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Dressage Horse Story from For the Love of the Horse by Ann Jamieson

Padré He is the “ultimate underdog.”  When the stunning stallion with his bright dun coat and waves of silky black tresses was named Reserve Champion Stallion at Dressage at Devon in 2010, he confounded onlookers curious about his origins. German riding pony?  Lusitano?  Andalusian?  Welsh cob? Nobody guessed correctly. Padré is an American Mustang. And yes, it was the first time in history that a Mustang qualified for, and competed at, Devon. Patti Gruber, a dressage trainer from Illinois, wanted a new dressage partner, a horse that could be competitive at the upper levels.  She was thinking along the lines of an Art Deco pinto warmblood. Patti always brought her horses to the International Equine Podiatry Center in Versailles, Kentucky to be looked at by veterinarian Dr. Rick Redden.  Dr. Redden owned the center’s Mustangs and Patti would always joke, “If you ever want to see what one of these horses can do, let me know.” Dr. Redden had been studying the relationship of genetics in over-bred domestic breeds.  His focus was to determine if leg problems could be eliminated by breeding domestic mares with his genetically pure Mustang stallion Padré.  Padré came from the Palomino Valley herd outside Reno, […]
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Why Horses Need Grooming

Regular grooming gives the horse and handler an important opportunity to connect and establish and strengthen a good working relationship. Horses are relationship animals. All of the horses in a herd know where they stand in the herd hierarchy. They live, play, and work together according to this hierarchy. Grooming sets the handler apart as a caregiver for the horse so the horse learns to defer to and trust the handler. For competition horses, grooming can account for up to 40% of the score. And that is obviously not just grooming on the day of competition; judges can distinguish between a horse that gets regular grooming and one that does not. But whether the horse is in competition or not, the horse and rider both benefit from daily grooming as it contributes to the horse’s overall well-being, performance, and happiness. During the daily grooming process, before the horse gets worked, the handler has an opportunity to examine the horse’s overall well-being. Is the horse acting strange for her personality? Are there any missing horseshoes? Does the horse have any cuts or swelling? Is he favoring a leg? Are there any signs of abscess such as swelling or hot spots? All […]
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5 Thousand Dollar Reward Offered for Information Leading to Arrest of Horse Killer

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$5,000 Reward Offered for Information Leading to Arrest of Horse Killer Contact: Megan Backus, ALDF The national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator(s) who shot and killed a horse Sunday in Santa Rosa, California. The attack took place near Bennett Valley and Annadel State Park, where several horses had been standing in a pasture. Using a high-caliber rifle, someone shot Delta Fox, a 17-year-old male horse, Sunday morning. The wounded and terrified horse fled back to his stable, collapsed, and died. Press Democrat reported that sheriff’s deputies, animal control officers, and the sheriff’s helicopter conducted an extensive air and ground search for the shooter to no avail. Under California Penal Code § 597 (a) any person convicted of maliciously and intentionally maiming or killing an animal can be imprisoned for up to three years and fined $20,000. In California, it is at the DA’s discretion whether animal cruelty is charged as a felony. “Residents of Santa Rosa have a legitimate cause for concern when criminals are on the loose who could shoot a kind and gentle horse for no reason,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen […]
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Standing Still: Training Your Horse to Stand Quietly for Your Farrier

What could be a pleasant experience for your horse and your farrier quickly goes awry if your horse is not trained to stand for a farrier. Horses need shoes or at the very minimum a regular trim to keep them from going lame or developing hoof problems. If you recently adopted a horse or find you need to “refresh” your horse’s memory about how to stand still for the farrier, use this quick guide to help you. Horse Handling Basics Before you start with any training exercise, your horse should have a good grasp of basic ground handling basics. She needs to be able to stand still when you approach her, lead quietly with a halter and lead, and is completely relaxed when you touch any part of her body. Your horse should also stand still when tied. If you feel your horse does not have ground manners down, you should review these training concepts before you train your horse to stand for a farrier. Get the Right Gear Make the most of your training sessions by using the right gear for your horse. Essentials include: A rope training halter A 12 ft. handling rope or lead (a longe line […]
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Complete Coach for Equestrian and Equine Biz Success

The Complete Coach for Equestrian and Equine Biz Success: It Takes Way More Than You Think Olympia, WA, Oct. 5, 2012 — The Olympics always teaches us a lot about being an athlete, about focus and commitment and what it takes to win. For those of us who are equestrians there’s a little bit more to it though than just us as an individual athlete. Our sport is about our horse too. It’s about how we work together as a team; it’s about horsemanship and often it’s about operating an equine business of breeding, training and sales. Not that all sports don’t have a price tag, they do and to compete whether it be in gymnastics or track means there’s a price-tag. But there’s also a reason that all equine sports, be it racing, polo, grand prix jumping or three-day eventing, is called the “Sport of Kings.” It’s expensive! And doesn’t always fit well with a 40-hour week needed to make a living. Also, success in the show or equine business arena is the coming together of many components from confidence to sustaining a positive relationship with your horse to wisely managing your finances. Not long ago I was talking […]
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War Horse for the Win

I had the rare opportunity (for me) to be in London before the massive crowds descended for the Olympics in July. I saw the National Theatre’s production of War Horse at the New London Theatre on a balmy May evening in the brief stint of warm weather before it got cold again. What a show. This play reminds us, yet again, why we love horses. Based on the book by Michael Morpugo and adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford, War Horse tells the story of an English horse named Joey and his boy named Albert who, separated by World War I, experience the horrors of trench warfare as they desperately seek to find one another once more. The production uses life-size, jointed puppets engineered by Handspring, a South African puppet company, to bring Joey and the other horses to life. The production was less about portraying stories and concepts with a high degree of realism and more about capturing the essence of things—the essence of war, the essence of humanity, the essence of the love between a boy and his horse. Joey’s three puppeteers capture the essence of horse in a symphony of perfectly coordinated movement and sounds. As […]
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Keeping a Sound Sport Horse

Horses are beautiful animals with long slender legs and muscular bodies, but the conformation that makes them so elegant also predisposes them to serious limb injuries. Horses do not have any muscle below the knee on the front limbs or the hock on the hind limbs. Only bone and connective tissue provide support in these areas. In order to keep an equine athlete healthy and pain free, it is vitally important to employ correct training methods, and to provide proper nutrition. Training regimens should be rigorous, but not overzealous, and must always include sufficient time for warm up and cool down. Increase workload gradually while constantly observing for signs of strain. Horse racing is perhaps the most physically demanding equestrian sport. Very young horses are pushed to their absolute limits on the track. Conditioning must be done carefully, as training a young horse for endurance can slow their sprinting speed. However, some conditioning is required to build strength and minimize the risk of injuries. It takes a highly skilled trainer to successfully walk this line. Even under the best circumstances, most horses will retire from a racing career with long-term injuries that will affect the animal throughout its life. The […]
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5 Essentials For Your Summer Equestrian Wardrobe

It’s summertime and while you are on the road traveling the Hunter Jumper summer horse show circuit, attending a local horseback riding or 4H camp, or riding your beloved equine on some trails, it’s time to update that riding wardrobe.  Summer is one of my favorite seasons, not only because the sun shines practically every day, but also the fun floral prints and summer hues brighten up the closet.  It is time to step away from any dark and heavy fabrics and lighten it up with some sweet summer shades like turquoise, pinks, and whites.  Below I have listed some top picks for the equestrian summer riding wardrobe: Performance Cooling Riding Shirts:  with performance fabrics like Coolmax will keep you cool under the most intense competition.  Staple shirts in basic summer pastel colors are great, but even more recently some horse show shirts have been designed to feature special summer prints on the inside of the color and on the sleeve cuffs.  I would prefer to roll the sleeves after a long day of showing, and give the shirt a little bit of style to walk around the show grounds. A Bright Colored Polo: A cotton striped pink and turquoise […]
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