This week’s News Notes is brought to you by Back on Track, the leader in pain-free products for you and your horse.
The big dressage show of the weekend will be in the big state of Texas, which plays host to the USDF Region 9 Championships. Lendon Gray’s Dressage4kids and Ten Broeck Farm have teamed up to launch a new Young Breeders Program, which kicks off this weekend in Massachusetts.
This week the news media reports on governments that have put their support behind equestrian centers – the Australian federal government and a city government in California. And Arizona’s state government is working to address the problem of abandoned horses. A New Zealand equestrian paralyzed in a riding accident years ago is taking on the New York City Marathon this weekend.
Texas is where the dressage action is this weekend as the Southwest Dressage Championships and Houston Dressage Society’s Autumn Classic plays host to the USDF Region 9 Championships. It all takes place in the city of Katy (www.houstondressagesociety.org). And way out west in California, Denville-Kanani Dressage is being held in Pleasanton (www.denville-kanani.com). Next door, the Arizona Dressage Association is holding its Fall Show in Scottsdale (www.azdressage.org). And in Camden, South Carolina, there will still be a Halloween feel to the Pumpkin Patch Dressage (www.centralcarolinadressage.com).
Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids and the Ten Broeck Farm team in Massachusetts have teamed up to fill an important gap in the education of young equestrians. The two groups have created a Young Breeders Program and the kick off is this weekend at Ten Broeck Farm with a Young Breeders Clinic on Saturday, Nov. 7.
Lendon has said one of the goals is to educate youth not only about the basics of breeding, but also about other aspects of breeding, such as competing in breed competitions and managing a breeding business. The program is aimed at young people age 25 and under. Breeding programs for young people are very common in Europe, said Phil Silva, who operates Ten Broeck Farm with his wife, Orintha. And he and Lendon are hoping the Americans can catch up.
There are actually breed competitions for young people in Europe, the culmination of which is the International Young Breeders World Championships and Lendon said this new program aims to create enough young breeders to one day send a team to represent the U.S. at the World Championships.
Participants in this weekend’s clinic will learn to judge a horse's potential from the ground and this will include instruction in conformation, how to evaluate a horse's strong and weak points and judging gaits in free jumping. Participants will also learn how to present a horse in-hand. The program mixes classroom theory with hands-on application.
The clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will be instructed by Britta Johnston. Auditors are welcome and not just those under 25. Breeders, trainers and riders can all benefit from attending. For more information, visit www.tenbroeckfarm.net.
Out of Australia comes news of the opening of a new $3 million (Australian dollars), world-class equestrian center. And guess who paid for most of it? The Australian federal government. According to the Courier newspaper, the government kicked in $2.3 million and the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) put in $600,000.
The new center has an indoor arena and it will provide a multitude of riding and educational opportunities for equestrians. It’s located in Mt. Rowan and was a joint venture of RDA and the University of Ballarat, which is hoping the new center will help make the university a leader in equestrian studies. You can read all about it at http://www.thecourier.com.au/news/local/news/general/ballarats-3m-equestrian-centre-opens/1987742.aspx?src=rss.
And in neighboring New Zealand, former international equestrian Catriona Williams has been in the media spotlight this past week. Catriona was injured in a riding accident eight years ago that left her a tetraplegic. Since then, she has been an inspiration because of her determination to tackle some of life’s biggest challenges. This weekend, she’ll be in New York for the New York City Marathon, one of the world’s most difficult races.
Catriona jokingly calls it her “first and last marathon.” She’s been in serious training for weeks. The idea to compete came two years ago. “I was at a dinner party with friends and after too much wine we all thought it was a good idea to do the marathon,” Catriona said. She stuck with the plan even after being sober the next day and her friends backed her. She has a support team of 25, many traveling with her to New York. One of those supporters is top eventer Mark Todd, who had planned to run the race but has been sidelined due to a leg injury. But he plans to be there supporting Catriona.
Catriona also started a charity that has raised money for research to help those with spinal cord injuries. Those who tune in to see the race this weekend might want to watch for this amazing equestrian.
And back in the U.S., the Californian newswire reports on the re-opening of the Murrieta Equestrian Park, which was temporarily closed after the city of Murrieta purchased it last year. The 22-acre historic horse ranch is now open to public use each day from 8 a.m. to dusk. Right now it’s free, but city officials are considering requiring users to buy annual passes, which would give unlimited access except on days the grounds are booked for special events.
Much of the ranch is still closed to the public as the city addresses some safety issues, but riding lessons are now available. And, two arenas are also open for use. Buying the ranch cost the city $2.3 million but what the city got was dressage rings, riding trails, pastures and feed lots, paddocks, a show barn, a stallion barn and the two arenas.
And in neighboring Arizona, comes this story from azcentral.com. The state government has decided to join forces with horse rescue groups to deal with the growing number of horses abandoned by their owners. It’s a very sad side of the recession that the continued financial struggle faced by many Americans is causing more and more of them to give up their horses, sometimes by simply turning them loose, which seems to be the case in Arizona. The Arizona Department of Agriculture reported 1,254 calls about stray horses over a two-year period ending in January 2010.
The state is often left caring for the horses it collects. Horse rescue groups lobbied the state to create a registry of certified rescue groups and to promote them as places that would help owners struggling to care for their horses. The state's new Equine Rescue Registry will list state-certified horse rescues that meet veterinarian-approved standards. Rescues hope the registry will reduce the number of abandoned horses by providing a resource for people looking for a home for their animal. Over the past year, horse rescues helped create standards for the registry, which include an inspection and letter of recommendation by a veterinarian. You can read more at http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/11/03/20101103arizona-horse-haven-registry.html#ixzz14HR9LvI6.