Top Tips!

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Winter weather conditions brings many problems for horse owners and with restricted riding opportunities it may be time to give all your tack an overhaul. Moisture causes mould spores to thrive, which are very damaging to leather tack and especially when its not being used and cleaned regularly due to adverse weather.  Keep your tack in a warm environment, undo all the buckles and strip it down to make sure all the creases are thoroughly treated, clean it thoroughly with a dampened cloth or sponge, before applying leather soap or feed. Regular cleaning and conditioning of all your leather products allows the leather to stay supple and soft it also will be more comfortable for your horse. Cleaning tack read more 
Is your horse generally more responsive to your aids when you ask him to go forwards! If he isn't then spend time improving this aspect of your riding - alternatively you might want to start improving your horse's responsiveness to the aids on the lunge first.  Once he is going forwards properly when asked, introduce some leg yielding work, initially in walk so you can both get the feel of the movement before moving on to trot. When he is happy leg yielding from the three-quarter line to the outside track, and vice versa, try introducing leg yield along the short sides of the school. You should be able to encourage your horse into the corners - don't go too deep or you will make the exit from the corner too difficult.Read more flatwork exercises here 
Going with a friend who has an experienced cross country horse as they can provide a lead if need be.   You should also go with an instructor you trust and who knows you and your horse relatively well.  Don't be over ambitious - you don't need to jump big fences. Your first few sessions should be all about building your and your horse's confidence, exposing your horse to different types of fences and getting him happy with them.  If all is going well, don't be tempted to over-stretch yourself or your horse. There is always another day! CROSS COUNTRY JUMPING - basics you need to consider READ MORE
Many of us ride with one hand - usually the inside one - lower than the other, this places uneven pressure on your horses' mouth. To break this habit ride with a schooling whip in each hand: as long as each whip lies across your leg correctly, your hands will be at the same height and your hores will not only be more comfortable but also more responsive.
Using poles will help you and your horse improve co-ordination, impulsion and accuracy. Pole work will teach your horse to lengthen or shorten his stride without loosing balance or rhythm. Including poles in your schooling will help your horse to concentrate and improve his overall obedience Everyone has a different stride length, so get to know how long yours is by measuring between two points and then striding the distance If your horse lacks confidence start by jumping towards home. If your horse is forward going start jumping away from home - it is important to jump the grid in both directions Great advice on using poles Read more
The chances are that you are much more conscious about corners when you are having a lesson but, if you get into the habit of riding good corners, you'll get maximum use from your schooling area and improve your horses' suppleness, responsiveness and ability to correct and lengthen.  DON'T CUT CORNERS! - Great advice to help you - Riding through corners correctly Read more
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 our great selection of winter jackets at www.mountainhorse.co.uk Mountain Horse sponsors of ENJOY RIDING Read more 
If everyone organised an annual yard clear - out it would help so many needy horses in your area.  Winter is a great time for that BIG clear out of all that stuff that has been hanging around the yard and stable that has been stowed away or simply replaced or never used. Rugs, head collars, over - reach boots, yes they may be discolored or just a bit grubby but all are perfectly serviceable with a bit of elbow grease.  Horse sanctuaries struggle to provide basic items that many of us take for granted - so why not organize a yard collection and ask all your friends to donate all their unwanted or unused products to your local rescue center.   
The zip in your long boot has tiny, intricate plastic teeth and is inevitably 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 and 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.For your complete range of riding and yard boots go to www.mountainhorse.co.uk Mountain Horse sponsors of Enjoy your riding campaign 
FIVE TIPS TO HELP YOU MOVE YOUR RIDING FORWARDS   1. Don't be afraid to talk to professional riders and trainers and ask their advice   2. Correcting small things can have a big impact on you and your riding   3. Go and watch clinics given by professional trainers and take notes   4. If you are not moving forwards don't be afraid to find a new riding school or instructor   5. Footwear is key! - Don't wear cheap rubber riding bootsRead how Richard moved his riding forward with a little help read more 
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