Category Archives: *Featured/Spotlights

Special features, spotlights, headlines

Plans Announced for 2020 Tom Bass Seminar on Diversity in Equestrian Sports

Horsemen in Northern Nigeria circa 1970.

Green Creek Township, North Carolina (USA) – Wednesday, October 14, 2020 – The 2020 Tom Bass Seminar on Diversity in Equestrian Sports will be presented via video conference on Saturday afternoon, November 14 from 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time (20:30:00 UTC). The virtual meeting will examine issues relating to diversity in a) domestic and b) international arenas.

Launched in 2019 as part of the 2nd Annual Day of the African Equestrian (DOTAE), the 2020 seminar takes place against a backdrop of social and political turmoil in the United States – in a year where the equestrian community has been forced to reckon with many of its own contradictions and activist riders of color including Brianna Noble and The Compton Cowboys have achieved international notice – in part through the use of horses in public protests inspired by the global Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

A legendary American Saddlebred trainer, Tom Bass (1859-1934) was born enslaved in Columbia, Missouri. He played a prominent role both in the establishment of the American Royal Horse Show in Kansas City and in the promotion of the city of Mexico, Missouri as the ‘Saddle Horse Capital of the World.’ Highlights of his extraordinary career include championships at two World’s Fairs and more than 2,000 blue ribbons. For many years he was the only African-American permitted to compete at the American Royal. The Tom Bass bit, developed to give the rider control without causing pain to the horse, is still in use today.

During his lifetime, Bass performed before such luminaries as Queen Marie of Romania, William Jennings Bryan, P. T. Barnum and U.S. Presidents Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Calvin Coolidge. His more prominent clients included Mr. Roosevelt, Buffalo Bill Cody, Anheuser-Busch executives Adolphus and August Busch, and Will Rogers.

Topics to be explored during the 2020 Tom Bass Seminar on Diversity in Equestrian Sport include:

  • Demystifying horse sport – not for rich kids only! Reviving equestrian heritage in lower and middle income communities
  • Developing broad-based community support for equestrian activities at all levels
  • Building sustainable programs that support diversity in the horse industry
  • Incorporating the lessons gleaned from social activism into the ways in which we do business
  • Leveraging (new and traditional) media in horse focused education and promotion
  • Developing stories that more accurately reflect the life experiences of equestrians of color
  • Incorporating the rich equestrian heritages of non-white, non-European communities (including African, African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Native-American, Romani, South Asian, and others) into our shared equestrian narrative

The seminar is presented by The AFRICAN CONNECTIONS Research and Education Fund, Inc. in association with SportsQuest International, LLC.

Linkage to the video conference will be available from the following websites:

Organizers of the Tom Bass Seminar point out that horses are big business in the United States and in many regions of the world.

According to the American Horse Council, the horse industry contributes approximately $50 billion in direct economic impact to the U.S. economy, supporting almost one million jobs on a full-time basis1. According to statistics presented at the 2013 FEI Sports Forum — held at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland — the horse industry has a €100 billion ($128.151 billion) annual economic impact within the European Union. The economic impact in the United Kingdom is estimated at being over £7 billion ($10.643 billion)2.

A major challenge for an Olympic sport that promotes itself as being truly global, “clean”, and fully inclusive, is a conspicuous lack of people of color. People of color are underrepresented in the ranks of riders, owners, trainers, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, nutritionists, sponsors, spectators, and members of the equestrian media. Conversely, there is an overrepresentation as grooms, nannies, hot walkers, and stall muckers.

To remedy this situation, equestrian sports promoters and organizations representing all facets of the industry are being urged to understand that it is good business to spend advertising dollars in minority communities. “Developing a more diverse fan base involves supporting equestrian sport training programs in those communities and working in concert with ethnic media outlets in educating members of the public about horse sport. Cultivating cooperative alliances with minority owned businesses will yield tangible benefits,” wrote seminar moderator Melvin Cox in a 2017 editorial published by HorseNation.com.

Mr. Cox, a Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is the Founder and Managing Director of SportsQuest International, LLC – a media production and consulting business focused on the equestrian industry. Mr. Cox foresees an explosion of interest in equestrian sports throughout the United States and in other countries — reaching across all socioeconomic strata. But, he warns, “the outreach to new market segments will have to be done correctly — from a position of true humility and respect, and not from one of blatant arrogance.”

“Much as motorsport has successfully built a loyal following among fans with little if any opportunity (or desire) to own a Formula One racing car,” wrote Cox, “the horse sports can be proactively marketed to all demographics. Just as Major League Baseball attracts millions who will never hit a curveball, the equestrian disciplines can find deeply loyal and very knowledgeable aficionados among persons representing all manner of humanity.”

The solution proposed by seminar organizers targets a more equitable distribution of the scholarships, internships, jobs, contracts, investment opportunities, and profits associated with the global horse business. A key component of this effort is to increase awareness among young people in cities, suburbs, and rural communities regarding the opportunities for successful and fulfilling careers available in the horse business. Cox believes that America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and her Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) represent an untapped “gold mine” of talent and opportunity.

About the AFRICAN CONNECTIONS Research and Education Fund, Inc:

A nonprofit 501(c) organization, ACREF was created in direct response to the numerous distortions, half-truths, and omissions seen almost daily in the popular media regarding Africa, her people, and the African Diaspora.

The principal mission of the organization is to illuminate, educate, and provide a balanced viewpoint that celebrates genuine achievement and service to humanity.

Sources:

1 2017 National Economic Impact Study – American Horse Council

2 Graeme Cooke. “Trends in Growth of Equestrian Sport.” FEI Sports Forum, 8 April, 2013. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

Contact:
SportsQuest International, LLC
marketing@SportsQuestInternational.com

Elite Athletes Head to Tryon for USEF Para Dressage National Championship CPEDI3

Rebecca Hart. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Mill Spring, NC – October 22, 2020 – With the uncertainty of the calendar year of 2020 the Para Dressage community is looking forward to the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship and CPEDI3* competition. Riders will compete October 22-25, 2020, at the beautiful Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina. The event will include a national championship along with CPEDI3*, CPEDI2*, and CPEDI1*. Elite, developing, emerging, and young riders will be showcasing their talents in front of international judges Elke Ebert (GER), Carlos Lopes (POR), and Adrienne Pot (USA).Fifteen horse and rider combinations team and individual tests will take place on Friday and Saturday, October 23-24, and the top horse and rider combinations will return for the freestyle tests on Sunday, October 25. High Performance athletes in multiple countries will showcase quality tests as they aim for the rescheduled Paralympic Games taking place August 24 – September 5, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. The competition will be live streamed on USEF Network: https://www.usef.org/network/.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org.

Victory for Daniel Deusser at the Final Hubside Jumping Show

© Marco Villanti pour HUBSIDE JUMPING.

Even good things must come to an end. After eleven weeks of competition in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, the second season of international show jumping at the HUBSIDE JUMPING has drawn to a close. A season which was exceptional in every way and ended with the victory of Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z.

“I’m really delighted with this victory in the HUBSIDE JUMPING’s CSI 4* Grand Prix and in particular with my horse, Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z. He had to take some time out at the beginning of the year and started competing again mid-season in small classes and then took part in the HUBSIDE JUMPING’s CSI 5* show a few weeks ago. Indeed, he is recovering well and is getting better and better, to the extent that he was able to win the HUBSIDE JUMPING’s CSI 4* Grand Prix today! I’m really proud of him!  The year has been very different and extremely difficult for all the riders, but thanks to the HUBSIDE JUMPING, we were able to enjoy a wonderful summer season. I don’t that it’s being presumptuous to extend my warmest thanks on behalf of all the riders to Sadri Fegaier and to the whole HUBSIDE JUMPING organising team. Thank you for keeping our sport alive and we all hope that we will be back here again next year.”

Full results here.

Daniel Koroloff – E-mail: daniel@blizko-communication.com

Help Us Stop BLM’s Inhumane Plan to Sterilize Wild Mares

There are a lot of things that happen to our wild horses that we don’t want to think about. But we must face these things now – because we must take action now.

First, they funnel her into a squeeze chute. She’s wild and terrified.

Next, she might be given a local anesthetic and a shot of antibiotics.

While the chute squeezes her body tight, a BLM-contracted veterinarian inserts a 1-foot metal rod with a chain on the end into her, to crush and rip out her ovaries.

This is not exaggeration. This is reality.

What may happen to our mare after the horrific procedure reads like a chamber of horrors: evisceration, infection, hemorrhage, and possible death.

Sterilization of this mare will kill the essence of what makes her wild — the natural hormones which drive the wild behaviors that astonish and thrill us in these iconic and spirited animals.

Why is BLM doing this?  It’s the age-old “follow the money” scenario.

The livestock lobby has deep pockets and that means deep influence. They’re pushing BLM to destroy America’s few remaining wild horse herds via sterilization — all to keep their “welfare ranching” Ponzi scheme in place.

U.S. taxpayers (that’s us!) lose HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars every year so ranchers can graze their livestock on our public lands. Outrageously, in federally-protected wild horse & burro habitat, their livestock are given [on average] 80% of the forage!

With your support, we can stop these barbaric surgeries and end this rigged system.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

German Athlete Wins the 4* Class in Strzegom

Photo by Mariusz Chmieliński.

Julia Krajewski with the 14-year-old Samourai du Thot was victorious in the CCI4*-L, the highest ranked class at Strzegom October Festival. Polish riders won two team classes in junior and young rider categories, and Dutch riders were the best in the pony class.

Julia Krajewski (GER) took the lead after dressage but went down into third place after some mistakes in the cross-country. A clear round in the showjumping made her take the lead back and win the whole class. Second place went to the best rider after XC – Lea Siegl (AUT) with Fighting Line. Michael Jung (GER) was third with Go For S.

In the CCI3*-L, the win went to Belgian rider Lara De Liedekerke-Meier with Hermione d’Arville after a clear jumping round. Mélody Johner (SUI) with Toubleu de Rueire was second, and Kamil Rajnert (POL) with Gouverneur finished third.

The podium in the CCI2*-L was dominated by women. Mélody Johner (SUI) won with Demoiselle Peccau, British rider Phoebe Locke was second with Clotaire de Ferivel and Anna Siemer (GER) with Lilybelle Ea was third.

The three- and four-star short format classes ended with cross-country trials. The leaderboard changed a lot in the 4* class. Phoebe Locke (GBR) with Pica d’Or went up from the 13th to 7th place after a clear showjumping round. Her victory was secured by a clear cross-country round with only some points for the time. Second place went to Katrin Norling (SWE) with Fernando-Ukato, and third to Elmo Jankari with Soraya 243 – they went up from the 28th position that they had after the jumping. The leader after dressage – Yoshiaki Oiwa with Bart L JRA finished fourth.

Dutch rider Jordy Wilken with Wilbert BO was victorious in the 3* short class after a clear cross-country inside the time. Robert Pokorny (CZE) with Quantos Mer was second, and third place went to Rebecca Juana Gerken (GER) with Curley Boy.

The best rider in the CCI1*-Intro class was Mélody Johner with Gb Keep Cool du Perchet.

Strzegom October Festival hosted European Youth Eventing Masters for the first time. It’s a new addition to the European equestrian calendar, where all youth categories competed individually and as a team.

European Youth Eventing Masters was dominated by Polish riders in the team classifications. In the young riders category, first place went to Julia Gillmaier with Rarashek, Pauline Wieczorek with Czacza, and Alicja Tropiło with Erez M. The best individual rider was Hedwig Wikström (FIN) with Pin Rock’s Fade To Black.

Karolina Ślązak with Ganges, Weronika Król with Lismakeegan Chester, Ewelina Falkowska with Jusis, and Oliwia Rapa with Kselion won the CCIO2*-L for juniors. Camille Delvaux (BEL) was the best individually with Rock And Roll.

The Dutch team was the best one in the CCI2*-L class for ponies – the win went to Kato De Smidt with Orchid’s Tigersun, Tijn De Blaauw with Orchid’s Megan, Ivy Van Der Kolk with Robin Hood, and Senna Van Houte with Fernhill First Lady. Jule Krueger (GER) was the winner in the individual classification with Golden Grove Simon.

Online results: http://eventing.strzegomhorsetrials.pl/results/2020/sof/.

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl

Paso Finos Keep This 80-Year-Old Amateur Rider in the Competition Ring

Dick Miller and Torbellino de Madrigal at the 2020 PFHA Grand National Championship Show (Cody Parmenter Photography)

Dick Miller, the Paso Fino Horse Association’s newest Hall of Fame inductee, was first introduced to the Paso Fino breed in the 1980s when he saw a sign on Interstate 80 in Nebraska advertising the “SMOOTHEST RIDING HORSE IN THE WORLD.” Nearly 40 years later, Miller (Fort Myers, Fla.) is not only still riding, but is also competing at top horse shows around the country, thanks to these unique horses and the tight-knit community of people who love them.

Though he grew up riding working ranch horses, Quarter Horses, Missouri Fox Trotters, and off-the-track Standardbreds, Miller was hooked on the spirit and smooth, lateral gait of the Paso Fino breed almost immediately. He visited the farm advertised on the highway sign and purchased the very horse he rode that day, Merodeador El Prim.

“I just bought the horse. I don’t really know why; I just bought him,” said Miller. “I was impressed by Merodeador’s personality, plus he had done well in a recent national show. So I bought him and rode him in as many classes as possible. The only thing this horse couldn’t do was jump!”

Miller credits the Paso Fino’s natural lateral, four-beat gait with his ability to still compete and ride. “Riding is not as hard on the body with the Paso Fino because you don’t have to post. The gaits are super-smooth. I have had a bad back since I was about 25 years old because of some injuries I got playing football as a kid. So not having to post is hugely helpful in my ability to keep riding,” said Miller. “They’re a smaller horse, too, which makes getting on and off easier as you get older. But don’t let their size fool you — they are little powerhouses.”

A few years, after purchasing Merodeador El Prim, Miller added another black gelding to his herd, Artillero Arroyo Maraca. The Paso Fino is described as having brío, the Spanish term referring to the horse’s spirited personality, and Artillero had it in spades.

“He was a horse of a lifetime,” Miller said of Artillero, a Paso Fino Hall of Fame horse. “You learn pretty fast what you like and what you don’t like. It all depends on the rider’s personality. For me, I like a show horse with a big personality. My horses are not great trail horses like many Pasos are, but that spirit is what I like in a horse, even today as an 80-year-old man. The breed can be intimidating to someone at first, but feeling that energy and power is incredible as a rider.”

Miller began competing in local shows, building up to some of the most prestigious Paso Fino shows in the world. He has owned more than 130 Paso Finos, competed in more than 3,000 classes, and won more than 85 national titles. He competed in the Mundial World Championships four times and showed all over the U.S., England, Germany, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

This year, Miller rode three horses and competed in eight classes at the PFHA Grand National Championship Show. He won one championship and two reserve championships. He and his wife, Sandy, own Mid-Iowa Paso Fino, a training and breeding facility, with Jorge Suarez and Ramon Cintron as their trainers.

“It’s amazing what this breed has given me. I didn’t even know about disciplines growing up; we just rode. Never went to a horse show. Now I’m telling stories about being in Germany for a Paso Fino competition and how I competed in international competitions like the Mundial,” said Miller.

After four decades of being in the Paso Fino industry, Miller is grateful for the relationships he has developed within this community. He has consistently given back through service on the PFHA Board of Directors, the Paso Fino Horse Foundation, and sponsorship and other support for the U.S. teams competing in the Youth Mundial over the years.

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to ride so many talented Paso Fino horses and to cultivate friendships that will last a lifetime,” said Miller. “It was a steep learning curve when I started with these horses in the 1980s, but people were so supportive and helped me along the way. Every day that I ride and every show that I participate in is a testament to the incredible enjoyment this breed gives us!”

by Ashley Swift
© 2020 United States Equestrian Federation

Biggest Challenges for Authentic at Preakness Stakes

Image from horseracingnation.com.

October 3rd will mark the start of the 2020 Preakness Stakes and the last of the Triple Crown races – all having taken place without any fans in attendance. Authentic continues to remain the fan favourite at the Preakness Stakes but there’s certainly some competition to overcome – so who are the front runners that may provide a challenge?

Belmont Stakes winner Tiz The Law continues to be the biggest name in contention – although it is still looking unlikely that Preakness is out of the question – trainer Barclay Tagg had stated it might be more prudent to wait for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but with no final decision being made just yet it is still a possibility. Foreign oddsmakers may have jumped the gun a little here too as Tiz The Law would become 11-10 favourite assuming he attended the event.

Thousand Words has also been considered a good competitor despite taking a fall earlier in the month – trainer Bob Baffert said, “He didn’t have a scratch on him; he fell on his side, so we were fortunate. We’re planning on sending both Authentic and Thousand Words if they’re doing well” – a lucky escape for the trainers which could see two horses in contention for the win.

Following a 46-1 upset earlier in the year at Oaklawn Stakes, Mr. Big News had been one name popping up and with early uncertainty as Bret Calhoun wouldn’t commit to a next race – after being entered to the derby however the chance is certainly there to come away with another big upset victory and really break up the triple crown which has already been confirmed not to see a triple winner.

Following a theme of potential injury, Art Collector continues to remain a contender despite nicking his front left heel in training earlier in the month – trainer Tommy Drury stated, “I knew after we gave him a little anti-inflammatory that he’d be perfectly sound. We wanted him to respond well to it, and it looks like that’s what happened” – looking for a strong run at Preakness, the list of competition for Authentic is looking fierce.

Others who may have contended are already out, however, as Azul Coast likely won’t make an appearance – racing only twice since a February win with some poor performances along the way, trainer Bob Baffert confirmed via text message last month that he wouldn’t be attending the Baltimore race despite qualifying earlier in the year.

With Preakness being moved to the end of the derby, it will be interesting to see if it shakes things up – usually the second race in the running it likely won’t have any impact but it can always be a consideration especially for the jockeys – they’ll all be used to racing without fans in attendance, however, as the change has been in place since the start of the year and is looking unlikely to change any time soon – tune in on October 3rd to see all of the challengers, and with any luck some of the unconfirmed favourites will start to come through too.

Smoke Coping Strategies

Smoke from wildfires in the West had made its way to the East Coast of America and has hit Europe. Speculation that it will circumnavigate the globe is sadly realistic.  That smoke is as bad for horses’ health as it is for people.

Here’s a primer on smoke and tips on minimizing its effect on your horse.

What’s in Wildfire Smoke

Smoke comes in endless variations, depending on what is burned. In the case of wildfires that spread beyond forests and rangeland to consume homes and other structures, smoke is produced from burning wood, vegetation, plastic, building materials, furniture, vehicles, and combustibles such as gas and oil.

Wildfire smoke can contain carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides, among other chemicals, for example. Even the smoldering stages of a fire can be deadly – that’s when colorless, odorless carbon monoxide is produced in the greatest quantities. In high doses, carbon monoxide can be fatal.

Of greatest concern, however, is the particulate matter from wildfire smoke. Particulates are an airborne mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets that are very small – fewer than five microns, less than the width of a human hair, which is typically 70 microns. Sub-micron particles are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs where they can cause damage even before any signs of respiratory distress become evident.

How Horses Are Affected

Horses show signs similar to humans, with irritated eyes and respiratory systems, compromised lung function and worsened conditions on the Equine Asthma Spectrum that ranges from Inflammatory Airway Disease to Recurrent Airway Obstruction, AKA “heaves.” Watch for signs such as coughs, nasal discharge, wheezing, and other breathing distress – if such signs increase or persist, your veterinarian should be called to provide professional diagnosis and treatment.

Not as widely discussed is the effect of particulates on the immune system, but it’s high time to highlight this important fact. Particulates have been shown to alter the immune system, which reduces the lungs’ ability to remove inhaled materials such as pollen and bacteria. Because horses are continually exposed to allergens outdoors as well as in the stable, an immune system compromised by wildfire particulates is a serious matter.

How to Help Your Horse

First of all, watch for clinical or behavioral signs that your horse needs treatment and don’t hesitate to call your vet if you are concerned. You know your horse better than anyone, and your equestrian instinct can be your horse’s best defense.

Keep exercise to a minimum. Avoid activities that increase smoky airflow into your horse’s lungs. You may note your horse being less active in his field or paddock, a sign that his horse sense tells him not to exert himself when it’s more difficult to breathe. Even if his horse sense hasn’t kicked in, be his advocate and refrain from normal activity until the air clears.

After a particularly intense period of smoke inhalation, it may take four to six weeks for your horse’s airway to heal. Give your horse the gift of time to heal. Exercising too soon could aggravate the condition of your horse’s lungs, delay healing, and compromise future performance. Experts familiar with the training and competition schedules of sport horses advise a return to exercise no sooner than two weeks after the atmosphere is clear of smoke.

In the meantime, water is your horse’s friend. It keeps the horse’s airways moist and helps clear inhaled particulates from the airways; dry airways encourage particulates to stay in the lungs and air passages. Because horses drink most of their water within two hours of eating hay, encourage water consumption by keeping fresh water close to where he eats.

Helpful Equipment

As an equine health company, respiratory health is one of Haygain’s primary areas of expertise. The Flexineb Portable Equine Nebulizer Haygain distributes is on the frontlines of efforts to help smoke-threatened horses throughout the West right now.

If your horse is diagnosed with smoke-induced respiratory conditions, your veterinarian may prescribe treatments such as IV fluids, bronchodilator drugs, nebulization, or other means to hydrate his airways. Nebulization, commonly known as aerosol therapy, enables medications or natural therapy liquids to be aerosolized into tiny particles small enough for your horse to inhale deep into his lungs.

The Flexineb is proven to deliver 71% of the nebulized drug deep into the horse’s lower respiratory tract, with the other 29% reaching the upper respiratory tract and trachea. Its light weight, silent operation and easy application help the horse stay calm during treatment.

Haygain’s high-temperature hay steamers also help by adding water to the diet and reducing up to 99% of the respirable particles found even in hay of good nutrient content. These are problematic every day and especially when the horse’s respiratory function is compromised from smoke inhalation.  Soaking hay is another way to add water and reduce some of the particles; however, soaking for as little as 10 minutes can increase the bacteria load in hay by 150%. That’s especially hard on horses whose immune function is suppressed by respiratory distress.

While it’s usually healthier for horses to live outdoors, the opposite is true when smoke is present. Keeping the barn air clean is extra critical, especially reducing two main culprits in respiratory disease: dust from stall bedding and ammonia fumes from bacteria that proliferate in the urine collecting under conventional stall mats. Haygain’s ComfortStall Sealed Orthopedic Flooring has built-in cushion that reduces bedding needs to only that required to absorb urine. Its top layer is sealed to the stall wall, preventing urine seepage to the stall floor.

Bottom Line:

Keep exercise to a minimum and hydration to a maximum. Watch for signs your horse is not feeling normal and keep an extra watch on horses with compromised respiratory and immune systems. If in doubt, call your vet.

by Nan Meek & Kim F Miller

Riders from 16 Countries Compete in Virtual Windsor’s Autumn Series

The Virtual Windsor Autumn Series has received over 1,200 entries, with participants competing from 16 countries around the world. The September edition of the first-of-its-kind virtual show series — which runs entirely via a live-stream composed of video competitions, photographs, and calls — will take place from 25-27 September 2020. Alongside online Showing, the Show also hosts a new-format video jumping competition, The Omega Equine Equitation Jumping, The Omega Equine Pony Club Dressage Home International, and The Riding for the Disabled Association Dressage Challenge.

ONLINE SHOWING

The 20 Online Showing classes saw a good turnout, with several well-known names making an appearance. Top showing producer Robert Walker’s seven-year-old daughter Isabella will contest Class 12, the Plaited Mini Pony, on the eight-year-old Sorells Royal Jubilee. Robert says, “Willow, as he’s known at home, has given Isabella four years of enjoyment. He has been very successful in Lead Rein [classes] picking up many wins, including the Blue Riband and Champion at Cheshire two years running.”

Young rider Liberty Taylor-Hopkins competes in the Intermediate class on the Emma-Jayne Dujardin-produced Carnsdale Kings Secret. Emma-Jayne, sister of Olympic medallist Charlotte Dujardin, is a renowned Showing Producer, who said previously that she is “very proud to be the Producer of two of the top Show Hunter Ponies in the top 10 of the [May Edition] Virtual Windsor Horse Show.” Liberty is a previous winner at the inaugural Virtual Windsor Show, where she took the Show Hack and Riding Horse title on Whalton Goodness Gracious.

Another one to watch in the Online Showing will be Fiona McIntyre, an Australian Showing Producer who was recently awarded the 2020 ‘Lady of Racing’ for her contribution to the retraining of former racehorses. Amongst her entries is Bart Cummings’ former grand stayer Precedence, who competed in four Melbourne Cups and won two Moonee Valley Cups. The online Showing classes have been particularly popular amongst Australian riders, with 135 entries across the board.

The Showing will be played out over the three days of the Show and will culminate in The Voltaire Design Supreme Championships.

THE OMEGA EQUINE EQUITATION JUMPING

Brand new for this Series is The Omega Equine Equitation Jumping, an entirely new video discipline which brings jumping competition into the mix. Riders complete a set test, which incorporates a one-stride triple of any safe height and construction along one side of a 20x40m marked out space, and are marked on their rhythm, riding and the willingness and shape of the horse. Designed to make competition accessible, and to promote excellent horsemanship at all levels, the Autumn Series will see two sections: U16s and Open.

The U16s will see a familiar name in the shape of 13-year-old Ellie Stockdale, niece of the late Tim and cousin of Joe. She rides Ostaras Umberto, a Dutch New Forest Pony who she has owned for six months, with whom she has recently been to Pony Club Camp. The Stockdale family has been great supporters of the Royal Windsor Horse Show for many years, with both Tim and Joe securing memorable victories there.

The Open section also sees young rider Gracie Tyte, better known by her social media handle @pony_nuts. Gracie, who is also an ambassador for British Eventing, blogs about her training journeys with her four horses and has a quarter of a million followers across her social media channels. She contests the class on her six-year-old mare, Myspires Another Star.

The Omega Equine Equitation Jumping has seen great support from overseas riders, with entries from as far afield as Canada, Bulgaria, New Zealand, and Finland. Six entries have also come from Thailand, including nine-year-old Punyaphat Budsaenkhom who contests the U16s aboard City NP, having previously achieved 10th in the 2019 Thailand Pony Showjumping Championship.

THE OMEGA EQUINE PONY CLUB HOME INTERNATIONAL DRESSAGE

Entries for the qualifying rounds of The Omega Equine Pony Club Virtual Dressage Home International have also closed and selection for the national teams is underway. The competition, where the winners of the qualifying rounds go on to represent their countries in the Virtual Home International, saw 89 entries from across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.  Several competitors, including Tirion Budd (Wing Man) and Jazmin Vollands (Mo Chara Nua), represented their country at the inaugural event at Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2019 and are competing for the 2020 Virtual Trophy; former RWHS Tetrathlete, Lauren McGlennon (OMS Lady Esquire), is also competing for a place on the team.

THE RIDING FOR THE DISABLED DRESSAGE CHALLENGE

There was a total of 43 entries for The Riding for the Disabled Dressage Challenge, supported by Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and Wyychanger. Open to all levels and grades of riders, the result is decided on the highest overall percentage, with riders performing the test most suitable to their grading. Alongside some well-established RDA and para riders, the class was also an opportunity for many new RDA riders to take part in their first competitions virtually in this COVID-19 year, including Sophie-Alice Pearman (Carnival Red), Lisa Brooks (Blue), and Alfie Brew-Lee (Maple), who are all riding in their first dressage competition at Virtual Windsor.

Virtual Windsor Autumn Series 2020 can be found at https://virtual.rwhs.co.uk/ — the site will be constantly updated and will remain in place throughout the year.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Amazing Facts about Horse Racing

Do you think you know all there is to know about the beloved sport of horse racing? Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting to explore the rich history of this prestigious athletic endeavor, chances are that there are more than a few horse racing facts out there that will surprise you. One of the oldest sports in the world, horse racing is notorious for its coded ways and opaque conventions, leaving many outsiders feeling more than a little mystified. Like anything though, it just takes a little time and patience to understand and appreciate. Here are a few incredible facts about this fascinating activity.

Some horses have defied all odds

Generally speaking, horses have to be able to meet some basic criteria before they can race. Anyone familiar with sportsbet horse racing will know that in addition to passing a regular inspection, it is also necessary to confirm that the horse is completely healthy and exhibiting no symptoms of illness. Seems reasonable enough consider no one would bet on a sick horse, right? Well in 1921, one British racehorse, aptly named Humorist, proved that this wasn’t necessarily the case. Upon winning the country’s most prestigious event, The British Derby, it was discovered that the horse had tuberculosis and was thus competing with only one healthy lung to rely on. It sure didn’t stop him from winning though.

Most horses retire at 15 (halfway through their lifespan)

Just like human athletes, racehorses tend to have a “peak,” at which age they tend to perform best and most consistently. This sweet spot often comes around the 10-year mark and it is pretty unusual to see a racehorse competing past the age of 15. Although they live, on average, for around 30 years, it is unprecedented for a horse over the age of 18 to win a professional horse race.

As old as time itself

When we say one of the world’s oldest sports, we mean it! Although the first official records of horse racing date back to the time of ancient Greece, there is reason to believe that some version of this activity can be traced to as far back as 4, 500 BC. Whether or not the legacy stretches back quite that far though, we have confirmation by way of chariot racing depictions on ancient pottery and descriptions from the infamous poet Homer to know that horse racing has been around for a very long time.

Horseracing is a matter of balancing scales

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how much the average racehorse weighs? Well, in sharp contrast to the famously featherweight jockeys who ride them, you can expect the average Thoroughbred to weigh in at about 1,000 pounds. At the higher end of the weight spectrum though, this can be almost doubled to upwards of 2,000. Switching to the other extreme, the lightest jockey who has ever been recorded weighed an incredibly slight 49 pounds, which is approximately what you could expect of an average 7-year-old.

A LOT of money is bet on horse races

You were probably already aware that there is a lot of money tied up in horses racing, but the actual figures may still make your jaw drop a bit. Over the course of a regular racing season, about $100 billion is bet on horseracing. That’s a pretty staggering number when you think about it. People the world over have long taken great pleasure in better on horse races through, so perhaps it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that that number is only likely to continue growing.