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There's nothing worse than not being able to ride, but never fear—you can take advantage of great horse content to watch online. The accessibility of ...

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Hilarious eventing meme

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Calculating optimum time for Rocking Horse (prelim division)

How to calculate the optimum time i...

While most events today post the optimum time for event riders to complete their course, there is a simple mathematical equation that can help you sor...

Watch Horse Competitions Online

There’s nothing worse than not being able to ride, but never fear—you can take advantage of great horse content to watch online. The accessibility of live streaming of competitions in dressage, showjumping, eventing, racing, reining and more is a huge benefit to the equine community, not only for viewers but promotion within the sport and it’s sponsors and advertisers.

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Follow Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event on Twitter

Need a quick Twitter fix for following the Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event on Twitter? Subscribe to our list to get live updates from the biggest event in North America from members like the USEF Network, Samantha L. Clark, William Fox-Pitt, Eventing Nation, Rolex Kentucky Boyd Martin and more!

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Hilarious eventing meme

If you event and love hilarious memes, this one is for you!




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How to calculate the optimum time in eventing

While most events today post the optimum time for event riders to complete their course, there is a simple mathematical equation that can help you sort out discrepancies during your own walk.

Traditionally, riders and coaches used the trusty meter wheel. Meter wheels today have digital displays to keep track of the distance measured. Beginning at the start box, riders track the course distance while planning their desired route. Modern smartphone applications such as CourseWalk App and CrossCountry App will also record and track course distance (if the rider has GPS functioning enabled on their smartphone) as they are walking their course.

Speed is dictated by the USEF’s Rules for Eventing, and the acceptable course distance range is also outlined in the rulebook.

Appendix 2 in the USEF rule book for eventing

Appendix 2 in the USEF rule book for eventing


Once the rider has calculated their route and determined the meters of the path they wish to ride, there is a simple calculation to determine whether their route will align with the course designers optimum time. Let’s use Rocking Horse Winter III (held February 28th, 2013) with the Preliminary division as an example. 

A competitor has walked the course and determined the distance of their route to be 2854 meters long. The speed as dictated by the USEF for the Prelim level is 520 meters per minute.  The course length divided by the meters per minute gives us a number of 5.49. However, this does not give us the correct optimum time. Take the .49 and multiply by 60 (seconds) to find .29 which is the correct amount of seconds. Therefore, optimum time for the Prelim division is 5 minutes 29 seconds.

Calculating optimum time for Rocking Horse (prelim division)

Calculating optimum time for Rocking Horse (prelim division)

Looking at the results of the Open Preliminary division, we see that the top three riders in the division finished the course in 5:13, 5:18 and 5:20 respectively, coming in under the time and therefore not incurring any time penalties. Riders must remember to take note of alternate routes and areas to “make up time” in case of run-outs or refusals on course that could affect their time on course.

Many riders may find shortcuts or areas to save time while they are walking their preferred course routes. By measuring the course distance and calculating how their walk route compares to the official optimum time, riders will have the best chance of arriving home in under the time without penalty!

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Top 10: Horse things to do on a rainy day

  1. Go to the barn and ride.
  2. Put off going to the barn and catch up on horse news using an equine bulletin board.
  3. Get distracted from horse news and laugh at the nuts on said horse bulletin board instead. (Some people = fruitbat crazy.)
  4. Clean all your horse tack while watching reality TV shows.
  5. Watch old home videos of yourself riding.
  6. Remind yourself how old those videos are (you’re a much better rider now!). It’s off to the barn to practice that leg yield!
  7. The kids need one more bedtime story. Dog needs walking. Again.
  8. Consider the fact it’s pouring and Pooky probably didn’t get turned out. Ugh.
  9. Moment of brilliance: catch up on some equine accounting! Grab a glass of wine first…
  10. (Bottle of wine later.) I spent THAT much? This was a bad idea. Should’a gone to the damn barn.

Getting inspired to ride on a rainy day may lead to a hangover.


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Fix your canter problems!

Just like people, many horses have a strong side and a weaker side of their body. This can be due to conformation, past injury, tension in the body or incorrect training or training equipment. With a careful and structured training plan, you can help your horse strengthen the weak side of his or her body to create a more balanced, physically comfortable horse. Many owners of OTTB (Off the Track Thoroughbreds) note that their horse tends to have problems on one side or another, typically due to their track training.

Recently, I came across this short (under 2 minutes) video where dressage Grand Prix rider Jody Hartstone talks about how to get the correct canter lead. I had never seen this method before, so was a bit doubtful but traditional “ask for the canter” techniques have been hit and miss for us. While at the barn today, I gave it a try…. it worked! He picked up his correct lead the first time I asked! Although this is not something you can do in a show situation, it will certainly help you achieve the correct lead and therefore practice building your horse’s muscles at home.


(NOTE: If your horse has recently started struggling with his leads, talk to your vet and rule out any causes of pain. Things like saddle fit,  joint health, vitamin deficiency leading to weak muscles, neurological deficits, muscle strain or sublaxations in the cervical/thoracolumbar spine are all things that can affect your horse’s ability to canter or give them trouble to pick up a lead.)

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Learn how to identify a disunited canter

Have you ever been puzzled by or not able to identify a problem canter from the ground? This great video uses a demo horse with different coloured polo wraps to help viewers clearly see a correct canter and the contrasting incorrect canter.

If your horse regularly has problems cantering or frequently is disunited at the canter, swaps leads or bucks to avoid cantering on the correct lead, contact your vet to rule out any pain or injury . Once your vet has given your horse the all clear, you can then work on muscle building and schooling your horse to help get the correct canter.

(Check out more training videos at 5MinuteHorseVideos.com)

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Nuclear Scintigraphy

If you’ve ever had a horse with a mysterious lameness, you know how frustrating and expensive it can be to try and locate the problem. Although today’s veterinarians come armed with a veritable truck-full of high tech digital equipment, knowing where to look and how to find the exact cause is still quite a task.

For the horse owner who has tried everything, nuclear scintigraphy (also known as a bone scan) could be the answer you have been looking for. The process is relatively straightforward and does not cause any distress or pain to the horse. Many veterinary hospitals now have a gamma camera, which is used to perform this diagnostic procedure.

The horse is sedated and then injected with a radioisotope, which travels through the body and allows the camera to pick up any “hot spots” that indicate inflammation. This procedure is ideal for localizing problems in the upper hind leg and back, areas which were previously difficult to examine with traditional imaging techniques. The entire procedure takes less than two hours, however horses are typically held at the hospital for an additional 48-72 hours to allow the radioisotope to pass harmlessly out of the body before they can go home.

A bone scan gives vets a better look inside your horse

Nuclear scintigraphy works as a starting point for vets to investigate further. Once areas of concern have been identified via the bone scan, the veterinarians can utilize ultrasonography (ultrasound), digital radiography (xrays), arthroscopy, nerve blocks and more to find out what the exact cause of the lameness is. In many cases, the horse has several “problem spots” which were previously not identified and allows the vet to formulate a comprehensive rehabilitation plan. This could include corticosteroid injections, surgery, chiropractic, saddle fit, Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, stem cell therapy, shockwave treatment, cold laser, massage, Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein (IRAP), mesotherapy, stall rest, cold hosing and more.

While nuclear scintigraphy is not 100% guaranteed to locate the problem (occasionally older soft tissue injuries or strains may not light up if they are not actively inflamed), it is becoming the new gold standard in establishing a diagnosis where traditional methods have failed. Many owners report being very satisfied with the results of their horse’s bone scan. To read first-hand accounts of owners’ experiences with bone scans, check out the Chronicle of the Horse’s health bulletin board.

The price of a bone scan ranges from hospital to hospital, however typically a “half horse” starts at $600-$800, with a “whole horse” scan being marginally more at $1200. (Note: call your local equine hospital for an accurate quote!) It is worth noting that this is only the cost for the bone scan, not any other diagnostics such as xrays or treatments such as injections or surgery. Although it may seem expensive, the average horse owner can easily accumulate bills in this price range attempting to block/inject/xray/ultrasound various body parts with no results.

Equine hospitals that are well-known for their equine diagnostics include Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, KY and the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Ontario.

(Have you tried a bone scan on your horse? Share your experience with other horse owners on our Facebook page.)

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Dansko Fair Hill International Festival 2012

Steeped in history, the property that is now known as Fair Hill was conceived by William duPont, Jr. in 1925 on the Maryland-Pennsylvania border is hosting the 2012 Dansko Fair Hill International Festival from October 17th-21st, 2012.

Although many riders in the area know Fair Hill for it’s international CCI**/*** eventing competition that draws upper level eventing riders from around the world, the festival has a variety of activities and equestrian events to enjoy. There is shopping, a variety of cuisine at the food court, canine agility competitions, President’s Cup Pony Club games, hay rides, a classic car display and more!

Wonder what it’s like to compete at the horse trials? Check out this cool helmet cam from last year’s event by Training level rider Jorgen Olijslager!

If you want to learn more about attending this year’s Dansko Fair Hill International Festival, click here to check out their website. Good luck to all the competitors!


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Feeding supplements

Many horse owners these days elect to feed supplements in addition to traditional forages and grain. Covering a wide spectrum of equine health, they offer to affect your horse’s weight, coat condition, joints, feet, breathing and more. Some supplement enthusiasts use seeds or organic powders to achieve the desired result (such as garlic powder to repel flies) for a small cost whereas others can pay hundreds of dollars a month for chemically formulated joint supplements.

Veterinarians, horse owners, nutritionists and other equine practitioners have conflicting opinions on whether any joint supplement is actually effective. Many have a product they swear by, while others swear them off altogether feeling like the nutraceutical industry is a farce due to lack of empirical evidence and replicable, proven results of efficacy.

Most tack and feed stores carry supplements

Whether you choose to feed them or not, it is always a good idea to consult your vet before making any major changes to your horse’s diet. Some horses can have allergies or dietary sensitivities which could make experimentation dangerous.

If you do decide to feed them, always make sure you read the label carefully and make sure you are not under or overdosing them (many pelleted feeds already have vitamins and minerals added, so don’t allow overlap). Be sure to feed the supplement according to the label and by weight, not by scoop. If you read the fine print, many supplements advice feeding X amount of grams per Y amount of body weight.

Always use common sense when making changes to your horse’s diet, and while some supplements could benefit your horse’s wellbeing, they could also be completely ineffective and a waste of money. Choose wisely!

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