Friday, August 3, 2012

Olympic Fever

It's an Olympic year, and we here at Equisport have gotten just as caught up in watching the Olympics as everyone else.  It's been a good year for Team USA, with Michael Phelps becoming the athlete to win the most Olympic medals of all time, the women's gymnastic team taking gold and Gabby Douglas winning the individual all around gold medal, and Kayla Harris winning the first gold medal for USA in judo.

Of course in all of that we're keeping an extra close eye on the equestrians.  Eventing was exciting, as always, and we were sad to see it end.  Germany took the gold for team eventing, with Great Britain obtaining silver and New Zealand receiving bronze.  Team USA finished a respectable 7th against some very tough competition.

Karen O'Connor aboard Mr. Medicott
Team USA's highest placed individual rider was Karen O'Connor, riding Mr. Medicott.  They finished 9th in the individual competition.  Phillip Dutton and Mystery Whisper were 23rd, William Coleman and Twizzel were 37th, and Tiana Coudray and Ringwoods Magister rounded out the team in 40th. 

With eventing behind us, it's time to turn our focus to dressage.  Team USA's dressage riders are Steffen Peters aboard Ravel, Jan Ebeling on Rafalca, Tina Konyot with Calecto V, and Adrienne Lyle on Wizard.  The Grand Prix competition was completed today, and Steffen and Ravel lead the team with a score of 77.705% (6th place).  Tina and Calecto V are next with a 70.456% (27th place) and Jan and Rafalca (30th place) are close on her heels with a 70.243%.  Adrienne, who is competing as an individual and the youngest member of the USA dressage team, rode Wizard for a score of 69.468% (35th place).  Currently the team is sitting in 5th place overall with a collective score of 72.801%.  The dressage competition continues next week with the Grand Prix Special.

Steffen Peters and Ravel

For those that haven't heard, Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report has taken quite an interest in dressage, declaring it the "sport of the summer".  His videos can be found here, and even show Stephen taking a lesson with Michael Barisone.  Michael was a part of Team USA during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has the honor of being the coach for our current Team USA dressage team.  There's a lot of lighthearted banter about dressage, and some jokes about Rafalca, since she is partially owned by Ann Romney.  All of that led to the photo shown below.

Dressage is #1 - Team USA with Ann Romney

We cannot forget the Show Jumping, which starts tomorrow.  Our team has some strong representatives in Rich Fellers and Flexible, Beezie Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo, Reed Kessler and Cylana, and McLain Ward and Antares F. 

Rich Fellers and Flexible during the 2012 Olympic Selection Trials
We're excited to see what happens next, and are wishing the best of luck to all of our representatives in London.  It would be nice if we could bring home a medal for one of the equestrian sports, but nothing comes easy in the Olympics.  So here's hoping!

Olympics Equestrian Trivia:
  • The Olympic dressage competition started in 1912, and up until 1952, only commissioned officers were allowed to compete in these events. From 1952 the rules were changed to allow civilians and women to compete.
  •  In Beijing 2008, equestrian rider Hiroshi Hoketsu became the oldest Japanese Olympic representative at age 67. Hoketsu also took part in the 1964 Tokyo Games where he finished 40th in the show jumping event.  He is participating in the 2012 London Games with his horse Whisper at the age of 71.
  • The Equestrian events (and the equestrian part of Modern Pentathlon) are the only Olympic events that involve animals.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Social Media

For anyone who hasn't heard, we've joined Facebook!  You can find our page here.  So head on over and check it out!

"A cowboy is a man with guts and a horse."
~ Will James

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We're Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot!

Summer is in full swing here at our office in Michigan.  Today's high is supposed to hit a balmy 101 degrees, which is a whopping one degree cooler than what they predicted yesterday.  With all of the sunshine and humidity hanging around, the topic of keeping horse and human cool while riding during heat waves came up in conversation.  We may not be veterinarians, but we soon realized that it may be a good idea to extend our discussion, and our discoveries, to include our clients. So, without further adieu, here are some ideas for keeping your horse cool during the dog days of summer:

  • Turn out overnight instead of during the day.  If you have limited options for turnout times and hours, see if you can adjust the schedule so horses are going out early in the morning and late in the evening to avoid the hottest times.
  • If horses must go out during the day make sure they have plenty of cool, fresh water, and a good shady place where they can go to get out of the direct sun. 
  • Ride in the morning, or later in the evening.  If you have to ride in the middle of the day try to ride inside, or limit the length of your workout and make sure you take plenty of breaks.
  • Fans can be set up in your barn, either at/on each stall or in the aisles to help keep the air moving.  Stagnant air is much more stifling than moving air, even if it's still hot.  As always, use caution and make sure all plugs and electrical cords are out of reach so the more curious members of your herd won't accidentally chew on them.
  • If you have it, go ahead and use a misting system.  Horses, like humans, sweat to cool off, and assisting them won't hurt.  If you don't have a misting system then hose them off once in awhile, or use a sponge for a quick once-over.  Spraying a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water on them will also provide a cooling effect.
  • Provide plenty of salt/mineral blocks and/or electrolytes.  Horses lose electrolytes when they're sweating, and replacing those is essential to their health.   
There are plenty of other small tips out there, but these seem to be the basics.  Keep an eye on your four-legged charges to make sure no one is suffering from heat stroke, or on the verge of overheating.  If you do have a horse that's a likely candidate then contact your veterinarian immediately for advice.

The heat will pass, and we're not complaining too much because we'll return to the doldrums of winter soon enough.  So use caution, but go on out and have some fun in the sun while you can!

"When I can’t ride anymore, I shall still keep horses as long as I can hobble about with a bucket and wheelbarrow. When I can’t hobble , I shall roll my wheelchair out to the fence of the field where my horses graze and watch them."
~ Monica Dickens