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Sunday, June 29, 2008

This Could be Really Good News Or....

Here I am, originally uploaded by Cpt<HUN>.

Oh, baby! Have we got plans for you! Dressage shows with "breed" or "in-hand" classes are finding new popularity in the young horse divisions, thanks to some national year-end awards, and classes for foals means that babies' feet and legs and gaits will be under scrutiny this summer.
And just last week, Dressage at Devon, the penultimate competition for warmblood and dressage-aspiring breeds and individual competitors, announced the addition of an in-hand (obviously) championship for foals.

The division championship, sponsored by Hassler Dressage, will be a part of the event’s extensive breed division, which takes place September 23-25 in Devon, Pennsylvania.

Dressage at Devon markets itself as "the highest rated international dressage competition and most complete breed show outside of Europe". Olympic medalist Robert Dover calls Dressage at Devon “the standard by which all American horse shows should be judged.” There is no question that a ribbon won at the show is a gold star on a horse's resume, to say nothing of potentially adding to a price tag.

Weanlings have been shown previously at the event, but there was no specific championship for foals. In 2007, the prize list had 20 fillies and 35 colts listed as entries; there are classes for yearlings too, of course. There was a winning colt and a winning filly, but the champion young horse award meant that the babies had to compete against older horses.

The organizers and sponsor say they want to be more like the Germans.

Showing a foal in Germany is serious business, all part of the overall marketing emphasis of the breeding industry there. The foals are prepped to showcase their gaits, and promote the stallions who fathered them.

We will just have to wait and see if there is a big demand for Equinalysis or OnTrack gait analysis of foals, and if trainers become obsessive about trimming tiny feet. Yes, show-quality foals have trainers, or at least professional handlers on show day, as a rule.
Dressage at Devon will attract the very best dressage-bred foals in the United States. The question is: Will this top show's increased spotlight on foals feed a surge of interest around the country in micromanaging the feet and legs of warmblood foals, and analyzing their gaits, so they look good in the ring as weanlings...or so they move better and stay sounder as adults? Are the two mutually exclusive?
Time for a commercial! Speaking of foals: Hoofcare and Lameness's special "Baby Boom" back issue is one of the very best collections of articles ever published on foal conformation and foot/limb disorders in foals. We can dig one out of the vault and send it to you; cost is $15 each plus $5 post for 1-3 copies to USA addresses; rest of the world, add $10 additional postage. Email with your name, address, phone, email and Visa or Mastercard information or fax to 01 978 283 8775.

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