Mid-South Eventing & Dressage Association

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  • 01/25/2019 2:04 PM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    A board of directors is only as strong as the members who comprise it; MSEDA has taken on new directors this year, each bringing something unique to the table. This issue will introduce Rachael Rosendaul of Crestwood.

    By Sarah E. Coleman

    The owner of Kentucky Tack Exchange in Crestwood, KY, Rachael Rosendaul is new to the MSEDA Board of directors, but no stranger to horses: She has long been immersed in the equine industry both personally (her daughter rides) and professionally. Deeply passionate about engaging junior members in MSEDA, Rachael said when she was first approached about being on the MSEDA board that she laughed—really hard.

    “Honestly I had never considered anything like this before. I’m a nobody in the riding world. My resume doesn’t include equine accomplishments or high-profile jobs. I don’t ride; I’m a mom who happens to own a little shop in a tiny white house in Crestwood,” she explains.

    So what pushed her to accept the nomination and take a seat on the MSEDA board? “I may not be qualified from a resume perspective, but I do have a passion about getting juniors involved in MSEDA,” Rachael says. “And I have some ideas to back it up.”

    One of her main concerns: Why so few juniors are MSEDA members. And, “more importantly, why the ones who are MSEDA members don’t complete their volunteer hours to be eligible for prizes.”

    “As parents, we should be teaching our young riders to get involved and help out--especially since so many [parents] do that for them at shows they attend. I am shocked that since Ruth [her daughter] and I have been members, there have been no more than 4 or 5 juniors qualified for prizes at the end of the year. I will change that,” she vows.


    Share the MSEDA Love

    MSEDA is not new to Rachael; she’s attended multiple awards banquets and loves all of it. “It’s fun for me to meet people who I don’t normally get to be with,” she explains of her enjoyment of the evening. “Cathy Wieschhoff was a great emcee for the evening [in 2018]--too funny! Also, I enjoyed the clinic on Sunday. I clearly wasn’t riding, but got to talk to other members as we watched.”

    Rachael takes her role on the MSEDA board seriously. With a daughter who rides competitively, she is no stranger to the show ring and the ins and outs of the competition world. “My desire for MSEDA is to be a great starting point for juniors in their show careers,” she explains. “USEA is important, too, but there are so many kids who may never ride in USEA shows due to funding, proximity to shows, training, transportation, et cetera. MSEDA is a perfect first step for some of them to challenge themselves, as well as earn points for awards they might not be able to receive in USEA.

    “I have so many parents and kids through my shop each week who are frustrated with exactly this problem [the expense of showing],” she notes. “I’m excited to start working on sharing the benefits of MSEDA membership to those who aren’t yet familiar with the organization.”

    Understanding the strain competitive riding can place on family finances, Rachael is looking to make sure equestrians truly understand the benefits of MSEDA membership. “I’m really excited to watch the membership of juniors increase: This is my No. 1 goal,” she says.

    However, she’s personally excited to become more involved with MSEDA as it will deepen her personal equine community as well. “I’m really excited to meet more people in the horse community! My shop, Kentucky Tack Exchange, caters to just about all riding disciplines and I love learning about each.”


    Connecting the Dots

    Rachael’s passion for horse people runs as deeply as her passion for engaging the younger generation. “My husband has stopped asking me how much money I made that day and instead asking who did I get to talk to!” she says. “I find that mostly I connect people within the horse community to instructors, products, barns, shows, et cetera. So the way I see it, the more people I know in the riding community, the better my customers will be!

    Rachael understands that a role on the MSEDA board is not one to be taken lightly and she’s prepared to give it her all. “The commitment of the board of directors for MSEDA is real. These men and women work very hard to produce quality shows and events for riders and their membership,” she explains. “I’ve been so impressed with their dedication and work ethic inside the committees. I hope to be able to work that hard and contribute as they do.”






  • 01/25/2019 1:18 PM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    The horse show world is a small one that becomes even more tightknit as you drill down into the breeds and disciplines. MSEDA is full of kind, generous members, but the efforts that went into helping two junior members attend the Lynn Symansky clinic is nothing short of astounding.

    By Sarah E. Coleman
    Photos: Sweet Shots

     Photo by Sweet Shots  Photo by Sweet Shots

    This past December, two unsuspecting MSEDA Junior members were offered an amazing opportunity: The ability to ride in a clinic with international four-star event rider Lynn Symansky.

    Ruth Rosendaul, 15, and Eleanor “Nora” Brown, 14, were delighted at the thought of auditing the Lynn Symansky clinic at Majestic Farm in Batavia, Ohio. Though one girl couldn’t go because of lack of transportation and the other couldn’t attend because of financial strain, the eventing community made silk out of a sow’s ear when two already-registered horses were unable to attend the clinic: They gifted their spots to the two passionate junior members.


    The Riders Repertoires

    Nora has been riding Stone Place Stables since she was 5; she now rides with Debbie Iezzi. She rides her own horse, Leal, who was purchased by her parents on Dec. 6, 2016. Nora competes at Beginner Novice and will begin competing at Novice in 2019. She’s been riding for almost 9 years and has been competing 6 or 7 of those years, says her mom, Megan.

    Ruth began taking lessons when she was about 7 years old, though she went to pony camp the two years prior. She currently rides Kaloosh with trainer Angela Ariatti out of Simpsonville, KY.

    The story of Ruth and Kaloosh is truly one every horse-crazy kid has dreamed of. “My parents told me for a year we would never own a horse,” says Ruth. “They lied! I got Kaloosh on December 24, 2015. It was their plan all along to buy him as a surprise for me.”

    “Now they say I will never have a second horse … I hope they are lying there, too!” Ruth says with a smile. Kaloosh, an OTTB, was sent to Angela’s to be a lesson horse. Though originally scared to ride him, Ruth got to know—and love—Kaloosh. “We’ve worked very hard for several years. He’s turned out to be a great horse, with a lot of hard work from both of us,” Ruth explains.


    More Surprises in Store

    Ruth has been in the show ring for four years; last year she competed at USPC Championships in Tryon, N.C., and qualified for AECs, but she didn’t attend because of the distance to get to the competition venue. “We currently compete at Training and are having more fun that we should be,” she laughs.

    A perfect candidate for the clinic, Ruth is hungry. Hungry for knowledge, hungry for information and hungry to watch good riders ride. “My mom originally told me about the clinic when we signed up for the MSEDA banquet, and I thought it would be a cool opportunity to watch and learn because we didn’t have a ride for Kaloosh up to Ohio,” she explains. “We don’t own a trailer and have to rely on others for rides. My trainer had just had shoulder surgery and couldn’t help me, but I was happy with the thought of auditing the clinic! Just the chance to meet [Lynn Symansky] after cheering her on at Rolex for years was exciting. Little did I know that my dream of riding with her would actually happen!”

    Ruth’s mom, Rachael Rosendaul, got a call from Julie Congleton a few days before the banquet, saying another rider in the clinic had to scratch because her horse was hurt and that she wanted to gift her entry fee to a junior rider.

    “Julie knew I would be auditing the clinic and asked if we wanted the spot,” Ruth explained. “My mom explained to Julie that we didn’t have a ride for Kaloosh … Julie, my mom and Angela started calling people to see if we could find a ride.”


    An Abscess for One is a Windfall for Another

    From there, the story gets even sweeter. “We were told by Julie Congleton that Martha Lambert was also attending the clinic and may be able to give us a ride. Julie called Martha, but her horse had an abscess and she was now unable to go,” Ruth recounts. “Martha said that she would gift her spot in the clinic if someone could give Kaloosh a ride to Majestic Farm. This made my mom think about a friend of mine who was also planning on auditing the clinic: Nora Brown.”

    And then the rest of the plan simply fell into place. “My mom called Nora’s mom and said if she could drive [she has a trailer] then both of us could go to the clinic! Perfect!!!” Ruth said. “We couldn’t believe how everyone worked together and were so generous to people they didn’t know.” 


    The Takeaways

    Both girls learned so many things at the clinic, they say. “Lynn really taught me how to move my elbows and when I should prepare for the fence,” says Ruth. “Kaloosh and I have been working with this for a while; I was so happy to hear Lynn’s tips and tricks--I can’t wait to use them in the show ring and everyday riding!”

    “The neatest thing at the clinic was Lynn’s ability to talk and teach a wide variety of people at different skill levels and abilities without even knowing us or our horses,” says Nora. “She was so in-tune with everything. It was amazing.”


    Goal Diggers

    Ruth and Nora both have aspirations for their 2019 competition year. “My riding goals for this year include getting more confident at Training,” says Ruth. “We want to achieve better dressage scores by having our tests be more accurate and have him be more supple in the bridle. For showjumping, I want to find a better balance and find our distances at a more open stride. For cross-country, we want to achieve the same goal as stadium, and keep him being confident and having fun as we ride faster over larger obstacles.”

    “My riding goals for this year are to not be so nervous in stadium jumping and trust my horse fully,” says Nora. “He will take care of me!”

    When asked about their favorite part of riding, neither junior member mentioned the ribbons. “I enjoy so much about riding that it’s super-hard to decide what I like best!” said Ruth. “I think my most favorite [part of riding] is having a connection with the horse and the barn friends I have met. Kaloosh … is my best friend and I feel that it makes riding 100 times more fun. Horses need a lot of care--it’s not just about the riding--and I love that part of it, too.”

    “The thing I like most about riding is the freedom I feel,” explains Nora. “I love the wind blowing in my hair and just racing through the open cross-country fields. I’m not very competitive with other people--just myself. I feel the happiest [when I am] at the barn with my horse, just hanging out doing homework or sharing a snack with him.”

    With riders as dedicated as Ruth and Nora, the future of the eventing community is bright. Each girl is deeply thankful for the riders who allowed them to take part in the Lynn Symanksy clinic. Leading by example is not new for MSEDA members, but it was especially powerful on a cold day in December, when two girls were given the opportunity to ride with an idol—which neither will ever forget.

     Photo by Sweet Shots  Photo by Sweet Shots

  • 12/16/2018 9:23 AM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    Holidays are hard—there’s presents to find, buy, wrap and mail; meals to shop for and prepare; travel arrangements to make; cards to buy and address; and so, so much more. It’s important to remember those who care for our horses when our schedules get a bit too wild; because of them, we can skip a day or two at the farm and know our four-legged loves are well cared for and happy.

    By Sarah E. Coleman


    Working with horses can seem a thankless job at times—the rain, snow and wind can be relentless in winter, and the heat and humidity brutal in summer months. Whether you board your horse and are looking for a thoughtful way to thank a barn owner and the farm help, or you’re a farm owner looking for a way to show your appreciation for your staff this time of year, a little thought goes a long way. Consider these gifts as a small way to say “thank you” for the care your horse receives.

    • Purchase a prepaid cards to Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts or other local coffee shop where they might stop in and get a warm drink before work.

    • Gift cards, whether they’re general Visa cards or to a gas station you know they frequent, are always welcomed, as are cards to stores like Kroger or Wal-Mart. There’s something so nice about not having to pay for life’s necessities like soap or paper towels every so often!

    • If you know their sizes, consider buying warm winter garb like gloves, an Under Amour base layer, wool socks or a TrailHead beanie (that feels more like wearing a ball cap!). Want to splurge a bit more? Winter riding breeches, Carhartts or gift cards to stores like Gander Mountain or Cabela’s are all welcomed holiday treats.

    • Any items engraved with a special horse’s name is heartfelt, whether on a bracelet, keychain or charm. Additionally, saddlepads, hats, bumperstickers, jackets, sweatshirts and more emblazoned with a farm name makes everyone feel like part of a team.

    • If you board at a barn where the barn owner or staff will be feeding Christmas morning, offer to feed and do chores so they might spend a meaningful morning with their family and little ones (as long as this is OK with your family!). A respite from the grind of everyday farm work is appreciated any time, but even more so during the holidays if it garners them more time with family and friends.

    • Give the gift of knowledge. Know someone who’s hungry for more horse info, all the time? Get them a gift to an equestrian magazine, a pass to audit or ride in a local clinic, or include a note that you’ll download some good equine-based podcasts right to their phone.

    • Homemade treats, for both humans and horses, are always welcomed—especially if the receiver has first dibs on whether or not to share!

    • If a bit of pampering is in order, a massage or manicure/pedicure is thoughtful. Even if these services are outside the box for some farm staff, the self-care is necessary, even if they don’t make it a habit.

    • Get other boarders together to offer a larger, farm-centric gift, such as a new farm sign, trailer decals or other, more-expensive gift.

    • Not into monetary gifts? Create a coupon book that offers anything from free tack cleaning to feeding and turnout to clipping and mane pulling.

    No matter what you choose to gift—or not—making a point to thank those who help you with your horsey habit is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Make it a point to show your thankfulness this holiday season.


  • 11/21/2018 11:52 AM | Anonymous

    For many horse owners, trailering a horse is a routine part of equine ownership. However, transporting a live animal shouldn’t be taken lightly. While some precautions aren’t necessary for short trips, they are advisable for longer jaunts.

    By Sarah E. Coleman


    It’s the time of year that some horse owners begin to think about heading South to continue competing and get more training where the weather is a bit more pleasant. While easy to get into the groove once they arrive at their destination, there is a bit of prep work to be done beforehand for both horse and transportation devices to ensure a safe trip.

    While there are many things horse owners know they must do before loading a horse into a trailer (like checking tire pressure and that all the lights work), there are some things that get lost in the shuffle. The following guidelines can help ensure a safe journey:

    • Make sure the horse has the right paperwork to cross state lines—and make it’s easily accessible (as in, put it in the truck). Additionally, open a conversation with your vet to be sure you have the right vaccinations on board for the disease threat your horse will be exposed to while he is away from his home farm.
    • When stopping for fuel or to give your horse a rest, monitor your horse’s vital signs, including pulse and respiration rate, and have a quick peek at his gums or test his skin with the pinch test to be sure he’s not becoming dehydrated. Once you arrive at your destination, watch him carefully, checking these things as well as his temperature at least once a day.
    • It goes without saying that you should have a well-stocked first-aid kit, but be sure it’s within reach should you need it in a hurry.
    • While the length of time to travel before stopping and allowing horses to rest is highly debated, the average consensus seems to be that horses should be allowed to rest every 3 to 4 hours during transport for a minimum of 20 minutes.
    • Consider carrying more than one spare tire and make sure that the spare, the aid to lift the trailer and any other tools are not so buried in the trailer that they can’t be easily reached.
    • While dehydration is a major concern during transport, talk with your vet to determine if electrolyte supplementation is necessary; UC Davis reports that “excessive or uncontrolled administration of electrolytes may actually have an adverse effect on water and electrolyte balance in the horse.”
    • An additional conversation to have with your vet is if a horse should be offered a medication to prevent ulcers prior to, during and immediately after shipping.
    • Consider withholding grain the day of the trip (he will have loads of hay to nibble) to reduce the risk of colic.


    Additionally, to lessen the chance your horse will get ill during transport, consider the following:

    • Ensure the horse has the ability to lower his head while traveling so he can clear his airway
    • Consider shipping with a buddy to make the trip less stressful
    • Make sure the trailer is as ventilated as possible; however, windows should be opened or closed as weather indicates to keep the trailer at a comfortable temperature for the horse
  • 11/21/2018 11:24 AM | Anonymous

    Thanksgiving is the time of year when we seem to get a brief reprieve in the busy-ness of life. The summer chores, horse shows and events have slowed and we can catch our breath for a minute before we delved into the madness of the holidays.

    By Sarah E. Coleman


    As horse people, we are innately tied into the rhythm of the seasons; of the coming of spring and shedding season; of the heat of summer and stockpiling hay in preparation of cold weather to come; and of the cold as it comes and how our horses prepare themselves for the chill. We are blessed to be in nature, to see the beauty that surrounds us and to deeply love another creature. This holiday is a wonderful time of year to sit and reflect on the past year and be thankful for all that has been brought to us, and to look ahead with hope and optimism.

    In the spirit of thankfulness, we asked MSEDA members: What are you most thankful for with regards to horse sand farm life?

    My horses are truly my therapy. I am happiest when riding and a bad day is made better after sitting on my horse. They are my church pew. -- Molly DePerna

    Friends made with other horse-crazies. -- Marie Petroni

    My daughter has learned so much through riding I can’t name them all to be thankful for. -- Michelle Metcalf

    Other horse owners are thankful for a plethora of things. These include:
    Barn kitties! – Melissa King


    The pure unadulterated joy and love he brings me. Especially now with everything going on in my life, he is my everything. – Lori White

    The fact that it’s an instant group of friends/family every time you move to a new place where you know no one. – Marion Maybank

    Centeredness. Gratitude. Learning to be vulnerable. – Carli McKelvey

    Horses took me from little old New Zealand to travel the world and eventually settle in my childhood dream state SPECIFICALLY Lexington! I owe them everything. – Emma Lyster

    I am thankful horses are the reason I see the beautiful farm sunrise, every day. I am thankful for the friends and career they’ve brought me. I am thankful horses have taught (and constantly remind me) to be more patient, always seek more knowledge, and always look to improve.  What I like about the equestrian lifestyle? The saddlepads, definitely! – Kimberly McCormack

    I was finally able to start taking lessons when I turned 30. Before those lessons, I only rode Western for one summer as a young teen. I knew it would be expensive. I knew I was already so behind the game due to starting so late in life and never sitting in an English (barely there!) saddle. I also knew that this was my chance to realize a lifelong dream, even if I would only be able to do it, at most, 60 minutes a week. Flash forward to 8 years later, I am so thankful for my trainers who taught, pushed and yelled at me and told me that I COULD do it. I am so thankful for all the friends and connections I have made because of riding. It is a community that I'm proud to be a part of. I am thankful for my beautiful mare that, after 2.5 years of owning her, I still can't believe is mine. I am thankful for my ribbons, no matter what color, that remind me of how far I've come and of the goals that I still want to achieve. I am thankful for my husband who fully supports my habit. Riding has enriched my life in ways that I never would have expected. – Sarah Seitz

    Horses give me relief from my anxiety (believe it or not). When I had to take a break to have my son, it was the worst time in my life mental-health wise. Now that I'm back in it, I can't go without. I missed them so much and they have saved me so many times. – Drew Kemerling

    On the list of bazillion things I'm thankful for I am most grateful for all the people I meet through the barn and horses. My very best friendships in the world all began around a horse. – Tracy Walling

  • 11/05/2018 8:08 AM | Anonymous

    Horse show warm-up rings can be busy enough to strike fear in even the most-seasoned professional’s heart. Use these tips to survive the chaos so you can shine in the show ring.

    By Sarah E. Coleman



    As the weather gets colder, warming up before a dressage test or jumping round becomes even more important to keep equine limbs and muscles limber. However, with the onset of cooler temps comes the issue of limited space to warm up, as all competitors are forced to do their riding preparation indoors before stepping into the show ring.

    The warm-up can be a chaotic place for even the most seasoned exhibitors. Horses seem like they are going every which way, people are calling (or not calling) fences you happen to be riding by and without fail there is at least one horse who is truly losing his mind. Add in trainers calling out instructions to their students, people standing and having a chat on the rail or in the middle of the ring, and you have one potentially harrowing experience, for both humans and horses.

    So how can you make the most of your show-ring prep time? While many of these are common sense, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of how to make the warm up as safe as possible for all horses and riders.

    • Make sure you are 100 percent prepared to work before you walk into the warm-up ring. This means having the girth tightened, helmet secured, stirrups adjusted and gloves on.
    • Keep a safe distance between horses. At least one horse length between you and any other horse (and more space for more-anxious horses) ensures your safety and that of your horse.
    • Always pass left shoulder to left shoulder.
    • Go with the flow of traffic whenever possible. Some horses cannot mentally handle other horses coming at them head on, no matter how many warm-up rings they have been ridden in.
    • Look where you’re going. Yes, your horse’s ears are super cute, but looking up and using your peripheral vision will help you know where others are in the ring to keep you both safe.
    • Speed takes the rail. If you’re going slower than others in the ring, or if you’re working on specific movements or lateral work, stick to the inside track.
    • If you’re in a warm up ring for jumping, be sure to call your fence, every time. If there are multiple warm-up fences, call out which one you’re taking (red cross rail, middle vertical, oxer, etc.) so others have time to get out of the way.
    • In a jump schooling ring, if at all possible, avoid the urge to circle. If you don’t see a distance, riding to the side of the fence is preferable to circling and potentially getting in another rider’s way.
    • If you’re sitting on a coffee-and-chat horse that doesn’t need a lot of show-ring prep, get in the ring, school and get out. Don’t lollygag around, chatting with friends or riding multiple riders abreast. Others need the limited space in the ring more than you do.


    Remember that the warm-up ring is not a place to train your horse; it’s meant to be a place to go in, show the horse his surroundings and work off some anxious energy before going in to compete.  Additionally, if your horse truly is having a breakdown in the warmup, it’s best to remove yourself from the situation before you make things worse of other riders. Your best bet to warm up may be hacks up and down the driveway or lunging in a smaller area outside of the designated warm-up ring.

    Minding your manners and being aware of other riders goes a long way to making the warm-up ring safe for both horses and riders. Understanding that you may not get to work on everything you would like to and remaining flexible will allow you to have a safe, productive warm-up ride and set the stage for a stellar show-ring round.

  • 10/12/2018 10:40 AM | Anonymous

    For most of us, nerves are par for the course during competition. But the anxiety you feel doesn’t have to zap your concentration.

    By Sarah E. Coleman

    So, it’s show day. You’ve prepared as much as you possibly can, from the hours in the saddle to memorizing your test to cleaning every piece of tack (and the horse!) to the best you’re able. So, why so anxious, even with all this preparation?

    Nerves and anxiety at horse shows are normal, but it’s imperative that you learn to channel your nervous energy so you don’t make your mount a raging lunatic or get so overwhelmed that you literally don’t make sense.

    Changing Anxiety to Enthusiasm

    Equestrians are nothing if not passionate. The main reason riders get anxious at horse shows is that it’s something about which they care deeply. While this is a wonderful thing (it would be silly to spend that much time and money on something if we don’t care about the outcome!), it’s imperative that these emotions be kept in check so that you give yourself and your horse the chance to really shine.

    Anxiety in a controllable form is not a bad thing; this emotion heightens your awareness of what is going on and quickens your response time. Excitement and nervousness elicit the same physical response; so be excited to horse show—not nervous to go in the ring!

    The Bare Minimum to Keep Nerves at Bay

    While some of these seem silly—or downright impossible if you’re insanely crunched for time—each of these is crucial to setting yourself up for show-ring success. Excess nervous energy has been the demise of many a dressage test or showjumping round, so do your best to quell your anxiety by:

    • Keeping a steady stream of nutrition in your body, especially if you ride late in the day
    • Breathing deeply, taking air all the way into your lungs; shallow breathing can cause you to hunch your shoulders and channel anxiety to your horse.
    • Staying hydrated. While this goes without saying in the summer months, hydration is just as important in cooler weather, as well.
    • Getting some sleep. While this can seem impossible sometimes, rest helps calm nerves and allows you to focus to the best of your ability during the show.
    • Visualizing your success. We’ve all been taught to ride our test, cross-county track and showjumping round in our heads while talking with our coaches. But don’t let the visualization stop there! Repeatedly seeing yourself completing each phase well helps calm nerves about the unexpected and give you a plan on how to deal with issues if things go awry.

    Narrow Your Focus


    One very important thing to remember when horse showing is that the key at each show is progress. Progress in one thing, not all the things at once (wouldn’t that be nice!). While this can be incredibly hard to remember in the heat of the moment, think long and hard (and have a chat with your trainer) about what you want to accomplish in each phase. Focusing on one or two key things instead of a generalized “I want to do the best I can!” can help alleviate some of the anxiety associated with competition.

    Whatever you do, unless your horse is being extremely fractious or you’re literally completely incapacitated with fear, don’t scratch. Just like reinforcing a negative behavior in a horse, scratching allows you the out your brain is looking for if it’s overly anxious. Avoiding the issue won’t make it go away—you truly only get better at managing nerves by going in the ring.

    Ways to Manage Show Day Stress

    Some riders prefer to spend time with their horses before competition, grooming and braiding, performing routine, monotonous tasks to take the edge off their nerves. Others give themselves a pep talk, focusing on the positive. Though many times this has to be a conscious effort, saying to yourself “I am calm” instead of “I will NOT get nervous” can lead to a much more productive warmup and ride.

    MSEDA member Kristen Brennan says she manages show nerves with wine and Brooke Schafer seconds that with bourbon. Ellen Thompson jokingly says yelling at your mom helps with anxiety management, as well.


    Jacqui Cruz goes through her show day like a groom, which helps trick her mind into a state of preparedness. “I get there probably way too early to feed and clean, lunge if necessary, bathe my horse or at least the legs if needed after lunging, and then go get a coffee and breakfast. It's weird, but it works!” she says.

    Amelia Jean Foster says that when she is anxious, she will “obsessively pick my stalls. I repeat my test/course incessantly. I clean tack. I drink a lot of water (if I can’t eat, I may as well keep myself hydrated) and coffee. I walk back and forth from the stalls to the ring. I check if rings are running on time,” she says. “I’ve long given up trying to eliminate the nerves, but instead channel the activities into a pattern to keep myself busy and focused on the upcoming task.”

    So what else can you do to help battle show-day nerves? Work to pinpoint exactly what it is that is making you anxious. Is it the fear of forgetting a test? Falling? Looking “bad” in front of your friends? Being able to directly address where your anxiety is stemming from will help you find ways to work around the issue. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box. A few minutes listening to a meditation app or blasting your favorite upbeat song may be just want you need to quell your competition nerves!

  • 09/05/2018 1:13 PM | Anonymous

    While there is no such thing as “too much” of some vitamins and minerals (meaning the horse excretes out what he doesn’t need), selenium is not one of them: even a little more than needed can be toxic to horses.

    By Sarah E. Coleman

    An essential trace mineral important for respiratory, immune system, muscle and thyroid health in horses, selenium has a narrow margin of safety, meaning more isn’t always better. The FDA recommends that an average, 1,000-pound horse receive just 3 mg of selenium per day. Horses can get selenium from the grass, hay and commercial feed they ingest.

    While it’s easy to see the amount of selenium in commercial feeds and supplements that have clearly labeled tags, what your horse ingests from grass and hay can be more difficult to determine. Many areas of the country have soils that are selenium deficient, meaning that the crops grown on them are also low in selenium, so supplementation to be sure a horse is getting the adequate amount may be needed. The majority of horses in the United States don’t get enough selenium from forage along.

    However, the converse can also be true: There are also areas of the country where selenium content in soil (and therefore hay) is quite high. Specific types of plants grown on this soil retain amounts of selenium that are toxic to horses. Thankfully, given adequate pasture, the majority of horses will avoid eating these plants. The amount of selenium in an area depends on what type of rock formed the soil.

    So how can you know how much selenium your horse is eating? You can get your pastures analyzed for selenium content by a county extension agent. Once you know if your soils are high in selenium or deficient in selenium, as well as how much selenium he is receiving from a commercial feed (if he eats one at the recommended feeding rate), you can determine if you need to supplement his selenium intake or not.

    You can also pull blood or serum to test your horse’s selenium levels. It’s important to note that the selenium concentrations change rapidly with selenium intake when testing serum, but a whole-blood test can remain elevated for up to 9 months after supplementation has ended.

    A map to the selenium content in soil by county can be found here: https://mrdata.usgs.gov/geochem/doc/averages/se/usa.html

    How Does Selenium Toxicity Present?

    Many of us remember the deaths of 21 polo ponies in 2009 that resulted from an overdose of selenium in the compounded medication they were receiving; while this is an extreme case, there are certain things that can indicate a horse is receiving too much selenium:
    Acute selenium poisoning:

    • Labored breathing
    • Muscle tremors
    • Gait abnormalities
    • Garlic-smelling breath

    Chronic selenium toxicity is more common and can take place over weeks or months. This type of toxicity can result in:

    • Excessive salivation
    • Abdominal pain
    • Paralysis
    • Lameness
    • Blindness
    • Death

    How Can I Tell If My Horse Has a Selenium Deficiency?

    A selenium deficiency can be difficult to determine. Many horses with selenium deficiencies have:

    • Poor hair coat
    • Work intolerance
    • Cardiomyopathy
    • Muscle inflammation

    Selenium deficiency may also cause white muscle disease, cataracts, retained placentas and stunt growth.

    While only necessary in small amounts, selenium is integral to a horse’s health and wellbeing.

  • 09/05/2018 1:08 PM | Anonymous

    In an effort to keep our membership educated and abreast of errors in competition that can be avoided, this issue will focus on showjumping and what can be done to reduce the chances of faults and disqualification that can happen in addition to the more run-of-the-mill time and dropped-rail penalties.

    By Sarah E. Coleman

    There are common mistakes among riders in all disciplines, and show jumping is no exception. While it may seem fairly straightforward (leave all the jumps up and jump the course in the allotted time), errors are still common during this phase, at all heights. Janice Holmes, an eventing trainer and USEF “r” judge in eventing, as well as MSEDA licensed in eventing, stadium and dressage, offers these insights to not gain any additional penalties (as well as stay in the judge’s good graces!):

    1.     Starting before the bell has rung. Be sure to listen for your signal. If two rings are going at the same time, know if you are a tone, bell or whistle. EV154 2.6
    2.     If you slide into an obstacle, listen for the signal. If there is no signal, you can continue and are charged four points for a knockdown. EV153.4
    If there is a signal, you have been charged with a refusal and must wait for the jump to be rebuilt so you can have another go at it. You will be charged 4 points for the refusal and 6 seconds will be added to your time. EV150.6.d
    3.     A jump blows down after the bell has rung, but before the competitor starts. The bell will eb run again and the jump will be reset. If the competitor does not stop, he continues at his own discretion. He may or may not be eliminate. EV152.9
    4.     You have a refusal at the B element of an A/B combination. You must re-jump element A. EV154.2.n
    5.     It is your responsibility to enter the ring when your name/number is called. You may be eliminated if it’s your turn and you don’t follow the directions from the warm-up steward. “My coach is not here,” “I am not ready” and “I didn’t know you were running early are not excuses, you should jump during your division. Posted times for show jumping are fairly accurate, and you should check with the stewards to see if they are running early or late. If you need to go out of order, check with the stewards and the warm-up volunteer BEFORE show jumping starts. With computer scheduling, adequate time is allotted between ride.  EV154.3.a
  • 07/23/2018 9:15 AM | Anonymous

    Western Dressage is gaining traction in the horse world as many riders who traditionally compete in western show pens are venturing into the classical dressage sandbox.

    USEF recognizes the Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA) as the sole affiliate representing the discipline of Western Dressage. A discipline that encourages all-breeds engagement, any horse that can walk, trot and canter can participate (WDAA also has rules for gaited horses, as well!).


    Photo by Lisa Dean Photography

    A core principle of the WDAA is the celebration and stewardship of the American West. Top-tier Western horse trainers have long used classical dressage techniques, but until the formation of WDAA, they have not had a place to showcase their techniques.

    WDAA’s mission statement is to “build an equine community that combines the Western traditions of horse and rider with Classical Dressage.

    • We honor the horse.
    • We value the partnership between horse and rider.
    • We celebrate the legacy of the American West.”

    Nikki Wahl-Seto, MSEDA Newsletter Editor, is a staunch proponent of Western Dressage and has shown in the dressage ring in both a western and a classical dressage saddle. She is excited to see that Western Dressage is growing both as a national discipline and as a MSEDA-supported one. Here is her take on the differences between the two disciplines.

    Equipment

    There are many details that differentiate Western Dressage from Classical Dressage, the first of which is tack and its use. Riders using a curb bit can ride either one-handed or two-handed (riders using a snaffle must ride with 2 hands) said Nikki. Similar to classical dressage, there are legal bits and those that are not permitted in the show ring. For now, western curb bits are permitted in WDAA competition, though there is talk about only allowing snaffles in the lower levels, says Nikki.

    “This rule has not taken effect yet as most western horses are trained in a curb bit and this would have limited the number of riders entering into western dressage,” she notes. As the purpose of WDAA is to encourage riders of all backgrounds to enjoy the competition of western dressage, it is unclear if and when this rule will take effect. Additionally, in the majority of western breed and disciplines events, a horse that goes in a snaffle is typically 5 years old and younger.

    Similar to classical dressage, there are a plethora of bits that are both legal and illegal. Legal tack includes spade bits, most English bits, smooth or bosal cavessons, ported curbs, bitless bridles, and curb chains—the list goes on! “In addition to bits, stewards must also check spurs and whips,” said Nikki. “Yes, we can carry whips, though most true western riders see this as a very foreign concept!”

    Attire

    The attire for Western Dressage is quite simple; most schooling shows outline just pants, boots, a long-sleeved, collared shirt (short-sleeved shirts are permitted at the judge’s discretion),  chaps or chinks and a helmet or western hat. “Helmets can be required, but their use is determined by the show and/or the show grounds, so it’s imperative that you check your entry form carefully,” says Nikki. If you have any questions, be sure to check with your steward or show management before the show. It also never hurts to email USEF regarding any rule questions!


    “I have ridden against folks at the Horse Park in a cowboy hat, but most WD riders you will see in a helmet—safety first!” she says. “At big shows you will see the fancy outfits with sparkles and silver [those these don’t tend to come out for the smaller, local shows]." Bling is allowed on the rider, but not on the horse.

    Read more about the WDAA attire and equipment here.

    What Judges Look For

    “In our area, we are riding in front of traditional dressage judges, and we’re lucky enough to have several judges who have put the effort and money into training themselves for Western Dressage,” says Nikki. Currently, WDAA lists two USEF Western Dressage judges in the MSEDA area: Susan Posner (“R”) and Karen Winn (“r”).

    Traditional Dressage and Western Dressage are more alike than they are different, and are based on the same principles. Here are some places where they may differ:

    • The ability to ride with one hand (with curb bits). Rein hold depends on the type of reins used. Roman reins can be used only with a curb bit and may only be ridden with one hand. A rider can ride with two hands with split reins, connected reins or mecate reins (without the popper),
    • Gaits: Although maintaining the same principles (correct beats, steady tempo, suspension in gaits with impulsion, etc.) the trot is called a jog and the canter is called a lope. There is the distinction that these gaits must remain energetic and have the correct footfall (unlike some horses seen in Western Pleasure today). The tempo of these may be a little slower than those of a trot and canter but in gaits must remain pure. Excessive speed or slowness will be penalized.
    • Quiet, gentle voice commands are permitted in all levels of WD.
    • Posting is optional for the working jog through the basic level; posting is optional in all levels for the free jog and lengthening of the jog.
    • Movements: Turn on the forehand is introduced in WD test but not in Traditional Dressage. Also pivoting is allowed in WD as it is a common and useful move for Western stock horses.
    • WD allows gaited horses to compete. Gaited horses are penalized in traditional Dressage as their gaits to not meet the requirements.

    Western Dressage riders can ride Intro, Basic, and First through Fourth level tests. Each test is based in dressage fundamentals and “showcase applications for the Working Western Horse,” the WDAA website states.

    Read about the dressage rules and guidelines here.


    The View from the Judge's Box

    Janice Holmes, an eventing trainer and USEF “r” judge in eventing, as well as MSEDA licensed in eventing, stadium and dressage, notes that there are a few things she wants to be sure WSD riders are aware of.

    • While the use of the voice may be used in Western Dressage that it should not be distracting. “Clucking like a chicken laying an egg or a frantic ‘WHOA!’ may be considered distracting, so please don’t over-do it,” she notes. (WD 125.3)
    • Also of note, you’re allowed to pet your horse! “If you are riding one-handed. a gentle touch is allowed. Tiny scratching on the withers, if riding two-handed, is permitted,” she says (WD 125.4)
    • In the “below the line” marks, there is a separate category for “willing cooperation and harmony,” says Janice (WD 117). “Harmony should be demonstrated by the horse showing attention by his confidence and acceptance of the bit while staying up in the poll and keeping his nose in front of the vertical” which can be difficult to do in a curb bit, she notes. (WD 117.d)
    • A rider who begins a test one-handed must complete it one-handed; a rider who begins a test two-handed must complete the test two-handed. To switch in the middle of a test is actually a cause for elimination (WD 127.0)
    • While polo wraps are permitted (WD 120.6), they should match the horse as much as possible. “Also, decorating the horse with ribbons, flowers or Christmas tinsel is not permitted unless you are doing a freestyle,” Janice notes.
    • Attire can run the gamut. “Long-sleeved shirts are the norm, as are chaps, shotgun chaps, breeches, fringed breeches, split skirts, vests, jackets or sweaters,” she says. This leaves attire open for a lot of individual interpretation! And while bling is a thing, “please don’t blind me!” she says. “I still need to see your number!”

    Fun Facts

    Nikki noted the following interesting facts about Western Dressage:

    • You can always use your voice during a WD test without penalty
    • You may use equine legwear, but it must be white or the same color as your horse
    • Western Dressage shows do not have to be sanctioned, many schooling shows host WD tests
    • Readers are allowed for tests, but make sure they take a look ahead of time, movements come quicker than many traditional tests!
    • Changes of direction came up faster and not always in the most traditional location; more movements are asked for at the lower-levels and tests may not always be symmetrical in what is asked for on each rein
    • The entry-level tests require much more than circles and changes of direction can be more complex with elements/changes of direction coming up faster and in lower levels than we may see in many traditional tests (this is one of the biggest differences Nikki noticed).

    Currently, Western Dressage is sanctioned only by USEF. The organization is focused on growing organically; the first WDAA/USEF sanctioned shows will be near Kentucky this year; the closest WD shows used to be were in Ohio and Tennessee, Nikki notes.

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Midsouth Eventing & Dressage Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

MSEDA’s mission is to promote and preserve the sports of Eventing and Dressage in the Mid-South area, by providing leadership and education to its members and the community at large. To further these goals, MSEDA will provide educational opportunities, fair and safe competitions, promote the welfare of the horse and rider and reward the pursuit of excellence from the grass roots to the FEI level.



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