With the introduction of Pony classes to the most prestigious Dressage competition in Australia - PSI Dressage (and Jumping) with the Stars, many enthusiasts have come forward to join the rapidly growing numbers who have embraced this sector of the sport. Dressage fans are buying or breeding purpose bred ponies with a view to down sizing and specialist studs have become involved in the Ace Assessment procedure (coming up in Australia from the 15th February) and by following the rules and ideals of the most experienced Europeans, these "visionaries" aim to ensure that Australia becomes a foremost producer of top quality ponies by putting in place the checks and balances that will help to create the perfect type with the movement and trainability to progress Australian Pony Dressage.
A little over a year ago I purchased the Arabian Riding Pony Burren-Day Melrose (Rossi) from Kate Dertell from Future Farms Arabians who acted as the agent for the breeder Jill Gregson from Burren-Dah Stud in NSW. When Rossi came to live with me, it did not take long to realise that he had a 'typical pony' obsession with food and was prone to becoming fat, in particular he was developing a large and top heavy crest that is often seen in show ponies and presents many problems and risks to good health and a long life!
I got on to my friends at Pryde's EasiFeed to see if there is something that I could feed a "hungry" pony, that would limit the risk of the overfeeding problems associated with fat pony issues and at risk of founder or become lethargic as they lose their waistline and athleticism - this is not what I wanted for my performance pony! Starvation is not the answer as a hungry pony is not happy and a grumpy dressage partner will not allow the rider to achieve a harmonious and happy picture!
Pryde's EasiSport was the recommendation that came out of the information I supplied. This is a non grain feed that provides all of the essential nutrients and trace elements to give energy, a great coat and the good health and wellbeing that is required to maintain a demanding training regime. EasiSport has been a life saver and has fulfilled my most optimistic expectations in terms of product performance and has allowed us to progress really well in a calm, harmonious and happy way.
I have done the majority of Rossi's at home education myself but have relied on the expertise and assistance of the wonderful Shanon McKimmie to help when work pressures get too much. Shanon is a very experienced rider and trainer - she trained with Mary Hanna from the time she was 11 and did a few years as Mary's working pupil. Shanon has had a very successful career in her own right and won the 2008 Aachen Challenge for riders under 25 years and at Prix St Georges level. It is a bonus that Shanon looks so good on a horse and she has been Rossi's competition rider and has excelled on each occasion with good scores and a career highlight for Rossi - 80% at Tatura on the 12th November in the 5 YO class, with 9 awarded for submission! This result will be difficult to better!
On Sunday 21st January, 2012 Rossi competed at the Riddells Creek Pony Club's Candlebark Dressage Championships. He took part in 3 classes and won them all making his competition tally so far, 5 wins from 5 classes entered - so looking good for the big one in March!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Pryde's EasiFeed for manufacturing the perfect ration for ponies and Shanon for her support and special involvement in Rossi's preparation for the 2011/2012 DWTS qualifying competitions. These pictures were taken at Candlebark last Sunday.
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