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Stone named the promising filly Maud S after his eldest daughter, Maud Stone. Maud S made her professional debut at the Carthage Fair track in 1877. Harness racing is a different sport than horse racing. Horses trot rather than gallop and a driver rides behind in a sulky, a cart on two bicycle-like wheels. During her first race, Maud S came to a stop and tried to go through the gate to the stables. Once the driver got her back on track, she took off. Then she … showed that she was a trotter, and a rare trotter, too,” Stone recalled. “She threw up her head, got down to business and went through that back stretch like a cyclone, reaching the bunch in front, overhauling them one by one, and finishing at the wire a winner of the heat.” Maud S drew the attention of railroad tycoon William H. Vanderbilt, who offered $20,000 to buy her if she could run a mile under two minutes, 20 seconds. Stone then promised his trainer Bair $1,000 if Maud could beat 2:19. “She finished in 2:17 ¾, and the country went wild,” Stone said. “It was the fastest mile up to that time that had ever been trotted by a four-year-old.” Vanderbilt agreed to pay $20,000 plus the $1,000 to Bair. But he wanted Maud S as a road horse, and she didn’t play along. So, Vanderbilt agreed to allow Stone to manage her racing career and Bair to train her. Maud S was some horse. “Queen of the turf,” celebrated from coast to coast, she was a record-breaking trotter, the fastest in the world in the 1880s. And she was ours, trained and quartered at Chester Park, once a great racetrack on Spring Grove Avenue in what is now Spring Grove Village. That’s where she came to the attention of Capt. George N. Stone. Stone had earned his rank in the Civil War and settled in Cincinnati, where he was president of the Cincinnati Bell Telephone Co. (then called the City and Suburban Telegraph Association). But his passion was horse racing. In 1875, Stone started the Chester Park Driving Association, named for his favorite horse, Lady Chester. To show confidence in his trainer, W.W. Bair, he let him pick any horse for sale at the park to train. Bair chose an unbroken 2-year-old filly that cost $350, considered a fair price because of her lineage. The standardbred filly, born in 1874 in Woodburn Farm, Kentucky, didn’t even have a name yet, and was resistant to training. “She showed very little speed, and I was not congratulating myself at all,” Stone told The Enquirer in 1900. “She was inclined to mix gaits and rack, and would do most anything but trot.” He suggested that Bair run her through the rye growing on the edge of the track. She floundered and stumbled and fought all the way, but found her trotting gait. She got faster and faster. Over a five-year period, Maud S lowered the world trot record seven times. When the horse Jay-Eye-See bested her time at 2:10 on Aug. 1, 1884, the next day Maud S set a new record at 2:09 ¾. “It was the most graceful performance by any horse, before or since,” Stone said, “and while she made still faster time subsequently, on the same Cleveland track, it was not the graceful effort that marked her regaining her crown after Jay-Eye-See had enjoyed the title of king for exactly 24 hours.” Vanderbilt then surprised the racing world by selling Maud S to Robert Bonner for $40,000. An oft-told story, likely untrue, was that Vanderbilt was jealous that folks would say, “There goes Maud S with Vanderbilt!” rather than the other way around. In 1885, Maud S set the world record again with her fastest time of 2:08 ¾, nearly 28 mph, then retired. She died in 1900. Stone passed away in 1901 and is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery, a few blocks from where Chester Park once stood. The racetrack where the legendary Maud S ran was replaced by a man-made lake as Chester Park was made into an amusement park. By Jeff Suess, Cincinnati Enquirer Reprinted with permission of The Enquirer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Reclamation has been nothing short of dominant of late at the Meadowlands and the Ron Burke trainee ran her win streak to three with another easy harness racing victory Friday night at the Big M in a conditioned event for pacing fillies and mares. Around the first turn, it appeared that Reclamation and longshot Truth And Liberty were in close quarters and possibly locked wheels as Reclamation made her way toward the front and Truth And Liberty was alongside three wide, but driver Yannick Gingras urged Reclamation to the top while parked past the half in :55.3 and said there were no issues. "I was just protecting position in the first turn," said Gingras. "Nothing happened to her." Reclamation hit three-quarters in 1:23.4 while in high gear and sprinted clear to a 4½-length edge at the head of the stretch before hitting the wire 3½ lengths in front of 25-1 chance Rockin Praline. Brazuca was third. "She fits this (non-winners of $12,500 or $125,000 lifetime) class for a little longer so hopefully we can wait to find out if she can compete with the preferred mares," said Gingras. "She doesn't have much experience and is learning every week." Reclamation covered the mile in 1:51.1 over a track labeled 'good' to win for the 10th time in 18 lifetime outings. The 4-year-old daughter of A Rocknroll Dance-Art Sale now has career earnings of $63,655 for owners W J Donovan and Donal Murphy. CAP4 BET BIG AGAIN: The Can-Am Pick-4 was a hot commodity once again as the wager that requires one to select two winners at the Meadowlands and two more at Woodbine Mohawk Park took in wagers totaling $64,937, coming just short of reaching the $65,000 mark for a third time in six tries. Odds-on favorites scored in the first two legs but after a 34-1 and a 23-1 won the back half, the payoff for the 20-Cent base wager was $361.70. A LITTLE MORE: Trainer Linda Toscano has a Hambletonian hopeful on her hands. Guaranteed, a Muscle Hill-Beauty Of Gray colt, won his career debut in a non-winners of one in impressive fashion as the 2-5 favorite in 1:53.4 with Tim Tetrick in the bike. ... Guaranteed Gingras drove three winners on the card. ... The team of trainer Allen Sisco and driver Tyler Buter scored twice at a big price, with Say You Do ($33.80) in the second race and Starsaboveallerage ($48.00) in the 11th. ... All-source handle on the 13-race card totaled $2,597,293. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

A genetic study of Norwegian-Swedish Coldblooded Trotter harness racehorses revealed eight major genes likely related to their success on the track, some of which drive the horses’ abilities to learn and remember. Success on the trot tracks isn’t all about brawn. There’s quite a bit of brain in there, as well. Sure, a harness race winner needs to be fast. But he’s also got to adjust to—and even anticipate—his driver’s demands, navigate around other horses and their sulkies, and, most importantly, not break into gallop even when trotting at high speeds. And there are genes for that—ones that code for intelligence. New genome-wide studies on harness racehorses revealed eight major genes that appear to be related to their success on the track. While most of those genes are related to physical fitness and ability, some drive the ability to learn and remember. “Trotting on a racetrack is not a particularly natural act for the horse compared to how its wild ancestors were moving,” said Gabriella Lindgren, MSc, PhD, of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics. “These horses need to be able to adapt to the handling and interaction with humans, the environment, and also trotting on the racetrack.” Fellow researcher Eric Strand, PhD, of the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, in Oslo, agreed. “Most good performance horses not only trust their handlers, but they are smart and learn to adapt to the situations they are placed in,” he said. In their study, the researchers analyzed DNA from 613 Norwegian-Swedish Coldblooded Trotters (NSCT) to look for SNPs (sections of genes) that consistently appeared to be associated with the horses’ performance (wins, earnings, speed, and disqualifications due to breaking into gallop during a race). They chose this breed instead of the Standardbred because it has a small population, making it easier to control for other influences, they said. They identified more than 30 SNPs that appeared to have strong or possible roles in harness racing success, the research team reported. They narrowed the search to eight genes that showed a strong correlation with performance. Among those genes were four with clear physical implications and two with links to intelligence, learning, and memory: ATPase copper transporting beta (ATP7B): Helps get copper out of cells, potentially reducing muscle stiffness; Phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate 5-kinase type 1 beta (PIP5K1B): Might affect neuron development and oxidative stress; Phosphodiesterase 3A (PDE3A): Plays a role in cardiovascular function; Inositol polyphosphate-5-phosphatase D (INPP5D) & SRY-box 5 (SOX5): Involved in embryonic development and immune responses; Potassium channel regulator (KCNRG): Manages potassium movement in cells, possibly related to learning ability and exercise tolerance; and Dedicator of cytokinesis 8 (DOCK8): Influences intelligence and motor skills, probably including the ability to maintain a gait. Investigating NSCT genes might reveal the significance of the genes coding for mental capacities, they said, as they don’t trot at high speeds as naturally as Standardbreds do. And this might require them to have even more concentration, learning, intelligence, and memory. “NSCTs race in trot, which is not their natural gait when moving at high speeds,” said contributing researcher Kim Jäderkvist Fegraeus, PhD, also of SLU. “Standardbreds, on the other hand, have been selected for harness racing performance for a longer time and do not appear to have the same level of problems with their racing technique when first introduced to training compared with NSCTs. As a result, it is possible that there is a genetic factor influencing how fast some NSCTs learn technique, which ultimately would be correlated with how well and how fast they start their racing career.” For Strand, the mental capacities “maximize the performance potential,” he said. “The NSCT breed includes many individuals which are overly stressed at times and burn unnecessary energy by pulling hard on the bit and reins during racing. This then prevents them from allocating their physiological resources during a race. The current study was able to capture these horses, along with the superior ‘smarter’ horses, which have learned to cope and optimize their physiologic capabilities in front of large audiences.” Brandon Velie, BSc, MSc, PhD, contributing researcher from SLU, added “The current study is just another step in better understanding what makes a horse successful in sport/competition. In this case, we were looking at trotting performance; however, as most equestrians/horsemen would tell you, a similar case can be made for all equine athletic competitions: To be successful, a horse needs not only the right physiology, but also the right mentality.” The harness racing industry in Norway and Sweden welcomes genomics research in their field and views it as a useful tool for enhancing horse performance as well as welfare, he added. “Our recommendations at this time would be to keep working closely with researchers as a continued partnership between industry and academia,” he said. “This is the key to applied research, which can truly have a positive impact on a breed and industry.” The study, “A genome-wide association study for harness racing success in the Norwegian-Swedish coldblooded trotter reveals genes for learning and energy metabolism,” was published in BMC Genetics. Reprinted with permission of The Horse ABOUT THE AUTHOR Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

Guelph, ON March, 28, 2019 - Milton Fire Chief Dave Pratt recalls the fire at First line Training Centre in Milton, ON , Dec 21.    The call came in the middle of the night, around 1:30 am. The scene upon arrival was that of a front-end loader tractor beside a barn engulfed in flames. The tractor block heater plugged into the barn appeared to be the cause of the fire and the side of barn next to the tractor was fully involved. Crews of fire fighters from both Milton and Halton responded. Milton put hot spots out, Halton worked on suppression (knocking down the fire with water) and then all hands were on deck evacuating horses from barn.     Rescue fire fighters were on air (SCBA Self-contained breathing apparatus equipment) to rescue horses in the barn. They worked quickly to get 35 of the 37 horses out.   Horse owners and staff had halters and lead ropes at the ready as horses were handed off to be put in secure areas. “We were really lucky to have so many horse handlers at the scene,” said Chief Pratt “It was a team effort not only from fire department staff, but from everyone who led horses away from danger and into safe containment areas.”     Horse owners and first responders on site worked quickly to arrange transport. Many horses were received by Woodbine Mohawk Park, who supplied temporary stabling, after initial assessments and first aid was delivered by the team of vets and vet techs who came together including - Drs. Liz Shiland, Abigail Stovman and Marisa Markey. EMS and police on the scene all worked diligently with community effort. Huge acknowledgements must be given to all who sprung from their beds in the dead of the night to support the rescue.   In a very well attended presentation to horse owners at System Equine Mar 19, Riley McGilloway from Halton Hills Fire Department outlined some of the reasons they were able to save the majority of horses at the First Line fire. He also gave a clear run down of what a barn owner can do in emergencies, starting with that first deep breath to give clear information to the dispatcher.     Calmly relaying the problem and location of an incident at the first sign of a problem is key and always remembering to give your name and phone number. McGilloway explains that information from dispatch reaches the team already in transit. Important details help them prepare a plan, such as how many are involved? If a human becomes a casualty by rushing into a burning barn, they know their priority has shifted from saving livestock to saving human life.   McGilloway elaborated, educated/experienced horse people including Joe Stutzman, on the scene at the first line fire, did not pull open the doors until fire and rescue arrived so the fire did not receive additional oxygen further fueling it.   A brilliant diagram aided review of the owner’s role after the call to dispatch: Send someone to the road to meet the firetruck and give directions on exactly where to go.   Help with the scene survey giving first responders the layout of the barn and letting them know what is connected that could be further ignition sources.  Move anything that may be in the way so the firetrucks can get to where they need to be.     A rescue team effort becomes faster and more effective when those arriving on the scene are informed what they can and cannot do to help. The many owners who arrived at the First Line fire quickly became an asset to the rescue, helping with containment of the horses pulled from the burning barn and then holding and assisting as the veterinary team sprang into action. The System Equine Barn Fire Prevention and action plan evening was also broadcast via webinar and the recording is available at: https://www.facebook.com/systemequine/videos/1665571347083745/   Wendy McIsaac-Swackhamer, recently appointed, manager of Emergency Preparedness and Fire Prevention at Woodbine Entertainment, was also on the scene on the night of Dec 21. Amazed from the moment she arrived by the sight of fire fighters and police officers with horses in their hands, she quickly became part of the massive team phoning and arranging relocation of horses. “Everyone came together, knew they had a job to do and got it done,” said Swackhamer of the well-coordinated effort.   Swackhamer, has been involved with the fire service, horses and technical large animal rescue for a number of years now. She was quick to join in organizing a hands-on Barn Fire Safety Seminar at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Campbellville, ON, Wednesday April 10 from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm.     “We were tremendously proud of everyone involved in the rescue and the quick decisions that were made,” says Jessica Buckley, President, Woodbine Mohawk Park. “The importance of barn fire knowledge cannot be underestimated and we are pleased to help facilitate barn safety training for horse people.”   Milton fire department will attend on April 10th and play a role in the mock set up of hazards in the barn to help participants identify them. Participants will also practice using fire extinguishers and come away with a greater understanding of barn fire prevention, evacuation procedures and animal safety. Register by April 5 for the Barn Fire Safety Seminar at Woodbine Mohawk Park.   Equine Guelph will also be launching a Fire & Emergency Preparedness online short courseon TheHorsePortal.ca– Apr 8 – Apr 15     Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications Equine Guelph  

Guelph, ON March, 18, 2019 - Responding to research needs of the Ontario racing commission (now AGCO), a recent study led by Dr. Janice E. Kritchevsky, at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, reveals use of thyroxine supplementation is deleterious to racehorse's performance and may result in cardiac arrhythmias. Researcher Dr. Janice E. Kritchevsky was selected to do this work by the Equine Guelph Research Committee with AGCO support.   Kritchevsky explains, "Thyroid disorders are actually rare in horses." The concentrations of thyroid hormones, including thyroxine, can be measured in blood. Blood thyroid hormone concentrations outside the normal ranges can lead one to believe hypothyroidism (low production of thyroid hormones) may be the cause of a horse looking a little lethargic. However, abnormal thyroid hormone concentrations can occur after a high grain diet meal, after trailering fatigue, training stress, or if a horse is ill. In actuality, administering thyroid medication to a horse fighting a respiratory infection can compromise the animals natural response to the infection.   Horses that benefit from thyroid hormone supplement tend to be suffering from Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) or insulin resistance, neither syndrome is recognized in fit racehorses and they are both quite rare in other performance animals. Thyroxine supplementation may have a place in treating some over-conditioned (obese) horses at risk for laminitis. To diagnose a thyroid disorder, it is not enough to perform a one-time blood test; instead, a function test must be conducted. In a function test, two thyroid hormones are measured in the blood, then the horse is given a releasing hormone, and the two hormones are measured again. If the thyroid hormone concentrations do not respond normally, then there may be a true thyroid disorder. Kritchevsky adds, "In the case of over conditioned horses, thyroxine supplementation is to be used only until the horse reaches a normal body weight."   The misconception over thyroxine supplement use among horse owners and trainers may stem from the initial reaction to the drug, which can cause a flat or less spirited horse to appear more alert and hypersensitive. In Kritchevsky's study using fit Standardbreds, they did find a behaviour change after administration of Levothyroxine. The horses became quite alert and more difficult to handle but then they fatigued quicker.   When Dr. Kritchevsky gave Levothyroxine (a thyroid supplement) to the horses, it resulted in changes to blood concentrations of all thyroid hormones. Horses given 0.25mg/kg Levothyroxine went to maximum heart rate quicker, but the horse's blood lactate concentration did not change post-exercise, which told the researchers that they had the same level of fitness. The drug was not found to be performance enhancing. In fact, four out of the six horses in the study developed cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) when treated with Levothyroxine and one developed atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a serious performance limiting condition that can be career ending.   Kritchevsky thanks Equine Guelph and AGCO for providing the lion's share of the funding for this important research on thyroxine supplementation. This research was done in response to reports of open containers of thyroxine supplement that were observed during barn visits as part of out of competition testing by ORC (now AGCO). Elevated blood concentration of thyroxine has been documented on numerous occasions on post-race blood testing of horses from Ontario tracks.   Kritchevsky says, "This is an important problem anywhere! People are using thyroid supplement and it does not do what they think it is doing. This research is important for all, including racing commissions. While thyroxine is not a foreign substance, as this study indicates, high levels render the horse unfit to race."   Some officials believe thyroxine should be regulated and next steps in research may include developing an assay to test for a carrier protein that is excreted indicating a high thyroid.   Stay tuned to Equine Guelph E-News for more updates about this study.     Web Link(s): http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=610     Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications Equine Guelph  

Guelph, ON - March 14, 2019 - “You never think it would happen to you, and one of your horses, until one day you wake up to a phone call in the middle of the night,” recounts Sarah Scott, member of the horse racing community for over 20 years, and owner of Fork.    Since the first line fire in December, Sarah has not only been busy with her horse’s recovery but also spreading awareness of fire prevention programs.   Sarah works as an account manager specializing in equine rehabilitation, at System Equine in Rockwood and they will be hosting a Barn Fire Prevention and action plan evening on March 19 at 6 pm. Special guest speakers will include: TJ Snow of Milton Fire Department, Riley McGilloway of Halton Hills Fire Department, and Dr. Liz Shiland DVM (one of several vets who assisted at the First Line fire). Sarah will also be sharing her experience as a horse owner.    They will discuss: barn fire prevention, what to do in case of fire with horses and/or animals, fire safety and caring for horses after they have been exposed to smoke inhalation and fire trauma.  Barn owners need to be ever vigilant with barn fire prevention, never get complacent and always prepare themselves for emergencies.    Equine Guelph will be offering a new Fire & Emergency Preparedness online short course on TheHorsePortal.ca– Apr 8 – Apr 15   Sarah’s Story:   We celebrated our staff Christmas party at Mohawk raceway December 20th, having a great time filling the night with Christmas cheer. I arrived home, around 12:30 am and settled into bed shortly after 1 am. I was awoken by my husband to the words “the barn is on fire and there is nothing we can do.” I was instantly numb. I felt almost robotic as I grabbed some clothes, and drove to what was our horses’ home, now land marked by police cars directing fire trucks. The car did not even come to a complete stop before I jumped out.    When I arrived no one knew where my own horse was, but we knew he was out. It was dark, raining and the most unsettling of sights, with red and blue flashing lights intermingling with the mist. I was told it took two firefighters and one of the second trainers to move my horse Fork from his stall, with singed facial and mane hair from the inferno he escaped and was taken to another barn on the property and placed in an empty stall.   Emergency response:   Sarah quickly joined the growing team of fire fighters, owners and veterinarians triaging the scene. They were fortunate to have a number of containment areas with other barns close by, a pool area that held three horses, and paddocks to hold the horses after they were removed from barn seven. Other factors that aided the rescue were: rain, wind blowing away from the barn and educated/experienced horse people, on scene that did not pull open the doors until fire and rescue arrived.   Each horse was evaluated and treated by the attending veterinarians before they were given the “ok” to go to Mohawk.  When the horses arrived at Mohawk (for temporary stabling) they were all bathed and once again looked over for burns or distress. Black soot was embedded in the horses’ hair, leading to the conclusion the lungs must also be compromised. Fears of smoke inhalation damage were confirmed with the first scope.  The owners were worried if their horses would be ok, racked with questions if they were suffering and if they would ever race again. It was a quick paced day with lots of decisions.   Sarah’s expertise served her well, having worked with clients, vets and owners whose horses were affected by the encroaching wild fires in BC and Alberta, supplying them with nebulizers from System Equine that were donated by Nortev Flexineb and assisting the equine practitioners in developing treatment cycles. Never had she imagined she would be implementing a similar treatment plan for her own horse who had won his race just a few short weeks before.   The team worked diligently with the vets following up on the temperatures, discharge, vitals and overall observation. Sarah is very grateful to everyone involved with the rescue and rehabilitation, including her employers at System Equine and Nortev for supplying the nebulizers aiding in the recovery of many of the horses.   Sarah’s prayers have been answered as subsequent testing and scoping showed no signs of soot and no residual inflammation in the lungs. Sarah is also very grateful to her husband Mark who was so supportive, working tirelessly caring for both of them.  “He truly is the reason Fork has returned to the racetrack,” says Sarah. Fork is in the clear and qualified to race at Mohawk on January 24 2019.   Final thoughts:   Sarah will forever be a fire prevention crusader and advocate of having a plan. No matter how busy life gets, she will never turn her phone off at night. Much reflection takes place after an incident, from the simple things like having emergency numbers in your phone to having the fire department out to do a pre-plan. Having halters, leads, pens and paper quickly accessible, clear barn aisles, feed tubs positioned so they are not in the way of exiting a stall are some of the little details that can make a big difference in an emergency.   And of course, looking back on the chaos, there is much gratitude for the community who rallied together. Thanks, and huge acknowledgements must be given to the first responders, the community who all sprung from their beds in the dead of the night and for everyone who came together to support the rescue.   Sarah hopes sharing her story will move people to take preventative measures and looks forward to seeing large attendance both at the Fire & Emergency Preparedness online short course on TheHorsePortal.ca– Apr 8 – Apr 15 and at System Equine’s Barn Fire Prevention and action plan evening on March 19 at 6pm, also available by live feed at: https://imp.easywebinar.live/registration-2    

Josephine Brook has been a model of consistency for Robbie Clifford this season, but there is still one thing the harness racing trainer has yet to witness from his mare - a win. Across her 13 starts Josephine Brook has only twice finished outside the top three, with three of her runner-up performances seeing her cross the line less than two metres behind the victor. Clifford hopes that Wednesday night's Harness Racing NSW Rewards Series Final (1,730m) at the Bathurst Paceway will be the race where the five-year-old can finally break through.  If she can it would be her first victory since May 25, 2016. "It's just frustrating," Clifford admitted. "This will be the fifth Rewards Series Final for her this time in. She's been pretty consistent, that's for sure, and she's not doing anything wrong, she's just not finding the line in front. "She seems to be well graded in this series, but every final or series there just seem to be one or two that are coming through that are just that bit better than her." The Roll With Joe x Kassandra Brook mare qualified for Wednesday's final via a second placing in her Dubbo heat. That was from a second row draw, but for the 8.40pm decider she will go from the inside of the front with Tony Higgs in the gig after drawing barrier three. Clifford feels that will play in Josephine Brook's favour given the two runners he sees as the biggest threats - Wendy Turnbull's Walk On Kimmy and William Stubbs' Lovin Everyday - have drawn on the back row. "In her last final she drew okay and led, but she got run down in the finish. We'll be going forward with her again from this draw and then I guess just play it by ear from there," Clifford said. "The two main dangers, Wendy Turnbulll's and the one from Dubbo Mat Rue is driving, they were heat winners. They both led and won, but at least on Wednesday we'll start a cart in front of them."- By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

January 21, 2019 (Guelph, ON): Planning is well underway for the 15th Annual International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Conference, being held at the University of Guelph, Canada’s largest agricultural university, on August 19-21, 2019.   The theme for this year’s conference is “Bringing Science to the Stable”, highlighting our past relationship with horses and examining where we are headed.   Both conference registration and abstract submissions opened on January 18, 2019. All information regarding the conference, including links to conference registration, abstract submissions and accommodations can be found on the Horse Portal websitehttps://thehorseportal.ca/ISES-2019/. Researchers in the field of equitation science are invited to submit an abstract of their research findings for consideration to present during the conference. Abstracts are due by April 1, 2019.   Join our line-up of thought-provoking speakers as we journey through history and into the present, supporting and challenging the way we interact with horses through scientific research. Dr. Sandra Olsen (Curator-in-Charge, Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, University of Kansas) will trace how our relationship with horses began. Dr. Camie Heleski (Senior Lecturer, University of Kentucky) will describe the field of Equitation Science and what we have learned about horse-human relationships. Dr. Nic de Brauwere (Head of Welfare, Rehabilitation and Education, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, UK) will discuss how human behaviour change into the future can improve equine welfare. Dr. Andrew McLean (Equine Science International, Australia) will present similarities and differences in the application of learning theory across species.   The ever-popular Clever Hans talk will be hosted on Monday evening with guest speakerDr. Jonaki Bhattacharyya, Ethnoecologist and Senior Researcher with Firelight Group. Dr. Bhattacharyya has spent time in the interior of British Columbia, observing the wild horses and their impact on the land and interactions with the indigenous peoples. She will highlight how modern research can fit into other ways of knowing and approaches to managing both wild and domestic horses.   The third day of the conference will include a short course on large animal rescue training (additional fee applies). Space in this hands-on workshop is limited, so be sure to register early. Demonstrations and seminars from equine behaviourists, technology entrepreneurs and saddle fitting experts will fill the remainder of the day.   Registered delegates can also attend two free pre-conference workshops on Sunday, August 18. Cristina Wilkins and Kate Fenner (Australia) will workshop on how to communicate scientific information to equestrian communities. Dr. Marc Pierard(Belgium) will lead a discussion in describing equine behaviours for the equine ethogram.    Early bird conference registration pricing is available until June 1. After that date regular conference fees apply. Check the ISES website https://equitationscience.com/conferences/ or the Horse Portal https://thehorseportal.ca/ISES-2019/ to learn more. Check back regularly to the Horse Portal for updates, sneak peaks, and local information.   About the International Society for Equitation Science The International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to facilitate research into the training of horses to enhance horse welfare and improve the horse-rider relationship. www.equitationscience.com   For more information contact: ISES Honorary President Janne Winther-Christensen presidents@equitationscience.com   Local Conference Organizer: Katrina Merkies, PhD Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph (519) 824-4120 x54707 ISES2019@uoguelph.ca     Registration and abstract submission now open for the 2019 ISES conference being held in Guelph, Ontario, Canada from August 19-21.   The theme of "Bringing science to the stable" will explore our relationship with horses through the past, present and future.   Check the website for conference updates and links to the registration and abstract submission pages https://equitationscience.com/conferences/ or https://thehorseportal.ca/ises-2019/. 

Winter is here - Are you ready?   Does this horse kick for no reason or is there an underlying cause?   Cribbing – A behaviour or nutritional deficiency?   Sign up at TheHorsePortal.ca to have your horse behaviour and safety related questions answered.   IMPORTANT ALERTS   Alert: Equine Infectious Anemia - Cariboo Sub. B, B.C   Alert: Rabies - In Canada   Alert: Rabies - Hamilton, ON   Alert: Strangles - New Brunswick   EQUINE GUELPH thanks Merck Animal Health for sponsoring the HEALTHflash program     HEALTHflash - WINTER EDITION 2019      ‌  ‌           IMPORTANT ALERTS       Alert: Equine Infectious Anemia - Cariboo Sub. B, B.C Alert: Rabies - In Canada Alert: Rabies - Hamilton, ON Alert: Strangles - New Brunswick         EQUINE GUELPH thanks Merck Animal Health for sponsoring the HEALTHflash program           FEATURED STORIES               Behaviour & Safety - Q & A     Does this horse kick for no reason or is there an underlying cause? Cribbing – A behaviour or nutritional deficiency?   Sign up at TheHorsePortal.ca to have your horse behaviour and safety related questions answered.                 Take Stock of your First Aid Kit & Update Your Skills     3 items that do not survive sub zero… Don’t forget Equine Guelph’s first aid course online begins Feb 25!                 Gastric Ulcer Prevention     Why you should give hay before exercise is discussed by Kathleen Crandell. Crandel is also the instructor of Equine Guelph’s Advanced Equine Health through Nutrition online course. Pre-requisite Equine Nutrition starts Jan 14!                   Biosecurity Risk Calculator TOOL OF THE MONTH     Start the year reviewing your biosecurity plan in 6 steps! Identify risks, prepare a farm diagram... info from the National Farm Level Biosecurity standard makes it easy to minimize disease risk - Try The Tool of The Month.         EQUINE HEALTH       Vaccination Survey Results     82% of our survey participants vaccinate their horses against influenza. 82% rely on their veterinarian for vaccination information. 73% leave the decision as to the specific brand of vaccine up to the vet. 43% know the benefits of a modified-live vs. a killed equine influenza virus vaccine.   New Update in Vaccination Equi-Planner links to an AAEP page explaining the benefits of a modified-live vs. a killed equine influenza virus vaccine                Horse Behaviour & Safety Short Course     January 21 to February 8     Learn to speak horse! Take action to create a safe environment for you and your horse   REGISTER TODAY       MORE TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES           New 12-Week Courses Start January 14th     Mgmt of the Equine Environment   Health & Disease Prevention   Equine Nutrition   Equine Functional Anatomy   Equine Exercise Physiology   Marketing & Communications   Equine Event Management   The Equine Industry   Global Perspectives in Equine Welfare   SIGN UP TODAY         Upcoming Horse Portal Short Courses     Horse Behaviour & Safety January 21st to February 8th   Horse Behaviour & Safety (Youth) January 21st to February 8th   Equine First Aid February 25th to March 4th   Sickness Prevention in Horses TBA   Horse Care & Welfare TBA   Gut Health & Colic Prevention TBA   SIGN UP TODAY       OTHER NEWS & EVENTS         When did you last check under that rug for Body Condition Score?   Cold weather riding tips   Winter management of the outdoor horse   First signs of Heaves video   Reduce Respiratory Risk video   How to transition feedstuff in your horse’s diet   Going on Vacation – Post your emergency preparedness plans   Extending your Hay Supply   Video - Stop, Think, Act and be safe around horses  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Andy Miller might be known as "The Orange Crush" but on Saturday night at the Meadowlands, anyone who referred to the harness racing driver as "Red Hot" would have been 100 percent accurate. Miller won six times on the 13-race program, and for good measure, included among his victories was the $21,000 featured Preferred Handicap for pacers. The 50-year-old's half-dozen got started with Surfing Tide, who scored in the second race non-winners of three pari-mutuel races pace in 1:52.1 as the even-money favorite before he scored with Joe's Bid in the next race in 1:51.4 in a non-winners of $3,500 in their last five starts pace as the 3-2 public choice. The sixth race NW$11,500L5 pace saw another favorite as Miller got 9-5 Winning Linc up on the wire in 1:51.4, but the man clad in orange, white and black colors was only halfway done. Win No. 4 was the big one, as in race eight, Miller put K Ryan Bluechip into a live third-over flow and stormed home to take the feature in 1:50.4 as the 5-1 third choice in the wagering. Andy's fans got their biggest price of the night in the ninth, as Miller coaxed just enough speed out of Awesomeness to get his fifth win - at odds of 8-1 - in 1:51.2 in a NW$8,600L5 pace before completing his six-bagger in the 12th with Odds On Lauderdale, the 6-5 public choice, in 1:51.4 in a NW4PM pace. A LITTLE MORE: Wagering on the 50-Cent Pick-5 was vigorous, with $58,083 in action taken. After favorites won four of the sequence's races, the return was $244.40. ... The 50-Cent Pick-4 topped $90,000 for a fourth straight card, taking in $92,513. After a sequence that saw winner's odds of 5-1, 8-1, 6-5 and 27-1, the payout was a healthy $4,393.05. ... All-source wagering topped $2.8 million for a third straight program, as $2,856,661 was pushed through the windows. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

New Zealand bred, Breckon Farms bred, had a big week in three Countries this past week wiith harness racing winners in New Zealand (Elle Mac), North America (Never Say Never N) and Australia (Miss Streisand). The winning started at the Auckland Trotting Cup Meeting on New Year's Eve with Jean Fiess owned Elle Mac putting up a sensational run in a New Zealand record of a 1:51.6 mile rate over 1700 metres recording her 11th victory in just the 22 starts for stakes off $519,827. Elle Mac now has six track records to her credit including two overall New Zealand records for a four-year-old and older mare. Elle Mac is bred on the golden cross, she is a Bettor's Delight from a Christian Cullen mare, the same as champion Lazarus and many others that are racing. Elle Mac winning in a New Zealand record of a 1:51.6 mile rate over 1700 metres Your chance of securing a close relation to Elle Mac has improved dramatically with three outstanding entries from the Breckon Farms draft at the Inaugural 2019 National Yearling Sale held in Karaka, Auckland, on the 17th and 18th of February. Lot 6 an American Ideal filly from a race winning full-sister to Elle Mac, Lot 12 an American Ideal filly from a race winning Mach Three sister to Elle Mac and Lot 18 an Art Major colt brother to Elle Mac who is appropriately called Billion Dollar Boy. Lot 6 - Needamargarita is a filly by American Ideal from Fellamongstabeauty by Bettor's Delight from the Christian Cullen mare Goodlookinggirl. Lot 6 - Needamargarita Lot 12 - Allamericanlover is a filly by American Ideal from Goodlookinbabe by Mach Three from from the Christian Cullen mare Goodlookinggirl. Lot 12 - Allamericanlover American Ideal has produced ten millionaires in North America in total. Four have been fillies including his richest progeny American Jewel 1:48.2s ($1,834,823) and also the champion current North American three-year-old filly of the year Yourmycandygirl 1:48.2 ($1,497,000). American Ideal has produced the winners of over $87 million to date in North America. In New Zealand he is the sire of progeny that has earned $7.5 million to date and in Australia he has progeny earnings of over $10 million to date.  Therefore, American Ideal now belongs to the $100 million club an outstanding achievement. He best performing mare in New Zealand is The Orange Agent ($516,974) and in Australia, American Ideal has produced two millionaires to date. They are Bling It On 1:50.8 ($1,656,656) and Soho Tribeca 1:53.8 ($1,103,374)  Lot 18 - Billion Dollar Boy is a colt by Art Major from Goodlookinggirl by Christian Cullen from the Butler BG mare Twice As Good. Billion Dollar Boy is the first colt from Goodlookinggirl. Lot 18 - Billion Dollar Boy The stallion Art Major needs no introduction. He has sired the winners of over $122 million in North America alone. In New Zealand he has sired the winners of over $13 million and in Australia he has sired the winners of over $51 million.  The second winner this last week for Breckon Farms was Miss Streisand, the A Rocknroll Dance half-sister to Elle Mac, who won at Newcastle this past Friday night in New South Wales, Australia. Miss Streisand has been unbeaten in her last five seasonal starts putting together a very good record of 16 starts lifetime for 9 wins, 4 placings and earning $115,000 in the process taking a record of 1:53 flat. Miss Streisand is a half-sister to Lot 18 - Billion Dollar Boy featured above and of course Miss Streisand is a half-sister to Elle Mac. What more needs to be said for this great family of Elle Mac, Miss Streisand and especially for the close  relations of these outstanding winners in the Breckon Farms draft at the Inaugural 2019 National Yearling Sale held in Karaka, Auckland, on the 17th and 18th of February.  Miss Streisand winning her fifth race on end at Newcastle on Friday night The third winner this last week for Breckon Farms was the ever improving Never Say Never N winning at Dover Downs in North America on Thursday of this past week and what a win it was. It was his second win in a row and 18th lifetime from 58 starts and it was a very impressive victory in 1:50.4 a new lifetime nark, and he beat home the former New Zealand open class pacer Tiger Thompson N who was having his first start on American soil finishing second.   RACE 7 - Dover Downs - DE - January 3, 2019  Conditions: WINNERS OVER $9,500 (DE $11,400) LAST 6 STARTS OR WINNERS OVER $110,000 LIFETIME    Gait: Pace     Purse: $14,000     Class: WO9500L6     Distance: 1 mile     Track Cond: FT     Temp-Allow: 45-0     Off Time: 6:21 PM HN  Horse  PP  1/4  1/2  3/4  Str  Finish Actual LQ Odds  Driver  Trainer     3  Never Say Never N  3  3°/2Q  1/1H  1/Q  1/1H  1/1 1:50.4  28.1 *1.70   Corey Callahan  Dylan Davis         1  Tiger Thompson N  1  5/5T  5°/3  4°/1Q  3/2H  2/1 1:51.0  28.1 7.40   Art Stafford Jr  Joshua Parker         6  Last Gunfighter  6  1/2  2/1H  3/1Q  2/1H  3/1Q 1:51.0  28.1 7.30   Mike Cole  Joseph Columbo         8  Sweet Rock  8  8/10Q  8°/6  8°/3T  6/3T  4/2T 1:51.2  28.0 17.40   Allan Davis  Wayne Givens         7  Soto  7  2/2  4/2T  5/2Q  4/3H  5/3 1:51.2  28.2 6.40   Russell Foster  Eric Ell         5  Machiavelli  5  7/8T  7/5H  7/3T  7/4Q  6/3Q 1:51.2  28.0 28.10   Victor Kirby  Mark Harder         4  Sprinter N  4  4/4Q  3°/1T  2°/Q  5/3H  7/3H 1:51.2  28.4 1.70   Tim Tetrick  Michael Hall         2  Star Messenger  2  6/7Q  6°/4H  6°/2T  8/5Q  8/4Q 1:51.3  28.2 33.60   Anthony Morgan  Gary Ewing       Time:  26.2 54.3  (28.1) 1:22.3  (28.0) 1:50.4  (28.1)     HN  Horse  Driver Win  Place  Show    3  Never Say Never N  Corey Callahan 5.40  3.60  2.80    1  Tiger Thompson N  Art Stafford Jr   6.20  4.20    6  Last Gunfighter  Mike Cole     4.00       Wager Type  Numbers/Payouts Pool     Exacta  (3-1 $42.00)      Trifecta  (3-1-6 $227.80)      Superfecta  (3-1-6-8 $853.40)       1st Never Say Never N  (6, H   Bettor`s Delight - Maid In Splendor - Christian Cullen) Registered Owner(s)/Lessee(s):  Thomas Lazzaro - NY Breeder(s):   ** View Top 3 Finishers (-) 2nd Tiger Thompson N  (6, G   Big Jim - Aziza - Pacific Rocket) Registered Owner(s):  Nanticoke Racing Inc - DE, Joshua Parker - DE, Stephen Messick - DE, Prestige Stable - DE Breeder(s):  H 3rd Last Gunfighter  (5, H   Rocknroll Hanover - One Last Kiss - Artsplace) Registered Owner(s):  George & Tina Dennis Racing - DE Breeder(s):  Steve Jones - NY   Never Say Never N was sold to North America by JC International in November 2016 and has been a good earner there making a tidy $236,728 to date. Before he was exported, Never Say Never N had only five starts in New Zealand for trainer Ken Barron, for one win at Ashburton over 2600 metres rating a 2.05.9 mile rate over the distance. When he arrived in North America Never Say Never N won his first five races in a row with the last of those five wins coming in the $61,800 Sagamore Hill Final at the half-mile oval of Yonkers Raceway in 1:54.2 which was a great effort for a new import from New Zealand. Never Say Never N is the first foal of the Group placed race winning mare Maid In Splendour who has produced three to the races for three winners to date. A full-sister to Never Say Never N was a recent winner for The Allstars stable at Addington called Ruby Rose. Another full-brother is entered in the inaugural National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka on the 18th of February 2019. Entered on behalf of The Breckon Farms draft as Lot 58 this full-brother to Never Say Never N  is called Pace N Pride and is the fifth foal of Maid In Splendour. Lot 58 - Pace N Pride Pace N Pride is by Bettor's Delight, who needs no introduction as he is the dominant leading pacing stallion in the world right now, yes that is right he is the overall leading money winning sire in all four Countries, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA. Bettor's Delight has bred over 7,500 mares in all Countries and he is heading towards $300 million in progeny earnings right now. Maid In Splendour Maid In Splendour is from the race winning and now great producing Holmes Hanover mare Diamonds N Gold, dam of ten winners to date including Diamonds N Furs 1:54.8f ($231,399). Diamonds N Gold is a half-sister to the super racehorse Desperate Comment ($1,033,065) who won many races including the 1996 $250,000 Victoria Cup seen here; Harnesslink Media

We all try to put away money for our kids' education, if we can. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, nurse, teacher, or anything else in life, you need a formal education. I recently read an article by Dean Hoffman about how horsemen need to promote their own industry. I agree. I often preach about horsemen marketing themselves better. But is that really fair? We are asking hard working people to put in long hours to try to get by in this industry, and then put in more time and money to market it? I like Mr. Hoffman's article and agree with much of it, but the reality is that horsemen for the most part aren't that good at marketing. I mean, I could run a marathon, or wrestle a bear. But neither are what you might call "my strong suits". Just because you want to do something, doesn't necessarily mean you can achieve it. I do think the industry does need to market itself better. But that requires education to implement. Who will educate our horsepeople? Look around, I don't think there are an abundance of teachers. Honestly speaking, our industry has employed so-called marketing experts for years. Where has that gotten us? I've said it for four years, and now unequivocally proven that horse racing can attract new people to our industry from all walks of life. This power absolutely lies in the hands of the horsepeople, but they need help to achieve it. Make no mistake, horsepeople aren't alone. The entire industry need to change the way it sees itself and markets itself. In each jurisdiction, for the most part you'll find a failing racetrack. Sure, some are propped up, but they are not profitable on their own from wagering revenues. We have watched our clients leave year after year, with no replacements to speak of from the younger generations. We have lost our understanding of what we actually are, and do not recognize that we are no longer a viable gaming product in the eyes of the general public. Horse racing is interesting, but the entry points into it are complex and often not appealing to the very people we need to attract. This isn't new, we've known it for years. Look around the grandstands for our average fans age group. We can't convince people to become fans of horse racing with the promise of Super Hi Five jackpots, and lower takeouts on the Win Fours. People in the general public don't care about those things. What we need is a way to get people to the track. Much like a bar, you only need to get them there; they'll figure out what they want to drink once they are. Affordable ownership is a promising way to attract them. (Let's not argue if it works; I think we've done more than enough to prove that it does.) But one or two fractional stables means nothing for the future of our sport, and that's why educating and helping our horsepeople with it is invaluable to the entire future and viability of this industry Our other problem: Horsepeople try to convince potential clients that there is a formula to find a return on their investment in racing. (ROI) This is all we have had in the past to attract people, but for the most part this is a fool's errand. That also plays a part in why our owners are leaving. They've been lied to; albeit inadvertently in most cases. Like George Costanza said "it's not a lie if you believe it, Jerry." Most trainers mean well and believe they can turn a profit. They're simply wrong. It's incredibly difficult with the overhead we carry today. To put it simply: it costs more today to race for less that we did in the past. The Goal: What is happening with thestable.ca should not be surprising to anyone. The information gathered to start it was pristine, resounding and emphatic. But people still ask, why, and how does it work? It's simple: we offer only what we can absolutely provide. Entertainment, and an unmatched experience in society. The second part is what we have all missed. Our industry has forgotten how exciting it is to be a part of this industry and how affordable it is when offered in small percentages. The one thing everyone in society wants is affordability, and entertainment has slowly become unaffordable. That's our opening. People spend much more on tickets to a hockey game for their family for one night, than they will to own a percentage of a horse over most of one year (bills included). If you're in it for fun and not for profit, you only need a small percentage. The entertainment attributed to horse ownership is unmatched by any mainstream sports exposure. Simply put, that's why and how thestable.ca works. By changing the way we approach the general public and the message we attract them with, you will see an influx of interest and ownership requests never seen before. Again, this isn't hypothetical jargon, this is reality. Thestable.ca just surpassed 600 active clients before Christmas and now sits at 604. Our average client owns no more that 4% of any horse. We don't sell investment, we sell entertainment. And we make good on our promise. The obvious question anyone would ask is: How does that help gaming dollars, because that's what really drives our industry. We found an interesting thing about our clients. Although they professed to not "gamble", guess what they did when they were at the races? When in Rome, do as the Romans do. By attracting people from the general public with a strong message of affordable horse ownership, we strengthen our stables. Those people are exposed to racing in the way that original horse racing enthusiasts and in turn gamblers were. We are bringing the potential of new clients to the doorsteps of our racetracks. These are people that would never attend a race or a casino otherwise. We need to work together to build-up both sides of the racetracks with the promise of an unmatched entertainment experience and heightened customer service, and we deliver on both. This industry is on the cusp of new growth, but without education and help from all facets of racing, none of it can be achieved. I call on all racetracks, horsepeople and every stakeholder in this industry to use the failures of the past to help map the future. What you just read isn't a paper written by a government panel on how it believes the industry can succeed in the future. What you have just read has been battle-tested and thoroughly proven in real life. I tried not to mention my company's name too often in this article, because it's not any one stable that will pave the way for our industry's future. It isn't any one person or model. It is all of us working together, understanding that there is a way forward and collectively persuing it. I simply proved it is possible. It's up to all of us to succeed together. Through education, we will find an understanding, and a profound realization that by changing the way we promote our industry we change the way it's viewed and experienced by the people we have been looking for forever. A New Year's resolution for the entire industry. Happy New year, Anthony MacDonald TheStable.ca    

Trainer David Vozlic claimed a hat-trick on Thursday night at the Mildura Harness ­Racing Club Sunraysia Daily Family Fun Night, including the Sunraysia Daily Summer Cup.  Vozlic’s Causenfriction took out the night’s main race and training honours for the night, but overall it was the South Aust­ralians who gained revenge from their ­defeat the previous week in the State of Origin ­series against Victoria.  Danielle Hill drove a treble and her brother Wayne scored a good win, driving Frank Mercieca-trained Our Little Actress. To read more on this article click on link; Reprinted with permission of The Sunraysia Daily

Chris Lakata hopes it's best to be "Lucky" this weekend at The Meadowlands. Lucky Weekend, trained by Lakata, starts from post eight with driver Vincent Ginsburg in Saturday's $221,540 Kindergarten Classic Series championship for 2-year-old male harness racing trotters at the Big M. The gelding, purchased last month by Richard Mishkin for $45,000 at the inaugural Lexington Selected Mixed Sale, has won five of nine races and is among the season's 10 fastest 2-year-old male trotters, with a mark of 1:54.2. He went off stride in his first start for his new connections on Oct. 12, but rebounded with a Kindergarten win a week later. He was scratched last week because of sickness. "There are a lot of horses that are sick now; it seems to be going around," Lakata said about Lucky Weekend, a son of Lucky Chucky-Weekend Vacation who was trained previously by Chuck Sylvester. "He seems to be better now. "He seems like a nice solid horse. He's got a great attitude and is a very happy horse. I really like everything about him. He was already on his way to looking good before we got him. He made a break the first week we raced him so we changed a couple things and he was really good his last start." The Meadowlands hosts four Kindergarten championships on Saturday. In addition to the final for 2-year-old male trotters there is the $236,060 final for 2-year-old female trotters, $173,800 final for 2-year-old male pacers, and $148,700 final for 2-year-old female pacers. Post time is 7:15 p.m. (EDT) for the program's first race. Lakata, a former longtime assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Ron Gurfein, is in his fourth year operating his own stable. His barn at Joie De Vie Farm in New Jersey typically numbers five to 10 horses. Lucky Weekend's appearance in the Kindergarten championship is Lakata's first trip to a Grand Circuit final with his own stable. "Some weeks are great, and some are not so great," said a laughing Lakata, who grew up near Saratoga and began working with horses there after graduating from high school. "Sometimes you think you're a genius, and other times you look in the mirror and ask yourself if you know what you're doing. I've been doing it all my life, so I'm used to it. "I don't think I could work indoors in an office. As soon as I started (with the horses) I liked it. You're around all kind of people and they all blend together. It's a lot of fun." Lucky Weekend faces a field that includes 4-for-4 Seven Hills, trained by John Butenschoen, and Divine Spirit, trained by Brett Pelling. The horses, which were tied atop the Kindergarten standings, both enter the final off back-to-back wins in the series. This will be Lucky Weekend's final start of the year. "I think (Lucky Weekend) is as good as the others in there," Lakata said. "We'll find out. I hope he's as good this week as he was in his last start. He should be OK." For Saturday's complete entries, click here. For the Kindergarten standings, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

The Victorian Masters Games is an opportunity for equestrians over 30 to show younger riders how it is done. Dressage, show horse, combined training and harness racing events in recent weeks have seen riders and drivers up to 70 years plus competing for honours at Werribee Park. In the show horse section, Kerry Tempest-Clark’s Fine Romance was led champion, while Catherine Sfregola took out the ridden championship with Between the Beats. Champion rider was Bree Stevens. There were five divisions in the combined training section with the championships going to Jackie Waite on Darby Day (45cm), Nikki Jupp on Avanti Kryptonite (60cm), Walter Burger on Feldale Griffin (75cm), Julie Bramucci on Rafiki Delargo (90cm) and Tania Harding on Jirrima Easy Jet (105cm). In the dressage, Rachael Edwards on Mr Spot took the preliminary championship. The novice champion was Gwyn Coulthard riding Samaran and the elementary champion was won by Elizabeth Sheather on Coldstream Universe. The medium level champion was Fiona Cooper on Belcam Camponelle and the advanced champion was Lucy McNutt on Thamesbourne Sunsmart. The harness section was very popular and showed age is no barrier to horse sports. Competing in the class titled “over 70 and still breathing” were accomplished drivers Diana Lawrence and Evanne Chesson, with Lawrence taking the section. Diane Boardman from the over-55 years section was supreme champion driver. Cheryl Sheddan’s pony Little Plains Phillipa earned her driver the high point mini award, with placings in dressage, obstacle driving and cones. William Lewin drove Magpie to a win in the delivery horse class and Kathy Reynolds’ Shepherds Hill Little Wayne was champion novice. The Hero award for the best performed Standardbred horse was won by Natasha Pettingill’s Rose of Ambrose with Michelle Wight’s It Happens in Vegas, the reserve. Natasha was also the gold medallist in the driver under 55 years. Janice Lewin was judged best groom. Reprinted with permission of The Weekly Times

Endurance riding events – long-distance competitions against the clock which challenge both horse and rider – are run across the UK. Gayle Ritchie meets those taking part in one round Tentsmuir Forest A breathtakingly beautiful Friesian stallion canters through the forest, his glossy coat shimmering in the sunlight. His luxurious mane and tail flow freely and his ears prick forwards, listening to the gentle tones of the rider perched on his majestic back. The stallion in question is 16.3hh Oscar and his rider is Blairgowrie-based Janine Mason. The duo is taking part in a timed ride around Tentsmuir Forest alongside 71 other horse and rider combos. © Kris Clay Janine Mason taking part in an endurance ride at Tentsmuir Forest on Freisian stallion Oscar. Run by the Scottish Endurance Riding Club (SERC), the goal is to complete a set distance in an allocated time and with the horse in sound condition, its heart rate below a certain level. Routes today range from a “taster” 9km to a full-on 62km challenge but some riders can boast of completing longer rides – up to a staggering 160km. Some ride in teams while others go solo and there are horses of all shapes and sizes – from slinky, speedy Arabs to hairy Highlands. Overall, there’s a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere; there’s no snobbery or elitism whatsoever. A major focus is on fun and there are some fantastic colour combinations going on, with riders matching their hat silks to their horse’s bridles. Horse welfare and safety are hugely important. Spurs, martingales, blinkers and other restraints are not permitted and horses are vetted before the ride. © Kris Clay From Highlands to Arabs, all breeds take part. “Heart rates must be at a certain level and during the ‘trot up’, they mustn’t be lame,” chief steward Nancy Murdoch tells me. “Those doing big distances have another vet check half way round, and again at the end. “Rather than having a winner, mileage accumulated over time can result in awards.” Top team Mary Stockdale and her stunning black Arab Cumbria Khafifa, and Fiona Kirk with handsome Mr Charles, a Welsh D Cross Thoroughbred, are the first team to hit the half-way 32km mark. As they take a quick break to feed and sponge down their horses, they reveal why endurance is their favourite equestrian discipline. “You can be as competitive or non-competitive as you like,” beams Fiona. “You build a lovely partnership with your horse – a fantastic bond. You can ride all day as long as your horse is sound. “Performance is based on merit, unlike showing, which is based on someone else’s opinion.” © Kris Clay Mary Stockdale on Cumbria Khafifa. Mary, meanwhile, who has awards coming out of her ears – having clinched SERC’s 2017 trophy for rider with most mileage – tells me Khafifa has completed 3,742km under competition rules. “It’s a great opportunity to ride across beautiful countryside we’d never otherwise be lucky enough to see,” she smiles. “There’s a wonderful community and it’s a simple sport to get into. Any horse can do it, provided it’s reasonably fit, and taster sessions allow you to get a feel for the sport. “The relationship that horse and rider build together over the years is deeper than for many other disciplines.” © Kris Clay Mary shares a moment with Khafifa. Lorraine Laing is competing in the 30km option with her Standardbred ex-harness racing horse Tom, who is 20 years old. “We started with shorter pleasure rides then progressed to competing,” she tells me. “We’ve done 50km but prefer to do 30km. I ride in a team with Anne Scott and her Arab, Smokey. “We really love it and are trying to encourage more people to give it a go!” Sheila Bruce, chair of the Tayside branch of SERC, says the sport is open to everyone. “You go out, have fun, set your own parameters and ultimately, compete against yourself,” she says. “Our motto is: ‘To complete is to win’. We believe in challenges – and in the welfare of the horse.” © Kris Clay Janine Mason and Oscar about to be vetted. It wouldn’t be possible to run rides without helpers and roles include everything from runner to vet writer, timekeeper, gate opener, road crossing marshall and checkpoint steward. It’s hugely rewarding and addictive and who knows, it could inspire you to get involved in the sport yourself. To check the calendar or to sign up as a volunteer, see www.scottishendurance.com INFO The Scottish Endurance Riding Club organises three types of ride: pleasure rides, normally between 16 and 29km, competitive rides of 30km and over, and endurance rides of 60km and over. The ultimate competition is the endurance race, which may be up to 160km in one day but is always 60km and over. By Gayle Ritchie Reprinted with permission of The Courier

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