Tag Archives: riders

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.

Top Tips for bonding with your new horse.


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.

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.



Endurance Riding – without getting saddle sore


Are you thinking of stepping up a notch in endurance riding or perhaps thinking of taking it up?

Get the low down on Endurance riding with Bella Fricker Endurance Trainer

Endurance riding is gaining in popularity in the horse world but as Endurance GB says it isn’t for the faint hearted, and it isn’t for the rider who doesn’t actually enjoy being in the saddle for long stretches.

So what is Endurance Riding? It is a unique competitive challenge and a supreme sport for learning about equine fitness.

Riding over long distances is all about Tactics and this is one of the pleasures of Endurance Riding – you think about it, plan your tactics, plot your directions, work: out where your back up crew (for longer distances) will meet you, anticipate how you will ride. An examination of your map, provided by an EGB ride organiser, will raise your awareness on sections which will slow you down and where you may be able to make up time on faster going. Yes, you will learn to read a map!

All Endurance Riders check their whereabouts on a map carried in a case, and never just follow the rider in front.

There are two reasons for this. The first obvious one is, they may be lost too and not admitting it, and secondly it is part of the adventurous spirit of Endurance Riding – you are there pitting yourself and your horse against the elements, riding unknown territory, and finishing’ exactly where -you should, back at the venue. A real sense of achievement that gives meaning to the old saying “To finish is to win”.All routes are also marked.

Enjoy the Camaraderie

Another element is the spirit of camaraderie which exists amongst the riders. ENDURANCE GB  is always happy to put you in touch with a more experienced rider who can advise you; EGB organisers are happy to talk about their rides and EGB regularly stages talks, seminars and demonstrations across the regions. Their support is wide ranging and practical, and in this sense, what is refreshing about the sport is that you need never be alone.

If it is your first ride and you feel a little nervous the  Ride Secretary may be able to arrange for you to ride with someone who is familiar with the sport. Set speed rides, for example are competitive only in the sense of personal achievement, so a friendliness between riders is commonplace. You will find sections of the ride where you need to reduce speed for whatever , and part of the fun is the conversation with other riders along the way. When you meet again at another ride, you will be meeting friends both old and new.

When the going gets tough

The toughest challenges are presented by the Competitive Endurance Rides (CERs), where riders are competing against each other, rather than the clock. The highest level of competition is the 160km (100 mile) CER, the International Senior championship distance.

Something to aim for

Whatever level you are happiest a, Britain’s top endurance riders are among the best in the world and you can always learn from them and aspire to follow in their footsteps. Endurance GB is the internationally recognised body for the sport of endurance riding in the UK. Membership of EGB means you and your horse can be considered for British team selection. Each year, EGB puts together young rider, intermediate and senior teams and arranges for them to compete in international endurance riding events.

Building Partnerships

Perhaps the best reason of all for taking up Endurance Riding, is the partnership built up with your horse over these many miles – of new riding ground. You guide him, and he carries you, and the relationship ‘which is forged between endurance rider and endurance horse would be hard to equal in any other sport. He has to trust you to lead him back home, and you have to trust him to get you there, and the resulting confidence will stay with both of you in any future sports you may try. That’s if you’re not hooked on Endurance Riding for life!

To find out more about endurance riding speak to Bella Fricker Endurance Trainer or take a look at the Endurance GB website where the above information came from



Professional Profile – Lucinda Fredericks


Eventing Olympian Lucinda Fredericks is an international trainer and travels extensively to give clinics and demonstrations as well as hosting training sessions at her own venue, Rosegarth, near Devizes view her Horse Scout Profile HERE!

How special would it be to buy the rider in your life a gift voucher for a private session with Lucinda Fredericks?

Her schedule for clinics for this year shows that she is in Hong Kong  at the end of a five day marathon of 5 days clinics and training out there.  As an official trainer of the Hong Kong Event Team, who took Bronze at the Eventing in the  17th Asian Games in 2014 (well done them!) On this trip she has been training the riders on horses which are retired from the Hong Kong Racing Circuit and she says how proud she was of the young racehorses retraining at her clinic (yesterday) in Teun Mun as they jump happily over 110m. And at this moment (according to her Facebook profile) she is putting a very handsome chestnut retiree through its paces over some XC jumps at Beas River Equestrian Centre.

Her experience and support of the Retraining of Reacehorses was also demonstrated at the The Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre  near Preston who have some fantastic pictures, taken by Trevor Holt and Ashley Stewart of a demonstration she hosted to a crowd of around 300 people in April – the event raised around £3,000 for the TRC.

With so many awards for Retraining of  Racehorses perhaps a group of individual training session with Lucinda on your own retired racehorse would help you along the way to one of the awards being offered by ROR Grassroots Eventing Series for 2015

There may be time to book places at the clinic at Charlotte Wadley Equestrian, Painswick, on the 7th February . (Individual spaces cost £60 + VAT (within a group of 4). Alternatively you can contact Lucinda’s team through Horse Scout to arrange for a session at her training centre.

She is holding clinics in February in  Holland  and Dorset, March in Berkshire and then she is back out to Hong Kong at the beginning of April

If you cant wait that long to see Lucinda then she will be talking about her Olympic experiences with Headley Britannia and Flying Finish, at the Equine Client Meeting in Frome at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 25th February being orgainised by Garston vets.



10 Top Tips for a Mother Daughter Share


What is the perfect Mother Daughter Share?

“A perfect mother-daughter share is where my mother pays all the bills and does all the yard work, and I do all the riding. Sadly, my mother does not share my opinion….”

Mother Daughter shares can be the perfect set up and, actually, some mothers are happy with the above scenario! But mostly Mothers tend to want a bit more from the arrangement.  After all it is Mothers who tend to do most of the donkey work because teenagers are, by rote, away at school and in the winter this means that bar the pair of luminous eyes caught in the beam of the head torch, they hardly get to see their horse during the winter!

Top Tips for Mother Daughter combinations:

This scenario assumes that the Daughter is a competent rider, perhaps this is the third or fourth horse she is looking to buy.  She is competing perhaps in pony club teams or in intro affiliated classes or this is her aim with this next horse.  Mother is experienced and has ridden possibly all her life, does not have any particular ambition to compete but is capable of hacking out and schooling and maybe even hunting.  Other combinations of experience would need to adjust their top tens but the principals would probably be the same.

  1. Choose a gelding if possible, they tend to be more even in temperament and happy for anyone to do them (sweeping generalisation I know).
  2. Chose a height weight combination which will be comfortable for both parties to ride.  Tricky if M&D are extremis! But usually there is a similarity in build) …. Yes I know another sweeping statement.
  3. Choose a temperament that will suit both parties.  If one is a little nervous handling from the ground then find a horse which is rock steady to do, and not too big for the handler.
  4. If riding abilities are widely at odds then choose a horse which will suit the less able rider.
  5. On the other hand if the main rider (the one who will be doing most of the exercising) is the more competent and is able to school the horse regularly so it is quiet for the other rider this may work fine.  With the combination the other way round its not going to work.
  6. Decide what the horse is going to be doing.  However, for this combination an all rounder is a good idea offering versatility and therefore scope to have a go at most things.
  7. Have clearly defined responsibilities.  Be realistic but also stick to your guns on who is doing what and when. This will keep the horse a truly M&D member of the family.
  8. Remember to appreciate each other and look for the positives of having the other person contribute to the training, husbandry and progress of the horse.
  9. Like sharing anything, this trio will work best when all parties are prepared to chip in, talk and look to progress.
  10. But mostly, Enjoy your horse, your time with him and your time with each other.

There are a number of all rounders advertised on Horse Scout Mountview Rosie, Sallybog Tim, Bolt Hero, By Jonkers Metyo, Emerald Skippy.



British Dressage Team Quest – Find your perfect partners


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


Oliver Townend says he’s got ‘the horse power and the support’ for his 2015 season – Good Luck Ollie


Oliver Townends’ interview with Lee Sobort, the equestrian correspondent for the Yorkshire post reassured his fans on his aims and ambitions for the 2014 event season following the serious injury to his shoulder at the end of 2013.  Then Townsend insisted its not ‘If’ its ‘When’ and to prove a point he has had a fantastic season clocking up some 480 rides and and 1556 points is the BE 2014 number 1 ranking rider and as if this is not enough he is also the FEI World Eventing Athlete Rankings number 4 and Eventing Zone Rankings number 3.!.

He says he’s “Got the horse power and the support” and is looking to adding millage to his horses in the 2015 season. He is confident of a good start on Armarda at Burgham at the end of March and is looking forward to a strong Badminton in May.

He is set to start his season with five rides at Aston-Le-Walls on the 1st of March so we all wish him the best for a successful 2015 season …. and his thousands of fans rooting far and beyond into the all important 2016 Event in Rio

His super converted dairy farm in Shropshire has everything on hand for training horses from his 46 box yard.  He always has stock for sale from young stock up to 3* and 4* horses.

Becoming one of Oliver Townends’ owners is a chance to become involved in an exciting sport following a top talented rider.   As an owner you can expect not only a very professional relationship but Townend aims to give his owners the best attention.  He says “Eventing is our business, but it should also be fun and we like to consider our owners as friends too”

Matching the horse and rider


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.