Tag Archives: Dressage Exercises

Carl Hester – The Curse of Fame?


Carl Hester MBE has hit the headlines in a big way with talk of his imminent retirement from competition and although he has retweeted the Horse & Hounds story he has not made a public comment.

What’s tough on riders with such high profiles like Carl is that everything they say is spun into even the thinnest web of a story.

Instead Carl’s latest upload to his face book page is a comment on his support of Cotswold RDA who provide children and adults with disabilities the benefits of riding.  He is helping spread the word that they desperately need to build a large barn to house the horses and ponies through the winter to keep them free from flooded fields.

If you feel you can help with a donation they will be so grateful.https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cotswold-RDA/183896424966179?ref=hl

Carl started his career with his first job being at The Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy. A centre in the New Forest in Hampshie which operates a residential “Further Education Through Horsemastership” (FETH) Course. FETH course students develop the skills that they require to lead more independent lives. The use and involvement of horses in the education process is at the core of its unique work. Teaching and learning is through transferrable skills from the horse-based environment to skills of daily living.  

It was on the centres own skewbald mare Jolly Dolly, he won the 1985 Young Dressage Rider Championship. He went on to event and won the first Blenhiem Horse Trials. He next rode for Dr Wilfried Bechtolsheimer (father of Laura Bechtolsheimer) and in 1990 went to the World Championships on Rubelit von Unkenriff, the European Championships in 1991 and in 1992 the Barcelona Olympics on Georgioni. Hester became the youngest British rider ever to compete in an Olympic Games. He next went into a business partnership with Kate Carter at her yard atStow-on-the-Wold until Carter decided to move for more space. Hester too moved to buy his own yard at Oaklebrook Mill, near NewentGloucestershire.

Horse Scout has a few skewbald coloured horses on its lists if you want to start your career on a skewbald.

Moutnview Rosie a lovely 15.1hh coloured mare listed

Her write up states – This outstanding horse oozes presence. Rosie has been professionally broken and produced and is completely unspoilt. Rosie is working on the bridle in all three gaits and rides more mature than her years may suggest. She is extremely pleasing to the eye to watch work as he makes it look so effortless. Rosie is showing real promise over a fence, with a scopey round jump. She has attended training shows in Ireland and Riding Club shows. She has also been xc schooled and has attended a handful of hunts. This horse is extremely trainable and really tries to please. Rosie has huge potential in any sphere. Rosie has a kind temperament and will make someone a special friend. Her owners thing she is a very versatile horse with potential in any field.

Horse Scout also has a sweet young coloured New Forest Pony Minnie. Her owners thing she will make a lovely riding club horse for a small adult.


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.

Professional Profile – Matt Hicks


Well done to Matt Hicks on his victory at Merristwood on Jackie Vaughn’s ElZorro with a fantastic score of 70.76% in the 10 years olds first prix St Georges for two years.  This powerful horse could hardly contain the excitement in the canter changes but Judge Debbie Wardle said “he had so many marks in the bank at the end of the trot that Matt held on to 1st place”

ElZorro came back to the circuit only five odd months ago having been found to have several minor things that had been affecting his way of going in 2012.  Matt was quick to acknowledge the effort of his vet Janette Palliser and farrier Bonny Morgan who have been seminal in getting ElZorro back on the road.

Hicks Equestrian is a BD Acredited Coach, professional trainer and an International Dressage Rider on Horse Scouts’ list and operates out of Whitchurch in Hampshire from a friendly 5* competition yard Hurstbourne Equestrian Centre on a large private estate. Livery & training for all levels is catered for. There is also the opportunity to understand how a movement should feel with School Master Lessons on an Advance dressage horse.

Matt is offering the chance to win two free tickets to Mary Kings Lecture at Hurstbourne EC on Thursday 26 February on his Facebook page.

FOCUS FEATURE– Competitive Scotland


This Feature Focus is aimed at  advertisers listed on Horse Scout  who are competing and breeding in Scotland and was bought about because I noticed on British Dressage that,in Scotland, the Ian Stark Equestrian Centre has now been approved to host BD affiliated competitions to bring the total venues in the region to 15. This has to be great news for all intrepid dressage Riders in Scotland.

Wow…It’s a busy place! aside from dressage with Bi Monthly Clinics held by Ian Stark himself, and this weekend the Carrs Billington Unaffiliated Winter Show Jumping Series Final, indoor XC training, a feeding and condition clinic with TopSpec, BSJA Category 1 show and also clinics with Charlotte Ridley  and Efra David…. And that’s just in February

Horse Scout has several horses for sale in Scotland on its listings

Chloe II – Allanton Shotts, Scotland – a Showjumper based in Allaton an ds is described as a fantastic mare by Calvaro Z out of a first premium International grade A jumping mare This mare has three lovely paces and is easy to do in all ways She has mainly done showjumping, having competed in many different venues including the Spanish sunshine tour She is a very sweet horse with no vices She would be an ideal horse for someone coming off ponies and onto horses or someone wanting to go out having fun competing, she has a very careful jump and tries to please every time She is great to shoe, box, catch etc and travels in a trailer or horsebox She is also very well bred and full of quality for someone wanting a top class well bred broodmare She is great to hack out alone or in company and is fully passported with breeding recorded and microchipped. She also has an FEI passport

Or perhaps you are looking for a potential dressage horse then take a look at Faside Wimbledon – East Lothian – a truly stunning chestnut colt born on the 4th July 2013. He really has it all – beautiful colour and markings, correct conformation and super expressive movement. He is by the young British based stallion Wolkenderry and out of a fabulous Donnerhall mare Donnatella.Wolkenderry has just started competing at PSG level and is known to pass on his superb temperament and rideabaility. The dam of this foal is Donnatella who is sired by the world-famous dressage stallion Donnerhall. She is the full sister to the top stallion Don Primaire who has a high dressage index of 148 among with high scores for both conformation (111) and movement (108). This colt is sure to be an exciting dressage competition horse. To make 16.3hh.

Perhaps you are looking for a top Stallion based in Scotland Solaris Sport Horses, breeders of performance KWPN Sport Horses with a primary focus on dressage, show jumping and eventing. The stud is situated in Perthshire, Scotland in the UK. Solaris Sport Horses currently stand four stallions at stud with distribution available throughout the UK:

Solaris select the very best bloodlines that Europe has to offer and combine these with a strong emphasis on proven performance mare lines, they have incorporated distinctive and attractive coats of colour without compromising on quality to produce talented and beautiful horses suited for the amateur & professional rider. The proof of their well thought out breeding program is that they consistently produce Premium, Champion and Prize Winning young stock. Their foals and horses have been successfully sold to clients as far as the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, South Africa, and Southern Ireland with a few remaining in Scotland and the UK. Many of their home bred horses and the progeny of their stallions that are now under saddle are competing with success in the disciplines of dressage, showjumping and eventing at National Level.

Horsechoice –  near Edinburgh, Midlothian also have a selection of competition animals for sale but if you already own your own horse and

and you want to spark up your competitive approach how about a short sharp shock to your system?

Horsechoice offers a targeted service to competition riders through their training program for competition riders. They offer 3 or 5 day courses tailored to suit riders needs and wants at any level. Riders who strive to succeed within the competition ring can be based with the Horsechoice team for a period of time to allow on sight training as well as guidance at competitions.



Are you looking for work as a Groom or Work Rider?


Are you looking for work as a groom?  Horse Scout has several trainers looking for new staff.

You can advertise yourself FREE on Horse Scouts Website. Click here to see the great set up we have and register your details with us.

However we do already have some professionals looking for work riders and grooms, so if you are thinking of becoming a groom or looking for a new placement there are several professional trainers and riding establishments who have open positions at the moment check out Justine Armstrong Small in Essex who is a professional show rider who has won at all major county shows including royal international and horse of the Year Show over the past 20 yrs. Her passion is particularly focused on showing working hunters.  So expect jumping and a high standard of turnout to be on her list of priorities.

Another high profile trainer is Event rider Lucienne Elms who is based at in the south ‘Blackwater Equestrain Centre’, which is potentially one of the most prestigious equestrian centres in the South West. Lucienne offers professional training up to CCI***, and is aiming for Bramham  again in 2015. Luciene has trained and worked with numerous world ranked riders including world number 1 2009, and UK number 1 2014 Oliver Townend.  She produces horses for sale, training & competition.  So this would be a great opportunity to be part of the Event world in a fantastic location.

Also, if you live in Scotland and are looking for a busy producing and competition yard there is Horse Choice based near Edinburgh who are also looking for experienced riders/grooms to become part of their team.

Don’t chase your tail – try a circle


A Circle is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever master?  Well possibly! LOL


When you are trying out a horse which you are interested in purchasing be sure to test out circles, concentrate on the feel of one circle and then change direction. Does the horse feel different on one rein to the other.  If so when you return to straight line riding change your diagonal from one side to the other and back again.  Does the horse change you onto his more comfortable diagonal? How different is the horse on either side and could this be lack of training or an indication of something else?  Professional trainers will ensure that the horse works towards being supple and in balance on both reins and can help you correct asymmetric muscle strengths. So always take advice from someone who understands the causes of asymmetrical going in a horse before committing to buying as there could be underlying confirmation of injuries causing the noticeable difference in going.


What exactly is a circle?

An accurate description of a circle? A circle is a continuous curve where the horse maintains inside bend and energy throughout, with an even arc through the four quarters of the movement and a seamless exit into the next movement

What To Look For

When a horse is on a circle it should be bending into the direction of the circle. Circles help to get the inside hind leg to push through and activate the horse from their hindquarters whilst at the same time encouraging balance, suppleness and rhythm throughout their entire body. Whilst on a circle the horse should remain tracking up, with their head level and not tilting. The horse should have a slight bend to the inside, just enough so that the rider can see the corner of the inner eyelash, as a guide if you can see the whole eye and side of the horses face you have too much bend.

Broadly speaking – Asking For A Circle

To ask a horse to circle will require several aids in varying degrees.

The inside rein asks for a slight amount of bend, to enable the horse to be looking into the direction it is moving in.

Concurrently the outside rein controls how much inside bend you have and it also controls the speed. The outside hand

The riders inside leg should remain on the girth, from here it encourages the horse forwards as well as asking the horse to bend around it.

The riders outside leg moves back one to two inches to be behind the girth, it is the outside leg which helps to prevent the horse from falling out too wide.

The rider should turn through their upper body so that their shoulders follow the horses shoulders and their hips follow their horses hips. This allows the rider to be following through with the horse on the circle.

There are very subtle ancillary movements through the body which all happen together and each one will affect how well the others synchronise.  But if you can tune in to what you are doing, where your weight is, the space you have created up through your body on the inside of the movement which will allow the horse to come up and under you as be bends into the circle movement and the stability of the outside of your body to hold the movement and can feel each part is connected to the other you will be halfway there!

Accurate Riding Of A Circle

To ride an accurate circle takes time and practice. Good judgment of the height and width of the circle you have ridden are essential for assessing accuracy. Start off by placing cones at key points around your circle, imagine your circle as a clock face and place your cones at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock respectively, this will mark out the four main quarter points of your circle, which allows you to curve around them. It is useful to start your circle off at a school marker, this will not only help to prevent drifting off course, but will also give you an exact place to start and finish. Practice different sized circles using the measurements of the school to create exactly accurate circles.

When To Use Circles

Once different sizes of circle have been mastered then you can ride them to balance a horse, prepare a horse for a transition or for some lateral work, help to slow down a horse who is rushing and also ride half circles to change the rein. Half circle exercises include a half 10 or 15 meter circle that returns to the track to change the rein. Two half 10, 15, and 20 meter circle that form a S shape. You can also add circles into the loops of a serpentine, to either end of a five meter loop, and to figure of eights.

If you are having problems with circles at home ask your trainer to check your position and way of riding, quite often it is your own mis-balance that causes the horse to fall in (or out) on a circle.  Your trainer can explain how you can ride circles better to help keep your horse in balance.



6 Tips for Picking Out Awesome Freestyle Music for Your Horse


Don’t freewheel …Freestyle instead

1. Know your horse’s ideal BPM (beats per minute)

2. The average horse has the following BPM:

•   Walk 90-106 BPM

•   Trot 138-160 BPM

•   Canter 96-108 BPM

3. Pick music that matches your horse’s BPM within 4-6 BPM range.

(For example if your dressage horse has a canter of 104 BPM, choose music that is between 100 BPM and 108 BPM)

4. Choose music that has a very clear downbeat. (You’d tap your toe to the downbeat.)

5. If you CAN’T tap your toe or clap your hands easily to the beat of the music, it’s not great freestyle music!

6. Choose freestyle music that will help you achieve your horse’s ideal tempo.

For example: If your horse is a bit on the lazy side, choose an upbeat and energetic piece of music that will help YOU ask for more energy. If your horse is hot or nervous, choose freestyle music that will help you feel calm and steady as well as help your horse with rhythm and relaxation.

Here are the facts – Thanks to British Dressage

There has been no stopping the popularity of the freestyle dressage to music test, also known as a kür, since Goodwood CDI hosted the first one at international level in 1979. There is even a separate set of individual medals up for grabs at the Olympics, World and European Championships for this crowd-pleasing form of the sport.

If you want to have a go, it is worth watching a few kürs to give you an idea of what works and doesn’t. Marks are awarded in a different way to ordinary tests. There are two categories: technical and artistic.

The freestyle test sheets tell you the compulsory movements required at the different levels and these are available through our Online shop.

To play copied music in public, you must have a music licence. You can arrange this by completing and returning both a music sub-licence agreement and a music licence record form to:

Michelle Garland, British Dressage,  Meriden Business Park Copse Drive, Meriden West Midlands CV5 9RG

Michelle will then send you stickers, which you need to put on your freestyle tapes/CDs to fulfil the licence agreement. This allows you to use any music from the record labels listed on the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) repertoire list.

Follow this link to access the PPL online search facility.

2014 PPL Licence

There is no charge for this service if you are a BD member. If you are not a member, you can become a BD music member for £36 per year or £25 if you are a riding club member. Contact Michelle Garland (tel: 0247 669 8832) for more information.

You can put your own test and music together or you can pay a professional to help you. It is a good idea to take two CDs or tapes with you to shows in case there is a problem with one. Check with the organiser whether they have any requirements; at international shows, organisers like two different mediums, such as a mini disc and CD.

You need to give the organiser one CD or tape marked with your name and that of your horse. It needs to be ready to start at the right place with a note as to whether this is at the halt or at the position outside the arena where you will give a signal.

Rock and Roll guys. Horse Scout has a number of Dressage trainers and instructors who would, I am sure, be only to pleased to help you put your test and the music together with you and your horse! Good Luck.

Stallion at Stud Timolin


View our exceptional stallion at stud Timolin here

Timolin  is an elegant, light-footed stallion of exceptional quality showing outstanding paces with a lot of athleticism as is shown in his jumping ability. Heads turn where ever he walks with him eluding presence and natural self-carriage. He is thought to be a refining sire and is expected to produce quality foals for dressage and probably for eventing with his ground covering strides and great jumping ability. His temperament is ideal for both disciplines.

His Sire, Totilas was World and European Dressage Champion, the first horse to win all three available gold medals at a World Equestrian Games in 2010. His name is legendary and was the first dressage horse to top 90% at Grand Prix level and at that time held 3 world record scores.

His dam, the International Small Tour Dressage mare Samira, was ridden by Jane Gregory and is by the Dutch stallion Sion.

Timolin was presented at the BEF Futurity as a yearling in 2012 where he was awarded the Overall highest score of all Dressage Yearlings with a score of 9.38. A very good Elite score.

Stallion at Stud


Perfect British Riding Pony Stallion Littledale Bright Star

Graded with the Sports Pony Studbook Society Littledale Bright Star breeds up to height, introducing quality and movement to all his stock. He has been described as a “supremely talented horse in a ponies’ body”.Littledale Bright Star has competed in BSJA, but due to the lack of a suitable small jockey has only been very lightly competed under saddle.His wonderful temperament has enabled him to do a variety of disciplines including driving and vaulting. He has a wonderful jump and whenever the horses are being jumped Bright Star joins in too! He has wonderful, floating movement with tremendous ground cover, very quick and agile with an abundance of presence.His Sire, Catherston Nightsafe is one of the most famous pony stallions ever produced in this country. A prolific winner in-hand and under saddle, Catherston Nightsafe was the Lloyds Bank Supreme In-Hand Champion at the Royal Bath & West, Supreme Champion at the National Pony Show, West Midland Stallion Show, New Forest Stallion Show. Catherston Nightsafe had lifetime breeding permission in Germany where he was leased for 2 seasons and his first foals there included both the National Male and Female 2 year old champions. Nightsafe can be found in the pedigrees of most of the best dressage ponies in Germany.His dam, Gwersyllt Town Mouse, was a much loved lead-rein, first ridden pony of impeccable breeding with some of the best Welsh and riding pony bloodlines available.Botingelle Kingfisher was a prolific sire of ponies in the showring and Coed Coch Asa was probably one of the most famous Welsh Pony Stallions of his time.Like his dam, Littledale Bright Star has the temperament to be ridden by a child as can be seen here where he is being jumped by 10 year old James Whitacker. He was also ridden by Charlotte Dicker since she was 6 years old. Charlotte was vaulting on him as well as riding him at the Stallion Viewing Days at Hartpury and Addington when she was 12 years old.

Looking at Eventers?


New String to your Bow for the season

Eventing in mind – Looking for something special?

Have a look at Rosco, Sallybog Tim or Derroe Champ

Horse Scout has got some great prospects for the coming season.  If you are looking for a new ride for the new season scroll through the lovely horses posted here.  If you are looking for something young and ready to go have a look at Rosco Aaron Millars’ latest good looking grey Irish Sports horse which has competed in the Stepping Stones League in Ireland (equivalent to BYEH). He was placed in the finals with fences at 1.10m. Rosco has three lovely paces and does a very smart test. Great attitude, eager to learn and quick on his feet. Exceptionally neat jumping technique, real scope. Very kind natured on the ground, lovely to handle. He is now ready to go on and realise his potential with someone who can really enjoy his considerable talent and great temperament and would make a super all rounder.  In fact a great Mother Daughter combination. Born in 2009 he is still young but he is now ready to affiliate he’s ready to affiliate.  He can be seen in Dorset.

Perhaps you would prefer something a little older? Then have a look at the lovely Sallybog Tim who would make a great schoolmaster with the experience he has got under his belt.  A nice looking BE Intermediate Novice with points. Working at BD medium and handy to hunt, hack and ready to compete. A great all rounder.  He can be seen in Hampshire.

Or are you looking for something smaller.  There is a cracking looking pony called Connemara Derroe Champ based over in Ireland who has done everything and who at 14.2hh is just waiting to be a perfect gentleman on the cross country course for a lucky small person.