Tag Archives: Rider Advice

Livery for your horse

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Are you looking for livery for your horse?

We all want to look after our horses and keep them happy and healthy.

If you are not happy in your present yard or your circumstances have changed or perhaps you are thinking of buying a horse and keeping it at livery. Livery yards are built in every size and shape and generally speaking you will get what you pay for. So its important to consider what it is that you want to pay for and balance this against what you can actually afford in order to enjoy your horse.  Who, after all represents, for most of us, a sizeable percentage outgoing of any disposable income.

Here are some fundamental things to put on your tick list.

What do you need from your livery yard?

  1. What kind of livery are you looking for?
  2. How far from home/work?
  3. How much time have you got to give to your horse?
  4. What do you want to do with your horse?

Take the time to think all these things through, each as important as the next.

Livery – is a term used to describe the rent of services and facilities to house and care for your horse.  What kind of livery will very much depend on what you need in terms of care for your horse, and any time constraints you may have due to work or family commitments and of course your experience and financial situation.

  • Full training livery – An option for Sports and Show horses where a horse is ridden and cared for by a professional rider and their team. The horse will be trained and competed by the professional rider who is specifically training horses to progress on a specific career path.  For example Dressage, or Eventing, Showing and Racing and any other discipline which requires specialist training.
  • Full livery – your horse is cared for, fed, and ridden – the livery yard takes 100% of the duties in looking after and exercising your horse around your requirements.  For instance hunters who may require excersising, schooling and preparation for their owners to take them hunting maybe once a week or to come an dride when they are able but not necessarily be involved in the day to day care of the animal.
  • Half Livery – your horse has a range of needs catered for but not all i.e. you share responsibility for the care of your horse with yard staff.  The permutations are endless and can cover a variety of needs for both horse and owner.  Typical packages could be the yard will feed, muck out and turn out and bring your horse in but you are responsible for grooming and riding or maybe the yard staff tend to your horse at one end of the day or another, this may still include mucking out and feeding.
  • DIY Livery – the owner provides the infrastructure in which to keep your horse but you would be responsible for its care and exercise.
  • Grass keep – the owner provides a field which may or may not have a shelter and water.  Whilst you are 100% responsible for your horse and it should be noted that you are responsible for ensuring that your horse stays within the confines of the field, it is a good idea to establish who is responsible for the maintenance of any boundaries and entrances etc.

 

If you are looking for a training livery then where the yard is not necessarily the key directive, you will have chosen your yard based on the professional rider and their area of speciality for instance you may be looking for an event rider in the south west, or a dressage rider who has competed at top level to bring on your newly imported warmblood.

However for other types of livery will need to fulfil specific criteria depending on your personal circumstances.

One important consideration is how far will you realistically be able to travel if, for instance you are working and have your horse on half livery.  You will be responsible for a certain amount of time out of each day to devote to the care and the exercise of your lovely horse.  If you can find the ideal yard which is on your way or way back between two points then you will save precious time to spend with him, and with a few organisational tweak’s like packing your riding gear or boots into your car so they are always on hand means you wont have to return home before visiting the yard.

If you work or have family ties then another consideration should be given to how much time, realistically, you will be able to give to your horse and still ensure his care is as good as it can be.  Half livery is a convenient and generally realistically priced option if you want to be as involved as you can with your horse.

If you are confident that you have the experience and the time then DIY is a good choice, it is worth asking for recommendations, or talking with other clients and also checking out exactly what is offered with the service. i.e. does the owner allow for storage of hay and straw etc or are you expected to buy supplies through them.  Is there enough and secure storage for your horse related equipment.

When viewing any potential premises and their options remember to ask the questions that will establish whether the yard in question is going to cover all your requirements.  Spend some time watching the horses and the staff and ….quite importantly, the other clients who you may be spending time with if you are choosing half or DIY options.

Don’t just jump right in.  Make sure the yard you pick is going to make your horse and just as important, you, happy.

Top Tips for Buying your First Horse

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You’ve made up your mind,  you are going to buy a horse…

You know what your looking for; well roughly!  You are trying not to think of the cold winter rainy evenings and are focusing on the sunny balmy summer rides. You have sat down and done your sums and you have a budget and a sum you can ring fence every month to keep him and a savings account to pay into for emergencies and all those things you never thought that you would ever need.

Importantly you have worked out what size, shape, sex, ability, colour, age, confirmation, temperament, your budget and where you are going to look……yes! You have to know these things before you set out….well not the colour obviously because if you are thinking straight that is right sown at the bottom of your list –  NO? If it happens to be in your top three cross it out.  I promise colour is the least important thing on your shopping list, that and its name; although how many white socks it has and if it has a blaze can be important considerations-more on that later.

Where do I start? Top Technical Tips

Tipping the Scales – What size?

Lets work out roughly what size horse you are looking for –

  1. Add up the total weight of the horse, rider, and tack. Our eg: Horse (15.2 allrounder at 400 kg) + rider (Jo average 5’.4” and 70KG) + tack= 507kg (convert to lbs=1188lbs)
  2. Measure the circumference of the cannon bone midway between the knee and fetlock. Our example: 7.5 inches
  3. Divide the total weight by the circumference. Our example: 1188 / 7.5 = 158.4
  4. Divide the result by two. Our example: 158.4 / 2 = 79.2

 

You know exactly how tall you are and how much you weigh (methinks!) Here’s an average horse weight chart

Height (hh) Weight Range (kg)
9-9.3 – Shetland 200- 240
10-10.3 240-280
12 – 12.3 200-300
13-13.3 230-370
14-14.3 290-390
15-15.1 360-550
15.2-153 400-510
16-16.1 470-550
16.2-16.3 490-650
17.2-17.3 640-900
17.2-17.3 – Shire 850-950


…but…..and there is always a but! Some breeds have denser bones e.g. Arabs and Icelandic and New Forest Ponies which means they are able to carry heavier weights than others of a similar height and build.

Horses can be separated by build (height weight ratio) into light, middle and heavy weight and in the case of show horses “small” as well. This is not meant to be an indication of their present dieting regime but describes their build, and confusingly, this is relative to their breed types in most cases.  So, for instance, a light weight hunter (usually a ¾ or 7/8th Thoroughbred) is a well built, elegant horse of around 16-16.2hh capable of carrying around 12st.7lbs (177lbs/80kgs) including all tack and a bone size of around 8 inches. A middleweight hunter may be around 16.2hh, so slightly taller and have a deeper girth and a heavier build with a bone size of around 9 inches.

New Forest Pony breed guide says that a new forest is capable of carrying a stone for every hand and Shetlands are capable of an even greater height weight ratio.  However, if you are tall riding a small pony is not always very comfortable or elegant.

I think the point I am making is that TOP TIP One is buy a horse to make you happy and TOP TIP TWO is buy a horse that fits.  More pointers In TOP TIP THREE.

 

 

What’s the Problem?  

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Are you struggling with the way your horse is going?

Frustrated when you compete and time and again the same things happen.  Is it your horse or is it you? Working alone and never seeming to make progress?: its like working in a vacuum.  Let someone take the pressure off you.  There is a saying that a problem shared is a problem halved and there is nothing truer in the horse world.  Having someone on the ground to analyse your riding style and approach and the way the horse is going under you is invaluable. Finding the right trainer will revolutionise your approach and your enjoyment of your horse.

 Horse Scout has just the person you are looking for.  Click through and find yourself on the road to a successful partnership…

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.

SAM GRIFFITHS SETS THE STANDARD ON THURSDAY MORNING

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Australia’s Sam Griffiths leads the field at lunchtime on the first day of dressage at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

burghley-horse.co.uk

Sam posted a score of 40.2 with Steve and Dinah Posford, Juliet Donald and his own Happy Times, a seasoned campaigner at this level. “I knew he could go in and do a beautiful test and he came up with the goods,” said Sam, http://www.samgriffithseventing.co.uk who had a quick turn around after competing at WEG last week. “Luckily he’s an established horse, so it was easy to do. It was less easy to get all my washing done!” he joked.

Piggy French  currently holds second spot on a score of 45.8 with Westwood Mariner, who is owned by her mother Kate French, James Midgely, Susie Wood and Susan Wrighton.
“Dressage would be this horse’s weakest phase, so I was thrilled with his test,” said Piggy, who divided the judges’ opinion. The judge at E, Christian Landolt gave her 20 marks more than the judge at M, Ernst Topp. “[The horse] is a bit like Marmite; some judges like him and some don’t. He can be quite short in his neck because of his conformation, which can affect the marks.”

The first combination into the arena this morning, Sarah Bullimore and Kew Jumping Syndicate’s Valentino V, posted the only other sub-50 mark of the morning. Their 49.5 currently has them in third. An exciting event lies ahead, for Horse Scout Team!
http://horsescout.co.uk