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Ron and Val Males share endurance knowledge

March 20, 2003

by Lyn Marshall

The Mt Linton Endurance Club members were treated to an informative evening with Ron and Val Males recently at the home of Brian and Noelene Ross, in Gore.

Ron began the evening telling of his many experiences on the endurance trails in Australia and in the Emirates. He and Val said they were astounded by the casual way most Endurance horses were trained over there at that time (1994). For example, Ron and Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan took part in a 40km race in Dubai, riding two horses previously owned by Ron and Val.

Ron said "it was flat out from start to stop, and at the end of the race a high percentage of the horses needed vet treatment". In that race, of about 88 horses and several hundred camels, the horse Ron was riding, Roynaz (exp UAE) originally from Australia, came 11th and, following Vetting, was named "Best Desert Horse".

About a week later another Ride was held in Qatar. Only two horses that had competed the previous week in Dubai were entered in this Ride. Both Roynaz (exp UAE) (Royaljan x Nazik) and Palexis (exp UAE) (Milex [imp Sweden] x Promissa) were previously owned by the Males, who have been breeding arabian derivatives since 1953 and purebred arabians since 1962.

Ron and Val were showing their own horses In Hand and Under Saddle before they met in 1951. Since their marriage in 1954 their goal has been to breed beautiful horses that can "win and work". Their horses have enjoyed much success both in the Show Ring and the Endurance Field.

Ron, at 71, is an inspiration to us all, and has competed in 20 Quilty rides, beginning in 1966, and has 20 Qulity Buckles to his credit ... having never vetted out. He proudly wears his specially made "2000 Miles Quilty" buckle presented to him by the Arabian Horse Society of Australia after the 2001 Ride in WA.

Ron was in the South Island to ride Trevor Copland's horse Dell Dancer (bred by Brian and Noelene Ross of Dellmount Stud), in the FEI ** South Island Endurance Championship, Cannington 100km at Timaru.

He commented on how enjoyable the ride had been with Dell Dancer obedient "to a T". The combination successfully qualified and placed 10th.

Ron says that the enjoyment and satisfaction of a good ride is the culmination of all the training put in beforehand. But the ride in New Zealand was especially enjoyable for him because he rode with Meg Wade for most of the Ride over an excellent course and magnificent country.

Training:
Ron works his horses every other day with one day each week being flat work, as in circling and making the horse learn to work on both diagonals at the trot, and whatever lead is asked for at the canter. Ron says that collected and energetic walking is also very beneficial to horses, as is power walking to humans, so this is also done regularly.

The question was asked "What if you get about a 4 year old that has been kept in a small confined area all its life? Will it stay sound?"

Answer: "Yes, If brought into work slowly and sensibly and if fed according to its workload."

Feeding:
Val points out that some of the old methods and feeds are still good for horses; their registered "Ralvon Mix" was formulated many years ago and still includes bran, whole oats, mixed high protein meals, wheaten or oaten chaff and lucerne chaff. Lucerne hay is also fed. (Hay is usually dampened with water during competition as it is easier to eat in a short time and provides a little more fluid than when fed dry.)

Shoeing:
On this subject there was much general discussion, with the majority of those at the gathering feeling that having a horse perform without shoes would be a disadvantage in their country.
One member commented that her horse was used to being ridden barefooted but she had always had him shod for rides. However because the rules have been changed to let unshod horses compete she decided to do so on his last ride. The result: he did the ride fine but has since had some soreness that he had not had before.
The overall feeling was if whatever you are doing is successful, it's not a great idea to change suddenly.

Val had earlier commented that it is usually best to stick to the "KISS" rule, ie "Keep It Simple, Stupid" and agreed with someone who said "Don't fix it if it ain't broke"!

Heart Scores:
Having an ECG on your horse can be very enlightening as this will tell you the size of his heart, says Ron. In Thoroughbreds vets say that a good one that can win races would have a score of around 110.
When Ron and Val had Milex heart scored they found out that his score was 140 which is excellent.

Muscle Biopsy:
These are very good in telling you if your horse has fast or slow twitch.
Fast twitch is fine for racehorses and sprinters but the long distance horse need to have slow-twitch muscles.

 

 

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