Mid-South Eventing & Dressage Association


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  • 06/15/2017 10:03 AM | Anonymous

    The heat is coming on something fierce in Kentucky, and though summer is a great time to ride, horse owners must take care that they are not asking too much of their steeds in weather that is too hot and humid for them to effectively cool themselves. Summer heat can be dangerous for horses, resulting in dehydration, lethargy, and general malaise. Severe heat stress may cause diarrhea, or even colic. Following these 10 tips and using common sense will help keep you and your horse safe and comfortable during the hot days ahead.

    Dr. Janet Johnston, an Emergency and Critical Care veterinarian at Penn Vet's New Bolton Center, offers the following tips as we approach the first days of summer:

    1.  Choose cooler turnout times. If your horse has a stall, but is turned out for part of the day, provide turnout during the cooler hours. Overnight is ideal, but if that's not possible, then have the horse go outside as early as possible during the day.

    2.  Provide shade. If your horse lives outdoors, or if it must be outside during the day, provide relief from the sun. A run-in shed is best. Trees are a source of shade, but as the sun moves, so will the shade.

    3.  Move the air. Fans are a great way to help keep the air moving in the barn, but use them wisely. Your horse will benefit most if the fan is pulling the hot air out of the stall, not pushing air into the stall.

    4.  Mist your horse. If you are fortunate enough to have a system to mist your horse, use it. As the moisture is absorbed from your horse's skin, it will take away some of the heat. Frequent mistings are far more effective than a single dousing with a hose.

    5.  Provide fresh, cool water and an electrolyte source. Make sure your horse has plenty of fresh, cool water. A bucket hanging on a fence will get warm, and the water will no longer be appealing. Left long enough, the water will also become stagnant and unhealthy. If you are providing clean, cool water and your horse doesn't seem to be drinking, then encourage it by providing a salt block, or even by misting hay with salt water.

    6.  Slow down the work. Don't think that because your horse has been working intensely at 1:00 pm every day that it can take the heat when the temperature tops 90 degrees. If you have to work your horse in the heat, lighten the work or spread it out over a couple of short sessions. This is especially important when the humidity is high, contributing to the poor quality of the air your horse is breathing.

    7.  Stick to a schedule. Within the parameters of keeping your horse cool, try to stay as close as possible to a normal schedule. Too much change at one time can be an invitation to colic.

    8.  Avoid sunburn. Horses, especially white horses, can suffer from sunburn. Even those with white socks and blazes, pink noses, or hairless patches from scarring can be susceptible. Using a fly scrim can help. In addition, applying sunblock such as zinc oxide, to small, particularly vulnerable areas can be effective.

    9.  Clip horses with longer hair coats. Clipping is important, especially for horses with Cushings disease. While some coat can provide protection from the sun and insulation, a long, thick coat tends to hold heat and makes it difficult for the horse to cool down.

    10. Know your horse and signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke can happen anytime your horse is exposed to excessive heat that his body cannot handle.

    You should know your horse's normal temperature, heart and respiratory rates. To find the heart rate of a horse, simply find a pulse and count the beats for 15 seconds, then multiply that number by 4. Count the breaths per minute in a similar way.

    Signs of heat stroke can include:

    • An elevated heart rate that does not return to normal in a reasonable period of time
    • Excessive sweating OR lack of sweating
    • Temperature that persists above 103 degrees F
    • Depression, lethargy
    • Signs of dehydration: dry mucous membranes, poor capillary refill and poor skin turgor

    If you are concerned that your horse is suffering from heat stroke, call your veterinarian immediately and get your horse into a cooler environment.

    Read more here

  • 06/15/2017 9:59 AM | Anonymous

    Volunteer opportunities for MSEDA members abound. Each month, we will feature an opportunity for members to obtain volunteer hours and help put on a successful, MSEDA-sanctioned show.

    By Sarah E. Coleman

    The Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trial, June 23-25

    Event History: This horse trial is a fundraising event for the Midsouth Pony Club Region that supports their members at Championships, in certifications and in other educational opportunities.

    Date and Time: June 23rd: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; June 24th: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and June 25th: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Volunteer Opportunities:

    Weeks leading up to event

    Painting fences


    Tuesday morning (June 20)

    Setting Dressage Arenas


    Thursday afternoon (June 22)

    Setting Stadium (with Nori)

    Office help


    Friday (June 23)

    Office Help

    Dressage (8 a.m.-4 p.m.)


    Ring Steward



    Stadium (11 a.m.-6 p.m.)

    Jump Crew


    Saturday (June 24)

    Office Help

    Dressage (8 a.m – 4 p.m.)


    Bit Check



    Stadium (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.)

    Ring Steward

    Jump Crew


    XC (8 a.m. – 6 p.m.)

    Jump Judge


    Sunday (June 25)

    Office Help

    XC (8 a.m. – 3 p.m.)

    Jump Judge


    Stadium (8am-2pm)

    Ring Steward

    Jump Crew

    Interested? Contact Erin Woodall:  gtowngrits@gmail.com502-316-3565 (call or text)

    Tips for Volunteers: It’s never a bad idea to bring a chair, raincoat, sunscreen and a great attitude!

  • 05/31/2017 10:24 AM | Anonymous

    Every horse owner would like to amount of vet bills they incur, but sometimes that’s not an option. While no one would ever expect you to stitch your horse at home or diagnose his niggling lameness, there are some things that owners and riders can do at home in an attempt to prevent unnecessary vet calls.

    By Sarah E. Coleman 

    Dr. Heather Woodruff, co-owner of Foxwood Equine Sports Medicine with Dr. Holly Schmitt (Fox), grew up in Vermont riding hunters, jumpers, eventing and dressage. She graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and has been practicing in Lexington since 2009, when she moved here to complete a Sports Medicine Internship at Hagyard Equine Medical institute; she and Dr. Schmitt Fox opened Foxwood Equine in 2014.

    Foxwood Equine focuses on sports medicine and acupuncture, also offering high-level lameness diagnostics and treatments to horses that are in elite levels of competition all over the United States. Dr. Woodruff is called in to treat horses for both acute lamenesses and also for preventative and therapeutic care. While there is no replacement for skilled veterinary care, there are a few at-home treatments Dr. Woodruff recommends to keep high-level athletes feeling their best. 

    The Specifics for Keeping Horses Sound

    The No. 1 tool to keeping a horse sound, Dr. Woodruff says, is to keep him fit for his specific job. “It doesn’t matter if the horse is a jumper, reiner, eventer or dressage horse.  At the end of the day, the horse needs to be fit for its job. I am a big fan of lots of flat work, long-and-low work and even trot sets in a big field. This is all depending on the horse and its day-to-day environment. Fitness is not just for cardiovascular activity, it’s also for making sure the horse’s tendons, ligaments and joints are all is proper condition to do the job.”

    Another key to keeping horses fit and in competition shape is hands-on knowledge of the horse’s legs and body. “If there is an abnormal swelling, it’s important to know if that is new or old,” explains Dr. Woodruff. Knowing immediately if a new bump or bruise has arisen can minimize the chance of downtime during competition season as treatment can be started almost immediately. 

    Don't Overdo It

    While many riders (especially after cross country) will ice their horse’s legs, over icing can be a concern. Icing a horse’s legs for too long can cause localized frostbite. For this reason, Dr. Woodruff recommends cold hosing over icing. With cold-hosing, there is no way to damage the legs.

    Another option to provide support for a horse that has had a strenuous workout is to wrap him to provide some additional support to a horse’s legs, especially after extreme exertion. Cold-hosing his legs and then wrapping him correctly with standing bandages and wraps is a non-invasive way to provide a bit of additional help. Some riders use Surpass, a popular NSAID, under wraps, but Dr. Woodruff warns that this prescription medicine should be used with caution if the horse is on additional anti-inflammatories; using Surpass may also mask the beginning of an injury. Because of this, Dr. Woodruff recommends using poultice or liniment under a bandage unless Surpass has been specifically prescribed by a veterinarian.

    Also, “learning acupressure or massage is useful to help relax sore muscles, as well as recovery from injury,” Dr. Woodruff explains. No matter what riders or owners choose to do (or not do) to help support their athlete, “Being able to recognize when the horse may need a little extra cool down and attention to the muscles is important to keeping your horse sound and happy!”

    And if He's Already Injured....

    While modalities like cold hosing, wrapping and massage can be used in an effort to prevent injuries, they are also helpful when dealing with a horse that has injured himself. “Depending on what injury, we may recommend any or all of these modalities [icing, cold hosing, etc.]. Every injury is specific to the horse and needs to be treated as an individual, with treatment depending on multiple factors, including type of injury, prognosis, competition level and attitude of each horse.  [For] One soft-tissue case, we may recommend intra-lesional therapy, whereas the next we may recommend shockwave and rest.”   Proper bandaging is also  key in tendon and ligament injury, both in the effected leg and the opposite limb.

    Every injury is specific to the horse and needs to be treated as an individual, with treatment depending on multiple factors, including type of injury, prognosis, and attitude of each horse.

    One modality some people still overlook (or don’t believe in its efficacy) is acupuncture, Dr. Woodruff notes. “There are so many things we can help with acupuncture. With no medication [steroids, anti-inflammatories or synthetics], we can do so many things! [We can] Help with chronic pain, help a mare regulate her cycle to breed or help the old retired horse be more comfortable in the field. We can help the horse that has anxiety leaving the barn and the horse that does not want to do a proper lead change.”

    With all of the issues that can be helped with acupuncture, as well as how minimally invasive it is, it’s surprising that there are still owners and breeders who are reluctant to try it.

    “Most of our sport horses work very hard for us, and we try to make them feel better and do the best possible job they can do,” Dr. Woodruff explains.

    So, if preventative care is not working and your horse has to see a vet, it’s worthwhile to ask what treatment plan is best for him or her, and to be open-minded if your vet suggests a modality you are unfamiliar with!

  • 05/15/2017 8:36 AM | Anonymous

    Volunteer opportunities for MSEDA members abound. Each month, we will feature an opportunity for members to obtain volunteer hours and help put on a successful, MSEDA-sanctioned show.

    By Sarah E Coleman

    Wilderness Trace Pony Club Combined Test and Dressage Show, May 20, 2017 Meadow Lake Equestrian Center.

    Event History: Used as a main fundraiser for the Wilderness Trace Pony Club, the show and combined test is used to raise funds to offset expenses incurred throughout the year at camps, rallies and lesson.

    Date and Time: The combined test and dressage show will take place on May 20, from 8 a.m. until about 4 p.m., when the last rider has completed their test.

    Volunteer Opportunities: Though most positions are covered through parents of Pony Club kids, additional help is always welcomed in the form of ring stewards, registration, jump crew, runners, scorers and more. The jump course will be set on Friday evening before the show.

    Interested? Contact DC Shannon Andrews: bshannon777@yahoo.com, 859-326-7286

    Tips for Volunteers: As this is an outdoor event, volunteers will need to plan on dressing for the weather, whatever that may be. Lunch and drinks will be provided to all volunteers.

    Visit the Wilderness Trace Pony Club Facebook page here. 

  • 05/15/2017 8:26 AM | Anonymous

    Horses, especially those that compete in the upper levels of their respective sports, are true athletes. They are repeatedly asked to perform to the utmost of their physical limit, pushing their bodies in ways horses in the wild never do.

    Because of this, it’s important that riders and trainers treat their mounts like the athletes they are, playing close attention to them every, single day, and monitoring their health in the same manner elite human athletes do, taking any inkling of an unsoundness or discomfort seriously. 

    By Sarah E Coleman

    Treat them As Individuals

    John Crowell, owner of Sycamore Hill Farm with wife Dorothy Crowell in Frankfort, Ky., groomed for superstar eventer Karen O’Connor for 4 years. As such, he is keenly aware of what it takes to keep a horse happy and sound to continue competing at the upper echelons of the sport. While there is no magic recipe for keeping a horse competition ready (don’t we wish there was!), the key, he says, is to know the horse. “Each horse is an individual, so each has special needs. Your job is to know what those needs are,” he explains.

    A one-size-fits-all training and care program cannot be applied to all horses. One horse might have a foot problem while another may have an old tendon—the way you care for these animals, both preparing them for competition and after, should not be the same.

    “For me, what is done beforehand is the really important part,” John says. Paying attention to your horse at home is the key to knowing what is going on during competition, he explains. “Every time you bring your horse in, look at it, then take the 2 seconds it takes to run your hands down their tendons, feel their fetlocks, feel their feet for heat. Amazingly, when you make this your habit, then you can get ahead of about 50 percent of your issues.”

    In addition to knowing what your horse feels like under your hands, it’s important to have a baseline on what their heart rate, temperature and respiratory rate are, whether you are a groom or a rider. Knowing these three important things, as well as how long it takes your horse to recover from fitness work, will make competition days less stressful: You already know what to expect when you come off a cross-country course, and you will also be ready to care for him should he not be coming back to his baseline rapidly, John explains. “Once you know what ‘normal’ is for your horse, you can better deal with it at the competition.” And with that comes peace of mind!

    Before you Begin

    Taking good care of your horse also means knowing what he needs for protection as he works and competes. This includes protecting him from over-riding. “Don’t jump on consecutive days if you can help it,” he recommends: Keep jumping to only one day a week. “Try to be preemptive in your schooling, staying one step ahead of any problem or injury. You want them [your horse] to be happy and sound.” Riders can help keep horses that way my not overtraining and exacerbating an old or existing injury. 

    “Every time you jump your horse, you’re tearing tendon fiber; the fetlock drops to the ground and you are breaking fibers,” he says. Not overjumping is important, as is protection and support in the form of boots. “But only if you know what you’re doing,” John cautions. Proper applications of boots and wraps is essential to protecting a horse and not causing harm. If you do not know how to apply your boots, as someone who does.

    After Competition 

    While knowing your horse well is key to his health, what can be done after competition to keep your horse healthy? We’ve all seen horses booted to the hilt and standing in ice—but at what point is that necessary?

    “If you have a novice horse, I don’t tend to go crazy doing things like icing legs,” says John. “I do that at Training and above. These boots are very effective for cooling legs and tendons,” but a lower-level horse doesn’t have that much strain placed on him. But again, each situation is different, depending on the needs of the individual horse. John stresses that all of the therapies available won’t help if you don’t know your horse well enough to know what (if anything) you need to be watching for. “If you have a horse who has had an injury before, you need to constantly watch it for changes. Ask your vet to explain what the injury was and ask questions about how best to treat it and what to watch for. Be better educated. “

    “Before you can be an equestrian you have to be a horseman,” John emphasized. “That’s what is missing for a lot of people. One size does not fit all.” 

  • 05/08/2017 6:43 PM | Anonymous

    By Chelsea Smith

    The Midsouth Eventing & Dressage Association welcomed International four-star rider Kim Severson for a clinic April 1-2, 2017.

    The first day of the clinic was stadium jumping at Land’s End Farm. Kim started each session with exercises that tested the rider’s straightness. In the arena, Kim had corners, skinnys, several carefully placed ground poles which were used to direct riders indicate EXACTLY where she wanted them to land and takeoff. She also focused heavily on accurate and balanced turns and again used ground poles to make riders act quickly.

    “I loved the turning exercises on the stadium day. Even though the jumps weren't big, the questions were really hard. It made me feel really good when I got everything done.” –Robyn Munson

    Munson works on keeping her horse straight. Photo by JJ Sillman

    “Day one I really enjoyed the variety of exercises she had us do in stadium jumping, within the first half of the day she identified the issue I was having and helped me correct it by riding him straighter to the jumps and putting my leg on and really supporting him.” – Tess Utterback

    Utterback jumps through a grid. Photo by JJ Sillman

    Day two of the clinic was cross country held at Flying Cross Farm. Prior to jumping, Kim asked riders to demonstrate a gallop at a pace appropriate for their level. For example, the Beginner Novice group was instructed to gallop between two points at 350 and then 400 meters per minute (mpm). Kim discussed each rider’s accuracy and emphasized how important it is to be able to recognize what it feels like to ride the correct speed while on course.

    Smith jumps into water. Photo by JJ Sillman.

    Throughout the day, Kim had riders jump several courses that included banks and water, but again focused on straightness and turning. Both bank and water complexes had verticals strategically placed on lines that would require very straight and correct riding.

    Kim instructs Rudd and Smith. Photo by JJ Sillman.

    Tess Utterback was touched by how caring Kim was when she found herself unable to participate on the second day of the clinic.

    “Kim saw my disappointment and took the time to get us over a few fences for my confidence and then talked to me explaining how many times she had been where I was before, wondering if she was being afraid or truly protecting her horse. I was so touched that she took the time away from the clinic to help me mentally with the decision not to go on that day to do what was best for my horse. I would happily and eagerly sign up for another Kim Severson Clinic, not only was she a great clinician but a true horsewoman with a big heart!”

  • 05/01/2017 11:32 AM | Anonymous

    Routine dental checkups are just as important for our equine partners are they are for us.

    By Sarah E. Coleman

    Sasha Kone is no stranger to the Bluegrass. With a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University, Sasha completed the Kentucky Equine Management Internship program in Fall 2004. Placed on Three Chimneys Farm, Sasha learned about equine dentistry as a profession apart from veterinary medicine. Intrigued by this facet of the equine industry, she switched gears from her interest in farm management and worked for Justin Talip in Central Kentucky, attended her first equine dentistry class in 2005, and graduated from the Texas Institute of Equine Dentistry in January 2007.

    Sasha now owns Endless Mountain Equine Dentistry and travels throughout Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia and New York, providing clients with everything from basic floats through advanced equine dentistry. 

    Dental Dura

    Most equine owners are taught that their horses need to have their teeth looked at and “floated” (filed down) twice a year. Sasha agrees that this is usually the case, especially with horses that are under the age of 8. Horses lose teeth every 6 months from 2.5 to 3.5 years old, Sasha mentions, and they have an entire set shedding at 5 years old.

    All these teeth falling out and growing in means there is a lot changing in the horse’s mouth and it’s imperative that the horse be kept comfortable as he adjusts to his new teeth. As a horse ages, he may be able to have his teeth done annually, but this depends on the individual animal and his conformation, environment, diet and use. Still, even if he only needs his teeth floated once a year, he should have them checked every 6 months to be sure no issues have arisen. 

    Tools of the Trade

    Many horse people have very definitive thoughts on power tools vs. hand tools to care for their equine’s teeth. While hand tools are historically what were used to care for horse teeth, power tools have now become a common sight. Similar to bits, in the properly trained hands, they are invaluable for caring for a horse’s dental health.

    Sasha uses both hand floats and motorized instruments. “I was lucky enough to go to school when we all started with hand floats, [and] I break them out every now and then for different reasons. The motorized instruments are much more precise and are gentler on the teeth when a fine grit disc or burr is used.”

    Though the motorized tools are her preference, Sasha will sometimes finish horses with hand floats; she also may occasionally begin a horse’s care with them to build confidence. The main point to remember is that each horse is an individual and needs individualized care and a specific treatment plan, she reminds horse owners. “Considering the horse’s needs and the preferences of the owners, we can work with a variety of instruments and techniques to achieve the same level of balance.” 

    Sport Horse Woes

    When asked what the most common issues sport horses have with their teeth, Sasha said that “overgrown incisors, which in turn disrupt the three-point balance of the teeth and TMJ,” occur frequently. “Overlong and steep incisors force the horse to chew with its head elevated, jaw pushed back, to make contact with an opposing molar. This rearward shift is the reason hooks and ramps develop! If the horse can chew/ride with three-point balance in any head position, then malocclusions are far less likely to reappear.”

    So what can be done for TMJ, since it’s such a common issue with sport horses? First off, it’s key that the balance be restored between the incisors and molars—high teeth can’t be left at all—any high point will prevent the joint from functioning properly. “The joint should sit in the proper position at that point. Then, follow up with chiropractic and massage. The muscles, tendons and ligaments around the TMJ sometimes need a bit of time and TLC to rehab back to normal,” Sasha explains.

    One of the most common issues she sees in horses in general is the lack of jaw mobility because of overlong molars. “Horses will change their chewing pattern if there is a high spot [in their mouth], and it becomes a vicious cycle of malocclusions and poor biomechanics piling on each other.” This is why it is imperative that a horse have a dental checkup at least every 6 months. 

    Parrot Mouth

    We’ve all seen them: horses with a wicked overbite that make you wonder how they graze. So, how does Sasha care for these horses? “This depends greatly on the age of the horse identified with a parrot mouth and the severity of the malocclusion,” she explains. “There is a procedure called the Riedenger Procedure, where the molars are the main force in keeping the jaw forward. Contact at the incisors can be achieved this way.”

    Surgery and bite plates are also an option, she notes. “In an older horse that isn't growing any more, the incisors need to adjusted accordingly to a) not do any soft tissue damage and b) not be in the way of mastication and occlusion at any head position.” The inevitable large hooks and ramps on the first and last molars certainly need to be addressed, she says. “If maintained well, you can open a parrot mouthed horse up, look at the molars, and they can look normal!”

    The Takeaway

    Any time a horse is behaving in a way that is inconsistent with how he has behaved before warrants some additional investigation by the horse owner. This can include things like head shaking, eating poorly, head tilting and chiropractic issues—especially chronic issues, Sasha notes.

    If horse’s teeth are not cared for regularly (every 6 months), one can expect major soft tissue ulcerations and lacerations. Contact with the bit and any pieces of tack along the side of the face will involve sharp points and discomfort for the animal, leading to possible resistance and poor performance.

    “Long teeth wear down their opposing teeth. This means any adjustment will create a space in the mouth. If dentals are performed infrequently, the adjustments will need to be huge compared to smaller, more regular visits. This is harder on the horses!”

    It’s important to remember that TMJ is related to the chiropractic health of the horse and his topline, Sasha remind riders; the mouth growing out of balance will affect those aspects of the horse’s health and posture, as well as his ability to eat easily and well. 

    Learn more about Sasha here.

  • 04/12/2017 4:33 PM | Anonymous

    Volunteer at IEA

    The 2017 Indiana Eventing Association Horse Trials, Training and Novice Three-Day Events will be taking place June 1 through 4 at the Hoosier Horse Park in Johnson County, Ind.

    This MSEDA-affiliated event is recruiting volunteers for all phases and areas of the event, including: dressage, stadium, cross country, three-day endurance and vet box, hospitality, set up, and office help. Jobs are listed by day and phase/area. For example, volunteer jobs for Friday are split between two tabs, Friday (Dressage) and Friday (Prep & Hospitality).

    Can’t help during the actual weekend, but still want to volunteer and gain hours? No problem! There are a few jobs not listed on the website that still need filled in the weeks and days prior to the event, including: footing maintenance, procuring fence sponsorships, selling ads in the program, program design, stuffing packets, labeling radios, labeling packets, labeling dressage tests, etc.

    To sign up for the event, create a volunteer account at www.eventingvolunteers.com and then search for the event in the "Open Events" tab or follow this direct link: https://www.eventingvolunteers.com/events/103/signup. This site allows volunteers to sign up for position(s) themselves, sign in/out during the event, and track hours for inclusion in local and national volunteer leaderboards.

    Please include any relevant information (e.g. if you are bringing your child with you, dietary information such as vegan/vegetarian/gluten free, who you'd like to pair with as a jump judge, your level of experience, etc.) in the "notes" section when you sign up.

    If you are interested in helping with a position not posted online, or if you have any questions, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Dorie Mayfield, at dlmayfie@gmail.com with inquires.  

  • 04/12/2017 4:19 PM | Anonymous

    The majority of equestrians understand the need to permanently identify their horses: in case of natural disaster, in case of theft, in case a horse gets lost. But what options are available? 

    By Sarah E. Coleman

    We have all heard horror stories of horses that have dumped their rider and gone missing – sometimes for days on end (remember Lemon?) or horses that are victims of natural disasters, ending up far from home with no way to identify who they are or whose they are. 

    But what can a horse owner do to ensure that their horse will have a higher chance of being returned should they part ways? 


    While many riders of Thoroughbreds are familiar with tattooing as a method of identification, a tattoo is not fail-proof. In the United States, racehorses are tattooed on their upper lip. While clear and easy to read when first applied, as the horse gets older, his tattoo may fade and become blurry. 

    Hot Branding

    Horse Hot Branding

    Another option for tattooing your horse is hot branding, which involves heating a metal brand and applying it to the neck, shoulder or flank (or other area) of a horse. A hot brand works by destroying the hair follicles where it is applied, creating a pattern. Hot brands can become distorted over time by hair growing over the brand; they are also not as visible on light-skinned horses. 

    Freeze Branding

    Freeze Branding

    Freeze branding is a method of identification that doesn’t cause discomfort like hot branding or tattooing does. Freeze brands are made by chilling a metal brand in liquid nitrogen, then applying it to the horse (usually under the mane). This type of branding leaves a white brand on darker-colored horses and a pink brand (the color of the skin) on light-skinned horses. It’s important to note that both hot brands and freeze brands can be altered. 


    Horse Microchip

    Relatively new on the scene, microchips are a permanent, unalterable way to identify your horse. However, to positively ID the animal, a microchip reader must be available. Nicknamed “VIN numbers for horses,” a microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. It is implanted relatively painlessly into the nuchal ligament in the horse’s neck.

    The chips itself is sealed in a biocompatible glass and covered in a sheath to prevent migration. The chip emits a low-power radio frequency identification (RFID) signal when activated by a scanner. The scanner then displays the information associated with the chip. The person reading the scanner must then contact the appropriate registry or database to get the info attached with that chip number (so it will never display all of your contact information on a scanner).

    There are a few potential downfalls to microchipping. These include:

    • Not all scanners can read all chips. As new microchip companies are established, they create chips with different frequencies, meaning that not all scanners can read all the microchips on the market. This can create a problem for positively identifying an animal
    • There is no national registry for the storage of microchip ID and retrieval of owner information
    • Microchips can migrate. Though unusual, microchips can migrate from their original insertion site, making them unable to be found and read

    The Jockey Club is now requiring microchipping of all foals registered in 2017 and later, and the United States Equestrian Federation is requiring that all horses competing in classes that required USHJA horse registration be chipped, as well. The industry is trending toward microchipping as way of permanent identifying horses. 

  • 03/29/2017 7:50 PM | Anonymous

    By Sarah E Coleman

    It can be hard to get your horse looking show-ring ready this time of year, especially if he lives outside all or most of the time.

    In the spring, most horses, whether they live outside 24/7 or are only turned out for a few hours at a time, are masters at plastering as much of their body as possible in mud. If you have an extremely adept Pig-Pen, he may even be able to get it in the creases of his eyelids and down into his ears! Added bonus if he can find burrs to weave into his forelock.

    So, how should you make your horse look a little less homeless this spring season? We asked Shannon O’Hatnick, working student for Allie Knowles and a phenomenal groom, for some tricks of the trade.

    What is Shannon’s top trick to sparkling clean, amazing looking horses? “Curry, curry, curry,” she says. “If there's one thing I've learned, currying every inch of a horse every day helps to encourage a healthy coat and works to get any dirt loosened to brush off.” She also recommends having baby wipes and a towel on hand to flatten any ruffled hair or quickly wipe off a bit of dirt you might've missed!

    For those of us unable to body clip our horses (and some of these beasts get HAIRY!), Shannon reminds readers that you can always make a horse look presentable, no matter what coat he has. A quick bubble bath with some Ivory soap will do wonders, she says, leaving you with only the need to touch up any places that can be shinier. Shannon likes to use Face Glow around the eyes and muzzle, and coat gloss and olive oil for a magnificent shine. For a really put-together look, Shannon makes sure every steed in her charge wears hoof dressing!

    Must-have Grooming Goodies

    What are Shannon’s go-to grooming products, you ask? Here are some she can’t live without:

    • Silverado Coat Gloss
    • Silverado Face Glow
    • Olive oil spray
    • Fiebing's Hoof Dressing
    • Miracle Groom
    • Ivory soap
    • Baby wipes

    Show Ring Prep

    How does Shannon prep the horses so they look their absolute best?

    “Prepping a horse for the show ring always begins with a bath involving lots and lots of scrubbing. Every inch [including their private parts] get cleaned. From there, they'll be braided with a Sleazy over the braids to stay in the night before the show.

    Once I'm tacking the horse up before his or her ride, I brush over them while spraying with coat gloss and/or olive oil for a gorgeous coat shine. I wet the top of their tail and throw a tail wrap on to flatten and tame the hair on the top of their tails. [The tail wrap is pulled off on the way to warm up.] Then I use my hand to wipe on some face glow around their eyes and muzzle. A towel or baby wipes [I prefer the wipes] can be used to wipe off poop and dirty noses. Then all you have left is to brush on some hoof dressing for a nice, polished look!”

    Shannon also has some tips for those of us whose horses live outside. If you have a dark horse, try to keep on a sun protection blanket to prevent a coat from bleaching, she suggests. Also, regular currying promotes healthy skin, but be prepared for a scrubbing bath if a horse shows any signs of fungus.

    Remember, Shannon reminds those of us who aspire to have horses who look half as good as hers: “You can never use too much coat gloss or hoof polish, and make sure you clean everything, on them -- even under their belly and between their legs!”

    Clipper Extraordinaire

    If you’ve never seen Shannon’s work, you’re missing out. In addition to amazing full-body and trace clips, this girl has mad skills with a set of clippers (just check out these pictures!). Be sure to follow her on Instagram – we promise you won’t be disappointed! @radiant_clips (seriously!).

    While it may seem like these skills had been honed over years and years of work, in the grand scheme of things, Shannon is quite new to her trade: She was handed a pair of clippers last year and told to clip her horse—and everything took off from there.

    Shannon’s history with horses is quite varied—and she tells us where she really learned how to groom: “I started riding when I was 6 at a western horse camp where I rode for 4 years and then decided to switch to English. I played in hunter and jumper land and did IEA [Interscholastic Equestrian Association] for 7 years until I fell in love with Eventing. I'm also an avid Pony Clubber, which is where I learned how to REALLY clean up a horse!”

    Throughout high school, Shannon worked as a working student for a Thoroughbred breeding and training facility (Benchmark Farm) and a Warmblood breeding and training facility (Broad Hill Run Farm), before becoming Allie Knowles’ (Alexandra Knowles Eventing) working student in August of 2016.

    Amazingly, Shannon doesn’t clip full-time; she fits it in around working for Allie.

    While most of us will never have the clipping skills Shannon does, we can put her tips to use in getting steeds show-ring ready.

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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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