluid and providing essential nourishment and lubrication to articular cartilage,” Mitchell explains. Of the options, steroids have the most potent anti-inflammatory effect, according to Snyder. Accordingly, steroids are often his go-to for OA in the low-motion joints. But steroid use has its risks (which we’ll discuss in a minute); so if a horse has OA in a high-motion joint or if it needs the same joint injected multiple times, Snyder might switch to a different agent following a treatment with steroids.

Timing Issues Your horse may show improvement as soon as 24 to 48 hours post-injection, Snyder says. But don’t be too eager to get on and ride, he cautions: Most veterinarians suggest resting a horse for one to three days after the procedure. “What you want is for the agent that you are using to have its maximum effect before you start stimulating it again,” Snyder explains. “If I have the time, I give the horse two days off and on the third day, ride light. Shortening that up doesn’t have a negative or detrimental effect, but maybe your treatment won’t be as effective or last as long.” Snyder recommends not having joint injections done right before you transport your horse, because it’s harder to monitor him or to deal with any post-injection issues while on the road. Another thing he tries to avoid is injecting all of the hock joints, unless they all have a problem. In general, he sticks to the bottom two joints (the distal intertarsal and the USDF Connection

September 2018


MOTION IS LOTION: Experts say that turnout benefits equine joint health

Fusion: A Last Resort


f hock injections of any kind are no longer reducing your horse’s inflammation and pain, then your veterinarian may recommend fusing the involved joints in order to stabilize the area. Injecting the joint with alcohol is one method of causing it to fuse, says Jack Snyder, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, of Circle Oak Equine, Petaluma, CA. The other is surgery, using a laser or a surgical drill, he says. In either method, the goal is to cause a reaction that will help the horse’s body to lay down bone so that the joint stabilizes, thereby eliminating the pain caused by movement.

52 September 2018 • USDF Connection

that, depending on the horse, it may be a long time before you need to repeat the procedure. According to Snyder, some five- to seven-year-olds need only one injection to arrest the inflammatory process, and they may not need a follow-up injection for years. However, other horses—especially older ones—may benefit from yearly injections or even more frequently. Because every horse is different, Snyder stresses the importance of having a veterinarian regularly monitor your horse over time. And for benchmarking purposes, take note of when your horse gets his hocks “done” as well as how long the effects last, Mitchell recommends.

Risks One of the biggest risks in injecting any joint is infection. No matter how skilled a veterinarian is at giving IA injections, and no matter how well the injection site is cleaned and prepped, the risk of infection cannot be eliminated because the needle will always carry some foreign material—skin, debris, and bacteria—into the joint, Snyder says. Injecting steroids increases the risk because steroids reduce the immune system’s response and thus the horse’s ability to fight infection. Post-injection joint infection is not common, but when it happens it is a life-threatening emergency that needs immediate treatment, Snyder stresses. Infection doesn’t set in immediately: When it occurs, it may manifest anywhere from five to 14 days post-procedure, and sometimes as long as 30 days afterward, he says. Snyder warns against overuse of steroids in general, especially in high-motion joints.


tarsal-metatarsal), saying that these two usually produce the best results. Neither Snyder nor Mitchell is a fan of injecting joints as a routine or “maintenance” procedure. “Simply injecting a joint because the schedule suggests it is indicated is not sound practice,” Mitchell says. Instead, have your veterinarian evaluate your horse periodically and address any issues if they arise, he recommends. In striving to achieve the maximum benefit from joint injections, there may be a sweet spot—somewhere between needlessly injecting the young, sound horse and waiting until the equine athlete is showing signs of marked discomfort. “You don’t want to wait too long in [treating] any joint because then you’re fighting the disease process,” says Snyder. Joint injections aren’t inexpensive. The good news is

“If you use steroids over and over again in a high-motion joint,” he says, “it will lead to degradation or breakdown of the cartilage.” Cartilage cushions the joints, and so its breakdown can worsen joint disease, he explains. Biologic products carry less infection risk because they don’t depress the immune system. “The other positive of the other agents is that you don’t have any drug-testing time because you’re actually using products from the horse’s body,” says Snyder, referring to the official drugs and medications regulations imposed by equestrian sports’ national and international governing bodies. Another joint-injection risk factor is an inflammatory response, often referred to as a joint flare or reaction, which can cause lameness. The condition usually appears 24 to 48 hours after treatment. Obviously, more inflammation is the last thing one wants to see after hock injections, but fortunately this reaction is also rare, Snyder says. Another very unwanted potential side effect of injecting a joint with steroids is laminitis, which like infection can be life-threatening. “That’s another reason not to be indiscriminately putting steroids in a horse,” says Snyder, “because all of a sudden you have a horse you didn’t have any problems with, and you treat its joints with steroids, and the next thing you have the horse foundering.” Citing an increased risk of laminitis, Mitchell advises against performing corticosteroid joint injections on horses with metabolic issues, such as equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) or pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, aka equine Cushing’s disease). With such horses, he suggests IRAP or Pro-Stride instead. By now you might be terrified of ever putting steroids in your horse’s joints, but in fact steroids remain Snyder’s usual first choice for the low-motion joints, either alone or with hyaluronic acid, because they have the strongest antiinflammatory effect. In addition, they are often less expensive than the biologic products, he says. But if steroids aren’t producing the hoped-for benefits, Snyder may turn to the Pro-Stride system or IRAP, he says.

Healthier Joints, Naturally One way to reduce the need for joint injections and to improve joint health in the dressage horse is to turn him out as much as possible. “The more the horse is moving around, the [fewer jointrelated] issues you’re going to deal with,” says Snyder. Unfortunately, turnout usually isn’t an option at shows, and not all stables have adequate paddocks or pasture land. If this is the case for your horse, then the warm-up phase

of your rides becomes even more important, Snyder says. Make your warm-ups long and gradual enough to allow your horse’s joints to get loose and “oiled” before you ask for harder work. For those who don’t want to do hock injections, there are other, noninvasive ways of managing OA-related inflammation and discomfort. Various nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may offer relief. A glance at most any equestrian retailer’s website or vet-supply catalog reveals an array of oral “nutraceutical” supplements that target joint health (Mitchell says that supplements containing resveratrol, the anti-inflammatory substance found in red wine and red grape juice, may be beneficial). Physical-therapy modalities, such as extracorporeal shockwave, Class IV laser, and pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy, also may help some horses, Mitchell says. Effectiveness of any treatment depends on the disease progression and on how long the horse has been symptomatic, says Snyder, so discuss options with your veterinarian—especially if you wish to compete, as some substances and modalities are restricted or prohibited.

When More Aren’t Better “Like many other medical treatments, joint injections are good for the horse if done responsibly and with a reasonable diagnostic effort on the part of the veterinarian,” says Mitchell. But if you find that your horse needs increasingly frequent hock injections just to keep performing, then it may be time to reconsider, he says. “The need for frequent injections bears out the need for a reassessment of the therapy being used,” he says. “Perhaps a different therapeutic approach, such as choice of medication or other agent, is needed; or reevaluation of the true problem may be indicated.” You, your veterinarian, and your instructor/trainer are part of your horse’s team. Your goal: a healthy, happy horse that can comfortably manage the demands of dressage. Veterinary medicine has made remarkable advances in diagnosing and treating disease, but good horsemanship and thoughtful management remain the cornerstones for keeping our horses healthy. 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. USDF Connection

September 2018


rider’s market

To Your Horse’s Health

Horse-health innovations—plus a few that simply make him look great

New Supplements for Senior Horses Formulated by PhD equine nutritionists, two new supplements from Farnam are designed for horses in their golden years.

Farnam Senior Health & Wellness is for older horses that are fully retired or used only for light work. Containing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a prebiotic to aid in digestion, it’s ideal for horses eating a commercial senior feed that can’t be fed the recommended amount without gaining too much weight. It can also be added to an unfortified diet. For older horses that are still being ridden regularly, Farnam Senior Active Performance ASU helps to maintain joint mobility and health. ASU (avocado soybean unsaponifiables) is a combination of natural vegetable extracts from avocado and soybean oils that has been shown to help maintain joint health. Senior Active Performance ASU also helps to promote post-workout muscle recovery by supporting healthy cellular activity and protecting against free-radical damage and oxidative stress resulting from exercise. Learn more:

Just Say WHOA to Dusty Arena Footing Everyone hates dusty riding arena, and inhaling dust particles is bad for our health and our horses’, as well. Keeping the dust down can require tremendous amounts of watering,

which can be a major environmentalresource issue. Footing and arena resource Premier Equestrian is now the US distributor of WHOA Dust, a scientifically formulated product that decreases dust, retains moisture, and creates a firmer and more ridable surface for any equestrian discipline. WHOA Dust is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Made of a polymer similar to that used in contact lenses, the granulated product absorbs a huge amount of water in an arena, retains it, and then releases it into the surface over time. The need for watering is decreased drastically. Apply with a fertilizer spreader, and refresh every six months. Learn more: PremierEquestrian. com or (800) 611-6109.

Compete in Dressage Without Leaving Home If distance, finances, or other factors impede your ability to take part in dressage competition—or if you’re just looking for an expert critique of your tests—then Dressage Show Online might be the solution for you. The website runs online unrecognized competitions in both dressage (Intro through Second Levels) and

54 September 2018 • USDF Connection

Western dressage. Register online for free, have a helper video your test, and then enter a class and upload your video to the site or to YouTube. Test-riding and judging follow US Equestrian rules. Judges are USDF L graduates and L graduates with distinction. Your test sheet will be posted in your private dashboard, and scores are updated throughout the month on the main scoreboard. There are even ribbons, high-point awards, and a championship show. Learn more:

For the Brightest Show-Ring Shine Mane ‘n Tail shampoo and conditioner put manufacturer Straight Arrow Products Inc. on the equine (and human) grooming map. New to the Mane ‘n Tail lineup are Mane ‘n Tail Ultimate Gloss Shampoo and Conditioner, for an unbeatable shine on a horse’s coat, mane, and tail. The formulas are gentle enough for everyday use and are pH-balanced for healthy skin and haircoat. The Exhibitor Labs line of equine grooming products is a recent addition to the Straight Arrow family of brands. Longtime favorites, such as Exhibitor’s Quic Silver and Quic Braid, are joined by the new Exhibitor’s Quic Shampoo and Quic Conditioner. Quic Shampoo is a breakthrough in shampoo technology with a shineintensifying solution for equine hair. Quic Conditioner’s micro-protein cream formula detangles, nourishes, and strengthens. Learn more: ManeNTailEquine. com;

World’s First Rehabilitative Orthotic for Horses A horse’s rehabilitation period following a lower-leg soft-tissue injury can be a perilous time because the

structures are prone to reinjury. FastTrack, the world’s first rehabilitative orthotic device for horses, promises to significantly reduce both rehab time and incidence of reinjury following tendon and ligament trauma. Horsepower Technologies Inc. developed FastTrack over nearly eight years of research and testing in consultation with top sport-horse veterinarians. The device features a patented exoskeletal structure; a patented adjustable Restriction of Motion device called SafeStop, which enables the user to control the maximum permissible angle of rotation of the fetlock joint; and customized thermo-formable inner padding. SafeStop allows for a reduced load on injured flexor tendons and ligaments. As rehab progresses, the SafeStop settings can be changed to permit the joint a greater range of motion, thus allowing the tendons and ligaments to adjust gradually to an increased load as the horse heals. Learn more:

Need a Health Boost? SmartPak’s Got a Supplement for That Team SmartPak continues to expand the company’s array of supplement options. New in the single-ingredient category are Turmeric Pellets by SmartPak

(to help fight oxidative stress and support overall health and wellbeing), Aloe Vera Pellets by SmartPak (all the gastric-health benefits as aloe juice without the mess and the need to refrigerate), and the latest, Chasteberry Pellets by SmartPak (for shaggy seniors, moody mares, and irritable geldings). SmartPak has expanded its economical line of Leg Up formulas, introducing Leg Up Metabolic Pellets, Leg Up Electrolyte Powder, Leg Up Mare Pellets, Leg Up Multi-Vitamin Pellets, and Leg Up Muscle Pellets. SmartMane & Tail contains biotin, collagen, numerous vitamins and minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids for

skin and coat health. SmartDark & Handsome now provides the same key ingredients for a deep, rich coat color with more than double the amount of omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat. The new SmartTendon Pellets formula provides a significantly increased amount of collagen for tendon and ligament health. And SmartStride Ultra Pellets contain an innovative combination of ingredients including collagen, turmeric, and resveratrol for joint, tendon, and ligament support. Learn more: or (800) 461-8898. 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.

Register Your Horse with USDF! The USDF Lifetime Horse Registration: • Fulfills USDF horse registration requirements for ALL USDF award and championship programs.* • Never needs to be renewed. *For information about rider/owner membership requirements for award and championship programs, visit the USDF website. USDF Connection

September 2018


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58 September 2018 • USDF Connection


MARCH 2010

Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation


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


Accounting......................................................................(859) 271-7891....................................... Address and E-mail Updates............................................(859) Adult Education Programs ..............................................(859) 271-7882......................................... Adult Team Competitions.................................................(859) 971-7317.............................. All-Breeds Awards ...........................................................(859) All-Breeds Declarations.....................................................(859) Applications Submitted at Competitions...........................(859) Breeders & Materiale Championships Series......................(859) 271-7894........................................ Demographics and Statistics............................................(859) 271-7083................................................. Donations........................................................................(859) eTRAK..............................................................................(859) Group Membership..........................................................(859) 971-7048................................................. Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Awards...............(859) 271-7882........................................ Horse Performance Certificates.........................................(859) Horse Registration............................................................(859) Horse/Rider Score Reports. .............................................(859) Human Resources/Career Opportunities............................(859) 271-7885..................................................... Instructor Certification.....................................................(859) Insurance Certificates for Competitions............................(859) 271-7886........................................... Junior/Young Rider Clinics................................................(859) L Education and Continuing Education.............................(859) 971-7039.......................................... Mailing Lists.....................................................................(859) NAYC Criteria and Procedures...........................................(859) 971-7360............................................... National Education Initiative............................................(859) 271-7882......................................... Nominations – Delegates, Regional Directors....................(859) 271-7897..................................... Participating and Business Memberships...........................(859) 271-7871..................................... Prize List Questions..........................................................(859) Regional Championships Program....................................(859) Rider Awards...................................................................(859) 971-7361...................................... Score Corrections.............................................................(859) Secretary/Manager Services .............................................(859) Show Results...................................................................(859) Sponsorship Opportunities...............................................(859) 271-7887...................................... Sport Horse Education.....................................................(859) 271-7894........................................ Store Merchandise...........................................................(859) 971-7828..................................... University Accreditation and Credit Check.........................(859) 971-7317.......................................... Year-end Awards..............................................................(859) 971-7361............................................. Young Rider Graduate Program........................................(859) Youth Outreach Clinics.....................................................(859) Youth Programs...............................................................(859) Youth Team Competitions................................................(859)

Make the connection


Phone: (859) 971-2277, Fax: (859) 971-7722, E-mail:

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Connection wants YOU to be a contributor. Here’s how.

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

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

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

Advertising Index Auburn Laboratories, Inc. 21 Back on 33 Canadian Warmblood Horse Breeders Assoc. 23 Clear Span Fabric inside front cover Dechra Veterinary, 15 The Dehner ....................................................................... 39 Dressage at ......................................................... 2 EQ Saddle 29 Equine 41 Great American Insurance 9 PDZ Company, 33 Purina back cover Rein 22 39 SmartPak 1, 5 Sox For ............................................................. 20 Standlee 19 Takt inside back cover The Dressage 27, 28 USDF Convention.................................................................................................................................... 30-31 Horse Registration.............................................................................................................................. 55 Sport Horse Education....................................................................................................................... 35 Sport Horse Prospect Development Forum...................................................................................... 22 Store Merchandise............................................................................................................................. 57 US Dressage Finals.............................................................................................................24-25, 43, 49 Year-End Awards................................................................................................................................ 20 World Equestrian 7


USDF Connection

September 2018


the tail end

How dressage helps an older rider to temper her anxiety By Eve M. Tai


ast summer I competed in a horse show for the very first time. I was 55 years old. Horses have always captivated me. As a girl, Breyer models lined my

HAPPY PLACE: The writer and her horse, Chip

shelves, and pictures of Secretariat covered my bedroom wall. When I was 12, I took riding lessons for six glorious weeks. But riding was pricey and the stable was far away, and a good Chinese girl like me was supposed to be studying, not fooling around at a barn. Hard as it was, forgetting about horses became easier than a life without them. Fortunately, horses never forgot about me. Forty years later, they would come back into my life and invite me to ride. It didn’t take me long to discover dressage. I’ve practiced yoga for nearly my entire adult life, and the ideals of harmony and partnership in dressage resonated with me. Yoga is often translated as “union,” and that’s what I wanted with a horse. But I would soon learn that dressage had even more to offer. By the time I began riding lessons, I was in my early fifties and anxiety was creeping into my life. My worries started with the mundane,

60 September 2018 • USDF Connection

Eve M. Tai lives in Seattle with her horse, Chip, and dog, Baby Huey. She trains with DuoStar Dressage at Dutch Hill Stables in Snohomish, WA.


In the Moment

like driving somewhere new at night. But then my mind began spinning a constant reel of what-ifs. What if my dog gets sick? What if I am alone in my old age? What if my roof doesn’t make it through another rainy Seattle winter? I felt caught in a vortex: The more anxiety took over, the older I felt, and the older I felt, the more anxiety took over. Fears like these are not uncommon in our later years, and indeed they are not always unfounded. Live long enough and you get your share of falling off horses, losing jobs, and worst of all, losing those you love. All the same, I knew that getting pulled into these fears was aging me. So perhaps it is no surprise that dressage came into my life when it did. When I ride, I am nowhere else. I drop into my body and tune in to Chip, my horse. Dressage’s precision, patterns, and details anchor my busy mind and ground me. There’s no room for anxiety to intrude. The more I ride, the more my habit of negative storytelling dissolves into a more spacious state of mind. Even visualizing dressage tests has become a meditation I can rely on away from the barn to help center myself. The concentration that dressage requires has helped me to relax and to learn how to respond just as I need to in every single moment. Petrified as I was at that horseshow debut, I couldn’t stop smiling. Nothing mattered except whatever movement Chip and I were performing. Dressage riders all know that magic moment when we feel a ride— when it is no longer about thinking and doing, but about surrendering. When I felt Chip give to the bit and rocket forward in his canter in my first test, time vanished and with it, my anxiety. I was no longer old or young. I was ageless. s

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