Thursday, February 26, 2015

Winter Weather Management

Guest blog post by Equine Business Management student Katie Mosca
Photos by Pebbles Turbeville & Katie Mosca

    Across the country winter is in its full flurry—I mean fury—and everyone has been bundling up to keep out the cold. Here at St. Andrews Equestrian Center, the staff have been working hard to keep the horses happy and healthy because when schools and business close for cold weather and snow, barns can’t.
The overall management of the horses hasn’t changed a whole lot on the past few months, but turn out and feed regimens have changed to fit the weather challenges. I had the chance to talk to one of the St. Andrews barn managers Lauren Markwood, and asked her how she changed management methods or increased practices in order to keep the horses healthy in low temperatures and sometimes a little precipitation.

She discussed how she often feeds more mash when it is cold because mash is easier for horses to digest. Also, since the horses have had to be kept in often due to poor weather conditions, she reduces meal sizes (half-ration) so there isn’t as much food to digest at each meal in order to make it easier on their systems when they are stalled-up longer than they are used to. Another feeding change, Markwood added, is to increase hay consumption to help keep the horses warm through the process of digestion (digestion creates internal energy and therefore heat.)

When the weather is especially bad, the horses stay in and therefore turnout methods change. To counteract the loss of turnout, throughout the day she and the other staff try to hand-walk as many horses as possible so that they can stretch out and get their guts working. Markwood did mention that it can be difficult to hand-walk all horses each day since they are so many head on the property. She discussed that twenty minutes of walking per horse is ideal, but unfortunately not always a realistic goal.

Water is another area to pay special attention to according to Markwood. She said that it is vital to watch how much horses are drinking and to de-ice water when it gets below freezing.

All in all, methods of equine management don’t change that much, but there are some practices to alter and/or improve during the winter months to help insure that the horses are cared for properly—and with the recent lows in temperature, it is safe to say Markwood and the rest of the St. Andrews Equestrian Center Staff are doing their very best to make sure all of their horses are warm, healthy, and happy during this wintery weather.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Valentine’s Day with the IDA Team!

Written by Sarah Hartley for Equine Business Management Class.

This weekend was a very busy Valentine’s Day weekend for the St. Andrews Equestrian Program. Not only did the IHSA Hunter Seat Team have a phenomenal performance at home, but the Dressage Team also had a very successful day on the road. As a member of the Dressage Team, I was able to travel and compete with the team at Averett University in Danville, Virginia. While everyone was else was giving their horses lots of kisses for Valentine’s Day, we were braving the cold and bringing home lots of ribbons!

The St. Andrews B Team earned 3rd place in Saturday’s competition. The riders were Megan Pustarfi earning 6th in Upper Training with a score of 61.136%, Elizabethe Weeks earning 3rd in Lower Training with a score of 65.870%, and Kate Neidrick earning 1st place in Intro with a score of 68.125%. Not only did the B Team do a wonderful job, but the A Team and Dressage Seat Equitation Riders had a fun day as well.

In addition to getting a blue ribbon in the Intro division, Kate Neidrick also earned the position of Reserve High Point Rider for the day. This was a huge accomplishment for Kate, who just returned back to St. Andrews after a semester abroad in Brunnenburg, Italy. Kate shared her thoughts about her ride on Saturday, saying:

“Honestly, I had such a good ride I would not have cared what place the judge ranked me. I felt a connection between the horse and me and I was proud I could figure him out in 10 minutes. The win is a symbol of how many years of practice and patience I have dedicated to being a better rider and to finally see it pay off with a great ride and a fancy blue ribbon.”

The St. Andrews Dressage Coach, Jackie Dwelle, shared how proud she was of Kate, expressing that “She worked very hard her freshman year and has come back this spring with a greater understanding of what it takes to be successful in the dressage arena.”

Congratulations to Kate and the rest of the St. Andrews Dressage Team on a great weekend!

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Member of the Western Team

Written by Sarah Murvin for Equine Business Management class. 

Last weekend the St. Andrews Western team competed at Campbell University. The team finished the weekend with Reserve High Point team on Saturday and High Point team on Sunday. The scores allowed St. Andrews to maintain a region lead of 12 points heading into the final show of the competitive season that will be hosted by Liberty University on February 28. 

This team has thrived in the IHSA region for many years. They have been the Regional Champion team from 2005-2014; and have qualified 7 of those years for the National Championship show as a team.
As a Western team member, you experience the benefits of being a part of a team and you are constantly building friendships. Each member makes an important effort to improve their equestrian skills. Their experience begins before entering the show ring and extends long after the end of the show. Coach Carla Wennberg always has something inspiring to say about her team: “You know I am always in awe of my teams each year. It seems my great leaders of the upperclassmen really teach the freshmen early on how to be great citizens, help each other, share, and do what is right. The lessons we learn are because of the horse and responsibility and competition.” Coach Carla is an immense asset to this team, as well as Assistant Coach Lindsey Agaliotis. They both offer great insight and they help this team come together as a family. 

Due to personal reasons I wasn’t able to be a member of the team this semester; but as a member for 2 years I created many relationships with this team. I have built many friendships and still feel connected to the team. Carla is a very understanding coach and she is willing to work with you to help you feel more confident as a rider. When I first came to this school I had never ridden a Quarter horse, or even competed on a riding team. Carla knew exactly how to shape me into a western rider. Riding with Carla for three years has benefited me in ways I couldn’t imagine. Being a part of this western team is more than an experience it’s a privilege; and it’s worth being involved in. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Equine Business Management Student, Katie Ballard, chose to write about Smudge for her blog post.
In every barn, no matter what the intention of the owners or the purpose of the horses that dwell within its stalls, there is always that one horse.  The horse that is used to baby-sit the younger ones or the newer ones or the ones that just need a hint of calm. The baby-sitter. In the St. Andrews Hunt Seat barn, that horse is Smudge. This elderly Thoroughbred has been a staple in the SAU barn for some years, first as a lesson horse and then as a companion. Though, it wasn’t always Smudge’s job. Barn managers at SAU did try and find him a home where he could be happy to live out his days. However, like in all good things, this did not come right away. After multiple failed placements, the staff decided that the best place for Smudge to be was in the SAU barns and there he has remained, happy as he could be.
In addition to his current duty as the lesson barn babysitter is to be the perfect stable management horse, which he does very well, Smudge is always there with a kind eye and a willing ear. When new horses arrive, Smudge goes to the isolation area with them, spending making their first two weeks of separation from the herd much easier. Keeping them company and showing them how to do things the right way and providing a calming influence.  

In my personal experience, every barn needs a horse like Smudge is for us at SAU.  Some horses need that extra bit of calm that an old timer like Smudge provides.  I know that when I need to hug a neck or pet a warm velvety nose, Smudge is always there for me to go to. Smudge is a sweet heart and, despite the fact that his lesson and competition days are behind him, he is a very important part of the St. Andrews family and one of my favorite horses.

All pictures were taken by Jordan Belanger and used with permission.

Smudge enjoying the sunshine

Smudge with Jordan his Stable Management Lab student Fall 2014

Smudge on Final Horse Presentation Day

Friday, January 23, 2015

Stable Management Lab.

As part of the Equine Business Management class this semester students are required to write one blog post about some aspect of our program. Shannon Hahn chose to write about Stable Management Lab. 

With the start of the new spring semester here at St. Andrews, we are pleased to see the new students in the stable management lab here at the barns.  The first class meeting was a nice chilly 30 degree day.  The students were assigned their horses for the semester and participated in a silly ice breaker that involved many laughs and creative descriptions of common horse items such as a side rein (or dog lease/belt/miniature pony lead rope/etc) and a grazing muzzle (spaghetti strainer).

The second class meeting was met with slightly warmer weather.  The students were able to work with their horses during the class for the first time!  The instructors set up a mini obstacle course with four obstacles to take their horses through: weaving the horse through a few cones, walking their horse to a stall and backing them in, jogging in an arc to a mounting block, and then finally walking to a gate, opening the gate, walking through, and closing the gate when they were finished.  Many laughs, and sighs of frustration, were had when some of the horses refused to be backed into the stalls.  The same feelings were felt again when some of the horses refused to stand at the mounting blocks, pointedly telling us that they did not want to be ridden at that point in time.  It was a successful exercise and also told the students how well, or not so well, their horses stood in one spot waiting for their turn.

The students have also learned a lot about the feeding that goes on at the barns.  They discussed in length the different types of hay that are fed and why the horses receive what they do.  They also learned about the different types of feed that are available, the nutritional value of some of them, and how different mashes are mixed for feeding.  They were also taught how to clean the sheath of their gelding, and spent part of a class period doing that.  They will get to spend many hours working with their horses and caring for them throughout the semester.

by Shannon Hahn

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tentative Spring 2015 Events Schedule

W   7                      Classes begin
F     9                      Lessons begin (Monday lessons will be held this Friday)
M  19                     Martin Luther King Day of Service – no lessons
Th-Su                    Raleigh Spring “A” Show
M  26                     RLAK Lessons begin
Sa  31                     Tournament of Champions at St. Andrews
Sa  31                     IHSA Western Show at Campbell University

Su   1                      IHSA Western Show at Campbell University
Sa   7                      IHSA Hunter Seat Show at UNC-Wilmington
Sa   14                    IHSA Hunter Seat Show at St. Andrews
Sa  14                     IDA Show at Averett
Sa   21                    IHSA Hunter Seat Regional Finals at St. Andrews             
Sa   28                    Open House
Sa   28                    IHSA Western Show at Old Dominion Ag Center

Su   1                      IHSA Western Regional Finals at ODAC
Fr-Su 6-8              PATH Region 3 Conference at St. Andrews
Fr-Su 6-8              Triangle Farms Indoor “C” Show in Raleigh
M-F  9-13             Spring Break
Th-Su                    Raleigh Spring “A” Show
Fr-Su 20-22         IHSA Western Semi-Finals in Florida
Sa   21                    Open House
Sa  21                     IDA Show at St. Andrews
Fr-Su  27-29        IHSA Zone Finals at Goucher College
Su  29                    RLAK Horse Show

F   3                        Easter Break
F  10                       Showing Under the Stars
S  11                       RLAK Volunteer Picnic
Tu-Su 14-19        ANRC National Championship at St. Andrews
Th   23                   Last day of classes
F-Su 24-26           IDA Nationals
Sa-Th 25-30         Exams
Su  26                    Riders Roast  M-M 27-4 IHSA Nationals in Springfield, MA