Downeast Medal Finals

November 2019
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

Thank you to all who attended and supported the 2019 Downeast Medal Finals!

DMF News
Please mark the dates in your calendars as we are a week later next year due to Leap Year. 2020 Downeast Show Dates: 9/17/2020-9/20/2020
We now have an online results reporting form ! We welcome all applications for shows wanting to host 2020 DMF qualifying classes. Please remember that in order to run Downeast classes and for points to count, applications must be approved prior to the show running.
We would like to feature all of our Medal Finals winners as well as the Derby winners, High Point Maine Riders, all special award winners as well (Overall best horse of DMF, Best Maine Horse, etc). Please send your contact information and which award to Ginger at and she will let you know what we need. Thank you!
By Kathleen Giguere, DVM

Melanomas are common neoplasms of the older horse, arising from dark pigmented cells called melanoytes or melanoblasts. These tumors develop in many gray horses as they age and are usually less dangerous in horses than in humans. They typically appear as firm, slow growing, dark lumps in the skin and are most often located under the tail. In some cases, one might suddenly begin to grow quickly and can interfere with defecation or cause other problems. Diagnosis is typically based on clinical signs and biopsy is only warranted if the lesion is abnormal in appearance. Surgery is only needed if the mass interferes with functions such as defecation.
Melanomas may arise from dermal melanocytes or melanoblasts and may be benign or malignant. These tumors are most commonly seen in older horses with the most common breeds being Arabians and Percherons. Melanomas appear most exclusively in horses that have gray coats, and it has been estimated that 80% of gray horses over 15 years old have melanomas. Lesions may be solitary or multiple and occur most commonly on the perinium or ventral surface of the tail. Other locations include the periocular region, distal limb, below the ear in the area of the throat latch, or inside the mouth. Tumors are usually firm, black, nodular but may be hairless or ulcerated. Three growth patterns have been described: slow growth without metastasis, slow growth with sudden metastasis and rapid growth with malignacy from the start. Diagnosis:
Clinical appearance is often highly suggestive, but cytology from fine needle aspirates are also indicative. Biopsy for histopathology is required for absolute confirmation of diagnosis but is not always required.
Currently, a vaccine exists for canine melanoma that has shown good efficacy in horses. The horse's immune system doesn’t normally attack tyrosinase (a protein found in the tumor) because the protein isn’t recognized as foreign. The vaccine delivers the genetic code for human tyrosinase, which is inserted in a small ring of DNA. When the horse’s immune system spots the human protein, it mounts a response for immune cells to attack this protein, which is concentrated in melanoma cells. The vaccine is given intradermally (through the skin) in an area that is clipped and aseptically prepped. This is most commonly done in the skin over the pectoral muscles. However, this vaccine is not without cost. An owner might expect to pay $2,200-$3,000 for the initial series of four injections and then a quarter of that cost for each booster. Other treatment options include surgical debulking along with cryotherapy (freezing the tumor cells), intralesional cisplatin (a chemotherapeutic agent) or orally administered cimetidine (a histamine blocker) to slow down the rate of growth in rapidly growing melanomas.
In horses, there is not yet enough data to know how long the effects of the vaccine will last. While the researchers have yet to see full resolution of cancer in horses, all tumors were reduced in size or stopped growing. However, owners of horses with large melanomas might not see an appreciable decrease in the size of the tumor. Slow-growing melanomas seem to respond best to the vaccine and, so far, the vaccine has demonstrated good short-term efficacy. At this time, the vaccine is not yet approved in horses, and its use is therefore considered extra-label.

Reference: Reed, S.M., Bayly, W.M, Equine Internal Medicine. W.B Sauders Company, 1998 Mair, T.S., Love, S., Schumacher, J., Equine Medicine, Surgery and Reproduction, 2nd edition, Saunders Company, 2013, Page 281 Equine Health Update, Purdue University College of Veterinary medicine, Vol. 15, Issue No. 1 – 2013.

Thank you to New England Equine Medical and Surgical Center and Dr. Kathleen Giguere for allowing us to reprint this article, found here .
Rider Spotlight- Aly Eastman
The 2019 Walk Trot Poles Medal Final at the 2019 Downeast Medal Finals was won by Aly Eastman. We will be highlighting the winners of our 2019 Medal Finals classes as well as our Hunter Derbies and special awards. Here is what Aly had to say:

"Hi my name is Aly Eastman, I am 9 ½ years old, I live in Parsonsfield, ME. I drove by “the farm” every morning on my way to daycare, the horses were always out playing in the pasture. I always asked if I could go see them, my mom always told me when I get a little bigger, I was 2 ½. I continued to bug my mom about stopping…..she finally did!!! I was so excited to be near the horses. I absolutely love the smell. We talked with Alexandria Nason, owner of Wild Iris Equestrian Center, about me riding, my mom thought I might be too young, but Alex said we could try it. I was able to begin lessons the following week. I started off with 1 lesson a week and then moved to 2 lessons. I fell in love with being on a horse, it was and is my happy place. When I am riding a horse, I am in my own world, I block out everything else but what I am doing with my horse. Wild Surprise, also known as Suri is a 7 year old homebred Welsh pony that I rode with and won the Downeast Medal Finals walk , trot, poles. I was the first child to be able to ride Suri, together we made a great team. Next year when I am at Downeast Medal Finals, I will be competing with my own horse, Dutch, also known as The Dutchman. Thank you very much for the best time ever! See you next year!"
The Horse's Maine and NH
We would like to thank the Horse's Maine and NH for their generous sponsorship and support of the Downeast Medal Finals.
It has been our pleasure to support the Downeast Medal Finals. Not only is this an opportunity for youth to be recognized for their efforts, but many volunteer hours are required to host the DMF.

While I’ve been a long -time account executive at The Horse’s Maine & NH , I recently purchased the publication. Immediately the curviest learning curve in the history of mankind began. I appreciate all the grace you have given me as I grow into the position. I’ve previously attended the Northeast Horseman’s Conference and Tradeshow and remain delighted by how wonderful, polite and welcoming the Maine Horse industry is.

Horses are in my blood. For over 50 years I’ve participated in all aspects of riding and competing. Saddleseat, huntseat, balance seat, western, driving, team penning, trail riding and so on, you name it… I’ve had some experience with it. From new-born foals to nursing the elderly equine friends, I’ve been a part of it.  

My grandchildren are 3rd generation Pony Club members. I have so many of them my daughter follows the truck and trailer in her gigantic mini-van. We wouldn’t have it any other way. I own and operate an 8-stall barn that is full of a diversity and learning. It’s also full of horses. The stalls are always taken. I aspire to use my love of horses and everything Equine to grow The Horse’s Maine & NH into a widely read and trusted resource for other Equine lovers. There is no greater honor than being surrounded by such a wonderful community of Equine Enthusiasts.

-Kim Mattson
Editor of the Horse's Maine and NH
2019 Downeast Medal Finals
Upcoming Shows with 2020 Downeast Qualifying Classes
Nov. 10 Cornerstone Haverhill, MA
Nov. 24 Evenstride Newbury, MA

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