Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who's the Happiest Man in Italy This Week?

World Champion Mirko Piazzi (blue shirt) of the Italian team with his groom Samantha (far right) and the farriers working at the FEI World Reining Championships at the La Palasturla facility in Manerbio, Italy. I wish I knew their names!

Italy has long been knocking on the door of international reining competitions, and the Italian team burst through in great style this week when they won the FEI World Reining Championship.

At the FEI level, tough medication testing kicks in for reiners, and the role of the farrier becomes more important than ever. In the world of horseshoes, Italy is also a rising-star country with the dazzling array of aluminum shoes for reiners and sport horses manufactured by Colleoni there. Endurance is another sport where Italy is providing innovation matched by successful scores.

More insight may be offered in December, when Italian vet/farrier Hans Castilijns from Tuscany speaks at the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Hans's lecture will be a "don't miss" highlight of the farrier conference there. Watch this blog for more information on the AAEP's vast offerings on lameness and hoofcare at this convention, which will be held in San Diego, California. (See you there.)

Teams from Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the U.S.A. competed in Italy this weekend along with individual riders from Australia, Austria, Poland, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Sweden and the Dominican Republic.

Team USA took the silver medal with 663.5 points closely followed by Team Germany. Sylvia Rzepka, riding for Germany aboard Doctor Zip Nic, earned the highest score of the day, a 227.5.

The celebration continues on Mirko's blog if you want to congratulate him or share in the fun.

Who ever would have thought that a western riding sport would turn into an international event? Probably no one; it just happened. And it's great fun to watch the international aspects of this sport grow; a victory like this will surely only broaden the sport's appeal more!

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