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Horse & Hound 13-Dec-2018

Published by Time Inc. (UK) Ltd Every week Horse & Hound brings horse lovers up-to-date with the latest news and event reports and provides expert equestrian advice on subjects including training and horse care, the latest equine products and feed. The weekly features inform and entertain inspiring readers to go out and ride to improve their horsemanship in every discipline from eventing to show jumping, dressage to showing, polo and hunting. It is also the must read for anyone wanting to buy or sell a horse.

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52 Issues


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weighty issues

RIDER weight in relation to horse welfare is unsurprisingly a hot topic. The punchline from Dr Sue Dyson’s most recent research on the subject — presented at the Saddle Research Trust conference last weekend (news, p4) — appears to be that everything is relative. Rather than trying to put people off riding, the results should simply encourage people to ride an animal of the appropriate size. You need a saddle that fits both horse and rider, too. It’s still not clear precisely at what weight a rider is too heavy for a horse — I’d like to see a chart that matches rider height and weight to horse height and type. We’re told it’s not quite that simple, with factors ranging from rider balance to the horse’s back length. Riding is already…

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calls for further research into rider weight debate

EDUCATION, saddle fit and the possibility of breeding bigger horses were key points mentioned in the rider weight debate at the 2018 Saddle Research Trust (SRT) conference. Guests at the University of Nottingham heard about the issue in depth on 8 December, at the conference titled “Horse, rider, saddlery interactions: welfare and performance”. Sue Dyson, head of clinical orthopaedics at the Centre for Equine Studies at the Animal Health Trust (AHT), gave a presentation on her 2017 pilot study on the effects of rider weight, which had found that a high rider-to-horse bodyweight ratio can cause lameness and discomfort (news, 8 March). Dr Dyson said the study had found heavier riders and unsuitable saddles can cause equine muscle tension and pain. She and her team assessed horses’ gait, signs of stress, the forces under…

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green light to pergolide in us

US EQUESTRIAN’S decision to allow horses to compete on a common medication for PPID (Cushing’s disease) has sparked debate over whether other authorities would follow suit. Pergolide is listed as a controlled medication under FEI rules, meaning it can be used but must not be in a horse’s system on competition days. The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) mirrors the FEI’s clean sport rules, meaning horses competing in disciplines that comply with the BEF anti-doping rules cannot compete while on pergolide. Competitors in the USA can now apply for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for pergolide. An FEI spokesman told H&H it has no plans to follow suit. “The FEI has the horse equivalent of TUEs [veterinary form A] but these are only accepted for a controlled medication and specifically for an emergency condition at an…

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rule breach prompts rider to resign

ENDURANCE rider Dr Margaret (Meg) Sleeper has stepped down from her role on the FEI’s new temporary committee to urgently review the current endurance rules, prior to its first meeting. The American rider has been given a two month suspension due to breaking the FEI’s rules on mandatory rest periods after competing in two national events in her home country. Dr Sleeper, who has competed in international endurance since 2005 and is also a trainer, official veterinarian and veterinary cardiologist, said: “As soon as I realised I could be in violation of FEI rest period rules I immediately contacted the FEI and explained the situation. “Once it was confirmed, I knew that the right thing to do was to resign. I made a mistake and I bitterly regret it, but the work of…

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horses in the news

URSULA XII The 17-year-old showjumping super-mare, owned by Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham, was retired from competition by her rider Scott Brash after finishing sixth in the grand prix at CHI Geneva on 9 December. MY TENT OR YOURS The double Grade One winner and three-time Champion Hurdle runner-up has retired, aged 11. Trained by Nicky Henderson, he will return to owner JP McManus’ Martinstown Stud to enjoy his retirement. STAKKARIEALLA The six-year-old mare, bred at the Schockemöhles’ Lewitz Stud, topped the PSI Auction in Germany (8-9 December), selling for €2.4m (£2.16m). The mare qualified for the young horse 2018 world championship. DROMGURRIHY BLUE Michael McGrath’s CCI4* stalwart has retired aged 16. The gelding, by Puissance, had a number of riders including Oliver Townend with whom he won Burgham CIC3* in 2016 and finished 11th at Burghley…

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positive changes for racing stable staff

CHANGES to improve the work-life balance for stable staff have been welcomed by the racing industry. The agreement, which came into force on Monday (10 December), gives more flexibility to working hours agreements between trainers and employees. Staff working more than 40 hours a week — which includes a commitment to a minimum of five hours on Saturday mornings, unless stated otherwise — will now be entitled to overtime based at time-and-a-half. Rotas set out in the memorandum of agreement by the National Joint Council for Stable Staff (NJC) were previously calculated on the basis of 85 hours over two weeks, with Sundays paid at double time. The NJC stated the overall increase in wages costs to employers will be around 2.2%. A spokesman for charity Racing Welfare told H&H this is a “highly…