Meisterider Equestrian sponsors classes at the SJHSA Hunter Jumper Show

Tomball, Tx. Many thanks to the event organizers John Deleyer and wife Marsha, as well as all the volunteers for putting on a great show at North Fork Farm in Tomball, Texas. Meisterider Equestrian is proud to have sponsored several classes in the jumpers as well as hunter classes with prizes and merchandise. Below are some of the pictures from the show. Enjoy !

Action Photos







Reckless: Hero War Horse & U.S. Marines Corps Legend

CAMPPENDLETON.  Few stories better illustrate the military’s promise to leave no one behind than that of Staff Sgt. Reckless, a horse who became a decorated Marine during the Korean War.

Plans have begun to honor the horse, once left behind in Korea. A Marine officer purchased Reckless from a Korean boy who needed money to buy his sister an artificial leg, according to Marine Lt. Col. Andrew Geer, who commanded the 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment of the 1st Division in Korea.

Geer wrote two articles about the horse for The Saturday Evening Post in the 1950s and later wrote a book, “Reckless, the Pride of the Marines.” The horse served at the bloody Battle of Vegas after training as an ammunitions carrier, according to Geer. He wrote:

“Every yard she advanced was showered with explosives. Fifty-one times she marched through the fiery gantlet of the Red barrage and she saved the day for the Leathernecks.”

Bob Rogers, a former Navy corpsman who now lives in Kansas, remembers Reckless wandering around a military camp in Korea wearing a blanket bearing stripes and her Purple Heart. Rogers said in a recent interview that he is planning a statue to honor the horse. The location has yet to be decided. Rogers said Reckless had a weakness for rations. “We’d go out for the day and return to a wrecked tent,” he said. “Reckless could smell any goodies, especially cookies, and would find them guaranteed!

“A lieutenant, myself and others were in a circle talking. Reckless came up behind one fellow and nuzzled the back of his neck.
It scared the guy, and he cussed Reckless, calling her a “blanking nag.” The
lieutenant sternly let him know Reckless was a hero and had done more for the
Marine Corps than he ever would. And since Reckless outranked him, any further verbal abuse would be cause for disciplinary action. “I had the honor of being in
formation when Cpl. Reckless was promoted to sergeant,” saidRogers, 70.

Reckless was left in South Korea as her Marine buddies returned home, but after publication of Geer’s article, Post readers and friends of the horse arranged to bring her to the United States. In preparation for her transfer to Camp Pendleton, Geer wrote the Commandant of the Marine Corps in Washington, D.C.:

“The undersigned is in hearty agreement that Reckless should bestationed at Camp
Pendleton. . . . It should be kept in mind, however, that this is no ordinary horse and she should have special care and attention. . . . It is suggested her court be in the
vicinity of the Commanding General’s quarters andproperly marked with
appropriate sign, so that all will know this to be the home of Sergeant Reckless, Pride of the Marines.

“… Her shoes should be removed and she be allowed to go barefoot for a period of six weeks,” Geer contiued. “At that time, her feet should be trimmed and new shoes fitted. Only the most knowing and patient horseshoer should be employed. Sergeant Reckless is extremely proud of her feet and will not stand for inexpert attention. Several Korean horseshoers will painfully attest to this statement.”

The memo continued, “During the heat of Korea, when potable water was scarce or non-existent,Reckless came to know and like certain liquids other than water. She is fond of coca cola and milk. Under the stress of battle she has been known to drink beer.

Geer cautioned the commandant about a producer with plans to portray Reckless as a chatty horse modeled after the 1950 movie, “Francis, the Talking Mule.” “One is a Hollywood clown and the other a gallant Marine who won honors in one of the bloodiest battles fought by American troops,” he wrote. In 1959, five years after arriving at Camp Pendleton, Reckless was promoted to a staff sergeant.

Retirement, however, did not mean that her exploits are at an end, because the fame of Reckless has spread far and wide, and good Marines, unlike some, do not fade away. Semper fidelis,  always faithful, was never a more fitting motto than in the example of this horse.

Reckless died in 1968 and was survived by three offspring.


Martien Van Der Hoeven takes top prize at Pin Oak $30K Grand Prix – Week I

It’s spring time, and in the Houston equestrian world, it means it’s time for the annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, the oldest and most prestigious competition in the area. The show’s first week of competition got underway on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 with the show’s main jumper class, the Pin Oak $30K Grand Prix scheduled for Saturday evening.

Renowned Olympic course designer Linda Allen was in charge of designing this year’s course for the twenty four horse/rider combinations vying for the title of Pin Oak champion. Ms. Allen set to work and came up with a challenging and technical course including a wall, and a tough triple combination set up as the last fence of the course. This triple combination (fences 13A, B & C) would prove the most demanding of the course. Arranged as a vertical/oxer/vertical (all at a distance of one stride) combined to see a lot of downed rails, dashing the hopes of many to move into the jump off round. As a matter of fact, 13 competitors had faults at this triple, a full 54% of the field (some with more than 4 faults).

It’s worth to note that the field included several teenage riders, including Jordan Appel who at thirteen years old was also the youngest; Ryan Genn – 14 years old; Margaux Wheeler – 16 years old and Megan Bifano – 17 years old and competing in her first Grand Prix.

It took until the 11th competitor to take the field, Mike McCormick and MTM Remington, to see the first clean round of the night earning a loud applause from the audience. Several more riders tried their luck, but could not manage a clean round until perennial Pin Oak winner Tracy Fenney riding MTM Centano recorded the second clean round of the night, making it a husband and wife jump-off affair ! Previous Pin Oak winner Wilhem Genn took notice and recorded the third clean round aboard his reliable mount Happy Z. Immediately after, the fourth and final clean round was posted by Martien Van Der Hoeven and his thoroughbred Southbound.

First to tackle the jump off was McCormick, ending the night with 8 faults and the eventual 4th place finisher. Wife Fenney came next, and posted the jump-off’s quickest time at 38.771 albeit with 4 jumping faults which earned her 3rd overall. Genn and Happy Z came next and posted a clean round with a final time of 40.435 temporarily putting them in the lead. The next and last rider was Houston based Van Der Hoeven who also posted and clean round and bested Genn’s time by almost a second, stopping the clock at 39.391 and claiming the $9,000 check for first place.


Place Prize Horse Rider Owner
1 $9,000 South Bound Martien Van Der Hoeven Martien Van Der Hoeven
2 $6,600 Happy Z Wilhelm Genn Wilhelm Genn
3 $3,900 MTM Centano Tracy Fenney MTM Farm
4 $2,400 MTM Remington Michael McCormick MTM Farm
5 $1,800 MTM Timon Tracy Fenney MTM Farm
6 $1,500 Copyright 3 Wilhelm Genn Wilhelm Genn
7 $1,200 Alamo Erin Davis October Hill Hunter & Jumpers
8 $900 Ariado Theo Genn Abby Albritton
9 $900 Paradox Theo Genn Thomas Bruinsma
10 $600 Marlo Ryan Genn Wilhelm Genn
11 $600 River of Dreams Christian Heinekig Kai Handt
12 $600 Uno Martien Van Der Hoeven Cindy McCampbell-Wilkerson

Christian Heineking bests his own student to win $25K Grand Prix in Katy, Texas

Twenty one horse/rider combinations saddled up to tackle a tough and technical Grand Prix course at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center’s Winter Series II “A” show, held on Saturday, February 12, 2011  and set up by course designer Michel Vaillancourt.

First on the course was German born rider Christian Rogge aboard Carl Loui TSP, finishing the course with only 1 rail down.  This score would hold the lead through past half of the field, as rider after rider found themselves with multiple faults due to downed rails or refusals.

The triple combination at fence 7 (two verticals with an oxer at 7C) proved to be a challenge, with many riders leaving rails on the ground. Immediately after this difficult combo, Vaillancourt set up a hard right to a narrow vertical at fence 8 that also saw many downed rails.

It was not until teenage rider Jordan Appel and her horse Einstein (13th in the jump order), who managed to put up the first clean round of the evening. It is worthwhile to mention that she also held the distinction of being the youngest rider in the field!

There were several riders who would eventually finish with 4 faults total, including Stephanie Tropia and CR Napoleon, Rogge, and Erin Davis aboard Alamo. They would go on to claim spots 3rd through 5th respectively. The crowd in attendance had to wait until the very last rider to find out whether there would be a jump off. That last rider was Heineking on the irons of his second mount of the night “River of Dreams” owned by Kai Handt. The dapple grey and his rider putting a classic clean round, well within the time allowed, to earn the second and last spot on the jump-off.

So that left only NTEC’s Heineking and his student Appel on the jump-off.  Jordan was the first to go, and put a quick round of 48.084 sec. but had an unfortunate rail at the last fence, and thus would claim second place overall. Heineking, her trainer and competitor was next, and put in his second clean round of the night, stopping the clock at 47.560  to claim the blue ribbon.  Overall, a great evening for North Texas Equestrian Center (NTEC).

Place Prize Horse Rider Trainer Owner

Horses take on Retinoblastoma and win

By Janice Terra

The Lady Horse Whisperer

Cactus and Dhan Zhao are two friendly Appaloosa’s with magnificent track records of dealing with cancer.  Janice Terra, The Lady Horse Whisperer, owns these remarkable horses (though she feels it is more the other way around) and conducts seminars teaching others how to enlist the aid of horses in returning humans to a state of balance & harmony.

Margaret Bear is a school teacher from Tomball, Texas.  This mother of three has a beautiful three year old little girl named Rebecca who has Bilateral Retinoblastoma ~ a virulent rare form of childhood cancer which develops in the cells of the retina of the eye.  This little girl had already lost one of her eyes to the disease, and Margaret was desperately trying to save her remaining eye, which had bleeding behind it.  If the bleeding did not stop ~ she would lose her other eye. Margaret had been taking her daughter to a specialist in New York City every 4 weeks. 

A relative of Margaret’s had attended one of the “Medicine Pony” seminars, and told Margaret about how the horse helped restore humans to health.  Encouraged by what she had learned from her sister, and not willing to leave any stone unturned in her pursuit to help her daughter, Margaret made an appointment with Ms.  Terra.

Bekah (Rebecca’s nickname) came for a therapeutic ride on one of these amazing horses at the Tomball location.  Bekah soon made it known that she preferred to ride without a saddle – so that was an easy accommodation to grant.  The next day Margaret flew to New York with her daughter for their appointment with the specialist.

The next week when Bekah came for her session, Margaret was overjoyed to report that the bleeding had stopped!  The bleeding had stopped!  (Just had to repeat that.)

Bekah continued to come for her riding sessions once a week.  Four weeks later Bekah and Margaret returned to New York City for their regular appointment.  The tumor had shrunk considerably ~ there was no bleeding ~ and the seeding from the tumor were gone.  The doctor said that they needed return only every 6 weeks now instead of the 4 and ….he said….”Whatever you are doing … keep it up…. Because whatever you are doing …it is working”.  These words coming from the lips of a renowned expert in his field of medicine!

When asked about success with other forms of cancer, Ms. Terra  spoke of two ladies, each in their 50’s, with late stage ovarian cancer:   One called the day after her first session saying that the swelling had gone down ½!  The other woman, who, after 2 sessions, said that she did not have any adverse effects from her chemo, and that her marker had gone down 200 points,!

Such are the miracles and magic of using horses to help humans.

If you are interested in contacting Ms. Janice, you can reach her at  or check out her websites:  and

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Van Der Hoeven Grabs Top Spots at Katy, Texas Fall Classic

The Fall Classic USEF “A” rated show wrapped up at The Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas with their customary $10K  1.35 Meter Classic. A total of seventeen horse rider combinations tackled the course consisting of 12 challenging fence arrangements including a triple and  double combinations. Of the first three riders, two had refusals at fence #9, a Liverpool/Oxer  that appeared to rattle some horses. It was not until the fourth entrant, Martien Van Der Hoeven and his first mount of the evening S&L Walter Farley, that the first clean round was posted.  Several more riders challenged the course, but the audience had to wait until the eleventh entrant, Jessica Law and sangria, recorded the second clean round of the night. Two riders later, Stephanie Tropia and CR  Napoleon also recorded no faults and earned a spot in the jump off. Magnolia, Texas resident Tony Font has a smooth, clean ride aboard Calotta, but 2 time faults would keep him out of the jump off. His effort would ultimately earn the pair a 5th place. Martien Van Der Hoeven and his second mount UNO, would claim the final spot in the jump off.

The jump off proved tricky also, with the first three riders posting jumping faults. As the last rider on course, Martien Van Der Hoeven knew that time would not be a factor if he could ride a penalty free round. Posting a solid, and uneventful round, that is exactly what he did. In the end, Martien grab the two top spots aboard his mounts, leaving the rest of the ribbons to Stephanie Tropia in third, and Jessica Law in fourth.

Place Prize Horse Rider

The Wilson Snaffle Bit – How it works

All bits work with either direct pressure or leverage. Bits that act with direct pressure on the tongue and lips of the mouth are in the general category of snaffle bits. Snaffle bits most commonly have a single jointed mouthpiece and act with a nutcracker effect on the bars, tongue and occasionally roof of the mouth. However, any bit that operates only on direct pressure is a “snaffle” bit, regardless of mouthpiece.

The Wilson snaffle, removes the action form the corners of the mouth, and replaces it with the ability to control via a squeezing action on the cheeks of the horse. This does not cause bruising, neither does it cause damage to the mouth. Because of the pressure it causes at the cheeks, the horse’s only release from the pressure (other than rider dropping rein) is to drop his head, upon dropping his head he receives instant reward for proper behavior.

Horses learn proper head position without the rider losing their position or miscuing the horse. This snaffle is good for young horses who have not yet learned proper head position or horses who pull and develop cracks at the corners of their mouths.

If you would like to purchase this bit, click here.

How to Measure a Bit

From past experience, we have noticed that there are differing opinions on the “proper” techniques for measuring a bit. However, we list the following guidelines, as they refer to how we measure our line of bits. We think these are the most commonly used ways to measure English bits.

The thickness of mouth pieces are usually measured in millimeters as are ring sizes. The mouth width (from side to side) is in inches. Cheeks of pelhams and curbs are usually referenced in inches with centimeters a second choice. Where possible we will try to list both measurements. Now that we have the tool(s) to do the job, we can get to work. Let’s start with something fairly simple and measure the mouth pieces of snaffles. As you can see from the illustrations…it is pretty clear from what points we take measurements. We do not take the mouth length by abutting hard up against the Eggbutt portion or hole for a loose ring. We take the measurement a fraction in from those points. Reason? Because we are only measuring the portion that will actually be inside the horse’s mouth. By going as far out as you can on a mouth piece, you may assume that a bit is as much as 1/2” larger than it actually is. (Fig. A & B).

There are opposing schools of thought from ours that feel that the thickness of the mouth of a loose ring snaffle should be measured at the portion of the mouthpiece as it protrudes into the ring. Similarly, some feel that the proper place from which to measure a mouth’s thickness (diameter) would be right where the mouth hits the ring. (Or a shank in the case of a curb or Pelham bit.) Again, we do not measure in these locations as they are invariably wider than the portion that will actually be inside the horse’s mouth. (Fig. C). We measure the diameter of all of the rings of our snaffles; Eggbutts, dee rings, full cheeks, loose rings, etc from top to bottom (rather then from left to right) inside the rings. (Fig. D).

Pelhams and curb bits. We measure the length & the diameter of the mouth in the same manner that we do snaffles (Fig. F). As far as the sides are concerned…there are three terms that you will need to remember; “cheek”, “purchase” and “shank.” The cheek is the entire length of the side both above and below the bar/mouthpiece. The purchase is the portion above the bar and the shank is the portion below the bar. To measure the cheeks we start at the top inside edge of the eye (the ring to which the cheek strap is attached) and go to the bottom of the shank at the point where the ring for the rein is located. (Fig. G). At this time on English style curb and Pelham bits, we will provide the measurement for the entire cheek. (purchase, shank and mouth combined.)

Full Cheek bits will provide ring & cheek measurement, measuring from tip to tip for cheek measurement. (Fig. J). Please note: Bits may have a slight variance, that are within metal industry standards, due to shrinkage.

In closing, the majority of “standard bits” can be measured following the mentioned criteria. There are many bits that are unique and in turn do not really follow the norm in regards to measurements. Please feel free to call us about specifics…if we are not certain of the details that you need, we will research them for you.

The Running Martingale

What is it and how does it work?

The running martingale consists of a yoke with a strap that runs between the horse’s legs to the girth. The strap from the chest to the reins forks at about the level of the chest and has a ring at each end, which the reins are run through. When the horse raises its head above the desired point, the martingale puts downward pressure on the reins and presses the bit on the bars of the horse’s mouth. This pressure prohibits horse from raising head to high & cues him to lower his head. The reins should always make a straight line from the rider’s hand to the bit ring when the running martingale is not in effect.

 A horse’s instinct is to fight against anything that grabs its head. Use a martingale–or any training device that restricts the head—with care, especially the first time. The running martingale is typically used with snaffle bits. A running martingale provides more freedom for the horse than a standing martingale. It does not restrict the side to side motion. It useful when working on bending, collecting and suppling a horse during competitions or practice of fast sports. If a horse happens to trip the rider can slide the reins forward and the horse will have full use of its’ head and neck to facilitate in regaining it’s balance. A running martingale should be used with rein stops placed on rein between bit and ring of the martingale, thus preventing the martingale ring from sliding down and catching on any portion of the bit, when the horse lowers its head.

 The Western version of a running martingale is called a training fork. It doesn’t always have the strap around the neck, but works the same way. Besides leather some are made from elastic or tubular rubber, giving a softer cue initially.

Thinline® – Discover the Benefits

The Saddle Pad Dilemma

by Elaine Lockhead

Consumers are inundated with complicated and often opposing messages. Riders try foam, neoprene, air, wool and synthetic fibers. Most riders have a barn full of pads, meaning they have not found the real McCoy. Riders purchase saddle pads to attempt to solve several problems at once: moisture control (breathability), saddle fit, and most importantly shock absorption resulting in a comfortable ride for both horse and rider. Unfortunately saddle pad sales are made in a static environment. The sales information in the store often has little or nothing to do with what will actually happen when you are in motion. Take for instance a runner. He wants to make contact with the track with just enough shock absorption to protect his joints and tendons but not with enough flex to cause him to sink into the footing or provide excessive rebound so he winds up higher in the air or feeling like he is stuck in the mud instead of receiving forward propulsion that allows him even productive steps.

Imagine the runner running on a track, and instead of hurdles, he has in front of him a series of saddle pads. First the memory foam. His weight takes a moment to compress the foam then he bottoms out onto the hard surface. Next a denser foam, he springs onto it and it in turn springs him into the air reducing his traction and balance (the trampoline effect). Next he steps on an air filled product where he cannot feel the track at all, his foot rotating around like a water bed. Now place these products in his shoes. Air works well for basketball players, they are trying to be airborne. We as riders are trying to do the opposite; stay connected to our horses. Next imagine adding 2 inches of foam to the bottom of your running shoes. The foam will give and pitch with every step. The runners’ foot will roll front, back and left, right, giving him such an unstable feel that he will most likely give up running in the search for safety.

 Unknowingly, this is what we do to our horses as we add thick layers of padding under our saddles. We create what is defined as pitch and yaw. Now try a marathon running insole. It is designed for athletes in motion. It is thin, breathable and absorbs impact rapidly without cushion. It keeps the runner’s foot stable, and he knows the feel of the next step will be just like the last. He can move forward with strength and confidence. Now consider saddle fit. Just like shoe fit you need to order a shoe size large enough to accommodate an insole. The insole should distribute shock weight and heat. It should be no slip and no sheer to eliminate blistering or chafing. It should relieve pressure or high impact points. Very few insoles meet these requirements and only one saddle pad makes its way from the runner to the horse. About a decade ago a worker in a shoe insole company took home a piece of marathon running material and gave it to his wife, a rider.

 The shoe insole company had developed a very low profile, breathable, shock absorbing, anti-fungal and anti-microbial insole. Oddly enough, the same features of an insole are also the same features sought by riders in a saddle pad. In 2005 Elaine Lockhead, discovered a piece of this material, called Thinline®, in a barn. Riding a very round mutton withered horse and fighting constant saddle slippage, she tried it. Amazingly the saddle never budged, her horse grew daily in his back, worked more happily and those historically difficult trots were now possible to sit. She became so committed to the product she sold her horses and put everything into Thinline®. Dozens of Olympic and international riders agreed.

 Everywhere she sent the product, whether to Jumpers, Endurance Riders, Western Riders, Dressage, and Polo…every imaginable discipline they all replied with the same result: our horses are happier, more comfortable and our riders sit better. To this day, Thinline® has not paid for a single endorsement. In 2005, Thinline® began designing new products. The shoe insole material answered 90% of the desires of the equestrian. The other 10% was moisture wicking properties, which once coupled with cotton, sheepskin, or felt, Thinline® products offer all the benefits in an ultimate saddle pad. Now there is a saddle pad that finally does what riders have been seeking for decades. It solves every saddle pad requirement regardless of breed or discipline and has no drawbacks.

 Saddle Fit: Thinline® pads augment saddle fit, and 95% of UK Master Saddlers in the US endorse and vend these products.

 Breathability: Thinline® is ridden by the top endurance riders passing countless vet checks, and the open cell material allows movement of air through the product.

 Stabilization: Thinline® pads keep riders stable in their position, something no other product has ever achieved. They are also endorsed by spinal surgeons for riders with sore backs and by riding programs across the globe for helping riders to sit more quietly, giving their horses the trust and confidence to work with their backs up.

 Shock Absorption: Thinline® pads absorb more shock than any other product on the market; it absorbs shock and equally distributes so much weight that it is vended and endorsed by veterinarians, equine chiropractors and equine massage therapists for horses with sore or sensitive backs. Even with unpaid endorsements from most of the Olympic show jumping and dressage teams, the real testament to the product is the way it makes every horse move better and every rider sit better. At the end of the day we are all just looking for one thing: a saddle pad that both the horse and rider can feel creates a great difference in comfort and contact.

Finally that product is here; Thinline® saddle pads maximize the communication between horse and rider as well as increases comfort and confidence for better riding and performance. Join the revolution.

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