Tag Archives: showjumping

PREPARING FOR BADMINTON: EXCLUSIVE INSIGHT

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Horse Scout catches up with two of their sponsored riders, Joseph Murphy and Gubby Leech, to find out what the month prior to riding at Badminton involves.

 

Most event riders grow up dreaming of riding at the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials, based in the heart of the Cotswolds. It takes years, sometimes decades of training and hard graft to reach the required 4* level and earn those elusive FEI points to be applicable to enter.

Horse Scout asks two of their sponsored riders, Joseph Murphy and Gubby Leech to provide insight into the one month leading up to the big event.

 

The horse’s training

Joseph Murphy, Irish Olympic event rider, is entered to ride Sportsfield Othello, a 16 year old gelding by Ricardo Z and out of Moyview Lady and co-owned with the brilliantly supportive Alison Schmutz.

Joseph explained that the first two weeks of April are focused on reaching the horse’s fitness goals with a mixture of galloping and swimming to build cardiovascular fitness and stamina. He gallops ‘Frankie’ every 3rd and 5th day followed by a swim and always icing the legs afterwards to reduce inflammation and prevent injury. In fact, Joseph ices the legs of all his horses after they are ridden each day. This fortnight is a ‘scary time for injuries’ said Joseph, and when you would look to do any necessary veterinary work to ensure the horse is in optimal condition.

This intense fitness work will then taper right down and the last two weeks of April focus on technical training, practising dressage movements from the test, agility jumping and specific exercises to fine tune the horse.

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Gubby Leech, British 4* event rider, is entered on Antoinette Denham-Harding’s 12 year old ISH gelding Xavier, by Clover Echo and out of Knightfield Sally.

Gubby is based at the quiet and beautiful Clarendon Park Estate in Wiltshire. He does all his fitness training on the forgiving old turf in the grounds of the estate. There is a perfectly steep hill that Gubby does repetitions galloping up and letting Xavier rest on the way down. They do fitness work every four days and will have their last gallop on the Saturday before Badminton week, with a ‘pipe opener’ after dressage on the Friday afternoon. Gubby said ‘Xavier is a strong and electric horse’ so he puts a lot of work into him to keep the extra fizz to a minimum! The technical training involves weekly dressage training with Lizzie Murray throughout April and showjumping training with William Fox-Pitt. Xavier is a keen horse in the ring, sometimes making up too much ground in combinations. Practising grid exercises at home helps him to shorten his stride in doubles and trebles, especially if the course builder likes to use short distances.

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The horse’s well-being

Joseph will turn ‘Frankie’ out every day on his own so he can have a pick of grass, relax and feel the sun on his back. Joseph chooses not to put protective boots on when turning Frankie out because he tends to be sensible in the field and he would rather keep the legs cool. Regular massages and some physiotherapy throughout April also help get Frankie in the best physical condition possible.

Gubby entrusts the multi-skilled Sue Devereux to keep Xavier in good condition. Sue is an equine vet, chiropractor and acupuncturist who will treat Xavier 2-3 times this April using a variety of techniques. In the stable, Xavier wears a magnetic rug and magnetic boots to optimise blood flow and recovery. He is turned out ‘bootless’ from the time he is ridden in the morning until 8pm when the horses get late feeds. This turnout time helps Xavier chill out and unwind.

Feeding

Joseph is very intuitive and he judges visually and by the feel of the horses on whether their feed needs increasing or decreasing. He monitors each horse closely to ensure it is fed the right mix of hard feed, haylage and supplements. Joseph slightly increases the feed on Frankie’s hardest days of work. Two weeks before Badminton Frankie’s feed regime will be set and won’t change leading up to the event. Joseph uses top quality feeds, Mervue supplements and he brings his own haylage over to Badminton from his base in Northern Ireland.

Like Joseph, Gubby also uses quality supplements to support the nutritional requirements of his horses.  Gubby uses an organic lucerne which is soaked first and helps keep Xavier hydrated, in addition to using high quality linseed, a balancer and electrolytes. Xavier receives 3 feeds a day whilst having his weight, condition and energy closely monitored. He can very quickly go off his food at competitions so it is a fine art making sure he gets what he needs!

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Rider Fitness

Joseph rides all day long from the moment he wakes to the end of the day. He regularly competes 5 horses a day, even at Intermediate and Advanced level, meaning he is extremely fit from his time in the saddle. However, Joseph does extra core stability exercises to help improve his position, balance, core and overall fitness. He is following a 6 week core stability programme and he does the exercises before bed. Did you ever wonder what gives Andrew Nicholson, otherwise known as ‘Mr Stickability’ his amazingly secure seat? The answer is having a rock solid core.

Gubby is in the saddle riding horses back to back all day until the moment he gets home. Having two young children means most of his evening is spent overseeing bath-time and coaxing them to go to sleep! Gubby focuses on eating as healthy as possible, cutting out sugar and only has the occasional drink at special occasions, in order to maintain his perfect competition weight. His wife Sarah is an organic girl so the family gets fed very well!

 

Rider Mindset

Gubby has previously entered Badminton twice but sadly had to withdraw the horses before the event on both occasions. Combining this with a good Burghley experience in 2016 for this duo, Gubby feels ready. He is ‘in a good space, riding well and has a good partnership’ with his ride, Xavier.

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Increasingly, top athletes are using Sports Psychologists to help give them the competitive edge. People talk about ‘marginal gains’ and this simply means that if you have a group of athletes, in this case riders, who are all equally talented on paper with equally talented horses, the rider who wins is the person who performs best on the day. Good sleep and being well rested, thriving under pressure, feeling confident, and focusing only on your performance and not worrying about those around you, are all factors that determine a rider’s overall performance. Doing these things well can make all the difference.

Joseph works with Charlie Unwin, Olympic Performance Psychologist across five sports. Since working with Charlie at the start of 2017, Joseph has been out winning most weekends this season and has never looked better! The work with Charlie helps Joseph to focus on what matters most when it comes to performance and to successfully block out all other distractions.

Horse Scout would like to thank Joseph and Gubby for sharing some of their practises and we wish them the best of luck for May! We look forward to an exciting four days of competition and wait in anticipation to see the new cross country course designed by Eric Winter. Only one question remains- who will be holding the famous Badminton trophy come Sunday afternoon?

 

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Arkol Harthill Stud

AES Jumping Stallion: Arkol for Harthill Stud

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Arkol by Argentinus  AES jumping stallion carrying the torch for Harthill Stud producing modern performance athletes.

Harthill Studs’ stallion Arkol is setting breeders alight, this trail blazing modern and successful performance stallion.

Arkol is a son of Argentinus – also the sire of Nick Skelton’s former top ride, Arko lll – Arkol is known for his trainable attitude and athletic ability, already making a name for himself on the showjumping circuit.

Arkol has been competed by William Whitaker, one of the top professionals listed on the Horse Scout website, who likes the ride he gives so much he tweets about it when he visits Harthill Stud to ride him!

Arkol has been much admired since winning the 4 year old class at The British Showjumping National Championship at the Scope Festival in 2011.  He has since consistently won 5 year old classes at Arena UK, Adoldington and Scope. In 2013, Arkol has had three wins in the Six Year Old Tour in Valencia.

Arkol is now jumping 1.45m classes in the 7 year old series. The British Stallion Event at Harptbury was the first stallion parade attended by Harthill Stud’s young show jumping stallion Arkol made easy work of the up to height jumps William Whitaker displayed him over.

Nina Barbour said of Arkol: “Again, all that we say about him was displayed with his very good attitude, scope and quality. William is looking forward to producing Arkol on the International circuit further in 2015, and has no concerns that he will be restricted in anyway when his time comes to jump the biggest classes in the sport.”

Arkol, by Argentinus is a type hard to find, bringing a superb temperament alongside the quality needed to put on most jumping mares being covered to produce a modern athlete. Arkol’s Sire – Argentinus – prolific sire of world class sports horses, both in dressage and jumping. Including the infamous Arko III, who also passes on his talent through his progeny – this is seen in Argento and Air Jordan Z to name but two.

Arkol’s Dam is Kolibri who has 16 approved sons and more than 60 state premium mares.


Click here to view this jumping stallion on Horse Scout

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Horse Scout Stallion Review: Calypso’s Rampant Million

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A lovely young breeding stallion with his first foals born last year.  A very handsome16hh Dark Bay Hanoverian Stallion, Anglo European Graded and Scottish Sports Horse Approved. This impressive young stallion has excellent confirmation, outstanding movement and a calm sensible temperament. He has some of the best breeding you will come across. With his future looking bright as a showjuimper.

By Flight View Studs very own Temple’s Calypso (find Temple’s Horse Scout stallion profile here http://www.horsescout.co.uk/horses/profile/759 ) Calypso’s Rampant Million is currently jumping BSJA in Foxhunters and showing potential to follow in his relatives foot steps. He started competing BD at novice level in April 2013 gaining dressage points in his first outing. Qualified in February 2013 for the BLUE CHIP JOINT RLF POWER CHAMPIONSHIP Qualified Discovery 2nd rounds for 2013 Qualified Newcomers 2nd rounds for 2014 & 2015 Qualified for the RIHS 2015 in the Winter Novice.

His sire, Temple Calypso, has produced numerous Grade A showjumpers, most notably Ali, ridden by Graham Lovegrove who `flew the flag for British breeding with 6th place in the 6 year-old World Championship` as featured in the Horse and Hound with winnings just over £25,000.

His Grand sire Calypso II; a stallion known for siring international performance horses with great jumping ability and great ridability .He was one of the most significant sires in Germany.

Calypso II’s dam, Tabelle produced SIX approved stallions, starting with one by Congress, then when bred to Cor de la Bryère, the five Calypso brothers all of whom were useful horses and valuable sires. Tabelle is a full sister to Samei, who was the dam of the great Granat, a world champion dressage horse with Christine Stückelberger.

Temple Whatsit sired by Temple Calypso winning just short of £ 10,000 in A&B’s, 1.30m & 1.40m Opens.

Definitely one to look out for this lovely Hanoverian can be found on Horse Scouts web site www.horsescout.co.uk where he has his own profile page;

http://134.213.137.168/horses/profile/757

Solid reputations and satisfied customers: Talk about Trainers and Traders

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Solid reputations and satisfied customers: Talk about Trainers and Traders

Professional trader Malcolm Aitken (MA Sports Horses) is a regular competitor at Crofton Manor, Sparsholt College & other local venues British Novice to Foxhunter on a range of horses and runs a small competition yard in Medstead where he trains Show Jumping horses from first shows to Foxhunter level.  Malcolm currently has a very exciting string of horses and is looking forward to attracting new horses and owners. We also try to fit in some away shows and have in the past stayed away at The Hand and Wales & West and am hoping to have some horses for the Addington Young Horse classes later this year and is looking for owners who are keen to support a very consistent professional reach the next level.

MA Sports horses also has an exciting opportunity for an apprentice show jumping groom / working pupil who is hard working, literate and honest an young person to train as a show jumping groom. The applicant must be organised, dedicated, punctual, good with animals and patient. The successful applicant will be provided with suitable training and instruction to allow him/her to progress their career. It would be beneficial for the applicant to be a capable rider and be prepared to ride a range of horses although not essential. There will be some mucking out some travelling to shows & since we also have a Stallion and several youngsters some of the work will involve providing assistance with our small scale breeding programme. Regrettably no accommodation. Car driver preferred.

Malcom has a string of happy customers all happy to support him and his reputation.


“Warrior has settled in in his new home very well – everybody at Wellington Riding adores him – When I am not there he is only ridden by Instructor level staff and even they fight over who gets him. Warrior has recently made an appearance in the September 2014 ediition of Horse and Rider Magazine, even the head instructor had to be photographed with him. I am very proud. Chrysoula Zervoudakis

 

I would like to thank you so much for everything. I am so proud to say I am the new owner of Cookie. He is going to have a lovely time with me and he is already starting to settle in. Morgan Saunders

 

Thank you for all the work you did breaking TC he is doing brilliantly. Natalie Morat

 

Just thought I would let you know that Freddie has settled in really well. After a few minor bridle adjustments we hacked out on our own and he scored 10 out of 10. Several different routes no problem. Thank you for helping us get together. Jean Baylis

 

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”

 

Keep those Show Jumps Standing- 7 steps to jump a perfect round.

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To jump a horse successfully a rider can break each stage in the process down into seven separate steps. the seven stages need to be ridden accurately. With the rider remaining in balance and able to help the horse both before during and after the jump.

The 7 stages to jumping:

1. Turn.

2. Approach.

3. Take off.

4. Jump.

5. Landing.

6. Get away.

7. Turn.

1) The Turn

The turn to the jump needs to be ridden accurately so that it lines you up with the centre of the jump being straight ahead. The rider needs to be sitting up and looking ahead to the jump that they are going to do, with the horse being ridden from the riders leg up into the hand, to keep the horse in a balanced rhythm which has plenty of impulsion.

2) Approach

The approach needs to lead you directly to the centre of the jump which you are planning to jump. The rider needs to be sitting up, looking ahead and channeling the horse forward, between their hand and their legs enabling the rider to maintain a straight line, with the horse maintaining the impulsion and balance that is required.

3) Take Off

This is the point at which the horse begins to gather his hindlegs underneath his body and starts to lift up the forehand. The rider needs to keep their lower leg securely wrapped around, to maintain the horses energy and forward momentum.The riders hands need to follow the movement of the horses head and neck and still maintain a contact through the rein to the bit. At the point of takeoff the rider should still be looking ahead, up and over the jump.

4) Jump

This is the point at which the horse will bascule in the air,the forehand is well lifted, and the back well rounded, with their forelegs tucked up in the front and the hind legs tucked up at the back allowing the horse to clear the jump. When the horse is in the air the the rider folds into the jumping position. To achieve a good fold the riders upper body is lowered, with the seat being slipped to the back of the saddle, the riders hand position allows the horse to stretch through their neck, back and body, giving the horse the freedom of movement they require, while still maintaining a light contact through the rein. The riders lower leg needs to stay securely wrapped around the horse to help maintain balance when in the fold or jumping position. The riders position needs to fold straight so that they can still look ahead through the horses ears and on to the next fence, any deviation of the riders position by going off to the side or twisting of the position will unbalance not only the horse but ultimately the rider as well.

5) Landing

The horse now starts to stretch out and extend their front legs ready for landing. Depending on the cater lead that is required, the horse will land with one foreleg landing first then quickly followed by the other foreleg, and the hindquarters following through from behind. The rider will start by bringing their upper body back up into a upright position, while still allowing their hands to remain in contact through the rein to the bit in the horses mouth, but without interfering with the horses balance and movement, this is especially important as horses use their necks for most of their balance. The riders lower leg should remain in position, still on the girth area of the horse, with the rider looking ahead to the next fence.

6) Get Away

The horse is now moving away from the jump and on to the next. The rider needs to make sure that the horse is in balance with plenty of energy and impulsion still being generated and that the horse is on the correct canter lead to enable it to turn in balance to the next fence. The rider should check that their position is still accurate, with reins the correct length, and lower leg secure and with the upper body sitting tall and the rider focused on the next jump.

7) Turn

This is where the rider turns away from one fence and on to the other, and the seven stages start all over again.

Are you looking for a jumping horse.  Horse Scout has some great horses and ponies advertised on its pages.  Take a look.

Horse for sale

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Another fantastic horse for sale view here

17hh KWPN 2007 gelding with top breeding by Cantos x Burgraaff, competed up to 1.30′s internationally, Got all DC’s for Newcomers 2015 in limited outings, jumping fox, perfect for age classes. 316 points, Pops 1.45 with ease. Has big fluid movement, schooled up to medium, would excel in any discipline. Has been professionally produced and is proving very brave and bold, He is very trainable and has a temperament to die for. Would suit good amateur or professional. A truly talented horse which will take any rider to the top

Showjumping Rabbits

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Showjumping rabbits will take center stage at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate, as part of Burgess Premier’s Small Animal Show on the 24th & 25th January.

Richard Rockett, marketing manager at Burgess Pet Care, said: “We are delighted to be bringing the rabbit jumpers to the show this year. Popularity has grown since they first arrived on British soil in 2011, and this year’s Grand National of the rabbit world promises to be better than ever.”

Karin Molin, winner at the National Pet Show in London and Birmingham, said: “My rabbit Micro loves the events and has had several high placements from championships in Sweden and won two gold medals in England this year.” The York Press quotes

Karin’s highest jumping rabbit record currently stands at 85cm, which she hopes to soon. Perhaps Dodson & Horrell will run rabbit classes along side their 85 cm BSJA National Amateur Championship!

However this years Championship didn’t have any rabbits!…. But it did have forty eight competitors battling it out for the National Amateur 0.85m Championship title and after two hours of closely fought competition, it was 17 year-old Toni Evans from Southend-On-Sea, Essex who was victorious on the 17 year-old dun mare Caramel Twist, owned by Kerry Evans.

The jump off was contested by twenty-nine of the starters and it proved to be competitive after sixteen double clears were achieved. Toni and Caramel Twist went into the class as one of the hot favourites after winning the two 0.85m Grand Prix qualifiers earlier on in the week and they continued their domination after crossing the finish line in 28.54 seconds with two clear rounds in the bag.

The highest jumping rabbit is recorded at a dot under 1meter but I don’t think he would have been in the jump off in this years hotly contested National Amateur 0.95m Championship which was taken by 33 year-old Gemma Dickens from Loughborough, Leicestershire on Oakley’s Ace, a 23 year-old bay gelding owned by Lesley Dickens. Gemma and Oakley’s Ace beat fifty other competitors to the spot and they produced one of only three double clears, delivering theirs in 30.39 seconds, I know rabbits run fast but I don’t think they could challenge this amazing little pony!