The show season is nearly
at an end, and we’re pleased that shows have attracted about as
many riders as in years past, despite the rough economic times.
MHJA’s membership numbers also are holding up, which is
convincing proof of the enthusiasm and commitment of our
hunter/jumper riders in Montana. On behalf of the board
and all show participants and members, I want to thank our show
managers and volunteers for their dedication and commitment to
the sport. Without them, we wouldn’t have the number and
variety of shows offering opportunities to competitors
throughout the state.
Banquet. You’ll find
information elsewhere in the newsletter about MHJA’s annual
banquet and awards dinner in Butte on Saturday, November 14.
This is a good opportunity to come and spend some fun time with
your fellow horse lovers, as well as to eat some good food.
This year, our banquet will be a Sweet Sixteen birthday party
for MHJA, which was launched in 1983. The organization’s
membership and show numbers have grown steadily over the years,
so please plan to come and help us celebrate.
Logo. At the banquet, we’ll also unveil our new MHJA
logo and present the winning designer with a check for $200.
The logo contest attracted a large number of designs – far more
than any of us on the board anticipated when we launched the
contest earlier this year. The board extends our sincere
thanks to the many talented members who submitted designs.
We met recently and faced the very difficult task of narrowing
down the number of selections to a reasonable number to mail out
for general membership voting.
Look for a separate mailing in the coming days. We
strongly encourage everyone to vote in this contest. The
new logo we select will be MHJA’s emblem for many years to come.
We’ll be offering new logo wear also – sweatshirts, t-shirts,
caps, and the like – so be sure to put in your vote for the
design you like best.
Safety and horse welfare.
The MHJA board does a lot more than plan banquets and run logo
contests. At each meeting, we discuss issues that arise during
the show season or that otherwise need our attention.
Fortunately, there rarely are major problems to address, but we
do have some recurring concerns relating to safety (for riders,
horses, and spectators) and horse welfare. We’ll be
working with show managers to bring to these issues to their
attention, so that our shows offer safe and inviting venues for
But responsibility for horse welfare lies first and foremost
with owners, trainers, and parents. Please read the
related article in the newsletter, taken from a larger article
in USHJA’s In Stride magazine, about the recommended number of
competitions and classes a horse should be entered into.
As riders, owners, and trainers, we should always put our
horse’s welfare above our desire for points.
I hope to see many of you at the banquet and awards dinner on
Equine Management for the Long Run
by Rachelle Wilhelm
(Excerpt from article in USHJA’s August 2009 In Stride
Make responsible decisions. Deciding the number of
competitions in which the horse should be entered plays a vital
role in managing his athletic career. While factors to consider
vary, the points below should always be taken into account:
The physical condition of the horse. Is he at peak
performance, or is he just coming off a break? The more
physically fit the horse is, the better equipped he’ll be to
handle the stresses of competition.
The elements in which the horse will be competing, including
the temperature and humidity. The higher the temperature and
humidity, the more of a strain the horse will feel.
The type and condition of footing. Soft footing is more
forgiving on a horse’s legs and joints than hard ground.
The height of the fences. The higher the jumps, the more
effort the horse will have to put forth.
For Peter [Pletcher,
renowned hunter rider and trainer in Magnolia, Texas] the
decision regarding the numbers of competitions in which to enter
a horse depends on the individual. At his facility, he works
closely with many amateur owners and riders. He often starts and
shows young horses in the pre-green division and, once a horse
is comfortable with his job, allows the amateur to show him as
well. “I’m not at all against double divisions [i.e., four
jumping and two under saddle classes per day]. I think a lot of
horses do very well in them because allowing a professional to
ride first sets the horse up to go nicely for the amateur,”
Colleen [McQuay of McQuay Stables] also shows her horses in
double divisions, but only when the horse is ready to take on
the extra workload. “When I reach a comfortable place in the
horse’s training, meaning that I know what he’s capable of and
what he can handle, I have no problem doing double divisions,”
she says. “I make certain that I adjust his fitness program and
am careful in the schooling area to jump as few jumps as
How much can a horse handle? Veterinarian Steve Soule says
there isn’t an exact answer, but the larger issue that owners
and trainers should consider is the preparation each horse
undergoes before competing in a class. “For example, while the
typical hunter round might consist of eight jumps and take a
total of a minute and 30 seconds to complete, the time leading
up to the class is much more involved,” Steve explains.
If conditions are favorable, it is recommended in the FarmVet
USHJA Horse Welfare Guide to set a limit of four jumping classes
of 3’ or lower and three jumping classes at higher heights per
day. (Emphasis added.) “You just have to balance your show
schedule,” Peter adds. “The key is not to burn the horse out.
Don’t show week after week. Learn to balance your show schedule
and your horse will have a long career.”
In other MHJA News:
Three board members have
reached the end of their two-year terms, and two have agreed to
run for re-election. We’re very sad to report that one of MHJA’s
founders and long-time board member, Pat Green, has decided that
now is the time for her to relinquish her position. We all
appreciate her long and dedicated service and hope to continue
seeing her at our banquets and shows. Board members up for
re-election are Joanna Shelton and Deb Anderson. If anyone is
interested in serving on the MHJA board and helping manage the
organization, PLEASE CONTACT A CURRENT BOARD MEMBER NO LATER
THAN SEPTEMBER 30. (Board contact information is
here.) We will mail ballots out in early October.
The year-end banquet is
upon us, and we have a lot to celebrate---an excellent show
season without wildfires, several show offerings across the
state, a summer of fun competition filled with wonderful horses
and good friends.
It’s also a birthday for MHJA—our sweet 16!
For all of those reasons—and many more—it’s time to celebrate.
Leave your show clothes at home and put on your party hats….
It’s time for our annual shindig.
The banquet will be Saturday, Nov.14 at the Butte War Bonnet
Hotel. A no-host cocktail hour officially kicks off the
festivities at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m. Year-end,
high point awards will be handed out, beginning at 7 p.m.
Dinner is a multi-course extravaganza, so come hungry because
there will be a lot of delicious food.
Cost? $16 per person, which includes unlimited talk about
horses, showing, training and tack.
Speaking of tack, if you have things you want to sell or
trade, bring it to the banquet. We’ll have a table available to
display all things horse related for an informal swap/sale.
To have a great party, we need everyone to fill out the form
at the back of this newsletter and RSVP by Oct. 30.
SUGGESTIONS? RULE CHANGES?
Bring them to MHJA’s
general meeting on Nov. 14 at 1 p.m. before the banquet. This is
the meeting to air your concerns and help improve this
Four board members have
reached the end of their two-year terms. If anyone is interested
in becoming a MHJA member, please contact a current board member
so we hold an election. Members whose terms are up for
re-election: Pat Green, Deb Anderson, Joanna Shelton and Gayle
Russell. (Board contact information is on the last page of
newsletter and can be found at
Thanks to everyone who
submitted a design! We received dozens of great logos, so many
in fact, the board had to winnow the options to a manageable
number for MHJA members to choose from. The board’s top
selections will be sent to all MHJA members. Please select the
winner and return the form to Deb Anderson by Oct 30. The
winning new MHJA logo will be announced at the Nov, 14 banquet.
Claudia Thorsrud of Bigfork
announces the new arrival of Irish Gold Diamond, a 2009 filly by
O’leary’s Irish Diamond. “Honey” (her barn name) and her
mom, Solo, came to be with the Thorsruds in August. Solo,
a granddaughter of Nijinsky II, the famous steeplechase
grandsire, is in foal to “Irish” for another foal in 2010.
Malika Coston, trainer and owner of Kootenai Creek Ranch in
Stevensville, is adding a second jumping arena to her facility,
measuring 180 feet x 200 feet.
The Missoula schooling show in May had the biggest turnout in
its history. Riders reported a great day, a fun show, and a
tip-top show arena. Applause, please, for the Missoula
Equestrian Park and show organizer Susie Mayer.
John X’s June show at his facility also received rave reviews.
The jumper ring was exceptional and the hunter derby class, held
in a pasture, was tricky, in a fun way…. so came the reports
Rebecca Farm attracted a full house all summer, and as usual,
competitors were appreciative of the wonderful, state-of-the
–art facility. What’s not to like about excellent hospitality
and a 400-foot x 400-foot area to ride in?
(We are always looking for more to add to our newsletter, if you
have any, please send to
HORSES AND DINE WITH YOUR FRIENDS:
Please join us for the 2009
Montana Hunter Jumper Association Year End Banquet and Awards
there: Turn North off the Harrison Avenue Exit.
When: Saturday, Nov. 14. No-host bar begins at 5:30 p.m.,
dinner at 6:30 p.m., awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m.
Where: War Bonnet Inn, Butte, 2100 Cornell Ave.
Cost: $16 per person.
What: Multi-course meal, awards, MHJA birthday party
If you plan to spend the night, the War Bonnet will give MHJA
members a special discounted rate. To make room reservations,
call 1-800-443-1806 or 1-406-494-7800.
(Also, MHJA will hold a
general meeting at 1 p.m. at the hotel on the same day of the
banquet. Any member who wants to voice concerns, suggestions,
rule changes, etc. is encouraged to attend.)
Please RSVP by Oct. and
send all checks to Pat Green, MHJA treasurer, P.O. Box 502,
Belgrade, Mt., 59714.
Numbers attending _________ x
MHJA BOARD OF DIRECTORS- click here
September 18, 2009