Tag Archives: horse

Don’t chase your tail – try a circle

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A Circle is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever master?  Well possibly! LOL

 

When you are trying out a horse which you are interested in purchasing be sure to test out circles, concentrate on the feel of one circle and then change direction. Does the horse feel different on one rein to the other.  If so when you return to straight line riding change your diagonal from one side to the other and back again.  Does the horse change you onto his more comfortable diagonal? How different is the horse on either side and could this be lack of training or an indication of something else?  Professional trainers will ensure that the horse works towards being supple and in balance on both reins and can help you correct asymmetric muscle strengths. So always take advice from someone who understands the causes of asymmetrical going in a horse before committing to buying as there could be underlying confirmation of injuries causing the noticeable difference in going.

 

What exactly is a circle?

An accurate description of a circle? A circle is a continuous curve where the horse maintains inside bend and energy throughout, with an even arc through the four quarters of the movement and a seamless exit into the next movement

What To Look For

When a horse is on a circle it should be bending into the direction of the circle. Circles help to get the inside hind leg to push through and activate the horse from their hindquarters whilst at the same time encouraging balance, suppleness and rhythm throughout their entire body. Whilst on a circle the horse should remain tracking up, with their head level and not tilting. The horse should have a slight bend to the inside, just enough so that the rider can see the corner of the inner eyelash, as a guide if you can see the whole eye and side of the horses face you have too much bend.

Broadly speaking – Asking For A Circle

To ask a horse to circle will require several aids in varying degrees.

The inside rein asks for a slight amount of bend, to enable the horse to be looking into the direction it is moving in.

Concurrently the outside rein controls how much inside bend you have and it also controls the speed. The outside hand

The riders inside leg should remain on the girth, from here it encourages the horse forwards as well as asking the horse to bend around it.

The riders outside leg moves back one to two inches to be behind the girth, it is the outside leg which helps to prevent the horse from falling out too wide.

The rider should turn through their upper body so that their shoulders follow the horses shoulders and their hips follow their horses hips. This allows the rider to be following through with the horse on the circle.

There are very subtle ancillary movements through the body which all happen together and each one will affect how well the others synchronise.  But if you can tune in to what you are doing, where your weight is, the space you have created up through your body on the inside of the movement which will allow the horse to come up and under you as be bends into the circle movement and the stability of the outside of your body to hold the movement and can feel each part is connected to the other you will be halfway there!

Accurate Riding Of A Circle

To ride an accurate circle takes time and practice. Good judgment of the height and width of the circle you have ridden are essential for assessing accuracy. Start off by placing cones at key points around your circle, imagine your circle as a clock face and place your cones at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock respectively, this will mark out the four main quarter points of your circle, which allows you to curve around them. It is useful to start your circle off at a school marker, this will not only help to prevent drifting off course, but will also give you an exact place to start and finish. Practice different sized circles using the measurements of the school to create exactly accurate circles.

When To Use Circles

Once different sizes of circle have been mastered then you can ride them to balance a horse, prepare a horse for a transition or for some lateral work, help to slow down a horse who is rushing and also ride half circles to change the rein. Half circle exercises include a half 10 or 15 meter circle that returns to the track to change the rein. Two half 10, 15, and 20 meter circle that form a S shape. You can also add circles into the loops of a serpentine, to either end of a five meter loop, and to figure of eights.

If you are having problems with circles at home ask your trainer to check your position and way of riding, quite often it is your own mis-balance that causes the horse to fall in (or out) on a circle.  Your trainer can explain how you can ride circles better to help keep your horse in balance.

 

 

6 Tips for Picking Out Awesome Freestyle Music for Your Horse

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Don’t freewheel …Freestyle instead

1. Know your horse’s ideal BPM (beats per minute)

2. The average horse has the following BPM:

•   Walk 90-106 BPM

•   Trot 138-160 BPM

•   Canter 96-108 BPM

3. Pick music that matches your horse’s BPM within 4-6 BPM range.

(For example if your dressage horse has a canter of 104 BPM, choose music that is between 100 BPM and 108 BPM)

4. Choose music that has a very clear downbeat. (You’d tap your toe to the downbeat.)

5. If you CAN’T tap your toe or clap your hands easily to the beat of the music, it’s not great freestyle music!

6. Choose freestyle music that will help you achieve your horse’s ideal tempo.

For example: If your horse is a bit on the lazy side, choose an upbeat and energetic piece of music that will help YOU ask for more energy. If your horse is hot or nervous, choose freestyle music that will help you feel calm and steady as well as help your horse with rhythm and relaxation.

Here are the facts – Thanks to British Dressage

There has been no stopping the popularity of the freestyle dressage to music test, also known as a kür, since Goodwood CDI hosted the first one at international level in 1979. There is even a separate set of individual medals up for grabs at the Olympics, World and European Championships for this crowd-pleasing form of the sport.

If you want to have a go, it is worth watching a few kürs to give you an idea of what works and doesn’t. Marks are awarded in a different way to ordinary tests. There are two categories: technical and artistic.

The freestyle test sheets tell you the compulsory movements required at the different levels and these are available through our Online shop.

To play copied music in public, you must have a music licence. You can arrange this by completing and returning both a music sub-licence agreement and a music licence record form to:

Michelle Garland, British Dressage,  Meriden Business Park Copse Drive, Meriden West Midlands CV5 9RG

Michelle will then send you stickers, which you need to put on your freestyle tapes/CDs to fulfil the licence agreement. This allows you to use any music from the record labels listed on the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) repertoire list.

Follow this link to access the PPL online search facility.

2014 PPL Licence

There is no charge for this service if you are a BD member. If you are not a member, you can become a BD music member for £36 per year or £25 if you are a riding club member. Contact Michelle Garland (tel: 0247 669 8832) for more information.

You can put your own test and music together or you can pay a professional to help you. It is a good idea to take two CDs or tapes with you to shows in case there is a problem with one. Check with the organiser whether they have any requirements; at international shows, organisers like two different mediums, such as a mini disc and CD.

You need to give the organiser one CD or tape marked with your name and that of your horse. It needs to be ready to start at the right place with a note as to whether this is at the halt or at the position outside the arena where you will give a signal.

Rock and Roll guys. Horse Scout has a number of Dressage trainers and instructors who would, I am sure, be only to pleased to help you put your test and the music together with you and your horse! Good Luck.

So you fell in love with a lunatic?

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When to look for a professional who specialises in rehabilitation to help you and your horse back onto the straight and narrow.

So often the heart can rule the head when you are out there buying a horse.  Perhaps you went to the local auction or saw a bargain and couldn’t resist.  Or you didn’t think to ask why this fantastic looking horse was so cheap.  There should be redress to the seller but sometimes that just isn’t an option.

Or perhaps your horse has been involved in a traumatic incident or you both have and things are just not going to plan: well certainly not yours anyway.

Whatever the circumstances the horse you want to ride just does not want you to ride it.  You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.  What do you do?

Horses are flight creatures. They are entirely reactive; they are not proactive. They do not plot and plan and they are definitely not secret assassins waiting to ruin your day.  If your horse has developed mannerisms which are making him difficult or even dangerous you MUST do something about it before one of you gets hurt.

The first thing is to check with your vet that there are no physical problems with the horse.  Horses can be incredibly unpredictable if they re in pain.  If the behaviour problem is down to pain you need to rectify this and then start from scratch when the horse comes back into work.

You need to check that it is not something you are doing; probably entirely subconsciously, as a reaction to an event or imagined scenario.  If you are feeling fearful or even just anxious make sure you find yourself a trainer who can help you regain your confidence.

If the horse is physically sound and you are riding him with confidence but you are still having problems then you really need specialist help and Horse Scout has a number of professionals who specialise in rehabilitating horses and will help you and your horse get on track.

Don’t expect instant results, rehabilitation can take months, even years. When you commit to bringing in an abused horse, you have to do it with the knowledge that it’s a long-term project, with no shortcuts, no one-size-fits-all solutions—and no real idea of how long the horse will take to respond. Some horses might be fine in a few weeks simply because they’re problem is being addressed and that puts them mentally in a better place, while others may still be struggling after a few years of kind, consistent, correct work. There can be no guarantees.   Which ever professional you turn to will have a fair idea of whether or not they can help.

You may be tempted to pass on this horse without further assistance so: As a cautionary note; you may have seen the recent headlines about the “Former Gloucestershire police woman admits fraud when selling horses through her equestrian business” She has now been arrested I am sure she never intentionally set out to start selling unsafe horses, however she broke the law by advertising horses who where known to be difficult without drawing attention to the fact.  In fact the Telegraph say “Carrie Vinson admitted to a friend that a horse named Fly had ‘a screw loose’ but falsely advertised him as ‘well-mannered’. She was handed a 12 months suspended jail sentence.

and was also ordered to pay £10,000 in costs and £2,000 compensation, and was placed on a tagged curfew for two months.  She asked for six other cases of fraud to be taken into account.  So don’t be tempted to sell on your problem take it to a professional who specialises in rehabilitation.

Horse Scout has a specific category for trainers who specialise in rehabiltiaiton.  Below are just two of them

For instance Rebecca Sedgwick in Hampshire who is a Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist. ACPAT Cat A member – BHS qualified – has BHS Intermediate teaching cert. & is an Intermediate Stable Manager with extensive experience in equine field from children’s ponies to top level competition/ racehorses – She has sound practical knowledge of all aspects of a horses way of going having trained and competed horses in affiliated Showjumping/ BE Intermediate level eventing and Advanced level dressage.

The best bit, from the point of view of rehabilitation is her approach.  Her assessment of the problem with your horse will start with a physiotherapy assessment and can assist with treatment of horses following injury.  She can asses performance problems and implement routine maintenance  programs specifically targeting your horses problems and offers rehabilitation services and also training for the owner in techniques such as long reining/ polework, etc. Rachel also can offer a rider biomechanical assessment to ensure optimum comfort and performance of horse and rider as a team.

Michelle Woolrich – Nantwich, CheshireI is an animal physical therapist, rider, trainer, coach, instructor, consultant. Qualified and experienced with BSc (Hons) in equine science using McTimoney, bodywork, sports and remedial massage, stretching and mobilisation, kinaesthetic taping, t-touch, myofascial release . . . and many more.

She can provide an individually tailored rehabilitation/training program that you carry out under our guidance with regular checks on progress to modify the plan and goals, to give treatments, provide support etc.

Rehabilitation – following injury, illness or surgery animals need time to recover, recuperate and to be brought back into a training regime gradually to reduce the risk of relapse and give the animal the best possible chance of full recovery. 3Using a combination of our musculoskeletal treatments combined with natural horsemanship techniques, and a gradually increasing exercise plan the animal is built up to it’s optimum athletic level. We aim to reinstate normal function by reducing pain, restoring range of motion and restoring strength by improving circulation, reducing oedema, loosening and stretching tendons, and minimising scar tissue formation. By doing it in this careful and structured way we aim to decrease re-injury rates and increase longevity. Tailored programmes are designed to suit the horses individual circumstances working in close relationship with your vet, farrier, any other members of your team and with any other therapeutic modalities.

These are just two of 14 trainers who specialize in rehabilitation who have advertisements on Horse Scout.  Check out our Professionals page and filter suing “Rehabilitation” as find a trainer near you who can help.

 

Go Gadget review- Being Safe Rider SOS ALERT

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All this talk about endurance riding and hacking out safely has sent me off to see about keeping riders in touch when they are off the beaten track…or indeed out in the fields and in trouble. I came across this clever app called “Horse Rider SOS”

How does it work?

The concept is simple. Before you head off for your ride, open the ‘Horse Rider SOS’ app on your Android or iPhone, press the ‘Start button’ and now ‘Horse Rider SOS’ will begin to monitor your every move and track you while you ride.

As long as ’Horse Rider SOS’ continues to detect your movement and progress it will be ‘content’ to watch over you and will remain in’ tracking mode’.

However, In the event that you are unseated and fall off your horse, are unconscious or unable to move, Horse Rider SOS will immediately enter ‘Alert Mode’ and begin the rescue process.

At this point your predetermined guardians will be notified immediately that you’re in trouble and will be sent your location so that you can be rescued without delay.

It even has a false alarm fail safe system so no unintentional wolf crying! How clever is that?

Below are some testimonials for riders who use the system….one even found her phone using the app, so its useful in other ways too.

Check it out on http://www.horseridersos.com/

Rider Testimonials

Once, I fell off my horse miles from home and was unconscious for over an hour…worst of all, nobody knew I’d even fallen off! Luckily some hikers found me and were able to call for help. Now I always make sure I set Horse Rider SOS before I ride.” Michelle C.

Katie R.“When I get home from work I have to get the horses in from the field and sometimes they can be a bit naughty!…Now when I’m on my own I always make sure I set Horse Rider SOS to watch over me just in case something happens.” Katie R.

Nicki M.“I know it’s not what it’s designed for but once my phone fell out of my pocket when I was out riding and thanks to Horse Rider SOS I was able to pin-point exactly where I’d lost it! …I love this app!!” Nicki M.

Georgia S.“Whenever I ride alone, the one thing I’ve always worried about is falling off miles away from home! …now I’m reassured that if the worst should happen Horse Rider SOS is there to raise the alarm and rescue me.” Georgia S.

Susi P.“Horse Rider SOS is so simple to use and easy to set up…Now when I ride I’m much happier knowing that if I fall off, my husband will know where to find me.” Susi P.

Looking at Eventers?

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New String to your Bow for the season

Eventing in mind – Looking for something special?

Have a look at Rosco, Sallybog Tim or Derroe Champ

Horse Scout has got some great prospects for the coming season.  If you are looking for a new ride for the new season scroll through the lovely horses posted here.  If you are looking for something young and ready to go have a look at Rosco Aaron Millars’ latest good looking grey Irish Sports horse which has competed in the Stepping Stones League in Ireland (equivalent to BYEH). He was placed in the finals with fences at 1.10m. Rosco has three lovely paces and does a very smart test. Great attitude, eager to learn and quick on his feet. Exceptionally neat jumping technique, real scope. Very kind natured on the ground, lovely to handle. He is now ready to go on and realise his potential with someone who can really enjoy his considerable talent and great temperament and would make a super all rounder.  In fact a great Mother Daughter combination. Born in 2009 he is still young but he is now ready to affiliate he’s ready to affiliate.  He can be seen in Dorset.

Perhaps you would prefer something a little older? Then have a look at the lovely Sallybog Tim who would make a great schoolmaster with the experience he has got under his belt.  A nice looking BE Intermediate Novice with points. Working at BD medium and handy to hunt, hack and ready to compete. A great all rounder.  He can be seen in Hampshire.

Or are you looking for something smaller.  There is a cracking looking pony called Connemara Derroe Champ based over in Ireland who has done everything and who at 14.2hh is just waiting to be a perfect gentleman on the cross country course for a lucky small person.

 

Professional Profile – Lucinda Fredericks

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Eventing Olympian Lucinda Fredericks is an international trainer and travels extensively to give clinics and demonstrations as well as hosting training sessions at her own venue, Rosegarth, near Devizes view her Horse Scout Profile HERE!

How special would it be to buy the rider in your life a gift voucher for a private session with Lucinda Fredericks?

Her schedule for clinics for this year shows that she is in Hong Kong  at the end of a five day marathon of 5 days clinics and training out there.  As an official trainer of the Hong Kong Event Team, who took Bronze at the Eventing in the  17th Asian Games in 2014 (well done them!) On this trip she has been training the riders on horses which are retired from the Hong Kong Racing Circuit and she says how proud she was of the young racehorses retraining at her clinic (yesterday) in Teun Mun as they jump happily over 110m. And at this moment (according to her Facebook profile) she is putting a very handsome chestnut retiree through its paces over some XC jumps at Beas River Equestrian Centre.

Her experience and support of the Retraining of Reacehorses was also demonstrated at the The Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre  near Preston who have some fantastic pictures, taken by Trevor Holt and Ashley Stewart of a demonstration she hosted to a crowd of around 300 people in April – the event raised around £3,000 for the TRC.

With so many awards for Retraining of  Racehorses perhaps a group of individual training session with Lucinda on your own retired racehorse would help you along the way to one of the awards being offered by ROR Grassroots Eventing Series for 2015

There may be time to book places at the clinic at Charlotte Wadley Equestrian, Painswick, on the 7th February . (Individual spaces cost £60 + VAT (within a group of 4). Alternatively you can contact Lucinda’s team through Horse Scout to arrange for a session at her training centre.

She is holding clinics in February in  Holland  and Dorset, March in Berkshire and then she is back out to Hong Kong at the beginning of April

If you cant wait that long to see Lucinda then she will be talking about her Olympic experiences with Headley Britannia and Flying Finish, at the Equine Client Meeting in Frome at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 25th February being orgainised by Garston vets.

 

 

Buying perfect horses…

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Buying horses has become accepted to be something of a mine field.

Why the necessity to lie & conceal?
With the increasing necessity for 5stage vetting on every animal irrespective of its £1000 market value… the horse market has obscured over the last decade. Gone are the days of a quick two stage vetting, and a transfer of cash, post hand shake!

Ultimately there is a home for every horse, and a horse is flesh and blood, and never has been mechanical to my knowledge… Contrary to popular opinion splint, lumps, bumps, even asymmetries do not always need to prevent a sale. In addition stable vices do not directly always inhibit performance or resale value provided the horse is reliable/ talented/ produces results/ or can serve the purpose for which it has been bought.

11 Top Tips – Focus list for buying your horse

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You know what you want….So keep focused when buying your horse.

You’ve made a decision and you are going to buy a horse.  My advice? …Make a shopping list first.

List everything that you want your horse to be, his minimum level of experience, how you are going to fit on him and what you want to do with him.  You can make it more detailed with specifics like age, breed, build, bone etc but promise yourself that if you write it down then you will stick to it.  So put a lot of thought into this preparatory step before even pressing a horses for sale link!

Shopping list sorted and your ready to start looking so here is a handy focus list for you to help keep you on track.

  1. Decide what type of horse you are after and stick to it. It’s all too easy to get carried away when you’re looking for a horse, so If you are after a schoolmaster don’t come home with a recently broken 3 year old!
  2. Ask yourself will this horse do the job I want him for?  “Could I see this horse in the arena, x country, hunting all day etc ?” It really helps to keep a clear picture of what you are looking for.  It is so easy to get side tracked and buy on impulse based on nothing more than the colour of a horses coat.
  3. Keep a constant eye on the market – The good ones tend to get snapped up very quickly, in the past I’ve seen them on Horse Scout in the morning and sold be lunchtime!
  4. Be prepared to take your time finding a horse – sometimes it can be a lengthy and tedious process, if the first horse isn’t right it might be the second, fifth or tenth!  And always try a horse twice – you will pick up on things at a second visit that you missed the first time around
  5. Make a list of questions and make sure you get an answer to every one before hanging up.  Let the seller talk, often as you chat you can pick up things that are not written in the ad.  E.g. “Is he quiet in the stable?” “Oh yes, burble on a bit…” followed by “of course if you wave your arms around he can throw up his head” no this might describe the horse exactly or it could be a way of saying you have to be very quiet around the horse as it spooks easily in its stable.  Bear this in mind when you visit the horse.  Don’t go mad but just see what the seller means.
  6. Ask direct questions about vices etc like weaving or windsucking, cold back etc by specifically asking the question. Technically a seller is oblisged to come clean but if he hesitates or changes the subject be wary. If this happens go aware to the visit if you still want to go ahead, this will save you time and money in the long run. Ask for a video of the horse inaction, this can be a great way of telling whether a horse is worth the time and cost of fuel of a viewing.
  7. Don’t waste peoples time If you arrive and immediately know the horse is not for you then don’t be afraid to say so, the seller should appreciate your honesty and this way you won’t be wasting your time either.  It can be difficult to be blunt but better for all concerned in the long run.  You may well make friends with the seller but they are not, at this point, your friend and will not mind your honesty.
  8. If you can then video the horse – you can watch it again and again which will help you make a decision and similarly, take someone with you that knows your riding – it can be so worthwhile to have another ‘pair of eyes’ to assess the horse
  9. Ask questions, questions and more questions! Buying a horse is a huge decision and you need to know everything you can about the horse before you commit to buying it. If the seller is genuine they will be able to answer all of them!
  10. Sleep on it.  The seller is keen to make a sale but you must be certain that this is the right horse for you.  After all you will have a huge time, money and resources tied up in your equine partner so make sure you are making a decision based on all the things that are on your shopping list and not on an impulse.
  11. Having made a decision it is advisable to get a vet check, but keep it appropriate you don’t need a 5* vetting if you are not expecting to seriously compete on your horse.  However, your vet will be able to advise you if you tell him what you want to use the horse for.

Don’t go off track, pick the perfect horse for you.  Good luck with your search and let us know how you get on.

Freelance Grooms and Instructors are you covered?

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Freelance grooms are defined as those professionals who work part time for different employers ,, trainer or instructor allows a degree of flexibility to both parties and also on a casual cover basis i.e. when permanent staff are sick or on holiday.

View Horse Scout grooms available here 

For clients looking for training, which is provided by a professional instructor, at home on their own yard the same freelance insurance cover principals would apply.

From the point of view of the professional offering a service to others it is essential that in todays litigious society we must protect ourselves from being sued by a third party and Freelancers are no exception. Whether you are an instructor, trainer or a groom you must protect yourself. Likewise those who employ trainers and outside horse help must make sure they are covered by appropriate insurances. The BHS offer Public Liability cover with their membership. Which for freelance instructors would protect you if the person you are teaching on their own horse was to fall and sustain an injury and you were found to be legally liability for the injury. Furthermore if as an instructor or groom you were to ride or handle someone else’s horse and the horse caused any third party property damage or bodily injury whilst doing so then the policy would protect you should a claim be made against you.

However for the professional freelancer it might be advisable to consider a more compressive policy e.g. SEIB who, unlike the BHS include care, custody and control for horses under your care.

Care Custody and Control cover is an optional extension to the public liability and would protect you as the instructor or groom should a horse whilst in your care, custody or control be injured and the owner of the horse were to claim against you for the injury. For example if a groom was clipping a horse and accidentally cut the horse, the owner of the horse may claim from the groom for the resulting vets fees from the accident.

Also it should be noted that anyone employing members of staff must carry Employers Liability and is essential cover if you were to have a helper or student to assist with your freelance instructing or groom duties. The cover protects you as the ‘employer’ should the helper or assistant get injured whilst carrying out their ‘employed’ duties.

 

 

HorseScout’s Update on Futurity Awards

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Catherston Stud’s Timolin Scoops Futurity Award for the third time with the Billy Stud taking 3 young horse awards.

If you are looking for Stallions for this season take a look at Horse Scouts Stallion Page where you can find contact profiles for two dozen top class Sports Horse stallions including Timolin who stands at Catherston Stud and the “Billy” Stud too.

The 3 year Olds award went to Timolin, who was winning a Futurity award for the third time, bred by Aram Gregory, this colt is destined for a dressage and stud career, having recently been purchased by Catherston Stud. Other winners in the Futurity age awards are, Rosie Moreton-Deakin who picked up the foal award for breeding Fiderstar, a potential dressage prospect. Zoe Feeney collected the yearling award for Just Soda No Ice, a show jumping prospect. The two-year old award went to Summertime Blues bred by Lynne Crowden.

The Young Horse Awards for the three disciplines saw a range of breeders step forward to collect their awards and the Billy Stud collected the five year-old and seven year-old British Eventing Young Horse Breeders Medals On for Billy Walk On and Billy Cuckoo – and the five year-old showjumping award for Billy On Ice. Amongst the other winners was Sharon Bishop who now has three British Eventing Young Horse Breeders Medals as breeder of Parkfield Quintessential; the four year-old, five year-old and now six year-old winner of this prestigious award and River Rise Escarla took the five year-old dressage award, bred by Sarah Tyler Evans by the KWPN stallion Lord Leatherdale.