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News Notes for December 29, 2010. This week’s News Notes is brought to you by Back on Track, offering a host of products that will give you a pain-free 2011.
This past week came news that the FEI has now made it possible for West Coast riders to qualify for the 2011 Dressage World Cup. Out of Kentucky came news this past week of a horse that discovered the down side of walking across a swimming pool. Ireland’s abandoned horse problem was news in several publications this past week. The split of eventer Mark Todd from his wife of 24 years and the sale of their farm filled New Zealand media this past week. And, several top international competitors will be making trips to Australia this winter for major dressage events.


It’s another quiet weekend in the dressage show world as everyone prepares to celebrate the coming of the new year this weekend. Here’s wishing all a safe New Year’s weekend and a fabulous start to 2011.

Well, the good news for the West Coast is that the FEI has approved two World Cup qualifying competitions for 2011 that will now allow West Coast riders to qualify for the 2011 World Cup without having to make a winter season trip to Florida. One qualifier will be held during the dressage competition in Del Mar, California March 10-13 and the other during competition in Burbank, California March 31-April 3. The World Cup final will be held in April in Leipzig, Germany.

From lex18.com news in Kentucky comes a story this week of a horse that went for a walk across the snow not knowing that snow sat atop a pool cover. The cover gave way under her weight and in the water she went. Firefighters arrived on the scene and rescuers managed to guide the horse up the pool steps and off to safety. It was a cold swim for sure but veterinarians reported that the mare, once dried off, was just fine.

It’s been a week of bad news coming out of Ireland. The New York Times ran a major feature on the impacts of Ireland’s economic woes on its horse population. Not far from the nation’s capital of Dublin is a windblown area that the Times reports has become home to tens of thousands of horses and ponies abandoned by owners who can no longer afford to keep them. The horses are brought there and left to fend for themselves. The sturdy survive, but many do not. Animal welfare inspectors do their best to save those they can and to end of the lives of those they can’t. According to the Times article, the abandonment of horses is taking place all over Ireland, not just in the Dublin region. Some in Ireland estimate that as many as 100,000 have been turned loose. You can read the whole article at Here!

And staying on the topic of the horse in Ireland, the Irish Times this week reported on the impacts of the country’s financial crisis on horses that are part of the racing industry. Racing has long been part of Irish culture, but the industry is in distress like much of the rest of the country. The country’s Thoroughbred Breeders Association estimates that the number of horses in the racing industry has dropped by nearly 10,000 in the past two years. Much of the problem, the article reports, is that young people who worked in the banking and finance industries often got into the horse racing industry when they had extra cash. Those industries have taken a significant hit in the global recession and that crowd of young racing enthusiasts is no longer there or at least doesn’t have the wealth to be buying racehorses. Most who now get involved as owners are in their 40s or older and even for many of them, owning part of a racehorse is a luxury they can no longer afford. One result, the article reports, is that racehorses are being dumped by owners who can no longer afford to stay in the racing game, thus adding to Ireland’s problem of abandoned horses.

From the New Zealand Herald came news of the split of Mark Todd from his wife of 24 years, Carolyn. Apparently, the decision to split was made some time ago but now the couple’s joint property is on the market. Mark has made a permanent move to England. In the past years, he has had his share of bad press, including accusations in 2000 that he used cocaine, which he denied. His wife stood by him through the allegations but clearly no more. The separation has resulted in sale of the couple’s farm in New Zealand for the price of $2.25 million. It includes a swimming pool and tennis courts. The couple have two children, Lauren, 22, and James, 17. You can read more about the split Here!

And also coming from the world down under, news from Australia reports that a few of the world’s top equestrians, including leading dressage rider Laura Bechtolsheimer, will soon be making trips to Australia. Weekly Times Now reported this past week that Laura will give master classes and an exhibition during the Boneo Park Equestrian Festival in February. The event will also have a Grand Prix Invitational Freestyle competition, stallion parade and other entertainment for dressage fans. Also making their way to the land down under will be Ingrid Klimke and show jumper Greg Best, who is American but now based in New Zealand. Ingrid and Greg will be at the PSI Dressage and Show Jumping with the Stars at Werribee Park National Equestrian Center in March. That event will also host the Australian Young Dressage Horse Championships, a Dressage World Cup Qualifier and Grand Prix Freestyle competition. You can read more at Here!




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