This week’s News Notes is brought to you by Back on Track, your roadway to a pain-free life for you and your animals.
Colorado hosts its first CDI this weekend as East Coast riders gather in New York for the Centerline Events CDI. Ex-racehorses making new careers in dressage make the news this week in both the U.S. and Australia. Akiko Yamazaki comes to the rescue of a para-dressage rider in need of a mount for the 2010 WEG. A gold medal winner in the recent NAJYRC makes news back in her home state of Utah. And, it took nearly a village to rescue a wayward Arabian gelding from a drainage ditch in Washington state.
There will be two CDI events this coming weekend as Colorado hosts its first CDI. The Paragon Dressage CDI* will be held in Estes Park, Colorado (http://petersendressage.com/uploads/Shows/2010paragon.pdf) giving riders in the Rocky Mountain states and neighboring prairie states an opportunity to experience international-level competition in their backyard. It will be great for spectators as well. And in the Northeast, the Centerline Events CDI will take place at the HITS show grounds in Saugerties, New York (www.centerlineevents.com). CDI-level classes are already packed and Saturday evening will feature the Grand Prix freestyle. As an added bonus, the weather is looking to be perfect in New York over the course of the show. A host of other dressage shows will also be taking place across the U.S. and you can find the complete list in the calendar section at www.usef.org.
The latest news reports on the upcoming 2010 Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games is that 58 countries will be sending competitors to the Games in Kentucky. However, of those, only four will have teams in all eight of the equestrian disciplines at the WEG – the U.S., Canada, Germany and Australia. A total of 19 countries will compete in five or more disciplines, organizers report. When the horse and human numbers are added up, that will amount to around 900 human competitors and about 1,300 horses.
The racing season is in full swing in Saratoga Springs, New York and the track recently honored great racehorses of the past, many of whom have gone on to success in other disciplines after their racing careers ended. The Saratogian newspaper in New York featured one of those successes this past week. Four years ago, Ashkal Way was a winner on the track at Saratoga, but not long after, his racing career came to an end. The now eight-year-old gelding was fortunate to be adopted by ESPN sportscaster Jeannine Edwards, of Maryland, who has been retraining him to be a dressage horse. The pair gave a glimpse of their progress during an exhibition for the Thoroughbred Retirement Awareness Day, held in Saratoga Springs last week. Edwards admits that many people think Thoroughbreds are too hot to handle, but is quoted in the article as saying that “a good majority of them are really nice horses once you get them off the track. They make wonderful pets, they make wonderful riding horses, hunters, jumpers, dressage, trail horses. There’s nothing a Thoroughbred can’t do.”
Ashkal Way began his racing career in Great Britain and came to the U.S. in 2006. He won his first race and zoomed on from there. He became one of the best turf racehorses in the U.S. and even set a racing record. His career was cut short by a tendon injury that healed well enough to begin a new career in dressage, but not well enough to continue racing. Edwards, who has worked in the racing industry as well as covered races for ESPN, has a fondness for Thoroughbreds and adopted Ashkal Way in 2007. The pair is now competing at First Level and they even have a few wins under their belt. You can read more about Ashkal Way and Edwards at http://saratogian.com/articles/2010/08/18/sports/doc4c6c92e89df1e852784305.txt.
Continuing on the theme of retired racehorses, the Herald Sun in Australia reported this week on a government-sponsored program to give racehorses a second chance. The article noted that racing stars retire to a life of luxury, the bombproof to careers as police horses, but many others need a bit of support and retraining in order to go on to second careers as competitors in sports such as dressage, jumping, polo and eventing or even as Pony Club horses. And so, the Victoria state government and the Victorian racing industry have joined forces to develop programs to give retired racehorses a second chance through retraining. The goal of the program is to assess the suitability of each horse for a new career and then match the horse with a new owner.
Akiko Yamazaki will have two horses competing in the upcoming WEG. One will be Ravel, the well-known partner of Steffen Peters. The other will be Kranak. Yamazaki’s loan of Kranak to para-dressage rider Jennifer Baker, 46, of Loveland, Ohio, made the news in Ohio this past week. Cincinatti.com featured a story about Baker’s road to the WEG Para-Dressage competition. Baker originally qualified to compete with Duel, but she had to withdraw him because of an injury. Yamazaki came to the rescue and shipped Kranak to Ohio. The next step was getting the USEF to allow the change of horse. That hurdle has now been overcome and Baker is back on track for the WEG. So what’s the link between Baker and Yamazaki? Well, according to the news report, Shannon Peters was trained by Baker’s mother, Nancy, years ago and Shannon Peters is now the younger Baker’s coach. You can read more at http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20100817/NEWS01/8180340/.
Also making the news this past week is young dressage rider Maddi Birch who rightly earned a feature article in her hometown newspaper. The Record, in Park City, Utah, featured the 19-year-old because of her team gold medal in the recent North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. Birch was a member of the Region 5 team that covers the Rocky Mountain states. The article notes that Birch is the first Utah rider to bring home a gold medal from the NAJYRC. She did it with the help of Starlight, an 11-year-old gelding loaned to her by Katherine Scott.
Birch began riding at the age of eight and now trains with Margo Gogan in Heber City, Utah. She devotes most all her time to her riding and actually completed her high school education online through a private California school. Right now, she is continuing her training while attending nursing school. You can read more about her at http://www.parkrecord.com/rss/ci_15771606?source=rss.
And from the Herald newspaper in Everett, Washington comes a story of what trouble horses can get into when they decide to leave home on their own. A nine-year-old Arabian gelding named Red wandered out of a broken fence earlier this week and went for a walk-about. Unfortunately, he didn’t pay much attention to where he was stepping and ended up falling into a 10-foot drainage ditch and was stuck in mud up to his shoulders. Firefighters came to the rescue and, with the help of a backhoe and neighbors, managed to pull him out. While they worked to free him, his owner, Katie Millholland, kept him quiet. His veterinarian, Brandi Holohan, was surprised to find not a scratch on him after firefighters used their hose to wash him down and clean off the mud. You can read the whole story at http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20100817/NEWS01/708179881/0/SCBJ01.