What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Archive for October, 2014

Twelve Days of Creative Christmas

October 28, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'



To celebrate the festive season the Equestrian Creative Network (ECN) is giving creative professionals the chance to win a portfolio – each day for twelve days – to showcase their work free for a year. On two of the days in-house teams can win a portfolio to be able to use the ECN Newswire to help gain extra coverage for their press releases.


On the run up to Christmas a portfolio will be given away to a creative in the following categories of ECN membership:


Dec 12 – Photography

Dec 13 – Web design

Dec 14 – Art / illustration / animation

Dec 15 – Blogging

Dec 16 – PR & marketing

Dec 17 – In-house PR

Dec18 – Graphic design

Dec 19 – Journalism / copywriting

Dec 20 – Media/publishing

Dec 21 – Event management

Dec 22 – Video production

Dec 23 – In-house PR


For a chance to win on the day relevant to you post one of the following:


Post a tweet on Twitter:


Hey @EquineCreatives, all I want for Christmas is a portfolio on the Equestrian Creative Network!


Post a comment on the ECN Facebook page:


All I want for Christmas is a portfolio on the Equestrian Creative Network!


Here’s the science bit…


You can enter as many times as you wish if more than one day is relevant to your business. You only need to submit one entry each day. One entry per business will be placed in a hat and drawn at random. The competition is global but each ‘day’ will be identified as the 24-hour period in GMT.


About the ECN


The ECN is an online directory and news site for the creative side of the rural and equestrian industries. The ECN allows people to find the right marketing, media, design or photography pro for their project and helps to inspire out-of-the-box thinking with blogs and updates from members. The ECN Newswire feature allows members to gain extra coverage for the press releases, which can be picked by journalists worldwide.


You can find out more about the Equestrian Creative Network by visiting: equestriancreativenetwork.com or sign up to the newsletter to receive news, views and inspiration from members: http://campaigns.modlia.com/h/r/E6E490AB1450D09A


October 23, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Video By Athletux

Upperville, Virginia. October 22nd, 2014- Allison Springer of Upperville, VA announced today that with the help of the Team Springer Syndicate LLC, she has purchased Mr. Sydney Rocks. Mr. Sydney Rocks is a ten year old gelding out of Lenardo, who has competed successfully through the CIC3* level. Springer, who has spent time over the past couple of years dedicated to building a strong string of horses, is enthusiastic about starting her partnership with Mr. Sydney Rocks, found in Europe by fellow American Jessica Montgomery.

Montgomery, who relocated to the UK a few years ago with her husband, US rider Clark Montgomery, has found several top horses for other riders, and has been praised for her ability to spot talent. Springer gave thanks to Jessica for her assistance in sourcing her new mount saying, “I have been searching for a quality horse with Advanced level experience for quite some time, and I’m very grateful for Jessica Montgomery’s help in finding this horse.”

Mr. Sydney Rocks, previously owned by Mr. and Mrs. Time Page, has an impressive foundation, and resume of notable riders. Having started his competition career with Clayton Fredericks, Lucinda Fredericks took over the reins upon Clayton’s move to America. She competed the horse through the CIC3* level, until recently, when Christopher Burton took over the ride. Allison also thanked the Page’s for trusting her with Syd’s future, in addition to those who have made him into the horse he is today. “I know that the Page’s could have sold this horse to a lot of different people, and appreciate them trusting me with his future. I also can not say enough good things about the training he has had to date, as he has truly been brought up by some of the best riders in the world.”

Springer plans to get to know her new partner over the next few months at her home base in The Plains, Virginia, before heading south to begin preparations for the 2015 season, and is enthusiastic about her new geldings talents. “I absolutely think Mr. Sydney Rocks has all the ingredients to be a top horse, and I can not wait to see where our journey takes us”, Allison remarked. “I can not thank everyone involved in the Team Springer Syndicate LLC enough for their dedication, support, and belief in my goals.”

A few select Syndication shares to be involved in ownership of Mr. Sydney Rocks are still available. Those interested in being a part of this opportunity are urged to contact Allison directly via email at Allisoncspringer@gmail.com.

For information about Allison Springer Eventing please visit http://allisonspringer.com.

Tree Sizing: Get Past the Fluff!

October 16, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Tree Size

Photo Courtesy of Total Saddle Fit

By Justin Baghai

Tree width is the number one metric riders use when trying to determine if a saddle will fit their horse. You’ve probably heard (or said yourself) something to the effect of “My boy has big shoulders, so he needs a wide” or “my skinny little Thoroughbred needs a narrow”. While these statements in many cases are true, they are also incomplete. There are two more super important factors in fitting trees:

1. How do the tree points contact the horse’s body?
2. How does this tree size effect the balance of the saddle longitudinally (front-to-back)?

For the first issue, let’s make sure we are on the same page of what a “tree point” actually means. The red line in the image below shows the tree point, which starts at the top of the tree head (pommel) and goes to the end of the point:

Tree Sketch

The tree point starts at the top of the tree head (pommel) and goes to the end of the red point (Diagram Courtesy of Total Saddle Fit)

Saddles are made with all kinds of varying tree point lengths. This is because a high wither horse will need a different tree than a mutton-withered pony. Long tree points will allow more flexibility in fitting high wither horses, while short points are often good for low wither horses because they keep the saddle from perching off the back. Since most riders don’t know how long or short their saddle’s points are, all we need to be concerned with is how the points make contact with a horse’s back. It is vitally important that the inside “faces” of the tree points touch your horse’s back, as opposed to the tips of the points poking into the back. This is ultimately a determinant of how well the rider weight is spread out behind the horse’s shoulders.

The simplest way to check the contact is to girth your saddle TIGHT, then run your hand down the front of your saddle under the panels and see if there are any acute points of pressure. All saddles will have some pressure there, as a saddle’s structure needs to be carried somewhere, but the area should be bigger than the point of your finger. Try this with your saddle and as many friends’ saddles as possible to really get a frame of reference by comparing them.

One mistake a lot of people make is to feel under the tree when they are on their horse. This will almost always show a “problem area” because as a rider leans forward to feel under the saddle, her weight is going to be tilted to the front of the saddle. If you want to feel the saddle with a person in it, ask a friend to sit balanced in the seat on your horse so you can get an accurate feel!

Now on to point number two. The longitudinal balance of the saddle often gets overlooked as riders tend to focus more on the front of the tree and the width associated with it (N, M, MW, W, XW). Not only does the tree width need to be right to fit behind the shoulders, but it also has to keep the saddle balanced. I can’t tell you how many times this part of the equation get’s omitted!

If the saddle balance is pitched forward (bench seat) or backward (chair seat), it doesn’t matter how the width of the tree fits because a rider’s weight is going to be forced into a small area of the horse’s back at the low point of the saddle.

Out of love for their horse, many riders opt for overly wide tree sizes with the hope of protecting their horse or giving him a lot of space. While it is certainly better to err a little on the wide side (rather than too narrow), the mark is often over shot. Then the saddle ends up (somewhat ironically) doing the opposite of what the rider wants by being too low in the front and distributing too much weight right behind the shoulders! So be sure you check on whether the saddle sits balanced with a rider in it…meaning are the shoulders, hips and ankles lined up along the vertical? A friend with a camera can help you be the judge. Good luck out there!

Thoroughbred Champion Cigar Dies Following Surgery

October 08, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Famed Thoroughbred Cigar at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions (Kentucky Horse Park Photo By James Shambhu)


Lisa Jackson


Kentucky Horse Park Mourns Loss of
Incomparable, Invincible, ‘Unbeatable’ Horse

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 8, 2014) – Thoroughbred champion Cigar died last evening, Tuesday, Oct. 7, at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital from complications following surgery for severe osteoarthritis in his neck. Foaled April 18, 1990, the Hall of Fame horse and longtime visitor favorite at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions was 24.

At retirement, Cigar’s career had a total of 19 wins out of 33 starts with earnings of $9,999,815, which was a record at that time. He was voted Champion Older Male and Horse of the Year in both 1995 and in 1996.

“The great champion Cigar thrilled racing fans and surely brought new ones to the sport as he compiled win after win in his incredible streak of victories,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “An example of racing at its best, he continued to serve as an ambassador, bringing joy to countless visitors to the Hall of Champions at the Kentucky Horse Park, where he will be missed.”

The first horse to tie racing legend Citation’s record of 16 consecutive victories, Cigar had lived at the Kentucky Horse Park since his retirement in 1999. Cigar was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in August 2002, his first year of eligibility. 

“Cigar had been experiencing arthritis-related health issues over the past six months and was in outstanding physical and mental condition other than the osteoarthritis he was suffering from in several of his cervical vertebrae,” said Kathy Hopkins, director of equine operations for the Kentucky Horse Park.  “Medical therapies had failed to relieve the pressure that the arthritis was causing on his spine, which had resulted in instability in his hind legs.” 

Cigar had been under the care of a team of veterinarians from the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute and the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, some of the best equine veterinarians in the world. The team of veterinarians and surgeons had deemed that spinal surgery was the only option to relieve the pressure and ensure the highest quality of life for the horse.  

“Cigar had been suffering from a cervical spine instability for which conservative medical therapies could no longer halt the disease’s progressive nature,” said Dr. Rocky M. Mason, of the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. “The decision to seek out a more lasting treatment modality was made. Surgery is never an easy decision in a 24-year-old horse, but Cigar had proven himself a regal, classy and determined patient making the decision to proceed an easier one.” 

Surgical correction was performed by a team led by Dr. Brett Woodie, of Rood and Riddle, Dr. Laura Werner, of Hagyard Equine, and Dr. Steve Reed, of Rood and Riddle who pioneered the special procedure performed. 

“The Kentucky Horse Park was committed to providing him with the highest level of care possible,” said Hopkins. “We are heartbroken to lose this great horse, especially as we were trying to do everything we could to improve his quality of life and make him more sound and comfortable. Our park family is immensely grateful to Dr. Reed and the outstanding medical teams at Rood and Riddle and Hagyard Equine for their ultimate dedication to and concern for this unmatched champion.”

“Cigar developed a compression of his spinal cord in the lower part of his neck,” said Dr. Reed.  “The most severe compression was between cervical vertebra 6 and 7, with additional compression between cervical vertebra 5 and 6. This was an acquired problem related to arthritis, and bony remodeling in the neck. The severity of this spinal cord compression became so problematic that all parties were left with few options, the best one being surgery. This was a significant surgery involving a prolonged recovery. Unfortunately, during recovery Cigar suffered a vertebral fracture and passed away.”  

Hopkins said Cigar will be remembered as one of the greatest horses the world has ever seen, and thanked fans who have supported Cigar and the Kentucky Horse Park since his retirement. She also noted the efforts of park team members who have taken excellent care of him over the years, including Wes Lanter, Robin Bush and the late Cathy Roby.

Dr. Reed continued, “The outcome was disappointing and very sad for many people; but especially for Wes and Kathy who remained at his side to the end.”

Like the other Hall of Champions horses who died in retirement at the park, Cigar will be buried on the Memorial Walk of Champions near Thoroughbreds Alysheba, Bold Forbes, Forego, John Henry and Kona Gold; Standardbreds Cam Fella and Rambling Willie; American Saddlebreds CH Imperator, CH Skywatch and CH Gypsy Supreme; and American Quarter Horse Sgt. Pepper Feature.

“Cigar was an incredible horse who left an everlasting mark on the racing world,” said Ted Nicholson, interim executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “We are honored that Cigar was able to spend so many years of his life here at the park where he was visited by so many fans and will always be remembered.”

A public memorial service will be held for Cigar at a future date, yet to be determined. Information will be posted on the park’s website once available at www.kyhorsepark.com.

The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse. The park is an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and hosted more than 800,000 visitors and campers, as well as 18,400 competition horses in more than 200 special events and horse shows in 2013. The park is home to the National Horse Center, which comprises more than 30 national and regional equine organizations.  Located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington, the Kentucky Horse Park is The place to get close to horses. Information about the park’s programs and activities can be found on-line at www.KyHorsePark.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.