Maritime youth learn dressage in Florida
by Mary McIntosh
Four dressage riders from the Maritimes participated in a Youth Mentorship Program to give young riders, between the ages of 16 and 21, access to the knowledge and expertise of Canada’s top dressage athletes in Wellington, Florida.
Sydney Sacre, 19, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Alyssa Gaudet, 17, of Memramcook, New Brunswick, and Martha Moore, 17, and Maggie Zinck, 21, of Fredericton, N.B., were in Wellington from March 17 to 22, 2016. Tiffany Dalton, 29, traveled with the group as the chef d’equipe. Jill Irving organized the program and was a major sponsor. She hosted the young riders at her house in Wellington, gave them a car to use, and provided tickets for VIP seating at shows.
On their first few days in Wellington, the riders watched Grand Prix 3* and 4* competitions, explored the show grounds at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, and visited the Palm Beach Equine Center, where they toured the facility and saw horses recovering from various procedures. Grand Prix dressage rider Denielle Gallagher, originally from New Brunswick, and now living in New York and Wellington, showed the riders a day-in-the-life of a working student or groom. They assisted in the warm up, cleaned stalls and water buckets, and bedded down horses. The group also met judge Joan McCartney, who discussed what the judges look for in the Young Rider and Prix St. George tests.
Later in the week, the group visited Canadian Olympian Jacqueline Brooks. They watched Brooks coach a student, and learned about taking care of elite horses from her working student. They also visited Chris von Martels’ stable, watched him ride, and learned the exercises he uses to introduce piaffe, passage, and the canter pirouette. He asked the riders about their riding, and offered advice to help them become successful. The riders also stopped by Ashley Holzer’s barn, where fellow Maritimer Brittany Fraser, who won a silver medal in dressage at the Pan American Games, gave them a tour of the facility. They were thrilled to be given the opportunity to try piaffe and passage on Holzer’s Grand Prix horse, Pop Art. Pop Art was Holzer’s dressage mount at the 2008 Olympics.
At the end of the week, Irving hosted a farewell dinner with internationally-recognized athletes including Juan Matute Jr. (Spain), Nick Hanson (USA), Maureen Trundy (USA), and Ava MacCoubrey (Canada).
“This week was a really great opportunity,” said Zinck. “We got to ride a horse that we would never have gotten the chance to ride anywhere else, and watching and listening to all of the riders has helped me carve out a plan for my young horse, hopefully to get him to the upper level.”
Twenty-five heads are better than one
by Pam MacKenzie
Members of the Atlantic Farriers Association enjoyed a well-attended clinic at Halifax Bengal Lancers on March 20, 2016. Jack Zeggelaar organized and led the demonstrations for the approximately 25 farriers from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick who were in attendance.
The clinic covered shoe fit for the entire shoeing rotation, pastern angle, and break over. The farriers also discussed efficient techniques for shoe shaping and hoof preparation. Different options were discussed for each situation presented – from lameness to white line disease. There was also comparison of products and their uses.
To supplement what the farriers could see from the outside, Dr. Rob Wentzell kindly radiographed each horse before and after trimming or shoeing. Wentzell’s X-rays and information were a welcome addition. Throughout the demonstrations – from corrective to hot shoeing – the farriers and vet discussed options and approaches to problems. It was concluded that there are usually two or three options for every problem, and that 25 heads were much better than one.
Havelock, New Brunswick, farrier Marc Gauthier said the key to success is education and learning. Paul Thibodeau of Granville Ferry, Nova Scotia, added that “working together with vets is very helpful for farriers.” When thanked for his generous donation of both time and equipment, Wentzell responded, “I get more from this than you folks do. Continuing to email information and images to each other is very beneficial.”
Zeggelaar summed up the day by saying, “the purpose of this clinic was simply to examine, through radiographs and the collective analysis of farriers in attendance, the state of each horse before and after being shod. The clinic was well attended, and seemed to be well received, with many discussions taking place throughout. We all are very grateful to Dr. Rob Wentzell for his time, resources, and expertise, and also to the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers for the use of their facility and horses, and for helping whenever possible. Thanks also go to everyone who contributed by their attendance.” The Atlantic Farrier Association also extends thanks to Atlantic Farrier and Blacksmith Supplies, The Shoe Box, and Purina for their generousity.
New Glasgow to Australia
Madison Holmes, 14, of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, has been working since she was four years old to develop her riding skills in a variety of disciplines, and her work is paying off in a big way. Holmes was recently selected to be part of the five-member Team Canada heading off to Tamworth, Australia, in June for the 2016 American Quarter Horse Association Youth World Cup.
Team Canada will be competing against teams representing 13 countries from across the world. Competitors draw for horses and, with the help of their coach, have a week to develop a relationship with their new mount. A two-day competition covers a variety of disciplines including cutting, reining, horsemanship, trail, ranch riding, hunt seat equitation, hunter under saddle, and showmanship.
Riding a new horse won’t be a different experience for Holmes. Training with AQHA judge Derek Hanscome at East Coast Quarter Horses, she has ridden everything from 17.3 hh hunters to 15 hh all-around Quarter Horse mares to four-year-old ranch horses.
Just being selected for the team was an achievement. The application process required an application letter, a video of the rider competing in different disciplines on a variety of horses, certification of AQHA points won to date, letters of recommendation, and an interview.
Making the team has long been a goal for Holmes. “I would have been ecstatic to be chosen as an alternate rider at the most, so being chosen as a full team member is an honor and a thrill. Emily Sullivan and Melissa Hanscombe have been Team Canada members and they showed me where my show career could take me, so I’ve tried to follow in their footsteps,” says Holmes, who is in grade nine at Northumberland Regional High School.
It’s a long way from New Glasgow to Australia, so Holmes and the team as a whole have been working hard to raise funds. If you would like to support this young rider in her endeavors, you can reach her through email at shortiandelle@hotmail com.
Mount Traber Bible Camp
by Nancy Hynes
Mount Traber Bible Camp near Middle Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia, has been receiving kids ages five to 18 for more than 50 years. The 400-acre facility offers summer riding and ranch programs, as well as wilderness training, rock climbing, forest adventures, archery, and more.
Mount Traber is non-profit, non-denominational, and staffed primarily by volunteers who share their expertise to make the camper experience memorable. Most, like full-time camp director Mark Taylor and his wife Debbie, fundraise to support the program. Many businesses get involved by donating their time, materials, and the use of equipment. The ranch is supported by local farmers donating hay and feed to help sustain the animals year round.
The “Ranch” has a limited breeding program for pigs and goats, and there are also calves, sheep, alpacas, chickens, rabbits, and even kittens for campers to enjoy. These animals are used as part of “So You Wanna Be a Cowboy” programs, where children are immersed in farm life, learning how to work with and care for animals. This program provides an entry point for children age seven and up to decide if they want to learn to ride.
The equine program offers weekly camps under the direction of two certified volunteer coaches – Janet Draper, a Level II coach, and Anita Hamilton, a Level I coach. The five junior leaders have both human and horse first aid training. Each year, they undergo intensive upgrading to deliver a high-quality curriculum to the campers, including stable management and horse care. There are seven ponies and eight horses with varied backgrounds, allowing riders of different levels to participate. Beginner and intermediate-level participants ride in western tack. Junior or senior level riders may choose English or Western. Volunteers have built cavalettis, jumps, and other equipment to help riders build their skills. The most advanced riders enjoy excursions on the amazing trail system.
The camp offers rentals where groups can arrange to use any or all the amenities on site. Online registration is new in 2016. For more information, call 902-384-2238 or visit www.mounttraber.org.