Tag Archives: novice

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

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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.

 

 

Top Tips for bonding with your new horse.

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You’ve checked out Horse Scouts Horses for sale pages and fond the perfect match  are you on the a mission to buy a new horse.  Looking for the right horse for sale can be stressful, although undoubtedly exciting.  With lots of people trying him out and disrupting his daily routine it can also be stressful for the horse who is for sale. It does not stop there though , your new horse is then moved from the familiar and is faced with getting used to new people and new surroundings to get used to. A good bonding exercise and one which will help your horse feel that he has a true friend is to spend time grooming him and this also helps you to get to know him too..  Here are some top tips to try out on your new horse.

Top Tips to make your new horse as sparkly as he can be.

1. Ask your vet about adding vegetable oil or an essential Omega-3 fatty acid supplement to your horse’s well-balanced diet for added shine.

2. Sponging your horse’s face clean after exercise helps prevent fungal hair loss.

3. Keep different sized sponges for different duties (face, body, dock) and remember which is used for each task.

4. Hoof picks are cheap. Always use a sharp one to remove  debris, and replace the pick when it no longer does the job easily.

5. Use a tail bag to keep your horse’s tail thick, long and protected. Make sure to wash, condition, detangle and replait once a week, securing the tail bag below the tailbone.

6. Spend two minutes every two weeks running your clippers over your horse’s whiskers.

7. Hoof oils and dressings for health or show are available. If you have a particular concern in mind, such as hooves that crack easily, ask your farrier for product suggestions.

8. Use a detangler and a wide-toothed comb (or your fingers) to remove any large snarls from mane and tail.

9. Dark coats often fade or bleach in the sunlight, so provide plenty of shade and consider adding a sheet. Sweat in the coat accelerates the fade, so rinse a sweaty horse before allowing him to bask in the sunshine.

10. Wash your horse but don’t overdo it—frequent shampooing may actually dull his coat.

If you are looking for a new horse take a look at the for sale listings on Horse Scout.  Good luck and happy brushing.

British Dressage Team Quest – Find your perfect partners

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Its time to think about your competing strategy for next season. If you are a rider and thinking of taking up dressage or just getting out more with your horse? How about team dressage? British Dressage introduced the Team Quest competitions last year and this year it seems set to take off.

With 30 competitions scheduled countrywide in February its time to sort out some competition teams.  Each team has three or four members and the three highest scores count, with a reserve in case of any horse being unable to compete.

TQ Qualifying competitions to take place from 1 February 2015 to 31 August 2015. With eight Regional finals to take place in September, followed by a final championship to be held in November.

To take place all team members must have a minimum of a Team Quest Club membership (or any other paid category of BD membership), and all horses must have a minimum of a FREE Associate Horse Registration – This can be done online.

Teams are divided into three age categories – BYRDS Team members 16 and under, 25 and under, and Open Team riders of any age – and each competitor can chose to ride an Intro, Prelim or Novice test.

For the inaugural championship  in November 2014 there where not only prizes for the best performance but also . Best Dressed for amazing outfit coordination and inventiveness –  Which the Yahooligans took home. What caught the judges eye where the inventive clipped ribbons on the horses in support of a fellow team mate, who has competed in TQ whilst battling breast cancer. Then there is was also Best Team Spirit award which was awarded to the loud and lively u16s team, Chaos Cousins who could not be missed as they gathered round the arenas whenever their team mates competed to sing, dance and do whatever they could to settle their comrade’s nerves.

Norfolk Divas, Little Little Little and Large and The Charnwood Chancers were the three big winners at the first ever Team Quest finals over the weekend at Bury Farm, Buckinghamshire (1 – 2 November 2014).

Over the course of the two day competition, 195 competitors in 50 teams contested in one class per day – with the top three percentages from each team on each day combining to achieve an overall score.

Riders can choose which level they ride at, providing that all combinations are eligible for Intro, Preliminary or Novice (qualifiers) in accordance with BD rules.

Are you thinking of finding your perfect team horse, then have a look through our for sale pages.  Good luck with your Dressage Team Quest for 2015

 

Matching the horse and rider

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Finding the perfect horse, the mine field…

“the blind leading the blind”

They say that horse dealers are worse than car dealers; and it could be said that in general one has to be careful when purchasing an animal and not a machine, owing to the nature of a creature driven by memory and instinct.

In spite of all the advice out there, time after time we still see bad matches between the novice rider and novice horse. The experience of an animal will ultimately dictate its stability, a novice rider should seek experience in the horse they buy, to draw confidence for them selves from that animal , not purchase a blank canvass which can be easily imprinted, scared, and ultimately dangerous, and become a situation whereby the blind is sadly leading the blind!

There are always exceptions to the rule, granted some young horses are stable, relaxed, adaptable, and safe. To increase the likely hood of a good experience however, the novice rider should buy an experienced horse that has already been routinely exposed to the tasks: cross country, dressage, heavy traffic hacking etc that they the rider shall wish to peruse.

Horse Scout offers a diverse range of schoolmasters. The schoolmaster will inherently be a horse over 7yrs, with a proven track record, often an affiliated record to give actual evidence for the experience therefore justifying its title. A schoolmaster should be a horse you can learn from, which responds independently and confidently when jumping, or performing dressage moves for example, the horse recognises its job.