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Jangan pernah melarikan diri, jangan pernah letih dan jangan pernah putus asa. . . . (Winston Churchill)

"You're alive. Do something. The directive in life, the moral imperative was so uncomplicated. It could be expressed in single words, not complete sentences. It sounded like this: Look. Listen. Choose. Act."
- Barbara Hall -

29 September, 2010

Big Money Bolsters Equestrian Endurance Race


The 100-mile endurance race is easily the most romantic of the eight horse disciplines on display here at the World Equestrian Games, evoking Bedouin desert races or the nostalgia of the Pony Express.
Slide Show
A Horse Marathon Takes On the Pace of Nascar
Enlarge This Image
Luke Sharrett/The New York Times

Competitors in the endurance race at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky. More Photos »

Sunday’s race, won by María Mercedes Alvarez Pontón of Spain, took 100 horses and their riders across a Kentucky landscape of tobacco and thoroughbred farms as competitors tested the stamina and grit of their prized Arabian horses.

Much is made of the long ride, but seasoned competitors know the race is often won or lost when horse and rider are not on the course. The endurance competition is as much a Nascar race as it is a horse marathon: a winning strategy often plays out in the rest period between the race’s six loops, when riders cool and relax their horses so they can pass a range of medical tests and advance to the next stage as quickly as possible.

Teams left little to chance during Sunday’s race, which is on a par with the Olympics among endurance riders. As soon as riders pulled their horses into a cooldown area, grooms worked in tightly choreographed motions, yanking saddles and dousing the animals with buckets of ice water. Horses cannot move to the mandatory veterinarian check until their heart rate drops below 64 beats a minute.

“The more quickly he passes through, the faster he will leave,” said Jean-Louis Leclerc, the chef d’equipe, or team leader, for the French team. If a horse does not cool down quickly enough, “you can lose four or five minutes and then you have to make up the time later.”

Maintaining such expert crews takes deep pockets, and for several top competitors, that is not a problem. The modern-day sport of endurance riding began in the 1950s in California, but an influx of money from Arab royalty in the last decade has transformed it into a pastime of kings and sheiks. The royal families of Qatar, Bahrain and Dubai maintain vast stables of horses that have been bred and conditioned for the epic rides as well as high-performance centers devoted to the sport.

Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, took second place for the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, followed in third by his son, Sheik Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.

Another son of Sheik Mohammed’s, Sheik Majid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, finished in sixth place. The son of the king of Bahrain also competed, finishing in 13th place.

In a news conference Saturday, Sheik Mohammed said Arabs had a powerful cultural connection to the sport. In the desert, owning a well-conditioned horse can be a matter of life or death.

“Horses can save you,” he said. “With the Arabs, they love the horse, and the horse is in their blood.”

The royals do not pack lightly. In what has become a tradition in international endurance races, Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain erected semipermanent “chalets” near the venue at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The tents were outfitted with crystal chandeliers, white tablecloths and oriental rugs and featured catered buffets throughout the day.

The influence of Arab royal money has also been felt on the course. After the French team won gold at the last World Equestrian Games in 2006, many of the team’s best horses were purchased by Arab buyers. Leclerc said the team made the best of it. “We have other horses in France,” he said. The French won silver in the team competition, behind the United Arab Emirates.

Still, many endurance enthusiasts seem to appreciate the presence of the Arab teams, which helps drive global interest in the sport — and can help pay their bills. Alvarez Pontón, whose husband, Jaume Punti-Dachs , is a trainer for Sheik Mohammed, thanked the sheik in remarks after her win.

“I think he deserves to be the world champion,” she said. “He is the person who has done more for this sport in the world. This sport is what it is now because of him.”

But the 34-year-old Alvarez Pontón acknowledged she was not willing to trade medals with him — not after having taken first place seven weeks after giving birth to a daughter. “Now, I cannot change,” she said with a laugh.

Alvarez Pontón finished the race in 7 hours 35 minutes 44 seconds, which was 55 seconds ahead of Sheik Mohammed.

But financial backing was only half the battle Sunday. The cooldown area, particularly during the early legs, became a center of activity as crews rushed to prepare their horses, sometimes pushing others out of their way. The commotion can spook a horse and drive its heart rate up, so teams will often desensitize the animals to loud noises or quick movements ahead of time.
Enlarge This Image
Luke Sharrett/The New York Times

A winning strategy often plays out in the rest period between the six loops of the competition. More Photos »
Slide Show
A Horse Marathon Takes On the Pace of Nascar

The United States placed its horses in the middle of a circle of cars and honked the horns to get them accustomed to the atmosphere.

“You need a horse with a really good mind, that’s not going to get excited,” said Becky Hart, the chef d’equipe for the American team and a three-time world champion.

Her team did not fare well Sunday. All but one of the five Americans were eliminated during veterinarian checks, with Heather Reynolds finishing fourth, only to be eliminated for a lame horse.

Jeremy Reynolds, Heather’s husband and an endurance rider, said the United States team closely studied the work of the United Arab Emirates crew, reviewing film of the grooms’ movements in the cooldown area for hints about picking up crucial seconds.

“You can see how they kind of devise a pattern so they don’t get jumbled up,” he said.

Sometimes, however, the grooms can do nothing but wait. Sheik Mohammed entered in first place through the gate at the end of the fourth leg. But his horse took nearly five minutes to cool down, and he fell to fifth place as he entered the fifth loop.

Once a horse’s heart rate has fallen, veterinarians check for lameness, listen to its gut for signs of trouble and look for other injuries.

If the horse passes the examination, it continues on to the rest period, which can range from 30 to 50 minutes.

The rest period is “where all the key things go on,” said John Yeoman, who assisted his wife, Christine. “We’ll all have masseurs, we’ll be feeding them, we’ll be giving them electrolytes,” he said.

During the rest period between the second and third loop, the horse belonging to the American rider Lindsay Graham, Monk, received a new shoe while others massaged his hindquarters. Nearby, a team of grooms from the United Arab Emirates walked a horse between the stalls while feeding him a basket of hay.

Simply finishing a race is an accomplishment. Only about 40 percent of riders typically complete endurance races, and Sunday was no different. By 9:30 p.m., with riders still on the course, 42 competitors had been pulled from the race.

Graham’s horse was disqualified after completing the third leg when his heart rate was too high. Graham said she was surprised.

“He wanted to go faster the whole time, was always asking to do a little bit more,” she said. “But stuff happens.” (

25 September, 2010

Peningkatan kualitas genetika kuda Kavaleri TNI AD

Upaya peningkatan kualitas kuda kavaleri TNI AD tentunya harus selalu mengacu kepada visi dan misi satuan kavaleri berkuda dalam menjamin keberhasilan penyelesaian tugas dan kesinambungan produtivitas kuda2 tunggang KAVAD yg berkualitas. Satuan Kavkud akan berperan sebagai penanggung jawab tehnis terhadap upaya tercapainya peningkatan kualitas kuda2 tungang Kavad ini, secara bertahap harus segera menentukan langkah2 kegiatan sesuai arah pembinaan yg telah ditetapkan. Program pengembangan kuda kavaleri nantinya harus diarahkan pada peningkatan kualitas genetika kuda tunggang kavad minimal mencapai 150 cm tinggi pundak kuda. Semakin tinggi pundak kuda akan diperoleh postur tubuh dan performance kuda yang baik sekaligus mempunyai daya tahan endurance yang tinggi.
Pengembangan kuda Kavad melalui program perkawinan silang (cross breeding,merupakan alternatif upaya yang dilaksanakan untuk mendapatkan keturunan kuda yang mempunyai karakter/sifat yang jauh berkualitas dari masing2 induk atau pejantan.
Metode cross breeding merupakan alternatif pilihan yang paling murah dan menguntungkan. Kita bisa melihat keberhasilan peternak2 di Tompaso, Minahasa yang sudah melakukan croos breeding dengan melakukan kawin silang antara kuda manado dan kuda jenis thorougbred luar negeri 10-15 tahun silam dan saat ini telah menampakkan hasilnya dengan performance kuda lebih baik, apakah dari tingginya, daya tahan, kecepatan..tergantung kuda jenis apa yang diinginkan.

Bagaimana melakukannya?

Mulanya disiapkan beberapa ekor kuda betina lokal/luar antara umur 5-8 tahun dan disebut sebagai generasi 0(G), kemudian dikawinkan dengan pejantan unggul/kuda luar yang telah disiapkan. Hasil dari persilangan tersebut kan menghasilkan kuda generasi kesatu (G1)dengan kandungan darah berbanding sama 50% baik lokal dan pejantannya dan tinggi pundak bertambah lk 5 cm . Pada proses selanjutnya kuda betina generasi 1(G1) setelah berumur 3-4 th dikawinkan dengan pejantan unggul lainnya, untuk menghasilkan kuda generasi 2 (G2)dengan kandungan darah lokal tinggal 25% serta pertambahan tinggi pundak lk 5 cm,...kemudian kuda betina yg sudah berumur 3-4 dari generasi 2 dikawinkan dengan penjantan unggul yang lainnya untuk mendapatkan keturunan generasi 3 (G3) dengan kanduangan darah lokal menjadi 12,5%. Kuda hasil kawin silang generasi ketiga (G3) sudah akan mewarisi sifat-sifat/darah unggul dari darah pejantannya sebesar 87,5% dan darah dari induk aslinya tinggal 12,5% dengan pertambahan tinggi pundak lk 5 cm lagi. Kuda G3 ini nantinya yang akan menjadi standar Kuda Kavaleri, karena kuda jantan atau betina pada generasi ketiga (G3) sudah dianggap cukup baik dan layak untuk dijadikan bibit induk. Program kawin silang yang dilaksanakan sebaiknya dibatasi sampai generasi ke empat (G4) karena prosentase darah dari pejantan sudah mencapai 93,7% dan sudah cukup mewarisi sifat2 pejantan dengan estimate pertambahan tinggi pundak mencapai 15-20 cm pada kurun 12-15 tahun... demikian pula pada G3 dan G4, kuda-kuda tersebut sudah dapat menyesuaikan dengan iklim dan alam Indonesia.....selamat mecoba.

08 September, 2010

The 2014 World equestrian games

The region around Caen, Normandy, France, site of the 2014 World Equestrian Games, offers many places and events to delight the equestrian. It's not too early to start planning your trip!

September 2, 2010--In 2014, the FEI World Equestrian Games will be held in Caen in Normandy, France, during the anniversary of the Normandy invasion of World War II. And it’s not too early to begin planning your trip.

Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy) is an equestrian’s delight with historic stables and spectator events from harness and flat racing to polo, show jumping and more. And, of course, there are also are the things that make France, and particularly Normandy, a wonderful place to visit--local cheeses, French bread, delicious wine, charming 17th- and 18th-century country cottages, miles of white sandy beaches and historic villages around every corner.

On a recent trip to preview the venues for the 2014 World Equestrian Games, I was introduced to just a few of the very special equestrian sites in Basse-Normandie. Here’s a quick preview of why a trip to Normandy either before or during the Games is a must:

The French National Studs--two of these are in Basse-Normandie. The first, Le Pin, was built by Louis XIV to house his horses outside Paris and thus is known as the “Versailles for horses.” Today it is a 2,500- acre estate dedicated to equine events and to the preservation and growth of the French horse breeds, especially Thoroughbreds and French Trotters (similar to Standardbreds in the U.S.). The Stud owns 40 stallions and is responsible for half of France’s racehorse population. The stables are original and house both the stallions and a number of horses used for a special parade of horses every Thursday during the summer. The estate is also the site of numerous equestrian events as well as an equine museum, an historic chateau and a unique race course (featured in the recent movie on Coco Chanel)
he second National Stud in Basse Normandie is in the center of the town of Saint-Lo. Built in 1806, the Saint-Lo National Stud was the first National Stud--and today is the largest. Dedicated to the breeding of Selle Francais (the French warmblood), as well as Norman Cob and Percheron, the Stud stands 60 stallions and is the center of sport horse breeding and promotion. It also hosts numerous equestrian competitions each year.

Deauville--This popular French resort on the English Channel is home to two of France’s leading racetracks, which host polo as well as flat, harness and jump races. The original track, la Touques, is right in the center of this historic town, which is well worth a trip for its beaches, historic luxury hotels and wonderful architecture. Also in Deauville is the site of a new equestrian center, Le Pole International du Cheval, due to open this fall. Primarily financed by various French governmental bodies, the new center will include a riding school, boarding facilities, three indoor and three outdoor arenas and a restaurant. The center expects to attract international show jumping and dressage events and host international teams preparing for the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 WEG, as well as serving the local equestrian community. The design and facilities make it well worth a visit.

Graignes Racecourse--A wonderful family outing, complete with barbeque and fireworks, can be had at this racecourse dedicated to trotters. Races are held throughout the year, and the course also is home to a school for training drivers and jockeys. One of the fun sights is races with jockeys riding the trotters rather than driving. Fireworks--a family favorite—are scheduled after the evening race cards.

One of the fascinating aspects of the horse industry in Normandy and all of France is the central role played by governmental bodies, from national and regional government support of WEG 2014 to events sponsored by the area towns and cities. Everything from the 23 National Studs to state-of-the-art equine research centers and, most recently, university programs dedicated to equine employment is government-supported.

Through the “Horse Industry Economic Cluster,” Normandy aims to have horses play a critical role in economic development through cooperation between industry, research and education. This concept appears to be the first of its kind in the world, and Normandy has taken the leading role in its development. One cannot help but admire the facilities at the new international equestrian center in Deauville, the breeding facilities in historic settings at du Pin and St. Lo and the veterinary research centers near Caen. All of which, together with all that is uniquely French, make Normandy an ideal travel destination anytime, but especially for the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games.

For more information about Normandy and its equestrian and tourist facilities, be sure to visit the Normandy pavilion at this year’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.(by Susan Harding)

Kuda Tunggang Kavaleri

Kuda Kavaleri TNI AD sejak awal keberadaannya adalah merupakan kuda unggul dengan tinggi pundak rata-rata diatas 150 cm, sangat jauh dibandingkan dengan kuda asli Indonesia yang rata-rata dibawah 130 cm

Postur kuda untuk kebutuhan Satuan Kavaleri;
# Warna bulu gelap, yg putih untuk kegiatan protokoler
# Tinggi Pundak min 150 Cm
# Berat badan 400 Kg
# Kemampuan bawa beban 100 kg
# Tidak cacat/baik
# Mempunyai daya tahan endurance min 80 - 120 km/hari
# Dilihat dari jarak dekat cara berdiri kuda harus tegak dan tenang
# Koordinasi setiap sisi/bagian tubuh kuda baik dan seimbang
# Konformasi tiap-tiap bagian tubuh kuda harus dapat bekerja secara harmonis saat kuda
# Ukuran kepala tidak terlalu besar atau terlalu kecil dan terlihat cerdas serta serasi dengan leher kuda
# Bahu (shoulder) harus terlihat berotot, bentuknya panjang dan agak miring (45%),ebentuk ini menunjang fleksibilitas joint dan langkah yang panjang serta memberikan langkah yg lunak bila ditunggang, bila bahu lurus terasa kasar bila ditunggang(increase concussion)
# Lingkar dada harus bulat dan dalam ( a good grith)
# Sudut permukaan dinding kuku dan solle antara 45 sd 50 derajat untuk kaki depan sedangkan 50 -55 derajat untuk kaki belakang
# Konfirmasi kaki kuda dilihat dari depan dan belakang dan samping berdiri segi empat ditempat yg rata.

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