Tag Archives: rider

Imagery by © BEF / Jon Stroud Media

Horse Scout Opinion: What’s happening to British Showjumping?

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Showjumping was once the pride of the British nation. With a golden era spanning from the 1950s to the 1990s where Britain was consistently in the medals and the sport enjoyed a high television profile, riders like David Broome, Harvey Smith, Nick Skelton, and the Whitaker brothers were household names.

 

However, the sport started on a steady decline. Blamed largely to a shortage of horsepower and a crisis of management by the governing body, the lack of medals became a source of embarrassment to riders and followers. Suffering from a low profile led to many of Britain’s best horses being sold abroad. Tinkas Boy, a horse produced by Nick Skelton was sold to Swiss rider Markus Fuchs who went on to win four Championship medals including team silver in Sydney 2000.

 

Then in 2012, the British showjumping quartet of Nick Skelton, Peter Charles, Scott Brash, and Ben Maher put the sport back on the map by winning their first Olympic gold since 1952, in front of a rapturous London crowd. Nick Skelton continued to keep the dream alive when at the age of 58, he claimed the individual gold in Rio 2016- his seventh Olympic Games with the great Big Star.

 

But history repeats itself and recent results suggest a demise is once again occurring in the British camp. We are still not qualified for Tokyo 2020, with just two opportunities for qualification left.

 

This year we failed to be in the reckoning for a medal at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon. Whilst we qualified for the Longines Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, after finishing in second to last place, the future of British showjumping looked a bit bleak.

 

At the World Equestrian Games, the best British result came from new kid on the block, Amanda Derbyshire who was the only rider to qualify for the individual final. Is it significant that Amanda is based in the US, competing weekly against the US team members who claimed team gold? Adding to the fact she rides for American owners? Additionally, Amanda learned her trade from Nick Skelton and Laura Kraut, with whom she was based as a stable jockey at the beginning of her career. Interestingly her horse, Luibanta BH was sourced and produced by Britain’s Ellen Whitaker. In fact, seven horses competing in the final 25 for the individual medals in Tryon were either bred or produced in the UK.

 

The fact of the matter is that Performance Manager Di Lampard has struggled to pull together a team this year. She has had to be brave and select young partnerships but deserves credit for this move, especially her selection of a predominantly female team. It begs the question, where are Ben Maher and Scott Brash when we needed them? Is their absence due to lack of horsepower or lack of inclination, when the prize money offered by Rolex and the Global Champions Tour is far greater than that offered in Tryon.

 

Di is the first to remark that the problem is not for want of good riders but rather a lack of strong horse and rider combinations. Anyone who follows British showjumping will be aware that we are breeding some extremely successful horses. Yet the figure above, suggests that we are not keeping hold of these horses.

 

Other opinions in the sport, suggest it is the British system that is letting the sport down. That the class structure is a hindrance rather than a help in producing and sourcing young talent.

 

I will leave you with the view of Nick Skelton on where we are going wrong at the moment:

 

“Like the Europeans, we should be focusing on having age classes for horses in order to source and produce the best young horses in the country before they get sold out of the country. And unlike abroad, there are no incentives offered by the Federation for a rider to keep a good young horse. So when the riders get a good offer, they take the money and it’s foreign riders at the Championships on horses we bred and produced”.

 

At Horse Scout, we love knowing what you think about the industry. So our new series of opinion blogs are aimed at being interactive and spark debate. So we want to know your thoughts on the state of British Showjumping. If you were Chief Executive of British Showjumping or Performance Manager of the British Team, what would you do? 

We look forward to hearing your opinions.

 

Imagery by © BEF / Jon Stroud Media

 

 

Photo from hopedeamer1-18

AP McCoy on being a dad, sporting idols and why he is coming to the Liverpool International Horse Show

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The rider line-up for the Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show is always a star-studded one. It’s popular with the Whitakers, Harry and Peter Charles and Scott Brash is a regular. But this year, we can expect to see the whole McCoy family there. That’s AP McCoy- perhaps one of the best known and most loved jockeys of all time, plus wife Chanelle, daughter Eve and son Archie. Horse Scout’s blogger Ellie Kelly was lucky enough to interview AP and Chanelle recently and this is what they had to say…

 

“I was told I had to be in Liverpool by the 30th December by my daughter Eve. It just shows you how things change in your life when you start getting bossed around by your eleven-year-old daughter” says twenty times Champion Jockey, AP McCoy. Now retired from National Hunt racing, despite being one of the greatest figures in sporting history, he now finds himself “being dragged to shows and mucking out ponies!”

 

Eve who is an avid young showjumper and clearly a chip off the old block will be competing in the mini-major competition, together with a number of young riders competing alongside celebrity showjumpers. The mini major will feature approx. 14 pairs of kids paired up with top professionals all in fancy dress. Previous pros that have competed in this class include the very fast GB rider Matt Sampson, John Whitaker, and the UK’s leading lady rider Laura Renwick.  The class will be the feature of the afternoon performance on Sunday 30th December.

 

“Eve is mad excited about going to Liverpool and I was told I had to be there so I’m flying back from Leopardstown especially” says AP. “She really loves competing and she’s got plenty of bottle which you can’t teach a kid. I see certain traits in her as I have- she’s not a great loser and she gets upset with herself. Even when it goes wrong or I shout at her, she comes back for more. No matter how much a parent gives their kids they can’t give them nerve and desire, that has to come from within. You can feed it and nurture it but at the end of the day it has to come from the kid.”

 

AP talks about the importance of having sporting idols and watching those riders in order to improve.  For Eve, Nick Skelton is her hero.

 

“I took her and a friend up there last year and Nick and Laura Kraut gave them a riding lesson. For her, it was the best thing ever, she was more interested in him than she was in me.”

 

“We’ve planned the Christmas around it” says an excited Chanelle. “We have no expectations, Eve does of course. But I think it’s a brilliant experience for kids to feel the pressure of the big day when they are young. It really prepares you for the later in life and when you do go into the working world, it helps if you know those emotions already.

 

“She’s very conscious of impressing her dad which is nice but we had to sack AP as an instructor because of that clash of personality” she laughs. “AP and I were very relaxed as to whether she was into ponies or not, it had to be something that came from her but she really loves it and she wants to be the best. It’s lovely that she is so ambitious. It must be in her DNA that she is not satisfied taking part, she wants to win.”

 

“Nick Skelton is her hero, she once asked me if Nick was too old for her to marry. She was so in awe of him when she went up for a lesson. She had lots of questions for him and I thought well isn’t it great that she’s got an icon like Nick rather than some social media influencer.”

 

Chanelle talks about the differing emotions she feels when watching her daughter show jump in comparison with watching AP race.

 

“Watching Eve, I feel excited. With AP it was a different emotion because with being a jump jockey, injury was very much part of the course, so you’re always worried. Watching my daughter showjumping is so enjoyable and I get quite emotional when she does well.”

 

Even though I don’t miss AP riding because I’m so grateful that he has retired in one piece and he doesn’t have any severe injuries but I think we would miss the buzz if we had nothing. Whereas now, there is not a nicer weekend for me where we load up the lorry and head off to show.

 

www.liverpoolhorseshow.com

 

Horse Scout International Listings – Professional livery and training facilities even in Egypt

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Horse Scout International  Listings – Professional livery and training facilities even in Egypt

Are you thinking of visiting Egypt and want to do some riding while you are there, The Stallion Centre sounds wonderful.  Below is a piece taken from their website describing their facilities and where they are situated.

“Stallion Equestrian Center” is a specialised private center for teaching horse back riding at any stage for children & adults. it offers a high standard of training, it aims to develop highly qualified new riders and fulfill all riding disciplines and interests including Beginners Lessons, Dressage Lessons & Jumping Lessons.

The perfect choice for those who love nature, by providing them with the opportunity to observe the great beauty of Sakkara desert, and Wadi el Rayan’s beautiful lakes and desert ,our overnight trips to the old roman village and gold British mine situated between the mountains of Hurghada and other trips to explore the magnificent nature among the mountains of Sharm El Sheikh.

We have started our own horseback-riding dream by building our first private Equestrian Center in Ahmed Orabi. Over the past few years, the owner and trainer, Mr. Mohamed Khalifa, managed to develop a strong foundation with beautiful well trained horses, cozy, comfortable atmosphere, and well equipped stables with modern facilities.

Stallion Equestrian” Center started by establishing it’s first facility located in Ahmed Orabi, Cairo- Ismailia Desert Road with only 8 stables, 1 paddock, a lunging area, and 5 riders. It was known since then to be a very welcoming, safe, and dedicated place for teaching young children the art of horsemanship.

The owner, Mohamed Khalifa comes from a family of horsemen deeply involved in the horse world. He started riding at the age of five in Feroseiah club. Then, by the age of fifteen he joined the Armed Forces show jumping team.

He was one of the pioneers who understood the importance of private centers to the sport. Until the 1990′s all sports were only available in big clubs, where memberships are usually very expensive and hard to get. Then people started to be interested in private centers specialized in specific sports like tennis, bowling, golf, and horseback riding.

Being the pioneers in establishing the first private Equestrian Center specialized only in the equestrian field in Egypt gave us the confidence over the past few years, to develop a strong foundation withbeautiful well trained horses, cozy comfortable atmosphere, and well equipped stables with modern facilities. “Stallion Equestrian Center” is not only for beginner children! Adults as well are offered training at all levels.

Improvements in the center were done by Phases. Phase one we increased the number of stables to 34 second phase we added the Royal Stables , which consists of 13 box, tack room, washing area, separate food storage, trainer residence, grooming box, one lunge and a lightened riding arena. Third phase we added the Arabian Stud, which consist of two stables one for breeding (9 boxes) and the second for raising(8 boxes) including boarding for grooms & storage.

“Stallion Equestrian Center” has become a second home for all its riders. The families love to go there enjoy the sport and the homey environment. They all grew to be a big family celebrating most of their occasions there, with parties and barbecues!

Are you looking for a Professional Groom?

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Professional Groom with 4 years experience in Bethany Phillips from Braintree, is looking for a live in position. She has a car and holds a valid driving licence. She is available from May 1st 2015.

She lists her areas of expertise as :

  •  Problem horses / re-breaking
  • Competition riding – Unaffiliated
  • Turnout to a high standard
  • Riding, schooling and training
  • Sole charge / Head girl position
  • Sales preparation
  • Work with children
  • Dealing with clients and owners

If you are looking for a competent member of staff then contact Bethany with your requirements.

Horse Scout also has a number of work riders and grooms looking for placements. Click here for further information.

Lucinda Fredericks – Working Pupil and Temporary Groom Opportunities

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Are you looking for an opportunity on an eventing yard? Horse Scout has two positions advertised.

Lucinda Fredericks has a new opportunity for a working pupil to join her yard near Devises  with (or without) their horse from March 2015.

Closing date: Friday 20th February 2015 This is a great opportunity for someone wanting to experience life on an International Eventing yard as part of a fantastic and friendly team, whilst developing your own, and your horses career. Case Study: Zoe joined us in August 2014 as a Working Pupil, she has shown herself to be a hardworking member of the team who is quick to learn and is a joy to be around. Due to her commitment and enthusiasm we have worked with her to transfer her onto an apprenticeship scheme and she is now working towards a level 3 qualification with us. Zoe commented “Lucinda is someone I aspire to be like and what more could you want than being at her yard itself. In five years time I see myself and my own horse competing regularly in different disciplines, surrounded by and being part of a determined, hard working team. My ambition is to run my own yard for breaking, schooling and competitive livery”. For full information please see our website here

Lucinda also has a place for a Temporary Full Time Groom – immediate start Position 1: Temporary groom with immediate start We are currently seeking a temporary groom, full time over 6 days to start immediately. This is a great opportunity for someone wanting to gain experience working on an International Eventing yard as part of a fantastic and friendly team. Excellent on site accommodation is available.

Lauren Shannon and Horse Scout

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Welcome to my new fortnightly blog for Horse Scout!

My name is Lauren Shannon and my team of Shannon Eventing horses are based in Leicestershire at Mushill Farm.

I have ridden for British Young Rider teams, after spending 13 formative years in the United States-and picking up an American twang to my voice in the process. I have also competed horses that I have produced from youngsters all the way to four star at Badminton and Burghley horse trials.

My team and I built the stables at Mushill Farm last year, and moved in just after the beginning of the season. We have settled in well, and are now looking forward to a bumper year of competition both at British Eventing and FEI events. We are a fairly small yard by competition standards with only 14 stables, but I’m lucky enough to compete a select few very talented horses and train students who are based with me along with helping out the competitive amateur liveries here at Mushill. It’s a great mix of people, and we all get on brilliantly because we all love bringing horses on and competing!

I’ve got three lovely girls who work for me, Mollie, Bex and Amber who all have horses based here competing and I couldn’t get anything done without their constant help. My other half Tom also gets roped in to all the maintenance jobs around the place, as well as being affectionately called our “catering manager” at events!

So with the eventing season fast approaching, we have become very busy at the yard with schooling and show outings every weekend and most of the week too. I have a couple stunning young horses to sell in the next month or so, so they are out learning what life is about while the older horses get their eye in before our first event at Oasby in the middle of March.

Alongside all this I am teaching a fair bit and trying not to freeze to death, as I tend to stuggle in the cold quite a bit! So do keep checking back for more updates as we brave the last of the winter and head into another exciting year of eventing!

Looking at loosening up muscles, joints and your horses mind.

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Looking at loosening up muscles, joints and your horses mind.

When you have mounted your horse allow him to walk off on a soft low rein with a loose contact and encourage him to stretch forward and long in his neck. This stretches the ‘nuchal ligament’ which runs from his pole to his withers and in turn pulls on the ligaments which run along the top of the vertebrae and gives him time to get used to your weight.  When you feel he has developed a loose and flexible walk and is listening to you then move into trot keeping the contact soft and low and start in rising trot on large figures of eight in a slow steady trot. This will help him relax and adjust his stance to easily take your weight. Also by riding your horse in this way also it allows for more swing through his back, which is a positive movement to promote.

It’s important to start and finish your ridden session with your horse in a long and low contact to let him use his nuchal and supraspinous ligaments to support his back, particularly as he’s warming up or when he’s tired.

Once your horse is loosened up and moving freely in the large movements you can start to increase his temperature and circulation by asking him to move into canter this will increase his cardio and breathing rates and oxygenate the muscles ready to start working. It also exercises the core muscles which have to extend and contract more in the canter than they do in the trot.

Once you feel he is breathing well and has warmed up then allow him to have a breather and walk for a while. During this walking period you can concentrate on flexibility. Just like people horses will loose flexibility over time unless they are given routine exercises which help them use their joints to the full.

Lateral work for a horse encourages a full range of movement in upper joints, rather like us lifting our arms above our heads to stretch. Depending on what level your horse is training at you can use small circles of lateral work such as leg-yield, shoulder-in and travers. Start any lateral exercises in walk at first as it requires the greatest amount of joint movement because there’s no moment of suspension.

Walking is the horses most flexible pace for his spine.  In walk he is able to more easily rotate and flex and this helps bring his hind legs in to step up and under him. All of these exercises will help to promote and maintain your horse’s skeletal health. Flexing him to the left and right will help the muscles on either side of his spine and poll to flex, and any lateral and circle work will strengthen and stretch these muscle chains further.

Work with an experienced trainer to get the best from your horse.  Horse Scout has a list of professional trainers and coaches one of whom is bound to be in your area

 

 

Professional Profile – Malcolm Aitken – Medstead, Hampshire

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Malcolm Aitken runs a small competition yard in Medstead where he trains a small group of Show Jumping horses from first shows to Foxhunter level. Malcolm is looking for owners who are keen to support a very consistent professional reach the next level. Malcolm currently has a very exciting string of horses and is looking forward to attracting new horses and owners for the 2015 season and beyond.

His owners and clients who have placed horses with him for training I was stunned to win a red rosette in the very first class that Ludo and I entered. I must thank you again for producing such a mannerly and well schooled horse, he is a joy to have on the yard and to take out and I have the added bonus of receiving a constant stream of complimentary remarks. Margaret Dufall

Malcom also teaches and his clients have nothing but positive things to say about him and his approach “How wonderful it is to have finally found a trainer who talks sense! You always explain everything in a conscientious and encouraging manner. We are also very grateful for all your support in helping us. It’s nice to know my daughter is in safe hands. J.J.Piquet and I have had a lot of trainers in the past, and within just a few weeks I have learnt more and gained more confidence than with months of training elsewhere. You have been consistently patient, friendly and fun and you treat my horses with respect and kindness. Jessica Hobbs

Having been introduced to horses by his late mother and ridden competitively as a teenager, Malcolm rekindled his love affair with horses shortly after Graduating in Sports Science 1999. Show Jumping soon progressed from being a weekend hobby into becoming the reason for going to work.  The provision of sponsorship from Vantis Plc in 2005/06 was a key assistance in his successes during his time balancing competing and office work. In late 2006, Malcolm decided that horses were the career for him and office life was phased out. After a brief period of sharing a yard in Windsor, Berkshire Malcolm decided to go it alone in late 2007 and the rest as they say is history.

MA Sport Horses offer a range of livery options. Sale, Competition Livery, Full Livery, Part Livery, Recuperation Livery, Breeding and Rearing, Holiday Livery, Breaking, Jump Training, Lessons, Show Jumping Clinics & Clipping.

Martin is a skilled professional rider Breaking & Producing youngstock, he has a range of horses for sale and Showjumping and Rehabilitation are his area of specialism.

Northfield Stables is fully insured as a Dealing, Breaking and Livery Yard. Riding/trial facilities are available on site, being an excellent 50m x 30m Charles Britton Equisand & Clopf fibre surface which provides an excellent all year round surface which is guarunteed not to flood.

MA Sports Horses also has a 4 horse Monarch Horsewalker with roof to help keep both it’s own and clients horses in top condition.

Professional Profile – Matt Hicks

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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.

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.