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
For more information on Showplace Produtions B shows see article at

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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!

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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! 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 or email

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