Whip Length Clarification

While the August article on dressage whips was quite good, some readers may be confused by the sidebar entitled ”Legal Matters” on page 7. The length for a dressage whip used in dressage has changed back to the old length of 120 cms. The length of a dressage whip used in eventing is still 110 cms.

Dressage competitions mandate the checking of equipment after the test is ridden, so if you are mounted with illegal equipment you are eliminated from the test you just rode. You will also be eliminated for riding up to the steward with an over-length whip in the warm-up to ask them to measure your whip before you even begin your warm-up. And people say DQs have no sense of humor . . .

Sheila Strickler,

Challenging Horses

Thank you for your insights regarding challenging horses (August 2009). From experience I know that in most cases diet is a huge contributing factor to perceived ”personality” issues. It tends to make horses more spooky, fidgety, ornery, have focus issues and even agressive. Physical problems can also be a big factor and, in many cases, it is too quickly assumed the horse is just being bad. Very few horses are ”just” being bad. Most generally do have a good reason for undesired behavior.

Ute Miethe,

Black Monday

The July editorial ”Black Monday” cannot go unanswered. If you aren’t in this business full time, then you have no business dictating to people what closing a barn for a specific day means.

I have 38 years in developing the skills that keep horses alive, not just on Monday, but through many nights with colic and on hot days when owners go to the beach, and late nights when the last thing you want to do is rewrap a severe injury.

Not a day goes by that barn owners don’t call veterinarians, hold horses for them, and spend endless hours evaluating a horse’s feed, care and quality of life. We skip parties and most often work 12-hour days as a minimum. I would feel embarrassed to imply that owners should do all this. Take a horse home and you will find out how precious your time becomes.

A black day allows for care that needs to be done without an audience. The horses, in fact, show a marked relaxed demeanor when the farm is quiet for the day. That is ”their” day off, first and foremost. If you can’t trust your professional, get a new one. As an owner, you aren’t one.

Kathy Poppe-Pullen,
New Jersey

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