Sport Horse Conformation with Dr. Dan Marks
Dr. Dan Marks attracted a large crowd for his Sport Horse Conformation lecture, which he supported with a myriad of photos displaying the conformation of many horses for different disciplines. Dr. Marks proved an engaging and entertaining speaker, and the lecture ran over its allotted time since the crowd was so interested in capturing some of his wealth of knowledge. Here are a few tidbits of wisdom from his lecture:
ICP Show Jumping Seminar
Another opportunity available to all Convention attendees was to dissect and discuss some training videos with some of the top trainers in the country. In a roundtable discussion, Robin Walker, Phyllis Dawson, Brian Sabo and Mary D'Arcy-O'Connell discussed clips from the ICP Seminar at Windchase provided by EventingTrainingOnline.com. The videos could be viewed in slow motion for further study and coaches and riders alike were encouraged to chime in with what they observed. Here are a few points of interest from the meeting:
The Myths and Facts of Online Privacy with Scott Weber and Robert Winter
Director of IT for the USEA, Robert Winter, teamed up with Managing Partner of StartBox Online Scoring, LLC, Scott Weber, to inform horse people about protecting themselves online. It is no secret that much of the horse business is now run and advertised on the internet, with horse sales taking place on various websites and riders promoting their businesses on social media, so Robert and Scott outlined some ways to stay safe while maintaining an online presence.
Future Event Horse Open Forum
The USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) Program was discussed in an open forum setting led by Robin Walker. Robin began with some statistics, saying, “We’ve got 64 horses this year from FEH that have gone on to show in the Young Event Horse (YEH). We had 52 different breeds of horses that have turned up for FEH competitions. The number of American-bred horses starts to increase; as of 2014 we’re up to 136. We’ve almost doubled our stats from 2008-2014. That’s a total of 1000 horses from 2008-2014.”
“It’s very encouraging the horses are transferring through both programs,” he said. “The FEH Grand Champion on the East coast last year, went on to win the YEH 4YO division at the Championships this year.”
One of the most important developments that was announced is the introduction of canter, and eventually the free-jump, in the FEH competitions.
“Something that will be introduced this year is the canter. I would not go buy a young horse if I didn’t see it canter, and if I didn’t see it jump,” said Robin. “Why haven’t we done this before? Here’s why: Two years ago we discussed this whole process, and it was going to present a whole lot of issues and push back we got from people on loose schooling and jumping like they do in Europe. We’re not a mature enough program yet. However, this year, we will start to get there, and the jumping will be in the finals on each course. The canter is going to be introduced in whatever format we deem to be most productive.”
Robin explained that if the canter is introduced in qualifying events, instead of just the FEH Championship, that the safety of the venue is paramount.
“That footing has to be good, and we have to get the education out there so that people can start getting ready,” he said. “I do not want to see horses getting pushed too hard.”
Young Event Horse Open Forum
The Young Event Horse (YEH) forum was led by Marilyn Payne, who explained the YEH program to those unfamiliar with it. Marilyn explained that the program is strong and growing, and that the quality of horses seen in competitions is continuing to improve.
William Micklem, who judged at the 2014 Young Event Horse Championships, was impressed by the caliber of young horses that he saw in the 4-year-old division, according to Marilyn. He told Marilyn that from that group, more than a handful could be team horses and many were of better quality than he has been seeing in his homeland of Ireland.
Tim Holekamp introduced the YEH/FEH Seminar coming up in Ocala, Florida on Feb 16-18, 2015. “This educational program began as a certification process for judges, but is now growing to an even larger educational program to teach breeders, handlers, owners, competitors and any interested parties in the young event horse,” he said.
“The focus on half of this seminar, which is YEH, is going to be how to use your eye to see the efficiency of gallop and stamina to make it to the top level of the sport. There’s a real temptation to look at the quality of the jump, but we need to continue to focus on the gallop.”
The forum leaders invoked the participation of upper-level riders to become involved in the YEH program as potential judges.
Tomorrow, the Convention continues with the Annual Meeting of the Members at lunch time, during which the new Board members will be introduced, and the day will conclude with the Awards Dinner and cocktail hour, honoring many of the top riders, horses, and grooms in the sport of eventing.