Why Horses Do Get Ulcers, by Claire Dorotik

Thanks to the seminal work of Robert Sapolsky, in “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers,” we know have a much better understanding of the disparity between the way animals in their natural environment handle stress and the way humans do. As a result of this intensive study, we can also ascertain that both the value of identifying and responding to, the physiological triggers of alarm. And with all that being said, one would not be stretching too far to hypothesize that horses also do not get ulcers. However, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Horses, like zebras, do live in a natural environment. That is, roaming wild and fending for themselves. Yet, on the other hand, a vast number of horses do not enjoy this lifestyle. And here, we have a very interesting study. The truth is, not one case of ulcers in wild horses has been found. On the other side of the equation, racehorses, whose lifestyle is extremely demanding, exhibit ulcers in 1 out of every 5 horses at the track. Looking at the difference between the life of a wild horse, which is relatively serene, with healthy social group dynamics, and allows for freedom of response, and that of a racehorse, which is intensely demanding both physically and mentally, is lived in near complete isolation, and restricts freedom of movement, it is not hard to understand why these numbers would be so far apart. It is, indeed, a bit like comparing life in rural Colorado to downtown New York City.

But why then, do some racehorses get ulcers, and some do not? Well this phenomenon is best explained by the same principle that explains why some people suffer mental illness and others do not, when raised in similar environments. Called the “diathesis stress model,” this theory states that some people have a genetic predisposition for certain mental illnesses, and with enough environmental stress, these conditions will develop. Therefore, in turn, we can say that some horses are predisposed to develop ulcers, but require the right situational conditions to do so.

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NO SECRET SO CLOSE excerpt #24, by Claire Dorotik

NO SECRET SO CLOSE is the story of a the most unthinkable betrayal humanly possible — at only 24 years old, Claire Dorotik’s father has been murdered, her mother arrested, and now, in a sinister twist of fate, Claire’s mother points the finger at Claire, accusing her of killing her own father. Battling the feelings of loss, abandonment, terror, and dissociation, and also learning about them, Claire struggles to stay in her master’s program for psychotherapy. However, when Claire’s brothers also betray her and side with her mother, Claire is left all alone to care for the 18 horses she and her mother owned. As the story unfolds, what is revealed is the horses’ amazing capacity for empathy in the face of human trauma, and the almost psychic ability to provide the author with what had been taken from her. Arising from these horrifying circumstances, the most unthinkable heroes — the horses — show Claire that life is still worth living.

Excerpt #24 from NO SECRET SO CLOSE:

Just then, the comforting sound of horses rustling in their stalls was broken by Alex’s voice. “Claire what are you doing up here?”

I didn’t bother to turn my head. “Feeding the horses.” I pulled the first pieces off of the bale and tossed them in the cart.

“Well, we need you to help make fliers.” He positioned himself between me and the hay cart, more or less blocking me as I tried to work.

“I can’t, Alex. I’m sorry.” I tossed another flake of hay into the cart.

“Why?” He moved in closer. He had a piece of paper in his hand with a photo of my father’s face copied onto it.

“I just can’t, Alex,” I said, my eyes catching the photo.

“I don’t get it. Why not?” He crossed his arms over his chest, the photo faced outward.

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Great Cash, Prizes and Fun during Summer in the Rockies II

Bjorn Ikast Wins Second Consecutive Grand Prix

Bjorn Ikast & Omar Shariff. Photo credit: Flying Horse Photography

Parker, CO — The second week of the Colorado Summer Circuit finished Sunday with great style. Summer in the Rockies II awarded cash and prizes to riders in all divisions, from the Adult Amateur Hunters to the Open Jumpers. Competitors and sponsors were treated to a range of hospitality. Among the social highlights — Friday Afternoon Club at A Bit of Tack with margaritas and munchies, a fabulous tented party complete with a band in Central Park, and a wonderful VIP party during the $25,000 Grand Prix Presented by Littleton Equine Medical Center and Platinum Performance. Sunday brunch on Father’s Day rounded out the fun.

“Our goal with the expanded circuit was to create a destination,” said CHP Vice President Brian Curry. “We have people that are staying in Colorado for the summer, so we wanted them to feel at home and help them have wonderful memories from their trip.”

Many riders that have attended shows at the Park for almost 20 years are saying that the facility never looked better. Not only are there many beautiful new flower beds, rings full of new jumps, including elegant water features in the hunter rings, there’s also the new permanent coffee shop, Stable Grounds, offering lattes, cappuccinos and pastries.

Of course, all of the new amenities are a wonderful backdrop to the real draw — the horse show. While this week’s $25,000 Grand Prix Presented by Littleton Equine Medical Center and Platinum Performance found the same three riders claiming the top three spots, they had to run for their placings in the jump-off, a real thrill for the spectators.

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American Horse Publications Awards Excellence in Equine Publishing Media

June 18, 2011 – San Diego, CA, welcomed American Horse Publications members to “America’s Finest City” and AHP recognized their “finest” in equine publishing media during the AHP “Hoofprints in the Sand” Seminar. The three-day conference held June 16-18 was jam-packed with educational sessions and activities, but on Saturday evening, the winners in the AHP Annual Awards Competition took center stage.

Sixty-nine American Horse Publications members were named finalists in the 2011 AHP Annual Awards Contest for material published in and dated 2010. Participation in this year’s contest represented a record-breaking 118 AHP members and 839 entries, an increase of 57 over last year. Held since 1974, the AHP Annual Awards Contest provides members with an opportunity to be recognized for excellence in equine publishing as well as professional critiques for improvement.

Always an anticipated event, the awards presentations were held Saturday, June 18, 2011, during the AHP “Hoofprints in the Sand” Seminar in San Diego. The evening began with a reception co-sponsored by Dover Saddlery and Branch Smith Printing and was followed by the Awards Banquet sponsored by Publishers Press. Breyer Animal Creations sponsored the centerpieces, and one lucky attendee at each table took a Breyer “Under the Sea” model horse home. This year’s beach-themed banquet was enhanced by elegant scenic décor produced and sponsored by Red Pony Productions, LLC and If Your Horse Could Talk.

The coveted General Excellence Award is presented to publications who fulfill their statement of purpose and show excellence in editorial content and design. Honorable mention is presented in classes with over five entries. General Excellence in the Tabloid/Newspaper category went to Quarter Horse News, a biweekly tabloid covering the cutting, reining and reined cow horse industries published by Cowboy Publishing Group. Thoroughbred Times, a national newsweekly magazine of Thoroughbred racing, claimed honorable mention.

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Trey Young “The American Horseman” Horsemanship Clinic June 25-26, 2011

Trey Young, “The American Horseman,” has been busy planning and promoting his new television series airing on HRTV Dish Network 404. While creating his schedule, the horseman has reserved many dates along the way for future clinics. Young has been hosting clinics at his 3-Y Ranch in Crawfordville, FL for nearly 4 years. His clinics range from confidence on the trail, to cow work, to basic horsemanship.

Trey’s next clinic is a basic horsemanship clinic set for June 25th-26th. This clinic is designed for all levels of horsemanship. Young will assure that you leave this clinic with renewed confidence and understanding, resulting in a stronger bond and partnership between you and your horse. Regardless of your skill level, this clinic promises something new, fun, and helpful for everyone that attends.

This basic horsemanship clinic will feature some ground work as well as more saddle time to get your horse to better understand your cues. From start to finish the rider will focus on improving everything for themselves, and their horse. Clinics are limited to small sizes to ensure each person gets the one on one time they need. If you would like to attend a clinic, but don’t have a horse, one can be provided for an additional fee.

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Dover’s World to Showcase Hunter Industry on Upcoming Radio Show

Robert Dover. Photo courtesy of client

Wellington, FL – June 20, 2011 – Dressage specialist and six-time Olympian Robert Dover, host of the popular Dover’s World radio program, will devote an upcoming show to current issues in the hunter industry. Airing Tuesday, June 21, 2011, on WBZT (AM1230 in the Palm Beaches) at 6pm EST, the show will hunt for the most important hunter-related issues in the ever-changing world of equestrian sport.

From pony hunters to hunter derbies, the wide range of potential topics offers listeners a great chance to call in and voice their opinion. In addition, those who tune in Tuesday night will also have the chance to hear insightful commentary from knowledgeable panelists. Peter Pletcher, Kim Stewart, Richard Slocum, and another authority (TBA) will all lend their considerable expertise to the program.

Having already devoted shows to the jumper industry and eventing, Dover’s hunter-focused session will examine the future of hunters as well as their past. “The show will raise many questions about the direction in which the industry is going,” noted Dover. “Is the sport better or worse than it was in previous years?” The use of calming agents vs. other methods of controlling a horse’s behavior, the influence of derbies, evolving expectations of horses and riders – Dover says there is no limit to the discussions that will animate the airwaves Tuesday night.

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Halpin Enjoys New Stature Post-Rolex Kentucky

Sinead Halpin was overcome with emotion after a clean show jumping round on Manoir de Carneville that made her the highest-placing American at Rolex Kentucky. Photo by Nancy Jaffer.

Before this spring’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Sinead Halpin was just another face in the crowd of 30-and-under eventing hopefuls, far from the favorite to make the biggest mark at the USA’s only 4-star competition.

But after her impressive third-place effort as the highest-placed American, behind British eventing legend Mary King, who was first and second — and ahead of another British legend, her former mentor, William Fox-Pitt — nothing was quite the same for the 29-year-old Branchburg resident.

“It was really, really cool,” she said, reflecting on the reaction to her performance from friends, acquaintances and people she didn’t even know. Halpin was flooded with “phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, everything. I couldn’t really keep up with it all, which was exciting. It’s almost embarrassing, honestly.”

Halpin, who works out of Fieldstone Farm in Pittstown, noted that by the weekend of April 30 – May 1, when the Kentucky Horse Park was flooded with thousands of fans, “I didn’t really notice everybody else there. You are so focused on the task at hand,” she explained.

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Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Bridgestone, Assisting with Fire Relief Efforts for Boyd Martin and True Prospect Farm

Photo courtesy Boyd Martin.

Lexington, KY – Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI), producer of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bridgestone, has joined the effort to provide financial assistance to Eventing rider Boyd Martin in the aftermath of the tragic fire on May 31, 2011, at True Prospect Farm in West Grove, PA.

A fire at the farm, owned by Phillip and Evie Dutton, destroyed the barn utilized by Martin and took the lives of six horses while injuring five others. Three people living in an apartment near the barn lost all their possessions. The Eventing community has rallied with support and EEI has pledged a $1,500 donation plus 5% of all sales of merchandise sold through the Kentucky Three-Day Event Shop at http://www.rk3de.org/shop/ for the next 60 days. The Kentucky Three-Day Shop includes various Rolex Kentucky merchandise, from hats to jackets and everything between.

“The Eventing community has been shaken by this tragedy that resulted in tremendous loss for Boyd and Silva Martin in particular, and also for Phillip and Evie Dutton and others at the farm,” said Christina Gray, Director of Competition for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. “Boyd and Phillip are two of the best loved and most respected riders in our sport and all of us associated with the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event want to help by providing financial assistance.”

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U.S. Qualifies Record Number of Horses for 2011 FEI World Breeding Championships for Young Horses in Dressage

Eastern Selection Trial 5-year-old champion Lauren Chumley and Somer Hit. Photo by Pics of You.

Lexington, KY – With three horses earning qualifying scores of 8.2 or better at the 2011 Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Selection Trials and four earning qualifying scores in Europe, the U.S. had a competitive list of seven – more than ever before – to choose from when considering who will make up the team for the FEI World Breeding Championships held in Verden, Germany, August 3-7.

“The number of horses that qualified this year was a true testament to the Markel/USEF Young Horse Program,” said USEF Young Horse Coach Scott Hassler. “We had impressive horses come from all areas of the country with many competing overseas and doing quite well against top quality horses. The Young Horse Program is progressing in the U.S. just the way we hoped it would.”

The U.S. is invited to field a team of four in Verden – two 5-year-olds and two 6-year-olds. This year’s U.S. team will consist of a total of three (a 5-year-old and two 6-year-olds). The final team includes the 5-year-old Westphalian stallion, Florentinus (Florestan I – Lady in Red by Londonderry), owned and ridden by Jennifer Hoffman. The duo qualified by earning a score of 8.5 in Europe. The 6-year-olds include the Austrian Warmblood stallion Ratzinger (Riccione – St. Pr. St. Inschella by Pablo), also owned and ridden by Hoffman, who qualified with an 8.5 in Europe. The second 6-year-old is the Oldenburg mare, Royal Couer 2 (Royal Hit – Riva by Le Coeur), owned and ridden by Marne Martin Tucker. The pair earned a score of 8.36 in Europe to qualify for the team.

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Chester Weber Claims Second European Four-in-Hand Victory

Altenfelden – the driving competition with heart

Chester Weber. Courtesy of HippoEvent.

Altenfelden, Austria – The 20th anniversary of the CAI Altenfelden is history. It was an event with top sport performances by competitors from 18 nations. Chester Weber, the American driving sport star and winner of the king class (the four-in-hand horse class), said, “I like the nice atmosphere of the Altenfelden competition. The people are all very friendly and try to support the competitors the best they can. During this competition I have the opportunity to meet and compete against drivers from the Eastern part of Europe – more than I usually do in the other competitions. This is a great and different experience for me.”

The marathon test is in every driving competition one of the action high points. It is also drawing the crowds. During the 2011 Altenfelden marathon the competitors had to complete eight obstacles – two of which were built new this year, the others were remodeled. Different weather conditions – from sun to heavy rain – were made the test even more dambing for the competitors, but the international top drivers mastered them without accident. Wins for Tomas Eriksson (SWE), Reinhard Burggraf (GER) and Henrik Höper (DEN) in the horse classes.

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