Leah Lang-Gluscic and her OTTB AP Prime are no strangers when it comes to the epic Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park. Leah purchased AP Prime as a $750 OTTB through CANTER Illinois in 2010. They made their debut at the CCI4* level in 2015, withdrawing before cross country, and then returned the following year to complete the event with no cross country jumping penalties, finishing in 33rd place.
A collateral ligament injury in the summer of 2016 sidelined AP through the 2017 season, and he finally returned to competition this spring at Rocking Horse. Now Leah and AP are gearing up for the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event this coming week. So just what does it take to return to the CCI4* level and compete at the biggest event this side of the pond? We caught up with Leah to find out what she’s been doing to prepare.
EN: What is AP’s daily routine like? What do you do to get him fit and keep him feeling his best?
Leah: “The big thing is to never neglect all the boring stuff. Before and after every ride he hacks for 20 minutes to warm up and cool down his legs and body. He never goes without Incrediwear wraps, and they are always wetted after his ride and left on for an hour. If he jumps or gallops, he also gets put in a bucket of ice that goes over his knees for 20 minutes and gets his Incrediwear standing bandages overnight. When I jump or gallop he’s always off the farm, so I’ll wet his bandages and put him on the trailer with them still on. He gets the extra ice after gallops, too.”
EN: How important is walking as well as galloping in developing his conditioning, as well as his fitness and keeping him sound?
Leah: “All the walking is important for his fitness. He also gallops every seven days, utilizing the hill at Mardanza Farm generously made available by Brian and Sara Murphy.
EN: What kind of maintenance does he need?
Leah: “AP can be very finicky about anything being off. Billy Bishop, his farrier, is brilliant. His vets, Dr. Caitlin Manring and Dr. Jill Copenhagen down in Florida and Dr. Dana Marsh in Illinois, are integral as well. They all helped manage his recovery and return to the top of the sport. His bodywork team of Dougie Hannum, who I don’t entirely understand what he does but it’s magic; Kathryn Schiess, who does his myofascial work; and Jonathan Howlette, who does his PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field therapy), are all important.
EN: Which trainer do you work with and how has it helped you and AP prepare for your return to Kentucky?
Leah: “My coach is Jon Holling, whose guidance in just how much to ask of my horse and getting the most out of every single ride and event has been invaluable. He’s been incredible at helping us prepare and improve not just since the injury, but even over our past experience at the level. I feel like we’re in a better place than ever before.”
EN: What about you? What kind of fitness and safety measures do you take into consideration for yourself?
Leah: “I also started taking a harder look at my own fitness and safety. I’ve started working out more outside of riding, and integrating LandSafe clinics into my own work and for my students. I also recently partnered with uvex and 2nd Skull, both of which I’ll be wearing in Kentucky.”
EN: What do you like about uvex helmets?
Leah: “I felt like with all of the safety concerns around our sport, it was a no-brainer (no pun intended) to ride in some of the safest helmets on the market. Their helmets are also really beautiful, so I’m looking forward to showing off their style as well.”
EN: What do you like about 2nd Skull?
Leah: “2nd Skull is a flexible, super thin material that fits under your helmet but can become temporarily rigid in the event of impact. Many NFL players are already using them under their helmets, and with all of the focus on safety in our sport, it definitely makes sense to me. Because the uvex helmets are so adjustable, I can easily adjust the fit with and without the 2nd Skull.”
You can meet Leah Lang-Gluscic at the Big Red Mare (booth #238) in the Trade Fair and check out the new uvex perfexxion II line of helmets after the conclusion of dressage on Friday. She’ll be there signing autographs, so come say hi and wish her luck at her return to the Kentucky Three-Day Event with AP Prime.