Cheltenham Open Meeting, England

PB140056H16th November, 2009 – Fierce winds and testing going challenged entries at Cheltenham’s Open meeting, reputedly the most important venue in the first half the National Hunt season in England. Each of the 3 days presented a feature race, the highlight being the highly competitive ‘Paddy Power Gold Cup’ which has been a high point in the racing calendar since 1960.

SURPRISINGLY, the Irish, with their impressive winning record at the Cheltenham Festival in March, had not won the Paddy Power Gold Cup or its equivalent for almost three decades but this year the Edward O’Grady trained ‘Tranquil Sea’ cast adrift his 15 rivals before the home straight to the sheer delight of the crowd. Jubilant jockey Andrew McNamara couldn’t hide his joy when the well backed 11-2 favourite came home four and a half lengths in front of ‘Poquelin’, with ‘Hold Em’ third and ‘Ballyfitz’ fourth. The seven year old bay travelled comfortably throughout the two and a half mile race to scoop the lion’s share of the £150,000 prize fund. More reasons to celebrate followed when two hundred people in the Club Enclosure took advantage of a full £30 ticket refund, promised to them if the Irish won the big race.

Friday’s hugely popular Countryside Raceday with its traditional country fair atmosphere featured the unique Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeplechase – a course combining hedges, banks and timber rails over a distance just short of four miles. Irish horses have dominated this race in recent times, this running being no exception. Favourite ‘Garde Champetre’ powered home to an outstanding success when given a confident ride by jockey Nina Carberry, beating stablemate ‘Headsontheground’. Sporting the well known green and gold colours of legendary gambler JP McManus and trained by Enda Bolger, ‘Garde Champetre’ follows in the footsteps of four times winner (2004 – 07) ‘Spotthedifference’, owned and trained by the same duo. Although ‘Garde Champetre’ may now return to Cheltenham for the cross-country race next month, he is not expected to run in the Grand National in April. Read more> http://www.horsesinthesouth.com/article/article_detail.aspx?id=8878

Jamaica, Chester Weber’s Horse of the Year, Wraps Up Amazing Year as USEF Ambassador

Jamaica, the 2008 USEF Farnam Platform Horse of the Year, spent his year as an ambassador for the United States Equestrian Federation.
Jamaica, the 2008 USEF Farnam Platform Horse of the Year, spent his year as an ambassador for the United States Equestrian Federation.

Ocala, FL (November 16, 2009) – Jamaica, Chester Weber’s combined driving horse, captured the nation’s attention last year when he won the most prestigious horse title in the country and became the 2008 USEF Farnam Platform Horse of the Year. As the Horse of the Year, Jamaica served as an ambassador for the USEF, making public appearances, promoting rescue organizations and horse adoption and taking part in a variety of charities.

Jamaica’s rags to riches story began in Belgium when he was rescued from a slaughterhouse. He then famously became part of Weber’s record-breaking international Four-In-Hand Combined Driving team. Now 18 years old, Jamaica has been a member of all seven of Weber’s National Four-In-Hand Combined Driving National Championship teams.

While Jamaica’s story captivated the nation, his role as USEF ambassador also earned him a fan following. “Jamaica’s story really meant a lot to a lot of people, and whether we were at shows or at home, fans would bring him presents and carrots and place them in front of his stall and ask to pose for photos with him,” Weber said. “His journey has been pretty unbelievable and I am certainly glad to have been part of it.” Read more> http://www.horsesinthesouth.com/article/article_detail.aspx?id=8874

How to Memorize a Dressage Test, by Ruth Hogan-Poulsen

Hi everyone. A lot of you have been asking me about how I begin to diagram a pattern or how I start to memorize a test.

I start with these blank arena diagrams. I find them useful for a number of things.
1. Memorizing regulation tests.
2. Learning the exact geometry of the arena.
3. Learning my exact tangent points for movements such as circles and serpentines.
4. Drawing my tests from beginning to end.
5. Drawing each movement according to where the judges are judging (this way I know when the judge begins judging a new movement).
6. Showing a student where a movement begins and ends exactly.
7. Mapping out individual movements when I start to create choreography for a freestyle.
8. Looking at the pattern from beginning to end of a new freestyle, to see if I have used the arena wisely.
9. Checking to see if I have included all required movements for a competitive freestyle.
10. Mapping out each movement of a new freestyle so my clients and students have something to study that is very visual.
11. Checking to see if I have been inventive with the pattern.
12. Checking to see if my movements are equally used from the left and the right.

…and many more!

So I though I would give these diagrams to you guys for your use. Feel free to print them off and use them any time you want, and while you are on my site, sign up for the newsletter if you have not already! You will automatically get the link for the diagrams in the welcome letter of my newsletter, so you don’t have to go looking for it!
Ruth

Link to FREE DRESSAGE ARENA DIAGRAMS:

http://www.ruthhoganpoulsen.com/downloads.html

www.ruthhoganpoulsen.com
www.mobilehorsemonitor.com
www.dressagefreestyles.com

Counter-Flexing in Canter, by Jane Savoie

Several of you have asked me if there’s any value in counter-flexing your horse while in true canter so I’d like to discuss that here.

1. Generally, you want to flex your horse in the direction of the canter lead he’s on. That goes for true canter as well as counter canter. So if you’re cantering on left lead, position his head so you just barely see his left eye and/or nostril.

2. I do often ask students to counter-flex their horses while cantering. For example, they’d just barely see the right eye or nostril when they’re in left canter. I do this to help riders feel if their horses are straight. Read more> http://www.horsesinthesouth.com/article/article_detail.aspx?id=8812

FEI Launches Investigation into Odense Dressage Warm-Up & FEI Position on Hyperflexion

This is the modern version of Dressage showing the 'competition trot' with the front leg overextended and not parallel with the hind leg, plus the horse's head is behind the vertical. Notice the horse's rump high and not rounded - the horse is on his forehand and cannot make use of his backend for thrust. He is being ridden from front to back instead of back to front as in Classical Dressage. He may have been trained using hyperflexion (roll kur) techniques.
This is the modern version of Dressage showing the 'competition trot' with the front leg overextended and not parallel with the hind leg, plus the horse's head is behind the vertical. Notice the horse's rump high and not rounded - the horse is on his forehand and cannot make use of his backend for thrust. He is being ridden from front to back instead of back to front as in Classical Dressage. He may have been trained using hyperflexion (roll kur) techniques.

October 26, 2009 – The FEI is aware of the video filmed at the FEI World Cup Dressage qualifier at Odense (DEN) and posted on YouTube by Epona TV at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hIXGiV4N4k. FEI’s main concern has always been and will always be the welfare of the horse. We are taking the issues raised in the video and in the comments made by members of the public on social media and by email very seriously and have opened a full investigation. The conclusions of this investigation will be made public in due course.

Please read Dr. Gerd Heushmann’s book “Tug of War” and see his DVD “If  Horses Could Speak” about the dangers of using this method of training and the long term effects of forcing horses to be hand ridden, ridden incorrectly from front to back which is is SUPPOSED TO BE as in Classical Dressage – from back to front, and pushing young horses into doing Dressage levels at too young an age before they have completely developed. I had posted that I interviewed him last week and will be posting more on this in the very near future. Click below to purhcase his book and DVD.

See previous blog post: http://horsesinthesouth.com/blog/index.php/2009/10/28/dr-gerd-heuschmann-author-of-tug-of-war-dvd-if-horses-could-speak-lecture-clinic/ . Click on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TahYWzsCdQM to watch a YouTube excerpt from his DVD which you can purchase from the Amazon.com link above. This should be ‘required reading’ for all of those who compete and for judges, if you do not know the true form of Classical Dressage or riding the horse from back to front to have a happy horse!

FEI POSITION ON HYPERFLEXION – updated 17.11.08

 “The FEI held a successful seminar on Hyperflexion in 2006. There has been no change in the scientific evidence since that review. There are no known clinical side effects specifically arising from the use of Hyperflexion. However, there are concerns for the horses’ well-being if the technique is not practised correctly. The FEI does not permit excessive or prolonged Hyperflexion in any equestrian sport, and has a strict stewarding program to protect the performance horse in all disciplines.”

 “The FEI regulates international competition principally. Also through its work it seeks to educate riders, trainers and judges thru their NFs how to deal with issues which have a bearing on the welfare of the horse.  Where there is a specific training issue which brings the welfare of the horse into question it is for the NF to legislate at National level.  At international competition level it is for the FEI to act.  Through the ongoing training of stewards and all officials we seek to develop peoples understanding of what is acceptable and unacceptable training techniques.”

 David Holmes, Executive Sports Director

Associated info at HorseandHound.co.uk: http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/291211.html

British Horse Society chairman Patrick Print has since written to HRH Princess Haya requesting the FEI launch a second investigation into the practise of hyperflexion.

Print’s letter reads: “The concerns so widely expressed are reasonable and therefore deserving of an urgent two-part investigation: first, an inquiry into the treatment of this particular horse on this particular occasion; and, second, a broader inquiry into the ethics and consequences of hyperflexion. In this second aspect The British Horse Society stands ready to assist the FEI in any way it can.”

Forums are rife with angered comment on the topic and several facebook groups have been set up in condemnation of rollkur.

The Classical Riding Club have also written to the FEI and are urging all members to sign their petition to the FEI to ban all hyperflexion in competition. 

Another YouTube video showing hyperflexion used in show jumpers and western riders: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7o-Ref-owE

More to come on this important issue!!