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Between Rounds

February 7, 2011

We See Opportunities, Not Disappointments

There were certainly many highlights in equestrian sports this year, as well as some disappointments. Being optimists, we think that the disappointments often turn out to be opportunities once you get past the initial emotion of the situation.

This year we witnessed the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games on our home turf. Yes, show jumping and eventing experienced some problems and did not produce the hoped-for results, but other sports such as vaulting, reining, dressage and driving really stepped up their games and proudly represented equestrian sports on the awards podium.

January 21, 2011

How Do The Winter Circuits Attract Their Customers?

My most recent article, “We Need To Strive To Better Ourselves” drew a huge reaction. Most of the article was asking the question: Do we ask our riders to strive to go to the next level? It was by no means knocking the lower height divisions. All I was saying is that we should use all the divisions as steppingstones.

I’ve always thought that a good writer presents topics that can be discussed. I’ve never thought I had all the answers, but simply many of the questions.

January 20, 2011

Surviving The Pre-Purchase Exam

Our columnist tells how to best prepare—whether you’re buying or selling—for what is sometimes a dreaded experience.

Buying or selling a horse can be a traumatic experience. On one side the buyer has found what he hopes is the perfect horse and desperately wants it to be “The One.” On the other side of the fence is the seller, who hopes to move a horse to a good home and make some money in the process. There often are a variety of advisors or agents on either side of the equation who are expected to give their professional opinion on the suitability of the horse.

January 17, 2011

Our Gamble In Reno Paid Off

Our columnist and Julie Winkel put together a popular symposium to discuss various aspects of training and developing young hunters and jumpers.

When I sat down this past spring to write a column on the challenges facing the breeders, owners and trainers of young horses in North America I was only guessing at the interest there might be in the subject. A few weeks earlier Julie Winkel and I had decided to take a chance on offering a symposium on developing young hunters and jumpers.

January 3, 2011

This Is A Guess. It Is Only A Guess

Our columnist tries to imagine what eventing will be like when today’s foals reach the peak of their careers.

The horses currently excelling in modern three-day eventing were not “purpose bred” to be good at this sport, because when these top horses were foaled, eventing was altogether different.

When a sport changes radically, and virtually overnight, as eventing has changed, the breeders are caught flatfooted. They have about a 10-year time lag before they can catch up with the new requirements.

December 24, 2010

Down Time For The Sport Horse

There are many different theories on how much rest a sport horse needs and how often, but everyone agrees that horses benefit from vacations.

In 1950, when I first became involved with horses on a daily basis at the Stoneleigh Prospect Hill School in Greenfield, Mass., the frequently harsh conditions of the New England winter created automatic downtime for horses.

There were two big differences between then and now with respect to winter riding. There were almost no indoor arenas, and almost no horses were transported south for the winter.

December 8, 2010

Remembering A Friend: Gene Mische

Some people are lucky enough to witness greatness in their lifetimes. Those of us in equestrian sports are lucky to have witnessed greatness in the form of one of our fellow horsemen, Gene Mische.

December 8, 2010

We Need To Strive To Better Ourselves

After 30 years in the horse industry, our columnist sees changes that worry her.

What’s happened to our country? I know that’s a rhetorical question and one that has a myriad of answers, but I often wonder where our sport is heading. The problems I see in our world are mirrored in our culture as a whole—the obsession with instant gratification, the focus on short cuts and the shunning of tradition—these are paths I don’t want to see us following.

November 19, 2010

Totilas Is The Horse Of Our Lifetime

While at the WEG, our columnist enjoyed watching a special horse, as well as taking the opportunity to learn from the program used by the Dutch gold medalists.

In the early 1970s, while living in New Hampshire, I remember my mother made what seemed at the time like a pilgrimage when she drove to Saratoga, N.Y., to see Secretariat. Upon her return home, she couldn’t stop talking about him—his special qualities, how he was a “once-in-a-lifetime horse” and how she was so glad she made the effort to see him.

November 11, 2010

We Hosted A Worldwide Celebration Of Horsepower

Our columnist is proud of the way the World Equestrian Games brought horse sports across divides.

I’m glad that 2010 is drawing to a close. It’s been a long and rewarding year for the United States in so many ways. The Alltech FEI World Games are done and dusted, and from many points of view the Games were a real success.

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