Category Archive: EQUINE

Some Facts About “Eventing,” AKA the ‘Triathalon’ of the Equestrian World

Horse trials, otherwise known as “Eventing,” are often called the equestrian “triathalon.” The sport, which originated in cavalries in Europe as a way of gauging riding mastery, is a hugely popular sport and events can be found around the country and across the globe, in places like Germany, England, and Dubai – to name a few.

The competition consists of three days of events: dressage, cross-country (otherwise known as endurance) and show jumping. The rider with the lowest number of combined penalty points in all three events wins the ribbon.

The average person does not typically think of “eventing” when they talk about equine sport in NY. Most people automatically think of thoroughbred racing in Belmont, Aqueduct, Saratoga, the Finger Lakes and other racetracks. These people would be surprised to learn how many event locations and “triathalon” training centers dot the map of the Empire State.

Millbrook, NY’s “Milbrook Horse Trials,” for example, are recognized by the United States Event Association. Even closer to the update region, equine training centers like Winterwood Farm in the town of Milton, and Larkin Hill Farm in North Chatham, have been around for years and attract serious riders and their talented and stunning mounts for training and preparation for competition.

In eventing, horses are coaxed, pampered and patiently brought along as they gain mastery of difficult and beautiful movements. Their manes and tails are coifed and groomed into elaborate braids. Riders are required to wear elegant attire, consisting of cutaway coats, ruffled shirts, tight white, black or navy jodphurs and highly polished riding boots.

The horses chosen to train and compete for this sport are usually thoroughbreds or exotic breeds from Spain, Portugal and other countries. At Winterwood Farm, for example, regal Spanish Normans, known across Europe as the warhorses of the ages, are treated like royalty as they progress through jumps and other graceful movements.

While both horses and riders are trained and groomed to perfection, just as in any equine sport, the right equine hardware is critical to the safety of riders, trainers, horses and spectators. That is where Henssgen can help. Our company has been servicing the equine industry for nearly 40 years and we carry a complete line of snap hooks, quick links, panic snaps and other hardware.

In 2013, Rachel Shaw Novak purchased the business from her parents and went on to obtain a Women’s Business Enterprise/Woman Owned Small Business certificate.

We invite you to visit our website and check out our catalog for a complete listing of products we offer.

Old Friends at Cabin Creek, in Greenfield, NY, Offers Home for Retired Thoroughbreds

It’s called the sport of kings, but far too often the majestic thoroughbreds that make up the royal family are sent off to slaughterhouses in Mexico or Canada, a cruel and unusual end to an all too short life of training, racing, and perpetuating bloodlines. It seems only right, then, that Saratoga Springs, home to the oldest thoroughbred racetrack in the country, is also home to Old Friends at Cabin Creek, a retirement haven for thoroughbred racehorses.

Mark and JoAnn Pepper are the owners of Cabin Creek, a forty-acre spread located on Sand Hill Road in the town of Greenfield Center. The long dirt road bends and winds down to the entrance, where a vista of tranquility and serenity greets each visitor. A stable that could have been in the movie, “Sea Biscuit,” is surrounded by paddock areas, each one home to a peacefully grazing animal. To the left of the stable is a small pond with a fountain spraying water at its center, adding to the feeling of peace. At the top of another hill stands the Pepper’s home, from which they can survey the scene below.

Photo Courtesy of Old Friends at Cabin Creek

The Peppers built the ranch from the ground up and – for them – Old Friends is the culmination of a lifelong dream to provide a home for these wondrous creatures. While the ranch itself is privately owned, Old Friends is a non-profit organization that feeds, houses, and provides veterinary care, support and – above all – love for the animals. The ranch has been open since 2009 and is currently operating at more than full capacity, housing and caring for 15 horses, ranging in age from 3 to 27 years.

This is the first and only satellite of the original Old Friends, based in Georgetown, KY, the brainchild of Michael Blowen, a retired sports writer from the Boston Globe. Blowen’s love of the animals and the sport prompted him to create a safe haven for horses as they reached the end of their careers.

Now, in its eighth year of existence, Old Friends at Cabin Creek is home to two Travers winners: Thunder Rumble, who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his win this year; and Will’s Way, who took the title in 1996. The most senior of the equine family, Crusader Sword, winner of the “ Hopeful” 28 years ago, looks remarkable for his age, a ripe old 30. Of lesser fame – but no less pampered – is Moonshadow Gold, the first horse acquired by the Peppers when they opened the ranch. At age fifteen, Moonshadow is a veteran of a whopping eighty-nine races.

The Peppers love horse racing, but they also love the animals who give their lives to the sport. “There are too many horses out there without a plan for a full life,” JoAnn confided to me. “Being able to open Old Friends was a dream come true for us.”

Photo Courtesy of Old Friends at Cabin Creek

The horses that call Old Friends at Cabin Creek their home are free to roam their paddock areas, romping and rolling in the grass, munching on hay and feed. They never have to run in another race or have a saddle on their backs. They are pampered by a devoted group of volunteers, who care for their equine charges in fair weather or foul, rain or snow.

Of course, as with any other horse farm, it’s vital to have the best rigging hardware available in order to ensure the safety of the horses and their caregivers. Henssgen Hardware supplies the best and most comprehensive line of rigging equipment and horse hardware for places like Old Friends at Cabin Creek, as well as the many other thoroughbred aftercare and horse rescue ranches that are cropping up around the country.

Please visit our website and browse our catalog to find everything you need, from hitching plates and horse panic snaps to harness rings and hoof picks. We offer the sturdiest and most durable equipment, in a variety of non-corrosive metals, such as die cast zinc, brass, malleable iron and steel.

Henssgen Hardware, located in Glens Falls NY, has been supplying hardware for 39 years. Visit their website and their online catalog for more information.

What is Equine Therapy and Who Does it Help?

Hippotherapy is defined as “the use of horseback riding as a therapeutic or rehabilitative treatment, especially as a means of improving coordination, balance, and strength.” There are many equine therapy programs across the country that are dedicated to helping special needs individuals achieve a maximum degree of freedom, independence and mobility through tested and innovative methods of equine assisted therapy and medical rehabilitation. One of them – Saratoga Therapeutic Equine Program (STEP) – is located at the New Forest Equestrian Center in Glenville, NY and is celebrating 30 years of helping others.

Photo courtesy of Saratoga Therapeutic Equine Program, Glenville NY

For Kay Stanley-White, Executive Director of STEP, her love affair with horses began as a young child and has only grown stronger through the years. Kay created STEP in 1986 as a continuation of her work in Physical Therapy, as well as equine animal husbandry. STEP is a way for Kay and her team of therapists, instructors and volunteers to make a difference in the lives of people affected with a range of medical, emotional and psychological disorders, while also giving horses the opportunity for meaningful lives in a richly supportive and caring environment.

There are numerous examples of the benefits of using horses in the rehabilitation of people with traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, and multiple sclerosis, as well as autism, anxiety and depression.

Kay explained that, by using the rotational movements of the horse when treating a person recovering from brain injury, for example, the side of the body that is “spastic,” – i.e., stiff or unable to move freely due to the injury – the movement of the horse has the effect of neurologically relaxing the muscles on that side of the body.

Kay gave another example, when dealing with children suffering from anxiety or depression.
“For these patients, the number one need is to be able to bond with someone or something. The horse offers that bond through a silent form of communication. And it is a magical bond,” she added.

“The horse responds intuitively to the needs of the patient and, gradually, the patient goes from experiencing an unsafe feeling to a feeling that this is a safe place to be,” she said.

She added that growth occurs through risk-taking on the part of the patient, all of which is happening in a non-threatening environment.

“Horses don’t judge, but they do teach, through non-verbal communication,” she added.

Photo courtesy of Saratoga Therapeutic Equine Therapy Program, Glenville, NY

STEP also serves a vital role in the lives of the horses who call the New Forest Equestrian Center their home. Currently, there are 16 horses of all breeds, sizes and colors at the facility, ranging from miniatures to large Percherons. Each one of them has a purpose.

“All of the horses at New Forest Equestrian Center are rescued horses that needed a job and a life,” noted Kay. Two thoroughbreds who lived and worked at the farm, recently passed away at the age of 30 years. Both of them were given the chance to lead long, productive lives in an environment of love and healing.

At Henssgen Hardware, we are committed to providing the best horse hardware and equipment to our customers. Equine therapy centers around the country rely upon double side bolt snaps and quick-release panic snaps to ensure that their hard-working horses and their therapy clients can all work together in a safe and positive environment.

Visit Henssgen Hardware and browse our catalog for a complete line of horse hardware and rigging equipment.