Tag Archives: training

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How to win the Puissance on a horse you’ve never ridden before

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Horse Scout reporting at the TheraPlateUK Liverpool International Horse Show 

 

The Puissance is the ultimate test of horsemanship. It measures bravery, scope and the ability to hold your nerve. It is an event that never fails to fill seats and excite a crowd and cause a stir. This year’s Puissance at Liverpool International unfolded like a fairy tale and the end to a great year for British rider Matt Sampson, who finished in joint first after clearing 7ft 3” (2m20). Not only was he a relative rookie against the big red wall, but he achieved the feat with a horse he was riding for the very first time- Laura Renwick’s Top Dollar VI.

 

Eleven combinations competed which ran for the maximum five rounds. It was whittled down to just two in the final round with Matt sharing the honours with Irish youngster, Michael Pender. Michael was riding the scopey mare Hearton du Bois,  with whom he won the Dublin Horse Show Puissance this year.

 

Matt’s catch ride, Top Dollar VI may have more experience than his rider, having jumped a number of Puissance classes with Laura. In fact, the pair won the class at Olympia in 2017 but Laura decided to hand the reins over to Matt less than an hour before the class. That being said, to take on any new horse before a class and win it, is one helluva feat. Let alone to put faith in one another to jump the unjumpable.

 

Matt reveals how he prepared himself mentally for the challenge:

 

“I didn’t know him at all but maybe that’s not always such a bad thing. I just tried to ride forward to it and give him a little bit of room because he’s such a big horse. You’ve just got to keep them confident but then he’s a very good horse. It got easier each time as I just figured him out and trusted him a bit more and it just went on from there.”

 

So what does it feel like jumping that wall? “It feels amazing” he smiles. “I’ve actually only done one Puissance before at a show in Holland. So I didn’t have a lot of experience in the class.”

 

Preparation outside is minimal he explains. “It’s very hard to prepare in the warm up to jump a wall. Because we don’t have a wall in there, we just have a vertical and an oxer. I did a couple of verticals and an oxer but only about 1m40 to 1m 50 high. In comparison to what we are jumping in the arena, it’s not a lot but I think it’s better to keep the horses confident so if they go in the ring thinking that they can jump it, then it’s got to give you a better chance.

 

About an hour before the class, Laura (Renwick) rang me and asked me what I was doing and I said “nothing”. So she said did I want to ride her horse in the Puissance.

 

When asked if he had many catch rides in his career. He responded humbly with “not really”. Until legendary jumper Geoff Billington interjected with “he’s the King of Catch rides this one” referring to Matt’s win in the Hickstead Speed Derby on a catch ride Top Flight True Carlo in Hickstead’s Derby meeting.  In May, Matt had the biggest win of his career when claiming the prestigious Hamburg Derby, aboard Gloria van Zuuthoeve.

 

Whilst it is apparent, Matt would love to ride the gallant chestnut, Top Dollar again, he is philosophical about it. “I don’t know if it will happen again- probably not. But if I don’t ride him again, it was a good way to end on a high. He jumped amazing and it filled me with confidence.”

Written by Ellie Kelly

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HORSE SCOUT REAL: Harry Charles

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Harry Charles is the teen sensation everyone is talking about in the world of Show Jumping. Those who rate him highly as a rider and a horseman include Performance Manager Di Lampard, Olympic Gold medalist, Nick Skelton and of course his biggest fan is his dad, Peter Charles MBE. Who also happens to be an equestrian legend in his own right. With many team appearances for both Ireland and Britain, Peter was one of the showjumpers who made history, helping Team GB to Olympic gold at London 2012.

 

2018 has been a storming year for 19-year-old Harry. Not only did he win both individual and team gold medals at the Young Rider European Championships, earlier in the year he finished third his very first Grand Prix, beating dad in the process. The dream continued when he jumped at Aachen, considered as one of the most prestigious and challenging venues in the world against all his childhood heroes. Shortly after that, he competed in the London leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour before making his senior team debut at the Nations Cup in Dijon. We are excited to announce that Harry will join the stellar line-up of riders at this year’s Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show. And it sounds like he is excited too…

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“Last year, Liverpool was the first ever big show I did so for me that was really special,” says Harry who was placed in several big classes. “I had a really good year last year and to top it off, to do well at Liverpool in front of an amazing crowd and some of the best riders in the world was just amazing for me.”

 

Harry explains what riders love about the show “For an indoor arena it is a really good size. Which is good for riders and horses and for course builders too as you can build bigger jumps in there” he explains “I think the crowd love it. They are looking down on the arena so that always creates a really good atmosphere and it drives the riders on to win a class, I think.”

 

Peter, who has also jumped at the show explains what he loves about competing there. “The show brings to the North-West, a different audience and the atmosphere there is really intense. The arena is up, close and personal and I think people really appreciate the art of showjumping” he says.

 

This year the Charles family will be bringing a number of horses and both Harry and his two sisters, Sienna and Scarlett will be competing.

 

“We plan to bring the best horses we can to Liverpool and we are aiming at the big classes like the Grand Prix and the jump-off classes. So we are going to take a team of horses that can be very competitive” he says, highlighting the significance of the show in the equestrian calendar.

 

“It’s one of the few big shows we have in Great Britain and being right at the end of the year, everyone is up for it. It’s always really nice to look forward to. There is a fun atmosphere too. I don’t have any shows or horses to ride on New Years Day so I think if all goes to plan, it will be great to party too.

 

Before Liverpool, Harry is looking forward to spending a Christmas at home with all his family

“We try to have a day off riding but some days we will ride a few horses. The season in showjumping never stops so you have to keep going.”

 

Meeting Harry and Peter at home, it’s clear that their base- Heathcroft Farm, is very much a family operation. Scarlett and Sienna are following closely on their brother’s heels, each winning medals for their country at youth level. Naturally, they live, work and breathe horses and most of the time they all get on. “Me and my sisters have a few disagreements every now and again like everyone does. It’s not always about horses either” smiles Harry. “Even me and my dad, sometimes we can have different opinions on things but we all get on. If we didn’t, it wouldn’t run as smoothly as it does.”

 

“We all have a good work ethic and are usually too tired to argue!” chips in Peter, who along with his son are huge Liverpool FC fans. Peter was born and raised in Liverpool so the city is dear to his heart. “I grew up in Bootle and I have a lot of friends and family up there so it’s very personal to me to go and jump up there with my family. A lot of my wider family will come to watch”

 

Peter trains Harry on a daily basis both at home and at competitions and it is clear, he has huge respect for his father. “Dad is my trainer and of course I would consider other people but for me, I don’t think there would be anyone any better in the world.”

 

To watch Harry and a host of other great riders at the Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show, you can buy tickets from: https://www.liverpoolhorseshow.com

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Galloping in Style towards the Cheltenham Festival

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Galloping in Style towards the Cheltenham Festival

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“For me the boys winning at Cheltenham was as big a highlight as winning in Rio” Nick Skelton announced after “Superb Story” gave his sons Dan and Harry, their first Cheltenham Festival win.

“It’s the Olympics of the horseracing world” claims leading trainer Dan Skelton

The Cheltenham Festival is so world-famous, it has become known as simply “The Festival”. This year it runs from Tuesday 13th to Friday 18th March and it should be etched in your social calendar. Tickets start at £40 but because we regard our members so highly, Horse Scout will be giving away two pairs of tickets this year. Stay tuned to our Facebook page  and our Twitter for more information.

This four-day spectacular attracts the finest horses, jockeys and trainers in the world of Jump racing and remains one of Europe’s most prestigious sporting events. In fact it is fourth best attended event in the country and the £4.5 million of prize money makes it one of the biggest prize funds in UK sport.

The racing scene is always a cultural melting pot but The Festival epitomises that more than most, attracting the real racing enthusiasts from all walks of life. When you put 260,000 people together with common ground- a passion for horses, the countryside and great sporting action, it can only result in one thing- a fabulous sense of occasion.

The festival commences with Champions Day on Tuesday 13th. It includes a packed seven-race card including the most important 2 mile hurdle race of the entire jumping season, the Unibet Champion Hurdle.

Wednesday 14th March is Ladies Day and this year the competition is for ladies only and is all about bringing colour and style to The Festival. There is the chance to win a brand new MINI ONE CAR from W.O. Lewis and Sytner Solihull, as well as other splendid prizes. Whether you want to flash your finest fur, parade your best hat or give a nod to your favourite horse’s colours, get ready to #ColourMeMarch.

St Patrick’s Day on Thursday 15th March draws the luck of the Irish to Cheltenham. The whole of The Festival has a strong Irish flavour to it but on Thursday, it is loud and proud and you can enjoy Irish music around the course throughout the day. As well as the ambience, the racing is top class with the JLT Novices’ Chase, the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle and the Ryanair Steeple Chase to enjoy.

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The climax of the entire jump racing season is Friday’sTimico Cheltenham Gold Cup. This really is the golden crown of jump racing and never fails to  be the greatest spectacle.  The Timico Gold Cup is a race associated with the elite of the sport and nothing can rival the Cheltenham roar as the horses charge up the famous hill.

The Festival really does offer something for all (erm adult) interests. As a Cheltenham die-hard for a decade or so, I aim to indulge in the whole social landscape. Perhaps what I love best, is weighing up horse flesh in the paddock. Usually I swap notes with one of the many Irish folk, who seem to know more about the nags than their own flesh and blood. We will talk breeding, handicaps and ground conditions, then I’ll head down to the course to throw some bad money after good at the bookmakers. Although rarely the Tote, as a like supporting the little guys who are stationed near the track. There is something quite antiquated and ironically pure about swapping cash for a betting slip with a man in a tweed cap and a cockney accent.

I’ll often try to latch on to someone, to get an invite into to Owners and Trainers for spot of people watching and a great afternoon tea. If I am lucky enough, I’ll be invited to a box for more champagne and the best the views of the course and the race.

You can expect food and drink for every taste. There is a generous scattering of champagne bars and about every ten paces- another Guinness watering hole. So be aware of wobbly drinkers if you’re wearing your best cashmere. That sticky brew could ruin your day as well as your wardrobe.

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The selection of cuisine options, is nothing short of a sensory odyssey. New for this year is The Theatre @Festival, a Pan Asian Theatre restaurant experience situated on the third floor of the course facing suites, giving guests unrivalled views over the final fences of the racecourse and offering a unique culinary and visual feast.  Designed to offer a premium but casual environment, relaxation and attention to detail are the order of the day along with simply exquisite dining influenced from the continents of Asia to the foothills of Cleeve Hill.

Michelin star chef, Albert Roux is back in his popular Chez Roux Restaurant. And there are eleven other top quality restaurants on offer, over The Festival with a range of different packages available to suit all requirements and most budgets.

No sporting event would be the same without the inevitable burgers, pies and chips. Do not knock it when you know it really is the only way to help stave off tomorrow’s hangover.

For many seasoned racegoers, a picnic in the car park is a big part of the day. Cars start to arrive as soon as the gates open at 10.30 and the pop of champagne corks can be heard within minutes. The downside is that you might pull the short straw to become designated driver and the traffic coming into Cheltenham is historically horrendous.

The Cheltenham experience would not be complete without losing your senses- and your savings, in the Shopping Village. There are 70 stands with a unique boutique feel, mainly involving fashion, art and gifts. This is the place to discover exceptional pieces you won’t find on the high street.

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To book tickets visit www.cheltenham.co.uk or call 0344 579 3003.

 

By Ellie Kelly

Emily King’s training trip to Marcus Ehning

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Emily King February 2016-1193

 

Emily King – My trip to Marcus Ehning

At just 21 Emily King has already made a strong impression on the Equestrian world. She entered her first BE event at the age of 12 and from the age of 15 was a regular member of British Junior and Young Rider Teams. Emily won individual silver at the Junior Europeans in 2012, the same year her mother won eventing team silver at the London Olympics and made her CCI4* debut in 2015, finishing fourth with Brookleigh, at the tender age of 19.

Horse Scout are lucky enough to have Emily on board as an advocate. Ellie Kelly caught up with the gutsy blonde, shortly after her return from time spent with German show jumping champion Marcus Ehning, who helped Germany win team gold at the Sydney Olympics and the World Equestrian Games in 2010. He has made it to the top of the FEI Longines World rankings and has partnered great horses such as For Pleasure, Plot Blue and Comme Il Faut.

“I’ve always admired Marcus as a rider and after I left school at 16 to focus on eventing, I have been away training at different yards every winter” explains Emily who has previously been to Pippa and William Funnell, German showjumper Marco Kutscher and Finnish eventer Piia Pantsu. She has spent two winters with Ben Maher and honed her flatwork skills with dressage riders Ferdi Eilberg and Kyra Kurkland.

Emily spent six weeks with Marcus, coming home just before Christmas. “I basically work as a groom and rider. I found my own accommodation and instead of payment, I received training” she explains. “It really was fantastic because I learn so much about their routine and management as well as the riding side.”

Emily took one horse with her, Quinlan Z, a six year old stallion who was purchased as a five year old last spring with the intention to event him but also use him as a breeding stallion.

“Marcus is such a great horseman. In the entire time I was there, I never once saw him get cross with a horse. He is always quiet and patient and it’s interesting as he is a very slight build and yet rides a real variety of horses, from big, powerful stallions to small, really blood types. When you ride his horses, they all go in the same way, because of the way they are produced by Marcus” Emily says.

“His training philosophy has a lot of emphasis on rhythm and he was encouraging me to keep the horse in a forward open rhythm, between fences and through turns. So the idea is that you take one less stride to every fence” she explains.

“What I also found interesting was that he likes to give the horse a lot of space in front of the fence, rather than ramming them into the bottom of the fence as you expect some show jumpers to do. This is to allow the horse the time and room to make a shape and teach good technique” says Emily. “It was amazing what a difference it made when I started to ride with this in mind. He is strict on rider position so I hope I have improved in this respect too.”

When it comes to management and the running of the yard, Emily says their attention to detail was on another level. “The grooms knew each horse inside out and whenever a horse came back from a show, it would be jogged up and undergo a flexion test. Every Monday, the vet would come and all 22 of Marcus’s top horses would be jogged up, flexed and seen on the lunge” she says. “His horses would be ridden for about 45 minutes or more as well as going on the walker and they always went out in the field each day.”

The 2018 event season is nearly upon us and Emily is excited to put all her winter training to practice. “This year is looking good so far. I have some lovely horses to ride and some exciting young ones. Then there is Dargun, who did his first CCI 3* last year and will be aimed at some ERM classes and maybe a CCI4* in the autumn. He has so much ability but is still young so I plan to take it slowly” she says.

Emily has been working with Horse Scout since Spring 2017 and has already reaped the benefits of all it has to offer. “We’ve used Horse Scout for selling horses and I have also been to see horses to buy. There is always a huge selection and you can target exactly what you are looking for. And I love following their social media.”

“I’ve also been riding in Jin Stirrups which Horse Scout introduced me to and I love” she says. “They are light and the grip is amazing. Even when it’s raining and muddy, they stick tight to your foot.”

Emily’s top tip

“Leave no stone unturned. Plan for every eventuality and be ready for anything that might be thrown at you at a show. That really gives me confidence.”

 

Written by Ellie Kelly
Photo credits Hannah Freeland Photography

Riding tools and tips from our professionals

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One major riding tool your trainer is trying to teach you

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Hi, I’m Stephen Hayes, FEI Dressage Rider and trainer from Great Britain, based in New York and Florida, USA. This is an article I’ve felt brewing for a while now, having taught many clinics around the world I feel like I’ve had a really good share of many different types rider, there is the brave and bold, the shy and timid, the rider that has a little devil on their shoulder constantly tearing them apart, the rider who attends my clinic already knowing everything there is to know about Dressage (even the best of the best will admit there is lifetimes of more knowledge to be learnt), there are the diamonds in the rough, the adult amateurs who put their heart and soul into every second in the saddle, the die hard professionals, riders triple my age and being an amazing role model. There isn’t a day that I’m not trying to improve my teaching style and methods, but there is always a couple of subjects which replay time after time in each clinic. Here is just one!‘BUT IM NOT SUPPOSED TO USE MY INSIDE REIN? I FEEL LIKE IM BEING ROUGH WITH MY HANDS, AM I PULLING HIM? I NEED TO BE LIGHTER WITH MY HANDS, BUT I CANT GET HIM ROUND ENOUGH HE’S TOO STRONG’Then I go on to explain the followingContact is such a massive and wide ranging word in dressage, and that’s why Dressage is so beneficial to all Equestrian sports. Contact is such an important and beautiful aid that many riders are not taking full advantage of or on the other hand abusing. Contact is very similar to a loaded gun, used correctly and in a positive and productive way it’s a VERY useful tool. Used in a negative way, then a loaded gun is no longer a useful tool. I’m sure we have all seen a situation where the contact is being abused, that’s easy to notice, but I’m going to talk about the opposite end of the scale, which are much more humane scenarios to the horse, but are still not beneficial to the horses physical and mental well being as the rider is still not truly connecting with their horse through the reins.

I have seen riders so brainwashed to avoid using their inside rein that their literally riding around the arena in constant counter flexion. A riders inside leg absolutely creates bend but if your not at all touching your inside rein… ever… Then how the hell can we expect the horse to be truly flexed around a circle/pirouette/half-pass the list goes on. The inside rein is an ingredient that you NEED, direct the neck to correct flexion, and let your inside leg be a boundary like he’s walking around a lamp post, use the inside rein in conjunction with your inside leg and outside half halt. It’s a balancing act of the three aids. Of course don’t abuse the inside rein but certainly don’t avoid it altogether.

There is SO much to cover on contact, I could have you here all day but one last thing. Giving and taking of the reins, the whole concept of a release of a particular rein or both is a reward. I see people giving and taking every milli second. Do you give your dog a treat if he’s dragging you around the park? Do you give your dog a treat if he’s jumping up at you if your asking him to sit? Are you feeding your dog a treat every second as he’s sitting down or do you let him sit and wait there are few moments till he’s earned the reward. You see where I’m going with this?

​You are your horses teacher, the ‘give’ is when your horse has yielded to the contact and is chewing and suckling the bit. Not when he’s ripping your shoulders out their sockets. That’s not to say Im asking my riders to stay on the end of the rein like a brick house, of course not, you have to be productive. I want my riders massaging and manipulating the corners/bars of the horses mouth through a consistent contact, until the horse decides to unlock and let go of his jaw/poll/neck while moving forwards and sideways from his riders leg aids. That is then your window to reward, he’s going to love the feeling of being relaxed and loose in his poll, throat lash area and neck, thousands of endorphins are being released while doing so, and in return you push forward your hands from his wither for a moment. That’s the real idea of a give. That’s how he will learn to want to soften to your hands, he’ll eventually understand that your hand is guiding him to a better place, now your hand has become a friend, and it’s being productive to your horses mindset. He will no doubt begin to follow your lead. Unfortunately horses don’t read a book at night on ‘how to become more supple’ they have NO idea unless we show them the way, and one way in conjunction with other aspects is through your HANDS. So don’t be afraid of the contact, it’s a beautiful thing once being used correctly.

Written by Stephen Hayes
Photo credits Amanda Diefenbach
Stephen Hayes riding Alfonso owned by Caroline McConnel

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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?

 

Are you a member of Horse Scout yet? Sign up now for FREE www.horsescout.com

 

 

Horse Scout invests in star show jumpers

Horse Scout invests in star show jumpers

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Horse Scout, which has secured global investment to further develop its innovative equestrian social network platform and help riders boost their professional careers, is to sponsor the next round of young show jumpers on the British Showjumping and Haddon Training Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme in its mission to nurture future Olympic stars.

Applications for the 2016/17 AASE programme open at the end of July and those accepted will have the opportunity to be coached and trained by some of the top sporting coaches and experts in the UK including Heike Holstein (flatwork) and Andrew Saywell (jumping).

The programme also gives participants (age 16-19) access to experts that focus on them as an athlete: a physiotherapist to help reduce imbalances and weaknesses, a dietitian to advise on nutrition, and a media trainer who can help develop communication skills.

Aimed at developing and preparing talented young upcoming athletes at the top of their game, the AASE programme provides training and education for those who have a real chance of excelling in their sport and competing at European and Olympic level.

The AASE programme also develops the riders into young professionals within the sport with many progressing to start and run their own businesses.

Haddon Training has delivered AASE for British Showjumping since 2013 with 100 young riders completing the 12-15-month programme which culminates in a Level 3 nationally recognised qualification — equivalent to two A-Levels and 85 UCAS points.

Corinne Bracken, AASE Programme Manager, says: “The programme covers all the core components including technical, tactical, mental and physical skills delivered by industry experts, plus those that are essential to attracting owners and sponsors to the sport. It’s great that global organisations such as Horse Scout recognise the importance of supporting future stars.”

How to apply:Any young rider seeking details on the AASE application process should contact staci.cox@haddontraining.co.uk

 

How to compete using a “Class Ticket”. Tried and Tested, Job Done!

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Yesterday Horse Scout Blogger spotted that you could get a free class ticket on the British Dressage facebook page but “What are class tickets?”

By buying a class ticket, you can enter one British Dressage class without being a member or having a registered horse. You can use class tickets to compete and will be eligible to win rosettes and prize money, but will not receive BD points or qualification, except for Area Festivals and Combined Training Championships. If a rider using a class ticket wins a qualifier other than those specified above, qualification will pass to the next eligible competitor. You can buy a class ticket from the British Dressage Web site. These are also available in the competition section of this website. You will need to pay the usual class entry fee and abide by British Dressage Rules rules.

British Dressage say: Much more than just a ticket to compete!

If you are already competing in unaffiliated dressage competitions and want to get more involved in this fantastic sport then British Dressage is the place for you! Much more than just a ticket to compete, BD, the National Governing body for the sport in the UK, is a nationwide club for all things dressage, offering training, competitions, information and social opportunities for all. Your horse can earn nationally recognised BD points and you can qualify to take part in prestigious Championships or Festivals.

Most of all affiliated dressage is accessible. Complete competition schedules and lists of training days arrive on your doormat every two months as part of BD magazine. The BD website also carries this vital information (and much more!), and staff at the BD office are on hand during office hours to answer any queries you have. From where to go and what to wear, to competing internationally and representing your country – British Dressage is working to help you get the most out of your sport.

Getting Started

All affiliated shows are open to the public and the major championships are excellent opportunities to see the best at all levels and particularly the nation’s dressage celebrities competing for prestigious national titles. You may also want to go along to your local affiliated venue to check out the facilities and the competition!

You can get a taste for affiliated competition without becoming a full BD member by using class tickets available through the BD shop or by entering Prelim classes.

Class tickets cost £8 each and each ticket allows you to enter one affiliated dressage class without being a member or having your horse registered. You can win rosettes and prize money but you will not receive BD points or any qualifications. You can also use Class Tickets to gain the score sheets needed to qualify to enter an Area Festival.

More information about class tickets here

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”

 

Be Aware-Be Very Aware: Teamwork = Framework. 6 top tips to help you understand how you influence your horse.

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Understanding  your frame and how you use it to influence your horses way of going; all starts with you.

Horse Scout Blogger has spent many happy moments trotting round the sitting room and to help you understand how you function will help you understand how your horse functions too.

Attending Yoga or Pilates or learning the Alexander Technique will give you good control of your body and help you become more aware of how you move and the relationship between easy movement and maximising your strong core and large muscle masses to your advantage.

The following are all ways of approaching your training and competitive riding with an understanding of how you function within your frame.  This gives you a very clear overview of how a horse also functions.  Your top half is the torso, shoulders, forelegs and head of your horse.  Your pelvis down to the ground are your horses hindquarters and hind legs. As you do these exercises walk and move like a human but be “horse” in your head.  Imagine the bulk of the horse but move like a human.

1. Relax and look up.

Central to all effective riding. If you are relaxed and working “In the moment” so will your horse be.

If you look up and forwards, so will your horse.

2. To Ride Forward On Straight Lines

Become conscious of how you walk.  As you move forwards (not counting window shopping by the way!) where do you look.  If you are looking at the floor, look up.  Think about how you are walking.  Are you using your core muscles?  Are you moving from your hip? Are you utilising your largest group of muscles: your Gluteus muscles in your legs and seat. Do you limbs move in a relaxed way? Are you moving purposefully?  Are your shoulders relaxed and facing in the direction in which you are looking/travelling?  …So many questions!

3. Prepare For Transitions

Change your speed

Change your stride walk briskly, what changes?  Walk slowly, again be conscious of your stance and the use of your frame.

Can you analyse what you do before you change pace?

Do you use the energy you produce as you place your foot on the floor to elevate your knee action.

Do you fall forwards when you stop quickly.

Learning to dance can really help with control and energises your approach to pace and energy.

4. Prepare For Turns

Change direction – what happened as you turned – what happened before you turned

Do you shift your weight away or over your pivotal leg.

Turn quickly and turn slowly, Think about where you place your weight and which groups of muscles you use to achieve a well executed turn and the difference in an unbalanced one.

5. Ride Good Circles

Walk in a circle, Take note of your body angles, weight distribution and the direction that you are looking and the direction of your shoulders.

6. Bend Correctly

What happens if you go in a circle with all your weight over your outside leg and your shoulders against the direction of travel?  Correct yourself and feel the difference.

The more aware you are of how a body functions the more you will understand how your body influences the pace, balance, elevation, suppleness and power in your horses way of going.  Try riding some horse movements without your horse.  Imagine you are your horse and try lateral movements.  What do you have to do with your body to achieve the correct cadence, direction and execution of the movement.

P.S. you can do this is the privacy of your home or be really adventurous and start a trend at your local equestrian centre/livery yard or even in Sainsbury’s…you never know it might be the next big thing like Bio Mechanics or Horse Fit!