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Spark Equestrian

Spark Equestrian Inspiring the next generation of horse-men and -women!

Operating as usual

10/25/2019

Two weeks ago we sent all of our horses to be rehomed. They are all doing well, but it does mean that lessons are on hold for now. We will be back when more concrete plants have been made! Thank you all!!!

Give this a try to see how flexible you are! Absorbing shock through the knee and ankle is key to good balance, as well ...
10/11/2019

Give this a try to see how flexible you are! Absorbing shock through the knee and ankle is key to good balance, as well as keeping your heels down!

🌟The KNEE TO WALL TEST for horse riders🌟⁠


The Knee To Wall test is a great way to assess functional ankle mobility for horse riders.⁠

👉🏻⁠To perform the test:⁠

➡️Stand facing a wall⁠
➡️Place the toes of one foot against the wall, and take a step backwards with the other leg.⁠
➡️Push your knee forwards until it touches the wall. ⁠
➡️See how far you can walk your foot backwards until your knee can no longer touch the wall.⁠
➡️Check that your foot is perpendicular to the wall and your heel is down. Make sure your hips are facing forwards and you are not twisting your body or leg in any way.⁠
➡️Record the maximum distance you’re able to achieve on both sides (measure from the wall to your big toe).⁠

👉🏻Less than 5cm is generally considered poor ankle mobility, up to 10cm is acceptable, and more than 10cm is good.⁠

👉🏻More importantly, you want to make sure that your mobility is EQUAL left and right which will ensure symmetrical shock absorption through the ankle joint.⁠


__⁠
🏇🏻🏋🏼‍♀️⚙️EQUESTRIAN BIOMECHANICS ⁠
www.equestrianbiomechanics.info⁠
__⁠

We are celebrating Halloween all month! Emma and Josie rode at Compass Rose Farm for a 61% at Training 2, they also won ...
10/05/2019

We are celebrating Halloween all month! Emma and Josie rode at Compass Rose Farm for a 61% at Training 2, they also won the Junior Costume prize and massive kudos for riding through a tent blowing (and rolling around) in the wind! Everybody said Josie earned her carrots, and she agrees!

Not a day many will forget. September 12th is the day we choose to remember. The coming together, the unfettered support...
09/11/2019
Budweiser & Clydesdale honoring New York on 9/11/11

Not a day many will forget. September 12th is the day we choose to remember. The coming together, the unfettered support regardless of differences, the United part of our great country.

*** Text HONOR to 80088 to support the 9/11 Memorial *** -DISCLAIMER- Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for...

Nice weather, nice kids, nice ponies! Josie got some love after her lesson with Ethan (and his brother Reese)!
09/07/2019

Nice weather, nice kids, nice ponies! Josie got some love after her lesson with Ethan (and his brother Reese)!

Looking forward to the Fall!
08/24/2019

Looking forward to the Fall!

The Safe Sport program should not be taken lightly. Creating a culture that allows people to stand up to their abuser cr...
08/19/2019
Op Ed: The George Morris Ban Broke My Heart, Then It Gave Me Hope

The Safe Sport program should not be taken lightly. Creating a culture that allows people to stand up to their abuser creates a culture that discourages abuse. I could never stand with the morals held and actions taken by Mr. Morris. I still appreciate his riding and instructing skills.

I have never competed on the hunter/jumper circuit, yet even I can quote former Olympic trainer George Morris. His clever quips and biting witticisms have a precision that is hard to forget. Even in his 80s, he is an icon, a John Elway of horses. As the New York Times put it, an “Equestrian Kingma...

We're going on a pony hunt, we're gonna catch a pony!
08/11/2019

We're going on a pony hunt, we're gonna catch a pony!

Silly hummingbird, I removed the poor thing from the porch today, twice.  But also managed to get this great picture of ...
07/25/2019

Silly hummingbird, I removed the poor thing from the porch today, twice. But also managed to get this great picture of the little guy!

In the summer, we try to keep everybody hydrated! Josie enjoyed her bath, cooled off, and then rolled in the mud... (whi...
07/09/2019

In the summer, we try to keep everybody hydrated! Josie enjoyed her bath, cooled off, and then rolled in the mud... (which helps protect against bugs! )

The USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) has created a new set of rules to protect minors in equestrian sports (Mi...
06/08/2019
The USEF Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies: What You Need to Know

The USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) has created a new set of rules to protect minors in equestrian sports (Minor Athlete Abuse Protection, MAAP) The Chronicle of the Horse has written an excellent article explaining some of the ramifications of these rules!

On June 1, the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention policies went into effect. These policies apply to USEF members who are 18 years old and older (regardless of their USEF age), referred to as “adults” below. As members ...

06/07/2019

So, it's been quite a week! On the 1st, we went to a dressage clinic, where Emma and Josie had a great test (62%) followed by some insightful instruction from the judge. Rachel and Hoppy had a very productive session with the judge (and nobody fell off). Both horses were well behaved and trailered well! Thank you to Kate, Jill, and Emma's sister, Kayla who came out and supported! I didn't get any photos, sorry!

A year ago yesterday, Rio found a friend to play with.  Today I saw one of Salazar's children! Might have to call it Dra...
05/18/2019

A year ago yesterday, Rio found a friend to play with. Today I saw one of Salazar's children! Might have to call it Draco.
They are both rat snakes, non venomous, and help keep mice and rats away from the barn. One of the amazing things about the barn is that we have young snakes, young foxes, and a barn cat (Snickers) who all help keep the pests away!

Loose ponies! Just kidding, but they have been turned loose on the grass! Unfortunately, with beautiful grass and wet we...
05/11/2019

Loose ponies! Just kidding, but they have been turned loose on the grass! Unfortunately, with beautiful grass and wet weather, comes the bugs... make sure you protect yourself, just like we use fly spray and masks for our horses! (Till they lose them...)

We have horse girls and horse boys at Spark, with or without beards! :)
05/09/2019

We have horse girls and horse boys at Spark, with or without beards! :)

Beginning- First ridden 3/19Rockhopper is a Welsh/Connemara with some TB, probably!  He was born in 2011 and was not sta...
04/20/2019

Beginning- First ridden 3/19
Rockhopper is a Welsh/Connemara with some TB, probably! He was born in 2011 and was not started earlier due to owner's health. He will be my first young horse project, and I look forward to sharing the journey!

Check this diagram to see where you are!
04/16/2019
DRESSAGE RIDER’S TRAINING PYRAMID

Check this diagram to see where you are!

Most dressage riders know the Pyramid of Training based on the German Scale that outlines the training progression of the horse. It outlines the basic areas that create the foundation for the training of the dressage horse. The training progression of the rider is often a bit of a mystery howeve

Thank you to Taylor Boyz for getting the Spark Trailer all ready for some shows this season!
04/11/2019

Thank you to Taylor Boyz for getting the Spark Trailer all ready for some shows this season!

Some great news for the community!
04/04/2019
Fairfax unveils design for new Gabrielson Bridge in Oakton

Some great news for the community!

Seven months after Fairfax County officials removed Gabrielson Bridge in Oakton for safety reasons – to the dismay of area trail enthusiasts and equestrians – staff with the county’s Park

Last year we used this to identify a sweet little harmless garden snake! Black snakes and garden snakes are great to hav...
03/30/2019

Last year we used this to identify a sweet little harmless garden snake! Black snakes and garden snakes are great to have around the barn. They keep mice and rodents away and don't eat the horse food!

03/22/2019

Check out some of the local flooding from yesterday! Thankfully the barn is only a little wet, but of course the mud is back...

Beginning- First ridden 3/19Rockhopper is a Welsh/Connemara with some TB, probably!  He was born in 2011 and was not sta...
03/19/2019

Beginning- First ridden 3/19
Rockhopper is a Welsh/Connemara with some TB, probably! He was born in 2011 and was not started earlier due to owner's health. He will be my first young horse project, and I look forward to sharing the journey!

03/11/2019

Tonka got a tune-up today. And Hoppy had his second ride! He was very good and we walked and trotted off all by ourselves! Thanks Kate for the ground support! (Video is Kate riding Tonka)

When the ground is frozen and weather is bad, we can focus more time on doing things slowly (like walking) and correctly...
03/04/2019

When the ground is frozen and weather is bad, we can focus more time on doing things slowly (like walking) and correctly! Great visual for proper bending!

This is why your turn does not come from pulling on the rein. Note the riders hand and leg position and hip angle in each sketch. Note the development of the horses muscles in each sketch. Note the shape of the horse in each sketch. A truly supple, truly bent horse is working through their entire body. It is OUR job as the rider to guide the horse to become soft, supple, and through in all movements.

Rider one is pulling the nose around, and trying to push the haunches in, with a following outside rein offering the horse no balance, and a hardly supportive inside leg to wrap around. This has created a rigid, stiff horse that will surely be back sore, weak in the hind end, with front end bulk in all the wrong places. This horse has every opportunity, and will likely be so uncomfortable that it will try every time, to run out of his right shoulder.

Rider two is pushing the horse from his inside leg to his outside rein. The outside rein is providing a balance point for the horse, allowing him to be both comfortable and willing to carry himself. Because the riders rein is supportive and blocking the shoulder, the horse can not blow out the shoulder, and can only become truly bent along the entire length of the spine.

In order to build the athlete you want, and to allow your horse the opportunity to have a long, successful, and most importantly SOUND career, it is important to understand how we ride, even in seemingly simple tasks such as the walk or trotting circles, is effecting each muscle in your horses body. Not all muscle is good muscle!

The snow today is one of the prettiest we'r have seen! Ponies are all snug in the barn (or out with blankies). Stay safe...
01/29/2019

The snow today is one of the prettiest we'r have seen! Ponies are all snug in the barn (or out with blankies). Stay safe and warm everybody!

We braved the cold, the mud, and the ice to go to Frying Pan Park. Both pairs competed Intro B and Training 1. Despite g...
01/27/2019

We braved the cold, the mud, and the ice to go to Frying Pan Park. Both pairs competed Intro B and Training 1. Despite ghosts in the ring, kids on the bleachers, and loud seniors, they rode well and handled everything politely and respectfully. We have definite goals for next time and got great comments from the judge. Thank you to the staff and volunteers, and our "grooms in training" (parents) for a fun outing! Couldn't be prouder!

We have some students going to a show on Sunday!  Here's why I prefer the dressage ring to the hunters.https://www.chron...
01/26/2019
Horse Show Trainer's Diary

We have some students going to a show on Sunday! Here's why I prefer the dressage ring to the hunters.

https://www.chronofhorse.com/article/trainers-diary

Get up at dawn of crack. Fumble in the dark, pull on mismatched outfit, head for horse show. It’s 4 a.m. Why isn’t Starbucks open yet? Arrive at showgrounds, get exhibitor numbers from office, try to organize riders and schedule for the day. ...

Equus "Story of the Horse" | About | Nature | PBS
01/17/2019
Equus "Story of the Horse" | About | Nature | PBS

Equus "Story of the Horse" | About | Nature | PBS

Join anthropologist Dr. Niobe Thompson and equine experts on a two-part adventure around the world and throughout time to discover the origins of the horse.

It must be winter!
01/14/2019

It must be winter!

01/06/2019

So, first lesson of the morning we heard what sounded like turkeys. Very weird. Later we're watched at least 8 deer wander past and over the bridge. Then what sounded like ducks in the little creek behind the ring. Only to discover the two playing/ fighting right outside the ring! Crank the sound up to hear the "ducks".

With the end of 2018, we said goodbye to a wonderful pony. Secret taught in Hunters Valley at least 25 of her 30+ years....
01/02/2019

With the end of 2018, we said goodbye to a wonderful pony. Secret taught in Hunters Valley at least 25 of her 30+ years. She went peacefully on New Year's day, and we would like to think she and Merle are grazing together (eating was both of their favorite activities). Rest in Peace Secret, 1987-2019.

Address

10420 Hunters Valley Rd
Oakton, VA
22181

Telephone

(703) 887-0507

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