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Pennsylvania National Horse Show Presents the Equine Comeback Challenge
The 69th annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show, held October 9-18 at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA, will host the first-ever east coast Equine Comeback Challenge (ECC). Ten trainers from across the mid-Atlantic region will be paired randomly with ten mature, never ridden rescue horses for 90-days of training. Skills learned will be demonstrated in a trail class in which competitors are judged on how well they navigate 10 obstacles intended to display the horse’s willingness and performance.
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2014 Dressage at Devon: The Tradition Continues
by Dressage at Devon - August 2014

The 2014 Dressage at Devon (DAD), will take place from September 23–28 at the historic Devon Horse Show Grounds in Devon, PA.

Breeds at Their Best:
Breed Division,
September 23-25

The three-day Breed Division attracts top breeders from coast to coast. The more than 60 classes feature 17 specific breed classes. Spectators might expect to see Trakehners, Oldenburgs and Hanoverians, but there are also those not seen as frequently in dressage such as Arabians, Friesians and Knabstruppers!

Each year, Dressage at Devon chooses one foal to follow on its path to Dressage at Devon. This year, we are following Damascus, a striking colt with a big blaze and lots of chrome, owned and bred by one of the world’s top riders, Catherine Haddad Staller. Catherine was first known in Germany for her success in breeding horses long before she was recognized as a competitive rider. But, while her fame and success as a rider grew, Catherine remained focused on breeding the best.  In 2010 a filly, Raureif (Elfentanz x Ramiros Bube) that Haddad Staller also bred, was born and shipped to the United States as a yearling. Now four years old, she is the new mother of a lovely Don Principe colt named Damascus. Watch Damascus grow on our website,, and then meet him and the other wonderful foals in person at Dressage at Devon.

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New PNHS Equine Challenge Focuses on
Abused, Abandoned Horses
by Stephanie Shertzer Lawson - August 2014

While the 1,200 horses that compete at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show are highly trained, athletic and valuable animals, many American horses are home-insecure. The plight of unwanted horses is a silent crisis--the American Horse Council estimates that 90,000 to 140,000 horses are sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico each year. Many others are abused, neglected, starved and abandoned – just look at Pennsylvania Equestrian headlines in just the first half of 2014 –

“Boarders Charged, Horses Seized from Former Lycoming County Rescue”
“Owner of Seized Morgans Appeals, Care Tops $100,000 with No End in Sight”
“The Star Barn Saga: ‘Get Rich’ Scheme Costs Dozens of Horses’ Lives”


The number of local rescues has grown, but they can’t keep up with the number of unwanted horses, many of which are good, serviceable mounts who find themselves in desperate situations. Each Monday, representatives of rescues, local and out of state, travel to the New Holland, PA auction to try to pull some of the more serviceable horses out of the slaughter pipeline. They raise funds to euthanize others who are suffering and beyond hope.

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Motion Stacks Up Stakes Victories
by Terry Conway - August 2014

impressive victories by Fortune Pearl in the Grade-2 $300,000 Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park and Main Sequence's gritty win in the $550,000 Grade-1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park.

On a sparkling Sunday afternoon, ten minutes from the Jersey shore, Main Sequence uncorked an impressive American debut off an eight-month layoff. Ridden by Rajiv Maragh, the European long distance runner broke last in the nine-horse field and lagged toward the back of the compact group early in the 1 3/8-mile race. Main Sequence began to pick off horses on the final turn, coming four wide into the stretch and then unleashed an electric turn of foot to get up just before the wire to defeat second favorite Twilight Eclipse by a neck.

The time was 2:14.23 on a firm turf course, less than a second off the course record established by Pop Panebianco in August 2009. Main Sequence earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure.

“We just wanted to get him in a good rhythm and not worry about the pace or anything else, just keep him happy in the stretch," explained Maragh. "We came around the outside into the stretch and when I called on him, he just accelerated. He’s got a real turn of foot. He sprinted home the last quarter of a mile.”

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Horses Empower Kids by Being... Horses!
by Suzanne Bush - August 2014

Equestrians know Wellington, Florida as a toney horse-friendly retreat with a winter-full of fabulous competition. But, like many communities in the United States, Wellington’s gilded exterior hides a lot of sorrow for children who live with parents addicted to alcohol or drugs. Nationwide hundreds of thousands of children are living in households with one or more drug-or-alcohol-addicted parent. The problem doesn’t recognize economic or social boundaries. It flows like water. Too frequently, it drowns the children.

In 2009 equestrian Lizabeth Olszewski created a unique organization dedicated to helping children in these complicated home situations overcome the fear, loneliness and hopelessness that too often circumscribe their lives. A survivor of a childhood in a turbulent alcoholic home, Olszewski recognized the profound impact of mentors and horses in her own life. These were precious gifts that she is proudly paying forward. Horses Healing Hearts is her answer to anyone who wants to know how to help children raised with addiction in their homes.

Equestrian Lisa Jacquin, who spends part of the year teaching and training in Coatesville, PA, and the balance of the year in Wellington, says she was looking for a way to give something back. “Now that we’re spending so much time in Florida I wanted to find something that works for me and some way I could be helpful. My mother was very involved in different charities,” she says. “I’m involved with Special Olympics and other organizations, and it’s been very fulfilling for me.”

She called Olszewski when she heard about Horses Healing Hearts. “I sat with her last fall and saw how the program works and kind of jumped on board to help with programs with some ideas about how to raise money so they can offer their programs to more kids.” She says they use several different barns in the Wellington area, and don’t have their own dedicated facility. “There’s talk about getting their own facility and making it a bigger thing. As we all know with those kinds of facilities it’s the cost of the animals and taking care of them that really adds up.”

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Equine Industry a Bellwether for Pennsylvania
by Suzanne Bush - August 2014

Pennsylvania’s Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says that money in the state’s Racing Fund has been misused. His review of the Department of Agriculture’s management of Racing Fund money has been criticized, celebrated, quoted and misunderstood. DePasquale says it’s true that money was diverted from the Racing Fund to cover other expenses in the Department of Agriculture, but that’s not the real problem. Disagreements in the legislature about how to fund government, declining casino revenues, a lack of promotion of horseracing and the proliferation of gaming choices for a static pool of gamblers are eclipsing the optimism that accompanied the introduction of casino gaming in Pennsylvania.

Does Racing Need a New Plan?
Established in 1981, the Racing Fund covers Department of Agriculture drug testing costs and funds the two racing commissions that oversee the industry. The money also supports other related agricultural programs such as the Farm Show.

State employees, DePasquale says, understand that they may have stretched the rules to use the Racing Fund money for other purposes, but they had few other choices. He says they maintain they didn’t do as much misappropriation as the report contends, “but then they would also say, which goes to the heart of the matter, that running these programs is very expensive.” The State Legislature has not reshaped the Racing Fund law since its inception; but the horseracing industry has changed dramatically in the intervening 33 years.

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American Horse Council Forum Asks
“Where Are All the Horses?”
by Stephanie Shertzer Lawson - August 2014

On June 24, the American Horse Council held its National Issues Forum in Washington, DC. The forum featured speakers from across the horse industry discussing “Where Have All the Horses Gone.”  Leaders from breed registries, racing, showing, the various disciplines, veterinarians and other stakeholders spoke about the decline in registered horses and the impact on their segment of the horse industry. 

Several major points emerged from the forum. There has been a decline in the number of foals and registered horses over the last several years that is impacting all breeds and segments of the industry and industry leaders are aware of this decline and are taking action. It was also noted that this is not the first such decline in the number of horses and in previous instances there was later a rebound in numbers.

Tim Capps, Director of the Equine Industry Program at the University of Louisville, presented evidence that the industry has experienced several drops in horse numbers and prices in modern history, most notably during the Great Depression and in the mid-1980s. He pointed out the horse industry often parallels the wider economy and the current situation closely mirrors the impact the Great Depression had on the industry. In the past following such declines, growth was often propelled by individuals outside the industry becoming interested and investing in the industry.  He believes it will again be important to look beyond current horse industry participants to grow the industry now and in the future.

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Look what’s coming up in the Pennsylvania Equestrian October 2014
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