Parker, CO — As part of its commitment to education, The Colorado Horse Park (CHP) hosted a two-part series, Conditioning for Success, this spring. Featuring area experts such as Terry Swanson DVM, partner at Littleton Equine Medical Center, and Deeda Randle, M.S. in Animal Physiology, the event drew riders and auditors from around the region.
“The goal was to help riders and trainers do everything they can to prepare their horses for competition,” explained organizer Vivien Van Buren. “Like all sports, equestrian events have become highly competitive; the best athletes are using the latest in research and technology to help improve their performance and recover quickly after competition.”
Part one, held March 5, was a discussion forum focusing on a variety of topics including horse and rider nutrition, veterinary therapies for sport horses, physiology and the latest in conditioning programs. The sessions were designed to help riders prepare their horses and themselves for competition.
The morning began with Deeda Randle, B.S. in Microbiology and MS in Animal Physiology, discussing specific conditioning protocols for each phase of eventing, followed by Terry Swanson DVM, Littleton Equine Medical Center, addressing common signs of physical stress in equine athletes, Russell Mueller adding insight on basic equine nutrition, Laura Thompson DVM providing information on acupuncture, and finishing with Peter Rolfe DVM presenting methods of taking temperature, respiration and pulse.
The theme of part two, held April 9, was horse and human management during competition. The morning topics featured new technology and rules on safety, vet box care and presentation for eventers, jog out and basic veterinary knowledge. There were also demos of horse and rider care during competition, including electrolyte balance, plus new products available to help sport horses before, during and after competition.
Following a marvelously catered lunch, participants mounted up. Upper level groups were able to practice pacing with Reed Ayers, an assistant research professor at Colorado School of Mines, co-researcher for USEA GPS Speed Study and CCI rider and trainer. Riders then moved on to practice pace over the steeplechase course with course builder, CCI rider/trainer and former member of the Canadian Equestrian team, James Atkinson. This offered a unique opportunity to practice steeplechase over an actual course, allowing riders to become comfortable with the speed of steeplechase and jumping out of stride. There were many large smiles, as this was, for many, their first time ever jumping steeplechase.
The lower levels also enjoyed practicing proper pacing. They then took that knowledge and feel to the cross country jumps. All groups rode away with an education on proper preparation and game day riding. “We hope to see more clinics like this in the area,” said Musmanno, a speaker and rider during the clinic. “This is the type of educational clinic so desperately needed, not only for those looking towards their first half-star or CCI event, but for those looking to improve their horsemanship and hone their competition skills.”
Van Buren continued, “Deeda put together a really unique format that was very well received by participants. We hope to make this an annual spring clinic.”
If participant reviews are any indication, Conditioning for Success was a huge success that will be a welcome addition to the regular CHP clinic calendar.
Other exciting clinicians coming this summer are Olympic gold medalist David O’ Connor, Olympic silver medalist Gina Miles and Brian Sabo. For more information about other Colorado Horse Park events, visit www.coloradohorsepark.com or friend them on Facebook.
The Colorado Horse Park relies on the generosity of their sponsors, which include for the 2011 season: Parker Adventist Hospital, Littleton Equine Medical Center, Platinum Performance, Griffis Group, Norstar Industries, Horse Connection, Nutrena, A Bit of Tack, Chronicle of the Horse, Comfort Suites of Castle Rock, Days Inn of Castle Rock, Horseware Ireland, Triple Crown, Sidelines, Vetlink, Super 8 of Parker, Holiday Inn of Parker and Hampton Inn of Parker, Windy Ridge Thoroughbreds, WinDancer Farm, Simply 3 Day and Sean Worrall and L’Apogee Saddelery.
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