Lis Hartel, Danish Equestrian Legend, Dies

Lis Hartel

Lis Hartel and Jubilee

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Lis Hartel, an equestrian who won two Olympic silver medals for Denmark in the 1950s despite being paralyzed below the knees because of polio, has recently died, according to the Danish Equestrian Federation. She was 87.

Lis Hartel’s equestrian career was one of true heroism.

Lis Hartel on Jubilee

In 1944, at age 23, Hartel was paralyzed by polio.

She gradually regained use of most of her muscles, although she remained paralyzed below the knees.  Her arms and hands also were affected.

Against medical advice, she continued to ride but needed help to get on and off the horses.

After three years of rehabilitation, she was able to compete in the Scandinavian riding championships.

In 1952, she was chosen to represent Denmark in the Helsinki Olympics.   Prior to this time women were not permitted to compete in the Olympic Equestrian events.

Even though she required help on and off her horse, Jubilee, she won the Olympic Silver Medal.

Lis Hartel and Jubilee
with Gold Medalist, Henri St-Cyr

Following her stunning performance, as Lis was helped down from her horse, a gentleman rushed to her side. It was the Gold medal winner, Henri Saint Cyr. He carried her to the victory platform for the medal presentation.

It was one of the most emotional moments in Olympic history.


Lis Hartel at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.
She became the first woman ever to share
an Olympic podium with men.

In 1954, Lis Hartel won the unofficial World Championships in Aachen, and the Olympic Silver Medal in the 1956 Olympics held in Stockholm. She became the Danish National Dressage Champion seven times.

Lis Hartel was the first Scandinavian woman entered into The International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in New York, and was named one of Denmark’s all-time top 10 athletes in 2005.

In 1992, Hartel was included in the Scandinavian country’s Hall of Fame.

Lis Hartel is widely credited with inspiring the therapeutic riding schools that are now located throughout the world.

Shortly after winning the Olympic medal, Lis Hartel and her therapist founded Europe’s first Therapeutic Riding Center. This soon came to the attention of the medical community and Therapy Riding Centers spread throughout Europe.

By the late 1960’s equine riding was accepted by the America Medical Association as an “invaluable therapeutic tool”.

Today, the spirit of Lis Hartel lives on around the world.


Through her inspiration countless handicapped children and adults have become heroes in their own lives
through their work with horses.

~~~

Re-written from news sources

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Thwaites Brewery Bring Back Famed Shires for Deliveries

The world famous Shire horses of Thwaites Brewery
are back in harness.

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Thwaites, the oldest surviving brewery in Lancashire, England started brewing in 1807 and are celebrating over 200 glorious years.

The British brewery has decided to go back to using horses for deliveries within a few kilometres of its brewery.

The giant shire horses used for promotional work for the Daniel Thwaites brewery are back in harness in Blackburn and delivering ale to local pubs.

“We are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint,” said the brewery’s transport operations manager Emma Green.

“It is great to see the Shires out again on the roads around town.”

Horses have not been used in the delivery of beer by the brewery for five years. The Thwaites horses have spent the last few years winning awards on the show circuit and doing promotional work.

Their public appearances will continue, but the company hope the shires will also be able to do their day jobs in between.

“We are aiming to get them out delivering within a mile or two’s radius of the stables when we can fit it in to their busy schedule,” says Emma.

“Deliveries by horse-drawn dray finished about five years ago when we moved distribution off-site.”

Thwaites ended horse deliveries in the 1920s when the company switched to motor transport. They were reintroduced in 1960’s.

It was a decision that has become a major landmark for the Brewery as the fame of the Thwaites Shires has spread throughout the country, embodying the traditional values that are such an important part of the company’s heritage.

The brewery has even more reasons to be proud of its horses. They swept the board at the recent National Shire Horse Spring Show, taking four titles and six trophies.

THE world-famous Thwaites Shire Horses emerged triumphant at another prestigious national competition….to win plaudits from none other than HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Philip made the official presentation when the Thwaites’ team took the top honours at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

The Thwaites horses, Classic, Royal, Daniel and Star, were voted outright winners in the heavy horse class at the event staged to honour the 100th anniversary of the British Food and Beverage Industry.

The success followed hot on the heels of Thwaites being named Champions of England at the National Shire Horse Spring Show in Peterborough – for the fourth time in six years.

After winning the four-horse Team Class, Thwaites’ stable stars went on to claim the overall Heavy Horse Turnout Championship.

The shire horses are kept very busy and are in great demand at shows, carnivals and promotional events all over the country. They can be seen regularly in the town centre delivering to pubs and exercising in addition to their busy schedule.

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Link: About the Thwaites Shire Horses

News Link:

Video: Thwaites Shire Horses

Olympian “Poggio” ~ A Former Pack Horse

From humble beginnings,
Poggio proves to be a winner.

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Amy Tryon and Poggio II , the 16 year old bay thoroughbred gelding, are again representing the U.S. Olympic eventing team in Hong Kong.

Tryon, 38, helped win the team bronze medal on Poggio II at the 2004 Athens Games.  And now they are back for the 2008 Olympics.

A decade ago, while most of his competitors were being groomed for blue ribbons or thoroughbred racing, Poggio was lugging camping gear and other equipment up and down the Cascade Range east of Seattle.

Tryon, a recently retired firefighter from Duvall, Wash., didn’t find Poggio in a stall.

She didn’t witness the veiled potential of a horse that has since won an individual bronze medal at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Germany and helped the U.S. equestrian team to a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics and gold at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Spain.

 She found the only horse to qualify for every U.S. national team over the last six years in the classified ads of a newspaper.

Poggio’s definitely had some humble beginnings, to say the least,” said Joanie Morris, communications manager for the United States Equestrian Federation.

“I’d have to say he’s the only pack horse to be in the Olympics. He’s an anomaly, for sure. Not too many Olympic horses are found in the want-ads.”

It was not love at first sight.

“He was in pretty sad shape,” Tryon said. “His feet needed attention. He had been living in a paddock with a bunch of horses and was a bit chewed up. And his feet were not put on his body very straight. He had long hair that needed cut.

“He certainly wasn’t a show horse.”

Poggio had a short and failed career in thoroughbred racing before becoming a pack horse.

Tryon’s challenge: Make Poggio a master of dressage – the disciplined display of natural movements often called “horse ballet” – plus show jumping and cross-country racing.

Throughout exhaustive retraining, Poggio showed his inherent jumping ability.

Within one year, he was the first horse Tryon rode in a world-class eventing competition. Three years later, they were world champions.

Now they are back for the 2008 Olympics.

Tryon says, “I’m planning this to be Pogie’s last big international competition. He certainly doesn’t owe me anything,” she said.

“What I want for him is to step away from competition when he is still healthy and happy.”

Reaching the Olympics twice … “Oh, yeah,” Tryon said, “this is certainly much more than I expected Poggio and I to achieve.

”I’m so proud of my horse” Tryon said.

~~~

Link:  Tryon and Poggio Olympic Blog

Re-written from News Sources

Farewell Teddy …

 

Teddy
~~~
Rest In Peace

~~~

Sadly, Teddy, the little horse with the big heart that inspired and amazed us all was euthanized as a result of an injury in an accident at Karen and David O’Connor’s barn at The Plains, Virginia.

The O’Connors, in a brief statement, said: “Teddy got frightened and bolted. He slipped running back to the barn and suffered a severe laceration to his hind leg, severing the tendons and ligaments.

“Doctor A Kent Allen was on the scene immediately and it was determined after examination that the injuries were catastrophic.

“Everyone who knew Teddy is devastated.”

Teddy was a hot propect to attend the Olympics. The 13-year-old eventing super pony had defied the odds and gravity throughout his career.

Standing at just 14.1 hands, the Shetland/ Arabian/ Thoroughbred-cross gelding was the reigning Team and Individual Gold Medalist from the 2007 Pan American Games and had top-six finishes at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2007 and 2008.

He was the 2007 USEF Horse of the Year and had recently been named to the USEF Short List for Eventing for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Ridden by three-times Olympic veteran Karen O’Connor, Teddy developed a huge fan base.

“Seeing was believing with Teddy as it seemed impossible to imagine that a pony of his size could do his job with such tremendous ease,” the USEF said.

He will be greatly missed by all of his many admirers.

~~~

Earlier Post:   Super Pony With The Heart Of A Winner

News Link:

Ponies Thunder Through Farm Show Carriage Races

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Dana Bright (left) and Ann Gardner ride in the
Pennsylvania carriage racing competition.  

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Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
January, 2008

Like a modern-day Ben Hur, Miranda Cadwell drew herself erect in her chariot-like carriage and urged her ponies to speed around obstacles.

Rambo and Toby, a pair of Welsh ponies, raced around the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex Large Arena this past January.

They sped around eight barrels, being careful not to knock off the rubber ducks on top, and around eight raised wooden structures at the other end of the arena, leaving the ducks standing.

Then they galloped down the home stretch into first place and into the hearts of 6,000 wildly cheering fans at this unique equestrian event at the 92nd Pennsylvania State Farm Show.

“This was great,” said Cadwell of Southern Pines, N.C. “It’s a real adrenaline rush.”

The Farm Show offers the nation’s only indoor Arena Carriage Racing, said Paul Martin, event organizer and announcer. He said that its usually done outside.

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These Dutch Gelderlanders, “Mickie and Janet”, driven by Ronda Palmer and navigated by Roy Munt, placed second in the Pair Horses division. The husband and wife pair has been involved in numerous competitions all over the world. 
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Drivers sit in the front and control the reins to guide the horses. Navigators ride the back, throwing their weight from side to side to counterbalance the turns.

Bruce Rappoport, another event organizer, said carriage racing involves one or two horses or ponies racing against the clock.

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Sarah Schmitt and Glenn Haskell achieved the second best time to win the Reserve Grand Championship.
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Participants in steel marathon carriages use special harnesses to guide the horses through the tight turns needed to navigate the obstacles and hazards in the fastest time.

Seven teams participated in the two day event.

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Driver Dana Bright and navigator Melinda Russell
blur through the starting line.
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“We love this,” said Dana Bright of Felton, nodding at her navigator, Ann Gardner and her Welsh ponies.

People laughed when they saw Ben and Jerry, a pair of bright pink stuffed toy pigs, on the back of their carriage. People howled when Jerry tumbled off during the race.

The crowd clearly loved Miranda Cadwell and her younger sister, Keady.

Miranda Cadwell last summer became the world leader in the sport, earning the gold medal at the World Pony Driving Championship in Denmark.

On Tuesday, she drove her team as if her life depended on it, leaving rushing air and flying dirt in their wake.

When the race ended, Miranda Cadwell won first place in the pair of ponies division, Keady Cadwell won first place in pair of horses.

“We push each other to do better,” Keady Cadwell said.

A must-see is the video listed below.

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Race Video:  
Carriage Races, Pennsylvania Farm Show

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News Link:   Pennsylvania State Agriculture Site

News Link:   The Patriot News

 

Stacy Westfall ~ Bridleless Bareback Champion

Click On The Arrow To Watch The Video

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Website: Stacy Westfall

Gentle Owner Trains Huge Horses With Great Heart

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Ray Powell of New Castle, Kentucky speaks to a 5,000-pound team of young Belgian pulling horses with the gentleness of a violin teacher on the first day of lessons with a 6-year old.

“They hear a lot more than you think they do when you’re foolin’ with them,” said Powell. “I’ll get awful close to them, and they’ll get close to me. They’ll get to where they trust me, and they’ll pull harder for me than they will for anybody else.”

“You watch this horse here. He’ll set his back feet past where he picks his front ones up,” said Powell, as he drove the 4-year-old team of King and George, who were hitched to a sled.

“Watch him. I like a good long-walking horse, because then when you put him on that big load and he drops in that long walk, he can smoke that sled.”  

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Powell’s eye for good horses and his skillful training methods have been repeatedly proven with hundreds of trophies, a world and international title, and many state titles from Michigan to Florida.
 
The retired longtime sheriff of Henry County, now 70, grew up on a farm near Drennon Springs learning from his father how to handle a team, both in the field and in competition.

His father, Floyd, handed Ray the lines at a horse pull in Bedford in 1948, and the boy was hooked for life.
 
This year, with a hay crop damaged by a late freeze then a lengthy drought, Powell and his sons, Robbin and Rick, realized there would not be enough hay for their herd of Angus cattle and their 16 Belgian pulling horses. So they sold the cattle.

Their horses are part of the family.

Ray Powell has turned much of the competition driving in recent years over to his older son, Robbin, 47, while Ray concentrates on training. “I guess I like it,” Robbin said. “It’s all I’ve ever done.”

Ray Powell is at work nearly every day bringing along future pullers. The young Belgians are bought as weanlings from Amish breeders in the Montgomery-Loogootee areas of Indiana and trained at the Powells’ farms in Henry County.

Two of Powell’s former champions, Rock, age 13, and Bill, 15, are now retired to pasture and stall on the Powells’ farms, where Ray Powell feeds the two every morning and night.

“They’ll both die right here,” he said. “They’ve earned the right.”

~~~

Story Link:  For complete story: Courier Journal, Louisville Kentucky

Super Pony With The Heart Of A Winner

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 “Teddy” and Karen O’Connor win the Gold
at 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil

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Good things are said to come in small packages. And “Super Pony” Theodore O’Connor proves it.

Teddy, also known as the Flying Pony is the exciting new star of a tough equestrian sport called eventing.

At 14.1 hands high — a little more than 56 inches at the top of his shoulder — this mighty midget is a hair short of the height of a horse. But that hasn’t stopped him from winning big — really big.

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Teddy thrilled the horse world by winning an Individual Gold Medal and helping the United States win the Team Gold at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil this past July.

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If he continues to perform at this level over the winter in Florida and into the spring, he and his rider, Karen O’Connor, of The Plains, Va., could make the U.S. Olympic equestrian team next year and travel to Beijing.

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Teddy once again displayed his amazing athletic ability, under the skillful guidance of his Olympic veteran rider, to the delight of their growing throng of international fans.

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Teddy, Karen’s bionic pony partner, is a 14.2h sport pony, bred by P. Wynn Norman. “He doesn’t know he’s small,”   says Karen.

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He has tremendous springs and a huge jump, making even the most difficult combinations look like simple gymnastics.

Teddy is 3/4 Thoroughbred, 1/8 Arabian, and 1/8 Shetland Pony and, with Karen on board, thinks all things are possible!

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Eventing is a demanding three-part test of horse and rider.

Part I is usually dressage. The goal is to make a difficult set of carefully controlled movements look simple. It requires precision, balance and grace.

Part II is usually cross-country, which involves 25 to 40 jumps strung across a course of several miles. Cross-country showcases strength, endurance and smarts.

Part III is show-jumping, which is done in a ring. This measures speed, nimbleness and accuracy.

In all three areas, Teddy makes up for his size with something that can’t be measured in inches: a huge heart.

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“It doesn’t cross his mind that it can’t be done,” says O’Connor, even though Teddy is so small he sometimes can’t see what’s on the other side of a cross-country jump.

As Teddy approaches a jump that might be four feet high and 6 1/2 feet wide, O’Connor’s job is to keep him “wanting to be careful but also brave and confident.”

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Eventing takes a lot of training, which takes a lot of time. Many horses in the sport are teen-agers. Teddy, a chestnut gelding, is 12.

Several trainers passed on a chance to work with Teddy because they thought of him as a kid’s mount. O’Connor saw past his size to his potential. The result is a champion pairing that’s the talk of the eventing circuit.

Teddy comes from a breeder who has been experimenting with a mix of thoroughbreds, Arabian horses and Shetland ponies. Although Teddy is worth $300,000 to $400,000, the group that owns him isn’t looking to make money; it just wants to support his career.

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O’Connor’s husband, 2000 Olympic gold-medalist David O’Connor, compares Teddy to a wide receiver in football or “a 5-7 point guard” in basketball.

Teddy beats much larger competition because he is so quick, intelligent and athletic, David O’Connor says.

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 His wife agrees. “Size is never going to stop Teddy,” she says. “He feels like a giant out there.”

~~~

Update
Farewell, Teddy
May 29, 2008

News Link: Washington Post

Link: O’Connor Event Team

Link:  Photographs from O’Connor Pan Am Gallery

Skijoring With Horses

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 Nate Bowers of Bowers Farm
Fort Collins, CO

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Skijoring, or ski driving, is a winter sport that originates in Scandinavia, where it has been practiced for centuries. Laplander’s skied on Nordic skis holding the reins attached to reindeer.

In the mid 1950’s, skijoring found its way to North America, where ranchers attached a long rope to the saddle horn of a horse that was ridden at high speeds down a long straight-away.

Skijoring with horses usually involves two people and one horse. One person rides the horse while the skier is towed behind. The rider determines the pace and route for the skijoring adventure, while the skier attempts to hold on.

Skijoring involves towing a skier behind horses or dogs. In addition to being a rapid way to get around, it is also a competitive winter sport in some parts of the United States, particularly the Northwest and Midwest.

Especially with horses, skijoring is sometimes classified as an extreme sport because of the high rate of speed and potential danger involved. Skijoring is also a great deal of fun when carried out safely.

Some horse skijoring competitions integrate jumps and extreme skiing maneuvers in addition to conventional skijoring. Horses used for skijoring tend to be extremely agile and quick, and breeds such as the American Quarterhorse are favored for the sport.

Currently, the sport of equestrian skijoring has become a highly specialized competitive sport, where competitors must navigate a course of jumps, gates and sometime spear rings.

Competitive skijoring competitions are currently taking place in over 5 states in the USA, and in several countries worldwide.

In 1999, after several follow-up meetings, the North American Ski Joring Association (NASJA) was developed. For the first time in history, equestrian skijoring became a sanctioned sport!

Video:  Nate Bowers Skijoing at Bowers Farm
Link: Bowers Farm

For some exciting, competitive Skijoring, watch the video of
Skiing in the Streets: Leadville’s Offbeat Winter Sport.

Video: Competitive Skijoring in Leadville.,Colorado

Link: More information on Leadville, Colorado Skijoring

Link:  National Association of Skijoring in America

 

Rare Honor For Paint Horse Stallion

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 Zippos Sensation

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American Paint Horse Zippos Sensation was recently added to the National Snaffle Bit Association’s prestigious Hall of Fame – the first Paint Horse to be accorded this honor.

The NSBA, which promotes the pleasure horse, includes elite equines that have had significant impact on the industry through their breeding or show qualifications.

“We were excited when we learned about Zippo being inducted into the Hall of Fame,” said Andrea Simons of Simons Show Horses, LLC in Aubrey, Texas, who co-owns the operation with daughters Sara and Jana.  

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 “It is an honor for not only us, but also for the Paint Horse industry. Of course, as his owner, I think he is extra-special – he and his colts have opened the door to the pleasure horse industry.

Horses like Zippos Sensation have made it possible for all Paints to be on an equal playing field with Quarter Horses in the pleasure horse arena.”

Sired by Zippo Pine Bar (AQHA) and out of Satin N Lace, the 14-year-old sorrel overo stallion is the American Paint Horse Association’ s (APHA) leading sire of performance winners and point-earning performance horses.

The stallion began passing on his winning traits early, with his first get born when he was a 3-year old.  

From that first crop came APHA World Champion Brightly Zippo – a sorrel overo gelding out of Morning Whispers that excelled in Western pleasure.

Brightly Zippo is still showing today, recently winning a Reserve World Championship in 2007 with Youth exhibitor Laurel Hanlon of Elizabeth, Colo., aboard.

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To date, Zippo’ s foals have earned 75 world and reserve championship titles, as well as having placed on APHA’ s Honor Roll.

In addition, they have made him a six-time leading sire of money-earning foals through the association’ s Breeders Trust program.

In 2006, 85 of his offspring earned a total of $88,941.94 in added money through the incentive.

“We are very proud of what Zippo has accomplished for us this far, and hope to continue to produce even better top-quality foals in the future,” said Simons.

Story Link: