Category Archives: Novice Rider

Everyone has to start somewhere, and a novice rider will be able to ride a well-mannered horse but struggle on more temperamental rides.

Horses for sale this winter


Horse Scout’s advice for buying horses this winter.


Winter proves a perfect time for the acquisition of new horses for sale for Horse Scout riding professionals. This contrasts  first time and novice buyers ideal time of year to purchase a new horse unless they have a professional support system in place.

Professional yards overcome the difficulties of riding through the winter months with greater ease than the amateur home.  There is a tendency for better facilities: walkers, staff, lunge pens, structured daily routines, which undoubtably  enable professionals to slot any new horses into their set up with greater ease than smaller private homes.

The Horse Scout Team have found that all too often, first time and novice buyers encounter a negative experience with a new horse through the winter months. Contributing factors range from common and understandable mistakes such as: over feeding, unnecessary clipping out for aesthetics versus logic, poor warm-up options / lack of training support and poor turn out routines.

The  inability to maintain necessary work levels, (or that which the previous home and rider was able to facilitate) tends to be paramount. If you or your friends are having any concerns, we would recommend a winter livery option with a proven professional yard that works within the same discipline you have purchased your horse for.

International Event Rider and Hampshire based trainer Lucienne Elms confirms the relevance for a patient approach, especially with the youngsters or novice rider. “I always give the young horses the chance to relax and warm up on the lunge long and low,  with a loose set of side reins for 10-15mins over the winter. Especially if they have had a day off, it keeps their brains ‘on side’ as they are able to then relax and concentrate when my clients or I get back in the saddle. In my experience horses are two things: memory and instinct. It takes months, even years to train them; but seconds to form an unnecessary habit or bad experience. Clients being bucked off onto frozen ground is never something I want to hear, and when selling its always best to be honest about the ‘quirks’ or needs of the animals, that way these problems can be avoided. Prevention is better than cure!

Horse Scout Team would recommend when buying a horse for sale, it is always best to take a professional with you, ideally one that knows you, and your riding ability, to support your selection process and reduce the chance of being victimised by a sharp or underworked horse over the winter months.

Horse Scout invests in star show jumpers


Horse Scout, which has secured global investment to further develop its innovative equestrian social network platform and help riders boost their professional careers, is to sponsor the next round of young show jumpers on the British Showjumping and Haddon Training Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme in its mission to nurture future Olympic stars.

Applications for the 2016/17 AASE programme open at the end of July and those accepted will have the opportunity to be coached and trained by some of the top sporting coaches and experts in the UK including Heike Holstein (flatwork) and Andrew Saywell (jumping).

The programme also gives participants (age 16-19) access to experts that focus on them as an athlete: a physiotherapist to help reduce imbalances and weaknesses, a dietitian to advise on nutrition, and a media trainer who can help develop communication skills.

Aimed at developing and preparing talented young upcoming athletes at the top of their game, the AASE programme provides training and education for those who have a real chance of excelling in their sport and competing at European and Olympic level.

The AASE programme also develops the riders into young professionals within the sport with many progressing to start and run their own businesses.

Haddon Training has delivered AASE for British Showjumping since 2013 with 100 young riders completing the 12-15-month programme which culminates in a Level 3 nationally recognised qualification — equivalent to two A-Levels and 85 UCAS points.

Corinne Bracken, AASE Programme Manager, says: “The programme covers all the core components including technical, tactical, mental and physical skills delivered by industry experts, plus those that are essential to attracting owners and sponsors to the sport. It’s great that global organisations such as Horse Scout recognise the importance of supporting future stars.”

How to apply:Any young rider seeking details on the AASE application process should contact




Stop whatever you are doing today – Drop everything….but not your hat!

For 2015, Hat Tagging will continue as for 2014. All of the sport’s main governing bodies have announced that they will be phasing out the (BS)EN1384 standard0.

Please note, you will not be allowed to ride anywhere at an event if your hat has not been tagged,and hats which do not comply to an accepted standard will not be tagged under any circumstances. It is the competitors’ responsibility to ensure they arrive at a competition with a hat to the correct standard so it is therefore imperative that you check your hats before you get to the event, in order to avoid disappointment.

To do this:

1) Use the following information or the Rule Book for reference

2) Check that your hat clearly displays one of the accepted standards

3) Check that the standard also shows the correct corresponding date

4) Check that your hat also displays the correct corresponding safety standard mark

5) Make sure that you do not remove any labels from inside of your hat which may hold the relevant information as a hat will not be tagged without all of the required information permanently visible. Only hats which comply with all of these above steps will be accepted for tagging.

If your hat cannot be tagged, you will not be

allowed to ride wearing that hat under any circumstances.


The various organisations have released the following guidelines:

  • British Eventing — will permit (BS) EN 1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter. All hats will be retagged in 2016 at which stage no hats made solely to (BS) EN 1384 will be tagged or permitted for use.
  • Riding Clubs — will permit (BS) EN 1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter. All hats will be retagged in 2016 at which stage no hats made solely to (BS) EN 1384 will be tagged or permitted for use.
  • Pony Club — will permit (BS) EN 1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter. Full details of the revised hat tagging procedure will be communicated out to the membership and volunteers shortly.
  • British Dressage — will permit (BS) EN 1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter.
  • British Showjumping — will permit (BS) EN 1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter.
  •  British Horse Society — will permit (BS) EN 1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter. From 1.1.2016 hats made solely to (BS) EN 1384 will not be permitted for use in BHS Approved Centres.

So whether you are riding for pleasure or competitively: showing, dressage,, eventing, show jumping, training at a BHS approved premises etc: make sure you have the correct head gear.

Fitness First – 6 Key Advantages to Core Strength Training  for Riders


What’s the difference between being pushed in a buggy and ballet dancing? – Well, for riders, it is core stability and fitness for athletic performance.

I’ve noticed that most top riders advocate a fitness regime away from your horse both for aerobic fitness but also physical strength.  Physical fitness and core strength are things which, will, ultimately, make a great deal of difference to your ability to ride a horse well.  Being fit helps you balance and hold your own body (rather than asking the horse to ‘carry’ you).

The muscles of the trunk and torso act to stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle. From this solid, balanced base the limbs can be moved powerfully and under control. In fact before rapid movements of the extremities can take place, the central nervous system stabilizes the spine in anticipation (1). The rate at which the core muscles stabilize the spine may have a direct effect on the power of limb movement (2).

Core strength training differs from many traditional weight training routines by working both the lower back and abdominals in unison. The same is true for the upper and lower body. All athletic movements incorporate the core in some way. Very few muscle groups are isolated. Instead the whole body works as a unit and core strength training endeavours to replicate this.

What are the benefits of core strength training to the athletic rider?

  1. Greater efficiency of movement
  2. Improved body control and balance
  3. Increased power output from both the core musculature and peripheral muscles such as the shoulders, arms and legs
  4. Reduced risk of injury (the core muscles act as shock absorbers for jumps and rebounds etc.)
  5. Improved balance and stability
  6. Improved athletic performance!

Charlotte Dujardin and Laura Thompson both have a series of videos on UTube talking about their own fitness and the difference it makes to their riding.  For show jumpers, event riders, jockeys and polo players it all sort of makes sense because they are very physical in their requirements but in truth rider fitness is key in training a horse well right from the off. Flat work and hacking and gridwork all require the rider to be balanced and able to aid the horse and direct using their own body in tension.  This does not mean tensely it means carrying their own body in much the same way as a dancer and is particularly well seen in ballet and contemporary dance.  Good dancers are fit…people who move around to the music and then sit down (well I think you can see where I am going with this one!)

There are some simple things you can do on your own like:

Download a 30 day abs challenge onto your phone and at beginner level.  It is amazing how much difference it makes even at this low level.  There are other advantages too….it makes your tummy flatter.  Bonus!

Or you can try following these simple instructions.

Prone Bridge

In a face down position, balance on the tips of your toes and elbows while attempting to maintain a straight line from heels to head. This exercise focuses on both the anterior and posterior muscle groups of the trunk and pelvis.

Lateral Bridge

Start on your side and press up with your right arm. Form a bridge maintaining a straight line from your hand to your foot. Rest on your elbow to increase the difficulty. This exercise focuses on the abdominal obliques and transversus abdominus.

Core s Supine Bridge

Lying on your back, raise your hips so that only your head, shoulders, and feet are touching the floor. The supine bridge focuses on the gluteal muscles. Stronger gluteals help maintain pelvic control.

Pelvic Thrusts

Lie on your back with your legs bent 90 degrees at the hip. Slowly lift your hips off the floor and towards the ceiling. Lower your hips to the floor and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Perhaps we should start a campaign and get livery yard owners to encourage all their clients to start running or swimming.  …. Or maybe not. It would be a thought though wouldn’t it?

Never overdo exercise when you are not fit.  Start small and work up, just like you do with your horse.  If you are unsure then invest in your self and your horse and join a gym.

It will make all the difference to you when you are training or even just walking your horse up and down to the field.

Perhaps you could set yourself a goal. If I get to the end of 30 days and I have reached this target then I can…..

Have a lesson with …. (take your pick from Horse Scouts Top Trainers!)

Go Cross Country Schooling/have a jumping session at….(Loads of great equestrian centres to choose from on Horse Scout!)

Do you think this is shamless advertising? Well its more because we think that Horse Scout has a great range of trainers and equestrian centres listed and that you should know about them!.

Have a great day.



In Praise of the Talented Amateur Rider


If Professional riders are the backbone of the sports horse industry then Talented Amateur Riders are the muscle.

In every sector of the British Equine Industry there are talented amateur riders producing and competing against the professional riders who make their living in their industry. Horse and Hound have recently featured an array of well known and very talented amateur riders who hold down a job and still find time to work their horses.  You have to admire this army of dedicated riders.  Early morning and late nights (not that professional trainers don’t of course) Weekends are dedicated to lessons or competing and evenings reserved for clinics and schooling sessions, and midnight is that special hour for cleaning tack!…possibly after an evening out with friends, who knows.

Some Amateurs concentrate on producing talented horses for the professional market, like Becky Marsden who trained OBOS Columbus “Obie” who she sold as an eight year old to Mark Tod who is delighted with him. Becky says, of her choice in horses to buy to bring on that “They have to be sensible in their heads” because she will often be riding alone. Caroline Brdge also produces horses for the profesional market like Don George, but also sells to other amateurs who want to compete seriously and don’t necessarily have time to bring a horse up to the level at which they want to be competing.

Vicky Brake, who produced horses such as mary Kings horse Imperial cavalier says “I’ve learned over the years that’s cautious everytime it moves up a level is likely to be found out, so you shouldn’t waste time trying to make it into something it isn’t”

For Darren mattia who produces dressage horses; Dimaggio and Woodland Wesuvio were started by him, hacking is key to starting his youngsters off.  He says that being out on the lanes and tracks keeps their minds occupied and so he is able to take advantage of their energy to “ride them forward”

For the grassroots rider looking for Horses for Sale; David Brooms tips on buying a horse really stand out for me.  Reading Forums where the topics are being discussed by the grassroots community in any riding discipline the one thing that comes up again and again is temperament.  When looing for a horse which is going to meet your needs as an amateur rider then aside from the obvious good leg at each corner, soundness, and ability come temperament.

Make those few precious hours you have with your horse the best they can be and buy a horse with the nicest temperament.

For me temperament and talent over looks any day.

Most well made horses with the right temperament and training will, given time reach to say, medium advanced in Dressage, Novice or even intermediate in Eventing, 110/120m in showjumping. Other disciplines like showing or endurance will need the confirmation of an angel to compete successfully, but for other disciplines the adage handsome is as handsome does is just so true.

If you are thinking of buying a horse which has been produced by an amateur look at its competition record, this will give an indication of breaks in its training (and you can ask why) and how consistent it has been in its placings and progress through the levels.

Horse Scout has some lovely horses for sale which have been produced by both professionals and some very talented amateur riders.  Horse Scout has made it easy to see, at a glance, the horses competition level, and if applicable, how many points it has accrued.  Five star listings will have information and photos and videos too. You can also check out the producers profile page. In fact Horse Scout offers a really good overview helping you make an informed choice before even picking up the telephone.  Good Luck in you search.

Horse experience for a novice rider


When searching for a competition horse, common mistakes lay in the misconception that a potential horse will fit the bill. If you have not yet had competition mileage / experience it is best to buy a horse that knows it’s job.

Take an experienced professional /trainer with you who understands your requirements and is able to help you stay safe, ask the right questions, and ultimately know that your capable of jumping, or hacking the horse in question to minimise risk.

A horse with jumping experience will generally be more forgiving and help get you out of trouble, than a green (younger/ less experienced) one.

Best see proof of experience, by affiliated results, facts, videos, than take a vendors word for it!