This year has been one of highs and lows for equestrians with a number of events and incidents drawing the attention of the wider community. The equestrian action at the Rio Olympics and Paralympics undoubtedly showcased the best of the FEI disciplines to a massive audience. The Aussies improved on their sixth place four years prior in London to take out the bronze medal in the Team Eventing.
Yet it was eventing that brought several of the low moments of 2016, the Australian eventing community left reeling after the death of a young Australian rider in March and then another just one month later. Three more international riders died in eventing competitions in 2016, leaving many to ponder what can be done to make the sport of eventing safer.
Another low point has been the number of cruelty cases against horses this year; the sheer scale of neglect in several cases creating shock and anger at the appalling state in which so many horses have been found. Let’s hope that this is a trend that’s NOT repeated in 2017.
On a brighter note the year has finished on a high for the tens of thousands that descended on the Melbourne Showground between 17-20 November for EQUITANA. Hoofbeats staffers Sandy Hannan and Diane Bawden were there and highlights of the event are included in this issue.
With horses prone to mosquito borne diseases the articles in The Green Horse are timely. Back to its usual eight pages after a one-off reduction in size last issue, we know this is a busy time of year on the property preparing it for everything an Australian summer can bring.
With Christmas mere weeks away the Hoofbeats team is looking forward to a break over the holiday period but the office will remain attended for those looking for last minute Christmas gift subscriptions. With such a fantastic subscription prize up for grabs, thanks to our very generous contributors, now’s the time to treat yourself as well. You never know, you could be the next lucky reader to receive the call letting you know you’re a winner. Full details on the bumper Christmas Prize Pack you can win this edition can be viewed here http://www.hoofbeats.com.au/competitions/dj1617christmashamper.html
Inside the issue – Volume 38 number 4
PROVE The Rein Part 1 Contact
Contact is a common word in the equestrian world, and we have all heard it at some stage: but what does it really mean, and why is it such an important consideration for all riders? Professional event rider, horse trainer and coach Sophie Warren explains that contact can be interpreted and used in a number of different ways across a variety of equestrian sports.
The Horse’s Water Works
The horse’s urinary system performs a number of vital functions. It’s important to recognise what’s normal so any problems that may occur can be addressed promptly. Author Kaye Meynell explains the role of the equine urinary system with the functions of the kidneys, bladder and urethra; diseases that can occur and what can happen when there’s a problem.
Surviving Snake Bite
Victorian harness race trainer, Lance Justice, fought hard to save his horse, Love Ina Chevy, after it was bitten by an eastern brown snake and an attending vet suggested euthanasia was probably the best option. Michael Howard from Harness Racing Victoria explains how Lance helped his gelding with round the clock care, assistance from family and friends, and some backyard innovation to help his horse fight his way back from the brink of death.
Exercises Under Saddle part 2
Horsemanship practitioner Tanja Kraus outlined how to teach your horse to respond to cues during ground handling in the October/November issue. Now performing these under saddle, these six exercises heighten the horse’s responsiveness to the rider and improve their suppleness and strength to perform better under saddle in any discipline. They are also an ideal pre-ride warm up to prepare the horse mentally and physically for a training session, getting them ‘switched on’ and listening to the aids.
Pulling the Mane
After plaiting horses professionally for more than fifteen years, Nicole Groves has learnt plenty of tips and tricks to ensure winning presentation. Before plaiting the mane it’s often thinned out to create a mane that’s a manageable length and thickness for showing and plaiting. Nicole runs through how to do it and the tools she uses to ensure it’s as stress free a process as possible for the horse.
Tailored to a Perfect Silhouette
The revolution in materials and styling of competition wear has made it possible for riders of all shapes and sizes to find riding wear to fit their shape and riding requirements. Wendy Elks explains how it’s possible to dress for success with tips from those considered some of the most knowledgeable in Australia – Caroline Wagner of Wagners Saddlery and Peter Williams, who has been designing riding clothes for more than fifty years.
A number of high profile welfare cases, involving many horses, have left the Australian equestrian community shocked at the state of the animals involved and asking how could it have happened. Wendy Elks speaks to the groups involved in helping these horses found suffering from extreme neglect.
The Importance of Turn-out
Kit Prendegast explains why horses need to keep moving for their gut health, along with the benefits of socialising and foraging for their mental well-being, joint, respiratory and digestive health. Owners need to recognise the negative outcomes that can result from the way that many horses are being kept and why it’s important that turn out time is maximised.
Brumbies in the New Age
They’re the stuff of legends, roaming over vast tracts of the countryside and considered beautiful animals that helped build the nation by some, and feral pests by others. How many should be allowed to remain in certain areas is presently under debate with the Australian Government’s Draft Plan of Management of the Brumby suggesting numbers be controlled by aerial and ground shooting, a method many find abhorrent due to risk of prolonged pain and suffering.
The Australian Brumby Challenge
This unique Australian event sees totally wild brumbies partnered with experienced trainers and taken from wild to be ready to be re-homed in 150 days.
In Front of The Leg
Australian equestrian journalist and dressage competitor Sarah Warne explains In Front of The Leg, a term that can leave some riders confused as to what it means and how to achieve it. A prompt and correct response to the aid with the appropriate level of energy is the aim as the rider activates the horse’s hind end to put it in front of the rider’s forward aids.
The Centre of the Saddle
The third in this series on saddles, which has so far covered the fashion and function of the saddle and the underbelly of saddle design, in this article veterinarian and master saddle fitter Dr Ian Bidstrup turns his attention to the middle section of the saddle and the girth attachments.
Nutrients in the Soil
Equine veterinarian and consultant nutritionist Dr Jennifer Stewart explains how the nutrients found in Australian soils can vary markedly, having an impact on the quality of the horse’s pasture and potential deficiencies in their diet. She suggests that supplementation may be required, especially in winter and spring, when horses are grazed on deficient pastures for extended periods.
EQUITANA Melbourne Highlights
After a two year wait it was all there for the thousands who attended – Shopping, High Performance, Education … it was undoubtedly the complete horse experience with plenty for everyone! Included in this overview are Patrik Kittel’s Master Class, The Brumby Challenge, World Cup Show Jumping, The Way of the Horse and photos from around the event. Stay tuned for the new products at Equitana show case in the February/March issue.
Inside The Green Horse – Your guide to sustainable horse keeping
After wet conditions across Australia and warmer temperatures, mosquito numbers are soaring. It’s important horse owners take steps to reduce their numbers around the property given there’s a number of health problems that can affect horses that are bitten.
Stable Staples – Essential Herbs and Homeopathics for Emergencies.
The Horse Herbalist Angela Davison suggests herbal remedies that should be included in all horses stable care kit. She also covers how to check your horse’s vital signs.
Horse property specialist Cynthia Cooper advocates the prevention of overgrazing with the sacrifice and track system, which is based on the principles of ‘paddock paradise’.
Mosquitos are a major carrier of disease that can affect not only people, but horses as well.
Muscovy Ducks for Fly Control
This friendly, interesting and entertaining breed of duck can be a particularly useful addition to the property.
Please Explain – Experienced horse people answer these questions:
What is an Enterolith?
Does my horse lack Vitamin E?
What is cadence?
How can I calm my panicked horse?
How do I make my stirrups even?
Plus Dr Peter Huntington of Kentucky Equine Research offers his opinion from a veterinary and nutritionist perspective to the October/November article What’s in the Bag?
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Remember all current subscribers are in the draw to win this great prize, drawn in January. A subscription to Hoofbeats also makes a terrific Christmas Gift so head to http://www.hoofbeats.com.au/ to subscribe, with print ($43) and digital versions ($29.99) available, or phone the office to arrange it on 08 9397 0506.
To all of our readers, advertisers, contributors and supporters, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy 2017. We look forward to bringing you more of what you’d like to read in the magazine in the new year, the 39th year of Hoofbeats’ publication.
The Hoofbeats Team