Heather Davis and Rim

​NOVA Equine Fitness Center Brand Ambassadors

I was looking to add to Rim’s fitness to improve his overall condition and endurance.

As he is turning 16 in June, I wanted a fitness solution that would not require extra pounding on his joints and feet. Dr. Sallie Hyman from TEVA [Rim's regular veterinarian] and Dr. Joyce recommended the water treadmill. I admit that I was a little skeptical as a regular dry treadmill takes a lot of time and speed to improve an endurance horse’s fitness. I went and watched a session. I was impressed enough to give it a try with Rim.

As the weeks went on with Rim’s water treadmill sessions, I began to notice that he was more symmetrical. He had trouble in the past holding his left lead on training gallops at the track. After 6 water treadmill sessions, he was easily holding both leads. He had more energy the day after a session but it was productive rather than hot. An added benefit of the fitness center was Rim working in a warm environment. It is always a challenge to ride through the cold winter and then arrive at a competition in the south with their warmer temperatures. I feel all this additional work at the fitness center helped Rim and I finish our last 100-mile race in great condition even with the incredible temperature changes. We left VA in 30 degrees and had only 24 hours to adjust to 95 degrees. The heat and humidity took their toll on our speed.

We not only won but also received the Best Condition and High Vet Score - truly the more important wins in Endurance. Rim looked like a million bucks! I could not achieve any of my goals without the support of my family and crew. And thanks to Dr. Joyce, Paula, and his wonderful team at the fitness center as well.”

More of Heather’s story…

NOVA Equine Fitness Center’s Brand Ambassador Heather Davis and her horse “Rim” (Syrocco Rimbaud) took 1st Place by more than 7 hours at the Broxton Bridge Plantation 100-mile endurance race in South Carolina on April 14th, 2022.

This ride was a qualifier for the FEI World Endurance Championships in Italy in September 2022. She is currently in a 5-way tie for the USA team. Heather’s love of endurance riding and dedication to the sport are what inspired NOVA Equine Fitness Center owners Dr. Jay and Paula Joyce to sponsor her.

“You wouldn’t know that Heather is one of the top endurance riders in the world when speaking with her. She is modest, genuine, and generous; but underneath, she’s a fierce and committed competitor. All the while, Rim and her other horses’ welfare remain her top priority. It is this priority that led her to seek out our low-impact, high cardio alternative at NEFC,” said Dr. Joyce.

Rim is nearly 16 years old and has been augmenting his training at NEFC since February. Careful planning and a consistent fitness program (11 fitness sessions in 8 weeks) using NEFC’s water treadmill directly contributed to Heather and Rim’s win.

Amy Lee and Equine Athlete Stacey

"Stacey is a show jumper that came to me [horse owner] with an underdeveloped topline and sore back with little mobility which manifested in a jump that was lacking in bascule and power. After working with our vet to address the discomfort and rule out any serious underlying conditions, we have been taking advantage of NEC and the NOVA Equine Fitness Center to supplement our training. The attentive and educated staff at NEC watched me ride, listened to my concerns, and have been able to create a program for Stacey that emphasized mobility and strength.

In addition, sometimes Stacey is a little too eager to please her rider, and we love that she can relax in the fitness center and take full advantage of the exercise without any tension. The result has been a workout that is deliberate and controlled in a way that is near impossible to achieve with the interference of an amateur rider like myself or while riding at high speed. With fewer than 10 fitness sessions under her belt, we've already been able to feel and see the differences. At our first show since starting in the fitness center, we had more power, scope, and bascule to the point where we had to take off her hind boots - no extra lift needed! Thanks for helping us produce a better horse than we knew we had!"