Friday, April 13, 2012

Great Way to Wrap up March



The last weekend of March was a great one for Professional’s Choice. The English side had a great weekend in Eventing with James Alliston winning the Galway Downs CIC3* Event on Jumbo’s Jake. To make it even more amazing he got second on Tivoli, a new horse for him. These horses are total opposites, with Jumbo’s Jake being calm and steady. Tivoli is a hot and sensitive horse. Alliston truly showed his versatility as a rider. Another Professional’s Choice rider James Atkinson had a good weekend winning the Open Preliminary. Steffen Peters continued his domination in Dressage at the Del Mar Dressage Affair World Cup. Steffen and Leogolas earned a 78.225% in the freestyle to take home the Championship. Steffen has only been riding Leogolas since December and they have obviously clicked to form a great pair.

On the Western side, Al Dunning and his Team AD also had good success at the Marana cutting. One of his team members Todd Bro won the Non-Pro class winning a large check! Al has been giving lots of clinics lately and hitting the road, be sure to look for him and his students to keep cleaning up at the cuttings. In the Rodeo World, Barrel racer Brittany Pozzi won the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo on her horse Yeah Hes Firen, aka Duke. She had the fastest time of the rodeo with a 15.05 and kept turning in consistently fast times to win it all.




Monday, August 8, 2011

Seeing Dressage in a whole new light …


At Professional’s Choice, there are riders of nearly every discipline: barrel racing, cutting, Three-day-eventing, trail, pleasure, and of course, Dressage. If you have ridden in the English style, it is highly likely that at some point you have taken part in simple forms of dressage. Yet, it seems that most riders do Dressage training rather grudgingly. It’s a little like eating a small portion of the vegetables on the dinner table, but really saving lots of room for dessert, which for many riders is to be allowed to jump. Only a few devotists find these introductory Dressage movements a partly captivating, partly art form. Personally, I’m at some odd point in the middle. As a child, I was part of Pony Club, where Dressage training was regularly required. My pony at the time excelled at it, and I was able to show him through 2nd level. But then the jumps became bigger, my pony became older, and it was time to move to my next horse, a monster 17.1-hand jumper (who knew as much Dressage as squirrel chasing). He and I were in love with Three-day-eventing, and at that time, our opinions to dressage were mutually reinforcing. In Three-day eventing, Dressage was that mandatory first day thing that came before the really fun stuff, jumping and cross-country. Every Three-day event became a toss-up to see if we would survive the dressage test. Jumping was so easy, because there wasn’t a required “free walk” where I had to reluctantly relinquish my reins, or that “canter-to-walk” transition where it was it was not unusual for him to decide to simply step out of the arena or to remain cantering in place. Then, about four years ago, I completely switched disciplines to Reining, and bought an adorable two-year-old quarter horse. He is the thoroughbred’s polar opposite, a sweet, lazy, loveable Gumby horse. He also has one very clubby foot. In Reining, one extremely important movement is to be able to spin in place. Now my sweet baby would try his heart out, but his anatomy and conformation made it just about impossible to spin to the left. Instead of letting him ram his legs repeatedly into each other, hoping he would magically figure out how to maneuver his awkward body, I took an entirely different route. Every day we launched into a series of Dressage maneuvers that taught him to isolate different parts of his body. We learned Leg yield, Shoulder-in, Haunches-in, and even Half-pass. Through a weekly regime of these movements, he learned to compensate for his clubfoot. After this training, we returned to re-learning the spins, starting with a Leg yield, and slowly moving into a spin. It was a wonderful experience for both of us to see it all click for him. He literally picks his leg up like a high stepping horse, then swings it over, and repeats this maneuver at high speeds. It is a delightful thing to watch as his spins to the left now keep up with any seasoned Reiner. As a side note, one of the local pony club girls horse came up lame on the day of the big Dressage rally event. Out of sheer desperation, She asked to borrow my reining pony, and was she surprised when she pulled in one of the highest scores of the day on a Reining quarter horse. As a result of this experience, my view of dressage has forever been altered. Suddenly, I see Dressage as an invaluable tool in my kit on how to help horses find ways in which to move their body on command. I still love all the fun events of riding like jumping and reining, but my feelings on Dressage are starting to shift from “sort of in the middle” to definitely appreciate this unique discipline.

If you are also beginning to see Dressage in a different light, or want to learn more about this art-form, I’d like to re-introduce you to Catherine Haddad, who is a master of Dressage, and who also happens to be one of Professional Choice’s leading endorsers. I’ve listed a few dates for her clinics below, and if you’re in her area on any of these times, I encourage you to check out her clinics.

Clinic list for August-September, 2011
Aug -9-10 clinic Hawk Hill Ranch, Bedminster NJ, Randi Leoni, randese@earthlink.net

Aug 18-21 show Saugerties CDI-W

Aug 22-23 clinic Forest Hill Farm, Lafayette, IN, Jennifer Kaiser, jak789_2000@yahoo.com

Aug 29-30 clinic Franktown Meadows E. C., Reno, NV, Amy Robinson, mebeamy@gmail.com
Aug31-Sep 01 clinic Denver, Marian Nilsen,

hhboutique@gmail.com
Sep 5/6 clinic Briar Quest Farm, London, Ontario, CAN, Shirley Moraal, smoraal@hughes.net
Sep 8-12 show Gladstone USEF Festival

Sep 13-14 training with Morten

Sep 15-18 show Saugerties CDI-W
Sep 19-20 clinic Mt.Olive Farm Valley Lee, MD, Donna O’Connor, doconnor421@verizon.net

Sep 21-22, clinic Shoeman Road Farm, Haslett, Michigan, Linda Clay

greatlakessaddlery@gmail.com

Sep 29-Oct 2 show Devon CDI-W


Thanks for reading,
Cassie




Thursday, March 31, 2011

Announcing New Endorser’s

This year, Professional’s Choice has expanded its classic line of English products to appeal to a broader audience with new specialty items like our Ballistic Brushing Boot, Open Front Boots in hard shell and leather, and a range of Splint Boots. To pair with our expanded line of products, we have added two new endorsers of our English product line.


James Atkinson was born in Yorkshire England and immigrated to Canada in 1990. He progressed through Canada’s young rider program with wonderful success and went on to ride internationally for Canada. In 2001, he competed at Rolex Kentucky, and received the Bank One Trophy for being the highest placed rider that owned his own horse. The following year, James and his horse Revy were chosen to represent Canada at the World Equestrian Games in Spain. James is now based in Southern California where he trains and produces upper level event horses. He has been a cross-country builder for nine years, is ‘R’ licensed, and has worked closely with almost all of the best course designers and officials. Currently, he is the organizer for Copper Meadows Horse Trials in Ramona, CA, and is currently competing at the intermediate level with Carolyn Hoffos’ German riding horse Gustav, while also training students up through preliminary level.

Taren Atkinson is a full-time instructor at Copper Meadows Equestrian Center with students at all levels. Taren has experienced a great deal of eventing success, competing on many horses through the CCI-one star level. Taren’s riding school is called Limerick Equestrian, and her students and graduates achieve success by practicing safe riding techniques, excellent stable management, and a commitment to enjoying horses and their sport.

Both Taren and James are a great addition to our group of Event riders and instructors who are enthusiastic about Professional’s Choice English products.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Should I Boot My Horse?



By: Joleen R Elston, DVM

 


To boot, or not to boot, becomes a frequently asked question. Opening any popular horse magazine or catalogue may overwhelm the reader with the diversity of equine protective leg wear. The right boot for you will be based on many factors--such as your horse’s conformation, movement, use, or even history.

There are many reasons to boot a horse, but the most important is prevention of injury. Although there have been many exciting advances in equine lameness diagnosis and treatment recently, tendon injuries are the most common injuries in performance horses, require long rest and rehabilitation periods, and have a high incidence of recurrence. Proper booting helps provide support to tendons, thus helping reduce tendon fatigue during work. Wear-and-tear accumulates from daily work and becomes a tendon injury.

Booting may also help to protect against contusions. Blunt trauma may occur due to the environment (rocks, jump poles, sliding, etc) or from the horse itself. Horses may over-reach with hind limbs and pull their shoes, bruise their soles, causing themselves to trip or fall, injure flexor tendons, or lacerate the heel bulbs. Forms of over-reaching include forging (same side hoof hits front foot), scalping, or cross firing. Another benefit of booting is to prevent against interference, or brushing, injuries. Interference is a term used to describe the limbs touching each other during foot flight. Horses may tend to interfere if they have conformation that is base narrow (narrow chest places limbs closer together), or toed-out. Toed-out conformation causes a horse to bring the limb toward mid-line during foot-flight, also called ‘winging.’ Booting may also protect against lacerations of the lower limb from any of these contusions, which are prone to develop exuberant granulation tissue (proud flesh).

There are many types of boots that perform different functions. Splint boots refer to boot that extend from below the knee or hock to the level of the fetlock or just below. If they are a simple form that wrap around the cannon bone (shin)- they are primarily used for brush control (see the Professional’s Choice Quick-Wrap®, Easy-Fit™, Competitor™, or VenTECH™ Splint Boots). If these splint boots extend down below the fetlock, they provide more support for the drop of the fetlock in weight bearing and support the tendon’s stretch (see the Professional’s Choice Ventech Elite, SMB II, or SMB 3). Bell boots refer to small cup shaped boots that fit around the pastern and over the hoof- these prevent injury to the hoof, hairline, or shoe pulling (see the Professional’s Choice Quick-Wrap®, Ballistic® Overreach, and Secure-Fit™ Overreach Bell Boots). Shipping boots extend from the ground to the level of the knee/hock or above and are used when transporting a horse in the trailer to prevent contusions. Alternatively- standing wraps with bell boots may be used for more support while stalled or during transport. Performance boots should not be used for support wraps during rest due to the lack of padding and horse’s sensitive limbs.

Booting may protect your horse against injury and ensure a long and comfortable performance career. There are many types of boots available on the market and many factors to take account of when making your decisions--please allow your veterinarian and trainer to help find the right product for your horse’s needs. Always remember, prevention is easier than rehabilitation!





Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Start of a Wonderful Partnership



Here at Professional’s Choice, we are firm believers in our company’s motto: “The more Comfortable the Horse the Better the Performance”. No two people believe in that motto more than Professional’s Choice founder Dal Scott, and one of our longest endorsee’s, John Lyons. These two men have long shared similar business minds, concurrent with the goal of keeping horses healthy and sound.


They met in 1988, at the Houston Rodeo and Livestock show. Dal was promoting his fledgling business and John was giving demonstrations. John stopped by the booth and was impressed by Dal’s radically different boot design from Professional’s Choice. Back in 1988, horse protection wasn’t such a high concern. According to John, “Dal Scott is responsible for many people using protective leg wear or protection on horses.” The only boots available during those days were simple leather splint boots or some leather hind boots for reiner's. John picked up a pair of boots, and quickly developed a respect for the thought and care that went into their design. When talking to John on the phone, he emphasized that he promoted the products without becoming a sponsor, because he truly believed in them. He believed in the product first, over time developed his friendship with Dal, and only after the passage of 10 years became an endorser. This is truly what Professional’s Choice calls a meaningful partnership, having our endorser’s use our products solely because they believe in them.




John traveled for years promoting his program and simultaneously using Professional’s Choice boots. Dal was impressed at one symposium, when with horrible acoustics and an attendance of 35 people, John gave his same amazing demonstration as he normally does before a crowd of hundreds. This one performance spoke silent volumes of testimony about John’s professionalism and dedication. After spending many years as friends and business partners, John suggested that Dal form a partnership with Wrangler. This idea went on to make Wrangler one of our strongest partnerships; one that still exists today. From traveling so much, John has encountered a number of copycat products trying to emulate the Professional’s Choice sports medicine boot. But we remain the only company to have put our boots through rigorous testing both with real scientists and with personal use. John enjoys having Dal send him new products, just to get his opinion and to see if they would apply to all horsemen. There is no room in this small piece of how two great friends, Dal Scott and John Lyons met, to tell all their great tales and adventures. We hope that this “behind the scenes story” will leave you with an insight to the amazing relationships the endorsers we all admire have with Professional’s Choice.



Check out John Lyon's website here: http://www.johnlyons.com/about/aboutjohnlyons.php

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Colin Davidson, 29, Passes Away



Advanced-level eventer Colin Davidson, 29, passed away December 6th, after a one-car accident near his home in Charlottesville, Va. Davidson. Colin was an organ donor and his family decided to concede to his wishes. Originally from South Conway, N.H., competed through the four-star level on his horse Draco and was named to the 2010 U.S. Equestrian Federation’s Eventing Developing Rider List.

Collin was a friend of Professional’s Choice Vice President Michele Scott, and was hoped to be an endorsee for 2011. He will be missed by all of us at Professional’s Choice.



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Beautiful Day

A Beautiful Day




It is said that everyone will experience their fifteen minutes of fame, but more importantly, everyone should experience a moment where they feel truly loved. This moment of love came for me this weekend. Two months ago, I was involved in a life changing accident. To help pay for some of the medical bills and expenses, my friends decided to put on a Cowboy Challenge horse show and donate the proceeds to me. They even added in a silent auction to help raise a little extra money. To begin with, I was absolutely blown away by the number of items donated. I was expecting a few things here and there, but we received over 75 items, ranging from artwork, to stallion’s stud service, to Professional’s Choice items. Even before the week started, rain was forecasted for the weekend, and I was worried about the show. Practical advice suggested putting off the show to another day, but we had already purchased the food, paid the cattle fee, and the judges had donated their time, so there was simply no turning back. Everyone knows that real cowboys ride in the rain, and so could we. On Friday, the day before, it had started with a steady drizzle, we got countless calls asking if the show would go on. I spent the entire evening setting up the course and placing tarps to keep people sheltered from the rain. The morning of the show, I sat there terrified no one would come. Yes, it was not raining, but with only an hour until start time, only two trailers had pulled in. Then out of nowhere, the entire place filled up. People who I didn’t even know came out to have fun, and contribute to my cause. An even bigger miracle was that it poured rain everywhere in all of San Diego, except for right over my ranch. There was just a little off and on light drizzle all day, complete with pockets of sunshine. More than forty “cowboys” took the fun challenge, which had everything from jousting for rings, to pulling a log, to filling up a bucket of water from a well, all while riding for time. As soon as the show was over and pretty much everyone had packed up, the clouds opened up and rain suddenly came down in sheets. Overall, the day could not have gone better. Everyone had fun, some people earned beautiful belt buckles, and love poured like the rain throughout the day.
Thanks for Reading, Cassie

Friday, November 12, 2010

Al Dunning and VenTECH(tm) Elites

I wanted to take a brief moment to highlight one of our great sponsors.  Arizona horseman Al Dunning and his students have earned over 32 World and Reserve titles. 

Al also loves our products!  Check out this quote from his November newsletter, “Professional's Choice has a new, innovative boot that surpasses all of the previous ones that I have tried.  The VenTECH Elite Sports Medicine Boot is amazing! They fit and conform to my horses' cannon bones well.  They have a neoprene ventilation system, unlike the old, hot neoprene of the past.  They provide maximum support and keep the dirt and sand out.  I now use VenTECH boots on all my horses as a part of my show and day to day riding. ” You can subscribe to his newsletter and keep current on what Al is up to on his website http://www.teamadinternational.com/  .  Our new VenTECH™ Elite boots are just one of many products which utilize our VenTECH™ technology.  We have VenTECH™ in many of our boots, cinches, and girths; look out in 2011 for many new products featuring VenTECH™.  VenTECH™ technology keeps your horse cool, comfortable, and performing at its best.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Loyalty is found in the heart

Today I wanted to touch upon the good and special things in horses. Three weeks ago I was kicked by a friends horse three times.  My six year old quarter horse “Finally” (got his namesake by being born a month late) was tied up across from the horse that nearly took my life. After I was kicked, and when they had pulled the offending horse clear of everyone, there was an attempt to move all of the other horses out of the way to make room for the ambulance. My horse stood stock still, parallel to the trailer, eyes fixated on me. Several concerned friends tried to move him and he refused, not rudely, but with an air of determined calm resistance. He knew that I was hurt and was not going to leave my side. Eventually it proved more productive to move me, and only then did Finally allow someone to lead him to a nearby trailer, where he was tied up next to one of his friends, a 3 year old paint. The ambulance arrived quickly. It’s flashing lights caused every horse within sight to freak out, every horse that is except for Finally and his young friend. Both stood absolutely calm and still, keeping their eyes on me. I had no clue that I had just been kicked by a horse, or why I was being held down by friends. At that moment, the only thing that I could remember was that a horse had tried to kick Finally. Over and over, I repeatedly asked if Finally was okay. Finally was fine, and had suffered only one kick. But it took me several hours at the hospital before I could stop asking about Finally. On that dreadful day, he proved to me forever that he is my loyal baby. All he knew was that his mom got hurt and that his job was to stand by and protect me until help arrived. There is truth in that every horse has the power to do great harm, but there is also truth in that every horse has the power to love unconditionally. From the moment he was born, I knew in my heart that this baby horse was special, unfortunately it took a bad accident for the rest of the world to see I was right.
Thanks fo reading, Cassie Hagey

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Getting Back to the Wild West

What do two beautiful, talented, champion ladies in completely different extreme equine sports share in common? Why they both use and endorse Professional Choice products! These two gals are blazing new paths in some unique equine competitions as they bring back the Wild West with mounted shooting and mustang makeovers! Kenda Lenseigne is the current mounted shooting champion and the first ever cowgirl to win High Overall at both the CMSA National and World Championships. In this timed event, one has to ride a twisting course while shooting out targets on the fly. She is winning left and right and beating all the boys while doing it too! Not only is she setting all kinds of new records but she is even breaking her own. Watch Kenda and her horse Justin break their own world record at the Eastern US Championship in Murfreesboro, Tennessee at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBtVTiY_YKs. Wylene Wilson is famous for competing in the Craig Cameron Extreme Cowboy Races, and the Extreme Mustang Makeover programs. The Extreme Cowboy Races is an event that features challenging Western riding skills. In the Extreme Mustang Makeover each trainer has 90 days to make a wild mustang into a fully trained horse. Wylene is known for her trademark showmanship and flying dismounts. You can see her winning 2009 freestyle at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5LTkLpavRQ . “Wylene Wilson's riding style has established for her a reputation of confidence and courage. She is described as fearless and exciting. Her performances amaze audiences everywhere she competes. Wylene's trademark is Wild West Horsemanship.“ from http://www.girlinprogress.com/wylenewilson//index.htm Thanks for reading Cassie Hagey

Friday, August 20, 2010

Putting the Fun Back in Horse Shows

My lovely boss asked me (Cassie Hagey) one of the newer Professional's Choice employees to contribute to the blog, seeing as how horses are my favorite thing to talk or write about I am delighted to. Reflecting over horse shows recent, long ago, and yet to come, more and more I realize the subtle but all-encompassing importance of being supportive and positive. A week ago, I was at a schooling jumper show, and it was an absolute blast. Everyone was cheering each other on, whether through a great round or in the determined face of a refusing horse. If a rider looked lost, we (on the side-lines) tried to point out the next jump. When a horse initially decided it would never go near (or ever consider going over) a certain jump, and the rider finally succeeded in coaxing the horse over, a spontaneous roar broke out as if they had just won the Olympic gold medal. Now, I realize that this little show was just a schooling event, and not officially rated, so (I admit it) the rules were lax. Yet in the moment, I imagined the power and changes that would result, if this supportive atmosphere could be created at every show. In our uber-competitive world, a focus on the sole apex position leaves in the dust essential elements of life's joys and lessons. I’m not asking individuals to plaster on fake smiles and to give false hopes, but if a competitor truly had a great round, let them know! Complements from a knowledgeable outsider can mean the most to riders, simply because they are offered free and unbiased. If a young rider is looking terrified and can not remember the pattern or course, either offer them a general run through, or brainstorm together the best route. Another simple but large part of creating a great show atmosphere occurs with a good dose of ring courtesy during warm-ups. While trying to get the jitters out of your own horse and heart, it is often difficult to remember that every rider and horse is on edge, so give them that extra space when passing, call your fence, and do your best with ring rules and manners. Everyone has encountered show parents, who live (as the greatest fans) and die (that was absolutely unfair) with their child's every move. When all are out exposed in the center of the arena, it is not that blue ribbon that matters as much as enjoying the little steps of accomplishment in a long journey between horse and rider. Learning to be both a gracious winner and loser is a big part of life. The pervasive focus on winning can make it so tough explaining to a young rider why they didn’t get a ribbon, heck it’s even hard for me to understand sometimes. Yesterday, for a brief afternoon, I felt and understood a force that melded all participants together with a joy that left competition irrelevant. Cassie Hagey

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

From Past to Present

A few weeks ago, when I wrote the blog I mentioned that I was going to blog about some of the stories that helped define who Professional's Choice is today as a company--how and why we got here, what shaped our philosophies, and what helps us provide our equine partners with the best, scientifically tested, and most comfortable products available.

When going through our archives, I found a really neat story that I had forgotten about from 1991. It was printed in the April 1991 issue of EQUUS. I decided to reprint it here. Hope you enjoy!

After waiting more than a year for one of his best show jumpers to recover from a suspensory-ligament injury, world-class rider and trainer Ian Millar was losing hope that his horse might ever be sound. "Our veterinarian gave us a guarded prognosis," he says. "He didn't think the horse could compete again."

So, when a distributor offered him a pair of Professional's Choice Sports Boots, Millar figured he had nothing to lose.  He covered the horse's legs with the specially padded "shin and ankle" boots and began light training.  Today, he reports, after a few months of working in the boots, the horse is returning to his old form and is resuming rigorous show-jumping training.

A coincidence? Perhaps.  But upon hearing several similar reports from veterinarians and trainers who have used the boots on horses with bowed tendons and suspensory injuries, Professional's Choice enlisted two independent scientific researchers to conduct special studies of the new product. "We wanted to state facts and not make claims," says the company's president, Dal Scott.  "We wanted to have answers." He adds that before being marketed in 1989, the Sports Medicine Boots had undergone extensive testing and field trial analysis, but the new projects would provide clinical evidence of how the boots work.

Initially developed at the requests of several reining-horse trainers, Sports Medicine Boots are designed to provide support without restricting flexibility. Covered by neoprene fabric, each boot features dense, foam rubber padding similar to that used in protective football equipment. To facilitate ease of application and provide a snug fit, four Velcro-brand straps, one of which hooks up under the fetlock for a "sling-effect," hold the boot in place on the horse's leg.
To conduct the additional scientific studies, Professional's Choice called on William Crawford, DMV, of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Calvin Kobluk, DMV, of the University of Minnesota.  Crawford determined the boots' ability to absorb the energy produced when a horse's hoof hits the ground-a quality known as the bandage effectiveness- while Kobluk analyzed the product's effect on the equine gait.
Through a series of tests preformed under laboratory conditions and trial usage, Crawford determined that Sports Medicine Boots have a bandage effectiveness of 21.25 percent when they are brand new.  (In contrast, standard galloping or polo wraps have bandage effectiveness of only six to ten percent.)  Interestingly, after the boots had been worn through 20 hours of exercise, their energy-absorption rose to 24.56 percent.  According to Crawford, the increase is likely due to the fact that the boot gradually conforms to the shape of the horse's leg, allowing it to more efficiently absorb energy.
Based on the results of his study, Crawford says that Sports Medicine Boots "provide very high levels of energy absorption which will help to prevent injuries associated with hyperextension of the fetlock."  He adds that horses recovering from bowed tendons and suspensory-ligament injuries "will benefit from the high ability of these boots to absorb high levels of energy if they are worn during their exercise and training activities."
Meanwhile, in neighboring Minnesota, researcher Kobluk used a videotape system designed for motion analysis to film five horses galloping at racing speeds on a high-speed treadmill.  During their first trial, they ran bare-legged; for their second effort, they were outfitted with boots.
"We were looking at exactly what the leg was doing in three dimensions," Kobluk says.  "Was it flexing more or less?  Was there reduced range of motion?  Those kinds of things."  He found that the Sports Medicine Boots caused minimal gait alteration, but some horses exhibited a slightly reduced range of motion in the fetlock.
Perhaps Kobluk's most interesting observation, however, was that the horses invariably shifted their weight forward, onto their front legs, when exercised in the boots.  This is not difficult to gauge, the researcher explains, because the hoof lands on the ground, the knee can be expected to be at a certain height.  But, he reports, when the boots were applied, "the knee went just a little bit lower, indicating more weight in front.  Now, if that happened at the end of the workout when they got tired, you could say the tendons are stretching excessively or the horses are getting fatigued.  But these horses shifted their weight as soon as they started exercising.  A horse will always put more weight on the limbs he feels more comfortable on.  I'm assuming that the boot gives them such a level of comfort such that they'll put more weight up front."
Even with Crawford's and Kobluk's findings in hand, Scott says analysis of the Sports Medicine Boots will continue.  In particular, he hopes that controlled studies at various racetracks across the country will yield solid data on the product's ability to prevent career ending injuries.
But at least one user has evidence enough.  "I'm a dubious type, very doubting,"  Ian Miller says.  " But I've got to say I'm a believer."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Do Your Animals Talk Back?

I have this funny, I guess sort of strange thing I do with my animals (all of them). I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but honestly I was trying to come up with a few paragarphs for the blog today since I hadn't gotten to it for some time, and I thought about this thing that I do. I talk to my animals--horses, dogs, and cat and I realize that isn't so strange because I know a lot of people talk to their animals. However, I sort of take it once step further and have my animals talk back to me. You're probably wondering what the heck I mean by that, or maybe you're thinking this woman is off her rocker. A few people might think that, but I'm okay with that. Really I am. Anyway, back to the part where the animals talk back to me. Let's say I'm talking to my dog Java who is gigantic Rhodesian Ridgeback (not your typical Rhodie) and although Java is gorgeous, he appears to be a bit lacking in brain cells. At the very least he knows how to play dumb quite well. So, when I ask Java a question like, "How was your day?" "He" answers me back with "his" voice, which happens to be rather low and quite dumb sounding (think Scooby Doo here). I wish I could do "his" voice for you here, but I can't and honestly, I probably wouldn't because you would then seriously think I'm off my rocker. Mylee who is our pound puppy has a much higher and far more intelligent sounding "voice," and her answers tend to throw Java under the bus on a regular basis--calling him not so nice names. it's really kind of entertaining when I have an entire conversation going on between the three of us.

As far as the horses go, well, Mister Monty is our little Gypsy Vanner guy and you can guess that he has an Irish lilt that sometimes sounds like a cross between a British/Spanish accent (I don't quite have the Irish thing down yet, even though my heritage dicates a lot of Irish blood in me. His answers to my questions are always highly intelligent. My mare Krissy, who I also call Princess (well, you can only guess what she might sound like and what a discussion with her might be. Basically she always wants to know where her "damn" cookies are). And now I have my 3 girls--Bronte, Mia, and Kaia and they have very young, sweet voices and they all answer their "mommy," in just the right tone. Yeah right. They're yearlings--and each one has their own, strong personality just like the human teenagers in my life.

I'm not sure why I do this with my animals--maybe it's for pure entertainment, maybe it's to drive my kids crazy (which it does seem to have that effect, however, I have caught each one of them trying to hide their laughter at this little game I play) or maybe I am off my rocker. It doesn't matter why I do this, I just do.

I'm curious though, does anyone else out there not only talk to their animals, but do your animals talk back, or at least do you talk back for them, saying what you think they might be saying back to you? I'd love to find out that I am not the only crazy animal person around.

Cheers,

Michele Scott
Professional's Choice
Vice President

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Post For Prizes Winner! Gayle Carline

Congratulations to Gayle Carline!
Gayle posted a comment on the PC Blog and was randomly selected as our "Post for Prizes" winner! The Prize - A pair of Leather Protection Boots from Professional's Choice! (Gayle please email me at kdavison@profchoice.com with sizing and shipping information.)
Gayle says, "I used to be a software engineer, but I chewed my way out of the cubicle to become a writer. I've been writing a weekly column for the Placentia News-Times since 2005, and my debut novel, Freezer Burn, published by Echelon Press, is available for sale now! In the meantime, I try to keep my husband and teenaged son fed and relatively content, and I spend time with my two quarter horses, Frostie and her son, Snoopy."
Learn more about Gayle and follow her blogs at http://www.blogger.com/profile/15783449240138097315
Interested in winning prizes from Professional's Choice? We are currently running Get Your Bit On! through the end of June. Enter online at http://www.profchoice.com/getyourbiton/.
Congratulations again to Gayle, and thank you to everyone for supporting the Professional's Choice blog!
Kristen Davison
Professional's Choice
Marketing Coordinator

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Get the Real Story

Professional's Choice is a company filled with a lot of history. We are a family owned and operated business. And, if you read last week's blog on how we got our start you can see how we've come a long way.

Over the years, I've heard various stories on how our products helped this or that horse or rider--even miracle stories. There's folklore and facts and of course plenty of exaggeration that comes along with any story. However, true facts--real history is always the best kind of story to tell. Did you know we were the first corporation to provide sponsorship to NRHA? How about the fact that we (no one else) created the Sports Medicine Boot that has allowed us to help more than 3,000,000 horses worldwide? Did you also know that we have conducted university studies on our boots and pads and print those studies that show the effectiveness of how they actually work? If you think a knock off product looks just like ours and you buy it because it's cheaper, all I have to say is do your research. There is not a leg care product out there that can do what The Original Professional's Choice Sports Medicine Boots do for your horse--support, protect and absorb up to 26% of negative hoof concussion that travels up the leg and throughout the musculoskeletal system of the horse.

I think equestrians love information. They love facts. They are always wanting to learn more, something new. Equestrians are information seekers who are passionate about their animals and their sport (be it English, western, competitive or for pleasure). Since we are a group of souls who want to be informed, I thought it might be fun and interesting to add a weekly post on "The Real Story." Getting the real story will be all about our products and how and why they work, horses who have had their lives improved or changed for the better, riders who have had their lives improved and changed for the better, etc.

If you have a story you would like to tell about along these lines, I'd love to hear from you!

Check in on Tuesday for "Our Weekly Blog Line-up." Here is a preview of things to come:

We will be posting on The Historical Horse. Getting the Real Story, Ask the Vet--Dr. Joleen Elston, Ask the Professionals (Al Dunning, Gina Miles, etc), and a few more fun items brewing. So keep coming back and checking the blog posts!

Have a wonderful long, holiday weekend. I, for one am looking forward to it. I am either insane or...yes insane, I am a horse lover, as I have taken on a huge project--3 yearling fillies. Therefore, I am really looking forward to the long weekend with my new girls.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Is a Horse Just a Horse? Or is Your Horse a Family Member?

I am one of those horse people who some horse people think is a nut. When a horse comes into my family, he/she becomes family. I don't take horse ownership and responsibility lightly. This is a philosophy instilled in me since I was a kid. All of the horses I grew up with (all 5 of them) are buried on my parents' property under trees marking them.

Recently I was heart broken when given the news that my mare Krissy is a wobbler. Her diagnosis from the get go was difficult because for a year she would present lameness issues, yet we couldn't quite figure it all out until one day she was pretty ataxic and I knew right then that there was a real problem. There are some options with her, one includes surgery--but as far as I am concerned none of the options make a lot of sense. The one option that I have had a few people suggest to me is euthanizing her. To me, that is a horrifying thought. This is a horse who is all heart. She is kind, she is intelligent and she has a strong work ethic. She is family. I've had to wrap my brain around the fact that my dream horse is done with her job--at least her initial job. Trust me, I have cried, I have been completely frustrated and angry, and I have found myself in her stall asking her and God, or anyone who might answer me as to why? The answer I have settled on is that Krissy has a new job to do now. With her big heart, she provides me a place of respite at the end of a long day. I can talk to her and she listens (and she never talks back. I have 3 kids and they all have the ability to talk back). Is she expensive? Yes. Has it been an emotional toll? Yes. But is it worth it? Absolutely 100%. This horse is an animal that when I bought her, I made a comittment to her. And, just because the job I had intended for her hasn't worked out, her worth has not diminished in my eyes. I don't view her as a lawn ornament either. As I mentioned already, I view her as family. Call me a horse crazy nut...whatever...Krissy is a keeper and I've even found another job for her. She gets to try on any new Professional's Choice product design first. I have officially coined her as The Professional's Choice Super Model. Now if she could only bring in some super model type of pay check, we'd be even that much better.

The picture above is of her telling me a joke about the dumb cow who lives next door.

How about you? Do you view your horse(s) as family? If they couldn't do the job they were acquired to do, how would you handle it? I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories.

Cheers,

Michele Scott
Professional's Choice
Vice President

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Employee Spotlight: Kristen Davison


Today on the blog, I want to introduce Kristen Davison. Kristen is our marketing coordinator here at Professional's Choice. She is an awesome employee and an excellent equestrienne. I can't say enough good things about this young woman. We are lucky to have her on board with us, as she always goes the extra mile without ever being asked. When she read over last week's blog about "The Historical Horse," (which if you haven't read and made a comment, you should because you will be automatically placed in a drawing to win some great stuff at the end of the month!), she wrote a response to it that was thoughtful and enjoyable. It also caused me to think that a weekly employee entry would be a good regular post to have. We have a lot of horse people working here at Professional's Choice and I think it would be fun to spotlight them!

I am sure you will enjoy Kristen's post:

This blog got me thinking not only about the history of horses but how horses have affected the history of me, Kristen Davison - Marketing Coordinator at Professional’s Choice. What kind of person would I have become if I had never fallen in love with horses? They have been such a big part of my life for so long that it’s hard to imagine another way.


I started taking lessons when I was 6 years old. After a few years and a lot of hard work I began catch-riding and helping my trainer “flip” ponies. In high school I moved up to schooling the clients’ horses and teaching the “up-down-ers” (we call them that because you feel like a broken record trying to teach them to post “up… down’). Then it was time to apply to college. I knew I wasn’t ready to give up riding, so I set my sights on a campus with an Equestrian Team. The essay question for the University of San Diego asked me to “Briefly explain how your unique background and interests will contribute to our community” – so naturally I wrote about horses… and I got in! I spent four years at USD riding for the Equestrian Team, where I met the coach who is now my trainer, and fell in love with her “project horse” who is now my “project horse”.

When it was time to graduate and begin looking for a job in the real world, I knew I may have to take a break from riding. After many hours of searching and a healthy dose of frustration – as anyone who recently looked for a job will attest to – I found a posting at an equine sports medicine company. In the end, it was my knowledge of horses that gave me an edge over the applicants and earned me a spot at Professional’s Choice.

Without horses I would have never made it to USD, never met my horse that is now my daily dose of therapy, and would not be sitting here at Professional’s Choice writing this blog to you… I would be a totally different person, living a totally different life. I am so thankful to my four-legged friends who have molded me and pushed me to grow into the person I am today.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The American Dream

My parents are American Dreamers. They started Professional's Choice over thirty-six-years ago. There have been some tough times and some great times. I think probably most of the time we are always learning, growing, and striving to make the lives of horses more comfortable.

I have been asked over the years how the company was started. I have to take credit for that. Well, sort of. You see, I fell in love with horses when I was about five-years-old and my parents bought a house with a little land on it where we could have horses. The neighbors across the street had a pony I would go over and ride, but that didn't satisfy me. I wanted my own horse. Lucky for me that my dad had grown up on a ranch and had always had horses as a kid, so he was pretty much on the same page as I was. I'm not sure how my mom felt about it, but she got on board soon enough, and Dad brought home this giant of a horse named Ivan. Ivan was a gentle giant. He was some kind of draft/Quarter thing. He was about 16. 3 and had a butt on him that was about as wide as a bus. I have no clue what Dad paid for this horse, but whatever it was, he proved to be worth a million dollars and then some. Ivan passed away when he was about thirty-years-old and he's buried on my parents' property under his tree. He taught so many people how to ride--kids and adults. He had to have been one of God's angels on this Earth because Ivan genuinely loved people and other animals.

So, Dad brings home Ivan, and for a week my little six-year-old brain is in over drive because all I want to do is get home from school and ride this horse, and all I want Dad to do is get home from work so that I can ride this horse. At the time, my dad was in the car industry and he worked extremely long hours. Finally, I guess Dad couldn't withstand my begging and pouting any longer, and he came home early to take me out on Ivan. We hadn't even had a chance to buy a saddle yet, so he puts a bareback pad on him and hikes me up on his back. He tells me, "Now we're gonna go out behind the houses there on that trail, and you're only to walk him." I nodded, my pony tail bobbing in the air (this was the days before the helmet was mandatory and en vogue--I can tell you that my dad had me wearing a helmet long before most kids and that had to do with one ornery pony I grew up with, which is a later blog story to come).

I did as I was instructed and took Ivan out on the trail at a walk. My dad had one of those little putt-putt motorbikes and he followed behind us on it. We get to the end of the trail and turn around and Dad says, "Okay, now this horse knows it's close to his dinner time and he also knows he's headed to the barn. You are not to go any faster than a walk."

I am sure that my response was, "Okay, Daddy." I'm just sure it was. However, it didn't go down quite like that. Within a couple of minutes Ivan was headed to the barn at full speed and Dad was in the dust. We went over a hill and down the hill, and I came off, landed on my butt in some sand. Ivan ran back to the barn, and Dad wiped out on his bike--big time. He broke his leg in several places.

Now, sometimes you can look at a broken leg and think, "This really sucks." However, my dad is one of those 'the glass is half full types,' and he was sitting out by the pool with his cast on trying to figure out how he could get into the pool without getting the cast wet. This set in motion a series of events. The short version is that Dad created a product called The Dri-Cast, and this neoprene cast protector allowed him to get into the water without getting the cast wet.

The cast came off, the product was developed along with a few more and then another light bulb moment occurred. Dad realized at the time there was nothing really great available to protect and support a horse's leg. He started talking to vets, trainers, any professional he could in the equestrian world and he came up with what he coined as the polo boot. It went from there. Since those early days, we've come a long way, but the focus remains the same--The Horse.

You never know how things are going to turn out. Who would have thought that a gentle giant (and he really was) headed to the barn with a pipsqueak of a kid falling off his back, causing a dad to break his leg and then invent a product would then one day turn into a company that is the market leader renowned for revolutionizing the equine industry. We've done it through not only diligent scientific research, but also through dreaming and tenacity. One thing I do know after watching my family build a company over three decades is that a lot of hard work and good people goes into it. Nothing comes easy, but when done with the right intentions, somehow (I believe) God puts His hand in it and stirs it a bit, and dreams become realities.

I'd love to hear about your dreams and how your horse(s) help them come true.
Cheers,

Michele Scott
Professional's Choice
Vice President



Friday, May 14, 2010

Why We Ride

I am fortunate to have two real driving passions in my life. Obviously, the horses are a huge part of my family's life and mine. I love working for our family business where I can participate on a daily basis in finding new ways to make our equine partners live out their lives comfortably and happily. Some of you may know that my other passion is writing (let me just say that if we were having this conversation face-to-face, I would have to really annunciate the "t" in writing versus the "d" in riding). Yes--I am a writer. I've written two mystery series and a handful of other novels.

The reason I bring this up is that I was lucky enough to be able to participate in an anthology project titled, "Why We Ride." This is a book of short stories written by women writers on the horses in their lives. My good friend Verna Dreisbach edited the book and Jane Smiley has written the foreward. The stories in the book are inspiring, fun and full of love for the horse. The book has already gone into a second printing and it was just released this month! I hope you will consider checking it out at your local library or picking up a copy at the bookstore. It is a book for horse people by horse people. For me, it gave me the opportunity to tell the story of of what growing up with horses was like and more than that it's about the adventures my friends and I had out on the trails with my Dad who was the leader of our little gang that we called "The Billy Dal Gang." My Dad started Professional's Choice, along with my Mom over 35 years ago, and the horses were the reason they started the company. As mentioned in my last post, it's always about the horse. However, my short story on The Billy Dal Gang is also about how much fun the horses provided us as little girls, and how my Dad taught us what it meant to care for, respect, and really love our animals.

Here is Libarary Journal's Review Of "Why We Ride"

Dreisbach writes that we choose a horse for many reasons, such as beauty, ability, what we see of ourselves reflected in the horse (or what we wish we were like). All 20-plus contributors to this collection--for example, Jane Ayres, Kara Gall, Michele Scott, and Jacqueline Winspear--believe that their horses taught them something about themselves and made them stronger, better people. If you're looking for a rational, objective reason as to why women ride, it will not be found in this book--all the contributors write of a passionate love and connection with the horse (sometimes in spite of being physically injured while riding), and most are impressed at being in control and/or partnering with such a beautiful, graceful, and powerful animal. VERDICT Animal lovers and readers of horse memoirs such as Susan Richards's Chosen by a Horse and Jane Smiley's A Year at the Races (Smiley here contributes a foreword) will enjoy this compilation. --Library Journal, May 1, 2010

As a sidenote, I'd really like to know from you, what are some of your favorite horse stories? They can be books, movies, TV Shows. And, don't forget to read this week's post on the Historical Horse. If you contribute on the comment page, you will automatically be eligible to win some cool stuff from professional's Choice in this month's drawing.

Have a wonderful weekend! Go hug your horse.

Cheers,
Michele Scott
Professional's Choice
Vice President

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Historical Horse


The other night some friends and I got on the topic of horses. Imagine that! And, after a couple of glasses of wine our conversation grew quite philosophical. We all agreed that without horses, we wouldn't be where we are today as a civilization and culture. The advancements that our equine partners have provided us with are in many ways a miracle and they are the footing (no pun intended) for thousands of major historical events. Wars have been waged on horseback, transportation for centuries was done via the horse which brought us mail which allowed us to communicate, helped us trade and wage in commodities--and on and on. Thinking about this gave me an idea!


I'd like to try something new on the blog as a weekly article and hope our readers will participate. I think it's important to chronicle the history of the horse and I believe that because of the fact that they are so much of the reason as to who we are as a society today--whether you have horses or don't have them, whether you adore them or can't stand them--the fact remains that this is true. So, I'm hoping you will help me--if you have a historical tidbit about a specific horse who helped shape our future or a group of horses (say in battle or via The Pony Express) e-mail me at Michele@ProfChoice.com and I will put a little time and effort into researching history and post about it. Anyone who comments with a story or tidbit will become eligible to win a Professional's Choice product in what I am calling the ProfChoice.blogspot monthly drawing!

The value of the horse is, well, invaluable. That's why our philosophy here at Professional's Choice is all about making the horse's life more comfortable, their careers lasting longer, and their lives easier. It is truly about the horse and giving back to him. If we were to take our focus off of that fact, we would be just another company making products that might make us money because they sell, but wouldn't achieve what we strive to do everyday be it in developing new products, improving core products, researching and turning that research into data to see if our theories work. It's why we have studies that back up the fact that our Sports Medicine Boots absorb on average 26 % of negative hoof concussion.

Bottom line--it is about the horse. It has to be. look at all they've done for us.

Now get out your history books and send me your stories!

Cheers,

Michele Scott
Professional's Choice
Vice President
Michele@ProfChoice.com

Friday, April 16, 2010

Passion


Passion is what the equestrian industry is all about. You typically don't get involved with horses and the equestrian world without first having a deep love and passion for the animal. It doesn't matter what discipline you do, it's the way it is.

Maintaining our horses alone is an extremely costly venture, which people outside of the horse world can't understand why we do what we do and spend what we spend. All I can say is that when you pay your feed bill over your own grocery bill, you know you've got passion behind your decisions and a sense of responsibility, love, and care for your equine partner.

I've been around horse people all of my life, and not only are they passionate, but they are some of the bravest, compassionate, and most generous people in the world. Not to mention they tend to have a great sense of humor--I think if you don't have a sense of humor as a horseperson, you're going to wind up in trouble somewhere along the way because horses know how to make sure and play 'the joke on you,' game.

I love hearing stories about how people celebrate their horses.

Take Anissa who works in accounting here at Professional's Choice. She raises a handful of miniatures and has her old gelding who just celebrated his 32nd birthday. For his birthday, her family dressed him in a birthday hat and gave him an extra bucket of treats. My own trainer Terri plans to give her horse Pete next month when he turns 21 a Guinness mash. Yes--I suppose you could add to the list of what makes up a horse person--CRAZY. But crazy in a good way.

Oh and did I mention that most horse folks are quite opinionated--every one has an opinion it would seem, and every one thinks their opinion is the right one. I think most of us gently agree to disagree on many things in our opinionated world. However, the one thing I do believe we can all agree on is that we are all passionate individuals when it comes to the love of our horses.

We'd love to hear your stories and thoughts. In what way are you crazy, passionate, opinionated, etc for your horse(s)?

Have a great weekend.

Happy Trails!

Michele Scott

Friday, April 9, 2010

Talk to the Animals


I have a question for you...Has anyone ever used an equine communicator? I have actually had a gal "talk," with our pony Monty and it was a pretty amazing "discussion."


Monty came into our family about a year and a half ago. He was fabulous. For seven months Monty was fabulous. My daughter took lessons from a wonderful teacher who is also a dear friend, but who is also a school teacher, so when she had to go back to her day job, she let us know that she had to back off of lessons and working with Monty. She was still able to do a couple of days a week, but I knew that with Monty being a new guy with us and with my daughter being small and although she'd been riding for a few years--she needed that extra attention. There was another trainer where we were at, at the time and I had watched him with some of the kids and thought he was pretty good with them, so I approached him.

Long story short--pony didn't like this guy. It wasn't long after they started working together that Monty had his first bout of colic, then Monty began to colic about every 3 weeks. Then he started doing things like bolting with his kid, and acting like a nervous wreck inside his stall. I started scratching my head wondering what the heck had happened to our fabulous pony?!?

My gut began talking to me, and my gut was saying there's something really wrong here. Monty colicked again, and at that point my vet looked at me and said, "Get him out of here, change everything about his program, or you might lose him."

There is so much more to the story, but it would be about ten pages long, so this is the short version.

Needless to say, I called up Terri (where we'd gotten Monty from, and she'd told me if there was ever any issue to bring him back and we'd figure it out). I told her the problem and within twenty-four hours we had the horses at her place.

Monty and my mare Krissy have now been at Terri's for a year--and guess what? Not one colic, no silly pony shenanigans to really pique the fear factor for the kid or me.

So back to the equine communicator. This gal came to "talk" to the horses not long after we got up to Terri's. She had no prior knowledge of Monty and the issues. We told her we were concerned that Monty had had a tendency to get fast with his kid. That was it.

She wrapped her arms around the pony and after a few minutes looked at us and asked, "Who else rides him besides the little girl and Terri?" We said that I did and occasionally another working student (a young woman). The communicator said, "No. The man, who is the man?" She looked right at me and a shiver went down my spine. "You know who I'm talking about," she said. I nodded. "Yeah well, the pony doesn't like him and is afraid of him, and he has reasons to be." Now--there is still a lot more to this but for time sakes, I'll keep to the short version. Then she wrapped her arms back around him and asked all of us (my vet included here) to send him light and love and let him know how much he's loved. All of a sudden this lady begins sobbing. I mean--totally sobbing. We were all looking at each other... She apologized and explained that this happens about once a month with a horse. She told us that he had just let go of a ton of grief. That Monty never understood that he was anything more than a commodity. He never understood that he could be or was loved. Now maybe this sounds crazy to you, but this is what I can tell you happened afterward:

Up to this point Monty was never affectionate. He did his job but he never seemed happy. He didn't seem to care if his kid was there or not. He just did what he was supposed to do and that was that. The communicator told us to constantly talk to him and tell him how much he is loved and that he is now a part of a family and will always be a part of our family, because he had a fear that we weren't going to keep him. I did this with him for a week straight, and the most amazing thing happened after that week. I was in the barn with him by myself and I took him off the cross-ties, and removed his halter to put the bridle on. All of a sudden, Monty just placed his head right in my chest and stomach. He just stayed like this with me for at least a minute or longer. Then he very gently (not pushy at all) rubbed his face on me--it was like when a cat rubs on you, not when my silly mare pushes me all over the place. I scratched him between his ears and told him hown special he is. And I swear he sighed. It was like this moment of true understanding for him--as if--"I get it. I'm part of the family." Since that day, as soon as he sees his kid or me, he jogs on over, he lets out a little nicker, he paws on the ground until we make it over to him, and it's obvious he feels like he is loved.

Both Monty and his kid are thriving together. He has been off his ulcer meds for four months now. He's fat and happy (maybe a little too fat), and he's settled.

Now I don't know your feelings on people who communicate with animals but I have to say that I am a total believer. I really believe that the lady who came and talked to Monty helped him and us a great deal, and I am really grateful for that.

Call me crazy or tell me if you've ever had anyone "talk" to or with your horse(s), and if so, what was the experience like? What was the outcome?

Cheers!
Michele Scott
Vice President
Professional's Choice

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What Horse do for Us Humans

Horses provide us humans with so very much. They are our companions. They try hard to understand us. They usually want to please, and at the end of the day they bring a sense of peace into our lives. At least this has been my experience. I can remember being a kid who had a big space between my teeth, lots of freckels and to put it bluntly, I doubt anyone ever called me-cute. I was pretty scrawny and also shy, so friendships didn't come easily for me until I got older. However, I always had a friend in my pony Charlie. Charlie was on the ornery side. He enjoyed taking off with me. Bucking me off seemed to be a frequently decent idea to him as well, but off his back we were the best of friends. Over time, I learned to stay on his back and our friendship grew deeper. When I was upset, afraid or angry at other kids, myself, the world, parents, etc., my pony had my back. He listened. He was a good friend and I had him for fifteen years until he passed away at 30. He's buried at my parents' house along with all of the horses I grew up with--all of them my friends.

I now have a new group of equine friends, and at the end of a busy day, my favorite thing to do is to just go and spend a few minutes of quiet time with each one. I make my rounds with a handful of cookie treats for them. Each horse at the barn has its own unique personality. Every one of them provides respite for me. At the end of the day, after it's been busy at work, hopefully I get time to ride before I have to make dinner for my family, I take my timeout. I give each one a treat, a pat, a kiss and say, "Goodnight." I feel I owe them at least that much after all they do for me/us.

How about you--in what ways do you find that your horse(s) have enhanced your life? We would love to hear your horse stories, so please comment!

This is a photo of one of my best friends--my mare Krissy.

Cheers,

Michele Scott
Vice President
                                                                                                                    

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Professional's Choice Works Hand in Hand with Dr. Joleen Elston

We are extremely pleased to have a new member on board with The Professional’s Choice team. Dr. Jolene Elston is now our veterinarian consultant. Dr. Elston is going to be working with our team to help with research and development, testing of products and also helping to explain how and why Professional’s Choice products work with your horse. Dr. Elston will answer questions and concerns you may have regarding your horse, and you can e-mail her at Vet@profchoice.com. Please be aware that because Dr. Elston will not be able to have a hands on consultation with your horse that her responses will be in terms of generalities and to the best of her ability without viewing the animal itself.

At Professional's Choice we are always working to find ways in making sure our products are the best out there for your horses. By having Dr. Elston on board with us, we will have the constant input of someone who lives her life working to better the lives of our equine partners, which is directly in line with our continual goals and philosophy.


In her own words, Dr. Elston states, “I am so excited to be working in conjunction with Professional’s Choice. I’ve used their products since I was about ten-years-old and rode with Pony Club. I’ve never stopped using their products and I recommend them to all of my clients. The Elite Sports Medicine Boots are not simply a rehabilitative leg care product. That’s a misnomer I find out in the field. These boots are simply by far the best preventative maintenance leg care system available. I don’t care what discipline you ride--be it for pleasure and trail riding, eventing, cutting, roping, etc—whatever you do, your horse needs to be in these boots. They prevent the injury before it happens.”

“I feel fortunate also to be involved with Professional’s Choice because it is a family business with core family values. Through fate, I met Michele Scott on New Year’s Day a few years ago on an emergency call when one of her horses colicked. Since then, Michele has been a client and I treat all of her horses. Through our friendship, she discovered I was a Professional’s Choice customer/huge fan and she inquired if I would have an interest in coming on board as the resident vet. Of course, I accepted. I look forward to working with the team, and also hearing from customers about their horses.”

Here’s a little info about Dr. Elston:

She is a native San Diegan with a lifelong passion for horses. She started riding before the age of five and acquired her first pony when she was eight. She hosts an impressive riding resume that includes accomplishments in the United States Pony Club, achieving her Silver and Bronze medals in the United States Dressage Federation and competing as an alternate on the Region 7 Young Riders Team. Dr. Elston has set her focus on dedicating her life to the equine performance world. Other organizations she’s participated in include the 4-H and Future Farmers of America.

In her teens Dr. Elston became a technician at a small animal hospital and moved on to a five year technician at the renowned San Luis Rey Equine Hospital. She completed her bachelor degree at Washington State in Biology and Zoology. She received her doctorate from Washington State University Veterinary School. Following her doctorate she accepted an internship position at the highly acclaimed Pioneer Equine Hospital in Oakdale, California. In 2007, Dr. Elston joined the practice of Large Animal Veterinary Associates in San Diego, California where she continues to practice. Dr. Elston has specific interest in lameness issues and performance horse medicine. She is a wonderful attribute to her community and we know she will be a wonderful attribute to Professional’s Choice!

Be sure to check back this Friday on the blog when we link to Stable Scoop on http://www. horseradionetwork.com, where both Dr. Elston and I discuss equine leg care and injury prevention. It’s a great talk and one you don’t want to miss.

Cheers!

Michele Scott

Vice President

Monday, April 5, 2010

Professional's Choice Welcomes Gina Miles

Celebrities have proven to us all too many times that fame and fortune do not always bring out the best in people. The pressure, the attention, the fans… living in the limelight brings with it a great amount of responsibility. Unfortunately, more often than not, these celebrities give in to the pressure and allow the fame to change their values.

However, very rarely we come across those truly great individuals who refuse to allow fame to change the core of who they are. They utilize it to touch the lives of others and expand the good that first made them famous. I have the privilege of knowing one of these great individuals. She is an exceptional horse woman, and compassionate mother, and Individual Silver Medalist at the Beijing Games—Gina Miles.

Now, I have to admit before my first introduction to Gina, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean this is someone who has done something that so few will ever accomplish in their life time that it kind of blows the mind. My guess was that this feat would go to more than a few people’s heads. Not Gina. Gina Miles is one of the most down to Earth, delightful, magnetic personalities you could ever want to meet. She’s funny, witty, intelligent and caring. To see her with her kids is to see kind of mom who makes certain that her kids know how much they mean to her.

This past weekend, I watched Gina give a clinic to a group of riders, ranging from beginners to advanced riders and everything in between. I haven’t come across many clinicians who handle that full scale the way she did—with patience, graciousness and with a capacity to make the most out of her hour with each student. Not to mention, Gina was the one in the arena busting out and moving jumps around. In fact, one of the first times I met her at a show, she bathed her own horses, cleaned her own tack, and made her own meals. There were no grooms around to do it for her. Not one. She maintains a connection to her horses that I believe helps to make someone of Gina’s caliber into a real winner who works hard in every aspect of her life.

Obviously, I think pretty highly of this lady, and so it really pleases me to announce that Gina has come on board with Professional’s Choice as an endorsee. We are working closely with her to develop some new products geared toward eventers. I’m super excited about this venture and can’t wait to share our new creations—and as with everything we create it’s always about the horse. At Professional’s Choice we don’t make a product just because it might look good or make a few bucks. We make products that we believe in, that are thoroughly researched and tested, that we truly feel will provide a more comfortable life for animals who give us all so very much.

Gina agrees with this philosophy, which is why she is a perfect endorsement partner for Professional’s Choice.

Cheers!

Michele Scott Vice President

Professional's Choice Sports Medicine Products 2025 Gillespie Way, Suite 106, El Cajon, CA 92020 1.800.331.9421 Toll Free http://www.profchoice.com

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

CRAIG SCHMERSAL WINS USEF MAHAJAN TROPHY

By Brad Ettleman, HorsePower, Inc. Oklahoma City, OK—Record setting triple-digit temperatures and blazing hot scores were the buzz at the 2009 AdequanÒ/USEF National Reining Championships presented by Equine Motorcoach in Oklahoma City, OK. Held during the annual NRHA Derby, the championships determined the nation’s top reining horses and riders after a year of qualification. Using portable fans and high-powered misters to cut the heat for competing horses, the event was able to care for the horses and athletes alike in the unseasonably warm temperatures. This, combined with air-conditioned show rings, ensured that competing horses were safe and helped top riders keep their cool under intense competition. Internationally renowned reining star Craig Schmersal claimed the USEF Mahajan Trophy for the Open Reining Championship with a scorching score of 224 on the finals night. Riding Mr Dual Rey owned by Holly Casey of Mansfield, GA, Schmersal showed poise and experience in his claim of the Gold medal. "Holly is a fantastic owner, and we have a terrific relationship,” said Schmersal. “I’ve been riding this horse for five or six years now, and he just keeps getting better and better.” Schmersal elaborated, “The [USEF National Championship] was an extremely nice set of horses, and I feel very fortunate to be on top in a class of very tough competitors.” Scoring 221.5, longtime contender and household name, Shawn Flarida was the Silver medalist with KR Lil Conquistador owned by Cheree Kirkbride of Ocala, FL. Flarida has already secured a place on the U.S. team that will represent the United States at the Kentucky Cup CRIO4*, the official reining test event for the 2010 World Equestrian Games. The Kentucky Cup Reining will be held this month at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, July 21-23. Bronze medalist Casey Deary scored a 219.5 aboard Custom Margarita owned by Steve Simon of Marietta, OK. The AdequanÒ/USEF National Reining Championship also hosted a CRI* National Championship. The one-star competition runs concurrently with the Open Championship and is a developing program for riders who are not yet on the Reining Long List. Lakshami Mahajan of Grafton, OH, was named the 2009 AdequanÒ/USEF CRI* National Champion and earns her way onto the Reining Long List, an important step in an athlete’s quest to qualify for the WEG. A special thank you goes to Jerry Kimmel and his stallion, Dun Gotta Gun, for his continued support of reining competitions at the USEF and of the U.S. Reining Team. Kimmel supplied the prize money for the 2009 AdequanÒ/USEF National Open Reining Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach.

Monday, July 6, 2009

STEFFEN PETERS AND RAVEL NAMED DRESSAGE CHAMPION OF AACHEN!

Professional’s Choice congratulates Steffen Peters on his latest victory in Aachen, Germany. Steffen and Ravel came into the competition fresh off their very exciting win at the Rolex World Cup in Las Vegas. The pair won the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Spéciale and the Grand Prix Freestyle, once again upsetting world champion Anky van Grunsven. "I am very glad that Steffen is American, so he can't be a threat to us at the European Championships in Windsor," joked Anky.

For Peters, a German native, "it was almost like riding in front of a home crowd. The competition went even better than at the World Cup in Las Vegas," commented the 44-year-old rider. "You only get a horse like Ravel once in a lifetime. He is very sensitive, is always on my side and ready to fight for me, but at the same time he is extremely relaxed and totally reliable, which means I can ride into the tests without being nervous," remarked Peters.

Steffen discovered Ravel at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2006. “We took our time with him, he was my secret weapon, and his first international tournament was the Olympic Games in Hong Kong in 2008," he commented. Ravel is an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Akiko Yamazaki and her husband Jerry Yang. Yamazaki is a Grand Prix dressage rider herself and competes for Japan

Steffen and his wife Shannon have developed their own line of popular Dressage Saddle Pads manufactured and distributed by equine powerhouse Professional’s Choice. Endorsers Steffen and Shannon Peters rely exclusively on Professional’s Choice leg protection to keep their horses performing at their best. Professional's Choice continually produces high quality products recognized by top trainers, professionals and everyday horseman all over the world.

The more comfortable the horse, the better the performance. Professional's Choice, a manufacturer of equine and orthopedic products, is renowned in the equine industry for its innovative products. As inventor and manufacturer of the original patented Sports Medicine Boot, the SMB Elite™ and the SMx Air Ride™ Saddle Pad and authorized licensee for Wrangler Apparel Corp., manufacturing Wrangler® and Twenty X™ equine products, gear bags and luggage, Professional's Choice has earned the respect of top trainers, professionals and everyday horseman alike. For more information, or, for the location of your nearest authorized dealer, please contact Professional's Choice Sports Medicine Products, Inc., at 800-331-9421, or visit them on the web at www.profchoice.com.