Welcome to the dressage spot, a place for the young (or young at heart) dressage riders wanting to gain information on the sport of dressage, training tips, equine health care, maintenance and fun!

Friday, December 7, 2012

First Day of the USDF convention

After a midnight arrival and an early morning registration, I got to say hi to old friends and meet new ones at the Region 6 meeting, just across from my former Region 9 meeting!  Then it was off to a discussion on the roll of carbohydrates in feed.  This was a very interesting and useful discussion on the roll of energy in your horse’s health and performance.  Dr. Lamprecht said to start all feeding choices with several questions.  First, what is his energy need?  Second, what type of pasture or forage does he have?  Finally, does he have any special issues such as age or health issue?  We then looked at the entire gastric system of the horse and where and how carbs are digested.  Then we used a graph to see what a horses calorie needs are based on its energy level.  For an upper level high performance horse it was 26.6 MegaCalories per day!  After all the science the practical information was to read labels.  First, read the PURPOSE STATEMENT on the bag.  This tells you what type of horse the feed was made for.  If this is important as the content and mixture of nutrients is based on its purpose.  Second, was the guaranteed analysis and finally the FEEDING INSTRUCTIONS!  This is where the speaker said many mistakes in feeding which lead to colic can occur. 
 Then it was off to the Youth Programs Meeting.  Here we discussed the Shining Star program and the USDF High school pin program and finally a new idea for a mentor program.  The meeting was very well attended and everyone gave great ideas.  The resulting decisions were that the Shining Star Pins would be awarded based on a single event and that the award application forms would be rewritten to ask more specific questions.  The USDF High School Pin program would be revamped to reflect the USEF program more directly.  Finally, it was suggested that the mentor program be a list of participants on the website that can be approached by any youth members that have any questions.  The idea of mentor training was discussed but no decision was made.
Then off to the FEI Jr/YR meeting.  Here we discussed the rule changes for next year.  It was interesting to learn we won’t have to ride both tests on the same weekend and that we can ride as many of each test as we desire and the lowest of each and not a single weekend would be dropped. 
The final event for me of the day was harmonizing with your Horse by Hilde Gurney.  Hilde is so much fun.  She inspires with her love of riding and horses.  She makes me look ahead and see that I can have a career that gives me as much joy and happiness as she has in hers.  She gave a wonderful breakdown of training from birth to 4 year olds.  She said her breeding and training goal was to have horses that are fun to be around, fun to ride, easy to train and have the ability to compete in Grand Prix.  She said her yearlings are handled daily in the pasture.  They get hooves cleaned, fly sprayed etc. daily.  Her 1 yr olds go into half training and learn to move away from pressure.  They work 3 times a week.  Her 2 year olds are in full training on the lunge line and are learning to turn from the rein pressure.  She puts nosebands on from the minute they have a bridle.  Not tight. Just there.  At 3 and 4 years she works on making them uphill and confident.  She went on to demonstrate basic things like correct seat and hand position.  The videos were fun and gave me a personal look into her life. 
After the convention closed for the evening Jessica Hainsworth, her mom, my mom and I went out to find a place to eat on Canal Street.  Jessica and I wanted IHOP so we ordered stuffed French toast and crepes and had a great time.  Back to the room for Hotel Transylvania giggles and an early night. 

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