Wellington, FL – January 14, 2010 – Today the first championships of the 2010 FTI Wellington Equestrian Festival were awarded in the professional hunter divisions. The Green Working hunters, sponsored by Western Hay & Suncoast Bedding, took center stage in the Rost Arena this afternoon.
The season’s inaugural First Year Green Hunter Championship was awarded to Peter Pletcher of Magnolia, TX, with Double H Farm’s HH London. Pletcher describes HH London, a 7-year-old Dutch bred gelding by London Times and Voltaire, as “fantastic.”
Double H farm bought the bay gelding in the middle of the summer, and Pletcher sat on him for the first time in October 2009. Pletcher and the team from Double H Farm knew immediately that this would be a great match. “I tried him and I thought that he was really nice, easy, and straight forward,” Pletcher commented. This was only the second show for HH London, and his first time competing at the 3’6″ height. Read more> http://www.horsesinthesouth.com/article/article_detail.aspx?id=9815
The North Florida Hunter Jumper Association five week 2010 Jacksonville Winter Series will run from January 6th – February 7th, 2010. This will be the 16th year of the annual Winter Series, which has donated over $900,000 to local charities over the years, including the Clay County 4-H and has an annual economic impact of over $16 million to the surrounding community.
The first week of competition, the Jacksonville Kick-Off, runs from January 6-10, 2010. It is an “AA” nationally rated horse show and will feature a $10,000 Jumper Classic.
Perhaps the most exciting of the weeks is the second week of competition. The Jacksonville International will be held from January 13-17, 2010. It is an “AA” nationally rated horse show that also boasts the $125,000 Green Cove Springs CSI-W. The $25,000 Welcome Class will be held on Friday, January 15th and the $100,000 World Cup Qualifier Class will be held on Saturday, January 16th. These two classes will draw a large and very exciting field of national and international Olympic riders and their mounts. A children’s carnival, rides, pony rides and a petting zoo will be offered to entertain the young and young at heart during the day. Admission is free with a $5 donation for parking. All proceeds from the day’s events will benefit the Clay County 4-H Foundation.
The Jacksonville Mid-Winter, January 20-24, 2010 follows with its own attractions, including “AA” nationally rated hunters and jumpers. The highlight of the weekend will be the $5,000 Welcome Class to be held on the afternoon of Friday, January 22nd in addition to the $25,000 Marco Family Foundation Grand Prix on Saturday, January 23rd that will benefit Horses for Heroes and the Wounded Warriors Programs. Cedar River Seafood will cater a reception for Exhibitors and Sponsors prior to the event. A string of pearls generously donated by Beard’s Jewelry and cufflinks generously donated will be auctioned off to raise money for the worthy causes. The $10,000 Jerry Parks Hunter Classic will be held the evening of Friday, January 22nd. This Hunter Derby type class is always spectacular to watch in the big covered ring under the lights!
The Jacksonville Winter A to Z ~ January 27 – 31, 2010 features “AA” nationally rated hunters and jumpers, a $5,000 Welcome Classes to be held on the afternoon of Friday January 29th in addition to a $25,000 Grand Prix to be held the evening of Saturday, January 30th. Exhibitors and sponsors will be treated to an Exhibitor Party on Saturday evening preceding the Grand Prix in addition to a Pizza Party Luncheon on Saturday during the day at the rings.
The series concludes with the fifth week, the Jacksonville National that runs from February 3 – 7, 2010. It also features “AA” rated hunters and jumpers. The final $5,000 Welcome Class will be held on the afternoon of Friday, February 5th and the final Grand Prix will be held on the evening of Saturday, February 6th.
All events are held at the Clay County Fairgrounds on SR 16 W in Green Cove Springs, FL. Each week of competition draws approximately 550 to 600 horses, which is the full capacity of the show grounds. Our exhibitor base draws heavily from North Florida and South Georgia and the entire East Coast. It includes international riders from approximately 25 states, three provinces of Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, Columbia, Ireland and Mexico. We are very proud to be chosen one of the only 12 shows in America to host a World Cup Qualifier.
Sponsors are in front of a very qualified audience for each of the five weeks and are in very good company. Some of our sponsors include, but are not limited to the following: Glen Kernan Golf & Country Club, Hodges Boulevard Development Group, Inc., Ring Power, John Deere, Mac Paper Company, Greene Hazel & Associates, the Marco Family, SKANSKA USA Building, Inc., Arlington Toyota, Auld & White Constructors, Inc., The Gift Horse, Pat’s Nursery, Ronnie’s Wings, Top of the Reef, Rick Baker’s RV Sales, Clay County Tourist Development Council, The Bruning Foundation, SunBelt Springs Water, Woody’s BBQ, Bridlebourne Stables, Baptist Primary Care, James D. Hinson Electrical Company, Jerry Parks Insurance, Diamond D Trailer Sales, Corrigan Trailer Sales, Canadian National Railroad, Six Mile Marina, Club Continental & Cedar River Seafood.
16th 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
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.
“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.”
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.
Olympic gold medal winner Gigolo FRH, horse of renowned equestrian Isabella Werth, has died at the age of Twenty-Six.
On September 23rd, Isabella Weth’s top level dressage horse was put down after declining health resulting from an injury. Winner of four Olympic gold medals, two Olympic silver medals, four World Championships, eight European Championships and four German titles, Gigolo proudly served as Isabella’s friend, teacher and sport partner for many years.
Bred by Horst Klussman (Pursau) (Graditz x Bunett by Busoni xx), Gigolo was discovered by Dr Schulten-Baumer. Although a plain horse to look at, but he thrilled spectators with his precision and charisma. Born in 1983, he was ridden by Werth for twenty years.
Werth and Gigolo won both team and individual gold at the European Championships at Donaueschingen in 1991. They repeated the double in 1993 at Lipica, in 1995 at Mondorf, and in 1997 at Verden. At the 1994 World Equestrian Games in The Netherlands and in 1998 in Rome the pair also won two gold medals each time.
Gigolo’s four Olympic gold medals were won in 1996 in Atlanta (individual and team gold), 1992 in Barcelona, and 2000 in Sydney (team gold). The two individual Olympic silver medals were in Barcelona and Sydney.
Lots of you tell me you’re confused about the correct length and height of your horse’s neck so I thought I’d address that in this article.
1. Neck too high: The height of the neck is determined by the degree of engagement of the hindquarters. So, the height of the neck changes as you go up through the levels and your horse becomes more collected.
Always keep in mind, however, that if you ride with the neck too high and short and the angle of the throatlatch too closed, there can’t be any bridge from the back end to the front end.
The neck has to be in line with the power train of the hindquarters-not above it. When the neck is too high, the hind end is disconnected from the front end.
2. Neck too short: I like to say the length of the neck is proportional to the length of the stride taken by the hind legs. So, if you crank the neck in and it gets too short, the hind legs take shorter steps.
Always strive to keep your horse’s neck long.
Even though you want more and more of an uphill balance as you go up through the levels, you still want to see a long neck blooming out in front of you.
This is an exaggeration, but I like to pretend that I have 1/3 of the horse out behind me, and 2/3 of the horse blooming out in front of me. The last thing I want to see is a short neck with 1/3 of the horse out in front of me and 2/3 trailing out behind.
Now, it’s really not 1/3 behind and 2/3 in front, but that gives you a good visual for always having a long neck blooming out in front of you. And that’s the case whether you’re in the horizontal balance of Training Level or the uphill balance of Grand Prix.
One of the mistakes you see at the FEI levels is that riders think they’re collecting their horses, but all they’re doing is shortening their necks.
This creates all kinds of problems because the hind legs are blocked. For example, in a canter pirouette, a horse might switch leads behind or break to the trot. In piaffe, the diagonal pairs might break up, and the piaffe is no longer a real 2-beat trot.
3. Rules of thumb for your horse’s balance: At Training Level, the horse has approximately 60% of his weight on the front legs and 40% of his weight on the hind legs.
That’s the same balance that a horse has in nature because a horse is built like a table with a head and neck on one end. By virtue of the weight of the head and neck, horses naturally have more weight on the front legs than the back legs.
So, at Training Level, with 60% of his weight on the front legs and 40% of his weight on the hind legs, the horse is in what I call “horizontal balance”. His topline looks pretty much parallel to the ground.
At First Level, exercises and movements like smaller circles, leg yields and a little bit of counter canter, cause a slight shift in the center of gravity back to the hind legs. That’s because those exercises create an increase in the bending of the joints of the hind legs. The horse’s croup goes down a little bit, and the forehand goes up proportionately. So at First Level, you might have approximately 55% of the weight on the front legs and 45% behind.
At Second Level, you begin “modest” collection. More weight shifts toward the hindquarters by virtue of the exercises such as shoulder-in, haunches-in, renvers, and simple changes of lead. So you end up with about 50% of the weight on the hind legs and 50% of the weight on the front legs.
At Third Level, you have the beginning of real collection with more weight on the hind legs than on the front legs.
As you go up through the levels there’s a progressive increase in the loading of the hind legs. As a result, the horse, like a seesaw, gradually sits more behind and comes more “up” in front.