Downeast Medal Finals

January 2020
Downeast Medal Finals
September 17-20, 2020
Visit our website for more information about Downeast. We welcome all feedback and suggestions: please email Ginger at

Happy New Year to all!

Goodbye ML & Hello Lisa!
We here at DMF are sorry to say goodbye to ML Rahlson as our secretary of the past three years. We wish her the best enjoying her retirement (will it last this time?) spending more time with family and grandchildren.
Thank you so much for all that you have done for DMF. We will miss that smile in the entry booth!
We also wish to welcome our new secretary for 2020, Lisa Hern Silvester . Lisa comes to us from Reading, Vermont and has lots of experience with the secretarial position. We look forward to having her join the DMF team. Lisa will have a Downeast email address soon.

"I am Lisa Hern Silvester, and I’m excited to join the team as the new secretary for 2020! I’ve enjoyed being the secretary for the H/J shows at the Green Mountain Horse Association in VT as well as the Myopia Horse Show in MA since 2010. My philosophy is that going into the horse show office should be easy and pleasant, and I work hard to meet that goal. My own riding experience is competing in the A/A’s for several years, then a hiatus to start a family. I am now getting back into showing with my amazing horse Sky. I live in Reading Vermont with my family, horses and dogs. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the Downeast Finals this fall!" -Lisa
Rider Spotlight- Zoe Maltese
The 2019 Long Stirrup Medal Final at the 2019 Downeast Medal Finals was won by Zoe Maltese. Here is what Zoe had to say:

"My name is Zoe Maltese. I am 15, I have been riding for almost 5 years now. I started my riding career with eventing, after trying a few other disciplines I was drawn to how highly competitive the hunter jumper world is. As I became more involved, I joined Interscholastic Equestrian Association. By the end of my first IEA season, I realized I was not placing as high as I wanted to. I started taking more lessons and having more practice rides, and I hit a financial barrier. To break this barrier I started cleaning stalls to afford my lessons. After my first year at Downeast Medal Finals, the horse I was riding retired, and I started riding a 5 year old Gypsy Vanner cross. I became more dedicated and spent every day of summer at the barn, working, cleaning stalls and camp counseling. By the end of the summer, I could almost financially support my riding by myself. In the middle of the summer, I went through a very rough time with Cricket, and it was very discouraging. We went through a period of time with no trainer, and even though it was challenging, I learned how to be independent in the show ring with a young horse. It made my bond with Cricket very strong. It helped me trust her and understand her, which made us a great team. When we got a new trainer, both me and Cricket became very confident which allowed us to do well in the show ring. It would not have been possible for me to show at DMF without the generous scholarships from Titan Chain & DMF and the support of my teammates at Seahorse Stables. Looking back on this experience I would not change anything about my journey in the hunter jumper world, thank you to everyone that supports me and is helping me to continue my journey in this amazing community."
The 411 on the Basic Lameness Exams
By Dr. Laura Wodzinski

Equine lameness is an important and prevalent area of equine medicine. Whether solving a hoof abscess or diagnosing a meniscal tear in a stifle, the basic fundamental principles of a lameness work up apply. This article will cover the basic first steps of a lameness evaluation in addition to a few of the most common nerve blocks your veterinarian may perform.
When assessing a horse with a lameness, it is important to proceed with an approach that is methodical as well as cost effect. For this reason, many veterinarians begin with basic palpation and baseline lameness examination. On palpation, your veterinarian is looking for areas of heat, swelling, joint or tendon sheath effusion, increased digital pulses, or any areas that are sensitive or reactive to palpation. Depending on the degree of lameness, horses are trotted in straight
lines and circles on hard ground and soft footing for the baseline lameness assessment. The variation in lameness depending on the surface can help determine soft tissue origin or bone, as soft tissue pathologies are often accentuated in the soft footing.
The degree of lameness is evaluated on a scale set by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). This is a scale of 0-5 with 5 being the most severe lameness.  
After achieving this baseline lameness, flexion tests can be performed based on the baseline lameness findings. A flexion test is when specific joints or regions of a limb (lower versus upper) are flexed for several seconds and then the horse is trotted off immediately. An increase in lameness after flexion helps to narrow down the region of interest to be the source of the pain. Additionally, hoof testers may be used to check for sensitivity in the foot. By squeezing the hoof capsule in several areas and evaluating the horses’ response perform this test, the areas of sensitivity can be determined if the horse tugs his leg away from the stimulus. Depending on the
location of sensitivity, further diagnostics can be used to focus on these areas.
After identifying the affected limb(s) with a lameness evaluation, your veterinarian may decide to proceed with regional nerve blocks.  These blocks are typically performed starting distally, or lowest on the limb, and working up the limb as the blocks desensitized everything below where the needle is inserted.  There are various local anesthetic drugs that can be used for nerve blocks, however the most popular is Carbocaine (mepivacaine). This medication takes approximately 10-15 minutes to begin working and has a duration of action of approximately 2 hours. After allowing the block to begin taking effect, the horse is trotted again to evaluate
the effect of the nerve block. An improvement in the lameness indicates the block desensitized the source of pain. Below is a list of common nerve blocks starting from the block lowest on the limb.
Palmar Digital Nerve Block (PDN): This block is performed just above the heel bulbs on the inside and outside palmar/plantar digital nerves. The following structures are desensitized:
  • Caudal third to two-thirds of the sole, including the heel bulbs
  • Navicular bone and bursa
  • Palmar coffin and pastern joints
  • Distal sesamoidean ligaments, deep digital flexor tendon and sheath
  • Frog corium and digital cushion
  • Wings of the coffin bone
Abaxial Nerve Block: Performed just below the fetlock joint on the inside and outside of the limb, this nerve blocks desensitizes the dorsal and palmar branches of the palmar nerve. In addition all of the areas affected by the PDN block, the abaxial block desensitizes the following major locations:
  • The long pastern, short pastern, and coffin bones
  • Entire corium and sole
  • Dorsal branches of the suspensory ligament
  • Digital extensor ligament
  • Possible diffusion into the fetlock joints and proximal sesamoid bones
Low 4 Point:  This block requires instillation of block in four different locations above the fetlock joint.  The palmar and palmar-metacarpal nerves are blocked by inserting needles between the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) and suspensory ligament (SL) and just below the button of the splint on the inside and outside of the limb. In addition to all of the structures previously mentioned in the PDN and abaxial blocks, the Low 4 point block desensitizes the following structures:
  • Coffin, pastern, and fetlock joints
  • Deep digital flexor sheath
  • Soft tissue structures of the pastern and foot
Joint Blocks: Certain joints may be blocked in order to get a very specific block when the area of pathology is suspected to be articular. Joint blocks require aseptic preparation as the needle and Carbocaine will be injected directly into the joint.

The information that can be obtained from a basic lameness examination, flexions, and nerve blocks can give the information needed to decide on further diagnostics. Radiographs and ultrasound are the most common diagnostic modalities used in equine lameness, however advanced imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT), and nuclear scintigraphy (Bone scan) are also very informative. MRI and CT will need to be performed under general anesthesia due to the necessity of the horse being absolutely still. 
Lameness work-ups are an essential part of the equine health care. This common systematic approach can help localized the affected area to focus diagnostic efforts and make the correct diagnosis and treatment plan. 

1. "LAMENESS EXAMS: Evaluating the Lame Horse." American Association of Equine Practitioners. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2016.
2. Service, Field. "Diagnostic Anesthesia." Diagnostic)Anesthesia. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2016.
3. Vandenberghe, Aurelie. "Tenogenically Induced Allogeneic Mesenchymal Stem Cells for the Treatment of Proximal Suspensory Ligament Desmitis in a Horse." Frontiers. Front. Vet. Sci., 22 Oct. 2015. Web. 09 Nov. 2016.

Thank you to New England Equine and Dr. Laura Wodzinski for allowing us to reproduce this article, found here.
Upcoming Shows with 2020 Downeast Qualifying Classes
Feb. 23 NEJA Winter Series Cumberland, ME
Mar. 22 NEJA Winter Series Cumberland, ME
Apr. 19 West Neck Farm/Stonewall Stables Nobleboro, ME
Apr. 26 Lucky Clover Stables Sanford, ME
May 8-10 NHHJA Spring Show Northampton, MA
May 16 West Neck Farm/Stonewall Stables Nobleboro, ME
May 17 Lucky Clover Stables Sanford, ME
May 30 Seacoast Show Series Fremont, NH
June 6 NHHJA Show Series Fremont, NH
June 13 Seacoast Show Series Fremont, NH
June 14 Tri County Horsemen Union, ME
June 20 NHHJA Show Series Fremont, NH
June 20 West Neck Farm/Stonewall Stables Nobleboro, ME
June 28 Lucky Clover Stables Sanford, ME
June 28 NEJA Summer H/J Charleston, ME
June 30-July 5 NHHJA Summer Festival Fieldstone, Halifax, MA
July 12 Tri County Horsemen Union, ME
July 25 Seacoast Show Series Fremont, NH
July 26 Lucky Clover Stables Sanford, ME
Aug. 1 NHHJA Show Series Fremont, NH
Aug. 9 Tri County Horsemen Union, ME
Aug. 15 NHHJA Show Series Fremont, NH
Aug. 16 West Neck Farm/Stonewall Stables Nobleboro, ME
Aug. 22 Seacoast Show Series Fremont, NH
Aug. 30 Lucky Clover Stables Sanford, ME

Want to see your show listed here? Fill out our  Downeast Classes Form !
Become a Downeast Medal Finals Sponsor:
All levels accepted and appreciated! 
Visit  for more information.
For more information or to become a sponsor, please email Ginger at .

Thank you to Spotted Vision Photography and Riitta Fortier for providing us with many wonderful photographs from the Downeast Medal Finals.
Bernard Klingenstein/Euclide Albert Memorial
Lucky Clover Stables (207-651-1881)
Maggie Mae Memorial
My Horse Heroes Memorial
Peter N. Thompson Memorial
SeaHorse Stables
Seery Hill