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management to fitness and training. Last but not least Dr. Kevin Keane has been looking out for Thomas’s health and, touch wood, he’s been a very sound, keen horse who has demonstrated he’s quite durable.” After competing at the Olympics, WEG, Pan Ams and


Lynn Symansky (Middleburg, VA) and Donner (Lazaz x Recreation Time/A-Okay), a 15-year-old Thoroughbred geld- ing owned by The Donner Syndicate, LLC.


Lynn and Donner’s career highlights include placing sixth individually and winning team gold at the 2011 Pan Ams, competing on the U.S. WEG team at Normandy in 2014 and traveling to Rio as reserve members of the US Olympic Team in 2016. “You have to kind of keep your head around what has


been working for the horse,” she says of their preparation for this year’s WEG. “He’s not one that does well with a lot of competition runs but he’ll have a quiet Intermediate run at Maryland to see where he is in his training. He obviously knows his job but it helps me feel what I need to work on.” She says Donner, an off-the-track Thoroughbred, is fairly


easy to get fit, so she is keeping his fitness work light at the moment so that he doesn’t peak too soon. “He’s got some extra weight right now, so he looks like a


show hunter! Mid-August is a mandatory outing at Bromont; it’s a long hike for us but there aren’t a lot of venues in the States that have good footing that time of year, especially since we lost Richland Park in Michigan. We’re professionally shipping the horses on a big rig so it’s a pretty easy trip for them. Our final camp is at Will Faudree’s in North Carolina in the beginning of September, before heading to the WEG.” Lynn does most of her horses’ fitness work at Jackie


Mars’ farm, where there is a steep climb. “That will be good preparation for Tryon, since there is a big hill around minute seven on course. For Donner, doing hill work is good: it’s less pounding on him, especially when the ground is hard. His biggest weakness is his Thoroughbred feet, so I have to be a bit careful with that. My reserve horse, Under Suspection, is a Warmblood (Holsteiner by Contender) and has really tough feet and does better with less hill work. I have a very different approach to her fitness,” Lynn continues. “I’m fortunate right now to have both of these horses and another horse who just stepped up to the three-star level, because it takes the pressure off Donner,” she adds. “The rider needs to practice more than the horse really, so I can keep on my game without overtraining him. Having the two WEG horses on the same schedule is very lucky!” “I feel like Lynn has very good horsemanship and does


the very best for her horses,” says syndicate member Po Tatum, who has also competed at the upper levels of event- ing. “She just makes it fun to be a part of. Kendal, as Donner’s groom, would do anything for the horse, so I really enjoy it. I own Bobby Burns, whom Kendal also rides and competes. It’s just so exciting for the whole team—to me it’s not about


20 September/October 2018


Lynn Symansky and her Thorough- bred Donner who placed sixth at the Land Rover Kentucky 4* event.


Nations Cup, Boyd says it’s still an absolute privilege and a huge amount of pressure to compete for the country. “I’ll be throwing everything that I’ve got to pull out the performance of a lifetime, and I truly believe Team USA will be on the podium in September. Now the work begins.” v


the ribbons, I just want everyone to be safe and have fun.” Po has a full-time job so won’t be attending the WEG but will be watching and cheering the team on from afar. At Normandy,


Lynn was the third on our team to ride, and because two of her teammates didn’t get around cross country, she was riding as an individual when she headed out on course. “I went out riding for everything, but half- way through I had a run-out when Donner landed in the water and had a fly by at one of the jumps. We found out after the competi- tion that he broke his


coffin bone, but he has so much heart he just kept going.” “I know this horse a lot better now,” she says. “I think he’s


much more competitive on the flat and I can go out with- out riding foolishly to get a clear round but not make a silly mistake. Four years ago, the horse and I were both greener; we have four more years in our partnership and I can rely a lot more on his training and go into it trusting the work I’ve put into him over the years.” Lynn says she has also learned not to get him over fit, which in the past made him difficult to ride and body sore. With a better fitness program and help from eventing team sports therapist Joann Wilson as well as chiropractic work by Jill Copenhagan, Donner is feeling good these days. She also uses SES therapy. “You put little electrodes on them, originally used on bedridden hospital patients so they didn’t waste—I use it to help maintain his topline and on his back, stifles and neck,” she explains. “It’s little like a TENS unit; it triggers muscle groups, but you have to have someone very skilled to do it. You can awaken muscle groups that the horse doesn’t always use and you can help the horse retrain its muscle memory, say by using it on the neck one day and then do dressage the next day. It’s very non-invasive and I’ve found a huge change in his body.”


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