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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

FEI hosts new Grooms Working Group; will support their role in sport horse welfare

Grooms are gaining recognition for the role they play in equine welfare within equestrian sport. The FEI's new Grooms Working Group is expanding into a more formal registration program for international sport horse grooms. (Fran Jurga photo/©Hoof Blog)


The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) hosted the inaugural meeting of its new Grooms Working Group at the Federation's headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland this week.

It was the first meeting of its kind. 

The working group was created following a recent survey among national equestrian federations to determine the best way to improve communications and interaction with grooms and what the FEI can do to help them.

As part of a day of very positive discussion, it was agreed by the working group that there was a need to establish a more formal relationship, with grooms being officially welcomed into the FEI family through being registered with the FEI. Registration would facilitate further development of education systems, and create a more structured framework for cooperation between the FEI and grooms.

In addition, the FEI is taking significant steps towards producing applications and other tools which will best serve the grooms, allowing them to streamline preparation for upcoming events.

“Grooms play an absolutely vital role in our sport, especially in preserving the welfare of our horses, but often they go unnoticed and unrecognized, so this new working group has been set up to change that and establish an official relationship with these very important members of our community,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said after the meeting.

The new Grooms Working Group had its first meeting at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland this week. (L-R): Nanna-Riikka Nieminen (Finland) and Brent Kuylen (Belgium) representing Jumping; Jackie Potts (Great Britain) representing Eventing; FEI President Ingmar De Vos; and Alan Davies (Great Britain) representing Dressage. (FEI photo)


“It is vital for the sport and for the development of our global equestrian community to have a solid support network, and for the FEI to offer assistance and education where necessary. Grooms are truly worth their weight in gold, and we want to provide the finest resources and tools that will help increase knowledge of best practices and standards. Forging better relationships with our grooms is only the beginning. We want to help them share their knowledge with the wider community for the benefit of the sport globally.”

“I felt very honored to be invited by the FEI to talk about the future of the grooms,” said dressage groom Alan Davies, who works with British Olympic stars Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin.

“I am super excited about the fact that the FEI want to do things to help the grooms and improve everything, which at the end of the day is for the welfare of the horse as well. It was a great meeting, we talked a lot about amazing new features and things which can be developed. It won’t be easy and it is going to take some time to put in place but it will be a fantastic project.”

Belgium's Brent Kuylen, who has worked with Dutch Jumping world champion Jeroen Dubbeldam, and Finland's Nanna-Riikka Nieminen, who previously groomed for two-time Olympian Henrik von Eckermann of Sweden, both agreed that the day had been a “great experience” and were looking forward to future initiatives.

“I think this is a real step forward,” said British Eventing legend William Fox-Pitt’s groom Jackie Potts. “It’s good to try and keep the standards up, and use the experience and the knowledge that some of us have gained over the years, in keeping welfare a priority and keeping grooms in the industry as well.”

Following this initial meeting, the FEI will now focus on the key components of integration, registration, education and communication. Membership in the Grooms Working Group will be expanded to include grooms from other disciplines, with the next meeting planned for 2018, ahead of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, North Carolina (USA).

Information for this article was provided by the FEI. 


© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no re-use of text or images on other sites or social media without permission--please link instead. (Please ask if you need help.) The Hoof Blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Use the little envelope symbol below to email this article to others. The "translator" tool in the right sidebar will convert this article (roughly) to the language of your choice. To share this article on Facebook and other social media, click on the small symbols below the labels. Be sure to "like" the Hoofcare and Lameness Facebook page and click on "get notifications" under the page's "like" button to keep up with the hoof news on Facebook.
  
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Disclosure of Material Connection: The Hoof Blog (Hoofcare Publishing) has not received any direct compensation for writing this post. Hoofcare Publishing has no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned, other than products and services of Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy Fourth of July: A look back to when Uncle Sam was at the anvil, sharpening an ominous sword

Uncle Sam blacksmith World War II
In mid-1941, the United States was still politically neutral as war erupted in Europe, North Africa, and Asia. The Atlantic wasn't safe for US ships anymore. So the popular Liberty magazine cover became a billboard for one side of the debate. Artist Arnold Freberg had Uncle Sam take off his long-tailed jacket, and roll up his sleeves. He's forging a sword blade perhaps from a ploughshare, reversing the words of Isaiah in the Old Testament. 

It's the Fourth of July. So, why, back in 1941, did Liberty Magazine have this blacksmith forging a sword on its cover?

Just for background, Liberty was a very popular magazine back in its day. It was published until 1950 and came in second only to the Saturday Evening Post in the hearts of Americans. Its subtitle was "A weekly for everybody." In the upper left of this cover art, you can see a tiny Statue of Liberty and the words "The American Way of Life".

The Fourth of July in 1941 was the last one before thousands of Americans were drafted into the military. For the next four years, the nation technically battled two wars, one in the Pacific and one in Europe and North Africa. Yet this cover doesn't reflect any innocence of pre-war days. It's calling for a fight.

When this issue of the magazine was published, the United States was still pleading neutrality as its Allies fell beneath Axis powers in Europe, Asia and North Africa. Winston Churchill was begging for help as London crumbled beneath the blitzkrieg. Jewish refugees continued to plead for rescue. British and Soviet forces invaded Iran to protect access to oilfields needed to fuel their armies and air forces. Japan occupied Saigon and it looked like Thailand would be next.

This cover makes it obvious that Liberty Magazine's point of view called for the United States to enter the war. Pearl Harbor was still five months away, although no one knew it was coming.

The week before this magazine appeared on newsstands, a German U-boat attacked an American warship in the Atlantic for the first time. President Roosevelt gave the Navy permission in the future to fire back, if fired upon first...if that wasn't too late.

In the age before television and the Internet, magazine covers were powerful billboards, whether they reassured Americans of a peaceful way of life on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, or called for political or military action--without saying a word--like this striking cover of Liberty.

What's going on here? Uncle Sam has taken off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. He's pounding on a sword--no peaceful Biblical plowshare conversions for him. He is intent on his job, fully focused on the accuracy of his blow; one eye is even closed to sharpen his aim. The veins in his arms are visible. His suspenders are taut. An invisible wind is blowing his long hair back. He's not smiling.

Behind him, you can see a factory bellowing smoke, symbolizing rearmament of the US military and general preparation for war. And the eagle? He looks pretty angry, too, underneath those super-sized wings.

Uncle Sam the blacksmith

The blond-haired, blue-eyed Uncle Sam--which the editors must have thought personified America's vision of itself better than the usual elderly, gray-haired one--was fine-tuning his sword blade to go out into the world and wage war, as well as to liberate Asians and Europeans and Africans who looked nothing like him.

Likewise, most of the young men drafted to do the job would look nothing at all like this Uncle Sam.

This is one of the most politically charged magazine covers in history, yet it is rarely shown and its artist is uncelebrated. Maybe it's buried in our grandparents' attics for a reason, or maybe it needs to be dusted off, looked at, and discussed, as if we're seeing it for the first time.

To learn more:

If you watch Ebay or haunt flea markets, you can find a copy of this edition of Liberty, or sometimes just the cover, framed. It obviously inspired people.

Hoof Blog
© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no re-use of text or images on other sites or social media without permission--please link instead. (Please ask if you need help.) The Hoof Blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Use the little envelope symbol below to email this article to others. The "translator" tool in the right sidebar will convert this article (roughly) to the language of your choice. To share this article on Facebook and other social media, click on the small symbols below the labels. Be sure to "like" the Hoofcare and Lameness Facebook page and click on "get notifications" under the page's "like" button to keep up with the hoof news on Facebook.  
Follow Hoofcare + Lameness on Twitter: @HoofBlog
Read this blog's headlines on the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: The Hoof Blog (Hoofcare Publishing) has not received any direct compensation for writing this post. Hoofcare Publishing has no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned, other than products and services of Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

New HoofSearch documents give busy equine professionals a one-stop lifeline to newly-published global research

horse foot science farriery

The time has come: After almost two years in the incubator (and the library), a new service is finally available to all. HoofSearch is a little on the nerdy side; it is designed for those of you interested in research--and eager to keep up with it. The press release below explains all you need to know about this new project. If you are truly interested in the science side of hoofcare and lameness, I hope you will subscribe. If you decide not to, you'll still have The Hoof Blog, and I'll always be here for you.
--Fran Jurga

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Sue Dyson: Double video explanation of equine ethogram for recognizing lameness and pain


Bad behavior or signs of pain? All the facial expressions shown here are part of the ethogram developed by Dr. Sue Dyson's research team at the Animal Health Trust in England. In a continuation of the research, recognition of facial expressions in both ridden and unridden horses has been recommended as a way to identify potential lameness, not just "naughty" behavior, with larger welfare implications. (Photos courtesy of Sue Dyson)


Researchers at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) Centre for Equine Studies in England have produced a practical tool to help owners, riders, and professionals recognize signs of pain by observing a horse’s facial expressions. The second part of the study was published recently, along with a new video, with a focus on facial expressions relationship to lameness. Both videos are included in this article.

The High Tech Vet Tech: Designing a Carbon Fiber CT Table for Horses at UC Davis Vet School

There's a table under those mattresses. Did you ever wonder what structure supports an anesthetized, recumbent 1,200-pound horse when its limbs are inside a CT scanner? (UC Davis photo)
Did you ever wonder what structure supports an anesthetized, recumbent 1,200-pound horse when its limbs are inside a CT scanner? At the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, a staff veterinary technician used high tech materials to engineer a lightweight table capable of holding heavyweight animals while their lower limbs are in the CT scanner.