Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sunday at The George H Morris Riding Clinic

This past Sunday I got to spend the day photographing the George H Morris riding clinic. What a treat! That is one assignment that I look forward to every year.

It is one thing to attend major horse shows and see the top riders compete, it is completely another thing to get to see how they train. The clinic is all about learning. Learning for the riders, the auditors, the participants of the Trainer Certification Program. There was a wide variety of auditors in attendances from trainers, riders, owners and everyone in- between.

George H Morris demonstrating techniques to make the horse softer through use of flatwork and legs. The horse must respect the legs! Below photo shows Mr Morris riding Richard Rinehart's horse with no stirrups. He did this for a good 10- 15 mins. Impressive!

George H Morris demonstrating riding to the base with pace on Caitlin Boyle's horse.

Stephen Foran, 2012 USHJA Emerging Athletes Program winner.

Caitlyn Boyle of West Dundee, IL.

George H Morris demonstrating correct hands position to both the auditors and riders.

Carl Weeden from Brookwood Farm.

Elizabeth Benson, winner of the WIHS Equitation Finals.

Richard Rinehart, previous USET Maxine Beard Award winner.

Lisa Goldman, IHJA Horse Person of the Year.

Auditors packed the seating area of the clinic!

For additional coverage of the 2012 Chicago George H Morris Riding Clinic you can go to www.chicagoequestrian.com and like us on Facebook!!

If you have never attended a George H Morris riding clinic you must make it a priority! Mark your calendar for Thanksgiving weekend 2013!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Canterbury Farm (West of Chicago)

Monday, November 5, 2012

ASPCA Maclay National Championship

Sitting in the Alltech Arena at the 2012 Alltech National Horse Show watching the 152 riders go through the course was absolutely a joy to see. The course was deceivingly difficult. Looking at the course it seems simple but ended up being more difficult for some that were not prepared. It resembled a course that would be present at a George H. Morris Clinic. A beautiful APSCA jump in the middle of the arena to a tall skinny planter with no standards to the last wall jump which has a long hand gallop approach. There was plenty of time through the course where a rider could over analyze and lose focus. Those that were fortunate enough to make it through as planned with excellent equitation were called back for later testing. Watching these hardworking junior riders is always inspirational.

Only three Chicago riders made it into the second part of the Maclay National Championship: Taylor Schmidt, Catherine and Lauren Tyree. They had to perform in separate groups showing off their remarkable flat work. After watching the second round, even more riders were eliminated, including Taylor Schmidt. The Tryee's are still in the race for the win. While patiently waiting to hear what the third part was going to be; the ring was in a quick disarray while the course was rearranged, it became evident that they would be riding the course backwards. After watching the final group go through with nail biting moments, there was still no clear winner. The top four were called back into the ring and a Chicago rider was lucky enough to make it. Catherine Tyree. They had to switch mounts and ride the course backwards again. Everyone was on the edge of their seats anxiously waiting to see who would succeed and who would fail. They were called out of the ring and a few silent minutes passed by while the judges decided the winner. The top riders were asked backed into the ring as the riders were called with their standing. As we got closer to the top four it was evident that two Chicago riders were to be in the top 10. Lauren Tryee placed 9th and after her diligent and hardwork Catherine Tryee placed 3rd. The ring exploded with applause. Watching her move through the 152 spots to reach the top 4 was amazing. The Maclay National Championship truly shows the level of horsemanship and skill that these riders are capable of.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Puissance makes a comeback!

Last night was another brand new experience. I got to watch the ever infamous Puissance competition. Now before yesterday I had no idea what Puissance was. I was told that it consisted of a maximum of 5 rounds, though last night there were only 4 rounds and this event was not timed. The first round started the Puissance wall at a height of 5'9" and it was absolutely exhilarating. The first round is a unique round as it's the only one that consisted of 4 jumps, which obviously including the Puissance wall. The remaining four rounds were even more exhilarating. It was heart stopping excitement. The Puissance wall continued to climb and grow from round to round to reach a height of 7'. Though Tim Gredley on Unex Valente didn't break the current indoor record of 7'10", he did win the 2012 Alltech National Horse Show $50,000 Puissance by flying over the 7' wall. This amazing event showcases the athleticism of these amazing horses. These horses demonstrate the true meaning of Puissance meaning "power". I am looking forward to see more athleticism and amazing shows of horsemanship at the $250,000 Alltech Grand Prix.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Welcome to the Alltech National Horse Show!!

Being here is a brand new experience for many people; including myself. The National Horse Show is a fantastic experience for both spectators and riders. The special part about it is that not everyone can enter; you have to qualify. These riders are the best of the best from this show season. With all of these people here you can end up standing right next to an Olympian getting some coffee like a normal day. The $10,000 Junior Jumper Class is going on right now!! The horses are amazing and the riders are staying calm and focused. It's going to be an exciting rest of the day! Tonight is the Puissance class, so stay tuned to our Facebook Page for some exhilarating posts and pictures.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Where will you show this summer?

Spring is now in full swing and that means that summer horse shows are on our doorstep!

There are so many shows to choose from. Check out the calendar at http://www.chicagoequestrian.com/ for a full schedule. There is now a new calendar feature that allows you to view all events at once. This lets you pull up a full calendar of all the ChicagoLand horse shows at one click of your mouse.

Time to start making decisions...

Choose from local, open, NIHJA, A and B rated shows.

Be on the lookout for the ladies from ChicagoEquestrian.com at a show near you!

If you would like to have your shows added to ChicagoEquestrian.com calendar be sure to contact us at info@ChicagoEquestrian.com for all the details!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Is your trainer certified? USHJA Trainer Certification Program

Is your trainer certified by the USHJA?
What makes a trainer 'certified'?
Should you ride with a certified trainer?

These are all very good questions!

There are many reasons to choose a trainer or even to change trainers, most often the reason for searching out a new trainer is due to wanting to further ones knowledge, competency and level of riding.

Have you ever thought about whether or not the trainers you were looking at riding with were certified? Or if your current trainer is certified? Or even if you need to train with a certified trainer? Maybe you are new to riding, have aspirations to enter the show ring and want a high quality and safe trainer?

Photo: USHJA Website

The USHJA website states:

USHJA Certified Trainers are encouraged to represent and promote the hunter/jumper sport in a positive, ethical and professional manner.

Regardless of category, show record, geographic location or perceived prestige, certain fundamentals are required of every USHJA Certified Trainer:

-A comprehensive knowledge of the history of the American Hunter/Jumper Forward System of riding and training horses
-Active involvement in the hunter/jumper industry
-Dedication to horse and student safety
-Sound horsemanship skills
-Skillful equine-management practices
-Ethical business practices
-Good sportsmanship
-Commitment to excellence

Why and How do trainers become certified?

The USHJA Trainer Certification Program was developed to preserve the American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System by offering a comprehensive educational program based on that system and providing increasing levels of certification for professional horse trainers. Participation in the TCP, while voluntary, is encouraged for the ongoing professional support it provides. Becoming a Certified Trainer confirms a commitment to continuing one’s professional development, which leads to an ever-increasing group of well-rounded and knowledgeable horsemen.

In order to receive and maintain certification, trainers are tested on a broad spectrum of relevant professional information, including training techniques, safety of horse and rider, horsemanship skills and business ethics. The hope of the TCP Committee is that the knowledge imparted during the Trainer Certification process will be passed along from the trainers to the students, who are the future of the equine industry. In this manner, each generation of horsemen can learn from the experience of the ones that came before them.

Where can you find out if a trainer is certified?

The USHJA has a directory of all certified trainers.

Interestingly, the USHJA is not the only organization promoting trainer certificates. Other disciplines do as well, including dressage and eventing.

No matter what your discipline of riding is, do your homework! Make sure your trainer is certified or works under a head trainer that is. If they don't have their certification ask them if they plan on getting it? Have a conversation with them and then make your own decision.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, March 1, 2012

USHJA Outreach Program in Chicago Area

The New USHJA Outreach program is in it's second year. Classes in the Chicago area are being offered at Showplace Productions 'B' Level shows.

USHJA Outreach Competitions set a minimum standard for unrecognized (local) competitions; participation is open to all equine enthusiasts, regardless of current USHJA membership status.

These classes are a great way to move up to the next level of competition! Why not try out some USHJA Outreach classes? No membership is required and since the classes are put on at the local level the price is quite affordable.

There are several Outreach programs available to choose from:
Outreach Medal
Outreach Hunter Challenge
Outreach Junior Hunter Challenge

For each of the above programs there are 4 different class levels of competition offered.
Bronze: 2' to 2'3"
Silver: 2'6"
Gold: 3'
Platinum: 3'3"

Although anyone may ride in these classes regardless of USHJA membership, if you are a member at the $15 Outreach level or higher, then points for the classes will be counted towards year end high-point awards to be presented at the USHJA Annual Meeting.

For full rules and regulations go to USHJA, Outreach Competitions.

For Chicago Area shows offering USHJA Outreach classes please check the calendar at ChicagoEquestrian.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thoroughbred Incentive Program and Showplace Productions

Thoroughbred horses are very popular in the Chicago area, chances are that you either own one, have ridden one or know someone that does.

With major racetracks in northern Illinois such as Arlington and Hawthorne Parks there are a regular abundance of retired race horses or OTTB's (Off the Track Thoroughbreds) for sale at reasonable prices.

Most Racehorses retire by the time they are 5 and have a long life ahead of them. The Jockey Club has made an effort to see that these talented horses have the opportunity to experience second careers. To assist in that effort they have introduced a new program called the Thoroughbred Incentive Program.

“The Thoroughbred Incentive Program is a natural extension of our ongoing efforts in Thoroughbred aftercare,” said James L. Gagliano, The Jockey Club’s president and chief operating officer. “We encourage other groups to join us as we assist with the transition of Thoroughbreds into second careers.”

The Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.), will recognize and reward the versatility of the Thoroughbred through sponsorship of Thoroughbred classes and high point awards at locally, nationally or internationally sanctioned horse shows. The Jockey Club has committed $100,000 to the Thoroughbred Incentive Program for a pilot program in 2012.

T.I.P. sponsorships are available for a variety of disciplines, including eventing, dressage, hunters, jumpers and western and English pleasure, and will include ribbons, prizes and in some cases, purse money

In the Chicago area Showplace Productions 'B' shows are the first to offer T.I.P. classes, a complete thoroghbred division and championship, with fences at 3'.

For more information on the T.I.P. program go to http://www.tjctip.com/
For more information on Showplace Produtions B shows see article at http://www.chicagoequestrian.com/

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Use of Specialty Stirrups in Equitation Classes

Recently we posted a question on FaceBook about the use of Magnetic stirrups in Equitation classes. WOW, what a passionate response we got from many people!

It is surprising to me that there are no rules against using them in Equitation Classes. According to the 2012 USEF rule book for Hunter Seat Equitation the :

Basic Position. The eyes should be up and shoulders back. Toes should be at an angle best suited to rider’s conformation: ankles flexed in, heels down, calf of leg in contact with horse and slightly behind girth. Iron should be on the ball of the foot and must not be tied to the girth

Hmm.... Seems to me that magnetic stirrups would be cheating in Equitation Classes.

The rules also state:

So for all those members of the USEF who feel passionately about these magnetic stirrups, maybe you should be contacting the USEF for a rule change.

To make things more interesting that the FEI does allows the OnTyte magnetic stirrups to be used for Jumping. They also allow pretty much any type of stirrups including the X'Up clip-ins. It seems to me that manufacturing companies are continually pushing the envelope with 'stirrup innovations'. With both of these systems a rider has to have their boots altered or purchase a special boot to be used.

Obviously there are pros and cons to all types of stirrups, including these magnetic and clip-in types.

Money is a huge consideration, not just the exorbitant price of these stirrup and boot systems but also the amount of money that the companies contribute in sponsorship within the Equestrian community.

Safety is another hot topic. These companies state that their systems are proven safety enhancements, what if it was proven that these types of stirrups made riding a safer sport? Would you use them then....

I do think that there is a place for these types of stirrups within the riding community, specifically with para riders.

I don't think these stirrup systems belong in the Equitation or Hunter rings.

I have never used these magnetic or clip-in systems so I really can't comment on how well they work or if they actually are safer stirrups. I would love to hear any comments from someone that does use them and is not being 'sponsored' by a company to use them. Don't forget you can alway leave an anonymous comment!

Let's hear your feedback!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 2, 2012

5 great tips to promote your barn

Winter is a great time to work on promoting your barn, your riders and your upcoming events.
Generally winter in Chicago is a slower time for most equestrians. More time is spent planning for the summer show season, many horse owners may be evaluating their board situation and rethinking goals for the upcoming season.

Plus, lots of new and young riders are starting to think about activities for the upcoming summer and breaks.

It's also a proven fact that more people spend time surfing the web during the colder and darker months which provides ample opportunity for barn owners to get their information out into the hands of the public!

Top 5 ways to promote your barn!

1. Create a Facebook page and link to your website

2. Word of mouth through happy and satisfied customers

3. Events! Start planning now for the warmer weather months.

4. Hold clinics, shows, special lesson packages, etc...

5. Advertise on ChicagoEquestrian.com! There are all levels of packages available from a simple directory add to feature articles, photos, e-blasts and more and all offered at available prices. A great way to extend your reach into the greater Chicagoland equestrian community.

For more information on advertising go to www.chicagoequestrian.com or email info@chicagoequestrian.com

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chicago Equestrian Welcomes Sarah Bryan to the Team!

Sarah Bryan is a Chicago Area young professional from the Naperville, IL area.

Sarah Bryan riding Fawkes, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Sarah rides and trains with Brenda Mueller. She has been riding for 13 years and has competed in a number of disciplines including dressage, jumpers, hunters and equitation.

Currently she is enrolled in North Central College working on her Marketing and Management degree.

Sarah teaches lessons at Trillion Farm in Naperville, IL several days a week and does training rides at Gladstone Ridge Farm in Wheaton, IL.

She will be working for Chicago Equestrian in Social Media as well as Event Coverage. Please make sure to keep an eye out for our newest team member!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Olympic hopeful sidelined by injury

This past weekends fall and injury of McLain Ward during the $30,000 Surpass Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida has left the horse world wondering what will happen with his chances at this years Olympic games.

McLain Ward on Saphire at the WEG

McLain Ward, an Olympic hopeful for this years Show Jumping event to be held August 3 - 8 in London, sustained a compound fracture to his patella that required surgery. At this point in time it is questionable as to whether or not he will be healed and recovered enough to compete in the selection trials to take place March 21 - 24 in Wellington, Florida.

What happens if Ward can't compete in the March selection trials?

Well, His chances at participating in his 3rd Olympic games are not completely lost. The deadline for the final Nominated Entries is not until June 17. Between the selection trials in March and the final deadline are a number of designated Observation Events where a subjective selection can still be made for the Olympic Show Jumping Event. More information on Potential 2012 Olympic Games Candidates can be found at http://www.usef.org/

McLain Ward may not be a Chicago Area rider, however I am sure that many of us in the Chicagoland Equestrian world will be closely watching his recuperation and progress in the saddle as well as wishing him the best of luck in his recovery!

For more information on Chicago Area riders, events and facilities go to http://www.chicagoequestrian.com/

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New ChicagoEquestrian.com Hunter Derby Series!!

Has the USHJA International Hunter Derby Series peaked your interest and gotten your riding juices going?

Did you participate in the 2011 ChicagoEquestrian.com Hunter Derby Series on the NIHJA circuit?

Are you looking for a new challenge for you and your horse?

Do you like winning ribbons, coolers and prize money?

If so keep on reading!!

Chicago Equestrian is pleased to announce the ChicagoEquestrian.com Hunter Derby Series will be held at the  IHJA B circuit shows this year with a final in September!!

The hunter derby series is 2'6" in height with options at 2'9" and 3', and provides an opportunity for riders to experience derbies similar to those on the national circuits.

The class is two rounds with a handy round as the second round and offers prize money and a cooler to the winner of each Derby! Must participate in at least 3 derbies to be eligible for the finals.

Contact ShowplaceProductions.com for stabling and see our Calendar for the list of ChicagoEquestrian.com Hunter Derby Dates!