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Opava Eventing

Opava Eventing The only US Eventing Assoc. certified trainer in the Santa Clarita Valley. Top rate facility with

Operating as usual

Last show of the summer!  The deadline for entries is next Wednesday.  It's a fun, low key way to introduce riders and h...
08/04/2022

Last show of the summer! The deadline for entries is next Wednesday. It's a fun, low key way to introduce riders and horses to showing at a really great price. Everyone always has a wonderful time!

Come join us! Saturday evening, August 13th!

Very grateful to have such notable horsemen explain why I spend so much time with clients on the basics.  I know it's bo...
08/04/2022

Very grateful to have such notable horsemen explain why I spend so much time with clients on the basics. I know it's boring. I know it's not thrilling to get things solid before moving on, but when it is all there, jumping higher, riding more technical tests, moving up the levels becomes easy. And safe!

At clinics, rarely do I get to help people with advanced work (even if they think they are ready for it) because usually the basics are “ok”. When you try to build advanced movements out of “ok” basics you end up with trouble in that movement.

Basics are hard, mostly because they can seem ok, but it’s the details that matter.

I was recently chatting with a friend who is an Olympic showjumping coach. He has competed at 3 Olympic Games and has coached his National team at 3 others.

I said to him “ you do lots of clinics around the world, do you ever run into people that can jump say, a metre, but want to jump higher, but in order to jump higher you have to take them back to the start, back to ground rails ?”

“All the time”, he said. “I rarely encounter anyone who wants to jump higher and is ready for it.”

Once you get the basics really good, the “hard” things are actually easy. It sounds completely backwards to most people, but once you get your head around it, the game changes completely.

Photos from Opava Eventing's post
07/30/2022

Photos from Opava Eventing's post

Our August 13 Jumper Schooling Show is coming up fast!  From trot poles to 3'.  Entries are due by Wednesday, August 10t...
07/30/2022

Our August 13 Jumper Schooling Show is coming up fast! From trot poles to 3'. Entries are due by Wednesday, August 10th. Always a fun time and a great opportunity to school, especially for your beginner students. Forms and information available at www.OpavaEquestrianTrainingCenter.com.

We had a wonderful show last Saturday at our July Schooling Jumper Show. I want to give a huge THANK YOU to all our volu...
07/18/2022

We had a wonderful show last Saturday at our July Schooling Jumper Show.

I want to give a huge THANK YOU to all our volunteers! Katie Pulley (timer, head ring crew and horse show volunteer extraordinaire!!!), Jennifer Stankiewicz (great announcing!), Molly Koffman (master ring steward!), Jenn Franks Gilmartin (show secretary beyond perfect!) , Debby Bodley Babakhanian (impromptu gate keeper!) and Sydney Gilmartin (office assistant and award presenter!) Without all of you there is no show.

And more applause to my clients who used the opportunity to check their training progress, gain additional experience for themselves and horses, and gave so many super rounds! Sara Fogan, Celeste Babakhanian, Julie Wolf, and Vicki, Cameron and Jonathan Armstrong. I am grateful to be able to help each and every one of you work for your goals and achievements! Thank you!

Looking forward to our last show in August.

Our July 16th jumper show is just over a week away!  Entry deadline is next Wednesday!  Trot poles to 3'.  Come to schoo...
07/06/2022

Our July 16th jumper show is just over a week away! Entry deadline is next Wednesday! Trot poles to 3'. Come to school, practice, give your green horse some experience, or you students some low key show experience. Information and entry forms can be found at www.OpavaEquestrianTrainingCenter.com

Opava Equestrian is hiring.  2 positions or can be combined.Position #1:  weekend afternoon stall cleaner               ...
06/29/2022

Opava Equestrian is hiring. 2 positions or can be combined.

Position #1: weekend afternoon stall cleaner
starting in August
duties include cleaning stalls, & cleaning and filling
waters for up to 30 horses, cleaning turnouts (5)

Position #2 Ranch hand (starting immediately)
part time / 3-5 days per week
general maintenance of ranch grounds
maintaining & dragging arenas (will teach if necessary)
back up stall cleaner
stall and turnout fencing upkeep and repair
$15.00 - $20.00/hour depending on skill level and
experience
Must be horse friendly and detailed orientated.

PM for more details.

Opava Eventing had another fantastic summer eventing camp last week!  I loved working with all the girls, and everyone h...
06/25/2022

Opava Eventing had another fantastic summer eventing camp last week! I loved working with all the girls, and everyone had a great time. They all improved so much, and I am incredibly proud of all their triumphs!!

Please read!  Very important information.
06/24/2022

Please read! Very important information.

Boots and bandages - are we harming our horses as we try to protect them?

Bandaging and booting our horses is becoming more and more popular, especially with the popularity of matchy matchy sets. But are we doing more harm than good? Most people will have come across the articles in magazines and comments from vets saying they are, and yet still they become more and more popular. Why is that? Why do riders still cover their horses in thick fleece bandages or fluffy boots despite the dangers? Tradition I suppose. Wanting to fit in. Or just habit, some will feel like they haven’t finished tacking up if they haven’t put the boots on.

I know this isn’t about dentistry (for which I apologise) but I am a vet first and foremost, and as a dressage rider I am asked why I don’t use bandages all the time. I’ve written about this several times now and no one pays attention, so rather than stating facts and quoting research, I’d like to take you through my journey of discovery, please bear with me. Facts and papers are at the end.

Rewind 12 years and I was in my final year at vet school. Prior to and during vet school I had a horse and we did dressage. I had planned to ODE but this horse pulled every tendon and ligament known to vet kind. He spent more time out of work than in. Each time I would up my game with the latest boots/bandages on the market. From fluffy boots to wraps to sports fetlock boots, fleece bandages to gamgee and cotton to the half fleece/half elastic bandages. I learnt new techniques for better support, figure of 8 bandaging to cradle the fetlock etc etc. I’d been there and done it. My collection was extensive.

Right at the end of vet school I had my rotations. I chose Equine lameness as one of my options. During in this I very vividly remember a wet lab with Dr Renate Weller where she had a skinned horses leg (showing all of the tendons and ligaments) in a machine that mimicked the pressures a horse applies to their limbs. She took us through walk, trot, canter and gallop, loading this leg so we could see the inside workings of the horses leg without the skin. It was fascinating I can tell you, and I very clearly remember thinking about my horse and wondering how on earth we are suppose to support this limb when it undergoes these incredible forces! Half a ton of animal pushing down a tiny spindle of a leg held by tendons barely thicker than my thumb. Craziness!

Fast forward just a few short months and I was a fully qualified vet in the big wide world. I attended my first BEVA Congress and during the break I wandered around the stalls looking at the latest inventions and technologies companies bring to these gatherings. Here I came across a company with the Equestride Boot which caught my eye. Now if you haven’t seen this boot, it’s wonderful and I’ve since used it a few times in rehabbing very severe tendon and ligament injuries with great success. The boot is a carbon fibre boot that stops the fetlock dropping, which stops the tendons and ligaments being fully loaded while they heal. This boot is super strong. You couldn’t ride a horse in it as it is limiting the range of motion so much, but they can move about easily enough at the lower settings to rehab etc. The guy on the stand (I’m afraid I can’t remember his name) showed me their research and in the straight talking Irish way explained the stupidity of expecting a thin piece of material to support a horse. And of course it can’t! Literally no bandage or boot (short of this very expensive carbon fibre rehab boot) is capable of reducing the amount the fetlock drops. Thinking back to Dr Weller’s demonstration, I could very clearly see how ridiculous I had been to ever believe a scrap of material could do anything to reduce or support that pressure.

But the boots/bandages don’t actually cause any harm do they? Surely it’s ok to use them on the off chance they might help and if we look good in the meantime, great! Well, not long after this, research started appearing that got me very worried about my bandage collection. Heat. Anyone that uses bandages and boots will not be surprised to see sweat marks under their bandages/boots after they’ve been removed. They trap a lot of heat. The horses body and legs generate a lot of heat when working. The tendons/ligaments in the leg, along with an increased blood flow generate ALOT of heat. Fleece bandages/boots in particular, hold this heat in the horses leg. Very few boots and virtually no bandages (especially if you use a pad under) allow the legs to breath adequately. This heat is easily enough to kill tendon/ligament cells. Each tendon/ligament is made of thousands and thousands of cells all lined up end on end and side by side in long thin spindles. They stretch and return to their original shape and size like an elastic band, absorbing and redistributing the pressures applied from further up the leg and from the ground impact below. All of these cells must work together as one to do this effectively.

Just a little side step here to explain how tendons/ligaments heal. A tendon/ligament cell can not be replaced like for like. They always heal with scar tissue. This is why reinjury is so much more likely if a tendon/ligament is blown. The fibrous scar tissue doesn’t stretch, it isn’t capable of stretching or absorbing the impact of a horses movement. It will always be a weak spot. In a full blown sprain/strain the whole (or most) of the tendon has been damaged. But this heat injury might just kill a few cells at a time. Those few cells are replaced by fibrous scar tissue, then next time a few more etc etc. Like a rubber band degrading over time the tendon/ligament loses its elasticity and eventually goes snap. Then you’ve fully blown a tendon/ligament. The injury didn’t start to happen at that moment, but that was the final straw. The damage adds up over time, each time thermal necrosis (vet word for cell death) occurs.

So if using boots/bandages can not offer any sort of support, and using them generates heat that slowly damages the tendons/ligaments until they give way. Why use them? Protection. This is the only reason to use boots. To stop the horse brushing, injuring themselves catching a pole or over cross country. But for goodness sake make sure your boots are breathable! If the horse is sweaty under the boot but not above or below, the boot is not breathable enough. And don’t use fleece bandages just because you like the colour. These fleece bandages are the worst at holding heat in the leg, way above the threshold for thermal necrosis to the cells of the tendons and ligaments. If your horse doesn’t need protection, don’t use boots. I haven’t for the last 12 years and *touch wood* I haven’t had a single tendon/ligament injury in any of my horses. I will never go back to boots or especially bandages now. I don’t use them for schooling, lunging, jumping, travelling, turnout, stable, in fact I don’t use them at all. Ever. But I don’t hunt or XC.

I hope you have found my story useful and can make informed decisions on boots and bandaging going forward.

For more information on the Equestride boot and their research into support offered by boots and bandages, visit http://www.equestride.com/ and https://www.equinetendon.com/services/equestride/

The horses leg under the compression machine at the Irish Equine rehabilitation and fitness centre https://fb.watch/cmVMt6-iOJ/ (I highly recommend you watch this incredible video. It clearly shows the amount of force the leg goes through and demonstrates the real purpose of boots)

Other relevant papers-
https://equimanagement.com/.amp/articles/horse-skin-temperature-under-boots-after-exercise
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8f15/0ea480edca142260d01f419f80d2e7e7fb29.pdf
http://www.asbweb.org/conferences/1990s/1998/59/index.html

Edit 1 - I am getting asked about stable wraps very frequently. This post is about riding, the tendons and blood flow create heat which is trapped by bandages/boots during exercise. This doesn’t occur in the stable stood still. If the horse has a strain/sprain resulting in inflammation, then there is an increase in blood flow and there is heat being created. In this situation you should not be bandaging. But if it’s cold and an old horse needs stable wraps to keep the joints warm and improve sluggish blood flow (filled legs) you can use the heat trapping to your advantage. But you need to be careful in summer.

Edit 2 - the other thing I’m being asked about is compression. Compression DOES NOT control inflammation. The inflammation still occurs, but the swelling can not escape the bandages and the increase in internal pressure reduces blood flow, causing ischemic damage. Like laminitis within the hoof. The hoof capsule prevents swelling so the inflammation expands inwards and cuts off the blood supply. This is why laminitis is so painful and difficult to treat. Compression is only useful in the case of leaky vessels, for example reduced blood pressure, reduced movement so the blood isn’t being pumped backup the legs, or osmotic imbalances eg low protein with diarrhoea. In these situations, compression of the legs can encourage blood to return to the vessels and continue circulating.

06/24/2022

The second venue that we have lost this year!

Absolutely!!  What I have always been teaching!
06/23/2022

Absolutely!! What I have always been teaching!

Please share with your horsey friends!

06/06/2022

IT'S HERE!! Entries for our June 11th show need to be received by Wednesday, June 8th! Come play at our jumper series! All the forms and information are on www.OpavaEquestrianTrainingCenter.com

IT'S HERE!!  Entries for our June 11th show need to be received by Wednesday, June 8th!  Come play at our jumper series!...
06/03/2022

IT'S HERE!! Entries for our June 11th show need to be received by Wednesday, June 8th! Come play at our jumper series! All the forms and information are on www.OpavaEquestrianTrainingCenter.com

So true!
05/26/2022

So true!

Some people seem to be looking at this the wrong way. Think about it from the other way around. You are a great rider if you want to be told the truth, because you want to know the truth and are willing to do the hard work to improve. YOU will be the one that improves the most. Those that think they already know or don't accept and learn from criticism will not progress, and will remain average.

05/11/2022
Opava Eventing

Summer fun! Come play at our jumper series! All the forms and information are ar www.OpavaEquestrianTrainingCenter.com

The only US Eventing Assoc. certified trainer in the Santa Clarita Valley. Top rate facility with first class care and amenities. Specializing in jumpers, dressage and cross country. Beginners to advanced. Enjoy what makes our place so special.

EVENTING CAMP             June 20 - 24, 2022Come experience eventing for the first time or add valuable knowledge to you...
05/11/2022

EVENTING CAMP June 20 - 24, 2022

Come experience eventing for the first time or add valuable knowledge to your existing skills! Eventing camp is a blast for all ages! Bring your own horse or use one of ours.

Information and forms available at www.OpavaEquestrianTrainingCenter.com

Congratulations to Cat Benson on her purchase of Clear Creek Guinness.  We are looking forward to seeing Cat and this cu...
04/13/2022

Congratulations to Cat Benson on her purchase of Clear Creek Guinness. We are looking forward to seeing Cat and this cute 3 year old Connemara/TB gelding rock it in eventing. Lots of training ahead, but "Gus" has the brains and the breeding! #opavaeventing #connemarasofinstagram #thoroughbredsofinstagram #eventersofinstagram #connemarapony #socaleventing

Announcing the dates for our summer jumper show series:June 11July 16August 13Looking forward to another great summer se...
04/13/2022

Announcing the dates for our summer jumper show series:

June 11
July 16
August 13

Looking forward to another great summer series! Check out all the details on our website at www.OpavaEquestrianTrainingCenter.com

03/31/2022

Opava Eventing is looking for a riding instructor to take over a busy beginner lesson program. Multiple days per week. This is a well paid position. Qualified applicants should have experience riding and teaching English and western discipline, and be somewhat flexible in terms of hours. If interested please PM for specifics.

It's back!  Our eventing derby!    Come join us for the fun!OPAVA EVENTING SPRING DERBYApril 24, 2022USEA Intro - Traini...
03/21/2022

It's back! Our eventing derby! Come join us for the fun!

OPAVA EVENTING SPRING DERBY

April 24, 2022

USEA Intro - Training level derby: dressage and combined jumping

Additional USDF Intro-1st level dressage tests

Schooling derby courses available before each division

Information on the website at OpavaEquestrianTrainingCenter.com

Questions or Volunteer Inquires: Jenn Gilmartin 661/406-4955 or at [email protected]

I can't tell you how happy I am that Kobie has found her perfect girl to love and dote on her!  Congratulations Sarah Ga...
03/05/2022

I can't tell you how happy I am that Kobie has found her perfect girl to love and dote on her! Congratulations Sarah Gamboa on the acquisition of your first horse! Looking forward to following all your adventures and achievements!!

01/09/2022

INSTRUCTOR POSITION OPEN

Opava Eventing currently has an opening for an instructor to handle beginners, english and western, from first lesson to w/t and w/t/c. Candidate must have a good amount of availability, this is a multiple day per week position, and previous experience. References will be requested. Interested individuals may contact Darla at 818/515-3210 for additional information and salary.

11/28/2021

I have the best barn family! Thank you for the incredible pot luck birthday dinner and party tonight! We were having so much fun we all forgot to take pictures!! 🤣 So much good food, fun and frivolity!! Thank you, Katie! Karen and Mary for your additional help. Molly, Mika, Morgen, Danica, Debby, Cathy, McKenna, Grady... So grateful that you all took the time to help me celebrate with all the wonderful food and gifts... thank you!!! And those that couldn't make it, thank you for all your birthday wishes.

Address

28868 Bouquet Canyon Rd
Santa Clarita, CA
91390

Opening Hours

Monday 8am - 8pm
Tuesday 8am - 8pm
Wednesday 8am - 8pm
Thursday 8am - 8pm
Friday 8am - 8pm
Saturday 8am - 8pm
Sunday 8am - 8pm

Telephone

(818) 515-3210

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Just some of the photos of the Double Clear Crew!
Costume contest!!
What a wonderful Halloween event today. Thank you to Jen and Sydney for organizing this!
Hi everyone! This post is just a reminder to those who have signed up to have their horse(s) and/or dog(s) get intuitive readings with Lydia Hiby - Animal Communicator her tomorrow (Sunday, June 2, 2019). Lydia will start the readings at 10 a.m. Each reading costs $60 and will last between 10-15 minutes. You are free to video/audio record the reading, ask questions and take notes/photos. It may be helpful to write a list of questions or topics that you would like Lydia to ask your animal. (Please be courteous and limit questions to your OWN animals, though. ;) ) I am bringing home-baked peanut-butter and chocolate-chip cookies, a tray of cut fruit and a tray of cut veggies with Ranch dressing. Samantha Valla said she would pick up coffee and donuts, so there will be plenty of things to munch on. ;) If you have not signed up yet but are interested in having Lydia talk to your horse or other fur-baby, there are still spaces but it is first-come, first-served. Those who have already given me a deposit for the reading will get to talk to Lydia first. Also, HORSES are the priority for readings tomorrow, then dogs/cats. It should be a lot of fun and a very enlightening day for us all! If you have any questions, call or send me a text at 661.433.9430. :D
Very best wishes to everyone who is showing on Sunday. I hope you all have a great time!
Congratulations Ally for winning Championship in Jumping and Reserved Champion in Flat!! I am so proud of her in her first horse show season and she just crushed it! She won some amazing awards tonight at her banquet!❤️🐴❤️Thank you Darla Opava Opava Eventing for all your training
Game is ON!! 2019 Opava Party was fantastic
Hi everyone! Apparently, there is a tradition at Windsor Castle for the grooms to get together to serenade Her Majesty's horses on Christmas Eve. Can I interest anyone in getting together at the barn on Saturday, December 22 (late afternoon/evening) to sing Christmas Carols to the horses? It looked like so much fun in the documentary. We can turn it into a pre-Christmas party with cookies and libations! ;)
Thank you Darla and her ground crew for yet another great show!!!
To Darla and everyone else involved: thanks for a fun jumper show last night!
A great day for a lesson!