I am happy to report that our 2014 Area VII Annual Meeting held January 18th at the Red Lion Hotel in Olympia, WA, was a great success. Over 130 members attended all or part of the day, participating in meetings, seminars, dinner and awards. With the invaluable contributions of our sponsors, vendors, raffle organizers and silent auction donors, the meeting paid all of its bills and made around $4000 for Area VII Administration. We were already in a very healthy financial situation according to Area VII Treasurer Lorilee Hanson and the extra funds allow us to contribute to a myriad of horse activities and also pay for the meeting and all of year end awards. Thank you to everyone who made a bid on an auction item and especially to the winning bidders!
The lunch time business meeting proved to be very efficient, with Adult Riders Coordinator John Meriwether and Young Rider Coordinator Dawnn Rebholz both reporting very healthy programs with many activities planned for 2014. Jonathan Elliott, head of the Organizers committee, reported that with the loss of NWEC’s two dates this year due to the sale of their farm, Stanton Farm Horse Trials will now be running September 20 – 21 and will offer divisions up through Preliminary this year and add an Intermediate track in 2015. Equestrians’ Institute will now also run a fall Event that will be held October 4-5 at the Washington State Horse Park and will offer divisions up through Preliminary. This is very exciting news that keeps the Area VII recognized Event season strong and healthy.
Malcom Hook reported from the USEF that one rule change was significant for competitions at the lower levels:
(1) First fall of competitor in which the competitor lands on his/her feet and remains standing (Beginner Novice and Novice) 65 Penalties
(2) Second fall of competitor (Beginner Novice and Novice) Elimination (RF)
(3) First fall of competitor (Training, Preliminary, Intermediate and Advanced) Elimination (RF)
We were fortunate to have a great array of afternoon speakers. Judges Joanna Herrigstad and Janis Linan walked us through the steps of being an effective dressage scribe, “pay attention and don’t lose your place when the judge fires off scores and comments during the test movements”. You are in charge of the score sheet and final comments while the judge watches the test and while it can be a bit stressful, it is also very educational. Be sure to volunteer at your next Event. Joanna and Janis also walked us through many of the new 2014 Eventing dressage tests and demonstrated their scoring procedure and decisions on a number of videoed demonstration rides. It was highly enlightening and often humorous to hear their well-educated but also kind comments concerning a number of young horses that were used in the dressage videos. It gives one hope that your current”greenie” can be appreciated for the things he does well in the test but you can also use the judge’s comments to improve that next performance.
Local Dressage and Eventing trainer Linda Grandia gave us an introduction to a new product she has developed called The Equicube. Linda had this to say as an introduction to this clever new riding aid:
“As a riding instructor it can sometimes be challenging to help a student understand what needs to change to accomplish their goals. I started using strength training tips to help “re-direct” information and it was an immediate transformation in some of my riders. This prompted me to look for more cross training ideas to help my students learn and progress.”
The Cube is designed for a classical rein holding position. The handles are set approximately the width of your bit apart from each other, which is the desired placement.
The bottom line is that The Equicube, when used correctly, really makes you focus and engage your core while riding and at the same time steady the hands and put them in the classically correct position. If you would like to give one a try and see some videos in action, contact Linda at equicube .net.
Dr. Bo Weeks, DVM, gave an engaging lecture on the ins and outs of a prepurchase exam. He proudly wore his Seattle Seahawks attire during his talk and projected x-rays of his own hand to show the similarities between the horse’s joints and our own, along with some fun pictures of donkeys and ostriches to make sure we were paying attention!
Dr. Bo Comes into play when you think you may have found that horse of your dreams but before you pay for him and haul him home you would like to feel confident that he is sound enough for the job you have in store for him. A prepurchase exam can give you some insights into what is going on in that equine body. There are many diagnostic tools to give you the information you are looking for but you also need to decide how much money you want to spend in relation to the horse’s future job(s).
A prepurchase exam can tell you relatively quickly if a horse has a lameness or possible preexisting condition. It can expose health concerns not apparent to the naked eye or untrained horseman. All horses, like people have “something” and our job is to give you enough information and delve as far as the pocket book will go to give you a good snapshot of the potential of any one horse. It may only involve checking the vitals and doing flexions or go further with x-rays, ultrasounds, blood work and scoping. We are there to give you some knowledge and peace of mind when making a decision to purchase that next horse.
Our featured speaker and clinician Peter Gray, gave a lovely talk before dinner about how he got his start as a rider and what it takes to get to the top. As a former Eventing Olympian for Burmuda and also Coach of the Canadian Olympic Eventing Team, he had this to say: “Self-discipline and determination are an absolute. To ride at that level you have to give it a bit extra, and it starts to consume your whole life. You pretty much breathe and sleep your training.” Peter took every opportunity to ride as a young boy and the sport of Eventing captured his heart. He took lessons from anyone willing to give him one but a few horsemen made the most impact on him. “There are people who continually impress me outside the horse world, but it would be for character qualities. All of my mentors exist in the horse world,and include General Michael Gutowski who after 20 years still finds new things to teach me; Ian Millar, the premiere example of style and class; George Morris, the ultimate coach and fundamentalist with such high values and standards for horsemanship; and Denny Emmerson an academic, author, competitor and coach. Few
people have done so much for the sport of Eventing in the US and Canada.” He would also like to meet his idol Tina Turner!
Peter made it clear that one needs to love and respect your horse and that the partnership is everything. Sometimes that is forgotten in our quest to move up the levels rapidly. They do their job because they like it and they trust us. To put them in an unfair or difficult situation out on course is nothing but bad horsemanship. He is also is very disappointed that there is so much emphasis on speed in our sport. Peter feels that is the last piece of the puzzle in bringing along a happy and successful Event horse.
Peter’s all around experience as a competitor has seated him on many committees; FEI Three Day Event Committee, High Performance/Safety/Selection/Coaching Committee, USEA Professional Riders Council, and ICP. He is the co-founder of Equiventures and organizes many horse trials at the Florida Horse Park and was delighted to learn about our own fledgling Washington State Horse Park. Peter also finds time to compete at the FEI levels in Dressage. He is an amazing and compassionate horseman.
On a final note, we would like to congratulate all of our award winners. A few other special awards were handed out at the dinner. The Cindy Burge Memorial Award went to Diane Snow and Maggie Rikard took home the Joanna Herrigstad Award. These awards go to individuals who have contributed far beyond regular duty in helping Area VII become the success it is.
Thank you to all attended and participated in our annual meeting and made it such a great day. A special thanks to our major sponsors: Adult Riders, Gallops Saddlery, Rebecca Farms, Young Riders.
See you out on course!