Tag Archives: saddle

Liverpool International Horse Show 2018



Liverpool 02.01.17 Day 3

The Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show; now in its fourth year, promises to be a feast for the senses. Taking place between the 28th – 31st December at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, top class riders will be travelling from all over the world to compete at this event, which is getting bigger and better each year. The show is the brainchild of Nina Barbour, Show President who is a celebrated equestrian sportswoman and also presents the Bolesworth International Horse Show, which takes place at Bolesworth Castle each year in June.

The packed programme includes World Ranking Show Jumping, Ride and Drive (horses and cars against the clock), the Mini Major Relay, the Liverpool International Grand Prix and the Equitop Myoplast Puissance, all of which will keep you at the edge of your seats as top riders test their skill and nerve. Each performance throughout the event will include exciting demonstrations including Area Cross FMX motorbikes, the Shetland Pony Grand National, ‘Phoenix’ by Gilles Fortier and live music from Rick Parfitt Junior. The event caters to the whole family; equestrian fans or not it promises to be an amazing way to celebrate the end of the year, all finished off with their midnight celebrations with pyrotechnics to rival any firework display.

For the second year running; back by popular demand, Dressage will also be returning to the Liverpool International Horse Show on the Friday including up to 10 top riders performing in an Invitational Inter 1 Freestyle to music.

Liverpool International Horse Show - Dressage - Charlotte Dujardin

If all of this wasn’t enough already to keep you entertained, there is an extensive shopping village including top brands such as Voltaire, a Touch of Silver and Hunters Gin. To keep the kids entertained, there are many activities such as face painting and #LIHS horse glitter stencils to add a little sparkle to their new years celebrations. There are also interactive experiences such as training sessions on the Equiciser with the great man himself AP McCoy giving tips and tricks to stay in the saddle.

Horse Scout are proud to be supporting the Theraplate UK Liverpool International Show and are able to offer a fantastic saving of 10% to all Horse Scout members. This code is valid on all ticket levels and all performances. Tickets are strictly subject to availability at the time of booking. To get your Horse Scout member discount visit https://www.horsescout.com/liverpool-international-horse-show


To buy tickets and for further information visit www.liverpoolhorseshow.com


Become a Horse Scout member and start saving on great events. https://www.horsescout.com/liverpool-international-horse-show

Are you sitting comfortably ? choosing the right saddle


Your choice of saddle is very important as your enjoyment of horse riding will depend on it. Indeed, a badly chose saddle can discomfort, or even injure, your horse, making both horse and rider less competitive.

The right saddle will give you comfort and allow you to sit in a position that suits your chosen discipline.

Each discipline is itself dependent on the body shape of both horse and rider, and on the frequency of riding.

Here, you can read our tips to help you make the right choice.

Choosing according to use

1- Beginner’s saddle

2- general Purpose saddle

3- Jumping saddle

4- Dressage saddle

5- Western and Endurance saddles

1) Features of a beginner’s saddle

–       Suited to those starting out in horse riding (particularly small children).

–       Comfortable (wider seat).

–       Classic position (more concave seat).

–       More pronounced, or even oversized, pommel and cantle, to keep a child sitting stably on the seat.

–       Monkey grip.

2) Features of a general purpose saddle

–       A multi-use saddle, not designed for any specific discipline.

–       A good position for working on the flat.

–       Comfortable for small jumps (flaps angled slightly forwards).

–       Pleasant for leisure riding.

–       Semi-concave seat.

– Wider seat, for greater comfort when hacking.

3) Features of a jumping saddle

–       The orientation of the flaps (angled forwards) allows the rider to ride with shorter stirrup leathers and to stay balanced when jumping.

–       Seat with thinner panels.

–       Knee rolls front and back to stabilise leg position.

4) Features of a dressage saddle

–       Long flaps to allow the legs to extend downwards (almost perpendicular to the seat).

–       Comfortable.

–       Concave seat (rider seated stably on the saddle).

–       Often, long straps (increasing contact between rider and horse).

5) Features of western riding or endurance saddle

–       Comfort for the rider: wide seat.

–       Comfort for the horse (rider’s weight well distributed, wide, larger panels).

–       Several places from which to hang saddlebags.

–       Good withers clearance, giving greater comfort for the horse.

Leather or synthetic?

The two materials each have both advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on how you use your saddle!


–       A natural, high-quality material

–       Traditional

–       Generally more attractive aesthetically

–       Long-lasting if well cared for

–       Slow to dry after heavy rain

–       Needs regular care


–       More economical

–       Easy care

–       Dries quickly after rain

–       Lightweight

–       Can heat up with friction

–       Shorter-lived, especially with intensive riding


The seat should provide a space that is comfortable to sit on but not to large, so that the rider can sit as stably as possible.

Classic saddles have their size measured in inches, ranging from 14″ to 18.5″, in increments of 0.5″. The “normal” size is 17″ or 17.5″.

These listed saddle sizes should fit the listed waist sizes

  • 16” 14 Years
  • 16.5”   34 waist
  • 17” 36-38 waist
  • 17.5”   38-40 waist
  • 18”      42-44 waist
  • 18.5”   46-48 waist

Other factors also affect which saddle you need and I will cover these in following posts

Finding the right saddle for you – finding the right accommodation for your seating area.


Finding the right saddle for you – finding the right accommodation for your seating area.

The weighty issue of obesity has now got it’s teeth into the equestrian industry and this time we’re not talking porky ponies but the knives are out for the rotund rider.

The average British woman is a size 16 and booties on saddles are becoming bigger, Finding saddles for the plus-sized riders which is equally good for the horse need proper research and a saddler and addle fitter who can appraise your needs honestly.

The size of the saddle is important to the rider’s comfort too. I know from experience that it’s no fun riding in a saddle even as little as half an inch too small. Having to keep scooting back in the saddle to stop from bumping on the pommel or horn, or having to worry about hanging over the cantle are not condusive to good riding!

The larger rider needs to look for a saddle which has specifically been designed with a longer, larger seat without making a longer saddle. Many weight-carrying horses are short-backed. The panel of the saddle will need to measure18” as a minimum to accommodate a larger sitting area. Wow have a Dressage saddle called Bounty but to date this is the only maker who has actually got a saddle to market for the larger seated rider.  Fuller Fillies where to have bought out a 22” saddle but I cannot actually find anymore about that makers actual saddle.  So I am not sure if it actually happened or not.

As with any horse and rider combination, the fit of the tack is essential. With a badly fitting saddle, a horse can get sore even with a lightweight rider. Care should be taken to make sure the tree of the saddle is the correct width for the horse, and that it is stuffed properly, so that pressure points aren’t caused when the rider sits in the saddle. This is true regardless of the weight of the rider, but weight distribution is especially important if the rider is heavy. Some of the newer gel and closed cell foam saddle pads can help with weight distribution, but they won’t make up for a badly fitting saddle.

A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, would seem to compound this opinion as they found that a third of recreational riders are overweight (cue another pop at pleasure riders!)  They claim that as a consequence horses are suffering health problems, such as arthritis and lameness, and behavioural problems like bucking and rearing. Although in my opinion, the fact the horse can still get two hooves off the ground, should be taken as a good sign!

The study which analyzed 152 horses and their adult riders from Devon and Cornwall found that just 8 of them, (5%) weighed less than 10% of the weight of the horse, which adheres to recommended veterinary guidelines, 95 riders (62.5%) weighed between 10-15% of the horse’s weight, which they considered ‘satisfactory’ whilst 49 (32%) weighed more than 15% which they claim to be a welfare issue.

From this they concluded that because so many riders are, by their calculations, too heavy for their mounts there should be industry-wide guidelines to protect horses. They also suggest that larger riders need to ride bigger horses.

This plays into an old saying of mine, ‘If you want to look like you have a smaller bottom, get a bigger horse!’ But, joking aside, there are already too many people who are over-horsed because they get themselves a stonking big, athletic warmblood, rather than a gentle giant like a shire X or a heavyweight cob. As a result there is a glut of unhappy riders and unhappy horses. These horses may look gorgeous and shiny, groomed to within an inch of their lives and caccooned in designer rugs but unfortunately they’re hardly ridden because their owners are afraid to. Bigger can be better as long as it’s the right breed.

On the subject of breeds, shouldn’t that have been taken into consideration? Am I wrong in thinking that our stocky native breeds can bear a larger weight proportionate to their size?

And if you are a big rider, who carries your weight well because you’re well balanced, with a strong core and good hands, aren’t you less of a burden to a horse than a wisp of a rider who hasn’t got those attributes?  To my mind, big people can be light riders and vice versa. When it comes to hoofing it, just think back to the wonderful Lisa Reilly on Strictly Come Dancing-she’s a large lass but definitely displayed much more poise on the dance floor than many of her more reed-like competitors.

Also a well ridden, well schooled horse can carry weight better too.  Picture a big person on a horse engaging it’s stomach muscles and lifting it’s back Vs a skinny rider on a horse with it’s head in the air, back dropped, pulling itself along on the forehand-which do you think is the most damaging?

Riding is a sport, so yes I do believe we should be ‘fit to ride’ but that’s about more than dress size. There are big bottomed girls who can do it just as well so let’s keep the issue of rider weight in proportion.

Mounting the horse can be a problem for heavy riders, who may be less agile than their more slender counterparts. I’ve got short, stubby legs and so I need to use a mounting block to get my foot anywhere near the stirrup on my 16.2 hand TB gelding’s saddle. Using a mounting block makes it easier on me and on my horse — the saddle doesn’t get pulled over to the side, possibly damaging his back or withers, my foot doesn’t dig into his side as it does when I try and climb up from the ground. Don’t ever be embarrassed to use a mounting block, no matter what size you are!


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