SOUTH DAKOTA HORSE
By Justin Ehrman of South Dakota Horse
If you follow national horse racing news, you will have likely seen a story break this week about the legal issues facing numerous racing veterinarians, trainers, and other staff. It shines light on a dark part of any sport: doping. (See this story on the Paulick Report)
The issue of PED’s (Performance Enhancing Drugs) in racing has been around a long time, with efforts to eliminate the use of these substances in horses finally finding some success in recent years. The unfortunate part of this tragic practice is that these horses have no choice, unlike human athletes. These magnificent creatures, who are bred to run, are the victims of the sometimes deadly practice of PED injections, when a proper diet gives them an excellent source of the energy they need to perform at top levels. Our equine athletes deserve better than this for putting every ounce of their heart and soul into each race.
The news this week shines a spotlight on the importance of our small tracks in South Dakota who create a base of integrity in the sport. Ft. Pierre track manager Shane Kramme says that in all the years he’s been involved in racing, he’s seen only “minor infractions related more to prescribed medications and their administration.” He adds that “rigorous testing is performed by our state veterinarian that helps ensure standards.”
The thunder of South Dakota horse racing captured by Samantha Witte.
South Dakota horse racing has had a history of creating a healthy balance between family-oriented competitive fun, and attractive purse money to entice talented horses to its race meets. The focus on integrity and the thrill of pure racing fun by family-owned racing barns has not been pushed aside by a focus on winning the big purse money at any cost. This choice by trainers and owners allows these horses the opportunity to do what they love to do: run. The gift of them being able to run drug-free improves their safety by decreasing the risks of heart attacks and injuries that were masked by the drugs.
Samantha Witte, from Pierre, South Dakota has been a racing fan for years. She moved to the state from Canada to work with a South Dakota-based horse trainer. “I grew up in the tracks,” she says. “There’s nothing better than the smell of fresh shavings or the smell of a sweaty horse.” Witte has attended South Dakota race meets for years and has plenty of photos and documentation to prove it.
"This is a sport that, if you haven’t been to it, go. It’s an adrenaline rush. It makes you feel young." - Bill Geditz
Racing gets in the blood of fans, who turn to working with or even owning racehorses. Racing, if supported, generates revenue and tourism dollars that have significant economic impact on the communities involved, and the state.
Now, more than ever, we should support South Dakota’s horse racing tracks and the exciting atmosphere of equine competition they create with Midwest competitors that operate with true love of the sport, and pride in natural accomplishments and hard work.
As Ipswich, South Dakota racehorse owner Bill Geditz says in Episode 7 of the South Dakota Horse Podcast released earlier this week, “This is a sport that, if you haven’t been to it, go. It’s an adrenaline rush. It makes you feel young. Go out and look at these horses. These are magnificent creatures. We have great people here in South Dakota that do a great job. Support them. Come out and enjoy [the races]. It’s a great sport.”
View these great photos of Ft. Pierre and Aberdeen racing, courtesy of Samantha Witte, longtime horse racing fan and supporter.
Part 2 of 2 in our coverage of South Dakota barrel racing
By Jesselyn Seaton
For those that want to show off their barrel racing skills, South Dakota has various rodeo associations for all age groups and levels of riders. For adults, both state and regional rodeo associations put on amateur and professional rodeos throughout the year that pay out money and awards. In the sport of rodeo, anyone is allowed to participate at the amateur level. You do not need to pre-qualify. However, the level of talent at amateur rodeos is usually quite high, as it is considered by many to be a stepping-stone to the professional level.
To compete at the professional level in a rodeo event, an athlete must apply for a permit and earn a certain amount of money from professional-level events to be issued a membership card. For barrel racers, being a professional can mean many hours on the road travelling between rodeos not only in South Dakota, but in surrounding states as well. The country’s top-level barrel racers that you see on TV at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) each December have traveled countless miles across the entire country to earn enough money to qualify for the finals. Only the top fifteen ladies in the country make it to the NFR!
Although rodeo is exciting and fun, and it presents a lot of travel opportunities, following the rodeo circuit can be expensive and time consuming. For those barrel racers wanting to stay close to home, there are numerous organizations throughout South Dakota that hold jackpot barrel races. Participating in a jackpot race is different than competing at a rodeo. Jackpots are typically just for barrel racers – no bull riding, calf roping, or other rodeo events. Anyone can participate – no need to be a member of an organization or to pre-qualify for open jackpots. Participants can simply show up with their horse and pay the entry fee. Typically, there are no other events held at barrel racing jackpots. However, once in a while, pole bending is added as an extra jackpot event.
Unlike rodeo, a jackpot is a full day of non-stop barrel racing. Literally hundreds of horse and rider teams can compete at a jackpot in one day! A jackpot will usually hold a separate race for peewee or youth riders, followed by an open race in which all age groups compete against each other. This is different from most rodeo organizations where only certain age groups or levels of riders are allowed to compete.
The placement and payout system of jackpot barrel racing is also very different from that of rodeo. At a rodeo, only the few fastest barrel racers get a paycheck. At a jackpot, a placement format called “4D” or “5D” is used. This system divides the barrel racers into time divisions after all of the runs are completed with the top riders in each division awarded payouts. There is typically a half-second difference between each division.
The rider that is closest to the best time in each division without going under wins the division and paycheck. Also, riders who place in a division may receive a payout, depending on the number of entries for that day. This placing system makes it possible for lower-level or younger riders, and slower horses to have a chance at winning cash.
Wherever you live in the great state of South Dakota, you probably aren’t far from a jackpot, a rodeo, or a group of horse enthusiasts who are passionate about seeing the sport of barrel racing thrive. Come out and watch a local barrel race or rodeo event near you. Though we may have our competition faces on, we would love to visit with anyone about this great sport.
Support South Dakota’s growing horse industry. If you happen to see me at a jackpot event this summer, come on over to my trailer and say hello. I’ve always got horses that need extra brushing!
By South Dakota Horse Ambassador, Jesselyn Seaton
The sport of barrel racing in South Dakota is alive and well. I’ve been involved in barrel racing since I was 10 years old in my local 4-H horse club. I grew as a rider, competing in 4-H rodeo, local jackpots; continuing with barrel racing as part of the South Dakota State University Rodeo Team. As an adult, I’ve continued my competitive drive by participating in a number of jackpots locally and regionally each year with my now 12-yr-old Quarter Horse mare, Lexi. I also enjoy riding and caring for a few other horses as well, including cow horses Sonny and Houston, retired race/barrel horse Louie, and show horse Jagger.
If I were to describe running barrels to someone who has never done it before, I would say that barrel racing isn’t just about the 15-second sprint that happens at a competition. In fact, it’s actually more like a marathon.
Barrel racing is a daily commitment to care for your horse and to practice your own horsemanship skills. Participating in this sport requires many hours in the saddle working to develop a relationship and understanding between the horse and the rider. You must also care for your horse diligently. Our horses are athletes. A barrel horse must be in great physical condition before participating in a barrel race to avoid injury to the horse, rider, or both.
A lot of time and effort goes into properly conditioning and caring for a barrel horse at home. The rider must be knowledgeable of nutrition, anatomy, prevention of illness and injury, and general maintenance that horses require in addition to being able to properly ride and handle one. If you’ve put in the work at home, you are much more likely to have a successful run at a barrel race.
What initially drew me to barrel racing was the speed involved. If you want to feel like you truly have wings, then get on the back of a fast horse. The intelligence, power, and agility of these animals is truly amazing and unparalleled. When running a barrel pattern, obviously your goal is to get through as quickly as possible without making mistakes and knocking down barrels.
Sprinting a horse as fast as you can up to a barrel only to turn sharply around it and run off in the opposite direction can be both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time! There are so many intricacies that go into turning correctly without losing too much time and so many details that must fall into place. The ability of a horse and a rider to make a smooth and correct run always fascinates me. Again, if you have put in your work at home, you will trust your horse enough to carry you safely around the turns and across the finish line.
I also love the competition aspect of barrel racing; not just against other competitors, but the daily competitions I have against myself to continuously improve. There’s no better feeling than having all of the hard work you put in at home come together at a barrel race. Being successful in this sport simply means trying your best and having fun!
Sprinting a horse as fast as you can up to a barrel only to turn sharply around it and run off in the opposite direction can be both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time!
Watch Jesselyn in action in this short video!
There are so many ways to get involved in barrel racing in South Dakota. Local 4-H clubs usually have speed events at their county shows each summer. Participating at the county level can qualify you to participate in South Dakota’s State 4-H Horse Show, which is held each July at the fairgrounds in Huron. 4-Hers can also compete in 4-H Rodeo, which involves traveling to different rodeos throughout the season to compete against other 4-H members in the various rodeo events, one of which is barrel racing. 4-H is a wonderful place to start for a child who is interested in learning about horses and competing with them. Contact your local extension office and they will be able to connect you with the right people!
South Dakota also has various rodeo associations for all age groups and levels of riders. One such organization is Little Britches Rodeo, a national organization that holds many rodeos for youth riders across South Dakota. Junior High/Middle School and High School Rodeo are also popular organizations, with many high schools across the state having rodeo teams that travel to compete at regional rodeos. The top competitors in each event can qualify to participate at the national level as well. If a school does not have a rodeo program, participating as an individual member of the organization is also an option. Many colleges also have their own rodeo teams that travel around the region to compete during the fall and spring semesters.
Watch for part 2 next week!
By Justin Ehrman, South Dakota Horse
You may have noticed that the horse racing tracks at Ft. Pierre and Aberdeen were quiet last year. The unfortunate wet weather created unfavorable training preparation and track conditions for racing meets in late spring 2019. Canceling races in South Dakota, which had been unheard of for the past seventy years, meant that they lost funding for the year and that money could not be carried over to the following year.
This difficult decision, necessary to protect the safety of the horses and riders, affected the industry and those involved in the breeding and training of these Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse athletes.
History has seen a once-flourishing racing industry shrivel to smaller meets with fewer horses. The 2019 Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bill Mott, who had grown up around racing in South Dakota, found his place on the national stage thanks to his South Dakota roots. So what happened to the racing industry in South Dakota?
According to Ft. Pierre track manager Shane Kramme during an interview in Episode 2 of our South Dakota Horse podcast, the 1990s saw as many as 90 colts running in the Ft. Pierre racing meet, which lasted several days. Both the Ft. Pierre and Northeast Area Horse Racing (Aberdeen) meets were considered important stepping stones for horses heading to bigger races around the country. Now, in recent years, only a handful of horses make their way to the center of the state to compete.
The primary reason for the decline in racing in South Dakota is a major spiral in state funding and overall support for the thrilling sport, which led to a decline in competing horses. The lone simulcasting site supporting South Dakota racing is located in North Sioux City, South Dakota. According to Kramme, this funding source was put into effect in 1987 by Governor George Mickelson, the last state leader to truly value horse racing in South Dakota.
Both tracks are managed by nonprofits and cannot effectively run the race meets without plenty of hard-to-find volunteers, and funding from the state, as well as other sources like the South Dakota Horsemen’s Association fundraising efforts.
Like other sports, horse racing is dangerous. Insurance is a big expense. But it is not the only big expense. In order to have plenty of talented horses competing, there must be a large enough purse to entice entrants. Kramme says it costs roughly $225,000, or more, to run a successful meet.
In recent years, nearly $5.85 million has been moved from the state’s two live racing accounts by a previous administration to be used elsewhere. Meanwhile, as a result of successfully passing the 2019 Senate Bill 128, a designated $120,000 was moved from the general fund into the two live racing accounts. Those accounts are being threatened by continuously proposed legislation to fund other areas using that money; which would be a detriment to the possibility of successful racing in 2020. Read more about one of the efforts to move money in this letter by Shane Kramme, which is posted on horseracingsd.com.
South Dakota was once an important training stop for the national horse racing stage. Will we ever get back there again? If you’ve ever experienced the family fun and thrill of horse racing in South Dakota, share your experiences with us and speak up to your state legislators.
When I was a kid, I loved to draw horses.
My first memory of riding a horse was before or around the age of ten in the Los Angeles area. The first thing that amazes me about that memory is that my aunt and uncle had a horse in their back yard with a busy street on the other side of a tall wall at the back of their property. But after that, I remember being completely fixated on the feeling I had on the back of that amazing creature. I rode that horse for what seemed like hours, fighting my other family members to remain in the saddle as long as possible.
After returning to South Dakota, I couldn't get that experience out of my head. I was empowered by the my new-found passion of horses to become more brave, explore my creative side, and find ways to stay connected to the incredible gift of the horse.
At that time, I was starting to hang out with kids that eventually would influence my choices negatively. I found myself becoming someone I didn't want to be. I truly believe that my connection with that horse gave me the courage to end those friendships, spend time healing, and discovering myself as a creative, kind, giving person.
I have seen that same connection with the winners of our first annual South Dakota Horse art and photography contests. The artists that submitted their works of photography and art demonstrated the true spirit of the horse; power, grace, beauty, kindness and healing. Each of them have a true connection to our equine friends, and it definitely shows in their work.
The winning art contest entry...
"Moonlight on Justify" by Acadia Folkerts is the winner of the 2020 Art Contest. Click here to see more of her work, as well as the other contest entries.
The winning photo contest entry...
Spenser Pederson is a talented photographer who spends much of her free time volunteering at Gentle Spirit Horses rescue. See more of her work on their social platforms and website.
Learn more about Spenser and the see the other photo contest entries here.
Please show your support by commenting below. We would love to pass on your supportive comments to these young winning artists!
This is part two of our series on the sport of eventing, written by South Dakota Horse Ambassador Sara Sigler-Fiegen. South Dakota does not have official or organized events, but the world of eventing is growing in popularity through schooling events.
Eventing is a sport that cannot be outgrown. In most sports, learning and progressing rarely stop but competing is almost always limited by age. In eventing, the ability to compete is only limited by the physical inability to do so.
This sport has taught me so many life lessons. The first is to always keep going and never give up - add leg and kick on! Always work for something and if one ride doesn’t go well, there is always the next ride. Keep that head up and keep moving forward.
Eventing has also taught me to be resilient and have tough skin; constructive criticism in lessons and clinics may be difficult to hear, but they can only help me grow and improve. Competition forces a rider to have goals. Always use that criticism to reach your goal.
I’ve also learned to be decisive. A rider must make a decision and then stick to it; indecisiveness makes your horse less confident in what you’re asking of them. Having that confidence in your decision makes for a safer ride. This is essential to all aspects of the sport.
Above: Sara in action!
Eventing includes three phases: dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. The cross-country phase of eventing is what draws me in and keeps me coming back for more; this goes for most riders in my experience. There is no other feeling that makes me feel as alive as I do on a cross-country course.
See the first part of our two-part series on eventing, "Eventing: could it be the next big equine sport in South Dakota?"
Dressage highlights equine grace and beauty and is enjoyable when things all start to come together; I (and possibly many others) do it because it’s required to get to the jumping phases. Work hard and really strive to excel in the dressage test; giving a buffer for if things don’t go as planned in the other two phases. Your dressage work helps tremendously in the jumping phase; preparing your horse to respond to your aids.
With all this being said its also very important for both horse and rider to be fit enough for the competition level. I do fitness days during show season to help with this. The teamwork this sport requires is quite amazing if you think about it. The horses I’ve owned have most definitely not been easy to train for this. There have been much blood, many tears, and more pounds of sweat than I care to think about, but I thoroughly enjoy the work of training through the levels because the reward is hard-earned and satisfying when things go right.
This sport is all about little victories and it’s important to have a sense of humor because you are going to fall off and you are going to cry. It takes a strong person to be able to withstand all that this sport and the preparation for competition brings. Wipe the dirt off and get your butt back in that saddle. There will be more frustration than winning while you’re competing, but if you give it a try, you’ll see why so many people love it.
Other eventers are so supportive and positive, and everyone involved with this sport has been so kind and helpful. At every show, as I’m walking out to the cross-country course or walking back to my stall, I am greeted with a, “Have a good ride,” or “Hope it went well.” The people are great, the horses are beautiful and the adrenaline rush is amazing.
If you have not tried eventing, I encourage you to check out the dressage clubs on the Equine Sports page at South Dakota Horse or contact us to find a clinic or schooling show and get out there and try it. As always, add leg and KICK ON!
If you need to find a horse to start training for eventing, check out how to buy a horse in South Dakota.
Watch Sara in action!
The role of the horse in society has evolved greatly over the past fifty years. They have gone from an integral part of most livelihoods, from farming, military, and general transportation to exceptionally expensive hobbies. As their usefulness as working members of society dwindles, they are finding new jobs as pets and athletes. However, horses are a much, much larger investment than a dog or other pet that can live inside, so they still need to “earn their keep” so to speak. Some horses are still used around farms and ranches, others are trail horses extraordinaire, and some have started to compete. Every single discipline and form of equine competition is founded on some way in which horses were used for everyday life at one point in time, and in most areas, the forms of competition most prevalent are the ones that are most similar to how horses were used.
South Dakota’s choice in equine expression is predominantly rodeos. Other areas, where the organized military was more prominent, have a closer relationship with dressage, showjumping, and eventing as these sports were the ones used to keep the military horses fit, agile, and responsive and athletic enough to perform advanced maneuvers on a battlefield. The foundation of dressage ripples through all English disciplines, but the importance of it for the horse resounds through every equine sport.
It was once said to me that dressage is the beauty of a broke horse, and that is a statement I could not agree with more. I only wish I would have come up with such a concise description myself. Whether you call it disengaging the hindquarters or renvers/travers, side passing or leg yielding, all horsemen will agree that regardless of the discipline horses need to travel supple, relaxed, and responsive to all aids. Horses need to be ridden in a way to optimize lifelong soundness, with their back engaged and stepping under themselves.
The equine competition scene in South Dakota revolves almost exclusively around timed western events and AQHA or Arabian breed shows, but the English scene is alive and growing thanks to several predominantly English schooling shows (most notably Westridge Equestrian Center’s Hope Reins schooling dressage and hunter series), with even more in the works to start up.
The Sioux Empire Fair hosts a hunter/jumper schooling show on the first weekend of the fair each year, and barns local to Sioux Falls, South Dakota have brought in many dressage and jumping opportunities in the form of clinics throughout the years.
West River South Dakota is keeping English competition alive thanks to the Black Hills Equestrian Association’s efforts and several shows hosted by Rockin R Arena. East River South Dakota’s English riding culture is lacking schooling horse trials. Eventing (or a “three-phase”, or “horse trials”) is the discipline that most of the thrill-seeking timed event riders are most interested in for cross-training because of the cross-country jumping phase. Eventing is comparable to triathlon for horses:
Cross-country has the highest space requirement due to how expansive the cross country course can get. Some venues skirt around that by offering a combined trial - only dressage and showjumping phases.
Schooling shows are very much the lifeblood of developing interest in new disciplines, especially in areas where they are less popular. Rated and sanctioned shows frequently have time and financial commitments that far exceeds what many beginners are willing to give. Competitors can expect to see class fees of around $10 or $15, an office fee, and a stabling fee if necessary. These days can easily be kept under $50 if stabling is not required. Additionally, though, competitors need to consider the advantages of having a coach with them to provide assistance throughout the show.
Several states surrounding South Dakota have quite prominent winter schooling series to help keep everyone going in the upper Midwest “offseason.” The Nebraska Hunter Jumper Schooling Show Circuit has monthly two-day shows, with the April show taking place during the International Omaha show, which gives up-and-coming riders a taste of riding in the big leagues. The Central States Dressage and Eventing Association hosts shows at North Run Farm in Stillwater, Minnesota offers two schooling shows each month: one dressage show, and one hunter show. Iowa also offers events through the Powder River Ranch complex in Cumming, Iowa.
Regardless of how or what you ride, it's gearing up to be a fun show season - looking forward to seeing you out there!
There is a common perception that owning a horse in South Dakota is expensive, and unrealistic for most. It is also seen as almost logistically impossible if a potential horse owner lives in cities and towns that don’t have easy access to a barn, riding space, or if the owner just doesn’t have time for daily care of the horse. So, what do city slickers like me do if we want to own a horse but face financial and logistical obstacles?
Let’s start with the purchase of your horse. The amount of prior training and a horse’s demeanor will definitely affect the purchase price. Assuming you’re like me, having limited experience riding, you’re going to want a well-trained, patient and calm horse.
The American Quarter Horse is likely the most common horse in South Dakota. These horses are intelligent, calm, sturdy, easily trained and a good horse for all riding levels. But, as with everything, it depends on the individual personalities of both the rider and the horse, so make sure you know all you can about the horse you’re considering.
How to pick the best horse for you?
Let’s assume you want to have a horse that you ride occasionally to a few days per week at most. The rest of the time, your horse will spend its days in a pasture. If you're riding experience is limited, you probably want to get an older horse that is already "dead broke" and doesn't buck. Be sure to take an experienced horse owner with you to look at any horse. Most importantly, never buy a horse without seeing it in person, and keep in mind that you do not have to purchase the first horse you see.
How much to spend on your first horse.
You can usually find a really good horse for $1500 to $2500. South Dakota has many quality horses for sale on various sites. One of the goals of South Dakota Horse is to centralize horse buying and selling through a classifieds page. We’re not there yet, but right now you can advertise your horse in our forum!
An alternative to purchasing a horse through traditional personal sales, is to reach out to our state’s fine horse rescues and adoption nonprofits. Give a second chance to a really good horse that has been rescued from extreme and unfortunate circumstances. Adoptions cost around $450, but there are limitations and requirements for these programs. Transportation cost may be separate.
Buyers should definitely bring along an experienced horse owner to look at these horses. And be sure to ask many questions. See our list of adoption programs in South Dakota.
What to be cautious of.
Always buy from someone with a good reputation of selling quality, healthy horses. Ask for references from the seller or a local horse owner. Ask questions about the horse’s medical history. Remember that horses can be dangerous, and they should definitely be handled by an experienced trainer before you ride them.
Boarding options and food costs:
As is with most things, cost of boarding your horse may vary depending on your network of friends. Basic pasture boarding can cost around $100 to $200. Be sure to check out our list of boarding options. Check the boarding stable’s website for all options.
If you're going to keep your horse on land of your own, or of a friend or family member, be sure to keep your horse in a fenced in area. A good rule of thumb is an acre of land per horse. If you have good grassland you can save hay expenses in the summer because horses will be fed on pasture grass. This is actually good for them because there are nutrients they will get from fresh grass as opposed to dry hay. Older horses may require grain supplements like Triple Crown Senior to help keep weight on and give them additional nutrients that their bodies may not be absorbing naturally. Between feed and hay, you could see costs around $100 per month for food, salts, etc. We are still building this list, but see our hay suppliers list.
Gear for Riding:
A helmet is the most important item for horseback riding. As for the rest of your attire, long pants (jeans or Jodhpurs) and boots (cowboy or English) are recommended. At the very least, closed-toed shoes are the next best thing if boots are out of the question. Cost varies depending on the type and quality of gear you purchase. An average cost per helmet is around $50 and boots average around $50 as well. We are still building our list of apparel retailers, but here is our retailers page.
Routine annual shots are a must for the health of the horse; add in annual teeth floats, and sheath cleanings for males, hoof care from a farrier every 6 to 8 weeks. Shoeing your horse is only necessary if you intend to ride on roads or hard ground. Deworming is also required about every 6 months, but that can be done on your own by purchasing dewormer from a local farm supply store. Search our vendor directory for a list of veterinarian clinics, farriers, and supply stores. On average, you can expect to spend an average of $800 to $1000 per year on vet and farrier costs, given your stays healthy.
Also, if keeping the horse on your land, you will need one stall per horse or at least an outdoor shelter (one for about every 6 horses) in case of inclement weather.
Where to ride:
There are many places to ride your horse if you live in the city limits of any South Dakota town. Here is our list of riding opportunities. If you need to transport your horse to places to ride, there are often times horse owners with open spaces in trailers willing to allow your horse to hitch a ride, possibly for free. Otherwise, contact us or reach out in our forum for a ride. You can also join one of the Facebook groups listed on our equine associations page to post your request.
So, is owning a horse in South Dakota expensive? Startup costs can be as low as around $600 and then around $200 to $300 per month, equaling a car payment. But don’t just look at the cost. Ask just about any horse owner and they will tell you that the bond you form with your horse and the experiences you will have are worth every penny.
In the future, we will explore other options to purchasing a horse. Stay tuned...
A special thanks goes out to my friend, Jocelyn Doan, program coordinator at HorsePower in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for her input and guidance in writing this article.
Today it was announced that the world lost a sprinting superstar. X Y Jet, the winner of the 2019 Dubai Golden Shaheen, passed of what his connections are calling a heart attack; pending official post-necropsy findings.
See the official announcement here: https://jorgenavarroracingstable.com/we-love-you-x-y-jet/
This tragedy brings up questions about “unexplained sudden death” in other equine sports. A recent study of deaths in sport horses was conducted using 57 sudden death cases from North America and Europe; excluding racehorses. Researchers found that Thoroughbreds involved in eventing made up the highest number of deaths in those cases; comprising about 40% of the deaths in the study.
(Read about the study at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29330860
South Dakota is home to several rodeo events. Fortunately, we have not seen many deaths of horses involved in local rodeos. It is easy to speculate that cross country competitions are more intense than cutting and barrel racing; leading to many of these deaths.
The curious part of the study, as well as the incidents on race tracks around the country in recent years, is that many of the deaths occurred during or within one hour after workouts. According to the study, almost 58% of the deaths occurred during or shortly after training.
If you compete with your equine partner, how do you ensure safe workouts in preparation for competition? Please comment below.
Welcome to South Dakota Horse!
by Justin Ehrman
South Dakota has such a rich history involving the partnership between humans and our equine sidekicks. From the original mode of transportation to hunting, ranching to athletics, construction to pleasure, horses have played an incredible role in the growth and success of the South Dakota we know and love today.
I am so excited to begin this project as a way to celebrate the horse in South Dakota and share the many ways these beautiful creatures touch our lives; highlighting the special bond between horse and rider. But, I also want to create opportunities for all South Dakotans to connect with horses by promoting the many ways horses can benefit our human existence.
This site is starting small, but will constantly grow and change. A handful of amazing people called Horse Ambassadors have agreed to offer help with photography, journalism, and more. I’m excited to see their talents in action!
Today, SouthDakotaHorse.com begins with:
South Dakota Horse is a platform to tell stories, inform, promote, and celebrate the horse and those that have the privilege to ride them!
I welcome you to submit your events to our events calendar, and business or organization to our vendor directory. If you have a story idea, please contact us! We want to hear from you. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Let’s become a large, active community of horse lovers!
Connect with us, saddle up, and let’s fly!