Eventing

Steeplechaser senior Senator, Hunt Cup, Vicki Crawford, Penn Vet New Bolton Center, tomography system, equine science breakthrough

April 29, 2017, was a clear, sunny day in Worthington Valley, Maryland, United States. Crowds were gathering as restless Thoroughbreds full of anticipation were being saddled and warmed up for the 121st running of the Maryland Hunt Cup, a steeplechase over solid fences. On the board, 13 horses were listed as entered, but after three scratches, 10 horses lined up.

Lindsay Grice, prepare for horse show, prepare for equine show, showing a horse, how to show a horse, prepare for a dressage test, prepare for a horse jumper class, prepare for a Western horse class

Seated at the head of the quiet classroom, I watched the students in the classes I teach write their Equine Behaviour and Equine Business final exams, noting the happy faces of smug recognition (“Yes, I studied that!”) and the winces (“Rats, I’d hoped that material wouldn’t be on the test”). I empathize with them. I know what it’s like to sit in the “test seat” – as a student in university and, more recently, writing judging exams. And as a competitive rider, every horse show is a test.

am I overtraining my horse? drawbacks of overtraining your horse, how much should I train my horse? how much time should I leave between horse training sessions?

If you are repeatedly training your horse to do the same task every day, a recent study suggests that you could well be spending your time more productively. The research, by equine scientists from Germany and Australia, found that allowing horses breaks of two days between training sessions rather than training daily results in similar learning progress over a period of 28 days. The researchers suggest that such a training schedule might be considered to make more efficient use of trainers’ – and horses’ – time.

starting out right horse foot, nancy tapley, horse warm-up, Karen brain, horse riding technique, horse training

When we go to the gym we all know that a good warm-up session is essential when it comes to protecting against such injuries as pulled muscles or strained tendons and ligaments. There is no difference when it comes to your horse’s workout. Many horses spend 23 hours of each day standing around in relatively small paddocks.

jessica phoenix, eventing, off the track thoroubred, ottb, World Equestrian Games eventing, Pan American Games, Equestrian, Equine Canada

Born in Uxbridge, Ontario in 1983, Jessica Phoenix is a veteran Olympic, World Equestrian and Pan American Games competitor. She was named 2011 Equestrian of the Year by Equine Canada following a historic individual gold-medal finish at the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico. “Probably my most successful off-the-track Thoroughbred was Exponential,” she says. “I rode him at the World Equestrian Games in 2010 and the Summer Olympics in London in 2012. I’m trying to retire him because he’s 19 years old. But he’s such an incredible athlete that he prefers to be kept in some sort of work. He was seventh at Rolex at the Horse Fair in 2011 and he also went to Burghley (UK) and finished in the top 25.”

Equine Guelph researchers are continuing to put Canada on the map in the world of horse welfare research – this time focusing on the use of training equipment in horses. The researchers, led by Dr. Katrina Merkies, were interested in how often riders and trainers use training equipment, such as whips, spurs, and head-control equipment (martingales, draw reins, etc.), and how often horse enthusiasts not actively involved with horses think that the equipment is used.

Closing in on a decade spent competing, John and Judy Rumble’s 15-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding, Foxwood High (sired by Rio Bronco W), had a standout eventing season in 2017. The big bay known as “Woody” and his rider, Canadian Olympian Selena O’Hanlon of Kingston, ON, are just starting to reach their peak, with help from a celebrity supporting cast.

sticking the landing showjumping, sidonia mcIntyre, bascule phase horse jump, Federico Caprilli, Caprilli Method, equine kissing spine

When watching gymnastic competitions, we look for athletes competing in gymnastics to “stick the landing” before the eagle-eyed judges who will discount marks for even the slightest waiver in form. While this phrase is rather commonplace in our understanding of these athletic events, it is not so in our equine world… at least not until you have read this article.

Jochen Schleese, saddle support, horse saddle fitting, horse dominant side, symmetrical gullet plate

Do you understand the natural asymmetry of the horse and its implications for saddle fit? Most horses are left-handed – or what we refer to as dominant on the left-hand side – and it is usually very obvious. There are many theories as to what causes this predisposition.

optimal horse fitness, horse peak performance, equine athletes, Dr. Sebastian McBride, understanding horse temperament, horse temperament testing, horse care, Psychological Factors Affecting Equine Performance, temperament of a young horse, Psychology of Performance Horses, Margaret Evans

It is common knowledge that a horse must achieve optimal physical fitness in order to deliver a peak performance, but what kind of impact does psychological condition have on equine performance? In a competition environment, equine athletes in any discipline may show symptoms of stress, but to what degree does the expression of that stress affect the quality of a jumping round, dressage test, reining pattern, etc.?

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