Horse Whispers is the proud sponsor of Vanessa Richardson, endurance rider, Australia.
Vanessa Richardson's Bio
|I have loved horses since I knew what they were and have now been riding for 26 years. I started out with riding school lessons, then, my poor parents finally gave in to the begging when I was 12 and helped me buy my own horse. After trying various equine disciplines, I decided to give Endurance a go after the birth of my second baby, for a change and because being a bit of a fitness nut I figured it was a good way to test me on various levels. The challenge of long road trips, a 3 year old, and a newborn and riding more km's than I ever had before only made me more determined to make it work! I endured a steep learning curve with training horses for Endurance and I feel it is a sport one would never stop learning in. Every new horse presents a different challenge to ensure successful completions. Horses must be cleared by a vet on lameness and metabolic grounds before, during and after rides, with fairly strict criteria including heart rates. After having worked with OTTB's, Quarter Horses, Stock Horses and Warmbloods, I'm finally an Arabian owner and I don't think I could ever go back. They are so proud, intelligent, robust simply incredible athletes that will do anything for you. Endurance for me is my bliss. Being at one with my horse, exploring new places and managing and observing every little aspect of my horse's health and fitness. I've been a Personal Trainer for 10 years and I definitely enjoy the training and management aspect of the sport, as well as increasing my knowledge of performance horse nutrition.
Vanessa Richardson - April 2012 - Torsion DUO endurance saddle - Photo by "Animal Focus Photography" - Jo Arblaster
|I have a team of purebred Arabian geldings, including Turingal Park Vassili and Rowallan Sovereign and some young geldings from Wybalena Lodge. I keep most of my horses barefoot, riding in Easyboot Gloves where needed and ride in a Treeless Torsion Duo Saddle from Horse Whispers Australia which is a fantastic fit on all my horses, light and very secure. I am training all my horses to go bitless with thanks to Kind Rider Saddlery. Kirribee Custom Covers have set me up with some side, rear and tyre covers for the float which were greatly needed. We are very excited to have the support of Energreen Nutrition who are helping us with Maxisoy+ which is the base of the feed I give my horses.
- Qualified as an Endurance Rider 2011 (riders must achieve 2 x 40km successful completions, then 3 x 80km successful completions to become qualified)
- 3rd Placed Lightweight at Sussex Inlet 2011
- 3rd Placed Lightweight at Cedar Ridge 2012
- 1st Place overall and Best Conditioned at Wingello 80km Ride 2012
- 1st Lightweight and Best Conditioned - Snowy Zone Championship 2011
- Multiple Successful 40 and 80km Completions
As much as I am enjoying the 80km rides, I know the time has come for me to step my career up to a new level and challenge my horses a little more. I am now eligible to compete one of the horses in an FEI 1* 80km ride, and thus work our way up to the 120km** and 160km*** levels of the FEI competitions. I have been invited to the United Arab Emirates to ride for a stable there later in the year and am excited about the opportunity to ride various races there and experience the pace and intensity of desert endurance. I will also prepare my most experienced horses for 160km (100 mile) rides here in Australia to qualify and ride in the Quilty which for me is a hugely important buckle to win!
Maxisoy and Endurance
Maxisoy is the base of my feed for my endurance horses. It is an excellent conditioning feed that I can increase or decrease to maintain ideal body scores, without fear of excess energy or horses getting "hot". It is high fibre and idea for when we are camped at rides to keep the horses gut working well. Also, with soaking the feed, I find it helps to maintain excellent hydration and ensures fast recovery between legs and post-ride. For horses that have a little trouble adjusting to the taste and texture, I gradually reduce the amount of chaff fed and I am yet to find a horse that refuses the feed.
I use Maxisoy in conjunction with lucerne hay, a pelleted rice bran high fat feed, a vitamin powder, electrolytes, salt, limestone and some racehorse grain feed on hard work days to help with muscle glycogen replacement. I sometimes include chaff in the ration but my horses have access 24/7 to pasture so their roughage needs are covered especially given the fibre content of Maxisoy. I have found that even on 80km Endurance Rides, I can feed just Maxisoy, vitamin powder, and hay (no grain or complete pellets) and my horse still has energy to spare at the end of the ride.
Why Bitless, Treeless and Barefoot?
Before I even bought my first Arabian, I had decided to do things the "natural" way. It would take a book to explain the ins and outs of each aspect, but in general, I like my horses to feel as free as possible. Free to breathe, free to move, free of pain, free to feel. I ask an awful lot of them and I don't find it difficult to manage their comfort with this gear at all, there is nothing restricting or awkward about the gear for them and they all respond with fantastic performance both at home and at rides.
The Torsion Duo saddle is fantastic in so many ways, it is very comfortable for myself and the horse, it is very light, and so far, fits every horse I have tried it on. Treeless means excellent weight distribution and no pressure points on the horses' back. I notice my horses have a huge amount of freedom in their shoulder movement and just fly up even the steepest of hills.
Riding bitless means the horses can eat and drink easily out on rides, which is essential for their health and safety.
I am learning to trim my own horses feet which is helping me stay in tune with their body better, and by wearing boots, we avoid the lost shoe issue (I carry a spare boot, no need for a farrier!) and also avoid stone bruises.
Vanessa's website: www.resonanceendurance.weebly.com