Endurance VOLUME 6
EXPERT ADVICE ON: Veterinary Problems Shod to Barefoot
Rider Biomechanics Tips for Success Tying Up
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PLANNING A 160KM RIDE SETTING GOALS
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contents VETERINARY SECTION Common Problems in Endurance Horses Lower Limb Swelling Tying Up Horses, Fibre and the Hindgut
4 18 20 26
TIMELY TIPS How I Started Endurance Setting Goals Tips for Success From Shod to Barefoot Planning A 160km Ride
Endurance Australia - Volume 6 Vink Publishing ABN 3107 478 5676 Publisher: Michael Vink P: (07) 3334 8000 E: email@example.com Editor: Sharon Meyers M: 0409 270 535 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: Michael Vink P: (07) 3334 8000 E: email@example.com All Advertising Enquiries to: Vink Publishing PO Box 8369 Woolloongabba QLD 4102 P: (07) 3334 8000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Office Address: 38â€“40 Fisher Street, East Brisbane QLD 4169 Design Team: Jonathan Nevin, Wendy Deng, Richard Locke, Karen Belik Cover Photo: Arabian mare Cameo Graziella (Cedardell Zanzibar x Cameo Moonsylph) with Ruth White. Photo Sue Crockett. *Recommended Retail Price. All material appearing in Endurance is subject to copyright laws. Reproduction of articles in part or thereof is not permitted without prior permission of the publishers. The opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those held by the publishers or staff. Any written material may be submitted, but no responsibility will be accepted for the return of solicited or unsolicited material. Photographs must have a return name and address written on the flip side, and must be accompanied by a stamped, self addressed envelope. Although every care is taken, no responsibility is accepted by the publisher nor the staff of Endurance, for loss or damage of any material submitted for publication. The publisher reserves the right to reject any advertisement, booked or otherwise, on sighting of material.
C EN OD M UMROANN PC RE OABULSETMRSA ILNI AE N 2 0D1U5 R A N C E H O R S E S
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RIDER SECTION The Pain of Endurance Riding Harking Back Future of Endurance Riding Rider Biomechanics Saddles for Endurance Riding
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Common Problems in Endurance Horses Endurance horses are recognised as being the fittest and most well adapted of all equine athletes to the specific type of aerobic exercise for long distance saddle competition. It can take 12 â€“ 18 months to prepare a horse for longer rides, often with a step-wise increase in distance from 40km training rides, 80km competitions, to rides in excess of 100kms and ultimately a 160km competition distance. Endurance horses are conditioned for stamina and aerobic fitness in contrast to speed and strength required in faster gaited horses. However, over recent years, the speeds of
competitive, international endurance racing have increased, with horses racing at speeds ranging from 8.4 to 22.5km/hour, reaching speeds of up to 30km/hour in the final loop. Physical conditioning to optimise muscle, metabolic and respiratory fitness in elite horses, whilst maintaining skeletal soundness, is the foundation for successful endurance competition. Endurance horses have to be five years or older to compete as mature horses and training is carried out up to 62% of the metabolic aerobic threshold at speeds of a trot and light canter. As mature horses exercising at slower speeds, they suffer fewer joint, tendon and skeletal overload injuries compared to horses competing
COMMON PROBLEMS IN ENDURANCE HORSES
By Dr John Kohnke BVSc RDA
in eventing, jumping and sporting disciplines which are campaigned at an earlier, immature age and at higher exercise speeds. The Arabian breed is the mainstay for endurance riding worldwide. They are generally tough, bred and selected to be well conformed in the limbs essential for horses to remain sound during long distance saddle competition. In many countries, breeds of horses other than Arabians are trained for endurance competition. These include horses with higher numbers of aerobic oxidative muscle fibres, such as Standardbreds and their crosses, Anglo-Arabs and in Australia, stock horses. Some horses may be retired from racing or other equestrian sports and bring
vet a history of earlier musculo-skeletal injury to endurance competition. Arabians and their cross-breeds, as long distance horses, have often competed for a number of years and although lameness issues tend to increase as any horse ages, many are still competing successfully at 12 – 15 years of age. Modern endurance competition is demanding on musculo-skeletal structures, as well as metabolically and physically challenging, especially during long distance rides and less than adequate downtime between rides during the season in a fit and highly competitive horse. A survey in the late 1990s of FEI endurance races, collected from over 7,117 starters, indicated that only 50% of the horses completed a ride; 20% of these were withdrawn and of the 30% which were eliminated at a vet check, 63% of these horses were vetted out due to lameness and 24% for metabolic reasons. In another survey, statistics gathered from over 30,000 horses competing in FEI endurance rides/races of greater than 100km in distance, indicated that lameness issues account for 30% of horses which were vetted out of official rides held between 2009 to 2011 in nearly 50 countries, and less than 10% of horses were vetted out due to metabolic reasons, such as colic, tying-up, the ‘thumps’ and other causes. There are a number of common problems which can result in an otherwise well-conditioned and fit horse being withdrawn or vetted out during, or at the final vet check at the end of a ride or endurance race. Lameness still remains the predominant cause of withdrawal. However, metabolic problems including ‘tying-up’ and the ‘thumps’, combined with both physical and metabolic stress, are often heralded by dehydration and a poor heart rate recovery. Symptoms of colic associated with dehydration, and pain due to gastric ulcers are less common causes of failure to complete a ride successfully. The risk of lameness, even in a sound, fit and competitive horse can be influenced by the terrain of the ride, the distance and the speed of the ride and the weather conditions. The experience and skill of the rider in recognising a potential lameness issue early in the ride and then taking precautions to ‘nurse’ a horse to enable it to finish successfully and avoid it being vetted out, plays an important part in maintaining soundness during the endurance season. Metabolic problems, which include ‘tying-up’, the ‘thumps’, dehydration and colic are largely influenced by ride conditions, the individual horse’s fitness and the terrain. Hot, humid weather, wet boggy track conditions and hilly terrain are common causes for unforeseen metabolic problems occurring in an otherwise
fit and sound horse during a training ride or endurance race. Emergency veterinary appraisal and treatment, and in some cases, critical care of horses suffering metabolic stress during a ride or in the 2 – 3 days following a ride, may be necessary.
Lameness Endurance horses, even seasoned campaigners when carefully trained and ridden, have a risk of lower limb lacerations or joint related ‘wear and tear’ type injury due to long exercise distances. Although overload-related joint, tendon, ligament and bone injury are less likely compared with fast-gaited racing and other performance horses, long-term concussive exercise and the natural cumulative stress on these structures over months or even years of training and competition, can become the underlying causes of chronic lameness. The most common causes of shortened stride and symptoms of lameness include hoof concussion, resulting in under-sole and heel soreness, usually in horses competing on hard, compacted surfaces; fetlock joint cartilage ‘wear and tear’ and joint capsule inflammatory reactions; tendon core deterioration; as well as structural lower limb ligament tearing, with associated pain and soreness. In some older horses, an earlier tendon strain as well as knee and hock concussive and chronic arthritic conditions, especially in older horses, increase the risk of withdrawal from a ride. These conditions can flare-up during a long ride, often resulting in a subtle change in a horse’s ‘way of going’ with a shortened stride, may become more prevalent as the ride progresses. Obviously, in individual horses, earlier limb injury can become clinically apparent and require a thorough post-ride assessment if symptoms are noted at a vet check point.
to the ride conditions. Deep sandy or wet, sodden trail conditions can result in a higher risk of tendon and ligament strains, whilst hard, dry or rocky track surfaces increase joint and especially hoof injuries, such as stone bruises (bruised soles) and in severe cases, ‘sore feet’ and concussive laminitis, especially when combined with reduced lower limb perfusion associated with dehydration. Any horse which suffers a limb injury during training should be examined by a veterinarian to determine the cause, severity and risk of longterm complications. Initially, riders may give a course of an anti-inflammatory agent, ice therapy, poultices, supportive wraps, oral or injectable
When considering the incidence of lameness during a ride, or in the post-ride period, lameness conditions fall into three categories.
1. Prior Lameness Endurance horses suffer relatively few jointrelated problems, even in long distance competitive horses – relative to racing and performance horses. Training and conditioning is carried out over many months at slower aerobic speeds in near mature horses prior to them entering a competitive ride. Weight loading on the front limbs is less compared to fast-gaited horses and overload injury to joints, bones and tendons is much less common. Indeed many competitive horses develop fetlock ‘wind galls’, or out pouching on the joint sac signifying increased joint fluid in response to joint cartilage trauma, but often the inflammation settles down and causes no further long-term lameness issues.
2. Ride Conditions The origin and type of lameness is often related
Left: Endurance horses are conditioned for stamina and aerobic fitness. Top right: Competition is demanding on musculo-skeletal structures. Photo Sue Crockett. Above: A vet should attend any horse with limb injuries to determine the severity and long-term complications. Photo Cindy Reich.
E N D U R A N C E A U S T R A L I A 2 015
joint therapies and rest over a 7 – 21 day period. However, if an injury recurs, because so much time and effort is put into training a horse, it is imperative that more detailed diagnostic procedures, such as joint blocks, an X-ray for joint injuries, ultrasound scans for tendons and an MRI for hoof and other structural injuries, are carried out. A full diagnostic appraisal, including laboratory tests, should be mandatory for any recurring injury which has resulted in lameness during training or elimination from a competitive ride. There is a risk of sudden overload-related joint or tendon injury on hilly terrain, slippery, boggy, shifting or deep track surfaces, potholes or an accidental fall which results in joint, tendon or bone injury and lameness. Prompt first aid with ice-packs and cold running water if available, is paramount to reduce inflammation and discomfort and to allow accurate post-ride veterinary diagnosis.
Factors Causing Joint Injury Abnormal Exercise Stress
Normal Exercise Stress
Repetitive impact loading Overloading/high speed exercise/accidental falls
Joint membrane inflammation
Joint ‘looseness’ – weak or strained ligaments
Concussion on hard surfaces, sprain on deep working surfaces
Cartilage and/or bone inflammation
Conformational abnormalities (eg. upright pasterns, calf knees)
Ageing and deterioration
Damage to Normal Cartilage
Hoof imbalance and poor farriery (long toes, low heels and uneven heels)
Damage to Abnormal Cartilage
Genetic collagen defects
3. Lameness due to Rhabdomyolysis or ‘Tying-Up’
Weight transfer due to lameness
Muscle ‘tie-up’, a metabolic condition with
Joint fractures/bone chips
Excess body condition, heavy riders and heavy shouldered horses.
Joint immobilisation in heavy bandages or a cast
Above: Hard, dry or rocky track surfaces increase joint and hoof injuries. Photo Sharon Meyers.
COMMON PROBLEMS IN ENDURANCE HORSES
Reference: From Riggs CM (2006) Equine Vet Edu US 18 (2): 100-112
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DEHYDRATION Degree of Severity Total Protein Reading
Under Belly Tightness
60 - 64 g/L PCV 0.34 - 0.40
Elastic, soft, flexible.
Let down normally.
Moist and pink.
Mild Dehydration (up to 4% fluid loss)
65 - 67 g/L PCV 0.40 - 0.45
Dull coat, slight loss of skin elasticity.
Slight tucking up.
Darker and less moist. Access to water.
Moderate Dehydration (up to 5 - 6% fluid loss)
70 - 76 g/L PCV 0.46 - 0.50
Dull, dry coat, slow skin pinch test 2 seconds.
Obvious tucking up 25 – 35kg bodyweight loss
Darker, dry and sticky. Consider IV fluids under hot conditions or after completion of ride.
Dull skin, skin pinch test >3 seconds.
Tucked up severely, 35 – 50kg bodyweight loss. Risk of collapse due to overheating and poor blood-vascular perfusion.
Very dark, sticky and slow capillary refill. Immediate veterinary attention and IV fluids are necessary to save a horse’s life during or at completion of a ride.
Severe Dehydration (above 7% fluid loss) lack of water, severe diarrhoea, fever
Above 76 g/L PCV above 0.50. Very serious condition.
varying degrees of restricted hind limb movement, often develops during the first 50km of a competitive ride although some horses may develop a muscle exhaustion form associated with dehydration late in a ride or postride. The risk of muscle ‘tie-up’ is influenced by the diet prior to the ride, state of hydration, the speed and terrain of the ride and the climatic conditions. Being an underlying metabolic condition manifested as a type of lameness, ‘tying-up’ is often related to continued grain feeding for energy during long distance travel to a competitive ride, dehydration, nervous excitement of a horse to new surroundings and pre-ride preparation. In many cases, mild dehydration increases the risk of myopathy and other metabolic conditions.
Management of Dehydration Endurance horses must be provided with water and rehydration fluids and electrolytes at every opportunity on the trail, at vet check points and the post-ride period to ensure adequate hydration is maintained. Offering warm isotonic saline solution as a drink at check points prior to offering feed is a popular way of rehydrating a horse, even before it is offered any dampened feed. A simple isotonic rehydration drink can be prepared and stored in five litre plastic bottles, made up pre-race and allocated at least one replenishment drink to each rest period, consisting of five litres of warm ambient temp or luke-warm water, 45g plain fine salt
Dehydration Dehydration is the underlying cause of many metabolic conditions, including tying-up, the ‘thumps’, exhaustion syndrome and poor heart rate recovery with elimination from a ride. Dehydration may initially develop during travelling as horses will not drink on the move, inadequate access to or volume of drinking water or hot and humid weather with higher sweat fluid and electrolyte depletion, which can all contribute to metabolic problems. In some cases, change of weather conditions from the start of a ride to warmer, with no cooling wind movement and more humid conditions in the daytime segment of a ride, may increase the risk of metabolic-related problems, poor heart recovery and even ‘tying-up’. Studies have shown that many horses which are vetted out of a ride have lower potassium and chloride blood levels during the ride, which are influenced by sweat loss, inadequate electrolyte supplementation and developing dehydration.
COMMON PROBLEMS IN ENDURANCE HORSES
and 45g of sugar or glucose powder to ensure acceptance. Horses can be conditioned during training to immediately seek and drink the isotonic rehydration drink at each rest up or vet check point. Other commercial rehydration drink concentrates for addition to water are also available. Over recent years, vitamin and amino acid fortified electrolyte pastes have become available and are popular with riders. The tubes of paste are carried in a saddle bag and small doses administered over the tongue at every opportunity during a ride. However, unless the horse is given almost immediate access to water and it drinks an adequate volume,
paste electrolyte preparations have been associated with an increase in gastric irritation and ulceration, with pain and discomfort due to irritation of already irritated gastric lining as a result of accumulated gastric acid as the stomach contents reduce in the time under saddle during the loops of the ride. Horses should also be provided with 500g – 1,000g of good quality dampened alfalfa/lucerne hay fed at ground level, in the 30 minutes prior to a ride, and at rest periods between ride loops and vet checks. Alfalfa/lucerne provides an efficient and natural stomach buffering effect to reduce the risk of gastric acid ‘burn’ and higher grade ulceration during and immediately after a ride to facilitate lung drainage or prior to, during or after long distance travel. Other energy feeds can be offered at vet check or rest points, but the primary requirement is for fluids, salt and electrolytes, such as potassium and magnesium at every opportunity during a ride, especially under warm daytime ride conditions.
There is also a risk of combined metabolic and physical exhaustion, often with related clinical signs of ‘tying-up’. During a long ride, the depletion of muscle glycogen stores of up to 55% of the pre-ride levels, combined with dehydration, accumulated heat and associated poor heart rate recovery, can cause physical exhaustion in a horse not well prepared for the distance or speed or not managed to account for changing climatic conditions or terrain of a ride. Analysis of endurance diets indicates that energy intake is often inadequate when compared to NRC (2006) guidelines and when horses are subjected to unaccustomed hilly terrain, wet ride conditions or loss of appetite due to gastric ulcer flare-up. This chain of dehydration and metabolic events often commences during long distance travel to a ride without regular access to hay and opportunity to drink during transport. Ongoing energy depletion, developing dehydration and physical exhaustion is a common cause of myopathy and elimination from a ride.
Back pain due to skin abrasion (rubbing) and bruising caused by a poor fitting saddle or poor riding technique, as well as chronic sacroiliac ligament or joint pain and ‘kissing spines’ in older campaigners, are problems which can flare-up during a ride and result in withdrawal or elimination. Some horses develop acutely inflamed wither and mid back muscles due to saddle concussion, slippage and pinching. Although they bravely complete the ride, they often flinch when touched and are often sore in the saddle area or over the rump area for 5 – 7 days after a ride. Careful assessment of saddle fit is paramount in any sport horse and especially in endurance Left: Cantering and hilly terrain can result in accumulated gastric acid splashing. Photo Sue Crockett. Above: Endurance horses must be provided with water at every opportunity. Photo Sharon Meyers.
E N D U R A N C E A U S T R A L I A 2 015
horses in the heavyweight class because of the extended times spent in the saddle. Endurance horses do not change widely in body condition and have less need for alteration of saddle cushioning. They usually maintain a 4 – 5 moderate condition score when fit and regularly competed, but physical trauma and cumulative skeletal and muscle loading, hilly terrain or deep sandy going, can result in a flare-up of an earlier injury or even an acute episode during a ride in an otherwise fit, well-conditioned and healthy horse. Sacroiliac ligament strain is a common lower back problem in endurance, resulting in more than a 10mm increase in the prominence of the sacroiliac spine, top-line muscle wastage from restricted hind limb extension stride length in chronic cases. Many horses develop an appearance of a ‘sprung sacrum’ due to hindquarter muscle wastage with a higher tail carriage, although the Arabian breed is characterised by a shorter lumbar lower back and a characteristic higher tail carriage.
Lack of Appetite Many horses new to a competitive ride are unable to become accustomed to the restricted time at vet check points to eat and drink to at least replenish fluids to counteract dehydration under hot or humid conditions between long loops of a competitive ride. The inability to become compliant to strapping, combined with physical exhaustion and the short time for replenishment, increases the risk of developing dehydration, muscle glycogen depletion and elimination from a ride. Endurance horses primarily need fluid and electrolyte replenishment at every opportunity during a ride to reverse the depletion of blood potassium and chloride loss of 8 – 11 litres/hour due to sweat loss under hot ride conditions, as well as energy replenishment from food intake in the limited rest-up periods. Over recent years, with the adoption of more concentrated and processed grain diets, and the risk of gastric acid ‘burn’ and ulceration as horses compete over distances of up to 35 – 40kms in each ride loop, cause gastric lining erosion as gastric acid accumulates in the lower
COMMON PROBLEMS IN ENDURANCE HORSES
part of the stomach. The administration of strong electrolyte preparations in paste form without adequate access to water during a ride also increases the risk of gastric acid ‘burn’ and a flare-up of already established gastric ulcers on the margo plicatus and oesophageal inlet area of the animal’s stomach. Studies indicate that up to 57% of endurance horses have gastric ulcers and gastric acid ‘burn’ with inflammation and erosion along the margo plicatus and eosphogeal inlet of the upper unprotected lining of the stomach. Cantering and hilly terrain can result in accumulated gastric acid splashing onto the unprotected lining higher in the stomach and aggravating an existing gastric ulcer/erosion. Many horses are dosed with gastric ulcer medications during the ride season. However, providing a small meal of dampened alfalfa/ Above: Horses should be provided with dampened lucerne hay 30 minutes prior to a ride, at rest periods and vet checks. Photo Sharon Meyers.
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lucerne chaff or hay 30 minutes prior to exercise and competition and as a snack meal at rest and check points during a ride and as the first meal fed in a bin on the ground in the post-ride recovery period, as outlined under Dehydration above, will help reduce the risk of gastric acid ‘burn’ or aggravation of already existing gastric ulceration.
required for muscle function, may lead to bone demineralisation of the pelvic and cannon bones, with possible increased risk of fractures in horses on long-term medication to control gastric ulcers. The alternative drug, Ranitidine, although not as effective in healing of gastric ulcers, is considered to not lower acid overflow into the small intestine to the same extent.
Studies in horses have indicated that an initial recommended dose of Omeprazole at 2,000mg daily for two weeks will help suppress gastric acid secretion, control and promote healing of severe Grade 3 – 4 gastric ulceration. An ongoing 500mg daily dose as a maintenance dose in susceptible horses in training is effective in preventing further gastric ulceration. Long-term use at high doses in humans has shown to decrease magnesium, calcium and iron absorption due to less gastric acid overflowing into the small intestine. It is considered that reduced uptake of calcium and magnesium as important bone structural minerals as well as being
In most horses, once the severity of gastric ulceration is reduced by drug medication, providing a small pre-exercise meal of four litres alfalfa/lucerne chaff or 500g dampened hay, combined with a mucilage preparation and limestone, which have a role in stomach wall protection and buffering of excess gastric acid, is effective in maintaining the appetite in affected horses.
Colic Reduced or changes in gut sounds often herald an impending state of dehydration and a metabolic cascade. Absorption of fluid reserves to facilitate ongoing sweat loss for body cooling during a ride can result in partial ‘drying out’ of the hindgut
COMMON PROBLEMS IN ENDURANCE HORSES
contents. The hindgut stores up to 45 – 50 litres of fluid in the digesting fibrous mass to counteract dehydration during a ride, and fluid resorption can result in a risk of impaction colic which when combined with physical exhaustion, can reduce gut sounds and result in symptoms of colic. Therefore, it is imperative, as outlined under Dehydration, that horses are offered fluid and electrolyte replenishment at every opportunity during a ride, especially under hot ride conditions.
Poor Heart Rate Recovery Heart rate recovery is a clinical appraisal method of assessing the degree of physical and oxidative stress, heat load retention and cardio-vascular perfusion and recovery in endurance horses. The failure of the heart rate to fall below the set ride standard during the rest time between loops and in the post-ride recovery period is a reflection of a horse’s fitness for the speed and effort expended during the ride. The reduction in vagal nerve tone and fast anaerobic finish speeds, with muscle lactic acid accumulation and onset of metabolic fatigue
can also influence heart rate recovery. However, high ambient temperature and humidity can reduce the efficiency of heat loss and combined with lower blood perfusion as a result of excess fluid loss and dehydration, are common reasons for poor heart rate recovery. The retention of excess body core heat and inefficient cooling out is the most common reason for vetting out because of poor heart rate recovery in an otherwise fit, healthy and carefully ridden horse. In many cases, even in a fit and otherwise healthy horse, delayed or inadequate fluid and electrolyte replenishment and cooling by strapping between loops in a ride or post-ride period can result in slow heart recovery or failure to recover to below the limit in the time allocated. Removal of heat from the ‘heat sink’, where excess heat not removed by sweating, convection, radiation and respiratory heat loss pathways, is transferred by red blood cells into the hind gut lining and stored in the fluid held in the fibrous fermenting mass, can be efficiently
removed from the skin of the underbelly area with copious quantities of iced-water or cold water strapping to assist heart rate recovery in an over-heated horse.
The ‘Thumps’ Studies have found that horses have a higher risk of developing the ‘thumps’ or synchronous diaphragmatic flutter, when fed a diet in training with alfalfa/lucerne as the roughage base to their diets. The ‘thumps’ are often triggered by heavy sweat loss during hot, humid conditions during a ride as a result of severe changes in blood electrolyte balance, including reduced blood calcium. It is theorised the combination of excess sweat and calcium loss (300mg calcium per litre) and a slow response by the parathyroid gland to maintain blood calcium by resorption from bone stores under hot and humid conditions during a competitive ride, results in an alteration of the phrenic nerve control of diaphragm muscle contraction and interference from heart beat nerve impulses as the nerve passes over the heart to the diaphragm.
Feeding diets high in calcium, including more than 4 – 5 kg daily alfalfa (lucerne) or clover hay which contain a high calcium content (12.4g/ kg) and excess supplementation of calcium to maintain bone strength, are linked to the risk of the ‘thumps’. Careful dietary analysis to avoid daily high calcium intake during training and feeding alfalfa/lucerne hay which are considered to retard parathyroid gland reaction to low blood calcium during a ride, combined with adequate fluid and electrolyte replenishment is important to lower the risk of the ‘thumps’. Many authorities recommend a 70% grass hay and a 30% alfalfa/ lucerne hay roughage base during training and on the last 3 – 4 days before a ride adding a 40g daily supplement of calcium and feeding dampened alfalfa/lucerne chaff or hay, as outlined above Left: Strappers and riders of endurance horses need to be vigilant at all times. Photo Sharon Meyers. Above: Checking for wither or back soreness. Photo Sharon Meyers.
E N D U R A N C E A U S T R A L I A 2 015
under Dehydration and Loss of Appetite, to assist rehydration and gastric buffering at rest points during a ride, will help to maintain adequate blood calcium as a precaution against the â€˜thumpsâ€™.
Abnormal Gut Sounds Over the past 25 years, endurance ride veterinarians have started to include an evaluation by a stethoscope placed at specific locations on the sides, underbelly and flank of a horse, to evaluate the intensity and position of sounds produced by the movement of the small and large intestine. Gut sounds are a useful indicator in assessing the degree of stress and exhaustion affecting a horse as part of the TPR record at an endurance ride. Many riders are concerned about the interpretation and the significance placed on gut sound by individual veterinarians at a ride. There is concern that over-zealous interpretation based on the suppression of gut sounds could result in a horse being vetted out on the basis of poor gut sounds alone.
Studies have shown that evaluation of gut sounds is consistent by individual veterinarians, but are not uniform between veterinarians at a ride and also differences in acuity of hearing, position of a stethoscope and time spent listening to gut sounds may all influence the interpretation. There is also significant variation between individual horses related to their diet and time of feeding, which can influence normal or abnormal gut movement and sound. Gut sounds are, however, a much more useful indicator of stress-related depression of physiological and digestive function in a horse developing exhaustion, compared to the clinical assessment of dehydration or the interpretation of TPR alone as the sole criteria of impending exhaustion during a ride. Below: Checking for gut sounds. Photo Sue Crockett. Right: The author John Kohnke.
COMMON PROBLEMS IN ENDURANCE HORSES
John Kohnke John Kohnke BVSc RDA is an Australian veterinarian and well-known author of numerous books and articles, with over 40 years of interest and experience working with horses. He volunteered as a vet at many endurance rides, including four Quilty rides. His special lifelong interest is equine nutrition, lameness and respiratory disease. John has written over 3,000 articles on horse feeding, health and management and presented over 2,500 seminars worldwide. He now owns a company specialising in horse nutritional products and continues to write regular newsletters and articles featuring common horse problems and practical advice.
E N D U R A N C E A U S T R A L I A 2 015
There are four main areas over which gut
The small and large intestines (hindgut) are the
movement is audible with a stethoscope placed
primary areas for digestion of the food mass.
firmly on the skin of the belly and flanks of a
The intestines move within the gut cavity as
horse. These sounds reflect the movement of
their walls constrict and expand to mix and
gas and fluid through the gastro-intestinal tract
push the digesting food mass through the tract
and the ‘rumblings’ of intestinal contraction
over a 72-hour period following the ingestion
and movement within the abdominal cavity.
of each meal. This can result in a soft, often
slightly muffled continuous movement sound which can be heard through the gut wall with a stethoscope. These sounds can be used to evaluate the efficiency of movement and function of specific areas of the digestive tract. A summary of gut sound interpretation is included in the table below.
Normal and Abnormal Gut Sounds
The gut sounds include normal intestine movement sounds, fluid movement sounds and gas movement sounds.
Position of Stethoscope
Front, midline lower belly area and lower left side
Upper right flank behind ribs
Lower flank and hind belly area on right and left sides.
Type of ‘Gut’ Sound
Origin of Sound
Probable Underlying Cause
High pitched, variable rumbling, fluid movement or ‘straining’ sound ,‘splashing’ sounds.
Small intestine. Large intestine.
Normal Gut Sound Fluid, food mass moves through at up to 30cm/min. Normal sounds.
Normal gut sound indicating adequate fluid and food content. More fluid sounds after a drink.
Lower intensity loss of fluid and movement sound.
Small intestine. Large intestine.
Abnormal Gut Sound Slower movement of dried out food mass – intestinal stasis. Excess physical stress, fatigue.
Developing dehydration. Correct by administering electrolytes (calcium and magnesium) in fluid, hay or feed mix.
Increased intensity, continued rumbling and fluid movement.
Small intestine. Large intestine.
Abnormal Gut Sound Excess water content due to high electrolyte concentration, inflammation and irritation.
Developing diarrhoea - Monitor - Avoid excess electrolyte administration in low water volume. - Seek veterinary advice.
High pitched ‘flushing’ and splashing sound (like a toilet flushing) at 2 - 3 movements per minute.
Rhythmic opening and closing of the Ileocaecal valve muscles.
Normal Gut Sound Sound produced as food and fluid mixture enters the caecum from the small intestine and exits (unloads) into the large intestine.
Normal gut sound indicating adequate fluid and food content during normal digestive function.
Low pitched, muffled sound, frequency less than 1 - 2 per minute.
Ileocaecal valve (lower frequency).
Abnormal Gut Sound Dehydration due to loss of fluid content in digestive mass, severe physical exertion.
In an exercising horse, developing dehydration - Correct by administering electrolytes and fluid Moistened hay - rest and recovery.
Continuous rumbling, machinery like noise, muffled frequent flushing sounds.
Ileocaecal valve (high frequency).
Abnormal Gut Sound Excess fluid content due to electrolyte/and fluid overload. Diarrhoea 3 - 6 movements/min.
In an exercising horse monitor every 10 - 15 minutes. Avoid strong (hypertonic) electrolyte administration.
Muffled splashing sounds, or occasional ‘tinkling’ and bubbling sound (termed borborygmi).
Caecum (right side flank). Large colon (left side and rear midline). Right dorsal colon (right and left sides).
Normal Gut Sound Fluid and food movement, gas production from fermentation percolating through fluid contents to exit at anus.
Normal gut sound, indicates adequate fluid content, with controlled, steady fermentation in hindgut (caecum and large intestine) as gas moves through hindgut chambers.
Low intensity movement, fluid or gas sounds.
Caecum and large colon (hindgut).
Abnormal Gut Sound Dehydration due to loss of fluid, physical exertion and fatigue, energy depletion, excess heat retention and constipation.
In an exercising horse monitor every 10 - 15 minutes. Developing dehydration. Correct by administering fluids - may take 10 - 15 minutes to return to normal and rest.
Frequent ‘rumblings’ with increased fluid and gas movement.
Caecum, Ileocaecal valve, small intestine, large colon (hindgut).
Abnormal Gut Sound Excess fluid content or developing diarrhoea.
In an exercising horse monitor every 10 - 15 minutes. Avoid strong electrolyte (hypertonic) administration. Seek veterinary advice.
COMMON PROBLEMS IN ENDURANCE HORSES
Lower Limb Swelling By Dr John Kohnke BVSc RDA
Soft, fluid swelling of the lower limb, most commonly in the hind limbs below the hock, can be a recurring problem in inactive horses, often in show condition, when stabled overnight or following long distance transport.
In most cases, it is presented as a soft, cold, fluid swelling of the lower limb and referred to as stocking-up, puffy legs or technically as lower limb oedema. This form of simple tissue oedema will normally go down within 15 – 20 minutes once a horse is turned out, lunged or given light exercise or even walked to encourage blood flow and fluid
Causes/Symptoms/Management of ‘Lower Limb Filling’ or ‘Stocking-Up’ Cause
Inactivity overnight or when travelling
Simple soft swelling or oedema which ‘pits’ when firmly pressed, rebounds over 10-20 seconds.
Horse may be stiff in stride; area feels slightly warm, but not hot to touch.
Hose down limbs with cold water for 5-10 minutes, or take horse for a walk or commence training for the day.
High energy or protein diets
Simple soft swelling or oedema which ‘pits’ when firmly pressed, rebounds over 10-20 seconds.
Warm soft fluid swelling, often in all 4 lower limbs.
Reduce grain to half and check dietary protein intake. Change to grass hay from all lucerne hay for 3-4 days and observe. If swelling subsides, then feed 50 : 50 grass/lucerne hay.
Simple soft swelling or oedema which ‘pits’ when firmly pressed, rebounds over 10-20 seconds.
History of concussive exercise in previous 12 hours in an inactive horse when stabled overnight.
Check hooves for overgrown shoes and avoid hard working surfaces.
Limbs left wet after wet weather, exercise, or hosing off (avoid contaminated dam water for hosing off)
Oedema in most cases, but may develop low-grade skin infection due to wet skin.
Springy/spongey swelling with slow rebound over 5-10 seconds.
Always wash and dry limbs, use clean leg wraps. If hosing, wrap lower limb in 2-3 layers of kitchen film to keep legs dry.
Excess body weight
Heavily conditioned horse subjected to concussive exercise.
Sore soles and warmth in hooves. Check shoes for pinching. Short trimmed hooves may increase ‘ouchiness’ when walking or trotting.
Restriction of blood flow due to weight compression of hoof blood vessels – walking and hosing down. Restrict diet to lose weight – consider Trim™.
Hoof infection abscess
Usually only one front or hind limb. Lameness, reluctance to bear weight.
Swelling ascending up pastern and lower limb, warm to touch and rebounds immediately. Check for nail prick. Consult vet.
Check for hoof abscess. Consult your farrier or vet.
Short trimmed hooves
Warm, firm swelling and ‘ouchy’ lameness on all hooves, especially rear hooves.
Recent history of trimming and cutting back hoof walls.
Usually improves in 5-7 days as hoof wall regrows to bear weight. Reduce work and ensure soft bedding.
Warm, rebound swelling on one limb over rear tendons above fetlock.
Resting affected limb and increasing lameness. History of fall or sudden overload.
Hose down/ice packs to reduce swelling before vet arrives, ‘bute’ as required. Confine horse and consult vet for evaluation and ultrasound scans.
Spongey, warm swelling. May have serum leakage through skin.
Lower limb tissue infection from skin puncture wound – check for laceration/puncture(s).
Consult vet immediately. Clean wound with warm saline, wrap with poultice. Antibiotics may be necessary.
Severe greasy heel or pastern dermatitis
Active, chronic, painful greasy heel or lesions on skin above fetlock.
Crusty greasy heel and tissue swelling, pain and lameness.
Poultice of 70% honey, 30% PVP and 10% Betadine® for 24 hours.
Serum leakage from skin following Golden Staph infection.
Warm, swelling and cellulitis, Consult your vet lameness and depression. immediately. Swabs of discharge and targeted antibiotics may be necessary. Do not delay.
Previous injury with damage to lymph drainage due to wire cut, severe lower limb lacerations, or Staph. bacterial infection.
Swelling may ‘pit’, but soft and slowly rebounds in 30-60 seconds.
Exercise on hard ground
Chronic lymphangitis ulcerative lymphangitis
LOWER LIMB SWELLING
Consult vet for diagnosis. Cold water hosing and exercise may reduce swelling slightly, but often remains permanent and limb restricted in stride.
dissipation within the lower limb. Hosing the limb(s) down with cold water for 5 – 10 minutes will also help remove the simple fluid build-up. Some horses may show symptoms of stiffness and restricted stride initially and improve as the swelling subsides.
Causes There are a number of underlying causes which can result in lower limb oedema or swelling. These are summarised in the table below, including management hints.
Examination It is important to quickly evaluate the type and severity of the lower limb swelling. Simply press your index finger firmly into the swollen area above the fetlock for ten seconds, remove the finger pressure and observe the area. The following observations can help to determine the likely cause of the lower limb swelling.
1. Does it pit? A simple, soft swelling which ‘pits’ to leave an impression of your finger and does not rebound immediately, although it may feel slightly warm, is likely to be tissue oedema.
2. Does it feel soft and spongey? If the ‘pit’ remains for a short time, but the filling feels spongey rather than firm, then it may signal a cellulitis (swelling within cells due to infection or toxin damage) due to skin or subcutaneous infection. This type of swelling is more likely over muscled areas as there is a greater bulk of tissue to swell. The lower limb only contains bones, tendon sheaths, tendons and ligaments. If associated with a wound and appears ‘bubbly’ (referred to as ‘crepitus’) and gas-filled, acute anaerobic clostridial infection may have developed. Panic immediately – call your vet as toxins can spread and debilitate the horse, or cause death in 12 – 24 hours.
3. Does it rebound? If the ‘pit’ of your finger rebounds immediately once your finger is removed, then it is likely to be inflammatory fluid due to an ascending infection within the lymph vessels or even a tendon injury with pain and a feeling of being warm to the touch. Further investigation by your vet may be necessary.
4. Does the swelling feel hot and show pain when pressed? Hoof abscesses can cause fluid swelling of the lymph drainage vessels below the fetlock which ascend up the limb over a 2 – 3 day period. In this case, seek prompt veterinary advice.
5. Does the swelling leak yellow serum and is the skin devitalised? Skin is stretched tight or devitalised, allowing blood serum to leak onto the skin surface. It is often a result of severe Staph spp bacterial infection or other systemic or topical toxicity – skin may slough off – seek vet advice immediately.
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E N D U R A N C E A U S T R A L I A 2 015
Tying Up The re are few things more heartbreaking than finding your horse tied up while training or during an endurance event. Despite the meticulous training and care an owner can give, some horses can be more prone to tying up than others. In the 2007 Shahzada, an equine influenza outbreak caused authorities to declare a lockdown on the day when most horses had already arrived in St. Albans, NSW for the week. Horses prepared for the 400km marathon were forced to stay in their yards with very limited opportunities for exercise. Knowledgeable owners and riders immediately cut back their horse’s feed, especially grain with the fear of tying up foremost in their minds. When finally it was authorised for riders to take their horses out for exercise, it was at a very careful and conservative pace with riders vigilantly
By Carol Layton B.Sc M.Ed (Balanced Equine)
monitoring their horses for early warning signs like elevated muscle tone. Despite this, a small number of horses did tie up and required veterinary care. Equine Exertional Rhabdomyolysis (commonly called ‘tying up’ or ‘Monday morning sickness’ or ‘azoturia’) is a syndrome that damages the muscle tissue but is still not completely understood. Soon after the start of exercise, a horse may become stiffer progressively in his gait until he essentially seizes up. The hindquarter muscles are usually the most affected by the cramping as they do most of the work but other muscles can be affected. The actual muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis) causes increased muscle enzymes in the blood and in severe cases a red brown discolouration of the urine, which is caused by myoglobin from the breakdown of muscle tissue. When horses tie up, they may display a number of signs:
Firm painful muscles, lameness, stiffness, sweating, short stride, and reluctance to move after moderate exercise.
High resting (elevated) muscle tone.
Symptoms of ‘shivers’ or muscle quivering with abnormal hind leg action.
Muscle twitching or sensitivity (though a magnesium deficiency or a too high calcium to magnesium ratio can account for this).
Excessive tail swishing (muscle pain).
A preference for rubbing or rolling or looking at belly or flanks as if colicky (muscle pain).
Tripping (though too long toes and hoof imbalances can present this symptom)
Subtle lameness episodes.
Gait abnormalities and muscle wastage.
The symptoms of acute tying up can be very dramatic but can also be misdiagnosed acute back pain from poor saddle fit and colic and
vet pedal bone fractures can present with similar symptoms. Severely dehydrated horses can have darkish red-brown coloured concentrated urine, which looks as if it’s stained by the pigment myoglobin. There are three classes of tying up: sporadic, recurring and other myopathies. Sporadic is a symptom rather than a specific disorder and it can happen to any horse, typically one that is very fit, or just entering the most demanding stages of training. Some horses are more predisposed than others. Recurrent tying up is associated with genetic mutations and has been identified in a number of breeds. In these horses, the episodes of tying up are repetitive. The genetic variations occur in type 1 and type 2 polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM), recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) and malignant hyperthermia (MH). PSSM, also known as EPSM (Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy) is a form of rhabdomyolysis that results in the accumulation of high muscle glycogen and abnormal polysaccharide in skeletal muscles. Glycogen is the storage form of carbohydrates, a fuel used by muscles for energy. Muscle pain is more likely to occur in these horses from high sugar and starch meals that cause significant increases in glucose and insulin. The difference in type 1 and type 2 PSSM is the gene that has undergone mutation. In type 1, it is the glycogen synthase 1 gene (GYS1). Although type 2 PSSM is believed to have a genetic basis, the underlying mutation is yet to be identified. PSSM was first described in Quarter Horses and Draft horses and then more recently in other breeds; Arabians, Morgans, Spanish purebred horses, Standardbreds, Warmblooded horses, ponies and mules. Recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) and malignant hyperthermia (MH) have dysfunctional calcium regulation in common. RER has been described in Thoroughbreds and is considered likely in Arabians and Standardbreds. The mutation responsible is currently unknown. Calcium has an important role to play in controlling the contraction and relaxation of muscles. The trigger for muscles to contract is the release of a floor of calcium into the interior of the cell, from storage areas inside the cell. To relax, that calcium has to be taken back up into storage again and the uptake requires energy. If there is not enough energy, the muscle remains contracted. The cell membranes may then be damaged if the horse is forced to continue work, which allows muscle enzymes and myoglobin to leak into the bloodstream. Malignant hyperthermia (MH) is so far recognised only in Quarter Horse bloodlines but a related
form is known to occur in humans, greyhounds and some breeds of pigs. The genetic mutation results in an arginine to glycine substitution in the ryanodine receptor type 1 gene (RYR1). The ryanodine receptor is a calcium releasing channel in the sarcoplasmic reticulum of the cell. Affected horses may show signs of tying up with high body temperatures (fever) and death under anaesthesia. These horses often have PSSM as well. The disease gets its name from an unusual sensitivity to the anaesthetic gas halothane, which can trigger the massive contraction and causes extreme temperature elevations from the runaway metabolism in the muscles. A study was recently done to determine if the horses at endurance events that tied up had one of these genetic mutations (Wilberger et al., 2014). The levels of a muscle enzyme creatine kinase, a measure of muscle activity was examined in 101 horses before and after 80km distance events to determine if the horses had tied up. Of the horses monitored, 4% displayed very high levels of creatine kinase, all Arabians or Arabian crosses. Hair samples were tested for the presence of the genetic mutations, however none showed evidence of PSSM or MH mutations. The probability of a tying up episode, whether sporadic or recurrent, is increased by one or more of these factors:
Lack of regular exercise. Some horses need to be exercised daily. The most dangerous time can be the 2 – 3 days it takes for muscle glycogen to be replenished after a big workout.
Overworking beyond the level the horse is conditioned to. Very fatigued muscles that have run low on energy stores will spasm/ cramp.
Lack of room to move, especially if stabled or kept in small yards.
A nutrient poor diet, especially if deficient in the antioxidants, selenium and vitamin E.
A magnesium deficiency or too high calcium to magnesium ratio. One of the most important jobs magnesium does is to control the movement of calcium along calcium channels in cells, forming the basis for all ‘excitable’ tissue activity, including the nervous system, skeletal muscle and smooth muscle in the intestinal tract. Magnesium is also required for the production and storage of the energy packets (ATP) that are needed by the sodium-potassium pumps to do their job of clearing the calcium from the cell and putting it back into storage sites. A high risk factor for RER is a nervous, excitable horse, especially fillies. The symptoms of a magnesium deficiency are the same as for excessive ionised calcium compared to
magnesium. Symptoms include muscular twitching to spasm, irritability, hypersensitivity with a potential for intestinal symptoms and heart irregularity when severe.
A high grain diet. All grains are high in starch, however, despite a common belief, oats are the safest grain of all as they contain less starch and more fibre than the next concentrated grain, barley and produce a lower glucose peak. For a horse known to tie up, it’s best not to feed any grain.
A high lucerne intake. The ability to rapidly mobilise calcium from the bone to match losses from working muscle and in the sweat can be compromised by a very high calcium ratio to phosphorus. Lucerne is renowned for its very high calcium levels and generally low phosphorus, which can be as high as 11:1. When plasma calcium rapidly drops in the bloodstream during an endurance ride, the concentration of parathyroid hormone (PTH) is less likely to be high enough to mobilise skeletal calcium. The solution is to cut back on lucerne so that it constitutes no more than 10 to 20% of the intake.
Severe electrolyte disturbances, including a shortage of sodium. A shortage of sodium in the bloodstream causes sodium to be pulled out of the intracellular cell spaces, creating the ‘tent’ appearance of the skin when pinched.
Left: No matter where you are, stop immediately if you suspect your horse has tied up. Photo Sharon Meyers. Above: It’s even possible for ponies to tie up! Photo Sue Crockett.
E N D U R A N C E A U S T R A L I A 2 015
Heat exhaustion, a condition that is not unusual for an endurance horse that can generate enormous amounts of heat. Factors like high temperatures, high humidity and dehydration can negatively impact the ability of the body to produce enough sweat to cool the body. Heat exhaustion can cause enzyme systems in muscles to malfunction, shutting down energy production, leading to muscle spasms and damage. A temporary energy crisis (glycogen depletion) after a workout, as it can take up to three days for glycogen to be replenished in the muscle cells. Dr Eleanor Kellon VMD has theorised it may be related to high levels of proglycogen/ unbranched glycogen during the earlier stages of glycogen synthesis. This breaks down more ‘explosively’ than mature/macro glycogen.
profile of pasture and hay can be determined by sending the sample to a testing laboratory. The aim is to have no nutrient deficiency and the proportions of the major and trace minerals to be optimal for absorption in the gut. Adequate mineral supplementation is critical for optimum performance. For the whole intake, aim for the calcium to phosphorus ratio to be between 1.2 to 2:1 and around 2:1 for calcium to magnesium ratio. Some horses respond positively with a higher ratio of magnesium; 1.5:1.
Give careful attention to hydration and electrolytes during an endurance event and training at home. Many pasture and hays have insufficient sodium and chloride to satisfy maintenance levels, let alone the demands of heavy work and sweat. Note: Muscle soreness is also often caused by dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities.
Replace grain with beet pulp or soybean hulls. Both are a low sugar and starch, high soluble fermentable fibre, low fat feed with an energy
Best Feeding Management
Know the nutrient levels and mineral ratios in the whole intake and have the diet balanced. What is fed in a feed bucket should complement the main forage. The nutrient
value close to oats. Beet pulp ferments primarily to an acetate energy source, a volatile fatty acid which is effective in encouraging glycogen repletion.
Sufficient vitamin E and selenium – a deficiency in either antioxidant can contribute to muscle soreness and fatigue. The status of both can be measured with a blood test. In the case of selenium status, the recommendation is to have the whole blood (serum and red blood cells) tested.
To assist recovery and ability to tolerate periods of intense work, supplement with branched chain amino acids (BCAA), particularly leucine which is the primary amino acid for muscle building. Dr Eleanor Kellon VMD recommends 20g leucine immediately after exercise either in feed or by syringing, mixed with two tablespoons of glucose (can be dextrose or Glucodin powder). Above: Some horses may need to be exercised daily. Photo Sharon Meyers.
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The glucose supplementation will help with ensuring that each ride is started with a full tank of glycogen. The late Tom Ivers advocated carbohydrate loading for racehorses and endurance horses. His book Optimised Nutrition for the Athletic Horse published in 2002 is worth reading.
If muscle stiffness is a problem or RER or EPSM is strongly suspected then supplementation with the amino acid L-carnitine can help by guaranteeing fats can gain entry to the mitochondria and by regulating the burning of fat versus carbohydrate better. L-carnitine is available in the form of the antioxidant: acetyl-Lcarnitine, also known as ALCar. It protects against tissue damage in various tissues under conditions that cause high oxidative stress. Dr Eleanor Kellon VMD recommends a dose of 10g/day (450 kg horse) mixed with feed. In some horses, improvement in muscle tone has been seen as soon as three days, with continued improvement up to three months. A study in 2013 found the daily supplementation of a combination of the antioxidant astaxanthin and L-carnitine significantly decreased creatine kinase activity in Thoroughbreds.
A widely held belief is that the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles contributes to tying up. It is one of the myths that refuse to die. In the early 1900s, lactic acid was theorised to be a waste product or even toxin, however, it was proven more than 20 years ago that this is not correct; lactic acid does not make muscles sore. It is vital to understand this as one of the traditional treatments was the administration of large amounts of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Not only will it not help, it may worsen the situation for the horse, as there may already be high blood bicarbonate levels (alkalosis). What to do if your endurance horse shows signs of tying up:
Stop immediately. Do not ask your horse to keep moving as it may avoid or lessen muscle damage. Some riders consider it possible to walk a horse out of a tying up episode but this is a massive risk to the health of the horse, assuming the horse has truly tied up.
Ask another rider to notify your need for the rescue float at the next checkpoint. Give clear and precise information about your location and situation to help those at the ride base.
In the case of an acute tying up episode, a vet may need to treat your horse before going on the float.
If possible, use a rug to keep your horse warm and protected from cold drafts.
Have clean water available in case your horse will drink. The vet may recommend lightly salted water as well. Don’t be surprised if your horse refuses to drink.
The vet may recommend gentle massage but stop if the horse objects.
Watch the appearance of urine for the muscle damage pigment, myoglobin.
Follow veterinary advice. Anti-inflammatory drugs and/or painkillers may be given and to avoid further internal damage from myoglobin blocking the kidneys, intravenous fluids may be necessary. Below: When at home, horses require room to move. Photo Sharon Meyers. Right: Use anything handy to keep your horse protected from cold drafts. Photo Sharon Meyers. Far Right: The author Carol Layton.
Carol Layton B.Sc M.Ed (Balanced Equine) is an Independent Equine Nutritionist. Carol (pictured above) tutors students in Dr Eleanor Kellon’s VMD nutrition courses and is passionate about sharing her knowledge on how to feed horses optimally, to explain the many myths, fads and marketing so that feeding is simple, holistic and cost effective for high performance horses or those predisposed to laminitis. Carol has presented at Equitana and at various conferences. A keen endurance rider, her horse Omani Mr Sqiggle was a National Points and Distance horse in 2009.
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E N D U R A N C E A U S T R A L I A 2 015
proportions of the different types of microbes are highly dynamic and interact with each other. Intestinal gut microbes are very responsive to pH changes. Microbes with similar food preferences, or those that feed on their by-products will tend to thrive together under similar pH and moisture conditions. Changing the diet should be gradual and phased to allow the gut microbial populations time to adjust and to avoid gut disturbances like colic. Hindgut microbes also synthesise vitamin K and all the B vitamins. In people, fibre has been long recognised for its need to be part of the diet for regulating bowel function and preventing a range of conditions like bowel cancer and diverticulitis. In horses, fibre is a vital source of energy and the grasses or hay that are made up of fibre also supply nutrients. Fibre is a type of carbohydrate.
Horses, Fibre and the Hindgut By Carol Layton B.Sc M.Ed (Balanced Equine)
Along with koalas, wombats, elephants, guinea pigs, rabbits and herbivorous reptiles, horses are classified as hindgut fermenters, meaning their high requirement for complex plant material requires extensive fermentation in the hindgut. Compared to our digestive system, the intestinal length is much longer due to large amounts of fibre and the presence of a large, working caecum, which is a large microbial fermentation
HORSES, FIBRE AND THE HINDGUT
vat. Koalas have the largest relative caecum of any mammal due to the need to ferment fibrous Eucalyptus leaves. In the horse, the caecum and large intestine that makes up the hindgut has a capacity of over 100 litres. The caecum alone can be 1.2 metres long and around 30 litres. Billions of organisms, both bacteria and protozoa make up several hundred different species in the hindgut. On high fibre diets, cellulolytic (fibre fermenting) species dominate. On high grain diets, more simple carbohydrate fermenters will be present in generous numbers. The
Horses and other animals donâ€™t produce the enzymes that can break down fibre. Instead, there is a symbiotic relationship with microbes and protozoa that live in the large intestine. Insoluble fibres like lignin and cellulose are the most difficult to ferment, especially lignin. Manure is mostly made up of the undigested residual of unfermented insoluble fibre. The older the grass, the higher in these fibres. On a laboratory hay test result, these fibres are measured as acid detergent fibre (ADF). The older the grass was when harvested, the higher the ADF number. The lower the ADF number, the more digestible for horses and higher in energy. A high ADF hay is not suitable for endurance horses, poor doers and breeding horses but can be useful for mature good doers who need what is known as â€˜busy hayâ€™. High ADF hay can be a cause of diarrhoea in horses. Soluble, fermentable fibre is the easiest and quickest for microbes to ferment. It includes fructooligosaccharides of various sizes including fructans, pectin and beta-glucan, contributing most of the energy in grass and hay. Microbes ferment these fibres into volatile fatty acids (VFAs), an important source of energy. The three major VFAs are acetate, butyrate and propionate. The reason why feeds high in soluble, fermentable fibre are so ideal for endurance horses is that instead of sugars or starch supplying the energy, the fibre is fermented by microbes into acetate and propionate, which can be used by cells, especially muscle cells, to produce energy. Most butyrate is used by the intestinal lining cells as an energy source. Any excess in acetate and propionate can be converted to fat in the liver.
Above: The base diet for all horses should include grass. Photo Sue Crockett.
vet Neutral detergent fibre (NDF) is a measure of all the fibre in the plant, particularly lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose. NDF relates to how readily a forage is consumed and palatability. The lower the ADF and the higher the difference between ADF and NDF, the more fermentable the fibre is. Feeds high in soluble fibre include beet pulp, soybean hulls and lupin hulls. An advantage of these feeds is that instead of sugar and starch supplying energy, the energy is provided by fibre fermentation. The amount of digestible energy can be as high as oats. A number of Australian feed manufacturers have high soluble fibre low sugar and starch feeds as part of their range and are excellent for endurance horses. Some examples include Energreen Maxisoy (soybean hulls), Speedi-beet, Hygain Micrbeet, Ultrabeet (beet pulp) and lupin hulls (Prydes EasiFibre, EasiSport). For horses predisposed to tying up, these feeds are an excellent alternative to grains. Horses that are at risk of dietary laminitis can be safely fed soybean hulls and beet pulp.
I nsoluble fibre retains microbes in the intestine, preventing them from being flushed out and providing microscopic ‘rafts’ for colonies to grow. Since beet pulp and soybean hulls are best soaked in water and can absorb significant amounts, they will deliver water into the hindgut as the water is only released when the beet pulp or hulls are fermented.
When soaked or dampened, high fibre feeds are an excellent carrier for mineral and salt supplementation.
P roducts of fibre fermentation such as acetate stimulates the production of mitochondria in cells, notably muscle cells. Mitochondria are the ‘power factories’ of cells. A higher density of mitochondria in muscle cells means a higher capacity to utilise glucose aerobically.
Acetate is particularly effective in encouraging glycogen repletion, important for hard working endurance horses.
Fibre is the number one prebiotic, feeding the beneficial microbes and boosting populations in the gut, preventing diarrhoea.
One study showed that a low fibre intake has a major impact on the behaviour and physiology of horses.
F ibre stimulates the immune tissue lining the intestinal tract. Beneficial microbes secrete
Soaked high fibre feeds make an excellent mash for senior horses.
A rab breeding mares on a continuous access,
Advantages of a high fibre intake:
high fibre intake were found to have a higher fertility rate compared to a group on a lower number of discrete feeds.
compounds which keep potentially damaging bacteria and viruses under control.
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igh soluble fibre feeds can be used as a H substitute for grass or hay during drought, when hay is difficult to get. One study fed up to 75% of the roughage as soybean hulls.
The digestive tract of horses evolved over a long period of time to extract nutrients from complex plant material, containing both insoluble and soluble fibre. The digestive health of horses is best served by allowing them to graze nearly constantly. Horses have a nearly constant urge to nibble, some more than others! The base diet for every horse, including all endurance horses is a diet made up of grass and/or chaff/hay. When grass and chaff/hay is not enough to support a horse’s energy requirements, the next choice should be a high soluble, fermentable fibre feed like beet pulp, soybean hulls or lupin hulls. If fatigue during an endurance ride is an issue, the safest grain (oats) can be fed. To help prevent nutrient deficiencies in the whole intake, a high copper and zinc mineral supplement with no added iron or manganese plus salt, vitamin E and selenium should be fed. To ensure the intake is balanced, have your pasture tested, including your hay if the hay component is significant.
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How I started By Lisa Loranger
‘Is it as tough as it looks?’, ‘Is it hard to get into?’ and ‘Don’t you get a sore bum?’ are questions I am asked. I start endurance riding via some friends who knew I had done general riding in the past and thought I would enjoy the sport. At first I didn’t have any motivation to start riding again due to work commitments and lack of time. Plus we were busy with our Spanish Arabian Stud, which was our main focus. I had all the usual excuses; ‘I haven’t ridden in ages. I don’t have a suitable horse. I don’t know the rules and I don’t know anyone. I don’t have the right gear? What if I am no good at endurance riding?’ Eventually my friend’s hilarious stories and
H O W I S TA R T E D E N D U R A N C E
adventures won out! I gave in and decided it sounded all too good to be true and I’d give it a go. I contacted Queensland Endurance Riders Association (QERA) and paid membership and got hold of the rules for the sport, which I read carefully. I had my first training ride card! Woo hoo! I did my first 40km ride at Boonah in 2013 on an experienced gelding named Romeo borrowed from No Regret Stables. It was a midday start and crazy hot. After setting up camp, I nominated and handed in my health declaration form downloaded from the QERA website, showed my current membership card at the secretary’s office and then took my horse to the vetting area in a halter and lead with his logbook. I also learned there was two kinds of vetting – standard
and Vet Gate Into Hold. It is always announced ahead of time which style of vetting will be used at each ride. I then set off to the pre-ride talk to get emergency numbers and track info, to find out about water on the track and any changes or things to be aware of about the ride. Plus check heart rates maximums and find out minimum and maximum ride times for the course. Everybody gets official ride time and sync their wrist watches. I then headed back to camp and saddled up for the start. I left a few minutes after the main group because I was a
Above: Lisa riding Drizzle. Photo: Sue Crockett.
After this ride, my good friend Peter Holmes decides he was not listening to my excuses anymore and said, ‘I will bring you a horse ready to go and you just have to hop on and enjoy the countryside.’ I had one more excuse, ‘Peter, I have only done one 40km so far and I need to do two before I start looking at 80kms’. ‘Oh that’s okay, you can ride Romeo in the 40km on Saturday at Cooyar and then the 80km on the Sunday with my young stallion, Courage. It will be his first 80 as well – it will be fun!’ I contacted the registrar for QERA and let her know I was looking at progressing from 40kms to 80kms and if it was possible. She said yes, and luckily she would be at the ride and would be able to give me my new rider card if I successfully completed the second 40km ride. I could then move on to the 80km ride. Which I did and what was different? I had to take my riding gear to the office when I nominated to weigh in. There are Junior riders 15 years of age or under in the year of the ride and three weight categories of lightweight, all up riding weight of less than
73 kilos at pre-ride weigh in, middleweight of all up riding weight of 73 kilos and over at pre-ride weigh in and heavyweight, all up riding weight of 91 kilos and over at pre-ride weigh in. The majority of 80km rides are in two stages or legs. While you are progressing through your first rides of 40kms and then 80kms, you are considered a Novice rider and have some limits placed on the riding times on track. This is always addressed at pre-ride talks; as a Novice it is compulsory to attend two x 40kms and three x 80kms – completed successfully in no less than 90 days will see you to open rider status. Is endurance riding hard to get into? No. I have ridden many horses for other people while learning the ropes and I have found the endurance community fantastic to newbies like myself who ask many questions. I am learning about endurance as I go along while making lots of new friends in the process. Do you get a sore bum? You get a sore everything at first if you are not used to riding for many hours at a time! You do get used to it pretty quickly. There are even 20km introductory rides that are becoming popular to introduce new riders. Endurance riding has something for everyone at every level. I love the fact that it can be as relaxing or as challenging as you want it to be. Ultimately you are competing against yourself and your own
horsemanship skills. It really is a sport where every rider is on a level playing field and you can set your goals – anything from distances or points for the year for your state or across Australia, or to win a ride or always place top ten or get all A’s and 1’s in your logbook each ride. You can ride any breed of horse (or mule if you choose), in any gear as long as it fits your horse well and is safe. Check the rule book before buying new equipment. You don’t need a fancy float or truck and you don’t need to be the world’s best rider. You do need to have a healthy horse and this horse needs to be happy to be checked all over and stand quietly for the vets and have the desire to give it a go. Volunteers are always welcome at rides for those wanting to come and get involved before bringing a horse to an event. There is plenty of information available about the sport on the Australian Endurance Riders Association Inc. (AERA) website to help you on your way. Check it out at www.aera.asn.au. Everybody has to start somewhere and yes, it really is a whole lot of fun being out on tracks and quite often, riding across private property and seeing some of Australia’s most beautiful sunrises whilst looking out across mist-filled valleys from horseback. See you out on track!
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bit nervous and excited. I almost maxed our ride time and I didn’t have any water for myself while riding and ended up drinking from a creek. I was sunburnt, sweaty and tired and every bit of me hurt, as I was not ride fit. Was my first ride as tough as it looked? Yes, but it felt victorious.
Setting Goals Sometimes you’re taken to the wall – but you don’t give in. Psychological endurance and motivation are huge issues facing riders, especially for beginners. While we dedicate ourselves to our horse’s welfare, we often neglect our own mental framework. Endurance riding involves resources of personal discipline. But it doesn’t always come easily. It’s often hard to ride every day in the black midwinter doom when your next endurance ride is months away. Others find motivation challenging when they hit a hump training their horse. Virginia Schneider from Victoria is hoping to qualify for an 80km ride and dreams of one day riding the Shahzada. However, training can be difficult because her horse likes to shy, which is off-putting. “It’s that instant oh my gosh, and then the frustration and learning how to deal with it instead of doing it the wrong way. Some
By Michelle Slater
days I’ll ride for ten minutes and if I still feel yukky, I’ll get off. If I feel okay, I’ll keep going.”
Setting goals Olympic sports psychologist Kirsten Peterson from the Australian Institute of Sport said motivation has to come from why you are riding in the first place. “What are aspects of the things that make it worth it?” While an Olympian might aim for gold in four years’ time, she said, there needs to be short-term goals along the way. Setting goal structures helps people train more professionally. “I don’t want to have to decide every single morning do I have to do this?” Kirsten said. She said that athletes train with process goals, which is how we work along the way, and outcome goals, which is what we are aiming for. “An endurance rider might need to improve their fitness. These are process goals and make you feel better about yourself, they are in your control and are not outcome driven. An outcome goal may be to perform better in competition.”
Sometimes an outcome goal could be as simple as getting on your horse. Olympic eventer Gillian Rolton wrote in her book Free Rein that success lies with small daily achievements. “You have a dream and then you work step-bystep – every achievable goal by every achievable goal, gradually building until you finally fulfil the dream. Or at least give it your best shot.”
Mental endurance Out on course, some endurance riders suffer psychological exhaustion. They hit a wall and feel like they can’t go on. Seasoned NSW rider Faith Robinson felt it at the 60km mark into 80km rides. “I always became psychologically fatigued at that point.” She Above: After some mental preparation, this rider eventually achieved her goal of introducing her gelding to river crossings. He had been terrified of water prior to this photo being taken by Sharon Meyers.
Kirsten agrees that thinking about each closer step is a good coping strategy to get through the ride. “Break it mentally into smaller segments. Break the ride up into five-minute segments and then see if you can make it another five minutes. Or disassociate, imagine a happy place.” Kirsten said riders need to practise mindfulness exercises to get through the tough times. “Your mind is a muscle and needs to be trained up to have the staying power. “I can say to myself that this sucks and I hate it. It’s raining and I’m cold, my legs are sore and I feel terrible. Or I can relax and accept the reality and not react so terribly to it. “Mentally prepare for that part of the ride and know you can get through. Mentally practise before you get to that stage. “This is mindfulness. Being in the moment nonjudgementally needs to be practised – you can’t just pull it out on competition day. If you give yourself 15 minutes a day, you will be better prepared for competition day.” Faith hopes to get to the 2015 160km Tom Quilty but needs to qualify. She is psyching herself up for the daunting concept of riding a hundred miles in one day. Instead of feeling over-faced with the idea, Faith is thinking in smaller pictures. “What you say to yourself is to do one leg at a time. It’s just a 40km leg.”
You can do it! Kirsten agrees that jumping from 80km to 160km can be very intimidating for first time riders, but with good training, you will be prepared for the challenge.
Faith found that simply keeping herself hydrated during the ride and by dismounting to lead her horse down hills, helped her nail her last 80km ride. “It’s like a driver reviver. It resets your mental capacity. I found I simply needed to support myself physiologically and nurture myself.”
“I’ve never fallen off, I don’t know why I’m scared. My fear keeps coming and going,” she said. “I even started taking Rescue Remedy to get over the nerves. I was so terrified I couldn’t sleep. But on the day there was so much adrenaline I had to go out and do it.”
Gillian is now achieving her daily goal of riding her 29-year-old purebred mare, Sparkling, 5km to work every day.
It could be the fear of injury, or the fear of failure. It happens to everyone. “It’s your body telling yourself not to hurt yourself,” Kirsten says. Others fear making a fool of themselves in competition, “but no one’s ever died of embarrassment,” she says.
“There are legitimate life-threatening fears, but it’s not life-threatening to fail. It’s disappointing. But you get up the next morning and deal with it.”
Kirsten also warns not to get distracted the night before the ride, which can trip you up. “Take care of your sleep and the basics. All the innovations in the world won’t help you if you don’t eat and sleep well.”
Kirsten advises her athletes to use thought management techniques to mitigate fear. “Relaxation is intangible with tenseness. Make relaxation a ready response. If you can manage involuntary tenseness, you can then manage fearful situations.
Completing a 40km training ride was a mammoth achievement for NSW rider Gillian Cloke, who said she was too terrified to even get on a horse. She saw a psychologist for a year beforehand.
“It becomes a skill to relax on demand. It comes with practice and will make you a better rider.”
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“On competition day it’ll be fun because you’ve trained yourself to handle it mentally and physically. Enjoy the spirit of the day.
“Accept that you may fail if you don’t complete it, but people learn from their failures.”
Gillian aims to get back out there and complete a 20km ride. “I see so many people many shapes and sizes in endurance then it makes me think, if they can do it so can I.”
“At the Olympic level some athletes fear that they are carrying the expectation of every single Australian to do well.
“You’re not going in from zero, you’ve trained for it. Everyone has their first time when it seems impossible. Have faith you’ll figure it out. You know your training plan.
“However, just as completing that ride gives us a massive high”, she said, “we should not punish ourselves if we don’t get through.
“Last week I couldn’t even get on the horse. Every day I try to sort it out. I touch her and look at her and say I can do this. Negative thinking won’t work, positive thinking works.”
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coped by latching on to another rider and telling herself that she has to go on. “You can’t stop.” She said she mentally imagined “every step is a step closer to home.”
Tips For Success The past 32 years of Endurance Riding have been an endless learning curve, giving me the opportunity to constantly improve my riding, my gear and my general horsemanship. Over many competitions in all states of Australia and overseas, I have learned many strategies and tips to help my ride go as smoothly as possible. Mostly, it is a case of good pre-ride preparation and attention to detail. If you are just starting out in this wonderful sport I hope some of the following tips will be a “leg up” for successful and enjoyable endurance riding. If you are already an accomplished rider, remember – you never stop learning.
Training and Management at Home My biggest tip for day-to-day training and management is observation. Whenever you are with your horse or horses, whether it be feed time, grooming, riding or such, observe:
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
the way he moves his facial expression his appetite his relationship with other horses his overall demeanour. Mentally note anything that seems unusual, no matter how insignificant it seems at the time. When training/riding never stop watching or listening to your horse. You should keep a daily diary/log of each horse’s training sessions. For example: feeding schedule distance ridden and time in saddle terrain and weather conditions
By Jillian Bourton
If you often do the same loop, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your horse’s progress by comparing your notes over a period of time. There are certain things you will need to practise at home, similar to schooling your horse for a show, that can make the first ride a positive experience for you and your horse, such as: trot ups. I can’t stress enough how important the trot up is. Practise straight out and back and also the triangle in both directions, all on a loose rein and stay at your horse’s shoulder. Use a prompt, hand signal or voice command or tongue click, to teach him to run at your side rather than being dragged. A good, well executed trot up could be the difference between a pass or a fail, especially in a longer ride. Trust me!
speeds and intensity of work out
get him used to being touched all over especially mouth, neck, legs and back end
heart rate recovery, especially after longer or faster rides.
taking heart rate with stethoscope or monitor on his side
keeping your strapping routine the same at home as at rides riding/training in all weather conditions – no one likes to ride in storm and tempest or the heat but it is very good practice offering your horse molasses water or stockgain or glucose water after work outs to get him used to the taste – most horses love it and sometimes ride base water can be unpalatable to a fussy horse practise putting your horse in a portable or electric tape yard, I have seen some horrific “breakouts” and dramas over the years. Don’t overtrain early in the season, unless you intend to “hit the ground running” to be competitive from the start of the season – which you’d only do with a “seasoned “ horse. Your horse doesn’t even need to be at the peak of fitness for his first ride and, if you are both Novice, it’s probably better if he’s not! Hints for training rides at home are: work your horse every second day. Remember it is the recovery time that produces the fitness, not constant hard work slow rather than fast work on late summer hard ground long slow hill work or long slow sand work is beneficial for strength and aerobic fitness
Gear to take – There can be a lot of gear to accompany a horse when attending an endurance event, especially if you are camping overnight. Apart from the obvious – saddle, bridle, saddle pad (blanket) and rugs, it’s a good idea to pack:
taking anal temperature – apart from being able to keep an eye on his general health and get an idea of his usual temperature range, sometimes you may be required to do a temperature log for several days prior to a competition. It can be very embarrassing if your horse kicks the vet!
spares of a few things like; halter and lead rope, girth, reins and/or another bridle, stirrup leathers, saddle pads and rugs a variety of rugs – depending on the weather – cotton, woollen, cool down, waterproof. It is a good idea to take an extra waterproof rug in winter in case of a deluge – it happens! feeders and buckets – tuff tubs are excellent and stack well in your float or car feeds – I like to pre-pack my horse’s feeds, that way I know he is getting the right/same amount as at home and there is no waste and far easier to pack than bags of chaff and pellets etc. Shopping bags work well but I prefer to use chip bags that you can get from your local take away or hotel kitchen – if you ask them nicely! if your horse is a fussy eater, it is a good idea to take a variety of feeds and hay especially for a ride of three legs or more molasses and plain yogurt are important items to include in your kit I always take a good herbal linament/massage gel. Do you have your horse float serviced every year? It’s a good idea to have it checked over from time to time, especially underneath, so you don’t end up in a predicament a long way from home!
At the Ride Once at the ride base it is up to you how and where you set up camp. I always prefer a clear level area and if there’s shade that’s a bonus. try and place your float between any prevailing wind or weather and your horse’s yard it can be helpful if your horse can see other horses from his yard especially if young and/ or new to the game; it doesn’t hurt to get him used to being in the middle of activity from day one take him for a walk around the ground, through the vet ring if possible and past any scary objects – bunting, generators, light towers and such. Offer him a drink at any base troughs or water points if you are going for a ride, do it before vetting if possible. I usually go out for about half an hour on the first leg if it’s allowed if you have practised the basics at home, preride vetting should be a doddle, but don’t be shocked if your first-time-young-horse gets
minimum of one hour in the saddle at each training session try and get out with other riders and horses when you can, especially if your horse is young and inexperienced when with other riders practise leading and following, it may help to avoid your horse either pulling to be at the front of the pack or hanging back and fretting for the other horses if you happen to be at the front. A good variety in your training regime will help to prepare your horse and you for many scenarios when Endurance Riding. Remember, it is totally different to hacking, riding in an arena, trail riding or just about any other equine activity you have tried. Be sensible, be prepared.
Left: Keep a diary about your endurance activities. Above: Your horse doesn’t need to be at peak of fitness for his first ride. Photo Sue Crockett. Right: Trot ups should be on a loose rein. Photo Sharon Meyers.
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you should be watching and feeling your horse’s every stride and concentrating on what you are doing stay in control of your horse, don’t just let him tear off if he is reefing and pulling. If worst comes to worst, get off and walk him for a while. With any luck you will have some hills to climb – that usually sorts them out! I can’t stress enough the importance of riding at a consistent pace – it’s better for you and better for your horse and these days there is so much technology available to help you achieve it.
Strapping and Presenting to the Vet My biggest tip for successful strapping is being organised! You should have everything you need set out ready before you leave. If you have the luxury of a strapper, make sure they know where everything is and when to use it and discuss with them your ride plan and likely arrival times, so they are always ready for you. For most rides, other than hundred milers, state championships and Quiltys, I have generally strapped for myself and it isn’t hard, you’ve just got to be organised. Items you will need are: stethoscope and/or heart rate monitor large tub of water with dippers (rather than sponges) for washing down bucket of molasses water and bucket of plain water something to put your saddle in or on. I use a four wheel “Guard’n’Grow” pull along trolley
excited and all your lessons go out the window! It happens – just keep calm and do the best you can, most vets and stewards are helpful and encouraging to newcomers.
On Track There are lots of things to consider at the start of a ride, too many to list here, but it’s a good idea to plan your ride in your head and do what feels right for you and your horse: riding out alone or with a friend riding with a more experienced horse/rider starting at the front, middle or back of the field are some considerations that should be addressed before the ride, not when your horse is bolting out of control out the gate chasing the mob! A well organised ride will have adequate watering points on course and are obliged to under the rules. It’s a good idea to: always offer your horse a drink at all water points frequently wash your horse down, especially in hot weather. I carry a two litre plastic milk
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
halter and lead or just lead if using an endurance style bridle
bottle with the bottom cut out snapped to my saddle or breast plate for this purpose, much better than a sponge as you can’t pollute the troughs/tubs. In France your strappers will pass you water bottles out on course at crew points for this purpose, as you ride through and it is amazing how much it refreshes your horse. Alas we don’t have on course crewing in Australia, so carrying my own water dipper is the next best thing!
As I mentioned, try to strap your horse much the same as at home. Follow a routine such as:
some ride organisers supply hay on course, especially in longer rides. Take advantage of this as often as you need or offer your horse any green pick you find on track, especially in the last few kilometres before reaching the base. This can help your horse maintain good gut sounds along with good drinks.
as soon as you have the saddle off, check the heart rate, this will be a guide as to how aggressively you need to cool down your horse. Note, in cold and windy weather use minimal or no water for wash down, other than maybe legs and girth area
If you are riding as a Novice make sure you: have a watch or phone to keep an eye on the time keep a look out for distance markers so you can adhere to the minimum time restrictions and try to maintain a consistent steady pace ride your own ride, don’t just follow along,
scrapers and towels. Rugs – cool down, cotton or woollen depending on the weather biscuit of hay, bunch of carrots.
cooling off your horse on course, especially in hot weather is beneficial and will give you a head start in your strapping prior to presenting to the vet
at this point you should also offer your horse clean drinking water or molasses water and just leave him alone while he drinks his fill in hot or humid weather use plenty of water
Above: Vary your training areas if possible. Photo Sharon Meyers.
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over neck, shoulders, back, belly and legs and scrape off with sweat scraper, continue to do this as long as necessary to cool the horse down and drop the heart rate for extra cooling, ice in the water is an advantage – two litre juice bottles frozen prior to ride make great “ice blocks” and travel well in an esky and last longer than commercial crushed ice just floating in the water if at all possible stand the horse in shade, it will help to cool the horse quicker check all four feet for stones or loose shoes/nails check the heart rate as often as you can, I always use a heart rate monitor to get a quicker reading but if there are any discrepancies it often pays to have a listen through a stethoscope. Once again, if you have paid attention to heart rate and recovery at home, you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect from your horse sometimes if the heart rate is fluctuating and the horse is taking a while to settle, it pays to walk him around quietly for a while, allowing him to pick at the grass if he wants and giving him the opportunity to pee, but keep checking the heart rate very cold, wet and windy conditions require skilful rugging. You need to cool the horse off but at the same time make sure he doesn’t get chilled, so make sure you pop your hand under the rug every now and then to check that he’s not still too hot. Flapping the rug occasionally will help dissipate the heat. In these conditions my tip is to present to the vet as soon as possible.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
I like to present to the vet as soon as the heart rate is steadily dropping below the required parameter and showing no elevations. Usually by the time you get to the vet ring it has dropped a further few beats. This is a must when competing vet-gate-into-hold and these days with standard-come-early vetting, the sooner you get through the vet check, the sooner you can get your horse back to his yard for rest and feed. Having adequate rest time
to have a good feed and drink is extremely important in a longer ride. You can also use this time to keep strapping and cleaning your horse or attending to sore spots, massaging and such once your horse is settled, you can attend to your own needs, organise your gear for the next leg and maybe even have a rest (if you have a strapper this is usually achievable).
Don’t just ignore your horse, keep a constant eye on him or get your strapper to. If he’s not eating his feed, offer him something else. I like to provide a hard feed, carrots and a selection of hay. Or stand there with the feed bin at his chest height, sometimes a tired horse couldn’t be bothered stretching his neck down to eat off the ground or he may be getting distracted, so you need to hold it right in front of him. If all else fails, take him out of the yard for a green pick – most hungry horses never say no to green grass – far better he eats something than nothing and you haven’t got much time
if there is a compulsory represent (another veterinary examination before you go back on course – common in 160km events), treat it just as seriously as all other vet checks. I always take the horse out on lead at least ten minutes before the check is due to warm up and unstiffen, check heart rate, gut sounds and do any massage or stretches if necessary. If gut seems a bit quiet, it is a good time to give a dose of yogurt if you haven’t already. Make sure you go into the vet ring with your horse warmed up and switched on. I have seen many riders vet out at represents basically because they weren’t paying enough attention
Far Left: A horse should be used to stethoscopes or heart monitors. Photo Sue Crockett. Left: Ride at a consistent pace. Above: Check all four feet for stones or loose shoes or nails. Photo Sue Crockett. Bottom Left: The author Jillian Bourton riding Veloce Liberty. Photo S. Ellis.
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it is also important to give yourself adequate time for saddling up and getting ready to start the next leg. I like to give electrolytes once the bridle is on, before I mount up, this usually guarantees a good drink at the first water point on the next leg. Observe how the horse feels and trot a couple of circles if you can. If you feel any problems in his gait, a slight lameness, STOP NOW. It is always better to withdraw than make the animal suffer for another leg and vet out at the end! Or have to be retrieved from the course! At the end of the ride you’ll go through the whole procedure again. Many people wait a bit longer to vet after the last leg in the hope of recording a lower heart rate, especially if they are in contention for a Best Condition award. In very cold weather this may see you come undone if the horse stiffens up after too much standing around, better to get it over and your horse rugged and settled back in his yard for a good feed, than hang around for a few more lower heart beats!
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
I have applied these strapping techniques over many years, with many different horses, at many different rides of varying distances. I have used these basics riding strange horses in other countries – the dry desert in Namibia, summer heat wave in southern France and torrential rain in New Zealand. One can always learn more and pick up hints from others but by sticking to these basics I rarely go wrong.
obviously make sure your horse has a good feed and plenty to drink before you leave, especially if home is over an hour away
A Few Tips for Travelling Home
once home I make sure he is well rugged up for the night, especially in winter. A tired, hungry horse will benefit from an extra woolly quilt or neck rug.
Presentations and getting a lovely completion sash or trophy doesn’t mean the end of the ride. There are a few things you can do to make your horse more comfortable for the trip home and aid in his recovery over the next few days like: applying a swell down clay poultice to all four legs, especially if it has been a hard ride i.e. concussive or very sandy or steep and rocky. I like to also wrap them in damp newspaper and bandage to keep the clay moist for as long as possible
I like to give about 5-10mls of Phenylbutazone paste before a long interstate trip home to help prevent too much stiffening up and ensure the horse will feel comfortable walking around in the paddock when he gets home, which will also relieve stiffness and any swelling in legs
For me, being organised, attention to detail and observation are the keys for happy, well-prepared horses, successful endurance competitions and many hours of safe and fun riding. Above: Offer your horse water at every opportunity. Photo Sue Crockett.
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instead of concave. It takes time for the horse to grow in a good laminar connection. And while the soles are still flat the horse will find many surfaces quite challenging. A tighter laminar bond will generally result in better concavity of the sole. When that happens the horse is more able to cope with challenging footings. Many endurance riders will train some of the time barefoot, depending on the footings they are training over, and some of the time in boots and pads. My view is that for anything over 40kms, unless your horse’s hooves are very well conditioned for that particular footing, it is preferable to boot and pad. Alternatively, consider using glue on hoof boot shells such as the Renegade or EasyCare Glove models. Most endurance horses live in paddocks where the substrate is considerably softer than the footings they encounter at endurance rides. It is almost impossible for a rider to train a horse over the same footing as a ride is run over, at the same speed as they will race. Therefore, the horse will be vulnerable unless it has appropriate hoof protection.
to Barefoot By Rebecca J. Scott
How many times have you heard it said that a particular endurance horse can’t go barefoot? What this generally means is that somebody has tried to take the horse out of shoes, but found it is uncomfortable and has diminished movement. This is not to say that the horse really cannot manage without shoes. All this means is the attempt to take the horse barefoot has not been successful. The problem may lie with the human and the implementation of the technique, and not with the horse. Some horse people believe horses need metal
FROM SHOD TO BAREFOOT
shoes. When what the horse really needs is some kind of protection if it’s doing work on hard, rough or abrasive ground. Sometimes people get confused. They think that ‘barefoot’ is all about not giving the hoof any hoof protection. In fact, it is about providing the benefits of barefoot lifestyle, coupled with an alternative type of protection, as and when required. That means providing protection particularly when the horse is being transitioned. Chances are there will be some degree of laminar separation from the peripheral loading (shoeing). That often results in the pedal bone gradually sinking lower in the hoof capsule, and the sole being flat
Years ago I conditioned my horse’s hooves in the rocky high country trails of north east Victoria. He could pretty much go anywhere, at any speed up there and the footing didn’t bother him. High hooves had gradually adapted over a period of about 12 months. In the process we used hoof boots some of the time but rode barefoot at other times. However, when I went barefoot (not booted) in a ride in the abrasive granitic sand of Western Victoria, my horse’s hooves were unable to cope. They hadn’t been conditioned to that. They quite literally wore down. He had an elevated HR for the next two hours. And it wasn’t until later, when I took him back out to that country and trained him on that particular surface that his feet started to adapt. However, it’s clear to me now, in retrospect my horse was not accustomed to that footing and it would have been much kinder to have run him in boots and pads. It’s only a little over a decade ago the Australian Endurance Riders Association voted to allow unshod horses to compete in an official endurance ride. Today, there is a trend towards barefoot horses, driven in part by a better understanding of the functioning of the hoof, by the move towards natural horsemanship and also by the fact barefoot and booted horses are winning. For the last four years, the first horse across the line (the winner) in the 100-mile Tevis Cup in the USA has been wearing Easyboots. And most of the horses in the top 15 finishers have been in hoof boots. The statistics show the chances of a barefoot and booted horse completing such a ride are higher than for a horse shod with metal shoes.
And depending on the preferred model, they can be teamed with pads and/or various glues to provide a level of cushioning. But the key to transition is to get appropriate help and advice from those who have done it successfully. Quality, regular (at least four weekly) hoof care, and good fitting footwear will see you and your horse through a successful transition.
Ten Points on how to Transition your Shod Horse to Barefoot 1. Enlist a good trimmer or farrier to help with the process and take some photos of the hooves before you start. These can be compared at three monthly intervals to see how the hoof is changing. 2. Establish whether the horse is landing heelfirst, flat or toe-first. Heel-first at the trot is desirable. If you have a toe-first landing horse, it’s very important to ride in boots and pads to cushion the heel and make the horse comfortable enough for heel-first landings. You will find your horse has a far better gait if he lands heel-first. A toe-first landing horse feels as if it always has the handbrake on. 3. Make sure that you have hoof boots and pads available ready to go for your horse from the day you have the shoes pulled. Your hoof care professional should be able to fit and organise you with hoof boots.
with a tighter laminar connection. The heels may spread and the frog should get bigger. 7. Consider investing in some river stones (around 7mm, smooth and at least 10cm deep) to lay in an area where your horse spends time – a favourite standing place, or in the yards where he is fed. This will speed up your transition. Horses love to stand in this.
And the options for alternatives to metal shoes are growing. In addition to urethane shoes such as the EasyShoe NG (which can be glued or nailed on), there are boots such as the performance oriented EasyCare Glove, EasyCare’s Glue On, Renegade’s boot or Glue on, and a hoof boot with a flexible sole from Equine Fusion.
8. Practise riding at speed at home with the hoof boots and pads to make sure you have selected the most appropriate boot with the best fit. Horses which twist their feet on landing may have trouble keeping a hoof boot on. Talk to your hoof care professional if your horse has issues retaining hoof boots. There are techniques that can be implemented to help – such as the use of Mueller Sports tape to the hoof wall, to add grip to help the boot stay in place. Glue ons or urethane shoes (infilled with Vettec Equipak CS) may be better in some circumstances. 9. Make sure your horse is receiving a good vitamin and mineral mix. Good hooves require good nutrition. That is not simply biotin, but all the minerals and vitamins the horse requires. We advocate Missy’s Bucket from www.missysbucket.com.au or Carol Layton’s Balanced Equine mineral mix www.balancedequine.com.au 10. If your horse is lame or not quite right in shoes prior to going barefoot, then give him time to grow enough hoof before asking too much of him. Many horses come to barefoot because they have pre-existing problems. Transitioning to barefoot is a process. Hooves take time to adapt.
The author Rebecca Jacaranda Scott (pictured above) is a former endurance rider who now runs GoBarefoot – The Hoof Trim Network™, a team of trimmers servicing horse owners in Victoria. For more info visit www.gobarefoot.com.au
4. Ensure the trim retains some hoof wall and that the horse is not dropped directly on his sole. Strange as it may seem, a couple of millimetres of hoof wall can make all the difference. 5. Mix up the work. Ride short rides on friendly forgiving (conformable) footings, barefoot, such as soft ground or sand. Use boots and pads for the more challenging footings and distances. You’ll very quickly get the feel for how much protection your horse needs. 6. Be prepared for the hoof shape to change. The hoof capsule will probably get smaller
Above Left: This horse is wearing Renegade Hoof Boots on the front feet and Gloves with powerstraps on the hind feet. Photo Rob Featonby. Right: Karen Chaton riding Pro Bono D – he is wearing Renegade Glue Ons in his third USA Tevis 100 mile completion in 2013. Photo Bill Gore.
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KARABIL Arabians Breeding quality endurance horses for 25 yrs Breeding for height with good conformation, movement, bone, temperament & attitude.
Numerous progeny by Karabil Tagera exp. for endurance.
High percentage Crabbet lines featuring Sindh, Abiram, Count Manilla & Riffal.
Stallions at Stud:
● KARABIL TAGERA
(Salam Kadesh x Dandaloo Bishara) ●KARABIL GANBARR
(Karabil Tagera x Gold By Moonlight)
● MEADOW VIEW ELLUSIVE
(Braheem x Fair Beginning) For breeding enquiries & young stock contact: Helen Cameron & John Robertson Ph. (02) 6368 3591 894 Three Brothers Rd, Hobbys Yards NSW 2795
MSc Equine Studies
I fix rider problems. It is common for adult riders to have asymmetry issues due to previous injuries, wear and tear etc. I teach riders how to ride to the best of their ability, so they are easier for their horse to carry. Especially important for an Endurance horse and rider combination! Horse Rider’s Mechanic Workbook 1: Your Position
Jane Myers Equiculture Publishing © www.equiculture.com.au
Horse Rider’s Mechanic Workbook 2: Your Balance
Jane Myers Equiculture Publishing © www.equiculture.com.au
Have a look at the Horse Rider's Mechanic website www.horseridersmechanic.com where there are numerous free articles and you can read the beginning of each of the books for free.
www.equiculture.com.au • E: email@example.com • www.facebook.com/horseridersmechanic
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Planning a By Meg Wade
Endurance riding is a marathon sport. It’s a test of skill for the rider to manage the horse over the specified distance to the best of their ability and to finish the competition with a sound, healthy horse. Marathon sport training requires a large amount of time. Dedication to training and a focused mind are intrinsically linked. The key to success in marathon sports is pace consistency ensuring the efficient utilisation of available energy. I was fortunate in my sporting background to be involved in other marathon disciplines – kayak racing from 100km up to multi-day 400km competitions and cross country ski racing over distances of 65 to 110km. The knowledge of my personal training and pacing was gained at my own body’s expense and has greatly helped my appreciation of how to train and manage my horses for endurance.
PL AN N I NG A 160 K M R I D E
Our sport is unique, we compete as a team – horse and rider, each needs the other to be successful. The rider is the responsible part of the team and is the decision maker. We know the distance and we have an idea of what the trail will be like. We have the superior intelligence to plan the ride and ride accordingly. We have placed our partner, the horse, at our disposal to do with as we please, so we have the responsibility to pilot them to safe and successful completions. The basics of ride planning are the same no matter the distance involved – a 40km training ride or a 160km championship. You need to be honest about the fitness of your horse, your fitness and be realistic with your goal for the day. Some knowledge of the trail and previous times over the course will help in planning. Remember that difficulty comes in many forms such as terrain, footing and environmental conditions plus temperature and humidity. There is no such thing as an easy 160km ride.
Training During your training sessions is the time to ensure you and your horse are prepared for the
competition. Educate yourself as to what it feels like to average different speeds over various distances and terrain using a combination of gaits. Determine the comfortable pace and speed for the particular horse. Some horses have ground-covering trots while others are more efficient and comfortable at the canter. Train your horse to be balanced at all gaits and know what speed they are travelling. A GPS is a wonderful training tool. There are ones available these days that are very user friendly and small wrist models, which are ideal for the endurance rider.
The Ride – Have a Plan Be consistent and in control during the competition. Aim to start and finish the race at the same average pace. If anything err on the side of caution at the start, so you can have a strong (faster) finish.
Above: Enjoy your riding and time spent with your horse. Photo Sue Crockett. Right: Meg Wade.
Riding 160kms Over a 160km course the concept of consistency is critical. Have a goal. Are you and your horse ready for this challenge and has all your training gone as planned? If yes, well don’t disappoint on the day through inadequate planning and not riding your own ride. Do some research! What times has this course previously been won in? If it has always been around the ten hours, it’s unlikely that it will be won in eight hours. Previous completion rates will indicate the difficulty of the trail. Knowledge of the track and which are the easier and more difficult sections will, of course, be an advantage, so find out as much as you can. At most competitions I see numerous displays of inconsistency in pace and poor ride strategy, both with open and novice riders. How often have we all seen riders, either novice themselves or on novice horses, sitting just out of view of the ride base because they have ridden the course too quickly for the limitations imposed on them. It is better training for you and your horse to have paced yourself to arrive on time.
hour. This is not the way to achieve maximum results and is not an efficient use of energy. Use the shorter competitions – 80, 100, 120 to practise and hone your skills.
average speed, so you have a horse at the finish that is happy to keep going. The criteria is “fit to continue” and for the more competitive riders remember, “To finish first, you first have to finish”.
Be 100% organised for your 160km with yourself and have enough clothes for all different conditions that could arise. For your horse – different hard feeds, different hays (they too like variety and can get fussy during a competition) plus rugs and ice are always good to have on hand.
I recently said to a person attempting their first 160km, “Don’t overthink it – what will happen will happen. Just enjoy it and stay safe!” I knew they had prepared well and just needed a confidence boost!
In Conclusion Relate what you are doing to your horse as if it was yourself, it is really that simple. Pace yourself to efficiently cover the distance at a consistent
I am sure that once you start to ride at a consistent pace you and your horse will see the advantages in your improved performances and recoveries. Enjoy your riding and time spent with your horse.
Meg Wade has won the Tom Quilty 160km in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2008. She has represented Australia numerous times at World Championships and World Equestrian Games (WEG) culminating in three team bronze medals and her best individual place was fourth at the 2002 WEG in Spain.
Another typical scenario is an open rider who starts out at 20km+/hour and finishes at 12km/
The Arabian Horse Society of Australia
continues to support the Registered Arabians in Endurance
Photo: Sue Crockett
Watch our website for further incentives.
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Ride Your Own Ride. There is no excuse of “I couldn’t stop or control my horse” or “I’ll just let him/her do what they want for the first 20km and then see where I am”. You are in charge, so take control.
Octogenarian Hero Story and Photography by Shirley Ellis
When I first learned that inspirational stories were needed for this Endurance Australia Annual, I immediately thought of Bob Gurr, the South Australian Endurance Riders Association’s (SAERA) oldest member. I spoke to Christabel, Bob’s wife, but had no idea what a great story it would be. I don’t think I am the only one who thought Bob had been doing endurance riding since it started seriously in Australia. Well, we were wrong, Bob started out with horses at around 14 years old, when he decided to rent a horse and teach himself to ride. Whenever he could afford it, he rented a horse and rode up and down the tramways in Magill and eventually this extended to hiring a sulky so he could take girlfriends out for a drive! Later Bob ran away with the circus! A little buckjump show called the Queensland Wild West Stampede. After returning home he did some more rodeo work at Spalding and Gawler and then went to New South Wales, trying rodeo work again. Unfortunately he broke his wrist and this put a stop to it all, although his wrist remains the only bone he has broken in all those years of riding! Bob had earned a reputation for bravery on horseback and often helped people with their
horses. After a period without equines, his daughter followed in her father’s footsteps and hired a horse. When she had problems, Bob stepped in to fix them. Then he was back into horses again! Bob eventually turned his hand to harness racing, originally helping out an old mate and in the process learned all about training and driving. He set out on his own and had wins with two of the five horses he trained, driving one of them himself. It was very exciting and required careful legging-up and plenty of training to achieve success – not unlike endurance training. Red tape became a bit more difficult to overcome, so it was time for Bob to give endurance riding a go. By that stage he was 60 years of age – traditionally a time when many people slow down or even give up riding! The purebred Arabian Brandwood Grevillea was purchased in 1990 and Bob broke her in and trained her himself. Grevillea’s endurance career began with a 46km ride at Glen Gillian in May 1993. Since then they completed over 3,000kms including the Kuitpo 200, a 120km ride on day one and then an 80km on day two. Bob’s wife Christabel also enjoyed competing in endurance rides. On their second attempt at the Kuitpo 200, Bob and Christabel sadly vetted out at the end of the second day – they both wept! Such is the sport of endurance riding.
Bob also entered and completed the 1996, 1997 and 1999 State Championships and had a go at the 1998 SA Tom Quilty but unfortunately vetted out. He and Christabel also went interstate with their horses for the first time in September 1998 to compete at Maude in New South Wales in the Headless Horseman, and with great excitement they both completed successfully. That was also the final year of competition for Brandwood Grevillea after she and Bob had completed a grand tally of 3,356 competitive kilometres. Grevillea was put in foal to Shah Al Khalifa and in December 2000 she foaled a beautiful chestnut filly. Heartbreakingly, Grevillea broke her shoulder when Bindii bint Grevillea was only nine days old and had to be euthanised. Bindii was hand-reared with the help of an old gelding. Bob took the opportunity to lease Jahahn Enyah, an Arabian mare with a yellow log book. He prepared her for the 2001 season. With Enyah he completed 2,000km including the 2002 and 2003 SA State Championships. They also made two more attempts at the Quilty, first in Victoria which saw them vet out but in 2003 at Canowindra they were thrilled to attain their first Quilty buckle! Then it was time to concentrate on Bindii bint Grevillea and Enyah went home. Once again, Bob did all the breaking-in and training himself. Bindii completed her first 80km ride at Starkey’s Paddock in 2006. They came last and were presented with the “horse’s arse” trophy! By 2011 another State Championships was under Bob’s belt and he had another go at the SA Quilty. After a series of minor problems they were disqualified for coming in 12 minutes over time at the end
He had a successful year in 2013 with yet another State Champs completion. SAERA committee members suggested Bob should go to the Quilty in Wagin Western Australia in 2014. It was an offer Bob couldn’t refuse and he picked out a season of rides, foregoing the State Champs to give Bindii the best chance of success. A group of good friends gathered sponsorship for this tenacious duo from extremely generous people and organisations – so there was no backing out and they set off for Wagin. With a total completion rate of only 35% of Quilty entries, Bob and Bindii made it and were the only South Australian combination to be successful. Bob was 82 years old – the oldest rider ever to successfully complete the Tom Quilty 160km. Bob and Bindii did the entire drive to Western Australia – there and back – on their own and that was an amazing achievement in itself. What a legend!
In his endurance career Bob won the Mudge Perpetual Trophy with each of his main horses. Awarded at the end of each year by the Mudge family, this trophy is for a rider/horse combination showing consistent horse management/ improvement over a three-year period. In 2012 Bob and Bindii also won the Glen Gillian Trophy for one horse/one rider Middleweight at South Australian (SA) rides. At the end of 2014 Bob was surprised to find that Bindii was second in the Middleweight SA rides Distance Horse and first in the Middleweight one horse/one rider. Not only that, Bindii was awarded her 4,000km distance sash. Bob tried
in vain to tell us how proud he was of Bindii but the words were just a little choked. Bob is a true inspiration – taking all the lows with the exceptional highs. He has broken-in, trained and ridden both mother and daughter combination very carefully from start to finish, although Bindii isn’t finished yet. The rewards are amazing and all this after turning 60 years of age. I believe Bob still has a goal in mind as he has entered and completed successfully eight State Championships in SA and he thinks it would make a nice round figure if he could make it ten. The endurance fraternity salutes you Bob!
Left: Bob riding Bindii bint Grevillea. Right: Bindii being spoilt by a young fan.
STALLIONS AT STUD:
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(SK Shakla Khan Imp US x Fairview Amira Kalhua) Qualified FEI & Yellow Book Endurance Stallion • With floating movement, excellent heart rates, attitude & stamina • Breeding Endurance Arabians & Derivatives Service Fee $750.00 (incl. GST) Also at Stud is multi Champion Arabian Stallion
Everon Park Emperor (AU) S18878 (Domanixy x Talmia Taminie) Service Fee $750.00 (incl. GST)
Norfolk Park Comet (Caleskhan Kasmeer x Misty) Latest foal by Jonesy
Norfolk Park Bella (to be registered) (Caleskhan Kasmeer x Everon Park Shebell) DOB: 25 March 2014
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Contact: Allyson Taylor
Top left: Norfolk Park Attitude - 4 month old filly Inset left: Norfolk Park Comet - gelding Some progeny available for purchase
02 6628 6277 or 0421 990 215
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of a very long day. Bob’s disappointment must have been nearly unimaginable. Despite being disheartened by this episode, Bob dusted himself off and started 2012 in full swing, including competing at another State Championship.
• Conformation • Stamina • Temperament & • Versatility. “Offering a selection of Qualified & Novice Endurance horses to suit all discerning Endurance enthusiasts”
PICTURED: OSO Last Eclipse
The Next Generation
Oso Arabians springs from the desire to see bloodlines and breeding stay intact. Oso Arabians comes from three main breeding lines which are Kelkette Park, Al Marah (USA) and Aloha Arabians. These bloodlines demonstrate the versatility, conformation and temperament of the Arabian horse. The Farm Oso Arabians and Murray Grey Cattle Stud is situated five kilometres off the Hume Highway north of Albury, on the east side of the Table Top Range southern NSW, Australia. The 3,500-acre estate, whilst being practically laid out for the safety of their brood mares, foals and stallions with beautifully fenced paddocks, also has wonderful undulating hill country.
They strive to keep this part of the farm as natural as possible to protect the vegetation and native fauna they support. The horses and cattle benefit from this environment and thrive mentally and physically from this outstanding countryside. They believe strongly in their horses living as horses should. The mares run together as a large family herd and this continues on with all the different age groups and sexes. Out of breeding season, the stallions have their own large ten-acre paddocks with shady gum trees, dams and views of the farm and the other horses. It is a true Utopia for horses to breed and raise their young. The Stud strives to breed the very best stock for Endurance Riding. All the young, up and coming endurance horses enjoy a happy natural ‘childhood’ and then only when
physically and mentally strong enough, they are professionally broken-in.
The fantastic riding around the farm up in the hill country ensures they are fit and ready to go into their future careers. The Stud has been managed for the past six years by Amanda and Andrew Kettlewell. The couple moved over from the UK in 2008 with their daughter Poppy to take up as managers for Oso Arabians and now the addition of Jack. Amanda’s equine background started at local pony club on her part bred Arab pony. This led to a period working in the racing industry and later on to Berkshire Agriculture College, England where she qualified as a BHS riding instructor. As well as teaching, Amanda has a love of Eventing and Show Jumping and represented her riding club at national level. Amanda’s role at Oso is predominately managing the horse stud, Endurance team and caring for the 130 horses currently living on the farm with a very dedicated young team of riders and handlers. Andrew, originally born and bred in Australia and educated at Scots School Albury, then moved onto Marcus Oldham Agriculture College where he completed the three year Farm Business Managers course. Since completing this he has spent time working in agriculture and of late has had a five year stint working in the UK. Andrew’s day is spent managing the cattle stud and the day-to-day running of the property. However over the past few years Andrew has been working hard to gain as much experience for Oso as a serious player overseas in Endurance. This
has taken him to Malaysia and Dubai recently, allowing him to understand FEI rules and the different ways in which rides are run overseas. Over the past five years the Stud’s young endurance team has gone from strength to strength and has now been noticed by overseas endurance stables, predominately Dubai. Many Oso bred and trained horses are now flying the flag for us overseas and we have a lot of interest from the rest of the world. At home in Australia the Oso horses and riders are also achieving great things including success in the “Big 3” The State Championships, Quilty and Shahzada. Oso is working hard to invest in young Australian riders and give them opportunities to ride at a top level. A goal for the Stud would be for an Oso bred horse and trained rider to represent Australia on the world stage. Whilst Endurance Riding is looked upon as the mainstay for our horses, we must not write them off from other pursuits. Oso horses are versatile and with their temperament, conformation and stamina can be considered for many other jobs including showing (ridden and halter), reining, dressage, polo or just pleasure riding. They certainly erase the stigma of Arabs only being good for one thing! Oso has made many friends worldwide through our Facebook page and website www.osoarabians.com.au. We welcome fellow enthusiasts and potential buyers looking for their next world class Arabian to “Like” us, “Join” us or just contact us directly!
CONTACT US: Amanda & Andrew Kettlewell Table Top, NSW Australia m: +61 428 849 720 p: +61 2 6020 3286 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hero Lifestyle Glengannon Arabians is located south west of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The 100-acre property is home to the Krahnen family (Matthew and Simone along with their children Colleen, Erin and Connor) and their team of endurance horses, as well as a herd of Angus and Braford cattle that graze the river flat paddocks. Most days at Glengannon start early, just on sunrise, with the horses singing out a chorus of welcoming neighs when the lights come on and we walk into the stables ready to begin another day. Feed up is always the first order of business, before mucking out and saddling up to head out with the first group of horses in training. The days are filled with various appointments, from farrier visits to the
Words by Simone Krahnen | Photography by Sue Crockett
odd jobs that always need doing on a property, but foremost is the carefully scheduled training programs pre-planned for each horse in our care. The Krahnen family has been involved in endurance riding in Australia for three generations, with Matthew and brother Dominic completing their first event in 1982, and their first Tom Quilty in 1985. Fast forward to today and combined we have ridden over 45,000 successful kilometres in endurance competition and accumulated 25 Tom Quilty buckles. The many hours spent in the saddle training and competing with our much beloved Arabian horses plus the hours spent travelling around Australia to endurance events, has meant we have been fortunate to see much of our vast countryside and bushland that many others may not get to see in a lifetime. Throughout our involvement within the sport, we have contributed many hours on the QERA
and AERA management committees, as well as being members and organisers of the Beenleigh Endurance Riders Club and later the Great South East Endurance Riders Club. The property Glengannon has been built by us over the past decade from the ruins and mess of an old dairy farm. Underneath the tangles of overgrown weeds, vines, and run-down farm buildings was much potential for a great horse property, which with a lot of work and sweat, slowly began to take shape. The property can now boast a comfortable stable block and paddock space for its usual load of 30 horses, as well as facilities for starting and educating young horses and legging up endurance horses. Our training loop runs the perimeter of the property, alongside large spelling and broodmare paddocks and is ideal for quietly riding out youngsters or for the faster work done by older, seasoned horses who love to race each other along the rolling green paddocks. All horses
heroes work together in groups of up to four, and are matched on their current fitness levels and abilities. We believe it is important for the endurance horse to be able to travel comfortably in a group and have found time and again that our young horses benefit immensely in their training from working together in a steady rhythm. All family members participate in the sport, with Matthew riding occasionally and officiating for many clubs Australia wide and myself, Erin, Colleen and Connor training our own and clientsâ€™ horses as well as competing regularly. Weekends without endurance rides will often see us at a horse show somewhere in south east Queensland, or preparing for the next event coming up. Our major goal for each year is usually the Tom Quilty Australian Championships, rotated annually from state to state. Part of the journey and excitement is of course the road trip to the event, but it is a joint effort on everyoneâ€™s part to get our team of horses to any event, be it local or interstate. Long hours behind the scenes pay off in the long run with endurance horses, and tending to their every need with meticulous attention to detail often means days run into the evening to finish
around 7pm. Endurance riding is a tough sport, being both physically and mentally demanding and requiring absolute fitness and soundness of horse, rider and support crews. It takes a lot of effort from everyone in our family, but that makes achieving success on any scale, be it a national championship or a local training ride, worth every moment of time and effort. Alongside our team of seasoned horses, our stables bring along many new horses through the grades, both bred and owned by us, or in work for other stables and breeders. It is a great pleasure to get to work with beautiful and athletic Arabian horses, and we would like to take every opportunity to thank their owners for entrusting their horses to our care and preparations. One of our main areas of focus is to produce a happy young horse and introduce them to endurance riding for a long and successful career. We feel the best way to do this is to always ensure the horse is fit and mentally ready for the event you wish to enter him in, and get a great sense of achievement to see the young horse enjoying his job and travelling with ears pricked and a bright step.
Many of our horses have been purchased as youngsters and brought along slowly through the grades by us, from their first ever ride through to their first competition. While there is always much debate on what constitutes an ideal endurance type, with proven bloodlines being an important aspect for many prospective buyers, we believe each horse is an individual and place much weight on their body type, appearance and attitude when selecting a young horse for endurance. Sound, strong legs and hooves are of absolute importance, with good depth of chest and girth next on our checklist along with strong sloping shoulders. We like to look for a forward going horse with powerful free flowing movement and plenty of spirit and personality. We feel that a good endurance horse needs to be one with a certain attitude and spark, and while weâ€™ve had some lovely kind natured horses in our stables, the most outstanding performers have always been the ones with a bit of temperament.
Left: Colleen riding Kalkadoon Viva. Above: Glengannon Azazael with Erin.
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A great example is two time Australian Junior Champion Kalkadoon Viva, who can behave explosively pre-ride or when coming in after a spell; or the purebred gelding, Ardai, Reserve QLD State Champion for two years running, who loves to try and race any horse he passes, be it in the paddock or in training. Not every horse will show potential from the start, and we have found some do take a long time to mature mentally. For this reason, we try to give each horse enough time to find their rhythm and only ask of them what they are capable of; first in training, then in competition. While some horses feel ready to go after their novice rides, we’ll keep them very steady and competing in middle distance events for at least their first three seasons to make sure they’ve been built up properly and acquire some seasoning. Others are slower maturing and benefit greatly from a break in the paddock and short seasons of work. After this, we’ve found you can generally feel whether or not a horse is ‘cut out’ to be an endurance horse in his paces and general temperament, and make a decision about their careers then. A big part of getting a great result is making sure horse and rider can work well together and have gotten to know each other. Nothing good ever comes of pairing up a rider with a horse they are nervous of, or too bold and firm for, so we take the time to have each horse in work with a particular person who takes care of most of their daily routine, and avoid having riders ‘show up on the day’. In endurance more than any other sport, it is important for the rider to know their horse well so they can pick up immediately when something
isn’t right. We’ve found that you do need to like a horse fairly well to want to spend in excess of eight hours on his back! Whilst we only breed a small number of horses by our stallion Kalkadoon Zorro, his oldest progeny have begun to compete successfully in both endurance and the show ring, while others compete in dressage, eventing and pony club with their young riders. Bought as a 2-year-old colt, Zorro has been a consistently successful competitor on the endurance circuit. Having competed in each state except Tasmania, Zorro has achieved six Quilty buckles, won the Pat Slater Cup and completed over 3,000km in competition in his eight year career. As many who have seen him can attest, Zorro is a big show off and thoroughly enjoys his work. Zorro produces athletic and correct Anglo Arabians, which are the main interest of breeding by our stud. Most successfully so far has been Glengannon Azazael, eight years old and an FEI two star horse with many consistent placings and Best Conditioned awards. Brothers Glengannon Anarchy and Glengannon Serenity have had success in the show ring and we look forward to seeing similar results on the endurance circuit with Glengannon Serenity. After the 2015 50th Anniversary Tom Quilty, we plan on showing Zorro under saddle in addition to his endurance career and starting a few more of his progeny at endurance riding. For many people, the sport of endurance riding is a recreational pursuit, yet it could be fair to say that for our family, endurance riding and the Arabian
horse is a way of life. It’s a sport that requires much dedication and hard work, and can often serve the most devastating blows and yet despite this, allows us to see some fantastic parts of the countryside and be a part of one of the most popular equestrian disciplines in the world. Each new competition season brings about its own goals and challenges and we look forward to another year in 2015 spent travelling and competing.
Top: Erin riding Moondarra Maher and Connor on Mariano TE. Above: Simone on Kalkadoon Zorro with Erin.
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ALWAYS have something to eat, particularly if they are on a dirt lot, paddock paradise track, stabled or yarded. • Great for laminitic, IR etc horses as there is no insulin spike if they have hay available all the time. Allows free choice/low carbohydrate hay access all the time. Pasture hay is usually the best (but not ryegrass and/or clover hay as these are generally too high in sugar.) • Constant chewing causes sodium bicarbonate to be naturally released in the horse’s saliva, therefore reducing risk of stomach ulcers by counteracting the HCI in the horse’s stomach. • Reduces hay wastage from being blown away, trampling in mud, etc therefore saving money. • Net types of slow feeders are able to hang anywhere, and are safe, durable and easy to fill. • As the net holes are smaller, the net can be secured low for natural grazing position. Don’t tie low for shod horses or horses with untrimmed/sharp edges on their hooves. • Can reduce feeding time by using the large bale nets so that horses have access to hay for longer periods before refilling.
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Warmblood Hero Jazzpers Brush is a horse with attitude. No one could disagree with that. What started out as a dressage dream turned into a journey of endurance for both horse and rider. Jeff and Irene Adams live at Moruya on the NSW South Coast, where Jeff works as a farrier for racehorse trainers and race day farrier on course. “My earliest memories were always on a horse,” Jeff said. “My father and older brothers were endurance riders in the late 1960s and 1970s and Dad won the Quilty in 1973 riding a stockhorse called Tumbalong. In 1975 he won the Bite the Bullet ride – the first 500km ultra-marathon ride from Sydney to Melbourne.” As a child Jeff rode endurance in junior events and also did some show riding and Arab riding classes. In the mid-1990s, he did a couple of endurance rides and bred two endurance horses. “In 2005, Irene and I were having success with two of our home-bred horses,” he said. “One
was a little Arab mare called Amera and my partbred Arab, Takoi Jacky Chan. My proudest achievements with Jacky Chan were two second places at State Championships in 2008 and 2009 and a win in 2010. We also placed seventh at the Tom Quilty in 2009 and second in 2010. Jacky Chan is now retired.” Since 2005, Jeff has been competing in dressage competitions. “We bought a Warmblood broodmare (Watermark by Weltmeyer) as a three-year-old just broken in. Then we started a breeding program using frozen semen from a Dutch dressage sire called Jazz. “Our first foal was a colt we named Wee Jazzper who is now nine years old and competing at Medium dressage. The second foal was a filly we named Jazzpers Brush. “I had no intention of using her for endurance. She was my dressage horse but she was just too hot and very sensitive. She won’t take it easy – she just takes over and her paces are big and powerful, which is great for dressage but not
By Jo Arblaster
for endurance,” Jeff said, adding: “Her mother (Watermark) was a ratbag too! She would buck and rear over backwards and just take off out of the dressage arena. She did the Quilty in 2009 when Irene placed third Lightweight. She became a safe horse as long as she didn’t see an arena.” Despite her fiery temperament, Jazzpers Brush scored 80% at the Shoalhaven Dressage Championships in 2012, which was the highest percentage of the day. In 2013 she won the Preliminary Championship at Moruya Dressage Championships. At the Goulburn Championships in 2014 she was awarded Reserve Champion. But Jeff knew he could never take her to Sydney because she couldn’t concentrate for long enough. “I couldn’t get her out of novice because you need a brain for that,” Jeff said. “They have got to be with you mentally and she just couldn’t relax over the back for the whole test. The slightest thing would break her concentration. I could get a good score for the first test but in the second test she would just blow it.
Jeff and Irene decided to take Jazzpers Brush with their part Arab, Shane D Survivor to the endurance ride at Wingello in the Southern Highlands in 2013. Jeff recalls: “On the first leg, Irene got off for a call of nature and I was on the ground holding both horses. Someone came trotting up the road and Jazzpers Brush spun round and got the reins caught round her leg and kicked me in the shin. It dropped me like a school case and then both horses buggered off. “We ran up the road after them. They were galloping madly. Eventually we caught them and Irene completed the ride and I rode back to camp with my boot full of blood and withdrew.” Jazzpers Brush’s first successful ride was at Harden in June 2013 where she completed in 6hrs 14mins with no problems. But one successful ride does not make an endurance horse, as Jeff was to find out. “Initially she had an incredible, lunatic extended trot with bounce and I couldn’t even rise to it so I stood in the stirrups. She’d just exhaust me. Her next ride was at Bumbaldry, which she completed in 6hrs 35mins. We went out on the second leg and all of a sudden she shied while cantering at about 25kph and drove my head into a tree, putting my tooth through my lip.
Arabs were scrambling up, but with her big long legs she just walked up like a spider.” At the Snowy Zone 120km Championships at Woodstock in September, the mare won the ride and also the Best Conditioned award. Jeff prefers to ride on his own when competing, as the mare’s paces don’t suit other horses. “When she gets going she just gets going and I need her to be calm whenever I can.” Wherever she goes, Jazzpers Brush draws attention. “Other riders often say: ‘That horse is amazing,’” Jeff said. “They are quite impressed with the way she moves. I love her now but I wanted to kill her a couple of years ago but now we’ve found our place together. She never relaxes. She thinks it’s supposed to be hard work and she makes it hard work. I can’t do endurance with her every weekend. I have to pick and choose the rides for her, as I am busy competing in dressage with her older brother who is laid back and cool. “Because of her temperament, I won’t be doing dressage with her any more but we still do flat work. It’s good to teach the horse to listen to you with half halts and up and down transitions, and the rider is the head of the herd, not the horse next to you or the one in front because a horse doesn’t know if it’s going to do 10kms or 150kms. A lot of people don’t agree with that and they just let the horse do what it wants. I like the thought that the horse is the athlete and the rider is the athlete’s coach.
“Jazzpers Brush is a character. She’s good to float and on the ground she’s pretty good but if she gets a fright she’ll just bugger off. She really enjoys human contact and being mollycoddled and she’s very sweet and will touch you with her lips. She’s got personality, no doubt about it – she’s very soft and very fiery too… and, like most women, very determined.” Jeff was thoughtful when asked what the future held for Jazzpers Brush. “When I finish endurance riding with her, I’d probably like to put her to an Arab and hope to breed a class endurance horse,” he said. “My old man always said it doesn’t have to be an Arab to be a top endurance horse, and he’s right. He won the Quilty on a stockhorse and also won Bite the Bullet on an ex-trotter that had never done a ride until that day. They did 50 miles a day until they got to Melbourne. His horse got better as he went on. He also said to me you don’t have to ride small horses. There are some good big horses around too, just a little harder to come across. I am now riding a 16.2hh Warmblood and after training these horses I really wouldn’t want to ride any other breed. “Jazzpers Brush has a fairly good heart rate which is still improving the more rides she does. Her metabolics are also pretty good. Her mother had a great heart rate and she could win or place in an 80km ride and pulse back to 36 at the end of the day.”
“At her last novice ride at Woodstock when we were at the final creek crossing 8kms from the finish having a drink on a loose rein, she walked into a branch that poked her in the shoulder. She leaped in one giant hop and landed on the other side of the creek on a pile of boulders. I really thought we were going to be killed.” Time and distance may have helped to calm this dynamo down. “She’s settling down now in training at home,” Jeff said, “but out on a ride she’s still very over the top, but at least now I can get her to do what I want. She’s calmed down as a result of the miles, I’d say, and also she is now eight years old and has become of age.” Placing second Middleweight and Best Conditioned horse at the NSW State Ride this year, Jeff is justifiably proud of his big mare. “The terrain didn’t really suit her – it was too up and down and narrow and I couldn’t make use of her big canter – but most of it didn’t seem to worry her. When we were doing the rock climbs, the
Left: Jeff riding Jazzpers Brush. Right: The pair doing a dressage test. Photo C. Louttit.
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“So I thought I’d see how she went at endurance. I thought it might settle her down. But it didn’t. She was really quite dangerous. She’s a terrible shyer and just takes over – you can’t relax on her. As soon as you give the horse her head she runs away again.”
International Hero Australian endurance riders are blessed with beautiful and varied landscapes to ride in and we enjoy a relaxed outdoors lifestyle with excellent quality horses that lure many international visitors to our shores. Some international faces are regularly seen whilst some can only enjoy the experience as a one off. One familiar face we see regularly at endurance rides here is Shimpei Miyamoto from the seaside metropolis of Osaka in Japan. The inspiration to become involved in horses can come from many and varied places. Some of us are born into the horse world and for those lucky folk, spending their lives around horses come as naturally as walking and talking. Some of us come to it much later in life. Chasing a dream of riding
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horses can take some serious effort; especially for those that arenâ€™t anywhere near where horses are kept. Becoming a rider can also be a side effect of travelling with a love of the countryside and a genuine curiosity that allows you opportunity to follow paths less travelled. Shimpeiâ€™s first foray into horses came from an unexpected source. Shimpei was an orthopedic surgeon living on the east coast of the USA when he saw the film Dances with Wolves. Impressed by the dramatic scenery and wide-open ranges shown in the film, he decided to visit South Dakota for a vacation with the family to see some of the amazing country shown on the silver screen. Staying at a working ranch where, after some arm twisting and convincing, he found himself mounted upon a horse for the first time. As it so happened he was mounted on one of the horses that was used in the film! After time spent herding cattle and just generally enjoying the
By Gerard Bou
cowboy way of life on the open ranges, Shimpei was able to look past the initial pain factor that greets new riders and their backsides. He was officially hooked on the smell, the sounds, the feel and the view from up high on a horse! Continuing to ride on the odd occasion while he was in the USA and very much enjoying the wide open spaces, he eventually returned to Japan where the horse riding fix would prove harder to come by. Riding in Japan is no easy feat. There are, of course, places to ride in Japan but for someone that started their equestrian experience on the open plains of the American backcountry, the thought of riding in an arena was somewhat off putting for Shimpei. The constrictions of riding in an arena can stifle enthusiasm. Shimpei was looking for the freedom open spaces provided. Riding options in Japan were very limited and the distances he would need to
cover to get there from his home in Osaka would prove challenging. Driving four or five hours to ride was difficult and flying to and fro for short rides can be problematic and expensive at the best of times.
A conversation soon started with Tanaka about endurance riding. With very little idea of what endurance riding actually entailed, it appealed to them enough to organise a trip to NSW for a weeklong stay and some endurance riding education. Steve Finnane and Lesley Nancarrow gave them their first taste of what endurance was all about in the year 2000 and with helpful instruction from familiar Australian endurance names like Dr John Kohnke and Alan Mackinder, their week ended with a 40km ride at Colo Heights – home of the first Tom Quilty. As any endurance rider knows, that first 40km ride is pretty special with a real sense of achievement. It’s the first step in a journey. It can be a long journey too. Especially when you live 7,000km away from the endurance tracks. Shimpei describes his first 40km very well with his expression “big fun”. Shimpei was grabbed hook, line and sinker after that and made further plans to visit Australia. On the next trip to Australia, they visited Queensland and met Bob Sample and Vanessa Gaudard. Shimpei also met a lovely grey Arabian gelding named Roobuk Tahlara, which would later become his own endurance horse. He completed his second 40km ride at Samford near Brisbane. As endurance riders will know, a 40km ride is not actually considered an endurance ride. It is a training ride and also forms a part of the qualification process that all riders must go through in Australia before you can enter 80km rides. It was mentioned to Shimpei that he now needed to go on to the longer distances. So he continued on to become an open rider with successful completions at Warwick and Gatton in Queensland with a trip to Woodford in Tasmania in 2003 for his third successful 80km completion. Shimpei has ridden in most parts of Australia at one time or another – in Tasmania with the aid of Dennis Foley and in Queensland with the Samples. Tanaka had told Shimpei that these 80km rides were just simple walks in the park. Backyard rides so to speak and he needed to get a 160km under his belt to know what real endurance riding actually is! His first 160km was at the Queensland State
Shimpei happened to meet Masafumi Tanaka who ran the Freedom Riding Club (FRC) in Japan – a like-minded soul who also felt shackled by the restrictions of arenas. Tanaka travelled to farflung places to partake in riding adventures in wilder areas. With Tanaka and the FRC, Shimpei was able to ride in Mongolia and Wyoming in the USA, thus keeping his love for the outdoor riding experiences alive and well. The challenge of travelling such huge distances is testament of Shimpei’s love of horses.
Champs in 2003. Shimpei was met with some pretty ordinary riding conditions on that day with gale force winds and heavy driving rain, making life pretty miserable. After doing the full distance his mount was deemed lame at the final check. This endurance game sure can break your heart. I’m unsure if it’s better to have bad luck at the beginning of a ride or at the end. Either way it’s a scene all too common in this character building sport. True to form and not to be beaten, Shimpei returned to Tasmania later that year to attempt another 160km. The endurance gods were kinder to him this time around and he finished the ride in first heavyweight placing, being the only heavyweight to actually finish the ride in unexpectedly hot conditions. In 2007, his mount Roobuk Tahlara was moved to Brookleigh Stud and Shimpei’s riding future was, from then on, in the capable hands of Brook and Leigh Ann Sample. Having a long distance equine relationship can be tricky and knowing your horse is kept by knowledgeable people makes life a lot easier. Kenilworth in Queensland is a long way from Osaka in Japan and having his horse cared for and trained in the hills around the Mary Valley keeps Shimpei’s riding life hassle-free. Shimpei’s first Tom Quilty buckle came at Nanango in 2008. Make no mistake, Nanango was a tough ride. The weather turned hot and the calm and heat of the early evening was interrupted by one hell of a storm. Thunder and lightning shook us all that night with one bolt coming down right into the ride base! The ride was suspended for a while until the storm had passed enough for vetting to continue but for those on track during the dangerous deluge there was no ride suspension. If you were on track you had to tough it out. There was little cover to be had on course and Shimpei had to keep plugging away through the flashes of light and pouring rain to earn that most marvellous of endurance prizes – his first silver buckle. Those that gained a buckle in 2008 surely deserved it!
There may or may not be a common thread here when it comes to Shimpei’s riding history. Shimpei had also started the Tasmanian Tom Quilty in 2005, which was abandoned mid-stream due to horrendous rain. It may be of little surprise to hear that some enduros may equate a visit from Shimpei with coming rain. Shimpei has been coined the “rain bringer” by some. This is possibly reinforced by his notable absence through times of drought. Though this is only hearsay and conjecture. Still it’s not a bad idea to invite him to your place for a ride if your paddocks are looking a bit dry. Roobuk Tahlara was retired from competition in 2009 after a good win in a 120km ride at Imbil and the search was on for a new mount that would suit Shimpei. Brook and Leigh Ann found a horse by the name of Aloha Blue Opal that they thought would be a good choice. A leggy grey, which Shimpei describes as being a very “horsey horse”. By that he means Opal has the very nature of a true horse and Shimpei does, in his own words, “love a horsey horse”. Opal has a small connection to the author of this piece. I purchased a grey gelding from Aloha Stud around the same time as Shimpei. I had viewed Opal’s name and details on the sales list and could have indeed just as easily purchased him as the grey I chose. Whilst the two geldings are not closely related, when I see Shimpei and Opal on track it does remind me of the time I had riding my Aloha-bred gelding. Unfortunately I lost my gelding to cancer some time ago. Whilst I don’t know Shimpei very well, he came to me at Red Range ride in late 2013, soon after I lost my friend. Shimpei extended his condolences to me and gave me a hug. I was very touched by this. His actions
Left: Shimpei with Aloha Blue Opal. Above: Roobuk Tahlara and Shimpei competing in a 120km ride in 2009. Photo Sue Crockett.
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demonstrated to me what a thoughtful, caring man he is, one whom has a deep understanding of what a horse can mean to someone – driven by his own care and love of his animals. Shimpei’s honest and open concern has stayed with me since. Upon relating this story to those that know him, it is clear that it is not an isolated incident. Many Australians have experienced this thoughtful and sincere side of Shimpei Miyamoto. His caring nature is also on show with his adoption of the horse he keeps now in Japan called Favorit. The devastating tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 left the affected areas in ruins and Favorit was sent to a stable complex not too far from Shimpei as an evacuee. Upon seeing a sadness in Favorit’s expressive eyes, Shimpei took on the quiet bay thoroughbred and keeps him at the dressage stable, riding him in the arena and competing in lower level dressage competitions whenever possible. Although, as mentioned before, Shimpei is not a fan of arena riding, he is interested in riding in general and the skills that we riders can learn trying other disciplines. So he spends time on weekends or during the week on his days off with Favorit. Keeping a horse in full time care at a stable
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is an expensive business no matter where you are in the world. Japan is no exception and as long as Shimpei can afford to keep him and still get to do endurance riding, Favorit will have a good home. Japan is a country steeped in tradition. One that benefits the host in Australia greatly is the beautiful gifts that are forthcoming from the Japanese visitor. Shimpei always brings gifts with him; often fine bottles of Sake, which are most welcomed and even anticipated by those that know him well. I have myself over time escorted many visiting Japanese riders around endurance tracks in Australia and have been the beneficiary of similar gifts. There is much care and thought put into this gesture. There is more behind it than bringing a six-pack to a BBQ. Japan is an ancient land and it has beautiful customs. Shimpei is no longer a practising orthopedic surgeon though he does still work in the medical field. From an outsider’s view, Shimpei seems to achieve a good balance between family, work and equestrian activities. Having travelled to many parts of the globe in search of endurance riding, be it his attempt at the Tevis Cup in the USA or riding at
home in Japan at their National Championships, Shimpei sees endurance much the same as the rest of us that choose to ride the long distances. It is difficult to find words that can adequately describe our passion. There is a spirit that is embodied in the Tom Quilty buckle. The buckle has a special shine that ignites us on the inside. That Quilty spirit provides Shimpei’s motivation. With the knowledge given to him by some fine mentors and trainers along the way, and from doing his own hard yards on the endurance tracks, Shimpei will be back chasing another dream in Australia in 2015. His ongoing connection with the Sample family and their expertise will hopefully see he and Opal chasing a 50th anniversary Tom Quilty buckle this year back in Colo, where Shimpei started his endurance journey many years ago. We wish him the very best of luck and look forward to seeing him on horseback in Australia for many years to come.
Above: The rescued Favorit with Shimpei competing in dressage in Japan.
Sue Crockett Photography
M: 0418 309 592 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.suecrockettphotography.com | Facebook: Sue Crockett Photography Based in South East Queensland and available for private shoots
Endurance rider, mum and photographer Marieke Featonby has a longstanding affinity with horses and long distance riding. Having a diverse and multi-tasking life, it seems Marieke would not trade it for anything else in the world and loves taking her family along on her adventurous journeys.
distances. This includes, but is not limited to, drinking on track and not becoming too fussed at other horses out and about on track – up in front or behind. My first three 80km rides with Roxy were ridden on our own – pretty daunting at first but once we got into a rhythm and took in the sights, the rides were a dream. We love riding out team solo or in a group – doing both has its own magic and special times. I have met many wonderful people and as it turns out, I met a very special person. I rode many training rides with him and his wonderful Arabian, Harmonique Kunami. I used to turn up at events with the hope he would be there as both our horses got on particularly well and I knew the ride would be fun. Around 11 years later I married Rob and he is my best friend. We now have a young family, who share our equine madness. To be married to a person whom is like-minded and willing to continually learn and grow, allows me the freedom and understanding it takes to be with our equine friends and create a family of horse enthusiasts through many adventures together.
What have been your highlights? I have four standouts – the main one was meeting out on track and marrying the man of my dreams! Having the privilege of qualifying our mare Roxy as an endurance horse. We have had Roxy with us since she was five months old and started her under saddle ourselves over this time.
How did you become involved in endurance riding? Although my parents were not horsemen, I gathered my love of all things equine was part of my DNA. My love of Arabs came at the age of nine when I would collect magazine photographs and post them to my bedroom wall, covering every single white space. I started basic riding lessons about this time and was given my first pony at 13. He was unhandled and I trained him myself. I discovered endurance riding in 2001 when I was looking for a suitable sport for my young Arabian Dowling Nile Queen and myself. I read magazines on the sport and checked event calendars and eventually found a ride close to home – a 20km one in Bullangarook, Victoria. I learned a lot through the people who were willing to offer advice and assistance. The one
thing I learned and was reminded of at that event was, ‘always check you gear’. We unfortunately lost a stirrup leather ten kilometres into the ride and resorted to using baling twine as a makeshift stirrup!
What do you enjoy about the sport? The hours in, and out, of the saddle with my horses and constantly learning about them and myself. My serious happy place is out on track just as the sun is about the rise, listening to my horse’s breathing and the steady click clack of the hooves, looking at the scenery, which is usually pretty spectacular. I love the feeling when you know your horse is happy to travel forward in a rhythm on a long loose rein. My mare Roxy is a self-maintaining Arab and she is happy to keep a steady pace to conserve her energy to get her through relaxed and at ease. I love discovering my horse’s limitations and abilities and to allow them to build on their strengths to endure long
Both of our children have ridden in various endurance rides geared around the little ones on green horses, usually 5km distances, which is the most perfect start for our small juniors. I rode with our daughter Alexa when she completed her first 20km on her pony Buster when she was seven – that was five years ago. Most recently our seven-year-old son, Diesel, completed his second 20km ride on our new Arab, Shimira, with dad on Roxy at Ararat Victoria. I was on track taking photos of competitors at a creek crossing and I recall seeing Diesel and his dad trotting up to the creek with a humongous grin on his face. I was overwhelmed with pride at how well he was handling this beautiful mare and the two boys doing what they love – together! Diesel has expressed great interest in completing longer distances, which looks likely for this year.
What about setbacks? I did have a lengthy break from endurance and riding altogether in 2009. Queen and I took a nasty tumble together during a trail ride and although we dusted ourselves off and continued back to base camp, I continued to be in quite some pain through to the following day. I attended my doctor the next day and he immediately raced me in an ambulance to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne complete with back board and brace. A little confused at the
What are you setting out to achieve from here? I intend to qualify our new mare Shimira for 2015/16 and we have also taken on a new Arabian named Castlebar Sarkee and she has recently been started under saddle. She has already experienced two short distance events to expose her to overnight yarding, strange horses and sweat under the saddlecloth. I will slowly be lengthening the distances with her also in the coming months. Our Max is a paint gelding I fell in love with at first sight. I took him on as a totally unhandled weanling and hope to have him under saddle
this year. I would love to have him out to some smaller distance rides or as far as he is able to travel. Our son Diesel will be increasing his distances with Shimira and Roxy, and should he continue to be passionate about endurance riding, he will qualify as an endurance rider over the next couple of years. Rob and I are planning to ride the Shahzada Mini Marathon in August, which is a 3-day event totalling 120km. My Dowling Nile Queen is now semi-retired and she enjoys watching the gooseneck being hitched and loaded whilst she smiles and waves the chestnuts and dapple-grey goodbye most weekends.
What do you do between endurance events? Apart from working full time in International logistics at the airport and routine kids school runs and such, we are always searching for new adventures. This more often than not includes our horses. We regularly take the trip to the surf beach with our horses, riding along the sand dunes and in deep into the surf. Not for the faint-hearted but an absolute buzz. Our other favourite place is Tunnel Bend, in the Howqua hills alongside the Howqua River. High country territory and the most incredible riding!
A myriad of tracks can be explored with hills, narrow steep inclines and of course the rocky river crossings. The best way to desensitise water fear! We enjoy the relaxation of ground work with our horses at home, Kunami Park at Woodend and regularly add elements to our routines including platforms – which helps guide and control feet, poles, witches hats, the scary blue tarp, umbrellas, bikes, ride on mowers and motorbikes. All with the view to constantly and consistently exposing our horses to as many worldly elements as possible in a controlled environment.
Advice for someone starting endurance? Don’t be hesitant or be afraid to ask many questions. Be open and willing to learn from the people and horses around you, although there are many varied ways of doing many things, the best ways are usually the ones that are tried and true and well researched. And, together with doing what is right for you and your horse, you will reach the best possible outcome. Be organised and prepared. Have a goal in mind, but don’t get too hung up if the goal isn’t realised. There’s always another event. Remember, we learn more from when things aren’t going right.
Left: Marieke and Dowling Nile Queen at Barwon Heads. Photo Rob Featonby. Below: Alexa and Marieke riding together. Photo Rob Featonby. Right: Diesel and Rob doing a 20km ride. Photo Marieke Featonby. Right (bottom): Marieke and Dowling Nile Queen. Photo Rob Featonby.
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hype that I thought was being created whilst in triage; I was eventually given the news that I had fractured my neck at C1 and the attending emergency doctor made a bold statement that I was one ‘very lucky lady’. After time in hospital, I realised just how lucky I was seeing the less fortunate around me in much worse condition. My saving grace was my helmet, which now sits on display as a reminder to think ourselves lucky when we witness another rising of the sun! During recovery, I was unable to drive or lift and that included no riding. I was bursting at the seams after six months and almost nearly went insane. Happily I made a full recovery, although I still have some limited head movement, particularly to the left.
journey in search of that elusive buckle or the grail itself, the Gold Cup. That’s if we can manage the time, cost and risk factors that such a journey entails. Four thousand, five hundred kilometres one way with a horse or two in tow will test your management skills, your bank balance and your mental health. The answer to the “what could go wrong?” question is, well, everything. After that you have to drive home again! A strong contingent of Queenslanders made the trip to WA in 2014. There were a few horses in that bunch that had every chance of winning the ride. One team that made the journey was the Sample Endurance Stables. If by chance you have ever heard anything about endurance before, you will probably find the Sample name more than slightly familiar. Patriarch Bob Sample has his name on the cup, as do his sons Brook and Matthew. There is no shortage of experience at the Sample Stables, be it human or equine, and one horse on the truck to WA had experience oozing out of every pore.
Quilty Heroes September 2007. The eastern states of Australia are under a dark cloud of the equine influenza outbreak. The subsequent lock down and movement restrictions make it impossible for many to travel to Collie in Western Australia for the running of the Tom Quilty Gold Cup. Nevertheless, the Quilty went ahead as scheduled. To say this caused some heated discussions around campfires would be an understatement. Thankfully no such drama would befall the next WA instalment of the Tom Quilty in 2014. Touch wood. Again, uncertainty surrounded the West
Q U I LT Y HEROES
Anglo Arabian gelding Tarrangower Crecendo (Arabian Park Saiyid x Minkott Crystal Belle) is an old hand at this endurance riding caper and his ride record is quite amazing. His Tom Quilty record on its own is quite incredible. He’s no spring chicken either. At 18 years old he has racked up in Quiltys alone a first Heavyweight, third Middleweight twice and two wins with a few different riders along the way. At the 2013 Queensland Tom Quilty in Kilkivan with Akhmed Pshunov aboard, Crecendo rode stride for stride with Brook Sample on his mighty steed Brookleigh Excalibur until the last 200 metres only to be pipped near the post in a thrilling gallop finish. That is unfortunate enough on its own when you have given your all for nine or so hours without the added disappointment of narrowly failing the last vet check and going home empty handed. By Gerard Bou
Australian Quilty with Hendra vaccinations and bio security requirements, the subject of a drawnout negotiation with those from affected states. Thankfully a suitable protocol was established and all competitors from around Australia were able to attend. Although attendance at a Tom Quilty in WA is no easy task if you live closer to the Pacific than the Indian Ocean. Most of us that own and work horses go on the odd trip here or there. We hook up the float and travel to competitions or to that good riding spot for a pleasant day or a weekend away. We endurance riders are pretty used to travelling for competitions. As the Tom Quilty is in a different state each year, we are prepared to make a long
Set to ride Crecendo in 2014 was Jessica Langridge. Jess has been riding since a child but is, in the greater scheme of things, a relative newcomer to the sport of endurance. After returning from some time overseas working with horses, she gained employment with Brook Sample training endurance horses. There she met Matthew Sample and the pair must have hit it off reasonably well. Some time and an engagement ring later, Jess was training the Sample Stable’s horses and heading toward a new chapter in Quilty history. Jess had put the hours into training Crecendo and knew all too well that he was more than a slight chance in Wagin. As I spoke to Jess she used the word champion a lot when referring to him. A champion he is indeed. For those uninitiated with a ride start at a Tom Quilty it can be a nervous time. The Quilty has a life of its own. A luminous radiating aura surrounds
Jess was no different. Travelling a horse 4,500kms will always come with some issues. Although minor, Crecendo was not immune to life’s unexpected dramas and Jess was feeling the pressure of the journey, the training and the pre-ride jitters just like everyone else. There is an air of expectation when you are upon a great horse. Not only those placed upon you by others but the greater expectations you place on yourself. Jess was hoping she could do Crecendo justice. She knew he could do it and she did not want to let him down. Initially Jess had a riding partner, though with an on-course problem arising, that came to an end relatively quickly. The pace at the front of the ride was pretty hectic. For those of us watching the results online from the east coast we could see that a whole bunch of horses were up front and going for the win in the early stages. Jess and Crecendo were taking it pretty steady for a while and although still in touch with the frontrunners, they weren’t right at the pointy end. Rarely does someone lead from start to finish in a Quilty. Vetting procedures for a Tom Quilty are pretty rigorous and strict. Usually in a standard 160km ride, completion rates of 65 – 75% are not uncommon. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the numbers in the field. A Quilty is a different ballgame entirely. There are a few reasons why. Most are just guesses. As mentioned before the vetting is of championship quality. Many riders also tend to lose their heads and the excitement of the ride can lead to lapses in judgment that would normally not be such a big issue. There are 1,000 mistakes you can make in a ride and once you have been around long enough, you will have made every one of them. That won’t stop you making some again either.
Left: Jessica Langridge riding Tarrangower Crecendo at Murrumba in 2014. Above: At the 2014 Tom Quilty. Photo K. Coppalotti.
the ride. The air is thick with tension in the lead-up, which reaches a fever pitch moments before the ride start. No matter how experienced a rider you are or how calm you may look on the outside, you will suffer a serious case of the doubts at some point and be victim to a thousand butterflies not fluttering but pounding your intestinal walls as you try and come to grips with the fact that it is here and it is now! The energy of the horse beneath you only exacerbates your nerves. Endurance riding has emotional ebbs and flows. Once you have started the nerves tend to lessen. As each kilometre goes by, so does some of the tension. That is until the next lot arrives as you head to the first of many vet checks.
The Quilty brings out a lot of mistakes. Couple that with the travel that breaks up your training and feeding regime and you can be one step away from disaster. From a small number of around 100 starters in 2014, only 35% completed, giving you a fair idea of how tough a Tom Quilty can be. It was in the third leg that Jess and Crecendo decided to up the stakes and make a move. With power and zest Crecendo let Jess know that he was ready to go. Making their way steadily through the field and while others fell foul of the vet checks the pair continued on through the beautiful farming country over the changing track conditions of the Wagin course. The track was not overly hilly but it is the distance that sorts you out in the Tom Quilty, 160km, whether flat or mountainous is seriously demanding and fitness, training and toughness is key to success whether you are at the pointy end or not. Crecendo’s experience shone through when it was needed most. Riding without the company of other horses can sometimes take its toll mentally but Crecendo has been here before and knew the ropes well. There were horses close behind and I can only figure that Jess was probably looking over her shoulder a fair bit as the ride drew to its conclusion. Spending the best part of the day in the saddle gives you plenty of thinking time. There’s plenty of opportunity to worry about all kinds of things and Jess was well supported by an experienced
Jessica Langridge said: “Tarrangower Crecendo (Saladin, The Warrior) is such an outstanding horse. Thirty-five races, 26 top three placings either in his division or overall. Eleven of those were first placings. He has five Quilty buckles and he has won the Cup twice. My only goal heading into the Quilty was to get Saladin’s name on that cup again as he deserves every single bit of recognition he
strapping crew back at base, which made life more comfortable. These rides are rarely won flying solo. The team ethos works wonders for success and a good crew is worth its weight on the day. In the end Jess and Crecendo came trotting comfortably across the line to the cheers of the spectators. Though the biggest cheers were saved for when she and her mount passed the final vet check. Any of we enduros that have camped next to or near the Sample’s truck when they achieve a good result know that there would have been little sleep that night. This was not your average ordinary run-of-the-mill good result either. This was a great result. I suspect they may not have slept for days. Victory came after nine hours 13 minutes and 25 seconds. A great win by a champion horse and rider combination. It was actually a first Tom Quilty completion for Jess. Last year at her first Tom Quilty in Kilkivan she didn’t even get a start, so not a bad effort to get that first buckle and the Gold Cup to match on your first real try at Australia’s premier endurance event. So at 18 will we get to see Crecendo again? Jess assures me that we will. At the next Tom Quilty? Who knows but he will grace the endurance tracks again for sure. By the sound of it retirement is not on Crecendo’s mind. He has some good years left in him yet and when he does eventually retire, Jess commented that he will be treated like a king for life.
gets. It is a real credit to Brook Sample and Matt as to how they have managed and cared for him over his 13-year endurance career that he is winning a Quilty at 18 years old. Most of you have probably seen Saladin around the traps over the years, and those who know him, know what an enormous heart and gentle soul this horse possesses. He is a living legend and one of the best horses Australia has seen. Here’s to The Warrior!”
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Iconic Hero Words by Michelle Slater | Photography by Sue Crockett
Endurance legend Bob Sample is the patriarch of one of Australia’s most remarkable riding dynasties, all of his five children took up the sport and many of them hold several Tom Quilty 160km ride buckles. The Sample name has become entrenched into Australian endurance folklore and is respected internationally.
that few other riders have influenced the event as Bob has, and for the past four decades, his and his family’s horses regularly have appeared in the top placings and in the winners circle.
But it was the Tom Quilty Gold Cup – Australia’s National Championships – that originally inspired Bob’s passion, and it became the drive that defined his life’s journey for 45 years. It’s arguable
Bob was an unlikely equestrian hero. He came from a suburban family in Sydney’s east and like many city kids, he dreamed of horses. He pasted horse pictures on his bedroom wall and hoped
As the Quilty edges toward its 50th anniversary, Bob (75 years) chats with us from his Sunshine Coast hinterland home. He reflects on his early and highly unusual Quilty rides, his breeding programs and other surprises, like how he inadvertently began a world-class permaculture village.
A City Kid Dreams
of being allowed to ride and maybe to one day have a horse of his own. “My father was a businessman who thought that anyone who wanted anything to do with animals or farming was insane,” he says. “I used to watch the milkman deliver milk with a cart horse and the baker deliver bread with a cart horse too. I often went to the milk depot and just looked at the horses wandering around.” Bob was lucky to have pony rides on his holidays. But it was not until he was 11 that his parents allowed him to take riding lessons with an elderly Russian man in Randwick, who taught in an indoor arena. Bob later graduated to rides in Centennial Park.
It was there that Bob watched a defining era unfold for the Arabian breed in Australia, with the exhibition of some important classic Crabbetbred horses. Ironically, their pedigrees later went on to dominate the sport of endurance riding. “I saw all the lovely Arabians from Wagga and Hawkesbury Agricultural Colleges and from Fenwick Stud in Victoria.” Like many horse-mad kids, the obsession passed when he discovered he had a natural ability for sport at Sydney Boys High School. He took up rowing, athletics, swimming and footy. He represented NSW in both rowing and athletics. “And that was the finish of my riding while living in Sydney.” However, the horse bug had firmly entrenched itself. While he was studying economics and accounting at Sydney University, he went to Fenwick Stud where he bought his first horse – a weanling colt named Flambeau, by Sindh (GB) out of a Riffal (GB) mare. And that horse was to change Bob’s life by becoming the founder of a world-class endurance stud. “Little did I know they were beautiful bloodlines for endurance.” The day he graduated from uni, he packed his bags and headed to Queensland with his colt and a mare with Shahzada breeding. Soon Bob was milking cows and he found he had little time for riding. One day in his thirties when visiting his family in Sydney, he discovered that his mother had a hidden secret. “I found out my mum had been a very good rider. I discovered a box of ribbons from the Sydney Royal Show. She had competed in campdrafting, hacking and jumping as a young woman before she was married. But that was in an era when once a woman was married she became a mother and a housewife and didn’t do anything she did before.” Bob “didn’t have a clue” why she did not tell him when he was a horse-mad kid dreaming of horses and riding.
Quilty Dreams and Heartaches Bob first discovered endurance in 1970 through a friend who took him along to watch the Tom
Left: Bob riding S’Shaada Kaiwan at the 2013 Tom Quilty. Right: Bob with his grandson Zachary during 2014.
Quilty. At the time, it was held annually around the Colo River area west of Sydney. “I became obsessed with the idea of riding 160 kilometres in one day in the bush, probably because I had been a good sportsperson at school.” By this time, he was based in the Sunshine Coast hinterland and his first endurance ride was at Murrumba, near Caboolture. At that time, Queensland only held three rides a year, so he set his sights on the 1971 Tom Quilty. Bob says that first Quilty ride was nearly the end of his endurance career. He rode Sharahd Shazahn, a horse he bred, sired by Flambeau. And Shazahn gave Bob his first buckle under marathon circumstances, proving to be a very fit horse. “I went down a week ahead and I rode the entire course thinking I would have an advantage if I knew the trails. Of course, I tired out my horse and it took a lot of effort to get the horse around to earn my first buckle. In those early days the vetting wasn’t as strict as it is now. The heart rate recovery requirement was quite a bit higher. Australia had adopted the criteria from the Tevis ride in America so there were good guidelines and standards right from the start.” Bob’s second Quilty was even more remarkable and may shock riders of today. His horse arrived lame off the truck, so he couldn’t get a start. Amazingly a local dairy farmer he met over a few drinks offered him a horse to ride. “He said, ‘I’ve got a tough pony out there that you can ride’ and because I was quite committed to again starting the Quilty under the floodlights on top of Bowen Mountain, I said okay.
The Quilty became Bob’s obsession and he now has 15 buckles, which includes a win in Tasmania 1993.
Breeding Hundred Milers Bob says his breeding program hasn’t changed from back in those early days when he began using the Sharahd stud prefix. Those pedigrees are still being perpetuated today through his son Brook’s breeding program at Brookleigh Stud. After Flambeau, Bob found another classic Crabbet-bred stallion Tallangatta Muftakher, by Royal Domino out of a Silver Moonlight mare. He says Muftakher threw excellent foals out of his Flambeau mares. Bob began by breeding purebreds, but because he is a tall heavyweight rider he later crossed his stallions over thoroughbred mares. He says at the time purebreds were not yet bred for height. He started out with about 25 – 30 foundation mares but then later on narrowed his program down to six or seven. In the 1980s he was breeding around 30 foals a year and his horses were becoming dominant throughout the sport, especially in the Quilty. “Even now looking back through the results of multiple Quilty buckle holders, there are quite a lot of Sharahd horses showing up.” One of his most successful linages come from what he calls his C family. “I named all foals with the same first letter as the dam. This way it was easy to keep track of damline families.” These horses went on to dominate Quilty results. Some notable horses
“The horse I picked up hadn’t been ridden for six weeks, wasn’t shod, hadn’t been fed and had a coat three inches long. I only wanted a start. I decided I’d pull out even if it was only half way around the first leg.” Bob went on to complete the entire ride on Drover in an even faster time than the year before. He had earned his second buckle! He says that in those days horses and riders did not have to be qualified to get a start in the hundred miler. Bob tells us about one of his greatest Quilty heartaches. “Back in the late 1970s I crossed the line first. I was so pleased with myself and I handed the horse to people I didn’t really know to be my strappers. I let them hose my horse to get ready for vetting and hadn’t taken notice of the fact that the clouds had come over. It was very cold. When I took my horse to vetting I realised it had tightened up in the shoulders because of the cold and my horse vetted out. I went from totally elated to being totally devastated in a matter of seconds.” E N D U R A N C E A U S T R A L I A 2 015
It was the Arabian horse that captured his imagination. “I was obsessed with Arabians, my bedroom wall as a teenager was covered with pictures of Arabians from Hoofs and Horns. I used to go to the Sydney Royal Show in the 1950s and early 60s. I would hang over the rails and look at the Arabian horses. Their beauty captivated me.”
include Sharahd Cavalier, who won the 1995 WA Quilty and went on to compete overseas. Bob won the 1993 Quilty on Sharahd Caprice, who also took out the Best Conditioned horse award.
University vet faculty about the differences between endurance vetting and vetting for other sports.
His partner Vanessa had never ridden before she met Bob in 1983. She now has four Quilty buckles.
An Amazing Life at Home
More recently Bob’s breeding produced Quilty superstar Brookleigh Excalibur, whose name appears three times on the Gold Cup with Brook Sample on board. Excalibur is bred from that same letter C family.
When he was AERA president in the 1970s, Bob helped change some of those early rules and steer the sport towards what it is today. He said he worked closely with vets to tighten up horse welfare rules by reducing the heart rate maximum from 70 beats per minute to 65 and then lower.
It was his son Brook who Bob said was “born to ride”. He is now one of the most successful endurance riders in Australia, with seven Quilty wins amongst his 13 silver buckles. Brook now manages Gheerulla Stables with his wife Leigh Ann for Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai, and the couple also run their own stud under the Brookleigh prefix.
Selecting an Endurance Horse Bob looks out for what he calls the three A’s when choosing a potential endurance horse superstar – Attitude, Athleticism and Action. “I can tell that a horse likes to travel just by its attitude when it’s walking around the paddock, even when it is grazing. They’ve got a look about them I find very significant. Athleticism includes their cardio-vascular capacity and the way they move. Action is the economy with which they move, so they’re not concussive and they’re comfortable to ride. After that I look at their conformation generally.”
Taking the Sport Overseas Bob says when the sport began growing rapidly in the 1990s, it became internationalised. This allowed Australian riders to aspire to represent their country and to sell horses to overseas buyers. In 1994 Brook rode for Australia in the Netherlands, with Bob as his support crew. “We were both at a level where we could have been selected to represent Australia, but it wasn’t financially possible for both to do so.” In 1996 Bob was asked to help develop the sport in Japan, after some Japanese endurance riders came out to Australia to train with him. “I thought they’d have a lot of trouble finding a course, but in the northern island of Hokaido, there was quite a lot of forest country and a large area that the army used that was ideal for an endurance course.” He later became the managing trainer for the Japanese team at the 1998 World Championships in Dubai. One of the riders who had trained with him back home, Daiski Yasunaga, took home the Bronze medal. He says the sport was well-supported by the Japanese. “There were a lot of riding clubs that made horses available for people to lease. That was basically how the sport started in Japan.” He says there were few Arabian horses around in Japan at the time, and their mounts were a mixture. “Although back in the 1970s they had Anglo Arab racing, there were a few of the Anglo Arabs, mostly French-bred horses still around, and they bred some of those for endurance horses.” Bob was also instrumental in helping their vets understand the sport. He spoke at the Tokyo
“We looked at horses that had vetted out, horses that had gotten into metabolic trouble and we looked at horses who had easily completed rides. We saw that by reducing to those lower levels we would eliminate many of the horses that would develop problems later.” Bob also helped bring in minimum age requirements for endurance horses. “Quite a few three year olds were doing endurance rides, we realised horses needed to be more mature than that.” While Bob was a major player in what was becoming the world’s fastest growing equestrian sport, he was also leading a double life in the Australian dairy industry administration. In the mid-70s he was president of the Australian Dairy Farmers’ Federation and held top positions in several other dairy industry bodies. He was also appointed the government representative to the National Rural Advisory Council and a Director of Asia Dairy Industries. “I worked in Melbourne in all of these jobs from Monday to Friday each week, and flew back to Queensland to ride my horses on the weekends.” And Bob also helped develop the world class Crystal Waters Permaculture Eco Village near Maleny Queensland. He bought the 640-acre property in 1977 to re-establish his horse stud. However, as people came to join him on the land, a community evolved by accident. Crystal Waters now has more than 200 people living there. He says over the time he lived there he helped deliver about five babies, including his youngest daughter. “I’m a good assistant to the midwife. All births are special, but a homebirth is just amazing.”
The Sample Dynasty The Sample name is now synonymous with endurance riding. His passion for the sport was passed on to his five children and he is now watching his 2-year-old great-granddaughter Taylor begin riding. Bob has no doubt she will be fourth generation of riders who will carry the Sample legacy into the future of the sport. Bob proudly says he has ridden along with all his kids and some of his grandkids in their first endurance rides. “I’m afraid I’ve started a family obsession.”
“Brook is a very experienced endurance person, having worked in the United Arab Emirates managing a stable there for four years,” Bob says. “He interacted with the best veterinary people in the world in terms of endurance. He has wonderful knowledge.” Bob took Brook out to complete his first endurance ride when his son was not even five years old. Brook’s brother Matthew also began riding early but stopped as a teenager after he “discovered sport and girls”. Matt came back to endurance in his mid-30s. He and Brook rode together in the 2009 Victorian Quilty. And it was pure rock n roll when the two Sample bothers rode hand-in-hand over the finish line to tie for first place. “It was a wonderful feeling for me,” Bob says. “My youngest daughter Lara won the junior division of the Quilty in 1994 at Kenilworth. That was her last endurance ride, but she comes back to pleasure ride with family now and then.” Bob’s granddaughter Saasha Grogan was also born to ride. Saasha has four Quilty buckles including a win in the junior division at the 2004 Quilty on Brookleigh Caspar. “It confirms what a wonderful family sport it is,” Bob says.
More Quiltys Even with more than 40 years of top level riding behind him, Bob still has the endurance fire burning in his belly. In fact, he recently rode with his seven-year old grandson in a couple of endurance rides. He plans to keep riding with his family. He also hopes to head back down to the Colo this year and help celebrate 50 years of the Tom Quilty. Bob tells us he is preparing a horse especially for the occasion. “I’ve got a young one I’m bringing on. I hope she will give me a good ride. “Endurance has been, and remains, a wonderful family friendly activity for me. It has given me my highest highs and my lowest lows. That is the nature of endurance. “The Arabian horse has also given me so much. I will forever be its friend and admirer,” were Bob’s final thoughts.
TOTARA ENDURANCE HORSES & THE FARLEIGH ARABIAN STUD PRESENT AT STUD: COUNT CRYSDAFA, by Chip Chase Sadaqa from Countess Crysan, who was by Count Chatain from the Crystal Fire mare, Lady Crysan. Bred and owned by Phyllis Hopf of Farleigh Stud, Count Crysdafa has exceptional old English/ Crabbet breeding, an excellent temperament and a great heart rate. He has started an Endurance career, completing two Trainers and then the 80km Wiangaree Ride in October, 2014. He was also Champion Crabbet-related horse at the Top of the Range Arabian Show two weeks later. SCID, LFS and CA clear. Frozen semen may be available in 2015. Vet fees and agistment by arrangement.
TOTARA ENDURANCE HORSES has some progeny of Count Crysdafa now available for sale including the 3-year-old gelding, Blue Beatson, who is from the Shamaria mare, Blue Bernadette, a ¾ sister to the outstanding endurance horse, Blue Bronco. Also, the 2-year-old bay gelding, Count Yianni, who is from the Shamaria mare, Yuliya. AND Count Shanahan, grey 2-year-old gelding from Shanina: by a C C Sadaqa stallion from a Shalaz mare. He is a half-brother to open endurance horse, Cattalina and will grow over 15hh. These geldings are excellent types, have been handled and are ready to be broken in and worked lightly. $2000 each.
Contact Dick Collyer: ph (07) 4695 5157 (evenings) or email: email@example.com ALSO AT STUD: Stravynsky, by Shalaz from Lady Thalia who was by Scimitar Shereef (by Silver Moonlight). AND, Mahazin Ibn Cairo, By Cairo (imp NZ), from Keishir Cappelia who was by Kibir (by Abiram)
OTHER YOUNG HORSES FOR SALE DELPHINA, chestnut 5 year old mare by Sachin from Deneeka (by Count Chatain), 14.2hh, a pleasure to ride. Half-sister to open endurance horse, Nasr. Will make a great horse for a Junior or lightweight. $3500 DONNEKA, grey 4-year-old filly by Sachin from Deneeka. Full sister to Delphina. Excellent type. $3000 ARTHUR, bay 3-year-old gelding by Hysos Arkhon (by Cudglebar Caleb) from Yolande (by Scimitar Shereef). He is a half-brother to the two open endurance horses, Siberia (by Shah Dara) and Shinto (by Shamaria). $1500
AND, Hyksos Arkhon, by Cudglebar Caleb, from Cudglebar Riena. All Colonial breeding with multiple lines to Sala and Shazada. A dappled brown horse with a lovely temperament which he passes on to his progeny.
The 2-year-old Razbahri geldings, KENZI (from Deneeka by Count Chatain) and ROSITANO (from Cameo Coquette by Cedardell Zanzibar) – both grey. $1500 each.
AND, Talisman Razbahri, by Beau Bahri from Talisman Jerszyca (by Razaz from a Babylon mare). Also a 100% Colonial horse. Rare Talisman Stud breeding – 3 x Razaz; 2 x Sala.
All our horses are raised in large paddocks. The young ones have been wormed regularly and handled lightly. They are ready for you to start under saddle or we can do this for you, which can include taking your horse to its first Intro or Training Ride.
The Pain of By Jo Hamilton-Branigan
Endurance riding is about time in the saddle and with time in the saddle comes the challenge of how to stay comfortable. Arguably the most important element of this equation is your level of rider fitness. A fitter rider can maintain “riding form” longer than an unfit one. Riding form is all about posture and ultimately posture is about muscle usage – core strength and muscle conditioning. Another important element of comfort is the continual movement and friction issues; sometimes pressure points between your skin/ flesh and your clothes and saddlery. Additionally, endurance riders have to be conscious of “time in the saddle” as far as environmental exposure is concerned. A huge part of making riding fun is controlling our exposure to the elements – staying dry in rain, limiting wind and sun exposure as well as maintaining a stable body temperature.
THE PAIN OF ENDURANCE RIDING
Equally important as being fit and staying comfortable, we also need to make sure we optimise our hydration and nutrition. This will help us ride to the best of our ability and not impede our horses, especially when we are both starting to tire.
Rider Fitness The first thing to address is rider fitness. The fitter you are, the less fatigue and associated wear and tear on your body. As a rider it’s important you improve and maintain your “core strength” as this is the key to “riding form” i.e. correct posture and the ability to be able to sustain it. Editor’s note: Please refer to the article “Rider Biomechanics” within the magazine for further information on correct posture. Remembering also that although time in the saddle is important in the sport of endurance, not all of it has to be spent on the training trails. As endurance riders a good many of us are self-taught and don’t have much “education” in classical equitation. Recently it was brought home to me that even one lesson from a good
instructor can be a revelation. Most of the problems I attributed to my horse and my tack were actually mine. If we can address our issues, i.e. hollow backs, round shoulders, uneven hips, shallow seats and poor balance, our long suffering horses can only benefit. A rider’s endurance fitness will improve little by just riding their horse. They condition their body to time in the saddle and little else. Their actual endurance fitness (physiological capacity) does not improve e.g. heart and lungs. To truly improve fitness a rider must consider other forms of “cross training” unrelated to horse sports. Rowing is top of the list because it, more than any other exercise, imitates riding action – a rowing machine is good. Cycling is possibly the next best. Both cycling and rowing can be used to achieve the endurance factor. Other activities that have been traditionally used to improve fitness in endurance riders include jogging, swimming, flexibility training and strength/ resistance training, i.e. circuit training.
rider Just about any activity that gets your heart rate up and improves muscle strength will be helpful. Cross training has many additional benefits including injury prevention, rejuvenation, better recoveries, improving motivation and even rehabilitation. Tip: As you get older, be wary of high impact activities. Jogging is really for those who have already embarked on a fitness program. Jogging of all the exercises listed is the most likely to cause injury and reduce your capacity to get fit. Go for lower impact sports such as swimming, walking, cycling and core strength exercises that are compatible with you. When I took up jogging again in my forties, I found my body not the same as when I was in my twenties. It didn’t take long until I developed plantar fasciitis, which translates to very ugly heel pain.
Common Rider Musculoskeletal and Posture Issues One of the most important elements with regard to looking after your body as an endurance rider is
how your horse behaves and travels. Your horse’s temperament and education is a vital component. It’s a whole lot easier with a calm, responsive mount than a “take your life in your own hands nutter” and frankly, I’m past bothering with the latter these days. Take the time to educate your horse to travel in a relaxed, economical fashion. Don’t expect it to just happen. Endurance should be a partnership. To maximise endurance and minimise fatigue for long periods, the rider and horse need to be working as a team. If there is a fight going on, the risk of injury to both is massively increased and the likelihood of you or the horse completing is diminished. Adrenalisation due to competition day can be a big problem for many riders psychologically and physically. I have witnessed seemingly sane riders totally lose the plot at big events, go far too hard too early and end up either vetting out or worse still in the vet hospital. Psychologically it’s always wise to work out a ride plan with your preparation in mind before you start the event and stick to it as much as possible.
It is also important to look after yourself physically/physiologically while riding. Practise relaxing while riding and training. Aim to find a comfortable, sustainable riding position that is kind to your body and looks after your horse. Breathe. Don’t starve your body of oxygen. Remind yourself. Do it in unison with your horse’s gait. The less you fatigue, the less hindrance you are to your horse, especially as the event progresses. Try to use both sides of your body equally. Don’t ride twisted! Tip: This is usually caused by uneven strength leg/ hip/glutes. Suggest test leg strengths with single leg squats and work on weaker leg.
Left: Riders need time in the saddle. Photo Sue Crockett. Above: Rider and horse need to be working as a team. Photo Sharon Meyers.
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Change diagonals if you trot especially for long periods. Tip: If one side of you or your horse is weaker, work on it in training/practise riding the “lumpy” diagonal. Use flat work to improve diagonal evenness and balance (yours and the horse). Strengthen the weak side while also concentrating on developing good top line muscling and selfcarriage (you and your horse). Try not to ride the same camber for long periods. Mix it up. If you use the same muscles repetitively they will become sore.
Sore necks. Common from poor riding posture or tension, avoid excessively heavy helmet, or heavy light when night riding.
Shoulders/upper (thoracic) back. Poor posture or tension, as well as ill-mannered or over zealous horses (pulling, reefing) collapsed/ round shoulders, hollow back.
Sore lower backs. The lumbar area is particularly prone to strain and fatigue, especially if you ride (or are pulled) forward. As you age, this is the one of the first areas to lose flexibility and can be prone to disc herniation and/or spondylosis. Consider back support during long rides.
If you canter for long periods, it’s prudent to use both leads over the course of the event. Practise this also in training/flatwork and work on your aids. Ride on the soft ground whenever possible. Ride rough ground with care. It’s also useful to stretch your muscles before you start riding. Try to do this before you do your horse.
Some Common Musculoskeletal Rider Complaints include:
Sprained thumbs and/or fractured fingers. Common injury gained from saving yourself
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you land hard on your tailbone (fall, slip while dismounted going downhill).
on the horse’s neck when the horse stops or moves sideways (shies) at speed.
L umbo-sacral, hip and sciatic pain. Common to have compression in this area during riding. Sciatica (pinched sciatic nerve/s) is not uncommon. Your hip joints may also show wear and tear over time, especially if you do a lot of downhill work off the horse. Occasionally riders suffer coccyx injury (tailbone injury) if
G roin strain. Tied in with hip issues. Strain of the hip adductor muscles is very common in riders and usually occurs with sudden change in direction at speed. This can also tear a hamstring, though less common. Tendon injuries (tendinopathies) of these muscles are also common. They can also occur through overuse or RSI.
S ore leg muscles and cramping. Can occur with poor conditioning, dehydration, electrolyte depletion and muscle fatigue.
Sore knees. Most commonly caused by rider not tracking properly with knee over toe (i.e. should be headed in same direction). Instead, toe is pointed ahead but knee pointed outwards, sometimes up to 45 degrees. Rider should check with peripheral vision from time to time.
Sore ankles. Particularly collateral ligaments (sprains), especially if stirrups are the wrong length (too long). Also when riders fatigue and get off to walk over uneven ground, beware of spraining your ankles.
Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is an exercise-induced muscle and nerve condition that causes pain, swelling and sometimes even disability in affected muscles of your legs or arms. It is due to repetitive impact exercise and has been experienced by endurance riders. Numb feet or ball of foot pain or numbness is common and a form of metatarsalgia.
Ball of foot pain is relatively common in sports where there is tremendous pounding (or localisation of pressure) on the ball of the foot such as jogging or horse riding. It’s also exacerbated with aging as footpads thin out and ligamental support of the arch collapses and weakens. In horse riding it is somewhat intensified by the posture we adopt – the heels down, toe in idiom. The associated tension/ pressures in the lower leg/foot when the heel is forced down for extended periods can restrict blood flow to our feet. It’s important we are aware that footwear that is restrictive on the top of the foot has the effect of making this worse. 1. Try to relax from the hip down ideally and let your feet hang relatively naturally, don’t
force your weight down. The saddle needs to fit you as well as your horse in this regard.
It’s instinctive to put your arm out to break your fall and hence the clavicle takes the impact.
2. Using EZ Ride stirrups, which are wide with padded foam inserts helps.
Other fractures/bone chips. It’s easy to suffer all sorts of bone fractures and other injuries from kicks and falls. Always ride defensively when in large groups.
3. Be especially critical of your footwear. Many riders wear joggers or hiking shoes instead of classical footwear for horse riding. It’s important to spread your weight evenly and have good support. 4. Get off and walk for a while when you can and wiggle your toes, change position of your feet.
Post Exercise Muscle Soreness Getting off and running downhill and even riding forward (two pointing) puts a lot of stress on your back, hip, leg muscles and joints. Your hip muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings and lower leg muscles are particularly prone to muscle cell microtrauma associated with isometric and eccentric contraction i.e. when holding a position such as a squat for long periods. This is the delayed muscle pain you feel in the few days after the event has finished. Fractured clavicle (collar bone) is a common injury in horse riders who fall from their horses.
Broken fingers and toes are common around horses. I’ve had at least two fractured fingers, several sprains and three or four fractured toes, with an odd metatarsal at times. Your feet don’t cope with hooves and the weight of a horse, so always wear appropriate footwear. I’ve fractured fingers shutting gates on horseback.
Left: Change diagonals when trotting. Photo Sue Crockett. Above (top): Long sleeved tops are ideal for sun protection. Photo Sue Crockett. Above (middle): If your feet hurt, get off and walk when you can. Photo Sue Crockett. Above (right): Shoes: Examples of tough, shock absorbing footwear for horse riding. Helmet: A lightweight, well-ventilated helmet is essential.
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Kitting yourself out for Rider Comfort In order to cover the most common areas of rider comfort/injury problems, according to my experience and solutions, I will start at the top and work down. These days we are spoiled to have such an array of sports friendly materials to work with and hugely fortunate to have dedicated retailers who set up at most rides and offer clothes, saddlery and other services (massage etc) specifically for the purpose of endurance riding. Head. A lightweight, well-ventilated helmet is essential, preferably one that fits snugly but not too tightly and comes down to the nape of your neck. You must ride with a purpose built equestrian helmet that conforms to the standards of the day. If you want, you can buy a full brim which fits over the helmet or a partial front brim to help shield harmful UV rays. Tip: When purchasing, look for a light colour helmet as dark colours absorb rather than reflect heat. Face. UV face masks can provide protection from the elements, are cheap and are being used with increasing frequency. As well, high SPF sunscreens and lip balms and neck scarves and buffs are great additions to your protective wardrobe. It’s really important that you remember to apply sun protection for
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each daylight leg. Chapped lips are painful and sunburn besides being ugly and painful, can predispose you to nasty skin changes down the track. Several of our endurance riders have had melanomas removed! Tip: Many lip balms are made from petroleum products that actually dry your lips after being on for a while. Vitamin E with UV is excellent. Sunglasses are also an optional extra. They help extend the life of your eyes long-term and protect them from the UV rays and dust and you won’t squint as much – less wrinkles! There are some great streamlined sunnies for cyclists that will set you back a small fortune which suit riders or you can choose some cheap $20 harness drivers’ glasses. They all do the job. Neck. Neck protection from the UV include sunscreen, buffs, facemasks, scarves and high collar shirts. Upper Torso and Arms. These days there are many and varied options of often purpose made clothing – lightweight, well ventilated, moisture wicking long sleeved sports tops are ideal. You could also just use a cotton/sports synthetic polo and consider arm protection (suncream) or icerays (which have been designed for golfers). Icerays are surprisingly cooling when immersed in water on hot days.
Tip: Consider that light coloured tops may be preferable in hot conditions. Also rashies as worn by the surf/beach clans are excellent. You may opt for a back brace to help support your back and aid core strength on long rides. You should only use it at events. Hands/Gloves. Protect your hands from the elements (sun, thorny bushes etc) and if the horse is fresh and pulls, you’re not nearly as likely to get blisters and rubs. Also if it rains, gloves are almost essential for grip on some types of reins. They can be as expensive or as cheap as you like. Lower Torso/Legs. Pants/Joddies/Skins – everyone prefers something different. I’ve always been a big fan of joddies and there are some great brands out there at the moment that have supportive panels built in. Especially good for the more saggy among us! Skins are always super and again you can go K-Mart or Target cheap (last accordingly) or up to the more expensive brands which should last longer but sometimes don’t. They are quite lightweight and cooler than jods. Legs. Jeans are still sometimes worn by the less experienced but beware the seams usually rub holes in your legs and aren’t comfortable over long distance. At this point I could add that
the question to shave or not shave your legs could be a consideration, depending on your degree of hirsutism. Speaking from experience it is common to get folliculitis (infected hair follicles) from excessive rubbing, especially in wet conditions. So one could quite easily go either way, if you do shave/wax, maybe don’t do it the day before an event and perhaps consider some sort of friction protection such as cornstarch talc or petroleum jelly. In days gone passed, the cowboys amongst us who insisted on sticking to their jeans may well have been wearing a pair of panty hose underneath to stop the friction and rubbing issues! Chaps keep your legs dry and help stop rubs. Cheap chaps work as well as high end but just make sure they fit you well and seams are in the right places as they can rub nasty holes on the inside of your leg, just below your knees. Feet/Footwear. Many riders wear sports shoes; some wear dedicated endurance shoes like Ariat Terrains, but I like good quality supportive hiking shoes such as Merrells or Salomons. Sports or hiking socks are also a good investment. It’s important that your footwear is well fitting and comfortable off the horse as well as on, as you often walk over difficult terrain. One thing to make sure is to cut your toenails as short as possible the day before a big ride – 160km or
marathon. You will lose big toe nails every time if you don’t, particularly if it’s hilly or difficult and you get off and do the downhill. The nails bash against the front of your shoe on the downhills repetitively and bruise the nail bed, eventually turning black and dropping off, sometimes weeks down the track. It was pointed out that if this happens your shoes don’t fit as well as they should. It has happened to me several times over the years. I would cut them short. Underwear. In my experience undies should preferably be cotton and be careful of seams. You can source dedicated horse riders underwear, thigh length, seam free crotches etc. for both men and women. There is also an array of leggings, boxer shorts, long johns and sports briefs – padded and unpadded. Bras should be supportive, ideally of the sports variety. You need to be comfortable and to prevent shoulder, neck and back pain. Berlei have produced reliable sports bras over the years. The fellas can also experience problems in this area i.e. nipple chaffing which can be prevented by band-aids or the like. Saddlery. A sheepskin saddle cover makes riding for long periods all the more enjoyable. Another thing to consider is your stirrup leathers. The little thin strappy stirrup leathers don’t suit me when I ride distance. I have wider leather purpose made
(made from green hide) and it helps avoid leg rubs and excessive movement. The EZ Ride endurance stirrups are excellent – the thick rubber padding and cage is ideal for long miles. One problem a number of riders have over the years is loss of sensation and numbness/pain in feet after a certain number of kilometres. Rainwear. Lightweight, waterproof jackets with a split up the back if it goes over your saddle and vests. Plenty of changes of clothing.
Some Notes for your ‘Comfort Kit’:
N on-greasy, user friendly sunscreens – zinc and SPF products
Talc powder – prefer the cornstarch powders
Y our preferred chaffing cream – something zinc based is often excellent
I nsect repellent/cream
V itamin E cream with UV protectant for lips
Left: Don’t forget to use sun protection, sunglasses and brims for your hats. Photo Sue Crockett. Above (left, & right): Comfortable clothing is a must. Pictured are black and pink skins, various coloured joddies and Muddy Creek raincoats and a Breeze Tech shirt from FITS.
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A small medical kit with strapping tape, bandaids, Elastoplast, linaments, nail cutters, cream for cuts etc.
A ny supportive joint or back braces you might need
S pare everything if rain is forecast
A nti-inflammatory for post ride i.e. Panadol and NSAIDs (to be used sparingly when dehydrated) – check with your doctor for what would be suitable for yourself.
Hydration Probably the biggest issue facing the rider as well as the horse is keeping dehydration at bay. In training we carry water bottles on all rides, usually at least 750mls. If we are doing longer rides, 40km plus, or at an event, we will wear a hydration pack on our backs. The cyclists have great hydration packs and there are lots to choose from. I’ve tried a few but come back to the 1.5litre Camelbak. It’s less likely to get holes than the cheaper brands. I find two litres too heavy and a bit clumsy when full and mostly I’d only ever three-quarter fill them anyway. It’s important to
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be self-sufficient for water on your endurance rides. You can add electrolytes if you prefer but be careful not to overdo them. Too much electrolyte will have the effect of purging you and be counterproductive. It’s essential to drink consistently and maintain hydration if you are to finish in good shape and without a headache. Tip: Using just water mainly flushes, only going straight through the system and maybe with the older riders causing more toilet stops. If a few drops of lemon or cordial are added, then the liquid consumed goes through the digestive process.
E lectrolytes and if you prefer chocolate milk! Chocolate milk has proven equally as effective as electrolyte drinks as a recovery drink. Excellent to drink between checks and within two hours of completing your ride. Good stocks of lightweight energy food such as fruit. Apples, nectarines, bananas and cherries are especially good nutritionally, as is light yoghurt, cereals such as granola (oats are a super food for endurance), healthy muesli and fruit bars.
We also carry glucose tablets and use them if necessary.
I deally, before the event you should have a meal high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and very low in fats – pastas and salads are ideal and go for the low GI varieties.
I n the early mornings before events we use Up & Go and the like and may have a piece of fruit.
Avoid fried foods, chocolate, biscuits, ice cream, bacon, hotdogs (fast food really), as they are high fat foods.
Y ou should also avoid or strictly limit diuretics and excessively sugary drinks while competing – includes coffee, tea, alcohol, sweet fizzy drinks.
Ideally, if you are really serious with athletic nutrition you might also avoid high salt foods in your diet on a day-to-day basis. This means your body is very efficient at conserving sodium when necessary. At events you should look at replenishing sodium, particularly as this is the electrolyte most at risk of becoming unbalanced.
Electrolyte mixes such as Endura, Hydralyte and many variations on the theme can be sourced online, at health food or sports related outlets.
Consider that branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and magnesium may also be beneficial additives. Endura has added magnesium and several of the purpose made electrolyte drinks now have BCAAs.
P rotein/Recovery Drinks may be useful as well.
P lenty of fresh water.
Tip: You need to figure out what works for you and your level of activity and/or exertion. Everyone is different.
Far Left: Look after yourself and your horse! Left: Riders need to keep fit. Photo Sharon Meyers. Above: Protect your hands from the elements with gloves. Photo Sue Crockett.
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Harking Back 1.
Photography by Sue Crockett
7. HARKING BACK
1. Ken Hobday and Blue at the 2000 Tom Quilty at Boonah, QLD.
7. June Petersen and Abbeline Lady Rebecca were first at the Tweed 80km ride in 1986.
2. Erica Williams riding Sharahd Friday at Cherrabah in 1992.
8. Lake Manchester 1993 (left) Julie Kemp on Torremolinos, Barb Timms on Kildara Sharinaa aka Ratsack with Chris Forrester riding Mandala Galactic aka Gus.
3. Equal 3rd Lightweight at Samford 1992 (left) Bronwyn James on Sharahd Brown Mystery, Vanessa Gaudard on Sharahd Capri and Anne Jones riding Kim Dande Tara. 4. Ron Males with Ralvon Grace at the 1996 Ralvon Open Day. Grace competed in at least two Tom Quilty rides. 5. Lauralyn Bay Magic with Lyn Nicolle at the 2003 Tom Quilty. 6. Alwyn Torenbeek and Belyando, winner 160km ride at Jericho in 2009.
9. Meg Wade with China Doll at the 2008 Tom Quilty. 10. Bruce Overton riding Charabal Fabian were first and BC Middleweight at the 1995 Big Country ride. 11. TPRs at Lake Manchester (left) Sue May, Terry May, Robbie Bidgood, June Petersen, Ernie Smith and Peter Mounsey. 12. Charabal Barlow and Peter Pike at Imbil in 1996.
HUME CREEK ARABIANS B r e e d i n g f o r Pe r f o r m a n c e a n d Te m p e r a m e n t At Stud:
RIVER OAK FAME
S15962 DOB 16/11/1992 ARJAI SUMMITT (dec) x DYNASTY LAMECH (dec) SCID, CA and LFS clear, Bay, 15.1hh, Multi Supreme Champion in hand and under saddle. 2015 Stud Fees: $880 purebreds; $660 all others Sharon Meyers
John and Sue Bell, “Taringa”, 1296 Retreat Road, Uralla NSW 2358 Phone: (02) 6778 7005 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.humecreek.webs.com
Hume Creek Arabians
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Future of By Vicki Portelli
“Our success in the future relies on our lessons from the past” ... this concept can be applied to any passion, including the love of many for Endurance Riding around Australia. In Western Australia (WA), we don’t have close borders or multiple zone committees within the more heavily populated states, which allow for riders to compete on a regular week-byweek basis. WA is limited to one or two ride events a month. The miles that cover our vast land actually hinder many who are only able to compete locally. Think about a trip from Mt Magnet, Gascoyne area, to Margaret River in the south, a drive covering over 800kms and driving for over nine hours. Despite having such a surface area, WA is limited to ride locations due to limited helpers to support the event in any given locality on any given date. If you were to set aside the bridle, saddle and put your horse in the paddock and think about all that goes into producing a ride event, it would actually amount to a very large task that is undertaken by some very dedicated volunteers. It’s a pretty common mistake to think of volunteering as just something nice that people can do. Sure, it may make them feel great about helping, but what impact does it really have? Recently, Graham and Kerry Carter stocked
FUTURE OF ENDURANCE RIDING
up their trusty weekend getaway van, loaded up their beloved dog and headed to Wagin to volunteer at the Tom Quilty 2014. With no horse or saddle, no strapping gear, they still made a lasting impression on those competitors who attended. You see, Graham and Kerry were in charge of the campsite area and allocations of floats, vans and cars. It’s an important role that ensures everyone is set up safely and easy to find in an emergency. “We enjoy the trip; the atmosphere is great, catch up with friends that we may not normally see in our regular daily travels. It’s like a mini holiday, and we get to do it as often as we want.” Volunteers deliver critical services to our sport. Without them, courses wouldn’t be marked, checkpoints would be vacant and most obviously the track that takes horses and riders on a trip over kilometres of beautiful countryside would not have been sourced in the first place. So, our horse sits in the paddock and we dream of adventures possible. So next comes the question, ride first or volunteer first? The impact of no volunteers is obvious, so why do so many fail to put their hand up? Professional and personal commitments play a huge part in how much time members can dedicate to a club. With family dynamics so different from that of years ago, weekend shift workers, fly-in/fly-out jobs and the general cost of living now, it all has a huge impact on our
recreational activities. It’s really a catch-22, we need to de-stress to function in this super paced lifestyle of today. Yet, we need to find the time and economical support for our passions and hobbies. Then someone asks you to put up your hand and help at a ride, bearing this in mind that along with kids at sports and school functions, working 9 to 5 or 5 to 9, whichever it is, family demands galore – something has to give? We have to find a balance between competing and committing, one won’t work without the other. Having been in the saddle and on the sideline for a couple of years now, I have benefitted greatly from both positions. I see what happens at base camp, hear riders’ stories of triumph or dispute and collate all my knowledge gathered to have the best ride possible when I venture out. To truly appreciate the sport and build its future, I will always encourage pulling on the working gloves before the riding gloves. It may be for one event, it may be an ongoing commitment, but Western Australian Endurance Rider’s Association (WAERA) will continue to grow in this changing and challenging society due to the generosity of enthusiasts within the sport. Use of personal land is another aspect that needs to be considered. Owners offering their land and time to allow riders to have a diverse course, ensures the overall enjoyment of being in the saddle for hours. Landowners, naturally, carry the concern of having strange people, horses and any liability issues when holding a ride on
Frances Overheu, a very successful seasoned WA rider, held events on her vast property at Gingin in 2009, 2010 and 2013. She offered a little insight into the ‘loaning’ of private property for a calendar event: “I have got the land to run a ride and each of those years managed to get almost 100 riders – mostly social and training. We didn’t hold it in 2014 as we ploughed all the firebreaks and so it would have been really sandy and boggy. The calendar seems pretty full for 2015, but we’ll see. My biggest problem is that there is 6km of gravel road to the farm and if it rains heavily it is like glass (not enough gravel) and people would be slipping and sliding all over the place. So the weather forecast can affect the loaning of land. It was good holding the Gingin ride as there are so few rides north of Perth now.” We must keep up with current technology, this is where more people find us on social media and WAERA Facebook has over 1,300 members. Not all of them are active members, granted, but it’s still a large number that could potentially step forward and participate. The social page offers a great place for riders interested in endurance to post a few questions and be answered online or pointed in the right direction for their inquiry. So while many may ‘shudder’ at the thought with such a proud old-time sport being launched into the future with the support of the internet – it’s inevitable.
subjects discussed then can be accommodated more directly to the members who attend. This is an area to concentrate on as it can have the biggest impact on a potential new member. The year 2014 welcomed 32 new members to WAERA, a number we can boast considering it’s a small group of enthusiasts in ratio to the size of our state. With some new appointments to the WAERA Committee for the upcoming year, this opens the door to exciting, fresh new ideas. New suggestions can only improve our current strategy and help us achieve our goals. A mission statement really defines what your club is about and your vision defines the future of your club. Is it something your members are proud to share? Do all members even know what it is? Everybody is driven by the opportunity to excel and participate in something big, which will make an impact on their life. Why not implement an annual ‘check-in’ for members to see how their membership is going and what can be done to improve their experience? It would be naive to ignore the fact that members will leave the association. Regardless of the club type or sport, it is inevitable that members will move on. Where clubs benefit from departing members is to assess the departure reason and use this as a stencil for our future. In order to retain members, we have to understand why members choose to leave in the first place. We picked up some great sponsors and publicity contacts since the 2014 Tom Quilty. These offer great opportunities for supporting future events and riders. Along with some fantastic feedback
from competitors, officials and volunteers, as well as the local community at the recent Tom Quilty 2014, held in Wagin, we have gained so much more experience in holding a large event. Mind you, it does, however, mean WAERA has set a precedence that needs to be bigger and better next time round! That will have to be a huge brainstorming session for the future. Leigh Hopkinson, WAERA Secretary, had the recent task of sending out the email to call on new and existing members to come on board and help maintain a diverse committee that will see us into 2015; “Call for nominations: does anyone want to nominate themselves or someone else for a position on the State Membership Committee? All clubs, from book clubs to parachuting clubs, rely on the active involvement of their members, please join in and make WAERA a stronger club.” With this, the AGM saw many new faces take up appointments, and what makes the WAERA future so empowering is that the ‘past committee’ are more than happy to be in communication with the enthusiastic members, and help them forge ahead. WA can boast of a great endurance community. This is evident by the ‘leading of a hand’ that I have been witness to over the few years of my involvement. From offering up a spare spot in a float, to catching up at local beaches and ride areas, to picking up members who have broken down on the way to, or from, an event. The Aussie tradition of helping your mate is alive and true here in WA. This is where our future lies.”
We often have those amazing members who volunteer a majority of their time towards club activities and have invested a lot of their time and energy towards the success of the club. Everyone wants to be heard and have their ideas acknowledged. Training is the basis of any sport and therefore continually reassessing our training elements will ensure that WAERA can accommodate for the growing club and variety of ages and experience within its group members. Training clinics, attending speakers,
Above Left: Volunteers are vital for all endurance clubs to operate throughout Australia. Photo Sharon Meyers. Right: Youth riders need to be encouraged to help seal the future of Endurance Riding. Photo Fast Paced Photos.
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their private land. Their livestock, crops and, thus, livelihood can inadvertently be affected. A committee that communicates well and ensures all legal aspects of a ride event are covered for both rider and landholders will help build a bridge to secure a variety of tracks and terrains in the future. This will also offer localities both near and far across this vast state and ensure that members are offered more ride options. In return, WAERA asks for volunteers from all walks of life to make this happen.
Rider Biomechanics Photography by Sue Crockett
Endurance riders need to be aware of rider biomechanics just as much, if not more so, than other riders. This is because of the sheer number of hours that they spend on their horse’s back. If they are unbalanced they are spending even longer ‘doing the wrong thing’ which will lead to one very sore horse and rider.
Both yourself and your horse have what is called a centre of gravity (CoG). The CoG of an average human is around their navel. This means if you were made of cardboard and someone stuck a pin in you at that point, they would be able to spin you around easily!
This article, by Jane Myers MSc Equine (aka The Horse Rider’s Mechanic), looks at the subject of Rider Biomechanics for the endurance rider. Hopefully it will give you some insights into how you can fine-tune your position and balance so you minimise wear and tear on your own body, which ultimately makes you easier to carry and therefore reduces wear and tear on your horse. In order to do this, you need to be aware of where your centre of gravity is in relation to your horse’s centre of gravity and you need to always be striving to acquire an independent seat.
The CoG of an average human is around their navel.
It is the centre of your weight mass if you like. Your CoG differs slightly depending on your body type, so a typically shaped female with hips wider than her shoulders will naturally have a low CoG (unless she is large chested and then she is slightly disadvantaged), whereas a typically shaped male with shoulders wider than his hips will naturally have a higher CoG. Your horse’s CoG is underneath where you sit. It used to be thought that the CoG of the horse was lower and further forward than it actually is. The picture shows a more accurate approximation of a horse’s CoG. Again, a horse’s CoG differs depending on their conformation, so a Quarter Horse that is typically lower in the wither (built downhill) will naturally have a CoG that is slightly forward of this point and a dressage-bred Warmblood that is typically higher in the wither (built uphill) will naturally have a CoG that is slightly further back. These two types of horses are at either end of the range. Most horse breeds fall somewhere in between but Arabians tend to be bred to be ‘built uphill’, more akin to a dressage
Your horse’s CoG is underneath where you sit.
Training will alter the CoG of a horse to some extent if that training changes the horse’s balance. So a horse that starts out ‘downhill’ (with a CoG that is forward) will end up more ‘uphill’ (with a CoG that is further back) with good dressage training. In this sense, dressage training means training the horse to carry itself in as balanced a way as possible. There is a limit to this but nevertheless good training helps a horse immensely in the quest to improve their balance. This means training the horse to use the hindquarters more in order to relieve some of the weight that is taken on the forequarters. This also makes a horse more comfortable to ride. If you have ever ridden a very balanced horse, you will have appreciated the feeling because it is totally different to riding a horse that is unbalanced. Good rider training teaches the rider to keep their CoG low and as close to the CoG of their horse as possible. By learning to sit in the correct part of the saddle – i.e. in the lowest part, not towards the back, learning to keep your weight low and learning to distribute your weight properly between your seat and your feet you actually end up surrounding the CoG of your horse. For example, we tend to think that we should ‘sit’ on a horse when in fact we should ‘sit/ stand’ on a horse. Our weight should be distributed between our seat and our legs, all the way down to our feet. When a rider is not doing this correctly, they will tend to lose their stirrups because they do not have the correct ‘relationship’ with their stirrups. A rider who can do this (distribute their weight correctly) is far more secure and far easier for their horse to carry than a rider who cannot. This does not mean however, that you should be clinging to your horse with your legs, far from it, it is balance, and just the right amount of flexibility – not too much or too little – that keeps you on a horse, not grip. It may help to think about how it feels to sit at the back of a bus (well away from the CoG of the vehicle), how much bouncier it is than if you sit in the middle of the vehicle – between the wheels.
So next time you ride your horse, think about where most of your weight is situated. Are you sitting upright and balanced, with your head above your torso, your torso above your hips and with your ankles directly below your hips? In which case you are sitting in a balanced position. Or are you leaning backwards or forwards (although a slight lean forwards in the faster paces is fine if the rider is experienced enough to do this without their lower legs swinging back)? In which case you are not correctly balanced and you are making yourself more difficult for your horse to carry. Unfortunately you cannot always tell by feel alone if you are sitting upright, so ask an assistant or your instructor to tell you what they see.
horse than a Quarter Horse in terms of where their CoG is.
You can also ask an assistant to check that you are sitting straight from side to side. Your assistant should be able to see equal amounts of your body on either side of an imaginary line from both the front and the back. When you have checked that you are sitting straight and balanced, you can turn your attention to improving your ‘seat’. The term ‘independent seat’ is rather old fashioned but developing an independent seat is just as important today as it ever was if you want to ride in such a way that you help your horse to carry you. Developing an independent seat involves much more than learning to simply keep your seat in the saddle though. Sometimes it seems the harder you try, the more unobtainable those quiet legs, still upper body and good hands become. For many riders, development of the seat was not a priority when being taught to ride and consequently they have developed rider problems that do not go away without some special attention. No amount of being simply told to ‘keep your legs still’ will help a rider to actually do this. The root of the problem must be found, and then worked through, before a rider can improve.
their legs may swing backwards. These extreme movements usually disappear quite quickly – hopefully – but this example illustrates what the body tends to do, albeit to a much lesser extent, until the rider learns to have full control of their various body parts. Even though the term ‘independent seat’ sounds as if it is all about keeping your seat on your horse, it actually involves much more than that. Yes, it is about how you ‘sit’ on a horse but in actual fact it involves your whole body. You will understand this more fully as you develop as a rider. Having an ‘independent seat’ means:
It is important to clarify what a rider is (or should be) aiming for. The term ‘independent seat’ is difficult to describe exactly in words. The term is often used to indicate how a skilled rider actually rides a horse. Watching a skilful rider should give the illusion that they are not moving at all, when in fact they will be moving, but it will be with, rather than against, the movement of their horse. This apparent stillness is because the rider has an independent seat.
Each of the limbs can be controlled independently of each other, therefore enabling the rider to give the aids (signals/ cues) clearly and concisely.
The rider can stay in balance with their horse through different speeds and gradients.
The rider does not have to resort to gripping with the legs or pulling on the reins to help them to balance.
At the other end of the scale entirely, think about when you were a complete beginner, or if you cannot remember that, think about a beginner rider you have seen. When they used their legs, their hands would have moved at the same time, in fact sometimes a beginner’s hands actually shoot up in the air when they move their legs! The opposite happens when a beginner rider tries to use their hands to stop their horse, in this case their upper body may tip forwards and
All of this of course means the rider is far easier to carry and has better communication with their horse. Your position needs to be correct and all of your body parts need to be working in harmony together. This is not something you can learn
Above: A happy horse and rider combination.
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overnight. You need to ride and practise, ride and practise. It is important though that you are practising the correct way of riding, otherwise you are only getting better at riding incorrectly! Riding a variety of horses, at various speeds, over a variety of terrains, having good instruction and reading and absorbing the right information, all help you to improve your seat. Riding in the standing position (with your knees slightly flexed) is excellent for improving your seat. Most endurance riders already do this and so you should find you have already developed a good amount of balance if you have been endurance riding for some time. Check you are not gripping with your knees. If your ankles tend to get sore, try out some broader based stirrups – again, common for endurance riders. These will support more of your foot and prevent your heels from dropping too far. Your heels should be just below your toes most of the time. Riding in this position develops a rider’s core strength as well as improves their balance, so the sooner a rider can start to ride at the walk,
trot and eventually canter, in this position the sooner they will improve their seat. So improving your riding, whatever style of riding you do, is very important. If you want to get the best out of your horse and ward off injuries for you and your horse you need to make sure you are aiming to ride as straight and balanced as possible.
Jane Myers MSc Equine (aka The Horse Rider’s Mechanic) has had a go at almost all equestrian disciplines over the years, including endurance. She and her husband, Stuart, present workshops on Healthy Land, Healthy Horses here in Australia and overseas. Jane also presents riding clinics and talks on the subject of rider biomechanics. They have written several books on these subjects and are particularly well known for their Sustainable Horse Keeping Series.
Top: A well-balanced duo travelling at speed. Above: A rider needs to stay in balance with their horse at all paces.
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Saddles for Endurance Riding By Jennifer Green
In current times, it seems there are as many saddle styles and brands as there are horses! Making informed choices about a new saddle might not only save you and your horse discomfort but also save many thousands of dollars. What makes a ‘good’ endurance saddle? Time and again it has been demonstrated that the saddle that fits your horse well and is comfortable for you to ride in for long periods of time, is the best alternative. A saddle that fits your horse beautifully but makes your back or knees ache will ultimately be detrimental to your horse. A comfortable, balanced and happy rider will always be better for your horse over a long distance. Conversely, the saddle you absolutely adore with the lovely soft seat may cause your horse discomfort, pain or even underlying damage to tissue and muscles. When starting out in the sport of long distance riding, you will probably already have your tack and equipment you used for your other equestrian pursuits. It might be your favourite cutting saddle, trail riding saddle or dressage model. As long as you and your horse are both happy with your existing saddle, by all means continue using it. Once you attempt longer or more technical endurance events, you might find a few issues developing. Things to watch for include uneven sweat patches where the saddle contacts the horse, appearance of white hairs along the horse’s back, grumpy or ‘snitchy’ behaviour when saddling up, soreness, irritation at girthing up point, unwillingness to stride out, hollowing of the back, excessive neck stretching and irritation and uneasiness at mounting time – often described as ‘cold backed’. The veterinarians at the events will generally spot any very obvious issues. Continued poor scores for ‘Girth, back and withers’ should alert you that all is not well. If you decide you want to investigate a new saddle for your equine partner, there are a lot of variables to consider before making your investment. Will this be a saddle exclusively for endurance riding? Will it be for one horse or used by several
SADDLES FOR ENDURANCE RIDING
horses? Are you a heavy rider? Do you feel you need a lot of security in your saddle? Is your horse particularly difficult to fit, for example uneven musculature, narrow or high withers, sway backed or very round? Do you want the ease of a synthetic model or are you happy to give the care a leather saddle requires? Do you want a very light saddle or are you looking for a heavier model to help you maintain a weight division? The manufacturers, retailers or distributors of the saddles you think might suit, should be able to provide you with enough background information about their products to help you narrow down your choices. Occasionally you may be able to have a ‘trial period’ or use a loan saddle to help decide if the saddle is the right one. If purchasing from a retailer or chain store, you will normally have a saddle fitter come out with a selection of models to try on the horse.
We reviewed some of the more popular saddles used by endurance riders in Australia.
Once you settle on the best alternative, the saddle may then be modified slightly to ensure the best fit possible. You might order a saddle via the Internet or by mail, in which case you can use a local saddle fitter to make any alterations to ensure the best fit. If purchasing without seeing the saddle on your horse or sitting in it yourself, make sure you have done as much research as possible. Returns or refunds, particularly if from overseas, can be very difficult if the saddle is totally unsuitable. Recommendations from local riders as to the best saddle fitter in your area are usually the best way to find a professional fitter who can fit and make alterations. If you can try out a saddle you are interested in, perhaps one owned by another rider, that can help refine your search too.
Australian Distributor: Bits n’ Pieces Saddlery Qld Model:
Balente Competition (Other models are Reale B – 3.2kg, R-Evolution – 1.3kg and Mezzo Reale B – 2.5kg unmounted)
Approx Weight: From 2kg unmounted Materials:
Leather seat, biothane points, wool felt lining.
Y style long points x 2
The Setzi is one of the newer styles of ultra lightweight, minimalist saddles designed with the competitive rider in mind. Whilst there are a number of models and options available specifically with endurance riders in mind, they all centre on extreme lightness. The slightly flexible tree is covered in padding foams and then covered in leather on the Balente model. The seat area has a very long cut out area between the bars of the tree and this leaves a hollow from the top front of the pommel to midway down the horse’s back. The attachment points for girth and stirrups are directly fixed into the tree. The girth is attached via two longish billets extending from the front and rear of the saddle with a stirrup leather attachment just behind the fore billet attachment point. The Setzi saddles come in an amazing array of colours and colour combinations from the popular blues and reds to combinations such as the rider’s flag colours! These saddles allow an enormous freedom of movement for the rider and are so minimal as to reduce any areas of friction and heat build up.
Specialized Saddles USA Specialized Saddles Australia Eurolight Western 6kg unmounted Leather, sheepskin, synthetic components. English, Long points x 2 15 to 18 Inch
Features Like all the Specialized range of saddles, the Eurolight is built on a system of adjustments called a ‘3D Fitting System’. The panels underneath can be removed, repositioned, shimmed and shaped to fit both sides of the horse’s back, allowing for asymmetrical horses. The gullet width can also be adjusted by simple movements of the panels via a velcro system. Alterations to the fit can be carried out easily by the rider or with the guidance of the distributor, or a saddler. The stirrup attachment has scope for three different stirrup positions. Multiple versions of the saddle are available to order, including changeable seats of sheepskin and coloured leathers, the addition of bucking rolls, decorative tooling and fenders. The standard saddle comes complete with wide, synthetic stirrup straps and caged endurance stirrups. Multiple D rings for gear are placed at the front and sides of the saddle. The standard panels provide a large area of rider weight distribution, which can be further enhanced by utilising the 3D Fitting System.
(Dehlbi x Djelica by Djel Bon) Reg: AHSA S 26953
Wintec Pro Stock CS
Manufacturer: Model: Tree Style: Approx Weight: Materials: Rigging: Size:
Wintec Pro Endurance/Trail English 7kg unmounted Synthetic seat, panels and points. English. Long points x 2 with Y adjustment to rear point 42cm (16.5”), 43cm (17”), 44cm (17.5”) and 46cm (18”)
Pro Stock CS
Approx Weight: 8kg unmounted Materials:
Synthetic seat, panels, leather points.
English. Long points x 2 with Y adjustment to rear point
Small = 16.5 – 17 inch, Medium = 17 – 17.5 inch, Large = 18 inch
Features This model comes in two versions. The Endurance or the Trail. Both are essentially the same with the Endurance model sporting six additional D rings for attaching gear and a crupper attachment point. Both models have the synthetic Equisuede seat. Flexi Contour Blocs are standard to both models and offer the rider a large but soft knee block with some vertical adjustment. A smaller thigh block is also attached. These saddles come equipped with an adjustable stirrup bar, which allows three different stirrup leather positions to accommodate many leg lengths and leg positions. The Easy Change Fit Solution allows user alterations to the gullet width and also to the panels. Adjustments can be made to the Y girthing system via velcro and slide buckles on the girth billets. Standard saddles are filled with synthetic flock and a Cair Cushion System option is available. This saddle has a slightly wider panel and slightly larger area of weight distribution than most of the other saddles in the Wintec range.
Manufacturer: Australian Distributor: Model: Tree Style: Approx Weight: Materials:
Wintec Pro Endurance/Trail
Features The Pro Stock CS (Comfort Seat) is available in two variants. The standard poley style and a swinging fender style – both in brown or black. The Wintec Easy Fit Solution allows for the rider to alter the gullet width and also make adjustments to the underneath panels. Like a traditional Australian stock saddle, these saddles have prominent knee pads and a large rolled cantle for added security and comfort. There are a variety of attachment D rings and a crupper point. The upper is a mix of synthetic Equiseude and synthetic Equileather, making it easy to clean and care for. The standard saddle has synthetic flocking with optional Cair panels available. Much lighter than a traditional stock saddle due to the materials used, the saddle provides a good contact area with the horse’s back and improved front to rear stability due to the adjustable rigging.
He is performance bred, Great Grandson of Manganate & Piechur, Grandson of Djel Bon & Jano
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stirrup leather length can be threaded through a recessed keeper in the flap. The standard saddle is flocked with the Cair panels being an optional extra. The Isabell is also available in leather from Wintec’s parent company, Bates Australia.
also interchangeable and is made of cushioned foam. The Cheyanne has an interchangeable seat and is attached via wide velcro panels. An optional sheepskin seat is available. The stirrup bar is attached to an adjustable velcro system. The saddle fits very closely to the horse’s back and lets the rider feel a lot of the horse’s more subtle movements. The feeling is often described as sitting ‘round’ the horse, rather than ‘on top of’ the horse. Most distributors of the Barefoot Cheyanne will advise that a heavier rider should exercise care with their choice of treeless saddles. The Cheyanne has its own recommended saddle pad with additional foam inserts, wither contour, a spinal channel and fleece lining.
Holmbros Endurance Saddle
Approx Weight: 6kg unmounted Materials:
Synthetic suede and synthetic leather seat, synthetic panel and lining.
Y style long points x 2
42cm (16.5”), 43cm (17”), 44cm (17.5”) and 46cm (18”)
Manufacturer: Holmbros Composites & Design
Unique Holmbros design
Less than 1.5kg unmounted; approx 3.6kg fully mounted
Features The Isabell was designed with input from Olympic Dressage multiple gold medallist, Isabell Werth. Like most of the Wintec range, the saddle comes with the Easy Change Fit Solution of changeable gullet plates and option of riser pads or shims for the panels. The very deep seat has a unique design that positions the rider in a different position to most traditional dressage saddles. The twist is quite narrow and the adjustable stirrup bars allow the rider a very central position with legs under the body. The Y girthing system has simple velcro and slide buckle adjustments to allow the saddle to be balanced medially. Dressage Flexiblocs are standard and are attached via hook and loop fastening under the front flap. Larger Flexiblocs can be purchased separately for the rider wanting more leg support or security. A narrow surcingle is stitched to the bottom of each flap, which is designed to keep the flap still. Many users remove this strap. A pair of D rings to the front for breastplate attachment is standard. Extra
SADDLES FOR ENDURANCE RIDING
Approx Weight: 3kg unmounted Materials:
Leather seat, flaps and girth points, fleece panels.
Carbon fibre/glass fibre composite
English long points x 2
English girth straps x 4
0 (approx 16.5”), 1 (approx 17 – 17.5”), 2 (approx 18 – 18.5”)
15 to 17 inch and 16 to 18 inch
Features Treeless saddles are designed on the premise that rigid trees cannot move and flex to accommodate a horse’s moving and changing body. Treeless saddles have no fixed inner tree, so to allow for the distribution of rider weight, the Cheyanne saddle has the VPSA (Vertebrae Protection System). It is built up on layers of thick, moulded, pressure absorbing foam panels to either side of the vertebrae creating a channel and spinal clearance. A changeable, rigid fibreglass pommel adds stability and assists with spinal clearance. Several pommel inserts are available to adjust the saddle for very wide horses. The medium pommel comes as standard. The high cantle is
Features Unique original design with Holmbros ingenious world first construction and integral bonding technique. State of the art high tech materials resulting in high strength and lightweight. Minimal saddle gives close contact and almost bareback feel and encourages a correct seat. Very secure saddle which is deceptively comfy for both horse and rider. The saddle stays put and does not move or slide. Freedom of shoulders achieves noticeable improvement in horse’s gaits and extensions when the saddle is correctly set up. Velcro tear off and adjustable memory foam saddle pads, which give excellent wither and spine clearances. With the padding adjustment range, one saddle can fit several horses. The saddle is synthetic and easy to clean and maintain. The saddle can also be customised.
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Farleigh Stud had its origin in the early 1950s, when Phyllis Wallison was enchanted while looking at pictures of Arabian horses. This led to a visit to Cedric Old’s Darribee Stud near Canberra, where the well-known Crabbet stallion Star Diamond was based. He had been imported direct from Lady Wentworth of Crabbet (Great Britain) in 1954, and had limited numbers of purebred Arabians sired in Australia. From several fillies available, Phyllis selected Darribee Blue Diamond and had her transported back to the family farm near Nanango in the South Burnett region of Queensland. Finding an Arabian stallion in those days was quite difficult and Darribee Blue Diamond was not able to produce a foal until sent to Castanet, a grey son of Zadaran, owned by Frank Staunton at Gatton. The subsequent colt foal was Castaneer and he proved to be both a good type of Arabian as well as a very capable saddle horse. Castaneer sired a great number of working horses, both pure and partbred whilst at Farleigh. These included Castabea, successful in winning a Quilty buckle and a number of good campdraft mares. He was sold in 1973. During this time another colt, Statesman (Count Manilla x Shaqra by Rakib) was purchased from
FARLEIGH AR ABIAN STUD
Story and Photography by Rob Scott
Bostocks Stud. He sired a number of progeny from Darribee Blue Diamond, including Prizeman and Memory’s Pride, and she went on to breed a number of very influential Arabians for Farleigh. Prizeman sired Lady Diana from Lady Blunt (Zadaran x Scherzade) – another Bostocks mare purchased for Farleigh and this mare went on to found a dynasty of lovely Arabians when bred to a number of sires. Interestingly, Lady Blunt was a full sister to Zarak, a very successful endurance sire for Kelkette Park Stud. Her daughter, Lady Diana was mated to a number of sires over her lifetime and all fillies except for one were retained in the stud. In 1966 Phyllis married Alan Hopf and the stud was relocated to Mount View at Cinnabar near Kilkivan. Here, Alan and his brother Stan ran a very successful cattle-fattening operation, where all cattle work was done on horseback. It is fair to say that Alan was an outstanding horseman, who educated and worked every horse born on Farleigh and took a good number of them to campdrafts, shows, and whatever else was going at the time. Statesman was sold in 1968 to a cattle property at Iron Range on Cape York Peninsula and used for breeding stock horses. Interestingly, a neighbour, June Toohey, gained access to Statesman to breed some partbred Arabians and from this group came Jade, very successful in endurance riding, coming fifth in her first ride – the 1982 Winton to Longreach. In these days of Novice horse and Rider rules, it seems almost incredible to think you could take a good horse with limited
training to rides in those days and compete quite successfully! The stud by this time was sending a lot of mares away to various Arabian sires including Count Manilla (GB), Crystal Fire (GB), Sirocco and Babylon, so the need was there for a fulltime sire at Farleigh. Bostocks Stud had imported Zenith 11 from England in 1972 and Alan and Phyllis were able to purchase a half share in him, along with Elwyn and Elizabeth Bligh. Zenith 11 contained the very best of the Arabian bloodlines available in England at that time, being by the Raktha son General Grant, from the Naseel mare, Ziree el Wada, whose mother Rose du Sable had, in fact, been imported to Australia in 1952 to Barnoolut Stud in Victoria. Naseel was noted in England as a sire of riding ponies, so much so that at the Royal Windsor Horse Show on one occasion, he was paraded with a collection of his progeny – all had won classes there. Zenith was educated and ridden by Alan and he often said that Zenith was the smartest horse he ever rode. He was, in fact, so clever, even the anti-Arabian Australian Stock Horse classifiers could not deny him classification into their studbook. To see Zenith opening and closing gates at the trot and changing leads on every third stride was a sight to behold! This was from a man who was still winning open campdrafts in his mid 70s. Incidentally, Alan won the Proston Golden Spurs Campdraft in 1982 on a partbred Zenith 11 daughter, Gay Miss.
quarantine and then flew again to Australia, arriving in 1979. The first foals were eagerly awaited and these were to prove to be the real success of the Farleigh program, combining the best of Crabbet, Colonial and Egyptian bloodlines.
The number of broodmares at Farleigh was growing and Zenith 11 was well represented with daughters from Memory’s Pride, Lady Diana and her Crystal Fire daughter, Lady Crysan.
Phyllis began placing her horses with friends but continued her involvement with all things horsey by attending campdrafts with Alan and even getting to the odd horse show and endurance ride. Two of the precious Lady Crysan mares, Farleigh Crystine (by Zenith 11) and Lady Crysani (by Sir Ibn Moniet) went to Dick Collyer. Crystine produced the Open endurance horse, Crystalara by Shah Dara; but it was Lady Crysani who produced two outstanding endurance horses – Crystabarbara by Shalaz and Crysari by Shah Dara. Both of these mares have multiple Quilty buckles and many other successes. Lady Anne-Lee, owned by Rob and Ann Scott, was another Sir Ibn Moniet mare that did well in endurance. She became an Open endurance horse and later was the dam of two Quilty buckle winners, Sarandeep (by Sachin) and Manet Ibn Rashan (by Arundel House Rashan).
On a visit hosted by Peter Pond to the United States in 1977, Phyllis saw for the first time some of the Egyptian bloodlines previously unsighted in Australia. Basing her views and expectations on working Arabians, she saw some Morafic daughters which seemed to fit the bill of being good sound working types but with striking Arabian characteristics. At Bentwood Farm in Texas was the well-known show and stud Arabian sire, Ibn Moniet el Nefous. Phyllis still treasures the fact she was able to ride him, albeit for a short distance, during her visit there. A 30-day-old colt by him from the Morafic daughter, Bint Cleopatraa, was available. After much deliberation back home in Australia, Phyllis and Alan decided to purchase this colt subsequently named Sir Ibn Moniet. His importation was not without difficulty as he travelled by air to England for six months
Some 18 broodmares were in the stud in the 1980s and it was a pleasure to walk through the paddocks at Cinnabar with Phyllis and Alan. They were able to discuss in great details all the characteristics of every mare and foal and most times, the mares would follow us back to the gate. Most times, the foals were sold before weaning, with many repeat buyers.
Deneeka, were purchased from Greg Carson and a number of foals bred. Deneeka bred Nasr by Mahzin Ibn Cairo and he is going along well in endurance for Michael Coombe. Deneeka also has a number of younger progeny starting off in endurance.
In the early 1990s the decision was made to cut back on breeding Arabians and Sir Ibn Moniet went to live with Rick Cummins at Laggan in NSW. Zenith 11 had passed away and the mares were quietly grazing in the paddocks. Then the opportunity arose for Count Chatain to return to his birthplace for one season, thanks to the support of his owner Greg Carson. So began a hectic once only breeding season with 18 foals on the ground in 1993. From this foal crop there came a number of horses which were to go on to do very well as riding horses.
In 2003 Alan passed away and Mount View was sold. Phyllis shifted to Goomeri but still kept up her involvement with breeding horses, as two Count Chatain mares, Countess Crysan and
Peter and Penny Toft very kindly made Chip Chase Sadaqa available, so Countess Crysan duly presented two fillies and a colt by him. The first filly, Countess Crysda, is an Open endurance horse. The colt, Count Crysdafa, has developed into a lovely Crabbet-Bostocks type of horse, exactly the type that was the foundation for Farleigh Stud so many years ago. He began his endurance career in 2014. It is interesting to note at the 2014 Queensland Endurance State Championships held at Clifton that all three winners of the weight divisions were sired by Farleigh-bred stallions. They are: Annordean Lady Lilly in the Lightweight, sired by Sir Ninian, a very successful endurance horse (Sir Ibn Moniet x Lady Nina by Zenith 11). Middleweight winner was Hillbrae Alec, sired by the Count Chatain son, Count Blond-N, who was from a Sir Ibn Moniet mare. And Bellabin took out the Heavyweight and he was sired by Serabin (Sir Ibn Moniet x Lady Diana). So from a humble start in the 1950s to today there have been over 260 Farleigh Arabian horses bred, all with the great emphasis on sound working stock. And all of the current ones contain the bloodlines of Darribee Blue Diamond, Phyllis’s original acquisition in 1959.
Far Left: Alan and Phyllis Hopf with Sir Ibn Moniet. Left: Crysanna and her filly Lady Anna Lee sired by Sir Ibn Moniet. Top Right: Memory’s Pride with filly Pride-NJoy sired by Sir Ibn Moniet. Right: Four generations of Farleigh breeding (right to left) Lady Diana, Lady Crysan, Crysanna and foal Lady Anne Lee.
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One of the best of the colts born at Farleigh during this time was Count Chatain, sired by Count Manilla (GB) from Lady Tania, herself by Castaneer from Lady Blunt. Count Chatain was sold as a foal to the Naaman Stud in New South Wales (NSW) and went on to have a successful show career, culminating in winning Supreme Purebred Exhibit at the National Horse and Pony Show in Sydney in 1976. Lady Tania was later sold to Dick Collyer, who bred a number of good endurance horses from her, including the well-known Sigmund by Scimitar Shareef. Sigmund finished up with numerous Quilty, State Championship and open completions to his credit and was able to introduce many younger riders to the sport. Sigmund’s full sister, Lady Thalia produced Thalara (by Shah Dara) and Thalara completed 11 seasons of endurance riding without a vet out, including a Quilty, a Far-a-way marathon and multiple State Championships. Her final ride was the Clifton State Championships in 2014, where, rising 18 years she was fourth Junior. She is now in foal to Count Crysdafa (Chip Chase Sadaqa x Countess Crysan). Lady Thalia is also the dam of the stallion Stravynsky sired by Shalaz.
Contemporary Endurance Bloodlines Fifty years have passed since the first endurance ride in Australia, the Tom Quilty 100 Mile Gold Cup that commenced at 1:14 am in the early hours of October 1, 1966. Twentysix horses from all over the eastern states tackled that first momentous ride in rugged terrain. It is worth noting only seven finished. In 2014, in Western Australia, 102 horses started what was supposed to be a relatively flat course while 36 finished. Of course it is the pinnacle Australian ride, the Holy Grail of endurance riders and it is not meant to be easy. This year the 50th Quilty, back in the heartland where it was spawned, has 380 pre-ride nominations six months ahead of when the ride will be held in June. The starting number will be capped at 330. As you’d expect, much has changed but some things remain the same. I am interested in looking
at the bloodlines that are being used today, and hopefully finding some emerging lines amongst the more traditional ones. When the Quilty first began, a number of the competing horses in 1966 were Arabians (pure, part or Anglo) but most people just entered their usual mounts, and many of these were regular unregistered working horses off properties. There was not a great deal of information on training horses and very few rules. The four original organisers, RM and Erica Williams, Ron and Val Males were Arabian breeders. The Arabian horses in Australia at that time were of Crabbet or Colonial descent, so it was certainly not surprising to see a Crabbet stallion, Shalawi, take out the inaugural Cup. Erica Williams placed fourth riding a partbred Arab gelding named Stormy, while Ron Males rode his purebred stallion Shareym into fifth place. Shalawi and Shareym were sired by the imported Crabbet stallion Shafreyn (GB) and were from Rakib (GB) mares. It’s interesting that the Shafreyn
CONTEMPORARY ENDURANCE BLOODLINES
By Coralie Gordon
line is still somewhat popular with endurance riders 50 years on, although it is harder to find. It has certainly been kept in the spotlight by the Quilty successes of Brook Sample and his unregistered part Arab Brookleigh Excalibur sired by the unregistered stallion Sh’taan – a double Shafreyn descendant. As time goes on and the number of unregistered horses multiplies, it is more difficult to keep a trace on the bloodlines we fancy. Some of the other Crabbet male bloodlines that have continued to be prominent in endurance include Royal Domino iid GB and his descendants such as Shiekie, Tallangatta Muftakher, Talquah Talik, Royal Gindi, Mildom, Tallangatta Silver Domino and his son Milora Park Blue Fire (exp FR). Then there is Spindrift and his sons Aethon, Delos, Abdullah, Lysander, Rimski, etc. Silwan is prominent through his son Cherokee Mecca and Mecca’s son Chip Chase Sadaqa, and Crystal Fire and his sons Takoradi, Sirocco and Farhan. Shahzada of course was the original benchmark,
a horse imported to Australia after he had already made his mark on endurance in the United Kingdom. It is surprising, or perhaps it is not, to see how often he figures in an extended pedigree of a good endurance horse of today.
The 1970s saw the arrival of fresh Arabian bloodlines into Australia. These horses were mostly sourced in the United States and were prominently of Egyptian bloodlines, although some came from Europe. They were mostly bred for the halter show ring, but some of them, such as Ansata El Hakim and Mustafa (Ger) were soon producing capable saddle horses as well. Both their lines are still respected in endurance circles. In the late 1970s came the El Shaklan horses, such as Amir El Shaklan and Mahabi El Shaklan. Once again, they were bred for halter showing but their lines have filtered into the endurance scene, often because of their soughtafter heights. The Arabian scene became quite diverse at this point with imports from Russia, Poland and Spain. We find the Greengrove Russian horses, also Mexi and Milex, WN Dasjmir and Barabas. In more recent years, progeny of Ruminaja Ali, Padrons Psyche, Magnum Psyche and Marwan Al Shaqab are all the rage in the show ring for their extreme type, but we have yet to see them in endurance. It is possible to have an anecdotal impression that we are seeing some emerging bloodlines and that other breeds such as Australian Stockhorses and Standardbreds are beginning to figure as hot contenders in a sport historically dominated by the Arabian, whether that Arabian or partbred was registered or not. I have looked here at a variety of 160km rides across Australia during 2014 to see what the facts are telling us about the lines that have endured, but I am aware this small study will differ from what one might find in the breakdown of stats from training rides, as we know many riders from other sports and disciplines are having entry level experiences in these rides. They are doing what their forebears in 1966 did – trying a new sport with the horses they already have. It will differ also from what one might find by surveying all finishers in the longer rides, as here I will have to concentrate on the results at the pointy end of things. I am also looking mainly at the sire lines and this itself is a departure from what has become the norm in Arabian breeding in Australia in recent times. That norm has been to use imported sires or even Artificial Insemination (AI) from prominent worldrenowned stallions over mares of “domestic” lines. In endurance, the old “Australian” sire lines dominate.
Western Australian Quilty 2014 The 2014 Quilty was held at Wagin in Western Australia (WA) and as is to be expected, there were many WA horses among the field. The 160km rides are usually won by very experienced
Left: Mt Eerwah is a familiar endurance prefix. Pictured is Mt Eerwah Masai. Above (top): Anglo Arabians are popular with riders. Pictured is the Anglo gelding, Cameo Puccini. Above (bottom): Chip Chase Sadaqa was a popular sire. Pictured is his well-known partbred Arabian daughter, Charlotte TE. Photo Sue Crockett.
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Perhaps it would not be the same had the event been held in the eastern states, but there were a lot of old and respected endurance lines in the results.
NSW State Championships 2014 Just to pursue the idea of emerging lines in the heavy-duty 160km horses, I moved on to some of the 2014 State Championships that had more than 20 horses entered. New South Wales (NSW) first, where there were 75 entries, 38 completions, and the course was a tough, rugged, wet and slippery one, trying out the tracks for the historic 2015 Quilty. Once again, the winners in each section proved to be the more experienced horses but the spread of lines was more diverse. Horses were mostly from the eastern states.
horses and last year this was 17-year-old Anglo gelding Tarrangower Crecendo sired by a Mustafa stallion, Arabian Park Saiyid from Minkott Crystal Belle sired by an Arabian stallion with Hamana and Sirocco lines. The Heavyweight (HWT) winner was Jezabelle Sweet Dreams, a 10-yearold Arab mare sired by Princeton from Aloha Delphic. Princeton was by the straight Egyptian Arabian Park Egyptian Magnetic by Ansata El Hakim and his dam was Arabian Princess by Banderol. Another Princeton horse, Lauralyn Notorious from Lauralyn Music, was third in the Middleweight (MWT). The Lightweight (LWT) winner was 9-year-old Razorback Silver Wings, a partbred Arab gelding sired by Chip Chase Sadaqa from Karakatana Jasmine. Junior (JNR) winner was Kalkadoon Viva, a 12-year-old partbred Arab sired by Wollumbin Meteor from Kalkadoon Vamp by La Salle Karol. This horse has Argent and Crystal Fire lines. A popular WA endurance sire whose son Tora Blar-zay won the 2006 Boonah (QLD) Quilty is Aquanitor. His sire was an English import Jerahmeel (Harwood Asif x Angelica) and his dam Kemilga (Delos x Calypso). In the 2014 placings, he was the grandsire of Ruby Park Ursula (second LWT) and Ruby Park Athena (fourth LWT) both sired by Ruby Park Fortune, as well as West Coast Natanya sired by Aquanitor’s endurance competing son, West Coast Acharon. Among the other placegetters
were horses from Wenceslas (GB), WN Dasjmir (US), Summer Heritage, Rave (US), Royal Domino and Gleniph Royal Sovereign male lines. The newest bloodlines in the company were provided by two imported Al-Marah (US) horses owned by Oso Arabians – Al-Marah Gypsy Red (third LWT) of Gainey bloodlines (Dreamazon) and she also has Bremervale Destiny (exp US) in her pedigree and Candynae (third JNR) of traditional Al-Marah, Raffles and Blue Domino (sire of Royal Domino iid GB) breeding. The same owners produced Oso Edith (Kelkette Park Debonaire x Kelkette Park Silver Eyre) second MWT and she has Egyptian/Blue Domino/Mustafa/Crystal Fire lines.
Above: Winner of the 2014 Quilty was Tarrangower Crecendo and his grandsire is the famous predominantly Egyptian Arabian stallion, Mustafa. Right: Blake’s Heaven Bombora won the 2014 NSW Championships. Pictured at the QLD Quilty. Photo Sharon Meyers.
CONTEMPORARY ENDURANCE BLOODLINES
Winner and first MWT was a grand old performer, Blake’s Heaven Bombora, 14 years of age with a very admirable 7,143 of endurance kilometres under his belt. He is an Arabian sired by Shakir Ibn Rashan from Steveie Nix. Shakir Ibn Rashan’s sire is Arundel House Rashan with lots of Abiram (GB), Magic Carpet and Silwan (GB) breeding with the Egyptian stallion Dahshahn (US) sired by a Morafic son from Babson bloodlines on his distaff side. Bombora’s dam has Merryn and Samah as grand-dams and they are both close-up double Shahzada descendants, with some Sindh (GB), Electric Silver (GB), Silver Moonlight (GB) and Rakib (GB) as well. Blake’s Heaven Carousel, of completely different bloodlines, was second in the LWT, an 8-year-old partbred with 1,230 endurance kilometres. Interestingly, second place in MWT was Jazzpers Brush, an 8-year-old Warmblood with 720kms of competition riding so far. Editor’s note: Please see her story in the Heroes section of the magazine.
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Warmbloods and Arabian Warmbloods are starting to appear, as riders and agents who sell to the Middle East are trying to source big horses for that market. These horses are not bred specifically for long-distance performance, although some of them certainly look the part, so they will be watched with interest. First HWT was Alhambra Pierrot, a 15-year-old Anglo by Arabesque Eclipse, who has 2,314kms. Eclipse is sired by the Males’ imported halfEgyptian stallion The Puritan (US) by Talal. Eclipse is from Alario, a mare sired by Alrawd (GB) from Rosario by Riffayal (GB). Second HWT was Littlebanks Storm, an unregistered partbred Arab by the Arabian Laus Deo and he was sired by the Crabbet stallion Bern (by Arabian Park Phaeton). Laus Deo’s dam was Lasalle Mexi sired by Oasis Tacoma (by Abyad). Among the other HWT horses were Kalkadoon Lucifer – an Anglo sired by Kalkadoon Pinjarra and partbred Arab Copperkahn Tiara sired by Erong Crown and partbred Arab Razorback Flash by Compadre. Kalkadoon Pinjarra is of double Aethon breeding, while Compadre is by Aethon and Erong Crown is sired by the Rikham (GB) stallion Monarch, with Razaz, Sirocco, Count Manilla bloodlines. First LWT was Annordean Lady Lily, a 12-year-old part Arab sired by the Arabian Sir Ninian from a Stockhorse mare. He has 3,016kms. Sir Ninian is a product of Farleigh Stud and is a half-Egyptian horse sired by Sir Ibn Moniet (US) by Ibn Moniet el Nefous and Sir Ninian’s dam is Lady Nina by Zenith II (GB). Sir Ninian has several lines to Shahzada (GB) through his dam. Second LWT was the partbred Arab Blake’s Heaven Carousel and he has lines to Shafreyn and Arim. The winning Junior was riding a very experienced 14-year-old unregistered purebred gelding,
Woomera Thor and he has done 2,343kms. His sire is Turingal Park Esprit (Bremervale Destiny) while his dam is Woomera Trisha (Saladin 11). The second placegetter was another 14-yearold, Macquarie Park Banjo, an Arabian Pony gelding sired by Silver Edition (exp ES) by Tristram Apparition (by Hansan) and he has done 2,242kms.
Victorian State Championships 2014 And so to the Victorian Championships, where there were 28 entries and 18 finishers. No Heavyweights completed. The ride was won by the MWT, an 8-year-old Arab mare Littlebanks Antwonett, whose sire Count Donmali is by Don Carlos (GB) and his dam is Whyneemah Malika by Khawal (Crystal Fire). Littlebanks Antwonett’s dam Hillbrook Flite is by a Milex stallion, Palexis, and Hillbrook Flite’s dam is that super Rainbow (GB) mare Franklin Rajul – dam of international endurance star Kurrajong Concorde (exp UAE). Second placegetter was that great campaigner Blake’s Heaven Bombora in tandem with Blake’s Heaven Summer Reign. The latter is a partbred Arabian gelding sired by Khagan (exp UAE) and his sire was Karda Mordo Khamsin. Khagan’s dam was Bremervale Silhouette by Gual Diman (ES). Blake’s Heaven Summer Reign has lines to El Shaklan, Ansata El Hakim and Dargee. Of interest in the Middleweights was a genuine new face, the imported stallion Cap Braveheart (US) by SDA Silver Legend – owned by Oso Arabians.
Queensland State Championships 2014 Held on what was ostensibly a very civilised roadside track, flat and relatively unadventurous, there was still only a completion rate of 56%, with 36 completions from 64 entries in the 160km.
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Once again in the Queensland State Championships, a golden oldie prevailed with the 12-year-old Anglo gelding Hillbrae Alec winning MWT. His sire is Count Blond-N, a Count Chatain stallion from a Sir Ibn Moniet (US) mare. Hillbrae Alec’s dam, Hillbrae Dallas was sired by Hillbrae Kassius and he was sired by Baram Boy (by Abiram). Second MWT was the 12-year-old Arabian gelding Ardai sired by the Crabbet stallion Starglen Entertainer (Arabian Lodge Boragh x Santarabia Fame) and his dam was Inshallah Anniversary (Crenel x Inshallah Solitaire). Ardai has 2,961kms to his credit. Heavyweight was won by an Arabian gelding named Bellabin whose sire Serabin is by Sir Ibn Moniet (US) from Lady Diana. Bellabin’s dam Fern Valley Bay Le Belle is by Arabian Lodge Boragh (Sindh x Grandilla) from Myriad Park Falari (Dunwingeri Halari x Fadwa). Bellabin has 1,677kms to his name. A big grey 13-year-old Arabian gelding, Bacchante Dreamworks, was second HWT. He is from almost all Egyptian lines, being sired by the Anaza El Nizr son El Questro with his dam Bacchante Sabrina being sired by Alii (US) and his sire was Ruminaja Ali. Partbred Arabian Annordean Lady Lily (sired by Sir Ninian by Sir Ibn Moniet) who we have seen in several championships in 2014, won the LWT, with Ra-Anji Firefly, a 10-year-old Arabian mare
Above (left): Another US import, WN Dasjmir (pictured with Warwick Toft) has been influential in endurance bloodlines. Above (right): Chip Chase Sadaqa has sired numerous endurance horses. Pictured with (left) Jan Tyrrell, Ron Males and Jo Hamilton-Branigan. Photo Sue Crockett.
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sired by Moving Violation from Kasban Anissa, second. Junior went to Teddy, a 12-year-old Stockhorse sired by the Anglo Arabian, Obi Rain Dance (predominantly Egyptian blood on his sire line) from a Stockhorse, Ebony. Second was the 10-year-old Anglo Arabian gelding, Kalkadoon Alfresco (Kalkadoon Pinjarra x Lindall Afena) with 2,415 endurance kilometres. It’s worth noting the sires of the HWT, MWT and LWT divisions were all bred by Mrs Phyllis Hopf of Farleigh Stud, whose foundation was Crabbet and Hanstead, mostly sourced from Bostocks Stud, augmented by a straight Egyptian stallion in later years, and finally by a Count Manilla (GB) stallion.
Everything Old Is New Again It would be possible to approach this fact-finding expedition in several different ways. If I look at the All Time Distance Horses for instance, I see a right pair of oldies, the Arabian
geldings Sarisha (Saran x Mareshah) in Tasmania and Karumba Cassidy (Crystal Count x Queen of Hearts) in Victoria. They have each completed over 15,000kms. Just below them are a couple of Summerland Robreyn (by Shafreyn) horses - Judstan Kamaran and Judstan Sharwayn, on 10,000kms plus. Of course, since so very many Australian endurance horses have headed off to the United Arab Emirates once they have made their mark here, we have been deprived of seeing some of our best horses competing into maturity in their own country. I can best speak for what I see in my own state, and that is that I recognise a lot of the new riders coming over from the show ring because they’ve rightly heard that endurance is great fun and they are bringing over their Arabians of many different bloodlines. I also see more Stockhorses and Standardbreds now, with both of their societies spending money to encourage participation of
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their breeds. Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods are also showing up, while Anglos are as popular as purebred Arabians, perhaps because of their height. The taller Crabbet, Polish and Russian horses are also popular. In Queensland I see multiple horses from Aloha Stud, Toft Endurance and the Brookleigh horses of Brook and Leanne Sample and Gheerulla Stables, Totara Endurance Horses, Kalkadoon Stud, Longrun, Mt Eerwah, Kholonial Arabians, Lindall, Cooroora, Jayhal, Shardell, Lanamere, Moondarra and even some Cameo Stud horses. Some of the main sires are still horses such as Kalkadoon Pinjarra, Chip Chase Sadaqa, WN Dasjmir and Imperial Maakir. There are an incredible number of Chip Chase Sadaqa sons being retained as endurance sires all through the states. Princeton is another stallion whose blood is keenly sought. I started this study with the thought that I would be seeing lots of emerging lines but I finished it by typing in the sub-heading above “Everything old is new again!” Top (left): Royal Domino’s blood is still sought after in endurance circles and he was born in 1952. Top (right): Kalkadoon Pinjarra is a contemporary stallion making his mark with his offspring. Photo Sharon Meyers. Left: The Egyptian stallion Ansata El Hakim (US) is still a respected name in endurance pedigrees.
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