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Author Archive

The Schleese AdapTree

I am currently reading Suffering in Silence by Jochen Schleese. I am learning a lot more about saddle fit and the implications for horse and rider if things aren’t correctly fitted! Nearly halfway through the book, there have been a few references to the AdapTree for saddles.

As it says on the Schleese website:

Caring from the inside out, the Schleese AdapTree® is the first tree which adapts to the horse’s bio-mechanical movements. Through the calculation and implication of the rider’s weight, the AdapTree® is fitted and infinitely adjustable at any time by one of our authorized Certified Saddle Fit Technicians or Saddle Ergonomists.

Do you have an AdapTree in Your Saddle? | Equus Education

Do you have an AdapTree in Your Saddle? | Equus Education

The AdapTree

The gullet plate within the tree of the saddle is adjustable. This means as your horse puts on muscle or loses tone around the withers, it can be adjusted to fit its shape.  This will also improve saddle fit, decreasing the chance of discomfort to the horse. The tree is made out of polyurethane which is flexible.  Schleese indicate on their site that this “provides complete freedom of motion and comfort, flexing with your horse’s lateral movement to improve connection and communication.”

Now this particular idea is new to me, but I believe an important concept in a saddle. The tree points tend to be forward facing in saddles. They often sit just above the shoulder blades, but if incorrectly fitted can restrict shoulder movement. In the AdapTree, the tree points are rear-facing, so that this doesn’t impact the shoulder blades in a negative way.

Another new idea to me highlighted in Suffering in Silence was that saddles are made by men, for men. Anatomically, they’re not correct for females and limit their chance to achieve the best position and centre of gravity whilst in the saddle. The middle of the AdapTree has a padded cut-out area that removes pressure from the front pelvic area. This means women can sit correctly without having associated issues that can arise from too much pressure in this area. Apparently it’s not uncommon for women to gain back pain and even health issues because of too much pressure whilst in the saddle or poor positioning.

I love when horse related products are created out of a need or a desire to make something even better. I believe the Schleese AdapTree® is one such product!

Summer Circuit by Kim Ablon Witney

I downloaded a copy of Summer Circuit recently for free over at Instafreebie as a part of the Equestrian Horse Book Giveaway. Of all the books on offer, it was the only one I hadn’t yet read! Summer Circuit was a great look into the show jumping world from an interesting point of view. Hannah Waer is an eighteen-year-old who is used to the comfort that money brings. It’s how she got her horse Logan and is a part of the show jumping world.

As someone who is used to having her horse handed to her, getting on and riding and handing him back to a groom, things are drastically changing. Feeling that she needs to learn to assert herself, Hannah’s father has indicated that she will be doing the 7 week Summer Circuit before university. And she’ll be doing it alone. She’ll still have a trainer to oversee her classes.  But when it comes to preparing her gelding and cleaning up after him, she is suddenly his groom.

Summer Circuit by Kim Ablon Whitney

Summer Circuit by Kim Ablon Whitney

Aside from the unappealing smells and the physical work of caring for a horse that she isn’t used to, Hannah isn’t sure how she’ll manage.  After all, she has no idea how to muck out a stall, much less tack up a horse.

And so starts an incredible journey for the young woman.  In time she learns to fend for herself, look after her horse and develop a backbone. Hannah is rapt to have a close friend in talented rider – and competent groom – Zoe. Although she can’t work out why Zoe is so nice to her, she is glad to have a friend who knows the ropes – and the people – in the horse showing world. Zoe introduces her to people and helps her to feel a little less like a fish out of water. One of these people is a knowledgeable groom named Mike. Hannah instantly recognises the genuine person Mike is and her learning journey regarding horse care begins.

Although caring for her gelding Logan has the potential to improve over time, Hannah doesn’t see how her riding performances can. Logan is uncontrollable and her trainer is far from helpful. On her first day of the circuit, Hannah is dismayed to nearly crash into top show rider, Chris Kern. And if that isn’t enough, Zoe is insistent on introducing her to Chris at the pub when the showing world is letting loose for the evening.

What has the potential to be a very embarrassing meeting turns into an unexpected opportunity for Hannah and her horse Logan. And in time it’s this opportunity that helps Hannah to learn to ride competently.  She also learns to stand up for herself and to even belief in herself – as a rider and a young woman.

Summer Circuit is a great introduction to the world of caring for horses and competing on them. Because Hannah is having to learn from the ground up, the reader is able to learn alongside her. That said there were some terms I felt could be explained further. The novel is an entertaining and educational read and moves at a good pace. Although Hannah’s character seemed to recognise Zoe’s need to value herself as a person, I felt the sexual side of the story was a bit crude at times. Aside from that, Summer Circuit is a really good read.  Hannah’s character showed real maturity as she dealt with what was thrown at her.  Recommended.

Author – Kim Ablon Whitney
http://www.kimablonwhitney.com/
Fiction – young adult
In my library? – as an eBook, yes!
Want it? Get it now at Amazon.

BHS Career Pathways

There are some incredible resources available to you as you seek your ideal horse career. On such is BHS Career Pathways. The British Horse Society has created a section on their site that is specifically for a person who is seeking a career in the equine industry. Awesome!

BHS Career Pathways offer some Great Horse Careers | Equus Education

BHS Career Pathways offer some Great Horse Careers | Equus Education

If you head along to their website (linked above), you’ll find that they are keen to guide and support you on your career path. The first step is to determine what area you want to focus on. And what do they offer help with? The following career pathways:

  • Groom
  • Professional rider
  • Coaching
  • Complete horsemanship
  • Equine tourism

On the same page, they also have a link to professional development and inspiring career stories. I love this focus on various ways to get qualified and employed whilst also working with horses!

They also highlight the areas where the British Horse Society is found. This includes in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. If I was located in the United Kingdom, I’d be very tempted!

As it says on their website:
“Our world-leading BHS Equine Excellence Pathway offers you the opportunity to progress your career and learn practical, real-world skills within a structured platform. As part of the journey we’re here to guide, advise and support you through every stage of your development.”

They also promote a qualification unique to the BHS – a Coach in Complete Horsemanship. This pathway is quoted to be “celebrated world-wide as the leading equestrian coaching award.”

BHS Career Pathways

If you want to gain a qualification for your horse skills and knowledge, why not check out the BHS? You can then pursue a career in one of five broad terms as listed above. Don’t forget, if you’re a professional rider, this doesn’t restrict you to one discipline! Likewise, as a groom you can work with performance horses, trail horses, endurance, stud stock, polo ponies and more. Consider the possibilities!

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Microcurrent Therapy for Horses – ArcEquine

Recently on twitter it was suggested that I follow a horse related account. Curious about any horse products and sites, I headed along to find out what ArcEquine was all about. It seems it’s a website that promotes microcurrent therapy for horses.

A look at the website indicates that this form of therapy could be used to successfully treat many issues.  The likes of broken bones, reduction of pain, reducing scar tissue, swelling and bruising.  And then there’s the stifle, sarcoids and the sacroiliac region in the horse. As it says on the site:

“ArcEquine mimics the body’s natural electrical currents and reintroduces them from an external source. This kick-starts and accelerates many processes involved with correct cellular functioning, resulting in faster healing and promoting optimal health.”

Microcurrent Therapy for Horses

Microcurrent Therapy for Horses | Equus Education

Microcurrent Therapy for Horses | Equus Education

The use of this technology was introduced to the horse world several years ago.  This was in the form of a study being done on racehorses that had substantial injuries. These were the kind of injuries to end the horse’s racing career and even potentially to threaten their life. Ian Thirkell who has created ArcEquine used microcurrent therapy on these horses.

It resulted in the average return to racing time frame for these horses to be 30 weeks. This is pretty incredible when you consider a diagnosis of not being able to race again!

What I find further encouraging is that there were no repeat performances in the area of breaking down with the same injury after being treated. This is exciting stuff! If you have an interest in rehabilitation of performance horses, then perhaps ArcEquine has piqued your interest.

It’s a wonderful thing to know about and be able to use services and technologies that can help keep our horses sound or resolve a soundness issue.  And to be involved in such an industry as a career can be just as incredible.

“I’ve often told people who ask if there is a God: Get around enough people with horses and see what happens. See how they survive in spite of all the things they do, and you’ll become a believer!” ― Buck Brannaman

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The Swallow’s Storm by Ruby Loren

I downloaded this short mystery for free recently on Kindle. I love the idea of the story – a horse comes back riderless from being ridden out in the woods. The horse is physically and emotionally damaged. It’s up to horse psychologist Hayley Argent to determine if the horse can heal and go back to his eventing career. Or, if he is to stay unmanageable and dangerous. The Swallow’s Storm is an interesting and entertaining mystery.

The Swallow’s Storm by Ruby Loren | Equus Education

The Swallow’s Storm by Ruby Loren | Equus Education

This novel is a quick and easy read that focuses on an inter stable championship. It seems that when everyone gets competitive, their worst natures come out. Hayley is determined that Hadrian, a beautiful dapple grey gelding isn’t the monster he’s made out to be. And his rider’s death she is sure has a hidden story behind it.

As Hayley works to help Hadrian and solve the mystery, she comes across some nasty characters in the riding world. Thankfully, there are also some genuine horse people, too. The Swallow’s Storm is a short mystery that is wrapped up nicely, with the added bonus of focusing on horse psychology.  There is a hint of romance thrown in and the potential for relationships to develop further in future books.

Unfortunately the horse information is only provided on a superficial level; it isn’t incorrect, but doesn’t show a lot of insight into the horse world.  Also, the reference to a white horse and a horse ‘snickering’ rather than nickering didn’t ring true for me.

Hayley at times was also referenced as Holly, making me question the editing of the novel. That aside, the Swallow’s Storm was an easy and enjoyable read.

Author – Ruby Loren
Fiction – adult
In my library – as an electronic copy it is!
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

Horse Country, Kentucky

I have a couple of Google Alerts that I get notified via email when people search a particular term. One such is horse country as this is the name of my debut novel. A recent alert for this term led me to check out an article about Horse Country, Kentucky.

It seems that there is one place you can go to experience Kentucky’s horse country. Perhaps you want to visit some thoroughbred studs in the heart of the Bluegrass. Or maybe you’re interested in visiting some nurseries and equine clinics. Perhaps, it’s all of the above! Whatever your desire, you can book in for tours to see each of these horse related places.

Horse Country, Kentucky

Horse Country, Kentucky is a Must see for Thoroughbred Enthusiasts | Equus Education

Horse Country, Kentucky is a Must see for Thoroughbred Enthusiasts | Equus Education

I love the tourism side of the horse industry. It helps people to explore, to dream and to learn about what’s on offer in the great equine industry. You may have a passion for racing, breeding, training or health care. Whatever it is, chances are you can be doing it as a career in the horse industry. In fact, on the Horse Country, Kentucky website there are 26 tours listed; some of these include:

  • Coolmore America
  • Claiborne Farm
  • WinStar Farm
  • Adena Springs
  • Godolphin at Jonabell (Darley stallions)
  • Gainseway Farm
  • Hallway Feeds
  • Taylor Made Farm
  • Hagyard Equine Medical Institute

So! If you’re thinking of a visit to Kentucky’s Horse Country, be sure to check out this website to book a tour or two! And if you live in an area that is considered a horse capital, then maybe you could set up something to promote local horse businesses? Food for thought.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” – William Shakespeare

OTTB Designs

Recently I was checking out Alex Brown’s website and reading through a list of comments from horse people.  These words related to Alex’s latest release, Missionville.  One of the people quoted was Caitlin Taylor of OTTB Designs.

Curious, I did a search online to find out what exactly OTTB Designs was.  I then contacted Caitlin about the work she does and the possibility of being profiled.  She was quick to give me a reply email.

“As for OTTB Designs/OTTB Identity, I don’t know that we are the best example of how to run a business. Most of our profits go to charity and I work a regular 9-5.

“OTTB Designs could be more profitable, but I feel that would be disingenuous to the purpose of the brand. We keep the margins pretty thin because we know our customer doesn’t have a lot to spend. Many OTTB owners are girls and women on a tight budget so we try to accommodate that demographic.”

Chances are if you are familiar with the thoroughbred world, you’ll know the acronym OTTB.  Many people search for off the track thoroughbreds (OTTBs) to retrain and give a second life in another discipline.  The thoroughbred breed is very versatile and can often go onto dressage, jumping, eventing or even showing or pleasure riding.

Do you have an OTTB? Fancy Branded Gear for when you Ride? Check out OTTB Designs.

Do you have an OTTB? Fancy Branded Gear for when you Ride? Check out OTTB Designs.

For the person who has an OTTB, perhaps it would appeal to them to be able to have riding gear with an associated logo on it!  Saddle blankets could be one such item.  If you check out the OTTB Designs website, you’ll find that there’s even jewellery with an OTTB logo.

What I love about this setup is that there are so many people with off the track thoroughbreds.  The designs are a unique idea, but one that many can utilise!  And of course the fact that a lot of their profits go to charity is also appealing.

Missionville by Alex Brown

Recently Equus Education had the opportunity to profile Alex with regards to his career as an exercise rider. He has newly released a horse racing novel titled Missionville.

I was rapt to be able to receive a copy of this book to read before it’s release. Missionville tells an interesting tale of behind the scenes of racing. It is an intriguing mystery, written by someone obviously in the know about the racing industry.

The reader is first introduced to Pete Wright, a struggling trainer at Missionville, the local Pennsylvania Racetrack. Pete is in the business of claiming horses as cheap as he can for his one owner. He then trains the horse, races it to hopefully win and sells it on again in another claiming race, turning a quick dollar.

Missionville by Alex Brown | Equus Education

Missionville by Alex Brown | Equus Education

Although Pete had grand ideas about being a top racehorse trainer, he has found himself struggling to make bread and butter. In time he accepts a job through local track pony rider, Jake. The job is the lowest of the low in Pete’s opinion. It involves delivering horses to slaughter. Once was enough for Pete and he vows never to do it again, no matter how desperate for money he is.

Cue Amanda, successful bank manager and keen horse lover. Amanda spends her weekends at the track, building up connections. She is working to make the after racing life of thoroughbreds more promising. She hates what is happening in the slaughter world. When Amanda learns of Pete’s connection to driving the horses to slaughter, she realises she has an in that could help to bring the whole sordid industry to an end.

In time Pete and Amanda work together to stop the overt slaughtering of racehorses. When Pete realises something is fishy with one of the other horse owners – who just happens to own the racetrack – he knows he needs to investigate further.

Missionville is a great mix of horses, mystery and romance. It’s also a delightful look at the behind the scenes of racing on a small country track.

Author – Alex Brown
Fiction – adult
In my library – as an electronic copy it is!
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

 

A Horse Camp Getaway for Equine Industry Professionals

Recently at a church service I found out about Tree Tops. This is a camp that is provided to missionaries who need a break between outreach programs. They can come somewhere with their family and relax, connect as a group and not worry about having to prepare meals or do house chores. And all this is provided at a base cost so that it’s truly affordable. Those who provide this accommodation are providing it as a service – and a blessing! – to those who are ministering outside of their comfort zones. So why not something similar for horse industry people? A horse camp getaway for equine industry professionals, if you will.

If you Heard about a Horse Camp for Equine Industry Professionals, would you Consider it? | Equus Education

If you Heard about a Horse Camp for Equine Industry Professionals, would you Consider it? | Equus Education

What’s the general idea? Some people work so much in the equine industry. They may be struggling to afford a break, even when the quiet season comes around as they work in an industry for love – not for good hours and pay.

This person could be a horse breeder or land owner, a stud hand or even someone who is working their way up in the equine performance world. Money can be tight, hours are long and the work is hard. But still, they do it with a goal in mind.

The Ultimate Horse Camp Getaway

What if there was one place they could go for a holiday that allowed them to still enjoy and appreciate horses, but not have to do any of the work? They can be fed, rest and go out riding / be around horses whilst on this holiday.

Is it your heart to provide a service to other people that are working so hard, but their efforts aren’t necessarily recognised? Could you provide accommodation, food and horses for them to enjoy at a small cost so they can take a break as time allows? I am sure an initiative like this could draw lots of sponsors from the horse industry – those who are making a generous living. What do you think?

Profile On: Alex Brown, Former Exercise Rider

Alex Brown recently released a novel relating to the horse racing industry.  As someone who was a professional exercise rider, he has fit a lot of his knowledge into his book Missionville.  He also kindly took the time to answer some questions about exercise riding as a career.

Former Exercise Rider, Alex Brown with a Fan | Equus Education

Former Exercise Rider, Alex Brown with a Fan | Equus Education

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
For now, very little, unfortunately, unless you count writing about them, and my new book, Missionville!

What was it exactly that you did?
I worked in horse racing, in the United States, on and off for more than 25 years. During this time, I mostly exercised horses as a salaried or freelance exercise rider. A typical morning would mean galloping about 7-8 horses, starting around 6, and finishing around 10 in the morning.

This gave me plenty of time to do some other stuff. During the latter years, a lot of my additional time was devoted to horse welfare issues, horse slaughter and the retirement of racehorses.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes, an exercise rider can do quite well. My last salaried job, which was for Steve Asmussen, I was earning around about $30k salary. Because of the short working hours, I could do a little extra work, if I wanted. That might have been breaking young horses, freelancing a few extra horses at the track, or working in a role at the races (which I never did).

Missionville by Alex Brown | Equus Education

Missionville by Alex Brown | Equus Education

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
I was lucky. I’ve ridden all my life, and went to the US to ride for a racehorse trainer who had recently moved to the US too. Basically, you need some decent riding experience before heading to a racetrack, and then you need a trainer who will spend some time helping you get started. You don’t want to be thrown in the deep-end straightaway.

Riding on a track is quite different to equestrian riding. You need to learn how to ride off a neckstrap, bridge your reins, ride with shorter stirrups, and so forth. Strangely, you learn to ride longer, with more experience, but it’s important to get the balance of riding short.

Favourite horse memory?
That’s a tough one, after twenty five or so years. But it will be about a horse winning a race. It’s just a great feeling, after galloping a horse for awhile, to see it do well at the races.

Most recently, probably when Maple Time won a little race at Penn National. When I worked for Asmussen, any time Salty Langfuhn won a race.

Future goals?
Now I’m back in the UK, and retired from horse racing, who knows. I really enjoyed writing Missionville, which is in part based on my experiences at the race tracks in the US. But I’m not sure writing full-time will ever be my calling. I am fortunate to have another career in the sphere of MBA admissions, so that keeps me busy too.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
I just love horses. We owe so much to them.

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