News Notes for December 15, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010
Posted by Lynndee Kemmet

This week’s News Notes is brought to you by Back on Track, offering a full line of natural health products to help you and your horse enjoy a pain-free holiday season.

This weekend’s dressage shows have a definite holiday theme. The news from Canada reports on a battle between a dressage horse owner and a government agency that is attempting to send imported horses back to France. The Bear Spot Foundation is working to save horses from slaughter and help children at the same time. A barn in Indiana that focuses on therapeutic riding gets into the holiday spirit. And a high-profile marriage combines tennis and horses.
We’re deep into the winter holiday season but it’s the warmer climates that are playing host to this weekend’s dressage shows. Still, this weekend’s competitions come with names that evoke a clear holiday theme. Somis, California is hosting the Holiday Dressage show (www.dresagetimes.com). And in Loxahatchee, Florida, competitors will gather this weekend for the White Fences Polar Express (www.whitefencesflorida.com).

From the Toronto Sun in Canada comes news of the troubles of two dressage stallions imported from France. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) wants the horses shipped back to France, but their owner is fighting that, partly because the horses are not healthy enough to travel. Owner Paola Zerafa reported in the news that the horses have legs that are heavily swollen and that their skin has come off around their halters. The CFIA put the horses in quarantine last month with an importer who falsified their papers. In addition to the problem of falsified papers, CFIA fears the horses might have a sexually transmitted disease, an accusation Paola denies. Paola wants a private vet to see the horses, but the importer, Bryan Doyle, wants the board and care bill for the horses since they’ve been in quarantine – a reported $27,000 – paid before he’ll allow a vet. The Sun article reports that one of Paola’s horses already died in quarantine at the Doyle farm. You can read the whole story at http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2010/12/13/16537651.html.

The Bear Spot Foundation made news this week with its new program that seeks to help both horses and humans. The Foundation is hitting the auctions that are often the last step to the slaughterhouse for many horses and plans to buy some of these horses. The horses will be nursed back to health by the children who are part of the Foundation’s equine facilitated psychotherapy program. And once recovered, the horses will be found new homes. Much research has shown that nursing animals back to health is extremely beneficial to people and Bear Spot believes that helping the horses will help the children in Bear Spot’s psychotherapy program heal part of themselves. Anyone interested in helping Bear Spot with its latest venture can contact the Foundation at 978-287-1409.  

And continuing on the theme of the therapeutic benefits of horses with a holiday theme, the Post-Tribune in Indiana reported on the annual “Deck the Stalls” held by Exceptional Equestrians Unlimited in Hobart, Indiana. The event is meant to bring some holiday cheer to the farm’s therapy students, the general public and to the horses. Even Santa and Mrs. Claus made an appearance. However, their sleigh was pulled by a tractor rather than reindeer. The center of attention in the annual event is the horses that play an important role in the farm’s therapy program. They were treated to a medley of Christmas carols and edible treats. You can read more about the event and those who benefit from the therapy program at http://www.post-trib.com/news/2960596,hbstalls1212.article.

It’s not dressage, but it’s still interesting news that came out this past week. The first FEI World Reining Finals are set to be held in 2011. The FEI announced this past week that the finals will be held in Malmö, Sweden. In 2010, the U.S. played host for the first time to the World Equestrian Games, but in 2011, the World Reining Championships will be held outside North America for the first time. It’s clear evidence of the growing popularity of reining outside of the U.S. and Canada. The FEI reports that more than 40 nations are now involved in the discipline.

The Associated Press reported this week that tennis and horses seem to go together. Tennis star Martina Hingis has married Thibault Hutin, a top French equestrian. The marriage took place in Paris in a private ceremony. The wedding was reportedly celebrated at the prestigious Georges V hotel.