The Show HuB
Issue 12 - May/June 2018
Keeper of the Flame
(FA El Shawan x Pianissima)
Longines Novice Champion Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, My Equestrian World
Sandie Robertson -
"I can’t do it, Yes I can, No I can’t”
est October 2014
Writer and Editor
Emily and Abby came together through their love of the UK showing scene having both grown-up traveling the country to compete ponies nationally. This early focus on movement and conformation was the beginning of an interest in biomechanics which led to a Sports Therapy degree in 2002. From October until March Emily works for Dubai Equine Hospital under world-renowned Therapist and para-Olympian Belinda Gatland, providing Sports Therapy to the horses of UAE based racehorse trainers.
6: UAE Results
Endurance, dressage, eventing & showjumping
8: Ahmad Mansour
14: UAE Riders in Europe
FBH, Nadia Taryam & Team Al Shira'aa
16: Focus on Saudi Rider
Abdullah Faris Aba Al-Khail
18: H.R.H Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi
My Equestrian World
24: Sandie Robertson
Equestrian Mind Coach
26: Andrea Mascolo
28: Ghaleb Stud
Keeper of the Flame 'Prometeusz'
36: Judith Maxwell
Tackling summer issues
40: Al Marmoom
For the love of Lenny!
44: Which bit?
by Limo Bits
48: Dressage in Bahrain
How the sport is growing
52: Ben Franklin
British Dressage rider & trainer
Producer and Content Director
The Show Hub Founder and Director
Abby started the UAE Show Hub in October 2014, and it has been built from passion and dedication to the equestrian sport in the Middle East. Enhancing the sport and bringing it to the global audience is her end goal. Abby has ridden show ponies nationally as a young girl in England and trained at Advanced Medium Dressage level. She competed up to Foxhunter back in the UK and has performed for H.H Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the private opening ceremony of Meydan WC 2011 and at the Education for Borders conference at the Burj Khalifa. Her equestrian passion has been ingrained since birth.
Welcome to The Show Hub - Equestrian. The Middle East's first fully digital interactive equestrian magazine which shines a light on the community of Equestrianism in the UAE! We cover Show Jumping, Eventing, Dressage, Polo and Arabian Showing and larger events in Racing & Endurance. The Show Hub was created back in October 2014; born from a passion and dedication for the equestrian sports. We provide punctual information to those that seek it whilst providing information to the avid rider looking for competitions and family equestrian days out. We look forward to building on our experience over the years by adding other GCC countries and events to our coverage. The new website is due to be launched over the next couple of months www.uaeshowhub.com. We look forward to sharing the experiences we encounter on our journey to helping build and promote the equestrian sports in the region.
Founder & Director
Front cover image by Gregor Aymar. A thank you to all our freelance writers in this addition and to the images supplied by some of the top photographers in the region. Special Thank You to Cursty Hoppe for her expertise and guidance with this month edition of the Show Hub Equestrian.
Having recently moved to Bahrain from Dubai and seen how well the Show Hub worked there for the equestrian community, I was keen to start something for riders in Bahrain. With a special interest in equestrian photography, I used this skill to photograph riders at some of the local shows to get people interested in the Show Hub. It’s been a really interesting few months. Bahrain is very different from anywhere I have lived. People are very kind and helpful and have been so welcoming. It’s a breath of fresh air. I’m looking forward to getting to know more of the equestrian community through the Show Hub and hope that it will help to bring riders from all disciplines together in one place. I’m very grateful to have been given the support of Abby through the Show Hub, it’s been a lot of fun and a reason to get out there and get to know people. Any requirements for Bahrain please contact Angela directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Son of HRH Prince Khalid Bin Mishaal Al Saud, Grand son of King Saud.
His visions of competing and getting to the Olympics are a very real prospect for a talented young rider. His passion started at the 5 years of age. Mansour has never looked back and now competes globally on the Arab League Tour in countries such as Belguim, Germany, France, Holland, Spain, Italy, and Slovakia. He has trained with Olympic Medalists and the top trainers in the sport, Ramzy Al Duhami, Khalid Al Eid, Ibraheem Bisharaat, Jerome Guery to name few. Mansour is currently in University doing a Bachelors Degree in Business and Finance.
Any requirements for KSA please contact Mansour directly at email@example.com
The Show Hub Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
HRH Prince Mansour Al Saud - Operations Director KSA
The Show Hub Bahrain
Angela Barlow - Operations Director BAH
Seasons Results UAE
Click the buttons for more information
The Jordanian rider who became a
force to be reckoned with this season in the UAE
Image Credit Nour Al Masri Ghraeeb
Do you come from an equestrian background?
My sisters both ride at International level also and my mother was a big fan and introduced me to the sport at the age of 6 years old. My late father and elder brother are professional go kart racers. Sport and speed has been in my blood since small.
Tell us about your first horse?
My first horse I owned at the age of 10 years old, 'Future' gave me all the confidence and experience and took me up to the 130cm. We won the Jordanian Junior Championship 2 years in a row. I have fond memories of my trainer at the time Falah Hassoun based in Jordan, he brought me up from a beginner rider to a competitive show jumper at children level with great successes. I then moved onto Trainer 'Riyad Ayyed' also in Jordan that boosted my confidence and pushed me up to International level.
A force to be reckoned with
Ahmad Mansour is a rider that this year has dominated many classes with his horses. Ahmad rides for Vardag's Equestrian based at Desert Palm Equestrian Club, Dubai.
Originally from Jordan he moved to the UAE in 2012 for university, he then started working as an equestrian instructor and eventually became a rider for Vardag's Equestrian.
Your training now?
Trainer Jan Bouman in Holland that I visit almost every summer since the age of 12 for intensive clinics, Jan has trained many Olympic riders over the years including Jordanian Olympian Ibrahim Bisharat.
"Winners never quit and quitters never win"
Where have you competed so far?
I have competed in many Internationals over the years in countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Germany, Jordan and Holland.
How did you start with Vardags Equestrian?
I have been riding for the Vardags Equestrian Team owned by Ayesha Vardag since the beginning of this season. I am lucky to receive full support in terms of quality horses and encouragement in every single competition we have entered which has resulted in amazing success throughout the season. I had intially started riding and schooling one of Ayesha’s mares, Flora, and together we earned a couple of medals over last season. In summer 2017 I went with them to purchase some advanced horses in Holland and was officially offered the job of riding for Vardags Equestrian in September 2017.
You are currently working with four horses at the Dubai Stables, do you have a favourite?
I love all four of the horses howver I have to admit that Estoril De Vardag is my favourite. It was love at first sight, we clicked from the beginning and she's very hot and compact, full of quality and an absolute joy to work with.
What do you look forward to the most at an International competition?
It has to be the moment that you enter the arena, you have just one minute to put everything you have learned and practiced into action, when you get the result the satisfaction is everytihng the feeling is just amazing.
What's your proudest moment to date?
I would say it was when Estoril de Vardag and I won the 135cm speed class at the 2* show at Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club it was, I think that was the proudest moment so far.
How do you normally prepare before you go into the ring?
In the UAE we have competitions almost every weekend, I have to be precise with the scheduling of the horses, as I have to conserve their energy and only work on the points I want to work on between the shows. It’s the maintenance and and scheduling that really makes the difference.
Do you ever go into the arena for a training round, if so, what would be the reasoning?
Of course, as sometimes you need to slow the tempo and work on weaknesses so the horses are ready for the important shows.
What are you top tips for the care of the horses?
Balanced feed and supplements are a major factor, plus I believe that horses will only perform their best when they are happy at home. In which case I make sure they get their daily turn out with a companion.
What would your words of advice be to a young rider new to the sport?
My advice would be always look back on your mistakes with an open mind, listen to your peers and gain knowledge from other riders. I find it really helps to develop your own style when you listen to trainers that are in the region for dressage and show jumping. Every experienced person has at least one thing to add.
Whats next for you and Vardags Equestrian?
As a team we have a plan that we will be following, the main goal is to ride the bigger grand prix classes in the future and to be able to qualify for the bigger shows and hopefully one day the Olympics. It all takes time and the correct building blocks to get there, but I have the determination and passion for the sport to reach my ultimate goal.
Who inspires you as a rider?
That would be Marcus Ehning hands down, his smoothness and style in riding is just incredible
Thank you to Ahmad for taking the time to talk to us and we wish you and Vardags Equestrian the very best for the future.
Henrik takes 6th Place in the CSIO5* Rolex Grand Prix & 4th in the Nations Cup onboard Newton Abbot proudly owned by Al Shira'aa
Chin Chin X Lord Z
Henrik Von Eckermann
Persia FBH Presley Boy x Contender 2013 mare: 1st place 1.10m & 1st place in the 1.20m youngster national, this mare is extremely promising for the FBH Team.
Forever Young B - FBH PeterPaan x Carthago 2012 gelding: 2nd in the 1.20m youngster national another one to watch.
Ali Bin Hamoodah Challenges the 1.40 Hamburg Derby again this year with the quick scopey Chin Chieno FBH, taking a 5th in the 30 strong class.
Chin Chieno has developed into a super horse over the last couple of years with Ali and all the hard work is paying of.
Nadia Taryam & Cortado Secure 2nd place in the grand prix of Magna Racino ❤ Austrian International Championship Pferdesportpark Magna Racino
New ride for Nadia ASKARIA, takes 3rd on the Mini GP in Budapest with the Olympic hopeful Cortado placing in the Grand Prix.
So far in MAY!
Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby
Preparations are getting under way to welcome members of the public. The doors open on Wednesday 20th of June with International competition beginning on Thursday 21st of June!
Mohammed Al Hajri
Flies the flag scoring a hattrick in the CSI2* competition in Opglabbeek
Chin Chieno FBH
Focus on Saudi Rider
Abdullah Faris Aba Al-Khail
Save your self, don’t wait for others to save you. Live everyday with unbridled enthusiasm. Be your own hero
NAME: Abdullah Faris Aba Al-Khail
Nina Rita Z (8yrs) by Numero Uno -
Sponsored by Sufyan Baytony
Sunshine (6yrs) By Aiken -
Sponsored by Sufyan Baytony
I got the Jewels (10yrs) By Winning Mood
Owned by Abdullah himself
31 1st place finishes
24 2nd place finishes
32 3rd place fInishes
1st Kronenberg International 2* 1.25cm
1st The Ministry Of Defense Cup 1.30cm
1st Ministry of Interior Cup 1.30cm
INSPIRED BY - Henrik von Eckermann
GOALS - to represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the Olympics
H.R.H Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi
Image Credit to Andrea Mascolo
He began riding from around four years of age where he was lead out by hand with a family member, when Khalid turned seven he started to take lessons with trainer Suhailer, a well-known Emirati instructor at Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club whose past-student list reads like a who’s who of the UAE’s big-name jumpers. Suhailer taught them from a very early age.
Khalid says, although his Mother didn’t (and still doesn’t) ride, she truly loves horses and supported his passion from the beginning and his Father was committed to taking Khalid for his daily lessons at the club.
His jumping debut was a simple 90cm course at SERC. “Although I finished clear, he laughs, “I did manage to fall off after the final fence.” Regardless, it would seem the jumping-bug had already bitten, and Khalid became a regular competitor at local jumping events around the UAE.
Eleven years on and Khalid has just won the Novice Longines Finals that took place on the 28th April 2018, with the only double clear in a field of 38 riders. Partnered with H K Al Shababi, the seven-year-old KWPN gelding by Quality Time, a horse he bought from his trainer, Hamad Al Kirby, only late last year.
He recalls asking Hamad if he was a stallion when he himself bought H K Al Shababi, to which Hamad replied, “if he was a stallion then, I wouldn’t be selling him to you now!” he really is a special horse for the future.
Shk Khalid accepts his trophy from Sultan Al Yahya’ie One of the sports biggest supporters to riders in the region
This year, 18-year-old H.R.H Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, burst onto the local showjumping scene when he won the Novice Longines Finals on his horse H K Al Shababi.
“It’s a family thing,” he says, “I was raised with horses, mostly Arabians… everyone in my family was… I remember when I was young, my mum would be out looking for me… we had a stable in front of our house in Ras al Khaimer so an easy place to wander off to, she would find me in the stables, just sitting with the horses, and to this day I still do the same” he says.
The first horse Khalid remembers was his Father’s black Arabian stallion called Sharar meaning ‘spark,’ and although he must have been only 2 years old, Khalid says he remembers him clearly. And, it would seem there could be a lot in a name… as Sharar was certainly the spark and catalyst for Khalid’s growing dedication in the sport of equestrianism.
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi
My Equestrian World
Image Credits to Serc Press Office
Longines Novice Final Winning Round
Showjumping is not Khalid’s only equestrian endeavor to date, and while he calls the sport his ‘hobby,’ he has also just taken his first steps in launching his equestrian ‘business.’
The Al Arab Stud in Al Zubair, Sharjah, breeding Purebred Arabians and using Khalid’s foundation sire AJ Barjan.
Barjan came to Khalid via his Uncle, as he had a few issues. Khalid, believing the horse just needed medical care and time, bought the show stallion and nursed him back to full health.
The stud currently has three mares, two of which are now covered by Khalid’s first horse, the show stallion AJ Barjan.
With AJ Barjan back on form, he recently placed 3rd in a class with several World Champions. “Arabians are a business and you can’t get too attached to them,” he says. “The mares and fillies we can keep around as they can breed in the future, but the young colts that don’t show top class moves will be sold.”
“You think if you keep him until he’s four and the cost of keeping horses is expensive, so we have to make decisions early. But, fillies you can always find a good stallion for them!” Decisions on the colts will be made after a season showing he says, “I’ll see what their scores are, then make decisions off the back of that.”
Khalid Al Qassimi Fact File:
Current Stable: Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club
Favorite UAE Venue: Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club and the Al Shiraa'a Show at Al Forsan
I can’t live without: Horses
Favorite brand of tack: CWD
Three things I would take to a desert island:
My Horse, A fence, and a bridle
Next season I hope: To start off
in the small tour as I'm no
longer a junior, then
progress to the young
riders if everything
Khalid’s Top Tip
Ride as much as much as you can without stirrups- it really helps improve balance and even better, why not try without a saddle entirely?
His weekends are usually spent taking his Arabians out into the desert in just a headcollar and riding bareback. However, he is quick to add, he doesn’t see this as ‘natural-horsemanship,’ “it’s just me trusting my horses and forming a bond.”
Khalid likes to work primarily on the flat and spends time viewing past performances to highlight areas for improvement.
After a recent fall, he says, Shababi has a habit of putting in an extra stride, “I’m working on getting his confidence back in the double combinations,” he says and he has improved a great deal.
Shababi is not always the easiest ride, and can, after a day-off, put in some impressive bucks. Even at competitions, Khalid says, “Shababi really knows his job at a show, but can become really hot, yet, at home, he behaves in a more relaxed manner too much sometimes .”
“He’s grown up a great deal in the past six months, and stopped bucking on the course.” which is a fantastic improvement and you can feel he's becoming more mature as he ages.
Khalid’s life is busy, and not just with horses, he has university too. He’s just started his first year of a mechanical engineering degree in Sharjah.
Most days he attends university in the morning, then studies. “Afternoons, I take a nap then go to the farm to check everything, before going to the club to train at around 5 pm,” he says.
Yet, it’s clear where his heart lies. He says, “when I have uni, I have to set many alarms to get me out of bed, however, if I have a show to go to, I’m up and ready before the alarm even goes off!”
It’s clear there’s a bright showjumping career ahead for the driven 18-year-old. He says he hopes to achieve more high-level results in jumping and breeding more top show horses.
For other young riders following in his footsteps, he has two pieces of advice; get more involved and never give up!
He says, “I used to bridle and saddle my own horse after I would bath him walk him and dry him off and I would not leave until he was fed and watered. This is something the younger riders need to learn and experience.”
He goes on, “even with a lot of setbacks that you face in this sport, its necessary to never give up… never give up or you’ll lose all the hard work that you’ve done before. I had a mare that I had really high goals for, and before the season started she had a severe bout of colic and yea, I got very close to quitting, that was until a friend gave me his horse Elanago to ride and compete. I really think, if he hadn’t given me his horse, I would have moved to the states to study as per ongoing discussions with my parents on where I should attend University.”
Global Equestrian Mind Coach
#1Bestselling author, columnist
How often do you hear that voice inside your head telling you all about the things that you can’t do.
The things you should do better.
The people you should be like or the people you don’t deserve to be like.
The one that tells you to quit! The one that Says once a loser always a loser, the one that says don’t climb to high because then your fall from grace won’t be to hard.
at that moment when we felt low or vulnerable someone who we deemed to be superior in some way said it,So it must be true - RIGHT.?
WELL I am here to blow that theory and belief right out of the water.
Every single person that you could compete against, train with or compare yourself with has those same beliefs, the same doubts and the same ability to sabotage themselves.
The thing that separates winners from losers is the ability to train your mind to question or re-frame those destructive patterns and instead replace them with a more current belief system that serves us in a constructive manner.
Something that I find to be extremely effective when it comes to re-framing our belief systems is to create your own set of questions.
For example one of my clients last week felt at her most vulnerable when she felt unprepared.
In her case we developed a set of questions that were strong enough to silence the “ you are not Good enough to compete against them” voice in her head.
1 - How many hours of training have I put in this week?
2 - Can I train comfortably at this level at home.
3 - Are my horses fit, sound and ready to compete at this level
4 - Can I think of any VALID reason not to do it.
5 - If the answer to number 4 is No, then it’s time to Feel The Fear and do it anyway.
It’s time write your own story, and for what it’s worth I believe in you.
Sandie Robertson- Global Equestrian Performance Coach
Sandie Robertson - Equestrian performance coach, author and columnist
“keeping winning riders winning and help aspiring riders get there”
Tel: 07715 629 572
Social: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn
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“I can’t do it, Yes I can, No I can’t”
I have a question for you...
Who’s voice is it that you actually hear?
I find more commonly than not when I work with clients that the voice that condemns them is not their own.
Perhaps an old teacher or coach that told you you would never achieve your goals or a parent or sibling that you sought( or seek) approval from.
The crazy thing is that the comment that was made perhaps flippantly at some point in our life we have chosen to not only believe,but to absorb as part of who we are.
To integrate it as part of our very core belief system simply because on that day,
Andrea Mascolo is an Italian expatriate, and a long time resident of Dubai. Andrea began riding horses at 5 years of age, and working with them at 15. His lifelong love of horses eventually grew naturally to include the desire to capture their beauty through photography.
Andrea currently works for the Maktoum Royal family developing and training their rich stable of thoroughbreds. Photography has grown from a hobby into a business of its own, as horse owners and lovers are drawn to his iconic work.
“I believe the secret of my success is the result of combining my love for horses with my passion for photography. Decades of experience with horses allows me to maintain confidence and make the horses comfortable, even as I introduce unknown equipment and lights to their environment. I work with the animal’s comfort level and patience delivers the perfect shot.”
Images by Photographer Gregor Aymar
Keeper of the Flame
Nestled in a secluded area in Umm Al Quwain, is the picturesque Ghaleb Stud owned by H.H. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Saud Al Mualla of Umm Al Quwain.
Ghaleb meaning ‘conqueror’ and ‘victorious’ is also the name of a unique dhow (the regional boat) named and owned by the Sheikh’s great-grandfather.
The stud is situated on a wadi, the source of which originates from the mountains some 70 kilometers upstream. The greenery creates some of the most sumptuous scenery experienced in the Emirates and is home to indigenous wildlife such as camels, the arabian oryx and reem deer.
Sheikh Mohamed followed and continues to follow his family's ancestors legacy in breeding top class Arabian horses.
His grandfather, Sheikh Rashid Bin Ahmed Al Mualla owned one of the most famous Arabian stallions in the world Akbar, whose bloodlines go back to 1907, and this alone, is one of the reasons he continues the family’s passion for Arabians.
"I started with horses back in 1999,” says Sheikh, “just as a hobby, then from 2006 I started competing in Endurance and continued for two years but then had to concentrate on my studies".
Back in 2015, he bought his first broodmare and his journey in Arabian Show Horses really began.
At present there are twenty-seven mares and three stallions at the stud in Umm Al Quwain, with four currently competing in Europe this summer. These include Amira JF (SMA Magic One x FS Dixie Rose) who came to the UAE from Las Vegas, where she was crowned reserve Champion Filly.
Her meteoric rise was not only one of the best results from Ghaleb stud to date, but also a superb achievement reaching this within two short years. Amira has now flown to France where she will make her European debut.
Amira will compete at the Mediterranean & Arab Countries Arabian Sport Championships held at Menton in France on the 23rd & 24th June 2018.
(Gazel Al Shaqab x Abha Olita)
Layali Al Anwaar
(Borsalino k x Eskarina)
Joining Amira in Europe
will be the stunning Layali Al Anwaar (Borsalino k x Eskarina) and the Queen of the stud Oriannaa (Gazel Al Shaqab x Abha Olita), both mares will join the Ghaleb Breeding program on their return to the Emirates.
(SMA Magic One x FS Dixie Rose)
Keeper of the Flame
(FA El Shawan x Pianissima)
This 2012 mirror coated bay stallion just oozes elegance and demands attention simply by his presence alone. Prometeusz’s mother Pianissima was the only mare in the history of the breed to be twice named European Triple Crown winner, his great grandmother was that of the famous Ghazal Al Shaqab who was owned by the polish government had very few offspring and Prometeusz was the best to come from her.
The stallion is a new purchase for H.H Sheikh Mohamed Al Saud Al Mualla, and in his company, one is reminded of the Maya Angelou quote,
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away".
His purchase came about quite by accident says H.H. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Saud Al Mualla, "it was by coincidence, I called Greg Gallen (an acquaintance) to inquire about the stallion's semen and if it was available…and at that time I thought, why not ask if he is for sale?”
“And, that was that,” he says, “a deal was put on the table and we purchased the stallion. He had been on the top of my list for our breeding program, so to now own him was an extremely special feeling,” he says.
Prometeusz is currently standing at the OBI training centre in Europe and working with his handler Tom Oben. Tom’s debut with the Stallion will be at the European C and International B Show held in Bruges, Belgium.
Prometheusz will remain in Europe until he flies back to the UAE for the commencement of the breeding season and the Internationals offered in the Emirates. When Prometheusz arrives at his new home at Ghaleb Stud his care and happiness, will be a top priority for everyone at the stud.
To have this special blood line at the stud is an honour and he will be an asset to Galebs breeding program for the future. Prometeusz will be open to Arabian breeders over next season in the UAE. The Show Hub will keep you posted on the developments.
His Highness is so very proud of his Arabians, and rightly so, this season he has some incredible fillies coming up, including Shalat Ghaleb By (Royal Colors x Taybah) The daughter of Sheikh Mohamed's favourite Straight Egyptian mare Taybah, he says, “she is one of my first broodmares and continues to give us such very special offspring, so certainly one to watch.”
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In the summer months I think we are all aware that the horses do little to no hard work and stand around a lot. This is a massive risk time for laminitis in every form. I have discussed with many worried owners what to do and how you can reduce the chances of getting laminitis at this time. Most people don’t realise how much sugar is in Timothy hay and the fact the sugars in the diet can massively influence the why the horses internal hormones react and therefore how much weight your horse puts on.
As the summer starts The Show Hub asked our resident Nutritionist Dr Judy Maxwell how to keep an eye on our horses as the weather heats up to over 50 Degrees!!
Soluble fibres are included at this time as there is a massive drive to keep the horse feeling full and getting their energy from other sources. The use of Kwikbeet is a fantastic way of getting fibre into the horses and is will also help get extra water and if you are adding electrolytes (which in the summer I suggest you do) they will readily accept them in this. The fibre in Kwik beet is good for giving slow release energy, and when this product gets to the hindgut, it will help support fermentation and movement, which for anyone who has had an impaction colic at this time of year, will know that this is a very problematic and potentially lethal condition.
An even better way to reduce ulcers is to feed a Alfalfa chaff, as it contains calcium to help reduce the acidity, a chaff requires more chewing so as we have discussed above this will help, but in addition the physical length of the chaff will help to float on top of the stomach contents, this stops the acid splashing around so much during exercise and will also help the horse feel fuller for longer.
Tackling the issues that arise in the
By Dr Judith Maxwell MRCVS BVSc BSc (hons)
In the summer months, I believe it is critical to monitor and restrict the amount of hay the horse is given, and to ensure that it is a low as possible source of sugar. Trying to give small amounts more frequently throughout the day can improve things, you can also look at how this hay is fed, as smaller holed hay nets and the use of a ring from the ceiling so the horse has to work much harder to get the hay, will not only keep them more engaged and less bored. Making intake more challenging will also increase the amount of time the horse takes to eat it and how many chews it takes; as they will naturally take smaller amounts when they do pull some out. The other massive bonus to this is that when the horse chews more, they release more saliva. This saliva has an amazing capacity to reduce the acidity of the stomach and therefore massively help with the reduction and severity of ulcers.
Finally, Sugar and Starch, a lot of people don’t understand the problems sugar and starch pose when the horse is doing little to no hard work. If the horse is eating high Starch (above 15%) or Sugar (above 5%) the effect they have on the blood hormones and the amount of fat the horse puts on is enormous; and this is even more true in Andalusians, Arabs and Warmbloods as they are naturally very sensitive. Older horses (over 15 years old) can have a condition called cushings disease which makes them very sensitive to sugars and insulin and all horses can develop a disease call EMS (equine metabolic syndrome) that leads to them gaining weight on small amounts of feed and being much more at risk of developing laminitis. So it is worthwhile checking you sugars and starches and moving to a high fibre muesli/nut or low energy feed as soon as the workload of your horse reduces.
If you require any more advice or would like to arrange a nutritional talk for your Yard or riding club, then please don’t hesitate to contact me:- firstname.lastname@example.org
Image credits to Al Marmoom
‘You’ve got to love
by Annie Haresign
"You could say that the bigger the horse, the more there is to love" - a fitting statement for one young gentle giant who lives and works at the Al Marmoom Initiative in Dubai.
Dominic M & some of his offspring
‘Bogton Challenger’, or ‘Lenny’ to his friends, is most likely the largest Equine-assisted learning horse in the Middle East. He stands at 17.3hh (around 175cm) and weighs in just short of one ton in weight. Lenny’s feet are larger than dinner plates and it takes his favourite groom, Bhom Singh, two hours to bath and pamper this extra-large lover of carrots.
Lenny is a pure-bred Clydesdale, a Scottish heavy horse originally bred for pulling ploughs and drays. Clydesdales’ are famously known as the ‘Budweiser’ horses who are seen across America and in their TV commercials. The Clydesdale is known for its kind and patient temperament and that’s certainly the case when talking about Lenny who is a great ambassador for his breed.
The Al Marmoom Initiative is a Centre for Equestrian and Horticultural vocational and recreational activities for People of Determination. Of their eight equines, Lenny is by far the largest in size and personality. His calm nature has helped many of the 100+ students to understand and enjoy the interaction between human and horse. He loves being groomed by students of all sizes and is happy to be ridden in the arena or outside on the Centre’s ‘Desert Challenge’ – an obstacle course to test rider’s coordination and control.
Lenny flew to Dubai from the very North of Scotland almost two years ago. The Centre was looking for a large, weight-carrying horse that would allow the taller, heavier students to take part in riding activities. Fortunately, the Centre has a range of mounting blocks so Lenny’s height was never going to be a problem.
But the Al Marmoom team never knew that Lenny’s arrival to the UAE would create such an impact. Due to Lenny’s height and width, he needed two horse-size stalls on the flight in-bound from the UK. And when he arrived at the World Cup Quarantine block, he’d immediately became a ‘personality’ that everyone wanted to meet - for sure the grooms had never seen a horse of these dimensions that often.
Since then, there are probably more ‘selfie’ photographs taken with Lenny in circulation than any other horse in Dubai. It’s a fact that can’t be corroborated but there’s no denying, he’s photogenic and is happy to pose for any picture.
At just eight years old, Lenny is still young and his inquisitive and playful mind has entertained the Marmoom staff as they’ve got to know him. Yes, we know Lenny is big, so it shouldn’t be such a surprise to see him seek out appropriately-sized fun things to do. Some horses might like being sprayed with a garden hose pipe – Lenny prefers the arena watering jets and enjoys his high-powered hydro spa. As the team knew he loves water, they took him to the beach recently as a treat – which was probably Lenny’s most favourite day-out ever, as he played in the waves.
Lenny is certainly a credit to the Al Marmoom Initiative and although he eats twice as much as any of the other horses, takes up twice the space, twice the grooming time – he’s absolutely worth it and has brought endless joy and smiles to all who meet him. Lenny is very much loved and every effort is made to ensure he is happy whether it’s a water spray for him to play with, a sand paddock for rolling and having naps in, to playing with his best friend ‘Pablo’ the quarter horse – Lenny has it all.
He is a most valued ‘team member’ as what he gives back to the staff and visitors to the Centre, can only be described as priceless - perhaps Lenny really is ‘worth his weight in gold’.
Independent on the type of horse bits, mouthpieces themselves come in different types. These can be straight-bar mouthpieces (which, as the name says, are a solid bar of metal or other material such as rubber or plastic), jointed mouthpieces (which often give a nutcracker pressure on the horse’s mouth), a mullen mouthpiece (solid, but with a curvature that accommodates the horse’s tongue), and ported mouthpieces (also has a curve, but more pronounced; often acts on the roof of the mouth as well). Jointed mouthpieces may be single-jointed or double-jointed. The latter is actually two pieces joined by a link, which itself may come in different styles, such as ported, French, Dr Bristol and ball double-jointed mouthpieces. Each operates differently, with double-jointed considered milder than single-jointed.
Full cheek bit
The full cheek bit has long arms on either side and the ring attached to the arms. This helps with lateral guidance and fixes the bit in the mouth.
The Pelham bit is somewhere between a snaffle and a curb bit. Unlike either, it allows for two sets of reins and thus is almost like a double bridle. As such, it works as either a snaffle or a curb bit, although it’s generally classed as a type of curb bit. It’s also useful to transition a horse from one type to the other. The Pelham bit is popular for polo, as it may work like a double bridle without being one.
Eggbutt snaffles are gentler, as they do not pinch the side of the mouth. In these, the mouthpiece does not rotate, and this may be more comfortable to some horses
As the name says, the D-ring snaffles have their “rings” in the shape of a D, rather than circular. The shape does not allow the bit to rotate, and also applies some lateral pressure on the horse’s mouth.
The Kimblewick is a fixed cheek bit that is often used on horses and ponies that prove a little too strong in a snaffle; it is also often used by children to help them have some control should they need it. The hanging cheek part if the bit from the cheek slot to the mouthpiece uses poll pressure and lip pressure, and various pressures in the mouth depending on the mouthpiece. When the rein is used, the curb chain should come into play, but not straight away, there should be some give in the rein before the curb chain tightens.
First of all you need to decide on what you are wanting to achieve with your horse before selecting your bit, then you have enough information to choose the most appropriate to suit the job required :
– Snaffle or Curb
– Cheek Style
The mouthpiece may slide on the full, loose ring, so that it rests on the most comfortable position for the horse, rather than fixed. The horse may relax its mouth and chew the bit.
Let’s start describing what are horse bits.
The horse bit is the piece of tack that goes inside the horse’s mouth. Horses have a space between their front and back teeth, and that’s where the bit stay. Usually, a bit is a piece of either metal or synthetic material that rests in this teeth-less space and puts pressure on the back of the mouth and the tongue of the horse. This piece attaches to a bridle and the reins and helps the rider control the horse. Not all horses adapt to all sorts of bits, and some might require different types. For example, young horses may be trained with hackamores, and some might pull too much and require a gag bit. As always, it’s important to know your horse, your needs, and adapt to both.
Image Equizone online
Horseware Rambo Micklem
Hackamores & bitless bridles
The hackamore works through a nose band, which puts pressure on different areas of the horse’s face — except the mouth. Hackamores are often not allowed in competitions, excepting endurance riding, trail riding and some showjumping and cross-country competitions.
These work like snaffle bits but offer some leverage, which varies according to the needs of the rider and the horse. They sometimes can support two sets of reins as well. The gag bits are popular in showjumping, cross-country, and polo but forbidden in dressage. These bits apply some pressure on the horse’s poll, depending on where the reins are attached. Usually, they consist of a mouthpiece with two rings, as in a snaffle, but these rings come with holes on either side, through which the gag cheek pieces run. Dutch (or three rings) gag bits, on the other hand, consist of three or four rings: one attached to the mouthpiece, one on top to attach the bridle’s cheek piece, and one or two more below. These give varying positions to attach the reins, according to the need.
Image Credits to Angela Barlow
DRESSAGE GROWS AS AN EQUINE SPORT IN BAHRAIN
By Angela Barlow
Oliver Walter, a listed British Dressage trainer and judge moved to Bahrain in 2016 to set up and improve the dressage scene on the Island. Oliver’s aim was to create a dressage competition scene in Bahrain and also to improve flatwork for showjumping, which is the island’s main focus. “The standard of the dressage has improved since we started. The riders have really raised their game this season. The improvement in the flatwork has also helped in the showjumping arena which is hugely popular here.”
Oliver is very optimistic about the way the dressage scene has developed over the last 18 months: “This season the standard of riding has improved with many of the riders. They keep pushing themselves to improve more and the shows have all been well attended”. Oliver has also set up a dedicated social media platform specifically for Bahrain Dressage, using both instagram, facebook and twitter to inform riders & competitors about upcoming shows, results and clinics.
In speaking about the future of Bahrain Dressage, Oliver expressed plans to continue with efforts to expand the scene with the hope of encouraging the development of more riders. “We aim to introduce higher classes to get more riders and develop the ones who are moving up the levels. The judge training, which has been very popular and seen many riders train to become judges, is set to develop further next season with plans to offer regular clinics and demonstrations with Oliver and trainers from overseas. It has also been a pleasure to have Denise Vertigen over from Dubai to run riding & judge training clinics which have been immensely popular.
In addition to the dressage and judge training clinics, Oliver is looking into running courses to help develop people’s knowledge. “We want to run things that people can use within the equestrian industry if they wish to. We are looking at adopting some of the UK work based diploma syllabuses as well as some other training courses”.
Image Credits to Angela Barlow
His clinics aim to keep both horse and rider both physically and mentally stimulated and his patient and sympathetic approach to training is paying dividends to those wanting to improve athleticism and gain extra marks within the competition arena! The exercises have also proved immensely beneficial to many nervous horses and/or riders by giving them an increased confidence and something they can go away and work on at home.
In the first of three articles Ben explains the rationale behind his methods and gives some specific examples of exercises which can help in a variety of situations.
We asked him some questions about his methods and why they are proving so popular.
Ben is a British Dressage rider and trainer based in the South East of England who specialises in the production of young horses and currently trains with Carl Hester.
What is the most common problem you see in your clinics?
“It has to be one-sidedness. Horses are naturally one sided and this tends to be the same with riders; this combined with other common training issues such as reluctance to move from the leg aid consistently, general tension within the step, evasion of the contact and lack of confidence causes many riders problems within training and can limit consistent progression. Using pole work exercises on both reins really helps-not least because it’s a great way of instilling discipline into the session and ensuring that both sides of the horse are worked equally”
How can pole work help with dressage training- isn’t it something which showjumpers use?!
Polework is fantastic for dressage riders! The main benefits of pole work for flatwork training is the improvement in the riders focus, judgement and timing. It really focuses the rider on the track they are riding. How often do you get your test sheet back and the judge has commented that your circle was too large or too small or your horse was falling in or out? By having the poles on the ground this gives the rider something to focus on ensuring circles for example stay the correct size.
What else can be improved in for example a young dressage horse?
All ages and stages of horses will show an improved rhythm and balance within all 3 paces. The benefit for young horses is often the most noticeable- teaching them to think about where they place their feet, listening to the rider’s aids all helps to develop balance.
What about rhythm?
Through changing the distances that we place the poles we can increase and decrease the length of stride that the horse takes in all paces. Again, having the poles on the ground focuses the rider to keep the same rhythm throughout as they highlight whether the horse is speeding up or slowing down- or changing the length of its stride .
Introducing Ben Franklin
He completed a BSc (Hons) Degree in Equine Management during which time he developed an interest in Sports Science including Rehabilitation and Therapy. In addition to preparing young horses for competition Ben enjoys teaching a wide range of clients – most of whom are aspiring dressage riders and he is gaining an ever increasing reputation for improving the strength and condition of sports horses with his alternative approach of using pole and cavaletti work as an adjunct to flatwork.
Do you use pole work as part of a strengthening programme to build/increase fitness?
I use it all the time with my young horses. The horse’s body is worked in various different ways to improve strength and conditioning. Through varying amounts of reps in your progressive training program fitness is improved just like us in the gym. I use ridden poles for this and also lunge over various patterns of poles including raised poles.
You mentioned that horse and rider confidence can be improved with pole work ...
Yes- pole work provides a brilliant way of building confidence in both horse and rider when working through a variety of exercises. A common problem that I see when I teach is riders lacking the confidence to push themselves and their horses because they aren’t sure that what they are asking is correct. Correctly ridden pole work exercises get combinations riding forwards, therefore improving contact and connection. Top tip… Let the poles do the work not you!
Can you use pole work to strengthen specific areas of the horse’s body?
Yes- and this is one of the most interesting and rewarding aspects of pole-work. It is particularly useful for horses which need to strengthen specific areas of the body, such as the muscles supporting the stifles and/or lower back because the poles encourage the horse to engage their core and as we know dressage is all about core stability!!! The more advanced you get, you can used raised poles or cavalettis to target specific muscle groups that would otherwise be a little difficult to stimulate in standard flatwork training. Careful use of polework with advice from your vet or physio can also be extremely beneficial to horses recovering from injuries but do consult with them before you start so the programme can be built round your particular horses needs.
Can you give our readers some exercises they can do at home?
Of course- that is the beauty of pole work- you can take away the ideas and get practicing. In this article I am going to concentrate on ridden pole exercises focusing on the first 2 scales of training, Rhythm and Suppleness. The scales of training are the foundation of the German training system and are assessed in the collective marks for Dressage tests at the bottom of your sheet. We will discuss these scales in greater depth in part two, however here are 2 exercises to get you practicing at home in the mean time …
You need 8-12 poles to follow this beneficial exercise.
Exercise 1 - To improve rhythm;
Get your horse used to walking over a single pole at A, E, B and C on each side of your arena so that he is not anxious of them, see diagram 1A.
Once he is settled, increase the number of poles at both the E and B markers so you have 3-5 poles at a distance of 4-4 1/2 feet, adjusting the distance to suit your horse’s stride length, see diagram 1B.
Start on the rein your horse is most balanced with. Then quietly trot him through the 3 poles at E, maintaining focus on rhythm in your approach to the poles, and keeping the rhythm consistent over the poles.
Once you are successfully over the first set of poles, focus on maintaining the correct rhythm between the sets of poles.
Exercise 2 - To improve suppleness;
You need 5 poles for this exercise.
Once the 20 metre circle is established use each pole as the starting point for a ten metre circle, see diagram 2B. Encourage the horse to stay “forward thinking” to the contact from your leg aid.
Repeat the 20 and 10 metre circles on the right rein and once you are confident in walk repeat the 20 metre and 10 metre circles in trot on both reins always focusing on keeping an even rhythm and balance.
As these exercises become easier, introduce the 5th pole into the centre of the circle as shown in the diagram 2C. Use this as a point at which to change direction so that you are now riding a figure of eight made up of two 10 metre circles.
Continue to focus on the rhythm and balance of each trot step over the poles and remember to work on each rein equally.
N.B. Repeat the exercises as many times as necessary but be aware that these exercises will work your horse in a different way so remember how hard he is working and be aware that he may tire more quickly than in standard flatwork!!! Depending on how hard your horse finds the exercise you may need to build it up over a number of sessions but you should find that his suppleness will improve and this will be soon become evident in your other training.
To keep up to date with upcoming training articles and clinic availability please follow Ben on Facebook at Ben Franklin Dressage or alternatively to be added to the mailing list please contact Ben via e-mail at email@example.com
N.B. if the rhythm has altered then quietly make a transition to walk, focusing on riding forward from your leg into your half halt using your rein and body weight aids. Once he is settled in the walk, go forward again into trot.
Proceed to A and focus on riding the single pole in a good rhythm. Continue around the arena to the 3 poles at B repeating the ‘walk, trot’ transitions as many times as necessary to maintain the rhythm.
Using the whole arena, repeat this exercise on both reins to ensure you have total control over the rhythm both ways. Once you are happy with 3 poles increase to 5 at each of the markers.
On a 20m circle place four poles equally spaced, as seen in diagram 2A.
Start on the left rein, walk your first 20m circle, focusing on the horse becoming confident in his approach to each pole whilst maintaining an even rhythm.
May our Friends and Clients be Blessed with Happiness, Peace and Love in this Holy month ofRamadan
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