I just got back from the WEG in Kentucky and must say that on the whole it was quite amazing to see so many riders, so many disciplines, so many visitors all in one area! In general it was quite a different atmosphere than the WEG in Aachen I have experienced – not better, not worse, just different – but the venue was SO huge that the whole thing tended to feel somewhat disjointed at times. The volunteers and staff were all extremely friendly and helpful, but things were not well ‘signed’ – on the maps, the little circle showing ‘you are here’ was missing, so that if you didn’t know where you were, you certainly couldn’t figure out where you were going! There were also comments about prices (for food, tickets, and accommodations) being raised to the point where it was unaffordable to attend for many people, and my wife was surprised as she drove down that there was absolutely no advertising on the roads in Kentucky. It will be interesting to read the reports after the fact – and especially how they do financially!
I presented twice a day for the five days I was there, working closely with my two associates Dr. Joanna Robson DVM (author of “Recognizing the Horse in Pain and What to do about it”) and Dr. James Warson MD (author of “The Rider’s Pain Free Back”). Every time I present with these two knowledgeable and passionate experts I learn something new. And here I’m going to give you a headsup that it’s going to get graphic...
For instance, from Jim I learned why women actually often get bladder infections from their saddles – I knew from personal experience (well not personal – from second hand experience being told by my clients) that this could happen, but I never really understood why. It seems that if the urethra (along with the pubic bone) constantly is being rubbed because you are trying to sit straight in a male saddle to achieve your classic ‘shoulder-hip-heel’ straight line for dressage, this can cause an inflammation. This inflammation can lead to difficulty when urinating. This in turn can lead to urine remaining in the bladder, which will cause an infection due to bacterial growth. Make sense? The solution is to ride in a saddle where you are not being forced into an unnatural position, and where your urethra is not being constantly irritated.
What I learned from Joanna this time leads to two more interesting topics that I will expand on in future blogs – one has to do with the dip some horses develop in front of their withers and the reasons behind that, and the other has to do with the strange phenomenon that I have often seen in H/J riders – using close contact saddles (for close contact, I would think!) but with 2 or more foam riser pads! Stay tuned...
Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CEE