The Horse: Stretching Out the Kinks

There’s nothing like a good stretch -when you wake up in the morning, during breaks at work, or before and after your workout. In human physiology, we know about stretching and its benefits for the athlete. Many practitioners and physical therapists recommend stretching for their equine clients. Are the techniques really helpful, and if so, why? Or are we endangering our horses’ health with some of the stretches we make them do?

The Horse: Stretching Out the Kinks

The Horse: Navicular Bursography

Navicular disease once was called ‘the last resort of the diagnostically destitute (practitioner),’ based on the syndrome’s ambiguous symptoms and the practitioner’s inability to isolate definitely the source of the horse’s pain. In the 1980s, navicular disease was believed to be the most over-diagnosed lameness in American horses. The reason? You could never really be sure what was causing the lameness. Symptoms were lumped together; owners demanded a name to put on the lameness. This article provides an update on where things are at with research and prevention, read to the end to the “Big Picture” paragraph.

The Horse: Navicular Bursography

Australian 3 Day Event Adelaide

The corer at work preparing the ground to make the going better for the horses. With 39 degrees Celsius predicted for dressage and 34 for Crosscountry day the course has been shortened to about 8 minutes from 11.

On the first day of competition at the Australian International Horse Trials in Adelaide Megan Jones set a new International record for the new 4 star dressage test and leads by almost after 10 points after dressage. At the post dressage news conference the 4 front runners Megan Jones, Heath Ryan, Shane Rose, Sonja Johnston plus Event Organiser Gillian Rolton answered questions from the Media Pack. Most related to the shortening of the couurse due to continuing unseasonable heat. All felt comfortable with this and with riders at this level being able to gauge their horses wellbeing whilst competiting. Also none felt that the course was made too easy by the shortening, with plenty of questions still being asked of horse and rider.

 Show jumping day and it is predicted to be 40 again. Course walking. 

Stuart Tinney riding Vettori ended up winning the Australian International 3-Day Event in a tight finish with less than one time penalty separating from second place getter Megan Jones who took out second and third positions on Kirby Park Allofasudden and Kirby Park Irish Jester. The Australian team has emerged victorious against New Zealand in the Trans Tasman competition.

Complete pictures will be published soon at and

Tooradin Horse Trials October 2009

Another Horse Trials which I almost did not get to compete at as I ended up on the waiting list. Did not get a spot confirmed until the morning before. Dressage (very civilised time of 10.55 am) went well putting me in 11th spot. Showjumping in the afternoon did not go quite as smoothly with Occy looking at the Judge instead of jump 2 and getting a rail plus another rail later in the course.

Cross Country went very well on the Sunday. I did get slightly geographically embarrassed between jumps 7 and 9, but managed to find jump 8 after a quick circle back. And I did walk that part of the course 4 times as I knew navigation could be tricky at speed. I was right. Clear with 5.2 time penalties, putting me in 10th spot overall. No ribbon but a good comp. Just need to continue to work on the Showjumping.

Occy chilling out with his ice boots

Pre Novice Cross Country

2 star Showjumping

The Horse: Is Dietary Fat Really Healthy?

Marketing claims regarding the virtues of fat in equine diets are plentiful. Statements such as “Added dietary fat for improved performance,” “Increased stamina,” “Calm energy,” or “Improved coat and hoof condition” abound. Should we have concerns regarding dietary fat for horses?

The Horse: Is Dietary Fat Really Healthy?

Avenal Horse Trials @ Oaklands Huntclub

This is our first overnight trip with the yards. Had some time between the dressage test and showjumping about 3.40 to set them up. It was almost a 2 hour trip to get here and unfortunately Occy couldn’t quite hold on until we got here. Hope it dries out by the time I need to sleep in the Float.
This is also Occy’s first time under his new competition name Compadre 🙂
Compadre (Occy) in yard

A short clip from the Introductory Cross Country

Show Jumping Rider No 53

The horsetrials are currently held at the Oaklands Huntclub. And here is the proof at a demo ride from the Hunt.

Compadre (Occy) and myself ended up doing ok. 18th after dressage, 15th after Showjumping with one rail down (Occy had a look at the Oxer used for the first jump) and 7th after Cross country. He was quick and clear, 18 seconds under, needing me to slow him down at the end. Heart rate of 58 🙂

The Horse: High-Octane Diets

It probably comes as no surprise that a horse taking on the rigors of a 100-mile endurance race or a three-day event might need a different diet from one that ambles the trails around home or carries a child through the occasional weekend show. The question is, just how should the feeding plan differ for these high-performance equine athletes?

The Horse: High-Octane Diets

Melton Plains RC Horse Trials

Another long day. Left at 6am to get here by 8.30. Dressage was average leaving me 6th. Crosscountry started a bit over an hour late, which would not have been that bad, had the riders been told. But as it was the horses had to wait under saddle 🙁 . Ended up 5th even with a stop at the broken bridge due to Occy looking at the planks on it. Not being used to that as an acceptable footing surface for crosscountry, he didn’t want to go on it at first. But otherwise fun for all.

Abby Loveday on Fairlight Acres Karl from Ballarat ARC Level 5

Level 2 The Broken Bridge

The Horse : Pilates for Horses?

Preliminary Research results suggest you can strengthen a horse’s core muscles to assist with healthe and performance.

“So far our studies have found that when the horses have done core training exercises for a few weeks, they have better posture, they stand better, they’re rounder, they’re more elevated through the withers, and they perform better, especially in the collected movements.” -Hilary M. Clayton, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS, Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University

The Horse: Pilates for Horses?

Study finds Expert and Novice Riders See Jumps differently

A study concludes that the training of riders in visual attention techniques might improve ridden performance and could reduce the number of accidents associated with lack of experience and/or rider error.

PubMed : The relationship between visual memory and rider expertise in a show-jumping context.

The Horse : Expert and Novice Riders See Jumps Differently, Study Says