Interview with Stafford Robinson
Q: Where did your interest in horses start and what led you to specialize in Dressage?
A: I was brought up in New Zealand in a farming community and started riding horses at the age of 5. I used to spend my days as a kid on a horse herding cows and sheep with my dad. While in NZ, when I left school, I worked in the racing industry and at 20 years old was the youngest person awarded a New Zealand Racing trainers license. Off the racetrack, I focused more on eventing and qualified for the Taupo international 3 day event. When I got to South Africa the next evolution for me in my riding was dressage as I started to appreciate the intricate language between horse and rider that dressage offers.
Q: Which horse that you have ridden has been your all time favorite and why?
A: There are two… Sonnentänzer and Berghof Eragon… and both involve 1st’s that I am proud of.
Sonnentänzer I purchased at the Elite auction Vechta, Germany and put him through his Stallion licensing. He was the first South African owned stallion to be licensed in Germany. A few months later, Callaho licensed Benicio.
The other is Berghof Eragon who I bred and became the first ever African bred Warmblood to be licensed as a breeding stallion in Europe.
Q: Which stallion do you feel has impacted modern breeding the most and why?
A: One can’t really answer that simply. Previously, sire lines such as Hannoveraner, Oldenberg, Dutch warmblood etc were all fairly independent in their breed type. But with the advent of Artificial Insemination, these lines have become grey, with most breed societies utilizing stallions from other societies. What was once distinct breed types have now become fairly homogenous. So the number of influencing sires are many and diverse. Names like Weltmeyer, Absatz, Donnerhall, Cor de La Bryere, Jazz, Baloubet de Rouet, Belissimo M, Clinton, Gribaldi…. The list goes on and on…. And each great sire has improved qualities in a number of breed societies.
Q: You have written some papers on breeding, tell us a bit more?
A: My original degree was in genetics and I did my master’s degree in Equine Agricultural Science on “The correlation of inbreeding and performance in the Hannoveraner Sport Horse”. So my interest in breeding is based on scientific, academic study.
Q: You currently treat horses around the country with Shockwave Therapy, how did you get interested in this particular treatment and why?
A: My doctorate study is on the methodology of Shock-wave therapy… more specifically the use of Radial and Focussed Shockwave on Tendinitis. Also part of my study area is the use of Shockwave on acupuncture points to increase movement potential. Shockwave has been used since the late 70’s on humans and horses and is still a mainstream therapy used on many issues such as tendonitis, calcification, muscle spasms, arthritis etc.
Another part of my study is the analgesic effect of shockwave. The FEI and racing ban it for a period of up to 10 days of racing or sporting events, with the presumption that we can hide lameness. However, little scientific research backs up this assumption. Part of my study is to quantify this affect.
Q :How is shockwave different from other therapies and when would you look at treating your horse with this?
A :Most treatment methods have a place. Gone are the days of professional jealousy when practitioners can be defensive and “guard their clients”… claiming their therapy is the “B all and end all”. All practitioners must work together and view their treatments as part of a holistic whole centred around the horse. The vet is obviously central to this with therapies, alternative of otherwise, complimenting the well-being of the equine athlete. As a practitioner, to not view yourself as part of a team, can only be detrimental to the horse.
Q :Where are you based and what areas do you treat in?
A :Cape Town and JHB.
Q :How would we get in touch with you to book a treatment?
A :www.niet.co.za which stands for Non invasive equine therapy or phone me on 072 172 6941