Many of our users have kindly been sending in their Top Tip's so we thought we would start sharing them with you.
It is not only you who is learning how to perform a half-halt – your horse is too.Unless your horse is well schooled don’t expect a half-halt to work miracles on your first few attempts.Ask for only a small difference at first and reward your horse for responding.If you have problems achieving the half-halt, have a lesson on a more experienced horse who is used to half-halting as he will show you which aids work and what it should feel like. You will then be in a better position to ride the movement on your own horse. Performing the Half-halt Read more100's of riding tips and exercises, helping you and your horse Read more
Horse –Q. Do you want to jump a clear rounds?A. First of all check you horses health, pain in the back or in any of the limbs may make the horse jump low and flat in order to get the other side as quickly as possible.Over riding can also flatten the horses jumping style, try and keep your weight through your legs and keep your upper body weight over the horses' centre of gravity. Keep your head up and look forward, allowing your hands to move with natural movement of the horses head and neck. Restriction in this area will pull the horses head up and hollow the back and flatten the hind quarters. Rider – Q. Forgetting the course? A. Nerves effect many riders at all levels however the golden rule is to use them as a positive not a negative. You must be focused and disciplined when walking the course, concentrate and be confident. After walking the first three fences, pause, close you eyes and ride them in your mind, move on and continue the same technique for the rest of the course. Take your time and stay focused to memorize the whole course and the stride distances you have measured.For more riding tips and advice click here
Horse – Q. Resisting going forward?A. Horses that lack confidence often resist going forward as they are confused about what is being asked of them or that they find the demand is too difficult. Adjust the training, go back to simple steps which the horse finds easy and progress slower introducing lunge work to improve their confidence.When being ridden, restriction through the reins is also a common fault. Trying to manipulate the horses' carriage with the reins and not through a strong seat will confuse the horse and make them uncomfortable.Rider –Q. Loose leg Contact?A. Riding with stirrups too long is often the cause for this along with tightness in the hips and seat. A very useful exercise to discover a natural seat and balance of the rider is to have a lunging lesson with their horse - without stirrups the rider will become more supple and move with the horses' natural pace. When the stirrups are reintroduced the rider should sit deeper in the saddle and therefore put the weight through the lower leg. For more dressage advice and tips click here
Rise to the challenge Horse – Q. Why does my horse refuse or stop? A. There are a few reasons for this which is not always just because they are being naughty. Confidence in both horse and rider are major factors here, the rider must convey total assurance to the horse and in turn the horse must be fully prepared, and sure in what is being asked. The approach to the fence is important, you are asking your horse to launch himself at an obstacle, therefore ride him positively without aggression and keep a balanced rhythmic stride. A slip or stumble on the approach can easily put the horse off. Rider – Q. Do you feel insecure when jumping a fence?.A. Practice the speed and approach over smaller obstacles to learn your horse stride and their shape over a fence. Progress gradually and allow the horse to jump underneath you whilst keeping a good centre of balance, this will stop you jumping the fence for the horse by leaning too far forward and also stop you becoming behind the stride by leaning too far back, both of which will be uncomfortable for the horse. Try shortening your stirrups slightly as this will allow your seat to stay more centrally balanced over the top of the fence. For lots more riding tips and advice click here
With the right care, down-filled jackets will come up clean, fresh and looking like new after a wash. With the wrong treatment, they can end up smelling like a wet dog and looking a right mess. Follow the washing instructions inside the coat (usually a gentle 30° cycle). Then hang the jacket to dry naturally in a warm, well-ventilated area away from direct heat. Once dry, put the coat in a tumble drier on a low setting, along with two tennis balls. This will re-distribute and ‘fluff-up’ the down/feather mix.Visit www.mountainhorse.co.uk
To ride transitions well you have to be decisive. Pick the spot where you’re going to ride your transition and count down from three before you give the aids. Don’t change your mind at the last minute or make your transition before or after your chosen point, unless your preparation is unsuccessful.Plus try not fall into the trap of only riding progressive transitions. Once you’re comfortable and confident riding them, try some direct transitions, too as this will help you and your horse progress in your schooling. Read lots more quick tips helping you, your horse and your riding
Preparing your horse correctly for a dressage test is essential to build his confidence before his big day.Taking your horse to a dressage test can be nerve racking, both for you and your horse, but if your schooling is not up to scratch, it could be one of the most satisfying. To ride a half decent dressage test at pre-novice level, you must have established the basics with your horse. This means he must walk, trot and canter in a consistent outline and rhythm and make accurate transitions between all three paces.Even the most well schooled horse can forget these foundations when working in a dressage arena for the first time. Left in the middle of a field with no fences to rely on, he is likely to feel less confident and more crooked. But there are ways to help. Regularly school your horse in the centre of a field so he gets used to the space. Mark out an arena in the middle of the field and teach your horse to work inside the markers. Make the arena a few meters smaller than the usual 60m x 20m manege and put the quarter markers KHM and F slightly closer to the corners than normal. School your horse here and concentrate on riding good corners and accurate transitions at the markers. When you ride your dressage test for real, the arena will seem much larger and you should then have plenty of time to prepare for transitions. TIPLearn your dressage test inside out so you can start at any point in the sequence and still run through the rest of the movements. It’s easy to remember the test if things are going smoothly but your mind could go blank if you are distracted by your horse misbehaving. Check by visualising yourself riding the sequence, but don’t get too stressed – Remember even the celebrities can loose their memory in the middle of a test.Get more dressage advice and tips click here
Competition nerves can play havoc with your tummy and the same could be said for some horses with 90% of racehorses and 60% of competition horses displaying some form of digestive problem*.To help soothe and support a healthy digestive system, Aloeride is a taste free, totally organic aloe vera supplement, which can help relieve digestive irritation and also encourage a greater nutrient uptake from the appropriate diet, which will also assist your horse in feeling and looking his best. Other benefits from feeding Aloeride also include help in promoting a glossy coat, healthy skin and strong hooves, through to supporting a healthy immune system – all key factors for the competition horse. Aloeride has also been tested by an accredited Newmarket laboratory and doesn’t contain any synthetic compounds and comes in easy to feed in convenient, sealed sachets, helping to enhance your horse’s performance the natural way!Fans of the product include established eventer and ex-racehorse trainer Victoria Bax, top show rider and producer Loraine Homer, international dressage rider Lucy Cartwright & Australian natural horseman Jason Webb.www.aloeride.co.uk 01858 464550
The zip in your long boot has tiny, intricate plastic teeth and is inevitably these are going to be more fragile than the rest of a tough leather boot – Treat it harshly and you will break it.Always pull the zip down completely before putting your foot in or taking it out of the boot - this is important as it is the number one cause of broken zips! Never force a zip closed – if it’s jamming, take your foot out and try again.Keep the zip clean. Remove dirt, grit and school surface with a small brush (eg old toothbrush) and water. Dirty zips will not do up smoothly and you’ll be tempted to force it – causing damage.Use boot trees when you are not wearing your boots. They prevent the boot shaft from collapsing and relieve pressure on the zip teeth.Visit www.mountainhorse.co.uk for a superb range of yard and riding boots.
Thick rubber soles equals warmer feet in winter. Rubber is a great insulator for cold feet and the further your toes stay from the freezing ground, the warmer they’ll be. So go for some chunky, thick-soled boots and your chilly feet will thank you for it. Visit www.mountainhorse.co.uk for some great winter footwearRead more great tips - Helping you, your horse and your riding
Keep your field kept horses safe and healthy this winter with our simple check list.... Ensure you know your horse's weight at the start of the season. Weigh check him regularly so that you can adjust his feed if he starts to lose or gain too much weight. You must ensure your horses are properly checked morning and evening - once a day is not enough. Ask local people to keep an eye on them for you as well and to contact you if they have any worries. If you can organize someone to do a midday check as well that would be really helpful. Check your horse's water supply is working every time you visit. Make sure you remove rugs regularly to check for rubs or possible injury sites that are hidden by rugs. Remember that there is no feed value to grass in winter so your horse will need ample, regular supplies of hay each day Make it a habit to check your fencing daily. Always pick out and check your horse's feet daily. Run your hands over your horse's body to check for any injuries, any signs of heat or pain. Click here for more Horse Care realted articles - keeping your horse healthy
Take time out! With nights drawing in us, we have an ideal opportunity to take some time out with our horses. So often we’re flat out with ‘life’, and our horses have to fit in around everything else. As the working mother of a 1 year old, I am especially sympathetic to anyone trying to fit horses into a life with young children! While you can’t ride because the rain is lashing down, the wind is blowing a gale, or the ground is frozen solid, why not take some time just to be with your horse? I have no doubt that he’ll appreciate a massage or a really good groom, his own personal spa session, the chance for you to give something back for all that he gives to you. Try leaving all your thoughts and worries at the stable door (or field gate), switching your mobile onto silent, and concentrating solely on your horse for this time. You might be surprised at how good it makes you feel, never mind what you can do for your horse!Read more related Horse Behaviour articlesSue PalmerChartered Veterinary Physiotherapist and Equine Behavioural ConsultantTel: 07976 413488 Web: www.holistichorsehelp.com
If your feet freeze in winter, consider bigger boots! The more room there is in the foot part, the more chance warm air has to circulate and help distribute heat around the foot. If you want something for all-year-round wear, try these Mountain High Riders http://www.mountainhorse.co.uk/index.php?p=products&id=1265402457 the generous foot part means you can also fit another pair of socks in easily for winter, but they’re lovely and cool for summer. The Mountain High Rider is the original multi-purpose long leather boot, and it has really stood the test of time. High Rider is hardwearing and durable with a comfortable, generous fit. Full-grain oiled leather upper, robust sole with Mountain Horse's steel shank and Impact Protection System in the heel. Full length rear YKK zip and elastic inserts at the calf.For more great tips and winter gear keeping you safe, warm and stylish then visit www.mountainhorse.co.ukRead more great tips - Helping you,your horse and your riding
Layering is the key to staying warm and comfortable, even when the going gets tough. Wear a thermal baselayer next to your skin to wick away moisture. This Energy Tech Top from Mountain Horse is ideal. Go for a technical insulating fleece such as this Element Microfleece as the mid layer to provide warmth and breathability. Complete your winter defence with a waterproof, windproof and breathable jacket that will let body moisture escape, but keep the cold and rain out.For more great tips and winter gear keeping you safe, warm and stylish then visit www.mountainhorse.co.ukRead more tips - helping you,your horse and your riding