ISSUE 70
SEP 2021

PARAS WIN HEARTS
AT TOKYO
KEVIN McNAB & DON
STRIKE SILVER
OLYMPIC BLOODLINES
WITH HEATH RYAN

PLUS: LUCINDA GREEN, AMY GRAHAM, EMMA WEINERT O’ROURKE, DIAMOND B’S SECRETS, THOROUGHBRED REHAB, WALERS TO THE RESCUE, SET GOALS WITH KERRY MACK, THE BLACK STALLION, BUILDING AN ARENA, FEEDING & FOALING

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
click here to start reading

ISSUE 70

CONTENTS

SEP 2021
click on left side to read the previous article
click on right side to read the next article
scroll down or click icon to read article

A few Words

FROM THE CHAIRMAN

ROBERT MCKAY

Opinion

BREEDING FOR BRISBANE: WHAT TOKYO TAUGHT US

RYAN'S RAVE BY HEATH RYAN

Para Equestrian

PARA EQUESTRIAN FAB FOUR WIN HEARTS AT TOKYO

BY ADELE SEVERS

Dressage

EMMA BRINGS IT ALL BACK HOME

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Off the Track

A THOROUGH BELIEF IN THOROUGHBREDS

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Showjumping

AUSSIE AMY GRAHAM’S JUMPING LIFE IN EUROPE

BY BERNARD BALE

Training

SO YOU WANT TO GO TO THE GAMES?

BY DR KERRY MACK

Health

HOLD YOUR HORSES: FEEDING FOR COOLNESS

BY ELLIE JOLLEY

Lifestyle

THE MAGIC OF THE BLACK STALLION

BY SUZY JARRATT

Property

DESIGN BY VISION

BY ADELE SEVERS

Eventing

KEVIN McNAB’S SILVER DEBUT

BY ELLI BIRCH

Lifestyle

THE HORSE AS THE HEALER

BY ELLIE JOLLEY

Showjumping

HOW DIAMOND B PRODUCES ITS GEMS

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Health

SEPSIS IN FOALS

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

Eventing

LUCINDA GREEN’S JOINT VENTURE

BY ADELE SEVERS
content placeholder
Eventing legend Lucinda Green MBE, riding Riddick VDH in the CCI2*S at The Dodson and Horrell International Horse Trials in 2019. © Elli Birch/BootsandHooves.
Previous
Next

Across five decades at the elite end of eventing, Lucinda Green MBE has seen more than a few changes to the sport she loves. And while some aspects such as good riding principles don’t change, other parts have evolved. Fresh from commentating in Tokyo, Lucinda reveals how it really was an Olympics like no other, discusses how the wonders of new technology have helped her adapt to coaching during the pandemic, and reflects on how scientific advancements in joint care have led to improved welfare outcomes for our equine athletes.

Lucinda Green has just returned from commentating on an Olympics Games she, and many others, never thought would actually happen. The eventing legend was first amongst the Olympic action as part of Great Britain’s silver medal-winning team at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, and since then she’s found herself in the commentary box for the Games on six occasions. An eventing legend with countless accolades to her name — she’s a World and double European Champion, Olympic silver medallist, dual Burghley and six-time Badminton winner — Lucinda knows the sport as well as anyone in the business. However, this year at Tokyo things were a little different to what she’s used to, in more ways than one.

“For a start, I was working for the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), which I’ve never done before,” explains Lucinda. Previously when commentating at the Olympics, Lucinda worked for individual national broadcasters such as the BBC in the UK or Channel 7 in Australia, where she was relatively “unbound by any regulations”.

“It was quite fascinating to work within Olympic media. This put me into a different zone to what I have ever worked in before. Because there are rules and regulations that you must abide by; these things I had to learn, and it took me a bit of time on one or two occasions. Luckily, John Kyle, the professional commentator, had worked with the OBS before, so he was able to keep me on the straight and narrow,” laughs Lucinda.

Lucinda explains that working in association with the Games was an “incredibly honoured position” and something she thoroughly enjoyed. “It is an exceptional sporting situation; it’s the only situation of its kind that involves the whole world. This year we had Covid-19, which has involved the whole world working towards a common end to try and manage the virus; the Games also involves the world working towards a common aim… to try and beat each other.”

Lucinda was contracted to commentate on the Games prior to the pandemic, and when Covid-19 hit and the Olympics were postponed, she found herself questioning whether they would — or even should — go ahead.

“For a very long time leading up to the Games, I thought we shouldn’t be going and that it was wrong. I could have broken the contract, but I allowed myself to be swept along with it,” she says. On arriving on Tokyo, Lucinda, as part of the media, was Covid-tested daily initially, and then every three days. There were a few positive tests in the village, and while she half-expected cases to spread and chaos to ensue, it never did — tests were “magnificently monitored” and Japan handled the situation “extraordinarily well”.

“He was able to keep me on
the straight an
d narrow.”

By the end of the Games, Lucinda felt the Olympics were a positive event that broadcast inspiration — not to mention a sense of normality — into lounge rooms around the globe. Particularly for those under various levels of lockdown restrictions here in Australia, it was a welcome distraction.

Lucinda explains that commentating on an Olympic Games is unusual in that unlike most other equestrian events, you’re commentating for those who understand the sport — as well as those who know very little. “It’s a fascinating juxtaposition to try and achieve. It’s similar to what the cross country course designer has to deal with at an Olympics; they have to deal with such a disparity in skill level. While all combinations have the same qualifications, it’s impossible to keep the standard identical throughout the world. So it’s a very, very difficult thing to design a course with so many different nations competing.

“Similarly, it’s very difficult to commentate on an Olympic Games. You commentate on an event like Badminton, mostly to eventing aficionados… but at an Olympics, people drop by after watching the wall climbing.”

“I love meeting people and helping
people with their problems.”

STAYING AT HOME, COACHING GLOBALLY

For the past 25 years, Lucinda has made a living out of travelling the globe to provide clinics on an aspect of the sport that is very close to her heart — safe, confident cross country riding. She’s seen this element of the sport in particular change immensely over the years, and with it, different approaches to training and riding to the ever evolving technical side of cross country courses.

Lucinda has long been a proponent for training an event horse to think for itself while listening to the rider — rather than micromanaging every stride throughout a course and taking away their initiative. And those familiar with her philosophy will also be aware of the importance she places on a secure riding position and the need to have the horse willingly travelling to a fence: “Create a tube between your legs, connect your legs to his eyeballs, and your hands to his brain.” Those who have attended Lucinda’s clinics will no doubt remember those phrases.

“I enjoy trying to spread the word that I feel is important if we’re going to keep cross country as the heartbeat of our sport,” says Lucinda, who fears that in the current social climate where a certain level of perceived risk can be deemed unacceptable, the sport could be at risk of turning into “a second rate dressage and jumping sport with an exhibition cross country”. Lucinda sees mitigating that risk, through careful training of both horse and rider, as crucial to the survival of the sport.

However, since the pandemic began, the British-based eventing great’s only international trip has been to Tokyo; Covid-19 has meant that travelling the world to deliver clinics is no longer an option. “It’s been glorious in some ways, because travelling for the past 25-odd years has become somewhat tiring. Travelling like I did, you do live in an airport,” notes Lucinda, explaining that while she adores the benefits of travelling — meeting people, catching up with friends and imparting her wisdom — she doesn’t love airport life.

The pandemic forced Lucinda to rethink how to reach those she’d normally teach in person, and the result has been Lucinda Green XC Academy — an online membership with the potential to reach her regular clients, as well as those further afield. “A good friend of mine, Rachael Faulkner, is a very techie person and an Olympic rider herself. She runs a well-known event centre in England, Tweseldown, and had taken a course during lockdown about running a membership.”

Lucinda Green XC Academy utilises Rachael’s tech know-how with Lucinda’s incredible training philosophy to provide eventers from around the globe with the ability to implement the “Greenprint” for safer and more confident cross country riding and training at home.

“It’s taken a huge chunk of pressure off, because I really do want to spread the word. And it’s much easier virtually now than ever before, especially now people are so tuned in to the online space. I see it as a way to achieve much more of what I want to achieve, rather than belting around the world doing clinics, which whilst I thoroughly enjoyed, the travelling makes it pretty hard work. Particularly in northern New South Wales on 40-degree days, where water is virtually boiling in the bottle.

“I love meeting people and helping people with their problems. And their problems are much the same the world over. It’s great fun when we have a Zoom discussion and we’ve people literally from Africa, New Zealand, Australia, America… it’s very exciting and it’s exactly what I want.”

The members become part of a community of motivated and encouraging cross country riders, gaining access to actionable video-learning (with new content available every week), and joining monthly live chats with Lucinda and a range of expert guest speakers. “We have an online lesson each month where we share what we’ve learned and what trouble we’ve run into. In the Insider Info we have some really good speakers; recently we had Derek di Grazia, who designed the course at Tokyo,” says Lucinda.

Membership for the Lucinda Green XC Academy opens twice per year, and you can find out more here.

On a personal note, Lucinda says it’s been “quite pleasant to be home” over the past 18 months and she’s enjoyed being able to spend more time with her daughter, Lissa and Lissa’s fiancé, Giorgio. Lissa is also an eventer, who rides under the Australian flag. The downside is that her son, Freddie, lives in New Zealand. “So while I’m lucky in that I have much more time with my daughter, I sadly have much less time with him. Hopefully, that will change in time.”

EVOLVING HORSE CARE

On the topic of evolution in the sport, an area that’s changed significantly is the way in which riders manage the soundness of their horses — especially in response to the rigours of cross country. From when Lucinda first started competing in the 70s until now, joint care has come a long way. “For a start, we used to not understand the benefit of ice,” says Lucinda. “We’d put a warm poultice on their legs following cross country.”

That being said, the benefits of cold hosing were known to some extent and Lucinda recalls coming back from one of her early trips competing in America with what she called ‘elephant boots’: “They were huge, rubber boots and the horse would stand in them up to their elbow, and cold water would circulate around their leg.”

Phenylbutazone (also known as “bute”, a commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that reduces inflammation and associated pain) has a long and somewhat controversial use with sport horses. It was introduced to human medicine in 1949 largely to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but since the 1950s it has taken its place as one of the more commonly used anti-inflammatory drugs in horses. It was widely used in equestrian sports for many years, including eventing. In 1980, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) held a vote with regards to changing its rules, which at that point in time allowed phenylbutazone to be used both in and out of competition; the rule change did not pass, although the drug’s presence in a horse during competition was restricted to a lower level, and that level was tightened again a few years later. In 1993 it was banned completely from being present in horses at competitions.

“The equestrian world moved on from being allowed phenylbutazone, to not allowed it, to then event horses instead being walked around all night following the cross country phase, to stop them stiffening up,” explains Lucinda. “So then the rules came in that the stables would be closed at 11pm and open at 5am, to ensure the horses could rest, which was a good thing.”

As the benefits of post-exercise cold therapy became more broadly accepted, the use of ice boots to reduce inflammation and promote recovery became commonplace in the eventing world. The use of natural supplements that promoted joint health (but did not mask pain like NSAIDs) also began to enter the picture. “Initially, we still only tended to use these types of supplements when we felt they were becoming a bit older and stiffer,” notes Lucinda.

TIME FOR FORESIGHT

Around four years ago, Lucinda was introduced to the natural joint supplement 4CYTE™. “It seemed like a really good idea to grow a horse up using something that would just help lubricate their joints,” she says, explaining that all of her horses and dogs now take 4CYTE™ daily.

“I have great belief in it, because I take EPIITALIS®, which is the active ingredient in OSTEO-restore™ (4CYTE™ for humans) as well as 4CYTE™ for horses and dogs, and I have felt the difference. I think that’s the most powerful thing, because you never know what the horses are feeling; they can’t talk. Some people would say ‘well he works better’, but he might have been going to work better anyhow. That’s why I took it. I’m becoming older and stiffer; I find my muscles stiffen, but my joints don’t in the way that I would expect at my age having crashed and burned a few times. So it’s quite extraordinary.”

Lucinda explains that improved joint health is not the only benefit of 4CYTE™: “One of the many things I love is that they come for you when you hold up the syringe; they learn to trust the fact that what’s in that syringe is okay. It’s all I can do to stop them chewing and biting the syringe off, so you do have to watch that.

“Ultimately, our event horses are doing more than if they were just wild herd animals, so we have to address that. As horse owners, there are things we’ve massively improved in our horses’ lives — if they become stuck in a bog they won’t die as they might in the wild, as we’ll pull them out — but there are some things that are tougher for them. So we try to help ameliorate those things. Using a product like 4CYTE™ is one of many ways we can help the horse come along in the modern world, and if you can make things even better for them — and it’s not in any way going to disturb or hurt them — why not use it?”

Lucinda believes that as an eventer, your partnership with your horse is crucial and at the elite level in particular, a horse will only partake in an activity such as cross country if he wants to. “The idea as a rider is to help your horse learn what fun it can be. There’s no way I’m riding cross country with a horse that doesn’t love it, because it’s no fun for anybody.

“The whole thing is a partnership and a journey. We must always have the welfare of the horse at heart. It’s very difficult to train a horse to any reasonable level, and if you’re lucky enough to find one that you can, you treasure it — and care for it — with everything you can.” EQ

This article was written in conjunction with 4CYTE™. To find out more about their range, click here.

×

Enter your name and email to view the content.



* By providing your email via this form, you agree to receiving emails from Equestrian Life. You can unsubscribe at any time.