Freestyles and Fire

Shoalhaven Dressage Club

Freestyle Software Demonstration

Music from CD – should be OK to use

Music from itunes needs to be converted into a wav format

I use:  Need4video free software


Music tempo adjustment software

I use: Audacity


Adding Music to Video editing software

I use:  Sonic Fire Pro – about $70

Google any of these programs for youtube tutorials and help.

Yes it takes hours – and no, you’ll never think it’s perfect!

Challenge – Get working on your freestyle for our November Championships – Free Entry!

Presentation Day

Sunday the 10th of January saw Shoalhaven Dressage Club converge once again at Maxine Fripp’s beautiful indoor arena to present our Horse and Rider of the Year awards. This year we had some fancy dress freestyles to entertain the crowd before enjoying a beautiful lunch catered by Emporium of Berry.

Maxine's property

Maxine’s property

The first freestyle was Tempe Lees’ connemara gelding Ego Oliver and ‘Darth Vader’ riding to Star Wars themed music.

Tempe, Oliver and Darth

Tempe, Oliver and Darth


Frances Simmons and Seal selected a Spanish theme and certainly impressed the crowd with their tempe changes up the centre line to start.

Frances Simmonds

Frances Simmons

Tracy Stead riding Anchorbar Alfonso also had a Spanish theme and finished their test with some Spanish walk that again had the crowd cheering.

Tracy Stead and Anchorbar Alfonso

Tracy Stead and Anchorbar Alfonso

Madeleine Phillips riding Gracie then did a beautiful test with some very cute music that really suited this combination.

Madeleine Phillips and Gracie

Madeleine Phillips and Gracie

Next on was Angus Fripp riding the beautiful Foxwood Remy. This combinations is starting to show what they are capable of with a beautiful test to a Samuri theme.

Angus Fripp and Foxwood Remy

Angus Fripp and Foxwood Remy

Charlotte Phillips rode her arabian gelding to an appropriate arab theme. Charlotte has completed her first year of dressage riding by taking out the Horse and Rider of the Year award for Shoalhaven Dressage Club. A fantastic result for a talented rider.

Charlotte Phillips and Rose Gum Goldrush

Charlotte Phillips and Rose Gum Goldrush

However the winner of the freestyle competition was Pamela Bice and Rosthwaite Tinkerbell who rode an amazing Grand Prix Freestyle. The final passage/piaffe tour had the crowd clapping and cheering.

Pamela Bice and Rosthwaite Tinkerbell

Pamela Bice and Rosthwaite Tinkerbell

All riders were encouraged to bribe the judges, so quite a few lollies, popcorn and fortune cookies were tossed around to encourage higher marks. The audience held up scores out of 10 for harmony, music and entertainment and Pamela won with a score of over 10???

Presentations went to

Jo Simon and Nova- Prep HOTY

Amanda De Latorre and Coolidowns Sundowner- Prelim HOTY

Charlotte Phillips and Rose Gum Goldrush- Novice HOTY

Fiona Cox and Cil Dara Roxanne- Elementary HOTY

Jeff Adams and Weejazzper- Medium and Advanced HOTY

Pamela Bice and Rosthwaite Tinkerbell- Big Tour HOTY

Emma Tinselly and Comet- Pony of the Year

Geri Wheeler and Glengannon Artorious-Junior of the Year

Charlotte Phillips and Rose Gum Goldrush- Young Rider of the Year and overall Horse and Rider of the Year

Angus Fripp and Foxwood Remy- Male rider of the Year

Rachel Heron and Toby- Veteran Horse of the Year

A huge thanks to Maxine Fripp for letting us use her beautiful property once again for our presentation day and to Angus Fripp for preparing the property so beautifully.



RIP Graeme Swan

Today the 16th of February 2015 we learnt the very sad news that our much loved friend Graeme Swan had lost his battle with Leukaemia.

Graeme was a long standing supporter of the Shoalhaven Dressage Club, he frequently served on the committee, sponsored our events and gave selflessly of his time to help promote dressage on the South Coast. Graeme and his wife Cathie were keen riders and Graeme had recently purchased a new young horse with the intention of soon returning to the competition arena.

Sadly he was taken too early and we are all diminished by his loss. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family. RIP.

IMG_5679_3_1 May 2010 013 IMG_6822

Fitting a Bit

I bought some new bits over the summer and did a bit of research on correct bit sizing to make sure that my expensive bits did actually fit. There are lots of tools on the market for measuring a horses mouth but probably the cheapest and easiest way is to get a piece of dowel, roughly the same diameter as the bit you want to use. Make a mark on the dowel and then put the dowel in the horse’s mouth. Try to get it where the bit should normally sit, with 2 creases in the edge of the horse’s mouth. Wait for the horse to stop chewing and hold his lips still. Then line up the mark with the outer edge of the horse’s lips on one side and draw a mark in the same place on the other side. This is the width of the horse’s mouth.

Remove the dowel and measure the distance between the 2 marks. If you are using a fixed ring bit such as an eggbutt snaffle then this is the size you would get. However if using a loose ring snaffle, add an extra 1 cm to the overall length. This will ensure the rings are not going to pinch on the horse’s mouth.

If you are using a bit and bradoon, you size the bradoon as above. However as the bit (curb bit) sits lower in the mouth, it should be a 1/2 cm less. If it is also a fixed ring, as many curb bits are, then you take away the 1cm allowance for loose rings.

A bradoon bit can be the same as your snaffle bit, however the rings are normally smaller than a typical snaffle, 50mm as opposed to 70mm. This makes the horses head look less crowded when using a double bridle.

There are lots of other things to think about when getting a bit for your horse, width, type etc. But at least make sure you get the right length.

Wine, Cheese and Freestyle

On Friday the 28th of June we are holding an information night in the Worrigee clubhouse on how to compose a freestyle for your horse. Presenters for the night are Jane Bruce (FEI rider and A level judge) and Robyn Targa (FEI rider and B level judge).

Participants should bring along some digital footage of their horse at walk, trot and canter, and some samples of the type of music you are considering using in your freestyle.

The presenters will help you determine the beat of your horse’s paces, what music suits your horse, some hints on choreography, what judges are looking for in a good freestyle and finally how to edit your own music.

The night is free of charge for SDC members and the club will provide some wine and cheese to make the night more enjoyable.

So join us at 7pm on the 28th for a fun and informative evening.

Magnetic Therapy, how effective is it?

Magnetic Therapy- It’s effective… isn’t it??

If you read the promotional material for Magnetic Therapy products they sound absolutely amazing. They are promoted as a drug free, non invasive and effective way of restoring your horse to peak performance, cutting down on recovery time, and relieving tired, aching joints and muscles. They allegedly increase muscle elasticity and return of normal range of motion and therefore result in less chance of injury.

Their persuasively presented claims are simply not supported by legitimate scientific evidence. The very few studies that do show a positive effect from wearing magnets admit that they can not hide from the participants whether they are wearing magnets or not. Thus the results can not be differentiated from placebo, or the benefit people get just because they believe in the treatment they are receiving. The majority of studies show absolutely no benefit from wearing any type of magnetic product.

Magnetic pads that radiate an unchanging magnetic field can be applied to horses via any number of boots, blankets or pads. Because the static magnetic fields don’t change, there can be no electrical effect. Thus proponents of magnetic products use another mechanism to explain the purported beneficial effects, an increase in local blood circulation.

Blood does contain electrically charged ions. A physics principle known as Faraday’s law states that a magnetic field will exert a force on a moving ionic current.  An extension of Faraday’s law called the Hall effect states that when a magnetic field is placed perpendicular to the direction of the flow of an electric current flow, it will tend to deflect and separate the charged ions. This separation of ionic charges produces an electromotive force, in theory a very small amount of heat.

The problem with using Faraday’s law and the Hall effect to explain the purported effects of static magnetic pads is that the magnitude of the force applied by the field is infinitesimally small. This is for two reasons, first the magnetic field that is being applied to the tissues is extremely weak and secondly the flow of the blood is extremely slow, especially when compared to the flow of electric current.

Magnetic field strength is measured by Gauss. Horse magnets are advertised as having a therapeutic strength of between 10 and 500 Gauss at the level of the magnet. However at a distance of 1cm this strength decreases to only 1 Gauss. 1 Gauss is approximately the magnetic field strength of the earth.  The velocity of the blood is approximately 0.5 to 1 cm per second.

If you generously consider a magnetic field of 250 Gauss and the velocity of blood at 1cm per second, the electric field seen by an ion in the blood flow will be about 2.5x  Volts/meter/sec. The thermal agitation imparted by the natural heat of the horse’s body will cause about 10 million times more movement of the ions in the blood than a 250 Gauss magnet.

Some manufacturers claim that they can increase the effects of charge separation by alternating north and south magnetic poles. This is commonly seen in fridge magnets. However this just decreases the magnetic field strength of the magnet because the magnetic fields tend to cancel each other out as they extend from the magnet. Try an experiment with a magnet on your fridge. Put one piece of paper between the magnet and the fridge, now, one by one, keep adding pieces of paper. How many can you put under the magnet until it stops working and the papers fall to the floor. My best was 5. If the magnetic field can not pass through more than 5 pieces of paper, how can it have any effect on the tissues under your horse’s hair? Especially after having to also pass through whatever pad or boot that is holding the magnet in place.

Some proponents of Magnetic Therapy try to give their products extra credence by associating their products with the accepted use of magnets in MRI machines used in scientific medicine. However MRI’s are just diagnostic machines, not therapeutic. They use an approximately 10,000 Gauss magnetic field, so if you want to believe that magnets have a serious effect on your blood flow, an MRI scan would probably blow you to bits. Whilst people come out of an MRI scan knowing what is wrong with them, none come out healed.

Now what about personal experience and anecdotal evidence? What about the person who states that using magnetic therapy boots on their horse has been very helpful for rehabbing after soft tissue injuries. Horses are not susceptible to the placebo effect!! But their owners are and for this reason anecdotal evidence can in no way be considered scientific proof. People who are gullible enough to try magnets will be easily persuaded to attribute any improvements in their horse solely to the magnets. But what other treatments did the horse receive, rest, anti-inflammatorys, bandaging. Would the horse have gotten better anyway? Most people try treatments when their horse has a problem. The most likely thing to happen after an injury is that the injury improves. Attributing the horse’s natural healing ability to magnets is the same as saying that my horse got better because every day I spent 10 minutes whispering healing mantras into his ear. You may well have done this but he was going to get better anyway.

Magnetic therapy is pseudoscience. Magnets have zero health benefits whatsoever. There is no conceivable mechanism under which they might act, and no reproducible studies have found that magnets provide health benefits. Save your money and if your horse has a real problem go and see a good vet, get the problem diagnosed and treated with scientifically tested, clinically proven treatments.

Hendra Information night

On Friday the 12th of April, Shoalhaven Dressage Club and Shoalhaven Pony Club combined to hold an information night on the Hendra virus presented by the Illawarra Equine Centre and Dr Dianne Ryan, the Chief Veterinary Officer for the DPI. The following is a summary of the evening, however if you want further information, don’t hesitate to contact your vet.

Hendra virus is carried by Flying Foxes. They are not affected by the virus but shed it in their body fluids. These fluids are expelled as the enter or leave their roosting tree, so the zone of up to 1 metre around the canopy of a tree is the area most likely to be contaminated.

Bats all over Australia carry the Hendra virus, 2 bats in Adelaide were recently tested positive to it. It is currently unknown why bats further south than northern NSW have not transferred the virus to horses, but just because they haven’t so far, we can’t presume they won’t in the future.

Horses catch the virus by eating food or drinking water contaminated by the virus, so it is important to neither feed or water horses within 1 metre of a tree canopy. They can also catch it by eating food dropped by bats. 3/4s of all horses who catch the virus die, and the remainder are all euthanized, by order of the DPI.

Humans catch Hendra through horse excretions. Of the 7 people who have caught Hendra, 4 have died mainly due to the encephalitis it causes. The survivors have significant disabilities so the consequences of catching the disease are severe.

The Hendra vaccine has been proved safe for use in horses, however due to its rapid release to protect human life, not all trials on its use have been completed. The vaccine can only be administered by a vet and the horse must be microchipped. This is because the DPI must know which horses have been vaccinated. The vaccine is not a live virus, it is a part of the virus that just stimulates the development of Hendra antibodies. Because it develops these antibodies, the only way to distinguish between horses infected by Hendra and those vaccinated against it, is the vaccination certificate issued by the DPI. In the event of an outbreak of Hendra, all horses with Hendra antibodies must be euthanized, unless they have this certificate.

Because Veterinarians must administer the vaccine, it costs $120, plus $44 if your horse is not microchipped. This price is reduced for multiple horses. The vets are just covering their costs at this rate so don’t think the Hendra vaccine is a huge boost for them. Horses require a booster vaccine at 21 days (however this may be varied in the future) and single boosters at 6 months. The 6 months booster may be altered to yearly in September when further tests are completed.

Presently it is not know the effect of the vaccine on pregnant mares or mares intended for breeding so it is recommended you consult your veterinarian about the benefits and risks of vaccinating these horses.

Currently 4 countries are not accepting horses with Hendra antibodies for export. This is despite the studies that show all horses who have been vaccinated for Hendra and subsequently exposed to the virus, have shown no signs of the disease and have not shed the virus at all. It should only be a short time before these export restrictions are lifted, as more studies showing the efficacy of the vaccine are completed. These countries are Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Taiwan. As can be imagined, until the ban on exports to Hong Kong are lifted, the racing industry has not taken up the use of the Hendra vaccine.

For this reason it is important to vaccinate your horse if it is taken out to competitions and comes in contact with other horses which could be shedding the virus in the early stages of infection, without showing signs of the disease.