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Cyberhorse 2008
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QLD Festival of Dressage - Report Page 2

Story & Pictures by Tracy Mayhew & Berni Saunders - Page 2

The Magic Millions Seminar Centre got started at 9am with an inspirational talk by Liz Owens, who stood in for Jacqui Huppert who was suddenly taken ill and couldn't attend. Liz's topic was What to Look for in a Dressage Horse.  Liz put forward the premise that to train and compete competently in dressage, you must have a suitable horse that not only has the movement, but also has the right temperament and that all important "trainability"! 

Next in the seminar program was Presentation of the Dressage Horse and Rider by Amy Zeller with the assistance of model 'Gitane' and Jenny Gehrke.  Amy is well respected for her impeccable turnout and flair for style.  She is pictured here riding her lovely Rotspon stallion Leadburn Rotstein standing along side one of her students - both beautifully presented as she says it should be.  Amy's talk highlighted the importance of "looking like a winner" to have the judges expecting good things when you enter the ring.  Good appearance and presentation allows the rider to be proud and this is a key element to success.

Liz Owens stepped back into the Magic Millions Seminar Centre and gave the next talk. Her subject was What to Feed the Equine Athlete.

Liz (pictured right) practises as an Equine Nutritionist but also brings to bear her vast experience as an Elite Dressage rider with vast 'hands-on experience plus a great depth of knowledge of competing and travelling horses where diet can be the difference between success and failure.

Liz covered an often heard comment "that feed makes my horse hot" or "I don't know what supplements to give my horse?"  Her presentation was designed to give a basic understanding and knowledge of the feeding principles for a competition horse.

Jenny Gehrke (right)  is an undisputed star of the sport in Queensland, she has several horses in work and two representing her state at the top level.  Jenny teaches and trains and is known for her thorough approach and attention to the classical principles and correct basics.  Today she discussed "Introducing the Double Bridle to the Rider and the Horse" in her segment at the Festival.  Jenny emphasised that the double bridle must be introduced to both the rider and the horse carefully as failure to do so can result in contact problems or other difficulties which could hold up training or worse, put an end to great promise.  The rider must learn how to hold two sets of reins, understand the function of the curb chain and how it should be adjusted correctly.  Jenny discussed and demonstrated this important topic and her talk was very well received.

How to Get the Most from Your Dressage Lesson was the next topic in a talk given by Kate Wilson (pictured below)  All Dressage riders understand that often when you leave the indoor or venue for instruction, the points which seemed so clear have disappeared.  Great topic for this event.

A break ...  to enjoy the Fashion Parade in the Gardens
and the Stallion Parade.

After the break Paula Price (right)  gave an interesting and helpful talk titled -
The New Dressage Tests Explained.  The new tests appear at first glance to be quite a deal more difficult, but Paula explained how the movements enable the judges to test the horse's level of education and how the progressive nature of the advancement of the tests allow the horse to progress as and when ready to take the next step. 

Health, Well-Being and Soundness are all issues of vital importance to all Dressage riders and horse trainers.  The next talk was titled
Keeping the Performance Horse Sound - Joint Disease in the Dressage Horse - by Veterinarian Paula Williams along with Tony Fookes - a Remedial Muscular Exercise Therapist.   This talk was greatly appreciated as a lame horse puts an end to high hopes and aspirations. (See expert panel picture below)

Bits and the Horse's Mouth was discussed in the Magic Millions Seminar Centre by Zoe Swain from Myler Bits.  Zoe's segment addressed the questions ... "How do you know whether the bit fits  the horse's mouth???  Is it true that a single jointed bit, when pulled, has a "nutcracker" effect on the horse's lower jaw?  or ... "Why is my horse's mouth dry?  These were just some of the questions that Zoe Swain addressed and as a Master Equine Dentist, she was able to show how the bit works in the horse's mouth and the actions of several different bits.  This is a subject near and dear to all dressage riders as a good mouth and little resistance is a pre-requisite of calm and attentive submission.

"Gait Analysis" was covered by Master Farrier Jonathan Oehm who assured his very interested audience that the horse's gait can be improved just as you can help the horse to gain more height and expression in it's stride.  He said ... "Yes, you can, but first you must understand the bio-mechanics involved. Jonathan introduced specialist bio-mechanical gait analysis technology to Australia in 2007.  This technology provides factual data about conformation and movement to help optimise performance.  This presentation was a real 'eye opener" and gives an insight to the wide range of expertise available to the dressage enthusiast.

"Rider Biomechanics" was the topic discussed by Dr Pam Scampton.  She asked riders to consider if they have ever thought whether their balance, stability or the way they use their body, arms or legs when riding could be hindering the horse of affecting harmony and ease of movement.  Dr Pam is a sports Physiotherapist who has researched her subject matter and worked with riders all over the world.  Dr Pam Scampton was in the first group to graduate from Queensland University in the Masters of Animal Studies - Physiotherapy ... and continued on to her Masters in Sports Physiotherapy at La Trobe University in Victoria.  The Festival were delighted that Dr Scampton was able to share her knowledge and experiences on Rider Biomechanics.

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Cyberhorse 2009 Tracy Mayhew


11 December 2018
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