TEAGASC NATIONAL EQUINE CONFERENCE

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TEAGASC

NATIONAL
EQUINE CONFERENCE


OCTOBER 23
rd
2007

HERITAGE HOTEL PORTLAOISE







1


Conference Programme


Equine Conference
:

Moving the Industry Forward

09.30am

Registration & Coffee

10.00am

Official Opening of Conference

Mr. Gerry Scully, Head of Rural Developme
nt, Teagasc

Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc

10.15am

Session One


Chairman: Lt Col Gerry O’ Gorman, OC Army Equitation School


Speakers



Future Developments in World Sport Horse Breeding

Dr. Jan Pederson, President of the World Breeding Federatio
n of
Sport Horses



Performance Related Pedigrees

Mr. Norman Storey, B.Agr.Sc., Equine Specialist Advisor, Teagasc



Equine Performance Analyses

Mr. Russell Guire, B.Sc. (Equine & Human Sports Science),
Centaur Biomechanics Ltd., England



Equinaalysis


Utilisa
tion and Benefits within Farriery

Mr. Mark Aikens, DipWCF, Master Farrier, England


Open Forum and Discussion


12.30pm

Lunch

14.00pm

Session Two


Chairman: Mr. Damian

McDonald, CEO Horse Sport Ireland


Speakers



Current Market Demand

Mr. Paul Larkin, Lark
in Bros. Int. Ltd, Co. Meath



Conditioning Training for the Young Horse

Dr. Eric van Breda, Veterinary Sports Physiologist, Maastricht
University, Holland



Encouraging Young Breeders

Ms. Wendy Conlon, B
Sc
.Eq.Sc., Equine Specialist Adviser,
Teagasc


Open Foru
m and Discussion

16.00pm

Close of Conference


2


CONTENTS

SESSION ONE

Chairman: Lt Col Gerry O’ Gorman





p.
3


Future Developments in World Sport Horse Breeding



p.
5


Dr. Jan Pederson, President of the W.B.F.S.H.

Performance Related Pedigrees






p.
9


Mr. Norman Storey, Equine Specialist Advisor, Teagasc

Equine Performance Analyses






p.
11


Mr. Russell Guire, Centaur Biomechanics Ltd.

Maximising Equine Performance Utilising Equinalysis Gait Analysis
System










p.
1
4


Mr. Mark Aikens, Master Farr
ier


SESSION TWO

Chairman: Mr. Damia
n McDonald






p.
19


Current Market Demand







p.

20


Mr. Paul Larkin, Larkin Bros. Int. Ltd

Conditioning Training for the Young Horse




p.
23


Dr. Eric van Breda, Maastricht University

Encouraging Young Breeders







p.
25


Ms. Wendy Conlon, Equine Specialist Advisor Teagasc


THE TEAGASC EQUINE ADVISORY TEAM




p. 29



3


LT COL GERRY O’ GORMAN


Commanding Officer
at the
Army Equitation School


Lt Col O’ Gorman joined the Cadet School in 1972 and on commissioning was
posted to
the Equitation School. In 1976 he graduated from DIT Bolton Street with a Dip.MIM in
Transport Engineering and served in the transport and Vehicle Maintenance Corps. He
has served overseas with the United Nations both in transport and operational

appointments. While stationed at the Curragh he carried out the duties of Liaison Officer
to the racing authorities at the Curragh Racecourse and Punchestown for both racing and
eventing. He is currently a member of the executive of the Equestrian Federat
ion of
Ireland
,

a member of the International Affairs Committee and of the board of Horse Sport
Ireland. Lt. Col O’ Gorman was posted to the appointment of Officer Commanding the
Equitation School in June 2004.






The Equitation School itself was founded in 1926 to promote Ireland and the Irish horse.
Since then Equitation School riders have been the backbone of Irish showjumping and
event teams.

Army riders have rep
resented Ireland at Olympic, World and European Championship
level in Showjumping and Three Day Eventing. They have assisted the Irish team to
many Aga Khan Trophy successes at the RDS in Dublin, and other great Nations Cup
successes at prestigious venues
such as Aachen, Calgary, Washington and Toronto.


4

With wins in many competitions at the World Championships,

a
rmy riders on Irish bred
horses have indeed been and continue to be a powerful force in advertising and
promoting the sale of Irish horses abroad.
Its success in achieving this objective can be
established by reviewing the impressive record of Irish horses competing for other
nations over the years.

As a result of the Schools direct involvement at the highest level of international
competition, its c
oaches, riders and grooming staff are recognised for their high standard
of horsemanship and skills. On num
erous occasions a
rmy grooms have won prizes for the
exemplary turn
-

out and care of their horses.

Through the participation of its riders in various

n
ational equestrian bodies, the a
rmy
Equitation School aids in the development of riding and general equestrian development
by passing on the invaluable training and experience gained by its competitive riders. The
Equitation School helps young riders thr
ough the Minister for Defence’s training bursary.
This is an annual bursary that is awarded to two promising young riders and includes
training and participation at junior level international shows.


It could also be said that the Equitation School has rep
resented a shop window for many
of Ireland’s other assets, particularly in the areas of tourism, trade and marketing, by
putting emphasis on Ireland and things Irish in a public and eminently suitable way.

The Equitation School maintains its goal to this d
ay:

"
To

promote Ireland

and the Irish H
orse"

In 2007 this has certainly been achieved, particularly wi
th Comdt. Gerry Flynn’s fantastic
Grand Prix (4 wins when going to print)
and Nation Cup successe
s this year
on Mo Chroi
(by Cruising out of a Mister Lor
d mare).





5

Future Developments in World Sport Horse Breeding

Dr. Jan Pederson


Besides being chairman of the
Danish
Warmblood Association, D
r. Jan Pe
derson

is
also president of the World Breeding
Federation for Sport Horses
.

Apart from his
work in organisations he is also a business
high school teacher, which he has been doing
for more than 25 years. Jan Pederson has been
a part of the Danish Warmblood

Association
from the beginning in 1979 when it was
created from a merge between ‘The Light
Sportsbreeding’ and the Danish Breeding
Association for Sport Horses. In 1994 he
became the chairman of the organisation.
Today it is an up to date and independent
breeding association which resides at the
National Center for Sport Horses at
Vilhelmsborg, Aarhus. The association has its
own junior department, own administration
and a turnover which amounts to tens of
millions of Danish kroner each year.


The

World B
reeding Federation for Sport Horses is an umbrella organisation with 52
breeding associations from 25 countries and general office at Vilhelmsborg in Denmark.
The chief aim of the WBFSH is to integrate breeding and sport by establishing a close
contact to
the international riding union, FEI, and at the same time safeguard the
breeders’ interests in the European Union.


Highlights Since 1994

1994


Jan
Pederson is elected as chairman in the
D
anish
W
armblood
A
ssociation


1998

The Youth Department of the
DWA

called Youn
g is created

1999

The
DWA

gets its

office and
its
own administration at Vilhelmsborg

1999


Jan
Pederson becomes president of the WBFSH

2000

WBFSH introduces World Championships in dressage, jumping
and
eventing

for young horses

2001

The
DWA

gets their own breedin
g advisor, Karina Christiansen who also
becomes secretary in the WBFSH the same year.

2003

T
he
DWA

starts a new breeding procedure where the aim is
no longer the
all round horse

but the breeding is aimed towards either dressage or
jumping



6

Jan Pedersen on

the Danish Warmblood horse:
"The Danish Warmblood horse is unique
as it, without

politics and attempts a
t protectionism, brings all the best genes
from
all

sport horse

associations

into

one horse."


Danish Warmblood Association (
Dansk Varmblod
)

is Denmark’s largest

horse
breeding federation with more than 5000 members. Throughout the year many

members’
activities, tests and
selecti
ons are arranged. Only the best
horses are approved for
breeding. In this way progress and quality are guaranteed.

The main office of
Dan
sk Varmblod
is situated at the Vilhelmsborg Manor in eastern
Jutland.



7

Danish horse breeders are highly trained experts

Danes have been breeding horses for centuries and
have always been among the best in
the world. This tradition and know
-
how continue in
the
Dansk Varmblod
. Danish horse
breeders are very knowledgeable, and
Dansk Varmblod

constantly provides them with
opportunities to update their knowledge. This also help
s to guarantee that the Danish
Warmblood horse maintains its high quality.

From the beginning, the overall objective of Dansk Varmblod has been to breed
successful competition horses.
This has been achieved in only a very short time by
mating native Danish

m
ares with stallions from Europe
s best bloodlines
, and as a result
Dansk Varmblod has become one of the leading riding horse breeding associations in the
world.

This success has been possible because:




Horse breeding is one of the traditional activities i
n Danish agriculture, and
Danish farmers are well
-
known for their consistently high standards of husbandry





Denmark has one of the most stringent stallion selection procedures in Europe
today




Danish breeders have shown great foresight and initiative in t
heir willingness to
invest in proven bloodlines from neighbouring countries, and have used their
knowledge to combine these bloodlines to create one of the best breeds of riding
horse in the world



Danish breeders have always understood the importance of co
mbining experience
and traditional knowledge with being receptive to new scientific results.



BREEDING POLICY

and Breeding Objec
tive of
the
Dansk Varmblod


The breeding policy is updated continuously. Formerly, the emphasis has been on
conformation and over a period of three or four breeding generations, by using stringent
selection procedures, Dansk Varmblod has been able to devel
op a strong basis for
breeding high class riding horses. In 2004, a new breeding plan was introduced, focusing

primarily on breeding specialis
ed dressage and show jumping horses with a high degree
of rideability, while at the same time maintaining the mode
rn, noble, and expressive sport
horse type, which is the trade mark of Dansk Varmblod.


8

The breeding objective
;

A noble, leggy, and supple riding horse wi
th high rideability and good

health. It has
capacity in either j
umping or dressage to compete at

inter
national level.

Achieving the breeding objective

Dansk Varmblod is able to achieve this n
ew breeding objective because they
:



Do

not insert a stallion in breeding before he has passed through an approved field
test. This ensures that only stallions with hig
h rideability and extraordinary
competition skills become sires of the future generation



Hold

ridden performance tests and saddle gradings, in which the mares are trained
by their owners or at a training centre, and all 4
-
year old Dansk Varmblod mares,
gel
dings, stallions can undergo an ability test. It is now also one of the conditions
of winning a medal at the Elite Mare Show that the mare concerned must have
performed well in one of these tests or have already proven herself in competition



F
ocus on goal
-
oriented breedin
g, emphasising

either dressage or showjumping
talent



C
o
-
ope
rate closely with Landscentret

Heste (the Danish Agricultural Advisory
Centre
-

Department Horses) who issues pedigree certificates and maintain the
national horse database, contai
ning all Danish breeds. Using the immense amount
of information generated from breed results, riding results from young horse
performance tests and competition results, genetic evaluations and other statistics
are made accessible



Attach

great importance to

international co
-
operation and exchange of experience,
this bei
ng guaranteed by Dansk Varmblod
s membership of the WBSFH (World
Breeding Federation for Sport Horses).




Dansk Varmblod is recognized officially by EU and the Danish Agricultural
Ministry



Dansk

Varmblod also approves the use of a very limited number of absolutely
high class foreign stallions within its breeding plan.





9

Performance Related Ped
igrees


Norman Storey, B.Agr.Sc

Teagasc Equine Specialist Adviser


In the thoroughbred world performance and breeding are very closely linked. All one has
to do is look at the information given for each entry is the sales catalogue to realise the
link. Th
e race card outlining the runners in each race also provided relevant information
on performance and breeding. The performance and placings in previous races is
available. Stallions ranking are available based on the performance in terms of prize
winnings
of progeny on the race track. While they may not be statistical they do relate
breeding to performance Stallion cards and stallion advertisements are regularly up
-
dated
with recent performance results.


Our thoroughbreds are bred for one purpose and one pu
rpose
only and that is racing. The breeding objective is clear. The
best race horses retire to stud and become the breeding stock
for the next generation. Their selection is based on their
performance on the track. Their success at stud is based on
the per
formance of their progeny on the track.

The price paid
for young potential horses is based on the performance of
their sire and dam and other siblings and relatives.

Reports of
performances on the track identify the importance of breeding
as well as the ac
tual performance itself.


In the European sport horse industry the World Breeding
Federation of Sport
Horses provides update information

and rankings of stallions on their
own and on their progenies’ performance in competition.

Our Dutch, German and French

breeder competitors have a huge amount of information available to them in terms of
breeding values. These are most useful for breeders when selecting stallions for breeding.


If our sport horse breeding industry is to continue to develop we must strive t
o create a
stronger link between breeding and sport. Information must feed back in a structured and
coherent manner and more importantly in a way that breeders can understand.


We need to constantly remind ourselves of our breeding objective and to highlig
ht results
that achieve that objective. We have made great improvements and wi
th the creation of a
new organis
ation


Horse Sport Ireland


where we are all working together we can
breed, train and produce horses that live up to our brand image of ‘Irish H
orses’.


Breeders need information about offspring and other relatives of breeding animals and
their genetic value to breeders. The fact that breeders do not often raise and train the
horses they have bred, makes it difficult for them to follow the results

of their efforts.
They are depending on others to collect and supply information.




10

In fact breeders have developed a system of criteria of their own based on the external
conformation of the animal, as this is the only aspect they can control and that ca
n be
easily measured and recorded.


It is for this reason that a system of external evaluation of horses has developed over the
years. Used, traditionally, in selection for breeding shows, these criteria continue to play
a major role in the selection of co
mpetition horses. As the exchange of information
between breeders and owners has increased so the dependence on this system has
decreased. The exchange began years ago for the racing industry and is beginning to
catch up in the performance industry.


Show
s, based on conformation and movement, are often
criticis
ed for their great
subjectivity, and in particular that beauty is given a greater
priority than other, perhaps more useful traits.

Attempts have
been made to try and make the criteria more objective
and to
make them relate more directly to specific aptitudes such as
jumping. The goal is to evaluate the actual talents of the
animals more accurately.

When the status and identification
of the animals are clearly defined, good management of
competitions m
akes it possible for breeders to receive
feedback about their horses. Use of this information then
affects subsequent selection decisions.


Evaluating genetic values in horses is not fundamentally different from evaluating them
in other domestic species. T
he Irish Horse Board has recently announced the publication
of the ‘Genetic Evaluation Results for Approved Stallions 2007’.

Estimated Breeding
Values (EBVs) for stallions are included. These are predictions of the genetic advantage
that a horse will pass
on to its offspring for a particular trait.

EBV are calculated using
information from a stallions own performance in SJAI competitions and from its relatives
including parents and progeny.


From the breeder’s point of view the bottom line is that foals by
stallions with EBVs for
show jumping ability above 120 achieve, on average €1,100 more at auction than foal by
stallions with EBVs below 100. Foals out of high EBV mares achieve, on average,
€2,000 more than foals out of low EBV mares.





11

Equine Perfor
mance Analysis

Mr. Russel Guire

B.Sc. Hons Equine & Human Sports Science

Equine Sports Performance


Biomechanics

Show jumping is Russell’s primary interest and he has successfully competed in many
international competitions including those at Hickstead,
the home of British Show
Jumping. He has also spent time working for leading show jumpers such as Tim
Stockdale and Di Lampard. Like all horse owners, Russell soon realised that a horses
career could easily be jeopardised by injury. In a bid to gain a grea
ter understanding of
the principals involved in sports performance Russell embarked upon and completed a
degree in Equine and Human Sports Science.

Russell has since founded Centaur Biomechanics which is a company designed to
complement current equine spo
rts techniques as a means to improve performance of both
horse and rider. Centaur Biomechanics, as its name suggests, focuses on the mechanics
involved in locomotion and the effect that weaknesses can have on gait.

Biomechanics is one of the youngest bran
ches of equine physiology to be investigated.
Pioneered by Muybridge who was the first person to show that the trot had a moment of
suspension by using video footage, which is a fact that is well known today. Since then
the equine gait has been studied in
depth as a means to facilitate understanding and
complement other equine sports medicine techniques. Modern day demands
unfortunately expose the horse to a greater risk of injury. With the use of gait analysis
asymmetries or weakness that may be apparent c
an be identified at an early stage.
Preventive methods can then be employed to support such weaknesses, preventing injury
and maintaining b
oth well being and performance

In previous years this form of analysis has been confined to the laboratory, however w
ith
the development of specialist equipment and technology,
the use of gait analysis is becoming widely used by many
practitioners within the Equine industry.

Currently the services of Centaur Biomechanics are being
utilised by all sectors within the ind
ustry, including the
B
ritish
E
questrian
F
ederations, World Class Development
Programme. For more information please look at
www.centaurbiomechanics.co.uk
.

Sport science and sports medicine are well established area within human medicine.
Professional athl
etes in many disciplines apply a multitude of sports enhancing
techniques to attain a higher level of performance and move ahead of their competitors.
In addition, an ever
-
increasing array of technologies and treatments are available to aid
diagnosis, acce
lerate rehabilitation and ultimately enhance performance.

A similar trend is emerging with equine sport. individual sports organisations are looking
for ways to improve competitiveness and professional bodies such as the British Equine
Veterinary Associat
ion (BEVA) are actively promoting the application of Evidence
Based Veterinary Medicine (EBVM).


12

Equianalysis is focused on bringing established human and equine sports products to the
wider equine industry to aid diagnosis, promote health and enhance perfo
rmance. Further
focus will be on products and services that are non
-
invasive (and therefore easy
-
to
-
use
and can be applied ‘’in the field’’) and support EBVM.

Currently the assessment of equine locomotion and lameness is carried out visually and
cannot be
reliably or consistently quantified. Equine practitioners often disagree on the
extent of lameness. In addition the assessment cannot easily be communicated and has
very little or no historic value. The objective measurement of lameness and changes in
loco
motion are the missing pieces of critical information needed to make key decisions
related to equine health and performance.

For the last two years Equianalysis has been developing a video based equine gait
analysis system in partnership with leading huma
n biomechanics specialists. The system
has been developed to address the need for lameness diagnosis, treatment monitoring and
performance enhancement. It is currently being utilised within the elite sport of dressage
as a method of objectively analysing e
quine gaits as a performance enhancing technique.
The application of the system is not limited to dressage, providing similar benefits for
performance horses in general.

Centaur Biomechanics, in association with
Eq
uinalysis, offers a unique servi
ce to the

BEF
and the World Class Development Programme.
The profiling of equines for individual
conformation and locomotion using gait analysis
is a pre
-
requisite to a greater understanding of
the biomechanical joint and limb range of
motions. As a direct result a
ccurate individual
biomechanical data can be extracted at any time
allowing for a more informed decision making
process especially when looking at poor
performance and subtle lameness issues that can exist. This process also allows for the
pro active monit
oring of any effects that may result from changes made by veterinary,
farriery and/or physiotherapy intervention.

Base line measurements can also be taken allowing for a more accurate mapping process
throughout any stage of development and training. With
the creation of the Equine
Pathway programme along
side current Start/Potent
ial and Elite programmes Centaur
Biomechanics, in association with Equinalysis, plays an important part in the monitoring
process looking not only at individual joint and limb loadi
n
g but also forming an
awareness
of potential problems tha
t continue to exist within the
competition/p
erformance sector.

Alongside equine gait analysis, Centaur Biomechanics provides performance analysis for
the rider, working closely with both rider and
trainer in targeting specific areas of
analysis in order to facilitate the learning and understanding of the rider. Methods such as
instant visual feedback, where the rider can see their performance projected onto a screen
within the arena, this provides a

benefit visually and also allows the trainer and rider to
actively discuss the individual’s performance. Rider analysis allows the rider to bench

13

mark their performance, to which they can refer back to at a later date and note any
changes in both their ri
ding and the horse’s way of going.

Equine gait analysis and rider analysis is becoming an invaluable tool in both
performance and training, especially when looking forwa
rd to the 2012 London
Olympics.

For more information please look at
www.centaurbiomech
anics.co.uk
.
























14

Maximising Equine Performance Utilising Equinalysis Gait Analysis
System

Mark Aikens DipWCF


Mark Aikens DipWCF qualified as a farrier in the United Kingdom after
completing a four year apprenticeship in 1993. Mark has b
een

fortunate to have worked
with Haydn Price, farrier to the British Dressage Team and has also worked in the United
States on many occasions with Steve Teichman, farrier to the US Event Team.


Mark has

always focused upon innovation, education and profes
sional
development whilst establishing his successful business within the UK. The majority of
clients
have

performance horses mainly utilised within the equine disciplines of dressage,
show

jumping and endurance.


Mark

believe
s

in taking a proactive approa
ch to shoeing rather than reactive,
realising that a foot imbalance will result in impaired performance and lameness.
He

has
been utilising Equinalysis Gait Analysis within his business for the last three years.

Equinalysis enables Mark to eliminate any su
bjectivity encountered previously when
optimising a horse’s performance through shoeing.

How does it work?

Markers are placed on specific joint
surfaces and measurements are taken between
these. The actual number and placement of
markers may vary but for
a primary screening
forty markers are used. The tail is bandaged up
to avoid markers on the hind limbs being
obscured.

Two cameras are used to capture the
necessary footage, one for lateral views and the
other to capture anterior and posterior views.
The
horse is filmed at walk and at trot. To
enable accurate data being collated screenings
are primarily performed on a hard surface such
as concrete, optionally screenings may be
performed on a variety of surfaces and with or
without a rider.


15





Edited video clips allow us to view the horses’ dynamics in slow moti
on or frame
by frame. This allows us to view the precise moment of footfall and an assessment can be
made on how the hoof lands, how the limb above it loads as it rotates over the hoof and
the extension, flexion and displacement of joints.



Cameras operate at 50
-
1500 frames per second compared to the human eye which
registers images at the equivalent of 12 frames per second.

Currently the assessment of
equine locomotion and lameness is carried out
visually and cannot be reliably or consistently quantified, equine practitioners often
disagree on the extent of lameness. In addition the assessment cannot be easily
communicated between practitioners and has
very little or no historic value.


16

Markers placed prior to screening allow the desired video file to be calibrated.
Calibration allows accurate kinematic measurements of distance, angles, velocity and
acceleration to be established








Data collated from an Equinalysis screening such as length of stride/step,
carpal/tarsal flexion and hock displacement provides objective and quantifiable data of
your horses dynamic movement. This data provides the evidence to ensure optimum
equine dynamics can be achieved. This information can allow us to de
-
stress a particular

joint and ensure that as well as the shoe protecting the foot it also provides a foundation
for the whole limb. The fitting of a shoe should take into account the ’loading’ of each
limb, loading is directly related to the effectiveness of joints and can a
ffect tendon and
ligament health.

This data and images are stored on a cd
-
rom which accompanies a portfolio
specific to each individual horse. This portfolio may be accessed and reviewed
historically by
a
vet, farrier, physiotherapist or trainer.



17




BENEFITS

THE HORSE



Maximise performance



Sustain level of soun
dness



Injury prevention



Non invasive assessment



Monitor rehabilitation



Improve equine dynamics


HORSE OWNERS / RIDERS / TRAINERS



Achieve long term success



Improve purchase decisions



Enable an objective basis to optimise performance



Increased under
standing in equine biometrics



Evaluate performance



Assess individual joint function



Identify areas of improvement



Decrease risk of injury and box rest



Provide baseline reference of your horses dynamics



Monitor recovery time and response to stress



Pe
rceive weaknesses



18

VETERINARY SURGEONS / PHYSIOTHERAPISTS / EQUINE PRACTIONERS



Aid assessment of pre
-
purchase examinations



Process of referencing and recording historical data



Objective basis on which to optimize performance



Improve communication with
other practi
ti
oners



Quantify the effects of treatment



Facilitate a horses return to pre
-
injury performance



Analyse the deficiencies in limb movement



Improvement in the perception of practice



Assist identification and diagnosis of sub clinical lameness




Identify asymmetry of gait



Avoid litigation


FARRIERS



Assess dynamic foot balance



Improve function in performance



Quantify the consequence of change



Define appropriate shoeing protocols



Determine specific methodology from which to work



Promote a
model of understanding



Comparison of measurements pre and post shoeing



Distress specific joints



A number of photographs and video clips are utilised to demonstrate the benefits of
gait analysis for different situations, particularly pre and post shoei
ng to define what is
achievable by a farrier having a more informed point of view when shoeing the
performance horse. Equinalysis is designed to be used by practitioners quite literally “in
the field” and away from a clinical laboratory setting.



Further
information may be found at
www.equinalysis.com

and
www.angliaequine.com









19

Damia
n McDonald


John O'Donoghue, T.D., Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, following consultation
with his colleague Mary Coughlan, T.D., Minister for Agriculture and Food, has
implemented the establishment of a new Agency
-

Horse Sport Ireland
-

whic
h will be
responsible for devising and implementing strategies for the development and promotion
of an internationally competitive Irish sport horse industry (breeding, sport and leisure
sides). He has designated Joe Walsh, T.D., as the Chairman of the new

Agency.

Horse Sport Ireland has been established following the acceptance by both Ministers of
proposals contained in a report prepared by Mr. Michael Dowling, former Secretary
General of the Department of Agriculture and Food, which recommended new
gove
rnance structures for horse sport in Ireland. Mr. Dowling consulted extensively with
the main sectoral interests, including the Equestrian Federation of Ireland, the Irish Horse
Board, the Irish Sports Council and the Departments of Arts,
Sport and Tourism

and Agriculture and Food in the course of
his work and there is widespread support across the sector for
these structures.

€1.75m has been allocated to Horse Sport Ireland to ensure that
it can embark on its ambitious development programme.
Damian McDonal
d

has been appointed as the Chief Executive
of this new, important body
.

Board of Horse Sport Ireland



Mr Joe Walsh TD, Chairman



Mr Larry O'Neill, ILDRA, CDA, PEI



Ms Joan Keogh, Dressage Ireland



Mr Brian Mangan, Eventing Ireland



Mr Gerry Leahy, Eventi
ng Ireland



Ms Patricia Furlong, Showjumping
Association of Ireland (SJAI)



Mr Brian Gormley, SJAI



Mr Tommy Dixon, SJAI



Mr Eamon Rice, SJAI



Ms Alice Mernagh, Irish Pony
Club/Irish Pony Society





Lt Col Gerry O'Gorman, Army
Equitation School



Ms Helen M
angan, Association of Irish
Riding Clubs/Association of Irish
Riding Establishments



Ms Bernie Brennan, RDS



Mr John Jude Doyle (breeding)



Mr Paul Duffy (breeding)



Mr Michael Duignan (breeding)



Mr William Kennedy (breeding)



Mr Harold McGahern (breeding
)



Mr Hugh Mc Cusker, Northern Ireland




20

Current Market Demand

Mr. Paul Larkin


Paul Larkin has been involved in ponies

and horses all his life. He partook in show
jumping, hunting and pony racing as a child. He took out his amateur jockeys licence at
16
years of age, was joint point to point champion for Northern Ireland in 1985.

Paul and his brother Val went to America in 1986 where they set up Larkin Brothers
International Horse Breaking. During their time in America they handled more than 9,000
horses
and held a number of contracts for some of the most impressive breeding
operations in California.


The brother’s established Larkin Bros. International Ltd. In October 1997. by 1999 they
had sold over 1 million euros worth of Irish sports horses to the US
A. In 2002 they
opened up the European market being the first to sell export Irish horses to Latvia.

Paul and Val Larkin own the fantastic jumping mare Ado Annie, who won 6 World Cup
Qualifiers and jumped in 3 World Cup finals and European Championships. T
he mare is
by Errigal Flight. Paul and Val still have the dam who is still breeding at 23. Paul’s
international bloodstock firm has sold 24 horses to the USA by Errigal flight on the
strength of Ado Anni’s performance.


The Larkin brothers have a full bro
ther to Ado Annie who they hope to stand as a stallion
next year. They also have another full brother which is a foal and two full sisters to Ado
Annie. Despite the current fashion of European warmbloods the Larkin’s are determined
to retain fillies from t
hese tough Irish Draught performance pedigrees, insisting that they
pass durability, athleticism and a good brain onto their progeny. Breeders, producers and
competitors are realising now the importance of keeping the old Irish bloodlines.



Ado Annie as a three year old with Paul

Ado Annie at the European Championships
at San Patrignano



21

The market requires well bred, well handled, correct quality horses. Ho
rse should be
conformationally correct and have a good step.



Handling the young horse


One of the most important things for Paul when buying or selling horses is the level of
handling they have received. When buying foals it can be very hard to see them
move
correctly on account of lack of handling. This can easily be resolved by a little time and
effort from the breeder/seller of the animal.

Criteria to be met include the following:



Easy to catch



Leading correctly in hand



Quiet to pick up all four limbs

Regardless of selling the foal or not this is vital in the later development and training of
the horse.


Breeding information


Every horse by law now requires a passport. Have your foals marked at an early age and
have a passport available for the purchas
er to view. Buyers demand passports.


Pedigree is of great importance and knowledge of relatives that are competing
successfully either nationally or internationally is of great benefit when selling. The
breeder/seller should be up to date on the pedigree
of the horse and be familiar with it
when asked by a prospective purchaser


Breed Q
uality


Assessment of mare and stallion conformation and movement is critical. A quality sport
horse has many roads to divert to if it is not good enough to make the top. Av
enues which
can be availed of include


Show Jumping

Eventing

Amateur jumping

Hunting

Riding (leisure)

Showing

Dressage

Riding school

The influence of proven foreign bloodlines on the Irish mare seem to Paul to be ideal for
show jumping or eventing. At pr
esent the quality Irish sport horse with temperament and
ability is the most marketable horse in the world, unfortunately these are few and far
between. For the many who are not able to make the top there is always a good demand
for the Irish horse interna
tionally for the amateur and leisure markets.





22

Promoting your stock


Is selling at home still an option?

Yes, once it is marketed correctly.



Marketing involves:



Horse well handled



Pedigree available



Photographs
-

good quality



Video clip of horse (can be

sent to the potential customer, or be available
to e
-
mail)



Advertising (national press, word of mouth, websites, competitions


showing young stock)



Contacting Buyers and sellers through guide


In Paul’s opinion we need to be more selective in our breedin
g policies as at present he is
finding it harder and harder to find the quality Irish sport horse who is well handled and
schooled, capable of meeting current market demands. Mare and stallion selection along
with proper handling is critical for the future

success of the industry.








23

Conditioning Training for Young Horses


Dr. Eric van Breda


The major aims of training include
, among others,
delaying

the onset of fatigue, maintenance or increase in
performance, improvement of skills, minimizing the
incidence of injuries and maintaining the horse’s
willingness for exercise and
, perhaps, most importantly,

guarantee
the welfare of each individual horse
du
ring

“e
ach

training step” the horse
t
akes
. A long
-
term athletic
approach should, regardless of the equestrian discipline,
form

the basis of all equine
training.


It is generally accepted that at least 10 years of athletic training are required for a talent
ed
athlete to reach elite levels. The average age of the horses that competed at the 2004
Athens Olympics was, irrespective of the discipline, 12 years. Taking into account the
average age at which horses are normally started to be trained, being approx. 4

years of
age,
it can easily be calculated that the horses competing at the Olympics
do not meet

the

10 year
-
rule criteria.

In addition, in the light of the
10 year rule
,

one might wonder why
international competitions for young horses (4 and 5 years of ag
e) are being held.


The 10 year rule follow
s

a simple sports physiological law called “
the law of reduced
profit
” (In daily practice this law can be translated in: “
the further
you come, the harder it

get
s
”. This simply means that at the start of an athle
tic career of the horse a small amount
of training already leads to major increases in performance but that later in the career
more and more intensified and different training is needed to increase
performance just a
little bit.

An important aspect that i
s often overlooked it that that each individual horse is
predisposed with an individual genetic ceiling at a certain performance level. This simply
means that not every horse is able to reach International level, despite enormous training
efforts.


Finall
y, the belief

that one can identify a potential Olympic equine winner at fo
al is, at
present, fiction.

Although some believe performance is “
in the genes
” there is scientific
evidence that only 30% of the genes involved in athletic performance can be passe
d on to
the next generation. Thus, more than 70% of the physiological needs to become a world
class athlete come from proper nurturing, education, training, and nutrition.


The primary goal of sports training is to enhance performance outcomes. It is gene
rally
assumed that in order to extend performance capacity to the upper limit a high volume of
intensive training is necessary. Consequently, those horses are often balancing on a small
edge between the optimal amount of training to enhance performance, an
d overtraining
which may lead to injuries and health problems. Indeed, one of the most difficult parts of
the training process is to find the correct balance between training and recovery. The
increasing physical demands require a gradual athletic career a
pproach. To date, a model
that suits these physiological demands is the
long
-
term athletic development model


24

(LTAD). This model has been proposed for human athletes in particular, but I have found
that the m
odel can successfully be used with

the equine ath
lete as well, although some
modifications are necessary. I would call the model the
long
-
term equine athletic
development model
.


The first question that had to be addressed was:
Do

equestrian sports disciplines

belong
to the
early or

to the late

speciali
s
ation sports?

Human early specialis
ation sports are
gymnastics and table ten
nis whereas human late specialis
ation sports are athletics and
cycling. The major difference is the timing of sport specific training.
We all know that
you will never be able to r
each Olympic level in gymnastics when you start gymnastics at
the age of 16 whereas there are still many
Olympic

cyclist
s that started their

career at the
age of 16.

From the discussions with many national federations, international trainers and
coaches it

can be concluded that all equestrian sports disciplines belon
g to the class of
late specialis
ation sports. Although at first there has been some doubt regarding dressage
as
late specialisation sport. M
ost specialists now conclude that even dressage

horses

should not start with

early sports specific drills/exercises and t
hus belong to the late
specialis
ation sports.


In late specialis
ation sports, thus in equestrian sports disciplines, five (5) important
phases can be identified e.g.: 1) the imprinting phas
e, 2)
FUN
damental phase, 2) the
training
-
to
-
train phase, 3) the training
-
to
-
compete phase and 4) the trai
ning
-
to
-
win phase
.
For simplicity the retirement phase (phase 5) will not be discussed since it has not been
backed up by any scientific knowledge, yet
.


The imprinting and
FUN
damental phase are

characteris
ed by laying the foundation for
the sport motoric properties (strength, endurance, suppleness, speed coordination and
mental/behavioural) that form the basis for the athletic career later in life. Thes
e phases

run

from year 1 until around the age of 4. Learning to accept being part of the human
society and having
FUN

and a playful environment are essential for the welfare of the
athlete to
-
be. Scientifically, it has been shown that foals that are exerci
sed regularly have
stronger bones and tendons
in comparison to stabled foals.


The age at which the first training is commenced is
not

depended on the time the foal is
weaned. Even in the presence of the mare training can begin. Running with the mare
alrea
dy leads to coordination and strength training. After weaning foals can be trained 2
-
3
times a week on a closed gallop track for a maximum of 20 minutes. Don’t force the foals
but make it fun and pleasure. Of coarse the foals should not be stabled during t
he non
-
trai
ning days but should be turned

out
.


Altogether, introducing such a long
-
term model requires a multi
-
disciplinary approach to
training. Breeders, stables that nurture young horses, sports stables and Olympic stables
should work more closely tog
ether. Also the colla
boration between veterinarians,

riders,
trainers, nutritionists and sports physiologists would be beneficial for “building” an
Olympic level horse not only to increase performance but, above all, to maintain the
welfare of the most ath
letic species of our globe.



25

Encouraging Young Breeders

Wendy Conlon BSc. Eq. Sc.

Teagasc Equine Specialist Advisor

The original idea for young breeders competitions was born in Germany, more
particularly in the Hanoverian Studbook. Some twenty years ago a

man called Dr.
Ludwig Christman wanted to involve the youth more intensively in breeding matters. His
idea was warmly welcomed and soon young breeders associations were founded in all
regions of the German studbooks. 9 years ago the regional contests resu
lted in a national
young breeders competition in Germany.




The idea of an international young breeders competition came about to bring young
breeders together across breeding associations, countries and languages. Competition is
part of the action, but

above all the aim is to get together, make new friends and create
new contacts. This overall aim already seems to be fulfilled. Many contacts have been
made and the young breeders have begun to use their new network of friends.


In 2001 the Hanoverian stu
dbook was again the first to organise a highly qualitative but
also amusing international young breeders competition. The competition took place on
the occasion of the European Dressage Championships in Verden. Belgium, Denmark,
The Netherlands, Poland, an
d 12 German breed associations participated. In 2003 the
Belgian Warmblood Studbook took the responsibility to organise the second edition of
this competition, under the recognition of the World Breeding Federation for Sport
H
orses. In Minderhaut, Belgium,

the first non
-
European team joined the competition. The

26

participation of the Canadian Warmblood Horse Breeders Association team emphasised
the worldwide interest of young breeders in horse breeding.


In 2005, an Irish contingent travelled to the competiti
on in Vilhelmsborg, Denmark for
the first time to fly the flag for the Irish Horse Board. The group that travelled were
pulled together by young breeder and enthusiast Patrick Hester from Co. Roscommon
and were assisted by the IHB and Teagasc on that occas
ion.


On the basis of that experience it was decided that a structure should be put in place to
assist with training for the event in 2007 and for diplomatically choosing the team to
travel. Teagasc and the IHB worked closely together to organise a select
ion competition
and training for the finalists. Superb assistance was received from Gurteen College, and
trainers Philip Scott, Tiernan Gill, and Tom Slattery.




The competition itself is comprised of 5 disciplines: theory, judging and ranking of
mares,

showing in hand on the triangle, judging horses in loose jumping and judging the
gaits of loose horses.


Within the theory section each participant answers 20 questions on the areas of breeding,
keeping, feeding, health and sport. The format is multiple c
hoice.


The overall purpose of the in
-
hand discipline is to present the horse in a way that makes
the horse look and act in the best possible way both standing still and moving. The
handler must behave discreetly in order to let the attention be concentra
ted on the horse.


This aspect of the competition is conducted on the triangle:


27


Different methods are used to show the horse on the triangle. Basically the judges want
the handler to present the mare at her best. In the walk a
s well as the trot the mare should
be given the opportunity to show her movements as freely as possible. In the corners of
the triangle the handler is to reduce speed without the mare losing rhythm. In the standing
position the mare should look as advantag
eous as possible and be presented in the open
position towards the judges. The jud
ges also want a harmonious overall

impression of the
presentation.




In

Out


5
0 m.

Judges


40 m.


40 m.


28

Judging and ranking of three mares: Three mares are judged and ranked by the
competitors. Beforehand a
fourth mare is judged by the judges to give the participants an
idea of the score level. Scores are given for type and conformation, head and neck,
shoulders and withers, topline and quarters, front legs, hind legs, walk, trot, canter,
general impression.
The correctness of the movement s dealt with under the scores of
front legs and hind legs. The swing carriage, elasticity of the movement are judged under
the scores of walk, trot, and canter.


Judging of gaits of horses loose in the arena: Three mares ar
e judges loose in the arena by
the competitors. Beforehand a fourth mare is judged by the judges to give the participants
an idea of the score level. Scores are given for walk, trot, canter and athleticism.


Judging horses in loose jumping. Three mares ar
e judged again in loose jumping. A
fourth mare is judged beforehand to give an idea of the score level. Scores are given for
technique, and potential. Importance is attached to the courage of the horse as well.
Technique is defined as the horse’s ability t
o judge the oncoming jump including the
distance and its use of legs and back. The horse must jump rationally and with
suppleness, understanding how to adjust the distances as well as pulling up its legs and
rounding its back over the jump.


Unfortunately
in 2007
the WBFSH competition was cancelled but an invitation was
received to attend and compete at the German finals in

Dillenburg in July, which was
duly taken up
. Fifteen studbooks took part in the competition, including the Danish
Warmblood Studbook an
d ourselves. The ISH team managed to pick up a number of
impressive placings throughout the competition. They gained valuable experience and
availed of the opportunity to meet with young breeders from the other studbooks.
Following the competition the youn
g breeder team visited stud farms competition and
sales yards including that of two time Olympic gold medalist Lars Nieberg.




A WBFSH competition is to be held in 2008 for which preparations are already
underway. Plans are afoot to offer training days f
or all young people intereste
d on a
regional basis with additional

specialised training for the chosen team.


29


Gerry Scully, Wendy Conlon, Declan McArdle, Ruth Fennell, Norman Storey


Teagasc provide an equine advisory service.

The rural development progra
mme manager
is Mr. Gerry Scully and the equine team is comprised of Mr. Norman Storey, Ms. Wendy
Conlon, Mr. Declan McArdle and Ms. Ruth Fennell.


Our aim

i
s
to promote equine production and to improve the skills of producers and
help
add value to the pro
duct
.


We provide advice on
many diverse
areas including husbandry, nutrition, grassland
management, facility development, financial supports, amongst others. Adult training
courses in horse breeding, management, and young horse training are provided
at
intervals
throughout the country.



We are only too delighted to help in any way we can.
Please d
o not hesitate to contact us.





087 2222513


087 9
879083


087 683187


087 9602537