Thursday, May 30, 2013


Stavros Vergis, Equestrian

Stavros Vergis is a seasoned horse trainer. Mentored by famous Australian equestrian Eric Mathie, Stavros takes his time when schooling a horse. He emphasizes a light rein, a relaxed disposition and an intuitive rider for optimum results.  Now residing in Athens, Greece, Stavros answers questions about his horsemanship and he's looking to India for his next training adventure….

Welcome Stavros!

How long have you been riding?
I rode for about 25 yrs almost continually; I don't ride much anymore.

What is your riding discipline?
I don't have any particular riding discipline, my main interest in Horses when I started was to train them break them to riding, I am a bit passionate about that.

Where is your favorite place to ride?
My favorite place to ride is the Australian bush and forests.

…your favorite horse breed?
I have worked with lots of breeds but find the Arabian to my liking the most, I find them to be the easiest to work with, but everyone has there personal favorite.

What training method do you use?

The training method I use is one that I put together over the years, things I was taught by different people and some things I figured out myself. My mentor Eric Mathie from Australia, a great horseman in his day would always say to me listen to everyone, take what works for you and develop your own style; maybe I've done that.

When/how do you beginning training?
The very first thing I like to do is have the horse in a yard and work with it at liberty - no ropes, saddles, nothing except a piece of bamboo I use with some string on the end as an extension of my arm. It helps if I have to keep the horse off me, or give him some cues. Then I would have to be able to get that horses attention so where ever I go that horse is looking at me with both eyes. The horse’s brain is split down the middle, Erick would say to me. It took 2 years for me to understand what he meant. If the horse does not look at you with two eyes you don't have the whole horse. Then I have a bunch of ground work exercises I like to do, this helps untie any knots the horse may have in its learnt behavior by previous human contact. When I feel the horse is ready to proceed, I work on whatever the customer has brought the horse to me for, most of the time just with the ground work the problems have just about gone anyway.

Do you imprint your foals?

I don't imprint foals, never had them that young. But have done many after they are weaned from their mother.

[Note: Imprinting is when the mare breathes into her foal’s nostrils immediately after birth to familiarize her baby with her scent and life force. Foal imprinting allows you, the foal’s person, to create your own unique bond in the same manner.]

What's the most important thing horses have taught you?

I think the most important thing Horses have taught me is PATIENCE.

Do you have any superstitions?
I don't know if you would call it a superstition but horses that have two whirls on their foreheads always turn out very useful.

What would you like to see different in the horse business today?
The first thing that comes to mind with the horse industry today is I'd like to see the horses mature a little more before they start work. There seems to be a used by date stuck on them, if you know what I mean.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Jeffery Klepinger, Equine Dentist

Equine Dentist, Jeffery Klepinger, shares his insight to equine dental care; the importance of caring for your horse's teeth! 

Welcome Jeff!

Where are you in the world? 

I live in Orange Park, Florida, USA. But travel all of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Maryland.

Do you remember your first encounter with a horse?

I do not remember but have pictures of me at 3 yrs old on the back of a horse at my Aunt's Farm in Illinois. I have been around them all my life.

What is your favorite horse breed?

Quarter Horse is my favorite breed. They are what I have owned and I find they are easy to work with.

Why did you choose horse dentistry as a profession?

I didn't it chose me! I started out as a farrier graduating from Oklahoma Horse Shoeing School in Oklahoma City back in 1994. I took their Equine Dentistry course also while I was there. I did farrier work for 10 yrs in and around north east Florida. Clay County decided to bring in wild mustangs for locals to buy at auction and I was a young buck then and took on the challenge of trimming these guys. It was a lot of work but hard labor and hurt my back in the process. I don't do farrier work anymore. To make a long story short I decided I love working with the horse and went to work doing the Dentistry.

How important is it to have my horse's teeth floated?... often?

It is just as important to have your horses teeth floated as it is to have their hooves trimmed. For proper care you should have your horse examined at the least every 6 months till the age of 10 to around 12 yrs old. Then most horses will be able to have yearly exams.

Do you always use a speculum when floating?

Myself no! There is a lot to this. I have a unique way of putting my hand in the horse’s mouth where they can't bite me. This allows me to do a full exam of the horse’s mouth visually and by feel. I actually reach the very last molars in the back of the mouth. I have to give credit to Dr. Geoff Tucker of The Equine Practice in Florida for teaching me this method. So through the whole process of floating the teeth I do not use a speculum.

Is sedation always required?

95% of the time if I am floating your horse’s teeth NO sedation is needed. This is very, very important for the horse and requires very good horsemanship skills. There are few equine dentists in this world that practice this way. First of all I am not using power tools. I use mostly hand tools. Which in turn allows me to take off the proper amount of tooth and not have to worry about taking too much off or having to worry about the tooth getting too hot from power tools. I have to add this but it is very important to check out your equine dentist thoroughly and make sure they are a professional. Even if they are a Vet there are a lot that do not do very good work. It is to easy to go in with power tools and sure you make the teeth look very nice and smooth but if you're the horse and have smooth teeth and try eating and masticating your food it can be rather hard with a smoothed surface. Just like our teeth they have dips and crevices in their teeth that help break down the food for proper nutrition. Also by not using sedation the horse seems to be more comfortable and learns in the process that I am simply taking the pain away and by the end, the horse is standing there letting me do what I need to do.

What's the worst case you've ever seen?

I would have to say that the worst cases I see are from lack of knowledge that the horse even needs their teeth floated. After all the teeth for some are out of sight out of mind.

As a horse owner, what is the most important thing I can do to ensure healthy teeth for my horse?

Have them examined by a professional twice a year. They are not like us and drink soda or eat bad stuff. (Well most of them). Usually problems can be detected and eliminated with regular check ups.

What does horsemanship mean to you?

A person that has the ability to connect with most any horses they come in contact with. Horses talk to us in their own way and horsemanship is being able to communicate back where they understand.

Contact Jeff (904) 327-9116

A note from Gina...


Dental health is important to prolonging the life of your horse. Like humans, teeth and gum health are important to internal organ sustainability. As a horse ages, their teeth grow (an old saying is that as we age we grow ‘long in the tooth’, which is only true for equines).

Rasping or ‘floating’ a horse’s teeth by a certified equine dentist will diminish sharp edges and misalignment, which help the horse’s ability to chew and digest food more efficiently.

Indications that your horse may need dental care include excessive slobbering, weight loss despite adequate nutrition, snotty nose from one nostril only, dropping feed from the mouth, and turning their head sideways to chew.

Routine dental care is important to extending the life of your horse. Have your horse’s teeth checked regularly by a certified equine dentist, such as Jeff, to prolong the life of your horse.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Judith Hamilton-Schultze, Equestrian

Judith Hamilton-Schultze is the CEO and President of Equine Community Organization, Natural Organic World, LLC, Bradenton, Florida, USA. An avid animal advocate, her passion lies with saving America’s wild horses…

Welcome Judith!

When was your first encounter with a horse?

I was 6 years old and my father took me to a local farm in Canada when we were at our cottage there. I rode my first pony and I fell in love with horses after that. I had dreamed one day I would have my own and that finally came in my teens. I took lessons in Michigan. My parents let me explore the horse world and I enjoy reading books about horses. That pony took me for the ride of my life. I learned quickly how to hold on and ride like a pro. I was never afraid to ride any pony or horse after my first experience.

Do you have a favorite breed of horse?

Thoroughbred - especially the dapple grey. I love any color but I am partial to dapples. Most thoroughbreds are such a challenge to ride, jumping was incredible, for shows they just look absolutely beautiful. Personalities are exciting and fun for me.

What is your riding discipline?

I learned to ride English Equitation, precision riding, ground manners very important. Discipline in walk, trot, canter. Using leg and rein aides well. I had some great training. I also love to ride Western when I am out on the trails.

Do you have advice for beginning riders?

My advice is you learn well your English basics and proper balance, discipline in basic equitation is very important. You can ride any horse if you feel comfortable in your basics and proper training. Teachers are very important and if you have a great one you will be such a better rider and performer when you get into tough situations. Every horse person has encountered serious moments almost life threatening. It is all in the way you handle each situation. I have had my share of falls from jumping and riding. Make sure you check your equipment two or three times and wear the proper helmet for head protection before you go riding. Know your horse well and study each one you ride.

What does horsemanship mean to you?

For me the greatest experience is when you are in a show or just riding and you really feel you and you horses are in proper balance and harmony together. What a beautiful experience. I have felt this many times with my horses over the years. Horsemanship means you have mastered the techniques of success and what works with you and your horses. It takes a lifetime of practice. I am still learning. Now training a horse is a challenge. Mastering those techniques is really special. It is exciting to train horses. I am in the process of learning now everyday. You must have incredible patience. I do. I will go the extra mile and save our wild horses. We must leave a legacy. 

Who is Freedom Thunder?

I have a young Tobiano mix Arabian, which may have a bit of Mustang in him. Freedom Thunder was rescued from a horrible situation from Spokane Washington State. He was only 3 months old when I rescued him. Also rescued his Mom Annie, his Daddy Babe. Annie was pregnant and has now had Denali who is a beautiful Tobiano. Denali is two years old.

Annie and Denali are still at a beautiful farm, 27 acres of freedom and enjoying life. Babe had to be put down because he had such severe arthritis and could not lay down last year. Freedom Thunder finally made the long trip to my home in Bradenton, Florida.

Freedom arrived to his new home and with loving arms I embraced him. He is getting used to new sounds and a different climate. What a change for him from snow and ice to warm sunshine.

I was lunging Freedom one day a month and a half ago. Freedom saw the lunge line and he spooked. He started running extremely fast in the round pen, the rope whipped out of my hands, the rope was following his back; he was terrified. The rope wrapped around a pole and flipped him on his side.

He now has a severe fracture on his left back leg. I called the emergency vet, took radiographs of his leg and the vet said we can put a few casts on and see if it will heal on its own. He may still have to have surgery later. Well, Freedom just had a second cast put on last week. The injury is beginning to heal slowly. This is ongoing and I also have to train him because he does not know his ground manners yet. He is young and green. I am being so patient with him. I am working with him daily and we are bonding quite well. I have one of the best leg vets around in our area. I am so fortunate to have him helping me.

Freedom and I are becoming friends and I love him so dearly. I am just taking everything real slow; working along with the vets in his recovery. This will be a long process. I am encouraged and I pray for his healing daily. Freedom has such a pleasing personality. So I hope he won't need a third cast, but what an experience to see your best friend go through this horrific agony and pain. Horses are incredible animals and I am so grateful to the wonderful vets we have out there helping us with our beloved horses. To be continued…

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Update from Judith, May 21, 2013…

Today Freedom just had his second cast removed. He is wearing a splint on his right back hock. The vets state he will be wearing this for two weeks. Still healing and he is a bit more comfortable without the heavy cast on his leg. I am also using Back on Track wraps and boots to stimulate the blood circulation to his lower extremities. I am introducing the wraps and boots slowly; using only 4 hrs a day for a few days then graduate up to 8 hrs a day. Have to do this gradually. These are therapeutic wraps and boots. I am also giving him joint and hoof supplements as well. 

Freedom seems to be such a great horse and going along well with his wellness plan. Lots of love and TLC daily. I am encouraged. We have such great vets in the area. Our vets work as a team to do the casting and wraps. They are incredible. Keeping you posted on his recovery efforts. Thank you Gina. Hope all is well with you my friend. Praying for a full recovery for Freedom in the future. 

Horsey dreams, Judith. 

Update from Judith, June 25, 2013...

Today Dr. Migenti took off Freedom’s splint. He took some more radiographs of the back leg and states it is healing well. Not there completely yet. It must be wrapped and kept clean another month. Freedom is putting full weight on his leg. This morning he started flexing his leg and realized that the splint was gone. He is one amazing horse. I have read a few articles stating that it takes four months for bones to heal in horses depending on the break.

I also have been giving him joint, coat formula daily and optimize minerals from Manna Pro daily; he is getting the minerals we was lacking. Good boy he is.

The Dr. is pleased with Freedom’s recovery and I am still being very careful with his movements. Not to get too excited. That is hard for any horse. Oh you know it has to feel good without all of that stuff wrapped around his leg. We still must be very careful and take our time with him. Keep you posted on his recovery.

Thanks Gina and everyone for your prayers for Freedom. Prayers are abundant and we still keep on praying for a full recovery. Love and God Bless all of you,

Judith and Freedom 

Update August 19, 2013…

My dear friend Gina:

I have the approval from the Dr. to let Freedom go into the round pen to graze by himself now. August 9th, my vet said it is time to let him go out in a small area. Woohoo. So far he is doing great. He loves being able to eat grass on his own and for the first time in several months Freedom is able to experience being a horse again. He has been such a good boy. We still have a long way to go and build him up and developing ground manners. I am being careful with him. It was such a great sight to see him in the round pen for the first time since his accident back in April. I must send you photos of him. He is looking great and I pray for his continued healing. I am using back on track wraps on his back legs which promote better blood flow and healing. This is great news and keeping you informed on his progress. I am so happy for him. Baby steps. We continue on. I will let you know when he graduates to the pasture. Oh he is such a pretty paint Tobiano boy. Oh I love him so much. We have really bonded together. Tears of great joy and happiness for him.


Update October 20, 2013

Well sending you the latest update on Freedom. He is running in the pasture and exercising well. Leg is in great shape. Not having any difficulty walking, trotting, cantering in the pasture. You will be amazed at this information. I have had a young trainer working with him 2 weeks. Freedom is standing, cross ties, He has had a western and english saddle on him, a bridle with a snaffle bit, and most of all I could not bathe him 2 weeks ago now he will stand cross tied and I can give him a bath. I am starting to lunge him. We have a long way to go but he will let me do all of these things. I have developed trust and respect now. He is so smart. He learns quickly. What a bond we have developed and I am so proud of him. What a spirit, a bit of Mustang in his genetic makeup. His manners and sense of smell, sound is acute. His ears stand tall and forward he listens, he knows. What an amazing horse he is. Together we are learning to depend on each other. I work with him everyday now. My love is real for him. Freedom senses this relationship. He is gifted and aims to please me. He really does. Freedom is a master at his game. He is growing into a fine young horse with the proper training. I am so happy and proud of him. More updates and I need to get you some photos. Happy training he has graduated. Now the fine tuning and I will always protect that leg which God has placed his loving hand to heal the broken bones. I remember so well. Sometimes God gives us a second chance. Freedom is my gift and we have been given that second chance. Freedom is my blessing and I am so grateful everyday. All for my sweet boy Freedom.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lynette Partridge-Schneider, Equestrian

Residing in Illinois, USA, Lynette Partridge-Schneider is a World-Class equine judge, horse expert and equestrian. The founder and proprietor of Quail Ridge Equine, Lynette continues to share her passion for horses…

Welcome Lynette!

When was your first encounter with a horse?

The family story is one that says one of my first words was horse or “hor ‘ee”.  If horses were involved, I was in.  It seems I had horses in my blood from the day I was born and I have yet to outgrow the feelings horses give me.  I rode my bike to riding lessons and finally got my own horse when I was ten years old.  My first horse was a palomino Quarter Horse named Sheba.  Sheba taught me so much and was a major part of a lifetime of loving and working with horses. There was a connection with horses that have never been broken and has only grown stronger.

What is your riding discipline?

When I ride for fun, I ride western.  Growing up, I was blessed with the opportunity to ride and receive training in many disciplines.  I have had the privilege to learn and ride:  hunt seat, saddle seat, hunter over fences, western pleasure, reining, reining cow horse and pleasure driving.  As I mentioned before, if horses were involved, I was ready to learn and be involved.

What is your favorite breed of horse?

My heart will always have a special place for Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds.  Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with many breeds of horses.  My first apprenticeship was with Morgan horses, I also rode Saddlebreds in college and other breeds along the way.  Each breed has their own special quality and I enjoy learning about each and every one of them.  I have always felt the love of horses, all horses, and the desire to learn and appreciate the individual breeds aids me as a horse show judge and a certified equine appraiser.

As a horse show judge, what do you look for in a winning horse?

No matter what breed or discipline I am judging, as I have multiple breed cards as well as open all breed and discipline cards, I look for the best representative of the breed standard in the discipline of participation.  Every breed has a rule book that a judge studies and puts a picture in their head of what are the breed characteristics that make up the standard and the rules that apply for a specific discipline according to the breed.  There is always one horse that will stand out and have the look of “I am the winner” for a specific breed.  Even when there is more than one – there is one that jumps out and stays there in a manner of “look at me” I am the representative of the breed.

Where is your favorite arena?

WOW!  This is a hard one.  After several World Shows and State Fairs, along with numerous breed and open shows, I have had the chance to judge horse shows from New York to Iowa and then to Texas and the many states in between.  I have judged mostly in the mid-west and eastward.  Each arena has been special, for the people I have met and the horses I had the opportunity to judge.

Any funny anecdotes about horses/judging?

Horses are smarter than we humans give them credit for.  Each has their own personality.  I have owned and worked with some interesting horses.  A stallion I raised from a weanling was a great sire and loves the babies.  I have seen him in the pasture lying down and the foals climbing all over him.  He was such a sweetheart. When judging, I enjoy working with the youth and judging showmanship classes.  The biggest thing I have seen with new exhibitors is that many forget to breathe.  I stress at clinics to have fun, breathe and relax.

While judging a show recently, specifically, a hunter jumper class, one of the horses approached the first fence and looked good, then stopped and leaned.  The rider encouraged and the horse jumped the first fence and proceeded to the next fence, where the horse stopped, leaned and this time the fence fell, and the horse walked through. The rider continued to put the horse in a hunter pace to the next fence and again, the horse stopped, was never ugly or tried to truly refuse, just stopped and leaned.  Again, the fence fell and the horse walked through.  It was getting humorous as it looked like the horse was doing this on purpose and the poor rider held her cool while continuing to attempt to do the course.  From the point of the judges, the horse just found an easier way to make the course work for him.

You are a published freelancer; any books in your future?

Currently, there are books planned and in different stages of completion.  I have had many articles published on rehabilitation of horses, showing, picking the right horse and other topics published in national and international magazines, websites and other media outlets.  I did contribute to a book called “Mares” that was written and compiled by Betsy Kelleher.  With all the encouragement I continue to receive, I will be sharing my knowledge in book form very soon.

Do you have advice for novice equestrians?

First and foremost is to have fun with your horse, no matter the discipline or activity.  Learn as much as you can.  Attend clinics, ask questions and practice, practice, practice.

What does horsemanship mean to you?

Horsemanship in the dictionary is shown as the “art, ability and skill in handling and riding horses.”  To me, horsemanship is this and so much more.  It is being a team with the horse, working as one, like true dance partners in step with each other.  Horsemanship and horseman or horse persons show a true love of horses for the unique animals they are.

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A Glimpse of Lynette's Qualifications 

Qualifications of the Appraiser
H. Lynette Partridge-Schneider

American Society of Equine Appraisers
American Society of Agriculture Appraisers
United States Equestrian Federation
Illinois Horse Council
American Horse Council
American Paint Horse Association
American Quarter Horse Association
National Foundation Quarter Horse Association
Palomino Horse Breeders Association
Southeastern Foundation Quarter Horse Association
Illinois Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association
Illinois Racing Board Licensure
Georgia Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association
Missouri Fox Trotter Association
American Driving Society
Carriage Association of America
Gypsy Vanner Horse Society
Open Horse Show Association – Judge (Senior)
American Halter Horse Association – Judge (Senior)
American Shetland Pony Club "R", American Miniature Horse Registry "R",
American Show Pony Registry "R", National Sport Performance Pony Registry "R" - Judge
Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders & Exhibitors Association – Judge (Master)
Gypsy Horse Registry of America, Inc. – Judge (Senior)
Walking Horse Owners Association, Inc. – Judge (Senior)

Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management and Administration – (studies begun, not completed, through Canyon College)
Post-Baccalaureate in Chemistry/Biology – University of Georgia
Bachelor of Science Degree – Georgia Southern University
Continuing Education Courses – University of Georgia & University of North Carolina
Continuing Education and Certification Courses with International Society of Appraisers, American Society of Appraisers, American Society of Agricultural Appraisers and Breed Association Judging Seminars, Etc.

Background & Experience
Thirty+ years of involvement with the equine/livestock industry which includes:

Owner of Quail Ridge Farms (Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds)

Judge – American Halter Horse Association, American Shetland Pony Club/American Miniature Horse Registry/ American Show Pony Registry, Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders & Exhibitors Association – Judge (Master), Gypsy Horse Registry of America, Inc. – Judge (Senior), Open All-Breed and all discipline Horse Show(s) through North Carolina, Illinois and Purdue Multi-State Certification Classes

Agent and Broker for clients looking for show prospects (buying and selling)

Presenter of seminars and educational clinics for Clubs, Stables and Individual(s)

Licensed for the race track through Illinois Racing Commission

Local Club(s):  Show Committee, Judge, Ring Steward, Score Keeper & Points Recorder, Tack Inspector (open shows, club shows, performance disciplines & eventing)

Stuff & Nonsense: Introducing Celeste Parsons, Ohio Writer

Greetings from southeastern Ohio! My name is Celeste Parsons, and I live here on a 48-acre former dairy farm with my husband Jim, our Westie...